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Arthur Llewelyn Davies to John Llewelyn Davies - 1


Letter from Arthur to his father, 21 September 1906

[No original available]


Egerton House, Berkhamsted
21 Sept. 1906

Dearest Father,
Whatever may be in store for me, I hope I shall bear it as befits the son of a brave and wise man. I am troubled for myself, but much more for Sylvia. She is brave to a degree that I should hardly have thought possible, busy all day with endless activities and kindnesses for me and for the boys, and all the time the burden is almost heavier than she can bear. Besides her sympathy for me, she shrinks terribly from the loneliness after I am gone. She will have many good friends, but scarcely anyone on whom she feels that she can really rely.
I can see the end to what I may have to endure, but she at present seems to face the prospect of endless misery, and only sees that she must go on for the sake of the boys. I can foresee a not unhappy life for her in the future, with the boys growing up round her, but she cannot now see this. She and all the boys were never so desirable to me is now, and it is hard if I have to leave them. But whatever comes after death, whether anything or nothing, to die and leave them is not like what it would be if I were away from them in life, conscious that I could not see them or talk to them or help them.
Barrie’s unfailing kindness and tact are a great support to us both. He spoke to Roughton yesterday, and Roughton said the same as to me – that it is “likely” to be serious, but that it is impossible to be certain at present. He also said that whatever happened he could guarantee that there would be no bad pain – which is to me a comfort.
I was a little doubtful about asking Margaret to come. Sylvia has broken and troubled nights, and I rather fear the effect of any breakdown caused by sympathy. We are not telling Mrs du Maurier at present. But I feel that Margaret’s help will be invaluable. We shall expect her at 7.26. I suppose they will stop the express at Bletchley for her. If not, she will have to go onto Euston, and come back from there.
Your affect. son

[Peter's comments:]

Two or three of Arthur’s letters are evidently missing here: the next I have is dated October 11th. But on September 22nd, presumably after a further examination, he telegraphed to Kirkby Lonsdale: “Looks this morning more hopeful that nothing wrong.”

There seems to have been a period of some weeks during which he allowed himself to be persuaded – or wished to let others think that he was persuaded – that the feared and expected recurrence had not materialised.

[AB: Arthur sent his father a telegram the following day (not in Peter's Morgue):

"Looks this morning more hopeful that nothing wrong. Arthur."]


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