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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.The same applies to the name 'Teheran' which is now always spelt 'Tehran' but of which I have preserved the former spelling. My own interpolations, inserted where required as links or elucidations, are indicated by being enclosed in square brackets [ ] and by being "indented," i.e., printed in a shorter line than the text of the letters. at the top of a letter means that it is addressed to Gertrude's father, and the heading F. But her letters show how unbreakable to the last was the bond between her and her home, and above all between her and her father. She was, I have since been told, one of the first young women at Oxford to wear brown shoes, of which she set the fashion among her contemporaries. Arthur Hassall of Christchurch, Oxford, who knew her well, records the following incident of Gertrude's 'viva voce.' I quote from his letter: "S. Gardiner, the famous historian of the times of James I and Charles I, began to 'viva voce' Miss Bell. Wakeman) to continue the 'viva voce.'" The result of the whole examination however did her so much credit that she may perhaps be forgiven this lapse into unparalleled audacity. Arthur Hassall also writes: "Gertrude went to the four balls given at Commemoration that week, of which the last was the night before her 'viva voce,' and danced all the evening looking brilliantly happy." She also writes: "she was the only girl I have ever known who took her work for the schools and her examination in a gay way." After the happy culmination of her two years at oxford she rejoined her family in London and then at Redcar. It's so hot this morning, I went into the gardens to be cool, but presently came the babies who announced that they were barons and that they intended to rob me. I started without them--a fatal step, as you will see.
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.
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.
Leben in Münster und dem Münsterland ist attraktiv.
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.
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.