Beatrix Potter Autograph Letter Signed
Author: Beatrix Potter
POTTER, Beatrix. Autograph Letter Signed. Single sheet (7¾” x 6”) written on both sides and folded in half. Some light staining at bottom edge, sheet lightly aged.
The letter reads as follows:
"Jan. 21, 12
My Dear Phyllis,
You have written me such a dear little letter about Fluffy. I feel quite sad to disappoint you – I have begun another book about the fox! If I can do another book that Fluffy can come in to – I promise to remember him and ask for his picture again. You don't know what heaps of letters I get from all over the world, and so many of them want a book about some special animal. There was a letter lately from a child in Wales who wants a book about a crocodile called Amelia! That I cannot stand! Then there is a small boy in Ireland who wants to know if Jeremy Fisher ever got married. And two want moles, & another wants a donkey named Salome, & another wants a horse book, and another wants hens, & another wants elephants – poor Miss Potter!
Fluffy is a very reasonable request by comparison. I am afraid I don't draw dogs and cats so well as mice and rabbits. Fluffy must have surprised the guests at tea at that hotel! I can imagine him going from table to table and dropping dead.
Peter Rabbit was rather clever at tricks, but he never would do any trick that required patience, like dying or begging quietly. He would jump through a hoop, or do a complicated set of backwards & forwards jumps, but he never would sit up properly still. He played the tambourine very grand, both scuffling on it with his claws & shaking the bells. But he was not such a character as Bounce (or Benjamin Bouncer). My last rabbit was called Joseph, he lived to be 9 or 10; I don't intend to get another; I was always expecting Kep [Potter’s dog] to kill him! I was rather thankful poor Joseph died peacefully. I have cocks and hens at present.
I remain, dear Phyllis, yrs aff.
The mention that her next book being about the fox is a reference to The Tale of Mr. Tod, issued in October 1912. In another Potter letter, sold at Sotheby’s in 2014, the author mentions “A little girl sent me ‘Fluffy’-dog’s photo by the same post…” which clearly references this letter. And in Judy Taylor’s Letters to Children on p. 141, she records a letter Potter wrote as Jeremy Fisher to Andrew Fayle of Dublin, replying that he is not married (perhaps the letter referred to in this correspondence). A wonderful piece of ephemera from the author of the Peter Rabbit books, showing her gentle affection for her young readers and her genuine love of her many small pets. And, of course, it includes a wonderful reference to Ms. Potter’s own rabbit who was the true Peter Rabbit. A wonderful treasure for any Potter collection.