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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

Thurs March 19. [19 March 1914] The rain blew over east and did us
no good. When we had been gone an hour we sighted tents and our
two rafiqs were in a great perturbation. We stopped and sent one off
to see what Arabs they were and he presently returned with 2
horsemen. They were the Beni Salamah, closely akin to the B.
Hassan. Our 2 Hasan now left us and we took on the Salamat. We
rode by the wide and shallow W. al Hisb from 9.25 till 11.22 when it
went off to the right. It goes they say to the Bahr. The Salamah
summer {west} east of Meshhed [Najaf, An]. In the afternoon the
rafiqs began to grow alarmed at the thought of people they did not
know and talked of turning back, they said they cd not spend the night
with us. Ali answered with soft words - we wd drink coffee and eat
together and tomorrow please God they would Gotar[?] in safety on
their way and we on ours. At about 2 we sighted sheep and their
alarm increased. We debated whether we should camp or look for
the tents but shortly after we saw the tents quite near and sent on a
khayyal to them while we followed. As soon as we saw him dismount
["howwal" written above] at the tent door and enter into conversation
we howwakhed and proceeded to pitch tents. They were the
Ghazalat who are the most powerful of the Ri'u and with a rafiq from
them I hope we may be in safety. They all came and drank coffee
with us including a consumptive Sayyid who wd not turn his eyes on
me. F. [Fattuh] has prescribed figs, bameh and milk for his complaint,
and has provided the figs and bameh. Small blue irises today and
flocks of qata'. It was deliciously cold this morning after the rain.
These are some of the Ri'u tribes: B. Hasan, B. Salamah, Ghazalat,
Da'wa, Zubaid, Buhlail, Lam, Imarah, 'Afej, Bdur, Isar, Ba'amir. One of
our rafiqs wore a yellow over a scarlet qumbaz. They all wear white
'ugl, the women and children have silver collars round their necks.
When I asked my rafiq whether they had had snow Dennet al thalj he
did not know what thalj was. He swore bil Sayyid that Ruhbeh was 3
days off. Much intrigued by my compass which I exhibited to him in
camp. He was encouraged by one of the ghazalat to put it to his eye,
and when he hesitatingly did so the ghazalah jumped on him to
frighten him and all the company laughed.

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