Item 110 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Julian Trevelyan

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TRER/15/110

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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Julian Trevelyan

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  • 12 Apr 1942 (Creation)

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Glad to get Julian's telegraph [from Egypt] yesterday. One word could not be made out: in the description of his pastimes as 'painting, goffinping, and dancing', should the second word be golfing, 'driving your ball over the back of the Sphinx, or getting it bunkered between its paws?'. Expects the weather is hotter than here: today is the first day of spring weather, but 'everything is backward', with no sign of bluebells and cuckoos and 'the very primroses smaller than usual'. Has just had his new book published, and sent it to Ursula; Julian knows almost all of the contents; has become 'un vrai prosateur', as 'Flaubert used to call himself', writing 'nothing but Essays': has just finished one 'on (or rather against) books'. His Simple Pleasures was recently broadcast on the [BBC] Forces Programme; it was 'really rather awful, as they tried to poetize [sic] it, though [he] had meant it to be flatter-than-pancake prose', but he got his five guineas. Tom and Marie [Sturge Moore] are here - Marie unwell in bed but recovering - Tet Htoot is also here for a few days, as 'he too was unwell and wanted cheering up'. Bessie seems quite well, though will go to London on Tuesday to see [Dr Karl] Bluth. Supposes he should write Julian a 'Horatian verse Epistle', but cannot compose it in time for this post; if he does write one will have to send it to Julian on his return; it will 'of course be largely about Egypt, Cleopatra, Amenophis [Amenhotep] and Ramesis, but not Tutenkamen [Tutankhamun]' whom he does not approve of, though 'his predecessor Aknaton [Akhenaten] was an interesting failure'. Hopes Julian will ensure that the 'Memnon statue is camouflaged very carefully'. Seems a pity that now the Nile has only two mouths, lists the names of the seven which 'every school-boy once knew'. Is reading [Lytton] Strachey's Queen Victoria aloud, which is 'really very amusing'; amazing how much easier it is to read a well-written book aloud than a badly-written one. Tet Htoot is reading the first volume of Gibbon, while he himself reads the second; is just coming to the chapter on the Christians, where he knows 'one will have some fun, especially in the notes'. Went with John Luce, with 'a party of Waleys, Joan and Polly [Allen] etc' to quite a good production of the Magic Flute at Sadler's Wells, for which they 'tried, not very successfully, to make the scenery Egyptian'. John is being sent abroad next week, but does not know where; they hope his father [Gordon] is coming home. Mossot [sic: Julian's cat Maszat] has had just one kitten, 'a sad falling off'; is told all cats in Egypt are mummified as divine.

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