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Fry, Roger Eliot (1866-1934) painter and art critic
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Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Hotel de la Plage, S. Pierre en Port, Sassetot le Mauconduit, Seine Inférieure. - Is still here 'imbibing good food, bad tobacco & French idioms', owes the last to the enthusiasm of Miss [Jane] Harrison, whom he should call 'Dr' since she has been made 'L..L.D.' [by Aberdeen University]. Has left La Roche Guyon, and joined [Dugald] MacColl, his sister [Elizabeth?] and Dr Harrison. Wishes Bob had been with him at La Roche; was alone for three weeks and reached 'a low kind' of Nirvana based on sun, wine, black coffee & two bathes in the Seine per day, as well as getting a lot of work done. Made friends with a peasant living in a chalk cave, 'a freemason atheist radical & general mauvais sujet'. Has now 'descended to civilization & villadom', though Miss Harrison mitigates these; she has 'a very masculine mind and is quite apostolic'. Finds that MacColl, however, is 'touched with Oxford & journalism'. Expects to return about the same time as Bob. Adds a postscript to say he is sorry Bob has been 'bad again', and hopes to be 'able to take care of [him] in time'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

22 Willow Road, Hampstead. - Finds it hard to write what he feels about the suggestion put to him by [John?] Withers: Bob's 'constant and affectionate interest' is 'one of the most precious things' in his life; if it were necessary he would accept [the offer of help], which he cannot imagine doing from someone like Bob; expresses his gratitude and 'the sense of perfect reliance and affection'. His father has given him some help, and B.B. [Bernard Berenson] has managed to sell the Venetians; Fry has also nearly finished three restorations. When he has done so, and written some reviews, he intends to get to work on Bob's 'rabbits' picture [see 13/17]. Helen is not quite recovered, but nearly; the nurse has gone and she is taking an interest in household things; Edith [her sister] is making sure everything runs smoothly.

The Old Masters [exhibition at the Royal Academy] are 'the chief interest in now' London; disagrees with the attribution of a picture in it to Dürer, but [Charles] Holmes 'committed the Athenaeum' to it while Fry was away. Bob might like to join the new Arundel Club, fpr the reproduction of works of art in private collections. The "Burlington [Magazine]" is doing well and Holmes is showing 'infinite energy & business capacity' [as editor]. Relates a scandal created when [William Bell] Paterson asked Fry for his opinion on a painting, which Fry judged to be largely modern paint over the possible outline of a Giovanni Bellini; the painting turned out to have been sold by K[err] Lawson to Coates [unidentified] for a large sum; 'always feared that K.L. was not over scrupulous about his ascription of pictures' and thinks this may damage him 'considerably'; Kerr Lawson has 'sent his "Titian" as a Bonifazio [Veronese] to the Old Masters [exhibition] and ought to sell that.

Would be 'jolly' if Bob could write [Fry's sister] Margery's masque [for the opening of the new library at Somerville College, Oxford, see 4/55 and 4/104]; hope he has forgiven the suggestion he could 'polish it off quickly', as Fry likes to 'think of a poet as a perennial fount, bubbling up and overflowing with limpid words', and praises his skill with mythology. Has written 'an extravanganza on Blake for the Burlington' ["Three pictures in tempera by William Blake', Burl. Mag, Mar 1904 4 p 204]. Julian is very amusing, and has begun to sing a little; Edith has a cello here and Fry is accompanying her 'in very simple things' - tells Bob not to let his wife know - which Helen enjoys.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

22 Willow Road, Hampstead. - Is writing to Bob's mother to say he will do the pastel, but not until the autumn; he and Helen hope to get to Oxford on Thursday to stay with Mrs [Christiana] Herringham and Mrs Flower if Helen is well; she has been 'very seedy' following a miscarriage but is 'wonderfully well in mind'. Has had 'another beastly summer' and cannot leave if she is not allowed to, as Edith [Helen's sister] will leave for her holiday soon. Is starting his article for the "Independent [Review?]" but wishes he had not promised it. Bob's story about Millais is lovely. Etching originally enclosed; 'a first attempt without any lesson so it was all guesswork', but means to return to it later, and to do the picture for Bob this year. Yes, the [book on] Titian is by 'the same [Georg] Gronau'; it is very good but dull to read, and not as good as his later book on Leonardo; is reviewing it [for the "Athenaeum", Sept 10 1904].

Has been to stay with [Neville] Lytton. States ironically that the [Royal] Academy has discovered that the Inquiry [by a Select Committee of the House of Lords into the Academy's administration of the Chantrey Trust] is really intended 'to advertise Lytton's drawings'. His own evidence was not printed in the papers, and lasted only half an hour; Lord Carlisle tried to catch him out 'by quoting the Athenaeum' but did not succeed. The Royal Academicians 'are physically mentally & morally on the level of small tradesmen'. [Dugald] MacColl was 'wonderful': gave evidence 'for 4 hrs without a slip' and would have 'made his fortune at the bar'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

22 Willow Road, Hampstead. - Hopes this will reach Bob before he leaves; a 'second American invasion' [related to the offer of a post at the Metropolitan Museum, New York] has taken all his time. He and Helen are grateful for the tickets and hope to get more music; he will definitely introduce himself to Miss [Sophie] Weisse and hopes to get to know [Donald] Tovey who may reform him. No money has come to Fry from Brimley Johnson's 'insatiable maw'; it is good of Bob to bother himself about it. Hopes to have something good for the 'great Agnew show' ['Some examples of Independent Art of today', Agnew's. Feb-Mar 1906]; they are 'all being done by Max [Beerbohm] for "Vanity Fair"; rather dreads it but 'one can't say that its not true of oneself after admiring him on others in print'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Hendaye. - Was so busy after his visit to the Netherlands that he did not write and thank Bob for his letter to [Abraham?] Bredius; missed Bredius twice at the Museum and at Scheveningen, but managed to see most of the pictures at the Hague and Leiden. Praises the Hague gallery and the Mauritzhuis; the picture he went to see at Leiden ["Quintus Fabius Maximus", attributed to Rembrandt, now lost] was interesting, 'very late very ugly but imposing'. Covets some 'wonderful pictures' he found at a dealers, but got some good drawings there, including a 'superb Rembrandt'. The 'Rijksmuseum is too much of a good thing'; discusses the Dutch School, Rembrandt's "The Night Watch" and his "Anatomy Lesson" paintings at the Hague and Amsterdam. Criticises de Hoogh [Pieter de Hooch] for 'having painted so many second rate things', but Brouwer and Jan Steen have gone up in his estimation. Started this letter at Paris but was forced to stop due to the jolting of the train so is finishing it at Hendaye; hopes their journey to Spain will not be 'held up by a general strike'. Love to Bessie from him and Helen.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Rodney House, Montpelier, Weston Super Mare. - The whole family had a good short holiday at Burford then went to Failand together; from there Fry went on to London to finish some work before his trip to Normandy and Helen took the children to Weston. Helen then developed scarlet fever and had to be taken to an isolation hospital; the children and nurse returned to Failand where they also became ill; will be anxious for a while but hopes the children's attack is mild. Will have to divide his time between Hampstead, Failand and Weston for the next six weeks; Helen is 'of course fearfully lonely' but luckily her room is on the ground floor so he can visit and talk to her through the window; encourages Bob to write to her. Glad Bob liked his article. Cannot write more as is trying to get an article ready for the "Quarterly Review" [published in October 1904]; feels as if they are 'pursued by a malignant Fate' as he has had almost two years of constant anxiety about Helen and the children. They may come to Dorking for a while when Helen comes out of hospital, unless they go abroad after all. A postscript details when he will next be in London.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Lewes Ho[use], Lewes. - Has been to Paris about a Renoir ["Madame Charpentier et ses enfants"] which he has succeeded in purchasing for the [Metropolitan] Museum, which 'is quite secret'. This is the only time he has left Helen, who 'wants someone to walk with her all day', but hopes to get away for a few days and to 'look at the various houses'. Their own landlord is to turn them out at Christmas so they must find something, and it is 'evident that H[elen] ought to be in the country'. Encourages Bob to read Ferrero's "La Grandeur et Décadence du Rome", though he has the London Library's copy at the moment. Adds in a postscript that he is up for election at the Reform Club on 18 Apr; asks Bob to mention this to his father.

Postcard from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Postmarked Guildford. - Thanks Bob for the cheque; had sent off the pipe. Has sent the drawing to be mounted. Will write to D.T. [Donald Tovey?] tomorrow, is also 'not sanguine, but its worth the shot'. Ricketts has resigned from the Burlington Consulting Committee because Fry has become editor of the "Magazine"; will try to persuade him to change his mind: 'not that he's important but I have a foolish liking for him'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Durbins, Guildford. - Fate, 'though not in an unkind way', seems against him getting his expedition; has just had a commission for a ceiling painting for Sir A[ndrew] Noble's place in Scotland [Ardkinglas] and needed to visit; the project will keep him busy for the latter part of June, so he expects only to get away to Munich at the end of May for 'the Mahommedan Exhibition' ["Meisterwerke muhammedanischer Kunst", reviewed by Fry in the "Burlington Magazine" Aug, Sept 1910]. The death of the King [Edward VII] also 'interferes' since [Lionel] Cust is taken up with court duties and the "Burlington [Magazine]" rests almost wholly on Fry. Does not think he can undertake a bicycle tour; will probably return from Munich via Bale [Basel], Troyes, Provins and Paris, spending about six days. Would love it if Bob joined him, say at Bale 'to see the Holbeins', but does not think it wourth his while. Hope [Bob's son] Julian is prospering; might come over on Sunday.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Durbins, Guildford. - Thanks Bob for the sympathy [on his failure to gain the Slade Professorship at Cambridge]; thinks he is 'not made for titles & posts & honours' and does not care if he can get by without them; only wants the money. Would love to do the designs for Bob's opera ["The Bride of Dionysus"] and thinks he could; would manage the scenery more easily than the costumes, where [Charles] Rickett's 'knowledge & experience' would ;give him a great pull'; does not want Bob to think he must choose him over Ricketts, though does believe in some ways he 'can interpret you & [Donald] Tovey better than he could'; would be 'more abstract and less assertive', as he feels 'the great danger of opera is the number of sensations which compete for attention'. Feels the design should be Mycenean rather than Greek.

Postcard from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Guildford. - Apologises for being in Paris. Thursday afternoon or evening the best time; has to dine in town on Wednesday, Sorry he 'seems so snarkish' [ie, elusive, like Lewis Carroll's Snark?] at the moment. Has been 'seeing the French Post-Imp[ressionist] poets'; Bob does not like them but they are 'nice people, only they will like Kipling'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Chelsea. - Dated 'Sunday'. Apologises for not sending the books earlier; was very busy with the lectures and with arranging for his parents visiting to see Helen [Coombe]; Goldie [Lowes Dickinson] and 'a sister' have also been staying. Has filled the box up with clothes which Mrs Smith [their landlady] thought Bob 'ought to want'. Says 'I told you so' about Bob being in Italy: it is better than 'going Jonkopping in Sweden [visiting Jönköping?]' and he might get some work done; suggests going to Fiesole or Prato, though that might be too hot. Asks if Bob intends to stay till winter; if so they will arrange to meet. Everything now settled: he and Helen hope to marry early in November and come out to Italy. Has had 'rather an awful time with his parents': very sorry for his father and his disappointment in him and so 'made a huge effort to get through the misunderstanding' but only gave him and his mother pain. This has made him 'awfully depressed'; found it hard to 'pull himself together for the lectures' but thinks they were the best he has done; pleased that both Goldie and [Thomas Sturge?] Moore liked them. Has been bicycling with Goldie, who is 'getting more reconciled about Helen'; thinks he 'begins to see that it can't make any real difference between [them]'. They went to Woodbridge and tried but failed to find [Edward] Fitzgerald's grave, then to Dedham 'which is the only [piece of French country in England and explains Constable'. Helen's harpsichord [which she is decorating for Arnold Dolmetsch] is 'going to be a great success'; she is 'quite decided' that Bob must either come back for the wedding or meet them in Italy.

Postcard from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Postmarked Folkestone. - Thanks Bob for his letter. Has seen P[aul] Nash and arranged for him to 'try his hand at decorative work [at the Omega Workshops]... a good test of where his real power lies'. Thinks Nash has 'imagination of some kind' and needs to find the way to use it; finds him very sympathetic and would like to have him with them. Has sold two of his own pictures. Is going [to France] for a while to see the Vildracs and some pictures.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Durbins, Guildford. - Has had a 'furious week' at the Omega [Workshops] and been too busy to make plans; hopes Bob will come over to see their things: thinks there are some boats Julian would like. Will come and stay the night soon with Bob; suggests Boxing Day; can cycle over if there are no trains. Adds in a postscript that they have 'a selection of modern French literature', chosen by [Charles] Vildrac, except that some books have been kept back 'because the customs house officers think they may be indecent'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Durbins. - Has not sent [Bob's translation of Aristophanes's] "Lysistrata" yet as he wanted Goldie [Lowes Dickinson's] criticisms; Goldie came on Sunday and Fry will read it to Madame Donnay [sic: Vera Donnet] tomorrow. Will try two days in town. Has read Bob's "Lucretius [On Death]" 'with very great delight; would like to bring out a second book, called "Lucretius On Origins" or similar. They should 'stir up Desmond [MacCarthy] to the point of writing' and perhaps advertise 'in educational places - girls' colleges & such like'; Margery [his sister] tells him about 'yearning intellectual appetites among the lower middle classes of Birmingham' though he is unsure 'whether they'd rise to' Lucretius. Is much better for his 'long rest', though managed to 'paint a good lot'; expects to be in town a little now, if he keeps well, but will be back at Durbins after 23 Mar when Pamela returns, so Bob could come over again then.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

7 Dalmeny Avenue, N.7. - Would have liked very much to come down and hates not seeing Goldie [Lowes Dickinson], but will not be able to get away unless he 'stick[s] at the jobs' keeping him: wants to finish a 'big nude' he hopes to send to the Autumn Salon. Dr [Edmond] Bonniot, 'gendre [son in law] de. M [Stéphane] Mallarme will not let Fry use the French text [in Fry's proposed English translation of Mallarme's poems], putting forward 'purely dog-in-the-manger' arguments in his letter to Gide; will go on anyway but it will 'spoil the reader's ease very much'. Would like to discuss his preface with Bob at some point. Sends love to Goldie; asks if there is any chance of him coming to town for a night or two this week.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

7 Dalmeny Avenue, N.7. - Thanks Bob for his 'charming Christmas present' [Bob's translation of Aeschylus's "Oresteia"?]; has 'always admired what you did for the Greek play very heartily'. Has been meaning to write congratulations about 'the poem on sleep' which he thought 'the most beautiful & perfect' of Bob's poems he had ever seen; supposes they have both 'taken an unconscionable time in getting through to what we really have to say' but thinks 'for both of us that blessed time has come'. They would have preferred to be 'more of infant prodigies' but supposes they 'have staying power & belong to long-lived families' so mustn't complain. Was sorry not to see Bob at the last lecture; asks him to let him know when he is next in town. Notes in a postscript that he has lost Jaloux's address; would like it if Bob has it as Jaloux has written 'the nicest critique' of his things at the Autumn Salon [in Paris] and he wants to thank him.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Rodwell House, Baylham, Nr. Ipswich. - Thanks Bob for sending a copy of his book ["Rimeless Numbers?"]; will pass on the copy he has already bought. Praises Bob's use of hexameter; thinks he has 'perfected [Robert] Bridges's notion and made it a possible vehicle for a discursive kind of eloquence', though he warns against 'run[ning] on rather aimlessly', using 'very banal phrases' and 'the conventional poetic'. Thinks that 'all distinctively poetical language ought to be banned'. Finds some of the other unrhymed metres difficult, probably as he is 'not so familiar with the classic types they come from'. Asks if Bob has read Peter Quennell's book on Japan; thinks it is very good.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

29 Beaufort St., Chelsea, S.W. - Asks when Bob is going to return from 'the fields of Enna' [Sicily] and sing 'songs of Persephone to fit my picture'. Jokingly objects to Bob's 'monstrous insinuations about the girls school' [see 13/1] and says he has been 'practicing fencing every day' to avenge the insult and get exercise. Fences with Hubert Crackanthorpe who has moved in nearby; has decorated the house 'with infinite care' but the way Crackanthorpe has furnished it has 'destroy[ed] all my schemes of colour'. Has a pupil three mornings a week: [Charles] Lacoste is 'quite ignorant but with much talent for a queer type of imaginative design'; thinks he has illustrated Baudelaire very well. Has therefore done little painting himself, only 'drawing with the pupil'; thinks this is good for him and is getting keener than ever on it. Asks how Bob's poetry is going; hopes he 'won't write one in 22 thousand lines like the Indian'. Has been thinking about metre; tells Bob to 'keep [his] hair on', as he begins to see why he is 'so furious about [Robert] Bridges'; tells him not to stay away 'for fear of having to talk about this'.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Bob's sonnet is 'delightful'. Suggests an alteration to the last line which makes it 'as topical, sublime, mysterious, & has the egoism proper to a great poet'; but seriously he 'must do something big' since this shows so 'complete a mastery of technique'. He and Helen will be at [a concert given by Charles?] Lamoureux on Friday and says they must meet up afterwards and dine at Gambrinus [Ye Olde Gambrinus, a restaurant/beer hall on Regent St] or something'. His wedding [to Helen Coombe] is on 3 December at 2 pm. Invites Bob to come and sit for his portrait and stay a night or two, not for long as 'everything is topsy turvy' and Mrs Smith [the housekeeper] getting progressively more worried; on second thoughts Bob had better not come as she has to 'clear all the things out and send them to Howard [?]'. The "Daphnis & Chloe" [a copy of the work by Longus?] has come and is 'splendid'; asks Robert to 'write a little epithalamium' and put it at the beginning; they are both very grateful.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

Hotel de la Poste, Bruxelles - Does not know how to thank her for her 'extraordinarily kind letter' which arrived yesterday. She will have seen his last letter to his father, acknowledging that he did wrong in not consulting them before proposing [to Elizabeth]; thinks though that everything will be for the best. Is here for two days, as he and Elizabeth's uncle agreed it would be good for him to go away for a little while after 'this last somewhat eventful and in some ways anxious week'; will return to the Hague on Thursday, and there is plenty to see. Thinks Elizabeth's uncle sanctions the engagement; unlikely the wedding could take place before the summer, as Elizabeth wants to spend more time with the Hubrechts; she also wants the Grandmonts to be there, and they do not generally return from Sicily till May or June. Expects he will soon go on to Italy. Will send a photo of Elizabeth when he returns to the Hague; his mother 'must not expect a beauty', though he finds her looks 'anything but disagreeable'. Thinks she will be able to 'look after [him] properly' as she is 'prudent and orderly, and in many ways thoroughly Dutch'; glad that her intellect is 'neither particularly poetical, nor romantic' and she has 'quite enough imagination and insight to understand anything' he might want; she has good taste for art, literature, and other things 'for a woman', and tends to be 'reflective and critical, rather than positive or creative'; she is of course 'a Protestant, at least not a Catholic'. Thinks he wrote that she knows the Nicholsons, 'by which I meant the Donaldsons of St Andrews' [James Donaldson and family?]. Has told no-one apart from the Frys [Roger and Helen] about his engagement, and will not do so until everything is settled between his father and Mr Hubrecht.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

10 Prinsegracht, The Hague. - Is writing to the relations and friends his mother mentions, and to some others; cannot therefore write for long to her, as he has to participate in some formal calls by Bessies's friends and relations this afternoon. Encloses the photograph of Bessie, which is not a good one but the best they have at the moment. All is well, which owes much to her and his father's 'extreme kindness'. Must leave for Milan next Thursday to catch the Frys [Roger and Helen] there. Kind suggestion that Bessie should visit England in the Spring; wonders if his parents will be in London or Welcombe around March, or she could come to Wallington; her uncle and aunt would certainly not object. His mother said he might find her advice 'a bore'; in fact he thought it 'very good', and will try to keep to it. Asks if she could send photographs of herself and his father to the Hubrechts; they will send theirs soon. Paid a visit to Amsterdam yesterday and saw Bessie's sister Mrs Röntgen, who is 'much pleased' with the engagement; they are very nice and he expects his mother will meet them at some point. Sends thanks to his father for his letter in a postscript; will reply soon; Bessie liked his mother's to her very much. Postscript in pencil adds that the photograph of Bessie is not good enough so they will not send it, she may perhaps get a new one done.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

10 Prinsegracht, The Hague. - Has received her letter this morning, and sent a telegraph to say he has already written to all [the friends and relations] she names, as well as to a few others, such as Mrs [Mary] Booth, since she had invited him to Gracedieu for New Year's Day. Wrote to [Charles] Sanger first, as he lives with him, who got the letter at Cambridge and told George there; had however written to George, and Charles, next day. Has also written to his aunts and Booa [Mary Prestwich]. Has been busy: Mr Hubrecht sent him to visit Bessie's sister Mrs Röntgen in Amsterdam on Saturday, on Sunday he received callers with the family, and on Monday he went to Ede with her and her sister-in-law [strictly, Elizabeth had no sister-in-law: Bramine Hubrecht meant?] to see about the furniture moving. Thinks his mother will have seen his and Hubrecht's letters to his father; hopes that 'little difficulty' is now resolved. Elizabeth is about five foot ten, has 'brownish yellow hair, of rather a light tint', and eyes of he thinks 'greenish grey'. Has not yet written her any poems, but 'must try in Italy'. Will try to get her a ring in Milan; [Roger] Fry may be able to help; leaves tomorrow afternoon, and will spend a few days there as he has much to discuss with Fry. Not sure when he will return: depends how his work goes. Hopes a visit by Bessie to England in the spring can be arranged.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

Hotel Biscione & Bellevue, Piazza Fontana No. 8 e 10, Milan. - Arrived on Friday, and is staying with the Frys [Robert and Helen] for a few days before going on to Ravello, to where she had better write as he plans to leave on Monday or Tuesday. Left all well at the Hague; will stop there on his way back and hopes a visit for Bessie to England in March or April may be arranged. They could not find a good photograph, but Bessie will have another taken and Caroline will be sent one. They celebrated 'old Hubrecht's' seventieth birthday last Wednesday with his son the professor [Ambrosius Hubrecht], his wife and two sons. Is having a good time with the Frys, though Mrs Fry is not well; there is much to see; the Castello is 'about the finest building in Italy... and full of treasures'. Liked the small painting by Francia he saw here; Fry says the Trevelyans' one is by far the best he knows, and that he was disappointed by the famous one ["The Adoration of the Child"?] he saw in Munich.

The Frys' prospects seem 'as dark as ever': Fry says there is 'no prospect' of selling his pictures, which the dealers will not interest themselves in, yet Robert believes he is painting very well now; Sidney Colvin was 'immensely struck' with the large one Robert has at Dorking ["The Valley of the Seine"?], thinking it 'one of the most interesting landscapes of modern years. Fry thinks he will have to turn to other work, perhaps lecturing again 'which of course he hates'. Fry's father's altered his three hundred pounds allowance to an investment, on which tax is payable, on Fry's marriage; Helen Fry has only the money she earns and is too ill to paint. Thinks Fry's art is 'too good to be sacrificed', and knows that they live in 'constant discomfort and worry', which he is sure contributes to Helen's bad health. Fry is 'very courageous, and may pull through'. but things would be much easier if his father 'had not such a hatred of art, and such absurd suspicions of his son and his wife'. This helps Robert appreciate how good his own father has been 'under somewhat similar circumstances'; Sir Edward Fry is 'narrow and prejudiced', but does not mean to be 'unjust or brutal', yet Robert believes he is so. Wonders whether his father has received the books by Pushkin and Hazlitt, and the life of Crabbe. Is just going to the Brera with Roger Fry.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Naples. - They go to Rome in two days, and can be reached there by Post[e] Rest[ante]. Bob must be generous to this letter as it was written 'after a day of rain & scirocco and sight seeing'. The news about 'Mrs Bertie' [Alys Russell?] has made them 'pretty indignant, and supports Helen's opinion of the character of 'P. Smith' [housekeeper at Beaufort Street?]. Bob, with his 'horror of moving & doing household things' will suffer; perhaps he should stay at Welcombe.. Jokingly suggests then 'retract[s]' the idea that Bob should 'spend three years choosing or educating a wife'. Thanks Bob for al he 'did about the picture'; he and Mrs W[iddrington?] have been marvellous about it. A confusion over Taormina involving [Alfred?] Thornton and [Francis?] Bate. Never got chance to continue with the Galatea picture, but hopes he might yet finish it; has done 'lots of studies of seaweed etc', and Goldie [Dickinson] has seen the painting and likes it. He and Helen had 'rather a serious time' when his parents came; they arrived a day early with 'all the other people whom we'd offended, including Ezekiel'. The talk was 'geological' rather than 'the wild orgies of the [Terence?] Bourke regine & the fierce gladiatorial shows... of [Bob's] reign'; assures Bob that their arguments do not matter; means to find out 'what it is that annoys some people so much in my way of arguing). His father was 'very nice' and got on well with Helen; his parents took her off on a driving tour of Etna while he himself stayed to work. Tells of visiting 'Mrs C' [Florence Cacciola Trevelyan] with his parents, and being menaced by her dogs. They went several times to see the Gramonts [Grandmonts] and had some 'splendid music', with ' more kindly scandal from Mrs G.'; they are nice people. Not enough time to tell of their 'quaint adventures at Pestum and Agropoli', and Pompeii, 'the apotheosis of shoddy' and so quite loveable, as 'immoral as the Brighton pavillion [sic] and as charming as a Japanese toy'. They stopped there a week at a 'filthy inn' where Goldie, [Nathaniel] Wedd and [Augustus Moore] Daniel came to stay: Daniel great fun, Wedd 'cussing & swearing because its not England'; got on 'splendidly with them'. He and Helen are now staying in Santa Lucia; he goes out in the morning to buy bread and ricotta at street stalls, and milk straight from the 'street cows'; they have been up Vesuvius. Reassures Bob about his poetry: he and many others have 'betted heavily' on him so he must 'make a success of it'; is sure he himself will, having been just where Bob is; 'one comes though by mere pigheadedness'.

Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

Hotel & Pension Palumbo, Ravello, Golfo di Salerno. - Has had dreadful weather and not been able to work until a couple of days ago, as he was kept inside; began yesterday and is now getting on well. Will return at the end of January as his mother suggests, and thinks it would be convenient for Bessie to visit England early in February; would not stay in Holland long on the way back if so as he wants to keep writing. Will come to Welcombe as he thinks it would be best for her to visit to be there rather than London; the Frys have invited her to stay with them in Dorking for a few days, which would enable her to see [Robert's house at] Westcott. Asks his mother to send George's address again, as he wants to write to him. Old Palumbo has been very ill, and it was thought he would die; he is better now but if he were to worsen again Robert would move pension, though his address could remain the same. Has had nice letters [about his engagement] from almost all his friends. Wrote to [William] Morton Philips. [Frank] Previté has published a book of short stories, "My Great Discovery" with Smithers & Co., under the pseudonym 'Henry Frances' as he does not want his family to know. Gives the book his qualified praise, and suggests his mother try it. Is pleased with what he has written of his own play; thinks it is 'better conceived and better carried out than the last', but knows these feelings can be deceptive. Has read Stephen Philips' play "Paolo and Francesca" which is so popular at the moment: thinks there is 'some decent poetry of a not very high order, and a good deal of theatrical cleverness', but that it is a 'bad play, and pretentious too'. Must not make his mother think he is jealous; hopes it will succeed on the stage, as this will make things easier for [Thomas Sturge] Moore, Binyon, and himself. Bessie says she is sending some photos to his mother, and seems well. Asks if his mother remembers a Countess Bylandt, who says she used to know her and his father: Bessie met her the other day at the Hague.

Letter from Elizabeth Trevelyan to Caroline Trevelyan

10 Prinsegracht, the Hague. - Thanks Caroline for her kind letter; has forwarded the enclosed letters to Robert at Ravello where he should arrive by tomorrow or Thursday; is sure he will have written from Milan with his address at Ravello, but gives it anyway. He left them on Thursday, going straight to Milan to see the Frys; thinks he intends to go straight to Ravello and stay there to do 'so hard & specially good work'. They had a very good fortnight together and the 'warm sympathy [they] received on both sides' made it even better; thinks Robert looked 'much better and stronger' when he left. Is looking forward very much to travelling to England to meet Robert's family; the invitation to Welcombe is very kind and agrees they can arrange further when they know about Robert's plans for returning home; feels as if she will be 'coming among old and dear friends' as they have welcomed her so kindly. Thanks Caroline for promising to send her and Sir George's photographs; her own was taken yesterday as she had no good one, and she will send it as soon as she can. She is normally called Bessie or Bess at home, but her English friends call her Elizabeth as that was the name she went by at school in St Andrews; it therefore does not sound formal and if Caroline likes it she would prefer her to use it. Says in a postscript that the photographs have just arrived; very kind of Caroline to send her sons' photographs as well; 'curious' that Sir George looks 'almost exactly' how she expected.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

Pension Lucarini, 5 Via Gregoriana, Rome. - Glad Bob enjoyed Arezzo and that Piero [della Francesca] 'played up well'; he and Helen have seen very few pictures since Bob left, having been busy with their own work. This has mainly involved copying; feels he would do nothing else if he lived in Italy, as it 'makes one lose ones nerve in the matter of creation to see what has been done'. They go to the [Palazzo] Colonna, where he is copying a Poussin landscape and Helen a boy's head by Giovanni Santi which [Bernard] Berenson will probably know. D.S.M. [Dugald Sutherland Macoll] must never know Fry has copied a Poussin. His pocket book, containing ten pounds in Italian money, has been stolen.

Bob's letter suggests that he thinks Fry 'expressed strong disapproval of Berenson'; in fact he has 'always rather believed in him and what [Bob says] of him; even the 'Superior Maple' is 'right enough if you make the superiority big enough'; would 'willingly be a whole family of Sir Blundells on those terms' [a reference to Sir John Blundell Maple?]. Hopes he will meet Berenson one day. Cites Michelet and [Arthur Henry] Johnson in support of his own view of Savonarola's statesmanship. Has been reading Pater's "Miscellanies"; a pity he makes so many mistakes, and is also 'so very just', particularly disappointing in a 'Morelli-ite'; describes what is needed in criticism now and wonders if Berenson might write it.

He and Helen have been playing piquet, 'a poor substitute for chess', and 'head, body & legs' when they are 'extra happy & frivolous'. He and Helen were in the Borghese gardens this morning looking for white violets; Helen had just got under the barbed wire onto the road 'with some agile anglo saxon attitudinizing' when she was startled by the appearance of the King in a phaeton; her behaviour was 'absurdly like... [that of] the gardeners when the Red Queen came along' [in Carroll's "Alice in Wonderland"]; would have been different if she had had Bob's 'Republican soul at hand to back her up'; his own sense that 'a King is different to anyone else', though 'of course' he laughed at Helen 'for her superstition'.

Very glad Logan [Pearsall Smith]'s work is so good; supposes discontent is 'the cause of all creativity''; asks Bob to tell Logan that he wants to see him as soon as possible. Asks to be remembered kindly to [Mary] Costelloe, whom they hope to catch when they come to Florence. 'Hellen', as Bob writes it, is asleep, or would send her own good wishes to Bob.

Letter from Roger Fry to R. C. Trevelyan

12 Pembroke Gardens, Kensington, W. - Thanks Bob for the books [Bob's "Mallow and Asphodel"?]; had already seen Oswald Sickert's copy ; agrees that black [covers?] would have been better, but 'some day we will elaborate together an edition de luxe'. Will send on [Robert] Bridges's copy though he is 'rather angry' with him at the moment, will tell Bob why when they see each other. Dined with [Bernard] Berenson last night, who is 'interesting & he admires Goldie [Dickinson] immensely' so Fry will like him. He may take Bob's book when he goes to see Helen on Saturday, an experiment he 'half long[s] for and half dread[s]'; will write to Bob or Goldie about the visit but fears it will not have any effect.

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

Hotel & Pension Palumbo, Ravello, preso Amalfi. - She will see he did not need to 'test out the prudence and orderliness of his mind', as she instructed: he has almost finished Elizabeth's paper, but knew there would be plenty at 'so well-appointed a hotel as the Pension Palumbo'; expects Mrs [Helen] Fry has written to her again; has brought a strop, and also a new razor as he left his at the Hague. Hopes her photographs come out well; she must send one; he will get himself photographed on his return, meanwhile she has the drawing of him and the photograph from Taormina. Glad she had good music to 'compensate for her sufferings on Friday'; expects she will soon go to Amsterdam to see her new [violin] teacher [Bram Eldering]. Glad her 'translation ordeal' is over; reassures her that she must not worry about telling him little details: he likes learning how she lives, and she has 'the gift of making trifling events interesting'. Quotes [Hilaire Belloc's] "Book of Beasts" on "The Whale"; wonders how long '[Ambrosius] Hubrecht's whale' is, and how it will be taken to Utrecht; supposes it will have to be towed along the canal. Has not received the American speech. Honoured that she is dreaming about him; will try to 'live worthily of one who has been inside [her] head at night-time'.

Has been answering her letter [9/14] 'point by point'; little to say about herself as he has been 'pent up' by the rain since his arrival; fears it will be at least a week before the woods are dry enough for him to work there, but will have Mrs Reid's garden as soon as it is fair and some other places. Did not see Mrs Reid yesterday when he called as she was ill, only her companion Miss Allan, of whom Elizabeth need not be jealous: the Frys used to call her 'the grenadier', she is 'much too old' for Robert, though nice and good to talk to occasionally; Mrs Reid is 'a dear'. Has been reading Mommsen, which he likes 'better than almost any novel' and which makes him feel 'history is the only thing worth writing'; however, few people write it like Mommsen. Has also been re-reading [John Bunyan's] "Pilgrim's Progress" and liking it more than ever; those, with Chaucer and Sophocles, are his 'daily bread' until the storms are over, but Elizabeth is his 'wine'. Cannot 'quite put into words what it is... to have someone to whom [he] can and wish[es] to say everything that comes into [his] head'; has had many friends but always felt 'reserved in certain directions' in a way he does not with Elizabeth; makes him feel 'so much less lonely' than he has often done; will listen to and understand her as she will him. Is 'not afraid of marriage, in spite of Chaucer, and other pessimists'. Knows he 'linger[s] out his goodbye' as he used to do at her door in the evening; used to 'wish to run off' with her as she peeped round the door.

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