Letitia Malthus

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2 Bellevue, Clifton, BS8 1DA

In April 1863, marriage was on Symonds’ mind. Believing that his same-sex attractions might be trained into a conventional feeling for women, he flirted with the idea of engagement to a neighbour, Letitia Morrison Malthus:

“I dreamed for four weeks that I should like — might like — could probably come to like, to marry her. The accent of the diary is, nevertheless, quite different in all that concerns her from its pregnant uncouth confidence about Alfred Brooke. I, the good boy, was then undoubtedly endeavoring to fall in love with a girl, and very proud of myself when I thought I had achieved that object.”1

Despite going so far as to interest Malthus’s parents, no engagement took place, and Symonds recorded that Letitia left his diaries as quickly as she had entered them.2

  1. Phyllis Grosskurth (ed.), The Memoirs of John Addington Symonds, Hutchinson (1984), p.136 []
  2. Grosskurth, p.137 []