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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
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Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

41.0082376, 28.9783589

May 17 British Embassy, Constantinople [Istanbul]. Dearest Mother. Today came a second letter - no a third, dated the 13th from you. Thank you so much. You will already know that I am quite rested and much amused here. My idea is to leave on Friday 22nd and get to London on the 25th but I shall talk over plans with the Russells, who have arrived from Sardis today and dine here tonight, and then telegraph to you. I wish they were staying here - it would make me feel less as if I had suggested myself which is what I did - the first time I've ever done such a thing! However Sir Louis appears to like having me and I think he is very much gravelled for want of congenial society. It's rather absurd, since I have never known him at all well, to be quite alone here - Tootoo has gone - and spending half my days with him! But he is extremely pleasant. I breakfast in my room and don't see him till lunch when there are always other people. Then we generally do something together, go to the bazaars (he adores shopping!) or see mosques. Then we come in and talk for an hour over tea. At dinner there are always other people and he is inviting all the world whom I want to see. Today I was away all day. I went up the Bosphorus [Karadeniz Bogazi (Bosporus)] to lunch with Khalil Beg, head of the Museum. It was an adventurous expedition for Sir L. insisted on sending in the launch and at the last moment the launch wasn't ready and the ordinary boat had gone. So I took a motor and motored up - most delicious it was. We broke two tyres and they drive so recklessly that I soon found the only plan was to shut one's eyes and say a short prayer for the souls of the dead. The launch fetched me and took me to another place on the Bosphorus where I went to tea with the van Millingens - he is a very distinguished and delightful archaeologist. Then Sir Louis met me, having driven up, and we drove back together - most agreeable. Last night there was a dinner party for the new Inspectors General of the Armenian vilayets, a Dutch man and a Norwegian. Turkey will be a BaBell of international advisers! The Dutchman and his wife were nice people. There was also a charming Russian 1st secretary and the naval attaché, Captain Boyle and his wife - she is a sister of Susan Townley. Now I must dress for dinner. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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