Request a high resolution copy

Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Florence Bell

Reference code
Gertrude Bell
Lady Florence Bell
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope

Naples [Napoli] Friday. Belloved Mother. You are really most kind - I love my two little books more than I can tell. I have just heard the Spanish Philosopher mentioned - chiefly by Sir M.S.G.D. - and I know I shall delight in reading him. I arrived this evening feeling very low at the coming parting with my dear family, and your letter and parcel made me quite cheerful. Father is all right again. We had a nightmare of a journey to Girgenti. He was so very bad, in such pain, and it was so uncomfortable for him on that horrid little boat. Then an endless drive up from the post! We stopped at the chemist's to get a medicament recommended by the steward of the boat and the whole population gathered round and advised - most sympathetically. Presently a vagabond introduced one to me as the most distinguished doctor of Porto Empedocle - hats off all round and I proceeded to hold a consultation with him gratis, as a result of which the chemist added yet more ingredients to the linament, which proved in the end to be most efficacious. Fortunately our hotel was very comfortable and the people were most obliging and Father rapidly recovered. We made friends on the boat and subsequently at Girgenti with a couple called Round; the wife proved to be Georgy Luard's sister! nice people, they were. Girgenti was wonderful, the only sorrow was that Father cd not see more of it. We took him out on the second afternoon however and showed him the two great temples, so he saw the best. We were walking in the steps of Goethe and saw all the things he admired on his famous journey. Then we had a perfect day at Taormina, - the Gerald's joined us there and were evidently very glad to be with us. It was rather a strain making conversation to them all day long! but I carried them off with me and made them come round photographing so all was well. About midday Etna sailed out and we had the view we had longed for. We ended the afternoon by tumbling into the rose garden on an extremely amiable Englishman who was in Taormina, Bertie Stopford is his name - I was photographing and had selected his garden wall as a point of view! - and he gave us violets and showed us his terraces and was most agreeable. Today we had had a cloudless hot day for Paestum - almost the finest temples after all and lying down on a fever stricken desolate marsh by the sea with a semicircle of hills behind. The air was heavy with the scent of violets and the ground blue with them - Greek Paestum was famous for its violets and roses and there they are still. I leave tomorrow at 10.30 by a good Messagerie boat and arrive at Smyrna [Izmir] on the 25th. Will you write to me at Pross's Hotel, Haifa, Syria. I will write you a longer letter from the boat. I shd think it's extremely probable you won't get in to a drawing room, but as you say, it won't interfere with your happiness much! Yes, about Lady Monkswell! my lord is also an odd old thing. Aren't the pictures awful! I shd like to hear the stories about Mrs Green and Lady Ilbert! Ever, dearest Mother, your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.
My nice Ulysses!

Reproduction Conditions
To obtain high resolution copies of any of these images and details of reproduction fees please contact us
IIIF Manifest