- 14 Feb 1902
Pensione Palumbo, Ravello, presso Amalfi, Italy. - Glad to hear Uncle Paul is 'so much better', and that the doctor is happy with his progress; hopes that any further necessary treatment will 'not cause any serious pain' and be 'quite final'. When he and Bessie, they will hope to find him well on the way to 'complete health'. Bessie has been well despite the 'dreadful weather' they have had for almost a month. Very glad he saw the house in the Prinsegracht again [before its sale?] for a few hours last October, when dining with the Grandmonts after visiting Leiden: it is there that he and Bessie began their 'Vondel studies', and that he got to know Uncle Paul and Aunt Maria properly. Is getting on well with German, with some help from Bessie: has read all Goethe's "Tasso" and half his "Iphigenie", though he cannot yet speak the language 'at all'. Bessie is also doing well with her Latin: she 'has not yet mastered all the tenses of "amo"' [I love] but 'makes pretty fair guesses' at their meaning. A 'dreadful bore' has recently arrived at the hotel; he and Bessie take it in turns to sit next to him and 'share the burden equally'; thinks Bessie can 'manage him better'. He is a retired English army officer who served in India: 'like so many Indians' he is 'crammed full of information', which is often interesting but these people 'absolutely never cease pouring it out upon you'; however, he is 'by no means a fool'. Robert and Bessie are getting on well with "Robinson Crusoe"; the end of the last part is 'so exciting' that Robert has been taking 'plenty of time over shaving these last few mornings' while Bessie reads it aloud.