The Mary Hamilton Papers : Letter from Mary Sharpe (later Beauvoir) to Mary Hamilton

Beauvoir (née Sharpe, later Douglas), Mary

The Mary Hamilton Papers

<p style='text-align: justify;'>Letter from Mary Sharpe to Mary Hamilton. The letter relates to the history of a Mrs O'Keefe, who had suffered at the hands of her husband. Sharpe wishes that Hamilton could spend a few days at Mill Hill with her and asks if it would be possible. It is likely that she and Mrs Carter will go there for a few days at the beginning of October and invites Hamilton to stay with them if she possibly can, even if it is for only one day and night. Sharpe also writes about the poor situation of Mrs O'Keefe, which Hamilton has been curious about. Mrs O'Keefe's background has been made public and Sharpe is surprised that Hamilton is not aware of it. She is the daughter of a clergyman in Ireland who, whilst he was alive, attempted to provide her with a good education similar to that which Dr Carter gave his daughter, Elizabeth. The father died when she was thirteen, leaving her and his other children under the care of his wife, 'whose whole life was devoted to gaitey, & amusements'. She paid little attention to her family and shortly after her husband's death, she married a widower. Sharpe notes that as Mrs O'Keefe was her father's favourite child, her mother treated her poorly. At the age of sixteen she was 'addressed' by Captain O'Keefe' and the match was approved of by her mother. After which he visited her for a number of months before her mother received a letter stating his poor character. He was refused entry into the house, she nevertheless married him without her mother's permission and she has since paid dearly for her disobedience. They moved to England where her husband was 'extravegance' and she was forced to live very economically. They lived in Black Heath but Mr O'Keefe was very often in London. Mrs O'Keefe travelled to London with her children in search of him and was informed that he had 'occasioned a riot in a drunken fit at the swan on Westminster Bridge' and was shot and killed by a man whose life he had threatened. She also found in London a woman 'who he had long kept' was in mourning for him. The letter continues on Mrs O'Keefe's history which Sharpe notes the Dartreys (see <a target='_blank' class='externalLink uom-purple' href=''>HAM/1/11</a>) know well and she now lives on Sharpe's farm with her children.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Hamilton has asked for Sharpe's opinion of Fielding's <i><i>Tom Jones</i></i> and she writes that it is the same as Hamilton's, but as Mrs Carter is not with her she is not able to ask her opinion of it, but she is to visit her directly after she leaves Tunbridge Wells. Sharpe writes on the 'calamities of war' which, as she is no politician, she does not understand the subject but believes that 'one must cease to be human if insensitive to the calamities which infinite numbers must suffer'.</p><p style='text-align: justify;'>Dated at Tunbridge Wells, [Kent].</p>

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