Letter from Thomas Hardy to Florence Henniker, 11 June 1914

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My dear friend:

What a strange thing. This morning when I was dressing it flashed into my mind that I had been going to write to you for several days, & that I would do it this very day: when lo, there was a letter from you. This has happened I think once or twice before in our correspondence. Still I suppose I must knock the [Page 2] romance out of it & say it was only a coincidence.

We intend to be in London from Wednesday to Saturday next week, & we shall I believe be staying at Lady St. Helier's. I was in hopes you were at Stratford Place. I fear there will not be time to run down to you, in the event of them her having arranged things to do; but I don't know. I am thinking we may be able, however, to go to [Page 3] London again for a day or two during July, in which case we will make a point of visiting your little orchard. Meanwhile cannot you come here for a week-end or week-middle, just as you choose. I really think you ought to honour Max Gate by sleeping in it just once at any rate. F. will write to you about this.

The vein, or veins, do not trouble me, unless I walk too far. How kind of you to bear in mind that [Page 4] inconvenience of mine. I think bicycling was the original cause.

As you ask what I am doing in poetry I am sending the Fortnightly for May, containing the last thing I published. I have a lot of loose poems in MS. which I must, I suppose, collect into a volume. Of course I shall send you a copy, whenever it comes out.

We are going on very quietly. Florence works at flower-gardening — rather too hard, I think; but she is quite devoted to it. About [Page 5] three weeks ago we motored to Plymouth, partly because I wanted to clear up a mystery as to the Gifford vault there. We came back over Dartmoor. It was cold, & the gradients were high, but the views beautiful.

I, too, have felt uneasy about that physiological Laboratory. But I suppose one must take the word of the vivisectors as honest when they assure us that they never torture animals. Altogether the world is [Page 6] such a bungled institution from a humane point of view that a grief more or less hardly counts. Wishing one had never come into it or shared in its degrading organizations is but a selfish thought, as others would have been here just the same. But this sounds gloomy to you I know; & I am after all not without hope of much amelioration.

Ever your affectte friend

Tho H.
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P.S. "Wessex", "Wessie", or "Wess" is thriving, but he is pronounced a spoilt dog. He is fond of other dogs, & wd not object to your bringing Milner. T.H.

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I enclose something else I have lately printed — quite a trifle as you see.

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