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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

Fri. 20. [20 March 1914] Our rafiq is a grave grey bearded man of consideration. His name is Dawi. He has been rafiq to Ibn Rashid's tamman caravans and has been to Hayyil [Hail] in the dor of Abd al Aziz in a matter of camels. He was, said he, mazyun. Settling matters with him delayed us and we did not get off till 6. I gave my 2 rafiqs 11/2 mej. apiece and they complained to 'Ali that I had only given them one. At some outlying tents of the ferih we stopped and Dawi asked news of water. The sleepiest boy in the world was dragged out of slumber - he had been keeping guard over the sheep all night and was sleeping in the sun under his abba. He came up rubbing his eyes and murmuring "Ma ta howwalim? Qahweh." We came to the water at 8.40, al Jawarid, the channels and a shallow bottom with a muddy ghadir which has no outlet. Here we found a member of the Ma'dan filling skins and watering sheep and donkeys, a wild looking lot. Dawi explained our presence and they were very friendly. One said to Dawi Shu isur[?] al rafieh ma'ak? He said Isur ha sittah. If he had not been with us, said 'Ali, we should have had trouble - dabahana. But they stand in awe of the Ghazalat and wd not dare to come out so far camping but for the fact that they are under their wing. The Bedu wd fall upon them. They wore the usual red and yellow qamabiz[?]. The water was muddy and stagnant, with green slime on it. So we rode on over an endless flat country, not quite flat. We crossed another hollow bottom, a sort of wadi, full of trees and good 'aishb. Then we must very gradually have risen to a very small extent, for at 3 we had a low low ridge of banks in front of us. No mar'a. We tried to get across it into the sha'ib, but it was too wide and we came into camp with bad mar'a at 3.45. Al ba'arus nasibhum 'atil says Fattuh. There is a big sort of hemlock leaved plant called Khaishun which they like and a little 'arfej and sparse flowering weeds. And here we are on the l3th day from Hayyil still hanging loose in the desert! Our course was very much east today. The camels smell strongly of green fodder - not nice. We sat round the fire under the stars, Dawi's grave and splendid face in profile as he looked into the embers. I said Al lailahsan min al nahar[?]. He. Wallah ahsan, argah. Faqt al nahar ilhu asbab lil beni adam." "Al rahah bit lail said I. Wal safar said he. Remember Khair allah wajid. Alhamdulillah. One of the Duhlail at the water this morning - he had an evil squinting face - offered Dawi 30 liras if he wd leave us. I said some of the Beni Adam were created by Satan not by God. Ai billah said he.

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