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Butler, Arthur Gray (1831-1909) Dean of Oriel College Oxford
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Letter from George Butler to H M Butler

Peterborough Deanery. Arthur Butler "Head Exhibitioner", H M Butler modest in his successes, GB's book of speech bills has been well received, plans to distribute the book among certain Harrovians, advice (with sketch) on how to speak at speech day, instructions on diving.

Letter from Henry Sidgwick to Mary "Minnie" Benson

Remarks on the length of time it has been since they have been in contact 'except casually'. Claims that he has been waiting anxiously for the other Initial paper.' Urges her not to be lazy, and to write [it], and assures her that she will be glad of it afterwards. Mentions that he heard from their mother about the problems with the drainage, and hopes that 'the Prince is all right now: and that Edward has "repaired the semestrial losses". ' Refers to the fact that he has been offered a mastership at Rugby, and had at first accepted it. Announces that he has now refused it. Admits that he has behaved very badly, but claims that it has cost him much mental struggle to break his word. Thought it better 'not to prolong the error of a day into the mistake of a life.' States that he is going abroad to shake the whole thing off his mind.

Lists some of the reasons why he had accepted the offer in the first place, including the fact that their mother wanting to go there, his wish to live with her and his liking for Rugby, his having such an admiration for Dr Temple, his liking [A.G.] Butler so much, and explains that they all made him neglect the fact that he knows that his vocation in life 'to be not teaching, but study.' States that Edward will understand better than she, and asks her to show him the letter. States that he wishes him to know the truth of the matter, since he will probably hear of it from elsewhere.

Tells her not to send the next paper to him, but to Miss [Annette?] Kitchener in Newmarket, and that if she has anything to say to him, to address any correspondence to Post Restante Paris. Supposes that she has heard from their mother since he left her. States that she 'was quite well then at the Raikes, but she is now at Leeds.' Admits that part of the regret he feels in relation to his conduct is due to the predicted reaction of his mother to it.

Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

[Sent from Haileybury]:- Remarks on the unfairness of the fact that because Arthur does not write to her, she does not write to him: Henry arrived at this conclusion from a message he got from [J. M.?] Wilson when he saw him at Trevelyan's dinner. Reports that he is 'pretty well' and 'tolerably busy'. Has been examining a school lately, and has made good progress with his Arabic. Adds that his eyes are pretty well. Reports that Trevelyan has gone down for good; his father has been appointed financial member of the Indian Council and his son is to be his private secretary. Observes that Trevelyan is the last of the friends that he made as an undergraduate, but declares that there are lots of nice men still at the university, and that he has not lost the power of making friends. States, however, that he feels that he is growing old, and 'probably appear[s] a great Don to freshmen'.

Is anxious to hear the result of the Great Ladkin case; asks 'is the monster subdued or have [they] had to "eat the [Leck]". Reports that Mrs Kingsley enquired after his mother; Mrs Kingsley has had quite a long illness, from which she is now recovered, and he has not seen anything of the Kingsleys this term. Declares Miss [Rose?] Kingsley to be 'a very nice girl.' Asks whether his mother has seen Kingsley's letters in the Times, and comments that most people at Cambridge think that he has done good by them, but observes that he has been 'as usual hasty and one-sided.' Believes that the Manchester people ought to have spoken before. States that he saw Temple's letter, which was 'very good as always', and comments on his testimony as to conduct of manufacturers.

Reports that Arthur is very well, and that he himself is staying with [A. G.] Butler in Hertfordshire. He saw Miss Mulock, who was staying with [Alexander?] Macmillan, some days previously; she 'looks pleasant and sympathetic, yet hardly capable of the powerful delineation of passion one meets with in her books'; she is said to be 'odd' and to 'come to evening parties in her morning dress'.

Attributes his mother's epistolary silence to dissipation, and asks if everybody on the Bilton Road asked her out to dinner, and whether they shall 'entertain "all manner of Dukes" as Arthur says' when they return. Asks if any family catastrophe has occurred. Tells her if she meets any Trinity man she may tell them that [J. L.] Hammond is going to be Bursar. Declares that Mr Martin is looking better every week; that Professor Sedgwick is flourishing, and is expected to lecture the following year 'for "positively the last time" as he has said any time the last ten years.'

Letter from George Butler to H M Butler

23 Marina, St Leonards. Is pleased at his progress in mathematics, asks for help with an equation set in the BA degree, Arthur Butler played at football for Old Rugbeans against the school, establishment of full scholarships at the King's School Peterborough.

Letter from Henry Sidgwick to his mother

Announced that he has arrived in Cannes 'after a somewhat trying journey': the worst part being the Dover to Calais crossing which he found so rough that he was afraid to subsequently take the night train to Avignon 'for fear of being regularly knocked up'. Was glad to instead spend a morning in Paris, a town he 'love[s] above all towns', where he suffered the effects of a very cold North Wind. Refers to the tradition of selling étrennes [new year's gifts], which he does not wish to 'transplant' to Britain; it is bad enough having to give presents to friends when they marry. Reports that he spent some hours in the Louvre, and found that his feeling for Greuze had grown.

Travelled on to Avignon that night, where he encountered a snow-storm. Remarks that the Palace of the Popes 'looks much more like a great barrack which it now is than like a palace'. He stayed in Marseilles on Wednesday night, and the next morning saw the Mediterranean for the first time. Complains that it has rained every day since he arrived. Reports that Symonds 'does not look at all well, but says he is better', and has sprained an ankle. Mentions that Montagu Butler is there, and that he intends to see him soon and hopes to hear about Haileybury and A G Butler. Reports that [Roden] Noel 'left a wideawake' with them, and asks her to send it to him in London. Asks her to keep carefully any letters about his room or else [ ] belonging to him that she may find. Reports that he had 'a melancholy business at Hastings dividing the library [of his friend Cowell, who died the previous month]'; he could not take all the books and those he had taken will 'oblige him to line [his] room with bookcases'. Remarks that this 'complete break-up, extinction of a family is very sad.'