MY DEAR DORIS THORNE,
All good wishes to you in your task of writing the Life. I gather that you want to be judicial as well as filial. Assuredly that is what Henry Arthur would have liked you to be. In fact, without being judicial you can't be filial. A presentment of faultlessness is very lovely; but it has two drawbacks: it annoys, and it doesn't convince. Let Henry Arthur's faults be duly stressed, for his own sake and for ours. But--what were they? Off hand, I really couldn't say. I seem not to have noticed them, though I knew their possessor for almost forty years! I will continue this letter in the hope of finding them.
At the age of eighteen one is very observant, especially of a celebrated man whom one sees for the first time. Did I observe no faults in Mr. Jones on that morning in the autumn of 1890 when he sat in the drawing-room of The Grange, at Hampstead, reading to my brother, Herbert Tree, the crisp typescript of The Dancing Girl? He had ridden up from London, and his cord riding-breeches and lustrous riding-boots and spurs were certainly faultless, making the chintz armchair he sat on look very unworthy of his horsemanhood. Nor did Rotten Row occur to me as the right place for him. He Should have been charging and caracoling around his native county, Bucks. He was of rural aspect. His fresh pink complexion and very clear blue eyes, and the thrustfulness of his russet beard, were suggestive of nothing anywhere near the four-mile radius. Is great vitality, is an air of eager concentration, a fault? Then let it be granted that Henry Arthur was all wrong. Young though I was, I had heard two or three other plays