Letter, August 15, 1884, to Mr. Butler



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Letter discussing the summer's weather and politics of America and England.


Cobham, Surrey. Aug. 15th. 1884. My dear Mr. Butler, I must not go away to Fratton without answering your kind letter. Our thoughts turned at once to you and Miss Butler when this engagement was settled, and to the kindness and goodness and rest which are to be found in your home—the happiest and most restful vision which my remembrance of America offers—and I can truly say that the thought of your home being there makes it less hard to send Lucy to a world so unlike in general to the world in which she has been brought up, and so far away. Then, too, what you say of Mr. Whitridge is very satisfactory, and I know you would not say it unless you thought it. There was something in him which I liked from the first, and I like him better still on acquaintance; his look of age strikes people at first sight and surprises them, but he is not really old. He is in one of the most interesting of professions, and in which success, if a man does succeed, is most stimulating and satisfying. We were inexpressibly shocked by your news of poor Laura Delano. That sweet, attractive girl, with such a real stock of that beautiful quality which the French call “candeur!” I saw no girl in all America who pleased me more. We are having what is called an old fashioned summer, but Mr. Whitridge will not allow that it is more than pleasantly bright and warm. But I do not like the thermometer at 80 in the shade, though I confess that our common summer temperature of 60 is too low. And I get impatient of the prolonged absence of our June his showers. We keep wonderfully green nevertheless. I am much interested in speculating what course you will follow about the presidential election. Mr. Cleveland seems a good candidate, but I know how staunch to the Republican Party you are, and I do not feel sure how you will go. Here some change must sooner or later be made in the House of Lords, but I doubt whether the country is ripe for it yet. With love to Miss Butler, I remain, dear Mr. Butler, ever affectionately yours, Matthew Arnold.


Letters, Arnold, Matthew, 1822-1888