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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
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

Ap 25 Baghdad Darling Mother. I'm going to bother you with a few requests. Everything is so uncertain that I think I had better be prepared against next winter and there are a few essentials which I can't do without. The first is new thick combinations - Lizzie will know the kind I wear, very thick but with low neck and short sleeves, 6 of them please. The second is winter stockings. I don't want wool, thick cotton ones are enough. I used to get a very nice thick ribbed kind - if they still exist I should like 4 pairs black and 4 pairs brown. Third item a grey felt riding hat. You'll see on the enclosed sheet of the Times the exact size and shape of the one I'm wearing - it has got so soft with use that I can't wear it another winter. I get them at Heath's. And finally a stout pair of brown walking shoes from Yapp. He has been so tiresome about my shoes that I send an outline (the inner line is the one) of the pair I got from him before I left home. His things wear well I must say, these are still good. I can do without gowns I think, but if you find opportunity to send me one what I should like would be a black and white check coat and shirt with a blank velvet collar. It looks smart and doesn't show dust. Sylvia might order it for me from Samson if she would be so very kind. She orders my clothes with such skill. Only I think it will be almost essential to send it by the hand of someone - the War Office could probably tell you of some officer who was coming out. Parcels seem seldom or never to arrive now a days. The other things can be sent in small packets by post. Oh one thing more - 6 pairs of thick white wachleather or better doeskin gloves. 2 or 3 buttons, 6/¼. I think Hayford's are the best. And 2 pairs of very pale faun evening gloves, 12 buttons long mousquetaire. I've existed on 2 pairs for the last 3 years but they are not looking their best now. However in the summer one can't wear gloves if one dines out; they are too hot.
Dress is not a heavy item in a Mesopotamian budget I find!

Dearest I'm afraid you have opened the hospital again after all the recent casualties in France. You haven't had much rest. I'm ashamed to think that I'm having rather an easy spell at present, but it is so. I'm all day at the office but it's just endless little odds and ends, seeing people, drafting an occasional telegram or note, correcting place names on maps, nothing that needs much mental effort.

The flying insects are just beginning but the biting things have been delayed by the rains - not even sandflies yet, Heaven be praised. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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