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Rounton Grange Northallerton Jan. 1. Belloved Father. Many many good wishes to you and Mother and Elsa. I do wonder how you are prospering and if it is nice. It is bitter cold here today - freezing and a wind, but yesterday it was delicious, cold but with a bright sun. I spent a most interesting morning with Hanagan with whom Aunt Florence advised me to have a talk. I had to arrange with him about some bulbs and plants which I had brought from Redcar and we then went through the seed list together and settled about the spring order, which must of course be sent off immediately. He would like to see you next time you come that he may ask you whether you wish the metereological observations to be continued. He says they are a great trouble and yield very small results. He is, I must say, a darling and I shall be very well content if you decide to keep him for the present in the position he now holds. I love him and we get on extremely well together - I don't believe we should have any difficulties. He dropped his geraniums and horrible calceolarias without a murmur - and you know he has obstinately resisted all attempts to do away with them till now! It's also a great help to have someone who knows the garden so intimately. It must be a vision of glory in the Spring - I wish I were going to be here this year. But then it would be no good, for the house won't be habitable. Hanagan also knows all the pipes by heart which is extremely useful as I found when I was going through the conservatory. I think his fruit and vegetables are very good and as for the flowers he has not had much of a chance so far. And it is such a pleasure to have to do with him.
Here is a nice note from Mr Crowe - tear it up when you have read it. Will you please tell Mother I loved her letter - I'll write to her from London. I do hope you are resting. We will have such a nice time here, only you must be strong and well or it won't be pleasant at all.
Last night I had a long talk with Walter and he began to speak about Dorman - whom he doesn't like at all - and then said: "Now it's all the difference working for Uncle Hugh. You always know he'll back you up. He'll tell you afterwards in private when you've done silly things but he never lets on before people. That's the sort of man to work for and you can see that the people at Clarence could do anything for him." Then he added "You haven't the least idea how much he's thought of. All the men under him think him the first person in the world and I've never come across anyone" said Walter "whom I respect and love so much." I said that though we didn't hear what he heard people saying we had more reason than anyone to know it was true, but he didn't seem to think that it was possible we could love you enough. And I really believe he is right, you know Father. I was very much touched because Walter is not given to superlatives and all that he said was so obviously from the bottom of his heart. It was a nice conversation to end the year on, and to begin it.
We went to Arncliff yesterday and ran about packing away the books in book cases. It looks quite charming with the winter sun coming in at the big windows. I think Aunt Florence is really delighted at the prospect of being there where she will be mistress. The children feel leaving R'ton [Rounton] where they have lived all their days practically. But she has been so charming about everything - so eager to discuss with Maurice his various arrangements and so pleased to be taken into all the counsels.
I think a great deal of you 3 and wish I were going to see you again. Your affectionate daughter Gertrude