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Evans, Marie deGrasse.



Evans, Marie de Grasse. Manuscript Archive. 1863-1917.
A collection of seven discrete book length works, along with numerous additional items, by
American born Marie de Grasse Stevens Van Wart, daughter of Daniel Webster's friend the
Honorable Samuel Stevens of Albany, New York, and widow of Irving Van Wart.
A worker for good causes, Evans was also a member of the National Women's Anti-Suffrage
League. In 1872 Marie remarried - the English banker and Liberal politician Francis Henry
Evans - and became Lady Evans on his being knighted in 1893. (He was made a baronet in
1902.) Also in 1893 Marie - sister of novelist Augusta de Grasse Stevens - published, as "Mrs.
Frank Evans," a collection of four stories with Cassell & Co. of London.
1. Manuscript drafts of three speeches: first at a 'Sale of Work' at the Fulham Branch of the
British Women's Temperance Association; second at the 'F.C.G.G.' (a 'Woman's Guild'); third
at the [Liberal Party?] 'L.S.C.' Draft of speech at the Fulham branch of the British Women's
Temperance Association dated 6 March 1917; draft of other two speeches without place or date.
Item One (BTWA): 15pp., 12mo. First page headed '1 | Sale of Work. March 6 1917 | British
Women Tem. Association | Fulham' The first ten pages, numbered by Lady Evans, carry the
speech; the eleventh page is a synopsis; the twelfth carries two quotations; and the last three
pages carry quotations from 'Pilgrims Progress', 'Abraham Lincoln' and 'The King'. The speech
begins 'Mrs Dixon - Mrs Roberts & Ladies | I thank you for yr. very kind welcome - | When I
received the flattering invitation of yr. committee to undertake for the 2nd. time this agreeable
little ceremony I felt a little diffident - having the welfare of the Association very much at heart -
I thought a new & fresh interest might be of more advantage - Since I was overruled - I am left to
think that a known acquaintance is of some value'. She states that she is 'what they call a Pacifist
- I am thinking only of a just & honorable Peace - because it does seem a little nearer - & it is
wise & right of us to consider how we shall prepare for it.' Item Two (FCGG): 14pp., 12mo, with
additions on 2pp., 16mo. With synopsis and page carrying quotation from Wordsworth. The
speech begins: '1 | When I received the invitation to again address the annual meeting of the
F.C.G.G. I knew at once that I would accept it. I am more than appreciative of the compliment -
also I am conscious of the fact - that I am not a new & fresh spirit in this enterprise - but if any
ideas of mine are the smallest help - or encouragement to any of the women & girl [sic] in
sympathy with our Guild - it is my happiness to offer them for whatever they are worth.' During
the course of the speech she recalls 'Mr King speaking of Ruskin's belief of character as
displaying itself in words', and asserts: 'Ours is a women's Guild - & we are all workers -' She
concludes by giving her 'sincerest wishes for the continued prosperity of the F.C.G.G.' Item
Three (LSC): 3pp., 12mo. The speech opens: 'I rise with great pleasure to second this vote of
thanks to the speakers. From time immemorial women have been accredited with a large share of
the gift of speech. Be this as it may we well know that most women shrink from the ordeal of a
large hall & a keen audience even if sympathetic. I claim for my sex another gift - a gift that has
been encouraged & cultivated & abundantly made use of by the L.S.C.' She concludes by
describing 'unity & earnestness' as 'the heart & soul of Liberalism'. Item Three is accompanied
by a draft (2pp., 12mo) of a letter by Lady Evans, beginning 'I have heard from the Central
Committee that you are proposing to join the L.S.C. I write to ask you since you are in sympathy
with Liberalism if you will not join the Kent Branch of this society - There is so much to be done
in the County - & so few ladies who find themselves prepared'. Lady Evans's country house was
Tubbendens, by Orpington, Kent.
2. Unpublished. The Story of Our Wedding Journey. Describing their honeymoon in France,
Belgium, Germany and Switzerland. Dated at end 'M. de. G. E. | 1874.'
8vo.; 67pp., foolscap; bound notebook-style in blue morocco luxury binding, with blue
endpapers, and 'M DE G. E. | AUGUST 1872.' stamped in gilt on front.
Written in a gushing, ecstatic, florid and impressionistic style which - while touching - is not
without inadvertent humour. The couple were married at St George's, Hanover Square, and the
account describes their honeymoon trip from Charing Cross to Folkestone, Boulogne, Brussels,
Coblenz, 'the Moravian brethren school at Neuweld' (where her husband was educated),
steaming down the Rhine, Mayence, Heidelberg, Schaffhausen, Rorschach, Splügen, Chiavenna,
Colico, Lugano, Thun, Brienz, Frieberg-im-Breisgau. The first page is headed 'The Story of our
Wedding journey.' and the account begins: 'The story of our wedding . . an english wedding, &
who does not know every sign & token thereof - how the bride & groom were young, fair, &
fond: how the respective families were excited, eager, & emotional; how the pretty toilettes of the
ladies bore that evident conventional bought-for-the-occasion look; how the old gray-haired
bishop was impressive, & the clerk of the registry imperative. How there were gushing
complimentary speeches, & the cake was cut, & tender adieus were taken, & at last the carriage
drove away midst "God bless 'ems", waving of hands, & the inevitable shoes for good luck flying
in the rear. | Of course everyone said afterwards that it was the prettiest wedding they ever saw:
but I, in my innermost soul, believe it was thus far, just like any other wedding in July, at St.
Georges. | The story of our honey-moon, - our wedding journey - Ah me! how does my heart lose
itself in unalloyed happiness even in the recollection of that all too short month!' Page 34: 'Frank
kept up an energetic battle with the flies. The numbers of corpses about the carriage proclaimed
them conquered; but the legions, who speedily arrived, eager to avenge the fallen, bespoke an
unvanquished strength unpleasant to contemplate.' P.59: 'What is the use of my spending no end
of money for you to have German lessons if you can't ask these fellows a question when I tell
you to!" the old governor shouted.
3. Unpublished. Some Legendary Landmarks of Africa, with early drafts of three of the book's
four tales, and the magazine printing of the fourth. Composed on board the RMS Scott,
September 1891 and at Tubbendens, near Orpington, Kent, November 1892 and October 1893.
Fair copy complete manuscript; together with early drafts of three of its four stories; an earlier
printing of the fourth story, 'Utika', extracted from the 'Novel Review', August 1892, and
marked up for the printers; and a newspaper cutting of a review of the 'Novel Review' version of
'Utika'. Tied with pink ribbon.
In pencil on the first page are the printers' notes: '7690 | Sm Pica modern | 20 ems - 29 clear lines
| wide leading | 96 pp' and the date 'April 4th'. Names ('Read', 'Damen', 'Salmoni', 'Mansell'
and 'Hale') occasionally appear in pencil in the margins.
Five preliminary pages: title; two-page introduction by 'Mrs Frank Evans' (beginning 'The
attention of the many is just now, fixed upon the development and future of Africa.'); dedication
to her husband; list of contents (the four stories in the book being 'A Star-Message', 'Christus',
'Utika' and 'Dia de Natal').
The manuscripts of the three stories are as follows:
A. 'A Star-Message' [1] + 40pp., 4to. On first page: 'Mrs Frank Evans | Tubbendens | By
Orpington | Kent | Oct. 93.' The story is also described on the first page as 'suggested by some
legends of South East Africa, and some beliefs connected with the supposed Kingdom of the
Queen of Sheba in that country.' At end: 'Mrs Frank Evans'.
B. 'Utika'. 101pp., 12mo, on 26 bifoliums. On last page: 'RMSS [sic] Scott. | Sep. 1891.' With
occasional minor emendations. Accompanied by the printed version of the story, extracted from
the 'Novel Review', August 1892, pp.416-429, and marked up for the printers (once again with
names - 'Macmillan', 'Mansell', 'Hale', 'Hope', 'Briscoe', 'Damen' - in pencil in the margin).
(The subtitle of the version of 'Utika' published in the 'Novel Review' is: 'An imaginative
romance suggesting the origin and finding of the first great yellow diamond in South Africa.
Before the advent of Europeans the journey from all that wide district north of the Orange river to
the foot of Table Mountain was frequently made by native chiefs.') Together with a newspaper
cutting (from a Southampton paper?) reviewing the story in positive terms, beginning: 'Mrs.
Frank Evans, the estimable wife of our popular Liberal member, contributes a charming brochure
to the Novel Review for the current month, entitled "Utika." The author of the article praises
Evans's 'pretty piquant style', and the way she has 'woven into the story much of the strange and
the mythical which the children of Africa inherit from the darkness of the past'.
C. 'Christus' 23pp., 4to. On first page: 'Mrs Frank Evans | Tubbendens | By Orpington | Kent |
Nov. 1892.' Introduction, also on first page: 'Founded on some incidents during the Portuguese
crusades against the Mahomedans of South Africa; and on some Hottentot legends.' FOUR. 'Dia
de Natal' 82pp., 4to. On first page: 'Mrs Frank Evans | Tubbendens | By Orpington | Kent.'
Introduction, also on first page: 'Vasco de Gama discovered this beautiful country on Christmas
day, and himself gave to it its beautiful name.' Also present in the bundle are early drafts of three
of the four stories, all with emendations and deletions: the first, of 'A Star Message', 17pp., 4to;
29pp., 12mo, and lacking last section; the second, of 'Christus', 25pp., 4to,; the third, titled 'On
Christmas day', of 'Dia de Natal', 94pp., 4to.
4. Unpublished. Notes made on a trip to Algiers (on SS Fürst Bismark from Gibraltar) by Marie
de Grasse, Lady Evans [née Marie de Grasse Stevens], Gibraltar and Algiers. 11 and 12 February
1894. 45pp., 12mo. On thirteen loose bifoliums.
A collection of miscellaneous memoranda from this journey. The exact sequence of the bifoliums
is not altogether clear, but the first two are both headed 'S.S. Fürst Bismark'. A section of five
bifoliums (numbered 1, 2, 3, 3 and 4) begins 'Sunday morning 6.30. | Feb 11. 1894.' This is
followed by three bifoliums, each headed 'Algiers Feb 12'.
What appears to be the first section begins: 'S.S. Fürst Bismark. | I am struck by the excessive
splendor of luxury, but I am also struck by the keen attention to the wishes even fancies of the
passengers. The stewards - & there are plenty are forever watching to do or get something - any
thing not on the menu - it is hard to think of anything - will be forth coming at once if desired.
The cooking is very good - also the baking - Tea & coffee excellent & served so hot & nicely -
The stewards wear white gloves & a very neat livery at table - having blue jackets with pearl
buttons & each one a large mettal [sic] number - at their work they wear blue check blouses. They
seem to be all German but they all speak English. The head steward told us he had been over 20
years with the Co. & so had the head cook.' More notes describing the ship, its crew and
passengers ('mostly from Chicago & Buffalow [sic]') follow. 'Leaving Gib. - we waited on deck
till nearly midnight to see the last of Europa point. [...] Our ship (F. B.) is so steady she seems
hardly to move. [...] A beautiful sunset, but no after glow & no gilding on the water.' The third
bifolium describes Gibraltar: 'From the corner of the Almeda to Signal Station there is an aerial
railway - A wire rope with two cages each just capable of carrying two persons. It has been given
up about 4 years - & is to be given up when worn out [...] We stood for a long time on a wide
terrace over looking the Bay under a great pepper tree while Capt. Lake pointed out the diffuclties
& possibilies of the Harbour - making designs with Frank's stick in the gravel. [...] As to the point
of Spain wanting "Gib" it is not likely. Spain being very poor & England occupying gib a source
of wealth to her - The <Cark?> - wine - water works southern railways - inudstries being all
English capital - & all employing Spanish labour'. In the fourth bifolium (headed '3.') she
ruminates on the 'Importance of Gib as a fortress to England'.
32pp. on nine bifoliums relate to Algiers, beginning with an account of its appearance and
history. ('There is an English Church. Holy Trinity. Inside are murial [sic] tablets of Algerian
marble commemorating the deaths of many English & Americans who hav died or lived at
Algiers. I noticed one to "Laurence Oliphant, Master of Merton" taken prisoner in 1539 (I think)
one of those Christian slaves who was never released.' On 12 February she goes 'With an Arab
who speaks French to the old Arab town. Driving up to the old Casbah - palace of the Deys of
Algiers - the walls 2 metres thick - the view superb. [...] Winding down the old streets so narrow
one could easily touch the houses each side & often the upper stories over hanging do touch'. She
describes the architecture and they visit their guide's house, where 'He called his beautiful young
wife - Payia - as soon as we had entered & soon she came flying down the stairs to meet him. he
took me to his bed room on the upper story - a long narrow room with two small thickly grated
windows onto the street & a wide doorway with only a curtain into the gallery - at the far end a
beautiful real Arabian bedstedd [sic] quite different to the so called ones in England [...] there was
a great olive wood chest which Payia opened & showed me some of her lovely garments within
[...] Then my Arab left me with Payea to go to other parts of the house - she first going to clear
the way for him to set out - I should have said that in coming in he coughed & sneezed & blew
his nose & made all the noise he could so as to give the women time to get out of the way - For
no respectable Arab woman is ever seen unveiled by any man but her husband. Payea is an
apparition of beauty. 18 years of age a 3 months bride - small - lithe - supple - dimples
everywhere - cheeks, chin, shoulders, elbows wrists - ankles - a clear dark skin - small red mouth
always laughing - a small straight nose - dark love laden eyes - a low wide forehead - & long
silky black hair - masses of it growing close above her face & brow - being a bride she does not
go out - Her indoor clothes are the wide trousers of white muslin spread with little flowers'. She
describes 'the other women', and her trip to the 'womans bath'. The following parts include a
further description of 'the old Arab town', the 'Bedouin Arab costume of the better class', the Old
Mosque, and 'four French Torpedo boats - painted bright green to the water line - & lead colour
above - very ugly they looked.'
5. Unpublished. The Bengal Necklet. A short story. December 1896.
12mo.; 81pp.; signed on last page 'Marie de G. Evans'. With occasional minor emendations.
Irregularly paginated by Evans to 86 (she has for example removed the original pp.62-69,
renumbering 70 as 62, but continuing with 71).
As an example of the style, here is a passage beginning on p.71: 'I held the exquisite thing in my
hands & examined its minute perfections. Its workmanship was beyond compare - its intrinsic
value fabulous. An emperor might have bargained for it. Cleopatra might have treasured it - | And
it was mine | Something urged me to look - put me on my guard. I pushed the Bombay Necklet
under my pillow - twisted my neck & peered around the angle of the alcove till I could command
the window. The blind did not quite reach at the side. Flattened there against the glass I saw the
face of Annis. | That evening I attempted a more elaborate toilet. First in secret seclusion behind
the alcove curtains. Then I lighted the candles brushed & pinned up mhy hair & put on my better
black dress. No one knew that underneath I wore, not a hair shirt, but a jeweled necklet. Then I
went to see the shipwrecked etranger. He said he must get to Halifax - to his ship - H.M.S.
6. Unpublished. Album of 50 autograph poems. With a further 30 autograph poems and drafts
and one typed poem loosely inserted.
The earliest poem dated from New York, 8 October 1863; the latest dated from Tabbendens,
Orpington, Kent, 25 April 1885. The latest loosely inserted item from 1917.
66pp., 4to, carrying 50 poems, with a further 30 poems and drafts, in various formats, loosely
inserted (including two drafts of a poem titled 'From Jura to the Alps', both on the letterhead of
the Grand Hotel des Rasses, Switzerland, both dated 25 January 1914). In handsome black leather
half-bound notebook, with marbled boards and endpapers, carrying the label of stationers
Houghton & Gunn of 162 New Bond Street, London.
The place of composition of several poems is noted, in Britain (Pitlochrie, London, Sevenoaks,
Tebbendens), the United States (New York; Illinois, Orange County) and elsewhere.
The first poem in the volume, dated from New York, 8 October 1863, is titled 'Written on a
sermon of my uncle L. W. P. which very much impressed me'. Other titles include: 'Daisy',
'Birthday Chidings. 18.-27.', 'America 1875', 'Reconciliation', 'Summer Sorrow', 'Autumn
Agony', Winter Woe', 'Springtide Love', 'Gain', 'Loss', 'Margarite', 'To my poet', 'Windbound',
'High tide', 'Low tide!', 'Eve', 'Songs of Fair Waters. (Commenced August 15th 1873 in
Lancashire.)', 'Morecambe Bay', 'Windermere', 'Grassmere', 'Thirlmere', 'Derwent Water',
'Buttermere & Crummock', 'Vesper Vitae'.
Lady Evans's poetic talent was by no means negligible; see the poem 'Reconciliation', beginning
'Kiss me once more, dear love | Once more, ah! just once more. | And so forget dear love | All
that has gone before. | Hold me again, dear love, | Fast in those dear strong arms. | Thus am I safe,
dear love, | From all of lifes alarms. | Take my cold hand, dear love, | Hold it in thine so warm, | I
cannot meet, dear love, | Alone life's wrecking storm.' Also the following untitled poem: 'Fair
waters! that I have known, | And loved, for love's sake alone. | Ye have taught me fair truths, fair
thought: | And though I have but faintly caught | Your beauty & song, - | Yet I sing back again,
though with faint notes & low; | And deem it no wrong | But a grief, that I sing so much less than
I know!'
7. Unpublished. Notebook and collection of miscellaneous papers, with a few items of
correspondence and press cuttings. Including notes on church inscriptions and art. London;
Tubbendens, Orpington, Kent; and elsewhere. 1890s - 1910s.
50 items, of which 36 are miscellaneous manuscript notes by Lady Evans, totalling: 39pp., 4to;
6pp., 8vo; 63pp., 12mo; 16pp., 16mo. These include a ruled 8vo notebook with marbled covers,
containing 12pp. of autograph notes on 'Monumental Inscriptions', a seven-page corrected draft
of an essay 'On Art', dated 'Marie de G Evans | Smarts Hill | May 17. 1914', and a list of 'Books
I want to read'.
Also present are notes towards speeches given by her, one dated 'April 27 - 1911', and another
(undated) given 'On behalf of the Orpington & Grays W.L.A.' The other items include: two
printed wedding invitations, funeral service (of her brother-in-law Edward Constantine Tafel),
calling card of 'Miss de Grasse Evans', and invitations to art exhibition by Jarrold of Sloane
Street, and to the annual meeting of the Liberal Social Council; Autograph Letters Signed to Lady
Evans from Julia Griffith of Rochester, New York, and Mary A. Evans of Broom Sea Urmston;
Autograph Letter Signed from Frank A. Ward to his cousin Jocelyn Evans; three newspaper
cuttings (two on the death in Nigeria of Major Francis Charles Marsh, one on the death of Mrs
Samuel Lee Selden).
8. Unpublished. Children's pantomime, in rhyme: The Tinderbox. A Drama in 5 Acts. In part
written by Marie de Grasse Evans, Lady Evans.
4to.; 16pp.; in exercise book with illustrated printed wraps; worn.
Lady Evans has not signed the play, but the last three acts (pp.7-16) are written in her hand, as is
the final date, with its reference to her country house: 'Curtain. | The End | Tubbendens. March
26. 1885.' The preliminary page and first two acts (pp.1-7) are in another hand, the appearance of
which, and spelling mistakes in the text, suggest that of a child (one of Lady Evans's children?).
The first page carries a list of 'Dramatis Personae': 'Luckpenny. (soldier) | Mother Graball
(Witch) | Princess Bienaimée | Queen Déstestée | King Blunderbuss. | King Blunderbuss. | Sly
Boots (Luckpenny's friend) | John (Luckpenny's servant) | 3 dogs: | Skin 'em. | Tare 'em. | Wory
'em. | Shomaker's [sic] boy.' The opening exchange between Mother Graball and Lickpenny
gives a good impression of the tone of the piece: '[Mother G.] Heigho!! I wish that some day | A
traveller would pass this way. | Here I am as poor as a rat | Can scarce aford [sic] to buy a sprat. |
And yet just think how rich I'd be | If that old tinderbox I could see. | I would rap on it in time of
need | And a big black dog would appear; - indeed | [rapping at door] Who is that I wonder??? |
[Lickpenny entering] Good morning M'am [sic] I thought as I passed that I smelt some ham; |
[Mother G.] Quite right you were & if you please | Pray take a seat - here's bread & cheese. |
[Luckpenny.] Thank ye Dame - ahem - soldiers of might. | Think of nothing but to fight | Of
money we have often need | Accept instead some valient [sic] deed. | [Mother G.] You see yonder
monstrous "oak": | It's noticed much by most of folk: | If you want a little trip, | Down the trunk
you'd better slip | You will come to a stairway | Which leads to a doorway | If you open the door |
You will see on the floor | 3 chests guarded by 3 dogs | [(sneering)] Perhaps you mays see some
frogs | You'll find in the chests: | copper, silver, and gold; | Now is the time to prove that you are

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