Norman web page presents us with an perception into Housman the poet, the student and the man.
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Sent to the Wises at Woodchester, he received there, among the scenes of his mother's early life, the news of her death on 26 March l87l. The letter also told him of her dying request that he should not lose his religious faith. One can only speculate why she felt this needed saying, but the communication of it by her widower could have been more tactfully timed. Her plea adds great poignancy to her son's declaration, when he himself was near death, that 'I became a deist at thirteen'. * 1t fell to the Wises to comfort the boy amid their own grief, for Mrs Wise was an old friend of Sarah Housman.
We had a married cook, whose husband had work at such a distance that they could see each other but seldom. One day he came, and his wife asked leave to stay out with him for the night. It was refused, and when later it was discovered that she had gone out secretly and spent the night in the barn, her behaviour was considered most indecent. * Lucy's 'streaks ofpuritanism'* naturally led her to do nothing to interfere with her stepsons' ignorance on sexual matters, but could not altogether suppress the workings of nature in the lower orders.
When Laurence Housman in his brother's later years visited him in Cambridge, he noticed a portrait hanging over the fireplace in his Trinity rooms and asked whose it was. ' A Cambridge girl who knew Housman well towards the end of his life wrote of him that he would not tolerate the idea that it was possible for a man truly to love more than one woman in his life; anyone who considered that he had done so had simply never really loved at all. Man, according to the old jest, embraces woman; in this case 'more than one woman' includes 'more than one man'.
A. E. Housman: A Critical Biography by Norman