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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
Saud, Abdulaziz ibn
Margoliouth, David Samuel
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

Jan 25 Dearest Mother. The censor continues to open all letters and to censor nothing in mine - I wonder what the silly creature is up to. I've got under these conditions your letters of Nov 18 and Dec 13 (the latter written in bed, you remember) and Father's of Dec. 11. How terrible the influenza has been! much worse than here. But at Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)] and in the Gulf and Arabia it has also been extraordinary. Two of Ibn Sa'ud's sons have died of it among others. I'm afraid Father will not agree with my views on the election, from what he says, for I am delighted with the result. The only thing that matters now is to have a firm point to present to the Peace Conference.
It has rained and rained here - disgusting, but the whole desert is green in consequence.

I went to a little function at the French convent yesterday, to see the Mother Superior, dear creature, receive the French decoration - she has already had the Red Cross from us. It was very nice and friendly. But the best thing this week was a lecture of Prof. Margoliouth's on Abbasid history - an hour's worth of wit, having a political wisdom which could not have been bettered. I do love the man; it has been delightful having him here. I asked him the other day what he thought of the Baghdadis to which he replied: "You will I trust forgive me for quoting a sentence of the Prophet's of which I am often reminded by the people of Baghdad: Seek the advice of women in order to do the contrary." Ever dearest your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

I don't think I told you that I flew with a young man last week - literally not figuratively. We flew for about 3/4 of an hour up and down the Tigris. For the first ¼ of an hour I thought it the most alarming thing I had ever done and eagerly wished that that good young man would return to the ground. It was a windy day, and the aeroplane wobbled a good deal. However I presently became accustomed to it and was much interested and exited. I shall go up whenever I have an opportunity so as to grow quite used to it.

IIIF Manifest