- 29 Apr 1886
Wixenford, Eversley, Winchfield:- Has been meaning to write for 'some days', but has spent 'the last few lovely days almost entirely outdoors', as he hopes Bobbie has also done. Knows Bobbie does not need to be told how 'greatly delighted' Arnold is that all his work has been 'rewarded with success'. They tried their best to 'persuade one another.. it did not so much matter which way things went in the [Harrow entrance] examination', but Arnold is 'not too proud to confess' that since success is 'one of the most practical tests of good work', he at least 'hold[s] greatly to results'. Thanks Bobbie for his 'kind letter' and the postcard sent from Oxford, and offers congratulations.
Is 'much interested by the papers'; probably by now Bobbie will have seen what Mr Bowen said in a letter Arnold sent to Mrs Trevelyan. This was 'not all praise', and Bobbie 'shocked the examiners with blunders', as well as Arnold, but he 'also delighted them all through'. Arnold will 'sadly.. miss' their 'pleasant lessons together'. Thinks that what delighted the examiners is the 'permanent part', and that Bobbie will 'entirely get over' the errors which shocked them if he works hard over the next few years; 'Precision and accuracy is not a talent [Bobbie has] by nature', but he should take courage from the 'great strides' he has already made and feel it is in his power to fit himself 'for the highest achievements' over the next eight or nine years before he takes his degree at Cambridge. Arnold thinks that success which comes from hard work is superior to that which come only from talent without much effort.
Has had good news from Tomlin and from Leveson and Lawrence at Eton. Tomlin, 'not a scholar, mind you', writes that he was first in his form: first in classics, second in mathematics and natural science, and fourth in modern languages, with a prize for 'coming out top in Pupil-room'; he writes that he is 'so glad to see Trevelyan got a scholarship'. Arnold notes that Tomlin has 'done so well since he went to Harrow, without ever flagging', that he intends to give the Wixenford boys a half-holiday in his honour next term. Supposes they may have one in Trevelyan's honour: when Hicks got a scholarship, 'some fellows' said something about a whole holiday. Will give another half-holiday if Trevelyan is 'top of Lower Remove twice in the 3 first fortnights marks'
It is the 'peculiarity of Wixenford boys to wear well', though they do not 'always show all they know at first'; if Robert had not been 'unfortunate' in the Latin prose paper and the 'Greek passage about military tactics', he would undoubtedly have been placed much higher. Arnold wonders if he was hurried in the prose, as he thought an hour and a half short for this. Will be interested to hear what Robert's father thought of the prose Robert took home from Wixenford to show him: Arnold himself considered it 'very promising'. The Greek passage was not harder than many Robert had tried; supposes he went wrong somewhere and 'could not find the red thread again'; the verses were a 'triumph'.
Mrs Arnold sends good wishes and congratulations. Arnold will certainly not forget 'dear Bob', who should come and visit; sometimes Harrow holidays begin before Wixenford's, and then he can visit George. Robert can also send news occasionally 'as short epistles'; apologises for the length of this one. It is kind of Robert to send a present; will find it when they return on Monday, hopes it will be Robert's 'last photograph'. as he will have to have another one taken with his 'new honours'.
Hopes Robert is 'getting plenty of rest and enjoyment' on his holiday, and that George is also having 'plenty of fun'.