Letter from Arthur Llewelyn Davies to his sister Margaret, 26 October 1892
[No original available]
18, Craven Terrace, W.
Oct. 26 [1892?]
Charley gave me Uncle Harry's letter with your note. I suppose you understand that, by taking your £3,000 in 5% stock at 165, you will get £l,818 stock, and just over £90 income. If you care to look at the list of authorised investments, you will find them in Whitaker under the head of "Trust Investment Act 1889." We might do better than what is practically 3%, but it is to be observed that an investment on mortgage of land involves considerable preliminary expenses in valuation, etc.
Sylvia and I feel to blame in not having in some way recognised yr. birthday, but we thought of you on the auspicious date, when we were visiting the Parrys at Rustington. Lady M. practises her peculiar gift of invention on her friends' reputations with great assiduity, and we feel that a visit there exposes us to some risk.
In the competition for the Laureateship, has not Miss May Kendall, the gifted authoress, the following lines on Women's Rights been forgotten?
"We scorn the base insult, the vile innuendo,
The Laws of the Universe, these are our friends;
Our talents shall rise in a mighty crescendo,
We trust Evolution to make us amends."
I hear rumours of a signed article in the Pall Mall by Mother on the great question, but since the change from Cooke to Cook I have had to change my luncheon literature to the blushing "Globe".
Please note change of chambers to 2 Garden Court, Temple.
We shall be delighted to see Mother next week.
Your affect. brother,
The £3,000 to be so carefully husbanded (probably worth three or four times as much now) was clearly a legacy to Margaret from Charles Crompton. It is merely a surmise on my part that A had a legacy of the same amount. What a lot of pain and anguish might have been saved me if similar advice had been given to me when I began to get legacies myself! But that was in 1918 when I came of age, and received, in a dugout near Lens, a quantity of stock and
share certificates, mostly for small and complex amounts, representing what had been left to me by S.Ll.D. and Emma du M., augmented by the quarter-share which came to each of the four surviving brothers from G[eorge] Ll.D.'s similar little estate. I couldn't make head or tail of any of them, and thought the whole thing a rather grisly joke and called for drinks all round while I got my brother officers to witness my signature to the things.
Not that I imagine I should have paid much heed to good advice at the time and in the circumstances. The war still looked like going on for ever to me. At any rate, the thought of saving never entered my head, then or afterwards, and I just spent it all in the next few years, not at all in the grand manner, but as improvidently as could be. If any progeny of mine should chance to read these lines, I hereby apologise to him, and beg and conjure him never to do likewise in the improbable event of his ever receiving any legacies in his turn. Experto crede.
The Laureateship, vacant in 1892 through the death of Alfred Austin, went to Robert Bridges, an acquaintance of the Ll.D family, as we have seen.
I hadn't realised that Mary Ll.D. ever wrote for the press. The Women's Suffrage movement was beginning to make itself really vocal at this period, and Margaret Ll.D., of course, became one of its most prominent advocates. But the whole family, J.Ll. and E.D. and all the Cromptons, were active pioneers in its behalf. The "blushing" Globe is simply a reference to the pink paper on which that admirable evening paper was printed.
I believe I am right in saying that A.Ll.D. retained 2 Garden Court till his death; and that it was to those chambers that I can just recall accompanying him once, on what occasion I forget, but I think it was prior to lunching with him in an A.H.C. in the Strand (pea-soup, much appreciated by me) and proceeding to the pit of the Vaudeville (?) Theatre to see "The Merchant of Venice." I never read or hear Lorenzo's lines to Jessica — "On such a night as this," etc. — without a dim vision of that afternoon shaping itself in the camera obscura of my mind.
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