Letter from Mary Llewelyn Davies to Sylvia, 24 November 1890
[No original available]
25th November, 1890.
You have been often in my thoughts, dearest Sylvia, today [S's birthday — her 24th] and all sorts of good wishes and much love come to you in this note. I hope you are having a happy birthday, though you have the drawback of being away from your Arthur. I should be glad to think that this time next year you may be together — for good and all! It is a long time of waiting — for him particularly. I am sure you had a delightful letter today — and a present?
Oh dear! How tiresome of the bookseller to be so slow about the little offering wh. Margaret and I quite intended to have sent you for this morning! It is one of the drawbacks of K.L. that to get anything worthy of such a one as you! is an impossibility. But I console myself with the thought that that bag wh. is my daily comfort and joy was a little behind date in coming. I expect you will like the look of the picture you sent to Margt.
This day month we hope to be all together once more. I am very glad you are coming too — and you won't be a bit shy this time, will you? — and you will sing all sorts of songs, not forgetting the little fox — and read aloud, and do all sorts of nice things! You don't know how glad I am to hear of the drawing lessons. I shall be quite proud if you give me a picture of your own doing.
Margt. and I are working at some lovely Brahms songs, but they are hard. A Girton friend of hers, by name Sargant, is here, and she is going to give a lecture on Botany at the Working Men's Club. Think of that!
Theo[dore] is standing for the Presidentship of the Union at Camb[ridge], and the election is today. His father was President about 40 years ago!
Yours ever lovingly,
From now on the letters which have been preserved become much fewer, and I have no record of Christmas 1890 at Kirkby, or of whether S. was there, and did sing her songs, including "The Little Fox", of which I know nothing. Indeed, I am sorry to say I have no recollection of Mother singing. All I can remember, musically, is of her playing two waltzes — "La Faute des Roses" and "Caressante" on the pretty piano which had been her father's and which Jack still has. I can remember an old drawing-book which may have gone back to the time of the lessons referred to in this letter: it contained pencil or charcoal studies of still life subjects, such as vases, very carefully and exactly done. That S. had a talent for drawing is shown in the little sketch of himself [= Nico] as a child, in a letter from her which N.Ll.D. has. But I don't think she ever "went in for" either singing or drawing at all seriously.
I haven't traced whether T.Ll.D. was elected President of the Cambridge Union or not.
Some time about now A. must have made up his mind to give up the Liverpool scheme and to concentrate on London, as the next letter shews him established in the Temple. It was probably a big decision, running contrary to the advice given him by his uncle, Charles Crompton, Q.C. But apart from the immediate prospect of annihilating the distance between him and Sylvia, I am almost sure, as I have said somewhere already, that S. had all along declared that she had no intention of starting married life in a place like Liverpool.
Some time this year he gave her the copy which I possess of Edward Parry's charming edition of Dorothy Osborne's "Letters to Sir William Temple".
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