Below is a letter taken from O’Doughty and J.E. Wahl’s Letters of Dante Gabriel Rossetti Vol II (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), and reproduced accordingly. The letter, written by Rossetti, contains a wonderful description of his pet wombat.
16, Cheyne Walk, Chelsea,
Tuesday, [21st September, 1869]
My dear Miss Losh,
I duly reached here last night at 9.30 after a very rapid and punctual journey. I find everything as it should be, and even better. My servants have been exerting themselves wonderfully and have cleaned and even painted the house to a most satisfactory state of polish. My tent however has had to be taken down, as it seems the winds here were at one time something tremendous. I have seen no one as yet except the parrot and the Wombat who are on either side of me as I write – the former letting fall a remark –or shall I say an animadversion ? – from time to time,- and the latter burrowed deep in the sofa cushions indulging apparently in the more abstruse forms of thought. He is a round furry ball with a head something between a bear and a guinea-pig, no legs, human feet with heels like anybody else, and no tail. Of course I shall call him ‘Top’. His habits are most endearing. He follows one about everywhere and sidles up and down stairs along the wall with the greatest activity. He is but a babe as yet and very rough as to his coat which however is splendidly thick. The Consummate Wombat is quite smooth, and such he will be when adult. He is tremendously strong and heroically good-natured. I know you would pronounce him a perfect darling.
Of course I have no news at present but thought I would make sure of writing before that dreadful letter of yours reaches me from Penkill. However, you know I have promised to burn it unopened.
I see the Tinsley article on William is out, and is rather severe on Mrs. Holmes Grey. They are not quite wrong about its defects, but then they are obtuse to its merits.
I hope to be sending you some proofs in a forward state soon, and with kind remembrances to all at Ravenside and Wreay, am ever,
Most sincerely yours,