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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

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Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Lascelles, William [Billy]
Russell, Arthur
Russell, Flora
Balfour, Arthur
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper

51.5072178, -0.1275862

7 Hans Place Feb 26 Dearest Mother. I have been paying a visit to Maclagan this morning, which I think was wise as I have been feeling tired and unenergetic lately. He gave me a tonic and told me to take care of myself and not to do too much, and to come back to him if I did not feel better; but I don't suppose it will be necessary. I was right to go, wasn't I?
Yes it is funny about Lord Stanley. I met Grisel Ogilvy at Mansfield St on Monday evening who was full of apologies. It does not seem however to have been her fault at all. She had no idea that he really meant to teach me and apparently he dashed off in a way that would have been quite flattering if it had not very nearly been extremely boring.

It was pleasant at Mansfield St; Mr Willie Peel was there (whom Billy dislikes extremely, by the bye, and when Auntie Maisie praises him responds only "He wants a bath!) Horace, Diana, Harold, Grisel, Mildred, Hugh Smith. Uncle Lyulph presently went to sleep; Harold, Mildred and I had a long and amusing talk together which lasted all the evening. She is such a nice girl.

On Thursday I walked in the afternoon with Flora and went back with her to tea. Lord Arthur looks terribly ill; I think he is weaker every time I see him. He likes people to go there and kept me talking for a long time after tea. He is making a collection of all his mother's seals (she had a passion for seals) which he showed me and we talked of people and of Persia. Poor old dear! Lady Stanley was there; she was extremely kind and told me to come and see her next Sunday which I shall do.

Yesterday morning I went to 95 and spent a long time with the girls, soothing Miss T [Thomson]'s ruffled spirits and helping them to unpack their books and arrange the library. Miss T. evidently thinks the children are going to the dogs!

Isn't it a bore about Molly; I went in yesterday evening to hear Roth's report. She looks such a darling with her hair cut short.

Miss Lascelles dined here and Lady Edward came in the evening to play bézique. It was not particularly festive.

This afternoon I think I shall go and see Caroline who has come up to town.

Mrs Crackenthorpe asked me to dine with them on the 11th, but I have refused!

That angel of a Mr Vaughan Williams has found me a real Persian - at least he is an Afghan and his name is Sardar, and he speaks beautiful Persian. I have written to him today to ask him his terms and when he can come. Isn't it interesting.

Thank Papa for the photographs. I like the one without the eyeglasses very much - they are all extremely like him, but the other two are one rather stern and the other rather sarcastic; portraits of a member of the schoolboard and of a county councillor. Now I like the portrait of a father.

I do hope he will get in for the C.C. I suppose he will. Lady Edward says that the dissolution is not imminent, and people seem to think that everyone is coming round to the Irish Local Govt bill, even the Gladstonians who are a good deal hampered by their own pledges. They say that Mr Balfour brought in the bill a-contre coeur. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.

The skirt is quite right.

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