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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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1 entry, paper

Sat. 21. [21 March 1914] Off at 5.25 and in an hour came to valleys with good grass and trees - going down to al Hisb [Hasb, Sha'ib]. We touched al Hisb at 6.25 and left it at 6.43. It was about 1/4 of a mile from us at 7.18 and went off to the right. We crossed it at 10.5, touched it again at 11.55, left it at 12.7. {At 2.5 we were in a side valley going down to Hisb; where it comes in and the road crosses Hisb} We got onto the Qasr al Rubaimi[?] road at 6.25 and followed it till 2.30. Where we left it, it goes on at 58? to the W. al Hisb and crosses it at Hafneh where there were tents and flocks, we learnt. Just before we left the road we met a large qaffl[?] of Ri'u coming from Meshhed [Najaf, An]. The men surrounded us, coming up from all sides and wd have stripped us of everything. They laid hands on our camels. But Dawi addressed them and one of them knew him. Is that a Sayyid, said he, who has taken hold of the camels rasan? And the man dropped it. We rode on and they asked him where he had brought us from and why he let all that mal pass through. Riding away on the Sayyid road we looked back and saw a large caravan crossing the Hisb. 2 men were observed following us, on donkeys, galloping. We hurried on, crossed a side valley with a horrible water pool, but the bank blue with irises and still hurried on. One man on a donkey still followed us. Finally Dawi was given a rifle and sent back to parley with him. I fear lest he shd fire at me he said. He turned out to be an Arab from the tents at Hafneh who feared we might be a ghazzu. He was much afraid that Dawi wd shoot him. Dawi explained and he turned back. He said to Dawi Ana min ahlah, ana min al Ruwaitat [remainder of sentence largely illegible] With all this we only came into camp at 4.15 in a shallow sha'ib with a fair amount of 'aishb. When we had left the Ma'dan today Dawi said to 'Ali They wd not have let you pass - wala'in 'Audi khabar said 'A Ana ibn[?] al 'Iraq. It for ......... as we sat round the fire. 'Ali: Waish 'ilmah? ju'an? We saw a nest with 3 eggs in a shijan today - like the eggs in the hole near our tents when we camped with the Ghazalat. 'Ali covered them up with a tree that our camels might not tread on them.

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