[ Arthur Calder Marshall, author. ] Typed Letter Signed to Harry L. Spilstead, regarding his edition of the ballads of George R. Sims.

Arthur Calder Marshall (1908-1992), English novelist, essayist, critic, memoirist and biographer [ Harry Leonard Spilstead; George R. Sims (1847-1922), author and bon vivant ]
Publication details: 
3 The Grove, Lower Teddington Road, Hampton Wick, Kingston-upon-Thames. 15 January 1968.
SKU: 20485

1p., 4to. In good condition, lightly aged. The main topic of the letter is Marshall's work preparing his book 'Prepare to shed them now. The Ballads of George R. Sims' (London: Hutchinson, 1968). A long and characteristic letter. After references to their meeting at the British Museum and to 'that excellent bookseller, Mr Wallace of The Guild Hall Bookshop' ('he showed me a selection of the Dagonet Ballads – nothing like as good as the copy you saw'), he turns to a 'Sims letter' which Spilstead sent him: 'I cant at the moment date it. He was living in Clarence Terrace, Regents Park, when he died in 1922. […] He was a cagey chap personally. Acknowledged marrying Florence Wykes in 1901, but in 1886 dedicated a book to his gentle wife Bessie.' He continues: 'I think that I have all I want of G. R. S's books from the London Library. My Hutchinson book will be hung on the Dagonet Ballads. I am chiefly interested in visual material. I've located a film of Christmas Day in the Workhouse. But I think there must have been Temperance Lantern Slides of other poems. I'd like to find also engravings etc of Slum Conditions, Prostitution, East End music halls etc around the 1880's 1890's.' He explains that his life is 'a bit chaotic', with a cousin 'going quitely [sic] mad in Edinburgh, while her octogenerian [sic] mother wont die'. He has got to go to Scotland, 'to see what can unobtrusively be done. Also, until I can disentangle what Sims's copyright position is, I cant be sure, despite Hutchinsons wish to do the book, whether they can get the clearances.' Spilstead's invitation to dine at Rule's is 'delightful'; it is one of his favourite restaurants, 'Ruled usually Out now that one can't charge what for a free lance [sic] are legitimate expenses'. He concludes: 'Lunches with daughters are special. I have two beautiful ones – the elder at 21 [the actress Anna Calder Marshall] just about to play Juliet and St John at Bormingham [sic] Rep., the younger accessible in London, because she works for the Evening Standard'.