Letter from Arthur to his sister Margaret, 12 February 1903
2, Garden Court, Temple, E.C.
Feb. 12, 1903.
Ever since Christmas I have been intending to write and thank you for the beautiful instrument of ivory and steel which you sent me from Sunderland. It serves many purposes, from cutting Law Reports to removing bicycle tyres, and is still unbroken.
We were much interested to read the accounts of your successful experiment at Sunderland. [Women's Co-operative Guild, no doubt] Won't you try Notting Hill next, and under-sell Whiteley and promote the cheerfulness of our evenings? I believe Sylvia has ventured to ask Barrie for a copy of his works for the use of the Guild.
We are all extremely well, and attending school and Temple regularly, and enjoying our grand new house, except when the time comes to pay rent and rates. Our rose trees are in full leaf, and snowdrops, crocuses, daffodils and primroses beginning to sprout up promiscuously. Sylvia is hunting for a sundial as a present from Gerald.
I am moderately busy, and have two pupils who pay me money and do my work for me.
The grand new house which sounds so rural, was in fact 23, Kensington Park Gardens, just across the street from No. 3l, recently relinquished either because the lease had come to an end, or because it was too small for four boys, and the further addition who was doubtless now expected: Nicholas Ll.D., born in this house, 24 Nov. 1903.
A typically dreary Bayswater thoroughfare, some might think it, Kensington Park Gardens, with its rows of stucco houses, and the "squares" at the back of them: yet hallowed, for me, by all the little memories it holds of the first seven years of my insignificant journey through this vale of tears. I can't walk along it even now without queer sensations about the heart. In point of fact, this particular street, when it was first built, in the eighteen fifties, was regarded, with its width and the exceptionally large open space at the back, as an outstanding example of tow planning. It was inhabited from the first by prosperous upper-middle-class families who could afford to pay their minute wages to numerous servants such large houses needed. And the houses themselves, architecturally speaking, have a certain grace and proportion for the discerning modern eye.
23, K.P.G. is the first of our homes I remember in any details. "Grand" was a euphemism on A's part, though it was certainly bigger than 31, and had the dignity of being semi-detached, at the end of the street, and of possessing a room which could be made into a "schoolroom" and of being approached through a gate to a door at the side, instead of by the usual flight up steps directly from the pavement. It and its semi-detached neighbour were pulled down a good many years ago and a block of flats built on the site. The rose-bushes and flowers adorned a tiny patch of garden at the back, which gave on to Ladbroke Square, across which G. and J. used to set off on their daily walk to Wilkinson's, and where I remember, among many other sensations, becoming conscious for the first time of the sweet smell of new-mown grass.
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