A Visit to Tennyson
There was a man painting the garden railing when I walked up to the house, of whom I asked if Mr Tennyson were at home, fully expecting the answer ‘No’, so that it was an agreeable surprise when he said, He’s there, sir’, and pointed him out, and, behold! he was not many yards off, mowing his lawn in a wideawake1 and spectacles. I had to introduce myself, as he is too short-sighted to recognize people, and when he had finished the bit of mowing he was at, he took me into the house to see Mrs Tennyson, who, I was very sorry to find, had been very ill, and was then suffering from almost total sleeplessness. She was lying on the sofa, looking rather worn and haggard, so that I stayed a very few minutes. She asked me to come to dinner that evening to meet a Mr Warburton2 (brother of the ‘Crescent and the Cross’), but her husband revoked the invitation before I left, as he said he wished her to be as little excited as possible that evening, and begged I would drop in for tea that evening, and dine with them the next day. He took me over the house to see the pictures, etc. (among which my photographs of the family were hung ‘on the line’, framed in those enamel—what do you call them, cartons?) The view from the garret windows he considers one of the finest in the island, and showed me a picture which his friend Richard Doyle3 had painted of it for him; also his little smoking-room at the top of the house, where of course he offered me a pipe; also the nursery, where we found the beautiful little Hallam (his son), who remembered me more readily than his father had done.
KeywordsGolden Ring English Poet Macmillan Publisher Prince Consort Real Acquaintance
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- 2.William Warburton (1826–1919), later Canon of Winchester. His brother Bartholomew was the author of the popular book The Crescent and the Cross: or Romance and Realities of Eastern Travel (1845).Google Scholar
- 3.Richard Doyle (1824–83), artist, illustrator and caricaturist; he designed the-once-familiar cover of Punch.Google Scholar