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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Florence Bell

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Gertrude Bell
Lady Florence Bell
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1 letter plus envelope

Hotel Brufani. Tuesday Dearest Mother. The Talbots and Lord Brownlow left this morning to our infinite regret, and we go to Orvieto at 5 this afternoon reaching our destination at 10 - we have nearly 3 hours to wait on the way! That's how they manage trains in Italy. It's cold and grey this morning which bores me for I meant to photograph and there is not enough light. I have been walking about the town while Caroline packed - isn't it a heavenly place. I had a long talk with Madame Brufani about you and Aunt Mary; she remembers you all, asked after the boys and Florence and was thrilled to hear about you. I felt inclined to embrace her, it felt so nice and familiar to talk about you to some one! I had a delightful walk yesterday with one of the Needham girls. We went down the hill to see the Etruscan tombs, missed our way and had to take a tiny girl to guide us. This she did but she gave us some trouble for she was so little we almost had to carry her along. However she took us by a charming path through fields, the hawthorn is just out and lots of starch hyacinths along the hedges. We saw our tombs which were wonderfully interesting - I had never seen any before. I don't think they were discovered when you were here. They are quite perfect and untouched. We went into a deep cave in the hill, on either side there were little chambers in the rock and these were filled with the urns of the Volumnii family, each of whom was sitting up on his (or her) elbow over his own ashes. There were emblems of death hanging from the roof and great Medusa heads carved on the walls. We had to hurry home for the Needhams were going away at 5; we raced up the hill but we both of us enjoyed it and I felt all the better for having some exercise. She is such a dear girl, I hope I shall see her in London. We vowed we would meet. We spent a very pleasant evening, our reduced party of 5. I can't tell you what angels the Talbots have been! As for her, she is one of the dearest, kindest people I ever came across. But I have not yet got to the length of calling her Yane. I am very glad we shall see them in Florence [Firenze] for a night before they leave. I gave you my address there didn't I? Hotel Grande Bretagne. We shall arrive there on Friday and I think we shall probably go on to Pisa on Tuesday. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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