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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

Letter written from Berlin, Germany, in which Bell discusses her travel plans and provides an overview of her recent activities and social engagements, specifically describing the latest Court Bell and noting that she has attended the opera.
Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Lascelles, Frank
Russell, Flora
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter with envelope, paper

52.5200066, 13.404954

Feb 12 British Embassy, Berlin. Dearest Mother. If Papa does not start until the 11th I don't think I shall wait here for him. I should like to come back about the 1st if they will let me go; but my plans must rather depend on yours for if you are going to be in London for a week or so about that time, I might as well stay there with you. I should like to be there for a night or two anyhow, so that I could see Flora and Caroline who will both be in town, but I think if you are going to Paris while he is abroad, I should go home after a day or two. Let me know your plans when they develop themselves. The Court ball on Wednesday was much nicer than the first one. There were about a quarter of the number of people and there was room to dance which is always an alleviation at a ball! Rather a nice little man took me in to supper, Herr von Hintenburg, a dragoon, and as the supper lasted fully three quarters of an hour it was important that one should have someone who was amusing to talk to. The Emperor wore a gorgeous Austrian uniform in honour of an Austrian Archduke who was there - the brother to the man who is heir to the throne. He will be Emperor himself some day as the heir is sickly and unmarried. The Emperor William is disappointing when one sees him close; he looks puffy and ill and I never saw anyone so jumpy. He is never still a second while he is talking. We skated yesterday afternoon in a thorough thaw. The ice was not very agreeable, but we put up with it for the sake of the fresh air. Mr and Mrs Marshall arrived in the evening from England. They go on to Petersburg [Sankt-Peterburg (Saint Petersburg, Leningrad)] on Sunday - did you know her there? She was one of the Sclater Booths. We dined late and went out to a ball directly afterwards - a very good ball at the Kaiserhof. I was again fortunate in my supper partner. He was a Count Pfleil, also a soldier, and he proved very interesting. I boldly talked German to him all the time as he could understand nothing else. I danced the cotillon with a Count Eulenborg, a fat hussar who dances quite beautifully. This morning Florence, Mrs Marshall and I went to the Probe of Symphony Concert at the Opera. We heard the Vorspiel to Tristan and the Siefgried Idyll and a symphony by one Bruckner of whom I know nothing and wish to know nothing more - more Wagnerian than Wagner, I didn't care for it a bit. I longed to stay for the Pastoral Symphony, but we had to come away as it was lunch time.
The snow has not gone yet so that we can't play golf, nor can we skate as it is thawing.

Uncle Frank is in a great jig about Crete [Kriti]. He thinks there is going to be red war and an intervention of the Powers and all sorts of fine things. I wonder.

I can't think of a suitable plot for you - you have probably found one for yourself by this time. A Revolution story seems to me to be exactly what you want - if only one could call any to mind. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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