A radish on a turnip: MRM to RA Davenport

Confessions of a Digital Romanticist

Here’s a little gem from the archives: Mitford corresponded frequently in the 1810s with R. A. (Richard Alfred) Davenport, who published an annual Poetical Register (anthology of poetry), and appears to have been a strong and lasting fan of her writing. As I’m reviewing my pencil transcriptions from past research trips, I discovered among them a vivid self-caricature in a letter of Oct. 1814. Evidently Davenport wanted to meet Mitford in person, and she felt it necessary to caution him:

“. . .as I trust two people so well disposed to like each other (there’s vanity for you!) will not always be kept apart by those two formidable words Town & Country, you will see how much I resemble my Productions. In the meantime guard yourself from expecting anything fair or tall or slender or blue-eyed or flaxenhaired or poetical, but set a red turnip raddish or a full spread…

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