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To Mrs. J. Franklin Bell1
August 16, 1941 [Washington, D.C.]
My dear Mrs. Bell:
I have just learned from Sally Chamberlin2 that you have been exercising on a stepladder with disastrous results. I am immensely relieved to learn that no bones were broken, but Sally tells me you suffered a strained back. I hope this is not proving a serious discomfort and that you will get back into normal condition very quickly.
I suppose you have received a great deal of advice on the matter of the stepladder so I won’t add mine to your irritations. But please do look before you leap the next time.
Your performance reminds me of a reference in Lord Frederick Hamilton’s book “The Days Before Yesterday” where he tells of his mother at eighty-five being found out in the garden giving a demonstration on stilts for the benefit of a great grandchild. Later on the same lady at ninety, was found with a club in her hand and a stable-boy as a companion, watching a rat-hole down which they had put a ferret.3 I am not offering this as suggestions for you, but merely as a defense for you against criticisms of your tip-toeing on a stepladder.
With my love,
Document Copy Text Source: George C. Marshall Papers, Pentagon Office Collection, General Materials, George C. Marshall Research Library, Lexington, Virginia.
Document Format: Typed letter.
1. Marshall had been an aide to Major General J. Franklin Bell for a year beginning in July 1916. Concerning his relations then with General and Mrs. Bell, see Papers of George Catlett Marshall, #1-075, [1: 98-99].
2. Sally G. Chamberlin was Marshall’s social and personal secretary.
3. Frederick S. Hamilton, The Days Before Yesterday (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1920).
Recommended Citation: ThePapers of George Catlett Marshall, ed.Larry I. Bland, Sharon Ritenour Stevens, and Clarence E. Wunderlin, Jr.(Lexington, Va.: The George C. Marshall Foundation, 1981- ). Electronic version based on The Papers of George Catlett Marshall, vol. 2, “We Cannot Delay,” July 1, 1939-December 6, 1941 (Baltimore and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press, 1986), p. 589.