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'.