These were usually addressed to her father and dispatched to her family by every mail and by every extra opportunity. We had soup fish mince crockets Puding, cheese and butter and desert. What with one thing and another, it was before I could retire and wash and go to bed, but I then slept most blissfully for a couple of hours; after which I had tea and received all the worthies of the town-the Mudir is an old Turk, who talks much less Arabic than I do--and when I had sent them away happy I walked Out and down the street of columns into the Temple of the Sun--the town, I should say, for it is nearly all included within its enormous outer walls. As I rode over the hill, Palmyra looked like a beautiful ghost in the pale stormy light.
From 1919 onwards the confidential detailed letters of many pages, often written day by day, took its place. Then we went downstairs to breakfast Mother and Maurice and I cooked a dinner because it was wet. We had a capital cooking lesson yesterday, made scones and gingerbread and boiled potatoes . There seems to be always a wind here; it was such a hurricane in the afternoon and evening that I thought my tent would go, but it held firm.
The word 'Bagdad' which used to be regarded as the English name of the town, a translation and not a transliteration, was spelt as I have given it in Gertrude's first letters long ago. Hogatth has been good enough to read the preceding pages of this Prefatory Note, and to give them his sanction. But Gertrude's keen interest in every detail concerning her home was so delightful, and present her in such a new light to many who knew her only in public that these passages have been included. Courtney gradually gave place to an increasing taste for dress, and she is remembered by more than one person who saw her during the finals of the History School appearing in different clothes every day. One suddenly finds that one had formulated some view from which it is very difficult to back out not because of one's interlocutor but because the mere fact of fitting it with words engraves it upon one's mind. The ladies of Clarence were friendly, and oh, unexpected joy ! The Agail have pitched a black tent not far from me, and stuck a lance into the ground beside it, and they are now making bread for their supper. I wish I could manage to travel on the approved lines, but the fates are against me.
It is now everywhere, even when regarded as a translation, spelt 'Baghdad' and it ought to have been so spelt in this book. He adds the following paragraph: "A more difficult question still in reproducing proper names has been raised by the vowel signs in Arabic, including that for the ain and by the diacritical points and marks which convey either nothing or a false meaning to uninstructed Western eyes." I have therefore omitted the vowel signs altogether. I am most grateful to the people who have given me counsel and help in compiling this book: Sir Valentine Chirol, Mrs. Her love for her family, for her parents, for her brothers and sisters, her joy in her home life, has always seemed to those who shared that life to be so beautiful that it is worth dwelling on by the side of more exceptional experiences, and by the side of the world-famous achievements of one whose later life especially might well have separated her in mind and sympathy as well as in person from her belongings. The parents of the candidates were admitted to the 'viva voce' part of the examination, and I have a vivid picture in my memory of Gertrude, showing no trace of nervousness sitting very upright at a table, beneath which her slender feet in neat brown shoes were crossed. Then one is reduced to the disagreeable necessity of trying even involuntarily to make the facts of one's real life fit into it thereby involving oneself in a mist of half-truths and half-falsehoods which cling about one's mind do what one will to shake them off. I had laid all my plans for coming back from Palmyra like a lady, but no! We got off rather late this morning, it was before I left Ain El Baida, and then the mules were not ready.
Durham, the residence of her grandfather, Isaac Lowthian Bell, F. His wife was Margaret Pattinson, of Alston in Cumberland, daughter of Hugh Lee Pattinson, F. Gertrude therefore had the possibility of inheriting from both Northumbrian and Cumbrian forbears some of the energy and intelligence of the north. insertion and the two nainsook frocks with the 10d or would you prefer them to be all trimmed with the cheaper insertion? Beyond them is the immense Temple of Baal; the modern town is built inside it and its rows of columns rise out of a mass of mud roofs.
V 1899-1900 - JERUSALEM AND THE FIRST DESERT JOURNEYS VI 1900 - DESERT EXCURSIONS FROM JERUSALEM VII 1901-1902 - SWITZERLAND, SYRIA, ENGLAND VIII 1902-1903 - ROUND THE WORLD FOR THE SECOND TIME IX 1903-1909 - ENGLAND, SWITZERLAND, PARIS X 1905 - SYRIA, ASIA MINOR XI 1905-1909 - LONDON, ASIA MINOR, LONDON XII 1910-1911 - ITALY, ACROSS THE SYRIAN DESERT XIII 1913-1914 - THE JOURNEY To HAYIL XIV 1914-15-16 - WAR WORK AT BOULOGNE, LONDON AND CAIRO XV 1916-1917 - DELHI AND BASRAH VOLUME ONE ILLUSTRATIONS (at the end of this file) Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, to give her all her names, although she rarely used the second, was born on the 14th July, 1868, at Washington Hall, Co. Sir Lowthian, ironmaster and colliery owner in the county of Durham, was a distinguished man of science. Gertrude's father, now Sir Hugh Bell, was Sir Lowthian's eldest son; her mother was Mary Shield, daughter of John Shield, of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Would you like to have Molly's cambric frock trimmed with the 6d. It is a mass of columns, ranged into long avenues, grouped into temples, lying broken on the sand or pointing one long solitary finger to Heaven.
Please Papa says will you ask Auntie Florence if she will order us some honey like her own. His unmarried sister, Ada Bell, was then living with them. Hugo was ten years Younger than Gertrude, Elsa eleven years younger, Molly thirteen years. The little girls spent all day with Hunt [their nurse] at her brother-in-laws. Molly says he was a very kind man, he gave them strawberries and cream and lots of flowers but to their surprise he had no servants though he has a conservatory! Often the bread runs short, and only dates and milk remain.
Full of daring, she used to lead her little brother, whose tender years were ill equipped for so much enterprise, into the most perilous adventures, such as commanding him, to his terror, to follow her example in jumping from the top of a garden wall nine feet high to the ground. Some of these early letters are to her parents, others of which fragmentary extracts are given, are to Flora Russell who remained her intimate friend all her life. They intermarry a great deal with these slaves and the son of a slave woman is as good as another.
She used to alight on her feet, he very seldom did. Flora was the elder daughter of Lord and Lady Arthur Russell, who lived in Audley Square. Sheikh Muhammad went to and fro, superintending the cooking and bringing food for us all.
The earlier of these letters, written when she was at home and therefore sending no letters to her family, show what her home life and outlook were at the time of her girlhood, when she was living an ordinary life--in so far as her life could ever be called ordinary. Gertrude's and Maurice's earliest and favourite companion from babyhood onwards, was Horace Marshall their first cousin and son of their mother's sister Mrs Thomas Marshall. The interesting part of it is that the Agail are some of the Rashid's people, and I'm going to lay plans with Sheikh Muhammad as to getting into Nejd next year.
Short extracts from a few outside letters to some of her intimate friends, however, have been included. There were periodical onslaughts Of grief when one of these died, grief modified by the imposing funeral procession always organised for them and burial in a special cemetery in the garden. They came up into my room and I made them some Turkish coffee After lunch, they then disappeared. They had supper with me last night by which they were much amused. He comes from Nejd, and talks the beautiful Nejd Arabic; there are one or two Bagdadis with him, and the rest of the party are the wildest, unkemptest Agail camel drivers.