Description: This letter from Sir Walter Besant to his friend, Arthur Warren, is brief but still fulfills its twofold purpose: expressing his regrets to an invitation extended by Warren: "You are very kind but unfortunately I am engaged for Tuesday afternoon. Otherwise I should have much liked to meet Mr. Rideing," and a brief discussion of their mutual acquaintance, Oliver Wendell Holmes: "Did you not write to me about this proposed or supported statue to Oliver Wendell Holmes? It is because he is alive that I supported it. I spent a delightful afternoon with him last July," before Besant signs off with his full name.
Sir Walter Besant (1836-1901) was, as his London memorial plaque proclaims, a novelist, historian of London, secretary of the Palestine Exploration Fund, Originator of the People's Palace in East London, and Founder of the Society of Authors.
Arthur Warren (1860-1924) was an American journalist who served as the Boston Herald's London correspondent from 1888 to 1897. His London home was reportedly a "charming center of social and literary intercourse", in which many famous Americans and Europeans participated.
Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) was an influential American physician, poet, and author. As a physician, his essay on the contagious nature of puerperal fever was groundbreaking. As a poet, his "Old Ironsides," was instrumental in the preservation of the USS Constitution.
Henry William Rideing (1853-1918) was an American journalist and author with strong ties to England, spending two years in London. He included a chapter on Holmes in his The Boyhood of Living Authors.
The letter is written in Besant's distinctive hand on the first page of a sheet of Besant's "Frognal End, Hampstead, N.W." stationery. Measures approximately 8" x 5" when folded. Item #A00725
Condition: There is some offsetting/smudging from when the paper was folded before the ink had dried. The 't' at the end of Besant's signature is one of the spots that smudged slightly. A 0.25" tear at the top edge of each page has been neatly repaired with archival tissue/tape. Otherwise in very good condition, and could easily be framed for a very nice presentation.