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Emily Shore, a young nineteenth-century English woman, wrote poetry, fiction and diaries.
Diarist and writer Margaret Emily Shore was born on December 25, 1819, at Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, England, to Thomas Shore and Margaret Anne Twopeny. Thomas Shore was a writer and educator who received private pupils at his home, where he also educated his daughters. Emily's sisters, Arabella and Louisa Catherine, distinguished themselves as poets, translators, critics, and editors. They were the editors of theJournal of Emily Shore published in 1891.
Emily Shore produced a variety of work: histories, two novels, poems, essays, translations and her journals. Of these works only two short essays were published in thePenny Magazine in December 1837. Shore's literary legacy has been her journal, kept between July 1831 and June 1839, shortly before her death at the age of nineteen.
In her journal, Emily Shore wrote about daily events in her own life as well as institutions such as the London Zoo, and on the Reform Bill of 1832, and the new poor law of 1834. She was a talented naturalist, daily recording the habits of birds in the family garden at Woodbury in Bedfordshire. Those observations were the basis of her essays in thePenny Magazine.
Emily Shore died of consumption on July 7, 1839, at Funchal, Madeira, and was buried there in the Strangers' burial-ground.
Gates, Barbara T., ed. Journal of Emily Shore. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.Gates, Barbara T. ‘Shore, (Margaret) Emily (1819–1839)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (accessed September 26, 2016) http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/25454Gates, Barbara T. “When Life Writing Becomes Death Writing: The Journal of Emily Shore,” Literature and Medicine, Vol. 24, No. 1 (Spring 2005): 70-92.Melvin, L. Rebecca Johnson. Self Works: Diaries, Scrapbooks, and Other Autobiographical Efforts: Catalog of an Exhibition, August 19, 1997-December 18, 1997: Guide to Selected Sources. Newark, DE: University of Delaware Library, 1997.University of Delaware Library. “A Manuscript Sampler: Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Literary and Historical Figures” (accessed September 28, 2016) http://www.lib.udel.edu/ud/spec/exhibits/sampler/eighteen.htmSouthampton & District Transport Heritage Trust, “Floating Bridge,” (accessed September 29, 2016) http://www.sadtht.co.uk/main/floatingbridgeInformation derived from the collection.
These three manuscripts are the seventh, tenth, and twelfth of twelve journal volumes created by a young Englishwoman named Emily Shore (1819-1839). Shore wrote these journals between October 1836 and July 1839, while she traveled around southern England, the Channel Islands, and Madeira, before dying of tuberculosis in Funchal, Madeira.
Volume VII is dated October 6, 1836, to April 10, 1837. Volume X is dated April 14, 1838, to July 5, 1838. The final journal, volume XII, is dated December 16, 1838, to July 1, 1839. Emily Shore succumbed to tuberculosis on July 7, 1839, in Funchal.
Volume VII begins with Shore’s journey from London to Exeter in October 1836, where she stayed with her paternal relatives, the Bells and the Dennises. In this volume, Shore focused primarily on her relationships with three of her cousins, Anna, Phoebe, and Julia Dennis, although her mother, father, and brother were present for parts of her visit.
Shore kept volume X of her journal between April 14, 1838, and July 5, 1838, during which time she traveled in England between Worthing, Midhurst, Bevis Mount, St. Heliers in Jersey, and her family’s home, Bartley Lodge, located near Southampton. Shore traveled with her younger sister Louisa throughout this period. A large portion of this volume is devoted to Shore’s deep attachment to Mary Warren, a young woman about her age, with whom she developed a passionate friendship. Shore also described her studies, excursions, and deteriorating health.
Shore began volume XII on December 16, 1838, as she set off for Madeira aboard theDavid Lyon with her mother and sister Louisa. Shore traveled to Madeira in an attempt to regain her failing health. The Shores settled in Funchal, where they enjoyed an active social life and made the acquaintance of several other English expatriates suffering from tuberculosis. Shore broke a blood vessel on April 4, 1839, after which she made few journal entries as she sank into her final illness. Prior to her death on July 7, 1839, she made a list of bequests at the back of this volume, distributing books and other personal items to family and friends.
Shore’s journals cover a wide variety of topics, including natural history, literature, travel, friendship, physiognomy, and illness, especially her own tuberculosis.
Shore’s keen interest in nature and natural history is evident throughout these volumes. She frequently identified and recorded the various bird calls she heard outside or from her window. She delighted in exploring the woods, valleys, caves, cliffs, and other natural features in each location during her travels. While in Exeter in November 1836, she dramatically described a hurricane that damaged her aunt and uncle’s home, noting that she and her cousins were forced to run for cover when the windows blew in. In Madeira, she frequently described the scenery she observed on foot or on horseback, as well as new flowers and fruits she encountered on the island. After returning from Jersey to Bartley Lodge in poor health during the summer of 1838, she noted her frustration at being confined in the house, writing “I suppose I am never to be strong again. It is nearly three months since I have walked into the Forest, and now I am always left behind when others go out.”
In addition to her journal, Shore produced a variety of other writings during her travels. While at Exeter, she began writing a comedy called “Breaking of Wild Colts” and sent the first volumes of “Devereux” and her Roman History to the local bookseller to be bound. In Worthing, she shared her poems and plays with the Warren family, rewrote the lyrics to the tune “Fairy Bells,” and wrote numerous letters to friends and family members. Shore was a voracious reader. She frequently recorded her reading progress and made several references to works by Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, and Sir Walter Scott. In volume VII she noted that there was “a nice little collection of books” in the Bell home, and created an index of the authors she read during her stay. During an excursion to a local schoolhouse in volume X, Shore noted that she “looked over the bookshelves, the first object that attracts my attention in a strange house.”
During her extensive travels, Shore detailed the sights, sounds, and (occasionally) smells she encountered along the way. On her journey from London to Salisbury, she noted how long it took to change horses at every stop and made small sketches of the scenery. Shore found the journey from Southampton to Worthing in April 1838 quite dull, stating that there were only five sites worth observing, including Chichester Cathedral and the steam-driven floating bridge over the River Itchen. During her voyage to Madeira, she recorded the latitude and recounted her sightings of porpoises and a shark. Despite her deteriorating health while in Madeira, Shore frequently explored the island, even joining a boating party to Cabo Giraõ in March 1839.
All three volumes focus on Shore’s passionate friendships with other young women. Early in her stay at Exeter, she professed a strong regard for her cousin Anna Dennis, writing “I cannot express how much I love Anna, I never loved any one as I love her, and I never shall again.” Shore also established a deep connection with Mary Warren, whom Shore visited in Worthing between April and May 1838. Shore frequently and vividly described her friend, noting that her “black ringlet straying over one cheek…her white throat, and the ample fold of her many coloured Grecian scarf,--these are the pictures I shall always see.” Despite her close relationship with Warren, Shore had difficulty sharing the depth of her feelings. She observed “it is very odd. I supposed it is extreme reserve, but nothing is so difficult to me as to express my feelings by words even to those I love the best and trust the most. A thousand times, when alone with Mary or with Matilda [Warren], I am longing to open my heart on some subject, and my thoughts are ready to burst out, when this strange quality interposes, checks me, and I am dumb.” Shore ultimately used her literary talents to pour out her feelings in a letter to Warren, and was relieved when she “kissed me in a peculiarly affectionate manner, which quite delighted me, for it told me that my letter had not displeased her.” While in Madeira, Shore greatly admired a Miss Freeman, writing “I really hardly know her equal, Mary [Warren] always excepted.” Several passages in these volumes have been excised (perhaps by family members after Shore’s death), most of which related to Shore’s intense relationships with these women.
Shore frequently observed the physiognomy of people she encountered during her travels, noting how both their facial features and their expressions reflected or obscured their character. While she admired an invalid girl whose expressive eyes agreed with “her whole countenance and demeanour, very gentle, very amiable and touchingly fraught with the meekness of patient suffering,” she astonished her friends when she did not admire a reportedly great beauty due to her “assured countenance.” In general, Shore valued signs of amiability and artlessness while disparaging any hint of arrogance in people’s faces.
While Shore was generally amiable and polite, she could be a sharp critic of human nature. She criticized several older women for wearing makeup, observing that “the rouge greatly improves their appearance, and makes them look some years younger, but without it they would be like witches, after the long use of it.” She excoriated her cousin, Julia Dennis, for her views on balls, writing “I never saw such a specimen of puddingheadedness.” During an excursion to Brighton, she derided the pretensions of a Madame Lefaudex and her acquaintances, noting that “it was no small treat for us to sit by and be edified with their affectations, nonsense, polite insincerity, and ridiculously fine language: it was like seeing a charade acted before us, and we could hardly restrain our laughter.” At a concert in St. Helier, she observed that “there sat immediately before us a lady whom Ellen (very appropriately) named Mrs. Colonel Wugsby (see Pickwick), whose ludicrous nods and gestures caused us infinite amusement; another we christened the Dowager Lady Snuphanuff.”
Shore’s struggle with tuberculosis was rarely far from her thoughts, as shown in these volumes. Although she enjoyed many entertainments and excursions, she was frequently admonished to rest or return to her bed. Expressing a rare moment of frustration with Mary Warren, Shore noted “I did not go out, but as usual Mary pinned me down to the sofa for a long time, which I cannot bear, for it is making me much more of an invalid than I am, or like to be thought.” During her stay in Jersey in June 1838, her cough was “getting desperately bad, this evening a single word has been sufficient to excite it, the least laughing has brought on a tormenting fit. I thought in one of these fits I should have broken a blood-vessel, it seemed to tear my chest in pieces.” Shortly after her arrival in Madeira, Shore visited the English burial grounds, where “it was with a melancholy feeling that I gazed round this silent cemetery, where so many early blossoms, nipped by a colder climate, were mouldering away; so many, who had come too late to recover, and either perished here far from all their kindred, or faded under the eyes of anxious friends, who had vainly hoped to see them revive again. I felt too, as I looked at the crowded tombs, that my own might, not long hence, be amongst them. ‘And here shall I be laid at last,’ I thought. It is the first time such an idea has crossed my mind in any burial ground.” Shore’s premonition was correct; she succumbed to her illness the following July and was interred in the Strangers’ burial-ground.
Volume VII of Shore’s journal is bound with green leather over paper boards. It contains 90 leaves, of which 7 have been excised entirely. Several others have been partially removed. The first eight pages of the journal are fromThe Improved Account-Book (London: Renshaw and Kirkman), which contain a list of stamp duties, a table for calculating interest, and a list of Public Funds. The text is written in black ink with a neat, printed hand. The first page of the journal reads “Journal of Margaret Emily Shore. Vol. VII. From October 6, 1836 to April 10, 1837. At Exeter.” There are several ink sketches created during Shore’s travels. At the back of the volume, there is an index of the journal’s contents, including principal characters introduced, occasional characters, persons spoken of, books read, and sunsets observed. Additional notations about the journal’s contents can be found on the inside back cover with a brief critique of Shakespeare in pencil.
Volume X of Shore’s journal is bound with green leather over paper boards. It contains 91 leaves of unlined paper, five of which have been removed entirely. Several other have been partially cut out. The text is written in black ink with a neat, printed hand. The first page reads “Journal of Margaret Emily Shore. Vol X. From April 14, 1838 to July 5, 1838, At Worthing, Midhurst, Bevis Mount, St. Hellers, and Bartley Lodge, near Southampton.” There are occasional annotations in pencil throughout as well as several pencil sketches of flowers on the first page.
Volume XII of Shore’s journal is bound with brown marbled paper over paper boards. The corners of the covers and the spine are covered in black leather with gilt decoration. The volume consists of 111 leaves of unlined paper, several of which have been partially excised. The volume contains 189 pages of journal text, six pages of short writings and sketches, and 27 blank pages. The text is written in black ink with a neat print hand that became shakier as Shore’s illness progressed. Unlike the others, this volume lacks a title page. The first page contains a short passage in Portuguese, written upside down and in pencil. There is a stationer’s ticket on the inside of the back cover that reads “Fletcher & Son/Booksellers/& Binders/Southampton.”
Item 0104: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0097
Processed and encoded by Elizabeth Jones-Minsinger, November 2016.
- Authors, English--19th century
- Women travelers--19th century
- Female Friendship
- Respiratory organs--Diseases--History--19th century
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2016 November 10
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