Manuscripts/Mixed Material Letter from Alexander Graham Bell to Eliza Symonds Bell, November 10, 1892
For example — at the dinner table or elsewhere — Daisy keeps Mabel fully posted as to what is being said by others — but Elsie rarely thinks of doing this. Of course she would do it — if she thought of it — but Daisy — without thinking about the matter at all — naturally does it — from a spontaneous impulse — and a spirit of thoughtfulness for her mother. I am pleased however to note a constant improvement in Elsie in this and other respects.
Her mental attitude towards others has been a source of great anxiety to me for a long time. Her mind was in a morbid and unhealthy condition. This showed itself in querulousness, and a readiness to believe evil of others. She seemed at one time naturally to look upon the dark side of things and to take pleasure in criticising other people and telling tales of them to their discredit. Indeed the unworthy motives she was constantly attributing to other people led me very seriously to fear for herself — for people generally attribute to others motives like those that actuate themselves. Her ideas regarding other people were often of such a morbid and unnatural character — as to occasion me great anxiety and I therefore determined that she should spend this year as much as possible at home — so that we might influence her for good. She has improved so much that a great load has been lifted off my heart.
She has strongly implanted in her the desire to do right — and she fearlessly speaks the truth — even under circumstances of difficulty. She is happier and more cheerful than she has been for years — and has a much less tendency to speak evil of other people — or to think evil — which is still worse. She used to dream her time away — in a most enervating and unhealthful way. Now she is too busy with her school work to dream much. Her mind is in a much more healthy condition — and though she still has a tendency to “whine” (as Daisy puts it) and find fault with the beautiful world in which we live — the tendency is less marked than it was — and she is daily becoming more cheerful in disposition — and more generous in her estimate of others. Much of this change is due, I think to the influence of Daisy's bright and sunny ways — and to the companionship of Bertha Ellis — a sweet girl of her own age — or rather one year older.
Mabel calls — time has flown — morning is near. Good night.
Your loving son,