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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Wed 15. [15 February 1905] Explored the town a little. The houses
are not decorated but very well built and in comparatively good
condition. The style of building is remarkably clear. On one I found a
cross and no doubt there are many. It was very cold in the night, the
water in a cup in my tent was frozen. Took leave of Gablan and set
out with Fendi at 9. The tedious way was a little enlivened by some
rabbit shooting. 2 ruined towns, Shabha and Shabhieh. I visited the
former hastily. There is a big birkeh in the middle of the town by a
tower. Houses not quite so well built as those of Salkhad. Leaving
Tell esh Shih to the right, we climbed up to Umm er Rumman coming
into cultivation about 11/2 hours before. And with cultivation and
inhabitation into mud. I was on in front and looked about for a
camping ground. They invited me to camp on an extremely dirty spot
near the cemetary [sic] but I refused and went on to Sheikh
Muhammad's house where I found him sitting on the roof
superintending some work outside. I proffered my request and one
near offered to show me a place. It is NE of the town and above it with
running water near, very nice. After tea I went out and saw various
inscriptions which I must copy tomorrow. Also a very sick man with a
wound in his cheek. Then I went to the Sheikh's house and drank
coffee. He is a very old man, an Attrash, cousin of Yahya on the
father's side. He married Yahya's sister and has one son Selwan, a
charming boy of 15 or so. He is persuaded that foreigners look for
inscriptions so that when they take the country they may return it to its
former owners. We talked of the war in Yemen and of Egypt; he was
most friendly. It is nice to be among them again. Nasib el Attrash is
Muhammad's 1st cousin once removed. His father was Muhammad's
cousin on the father's side. They call this also ibn 'amm.

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