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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.
Herbert, Aubrey Molyneux
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper
Iraq ยป Basra

30.5257657, 47.773797

Ap. 9. Dearest Mother. I have two mails this week, the last being that of March 8, with letters from you and Father, bless you. I have been engaged today in moving into Gray Mackenzie's house, a lengthy process, as in these primitive lands there's a good deal of incidental furnishing to be done wherever one goes. However I'm safely established in a nice room looking onto the river and the balance of the furnishing shall be done tomorrow. This week has been greatly enlivened by the appearance of Mr Lawrence, sent out as liason officer from Egypt. We have had great talks and made vast schemes for the government of the universe. He goes up river tomorrow, where the battle is raging these days. With what anxiety we watch for news it would be difficult to tell you. So far all is going well and the first lot of wounded have come down in high spirits. Admiral Wemyss is expected here today and who do you think is political oficer? Aubrey! the ubiquitous Aubrey. Oh how glad I shall be to see him! One's extraordinarily lonely with no one of one's own. That's why even Mr Lawrence was such a godsend. He speaks the same language at any rate. Father sent me poor Mr Welsh's touching letter. I am so very sorry for him, poor man. How dreadful it all is. I'm thankful to hear that M. [Maurice] won't be fit to go on active service for another month at any rate. Your accounts of the various micmacs in the organizing of female agriculturists are most interesting. But how despairing are all the muddles that are made over everything, big and little. I notice now that there is an attempt on the part of the Govt to shuffle the blame for the reverses here entirely onto the shoulders of the generals in Mesopotamia, whereas everyone knows that they were to advance from home beyond all gainsaying. If only we make a success of Kut [Kut, Al (Kut al Imara)] - ! I don't know that I shall stay here very much longer. They are giving me a good deal of work at present, map correcting, that is to say, the correcting of names with the help of the local people whom I get hold of to tell me about the places. I have nearly finished my tribe handbook, but I want to go up to Nasiriyeh [Nasiriyah, An] before it is put into it's final form, for I know it needs checking from there. For that I must wait to see the result of Kut. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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