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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her father, Sir Hugh Bell

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Reference code
Bell, Sir Thomas Hugh Lowthian
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Cox, Percy
Baring, Evelyn
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper
Iraq ยป Basra

30.5257657, 47.773797

Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)] March 24 Belloved Father. I have got your letter of Feb 22 and Mother's supplementary note of Feb 17, for both of which I am most obliged. I hope you won't forget to send me your paper on the capture of German trade which I should much like to read. One feels immensely cut off here and even my Timeses have ceased to come - why I don't know. It's dreadfully sad news about the battalion and I am so grieved for poor Mr Welsh - but thank Heaven M. [Maurice] was out of it, oh thank Heaven. I sometimes try to picture what it will be like when we are all at home together again, and daren't think of it lest the Gods should be taking heed. The days pass - it's the end of the week before I know it. We are now on the edge of important things and we hold our breath. If we don't succeed - it will be uncommonly awkward. I don't know that there is much point in my being here but I'm glad I came because one inevitably understands much more about it. And I'm glad I have got to know Sir Percy Cox . He is a very remarkable person, not the least remarkable thing about him being his entire absence of any thought about himself. He does his job - a gigantic job - and thinks no more about it. By the way Mrs Christmas - she is Mrs I find. (I didn't so much as know her.) I wrote to Major O'C [O'Connor[?]] from Delhi and to his old mother. The Persian business is clearing up and I hope he may be out of it shortly. But as to Mrs C. she is rather an intriguing lady and her account of the affair is far from accurate. I have written to the D.I.D. about this and other things. You might find out some time, discreetly, whether he likes having letters from me. I write only when there are things I think it might be useful for him to know. How is your poor nose? You had just fallen out of a lift, you remember. But that's a month ago. I wonder what's at the back of Verdun - is it a last great effort or no? Or is it going to succeed still? it drags on so long that one sees no end to it - a month's battle and no end to it. I can't be altogether sorry about Eric for at least he will be kept at home for a time and that's always to the good from our point of view. We watch the Russian progress, as you may imagine, with engrossed interest. It is better than anything that has happened for a long time, but when will it begin to tell here? I am sending some letters to some of my old friends - I leave you to guess in what direction. It will be curious to see if anything results. At any rate it is rather fun. It's rather lovely here now, full spring. The fellahin are busy fertilizing the palms in the date gardens and the fruit trees are in full flower. What roses grow in the gardens here are in flower too, but it's not a flowery place; they put the mud only to sternly utilitarian account - or else leave it to the frogs. Have you seen Lord Cromer at all? I hear from him occasionally, bless him. Letters are a great joy. I wonder if Elsa is back at Rounton yet and how she is. Very soon the wild daffodils by the little pond will come out and nod their heads to the east wind. It's 3 years since I saw them.
Goodbye dearest. I'm tired of war, aren't you? Ever your devoted daughter Gertrude

I haven't an idea how long I shall be here but I'll cable to you at once if I make plans for going elsewhere - back to Egypt I suppose it would be.

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