Sheppard, Elizabeth Sara (DNB00)

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SHEPPARD, ELIZABETH SARA (1830–1862), novelist, daughter of a clergyman of the church of England who was on his mother's side of Jewish descent, was born at Blackheath in 1830. Her father soon died, without leaving provision for his family. Her mother opened a school. An accomplished linguist in Greek, Latin, Hebrew, French, and German, Elizabeth was also a capable musician, and taught music in her mother's school. At the age of sixteen she began her novel, ‘Charles Auchester.’ She sent the manuscript to Benjamin Disraeli, who forwarded it to his publisher, and wrote to the author, ‘No greater book will ever be written upon music, and it will one day be recognised as the imaginative classic of that divine art.’ It was published in 1853 in three volumes, with a dedication to the author of ‘Contarini Fleming.’ No name appears on the title-page. The story is crude, and Disraeli's eulogistic prophecy was not fulfilled. Miss Sheppard modelled herself on Disraeli, and, like him, portrayed real characters in her novels. In ‘Charles Auchester’ Seraphael is supposed to represent Mendelssohn. Another novel, ‘Counterparts, or the Cross of Love,’ published in three volumes in 1854, was dedicated to Mrs. Disraeli. A second edition appeared in 1866.

Miss Sheppard died at Brixton on 13 March 1862.

Other works by her are: 1. ‘My First Season,’ by Beatrice Reynolds, edited by the author of ‘Charles Auchester,’ 1855; 2nd edit. 1864. 2. ‘The Double Coronet,’ 2 vols. 1856. 3. ‘Rumour: a Novel,’ 3 vols. 1858. 4. ‘Almost a Heroine,’ 1859. Allibone also mentions ‘Round the Fire’ (a collection of children's tales) and some poems by her. She is said to have sometimes employed the pseudonym of E. Berger, a French rendering of her own surname.

[Allibone's Dict. ii. 2075. The articles in the Atlantic Monthly, June and October 1862, contain a few facts, but are absurdly eulogistic in tone.]

E. L.