Letter from Florence Henniker to Thomas Hardy, 17 January 1914

[Page 1]

The Little Orchard,



My dear friend:

Best thanks for yr. last nice long letter, full of news. Also very many thanks for the fine poem in the "Sphere". There are beautiful lines in it. But of course it is very sad.

I have not seen the magazine ^[conducted]^ by the "uppish" young poets. Possibly there may be good things in it now & again, for as Mr Gosse thinks there is a great deal of [Page 2] almost good verse published. I think Miss Wedmore's ^must be^ very much above the ordinary, don't you? and I see there is a young Mr Arthur Bell very much praised.

I was really impressed by Frank Taylor's "The Gallant Way". They are of course soldier poems, & they have a splendid ring & "go" about them. One on "Minden" – and another on "Blucher" – & a 3rd. about "The Men [Page 3] Who Lead" are excellent beyond dispute.

What do you think of this craze for "films"? I see you say "Far from the Madding Crowd" is to be done. I wonder if the system makes people lazy about reading, & less keen about genuine drama?

I am so glad you have written about performing animals. There may be a few cases in which a few ^they^ are kindly treated, & learn tricks easily – (such as Milner's) – but the whole thing is liable to awful abuses & cruelties.

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There are a few things that have happened lately which cheer one. The passing of the plumage Bill in america, & the rending of the feathers from the hats of callous women delights me. But I fear the inspection of the poor pit ponies is very unsatisfactory – & our Mr McKenna has behaved badly about it.

I hope you are getting fond of the live "Wessex"? –

This place, as I think I told you, is quite astonishingly rural. In some of the country roads & lanes one might be a hundred miles from London, instead of 23.

I hear from an old friend, Lord Channing, a very busy

[Page 5] politician in old days, that he is now, very sensibly, reading your books. I know he will appreciate much of them very keenly. You ask about the soil – here. It is chalky, & the air, I think very bracing – [Page 6] I hope to do a great deal in encouraging birds in the orchard. Please give many messages to Miss Dugdale & my love. Someday you & she must come & see me here. – By the way, I went to a little party at Mr Gosse's – the first I had been to. They were so kind in getting of interesting people to come & talk to me. I [Page 7] met Dr Brander, & also went to hear his lecture on "Hamlet". Many good wishes for 1914.

Yr affec friend.


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