Letter from Mary Llewelyn Davies to her son Arthur, 30 March 1890
[No original ms available]
K. L. Sunday, 30 March 90
My dearest Arthur,
We shall be glad indeed to see you tomorrow! But I can't help wishing Sylvia was coming with you. I do so feel for her, and what you said in your letter yesterday woke all my sympathy and did so recall all my own feelings at a similar time - the shrinking from being taken hold off by the new people, the clinging to one's own, now doubly and trebly dear as one felt a sense of having brought the new love in between oneself and them! I can assure you and her that I know the agony that is mixed with the great happiness. Sometimes it seemed just impossible. And for her, poor dear, it comes so soon, this visit. Before she has had time to the least settle herself into the new state of things. For her sake I wish it were not to be just yet. But that is a most unselfish wish, for we are all so impatient for her, as you can guess.
But she must not be more afraid than she can help. In our eyes there will be no criticism - nothing but affection. I am going to send her a line tonight to try and say a little of this. I think after the first evening she will soon get at home with us, and the party won't be so very large, only we 3, and the 2 little boys.
You won't like coming away tomorrow, and will feel as if she would perhaps give you the slip and not follow on Tuesday! Will she manage the journey by herself? It is not after all very difficult.
Your F[ather] had such an exceedingly nice letter from Mr du Maurier yesterday. I like to hear of all your letters and the happiness they bring you. <u>Your</u> head must be pretty nearly turned too, I think. How glad I shall be to have a good talk to you, my darling.
Au revoir. Shall I drive you down - or shall the brothers meet you?
Poor Margaret is quite ill with her cold, and has not been out for more than a week.
Much love from yr
One wonders which had the worst ordeal to face, Miss Crompton on her first visit to the Davieses at Gateshead Rectory in the 'fifties, or Miss du Maurier confronted with the Davieses at Kirby Lonsdale Vicarage in 1890. In the next generation a queer enough situation awaited the Misses Gibb, James and Ruthven*, each in her turn, and they must have had their agonising moments, poor girls.
I should say Mary Ll.D. was perfectly truthful in saying, "in our eyes there will be no criticism - nothing but affection." Indeed, the warmth with which mother, brothers and sister - to say nothing of uncles and aunts - were evidently prepared to welcome Miss du Maurier, whom they none of them knew, into their midst, is quite surprising. The du Mauriers, as a family, were of a much more critical temperament, and I think we of this generation inherited some of that from them.
The "2 little boys'", Crompton and Theodore, were 22 and 20.
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