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Jan 27. Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham, Damas)] Dearest Mother. These things take time and you see I am still here. However I hope to be off in a day or two and my affairs are admirably arranged so that once I start I hope that all will go smoothly. Meantime it has been very delightful here - except for the weather, which is disgusting: alternate rain and snow. I don't really regret not having been travelling through it. I have made quantities of new acquaintances - indeed I have called on all the notables of Damascus! It has been great fun; they are all charming to me and I love seeing these big people and hearing their talk. The political news I have sent to Domnul in a long letter which he will publish if he thinks fit, so I won't repeat it here. I have made great friends with the general in command of the recent operations in the Hauran, Sami Pasha. He is an interesting man, talks admirable German and I think he has run his show well. The line from Beyrout [Beyrouth (Beirut)] has been blocked by snow for the last 4 days so that I have only had one letter from you, but I hope to get a post before I leave. In between my visits I have worked at the old buildings of the town a little and I am beginning to have a better idea of them. I have been to the Club one or two evenings to play Bridge with the Navilles and Mr Devey and various other Europeans - a nice English officer who is studying Arabic, among them, and a young man called Hillelson who is also studying Arabic and generally accompanies me upon my archaeological expeditions. Selim Tabit has been a great addition. He is very intelligent and has helped me a good deal in my arrangements, besides introducing me to everyone I want to know. All the local newspapers have had articles about me and I have called on all the editors to thank them for their kindness - which I could well have done without. It's an odd country. I shall not now be able to post a letter to you for a long time, because I shall not be in the way of post offices, but when I get to Hit [(Is)], I will send word to our consul in Baghdad and ask him to telegraph to you "Arrived Hit"; then you will know that all is well and that I shall be in Baghdad about a fortnight later. Don't send letters to Hit! I telegraphed to you here "Baghdad" so I hope you are writing there and that my papers will go there. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude
By the way I told Heinemann to send a copy of my book to you. Didn't he do so? If not, please be at the pains to write and ask him for one. I could not bear that you should not have one from me.