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Or she would lead a climbing expedition on to the top of the greenhouse, where Maurice was certain to go through the panes while Gertrude clambered down outside them in safety to the bottom. The Audley Square circle, the house, the hosts, the people who used to assemble there, formed for Gertrude, as for many others, a cherished and congenial surrounding.] To H. I had intended to go on another two hours and camp, leaving a short day's march into Karyatein next morning, but at Kast el Khair we found that the two water skins on Sheikh Muhammad's camel had leaked and were quite empty, and Hanna told me that Yacoub, the muleteer, had refused, after I left, to carry his two skins and had poured the water out on the ground.They both of them rode from a very early age, and their ponies, of which they had a succession, were a constant joy. So here we were with two skins and a couple of leather bottles for ten animals and seven people.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. But the letters to her family have provided such abundant material for the reconstruction of her story that it has not been found necessary to ask for any others. She always wrote 'siezed,' 'ekcercise,' 'exhorbitant.' Sometimes she wrote 'priviledge.' The cooking lessons referred to in the diary and sometimes in the early letters did not have much praftical result. The two or three Years following the time described in the diaries were spent happily at Redcar with Maurice--years of playing about, and studying under a German governess, and having pet animals, of which there were always one or two on hand. I should very much like for a Christmas present Jonson's works edited by Gifford in 3 vols. Except Petra, Palmyra is the loveliest thing I have seen in this country. Last night there arrived from the East a big caravan Of camels belonging to the Agail Arabs, who are going to sell them in Damascus. I had met him yesterday in Palmyra, and he told me that 'Please God, who is great,' he meant to travel with me. Besides these home letters, she found time for a large =and varied correspondence with friends outside her home circle both male and female, among the former being some of the most distinguished men of her time. Went to bed tired, had a little talk not fun and went to sleep. [Gertrude never entirely mastered the art of spelling, and all her life long there were certain words in her letters that were always spelt wrong. I have read Swinburne's Jonson which I will keep for you, it is quite excellent. The stone used here is a beautiful white limestone that looks like marble and weathers a golden yellow, like the Acropolis. I got up feeling extremely brisk, and spent the whole morning exploring Palmyra. I am returning by the ordinary tourist route, The old high road across the desert.
It was fortunate for the recipients that the act of writing, the actual driving of the pen, seemed to be no more of an effort to Gertrude than to remember and record all that the pen set down. [The only remaining entry in the diary is an account of her birthday, the day she was eleven, Monday, 14th of July. Then I found under my pillow a book from nurse then we got up. The little girls think it is a great pity you are coming back so soon, because we are so comfortable. If you let it stand for 12 hours the taste almost goes away, but it remains flat and disagreeable, and I add some lemon juice to it before I drink it. We pitched our tents by a charming temple in the very middle of the ruins--it was before the mules came up, we having got in at 10. 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. 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.