4 March 1925

From/To: Gertrude Bell to her father, Sir Hugh Bell

[4 March 1925] Baghdad March 4 Darling. This is going to be a scrap of a letter because I got in from Ur at 6 a.m. this morning and not having slept in the train, I slept all this afternoon till 6 when Ken Ken [sic] came in to discuss events in my absence. I went down to Ur to do the division at the end of the dig, meeting J.M. [Wilson] and his wife there - they had come up from Basrah [Basrah, Al (Basra)] and we all came back by the same train which was nice because I had dinner with them. It's a long weary journey if one is alone.

The excavations this year, without being quite so sensationally exciting as they were last year, have been extremely good and there were some wonderful objects to divide. The division was rather difficult but I think J.M. and I were very fair and reasonable - I hope Mr Woolley thinks the same in his heart, though he fussed a little, or rather declared himself to be very sad afterwards. I had one night at Ur between two bad nights in the train, but it was a very good night - it was so peaceful and restful out there in the desert.

On Saturday, the day before I left, I took two Americans, who were staying at the Residency, to see some of the sights of the town and then to call on the King. One was a millionaire called Cravath and the other a leading lawyer called Williams. Have you ever heard of Mr Cravath? He is no common millionaire, I assure you. He is a Republican, a friend of House and Wilson, knew Springy and almost everyone of note - a big, grizzled man, full of intelligences and information. He didn't ask silly questions about Sunnis and Shi'ahs because he knew all about them, but what he did ask was all vey much to the point. I was very much interested by him. Mr Williams was nice too, but I hadn't so much talk with him. Mr Cravath talked to the King like a father about oil concessions - the Prime Minister was there too. He isn't personally interested in oil but he knows, as we all know, that it is of vital importance to the 'Iraq to get the big international group of the Turkish Petrol. Co engaged in this country. The point has been insisted upon over and over again by the Commission but the Cabinet is still hesitating. They have an idiotic idea that they ought to give out the Mosul [Mawsil, Al] oil in parcels to a lot a [sic] little companies so as to encourage competition and beat down the price of oil. The thing is an enormous proposition, entailing a pipe line to the Mediterranean, so that no one but a very big group could undertake it and ultimately little companies, after beating about the bush and wasting time would have to sell to some overestimated big group like the T.P.C. Yasin Pasha seems to be prepared to stand the resignation of some of his colleagues, if he can replace them - which I think he could - and I notice that the vernacular press is beginning to hedge, a good sign.

The Commission, minus Teleki, who is recovering here, has been to Sulaimani [Sulaymaniyah, As] and got there a unanimous verdict in favour of the 'Iraq which is very good. Shaikh Mahmud didn't join in the game, having fled across the Persian frontier. They are now going up to the northern frontier towns which will end their enquiry.

I got your second letter from Port Said last Saturday which was very delightful because I wasn't expecting any letter at all. Thank you so much for your sympathy about my poor little dogs. I do miss my Peter so. I longed for his little cheerful presence when I went to Ur. He would have loved that boring journey - so many dogs to look at out of the window.

Mother sends me the sad news of the death of Willie's daughter Margaret, with a still born baby. The poor poor Tyrells have been castigated above their share - I am so immensely sorry for them. And aren't you sad at the death of Mrs Hedley? I wrote to him last week and said what a friend she had been to us all.

I thought of you on the 28th meeting Elsa - how happy you must both have been. You have still 10 days before you reach Sydney - what a long way it is!

Goodbye dearest - there is a ball tonight at the Residency and I think it would be only polite if I were to look in for an hour, so I must dine and dress. Ever your very affectionate daughter Gertrude.

I write separately to Mother.

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