Request a high resolution copy

Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

There is currently no summary available for this item.
Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Chirol, Valentine
Wilson, A.T.
Marling, Charles Murray
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

Baghdad Oct 25 Dearest Mother. I'm still slowly getting over malaria - it does take a long time, but I'm certainly better than I was last week. I hear the IGC will be up in another week or 10 days and I shall then go away with him for a short holiday which will complete my cure. His ship is luxuriously comfortable and he himself is the most restful person. Meantime I'm having a lot of most awfully interesting work and am longing to be quite fit in order to tackle it properly. We have also begun our advance on the Tigris - all goes well, thank Heaven. I'm so anxious that our Commander in Chief should have his share of success - he has deserved it.
A terrible tragedy has happened at Tehran [(Teheran)]. I think I must have written to you about the Military Attaché, Sir Walter Barttelot, with whom I used to ride at Gulhak before breakfast. He was also our host on the night expedition into the hills which I described to you. He has been murdered in his bed by a jealous husband - I know no details but I profoundly believe that there was nothing in the whole business but wicked Tehran gossip. The wife in question, Mrs Maclaren, left Tehran a month ago and passed through here on her way to England. I didn't see her in Baghdad, partly because I was having influenza at the time and other partly because, though I had seen very little of her at Gulhak, I thought her Class B lady and had no special wish to renew the acquaintance. Also she had quarrelled with the Marlings, the wrong quite on her side, as far as I could see, and I didn't want to be mixed up in any dissensions. It's a truly shocking business. Sir Walter had a wife in England and a boy at Eton, about both of whom he used to talk to me continuously. He was a nice, pleasant, not particularly brilliant British landowner; we made rather friends, just because he was the sort of man I knew at home - at least that was my feeling about him. He was not well suited in his Tehran job and was longing to get away. I told the C.G.S. this when I came back, a successor was found for him, and he would have probably have been back in England before the end of the year. Oh dear, I'm so sorry for his wife and boy. Maclaren I thought a dreadful man - class W, if not Z. He is a consul.

I send you at last my Kurdish diary which I have carefully censored myself. I'm afraid you'll find it rather dull as there is too much local politics in it. The international politics I've cut out. But would you please let Domnul see it and Milly - I promised to send it to her though I don't think it will amuse her. It's not for publication in any form, even thus Bowdlerized.

There's a letter by Col. Yate in the Spectator about Persia, my Chief (whom he calls Sir Frederick Marshall, his name being Sir William) and an allusion to my journey to Persia. It reaches the highest summit of idiotcy being entirely wrong from beginning to end.

So much for Col. Yate. You might tell Domnul this - indeed perhaps you would send him this whole letter as I shall not write to him this week.

I never thanked Father for sending me his article in the Contemp. which I thought brilliant. Col. Wilson had given me two speeches, no sermons, by his father, who is Dean of Worcester, so I sent him in the Comtemp. docketted "My parent's turn." He returned it with this minute: "I should like to print 100,000 copies and circulate them wherever the English language is spoken." So my Parent was a success in the office. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

IIIF Manifest