Item 124 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

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TRER/9/124

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

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  • 13 [?] Apr - 14 Apr 1900 (Creation)

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Penmenner House, The Lizard, Cornwall. - Likes the sketch of Bessie's wedding costume; quite Watteau-esque as she says. He is 'no judge of silks' but the piece she sends looks good; encloses samples of cloth for his trousers and for a tweed suit and asks her opinion. Will probably stay in Cornwall till next Wednesday; [George] Moore and MacCarthy are the only others there at the moment; [G.H.?] Hardy left yesterday, and he hopes both 'Llewelyn Davieses' [Crompton and Theodore?] are coming tomorrow. Describes the place; Moore 'played a lot and sang yesterday after tea', then they played cards and talked. Is reading James's "Daisy Miller", which is 'charming'. Discussion of the music box; has written to his mother to suggest having the partitions taken out; it is from both George and Charles. Expects it would be best to invite the consul [Henry Turing, at Rotterdam, to the wedding celebration]; he may not come. Did not mean that Sir Henry [Howard] would arrange all the legal marriage business, but he offered to arrange the ceremony and invitation of the consul; expects he could do this most easily but it would not matter if they or her uncle should arrange it. Will write to Sir Henry or Turing when he hears from her uncle, though is not sure what to say. Would prefer to invite Sir Henry to the wedding, especially as Bob's father and mother are coming, feels he should ask his parents what they think. Sir Henry is a relation, and has 'shown great good-will and readiness'.

Does not see why Bessie should cut herself off completely from her Dutch musical friends; she will 'often be in Holland', and will 'surely stay at Mein's [sic: Mien Rontgen's] in Amsterdam'; in England, she will of course have 'complete freedom to make her own friends' and must keep up and develop her own talents as much as she can; he will enjoy hearing her play, but also going to hear others and getting to know her friends, but that does not mean she should not have independence of interests and friendships. Thinks that women 'have not enough respect for their own intellectual lives' and give it up too easily on marriage, through their husband's fault or their own; she should 'quite seriously consider going to settle in Berlin for 5 or 6 months' for her music. Mrs [Helen] Fry's marriage has made her more of a painter. Her pleurisy is better now; thinks Bessie exaggerates the importance of her cigarette smoking, and that any ill effects it does have are balanced by the help it gives her to create art. Has never 'been in danger of being in love' with Helen Fry, but always found her 'more interesting and amusing than any woman [he] ever met... with a completely original personality', and would not think of criticising such a person's habits but would assume they are 'best suited to their temperament'; in the same way, Moore probably 'drinks more whisky than is good for his health, and smokes too much too', but he would not criticise him. Bessie is also 'an original person' with a 'personal genius of [her] own', but in addition he loves her; has never felt the same about any other woman.

Continues the letter next day. Has finished "Daisy Miller"; and is doing some German, getting on better than he thought he would. Part of the reason for saying he would 'never learn German' was an 'exaggerated idea of the difficulty', but more because he thought, and still thinks, it will be less of a 'literary education' than other languages; is chiefly learning it for Goethe, though being able to read German scholarship will be useful. Has read Coleridge's translation of "Wallenstein", which Schiller himself claimed was as good as the original; thinks English and [Ancient] Greek lyric poetry is better than the German he has read. Very sorry about Lula [Julius Röntgen]; asks if it [his illness] will do more than postpone him going to Berlin. Has heard from Daniel that Sanger is 'getting on quite well'; hopes he will return from Greece 'quite himself again'. Will be nice for Bessie to see the Joneses [Herbert and Alice] again; he has 'become a little parsonic perhaps' but very nice; has seen little of him for the last few years. Bessie should certainly get [Stevenson's] "Suicide Club" for Jan [Hubrecht]; will pay half towards it. Will certainly come before Tuttie [Maria Hubrecht] returns. Has grown 'such a beard, finer than Moore's and McCarthy's, though they have grown their's for weeks'. Describes their daily routine. Is encouraged that Moore likes several recent poems he himself was doubtful about; is copying out the play and will show him today or tomorrow. The Davieses are coming this afternoon. Signs off with a doggerel verse.

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Dated 12 Apr, but reference to Good Friday suggests that Trevelyan has mistaken the date.

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