Sir Percy and Lady Shelley, RLS’s neighbours at Bournemouth, had attached themselves warmly to RLS, and saw in his ways and character a living image of those of the poet, Sir Percy’s father, as they imagined him.
Low had asked on behalf of Scribner’s for a photograph of RLS for publication in The Bookbuyer (see Letter 1503, Posted on this blog January 11, 2017).
[As ususal, dots between square brackets indicate cuts made by Sidney Colvin. For full, correct and critical edition of this letter, see Mehew 5, 1515.]
To Will H. Low [Colvin 1911, 2, pp. 317-318]
Skerryvore, Bournemouth, Jan. Somethingorotherth, 1886
My dear Low,
I send you two photographs: they are both done by Sir Percy Shelley, the poet’s son, which may interest.
The sitting down one is, I think, the best;
but if they choose that, see that the little reflected light on the nose does not give me a turn-up; that would be tragic. Don’t forget ‘Baronet’ to Sir Percy’s name.
We all think a heap of your book; and I am well pleased with my dedication.
P.S. – Apropos of the odd controversy about Shelley’s nose: I have before me four photographs of myself, done by Shelley’s son:
my nose is hooked, not like the eagle, indeed, but like the accipitrine family in man; well, out of these four, only one marks the bend,
one makes it straight,
and one suggests a turn-up.
This throws a flood of light on calumnious man – and the scandalmongering sun. For personally I cling to my curve. To continue the Shelley controversy: I have a look of him, all his sisters had noses like mine:
Sir Percy has a marked hook;’
all the family had high cheek-bones like mine; what doubt, then, but that this turn-up (of which Jeaffreson accuses the poet, along with much other fatras [= rubbish]) is the result of some accident similar to what has happened in my photographs by his son?