Excerpts from My Dear Boy


Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) (left), and
Lord Alfred Douglas ("Bosie")
Photo of 1893 at Oxford. Courtesy
of Clark Library, Los Angeles.
January 1893
Babbacombe Cliff

My own Boy,
transp.gifYour sonnet is quite lovely, and it is a marvel that those rose-red lips of yours should have been made no less for the music of song than for the madness of kisses. Your slim gilt soul walks between passion and poetry. I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days.
transp.gifWhy are you alone in London, and when do you go to Salisbury? Do go there to cool your hands in the grey twilight of Gothic things, and come here whenever you like. It is a lovely place--it only lacks you; but go to Salisbury first.
Always, with undying love,

Hendrik Christian Andersen,
(1872-1940) (left), a young sculptor
who had an intense affair with
novelist Henry James (1843-1916).
Photo taken in Rome, 1907.

Lamb House, Rye
September l3th 1901

Dear, dear Hendrik!
Yes, your letter has been a joy, as I wired you this noon; I had rather dolefully begun to give you up, and I am now only sorry so many days must elapse before I see you. Don't, dearest boy, for heaven's sake, make them any more numerous than you need. Subject to that caution, I bow to your necessities, and can easily see that, for a week in London, you must have much to do. But make it, oh, make it, your advent, not a day later than Saturday 21st, will you not? I count on you intensely and immensely for that afternoon, when the 4.28 from Charing Cross, thoroughly handy for you, will (changing at Ashford) bring you here by 6.40, and I shall, at the station take very personal possession of you....
I am alone now--have been so this fortnight, and hope pretty confidently to be so while you are with me. You shall therefore have the best berth--such as that is--in the house: trust me for it. Put through your London jobs and mind your London ways: write me once more before you come, and come the first moment you can; and above all think of me as impatiently and tenderly yours.
transp.gif Henry James

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