- 2 Jan 1878
Part of Additional Manuscripts c
[Sent from Whittingehame, A. Balfour's house in Lothian]:- He and Nora were very busy up to the end of the previous year, until they escaped to Prestonkirk on New Year's Eve. They arrived in Cambridge on 26 December, on Thursday morning they were completing their arrangements for the Conference of Schoolmistresses on the following day, and their friends arrived that evening 'and educational talk began lasting without intermission till Friday evening...' On Saturday he began to prepare his answers for the Cambridge University Commissioners, and finished them on Monday morning, before his journey to Scotland.
Reports on the conference itself, which 'made up a compact and business-like meeting at the Townhall.' States that he was impressed with the schoolmistresses, who 'said what they had to say in a clear, short, practical way'. They 'fixed a limit of ten minutes for the speeches, but the only speaker who showed the least desire to exceed it was a Man..' Mentions that among the speeches made was one by Professor John Mayor. A short paragraph about the conference was sent to the newspapers, and got into the Times. Among those who came were James Wilson from Rugby with his sister Annie, who is head of a school at Grantham; Annie Marshall from Leeds, Professor Green from Oxford 'with his professorial honours fresh upon him', and Eve 'who used to be at Wellington College. States that Arthur was not able to come because Charlotte was not well enough to be left.
Reports that they have 'delightful weather' there in Prestonkirk, and that his brothers-in-law are all assembled. Claims that he has got the burden of his article pretty much off his mind. Describes the 'lovely winter view' from his window. Sends on Nora's love. Adds that they did not hear any political secrets at Hatfield, but reports that Myers, whom they had seen in London 'had seen Dizzy at Windsor Castle and reports that he bore a remarkably swaggering and triumphant aspect', and they are afraid that 'that Hebrew has been brewing some ill for his step-native land!'