[ Warrington Charity Ball, 1827. ] Autograph transcription by 'W. M.' [identified as William Mather] of four letters (two from 'Mr. Pt.') relating to an argument over an anonymous letter sent to Miss Gaskell at Liverpool.

[ Warrington Charity Ball, 1827; William Mather; S. Gaskell; Liverpool ]
Publication details: 
[ Warrington, Cheshire. ] Dated between 21 January and 11 February 1827.
SKU: 19884

2pp., 4to. On both sides of an aged and worn leaf, tipped in onto a leaf removed from an album. Closely written. The four transcriptions are without heading or explanation. A curious item, with a certain melodramatic novelistic quality. A correspondence, apparently copied out by the 'W. M.' who signs at the foot of the last transcription and is identified in pencil as 'William Mather'. It begins with a short letter which presumably gave offence because of its anonymity. This is followed by two letters from 'Mr. Pt.', the first a letter of complaint regarding the anonymous letter, and accusing 'William' (Mather himself) of being the author; the second written to 'William' in a tone of outrage. The fourth transcription is of the contemptuous response of 'William' to 'Mr. Pt.' two letters, in which he invites 'Mr. Pt.' to challenge him to a duel. The initial short letter is addressed by an unnamed 'Gentleman' to 'Miss Gaskell', regarding her sending 'a Bill of the Warrington Charity Ball', but omitting to enclose tickets. The second letter, dated 21 January 1827, addressed to 'Dear William' (by 'Mr. Pt.'), begins: 'Some days ago Mr. G. Smith an acquaintance of my Wife at Warrington brought to Liverpool some circulars for a Ball at W. for distribution, and amongst them one directed to yourself and one to my Sister Anne, which he left at our house for you both. | I understand one of the Managers applied to Mss Gaskell for some names at Liverpool to whom to send circulars as they wished to give every publicity to the Ball & she named amongst others my sister & yourself - and the Gentleman it seems directed notes accordingly. | A few days afterwards Miss Gaskell received an anonymous letter from some one at L. the stile of which surprised her – Her first impulse of course was to send it to the writer . . Supposing that it came from Mr. S. Gaskell a relative of hers at L. she accordingly sent it to him, but he sent it back to her, disavowing being its author. | My Wife & I have since learnt that this letter was written by you.' He feels that 'William', in 'writing in this way to Miss Gaskell, is, considering the nature of your acquaintance with her a piece of conduct which, from your often avowed notions of propriety', not what he should have expected. The third letter (the second from 'Mr. Pt.') begins: 'The indignation which I felt, William, when Mrs Hawey yesterday told me of the conversation which you addressed to her in the street is not abated by the lapse of a night. | Any impertinent conduct towards myself from one so much my junior as you are, I might perhaps disregard – But an insult to my Wife is a different thing.' He continues in the same vein, concluding: 'And this note is to give you to understand that we stand towards each other in a different light from heretofore -'. The fourth letter gives the response of 'William': 'Sir | Your first note I treat with the contempt which an unauthorised note of impertinence deserves, & if you are so stupid as to misconstrue my behaviour to Mrs. Hawey into the lease want of respect for her, you have the same means of redress which one Gentleman invariably grants another | W. M. | Mr. Pt. | 11 Feb. 1827.'