ROBERT WILLIAMS BUCHANAN (1841 - 1901)

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ROBERT BUCHANAN’S LETTERS TO CHATTO & WINDUS

 

5. 1895 - 1899.

 

124. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 15th January [1895].

24 Margaret Street
Cavendish Square
                   W.
Jan. 15. 1894

Dear Sirs,

                   If you have not already sent copies of the Charlatan to my old address, please send me here.
         I am seriously thinking of an article on Mark Twain, which would be the expression of most lofty admiration from a much higher stand-point to any yet taken concerning him, & if you think it worth while you might send me the following works which I do not possess:

Choice Works.
Roughing it
A Tramp Abroad
Life on Mississipi
A Yankee at Court of Arthur
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain’s Sketches

Of course I know these works, but I want them for reference and quotation.

                   Yours truly
                   Robert Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 180 and 181.
The first page is written on black-edged notepaper.
‘RB Jan 16 Books delivered by —— Jan 16’ written, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.
Given the address, the date ‘1894’ is obviously a simple error.

I have not come across any essay about Mark Twain by Buchanan. However, it should be noted that the following year, 1896, Buchanan and Jay were working on a play called Good Old Times, which took the idea of Twain’s A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and transported an English gentleman back to the world of Scott’s Ivanhoe. After Buchanan’s death the play, retitled When Knights Were Bold was a great success for Harriett Jay.]

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125. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 8th February, 1895.

24 Margaret Street
Cavendish Square
                   W.
Feb. 8. 1895

Dear Sirs,

                   I see in the Daily Chronicle an announcement that you have in your possession a story called Lady Kilpatrick. By what kind of fatality you always get hold of my belated work I cannot guess, but I have been trying for some time to ascertain who possessed the book rights of the story in question—that I might prevent its being reprinted. I may as well inform you at once that scarcely a line of it is really from my pen, tho’ it is founded on a play of mine & contains large quantities of the dialogue. It was finished at a time of great anxiety, some years ago.
         Of course your position in the matter is an awkward one, as you are out pocket by the transaction; and I personally am to blame in the matter. My only desire now is to prevent any more inferior work being given to the world over my signature. What has taken place in the past will never take place again, however. Under the circumstances, perhaps, you will see your way to entertain one of two propositions: either,
         (1) To return me the book rights of the story, for the sum you have paid for them, plus interest; or,
         (2) To take in exchange for this story another of the same length, on which I am now engaged, and which is at any rate mature and good work.

———

         I presume in any case that you do not propose putting anything more of mine on the market for a little time to come? In that case, there can be no difficulty in the way, as it is to both your interest & mine that you should have the best work I can do, & the publication of inferior stories can result in no ultimate gain to any person concerned.
         I shall be glad to hear from you on the subject at your convenience.

                   Yours truly
                   Robert Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 182 and 183.
The first page is written on black-edged notepaper.
‘RB 8 Feb.’ written, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.
A word (possibly ‘not’) is crossed out and ‘scarcely’ written above, after ‘at once that’.
‘as you are out’ occurs at the end of the first page, which would explain the missing ‘of’ before ‘pocket’.
‘on’ inserted between ‘same length,’ and ‘which I am’.
‘of mine’ inserted between ‘anything more’ and ‘on the market’.

Lady Kilpatrick was serialised in The English Illustrated Magazine from April to September, 1893. There is no Buchanan play with that title, and the story of the novel does not correspond to any plays which were performed. Of the known unperformed plays, the likeliest candidate is The Squireen, with its Irish setting, which Buchanan wrote with Aubrey Boucicault in 1891. Although Buchanan sank into depression later in 1893, the beginning of the year had seen the success of The Wandering Jew and his collaboration with G. R. Sims was also continuing to be successful at the Adelphi, so the period in which the serialisation began was not a particularly bad time for Buchanan. During their American trip, Harriett Jay had serialised Buchanan’s play, Constance, although this had appeared under her own name as A Marriage of Convenience. Presumably something of the same occurred with The Squireen, but rather than Harriett Jay writing the adaptation (one of Buchanan’s criticisms of the serial version was the handling of the Irish dialect, something which Harriett Jay would have had no problem with) I would suggest it was probably Henry Murray, who was living in the Buchanan household at this time. Both versions can be compared at the Internet Archive, the serial version and Buchanan’s revised novel.]

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126. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 8th February, 1895.

24 Margaret Street
Cavendish Square
                   W.
Feb. 8. 1895

Gentlemen,

                   I know nothing of Messrs Tillotson’s announcements with regard to the tale. I only know that I inquired about it some time ago & could get no definite reply. You now inform me that you have put the book into type without even informing me that you possessed the right or inquiring if I wished to make any changes & corrections. You rush my work on the public without consulting in any way the person whose name is on the title page. In fact, you seem to care absolutely nothing what you do, so long as you can make profit out of an author’s misfortunes.
         I doubt if there is another firm of Publishers in London who, if requested by an author to do him the slight service I asked, would have hesitated for a moment, and there is certainly not one who would have purchased & printed a book without giving the opportunity of making revisions. As a matter of fact, I shall dispute your right to do this, in the interest of the literary profession. Although I am certainly not blameless in the matter, in so far as in a time of great distress I had to seek assistance in my work, I am quite content to let the facts be known. It would have been better, however, far better for all concerned, if you had accepted the proposition I made you, & permitted me to substitute another work, & one which could not have injured my reputation.

                   Yours truly
                   Robert Buchanan.

Messrs. Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 184 - 186.
The first page is written on black-edged notepaper.
A word is crossed out and ‘it’ written above, after ‘I inquired about’.
A word is crossed out after ‘make profit’.
‘the literary profession’ - ‘profession’ was plural, but the ‘s’ is crossed out.

Item no. 186 is the envelope containing this letter. The address is in Buchanan’s hand:

Messrs Chatto & Windus
           Publishers
           Piccadilly W.

And his ‘combined’ initials are in the bottom left-hand corner.
In the top left-hand corner is written, in another hand, ‘left by Miss Jay Feb 8 95.’]

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127. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 14th February, 1895.

Copy.

24 Margaret Street
Cavendish Square W.
Feb: 14th 1895.

Dear Sirs,

                   I have recd the proofs of Lady Kilpatrick, with your letter saying that I must return them by Monday next. It is quite impossible for me to do this, as it will take me at least a fortnight to revise them properly. Either they could never have been revised before, or it must have been done very badly, for the blunders are innumerable, and the whole matter impossible in its present form.
         Moreover, I have been laid up for the last week, and am still almost prostrate with severe neuralgia.
         All this trouble would have been saved if you had (as in duty bound) informed me that you had bought the book and wished it prepared for press. It is absurd to lay emphasis on the fact that it has already run serially in weekly papers; a book reprint is quite another matter to a story running in a newspaper.
         I recur, then to my previous statement– that I will not countenance the work in its present form, and if you persist in rushing it on the public, I will disclaim all responsibility There is scarcely a Publisher in London, I repeat, who would rush an inferior work forward, in the face of the Author’s promise, and desire, to complete it properly, or to substitute another work. It is I, not you, that am the loser by the offer, for I can ill afford to work for nothing, but my sole anxiety is to retrieve my past errors and to spare the public the infliction of any more bad work.
         This story, and several others, were produced at a time when I was driven to despair by pecuniary troubles, which culminated in my bankruptcy. To avoid ruin if possible, I wrote (for miserable sums) work in which I had to have assistance. The whole of that period is a nightmare to me, and closely following upon it has come the greatest grief and sorrow of my life. It is doubly hard and cruel, that any person should endeavour, at such a time, to ruin me with the  novel-reading public.
         Of course you will reply as before– “What is that to us?” We have bought the story, and we mean to publish it at our own time and pleasure, without studying you in the matter” Quite apart from the fact that you have already within the last few months issued two stories of mine, one of them in the face of my protest, it is inconceivable that you should desire to hurry the production of a new story, solely for a little gain. You are rich men, and could lose nothing by waiting for a time; at the worst, you would only be a few pounds out of pocket. I am poor, and am willing to sacrifice both time and labour to put things right.
         However, if you are determined, so am I. I shall publish the whole facts to the public with this letter, of which I keep a copy, and the world shall know how and why, at a time of personal calamity, these inferior works appear under my name. I am quite prepared to be told that I have been to blame, that I should have been more careful of my own reputation, but I shall at least show that I am not quite so foolish as to think the work done in desperation and despair is worthy of me.
         What is most annoying in the whole matter, is that the subject of Lady Kilpartick is really excellent. and that a certain amount of fresh labour, which I am only too eager to give, would make it a really good story. If you would delay it till the Autumn season, I would take it carefully in hand without delay; as it stands it is simply worthless, the rawest material of a tale, not a finished work at all, and in some respects absolutely barbarous.
         But I presume that I waste words in talking, or rather writing, as I do. I have thought it right, however, to let you know my feeling in the matter, and my deternination how to act.

                   Truly Yours
                             (signed) Robert Buchanan.

                                           Robert Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto and Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 187 and 188.
The letter is typed. There are a few minor errors, corrected by hand (presumably Buchanan’s - although he missed a ‘Kilpartick’ and ‘deternination’) but it is obviously a professional job. Whether typed by Miss Stubington (who was employed by Buchanan to type his plays, and who took Buchanan to court on 2nd May, 1894 for an unpaid bill of £3) I cannot say.
The underlinings, apart from those on ‘Lady Kilpatrick’, are made by hand.
‘RB. Feb 15.’ is written, in another hand, at the top of the first page.
‘the loser by the offer,’ is at the end of the first page, beneath which is written ‘P.T.O’.
‘2’ is written in the top left-hand corner of the second page.
The letter is signed by Buchanan.

Buchanan quoted part of this letter (paragraphs 5 and 7) in his 1896 pamphlet, Is Barabbas a Necessity? in which he outlined his reasons for deciding to become his own publisher. In the third section of the Second Part of the pamphlet he dealt with his problems with Chatto & Windus. ]

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128. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 28th March, 1895.

24 Margaret Street
Cavendish Square
                   W.
March 28. 1895

Gentn.

                   In your former communications to me on the subject of Lady Kilpatrick, you referred me to Messrs Tillotson, informing me that the matter lay with them; and after a later letter from you, in which you stated that you would give me a few weeks for revision, they wrote to me informing me that they would press you to delay pubn until autumn. You now inform me that you propose issuing the book at once, and ask me (with your usual humour) if I wish to make any corrections before Tuesday next!
         Now, I am not going to be driven to the wall in this way by you or any men, & since you decline (after being informed of all the circumstances) to give me the time I asked in order to render this wretched work presentable, I shall do all in my power to exonerate myself from responsibility. I shall issue a circular to the public, to the press, & to the libraries, stating all the facts of the case (none of which I have any wish to conceal) and I shall use other means to show the world that I, at any rate, am not so foolish as to father such a book willingly. Such a manifesto may add to my worries, but it will at least clear the air of all misconceptions. The public will know that the work was produced, with others, at a time when I was scarcely responsible for what I did, & that I have made every effort to save readers from the study of its imperfections. It will also be quite clear that I offered, when I could ill afford it, to devote months of my time to perfecting the book, and that the men who had bought it, & who could lose nothing by a little delay, had the savagery & cruelty to refuse me the opportunity.
         The proofs as they lie before me are a simple nightmare—I can hardly believe that I ever passed them in their present state. Even the dialects are all wrong, and read more like Choctaw & pigeon-English than Irish or Scotch. But as I told you before, the period when this work was produced & published is almost a blank to me—so overwhelmed was I with every sort of disaster.
         But it is wasting my time and yours to travel into details. You have forced the affair to a direct issue between you, the public, & myself, & I shall fight for whatever shred of reputation is left to me. I shall be confronted with bad work signed by my name, but I shall not be convicted of the folly of thinking that bad work is good work—so that, for once in a way, I shall have the pleasure of anticipating my critics.

                   Yours truly
                   Robert Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 189 and 190.
The first page is written on black-edged notepaper.
‘RB 1 Apl ’95’ written, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.
A word is crossed out before ‘have made every effort’.]

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129. Copy of Robert Buchanan’s letter to Messrs. Tillotson & Son. 28th March, 1895.

(Copy)

24 Margaret St. Cavendish Square W.
March 28 1895

Gentlemen

                   When you last wrote to me you informed me that you were writing to Messrs Chatto & Windus requesting them to delay Lady Kilpatrick till the autumn. As they had referred me to you, stating the matter lay in your hands, I naturally concluded that the matter was so arranged. They now write to me informing me that if I do not return the proofs for press by Tuesday next, they will assume that all is correct and will publish at once.
         Now I will not recapitulate what I said before concerning the cruelty and savagery of such proceedings towards a man who is only just recovering from great calamity & who is still far from well, but I tell you frankly that I will not tamely submit to this treatment. I am writing by this post to Messrs Chatto & Windus informing them of the course I mean to adopt. Directly they announce the book I shall issue a circular to the public stating all the circumstances and expressing my personal opinion of the book, describing its origin, and the efforts I have vainly made to make it worthy of my reputation, and I will take such another steps as are necessary to advertise the fact that the work is one which I absolutely disown as a completed product of my pen. I have done my best to avert this misfortune. I have offered with fair time given to devote myself to the task of perfecting the work. If it appears now with all its imperfections I am not to blame.
         There is nothing in the whole affair which I wish to hide—indeed it will be a good thing to inform the world that certain work of mine, done at a disastrous period of my life, is utterly unworthy of me. I am very sorry that so simple a matter should cause so much trouble. It would not do so, if the publishers concerned had the least delicacy or consideration—but they have served me this trick once before, and I shall protect myself as far as possible. The worry and annoyance I have had from them sickens me of literature altogether.

                   Truly yours,
                   (Signed)     Robert Buchanan.

Messrs Tillotson & Son.

 

[Collection page no. 191.
This is a copy of Buchanan’s letter, written in another hand, which was enclosed with the following item.]

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130. Letter from Tillotson & Son to Chatto & Windus. 29th March, 1895.

 

Messrs Chatto & Windus,                                      TILLOTSONS’ NEWSPAPER LITERATURE
214 Piccadilly,                                                        “EVENING NEWS” OFFICE.
London. W.                                                           Bolton,
                                                                               LANCASHIRE.
                                                                                      
March 29th 1895.

Dear Sirs,

                   We have to-day received the enclosed from Mr Robert Buchanan, and at foot give you a copy of our reply. If you can conveniently arrange to postpone the story to the autumn, it would perhaps be as well to do so, but as we have previously stated, we prefer to leave the date of issue entirely in your hands.

                   Yours faithfully,
                   Tillotson & Son.

 

(Copy).

Robert Buchanan Esq.
24 Margaret St,
Cavendish Square. W.
March 29th 1895.

Dear Sir,

                   We are in receipt of yours of the 28th inst, but we do not see that we have anything to add to our letter of February 21st last. We are however forwarding your present communication to Messrs Chatto and Windus, and if they can arrange to postpone the story “Lady Kilpatrick” to August next, we shall raise no objection.

                   Yours faithfully,
                   Tillotson & Son.

 

[Collection page no. 192.
‘RB Apl 1’ written diagonally, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.
The letter is typed on Tillotson’s notepaper, with a printed letterhead and, at the foot, a list of Tillotson’s authors.]

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131. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 1st August, [1895].

24 Margaret Street
Cavendish Sq.
Augt 1.

Dear Sirs,

                   I should have had those proofs ready to-day but Ive been very unwell for the last 10 days. I must ask you, therefore, to give me a few days longer. Ill post the greater portion on Sunday, & the rest by Wednesday or Thursday next.

                   Truly yours
                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 193.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
Something is crossed out before ‘Cavendish Sq.’.
‘to-day’ inserted after ‘proofs ready’.]

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132. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 6th August, [1895].

24 Margaret St
                   W.
Augt 6.

Gentn.

                   I send you the first sheets of Lady P. The rest shall follow, but I must have revises.
         Ive done my best with the corrections, but I am still of the opinion that the tale should not be published in its present shape.

                   Yours truly
                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 194.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
A word is crossed out before ‘revises’.]

_____

 

133. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 17th August, [1895].

Muirhead House
Craigengelt
near Denny
Stirlingshire
Scotland
Augt 17

Dear Sirs,

                   More revises herewith—please post proofs as above. If you post in the afternoon, they will reach me next morning.

                   Truly yours
                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 215.
Written on black-edged notepaper.

This occurs towards the end of the collection among the odd undated items, however there is another letter from this address to Dr. A. Stodart Walker, dated 2nd September, 1895, in the National Library of Scotland collection.]

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134. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 26th August, [1895].

Muirhead House
Augt 26

Sheet 12 herewith, with new matter for introduction. The rest shall follow without delay.

                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 216.]

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135. Telegram to Chatto & Windus. 4th September, 1895.

 

Chatto & Windus
         Publishers Piccy Ldn

Shall post proofs today but must see revises of new matter buchanan

 

[Collection page no. 195.
Telegram handed in at ‘Denny’.]

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136. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 10th September [1895].

24 Margaret St
Cavendish Sq
                   W.
Sept 10.

Dear Sirs,

                   Just returned to town & awaiting revises

                   Yours truly
                   Robt Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus

 

[Collection page no. 196.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
‘O.P. sent (——) 11 Sept 95’ written diagonally, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.]

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137. Telegram to Chatto & Windus. September, 1895.

 

Chatto & Windus Publishers
         Piccy.

Proofs received am returning them
         Buchanan

 

[Collection page no. 197.
Telegram handed in at ‘Langham Place’.]

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138. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 22nd September [1895].

24 Margaret Street
                   W.
Sept 22.

Dear Sirs,

                   In issuing Lady K. to the press, you will oblige me by not sending copies to the Athenæum or to the Daily Chronicle. If you care to send me a list of the papers to which you think of sending, I will look through it with pleasure.

                   Yours truly
                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 198.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
‘RB 24 Sept 95’ written diagonally, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.

When Chatto & Windus finally published Lady Kilpatrick in the autumn of 1895, another novel by Buchanan, Diana’s Hunting, was published by T. Fisher Unwin at the same time. Whether this was a deliberate ploy by Buchanan to offset the bad reviews he expected for Lady Kilpatrick, or whether mere coincidence, I don’t know. Both novels were reviewed in the Glasgow Herald on 3rd October and fared equally badly. As they also did in the reviews in The Times on 5th November. Presumably Diana’s Hunting was the novel which Buchanan offered to Chatto & Windus as a replacement for Lady Kilpatrick in the letter of 8th February (Item 123).]

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139. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 1st April [1896 or 1897].

36 Gerrard St
Shaftesbury Avenue
                   W.
April 1st.

Dear Sirs,

                   Would you have any objection to inform me in confidence how many copies you printed of the Complete Poetical Works which I have repurchased from you? The small stock I took over is long exhausted, and as the work is in constant demand I am about to print a new edition, with later additions; but I am in doubt how many to print, & the information I ask would be of the greatest service. I should also like to know what numbers were taken abroad—in America &c.—& if any, whether they were sold at the usual trade price.
         I think it is only fair that you should give me this information, seeing that throughout I have been the chief person interested; & I shall be much obliged if you will do so.

                   Truly yours
                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

Buchanan’s Complete Poems, one
vol edn, 7/6.
——

1. How many originally printed, & reprints, if any?
2. Whether any were disposed of at a reduced price, for America or colonies?
3. Name of the binder of this book?

 

[Collection page no. 199 and 200.
The first page is written on black-edged notepaper.
‘RB 1 April’ written diagonally, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.

Buchanan set up in business as his own publisher, with offices at 36, Gerrard Street, in February, 1896, continuing to issue books (albeit rather sporadically) until January, 1898. He did not publish an edition of his ‘Complete Poems’, although it was advertised in The Ballad of Mary the Mother, which appeared in 1897. Therefore this letter could be from either 1896 or 1897.]

_____

 

140. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 22nd November [1899].

St Germains
88 South Side
Clapham Common
                   S.W
Nov. 22

Dear Sirs,

                   Messrs Tillotson have sent me for revision the proofs of Andromeda, asking me to let you have them corrected by the 23rd. Can you give me a few days longer?—I should like to know the latest date possible.

                   Truly yours
                   Robt Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 201.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
‘Ansd. 22/11/99’ written diagonally, in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.]

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141. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 27th November [1899].

88 South Side
Clapham Common
                   S.W.
Nov. 27

Dear Sirs,

                   I returned you 32 pp of Andromeda at once as you desired. The rest shall reach you by the 30th.
         It occurs to me that as you have bought Andromeda and have almost all my fiction you might like to have my new book of stories, consisting of one longish tale giving the title to the book & one or two others—“A Good Fairy,” “Miss Birchington’s Love Story” &c. They will make about 60,000 words & be ready early in Decbr.
         Should you care to make me an offer for the same, I will consider it.

                   Truly yours
                   R. Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 203.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
’RB. Nov 27 ’99.’ written in another hand, in the top left-hand corner. Beneath this is written, in another hand, and circled, ‘16758’.

Chatto & Windus published Andromeda in March, 1900. However they did not publish Buchanan’s suggested book of short stories. ‘My Good Fairy’ and ‘Miss Birchington’s Love Story’ are both available on this site. As for the other, “longish tale”, I have no idea. The only other stories I have come across, published in newspapers after the date of this letter, are ‘Berinthia’ and ‘An Old Reckoning’, but they are both of a similar length to the other two.]

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142. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 28th November [1899].

St Germains
88 South Side
Clapham Common
                   S.W
Nov. 28

Dear Sirs,

                   Thanks for yours just recd. But although I am aware that collections of stories dont sell like complete tales, there are often exceptions to the rule. Red & White Heather is a mixture of prose & verse, & therefore not quite the same thing as the vol. I wrote about—one story giving its name to the book, and one or two very strong short tales to complete the volume, in the way usually adopted by Bret Harte. The opening story will be pubd for the first time in any form.
         If the offer you mention is the best you can make, I must think it over. But meantime I will make an alternative suggestion: £60 cash, or £50 and the Stereos of my Wandering Jew, which are now of course useless to you.
         Àpropos, is there not some balance of royalty due to me on this work, beyond the royalties already paid?

         Truly yours
         Robt Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 205 and 206.
The first page is written on black-edged notepaper.
’RB Nov. 28. 99’ written in another hand, in the top left-hand corner.]

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143. Letter to Chatto and Windus. 30th November [1899].

St Germains
88 South Side
Clapham Common
                   S.W.
Nov. 30.

Dear Sirs,

                   I shall post you the proofs of Andromeda early tomorrow.
         I am quite disposed to accept your offer, but before finally deciding I want to consider another offer concerning my poems, and I shall be clear about that very shortly. I have been so seedy lately that I think of living permanently out of town, & in that case I shall be unable to publish anything myself. In the meantime, quite understand that I shall not offer the stories elsewhere, before you hear from me again.
         Thanks for the small cheque for royalties on Wandering Jew.

                   Truly yours
                   Robt Buchanan.

Messrs Chatto & Windus.

 

[Collection page no. 207 and 208.
‘1899’ is written in another hand above the address.
This is the final letter in the ‘dated section’ of the collection.

Since Chatto & Windus published the two volume Complete Poetical Works in November 1901 (following Buchanan’s death), it could be inferred from this letter that Buchanan was contemplating selling his ‘poetical copyrights’ back to Chatto & Windus at this point.]

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Additional Undated Letters

 

The collection concludes with a number of undated letters. Using addresses I have managed to find the proper place in the collection for some of these, but the rest remain ‘misplaced’ and are shown below.

 

144. Letter to Andrew Chatto. 20th February [no year].

IZAAK WALTON HOTEL,
DOVEDALE,
ASHBOURNE.
Feb. 20

Dear Mr Chatto,

                   I have had to leave Town for a short time owing to indisposition, but I return to-morrow or Friday & will see you without fail.

                   Truly yours
                   Robert Buchanan.

Andrew Chatto Esq.

 

[Collection page no. 214.
No year, but if one was to speculate:
The text could indicate that it was written on a Wednesday, in which case, during the period of the Chatto collection there are three possible years, 1884, 1889 and 1895. Item 47 is written from the Regents Park address on 19th February [1884], and in February 1895 Buchanan is involved in the dispute over Lady Kilpatrick and is no longer addressing his letters to Andrew Chatto. So, I would suggest 1889 as a possible year for this letter.
The letter is also interesting (to me, at least) since it shows Buchanan returning to the area of his birth - at least, Dovedale is in Derbyshire, but is regarded in Stoke-on-Trent (and Buchanan’s birthplace of Caverswall) as a local beauty spot.]

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145. Letter to Chatto and Windus. Undated.

 

Dear Sirs,

                   Proofs herewith—with fragment for “L’Envoi”.
         I have prepared the adv. to face title page, as you suggest—kindly see that nothing is omitted from it.

                   Yours truly
                   Robert Buchanan.

 

[Collection page no. 217.
Written on black-edged notepaper.
‘Kindly’ is crossed out before ‘I have prepared’.
No date and no address, and no indication of which book is the subject of the letter. However, looking through the books Chatto & Windus published, I have found only two which have an ‘Envoi’, The City of Dream and Red and White Heather. Given the long gestation period of the former, it is perhaps more likely that this letter refers to that book. However, given the black-bordered notepaper, there is a possibility that the letter refers to Red and White Heather (in which the advert of Buchanan’s other works faces the title page), which was published in June 1894, the month after Buchanan’s friend, Roden Noel, died in Germany on 26th May.]

_____

 

146. Telegram to Chatto & Windus. [Undated].

From                                                                                                                     To
Buchanan                                                                                             Messrs Chatto and Windus
     Westward Ho Southend                                                                      Publishers

 

Yours just forwarded is it possible you have not received proofs posted by me last Tuesday morning

 

[Collection page no. 224.
Telegram handed in at ‘Southend’.

The final item in the collection is a damaged telegram with a missing date stamp. Other letters in the collection were sent from the Westward Ho address in August and September 1882, and June and December 1885, so this telegram probably belongs to one of those periods.]

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