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Hebe Gertrude Barlow (1861-1938)

A Pen-sketch

A Pen-Sketch of Hebe Gertrude Cox (née Barlow)
by her friends "Betty and Bunty"
(no. 5 from "Celebrities in Glass Houses", abt 1911)


Heeb

Dear Heeb,

"To be or not to be that is the question." Or rather to misquote Hamlet "to do or not to do."

For surely there never was anybody on this earth less able to make up their minds about anything. In the words of the classic "First she said she wouldn't, then she said she couldn't & then she said oh well I'll see". This is your attitude towards one & every proposition that is put to you.

For instance it is a standing joke against you that you have never in the past, cannot at present, & never in the future will be able to make up your mind where you really want to live even. One time you are all for a "truly rural" existence & next moment wish to break out & be a regular dog & go & have a "real good time in town."

In the latter mood you think nothing of having six penn'orth at the pictures, whilst at 1/6 dinners in Soho restaurants you have for long held the long distance championship of the family. Occasionally you will suddenly - to the surprise of everyone - declare that you don't care what it costs you, but you will go out to the Savoy & have a real good champagne & grouse dinner. On second thoughts you think pheasant & sparkling moselle at the Piccadilly will do as well. But then that the Piccadilly is always so expensive & you can never get a table, so why not make it the grill room of the Trocadero, & a good roast chicken & cider cup. On the other hand it is very hot at the Troc, & the Monica does you just as well for a good grilled steak & some good Burgundy. But then the band makes such a noise that really the Rendez vous & a good grilled chop with a small bottle of claret is as lively as anywhere; though after all an 1/6 & a glass of "bière" at the Café Roche beats the lot. So be it.

Then again, do tell us please if you have ever ordered a dress, costume or hat & not been obliged to send it back, refuse to pay for it or have it entirely altered. "Take care of the pence, the pounds will take care of themselves" is a motto you practice with a vengeance, & we have known you begrudge paying a penny bus fare one moment & the next cheerily hand out sovereigns in tens, twenties & fifties to each & everyone who can pitch you any sort of plausible tale. Surely you can never have heard of "Penny wise, Pound foolish." It is also by no means an uncommon practice of yours to take a 6d. bus fare out into the wilds of Greater London to get some threepenny item a farthing a yard cheaper.

But nevertheless we must admit you have a distinct faculty for the construction of the "house beautiful" out of the very smallest amount of capital, and of course the gathering together of homes, which are immediately disbanded again, has become quite an obsession with you, so it is really no wonder. Then you have, since forming a friendship with a certain married couple, contracted the "antique" mania, so now everything within your home must be antique - except yourself of course, for you pride yourself & very rightly too on your preservation of youthful energy. [...]

You are also very fond of animals & would like a dog as a companion, but you are always very unlucky with your dogs & because you feel their loss the more you have decided not to have any at all.

You are an ardent "Bridgite", but no gambler, & a good thing too for we know of no-one so unlucky at cards as yourself - & yet they say "unlucky at cards - lucky in love". But you must be the exception that proves the rule.

You are very subject to "moods", probably due to various phases of ill-health, for you are always contracting some marvellous ailment & afterwards an equally marvellous remedy. But the popularity of the latter never exceeds the life of the proverbial "nine days wonder".

It is the ambition of your life to possess a car, though we very much fear that if you really ever did have one, the expenses attached thereto would cause you such anxiety as to completely spoil any pleasure you would otherwise derive from it. [...]

However you are really quite a dear so we shall always remain

yours devotedly

Betty and Bunty


Owner/SourceICGC
Linked toHebe Gertrude Barlow

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