A blog about the famous Victorian poet, designer, and Socialist, William Morris.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gems from Jane's Collected Letters, No. 1

Cheer up, love.
My Father and Mother never could come to a clear understanding about what had disagreed with my Father the day he lost his situation at Fothergill's. 
My Father thought it was the sausage and mashed potatoes he had for lunch at the Rose and Crown, at fourpence, and as much mustard and pepper as you liked. My Mother thought it was the beer.
There was something to be said for my Mother's view, on the score of quantity.

This is how William De Morgan's 1906 novel Joseph Vance opens, and it continues in much the same cheery vein. Jane Morris, reading it in Burford Old Hospital mere months after its release, was delighted by it, and immediately wrote a letter to De Morgan. "Dear Bill,  I don't think I have ever written you a letter before, but this is such a very grand occasion that I feel I must put pen to paper and say how happy your book has made me."

"I have not laughed so much for many a long year" she wrote, "I can't write half what is in my mind to say in praise of the book, letter-writing being a lost art with me now."

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