To wake in that desert dawn was like waking in the heart of an opal. ... See the desert on a fine morning and die - if you can!

— Gertrude Bell

The most vibrant Gertrude Bell quotes that will add value to your life

There is nothing more difficult to measure than the value of visible emotion.


I will have no locked cupboards in my life.


...the holy men sat in an atmosphere reeking of antiquity, so thick with the dust of ages that you can't see through it -nor can they.


It's so nice to be a spoke in the wheel, one that helps to turn, not one that hinders.


... at times they are good and quiet company, the dead; they will not interrupt your musings, but when they speak, whether they be Jews or Turks or heathens, they will speak in a tongue all can understand. there are even countries where the moving, breathing people are less intelligible, dwell in a world further apart form you, than that silent population under the earth.


All the earth is seamed with roads, and all the sea is furrowed with the tracks of ships, and over all the roads and all the waters a continuous stream of people passes up and down - traveling, as they say, for their pleasure. What is it, I wonder, that they go out to see?


Until quite recently I've been wholly cut off from [the Shias] because their tenets forbid them to look upon an unveiled woman and my tenets don't permit me to veil Nor is it any good trying to make friends through the women - if they were allowed to see me they would veil before me as if I were a man. So you see I appear to be too female for one sex and too male for the other.


I have fallen a hopeless victim to the Turk; he is the most charming of mortals.


We as outsiders can't differentiate between Sunni and Shi'ah, but leave it to them and they'll get over the difficulty by some kind of hanky panky, just as the Turks did, and for the present it's the only way of getting over it. I don't for a moment doubt that the final authority must be in the hands of the Sunnis, in spite of their numerical inferiority; otherwise you will have a mujtahid-run, theocratic state, which is the very devil.