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Friday, October 16, 2020

Gertrude Bell: The Queen of the Desert

"Al Khatun: The Queen of the Desert"

The world of 1895 is a breathtaking and fascinating time of adventure and discovery.  Though the London papers have been dominated with the recent headlines involving the daring adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Alan Quartermain and Colonel Dugald Campbell, VC, DSO, etc. An age of scientific advancement, mechanical wonders, and mysterious Mystical powers - but there has also been distress as master criminals, evil doers and the rise of other regional powers threaten the peace and stability of the British Empire and its allies.

Entering on the world stage at this time is an unlikely adventuress:  Gertrude Bell.

The eldest daughter of a British steel magnate, Gertrude Bell was born in 1869 at the height of stodgy, Victorian England. Possessing a keen mind and a determined disposition, she rejected the narrow life of a stayed and dignified British lady to excel at Oxford University at the age of 17. History was one of the few subjects women were allowed to study so she specialized in modern history receiving a first class honors degree in two years. 

 Gertrude Bell

Upon graduation and supported by her family's wealth she was free to indulge her passion for adventure, be it climbing the Swiss alps or traipsing through Arabian deserts. before ambitiously embarking upon a series of grueling travels through the Middle East. 

 Gertrude Bell in Babylon.

Though famous as an English writer and traveler, Her Majesty's government realized her importance and she has served as political officer, administrator, spy and archaeologist exploring and mapping the unknown regions of the earth. 
She has become highly influential to British imperial policy-making due to her knowledge and contacts, built up through extensive travels in North Africa, Greater Syria, Mesopotamia and Arabia. In addition, she is the first female Intelligence officer employed by the British Army.

"Huzzah!" proclaims Professor Nightingale in celebration of Gertrude Bell discovering another lost city. 

Here are some suggested rules for using Gertrude Bell, CBE as a character for In Her Majesty's Name (Paid Link):

Pluck: 2+
Fighting Value: +1
Shooting Value: +2
Speed: +0
Cost: 69 points
Talents: Leadership +2, Erudite Wit, Fearless, Inspirational, Stealthy, Impervious, Meticulous Planning, Master of Disguise
Basic Equipment: Brigandine, pistol and machete

28mm Miniature by Pulp Figures.

"No woman in recent time has combined her qualities – her taste for arduous and dangerous adventure with her scientific interest and knowledge, her competence in archaeology and art, her distinguished literary gift, her sympathy for all sorts and condition of men, her political insight and appreciation of human values, her masculine vigour, hard common sense and practical efficiency – all tempered by feminine charm and a most romantic spirit." - From her obituary.

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