Lucas: A Swan and her Friends

 

Gotta love people whose expenses include the likes of the following caustic comments alongside the payments:

Carline’s man with cart full of disappointment

or

“[To] Old, dirty, ungrateful Lloyd

or

Halston gardener, with horrid melon

or

Ale from ‘Hand,’ not fit to be drank

In 1907 E.V. Lucas published a biography of The Lichfield Swan, Miss Seward — a great friend to the Ladies of Llangollen. (I will be posting letters to and from Miss Seward at a later date.) Towards the end of the book is this lengthy chapter on Sarah and Eleanor, copied here in full.

The Ladies had rather a love/hate relationship with the Hand Hotel — which is still extant in Llangollen.

Harland: Where Ghosts Walk

II

THE LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN

In a locked drawer of my library is an old manuscript book bound in soft calfskin, the hall-mark of the “Edition de Luxe” of the eighteenth century. The pages, sallowed by the century-and-a-quarter that have made them tender to the touch, are covered with characters, small, but as clear as copperplate and distinct, although faded to a leaf-brown. One hundred and fifty letters, carefully numbered, were here transcribed by the man who wrote the originals to a woman whom he knew from her girlhood. He married her sister. Through the stilted platonics of the numbered epistles, it is plain to this one of his correspondent’s descendants that he should have wedded the younger of the two girls. …
 
So begins the “history” of the Ladies as written by Marion Harland. To read the entire entry, click here
 
 

THE LADIES OF LLANGOLLEN IN THEIR LIBRARY
From a photograph by Valentine 

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