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Pater's Letters at the Pierpont Morgan Library
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Pater's Letters at the Pierpont Morgan Library BILLIE ANDREW INMAN University of Arizona AMONG THE PAPERS in the late Gordon Ray's bequest to the Pierpont Morgan Library are six autograph letters by Walter Pater, which are printed here for the first time. The identities of two of the addressees, Boulton and Mr. Squire, are matters of conjecture; the other addressees are George Moore, Arthur Symons (two letters) and John Lane. The letter to Moore is especially significant, because it is only the second such to be published and because it strengthens a conjuries of suggestions that how to respond to Moore and his writing was something of a problem for Pater. The first letter to be considered has the same salutation as one published by Lawrence Evans in Letters of Walter Pater, "My dear Boulton," and both were written at Brasenose College. They appear, however, to have been written several years apart. In Evans's letter Pater states: "I found your letters on my return to Oxford last night, and am so sorry I was away when you were here. I hope to send you the MS. tomorrow afternoon. Very sincerely yours Walter Pater."1 Evans places this letter, headed "B.N.C/Feb. 8," in 1887, because it was written on the type of correspondence card that Pater frequently used in the late 1880s. The Pierpont Morgan letter is as follows: My dear Boulton, It will give me much pleasure to accept your kind invitation tomorrow at 1.30. Yours very truly W. H. Pater. B.N.C. Nov. 17.2 407 ELT: VOLUME 34:4, 1991 This letter was not written on a correspondence card or the type of stationery Pater used in the late 1880s (described in relation to the first letter to Symons, below), but on a small single sheet of stationery, 4" χ 6"; and the signature, as well as the handwriting generally, suggests that it was written considerably earlier than 1887. Pater signed his letters W. H. Pater consistently until 1877, used this signature as a general rule but far from exclusively between 1877 and 1884, and used it very infrequently, with family members and a few old friends only, after 1884. If the two letters were written to the same Boulton, which seems likely, this man was an acquaintance of Pater's for several years, and even when writing the earlier of the letters, Pater knew him well enough to address him as Boulton rather than Mr. Boulton. Jill Hughes, Assistant Librarian at the Taylor Institution Library in Oxford, has researched for me the Boultons in the Oxford area during Pater's years at Brasenose College—in University records, street directories , Burke's Landed Gentry, and an index of names mentioned in the local newspaper, Jackson's Oxford Journal. In the issue of this newspaper for 7 July 1894, she found a man who could have been Pater's Boulton, Matthew Piers Watt Boulton, of Tew Park, who died on the 30th of June, 1894, just one month before Pater, although he was nineteen years older (born September 22,1820). Tew Park was an estate near Great Tew, a village about fourteen miles north, northwest of Oxford. According to Burke's, M. P. W. Boulton was educated at Eton and Trinity College, Cambridge, was married twice, and had two sons and four daughters. He was a Justice of the Peace, Deputy Lieutenant, and High Sheriff;3 but that is not all. Hughes states: "The obituary describes him as a" 'gifted member of a gifted family'." His grandfather was partner to Watt, designer of steam engines. Boulton was " 'the inheritor of a large fortune and highly cultured but being naturally a recluse with no care for self-assertion his wide knowledge and sterling qualities were known only to a few'."4 The British Library Catalogue lists six works of pamphlet length written by Matthew Piers Watt Boulton, as well as a prize poem written at Cambridge University in 1841 and a paper read before the Metaphysical Society in 1878.5 He published verse translations of Book I of Homer's Iliad, Book VI of Virgil's Aeneid, and other classical works (in 1875...