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.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.But even these words (there are many others, but I take these two as an example) which have almost become a part of the English language are now spelt differently by experts, and at first sight it is difficult to recognise them in 'Quran' and 'qawas'--which latter form is I believe in accordance with the standardised spelling now being officially introduced in Bagdad. Hogarth, Elizabeth Robins, and Major General Sir Percy Cox, who has had the kindness to read and correct many of the Proofs. And when she was wandering far afield (her wanderings began very early--she went to Roumania when she was twenty-two and to Persia when she was twenty-three) she was always ready to take up her urban or country life at home on her return with the same zest as before, carrying with her, wherever she was, her ardent zest for knowledge, turning the flashlight of her eagerness on to one field of the mind after another and making it her own, reading, assimilating, discussing until the years found her ranged on equal terms beside some of the foremost scholars of her time. Gertrude lived at first at 95 Sloane Street with my mother Lady Olliffe, who took her and Maurice to her heart as if they had been grandchildren of her own. I need only recall the bright promise of her college days, when the vivid, rather untidy, auburn-haired girl of seventeen first came amongst us and took our hearts by storm with her brilliant talk and her youthful confidence in her self and her belongings. Billy [Lascelles] and I sat in the garden and had a long talk so long that he only left himself a quarter of an hour to catch his train. He wanted to take me with him to Paddington and send me back in a hansom, don't be afraid, I didn't go-What would have happened if I had, it was ten o'clock! I had a delightful dancing lesson, learnt two more parts of the sword dance, began the minuet. I think it's great sport; I'm not sorry to be able to do a good turn to an Agail, and he and his Bagdadis are very interesting to talk to, with their dragoman on the box and their mules following behind the crowds of tents.Gertrude was eight when her father and I were married. Her letters often recount what she was doing with her two little sisters who adored her. Some letters are here given that she wrote between 18 during the time spent in England in one of our two homes either in London in the house shared with my mother or at Redcar, where we lived until 1904. It was a wild looking party that was gathered round the coffee pot.She was a child of spirit and initiative, as may be imagined. These letters are mostly about every day happenings, always lifted into something new and exciting by Gertrude's youthful zest. There's lots of negro blood in them, owing, I think, to their having negro slaves, one of whom was with them. Those letters, varied, witty, enthralling, were a constant joy through the years to all those who read them. He gave me scales a fireplace with pans kitchen furniture. The horses drank eagerly, however, and we went on down a line of columns to the second spring which is much purer, though it, too, tastes strongly of sulphur. Through all her wanderings, whether far or near, she kept in the closest touch with her home, always anxious to share her experiences and impressions with her family, to chronicle for their benefit all that happened to her, important or unimportant: whether a stirring tale of adventure or an account of a dinner party. wide: the other two one for each little girl of nainsook which is a shade finer and will she says wash better, 13d. We rode down to one of the two springs to which it owes its existence, a plentiful supply of the clearest water, but so much impregnated with sulphur that the whole world round it smells of sulphur.
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.
[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.
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.