John Stewart Blackie on Meeting Tennyson

When I was researching Tennyson, I came across a story about a fan of his named Professor John Stewart Blackie.
 
Blackie was a Scottish scholar known for his wit and kindness, as well as his flamboyance.
 
In 1864, in one of his letters, Blackie described what it was like meeting Tennyson:
 
"The poet (Tennyson) came downstairs from a hot bath which he had just been taking, quite in an easy, unaffected style; a certain slow - heaviness of motion belongs essentially to his character, and contrasts strikingly with the alert quickness and sinewy energy of Kingsley: head Jovian, eye dark, pale face, black flowing locks, like a Spanish ship-captain or a captain of Italian brigands something not at all common and not the least English. We dined, talked, and smoked together, and got on admirably."
 
Long after, in his old age, Miss Stoddart tells us, the Professor spoke of this visit with a reference very unusual to him in allusion to his contemporaries, and a few flowers gathered in Tennyson's garden were carefully pressed and affixed to his copy of his In Memoriam.
 


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John Stewart Blackie
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