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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

33.5138073, 36.2765279

Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham, Damas)] Feb 1 Dearest Mother. You will be surprised to receive another letter from here. It is the weather which has caused the delay. The day before we were to start the snow began to fall, it fell all the next day, and we were obliged to wait, for the reason that the desert was reported to be 4 ft deep in snow, the camel post had not come in for a fortnight and it was no good attempting to go out. Such cold as we have had during the last 10 days has not been known for 40 years in Syria. Now it is over and we are really beginning to believe that we shall get off. It was perhaps rather providential for I had contrived to catch a bad cold and since I could not go into camp I stayed in bed for 2 days and conquered it. But it has all been very provoking and I might as well have stayed in England a fortnight longer. The first reviews of my book have come. The Times is rather captious, don't you think? I am glad to have errors corrected, but here most of the errors are very unimportant and some are mere differences of opinion between him and me - in which I think I am right! Lord Cromer wrote me the most charming letter of many pages - I hope your discretion did not prevent you from reading it when you cut it open. But up to now the reviewers all stick at the archaeology (well, they will have to bear it) and not one of them has said anying about my fellow travellers, Cyrus and Julian, whom I think I treated rather well. There is little satisfaction to be got out of reviewers, whether they praise or blame. I have had rather a dull two days (those I spent in bed) but yesterday I was up, though not out, and lots of people came to see me, played chess with me, lent me books and were most kind. I don't intend to go out today - as a matter of super-caution - after which I shall be completely cured. One slight inconvenience is that all my luggage, except the clothes I stand in, went on a week ago with my caravan. But Damascus is not a very dressy place. I have had 2 letters from you and one from Father - thank you so much for them. I can do nothing about the bills till I rejoin my cheque book; then I will send a cheque to Harrassowitz - the others can wait. Woolston's bill is all for Clarence. I have told him to send it to Bell Bros.

Feb 5. [5 February 1911] I have used the spare time here while I was indoors with a cold in writing an article about Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham, Damas)]. I have sent it to be typewritten and told Mrs Callard to send it to you. Will you please look through it and send it to Blackwood? and I'm afraid I must ask you, if he takes it, to correct the proof. Will you? It's not very good but I'm anxious to earn a little money as this desert journey is so expensive, and the delay here is expensive.
I am quite well again and the weather is improving. But it has been unspeakable! Even yesterday morning we had snow. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

Poor Gertrude White! I do hope she is all right.

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