Scope and content
The Shiffolds, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking. - Thanks his parents for their last letters. Interested to hear about his 'New Year's gift from America [a silver cup from Theodore Roosevelt, Elihu Root, Henry Cabot Lodge, see 12/123] which shows that her best statesmen appreciate your history at its true value'. Perhaps today 'the lessons it has to teach would be more useful for English statesmen', but he does not expect that Chamberlain, Balfour and Milner are likely to present his father with a silver cup.
Thanks his father for returning the '"opinion" [on Florence Cacciola Trevelyan's will': no new developments, but Withers begins to think it would be better to 'make some sort of friendly bargain with Dr Cacciola', who 'certainly has the interest on the £20,000 during his lifetime' if it passes under the will, which seems clear. The weather has been 'very unpleasant' recently, but Bessie and Paul are well.
Has been reading several plays by Aristophanes in B[enjamin] Rogers' recent editions: these have good notes, and 'a first-rate verse translation opposite'. True that 'one does not often want a translation's help' for Aristophanes, but thinks that if he did not read Greek he would prefer this translation to any other he knows. In the introduction to the Wasps, Rogers 'pays a compliment' to Sir George's Cambridge Dionysia, saying there is 'considerable Aristophanic spirit in it'. Rogers has 'just called Racine's Les Plaideurs "a feeble and insipid play"': Robert does not know how justly, as he has never read it.
The Devonshire election [the Ashburton by-election of 17 January, in which the Liberals lost the seat to the Liberal Unionists] was 'unpleasant', but he expects it will 'do good indirectly by making Liberals feel less secure'.