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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her father, Sir Hugh Bell

Letter in which Bell discusses the Frontier Commission and the ongoing negotiations in relation to the 'Mosul question', whilst also providing a brief overview of her own activities.
Reference code
Bell, Sir Thomas Hugh Lowthian
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Cornwallis, Ken
Dobbs, Henry
Hussein, Feisal bin al-
Feisal, Ghazi bin al-
Clayton, Iltyd
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

Baghdad Feb 25. Dearest Father. I have your letter written on the ship but it was closed before you reached Port Said so I don't know if you got my letter there. I hope you did. I will be kind to the Coles if they turn up. My letter was mostly about the death of my little dog and Ken's.
The Commission is pursuing its enquiries in the north, with, on the whole, very satisfactory results. Teleki, the ablest and most hostile of the Commissioners, is ill and was flown down today to Baghdad where he had taken to his bed in the Residency - serve him right! We have a telegram today from C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)] to say that what appears to be a serious Kurdish rising against the Turks has broken out in Anatolia. The Turks have proclaimed military law all along their side of the frontier. Sir Henry thinks it is a trick to permit them to strengthen their hand there, but as yet we don't know the portée of it. It is rather interesting however. The Kurdish movement has been for long gaining ground and it may really have taken this opportune moment to break out.

Even though I have been a govt servant for 9 years I continue to be disappointed by the slowness with which official wheels grind. We continue in exactly the same position with regard to our economic questions as we were last week or last fortnight. But there is a Cabinet meeting today and we expect as a result a very decisive telegram from H.M.G. - inshallah! Meantime the King has gone up to his farm where Ken, Iltyd and I intend to spend Friday with him. I went to the palace on Saturday to take him for a walk for the good of his health and found the girls having a music lesson and Ghazi having a writing lesson in his own little house. Ghazi had just developed a film in the developing box I had given him and was in a great state of glee, unimpaired by the fact that the figures of his sisters had the appearance of having been rocked in an earthquake at the time the pictures were taken. He is a very dear little boy with charming manners; he makes a point of speaking English to me and here is his first letter in that tongue. He is very quick and beginning to be much interested in his lessons.

Lionel, Iltyd, the Sinbads and I took our lunch out to Fahhamah, above Baghdad on Sunday - poor Ken was busy flying to Diwaniyah [Diwaniyah, Ad] and back to settle some small trouble. It was a delicious spring day but it is sad to see all the lemon trees dead in the gardens. It is all very barren too, for we haven't had enough rain to make the grass grow - the people are praying for it, fodder is so dear.

Ken and Iltyd and a railway man called Harding dined with me but Bridge was somewhat interrupted by the Cross Letter book which Mother had sent me. Iltyd became so deeply absorbed in it that he could scarcely remember what was trumps.

I miss my Peter dog so much - he had become such a darling little companion.

Goodbye dearest; I hope you are having a nice voyage. Ever your very affectionate daugther Gertrude

My love to the dear Dormans.

IIIF Manifest