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

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Bell, Sir Thomas Hugh Lowthian and Dame Florence Eveleen Eleanore
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Person(s) mentioned
Chirol, Valentine
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1 letter, paper
Syria ยป Aleppo

36.2021047, 37.1342603

[17 October 1919] Aleppo [Halab]. Oct 17 Dearest Family. The rest of my stay isn't very interesting but I will bring it up to date before I leave for Baghdad. I spent a day in Beyrut [Beyrouth (Beirut)], not very profitable. There wasn't much to be learnt which I hadn't heard before and the climate was that of a Turkish bath. I was very glad to leave, but such an endless journey it is to Aleppo! I left at 7 a.m. and got here at 2 a.m. next morning. No lights in the carriages and very little to eat. I've been doing the usual thing here, seeing people, but the chief person I've seen is Fattuh. He looks older and as if he had been through an awful time, as indeed he has. He has lost everything he had - he was beginning to be quite a well to do man and now he has only a horse and a small cart with which he brings in wood to sell in Aleppo. He wants to hire a garden and work in it. I think I may be able to help him there, both with the Arab authorities and by lending him money. He was chiefly suspect because he was known to have been my servant. I went to see his wife - they live now in a tiny house which they have hired. He used to have two big houses of his own, poor Fattuh. I was very glad to see him. He is preparing food for me to take on my motor journey and he still has some of my camp kit, cups and plates and things, so that I need not buy anything. We have had such happy times together - I called to mind joyous departures from Aleppo and looking at his haggard face I said "Oh Fattuh before the war our hearts were so light when we travelled; now, they are so heavy that a camel could not carry us." He smiled and said "Milady, no, a camel couldn't carry you." My poor Fattuh.
I've seen Domnul's charming friends the Pauls; if Domnul is still in England you might tell him that I delivered his letter and parcel to Lady Paul.

My motors from Baghdad are here and I leave the day after tomorrow. It is 4 days to Mosul [Mawsil, Al] via Dair [Dayr az Zawr], and what a hot and dusty journey it's going to be! From Mosul it is only a few hours to railhead. I shall send you a telegram from Baghdad. I expect Marie will have got there before me. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude

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