Personal Recollections of Tennyson
I can never cease thanking both my parents for treating me … as a person, and one who, unaided, could take an interest in what went on around him. Thus it came to pass quite naturally that when Alfred Tennyson in December 1850 stayed in our house, the vicarage, at Shiplake, half a year after his marriage, I trotted down the kitchen garden walk one morning between the finish of our nursery breakfast and the beginning of that downstairs, and asked questions of him, and, most gratifying to the childish mind, was talked to as if I was a companion and not a little ignorant child. He picked the leaves of the sage, rubbed his teeth with them, and said: ‘That is the best thing in the world to take away the stain of tobacco’, for he was a great smoker, and I was turned out of my little bedroom when he visited us so that he might have a place to write and smoke in at pleasure, for my mother would not allow him to smoke in her best bedroom. Many years later he told me how he began to smoke. ‘Jackson, the saddler at Louth, once gave me one of his strong cigars when I was a boy of twelve, and I smoked it all and flung the stump into a horse-pond, and was none the worse for it, so I was bound to be a smoker.’…
KeywordsCabinet Minister Fine Compliment Personal Recollection Great Smoker Macmillan Publisher
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