Letter from Thomas Hardy to Florence Henniker, 22 August 1911

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My dear friend:

I don't quite know where you are just now, but no doubt this missive will find you out. I was most interested in your success in seeing the Coronation show by land & sea. Really your enter­prise is becoming almost American. I felt myself a poor creature, for I went off to the Lakes to be away from the millions — who did not come to Town after all.

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The only thing worth mentioning that I have done since then has been a little trip I took with my sister Kitty (the younger one) about a fortnight ago to the north coast of Somerset & Devon: to Minehead, across Exmoor by coach (a cruel climb for the horses — 1400 ft, six being necessary) to Lynmouth (where Shelley & Harriet stayed) Lynton, Ilfracombe by steam boat, Exeter Cathedral, &c. No sooner had we got back than the railway strike began.

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I have found an unexpected ally in the slaughter-house reform work — Lady Hoare, of Stour Head, Wilts. She, too, is getting the instruments sent about. She motors over here to tea sometimes, & knowing you are interested in the same causes, would like to make your acquaintance some day.

Steps are being taken to publish an édition de luxe of all my books — (the publishers mark their letters on the subject "private", so I suppose I must ^^ask you to^^treat it as such). I did not feel altogether elated at the[Page 4] proposal, though it will be in some respects a good thing; for it involves re-reading old books of mine, ^^written^^ when my spirits were brisker than they are now, & full of artistic errors which cannot be altered.

I will inquire if the butchers, &c, will use the pig-killer hereabout. I ought to have done so before, but I have had no energy at all.

Will you be in London in the autumn, I wonder? I will try to see you if you are. It occurred to me the other day that this year completes [Page 5]the eighteenth of our friendship. That is rather good as between man & woman, wh. is usually so brittle.

Ever affectly

Tho H.