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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
Churchill, Winston
Philby, Harry St John
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper
Iraq ยป Basra

30.5257657, 47.773797

Dec 21 Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)]. Dearest Mother. Posts are for the moment entirely suspended apparently. We had no mail last week and there's no news of one as yet. I'm going tomorrow up the Tigris as far as 'Amarah ['Amarah, Al] so don't be surprised if my correspondence is irregular for the next fortnight. It will be very interesting I think and a fine opportunity for seeing the country for I'm going up with the kind Revenue Commissioner, Mr Philby. I spent last Sunday at Bait Na'mah, on a visit not as a patient. I like them all so much and it is a charming place, as I told you when I was convalescing there. I rode out into the desert with Major Munro and Major Roberts (a brother of Charles Roberts and very pleasant) and I went scrambling along the river banks through the autumn palm groves, and in the afternoon Major Munro and I paid a visit on an important personage who lives not far off, who received us with affability. It was a very agreeable day. We have had a long Reuter report of Ll. George's speech which seems to have been a rousing utterance. What a strange metamorphosis, isn't it, that he should be leading a Cabinet which is practically Unionist exponent of patriotism! His apotheosis and the complete eclipse of Winston - who would have thought either possible! Well, whatever L.G.'s faults may be we shall owe him a deep debt of gratitude if he can pull us through. The cold weather is just as uncomfortable here as the hot, or nearly as uncomfortable. The houses are so unsuitable for winter. We live in semi-darkness, since all the windows are screened from the summer light and in perpetual cold in rooms that all open onto a court or a verandah. My working room at the Political Office is nice - dark of course, but I have a little oil stove in it which keeps it warm. Still I feel I've almost forgotten what it is to be really comfortable - not that it matters much. Ever your affectionate daughter Gertrude This is the 4th Xmas I've spent in foreign parts - Arabia, Boulogne, Cairo, Qal'at Salih. The last is where I expect to be on Xmas Day and I'm truly thankful to escape any attempt at feasts here.

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