Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother Florence Bell, estimated to have been written in April 1890.
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Red Barns Coatham, Redcar. Dearest Mother. About the little girls' frocks: Hunt would like to have one for Molly made of a cambric matching the pattern one of Elsa's, 16d a yard, and 40 in wide; the other two, one for each little girl of nainsook which is a shade finer and will she says wash better, 3d and 38 in wide. There are two insertions, one at 6/¼d not so very pretty, one at 10/½ very pretty indeed. Would you like to have Molly's cambric frock trimmed with the 6/¼d insertion, and the two nainsook frocks with the 10/½, or would you prefer them to be all trimmed with the cheaper insertion. The cheap insertion is not at all bad and I don't think it would look otherwise than well, but there is no doubt that the other is nicer. However it is also 4d a yard dearer.
The books are £4.8/ will you send me a cheque. I enclose a list of French novels, cross out those you don't want bound.
Mr. Grimstone says that he cannot supply us with mutton at 9d a pound, it is so dear now; I have asked the other butchers and find they are all selling it at 10d or 10/½d a pound, so I think it would be reasonable to pay him 10d for legs and loins - what say you?
Dorothy Gervais has come to play with the babies and is going to stay to tea; they seem very happy. I am sorry to leave them alone this evening, but it can't be helped.
I discussed with Auntie F. the attitude of Auntie Maisie and Billy the other day. Auntie F. I think you know, but this is quite private, that your aunt is rather ...... about it - she feels it a tie upon her.
I (with great circumspection) Well you see, of course it doesn't seem to me to matter at all, but people are so unkind, they will talk about it when they see two people always together. And it makes one rather uncomfortable [letter incomplete]