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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
Philby, Harry St John
Dobbs, Henry
Askari, Ja'far al-
Lascelles, William [Billy]
Trevelyan, Charles Philips
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope
Iraq ยป Baghdad

33.315241, 44.3660671

Dec 5. Baghdad Dearest Mother. This is not only to wish you a happy Christmas, but also to thank for your singularly delightful letter of Nov. 15. I always love the stories about Bill but the one about the pineapple made me feeble with laughter. Of course it was the pineapple - almost anyone might mistake a pineapple for an acorn. He certainly must be a charming infant.
I shall be interested to hear next mail about your dinner to which you invited the Philbys. And I do wonder if you saw Ja'far. He would have loved to see you. We are very anxious about the news from Lausanne but the Turks seem to be busy cutting their own throats as effectually as possible. They may however do a good deal of miscellaneous slashing during the process. Meantime they are sending ammunition and troops to our northern frontier. But the rains are upon us which will impede their actions. Isn't it a shocking thing that 4 years after the armistice we should still see the world in such confusion.

I've written to Moll but I don't really feel any satisfaction at Charlie's majority. The programme he stands for seems to me delusive and it's disappointing that a great town like Newcastle should think it a panacea. Perhaps we can't expect to weather a social revolution without shipwreck, but anyhow Charlie isn't a pilot in whom I have any confidence.

I wonder what your Xmas party is this year with a curtailed Rounton. It will be sad not to be able to have all the families but they have grown very big haven't they. Hugo and I seem destined to be always absent.

But you know, dearest Mother, I wouldn't not have done what I'm doing here. I often wonder whether it is very selfish of me to have gone on with it. Life here has drawbacks, of course; there are long moments when I feel very lonely, but the work has been so interesting that as far as I'm concerned I couldn't have expected better, or even as good, a destiny. My present plans are to come home on leave in May, arriving towards the end of the month probably. If Sir Henry Dobbs wants me to return I should like to do so for another winter at any rate, but of course that's for him to say.

I can't think what it would have been like not to have had you and Father taking such an interest in our doings, but this I know that you have added immensely to the pleasure of them. To write to you about them has been half the battle - and you never seem bored however much I write. Ever, Bellovedest Mother, your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.

I agree about the Cenci[?]. It's not a pretty piece for the stage.

IIIF Manifest