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J M Barrie To George Llewelyn Davies - 1912

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Letter from J M Barrie to George Llewelyn Davies, 15 January 1912



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Twenty Three,
Campden Hill Square,
Kensington

15 Jan 1912

My dear George,

Herewith the thirty bob. Alas, that you should have been prostrated with chestnuts. Had I known while you were down I would have mourned with you, but as you are better again I take rather a cynical interest in the Syrup of Figs, which I have never made acquaintance with, but the name suggests to me romantic groves, caiques on the Bosphorus, languishing eyebrows, whispered nothings & so on. The reality is evidently far different. 'Tis ever so, or mostly.

Michael and Nicholas are none the worse of their adventures on the Granville Express, and tomorrow I am taking them to the Drury Lane pantomime. It begins at 1.30 and goes on to neary 6. Pity the old man for the love of Allah.

Jack has written twice, well pleased with his ship and its crew, so far as he has made their acquaintances. His letters mostly deal with the rules & regulations of his mess, which seem to be mainly of a "ragging" character. When the sub-lieutenant in charge cries out "One" they must all rush to him like fags*. When he cries "Change sides" they have all to dive beneath the table into each other's places (helped by boots). When he sticks a fork into the beam above him they must rush out of the room, with a drubbing for the hind one &c.

I hope you and Peter will be excited to hear that you are now part-owners of a billiard table. We had our first game on it today.

I'm glad you are getting on at golf.

Your affec.

J.M.B.

===

Peter didn't include this letter in his Morgue, so we are sadly bereft of his illuminations. As to the new billiard table, Nico gave me "The Complete Billiard Player" by one Charles Roberts, first published in 1911 and inscribed to "Michael Llewelyn Davies from his friend E.V.L." = E. V. Lucas. On the blank pages at the end, Barrie has written a "Record of Breaks of 20 & upwards on the New Table. Table put in on Jan 13, 1912." There follows a long list, headed by "Jan 15, 1912 - JMB - 26", followed by "Jan 16 1912 - Michael - 29". For those interested in such ephemera, just search for "billiard" in the database to see the scans; there's also an audio clip of Nico talking about it ...

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