- Jul 1892
Part of Papers of Julian Trevelyan
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Part of Papers of Julian Trevelyan
Part of Papers of Julian Trevelyan
Part of Papers of Julian Trevelyan
Part of Papers of Julian Trevelyan
Ede, Villa Ma Retraite. - Thanks Trevelyan for his 'charming little book of poems' ["Mallow and Asphodel"]; thinks she likes "The Playmates" best. Asks if he will be returning to Taormina this winter to 'get fresh impressions in the land of the ancients', or will 'plunge into modernity now'. They would be very happy to see him again. Her cousin [Elizabeth], 'the girl who plays the violin so well' might come to Sicily with them, as she 'wants a change'; they plan to leave Holland at the end of the month, and be back at Taormina by the end of October. Currently, the Netherlands is very excited about the Queen's coronation, and 'the patriotic but ugly orange colour' is everywhere; asks if he is not tempted to come and see 'Holland in its royalistic mood? It looks very pretty and bright'.
Begins mid-sentence stating that [his brother George's book "The Age of Wycliffe"] is 'a good piece of history', which shows up John of Gaunt as 'a sort of 14th century Taman[n]y ring boss'. Also recommends Rostand's "Les Romanesques", which he read recently and things is even better than "Cyrano". Cannot think of any more modern books for the moment; fears his list is 'chiefly composed of friends' and relations' books'; [Roger] Fry is also bringing out his book on Bellini soon, which is well worth getting. Asks Elizabeth to tell Mrs Grandmont that the Frys would like her to visit when she is in England; gives their address. He himself is getting a house near Dorking at Westcott, and will move in September, when he will be within a mile of the Frys; the house he is giving up at Haslemere is, though, very beautiful. Supposes she has been back from Taormina a while; asks her to send some photographs, especially the ones of 'Mrs. Cacc. [Florence Cacciola Trevelyan] and the dogs' and himself in the loggia. The last few days of scirocco were 'a great bore', but he almost forgives it for preventing the trip up Monte Xerito as it 'made [them] those splendid waves among the rocks'; it also 'put [Elizabeth's] fiddle out of sorts' though, so he could not hear any more Bach suites. Heard Isaye [sic: Ysaÿe] play one yesterday, as well as the Mendelsohn concerto; he was in good form, and he will hear him again playing the Beethoven. Is having a musical week, as he has already seen Paderewski, for the first time, and will hear [Wagner's] "Tristram" tomorrow. 'Paddy was great fun, at all events to look at'; thinks he played a Chopin concerto better than the Beethoven. Spends most of his time at the British Museum library when he is in London; has found a translation of [Joost van den] Vondel there by a Dutch American; it is 'very conscientious and scholarly' but he does not think much of the blank verse; still, he can now go on where Elizabeth left off. Would like to know when Mrs G[randmont] is coming to England, and if Elizabeth is likely to be in London so he can 'make a display of [his] extensive and profound knowledge of Italian painting in the National Gallery'. Not sure whether he is going to Bayreuth yet; discusses times he could come to Holland.
Suggests older books she should read: Keats's letters, most of which are available in Sidney Colvin's edition though he advises getting Buxton Forman's four volume edition with the poetry; Butcher and Lang's translation of the "Odyssey"; Meinhold's "Sidonia the Sorceress" and "Amber Witch", translated by Lady Wilde and Lady Duff Gordon. Could lend her all of these books, as well as [Henry James's] "In a Cage" and his brother and father's books . Asks her to write with news and to say when would be best for him to come to Holland; he will write soon to the Grandmonts when he sends them [Thomas Sturge?] Moore's book. Thinks he remembers Elizabeth said she had never read Jane Austen; she should read them all, especially "Mansfield Park", "Pride and Prejudice" and "Emma". Breaks off mid -sentence: 'by advising to...': 9/71 forms the rest of the letter.
A portion of what seems to be a poem by Robert Trevelyan based on the "Mahabharata", with some explanatory notes, is found with this letter but not referred to in it
Roundhurst, Haslemere, Surrey. - Apologises for not writing sooner: has taken him a while to gather his thoughts on English books for her to read. Has not read Browning's letters to his wife, but her father tells him they are quite amusing; if they are as good as the one she read out to him, they should certainly be worth reading. There is also Mackail's life of William Morris, which he intends to read as Mackail knew Morris well and is a 'competent writer'; saw an excerpt which looked fun, as it should as 'Morris was a magnificent joke himself as well as a splendid person'. Has not yet read Henry James's "The Awkward Age", which is said to surpass all his earlier ones in difficulty, but recommends "In The Cage", or "Daisy Miller". Next week T[homas Sturge] Moore's book, "The Vinedresser and Other Poems" comes out, but he is sending a copy to the Grandmonts; is not sure whether they will like it, as it has 'great faults, which people with classical tastes are almost sure to dislike', but believes many of the poems are 'nearly perfect in their own queer way'. Recommends his father's book, "The American Revolution Pt I" which is 'at least readable and amusing"; his brother George's "The Age of Wycliffe" has already gone into a second edition. The middle part of the letter can be found as 13/85.
Ends by telling Bessie to get the third volume of Yeats' edition of Blake, 'read all the poetry that is not mad' and "The Book [Marriage] of Heaven and Hell", and look at the pictures. Hopes Miss [Emma?] Dahlerup is well; expects she will be going to Capri or nearby soon. Asks to be remembered to the Grandmonts.
10 Prinsegracht, The Hague. - They have not yet retired to their 'Retraite Edéniencee [ie, at Ede]', as her cousin calls it; does not think they will go before early June. The Grandmonts are still where she left them at Rocca Bella [Taormina, Sicily] at the end of April; they are travelling back with an English friend, stopping only briefly at Florence and Bâle. Was sorry to leave Italy 'like that' but it could not be helped; made her all the more anxious to return another time. Wrote to her cousin [Bramine Hubrecht] and sent her Trevelyan's messages, but does not know whether she will go to England this summer; he does not seem anxious to go and she supposes 'the husband's opinion has great weight in these matters!'. She herself will not be able to; is currently here alone at home with her uncle and aunt [Paul François Hubrecht and his wife Maria] and would not like to leave them when she would have to go 'to fit in with Senior's week at St. Andrews'. Thanks Trevelyan for his letter and the trouble he took with the list of books, though she has not yet got all those he suggested, in part because the library is currently closed. Fortunately the director is a friend of the family and can be persuaded to break the rule forbidding books to be taken or sent into the country, so they sometimes get a good selection sent to Ede; however spring-cleaning is 'a holy business' in this country so she must wait. Asks if Trevelyan could possibly send some of the books he listed: something by Henry James; his father's book; [Robert] Browning's letters; she will get [William?] Morris's "Life" [by J. W. MacKail and his brother's book from the library. Has been reading [Elizabeth Barrett Browning's] "Aurora Leigh" for the first time; asks whether Trevelyan likes it. Will be curious to see Trevelyan's friend [Thomas Sturge Moore]'s poems which he sent to her cousin; wonders whether they will appreciate it; does not think Mrs Grandmont has 'specially classical tastes'. Would be very nice if Trevelyan could come to Ede this summer; unsure still of when exactly would be the best time as she knows nothing of the Grandmonts' plans; thinks probably late August or early September. Is longing to get to fresh air in the country; town seems oppressive after Taormina.
They all feel 'greatly honoured... with all these noble peace delegates' being at the Hague; the Congress was opened yesterday; one of the Dutch members told them 'what a feeble old president Baron de Staal seemed to be' and that 'the first meeting did not promise much'. Is sending some Taormina photographs; the one with Mrs C [Florence Cacciola Trevelyan?] is 'funny but too indistinct'; [Giuseppe] Bruno took the same view which better shows Mrs C. 'like some curious prehistoric Juliet on her balcony'; she has it and will show it to you, or Trevelyan could write to Bruno and ask to see the several pictures he took in her garden of her 'constructions'. Glad Trevelyan has heard some good music in London; she feels out of practice and is looking forward to playing with her sister [Abrahamina Röntgen] again. Knows her aunt is giving her the biography of Joachim by Moser for her birthday. Will also have to 'make special Vondel studies this summer'; feels she knows very little about him.
Ede - Ma Retraite. - Delay in writing on her return due to a few days in bed; their plans now finalised, and Trevelyan would be very welcome to visit in September. Is going to see her friends the Bowmans next week and will write to Mr and Mrs [Roger?] Fry if she does visit them for a day from Joldwynds. Most of July her 'married cousin Mrs Röntgen and her boys' will be with her, then in August 'she is going to Denmark taking her sister with her'. Hope Trevelyan will be able to come 'and have a look at Holland and Dutchmen! Some say [they] are not a specifically Dutch family' but they could perhaps show him some 'more so' if he liked. Is very much enjoying the letters of [Robert] Browning and his wife, calling them 'delightful, splendid creatures' and discussing their portraits; asks whether Robert Browning was Jewish. Will be in London for two days before going to Joldwynds, but does not ask him to meet her as she does not know her address there yet and fears there will be time for nothing but shopping: a 'nightmare' for her. Perhaps they could meet at Trevelyan's friend [Roger Fry]'s house.
Ma Retraite, Ede. - Is returning two of the books lent her by Trevelyan, both of which she much enjoyed; had no idea the "Odyssey was 'such a wonderful human poem', and wishes she could read it in Greek; the translation is 'very melodious', asks whether Greek scholars approve of it. Found Henry James's "In The Cage" most amusing, though she asks whether 'the subtle suggestive analysis of the emotions & situations sometimes leads to a little mannerism in style'; thought it very clever, and 'a very English book'. Asks if she can keep [Sir George Otto Trevelyan's] "The American Revolution" longer as she has not yet begun it. Expects her cousin [Bramine Hubrecht?] has told him they will be glad to have him as early in September as he can come. Her sister [Abrahamina Röntgen] is currently here; goes with her to Denmark for a month at the end of a month which will be 'a delightful dip into music again' as their Danish friends [the Noordewier-Reddingius family?] are very musical. Asks if Trevelyan has heard much this spring, and whether he has decided about Beyreuth. Trevelyan has been neglecting to mention [his own] "Mallow and Asphodel", which she has been enjoying very much; looks forward to reading his friend's poetry which he gave her cousin [Bramine Hubrecht?]. Is reading Keats' letters, through which '[o]ne gets to know the man very well'. Encourages Trevelyan to read a book translated from Swedish into English called "Antichrist Miracles" ["Antikrists mirakler "] by Selma Lagerlof; has 'heard it praised very much' and it is 'all about Taormina, though with different names', fears Mrs Cacciola [Trevelyan] is 'treated rather badly' but has not yet read it. Beautiful hot weather this week, 'just fit for lying in hammocks and reading' though it is easy to get last and 'even a little bicycling seems too much!'.
Wallington, Cambo, Northumberland. - Blames the 'heat which brings on indolence' for his delay in replying to her last letter. Saw Madame Grandmont at the Bowmans', where he spent a very pleasant evening; she has since written to say he can visit in early September, so asks Bessie to tell her that will suit him very well. Is not going to Bayreuth, so will come straight out to Holland, which he is looking forward to seeing again. Has left the heat in the South of England and come up to 'the cool and airy atmosphere of Northumberland'. Is glad she likes the Odyssey; her translation is 'quite correct and scholarly', although a little too Biblical and free with 'withals' and 'verilys'. Agrees generally with what she says about [Henry] James: he need not always be so obscure, though 'vague ideas can often only be vaguely expressed'; discusses some of the characters and scenes he admires. Supposes she will be going to Denmark now; hopes she enjoys her music there; he has heard little for weeks and fears he will not until he goes to Holland. Is glad she enjoyed "Marrow and Asparagus" [his "Mallow and Asphodel"]; but she must like [Thomas Sturge] Moore's poems better, particularly "The Vinedresser", "The Panther", and "At Bethel"; the parts of Moore's poetry he likes 'mean more to [him] than anything that has appeared in England since Browning's early and great days". Will send for [Lagerlof's] "Antichrist Miracles" as is keen to see Mrs Cacciola [Florence Trevelyan] 'glorified by fiction', even if she is depicted as 'a witch or Fiery, instead of the mild lady she really is'; has always intended to make her 'the subject of a romance' when he takes to writing novels in his old age. Bessie can keep [his father's] "American Revolution" until he comes. Asks to be remembered to the Grandmonts. His father has just bought a Madonna by [Francesco] Francia; they are all very pleased with it, though he is amused by the comments of the servants. The butler secretly prefers the not very good copy of Raphael's "Madonna della seggiola" which used to hang in the room; he says the 'lady' is pretty '(being good protestants, they won't call her the Madonna or the Virgin)', but the baby is 'rather a funny-shaped baby', and at least Raphael gave his child some clothing; says Mrs Prestwitch [sic: Mary Prestwich] (the old nurse, now housekeeper) knows more about babies than he does, and she is not sure about the baby; supposes neither he nor his brothers were 'exactly that type of infant' when they were in her nursery.
Ede; addressed to Trevelyan at 3 Hare Court, Inner Temple S.W., England. - They have received Trevelyan's letter announcing his arrival on 2 September with great pleasure; will send a carriage to meet him at the station if he informs them when he will reach Ede. As he writes, it will be quite easy to travel on to the 'interesting parts of Holland' later.
Ede; addressed to Trevelyan at 3 Hare Court, Inner Temple S.W., England. - Forgot to mention in her last postcard that there are two line to Ede, from either Flushingen [Vlissingen] or the Harrich [Harwich] line; Ede lies between Arnhem and Utrecht. Asks him to wire his arrival time from Flushingen or the Hoek if he has not written by then.
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].
Ma Retraite, Ede. - Addresses Trevelyan as 'my dear Bob'; is very glad to hear from him; was just last week that she left Amsterdam and he went with Paul [Hubrecht?] 'to visit Volendam and buy Dutch cheeses' but it seems a long time ago. Paul wrote a 'rather amusing & ironical account of that day'. He must have had a bad crossing as the weather has been 'most depressing ever since'; 'poor Grandmont is shivering & probably longing to get away', but the coming of Bob's friends the [Roger] Frys will keep them longer. Will miss them very much; Bramine has 'proven to be such a friend', she has told her everything and she is 'a great help'. All her family 'have a somewhat inquisitive if not suspicious turn of mind' and have begun to have suspicions about her and Bob; not in an unkind sense but they want to know 'exactly what happened or did not happen'. Her uncle, aunt, and [cousin] Marie stayed with her sister [Abrahamina Röntgen] in Amsterdam; is sure they compared notes. Bramine is a help to 'appease their minds'; would also help if Trevelyan wrote a 'collins' to her aunt which will make it 'all look more natural'. She and Bob must continue to be quite 'sincere and truthful' with each other, and 'everything will come right in the end'; scolds him a little for leaving the house without saying goodbye to her uncle or Grandmont, though her family found his absent-midnedness comical.
Is writing in the drawing room, hearing the 'continual tinkle tinkle of the piano' as Grandmont practises some Haydn trios. They spent at the evening recently at the house of the painter [Willem?] Witsen, where Bramine works at her etching every day; played some music and even persuaded Witsen to join them with his cello, though he is 'terribly shy and modest' he plays very well. Has been practising hard herself recently, as she wants to be in good shape if she goes to have lessons from the new teacher in Amsterdam who has replaced her old teacher [Joseph] Cramer. Asks how Bob's new house is getting on; asks its name and address, and when he will move in. He will miss the Frys at first; hopes they like the Dutch cheese, and that it will not be 'like the story of the cheese in [Jerome's] "Three Men in a Boat"'. Is reading Joachim's biography [by Andreas Moser], and has given up the Brownings' letters for a while. 'Correspondence is unsatisfactory in so many ways'; wishes she could see more of Bob, though she tells him not to 'interpret this for more than [she means] it'; tells him to write as often and fully as he can. Will try to puzzle over his 'metaphysical quotation', though doubts she will understand it entirely without further explanation; wonders about the value of such questions, though she does greatly admire 'the philosophical turn of mind' as long as it does not hamper any other enquiry. Bramine sends kind regards to Bob; she and Grandmont apparently always speak of him 'by that disrespectful name', so she supposes she may also. Notes in a postscript that he did not tell her how old he is; guesses twenty-seven.
3, Hare Court, Inner Temple. - Begins the letter in the National Liberal Club near Trafalgar Square, where he will soon go to an 'anti-jingo' meeting. Expects this will not be a big affair, as 'pacific people are only too few'; the 'self-satisfied Anglo-Saxon conceit gets worse and worse every year', and 'Kipling, Fashoda, Mr [Joseph] Chamberlain, and even the Dreyfus case' have contributed to it; wishes there was a 'good chance of a fiasco in the Transvaal, not so much for the sake of the Boers' but for the British; has never felt less of a patriot. Is working at the British Museum while his house is being decorated, for which [Roger] Fry has a free hand; expects the result will be 'most charming'. Glad the Frys are going to Ede; he is 'very interesting and full of ideas', though he always wants 'an orthodoxy to comfort him', not necessarily that 'of the multitude', and 'wonderfully sympathetic and imaginative'; she is 'delightful... in quite a different way to him'. Was not there when they cut into the cheese and did not send instructions, so it is now 'as dry as pumice' though they say they like it. Going to see a Japanese melodrama with them tomorrow; expects it will be 'pretty bad' but has heard the 'scenery and costumes are first rate'. Envies the Frys their trip to Holland, wishes that he could go there again so soon, and that Bessie were in the room with him now looking as he writes things he 'scarcely could put into articulate words, things which [he] dare not write now'. She would be safe, as [Charles] Sanger is away; otherwise he would be shocked, 'so mistrustful of ladies as he is wont to be'. His feelings have not changed, as he feared they may when he was away from her, and he now believes that they will not; will say no more, as he is 'not supposed to be writing [her] a love-letter', though he would if she gave him leave. Wishes they could see each other again soon; will come whenever or wherever she might say she wishes. Apologises for sending her that quote from [George] Moore [see 9/75]; meant to show her it was foolish of 'so muddle-brained a creature' as he is to try and understand such things; finds it easier to understand Moore when he talks than when he writes, as in writing he 'compresses his thought so small that it almost becomes invisible'; most philosophers 'sin' the other way. Says he sees nothing wrong in 'trying to think properly, which is all philosophy tries to do'; does not think it does imagination any harm. Could never agree with Neitsche [sic] that 'speculation is a kind of mental disease'. Quotes from Balzac ["Les Secrets de la princesse de Cadignan"] in French. Will send Bessie more books when she wants them.
Finishes the letter the day after the anti-war demonstration, which 'turned out to be antiboer', as the 'great majority of the crowd was for war'; they 'looked picturesque enough' but the meeting was dull since there was too much noise for the speakers to be heard and 'not even a decent fight'. Glad she is going to make some music with [Willem?] Witsen; asks when she starts her lessons with her new teacher in Amsterdam [Bram Eldering]. Is sorry he forgot to say goodbye [to her uncle]; they will think him vague and absent-minded, which is perhaps right. Hopes she is not worried by their suspicions; is glad Bramine [Hubrecht] is kind to her and that Bessie has taken her into her confidence. Fears there is 'only one way' [marriage] of things coming right for him. She guessed his age correctly: he turned 27 on 28 June. Guesses she is 24 or 25, but he is a bad guesser, and if she were '30 or even 40' he would not mind much, 'except that then [she] would not have as many years in this curious world'. Invites her to call him 'Bob', like his family and most intimate friends; is known in general as 'Trevy'. Now going to the British Museum to read Diodorus Siculus; he could make out he was 'very learnèd' in revenge for his confusion on saying 'something stupid about music'. Asks to be remembered to Bramine; is going to give one of her sketches to his mother. His mind is made up as to what he wants, but he can be patient 'for some time at least'.
Ma Retraite, Ede. - Is glad Bob thinks 'as strongly about what is called English "Patriotism" just now' as they do; it is certainly 'a lamentable affair' and war seems unavoidable. Bramine [Hubrecht] was shocked when she read her Bob's wish for a 'fiasco, not so much for the sake of the Boers as for our own' as she 'feels very strongly for the Boers'. Read full account of the Trafalgar Square meeting the morning before Bob's letter came; was startled to hear he had been there as the newspaper account was nowhere near 'as dull & pacific' as he found it. Bramine has just brought her a letter from Mrs [Helen] Fry to Bob, which she should have given to him on his arrival; hopes this has not caused him or the Frys any inconvenience. Asks if the 'Japanese melodrama' was any good, and whether he is still in London. Suggests he uses foreign paper for his letters; his last was over-weight; makes a pun about his letters becoming 'too dear' for her. His letter is 'very valuable to her... whatever the future may have in store'. Wishes they could see each other more often, but does not think they should 'force circumstances'; admits she is a 'muddled creature' and does not yet see what is right and what she feels; hopes she will get clearer, while Bob is 'noble & generous & will wait', which she thinks is better for both their sakes. Discusses a line from Balzac. Will ask for more reading suggestions when she has finished the ones she wants to read; has just finished [Joseph] Joachim's biography [by Andreas Moser] and 'worship[s] him all the more'. Bob is also a 'shrewd guesser of age', as she turned twenty-four on May 21st. Always used to be thought older than she was till a few years ago when the reverse became true. Thinks it is comical how few people, especially women, are 'perfectly natural' about their age; asks if Bob has 'often had the benefit of women in society and friendship'. Last week she and her uncle [Paul François Hubrecht] went to see "Citio", at Doorn, where they are to go next summer; it is smaller than the one at Ede but nicely situated and they wil probably like it. The Grandmonts are to leave by the end of next week; the Röntgens are coming for the day next Sunday to 'say farewell to Ede. She [Mien Röntgen] was married from this house'.
3, Hare Court, Inner Temple, London E.C. - Apologises for 'the fatness and grossness of [his] interminable epistles', written on English paper and thus costing her extra in postage; liked her pun on the 'value' of his letters. She has been more punctual in writing; warns her that if she delays writing, a 'poet may at any moment turn Satirist'; he knows enough about her to be 'dangerous' and could write about her 'behaviour in a thunderstorm perhaps'. She would have her revenge, as he is sure she has 'discovered far more follies and weak spots' in him; she always seems much wiser and sensible than him. Had tea and dinner today with the Frys; she is finishing 'a lovely clavichord' she has been painting for [Arnold] Dolmetsch; has not painted anything for two years, but this is as good if not better than anything she did before. Elodie Dolmetsch, whom they call 'Melodie', played them some Scarlatti and Purcell on the harpsichord; liked it much better than on the piano, and would have liked to see what Bessie thought. Does not necessarily prefer antique music and instruments to modern, as Fry seems to now; he is 'never happy untill [sic] he has got his orthodoxy'. Hopes that Bessie will play to the Frys; she should play Bibers [Biber] for them; they were worried that it might be too stormy to cross, but he does not think that is lightly. Does not matter that Bramine forgot to give him their letter. Glad Bessie thinks she will like "Citio" [the prospective new summer house at Doorn]; a good beginning, since he thinks she disliked Ede at the beginning, and in general takes a while to find out how much she likes something. Is still in London as his house is taking a while to be ready; a bore, since he wants to work and cannot here; the 'dreary' British Museum Library is always 'either too stuffy or too draughty'. Refreshed himself today with a Turkish bath which is 'bliss indeed'; if he were a millionaire, would spend no money on art, but would build 'magnificent baths' like those of Diocletian at Rome; Bramine and Mrs Fry would decorate the ladies' baths. Went to a music hall last night and saw a wonderful Spanish dancer. The account Bessie read of the Trafalgar Square meting was 'certainly exaggerated'. Discusses the [Second Boer] war; the 'Cape journalists and fire-eaters' got 'that idiot [Alfred] Milner into their hands' and between them have let the government into 'this awful mess'. Is going to say goodbye to Haslemere tomorrow.
Ma Retraite, Ede; envelope addressed to R. C. Trevelyan Esq-re, 3 Hare Court, Inner Temple, London EC - Is writing having got up very early to see the [Roger] Frys off. Curious to see which weaknesses of hers have inspired Bob to 'compile sharp satires'; does not think he has had the opportunity to get to know her faults, proved by him saying she seems to be wiser than he is and 'so sensible', though 'that is a common mistake' and her family tease her for looking like a 'wise professor'. She does not think she knows many of his weak spots, except for the very obvious ones, which are not heavy; has been very impressed by his 'excellencies & learnedness', and 'used to feel a great dunce' at Taormina though this has worn off a little. Describes the [Roger] Frys' visit: went to the Hague with Bramine to hear a concert of a cappella music conducted by [Johannes] Messchaert; returned next morning on the same train as the Frys and met at Ede station. Dreadful weather all through their visit, but they had some walks (on the second day only Mr Fry, her uncle [Paul François Hubrecht] and Elisabeth herself kept going); played them music on both nights (as Bob said, they 'liked the old music best on the whole), and yesterday morning Grandmont read them 'a great part of [Browning's] "Pippa Passes" in his translation', surprising that Mr Fry had never read it. All very sorry they had to leave so soon; the Frys promised to come again in the spring. Would very much like to get to know them better. Did not see much of what Bob says about Roger Fry's 'orthodoxy', except when he said that in music and painting, it was not possible to properly appreciate 'modern development of art' if you were not a real admirer of what has gone before; might be true of painting but she is sure it is not of music. He seemed generally to be 'a very charmingly sympathetic & very intelligent being', and she to be 'perhaps more original even, very clever certainly'; Elizabeth 'felt a dunce again'. Her uncle also liked them very much.
Last Sunday was very happy: her sister and her husband [the Röntgens] and the 'four Hubrechts from Utrecht' [Ambrosius Hubrecht and family] came for the day to say goodbye to 'Ma Retraite'; her cousin Professor Hubrecht is 'always full of fun' and it was very different from what one might imagine 'a Dutch stolid serious family party to be!' Finds it delightful to be part of such a family bond. Approves of Bob's 'plans about building public baths' but does not think the public would use them; certainly the Dutch do not wash 'their bodies as well & as often as their houses, streets, & furniture'. Tells Trevelyan how to write out a Dutch address, though there is no reason not to follow the common English custom of using English names and spelling for 'everything foreign'.
Hotel Prinz Heinrich, Dorothea Strasse, Berlin. - He and Helen have just returned from an excellent concert: Beethoven and Mozart. Describes their stay at Ede with the family of Trevelyan's friend Elizabeth van der Hoeven [soon to become his fiancée]: they liked the 'old people' very much - the old man [Paul François Hubrecht] reminded Fry of Mr Behrens; gives his impression of Elizabeth who was 'rather shy and inaccessible'. A sister [Maria Hubrecht?] of Madame Grandmont was also there: the Frys thought her paintings (canvas painted to look like tapestry) were dreadful. M. [Alphonse] Grandmont read some of his French translation of Browning's "Pippa Passes"; thinks Trevelyan is wrong about him and that he has more artistic sensibility than his wife, whose 'Ruskinian idealism' has 'deadened her sensations' and who follows the modern trend Fry deplores of always looking for 'meanings & messages' in art. Heard the Biebers [sic: a work by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber]: Elizabeth is 'most accomplished' but the piece was too modernized; and Handel. Came to Berlin yesterday and the art collection is splendid; comment on German taste.
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.
Ede; addressed to Bob at 3 Hare Court, Inner Temple, London EC - Bob has still not given her his address in Dorking; supposes this letter will reach him in London; hopes he has a good time at Harrow, 'beat them all hollow' and not suffer any broken bones. Asks if he has given Bramine [Hubrecht]'s sketch to his mother and whether she likes it. A shame the Frys did not see the current glorious weather; she is going for long farewell walks to her favourite places in Ede; the Grandmonts are leaving on Friday, hates goodbyes. The Frys wrote a nice letter; he seems to have felt as Bob does that the Dutch 'ways of thinking & looking at things' are not so different from the British; she thought so too, and expects she could soon get to know them well; felt a little constraint when talking of Bob as she was unsure how much they knew. Asks Bob what new doctrine 'the philosopher [George] Moore' has been convincing him of; his account of 'the newly married philosopher' [J E M MacTaggart] made her laugh and would make a good subject for a story; she has often wished she could 'write a huge "life"-novel' but finds it impossible. Asked Grandmont about "[Till] Eulenspiegel", who also thought it was originally written in Flanders, but the Germans have very old manuscripts too, and it is rather like old works like "Reineke Fuchs [Reynard the Fox]" which also has an uncertain origin. Is very glad Bob is learning German. Reminds him that he said she could read some more of his "Mahabarata" [sic: "Mahabharata"] poem and some others. Bob's lost umbrella has been found and passed on to Paul [Hubrecht] as promised. They have given up the house at Doorn, "Citio", due to difficulties with the proprietor, so must search again; she, her uncle [Paul François Hubrecht], and Grandmont looked at an old country house near Haarlem on Monday, but it was too gloomy and damp.
The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking - Begins the letter on his first night at the Mill House, an 'event of some importance'; describes the 'confusion' in the house, with most of his books still packed in their cases; has just undone two parcels of books from the Bohn library, a recent bargain purchase: sixty Bohns for seven pounds; puns on Ezekiel 37 and the 'valley of dry bones', though the books are not really too dry, and there are translations of Pushkin's tales and Hoffmann's "Serapion" which are quite new to him. Is going for a long walk of exploration this afternoon; hopes to reach the top of Leith Hill; must go and call on the [Paget?] Bowmans some day. Had an excellent game at Harrow last Thursday, just beating the School; [rugby] football is his 'chief... vanity'; they then forgot their injuries 'over the Headmaster's champagne', and he saw many old friends. A couple of days later, saw his greatest school-friend, just back from three years in India as a civil servant, 'a bit fat, but otherwise... not changed much'; does not believe 'nice people' do change much, at least until they 'begin to get senile'. George Moore believes most people 'soon begin to deteriorate', but he is a pessimist. Promises to send her some of his poetry next time. A pity the house at Doorn came to nothing; sympathises with Grandmont's exasperation at a wasted trip around the country. Has written to thank Paul [Hubrecht], who need not have returned his umbrella. Thinks he will get on well with his German when he begins in earnest. Thanks for the information from Grandmont about "Eulenspiegel", which he will share with Langley when they next meet. McTaggart is certainly 'a very interesting and original being, and perhaps the wittiest in Cambridge", though Bob does not think his philosophy sound; has not yet seen his Daisy. Understands her difficulty in talking with the Frys about their 'common friend, that wretched poet', but Fry said nice things about them all and Bessie in particular. Sorry to think of her 'wandering sadly round the country, like Jephthah's daughter' saying goodbye to all the places she knew; will try and write again soon since she is unhappy. Had no chance to show Bramine's sketches to his mother but will do this later; the war is a 'beastly business' but he is glad that 'more sensible people' than he at first though consider that it could have been avoided.
10 Prinsegracht, The Hague; addressed to Bob at The Mill-House, Westcott, Dorking, Surrey. - Reminds Bob of the dates of the concerts by [Julius Engelbert] Röntgen and [Johannes] Messchaert at St James's Hall in London; hopes he will be able to go next Monday and see them afterwards, which would please Röntgen very much. Will reply to his letter soon. As he will see, they 'moved into winterquarters again last Monday'.
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'.
The Mill House, Westcott, Dorking - Pretends to be cross that his promise to write before her next letter has been foiled by her postcard; he ought to write more often but confesses that he is 'too much absorbed in his own self. Some of the verses he encloses are perhaps 'too heavy'; is not really satisfied with the lines from his 'Indian poem' and the poem seems too vague. Is not inclined to go on with it at the moment, having begun his play, which 'though a tragedy, is a more cheerful subject'; supposes this is because it is less unreal. Is also putting in an old 'poem about nothing at all', and a translation from Ronsard. Has had some 'wonderful afternoons and evenings lately' walking near his house and not returning till 'the moon has been up for an hour or two'; the countryside is even more beautiful that he expected. Felt 'inventive and confident' for the first time in months tonight, and has composed the first speech in his new play. The house is now 'nearly right'. Is going to London on Monday, and will not miss Rontgen's recital. Tells her to be as critical as she likes about his poetry.
Bob then writes out his poem "Fairy Song", and a translation of a Ronsard "Sonnet to Cassandra" with the French original. Both of his poems include alternative lines, and the Ronsard sonnet has pencil annotations which seem to be queries by Bessie 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.
10 Prinsegracht, The Hague. - Is very sorry she did not know in time to tell Bob the concert last Monday was cancelled; it was not [Julius Engelbert] Röntgen but [Johannes] Messchaert who was ill; he still cannot sing so the second concert will also be put off. Very sad as they would have had a good audience, and he will have to pay the costs. Has received Bob's poems and enjoyed reading them on the way to Almelo last Monday; likes part of 'the Indian poem' very much, though it is rather vague; the 'fairy poem' is charming and she wishes she had the power to set it to music; questions his choice of interpretation in the line of his Ronsard translation.
Is very glad Bob will come to The Hague; he is right that she would not like him to come without her family knowing; she is not under such 'romantically difficult' circumstances to make that necessary and what she said about their 'suspicions' probably made a stronger impression than she intended. Bramine [Hubrecht] even encouraged her to tell them about it; it would not be 'so unwise', since she is 'in reality quite free and independent', and if she could tell her aunt and be sure she would discuss it with her uncle, she might; however, thinks she would not feel real freedom when Bob was here if they knew what had happened. She will therefore tell her aunt that Bob intends to come over and do some translation work with her, asking her aunt to trust her and help 'conquer any objections' her uncle may have though she thinks he will agree at once. Marie [Hubrecht] and her American friend Maud [Howard] leave either next Monday or Tuesday, Marie for Florence and Maud for America via Paris; all three servants are then leaving in the first week of November so the household will be unsettled, and her aunt is suffering from a bad cold, so she will write as soon as all is well. Asks if he would prefer a first-rate hotel or a moderate one.
On the whole, had a good time at Almelo though it was strange to spend so much time with her friend [Adriana Salomonson Asser] after so long but they struck up quite a friendship again; she and her husband, a Jewish manufacturer [Henrik Salomonson] are very musical; it seems they hear little violin music so she was 'the talk of the town' after playing at their soirée. Is about to read Rostand's "Cyrano de Bergerac" and "La Samaritaine"; asks whether Bob knows and likes them.