21 May 1886

From/To: Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

[Postmarked 21 May 1886] Friday Dearest Mother. I have written you one letter today already but it was a very uninteresting one and I have ten minutes before dressing for dinner to write you another in. At last I think we are going to have fine weather. Up to now it has rained almost unceasingly. Today has been delicious. I went boating this afternoon and found rowing very difficult. However I was much congratulated on my intelligence considering it was the first time! I really am rather proud of the fact that I didn't catch one crab! You can't think how nice it is here. We play tennis for about 2 hours every day. Even after rain we can always play because we have the cinder court. Twice a week we go to the swimming baths, so you see we are very energetic. There is a very nice girl indeed called Hilda Woodhead with whom I always play tennis. We are very equal and have the most lovely singles. She is the only girl here who can be said to play at all really. All the others are in the most elementary stage. There are several girls I like exceedingly but unhappily they are all going down after this term. I don't know how we poor remaining ones will get on next term without them all. Tomorrow afternoon I'm going with a Somerville to play on a private ground. I don't know the people and feel rather shy. The owner I am told takes a great interest in our tennis and in the Cambridge match. G.B.

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