- 6 Jan - 7 Jan 1900
Pension Palumbo, Ravello, Golfo di Salerno. - Apologises if his letter writing has fallen off; has been more absorbed in his work recently. Has received her New Year's letter; a delight to know she loves him so much; discusses separation and distance. The Straughn Davidsons came today, 'two brothers and the wife of one' [James Leigh Strachan-Davidson and either of George or William, his brothers?]; they are nice people, though they do break up his 'pleasant solitude'. Has not got on well with his writing recently; thinks he is stale and should take the day off tomorrow to read novels. Is going to bed now to read Stephenson's letters, which Davidson has lent him.
Returns to the letter next morning with a description of last night's dreams, one about eating a breakfast of 'the staple diet of trout in a pond', and another about kissing an unknown young lady. Some of Stevenson's letters are well worth reading; thinks he was 'a pleasant fellow with a real streak of genius', though does not join in the 'prevalent R.L.S. worship'. Asks if she knows "Treasure Island", "[The Master of] Ballantrae" and his short stories. If the forecast is correct and they are due 'some dirty weather', the Strachan-Davidsons will be an 'acquisition'. Has skipped on to the second act of his play, and is 'plugging away at the faithful wife'; the difficulty is the villain, who is 'a plausible gentlemanly kind'. Encloses a dried beetle which he found 'in that state' on his cliff; sends it in response to her almond, and has placed 'not a few kisses on his back'. Very sorry her aunt is so unwell. Glad Willy v[an] R[iemsdijk] is not going [to the Second Boer War]; does not know what is going to happen. Sorry that she is to have so little time with [Bram] Eldering; hopes she will be able to go on her return from England. Returns to the letter after 'midday tea'; has not yet heard from [Bernard] Berenson but thinks he will pay him a visit of a couple of days if he wishes. Has finished [Shorthouse's] "John Inglesant", which he now does not think is a real success; looks forward to being able to discuss such things with her in their own house. Quotes a music hall song of Eugene Stratton about love. Is not a natural letter-writer; she is much better than he is.