Item 37 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline and Sir George Trevelyan

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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline and Sir George Trevelyan


  • 2 Dec 1895 (Creation)

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29 Beaufort St, Chelsea [on headed notepaper for the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place S. W.]:- Thanks his parents for their 'joint letter'. The weather here has suddenly turned 'almost absolutely perfect, at least for December', and the 'nights are wonderfully lighted by this full moon'. Florence must be 'gorgeous by moonlight'; wonders if they ever go to 'the portico where the David used to be and think of the poor painter of Henry James' Madonna of the Future, who was found there by night', but expects they go to bed 'quite early'. Dined recently with the [Yates] Thompsons, and Harry 'pretended to be indignant' that the Trevelyans had not gone to a hotel he had recommended; he 'was in a familiar, you-be-damned sort of mood', since there was no-one there but the Wilberforces, Spring Rice and Robert. Dolly 'had to reprove him for swearing at table before his guests'; thinks 'the Canon was rather shocked by his way of going on'.

[Edward Ernest] Bowen has given a 'lecture to the school [Harrow] upon the American Secession & Civil War', speaking 'for nearly two hours without becoming embarrassed or stumbling over a single word'; they say that throughout 'the excitement was so intense that you could have heard a fly's buzz'. At the end 'they got up and cheered him till it was thought they would never stop. They had not realised before what he was'. [Roger] Fry has a commission to paint 'a certain Smith Barry, the brother of the notorious M.P'. He has almost finished his lectures; he set 'certain passages in Browning's Fra Lippo to be annotated', which contain 'several bad blunders as to dates etc': '[m]ost of the young ladies trip up prettily into these pitfalls, taking it for granted that Browning must be right.

Robert 'quite agree[s] about Dante's deliberate purpose of making a great literary success', though thinks this would be 'indignantly repudiated by most of his idolaters'. It is 'very dull' in England at the moment; as far as Robert can tell people talk of 'nothing but Armenians.[a reference to the massacres in the Ottoman Empire]... and the Vailima letters [written by Robert Louis Stevenson to Sidney Colvin between 1890 and 1894, and recently published]'.

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