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J M Barrie to George Llewelyn Davies - 1912

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Letter from Barrie to George Llewelyn at Eton, 3 June1912.


3 Adelphi Terrace House.
Strand W.C.

June 3 1912

My dear George,
Floreat Etona*. I hope the weather is to be propitious and that you will have a perfect day [??morally or perhaps mentally] as well as physically without a cloud in the sky for your last 4th of June. It is four years since the day when your mother and I were there and you made us stay on for the fireworks and were really just a small boy, impaling yourself by the waterside on railings. I did not then know even that there was such a thing as Pop. It has swum into my ken like some celestial young lady.
It is sad that your bowling arm has not been doing the rest of you justice lately, but I am still ready to believe that any day it may retrieve itself, and I have a blessed confidence in your taking the thing in a right spirit shd hopes in the end be disappointed. You remember Roosevelt's mother, "She done her d-dest, angels could do no more." Roosevelt by the way seems to have done a little more, with results not too pretty.
The great thing for me at all events is the feeling that if your father and mother were here on this 4th June, they would be well pleased on the whole with their eldest born.
Your party ought to do you credit and it will be great having your Uncle Guy also, not to speak of the fair Miss Margaret which I wish I had had something half as nice to smile on me when I was a boy. Just off to 23 to cricket in the square.
Your affec.


Peter's comments:

I retain a dim picture of George, batting for the XI on Upper Club on that Fourth of June, playing forward when he should have played back because the band had just struck up his favourite tune of the moment, “In the Shadows”, and so getting ingloriously out.

Though played as a bowler, he never really found his form that summer, and at Lord's took no wickets in the first innings and only one in the second. But he unexpectedly came off as a batsman and hit up a merry 59, the second highest Eton score of the innings. He also brought off a spectacular high left-handed catch, a photograph of which figuredconspicuously in the Press.

I don't know what the Roosevelt allusion refers to.

The “fair Miss Margaret” was Margaret Sale, a Ramsgate neighbour: a fine strapping golfing Amazon on whom George was decidedly sweet for a time.

I don't remember who else besides Guy du M. and Margaret Sale were of the creditable party, but I fancy Gerald du M. was. Possibly, the party as a whole was the reason for J.M.B.’s non-appearance?

[AB: * Eton school’s motto: “Let Eton flourish!”; from about this time, Captain Hook cried out “Floreat Etona!” as he leaped from the plank into the jaws of the crocodile at the end of the Pirate Ship scene in the play of "Peter Pan".]


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