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these four days, that I had you for a nurse. Tenny does
pretty well, but he has his lessons and holiday amusements
to attend to : besides boys are not born for nurses, as girls

Tenny goes back to school on the 20th. I shall feel very
lonely when he is gone. I am longing to kiss your dear
little face again, and I think I must have you to live with

' Miss Marshall.


me altogether for two or three weeks, before you go back to
Finchley, in order to make up for all the time I have not
seen you. . . .

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.


British Museum, 1864.

My Dear Little Girl,

I was much pleased to see that you remembered
what I said about writing fully. ... I slept at Finchley on
Saturday night. The little ones are very well and happy.
Yesterday, I was nearly all day at Brent Lodge. Mrs.
Jackson and Mary and Julia all asked about you, and I
gave Mrs. Jackson your letter to read, as I liked her to see
that you had written me a nice long one, Tenny had
another half-holiday on Saturday. It is much more com-
fortable for him now that I live in London. He used not
to know what to do with his half-holidays. Now he comes
" home " and has tea and a walk afterwards with me.

Did you think, yesterday, at 2 o'clock, that that was the
time you always went to Brent Lodge ? Or were you so full
of your new friends that you forgot your old ? I hope you
never go into romping and screaming spirits, as you did at
Dorchester. When you are on a visit to friends, they will
not seem to notice a good deal which they may really dis-
like very much. So you must not think that they like or
approve noisy ways because they smile and are kind and
say nothing.

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.

British Museum,

January 18, 1864.
My Dear Little Girl,

I send you twelve stamps. My cold and cough are
much better, so that I am able to go to work again at the
Museum. I spent Saturday and Sunday nights at Dr.
Jackson's, and the change did me a great deal of good. Mr.
Aubrey de Vere is gone to Rome, and I am not sure that
I shall not go too, in a little while, but not before you
return. Mrs. Jackson says that, if I go, she will take care
of you all for me.


The little poem about which you enquire is not in my
new two volumes. I did not think it quite good enough.
" Bright though the Valley " is a nice little piece for you to
learn. You might also learn a piece from the " Angel,"
called " The Joyful Wisdom." Bertha has given you an
accurate report of their health. They are all as round and
fat as dumplings, and look as bright as a May morning.
Bertha did not go to Mrs. Simon's, because there was no
one to take her, as I was ill, and could not leave my rooms.
Tenny goes back to school on Wednesday. He has been
hard at work all the holidays learning to write poetry in

I have not yet seen the new cat at Finchley.

We shall soon be hearing from Milly.^ I have written to
him again to-day, so that he may get a letter by every mail
while he is at Bombay.

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.

Percy Street,

Jan. 29.
My Dear Little Girl,

I find a letter which I thought I had answered, but
have not. Mrs. Marshall, you tell me, doubts whether
" Punch " is good reading for you. I am quite of Mrs.
Marshall's opinion, and I am sure that your mama would
have been so too. I cannot tell how you can be " very,
very, very sure that mama used to let you," when, to the
best of my recollection, I would never have a copy of
" Punch " in our house. . . .

I am longing very much to see you. Everyone admires
Julia's medallion, and thinks it an admirable likeness. Mr.
Holman Hunt thinks it much more than a good likeness.
You must tell Julia this.

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.

14, Percy Street,

February ist, 1864.
My Dear Little Girl,

I have treated your snowdrops with the greatest care,
and I hope they will recover from the effects of the fearful

^ Milnes Patmore, the eldest son.


stamping which they have received in the post. Their
lower limbs are dreadfully bruised, and the paper is covered
with their green blood ; they are at present in a fainting
condition, and I do not know whether they are not too far
gone even for the powers of sal-volatile.

Spring must be forwarder in Yorkshire than here. I sup-
pose the warm smoke of Leeds protects the earth from the
frost, which, in our clear London air, bids the flowers sleep
for a month or two longer. I always wonder how the snow-
drops know what time it is to get up ; for they do not mind
the frost. All they insist upon is that it shall be the end of
January or the beginning of February. They are by much
the most cunning little flowers I know.

I believe that I am certainly going to Italy about the
middle of the month. Mr. Panizzi tells me that there is no
doubt that leave will be given to me by the Trustees of the
Museum. I should so much like to have taken my little
pet, but it would cost so much money.

Bertha is to go back to Finchley to keep her birthday.
I am going to give her a paint-box. I am delighted to
hear that Mrs. Marshall agrees with me in detesting
" Punch." I dare say an odd number of " Fun " with a
parody upon the " Angel " in it, did once get into our house,
and that it was given to you and Bertha to cut up — as a
proper punishment for having " cut up " me.

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.

14, Percy Street,



My Dear Little Girl,

As the time approaches, I long more and more to see
you. At what time on Saturday will it be ?

It is all settled about my going to Italy. I have got four
months' " leave," and shall probably set off on Tuesday or
Wednesday week. Tell Mrs. Marshall.

I expect to be very dull and miserable for the first two
or three weeks, until I get to Rome ; but when I am there
I shall be all right, for nobody can be dull or miserable
where Mr. de Vere is. Don't you remember how he looked


From medallion by Miss Julia Marshall, 1S63.

To face p. 124.


like sunshine whenever he came to see us at Hampstead or
Highgate Rise?

I will look up a copy of the " Servant's Behaviour Book,"
and will send it to Mrs. Marshall to-morrow.

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.

P.S. Mr. Hunt is not the only person of artistic culture
to whom I have shown Julia's medallion. Every one
praises it, as well for the likeness as for the " style." I
wonder whether you will ever be able to please your friends
by making such music or such medallions as Julia can for
her friends ?


March 4th, 1864.

My Dear Little Girl,

On reaching Rome I am delighted to find your
letter, so nicely and neatly written, with just the things in
it that I want to know.

I have seen a great many beautiful and strange things
since I left you, — too many to tell you of in a letter. I will
tell you all about them when I come home. My travelling
has been very fatiguing, so that I do not feel much better
yet; but now I am settled in Rome I shall soon get rid of
my cough, I think.

I am living very comfortably in a very great hotel where
about a hundred and fifty ladies and gentlemen sit down to
one table to dinner every day. Rome is the least interest-
ing town I have yet seen. To-day I saw the Pope and all
the Cardinals in Saint Peter's quite well. He is a very nice,
kind-looking old gentleman, and so are most of the Cardinals.
I do not know exactly when I shall come home. It is not
likely to be more than four months, and may be only three.
I must come back, you know, when all my money is spent,
and living is extremely dear here. They expect tenpence
if they say " Bon jour " to you, and ask three or four
shillings if they carry your carpet bag up-stairs for you ! I
cannot get any dinner under four shillings ; but in London
I can dine for one or two quite well.

Your loving Father,

Coventry Patmore.


Buxted Hall,

September 14th, 1866.
My Dear Little Girl,

I am very much pleased with your letter, which is
longer and better written, and which expresses your feel-
ings with more credit to yourself than your letters usually

I shall certainly be in town in a few days and then I will
come and see you, and bring you some apples and nuts out
of the orchard. The squirrels are always scampering
about the filbert trees, but there are plenty for them and
us. Langley told me yesterday " they wanted shooting."
But I told him they wanted no such thing, and that they
were to live, even though they ate all the nuts.

Your affectionate Father,

C. Patmore.


February 4th, 1867.

My Dear Little Girl,

It is not settled about your coming home, but I shall
be very glad to have you here again, though I shall very
much regret the loss of your advantages at the convent.
You will have to study with me, you know, and you must
try to help Mama a great deal, in a quiet way, with Bertha
and Henry. Your own mother, at your age had the
management of her father's, and afterwards of her uncle's
house, and did it as well as if she had been twice the age.
But then she had a way oi forgetting (rather than denying)
herself, which made it easy to everybody to be guided by
her. This is an accomplishment, dear, which you have to
learn, and the way to learn it is to practice thinking of
others' wishes and needs, and making them your own.

The place is getting quite beautiful. You will hardly
know it.

Your loving Father,
C. Patmore.


March 21, 1867.
My Dear Little Girl,

It is of no use trying not to be " affected." The
way not to be so is not to think of yourself All persons,
almost, are " affected " at some time of their lives, but sen-


sible persons soon get over it, whereas foolish persons re-
main so a long time or for ever. As I have hopes that
you are, or will be, of the former sort, I am not much
troubled to hear of your present difficulty. You are quite
mistaken in thinking you are born to be a trouble to every-
body. You were never any trouble to me, but only a plea-
sure ; and you will not be a trouble to yourself as soon as you
get out of your present little bad habit of thinking about
yourself. If you cou/d " understand yourself" I should be
very much surprised, as it is very much more than much
older and wiser people than you have ever been able to do.
Pray don't think of " beginning to form your character."
Other people, circumstances, and the grace of God will do
that for you. All you have to think of is simply to obey
God and follow the directions of those whom He has put
over you. Your great want is a serious interest in some one
pursuit. I hope that this will come of itself some day.
Till then you are likely to be a trouble to yourself, though
you will never be one to Your loving Father,



September 12, 1867.

My Dear Little Girl,

Lamby is still alive. He dwells, literally, in clover,
and is getting exceeding fat, and so boisterous and strong,
that I am quite unable to hold him.

There is no news. Nothing ever happens here, except
those beautiful events, the changes of season and weather,
and the growth and harvesting of crops. You will see a
good deal of improvement by Xmas. By that time the
quarry will be filled in and all the place green up to the

The pheasants, which were little chicks when you were
here, are full grown and look very handsome, walking about
the lawns. The peacocks fight with them ; but they are
brave birds, and do not give way to their big rivals.

Henry and Bertha each caught a fish in the pond yester-
day. Mama and I had one of them for supper and it was
quite enough.

Henry was much frightened when he saw it flopping
about, round his feet. Your loving Father,



Old Lands, ^

November 8, 1867.
My Dear Little Girl,

You will be both glad and sorry to hear that poor
Lamby is at last gone to the place where all good Iambs
go. His life was never happy, for he never cared for com-
pany of his own kind, and was always hankering after
human society — a sad example of how bad a thing it is for
people to mix with those above their own rank.

The place is much prettier than when you left it. The
lawns and gardens are beginning to look beautiful, so many
new and beautiful trees have been planted.

Your loving Father,

C. Pativiore.

Heron's Ghyll,

nr. Uckfield.

Oct. 6, 1869.
My Dear Little Girl,

I am very glad to find from your letters to Mama
and me that you are likely to be very happy at the Convent.
You will find it very new and very pleasant to have so
many girls who will really be companions for you. We
miss you very much here. Half the household seems to
have gone away with you.

The goblet was omitted by mistake. I will send you one.
You will certainly see some one from here once every
six weeks.

I am sure I need not say much to you about the necessity
of working hard to make up for lost time in certain things.
You must not allow the fact of your working with a class
to make you contented with any less perfect work than you
can do in the time. Education is not so much the acquisi-
tion of knowledge as that of habits of mind — application
among the rest. And of course half-an-hour a day of hard
work does more in this way than six hours a day of slovenly
and dreamy work.

Your loving Father,

C. Patmore.

By-the-bye, " Cato" is Addison's, not " Anderson's."

^ " Old Lands " and " Buxted " are earlier names of the place
which Patmore called later " Heron's Ghyll."


March 14, 1870.

My Dear Little Girl,

A few lines for the privileged St. Patrick's Day. I
refuse to take your warning that you will never be the least
nice in any way, or do anything well but things that are of
no use. I fully expect you to be able to dance a quadrille,
and to play one on the piano well, when you come home.
And those are two very " useful " things. I am looking
forward, indeed, with great and anxious hope to Mid-
summer. I am getting very tired of walking all alone in
my new-made Paradise — for your mama is rarely well
enough or at leisure enough to walk with me.

I am going to take Henry to Ushaw at Easter, so that
we shall be still nearer to absolute solitude.

" Spring comes slowly up this way." Violets are a month
earlier at Hastings than here. We are still imbedded in
ice and snow, with the thermometer I know not how many
degrees under nothing. Frozen off toes and noses strew
the gravel paths, and the dormice sleep so that you can
hear them snore through a nine-inch wall.

I have given your message to Miss Robson.

Your loving Father,

C. Patmore.

The next letter was written to his second wife,
who was at Canterbury. The work on the Rosary
has been mentioned in vol. i., p. 216. The expres-
sion " Ugh ! it's alive," was often used by Patmore :
for example, he applies it to his own work in the
Preface to "Rod, Root and Flower."

[1878 or 1879].
Dear Mary,

We are getting on very well. Bertha sits with me
a good deal, and we have long talks on her favourite subject.
I hope our confabulations may be profitable.

I have been thinking a good deal of how you fag for the
children. You really must not. They will thank you more
if you make them work for you. There have been no letters,
and there is no news of any sort. Take a great many drives,
and make the time as pleasant to yourself as you can. I
have read your Rosary, and am quite delighted with it, but


it is too good for modern Catholics. They would only cry
out " It's alive ! ugh ! " I loved you very much as I read it.

C. P.

About the time of his first pilgrimage to Lourdes,
Patmore made his first " retreat " at Manresa, Roe-
hampton. He had looked forward to it with some
dread (see pp. 88-89), but was, in the event, satisfied
with the results, and subsequently made retreats at
Manresa, Pontypool, Pantasaph and Stonyhurst.
While at Pontypool in October 1882, he became a
tertiary of the Franciscan Order. Francis Thompson,
alluded to in the Pantasaph letters, is the poet,
between whom and Patmore there was great sym-

The following letters are to the present Mrs.


It has been the hardest ten days' work I ever went
through. It has pretty well knocked me up, and would kill
you straight off. You have to get up at 5.30., pass two
hours and fifteen minutes on your knees before you get a
taste of breakfast, and between breakfast and bedtime eight
hours more on your knees, in all ten hours and a quarter.

This experiment proving successful, from that
time he made an annual practice, as long as his
health permitted, of returning to Manresa, or going
to one of the Franciscan Monasteries for eight or ten


F*". H. has been here. I get on with him

less well than with any other Jesuit I have known. He has
no touch of imagination, which seems to me to be as
essential to the religious as to the poetical character ; and
is not only defective himself in this way, but he snubs in
quite a superfluous way, the remotest hint of such a character
in others. says it comes of being a Scotchman.

You remember his speech when we were lamenting our


poor groom's loss of his wife. " O, he'll soon get another ! "
He did not get another, but apparently went utterly to the
dogs through his misery. I dare say F^ H. is all the better
interiorly for this external hardness and seeming want of
perfection ; for it must be more difficult to travel steadily to
Heaven without ever catching a glimpse of it, than when a
touch of " The vision and faculty divine " occasionally spurs

the spirit !

C. P.

Father Bannin was quite right in his prophecy. I shall
return home a Franciscan of the Third Order, and I hope
that you Tvill become one also. Father Evangelist says you

may wear your diamonds I went early yesterday

morning with the Bishop of Newport to Hereford, stayed
three hours with the Bodenhams,^ and returned about seven
o'clock in the evening. The Bodenhams were very kind
and cordial, and pressed me much to stay there some days.
But life in a grand country house does not suit me, and I
told them I was bound to my monks and my cell. . . .

If I were a Cardinal I could not be treated with more
attention or kindness than I am here.
Oct. 12.

St. Albans Monastery,


I am here at last. Father Evangelist met me at New-
port and took me about the town till midday. I am just
returned from a stroll about Pontypool and the hills round
it. The country is on a large scale — long, swelling hills
three times as high as Fairlight down, and well-wooded.
But the whole land swarms with mine-shafts and smoke and
steam-chimneys, and iron is everywhere. On the lonely
tops of the hills one finds broken iron hoops and pots, and
the roofs of the cottages are repaired with iron plates.
Nature does not take kindly to iron — not absorbing or
beautifying it in its decay, as it does most things. The
town of Pontypool is not lively. It is about as large as
Lewes, but looks very poor and squalid. There is only one
handsome shop in the place — a combination of toy-shop,

^ He had become acquainted with the Bodenhams in Rome in
1864 (see p. 54), and had afterwards seen a good deal of them.


artist's repository and undertaker's. The central decoration
in the window is a handsome coffin, and around it are taste-
fully arranged large wax-dolls, paint-boxes, and games of
Solitaire. Pontypool is altogether a good place to come to
in order to meditate on the vanities of life and one's last end.

The Monastery is at the upper end of the town, on a little
rise, which makes us delightfully secure, Father Evangelist
tells me, from the typhoid and scarlet fevers which are
chronic a few feet below.

I am in extremely good spirits — quite Mark Taply-ish.

The Fathers are all sweet good people, and I have a
real cell to live in — seven feet by nine. Yours,

C. P.

I am going to Hereford to-morrow with the Bishop to
call on the Bodenhams.

Wednesday Evening.


I have just got your second letter, it is very welcome,
for I do miss you, and your writing is a little solace. I con-
fess I feel rather dull here as yet. Pontypool and its sur-
roundings and the look of the people are all very depressing,
and I have coffee for breakfast and consequently feel heavy
in the head. The day also has been somewhat fatiguing. A
long high mass, and a noisy dinner after it. And there is yet
an hour more of Benediction, etc., in a crowded church, with
supper and talk afterwards, which will probably bring my
dullness in the head to the aching point. Yet I believe the
change will do me good. The Bishop goes away to-morrow,
and then I am to have some excursions in the country — to
Raglan Castle and other places ; and I am to have his room
instead of my cell — which does not hold quite air enough for
the lungs' prosperity.

Since writing above, my head has cleared up, notwith-
standing Sermon, etc.

It would do you good to see all the Monks here. There
are fifteen or sixteen, and it is quite a treat to look at all
their good, innocent faces — better than the best sermons.
Fancy fifteen or sixteen grave, sweet " Bismarcks," full of
humility and unconscious dignity ! It makes up for Ponty-
pool, iron works and all. Love to children.

Your loving husband,

C. P.


I shall be as much pleased as you can be when Saturday
evening comes. You need not be afraid of your "Monk" . . .

returning full of severity and sourness The Church

proposes, he [the Superior] says, three ends, [in marriage]
children, security from temptation, and the cultivation of
mutual love ; and this last alone brings that greatest of
natural delights within the limits of even the highest Chris-
tian perfection.


Francis Thompson and all the Fathers spent two
hours last night in my room and we had excellent talk.
Father Anselm, the Superior, and a profound contempla-
tive, said he had never read anything so fine as the ' Pre-
cursor.' He and I had a long talk alone about nuptial love,
and he went all lengths with me in the honour of the
marriage embrace. The Fathers help me to get through
my cigarettes, of which I should like to have another con-
signment as soon as possible.

Pantasaph, Monday.

I spend part of my day with Francis Thompson, who is
a delightful companion, full of the best talk. The monks
feed me up as if I were a pig being fattened for the fair and
give me as much of their company as I like to have.

Stonyhurst, Tuesday.

The place surpasses all expectations, for size, magnifi-
cence, situation, and everything. They treat me with great
distinction. There are about fifty visitors, but only four — the
Bishop of Clifton, Sir John Lawson, Mr. Howard (of Glossop,
I think), and myself are the Rector's guests and have our
meals in the community room, etc. I seem to be quite well
known here by everyone (for my poems, and not for my

I mean to have a real holiday next year, that is, I mean
to have you with me. I don't get any feeling of rest unless
you are in the house. I believe, however, I shall find that
the rest will have done me good, after I have been back for
a day or two.

Twenty kisses to Piffic and love to your father and

Your fond husband,
C. P.


The following letters are full of " excellent fooling '^
at the expense of " dry-fly " fishing. It is not neces-
sary to expound at length this method of angling, but
for the benefit of the uninitiated, a few notes in ex-
planation of Patmore's allusions may be desirable.

Those who fish the chalk-streams, such as the
Test or Itchen, do not look for more than very mod-
erate catches. When the wind is down-stream, as it
was during the week which Patmore spent with me
at Houghton, fishing is all but hopeless.

Any catch made under such circumstances is some-
thing of an event, and would be reported to those on
the river.

No one could even approximately estimate the
number of "sizeable" trout in the Houghton water.
If Patmore's estimate of thirty- three fish were multi-
plied by a thousand, the result would be much nearer
the mark.

Trout are curiously local in their habits, and
select positions to which food, in the form of flies, is
carried by the stream. The larger fish secure the
best places, and allow no encroachment on their do-
main. I f one which has occupied a favoured position

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