[ The Duchess of Abercorn (sister of Prime Minister Lord John Russell) writes to her childrens' nanny. ] Four Autograph Letters Signed (all 'L Abercorn') to 'Emery', giving family news, and reminiscing about her friendship with Queen Victoria.

Author: 
Louisa Jane Hamilton, Duchess of Abercorn [ born Lady Louisa Jane Russell ] (1812-1905), sister of Liberal Prime Minister Lord John Russell
Publication details: 
On letterheads of: Coates Castle, Pulborough (1891 and 1896); Fenton, Wooler, Northumberland (1895); Coates Castle, Fittleworth (1901).
£180.00
SKU: 20604

From the context of the letters (especially Item Three below) it is clear that 'Emery' had been nanny to the Duchess's two sons (and the youngest of her fourteen children) Frederic (1856-1928) and Ernest (1858-1939). The four letters total 14pp., 12mo. The letter from Fenton is the only one without a mourning border. In fair condition, lightly aged and spotted. ONE (11 September 1891): Sbe writes that she does not have a photograph of her son Ernest to give him, but that she will ask him for one when she sees him, 'as he has not forgotten “Emery”, and we often talk of you'. She discusses 'sad changes […] in the Sutherland family', with reference to the 'dear little late Duchess I was very fond of' and 'Mrs. Marsh, such a nice little woman'. She wishes he was 'not so far away, dear Emery, or I would ask you to come & see me in my little nest'. She continues: 'I never thought I could again be so happy, but the Lord never forsakes, and my dear Children are all great blessings to me – Ernest, my Benjamin, has married a very nice homely little wife, and as they are not rich, they will live with me the first year – Freddy is the life & delight of every one! - Lady Winterton is the only sufferer – from rheumatism'. TWO (2 December 1895): Describing, with contrition, 'an accident' has befallen a letter which he sent her. The letter, received from 'Fräulein Dries' was one which she herself had written to her son Freddy. 'I knew it would give Ernest pleasure to see it, so I sent it to him, and it amused all who saw it greatly. I told him to return it to me, which he did, but without the envelope, which has the best part of it. I wrote to him for it, and he says he did return it, but he must be mistaken for it was not there.' She also describes her ill health. Ernest has written that there is no photograph of him, but she thinks she did send him 'one of myself in my old age'. 'Freddy is very well, & busy with his Pall Mall Magazine. Ernest has just written a story for it. I wish you could see Ernest and his pretty little wife, and dear Baby of a year old. They still live with me, but have now got a house in Onslow Gardens in London – where they hope to move in the spring'. THREE (11 June 1896): She is sending him 'a shawl I have made for you, which I hope you will like. Much too warm for this weather, but by & bye I hope you may find it comfortable – I also send you a photograph of my old self'. She will soon be 84, and is in good health, but fears that Emery may suffer from rheumatism, from which 'Poor Lady Winterton' has 'lately had a bad attack – but she is always bright and cheerful'. She continues, referring to two of her sons for whom Emery had acted as nanny: 'Your two boys are very flourishing – the Ernests hae such a fine little Boy called Guy after his Uncle – Lord Frederic does not seem inclined to marry but he has plenty to do'. She is 'alone now, and very happy'. FOUR (1 February 1901): She was very pleased to hear news of Emery 'from my Freddy and to hear you had such kind friends in the Duke & Duchess of Sutherland – It is very good of them to take such care of you […] Freddy told me how little you were changed, and how amusing you still were – He is the same and always cheers me up when he comes to see me'. She has been overwhelmed to bear the terrible blow of our beloved Queen's death […] You know what a dear good friend she had been to me for more than half a century, never forgetting me, & when I expressed a wish to see her dear face once more before my death, she kindly sent for me to dine & sleep at Windsor, and gave me a little diamond brooch with 80 upon it which she said was the number of her years, & in remembrance of our long friendship! | Wasn't it kind?' Sixteen of her grandchildren have gone 'out to S. Africa', but have 'hitherto been mercifully spared, & 10 have come home'. She ends by stating that she is sending her 'a little book the last my dear Miss Marsh has written'.