Making It On The Victorian Stage – Managers, Agents, Theatres, and Roles

“A dog of mine,” says the celebrated Mathews, “should not go upon the stage,” and he says wisely, for the profession is fraught with toil, anxiety, and misery, beyond any other; but if that dog cannot be happy out of this hotbed of misery, in Heaven’s name let him be a miserable puppy in it.”  — from the preface of Leman Thomas Tertius Rede’s 1827 book The Road To The Stage, Or, The Performer’s Preceptor: Containing Clear And Ample Instructions For Obtaining Theatrical Engagements, With A List Of All The Provincial Theatres … And A Complete Explanation Of All The Technicalities Of The Histrionic Art

While watching “Stitch In Time”, a BBC series about the history of clothes, I was intrigued when a  costume historian stated that she used old theater photos to study historic clothes because, back in the Victorian day, actors and actresses had to supply their own costumes and, thus, most bought used clothes off the streets.

I have come across numerous theater photos through the years, so, naturally, when I went to look for some, they seemed scattered away. That’s how it works for me—I can’t find what I’m looking for, and I find plenty of other fun things.  In this case, I dug up this wonderful volume that began its long bookly journey first published in 1827 under the title The Road to the Stage. Sadly, the book’s sage author, Leman Thomas Rede, would die a few years after its initial publication, yet his book would live on, being updated and revised through the years, including altering its title and adding tips for the American actors and actresses. I was able to find several versions of the book between the years 1827 and 1872.

For this series of four blog posts on Victorian Theatre, I will use the 1836 edition because it’s in the early Victorian era but still useful to the Regency enthusiast.

This edition contains a kind, short memoir about its late author.

LEMAN THOMAS TERTIUS REDE (the author of the following pages) was the son of Mr. L. T. Rede, of the Inner Temple, author of ” An Essay on the Laws of England,” ” Anecdotes and Biography,” &c. &c., who died at Hamburgh, December, 1806, when the writer of the little work to which this notice is· affixed was only seven years of age, he having been born on the 14th of October, 1799, in Clerkenwell Close, London. At an early age, Mr. Rede chose the law for his profession; but his design of treading in the steps of his father and that father’s father, was frustrated by a dramatic bias, which induced him to leave and attempt the stage. He made his first appearance as Wilford, in the town of Stafford, in 1819; and in the year 1821 appeared at the Adelphi Theatre, London, in a farce called ” Capers at Canterbury.” An accident, which befell him at Margate shortly afterwards, induced him to resign the idea of making the stage permanently his profession; he became connected with the press, and devoted his attention to literary pursuits.

As a companion, he was much sought; his powers were less dazzling than engaging; and, perhaps, few men had a more extensive circle of convivial acquaintances. In 1829, he returned to the stage, and conducted the Queen’s Theatre for a short period; and from that period to the time of his death, he occasionally (though seldom) acted. In November, 1832, he performed The Gentleman in Black in his brother’s drama of ” The Loves of the Devils,” at Sadler’s Wells, for the benefit of Miss Forde. On the 12th of December following, he expired (after a short but severe illness) of a disorder of the heart.

His remains were interred in Clerkenwell Churchyard. Of one, whose social qualities, talents, and disposition, made him the delight of every circle in which he mingled, much more might justly be said, but the subject can only involve the obtrusion of private sorrows on the public ear. Mr. Rede’s enemies (if he had any) will declare that he was in heart and mind a man, in manners a gentleman, in acquirement a scholar, of unquestioned courage, gentle, charitable, and unassuming; formed to adorn any station, from his personal as well as mental advantages. He met death as a certain visitor, who came sooner than he had hoped, but whose approaches he encountered with an unchanged mind. He left a widow, but no child, to deplore him; and is survived by his mother, by three sisters, and a brother, who feels his irreparable loss too much to add one word more to this brief notice.

The illustrations and actress mini-bios in this post are excerpted from a rather dubious 1844 publication titled Our Actresses: Or, Glances at Stage Favourites, Past and Present, Vol. II. ( *Vol. I contains biographies of Regency actresses)

Let’s dive into the world of the Victorian stage!

THAT a general prejudice exists in the breasts of parents and preceptors against the stage, is as undeniable, as that a love of it is common to the young and inexperienced. That the oft reiterated complaints of the uncertainty attending this ill-fated profession are true, I shall not attempt to deny, but it must be remembered that its rewards are also considerable. If we are to be told that numbers have existed in barns, and expired in workhouses, we should also recollect that many have rolled in carriages, that could never, but for the stage, have emerged from behind a counter.

John Reeve quitted a banking-house contrary to the advice of all his relatives, yet he has cause to rejoice in a resolution that has raised him at once to an income he could never have hoped to have gained in his original station-indeed, be blesses the day when he left off being a cheque-taker to turn comedian.

Perhaps that father would most truly study the welfare of his child who should, on discovering his dramatic bias, send him at once to some country company, instead of driving him, by his opposition, to duplicity when at home, and to seek his favourite amusement in private theatres abroad;-as long as acting affords entertainment to the performer, he must like it–make it his business-his duty-and, in nine cases out of ten, a cure will be effected.

The practice that a private theatre affords is usually pernicious, and mistaken are those parents who consent to their children performing at those establishments, to learn the rudiments of the profession. At private theatres, no man studies rudiments–every one grasps at first-rate characters, which are awarded, not to strength of intellect, but of pocket-­ for the merest booby that ever carried a banner, who could command two pounds, would be cast Richard, in preference to a Kean, if he could only afford ten shillings.

I do not wish to join in the common-place censure levelled at private theatres, though I have reason to fear there is too much truth in the character generally given of these places. There are indeed exceptions, but their number is limited.

*Susanna’s Note: The original 1827 edition mentions Mr. Pym’s theatre on Wilson Street and Mr. Durrant’s on Gloucester Street exceptions.

To any person whose mind is so far engaged with the dramatic mania, as to be unsettled with regard to other professions-to one to whom all other modes of existence appear “flat, stale, and unprofitable”­- I should say enter it at once-and now the how becomes the question.

I shall reserve the mention of the things necessary for any performer on his outset for another part of the work, and proceed at once to explain the method of procuring a situation. At the Harp (a public­ house in Russell-street, immediately opposite the pit-door of Drury), resides Mr. Sims, the theatrical agent, and his hours of business are from eleven o’clock until three. On the payment of an introductory fee of seven shillings, he enters the name of the applicant in his books, together with the line of the drama he may wish to fill-and, on the procuration of a situation, he proportions his demand to the amount of the salary obtained; but it seldom exceeds the total of one week’s stipend.

Mr. Sims holds the situation held for so many years by his father; to the manners and acquirements of a gentleman, he adds an intimate knowledge of the profession, and his promptitude in business is only equalled by his urbanity and good­nature. It has been matter of regret in the profession, that Mr. Sims has not chosen some other place for his house of business, as it is peculiarly unpleasant, especially to ladies, to make calls at a house of public entertainment.

Mr. Tumour (of Covent Garden Theatre) has an office in Bow-street, and is also a dramatic agent­ his mode of transacting business is similar to that of Mr. Sims.

Mr. Kenneth, at the corner of the same street, also procures engagements for aspirants, and Mr. Miller, of Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, is in constant communication with all provincial managers (as agent to the Dramatic Author’s Society) though he does not act as an agent between actors and managers except indeed such as meditate a transatlantic trip.

Though every creature that places a foot upon the boards does so in expectation of becoming a favourite in the metropolis, it is ascertained that only one in one hundred, on an average, comes to the royal theatres in any capacity at all–nor do I mention this as matter of regret. Many provincial situations are preferable to London ones; the favourite of the Bath, Dublin, Edinburgh, and Glasgow Theatres, may, with reasonable prudence, realize from four to five hundred pounds per annum; and an income equal to that has been amassed in the York circuit. An engagement of twelve guineas per week at a royal theatre amounts, with the deductions made during Lent, Passion week, and the usual vacation to something less than five hundred pounds a year.

The book then lists the managers, towns and circuits, and salaries of provincial theaters and sharing companies. The later version will include lists of American theaters, as well as American agents. I will insert a snippet of the list of English provincial theaters. 

All mentions of travelling troops, such as Richardson’s, Scouton and Holloway’s, Ryan’s, Adams’s, &c. would be here out of place, as these persons its is presumed do even style themselves theatrical managers.

Sharing Companies

The system of sharing companies being nearly exploded, it is only necessary to briefly explain the principles on which they are conducted. If there were eight actors and four actresses, besides the manager, the receipts would be divided into seventeen parts or shares: One to each actor and actress; One to the manager, as an actor; One to him for dresses ; One for scenery; One for properties ; One also as manager. Thus if the receipts any one night amounted to 17l., the manager took 5l., and the company ll. a piece. In addition to this, as some little outlay must occur, the manager advancing this called it a stock debt, for which whenever they had a tolerable house, he made a large deduction.

London Theatres

On a rough calculation the United Kingdom is supposed to contain about 3000 performers; that is to say, individuals of both sexes who really understand their business–the amount of persons connived at by their friends and the public as actors and actresses must be about seven times that number.

As music is becoming daily more popular in this country, first singers are proportionably in request. At Liverpool the leading vocalist has a salary of five pounds per week; and such is the dearth of male singers, that that is now considered the most profitable and safe line, and one for which an engagement can always be obtained.

Tragedy is, it has been justly observed, going out of fashion. Whether England will ever become so completely fashionable as to dislike Shakespeare it is difficult to say, but certainly he has been latterly played to houses, that would indicate that the immortal bard’s attraction was declining ; but as improvements generally originate in the metropolis, so also do innovations, and tragedy, though unattractive in London, is not yet scouted in the provinces. As nearly all aspirants commence as tragedians, this line has always numerous professors; it is now, from the arrangements of modern managers, become imperative that a leading man should provide his own wardrobe. A tragedian always commands the best salary in the theatre, and in large establishments his situation is easy and profitable; in small ones he is expected to blend the light comedy with the serious business, and thus his labour, though not his profit is marvelously increased.

Genteel Comedy has been long called the most profitable line upon the stage–it requires a good modern wardrobe. In small theatres the light comedian must play the seconds in tragedy (Macduff, Richmond, &c.)–the salary is generally first-rate ­- at all events next to that of the leading man.

 Low Comedy is supposed to be the best line, with reference to the benefits it ensures, but this is trusting to a very precarious chance–the salary is generally on a par with the light comedians.

First Old Men obtain somewhat similar terms.

Walking Gentlemen (Charles Stanley, Henry, Moreland, Harry Thunder, &c.) is a line that also requires an extensive wardrobe; this business is usually assigned to persons learning the rudiments of the profession-the salary is generally low ; in Dublin even, not exceeding two guineas per week, and in many respectable companies not more than one.

The observations already made, apply to the other sex equally with regard to the First Tragedy–Fine Ladies–Singing Chambermaids–Old Women–and Walking Ladies.

First Singing Ladies are much more numerous than male vocalists, a circumstance which the system of modern education accounts for–and, perhaps, for a Lady, the Old Women may be considered the most profitable and safe line. Any young lady embracing this line, and possessed of even a moderate share of talent, could seldom lack a provincial engagement, and would stand an excellent chance of metropolitan distinction.

Having premised thus much, it is now necessary to place before my readers the regulations of provincial establishments.

Rede then lists the general rules governing the country theatres including rehearsal and performance and the fines accrued for infractions on these rules. For example, “Every performer is expected to go on the stage and assist in all the processions and choruses, where it has been customary in London for principals to be engaged, as in Macbeth, Pizarro, Juliet’s dirge, Alexander’s entry, &c.-non-compliance with this regulation subjects the party to a fine of ten shillings” and “Saturday is considered the first day of the week, as in the London theatres.”

For rehearsals, “Notice of pieces to be rehearsed to be posted in the green-room, and the time of beginning, before the end of the play on the previous night of performance; and it is the call-boy’s duty to give notice to every performer who does not perform that evening” and “For not being reasonably perfect at the last rehearsal (sufficient time having been given for study), five shillings.”

An actor was fined a guinea for being intoxicated during a performance and five shillings for “omitting or introducing a scene or song without the consent of the manager.”

In the coming post, we will look at the skills required of men and women entering the acting profession.  In the meantime, here is a little 1899 theatrical gem.

Will You Be My Victorian Valentine?

I am heartbroken. I can’t possibly compose an introduction to this blog as well as Arthur Martine, the author of Martine’s Sensible Letter-writer: Being a Comprehensive and Complete Guide and Assistant for Those who Desire to Carry on an Epistolary Correspondence, might have done. He would write something rapturous such as, it is my ardent hope that these delightful letters and Victorian Valentine cards proofs, which I located in the New York Public Library Digital Collection, leave an indelible impression upon your gentle mind. Please let me impress upon you that if you find these images to your kind heart’s satisfaction, you may find great joy in downloading high-resolution TIF versions of these images and many, many more, which you may use to express your fervent admiration for another.

To Mrs. Clara Henderson,

West Twenty-third St., New York, Sept. 22d, 18—. My Dear Madam,—I am sure you are too clear sighted not to have observed the profound impression which your amiable qualities, intelligence and personal attractions have made upon my heart, and as you have not repelled my attentions nor manifested displeasure when I ventured to hint at the deep interest I felt in your welfare and happiness, I cannot help hoping that you will receive an explicit expression of my attachments, kindly and favorably. I wish it were in my power to clothe the feelings I entertain for you in such words as should make my pleadings irresistible; but after all what could I say, more than that you are very dear to me, and that the most earnest desire of my soul is to have the privilege of calling you my wife? Do you can you love me? You will not, I am certain, keep me in suspense, for you are too good and kind to trifle for a moment with sincerity like mine. Awaiting your answer, I remain, with respectful affection, Ever yours,

Francis Templeton

To Francis Templeton, ESQ.,

West Forty-second St., New York, Sept. 24th, 18—. My Dear Mr. Templeton,—I despise false delicacy, and therefore shall not pretend that I have been blind to the state of your feelings. Nay, more, I will say that if your attentions had been altogether unwelcome I should have treated them with a degree of coldness which you say I have not shown. Widows, you know, are supposed to have more experience and tact in these matters than single ladies, and depend upon it if I had disliked you I should have known how to make you aware of the fact. Under all the circumstances I think you may hope. I shall be pleased to see you whenever you feel inclined to call, and meanwhile, I remain, Yours very truly,

Clara Henderson

To Miss Maud Carter,

Pearl St., New York, March llth, 18—. My Dearest Maud,—I am off, to-morrow, and yet not altogether, for I leave my heart behind in your gentle keeping. You need not place a guard over it, however, for it is as impossible that it should stay away, as for a bit of steel to rush from a magnet. The simile is eminently correct, for you, my dear girl, are a magnet, and my heart is as true to you as steel. I shall make my absence as brief as possible. Not a day, not an hour, not a minute, shall I waste either in going or returning. Oh! this business! But I won’t complain, for we must have something for our hive besides honey—something that rhymes with it—and that we may have it, I must bestir myself. You will find me a faithful correspondent.  Like the spider, I shall drop a line by (almost) every post; and mind, you must give me letter for letter I can’t give you credit. Your returns must be prompt and punctual.

Passionately yours,

Herbert Holton

To Herbert Holton, ESQ.,

Fifth Avenue, March 11th, 18—. Dear Herbert,—What a rattlebrain you are! I cried for half an hour over your letter, though not that it was particularly pathetic, but simply because it told me you were going away. Of course I know that your journey is a matter of necessity, but that does not help my loneliness. I have two injunctions to lay upon you, and I charge you by your love, to obey them. They are comprised in six words —write often, and come back soon. I won’t pay myself so poor a compliment as to suppose you will forget me for a moment. Impatiently awaiting your return, believe me, Dear Herbert,

Yours affectionately,

Maud Carter

To Miss Belle Carpenter,

Wall St., New York, Oct . 5th, 18—. My Dear Miss,—I am accustomed to speak plainly, and know little of the niceties of etiquette. Do not think the worse of me for opening my heart to you abruptly, without any preliminary flourishes. There cannot be anything offensive, I hope, in the candid declaration that I love you. If you will give me the opportunity, I will endeavor to prove my affection by devoting my whole life to the promotion of your happiness. I should regard the pleasure of calling you my wife as the greatest that earth could afford.

Most sincerely yours,

Albert Seaton

To Albert Seaton, ESQ.

East Thirty-eighth St., New York, Oct. 7th, 18—. Dear Sir,—I have received your letter, and must say that there is an air of straight-forward sincerity about it that I like. Fine phrases have never been much to my taste, for I have found the language of truth simple and direct. Following your own example, and waiving all evasion, I will say at once that I think you worthy of the affection you solicit, and that, with the consent of my parents, I shall not object to receive your addresses. I shall be at home to-morrow evening and shall be glad to see you. Yours sincerely,

Belle Carpenter

To Miss Kate Martin,

Chicago, Iii., Sept. l0th, 18– My Dearest Kate,—This sheet of paper, though I should cover it with loving words, could never tell you truly how I long to see you again. Time does not run on with me now at the same pace as with other people; the hours seem days, the days weeks, while I am absent from you, and I have no faith in the accuracy of clocks and almanacs. Ah! if there was truth in clairvoyance, wouldn’t I be with you at this moment! I wonder if you are as impatient to see me as I am to fly to you? Sometimes it seems as if I must leave business and everything else to the Fates, and takes the first train to New York. However, the hours do move, though they don’t appear to, and in a few more weeks we shall meet again. Let me hear from you as frequently as possible in the meantime. Tell me of your health, your amusements and your affection.

Remember that every word you write will be a comfort to me. Unchangeably yours,

William Archer

To William Archer, ESQ.,

Bleecker St., New York, Sept. 16th, 18—. Dear William,—Your affectionate letter was most welcome. I won’t tell you where I keep it, but I dare say you will guess that it is not very far from my heart. I need not inform you, for you know it well, that you have my entire and undivided affection, and that I look forward to your return with the most pleasurable emotions. I am in excellent health, but cannot know real happiness until I share it with yon. There, now I think you will not complain that I do not reciprocate your devotion. According to the rules of etiquette I suppose I ought to be more reserved; but truth is truth, and you shall never have aught else

From your attached

Kate Martin

To Miss Jane Grover,

Wednesday, Oct. 20th, 18– Dearest Jane,—The delightful hours I have passed in your society have left an impression on my mind that is altogether indelible, and cannot be effaced even by time itself. The frequent opportunities I have possessed, of observing the thousand acts of amiability and kindness which mark the daily tenor of your life, have ripened my feelings of affectionate regard into a passion at once ardent and sincere, until I have at length associated my hopes of future happiness with the idea of you as a life-partner in them. Believe me, dearest Jane, this is no puerile fancy, but the matured result of a long and warmly cherished admiration of your many charms of person and mind. It is love—pure, devoted love: and I feel confident your knowledge of my character will lead you to ascribe my motives to their true source.

May I then implore you to consult your own heart, and, should this avowal of my fervent and honorable passion for you be crowned with your acceptance and approval, to grant me permission to refer the matter to your parents. Anxiously waiting your answer, I am, dearest Jane,

Your sincere and faithful lover,

Henry Barclay

To Henry Barclay, ESQ.

Dear Henry,—I have just perused your too flattering letter, and, believe me, I feel so excited that I scarcely know how or what to reply. You cannot but have observed that the favorable impressions I received on the night of our first meeting, have gradually deepened as our intimacy matured, and it would be false modesty in me now to disclaim a feeling of the sincerest and most affectionate regard-for you, after such undoubted proofs of your attachment. Dear Henry, my heart is yours. Need I say more than that your proposals to my parents will find a warm and not uninterested advocate, in one to whom the acceptance of them will be happiness—their rejection a misfortune?

Excuse the brevity of this letter, for I cannot trust myself to say more than that I am,

Yours affectionately,

Jane Grover

To Miss Alice Martine,

Chestnut St., Philadelphia, May 2d, 18—. My Dear Miss,—I have intended many times when we have been together to put the simple question, which this note is intended to propose; but although it seems the easiest thing in the world to make an offer of marriage, yet when the heart is as deeply interested in the answer as mine is, it is apt to fail one at the critical moment. Can I, dare I hope, that you will permit me to call you mine? Am I mistaken, misled by vanity, in supposing that this proposal, made in the truest spirit of respectful love, will not be displeasing to you? My position and prospects warrant me in saying that I can provide for you a comfortable home, and I may truly add that without you no place can be a home to me. Anxiously awaiting your answer, I remain, Yours affectionately,

Ernest Irving

To Ernest Irving, ESQ.,

Green St., Philadelphia, May 5th, 18—. Dear Sir,—Your offer of marriage is certainly unexpected, but it is made in a manner so diffident and respectful as to preclude the possibility of its giving offense. I am not offended; but marriage is a serious matter, and although I confess my own inclinations are in your favor, I must advise with those who have a right to be consulted, before I give you a decided answer. I think I may say, however, in the meantime, that you need not despair. Sincerely yours,

Alice Martine

To Miss Lizzie Bolton,

Madison Square, New York, Feb. 24th, 18—. Dear Miss,—Although I have been in your society but once, the impression you have made upon me is so deep and powerful, that I cannot forbear writing to you, in defiance of all rules of etiquette. Affection is sometimes of slow growth; but sometimes too it springs up in a moment. In half an hour after I was introduced to you, my heart was no longer my own. I have not the assurance to suppose that I have been fortunate enough to create any interest in yours; but will you allow me to cultivate your acquaintance in the hope of being able to win your regard in the course of time? Petitioning for a few lines in reply, I remain, dear Miss,

Yours devotedly,

Clarence Boardman

To Clarence Boardman, Esq.,

East Thirty-fourth St., New York, Feb. 27th, 18—. Dear Sir,—I ought, I suppose, to call you severely to account for your declaration of love at first sight, but I cannot in conscience do so ; for to tell you the truth, I have thought more about you since our brief interview than I should be willing to admit, if you had not come to confession first. And now a word or two in seriousness: We know but little as yet of each other, and hearts should not be exchanged in the dark. I shall be happy to receive you here as a friend, and as to our future relations to each other, we shall be better able to judge what they ought to be, when we know each other more intimately. I am, dear sir, Yours truly,

Lizzie Bolton

To Mr. Henry Hilton,

Walnut St., Philadelphia, Dec. 2d, 18—. Sir,—I have heard of your flirtations since you have been at New York. In fact I have been told that you were false enough to deny your engagement to me, in the hope of making yourself more acceptable as a beau to your new lady acquaintances. Under such circumstances I am quite willing to release you from all your promises. You are free, sir! I have no inclination to share your affections with half a dozen others. Nothing less than a whole heart will satisfy me.

Yours etc.,

Augusta Wells

To Miss Augusta Wells,

My Dear Gussie,—You have been imposed upon ; by whom I know not, but unquestionably by some one who has a grudge against me. I have never since our engagement paid more attention to any lady than ordinary politeness required. My heart has never wandered from you for a moment. Dismiss such groundless suspicions from your mind. Your letter has wounded me deeply. To break off our engagement would be to render me the most miserable of men. I am willing that the strictest inquiry should be made into my conduct, for it will bear the closest scrutiny.

Dearest, let me hear from you again soon, and in the old kind vein. Ever yours,

Harry Hilton

Dear Frank,—No letter again! You are really growing intolerably negligent, and I shall begin to think that you are getting tired of me, and that some new attraction is in the field. Knowing how anxious I am respecting your health and welfare, I am sure you will give me the credit of not writing from idle jealousy, although really I feel grieved and anxious at your unusual neglect.

I have no news just at present—indeed, I am too much out of spirits to write at any great length. Pray hasten to remove all doubt from the mind of one whose thoughts, day and night, are upon you only.

Your affectionate

Fanny

To Miss Lucy Hartman,

No. — St. Luke’s Place, Oct. 3d, 18—. My Dear Lucy,—It is with pain I write to you in aught that can seem like a strain of reproach, but I confess that your conduct last night both surprised and vexed me. Your marked approbation of the attentions paid to you by Mr. Walters was as obvious as your neglect of myself. Believe me, I am in no way given to idle jealousy—still less am I selfish or unmanly enough to wish to deprive any lady on whom I have so firmly fixed my affections, of any pleasure to be obtained in good society. But my peace of mind would be lost forever, did I believe that I have lost one atom of your affection.

Pray write, and assure me that you still preserve your undivided affection for

Your devoted but grieved

Arthur

To Miss Catherine Morton,

Arch St., Philadelphia, Oct. 22st, 18—. My Dearest Kate,—How grieved am I that you should think me capable of wavering in my affection toward you, and inflicting a slight upon one, in whom my whole hopes of happiness are centered! Believe me, my attentions to Miss Hamilton were never intended for anything more than common courtesy. My long acquaintance with her father, and my knowledge of her amiable character—as well as the circumstance of her being a comparative stranger to the Howards,—such were my sole reasons for paying more attention to her than I might otherwise have done.

Pray rest confident in the belief that my affection for you is as unchanging as my regret is great that I should ever have given you cause to doubt it, and believe me, Dearest Kate,

Yours, ever sincerely and devotedly,

William Lloyd