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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

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Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Baring, Evelyn
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper
Egypt ยป Cairo

30.0444196, 31.2357116

Cairo. Tuesday Jan 1 Dearest Mother. The great event is Hugo's arrival yesterday. He looks well, much better, but he is thin - he looks like someone who has had an illness and is well again. I don't think he is at all tired by the things he does. He is extremely cheerful and full of interesting tales. We talked all the afternoon and he came up into my room and talked till dinner time. It's quite delightful having him. We dined with the Cromers - Lady C., Lady Valda and I were the only women so I sat on the other side of Lord C. and had a quite enchanting talk with him. He is the nicest person in the world, without doubt. He was very eager to know if there was anything I wanted and when I said I wanted to have a good talk with a learned sheikh, he was much concerned about it and kept saying to Mr Machell across the table "Look here Machell, you must find her a good sheikh. Just think who is the best." So they are thinking. The immediate result was that they arranged that we should see the Azhar today. It is the great University of the Mohammedan world, where they are sometimes rather tiresome about letting women in. However I found a friend on the doorstep, a rogue I've known for a long time, and we fell into one another's arms and he took us all over. Indeed we were invited to dine there by an old party from Baghdad who lives there and I'm invited to breakfast on Saturday if I like, so anyway I feel I may come and go as I please in the Azhar. Hugo talked to Lady Valda all the evening yesterday, and I to Sir W. Garstin, who is very pleasant and interesting, so we all enjoyed ourselves. Father and I had a charming dinner with the Machells, too: Sir W.G. was there also. Yesterday we lunched with the Bernstorffs and we are going to their box at the opera tonight. On Monday Father and I spent the whole morning with Ernest Richmond, seeing Coptic churches - most pleasant. On Sunday we lunched with the Kershaws, whom I don't like at all. They took us however to the Zoo and there we met the Cromers and Sir William and had a delightful time. Oh, and a most successful afternoon we spent with Lady Anne. She was dressed in full Bedouin costume and we saw her Arab horses and her garden with wolves and foxes wild in it, and she told us all about the lawsuit with Wilfred Blunt and insisted that we should come down again before we left. I must try and go. She is an interesting woman. Tomorrow we are going to see mosques with the Curator of antiquities; we lunch with Sir William and then go to Mina House for a couple of nights - I do love it all and the people and everything - above all the weather! You shee [sic], we don't have snow storms! I hope we shall have letters from you tomorrow. Your affectionate daughter Gertrude
Ethel Herbert (Rodger) is in the hotel with her husband, and Mrs Napier

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