Letter from Thomas Hardy to Edmund Gosse, 25 July 1906

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My dear Gosse:

The illustrator of far from the Madding Crowd began as a charming young lady, Miss Helen Paterson, and ended as a married woman – charms unknown- wife of Allingham the poet. I have never set eyes on her since she was the former and I met her and corresponded with her about the pictures of the story. She was the best illustrator I ever had. She and I were married about the same time in the progress of our mutual work but not to each other, which I fear rather spoils the information. Though I have never thought of her for the last 20 years your inquiry makes me feel "quite romantical" about her (as they say here), and as she is a London artist, well known as Mrs A. you might hunt her up, and tell me what she [gap]^look^s like as an elderly widow woman. If you do, please give her my kind regards, but you must not add that those two almost simultaneous weddings would have been one but for a stupid blunder of God Almighty.

I am trying to enter into Part III

Why did you go wasting your money on that first edition! I could have sent you the last edition, much more correct, the first not having been corrected by me, but hurriedly set up from the magazine by the publisher.

I am trying to enter into Part III of the Dynasts. I am so sorry to learn that Mrs Gosse is a prisoner still. Do you think that if you could get her to the sea she would recover?

All I have heard more about Mrs S. is what F. Macmillan told me the day before I left town. He said that the story (like that of the death of Mark Twain) had been much exaggerated. The pair have for some time been unable to get on well together (Her fault, I should say) and she has therefore taken a flat in London as a bachelor woman, which she comes up to for the week, going down to Leatherhead, their home, from Sat. to Mon. The "Italian Count" has vanished from the narrative. I hope I may see you some time in the Autumn.

Sincerely yours

Thomas Hardy.
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