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Arthur Llewelyn Davies to Mary Llewelyn Davies - 1


Letter from Arthur Llewelyn Davies to his mother Mary, 20 October 1891

[No original available]


3, Harcourt Buildings,
Temple, E.C.
Oct. 20 [1891]

Dearest Mother,
I send you a copy of the testimonials. There was another from Macnaghten, but rather ludicrous, and so I cut it out at the last minute. I have sent in the application today, and the appointment will be in November, probably late. I have set old Foth to work on the members of the Council, and it is just possible he may be elected on it himself — one of 20. And perhaps Lady Mathew may secure me her husband's vote. But I am afraid the other 18 will turn out to be a corrupt lot. It is a comfort to think that old Foth will support me without regard to the merits of the other candidates.
There are various agitating matters in progress — "Peter Ibbetson" to appear shortly, the lectures to begin, and Gerald du M. (as well as Alfred) on the verge of the Solicitors' Preliminary Examn. That last takes place tomorrow and Thursday and I have been cramming Gerald with Kings and Queens and Habeas Corpus and Magna Charta.
There doesn't seem to be any further news — the solicitors are still curiously blind — I have seen no relations or friends' lately, except the Lawrences on Sunday, him with a chill.
I hope you are all well and enjoying the rain quietly by yourselves. Sylvia and I went to Harrow on Saturday to see George Booth, and saw Crompton's bear in the distance — not much to look at — bigger than Crompton (though not so big as Charley).
Your affect. son,

"Old Foth" defeats me, I'm sorry to say.
I don't think Gerald du M's flirtation with the law was either a serious one or of long duration. He was under 19 at the time of the examination and I imagine he failed, and thanked God for it ever afterwards. Daphne says nothing about it in her book ["Gerald: A Portrait"].
"Crompton's bear" puzzled me a good deal, till it dawned on me that the term "bear-leader" was slang for a travelling tutor, and that the bear in question was some pupil, still at Harrow, whom Crompton either had been coaching, or was about to coach for the University in accordance with the family tradition. Arthur and Harry were the only tall ones of the family — each about six feet, I think — the others ranging from the medium of Maurice to the small Crompton, who developed a crouch in his latter years which reduced him almost to the stature of J.M.B.
"Alfred" was, I think, Alfred Booth, cousin of George Booth and head of the firm in due course.


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