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Lot #6150
William Makepeace Thackeray Handwritten Manuscript for 'The Newcombes'

Rare fragment of Thackeray's handwritten manuscript for The Newcomes

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Estimate: $8000+
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Description

Rare fragment of Thackeray's handwritten manuscript for The Newcomes

Fragment from William Makepeace Thackeray's handwritten manuscript for his novel The Newcomes, totaling four pages on three sheets, ranging in size from 5.5 x 6 to 5.5 x 8.75, circa early 1850s. Thackeray worked on his famous novel The Newcomes intermittently between August 1852 and June 1855, and first published it serially in 1854 and 1855. Penned in Thackeray's distinctive and diminutive hand, the text features several corrections and emendations in his own hand, and a few unpublished passages. Otherwise, with the exception of some variant punctuation, the published text follows this manuscript exactly.

The unpublished passage comes from Chapter 51, and reads, with the first part struck through: "[Before the two gentlemen parted, the Baronet asked his uncle casually whether Clive was acquainted with the subject of their conversation that evening and was informed that] the young man was quite ignorant that his father had any other business with Sir Barnes Newcombe than that connected with the Bundelcund Banking Company." The passage picks up with the text as published: "Barnes lauded the caution which his uncle had displayed. It was quite as well for the young man’s interests (which Sir Barnes had most tenderly at heart) that Clive Newcome should not himself move in the affair, or present himself to Lady Kew. Barnes would take the matter in hand at the proper season; the Colonel might be sure it would be most eagerly, most ardently pressed."

The second page, smaller and double-sided, comes from Chapter 66, and includes the fine passage of Clive seeing Ethel again at Sir Barnes' lecture. In part: "the Baronet suddenly stopped and became exceedingly confused over his manuscript: betaking himself to his auxiliary glass of water before he resumed his discourse, which for a long time was languid, low, and disturbed in tone. This period of disturbance, no doubt, must have occurred when Sir Barnes saw before him F. Bayham and Warrington seated in the amphitheatre; and, by the side of those fierce scornful countenances, Clive Newcome’s pale face. Clive Newcome was not looking at Barnes. His eyes were fixed upon the lady seated not far from the lecturer—upon Ethel, with her arm round her little niece’s shoulder, and her thick black ringlets drooping down over a face paler than Clive’s own."

The last page is from Chapter 67, and consists largely of dialogue. In part: "'I know a friend of the people if ever there was one,' F. Bayham interposes. 'A man of wealth, station, experience; a man who has fought for his country; a man who is beloved in this place as you are, Colonel Newcome: for your goodness is known, sir—You are not ashamed of your origin, and there is not a Newcomite old or young, but knows how admirably good you have been to your old friend, Mrs.—Mrs. What-d’-you-call’-em.' 'Mrs. Mason,' from F. B. 'Mrs. Mason. If such a man as you, sir, would consent to put himself in nomination at the next election, every true Liberal in this place would rush to support you; and crush the oligarchy who rides over the liberties of this borough!' 'Something of this sort, gentlemen, I own to you had crossed my mind,' Thomas Newcome remarked. 'When I saw that disgrace to my name, and the name of my father’s birthplace, representing the borough in Parliament, I thought for the credit of the town and the family, the Member for Newcome at least might be an honest man. I am an old soldier; have passed all my life in India; and am little conversant with affairs at home' (cries of 'You are, you are'). 'I hoped that my son, Mr. Clive Newcome, might have been found qualified to contest this borough against his unworthy cousin, and possibly to sit as your representative in Parliament. The wealth I have had the good fortune to amass will descend to him naturally, and at no very distant period of time, for I am nearly seventy years of age, gentlemen.' The gentlemen are astonished at this statement." In overall fine condition.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Art, Literature, and Classical Music
  • Dates: #682 - Ended June 20, 2024





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