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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

In which Bell writes from London, giving an overview of her recent activities and social engagements. She adds that she has paid a trip to the London library and that she has finished reading Kipling's Under the Derdens, whilst noting that she will be staying with the Russells that evening. She ends by discussing Stanley's letter to the Times and the Parnell report.
Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Green, Alice Stopford
Lascelles, Gerald
Russell, Arthur
Russell, Flora
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

51.5072178, -0.1275862

Friday 14th Feb. 95 Sloane Street. Dearest dear Mother. I feel very guilty about letters so I will seize [sic] this half hour to tell you everything I have been doing. At 12 I am going to rehearse with Auntie B. who is now at her hospital. Grandmamma has just received some flowers from Mrs Brookfield {at} from Cannes which she is arranging happily. I wonder if Miss Kitson will send me some. I should so like them forwarded if you think they will carry - but perhaps she won't! I have had a long correspondence with Mrs. Green to whom I wrote on Thursday saying how sorry I was not to have seen her. My letter crossed once from her asking me to dine with her today, which of course I couldn't do. This morning I had a postcard from her asking me to go and see her tomorrow or late on Sunday afternoon. I shall try to go tomorrow after the dress rehearsal at Miss Cubitt's. It's very friendly and dear of her isn't it. I shall like to see her. Yesterday morning Flora came to ask me to stay over next Friday which I agreed to do. She was very full of a plot against a certain society started by the Mallets and called the Pessimist Society. They, it appears, are going to bring out a periodical called the Mausoleum which Flora and her friends want to anticipate by a false first number, very much exaggerating their principles which will stop their venture. She wants me to write an article for it, I think - I should like to write on the horrors of staying with people, but perhaps that would be a little marked! All this is a profound secret, not even Lady Arthur has been told about it, so don't confide it even to Miss Irwin. The original society is according to Flora the most complete nonsense. The Grant Duff girl is a leading spirit in it and it is recruited chiefly at balls! Three refusals to join its ranks are taken as an acceptance and your horror-struck danseur finds himself in a printed list of members before he knows where he is. There are about 50 of them. In the afternoon Sophie and I walked across the Green Park to the London Library where I had a delicious rummage with a very amiable sub-librarian who hunted out all the editions of Sir Th. Browne. Ph. Sidney for me to see. I took down their names and dates and armed with these I feel prepared to face Baine himself. I read an article in the Fortnightly on Marie Bashkitseff[?] which doesn't tell one much. Don't you want to know how she struck outsiders? I hoped this woman would tell me but the article is very slight and though she calls it a personal reminiscence she confines herself chiefly to quotations from the Journal. We then walked home and got in just in time for tea. I then read a book of Kipling's, Under the Derdens, which I had brought home with me and will send to you as soon as Grandmamma has read it. It is nothing like so good as the military stories, but it was the only one which was in. The last story in it is the best but it seems to me needlessly pathetic and without the power of the Soldiers Three. At 7 Vivie and Mr. Townsend came to rehearse, stayed to supper and rehearsed afterwards. He is not good at all and doesn't even know his part! but don't tell Auntie B I said so, for she is a good deal discouraged and I had to agree to do Mrs Murray, because it would have been so horrid of me to refuse. Grandmamma wanted me to do it, and Auntie B was so bothered about it, I could not say no. There was a chorus of relief when I consented, so I felt their comfort was really of more importance that that of my future audience. However I feel it is very ...... and I don't like it at all. Isn't the Daisy feeble! I never read such miserably poor fooling. I send it to you today that Papa may see it - put it in my room when you have done with it. I am going with Grandmamma to drive in Lady Humphrey's brougham this afternoon, so we will take the scene[?] to Harriet Young. I shall be left at the R [Russell]'s about 5. Dear me! I wonder how I shall prosper! How terrible it would be if on second thoughts they didn't like me at all! I shall conduct myself with great caution to the end that they may at least think me inoffensive! Gerald came in to breakfast very late this morning and was repremanded. He was inclined to be cross but soon recovered his equanimity. I don't sympathise with him at all and I would tell him so if it would do any good, but it would only make him crosser and I think it is better that he should work off his feelings to me and appear smiling in the drawing room. On the whole it is very nice to have him here. He plays Parchesi with Grandmamma in the evenings and makes little jokes to her at which she laughs. Now this is something like a letter! Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude. How very interesting Stanley's letters were in yesterday's Times. What do you think of the Parnell report? It seems to let off Parnell completely. I don't think it will have much effect upon people one way or the other, though perhaps it may teach[?] to console people who sympathise with the Irish party - pace Papa. I'm not surprised to find that Davitt was in the thick of it all and though I don't agree with his principles, I rather admire his attitude in my heart of hearts - no ..... I think. I hope the little girls liked their Valentines. I am going to see Hugo on Saturday week with Grandmamma. It is very dear of him to want me to come and I shall love seeing him.

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