Autograph Letter signed, to "Dear Mr Colles" George Gissing.
Autograph Letter signed, to "Dear Mr Colles".

Autograph Letter signed, to "Dear Mr Colles".

One page, dated by Gissing "23 East Ascent | St Leonard's on Sea | March 6th 94." Date-stamped (by the recipient) "Received | 7 Mar 94".

The text of this brief letter reads,

I shall probably be here for another ten days, & it will give me pleasure to hear from you.

Yours faithfully, [signed] George Gissing

In early February, Gissing, his second wife Edith, and their three-year-old son Walter fled London (on the advice of the boy's doctor) for some sea air -- and, upon the recommendation of Gissing's friend Clara Collet (who would spend a week with them there), they rented rooms from a Mrs Gardner at the above address in St. Leonard's-on-Sea, near Hastings. (An amusing footnote: upon their arrival there on February 7th, Mrs Gardner met them at the door declaring she was sorry but cats were NOT allowed; Gissing at first said "Cats?!", but then realized he had sent a post-card saying that he had already dispatched a cot (for the boy) which might arrive before they did.) Later in March, not seeing much improvement in Walter's health, they moved on to lodgings in Eastbourne, where they stayed into April.

The addressee was W[illiam]. M[orris]. Colles, Gissing's literary agent; clearly the point of this letter was simply to advise Colles of his current address. At the time, Gissing was in the planning stages of what would become EVE'S RANSOM, which he had arranged with C.K. Shorter to appear serially in the latter's Illustrated London News. Gissing wanted to communicate with Colles about placing the subsequent book publication -- which Gissing wanted to be with Lawrence & Bullen. (EVE'S RANSOM would in fact appear in the Illustrated London News in January to March 1895, with publication as a book by L&B on 8 April 1895.)

Walter would survive this bout of lung trouble, but in 1897 his parents' rocky marriage would end, precipitated by Gissing spiriting Walter (and by then his younger brother Alfred) away to his sisters for protection, as Walter was being beaten by Edith. (Gissing's first marriage -- to a prostitute! -- had ended equally badly.) In 1902 Edith was committed to a mental asylum where she remained until her death (at age 46) in 1917; George himself would not survive lung disease, dying of it (also at age 46) in late 1903; Walter would not survive the Battle of the Somme on 1 July 1916; little Alfred did live on until 1975.

The letter is in fine condition, with the original folds. Item #14700

Price: $1,450.00

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