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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

Sat. March 14 [14 March 1914] Went on over the rolling ground
seeing camels and herdsmen at long intervals. Our course was W. of
N. on account of water. At 9.10 the ground was sandy. They call this
Nefud [Nafud, An] though it is quite hard, the Aqrab is its name. There
are 2 nazis (nazitani) explained Mashkhur called the Ajarib. We must
have been in this ground for about 2 hours. Then we came out into
Hamad again, the Dehannah [Dahna, Ad] which reaches up to the
Batn. At 12.20 we reached 2 Abdeh tents where a shaikh called
Khanus gave us milk and was very anxious that we should stay to
dine, our camels should rest and feed and ghabab[?] ash Shems.
We gave him tobacco. He walked on with us some way directing us
to the Jelta water in the W. al Khadd [Khadd, Wadi al]. He wanted to
go back, get his mare (rachib hal faras) and bring us a dabihah. He
had been with the Amir at Jof [Jawf, Al (Al Jauf)]. There was some
resistance for the Shammar lost 5 men. They took kiswa of dates,
'aish etc. We came into camp at 3.15 in a tributary valley of the
Khabb, full of grass and flowering weeds, daisies etc. Also gaisum
and ghutba - the flora of the Hamad [Hamad, Al] as 'Ali pointed at.
Near us is a favourite camping ground of Muhammad's with a mesjid
laid out in big stones, the S side and the mihrab. Hard by the
rectangle of the coffee fire. Mashkhur was with 'Abd al Aziz when he
was killed. When he rushed out against the enemy he cried Al bariah,
jib al bariah wa ana akhu Nura. And some say that the 'abaid of
Sultan killed him as he stood in the light of the fire, for they say that
when Mit'ab was killed the 'abaid said We slew thy father and now we
slay them. Sultan shot Mit'ab, Sa'ud Tallal and Faysal Mish'al. Sultan
was unwilling to undertake the shooting of the Amir but Sa'ud said
whoever kills Mit'ab, he will be Amir. Muhammad was at Hayyil [Hail].
He took refuge with Hamud (ana dakhilak). Then Sultan said "What
do the people say? And they answered "That Muhammad is shaikh.
They do not want the sons of 'Abaid." Thereupon he slew him. He
had been in the Jebel Druze [Duruz, Jabal ad] fleeing from Abd al
Aziz who wd have killed him. A al A was mazyun and mahbib, but the
8 years war in the Qasim ruined everyone. The camels had jarrab
and the men were kept away from their tents and their families.
Mashkhur was 10 days getting back to Hayyil. The battle field was to
the left of the Qasim, i.e. W. He was with Muhammad when he raided
Riyad [Ar Riyad (Riyadh)]. It is much bigger than Hayyil and the
castle of the shaikhs splendid. Allah mabarak[?] fik. But the hills
round are quite low like the hills here - no thullyan. He was rather
anxious when he found that the Amir was really behind us and kept
repeating what he would say to the shuyukh. He talked of my dirah, of
our mines of gold "and we have nothing but this earth and if there is
rain we eat and if there is drought we dry up and starve." He caught a
hedgehog today, gunfid.

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