18900316 See an image of the original letter, http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/rntd-2231

Headed notepaper:[1]

London and South Western Railway. (167*)

Parcels Department,

Waterloo Station (S.E.)

_____________ 188

Written at right angles to heading in pencil


12.25 train Sunday

My dear Mother

Havg. begged a sheet of paper from the Railway Co I now proceed, under difficulties to scribble you a few lines, as I may not have time on board. I am on the way to Southampton & the carriage is shaking about tremendously.

Fred & Bertie came to see me off by the 8 o’c train y’day morng [2]. In the same carriage the whole way, were three ladies. I thought of appealing as an unprotected male, to the guard for protection, but contented myself with taking a seat on the side of the alarm communicator.

They did not molest me, though they cast hungry looks at the luncheon basket I bought at Preston, & I did not conquer my nervousness till I had demolished the half chicken, ham, salad, rolls, butter, cheese, & pint of Bass.

The day was pleasantly warm, no rain, & the train reached Euston punctually at 7 p.m. Havg. driven to Waterloo & left my luggage I proceeded to Adelaide Rd & found the inhabitants of 205 in usual good health & spirits. They gave me a nice tea-dinner & I had a good night’s rest.[3]

I was glad to get your note. Don’t get laid up with your back – let someone else nail down the carpets. After what you wrote abt. Fred’s play, I gave up the idea of callg on Boases. Enclosed a critique cut from the Sunday Times.[4] Burn it please. Very sorry.

Called for a moment at Goldschmidts, who asked abt. the health of the family.[5] Reassured them, & took a cab for the station. A lot of people there, but I have no idea yet how many go with us.

Opposite me in the carriage I have a “Johnny” who has already informed me that he is from York, goes to B. Aires to “look round”. If he makes money well & good, if not he comes back, his coat cost him £1, the first owner of it committed suicide, the second was drowned. Wants to share my cabin, but I think not.

Too communicative. Rattles away like a “hundred of bricks”.

Calm & warm, some rain (our special meteorological reporter).

Close this on the tender. Goods & Chattels all on board.[6]

Best love to all



(Enclosed review of play by Messrs Boas & Brandon)

Plays and Players

Messrs. Bores-no, Boas and Brandon have held possession of the Comedy every afternoon this week since Tuesday with their historical play, “The Favorite of the King.” This is in four acts, with eight changes of scene, each of which is preceded by the fall of a curtain – a very tedious arrangement; and when it is added that the dialogue is written in blank verse, “inebriated with the exuberance of its verbosity,” and that a tiresome and invertebrate plot if dragged along with dramatic inconsequence, it will be seen that our repertory of historic dramas is not enriched by this ambitious effort. The hero (?) of the play is George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, and his career as set forth by Messr. Boas and Brandon, presents him in anything but a heroic light, for he is faithless in love and loyalty, and mean-spirited into the bargain. But his rural sweetheart, whom he forsakes for a court lady, is a very extraordinary young woman, for there is no suggestion that Villiers has done more than break off a virtuous, but seemingly incompatible engagement, yet she poses as a Nemesis, denounces him in ambiguous terms to his fiancee, and betrays him to his enemies, and then falls a-weeping upon his dead body, and on every possible occasion recites a dream. Mr. Royce Carleston was brave in bearing and forcible in manner as Villiers; but Miss Dorothy Dene was, except in one or two moments of the play, as uninteresting as her part. Her voice lacked tone, and her delivery of the verse was monotonous. Miss Louise Moodie as Villier’s mother, a part that at one time promised to run on the lines of Lady Macbeth, gave all possible significance to her lines, both by expression and suggestion. Miss Annie Rose as the Duke’s fiancee, and, later, his wife, showed that she has studied to improve her acting, with gratifying results. She was pleasantly sympathetic. Mr. Bassett Roe, as a mysterious and murderous alchemyst of the burning cauldron brand, revealed considerable capacity for pantomime; Mr. J. R. Crauford was good as a soldier with a grievance. Mr. Allen Beaumonth did not the heavy father too much of a bore, and Mr. Laurence D’Orsay was ridiculous in a ridiculous part. Mrs. Carson was industriously engaged in trying to solve the puzzle, where to find the comedy? But it was not her fault that the answer remained unrevealed. Mr. Thomas Lewen was a pretty page. There is some fair verse of the college exercise order in the play, but the authors have yet to learn the whole art of dramatic writing.



Sent from Southampton on 16th March



Handed in at the Southampton Office at 9.5 pm received here at 9.15 pm

Rubber stamp:  BELFAST C           MR 16 90

TO                         Loewenthal

Lennoxvale           Belfast


Safely on board au revoir Jack


  1. Sent from Southampton after boarding the “Coleridge” (heading for Buenos Aires) but written on the train from Waterloo to Southampton – on notepaper from London and South Western Railway, Parcels Dept, Waterloo Station
  2. Fred & Bertie were sons of Isaac Julius Weinberg, co-founder of Moore & Weinberg : Frederick Simon b 1865 Belfast. Herbert James b 1868 Belfast d Perth, Scotland 1896. See Index to People
  3. These were his uncle (Julius' brother) Ferdinand Adolf, his wife Caroline and their children Nanny, Edgar and Clara.
  4. The play referred to was The Favourite of the King, by F. S. Boas and Jocelyn Brandon, a comedy about George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, that ran between March 11 and March 15 1890 to poor reviews. Frederick Samuel Boas, OBE FRSL (1862–1957) was an English scholar of early modern drama. He was born on 24th July 1862, the eldest son of Hermann Boas of Belfast. His family was Jewish. Hermann Boas is found living in Windsor Park in the 1901 Census (and listed as Jewish). He died in Belfast in 1917. b ca 1828 in Germany and listed as “retired manufacturer.” His wife was called Caroline. So, Frederick Samuel was a contemporary of JMcC’s and Father Hermann, 6 years older than Julius. Likely family friends, thus the great embarrassment re the play. Interestingly Frederick Samuel was baptised in London in 1890.
  5. Ferdinand Adolf Loewenthal of 205 Adelaide Road was married to a Caroline née Goldschmidt in Brunswick (Braunschweig). So these must be family of hers. Ferdinand Adolf (Julius’ brother) was in business with them.
  6. The Coleridge was the ship JMcC embarked on – and he is listed on the passenger list as travelling to Buenos Aires, sailing 16th March 1890. It is interesting that JMcC listed as a “foreigner” on the passenger list, not English, Scotch, nor Irish.


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John McCaldin Loewenthal: Letters Home from a Victorian Commercial Traveller, 1889 - 1895 Copyright © 2022 by Michelle Fink, Robert Boyd, Sarah Watkinson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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