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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Florence Bell

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

7 Hans Place Feb 8 Dearest Mother. All the sales are over I am afraid; I went to Woolland's this afternoon for the sashes, they had nothing approaching the colour, but I will find it somewhere. I am much interested about your gown, though as you rightly supposed, I'm a little sorry it's black!
Yesterday I called on the Grenfells; Mrs Grenfell talked quite incessantly, mostly about David. She had had Mrs Ward to tea and had given her her views on the book, at great length I gather, for she told me much of what she said and scarcely anything of Mrs Ward's replies - the poor lady had no time to make any I should think. However she was extremely kind as she always is; I lunch there on Friday. I went on to Audley Sq where presently Henry James appeared and delivered himself also on the subject of David. Oh it was so good - he is the critic - so moderate, so just: and so contemptuous! Every sentence hit the right nail on the head, and every nail ran down into the coffin of Mrs Ward's reputation as a novelist. He thinks the Paris part the worst: "the poor lady", said he with a little shrug of the shoulders "and David - a shadow! a character indefinitely postponed, he arrives nowhere -" He had been talking to Mrs Ward about it all. "And did you mention so and so" said I. "Ah my dear young lady there are many things which you would have waited m um m you would have waited a long time to hear me mention!" He was so funny and so brilliant; I wished you had been there.

Today Flora and I called on Sarah Lyttelton and had a delightful long talk with her. I like her so very much.

Horace is back in town. If Papa comes up on Friday might we not bring off our postponed play? I should so like to see A Fool's Paradise and I should like Horace to come too. If Papa agrees he might telegraph to me.

Would you mind sending me a packet of paper like this and two packets of the long narrow envelopes to match. I have got no more left and I don't like to be always using Auntie Mary's. Papa might bring it with him.

Besides my list of yesterday, I want some sashes which are in a cardboard box either in my bedroom or on the high shelf outside my bedroom door. If there are any ribbons I should like them too.

I am so sorry for bothering you about my clothes, but what can I do? Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.

H.J. thinks Robert a much better book than David, but that is not the general opinion. He said to Mrs W. that he thought this book lacked the purpose of the last. "Purpose! said she "Why this one has two purposes!" Isn't that comic! "Two purposes" said he "are as bad as ten or twenty." The two are first the religious one and secondly an attempt to show how completely satisfactory is even the most commonplace marriage. "And yet" said Flora "she was obliged to kill off Lucy before the end!"

H.J. thinks the Manchester part the best; Lucy and Dora says he, are good. "Out of that subject she might have made so much" he said.

Evelyn Grant Duff is to be our 3rd secretary. I am bored for I think him very dull. He I hear is pleased for he has not found the society of Rome [Roma] (his present post) good enough for him and he hears that Tehran [(Teheran)] is träs selected.

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