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This report is taken from PN Review 167, Volume 32 Number 3, January - February 2006.

A Letter from Charlotte Mew Betty Falkenberg

Charlotte Mew writes to Thomas Hardy, thanking him for his endorsement of a civil list pension for her.

86 Delancey Street N.W.1

Jan: 1st 1924

Dear Mr. Hardy

The news has just come from 10 Downing Street that a Civil List Pension of £#75 has been granted me. It has rather taken my breath away. It seems so generous - unreasonable - when - from head to feet (as they say of a bad husband in 'The Town') I know myself to be unworthy of it.

I owe it to the amazing kindness of friends to most of whom I am practically a stranger - and to the weight of great names - with yours coming first.

I am told that I ought to be proud that you should have spoken for me - indeed I ought - But pride - in that sense - with me (I hope you will understand) - is a sort of surprise and confusion - a humbling but a touching thing.

What I do feel is gratitude and entire unworthiness. And you will believe that I thank you from my heart.

With Every possible good wish to yourself and Mrs. Hardy for 1924

I am

       Gratefully yours
       Charlotte Mew

The petition submitted to Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, recommending a Civil List Pension for Charlotte Mew, was drafted ...


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