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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
Cornwallis, Ken
Wilson, J.M.
Dobbs, Henry
Clayton, Iltyd
Loraine, Percy
Cooke, R.S.
Smith, Arthur Lionel Forster
Sa'id, Nuri al-
Bourdillon, Bernard Henry
Amery, L.S.
Shuckburgh, John Evelyn
Joyce, P.C.
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope
Iraq ยป Baghdad

33.315241, 44.3660671

Baghdad Ap 8 Dearest Mother. Your letter of March 25 - the description of Uncle Lyulph's funeral was so touching and beautiful, and I liked having the pictures of Arthur and Aunt Maisie. I am very very glad to hear that she looked better when it was all over. It is certainly immensely better for her that it should not have dragged on longer - she had come to the limit of endurance hadn't she. I can't yet picture the difference that his death makes in the family - I did care for him so much.
I have had rather a rushing week, not that there has been much work, but too many people to look after. The Ministerial party came back from their northern tour on Saturday. The Prime Minister gave an official dinner for them that night - I was happily placed between Hilton Young and Nuri. I had a dinner for Sir John Shuckburgh on Sunday and another for Mr Amery on Monday. Then Percy Loraine flew down from Tehran [(Teheran)] and Evelyn Baring (Katie's son, a darling) turned up by car from Egypt. Ken, Iltyd and the Bourdillons dined on Tuesday and we went to some amateur theatricals at the RAF headquarters (rather good) and tonight I have the Mackays (excavators at Kish) and the J.M. [Wilson]s to dinner. Evelyn Baring too - rather a stuffy party for him. Lionel and I have been out with him this afternoon - he is an attractive creature and with plenty of character.

Tomorrow, please God, we go off for a 3 days' Easter jaunt, Ken and Lionel and I, to Ukhaidhir [Ukhaydir]. J.M. was to have come but can't get away. He is a great loss. Mr Cooke is coming in his place. I haven't been to Ukhaidhir since 1911.

The Secs of State flew down to Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)] today and Percy flew back to Tehran. Sir Henry, Capt Holt and I lunched together in spacious solitude! I feel sure that their visit has been very useful and advantageous, but I shan't be sorry to relapse into a more humdrum existence when they go next week. I don't make anything of Sir S. Hoare - Mr Amery and Sir J. Shuckburgh I like immensely though neither of them give me the impression of being a great driving force. They have, however, accomplished something - whether it will work out into all that they anticipate I rather doubt but at least it won't modify the general principles on which we have been going. Naturally, I have had nothing to do with their conferences; I have only heard the hopes and fears which they evoked in subsequent echoes. There was a terrific duststorm last week after which the temperature fell to lower than it should normally be and we all shivered.

What a tale about Father's nearly missing his boat at Ceylon [Sri Lanka]! haven't heard from him yet from Australia - it's a terrific way off, isn't it. I have written to him weekly, feeling rather as if I were speaking to the winds and waves.

This is a very scrappy letter but I was out till late with Evelyn and haven't had time to compose my thoughts. Ever, dearest, your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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