Edward Lear, letter to Alfred Lord Tennyson, 6 June 1855
My dear Tennyson,
I have sent the Nonsense Book for Hallam, & I hope you will not mind taking it down to Park House.
To night I fear I shall not see you, as I dine in a remote part of town, & had promised to go to a party before trying to reach Mrs. Weld’s, which however I shall still make an effort for. — This is why I send the packet instead of bringing it.
That my monstrous act of indecorum, in letting you sit on the back seat of the Cab, — was speedily avenged by Destiny: — for, no sooner had I reached Holborn after setting you down, than the Cabwheel came off, and the Horse fell by a shock from some angry goddess in the shape of a Brewer’s dray, and altogether the vehicle was reduced to such a debased condition, that I slunk away with my black bag into the crowd, vowing that nothing should ever again induce me to sit on a front seat of a cab while a Poet occupied the back one.
I found the 8 o’clock dinner invitation, but just too late to use it. Happily I didn’t get hurt — only my shoulder jarred.
Please, please, please, please, please, please, bring out the volume soon.
I wish I could show you this “Matterhorn” painting, & my Nile drawings; but that can’t be.
Supposing that you were in town next week, and supposing that you had no engagement on one evening, — and supposing you did not mind coming to such an awful distance as I live, — and supposing I could get Venables & Chapman & Spedding to come too — would you come & dine with me — as you must dine somewhere, & you might then go up the Nile quietly? —