Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thursday, July 14, 2011 12:10 am by M. in    No comments
A Charlotte Brontë letter and a fragment of another one recently auctioned:

Last month, in Sotheby's New York:
Fine Books & Manuscripts
17 June 2011
LOT 8
Property of the James S. Copley Library
Charlotte Brontë
Autograph letter signed ("C. B."), 3 pages (7  1/2  x 4  3/4  in.; 190 x 120 mm), n.p. [Haworth Parsonage, Yorkshire], 3 April 1850, to Ellen Nussey; horizontal and vertical folds, few minor spots, lower portion of third page cut away (loss approx. 1  5/8  x 4  1/8  in.).

Estimate: 18000-25000 $
Hammer Price with Buyer's Premium: 28750 $

Provenance: George D. Smith (New York bookseller; with a clipped entry from a sale catalogue of his estate, item 66, $17.50; inscribed in ink "Bought, Feb. 11th, 1921")

Notes: Charlotte Brontë gives medical advice to her lifelong friend and correspondent, Ellen Nussey: "I certainly do think that you are generally too venturous in risking exposure to all weathers—there are sudden changes from hot to cold and vice versa—there are fogs, cold penetrating winds during which all people of constitutions not robust are better in the house than out of doors; regular exercise is an excellent thing, but unless you were much stronger than you are—in very cold or stormy weather—you cannot always with prudence enjoy it. I do not wish you to coddle yourself, but in future I trust you will be careful. There has evidently been in your system a gradually increasing inflammatory action. The late cold weather and the nervous irritation consequent on the tooth-business brought it to a crisis. I only trust that, that crisis safely passed, you will be better afterwards, but I repeat most seriously you will need care. Be in no hurry to rush out of doors .... As to night-air, eschew it for six months to come—maladies are sooner caught than cured. In your position it is positive duty to run no risks; if anything happened to you what would be your Mother's condition?"
Brontë then goes on to speculate on her negative impressions of someone she refers to as "J. T.", hoping he will not come to Haworth in the spring. She ends with another admonition: "Do not write again till you can do it without fatigue—but as soon as you feel able indite to me a particular detailed account of your state—speak the truth, and give no deceiving gloss."
ALS from Charlotte Brontë auctioned in RR Auctions (June 15):
Highly regarded British author (1816–1855) best known for the classic novel Jane Eyre. Partial ALS taken from the close of a letter signed “C. Brontë,” one page, 4.5 x 3.5, no date. In part: “…and with my own and my Father’s kindest regards to yourself. Believe me my dear Mrs. Forster.” In fine condition, with trimmed edges and a few spots of soiling. Brontë’s signature is very scarce, with this exemplar also bearing five lines of her penmanship.
We have been unable to trace the origins of this letter. It is not listed in Margaret Smith's Letters of Charlotte Brontë.

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