Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

27.5114102, 41.7208243

Mon. March 2. [2 March 1914] Wind and dust, a little rain. I discussed
plans with the men then went to the Roshan and wrote out my road.
The slave women came in by ones and twos and chattered softly,
finally I sent them away. They went with many a ba'd hayyeh!
Ravens fly about on samah[?] and great rakhihams which have a cry
like a kite. At night a little owl cries softly. Yesterday I was wakened
by a cock crowing near my tent - a very feeble crow of a very small
cock we had bought. I subsequently eat him and he was very tough.
His crow was the best part of him - it sounded so homelike in this
savage place. Before sunrise and at night I hear Salih chanting the
prayers - with a very beautiful soft and sweet voice. Salim wonders at
the devout manner of their praying and says that in Dam. [Dimashq
(Damascus, Esh Sham, Damas)] many a man will interrupt his
prayers to answer a question and go on Bisinellah al rahman .... But if
you make so much as a gesture out of place the whole prayer is
nought. Abu Q. came in having seen Ibrahim and talked to Fatima,
she veiled. They both say they have no knowledge of my money and
it is clear they won't give it up. I have just £T40, enough if Ibrahim lets
us go. I am to see him tonight. An anxious day - khair inshallah! ma
gesir illa khair. Salim thinks our marriage customs hard - if the woman
has no children or inkaseraf that the man may not take another wife.
But he looks upon the Nejd [Najd] seclusion as barbarous and thinks
death were better. Fattuh made answer "You think only of the men in
this matter. Divorce is hard on the woman." "Eh wallah" said Salim.
Fatima seems to be the power behind the throne here but I don't
suppose she will see me. At 5.30 came 'Ali with good help. His
uncles here are from 'Anezah and the Rashids are in great need of
their assistance. For Ibn Sa'ud has sent word to Boraidah [Buraydah]
and 'Anezah that he intends to go raiding - when [where[?]] not
mentioned - and wants their aid. The arms from C'ple [Istanbul
(Constantinople)] are to be entrusted to 'Ali's uncles who are to lead
an expedition against 'Anezah. The doors will be opened to them
and they will slay the Slaim Abd al Aziz ibn al Slaim - the Amirs of
'Anezeh. 'Ali's uncles are very indignant at the treatment which has
been accorded to me and have already spoken to Ibrahim. All is,
they say, from the hand of the kelbeh Fatima. 'Ali suggests that one or
more of his uncles should come to the Barzan tonight when I interview
Ibrahim and I have jumped at the idea. [Line of Arabic characters]
Ali's uncles are called Salih al Haiya ["Ihaya" written above] and
Hamad from 'Anezah. I need not say that they did not come but
Ibrahim was very civil. We went past the Meshab - they sit under the
mosque gallery in the morning and in the shadow of the wall in the
afternoon - and after we had passed through the inner door we went
upstairs to a small roshan with 2 columns, square capitals with dog
tooth. Here we sat and Ibrahim came presently. We talked first of
rumours from the Amir, that he is E. of Jof [Jawf, Al (Al Jauf)]. Then I
discussed the matter of the presents - which we brought back with us -
and the money. Concerning which I. said he had no information.
Subsequently when I told him I intended to go, he said the rafiq would
be ready. Then we talked of other matters. He said the Shammar
have been here more than 200 years and less than 500. They find no
old birs round about Hayyil [Hail]. Before the Shammar were
established here there was no govt of any kind. I tipped the
doorkeepers of the outer gate, the gate in the suq. The building stone
is brought from under {the} Samra.

IIIF Manifest