[together with:] illustrated envelope, addressed to “John Masefield Esq | 1, Diamond Terrace | Greenwich | London” including ink and watercolour drawing sketch of Theodore the Pirate cabin boy sitting on a horse reading a volume entitled The Scalp Hunters. The reverse shows six native Americans with traditional head-dresses, about to attack.
The present letter makes reference to Masefield’s article ‘Being Ashore’ (first published in The Manchester Guardian on 20 February 1906 and collected within A Tarpaulin Muster in 1907). Masefield would have been pleased to be compared to R.H. Dana. In 1904 Masefield wrote of Dana that he was “vivid and true” and that Two Years Before the Mast was “full of spirited things”. The references to a cannon and toy ship are related to the fleet of toy boats that Masefield and Yeats sailed down the Gara River in Devon. The fleet and the surrounding tales gave birth to the character of Theodore, who is represented on the envelope. Printed versions of the pirate cabin boy can be seen in A Broadside and Yeats gathered a significant number of Masefield’s Theodore verses and bound them in a single volume (now in the Bodleian Library, Oxford). Slightly over a year later Masefield appears to have taken up Yeats’ suggestion of trying to “wipe out Henty”. In a letter from May 1907 Masefield wrote “Did I tell you that I am writing a boy’s book, for Chatterbox? Well, I am, and it is very good fun… there are to be smuggler’s coves in the cliffs… and there are to be Red Indians later on…" It appears that the present envelope may have been one source of inspiration to Masefield.
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