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In the letters contained in this book there will be found many Eastern names, both of people and places, difficult to handle for those, like myself, not conversant with Arabic. They foreshadow the pictures given in her subsequent family letters of her gradual development on all sides through the years, garnering as she went the almost incredible variety of experiences which culminated and ended in Bagdad. Then after their father's second marriage the two Lascelles boys came into the circle as intimates and cousins, the sons of my sister Mary spoken of in the letters as Auntie Mary, wife of Sir Frank Lascelles. I found them breakfasting on dates,-camels' milk and the bitter black coffee of the Arabs--a peerless drink.The Arabic alphabet has characters for which we have no satisfactory equivalents and the Arab language has sounds which we find it difficult to reproduce. Anthony Henley, The Dowager Countess of Jersey, Mary Countess of Lovelace, Hon. Letters written when she was twenty show that after her triumphant return from Oxford with one of the most brilliant Firsts of her year she threw herself with the greatest zest into all the amusements of her age, sharing in everything, enjoying everything, dancing, skating, fencing, going to London parties; making ardent girl friendships, drawing in to her circle intimates of all kinds. Florence Lascelles, my sister's only daughter, is constantly mentioned in the letters. Gertrude Lowthian Bell, the most brilliant student we ever had at Lady Margaret Hall, or indeed I think at any of the women's colleges. I also made a supplementary breakfast with them and then we all started off together.
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. 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. 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.