27 MARCH 1942, Page 13


SIR,—In your issue of March loth an enquirer asks " Who was Mrs. Walford ? " and his reason for doing so is that Mr. Edmund Blunden, in his book on Thomas Hardy, states that Coventry Patmore once appraised a number of English novelists who included Thackeray, Trollope, George Eliot, Mrs. Gaskell, Hardy and L. B. Walford. Further, the enquirer states that, until he saw her name in Mr. Blunden's book, he was ignorant even of Mrs. Walford's existence.

Lucy Bethia Walford, daughter of John Colquhoun, younger of Luss, in Dumbartonshire, and author of The Moor and the Lock, which took a high rank among books on Scottish sport, was born near Edinburgh in 1845, and in 1869 she married Alfred Walford, partner in a well-known firm of paper-makers. Her mother was Frances Fuller Maitland who, when quite young, completed Henry Kirke White's fragment, " Much in Sorrow, Oft in Woe," a compilation universally accepted for church use. Mrs. Walford wrote over thirty novels, of which the most popular were Mr. Smith : A Part of His Life, Cousins, Troublesome Daughters, The Baby's Grandmother, and A Stiff-necked Generation. Also, she was the author of Recollections of the Scottish Novelist and Memories of Victorian London. Mrs. Watford died in 1915, and perhaps one of the reasons why her name as an author is almost forgotten is that her publisher, Spencer Blacken, had to retire from business, owing to financial difficulties, and all her novels as a consequence went out of print. She wrote several short stories and biographies for Blackwood's Magazine, and had a claim to be included in the company of the novelists said to have been appraised by Coventry Patmore, whose critical powers, according to Richard Garnett, were of the highest order, while his prose was a pattern of dignified simplicity.—Yours

faithfully, EVELEIGH NASII.

Travellers'-Club, Pall Mall, S.W.'.