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PREFATORY NOTE INTRODUCTION I 1874-1892 - CHILDHOOD, OXFORD, LONDON II 1892-1896 - PERSIA, ITALY, LONDON III 1897 - BERLIN IV 1897-1899 - ROUND THE WORLD, DAUPHINA, ETC. I wonder if the wide world presents a more singular landscape.
Her devotion to him, her whole-hearted admiration, the close and satisfying companionship between them, their deep mutual affection--these were to both the very foundation of existence until the day she died. The effect however on Gertrude's "Oxfordy manner" of the society of foreign diplomats was not all that Lady Lascelles had hoped, for it is recorded that on one occasion when a distinguished foreign Statesman was discussing some of the international problems of Central Europe, Gertrude said to him, to the stupefaction of her listeners and the dismay of her hostess: "Il me semble, Monsieur, que vous n'avez pas saisi l'esprit du peuple allemand." There is no doubt that according to the ordinary canons of demeanour it was a mistake for Gertrude to proffer, as we have been shown on more occasions than one, her opinions, let alone her criticisms, to her superiors in age and experience. I think the reason the books were so high was because of the dinner party-it was before I began to keep house wasn't it, so I am not responsible, though I feel as if I were. Presently he grabbed her hand and said "do you see that young lady in a blue jacket? "Well," said he in an awestruck voice, "she took a first in history!! Molly informed me in the pride of newly acquired knowledge that there were at least 11,000 castles in his time! Ahmed, my guide, put another two on his camel and I told the muleteers to bring the other four, so that we should have enough water for our beasts and could sleep comfortably in the desert.
I have therefore adopted the plan of spelling the names as they are found when they occur in the letters for the first time, and keeping to it. Scholar, poet, historian, archaeologist, art critic, mountaineer, explorer, gardener, naturalist, distinguished servant of the State, Gertrude was all of these, and was recognised by experts as an expert in them all. One of her contemporaries at Lady Margaret was Janet Hogarth, now Mrs. Yet all the time she put in seven hours of work, and at the end of two years she won as brilliant a First Class in the School of Modern History as has ever been won at Oxford." And Many years later Mrs. In the afternoon Sophie [my younger sister, now Mrs. We drove in hansoms to the exhibition and Captain ---- brought me home, I hope that doesn't shock you; I discussed religious beliefs all the way there and very metaphysical conceptions of truth all the way back-that sounds rather steep doesn't it--I love talking to people when they really will talk sensibly and about things which one wants to discuss. They have a great plan but unfortunately they have not hit upon any way of carrying it out, of all catching the measles and being laid up together indefinitely. I walked a long time and then came in and did history for to-morrow. We got to our camping place, Ain el Baida, about ---It's a short march, but there's no water beyond. I was glad to get under the shadow of my tent and to lunch and sleep.
Thus Gertrude used to write at first 'Kaimmakam,' in her later letters 'Qaimmaqam.' I have spelt it uniformly with a K for the convenience of the reader; and so with other words in which the Q has now supplemented the K. On the other hand, in some of the letters addressed to her family are references to subjects or events that may seem trivial or unimportant. Courtney who had herself taken a first class (in Moral Philosophy) the same year as Gertrude, writes as follows in the 'Brown Book', which is the organ of Lady Margaret Hall: "I never lost touch with her for well nigh forty years after we parted in the First Class, as she said the day I went round to Sloane Street to wish her joy when the History List appeared" The untidiness in Gertrude's appearance referred to by Mrs. I am rather inclined to think however that it is a dangerous Amusement, for one is so ready to make oneself believe that the things one says and the theories one makes are really guiding principles of one's life whereas a matter of fact they are not at all. It seemed to me a gruesome form of conversation and I left them discussing it and their supper very happily. Since then I've been watching the troops of camels come slowly in, their masters carrying a club or an enormous lance 12 feet long, and all the process of drawing water from the deep well and emptying it into basins hastily scooped out in the ground for the camels to drink.
MY DEAR FLORENCE, Mopsa has been very naughty this morning. By some mischance none of her letters from Bucharest seems to have been preserved, but we know that she was extremely happy there, and keenly interested in her new surroundings. Then I paid some visits and came home with Papa at . We stopped, too, and had some coffee and dates and my soldiers ate bread new baked--very good, I tasted it--and drank camels' milk.
She has been scampering all over the dining-room Cilla says. Auntie Ada had her on her knee and Kitty was at one side. From Bucharest she returned to London, from London she Went to Redcar, enjoying herself everywhere. Molly and I have since been picking cowslips in the fields. They eat surprisingly little, these Arabs, when they are travelling.
We have therefore in dealing with them to content ourselves with transliterations, some of which in words more or less frequently used in English have become translations, such as 'Koran,' 'kavass,' etc. She also loved her country life, in which her occupations included an absorbing amount of gardening, fox hunting--she was a bold rider to hounds--interesting herself in the people at her father's ironworks, and in her country village, making friends in every direction. She was a good deal younger than her two brothers and Gertrude, but as she grew up she was always one of Gertrude's chosen friends and companions. When Gertrude was fifteen and Maurice had gone to school, she went, first as a day scholar and afterwards as a boarder, to Queen's College in Harley Street, where a friend of her mother's, Camilla Croudace, had just been made Lady Resident. Her journeys in Arabia and her achievements in Iraq have passed into history. RED BARNS, November 25th, 1889 My gown came from Kerswell this morning-charming I am so glad I did not have a black one. The reason Sheikh Muhammad wants to travel with me is that he is anxious to have the extra protection of my three soldiers--he has two of his own--fearing a raid of Arabs on his camels on the way to Karyatein.
The formulae beginning and ending the letters have been mostly omitted, to save space and to avoid repetition. The abiding influence in Gertrude's life from the time she was a little child was her relation to her father. She replied to his first question 'I am afraid I must differ from your estimate of Charles I.' This so horrified Professor Gardiner that he at once asked the examiner who sat next to him (I think it was Mr. My sister-Sir Frank Lascelles being at that time Minister--at Bucharest--begged me to send Gertrude to stay with them for the winter, after the return from Oxford, opining that frequenting foreign diplomatic Society might be a help for Gertrude "to get rid of her Oxfordy manner." My sister was very fond of Gertrude, whom she called her niece and treated like a daughter: they were the greatest friends. I was rather surprised at their taking this view of the functions of the aristocracy, till I found that they had just been learning the reign of Stephen. The Agail were off half an hour before, the good Sheikh Muhammad having put two water skins for me on his camel.[This is the earliest letter extant from Gertrude, dated when she was six years old. But it was all part of her entire honesty and independence of judgment: and the time was to come when many a distinguished foreign statesman not only listened to the opinions she proffered but accepted them and acted on them. I paid everything but the butcher with what you sent, and had over 1 pound balance which I have kept for next time. So we all played at jumping over a string, not a very cooling occupation, till fortunately Miss Thomson came and called them in. There is no water between Ain el Baida and Karyatein, three hours on.It is addressed to me, at a time when she was not yet my little daughter but my "affectionate little friend." Mopsa, about whom she writes, was a large grey Persian cat, who played a very prominent part in the household.] REDBARNS, COATHAM, REDCAR, Sept., 25th, 1874. Gertrude hardly ever dated her letters except by the day of the week, sometimes not even that, so that where the envelope has not been preserved I have had to guess the year by the context. I went to Clarence to-day and arranged about the nursing lecture to-morrow,-there were a lot of things to prepare for it. Did we tell you how Molly puzzled and shocked her dreadfully the other day by asking her suddenly what was the French for "this horse has the staggers"! I caught up the Agail who had stopped to breakfast and were making coffee and baking bread--they eat nothing in the morning before they start. Gertrude Bell, happily for her family and friends, was one of the people whose lives can be reconstructed from correspondence. About the little girls frocks Hunt would like to have one for Molly made of cambric matching the pattern of Elsa, 16d a yard 40 in. It looks like the white skeleton of a town, standing knee deep in the blown sand. Gertrude was three years old when she lost her mother, who died when Gertrude's brother Maurice was born. The cheap insertion is not at all bad and I think it would not look otherwise than well but there is no doubt that the other is nicer. And beyond all is the desert, sand and white stretches of salt and sand again, with the dust clouds whirling over it and the Euphrates five days away.