[ Richard Bentley the younger. ] Two Autograph Letters Signed to Sir Ambrose Heal, 're Writing Masters' and Buckinghamshire local history. With presentation copy of 'Some Stray Notes upon Slough and Upton collected from Various Sources'.

Richard Bentley the younger (1854-1936), London publisher and antiquary [ Sir Ambrose Heal (1872-1959) furniture designer and proprietor of a celebrated London store, Heal's of Tottenham Court Road ]
Publication details: 
Both letters on letterheads of Upton, Slough, Bucks. 4 May 1927 and 4 June 1928. Book limited to 200 copies: 'Privately Printed | 1892'.
SKU: 20675

All three items are in good condition, lightly aged. Both letters are signed 'Richard Bentley'. ONE (ALS, 4 May 1927): 2pp., landscape 12mo. Annotated by Heal at head of first page: 're Writing Masters'. Begins: 'My dear Sir | I thought you MUST have the mezzo of Tomkins! The private schools being adjacent to that of St. Pauls is hardly accidental? It would seem to imply a connection of duties (though not of schools.) and in former times people lived close to their work. No railways – no omnibuses even then. Stage Coaches, pre-Palmer, also slow'. He states that he has 'a few local books', and proceeds to present Heal with his own in a self-effacing fashion: 'One on this place, owing entirely to its insignificance, has escaped your collection – unless it has already found its way into your waste-basket. I sent one by to-day's post for either fate! if not already seen by you.' TWO: Copy of the anonymous 'Some Stray Notes upon Slough and Upton collected from Various Sources' ('Privately Printed', 1892). 79 + [1]pp., 8vo. Good copy in sturdy red buckram, with an illustration of the area stamped in gilt on the front cover and title in gilt on spine. Illustrations in text. The presentation copy referred to above. Heal has written in light pencil at the top of the title-page: 'given me by the Author Richard Bentley | Ap. 1927', and on the same page has written that the book is 'by Richard Bentley of Upton Slough'. A cutting of an illustration has been tipped-in, and some leaves from 'Notes and Queries' have been loosely inserted. THREE (ALS, 4 June 1928): 4pp., 12mo. Written in black and red ink. The letter begins: 'Dear Mr. Heal | May is a devastating month – and June nearly as much – in regard to one's time …..... one is taken up so much with the affairs of others that there is little opportunity of lifting a pen!' He thanks him for 'forwarding to Upon the collected issue of yr. Researches in early history of Tokens', and praises him as an 'expert and enthusiast'. Noting that Heal lives 'in Bucks, and, before the Great War, […] postally at Slough!', he discusses the mail in the county, before turning to 'the ancient Church at UPTON adjoining my house'. He describes the association with the place of Chaucer, Scott at Milton, and asserts that 'Gray wrote his elegy in a Churchyard here – as is amply shown by contemporary writers'. He ends by discussing the 'mystery' of the burial in the area of 'SARAH BRAMSTON | Spinster, of Eton a woman who dared to be just in the reign of George the Second': 'Antiquaries for nearly a Century – Editors – Provosts & Vice Provosts & Head-Masters of Eton in turn have vainly attempted to find a clue POLITICAL or RELIGIOUS to the mystery […] It would require Mr. Ambrose Heal as a resident at Upton before a key could be found […]!' Heal writes in ink at the head of the first page: 'Gray's Elegy written at Upton, Slough | not at Stoke Poges'.