Letter dated 24th December 1889, from Gertrude Bell to her mother, Dame Florence Bell.
[1 December 1889] “Dec 1. Dearest Mother. It is so cold and grey here today, I’m afraid you must be having a cold journey. The little girls and I went out before lunch and walked towards Kirkleatham by the fields coming back by the road. They came up into my room where I made them some Turkish coffee after lunch, they then disappeared into the schoolroom – I expect to see them again shortly. They had supper with me last night, by which they were much amused. Yesterday was lovely, I went for a long walk in the afternoon while the children were at their show.
I have read Swinburne’s Jonson which I will keep for you, it is quite excellent. I should very much like for a Christmas present Jonson’s works edited by Gifford in 3 vols, not big ones I think. There are some of his masques I want very much to read and I don’t think they are to be found anywhere else.
I wonder when Papa is coming home, I half expect him on Wednesday night. The little girls think it is a great pity you are coming back so soon, because we are so comfortable! We shall be delighted to have you, though; one’s own society palls after a time.
We had a capital cooking lesson yesterday, made scones and gingerbread and boiled potatoes. The scones were excellent, I am sure you will like them. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.
I am telling Bumpus to send Cassell’s dictionary to Sloane St for you to bring home. Miss Thomson wants it. The Italian is marching[?] finely!”
To view more of Gertrude Bell’s letters, diaries and photographs, take a look at the Gertrude Bell website.