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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
Wilson, A.T.
Balfour, Frank
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

Baghdad Dec 6. Dearest Father. Your letters of Sep. 13 and 26 and 30 and Oct 10 came all together and Mother's of Oct 9. If you come here in Feb. that will do very well - we'll travel home together. This week we had a Handley Page in 2 days from Cairo and 4 from London. I don't really like this annihilation of space - one's safe nowhere. The Chief and I went to look at the Handley Page - it's gigantic.
We had a day's rain this week and the world is pretty muddy, not at its worst, but the S. wind holds and we shall have more rain. Luckily my first Tuesday party took place the day before - next week's will have to be put off I think for my garden will be too muddy. I had about 50 ladies, mostly Moslems - they flock now, and I shall get them all in time. We had tea in the garden and sat talking for nearly 2 hours most cheerfully. I talk Arabic perhaps not quite as well as French, but nearly. The younger men are trooping in now of a morning to give me their views on the political future. The younger generation plumps for a son of the Sharif as Amir - at least that's the Sunni wish, I haven't seen any of the younger Shi'ahs yet. I expect there will be a wide split there. I would rather do without an Amir for the present, so I don't mind if they can't come to an accord.

Today I went for a long ride with Q (Gen. Stuart Wortley) which was very refreshing. The desert was delicious, damp and not muddy. Already the grass has sprung up in the hollows and the corn is green. You never get our effect of yellow autumn here for when the fruit trees are golden the corn Bellow them is emerald - it's very lovely. My autumn roses are still wonderful, violets are flowering and chrysanthemums in masses. And I've planted beds of nasturtium mignonette, carnations etc with the seeds Hanagan sent me. Last year's cornflowers and things have seeded themselves. It's very nice my garden.

Frank Balfour arrived this morning - delightful to have him back and he brings helpful news from London Egypt and Syria. We are kept far too scantily informed. A.T. Wilson  and I spend a considerable part of our time laying down acceptable frontiers - by request. It's an amusing game when you know the country intimately, as I do, thank goodness, almost all of it. Was ever anything more fortunate than that I should have criss-crossed it in very nearly every direction? But heaven knows what's going to happen to Persia if the Americans won't take it on - and I hear they are not at all eager. The Persians are not easy people to handle. Physically they are unBellievably degenerate and by tradition opponants of any Govt. which may be set over them. I like them, personally, I would like to see more of them. I've always felt at home with them. But I don't want to direct their inconsequent steps.

Oh thank you so much for the other £5000 you've showered on me - it's becoming a habit! Hoping you are very well off, I'm your affectionate daughter Gertrude

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