- 26 Dec - 27 Dec 1899
19 Prinsegracht, the Hague; addressed to Bob at Pension Palumbo, Ravello, presso Amalfi, Italia. - Had a letter from Bob's mother yesterday inviting her to Welcombe between the 5th and 17th of April, and another this morning thanking her from the photographs. This means she will seen Bob much sooner than she thought at first; is sure the time will pass quickly, with practising, reading, and 'learning cookery from the old cook' who is leaving soon. Dutch vegetables are 'often done so badly in England'; knows that things will be very different there so she will have to learn more then; 'these insular people... insist on using their own impractical weights & measures' instead of adapting the metric system. Had a lovely Christmas with the four Hubrechts; unfortunately Paul and his father [Ambrosius] have bad colds, though this has not affected Paul's 'enormous appetite'; the way Marie [Johanna Maria] scolds and swears at her husband and sons 'often in not very refined but very comical language' is most amusing. Bob has often been mentioned and she has been much teased, especially by her uncle
Continues the letter on the next afternoon: understands how Miss D. G. [Lina Duff Gordon]'s letter 'must have pained' him, though thinks that her saying friendship was no longer possible was 'rather called forth' by Bob's letter saying unnecessarily that he 'hoped it would always be the same'. She does think that Lina Duff Gordon's answer is 'silly'; is sure Bob did right in not telling her last October, especially as he is sure he has done nothing to give the impression he was in love with her; as he says, it is very possible that Mrs C. [Mary Costelloe] has had a bad influence on her. Acknowledges that Bob was right on a point of Italian grammar [see 9/19]. She and Jan took [John Wilfrid] Jenkinson, who is working with Ambro at Utrecht for a while and came on a day's visit, to the Mauritshuis this morning; he seems 'a nice bright little man & appreciated the good pictures'. Ambro has another lecture tonight, then he and Jenkinson return to Utrecht; the others will stay a little longer; Paul is much better and they have 'great games of chess'. Very sorry to hear of [Pasquale] Palumbo's death.