- 23 Dec 99
Pensione Palumbo, Ravello, presso Amalfi. - Edward's 'kind and charming letter' has given him much pleasure; has told Bessie a great deal about all his friends, Edward 'not least'; is sure they will 'both get on excellently'. Bob's use of the '[Gerard] Terborch-lady comparison' may have been 'a little dangerous'; if when Edward meets Bessie she is not as he was led by it to expect', he must imagine that Bob was referring to 'some pictures by that artist in private collections, which you have not seen'. Wonders whether Marsh's 'late-acquitted skill on the piano' will enable him to accompany Bessie; he himself does not mean to learn 'nor would she herself suffer it'. 'As to keeping a Sat. to Mon. Shelter for the [Apostles] Society in Holland', he doubts it; he and Bessie intend to live at Dorking. Finds the [Second Boer] war 'less distressing' than he would do in London or the Hague, but has not changed his opinion that 'these disasters are a deserved punishment for national ὕβρις [hubris]'; supposes they must win in the end, and 'have about suffered sufficient penance'; does not think that the whole empire is at stake, even if the whole of South Africa is lost. Has not yet lost any particular friends, but he is 'dreadfully afraid' for [Gerald] Barrett Hamilton, who is going out as a militia officer. Will return to Holland at the end of January, and Bessie is coming to visit his family in February; possible that Marsh may meet her then in London.