|dc.description||Cobham, Surrey. Jan. 31st. 1885. My dear Mr. Butler, You and Miss Butler cannot possibly recall the memory of our stay with you with more pleasure than we do. We have heard from Lucy of her seeing you; she says she found you exactly the same, both of you; she has no friends in New York whose intimacy and affection we are so anxious she should retain. She suffered terribly on the passage, poor child, and it certainly does add to the sense of separation that is so formidable an obstacle as the passage across the Atlantic is interposed between us. However, we are full of the intention of setting the obstacle at nought, & making one passage more to America.— I have just fulfilled my promise to Mr. Knowles, & have given him for the Nineteenth Century “a word more about America.” I am in hopes you will read it with pleasure; it keeps on ground where it is easier to avoid giving offence than where one is dealing with men and manners; still it is possible to give offence even when one treads the ground to which in this article I confine myself; the offence, however, is more likely to be taken over here, I think, than in America. The “Last Word” which is promised in the present article I shall not attempt to write just yet – probably not until I have seen the West. There is a passage about Goldwin Smith which he well deserves, which I had pleasure in writing, and which you will approve, I hope.
Do you not think that the performance of our soldiers in Egypt shows, what I think is true & very consoling –namely that however much our institutions may be out of gear, and working awkwardly and ill, yet that which is the root the matter – individuals and their force – still affords plenty of cause for satisfaction and hope? The resolution and endurance shown by the soldiers on General Stewart’s expedition are said to be above all praise.
I read with interest the newspaper with the sermon commemorating your nephew, of whose death we were grieved to hear.
Next week we go to London for two months; then we shall be at Cobham till August.
With love from both of us to Miss Butler, and with much from Mrs. Arnold to yourself, I am always, my dear Mr. Butler, affectionately yours, Matthew Arnold.||