Christmas Whodunnit: New Sinclair Letter

Who is “Charles R”?

A new letter has come to light from May Sinclair to Wilfrid Meynell in which Sinclair says she says she is “very much afraid that poor Mr. Wells may be shot unless something is done”. The potential shooter she refers to as “Charles R”, or alternatively “Mr. Smith”. But who is Charles R?

The full text of the letter is as follows:

4 Edwardes Sq. Studios. W

Jan: 19: 1911

My dear Mr. Meynell

“Charles R”s latest is a libellous letter addressed to me + threatening Mr. H. G. Wells (whome he knows to be a friend of mine) so insanely + so dangerously that I have been obliged to write to Mr. Bernard Shaw in Mr. Wells’s interests (he being abroad) + tell him about it. I’ve asked him for the name +address of Mr. Wells’s solicitors +, unless he strongly dissuades me from this course (wh. my own solicitor approves), I shall send Mr. Smith’s letter to them to <deal with.>

I heard that he goes about with a revolver, but I didn’t believe it. Now – after his letter – I am very much afraid that poor Mr. Wells may be shot unless something is done.

I am requesting that my name may not not appear in the matter; for I do not want to be included in Charles R’s scheme of vengeance

The letter contained libellous references to Mr. Shaw Bernard Shaw himself – also to Mr. Belfort Bax! But that’s a detail.

I’m off to Cannes (Hotel Californie) on Saturday early.

With kindest regards

  1. sincerely yrs

May Sinclair



May Sinclair will have known Wilfrid Meynell through his wife Alice Meynell, who was in the Women Writers’ Suffrage League at the same time as Sinclair. Wilfrid Meynell and Sinclair also wrote for some of the same journals in the early 1910s.

Mr Ernest Belfort Bax was a socialist and men’s rights activist. Here is a letter exchange from Wilshires Magazine August-November 1902 between Bax and George Bernard Shaw.

But who is the man with the libellous letters and the revolver? If anyone can shed light on this mystery man, please get in touch!

We are very much indebted to Oliver Hawkins, the great grandson of Wilfrid Meynell, for sending us this fascinating letter.