Rose at 5½. Διδάσκαλος came, instead of yesterday. After breakfast, wrote to Husey Hunt & C. Church, & C. Fortescue1 & by this time it was three o’clock ― Then came a note from Lushington ―― Mrs. Cortazzi is dead. She died in Paris.

I went out alone & walked round by the marshes & back thro’ Potamó. It rained a little & was very cold. Thousands of Turkies going in to be eaten.

At 6½ went to Lushington’s & dined. Nothing more is known of Mrs. C.’s death than the fact, & that she did not live to see her son.

Poor afflicted Helena & Madeleine! & the poor old father!

By very hard talking I kept myself alive, ― but later the miserable self-wrapped manner of Lushington & his dead silence irritated me too much to bear well ― not the less so, that, going into his room I saw V.’s portrait there.2 So I came away at 10 ― & I really think it would be far better to avoid meeting so frequently. ― I was going to ask him to dine tomorrow, his birthday, but in some parenthesis, he said he was going to shoot in Albania.
Poor Helena!

[Transcribed by Marco Graziosi from Houghton Library, Harvard University, MS Eng. 797.3. Previously published in part in Lear 1988, 119.]

  1. This letter was published in LEL, pp. 73ff. []
  2. This might be a reference to George Stovin Venables. According to Susan Chitty, Lear and Venables did not like each other, as they were in competition for the Lushington family’s affection; in 1855, while waiting at Park House for the terminally ill Harry Lushington’s return, the latter wrote in his diary: “In the evening, while the others were out and I was in the schoolroom with the children, I heard that Lear was here, and to my great disgust he is settled here” (Chitty 1989, 148). In a letter to Emily Tennyson of 28 October 1855, Lear complained that Venables was circulating the story that Lear’s insistence on Franklin Lushington’s return to Corfu with him was motivated by a desire “to benefit myself by Frank’s position and increased income” (Chitty 1989, 150). []