Memories of Tennyson
Farringford in its wooded seclusion is always beautiful, winter or summer. I saw it first on a bleak winter day. The great drawingroom, with the French windows opening on the lawn, and high trees, with a view of the lovely sweep of the bay, was occupied by a small party. I seem to remember Tennyson entering silently and moving slowly and remaining rather silent among his guests through luncheon. Lady Tennyson’s perfection of reception, her touching beauty which wakened the heart and really warmed it as chiselled beauty so seldom does, dispelled shyness at the first meeting. I can recall the whole far-off look of the poet as he came down from his morning’s work. He moved slowly, as I have said, and looked sad; he wore grey tweed, with deep linen collar close up to the chin and deep shirt-cuffs turned back over the sleeves after a fashion not uncommon in the days of lavish laundry. As for the wearer, it is difficult to make a pen-and-ink portrait from a reminiscence of first meeting, but I should say that the consummate beauty of Tennyson’s pose of head and of the shapely nose always impressed the beholder at first sight, though a short black beard marred the fine moulding of mouth and chin, and strong glasses, necessary to his sight, sealed up the light that was so often in his eyes. There were hard lines, too, near the mouth, which, like his grave motion, marked him as a man of sorrows.
KeywordsShapely Nose Small Party Happy Evening Fine Moulding Strong Glass
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.