New Letters of Edward Fitzgerald


THESE letters I came upon quite by accident in the summer of 1928 while carrying forward research for manuscript material for a Life of the poet Cowper and a collected edition of his letters, upon which I have been engaged for many years. The original autographs are now in the possession of Mrs. Catharine Bodham Johnson, of Norwich, who inherited them from her grandfather, to whom they are addressed. Through her interested cooperation and the courteous consent of the Master of Trinity College, Cambridge, successor to Mr. Aldis Wright, FitzGerald’s literary executor, I am now able to offer these letters verbatim and literatim to the literary world.

FitzGerald letters are of more than casual interest: they belong to the corpus of nineteenth-century litera-

ture. These new letters contain nothing in the way of startling revelation, nothing to alter the accepted estimate of their author’s fame; but they do furnish fresh glimpses of the facets of his charming personality, and they help to qualify our estimate of his genius for friendship.

The friendship here exhibited was one of the most precious FitzGerald ever knew — one which began early and was terminated only by death. William Bodham Donne, grandson of an eminent Norwich surgeon and a kinsman of the poet Cowper’s, was — like John M. Kemble and James Spedding — a schoolboy friend at the noted Bury St. Edmunds grammar school, under Dr. Heath Malkin, and, like Kemble and Spedding, a contemporary at Cambridge and one of the famous ‘Apostles.’ As life advanced, this friendship deepened and increased in beauty and fragrance, not in any ecstatic manner, but calmly, by virtue of the rare qualities of fine old-fashioned gentlemen.

There was much in Donne’s personality to appeal to a man of FitzGerald’s highly individualized type and literary taste. Well versed in classical history as he was and keenly interested in the drama, he led an all too busy life preparing innumerable contributions to serious magazines like the Edinburgh (the editorship of which he refused), the Quarterly, and Fraser’s, editing several of the classical authors, writing essays, serving as librarian of the London Library (185257), and in later life (1857-74) as successor to John M. Kemble, distinguishing himself as Examiner of Plays in the Lord Chamberlain’s office. But in all this worthy activity the man himself, more than anything he did, was bound to appeal to such a connoisseur of human values as FitzGerald. In ‘dear Donne’ he found a combination of qualities after his own heart, a man of refined taste, delicate humor, sweetness of temper, liberality and soundness of judgment, and fine critical faculty. And so for him his frank appraisal, expressed at his friend’s deathbed, was one of complete assent: ‘Ah, there is a man without a fault — the least selfish man I ever knew.’

To William Bodham Donne

GELDESTONE. October 6. [1830?]
I have been intending to write to you for some days past: & now I am vexed that I have not, seeing that the days slip away so, and that I am so soon about to leave this place. For I wanted to ask you to come over here & see me for a day or two: and I do heartily ask you to do so now. We don’t leave here till the 14th of this month: surely you can come for a day. I should be sorry to leave the country without seeing you again, as I dont know when I may be back. Present my compliments to Mrs. Donne [Donne’s mother] & beg her in my name, and I hope with your own desire to back it, to spare you for a very little time. I know you are somewhat shy of strangers: but you need be in no fear here: for we are homely people; and don’t put ourselves out of the way: and so if you can put up with dining off a joint of meat at 1/2 past one with us & the Children [FitzGerald’s nieces and nephews], and can stand an occasional din of the same Children romping in the passage, I think you have no excuse at all. I dont speak of entertaining you, or shewing you sights, which I think is a poor compliment to a man: here are books, & you may do as you please. There are however one or two things that I wish very much to shew you, & to talk to you about — I want to go to Norwich; & will meet you on any day there & bring you here: there is a Coach every day, that starts from Norwich at about 4 in the Afternoon. I have not, you see, hinted at any chance of my coming over to you, because you are distracted with carpenters, bricklayers &c, & I beg that you will not think of it. But please do come here, if it is only for a day: as much more as you can: my sister heartily begs that you will —
I should have been gone some time before, but that my sister wished me to remain till she herself was going away. It is chiefly this that has kept me from writing to you about this: I was not aware that I was going to be here so long. I have enjoyed myself much this summer, & the weather is now most beautiful. Your letter was most welcome to me, as your letters always are: this latter hint I hope you will attend to. I have not heard of Spedding: but I have written to him. Pray do you happen to know who are the new fellows of Trinity? I think the Election is about this time: I am interested for one or two: especially for a man that you have heard Spedding talk of, named Thompson. I believe, however that he is pretty certain of one.
After leaving this place, I believe I shall be in Suffolk for a month: & then probably in London. You must come up to London this winter, Donne: we will get abroad in that sinful place, & be very profane indeed. But it is the first part of my letter which you are now to think of: and yet I wish you would think but once, & slap your thigh, & say ‘Damme, if I wont’ —
And so I remain your affectionate friend

LONDON. Oct: 23: 1836.
What have you been doing, and where have you been? To the sea side yet? And did Blakesley find you? — Pray when you have a spare half hour, and are not disinclined, let me know of your doings — I conclude that you are safe at Mattishall by this time — I have been to Ireland: and after that in Northamptonshire, till last Wednesday when I came to London. Tomorrow I go into Suffolk: where I shall be for a fortnight: in which space of time if you can manage to write to me I shall be glad. My abode, Boulge Hall, Woodbridge —
Spedding is coming back to London this dientical [sic] night, so that I shall just miss him — which is a bore.
I have been to the play nearly every night since I have been here: and they have really mustered all the strength of England at Covent Garden, even at the present low prices — I have seen King John, and Othello, there — Charles Kemble has lost all his lightness in Falconbridge & Cassio: and is become very burdensome on the stage, I think. Vandenhoff really plays Iago very well: not so well as Young, to my taste: I don’t think he has made up his mind so clearly as to Iago’s real character — But he plays with great ease, and point— Macready’s Othello is fine: in parts, very fine: but not so good as some of his other parts — Miss Helen Faucit is a very considerable bore: and Mrs W. West persists in softening whore into whoore; an old item of stage delicacy — Liston is delicious at the Olympic: he should always be seen at the beginning of a season: for he becomes fagged and careless towards the end of it — He and Mrs Orger played last night as well as I could wish to see. So now you have heard all that I have seen. When will you come up and see some of these things according to your promise? My movements are not quite certain just now: but I shall be in town again in the middle of November, for I have to go to the Isle of Weight at that time — I should like hugely to sit with you before the green curtain again — I have also got Blake’s book of Job for you to see: terrible, awful, and wonderful— and Retsch’s Romeo & Juliet, and no end of Epicureanisms in store — I am ashamed of living in such Epicurean ease: and really think I ought to marry, or open a book at a Banker’s, that I may not be more happy than my fellows — Seriously, I do not mean to speak disrespectfully of marriage &c but I only mean that it must bring some cares, and anxieties — However, don’t divulge what I say: for it sounds pert and awkward — Edgeworth [stepbrother of Maria Edgeworth] is still at Eltham with one pupil, I hear: I am sorry that I have not had time to go and see him — Thackeray is married and happy as the day is long — John Kemble is in town, I believe: but I have not seen him. Now you have heard about men you do know, and about men you know no more of than Alexander the Coppersmith —

Octr: 10/44.
I spent a few days in London, & saw no one but Carlyle, & Thompson who had just landed from Germany — In the last Frazer (for this October) you will find an article called ‘An Election for the Long Parliament’ — headed and tailed by Carlyle, in his peculiar tasty way — Is it true that Kemble & Beaumont1 have split? — so I heard in London —
Spedding is yet up in the mountains — I went one night to the Haymarket to see Vanbrugh’s Confederacy — but it was Vanbrugh castrated within an inch of his life; and all the obsolete intrigue story left. Farren looked admirable, & sipped coffee from a little cup just as you see one of the quality doing in one of Marriage a la Mode pictures —

[Postmark: Feb. 28, 1845.]
If one could have good Lyrics, I think the World wants them as much as ever. Tennyson’s are good: but not of the kind wanted. We have surely had enough of men reporting their sorrows: especially when one is aware all the time that the poet wilfully protracts what he complains of, magnifies it in the Imagination, puts it into all the shapes of Fancy: and yet we are to condole with him, and be taught to ruminate our losses & sorrows in the same way. I felt that if Tennyson had got on a horse & ridden 20 miles, instead of moaning over his pipe, he would have been cured of his sorrows in half the time. As it is, it is about 3 years before the Poetic Soul walks itself out of darkness & Despair into Common Sense — Plato wd. not have allowed such querulousness to be published in his Republic, to be sure: and when we think of the Miss Barretts, Brownes, Jewsburys &c who will set to work to feel friends’ losses in melodious tears, in imitation of A.T’s — one must allow Plato was no such prig as some say he was.
I saw Antigone: but, as Vipan says, the music [by Mendelssohn] &c which was what I went to hear, was execrable. The Audience seemed pleased with the plot & dialogue; I can only say it would have been fine if properly done. It should be done in the Senate House at Cambridge.

Septr: 20/48
You see where I date from; inhabiting Spedding’s room while he is absent — For I have been obliged, & am still obliged, to be much in London to lend a hand to save a little out of the wreck of my Father’s affairs — I have also to assist in the pleasing office of raising money for myself—the best offer I can at present hear of being that I must pay £3000 in order to enjoy £2000 — In all this matter however I do not desire, nor need, sympathy — many are my defects — but solicitude for money & luxury is not among them: — & as I & all my family shall have enough, independent of this smash, when my Mother dies, we should be base to fret ourselves now.
I have scarce seen Tennyson this year: have not the least idea where he is. Frederic T. [Tennyson’s eldest brother] was over here a fortnight ago: as usual giving me no information of his presence till it was too late. I believe we were in London together without knowing it. I have no doubt whatsoever that Alfred knew nothing at all of this eagle business: — only you know a man of genius docs hit upon the right thing instinctively & prophetically — If the wedded eagle clasp were fitted for an ornament of dress for those days, as we somehow feel it was, so it was fitted for some allegory of Church or State — So the Cross is now worn — at balls as well as in Churches — I think your friend may cease his anxiety on this subject —
How long I shall be here I scarce know. All the goods & chattels at Boulge are going to be sold, I believe: including my Cottage furniture. And I know not if all these troubles will not drive me from that neighbourhood. I could remain very quietly there but for the solicitation of my Father’s creditors whom I cannot satisfy, & whom my presence yet keeps in hope.
Farewell for the present.

BOULGE. Janrv• 21/49.
I was obliged to be in town on Wednesday last, to be badgered by a lawyer in the Court of Bankruptcy. But I got back the same day: & shd. have been glad to see you here. But it appears that Captain Brooke’s house was not in fine trim enough —
Barton seems to me ill: labours with great difficulty of breath: and I think the Doctor suspects disease in the heart. Certainly B. B. is greatly altered in strength, appetite, spirits, and personal favour this last winter. Sic transit —
I manage to keep on the windy side of care — Crabbe has lost his youngest son of consumption: but I am going to-night to console him with an account of Mr. Layards Assyrians, which will make snap [sic] his fingers at Moses.

Your letter found me here, where I came a fortnight ago to visit my Mother. I have had much to thank you for about this Book: & you yet continue yr. kind exertions in it’s behalf. I shall read your Paper with pleasure — As to the Edinburgh, it is almost too great an exaltation to be dreamed of: you must decide on all that for yourself: but do not bore yourself, or employ upon me room you want to fill with other matter —
As to my Memoir, you over-rate it & me; but you & old Spedding (I have long known) wall monster the nothings of your friends. Don’t complain of the much you have written: nor desire me to write: — it is easy enough to write an agreeable account of an agreeable man one has known so long — You have had to do with Emperors &c whom you never knew — dead 2000 years ago — you have given much useful information about them: when you get to your Norfolk Worthies, you shall be pleasant, picturesque, & humorous, & write as if you were talking as you often talk to me —
My dear old Crabbe [son of Crabbe the poet] has published a volume on God &c — he has sent it me — has he to you? I am more vext than I can tell you about it; for I am sure he will be disappointed in all ways — It seems to me a sad mistake — the dotage of logic — terms misapplied, inconsequent arguments &c. Crabbe had not the advantage of good logical training, & he scarce knows how the world has got on of late — He, you see, wrote a very delightful Biography of his Father; then he should have stopped —
I have been once to the play at l/2 price, and saw 2 stupid farces acted by the Keeleys, Buckstone &c I am sure the farces were at least as dull as I was — Why won’t you, or can’t you, come up to London while I am hereabout, and go with me to see Macbeth — & Carlyle! The latter I have once seen; he was very mild to me, who do not antagonize with him: he only smouldered about Ireland; but I am told he blazes up generally. I thought what he said of it true.
Thompson is still very ill at Cambridge— unable to do tutorial duties. S. Rice [the Honorable Stephen Spring Rice] goes to see him tomorrow; & I shall go & visit him ere long, I hope — Thackeray has been dangerously ill of a bilious fever; I found him just able to creep upstairs, but beginning (he told me) to eat enormously. He is now at Brighton —
Kind remembrances to all — Again take my thanks for all yr. kind offices — &

believe me ever yrs.

[Late 1851.]
I was not surprised at your kind and partial letter — for I have long known your feeling toward me — I have so often said that you over-estimate my talents, and under-rate your own, that it only looks like scratching for a return to say so again — And yet this is very clear to myself, and others — I have what Goethe calls the ‘Barber’s talent’ of easy narrative of easy things — can tell of Barton, & Chesterton Inn, but not of Atreus, and the Alps — Nor do I pretend to do so — You have a far stronger head — a better Understanding — more active Humour — and a Memory that supplies your Understanding with unfailing stuff to grind. I have come to a time of life, or perhaps (as I hope) a time of philosophy, which enables me to see these things pretty clearly, undimmed by much Ambition or (I fondly hope again) Vanity — And what I say of us both I say with at least as much Sincerity as I am capable of saying anything.
The little Book [Euphranor, a dialogue of youth] is no sudden push at Authordom: it was written some years ago: but with-held because Puseyism & Catholicism were ascendant. When they got into disgrace here by the Pope’s late advance, I brushed up my Dialogue — & printed it — Except a letter to the Ipswich Journal, or a few words of Preface to some Book of Extracts, I do really not meddle with Print — and, I believe, never shall. For it really is more labour to me to put anything together than you who write so much can imagine — And I know that others will do and can do much better with pleasure, ease, and profit, to themselves.
Enough of this. As I believe you honestly like much of my Book, & think it may be useful, I shall be undoubtedly glad to have you say so in print — so as I may stick ‘a plum of praise’ in an advertisement. For certainly if I do not want, or expect, to gain much, I also do not want to lose; & at least I hope I shall do no harm — If you cannot give me a whole Review, you can give me a glance in a Review on some one else, may be. All this I leave to yr. discretion & opportunities. Only do not bore yourself in my small service.
Pickering publishes — and I suppose the Book will be to be had at his Shop in a Week. I leave it to Childs & him to fix a price — 2s ought to be the utmost — It is to be done up in plain green cloth: which is all ready, I believe, waiting only the title-page to be made up at once.

I had a kind Note from Thackeray some ten days ago: — but the Author is in his Letters now — He says he has often to write when only just able to do so after one of his Illnesses: and that his Age for Novel-writing is past. It is a pity he was not convinced of this before, I think —
Love to all. Ever yrs

Jan: 3/64
Thank you for your very kind Letter, & take back in full all Good Wishes for this same /64 —
It is very good of you (but only as usual) to offer all Entertainment &c. However, I am better: whether owing to Mr. Hissing’s Pills & Draughts; or to giving up Alcohol in it’s many Shapes; or to tearing about out of doors till knocked up: or to the change of Weather; or all these Things together— So here I am again a Candidate for /64, & may perhaps, smoke a Cigar & drink some Dilution of Alc-h-l this very night with Man by, should he look in after Evening Church: whither he goes punctually as Churchwarden as well as Christian — He is very proud of a Porch he has had re-fronted at the expense of refractory Dissenters. I wrote to Charles about Thackeray. I have been reading his Books, as well as Letters, and can scarce believe the Great Spirit is quite quench’d — Now I wish he were alive that I might write & tell him how the Newcomes were illuminating my long Evenings. But, if he were alive, I don’t think he’d care to be told so by me now; I think he had ceased to remember me; and I’m sure I can’t wonder, nor (least of all) blame him.
Last night I wrote to Mrs. Kemble (taking the Hampshire Address you gave me) & told her how sincerely well I liked her Play. As to her Stage Criticism, perhaps I don’t understand her Definitions; I should have thought that ‘intuitive’ and ‘intellectual’ would have served well enough to distinguish the Styles
[Remainder of letter wanting]

To Mowbray, Donne’s son MARKET HILL: WOODBHIDGE. Febr: 29 [!] 64 I do believe you would almost think it humbug if I were to tell you how much I feel your kindness in remembering, & writing to me — You do all of you come of a Good Stock, that’s certain —
I have been thinking of your Father for two or three Days past; and should have written to him but that in that case he must answer; & I think the less pen-work he has the better. His last note said he was not very well; but I judge by your Letter he is not much out of sorts. Do keep him from work (head-work) as much as you can; you may apprentice him to any Handycraft save of the Pen —
Only (by the bye) do you, or he, tell me one Day what is a good Tacitus for an Ignoramus — I mean with short, easy, & perhaps, English Notes; also (it being for an Elderly Ignoramus) with good Type— When I get to my Ship again I reckon on Tacitus for a Ship mate; he will last me a long while —
Having got to the end of Loder’s Stock of Mudie, I have been quite happy again with some of Scott’s Novels, & Boswell’s Johnson; both as fresh as Dew. It is a great comfort to be able to return to such Books. I have also read Thackeray’s Pendennis & Newcomes again — wonderful too — but not so comfortable — I think some of the Panegyrics in the Papers & Reviews throw some light on what I had been told of his later years; he must have got surrounded with a set of Praise-plasterers, so as scarce to be able to breathe without it. —Twenty years ago he used to let out against the Authors be-praising one another — But he remains something of a Great Man after all. I feel how he, Scott, & Johnson, would have cogged well together —
Laurence is to paint me a Head of him; but he is so dilatory, I don’t know when he’ll do it. I only have begged of him to paint — not his best — but his worst 8c quickest; & then I shall stand more chance of being pleased.
Your Father wrote to me of Miss Bateman as a promising Actress. I like better to read of Garrick than to see & hear others at the cost of being screwed into a hot Theatre — What do you think of Faust? I have an instinct it’s dull; I doubt if so good as the Mozart & Rossini always humming in my head. The second Vol: of Mendelssohn’s Letters is a truly charming Book: though I can’t set him up with his Elders, as some do.
Now, my dear Mowbray, if a quick Return is any Proof of a well laid-out Capital, you see your yesterday’s kind Letter has not missed — Make my Compliments to Mrs. M; perhaps it may please her if I say sincerely that I think she is a lucky Woman, as much as if I were to say you were a lucky man — which further Acquaintance would, I dare say, enable me to say as sincerely —

To Donne

Thank me one day for the Verses I enclose; surely among some of Byron’s best, — and justest — I dare not send Spedding a Copy; for he liked the old humbug.
What a pretty Book is the Tennyson Selection; only, could they have found no one to design better ornaments than the meagre & vulgar things they have put? — I think the Sleeping Palace, & Palace of Art shd. have been in: & Somewhat too much of Prince Albert & C°.

I was going to build, with great energy, when some Steward of a manor claims my Building Bit for Copyhold, though sold to me as Freehold. I see Property has it’s Sorrows as well as it’s Rights & Duties. By the bye, I must n’t forget to answer the main Question of your Letter — about the Busk2 — you see I can’t have it yet, as I have no house for it. I think the Bearded Portraits of A T. make him look like Dickens. There is a nice paper in the Cornhill about Thackeray’s School Days — by a Mr. Boyce (if I read Annie Thackeray’s words aright) I wonder E never heard W M T speak of it. The Paper made me very sad, coming so close on my own College Recollections. I told Annie T. if there were to be any Memoir of her Father, to get Tom Taylor to do it — perhaps Lewes might do pretty well; but I think Taylor is a more reverent & Scholarly man. But I have never heard if the thing is about doing at all.

To Mowbray Donne

LOWESTOFT: Decr. 31/67
Your Letter only came to hand here this morning. But I am just in time to wish you both a Good 1868. So be it!
I came here a week ago to wind up accounts for the Lugger — all on the wrong side at present — but we look to 1868. Posh3 has fretted at his unsuccess: though in fact he has done
better than half the Boats. It has been a bad Season: spoilt by the strong Winds in the last month. Yesterday we had a grand Bill paying: I told him there was less to pay than I expected: &, if he were what I thought, I would rather lose money with him than win it with many others. The dear old Boy got happy: and of course made me angry by coming home rather unsteady after settling the Bills. So I look glum Today: & all the while know I’m not worthy to grease his Boots —
What is all this to you! — I should like to see a Westminster Play: but I never could care for Terence — Very easy, elegant, & sensible: but no Devil. I have a Virgil with me here; he has no Devil neither: but then what an Angel! Talking of Devil, I am really reprinting that old Persian: all the copies of which have gone off, at a steady sale of 2 per annum: the greater portion having, I believe, been lost by Quaritch when he changed house. It is the only one of all my Great Works that ever has been asked for: — I am persuaded, because of the Wickedness, which is now at the heart of so much — Goodness! Not that the Persian has anything at all new: but he has dared to say it, as Lucretius did: and now it is put into tolerable English Music — That is all —

To Donne

[Early 1870.]
I am not sure but Laurence will be coming down here before long. I had to write to him about some of my poor pictures which have got damaged by the damp of my d—d House; & I enclosed him a Photo, just done, of my Captain. With this he was so well pleased, that I thought it wd. be good to have him do an Oil-sketch — like that of Thackeray — as I have not put a penny in his pocket these 5 or 6 years, & he has, poor fellow, but one sitter, he tells me. He is busy with his one Sitter now; & the Captain is busy with a second Lugger he has bought; but what is to be done had better be done before the London Season begins — if that signifies to poor Laurence! —
I have positively been striking in an Oar with the Dean of Ely in behalf of a Curate of a neighbouring Parish, whom all the Parish wish to be Rector in place of him whose hearse I saw travelling along in the Sun Today. The Appointment, we are told, lies with Professor Selwyn, subject to the approval of Dean & Chapter — and I have written to Mrs. Thompson too. Wish we may get it, say I! — I know no more of this Curate as a personal Acquaintance than to shake hands as we meet, & exchange ‘How dye do?’ but I see he is a wholesome, active, unpretending, useful fellow.
Since I began this letter (three days ago — mislaying it meanwhile) I have one from Mrs. Kemble, which I make bold to enclose to you, t hough I doubt that her Nostril would inflate at such a Breach of Confidence. It is better than anything I can write, however, and has no dangerous secrets in it — unless icicles at Venice be one.

LOWESTOFT: March 6/75
Yes, this has been a Year indeed for Death & Sickness: Doctors & Chemists hereabout say they never had such demand. I saw in yesterdays Telegraph that Helps Sir A. was seriously ill — with Pleurisy — one form of Cold, I believe. I got on pretty well till last week: when Cold came which began to wheeze: but went about till yesterday, when the Doctor, meeting me at my niece’s Door, ordered me in, & sent Pill, Draught, & Embrocation after me. I think the East Wind, plus Sun, is worse than minus: I suppose one fries & freezes on different sides at the same time.
I have not seen Greville: only a few extracts in Athenæum when first the Book came out. There was something sharp about Mrs. K’s American Journal. I wondered if Greville were he whom I once — one evening — met at her house in Savile Row; a man who brought some knitting to do while talking — à la Chorley [the music critic]. Dear Chorley! I write it in earnest, for his Memoir sufficiently proves to me that he was a brave, good, fellow: though as Mrs. K. says ’ludicrous.’ I love him for his Love of Dickens & of Dickens Regard for him. I always wish I was thoroughly up in Virgil: so as to read him with accuracy & ease, which I cannot. He is my Love among the Romans, spite of Niebuhrs (I forget his name) and I was thinking the other day I would begin on Conington [editor of Virgil] directly I got home. I have been once more trying La Fontaine, & Gil Blas; but cannot get on with either. I believe I see the naiveté & finesse of the first, Frenchman though I am not: but Birds & Birds should talk in rougher terms. Montaigne or Rabelais or any one before Louis XIV wd. have done them better. I think I understand too something of the Spirit of Gil Blas; all so easy going &c. But there seems to me no Colour, nor Body, in it, nor with any of the Beauty of my dear Don Q. Oh, the two Books can’t be named together.
I bought a dirty Copy of Blackwood from it’s Beginning to 1830; and have the first 6 Vols in reading here. There is capital Fun even so early: and one knows the Fun will become faster as Wilson [‘Christopher North’] gets ahead. He is the only one of the Critics, I think, who can be read after: having Genius of his own as well as Discernment of others. Indeed, I suppose he had more of the First than of the last. I find ‘Timothy Tickler’ very good too. I am writing against Time: for our early Post closes at 101/2 and I was not down till past 9, I believe. But I want you to have my Letter, such as it is, this same Day. You will know, without my saying, that I wish Blanche & Valentia to be well. I have not touched on poor Fred [Donne’s youngest son, who died in February 1875]: for I think you know what my Feelings are about him also. And now I shall ‘shut up’ to make sure, if I can — You may know how glad I am to hear from you: but never wish you to write unless quite easy to you. Believe all this; and believe me your’s ever & always
E. FG.

  1. Wentworth Beaumont was owner of the British and Foreign Review, of which John Mitchell Kemble was editor (1836-1844), and to which W. B. Donne was a frequent contributor. — N. C. H.
  2. The cast of the bust of Alfred Tennyson (‘Busk,’ Thackeray called it) was by Thomas Woolner, R.A.; the original is in Trinity College, Cambridge.
  3. Joseph Fletcher, captain of the herring lugger Meum and Tuum. FitzGerald was so devoted to this man that he could not speak highly enough of him. The partnership in the herring business did not prove very satisfactory, and was dissolved after some three years, whereupon Fletcher became sole owner of the Meum and Tuum (1870). FitzGerald addressed many letters to ' Posh,’ — N. C. H.