Pièce 76 - Letter from R. C. Trevelyan to Elizabeth des Amorie van der Hoeven

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TRER/9/76

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

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  • 23 Sept - 25 Sept 1899 (Production)

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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'.

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  • français

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