LORD  BYRON  and  his  TIMES
Documents Biography Criticism

Literary Life of the Rev. William Harness
Lady Dacre to William Harness, 8 November 1832

Chapter I.
Chapter II.
Chapter III.
Chapter IV.
Chapter V.
Chapter VI.
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII.
Chapter IX.
Chapter X.
Chapter XI.
Chapter XII.
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“The Hoo, Nov. 8, 1832.
“Dear Mr. Harness,

“If I had not known you had another copy of ‘The Wife of Antwerp,’ I should have been in a great fidget about keeping this so long. I always meant to send it to London by Mrs. Ellice, and her departure is fixed for next Tuesday. At her house then (57, Park Street, Grosvenor Square) you will find it; and she bids me say she will be delighted to see you, and that you must call for it, and that she will not send it to you. I studied the play and made myself mistress of the handwriting, and read it off like print to our party, who were all exceedingly pleased and interested by it. Have you made any alterations since you read it here? It is much
too good to be laid aside in disgust, as you seem half inclined to do. And yet I think you might improve it, in what I consider the mere drudgery of the business. You have poetry, passion, situation, and strong interest; only look to the dove-tailing, the accounting for things as they take place. You are quite right in avoiding divided affections in a woman who is to interest (her own sex at least), but any degree of timidity or female softness may be admissible in a very young girl. * * *

“These are merely loose suggestions for your better judgment. If they set you thinking your own thoughts (for they must be your own for you to express them effectively), I have done all I wished. We have so many heroines with grand characters and high sentiments, why not give interest to what is most weakly feminine? * * * Now, think away, and if anything should occur that may improve the mere management of the incidents of the play, don’t be idle. If you should be so kind as to write to say you have received the MS., and forgive all my nonsense, pray say a word of Mr. Kemble and others in the New World.

“Yours truly,
B. Dacre.

“Pray excuse this incoherent scrawl; I am in company, and talking to several others as well as to
you; and never could bring myself to write a letter over again in my life.”