Letters

12 January 1915

From/To: Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

[12 January 1915] Boulogne Jan 12. Dearest Mother. I have had the Commissioner to dine tonight, Sir Courtauld Thomson, a very pleasant man. I asked him to meet an American, a Mr Whittemore who knows me - I didn't know him, but he said he had been to 95. He has just returned from Berlin and gave us an exceedingly interesting picture of the German world - grave and earnest and very fully realizing the nature of the struggle in which they are engaged. He is going back there, and I hope we may succeed through him in establishing direct relations between the two Red X societies. It would be a great thing. Lord Robert, who was here yesterday, is immensely fired by the idea and Mr W. is going to see him when he returns to England on Thursday. I shall tell him to ring up 95 and see if, by chance, Father is there. I feel sure Father would be interested to hear his tales. The Rouen office is settled. Flora and Diana are to go there, taking charge of it in alternate fortnights. I love my dear Mr Durell who goes to Rouen. His place here is taken by a highly decorative parson called Nugent. I am also to have Tiger Howard who comes out on Thursday. Flora will probably go to Rouen about Saturday or Sunday. I am to have a second type writer - mine is dying of exhaustion. He is very very willing, but there is more than any one man can do. And it will be largely increased, the type writing work, for I am to have practically the whole correspondence in my hands. All the Paris letter writing is to be handed over to me. I like having it. I think the form in which news is conveyed is one of the most important points in our work - you can well understand that it should be when you think of the kind of news we mostly have to convey. And I know at least that when I do it I spare no pains to make it less bitter. There are some stories which I never tell; if I can help it they shall never be known. It's enough that people should learn that the man is dead without hearing the terrible things that I know. Lord R. warmly approves of this principle, but it is deeply private of course - you must not say anything about it. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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