NEITHER Burton nor Rossetti nor I had anything to do with the discovery of Omar Fitzgerald. . . . Two friends of Rossetti's—Mr. Whitley Stokes and Mr. Ormsby—told him (he told me) of this wonderful little pamphlet for sale on a stall (in St. Martin's Lane if you know where that is) to which Mr. Quaritch, finding that the British public unanimously declined to give a shilling for it, had relegated it to be disposed of for a penny. Having read it, Rossetti and I invested upwards of sixpence apiece—or possibly threepence—I would not wish to exaggerate our extravagance—in copies at that not exorbitant price. Next day we thought we might get some more for presents among friends—but the man at the stall asked twopence! Rossetti expostulated with him in terms of such humorously indignant remonstrance as none but he could ever have commanded. We took a few, and left him. In a week or two, if I am not mistaken, the remaining copies were sold at a guinea; I have since—as I dare say you have—seen copies offered for still more absurd prices. I kept my own pennyworth (the tidiest copy of the lot) and have it still.
From The Swinburne Letters, ed. Cecil Y. Lang (Yale, 1959-1962), vi. 187-188.
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