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Burns, John Elliot (1858-1943) trade unionist and politician
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Letter from Desmond MacCarthy to R. C. Trevelyan

Thanks for Trevelyan's letter of advice about the article. Has his 'back up' against the Ind[ependent] Rev[iew] at the moment: received a cheque from Jenks for his review which was 25 shillings short of the sum agreed. Does not mind writing 'for love', but does object to having his 'wages chipped at the discretion of that little shit'. Asks for total discretion: must speak to George [Trevelyan] first if he decides to complain. There has been a fight outside the office: Udale had his nose 'scraped'. J. Burns [John Burns?] is probably going to be sued by Harris for libel; this too can only be mentioned to Trevelyan's wife. Would like to visit soon; will bring 'the black wallowing unprofitable & the Marie Kov [?]'. A postscript, reading 'Sir, my name is Otto. Why not make my initials D.S.O?' may be a reference to the Trevelyan's son Paul.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

Hôtel Floresta, Taormina [headed notepaper]:- Will start back towards England next Wednesday or Thursday, stopping perhaps for a few days at Rome; wants to be back by the end of the month. The weather has been ‘delicious for a while now’, but he is ‘a little tired of the place’, probably as he is now accustomed to the ‘strange sights that one sees in such a Southern climate’ and ‘no more moved by a cactus’ than he would be ‘by an oak tree in England’ - for which he is beginning ‘to feel a bit of a longing’.

The ‘priest element is still predominant’ at his hotel: a ‘high-church Anglican has arrived’, and he can ‘hear [Edward Sheridan] Purcell’s Manning being discussed on the terrace’ as he writes. Miss [Lena] Milman, ‘from the tower of London [her father was Major there]’ is also staying here; she was ‘deafened by the explosion in the Tower, and is spoken to and speaks in a loud voice’. One of the two Roman Catholic priests [see 46/45] is her cousin, and they ‘converse during meals with the voice of John Burns addressing an open-air meeting’: since they ‘discuss most topics, and pretty freely, the sober visitors are much diverted or else shocked’. Her cousin is ‘in an indirect manner’ rather like ‘the hero of a late story of George Moore, *John Norton’ - or ‘something like him, for the hero is an odious person, and the story too for that matter’. Miss Milman is a ‘friend and disciple of George Moore’s’ and once told him about her ‘priestly cousin, whom G. M. promptly transmogrified into the most detestable portrait… in his not over-choice gallery of characters’.

When he returns to England, Robert will ‘have had enough scrambling over the globe for some time’; will not go to Greece in July with Fry, Dickinson, and Wedd as he had hoped. Hopes Georgie will be ‘fit for his tripos when he returns’.