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[Typescript Poem] “Market Day”

  1. 00018586_0001
  2. 00018586_0002

Mary Webb. “Market Day.” “Pontesbury / May & June 1914.” (but crossed out) in upper-right corner. Typescript poem, one leaf, 9″ x 5¾″, off-white wove paper. Forty-four lines (two of these crossed out) and two further ink corrections. This autobiographical poem shows the contentment Mary and Henry felt as aspiring writers, living among country people, and close to nature in a quiet country house. To supplement their meager earnings and to help the war effort, Mary would rise hours before dawn each Saturday, load extra vegetables and flowers in a barrow, and walk the nine miles each way to and from Shrewsbury market, where she rented a stall for the day. While there, Mary quietly absorbed the sights and sounds of the market, noting the local turns of phrase, and storing perceptions that she would later use to good effect in her writing.