Item 151 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

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TRER/45/151

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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

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  • [8 Mar 1888] (Creation)

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[On headed notepaper for Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland]: - Did not have much time to write yesterday, so waited until today; hopes she got his postcard [45/150]. Mr Owen teaches Robert the epistles on Sunday and Monday morning; the lesson is an hour long, and involves taking down the notes Owen dictates. Nobody in the form does take down the notes, as 'they are absolutely ununderstandable', even those 'high in the form' take none, or 'very few'. Instead, the boys 'habitually write their Sunday letters' then (more than three quarters of the form'), do nothing, or 'possibly read novels'; boys have been caught by Mr Owen writing letters, but he has never taken much notice. Robert used to try to take notes, but 'understood so little of their meaning', and found what he did understand was 'uninstructive' and 'contrary' to what he has always been taught and believed, so ending up following the others' example, taking no notes and 'even now and then wrote a letter' Thinks that the letter-writing is the 'only part of [his] conduct which any reasonable person can blame' and even this is 'somewhat excusable' since everyone does it.

He was caught writing a letter to her last Sunday, and since he has 'never had any success in [his] theological studies', Owen sent him to Mr Welldon, who punished him by sending him to the bottom of his form 'in bill order'. This is not a severe punishment, and is 'never considered a disgrace', though 'being degraded out of the form altogether is'. Mr Bowen of course had to stop Robert's exeat, but 'did not seem very much displeased'. Is sorry that he did a 'bad construing for Mr Welldon', due to 'carelessness' not 'neglect of preparation'. Has been doing well in his other work.

Mr Hallam is ill with the toothache, and Mr Moss and Mr Kempthorne have been taking them instead; Robert likes Mr Kempthorne best. Sends the verses; afraid he has been 'rather long in finishing' them but has not much time. Reminds her that he is not doing more as a punishment, but because Mr Kempthorne 'takes an interest' in his work. Is afraid even now they are 'not a very complete set. They are an imaginary 7th Book of Lucretius'. Ran to Elstree today, but 'not so as to overwork' himself.

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