[16 March 1926] Baghdad March 16. Darling Father. I know just what
you mean in your letter of March 3. It's like a great door closed onto
the future, isn't it. All the things you planned and dreamt of shut out,
poor dearest. The letter from Frances which you sent me was
beautiful. She does love you so much. I hope she will find her kind of
happiness in the life she has chosen. She deserves it, doesn't she.
Sir Arthur's letter was very dear.
This letter ought to catch you
before you leave for Italy. I'm so glad you are going. I feel sure you
need a rest, you have been far too busy. Thank you for the p.c. from
Sir Henry. I must write to him but I hope the boy is better or out of the
I went to Ur last week, taking Lionel and a very nice Col.
Martin (I told you about him) who was a great solace to me because
we played picquet in the train between tea and dinner. We got to Ur in
the early morning, after about 18 hours' journey and left at 5 in the
evening, catching the mail and getting into Baghdad at 7 a.m. So I
had a very busy day dividing the things. Nor was it very easy. I had
to take the best thing they have got, a small but very perfect statue of
the Goddess Ban who presided over the farm yard and has two
geese by her throne and two under her feet. As we walked up to Ur
from the train, the sky was black with geese flighting north, and talking
as hard as they flew. I felt the goddess had been well supplied with
them in her time.
I relinquished the lovely little head of the Moon
Goddess which was published in the Times and very reluctantly I
relinquished two very early plaques showing sacrificial scenes. I
think I really ought to have taken one, but Mr Woolley made a fuss
and I thought after all that I had got a great deal for the Museum out of
their labour, so I ended by giving both.
I'm getting much more
knowing with practice. I now can place cylinder and other seals at
more or less their comparative date and value, so that I don't choose
wildly according to prettiness but can take my full share of the best
things. I least I hope so.
The Goddess Ban is worth a great deal of
money - I don't know [how] much, never having tried to sell, but
certainly over ú5000. Lionel was so anxious lest we should be robbed
of her (he is rather fussy) that he carried her about in his rÅcksack and I
fancy used her as a pillow, like a crossed Foreign Office Bag. I took
her away when we reached Baghdad, kept her in my house for a day
and on Sunday deposited her in a safe. I also discussed with the
police how we should protect the new museum. We have such a
number of very valuable things which you can't keep in safes for they
must be exhibited and safes are not good for that.
I had to lunch on
Sunday rather an interesting young woman, a Miss Freda White,
introduced to me by Baffy Dugdale - she is a colleague of hers on the
League of Nations Union. She knew a great deal and was very
modest about it. She is coming to dinner tomorrow and I've got a
suitable party to meet her - including a Syrian who can tell her how the
mandate is working there. It isn't working at all. Things go from bad to
worse in the most scandalous fashion.
Ken and the Bourdillons
dined and played bridge - a friendly party - but it rained in such
torrents that I felt ashamed of having asked them to come.
much wonder what you think of the report of the Coal Commission. If
when you return from Italy you make any public comments on it, I
should like to be favoured with them.
Ken and I dined last night with
Nuri Pasha, a very pleasant party including one of the Iraq Army's
British officers and his wife. It was slightly disturbed by the arrival just
as we had finished dinner of an old Jewish notable with his son who
had come to congratulate Nuri on his having embarked on the fast of
Ramadhan. As Nuri never embarks on any fast - very few people do
- it was rather absurd. After they left we played bridge. Madame Nuri
took a hand and played quite well. Aren't they coming on! Ever,
darling, your very loving daughter Gertrude.