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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Sun 26. [26 March 1905] Off at 7. We went too far to the north, passing
a small mud village called Helban and another called El Mughara
Merze where there were ruins (they said of a church with carved
stones) and rock cut tombs of a very rough kind. So a little to the E to
Tullul where we came up against an immense stretch of flood water
stretching down I should think 12 miles from the Matkh. We had to go
S to turn[?] it and turned E again near Tell Selmar which we ought to
have made for from the first. The mules came direct and caught us up
at lunch. At El Tullul the arab women were mourning over a new
grave - they mourn 3 days. Only at Mecca [Makkah] and Medina [Al
Madinah] there is no mourning. When the person dies the women
give 3 cries to tell the world that he[?] has[?] fled but no weeping is
allowed. It is forbidden for tears to fall upon the head of the dead for
the Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. We rounded the flood
water and rode along its edge to Moyemat which is a big mud and
tent village. We had to go still half an hour further east to get to the
end of the water. There we turned NE and rode across endless
plains of earth and corn of a very poor kind, and bee hive villages till
we came to Hober. There we tried to camp but cd get neither oats nor
corn nor tibu so we had to go on. Round a tell which is an outpost of
the Jebel Hass to which we were now quite close. They are only a
few hundred feet high but of rock and rocky. Kefr 'Abid lies at the foot
of them in among the outpost rolling ground. There is a little group of
willows by it. It's quite a big place but we had to go rather short of
corn. Got in soon after 5 and the mules at 6. I was 91/2 hours in the
saddle with 1/2 an hour off for lunch. Very tired. None of these places
but Kefr Abid are marked in Kiepert. They are probably quite new,
tents by nearly all of them, but there are quantities of them. About
Hober I counted 5 in sight. The first scarlet tulips. In the hills there
were white irises of the kind that were blue at El Barah, periwinkles in
crowds and red and yellow ranunculus. Mahmud described how he
wd like to go to America if it wasn't that he was held by the love for his
little son. Much warmer. Storks - I saw them first near Kala'at Seijar.

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