On this day in 1884, Oscar Wilde wrote a letter to his good friend Thomas Waldo Story – sculptor, art critic, poet and literary editor – from the Royal Victoria Hotel in Sheffield, where he was lecturing at the time.
In this letter, he described in glowing and playful terms the young woman to whom he had become engaged weeks earlier:
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 [Whistler] 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 cannot go further.
We are, of course, desperately in love.
Oscar Wilde married Constance Lloyd on May 29, 1884. This letter is reproduced in Holland, Merlin and Rupert Hart-Davis (Eds). The Complete Letters of Oscar Wilde (London, Fourth Estate, 2000), pp.225-6
Read more about their marriage in Wilde’s Women