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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

23.885942, 45.079162

Fri. Feb 6. [6 February 1914] We were off before dawn. The Father of Goats had gone on ahead and Ghadi and a Sherari with 2 of our rifles to look for bakr. The Shammar and Sherarat camels had started and I followed them on foot with Masuid to take bearings from the ridge ahead. After about 50 yards they turned back and Musuid said "Khayyifin. They have seen gom" They had turned from near the brink of the ridge having met Ghadi, the Sherari and a boy and he of the colocynth balls yesterday. I said to Ghadi What is it? He answered Gom. I said How many? 10 camel riders he said - they afterwards swelled to 20 and dropped again to 15. Ma'al wad, ma' al wad! he shouted to my men. We couched the camels behind the sand banks and tamarisk of the valley and got out all our arms. I sat down Sa'id sat by me and said La takhafi. There will be acquaintance between us. I know all the Arabs. The Shammariyyeh with the baby came to me and said they had a new gatifeh and might they put it on my loads? Fellah transferred it and I saw her afterwards bring her tent cloths and lay them among our camels. Her baby who had cried to see me yesterday, smiled today. Tasababua[?]. The men stood round the warm ashes of the camp fires, Masuid in his white robes shading his eyes from the low sun. Ghadi had gone on to the ridge to scout. Through my glasses I saw him creeping up. Nothing happened. Fattuh, Masuid and I walked over to the ridge, crept up, joined Ghadi and scanned the world. We saw nothing, not even the Father of Goats. Ghadi waved with his keffiyyeh to the others to come on and I took bearings, onto the W end of the W. Mlaih tell (1) and the J. Anfad or Fuwad (equally good both names) ahead. Our road lay down the slope between the Swaiwineh hills, just to the E. of Anfad. All the way down it was da' and nothing grew. Then we came to sandstone and sand, rain pools and trees. This is the end of the Swaiwineh. And here we met the Father of Goats who was probably the cause of our false alarm. The evidence rested on a Sherari boy, the colocynth boy, and on the Sherari hunter who was cautioned not to go on next day and see ghazzus. F. There were 3 men, one drank arak, the other wine and the third hashish. And when they rose to go out of the house they looked at the door. And the Father of arak said It is a [sic] great as the door of a khan, we can never open it. The Father of wine said It is open and the flood of a river is flowing through, we cannot pass. But the Father of hashish said Then we must climb the wall. And he climbed the wall and dropped into the street. And wallahi the door was nothing but a house door. On the first sandstone mound I got bearings onto Mlaih 1 and the Tu's al Jaifeh which run out from under it to near where we are camped. Also onto the Jraniyyat to the W. a line of tells. The Anfad are also a line of tells. At one, we reached a region called the Mara' al Malaidah where there were plenty of pools and trees. Here the early rains are said to fall always. Masuid said there were no trees further on. Ali and Ghadi were on ahead; they rode back very angry and said there were plenty of trees, and the Shammar all protested. I was very cross, but the deed was done. Sweet smelly air, keen and clear.

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