Letter from Florence Henniker to Thomas Hardy, 1 November 1914

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13, Stratford Place, W.


My dear friend:

A long time ago I directed an envelope to you, as I wanted to say how much I liked your poem on the "Men Who March Away". My sec. Mrs Blake, (whom Florence knows,) also likes it so much – & I believe often thinks of it; for here we see, every day, crowds of men preparing to go to the [Page 2] Front, sooner or later.

I am sure many people must have admired your poem – which struck an original note –. and so much of the War verse has been poor, or too vindictive – (such as the infuriated contribution by that railway porter, wh. does contain, however, some good lines – & has a certain power.) –

I thought Mr Gosse's [Page 3] "to the Dead" strong & pathetic & there have been other rather lighter things that I liked.

I hope you have, – as much as you could do in these times, – enjoyed this wonderful second summer? –

What a tragedy that was about poor Major Digby: I had a very sad note from Birdie I. but she gave no details as to how it all happened.–

I know so many people in sore trouble now – of course–, & a great [Page 4] many soldiers who are wounded. Others I know have been killed – and so far, we don't seem near the end of it all. Dear old Anna is so good about it –; loyal to me & fond of England, though she loves the Rhine as all who have lived on it do.–

I wish you would write a strong protest against the wicked proposal to demolish Cloth Fair? [Page 5] It is really worse to pull down beautiful & interesting old buildings in time of peace, than to burn them in the excitement of war. Surely those Smithfield houses should be kept as treasured relics, even if they are not supposed to be suitable to live in?–

It is a relief to read things sometimes unconnected with the war – I have first been reading [Page 6] most of Mrs Parnell's book–. It is a wonderful love-story. – & even though she perhaps ought not to have published it, one can't help being touched by it.–

I am by way of returning to Shoreham on Wedy. so perhaps some day you will send me a little news of you & Florence there? You must be sure to direct Shoreham near Sevenoaks.

I hope Wessex is well?

Milner is a greater darling than ever. Of course give my love to F.

yr affec. friend



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Thomas Hardy Esq O.M.



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