Letter 12: Tafani to Wilde, 20 May 1877
20th May, 1877
Jesus College, Oxford
I write to you at home, so as not to interrupt your sport at Illaunroe. The term languishes away, and I cannot blame you for leaving me alone to endure it, although I do, of course, a little. I propose, at the end of term, to travel somewhat, and may return to my second home, if you will spend the remainder of the summer there. Do write to me and let me know what your intentions may be.
And you are quite right, of course, in your intuition that Antonio is not a ‘real’ model (whatever that may be!), but a sort of emblem for Miriam. It had always been my sense that she drew him, if not never, then very rarely, from life, perhaps only when she observed him awaiting her. The many sketches that she completed of his face suggest a familiarity the same as which one might have with one’s mother’s face, and sketch it so, idly, without any recourse to an outside resource.
You should not take too much pleasure in your affecting of poor Professor Mahaffy, though. You know only too well that he remains sore from last year’s trip!
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