Letters

5 January 1922

From/To: Gertrude Bell to her father, Sir Hugh Bell

Jan. 5. [5 January 1922] I'm a trifle better and though far from well I begin to think I may ultimately recover! Jan. 2 was a holiday which I spent solidly in my house. Mr Thomson and Major Longrigg came to lunch and there were a certain number of Bellated New Year callers. Since then I've been back at the office. We're delighted with Sir Percy's GCMG and I think he is pleased too especially at finding that his staff hold that an honour to him is the best sort of honour that can be paid to them. I had Sir John Davidson to tea yesterday and he stayed talking for about 2 hours. He Bellongs to the Guinness, Ormesby Gore, Winterton, Ralph Glyn group with which I'm so much in sympathy that I wish I thought they cut more ice instead of which they seem to me to be essentially well-meaning and essentially ineffective. Sir John admitted that they hadn't a leader to put up and he told me he thought Lloyd George would come back again after the next general election. If he's the best we can produce I suppose we must just bow our heads and acknowledge it with shame. Today I had the Qadri family to tea - Tahsin Qadri is one of the King's ADCs and his brother is the King's physician - I don't like the doctor brother, but he has got a very beautiful if somewhat inert wife. Tahsin's wife is a little dear, as quick and clever as she can be. Mrs Davidson came to meet them - she's a delightful woman, indeed I feel that with her and Mrs Joyce a new era has dawned. They are real people, not the dreadful, second rate little minxes of which Baghdad society has so far mostly been composed. I know I'm regrettably inelastic, but I simply can't bear that sort and I just stand out - all the time wishing there were someone I liked to stand in with, but except for Mrs Bowman and Aurelia there hasn't been anyone; oh yes, and the darling wife of the ex-General.

I've just read Lord Esher's book about Lord Kitchener which is a very interesting human document, isn't it. What a very big figure he just failed to be. Yet he did play a great part and if ever I meet his shade I should make it a curtsey. He was a greater man than I knew - it's a pity he didn't have a better biographer than Sir George Arthur.

I'm very much hoping that this airmail will bring me a batch of letters from you - it's now nearly a month since I heard from you. Ever, dearest, your very loving daughter Gertrude

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