Autograph Letter (Third Person) requesting a paraffin oil stove be sent “as soon as possible”,

TENNYSON, Alfred, Lord 1809-1892. Poet


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½ page 8vo, Farringford, Freshwater, Isle of Wight, 12 February 1876.

Tennyson writes to request that a Mr Mills “send him a Parrafine [sic] oil stove, such as he sent last year – as soon as possible.” February is habitually known to be the coldest month in the UK, and the winter of 1875-6 was marked by frequent snowfall. It is possible that this request was made in advance of the Tennysons’ decamping from their Isle of Wight home to London, which they did every year from 1875 up until 1882, spending February up until Easter in London, to be near Lionel Tennyson while he worked at the India Office (F. B. Pinion, A Tennyson Chronology, p.140), and to, as Tennyson said, “rub off our country rust” (Hallam Tennyson, Memoir II, p.222).

It recalls to mind Tennyson's poem, Winter:

The frost is here, 
And fuel is dear, 
And woods are sear, 
And fires burn clear, 
And frost is here 
And has bitten the heel of the going year. 

Bite, frost, bite! 
You roll up away from the light 
The blue wood-louse, and the plump dormouse, 
And the bees are still'd, and the flies are kill'd, 
And you bite far into the heart of the house, 
But not into mine. 

Bite, frost, bite! 
The woods are all the searer, 
The fuel is all the dearer, 
The fires are all the clearer, 
My spring is all the nearer, 
You have bitten into the heart of the earth, 
But not into mine.

Both recto and verso rather marked and dusty, presented within a loose album page window.

Stock Code: 240792

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