ALS, 15 Sept. (1883?)
1884. 2 pp, 18 x 11 cm. Bifolium. Dated 15 Sept. Twenty-one lines of text, written in a close neat hand. The text is complete, but the second leaf has suffered some loss from careless removal from the mount, and has glue traces to the blank reverse. Signed 'Grant Allen'. Addressed to 'My dear Mr. Payn' [James Payne, editor of the Cornhill Magazine, London]. He begins by thanking him for his 'very kind note', before explaining: 'I have sent you nothing lately for two reasons: first, because I have been working very hard at my projected novel; and secondly because I have been working still harder at a house which we are furnishing here, and which has occupied the best part of my time for three weeks past.' He does however have 'another short story, designed (with your kind approbation) for the Cornhill, now on the stocks, and I will shortly send it for your consideration.' He turns to 'the suggested light science', announcing that he 'will try my hand as soon as possible at the toad-in-a-hole, which is a favourite subject of mine as it happens, tho' I'm strongly inclined to believe, like your own professor, that he is never really found in situ.' He requests anonymity ('as I gather will be the case with all Cornhill papers under the new régime'), as it will give him 'more room to kick my legs about'. He confesses: 'The fact is, though I must earn my living by literature, I have my private ambition as well: I may some day put myself up as a candidate for the Royal Society, and if I were suspected of possessing a sense of humour, it might prove a fatal disqualification for the post.' The article, under the title 'Seven Year Sleepers', appeared in the Cornhill for January 1884, its theme being 'whether the "toad in a hole" can survive immurement for long periods', with a broader discussion of hibernation. James Payne (1830-98), besides editing the Cornhill and Chambers's Journal, published novels and belles lettres. The novel he was working was probably PHILISTIA (1884), his first novel. I have handled many, many Grant Allen books over decades, but this is only the second autograph I have had.