- 20 Dec 1895
1, Wellington Place, Tunbridge Wells:- Thanks his mother for her letter, which arrived yesterday. Is staying the night at Tunbridge Wells; his hosts [his aunt Anna Maria Philips and Sophie Wicksteed] are 'both in good spirits, and Sophie certainly not ill'. Is going for a few days next week to Failand near Bristol, the 'country house of Roger [Fry]'s family'. Will then go on to Welcombe, he thinks taking the places of the Webbs [Sidney and Beatrice, friends of his brother Charles?], 'for we have to wait our turn like aspirants for office'. Will be glad to get away from London, where he has been leading 'a miserable bus-riding rattle-of-bus-fretted existence since September'.
Thinks it will become a 'downright cruel winter' soon, as it is quickly getting colder 'after a long merciful delay'; if it does, London will be 'uninhabitable for a season, at least to work in', and he does not expect he will return. Will not come to his parents in Rome, as it 'would be absurd' not to see the sights which she 'describe[s] so temptingly' on his first visit, and this would 'not fall in with' his intention to work. Believes [Edward] Marsh is in Rome, or 'will be soon', since Robert 'just missed him in London'.
Will send the Pageant [magazine recently published by Ricketts and Shannon, see 46/38] if she likes, 'though there is much bad in it'. For him, its 'chief value' is that it has 'several old [D. G.] Rossettis and Mi[l]ais', as well as Rickett's Oedipus. Shannon's drawings have 'both been badly reproduced, and are by no means his best work'; in fact several contributors, such as Swinburne, Bridges, and Robert's friend [T.S.] Moore 'have not done themselves justice'. Does not know if his mother has 'ever tasted of Maeterlinck's strange vintage before'; he himself 'neither scoff[s] nor adore[s]' but the play in the Pageant is 'fairly typical' of him; thinks his poem, as well as Verlaine's, good. The Pageant should 'amuse [her] as decadent in an extreme though not particularly offensive form'.
The 'American affair is deplorable': fears it 'may lead to real trouble', though the general view in England, both among individuals and newspapers is that 'Jonathan will begin to see in a few days that he is making an exhibition of himself ['Uncle' is written before 'Jonathan' then crossed out: perhaps Robert Trevelyan confused 'Brother Jonathan', a representative figure of New England sometimes used to stand for the entire United States, with Uncle Sam - or was about to use the latter term then changed his mind]'. Glad she finds Italian politics interesting; he 'used to read the political articles in the Sera and Tribuna' to 'pick up a little of what was going on'.