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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell written for Charles Doughty-Wylie

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

27.5114102, 41.7208243

Feb 24. [24 February 1914] We are within sight of Hayyil [Hail] and I
might have ridden in today but I thought it better to announce my
auspicious coming! So I sent in two men early this morning,
Muhammad and Ali, and have myself camped a couple of hours
outside. We had a dull day's journey on the 21st, over an endless flat
plain, but a most delicious camp in the top of a mountain, Jebel
Rakham. I climbed the rocks and found flowers in the crevices - not a
great bounty, but in this barren land a feast to the eyes. And next day,
what do you think? we were back in the Nefud [Nafud, An], for two
mortal days, wearily plodding through sand again. It comes down in a
long finger here and we had to cross it. On the 22nd we saw the first
village - the first inhabited place since Ziza [Jiza] - 5 or 6 hours and a
plot or two of corn and some big ithl trees in a hollow of the Nefud.
The men ran out with the their guns, taking us for raiders, but finding us
to be harmless they ran back and brought us a skin of excellent
leben. Yesterday we passed by two more villages and in one there
were plum trees flowing - oh the gracious sight! And today we have
come through the wild granite crags of Jebel 'Ajja [Aja, Jabal] and are
camped in the Hayyil plain. From a little rock above my tent I have
spied out the land and seen the towers and gardens of Hayyil, and
Swaifly lying in the plain beyond, and all is made memorable by
Arabia Deserta. I feel as if I were on a sort of pilgrimage, visiting
sacred sites. And the more I see of this land the more I realize what
an achievement that journey was. But isn't it amazing that we should
have walked down into Nejd [Najd] with as much ease as if we had
been strolling along Piccadilly!

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