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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, paper

41.0082376, 28.9783589

May 15. Embassy, C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]. Dearest Mother. I ought to have telegraphed yesterday for I arrived on the evening of the 13th, but I was held back by not being quite certain what to say. I proposed to to Sir Louis that I should leave on Monday, but he said No, that there were several people I should like to see and it was silly to go away so soon. Now Flora writes from Sardis that she is coming on Sunday or Monday and I think I will wait and see what are her plans before I decide definitely. Anyhow I shall not stay longer than till towards the end of next week and I think I will telegraph today that I am arriving on the 24th probably. I have left your letter with dates in my room - I am writing in the garden - I think you are in London that week, but I will go up and look presently. If you are at Rounton I should come straight there. Sir Louis is perfectly delightful. He is tremendously full of his job and we have talked for hours. He was so welcoming that I instantly forgot my hesitations in proposing myself. I found him in the garden when I got in about 6 o'clock - so thankful to escape from the horrid French boat and my cabin the size of a pocket handkerchief - and we fell to discussing flower beds and tree choppings in the most civilized manner. It was nice to be talking about gardens again. I nearly embraced the butler, not from any personal feelings - though they might have counted, for he has been here since the O'Conors' time and greeted me as an old friend - but because he stood for so much! What will happen when I see Perkins I don't know. And who do you think is staying here? Tootoo! Her husband nearly died of pneumonia on the boat coming up from Corfu [Kerkira]; she arrived knowing no one but Sir L. whom she knew a little, and wrote to him for advice. He sent the husband to the English hospital where he has recovered and is coming out tomorrow when they both go to a hotel. And Tootoo was taken in here. Such a changed Tootoo! disappointed and bored by life, very pretty still, but thin and pinched and full of complaints. She would have done much better to marry Maurice - tell him with my love! A young secretary, Charles Lister, dined, and we talked till near midnight of Turkey and Arabia. Yesterday morning I went to see Khalil Beg, director of the Museum and there met Mr Norton, an American archaeologist whom I know, and Mr Armour, an American millionaire who is largely financing the Sardis excavations. I asked them to come and see me and Sir L. proposes to ask them to lunch. Also Khalil and anyone else I like - he is a dear certainly. Yesterday the Commercial attaché lunched, Mr Weatly, a very interesting man who knows his Turkey like the inside of his pocket. He stayed talking to me for two hours, which I liked immensely - Sir L. had gone to the opening of the Chamber, when he came in we went driving till tea time and then sat long over tea talking and talking. It isn't often that you find ambassadors so deeply interested in the country to which they are accredited. A secretary dined and the 1st dragoman and his wife. The Ryans (Mr Fitzmaurice is away ill) not very interesting but we had a very merry dinner. The truth is, as I said before, that Sir Louis is so pleasant. I'm being very lazy today - it's so delicious sitting in the garden and doing nothing. Besides I must write to all the people with whom I stayed in Syria. There is no news about Lord Cromer so I hope he is better. I wrote to him yesterday. Is Domnul coming to R'ton for Whitsuntide? It would be nice to have him. And I am delighted to hear that Florence will be in England - not for long I suppose. Thank you both for your letters, Elsa likewise, bless her.
Did I tell you about my strained foot? it's better, but I feel it still a little. I've entirely recovered from the exhaustion of the Syrian desert. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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