Item 18 - Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to R.C. Trevelyan

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TRER/14/18

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Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to R.C. Trevelyan

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  • [1895?] (Creation)

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Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland. - Has just read 'our dear brother's novel' ["Gerald Eversley's Friendship" by Welldon, their fellow Apostle], which is 'not so bad as [he] expected': the 'commonplaceness of the story and the setting is so bold and unconventionally conventional' that it is not laughable. About half the book is set at Harrow, and this is 'good, that is true to life'; he 'knows more of boys' than George thought. Versions of Van [A. G. Watson, known as 'Vanity'] and [Charles] Searle appear. The two main characters are a 'young barbarian' and a 'swot' who make friends; the swot's 'religious doubt' is the subject of the last half of the book, and must be respected as written by 'one of the last of the old style [emphasised] of Xtian brethren', as he takes Welldon to be. The morals of this part seem to be that 'religion may be false but it is necessary to happiness and conduct', and that a young man should 'go to Trinity, not Baliol [sic]': the swot goes to Balliol, 'finds people making epigrams instead of talking apostolically', suffers religious doubts which are not taken seriously and attempts suicide; clear that Welldon views the swot's 'reversion to Xtianity rather a poor job'; George thinks Balliol people 'will be very angry'.

Glad that Robert is coming back soon; thinks that their mother is inviting 'McT' [Jack McTaggart?], to whom their father is eager to show the Macaulay books, but she will not do so before Bob returns. Is getting 'very fond of the West Wood', and wishes there were such a place to walk in Cambridge: the Backs are 'too academical and not solitary or secluded enough'. Is 'beginning to find imagination of unreal company or circumstances very refreshing for a few minutes each day'. Describes how the battle [involving toy soldiers] is going in detail, with suggestions as to how it should proceed; sketches out a map for this.

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