Royal Victoria Hotel, Sheffield
Yes! My dear Waldino, yes!
Amazing of course - that was necessary.
Naturally I did not write - the winds carry tidings over the Apennines better than the 2½d post: of course it accounts for the splendid sunsets about which science was so puzzled. Hurrah! You had no sunsets when you were engaged - only moonlights. Well, we are to be married in April, as you were, and then go to Paris, and perhaps to Rome - what do you think? Will Rome be nice in May? I mean, will you and Mrs Waldo be there, and the Pope, and the Peruginos? If so we will arrive.
Her name is Constance and she is quite young, very grave, and mystical, with wonderful eyes, and dark brown coils of hair: quite perfect except that she does not think Jimmy the only painter that ever really existed: she would like to bring Titian or somebody in by the back door. However, she knows I am the greatest poet, so in literature she is all right: and I have explained to her that you are the greatest sculptor: art instruction can not go further.
We are of course desperately in love. I have been obliged to be away nearly all the time since our engagement, civilising the provinces by my remarkable lectures, but we telegraph to each other twice a day, and the telegraph clerks have become quite romantic in consequence. I hand in my messages, however, very sternly, and try to look as if 'love' was a cryptogram for 'buy Grand Trunks' and 'darling' a cypher for 'sell out at par.' I am sure it succeeds.
Dear Waldo, I am perfectly happy, and I hope that you and Mrs Waldo will be very fond of my wife. I have spoken to her so much about you both that she knows you quite well already, and of course I can not imagine anyone seeing her and not loving her.
Please give my love to Uncle Sam and the young robust transcendentalist from Boston, Mass., whose novels we all delight in. And remember me most kindly to your wife, and tell her how much I look forward to introducing Constance to her.
1. [22 January 1884]
Dated from postmark.
Published in Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis, eds, The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde, London, 2000, pp. 225-26. Part of the letter (paragraphs 3 and 4: 'Her name ... at par') was also reproduced by J. A. K., 'Whistler as Letter-Writer', [unknown newspaper], 25 March 1924 (GUL Whistler PC 21, p. 46).
Pietro di Cristoforo Vannuci, called Perugino (c.1450-1523), Italian painter and draughtsman.