Item 43 - Letter from Alice Gardner to Nora Sidgwick

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Add. MS c/103/43


Letter from Alice Gardner to Nora Sidgwick


  • 18 Mar 1906 (Creation)

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Says that she has often felt lately as if she were very lazy 'doing nothing but move about under a real Italian sky, looking at interesting things' while Nora is 'enveloped in work'. Refers to Edith Sharpley, from whom she presumes Nora has heard news of Gardner's visit to Italy. Reports that she had 'a delightful visit to Pompeii', and that her sister and one of her nieces have been there [in Rome] with her for the last week.

States that her brother [Percy Gardner's] lectures are very well attended, but laments the state of the British School in Rome. Expresses her gratitude for the copy of Henry Sidgwick: A Memoir., which she enjoyed reading it very much, and which Percy is reading it now. Would very much like to write a review of it, but fears that she does not have enough influence with any editor to secure its publication. Declares that one feeling that the book inspired in her was the desire for more. Remarks that some of Henry's traits, which were very noticeable to those who knew him less well, seem to be 'kept too much in the background': gives as an example the manner in which he tried to ignore his stammer. Refers also to 'his freedom from conventionality in small things.' Claims that the above all belonged to the characteristic that 'is made, in the Memoir, the key to his whole life: his persistent preference in all things for perfect truthfulness.'

Recalls the 'rather critical occasions' in her life when she had a private talk with Henry, 'which helped in determining [her] subsequent course'. Includes in these occasions her first arrival at Newnham, and recalls that it was Henry who interviewed her and 'who interpreted [her] desire as for the study of Kulturgeschichte', and also when she was unsure whether she should leave Bedford College to come to Newnham. Refers also to having, at Nora's suggestion, consulted him as to whether she should write about John the Scot. Adds that she would have to write at much greater length if she wanted to say in what ways both his teaching and his life as Nora records it are among the greatest possessions she [Gardner] has.

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