[...] The actual exhumation of the grave, in October 1869, only gave that restlessness a wider and more complicated circulation. Rossetti did not attend the event, but followed its progress closely. The recovery of his poems, poems which are "as I may say, dead stock", set loose a mix of morbid fear and guilt which would run for years. A briefly mooted, then suppressed, suggestion that he might dedicate the volume to Janey Morris reinforces the undercurrent of plunder and betrayal. These grave-goods, Rossetti knew at some level, were a way of stealing from one woman to give to another.Little of this inner turmoil, however, is verbally apparent. Even during the event, the letters appear all sense and practicalities. The "rough grey calf" cover of the manuscript – not, Rossetti explained, to be confused with the copy of the Bible also in the grave – had to be recovered, disinfected and then carefully transcribed, in spite of, as he puts it, "a great worm-hole right through every page" of "Jenny". He sends a vivid drawing of that hole to William Michael, showing the precise proportions. "It has a dreadful smell", he warns him of the whole. The few friends in the know were sworn to secrecy, although, Dante Gabriel guessed, in a word which touches a bit too closely on the physics of the event, "the truth must ooze out in time". [...]
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