WIT

[Theodore Hook, author and hoaxer.] Autograph Letter Signed (‘Theo S Hook’) [to his publishers Whittaker & Co.], reporting missing text in the revises of his ‘Gilbert Gurney’, and requesting the return of ‘the MS of the page in question’.

Author: 
Theodore Hook [Theodore Edward Hook] (1788-1841), author, wit and hoaxer, accountant-general and treasurer of Mauritius, 1813-1817
Publication details: 
No date or place, but on paper with 1834 watermark.
£75.00

Hook’s entry in the Oxford DNB descibes his novel ‘Gilbert Gurney’ (1836) and its sequel ‘Gurney Married’ (1838) as made up of ‘thinly disguised portraits and a string of anecdotes from real life’. 1p, 12mo. On bifolium. In good condition, folded twice. On wove paper with C. Ansell watermark of 1834. The signature ‘Theo E Hook’ does indeed have a strange ‘hook’ on the end of it, which has led to a pencil note on the blank second leaf: ‘try Thos. E. Boot / Booth / author of “Gilbert Gurney”’.

[Joseph Jekyll, Regency politician and wit.] Autograph Letter Signed to George Agar-Ellis, on missing the 'Academy Dinner' by dining with the king; and manuscript copy of pun-laden account of ‘Bazaar in Mr Penn’s Garden for Charing Cross Hospital’.

Author: 
Joseph Jekyll (1754-1837), Welsh lawyer, Whig politician and wit, Master in Chancery and Solicitor-General to the Prince of Wales [George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover]
Publication details: 
Letter written on 'Sunday Morning'
£100.00

The first item is fairly witty, while the second exhibits the sort of ‘excruciating puns’ for which Jekyll is, according to his entry in the Oxford DNB, largely remembered. See also Agar-Ellis’s entry in the same work. The two items are in good condition, lightly aged. ONE: Letter of ‘Sunday Morning’ to ‘Dear Ellis’. 2pp, 12mo. Signed ‘Joseph Jekyll’. Folded twice. Minuted by recipient at head of first page: ‘May 1825 / Jekyll’.

[Henry Luttrell, wit and poet.] Autograph Letter Signed, thanking Agar Ellis for the gift of one of his books, and discussing the preparing for the press of one of his own.

Author: 
Henry Luttrell [born Henry King] (1768-1851), wit and poet, friend of Sydney Smith, illegitimate son of the , second Earl of Carhampton [Agar Ellis [George James Welbore Agar-Ellis, 1st Baron Dover]]
Publication details: 
18 February [no year, but between 1822 and 1833]. Albany [Piccadilly, London].
£180.00

See the two men’s entries in the Oxford DNB. 1p, 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged. Folded twice. ‘Many many thanks, my dear Ellis, for the kind present of your book, which, as soon as I am released from a torment of which you have had some experience, - correcting the press, I promise myself much pleasure and instruction in perusing. /As soon as my doggerel is printed, you may rely on having a copy. My best remembrance if you please to Lady Georgiana / Ever faithfully Yours / Henry Luttrell.’ Which of Luttrell’s or Ellis’s books are referred to here is unclear.

[Charles Stuart Calverley, poet, classical scholar and wit.] Autograph Letter Signed ('C S. Calverley') to Charles R. Steggatt, declining to order cigars with the comment: 'I never by any chance smoke a cigar.'

Author: 
Charles Stuart Calverley [born Charles Stuart Blayds] (1831-1884), poet, classical scholar and wit
Publication details: 
18 December 1880. 12 Mostyn Terrace, Grand Parade, Eastbourne.
£45.00

1p, 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged. In envelope with penny red stamp and postmark, addressed to Steggatt at 53 Norwich Street, Cambridge. The letter reads: 'Dear Sir | I regret that I cannot give you an order. I have no doubt of the excellence of the cigars, but I never by any chance smoke a cigar. | Believe me | Yours truly | C S. Calverley'. A nice Cambridge association, given that Calverley's most famous poem is 'Ode to Tobacco', and that it features in Cambridge on a brass plaque on the wall of the former Bacon's tobacconists.

[Sydney Smith, 'The Smith of Smiths', wit and author.] Four Autograph Letters Signed to 'Mrs Cunliffe' [Elizabeth Emma Cunliffe Offley, daughter of Lord Crewe], good natured and vivacious.

Author: 
Sydney Smith (1771-1845), 'The Smith of Smiths', wit, author and cleric [Elizabeth Emma Cunliffe Offley (1780-1850), daughter of Lord Crewe and wife of MP Foster Cunliffe Offley]
Publication details: 
Three letters from London addresses: 3 Weymouth Street [Portland Place], no date [c. 1835]; 33 Charles Street, Berkeley Square, 31 April 1839; 56 Green Street, Grosvenor Square, 18 February 1842. Last letter with no place or date [London, c. 1824].
£450.00

The four items in good condition, lightly aged, with stubs from mounts still adhering. The first three are bifoliums, carrying seals in red wax (that to the third letter broken). The second letter is addressed to her at Grosvenor Square; the third and fourth to her at Upper Brook Street. ONE: No place or date. [London, on paper with watermark of 'J GREEN & SON | 1824'.] 1p, 12mo.

[Sydney Smith, 'The Smith of Smiths', wit and author, on losing 'the inestimable advantage of being a Yorkshireman'.] Autograph Letter Signed to Richard Monckton Milnes, the future Lord Houghton, on several topics.]

Author: 
Sydney Smith (1771-1845), 'The Smith of Smiths', wit, author and cleric [Richard Monckton Milnes (1809-1885), Lord Houghton, poet, politician and patron of the arts; James Garth Marshall (1802-1873)]
Publication details: 
Combe Florey, Taunton [Somerset]. 14 July 1841.
£200.00

2pp, 4to. Bifolium, addressed, with broken seal in red wax, on reverse of second leaf, to 'R. M. Milnes Esq | Pall Mall | London'. In fair condition, lightly aged, with stub from mount adhering. Folded three times. The earlier part of the letter is reproduced in Smith's daughter Lady Holland's 1855 memoir of him. Smith begins the letter by stating that he is 'very much oblig'd' by Milnes's 'kindness in procuring for me the papier Chimique – pray let me know what I am in your debt it is best to be scrupulous and punctilious in trifles'.

[Joseph Jekyll, lawyer, politician and wit.] Autograph jeu d'esprit, signed 'J Jekyll.', addressed to 'Mr Erskine' [i.e. Thomas Erskine, future Lord Chancellor], short poem regarding 'Mrs. Crewe' and Jekyll sitting 'on Lunacy'.

Author: 
Joseph Jekyll (1754-1837), Scottish lawyer, politician and wit [Lord Erskine [Thomas Erskine, 1st Baron Erskine] (1750-1823), Lord Chancellor]
Publication details: 
No place. Dated 30 June 1800.
£220.00

1p, 8vo. On bifolium addressed on verso of second leaf to 'Mr. Erskine'. In good condition, lightly aged. Autograph jeu d'esprit, signed at foot 'J. Jekyll. | June 30th. 1800'. A short poem reading: 'Tell Mrs. Crewe | I envy You. | But sit on Lu- | nacy. || Yet Mrs. Crewe | will think I'm stu | pid in my lu | -cid Intervals.' Jekyll's entry in the Oxford DNB concludes, perhaps unkindly: 'If he is remembered by later generations, it is chiefly as a wit. It has to be said, however, that his wit, which consisted in large measure of excruciating puns, has not lasted well.'

[Sir Edward Marsh, Winston Churchill's friend and private secretary, classical scholar and patron of Georgian poetry.] Autograph Letter Signed ('Edward Marsh') to 'Mrs Young', regarding his gift of a stick to 'Lance'.

Author: 
Sir Edward Marsh [Sir Edward Howard Marsh] (1872-1953), civil servant, promoter of Georgian poetry, classical scholar, friend and secretary to Winston Churchill
Publication details: 
20 West Road, Cambridge. 5 August [no year].
£56.00

1p, 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged, with two folds and one crease line. Written in a stylish and assured hand, the note reads: 'Dear Mrs Young, | Yes, I was Lance's friend - & I am glad to hear that the stick I gave him has descended to your son, to whom I wish all good. | Yours sincerely | Edward Marsh'.

[ Margot Asquith, socialite and author, wife of Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith. ] Autograph Note Signed ('Margot Oxford') acknowledging receipt of a letter and a book.

Author: 
Margot Asquith [ Emma Alice Margaret Asquith, Countess of Oxford and Asquith; née Tennant ] (1864-1945), Scottish socialite and author, wife of Liberal Prime Minister H. H. Asquith
Publication details: 
On letterhead of 44 Bedford Square, WC1 [ London ]. 13 February 1936.
£28.00

1p., 12mo. In good condition, lightly aged. Reads: 'Thank you very much for yr. letter & the book | Yrs | Margot Asquith | 13 Feb 36'.

Autograph Letter Signed ('Sydney Smith') from Rev. Sydney Smith to the future Lord Chancellor Henry Brougham, regarding his ambitions and 'objects in the Church'. With annotations by Brougham.

Author: 
Rev. Sydney Smith (1771-1845), author and wit ['the Smith of Smiths'], member of the Holland House Circle [Henry Brougham (1778-1868), Scottish lawyer, Whig politician and Lord Chancellor]
Publication details: 
Without place or date. Docketted by Brougham '1830 or 31', but in fact circa 1827.
£450.00

2pp., 4to. Bifolium. A thin strip has been torn from the head of the first leaf, resulting in loss to two lines of text, otherwise in good condition, on lightly-aged paper. A significant letter, in which Smith discusses his ambitions with a close and influential friend, and former colleague on the 'Edinburgh Review'.

Fragment of Autograph Letter Signed to unnamed correspondent.

Author: 
Theodore Edward Hook
Publication details: 
Without date or place.
£23.00

Novelist and wit (1788-1841). On piece of paper roughly four inches square. Folded twice and lightly creased and with traces of glue and paper from previous mounting adhering to four corners of reverse, and affecting text. Typed title neatly attached at foot. Reads 'Will you give our kindest regards to Your Family and always believe me | Yrs Very Sincerely | The: E. Hook'. Reverse reads '<...> club.

Three Autograph Letters Signed to 'Dear Mat'.

Author: 
Edward Dubois [Du Bois]
Publication details: 
Two without date or place; the third dated 'Gower Place | Euston Sq[uar]e | Wedn[esda]y.'
£200.00

English wit and man of letters (1774-1850). All three letters in octavo and skilfully mounted onto quarto paper. Two letters of three pages and one of two pages. All three in very good condition. Playful, witty communications to an intimate friend, characteristic of a droll, caustic wit, 'capital at the dinner table', who 'loved a joke, even in court' (Dictionary of National Biography). LETTER ONE (2 pages): Declines an invitation.

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