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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

In which Bell writes from London giving an update on her stay with the Russells and describing the previous evening's dinner party. She notes that she has been reading John Morley's biography of Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Oxford.
Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Lascelles, William [Billy]
Lascelles, Gerald
Green, Alice Stopford
Russell, Flora
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

51.5072178, -0.1275862

Feb. 15. 2 Audley Sq. My dearest Mother. It is so nice being here! I don't think I mind staying with these people at all, they are so pleasant and they let you go your own way. Yesterday evening was most amusing. The Blennerhassets, Lord Carlisle, some Strachey people (sub-editor of the Standard) and some stray men dined. I sat by a Mr. Leo Mascey with Flora on the other side of him and we three talked and laughed merrily the whole dinner through. We played a delightful game, which consists in reciting in order of demerit all the people you dislike and the person who keeps it up longest wins. The great point is to name somebody whom you know the other players like - we all agreed on Lady Carlisle! After dinner I talked to Lady Blennerhasset who is the oddest person - extremely foreign, quite ready to talk about her work and what she intends to do and what her difficulties are, and all this to a person she has only just been introduced to. She told me the best thing she had ever done was to burn a complete book which was quite ready for the press - after reading one of her published works I can readily believe it. I alluded to Madame de Stael - she seemed surprised that I had seen it; I daresay it would be rather a shock.
Then there came a nice Russell boy, a brother of Lord Ampthill's, who is at S..... with Gerald and knew Maurice at Eton. So we talked about games and schools and I liked him. Then came Auntie Maisie by whom I sat on a sofa talking for a little and then Lord Carlisle came and sat by me and we discussed football and the Church! He was very surprised to find what a lot of ecclesiastical gossip I know, and I that he should know about football. I must tell you I had on a very pretty gown which had a great success - everybody complimented me on it and discussed what period it was! Then came Billy to whom I talked; then Mr Freddy Leveson and Mr Henry Grenfell; Lady Colville and Mr Macmillan but the last two did not see or remember me. There were several other people, no one of great interest I think. After they had all gone which was about 12 o'clock we sat on and discussed them for half an hour - the nicest half hour of an evening party I think.

This morning we have read and talked - it's very wet so we haven't been out. I have been reading Mr Morley's Walpole which Sir Lewis Mallet says is supreme - it is most brilliant and interesting.

I'm just going to a dress rehearsal and after that to see Mrs Green if I have time. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.

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