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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Florence Bell

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Gertrude Bell
Lady Florence Bell
Creation Date
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1 letter, plus envelope

Weimar May 6 Dearest Mother. I am sending you a play of Sudermann's, Heimat, which I have just read and which I must say I thought tremendous. I fancy it will suit Mr Hyde's taste and I wonder if Dr Jekyll could not make something out of it. It would be better for a little cutting and pulling together - 3 acts instead of 4 perhaps - but that is just what Dr Jekyll does so well. Do write and tell me what you think of it; the last act so carried me away that I can't help suspecting I must be exaggerating its value. Anyhow the fact remains that it has had the desired effect upon one person at least. I Bellieve it has been acted in Berlin, but with what success I don't know.
I have just come in - du lieber Himmel what into! - and found a delightful long letter from Papa. Our day was not so successful as his seems to have been. When we arrived at Friedrichroda it was snowing hard and bitter cold. We walked a little way from the station under pine trees and umbrellas and after a few minutes we decided to make the best of our way back to Weimar. So we ran back to the station and found the train by which we had come just starting on its return journey to Frîttstedt [FrîttstÑdt], hopped into it and spent only half an hour at Frîttstedt waiting for our Weimar train. The half hour we employed in lunching on Bellegte Brîdchen and chocolate and arrived at Weimar at 2.30. The Batschen seemed pleased to see us. I retired and packed out and at 3.30 we had coffee and cake in the drawing room. Then Frl Sophie M [Maurice] and I went to see Frl Schwabe who proved to be a delightful old lady living in whose house do you think? - Frau von Stein's! I arranged to come to her 3 times a week beginning today, and Maurice twice, but we have decided not to go together. I think I should only hinder him by rushing on too fast. We then went on for a long walk with Frl Sophie - very agreeable. She told me stories of the court, but assured me that it was not at all like other little courts - Sehen Sie it is so big and so important and so forth. I was pleased! At 7.30 we had a sort of high tea in which the unspeakable Adams' joined. Afterwards we played Skat which seems to me to be a game with more rules than any I ever came across. I was so sleepy that the good little sober ladies danced up and down before my eyes and the odd German cards danced and all the rules performed a sort of Carmagnole in my head and the voices of the people went quite far away and came suddenly near again. In the middle of the evening - this may have been a nightmare it sounds like one - came in the maid with a huge basket full of Turkish Delight - every conceivable eastern sweetmeat which a brother had sent out of Constantinople [Istanbul], whereupon the little ladies proceeded to eat an inordinate quantity of sticky bonbons and my last vision of them is seeing them presiding over numberless paper packets and wishing them a Sehlige Mahlzeit instead of Good night! This morning I went to my lesson; it wasn't a lesson at all however but a delightful conversation on allerlei[?] subjects. Frau von Stein herself cannot have been more amused in that little room of hers. Frl Schwabe knows England very well - fancy who is a great friend of hers! Condie Stephen! He is coming here next week to stay with her. She was amused to hear that I too had been in Persia and asked me all sorts of intelligent questions about it. Frl Sophie came to fetch me and we went together to see the Princess Amalia's house, opposite the theatre tell Papa, where the rooms are just as she left them and full of portraits of Goethe and all the Goethe people - very interesting.

I should like very much to come back with Auntie Florence, but I'm not sure it's worth an extra expense - what do you think? Will you tell Lizzie to send me my yellow silk shirt, it would be so useful to wear in the theatre. We go to hear Rigoletto tonight. It is very comic being here! I'm glad I stayed. My best love to Papa. He is a dear! only I wish he would not think so much of his children. I'm afraid he may realise some day that it's mostly his imagination that makes them seem nice! Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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