Edward Lear.

Later letters of Edward Lear, author of The book of nonsense to Chichester Fortescue (lord Carlingford), Lady Waldegrave and others; online

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LATER LETTERS OF
EDWARD LEAR



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US V



LATER LETTERS OF

EDWARD LEAR

AUTHOR OF "THE BOOK OF NONSENSE"

TO CHICHESTER FORTESCUE (LORD

CARLINGFORD), LADY WALDEGRAVE

AND OTHERS

EDITSD BY

LADY STRACHEY

OF SUTTON COURT
WITH ILLUSTRATIONS



NEW YORK

DUFFIELD & COMPANY

1911



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COPVIOGRT, 1911, BY

DUFFIELD ft COMPANY



Attrigkit



THB TROW PRB88. HSW YORK



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S CONTENTS

PAGB

Editor's Note i



Preface



II



CHAPTER I
England, Nice, Malta, Egypt, Cannes • . 29

CHAPTER II
Corsica, England, and Cannes .... 85

CHAPTER III
San Remo 96

CHAPTER IV
San Remo 130

CHAPTER V
India, England, and San Remo . . . .144

CHAPTER VI
San Remo and England 177

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

CHAPTER VII
San Remo and Switzerland . . • .192



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CHAPTER VIII
Switzerland and San Remo . . . .241

CHAPTER IX
San Remo and Northern Italy . . • .265

Appendix

A. Orange-Blossom 337

B. Letters from Lear to Mrs. Hassall . .338

C. Letter from Lear to Lord Avebury . . 340

D. Complete List of Contemplated Illustra-

tions to Poems by Lord Tennyson . 342

E. Pictures Exhibited by Lear at the Royal

Academy 353

F. Subscribers to his "Temple of Basss,"

at the Fitzwilliam Museum, Cam-
bridge 354

G. Subscribers' List of Members to " Argos "

by Lear, Presented to Trinity Col-
lege, Cambridge . . . .356

Index 357



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LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



LIST OF PLATES

BENARES, INDIA (COLOURED REPRODUCTION)

Frontispiece

From a water-colour drawing, by kind permission of the Earl of
Northbrook.

FACING PACK

MARY LEAR, WIFE OF RICHARD BOSWELL . . 2

From a miniature, by kind permission of Mrs. Allen.

ANN LEAR, LEAR's ELDEST SISTER, WHO BROUGHT

HIM UP 30

From a miniature, by kind permission of Mrs, Allen,

MONACO, FROM TURBIA 36

From "Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, illustrated by Edward
Lear, 1889," by kind permission of Lord Tennyson,

CENC, ISLE OF GOZO, MALTA 52

From on oil painting, by kind permission of Mrs, Charles Roundell,

EDWARD LEAR IN 1 867 64

Taken in Alexandria,

CHICHESTER FORTESCUE, LORD CARLINGFORD

(about 1874) 64

From a photograph by Bassano,

TENDA, ITALY 96

Prom a sepia drawing, by kind permission of Hubert Congreve,
Esq,

THE PINE-WOODS OF RAVENNA .... I02

From on oil painting, by kind permission of Mrs. Charles RoundeU,

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

FACING PAGI

VILLA EMILY Il8

From a photograph.

THE GARDEN OF VILLA TENNYSON . . . . Il8

Prom a photograph.

TRICHINOPOLY, INDIA 1 54

Prom a water-colour drawing, by kind permission of the Earl of
Northbrook,

MARBLE ROCKS, NERBUDDA 1 58

Prom a water-colour drawing, by kind permission of the Earl of
Northbrook.

MRS. RUXTON IN HER PONY-CART AT RED HOUSE,

ARDEE 164

Prom a photograph,

EDWARD LEAR AS A YOUNG MAN, AND HIS YOUNG-
EST SISTER . . . . . .166

From silhouettes, by kind permission of Mrs, Allen.

MOUNT SORACTE, CAMPAGNA DI ROMA • ,178

Prom "Poems by Alfred, Lord Tennyson, illustrated by Edward
Lear, J889," by kind permission of Lord Tennyson.

BETWEEN CALCIS AND CASTELLA, EUBCEA (COL-
OURED reproduction) . . . .198

From a water<olour drawing, by kind permission of the Rev.
Canon Church.

CERIANA, ITALY 204

Prom a sepia drawing, by kind permission of Hubert Congreve,
Esq.

GIUSEPPE, THE BANDY-LEGGED GARDENER, IN 1 88 1 • 2IO

From a photograph.

EDWARD LEAR IN 1881 2IO

From a photograph,

GIORGIO COCALI IN 1 88 1 2IO

From a photograph,

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List of Illustrations

rAONO PAOB

FRANCES, COUNTESS WALDEGRAVE . . . . 2l6

From her sitting-room window at Strawberry Hitt,

FRANCES, COUNTESS WALDEGRAVE . . . . 2l6

Taken at Strawberry HUl about 1871.

"BECKY," SIR SPENCER AND LADY ROBINSON*S

PARROT 232

By kind permission of Mrs. W, H. C, Shaw,

CASTELLA, EUBCEA 244

From a water-colour drawing, by kind permission of the Rev.
Canon Church,

BASS^ 280

From an oil painting, by kind permission of the Director of the
FitMwUiiam Museum, Cambridge.

chichester fortescue, lord carlingford

(about 1883) 316

Prom a photograph by Bassano,

FOSS*S TOMBSTONE IN THE GARDEN OF VILLA TEN-
NYSON 326

THE LAST PHOTOGRAPH OF LEAR, 1887 . . . 33O

Taken at Villa Tennyson,

TOMBSTONE OF GIORGIO COCALI, AT MENDRISIO . 334
GRAVES OF LEAR AND NICOLA COCALI, AT SAN REMO 334



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LIST OF THE MORE IMPORTANT SKETCHES
REPRODUCED IN THE TEXT

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LEAR REVEALING HIMSELF TO RAILWAY PASSENGER 62
LEAR WITH HIS TWO FRIENDS IN PARADISE . . 88 ,

LEAR UNDER HIS OWN OLIVE-TREE . . • ,112

" THE FORTESCUE " II5

LEAR A-WATERING OF HIS OWN FLOWERS . . . 1 1 6

LEAR AND HIS DOMESTIC HEN-BIRD . . . .122

LEAR RIDING AN ELEPHANT 1 46

THE AHKOND OF SWAT 1 46

LEAR RIDING A PORPOISE 1 62

FOSS THE CAT I90

LEAR FEEDING TWO LORDS 207

THE PHOCA PRIVATA 236

LORD CARLINGFORD RESIGNS THE PHOCA PRIVATA 256

LEAR AND THE PHOCA 273

ON HAIRDRESSING 286

A DINNER-PARTY IN MILAN 289

LEAR ON HIS WAY TO DINE WITH LORD CARLINGFORD 318

LEAR RIDING THE PHOCA 3^9

LEAR, MISS CAMPBELL OF CORSICA . . . . 320



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EDITOR'S NOTE

IN November, 1907, I published the first book of Lear
letters to my aunt and uncle, of which this volume is
a continuation.

The public both here and in America received that vol-
ume in the most kindly spirit, and caused me to decide to
carry out the suggestion I originally held out, that a sec-
ond volume might be forthcoming if the approval of the
public was assured. This volume has, I fear, been much
delayed, and I would ask forgiveness from the many who
were looking for it, for the long lapse which has occurred
between the publication of the two volumes. After the
publication of the first volume my eyes broke down for a
time, and caused the imperative and necessary rest which
has resulted in over three years elapsing before this second
volume has been finally accomplished. I think this expla-
nation is due to the many lovers of the delightful letters
of the first volume, and I feel any annoyance on their part
at my seeming negligence to their feelings will be now
condoned.

I think I may truly say that the following volume is
in no way inferior to the first — in fact, my American pub-
lisher considers it almost better — and I feel I may in any
case hope that the kind public will take it quite as much
to their heart as they did the former one.

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

I have in many ways gained various sidelights about
Mr. Lear not known to me before, gleaned from the letters
to me called forth by the first volume from friends and
persons who had known him, and who had been deeply
interested by those early letters. Among them I may men-
tion Mr, Hubert Congreve, a close friend of Lear's San
Remo dajrs, who has most kindly written for me the de-
lightful Preface to this book, a vivid personal remembrance
of his old friend and would-be master in art.

Also Madame Philipp, whose first husband was the
well-known Dr. Hassall of San Remo, both great per-
sonal friends of Mr. Lear, and the latter also his medical
adviser for several years and till his death. I have ended
this book with a touching letter to myself from Madame
Philipp of Lear's last days and death, and also have added
a short quotation from a letter from Guiseppe Orsini,
Lear's faithful servant, sent by Sir Franklin Lushington
to my uncle after Lear's death. These words from eye-
witnesses close down the end of life of a most remarkable
and lovable man; which otherwise would havebeen leftun-
known; when the sudden "ceasing of that ceaseless hand,"
stilled the friendship that only the coming of death could
have stayed from, writing himself to his beloved friends.

Besides these I have also had kindly lent to me the
miniatures of " Sister Anne " so like her brother minus
the spectacles, showing the lovable elder sister and mother
combined she was to her brother through life.

" Sister Mary " also who died at sea on her return to
England (see p. 187, vol. i.).

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MARY LEAR, WIFE OF RICHARD BOSWELL.
{From miniature, by kind permission of Mrs. Allen.)



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Editor's Note

Mrs, Allen, who Is the possessor of these portraits, was
a niece, or rather cousin, of '* poor Mary's unpleasant
husband," as Mr. Lear calls him in his early letters, and
she and her husband, the Rev. F. A. Allen, write me the
following interesting history of Mr. Boswell and his
Lear wife, and thereby rather verify Mr. Lear's epithet
from the Lear side of the family. Mr. Allen, in 1908,
wrote :

" My wife as a girl in a country Parsonage (Fare-
ham), was a great companion of old Mr. Boswell, an
eminent amateur naturalist and microscopist, who mar-
ried Mary Lear. When over sixty, they both migrated
to New Zealand, and lived in a hut in the bush. I am
afraid that the hardships endured killed her, for she died
on the voyage home (see p. 153, vol. i.). We have still
a little model in New Zealand grasses, etc., of the hut in
which they lived. The old gentleman lived on a small
annuity which he purchased at Fareham (Hants), at
Torquay, where he died and was buried, and left no
descendants. He was much respected everywhere and
quite a shining light in Natural History Societies, &c.
He had some patent process, which died with him, for
the manufacture of slides for the microscope, and sup-
plied some of the dealers. He was a most interesting
well-informed man. My wife belonged to his side of his
family and was his executor, but he had not much to
leave. She called him uncle, but I think he was a sort of
cousin. We have one or two letters of Edward Lear
written to his sister before she left. They are amusing

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

and are illustrated in his peculiar style. My wife has
three Lear miniatures.

" L Of the excellent old sister Ann who brought up
the others (see Introduction, vol. i., p. viii) — a good
portrait.

" IL Of Mrs. Boswell (not so good).

" in. Containing silhouette (in black) of Edward Lear
as a lad or young man, and a sister (the ninth and young-
est sister) .

" If you ever bring out another volume of letters she
might perhaps lend them for reproduction.

" P.S. — My wife's maiden name was Smith, daughter
of the Rev. F. Smith, late Vicar of Holy Trinity, Fare-
ham, Hants. On Jan. 19, 191 1, Mr. Allen writes again:
" My wife is the owner of the three pictures, and will be
glad to lend them. They came into our family this way,
and a note might be made of it. My wife's mother {nee
Payne) had an uncle, Mr. Richard Shuter Boswell, who
married Miss Mary Lear, and took her out to New Zea-
land in 1856 or 1858. In 1863 he returned to England,
living first at Fareham, Hants, and then at Torquay,
where he died in 1876, aged 80, and is buried in the
cemetery there."

" P.S. — My wife remembers that Mrs. Boswell and
Mr. B. went out to N. Zealand with the Streets (nephew
— ^perhaps he was not married then) and that Mrs. B.
died and was buried at sea on her way home. The B.'s
were too old to rough it in the Bush, and he was blamed
for taking her out."

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Editor's Note

From Mrs. Allen, Jan. 26, 191 1 :

'' I am glad that the pictures of the Lear family should
be of use to you in your kind undertaking gathering Ed-
ward Lear's letters together. I was much interested in his
first volume, and we shall indeed value the second. You
are also quite welcome to mention anything about Uncle
Richard and Aunt Mary Boswell. I was quite a small
child when they went to New Zealand in 757. I believe
they visited my father and mother at Fareham before
they left England : Aunt Mary died on the voyage back,
I think in 1861, Uncle Richard coming to us at Fareham
on his reaching England. While at Fareham he made
and gave to us, a little model of the hut he built himself
in the bush, which he had cleared. I have it now. He died
at Torquay in 776. I enclose the two letters of Ed. Lear
we have as I thought you might be amused to read them."

(I give some extracts from these here.)

16. Upper Seymour St.,

PORTMAN Sq.,

16. July.

My dear Mary, — I hope to come and see you on the
24th at Leatherhead, and to find you very well and lively.
I believe you and Mr. Boswell have done the best thing
you can, in making this plan of joining Sarah.

Now I want you to take something from your shabby
old brother as a recollection, — ^but I don't know what to
fix on for you — $& is the big sum I propose that you should
expend on something quite as a keepsake — a kettle, a can-
dlestick, a looking glass — an angora cat — a barrel of wine,

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

or whatever you like best. But I also want to add 2o£ to
your fund which you are to live on: — ^no large sum is
Twenty Pounds — but better than a poke in the eye with a
sharp stick. — ^This however I do not know how to bring to
you, — ^in notes? or should it be paid into any bank here?
or do you take all your fortune with you in a pipkin, gold
and silver all wrapped up in a handkerchief?

Just send me a line when you receive this — and tell me
how I shall manage — if I should bring down all the 25£
in a lump to you on Friday or not — or how.

Perhaps you will buy a small cow to ride on in New
Zealand. I imagine that you and Sarah will institute ox
races in New Zealand.

Please let me hear from you soon and believe me

Yours affectionately

Edward Lear.

1 6. Upper Seymour Street

PoRTMAN Square

II. Aug, 1857

Dear Mary, — ^Ann will have written to you that I have
sold my picture — so that I am, for once out of debt, and
have nearly one hundred pounds to begin life with.

But this good luck has much deranged my plans, and I
am over head and ears in business in consequence of being
obliged to send off my picture at once to Derbyshire and
it will not be at all possible for me to come to see you again
before you leave England.

You and Richard must therefore take my best wishes in
writing, and remember that I shall always hope to hear of
you through Ann. Tell Sarah, with my love to her and
to all, that I did begin to write to her and intended to have
written a long letter, but I really have not had a minute

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Editor's Note

since I saw you — and Indeed my writing days are very
much finished and done for.




Now, my dear Mary, Good-bye. When you write to
Ann, mention any little thing that you may want. I may
or may not be able to send it you — ^but you know what
pleasure it will always be to do so if I can.

My love to Richard, — and best wishes for a good voyage
for you and for happiness on your arrival.

Your affectionate

Edward Lear.

Please look well to the ox on which I am to run races
against you or yours when I come. And do not be too
anxious to climb up all the tallest trees; because you aint
used to it.

These interesting portraits are included in this volume,
and will also add interest to the preceding one, where more
mention is made of his sisters.

The silhouette of Lear is extraordinarily good, accent-
uating with his hair the fine high forehead and very cone-
shaped top to his head, which in later years, though quite
devoid of hair, still gave the striking egg-like appearance.
In this early portrait, which is so characteristic, one sees
the coming man, the promised aggressiveness to be ful-

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

filled into the positive, when in later life he did not fanqr
people or they happened to be Germans I

Again, I should like to make mention of the wonderful
Sarah Street (Lear) and her daughter-in-law Sophie, men-
tioned at p. 153, vol. i., 1859. "Sarah is on her way
home, and her leaving the Warepa seems to me, a sort of
signal of break-up in her family, added to by my nephew's
wif^s illness, one of increasing incurability it appears to
me, and which I suppose has very much altered their views
and plans/' Since that paragraph was printed I had the
pleasure of making the acquaintance of Mrs. Michell, of
Cambridge {nee Gillies), and granddaughter of the said
Sophie. She tells me that her grandmother is still alive in
New Zealand, a beautiful old lady now aged eighty-six,
quite as wonderful a woman as Sarah, and a far more at-
tractive one. She is loved by young and old around her
home, and is still the life and soul of everything that takes
place. She was a Miss Dabbinett of Curry Rivcl.

Mrs. Michell last month, when I specially went to Cam-
bridge to see her, was just starting on a holiday with her
delightful little son of five, for a three months' stay with
her people in New Zealand. Sarah's son, C. H. Street,
married Miss Dabbinett, and their only daughter married
a Mr. Gillies, whose death and that of C. H. Street within
a very short time of each other, Lear grieves about, at
page 166 in this volume.

Mr. Gillies was left with nine children, seven of whom
are alive, and Mrs. Michell is one of the two daughters
among these. But the Streets had all along prospered, and

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Editor's Note

they have a beautiful home at " Kohanga," at Parnell,
Aucland.

They possess vast stores of Lear's drawings and diaries,
most of them given to them as executor by Sir Franklin
Lushington, and letters also from all the sisters, as well as
mementos belonging to the latter. Mrs. Michell had not
time to show the pearls belonging to Sarah, a carved rose-
wood table which came down through Aunt Anne, and
some old china left by Aunt EUinor (Newsom) . But she
showed me some exquisite little drawings given her by her
mother as a wedding gift, evidently a study for Lady Wal-
degrave's (now belonging to Mr. Fortescue Urquhart, at
Oxford) beautiful Villa Petraja, and a set of four draw-
ings in black and white, highly finished, one special one of
mountains with deep shadows, a perfect gem of black and
white values.

Again, I have to thank Lord Northbrook for his kind-
ness in lending me the three beautiful water-colour sketches
done in India when there by his father's invitation, which
are included in this book.

To Mr. Congreve my thanks are also due for his inter-
esting sketches in sepia of Ceriana and Tenda.

Again, to Canon Church for the two beautiful sketches
done in Greece during the tour he and Mr. Lear took
together and of which mention is made in the beginning of
the first volume.

To my sister-in-law, Mrs. Shaw, for the loan of the
water colour of " Becky," the Robinson parrot, showing
another side of Lear's work.

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

To Mrs. Charles Roundell, for her permitting die re-
productions of her beautiful pictures, "The Labourer,"
" The Pinewood of Navenna," and " Ceuc Island of Gozo
Malta."

To the Director of the Fitzwilliam Museum, for allow-
ing a reproduction of the great oil painting Qf Bassae, sub-
scribed for by friends (see p. 155, vol. i.) in 1859.

To Lord Tennyson, for allowing his sonnet on the Villa
Tennyson to be included; and to Lord Avebury, for his
permission to print his letter by Lear on " Flies" (sec
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PREFACE

ONE evening in the early autumn of 1869, when quite
a small boy, I ran down the steep path which led up
to our house at San Remo to meet my father; I found him
accompanied by a tall, heavily-built gentleman, with a large
curly beard and wearing well-made but unusually loosely
fitting clothes, and what at the time struck me most of
all, very large, round spectacles. He at once asked me
if I knew who he was, and without waiting for a reply
proceeded to tell me a long, nonsense name, compounded
of all the languages he knew, and with which he was
always quite pat. This completed my discomfiture, and
made me feel very awkward and self-conscious. My new
acquaintance seemed to perceive this at once, and, laying
his hand on my shoulder, said, ** I am also the Old Deny
Down Derry, who loves to see little folks merry, and I
hope we shall be good friends." This was said with a
wonderful charm of manner and voice, and accompanied
with such a genial, yet quizzical smile, as to put me at my
ease at once. This was my first meeting with Edward Lear,
who from that day to his death was my dearest and best
friend of the older generation, and who for nineteen years
stood in almost a paternal relation to me.

His letters contained in this volume, and those already

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Later Letters of Edward Lear

published by Lady Strachey, tell a portion of his life's
story, and reveal his versatile, eccentric genius and char-
acter. But to those who first make his acquaintance in
this volume some account of the man as he was to those
who knew him intimately, and loved him truly, may be of
interest and assistance. At the time of our first meeting
he was fifty-seven, having been bom, I believe, at High-
gate, on May 12, 18 12. He was the youngest of a large
family of Danish extraction, the spelling of his name hav-
ing been altered by his grandfather to suit English pro-


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Online LibraryEdward LearLater letters of Edward Lear, author of The book of nonsense to Chichester Fortescue (lord Carlingford), Lady Waldegrave and others; → online text (page 1 of 22)