[Lady Hester Stanhope, adventurer and socialite.] Three Autograph Letters Signed ('H Stanhope' and 'H. S.') to Mrs Evelyn of St Clere, with gossip regarding 'the Otways', Lady Frederick Campbell and Charles West.

Lady Hester Stanhope (1776-1839), adventurer, traveller and socialite [Mrs. Frances Evelyn (1764-1837), wife of Alexander Evelyn [ne Hume] (c.1859-1837) of St Clere, Kent]
Publication details: 
One 'Thursday night' and one 'Monday'. Without date or place.
SKU: 21124

All three letters with their seals in red wax, the first two intact and the third damaged. All addressed to 'Mrs Evelyn | St Clere'. Gossipy, energetic and characteristic letters. The references to Lady Frederick Campbell date the letters to before her death in a fire in 1807. ONE: Letter written on 'Monday', and signed 'H Stanhope'. 5pp., 12mo. Bifolium and single leaf, the latter acting as the envelope, with text on one side and address with seal on the other. The letter begins: 'You will think I fear my dear Mrs Evelyn there is no end to my eternal scribbles. About an hour after I sent my note yesterday Andrews came here delighted with his master as he already calls him, and in a sad fuss how he was to let her know that he is prevented coming to you on monday, at least it would be a great inconvenience to him'. She has said she will write on his behalf, and 'to be sure I inflict no great punishment in so doing, for I fancy I am rather glad to find some excuse to furnish me with this employment.' She next turns to Charles West: 'Mr West is that man I talked to you about the last time I saw you he is called old Streatfields son. That may or may be or not but somebody else supplies him most handsomely with money for he lives at the rate of eight or nine hundred a year at present and is now much less extravagant than formerly He is a Great Beauty of Lady Frederick Campbells she met his children the other day when I was walking with her (they are really beautiful) and after talking ten minutes with their maid about the beauty of their father continued to exclaim for half a mile in an audible voice what a handsome man is Charles West! what a lucky woman Mrs West is, not the least pretty rather ugly I think, and he is charming Oh charming.' Stanhope agrees that West is 'certainly handsome, but not much of the gentleman about him notwithstanding he made some very fine speeches this morning'. She reports that West's wife and the Otways 'have just begun to visit'. She thinks it 'the most surprising thing I ever heard that people of their very strict propriety should dream of visiting a woman whom it is impossible they can be ignorant of was His mistress before he married her'. The letter ends with talk of horses, and the loose leaf carries a postscript accepting an invitation. She and her sister Griselda will spend a day at St Clere on their return from town. 'If you really mean to give us our choice we prefer much dining with you en famille without any quizes.' TWO: Letter written on 'Thursday night', and signed 'H S.' 3pp., 12mo. Bifolium. She is enclosing 'the Otways note', which she considers 'charming'. She knows the Otways 'very well', and they have done 'just as I expected'. 'I am so glad here is an end of what has given me a little concern particularly as Ly F Campbell took it into her head to be of Otways side without any knowledge of what had really passed. Her fault poor dear woman is loving a story to her heart, and never considering whether it is absurd or even possible provided she can have one to tell in her truly laughable way that is sufficient.' With reference to her sister Griselda (1778-1851) she writes: 'It is now near one oclock I expected to hear from Griselda something had passed between the Otways Harding & herself but not one word was mentioned on the subject. The footman brought this note and they also have returned yrs as I desired in a P.S.' 'Miss Polhill' will provide Mrs Evelyn with 'any further information you may wish to have about wha has passed which will explain why I did not wish you to meet before some explanation had taken place'. The letter concludes: 'I believe I have sold one of my horses today but I will yet come on monday if I possibly can.' THREE: Copy by Stanhope of a letter by her to 'Miss Otway', with original covering note to Mrs Evelyn. Addressed with part of red wax seal, on reverse of second leaf, to 'Mrs Evelyn | St Clere'. 3pp., 12mo. Bifolium. She is on 'terms of intimacy' with Mrs Evelyn, and has 'always felt that it was quite impossible she could so far depart from the behaviour of a woman of fashion', as to be guilty of 'any rudeness towards you'. Mrs Evelyn has authorised her 'to tell you, that no offence was meant on her part. It appears that Miss J. Harding had hinted something of it to her but not sufficient to prevent her requiring an explanation of Griselda who carried my note'. She asks her to show her note 'to Mrs. Lambard with my compts.' She hopes the note 'obviates all misunderstanding as it [is] needless for me to say it must if you view it in an unprejudiced light'. She ends by sending her love, and stating that 'my regar[d] for Mrs E. does not dimini[sh] that I feel for you.' At the foot of the last page she writes to Mrs Evelyn: 'I scribbled out a copy of this for you in the greatest hurry as Papa desired me to return to him in ten minutes & I have to write to the Otways & Mis Polhill who carries this'.