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Letter from Gertrude Bell to her parents, Sir Hugh and Dame Florence Bell

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Reference code
Bell, Sir Thomas Hugh Lowthian and Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Baring, Evelyn
Cox, Percy
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 letter, paper

33.315241, 44.3660671

[1 June 1917] Baghdad June 1 Dearest Parents. I had finally to take desperate steps to cure the above mentioned cold. I lay flat on a bed in a draught in my nice cool room in the office for 3 days and saw no one, and curious as the treatment seems it has now restored me to rude health. Sir Percy and Colonel Willcox keep eagle eyes fixed upon me so you may be assured that I shall be allowed to play no tricks! Before these untoward circumstances occurred I went to breakfast with Richard's General, Cobb is his name, I knew him before and like him particularly. Sir Percy and I dine with him next week and meantime Richard breakfasts with me tomorrow. It's so delicious having him here. Mr Storrs has gone I'm sorry to say, but after being so helpful and suggestive that we feel we can't be grateful enough for his visit. He is a delightful creature. I told you about Fahad Beg didn't I - Mr Storrs says his affection for me is almost compromising. NB he's 75 bien sonné. We had a conference with him one morning in which he ended by describing the powerful effect produced by a letter from me last autumn - I wrote to him from Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)]. "I summoned my shaikhs" he wound up (I feeling more and more of a person as he proceeded) "I read them your letter and I said to them Oh Shaikhs" - we hung upon his words - "this is a woman - what must the men be like!" This delicious peroration restored me to my true place in the twinkling of an eye. We took him to see an exhibition of flying yesterday to his immense delight. He said he had never enjoyed anything so much. He even ventured into the aeroplane - so that he might tell the Arabs he explained; but once there he turned to me anxiously and said "Don't let it go away!" He is such a dear - and so wise in desert politics. One of the Damascenes who went with me to Najd [(Nejd)] has arrived in Basrah and has telegraphed to me asking if he may come to me. We could very profitably use him I've no doubt but the Intell. Dept. - the misplaced name! - won't let him come lest he should prove to be a spy. As if spies were not shouldering one another in Baghdad! I still hope Sir Percy may overcome their fears for I long to see him. If only it were my poor Fattuh! but Heaven knows whether he is still living. Aleppo [Halab] has suffered and is suffering most horribly from Turkish persecution and I fear his well known association with George and Mr Hogarth and me will put him at a grave disadvantage. Katie writes to me that she would very much like to see my letters from Lord Cromer. I think they are all together, or nearly all, in one of the drawers of the little meuble which stands near the door in my sitting room at R'ton [Rounton]. Would it be a trouble to you to get them out some time and sent them to her? There should be a great many. I don't like to send those I have here lest they should be lost at sea. I'm writing to her to tell her I've asked you to send them to her. She sounds so unhappy poor darling. I should so much like to have Lord Ribblesdale's life of Charles Lister. I met him in C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)] and delighted in him - if it is not a very big book could you send it to me?
Oh my dearest ones it's so wonderful here - I can't tell you how much I'm loving it Your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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