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J M Barrie to Arthur Quiller-Couch - 1894


Letter from J M Barrie to Arthur Quiller-Couch (‘Q’),1 July 1894


My dear Couch,

I could make a long letter of it but am shaky with a pen, though was holding a golf club firmly yesterday. My lungs are quite right again, and I have only to pick up strength now. Miss Ansell, who has an extraordinary stock of untrustworthy information on diseases of the human frame, knows all about quinsy and says she can sympathise in full, Yes, it is all true though it was in the papers*, and I am just recovering from the pleasure of having a letter on the subject—yours—which is not comic. Even so long ago as when I was going to you in Bedford Gardens I was beginning to hope that this would come about, and I am not in a position to deny, as the Speaker would say, that the obvious happiness of you two seemed to me a most enviable thing.

We have worked hard to get married unbeknown to the lady journalists but vainly. In about a week it will be,—up here, so that we can go off together straight away, she to take charge. We go across the channel first for a month and fully mean to come your way soon thereafter. Vague talk of winter quarters, one idea to come to Fowey for a month or two into rooms. I want Miss Ansell and your wife to be friends, and feel so sure they would be, and it would be a good l place for rne,—and consider the causeries we’d talk! We are both against London life for permanency.

Tell the Pippa** he knows nothing about it, and that she is the kind he likes. Boxes well, but has to hold her tongue between her teeth.

Yours ever, J M Barrie

* His engagement to Mary Ansell.
** Bevil ('Pippa’ or 'Piper’) = the Quiller-Couchs' little son.

{Taken from “The Letters of J M Barrie”, edited by Viola Meynell, Peter Davies Publishing, 1942}


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