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Hoeven, Maria Pruys van der (1824-1901) wife of Paul François Hubrecht
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Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Pension Palumbo, Ravello, Golfo di Salerno. - Strange and 'rather a bore' writing 1900. Has received Bessie's 'almond-bearing letter' [see 9/23]; remembers walking under other almond trees with her. Is going to put a bad dream into his play; is getting on slowly but quite well with it. Much relieved by a letter from [Lina] Duff Gordon; wrote to her saying he probably should have told her of his feelings for Bessie but explaining why that had been difficult, and that he was pained to think their friendship could not be the same again; she replied after a while with no mention of the misunderstanding, just writing 'the letter of one intimate friend to another'. He had promised to write a poem about the pet bat who visits her every winter, and she wrote down the bat's name as a reminder [cf. "The Lady's Bat"]. May have been unfair to Mrs C. [Mary Costelloe], but she certainly talked about him and Lina Duff Gordon 'in a way she had no right'; will try to avoid her, but it is difficult to see [Bernard] Berenson, whom he likes very much, separately. Berenson has written, and 'rather reproached' him for not visiting him at Florence on the way down; he is alone now as Mrs Costelloe has gone to London because her husband is dying. Bob may stop a couple of days on the way back, since Berenson is not coming to England this year; 'he rather feels neglect, and has been extraordinary kind' to Bob, though he 'is difficult at times'. Will not decide until he knows when he is coming to Holland. Continues the letter next day, Has not yet heard from his mother about whether he and Bessie should cross the Channel together. Thinks it would probably be best for her to stop at Grosvenor Crescent for a night on the way to Welcombe, but that can be determined later. Hopes she and Paul and Marie [Hubrecht] will persuade Willy van Riemsdijk not to go to Africa. Sorry that her aunt has such a bad cold; teases Bessie about learning cooking and 'fortifying [herself] against evil times in the barbaric isle, where neither foreign languages not [sic] the dressing of vegetables are understood'. Other people have also found his father's book difficult, and of course she knows little of British 'history or... parliamentary jargon'. Mr Straughn Davidson [James Leigh Strachan-Davidson?] , an Oxford don whom he rather likes, is coming at the end of the week

Letter from George Macaulay Trevelyan to Elizabeth Trevelyan

Trinity College, Cambridge. - Very sorry to hear that Mrs Hubrecht is so ill, which must be a great distress to her. Is coming round to Elizabeth and Bob's view of the origin of the [Second Boer] war, 'taught by the odious follies and horrors of the last 3 months'; having never been a 'very strong Imperialist', he is now 'ashamed of having gone even as far as [he] did'. Everyone he meets 'capable of thought and feeling' is 'undergoing much the same chance', but these are 'not a large proportion of mankind' and he does not see any prospect of a reaction in the near future.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan to Bramine Grandmont Hubrecht

Ramsfold Farm, Haslemere. - Bessie is 'taking a nap upstairs after lunch' so he is taking the chance to write to Bramine and thank her for her 'delightful letter' to them both. Was glad to hear Aunt Maria was no worse, and hopes that now the 'excitement' [of Robert and Elizabeth's wedding] is over she will get stronger quickly and be 'persuaded into the country'. Bessie was 'very tired by the journey', and is only just starting to recover, but has been able to enjoy the countryside and is stronger now; the weather is 'very sultry' so it is no surprise she is 'lazy'; the hills here are also 'difficult for her legs, after her flat-land', but the stiffness she has suffered is now passing as well. They are going to London tomorrow for a night as he has to be in town, then will go to the Lakes for a while; thinks that will be 'even nicer than here'.

The letter continues on 'Wednesday morning' [13 June], as Bessie writes that 'Bobbie is in doubt' whether he should continue it or start a new one; she thinks he should definitely continue this 'near & tidly written epistle' with its 'many interesting details about his wife's laziness & stiff leggies'. Robert continues, asking Bramine to see that his wife 'begins to give me trouble already, by irony this time but in worse ways no doubt in future'. She slept soundly and is 'quite strong again'; she 'endured' a thunderstorm last night 'with great courage' with Robert's assistance.; now she is looking over his shoulder again. Hopes 'A' [Alphonse Grandmont] is not 'too bored by the Hague'; he would like it here, with its cuckoos, nightingales, nightjars, and many other kinds of small song birds. Will not usually call 'cousin Grandmont' A, as he is 'so much older' than him; put it 'without thinking' since Bramine had thus referred to him in her letter; not sure he would like to call him Alphonse even if it were proper. Adds that Bessie says she prefers to 'call him cousin Phonska', which he writes down but does 'not approve'. Bessie now 'snatches the pen' and says she hopes Bramine is 'greatly edified by this wonderful poetic letter' and is 'impressed by the literary powers of [her] "man"!'. Robert writes again, saying that he sees 'letter writing for married people is an impossibility'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Paul François Hubrecht

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.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Pension Palumbo, Ravello. - Has been out most of the day since there was some sunshine, and has written a few lines. Seems that old [Pasquale] Palumbo is 'in great danger'; has offered to move to another hotel for a week or two, but Pasquale's wife will not hear of it; she 'takes a sort of mother's care of him' and says the rooms of the Albergo Toro will be damp. Will stay for a while, but does not think he should stay if Palumbo gets worse; only Italians go to the Toro but sure he would be all right there. Has just received Stephen Philips' play about Paolo and Francesca; cannot see as much in it as 'many very clever people do'; it has 'effective theatrical scenes' and 'some rather fine poetry', and if it succeeds when acted next year it will make things easier for [Thomas Sturge] Moore and [Laurence] Binyon, and for himself, if he manages to finish a verse play, but it is still a bad play. Recommends that she read "Romeo and Juliet" and the "Merchant of Venice" if she has not already; thinks he should charge her a fee in kisses for giving her literary advice. Finishes writing for the day with a doggerel verse recommending that she wear socks in bed to keep warm.

Returns to the letter the following evening; glad she got on so well with the dentist, and 'recognises her portrait' in [Chaucer's] Merchant's Wyve. Hopes she will send her photograph soon. Found her account of 'the Russian ladies [Madame de Rhemen and Countess van Bylandt] and Tuttie [Maria Hubrecht; see 9/17]' very entertaining. Does not remember the Comtesse de Bylandt, but will ask his parents about her. Teases her for dreaming that she was married to [Bram] Eldering. Palumbo seems better today. Weather fine today, and he has got on well with his play; 'cannot get along in the rain'. Also thought of a new poem on Elijah in the desert, but might not write it now. Hopes to get over a month of work done, and not to return before the end of January; his mother has just written that she would like Bessie to stay with them at Welcombe early in February; thinks that would be the best plan, so he would probably not spend more than a few days in Holland on the way back; does not know whether it would be considered right to travel back together so she should ask her uncle and aunt.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Pension Palumbo, Ravello, presso Amalfi. - Filthy weather, as it has generally been since he arrived; has sent off his 'interminable commentary' on [Thomas Sturge Moore's] "Danaë", and has been reading Byron's play "Cain"; finds it 'surprisingly fine', though there are great faults, as in all of Byron; does not agree with Goethe's claim that Byron 'is a child the moment he begins to think'. Always pleased when he finds good things in Byron, as he is much criticised nowadays; people do not really read him, or 'only his inferior early things, e.g. Childe Harold'. Teases Bessie, pretending that 'an unconscionable young lady' keeps 'tormenting him with a stupid school-girl correspondence' and there is no telling where her reading of Plato may lead her. Is sorry that Bessie is having so bad a time with the dentist; best to go through with it in the end. Dined at Mrs Reid's last night, hearing 'local tales about brigands etc' and drinking good wine. They have 'some wonderful cats, the most beautiful [he] has ever seen'; would like to get 'one of the family some day'. Delighted to hear about [the birth of Bessie's niece] Amanda Röntgen; Bessie's aunt told him first, sends thanks for her letter. Copies out poems by Vaughn [sic: Henry Vaughan, "The Retreat"], and Blake ["Infant Joy"]. Will finish this letter and 'per-haps, as Grandmont says' send it by the early post. Is glad to have Bessie's photograph but wants the bigger one when she gets them.

Finishes the letter next day. Bad weather again; is not in good spirits as his host Palumbo is dangerously ill; Palumbo has suffered from the same paralysis before and may recover; he is a 'very good fellow' and Bob will be sorry if he dies; pities his wife and daughter. Has just read the news of the great British losses at Ladysmith; does not know whether this means the town has fallen, but it looks as though Methuen was not strong enough to relieve it; if Redvers Buller does not do better than Methuen, expects Ladysmith will fall in a few weeks and would wish that if it would lead to the reopening of peace negotiations, but this seems unlikely. Says Bessie 'deserve[s] a whipping' for interpreting his jealousy of the lovers in his carriage as a desire to hug his female fellow-travellers. Is very glad she likes the "Symposium" so much; discusses it briefly and suggests other dialogues by Plato she could read. Copies out Blake's "Infant Sorrow" and "Cradle Song". [His brother] Charlie's letter was very nice; is sure she will like him, and he 'evidently means to like [her]'. Reminds her that the new century does not begin until 1901. Glad her practising is going well.

Incomplete letter from Elizabeth Trevelyan and R. C. Trevelyan to Paul François Hubrecht

Beginning of letter missing; text starts mid sentence with Bessie referring in Dutch to financial matters and thanking her uncle. Asks if Bramine will come tomorrow [for Uncle Paul's birthday], which will be very cosy; hopes their own 'little flower' will be delivered tomorrow. Robert wants to say something now so she will let the 'eloquent poet' speak for himself.

Robert adds a note in English, though he first addressed Paul Hubrecht as 'Mijn beste Ooom'; wishes him 'every happiness' for his birthday, and wishes he could be there. Hopes that if there are speeches, 'the oratory may reach as high last year, when the dinner was made so pleasant by brilliant flashes of humour from you and Paul and Ambro' and his own 'brilliant flash of silence', which perhaps should be called his '"break-down"'. He and Bessie hope to be with the Hubrechts before Christmas; also that Jan might be able to pay them a short visit, and perhaps also visit Robert's brother George at Cambridge. Hopes that by the time they come to the Netherlands. Aunt [Maria] and [Alphonse] Grandmont will be 'much better'; they both seem to be improving, though slowly. Must be a 'great relief that Tuttie is quite well again'. Bessie has been well except for a 'nasty cough', but this is nearly gone now. They recently went to Cambridge and saw Aeschylus's "Agamemnon" acted [the Cambridge Greek Play], though they thought it was not done so 'with great success'; Bessie's 'musical conscience was offended by the badness of the chorus music'. Was kind of Uncle Paul to send 'that prophetic Strand Magazine', which Bessie says she got 'as early as '92': her 'unconscious prophetic instinct must have been working even in her schooldays'. They find their "Encyclopaedia Britannica" a 'great recourse': they will be 'very omniscient' by the time they next see Uncle Paul, particularly Bessie, though she says the article on Dutch literature is 'poor'. Perhaps this is because it 'does not do justice to the great 17th century poet [van den Vondel?], whose works form so brilliant an adornment to their bookshelves'. Best wishes to Aunt Maria and Tuttie; hopes that tomorrow [Uncle Paul's birthday?] will be a 'happy day'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Paul François Hubrecht

The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Hopes Uncle Paul has the 'same delightful weather' as they do: it is 'almost too hot'. Bessie is well except for a 'cold in her throat'. Hopes Uncle Paul's rheumatism has gone. Their 'Dutch bulbs' are doing well: the hyacinths are 'splendid', and though Bessie thinks she planted the tulips too deeply, the flowers are 'very good'. The crocuses were over when they came [back from Italy]. The birds are singing: he heard 'several nightingales yesterday'. Roger and Helen Fry's son Julian is a 'very healthy looking young man, and his parents seem very happy with him'; though his 'chin and lower jaw are small and undeveloped', Bessie says that is often the case with babies, and 'Johannes Röntgen used to be even worse'. Roger and Helen Fry seem 'quite well now'. Has been reading the Hans Andersen which Uncle Paul and Aunt Maria gave him alongside a German version and thinks he will 'get on quite fast' with his German. They have put the photograph of Aunt Maria which Bessie brought back on the mantelpiece of the library, where they sit in the evening; it is the one from a couple of years ago, which resembles 'Bramine's last picture' of her; he likes having it there as it reminds him of her as he 'first knew her'. However, she did not change much for him even after she became very ill; even last winter [just before her death], her 'cheerful and kind face and expression' were 'essentially the same'. Hopes Tuttie is well. They much enjoyed their recent stay at the Hague, and were 'made very comfortable' and looked after well by Tuttie.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Pension Palumbo, Ravello, preso Amalfi. - Corrects Bessie's Italian for his address. Details of post times. The weather continues to be bad so he has been reading, writing letters, and finishing copying out [Thomas Sturge Moore's] "Danaë". Thanks her for sending on the "Chronicle". Has written for the "Manchester Guardian", as he agrees with it about the [Second Boer] War; its editor [C.P.] Scott was here when he arrived, and he had a long talk with him about the war. The "Guardian" is 'almost the best paper in England, being cosmopolitan'; is encouraged that Scott says he has 'kept most of his public, in spite of his attitude to the war', and that opposition to their policy led to the resignation of the "Chronicle's" editors, rather than public opinion. Hopes Bessie's visit to the dentist went well. Discussion of the lack of interest in romantic love in Sophocles and its treatment by the other ancient tragedians; contrasts this with the way 'almost all the great modern dramatis, Shakespear [sic], Racine, Molière, de Vega etc. fetch their subjects from Venus' archives'. Continues the letter later, after 'scribbling off a severe commentary on some of the obscurities in Moore's "Danaë"' and reading the first chapters of [Joseph Henry Shorthouse's] "John Inglesant", which Mrs Reid lent him this afternoon. Has told her about Bessie and she took a great interest; she is 'a dear old lady, and very kind' to him. Improvises a poem about being a black beetle crawling under Bessie's door to give her kisses.

Returns to the letter next evening; has been outside most of the day, spending the morning in Mrs Reid's garden, though not really able to work, and walking in the afternoon. Hopes to start work in a day or two on another play, not the one he showed Bessie. Has begun his commentary on Moore's "Danaë," but it will take him hours. Tells her to show the photographs his mother sent her to her uncle and aunt. Is touched by what she says about trusting him. Hopes that [Ambrose Hubrecht's] whale 'has been successfully dissected'; disappointed to hear 'he is not going to Utrecht whole, to be stuffed, or bottled.'

Continues the letter next day. Has been reading Chaucer and 'commenting on Danaë's little faults'. Perhaps exaggerated when he said 'modern art scarcely seemed to exist at all', but does feel that modern art is 'on the wrong lines', though 'men like Degas and Puvis de Chavannes and Whistler, and even often Watts and Burne Jones, have done great things'. Would be wrong to persuade himself that bad art was good, and there are times when 'circumstances have made great art difficult or impossible', such as literature in the middle ages. Does not think the Frys' attitude to art is exclusive; they may well be in music, but they know less about that.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Paul François Hubrecht

Seatoller, Keswick, Borrowdale. - Is sending a cheque for six pounds thirteen shillings [for wedding expenses], which added to the ten he has already paid is not too much 'considering the happiness which [he] could not have attained without paying it'; would have been ready to pay 'sixteen millions... if [he] had had them'. They have had a 'very pleasant time here' [on honeymoon]; though the weather has been quite bad it is now 'perfect'. Went out for a while with the 'hounds' [on the Lake Man Hunt] and saw his brother George caught in a deep valley 'two thousand feet' below his own position; chased another hare himself though he could not catch him. Bessie would have liked to come but she has been in the Netherlands too recently 'for her legs to be well enough used to these high hills', though she is 'climbing the lower one quite well now, and the mountain air has done her a lot of good'. They are going to Grasmere on Saturday but Bessie thinks it best for letters to them to be sent to the Mill House, Westcott, Dorking to be forwarded on. Will be back in Dorking by the end of next week. Very glad to hear Aunt Maria is better; sure the countryside will do her good; hopes Uncle Paul himself is keeping well. Bessie meant to write a letter which would arrive last Monday, the 'fiftieth anniversary of [Paul's] Doctor's Degree' but presumably as she has 'so many other pleasant things to think of' she forgot and only remembered today. Asks to be remembered to anyone at the Prinsegracht [the Hubrechts' home] though he supposes only Tuttie will be there.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

Seatoller, Borrowdale, Keswick. - Is sending this with B[essie]'s letter to say what a pleasant time they are having; Bessie is well, better than at Haslemere where it was 'so hot and thundery'; the countryside is beautiful and they both like it very much. Very sorry to hear Maria is still not well; hopes the warm weather will help. No-one else here 'except a few Cambridge men who are going to chase each other over the hills in a day or two' [the Man Hunt]; they are quiet and do not interfere. He and Bessie are just going for a walk after lunch. She is trying to make him pronounce 'Mrs Hansje Knipperdolletje', which she says is her name now; he finds it very difficult.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Glad to hear Aunt Maria is generally better; hopes her health will continue to improve. Also glad that [Alphonse] Grandmont and Jan [Hubrecht] are recovering, and that Tuttie [Hubrecht] has 'come back so much stronger'. Thinks about Grandmont every morning when they eat his 'black-butter' at breakfast; they wonder why it is black since it comes from the 'juice of white apples'. Bessie is well, despite the bad weather; there has been much wind and rain and 'her violin strings squeak, for all that she can do'. She is going to have her second lesson with [Johann] Kruse next week, who was unfortunately away when they last went to London. Two of his friends, both poets, visited on Sunday; one of them [Thomas Sturge] Moore read a play yesterday ["Omphale and Heracles'; they thought it 'very good' and wished it could be put on, but 'they do not act good plays in England now, except Shakespeare, and that they usually do badly'; the actors too are 'bad'. Bessie thinks English coal fires create much 'dust and dirt even when they do not smoke badly'; admits they do in comparison to Dutch stoves, but he does like open fires; whoever invented a fireplace combining the advantages of the two styles would be a 'great benefactor to man'. Spent three 'very full days in Paris with the same two friends' [at the Paris Exhibition]; might have wished Bessie to be there too but she would not have enjoyed the 'fearful'' crowds; even they got tired. Thought the 'old French art... very fine'; the 'side-shows and sights at the Exhibition were very poor' and the 'buildings too florid and ornamental, and some of them hideous', but the 'general effect... was very splendid and brilliant'. Is interested in the Queen [Wilhelmina of the Netherlands]' marriage, and glad 'the Dutch are pleased'; Bessie was 'quite sympathetic' when [Duke Henry of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, the Queen's betrothed] 'had to say good-bye to her and go away to his country for a time] [as Robert had had to during their own courtship]. They have got an 'illustrated paper' about the royal couple. Next week, they are going to visit his aunt, Mrs Price, who gave them the piano, at her house in the Welsh borders; he has not been there since he was a boy, so is curious to see the place again. Bessie will write soon, but there is no time now as this has to catch the post; she sends love to all.

Letter from Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven to R. C. Trevelyan

10 Prinsegracht, The Hague; addressed to Bob at The Mill-House, Westcott, Dorking, Surrey. - They seem to be in similar circumstances this week: she has been helping to clean her uncle [Paul François Hubrecht]'s big bookcases; the charwoman who helped her 'was amusing enough' and made some 'delightfully naïve remarks' about the books. Elizabeth sometime lends books for her or her boys to read. Last Monday they moved to the Hague; the three summers they have spent at Ede seem to have passed very quickly, thinks they were 'the happiest & most interesting' parts of her life so far so she has become attached to the place and 'even to the ugly house' and is sad to think of the new 'unsympathetic' owner changing it, though he can do little to the woods and moors. Is going to spend a few days at Almelo with an old married friend whom she has not seen for some time; she is very musical and her husband seems to be a good pianist; also Marie [Hubrecht's] American friend Maud Howard is coming to stay tomorrow and she is 'not over anxious to see much of her'. Marie is then going to spend the winter in Florence though, like Maud Howard, she is a little vague about her plans.

Has changed her mind about 'forcing circumstances' and now thinks it would be good to see Bob again; suggests he comes over to the Hague next month, on the pretext of doing some work such as a translation of [Joost van] Vondel with which she could help, to make it seem less strange to her uncle and aunt; would have to ask him to stay at a hotel unless her uncle invites him to stay, and knows all this will give him trouble. He must write and tell her sincerely what he thinks. She has discussed the plan with Bramine [Hubrecht] who reassured her there was nothing wrong with it. Gives the address of her friend at Almelo, Mrs Salomonson Asser.

Has just seen a portrait of Bob's father 'on an old Financial Reform Almanack'; remarks on his 'charming eyes'. Hopes Bob is enjoying himself bringing 'dry bones' to live. Asks if he went to the concerts [given by Julius Engelbert Röntgen and Johannes Messchaert] and appreciated the singer. Is reading the Brownings' letters again, which are charming but get terribly sentimental. The [Second Boer] war is indeed horrible; asks if there are reasonable views on its duration and 'what the end can be'; asks whether there are as many 'contradictory muddling telegrams' in British newspapers as in Dutch ones; glad that there are 'so many rightly thinking English', but they are still a minority. The Grandmonts are at Florence, but unfortunately will have left by the time the Frys arrive. Very kind of Trevelyan to transcribe some of his verses for her; looks forward to reading them though she says she is a 'highly unpoetical being'. Signs herself 'Bessie'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Apologises for not writing sooner; never managed to write when he had so much spare time at Wallington, and now he has returned and begun work 'can easily find time'. Bessie may not yet think the house perfect, but it is 'already far more beautiful and comfortable' than he ever thought a house of his could be; she gets on very well with the housekeeper [Mrs Enticknap] and he can hear them talking at the moment; sometimes after they have had long talks there are 'such wonderful vegetables for dinner, cooked in some delightful out-landish fashions'. Even the vegetables at Wallington improved, 'especially the carrots and peas'. Bessie has been translating her "Nederlandsch Volksliederenboek" for him; some are very pretty, and he would one day like to translate them himself; he has not yet translated [Joost van den] Vondel. Hopes she, her husband, and the others will like [Thomas Love] Peacock's stories; some of the allusions to 'contemporary literary or political ideas which are now almost forgotten' may be difficult, but he thinks they will find them amusing; rememberes that the best are "Headlong Hall", "Nightmare Abbey" about Shelley, and perhaps "Maid Marian". Bessie has sent Bramine "Emma" by Jane Austen; sure she would also like that. Sorry she is not quite well, and hopes she will recover before winter. Very sad that Tuttie [Marie Hubrecht] is so unwell; hopes she will be able to get to Switzerland soon. Glad that the Grandmonts may build a house in the country; remembers the country by Doorn as being very pretty. He and Bessie went to Haslemere last Friday to visit the Joachims and some other friends and enjoyed it very much; was his first meeting with 'old Mr [Joseph] Joachim'; went for a walk with young Harold and visited his 'old haunts' like his old house Roundhurst, while Bessie stayed at home and talked. Hears that Bramine is painting Maria's portrait in the lace dress she wore at Elizabeth and Robert's wedding, which he so much liked; asks to be remembered to the family. Herbert Jones is getting married tomorrow, and they will send a telegram.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan to Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

Robert addresses Aunt Maria as 'Mijn beste tanteke' then continues the letter in English'; wishes her happy birthday and hopes she feels well despite the cold, which must be much greater there than he and Bessie have; it has been 'much warmer' [in Ravello] for the last couple of days, though not enough yet for the butterflies, lizards and crocuses to come out as they usually do all winter here. They are alone at the hotel except for a 'funny old gentleman' who is 'rather dull, though quite nice' and wears formal dress clothes for dinner even when alone. They have visited Mrs Reid and her friend Miss Allen, whom they like very much, and in whose garden they spend much of their time. Describes drinking half a bottle of Episcopio Spumante with Bessie yesterday evening (the hotel is the 'original bishop's palace... so the wine made at the hotel is called Episcopio') which led them into a conversation with the 'tedious old gentleman'; when they 'retired in some confusion' to their room he jokingly says they left the old man with the sense he had been with 'two persons of great mental powers'. They 'composed' themselves 'by reading some very serious moral poetry' and remembered that they had sent some of the same wine to Alphonse Grandmont last year which 'made a somewhat similar impression on his sober household'. Bessie says that she will take her thimble to measure out the wine this evening. Hopes that Uncle Paul and Tuttie [Hubrecht] are well; asks her to send them his love.

Bessie then writes two pages to her aunt, in Dutch; gives an account of their days, including her studies of Macaulay's "History of England", their walks; the other guest Mr Kershaw always sitting in the dining room. Asks her aunt to thank her uncle for [?]. Was very happy to hear that Julius [Röntgen] had had success in the Ceciliaconcert; [her sister] Mien must be happy.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan and Elizabeth Trevelyan to Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Robert is glad Aunt Maria is 'on the whole better' and hopes she will continue to improve; Bessie much enjoyed getting her letter. Expects Tuttie [Hubrecht] will be with her soon., but it is 'very sad about the Grandmonts', and they hope all will soon turn out well. They have just had their first guest: Robert's Aunt Annie [Philips] who 'gave Bessie the broach [sic]', his mother's sister. She came for lunch and tea; Bessie was 'very busy' in the morning making things nice as Aunt Annie is a 'very skilful connoisseur in housekeeping'. Now Bessie is sewing rings onto the curtains for the dining room; Robert breaks off to go and look at them, and reports they look 'even better than expected...' though the seamstress has made them two inches too short. Wishes Aunt Maria could see their house; will soon send photographs of the exterior and two sitting rooms, but this will not give her a real idea; she will however see the Enticknaps and their son Gussie. Is about to put some weedkiller on the lawn, though this is an unending task. Their French roses are 'still blooming' and have been very successful. There are now frosts at night, though the weather is still 'beautiful'. Has recently been reading, with the help of translations, the old Provençal poets; some are much more beautiful than he expected, and he understands now why Dante so admired and was influenced by them; however many of the Troubadours are 'very dull and conventional'. He and Bessie read some of Dante's "Paradiso" together most mornings; they like it very much and persevere even though it is 'very difficult'. They both send best wishes to her and Uncle [Paul Hubrecht], whom he hopes is keeping well.

Bessie adds a postscript in Dutch at the bottom of the last page which she continues above Robert's writing on the first page; asks about Tuttie, describes getting the house ready for Aunt Annie. Asks about a name, 'Lucy Bane?', which she could not read. She forgot Johannes [Röntgen?]'s birthday; Aunt Maria 'thinks much more intensely about other people, just like Grandmother did'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Hotel Biscione, Piazza Fontana, Milano. - Very sorry that she has suffered as she has; it is true that she does not have 'new scenes' and 'interesting and exciting work' as he has, but she must not be made unhappy by their separation; his feeling towards her will not lessen, though he supposes he may love her 'intellectual or rather... spiritual nature more' when they are apart, rather than her 'immediate physical or even psychological personality'; says she must try and let him 'haunt [her] pleasantly'. Is touched that she cried for him; there is no shame in doing so. The Frys are sending some rings to Ravello for him to choose from, and he will send her one; they are leaving tomorrow if Fry is well enough, as he is in bed with a cold. Went to the Brera yesterday and saw many wonderful things; again was unimpressed with the Luinis; then they saw two other private collections, one of which included a Bellini Madonna. Fry has seen his 'Indian poem and the play about Antioch' and was encouraging about the play; thought the poem 'very good in places, but not real enough, psychologically' as [Thomas Sturge?] Moore also said. Thinks they are probably right; will be glad to get working again. The Frys wanted to find a name for Bessie; as her name includes 'des Amorie' they tried 'Amoretti or Amoretta', but now Mrs Fry has invented 'Amica', short for 'Amica di Trevi', in the same way as they and 'other connoisseurs [primarily Bernard Berenson]' have identified a painter they call 'Amico di Sandro [Botticelli]'. Asks how she likes it; he will continue to call her 'Bessie'. Wrote to her aunt this morning. Had a 'charming letter from [John] MacTaggart' which he will forward after replying. Encloses a letter [perhaps 17/134] from his cousins the Booths, 'very nice people, cousins of the Fletchers'. His friends have all been very kind, as he thinks hers have too; glad she has Jeanne Salomonson to keep her company, who is a 'sweet creature'. Thoughts on 'human misery' occasioned by her visit to the hospital.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Mrs Hubrecht [Maria Pruys van der Hoeven]

3, Hare Court, Inner Temple. - Writes to say how much he enjoyed his visit to Ede; thinks that either the Dutch must be 'a very hospitable race' or their family must be 'exceptional', as he is sure 'foreigners do not so easily fall into... English ways' as he did into theirs. Hopes to see them before long in their new home. Had a good time at Amsterdam and a 'delightful expedition to North Holland with Paul [Hubrecht], though his crossing back to England was 'horrible'. Had a 'drive in the Jews town at Amsterdam with the Röntgens' which he will 'never forget'; it 'did one's soul good to see so many charming people enjoying existence together' with what seemed like no other 'help to pleasure' than sitting in the open air with each other. Is going to Dorking tomorrow to see if they are paining his house 'the right colour'. Asks to be remembered to her husband and to Mrs Grandmont.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking. - Very glad to hear that Aunt Maria has reached Lake Geneva safely. He and Bessie cannot find Territet or Montfleurie on their maps, but he supposes it is on the north bank. Has not been there for a long time, but remembers the 'beauty of the lake and its landscape', since it was his 'first glimpse... of mountain regions'. They have had a letter from [Alphonse] Grandmont saying he is sending them 'some of his delightful "black butter", the apple jam'; believes that Uncle [Paul Hubrecht] does not like it, but they do, especially as it brings 'a perfume from the fly-peopled dining room at Ede'. Grandmont also told them about 'Bramine's forgetfulness' resulting in the 'disappearance of the keys at so unfortunate a moment'; expects the keys reached Maria at Basle or wherever she stopped first. Sorry to hear about Jan; glad it is not very bad, as he has just learned from Uncle's letter to Bessie. Bessie was glad to hear Aunt Maria's cough was better; they are sure that, despite at the moment being 'rather upset by the long journey', she will soon benefit from her stay there. Bessie is well, and the weather very good; this is 'a 'famous place for blackberries', and they pick a lot when they are out and now have enough to make jam. He gets 'such wonderful things to eat now, and luckily on the whole' he and Bessie like the same foods. Their roses have been a 'great success'. Bessie is going to tea this afternoon 'with a nice fat neighbour... who has a nice fat husband', and trees 'overladen with nice fat apples and pears', some of which they will give to the Trevelyans; their name is Wynne, and they have a 'very beautiful house' just beyond the Trevelyans'. Robert and Elizabeth made some calls yesterday returning visits, but found nobody in.

Glad Aunt Maria likes "Emma"; it is set about ten miles from here, and Box Hill is only three miles away. Thinks he likes Emma best of [Austen's] books, though likes "Pride and Prejudice" almost as much. The Trevelyans are probably going to London for a few days about 25 September; will write again soon and hopes to hear she is 'much better', Tuttie [Hubrecht] as well. Sends love to Uncle, and the Grandmonts when they come.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

Hotel Biscione, Piazza Fontana, Milano. - Bessie will have received his letter apologising for not writing on his arrival. Has had a 'wonderful' day, seeing several churches, Leonardo's "Last Supper", then the castle which has only recently been opened and was new to [the Frys]; it is 'the most overwhelming building' in Italy, at least in size and often in beauty; much of it is by Bramante and there are fine sculptures and remnants of frescos to be seen; helps one see why Leonardo came to Milan, which otherwise seems 'rather a dull place'. They then went to a private collection of good pictures in 'splendid condition', cleaned by Cavenaghi; is now convinced he likes Italian art most of all, though he does like some Dutch painters; feels modern art 'scarcely exists at all'. Will see 'the more celebrated things' at the Brera tomorrow. Now feels that Luini is 'very third rate', and a 'watered down' Leonardo. Staying in Milan till the Frys go on Monday or Tuesday. She [Helen Fry] has not been well, except at Siena, but he has had a good time with them, and talked to them a lot about Bessie; if Bessie comes to England in the spring, as he hopes she will, the Frys want her to spend a few days at Dorking with them, from which she could see the Mill House. They will not be able to come to Holland on the way back; they have a fixed date to return by and 'she is not really well enough for visiting'. Confesses that he likes Italy more than northern countries, at least at this time of year. Will write to her aunt tomorrow. Has had a letter from his aunt [Viscountess] Knutsford and from [Frank?] Dugdale, which are pleasant but not worth quoting.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Paul François Hubrecht and Maria Pruys van der Hoeven

Hôtel de la Poste , 30-32 Rue Fossé-aux-Loups, Bruxelles. - Is sending this 'short note' along with Bessie's letter. Everything has gone very well so far; though Bessie is still rather tired, she has been less so than he expected. They start their journey again this evening. They had a quiet morning, just spending a couple of hours at the Gallery; Bessie has slept a little this afternoon and he therefor hopes she will be all right after the journey. Hopes Aunt [Maria] is no worse for yesterday [Robert and Bessie's wedding day]; is 'anxious to hear how she is'; for the newly-weds, 'the day went off in the most completely satisfactory manner'. Even though he is himself 'no lover of ceremonial days', as they know, he enjoyed it all and could see others did too; thanks them for their 'splendid foresight and arrangement'. Robert and Bessie saw Paul and Jan [Hubrecht] and Robert's brothers at the station. Bessie is a 'very good travel-companion, even when she is tired'; is sure she will also be a 'very good travel-companion through life'. Forgot to ask them about the ten guilders they gave him 'for the poor'; supposes it ought to go into his account with them and be paid out of the ten pounds. Thinks Bessie is writing about a box she may have left behind; they were wise to advise him to count the luggage, but fortunately it is not important. Hopes his mother was able to see Aunt Maria today; is sure she and his father have 'enjoyed their visit enormously'. Sends love to the Grandmonts and Tuttie [Hubrecht]. He and Bessie are going out soon for dinner at 'some neighbouring tavern'; it is 'dangerous to take Bessie into these streets', as she stops to look at the lace and 'other feminine vanities for which this town is so famous' in every other shop. A note in Bessie's hand here says that she now sees 'how dangerous it is to be married to a poet with such fantastic imagination & - exaggeration!'. Sends love to them both, and wishes them as much happiness as he and Bessie feel, 'which is saying a great deal'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

3 Hare Court, Inner Temple, London E.C. - Will leave on the 12th, arriving some time in the morning of the 13th; will go on to Italy afterwards; his friend [Desmond] MacCarthy may join him at the Hague around the end of November and travel with him. Bessie seems to have been 'successful and tactful' and he will try to be as well. Intends to make their Vondel 'pretext a real one'; wants her to translate some of the plays besides "Lucifer", so that he is reading good plays (useful since he is trying to write them himself) and 'laying the foundations' for an attempt to learn Dutch; will get a grammar and dictionary, and asks her to get him a cheap edition of Vondel. Asks if there is anything she would like to learn in recompense, such as Latin grammar. Asks what the 'examination [he] may have to sustain' from her uncle is likely to cover: he can give reasons for wanting to study Vondel,. Discussion of hotels. Appreciates her aunt's 'rapier thrust of irony'; will certainly accompany them on walks whenever Bessie wishes. Asks if she would like him to bring her any books. Discussion of the war: still thinks it is a 'great mistake' on the part of the British, though doubts whether it would be good 'for themselves or for any one else' if the Boers were to win, which he does not think at all likely. Is angry with the Government and the country, but does not think it right to accuse the 'nation as a whole of wickedness and hypocrisy' as is being done on the continent; thinks the Boers were not giving British subjects a 'proper government or the proper securities for justice'; negotiations were not carried out properly, but does not think most of the country, or the Government (except for Chamberlain) actually want or wanted war. Thinks Bessie is probably right about the translation of 'du vulgaire' [in Ronsard's poem]. Bessie must not think that she is keeping him from work; expects to do little until he goes to Italy 'refreshed and invigorated' after seeing her. Thinks the Frys have changed their plans, but hopes to see them in Italy for a few days wherever they are.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

3 Hare Court, Inner Temple. - Apologises for using 'lubberly thick English' paper. Came to London to hear [Julius Engelbert] Röntgen on Monday, but found he was ill and the concert off; hopes it is nothing serious. Went to hear [Hans] Richter conduct Tchaikowsky's 6th Symphony instead. Fears she may not have got the letter with his poetry last week, as he thinks he addressed it wrongly. Agrees that Bessie's proposal that he should come to see her again in the Netherlands [see 9/9] is indeed bold, but is very glad she has made it. On his side, the difficulties are small: he can easily conceal his visit, or let it be known that he is calling there on the way to Italy. Feels that the excuse she suggests of them translating Vondel together is very thin; true that he would like to read some with her, and that she could teach him German or 'even Dutch', though he does not feel ready to learn both at the same time; however, her family are still likely to see through this, 'especially if they were suspicious before'. Perhaps it would be better to be more honest with them; otherwise, would be willing not to go and see her at home at all, but for them to meet privately at his hotel and talk or go for walks. Realises that she will probably think this wrong, and her feelings must be 'paramount', though see it would be difficult and perhaps 'unwise' for her to take her uncle and aunt into her confidence. Will want 'horribly' to be with her all day, as he always does. She must decide what is best; expects her uncle will think he has come to see her whatever excuse they give. Promises to be 'quite reasonable, and prudent, though very much in love'. Must not read the Brownings' letters, or he will start writing 'too sentimentally'. Has had a 'rather nasty business looking after [Roger] Fry's affairs', his publisher [Oldmeadow] is 'swindling him' and he has had to write a long letter to Fry. Will give this letter to [Charles] Sanger to post as he is going out for a post; he may wonder 'who the lady with the long foreign name is' but will not tell him.

Letter from Paul François Hubrecht to Sir George Trevelyan

Prinsegracht 10, 's Gravenhage:- Has just been talking to Elizabeth about arrangements on the day of the wedding, and thinks it 'will be in the interests of the young people and will prevent possible misunderstandings' if 'all those arrangements are made for them... without their cooperation' by Sir George and Hubrecht for the day of the marriage ceremony and its 'accompanying functions'. Up to now they have 'arranged many things according to their own choosing', but Hubrecht thinks it will be 'more satisfactory if Sir George and Lady Trevelyan's wishes, with those of Hubrecht and his wife, were 'given a decisive voice in the matter'.

Hopes Sir George will therefore let him know as soon as he can whether after the civil ceremony, 'which in this country must always precede the religious', he wishes to have the marriage 'consecrated 'at the English Church 'according to the rites of the Church of England', by 'any other form of religious ceremony' performed by a clergyman invited to Hubrecht's house, or 'would prefer to do without it entirely'.

Also asks who should be invited to the 'wedding luncheon' which he and his wife propose giving 'after the various ceremonies are over', to which they themselves 'intend to invite a limited circle of relations and friends', as well as the British consul from Rotterdam [Henry Turing], who is expected by Dutch law to attend the civil marriage ceremony. He and his wife will be pleased to invite any of the Trevelyan's relations and friends, either in the Netherlands or England.

Letter from Paul François Hubrecht to Sir George Trevelyan

Prinsegracht 10, 's Gravenhage:- Hubrecht 'beg[s] leave to consider' Sir George's letter of yesterday to Robert, which has been shown to him as per Sir George's wishes, as addressed equally to himself. Notes that 'these two beloved children' ought to have discussed their 'intentions' with Robert's parents and himself and his wife, Elizabeth's guardians; now all they can do is hope for their future happiness. Sir George's 'very kind lines' show 'how near young Robert is living to [his] heart', which Hubrecht has no doubt he deserves; will not conceal their gratitude for the arrangements Sir George has made for Robert's 'matrimonial living and care for his wife and children in case of his decease'. Elizabeth, who has lived with them from her seventh year, has 'not ceased to be a bliss for us and all our children', and they are sure she will 'prove the same' to Robert, his parents, and family.

Hopes that the 'distance which makes it impossible to shake hands' with Sir George and talk over details will be soon be reduced by their 'meeting on the continent', when he has no doubt he and his wife 'will be the winning party' in making Sir George's acquaintance; they hope the same will be true for 'your Robert and our Elizabeth both may be and remain for life by his proposal and her acceptance'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

3, Hare Court, Inner Temple, London E.C. - Apologises for not replying sooner; went to Cambridge on Saturday and found 'so much to do and talk about' that there was no time to write. Is going to Dorking tomorrow as his furniture is coming; the house should have been ready a week ago. Will dine with his mother that evening, then on Thursday he is going to Harrow to play [rugby] football against the school on Founders' Day; afterwards will dine at the Headmasters' and go to a 'smoking concert'; the day after that he will dine at his father's club. Will only then really begin the solitude of his 'rural retreat' and is looking forward to 'a quiet and industrious time at last'. Glad Bessie liked the Frys and they got on well with her uncle; not surprised she found 'a certain difficulty in becoming intimate with them', since he thinks Fry's mind is very different to hers and that he is not always quick to adapt himself, while Helen Fry is not like that but is often 'rather diplomatic in conversation until she knows all about a person'; this is not insincerity, as some people think. Heard from them today [see 4/27]; they enjoyed their visit, and Fry seems to have taken 'tremendously' to her uncle and aunt. Went to Highgate last week to see Tom [Sturge] Moore the poet, who read two new poems; criticises the first line of the one about Leda and the swan; Moore is 'always charmingly good-natured when one criticises, and sometimes even will be convinced.' Spent most of yesterday talking to Tom's brother [George] the philosopher. Great excitement at Trinity as the philosopher MacTaggart [sic: John McTaggart], who used to 'disapprove of marriage on metaphysical grounds, is bringing home a New Zealand hospital nurse called Daisy Bird as his wife'; he may need consolation as on his return from his year in New Zealand he will find that Moore and another [Bertrand Russell?], 'his most promising pupils and followers, have set up an entirely new and antagonistic system of the universe'. Sat at dinner at Trinity next to a science fellow [John Newport?] Langley whom he likes very much, who knows and thinks highly of [Ambrosius?] Hubrecht; Langley asked whether "[Till] Eulenspiegel" was originally written in Flanders; perhaps Grandmont knows. Has begun to learn German; finding it easier than expected in some ways, but has not yet got far. What Bessie says about women's tendency to either conceal or be overly frank about their ages seems more or less true to him; her allusion to his having had 'the benefit of women's society and friendship' amuses him, as if she wanted to make him 'a sort of Platonic and sentimental Don Juan' which he is certainly not; before her he has known very few women well, and only in one or two cases has he known them ' rather sentimentally' at some point; does not consider himself 'at all learned in women's psychology and character'. Finishing this letter in the room of a friend who has 'studied the female character far more profoundly', but since he has never fallen in love to his knowledge, Bob looks on him as his inferior.

Letter from Paul François Hubrecht to Sir George Trevelyan

Prinsegracht 10, 's Gravenhage:- In an 'important passage' of Hubrecht's last letter [46/76], it seems that Sir George has 'read the word "then" as if it were "three"'; Hubrecht regrets this, and expects it was caused by his missing out 'the word "a" before hundred'. He was 'unfamiliar with the English idiom', but Robert saw the mistake on viewing Hubrecht's proof copy. Hopes this 'elucidation will satisfy' Sir George, and that the mistake will not change his or his wife's 'favourable intentions of [Elizabeth's] intentions to her share in the household'.

He and his family are grateful for Sir George's 'kind note about the Equitable [and Mutual Insurance Company, either 13/41 or 13/43]; he and his wife send 'warmest regards to Lady Trevelyan thanking her for her most benevolent and highly appreciated lines to Elizabeth'. Last Sunday they had a reception for a 'good many' of their and Elizabeth's friends to 'congratulate the happy pair'; Robert made a 'charming impression' on them all. He has decided to leave them this week for Italy; they 'may not interfere', though if he had stayed longer it would have been 'very welcome to [them] all'.

Letter from Paul François Hubrecht to Sir George Trevelyan

Prinsegracht 10, 's Gravenhage:- Acknowledges the receipt of Sir George's letter of the day before yesterday [13/40]; is happy to say that on their side they 'consider the matter [of Robert and Elizabeth's engagement] sufficiently fixed to make it known on both sides of the family'; the 'young people' are very happy at Robert's parents' 'goodness'.

Outlines Elizabeth's personal circumstances: her property may be estimated at a 'hundred thousand dutch florins'. a third invested in 'landed property' a third 'in mortgage' and a third in 'shares and public funds'. She intends once married to 'manage her financial business herself', as she has done since she came of age, giving then [?] a 'hundred pounds a year to her husband for sustaining the household'; in this she is following the precedent set by her sister on her marriage three years ago.

As the "exceptional institution.... the Equitable Mutual" [with whom the insurance on Elizabeth and any children will be settled] is unknown to him, will be happy to have, at Sir George's 'convenience, some printed report of it'

He and his wife are glad that they 'are not completely strangers for one another', as proved by Sir George having come to Holland before, and his 'profound knowledge of Dutch history'. Apologises for 'writing bad English', as he is not at all used to corresponding in it, and is 'very grateful for [Sir George's] present and future indulgence'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

The Mill House, Grantchester, Cambridge. - Has come to the 'flattest part of England' he could find to get used to his 'rugged fatherland' after Holland; is staying with a 'mathematical friend' [Alfred North Whitehead] in a mill house, as his own is not yet ready. [George] Moore is here discussing 'various theories about ether and molecules of matter' with Whitehead, which Bob understands little of; Moore has also played him several of Beethoven's early sonatas, which he greatly enjoyed, though music 'passes in and out of [his] head like water through a sieve or a mill-dam'. Is going to Dorking to see his house tomorrow; does not know what he would do without the Frys to help him; bought them a Dutch cheese which he left in their London rooms but has not yet seen them; Paul [Hubrecht] helped him buy it. They had a good time at Volendam and Marken, and a good meal, but his crossing back was awful; says [the British] should not be called 'bigotted islanders' since their love for foreigners is immense enough to undergo the 'horrors' of sea-sickness. Writing with the mathematician's children 'romping and screaming' round him, so expects his letter is distracted; his head is also 'in a whirl with half-understood metaphysical notions', of which he gives a sample quote. Would 'like to be philosophical; but one cannot always get what one wants'. Is writing to Mrs Hubrecht to say how pleasant his visit was. Asks to be remembered to Bramine and Gr[andmont].

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

10 Prinsegracht, The Hague, Holland [third sheet of letter headed notepaper for 'Nieuwe of Littéraire Sociëteit, 's-Gravenhage']:- Is afraid his last letter [46/72] was 'written in such a hurry for the post' that he did not have enough time to put the correct stamp on, let alone to say all he wanted 'or in the way it ought to have been said, seeing its importance'. Expects it has reached her now, 'after the payment of a few pence' and that she knows some of the 'main facts'. Is most anxious that his parents not 'misunderstand' his silence until now: wanted to tell them everything, but did not think he ought to while he was still unsure what Elizabeth thought. Could only 'guess and hope' that she would consent to marry him, and 'if it had turned out otherwise' it seems that it would have been 'a great pity' for his parents to have known. Elizabeth was 'very anxious' that neither of them should talk of it until she had decided, and had asked Robert to 'tell no one'. The present situation regarding the engagement is that they both are 'quite decided that it is right', her family also think it would be a 'good thing', so he must now 'convince' his parents, as is 'most necessary'.

Has 'more than once' heard from them that they thought 'there would be no objection' to his marriage, and indeed that it 'would be a good thing, provided of course' he chose wisely; he has chosen, but 'the circumstances make it very difficult to prove' that his choice is a wise one, since they can 'scarcely come to Holland to judge, or she to Wallington to be judged'. Much therefore must depend on their 'faith' in Robert's own judgement. They might talk to George, especially since he has met her cousins the Grandmonts, through whom Robert got to know her at Taormina. As Robert has said, her uncle and aunt the Hubrechts are 'very nice people, not rich, but of some standing in Holland' as M. Hubrecht is a member of the Privy Council; 'Lord Reay (?), who knows him quite well could tell you more about him'. Elizabeth's father died when she was young, and her mother, Hubrecht's sister, when she was seven; Hubrecht then took Elizabeth and her elder sister (now Mrs Röntgen) into his house and has 'brought them up very well, taking a lot of trouble about their education'. The Frys stayed with the Hubrechts a month ago and 'took to them both very much'. Robert's family need not 'be afraid of unpleasant relations', as in his experience they are 'all quite nice people': Professor Hubrecht, 'old H's son [is] a remarkable man of science, and now... quite celebrated', Robert believes; the Röntgens are also 'delightful', and the Grandmonts have been 'great friends... for four or five years'.

Acknowledges that 'the essential matter is Miss v. d. Hoeven herself', and does not think he has made a mistake; his judgement has not been led astray 'for she is not beautiful or fascinating in any obvious way'; doubts her excellent violin playing has influenced him, though he is glad of it. They 'belong to different countries', but Robert does not consider this a 'fatal objection', since it is not the case that she has 'never lived in England, or spoke English badly, or had no English friends already. Far more serious' he thinks, is his 'being still dependent, and not having made any money'. Considers that his marriage would be a 'great help' in his work, and would like his parents to look at it that way.

There is no need for them to give a 'definite answer' immediately, since he is going to Italy to work this winter, but he would much like to know as soon as possible if they have 'any grave objections', for Elizabeth's sake and that of her relatives, who having decided that the marriage is a good thing, would 'naturally' like it to be settled as soon as possible. Even if his parents were pleased and had no objections, the marriage itself would not be before next summer, mainly since it is 'so serious an event' for Elizabeth to 'leave her country altogether, and her old uncle and aunt who are very fond of her'. Knows he has said little about her, but it it is 'almost impossible to give a true impression of anyone by letter'; is sure his parents would like her very much if they got to know her. Feels he is 'sending these letters into the dark', meaning he has little idea of what effect they will have on his parents' minds. Sees nothing wrong in them writing to her uncle if they want to know more than he has told them. Will stay on in the Hague at the Hôtel d'Angleterre till he hears from them and then go on to Italy.

Is 'quite serious', and not allowing his judgement to be 'carried away' by his feelings, and neither is Elizabeth. 'Still, we do feel, and deeply, only we have thought too'. Neither of them are 'expensive' and Elizabeth has 'a little money of her own', enough to live on for herself it that was what she wanted; Robert has 'succeeded in living within [his] £400' so 'whatever increased allowance were necessary would not amount very much'.

Elizabeth says she used to know well 'the old people at St Andrews who are such friends' of his parents and whom they wanted him to visit when he was there; can't remember their names, perhaps Nicholson [see 13/56, in fact the Donaldsons, perhaps the family of James Donaldson]. Elizabeth also knows 'the Croppers of El[l]ergreen' and has stayed with them once, though 'she is not at all like any of the Croppers, in fact she is very different'. Sends love to every one, and hopes 'this will turn out well for us all'.

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