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Letter from Charles Doughty-Wylie to Gertrude Bell

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Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Wylie, Charles Hotham Montagu Doughty-
Person(s) mentioned
Wylie, Lilian [Judith] Doughty-
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

8.9806034, 38.7577605

7 Jan

My dear Gertrude

I hope you will be able to read this scrawl but it’s a long week and I must write when I can – the great news is that Thesiger is coming back & that I am to go – I’ve wired for leave to go soon, and hope for an answer tomorrow. If I have to wait for him it will be the end of February –

Your letter as usual was a joy – I don’t care to write down all sorts of things for the censor to puzzle over – I’m like my brother who wrote to me from his ship that it was scarcely worth writing at all for some fool of a fellow whom he didn’t know to read – Censors are necessary evils but I’m inclined to forgive them poor things when I think they’ve sent me back Thesiger - & incline to damn them when I might say all sorts of things to you.

I’m amused over your office & Con’s – I know Cameron – he ran the Imperial Cadet Corps in India & was I was told one of the best men to [?] ever know out there – an ex-gunner – But I’ve no doubt you’ll want him horse foot & artillery –

As for our hospital – my wife of course had to elect whether she would nurse surgical cases which include frostbite & all or most non contagious complaints, or medical cases which in war are roughly typhoids & dysenteries – there are other things such as typhus & cholera etc – In Turkey we did the lot – and least of anybody in the world can she be accused of chickening anything as she has run plague hospitals, & often nursed both cholera & typhus, let alone typohoid – But doctors very properly, if they can, separate typhoid typhus dysentery from wards. This is all that the business means – I don’t know Elphinstone, but he doesn’t know much about those sort of things – how should he? Is he a Red X Commissioner perhaps –

You make me smile with the Red X & the Burton car & the post etc – It is a very good thing if they hand over to you capable hands as much as they can –

Well I must stop – I’ve got a million things to do though thank god a double entry catalogue is not one – Thesiger had enough of it & arranged with the F. O. to come back – el hamdo lillah! But I would have liked to have arranged my lake business – I suppose they’ll let me join my regt where my whole desire lies now.

My dear my dear you talk of a year ago – a year ago you were riding a camel to Hazil and I steaming on Nile & Red Sea was looking at sandy deserts & thinking of your voyagings – What you say we could never have done – for we have never met since except by the magic of the garden – loathed censors come not near!

Post doesn’t go tomorrow – so I may be able to tell you when Pharaoh will let me go –

11 Jan

Still no wire – various things have happened – Lij Yasu when he heard I was off said was just like hearing of the death of his father & mother – so I thought I’d try Tsana again as a way of making lasting friendship with us - & they have been very nice over it – all hours any hours any people at my disposal – to their curious minds if I sign this treaty then I be back as a Minister instead of the detested – (Oh! Lord – I forgot the censor -) damn – It will probably fizzle out, but I’m working & suggesting & wondering if they F. O. will nod augustly over my notions - & to me to go to the place where your brother’s battalion want to go with him!
Goodbye – If I’m wiring will you please enquire – yrs ever CH M DW

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