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Arthur Llewelyn Davies to Mary Llewelyn Davies - 1

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Letter from Arthur Llewelyn Davies to his mother Mary, 24 October 1890

[No original available]



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8, Harrington St. [Liverpool]
Oct. 24 [1890]

Dearest Mother,
Every now and then reproaches arrive for my neglect of writing, and you seem quite without suspicion that I have written you a long letter and received in return something less than a scrappy half-sheet!
It is seldom that anything happens here worthy of being recorded with pen and ink — a Sunday supper at Lydia's and an afternoon's walk to Lorne Road are the chief variations on the monotony. Maurice seems to be in great health and vigour, to judge by the length and effect of his walks. He now makes nothing of soup, but expresses terror of raspberry jam.
I went one Saturday to Chester, discovered the abode of Tom Hughes, lunched with him and his wife, and rowed on the Dee with him in the afternoon. He showed astonishing vigour in rowing, and was very pleasant and friendly. He broke out at once into the Ten Commandments, and seemed to think the youth of England in a fair way to insanity. It seems that 'Pip' [or 'Plump'?] writes a Herbertian newspaper akin to the Whirlwind, so that one may perceive the foundation of his father's despondency.
I am sorry to hear of your sick child, and hope when next you write to Maurice to hear better accounts. Also I regret to hear of Cree's approaching departure.
Your affect. son,
A.Ll.D.

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The standard of letter-writing expected, and generally maintained, in that family is something to marvel at in these degenerate days, but M.Ll.D's complaint certainly turned into a boomerang on this occasion. Doubtless A. was reserving most of his epistolary energies for S. at this time, and it was still a novel experience to his mother not to be chief recipient of his news.
Tom ("Tom Brown's Schooldays") Hughes, one of J.Ll.D's oldest friends, was, as has been recorded earlier, a county court judge in the Chester district. At this time he was 68.
Evidently in the Hughes family, as in others of the period, the Christian enthusiasm of one generation had not survived into the next. This is not the place in which to argue whether it was a case of cause and effect, but there can be little doubt that Hughes's masterpiece has survived, and will survive, in spite of its Christian moralisings rather than because of them.
A's letter is one more instance of the frankness and independence which enabled such matters to be touched on in the Davies family without awkwardness or insincerity.
The "sick child" was no doubt Dolly Parry. Cree was a curate.

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