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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
Cox, Percy
Dobbs, Henry
Cox, Louisa Belle
Herzfeld, Ernst
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

Baghdad Sep 6 Dearest Mother. After an interval of 3 weeks I've at last got a letter - yours of July 17. Perhaps its predecessors which I haven't received yet will roll in one of these days. I return Aunt Annie's letter - it's also typical of her that she speaks of Lady Cox as Lady Sykes! Sir Percy has had an encouraging telegram, by the way, about his missing son. There's good occasion to believe that he is a prisoner. I do hope it will turn out so. There's one thing I forgot to answer in some old letters from you and Father. Please please don't supply information about me or photographs of me to newspaper correspondents. I've said this so often before that I thought you understood how much I hate the whole advertisement business. I always throw all letters (fortunately they're not many in number) asking for an interview or a photograph straight into the wastepaper basket and I beg you to do the same on my behalf. I had a perfectly idiotic letter from Cornelia Sorabji saying how much delighted she is to hear I'm a Political Officer and how much enchanted Elena and Victoria Cholmondeley will be! It made me sick on the spot - the devil take all inane women.
I've been 5 days out of hospital and I feel much better though still rather weak in the knees and imbecile in the mind. But another day or two will put me right. My quiet home hasn't been quite as peaceful as {it} might have been wished for the second night after my return I found a large wasp in my bed. I found him by the simple process of lying on him, upon which he retorted after his kind. However he had to sting through my nightgown and I daresay he wasn't at his best at that hour of the evening; anyway he didn't hurt much. The next night when I came back from the office I went to look at my pony and found him having a bad fit of colic. We had some restless hours doctoring him and walking him about, and finally he recovered.

It's still very hot but the temperature is falling though very slowly. The nights are quite pleasant but in the middle of the afternoon it's usually about 112°. I won't deny that when you come to September here you feel you've reached about the limit of human endurance. I shan't stay through the whole of next summer. If we're still at war I shall go for a month into high mountains in India - perhaps to Mr Dobbs in Baluchistan if he'll have me. But it's too far off to make plans, nor do I take any interest in them.

You must feel the hospital a great strain and I'm afraid there's not much prospect of its standing empty with such fierce fighting in France. The Russian news goes from bad to worse. There doesn't appear to be any particular reason why the Germans shouldn't gather all their harvest up to the Ural mountains [Uralskiy Khrebet] if they choose. We shall have a stiffish autumn campaign in this country too, thanks to the Russian collapse.

The Samarra book has arrived, together with the Kiepert (not the right one I'm sorry to say) and the Herzfeld map for which a thousand thanks. Your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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