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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

27.5114102, 41.7208243

Thurs Feb 26. [26 February 1914] We sold 6 camels for £T36, with a
loss of £T15 on their cost. The one that died had cost us £T81/2 so
that we have lost in all £T231/2. The other 13 camels we sent back to
the Nefud [Nafud, An] with Sayyif and a couple of men to be cured of
jerrab. I wrote in the roshan while and a little Abdah[?] visitor
sat and talked. Before noon came 'Abdullah ibn Tellal with an 'abd, a
princely boy, long delicate features, big kohl blackened eyes, gold
bound agal and a grave and sorrowful look. In the afternoon came
his younger brother Muhammad, also grave and shy, holding by the
hand another little boy, of the Jabr house [space left blank] (many of
them were slain by Muhammad because they plotted against his life)
I took them to my tents and showed them everything. They sat and
eat biscuits and apples till Salih fetched them and we sat again in the
men's tent. I asked Muhammad whether he cd read and write. Yes,
he went to the school. But Abdullah had finished with schooling. "He
knows how to read and write?" "Yarif kullesh" with a sweeping of
palm over palm. They had 2 slave boys with them. Presently Salih
said "They have called the 'asr, will you not pray Muhammad?" And
they rose and walked solemnly away hand in hand, looking like little
men in their long robes. Muhammad had very long plaits hanging
down on either side of his head - a gentle, sad expression. These 2,
Sa'ud and his 2 baby sons (he has 4 wives though he is only about
20) and a small son of Mit'ab ibn Abd al Aziz are all that remain of
Abdallah ibn Rashid's descendants. After tea I went with Salim and
Sa'id the slave outside the town and sat on a rock scored with
modern graffiti, Khatt Abdullah ibn Salih etc. Within the walls the green
corn fields shone like jewels. The middle quarter is called Lubbeh, its
gate to the S.E. the Lubbeh Gate. There are 5 gates in all. There is
some empty space within the walls but most is gardens. To the S. are
some large detached garden grounds, walled and towered. Pink
almonds flowered in them, or plums. The tall tower in the midst was
that of the Barzan. Sa'ud set off 2 months ago, the early rains being
good - they raid in the rains. He will perhaps be back in a month. He
has 800 men with him; he does not take the villagers but levies a
service indemnity from them. When he goes out on such expeditions
he takes one or two extra ra'iyyehs of camels with him to replace the
slain. And they had some mares with them. He gives to each man
provisions and arms according to the number of men he is called
upon to bring with him. He is now raiding the Ruwalla; last year it was
the Sherarat. He does not raid in the summer except it be very close
at hand. Salih has drawn out a masalla beside the men's tents with a
rounded mihrab having a few stones set upright to outline its tip, and 2
suffa for the men to stand along. Ibrahim sent his 'abd to enquire after
my health. At night I sat in the men's tent. M al M [Muhammad al
Ma'rawi] was gone to take a gift to Ibrahim, khaffa, Abba and
kumbaj[?] of silk, with 2 boxes of sweetmeats. Also two khaffas and
some sweetmeats to the senders of the sheep and rice. Salih spoke
of the Rashid tragedies. Sa'ud when he came back from Medina [Al
Madinah] had all the children of the Abeyd house put to death. They
were I think Majids. His uncle Hamud dissuaded him saying he
should have no blood on his hands. He replied that there should be
no blood and had them strangled. He is faris and ghazzai. Mit'ab
was killed by Sultan near Gofar; he brought his body back and buried
him in a well in the Barzam. The little son of Abd al Aziz, Muhammad,
he killed with his own hand, the child praying for mercy. Hamud
saved Sa'ud. Mudi was wife of Muhammad; when he died Abd al aziz
took her. Subhan was wazir to Muhammad and so was Hamud
brother of Mudi.

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