Letter, April 22, 1884, London, to Mr. Butler



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Letter written at Athenaeum Club; Pall Mall, London, England to Mr. Butler regarding a forged criticism attributed to Mr. Arnold.


April 22nd, 1884. My dear Mr. Butler, At last I have heard from Mr. Carte that Mr. Browne had written to him about the accounts in which you so kindly entrusted yourself, and that I appear to have received £194..5_ too much and to owe him that amount. I sent him a cheque by return of post, & there the matter ends. He & Miss Lenoir were full of satisfaction at the result of the expedition on the whole, and Miss Lenoir was full of regrets at not having been able to come out to me; so we are parting very good friends, though of course I should not think of going under their management again. I have been half amused, half distressed, by the forgery in an American paper purporting to give a criticism of mine, printers had in the Pall Mall Gazette here, in Chicago & its civilisation. The first I heard of it was a telegram from the Associated Press, saying there was an enquiry from Chicago about my authorship of the article, and an answer of 600 words, by cable, paid. I answered merely that I had made no communication whatever to the Pall Mall Gazette; I know the proprietor of the paper, & directly I returned he asked me to be “interviewed” on the subject of America (“interviewing” is, I am sorry to say, beginning to creep in over here); I entirely declined, saying I did not feel ripe for any deliverance on that subject. Now all the newspapers have come, with the comments of Chicago on the _____ criticism of mine. I have not read the criticism itself, but I see by the comments what odious things I was made to say. Of course the publication of the forged article was intolerable, and it confirms me in thinking the state of your newspaper press to be the ugliest feature in American life. But what was really pleasant was to read the comments of your friend General McLung, so full of good sense & good temper, when people came to him about the article. Professor Swing, on the other hand, seems rather to have lost his head. I must write to Gen. McLung and thank him for what he said. My dear Mr. Butler, if you could have heard us all talking over, in the last few weeks, America and our friends there, you would know what are the recollections which we do really entertain of you, & how misfortunate it is, I do not merely say that I should print a vicious and insolent criticism of America, but even that such a criticism should come into my head. You and dear Miss Butler stand first among those who cause us to feel gratefully and affectionately towards America; but really we met with so much kindness there that the kindness is now all that we remember, and the memory of what at the time may have seemed less pleasing dies away. We have come back to the harsh East winds of our Spring; & though the thermometer is about 45 all day and never falls much below freezing at night, we are colder than we ever were in America. Still I should like you to see our flowers, grass, and birds. A thrush in a bay tree on our lawn has actually hatched and brought out the brood. I write from the Club, or I should have all sorts of messages to send. My love to Miss Butler, and believe me always, my dear Mr. Butler, Sincerely and affectionately yours, Matthew Arnold. - PS. I hope my sending you Lord Shand will not have been irksome to you.


Letters, Arnold, Matthew, 1822-1888