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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her stepmother, Dame Florence Bell

Letter in which Bell discusses the ongoing general strike and her plans in relation to her ongoing work at the Iraq Museum in Baghdad, noting that she does not want to travel back to England leaving her work unfinished. She reflects upon her feelings in relation to her current role and expresses uncertainty about her future.
Reference code
Bell, Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Dobbs, Henry
Bourdillon, Bernard Henry
Andrae, Walter
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter plus envelope
Iraq ยป Baghdad

33.315241, 44.3660671

Baghdad May 26 My dearest Mother. Thank you so very much for your letter of May 11 which arrived by air mail and was the very first news I had of your doings during the general strike. Father's two letters came next day. You don't sound as if you were living in a strike at all, but it is wonderful how little difference it made, even in London, I gather from Elsa. But if the coal strike drags on and on, it will be very dreadful and it must end in dislocating life. I forgot to ask Father what Charlie's attitude is. Will you tell me. Moll hasn't written since just after she was ill.
I am sure that Maurice must have been admirable at Middlesbrough but there were anxious moments, weren't there. They were very anxious for me when I read about disturbances there. Oh dear, isn't it a horrid world.

I hope you won't think I'm wrong in saying that I can't go away yet and leave all my antiquities unarranged and unguarded. I have been writing to Father about it. I'll see later how things go on, but it's so very expensive to return home and then come back here that I think I would rather finish and then go away. It isn't because I don't immensely want to see you and Father, but I know you will understand that it means a very great deal to leave everything that I have been doing here and find myself really rather loose on the world. I don't see at all clearly what I shall do, but of course I can't stay here forever; already I feel that when Bernard is here, and Sir Henry, I'm not at all necessary in the office. I would have liked to stay in the Dept of Antiquities if I could come home every year, but I don't feel justified in asking the 'Iraq Govt to give me anything like a permanent post. The Director here should know cuneiform and be a trained museum official. What I can do is just to tide them over and I should be useful in the autumn if Andrae came out to Babylon - vide my letter to Father.

All the same I feel very much torn between you and this. You yourself have rather encouraged me to stay this year so I hope you won't disagree. Tell me what you think, will you please. Ever your very loving daughter Gertrude

IIIF Manifest