Two pages (of four pages on one folded leaf). On Haggard's personal stationery ("Ditchingham House, Norfolk"), dated by hand "26.Oct:1900".
The text of this letter reads:
It is most kind of Mrs Cornwallis West & yourself to think of me. I should much like to have the honour of making my bow in the A.S.R. But unhappily I have nothing & no time to write anything as I am just going away fr home after a long summer's [?]. So I fear it must be for another time. Many thanks all the same -- With kind regards, Sincerely yours [signed] H. Rider Haggard.
The famous author H. Rider Haggard (KING SOLOMON'S MINES, SHE, ALLAN QUATERMAIN) had obviously received from Earl Hodgson an invitation to submit a story for publication in the Anglo-Saxon Review. This was a short-lived "quarterly miscellany," created and edited by Lady Randolph Churchill (her son Winston served as an advisor), published by John Lane in handsome leather-bound volumes with elaborate gilt tooling. Contributors included Henry James, Winston Churchill, George Gissing, and Stephen Crane (but apparently not Rider Haggard). The subscription list included many from the wealthy, the nobility, even heads of state. But maybe it was all a bit too much -- for there were only ten quarterly issues, from June 1899 to September 1901 (with this letter falling roughly in the middle); while Lady Churchill was away on the hospital ship Maine during the Boer War, Sidney Low and Earl Hodgson managed publication. (Incidentally, "Mrs Cornwallis-West" refers to Lady Churchill: the American-born Jennie Jerome in 1874 had married Lord Randolph Churchill, but in 1894 he had died and in July 1900 -- three months before this letter -- Lady Churchill had married George Cornwallis-West.)
The letter is in fine condition (at the bottom of the second page, in another hand, is the date Oct 30 followed by some shorthand squiggles -- undoubtedly by a receiving secretary at the Review. Provenance: from the renowned three-generation Dodge Family Autograph Collection. Item #14455