A hitherto unknown collection of manuscript letters from Peter Augustin Daniel (1827–1917) to his widowed mother in Australia throws new light on George Meredith’s early life and first marriage to Mary Ellen Nicolls, the eldest daughter of Thomas Love Peacock. As an East India Company clerk, Daniel had known both of the Merediths before their marriage, when all three were collaborators on the manuscript periodical “The Monthly Observer” in 1848–49. Since Daniel was also an aspiring painter as well as an intimate friend and frequent travelling companion of Mary Ellen’s lover Henry Wallis (1830–1916), his letters, now in the State Library of Victoria in Melbourne, contain significant new information not only about George Meredith’s relations with contemporary artists but also about the circumstances surrounding Mary Ellen’s love affair with Wallis, which provided the stimulus for her husband’s novel The Ordeal of Richard Feverel (1859).


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pp. 615-640
Launched on MUSE
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