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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
Balfour, Frank
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper
Iraq ยป Baghdad

33.315241, 44.3660671

[7 June 1918] June 7 Baghdad Dearest Father. Your long letter, with many enclosures, March 30-April 2 has just come. It's a good plan sending me letters from various members of my family. I like having news of them. And how I rejoice about Elsa! But I find myself sadly wondering how many of my cousins in law are still alive. The German pressure seems endless, and now almost worse than ever.
We have been engaged in social duties this week. On Monday I lectured - I think it went fairly well - some letters enclosed as samples. On Tuesday I had a terrific evening - the Ladies' night at the Cinematograph. Not very many of the veiled women came, but those who came were all of great families, so I hope it will make a beginning. Quantities of Jewesses and I invited also the Armenian orphans and the darling nuns who brought their orphans, and the children of the Alliance Juive, so that we had a big audience. They laughed and chattered the whole time and my part of explainer was not difficult. On Wed. I dined with Mr Garbett and went to an entertainment at the school of the French Fathers. It lasted from 8 to 11 - fortuitous, but not quite as bad as the time when Hamlet was the 8th item on the programme. It ended with a play of the deadliest dulaces[?] - an English lesson, as dull as the lesson itself, they laboriously and solemnly learnt the letters of the alphabet beginning with the vowels and passing on to the consonants. Said Mr Garbett when we got to C "It's a long long way to Z" and I had a fou rire - the only one I enjoyed that night. Yesterday, which was Thursday, the C. in C. took me to the races. Races as such bore me to tears but I talked to the Generals and was fairly well amused. I shan't go tomorrow when there's another race day. Today there's a party at the Persian Consul's - the Shah's birthday - to which I must go I fear, and on Sunday another at the Civil Hospital where I must certainly go. So that's my life at present - a strange one for wartime. Frank Balfour has just come up. He is being shifted from Kufah [Kufah, Al] to Ba'qubah, which I like because he'll be nearer. He had a great triumph at the end. The Najaf [Najaf, An] people presented him quite spontaneously with a sword of honour which the C. in C. allowed him to accept. He has done extremely well.

We've no heat this year. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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