Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

27.5114102, 41.7208243

Tues Feb 24. [24 February 1914] M al M [Muhammad al Ma'rawi] and 'Ali rode off at 6 to Hayyil [Hail]. We got off 10 minutes later. We had had violent rain in the night and the morning was deliciously sweet and fresh. The road led into the hills and we were soon in the granite thullan of the Naha'id. I got Twal Subruwah[?] Jelf (a tell) and Ja'id at 8.45. We passed through the thullan and behind the point which may or may not be Mdeyriyyeh (I think it is not) At 8.55 we stopped till 9.30 to fill some skins at a good pool in the rocks. A mountain feeling in these granite gorges full of green bushes and small flowers. Big tolh trees everywhere and the plain smelling sweet of be'aitheran which was in ineffective yellow flower. I got a bearing on Loqitah at 11 but I think it was only Muham. Ibn al R's. qasr which I got again at 11.45. He used to come out and examine his horses here. It stands in a big palm garden. At 12.35 I saw the village of Loqitah about 2 miles away at a bearing of 85. At 12.45 we came through the hills into the Samra Hayyil, so called from the low tells between us and Hayyil. It is a plain of granite and basalt grit. The NE end of 'Ajja [Aja, Jabal] goes trending away on our right hand. We camped at 1 below a tell a little off the road, whence we can see Hayyil. Very still and pleasant. Sa'id told me of his traffickings. He has been at it since the age of 15 and is now 40. His partner, whoever it may happen to be, provides the money and he has half profits for the ta'b and the buying. If he has half profits he shares the possible loss; if he takes a third only he does not suffer. The trade is not what it was for camels sheep and semneh have risen in price in Nejd [Najd] owing to the competition of Agaili buyers who work merely for hire. If the Egyptian market is good they count to clear £200 to £300 profit on every £1000. The Ra'iyyeh of camels is 71 or 81, of sheep 500. For every Ra'iyyeh of camels they take two herdsmen of the Arabs. A Shammari herd will earn 20 to 30 mej. for travelling with them to Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham, Damas)]. The sheep are far greater trouble and anxiety. They die or stray, once near Mosul [Mawsil, Al] Sa'id lost his whole herd of lambs. "My legs trembled when I heard" he said. But after 2 days' search he recovered them. He never brings in more than 100 or 150 camels at a time because to flood the market spoils it, but M. al Bassam used to bring in 150 ra'iyyehs. The Ma'rawis are the best known and most trusted at this trade. S. once bought in 500 lambs and sold them in the suk of Dam. to a man who did not even to trouble to look at them - "Only give me your hand" he said and paid ..... the price. He once asked a Ruwaili "When the 2 angels come to your grave and ask you of your deeds what will you answer?" He said "I shall say I am a Ruwaili mayyit the Qaul and the hachi is to Ibn Sha'lan, our shaikh; go and ask him."

IIIF Manifest