85 pp. diary of a train trip made with [James?] Ward from 13 March to 8 April 1883. While in Paris on the way there they attend a performance of "Fedora" starring the 'powerful' Sarah Bernhardt. Travelling via Toulouse, they arrive at the border where Frazer tastes Spanish food for the first time. From there they travel to Barcelona, with a long description of a side trip in which they climb Montserrat, to Tarragona and the monastery of Poblet, to València ('a most uninteresting town'), Córdoba (and a visit to the mosque there ), Granada (the Alhambra, cathedral, and Carthusian monastery), Seville (the Museo [de Bellas Artes de Sevilla], cathedral, and the Alcázar), Madrid (the Prado, a view of the King and Queen ['no cheering whatever'], and a trip to Toledo), Vittoria [Vitoria-Gasteiz], San Sebastián, Irun, thence in short order Biarritz, Bordeaux, Paris, Boulogne, Folkestone, London, and home to Cambridge.
Has already sent Flora Santayana's "Last of the Puritans" [sic; "The Last Puritan]; she need not rush to return it, and he will be interested to hear what she thinks; wonders if she will also read the life of Tennyson, which he and Bessie have read 'with great interest'. as well as a life of Sara Bernhardt by her grand-daughter [Lysiane Bernhardt], which they found 'great fun'. Used to 'delight in' Henry Sidgwick's life; Sidgwick was 'very kind' to him when he was an undergraduate. Must get Joan Allen to drive him over to see Flora soon. Will send a translation of a Homeric hymn as a Christmas card to her in a few days. Bessie is well, and sends her love. Saw Bertie [Russell] last week; he was 'very cheerful and full of talk, but looking rather older'.
The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Is glad that Bessie thinks their plan [to meet] so easy and that he 'overrated the difficulties' on her side; still thinks it may be better for him to go on to Italy after seeing her, saving the expense and 'beastliness' of two crossings and making him more likely to catch the Frys at Siena. Has always been able to work at Ravello, and doubts he will do much until he goes abroad. She must decide when he should come, and for how long; would like not to start before 11 November as he has promised to play [rugby] football then, but 'even the Sacred Olympian Games must give way , if necessary'. Says that he hates 'romance, at least in real life', and would not like her to be a 'Juliett, even if it were possible'; discusses Rostand's play "Les Romanesques", in which two lovers are not satisfied until their fathers fake a Romeo and Juliet style quarrel; thinks it more perfect than "Cyrano [de Bergerac]". Has not read "La Samaritaine"; thinks he would not care for it, as "[w]hen a Frenchman gets hold of J[esus] C[hrist] he usually makes him ridiculous", though it is 'bound to be clever and amusing'; Sanger saw 'Sally B [Sarah Bernhardt]' in it. Of Rostand's tragedies, has only read "La Princesse Lontaine"; thinks it a better play than "Cyrano". General thoughts about Rostand's plays and characters; he is 'a very charming person, and though dreadfully French [not] offensively so'. Glad Bessie liked his poem 'about Nothing at all' [see 9/80]; questions her objection to his translation of a line in the Ronsard poem, since she knows French much better than he does. The 'Indian poem' is part of a long one of which he has written the beginning and the fragment he sent; is not satisfied with it at all. Explains the correct English use of "shall" and "will". Has just seen an evening paper with an account of the disaster at Ladysmith [during the Second Boer War]; thinks it is the worst reverse the British army have had this century; resembles 'certain events in the War of American Independence' and this war is 'nearly as foolish and unnecessary'. Discusses possible results. Bessie is right that his father has fine eyes; thinks she would like him; he is very like Bob, 'only with more virtues and common sense, and fewer absurdities'.
The papers consist of correspondence, printed material, writings, personal papers, and photographs documenting the English life of Erskine Childers. The correspondence includes incoming letters to Erskine and to Molly Childers, copies of letters sent by Erskine, and a large number of letters written to others from others.
There are over 75 letters from Erskine to Molly dated 1903-1913; Erskine's other principal correspondents include Ian Hamilton, Field Marshal Frederick Roberts, and Basil Williams. Molly's principal correspondents include Benoît-Constant Coquelin, Kate Courtney, and John Singer Sargent. The collection includes letters from a variety of other correspondents, among them Edward Arnold, Julian Corbett, Arthur Conan Doyle, Henry James, William James, Lord Kitchener, J. Ellis McTaggart, Walter Runciman, George Bernard Shaw (to Emily Ford), and G. M. Trevelyan.
Printed material includes cuttings of reviews for 'The H.A.C. in South Africa', 'The Times History of the war in South Africa', 'War and the Arme Blanche', 'The Riddle of the Sands', and 'The German Influence on British Cavalry'; cuttings of articles on cruising printed in 'The Times' from 1907-1913; as well as two issues of 'Poblacht na hÉireann' from 21, 23 October, 1922.
The collection also includes a holograph poem apiece by Bronson Alcott and William Ellery Channing, photographs of Benoît-Constant Coquelin, and a signed photograph of Sarah Bernhardt.Childers, Robert Erskine (1870-1922), author and politician