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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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1 letter plus envelope, paper
Iraq ยป Basra

30.5257657, 47.773797

Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)] Sep 20 Dearest Mother. I didn't write last week because I was having jaundice and truly miserable. It was a mild bout and I'm better but I am going this afternoon for change of air to a sort of big rest house attached to an officer's hospital a few miles down river. It seems a sensible thing to do. I hope a few days will set me on my feet again and restore me to my usual complexion. Tell Father of course he was right to subscribe for me to Mrs B.......'s fund. I would be glad to give more if it is wanted. An admirable woman.
It's so provoking to be laid up when there is such a lot of work to do. The thing is growing and this week came a letter from the W.O. to whom I send articles through the Intell. Dept. saying I was sending just what they wanted and would I send more. So that's all right. It's all useful and educational - to them! And it makes me want to be back more than ever. Everyone is immensely kind; the Casualty Physician of the Force comes to see me and the woman who is Inspector General of all the hospitals looks after me. I'm ashamed of bothering them about such a silly little ailment. By the way I kept Sir Percy Lake's farewell to send you because I thought you would be pleased. It's much too kind I need not say.

I'm much amused at your collaborating with Soloman. No I don't take to his verses.

Will you please send me a winter hat. Something of this kind in dark violet. Either of them would do. Also I would immensely like a soft black satin gown which I could wear either by day or night - crossed over in front. [Sketch of design] Perhaps a little lower and then a wrap-coat with it. Skirt down to the ground. I would like Marthe (Conduit St) to make it because she will make me something pretty. She doesn't usually make anything but evening gowns, but if you told her it's for me and where I am I know she would do it for me. Your affectionate Gertrude

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