Mary Russell Mitford

Allan Cunningham to Mary Russell Mitford, 21 November 1828; L'Estrange, Friendships of Mary Russell Mitford (1882) 132.

My Dear Miss Mitford,—

I thank you for your kind and candid letter. I shall be silent, you may be assured, of that, and am indeed glad that you think as I do respecting the "Annuals." I beg you will be mine exclusively next year — we shall not disagree about the terms. I shall want something like a couple of stories and a little dramatic scene; but of this we can talk when the time comes. My scheme is to secure the constant and exclusive help of four or five authors of fame and name, pay them well, obtain a certain quantity of their best manner from them, and then make out the book with my own hand and the help of a few other friends.

I shall not hurry you for the tale for volume second. I cannot begin to print before April or May. The book will be out on Tuesday; but before then a copy will be on its way to you; a copy also goes to the king. Our friend the "Scotsman" speaks highly of your communication to me. I have to send him your address, that he may send you a paper whenever he praises you. I think, from his admiration of your writings, you will see many of his papers. He feels the right-hearted, straightforward English character of your compositions, and that you never write for words, but for ideas.

My wife unites with me in love and esteem, and in assurance of lending tongue and voice to the furtherance of your new play when it is represented. Nothing, indeed, could be more successful than Rienzi, and it reads better than it acts.

I am, my dear Miss Mitford,

Yours very faithfully,

Allan Cunningham.