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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

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Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Lawrence, T.E.
Woolley, Leonard
Clayton, Iltyd
Sykes, Mark
Hogarth, D.G.
McMahon, Henry
Malcolm, Neill
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper

30.0444196, 31.2357116

Dec 6. Cairo. Dearest Mother. The mail is late this week and I have not had letters from you - I expect I may get some today. Mr Hogarth leaves tomorrow, to my great sorrow. He has been a most friendly support and I have scarcely yet found my own feet yet, or made sure whether I shall find them. They have given me some work to do on Arab tribes, their numbers and lineage. It's a vague and difficult subject which would take a lifetime to do properly - I should think it will be about a month before I can get it into any sort of shape, but it rather depends on what information one can collect here. I haven't begun yet for I have been doing odds and ends of jobs for Mr Hogarth which have taken all my time. Yesterday I made holiday for an afternoon and went to see Lady Anne who was most kind and affectionate. We had great talks about Arabia and I shall go down to her again next Sunday. It's an oasis of peace and quiet after the noise and crowd of Cairo. How I hate hotels and the perpetual living in public which they imply! One loathes it more than ever after months of a hermit's existence. I have dined with the Grahams - he is in charge of the Interior - and I spent a pleasant evening with the Macdonells - he is one of the men in the Intell. Dept. But far the nicest people whom I have met are the MacMahons, with whom I dined last night. They are both charming, so pleasant and agreeable. They gave me a standing invitation to come in whenever I liked, and I am going to have a long talk with him one of these days. Sir Courtauld Thomson was there, but I scarcely had any speech with him. There was also a general called Ellison whom I liked. He had found the foundations of a temple on Imbros [Gökçeada (Imroz, Imbroz)] and had occupied any spare time he had in trying to trace its outlines. He said it gave his mind a rest to think for a little about temples and I deeply sympathised with him. Sometimes I think it was ridiculous to come here and sometimes I rather enjoy it. Anyhow I will stay for a bit and see what comes of it. I'm afraid we are going to have rather a difficult winter during which we shall to mark time and be patient. I shall be so glad to have news of you. Has Maurice been home I wonder? It seems impossible to write to him from here - I think I must send a letter enclosed to you. My dear love to you and Father. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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