Letter 16: Tafani to Wilde, 21 June 1877
21st June, 1877
12 Rathbone St, London
It is with sadness that I read your letter about the passing of your dear cousin, Henry. You must forgive my delay in writing; it is not indifference, I assure you, but merely the time and trouble of the conclusion of term and the beginning of a journey, that slowed my pen. The sudden loss of a man in the prime of his life is always a shock to those who are left, particularly when he is dear to them. You speak with some warmth of the issues of inheritance, and that is understandable, but think upon Dr Wilson with that different, friendlier sort of warmth too, if you can.
I stay with a fellow countryman of mine, a man whose Italian is now but rusted in his throat, but who writes it most beautifully. Modern poetry is such a fickle creature, but Italian, with her rhymes and subtle rhythms overflowing, makes for a magnificent medium, even where the emotion is perhaps a little wanting. I will seek to visit Chelsea, and call upon some fellow poets and others who appreciate my native tongue, but I do not propose to stay long in London. I visit the Grosvenor tomorrow; I should like to compare your remarks upon it with my own impressions, which is a matter both of holding in my mind your various asides and pretending to forget them entirely, in order to approach the matter fresh. Such is the complexity of an aesthetic life!
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