Osborne 7th Aug. 1883
After luncheon, saw the great Poet Tennyson, who remained nearly an hour, & most interesting it was. He is grown very old, his eyesight, much impaired, & he is very shaky on his legs. But he was very kind, & his conversation was most agreeable. He spoke of the many friends he had lost, & what it would be, if we did not feel & know, that there was another world, where there would be no partings, — of his horror of unbelievers & philosophers, who would try to make one believe there was no other world, no immortality, — who tried to explain every-thing away, in a miserable manner. We agreed, that were such a thing possible, God, Who is Love, would be far more cruel than a human being. He quoted some well-known lives of Goethe, whom he so much admirers. He asked after my grandchildren, & spoke of the state of Ireland with abhorrence, & the wickedness of ill-using, & maiming poor animals. "I am afraid I think the world is darkened; but I dare say it will be brighter again."
I told him what a comfort "In memoriam" had always been to me, which seemed to please him; but he said, I could not believe the numbers of shameful letters of abuse he had received about it. — Incredible! When I took leave of him, I thanked him for his kindness, & said how much I appreciated it, for I had gone through much, to which he replied "You are so alone on that terrible height. I have only a year of two more, to live, but I am happy to do anything for you I can."
Tennyson's portrait by John Everett Millais.