Place and Imprint: No place, no date, but 18th century holograph, circa 1753-75, with numerous swash letters, most notably the long S.,
Edition: See NCBEL II, 1598.
Condition: A few creases and folds at the margins; in very good condition.
Book ID: 28484
Physical DescriptionTwo 30 x 22 cm bifoliums, 8 pages, written in a neat hand.
Comments¶ A fair copy manuscript of one of Hester Chapone's earliest published works, apparently copied directly from John Hawksworth's weekly magazine The Adventurer, in which the story was first serialized in issues 77, 78 and 79, July & August, 1753. The manuscript begins "The Adventurer No. 79" [sic - apparently an error for 77], and with only a few minor corrections transcribes the complete text with the issue numbers, caption titles and quotations at the beginning of each part, as they appeared in The Adventurer. The story was not published again until its appearance in Chapone's Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1775) which accounts for the demand for manuscript copies of the text, as was once an accepted, if sometimes illicit, way to circulate texts that were difficult to obtain. ¶ The History of Fidelia is about a strong-willed young woman, Fidelia, who is raised by free-thinking, liberal-minded parents, who both die young, and she is left in the care of her conservative uncle. He arranges a marriage for her to a rich merchant, which she refuses. He demands that she accept; when she does not, he turns her out. Fidelia consults with two friends about her predicament and both of them cynically denounce her obstinacy and tell her to accept the marriage. “Who is it that marries the person of their choice?” she is asked. Appalled by her uncle and friends, she falls into the hands of a rake, Sir George Freelove, who abuses her. She concludes that “the condition of the virtuous is often more miserable than that of the vicious?”.