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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
Clayton, Iltyd
Hogarth, D.G.
McMahon, Henry
Malcolm, Neill
Chirol, Valentine
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper
Egypt ยป Cairo

30.0444196, 31.2357116

Cairo. Jan. 25 Dearest Mother. Your news about Maurice filled me with such immense relief that I can scarcely believe anything so fortunate should be true. It seems odd to regard an operation in that light, but it is so much less terrible than France and I hope so much less dangerous. I have your cable, in answer to mine, saying that he is prospering but this week's mail is 4 days late (your first letter came by chance by a French boat) and I must wait for it for further news. I hope it will come today. Meantime the knowledge that he is safely at home makes me feel indifferent as to going away to India which did seem a fearfully long way from home. I expect to be back here in March but I will keep you informed of my moves by cable. Lady Brassey has come up from Alexandria for a few days. She was with the MacMahons and I dined there on Sunday to see her. Today she comes to this hotel and I have asked one or two people to come in and dine with us tonight - Neill Malcolm, Col. Duncombe and the Claytons. General Birdwood is also here - at the Residency where I have met him twice, a very delightful person. And Father will be amused to hear that Walter Harris has arrived, last from Greece and full of tales. I dined last night with a niece of his, Mrs Russell, to meet him. He had a difficult journey from Greece, I must tell you; owing to storms and submarines it took 9 days. They had 100 Cretan soldiers on board who proceeded incontinently to starve, so they landed on the wholly uninhabited island of Thera [Thira (Santorini)] where most fortunately they met with a flock of sheep. They killed and eat some dozen; Mr Harris, having no gun, killed his with a stone, or the jawbone of an ass, or something. Father will easily recognise the nature of the tale. He is now writing for the Times and should enliven its columns. I don't much like going away from here. I've fallen into the way of it and it's friendly and pleasant. 11 days of solitary journey is a formidable prospect, but I've no doubt it will be very nice when I get there and I'm looking forward to seeing Domnul. Anyhow I think I ought to go and that's an end. I have practically finished the tribal work I have been doing, as far as it can be finished here, but I look forward to getting lots of fresh material in India and Aden [('Adan)] and making a good job of it. I don't know when Mr Hogarth is coming back. He seems to be tied in London. Do see Capt. Hall or him some time and find out whether they think it was worth while sending me. I always feel that I have contributed very little.
It has been cold and wet here for a month. Last Sunday I was so frozen that I could not sit indoors and shiver all day, so I went down to Lady Anne, walked about her garden and had tea with her which was better than the icy office. I shall write to you from Port Said before I leave. Your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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