Letter from Thomas Hardy to Florence Henniker, 6 March 1914

[Page 1]

Max Gate

My dear friend:

I am writing again to you to answer some points on which you say you are curious (as indeed I should have guessed you were), & also because your letter was so kind as to make me wish to write.

It has been a great delight to me all through that you know Florence quite well, & like her. As you say she is very sympathetic — so much so that her own health [Page 2] is largely dependent upon the happiness or otherwise of her friends. One thing you may be sure of — her intense love & admiration of yourself: she often settles points by saying or thinking what you would do in the circumstances: assuming invariably that that is absolutely the right thing.

I rather am surprised that you were surprised at the step we have taken — such a course seeming an obvious one to me, [Page 3] being as I was so lonely & helpless. I think I told you in my last letter that I am very glad she knew Emma well, & was liked by her even during her latter years, when her mind was a little unhinged at times, & she showed unreasonable dislikes. I wonder if it will surprise you when I say that according to my own experience a second marriage does not, or need not, obliterate an old affection, though it is generally assumed that the first wife is entirely forgotten in such cases.

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We are going to London next week, but only for a day or two. I will let you know when we go up later (if we do) for a longer stay, so that we may contrive to see you somehow.

Even now I have not answered your question on what people wrote about our marriage. Well: they all say they foresaw it, except one besides yourself — I forget who. Of course they might say so to show their penetration or claim it. But perhaps they really did.

With all affection I am,

Your sincere friend

Tho. H.
[Page 5]

I enclose 2 little poems of mine you may like to see. They have appeared in magazines.


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