[ Mrs. Humphrey Ward, novelist. ] Autograph Letter Signed ('Mary A. Ward') [ to W. J. Fisher ], regarding 'the fund to be raised for Mr. Harold Frederic's widow & children', expressing disquiet over 'circumstances disclosed' at .Frederic's inquest.

Mrs. Humphrey Ward [ Mary Augusta Ward, nee Arnold ] (1851-1920), English novelist [ Harold Frederick (1856-98), London correspondent of New York Times; W. J. Fisher ]
Publication details: 
25 Grosvenor Place, London SW, on cancelled letterhead of Stocks, Tring. 5 December 1898.
SKU: 17931

An interesting letter regarding a celebrated Victorian scandal. In 1884 Frederic had come to England with his wife and five children as the London correspondent of the New York TImes. He set up a second household with Kate Lyon, with whom he had a further three children. Lyons was a Christian Scientist, and when Frederic suffered a stroke in 1898, she tried to cure him by faith healing, but he died. At the instigation of Mrs Frederic, Lyon was tried for manslaughter, but was acquitted. 3pp., 12mo. Bifolium with mourning border. In good condition, lightly-aged, with minor traces of two tissue mounts. She begins by stating that his letter has remained unanswered due to '[h]ealth which is not very strong and an unusual pressure of letters'. She is 'somewhat puzzled what to say', but while contributing five guineas, does not wish to be put on the committee of the fund 'for poor Mrs. Frederic & her children'. She concludes: 'I much admired some sides of Mr. Frederic's talent, but circumstances disclosed at the inquest were very painful, and my mind is so far from clear on the whole subject that I should prefer not to be on the Committee'. A postscript regarding the making out of the cheque for five guineas is in another hand. Loosely inserted is a slip of paper with a manuscript note (by Fisher?) regarding the author of the letter. From a batch of papers received by Fisher in connection with the fund.