British (English) war correspondent and author of boys' adventure stories.
ALS. 2pp. 33 Lavender Gardens, Clapham Common, London, SW. No date. To [William] Woodall. TOGETHER WITH a fine contemporary albumin portrait photograph.
"I do not know that I can give you any stronger proof of my friendship than by saying I was sincerely glad you were returned again. Now that you are in a . . . and esp[ecially] respectable position, will you fulfil your promise and go for a three days cruise in the 'Meerschaum'. Will it suit you to go down next Friday morning till Monday this week or next week? When I hear from you I will let you know place and train - I had very rough bad weather for my holiday but it seems to have set in for a fine spell now. Come if you can this week as there is no saying when it will change again. My wife joins with me in very kind regards," etc.
12mo. Approx 6 x 4 inches. Slight mounting traces to blank verso of last leaf and one area of slight paper 'skinning', else fine. The portrait is a fine 19th century albumin photograph showing G A Henty in vignette, head and shoulders, turning to his right. It measures approx. 5.5 x 4 inches (excluding mount) and is mounted on card from an old album leaf. The mount has old album residue to verso but the photograph is in fine condition.
William Woodall was re-elected as MP for the Hanley and the Potteries in 1892 and held a junior ministerial role in Gladstone's new administration, having previously represented Stoke-on-Trent. The letter can, therefore be dated to 1892. G A Henty here invites Woodall to go sailing in his yacht, 'Meerschaum'. Henty died aboard his yacht in Weymouth harbour in 1902.
Provenance: Both the letter and the photograph are from a 19th century collection made by the radical Liberal MP, William Woodall. G A Henty worked as a war correspondent for the London Standard and had first met Woodall when both were in Paris at the bloody fall of the Paris Commune. They had remained firm friends thereafter, despite their very differing political views.