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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
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper
Italy ยป Rome

41.9027835, 12.4963655

Thursday 41 Via del Babuino. Dearest Mother. This morning I went out early across the Tiber to the Villa Corsini there to see pictures, but I found only a mighty poor collection; so I wandered off in the Transtevere and looked into several churches where there were mosaics and finally landed myself at Santa Cecilia where I saw the lovely pathetic statue of her as she was found lying in her tomb, with the axe marks on her neck - do you remember? Very modern, and at the same time so touching and simple that it couldn't help being good. Then I went to the Colonna palace and saw more indifferent pictures hung in a magnificent room, and then I felt that I wanted to see the Stanze again more than anything in the world, so I flew off to the Vatican. And the second time of seeing them was fifty times more delightful than the first. I also went into the Sistine and spent a divine half hour there. I lunched with the Lushingtons at a Restaurant. What they went through! They arrived at 1 in the morning and cd find no rooms anywhere. Finally at the Hotel Royal one room, which they shared! The next night the Judge was put into the bath room and slept in the bath! Now they are finally lodged at the Hotel de Russie, next door to me. I have been dining with them this evening. The Judge sends you his respects and Sue many affectionate messages. She also says that a letter you sent to be forwarded to Olive reached her in Cannes and she forwarded it from there which accounts for the delay. They found Stephen wonderfully better. They are too comic here. Sue, of course, knows absolutely nothing, not the beginning of anything, bless her. The Judge hates the thought of classical times only less than the thought of the Renaissance and looks for nothing but Medieval Rome [Roma], which he can't find. And neither of them know a single word of Italian.
After lunch I went to the Borghese Villa. Aren't the gardens a dream! I had my Morelli with me and spent a long peaceful time looking at the pictures with the help of his essay on them. Then I strolled home through the gardens and across the Pincio and went to a delightful shop to buy some photographs. Home just in time to dress for dinner.

I have written to Monsignor Stanley to ask him for a ticket for the Tenebre at St Peter's tomorrow and Mrs Bethell has given me a ticket for the Saturday morning service at St John Lateran. Doesn't it all sound nice! Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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