18 Autograph Letters Signed from Captain Hon. Sir Seymour John Fortescue, Equerry-in-Waiting to the Prince of Wales [the future King Edward VII], to 'Lady Edith', filled with English high society and horse- racing news and gossip.

Captain Hon. Sir Seymour John Fortescue (1856-1942), Equerry-in-Waiting to King Edward VII, 1893-1910
Publication details: 
On the following letterheads: 23 Dover Street, London (5); Royal Yacht Osborne; H.M.S. Renown, Mediterranean; The Grove, Watford; 22, Avenue du Bois de Boulogne, Paris; Place Vendôme, Paris; Hôtel Weimar, Marienbad; Turf Club, Piccadilly. 1894-1899.
SKU: 13060

18 long letters, totalling 106pp., 4to, and 2pp., 8vo. Fourteen signed 'Seymour Fortescue' and four 'Seymour F'. Three with the year stated by Fortescue, ten others dated in pencil in another hand. In very good condition, on lightly-aged paper. For biographical information about Fortescue, see the end of this entry. A light and chatty correspondence, filled with high-society gossip, news of London the season, and pastimes including horseracing, shooting, polo, croquet, the theatre, with surprisingly few references to Fortescue's position as equerry (the Prince of Wales appears to feature as 'Master'). The following extracts give a good indication of the tone. In a letter from the Royal Yacht Osborne, dated 3 August [no year]: 'the lovely weather still continues & the only drawback is that the poor old Britannia cant sail for , but the great feature is that Master as a yacht is sailing like a witch, she is the most impressive boat thats ever been seen. All the West family are here in despair because George West's engagement to Lady R. C. is announced. [...] You can tell Freddy that Britannia is sailing so hopelessly that she is going to be laid up when we go instead of proceeding westward.' On 4 January 1894: 'I came up from Sandringham on Sunday & had a most cheery dinner at the Savoy - Lady St O Childers <?> & John Ward. After dinner we retired to another room where "Madam" excelled herself. She mimicked the whole Chatsworth Xmas party - The Duchess trying to avoid that neither she nor the Duke should cut with "Moy Dear" as a partner at Bridge was good as play. Tonight a lot of us are going to see Irving's new piece. D-d rot I expect, after the business we all sup chez Tommy Royston.' On 29 September 1897: 'I am so sorry, really sorry that I can't come for Xmas, I was very happy there last year, & as you know I am very fond of you & your belongings, but unfortunately I am in waiting.' On 2 October 1897, from the Turf Club: 'Newmarket remained very pleasant to the bitter end, & Eddy Stanley fairly enjoyed his bachelor party. We parted at Cambridge, he on his way to Knowsley, I here. Tomorrow I am off for what I hope will be a good shoot at Willy Jameson's.' On 25 January 1898: 'I am busy composing a long letter to Master describing all the various performances here. The most creditable part of the performance has been the beauty of the various Princesses. The grand duchetss Serge, Princess of Roumania & grand Duchess of Hesse all sitting in a row at the Opera in their best frocks & crowns were really even to an English eye very hard to beat. And such crowns as they were too!' On 14 May 1898: 'I dined last night with the Marquiss to meet the great man Rhodes - A very pleasant dinner party, among others there were the Mungo Herberts whom I have hardly set eyes on for ages.' On 25 June 1898 he hopes that she has 'settled down in Norway [...] London has been pretty full & quite pleasant this last week & there have been one or two rather pleasant parties - I dined one night at Lady Fio's. An enormous party of 24, but as about six of the twenty four were musical sharps such as <?> & such like, & as they were extremely good natured & sang afterwards we really had a most enjoyable evening. A certain number of people came in afterwards, but there was always lots of room to sit down wherever one felt inclined. I cannot stand those rows of chairs from which there is no escape. When I capture my Widow & <?> Concerts myself, if you will honor me I will promise that you shall never have to sit in a row of gold backed chairs. [...] Little Mrs Bena swaggers about in your carriage.' On 5 April 1899: 'Your account of Master's golf did not altogether surprise me, & talking of that noble game I have been playing a good deal lately at Ascott & New Zealand & am really rather worse than ever, which you will allow is saying a good deal.' On 28 May 1899: 'I dined with Alfred the other night, your mother was there among others, & it really was a very pleasant entertainment - Melba was in an excellent temper & sat down to the piano & accompanying herself sang like an angel, & without any attempt to make the chandeliers rattle.' Fortescue's entry in Who Was Who reads: 'Entered Navy, 1869; Commander, 1890; served bombardment Alexandria, 1882, and Egyptian War (Egyptian medal, Alexandria clasp, Khedive’s bronze star); Eastern Soudan, 1885 (Suakim clasp); member of Naval Intelligence Department, 1891–93; Naval ADC to Commander-in-Chief in South Africa, 1899–1900 (despatches); Equerry-in-Waiting to King Edward VII 1893–1910; Serjeant-at-Arms House of Lords, 1910–36'. WITH: Copy of his autobiography, "Looking Back"?>