31 December, 1863.
My Dear Miss Greenwell,—I have for some time been anxious to write to you, both to thank you for your kind note and for the poems you sent me. I like them much, and really think they are likely to reach the class for which they were written. The poor men here are all of the seafaring class, or I should have given those verses away. Do you know that I have finished a bag for you? I shall send it, I think by railway, for my brother is coming to-morrow as usual, and he will convey it as far as London. The pattern is of my own invention! Is the kettle-holder worked yet? I shall be proud of it. When I next see Miss Rossetti I shall ask for proof that she can do hemming and sewing. . . . It is a pleasure to me that you like those little stories. They have not much in them, but it is an amusement to me to write them; writing for children is so completely its own reward; it obliges one to be simple and straightforward, and clears away some of the mystical fancies in which one is apt to indulge, and which are a mere luxury. They never do us any good, and I am often humiliated by meeting with sensible fellow creatures who ask me what some of them mean. . . .There has been so much leisure here that my new volume is all but finished. It is, however, not to be printed yet. I am, believe me, Very affectionately yours,
MY DEAR MISS HOLLWAY,
Many thanks for your very kind note. I have only just returned to town, and found the Rhyming Chronicle. Your cousin must be worth knowing: there are some very charming things in her book, at least it seems so to me, tho' I do not pique myself on being much of a critic at first sight, and I have really only skimmed a few pages. Yet I think I may venture to pronounce that she need not be ashamed of publishing them. Certain things I saw which I count abominations, tho' I myself in younger days have been guilty of the same, and so was Keats. I would sooner lose a pretty thought than enshrine it in such rhymes as '"Eudora" "before her," "vista" "Sister." She will get to hate them herself as she grows older, and it would be a pity that she should let her book go forth with those cockneyisms. If the book were not so good I should not care for these specs, but the critics will pounce upon them, and excite prejudice. I declare I should like to know her.
I have such a heap of correspondence to answer that I must bid you good-bye. What the German lady says is very gratifying. I shall perhaps see you again in the autumn. My best remembrances to each and all of your circle.
P.S. Strange! that I did not see it. I turned to the title-page, and find that the book is published. I fancied it had only been printed. Forgive my hurry! Well, your cousin will amend, perhaps, the errors I have mentioned, in her next edition.
From Alfred Lord Tennyson: a memoir by his son (Hallam Tennyson) Vol I.