Chapter 6

Photograph Photograph Photograph

Thackeray to Sally Baxter, 22 Dec 1852. bMS Eng 881 (13).

Thackeray to Sally Baxter, 22 December 1852.

Thackeray’s friendship with the Baxter family was not entirely platonic. He developed affectionate feelings for 19-year-old Sally Baxter, who was intelligent, witty, strong-willed, and beautiful. Sally filled the space vacated by Jane Brookfield after his break with her; nevertheless, Thackeray reminded himself that there was “something grotesque” in “elderly gallantry,” knowing he was “only a cipher in the young lady’s estimation.”

Thackeray wrote this warm letter to Sally not long after he met her. “My heart was longing and yearning after you full of love and gratitude for your welcome of me – but the words grew a little too warm…When the destined man comes, with a good head and a good heart fit to win such a girl…then old Mr Thackeray will make his bow and say God bless her.”
bMS Eng 881 (13). Gift of Herbert L. Carlebach, 1955.