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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
Wortley, Edward Stuart
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper
Iraq ยป Baghdad

33.315241, 44.3660671

May 31 Dearest Mother. I have just got a letter from you from Bath written at the beginning of the offensive, and here we are in the middle of acute anxiety again - how long can it go on! It's always at the back of one's mind but meantime there's one's work here to distract one and one lives as usual, doing the ordinary things. I suppose it's best so. As far as I am concerned there has been great social activity this week. I dined on Monday with General Stuart Wortley and we went to an excellent lecture by an American Missionary on Oman. Next day I dined with the C. in C. to hear the news of the C.G.S. about my Persian plans. He had just come back from over the frontier and was most encouraging as to future arrangements so that I think all will be easy. I shall go up there about the middle of July. We have no heat here yet. On Wed. I dined with 1st Corps - a sort of farewell dinner to Richard, who is however coming in to say goodbye this evening and will carry this letter to you. And yesterday I took the C. in C. to see some of the antiquities of Baghdad in which he showed much interest, bless him. I have no other letters than yours by this mail - and some from the Geog. Soc. but on the other hand a parcel of stockings, hair pins etc has arrived from you, and a pair of white shoes from Dutton. The latter were particularly desirable for my toes were sticking out of those I've been wearing. Also a local shoemaker has stretched the top boots Dutton sent me which were too small in the leg, and I can now wear them, Heaven be praised. I feel quite set up for Lady Willingdon, the angelic creature, has sent me some topis from Bombay and some lengths of muslin which the nuns will make up into washing gowns. I hope I may go clothed in the odour[?] of sanctity - but doubt it. On Monday I'm lecturing to the entire force (as it seems to me) on Arabian travels and on Tuesday I have a ladies' night at the Cinematograph. I enclose two enchanting replies to my invitation; I hope you will appreciate the full significance of Mrs 'Abdul Qadir's positon - as given in her signature - but it's fitter for Father's sense of humour. I hear that le tout Baghdad is ordering new gowns for the occasion, but I fear there will be cause for disappointment, as it will be dark and the gowns invisible. Goodbye dearest; I hope Bath was restful. Your very affectionate Gertrude.

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