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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

30.5257657, 47.773797

Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)] March 30 Darling Mother. After 3 weeks postlessness came your letters of Feb 7 and 14 and I'm so glad to have them that I must write you a separate word. Your tales of all your doings ring most reproachfully to me for at this moment I'm sitting with my hands in front of me, practically, and shall remain in that attitude till I go up to Baghdad. It's the first time I have been idle since the war began. However it's not my choice and Heaven knows that marking time is far worse than working. Now a word of business - here are some bills from Samson - I haven't paid them because I don't know whether they haven't been sent to you also. Of course it's too late now for gray [sic] tweeds - nor have they come! - but I shall be truly thankful for tussore, and above all for cotton gowns. Heaven waft them on their way! All I've got now is one thin woollen gown - made, if you can call it making - in Egypt, which is very dirty from much wear. One can get nothing cleaned, made or even mended here. The temp. is already 80° so that the blue clothes Sylvia sent me are too thick to wear any longer. Happy to tell you I'm now extremely well, partly the rest, perhaps, and partly the exemplary habit of riding before breakfast. I feel ready to take on any amount of new work and am longing for it.
I'm very sorry Sylvia's new baby is a girl - isn't it a pity when sons don't come to the right people.

Yes, Maud is a pillar of strength, and so I should think is Medge though I haven't even worked with her. In spite of the drawbacks of Mesop. summers I do feel the people who are working at home are shouldering much the heaviest part of the business. I would far rather be in the East among surroundings which are a perpetual interest to me, places and people which have no sharp edge of memory. But here again I didn't choose, did I? the best one can do is to do what one's told for as long as one is told to do it. It has not been easy, in many ways. I think I have got over most of the difficulties and the growing cordiality of my colleagues is a source of unmixed satisfaction. Some day I'll tell you all the inside of things - or perhaps I shall have forgotten by then. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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