Project Gutenberg Australia
a treasure-trove of literature
treasure found hidden with no evidence of ownership




Title:      The Letters of Gertrude Bell  (Volume 1) (1927)
Author:     Gertrude Bell
* A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook *
eBook No.:  0400341.txt
Edition:    1
Language:   English
Character set encoding:     Latin-1(ISO-8859-1)--8 bit
Date first posted:          March 2004
Date most recently updated: March 2004

This eBook was produced by: M Fulton

Project Gutenberg of Australia eBooks are created from printed editions
which are in the public domain in Australia, unless a copyright notice
is included. We do NOT keep any eBooks in compliance with a particular
paper edition.

Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the
copyright laws for your country before downloading or redistributing this
file.

This eBook is made available at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
of the Project Gutenberg of Australia License which may be viewed online at
http://gutenberg.net.au/licence.html

---------------------------------------------------------------------------


A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      The Letters of Gertrude Bell (Volume 1)
Author:     Gertrude Bell

SELECTED AND EDITED BY LADY BELL, D.B.E.

VOLUME 1

1927 BONI AND LIVERIGHT Publishers New York

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

PRINTED IN ENGLAND FOR BONI AND LIVERIGHT, INC.


VOLUME ONE

TO GERTRUDE'S FATHER



PREFATORY NOTE

In the letters contained in this book there will be found many Eastern
names, both of people and places, difficult to handle for those, like
myself, not conversant with Arabic. The Arabic alphabet has characters
for which we have no satisfactory equivalents and the Arab language has
sounds which we find it difficult to reproduce. We have therefore in
dealing with them to content ourselves with transliterations, some of
which in words more or less frequently used in English have become
translations, such as 'Koran,' 'kavass,' etc. But even these words (there
are many others, but I take these two as an example) which have almost
become a part of the English language are now spelt differently by
experts, and at first sight it is difficult to recognise them in 'Quran'
and 'qawas'--which latter form is I believe in accordance with the
standardised spelling now being officially introduced in Bagdad. Gertrude
herself in her letters used often to spell the same word in different
ways, sometimes because she was trying experiments in transliteration,
sometimes deliberately adopting a new way, sometimes because the same
word is differently pronounced in Arabic or in Turkish. These variations
in spelling have added a good deal to the difficulty of editing her
letters especially as reference to expert opinion has occasionally shown
that experts themselves do not always agree as to which form of
transliteration is the best.

I have therefore adopted the plan of spelling the names as they are found
when they occur in the letters for the first time, and keeping to it.
Thus Gertrude used to write at first 'Kaimmakam,' in her later letters
'Qaimmaqam.' I have spelt it uniformly with a K for the convenience of
the reader; and so with other words in which the Q has now supplemented
the K.

The word 'Bagdad' which used to be regarded as the English name of the
town, a translation and not a transliteration, was spelt as I have given
it in Gertrude's first letters long ago. It is now everywhere, even when
regarded as a translation, spelt 'Baghdad' and it ought to have been so
spelt in this book. The same applies to the name 'Teheran' which is now
always spelt 'Tehran' but of which I have preserved the former spelling.

Dr. D. G. Hogatth has been good enough to read the preceding pages of
this Prefatory Note, and to give them his sanction. He adds the following
paragraph:

"A more difficult question still in reproducing proper names has been
raised by the vowel signs in Arabic, including that for the ain and by
the diacritical points and marks which convey either nothing or a false
meaning to uninstructed Western eyes."

I have therefore omitted the vowel signs altogether.

My own interpolations, inserted where required as links or elucidations,
are indicated by being enclosed in square brackets [ ] and by being
"indented," i.e., printed in a shorter line than the text of the letters.

The formulae beginning and ending the letters have been mostly omitted,
to save space and to avoid repetition. The heading H. B. at the top of a
letter means that it is addressed to Gertrude's father, and the heading
F. B. means that it is addressed to me.

I am most grateful to the people who have given me counsel and help in
compiling this book: Sir Valentine Chirol, Mrs. W. L. Courtney, H. E. Sir
Henry Dobbs, Dr. D. G. Hogarth, Elizabeth Robins, and Major General Sir
Percy Cox, who has had the kindness to read and correct many of the
Proofs.

I am also much indebted to the following for placing at my disposal maps
or photographs, letters or portions of letters from Gertrude in their
possession, or accounts of her written by themselves: Captain J. P.
Farrar, Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Hall, Mrs. Marguerite Harrison, Hon.
Mrs. Anthony Henley, The Dowager Countess of Jersey, Mary Countess of
Lovelace, Hon. Mildred Lowther, Mr. Horace Marshall, Hon. Mrs. Harold
Nicolson, Sir William Ramsay, Mr. E. A. Reeves, Miss Flora Russell, Lady
Sheffield, Mr. Lionel Smith, Mr. Sydney Spencer, Lady Spring Rice,
Colonel E. L. Strutt. Also for clerical help given me by Mrs. D. M.
Chapman and my secretary Miss Phyllis S. Owen.

FLORENCE BELL
Mount Grace Priory,
August 1927.



VOLUME ONE CONTENTS

PREFATORY NOTE
INTRODUCTION
I    1874-1892  CHILDHOOD, OXFORD, LONDON
II   1892-1896  PERSIA, ITALY, LONDON
III  1897       BERLIN
IV   1897-1899  ROUND THE WORLD, DAUPHINA, ETC.
V    1899-1900  JERUSALEM AND THE FIRST DESERT JOURNEYS
VI   1900       DESERT EXCURSIONS FROM JERUSALEM
VII  1901-1902  SWITZERLAND, SYRIA, ENGLAND
VIII 1902-1903  ROUND THE WORLD FOR THE SECOND TIME
IX   1903-1909  ENGLAND, SWITZERLAND, PARIS
X    1905       SYRIA, ASIA MINOR
XI   1905-1909  LONDON, ASIA MINOR, LONDON
XII  1910-1911  ITALY, ACROSS THE SYRIAN DESERT
XIII 1913-1914  THE JOURNEY To HAYIL
XIV  1914-15-16 WAR WORK AT BOULOGNE, LONDON AND CAIRO
XV   1916-1917  DELHI AND BASRAH


VOLUME ONE ILLUSTRATIONS

Gertrude at the age of five, with her Father
Gertrude at the age of three
Gertrude at the age of eight-with her brother Maurice
Gertrude at the age of nineteen
Red Barns
Gertrude at the age of twenty-six
The Desert
The Finsteraarhorn
Rounton Grange
The Rock Garden, Roanton
River Tigris
A view of Damascus
Caricature of Gertrude at an Oriental party
In the tent of the Abu Tayi
A Street in Bagdad
Gertrude's map of her journey to Hayil


Gertrude Margaret Lowthian Bell, to give her all her names, although she
rarely used the second, was born on the 14th July, 1868, at Washington
Hall, Co. Durham, the residence of her grandfather, Isaac Lowthian Bell,
F.R.S., afterwards Sir Lowthian Bell, Bart. Sir Lowthian, ironmaster and
colliery owner in the county of Durham, was a distinguished man of
science. His wife was Margaret Pattinson, of Alston in Cumberland,
daughter of Hugh Lee Pattinson, F.R.S. Gertrude's father, now Sir Hugh
Bell, was Sir Lowthian's eldest son; her mother was Mary Shield, daughter
of John Shield, of Newcastle-on-Tyne. Gertrude therefore had the
possibility of inheriting from both Northumbrian and Cumbrian forbears
some of the energy and intelligence of the north.

Gertrude was three years old when she lost her mother, who died when
Gertrude's brother Maurice was born.




INTRODUCTION
TO THE LETTERS OF GERTRUDE BELL

Gertrude Bell, happily for her family and friends, was one of the people
whose lives can be reconstructed from correspondence.

Through all her wanderings, whether far or near, she kept in the closest
touch with her home, always anxious to share her experiences and
impressions with her family, to chronicle for their benefit all that
happened to her, important or unimportant: whether a stirring tale of
adventure or an account of a dinner party. Those letters, varied, witty,
enthralling, were a constant joy through the years to all those who read
them. It was fortunate for the recipients that the act of writing, the
actual driving of the pen, seemed to be no more of an effort to Gertrude
than to remember and record all that the pen set down. She was able at
the close of a day of exciting travel to toss a complete account of it
on to paper for her family, often covering several closely written quarto
pages. And for many years she kept a diary as well. Then the time came
when she ceased to write a diary. From 1919 onwards the confidential
detailed letters of many pages, often written day by day, took its place.
These were usually addressed to her father and dispatched to her family
by every mail and by every extra opportunity. Besides these home letters,
she found time for a large =and varied correspondence with friends
outside her home circle both male and female, among the former being some
of the most distinguished men of her time. But the letters to her family
have provided such abundant material for the reconstruction of her story
that it has not been found necessary to ask for any others. Short
extracts from a few outside letters to some of her intimate friends,
however, have been included. The earlier of these letters, written when
she was at home and therefore sending no letters to her family, show what
her home life and outlook were at the time of her girlhood, when she was
living an ordinary life--in so far as her life could ever be called
ordinary. They foreshadow the pictures given in her subsequent family
letters of her gradual development on all sides through the years,
garnering as she went the almost incredible variety of experiences which
culminated and ended in Bagdad. Letters written when she was twenty show
that after her triumphant return from Oxford with one of the most
brilliant Firsts of her year she threw herself with the greatest zest
into all the amusements of her age, sharing in everything, enjoying
everything, dancing, skating, fencing, going to London parties; making
ardent girl friendships, drawing in to her circle intimates of all kinds.
She also loved her country life, in which her occupations included an
absorbing amount of gardening, fox hunting--she was a bold rider to
hounds--interesting herself in the people at her father's ironworks, and
in her country village, making friends in every direction. And when she
was wandering far afield (her wanderings began very early--she went to
Roumania when she was twenty-two and to Persia when she was twenty-three)
she was always ready to take up her urban or country life at home on her
return with the same zest as before, carrying with her, wherever she was,
her ardent zest for knowledge, turning the flashlight of her eagerness on
to one field of the mind after another and making it her own, reading,
assimilating, discussing until the years found her ranged on equal terms
beside some of the foremost scholars of her time.

To most people outside her own circle Gertrude was chiefly known by her
achievements in the East, and it is probably the story of these that they
will look for in this book. But the letters here published, from the time
she was twenty until the end of her life, show such an amazing range of
many-sided ability that they may seem to those who read them to present a
picture worth recording at every stage.

Scholar, poet, historian, archaeologist, art critic, mountaineer,
explorer, gardener, naturalist, distinguished servant of the State,
Gertrude was all of these, and was recognised by experts as an expert in
them all.

On the other hand, in some of the letters addressed to her family are
references to subjects or events that may seem trivial or unimportant.
But Gertrude's keen interest in every detail concerning her home was so
delightful, and present her in such a new light to many who knew her only
in public that these passages have been included.

Her love for her family, for her parents, for her brothers and sisters,
her joy in her home life, has always seemed to those who shared that life
to be so beautiful that it is worth dwelling on by the side of more
exceptional experiences, and by the side of the world-famous achievements
of one whose later life especially might well have separated her in mind
and sympathy as well as in person from her belongings. But her letters
show how unbreakable to the last was the bond between her and her home,
and above all between her and her father. The abiding influence in
Gertrude's life from the time she was a little child was her relation to
her father. Her devotion to him, her whole-hearted admiration, the close
and satisfying companionship between them, their deep mutual
affection--these were to both the very foundation of existence until the
day she died.




CHAPTER I


1874-1892


CHILDHOOD-OXFORD-LONDON


[This is the earliest letter extant from Gertrude, dated when she was six
years old. It is addressed to me, at a time when she was not yet my
little daughter but my "affectionate little friend." Mopsa, about whom
she writes, was a large grey Persian cat, who played a very prominent
part in the household.]

REDBARNS, COATHAM, REDCAR, Sept., 25th, 1874.

MY DEAR FLORENCE,
Mopsa has been very naughty this morning. She has been scampering all
over the dining-room Cilla says. I had a great Chase all over the hall
and dining room to catch her and bring her to Papa. She bit and made one
little red mark on my hand. During breakfast she hissed at Kitty Scott.
Auntie Ada had her on her knee and Kitty was at one side. As Auntie Ada
let Mopsa go down she hissed at Kitty and hunted her round to my side of
the table. Please Papa says will you ask Auntie Florence if she will
order us some honey like her own. I gave Mopsa your message and she sends
her love. I forgot to say Kitty was very frightened. I send you my love
and to Granmama and Auntie Florence.
Your affectionate little friend
GERTRUDE BELL.

[At the time that the above letter was written, the two children were
living with their father at Redcar on the Yorkshire coast. His unmarried
sister, Ada Bell, was then living with them.

Gertrude was eight when her father and I were married. She was a child of
spirit and initiative, as may be imagined. Full of daring, she used to
lead her little brother, whose tender years were ill equipped for so much
enterprise, into the most perilous adventures, such as commanding him, to
his terror, to follow her example in jumping from the top of a garden
wall nine feet high to the ground. She used to alight on her feet, he
very seldom did. Or she would lead a climbing expedition on to the top of
the greenhouse, where Maurice was certain to go through the panes while
Gertrude clambered down outside them in safety to the bottom.

They both of them rode from a very early age, and their ponies, of which
they had a succession, were a constant joy.

From her early years Gertrude was devoted to flowers and to the garden. I
have found a diary of hers when she was eleven. It was an imposing
looking quarto volume bound in leather, apparently given her for a
Christmas present in 1878 but only kept for a few pages, alas. I have
left her own spelling.]

Jan. 11. 1879 Sunday--we played in liberry morning.

Feb. 11. Read Green till 9. Lessons went off rather lazily. We went
into the gardin. I looked at flowers. Stilted.

Feb. 14. 1879--St. Valentines Day. I got 12 valentines. The lessons went
very badly. The lessons themselves were good. Each got twopence . . . we
caught a pigion we put it into a basket.

15 Feb. The pigion was brought into our room it drank some milk Maurice
spilt a lot on my bed. So we went into the cuboard. Breakfast. I read all
the morning. Dinner. I read all the afternoon. Tea. I played with Hugo.
Mother read to us. Taught Maurice geography and read. Went to bed tired,
had a little talk not fun and went to sleep.

Feb, 16 . . . . We now have out some yellow crocus and primroses snodrops
and primroses. Primroses and snodrops in my garden. Crocus in Papas.

[The only remaining entry in the diary is an account of her birthday, the
day she was eleven, Monday, 14th of July. The record, the celebrations,
and all the presents seem amusingly childish for a little girl who was
reading Green's history before breakfast, and devouring every book she
could find.]

When I woke up I went to see the time. It was a quarter to seven. I woke
Maurice. Then I hid my face and he got out his presents. He gave me
scales a fireplace with pans kitchen furniture. Then I found under my
pillow a book from nurse then we got up. When we were ready we went into
Mother's room and there I found a hopping toad from Auntie Bessie dinner
set from Mother, watering can from Papa. Then we went downstairs to
breakfast Mother and Maurice and I cooked a dinner because it was wet. We
had soup fish mince crockets Puding, cheese and butter and desert.

[Gertrude never entirely mastered the art of spelling, and all her
life long there were certain words in her letters that were always
spelt wrong. She always wrote 'siezed,' 'ekcercise,' 'exhorbitant.'
Sometimes she wrote 'priviledge.'

The cooking lessons referred to in the diary and sometimes in the early
letters did not have much praftical result. She never excelled in this
art.

The two or three Years following the time described in the diaries were
spent happily at Redcar with Maurice--years of playing about, and studying
under a German governess, and having pet animals, of which there were
always one or two on hand. There were periodical onslaughts Of grief when
one of these died, grief modified by the imposing funeral procession
always organised for them and burial in a special cemetery in the garden.

Gertrude's and Maurice's earliest and favourite companion from babyhood
onwards, was Horace Marshall their first cousin and son of their mother's
sister Mrs Thomas Marshall. Then after their father's second marriage
the two Lascelles boys came into the circle as intimates and cousins, the
sons of my sister Mary spoken of in the letters as Auntie Mary, wife of
Sir Frank Lascelles.

Florence Lascelles, my sister's only daughter, is constantly mentioned in
the letters. She was a good deal younger than her two brothers and
Gertrude, but as she grew up she was always one of Gertrude's chosen
friends and companions. She married Cecil Spring Rice in 1904.

When Gertrude was fifteen and Maurice had gone to school, she went, first
as a day scholar and afterwards as a boarder, to Queen's College in
Harley Street, where a friend of her mother's, Camilla Croudace, had just
been made Lady Resident. Gertrude lived at first at 95 Sloane Street with
my mother Lady Olliffe, who took her and Maurice to her heart as if they
had been grandchildren of her own.

The History Lecturer at Queens College at that time was Mr. Cramb, a
distinguished and inspiring teacher. Gertrude's intelligence and aptitude
for history impressed him keenly, and he strongly urged us to let her go
to Oxford and go in for the History School. The time had not yet come
when it was a usual part of a girl's education to go to a University, and
it was with some qualms that we consented. But the result justified our
decision. Gertrude went to Lady Margaret Hall, in 1886 just before she
was eighteen, she left it in June 1888 just before she was twenty, and
wound up, after those two years, by taking a brilliant First Class in
Modern History.

One of her contemporaries at Lady Margaret was Janet Hogarth, now Mrs. W.
L. Courtney, who, in a delightful article contributed to the North
American Review, entitled "Gertrude Bell, a personal study" and also in
her interesting book "Recollected in Tranquillity," has described
Gertrude as she was when she first arrived at Lady Margaret Hall-I quote
both from the article and the book.

". . . . . Gertrude Lowthian Bell, the most brilliant student we ever had
at Lady Margaret Hall, or indeed I think at any of the women's colleges.
Her journeys in Arabia and her achievements in Iraq have passed into
history. I need only recall the bright promise of her college days, when
the vivid, rather untidy, auburn-haired girl of seventeen first came
amongst us and took our hearts by storm with her brilliant talk and her
youthful confidence in her self and her belongings. She had a
most engaging way of saying 'Well you know, my father says so and so'
as a final opinion on every question under discussion-[and indeed to the
end of her life Gertrude, with the same absolute confidence would have
been capable of still quoting the same authority as final].

"She threw herself with untiring energy into every phase of college life,
she swam, she rowed, she played tennis, and hockey, she danced, she spoke
in debates; she kept up with modern literature, and told us tales of
modern authors, most of whom were her childhood's friends. Yet all the
time she put in seven hours of work, and at the end of two years she won
as brilliant a First Class in the School of Modern History as has ever
been won at Oxford."

And Many years later Mrs. Courtney who had herself taken a first class
(in Moral Philosophy) the same year as Gertrude, writes as follows in the
'Brown Book', which is the organ of Lady Margaret Hall:

"I never lost touch with her for well nigh forty years after we parted
in the First Class, as she said the day I went round to Sloane Street to
wish her joy when the History List appeared"

The untidiness in Gertrude's appearance referred to by Mrs. Courtney
gradually gave place to an increasing taste for dress, and she is
remembered by more than one person who saw her during the finals of the
History School appearing in different clothes every day. The parents of
the candidates were admitted to the 'viva voce' part of the examination,
and I have a vivid picture in my memory of Gertrude, showing no trace of
nervousness sitting very upright at a table, beneath which her slender
feet in neat brown shoes were crossed. She was, I have since been told,
one of the first young women at Oxford to wear brown shoes, of which she
set the fashion among her contemporaries.

Mr. Arthur Hassall of Christchurch, Oxford, who knew her well, records
the following incident of Gertrude's 'viva voce.' I quote from his
letter: "S. R. Gardiner, the famous historian of the times of James I
and Charles I, began to 'viva voce' Miss Bell. She replied to his first
question 'I am afraid I must differ from your estimate of Charles I.'
This so horrified Professor Gardiner that he at once asked the examiner
who sat next to him (I think it was Mr. H. O. Wakeman) to continue the
'viva voce.'"

The result of the whole examination however did her so much credit that
she may perhaps be forgiven this lapse into unparalleled audacity.

Mrs. Arthur Hassall also writes: "Gertrude went to the four balls given
at Commemoration that week, of which the last was the night before her
'viva voce,' and danced all the evening looking brilliantly happy." She
also writes: "she was the only girl I have ever known who took her work
for the schools and her examination in a gay way."

After the happy culmination of her two years at oxford she rejoined her
family in London and then at Redcar. My sister-Sir Frank Lascelles being
at that time Minister--at Bucharest--begged me to send Gertrude to stay
with them for the winter, after the return from Oxford, opining that
frequenting foreign diplomatic Society might be a help for Gertrude "to
get rid of her Oxfordy manner." My sister was very fond of Gertrude, whom
she called her niece and treated like a daughter: they were the greatest
friends. The effect however on Gertrude's "Oxfordy manner" of the society
of foreign diplomats was not all that Lady Lascelles had hoped, for it is
recorded that on one occasion when a distinguished foreign Statesman was
discussing some of the international problems of Central Europe, Gertrude
said to him, to the stupefaction of her listeners and the dismay of her
hostess: "Il me semble, Monsieur, que vous n'avez pas saisi l'esprit du
peuple allemand."

There is no doubt that according to the ordinary canons of demeanour it
was a mistake for Gertrude to proffer, as we have been shown on more
occasions than one, her opinions, let alone her criticisms, to her
superiors in age and experience.

But it was all part of her entire honesty and independence of judgment:
and the time was to come when many a distinguished foreign statesman not
only listened to the opinions she proffered but accepted them and acted
on them.

Gertrude hardly ever dated her letters except by the day of the week,
sometimes not even that, so that where the envelope has not been
preserved I have had to guess the year by the context. By some mischance
none of her letters from Bucharest seems to have been preserved, but we
know that she was extremely happy there, and keenly interested in her new
surroundings. From Bucharest she returned to London, from London she Went
to Redcar, enjoying herself everywhere. At Redcar she shouldered the
housekeeping and also various activities among the women at the
ironworks, Clarence, Often mentioned, being Bell Bros. ironworks on the
north bank of the Tees.

Her letters of this time give a picture of her relation to the Younger
children-her step-brother and her two Step-sisters, Hugo, Elsa and Molly.
Hugo was ten years Younger than Gertrude, Elsa eleven years younger,
Molly thirteen years. Her letters often recount what she was doing with
her two little sisters who adored her. Hugo by this time had gone to
school. Some letters are here given that she wrote between 1889 and 1892
during the time spent in England in one of our two homes either in London
in the house shared with my mother or at Redcar, where we lived until
1904. These letters are mostly about every day happenings, always lifted
into something new and exciting by Gertrude's youthful zest. Some of
these early letters are to her parents, others of which fragmentary
extracts are given, are to Flora Russell who remained her intimate friend
all her life. Flora was the elder daughter of Lord and Lady Arthur
Russell, who lived in Audley Square. The Audley Square circle, the house,
the hosts, the people who used to assemble there, formed for Gertrude, as
for many others, a cherished and congenial surrounding.]

To H.B.
LONDON, 1889.

. . . . The little girls spent all day with Hunt [their nurse] at her
brother-in-laws. They came home at eight, radiant. Molly says he was a
very kind man, he gave them strawberries and cream and lots of flowers
but to their surprise he had no servants though he has a conservatory! We
suppose he must be a market gardener. . . .

To F.B.
RED BARNS, 1889.

I think the reason the books were so high was because of the dinner
party-it was before I began to keep house wasn't it, so I am not
responsible, though I feel as if I were.

I paid everything but the butcher with what you sent, and had over 1
pound balance which I have kept for next time.

I went to Clarence to-day and arranged about the nursing lecture
to-morrow,-there were a lot of things to prepare for it. Then I paid some
visits and came home with Papa at 4:35. Molly and I have since been
picking cowslips in the fields. It is so heavenly here with all the
things coming out and the grass growing long. I am glad I'm here.

To F.B.
LONDON 1889.

I must tell you an absurd story. Minnie Hope was sitting with an Oxford
man. Presently he grabbed her hand and said "do you see that young lady
in a blue jacket?" "yes" said Minnie lying low. "Well," said he in an
awestruck voice, "she took a first in history!!"

TO F-B.
LONDON, Friday, 14th February, 1889.

. . . . In the afternoon Sophie [my younger sister, now Mrs. H. J.
Kitcat] and I walked across the Green Park to the London Library where I
had a delicious rummage with a very amiable sub-librarian who routed out
all the editions of Sir Th. Browne and Ph. Sidney for me to see I took
down the names and dates and armed with these I felt prepared to face
Bain himself.

To F.B.
LONDON, July 5th, 1889.

Billy [Lascelles] and I sat in the garden and had a long talk so
long that he only left himself a quarter of an hour to catch his train. I
expect he missed it. He wanted to take me with him to Paddington and send
me back in a hansom, don't be afraid,
I didn't go-What would have happened if I had, it was ten o'clock!

Yesterday morning I went to the French Literature class at Caroline's
[Hon. Mrs Norman Grosvenor] house, I came back here, dressed, and went to
Queen Street for a seven o'clock dinner-we were going to the Spanish
exhibition after it.

We drove in hansoms to the exhibition and Captain ---- brought me home, I
hope that doesn't shock you; I discussed religious beliefs all the way
there and very metaphysical conceptions of truth all the way back-that
sounds rather steep doesn't it--I love talking to people when they
really will talk sensibly and about things which one wants to discuss. I
am rather inclined to think however that it is a dangerous
Amusement, for one is so ready to make oneself believe that the things
one says and the theories one makes are really guiding principles of
one's life whereas a matter of fact they are not at all. One suddenly
finds that one had formulated some view from which it is very difficult
to back out not because of one's interlocutor but because the mere fact
of fitting it with words engraves it upon one's mind. Then one is reduced
to the disagreeable necessity of trying even involuntarily to make the
facts of one's real life fit into it thereby involving oneself in a mist
of half-truths and half-falsehoods which cling about one's mind do what
one will to shake them off.

It's so hot this morning, I went into the gardens to be cool, but
presently came the babies who announced that they were barons and that
they intended to rob me. I was rather surprised at their taking this view
of the functions of the aristocracy, till I found that they had just been
learning the reign of Stephen. Molly informed me in the pride of newly
acquired knowledge that there were at least 11,000 castles in his time!
So we all played at jumping over a string, not a very cooling occupation,
till fortunately Miss Thomson came and called them in. Did we tell you
how Molly puzzled and shocked her dreadfully the other day by asking her
suddenly what was the French for "this horse has the staggers"! . . . .

To F.B.
RED BARNS, October 30, 1889.

The ladies of Clarence were friendly, and oh, unexpected joy !--their
accounts came right. . . .

The children and I played the race game in the nursery. They have a great
plan but unfortunately they have not hit upon any way of carrying it out,
of all catching the measles and being laid up together indefinitely. It
seemed to me a gruesome form of conversation and I left them discussing
it and their supper very happily. They have expressed no regrets as to
your absence. . . .

To F.B.
RED BARNS, November 25th, 1889

My gown came from Kerswell this morning-charming I am so glad I did not
have a black one. I had a delightful dancing lesson, learnt two more
parts of the sword dance, began the minuet. It is lovely, you must learn
it the first dancing lesson you are here. It was so fine this afternoon,
a rough sea almost up to the esplanade. I walked a long time and then
came in and did history for to-morrow.

[i.e. to prepare the children's lesson for the next day. She was then
teaching them history.]

To F.B.
RED BARNS, December 1, 1889

. . . . The little girls and I went out before lunch. They came up into
my room and I made them some Turkish coffee After lunch, they then
disappeared. I expect to see them again shortly. They had supper with me
last night by which they were much amused. . . .

I have read Swinburne's Jonson which I will keep for you, it is quite
excellent. I should very much like for a Christmas present Jonson's works
edited by Gifford in 3 vols. not big ones I think. There are some of his
masques I want to read. I don't think they are to be found anywhere else.
. . .

The little girls think it is a great pity you are coming back so soon,
because we are so comfortable. We shall be delighted to have you though,
one's own society palls after a time.

We had a capital cooking lesson yesterday, made scones and gingerbread
and boiled potatoes . . . ..

To F.B.
LONDON, 1889.

About the little girls frocks Hunt would like to have one for Molly made
of cambric matching the pattern of Elsa, 16d a yard 40 in. wide: the
other two one for each little girl of nainsook which is a shade finer and
will she says wash better, 13d. and 38 in. wide. There are two
insertions, one at 6d. not very pretty, one at 10d. very pretty indeed.

Would you like to have Molly's cambric frock trimmed with the 6d.
insertion and the two nainsook frocks with the 10d or would you prefer
them to be all trimmed with the cheaper insertion? The cheap insertion is
not at all bad and I think it would not look otherwise than well but
there is no doubt that the other is nicer. However it is also 4d a yd.
dearer. . . .

Mr. Grimston says that he cannot supply us with mutton for
9d a pound, it is so dear now. I have asked the other butchers and find
they are all selling it at 10d or 10+ a pound so I think it would be best
to pay him 10d for legs and loins-what say you? . . . .

To F.B.
LONDON, February 12, 1890.

. . . .Met Lord ---- in Piccadilly who stopped and said Oh, how do you do?
and then of course had nothing more to say. So I told him I was going to
the Russells' where he said we should probably meet-and then we went our
ways, It is so foolish to stop and talk in the street-one only does it
out of surprise.

. . . . Miss Croudace gave me tickets for a soirée at the Old Water
Colours this evening, but I have no one to take me so I can't go. . . .

To F.B.
RED BARNS, April 2nd, 1890.

I have just returned from Clarence where I found only a few mothers but
some very agreeable ladies amongst them. I walked back with a very
friendly lady-I wonder who she was. She lives in the New Cottages and
only comes up to the other end of Clarence for the Mothers' Meeting and
for confinements!

. . . . Elsa's cambric frock is quite charming. It fits her perfectly and
is most becoming. I never saw her look so bewitching and so grown up too.

To F.B.
RED BARNS, April 17th, 1890.

. . . . I should like to go to the first drawing room if You could
because I shall want some evening gowns and shall have none till I can
use my court gown.

To F.B.
RED BARNS, April 18th, 1890.

I like the pattern you sent us very much, it is charming. I certainly
think a green velvet train would be nicer than a black don't you? I am
just going to Clarence so good-bye.

To F.B.
RED BARNS, Nov. 26, 1890.

. . . . The little girls and I had a peaceful evening together. They
appeared about half past six and I read them selections from Stanley's
letters by which they were much interested.

We looked out his route in the map. Molly was so enthusiastic that she
carried the atlas and the Times up to the nurses and expounded it all to
Lizzie. Elsa had great difficulty with her knitting. The stitches kept
dropping in the most unaccountable way and had to be picked up from the
very bottom of the cuff. 3 guinea pigs have been sold! the little girls
have realised 2/6 by the transaction.

[Lizzie, first our nursery maid, then lady's maid, was Hunt's daughter.
She was with us 38 years and is still in touch with us all.]

To F.B.
RED BARNS, 1890.

The children rode on donkeys this afternoon but it was not very
successful for we refused the assistance of the donkey boy and
consequently could not get the donkeys to move! We passed a ridiculous
hour and finally left our beasts standing peacefully on the esplanade and
came home. I don't think judging by their former activity that there was
any fear of their escaping.

To F.B.
London, 1890.

This is just a little line to tell you how I am getting on. I had a very
nice morning. Lizzie and I went out together and did some delightful
shopping in Sloane Street and then walked up Piccadilly and up Bond
Street and went on myself in a hansom to the National Gallery where I
spent a peaceful hour.

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 8th, 1892.

All the sales are over I'm afraid. I went to Woollands this afternoon for
the sashes, they had nothing approaching the colour, but I will find it
somewhere. I am much interested about your gown, though as you rightly
supposed a little sorry its black!. . . .

To-day Flora and I called on Sarah Lyttelton [now Hon. Mrs. John Bailey]
and had a delightful long talk with her. I like her so much. . . I want
some sashes which are either in a cardboard box or on the high shelf
outside my bedroom door. If there are any ribbons I should like them too.
. . .

I went to Audley Square where Henry James appeared.

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 14, 1892.

Horace came here about three on Saturday and we walked
to Kensington Square, where I took him to call on Mrs. [J. R.] Green. It
was pleasant and amusing. . . . Mrs. Green told me that Mr. York Powell
had said to her-this is not a becoming story, and suited for the ears of
one's immediate family only-that I was the only girl he had ever examined
who knew how to use books or had read things outside the prescribed
course and that he thought I had got into the heart of my subject. What a
little daring it takes to deceive his misguided sex!

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 16th, 1892.

. . . . I ordered the buttons today at Woollands. I hope they will prove
satisfactory.

I regret to announce to you the death of my trumpeter, under which
painful circumstances I'm bound to tell you that Lady Edward [Cavendish]
has been very complimentary about me to Auntie Mary. She is pleased to
approve of me.-We all dined at Devonshire House on Thursday.

The Lytteltons have invited me to a dance of theirs on the
25 th. I shall go if Lady Arthur will take me. I suppose I can ask her.

Feb. 18th.
This afternoon I called on the Lushingtons.

[She was at this time staying in London with Lady Lascelles.]

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 20, 1892.

We dined at Devonshire House. There were there Lady
Edward, William Egerton, Alfred Lyttelton and Victor Cavendish [now Duke
of Devonshire] who came in from the House announcing that he must be back
in 30 minutes but finally stayed till ten. Victor C. is tremendously
interested in his politics, talks of nothing else; it is very nice to
see, as genuine enthusiasm always is.

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 22nd, 1892.

. . . . Yesterday such an absurd thing happened. Auntie Mary had gone
out; Florence and I were walking together; the boys alone here, hear a
ring and a voice asking for Lady Lascelles, then for me, then angrily,
"Well, it's a very odd thing for I was told particularly to come here
this afternoon." Presently we came in and found Lord Stanley's card-now
this was very odd for Lord Stanley does not know Aunt Mary--We wondered
what could be the explanation until tea time when Auntie Maisie came she
said "I hear Henry is giving you Persian lessons!" Then it appeared that
Grisel Ogilvie to whom I had related my attempts to find a teacher
of Persian had sent him--he is a good Persian scholar. Auntie Maisie had
met him at Dover Street at lunch and he had told her he was coming here
to teach me--and had asked if he Would be likely to find us in. She had
said "no" but he had come all the same. . . .

I had another offer of lessons on Saturday afternoon at Miss Green's from
Mr. Strong. I feel I shall end by receiving special instruction from the
Shah in person. . .

To F.B.
London, Feb. 26th, 1892.

I have been paying a visit to Maclagan this morning. Which I think was
wise as I have been feeling tired and unenergetic lately. He gave me a
tonic and told me to take care of myself and not do too much. . . .

It was pleasant at Mansfield Street. Mr. William Peel, Horace, Diana,
Harold, Grisel, Mildred Hugh Smith.
[Horace Marshall, Diana Russell, Harold Russell, Lady Grisel Ogilvie and
Mildred Hugh Smith, now Countess Buxton, G.B.E.]

Uncle Lyulph presently went to sleep; Harold, Mildred and
I had a long and amusing talk together which lasted all the evening. She
is such a nice girl.

On Thursday I walked in the afternoon with Flora and went back with her
to tea. . . .

The Stanley dance was extraordinarily successful. There were about 20
little girls and ten big ones and a few young men. We danced wildly with
the children and the young men. At eight a kind of elaborate tea was
provided for the children and for us a small dinner of soup and cutlets
and so on. Uncle Lyulph was quite taken aback by the splendor of his
party, "I knew we should have something to eat," he said, "but this
gloat I certainly did not expect." He was so much pleased by the success
of the evening that Auntie Maisie thinks he will let her give a real
grown up ball. . . .

["Uncle Lyulph," then Lord Stanley of Alderley, afterwards Lord
Sheffield. "Auntie Maisie," now Lady Sheffield.]

[During this year, there are very few letters to her family. I have
inserted a few extracts from her letters to Flora Russell, recording some
of her doings.]

To Flora Russell
REDCAR, Jan. 4, 1892

My DEAREST FLORA,
* * * *I had a long and delightful letter from Clara the other night, she
is a person who charms and interests me immensely
[Clara Grant Duff, now Mrs. Huth Jackson].

To the same.
RED BARNS, Jan. 10, 1892.

Lady Arthur's approval is very well worth having, and I am grateful to
you for telling me of it. . . .

To the same.
RED BARNS, Jan. 23, 1892.

We have spent a racketing fortnight dancing and acting; I am just
beginning to fall back into my usual peaceful frame of mind which is
rather difficult to regain. I feel to have got rather behindhand with the
whole world during the course of it and that I must hurry along very fast
to catch it up again. But it's the old world I really want to catch up.
I have just got to an inviting stage in my Latin when I feel there is
really no reason I shouldn't read anything-and as a matter of fact I can
read nothing without dictionaries and great labour. The slough of despond
is nothing to it. But I mean to wade on diligently for the next fortnight
and stumble as best I may over the horrid catching briars of prepositions
and conjunctive moods. . . .

To the same.
RED BARNS, August 13, 1892.

We spent a madly amusing five days at Canterbury, of which nothing
remains to tell except that we danced every night, saw a good deal of
cricket and talked a little. . . .

Do you remember discussing what other girls do with their days? Well! I
have found out what one particular class does-they spend the entire time
in rushing from house to house for cricket weeks, which means cricket all
day and dancing all night; your party consists of an eleven and enough
girls to pair off with-you discuss byes and wides and Kemp at the wicket
and Hearne's batting and any other topic Of a similar nature that may
occur to you. It seems to me to be rather a restless sort of summer. . . .

To the same.
RED BARNS, July 22, 1892.

The Lascelles are moved to Teheran which is rather thrilling. They are
coming back to England now and my uncle goes to Persia in October, my
aunt later, I don't know when. I should like her to take me out with her,
Persia is the place I have always longed to see, but I don't know if she
will.

I expect my aunt will be rather annoyed for she will hate being so far
away, but it is a great promotion. As for me if only I go there this
winter everything will have turned out for the best.

I wear a blue-green velvet in my hair which is becoming.

To the same.
RED BARNS, Dec. 23, 1892.

I have been reading Latin with great energy. It's a language of which I
know very little but whose difficulties must be mastered somehow for I
constantly find myself brought up against a blank wall by my ignorance of
it. It is very interesting to learn but I could wish it were a little
easier. . . .

To the same.
RED BARNS, 1892.

This is for the private eye: Bentley wishes to publish my Persian
things, but wants more of them, so after much hesitation I have decided
to let him and I am writing him another six chapters. It's rather a bore
and what's more I would vastly prefer them to remain unpublished. I wrote
them you see to amuse myself and I have got all the fun out of them I
ever expect to have, for modesty apart they are extraordinarily feeble.
Moreover I do so loathe people who rush into print and fill the world
with their cheap and nasty work and now I am going to be one of them. At
first I refused, then my mother thought me mistaken and my father was
disappointed and as they are generally right I have given way. But in my
heart I hold very firmly to my first opinion. Don't speak of this. I wish
them not to be read.

To the same.
RED BARNS, Jan. 28, 1892.

I read a certain amount of history with the children's lessons, for
exercise, and the works of Balzac for amusement. Dante for edification.
It's an agreeable and a varied programme.




CHAPTER II


1892-1896


PERSIA, ITALY, LONDON


[Gertrude went to Teheran, to her great joy, in the spring of 1892.
Her letters from Persia, of which there were a good many, are like those
from Roumania unfortunately not to be found. The only one we have is
addressed to her cousin Horace Marshall, written from Gula Hek, the
exquisite summer resort of the British Legation.]

To Horace Marshall
GULAHEK, June 18, 1892.

DEAR COUSIN MINE,
Are we the same people I wonder when all our surroundings, associations,
and acquaintances are changed? Here that which is me, which womanlike is
an empty jar that the passer by fills at pleasure, is filled with such
wine as in England I had never heard of, now the wine is more important
than the jar when one is thirsty, therefore I conclude, cousin mine, that
it is not the person who danced with you at Mansfield St. that writes to
you to-day from Persia-Yet there are dregs, English sediments at the
bottom of my sherbet, and perhaps they flavour it more than I think.
Anyhow I remember you as a dear person in a former existence, whom I
should like to drag into this one and to guide whose spiritual coming I
will draw paths in ink. And others there are whom I remember yet not with
regret but as one might remember people one knew when one was an
inhabitant of Mars 20 centuries ago. How big the world is, how big and
how wonderful. It comes to me as ridiculously presumptuous that I should
dare to carry my little personality half across it and boldly attempt
to measure with it things for which it has no table of measurements that
can possibly apply. So under protest I write to you of Persia: I am not
me, that is my only excuse. I am merely pouring out for you some of what
I have received during the last two months.

Well in this country the men wear flowing robes of green and white and
brown, the women lift the veil of a Raphael Madonna to look at you as you
pass; wherever there is water a luxuriant vegetation springs up and where
there is not there is nothing but stone and desert. Oh the desert round
Teheran! miles and miles of it with nothing, nothing; ringed
in with bleak bare mountains snow crowned and furrowed with the deep
courses of torrents. I never knew what desert was till I came here; it is
a very wonderful thing to see; and suddenly in the middle of it all, out
of nothing, out of a little cold water, springs up a garden. Such a
garden! trees, fountains, tanks, roses and a house in it, the houses
which we heard of in fairy tales when we were little: inlaid with tiny
slabs of looking-glass in lovely patterns, blue tiled, carpeted, echoing
with the sound of running water and fountains. Here sits the enchanted
prince, solemn, dignified, clothed in long robes. He comes down to meet
you as you enter, his house is yours, his garden is yours, better still
his tea and fruit are yours, so are his kalyans (but I think kalyans are
a horrid form of smoke, they taste to me of charcoal and paint and
nothing else.) By the grace of God your slave hopes that the health of
your nobility is well? It is very well out of his great kindness. Will
your magnificence carry itself on to this cushion? Your magnificence sits
down and spends ten minutes in bandying florid compliments through an
interpreter while ices are served and coffee, after which you ride home
refreshed, charmed, and with many blessings on your fortunate head. And
all the time your host was probably a perfect stranger into whose privacy
you had forced yourself in this unblushing way. Ah, we have no
hospitality in the west and no manners. I felt ashamed almost before the
beggars in the street-they wear their rags with a better grace
than I my most becoming habit, and the veils of the commonest women (now
the veil is the touchstone on which to try a woman's toilette) are far
better put on than mine. A veil should fall from the top of your head to
the soles of your feet, of that I feel convinced, and it should not be
transparent.

Say, is it not rather refreshing to the spirit to lie in a hammock strung
between the plane trees of a Persian garden and read the poems of
Hafiz-in the original mark you!-out of a book curiously bound in stamped
leather which you have bought in the bazaars. That is how I spend my
mornings here; a stream murmurs past me which Zoroastrian gardeners guide
with long handled spades into tiny sluices leading into the flower beds
all around. The dictionary which is also in my hammock is not perhaps so
poetic as the other attributes let us hide it under our muslin petticoats.

This also is pleasant: to come in at 7 o'clock in the morning after a two
hours' ride, hot and dusty, and find one's cold bath waiting for one
scented with delicious rose water, and after it an excellent and longed
for breakfast spread in a tent in the garden.

What else can I give you but fleeting impressions caught and hardened out
of all knowing? I can tell you of a Persian merchant in whose garden,
stretching all up the mountain side, we spent a long day, from dawn to
sunset, breakfasting, lunching, teaing on nothing but Persian foods. He
is noted for his hospitality every evening parties of friends arrive
unexpectedly "he goes out, entertains them" said the Persian who told me
about it, "spreads a banquet before them and relates to them stories half
through the night. Then cushions are brought and carpeted mattresses and
they lie down in one of the guest houses in the garden and sleep till
dawn when they rise and repair to the bath in the village." Isn't it
charmingly like the Arabian Nights! but that is the charm Of it all and
it has none of it changed; every day I meet our aged kalendars and ladies
who I am sure have suits of Swans feathers laid up in a chest at home.,
and some time when I open a new jar of rose water I know that instead
of a sweet smell, the great smoke of one of Suleiman's afreets will come
out of its neck.

In the garden there are big deep tanks where in the evenings between
tennis and dinner I often swim in the coldest of cold water. Before we
left Teheran when it was too hot to sleep, I used to go out at dawn and
swim under the shadow of the willows. We were very glad to leave Teheran
though we liked the house there. It began to be very stuffy and airless;
here, though we are only 6 miles away, there is always air, except
perhaps between two and four in the afternoon when one generally sleeps.
We are much higher up and much nearer the hills and all round us are
watered fields where the corn is almost ripe for cutting The joy of this
climate! I do think an English summer will be very nice after it.

I learn Persian, not with great energy, one does nothing with energy
here. My teacher is a delightful old person bright eyes and a white
turban who knows so little French (French is our medium) that he can
neither translate poets to me nor explain any grammatical difficulties.
But we get on admirably nevertheless and spend much of our time in long
philosophic discussions carried on by me in French an by him in Persian.
His point of view is very much that of an oriental Gibbon, though with
this truly oriental distinction, that he would never dream of
acknowledging in words or acts his scepticism to one of his own
countrymen. It would be tacitly understood between them and their
intercourse would be continued on the basis of perfect agreement. Now
this is a great simplification and promotes, I should imagine, the best
of good manners. . . .

Goodbye, write to me and tell me how the world goes with you.

[This letter, bearing the impress of her youth, shows the first effect on
Gertrude's mind of the impact of the East. It practically summarises her
impressions. We have further records of them in a book she wrote the year
after her return, published by Bentley in 1894, entitled "safar Nameh "
i.e., "Persian Pictures," in which the life of the town and of the
bazaars, the desolate places so strangely near them, the dwellers in the
tents, the divine Persian gardens and many other aspects of her
surroundings, are described with the glowing eagerness of a first
experience. The little book attracted attention and was favourably
reviewed.. I have dwelt on it here, for the interest of comparing it in
one's mind with the books of Eastern travel Gertrude was to publish many
years later, when she was no longer a spectator only, but a sharer to the
full in the Eastern life that she described.

She had, as we have seen in many of the letters, a special and very
valuable gift, that of forming extremely vivid impressions, whether of
places or of human beings. She would dive beneath the surface,
estimating, judging, characterising in a few words that were not often
mistaken. She would ride through a countryside and report on its
conditions, human, agricultural, economic, and her report would be
adopted. When she came into contact with human beings, whether chiefs of
the desert or men and women of her own Western world, she would label
them, after her first meeting with them, in a sentence.

I am not pretending that her judgments were always infallible. But on the
whole they were correct often enough to enable her to thread her way
successfully through the labyrinth of her experiences.

It was characteristic of Gertrude, and it was an inestimable advantage to
her, that she insisted on learning Persian before going to Teheran. She
arrived there knowing as it is commonly called, the language, i.e., able
to understand what she heard and what she read. But she had not yet
reached the stage in which the learner of a language finds with rapture
that a new knowledge has been acquired, the illuminating stage when not
the literal meaning only of words is being understood, but their values
and differences can be critically appreciated. It was not long before
Gertrude was reading Persian Poetry by this light and with the added
understanding brought to her by her knowledge of Western literature.

She was wont when she was at home and someone asked her a question about
history to reply with a laugh " Oh! that is not my period," although it
must be confessed that an answer to the question was generally
forthcoming. But in literature it would be hard to say offhand what was
her " period."

She published a translation of the Divan of Hafiz in
1897. The book includes a life of Hafiz, which is practically a history
of his times as well as a critical study of his work. These, and the
notes on his poems at the end of the book, show how wide was her field of
comparison. She draws a parallel between Hafiz and his contemporary
Dante: she notes the similarity of a passage with Goethe: she compares
Hafiz with Villon, on every side gathering fructifying examples which
link together the inspiration of the West and of the East.

The book on its publication was extremely well received.

I quote here from two of the translations.]

TO HAFIZ OF SHIRAZ
(Two first stanzas)

Thus said the Poet: " When Death comes to YOU,
All ye whose life-sand through the hour-glass slips,
He lays two fingers on your ears, and two
Upon your eyes he lays, one on your lips,
Whispering: Silence. "Although deaf thine ear,
Thine eye, my Hafiz, suffer Time's eclipse,
The songs thou sangest still all men may hear.

Songs of dead laughter, songs of love once hot,
Songs of a cup once flushed rose-red with wine,
Songs of a rose whose beauty is forgot,
A nightingale that piped hushed lays divine:
And still a graver music runs beneath
The tender love notes of those songs of thine,
Oh, Seeker of the keys of Life and Death!"

DIVAN OF HAFIZ x1v

(From poem on the death of his son)

The nightingale with drops of his heart's blood
Had nourished the red rose, then came a wind,
And catching at the boughs in envious mood,
A hundred thorns about his heart entwined,
Like to the parrot crunching sugar, good
Seemed the world to me who could not stay
The wind of Death that swept my hopes away.
Light of mine eyes and harvest of my heart,
And mine at least in changeless memory!
Ah! when he found it easy to depart,
He left the harder pilgrimage to me!

Oh Camel-driver, though the cordage start,
For God's sake help me lift my fallen load,
And Pity be my comrade of the road!
He sought a lodging in the grave--too soon!
I had not castled, and the time is gone.
What shall I play? Upon the chequered floor
Of Night and Day, Death won the game--forlorn
And careless now, Hafiz can lose no more.

Gertrude, who was an ardent lover of poetry all her life long, and who
kept abreast of the work of the moderns as well as of their predecessors,
seemed, strangely enough, after the book of Hafiz had appeared, to
consider her own gift of verse as a secondary pursuit, and to our
surprise abandoned it altogether. But that gift has always seemed to me
to underlie all she has written. The spirit of poetry coloured all her
prose descriptions, all the pictures that she herself saw and succeeded
in making others see.

It was a strangely interesting ingredient in a character capable on
occasion of very-definite hardness and of a deliberate disregard of
sentiment: and also in a mental equipment which included great practical
ability and statesmanlike grasp of public affairs.

But in truth the real basis of Gertrude's nature Was her capacity for
deep emotion. Great joys came into her life, and also great sorrows. How
could it be otherwise with a temperament so avid of experience? Her
ardent and magnetic personality drew the lives of others into hers as she
passed along.

She returned to England from Teheran in December of
1892. In January 1893 we find her starting for Switzerland and northern
Italy with Mary Talbot, a beloved friend who had been with her at Lady
Margaret Hall. Mary Talbot married the Rev. W. O. Burrows, now Bishop of
Chichester, in 18 96. She died, to Gertrude's great sorrow, in 1897.

In April she went to Algiers with her father to stay with some of his
relations, afterwards going back to Switzerland, and then joining
Maurice, who was established in a German family at Weimar that he might
learn the language. Needless to say that as soon as Gertrude arrived at
Weimar she arranged to have German lessons, and went three times a week
to talk with " a delightful old lady living in whose house do you
think?--Frau von Stein's!" Her letters all through these travels from the
beginning of the year are as usual amusing and full of observation,
whether describing the flamboyant setting of the foreign residents at
Algiers or the trim traditional life of the ladies of Weimar. But it is
not worth while to take up space by accounts of routes already well-
trodden, or places and social surroundings well known.

Gertrude came back to England from Germany in the early summer of 1893
and does not seem to have gone abroad again until the spring of 1896.
There are no letters of the two intervening years. and unfortunately no
records.
In the spring of 1896 Gertrude travelled in the
north of Italy, first in the company of Mrs. Norman Grosvenor and then of
Mrs. J. R. Green, both of whom were her dear friends. Her father was with
her part of the time.

They stayed in Venice, they stayed in Florence. As might be expected, on
her arrival in Italy, Gertrude at once arranged to have Italian lessons.
She writes from Venice "At 3 I had my parlatrice until 4. "

The Talbots (now General the Hon. Sir Reginald and Lady Talbot) were
staying in Florence, which was a great added enjoyment. Lady Talbot was
Mrs. Grosvenor's sister.

After Gertrude's return from Italy she was at home until the end of the
year.]

To F.B.
LONDON, 1896.

One line to say we had a most amusing party at the Portsmouths yesterday.
I made the acquaintance of Miss Haldane, whom I have long wished to know,
and I am going to tea with her tomorrow. Haldane was most complimentary
about my book--which I think he hasn't read by the way. A delightful
review in the Athenaeum.

E. and I dined with the Stracheys first--very pleasant, we four, St. Loe
had just finished reviewing my book!

Flora lunched to-day and we went out together afterwards. Tomorrow I have
a Buddhist Committee lunch.

I wrote my review of Lafcadio this morning, the sort of blissful morning
when one suddenly realises at the end of a few hours that one has been
quite unconscious of the passing Of time. I'm just going to finish it
now.

Moll looked charming last night.

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 12th, 1896.

I Studied my grammar this morning and went to the London Library where I
looked through volumes and volumes of Asiatic Societies . . . and found
little to my purpose.

To F. B.
LONDON, Thursday, Feb. 14th, 1896.

I had a very nice evening with the Ritchies--Pinkie Was there and she
played the piano, and we talked (not wile she played) and it was very
merry. They are looking very well. I think they are coming to you for
Easter.

I came away rather early for I had a lesson at 5. My Pundit was extremely
pleased with me, he kept congratulating Me on my proficiency in the
Arabic tongue! I think his other pupils must be awful duffers. It is
quite extraordinarily interesting to read the Koran with him-and it is
such a magnificent book! He has given me some Arabian Nights for the next
time and I have given him some Hafiz poems to read, so we shall see what
we shall see. He is extremely keen about the Hafiz book. . . .

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 17, 1896.

This morning I stayed in and read some most illuminating articles on
Sufyism. There's a lot to know but I guess I'll know some of it before
I've done. I expect I shall get my reading ticket to-morrow.

To F.B.
LONDON, Feb. 24, 1896.

My Pundit brought back my poems yesterday-he is really pleased with them.
I asked him if he thought they were worth doing and he replied that
indeed he did. He is full of offers of assistance and wants to read all
that I have done, which from a busy man is, I think, the best proof that
he likes what he has seen. Arabic flies along-I shall soon be able to
read the Arabian Nights for fun.

To F.B.
LONDON, 1896.

My domino is going to be so nice and it will cost me very little for it
is all made of a beautiful piece of white stuff Papa gave me in Algiers.
Lizzie is making it. . . .

Give my love to Lisa. [Elizabeth Robins, the dear friend of us all, and
the constant guest--then as now.] I wish I could come and have a long
talk with her to-night over the fire.

To H. B.
PALAZZO GRITTI (VENICE), Saturday, April 14th, 1896.

Mrs. Green went in the morning to see Lady Layard, who offered us her
gondola to go out and see the arrival of the Emperor. Meanwhile I went
and called upon the Wards who are at the Hôtel de l'Europe and found them
all and combined many meetings. Dorothy and Arnold walked me home.

At 2Mrs. Green and I started out in a splendid gondola and went nearly to
the Lido amidst a crowd of boats. It was very
gorgeous for the Municipio appeared in splendid gondolas hung with
streamers and emblems and rowed by 8 gondoliers in fancy dresses of
different colours. About 3 the Hohenzollern steamed in through the Lido
port, a magnificent great white ship with all the sailors dressed in
white and standing in lines upon the deck. The guns fired, the ships in
the harbour saluted and all the people cheered. The Hohenzollern anchored
nearly opposite the Piazzetta and we saw the King and Queen and a crowd
of splendid officers Come up in a steam launch all hung with blue. They
went on board the Hohenzollern and presently we saw them all go away
again with the Emperor and his two little boys. We were much amused, and
for magnificence there never was anything like a festa with the Ducal
Palace for background. It was a very imperial way of arriving to steam up
in your gorgeous white ship. I only wished it had not been that
Particular emperor we were welcoming.

To H. B.
VENICE, PALAZZO GRITTI, Thurrsday, April, 1896.

Mrs. Green and I went out in a gondola and saw the sun set behind the
Euganean Hills. . . . she is a great dear. . . .

To H. B. FLORENCE, Sunday, April, 1896.

Caroline [Grosvenor] is a delightful companion-we are particularly happy.

To F.B.
LONDON, May 7th, 1896.

I had a real busy morning and settled all my summer clothes and ordered a
gown at Mrs. Widdicombe's. I hope it will be ready before you come as I
should like you to pronounce upon it. Tomorrow I intend to spend an hour
or two over my Hafiz things and get them all straight.

To F.B.
LONDON, Saturday, May 13th, 1896.

I went to the British Museum on my bicycle this morning. It adds a great
joy to my studies and I feel all the brisker for it. The children have
had a tennis court marked in the square. I am just going out to see! them
play. They are looking blooming and are such angels! However we will try
not to be too foolish about our family.

To F.B.
LONDON, Sat., May, 1896.

. . . I was invited to Lady Lockwood's dance but I really couldn't be
bothered to hunt up a chaperon and go to it. . . .

To F.B.
LONDON, Monday, May 11th, 1896.

. . . About the children's flower gowns--we finally decided that the
cheapest and best thing we could do was to trim the gowns with field
flowers (artificial of course), buttercups) daisies and forget-me-nots. We
have cut a sort of ruche of tulle round the bottom of the skirt with
little bunches of flowers tucked into it, and hung flowers from the neck
and from the waist in little streams--on the whole I think this plan
has made as much show as possible for as little money and the dresses
look quite charming . . . I hope I've done right about it. The children
were extremely anxious to have their gowns very flowery. Elsa was
inclined to think that they didn't look flowery enough as it was, but we
all assured her they were very very nice, and I really think 15/- is
enough to have spent on this absurd amusement. . . .

To F. B.
LONDON, 1896.

We had a very merry dinner and started out about ten, along the
embankment, the Strand and through the City to the Tower Bridge, then
home by Holborn Viaduct and oxford Street. The Strand was pretty full but
the City quite empty, all brilliantly lighted and the asphalt pavement
excellent good going. It was a delicious night with a little moon and I
enjoyed it extremely. We went back to supper with the Tyrrells and I was
not in till 1:30. However I went
Off after breakfast to the Museum where I asked for a book they' hadn't
got! It is rather funny that I should have exhausted the whole British
Museum in a fortnight, but it's also a bore, for I wanted a nice French
translation and now I shall have to fall back on the original Persian
which they have. . . .

I have told Lizzie about the bonnet and cloak so you will find them
ready.

To F.B.
LONDON, May 15th, 1896.

Our party last night was a great success, the babies looked
charming. I was much complimented upon their appearance. It was most
amusing being a chaperon. I sat on a bench and watched them dancing round
and knew just what you felt like at Oxford. . . .

To F.B.
LONDON, Thursday, May, 1896.

went up to the Museum this morning and read a
Persian life of Hafiz with a Latin crib. I think I got at the meaning of
it with the help of a Persian dictionary, but a Latin translation is not
so clear to me as it might be. . . . I didn't go to Lady Pollock's on
Tuesday, because I had Promised to go to a party at Audley Square and I
couldn't combine the two unchaperoned. Audley Square was amusing . .. I
am going down to Caroline (in Kent) for Whitsuntide. I want to bicycle
down on Saturday if I can get an escort, it's only 17 miles, and send my
luggage by train. London is beginning to feel very Whitsuntidy. Beatrice
Clementi came to see me this afternoon just before I went out. She is to
be married in November. . . [to Sir Douglas Brownrigg, Bt., now
Rear-Admiral, retired.]

To H.B.
LONDON, June, 1896.

It is very close here and has been raining a good deal think of ordering
a tasteful costume for Ascot consisting of a short skirt, a waterproof
and a large umbrella. Florence and I arranged the flowers at 95 and did
the dinner table at 90 most elegantly--I dine there to-night. The rest of
the party are Lady Edward John Cavendish and Mr. Chirol. Then I had a
long talk with Auntie Mary, who seems very brisk and well.

I took Florence with me to try on my gown and we walked together in the
Square until a storm of rain came on and drove us in.

Auntie Maisie asks me to dine with her Friday and go to a ball, and
Maurice is to come to dinner if she can possibly find a place for him,
and at any rate to come in directly after dinner and go to the ball too.

To F.B.
LONDON, Thursday, June, 1896.

. . . We have had a most delightful day. We started about
10:30, Gerald, Florence, Uncle Frank and I, got to Ascot half an hour
before the first race, which we saw from the top of the Royal Enclosure
Stand; then we lunched in the Bachelors' tent, Billy being our host, and
I sat next Colonel Talbot and was much amused. He had a Carpenter niece
with him. Then we went back and saw all the races over the railing of the
Royal enclosure, which is just opposite the winning post. The family had
small bets on, mostly unsuccessful (I didn't bet, I need not say).
. . .

At the end of all we had tea in the Guards' tent and came home very
comfortably, getting in about 7:30. I am going again to-morrow. . . .

My gown was a dream and was much admired. I am going this evening with
Auntie Mary and Florence and the Johnsons to sit out of doors in the
Imperial Institute and listen to the band-rather nice as it is very hot.

Florence and I did amuse ourselves so much! What a dear Lord Granville
is. . . .

To F. B.
LONDON, July 14th, 1896.

Thank you very much for your letter and will you thank the little girls
for me, I have no time to write to them to-day. Hugo came up in great
form and we started off to Lord's together, but on the way discovered
that he had lost the blue tassel on his umbrella, which saddened us
dreadfully! So we tried in many shops to get one, and failed alas!
However we were Comforted at Lord's when we saw that many many
Eton boys had no tassel! We had the most excellent places, we carried our
lunch with us and supplemented it with green-gages, after eating which we
both made fervent wishes as they were the first we had eaten this year. I
asked Hugo what he had wished, to which he replied, "Why I wished Eton
might win--what in the world is there to wish for besides? He was such a
darling!

To F. B.
LONDON, 1896.

I saw Heinemann this morning. He was extremely pleasant.
I told him a lot about the book and he expressed a desire to see it. So
at any rate it will have a reading. I shall send him the poems and
preface from Berlin, Mr. Strong cannot come to town and has not yet
finished the preface. . . .




CHAPTER III


1897


BERLIN


[In January 1897 we find her starting for the British Embassy at Berlin.
Her first letter is sent from the station at York.]

To F.B.
YORK, Jan. 6th, 1897.

I can't conceive what I am doing in this station, nor why I am going
away. It's too silly. I wish I were stopping quietly at home.

All sorts of smart people on this platform! One begins to realise what
the world is like when one gets to York, doesn't one. Never mind, I'll be
smart too presently!

To F.B.
BERLIN, Saturday, Jan. 1897.

The reason why I had not sent the poems to H. was because Mr. Strong has
not yet sent me back the preface. . . . I hope I may get it by the next
bag. Meantime I have sent the 30 poems with their notes to H. and
explained to him why the preface is not with them and apologised for the
delay.

To her sister.
BERLIN, Jan. 22nd, 1897.

DEAREST ELSA,
I made my bow to the 'Kaiser Paar' on Wednesday. It was a very fine show.
We drove to the Schloss in the glass coach and were saluted by the guard
when we arrived. We felt very swell! Then we waited for a long time with
all the other dips. in a room next to the throne room and at about 8 the
doors were thrown open. We all hastily arranged one another's trains and
marched in procession while the band played the march out of Lohengrin.
The Emperor and Empress were standing on a dais at the end of the room
and we walked through a sort of passage made by rows and rows of pages
dressed in pink. The 'Allerbôchst' looked extremely well in a red
uniform--I couldn't look at the Empress much as I was so busy avoiding
Aunt Mary's train. She introduced me and then stood aside while I made
two curtseys. Then I wondered what the dickens I should do next, but Aunt
Mary made me a little sign to go out behind her, so I 'enjambéd' her
train and fled!

To F.B.
BERLIN, Jan. 24th, 1897.

. . . . The Princess Frederic Leopold's ladies asked when I
was going to be introduced to her . . . . we arranged that I should be
presented during the first polka of the first Court ball. . . .

to F.B.
BERLIN, Monday Jan. 25th, 1897.

. . . We have been skating all the afternoon with surprising
energy, A very ridiculous thing happened-I had retired into a secluded
corner and put my muff down to make a centre round which to skate a
figure, when suddenly I was aware of a short fat German gentleman
arriving into the middle of my figure on his back. He picked up my muff
and himself and handed them both to me, so to speak, with a low bow. . .
. We propose if the frost lasts making a big party, sledging down to
Potsdam and skating there. I hope it will come off, it Would be very
amusing. . . .

To F.B.
BERLIN, Thursday, Jan. 28th, 1897.

On Thursday afternoon I went with Aunt Mary to see Florence perform the
gavotte. A great 'Probe' at the Kaiserhof to which all the people who
were going to dance at the Court Ball came . . . . After the lesson was
over there were a couple of waltzes, so I offed with my coat and danced
too. There is a rather nice sort of variant of the 'pas de quatre' which
they call the 'pas de patineur' which I quickly learnt. . . .

To F.B.
BERLIN, Tuesday, 1897.

. . . .F. and I went to see Henry IV last night, the Emperor having
invited all the Embassy to come to the royal box. Uncle F. and Aunt M.
were dining with the Frederic Leopolds so they were obliged to decline
the box for themselves but the Emperor said that he hoped we should go as
we should be chaperoned by Countess Keller, one of the ladies-in-waiting.
Accordingly we went off by ourselves and sat very comfortably with
Countess Keller in the second row of chairs-no one might sit in the front
row even when the royalties were not in the box. All the Embassy and a
lot of the Court people were with us, the Emperor and Empress were in a
little box at the side. The play was very well done. The Falstaff
excellent and the whole thing beautifully staged. There was no pause till
the end of the second act when there was a long entr'acte. Countess
Keller bustled away and presently came hurrying back and whispered
something to Knesebeck and Egloffstein, two of the Court people, and they
came and told F. and me that we were sent for. So off we went rather
trembling, under the escort of Countess K. and Egloffstein who conducted
us into a little tiny room behind the Emperor's box where we found the
'Kaiser Paar' sitting and having tea. We made deep curtseys and kissed
the Empress's hand, and then we all sat down, F. next to the Emperor and
I next to the Empress and they gave us tea and cakes. It was rather
formidable though they were extremely kind. The Emperor talked nearly all
the time; he tells us that no plays of Shakespeare were ever acted in
London and that we must have heard tell that it was only the Germans who
had really studied or really understood Shakespeare. One couldn't
contradict an Emperor, so we said we had always been told so.
Egloffstein's chair broke in the middle of the party and he came flat on
to the ground which created a pleasing diversion-I was so glad it wasn't
mine! Countess K. was a dear and started a new subject whenever the
conversation languished. After about 20 minutes the Empress got up, we
Curtseyed to her, shook hands with the Emperor. Florence thanked him very
prettily for sending for us and we bowed ourselves out. Wasn't it
amusing! Florence said she felt shy but she looked perfectly
self-possessed and had the prettiest little air in the world as she sat
talking to the Emperor. I felt rather frightened, but I did not mind much
as I knew I need do nothing but follow Florence's lead. The Empress sits
very upright and is rather alarming. He flashes round from one person to
the other and talks as fast as possible and is not alarming at all. . . .
We go again to-night to the second part . . . but we shall not be sent for
as Uncle Frank and Aunt Mary will be there.

To F. B.
BERLIN, Feb. 5th, 1897.

. . . .The Court Ball on Wednesday was a fine show. We were asked for
eight o'clock and at a quarter past we formed up for waiting. The
ambassadresses sat on a line of chairs to the left of the throne in the
Weiser Saal, and we stood meekly behind them. After about half an hour
someone tapped tapped on the floor with a wand and in came a long
procession of pages followed by the 'Kaiser Paar' and all the 'Furstliche
Personen.' The whole room bobbed down in deep curtseys as they came in .
. . . In to supper . . . . back to the ball room. The room was almost
empty and the few people that were there were dancing the 'trois
temps'--one is only allowed to dance the 'deux temps' when the Empress is
there. It was a very delicious half-hour for the floor is peerless and
all these officers dance so well. Then followed the gavotte which
Florence danced very prettily.

To H. B.
BERLIN, Feb. 8th, 1897

I wish you many many happy returns of your birthday
and may your children become less and less tiresome with every succeeding
year!. . . .

The house is all upside down for the ball. Wherever one goes one finds
lines and lines of waiters arranging tables. We can seat 340 people at
supper. There are to be tables in all the ball rooms, the Chancery
ante-room and even the big bedroom. We all intend to bring our partners
up to the big bedroom which makes a delightful supper-room. Florence and
I went into the kitchen this morning and inspected the food. I never saw
so many eatables together. . . .

To F.B.
BERLIN, Feb. 10th, 1897.

* * * *It was a great success and very splendid. Florence and I were of
course (as it was in our own house) covered with bows and loaded with
flowers. There were supper tables in all the drawing-rooms--it looked
extremely nice. . . .

I went to tea with Marie von Bunsen and stayed till past 7. She is most
interesting. . . .

To F.B.
BERLIN, Feb. 12th, 1897.

The Court Ball on Wednesday was much nicer than the first one. . . . The
Emperor wore a gorgeous Austrian uniform in honour of an Austrian
Archduke who was there--the brother of the man who is heir to the throne.
He will be Emperor himself someday as the heir is sickly and unmarried.
The Emperor William is disappointing when one sees him close; he looks
puffy and ill and I never saw anyone so jumpy. He is never still a second
while he is talking. . . .

Uncle Frank is in a great jig about Crete. He thinks there is going to be
red war and an intervention of the Powers and all sorts of fine things. I
wonder.

To F.B.
BERLIN, Feb. 14th, 1897.

. . . . Florence and I spent the most heavenly morning at the 'Haupt
Probe'. . . Since then we have been bicycling round the house for
exercise as it is raining and we could not go out. . . .

On Friday Mr. Acton, Mr. Spring Rice and Lord Granville dined with us.
After dinner we played hide and seek till we were so hot we could play no
longer and finished up the evening with pool and baccarat . . . . I went
to the National Gallery to see the modern pictures . . . .I had been
reading about modern German painters and knew what I wanted to look at. .
. . Should like to go out but I mayn't go by myself. So I suppose I
can't!

To F.B.
BERLIN, Feb. 17th, 1897.

[The play referred to in this letter is the second part of Henry IV.]

We had a most exciting evening at the play yesterday. We were all sent
for in the entr'acte. We had a very agreeable tea with the Emperor and
Empress and her sister. . . . It
was like an act out of another historical drama--but a modern
one. A sheaf of telegrams were handed to the Emperor as we sat at tea. He
and Uncle fell into an excited conversation in low voices; we talked on
to the Empress trying to pretend we heard nothing but catching scraps of
the Emperor's remarks, " Crete . . . . Bulgaria . . . . Serbia . . . .
mobilizing," and so forth. The Empress kept looking up at him anxiously;
she is terribly perturbed about it all and no wonder for he is persuaded
that we are all on the brink of war. . . .




CHAPTER IV


1897-1899


ROUND THE WORLD, DAUPHINIE, ETC.


[Gertrude came back to England at the beginning of March. My sister Mary
Lascelles died on April 3rd, after three days' illness. Her death made a
terrible gap in Gertrude's life.]

To F.B.
REDCAR, April 7th, 1897.

I have been to Clarence to-day-it was no use sitting and moping so I
thought I had better make myself useful if I could. . . .

[In August of that year we all went to the Dauphiné, staying at La Grave
under the shadow of the Meije, objective of all Dauphin climbers, This
holiday makes an epoch, as it was the beginning of Gertrude's climbing
experiences, although this year she did nothing very adventurous.

She went over the Brèche with two guides, slept at the refuge, came down
over the Col des Cavales and proudly strode back into the village next
morning between her guides, well pleased with herself.

She was at home with us all the rest of the year.

On the 29th December 1897 Gertrude and her brother Maurice left home for
Southampton, to embark on a voyage round the world.

Gertrude kept a diary letter on the voyage. She posts from Jamaica,
Guatemala, San Francisco--wherever she had an opportunity. It is not
worth while reproducing all that she and Maurice saw on this well-known
route, which has so often been described. They enjoyed it all, taking
part in the unpretentious diversions of a voyage. They asked the
Captain's permission to mark out a golf course on board, which had a
great success.]

"There are a lot of children on board, with whom I have made friends,"
she writes.

"Eight of us are playing a piquet tournament: I am first-favourite at
present."

(Then there was a ball on board.]

"We took a great deal of trouble to make it go, Maurice was the life and
soul of it."

[Then we are told of]

"a partial eclipse of the moon, seated in the stalls, so to speak, our
deck chairs. It was most luxuriously arranged by nature."

"I won the piquet tournament to the great joy of the other
members of the party."

[She and Maurice returned to London in June.

In September, after a delightful two months in the
West of Scotland--we had taken the Manse at Spean Bridge for the
summer--Gertrude is at Redcar again, enchanted to return to her books.]

To F.B.
REDCAR, September 2nd, 1898.

. . . .Hugo has been playing golf and we are now going to have a game of
racquets before settling down to our work. Oh, how I wish I were going to
have a month of this. The bliss of being really at work is past words.

Herbert Pease stands for Darlington, I see in the evening papers . . . ..

To H. B.
Saturday 22nd September, 1898.

. . .I'm going to Rounton on Sunday . . . . having finished a
great batch of Arabic and Persian for Mr. Ross. [Now Sir Denison Ross.]

To F.B.
REDCAR, Autumn 1898.

I have been at the Infirmary all the afternoon. I've got another
engagement--to lecture at the High School. I've been arranging about my
lantern slides. . . .

By the way, confided to Lisa that she felt quite anxious about Elsa
because she thought we were all so beautiful and so clever that we
couldn't all go on living. Elsa won't mind being the 'offer' to the
jealous gods, I hope!

To F.B.
LONDON 1898.

. . . . That angel of a Mr. Vaughan Williams has found me a real
Persian-at least he is an Afghan and his name is Satdar and he speaks
beautiful Persian. I have written to him to-day. Isn't it interesting. .
. .

[Gertrude begins the year 1899 at Redcar, she and Hugo are left together
for a few days at Red Barns.]

To F.B.
REDCAR, January 6th, 1899.

. . . . Hugo and I have made an excellent 'ménage'--we get on admirably
and I have come to know him much better, chiefly because he has told me
all his views as to his future. They are rather a blow to me, I admit. He
is one of the most lovable and livable with people I have ever come
across.

To her sister Elsa.
LONDON, Jan. 1899.

. . . . I thought the braid a little too braidy. A modification of it
would be lovely. I should have no braid on the coat just the seams
strapped. 'Tis very smart so. I went to Prince's this morning and skated
. . . . with Flora and a lot of people. . . . Next time I'm in London I
shall have a few lessons there. It's silly not to be able to skate well
when everybody does.

My new clothes are very dreamy. You will scream with delight when you see
me in them!

To F. B.
LONDON, Jan. 1899.

I have sent off the purple dress and a grey one which is nine guineas and
very nice indeed. It has a dark coat and everything suitable to Elsa. My
only doubt is whether the black trimming is not too black. There is
another most elegant elephant grey costume strapped with grey, but the
coat is quite tight fitting so that it might not be so becoming to Elsa.
. . . .

To F.B.
LONDON, Thursday, Mar. 17th, 1899.

. . . I write from a sofa. This morning at Prince's I fell violently on my
knees and when I shortly after took my skates off, I found I couldn't
walk. . . . Maclagan, however, says I must lie up for a few days. Isn't
it boring? I'm writing to all the amusing people to come and see me,
having dressed the part well in a Japanese tea gown. . . .

I shall beguile the time with my pundits while I'm invalided. I've told
them all to come.

It is so provoking because I was getting to skate really well.

[In the spring of the year 18 99 Gertrude went abroad again to Northern
Italy, by herself, then to Greece, with her father and her uncle Thomas
Marshall, a classical Scholar and translator of Aristotle, deeply
interested at going to Greece for the fifth time. A most successful tour
altogether. In Athens they find Dr. Hogarth and go the Museum, " where
Mr. Hogarth showed us his recent finds-pots Of 4000 B.C. from Melos.
Doesn't that Make one's brain reel?" Another distinguished archaeologist,
Professor Dôrpfeld is there also. They listen with breathless interest to
his lecture on the Acropolis: "he took us from stone to stone and built
up a Wonderful chain of evidence with extraordinary ingenuity until we
saw the Athens of 600 B.c. I never saw anything better done."

She also writes from Athens Papa has bought him a grey felt hat, in which
he looks a dream of beauty and some yellow leather gaiters to ride in the
Peloponnesus. He will look smart, bless him . . . . . .

Then to Constantinople, and back again to England in May.

In August she started with Hugo for Bayreuth, joining on the way Sir
Frank Lascelles and his daughter Florence, and Mr. Chirol (now Sir
Valentine Chirol). They go to Nuremberg and Rothenburg on the way,
enjoying themselves ecstatically everywhere. She writes] " this is really
too charming. You never met a more delightful travelling party. Florence
is in the seventh heaven all the time. His Ex. a perfect angel, Mr.
Chirol, and in fact all of us, endlessly cheerful and delighted with
everything." [They hear Parsifal and The Ring at Bayreuth. Gertrude,
"tief gerührt", as she tells us, sends home long, vivid descriptions of
the performances. These letters on a subject now almost hackneyed are too
long to insert here. She was not, and did not pretend to be, an expert on
music) but she cared for it very much.

Hugo, who was an admirable musician, was conservative in his tastes and
was at first prepared to be on the defensive with regard to Wagner.

Gertrude also records some personal social experiences.]

To F.B.
BAYREUTH.

Frau Cosima has asked us all to a party on Friday evening. Great Larks! .
. . . The restaurant was crowded when the door opened and in came the
whole Wagner family in procession, Frau Cosima first on Siegfried's arm.
There was a great clapping as she passed down the room to her table.

To F.B.
BAYREUTH, Wed. Aug. 16th, 1899.

This morning about half past 8 came a message from the Grand Duke [of
Hesse] asking us whether we could be at the theatre at 9 as he would show
us the stage. We bustled up and arrived only a few minutes late. It was
most entertaining; we were taken into every corner, above and below. We
descended through trap doors and mounted into Valhalla. We saw all the
properties, and all the mechanism of the Rhine maidens; we explored the
dressing rooms, sat in the orchestra and rang the Parsifal bells! The
Grand Duke was extremely cheerful and agreeable--he's quite young--and of
course everyone was hats off and anxious to show us all we wanted to see.
It's a very extraordinary place, the stage; the third scene of
Siegfried was set. We shall feel quite at home when we see it to-night.
Hugo is delighted with it all. He was much impressed by the Walküre
though he says it will take a great deal to make him a Wagnerian.

[After Bayreuth the party breaks up, all of them except Gertrude
returning to England.]

I'm awfully sorry to have parted with Hugo. He really is one of the most
delightful people in the world. The Harrachs, you will be glad
to hear, thought him very beautiful . . . when I told you that they were
people of discernment!

[After this Gertrude went back through Switzerland to the Dauphiné and
fulfilled her year-old purpose of ascending the Meije.)

To H.B.
LA GRAVE, Monday, 28th August, 1899 .

I sent you a telegram this morning [" Meije traversée") for, I thought
you would gather from my last that I meant to have a shot at the Meije
and would be glad to hear that I had descended in the approved, and in no
other manner. Well, I'll tell you--it's awful! I think if I had known
exactly what was before me I should not have faced it, but fortunately
did not, and I look back on it with unmixed satisfaction--and
forward to other things with no further apprehension. . . .

We left here on Friday at 2:30, Mathon, Marius and I, and walked up to
the Refuge de l'Alpe in two hours. Two German men turned up at the
Refuge. . . . Madame Castillan gave us a very good supper and I went at
once to bed. I got off at 4:30 and got to the top of the clot at 8:10. In
the afternoon, there arrived a young Englishman called Turner with Rodier
as guide and a porter. I went out to watch the beautiful red light fading
from the snows and rocks. The Meije looked dreadfully forbidding in the
dusk. When I came in I found that Mathon had put my rug in a corner of
the shelf which was the bed of us all and what with the straw and my
cloak for a pillow I made myself very comfortable. We were packed as
tight as herrings, Mr. Turner next to me, then the two Germans and
Rodier. Mathon and the porters lay on the ground beneath us. Our night
lasted from 8 till 12, but I didn't sleep at all. Marius lighted a match
and looked at his watch. It was ten o'clock. " Ah, c'est encore trop
matin," said Rodier. It seemed an odd view of 10 p.m. We all got up soon
after 12 and I went down to the river and washed a little. It was a
perfect night, clear stars and the moon not yet over the hills. . . . We
left half an hour later, 1 a.m., just as the moon shone into the valley.
Mathon carried a lantern till we got on to the snow when it was light
enough with only the moon. . . .

At 1:30 we reached the glacier and all put on our ropes. . . . It wasn't
really cold, though there was an icy little breath of wind down from the
Brèche. This was the first time I had put on the rope . . . . we went
over the glacier for another hour . . . . we got into the Promontoir, a
long crest of rock and rested there ten minutes . . . . we left there at
2:40. . . . We had about three hours up very nice rock, a long chimney
first and then most pleasant climbing. Then we rested again for a few
minutes. . . . I had been in high feather for it was so easy, but ere
long my hopes were dashed! We had about two hours and a half of awfully
difficult rock, very solid fortunately, but perfectly fearful. There were
two places which Mathon and Marius literally pulled me up like a parcel.
I didn't a bit mind where it was steep up, but round corners where the
rope couldn't help me! . . . . And it was absolutely sheer down. The
first half-hour I gave myself up for lost. it didn't seem possible that I
could get up all that wall without ever making a slip. You see, I had
practically never been on a rock before. However, I didn't let on and
presently it began to seem quite natural to be hanging by my eyelids over
an abyss. . . . just before reaching the top we passed over the Pas du
Chat, the difficulty of which is much exaggerated. . . . It was not till
I was over it that Mathon told me that it was the dreaded place. We were
now at the foot of the Pyramide Duhamel and we went on till we came in
sight of the Glacier Catré, where we sat down on a cornice, 7:45. . . .
The Germans got up a quarter of an hour later having climbed up the rock
a different way. . . . At 8:45 we got to the top between the Pic du
Glacier carré and the Grand Pic de la Meije and saw over the other side
for the first time. We left at 9 and reached the summit at 10:10, the
rock being quite easy except one place called the Cheval Rouge. It is a
red flat stone, almost perpendicular, some 15 feet high, up which you
swarm as best you may with your feet against the Meije, and you sit
astride, facing the Meije, on a very pointed crest. I sat there while
Marius and Mathon went on and then followed them up an overhanging rock
of 20 feet or more. The rope came in most handy--! We stayed on the
summit until 11. It was gorgeous, quite cloudless. . . . I went to sleep
for half-an-hour. It's a very long way up but it's a longer way
down-unless you take the way Mathon's axe took. The cord by which it was
tied to his wrist broke on the Cheval Rouge and it disappeared into
space. There's a baddish place going down the Grand Pic. The guides
fastened a double rope to an iron bolt and let Mr. Turner and me down on
to a tiny ledge on which we sat and surveyed the Aiguille d'Arve with La
Grave in the foreground. Then was a very nasty bit without the double
rope-how anyone gets down those places I can't imagine. However, they do.
Then we crossed the Brèche and found ourselves at the foot of the first
dent. Here comes the worst place on the whole Meije. I sat on the Brèche
and looked down on to the Châtelleret on one side and La Grave on the
other. . . . Then Mathon vanished, carrying a very long rope, and I
waited. . . . Presently I felt a little tug on the rope. " Allez,
Mademoiselle," Said Marius from behind and off I went. There were two
little humps to hold on to on an overhanging rock and there La Grave
beneath and there was me in mid-air and Mathon round the corner holding
the rope tight, but the rope was sideways of course-that's my general
impression of those ten minutes. Added to which I thought at the time how
very well I was climbing and how odd it was that I should not be afraid.
The worst was over then, and the most tedious part was all to come. It
took us three hours to get from the Grand Pic to the Pic Central-up and
down over endless dents. We followed the crest all the way, quite
precipitous rock below us on the Châtelleret side and a steep slope on
the other. There was no difficulty, but there was also no moment when you
had not to pay the strictest attention. . . . I felt rather done when we
got to the Pic Central. . . . There was an hour of ice and rock till at
last we found ourselves on the Glacier du Tabuchet and with thankfulness
I put on my skirt again. It was then 3 and we got in at 6:30. The glacier
was at first good then much crevassed. We skirted for nearly an hour the
arête leading up to the Pic de Momme and it was 5:30 before we
unroped. . . . When I got in I found everyone in the Hotel on the doorstep
waiting for me and M. Juge let off crackers, to my great surprise. . . .

I went to bed and knew no more till 6 this morning, when I had five cups
of tea and read all your letters and then went to sleep again until ten.
I'm really not tired but my shoulders and neck and arms feel rather sore
and stiff and my knees are awfully bruised.

[After the Meije there is one more letter, too long to insert here, from
La Grave, in which she relates her successful ascent of the Ecrins. She
comes back to England in the middle of September, well pleased, as shown
by her letters, with her progress in climbing.]




CHAPTER V


1899-1900


JERUSALEM: FIRST DESERT JOURNEYS


In November 1899 she starts for Jerusalem, with many hopes and plans,
including learning more Arabic. Dr. Fritz Rosen was then German Consul at
Jerusalem. He had married Nina Roche, whom we had known since she was a
child, the daughter of Mr. Roche of the Garden House, Cadogan Place.
Charlotte Roche was Nina's sister. They made everything easy for
Gertrude.

On the way she writes a long letter from Smyrna, where everyone was most
kind and hospitable. She describes the "Mediterranean race " to which the
inhabitants of Smyrna belong].

It speaks no language though it will chatter with you in
Half a dozen, it has no native land though it is related by marriage to
all Europe, and with the citizens of each country it will talk to its
compatriots and itself as " we "; it centres round no capital and is
loyal to no government though it obeys many. Cheerful, careless,
contented, hospitable to a fault, it may well be all, for it is divested
of all natural responsibilities, it has little to guard and little to
offer but a most liberal share in its own inconceivably hugger mugger
existence. Kindness is its distinctive quality, as far-as I have sampled
it, and I hope I may have many opportunities of sampling it further.

[From Beyrout she writes]
We settled that when I come riding down from Damascus in the spring . . .
..

[The last part of the voyage is made on a Russian boat]
all the stewards speak Russian and we communicate by signs, my fellow
passengers are an American Catholic Priest and a Russian engineer and 400
Russian peasants who are making a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

To F.B.
S.S. RUSSIA, Sunday 10th Dec., 1899.

The pilgrims are camped out all over the deck. They bring their own
bedding and their own food and their passage from Odessa costs them some
12 roubles. They undergo incredible hardships: one woman walked from
Tobolsk, she started in March.

To H.B.
HOTEL JERUSALEM, 13th December, 1899.

Here I am most comfortably installed. I am two minutes'
walk from the German Consulate. My apartment consists of a very nice
bedroom and a big sitting room, both opening on to a small vestibule
which in its turn leads out on to the verandah which runs all along the
first story of the hotel courtyard with a little garden in it. I pay 7
francs a day including breakfast, which is not excessive. My housemaid is
an obliging gentleman in a fez who brings me my hot bath in the morning
and is ready at all times to fly round in my service. I spent the morning
unpacking and turning out the bed and things out of my sitting room; it
is now most cosy-two armchairs, a big writing table, a square table for
my books, an enormous Kiefert map of Palestine lent me by Uncle Tom and
photographs of my family on the walls. The floor is of tiles but they
have laid down a piece of carpet on it. There is a little stove in one
corner and the wood fire in it is most acceptable. I propose buying a
horse! for which I shall pay about 18 pounds and sell him at the end for
no less, I hope. The keep is very little, Dr. Rosen says, and you see the
alternative would be to use theirs. Now they have only 3 for their 3
selves and I already have all my meals except breakfast with them, so
don't think I can infringe further on their hospitality.

We got in soon after 8, and the kind Rosens came on board with a kavass
and carried me off to a very nice hotel where we breakfasted. The garden
was full of parrots and monkeys which breakfasted also when I had
finished. It was a delicious
sunny day. We drove round about Jaffa, caught the only train at 1:20 to
Jerusalem. It was 5 before we arrived, Charlotte met us. The Consulate is
small but very comfy, all the rooms open on to a long central living room
which is full of beautiful Persian things. The two boys were much excited
by my arrival and greeted me with enthusiasm. They are perfect dears,
these people. I feel as if I should love them very much indeed. And so
charming about all arrangements, hospitality and kindness itself.

To-day Dr. R. and I went for a long walk, I left a card and a letter of
introduction on Mrs. Dickson at the English consulate. One's first
impression of Jerusalem is extremely interesting, but certainly not
pleasing. The walls are splendid (Saracenic on Jewish foundations), but
all the holy places are terribly marred by being built over with hideous
churches of all the different sects.

[Gertrude's interest in the holy places was that of the archaeologist
only and not that of the believer.

There is no space to insert in extenso her long and interesting letters
from Jerusalem, where she was entirely happy learning Arabic, exploring
her surroundings, and being admitted into the delightful intimacy of the
Rosens. But some extracts from the letters are given here.]

To F.B.

This morning I went out with Charlotte and the children (I have not Yet
got my teacher). The two boys rode on a donkey and looked angels. They
are delicious children. I saw a charming little horse, a bay, very well
bred with lovely movements rather showy, but light and strong and
delightful in every way We have embarked on negotiations for him which
promise to take some time as they now ask 40 pounds and my price is 18 to
20! He comes of a well-known stock so that I should run no risk of losing
on him when I sell him. Charlotte, Dr. R'. and I rode this afternoon, I
on a pony belonging to the hotel keeper, very bad, much too small and
slow, he wouldn't do at all. My saddle had to be wrapped round him!

This morning I had my first lesson. My teacher's name is
Khalil Dughan and he is exactly what I want. I learnt more about
pronunciation this morning than I have ever known.

In the afternoon, Nina, Dr. R. and I rode out.

To F.B.
December 13th, 1899

My days are extremely full and most agreeable. I either have a lesson or
work alone every morning for 4 hours-the lesson only lasts one and a half
hours. I have 3 morning and 3 afternoon lessons a week. I am just
beginning to understand a little of what I hear and to say simple things
to the servants, but I find it awfully difficult. The pronunciation is
past words, no western throat being constructed to form these
extraordinary gutturals. Still it's really interesting. We lunch at 12:30
and go out about 2, generally riding till 5. Then I come home to my work
till 7 when I dress and go in to dinner. I aim at being back by 10 to get
another hour's work but this doesn't always happen, especially now when
Nina is very busy preparing a Xmas tree and we spend our evenings tying
up presents and gilding walnuts, Dr. R. reading to us, the while, all his
travel letters from Persia--extremely interesting.

My horse is much admired. My teacher, also, is a success. He has the most
charming fund of beautiful oriental stories and I make him tell them to
me by the hour as I want to get used to the sound of words. He is a
Christian and his family claims to have been Crusaders.

He has given me a lecture of his, written out in English on the customs
of the Arabs. It begins "The Arabs are the oldest race on earth; they
date from the Flood!!" Comes my housemaid, "The hot water is ready for
the Presence," says he. "Enter and light the candle," say I. "On my
head," he has replied--it sounds ambiguous in English! That means it's
dressing time.

To her sister Elsa.
JERUSALEm, December 20th, 1899.

The days fly here so that I scarcely know how to catch at them for a
moment's time to write to you. It is now 11 p.m. and I must go to bed
quickly so as to be up early and prepare my lesson before my Arab comes.
(I may say in passing that I don't think I shall ever talk Arabic, but I
go on struggling with it in the hope of mortifying Providence by my
persistence. I now stammer a few words to my housemaid--him of the
fez--and he is much delighted.) With Charlotte, who is a most spirited
companion, I explored a great part of the inner town. We are quite the
family party and I love them all. The boys are angels. Now to bed.

The first night of rain I was awakened by a rushing sound of water and
found that it was falling in sheets on to my pillow! I took up my bed and
walked and spent the rest of the night in peace.

To F.B.
JERUSALEM, Thursday, Dec. 28, 1899.

It has rained quite persistently for 5 days. You may imagine how I say
'Heil dir, Sonne!' this morning when I woke and saw the sun. Yesterday
the Rosens had a Xmas tree for all the German children. It was most
successful and the children were dears. I am beginning to feel very
desperate about Arabic and I am now going to try a new plan. A Syrian
girl is to come and spend an hour with me 3 Or 4 times a week and talk to
me. I shall take her out walks sometimes, if she is satisfactory, and
converse with her. It is an awful language.

To F.B.
JERUSALEM, Jan. 1st, 1900.

Will You order Heath to send me out a wide gray felt sun hat (not double,
but it must be a regular Terai shape and broad brimmed)
to ride in, and to put a black velvet ribbon round it With Straight bows.
My Syrian girl is charming and talks very Prettily but with a strong
local accent. It adds enormously to one's difficulties that one has to
learn a patois and a purer Arabic at the same time. I took her out for a
long walk on Friday afternoon and went photographing about Jerusalem. She
was much entertained, though she was no good as a guide, for she had
never been in the Jewish quarter though she has lived all her life here!
That's typical of them. I knew my way, however, as every Englishwoman
would-it's as simple as possible.

She came with us on the following day on a most delightful expedition. We
started at 9 in the morning-it was Sunday and therefore a legitimate
holiday-and rode down the Valley of Hinnon and all along the brook Kedron
(which is dry at this season) through a deep valley full of immensely old
olive trees and rock tombs scarcely older. Then up a long hill and down
on the other side into a shallow naked valley, where there were many
encampments of the black Bedouin tents, and so into an extraordinary
gorge called the Valley of Fire. The rock lies in natural terraces and is
full of caves; the Brook Kedron (it had rejoined us in a roundabout way)
has cut the steepest, deepest cleft for its bed and on either side rise
these horizontal layers of stone. They have been a regular city of
anchorites, each living in his cave and drawing his ladder up behind him
when he went in. Half a mile or so further on lies the citadel of this
cave town, the Monastery of Mar Saba, itself half cave and half building,
its long walls and towers creeping up the steep rock, the dome of its
chapel jutting out from it, and the irregular galleries and rows of cells
hanging out over a precipice. The rock itself is full of little square
windows and these are the cave cells and probably about as old as St.
Saba who lived in the 6th century.

To F.B.
JERUSALEM, Jan. 5th, 1900.

What a terrible time it is. I feel such a beast to be writing to you
about my pleasant doings in the midst of all this, still I can do no good
to you all by being very anxious. On Wednesday we rode down to the Dead
Sea, over a long stretch of country on which grew thorny plants, then
through a curious belt of hard mud heaps, then along the Jordan valley
and finally across a bit of absolute desert, white with salt and
plantless. It was a glorious day, bright and hot.

To Her Sister.
JERUSALIM, Jan. 11th, 1900.

My DEAREST ELSA,
It is sad about Berlin and all your beautiful clothes. I was thrilled by
your account of your coat-it sounds too beautiful. But dear, dear! that
you should not be going to shine in it in imperial circles! I am
extremely happy and much amused, and I am very busy with Arabic. Whenever
I can I get Ferideh to come and spend the afternoon with me, but as she
teaches in a school, I can usually only get her on a Saturday. She comes
to tea with me, however, two other days a week and we converse for an
hour. I often go walking alone of an afternoon and explore the
surrounding country And nearly always find some exciting flower among the
rocks. The earliest flower place is the Valley of Hinnon. I went there
yesterday afternoon for starch hyacinths and cyclamen and had a
tremendous scramble. As I came back along the
Road I met an Arab who greeted me avffably and told me he had seen me
climbing on the rocks. So we walked home together We had a long talk--my
conversations are limited to rather simple subjects. The first thing they
always say is, "We have heard that there is a great deal of water in your
country." then I expatiate on the greenness of it and the distance and
the cold and so forth. It's awful fun.

To H.B.
JERUSALEM, Jan. 11th, 1900.

I am just beginning to feel my feet after a fearful struggle. The first
fortnight was perfectly desperate--I thought I should never be able to
put two words together. Added to the fact that the language is very
difficult there are
at least three sounds almost impossible to the European throat.
The worst I think is a very much aspirated H. I can only say it by
holding down my tongue with one finger, but then you Can't carry on a
conversation with your finger down your throat can you? My little girl
Ferideh Yamseh is a great success. She talks the dialect, but that is all
the better as I want to understand the people of hereabouts. I went to
visit her and her family after dinner yesterday--they are quite close. It
was most amusing. I found the mother a pretty charming woman who has had
ten children and looks ridiculously young (they marry at 13). Two sisters
and presently a brother came in. The mother talks nothing but Arabic so
the visit was conducted in that language with great success Ferideh
interpreting from time to time. I was regaled on cocoa, a very sweet Arab
pastry and pistachios which I love and shown all the photographs of all
their relations down to the last cousin twice removed. . . .

My Sheikh has just told me that Ladysmith is relieved I do hope it is
true and that this is the beginning of good news. I am sending you a
little packet of seeds. They are more interesting for associations sake
than for the beauty of the plant--it is the famous and fabulous mandrake.
By the way the root of the mandrake grow to a length of 2 yards, so I
should think somebody shrieks when it is dug up-if not the mandrake, then
the digger.

I took Ferideh for a drive and a walk yesterday and talked Arabic
extremely badly and felt desponding about it. However there is nothing to
be done but to struggle on with it. I should like to mention that there
are five words for a wall and 36 ways of forming the plural. And the rest
is like unto it.

To H.B.
JERUSALEM, Jan. 11th-14th, 1900.

Sunday 14. This goes to-morrow. It ought to reach you in a week as it
goes by a good post via Egypt. The posts are arranged thus: Sunday and
Monday outgoing posts and the rest of the week nothing. Dr. R. Nina
and I rode this afternoon, heavenly weather. We went an exploring
expedition through a lovely valley under a place called Malba. The path
of course awful. In one place we had to get off, pull down a wall and
lead our horses over it. There are no decent paths at all, only the hard
high road. I so often wish for you--always when I'm making a nice
expedition. Next spring let us come here together. Anyhow let us have a
nice travel together soon.

To F. B.
JERICHO, January 17th, 1900.

I rode down here yesterday afternoon with Isa, one of the kavasses. We
started at 1:30 and got here at 5, which was pretty good going. It was a
most pleasant day for riding, cool and not sunny, today is brilliantly
sunny, I came down the last hill in company with a band of Turkish
soldiers, ragged, footsore, weary, poor dears ! but cheerful. We held a
long conversation. The Russian Pilgrim House we visited last night and
found it packed with pilgrims as tight as herrings sleeping in rows on
the floor. Even the courtyard was quite full of them and on a tree an
eikon round which a crowd of them were praying, Charlotte and I rode off
with Isa about 11 and went down to the Jordan, taking our lunch with us.
There ,*we found an enormous crowd assembled. Bedouin and fellaheen,
kavasses in embroidered clothes. Turkish soldiers, Greek priests and
Russian peasants, some in furs and top boots and some in their white
shrouds, which were to serve as bathing dresses in the holy stream and
then to be carried home and treasured up till their owner's death. We
lunched and wandered about for some time, I photographing some of these
strange groups--long-haired Russian priests in their shrouds standing
praying in the hot sun by the river bank, among the tamarisk bushes and
the reeds, every one, men and women, had chains of beads and crucifixes
hung round their necks. The sun was very hot and we waited and waited
while those who were going to be baptised signed their names and paid a
small fee. We found ourselves ensconced on willow boughs just opposite to
the place where the priests were coming down to bless the water. We
waited for about half an hour, then the crowd opened and a long
procession of priests came to the water's edge with lighted candles. The
shrouded people clambered down the mud banks and stood waist deep In the
stream until the moment when the priest laid the cross three times upon
the water, then suddenly, with a great firing off of guns, everyone
proceeded to baptise himself by dipping and rolling over in the water. It
was the strangest sight. Some of them had hired monks at a small fee to
baptise them and they certainly got their money's worth of baptism, for
the monks took an infinite pleasure in throwing them over backwards into
the muddy stream and holding them under until they were quite saturated.
We then rowed back, returned to our horses and got back about 5.

To F.B.
JERUSALEM, Feb. 18th, 1900.

There is a regular commerce apart from all others here to supply the
Russian pilgrims with relics, souvenirs and the necessities of Russian
peasant life. I bless the typewriter. it is such a joy to open an
envelope of yours and find long sheets from the typewriter. It is rather
terrible to think that Maurice is off; I hoped he wouldn't leave till the
end of the month, Anyhow you will telegraph to me on his arrival, won't
you, and all items of news you receive from him which can be conveyed by
telegram. He writes in great spirits and it may be that it will be good
for him, the out-of-door life there. My last letter I have sent home to
be forwarded to him. Do you know the way when something disagreeable
happens, that one looks back and tries to imagine what it would have been
like if it hadn't happened? That's how I feel about his going.

[Maurice had gone out to the Boer War in command of the Volunteer Service
Company, Yorkshire Regiment. He and Gertrude were bound together by the
closest affection and her constant anxiety and solicitude about him is
shown in her letters.]

Do you know these wet afternoons I have been reading the story of Aladdin
to myself for pleasure, without a dictionary! It is not very difficult, I
must confess, still it's ordinary good Arabic, not for beginners, and I
find it too charming for words. Moreover I see that I really have learnt
a good deal since I came for I couldn't read just for fun to save my
life. It is satisfactory, isn't it? I look forward to a time when I shall
just read Arabic-like that! and then for my histories! I really think
that these months here will permanently add to the pleasure and interest
of the rest of my days! Honest Injun. Still there is a lot and a lot more
to be done first--SO to work!

To F.B.
JERUSALEM, Feb. 28, 1900.

Sunday, was too many for me. I did not go out at all but sat It home and
read Aladdin and looked at the streaming rain. Monday was a little
better. Charlotte and I put on short skirts and thick boots and went for
a long walk to a lovely spring she knew of. We walked down a deep valley
which s long as we have known it has been as dry as a bone and where to
our surprise we found a deep swift stream, Ain Tulma, our object, was on
the other side and as there are no bridges in this country, (there being
no rivers as a rule) there was nothing for it but to take off our shoes
and stockings and wade. The water came above our knees. The other side
was too lovely--the banks of the river were carpeted with red anemones, a
sheet of them, and to walk by the side of a rushing stream is an
unrivalled experience in this country. When we got to Ain Tulma we found
the whole place covered with cyclamen and orchis and a white sort of
garlic, very pretty, and the rocks out of which the water comes were
draped in maidenhair. There were a lot of small boys, most amiable young
gentlemen, who helped us to pick cyclamen, and when I explained that I
had no money they said it was a bakshish to me--the flowers. We had a
very scrambly walk back, waded the stream again and when we got to a
little village at the foot of the hill, we hired some small boys to carry
our flowers home for us. (In this village I lost my way and we found
ourselves wandering over the flat roofs and Jumping across the streets
below!) I hurried on (as it was 5 and I had a lesson at 5:30) with 5
little beggar boys in my train. They were great fun. We had long
conversations all the way home. It's such an amusement to be able to
understand. The differences of pronunciation are a little puzzling at
first to the foreigner. There are two k's in Arabic--the town people drop
the hard k altogether and replace it by a guttural for which we have no
equivalent; the country people pronounce the hard k soft and the soft k
ch, but they say their gutturals beautifully and use a lot of words which
belong to the more classical Arabic. The Bedouins speak the best; they
pronounce all their letters and get all the subtlest shades of meaning
out of the words. I must tell you this is a great day--a German post
office has been opened, and we expect marvels from it. There is parcel
post and all complete and I advise you to put German Post Office on to
your letters to me. One of our kavasses has gone to be Post Office kavass
and as I passed down the Jaffa Street he rushed out open armed to greet
me and begged me to come in. So in I went and retired behind the counter
and shook hands warmly with the two post masters (they dined with us a
few nights ago) and bought 6 stamps to celebrate the occasion--which I
didn't pay for, as I had no money--the kavass saying all the time--"Al!
ketear 'al!" which means "It is extremely high," and is the superlative
of admiration in Arabic. The tourists who were sending off telegrams were
rather surprised to see someone seemingly like themselves come in hand in
hand with an old Arab and fall into the arms of the officials behind the
counter! It was extremely high!

Friday 2. To-day came the joyful news of the relief of Ladysmith. My
horse is extremely well. We are going for a long ride to-morrow. The R's
and I have been planning expeditions. We mean to go for 10 days into Moab
about the 18th. It will be lovely. We shall take tents, Dr. R. Nina and
I. Our great travel is not till the end of April, but I shall go to
Hebron some time early in April. Goodbye.

To F.B,
JERUSALEM, March 6th, 1900.

By the way, I hope Elsa clung to the Monthly Cousin article and did not
allow it to be published elsewhere. The style of it was only suited to
that journal, but I'm glad it pleased. It's a gorgeous day. I'm going
riding-in my new hat!

[The Monthly Cousin was a typewritten and handwritten periodical edited
by Elsa and Molly, of which the contributors were the wide family circle
of the Bells and of their cousins. It appeared regularly from 1897 to
1907, and has been preserved as a precious family record. Gertrude
revelled in it, and on occasion contributed to it.]

To H.B.
AYAN MUSA, Tuesday, March 20, 1900.
From my tent.

I left Jerusalem yesterday soon after 9, having seen my cook at 7 and
arranged that he should go off as soon as he could get the mules ready.
(His name is Hanna--sounds familiar doesn't it! but that H is such as you
have never heard.) I rode down to Jerusalem alone--the road was full of
tourists, caravans of donkeys carrying tents for cook and Bedouin
escorts. I made friends as I went along and rode with first one Bedouin
and then another, all of them exaggerating the dangers I was about to run
with the hope of being taken with me into Moab. Half way down I met my
guide from Salt, east of Jordan, coming up to meet me. His name is Tarif,
he is a servant of the clergyman in Salt and a Christian therefore, and a
perfect dear. We rode along together, sometime, but he was on a tired
horse, so I left him to come on slowly and hurried down into Jericho
where I arrived with a Bedouin at 1--famished. I went to the Jordan
hotel. We then proceeded to the Mudir's for I wanted to find out the
truth of the tales I had been told about Moab, but he was out. By this
time Tarif and Hanna had arrived and reported the tents to be one and a
half hours behind, which seemed to make camping at the Jordan impossible
that night. . . I determined to pass that night in Jericho and make an
early start.

This morning I got up at 5 and at 6 was all ready, having sent on my
mules and Hanna to the Jordan bridge. I knocked up the Mudir and he said
he would send a guide to Madeba to make the necessary arrangements for
me. The river valley is wider on the other side and was full of tamarisks
in full white flower and willows in the newest of leaf, there were almost
no slime pits and when we reached the level of the Ghor (that is the
Jordan plain) behold, the wilderness had blossomed like the rose. It was
the most unforgettable sight--sheets and sheets of varied and exquisite
colour--purple, white, yellow, and the brightest blue (this was a bristly
sort of Plant which I don't know) and fields of scarlet ranunculus.
Nine-tenths of them I didn't know, but there was the yellow daisy, the
sweet-scented mauve wild stock, a great splendid sort of dark purple
onion, the white garlic and purple mallow, and higher up a tiny blue iris
and red anemones and a dawning pink thing like a linum. We were now
joined by a cheerful couple, from Bethlehem, a portly fair man in white
with a yellow keffiyeh (that's the thing they wear round their heads
bound by ropes of camel hair and falling over the shoulders) and a fair
beard, riding a very small donkey, and a thinner and darker man walking.
The first one looked like a portly burgher. He asked me if I were a
Christian and said he was, praise be to God! I replied piously that it
was from God. So we all journeyed on together through the wilderness of
flowers and every now and then the silent but amiable Ismael got off to
pick me a new variety of plant, while the others enlivened the way by
stalking wood pigeons, but the pigeons were far too wily and they let off
their breech loaders in vain and stood waist deep in flowers watching the
birds flying cheerfully away--with a "May their house be destroyed!" from
my Christian friend. A little higher up we came to great patches of corn
sown by the Adwan Bedouins-, Arabs' we call them east of Jordan, they
being the Arabs par excellence, just as we call their black tents
'houses,' there being no others. Then goodbye to the flowers! Now we saw
a group of black tents far away on a little hill covered with white
tombs--Tell Kufrein it is called--and here the barley was in ear and, in
the midst of the great stretches of it, little watch towers of branches
had been built and a man stood on each to drive away birds and people.
One was playing a pipe as we passed--it was much more Arcadian than
Arcadia. We had now reached the bottom of the foothills, and leaving the
Ghor behind us, we began to mount. We crossed a stream flowing down the
Wady Hisban (which is Heshbon of the fish-pools in the Song of Songs) at
a place called Akweh. It was so wet here that we rode on to a place where
there were a few thorn trees peopled by immense crowds of resting
birds-they seize on any little bush for there are so few and the Arabs
come and burn the bush and catch and cook the birds all in one! On the
top of the first shoulder we came to spreading cornfields. The plan is
this--the "Arabs" sow one place this year and go and live somewhere else
lest their animals should eat the growing corn. Next year this lies
fallow and the fallow of the year before is sown. Over the second
shoulder we got on to a stretch of rolling hills and we descended the
valley to Ayan Musa, a collection of beautiful springs with in Arab camp
pitched above them. I found the loveliest iris I have yet seen--big and
sweet-scented and so dark purple that the hanging down petals are almost
black. It decorates my tent now. Half an hour later my camp was pitched a
little lower down on a lovely grassy plateau. We were soon surrounded by
Arabs who sold us a hen and some excellent sour milk, 'laban' it is
called. While we bargained the women and children wandered round and ate
grass, just like goats. The women are unveiled. They wear a blue cotton
gown 6 yards long which is gathered up and bound round their heads and
their waists and falls to their feet. Their faces, from the mouth
downwards, are tattooed with indigo and their hair hangs down in two long
plaits on either side. Our horses and mules were hobbled and groomed.
Hanna brought me an excellent cup of tea and at 6 a good dinner
consisting of soup made of rice and olive oil (very good!) an Irish stew
and raisins from Salt, an offering from Tarif. My camp lies just under
Pisgah. Isn't it a joke being able to talk Arabic! We saw a great flock
of storks to-day (the Father of Luck, Tarif calls them) and an eagle. I
am now amongst the Bilka Arabs but these particular people are the
Ghanimat, which Hanna explains as Father of Flocks.

Wed. 21. Well, I can now show you the reverse side of camping. I woke
this morning at dawn to find a strong wind blowing up clouds from the
east. At 7 it began to rain but I nevertheless started off for the top of
Siagheh, which is Pisgah, sending the others straight to Madeba. I could
see from it two of the places from which Balaam is supposed to have
attempted the cursing of Israel and behind me lay the third, Nebonaba in
Arabic. The Moses legend is a very touching one. I stood on the top of
Pisgah and looked out over the wonderful Jordan valley and the blue sea
and the barren hills, veiled and beautified by cloud and thought it was
one of the most pathetic stories that have ever been told. I then rode to
Nebo, the clouds sweeping down behind me and swallowing up the whole
Ghor. As I left Nebo it began to stream. Arrived at Madeba about 11:30,
wet through. As I rode through the squalid muddy little streets, to my
surprise I was greeted in American by a man in a waterproof. He is a
photographer, semi-professional, and his name is Baker and he is very
cheerful and nice. He is travelling with a dragoman. I selected my camping
ground on the lee-side of the village and Mr. Baker took me to the Latin
monastery where he is lodging to keep out of the wet while my camp was
being put up. I sent up to Government House, so to speak, to find out
what my Mudir's letter had done for me in the matter of to-morrow's
escort. The answer came that this Mudir was away but that the Effendi was
coming to see me. He appeared, a tall middle-aged Turk; I invited him
into my tent with all politeness and offered him cigarettes (you see a
bad habit may have its merits!) while Hanna brought him a cup of coffee.
But--the soldier was not to be had! There weren't enough. I determined to
wait till the coffee and cigarettes had begun to work and turned the
conversation to other matters-with as many polite phrases as I could
remember. Fortunately I fell upon photography and found that his great
desire was to be photographed with his soldiers. I jumped at this and
offered to do him and send him copies and so forth and the upshot of it
was that for me he would send a soldier tomorrow at dawn. I think it's
rather a triumph to have conducted so successful a piece of diplomacy in
Arabic, don't you? The wind has dropped and the sky is clear, but it's
cold and dampish. I had the brilliant idea of sending into the town for a
brazier which was brought me full of charcoal and put into my tent. I
have been drying my habit over it. From my camp I look over great rolling
plains of cornfields stretching eastwards.

Thursday 22. This has been a most wonderful day. Hanna woke me at 5:30.
By 6:30 I had breakfasted and was ready to
start. I sent up to know if my soldier was coming. He arrived in a few
minutes, a big handsome cheerful Circassian mounted on a strong white
horse, and a little before seven we
started off. In a dip we came suddenly upon a great encampment of
Christians from Madeba and stopped to photograph them and their sheep.
They were milking them, the sheep being tied head to head in a serried
line of perhaps forty at a time. We went on and on, the ground rising and
falling and always the same beautiful grass-no road, we went straight
across country. Another big encampment of Christians. The people were
most friendly and one man insisted on mounting
his little mare and coming with us, just for love. So we all cantered off
together, through many flocks and past companies of dignified storks
walking about and eating the locusts, till we came to the road, the
pilgrim road to Mecca. Road of course it is not: it is about one-eighth
of a mile wide and consists of hundreds of parallel tracks trodden out by
the immense caravan which passes over it twice a year. We next came to
some camps and flocks of the Beni Sakhr, the most redoubted of all the
Arab tribes and the last who submitted to the Sultan's rule--"Very much
not pleasant" said Tarif--and now we were almost at the foot of the low
hills and before us stood the ruins of Mashetta. It is a Persian palace,
begun and never finished by Chosroes 1, who overran the country in 611 of
our era and planned to have a splendid hunting box in there. Grassy
plains which abound in game. The beauty of it all was quite past words.
It's a thing One will never forget as long as one lives. At last most
reluctantly, we turned back on our four hours' ride home. We hadn't gone
more than a few yards before three of the Beni Sakhr came riding towards
us, armed to the teeth, black browed and most menacing. When they saw our
soldier they threw us the salaam with some disgust, and after a short
exchange of politenesses, proceeded on their way--we felt that the
interview might have turned differently if we had been unescorted. We
rode on straight across the plains putting up several foxes and a little
grey wolf. Unfortunately we did not see the white gazelles of which there
are said to be many, also jackals and hyenas. Just as we came to the edge
of the corn fields, again two of the Beni Sakhr sprang up seemingly out
of the ground and came riding towards us. Exactly the same interview took
place as before and they retired in disgust. We got in at 5, quite
delighted with our day. Don't think I have ever spent such a wonderful
day.

Friday 23. Hanna woke me at 6:30 just in time to see a lovely sunrise
across the Madeba plains. At 7:30 I went up to the Sarai to see if the
Effendi wanted to be photographed but I found him so busy that he had not
had time to get into his swell clothes, so we arranged that it was to be
for when I came back. The Effendi insisted on sending a soldier with me
to Kerak. It is quite unnecessary, but this is the penalty of my
distinguished social position and also, I think, of my nationality for
the Turks are much afraid of us and he probably thinks I have some
project of annexation in my mind! The Circassian--for he is again a
Circassian, is good looking and pleasant. They are an agreeable race. I
was off at eight. We were on the Roman road all the day-paved on the
flat, hewn out of the rock in the gorges. Oh, my camp is too lovely
to-night! I am in a great field of yellow daisies by the edge of a
rushing stream full of fish and edged with oleanders which are just
coming out. (I have a bunch of them in my tent.) On either side rise the
great walls of the valley and protect me from every breath of wind. I
have just been having a swim in the river under the oleander bushes and
Tarif has shot me a partridge for dinner . . . . There is a very pretty
white broom flowering. Mashallah! Oh, the nice sound of water and frogs
and a little screaming owl!

Saturday 24. Gaisse aus Kerak! Do you know where to find it on the map?
it's quite a big place I assure you. . . .

I half climbed up on a little plateau near the river--a Roman guard house.
The place was remarkable for possessing two trees--terebinths; they are
the only trees I have seen for four days. A little hill called Shikan
which I can see from my windows in Jerusalem. Ruins of a Moabite town,
supposed to be the capital of King Sihon and therefore very very old. I
could see the terraced lines of the old vineyards . . . and the Roman road
straight as an arrow, paved and edged with a low double wall, one stone
high. There were lots and lots of ruins, villages and towns--what
a country it must have been! At 11:30 we reached a place that had
been a land mark. Quite suddenly, there opened below us an enormous
valley, splitting in the middle to make place for a steep hill
almost as high as the plateau on which we were standing, and the top
of the hill was set round with great Crusader forts with acres of mud
roofs between-it was Kerak. We went down and down and up and up and at 5
o'clock passed under the northern fort and entered the town. . . . to see
the English doctor, Johnson is his name, to whom I had letters. . . .
After tea Dr. Johnson took me down to my camp where we found an . . .
official who had come to find out who I was and whither going. My camp is
pitched in the north-west angle of the town. The steep valley goes
straight down below me; I am just under the great north-west fort and
beyond it I look right down the valley across the Dead Sea to the hills
of Judea--and Jerusalem. . . .

Sunday 2 5. I'm going on to Petra! What with giving out that I'm a German
(for they are desperately afraid of the English), I have got permission
and a soldier from the Governor and this is always difficult and often
impossible, and I can't but think that the finger of Providence points
southwards! I would telegraph to ask your permission, but there's no
telegraph nearer than Jericho! I think a missionary and his wife, Mr. and
Mrs. Harding, are coming with me; they are nice people and I shall like
to have them. He has gone to see about mules, etc., now, and we are off
at dawn. I have Spent a pleasant day here. . . . I photographed and came
back to my tent determined to penetrate into the south-west fort which is
now used as barracks for the Turkish soldiers. Dr. Johnson had told me I
could not possibly get permission, so I asked for none, but took Hanna
and walked calmly in, in an affable way, greeted all the soldiers
politely and was shown all over! As I was walking about I came to the
edge of a deep Pit and Whom should I see at the bottom of it but my poor
Madeba friends! It was the prison, there were underground chambers on
either side of the pit, but they were all sitting outside to enjoy the
sun that straggles down at midday. We greeted each other affectionately.
I then went down a long outer stair to a lower floor, so to speak, of the
forts, and here again was shown great vaulted rooms cut out of the rock.
These are all inhabited by soldiers and mules. I felt I had done a good
morning's sight-seeing and came back to my tent where I was presently
fetched by a little Turkish girl, the daughter of an Effendi, who told me
her mother was sitting down in the shadow of the wall a little below my
camp and invited me to come and drink coffee. We went down hand in hand
and I found a lot of Turkish women sitting on the ground under a fig
tree, so I sat down too and was given coffee and as they all but one
talked Arabic, we had a cheerful conversation. We had a glorious view
down the valley and across the Dead Sea--It is supposed to be the tomb of
Noah and honoured as such. It's a glorious hot night. We bought a lamb
to-day for a medijeh, . . . which seems cheap. He was a perfect love and
his fate cut me to the heart. I felt if I looked at him any longer I
should be like Byron and the goose, so I parted from him hastily--and
there were delicious lamb cutlets for supper.

My soldier is again a Circassian-his name is Ayoub--job. He appears to
possess the complacent disposition of his namesake, but he has little of
the Arabic, his native tongue being of course Turkish. We have a
beautiful flowery place for our camp and I have been bathing in the
stream. The men have shot partridges, and caught fish in a most ingenious
way. They put a basin weighted with some stones in the stream with a
little bread in it and cover it with a cloth in which there are a few
holes. The fish swim in to eat the bread and can't get out. They are very
small. My servants are admirable. My own camp goes like clockwork with
never a hitch. Hanna is the prop and stay of it all. The two muleteers
are also extremely good servants and we have vowed always to travel
together. . . .

We heard that we were still 6 hours from Wady Musa. One of the great
difficulties of this journey is that no one knows the distances even
approximately and there is no map worth a farthing. Another is that the
population is so scant we can't get food! This is starvation camp
tonight, we have nothing but rice and bread, a little potted meat. No
charcoal and no barley for our horses.

We have been on the Roman road all day. The men are all in good spirits
and we are extremely cheerful. It is a good joke, you know. . . .

Thursday 29. Wady Musa--at length we have arrived and it is worth all the
long long way. We descended to the village of Wady Musa where we hoped to
get provisions, but devil a hen there was, so we despatched a man post
haste to the nearest Bedouin camp for a lamb, and as yet--7 p.m.--none
has appeared! However, we have got laban and barley and butter so we can
support life with our own rice and bread. What the people in Wady Musa
live on I can't imagine. They hadn't so much as milk. These things
settled, we rode on and soon got into the entrance of the defile which
leads to Petra. The Bab es Sik is a passage about half a mile long and in
places not more than 8 ft. wide; the rocks rise on either side straight
up 100 ft. or so, they are sandstone Of the most exquisite red and
sometimes almost arch overhead. The stream runs between, filling all the
path, though it used to flow through conduits, and the road was paved;
oleanders grew along the stream and here and there a sheaf of ivy hung
down over the red rock. We went on in ecstasies until suddenly between
the narrow opening of the rocks, we saw the most beautiful sight I have
ever seen. Imagine a temple cut out of the solid rock, the charming
facade supported on great Corinthian columns standing clear., soaring
upwards to the very top of the cliff in the most exquisite proportions
and carved with groups Of figures almost as fresh as when the chisel left
them all this in the rose red rock., with the sun just touching it and
making it look almost transparent. As we went on the gorge widened, on
either side the cliffs were cut out into rock tombs of every shape and
adorned in every manner, some standing, columned, in the rock, some clear
with a pointed roof, some elaborate, some simple, some capped with
pointed pyramids, many adorned with a curious form of stair high up over
the doorway. . . . . The gorge opened and brought us out into a kind of
square between the cliffs with a rude cut theatre in it and tombs on
every side. We went on and got into a great open place the cliffs
widening out far on every side and leaving this kind of amphitheatre
strewn over with mounds of ruins. And here we camped under a row of the
most elaborate tombs, three stories of pillars and cornices and the whole
topped by a great funeral urn. They are extremely rococo, just like the
kind of thing you see in a Venetian church above a seventeenth century
Doge leaning on his elbow, but time has worn them and weather has stained
the rock with exquisite colours--and, in short, I never liked Bernini so
well!. . . . It is like a fairy tale city, all pink and wonderful. The
great paved roads stretch up to a ruined arch and vanish; a solid wall
springs up some 6ft. 'A rose red city half as old as Time'--I wish the
lamb had come!

Friday, 30. I have had a busy day. An hour before dawn Ayoub and I
started off riding, with a shepherd to guide us, to the top of Mount
Hot--you realise that no daughter of yours could be content to sit
quietly at the bottom of a mountain when there was one handy!--we rode up
nearly to the top and then dismounted and climbed to the highest summit
on which stands, whose tomb do you think! Aaron's! I have never seen
anything like these gorges; the cliffs rise for 1000 ft. on either side,
broken into the most incredible shapes and coloured!--red, yellow, blue,
white, great patterns over them more lovely than any mosaic. I came back
to my tents and found we had bought fifty eggs, some figs and a sheep!
but unfortunately the sheep has grown rather old in his long journey to
us.

Saturday 31--We left Petra at 7 this morning with great regret. It was
looking too exquisite and I longed for another day, but the Hardings were
bound to be back. I certainly underestimated the length of the entrance
gorge.

Saturday, April 1. We were Off at 7 this morning and rode two and a half
hours along our former road across the wide stretching uplands. The
monotony was broken by keeping a watch for the Roman milestones. We were
going very slowly so as to keep in touch with the mules and we passed one
every quarter of an hour the whole way. The paved road was often very
well preserved. It was blazing hot. We lunched at the opening of the
usual broad shallow valley where there was a very dirty pool at which
the mules watered, and one tiny thorn bush under the shade of which we
tried to sit, but as it was 1 ft.there was not much shade to be had. In
all this country there is practically no water, there are a few cisterns
scattered over the hills and, I should think, emptied before the middle
of the summer, and where we are camping a couple of wells, and that's
absolutely all! I nearly went to sleep on my horse this morning, but was
wakened up by hearing Ayoub relating to me tales of Ibn Rashid. One gets
so accustomed to it all that one ceases to be bored. We set off again at
12 and Ayoub sighted some Arabs on a hill top so he and I and Hanna and
Tarif left the others and rode up and over the hill and found a lot of
Arabs watering their flocks at a 'bit' (that's a cistern). It was a very
pretty sight. They brought the water up in skins and poured it into the
stone troughs all round and the sheep and goats drank thirstily. We
followed the Roman road, which runs straight over the tops of the hills.
. . . our camping place down in the valley at
2:30. It is called Towaneh and was once a big town, the ruins of it
stretch up on either side of the valley, but there is nothing now but a
cluster of black tents a few hundred yards below us. I paid a call on
some Arab ladies and watched them making a sort of sour cream cheese in a
cauldron over their fire. They gave me some when it was done, we all ate
it, with our fingers, and then they made me coffee, and we drank it out
of the same cup, and it was quite good. It was very difficult to
understand them for their vocabulary is perfectly different from mine;
however, we got along by keeping to simple subjects! These people are
gipsies, some of them have just been dancing for me, round my camp fire.
It was quite dark, with a tiny new moon, the fire of dry thorns flickered
upfaded and flickered again and showed the circle of men crouching on the
ground, their black and white cloaks wrapped round them and the woman in
the middle dancing. She looked as though she had stepped out of an
Egyptian fresco. She wore a long red gown bound round her waist with a
dark blue cloth, and falling open in front to show a redder petticoat
below. Round her forehead was another dark blue cloth bound tightly and
falling in long ends down her back, her chin was covered by a white cloth
drawn up round her ears and falling in folds to her waist and her lower
lips tattooed with indigo! Her feet, in red leather shoes, scarcely moved
but all her body danced and she swept a red handkerchief she held in one
hand, round her head, and clasped her hands together in front of her
impassive face. The men played a drum and a discordant fife and sang a
monotonous song and clapped their hands and gradually she came nearer and
nearer to me, twisting her slender body till she dropped down on the heap
of brushwood at my feet, and kneeling, her body still danced and her arms
swayed and twisted round the mask like face. She got up, and retreated
again slowly, with downcast eyes, invoking blessings upon me at
intervals, till at last I called her and gave her a couple of besklihs.
Near Damascus is their home, and they are going back there from Mecca
where they have been near the Prophet (thanks be to God!) and they have
seen the holy city (God made it!) and they hope to reach Damascus in
safety (if God please!). They talked Arabic to me, but to each other the
gipsy tongue which sounded more like Turkish than anything else.

Monday 2. We left this morning at 7. It was very hot, a strong baking
wind from the south and a heavy hot mist, most unpleasant. Through this
we rode for two hours or more straight on up the side of the valley. The
morning's amusement was again the milestones which are wonderfully well
preserved, many of them still standing upright in groups of three or
four. I have counted as many as eight in one place--I don't know why this
is, unless every succeeding emperor
who mended the road put up a few milestones of his own. The inscriptions
are always visible, but would generally be very difficult to decipher,
the letters being much worn. Besides which a mass of Arab tribe marks
have been cut on top of them. Many of them, however, have been read by
the learned. We went to a tiny village called Aineh where there is a
lovely spring and a watermill. We were still six hours from Kerak and Ali
black in the face from the heat, so that I thought he was going to have a
sunstroke. The Hardings were obliged to go on, but I decided to stay
here. They have been very nice. My camp is pitched half way up the hill,
with the head of the spring at my door and in front, deep corn fields
where the barley is standing in the ear and the storks walking solemnly
up to their necks in green. There has been an immense flock of them
flying and settling on the hillside, and when I took a stroll I soon
found what was engaging the attention of the Father of Luck. The ground
was hopping with locusts; on some of the slopes they have eaten every
leaf and they are making their way down to the corn. I have just been
watching my people make bread. Flour was fortunately to be got from the
mill below us; they set two logs alight and when they had got enough
ashes they made an immense cake, 2 ft. across and half an inch thick, of
flour and water and covered it over with hot ashes. After a quarter of an
hour it had to be turned and recovered and the result is most delicious
eaten hot; it becomes rather wooden when it is cold. The flour is very
coarse, almost like oatmeal. These are the Moments when my camp is at its
best--half a dozen ragged onlookers were sitting round in the circle of
flickering light and a tiny moon overhead. . . .

One of my muleteers, Muhammad, is a Druze. If all his sect are like him,
they must be a charming race. He is a great big handsome creature, gentle
and quiet and extremely abstemious. He eats nothing but rice `and bread
and figs. it makes me the more keen to go to the Hauran which is the
chief centre of then, and I want very much to take these two muleteers
with me: they are very capable and obliging, and Muhammad would be
interesting to have in a Druze country. One mayn't know or see anything
of their religious observances, but he has been telling me a great deal
about their life and customs. He says nearly all the people in the
Lebanon are Druzes. He himself comes from Beyrout, where he lives next
door to Ali. They both talk with the pretty, soft, sing-song accent of
the Lebanon. I have a good variety of accents with me for Tarif has the
Bedouin and Hanna the real cockney of Jerusalem. They appeal to me
sometimes to know which is right. I never was so sunburnt in my life; I'm
a rich red brown, not at all becoming! in spite of the Quangle Wangle hat
you sent me.

Friday 6. (Jericho again). Madeba, in proportion to its size, must have
the largest number of mosquitoes and fleas of any inhabited spot on the
globe. Chiefly owing to the mosquitoes, my night was rather a restless
one, it also rained a great deal and rain makes an unconscionable noise
on a tent, besides the fact is I was troubled to think of my poor people
outside. There was still a little rain when I got up at 5, but the clouds
lifted and we had no more. I broke up my camp here, and rode myself into
Jericho with Hanna. We came down the same road that we had come
up-but-the Ghor had withered. In one little fortnight the sun had eaten
up everything but the tall dry daisy stalks. It was almost impossible to
believe that it had been so lovely so short a time ago. Jericho doesn't
look at all nice, all burnt up and withered.

Our plans are these: the Rosens and I start off on Monday fortnight, the
23rd, and go up together to the Hauran. It will take us about a
fortnight. They come home and I go straight up to Damascus, a couple of
days or so, and so perhaps across to Palmyra, and the rest as before,
reaching Jerusalem again about the end of May.

To her sister.
JERUSALEM, April 9th, 1900.

DEAREST ELSA,
It is so amusing to have a letter with photographs in it. I quite
understand your impressions of Florence and Venice. To this day I feel
more inside Florence, myself, but I went to Venice knowing the East
and knowing a good deal of Italy and for those reasons I think I found
it easier to become a part of it. Also, I was there a month, nearly,
you must remember. But it is very strange--'unheirnlich', some
silly German said and it's not as silly as it sounds at first.
It's a heavenly feeling when suddenly the thing jumps at you and
you know you understand. I daresay you don't, but it doesn't matter,
the feeling is there. I don't think you get it out of books a
bit, though books help to strengthen it, but you certainly get it out of
seeing more and more, even of quite different things. The more you see,
the more everything falls into a kind of rough an ready perspective, and
when you come to a new thing, you haven't so much difficulty in placing
it and fitting it into the rest. I'm awfully glad you love the beginnings
of things--so do I, most thoroughly, and unless one does, I don't believe
one can get as much pleasure out of the ends. The early Florentines are
too wonderful--there's such a feeling for beauty even in the woodenest of
them, and they are so earnest, bless them, that they carry one with
them--well, very nearly up into Paradise and down into Hell! Now, rejoice
with me! my travel photographs are all right. I've only seen the
negatives, but they are lovely and you shall have a Monthly Cousin
article, illustrated, on Petra. I was dreadfully nervous about them, for
when it was so hot that the chocolate melted in the canteen, I thought
the gelatine might have melted in the camera. I have gone into summer
clothes, which always feels very festive, don't you think? Tell the ditty
Moll, talking of clothes, that I've got a little present for her. It's a
complete Bethlehem costume, with the high hat and the veil and
everything. She can wear it at the next fancy dress ball if she likes. It
was made for her by a dear little Bethlehem woman who comes to the
Consulate to do the washing.




CHAPTER VI


1900


DESERT EXCURSIONS FROM JERUSALEM


To H.B.
JERUSALEM, April 13th, 1900.

To-morrow the Rosens and I are going off after lunch to Neby Musa, where
we are to camp for 2 nights. I think it will be immensely amusing. Oh,
Father dearest, don't I have a fine time! I'm only overcome by the sense
of how much better it is than I deserve! . . .

To H.B.
JERUSALEM, Sunday, 22nd April, 1900.

* * *but perhaps you haven't had time to read it yet! I have had the most
madly rushing days since I wrote last. My acquaintance here now comprises
a set of the ruggedest, wildest looking Dervishes! but in spite of their
appearance they are quite human and eager to stop and have a chat when we
meet in the bazaar. I went to call on my teacher in the afternoon and
found his pretty wife and four charming children all expecting me. They
gave me odd (and nasty) things to eat and a narghileh to smoke, which I
hated, but to my relief found that with the best of good will I couldn't
keep it alight, so that I didn't have much of it. Saturday was the great
day here, the day of the annual miracle of the Holy Fire. Charlotte and I
went off to the Russian Consulate, for we were to go to the Russian
balcony to see the ceremony in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. The
church was packed, every soul having bunches of candles in his hand to
receive the Holy Fire. There was a moment of breathless interest--you
know the murmur of a great crowd which is waiting for something to
happen; it was intoxicating, I never felt so excited in my
life. Suddenly the sound of the crowd rose into a deafening roar and I
saw a man running from the corner of the sepulchre with a blazing torch
held high over his head. The crowd parted before him, the flying figure
and the flaming light disappeared into the dark recesses of the church-he
had been the first to receive the heaven-sent fire. Then followed a most
extraordinary scene. On either side of the sepulchre the people fought
like wild beasts to get to the fires for there were two issuing from the
two windows of the sepulchre, one for the Greeks and one for the
Armenians. In an instant the fire leapt to the very roof; it was as
though one flame had breathed over the whole mass of men and women. Every
soul was bearing a light, torch or candle or bunch of tapers--behind us
in the Greek church, which is almost dark, there was nothing but a blaze
of lights from floor to dome, and the people were washing their faces in
the fire. How they are not burnt to death is a real miracle. . . . Then
came a man from the sepulchre with a whip, bursting through the crowd,
and behind him the Patriarch in his mitre holding two great torches over
his head and two priests holding up his arms, and they ran, like men
carrying some great tidings, through the narrow Passage which had been
cleared for them and which closed up behind them like water, and passed
below us and up the Greek church to light the candles on the High Altar.
I have a vision of looking up into the huge dome and seeing high high up,
an open window with men standing in it, and their torches flaming between
the bright sun and the dense smoke. Well, I can scarcely tell you about
it sensibly, for as I write about it, I am overcome by the horrible
thrill of it.

Monday, April 30th. DERAA. 1900.
This morning we none of us had a very long way before us so I didn't get
up till 6:30, which was most pleasant. When i looked out of my tent door,
there was Mount Hermon gleaming all Its snows, right in front of me. It
was so beautiful I had the greatest difficulty in not turning my face
northwards and rushing straight for it, but the Druze mountains were
standing mistily on the eastern horizon and I must try for them first. We
breakfasted, as usual, in front of the Rosens' tent, with Hermon
occupying the fourth place at our table, and at 8:30 we very sadly parted
and I went east and they west. I have two muleteers, Muhammad and Yakoub,
and Hanna. I rode for three hours over the great Hauran plain, through
streets of corn. There were villages scattered about and the people
looked prosperous. There were also tracts of country ploughed and lying
fallow for next year's crops. They practically never manure, so that they
can't grow barley two years running. The maps mark this country as
belonging to the Anazeh, a great tribe which stretches to the Euphrates,
but they appear to have withdrawn their black tents further eastward,
probably because of the encroaching Turkish government. After three
hours' ride we came to a mud and stone built village standing upon a
little hill, with a mosque on top. (By the way, it was very curious
yesterday returning to the Arab villages after the neat Circassian
streets and courtyards.) The people were very busy cutting grass and
bringing it home on the backs of camels, laden string after string of
them. In these villages they use nothing but camels, with a little donkey
to lead the string. There was a strong, cool west wind, but the sun was
blazing hot, so hot that one had to put on a coat to keep it out. I wear
a big white keffieh bound over my hat and wound round me so that only my
eyes show, and they are partly hidden by a blue veil; but the chief
comfort of this journey is my masculine saddle, both to me and to my
horse. Never, never again will I travel on anything else; I haven't known
real ease in riding till now. Till I speak the people always think I'm a
man and address me as Effendim! You mustn't think I haven't got a most
elegant and decent divided skirt, however, but as all men wear skirts of
sorts too, that doesn't serve to distinguish me. Mount Hermon was a great
joy all along the road; it looked now like a white cloud hanging in mid
air. About two we entered Deraa, built of black volcanic stone it is, all
bare and dusty, with a black ruined tower. The mules were behind; Hanna
and I rode down to the well at the east of the town and sat there waiting
for half an hour in the dust and the sun, watching the countless string
of camels bringing in the corn which is ripe here. They don't reap it,
but pluck it up by the roots. At last we rode back to see what the mules
were doing and found that they had arrived, and that my tents were
pitched on a hill by some ruined Roman baths, in sight of Hermon and the
Jebel Druze. You wouldn't believe how soon the most unpromising spot
changes into a comfy, home-like place as soon as one's tents are up and
one's horses tethered. I rested and had tea, and then made an attempt to
see an extraordinary underground town there is here, and which is
supposed to belong to the times of Og the king of Bashan. But I could not
get any one who knew the way, and after grubbing about under the earth
for an hour, amongst the remains of hyenas' meals, I came away disgusted.

BOSRAH, Wednesday, May 2nd.
I am deep in intrigues ! I will tell you all from the beginning. We set
off with a soldier for guide across the corn-covered plains; here and
there a black village stood out from the green and the ground was covered
with black porous stone. The volcanic peaks of the Jebel Druze lay ahead
of us eastwards all day. At 11 I got to the first really interesting
village, jizeh, and here I saw the building of this country. You must
understand that the peculiarities of it depend on the faft that there was
(and is) no wood at all, and when the Romans made a great colony here in
the first century, about, they built entirely with stone--the rafters are
long bits of stone stretched across from arch to arch over the rooms, the
doors are solid blocks of stone with charming patterns carved on them;
the windows even are stone perforated with holes and carved between the
holes. All this in black basalt; it is curious to see. There was one
perfect house in jizeh, small and four-square, with a cornice running
round near the top On the outside, but it had no window at all. There was
another, the beautiful walls of which were standing, and the stone roof,
but the original door and windows were gone. It was turned into a mosque.
Bosrah stood up, black and imposing, before us for miles before we
arrived, a mass of columns and triumphal arches with the castle
dominating the whole. I went up the square tower of the minaret and
looked out over the town-columns and black square towers over every
ruined church and mosque, and the big castle and the countless masses of
fallen stone. I had been joined by a cheerful, handsome person, the Mamur
(the Sultan's land agent) who climbed with me in and out of the churches
and the fallen walls and the ruined houses. Such a spectacle of past
magnificence and present squalor it would be difficult to conceive. There
were inscriptions everywhere, Latin, Greek, Cufic and Arabic, built into
the walls of the Fellahin houses, topsy turvy, together with the
perforated slabs that were once windows, and bits of columns and capitals
of pillars. After two hours of this I began to feel light-headed with
fatigue and hunger. At last he took me to the top of the castle to see
the view of the town and introduced me to the head of the soldiers, who
produced chairs and coffee on his roof-top, and subsequently glasses of
arrack and water in his room below. The Mamur is a Beyrouti and talks
Arabic, but the other is a pure Turk, and our common tongue is
French--most inadequate on his side. At length I induced them to let me
go, and retired to my tents below the castle. I found the Mudir (Governor
of the town) waiting for me, a handsome, dignified Arab, much looked down
on by the whipper-snapper Turkish officials. We exchanged polite
greetings and I retired to my dinner and my bed. This morning the Mamur
appeared at eight to take me to a ruined village to the north. I went
first to see the Mudir, whom I found sitting in his arched and shaded
courtyard. He gave me coffee and negotiations began. "Where was I going?"
"To Damascus." "God has made it! there is a fine road to the west with
such and such places in it, very beautiful ruins." "Please God I shall
see them! but I wish first to look upon Salkhad." (This is in the heart
of the Druze country, where they don't want me to go) "Salkhad! there is
nothing there at all, and the road is very dangerous. It cannot happen."
"There has come a telegram from Damascus to say the Mutussarif fears for
the safety of your presence." (This isn't true) "English women are never
afraid." (This also isn't true!) "I wish to look upon the ruins." And so
on and so off, till finally I told him I was going nowhere to-day and he
said he would come and see me later. We parted, he saying "You have
honoured me!" and I "God forbid!!" and I rode off with the Mamur to a
village Khutbet, crossing many beautiful Roman bridges on the Way.-There
was nothing of interest there) and we turned east to Jemurrin, where
there are some very beautiful ruined houses. They used no mortar, but the
walls are built in a most wonderful way, the stones being often notched
out and fitted into one another. We got back about 11. I lunched, After
which my two Turkish friends came to call, but fortunately did not stay
long. While they were with me, a Druze Sheikh was hanging round my tent,
but I could not speak to him under the eyes of the officials. A Bedouin
has also been to ask if I want to go east, but I prefer to put myself
under the protection of the Druzes. It's awfully amusing, and my servants
fully enter into the fun of the thing. If only I Could put myself into
communication with the Druzes, all Would be Well. If not, I shall try
starting very early to-morrow, And making a dash for them; once into
their country I'll move quickly and it will be difficult for the Turks to
catch me, for they are horribly afraid of the Druzes. I may fail--God is
He who knows! I gather that the two Turks would put nothing In my Way to
stop me out of jealousy of the Mudir, who is the local authority. But one
can't never tell how much they Say is true, and I keep my own counsel as
far as possible. & yet I haven't let on that the places I want really to
go to are not Salkhad at all but some ruined towns further north, but
they know. There are no Druzes living in Bosrah. I took a walk by myself
this afternoon. Walking about Bosrah Is like trying to walk about a room
on the furniture only. The game is never to get off the house-tops and
one generally succeeds. After tea the Mamur came to fetch me and took me
up to the military gentleman's room in the castle. They both had their
eyes nicely blacked with kohl, but otherwise their toilette was
incomplete. The Rais el Askar was being shaved while I sat and drank
coffee. We then took a walk about the town which I lengthened out till
sunset, because I wanted to miss the Mudir's visit; but he did not come,
and I hope this may mean that he doesn't want to know my movements
officially. I hope so. Meantime, we all feel like conspirators.

JEBEL DRUZE, Thursday, May 3rd.
I've slipped through their fingers, and as yet I can scarcely believe in
my good fortune. The story begins last night; you must hear it all. I
dined early and as I was sitting reading in my tent, I heard the voice of
the Mudir. I blew out my light and when Hanna came to tell me of his
coming, I sent him a message that I was very tired and had gone to bed. I
heard this conversation: Hanna "The lady has been awake since the rising
of the sun--all day she has walked and ridden, now she sleeps." Mudir.
"Does she march to-morrow?" Hanna. "I couldn't possibly say, Effendim."
Mudir, "Tell her she must let me know before she goes anywhere." Hanna.
"At your pleasure, Effendim." And he left, but not without having assured
me that he meant to stop me. I hastily re-arranged my plans. He knew I
was going to Salkhad and when he found that I had flown, he would send
after me along that road as far as he dared; I decided, therefore, to
strike for a place further north, Areh, where I saw in Murray that a
powerful Druze sheikh lived. Moreover the road lay past jemurrin, which I
knew, and whither I could find my way. Providence watched over me, as you
will see, in this resolution. I told my servants. Muhammad tried to
dissuade me, saying that if I told the Mudir I was going to Suweidah,
north of Areh, he would raise no difficulties as there were Turkish
soldiers there; but I knew better, and besides, what was the good of
being passed from the hands of one Turkish official to another? I
afterwards found out that Muhammad, poor dear! was terrified out of his
life and was trying all he knew to prevent my going. I went to bed, but
what with excitement and dogs, I didn't sleep much. At two Hanna called
me and I got up into the shivering night. By three I was ready, and the
packing up began under the stars. It was bitter cold--one felt it after
the heat of the days and in our thin summer clothes. I walked backwards
and forwards and prayed Heaven that no soldier would look over the castle
wall, see our lantern, and come to enquire what was happening.
Fortunately the Mudir lived inside the town. The stars began to pale and
that darkest moment of the night, when the east whitens, set in. At 4 we
were off. It was a ticklish business finding our way in the dark round
the walls to the east, I didn't know this bit of the road, having only
seen the beginning and the end of it. The houses seemed to finger out
towards us, and suddenly we would find ourselves heading inwards and were
obliged to retrace our steps. It took us near an hour, but at last we
were past the N.E. corner and I hit on the jemurrin road. We had met only
two men driving out their cows. By this time the little band of cloud in
the east had turned pink; half an hour later it was gold and we saw the
black ruins of jemurrin in front of us. The sun rose just as we had
passed them. Now we had to find our way by my excellent map; it was not
difficult for we had the Roman road for our guide, but oh! it seemed long
to the first Druze village. Muhammad was trembling lest he should see
either a Druze or a soldier. I feared the latter only, but much. I was
borne up by the extraordinary beauty of Hermon, with the dawn touching
its snows. The road rose gradually; we could see nothing ahead but the
top Of the west slope of corn, and a black village where I hoped we
should find Druzes, but which turned out to be only a ruin--Deir Zubier
was its disappointing name. There was a man among the corn, however, with
the white turban and black keffiyeh of the Druze and I greeted him thus
(it is the right form) "Peace be upon you! oh, son of my uncle!" He put
us into the path, which we had missed. At length we came to the top of
the last slope and saw in front of us a rolling fertile, watered country,
scattered over with little volcanic hills, and behind it, higher hills
and the pointed peak of the Kulieb rising over all-the Little Heart, the
highest of the Jebel Druze. In front of us, not half a mile away was the
tiny village of Miyemir. I hurried on. At the foot of the hill on which
it lay was a pool and fig trees near by. The women were filling their
earthenware jars at the water, Druze women in long blue and red robes and
white muslin veils drawn over their heads and round their faces, and by
the water stood the most beautiful boy of 19 or 20. I dismounted to water
my horse; the boy (his name is Saif ed Din, the Sword of the Faith) came
up to me, took my hands and kissed me on both cheeks, rather to my
surprise. Several other men and boys came up and shook hands with me;
they were all more or less beautiful, and so are the women, when you can
see their faces. Their eyes look enormous, blacked with kohl, men and
women alike; they are dark, straight browed, straight shouldered, with an
alert and gentle air of intelligence which is extraordinarily attractive.
I asked Saif ed Din if he would show us the way to Areh, but he said he
was busy and it was only half an hour off, so we rode on. But we hadn't
gone a quarter of a mile before he repented and came running after us to
offer his services, touching his heart and his forehead in token of
obedience, So we went on through meadows, cornfields and vineyards in
this pleasant country of little hills, and the muleteers began to sing
and the kindly white turbaned people working in the vineyards stopped to
salute as we passed, and I laughed for joy all the way at the thought of
the Mudir and the Turks. And so about 8:30 we reached Areh. Some persons
of apparent importance were standing by their house doors at the bottom
of the hill, so I rode up and gave them the salaam. They took me by both
hands and begged me to alight and drink coffee with them. This was just
what I wanted, for I needed information. We walked hand in hand, Druze
fashion, with our little fingers clasped, not our hands, to the nearest
houses. As I entered they said "Are you German?" and when I told them I
was English they nearly fell on my neck--you need no other introduction
here. With many Mashallahs! they piled all their cushions on to a raised
seat for me, brought a stool for my feet and water for me to wash my
hands, and then sat round in a circle on the clean matted floor making
coffee for me. The nicest of them all, Hamma Hamid, sat by me and laid
his hand on my shoulder when he talked to me. I told them all my tale and
how I escaped from the government and come to them, interrupted by many
interjections of welcome and assurance that there was no government here
(Turks, that means), and that I was safe with them and might go where I
pleased. The sense of comfort and safety and confidence and of being with
straight speaking people, was more delightful than I can tell you. They
asked about the war and knew the names of all the towns and generals and
were very sympathetic about Maurice--were cultivated, civilised human
beings. The coffee finished (very good it was) I asked if I could see the
Sheikh. "Sheikh!" said they, "Yahya Beg is the head of all the Druzes in
the land, of course you must visit him." So we went off to the top of the
little hill on which stands the Beg's verandahed house, Hammad and I
finger in finger, and as we went he told me that the Beg had been five
years in prison in Damascus and had just been let out, three weeks ago,
and warned me that I must treat him with great respect. I said my Arabic
and not my feelings would be at fault, and indeed I would defy any one
not to treat Yahya Beg with respect. He is the most perfect type of the
Grand Seigneur, a great big man (40 to 50, I suppose) very handsome and
with the most exquisite manners. We walked straight into his reception
room, where he was sitting on a carpet with six Or eight others eating
out of a big plate. He beckoned me into the circle, and I ate too, using
the thin slabs of bread for spoon and fork. The food was laban, and an
excellent mixture of beans and meat. I should have liked to have eaten
much more of it, but the Beg had finished and I was afraid it wouldn't be
polite. The plate was removed and he piled up his cushions for me on the
floor and I waited till he sat down, very politely, for he's a king, you
understand, and a very good kink too, though his kingdom doesn't happen
to be a large one. Then I had to tell my tale over again and the Beg shut
his big eyes and bowed his handsome head from time to time, murmuring
"Daghy, daghy"--it is true--as I spoke. I told him all I wanted to see
and that I didn't want to see Suweidah because of the Turks in
it--there's a telegraph too, greatest danger of all--and he was most
sympathetic and arranged all my travels for me and told me to take Saif
ed Din with me and to count on his protection wherever I went. So we
drank coffee and then someone suggested I should photograph the Beg (to
my great delight) and I posed him in his verandah and very splendid he
looked. So we parted, and I walked down to a delicious water meadow where
I found my horses and mules grazing and set off with Saif ed Din and
another gentleman called Aly, whose functions I don't rightly know, but
who seems an agreeable travelling companion. Saif ed Din, walking along
briskly while I rode, his embroidered skirts neatly buttoned up over a
white petticoat. On the way we met a troop of shining ones, all in their
best, carrying guns and lances. They were going to congratulate the Beg
on his safe return. They stopped to greet me and bid me every kind of
welcome--it's a pleasant change after being with people whose one idea is
to tell you not to go anywhere! We went gradually upwards towards the
second ridge of hills, Saif ed Din showing me the plain where the great
battle was fought, four years ago; they say 500 Druzes fell and 1400
Turks. At first we went through corn and meadows, then up a stony ground
with grass between the stones. The country is thinly peopled, but there
are Bedouins scattered about, who come in with their flocks for the
pasturage and pay rent in money and camels. The Druzes use them as
servants. The ruined sites are countless. On the southernmost corner of
the ridge, finely situated, is the village of Habran, where I now am. My
camp is pitched by a big pond, in a meadow, with evergreen oaks growing
about in it and the black village behind. Kulieb stands over me to the
north--dear Little Heart! I did not dare to think last night that I
should ever be so near it. We got into camp at 12:30. I washed and
lunched and slept, and at four went off with Saif ed Din to explore. The
village is full of the old stone houses, more or less ruined and built up
again. The best house I saw, with its arches inside and stone rafters and
corbels supporting them, is now used as the Druze church--Khelweh, they
call it. The village is beautifully clean, full of fruit trees, and hay
drying on the flat roofs. The women were coming down to the various ponds
on all sides with their jars for water on their heads. The Sheikh of the
village took me to his house, spread some carpets and cushions outside
and made me coffee--a lengthy process, as you begin from the beginning,
roast and pound it. I didn't mind, however, as I lay on my cushions
talking to all the pleasant friendly people and watching the light fade
on Kuleib. since dinner I have been swimming in the pond--it's almost a
lake and quite deep. The women are very shy; they don't unveil even to
me, but they let me photograph them. They appear to spend most of their
leisure time mending their mud roofs, but the men treat them with great
respect and affection even when they are muddy up to their elbows. Isn't
this all too wonderful? I'm so delighted with it! But I began my day at
2, so good night. The Sheikh of the village invited me to dinner, but I
refused on the plea of fatigue. To-day when I was having my first coffee
party in Areh, Hammad asked me to tell them something out of the Bible. I
translated for them "Love thy neighbour as thyself," which seemed a good
all round maxim, and they were much pleased with it.

Friday, 4th. After breakfast this morning, I found the good Sheikh had
been waiting round my tents since dawn to take me to his house. I went
first to a Mazar close to my tent--a Mazar is generally the tomb of a
saint or a sheikh. It was a very well Preserved example of the old type
of house building--stone doors and rafters, etc. Nusr ed Din (this is his
name, by the Way, not Saif ed Din, as Hanna told me) kissed the threshold
and the door posts and all the arches and the corners of the tomb Most
devoutly. I then went up to the Sheikh's house and was given a most
excellent breakfast--I wished I hadn't eaten before as I should have
liked to have breakfasted on it. It consisted of 10 or 12 leaves of their
delicious thin bread, a bowl of milk with sugar and a little brown meal
in it, and a bowl of laban. Coffee began and ended the meal. It was eight
before I was off. Its name was Ayun. I went there and was well rewarded,
for in the first place it was a ruined Roman village, which had
apparently never been re-inhabited, and one could therefore trace the
exact shape and style of the houses; and in the second, there was a Mazar
in it and a troop of women and children from a neighbouring village were
visiting it, all dressed in their best and the boys carrying branches of
briar and long stalks of flowering hemlock. Their religion is most
mysterious. They seem to think all saints are equally worshipable except
Muhammad, who they say is no saint at all. They have prayers every night,
but especially on Friday night. They are divided into two kinds,
Initiated and the Uninitiated, but the only difference between them seems
to be that the Initiated don't smoke--it would seem an odd religious
distinction! They have sacred books which are only read by the appointed
elders. From Ayun we rode over a little rise which brought us out face to
face with Salkhad. A most wonderful place. A great castle built in, and
rising out of, the cone of a volcano. The outside is almost perfect, old
foundations (of dateless antiquity they say; it's one of the places that
is mentioned as belonging to Og, King of Bashan), then probably Roman
work, and all worked over by Saracens. The Castle of Salkhad is the last
outpost of the hills which here drop away into a few volcanic tells--and
then the desert till the Euphrates. There are one or two inhabited
villages at the foot of the hills and a few ruins on the tells, and after
that no one knows anything about it and it's white on the map. But from
my feet, almost, and running in a straight line south east as far as the
eye could see was the track of a Roman road--and the other end of it is
at Bagdad. I wished the Mudir could have seen me! The Arabs were
pasturing enormous flocks of camels. I found my camp pitched and
surrounded by some hundred people, amongst whom two little sons of the
Sheikh--he is a nephew of Yahya Beg's, who welcomed me with the most
exquisite politeness. After I had had tea and washed--by dint of shutting
my tent door--I came out to
find two little daughters of the Sheikh waiting for me and we Went off
hand in hand to their house, with all the population of the town
following me. The Sheikh was not there, but a lot of women and children
received me and we sat in an open verandah till I couldn't stand the
crowd any longer, when one of the boys took me into an inner room and I
sat and drank coffee. The Sheikh's children, boys and girls, are most
beautiful creatures, and there were some lovely girls amongst the coffee
party. I asked them if they ever unveiled. They said never, not even when
they are alone or when they go to bed! There came a lot of Christians to
see me; there are many in this country; they come to escape from the
oppression of the Turks.

Saturday, 5th. A Christian lady sent me a delicious dish for breakfast--
some flat thin bread with cream rolled up in it, slightly salted.

. . . . There is a Mazar outside the town. I went in and found a charming
room with a row of columns supporting the dome roof and lots of little
children, sitting on the floor, to whom the schoolmaster was teaching
reading. The Mazar itself Was an inner domed chamber with a tomb in it. I
was off at 7:30 with Nusr ed Din. The barley was most beautiful, but
alas! lots of locusts eating it. He begged me to come a little out of the
route to Sehweh and honour his mother by drinking coffee with her. It was
a charming village, new, but built with old materials brought from El
Kafr on the usual volcanic tell. Corn, figs, vines and such a look of
prosperity. I sat under a Mulberry tree with Nusr ed Din's family, nice
handsome People, and ate fried eggs and bread and drank coffee and milk
the whole village crowding round. When one expostulates they say: "We
wish to gaze upon you, because you have honoured us." The Sheikh is Nusr
ed Din's uncle. I visited him and his wife and tried to please,
apparently with success.

I also bought from the wife of Nusr ed Din's cousin a Druze woman's robe,
which I intend to present to Elsa. It is very pretty and extremely
interesting, for the costume has died out in all places but these hills.
An hour's ride up a hill side, prettily wooded with stunted oak and
hawthorn in full flower, brought us to El Kafr, where I found my tent
pitched. I am just at the foot of Kuleib, but, contrary to my custom, I
have not gone up it, because it is Sirocco which makes one feel as if one
were made of blotting paper and also spreads a thick, hot mist over the
world. Directly I arrived, the Sheikh's son and some other persons of
importance came to see me. They were a group of the most beautiful people
you would wish to see. Their average height was about 6 ft. 1 in. and
their average looks were as though you mixed up Hugo and you, Father.

At 4 I sallied out with Ali, whose native town it is. I don't need him
really--it's an absurd luxury to have two guides, but when I tell him to
go he replies that he is my brother and must accompany me everywhere--not
without recompense, of course! I returned the call of the Sheikh's son
and while I was drinking coffee the old Sheikh arrived. He had been to
see Yahya Beg, and half expected me because the Beg had asked after me in
the following terms: "Have you seen a queen travelling, a consuless?"
They offered me a sheep, but I refused it. I hope I did right; one never
knows and I'm terribly afraid of committing solecisms. I feel it would be
too silly, under these exceptional conditions, not to see all I can in a
country which so few people have seen. It's extraordinarily enjoyable
too. They took me to see the Khelweh, which was bigger and better than
any I have yet seen. It was divided into two parts by a thin black
curtain, one being the Harem for the women. The straw objects are for
putting the holy books on. . . . There came a gentleman with a poem in
Arabic which he had composed in my honour. I said I didn't know the
custom in his country, but in mine, if anyone wrote a poem about me, I
should certainly give him a shilling. He said "Yes, it would happen." I
gave him a quarter of a medjideh, and he presented me with a copy of the
poem, so we were both pleased. . . . I have told them all that I am going
to bring you, Father, here next year, and they are much delighted and bid
you "relationship and ease."

Sunday, 6th. I sent my mules straight to Busan this morning, with my
brother Ali, and rode with Hanna and Nusr ed Din S.E. to a
place called Salah. We passed under the foot of Kuleib, where there were
delicious pastures, after which we got out on to a very desolate country,
stony and quite uncultivated. There is however, water and plenty of
grass, and the Arabs pasture their camels here. It seems to extend down
all this E. watershed to the desert. Last night was so warm after the
Sirocco east wind, that I slept with no blankets; to-day the wind has
changed to the W. and is blowing strong and cold. It brought up a lot of
cloud with it; Kuleib was wrapped in mists when
I got up and there has been light cloud all day and cold all day. I am
now wrapped in all my cloaks; it's most odd to be cold

Monday, 7th. When you are travelling in hot countries, the primary rule
is always to bring your winter clothes. I have had reason too-day to be
glad that I had learnt it. I meant to camp another night in the hills, go
up Kuleib and be on the spot for the Druze gathering to-morrow, but when
I woke I found the west wind colder than ever and the hills wrapped in
cloud. I therefore decided to come straight across the ridge and sleep at
Kanawat, much to my servants' delight, for a town is a better camping
place in rainy weather than a mountain side. Before I left I explored
Busan, which is an interesting place because the old houses are better
preserved than usual. Most Of them are not lived in: they have big dark
stables beneath and roofless rooms, many windowed, above. Some staircases
were standing and I saw one house with a little bath room, the stone
conduit for the water being still visible. I got a photograph between the
blowing mists. We were off at 8:30 across the hills. My faith! it was
cold. I thought the bare Plateau on the top of the ridge would never end.
I was truly glad when Nusr ed Din said "Mashallah! Kanawat!" and I saw
its ruined temples standing up on a spur of the hills. It is splendidly
placed; one looks all down across the great Hauran plain and I got in at
12 and it began to rain in sharp showers. We rode up to the temples, at
the top of the town, and I lunched in a Mazar, a little room leading out
of a temple and was very grateful to Saint Whatever his name may be, for
his roof. I have pitched my camp hard by, with two temples to the right
and one to the left, and there's another further down to the west. From
my tent door I look out on to great Corinthian columns and a doorway most
elaborately carved. The work here is much better than any I have seen to
the S. and E. The rain held up more or less till 3, and I had time to
explore the town-alone, for a wonder. The streets are paved with the red
paving; there is a splendid house in the middle with steps leading up to
it. Inside it a big court with a stair, the steps of which were built
into the wall on one side and standing free on the other, but so massive
that few of them have broken away. They led up to a balcony, made in the
same manner, with the stones just standing out from the wall, but all
broken. This ran round two sides of the court, and the windows and doors
of the rooms opened on to it. On the north side of the town is a deep
rocky valley with a stream at the bottom and willows growing in it. There
is a tiny theatre among the willows and a charming little building which
the books say was a bath, and above a ruined castle and a round tower. I
am much tempted to pay a flying visit to Suweidah, but I think perhaps it
would be rather silly. I should look such an idiot if I were caught by
the Turks and my further progress stopped! You will be pleased to hear
that the prophet job is buried at Busan. I visited his Mazar. It is
evidently much honoured for the door and some broken columns in front of
it were all red with blood. (N.B. This is not true! The prophet job is
buried here. I don't know who the much honoured saint at Busan was.) s

Tuesday, 8th. Dawned fine and I was in high spirits. But the clouds blew
over after an hour and all the hills were wrapt in the mists, and I spent
the day visiting Kenath and her daughters--you know Kanawat is Kenath? I
took Nusr ed Din and we rode on to
the hills to a place called Sia, once a great suburb of Kanawat and now a
heap of stones. From thence we rode over a charming hill through a
thicket of stunted oak full of a purple flowering vetch and other pretty
things, and when we came to the edge of it there was Suweidah not two
miles from us. I was very keen to go to it, but Nusr ed Din shook with
fear and said it was inhabited by the Osmanli, the accursed, and why did
I want to go? So I turned reluctantly away. I don't see what they could
do to me, but I might get some of my kind hosts into trouble.

Wednesday, 9th. Before leaving this morning I went to the house of my
friend, Ali el Kady, to drink a cup of tea--these were the terms of his
invitation. He was very vague about the tea making, consulting me as to
whether he ought to boil the water and the milk together. I said that
wasn't the way we did it usually. He gave me an extraordinary variety of
foods, a pudding, some very good fried cakes dipped in honey and almonds
and raisins, both of them swimming in a sweet syrup--the almonds were
excellent, It is fortunate that my digestion is ostrich-like, for I seem
to eat very odd things at the oddest hours. I
parted here with Nusr ed Din. I am sorry to leave the little hills.
Though they are so small, they have quite the air of a mountain district
and also the climate. The hot, fine weather has come back to-day. We went
on, skirting the hills, north by east. Mount Hermon was a shining glory
across the plain to the west and beyond him, northwards, stretched the
long line of the Anti-Lebanus, also snow-topped. The Jebel Druize end in
tiny volcanoes the beginning of the purely volcanic Lejah. It all looks
black and uncanny--cunheimlich.

It is 2n extraordinary bit of country, but I decided after taking
thought, not to go through it. It is very bad for the beasts., So rocky.
I must come back here from Damascus some year and explore it all
thoroughly. We rode all day with the Lejah on the left and Mount Hermon
in front of us, flanked by the Lebanus. The corn is ripe here and they
are plucking it out by the roots, which is their form of reaping. It was
excellent going and we made very good time. A little Past 4 we reached
the last village at the N.E. corner of the Lejah, and here I camped, it
being only a seven or eight hours' ride to Damascus. It is also the last
Druze village, alas! The Sheikb and all the swells came to call and took
me into the village to look round. Dear, nice people! I am sorry to leave
them. I haven't left them yet, however, for the Sheikh, Ibrahim, is still
in my tent door as I write. He makes well, I must say, being singularly
beautiful. It is a hot, hot night.

Friday, 11th. Damascus, but a long, long day to get to it. We were off at
6, and after an hour's riding we got to Burak and passed the first
Turkish garrison without remark. Then came an endless five hours; we
never seemed to gain on the scenery. We went on to the River Awaj, where
we watered man and beast under the poplars and willows, a charming spot.
Here I rode on alone up the Black Mountains a low range of hills
separating the Awaj valley from the Abana, and at the top I saw far away
in a green plain and ringed round with gardens, Damascus. This is the way
to arrive at a great eastern city. I journeyed along with the trains of
camels carrying the merchandise of Damascus to and fro, and the Arabs on
their pretty mares, and the donkey boys bringing in grass and all the
varied population of an oriental road. But the way was very long. It was
4 before I got into the town. I dawdled up through the bazaars and
stopped to eat ices made of milk an snow and lemonade from a china bowl
half full of snow and half of lemon juice and water-nothing was ever so
good. At 5 I reached my hotel, saw that my horse was properly looked
after--and went off to the German Consulate to get the box of clothes I
had sent from Jerusalem. There I also, to my joy, found letters from you
all. A very civil Oriental secretary has been giving me advice about
Palmyra, whither I shall go, if your telegram is satisfactory, on
Wednesday, returning here In about a fortnight. Dearest Father! you are a
perfect angel to let me do all this! I don't see that the Palmyra journey
ought to be much more expensive than all the others. It seems
I don't have to take more than three soldiers at the outside. I've got so
many things to say to you, Mother, that I should have to make my letter
as long again if I began saying them. it is at times a very odd sensation
to be out in the world quite by myself, but mostly I take it as a matter
of course now that I'm beginning to be used to it. I don't think I ever
feel lonely, though the one person I often wish for is Papa. I think he
really would enjoy it. I keep wanting to compare notes with him. You, I
want to talk to, but not in a tent: with earwigs and black beetles around
and muddy water to drink! I don't think you would be your true self under
such conditions. . . . Of course Arabic makes just all the difference. It
would be small fun without.

To her family.
DAMASCUS, May 14th, 1900.

Beloved Family.-
To-day came your telegram which it was a great relief to receive.

I'm Off to-morrow with an escort Of 3 soldiers and all promises well. I
expect to be back in a fortnight. I shall meet Charlotte here, spend
another couple of days, and then with her, Over the hills to Baalbec and
the Cedars. Beyrout (a week or so), from whence by boat to Jerusalem.

KUREIFEH, May 15th. I got Off this morning at 9. After the usual
difficulties attending the first day's start, an hour's vigorous activity
found us all In the saddle. You never can get off the first day, so
what's the good Of bothering? I have three soldiers, Ali, Musa and
Muhammad. Following Lattiche's excellent advice, I have arranged to give
then half a medjideh a day each, and they keep themselves which is a
great simplification for us. They seem pleased, and as I believe they
levy food and barley on the inhabitants as they go along, it pays them
amply! We left the town by the north east gate, and rode for three hours
through gardens, orchards, vineyards, the road bordered by big shady
walnuts and running water everywhere. We stopped once by a little stream
where a gentleman was making coffee on a mud stove and some others were
smoking narghilehs under a clump of poplars. We watered our horses and
drank little cups of coffee and rested for a quarter of an hour and then
rode on to a khan, where I lunched under the trees by the edge of the
clearest water. From here the country began to change. An hour or so of
corn fields and vineyards, and barrenness and waterlessness began. All
the great rivers which flow down from the snows of Hermon seem to die off
when they see the bare volcanic hills of the Saffa across the plain. In
the map they just end. I don't know what becomes of them. . . . At the
top of the pass there was a well of rain water, very good, said Ali, and
I made Hanna fetch me a cupful. It was, however, full of little red
animals swimming cheerfully about, and one must draw the line somewhere,
so I did not partake. I heard the story of Shibly Beg's capture from
Lüttiche. . . . There's a cuckoo here; let me quickly write and tell the
Spectator.

Wednesday, 16th. We were off at 5, Ali and I going ahead to see about
camels for the desert. To jarad at about 7:30. We went to the house of
one Sheikh Ahmed and Ali went off to see about camels to carry our water
for the night, while I lay on his cushions and ate white mulberries and
drank coffee. They pressed a narghileh on me, but I firmly refused. Never
again; it's too nasty. A boring delay now occurred, for we waited for the
mules and they went straight on without calling for us and waited in
Nasariyeh. The time was filled in by the good Sheikh's giving us an
excellent meal, bread and olives, and dibbis and butter, laban and eggs.
The worthies of the village came and talked to me, and very pleasant
people they were. Lüttiche says the Arabs settled hereabout are the best
people in all Syria, being descended straight from the original invaders.
At 9:30 we went on again, muleless, depending on getting our corn for the
night in Nasariyeh. We passed through a little village and then on
through a desert plain.

At 11:50 we reached Nasariyeh--may God destroy its houses!
there was no corn in them. The camels had not come up and anyhow there
was nothing to be done but to send back to the village, and accordingly
Hanna and Jacoub rode off together. I lunched under a white umbrella, for
there was no shade. Nasariyeh is a new place, the property of the Sultan.
It lies in the middle of the wide, flat valley between bare hills that we
have been following all day, and beyond it there is no water for twelve
hours. There was an enormous caravan of camels grazing near their piled
up saddles and a little tent in which were seated some merchants from
Bagdad, the owners of the caravan. They had been two months on the way,
said one of them, who came down to our canal to get water; he walked as
slowly as a camel and was about as communicative, answering me in a sort
of dazed way as if the desert had got into his brain, and turning slowly,
heavily away with his water-skin. Hanna and I, after taking counsel
together, had bought eight skins and four leather bottles in Damascus,
which was lucky, for we found none here. When they came to fill them,
however, they found that one had a big hole in it and came despairingly
to tell me. For once I was equal to the occasion. Do you remember,
Father, the Greek boy we met as we went over the hills from Sparta, whose
skin of oil broke? I had seen him mend it cunningly with a stone and a
bit of string and I mended mine with much skill in the same way. It has
held, too. The sun was so hot it burnt one through one's boots. I have
gone into linen and khaki. The latter consists Of a man's ready-made
coat, so big that there is room in it for every wind that blows, and most
comfy; great deep pockets. The shopkeeper was very anxious that I should
buy the trousers too but I haven't come to that yet. We got Oft at 1:30;
having sent the three camels on, and rode till 5, When we just pitched
down anywhere, in the desert it's all the same. The road was enlivened by
Ali and Muhammad the soldiers, who are both extremely intelligent and who
related to me many interesting tales. The soldiers are delighted that I
can talk Arabic; they say it's so dull when they can't talk to the
gentry.They talk Kurdish together, being of Kurdish parentage, but born
in Damascus. Their Arabic is very good. Mine is really getting quite
presentable. I think I talk Arabic as well as I talk German (which isn't
saying much perhaps!), but I don't understand so well. It's so
confoundingly--in the Bible sense!--rich in words. This is my first night
in the desert--the first of I wonder how many dozens, scores--Heaven
knows! There was a great stretch of shining salt to our right as we
passed Nasariyeh, and while we rode I saw immense plaques of water on the
horizon--always on the horizon, the farther we rode the further they
went. We passed a ruined khan half an hour from here--I believe they
occur at regular intervals all the way to Palmyra. I meant to be a couple
of hours farther on, but the delays prevented it, and start under the
moon to-morrow. The smooth, hard ground makes a beautiful floor to my
tent. Shall I tell you my chief impression--the silence. It is like the
silence of mountain tops, but more intense, for there you know the sound
of wind and far away water and falling ice and stones; there is a sort of
echo of sound there, you know it, Father. But here nothing.

KARYATEIN, Thursday, 17th. I got up at 1:30 this morning and dressed
quickly, but the packing up always takes rather longer by night, and we
were not Off till 3:45. Such a night, with a bright moon and the vague,
wide desert between the low hills! It was bitter cold; I should think
there must be 50 difference between the night and the day. (This is not
excessive. Dr. R. has registered up to 70 degrees difference.) My hands
and feet were quite numb before the sun rose and for half an hour after.
By 8 it was broiling and at mid-day my off foot was burnt through my
boot. It was a pretty dull ride. The chief distraction was the catching
of a jerboa. He was a darling, but I let him go again and he hopped off
on his long hind legs in a futile manner. I am going to travel by night
from here. I have two days of from 10 to 12 hours each, waterless both of
them, and it's too hard on the beasts to go in the hot sun. It's also
hard on me, though I read when I travel by day which I can't do at night.

I can all but sleep in the saddle, however, which passes the time
wonderfully. Yesterday I fell off. I was still sitting sideways in my
saddle with a map in one hand and a parasol in the other when suddenly my
horse began to trot. I hadn't even got the reins in my hands, so I jumped
off, much to the amusement of my soldiers. They are a good lot, my
soldiers, quite the best I have yet had. This journey is being made much
more amusing than I expected. I thought it would be rather tame after my
recent experiences, but I'm enjoying it very much. This sort of life
grows upon one. The tedious things become less tedious and the amusing
more amusing, especially as Arabic grows. It's a cloudy night, hot
consequently, and I'm going to bed.

Friday, 18th. And to sleep for nine hours, as it proved. I have made for
myself an enormous muslin bag in which I sleep and which protects me from
all biting animals down to sand flies. I'm very proud of this
contrivance, but if we have a ghazu of Arabs I shall certainly be the
last to fly, and my flight will be
As one Who runs a sack race.

Sunday, 2 0th, Palmyra, for I've got here at last, though after such a
ride! We left Karyatein on Friday evening at 5:30. At dusk we found
ourselves in the desert region. The night closed in very dark, the west
being thick with cloud. My rolling stone which gathers moss all the way
had picked up another companion, One Ahmed, white robed and perched up on
the top of a camel. The Agha had provided him as a guide. I was not on
the ordinary road I must tell you, having decided to make a
détour to the south in Order to avoid going and coming by the same route.
No tourist ever goes this way. It leads to a spring called Ain el Wu'ul,
the Spring of the Deer, in the S. hills, which is half way between
Karyatein and Palmyra. This we had to make as soon as possible after
sunrise for the sake of the beasts for whom we had no water. It was very
strange pacing on in the silent dark behind my white robed guide, the
three soldiers, black shadows, beside me and the mules tinkling behind.
For the first few hours there was a sort of path which one could see
white and clear through the scrubby desert plants; when it left off Ahmed
turned off resolutely into the broken ground under the hills, guiding
himself by the stars in the clear east and by a black hill which stood
out in front of us, and from which, he said, the Spring was seven hours
away. The ground was very rocky; the horses' hoofs rung out on the rough
slabs of stone. We went on and on and I talked first with one of my men
and then with another, and at intervals I half fell asleep and woke up to
see Ahmed's swaying figure like a kind of beckoning Fate leading us into
a grim waterless world. Across the range of hills there is a country
that no one ever travels over-right away to Nejd there is not a
spring--not a well; 44 waterless days, said Ahmed. He imparted me scraps
of information at intervals; he knew the name of every hill and every
bare furrow--I was surprised to find that they had names, but it seems
they have. This was the sort of conversation. "Where is the Lady;?"
"Here, oh, Ahmed." "Oh, Lady, this is the Valley of the Wild Boar." There
didn't seem anything to say about it except that it was a horrid sandy
little place, so I replied that God had made it. Ahmed accepted this
doubtful
statement with a "God the Exalted is merciful!" on which Ali, the five
times hadgi, would break in with "Praise be to God who is Great! may he
prolong the life of the Sultan!" Soon after 3, Ahmed said "Oh, Lady! the
light rises." I looked and the east was beginning to pale. I felt as if I
had been sitting in my saddle for a lifetime an my horse felt so too. He
was so hungry that he began to snatch at the camel's food as he
passed--now the names of these plants I know, but only in Arabic, so I
think it best not to tell. I was also hungry, and I had a light refection
of chocolate and an orange, and then I got off and walked for near an
hour, Ahmed walking too to keep me company. The light came quickly across
the stony ground in the furrows. We mounted and rode on till 5, when the
sun was behind some clouds. We were now coasting along the foot of the
hills and Ahmed began to look about and wonder where the spring was. He
had only been there once in
his life before. The hills consisted of a long range of little stony
peaks with a valley running up between them every quarter of a mile or
so; in one of these valleys, high up, was the spring; the question was
which. Ahmed wasn't sure, so he left me with the camel and set off
running into the hills to explore. The others came up, and I made Hanna
give me a bit of bread and a cup of milk which had turned into butter and
whey (but awfully good) and I fell asleep almost while I was eating it. I
had been riding for 12 hours. Half an hour later I heard my men say that
Ahmed was beckoning to us. We had gone a good bit too far. We rode back
half an hour, entered one of the valleys and climbed up it nearly to the
top, and there on a tiny platform between rocks, we found the spring. it
was only a very small cup, 6 or 8 feet across, More perhaps, and about 10
feet deep of water the cup being barely half full. The water was clear
and cold but covered with masses of weed and full of swimming things of
all kinds. The soldiers and the beasts didn't seem to mind, however, and
I shut my eyes and drank too. It was past 7 when we got to it. I had
something to eat, climbed up to a shady cave, and slept till 1,
indifferent to the fact that my bed was thistles and my bed fellows
stinging flies. If we had missed this one spring hidden in the hills we
should have been hard put to it. The good Hanna gave me an excellent
lunch of fried croquettes and a partridge that he had killed, and tea. I
had told him to cook nothing but his conscience was too much for him, and
he had made a charcoal fire between some stones, and Prepared these
masterpieces, bless him! At 3 we were off again. and down into the plain,
and then straight east at the foot of the hills. It had never been really
hot all day, fortunately; the sun set without a cloud and it began to be
very cold. We rode till 7 and then stopped for the animals to eat and for
us to eat too. I put on gaiters, a second pair of knickerbockers and a
covert coat under my thick winter coat, rolled myself up in a blanket and
a cape and went to sleep all the men following my example, rolled up in
their long cloaks. The cold and the bright moon woke me at midnight and I
roused all my people (with some difficulty!) and at one we were off.
Again, you see, we had to reach our water as soon as possible after the
sun, so that the animals might not suffer too much from thirst. We went
on and on; the dawn came and the sun rose--the evening and the morning of
the second day, but I seemed to have been riding since the beginning of
time. At sunrise, far away in the distance, on top of one of a group of
low hills, I saw the castle of Palmyra. We were still five hours away.
They were long hours. Except Petra, Palmyra is the loveliest thing I have
seen in this country, but five hours away. They were long hours. The wide
plain gradually narrowed and we approached the W. belt of hills, rocky,
broken and waterless. It's a fine approach, the hills forming a kind of
gigantic avenue with a low range at the end behind which Palmyra stands,
and the flat desert, very sandy here, running up to them. My horse was
very tired and I was half dazed with sleep. As we drew near Palmyra, the
hills were covered with the strangest buildings, great stone towers, four
stories high, some more ruined and some less, standing together in groups
or bordering the road. They are the famous Palmyrene tower tombs. At
length we stood on the end of the col and looked over Palmyra. I wonder
if the wide world presents a more singular landscape. It is a mass of
columns, ranged into long avenues, grouped into temples, lying broken on
the sand or pointing one long solitary finger to Heaven. Beyond them is
the immense Temple of Baal; the modern town is built inside it and its
rows of columns rise out of a mass of mud roofs. And beyond all is the
desert, sand and white stretches of salt and sand again, with the dust
clouds whirling over it and the Euphrates five days away. It looks like
the white skeleton of a town, standing knee deep in the blown sand. We
rode down to one of the two springs to which it owes its existence, a
plentiful supply of the clearest water, but so much impregnated with
sulphur that the whole world round it smells of sulphur. The horses drank
eagerly, however, and we went on down a line of columns to the second
spring which is much purer, though it, too, tastes strongly of sulphur.
If you let it stand for 12 hours the taste almost goes away, but it
remains flat and disagreeable, and I add some lemon juice to it before I
drink it. It's very clean, which is a blessing. We pitched our tents by a
charming temple in the very middle of the ruins--it was 10:30 before the
mules came up, we having got in at 10. I was too sleepy to be very
hungry, but someone brought a big bowl of milk and I ate sour bread and
dibbis, while the brother of the Sheikh talked to me and the howling wind
scattered the sand over us. There seems to be always a wind here; it was
such a hurricane in the afternoon and evening that I thought my tent
would go, but it held firm. What with one thing and another, it was 11:30
before I could retire and wash and go to bed, but I then slept most
blissfully for a couple of hours; after which I had tea and received all
the worthies of the town-the Mudir is an old Turk, who talks much less
Arabic than I do--and when I had sent them away happy I walked Out and
down the street of columns into the Temple of the Sun--the town, I should
say, for it is nearly all included within its enormous outer walls. The
stone used here is a beautiful white limestone that looks like marble and
weathers a golden yellow, like the Acropolis.

Monday, 21st. I got up feeling extremely brisk, and spent the whole
morning exploring Palmyra. Except Petra, Palmyra is the loveliest thing I
have seen in this country. but Petra is hard to beat.

Wednesday, 23rd. We were off at 5, just as the sun rose. As I rode over
the hill, Palmyra looked like a beautiful ghost in the pale stormy light.
I am returning by the ordinary tourist route, The old high road across
the desert. Last night there arrived from the East a big caravan Of
camels belonging to the Agail Arabs, who are going to sell them in
Damascus. The chief man of them is one Sheikh Muhammad. I had met him
yesterday in Palmyra, and he told me that 'Please God, who is great,' he
meant to travel with me. He comes from Nejd, and talks the beautiful Nejd
Arabic; there are one or two Bagdadis with him, and the rest of the party
are the wildest, unkemptest Agail camel drivers. The interesting part of
it is that the Agail are some of the Rashid's people, and I'm going to
lay plans with Sheikh Muhammad as to getting into Nejd next year. I found
them breakfasting on dates,-camels' milk and the bitter black coffee of
the Arabs--a peerless drink. I also made a supplementary breakfast with
them and then we all started off together. The reason Sheikh Muhammad
wants to travel with me is that he is anxious to have the extra
protection of my three soldiers--he has two of his own--fearing a raid of
Arabs on his camels on the way to Karyatein. I think it's great sport;
I'm not sorry to be able to do a good turn to an Agail, and he and his
Bagdadis are very interesting to talk to, with their dragoman on the box
and their mules following behind the crowds of tents. We had a very
agreeable chat and they gave me some gingerbread biscuits, for which I
blessed them and we made plans for meeting in Damascus. I wouldn't really
have changed places with them, and I prefer a Sheikh from Nejd to a
dragoman from Jerusalem as a travelling companion. We got to our camping
place, Ain el Baida, about 11:30---It's a short march, but there's no
water beyond. It was again blazing hot. I was glad to get under the
shadow of my tent and to lunch and sleep. Since then I've been watching
the troops of camels come slowly in, their masters carrying a club or an
enormous lance 12 feet long, and all the process of drawing water from
the deep well and emptying it into basins hastily scooped out in the
ground for the camels to drink. The Agail have pitched a black tent not
far from me, and stuck a lance into the ground beside it, and they are
now making bread for their supper.

Thursday, 24th. I wish I could manage to travel on the approved lines,
but the fates are against me. I had laid all my plans for coming back
from Palmyra like a lady, but no! it was not to be. We got off rather
late this morning5:30, it was before I left Ain El Baida, and then the
mules were not ready. I started without them--a fatal step, as you will
see. The Agail were off half an hour before, the good Sheikh Muhammad
having put two water skins for me on his camel. Ahmed, my guide, put
another two on his camel and I told the muleteers to bring the other
four, so that we should have enough water for our beasts and could sleep
comfortably in the desert. There is no water between Ain el Baida and
Karyatein, three hours on. I caught up the Agail who had stopped to
breakfast and were making coffee and baking bread--they eat nothing in
the morning before they start. We stopped, too, and had some coffee and
dates and my soldiers ate bread new baked--very good, I tasted it--and
drank camels' milk. They eat surprisingly little, these Arabs, when they
are travelling. Nothing but bread and dates and milk and coffee, and
little enough of that. Often the bread runs short, and only dates and
milk remain. It was a wild looking party that was gathered round the
coffee pot. There's lots of negro blood in them, owing, I think, to their
having negro slaves, one of whom was with them. They intermarry a great
deal with these slaves and the son of a slave woman is as good as
another. Sheikh Muhammad went to and fro, superintending the cooking and
bringing food for us all. I had intended to go on another two hours and
camp, leaving a short day's march into Karyatein next morning, but at
Kast el Khair we found that the two water skins on Sheikh Muhammad's
camel had leaked and were quite empty, and Hanna told me that Yacoub, the
muleteer, had refused, after I left, to carry his two skins and had
poured the water out on the ground. So here we were with two skins and a
couple of leather bottles for ten animals and seven people. There was
nothing to be done but to make a dash for Karyatein, The Agail were
rather distressed at this, being still terrified for their camels, but
what was I to do. They had no water, camels needing none and after I had
watered my beasts at Kars el Khair, I had none--I couldn't keep my camp
24 hours waterless. we were only seven hours from Karyatein., and we had
done barely seven that morning, in fact our horses were so brisk that
Ali, Muhammad the soldier, Ahmed the guide and I got into Karyatein in
five hours-but we rode for it! I came in the last hour or two on Ahmed's
camel--it's the greatest relief after you have been riding a horse for 8
or 9 hours to feel the long comfy swing and the wide soft saddle of a
camel beneath you. We got in at 6 and went to the house of one Abdullah
the priest. He took us into a big vineyard of his and brought me a carpet
and some cushions to lie on, and bread and dibbis to eat. Hanna and my
third soldier, Musa, arrived at seven, but my mules didn't get in till
9:30, having done a 16 hours' day. I rolled myself up in a rug and my
carpet and made a pretence of going to sleep under the stars, but it was
pretty cold and the attempt wasn't very successful. I was glad to get
into my tent again and to bed about 11, feeling as if I had had enough of
travelling for one day.

Friday. I found my camp pitched in Mahin near the water, and hundreds of
camels drinking near it. A big company of the Hasineh Arabs had just
arrived, moving from their winter quarters and their black tents were
pitched not far from me. Their Sheikh, Muhammad, came to call on me, a
boy of 20 or younger, handsome, rather thick lipped, solemn, his hair
hanging in thick plaits from under his kefflyeh. He carried an enormous
sword, the sheath inlaid with silver. After he had gone, his sister and
some other women appeared in all the trailing dirt of their dark blue
cotton robes. Sheikh Muhammad is a great swell. He owns 500 tents and a
house in Damascus, and Heaven knows how many horses and camels. After
tea, I returned his call and sat on carpets and cushions in the big
Sheikh's tent, the Hasineh making a circle round me while I drank coffee.
The Sheikh's mother also appeared and was treated with great honour,
Muhammad getting up and giving her his place on the carpet and his camel
saddle to lean on. After a bit, one of the black browed, white robed
Arabs took a rubaba, a single stringed instrument played with a bow, and
sang to it long melancholy songs,
monotonous, each line of the verse being set to the same time and ending
with a drop of the voice which was almost a groan. The murmur of the
rubaba ran through it all--weird and sad and beautiful in its way. All
the silent people sat round looking at me, unkempt, half-naked, their
keffiyehs drawn up over their faces, nothing alive in them but their
eyes, and across the smouldering fire of camels' dung, the singer bent
his head over the rubaba or looked up at me as he sent the wailing line
of his song out into the dark. Sometimes one would come in to the open
tent (the front is never closed) and standing on the edge of the circle,
he greeted the Sheikh with a "Ya Muhammad!" his hand lifted to his
forehead and the company with "Peace be upon you," to which we all
-answered "And upon you peace!" Then the circle spread out a little wider
to make room for the new comer.

At last I got up and said good-bye, I hadn't gone more than a few steps
than my soldiers told me I had committed a fearful solecism. They had
killed a sheep for me and were preparing a dinner, of which I ought to
have partaken, and further, said Ali "Muhammad is a great Sheikh and you
ought to give him a present." I went back to my tent rather perturbed,
what could I give? Finally, after thinking things over, I sent one of my
soldiers with Ali's pistol wrapped up in a pocket handkerchief (you can
give nothing to an Arab but arms or horses) and a message that I hadn't
known he had meant to do me such honour and would he accept this present
(net value 2 pounds). He returned answer that he was grateful, that he
was doing nothing but his duty and would I honour them? So back I went
with Athos, Porthos and What's-his-name, and we all sat down again on the
cushions and carpets and waited. We waited till 9:30! I wasn't bored
(though I was hungry!). One by one, the Arabs dropped in till the circle
stretched all round the big tent; at intervals the talk went round--the
politics of the desert: who had sold horses, who owned camels, who had
been killed in a raid, how much the blood money would be or where the
next battle. It was very difficult to understand, but I followed it more
or less. Besides the bitter black coffee, we were handed cups of what
they called "white coffee"--hot water, much sweetened and flavoured with
almonds. At length came a black slave with a long spouted water jar in
his hand, to me first and then to all the company. We held out our hands
and he poured a little water over them. And at last dinner--four or five
men bearing in an enormous dish heaped up with rice and the meat of a
whole sheep. This was put down on the ground before me, and I and some
ten others sat round it and ate with our fingers, a black slave standing
behind us with a glass which he filled with water as each guest required
it. The food was pretty nasty, saltless and very tough--but it was 9:30!
They eat extraordinarily little, and I was still hungry when the first
circle got up to make place for the second. More hand-washing, with soap
this time, and I bowed myself out and retired to biscuits and bed. It was
rather an expensive dinner, but the experience was worth the pistol.

Sunday, 27th. It was interesting this morning to see the Hasineh on the
move. Sheikh Muhammad had only twenty or thirty of his five hundred tents
with him, yet the camels filled the plain like the regiments of an army,
each household marching with its own detachment of camels. . . .

Monday, 28th. Sending my mules by a desert road, I took two of my
musketeers and Hanna, and rode to an exquisite place called Mualula. It
is interesting as being one of three places--the other two are close
by--where the old Syrian language is spoken, the language in which Christ
spoke. Most of the inhabitants are Christians--their Christianity dates
from the first century--and there are two big convents, Catholic and
Greek. I spent a charming hour in the Greek convent, where the monks and
nuns were delightful people. The Prior is a Greek, pleasant, intelligent
and cultured. . . .

Tuesday, 29th. I had a very beautiful ride into Damascus. The air was
sweet with the smell of figs and vines and chestnuts, the pomegranates
were in the most flaming blossom, the valley was full
of mills and mill races bordered by long regiments of poplars--lovely, it
must be at all times, but when one comes to it out of the desert it seems
a paradise. I got to Damascus soon after two and rode through the
bazaars, eating apricots, with which all Damascus is full. Now he who has
not eaten the apricots of Damascus has not eaten apricots. To my joy I
found Charlotte here when I arrived and letters. Telegrams from you and
the war news excellent. . . . 95 [Sloane St.] will be splendid I Tell my
sisters I love their letters and fly to them as soon as I get my post. .
. . I do fervently hope to be in London about the 21st. I should like a
week there because I am somewhat ragged, as you may well imagine. I wish
I were as well stocked with clothes as Elsa, tell her! As for my
travelling clothes-'nein!!' Oh, my dear family! I do long to be with you
again. I want to have the most fearful long talk about nothing with my
sisters and about things with my father and about everything taken
together with my mother. By the way, did I mention that Damascus is a
singularly beautiful place? I found a delightful letter from Caroline
here. Much love to her.

[Gertrude's letters until her return to England are very vaguely dated,
but it is clear that she remained with the Rosens, making more or less
distant excursions with them at intervals. In one of her letters I find:

Nina and Dr. Rosen are perfectly delightful travelling Companions, we
have just been agreeing that for a dwelling anything but a tent is merely
a kind of makeshift.

[She writes delightful descriptions of the country she passes through, of
its wealth of flowers, of its smiling Prosperity alternated with desert
wilderness. She describes Baalbek and the Lebanon Range. She and her
companions ride to the place where the great cedars flourish.]

To H.B.
ARAK EL EMIR, Wednesday, 30th May, 1900.

From my Camp. (Arabia, suggests Dr. R., in case you shouldn't know where
the above important place is). Well, we left yesterday after lunch, after
a tremendous getting off, such a packing and saying Goodbye! I never had
my hand kissed so often! it was blazing hot, but a furious wind got up as
we rode down to Jericho. It made us a little cooler but raised such
storms of dust as I have never seen. We could neither speak nor hear nor
see, and when we arrived in Jericho we looked as if we had just been dug
up from an untimely grave. We spent a very comfortable night and got off
at 5 this morning. The wind had gone and had taken with it the heat, and
the flies, so that we had a most pleasant ride across the Ghor. We
crossed the Jordan by the bridge and then turned away a little further
northwards than my former road, getting into the foothills about 8. From
thence we rode up a long winding grassy valley, very pretty, with plenty
of corn in it and all the fields full of lovely pink hollyhock and
flowering caper, which is like St. John's wort, but with pink stamen and
white petals. This valley led us up on to a little col from whence we
looked down into the beautiful Wady Sir with Arak el Emir lying in the
bottom of it. Heights thinly covered with oak behind. Now this place is
very interesting. It was a palace built by an enterprising gentleman
called Hyrcamus about 200 years before Christ, and Josephus describes it
so accurately that one can to this day trace the lines of the moats and
tanks and gardens. Of the palace little remains except a great 'pan de
mur' built of enormous stones, the upper ones carved with lions. You can
trace a long road leading up to some cliffs about a quarter of a mile
behind (from these the place takes its name, Arak meaning cliff) in which
are cut a regular town of caves, one of them being an enormous stable
with mangers for 100 horses cut in its walls. We got here at 1, very
hungry and instantly lunched by the stream which is bordered by thickets
of oleander. At our feet was a beautiful little blue lake, Yamonneh, with
a great spring flowing out of the rocks high up above it and a silvery
water flower growing over it in patches. It was such an odd combination
to see a mountain lake looking quite civilised, and camels beside it!
Both the lake and the spring dry up in summer--there is awfully little
water on this side of the hills. We then rode W. up the cleft, a deep
valley full of corn and scrubby trees which had expended most of their
energy in growing along the ground, and got into our camp at 6. I was
glad to see it for had been rather a poor thing all day and hadn't
expected nearly such a long ride. The result was that I was dead beat and
slept very badly and felt extremely miserable this morning.

Tuesday, 5th June. However, we had a very interesting and a short day
before us. We rode up to the crest of Lebanon, and then all along the
ridge to the highest point, Jebel Mahmal. It was gorgeous, the sea on one
side and the desert on the other, Hermon to the south and Horns to the
north. We rode to within an hour of the top and might have ridden all the
way, except that it was rather a Pull for the horses. There were no
rocks, only Slopes Of gravel, more or less steep, with occasional patches
Of snow and a good deal of mud where the snow had just melted--We were
10,000 feet up. There is no glaciation, but they say a little snow lies
the summer through. Below us lay the cedar clumps protected by an
amphitheatre of hills, and the great gulf of the Wady Kadisha running
down to Tripoli with villages scattered along its brink. We sleep in one
of them to-morrow. There were some exciting clumpy Alpine things
growing--one a very dwarf broom covered with yellow flowers, the others,
pink and white and purple, I didn't know. There was also a charming tiny
tulip, Purple outside, and white within, with a yellow centre, and a
lovely pale blue scilla. We got down to the cedars at 1:30, after a very
rough descent; and found our tents pitched under the trees. After having
been told so Often that they are ragged and ugly, I am agreeably
disappointed in them. There are about 400 of them. Some very fine old
trees, grass and flowers growing under them--a heavenly camping ground.
At this moment it is too delicious! a low Sun. birds singing in the great
branches and the pale brown, snow-sprinkled hills gleaming behind. We are
extremely happy.

Wednesday, 6th. There is such an exquisite village in front of me that I
can scarcely take my eyes off it to write to you. Its name is Hasrun and
it stands perched up on cliffs over the deep valley Kadisha' the stream
being 1,000 feet or more below it, and the mountains rise above it, and
the whole is a red gold at this moment, for the sun is busy sinking into
the sea out Tripoli way. We spent a delicious lazy morning at the cedars,
breakfasted and lunched under the big trees and photographed and drew and
listened to the birds. The ground is covered with tiny cedars, but they
never grow up under the shadow of their parents (how different from the
Belgian Hare!) but wither off when they have reached the height of about
2 inches-which is small for a tree. There were, however, outside the big
trees a few saplings which had sprung up of themselves and were growing
extraordinarily slowly; they were five years old, said the guardian of
the wood, but they were not more than 18 inches high. I have brought a
lot of cones away with me. Shall we try and make them grow at Rounton? It
would be rather fun to have a real Cedar of Lebanon--only I believe they
don't grow more than about 20 feet high in 100 years, so we at least
shall not be able to bask much under their shadow. We tore ourselves away
at 1, the guardian of the woods making
us low salaams as we rode off. He was a beautiful creature
tall and straight and dressed in a red and gold cotton coat and a white
felt scull cap on his curly head. There were pale periwinkles growing on
the edge of the wood and a sweet-scented pink daphne inside--well, well,
we were sorry to go. . . .

[Gertrude brought the cones home, and distributed them to her family and
friends--and so there is a real Cedar of Lebanon growing on the lawn at
Rounton now. It is about 16 ft. high. Another stands on Sir George
Trevelyan's lawn at Wallington.]

Thursday, 7th, We started off at 6:30 this morning. There is very lovely
broom in this country with flowers much larger than ours. On the very
highest col, from which the snow had just melted, the ground was blue
with sweet violets. From this highest col we saw our ultimate destination
far away and behind it a great hog's back called Jebel Sunnin, white with
snow. Below us was a place called Akurah, to which we descended by an
awful road, and lunched, it being then 1. We lay under some mulberry
trees and all the population sat round on walls and looked at us--stalls
full, dress circle full., upper boxes full!

We reached Aflea, which is one of the wonders of the Lebanon. The river
Adonis--for this is the site of the Venus and Adonis legend--springs out
of a great cave high up in the cliff and round the cave are several other
springs, starting straight out of the rock and foaming down into the
valley, falling in 3 or 4 cascades into deep blue pools and hurrying away
under planes and walnut trees. The water is ice-cold; I have just been
bathing in it. It's a very hot close night. We are going to dine outside
my tent. There is such a roar of water! The moon is shining on the great
cliffs and the steep steep banks of the valleys and mountain sides, up
which climb black companies of cypresses, and there are little twinkling
lights on all the hills. . . . .

Friday, 8th There came one from the village this morning to tell me about
the road. I said You will come with us, oh my uncle?" He replied, "Upon
my head and eyes, oh my sister." So I returned to my breakfast well
pleased. But when it came to getting on my horse, Hanna told me that the
Metawaileh (he belonged to that peculiar Muhammadan sect--please note
that in the plural the accent is on the second syllable--Metawaileh; this
puzzled me a good deal at first!) had retired, saying that he had
business, an excuse so palpably absurd that it was almost rude Of him not
to find a better. Well, we had to
start Off over the hills alone, leaving our guide of yesterday, Martin,
to take the mules straight to Reifun. The result was we went a long
'giro,' an hour or more out Of Our road, Charlotte, Hanna and I, and then
we found a charming gentleman called Masa, pasturing his flocks on the
hill-side, and he mounted his mare and came with us--a Christian he was,
as all the people are in this country, the Metawaileh being merely
servants here. At last, after an appalling road, we came into a great
amphitheatre of hills and saw the Roda Bridge, our object, in front of
us, and all our path, and here Masa left us, after stoutly refusing to be
tipped. We got to the natural bridge at 12 and lunched there, and very
wonderful it was, with a rushing torrent flowing under it. We set off
again at 1 and rode over hill and down valley by road, perfectly
indescribable. I have been on worse, but never for so long. The
rhododendron was flowering and masses of yellow broom, and the hills were
terraced for mulberry and vine right up to the summit. After we had gone
about 2 hours I saw that my horse was lame and, on examination, found
that he had lost a shoe. Fortunately we were near a village, so that we
could stop and put things right-all the horses needed looking to, and no
wonder. I talked to the village people while we waited-charming people
they all were, Maronites, most intelligent. Lots of them emigrate to
America.

Saturday, 10th. And so to-day. We set off about 7-it was already
fearfully hot, we walked 3 hours leading our horses, over the devilish
road. Then we got on to the carriage road to Beyrout and followed it all
along the coast arriving at 3 about. We shall go to Jaffa to-morrow, as
there is a boat and I am anxious to get home. But you know, dearest
Father, I shall be back here before long! One doesn't keep away from the
East when one has got into it this far.




CHAPTER VII


1901-1902


SWITZERLAND-SYRIA-ENGLAND


TO F.B.
REDCAR, March 5th, 1901.
[She had been on the golf links.]

It was a regular March day with a bitter wind. The pools of water on the
links were as blue as the cracks in a glacier and the wind shivered them
into steely lines. They reminded me of a simile in an Arab war song--"the
folds of their coats of mail were like the surface of a pool which is
struck by the pressing wind. . . ."

[Gertrude does not seem to have left England again until the late summer
of 1901 when she returns to Switzerland for some more climbing.]

To H. B.
GRINDELWALD, Sunday, 1901.

. . . . I'm enjoying myself madly--I had a very interesting day on the
Schreckhorn yesterday. We went up from here on Friday to the Schwartzegg
Hut and lunched on the way at a little place called the Baregg. After we
had been at the nice comfy hut about an hour (during which time I had
seen a friendly marmot--he sat for some time on a rock looking at me and
then hopped thoughtfully away) there arrived two young men Gerard and
Eric Collier with their guides . . . .. We had a most cheerful evening
and retired to bed on our shelf at 8:30 BY 11:30 we were off. "
Schreckhorn !", said one of the Colliers' guides like an omnibus
conductor, and we walked off into the night. Till 4 we climbed up a
series of snow couloirs and small arêtes, a little steep cutting, but all
quite easy; then we got on to the rocks and sat down to breakfast
till the dawn came. It was bitter cold. We then had 2 hours of arête, one
or two nice traverses at the top, but the rock very rotten and requiring
great care. The Colliers did it in excellent style. At 6 we got out into
sunshine on a snow saddle and saw down the other side. I was beginning to
think that the Schreckhorn had an absurd reputation, but the hour of
arête from the saddle to the top made me alter my opinion. It's a capital
bit of rock climbing, a razor edge going quite steep down, snow on one
side and rock on the other, not quite solid so that you have to take the
greatest care, and with a couple of very fine bits of climbing in it. It
raises the Schreckhorn into the first class among mountains, though it's
rather low down in its class. After 5 minutes of wondering what was going
to happen next, I found my head and my feet and had a thoroughly
enjoyable hour. We got to the top at 7 and the Colliers about a quarter
of an hour later. . . . We parted at the Schrund, they going over Grimsel
way. I took the snow couloir, which was rather imprudent; we glissaded
down as hard as ever we could go and good luck was with us, for not one
stone fell while we were in it. We got down to the hut at 12. Here rather
a comic incident occurred. We had left provisions and wood for our return
and imagine our feelings at finding 3 Frenchmen burning our wood and
making our tea! I said very politely that I was delighted to entertain
them, but that I hoped they would let us have some of the tea, since it
was really ours. They looked rather black, but made no apologies, nor did
they thank me and I went away to change my things outside. When I came
back they had gone, but they left the following entry in the visitors'
book, "Nous sommes montés au refuge sans guides. Vue splendide! mais
quelle faim! Heureusement nous avons trouvé du thé." I completed the
entry by adding, "NB. It was my tea! " and signing my name. . . . . But
for the moment all our thoughts are turned to the virgin arête on the
Fingeraarhorn and we are going up to the Schwartzegg to have a shot at
it. It has been tried unsuccessfully 3 times; I don't suppose we shall
manage it, but we shall have an amusing time over it. We keep it a deadly
secret!. . . .

To F.B.
KURHAUS, ROSENLAUI, BERNER OBERLAND, August, 1901.

I am established for a day or two in this enchanting spot, having been
driven out of the higher mountains by a heavy snowfall on Monday, which
renders the big things impossible for a day or two. Here, there is a
fascinating little rock range, which can be done in almost any weather.
So I walked over on Tuesday by the Great Scheidegg and was at once
received into the bosom of the Collier family. . . . We spent Tuesday
afternoon playing cricket, the whole family and I, with fir tree branches
for stumps, and large butterfly nets handy to fish out the balls when
they went into the river! Yesterday my guides and I were up at 4 and
clambered up on to the Engelhorn range to take a good look round and see
what was to be done. It was the greatest fun, very difficult rock work,
but all quite short. We hammered in nails and slung ropes and cut rock
steps-mountaineering in miniature. Finally we made a small peak that had
not been done before, built a cairn on it and solemnly christened it.
Then we explored some very difficult rock couloirs, found the way up
another peak which we are going to do one of these days. . . . I shall
probably stay here till Sunday morning which will give the snow time to
get right. Then I shall return to my great schemes. . . .

To H.B.
ROSENLAUI, Sunday, 8th September, 1901.

I am now going to give you a history of my adventures. Friday: we set out
before dawn, the mists lying low everywhere on the sporting chance of
finding fine weather above them. We walked up the hour and a half of
steep wood which is the Preface to every climb here, and got to our
familiar scene of action, a rocky valley called the Ochsenthal. Our
problem was to find a pass over a precipitous wall of rock at he S. end
of it. Now this rock wall had been pronounced impossible by the two
experts of these parts and by their Guide,. We cast round and finally
decided on a place where the rock wall was extremely smooth, but worn by
a number of tiny water channels, sometimes as much as 3 inches deep by 4
across. These gave one a sort of handhold and foothold. just as we
started up it began to snow a little. The first 100 feet were very
difficult and took us three quarters of an hour. The rock was excessively
smooth and in one place there was a wall some 6 feet high where Ulrich
had to stand on Heinrich's shoulder. Above this 100 feet it went
comparatively easily and in an hour we found ourselves in a delightful
cave, so deep that it sheltered us from the rain and sleet which was not
falling thick. Here we breakfasted, gloomily enough. After breakfast
things looked a little better and we decided to go on though it was still
raining. The next bit was easy, rocks and grass and little ridges, but
presently we found ourselves on the wrong side of a smooth arête which
gave us no hold at all. We came down a bit, found a possible traverse and
got over with some difficulty. A rotten couloir and a still more rotten
chimney and we were on the top of the pass, rh. 2000. from the cave. We
were pleased with ourselves! It was a fine place; about 2000 feet of
arête, less perhaps, between the great peak of the Engelhorn on the right
and a lower peak on the left, which is the final peak of that arête of 4
peaks we did the other day. We called this 5th peak of our arête the
Klein Engelhorn. . . . The whole place up there is marked with chamois
paths, no one, I expect, having ever been there before to disturb
them. There is, however, an old old cairn on the low slopes of the
Engelhorn, made by some party who, having come over the Engelhorn,
tried to traverse down the N. side and turned back at this place.
We know that neither the N. nor the S. side of the Gemse Sattel,
as we have called it, has ever been done. Indeed the S. side may be
impossible, but I don't think it is. They say it is, but we know that the
experts may be mistaken. It was snowing so hard that we decided we could
do no more that day and returned by the way we had come. . . . We got
down the smooth rocks with the help of the extra rope. It was most
unpleasant, for the water was streaming down the couloirs in torrents and
we had to share the same couloirs with it. It ran down one's neck and up
one's sleeves and into ones boots--disgusting! However, we got down and
ran home through the woods. In the afternoon it cleared and at dawn on
Saturday we were off again. We went again to the top of the Gemse Sattel;
it was a beautiful day and we knew our way and did the rocks in an hour
and ten minutes less than we had taken the day before. Here we
breakfasted and at 10 we started off to make a small peak on the right of
the saddle which we had christened beforehand the Klein Engelhorn. We
clambered up an easy little buttress peak which we called the Gemse Spitz
and the Klein Engelhorn came into full view. It looked most
unencouraging; the lower third was composed of quite smooth perpendicular
rocks, the next piece of a very steep rock wall with an ill-defined
couloir or two, the top of great upright slabs with deep gaps between
them. It turned out to be quite as difficult as it looked. We got down
the Gemse Spitz on to a small saddle, did a very difficult traverse
forwards and upwards above the smooth precipitous rocks, scrabbled up a
very shallow crack and halted at the bottom of a smooth bit of
overhanging rock. The great difficulty of it all was that it was so
exposed, you couldn't ever get Yourself comfortably wedged into a
chimney, there was nothing but the face of the rock and up you had to
go. For this reason I think it more difficult than the Simili Stock.
Well, here we were on an awfully steep place under the overhanging place.
Ulrich tried it on Heinrich's shoulder and could not reach any hold. I
then clambered up on to Heinrich, Ulrich stood on me and fingered up the
rock as high as he could. It wasn't high enough. I lifted myself a little
higher--always with Ulrich on me, mind!--and he began to raise himself by
his hands. As his foot left my shoulder I put up a hand straightened out
my arm and made a ledge for him. He called out, "I don't feel at all
safe--if you move we are all killed." I said, "All right, I can stand
here for a week," and up he went by my shoulder and my hand. It was just
high enough. Once up he got into a fine safe place and it was now my
turn. I was on Heinrich's shoulder with one foot and with one on the
rock. Ulrich could not help me because he hadn't got my rope-I had been
the last on the rope, you see, and I was going up second, so that all I
had was the rope between the two guides to hold on to. It was pretty hard
work, but I got up. Now we had to get Heinrich up. He had a rope round
his waist and my rope to hold, but no shoulder, but he could not manage
it. The fact was, I think, that he lost his nerve, anyhow, he declared
that he could not get up, not with 50 ropes, and there was nothing to do
but to leave him. He unroped himself from the big rope and we let down
the thin rope to him, with which he tied himself, while we fastened our
end firmly onto a rock. There we left him like a second
Prometheus--fortunately there were no vultures about! So Ulrich and I
went on alone and got as far as the top of the first great slab which was
a sort of gendarme.

[I must add as a footnote to this letter that when Gertrude came home to
us and related the thrilling ascent, still more exciting naturally in the
telling, she told us that after it was over Ulrich had said to her, "If,
when I was standing on your shoulders and asked you if you felt safe, you
had said you did not, I should have fallen and we should all have gone
over." And Gertrude replied to him, "I thought I was falling when I
spoke.")

Here Ulrich shouted down to me, "It won't go!" My heart sank--after all
this trouble to be turned back so near the top! Ulrich came down with a
very determined face and announced that we must try lower down. We were
now on the opposite side of the mountain from that on which we had left
Heinrich. We went down a few feet and made a difficult traverse downwards
above a precipice till we came to a chimney. I leant into the crack,
Ulrich climbed on to my shoulder and got to the top. It was done! a few
steps more brought us to the very top of all and we built a cairn and
felt very proud. There was a difficult moment coming down the first
chimney. We had left our thin rope with Heinrich, SO we had to sling the
thick rope round a rock for Ulrich to come down on. But it was still wet
from the day before and when we got to the bottom the rope stuck. He went
up and altered its position and came down and it stuck again. Again he
went up, and this time he detached it and threw it down to me and came
down without a rope at all. I gave him a shoulder and a knee at the last
drop. So we got back and rescued Heinrich and after a great deal of
complicated rope work we reached the Gemse Sattel again after 4 hours of
as hard rock climbing as it would be possible to find. Lunch was most
agreeable. Our next business was to get up the Engelhorn by the arête up
which I told you we saw the chamois climb the other day. This proved
quite easy-it has not been done before, however-and at 3:30 we were on
the top of the Engelhorn. Now we had to come down the other side--this is
the way the Engelhorn is generally ascended. It's a long climb, not
difficult, but needing care, especially at the end of a hard day when you
have no finger tips left. . . . It was 7 o'clock before we reached the
foot of the rocks. It Was too late and too dark to think of getting down
into the valley so we decided that we would sleep at the Engen Alp at a
shepherd's hut. We wandered over Alps and Alps--not the ghost of a hut
was to be found. It was an exquisite starry night and I had almost
resigned myself to the prospect of spending the whole night on the
mountain side, when suddenly our lantern showed us that we had struck a
path. At 9:30 we hove up against a chalet nestled in to the mountain side
and looking exactly like a big rock. We went in and found a tiny light
burning. in a minute 3 tall shepherds, with pipes in their Mouths,
joined us and slowly questioned us as to Where we had come from and
whither we were going. We said we were going no further and would like to
eat and sleep. One of the shepherds lighted a blazing wood fire and
cooked a quantity of milk in a 3-legged cauldron and we fell to on bowls
of the most delicious bread and milk I ever tasted. The chalet was
divided into two parts by a wooden partition. The first Part was Occupied
by some enormous pigs, there was also a ladder in it leading up to a bit
of wooden floor under the roof where the fresh hay was kept. Here I
slept. The other room had a long berth all down one side of it and a
shelf along another filled with rows of great milk tins. The floors were
just the hard earth and there was a wooden bench on which we ate and a
low seat by it. I retired to my hayloft, wrapped myself in a new blanket
and covered myself over with hay and slept soundly for 8 hours when my
neighbours, the pigs, woke me by grunting loudly to be let out. The
shepherd gave us an excellent breakfast of milk and coffee--we had our
own bread and jam. It was so enchanting waking up in that funny little
place high up on the mountain side with noisy torrents all round it, The
goats came flocking home before we left: they had spent a night out on
the mountains, having been caught somewhere in the dark and they bleated
loud complaints as they crowded round the hut, licking the shepherd's
hand. It was about 7:30 before Ulrich and I set off down the exquisite
Urbach Thal; Heinrich had gone on before. We walked down for a couple of
hours discussing ways up the Engelhorn and the Communal System! then we
turned into the valley of the Aar and dropped down on to Innertkirchen in
the green plain below. This is Ulrich's native place. We went to his home
and found his old father, a nice old man Of 70, who welcomed us with
effusion. It was an enchanting house, an old wooden chalet dated 1749,
with low rooms and long rows of windows, with muslin curtains, and
geranium pots in them. All spotlessly clean. They gave me a large--well,
lunch, it was 11:30, of eggs and tea and bread and cheese and bilberry
jam, after which Ulrich and I walked up through the woods here and
arrived at 2 in the afternoon. I don't think I have ever had two more
delightful alpine days. To-morrow I go over to Grindelwald; the weather
looks quite settled. Wednesday up to the hut, from whence on Wednesday
night we try the Finsteraarhorn arête. If we do it we sleep at another
hut On Thursday night, and at the Grimsel on Friday and Saturday. Sunday
night we bivouac under the Lauteraarhorn and Monday try the arête to the
Schreckhorn. Probably I should leave for England on Tuesday. . . .

I am very sorry to leave this nice place. What do you think is our
fortnight's bag? Two old peaks. Seven new peaks--one of them first-class
and four others very good. One new saddle, also first-class.

The traverse of the Engelhorn, also new and first-class.

That's not bad going, is it! . . . .

To F. B.
GRINDELWALD, September 12th, 1901.

Our tale is a sad one. We went up to a hut for the new Finsteraarhorn
arête yesterday morning, in very shaky weather. it shook down, rained all
the afternoon, and at 6 a.m. this morning began to snow. By 8, when we
left, there were 3 inches of new snow, so we raced back to Grindelwald.
. . . It is very provoking, when one feels one might do really good
climbs! We hope to do a new Engelhorn peak, and we have not yet quite
abandoned all hopes of one of the high arêtes. I would like to have one
of them to my name! It is a silly ambition, isn't it! Still one does like
to have the credit one really deserves.

To F. B.
November 27, 1901.

Of course I will take the Mothers' Meeting on Wednesday. I will find out
about sending out the invitations. Will you tell me what you want
read--any of the Health Book?--and if so, where is it? I can look out
some story. . . .

To F.B.
RED BARNS, Thursday, December 18, 1901.

All has gone off quite well. We had over 200 people. Your telegram
arrived and I read it out to them in the middle of my speech! The magic
lantern slides are lovely, it was most exciting seeing them. . . .

Tell Father I've written to Maurice by every mail all about him! He
mustn't get to think there's nothing else to write about! Hugo says
Prout's an old fogey--that's what he says! I say Hugo is a great darling!

To F.B.
RED BARNS, December 29, 1901.

I have spent the afternoon in Clarence and Middlesbrough and made all the
arrangements for the teas. My slides are announced, so all is well. . . .

Hugo sends seasonable wishes. He has retired into Cicero.

[1902. Gertrude, her father and Hugo indefatigably start for another sea
voyage after the new year, leaving Liverpool January 14 and going by sea
to Malta, then to Sicily and up through Italy. Hugo and his father
returned and Gertrude made her way into Asia Minor.

Her letters, full of interesting descriptions, are too long to quote,
from Malcajik, Smyrna, Magnesia, Burnabat and finally from Smyrna by sea
to Haifa.]

[At Malcajik--"Mr. Van Lennep and his family full of help and
hospitality." By Smyrna to Pergamos.]

"You should see me shopping in Smyrna, quite like a native only I ought
to have more flashing eyes. At Pergamos I went all over the Acropolis
and examined temples and palaces and theatres and the great altar of
which the friezes are at Berlin."

[Magnesia and Sardis.] "I was fortunate enough to get a secondhand copy
of Herodotus in French."

[Sardis] "I was delighted that I had Herodotus so fresh in my mind.
. . ."

"It is a madly interesting place."

"Some day I shall come and travel here with tents but then I will speak
Turkish, which will not be difficult and I will take only a couple of
Turkish servants with me."

[To Butnabat, where she is warmly welcomed by Mr. Whittall and his
family.

To Ephesus. She then goes on an Austrian boat from Smyrna to Haifa.

She finds a temporary abode at Mount Carmel.]

"I am now become one of the prophets-at least I make
merry in their room so to speak--and it's a very nice room, I may add,
and I am sitting writing at my own writing table with everything genteel
about me."

To F. B.
MOUNT CARMEL, 26th March, 1902.

There must be something in the air of Mount Carmel favourable to mental
derangement of a special kind--at any rate if you want to commence
prophet you take a little house in Haifa, you could scarcely begin in any
other way. I have already made the acquaintance of one or two for this
afternoon I went down to Haifa--I live on the top of the hill--Haifa is
half an hour away--to seek out a teacher. Presently I also approached the
window and there was the prophet in his shirt with bare arms working at
his trade which I take to be that of a carpenter. . . . I distinctly like
prophets--Herr Wasserzug is a charming man, most intelligent about
Semitic languages. He sent me off to one Abu Nimrud, a native, 'comme de
droit,' of Nineveh, who, he said, was the best man he could recommend. On
my way I called on Mr. Monahan. offered me books and advice and coffee. .
. . I took a Persian history of the Babis from him and went off hunting
Nimrud all over the town. At last I found him in his shop in the
bazaar--he agreed to come up and give me my first lesson to-day, but need
I say he hasn't come. The next thing was to get a Persian. My old
friend Abbas Effendi. . . . I heard that the son-in-law of Abbas,
Hussein Effendi, lived here, and I determined to apply to him.
Accordingly I made my way to his shop--a sort of little general
store like the shop in a small country town--and in this unlikely
setting I found a company of grave Persians, sitting round on the biscuit
tins and the bags of grain, and Hussein himself leaning over the counter.
The upshot of it is that I hope I shall end by getting a Persian to come
and talk to me. A horse was the next necessity and horse dealers my next
acquaintances--I see one this instant upon the road bringing me up a
horse to
try. I am excellently lodged in two rooms with a balcony from whence I
see all across the bay and Acre at the end of a long stretch of sand, and
the Plain of Esdraelon with Kishor, running through it and far away
Hermon white with snow,

Later. But for all that I find I shall have to déménager. Abu Nimrud
came up this morning and gave me a long lesson but he declared that it
was too far for him to come and that he could only get me a Persian on
condition that I would come down into the town, so I rode down this
afternoon and inspected the two hotels and fixed on one standing in a
charming garden where I could get 2 big comfortable rooms; it has the
further advantage of being kept by Syrians so that I shall hear and speak
nothing but Arabic. . . . Hussein Effendi's brother-in-law is going to
teach me Persian.

To H.B.
MOUNT CARMEL, 30th March, 1902.

* * * But mind, if ever you think I'm unbearable, just say it straight
out and mention what you can't abide and I'll do my best to mend it. To
return to the East. I'm having a comic time, but most amusing. I had a
delightful afternoon by myself on Friday and rode out from 1 to 6 on the
worst horse in the world. I rode and rode all along the top of Carmel,
and though the prophet declares that if you even flee there the Almighty
would certainly find you, I think myself that he is mistaken. I can't
find anything, not even a village, of which I am told there are some. But
I rode over ridge after ridge of rolling hill, and round the top of
valley after valley, rocky slopes covered with wild flowers running
steeply down into waterless hollows and the whole mountain was heavy with
the scent of gorse and the aromatic herbs that my horse crushed through
from time to time to avoid an unusually slippery bit of rock in the path.
The whole afternoon I saw only 2 houses and 4 people, shepherds with
flocks of lop-eared goats--ridiculous ears they have, 10 inches long I
should say, an absurd waste of skin. . . . Sometimes I walked and drove
my horse in front of me, and by this means I found out that he really
could gallop, for he galloped away from me and I concluded not to let him
go loose any more. I gathered 2 scarlet tulips, the lovely little tulips
with the curling leaf; it is the same as the one of which Hafiz says
thus, doubting the promises of Fate it carries always a Wine cup through
the wilderness. . . . I am much entertained to find that I am a Person in
this country--they all think I was a Person! And one of the first
questions everyone seems to ask everyone else is, "Have you ever met Miss
Gertrude Bell?" Renown is not very difficult to acquire here.

Monday, 31. To-day I came down into Haifa early with Mr. M. and
established myself in my new hotel. I had an Arabic lesson and
interviewed a Persian who is to come and teach me every evening after
dinner. My hotel is most comfortable, kept by Syrians and I hear and
speak nothing but Arabic which is really ideal. I have a large
sitting-room--you should see how nice it looks with all my books and
things and great pots of mimosa and jasmine and wild flowers.

To H.B.
HAIFA, April 7th, 1902.

This afternoon I paid a long call on the mother and sisters of my
Persian--their house is my house, you understand, and I am to go and talk
Persian whenever I like. This is my day: I get up at 7, at 8 Abu Nimrud
comes and teaches me Arabic--till 10. I go on working till 12, when I
lunch. Then I write for my Persian till 1:30, or so, when I ride or walk
out. Come in at 5, and work till 7, when I dine. At 7:30 my Persian comes
and stays till 10, and at 10:30 I go to bed. You see I have not Much
leisure time! And the whole day long I talk Arabic.

To F.B.
HAIFA, April 2, 1902.

I love my two sheikhs. It's perfectly delightful getting hold Of Persian
again, the delicious language! But as for Arabic I am soaked and soddened
by it and how anyone can wish to have anything to do with a tongue so
difficult when they might be living at ease, I can't imagine. I never
stop talking in this hotel and I think I get a little worse daily . . .
..

The birds fly into my room and nest in the chandelier!

To F. B.
Tuesday, 22nd April, 1902.

On Monday I went to lunch with my Persians. A young
gentleman was invited to meet me-he's a carpenter-and he and I and Mirza
Abdullah lunched together solemnly while the wife and sisters waited on
us. We had a very good lunch, rice and pillau and sugared dates and
kabobs. It was all spread on the table at once and we helped ourselves
with our forks at will, dilating the while on the absurdity of the
European custom of serving one dish after another so that you never knew
what you were going to have, also of whipping away your plate every
moment and giving you another! The conversation was carried on in Persian
which I speak worse than anyone was ever known to do. I told you that
there were 2 American Professors of Divinity in the Hotel? One whose name
I don't know is a particularly attractive man, oldish, very intelligent
and with a sweet goodness of face and I am sure of character which is
very loveable. I was telling Mirza Abdullah about him last night and he
said he would like to see him and ask him a question. So I went out and
fetched my old American, telling him the sort of person he had to deal
with, and Mirza Abdullah (I being interpreter) asked him what he
considered were the proofs of Christ's being God. The American answered
in the most charming manner, but of course could give no proofs except a
personal conviction. Mirza A. said, "He speaks as a lover, but I want the
answer of the learned." I felt as I interpreted between them how much the
philosophic inquiring eastern mind differed from ours. The value my
professor attached to the vivifying qualities of Christ's teaching was
certainly lost on the Oriental, and on the other hand Abdullah's
dialectics were incomprehensible to the western--at least the starting
point was incomprehensible. They talked for about an hour and at the end
Abdullah was quite as much at a loss as before to understand why the
Professor accepted one prophet and rejected the others and I'm bound to
say I quite sympathised with him. He said to me after the Professor had
gone: "You must reject all or accept all, but he chooses and can give no
reason. He believes what his fathers have taught him."
It was a very curious evening. The professor was a perfect angel all the
time. One could not help being immensely impressed with the quality of
his faith.

[She returns to England at the end of May. She has a pleasant month at
home, and early in July we find her in Switzerland again.]

TO F.B.
ROSENLAUI, July 8th, 1902.

I had a most luxurious journey. My 2 guides met me, I dined and made
plans and went to bed and slept for 11 hours! . . . We got up to this
enchanting place in time for lunch and I was received with rapture by my
friend the innkeeper--oh! I must tell you that the guard on the train of
the Brünnig line asked me if I were Miss Bell who had climbed the
Engelhorn last year. This is fame. There is another climbing woman
here--Frl. Kuntze--very good indeed she is, but not very Well Pleased to
see me as I deprive her of Ulrich Fuhrer with whom she has been climbing.
She has got a German with her, a distinguished climber from Berne, and I
sat and talked to them this afternoon when they came in from a little
expedition. They have done several things in the Engelhorn but the best
thing hereabouts remains to be done and Ulrich and I are going to have an
inspection walk the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow we propose to do a new
rock which Will probably give us an amusing climb and which will, I hope,
be short. . . . The flowers are entrancing--piles of things of which I
remember the pictures in my alpine book and forget the names. I wish you
would send me that book--Alpine Flora, I think it's called--on one of the
shelves above MY writing table at Redcar.

To F. B.
ROSENLAUI, July 11th, 1902.

We had a delightful day on Tuesday, did a charming little rock, up one
way and down another, both ways new though the point had been made from a
third side by some guides. especially the descent which was quite
difficult. We got ourselves landed on to the top of some very smooth
rocks, down which we slid on an extra rope with the exciting uncertainty
as to whether the rope would reach far enough and as to what would lie
below. But the rope was exactly long enough to a foot and led us down to
some broken cracks and couloirs by which we descended on to the grass
slopes . . . .. Between the two Wellhorns there is an arête of rocks
which has never been attempted--it is indeed one of the 4 impossibles
of the Oberland--and we intend to do it and we think we can. . . .
Accordingly we got up to-day at midnight, a beautifully starry night,
and set off with quantities of spare rope up the slopes to the
foot of the Vorder Wellhorn. We hadn't been gone more than half-an-hour
before a storm began coming up from all sides at once and we called a
halt to see how matters were going to turn out. We lay shivering under a
rock for some time while the clouds blew up faster and faster, and
lightning began and the thunder and the first drops of rain reached us.
Fortunately there were some deserted chalets just below us so I sent
Ulrich to see if we could take shelter in them. He came back looking
rather dubious and I asked whether there was any one in them. "Dere is
pig," he replied. Still pig were better than rain, so we hurried down and
fortunately found a hut with nothing in it but some clean hay on which we
established ourselves luxuriously. It was half-past 2 or 3 by this time
and we lay and waited to see what the dawn would bring, Ulrich relating
alpine adventures to pass the time. But the dawn brought more rain and
more thunder and we gave up hope, and ran down to the inn where we
arrived about 5. I went to bed promptly and slept till 12. And if it
clears we are going to begin the same game again to-night.

To F. B.
VORDER WELLHORN, July 14th, 1902.

We have done the first of the impossibles , the Wellhorn arête, and are
much elated. We started at 5 yesterday and ran up the Vorder Wellhorn as
fast as ever we could, making only a 5 minutes halt while we roped. The
arête looked awful from the top of the Vorder Wellhorn. There was a most
discouraging bit of smooth rock in it and above that an overhang round
which we could see no way. My heart sank--I thought we should never do
it. However we set off and when we came nearer we found that these two
places were not half as bad as they looked and after 4 hours of very fine
arête climbing we lunched at the top of the overhang in the best of
spirits. But the worst was to come--a long knife edge of rock so rotten
that it fell away in masses as we went along, horrid precipices beneath
us so that the greatest care was needed at every step. And it ended in a
sharp gap on the further side of which 2 short but extremely exposed
chimneys led up to the final slopes. We took nearly an hour over these, I
standing most of the time, shivering with cold, at the bottom Of the
lowest, while my two guides worked on the tiny ledge above me which was
too narrow for us all 3. Finally Ulrich called outt "I have hold of it!"
and Heinrich and I scrabbled after him with the aid of an iron nail
driven in in the worst place and of a double rope. We ended our day by
crossing the Rosenlaui glacier under the séracs, a thing we had no
business to do for they hung over us in the most threatening manner, but
it Saved us at least 2 hours and we got through without their falling On
us. I think if the weather holds, I shall go over to the Grimsel, for the
second impossible is now on our minds and we want to set about it as soon
as we can.

To H. B.
KURHAUS ROSENLAUI, BERNER OBERLAND July 20, 1902.

I came over here yesterday morning, walking over the Scheidegg, and a
most delicious hot day. Yseult Grant Duff met me on the top of the pass
and walked down with me. . . . This morning I started out at 5:30
to--well, Ulrich Calls it examining the movement of rocks, it means that
you go up and see if a stone falls On You and if it doesn't you know you
can go UP that way. It's a new ascent of the Wetterhorn--a mad Scheme I'm
inclined to think, but still we'll see how it goes. We went up the steep
slopes and up rocks and under a glacier fall, where I examined the
movement of a stone on my knee--fortunately a small one, but it hurt for
it fell from a long way up--and then we hastily turned back. However, on
examination we thought we could get up another way and we intend to try
it seriously. . . .

To H. B.
MEIPLINGEN, Sunday, August 3, 1902.

For once I must begin by acknowledging that Donmul's gloomy
forebodings came very near to being realised, and I am now feeling
some satisfaction in the thought that my bones are not lying scattered on
the Alpine mountains cold. Don,t be alarmed, however, they are all quite
safe and sound in the Grimsel and if it were not for a little touch of
frostbite in the feet I should be merrily on my way to fresh
adventures. . . . On Monday it rained and we could do nothing. On Tuesday
we set out at 1 a.m. and made for a crack high up on the Wetterhorn rocks
which we had observed through glasses. We got up to it after about 3
hours' climbing only to find to our sorrow that the séracs were tumbling
continually down it from all directions. We concluded that it was far too
risky--indeed it would have been madness to attempt it for we could see
from the broken ice on the rocks that the great blocks were thrown from
side to side as they fell and swept the whole passage and it was the only
place where the cliffs could be climbed at all; we turned sadly back. I
record this piece of prudence with pleasure. . . . Next day I came up
here. It was a most delicious morning. I left Meiringen at 6 and shared
my coach with a dear little American couple who were making a walking
tour in Switzerland-by coach mostly, I gathered. There was also a
pleasant Englishman called Campbell who was coming up with a rope and an
ice axe, a member of the A.C. as I found on talking to him at the halting
places. He appears later in the story. Well, we lunched here and set off
in the afternoon to the Pavillon Dolfuss, of ill omen, where We arrived
at 6. But anything more inviting than the little hut that evening it
would be difficult to imagine. It was perfect weather, the most lovely
evening I have ever seen in the Alps. Until the sun set at 7 behind the
Schreckhorn I sat out of doors without a coat and walked over the tiny
alp botanizing while My guides cooked the soup Every sort of Alpine plant
grows on the cultivated alp; i found even very sweet pale violets under
the big stones. I had it all to myself; I was the lord of all mountains
that night and rejoiced exceedingly in my great possessions. The matter
we had in hand was the ascent of the face of the Finsteraarhorn: it is a
well-known problem and the opinions of the learned are divided as to its
solution. Dr. Wilson looked at it this year and decided against it. We
have looked at it for 2 years and decided for it and other authorities
agree with us in what I still think is a right opinion. The mountain on
the side facing the Schreckhorn comes down in a series of arches
radiating from the extremely pointed top to the Finsteraar glacier. . . .
The arête, the one which has always been discussed, rises from the
glacier in a great series of gendarmes and towers, set at such an angle
on the steep face of the mountain that you wonder how they can stand at
all and indeed they can scarcely be said to stand, for the great points
of them are continually overbalancing and tumbling down into the couloirs
between the arêtes and they are all capped with loosely poised stones,
jutting out and hanging over and ready to fall at any moment. But as long
as you keep pretty near to the top of the arête you are Safe from them
because they fall into the couloirs on either side, the difficulty is to
get on to the arête because you have to cross a couloir down which the
stones fall, not to speak Of avalanches; the game was beginning even when
we (crossed it an hour after dawn. We left the hut at 1:35 a.m.
Thursday. Crossed the séracs just at dawn and by 6 found ourselves
comfortably established on the arête, beyond the reach of the
stones which the mountain had fired at us (fortunately with rather a bad
aim) for the first half-hour on the rock. we breakfasted then followed a
difficult and dangerous climb. It was difficult because the rocks were
exceedingly steep, every now and then we had to creep up and Out of the
common hard chimney--one in particular about mid-day I remember, because
we subsequently had the very deuce of a time coming down it, or round the
face of a tower or cut our way across an ice couloir between two
gendarmes and it was dangerous because the whole rock was so treacherous.
I found this out very early in the morning by putting my hand into the
crack of a rock which looked as if it went into the very foundations of
things. About 2 feet square of rock tumbled out upon me and knocked me a
little way down the hill till I managed to part company with it on a tiny
ledge. I got back on to my feet without being pulled up by the rope,
which was as well for a little later I happened to pass the rope through
my hands and found that it had been cut half through about a yard from my
waist when the rock had fallen on it. This was rather a nuisance as it
shortened a rope we often wanted long to allow of our going up difficult
chimneys in turn. So on and on we went up the arête and the towers
multiplied like rabbits above and grew steeper and steeper and about 2
o'clock I looked round and saw great black clouds rolling up from the
west. But by this time looking up we also saw the topmost tower of the
arête far above us still, and the summit of the mountain further still
and though we could not yet see what the top of the arête was like we
were cheered and pushed on steadily for another hour while the weather
signs got worse and worse. At 3 just as the first snow flakes began to
fall, we got into full view of the last two gendarmes and the first one
was quite impossible. The ridge had been growing narrow, its sides
steeper as we mounted, so that we had been obliged for some time to stick
quite to the backbone of it; then it threw itself up into a great tower
leaning over to the right and made of slabs set like slates on the top
with a steep drop of some 20 feet below them on to the Col. We were then
1000 feet below the summit I should guess, perhaps rather less, anyway we
could see our way up, not easy but possible, above this tower and once on
the top could get down the other side in any weather. It had to be tried:
we sat down to eat a few mouthfuls the snow falling fast driven by a
strong wind, and a thick mist marching up the valley below, over the
Finsteraar joch, then we crept along the knife edge of a col, fastened a
rope firmly round a rock and let Ulrich down on to a ledge below the
overhang of the tower. He tried it for a few moments and then gave it up.
The ledge was very narrow, sloped outwards and was quite rotten. Anything
was better than that. So we tried the left side of the tower: there was a
very steep iced couloir running up at the foot of the rock on that side
for about 50 feet, after which all would be well. Again we let ourselves
down on the extra rope to the foot of the tower, again to find that this
way also was impossible. A month later in the year I believe this couloir
would go; after a warm August there would be no ice in it, and though it
is very steep the rocks so far as one could see under the ice, looked
climbable. But even with the alternative before us of the descent down
the terrible arete, we decided to turn back; already the snow was blowing
down the couloir in a small avalanche, small but blinding, and the wind
rushed down upon us carrying the mists with it. If it had been fine
weather we should have tried down the areête a little and then a traverse
so as to get at the upper rocks by another road. I am not sure that it
could be done but we should have tried anything--but by the time we had
been going down for half-an-hour we could see nothing of the mountain
side to the right or to the left except an occasional glimpse as one
cloud rolled off and another rolled over. The snow fell fast and covered
the rocks with incredible speed. Difficult as they had been to go up, you
may imagine what they were like going down when we could no longer so
much as see them. There was One corner in particular where we had to get
round the face of a tower. We came round the corner, down a very steep
chimney, got on to a sloping out rock ledge with an inch of new snow on
it; there was a crack in which you could stand and with one hand hold in
the rock face, from whence you had to drop down about 8 feet on to steep
snow. We fixed the extra rope and tumbled down one after the Other On to
the snow; it was really more or less safe because one had the fixed rope
to hold on to, but it felt awful: I shall remember every inch of that
rock face for the rest of my life. It was now near 6. Our one idea was to
get down to the chimney--the mid-day chimney which was so very
difficult--so as to do it while there was still only a little snow on it.
We toiled on till 8, by which time a furious thunderstorm was raging. We
were standing by a great upright on the top of a tower when suddenly it
gave a crack and a blue flame sat On it for a second just like the one we
saw when we were driving, you remember, only nearer. My ice axe jumped in
my hand and I thought the steel felt hot through my woollen glove--was
that possible? I didn't take my glove off to see! Before we knew where we
were the rock flashed again--it was a great sticking out stone and I
expect it attracted the lightning, but we didn't stop to consider this
theory but tumbled down a chimney as hard as ever we could, one on top of
the other, buried our ice axe heads in some shale at the bottom of it and
hurriedly retreated from them. It's not nice to carry a private lightning
conductor in your hand in the thick of a thunderstorm, It was clear we
could go no further that night, the question was to find the best lodging
while there was still light enough to see. We hit upon a tiny crack
sheltered from the wind, even the snow did not fall into it. There was
just room for me to sit in the extreme back of it on a very pointed bit
of rock; by doubling up I could even get my head into it. Ulrich sat on
my feet to keep them warm and Heinrich just below him. They each of them
put their feet into a knapsack which is the golden rule of bivouac. The
other golden rule is to take no brandy because you feel the reaction more
after. I knew this and insisted on it. It was really not so bad; we
shivered all night but our hands and feet were warm and climbers are like
Pobbles in the matter of toes. I went to sleep quite often and was
wakened up every hour or so by the intolerable discomfort of my position,
which I then changed by an inch or two into another which was bearable
for an hour more. At first the thunderstorm made things rather exciting.
The claps followed the flashes so close that there seemed no interval
between them. We tied ourselves firmly on to the rock above lest as
Ulrich philosophically said one of us should be struck and fall out. The
rocks were all crackling round us and fizzing like damp wood which is
just beginning to burn--have you ever heard that? It's a curious exciting
sound rather exhilarating--and as there was no further precaution
possible I enjoyed the extraordinary magnificence of the storm with a
free mind: it was worth seeing. Gradually the night cleared and became
beautifully starry. Between 2 and 3 the moon rose, a tiny crescent, and
we spoke of the joy it would be when the sun rose full on to us and
stopped our shivering. But the sun never rose at all--at least for all
practical purposes. The day came wrapped in a blinding mist and heralded
by a cutting, snow-laden wind--this day was Friday; we never saw the sun
in it. It must have snowed a good deal during the thunderstorm for when
we stepped out of our crack in the first grey light about 4 (too stiff to
bear it a moment longer) everything was deep in it. I can scarcely
describe to you what that day was like. We were from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m. on
the arête; during that time we ate for a minute or two 3 times and my
fare I know was 5 ginger bread biscuits, 2 sticks of chocolate, a slice
of bread, a scrap of cheese and a handful of raisins. We had nothing to
drink but about two tablespoonfuls of brandy in the bottom of my flask
and a mouthful of wine in the guides' wine skin, but it was too cold to
feel thirsty. There was scarcely a yard which we could come down without
the extra rope; you can imagine the labour of finding a rock at every 50
feet round which to sling it, then of pulling it down behind us and
slinging it We had our bit of good luck-it never caught all day. But both
the ropes were thoroughly iced and terribly difficult to manage, and the
weather was appalling. It snowed all day
sometimes softly as decent snow should fall, sometimes driven by a
furious bitter wind which enveloped us not only in the falling snow, but
lifted all the light powdery snow from the rocks and sent it whirling
down the precipices and into the couloirs and on to us indifferently. It
was rather interesting to see the way a mountain behaves in a snowstorm
and how avalanches are born and all the wonderful and terrible things
that happen in high places. The couloirs were all running with snow
rivers--we had to cross one and a nasty uncomfortable process it was. As
soon as you cut a step it was filled up before you could put your foot
into it. But I think that when things are as bad as ever they can be you
cease to mind them much. You set your teeth and battle with the fates. we
meant to get down whatever happened and it was such an exciting business
that we had no time to think of the discomfort. I know I never thought of
the danger except once and then quite calmly. I'll tell you about that
presently The first thing we had to tackle was the chimney. We had to fix
our rope in it twice, the second time round a very unsafe nail. I stood
in this place holding Heinrich, there was an overhang. He climbed a bit
of the way and then fell on to soft snow and spun down the couloir till
my rope brought him up with a jerk. Then he got up on to a bit of rock on
the left about half as high as the overhang. Ulrich came down to me and I
repeated Heinrich's process exactly, the iced extra rope slipping through
my hands like butter. Then came Ulrich. He was held by Heinrich and me
standing a good deal to the left but only half as high up as he. He
climbed down to the place we had both fallen from asking our advice at
every step, then he called out " Heinrich, Heinrich, ich bin verloren,"
and tumbled off just as we had done and we held him up in the couloir,
more dead than alive with anxiety. We gave him some of our precious
brandy on a piece of sugar and he soon recovered and went on as boldly as
before. We thought the worst was over but there was a more dangerous
place to come. It was a place that had been pretty difficult to go up, a
steep but short slope of iced rock by which we had turned the base of a
tower. The slope was now covered with about 4 inches of avalanche snow
and the rocks were quite hidden. It was on the edge of a big couloir down
which raced a snow river. We managed badly somehow; at any rate, Ulrich
and I found ourselves on a place where there was not room for us both to
stand, at the end of the extra rope. He was very Insecure and could not
hold me, Heinrich was below on the edge of the couloir, also very
insecure. And here I had to refix the extra rope on a rock a little below
me so that it was practically no good to me. But it was the only possible
plan. The rock was too difficult for me, the stretches too big, I
couldn't reach them: I handed my axe down to Heinrich and told him I
could do nothing but fall, but he couldn't, or at any rate, didn't secure
himself and in a second we were both tumbling head over heels down the
couloir, which was, you understand, as steep as snow could lie. How
Ulrich held us I don't know. He said himself he would not have believed
it possible but hearing me say I was going to fall he had stuck the
pointed end of the ice axe into a crack above and on this alone we all
three held. I got on to my feet in the snow directly I came to the end of
my leash of rope and held Heinrich and caught his ice axe and mine and we
slowly cut ourselves back up the couloir to the foot of the rock. But it
was a near thing and I felt rather ashamed of my part in it. This was the
time when I thought it on the cards we should not get down alive. Rather
a comforting example, however, of how little can hold a party up. About 2
in the afternoon we all began to feel tired. I had a pain through my
shoulder and down my back which was due, I think, to nothing but the
exertion of rock climbing and the nervous fatigue of shivering--for we
never stopped shivering all day, it was impossible to control one's tired
muscles in that bitter cold. And so we went on for 6 hours more of which
only the last hour was easy and at 8 found ourselves at the top of the
Finsteraar glacier and in the dark, with a good guess and good luck,
happened on the right place in the Bergschrund and let ourselves down
over it. It was now quite dark, the snow had turned into Pouring rain,
and we sank 6 inches into the soft glacier with every step. Moreover we
were wet through: we had to cross several big crevasses and get down the
sérac before we could reach the Unteraar glacier and safety. For we had
felt no anxiety having relied upon our lantern but not a single match
would light. We had every kind with usin metal match boxes but the boxes
were wet and we had not a dry rag of any kind to rub them with. We tried
to make a tent Out Of my skirt and to light a match under it, but our
fingers were dripping wet and numb with cold--one could scarcely feel
anything smaller than an ice axe-and the match heads dropped off limply
into the snow without So much as a spark. Then we tried to go on and
after a few steps Heinrich fell into a soft place almost up to his neck
and Ulrich and I had to pull him out with the greatest difficulty and the
mists swept up over the glacier and hid everything; that was the only
moment of despair. We had so looked forward to dry blankets in the
Pavillon Dollfuss and here we were with another night out before us. And
a much worse one than the first, for we were on the shelterless glacier
and in driving drenching rain. We laid our three axes together and sat on
them side by side. Ulrich and I put our feet into a sack but Heinrich
refused to use the other and gave it to me to lie on. My shoulders ached
and ached. I insisted on our all eating something even the smallest
scrap, and then I put a wet pocket handkerchief over my face to keep the
rain from beating on it and went to sleep. It sounds incredible but I
think we all slept more or less and woke up to the horrible discomfort
and went to sleep again. I consoled myself by thinking of Maurice in S.
Africa and how he had slept out in the pouring rain and been none the
worse. We couldn't see the time but long before we expected it a sort of
grey light came over the snow and when at last I could read my watch,
behold it was 4. We gathered ourselves up; at first we could scarcely
stand but after a few steps we began to walk quite creditably. About 6 we
got to where we could unrope--having been 48 hours on the rope--and we
reached here at 10 on Saturday.

They had all been in a great state of anxiety about us, seeing the
weather, and had telegraphed to Meiringen, to Grindelwald, to know
whether we had turned up. So I got into a warm bath and then discovered
to my great surprise that my feet were ice cold and without any
sensation. But having eaten a great many boiled eggs and drunk jugs of
hot milk I went to bed and woke about dinner time to find my toes swollen
and stiff. Frau Lieseguay then appeared and said that a S. American
doctor had passed through in the afternoon and had seen Ulrich and
Heinrich and had bound up their hands and feet in cotton wool and told
them to keep very warm; so she bound up my feet too-my hands are nearly
all right but I think my feet are worse than theirs. Still they seem
better now and I don't expect I shall be toeless. They are not nearly as
bad as my hands were in the Dauphiné, but the worst of It is that with
swollen toes bound up in cotton wool one can't walk at all and I shall
just have to wait till they get better. I slept for about 24 hours only
waking up to eat, and it's now 4 in the afternoon and I'm just going to
get up and have tea with Mr. Campbell, who has, I hear, been an angel of
kindness to my guides. They seem to be none the worse except that Ulrich
had a touch of rheumatism this morning, and as for me, I am perfectly
absolutely well except for my toes-not so much as a cold in the head.
Isn't it remarkable! I do wonder where mother is and whether she is
anywhere near at hand; if she were I should like to have nursed my toes
in her company but I expect I shall be all right in a day or two. I don't
mean to move till I am. Isn't that an awful dreadful adventure! It makes
me laugh to think of it, but seriously now that I am comfortably indoors,
I do rather wonder that we ever got down the Finsteraarhorn and that we
were not frozen at the bottom of it. What do you think?

[Captain Farrar of the Alpine Club writes as follows respecting this
ascent :

"The vertical height of the rock face measured from the glacier to the
summit of the mountain is about 3,000 feet. There can be in the whole
Alps few places so steep and so high. The climb has only been done
three times including your daughter's attempt, and is still considered
one of the greatest expeditions in the whole Alps."

The following In Memoriam notice of Gertrude, Written by Colonel E. L.
Strutt, now editor of the Alpine journal, appeared in the A.J. for
November, 1926, at which time Captain Farrar was the editor.

"I do not know when Miss Bell commenced her mountaineering career. It
was, however, in the first years of this century that her ascents
attracted attention, and about the period 1901-1903 there was no more
prominent lady mountaineer. Everything that she undertook, physical or
mental, was accomplished so superlatively well, that it would indeed have
been strange if she had not shone on a mountain as she did in the
hunting-field or in the desert. Her strength, incredible in that slim
frame, her endurance, above all her courage, were so great that even to
this day her guide and companion Ulrich Fuhrer---and there could be few
more competent judges--speaks with an admiration of her that amounts to
veneration. He told the writer, some years ago, that of all the amateurs,
men or women, that he had travelled with, he had seen but very few to
surpass her in technical skill and none to equal her in coolness, bravery
and judgment.

"Fuhrer's generous tribute on what was probably the most terrible
adventure in the lives of all those concerned. 'You who have made the
climb will perhaps be able to correctly appreciate our work. But the
honour belongs to Miss Bell. Had she not been full of courage and
determination, we must have perished. She was the one who insisted on our
eating from time to time. The scene was high up on the then unclimbed
N.E. face of the Finsteraarhorn, when the party was caught in a blizzard
on that difficult and exposed face and were out for fifty-seven hours, of
which fifty-three were spent on the rope. Retreat under such conditions,
and retreating safely, was a tremendous performance which does credit to
all.' The date was July 31 to August 2, 1902; the occasion was a defeat
greater than many a victory. 'When the freezing wind beats you almost to
the ground, when the blizzard nearly blinds you, half paralysing your
senses . . . . when the cold is so intense that the snow freezes on You
as it falls, clothing you in a sheet of ice, till life becomes
insupportable. . . ..' then, indeed, was Miss Bell preeminent.

"The Lauteraarhorn-Schreckhorn traverse was probably Miss Bell's most
important first ascent, July 24, 1902. It is related that she and her
guides, meeting on the ridge another lady with her guides making the same
ascent from the opposite direction, were not greeted with enthusiasm. In
the seasons 1901-1902 Miss Bell was the first to explore systematically
the Engelhorner group, making with Fuhrer many new routes and several
first ascents. An extract from a letter of the chief Alpine authority,
dated December 10, 1911, may be quoted. . . . 'You ask me for some notes
on Miss Bell's ascents, and I send all I have. . . . she was not one to
advertize, and yet, or probably because of it, they tell me that she was
the best of all lady mountaineers. . . . (Signed) W. A. B. Coolidge.'

"The notes contain the following, all relating to the different
Engelhorner and all new routes or first ascents

Similistock, August 30, 1901.
King's Peak & Gerard's Peak August 31, 1901.
Vorderspitze & Gertrude's Peak & Ulrich's Peak
& Mittelspitze September 3, 1901.
Klein Engelhorn & Gemsenspitze & Urbachthaler Engelhorn
September 7, 1901
Klein Similistock, July 8, 1902.

"For the reasons stated above, it is difficult to name her other
expeditions in the Alps, but a well-known climber has stated that his
most vivid recollection of an ascent of Mont Blanc was the effort
required to follow Miss Bell.

"Such, briefly and inadequately tendered, are some of the Alpine
qualifications of her who must ever be regarded as one of the greatest
women of all time., E. L. S."]

To F.B.
London, August 11th, 1902.

I am quite perfectly well. I left Grimsel on the Monday after my
adventure and returned to Rosenlaui, walking up, although on rather
swollen toes. There I stayed 2 days and then, my time being up, returned
home via Bruges where I spent a charming 74 hours. I met the Frank
Pembers and the Albert Grays there. . . .

My toes are nearly well; I'm still just a little lame, but it's nothing.
I walk about gaily. My best love to Amy. it's horrid cold here.

To F.B.
LONDON, August 13th, 1902.

I am so dreadfully sorry to gather that you have been anxious about me. .
. . I am now in boisterous health, as I hope this finds you.

I had a very pleasant dinner with Domnul en tête-à-tête on Monday. We
drew out maps and discussed his Persian journey and our hidden plans. He
has just been to tea with me--we want to meet in Delhi! I've got a letter
from Colonel Baring saying that we are to be put up in the Viceroy's
camp. It will be the greatest joke in life. I lunched yesterday with the
Storrys. He wants me to write a book for him in a series on art he is
bringing out for Gerald Duckworth. He gave me my choice of subject. I
think if I did it I would write on Florentines between Giotto and
Donatello--the great moment of upspringing when art threw off Byzantium
and took on Greece. But I feel very doubtful as to whether I could do it
and then when! However, I am to think it over. What do you think? I must
tell you the other writers are Furtwangler and people of his sort!
Charlie Furse is to do Tintoret, Mrs. Strong Rome, Strzygowski, the
greatest living authority, the period before mine. It is very
alarming.-----

['Domnul,' the Roumanian word for 'gentleman,' is an affectionate
nickname for Sir V. Chirol, dating from the Bucharest Days.]




CHAPTER VIII


1902-1903


ROUND THE WORLD THE SECOND TIME


[At the end of 1902 Gertrude and Hugo started off to go round the world
together, their route being India (including the Delhi Durbar), Burma,
Java, China and America.

Shortly before their departure the present Bishop of St. Albans, then the
Rev. Michael Furse, came to stay with us at Redcar. He was a Don at
Trinity College, Oxford, when Hugo was an undergraduate there, and they
became great friends. Hugo was devoted to him for ever afterwards. The
Bishop now sends us these notes of a talk he had with Gertrude at that
time.

"I remember well a walk which I took one evening on the sands at Redcar
with his very remarkable and Charming sister Gertrude; it was just before
she and Hugo were going off round the world together. In her delightfully
blunt and provocative way, she turned on me suddenly and said in a very
defiant voice, 'I suppose you don't approve of this plan of Hugo going
round the world with me?' 'Why shouldn't I?' I said. 'Well, you may be
pretty sure he won't come back a Christian.' 'Why do you say that?' I
asked. 'Oh,because I've got a much better brain than Hugo, and a year in
my company will be bound to upset his faith.' 'Oh, will it?' I said.
'Don't you be too sure about that. If I Was a betting man I'd give you a
hundred to one against it. But even if things do pan out as you think, I
am tremendously glad Hugo is going with you, for I should much rather he
came to the conclusion that the whole thing was nonsense before he took
orders than afterwards! You do your hardest' (which I fear was not the
actual word I used, but something much stronger!) 'and see what
happens.'"

The Bishop was right. Hugo returned unchanged, and in due course he was
ordained in 1909. In 1909 Mr. Furse became Bishop of Pretoria. Hugo
followed him to South Africa in 1912 and was with him as his chaplain
until the Bishop came back to England for good in 1920.]

To F.B.
December 4th, 1902.

* * * Hugo is the most delightful of travelling companions. We spend a
lot of time making plans with maps in front of us. We are chiefly
exercised as to how many of the Pacific Islands we shall visit. It is
immensely amusing to have the world before us . . . .

[So many descriptions have been written of the Delhi Durbar, and of the
well-trodden route which Gertrude and Hugo took afterwards, that it is
not worth while giving her letters in extenso, though I have included a
few of her comments on her daily personal experiences.]

[Arrival in India]
To F.B.
S.S. "CHINA," December 12th, 1902.

Mr. [Leo F.) Schuster went off by himself and had coffee
in Asia, the first time he had set foot on that continent. You can't
think how charming and amusing and agreeable the Russells have been. It's
added a great deal to the pleasure of the voyage having them. Our servant
met us at the quay; he seems a most agreeable party and he's going to
teach us Hindustani.

[These lessons seem to have been a success as far as Gertrude at any rate
was concerned, because more than once in her subsequent travels she
rejoices in being able to talk Hindustani.]

To F. B.
December, 1902.

We have become almost unrecognisably Indian, wear pith helmets--and oh!
my Hindustani is remarkably fluent! We no longer turn a hair when we see
a cow trotting along in front of a dogcart and we scarcely hold our heads
an inch higher when we are addressed as "Your Highness." I called on a
Persian to whom my Haifa friends had given me letters,! A Babi. I found
him asleep on his verandah (he keeps a printing press), woke him up and
had a long conversation with him in Persian. He regarded me with
suspicion but treated me with the utmost consideration. I asked him to
sell me some Babi books, but he wriggled out of it politely, so I turned
to indifferent subjects and had an amusing talk about the plague and
things of that kind.

(They go to Government House.]

Lord Northcote is charming, delightful to talk to, and she is even more
charming and they were both extremely friendly. My Hindustani is quite
enough to carry us through without an interpreter, it's really most
convenient.

To H. B.
JEYPORE, December 22nd, 1902.

We had a most cheerful dinner in the station with Mr. Schuster. I feel a
considerable affection for him. He is so Cheerful and so equable and he
travels about in the lap of luxury. I shared his good fun, his salad, and
his delicious coffee. I wish we had been at the last Thursday party. I
told You Sir Ian [Hamilton] was a fascinating person.

To F.B.
Delhi DURBAR, December 31st.

A cotton gown, a sun helmet and a fur coat was my simple costume, the
only one, I find, which meets the variety of the Indian climate. No one
can be dull on an Indian road because Of the birds and beasts. They are
so tame that they scarcely get out of the way of your carriage. There is
a delightful sort of starling called a maina, with white barred wings,
the fat contented bourgeois of the bird hierarchy; the flocks of green
parrots are the gay smart people, the vultures sitting--rather huddled
up in the early morning cold are the grave Politicians. As for the grey
crow, he is the ubiquitous vaut rien [sic] Without which the social
system would not be complete. Arthur [Godman] appeared before lunch; he
is such a darling, looking older and thinner, and very wise about the
country and the people, having seen and observed a great deal and drawn
conclusions which are well worth hearing. . . .

[Arthur L. Godman, now Group Captain, R.A.F., was Gertrude's first
cousin, being the eldest son of Ada Bell referred to on page 7, who
married Colonel Arthur Fitzpatrick Godman.]

The function began with the entrance of the Delli siege veterans--this
was the great moment of all, a body of old men, white and native, and
every soul in that great arena rose and cheered. At the end came some
twenty or thirty Gurkhas, little old men in bottle green, some bent
double with years, some lame and stumbling with Mutiny wounds. And last
of all came an old blind man in a white turban, leaning on a stick. As he
passed us, he turned his blind eyes towards the shouting and raised a
trembling hand to salute the unseen thousands of the race to which he had
stood true. After that Viceroys and Kings went by almost without a
thrill. But still it was a great show. . . .

To F.B.
DELHI, January 2nd, 1903. Visitors' Camp.

We went to tea with Lady Barnes (she has just been knighted) the sister
of the Vanbrughs and a most charming woman with whom I have sworn
friendship. She is coming to see us in London some day and I'm going to
stay with her in Burmah some day. We also made the acquaintance of her
husband, Sir Hugh, who is very nearly as charming as she is. Then we went
on to congratulate the Lawrences and met Sir Walter Lawrence outside his
tent, and he sent us home in one of the Viceroy's carriages, so we were
the howling swells. The Russells told me that the first night they were
disturbed by the sound of continuous mewing, so much so that Lady A. got
up and looked out of her tent and called " Puss, puss!"What do you think
would have come if what she had called had really come? The elephants!
isn't it deliciously ridiculous! They make a funny sort of mewing sound
which from a distance sounds just like cats. I went to a Muhammadan
Conference to which I had been invited by Mr. Morison, the head of the
Aligarh College. I stepped on to the platform as bold as brass (in my
best clothes!) and sat down by Morison who is an enchanting person. . . .

In the train from Alwat to Delhi.

TO F.B.
January 18th, 1903.

My thrice blessed Hindustani, though it doesn't reach to any flowers of
speech, carries us through our travels admirably and here we were able to
stop where no one has a word of English, without any inconvenience.

[They send for an elephant.]

An elephant is far the most difficult animal to sit that I have ever been
on. You feel at first rather as if you were in a light boat lying at
anchor in seas a little choppy after a capful of wind--but the sensation
soon wears off and you learn to dispose yourself with ease and grace upon
the hoodah, and above all U learn not to seize hold of the side bars when
the elephant sits down, for they are only hooked and jerk out, landing
you, probably (as they nearly landed me) in the dust a good many feet
below. We soon discovered that the great tip for good elephantship is to
grasp the front bar the moment you get on, for he gets up from in front
(and very quickly too for he doesn't like kneeling at all) and the
problem is how not to fall over his tail. It's a little disconcerting to
find that an Indian, when he wishes to ascribe ideal movement to a woman,
calls her "elephant gaited." "An eye like a gazelle, a waist like a lion,
and a gait like an elephant."

To H.B.
PESHAWAR, Friday, January 23, 1903.
[At Peshawur they stop to photograph a group of people who are singing to
the lute a sort of hymn of praise.]

There were two men outside playing on a sort of lute and singing praises
of the Granth, but they can't have been very serious worshippers, for
when I stopped to photograph them I heard them interpolate into the song
"and the Memsahib came and took a picture "--all in the same squeaky
tune.

Aligarb. And here we are safely installed in the Morisons' house. He is
one of the most charming of men--a son of Cotter Morison.

[Then follows a description of the Muhammadan College] the only
residential College in India.

To H.B.
In the train--as usual! February 2, 1903.

. . . . I liked Mrs. Morison on further acquaintance. They swear by her
in the College and she was very kind to us. Mr. Morison is without doubt
the most charming of men. We had an early tea to which he had invited an
old Nawab who is a great personage in the College. He was a delightful
old man; we conversed in Persian, though I found I could quite well
follow him when he spoke Urdu with Mr. M. and Mr. M. can understand,
though he cannot speak Persian. . . . Hugo's attitude to his friends is
too comic. We heard that one X. was at Hong-Kong. " Good old X. " said
Hugo, "I must look him up." I asked who he was. "Oh, he was at oxford
with me." "Did you know him well?" "No." I asked whether he liked him.
"No--no, I didn't like him. He's not at all an attractive person. Good
old X! I'll tell you what--I'll write and let him know we are coming."
. . . I got two lovely gowns of Madras muslin, embroidered from the foot
to the knee, for 23 rupees, and an old man with a white beard is making
them up for me at 4 rupees apiece. I think I shall go to him in future,
he is so much cheaper than Denise. Hugo meantime bought flocks of white
ducks and a silk coat Of which he is very proud . . . .. I wrote letters
to all the people in the Straits Settlements, to tell them we're are
coming--lucky dogs!

[At Darjeeling they go up into the Himalayas. They find the Russells and
have a cheerful evening with them. . . and then to bed, meaning to get up
in the dawn.]

"At 4:30 Hugo came into my room and said, "Get up, get up! the Moons
shining on all the snows!" And I jumped out of bed and into a fur
coat--for it was bitter cold--and there they were,, white, evanescent,
mysterious and limitlessly high dreamy mountains under the moon. We ought
to have been wakened at 4, it was most lucky Hugo woke, however we set
ourselves to it with some purpose, got into riding clothes, bolted two
eggs--I ate my first with sugar, which they had brought in instead of
salt, in the hurry of the moment! and some tea, had our horses saddled,
and at 5 we were dashing up the road behind the hotel, with two Nepalese
saises panting behind us. That was a ride! We dashed on to the top of
Tiger Hill, which is about 9,000 ft. high. As we got to the top, I saw
the first sunbeam strike the very highest point of Kinchinjunga--Nunc
Dimittis--there can be no such sight in the world. Away to the west, and
120 miles from us, Everest put his white head over the folded lines of
mountains. . . . The old women of these parts have a plan of lacquering
their noses and cheek bones with a brown lacquer, it looks like a
frightful skin disease. . . . Our servants on our expedition were as
good servants as you could wish to have. We made great friends with them
and I vowed I would take them all with me next time, when I come to climb
Kinchinjunga.

To H.B.
S.S. "TARA," BAY OF BENGAL,February 22, 1903.

Thanks to your good wishes, we have hitherto escaped from the 96
diseases, the 24 dangers and the 11 calamities. (I'm commencing Buddhist,
you see, before I get to Rangoon, and this is the proper Buddhist way of
beginning a letter.)

[They travel from Rangoon in a gorgeous railway carriage of which
Gertrude enumerates and describes the furniture. In the middle of a
description of the scenery: "we have just discovered nine more
cupboards."

They stop at a village and go for a walk while their carriage waits for
them on a siding].

. . . . At one of the little shops there was a basket of Pineapples, of
which we wished to buy one. The lady of the shop was having her midday
sleep; her small and entirely naked son roused her when he saw us
fingering the pineapples. She just woke up enough to say " Char, anna "
(which is 4d.) and then went to sleep again. We paid the 4 annas to the
small boy and walked off with the pineapple.

On the Irrawaddy.
To F.B.
March 2, 1903.

We came to a very small steam boat. We said "To Pakukku," very loud and
clear and our guides seemed to assent. A steep and slippery plank led out
to the boat. I took my courage in both hands, crept along it, lifted the
awning, and received a broadside of the hottest, oiliest, most machinery
laden air, resonant with the snores of sleepers. I lit a match and found
that I was on a tiny deck covered with the sheeted dead, who, however,
presently sat up on their elbows and blinked at me. I announced firmly in
Urdu that I would not move until I was shown somewhere to sleep. After
much grumbling and protestations that there was no place to sleep there
(which, indeed, was obvious) one arose, and lit a lantern; together we
sidled down the plank and he took us back to one of the mysterious hulks
by the river bank. It was inhabited by an old Hindu and a bicycle and
many cockroaches. We woke the Hindu, and, at the suggestion of our guide,
he climbed a stair, unlocked a trap door and took us on to an upper deck
where, oddly enough, there were deck cabins with bunks in them. In these
we made our beds--it was now 11:30--and went to sleep. What the place
was, we haven't to this hour the least idea, but we believe it to have
been Maya, pure illusion, for directly we left, it hid itself behind
another barge, which was not there before, and has been no more seen.
Next morning we caught the small and smelly ferry, and in company with a
party of Burmese, steamed down the river to
Pakukku . . . .

[They go down the Irrawaddy.]

. . . . and into the monasteries, where I was hailed by an old monk on a
balcony, who begged me, by sign and gestures, to come up and take a
picture of the pagoda. By great good luck a little monk appeared, who had
a smattering of English. I explained to him that I would go and fetch my
brother and that we would then take pictures. We had the funniest visit.
The monks haven't enjoyed anything so much for a long time; they laughed
till their yellow robes fell off their bare shoulders. We all sat
cross-legged together under the carved roofs and discussed our various
ages and the price of Hugo's watch, while an immense concourse of
children gathered round close and closer. I was of no account at all when
Hugo appeared, until it came to the picture taking. We had to drive the
children away while I photographed the monks, but, at my friend's
request, I then took a consolation picture of all the children sitting in
a row. The camera may be a horrid modern invention, but it's a
universal letter of credit in strange parts. H. questioned the
little monk closely as to what he did all day. He replied blandly
"Nothing!" One of them was sewing the silk wrapper of a Pali
book. They showed us the books, palm leaf books written in gold lacquer,
and we made the monk read us a sonorous Pali sentence. He asked us if we
could understand and we were obliged to admit that we couldn't,
but I don't think he could either. The little monk took us into
a second monastery, where we found an extremely old party in yellow,
asleep on a chatpoy. He was enchanted to see Us, however, and had all the
doors opened that we might see the frescoes on the walls. H. taught the
little monk to shake hands when we came away, but he wouldn't shake hands
with me. He oughtn't even to have looked at me, according to the rules of
the order. . . . Hugo bought a whole orchestra of Musical instruments
from a gentleman almost naked except for a pair of spectacles. Our tastes
then drew us irresistibly to the monasteries, where we spent a happy
twilight hour walking about on gilded balconies and teaching the monks
the names, in English, of the beasts carved upon their doors. They can't
pronounce the consonants at the end of our words--but we can't pronounce
the consonants at the beginning of theirs, so we're quits.

[Gertrude was anxious to see the dancing and was taken by a learned
Chinaman to the house of a charming old Burman who had been Theebaw's
private secretary. The dance is described. The host produces some of his
old court dresses, and the insignia of the Minister's rank, gold
ornaments of various kinds. A travelling companion of Gertrude's had
accompanied her on this visit.]

"A 12-stringed chain was sent to Mr. Gladstone. I wonder what he did with
it?" said the unknown man. "Mr. Morley will tell us that," replied the
Chinaman, cheerfully. You might have knocked me down with one of the
Burmese lady's tail feathers: the last time I had talked of John Morley's
Life of Mr. G. was in the Pollocks' drawing room at Hind Head. One dancer
retired to appear as a boy. The change was not overwhelming, for instead
of one tight trouser she now wore skirts rather voluminous in front.

To F.B.
BATAVIA, March 16, 1903

We have at last got out of England and are now travelling on the
Continent. No one knows what comfort on the sea can be till he travels by
a Dutch boat. . . .

[They go to Singapore where they stay with Sir Frank Swettenham. Hugo was
very ill here with some sort Of malaria. Sir Frank Swettenham was
endlessly kind to him, and kept him and looked after him until he was
well enough to go away.]

To F.B.
ASTOR HOUSE, SHANGHAI, April 4th, 1903.

The hotel is most comfortable, when we arrived we found a note left for
us by the kind Russells giving us some introductions to people here. It
really was very thoughtful of them. We landed on Easter Sunday and had to
do all our own getting ashore. The Chinese natives surrounded us and
offered to carry our luggage, to carry us, to carry the ship, I fancy, if
we would give them a long enough bamboo pole. I adore Chinamen with a
passion that amounts to mania. They are the most delightful people in the
world. They do everything to perfection. They'll make you a shirt in
three hours, a petticoat in two, wash your clothes before you can wink,
forestall your every wish at table, fan you day and night When you have
the fever--you should have seen the Chinese boys sitting by Hugo's
bedside at Singapore and fanning him all day long. . . .

(Please give my love to Sir Ian, when you see him next!)

So we went to a silk shop, and the most delightful gentleman in China
showed us for two hours the loveliest stuffs I have ever seen. Kings will
leave their thrones in the hope of catching sight of me when I wear a
brocade I bought there, and crown princes will flock after Elsa and Moll
when they are clothed in some Chinese crêpe I design for them. Hugo
addresses all Chinamen as Gnome, but as they don't understand they aren't
offended. I like travelling in China. Hugo nods and becks to everyone he
meets and they nod back delighted.

[They travel northward through China, sight seeing on the way and being
much interested all the time.]

To F. B.
PEKING, 26th April, 1903.
[To Peking, where Claude Russell was then at the Legation, also Sir
Walter and Lady Susan Townley.

Gertrude gives a detailed and very interesting description of Peking, of
which however so many descriptions have been written already by other
travellers that it is not worth while reproducing hers here. She also
gives details of the Boxer Rising and contrasts it with the peace of
China at that moment (1903). It is Of interest to read this passage in
1927, with an intensified sense of contrast.]

You can't conceive what the horrible fascinating streets of Peking are
like. Full, full of people, a high mud causeway down the middle, crowded
booths on either side and a strait and uneven way between them and the
shops. Your rickshaw dashes in and out, bumps over boulders, subsides
into ditches, runs over dogs and toes and the outlying parts of booths
and shops, upsets an occasional wheelbarrow, locks itself with rickshaws
coming in the opposite direction and at a hand gallop conveys you,
breathless, through dust and noise and smells unspeakable to where you
would be.

[They see the Temple of Heaven. They dine with the French Minister, M.
Dubail, a great connoisseur, and then go shopping with him. Gertrude
remarks in her letter to me " I'm so glad I speak French so well, aren't
you?]

To H.B.
TAIREN March 20th, 1903.

We may as well back out. I've seen Dalny and I know. We may just as well
back out. Five years old and a European town. Roads--you don't know what
that means in China--fine streets of solid brick houses, a great port,
destitute of shipping as yet, but that will come, law courts, two hotels,
factories in plenty, six lines of rails at the station, a botanical
garden in embryo, but still there. It contains some deer, an eagle and
two black bears--note the symbolism! Do you remember a story of Kipling's
in which a Russian officer is well entertained by an English Regiment? He
gets up after dinner to make a speech. "Go away, you old peoples," he
says. "Go away you--old--peoples!" and falls drunk under the table.
That's the speech Dalny is making and I feel inclined to take its advice.
In fact there is no alternative. We arrived at 7 a.m. on Thursday, went
ashore and breakfasted at the Gastinnea Dalny where the proprietor
fortunately spoke German. They take nothing but roubles, being in Russia,
and we had to go to the renowned Russo-Chinese bank to change our
notes--having paid for our breakfast, our friend, the proprietor, put us
into a droschky--a pukha droschky--and we drove round the town. Our
driver was a cheerful Kurlander who knew a little German too. He came out
last autumn and meant to stay 2 years. "Business is good?" said I,
observing his fat and smiling face. "Recht gut," said he, "sometimes one
earns 18 roubles a day." No wonder he smiled and grew fat. The railway
cutting is being widened, the station is not yet finished. Both were
black with thousands of Chinese coolies working for dear life. How long
is it, therefore, between project and completion in Russian hands? Hugo
gnashed his teeth, but I did nothing but admire. They deserve to rule
Asia-and they mean to rule Asia. Go away, you old peoples!

[They sail for Japan.]

To H.B.
Tokyo, May 23rd, 1903.

I spent my time in the train learning Japanese so that when we arrived at
Miyajima I was able to explain that we wanted to leave our heavy baggage
at the station! (At this moment came in a gnome with a most exquisite
grey alpaca gown he has just made me an exact copy of one of Denise's but
that cost 6 pounds and this 3! I am glad to have it, for Peking dust put
a final touch to my dilapidated toilette.) I was delighted to have Lord
Lovelace's enchanting letter. He writes like someone in the beginning of
last century, touches of politics, social anecdotes, all with a perfect
style and in an exquisite hand.

[Gertrude's friendship with Lord Lovelace was always a great pleasure to
her. Their companionship ranged over literature, gardening,
mountaineering,--whatever else came to hand. I include here one or two
extracts from her letters to him, in reply to those she describes.]

To the Earl of Lovelace.
August 5, 1902.

What a series of successes you have had! . . . .. isn't it delightful and
wonderful to step on to a hilltop where no one has been before! you have
had this sensation very often, I know.

To the same.
July 12, 1902.
[Writing of Alpine flowers.]

No other flowers have the same delicate exquisiteness except indeed those
that Fra Angelico puts beneath the feet of dancing saints; but then they
are dream flowers. And so are these, I believe growing in delicious dream
gardens that exist only for us mountain people.

To the same.
September 28th, 1903.

Oh the tariff--I cannot keep so philosophically remote as you do though I
have enough self-control to realise that I value one couplet of Imrul
Kais above all the fiscal pamphlets in the world.

To the same. s
April 22, 1904.

I have been reading the Buddhist scriptures and making the 'école
buissonnière' between and I don't know which is the more profitable
occupation.

To H.B.
TOKYO, Sunday, 24th May, 1903.

I spent a delicious morning wandering about temples and gardens under the
charge of my rickshaw man. In one of the temples, a wonderful place all
gold lacquer and carving set in a little peaceful garden, a priest came
up to me and asked if I were an American. I said no, I was English. He
bowed and smiled: "So--is that how it is? the English are very good!"
I replied in Japanese, in which tongue the conversation was being
conducted--"English and Japanese are one." This was greeted with great
satisfaction to judge by the expression of my friends, the priests; what
they said I could not understand. Aubrey Herbert came to lunch and we all
went sightseeing together afterwards, but we were so busy talking that we
didn't pay much attention to the sights.

To H. B.
Thursday, 28th May, 1903.

(They meet the Colliers, and Reginald Farrar, "who is a great gardener."]

They and Mr. Herbert all came to see us, and carried Hugo
to a tea house to spend the evening in the company of geisha! I wonder
how he comported himself. Eric said he appeared to be quite at his ease.
. . .

[To Yokohama, then across the ocean to Vancouver. Gertrude's first
experience of America.]

To F.B.
LAKE LOUISE, ROCKY MOUNTAINS, June 30, 1903.

Need I tell you that I am now climbing the Rocky Mountains!

We arrived at Glacier after a wonderful morning through the great canyons
of the Selkirks. And at Glacier whom do you think I found, pray? 3 Swiss
guides from the Oberland, ropes and ice axes and everything complete. So
we fell into one another's arms, and they said, "Ach wass! it was
Fraulein Bell! how did the Gracious Fraulein enjoy the Finstetaarhorn?"
We discussed politics at dinner with our waiter at Vancouver. Says he:
"There's only one man understands the Colonies: that's Chamberlain." G.B.
loq.: "I think you'll have to pay some of the cost if you want to call so
much of the tune." Waiter, loq. "I guess that's so, but they don't seem
to think so out here." And he handed me the potatoes.

to H.B.
July 8th, 1903. In the train.

[On the way to Chicago they stop at Moose Jaw--they are delighted with
the strips of green, the prairie dogs, the people " A Lancashire man
recently come out who is prospering and pleased with everything." They
stop to photograph a widow's house and fall into talk with the owner of
it.]

She wouldn't live in Moose jaw for worlds; it's to crowded for her. If
you could only see Moose jaw, You would realise the force of that
statement. It's Just a little more crowded than the desert.

[So to Chicago.] . . . Raymond Robins came to see us. He talked
uninterruptedly for one and a half hours. He is rather like Lisa, talks
like her, throws back his head and speaks with bursts of eloquence. . . .
Hugo and I listened to him, breathless for an hour, and a half. He is a
very striking person; I fancy he is going to be a big power. Hugo was so
enthralled by his accounts that he is actually going back to Chicago to
spend four days with him. I encouraged this notion, for Raymond is
exactly the kind of person Hugo ought to be with. He is so entirely
outside the bounds of any stereotyped creed. But he was desperately busy
the next three days, so we decided that Hugo should come with me to
Niagara. as arranged, and then return, by which time R. will be free to
show him about. . . .

[They go to] a sort of Earl's Court called Sans Souci, where we dined and
saw the shows and enjoyed ourselves. I may say we had then the experience
of a lifetime, for we went on a switchback that looped the loop. I can't
say it was nice. Hugo says he was distinctly conscious of being
upside-down--which we were for the fraction of a second--but I only knew
a rush and a scramble and my hat nearly off. Now Hugo and I part company.
Lisa meets me in Boston to-morrow afternoon and Hugo goes back to
Raymond. . . .

[Gertrude and Hugo landed at Liverpool on July 26th of this year. She was
then in England until the following February, when we find her and her
father staying at the Embassy in Berlin, after which she returned home.]




CHAPTER IX


1903-1909


ENGLAND, SWITZERLAND, PARIS


[Our youngest daughter Molly was married to Charles Trevelyan on January
6th, 1904. As Gertrude was then at home with us and also during most of
the preceding year, there are no letters to us concerning Molly's
engagement in the previous November, or her marriage. Some letters are
included here which Gertrude wrote at this time to a young cousin, Edward
Stanley, second
son of the 4th Lord Stanley of Alderley, afterwards Lord Sheffield.

Edward Stanley went out to Nigeria as Civil Commissioner in 1903. He was
a boy of great ability, keen about his work and ready to shoulder
responsibility and to face danger. Gertrude cared very much about this
young cousin, and kept in touch with him. He was not gregarious, he had
not many intimates, and at times when the life in front of him, with its
ambitions and possibilities, seemed to him bewildering, he found in
Gertrude the most sympathetic of confidantes and correspondents. As
usual, none of her letters have the date of the year, and the envelopes
of these letters have not been kept, but they seem to have been written
between 1903, when he went out to West Africa, and 1908. His early death
at his post in the summer of 1908 was one of the great sorrows Of
Gertrude's life.]

To N. J. Stanley.

Yes Marcus Aurelius is a good counsellor, if one can follow his advice. I
mostly find myself rebelling against it, with an uncanny sense of being
too hopelessly involved in the mortal coil to profit by it. What is the
use of bending all one's energies to the uncongenial thing? One is likely
to do little enough anyway, but if half one's time is taken up persuading
oneself one likes it or at least conquering distaste there is Very little
left to achieve success with.

Find the thing that needs no such preparatory struggle and then do it for
all you are worth if you can. There will always be black or grey moments
when it is sufficiently difficult to do even the thing you like.

To the same.

Elsa and I had a delicious day this week in the Eske Valley, at
Glaisdale. The woods were full of flowers. We both fell into the river
and were wet through and we agreed it was very nice to have reached an
age when you can't be scolded and yet still like doing the things you
would be scolded for.

To the same.

. . Last night I went to a ball at your house--a very exceptional thing
for me to do and enjoyed myself so much that having gone for a moment, I
stayed for three hours. A most pleasant party not too crowded, pretty
people, a charming hostess and a most cheerful host. London has become
very hot and I am glad to think that I shall leave it next week. . . .

I had an amusing dinner the other day sitting between Lord Peel and the
Agha Khan. Do you know who he is? He is a direct descendant of the
Prophet, supreme head of half the Shiah world, an English subject,
enormously rich (his sect allows him 190,000 pounds a year) and a
pretender to the throne of Persia. We talked of travel and I said I might
be in Bagdad next year. "If you go " said he, "do let me know, I should
like to give you letters to my uncles, who look after the shrine at
Kerbela. The Marlborough Club always finds me." Isn't that a fine jumble.
He explained to Gilbert Russell, whom he knows very well, that he was so
rich that 2,000 pounds was to him, as 6pence is to other people. Then,"
said Gilbert, "could you change me a shilling?"

To the same-

. . . ..Sargent came to dinner this week. Did I tell you I made friends
with him last summer? He is delightful, I think. I should like to have
about three hours talk on end with him, for one keeps getting into things
one can't discuss at a dinner party because there is not time. Last
dinner we embarked on composition as understood by the Greeks, which is a
most thrilling theme. I think he is wrong, far too modern in his idea of
composition. He sets too much store on complexity which is not at all
necessarily an admirable quality and may be very difficult to
handle--must be. But he is catholic and he has thought things out with a
mind that can do a deal of thinking, and to some purpose, and he is
extremely keen, so it is interesting to hear his views . . . ..

[In August Of 1904, she again went to Switzerland.)

To H.B.
RIFFELBERG, Thursday, August 11th, 1904.

I came up here this morning and found Geoffrey Young and a cousin of his.
Mr. Young gave me much good advice and a general introduction to all the
mountains that can be seen from here. He is a very nice creature,
charming to look at and I am sorry he is going away. This morning when I
was looking at maps outside the Monte Rosa hotel, there
came up the old porter and said how gratified they were that I had come
to climb in these parts. They had heard so often of my doings in the
Oberland and were wondering when I should be coming to Zermatt!

To F.B.
ZERMATT, Sunday, August 21, 1904.

Yes, as you say, why do people climb? I often wonder if one gets most
pleasure out of the Alps this way. Some year I shall try the other and
come and wander over grass passes and down exquisite Italian valleys and
see how I like it.

To F.B.
ZERMATT, Wednesday, August 31st, 1904.

We got our climb yesterday. It is a much better climb than I expected. I
left Breuil early on Monday morning. It was very delightful walking up to
the hut over the Matterhorn meadows and up easy rocks below the Dent du
Lion. The mountain is full of story--here the great Carrel died of
exhaustion, there so and so fell off from the rocks above, and when we
got on to the little Col du Lion, which separates the Dent from the main
mass of the mountain, we were on historic ground, for here Tyndall and
Whymper bivouacked year after year when they were trying to find their
way up. There is a difficult chimney just below the hut, but there is a
fixed rope in it so that one has not much trouble in tackling it. We got
up to the hut about 11:15, a tiny little place on a minute platform of
rock, precipices on either side and the steep wall of the Matterhorn
above. It is very imposing, the Matterhorn, and not least from the
Italian hut; the great faces of rock are so enormous, so perpendicular.
Unfortunately the hut is dirty, and smelly, as I had occasion to find
out, for I spent the whole afternoon lying in the sun in front of it,
sleeping and reading. The guides went away for an hour or two to cut and
find steps on the snow above and I had the whole Matterhorn to
myself--no, I shared it with some choughs who came circling round looking
for food about the hut. At 7 we went to bed and I slept extremely soundly
till about 1:30, when the guides got up and reported unfavourably of the
morning. There was a thin spider's web of cloud over the whole sky, a
most discouraging sign, but the moon was shining and we made our tea and
observed the weather. By 3 it had distinctly cleared and we started off,
without even a lantern, the moon was so bright. I knew the mountain so
well by hearsay that every step was familiar, and it gave me quite a
thrill of recognition to climb up the Grande Tour, to pass over the
little glacier of the Linceul, the snow band of the Cravate, and to find
oneself at the foot of the Grande Corde which leads back on to the
Tyndall Grat. It was beautiful climbing, never seriously difficult, but
never easy, and most of the time on a great steep face which was splendid
to go upon. The Tyndall Grat leads up to a shoulder called the Pic
Tyndall; it was dawn by this time and a very disquieting dawn too, SO we
hurried on for it's no joke to be caught by bad weather on this side of
the Matterhorn. However, the sky gradually cleared and we had our whole
climb in comfort. The most difficult place on the mountain is an
overhanging bit above the Tyndall Grat and quite near the summit. There is
usually a rope ladder there, but this year it is broken and in
consequence scarcely any one has gone up the Italian side. There is a
fixed rope, which is good and makes descent on this side quite easy, but
it is a different matter getting up. We took over 2 hours over this 30 or
40 ft.--the actual bad place! & not more than 15 or 20 ft.-and I look
back to it with great respect. At the overhanging bit you had to throw
yourself out on the rope and so hanging catch with your right knee a
shelving scrap of rock from which you can just reach the top rung which
is all that is left of the ladder. That is how it is done. I speak from
experience, and I also remember wondering how it was possible to do it.
And I had a rope round my waist which Ulrich, who went first, had not.
Heinrich found it uncommonly difficult. I had a moment of thinking we
should not get him up. We got to the top at 10 and came down at a very
good pace. The Swiss side is all hung with ropes. It's more like sliding
down the banisters than climbing. We got to the Swiss hut in 3 hours and
were down here by 4 o'clock. We have heard that two parties who tried to
do the Matterhorn from the Italian side this year have turned back
because they do not tackle the ladderless rock, so we feel quite pleased
with ourselves.

[Gertrude returned to England till November, when she went to Paris to
study with Reinach again.]

To F.B.
PARIS, Monday, November 7th, 1904.

it is being extremely pleasant. Yesterday morning I breakfasted with the
Stanleys and went with Sylvia to see the Wintter Salon. After lunch I
drove out, left some cards and went to see Salomon Reinach, whom I found
enthusiastically delighted to see me. There were 2 other men there, an
American from the Embassy and one Ricci, who appeared to be terribly
learned. We sat for an hour or more while Salomon and Ricci piled books
round me and poured information into my ears. It was delightful to hear
the good jargon of the learned, and all in admirable English, for they
know everything. But bewildering. This morning I read till 11 about
Byzantine MSS. which I'm going to see at the Bibliothéque Nationale; then
I went shopping with the Stanleys and bought a charming little fur jacket
to ride in in Syria--yes, I did! Then I came in and read till 2 when
Salomon fetched me and we went together to the Louvre. We stayed till
4:30--it was enchanting. All empty, of course, for it is a Monday; and I
think there is nothing more wonderful than to go to a museum with my dear
Salomon. We passed from Egypt through Pompeii and back to Alexandria. We
traced the drawing of horns from Greece to Byzantium. We followed the
lines of Byzantine art into early Europe and finally in the dusk we went
and did homage to the Venus, while Salomon developed an entirely new
theory about eyelids--Greek eyelids, of course, and illustrated it with a
Pheidean bust and a Scopas head. It was nice.

To F.B.
PARIS, November 8th, 1904.

I had the most enchanting evening with Reinach. I got there at 7:30 and
left at 11:30 and we talked without ceasing all the time. After dinner we
sat in his library while he showed me books and books of engravings and
photographs and discoursed in the most delightful manner. He does nothing
but work--never goes out, never takes a holiday except to go and see a
far away museum. And the consequence is he knows everything. I like him
so much. This morning, I went to the Bibliothèque Nationale. Reinach had
given me a letter to one of the directors and I was received with open
arms. They are most kind. I looked at 2 wonderful Greek
MSS.--illuminated--from 12 to 3:30! and I am going back there to-morrow
to see ivories and more precious MSS. which they will have out for me. It
is perfectly delightful. I should like to do nothing else for 6
months . . . ..

To F.D.
PARIS, Thursday, November 10, 1904.

yesterday I read all the morning in the Bib. Nat. where i might well
spend a great many more mornings. I lunched at home and went afterwards
with Reinach and Ricci to a
Byzantine Museum not yet open to the public. Most interesting it was. I
don't begin to know, but I begin to see what there is to know. I dined
with the Stanleys and went with Aunt Maisie to the new Donnay
play--absolutely charming. We both enjoyed it. To-day I went to the
Louvre in the morning then at 12 with Reinach to St. Germain (NB. I had
no lunch at all!), where I read while he was busy and then was shown over
it by him and introduced to several large domains of art of which I
hadn't suspected the existence! Now I'm going to dine with him and spend
the evening in his library. He wishes me to review a new book of
Strzygowski's for the Revue Archaeologique--I think I might as well try
my prentice hand as it happens to be a Syrian subject which I do just
happen to know a very little about. Anyhow it is a jolly task. So to that
end I'm going to consult his admirable books.

St. Germain is a nice place, isn't it? I had never been there. Reinach is
director of the Museum.

To F.B.
Friday, November 11, 1904.

I have spent the whole day seeing ivories at various museums. As far as
Paris is concerned I've seen all the ivories that concern me, and I find
to my joy that I'm beginning to be able to place them, so that this
afternoon at Cluny I knew a good deal more than the catalogue--which I'm
bound to add was very bad. They have some wonderful things here.

This happy result is a good deal caused by having looked through such
masses of picture books with Reinach. Last night he set me guessing what
things were--even Greek beads--it was a sort of examination--I really
think I passed. Reinach was much pleased but then he loves me so dearly
that perhaps he is not a good judge. He has simply set all his boundless
knowledge at my disposal and I have learnt more in these few days than I
should have learnt by myself in a year.

But You can't think what odd things they made about the 3rd and 4th
centuries in Gaul. It's a most fascinating study.




CHAPTER X


1905


SYRIA-ASIA MINOR


To F.B.
LONDON, January 4,1905.

I have given Smith & Sons the following addresses--British Consulate,
Jerusalem, for 3 weeks beginning from next week, British Consulate,
Damascus, for the 3 weeks following; but I will let you know from
Jerusalem by telegram. . . .

Aren't I going a long way off? It is not nice at the beginning.

To F.B.
S. S "OATOXA," Wednesday, January 11th, 1905.

Days spent at Port Said are certainly not red letter days. The last I
spent here was with Hugo and I wish he were with me now, though I can't
think he would desire it, But it is a pleasure to be speaking Arabic
again. I feel it coming back in a flood and every time I open my lips
expecting toads, pearls come out, at least seed pearls!

To H.B.
BEYROUT, 18 January, 1905/

I'm deep in the gossip of the East! It's so enjoyable. I thought to-day
when I was strolling through the bazaars buying various odds and ends
what a pleasure it was to be in the East almost as part of it, to know it
all as I know Syria now, to be able to tell from the accent and the dress
of the people where they come from and exchange the proper greeting as
one passes. A bazaar is always the epitome of the East, even in a half
European town like Beyrout. I also went to the big mosque and
photographed the doors which are rather pretty and made friends with the
Imams--great fun it was ! I feel a very fine fellow now that I am the
lord of two horses.

to H. B.
FROM MY CAMP, NEAR DUMEIR, January 20th, 1905.

You see I'm off! I got off finally this morning at 12-the first day's
start is always an endless matter and I'm thankful to have it over. It was
blazing hot and I, having like a prudent traveller kept to my winter
clothes, had to push my coat away in my saddle-bags and ride in a shirt.
The road is all along the coast, one has a broad blue sea on one side and
mulberry orchards on the other. I have a charming camping ground near a
river and a full moon besides, and I am dining out of doors at the front
of my tent. I mention all this in the hope of giving pain--I strongly
suspect you are in the middle of a fog if you are in London. It is a
great thought that I shall be many months under this little green roof.

AIN EL KAUTARAH, January 21st.
To-day we have had a full day's ride and all goes well. I began by
bathing in the river at dawn-a mighty cold business. I left the servants
packing up and rode on alone to Saida where I spent an hour. But the port
is charming, with a ruined castle built on an island in the sea and
connected with the town by a narrow bridge. I got permission from the
chief officer, who was busy having his head shaved completely bald at the
time, to lunch there and very agreeable it was. I am beginning to rejoice
again in the comfort of my saddle. The first day I generally feel it's
rather a toss up whether I remain in it or not. N.B. The horse does the
tossing up. He was rather fresh yesterday morning and bucked about
through the streets of Beyrout. A strong sense of what was fitting alone
kept me from biting the dust of Beyrout.

Sunday, 22nd. A strong wind rose in the night and blew up clouds. In the
morning it looked very threatening and was blowing hard. So I jumped up
in order to get my tents pitched before the rain came and at 7:30 we were
ready. It's no wonder the Phoenicians were seafarers, for it would be
difficult to find a more barren stony country than theirs. There is an
extraordinary charm in these stony hills and valleys. They look like a
land of dead bones,-grey limestone rocks and a few grey fig (you know the
whitish colourlessness of them when they are leafless) and a few
grey-green olives. But when you come near, the valleys are full of tiny
niches which are gardens of anemones and cyclamen, and the rocks are full
of beauty, the high-perched villages have an air of romance and the naked
hills a wild and desolate splendour.

HAIFA, Wednesday, 25th.
. . . .Oh, I've had such a day ! I've lunched with my Persians, I've
drunk tea with my horse-dealer, I've spent hours in conversation with my
landlord, I've visited everyone I know in Haifa. I'm off tomorrow
morning. I doubt if it will be very nice in tents tomorrow, but still!

To F.B.
February 1, 1905.

I had a ride full of vicissitudes from Haifa. The first day was extremely
and unavoidably long, 31 miles which is more than one can comfortably
take one's animals. Moreover the road lay all across the Plain of
Esdraelon (which is without doubt the widest plain in the world) and the
mud was incredible. We waded sometimes for an hour at a time knee deep in
clinging mud, the mules fell down, the donkeys almost disappeared ("By
God!" said one of the muleteers, "you could see nothing but his ears!")
and the horses grew wearier and wearier. I got in to camp after dark, at
a place called Jenin it was, feeling very tired and head-achy and
wondering why. Next day I was worse and by the time I had ridden for an
hour I realised that I had a sharp attack of Acre fever, a thing I
invariably catch here. It was extremely disagreeable, but I rode on for 6
hours through the most beautiful country-not that I paid much attention
to it! till I got to Samaria and then I determined I could go no further.
The mules and baggage had gone by another road to Nablus and I had only
my cook with me. At the entrance of the town is a great ruined Crusader
church, one corner of which has been built up into a mosque. A single bay
of the aisle is converted into a room, and hard by in a sort of lean-to
there lives the Imam of the mosque. He hurried out and said he could put
me up in the aisle room for the night, there was a bed of sorts in it and
a few quilts, more or less clean, and then I dropped down and went to
sleep. I wish you could have seen the Imam. . . . He was dressed in a
long blue robe and had a white turban round his tarbush. He bustled about
softly in his ragged socks and made me tea and filled a bottle with hot
water to make me warm and finally left me to an uneasy repose. However
next day I was almost well. I got up about noon and went out to see the
town, which has had great days, and after lunch rode cheerfully into
Nablus, which is Shechem. It was bitterly cold and there was a mighty
keen wind blowing so I decided not to camp and put up at the Latin
Monastery, which was inhabited by two Syrian monks. On

Sunday 30, I started off at 8 and walked into the town which is supposed
to be the most fanatical Moslem town in all Syria. There are the remains
of a beautiful Crusader church in it. Then I went to the top of Mount
Gerizim where the Samaritans hold their Passover and such a view from it
too--and then rode to Jacob's well, which is the scene of the interview
with the woman of Samaria. The Greeks have built a wall round it and made
a little garden in which narcissus were flowering; bits of carved
mouldings and capitals lay about between the flowers, all that is left of
a mediaeval church, and the grey olives were growing up between the
stones. It was very peaceful and charming the most impressive, I think,
of all the sacred sites in Palestine. The road lay all down Samaria, over
hills and rocky valleys and through olive groves. . . . I got into camp
late and had a coldish night; there was ice everywhere when I got up next
day. Then 2 hours ride into Jerusalem. In the afternoon I paid some calls
and had a long call from Mr. Dickson the consul. He told me that Mark
Sykes and his wife were here., so I went off to see them and found them
half encamped and half in a Syrian house. They received me with open
-arms, kept me to dinner and we spent the merriest of evenings. They are
perfectly charming.

I've got a dog, an extremely nice dog of the country. it sleeps in my
tent and he is perfectly charming. He is yellow. His name is Kurt, which
is Turkish for Wolf.

To F.B.
RAMELEH, Friday, February 3, 1905.

As regards the children's books: it is a pity to send them all away, I
think. I remember what a joy ours were to us. Could not they be stored on
a shelf in the long gallery? There are not so very many and I think they
would be a joy to future children.

[The books were kept, and as Gertrude foresaw have been a great joy to
the successive children of the family.]

I have had a few very busy days in Jerusalem. First I
have engaged a new cook. The last was not capable enough for me. I was
forced to fall back on my muleteers for all service. (One of them, Habib,
who is about 25, is turning out an admirable servant, trustworthy and
willing and intelligent. He is a Christian from the Lebanon. I have also
his father, Ibrahim, who is a good old soul, and a Dorn, Mahmud, who
knows the country into which I am going. They are all good men and I am
keeping them on.) The question of a cook was very serious and I had to
set about looking for one with great care. Finally I hit on one who
seemed satisfactory and learnt from him that he had accompanied Lord
Sykes into Asia Minor. So I went off to Lord Sykes and lunched with him
and heard a very good account from him. He said he was trustworthy and
extremely brave, and on these qualifications I engaged him at once. Mark
Sykes also says he can't cook, but it's 5 years since he was with him and
we will hope he has learnt. So far I am very well satisfied with him. He
has taken over all the arrangements with great skill and I find he never
has to be told a thing twice. I hope my camp is now in its final shape
and quite complete. I look forward to being very comfortable in a modest
way. Not like Lord Sykes! I've seen a great deal of the Sykeses and like
them very much.

I have discovered in Jerusalem a German who has started a market garden
and collected all the bulbs of the country. I have ordered from him 6
wonderful sorts of iris and a tulip which he is to send to Rounton in the
summer. It will be most delightful if they grow. I learned them nearly
all for I have seen them flowering at different times. One is the black
iris of Moab, and another a beautiful dark blue one, very sweet scented,
which grows in Gilead.

To F.B.
JORDAN BRIDGE, February 5, 1905.

We got down to Jericho about 2, but I had resolved not to camp there as I
had always had a desire to pitch a camp down by the great Jordan Bridge,
the Bridge of the Desert. We stopped to buy corn and straw for our beasts
and went on with the muleteers. After about an hour a sharp shower
followed and overtook us. By this time we had got to the edge of the
strangest bit of all this strange Jordan Valley; it consists of mud hills
about 100 ft. high cut into very steep slopes and ravines, and the
road--save the mark!--winds on and along the precipitous sides of them.
With a very little rain they are turned into hills of soap, inconceivably
slippery and quite impassable. We hurried on and fortunately the rain
stopped, but only just in time. We had to get off and lead our
horses--mine slipped, began to slide down the bank but regained his feet
almost miraculously. It lasted only about
Half an hour, but it was with many thanks be! that we came to the end of
it. People have been known to have been caught in rain in that Sodom and
Gomorrah--it's about the site of them, I believe--and to have remained
there all night, quite unable to move. We got to the Jordan at 4 and
pitched camp in a delightful open place with a little grass and a few
tamarisk bushes, just this end of the bridge. A little shrub of spina
Christi bushes divides us from the river. The muleteers had made a great
fire and we collected round it under the stars listening to the tales of
a negro who has appeared from Lord knows where, like a dog turning up
where there may be food, and is a bit of a wag in his way. There passed
through this morning 900 soldiers on their way to help Ibn Rashid in
Central Arabia. It's good luck to have missed them.

At Salt I was busy looking about for some place where I could sleep, and
there came to me a charming old party who said I must without doubt be
his guest. So here I am installed in the house of Yusef Succur who with
his nephew and children waits upon me most attentively and is now going
to give me dinner! I have also some other friends here, the sons and
daughters of the old man who taught me Arabic at Haifa, and they have all
been in to see me and fallen on my neck.

To F.B.
February 7th, 1905.

I passed the funniest evening yesterday. My host was a well to do
inhabitant of Salt, Yusef Succur by name (upon him be peace!) He
established me in his reception room, which was well carpeted and
cushioned but lacking in window panes, and therefore somewhat draughty.
He and his nephew and his small boys held it a point of hospitality not
to leave me for a moment, and they assisted with much interest while I
changed my boots and gaiters and even my petticoat, for I was deeply
coated in mud. That being accomplished they brought me an excellent
dinner, meat and rice and Arab bread and oranges. When I had finished it
was placed before my cook who had joined the party. Then I held an
audience. Paulina, the daughter of the old man at Haifa who used to teach
me Arabic her brother-in-law, Habib Effendi Faris, the schoolmaster and
the doctor all "honoured themselves"
("God forbid! the honour is mine!" is the answer). We drank lots of
bitter Bedouin coffee, and at last settled down to business, which was
this: How am I to get into the Jebel ed Druze? Finally, Habib Effendi,
who was kindness itself arranged to send me out to his brother-in-law
Namoud, who inhabits a ruin on a tiny hill called Tneib three hours east
of Madeba. Now Madeba is east of the Dead Sea, and you will find it on a
map. At 9:30 they left me, and my host, who was a magnificent looking old
man, began to lay down the quilts for my bed. Then came my hostess,
though they are Christians, her husband keeps her more strictly than any
Muslim woman, and she sees no men. She was a very beautiful woman,
dressed in the dark blue Bedouin clothes, the long robe falling from her
head and bound round the forehead with a
dark striped silk scarf. Moreover, her chin and neck were closely
tattooed with indigo after the Bedouin fashion. At 10 they left me, and I
went to bed and slept like a top till 6. The only drawback to my comfort
was that I could not wash at all. You see, I was lodged in the drawing
room, and naturally there were no appliances for washing there-if there
were anywhere. This morning Yusef gave me a very good breakfast of milk
and eggs and bread and honey. Habib provided me with a guide and I set
off about 8:30 for a long day's ride. It was fortunately heavenly
weather. It had rained last night and rained itself out, we had a
perfectly clear sky all day. I love this East of Jordan country. We rode
through wide shallow valleys, treeless, uninhabited and scarcely
cultivated. Every now and then there were ancient ruined sites, once or
twice we met a rider coming from the Bedouin, now and then we saw a flock
of goats shepherded by an Arab with an immensely long gun. About 4 we
came out Into the great rolling plain that stretches away and away to the
Euphrates. The first few miles of it are all under corn. A mile or two in
front of us lay the little hill round which my friend Habib has his
property. We got in at 5:15 and pitched camp on the edge of the hill,
looking south. Namoud was away, but he has been sent for. There are some
50 inhabitants of the ruins who work in Habib's corn land, and a few of
the black Arab tents are scattered over the plain. A gorgeous sunset over
it all, a new moon and absolute stillness. And I have just enjoyed the
greatest luxury of my camp--my evening warm bath! It is all too
delightful for words.

Wednesday, 8th. All is well. At 10 last night came Namoud. We fell on
each other's necks, metaphorically speaking, and swore friendship and he
left with the prospect of good talks next day. It was awfully cold in the
night. After waking several times I had to get up and put on all my
clothes. To-day was delicious, cold but fine. Namoud appeared after
breakfast we had our maps--but my next three or four days Journey appears
on no map--and stated exactly how I should get to the Jebel Druze. I am
now waiting for my Arab guide and praise be to God! I think I have
slipped through the fingers of the Government a second time. It was
delightful having a day in camp with this wonderful plain stretched out
before me like the sea. Namoud knows every Sheikh of all the Bedouin for
miles and miles round, and we had lots of interesting talks about them.
He is about thirty-five I should think, a Christian, by origin from Mosul
and he is the man I have been looking for for long. We have planned an
immense journey for the winter after next, no less than to Ibn Rashid. I
think it will come off this time.

Thursday, 9th. To-day we are weather-bound. The rain began this morning
on a strong south wind which turned into a real storm--such rain as we
seldom have in England and it was absolutely impossible to move. However,
we are not badly off. All the horses and mules have been put into a big
cave, and as for me, my tent is without doubt the most remarkable edifice
that has ever arisen from the mind of man. Though it has streamed all day
with a raging wind, not a drop of water has come in; the servants have a
big Egyptian tent through which the rain has come a little on the weather
side, but not much. This afternoon there arrived half a dozen Bedouins or
more, of the tribe of the Beni Sakhr, the biggest tribe here abouts,
driven out of their black tents by the rain. N.B. They had left their
women behind in the black tents. They came to Namoud for hospitality, and
he has lodged them in the big cave in which he and all his people live. I
went in for an hour or two this evening and sat with them talking and
drinking the bitter black coffee of the Bedouin. The dark fell we were
lighted by the fire over which two women were cooking the guests' meal.
("They eat little when they feed themselves, but when they are guests,
much--they and their horses,"
said Namoud).

We sat round the embers of another fire by which stood the regulation
three coffee pots and smoked and told tales, and behind us, with a
barrier of bags of chopped straw and corn between, some twenty-three cows
moved and munched. We made great friends, the Beni Sakhr and I.
"Mashallah! Buit Arab," said they: "As God has willed: a daughter of the
desert."

Saturday, 11th. And I am still at Tneib. Yesterday it stopped raining,
but the weather was still so very doubtful, that we decided not to risk
matters by setting out for the desert. For ourselves it does not much
matter, but our beasts have to stand out in the rain all night and it is
bitter weather for them. So I sent into Madeba for more corn, and myself
employed the afternoon in riding out across the plain to a Roman camp
called Kartal. On My way home I stopped at the tents of the Beni Sakhr
and dined with them. It was a charming party. We sat round the fire and
drank tea and coffee and were presently joined by three of the Sherarat,
raggeder and dirtier even than most Arabs. They had come from a day or
two out in the desert to buy corn from Namoud, much as Joseph and his
brethren must have come down into Egypt. The Sherarat are a very big and
powerful tribe, but of base blood. The high born Arabs like the Sakhrs
won't intermarry with them; but their camels are the best in Arabia. They
were very cold--it was a bitter evening--and crouched round the fire of
desert scrub. Then came dinner, rice and meat and sour milk, very good.
Mahmoud and I ate out of one dish, and all the others out of another.
While we were eating we were joined by a fair and handsome young man whom
all the Sakhrs rose to salute, kissing him on both cheeks. He was Gabtan,
son of one of the Sheikhs of the Daja, the tribe to which I am going as
soon as the weather clears. He had heard that Namoud was looking for a
guide for me and had come in to take me to his uncle who is the head of
all the tribe. He sat down in a corner , ate little and spoke little and
very soon after we had finished eating, one of our hosts called Namoud
aside and talked long in a whisper to him. He came to us, and said we had
better go so we gave the salaam and rode off with Gabtan home to Tneib.
It then appeared that there was blood between the Sherarat and the
Sakhrs, and the three Sherarat had not known who Gabtan was, but he knew
them, and feeling the situation to be strained, our hosts the Sakhrs had
hastened our departure. To-day however, the Sherarat have come up for
their corn and have spent the morning sitting peaceably enough with
Gabtan in Namoud's cave. To-day it has poured nearly all day and is still
at it. So we were obliged to remain here--it is boring, but unavoidable.
Meantime, I am entirely acclimatised. It's very cold, you understand, and
everything in my tent feels damp, bedding, clothes, everything. The match
boxes are so damp that the matches won't strike. I feel perfectly warm,
and as for catching cold, I don't dream of it. I live in my fur coat, and
at night I have a hot water bottle in my bed, a most excellent luxury.
To-day Namoud lunched with me that he might eat curry, a delicacy he had
never tasted. Then Gabtan and one of the Sakhr came in and drank coffee
and smoked. I fortunately have a brand of Egyptian cigarettes they don't
like much so the smoking is limited. We laid plans for my journey and
Gabtan asked me whether I thought I should have to fight the Turkish
soldiery, as if so he would take his rifle. I assured him I did not
intend to come into open conflict with the Sultan and I hoped to avoid
the soldiers altogether. But he has decided to take his rifle, which I
daresay is as well. There was a gleam of fine weather and I went out to
-watch the Sherarat buying corn. The corn lives in an ancient well, a
very big deep cave underground, and is drawn out in buckets like
water--only the buckets are of camels' hair. Then it has to be sifted for
it is stored with the chaff to protect it from the damp. This is a
mightily long business and entails an immense amount of swearing and
pious ejaculations. We all sat round on stones and from time to time we
said "Allah! Allah!" "Praise God the Almighty." Not infrequently the
unsifted corn was poured in among the chaff. Namoud loq: "Upon Thee,
Upon Thee, oh boy! may thy dwelling be destroyed! may thy life come to
harm!" Beni Sakhr: "By the face of the Prophet of God, may he be
exalted!" Sherarat (in suppressed chorus): "God! God! and Muhammad the
prophet of God, upon him be peace!" A party in bare legs and a sheepskin:
"Cold! cold! Wallah! rain and cold." Namoud: "Silence, oh brother!
Yallah! descend into the well and work."

At four I went into the servants' tent to have tea over their charcoal
fire. Namoud joined us and remained till seven telling us bloodcurdling
tales of the desert. The muleteers and I listened breathless and Mikhail
cooked our dinner, and put in an occasional comment. He is a most
cheerful travelling companion is Mikhail. Namoud gave us a warning which
I will tell you as it is an indication of the country we are travelling
in. Between the Beni Sakhrs and the Druzes there is always blood. There
is no mercy between them. If a Druze meets an Ibn Sakhr, one of them
kills the other. Now,One Of MY muleteers is a Druze. He has to pass for a
Christian till we reach the Jebel Druze, "for," said Namoud, "if the
Sakhr here" (my hosts of last night, you understand) "knew he was a
Druze, they would not only kill him, but they would burn him alive."
Accordingly, we have re-baptised him for the moment, and given him a
Christian name.

Sunday, 11th. It was still rather stormy, but I decided to start whatever
happened. We got off a little before nine, Namoud, Gabtan and I riding
together. In about half an hour we crossed the Mecca railway which is the
true boundary between towns and tents. We rode for some two hours across
the open plain till we reached the foot of a low circle of Hills, and
here we found Gabtan's people, the Daja, a group of six or seven black
tents, and were made welcome by his uncle, Fellah Al'Isa, who is a very
great man in these parts and a charming person. We went into his tent and
coffee making began. It takes near an hour from the roasting of the beans
onwards. By this time the mules had arrived, I lunched hastily and rode
off with Namoud and Gabtan to see a ruin in the hills. . . ..I came back
to tea in my own tent and at six o'clock Gabtan summoned me to dine with
the Sheikh Fellah. I hope you realise what an Arab tent is like. It's
made of black goats, hair, long and wide, with a division in the middle
to separate the women from the men. The lee side of it is always open and
this is most necessary, for light and warmth all come from a fire of
desert scrub burning in a shallow square hole in the ground and smoking
abominably; we had had a discussion as we rode as to the proper word for
the traces of former encampments, and at dinner I produced the Muallakat
(preMuhammadan poems) and found three or four examples for the use of
various words. This excited much interest, and we bent over the fire to
read the text which was passed from hand to hand, then came dinner, meat
and sour milk, and flaps of bread, all very good. All my servants were
"guests" too, but their meal was spread for them outside the tent. I had
left one of the muleteers to look after our tents in my absence, and to
him too was sent a bowl of meat and bread "for the guest who has remained
behind." Dinner over, we drank coffee and smoked cigarettes round the
fire, and I spent a most enjoyable evening listening to tales of the
desert and of Turkish oppression, and telling them how things are in
Egypt. Egypt is a sort of Promised Land, you have no idea what an
impression our government there has made on the Oriental mind.

Monday, 13th. To-day the weather has turned out lovely, so we were right
to wait those tedious four days. After many farewells and much coffee, I
set out with Gabtan a little before eight, and we rode up the low hills
across the rolling tops of them. The country was rather like our own
border country, but bigger and barer. From time to time we came across
little encampments, first of our friends the Daja, then of the Beni
Hassan. There was sorrow in the tents of the children of Hassan.
Yesterday a great ghazu, a raid, swept over this very country and carried
Off 2,000 head of cattle and all the tents of one of the small outlying
groups. In one tent we found a Man weeping, everything he had in the
world was gone. I could not help regretting a little that the ghazu had
not waited till to-day that we might have seen it. Five hundred horsemen,
they say there were. We ourselves rode all day till past three, up and
down the great sweeps of the hills with the Jebel ed Druze always before
us, far, far away to the north. And Gabtan told me tales of ghazus as we
went. We are now camped near a big village of houses of hair--the Arabs
never say tents--belonging to the Hassanieh. It is a heavenly evening and
looking west from my tent door I can see the country, which, if I were in
it, I could not have left, and I laugh to think that I am marching along
the Turkish frontier, so to speak, some ten miles beyond it, and they
can't catch me or stop me. It is rather fun to have outwitted them a
second time. I must tell you what will happen to the destitute of the
Beni Hassan. They will go round to the rest of the tribe and one will
give a camel, and one will give a few sheep and one some pieces of goat's
hair for the tent, until each man has enough to support existence--they
don't need much. So they will bide their time until a suitable moment
when they will gather together all the horsemen of their allies, and ride
out against the Sakhr and the Howeitat who were the authors of their
ills; and then if they are lucky they will take back the 2,000 head of
beasts and more besides. It seems a most unreasonable industry this of
the ghazu--about as profitable as stealing each other's washing, but
that's how they live. Meantime Gabtan is rather anxious, for the Daja and
the Hassanieh are close friends, and the Sakhr are the foes Of both, and
this latest exploit may lead to a general commotion. To-Morrow is the
great feast of the Mohammedan year, the Feast of Sacrifice. They are
going to kill and eat three camels in this encampment. One of these
(i.e..,the Camels) is walking about outside my tent, all dressed up. And
there has been a great washing--it occurs once a year I have reason to
believe. All the tents are hung with white shirts, drying. After sunset
there was a mighty firing off of guns. I too contributed--by request--in
a modest way, with my revolver, the first, and I expect the only time I
shall use it.

BEIT Umm Ej JEWAL, Tuesday, 14th. The Mother of Camels, that is where we
are, in short we have arrived, praise be to God. But our ride to-day was
not without excitements. The first was a river which the rain had filled
very full and which was running with some speed. The water came well up
on to the horses' girths and the donkeys almost disappeared. Moreover,
the banks were deep, steep mud. Gabtan was invaluable, he put his mare
backwards and forwards through the stream and brought each mule safely
over. I was truly thankful to see them across. From this point we got
into the black volcanic rock of the Hauran, the tents of the Beni Hassan
grew scarcer and scarcer, and finally we came out on to a great plain, as
flat as could be, stretching away 2 days' Journey to the Druse mountains.
Gabtan was anxious, he more than half expected to encounter enemies, for
the Arabs of the mountains and the Daja are never on comfortable terms.
Moreover we did not know exactly where in that immense plain the Mother
of Camels was. So we rode on and on and at last on a little mound we saw
some shepherds. At the same moment, two came running across the plain
towards us from the right, and as they came they fired--at us--which is
the customary greeting to anyone you don't know. Gabtan rose in his
stirrups, and threw his fur cloak over his arm and waved it above his
head--we riding slowly towards the two as he did so. This reassured them
and we were presently exchanging salutes on the best of terms. They
directed us on our way, and before long we saw the towers and walls of
Umm ej jewal before us. It looks like a great city and when you get near
you find it is an empty ruin, streets of houses, three stories high, all
of solid beautiful stone, with outer Staircases of stone and arched
windows. I have pitched my camp in an open space in the middle, and there
are a few Arab tents near me, the Arabs of the mountains. At sunset I was
climbing about the ruined streets at some distance from my tents when
Gabtan came running after me in a terrible state of mind, saying that if
any of the Arabs were to see me in my fur coat, in the dusk, they would
take me for a ghoul, and shoot me. Gabtan leaves us here,I am sorry to
say. He has been a delightful companion. A gentleman called Fendi, from
here, guides us to-morrow.

UMM ER RUMAMIN, Wednesday, 15. (The Mother of Pomegranates-but there
aren't any.) We are encamped in the first Druze village, where we have
been warmly welcomed. We had a tedious six hours' ride across the endless
stony plain, enlivened by a little rabbit shooting. They were asleep
under the stones, the rabbits, it was not a gentlemanly sport, but it
fills the pot. The sheikh of this town is an old man called Muhammad and
he is of the great Druze family of Atrash, who are old friends of mine.
I've just been drinking coffee with him and having a pleasant talk. The
coffee was made and served by a charming boy, Muhammed's only son. His
mother, too, was an Atrash, and he looks as if he came of a great race.
It is very pleasant travelling in this weather, but the nights, after
midnight, are bitter cold. This morning the water in my tent was frozen.
It is no small matter, I assure you, to get oneself out of bed, and dress
before sunrise with the frost glistening inside one's tent.

Thursday, 16th. Without doubt this is a wonderful world. Listen and I
will tell you strange things. I began my day in a most peaceful manner by
copying inscriptions and was rather fortunate for I had found several
Greek, one Cufic and one Nabathaean-Lord knows what it means, but I put
it faithfully down and the learned shall read. Then I breakfasted with
Sheikh Muhammad at Atrash. Then I rode off with a friend, name of Sakh,
and we had a most pleasant journey to Salkhad. He was a remarkably
intelligent young man, and questioned me as to every English custom down
to the laws of divorce which I duly explained. He was also very anxious
to know what I thought about the creation of the world, but I found that
a more difficult subject. So we reached Salkhad and I went straight to
the house of the Sheikh, Nasib el Atrash--he is another of the great
family--and was made very welcome. Now I must tell you that there is a
Turkish garrison here and a Kaimmakam 'et tout le bataclan.' I have not
yet had a word in private with Nasib for whenever we begin to talk a
Turkish official draws quietly near till he is well within earshot-and
then we say how changeable is the weather. When I went to his house again
I found the Turkish Mudir who lives side by side with Nasib and acts as a
sort of spy upon him. The case is this--I want to go out east to a wild
country called the Safah and under the protection of the Druzes I can go,
but the Turks don't like this at all, and spend their time telling me how
horribly dangerous it is, not a word of all which talk I believe. Salkhad
is a little black lava town hanging on to the southern slope of a
volcano, and in the crater of the volcano there is a great ruined castle,
most grim and splendid. This evening as I dined, deeply engaged in
thinking of the intrigue which I am about to develop, I heard a great
sound of wild song, together with the letting off of guns, and going out
I saw a fire burning on the topmost top of the castle walls. You who live
in peace, what do you think this meant? It was a call to arms. I told you
the Beni Sakhr and the Druzes were bitter foes. A month ago the Sakhr
carried Off 5,000 sheep from the Druze folds in the plain. To-morrow the
Druzes are going forth, 2,000 horsemen, to recapture their flocks, and to
kill every man, woman and child of the Sakhr that they may come across.
The bonfire was a signal to the country side. To-morrow they will
assemble here and Nasib rides at their head. There was a soldier sitting
at my camp fire. He wears the Turkish uniform, but he is a Druze from
Salkhad, and he hates the Turk as a Druze knows how to hate. I said: "Is
there refusal to my going up?" He replied: "There is no refusal, honour
us." And together under the moon we scrambled up the sandy side of the
mountain. There at the top, on the edge of the castle moat we found a
group of Druzes, men and boys, standing in a circle and singing a
terrible song. They were armed and most of them carried bare swords. "Oh
Lord our God! upon them! upon them!" I too Joined the circle with my
guide. "Let the child leave his mother's side, let the young man mount
and be gone." Over and over again they repeated a single phrase. Then
half a dozen or so stepped into the circle, each shaking his club or his
drawn sword in the face of those standing round. "Are you a good man? are
you a true man? Are you valiant?" they shouted. "Ha! Ha!" came the answer
and the swords glistened and quivered in the moonlight. Then several came
up to me and saluted me: "Upon thee be peace!" they said, "the English
and the Druze are one." I said: "Praise be to God! we too are a fighting
race." And if you had listened to that song you would know that the
finest thing in the world is to go out and kill your enemy. When it was
over we ran down the hill together, the Druzes took up a commanding
position on the roof of a house--we happened to be on it at the time, for
one always walks for choice on the roofs and not in the streets to avoid
the mud--and reformed their devilish circle. I listened for a little and
then took my leave and departed, many blessings following me down the
hill. . . .

Friday, 17th. I've spent an 'appy day with Nasib. The Ghazu is put off
for a day or two by reason of some difficulties between various Druze
Sheikhs, and I'm afraid I shall not see the assembling Of the Druzes. . .
. Nasib was going to ride out to a village to the south, and I wanted to
visit a shrine on a neighbouring hill, so we rode part of the way
together, he and I, and some twenty Druze horsemen, all armed to the
teeth--including me.

Saturday, 18th. To-day was bitter cold, with some snow. I determined
therefore not to move till to-morrow, and this evening is clear and
promising. I spent some time making close friends with the Turkish
officials, especially with the Mudir who is a charming and intelligent
man, a Christian from Damascus. The upshot of which is that I may go
wherever I like, and no one will lift a finger except to help me. I hear
that Mark Sykes has come into the Jebel Druze with an official escort, so
that I might probably have got permission if I had asked for it. But I am
very glad I came up through the desert for it has been a most amusing
journey and a very valuable experience for a future expedition. You see I
have laid the foundations of friendship with several important people--of
desert importance that is.

Monday, 20th. We had the devil's own ride yesterday. It was a bright
morning with a bitter wind, and I determined to start. So after
prolonged farewells I set off with a Druze zaptieh, name of Yusef, and we
plodded through the mud and the stones gradually rising into the hills.
All went well for the first three hours or so, except that it was so cold
that I rode in a sweater (Molly's, bless her for it!) a Norfolk jacket
and a fur coat; then we began to get into snow and it was more abominable
than words can say. The mules fell down in snow drifts. the horses reared
and bucked, and if I had been on a sidesaddle we should have been down
half a dozen times, but on this beloved saddle one can sit straight, and
close. So we plunged on, the wind increasing and sleet beginning to fall,
till at last we came out on to a world entirely white. The last hour I
walked and led my horse for he broke through the deep snow at every step.
Also I was warmer. By the time we reached Saleh, our destination, it was
sleeting hard. The village was a mass of snow drift and half frozen mud
and pond. There wasn't a dry spot. So I went up to the house of the
Sheikh, Muhammad ibn Nassar, and there I found a party of his nephews who
took me into the Makad, which is the reception room, and lighted a fire
in an iron stove and made tea. The Makad was a good sized room with
closely shuttered windows, by reason of there being no glass, felt mats
on the floor and a low divan all round on which carpets were spread for
me. Rather a fine place as Makads go. As I sat, drinking my tea and
conversing with the nephews--who were delightful intelligent young
men--in came the Sheikh, a tall, very old man, and offered me every
hospitality he could in the most charming way. Some interest surrounds
me, for I am the first foreign woman who has ever been in these parts.
Sheikh Muhammad insisted that I should spend the night in his house, and
I gladly agreed, for indeed even for a lover of tents,, it was not a
promising evening. All the family (males) came in one after another, he
has six sons and more nephews than I ever saw, and I established myself
on the divan, all the Druizes sitting round in rows, and answered all
their questions about foreign parts, especially Japan, for they are
thrilled over the war, and explained to them how we lived. They asked
particularly after Lord Salisbury and were much saddened to hear he was
dead. They knew Chamberlain by name--the real triumph of eloquence was
when I explained to them the fiscal question, and they all became Free
Traders on the spot.

Two of the sons had been to school in Constantinople, and the
Sheikh had been honourably imprisoned there for three years
after the War, so that they were all a little acquainted with
the world, and, as is the habit among the Druzes, wonderfully well
informed as to what was passing. Presently came dinner on a big tray,
bowls of rice and chicken and a curious sort of Druze food, made of sour
milk and semen (which is grease) and vegetables, a kind of soup, not very
good. My Zaptieh Yusef and I being the guests, ate together; then the
others sat down round the tray. So we re-established ourselves on the
divan, drank coffee and continued the conversation till nine o'clock when
wadded quilts were brought and spread in three beds, on each side of the
Makad--and Yusef, the Sheikh and I coiled ourselves up and went to sleep.
But I wish you could have assisted for a moment at that evening party and
seen all those white turbans and keen handsome faces of the Druzes, and
their interest and excitement at all I said. For my part I slept sound
and woke a little before sunrise. The Makad felt rather stuffy so I
slipped on my fur coat and went out into the silent frozen village. There
is a very attractive old fountain down by the khan, and there I stood in
the snow and watched the sun rise and said a short thanksgiving
appropriate to fine weather. My servants slept in the khan, they and the
horses, all together under the dark shelter. They seemed happy, oddly
enough. So I breakfasted with the Sheikh on tea and Arab bread and a sort
of treacle they make from grapes, dibbis is its name, and I like it
particularly.

We rode off with one of the nephews as a guide, Fais, we are fast
friends. We plunged for half an hour or so through snow and ice, and then
suddenly left the winter country behind us and had a charming ride all
along the eastern edge of the Druze mountains.

Thursday, 23rd. Oh, my dear mother, such a travel I've had! I often
wished you could have seen me at it, and wondered what sort of a face you
would have made. Listen, then. On Tuesday morning I rode off with my
invaluable cook, Mikhail, and the best of my muleteers (and he is as good
as anyone could wish) Habib, on the best of his mules, and six Druzes. I
left my tents behind, took some rugs, five chickens and plenty of bread,
a fur coat and a camera. This was our modest all for three days. We rode
down the Druze mountains for an hour, then for an hour through a shallow
winding valley of volcanic rock, then we came out on to the wide
desolation of the Safah. It is all covered with black stones. How they
got there I can't think. The earth they lie on is yellow like sand, but
quite hard, and nothing grows but a few plants of desert scrub, of which
there are many kinds, but I won't trouble you with their names at the
present time. Once in a while you see a small flock of goats or herd of
camels quarrying their dinner, so to speak, and from space to space a few
black tents belonging to the Ghiath Arabs, who are a very poor tribe that
spend the winter in the Safah and come in spring to the Druze hills.
Through this wilderness of stones we rode for three hours and then we met
one in rags whose name was Hound of God--it sounds like a pretence
mystery tale, but it's the real thing. He was exceedingly glad to see us,
was Hound of God, having been a friend of the family for years--at least
eighty I should judge. He told us there was a pool of water near, and
Arab tents two hours away--we found the water and lunched by it, sharing
it with a herd of camels, but in the matter of the Arabs he lied, did
Hound of God. We rode on over all the stones in the world and at last,
half an hour before sunset, just as we were deciding that we should have
to sleep out, waterless, one of the Druzes caught sight of the smoke of
some Arab tents. We got there in the dusk and stumbled in over the stones
with the camels and the goats which were returning home after a laborious
day of feeding. Very miserable the little encampment looked. They have
Nothing but a few camels, the black tents and the coffee pots. They eat
nothing but bread and all their days they wander the stones in fear of
their lives, for the Safah is swept by the ghazus of the big tribes from
north to south and they harry the Ghiath as they pass. We scattered,
being a big party, Ghishghash, my servants and I went to the house of the
Sheikh, whose name was Understanding. His two sons lighted a fire of
desert thorns and we all sat round watching the Coffee making. And the
talk began to the accompaniment of the coffee pounding, a great
accomplishment among them. They pound in a delightful sort of tune, or
rather a sort of tattoo. We dined on flaps of fresh bread and bowls of
dibbis and then I curled myself up in a blanket and went to sleep In a
corner of the tent. The smoke of the fire was abominable but it blew out
after a bit, one side of an Arab tent is always open, you know. The fleas
didn't blow out. I woke in the middle of the night. There was a big moon
shining into the tent, the Arabs and the Druzes were all sleeping round
the cold hearth, a couple of mares were standing peacefully by the tent
bole and, beyond them, on the stones, a camel lay champing. Then I slept
till dawn. Half an hour after the sun was up we were off, the party
increased by one of our hosts. . . . And presently I discovered that the
narrow track we were riding in was a road as old as time. It was marked
at intervals by piled up heaps of stones and at one place there was a
stone which had been a well stone, for it was worn a couple of inches
deep with the rub of the rope--it must have served a respectable time,
for this black rock is extraordinarily hard--and in another there was a
mass of rock all covered with inscriptions, Nabathaean, Greek, Kufic, and
one in a babel which I did not know, but it was very like the oldest
script of Yemen Sabaean; and last of all the Arabs had scrawled their
tribe marks there. So each according to his kind had recorded his
passing. At the back of the lava hills we came out into a great plain of
yellow clay which stretches for many miles and is called the Ruhbe . . .
. The second night in Arab tents was rather wearing, I must admit, and I
felt quite extraordinarily dirty this morning. We started early and I got
back to my tents at 4--the bath that followed was one of the most
delightful I have ever had. It was an interesting journey, however, hard
work but well worth the trouble. I refused a very pressing invitation to
dine with my Druze friends, feeling that I really must have a Christian
meal, but I went up and drank coffee with them afterwards and we had a
long talk which ended in their declaring that they regarded me as one of
the family.

BATHANIYEH, Friday, 24th. There must have been quite ten degrees of frost
last night. My sponges were frozen together into a solid mass so that I
could not use them, and though there was a bright hot sun the world did
not begin to unfreeze till mid-day. I had a charming ride down from the
Druze mountains into the Damascus plain.

Saturday 25th. I got out of the Druze country about four o'clock in the
afternoon. Just before I left it I met two Druzes with laden mules coming
from Damascus. They gave me a very friendly greeting and I said, "Are you
facing to the Mountain?" They said, "By God! May God preserve you!" I
said, "I come from there, salute it for me!" They answered, "May God
salute you; go in peace." To-night I am camped on the edge of the
volcanic country in a village of Circassians and in the matterof pens I
don't think there is much difference between me and Caroline Herschell. I
wish the weather would be a little warmer.

DAMASCUS, Monday, 27th. Here we are. I arrived yesterday afternoon,
alighted at the most fascinating hotel, with a courtyard.

I find the Government here has been in an agony of nervousness all the
time I was in the Jebel Druze, they had three telegrams a day from
Salkhad about me and they sat and wondered what I was going to do next.
The governor here has sent me a message to say would I honour him by
coming to him, so I've answered graciously that I counted on the pleasure
of making his acquaintance. An official lives in this hotel. He spent the
evening talking to me and offering to place the whole of the organisation
of Syria at my disposal. He also tried to find out all my views on Druze
and Bedouin affairs, but he did not get much forrader there. I have
become a Person in Syria!

To F. B.
DAMASCUS, March 3rd, 1905.

I was greeted when I arrived by a distinguished native of the Lebanon, a
Maronite Christian, who has constituted himself my cicerone, and has been
very useful, though he is rather a bore. He was directed by the Governor
to look after me during my visit and he has fulfilled his instructions to
the letter! I wrote to you on Monday, I think. That afternoon I went to
tea with the American archaeologists. . . . One of them, Dr. Littman who
is an old acquaintance of mine, is a real learned man and I won his
esteem by presenting him with a
Nabathaean inscription which he had not got, and one in the strange
script of the Safah, which he said I had copied without a fault. That was
rather a triumph, I must tell you, for I remember as I did it all the
Druzes and my Bedouin guide on his camel were standing round impatiently
and crying "Yallah, yallah! oh, lady!" . . . . . . Having evaded all the
obliging people who offer to escort me everywhere, I dawdled off into the
town. I made my way at last to the great mosque--which was a church of
Constantine's--left my shoes at the door,with a friendly beggar and went
in. It was the hour of the afternoon prayer. In the courtyard, men of all
sorts and kinds, from the learned Doctor of Damascus down to the
raggedest camel driver--Islam is the great republic of the world, there
is neither class nor race inside the creed--were washing at the fountain
and making the first prostrations before they entered the mosque. I
followed them in and stood behind the lines of praying people some two or
three hundred of them, listening to the chanting of the Imam. "Allah!" he
cried, and the Faithful fell with a single movement upon their faces and
remained for a full minute in silent adoration, till the high chant of
the Imam began again: "The Creator of this World and the next, of the
Heavens and the Earth, He who leads the righteous in the true path, and
the evil to destruction. Allah!" And as the name of God echoed through
the great colonnades, where it had sounded for near 2,000 years in
different tongues, the listeners prostrated themselves again, and for a
moment all the church was silence. . . . Every afternoon I hold a
reception and Damascus flocks to drink my coffee and converse with me.
That day I lunched in the bazaars, in the fashionable restaurant, unknown
to foreigners, and ate fallap and the delicious dishes for which Damascus
is renowned. And in the afternoon came the Governor, returning my call,
and the usual stream followed him, so that I sat in audience till dinner
time. Yesterday I spent the whole morning in the house of the Emir
Abdullah. The Abdul Kadir family has a traditional friendship with the
Beni Rashid, which is kept up by yearly presents to and fro. They are
going to help me in my journeys thither and perhaps I shall take one of
them with me. And after dinner I went to an evening party. It was in the
house of a corn merchant who is the agent of the Druzes of the Hauran. I
found there a Druze of a famous Lebanon family, the Arslan; he is a
poet--have I not been presented with his latest ode--and a man of
education and standing. I wish I could picture the scene--some eight or
ten of the corn merchants, dressed in blue silk robes and embroidered
yellow turbans, my friend the poet in European dress, and me, all sitting
on the divan in a room blessedly empty of everything but carpets and the
brazier. And then coffee and talk and talk and talk till I got up and
took my leave about ten o'clock, and went away laden with thanks and
blessings.

This has been a visit to Damascus that I shall not easily forget--I begin
to see dimly what the civilisation of a great Eastern city means--how
they live, what they think; and I have got on to terms with them.

To F. B.
BAALBEK, March 5, 1905.

I have made some curious observations, but think it better to keep them
to myself. There is an Arab proverb which says: "Let him who talks by day
take heed." And it applies to those who talk by post, The Vali, when he
heard I was going to ride to Baalbek, was all for sending a large escort
with me, so I hastily declared I should go by train--only pretence. Such
are the penalties of greatness. I do trust I shall now be allowed to
relapse into the position of a modest traveller of no importance to
anyone. I have found out that while I was in Damascus, every time I went
out alone I was followed by a man who was commissioned to watch over my
safety--it was merely solicitude on the part of the Government and as
there were no secrets about my coming and goings it was harmless. So I
was followed to the house of Naksh Pendi and was introduced to his
favourite wife. She is quite young, a pretty woman, but shockingly untidy
with her hair all over her eyes and a dirty dressing-gown, clothing a
figure which has already, alas! fallen into ruin. The view from Naksh
Pendi's Balcony is, however, immortal. The great splendid city of Damascus
with its gardens and its domes and its minarets, lies spread out before
you, and beyond it the desert--the desert almost up to its gates, and the
breath of it blowing in with every wind, and the spirit of it passing in
through the city gates with every Arab camel driver. That is the heart of
the whole matter.

To H. B.
BAALBEK, March 6th.

I had almost forgotten how beautiful this place is. Except Athens, there
is no temple group to touch it, and I have looked at it with new eyes now
that I know a little more than I did about the history of decoration and
the genesis of pattern and ornament. But I wish I knew a great deal more
still.

To F.B.
KUSEIR, March 8, 1905.

We set off at 8 on our way to Homs. We had a terrible adventure: as we
were about to start I found that my dog, Kurt, was missing. I sent
Mikhail and Habib looking for him through the town and Habib presently
discovered him tied up in the house of one who thought to steal him.
Chained up, and Habib with some promptness claimed the dog and
appropriated the chain, and upon the thief's protesting, he knocked him
down and came away. I can't say I regret Habib's action. It will learn
our friend not to be a dog stealer.

To F.B.
Homs, March 9, 1905.

I took a walk through the bazaars, but that was not as pleasant as it
might have been on account of the interest my appearance excited. It was
an interest purely benevolent but none the less tiresome, for I was never
without the company of fifty or sixty people. When I returned, the
Kaimmakarn came to see me, and we had a long talk, his secretary piecing
out his Arabic and my Turkish. One of the principal inhabitants of Homs,
Doury Pasha, to whom I had a letter of introduction from Damascus, has
also sent to ask if he may call tomorrow. Oh, Merciful! what fun I am
having! Don't you think so?

Friday, 10th. Homs is not Much of a place, but such as it is it has a
character of its own. It is all built of black tufa and the best houses
have inner courtyards, with a simple but very excellent decoration Of
white limestone let into the black either in patterns or in straight
courses like the Pisan building. Moreover, the minarets of the mosques
and tall slender towers, or Spire, for all the world like an Italian
campanile, like the towers of San Gimignano, except that they are capped
With a whole cupola, very Pretty and decorative. I spent the morning
sight-seeing, with a soldier in attendance so that I was not bothered
by the people. Sight-seeing takes a long time in these parts, for when
anyone of importance meets you in the streets, he invites you in to drink
a cup Of coffee. this happened to me 3 times and gave me the opportunity
of seeing the inside of some of the big houses. After lunch I rode down
to the river, the Orontes, to see the fashionable lounge, a delicious
stretch of meadow and willow trees by the water side. But the trees are
not yet in leaf nor the flowers out.

They are all wildly Japanese in this country. There are perhaps 400
people round about my tent.

To F. B.
KALAAT EL HUSN, March 12

I am now staying in perhaps the largest castle known--no,it's not so
large as Windsor Castle, but very nearly. It is Crusader--but I must tell
you how it all came about. I left Homs at an early hour yesterday--not
early enough however to prevent my having a large, eager crowd to watch
my departure. It is one of the most difficult things I know to keep One's
temper when one is constantly surrounded and mobbed. The aggravation is
quite as great when they are friendly; it is the fact of not being able
to move without hundreds of people on every side that is so irritating.
Only a fixed determination not to afford more amusement than I could help
to the inhabitants of Homs kept me outwardly calm. My escort consisted of
two mounted Kurds and two prisoners whom the Kaimmakam was sending to the
Prison of Husn--my journey afforded a good opportunity Of conveying them.
They were hand-cuffed together, Poor wretches! and they trudged along
bravely through dust and mud. I proffered a few words of sympathy, to
which they replied that they hoped God might preserve me, but as for them
it was the will of their lord, the Sultan. They were deserters. we had a
very long day, 10 hours, but when we left the carriage road that goes to
Tripoli our way lay through such delicious country that every step of it
was delightful. It was beautiful weather. The great castle on the top of
the hill was before us for five or six hours. The sun shone on it and the
black clouds hung round it as we rode up and up through flowers and grass
and across running streams. But it was a long way and the animals grew
very tired. At sunset we came to the dark tower. I rode through a
splendid Arab gateway into a vaulted corridor which covered a broad
winding stair. It was almost pitch dark, lighted only by a few
loop-holes; the horses stumbled and clanked over the stone steps--they
were shallow and wide, but very much broken--and we turned corner after
corner and passed under gateway after gateway until at length we came
into the court in the centre of the keep. I felt as if I were somebody in
the Faery Queen, and almost expected to see written upon the last arch,
"Be not too bold." But there was no monster inside, only a crowd of
people craning their necks to see me, and the Kaimmakam very smiling and
friendly, announcing that he could not think of letting me pitch my
tents, and had prepared my lodging for the night. So we went up into the
round tower in which he lives and he took me into his guest room, which
was commodiously fitted with carpets, a divan and a bed--I supplied the
washing appliances and the table-and he offered me weak tea while he
engaged me in conversation. He is a man of some distinction, a renowned
poet, I believe--but his hospitality outweighs all his other qualities.
My men and my horses and me, he has taken us all in and provided for us
all. There were two other guests besides me, one an old Moslem woman and
the other a Christian lady, the wife of a government official. . . . The
Moslem woman was a nice old thing. Her son has recently been murdered in
the mountains by a casual robber, and our talk turned mostly upon similar
incidents which are very common here. The old lady crouched over a
charcoal brazier murmured at intervals: "Murder is like the drinking of
milk here. God! there is none other but Thee!" The talk seemed to fit the
surroundings. My tower room must have
Heard the like of it often. "Murder is like the drinking of water,"
muttered the old woman. "Oh, Merciful!" At nine they all left me--and one
offered to spend the night with me, but I declined, politely, but firmly.
To-day is devilish weather, a strong wind and hailstones and thunder
storms. . . . I spent a very agreeable evening in the company of my host
and hostess. We all dined together and he and I talked. We got
on to such terms that he ended by producing his latest copy of verses-and
reading it aloud to me. We then fell to discussing the poets with much
satisfaction, and he forgot his sorrows, poor man, and became quite brisk
and excited. As we have often remarked, there is no solace in misfortune
like authorship, be it ever so modest. I could have laughed to find
myself talking the same sort of enjoyable rubbish in Arabic that I have
so frequently talked in English, and offering the same kind of sympathy
and praise to my friend's efforts. Yes., it might just as well have been
London, and the world is, after all., made of the same piece.

BURI SAFITAH, Monday, 13. At dawn it was raining for all it was worth,
and I got up and breakfasted in the lowest of spirits. And then of a
sudden Someone waved a magic wand, all the clouds cleared away and we set
off at half past seven in exquisite sunshine, loaded with the blessings
of our host and parting gifts of a more substantial nature, for he
insisted on supplying us with our food for the day. At the bottom of the
steep hill on which the Castle stands, there lies in an olive grove a big
Greek monastery. I got off and went in to salute the abbot, and behold!
he was a friend of five years ago, for I had seen him in a place on the
road from Palmyra. Great rejoicing and much jam and coffee to celebrate
the occasion. Late this evening, just as I was beginning to write to you,
there appeared two high officials sent up by the Kaimmakam of Drekish,
where I go to-morrow, to welcome me and to put the whole of the forces of
the Kaitylmakanilik at my disposal. I hereby renounce in despair the hope
of ever again being a simple, happy traveller. The Turkish Government has
decided that I am a great swell and nothing will persuade them to the
contrary. It is boring to tears, and also very expensive, but what can I
do? The only blot on my happiness is that Kurt has finally disappeared. I
suppose he was tempted away by someone who offered him food and then
stole him. . . . . My Arabic is becoming very fluent, thank heaven! but I
wish I talked with more elegance. . . .

HAMAH, Thursday, 16. A long and tedious ride to-day, across the foothills
and the plain to Hamah. I have just had a struggle with the authorities,
who insisted on giving me eight watchmen for the night. I refused to have
more than two, which is all one ever has anywhere, and the rest have gone
away. It is a perfect pest having so many, for in the first place they
talk all night and in the second one has to tip them all.

KALAAT EL MUDDIH, Sunday, March 19, 1905. Apamea, one of the many and a
most beautiful place, standing on a great bluff over the Orontes valley.
Seleucus Nicator built it and a fine thing he must have made of it, for
there is near a square mile of fallen columns and temple walls and Heaven
knows what besides. Now think how Greece and the East were fused by
Alexander's conquests. A Greek king, with his capital on the Euphrates,
builds a city on the Orontes and calls it after his Persian wife, and
what manner of people walked down its colonnades, keeping touch with
Athens and with Babylon? That is the proposition in all the art
hereabouts. The chief characteristics of the person that walked down them
to-day-scrambled down them over the huge column boles--was that she was
wet. It has rained in heavy showers all day and the deep grass and
flowers were dripping wet and I was soaked up to the knees and drenched
from time to time from above. One of the difficulties of searching for
antiquities is that most of the people don't recognise any sort of
picture when they see it, that if you ask a man if there are any stones
with the portraits of men or animals on them, he replies, "Wallahi ! we
do not know what the picture of a man is like." And if you show him a bit
of a relief, however good it is he hasn't the least idea what the carving
represents. Isn't that curious?

EL BARCH, Monday, 20th. I photographed and explored and when I got back
to my horses I realised that I had lost my coat. I had taken it off some
half an hour after we reached Khirbet Hass and fastened it on to my
saddle, it had dropped off and was gone. Mahmud went back to look for it
and after an hour and a half came back without it. By this time it was
past 6, we had an hour and a quarter's ride over very rough country and
clouds were blowing up. So we rode off, picking our way through the
stones by an almost invisible path. As ill-luck would have it just as the
night fell, the storm came upon us--it became quite pitch dark with
drenching rain and we missed our Mecca thread of a way. At that moment
Mikhail's ears were assailed by the barking of imaginary dogs and we
turned off to gain the spot from which the sound came. So we stumbled on
and the moon came out a little and it was clear the path we were on led
nowhere. . . .

The Sheikh is a very sprightly old party who was guide de Vogûé 40 years
ago and to every archaeologist since his time. He knows them all by name
or rather by names his own very far removed from the original. He rode
with me this morning. I made a détour with Mahmud and visited two
villages, one more beautiful than the other. We had an 'impayable'
conversation by the way. It began by my asking Yunis whether he ever went
to Aleppo. "Oh, yes," he said, he was accustomed to go when his sons were
in prison there. I edged away from what seemed to me delicate ground by
asking how many sons he had. Eight; each of his 2 wives had borne him 4
sons and 2 daughters. I congratulated him warmly on this. Yes, he said,
but Wallahi! his second wife had cost him a great deal of money. "Yes?"
said I. "May God make it Yes upon thee, oh lady! I took her from her
husband and by God (may His name be Praised and exalted!) I had to pay
him 1,000 piasters (about 10 Napoleons) and to the judge 1,500." This was
too much for Mahmud's sense of decency. "Wallahi!" said he, "that was the
deed of a Nosairiyeh or an Ismailiyeh!" "Does a Muslim take away a man's
wife? It is forbidden." "He was my enemy," replied Yunis in explanation.
"By God and the Prophet of God! there was enmity between him and me even
unto death." "Had she children?" said Mahmud, "Ey wallah" (i.e. of
course), said Yunis, a little put out by Mahmud's disapproval. "By the
face of God!" exclaimed Mahmud, still more outraged, "it was the deed of
a heathen." "I paid 1,000 piasters to the man, and 1,500 to the judge,"
objected Yunis--and here I put an end to the further discussion of the
merits of the case by asking whether the woman had liked being carried
off. "Without doubt," said Yunis, "it was her wish." At noon I came to a
wonderful village called Ruweika and lunched in a tomb like a small
temple-there was a violent thunder-storm going on all the time.

Sunday, 26th. On Friday I rode east across a rolling plain covered with
débris of towns but uninhabited except by half settled Bedouin. It's a
curious and interesting thing to see them all along the western edges of
the desert taking to cultivating the soil and establishing themselves
therefore of necessity in a given place (in some distant age there will
be no nomads left in Arabia-but it is still far off I'm glad to think).
In the early stages these new-made farmers continue to live in tents,
only the tents are stationary and the accompanying dirt cumulative.

To F. B.
KALAAT SINLAN, March 31st,

Aleppo, is a town where it always rains--at least that is my 2 days'
impression of it. It has been a great great Arab town. . . .. An endless
barren world stretches round, uninterrupted by hill or tree--you can see
the Euphrates from the castle in clear weather; you might see Bagdad for
anything there is between. I called on the Governor who received me in
his harem, of which I was glad, for his wife is one of the most beautiful
women I have ever seen. He returned my call in the afternoon. And finally
I spent an amusing evening with a native family and talked the most
fluent Arabic till a quarter to 11 by the clock! All my leisure moments
were occupied in changing muleteers, getting new ones and saying goodbye
(with much regret) to the old. It was a necessary step for I could not
take Syrians talking nothing but Arabic into Asia Minor. I have got 3
bilingual natives of Aleppo and so far I like them very much. Yesterday
morning, what with new muleteers and what with the numbers of people who
came to bid me farewell I did not get off till 10 o'clock. When we got
Into the low rocky hills the mules went one way and my soldier went
another. We reached the place where I had intended to camp at about 4 in
the afternoon. There were a few ruined walls there,--the tents of some
Kurdish shepherds. We waited an hour and the mules did not turn up. Then
the Kurds announced that it was dinner-time and invited us to come and
eat. I was very hungry and not at all sorry to share their cracked oats
and meat and sour milk. At 6 o'clock there Came in a little boy who
stated that he had seen my mules an hour before and that they had gone on
to Rahat Simian, a good hour and a quarter away. So I said goodbye to my
delightful hosts, who were much concerned at my case, and by dint of
riding as hard as we could over the rocky ground we got in just before it
became black dark. To our great joy as we got in we heard the mule bells;
the others had arrived just before us. We rode through the huge silent
church and found them pitching the tents by the light of 2 candles. And
now I must tell you where I am. This is the place where St. Simon lived
upon a pillar. While the servants pitched my tents I went out and sat
upon St. Simon's column--there is still a little bit of it left--and
considered how very different he must have been from me. And there came a
big star and twinkled at me through the soft warm night, and we agreed
together that it was pleasanter to wander across the heavens and the
earth than to sit on top of a pillar all one's days.

I have had the most delightful day today, playing at being an
archaeologist.

Monday, April 3 rd, 19 o 5. I shall not forget the misery of copying a
Syrian inscription in the drenching rain, holding my cloak round my book
to keep the paper dry. The devil take all Syrian inscriptions, they are
so horribly difficult to copy. Fortunately they are rare, but I've had
two to-day. Elsa will sympathise with my desperate attempts to take time
exposures in a high wind. Heaven knows what they will be like--something
like pictures of an earthquake I should think. By this time even my
archaeological zeal had flickered out and I rode into my tents at
Basuran, arriving at 2 o'clock, chilled to the bone. I have an enchanting
camp tonight in the ruins called Debes. It is quite uninhabited and I
have pitched my tents in a big church. I can very seldom induce my
servants to camp far from habitation. They pine, not unnaturally, for the
sour curds and the other luxuries of civilization. I rather miss the
sour curds myself but the charm of a solitary camp goes far to console
me!

Wednesday, 5th. We have had such a day's mountaineering! I must say I
prefer doing my rock climbing on foot and not on horseback. Today,
indeed, I was on foot most of the time, but dragging my unfortunate beast
after me up and down walls of rock terrific to the eye. This is no
exaggeration. I am pretty well versed in bad roads but till today I did
not know what a horse could do. We climbed up and down two mountain
ranges. At the second I confess my heart failed me. it was
awful--indescribable. I didn't for the moment think we should get up with
whole limbs. I jumped and tumbled up the stones and my horse jumped and
tumbled after me, and all the time we were on the edge of little
precipices quite high enough to break us to bits if we fell over. And
when you get to the top of these terrible hills, behold a beautiful
country. I lunched and photographed and made friends with the few
families of servants who live in some cottages near by and imagine my
delight when they turned out to be Druzes! I knew there were a few
families of Druzes in these hills and had been looking for them. So we
fell on each other's necks, and I gave them all the latest news of the
Hauran and one of them insisted on guiding me on my stoney way through
the hills. We had a remarkable climb down into the great plain through
which flows our old friend the Orontes. And then a no less memorable ride
along the base of the hills to my camping ground. It was more exquisitely
beautiful than words can say, through gardens of fruit trees and olives
with an unbelievable wealth of flowers everywhere.

To Florence Lascelles.
KONIA, April 9.

Darling,
You can't think how delighted I was to find your long interesting letter
awaiting me here. And the best part of it was the news that you are to be
in London in June--Florence, we will arrange for some 6 solid hours, when
no one shall interrupt us, and talk without stopping, both of us at once,
and then perhaps we shall have got through about one-thousandth of what
we have to say. For we have to talk out a whole year, and since you came
back from Persia I don't believe we have ever been separated for so long
. . . ..

What a country this is! I fear I shall spend the rest of my life
travelling in it. Race after race, one on top of the other, the whole
land strewn with the mighty relics of them. We in Europe are accustomed
to think that civilization is an advancing flood that has gone steadily
forward since the beginning of time. I believe we are wrong. It is a tide
that ebbs and flows, reaches a high water mark and turns back again.

you think that from age to age it rises higher than before? I wonder--and
I doubt.

But it is a fine world for those who are on the top of the wave and a
good world, isn't it. . . .

To F.B.
PAYAS, April 14, 1905.

The hot weather has come with a rush. When I got back from Seleucia--in
blazing weather--I stayed a day at Antioch in order to see a collection of
antiquities in the house of a rich Pasha. He had a MS of the Psalms in
Armenian which he showed me and of which I photographed a page or two for
the benefit of Mr. Yates Thompson--you might tell him if you see him. He
had also some beautiful little bits of Greek bronze which I photographed
for Reinach. Yesterday I rode down to Alexandria, :rather a long
day-furiously hot. We were on the Roman Road most of the day, crossing
the great Pass of Bailan where were the Syrian gates of the Ancients. It
was from this pass that Alexander hurried back to meet the army of Darius
at Issus--I have been following the line of his march to-day and am now
camped on the edge of the Plain of Issus. . . . The plain is very narrow
here and fine great mountains rise fteeply up from it. My impression is
that the battle must have been fought just about here for the books say
that Darius had not room to display his cavalry. . . . I never tell you
of the difficulties of camp organization because I think they may be
tedious. They are however many, especially now that half my servants talk
only Turkish. But to-day a really singular thing has happened. The head
muleteer from whom I hired all the baggage horses from Aleppo, has simply
not turned up. I haven't the least idea what has become of him--the
others suggest that he has either been murdered or imprisoned! He went
down into the bazaar after we left Alexandretta and has not been seen
since. Fortunately I have the animals nearly up to Konia. I shall go on
whether he turns up or not and let him retrieve his beasts from Konia as
best he may. I don't regret him at all; he is most incompetent and he
treats his subordinates so badly that they leave us at every stage, which
is an insufferable nuisance as I have to teach the new men their work--in
fragmentary Turkish. The good Mikhail is rather gloomy this evening but I
fancy we shall pull through.

April 15 th. It rained floods in the night and continued to do so until
this morning. The tents were soaked, the water ran in under the tent
walls and I was obliged to retire on to my bed which was the only dry
place. Thunder and lightning and all complete. In the middle of it all
the good Kaimmakam strolled down to invite me to his house, but I did not
go as I should have got wet through on the way. When the rain stopped we
had to let our tents dry and by that time it was too late to start and I
was obliged very reluctantly to resign myself to a day in camp. In the
course of the morning, the missing muleteer turned up. He had in fact
been detained by difficulties with a creditor. How he got off I don't
know--not by paying I'll be bound--but the incident has had the worst
effect on the discipline of the camp, for he re-appeared so overflowing
with joy, and I was so much excited and amused that I received him as a
sort of prodigal father (he's 60 if he's a day) and his shortcomings are
all forgiven for the moment. The Kaimmakam sent a present of 6 oranges
and 2 small bottles of Russian beer to console me for my enforced stay!

April 17th. Oh, but I've had a tiring 2 days! What it's like to travel in
A roadless and bridgeless country after and during heavy, not tO Say
torrential, rains you can't imagine. We started off yesterday in pouring
rain, the path was under water, the rivers roaring floods. In the middle
of the day we came to a village buried in lovely gardens, the air heavy
with the smell of lemon flowers--and here the heavens opened and it
rained as I hope never to see it rain again. We had stopped at the house
of a Turk to buy a hen--he invited us in till the rain stopped and I took
the opportunity to lunch. Meantime a furious roaring stream which we had
succeeded in fording, brought the baggage animals to a stand, and while
we, unknowing, went gaily on, they made a détour of nearly 2 hours to
find a bridge. . . . I was tired and wet and hungry and bad weather
travelling is exhausting to the mind and to the body. It was
7:30 before they arrived and we pitched camp in a downpour amid the
mutual recriminations of all the servants who had had a hard time too and
vented their displeasure On each other. There was nothing for it but to
hold one's tongue, do the work oneself, and having seen that the horses
were fed, I went to bed supperless because no one would own that it was
his duty to light the fire! It was miserable I must say and this morning
was just as bad. All the ropes were like iron after the rain and the
tents weighed tons and as I splashed about in the deep grass (for I had
to watch and encourage every finger's turn of the work) I thought I was a
real idiot to go travelling in tents. Then the march--fortunately a short
one--through the floods of yesterday's rain. It was very interesting
historically for we were going through the Amanian Gates, through which
many armies had passed in and out of Cilicia. I was determined not to
lose touch with my baggage animals today and when we came to a wide deep
river I waited for them and rode backwards and forwards twice through the
floods to help them over. When they saw me riding in and out gaily (the
water was above my boots I may mention) they took courage and plunged
through. And now I hope our troubles are over. We are camped at a place
called Osmaniyeh in most lovely country and the sun has come out and our
tents are drying and our tempers mending. I think if the rain had lasted
another day I should have died of despair--and of fatigue. I'm really in
Asia Minor--a most exciting thought. And I have to talk Turkish. There's
nothing else for it. I've just been entertaining (in more senses than
one) the Kaimmakam in that tongue. I make a preposterous mess of it, but
it has to be done. I hope in a week or so I shall begin to scrub along.
The chief difficulty now is that though I can put a few questions I
cannot easily understand the answers! You know there are moments when
being a woman increases one's difficulties. What my servants needed last
night was a good beating and that's what they would have got if I had
been a mail--I seldom remember being in such a state of suppressed
rage!--but as it is I have to hold my tongue and get round them. However
as long as one gets through it doesn't matter.

April 18th. The chief interest of this journey is that I find myself
talking nothing but Turkish. It's the greatest lark. . . . I've learnt
piles to-day. I started off this morning with a soldier who could speak
nothing else and I had to make the best of it. It was a lovely shining
morning and this country is beyond comparison beautiful. We cantered
across a wide delicious plain set round with the great snows of Taurus
and the Giaour Dagh--it was an hour after dawn, more heavenly than words
can say. Then we came to a deep river across which we went in a ferry
boat. I lent a hand to some shepherds who were trying to get a herd of
goats onto the ferry--I hope it counts as a virtue to help obstinate
goats into a ferry; it's certainly
difficult any way. A charming gentleman called Mustapha had attached
himself to my party and rode with me all day. So we came to a place
called Budsian, which is Hierapolis Cartabala, And here I spent 3 hours.
It lies among wonderful crags, the acropolis perched up on top of a great
rock and below it a fine theatre, there was a street of columns and 2
very lovely churches. These last I photographed with great care and
measured, Mustapha holding the end of the tape. By the time I had
finished it was near midday and I eat my lunch at a village near by,
where they gave me the most excellent milk and curds, for which they
would not let me pay. And so we rode on for 5 hours through charming
country to Kars Bazaar, which lies under Taurus and here I have camped. I
paid a visit to the Kaimmakam and was further invited to tea with some
notables who were sitting in the street Outside the café. There was no
one to interpret so I had to do my own talking. I must say they are very
clever at understanding. And now I must study the Turkish
participles--there are some 30 of them. I don't handle them with any
skill.

ANAvARZA, April 20th. . . . . Yesterday morning I found there were lots
of inscriptions to be copied at Kars and a church to be photographed, so
what with one thing and another it was getting late before I got off. The
mules had gone on ahead--we had to make an immense détour to the north,
under the hills, to avoid floods and get to bridges, the rivers being all
unfordable. The mules being for once far ahead, missed their way and have
gone up on the wrong side of Anavarza with an unfordable stream before
them. We were certain something had gone wrong since we did not overtake
them but after some indecision I determined to ride on, and following the
line of an immense aqueduct, we splashed through the wet plain at sunset
into Anavarza. The castle stands on a mass of rock, 2 miles long, which
rises like a great island from the sea of plain--it's really a sea at
this moment for it is all under water. The rock is some 300 ft. high and
in places quite perpendicular; the castle runs all along the top of it
and the top is in some places a knife edge, dropping absolutely sheer on
either side with just room for a single fortification wall to connect
fort with fort. At the western foot of this splendid acropolis lies the
city with a double wall of turrets round it buttressed up against the
cliff. It was a Greek storing place, a treasury of Alexander's, then
Roman, then the capital of the Armenian kingdom-and now a mass of ruin,
deeply overgrown with grass. So I rode through the northern gateway of
the town not having the faintest idea where I was going to sleep or eat.
By good fortune there was a guard-house in the middle of the ruins with a
couple of Turkish soldiers in it who supplied me with milk and sour
curds. On them and sour native bread I dined: then I spread my cloak on
the floor of a little empty room and slept till 6 this morning; in spite
Of innumerable mosquitoes. It wasn't really nice however. Roughing it in
this weather is more difficult than in the cold. After the long hot day
one longs incredibly for one's evening bath and change of clothes. I was
most thankful when at 10 this morning the baggage turned up. I shall take
great care not to run any risk of its going astray again. I have spent
the whole day exploring and photographing and I am going to have another
day here in order to have a shot at measuring and planning 3 churches, an
extremely difficult business because they are very much ruined and very
deeply buried in grASS-

April 21st. Remembering the heat of yesterday I got up at dawn and at
6 o'clock started out to grapple with my churches. The whole
plain, my tents included, lay under a thick white mist, but the sun was
shining on the earth rock and as I climbed up I saw the great white peaks
of Taurus all glittering. It was most beautiful. I took my soldier with
me and taught him to hold the measuring tape. He soon understood what I
wanted and measured away at doors and windows like one to the manner
born. After 5 hours very hard work I found I had arrived at results--more
interesting than I had expected. In a word, the churches here are not of
the Syrian type which they ought by rights to be, but of the Central Asia
Minor type--and I think they will surprise Strzygowski not a little. One
very delightful thin happened. One of the biggest of the churches is
razed to le ground-nothing but the traces of the foundations remain. I
looked round about for any scraps of carving that might give an
indication of the style of decoration and found, after much search one
and one only--and it was dated! It Was a big stone which from the shape
and the mouldings I knew to have been at the spring of two arches of the
windows of the apse and the date was carved in beautiful raised Greek
letters between the two arch mouldings--"The year 511." I don't know if
they used the Christian era here but it must be pretty close to it
anyway, for that's about the date one would have expected. Wasn't it a
great piece of luck! Two things I dislike in Anavarza. The mosquitoes and
the snakes; the mosquitoes have been the most hostile of the two: the
snakes always bustle away in a great hurry and I have made no experiments
as to what their bite would be like. There are quantities of them among
the ruins. They are about 3 ft. long--I wonder if they are poisonous.
"Rira bien qui rira le dernier": I have had the laugh of the vultures.
After tea I rode round the rocks on the eastern side and met a shepherd
boy. So we tied my horse to a stone and the shepherd and I climbed
together up the only path which leads to the castle keep. It was rocky
enough in all conscience and it wound cheerfully in and out of precipices
and led us at last to a little hole in the wall through which we climbed
to the highest tower. Like all ruined castles it was more beautiful from
without than from within; but the position is glorious and worth climbing
for; the walls built on the edge of a straight drop of a couple of
hundred feet or more, the great plain all round and the ring of snows
beyond. We dislodged the vultures who were sitting in rows on the castle
top-they left a horrid smell behind them-and in a small deep window I
found a nest with 2 evil-looking brown eggs in it. It is not often that
one finds vultures' nests. I have fallen a hopeless victim to the Turk;
he is the most charming of mortals and some day when I have a little more
of his language we shall be very intimate friends, I foresee. It's
blazing hot weather; the wild hollyhocks are out and today I saw the
first fat old pomegranate bud. That means summer.

Saturday, 22nd. I shall not soon forget the Cilician plain. The heat of
it is surprising and as I told you 'passim' it is most of it under water.
We plunged today for ten hours through mud and swamp and sluggish waters,
and at last we have come out onto a rather higher bit of country on which
the barley is standing in the ear. In a month everything will be burnt up
and all the people will have fled to the hills. I don't wonder Anavarza
had such a fine necropolis--all the inhabitants must have died off
regularly every summer from marsh fever, mosquitoes and snakes. In the
blazing middle of the day we came to two very small trees outside a
village and I sat down in the shade of them to lunch. No sooner was my
coming observed than one of the inhabitants appeared with a large tray of
fried eggs, curds and bread for me and my servants. It was pure
hospitality-I might give no tips. I could only thank my host sincerely
and eat heartily. But though they are the most delightful of
acquaintances they are the worst of servants. They will take any amount
of trouble for you for nothing, but once you hire them to work, not a
hand's turn will they do. At the hands of Turkish muleteers I suffer
tortures. They get into camp and when they have unloaded the mules they
sit down on one of the packs and light a cigarette with an air of
impartial and wholly unconcerned benevolence. I've gone to the length of
dislodging them with the lash of my crop, freely applied. It makes no
difference; they stroll on to the next pack and take up a position there
smiling cheerfully the while.

ADANA, Sumday 23rd. I rode in here early this morning leaving camp at 3
a.m. to avoid the heat. There was a moon and a high-road and the going
was far pleasanter than by day. I got into Adana about 10--there is
absolutely nothing of any interest in the town. I went to the house of
the Vice-Consul, a very able Greek, and he directed me to the best hotel.
. . .The other inhabitants of the hotel are strange Greeks and Turks and
parties in turbans and Circassians with rows of cartridges set in their
brown frock coats--Oh, the oddest crowd! It doesn't surprise me when I am
in tents and part of it, but when I come into an hotel and put on
civilised clothes, my surroundings astonish me at times. In the afternoon
I called on the Vali, an obliging Kurd who promised me all facilities for
my journey and gave me a little bronze lion, Greek I think. I have sent
on my camp and tomorrow I am actually going to Tarsus by train! Mr. Lloyd
comes too and we spend the day together.

Monday, 24th. We carried out our programme with immense enjoyment. The
railway journey which took an hour and a half was quite an excitement to
both of us--I haven't been by train since Marseilles. We had a delightful
conversation with the statiOn master before we started. He talked English
and told us among other things that there were no works of art on the
line, only one bridge. We were so busy talking on the journey that we
forgot to notice even that work of art. Tarsus is nothing of a place,
beautifully situated at the gates of the hills. Mr. Lloyd and I rather
enjoyed ourselves however and we finished the day by a dinner-party
together in my tent at which Mikhail distinguished himself in the matter
of cooking. I have taken on from Mr. Lloyd one of his servants whom he
does not want any longer. His name is Fattuh and he is to be general
director of the transport and spare hand all round. I think I am wise in
taking him for he seems very capable and has an excellent character from
Mr. Lloyd, and my transport arrangements have not been going well for the
last fortnight.

KARAMAN, MaY 7th. I daresay it does not often occur to you to think what
a wonderful invention is the railway, but it is very forcibly borne in
upon me at this moment for I am going to Konia in 3 hours instead of
having a weary two day's march across a plain of mud. Yesterday I rode in
here some 35 miles. The mountains have no other side, if you can
understand me. The road I have come by rose some 6,000 ft. from the sea
and did not descend more than 600 on the north side. Inside, the country
is exactly what I have often pictured it to myself-a great barren upland
with abrupt hills rising out of it. One of my soldiers and I rode on
ahead and did the journey in 7 hours. We arrived in a thunderstorm and I
went to the hotel and slept for 3 hours till my mules came in. I don't
remember having been so tired for a long time. The hotel of Karaman is in
the first stage of development from the primitive Khan. Your host
provides the roof and every man is his own cook and housemaid. . . . I
wonder what the Kaimmakam thinks of the hats of English travellers of
distinction. I have worn mine for 4 months in all weathers-you can
scarcely tell which is the crown of it and which the brim. . . .

To H. B.
BUSTBIRKLISSE, May 13th, 1905.

If you had read (and who knows? Perhaps you have the very latest German
archaeology books you would be wild with excitement at seeing where I am.
I must begin at the beginning and tell you about Konia. I stayed 4 days.
My friend the German Consul (name of Loytved) is extremely intelligent
and his wife very agreeable. The day after I arrived he took me out to
see a Greek village in the hills about an hour from Konia, where he said
there was a church. It was exceedingly interesting, with a tradition that
it had been founded by the Empress Helena. There was a rock cut church in
the same village as old if not older, but as it was Sunday and prayers
were going on I could not map them, so I came back next day. It was a
carpet making village. Loytved and I Went and had jam and water with a
delightful Greek family and inspected their carpets on the looms. The old
priest told me of another church in a second Greek village and I spent
another morning mapping it, it was just as interesting as the first.
These villagers have, I should think, been Christian since the days of
St. Paul and the Greek population in them is no doubt descended from
Greek settlements before the Christian era.

[Then follow descriptions of splendid Seljouk Mosques in ruins.]

Konia contains the mother house of the Dervishes and the founder of the
order, Jelal ed Din Zumi the great Persian, is buried there. My visit to
his tomb was a real pilgrimage for I know some of his poems and there are
things in them that are not to be surpassed. He lies under a dome tiled
with blue, bluer than heaven or the sea, and adorned inside with rich and
Sombre Persian enamel and lacquer and on either side of him are rows and
rows of the graves of the Chelebis, the Dervish high priests and his
direct descendants--all the Chelebis who have been ministers and over
each is the high felt hat of the order with a white turban wrapped round
it. BeYond the tomb are two great dancing halls with polished floors and
the whole is enclosed in a peaceful garden, fountains And flowers set
round with the monastic cells of the order, so he lies, Jelal ed din
Zumi, and to my mind the whole quiet air was full of the music of his
verses: "Ah listen to the reed as it tells its tale: Listen, ah, listen,
to the plaint of the reed." "They reft me from the rushes of my home, my
voice is sad with longing, sad and low." (But the Persian is the very
Pipe, the plaintive pipe of the reed, put into words and there is nothing
so invades the soul.) I dined or lunched with the Loyeds daily, and he
invited selections of banished Pashas daily to meet me. The result was
some most interesting talks, for the best intelligence of Turkey is in
exile and being in exile speaks out. Some day I will tell you some
curious tales. So I have now an enormous circle of acquaintances in Konia
and I spent my last afternoon there sitting in the Ottoman Bank and
receiving the town. It was almost like Damascus over again. And my
clothes arrived from Smyrna! If you had roughed it for 4 months with 2
tiny mule trunks you would realize what that meant. All things are by
comparison and one evening when I put on a skirt that originally came
from Paris I felt almost too smart to move. I sent my horses On 3
stations down the line and next day took train myself with my camp
furniture and some food and Fattuh. We joined the horses on a blazing hot
morning and packed our single load onto a hired beast and set off across
the plain to Binbirklisse. The name means The Thousand and one Churches
and the learned have tried to identify it with the classic Barala, but as
then the learned knew nothing of Barala but the name, it doesn't seem to
me to matter much whether the identification is correct or no. It lies at
the foot of the Kara Dagh, a great isolated mountain arising abruptly out
of the plain and whatever it was in classic times, it must have been a
very important early Christian city for it is full of churches dating
back Strzygowski thinks to pre-Constantine times. There is a lower town
down at the foot of the hills and an upper town about an hour from it on
a shoulder of mountain, and fate and my zaptieh ordered by good luck that
our road should lead us to the upper town first. I fell in love with it
at once, a mass of beautiful ruins gathered together in a little rocky
cup high up in the hills--with Asia Minor at its feet. We arrived at
mid-day and I established myself in a ruined church to lunch and then the
brilliant idea seized me that I could make my headquarters up in the
hills and not at Maden Sheher, which is the real Binbirklisse down in the
plain. I had no tents with me and it was necessary to find out whether
there was a possible place to sleep. The village consists of some 15
Turkish families who have built themselves shanties out of the ruins, but
it is Turkish custom that any village however small shall contain a guest
room for travellers and we went off to inspect. Yes, of course, said the
sheikh of the village, there was an'oda'in his own house and I was most
welcome to it. As soon as I saw it I knew that my best dreams were
fulfilled. It was a little bare mud built room, with the name of God
scratched up on the walls and before the door a platform looking out over
the great plain and the slopes of Kara Dagh. I turned out the felts and
mats in it put in my own furniture and it has proved ideal. It has had
the further advantage that while the lower town has been thoroughly
mapped, the upper was almost untouched and I have had the pleasure of
doing it myself. The first day I rode down to Maden Sheher and spent the
day there, photographing and learning from Strzygovski's book what was
the nature of the architecture here. The churches were most interesting,
but the place horrid, intolerably hot and with execrable water, so that
it was a real delight to come back to my mountain and my beautiful spring
in the evening. This was a fortress city of churches and monasteries. It
has been most fascinating to work through a whole town and find the same
architectural features occurring or being slightly modified by the
originality of the builder. And then it has been very amusing to be for 4
days a Turkish Villager. It gives me great pleasure when I come in to tea
to find my friend and host, the sheikh, saying his afternoon Prayers on a
felt mat spread out at his door (he has got his orientation wrong; he
prays looking west which can't Possibly be the direction of Mecca, but I
daresay it's all one), and the women weaving coarse cloth in the shadow
of the wall and the men driving their wooden ploughs through the stones
that are the arable land of the village. Everyone takes me as a matter of
course but the dogs who still bark furiously whenever I pass. And then my
house is so nice with its mud walls and the name of God written up on
them: Allah Allah. And my servants are so charming. And then Fattuh,
bless him! the best servant I have ever had, ready to cook my dinner or
push a mule or dig out an inscription with equal alacrity--the dinner is
what he does least well--and to tell me endless tales of travel as we
ride, for he began life as a muleteer at the age of ten and knows every
inch of ground from Aleppo to Van and Bagdad. This morning I ascended
Kara Dagh, and on horse back! It's a huge volcano the crater of which is
about half a mile across, a ring of rocky peaks round the lip of it and
the great plain stretching away to snow ranges behind. There were patches
of snow still on Kara Dagh with crocuses on the edges of them and there
were snowdrops in the oak scrub of the higher slopes, and a whole
hillside of orange red tulips lower down and the most beautiful
frittillary in the world, a bright deep yellow with brown spots. So you
see it has made a delightful end to my travels, Binbirklisse. I do regret
that I must go down to-morrow, but my work is finished and we have eaten
up all our food. To-day we succeeded in buying a hen from the
Sheikh--there are only 4 in the whole village and I thought it rather
greedy of me to eat one of them, but Fattuh said stoutly that they would
have 3 left and that was enough. The hen thought otherwise. It took
sanctuary in every ruined church in turn and was finally run to earth in
a tomb where Fattuh shot it with my gun!

May 15th. To-day I came down from my mountain top. I left at the first
streak of dawn and rode for an hour before the sun rose. . . .

May 16th. I was up at 4 to-day and at 5 I rode off to the hills to see
one of the great sights of Asia Minor, the Hittite sculptures at Loriz.
It was delicious riding at dawn up towards the snow of Taurus and more
delicious still when after a couple of hours we entered a wonderful
valley with a rushing stream flowing that I did not know, until we came
to the village of Loriz at the mouth of a splendid rocky gorge. Above the
village the river rushes out from under the rocks, a great stream as
clear as crystal and just below its source there is the famous rock on
which the sculptures are. Two figures, a god with curly hair and beard
and pointed shoes and Phrygian cap adorned with a crown Of horns, in his
hands the fruits of the earth,corn and bunches of grapes, which he offers
to a smaller figure, a king standing before him with hands uplifted in
prayer. Behind the two run several lines of that strange script which no
one can read, and beneath the rock rushes the clear water of the river.
So I sat down under the walnut trees and considered that fine piece of
symbolism of 5000 years ago: the river bursting from the mountain side
and bearing fruitfulness to all the plain below and the god standing at
its source with his trails of grapes and his swathe of corn. And then one
came from the village and brought me eggs and milk and honey and the
biggest nuts in the world and I feasted by the edge of the river. And if
I had known the Hittite language I would have offered up a short
thanksgiving in that tongue to the god with the curly hair and the tiara
of horns who had brought such good things out of the naked earth. And
then I rode back to Eryli--blazing hot it was--and took the train and
came back to Konia. The Consul and his wife met me at the station and
dined with me at the hotel and I found there besides Professor Ramsay,
who knows more about this country than any other man, and we fell into
each other's arms and made great friends. .

[This was Gertrude's first meeting with Sir William Ramsay, and it led to
their interesting partnership in Asia Minor two years later.]

(Extract from Sir William Ramsay's Preface to "The Tbousand and One
Churches."
"In 1905 Miss Gertrude Bell was impelled by Strzygowski's book to visit
Bin Bir Kilisse; and, when I met her at Konia on her return, she asked me
to copy an inscription on one of the churches, in letters so worn that
she could not decipher it, which she believed to contain a date for the
building. Her belief proved well founded and the chronology of the
Thousand and One Churches centres round this text. I sent her a copy of
the text, the imperfect--result of four hours' work, but giving the date
with certainty; longer study was prevented by a great storm; and I
printed in the Athenaeum the impression made on me by a hurried
inspection of the ruins, mainly in order to reiterate in more precise
form my old hope that an important architectural and historical
investigation might be performed by an architect and an epigraphist,
combining their work for a month or two on the site. This letter
attracted her attention; she wrote suggesting that we should undertake
the task; and as no one else seemed likely to do so, my wife and I
arranged to join her in 1907. . . ."

Sir William Ramsay, once more home from Asia Minor in 1927, writes me
this further letter of appreciation of her work with him.

13 Greenhill Terrace, Edinburgh.
24 June, 1927.

DEAR LADY BELL,
. . . . I should be glad if you would add an expression of my admiration
for the thoroughness and alertness of Miss Gertrude Bell's examination of
Bin Bir Kilisse on her first short visit. The important inscription was
almost totally concealed in a little cave. During our work in 1907 I
spent about a fortnight on that inscription and finally succeeded in
deciphering it completely, and it appears in our joint work with the help
of her eyes.

I am, Yours faithfully,
W. M. RAMSAY)




CHAPTER XI


1905-1909


LONDON-ASIA MINOR-LONDON


(In the following June Gertrude was in London again, enjoying herself
there as usual. She spent the summer at Rounton. She was extremely keen
about the garden and especially greatly absorbed in starting a rock
garden which afterwards became one of the show gardens of the North
Riding. It was exquisitely situated, formed round a lake, from the shores
of which was a view of the wide amphitheatre of the Cleveland Hills.

In the autumn she went to Paris to study with Reinach again.]

To F. B.
PARIS, October 24, 1905.

On Saturday I came over by the 10 o'clock train and arrived rather late,
so I sent a word to S. Reinach that I would appear after dinner. . . . I
went in and found him and Mrs. S. R., who extremely friendly. She is a
pleasant woman. After a bit Reinach and I went into his library and I
showed him my plans And photographs and we settled some details about
publication and illustrations. I came back to my hotel at 11--it's
only a steP from the Reinach's. This morning, a heavenly bright frosty
day, I went to Reinach's at 9:30 and waited till 11:30 when Dussaud the
Syrian traveller came to see me, we had a most delightful hour's talk.
I'm going to his house to-morrow to look over some Nabathean and Safaitic
inscriptions and discuss what is to be found in Nejd. After he went we
lunched, I then took a little stroll with the two Reinachs in the bright
sunshine. We walked towards the Bois. R. and I came back at 3 and I
looked through travel books and inscriptions till 6. It is perfectly
enchanting having everything at one's hand, and R. to suggest and lay
more books before me. He is delighted with the first article and is going
to send it to press at once. To-night he has asked Yves Guyot to dinner
because I said I wanted to see him, so we shall have a little 'relâche'
from archaeology. . . .

I don't feel I could be doing this work under better conditions.

[Gertrude and her father left Plymouth on December 16th, 1905--Gibraltar,
Tangiers, Spain, Marseilles, Paris, etc., and so to London.

We have no letters from Gertrude in 1906. That year she seems to have
spent between London and Rounton, enjoying mightily having people to stay
during the summer, seeing the rock garden grow and writing her book of
travels--The Desert and the Sown--which came out the following year.

Among her special friends who stayed with her that summer were Major (now
Sir Frederick) O'Connor, Aubrey Herbert, Sir Hugh and Lady Barnes, Lady
Arthur Russell, Elizabeth Robins, the William Tyrrells, Sir Valentine
Chirol and Mr. and Mrs. Wilton Phipps.

On December 20th of that year she and her father left London and went via
Marseilles to Cairo. There her father was ill. They returned to England
at the beginning of February, 1907, and early in April she is in Asia
Minor again

The technical results of Gertrude's work with Sir William Ramsay were
shown in the book they wrote together, " The Thousand and One Churches,"
published in 1909, in which the plans and measurements of the more
important churches and architectural remains were given.

From her letters from Asia Minor in 1907, therefore, I have taken
extracts relating to her personal experiences only, on the road. Although
travel in Asia Minor is not so adventurous as crossing the deserts of
Arabia, it has an adventurous and picturesque side of its own. In Asia
Minor she was again befriended by the kind Whittall family.]

To F.B.
CAIRO, Tuesday, January 1, 1907

The great event is Hugo's arrival yesterday. [Hugo had
been to Australia.] He is extremely cheerful and full of interesting
tales. We talked all the afternoon and he came up into my room and talked
till dinner time. It's quite delightful .having him. We dined with the
Cromers--Lady C., Lady Valda [Machell] and I were the only women so I sat
on the other side of Lord C. and had a quite enchanting talk with him. He
is the nicest person in the world, without doubt. He was very eager to
know if there was anything I wanted and when I said I wanted to have a
good talk with a learned sheikh, he was much concerned about it, saying
to Mr. Machell across the table, " Look here, Machell, you must find us a
good sheikh. Just think who is the best." So they are thinking. The
immediate result was that they arranged that we should see the Azhar
to-day. It is the great university of the Mohammedan world, where they
are sometimes rather tiresome about letting women in. However, I found a
friend on the doorstep, and we fell into one another's arms and he took
us all over. Indeed, we were invited to dine there by an old party from
Bagdad who lives there and I'm invited to breakfast on Saturday if I
like, so anyway I feel I may come and go as I Please in the Azhar. Hugo
talked to Lady Valda all the morning yesterday, and I to Sir W. Garstin,
who is very pleasant and interesting, so we all enjoyed ourselves. Father
and I had a charming dinner with the Machells, too; Sir W. G. was there
also. Yesterday we lunched with the Bernstorffs and we are going to their
box at the opera to-night. On Friday, Father and I spent the whole
morning with Ernest Richmond, seeing Coptic churches--most pleasant.

To F.B.
CAIRO, Friday, 12 th January, 1907.

I had an interesting talk with Moritz while he was teaching me to take
squeezes of inscriptions after a manner of his own (an excellently simple
one, by the way).

To F.B.
SMYRNA, April 4th, 1907.

I hope I shall get off on Monday. My preparations are really all finished
but I have to wait and hear about the head man for my diggings whom Mr.
Richard Whittall is engaging for me. As this is the most important matter
of all I cannot leave without settling it. Then to call on all my
Whittall friends. They have the bulk of the English trade in their hands,
bran offices all down the southern coast, mines and shooting boxes and
properties scattered up and down the S.W. coast of Asia Minor and yachts
on the seas. They all have immense quantities of children. The sons,
young men now in the various Whittall businesses, the daughters very
charming, very gay. The big gardens touch one another and they walk in
and out of one another's houses all day long gossiping and laughing. I
should think life presents itself nowhere under such easy and pleasant
conditions.

To F.B.
MAGNESIA AD MEANDRUM, Wednesday, April 9, 1907.

I've just been visiting the ruins of this town in the company of a
pleasant Greek who talked Turkish, so we managed to have a little
conversation. But it is such a bore not talking the language properly. I
must hurry up and learn. Of course, one ought to know Greek too, but for
the moment I feel one new language is a good deal more than I can manage.
I've just been giving my friend the Greek tea in my carriage. The station
master came in and joined the party. The station masters on this line are
supposed to know English and accordingly as he entered he said
cheerfully, " Goodbye!"

To F.B.
MILETUS, Friday, April 12, 1907.

Often when one sets out on a journey one travels by all the roads
according to the latest maps, one reaches all the places of which the
history books speak. Duly one rises early and turns one's face towards
new countries, carefully one looks and laboriously one tries to
understand, and for all one's trouble one might as well have stayed
behind and read a few big archaeology books. But I would have you know
that's not the way I have done it this time. I said to myself: I will go
and see the Greece of Asia, the Greece Grote didn't know. And I have
found it. The seas and the hills are all full of legends and the valleys
are scattered over with the ruins of the great rich Greek cities. Here is
a page of history that one sees with the eye and that enters into the
mind as no book can relate it.

To F. B.
MILETUS, April 12, 1907.

In this sort of travel one goes on very short commons. One starts early
and one gets in late; there is no time to cook, and there is no meat to
be had if one could cook it. So I have lived mostly on eggs and rice and
sour milk, not a bad diet of its kind if you have enough of it, and
to-night's dinner (soup and a chicken) was the best meal I have had for
some days. . . .

I gave up thinking .. . . . . for the crossing of that river was itself
sufficient matter for thought. There was no bridge--if there had been one
it would have been broken--the water was deep and the ferry-boat was a
buffalo cart. The river came nearly over the buffaloes' backs; we had to
take everything off the horses and lead them behind us--the buffaloes
didn't care, they plodded steadily on and held up their noses to keep
them out of the water. Now a buffalo can't hold up his nose very far; a
little more and they would have been drowned, but they did not think of
that. At the other side we changed horses and rode 25 miles into Aidin,
all good going
till we came to the Meander valley where it was the very devil. Before we
reached it, as we rode along the high road, there came a sound of crying
and presently we saw a heap of something on the broad road. It was a dead
man, lying as he had fallen with a tattered coat thrown over his face,
and beside him a ragged child, a little girl sitting all alone in the
sun, and wailing, wailing--you have never heard the east Mourning, it is
always the same and always more melancholy than any other sound. A man
passed just before we reached the child, he merely drew his horse aside
and rode on. Eh! a man more or less in the world, and a gypsy at that. We
stopped and questioned her. They had sent on news to Aidin, her brother
had gone, she didn't know when they would come. And so she took up her
dirge again. We rode on to the ferry over the Meander and tried to hire a
cart to bring in the dead man's body, but no one would go--no, he must
stay there till his people came, that was the custom. The girl? She could
stay too to keep the dogs off and if night fell and she was afraid she
would come in to the nearest village. Yes, someone would go and watch
with her if I would give him two mejidis. But I knew that was no good as
he would come away the moment my back was turned. So I rode on too; the
child will come into the village at nightfall and the man is dead and
does not care how long he lies alone. But I felt a beast, all the same.
We crossed the Meander in a ferry--the bridge was broken, I need scarcely
say, and the high road beyond was all under water. So we splashed for an
hour along a narrow cobbled path running between bottomless swamps. We
came to Aidin about 5, it is against the hills and all shining in the
sun. But what makes it chiefly memorable is that I got Elsa's telegram
here saying she was engaged to Herbert Richmond, and am thinking of it
with such mixed feelings. But there it is, and there's nothing else for
it but to put up with it and try not to think what a difference it will
make. I can't come home now because I can't leave Ramsay in the lurch and
I shall hear no more from you till I get to Konia, bother it! I've
written to Elsa since there is no way of telegraphing.

To F.B.
BODJELI, April 24th, 1907.

I have got your letter telling me of E.'s engagement. Yes, in a way it's
easier perhaps not to be at home. it is unsatisfactory for the family
rather, still I rather wish I were with you all the same. Meantime I
shall continue to tell you of my adventures, if you have time to think of
them! One rides for hours over beautiful well watered country without
seeing an inch of ploughed ground. We are riding towards a high Snowy
range of mountains, at the foot of which Aphrodisias lies. The town must
have been distinguished above all other places for the elaborate beauty
of its architecture; every doorway was covered with scrolls of fruit and
flowers with birds and beasts entwined in them.

I slept! Oh, if you could have seen where I slept! It was in the khan, a
tiny room separated by a rough wall of planks from the 30 or 40 muleteers
and camel drivers who were lodging there for the night. It was quite
empty, however, and I put my camp bed in and was as happy as possible,
--One wall was all window--I closed half of it with a shutter when I went
to bed, and until then I sat and watched the village unloading its
camels, cooking its evening meal over wood fires lighted in earthenware
bowls, saying its evening prayer on a little raised platform in front of
the khan and after having seen the temple under the moon I went to bed
and no number of talking, smoking muleteers could have kept me awake.
Fattuh, however, was not at all happy. He did not think it a suitable
lodging for my Excellency. . . .

To F.B.
ISDARTA, April 28th, 1907.

I don't suppose there is anyone in the world happier than I am or any
country more lovely than Asia Minor. I just mention these facts in
passing so that you may bear them in mind. We rode and rode over the
hills and down to the edge of a great lake of Buldur. Bitter salt it is
and very blue, and mountains stand all round it, white with snow, and the
fruit gardens border it, pink and white with peach and cherry. And SO we
Came to Buldur, a fine town standing in a rich land, and there we pitched
camp in a green field at the edge of the tOwn. All the authorities came
down in turn--begged me not to spend the night in the wilderness and
entreated me to share their flea-y houses and told me that my next day's
journey was quite Out of the question because of the snow and the
mountains and I don't know what, till finally I said I was going to bed
and sent them all away. Said Fattuh: "What sort of Soldiers are these?
They fear the cold and they fear the mountains and they fear the
rivers-perhaps they fear the rabbits and the foxes." And he went away
shaking his head mournfully over the degeneracy of the Turkish army and
muttering in Turkish "Nasl arkar! nasl arkar! what sort, what sort of
soldiers!" To-day I started off at 5:30 and, leaving Fattuh to bring the
camp by the straight road, I took a soldier and rode into the hills, a
wonderful, wonderful ride. . . .

It is now night and the moon has not yet risen. Fattuh has gone to look
for horses and I am left with the soldier who is our guard to-night. I
think he feels rather anxious at being left alone here in the dark for he
has crept in close to the light of my tent and has been telling me, half
in Turkish and half in broken Arabic, of his 10 years in Yemen and of
how, praise be to God! he did not die there though he was wounded twice.

Tuesday, April 30th. We have not made much way to-day as the crow flies
because the road along the eastern shore of the lake is not yet finished
and we had very rough going which delayed the baggage animals. It was
instructive to see how road making is conducted in Turkey. It's a very
hilly road, up and down and in and out over the mountains. They had one
old man and three younger ones with a few little boys working at one end
and at the other unfinished end there were some 30 men who were engaged
in baking and eating bread on the hill-side. Also they take no count of
the streams that cross the road continuously, the country being
mountainous as YOU Will understand. These streams therefore wash away the
work as soon as it is done. I think it will be some time before this road
is joined up.

Wednesday, May 1st. I haven't really done much to-day though I have taken
a good deal of trouble about it. I had to find a fountain with a Latin
inscription of which Ramsay wanted a new copy. I found it, inscription
and all complete, and worked two hours at the latter without a very
satisfactory result as it was much broken and lay too near the splash of
the fountain so that I could not take a good rubbing. The oldest and most
decrepit soldier in the world was told off at Egerdir to bear me company.
He knows nothing of the country and our intercourse was confined to
something like the following: Me: "Where does this road go to?" He:
"Effendim, I do not know." Me: "What is the name of that village?" He:
"Effendim? I could not say." Me: "How far is it to so-and-so?" He:
"Effendim, I have not been." The result of which is that I have to find
all my own routes by asking the people by the wayside. . . .

I started at 5:45 taking with me an intelligent villager of Tokmajik the
place where I had spent the night. He knew the country and was a
satisfactory guide and an agreeable companion. He had been a soldier and
had served mainly in Crete, an island of which he thought highly. We took
a path hitherto untravelled over the hills, past two villages unknown to
Kiefert (there were unfortunately no inscriptions in them though there
were old worked stones) and dropped down on to the northern end of the
Lake of Egerdir. There was a place which Ramsay had begged me to try and
visit on the eastern shore of the lake. It is a place of pilgrimage where
the Christians come once a year, in September, from all the countryside,
and the probability is that it was a holy site long before the Christian
era, sacred to Artemis of the Lake who was herself a Pisidian deity
re-baptised by the Greeks. I found the Place, about 2 miles down the
lake, and a very striking place it Was. The rocks drop here straight into
the lake and at their foot there is a great natural arch some 15 feet
wide through which glistens the blue water of the lake. In the rock above
is a small rock-cut chamber into which I scrambled with some difficulty
and found a slab like a loculus in it. It may have been a tomb at some
time but I think more probably the slab was sacrificial; at any rate the
Christians use the chamber now to celebrate their yearly mass. So we rode
back along the beautiful grassy shores of the lake, where the Yuruks were
watching their flocks and herds, and all round the swampy northern end of
the lake. Almost joined to the shore by beds of immensely tall reeds
there is a little island which no one had yet succeeded in visiting. I,
however, found a fisherman's hut in the swamp and near it a very old and
smelly boat, so I hired the three fishermen for an infinitesimal sum and
rowed out to the island with Nazmi, my Tokmajik man. it was completely
surrounded by ruined Byzantine walls dropping into the water in great
blocks of masonry; here and there there was a bit of an older column
built into them and they were densely populated by snakes. There was only
one thing of real interest, a very curious stele with a female figure
carved on it, bearing what looked like water skins, and two lines of
inscription above. She might have been Artemis of the Lake itself and
perhaps the inscription said so, but unfortunately the whole stone was
covered by 18 inches or more of shimmering water. It had fallen into the
lake and there it lay. I did all I knew to get the inscription. I waded
into the water and tried to scrub the slime off the stone, but the water
glittered and the slime floated back and finally I gave it up and came
out very wet and more than a little annoyed. It was provoking after I had
taken so much trouble, wasn't it? However at any rate now we know that
it's there and someone can go and fish it out. So we punted back through
the reeds. One of my boatmen had been through the Russo-Turkish
war--Nish, Plevna, he rambled on about all the things he had seen and
done while we brushed through the reeds, looking sometimes for fish in
the traps they had set, and sometimes for birds' eggs, and I sat in the
sun and dried myself. It was so hot that I was quite dry before I got
into camp. Then we rode north up the plain and explored a village for
inscriptions as we went. There was a large farm here left by an agreeable
Greek who helped me in my search and invited me into his house where his
wife gave me milk; and at last at a quarter to seven we got to Kundanly
where I found my camp pitched and my dinner ready. In and around Kundanly
have been found (mainly by Ramsay) a very curious series of inscriptions
relating to an anti-Christian Society of the second century. It was
called the Society of those who showed the Sign, and the Sign was
probably some act of worship of the Emperor and the old gods. I had all
the published inscriptions with me and I hunted round this morning for a
couple of hours and found a new one in a Turkish house--very short and I
fear not very important, but I took a rubbing to the surprise and joy of
the inhabitants, and shall give it to Ramsay. It was very hot again
to-day. Got into camp at 3, since when I have done nothing but sleep and
eat and write my diary. To-morrow is an off day and I can't say I regret
it. It's very laborious being the careful traveller I don't think I do it
well either. There are probably lots of things that I don't see because I
don't know how to look. I remember Ramsay's telling me that the first
journey he made in Asia Minor he found nothing at all. And you see I only
find things under water! Fattuh loq: "Never in my life did I see such a
town! May God send them to their fathers and may their women be taken
captive! I paid 5 piastres for your Excellency's beans. No meat in all
the town and may it be destroyed!" I: "And the chicken is less good than
the chicken of Tokmajik." Fattuh (with indignant reminiscence of his
culinary experiences at Tokmajik) "That chicken she eat 4 piastres of
fire wood and then I cooked her 3 hours at Kundanly--God send all
chickens to their fathers!"

In the afternoon I called on the Kaimmakam--I must tell you about the
Kaimmakam. Fattuh went down into the town early. The barber's shop is as
you know the fashionable lounge and there he found the Kaimmakam, the
Binbashi, the Imam the Kadi and a few more all sitting together. In the
afternoon I go to the Kaimmakam; the Kaimmakam, the Binbashi, the Imam
the Kadi, etc., are still all sitting together drinking coffee and
smoking. An hour later comes a message to say that the Kaimmakam, the
Binbashi, etc. wish to call on me. SO up they came, six of them, all in a
serried row and sat in my tent and drank more coffee and smoked more
cigarettes. It's my private conviction that that's all they can do, any
of them, and they all do it together every day. They appear to have given
their advice collectively as regards the hiring of a cart for my luggage
and even the buying of candles and rice, so to-day they have been
unusually busy. I've bought another horse, this time for 10 pounds, which
is not dear. I like the look of him very much. The first one has turned
out excellently, and I think this one is even better. Now I'm provided.
In this transaction I did not seek the advice of the Kaimmakam, the
Binbashi, the Imam or the Kadi.

Tuesday, May 7th. We've had laborious travelling, but it has all ended
successfully. We left Yalorach early on Sunday, 6 a.m. I had hire a cart
for my luggage. I had always been told by the authorities on the subject
that that was the proper way to travel in Asia Minor. Now I know it
isn't. One has to learn these things for oneself. So we set out, and I
was riding my new horse which was as wild as a hawk and as timid as a
lizard, so I had enough to think of for the first hour or two. (He is
settling down now he has got into good hands and is becoming a capital
little animal, I think the best horse for travel I have ever had.) In
four and a half hours we came to a dullish place called Karagash. We went
to the khan and determined to wait anyhow till the cart arrived and then
set out again. We waited and waited and at noon we lunched and then there
came a most furious thunderstorm with sheets of rain and batterings of
hail and at length came news that the cart had broken down and the man
had gone back to fetch another. By this time the road was deep in water
and mud, and the end of it was that the luggage arrived at 5 and there
was no more thought of travel for that day. On the whole perhaps it was
as well, for it rained without stopping till 7 so that we should have got
very wet. So I ate some of the curious soup that Fattuh makes out of the
Lord knows what and went to bed. I may mention that my room was crowded
with bugs and fleas, but I had my own bed at least. There were no horses
to be got at Karagash, no horses, so there was nothing for it but to hire
another cart next day and again we set out at 6 o'clock full of hope. For
the first hour or two the road was deep in mud but presently we came to a
little pass and the ground hardened and cleared. Here Fattuh stopped to
wait for the cart and I rode on with my soldier. At 10:15 I got to
Kassaba, another miserable little hole, again I went to the khan and
again I waited. This time after an hour and a half came a message sent by
Fattuh to say that the cart had stuck in the mud and he had gone back to
Karagash for another. I ordered eggs and bread and curds and lunched and
did my best to be patient and at 1:30 up came Fattuh triumphantly with
two carts, having pulled the first out of the mud with buffaloes and then
driven it into Kassaba. But I was not going to be put off again with half
a day's journey, so I left the carts and Fattuh to rest for an hour and
rode on over the flat plain by Bey Sheher lake. It is not so fine as the
other lakes though the mountains drop steeply into it on the W. side, but
it is very typical of this country and of no other. A melancholy land, in
spite of its lakes and mountains, though I like it. You leave the bright
and varied coast line which was Greece, full of vitality, full of the
breath of the sea and the memory of an active enterprising race, and with
every step into the interior you feel Asia the real heart of Asia.
Monotonous, colourless, lifeless, unsubdued by a people
whose thoughts travel no further than to the next furrow, who live and
die and leave no mark upon the great plains and the barren hills-such is
central Asia, of which this country is a true part. And that is why the
Roman roads make so deep an impression on one's mind. They impressed the
country itself, they implied a great domination, they tell of a people
that overcame the universal stagnation. It was very hot and still and
clouds of butterflies drifted across the path and there was no other
living thing except a stork or two in the marshy ground and here and
there a herd of buffaloes with a shepherd boy asleep beside them. At the
end of the lake a heavy thunderstorm gathered and crept along the low
hills to the east and up into the middle of the sky. And so we came to
the earliest record of what was probably one of the earliest trade roads
in the world and the forerunner of the Roman road; and here the clouds
broke upon us in thunder and lightning and hail and rain and I saw the
four Hittite kings, carved in massive stone, against a background of all
the fury of the storm. They are seated at the edge of a wide pool, a
spring bubbling out of the hillside, from which a swift river flows away
to the lake; and above them are figures with uplifted hands, as though
they praised the god of Gotat waters.

KONIA, Saturday 11th. . . . ..I'm writing to Elsa about plans (I can
scarcely bear the idea of not being at her wedding). Ramsay arrives in
tbree days and I've got a hundred thousand things to do so I'll write no
more now.

To F.B.
MADEN SHEHER, May 21, 1907.

My donkey goes at dawn to-morrow to fetch the post and I must write you a
word, though 10 hours hard riding, which is what I have been doing
to-day, is not a good preparation for letter-writing. The habit of
building everything on the extreme top of hills is to be deprecated. It
entails so much labour for subsequent generations. It was very hot
to-day. I lunched in the house of a charming Circassian, who lives in a
Circassian village on the other side of the hills. He gave me coffee and
some curds to add to my own lunch and we made great friends. He has
invited me to come and stay. All the other Circassians sat round the
while. Yesterday I had a hard day. I had found the afternoon before, a
ruined site with a very perfect church on the top of a hill near my camp,
and in the church was a half-buried stone which I thought was probably
the altar. So I took up some of my men with picks and crowbars and had it
out and it was the altar. Then I photographed and planned the whole site,
a good 5 hours' work. I came back to my tents for lunch and an hour's
rest and then we rode off to another further hill and there I found a
church and chapel, much ruined but of an interesting plan, so I worked at
them all the afternoon. I meant to draw them out to scale when I came
back but I was too tired and they are still waiting to be done. The truth
is there is too much work here for one person, but I am very much
enjoying my solitude, and the work is mighty fun too if one could only do
it a little better. As yet I haven't touched this place, thinking that
Ramsay had better have the responsibility. If he doesn't come there are
one or two things I must do and the rest I shall leave to someone
cleverer. My Cast! oh my cast! it's more professional than words can say.
I'm longing to do another when I can find time. My larder is splendidly
supplied with hares and partridges which the villagers bring me. It's as
well, for they won't sell their lambs as nearly all their sheep died in
the cold winter they have had. Fattuh rode out to a village 5 hours away
and brought back a lamb across his saddle bow. We kept it against
accidents, such as the Ramsay family appearing unexpectedly, and it
browses round my tents in a charming fashion.

To F.B
MADEN SHEHER, Saturday, May 25, 1907.

I really must begin a diary to you. The Ramsays arrived yesterday. I was
in the middle of digging up a church when suddenly 2 carts hove into
sight and there they were. It was about 3 in the afternoon. They
instantly got out, refused to think of going to the tents, Lady R. made
tea (for they were starving) in the open and R. oblivious of all other
considerations was at once lost in the problems the church presented. It
was too delightful to have someone as much excited about it as I was! . .
. . They have brought their son Louis with them who is deeply learned on
birds and beasts and has a commission from the British Museum to collect
the small mammalia of these parts.

Now I must tell you something very very striking. The church on the
extreme point of the Kara D., at which I worked for 2 days before R.
came, has near it some great rocks and on the rocks I found a very queer
inscription. The more I looked at it the queerer it became and the less I
thought It could be Christian or anything that I knew, so I took it down
with great care, curious rabbit-headed things and winged sort of crosses
and arms and circles, and with some trembling I showed it to R. The
moment he looked at it he said, "It's a Hittite inscription. This is the
very thing I hoped most to find here." I think I've never been so elated.
We now think nothing but Hittites all the time.

Now this is the manner of Asia Minor: there is never a
shrine of Christian or Moslem but if you look long enough you will find
it has been a holy place from the beginning of history and every church
on the top of the hill stands on a site where the Hittites worshipped. We
began to find queer things, a tower of a very ancient sort of
fortification, and then we found cuttings in the rocks which puzzled us
for a long time till I, who had seen the same before in Syria, discovered
that they were winepresses, and the long and the short of it is that we
think we have a Hittite settlement at Maden Sheher and that this was the
entrance fort. Of course we may get no more evidence and the thing will
have to remain as a supposition, but the inscription on the top of the
Kara D. is a fixed point.

[Then followed excited days of visiting churches, planning, deciphering,
guessing.]

. . . ..I haven't told you half enough what gorgeous fun it's being! You
should see me directing the labours of 20 Turks and 4 Kurds! We are going
to get something out of it, you'll see.

To F.B.
MADEN SHEHER, May 29, 1907.

I got a long letter from you today dated May 19, enclosing some
photographs from Hugo (for which I am deeply obliged) and describing the
plans for Elsa's wedding. I fear I have definitely given up all hope of
coming back for it. I am in for this business and I must carry it
through. I get up at 5 and breakfast before the Ramsay family have
appeared and go off before 6 to wherever we are digging, and stay there
till 12 superintending and measuring as we uncover. Then I come back to
the tents for an hour, for the men have an hour off in the middle of the
day and after lunch I go back to the diggings and stay there till 5 or
later. R. generally appears on the scene about 7 or 8 in the morning and
about 3 in the afternoon Then he has inscriptions to find and read and
the map to make and he can't physically do more. I shall have all the
measuring and planning to do and I'm at it some 12 hours a day on and
Off. Nor can it be otherwise for that's the part that I have undertaken.
Of course it's great great fun, but it's also very hard work, you
understand. And there is no one to do it but me. Therefore I can't leave
and that's an end.

To F. B.
MADEN SHEHER, May 29th, 1907.

One of the difficulties of the commissariat here is the water. I have to
send 2 hours up the hill for it daily and I find I can't supply the needs
of the whole camp with one donkey load and the poor donkey can't go more
than once a day.
So Fattuh is going to Karaman to morrow to buy another donkey and more
water tins. Housekeeping in the wilderness takes a great deal of thinking
about! But I must say the difficulties are considerably alleviated when
all your guests are as amenable as mine are.

Friday, May 30th. We've had a very long day clearing out a round church
which is a difficult architectural problem, and oh! Horrible to measure.
I'm tired now and I shan't write any more.

To F. B.
MADEN SHEHER, June 4, 1907.

I haven't kept to my good resolutions in the matter of a diary letter but
the fact is I'm so very busy.

I've been working all today from dawn on the big apse on which I first
began. It still remains a complete puzzle and one I fear will not be
elucidated. I shall give it a day off so as to think about it and then do
another day's work on it. The walls we have uncovered seem to have no
meaning and they are such bad work that it's a stretch of the imagination
to suppose that there is any consecutive idea in them. Anyway it's not a
church, of so much we are certain; and the guesses of all our
Predecessors have been wrong, but what to guess ourselves is the problem.
The learned world is agog about my Hittite inscription. We shall have to
go up and do some more work there. It's all very, very nice-I'm enjoying
it thoroughly.

To F.B.
DAILE, June 8, 1907.

Today we have had the greatest exodus known since the days of the Jews.
We have moved all our camp up to the yaila, the summer quarters. It took
11 camels and 4 donkeys to transport us. Now this is the place that I
first came to two years ago. It is on a shoulder of the Kara Dagh, 1000
ft. above Maden Sheher and it is entirely composed of churches, chapels
and monastic foundations. A few Turkish hovels are' accommodated in the
ruins-in one of them I stayed two years ago. The people are overjoyed at
my return and gave me a most cordial welcome. They sent down to me while
I was at Maden Sheher to say they hoped I was coming up and I hired from
them all the camels for the transport. One of the most interesting parts
of our job has been the tracing of the first settlement of the mountain.
It began with my Hittite High Place; there we found several vestiges of
an ancient town at Maden Sheher and today Sir W. has seen 3 Hittite
inscriptions on an outlying spur of the mountain-he went there while we
were moving camp. Of these and of the High Place we are going to take
casts so as to have absolutely perfect impressions of them. Isn't it a
good thing I learnt to take casts, by the way! Without that we could not
have got perfect impressions of these things for the stone is so rough
that it is extremely difficult to get anything like a good rubbing. We
are getting so much material that it will certainly make a book. Our plan
is that Sir W. shall write the historic and epigraphic part and I the
architectural. I think it will be well worth doing, for this is the first
time that an accurate study has been made of any one district in these
parts, hitherto people have onlY travelled through and seen what they
could see and gone On. We shall certainly be able to contribute a great
deal to the knowledge of such settlements as this must have been. I look
forward to a delightful winter at home drawing my plans and writing my
part of the book. I should have been helpless here without Sir W. and the
more I work with him the more I like him and respect his knowledge. In
fact, it's being a magnificent success, quite everything I hoped it would
be.

It will be a very dull book, you understand, but I intend it to be
magnificently illustrated. I wonder if Heinemann will do it for me!

It will be very pleasant to have the Barneses at Mt. Grace-I hope they
will come.

To her Brother.
DAILE, June 14, 1907.

I must answer at once your delightful letter with the descriptions of
Penrhos all so characteristic! His Lordship! I can see him with the Times
Atlas listening to my letter! You would be surprised to see the scene in
the middle of which I am writing. Thirty-one Turks are busy with picks
and spades clearing out a church and monastery. At intervals they call
out to me " Effendim, effendim! is this enough?" or "Come and see
this-this is good!" or something. They are perfectly charming people up
here and I have got the pick of my men from Maden Sheher and we are all
on the most friendly terms. It is about 7 a.m. and I have been at work
for an hour. If you find some earth in my letter it's the dust of
Byzantines which flies round me.

To H. B.
DAILE, June 14, 1907.

I'm charmed to hear the rock garden looks nice. I'm glad we have an
addition to the stable. I hope the foal will turn out well. I am horribly
bored at not being at E.'s wedding. I shall always regret not having seen
her married, but I think I am right in deciding to stay and finish this
job. I hope You think so. I really haven't a moment to think of anything
but my work and it accumulates with an almost malignant rapidity. I
tremble to think of the amount of drawing I have before me now.

To F. B.
KARADAGH, June 17, 1907.

Of course you can't write to me much. I'm busy too in a modest way. . . .
I believe this is the very first time anyone has set Bout to explore
thoroughly a single district in central Asia. See what we have got out of
it! Two great sites and a vast amount of unexpected Byzantine remains. We
spend much time discussing our book, which is to be a great work, please
God! Oh, it's delightful, delightful! I only do so hope you think I was
right to stay Out here, I could scarcely bear it if you didn't--at a
breath from you I would come back by the next train. I hate being away,
you understand, but I am deeply absorbed by this work. it grows more and
more exciting as one gets further into it.

To F.B.
DAILE, June 21, 1907.

Torrents of rain are streaming down onto my tent, the first heavy rain we
have had for 5 weeks and more. I hope it won't go on very long or it will
probably run in under my bed where I keep all the long rolls of my big
plans. We have had rather a disagreeable few days as regards weather;
first 2 days of great heat (I was digging with 30 men on one of them and
had to be out the whole day long in the sun). Then we had 2 days' wind
which is the most intolerable thing possible and almost prevents us from
working at all, as one can scarcely dig or measure and if one goes to
one's tent to draw, one finds it a kind of dust heap inside. Last night
the wind brought up a thunderstorm and it rained a good deal in the night
and this morning it was quite grey and cool. Sir W. and I profited by
this to go down to Maden Sheher to finish up some odds and ends. I think
we have still about a week's work here and it's the most important work
of all for we are now beginning to get our views and our information into
some kind of shape. This consoles me a little for I should have had to
have been going away now to get home in time for Elsa's wedding. I am
become quite the architect I must tell you. I have pages and pages of
mouldings all beautifully drawn out and MY plans are most elaborate, I
don't think anyone has ever published any of these Anatolian mouldings
before--our book will be very 'bahnbrechend,' you'll see! . . . . I'm so
glad the new motor is a success. Dear me! it will be very pleasant to be
back again in the bosom of my family. Still, I'm very happy.

I propose to stay at home for a good long time after this.

To F.B.
DAILE, Tuesday, June 24, 1907-

We are coming to the very end of our time here. The
Ramsays leave on the 26th and I on the 28th. Well, we have accomplished a
great deal. This last week has been the most useful of all. It makes me
quite sad to think that in all probability I shall never come back here.
We have been a sort of small providence, what with our work and the
market we have offered. I don't suppose so much money has passed hands in
the Karadagh since the time of the Byzantines.

My simple annals must seem very paltry to you in the midst of all your
festivities. Yes, it is very very nice to be completely absorbed in the
thing one is doing and to have no interruption in it. I rather shiver to
think what a tremendous work it will be writing all this. It will take
months, I think. I am not going to lecture at all--I've refused to go to
Redcar. I must get this book done or someone else will nip in and take
the wind out of our sails. I'm afraid I shall not be back till the
beginning of August, but as I've stayed so long it would be silly to
scamp things for the sake of a week more or less. . . .

To F. B.
KARAPUNA, June 30, 1907.

Yesterday I took the road again. A great plain is a wonderfully beautiful
thing. It stretched away and away from my tent door as far as the eye
could see, as level to the horizon as it was level under my feet. It
looked like an immensely wide floor made ready for some splendid
spectacle. To-day we rode over it again for 3 hours to Karabanar, a small
town at the foot of the Karajadagh. There lives on the plateau the
largest beetle I have been privileged to see. Black and green is his
colour and he is the size of a mouse.

I lunched in the khan, waiting for my luggage cart. They gave me quite a
nice bare room to myself; publicity, however, was ensured by a window
which opened into the room next me. Then the KaiMMakam and another came
to call. Thank Heaven I can now talk enough Turkish not to be left
speechless with Kaimmakams and the rest. We were in the thick of making
arrangements to go straight on into the hills.

When I arrived I had asked if there were pack horses. "As many as you
like can be found," said the innkeeper. Presently he returned to say
there were none. "Then," said I, "I will take a cart to the village at
the edge of the hills." Most excellent," said the surrounding company,
"the cart will draw you to the hills and then you will get camels."
"Camels are to be found, then?" said I. "Many," said they. Then arrived
the Kaimmakam and the Other, and I explained that I was leaving at once
for Salur with my luggage in a cart. They heartily approved this plan.
Over the coffee the Other let fall a remark to the effect that I should
find no people at all as they had all gone up to yaila. "Then how shall I
find camels?" said I. "Effendim ," said he, "there will be no camels."
Finally I resolved to take camels from him and after waiting for 4 hours
the camels have appeared. An incident similar to this occurs daily when
travelling in Asia Minor; the wonder is that one gets through at all. . .
. There go the camels with a Haide! father! pull, my soul! hasten,
hasten!" from all onlookers.

They pulled very well and we got in here at 5:30. . . . . .

I must tell you that this expedition into the Karajadagh is rather an
adventure. No one has as yet explored the mountain. We have come into the
heart of it and pitched tents and so far all is well. The whole of the
upper part of the mountain is entirely deserted. It's extraordinarily
lonely. There are said to be robbers about.

I have no less than 6 men here, including the 2 camel drivers, so I don't
feel at all anxious even if they should be still in these parts.

Wednesday, July 3 I am so dreadfully torn this week by considering
exactly what you are doing and wishing I were doing it too. I feel
terribly outcast when I think of you and long 50 times a day to be at
home. However, there it is and next week I shall feel better, after it's
all over and done with. Yesterday I had a very long day. We started out,
Haidar and my gipsy, Aziz is his name, and I, and rode up to a hill on
the top of the crater above us. It was cold, absurdly enough, a north
wind which increased all day till it became a horrid nuisance. There were
two men on the uplands above the crater, one with a herd of deer and one
with a herd of cattle from the villages below--we saw no other living
soul all day. And there was a cruciform church with monastic buildings
and fortifications and all complete! I do not doubt that this is the
chief and central shrine of the Karajadagh so I am content. No one has
been here before--it's a most curious sensation to step into these great
ruined places and to be the first person of the same civilization which
they stand for since the last monk fell or fled before the Seljuks. Up in
the mountains there was the absurd cuckoo which shouted all day above my
camp. I don't like hearing the cuckoo in deep summer; he is sadly
reminiscent of the delicious beginnings of things--"where are the joys of
spring? Oh, where are they!" The kite who screams above my tents here is
better.

Friday, July 5. Yesterday I had a long, hot and tiresome day. We spent
the whole morning going from village to village along the side of the
Karajadagh looking for ruins and inscriptions. The manner of proceeding
is this: you arrive in a village and ask for inscriptions. They reply
that there are absolutely none. You say very firmly that there are
certainly inscriptions and then you stand about in the hot sun for 10
minutes or so while villagers gather round. At last someone says there is
a written stone in his house. You go off, find it, copy it, and give the
owner two piastres, the result of which is that everybody has a written
stone somewhere and you have to look at them all, 99 per cent. of them
being only a lintel with a cross on it. As you leave they all tell you
that though there are not many written stones here, in the next village,
or in the village on the next mountain 10 hours away, or in the one you
have just left behind you there are at least a hundred. I know this
village of the hundred inscriptions so well now that I hear of it without
any emotion, even when I have left it behind. At 11 o'clock I determined
that I would do no more of this pottering work, so we rode down to a
village in the plain, where we expected to find the tents and lunch in
the shade. No tents, no shade, no people, for they had all gone to the
yaila. At last we found a deaf old man who told us that there was a
magnificently cold place to lunch in by the mosque and thither we went.
It was the mosque porch. I distinguished myself by climbing wearily on to
a sort of erection of planks in the corner. Haidat arriving with the
lunch looked horrified at seeing me there and begged me to come down at
once for it was the village hearse. So I came down, thinking that it
probably hadn't been much disinfected since the last man who died of
smallpox was carried on it to his grave, and for the evil omen that I had
brought upon the party Heaven sent a sacrifice in the shape of a young
swallow who dropped out of his nest above me on to the pavement and died
at once, poor little dear.

Transport is rather difficult in this country. The camel drivers we had
brought from Karapuna declared last night that they were going no further
than the Karajadagh, but as we had no other means of carrying our packs
but their camels only, we put force upon them and insisted that they
should take us across to Hassan Dagh lest nameless evils should befall
them. So they went, and they went 8 hours, poor people, the usual camel
march being 5. We started before 5 in the morning so that it might be
cool for them, and by great good luck it was a grey cloudy day with
scarcely a glimpse of sun, and we rode across the waterless flat plain
without any trouble and up the low foot hills that lie before Hassan
Dagh.

Saturday, July 6th. An aged man appeared this morning at the tents and
professed to know all the ruins round about, so Fattuh engaged him as
guide-in-chief for the day. His name was Ali as I had presently cause to
know. After breakfast I went down to the village and drew the church and
by dint of wading about in dark and horrible stables and poking into the
dark and horrible houses that had been built in the aisles and apse I got
it out all complete and it proved extremely interesting. Then I came in
and changed all my things, for the houses and the stables were, as
always, alive with fleas. Very great travellers would no doubt think
nothing of this, but I find it an almost intolerable vexation, yet one
can't leave a church unplanned because there are fleas in it. Then I
questioned the aged man as to what I should ride out and see. He said:
"Many churches there are, a very great many." "Where?" said I. "over
there," said he, "that side," waving his hand vaguely round the
mountains, "there is one ." "What is his name?" said I (there's no neuter
in Turkish). "Ali,"
said he. "Not your name, the church's name." "Chanderlik," said he.
"Aren't there any in the other direction?" said I, for the way he seemed
to be pointing was my route for to-morrow. "Not any at all," said he. A
bystander, "Many, a great many; over there there is one." "What is his
name?" said I. The bystander, "Ali." "Not his name, the church's name?"
"Uleuren there is, and Karneuren and Yazlikisle a. . ." so on and so on.
(Euren means ruin and kisle means church.) Ali indignantly, "No churches!
Ruins muins" (you repeat the word changing the first letter to 'm' when
you want to say "and so forth") "euren meuren,"said he louder and louder,
"all destroyed, mestroyed pulled down, broken, all ruins." "It's ruins I
want to see," said I. "All ruins," he said, "all broken, moken, no marble
churches, all marble and so forth, not any at all." "My soul,"
expostulated a fellow townsman, "there are two
at Uleuren." "No marble churches," said he (there aren't any, anywhere, I
may mention)" all ruins, all broken." However we went to Uleuren and I
found two churches and a long inscription. Ali was not a success as an
archaeologist and I declined to employ him further. Nor did he want to
come.

We are now going round to the north side of the mountain where I am told
there are a million if not a billion churches or something of the kind.
I hope there may be one or two. I know how you are spen ding this Sunday
-how I wish I were with you! I also wish so many flies were not spending
Sunday with me.

Wednesday, July 11th. I thought of you a great deal on Monday and very
much longed to see Elsa looking as pretty and as happy as I am sure she
did look. I shall love to see the wedding photographs and hear all the
tales. Now that it is all over I am glad I did not come back, for you see
I should have been landed with my work half done and a horrible feeling
that I could not go ahead properly for want of knowledge.

The long-expected robber turned up in the night and I was awakened by my
servants' firing at him. They missed him, but he missed our horses.

The following preposterous conversation has just occurred:
G.B. loq: Oh! Fattuh, to whom does this poplar garden belong?
F.--To a priest, my lady.
G.B.--Doesn't he mind our camping in it?
F.--He didn't say anything.
G.B.--Did you ask him?
F.--No, my lady.
G.B.--We must give him some backshish.
F.--At your Excellency's command.
A pause.
F.--My lady.
G.B.--Yes?
F.--That priest is dead.
G.B.--!!! Then I don't think we need bother about the backshish.
F.--No, my lady.

The trouble is they don't use speech for the same purpose in the East as
we do in the West.

It was piping hot, and we rode over barren rocky uplands and made our
horses go their best pace--so good a pace that in 3 hours instead of the
promised 4 we got to the great church that I had heard of. I should think
it is 10th Cent. All round it the rock is honeycombed with the rooms and
halls of a monastery with columbaria and churches. MY heart sank when I
saw it for I knew I could do nothing at it under 3 hours and it was the
hottest day we have had. However, I eat my lunch under the dome and then
we set to work and we got it done in the three hours, the church only, I
had not time to touch the rockcut things though they ought to be properly
examined. And then we rode down the hills and across an endless plain.

Saturday, July 13. I was very glad to have a day off. I spent the whole
morning in my tent drawing out some of all the work that has collected in
the last few days. It was blazing hot.

Sunday, July 14. From Akserai we had 3 days of absolutely uninteresting
travel across the great plains to Konia. I resolved that nothing should
induce me to ride, it's too boring and too hot, so we sent the animals on
with Haidar and my Turkoman, very early in the morning and Fattuh and I
started off with the baggage at 5:15 in two carts. They are springless
wooden carts covered with a hood of plaited straw with a cloth thrown
over it. I should think less luxurious carriages do not exist. We packed
all the luggage into one and put a quantity of rugs and waterproof sheets
on to the floor of the other in which we journeyed, and it really wasn't
so bad. At any rate! we were out of the glare and much less hot than we
should have been riding.

Tuesday, July 16th. Everything comes to an end, even the road from
Akserai to Konia. We got in at 10 o'clock this morning. I found
quantities of letters from you and Father and Hugo and Moll, and was
delighted to have them.

Domnul gives me the first description of the wedding. It
Sounds all very very successful.

ON BOARD THE "IMOGEN," OFF CONSTANTINOPLE,
July 27, 1907

I'm having a mighty fine time, I must tell you. The Ambassador was more
than cordial. Then he insisted on carrying me off to Therapia with
him--the Embassy is there now. So I flew back to my Hotel and packed and
went down to the quay. Up came Hugoenin, the Director of the German Ryl.
So I introduced myself to him, and he pushed me and my box into his
launch and steamed up the Bosphorus till we met Sir Nicholas coming down
to fetch me. This morning I went into C'ple and did a lot of business and
then came back to Therapia to lunch. Now I have gone off with the
O'Conors on their yacht to sail about these waters till Monday. It is
perfectly delightful and they are both extraordinarily kind.

To H.B.
PERA PALACE, CONSTANTINOPLE, Thursday, August 4, 1907.

Today I accomplished the most important object of my visit here--I saw
the Grand Vizier. He is a very great man, is Fetid Pasha. . . .

There are troops of professors and people of that kind here who have all
been to see me. I find it vastly entertaining.

I expeCt I shall be in London about the 7th or 8th and I should be most
grateful if Marie could be sent up to meet me there. I shall have to stay
a day or two to get some clothes.

To F.B.
LONDON, Friday, August 9, 1907.

Today I lunched with Sir Edward and Mr. Haldane--Willie [Tyrrell] told
Sir E. I was here and he quickly asked me to lunch. It was most
interesting and delightful. I'll tell you about it.

Sir Frank [Swettenham) is coming to tea and I dine with Domnul and spend
the balance of the evening, after he goes to the office, with Willie T.

Sir Henry C. B. hasn't sent for me yet--I'm a little surprised, aren't
you? So different from my habits in Constantinople.

To F.B.
CAMBO, NORTHUMBERLAND, Wednesday, September 4, 1907.

I dOn' think I ever saw anything more adorable than Moll's children.
There's no question about Pauline's being pretty,
I think she's quite charming. We have just been spending an hour with
them in their garden trying to photograph them. I don't know that it will
be a great success for there was no sun an one of them was always
crawling busily out of the picture, so that all you saw was the end of
its legs. Then I photographed Moll with them, she looks so beautiful with
them hanging about her. Now we are going to take Pauline with us and look
at the Wallington garden.

To H. B.
LONDON, Saturday, October, 1907.

I have had a wild 24 hours. I worked at the Geog. Soc. All yesterday and
in the evening I went to Red Hill, getting there at 8. A young man (one
of my fellow students-I think his name is Fairweather) met me at the
station and we walked up on to the Common where we met Mr. Reeves. Then
we took observations on stars for two hours. It was wonderfully calm and
warm but the moon was so bright even the big stars were a little
difficult to see. However, I took a number of observations and shall work
them out on Monday. I got back after midnight, very hungry, and this
morning I was back at Red Hill before 10 and spent three hours taking
bearings for a map with Mr. Reeves. That has to be plotted out too on
Monday at the Geog. Soc.

[I wrote to Mr. Reeves in May, 1927, asking him to tell me something of
Gertrude's studies with him. I give here an extract from his reply.

ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
May 21St, 1927.

Dear Lady Bell,
". . . . She came to me for instruction in surveying and astronomical
observations for determining positions just before starting on her great
journey in Arabia 1913-14. I have never had anyone to teach who learned
mor rapidly and took a more intelligent interest in the subject, we had
to deal with. . . .

"Miss Bell's prismatic compass route traverse Made on her remarkable
journeys after she left me, was Plotted from her field books, and
adjusted to her latitudes here by our draughtsmen. I need not say that
her mapping has proved of the greatest value and importance. Her field
books are here in our possession and will be greatly treasured."

All the following year, 1908, she was at home absorbed in writing "A
Thousand and One Churches," the work she wrote in collaboration with Sir
William Ramsay recording their architectural experiences in Asia Minor.

Early in 1909 she made one of her most important desert expeditions, to
the castle of Ukhaidir. It is deplorable that there are no letters from
her to be found about her very important undertaking of the
reconstruction by plans and measurements of this immense castle. She
subsequently wrote a book published by the Clarendon Press in 1914. The
book is a quarto volume 13 inches by ten inches of 168 pages of
letterpress, two maps and 93 plates which included 15 ground plans of her
own planning and 166 photographs taken by herself besides photographs and
plans from other sources. It is dedicated to Dr. Walther Andrae.

As there are no letters remaining about Ukhaidir I quote from Gertrude's
preface. it is too important an enterprise for her record of it to be
omitted altogether. M. Massignon, the French traveller, was the first to
make any record of Ukhaidir, although it had been visited by other
travellers several times.]

"The next visitor to the palace was myself. I left AleppO in February,
1909, and reached Ukhaidir on March 25, travelling by the East bank of
the Euphrates and across the desert from Hit via Kubaisah and Shethathâ.
. . . I published a paper on the vaulting system of the palace in the
Journal of Hellenic Studies for 1910 and I gave a more detailed account
of the building, in the following year (Amurath to Ammrath, p. 140). I
returned to the site in March, 1911, in order to correct my plans and to
take measurements for elevations and sections. Going thence to Babylon, I
found that some members of the 'Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft' who were
engaged upon the excavations there had been to Ukhaidir during the two
years of my absence and were preparing a book upon it. Their book
appeared in 1912 and is referred to frequently in this volume. For their
generosity in allowing me to use some of their architectural drawings, I
tender my grateful thanks, together with my respectful admiration for
their masterly production.

"I feel indeed, that I must apologize for venturing to offer a second
version. . . . But my excuse must be that my work which was almost
completed when the German volume came out, covers not only the ground
traversed by my learned friends in Babylon, but also ground which they
had neither leisure nor opportunity to explore; and further, that I
believe the time has come for a comparative study of the data collected
by myself and others such as is contained in this book. . . .

"With this I must take leave of a field of study which formed for four
years my principal occupation, as well as my chief delight. A subject so
enchanting and so suggestive as the Palace of Ukhaidir is not likely to
present itself more than once in a lifetime, and as I bring this page to
a close I call to mind the amazement with which I first gazed upon its
formidable walls; the romance of my first sojourn within its precincts;
the pleasure, undiminished by familiarity of my return; and the regret
with which I sent back across the sun drenched plain a last greeting to
its distant presence."

[She was in England during the latter half of 1909 and again enjoyed at
Rounton the company of a succession of congenial visitors among them Sir
Frank Lascelles, Sir George Lloyd, P. Loraine, Lady Arthur Russell, Sir
Edwin and Lady Egerton, G. W. Prothero, Sir Valentine Chirol, Sir Ernest
Shackleton, etc.

Gertrude, as may well be imagined, was the pivot of these gatherings and
was always inventing exciting things to do, sometimes, indeed, too
exciting for some of the guests. I have a vivid recollection of her
insisting when the Egertons were with us on having a picnic on the top of
the hill behind Mount Grace. Sir Edwin Egerton, a retired Ambassador, no
longer very active, perhaps, had protested against going for a picnic and
declared there was nothing he disliked more than sitting on the ground.
Gertrude however insisted on his going. But she made many arrangements
for his comfort, and when Sir Edwin arrived at the hill top, he found a
table and chair awaiting him, his cover laid, and everything complete. .
. .

But in spite of the influx of guests that came and went, and her
absorption in her own work in the intervals, she managed to go away on
one or two visits.]

To F.B.
August 17th, 1909. [P.S. only.]

I'm drawing my castle [Ukhaidir] and it is coming out beautifully. I can
scarcely bear to leave it for a moment.

To F.B. s
September 13th, 1909.

I've finished the chapter for Strzygowski-only blocked out of course,
there is a lot more work to be done on it, but the worst part is over and
what is more I think it's rather neat. I've been so absorbed in it that I
haven't had a moment to think of anything else. Now I'm going for a walk
on the moors to forget about it till after tea.

I fear I shall have to come straight home and not go to Moll yet. Next
week I must write an article for Mr. Prothero and even if I get home on
Friday it leaves me very little time. I would rather go to her after it's
done, when I shall be through this overwhelming batch of work that has to
be done in such a hurry.

She writes from Ardgowan, Greenock, in September, she was staying with
Sir Hugh and Lady Alice Shaw Stewart.]

To F. B.
ARDGOWAN, September 15th, 1909.

Mr. prothero, would rather not have my article till Jan. an immense
relief to me, especially as the Hellenic Soc. want me to lecture on
November 9th and that will take a vast preparation. By the way Mr. P.
talks of being in Yorkshire early in October, and I've asked whether he
cannot come to us, saying I know you would endorse the suggestion. He is
in Scotland This is one of the most beautiful places I ever saw. There is
an amusing party, the Gerald Balfours, Rayleighs, Bear Warre and others.
The men go shooting every day. As for Lord Rayleigh I think he is very
alarming, but he took me in to dinner yesterday and told me most exciting
things suited to my understanding about radium. He opens doors into a
wonderful unknown world which I shall never be able to walk in however.
My hostess is delightful. . . .

[Hugo was ordained at Ripon on September 19th, 1909.)

I don't think I shall go to Ripon. I do feel so entirely out of that
atmosphere. Of course don't say that to Hugo, I would not wound his
feelings for the world, and if you think I shall do so by not going, I
will.

To F. B.
LONDON, October 5th, 1909.

I went straight to the office and had an interview with a very capable
lady who used to be the organising secretary of one of the Suffrage
societies and has seen the error of her ways and wants to work for us. I
fancy she will make an excellent and very sensible speaker and I intend
to follow the matter up.

When I came in I found a telegram from George Lloyd
Asking me to lunch to-day so I rang him up and asked him to dine with me.
He came back yesterday. I asked Willie T. to come too but he was busy and
is coming in after dinner. So I shall have a good all round view of the
crisis.

[During this year the women's suffrage agitation took greater
proportions. Gertrude was strongly opposed to it. I have found no letters
from herself about it but Lady Jersey who was Chairman of the Women's
Anti-Suffrage Committee sends me the following note, respecting
Gertrude's connection with it.

From the Dowager Countess of Jersey.

"In the summer of 1908 Gertrude became interested in the movement
against the extension of the Parliamentary Franchise to Women, and joined
Mrs. Humphry Ward, myself and others in the formation of a Women's
Anti-suffrage League. The women received throughout practical assistance
from men, among whom Mr. John Massie was the able advisor and Hon.
Treasurer. After two or three years Lord Curzon and Lord Cromer formed a
larger League into which the Women's Society was ultimately merged.

"In the initial steps and until her departure for her great Arabian
journey, Gertrude displayed her usual delightful energy and powers of
organisation. . . . It is impossible here to name the many keen women who
rendered devoted assistance. It was soon realised that defence was harder
than attack. . . . But in Gertrude at least there was never any want of
spirit, and her unfailing good temper and direct common sense encouraged
and inspired those who sometimes felt the task of opposition a hard one.

"In the Great War Gertrude's unrivalled experience of the East
immediately marked her out for important spheres of action and her
colleagues in the Anti-Suffrage cause had regretfully to abandon the hope
of welcomIng her back to their counsels; they however are among the many
who, while mourning her death, are proud of her life of achievement."]




CHAPTER XII


1910-1911


ITALY-ACROSS THE SYRIAN DESERT


(In these letters from Rome, Gertrude is again in places too well known
to make it worthwhile to give her descriptions of them. I quote however
some personal extracts, which show her keenness and thoroughness of
study.

She goes from Rome to Spalato.

She goes to Dalmatia and then back to Spalato where she is shown the
palace of Diocletian by Monsignor Bulic, Director of Antiquities, "the
most charming old man imaginable."

She goes to Zara, Polo, Ravenna, deep in study everywhere with experts,
and then feels she must turn homewards.]

To F. B.
ROME, February 28th, 1910.

I have decided to stay on here another week with Eugénie (Mrs. Arthur
Strong]. I have got a very nice room in her pension. But I shall miss
Father dreadfully. We have had the most interesting ten days together and
I hope he has enjoyed them as much as I have. He is such an ideal
companion. With the archaeologists he is in his element, and he
disconcerts the learned by extremely perdinent questions! but they are
all delighted with him and I think he puts them upon their mettle and
that they are far more interesting when he is there. We have made several
new friends. The head of the German school Dr. Delbrück is
extraordinarily able and we are going to spend a long morning together on
Thursday in his library and discuss vaults. But our chief friends are the
dear Wyndhams, who are darlings both of them. Robert Hichens turned up.
at my lecture this afternoon--Oh, I think the lecture went quite well and
I had a very distinguished audience of professors. Dr. Ashby at the head
of the British School spends his time in trotting round with us.

Well it's all being quite as amusing as we meant it to be.

To F.B.
ROME, March, 1910.

It is most kind of you to agree to my staying here, and I
want to tell you that I feel an awful beast about the dinner party. But
at the same time I do think another fortnight here will be of immense
value to me. Even in this last week I have begun to get hold of things.
To-day I worked at Architectural decoration all the morning, partly out
of doors and partly in the German Institute where I went to read for an
hour before lunch. In the afternoon I joined Miss Van Demen at the Baths
of Caracalla and looked at them all the afternoon. They are very
difficult and I have not got them quite straightened out so I shall have
another day at them tomorrow. I can't tell you what a delightful
sensation it is to begin to understand these things. I feel so excited
about them that I can scarcely bring myself to come in to lunch. I came
back at 5 for Eugénie's lecture, a very good one and very helpful to me.

To F.B.
ROME, March, 1910.

When my literary remains come to be published the letters from Rome will
not occupy an important place.! ween have not a minute to write but I
must seize spaces between archaeologists to tell you what I am doing. . .
. Yesterday morning I spent three hours with Delbrück who gave me the
most wonderful disquisition I have ever heard on the history of
architecture. It was a regular lecture. He had prepared all his notes and
all his books to illustrate what he was saying. He is a very remarkable
man and as he talked I got the hang of things that had always remained
mysteries to me. He ended by saying that it was absurd that I should be
so ignorant of the Roman monuments and by telling me that I ought to come
here for 6 weeks to study. He is perfectly right and I'm contemplating
quite seriously whether I will not come in Oct. and Nov. and study. I
would like to do it before I go back to the East. It is a bore but after
all 2 months is a short time in one's life. If it would give one a real
hold of Roman problems it would be infinitely well spent. We'll talk of
this when I come home.

To F.B.
ROME, 1910.

. . . . I went to the Capitol Museum and worked at ornament over which I
grew so excited that I flew up to the Terme and went through all the
ornaments there with immense satisfaction. . . . . .

To F. B.
1910.

You were really very kind not to mind my staying in Rome. I felt when I
got your letter about the dinner party that I ought to come home at once,
and I shall think of you tomorrow evening. Meantime my regrets are
tempered by having learnt so much. I have been working like a slave and
have got to the bottom of Diocletian's baths this last day or two. I have
also been working at ornament and find to my joy that the moment one
begins to look at it with care a regular sequence is apparent and the
things that all seemed an immense muddle fell into a quite comprehensible
history. All this has left me very little time for anything else. . . .

To F. B.
ROME, 1910.

I called on a delightful old Italian, Signor Sordini. We sat and talked
of East and West with the completest accord and tnade great friends--all
in Italian, mind you. I talk it disgracefully badly however and I know I
constantly call people Thou in my anxiety to call them It [sic.]

To H.B. and F.B.
RAVENNA, 1910.

. . . . As for London, no, I don't expect I shall be there much. I must
fall back to the book and I think that can be written best at home. You
see I don't want to waste any more time than I can help--the book! . . .
.

[This was 'Amurath to Amurath.'

Before going to England she goes to Munich to See the exhibition of
pictures. There she receives a letter from W. Heinemann.)

To F.B.
MUNICH, 1910.

. . . . Then I came in to grapple with a letter from Heinemann who wants
me to reply by telegram to the terms he offered me for my book and to
agree to have it ready early in November. I have agreed, but I expect we
shall have the devil's own hurry over it and so I have written to him.

The exhibition is wonderful. I am very glad that I am alone here so that
I can really work at it.

To F.B.
MUNICH, 1910.

I have had these evenings when I have been alone to write an article on
the Persian and Arab Poets for Mr. Richmond. I hope it is all right. I
think it is, and I am glad to have it off my mind.

To F.B.
january 9th, 1911.

Two things I want in Rome.

You know the round church of Santa Costanza) outside the walls? Next to
it is the little basilica of St. Agnese which has in the inside a double
storey of columns on either side of the nave. The capitals of the lower
story are acanthus captals with tiny garlands hung over the corners. I
want a photograph of one of these, showing the garland clearly, for it is
the only example I know in Rome of the garlanded capital of the early
Christian monuments at Diarbekr and in the Tur Abdin. The photograph does
not, I think, exist. But Eugénie's photographer would take it for me for
a few francs. I shall want it as a point for comparison when I write my
forthcoming work about the Tur Abdin.

The second thing is in the Museum of the Terme. I was shown it by the
curator, Paribene, who took Eugénie and me around. It is Part of some
architectural fragments from a tomb of the Antonines found some way out
of Rome, near Tivoli, I think. When I saw these fragments, they were not
yet being exhibited to the public. Paribene said they had to be sorted
and set up. The interesting thing about them was that some of the
decoration was the acanthus spinosus, the fat jagged acanthus, not the
broad, flat-leaved one. Now the earliest example I know of the acanthus
spinosus, except this tomb, is at Spalato--50 years later than the
fragments at the Terme. It is undoubtedly an Asiatic motive (the plant
itself is Asiatic) and it points to a school of Asiatic stone-cutters
having existed in Rome in the time of the Antonines--so I think. If
Paribene would be so kind, I should like to have a good photograph of one
of these fragments, showing exactly that particular kind of acanthus
decoration. It is rather an important point which I should like some day
to use. Here again, the photographs would probably have to be taken
specially for me. Eugénie knows the fragments in the Terme--we saw them
together--and she could get permission from Paribene to have them
photographed, if she would be so good. . . .

(this letter from Gertrude was written on board ship on her way to the
East on February 9th 1911. Her father and I were in Rome. It shows her
thoroughness of study, and her determination to verify every detail of
architecture. The photographs she asked for were sent to her.)

To F. B.
BEYRouT, January 16th, 1911.

. . . ..I went off to the Jesuit College where I was received with open
arms by the two librarians. We had a long talk and I told them all I was
going to do, and they gave me some useful introductions to bishops in the
Tur Abdin. And then we went over the printing establishment. I found one
compositor setting up the Arabic text which Sir Charles Lyall is bringing
out, much perplexed over some indecipherable English words which I
succeeded in reading for him. He only knew Arabic you see. They are
sending me a lot of their publications, the two fathers of the library (I
always send them my books) so they will arrive at Rounton some time and
must be kept for me. With all this I have spent a most delightful
morning, as you may imagine. You remember I told you that my delightful
Sheikh was in prison on a charge of murder. Fattuh tells me they
succeeded in getting him out, by a free use of my testimony
to his character! I'm delighted. He'll be able to murder someone else
now. What a country! Already I feel my standards of virtue entirely
changed.

To F.B.
DAMASCUS, January 18, 1911.

. . . . I thought I had better begin to see about my journey
so I went off to the quarter where the sons of Abdul Kadir live. They are
the great people here and if any one knows the desert, it is the Amir
Umar, Abdul Kadir's son, and the Amir Takir, his grandson. I found them
both in the Amir Takir's hous, and we had a long talk, the upshot of
which is that the Amir Takir is going to seek out a sheikh of the Wahed
Ali, who is now in Damascus, and we are all to meet and discuss matters.
The Emir Ali is the eldest son of Abdul Kadir. He is a great big splendid
looking man with hair and beard as black as coal, and that directness of
address which is very typical of the Abdul Kadirs.

Now I must tell you another old friend has turned up, Selim Tabit. I
found him waiting for me when I came in and we went to a neighbouring
hotel where he lodges and found there the Amir Umar and the Amir Takir
whom I presently took aside and conversed at length about my journey. All
is going well, and in a day or two I hope we shall see our way clear.
It's still pretty cold, but the weather is improving. I have just come in
from dining with Selim Tabit. He is, I must say, a very amusing
companion. He told me the gosssip of Syria by the yard and as the dinner
drew to a close it occurred to me to ask after my old friend, Muhammad
Pasha Jerudi.
"Oh," said Tabit Bey, "he has just come in from Jerud--shall we go and
see him?" So we stepped round to old Jerudi's house. He was sitting all
alone in a great coat, running a rosary through his fingers and with
nothing else to amuse him. The night was bitter cold and the room, which
was all window, was warmed by a charcoal brazier. So we sat down and
Tabit Bey talked uninterruptedly for an hour and a half. I doubt if
Jerudi can read, but anyway Selim is better than any newspaper. He
related what was happening in Macedonia and what in the Yemen, the latest
news from the Jebel Druze and from Persia. It interested me just as much
as it interested jerudi and by the time we left I found that I had even
forgotten that I was shivering with cold.

So you see Damascus is as delightful as ever.

To F.B.
DAMASCUS, January 27th, 1911.

I shall not be able to post a letter to you for a long time because I
shall not be in the way of a post-office, but when I get to Hit I will
send word to our consul in Bagdad and ask him to telegraph to you,
"Arrived Hit." then you will know that all is well and that I shall be in
Bagdad about a fortnight later.

To F. B.
DAMASCUS, February 1st, 1911.

. . . .The first reviews of my book have come. . . . But now the
reviewers all stick at the archaeology (well, they will have to bear it)
and not one of them has said anything about my fellow travellers, Cyrus
and Julian, whom I think I treated rather well. There is little
satisfaftion to be got out of reviewers, whether they praise or blame,

To F. B.
DAMASCUS, February 7th, 1911.

We have been blocked up by snow on all sides, all the rlys.stopped, no
posts, no nothing. At last the spring has come and we are off. I'm glad
you did not send a photograph to the Daily Graphic. I have had an
interesting time, though too much of it. I've done some work at
inscriptions, for van Berchem and I've seen all the world. The best of
all is the delightful old Arab Sheikh who has helped me with my journey.
I pay him calls at his house after sunset and find always some twenty or
thirty people there from every corner of the Moslem world. One night I
was sitting there as usual when he rose and said to the company: "Will
you pray?" It was the hour of the evening prayer. His great nephew
brought out white felts from an inner room, spread them on the floor
facing Mecca and all the guests stood up and prayed. After telling me all
the news of the desert he asks me whether I think there are diamond mines
there and whether gold--questions difficult to answer.

To F.B.
DUMEIR, February 9th.

We're off. And now I must tell you the course of the negotiations which
preceded this journey. First as you know I went to the sons of Abdul
Kadir and they called up Sheikh Muhammad Bassam and asked him to help me.
I called on him the following evening. He said it was too early, the
desert camels had not come in to Damascus, there was not a dulul (riding
camel) to be had and I must send out to a village a few hours away and
buy. This was discouraging as I could not hope to get them for less than
15 pounds apiece, I wanted five and I should probably have to sell them
for an old song at Hit. Next day Fattuh went down into the bazaar and
came back with the news that he and Bassam between them had found an
owner of camels ready to hire for 7 apiece. It was dear but I closed with
the offer. All the arrangements were made and I dispatched the caravan by
the Palmyra road. Then followed misfortune. The snow closed down upon us,
the desert post did not come in for three weeks and till it came we were
without a guide. Then Bassam invented another scheme. The old sheikh of
Kubeisa near Hit (you know the place) was in Damascus and wanted to
return home; he would journey with us and guide us. So all was settled
again-

But the sheikh Muhammad en Nawan made continuous delays, we were
helpless, for we could not cross the Syrian desert without a guide and
still the post did not come in. The snow in the desert had been without
parallel. At last Muhamma en Nawan was ready. I sent off my camels to
Dumeir yesterday (it is the frontier village of the desert) and myself
went to sleep at the English hospital whence it was easier to slip off
unobserved. For I am supposed to be travelling to Palmyra and Deir with
four zaptiehs. This morning Fattuh and I drove here, it took us four
hours, and the Sheikh came on his dulul. The whole party is assembled in
the house of a native of Kubeisa, I am lodged in a large windowless room
spread with felts, a camel is stabled at my door, and over the way Fattuh
is cooking my dinner. One has to put on clogs to walk across the yard, so
inconceivably muddy it is, and in the village one can't walk at all, one
must ride. I got in about one and lunched, after which I mounted and went
out to see some ruins a mile or two away. It was a big Roman fortified
camp. And beyond it the desert stretched away to the horizon. That is
where we go to-morrow. It's too heavenly to be back in all this again,
Roman forts and Arab tents and the wide desert. All the women here
address me as Hajji. It is very gratifying. Every few minutes someone
comes into my room and enquires after my health. I reply politely:
"Praise God!" and he leaves me. We have got for a guide the last desert
postman who came in three days ago, having been delayed nine days by
snow. His name is Ali.

Syrian Desert February 10th. There is in Dumeir a very beautiful temple,
rather like one Of the temples at Baalbek. As soon as the sun was up I
went out and took some photographs of it, but I was ready long before the
camels were loaded; the first day's packing is always a long business,
Finally we got off soon after nine, a party of fifteen, myself, the
sheikh, Fattuh, Ali and my four camel men, and the other seven merchants
who are going across to the Euphrates to buy sheep. In half an hour we
passed the little Turkish guard house which is the last outpost of
civilisation and plunged into the wilderness. Our road lay before us over
a flat expanse bounded to the N. by the range of barren hills that trend
away to the N.E. and divide us from the Palmyran desert, and to the S. by
a number of distant tells, volcanic I should think. I rode my mare all
day, for I can come and go more easily upon her, but when we get into the
heart of the desert I shall ride a camel. it's less tiring. Three hours
from Dumeir we came to some water pools which are dry in summer and here
we filled r skins, for where we are camping there is no water. There was
a keen wind, rising sometimes into a violent storm which brought gusts of
hail upon us, but fortunately it was behind us so that it did not do us
much harm. Late in the afternoon another hail storm broke over us and
clearing away left the distant hills white with snow. We had come to a
place where there was a little scrub which would serve as firewood, and
here we camped under the lee of some rising ground. Our companions have
three big Arab tents, open in front, and we our two English tents, and
oddly enough we are quite warm in spite of the rain and cold wind. I
don't know why it is that one seldom feels cold in the desert; perhaps
because of the absence of damp. The stony, sandy ground never becomes
muddy. A little grass is beginning to grow and as you look over the wide
expanse in front of you it is almost green. The old sheikh is lamenting
that we are not in a house in Damascus (but I think one's first camp in
the Hamad is worth a street full of houses); "By the head of your
father!" he said, "how can you leave the garden of the world and come out
into this wilderness?" Perhaps it does require explanation.

February 11 th. But to-day's experiences will not serve to justifY my
attitude. When I went to bed a hurricane was blowing. I woke from time to
time and heard the good Fattuh hammering in the tent pegs, and wondered
if any tent would stand up in that gale and also what was going to happen
next. an hour before dawn Fattuh called to me and asked if I was cold. I
woke in surprise and putting my hand out found the waterproof valise that
covered me wet with snow. "It is like the sea," cried Fattuh. Therefore I
lighted a candle and saw that it had drifted into my tent a foot deep. I
dug down, found my boots and hat and put them under the valise; I had
gone to bed as I stood and put all my extra clothing under the Wolsey
valise for warmth so that nothing came to harm. At dawn Fattuh dragged
out the waterproof sheet that covers the ground and with it most of the
snow. The snow was lying in great drifts where the wind had blown it, it
was banked up against our tents and those of the Arabs and every hour or
so the wind brought a fresh storm upon us. We cleared it out of our tents
and settled to a day as little uncomfortable as we could manage to make
it. In the afternoon seven Arabs of the Heseneh rode in in a furious
sleet storm. I was busy cutting firewood at the time. We built up the
fire in Sheikh Muhammad's tent, gave them coffee and dates and sent them
on a little comforted. They had spent the night out, on the way to a
distant camp. At last, atsunset the wind dropped, the barometer rose and
we pray for the weather to-morrow. Most of the snow has melted already,
and left the desert spongy.

February 12th. We have got out into smooth waters at last. You can
imagine what I felt like when I looked out of my tent before
dawn and saw a clear sky and the snow almost vanished. But the cold!
Everything in my tent was frozen stiff--yesterday's
damp skirt was like a board, my gloves like iron, my sponges--well, I'll
draw a veil over my sponges--I did not use them much, Nor was my toilette
very complicated as I had gone to bed in my clothes. The temperature
after sunrise was 30, and there was a biting wind blowing sharply from
the west. I spent an hour trudging backwards and forwards over the frozen
desert trying to pretend I was warm while the camels were loaded. The
frozen tents took a world of time to pack-with frozen fingers too. We
were off soon after eight, but for the first hour the wet desert was like
a sheet of glass and the camels slipped about and fell down with much
groaning and moaning. They are singularly unfitted to cope with
emergencies. For the next hour we plodded over a slippery melting
surface, for which they are scarcely better suited, then suddenly we got
out of the snow zone and all was well. I got on to my camel and rode her
for the rest of the day. She is the most charming of animals. You ride a
camel with only a halter which you mostly tie loosely round the peak of
your saddle. A tap with your camel switch on one side of her neck or the
other tells her the direction you want her to go, a touch with your heels
sends her on, but when you wish her to sit down you have to hit her
lightly and often on the neck saying at the same time: "Kh kh kh kh,"
that's as near as I can spell it. The big soft saddle, the 'shedad,' is
so easy and comfortable that you never tire. You loll about and eat your
lunch and observe the landscape through your glasses: you might almost
sleep. So we swung on through an absolutely flat plain till past five,
when we came to a shallow valley with low banks on either side and here
we camped. The name of the place is Aitha, there is a full moon and it is
absolutely still except for the sound of the pounding of coffee beans in
the tents of my travelling companions. I could desire nothing pleasanter.

February 13 th. Don't think for a moment that it is warm weather yet. At
5:30 to-day (which was the hour of my breakfast) the thermometer stood at
20, but there was no wind. We were off soon after six. The sun rose
gloriously half an hour later and we began to unfreeze. It is very cold
riding on a camel, I don't know why unless it has to do with her extreme
height.

We rode on talking cheerfully of our various adventures till after ten
which is the time when my companions lunch, so
I lunch too. The camels were going rather languidly for they were
thirsty, not having drunk since they left Damascus. They won't drink when
it is very cold. But our guide, Ali, promised us some pools ahead, good
water, he said. When we got there we found that some Arabs had camped not
far off and nothing remained of the pools but trampled mud.

The extraordinary folly of Bedouin habits is almost past belief. They
know that the pools collect only under a sloping face of rock; if they
would clear out the earth below they would have good clear water that
would last them for weeks; not only do they neglect to do that but they
don't even clear out the mud which gets deeper and deeper till there is
no pool at all. So we had to go searching round for another pool and at
last we found one about a mile away with a very little water in it, but
enough for the riding camels, my mare and our water skins. It is
exceedingly muddy however. We got into camp about four not far from some
Arab tents. This is our plan of action: first of all we all set to work
to put up our tents, my part of the proceeding being to unpack and set up
my camp furniture. By the time I have done that and taken off my boots
Fattuh has tea ready. My companions scatter over the plain with axes to
gather firewood which is a little dry plant called Shik, six inches high
at the highest. We speak of it as the trees. A few strokes with the pick
makes the square hearth in the tents and in a moment a bundle of shik is
blazing in it, the sheikh has settled down to his narghileh and coffee
making has begun. We never stop for five minutes but we pile up a heap of
shik and warm our hands at the bonfire. We seek out for our camping place
a bit of low ground. When we get near the place Ali purposes to camp in,
the old sheikh is all for stopping. "This room is fair," says he looking
at a little curve in the bank. "Wallahi oh sheikh," says Ali "the next
room is better; there are more trees." So we go on to the next allotted
chamber. It is a wonderfully interesting experience this. Last night they
all sat Up half the night because my mare pricked her ears and they
thought she heard robbers. They ran up the banks and cried out "Don't
come near! we have soldiers with us and camels." It seemed to me when I
heard of it (I was asleep at the time) a very open deceit but it seems to
have served the purpose for the thief retired. As we rode this morning
Ali
detected hoof marks on the hard ground and was satisfied it was the mare
of our enemy.

February 14th. What I accuse them of is not that they choose to live
differently from us: for my part I like that; but that they do their own
job so very badly. I told you of the water yesterday now I will give you
another instance. Everybody in the desert knows that camels frequently
stray away while feeding, yet it occurs to no one to put a man to watch
over them. No when we get into camp they are just turned off to feed
where, they like and go where they will. Consequently yesterday at dusk
four of our baggage camels were missing and a riding camel belonging to
one of the Damascene sheep merchants and everyone had to turn out to look
for them. I could not do anything so I did not bother and while I was
dining the sheikh looked in and said our camels had come back--let us
thank God! It is certain that no one else could claim any credit. But the
riding camel was not to be found, nor had she come back when I was ready
to start at 4:30 this morning. We decided to wait till dawn and that
being two hours off and the temperature 30 I went to bed again and to
sleep. At dawn there was no news of her, so we started, leaving word with
some Arabs where we were gone. She has not yet appeared, nor do I think
she will. I was very sorry for the merchant, who now goes afoot, and very
much bored by the delay. For we can't make it up at the other end because
the camels have to eat for at least two hours before sunset. They eat
shik; so does my little mare, she being a native of the desert. At ten
o'clock we came to some big water pools, carefully hollowed out "in the
first days" said Ali, with the earth banked up high round them, but now
half filled with mud and the banks broken. Still they hold a good deal of
water in the winter and the inhabitants of the desert for miles around
were driving their sheep and camels there to drink. We too filled our
water skins. We got into camp at three, near some Arab tents. The sheikh,
a charming old man, has just paid us a long visit. We sat round
Muhammad's coffee fire and talked. It was all the more cheerful because
the temperature is now 46--a blessed change from 26. My sponges have
unfrozen for the first time. We have got up into the high flat plain
which is the true Hamad, the Smooth, and the horizon from my tent door is
as round as the horizon of the sea. The sharp dry air is wonderfully
delicious: I think every day of the Syrian desert must prolong your life
by two years. Sheikh Muhammad has confided to me that he has three wives,
one in Damascus, one in Kubeisa and one in Bagdad, but the last he has
not seen for twenty-three years. " She has grown old, oh lady--by the
truth of God! and she never bore but one daughter."

February 15th. We were off at five this morning in bitter frost. Can you
picture the singular beauty of these moonlit departures! the frail Arab
tents falling one by one, leaving the camp fires blazing into the night;
the dark masses of the kneeling camels; the shrouded figures binding up
the loads, shaking the ice from the water skins, or crouched over the
hearth for a moment's warmth before mounting. "Yallah, yallah, oh
children!" cries the old sheikh, knocking the ashes out of his
Narghileh, "Are we ready?" So we set out across the dim wilderness,
Sheikh Muhammad leading on his white dulul. The sky ahead reddens, and
fades, the moon pales and in sudden splendour the sun rushes up over the
rim of the world. To see with the eyes is good, but while I wonder and
-rejoice to look upon this primeval existence, it does not seem to be a
new thing; it is familiar, it is a part of inherited memory. After an
hour and a half of marching we came to the pool of Khafiyeh and since
there is no water for three days ahead we had to fill all our empty
skins. But the pool was a sheet of ice, the water skins were frozen and
needed careful handlingfor if you unfold them they crack and break-and we
lighted fire and set to work to thaw them and ourselves. I sent the slow
baggage camels on, and with much labour we softened the skins and
contrived to fill them. The sun was now up
and a more barren prospect than it revealed you cannot Imagine. The Hamad
stretched in front of us, flat and almost absolutely bare; for several
hours we rode over a wilderness Of flints on which nothing grew. It was
also the coldest day we have had, for the keen frosty wind blew straight
into our faces. We stopped once to wait for the baggage camels, and
warmed ourselves at a bonfire meanwhile, and again We
stopped for half an hour to lunch. We watched our shadow catch us up and
march ahead of us as the sun sank westward and at three o'clock we
pitched camp in the stony waste. yet I can only tell you that we have
spent a very pleasant day. The old sheikh never stops talking, bless him,
he orders us all about when we pitch and break up camp, but as Fattuh and
I know much more about the pitching of our tents than he does, we pay no
attention. "Oh Fattuh," said I this evening when he had given us endless
advice, "do you pity the wife in Bagdad?" "Effendim," said Fattuh, "she
must be exceedingly at rest." Still for my part I should be sorry not to
see Sheikh Muhammad for twenty-three years.

February 16th. After I had gone to bed last night I heard Ali shouting to
all whom it might concern: "We are English soldiers! English soldiers!"
But there was no one to hear and the desert would have received with
equal indifference the information that we were Roman legionaries. We
came to the end of the inhospitable Hamad to-day and the desert is once
more diversified by a slight rise and fall of the ground. It is still
entirely waterless, so waterless that in the spring when the grass grows
thick the Arabs cannot camp here. All along our way there is proof of
former water storage-I should think Early Moslem, marking the Abbassid
post road. The pools have been dug out and banked up, but they are now
full of earth and there is very little water in them. We are camped
to-night in what is called a valley. It takes a practised eye to
distinguish the valley from the mountain, the one is so shallow and the
other so low. The valleys are often two miles wide and you can
distinguish them best by the fact that there are generally more "trees"
in them than on the heights. I have made great friends with one of the
sheep merchants. His name is Muhiyyed Din. He is coming back in the
Spring over this road with his lambs. They eat as they go and travel four
hours a day. "It must be a dull job," said I. "Eh wallah!" he replied,
but if the spring grass is good the master of the lambs rejoices to see
them grow fat." He travels over the whole desert, here and in
Mesopotamia, buying sheep and camels; to Nejd too, and to Egypt, and he
tells me delightful tales of his adventures. What with one thing and
another the eight or nine hours of camel riding a day are never dull. But
Truth of God! the cold!

February 17th. We were running short of water this morning. The water
difficulty has been enhanced by the cold. The standing pools are
exceedingly shallow so that when there is an inch of ice over them little
remains but mud; what the water is like that you scrape up under these
conditions I leave to the imagination Besides the mud, it has a sharp
acrid taste of skins after forty-eight hours in them--not unhealthy I
believe, but neither is it pleasant. So it happened that we had to cut
down rather to the south today instead of going to the well of Kara which
we could not have reached this evening. Sheikh Muhammad was much agitated
at this programme. He expected to find the camps of tribes whom he knew
at and near the well, and he feared that by coming to the south of them
we might find ourselves upon the path of a possible raiding party of
Arabs whom he did not know coming up from the south. Ali tried to
reassure him, saying that the chances were againsst raiding parties
(good, please God!) and that we were relying upon God. But the Sheikh was
not to be comforted. "Life of God! what is this talk! To God is the
command! we are in the Shamuyyeh where no one is safe--Face of God!" He
is master of a wonderful variety of pious ejaculations. So we rode for an
hour or two (until we forgot about it) carefully scanning the horizon for
ghazus; it was just as well that we had this to occupy us, for the whole
day's march was over ground as flat as a board. It had been
excruciatingly cold in the early morning but about midday the wind
shifted round to the South and we began to feel the warmth of the sun.
For the first time we shed our fur coats, and the lizards came out of
their holes. Also the horizon was decorated with fantastic mirage which
greatly added to the enjoyment of looking for ghazus. An almost
imperceptible rise in the ground would from afar stand up above the solid
earth as if it were the high back of a camel. We saw tents with men
beside them pitched on the edge of mirage lakes and when at last we
actually did come to a stretch of shallow Water, it was a long time
before I could believe that it was not imaginary. I saw how the
atmospheric delusion worked by watching some gazelles. They galloped away
over the plain just ordinary gazelles, but when they came to the mirage
they suddenly got up on to stilts and looked the size of camels. It is
excessively bewildering to be deprived of the use of one's
eyes in this way. We had a ten hours' march to reach the water by which
we are camped. It lies in a wide shallow basin of mud, most of it is
dried up, but a few pools remain in the deeper parts. The Arabs use some
sort of white chalky stone--is it chalk?--to precipitate the mud. We have
got some with us. We boil the water, powder the chalk and put it in and
it takes nearly all the mud down to the bottom. Then we pour off the
water.

February 18th. We were pursued all day by a mad wind which ended by
bringing a shower of sleet upon us while we were getting into camp. In
consequence of the inclemency of the weather I had the greatest
difficulty in getting the Sheikh and the camel drivers to leave their
tent and they were still sitting over their coffee fire when we and the
Damascene merchants were ready, to start. Inspired of God I pulled out
their tent pegs and I brought their roof about their ears--to the great
joy of all, except those who were sitting under it. So we got off half an
hour before dawn and after about an hour's riding dropped down off the
smooth plain into an endless succession of hills and deep valleys--when I
say deep they are about 200 feet deep and they all run north into the
hollow plain of Kara. I much prefer this sort of country to the endless
flat and it Is quite interesting sitting a camel down a stony descent.
The unspeakable devilish Wind was fortunately behind us--Call upon the
Prophet! but it did blow!

February 20th. We marched yesterday thirteen and a half hours without
getting Anywhere. We set off at five in a delicious still night with a
temperature of 36--it felt quite balmy. The sun rose clear and beautiful
as we passed through the gates of our valley into a wide low plain--we
were to reach the Wady which is the father of all valleys in this desert,
in ten hours, and the little ruin of Muheiwir in half an hour more and
there was to be plentiful clear water. We were in good spirits as you may
imagine; the sheikh sang songs of Nejd and Ali instructed me in all the
desert roads. We rode on and on. At two o'clock I asked Ali whether it
were two hours to Muheiwir? "Nore," said he. "Three?" said I. "Oh lady,
more." "Four?" I asked with a little sinking of heart. "Wallahi, not so
much." We rode on over low hills and hollow plains. At five we dropped
into the second of the valleys el Ud. By this time Fattuh and I were on
ahead and Ali was anxiously scanning the landscape from every high rock.
The Sheikh had sat down to smoke a narghileh while the baggage camels
came up. "My lady," said Fattuh, "I do not
Think we shall reach water to-night." And the whole supply of water which
we had was about a cupful in my flask. We went on for another half hour
down the valley and finally, in concert with Ali, selected a spot for a
camp. It was waterless, but, said he, the water was not more than two
hours off: he would take skins and fetch some, and meantime the starving
camels would eat trees. But when the others came up, the
Father of Camels, Abdullah, he from whom we hired our beasts, protested
that he must have water to mix the camel meal at night (they eat a kind
of dough) and rather against r Judgment we went on. We rode an hour
further, by which time it was pitch dark. Then Muhiyyed Din came up to me
and said that if by chance we were to meet a ghazu in the dark night, it
might go ill with us. That there was reason in this was admitted by all;
we dumped down where we stood, In spite of the darkness Fattuh had my
tent up before you could wink, while I hobbled my mare and hunted among
the Camel loads for my bed. No one else put up a tent; they drew the
camels together and under the shelter they gave made a fire of what trees
they could find, Fattuh and I divided the water in my flask into two
parts; with half we made some tea which he and I shared over some tinned
meat and some bread; the other half we kept for the next morning When I
shared it with the sheikh. We were none of us thirsty really; this
weather does not make you thirsty. But my poor little mare had not drunk
for two days, and she whinnied to everyone she saw. The last thing I
heard before I went to sleep was the good Fattuh reasoning with her.
"There is no water," he was saying. "There is none. Ma fi, ma fi." Soon
after five he woke me up. I put on my boots, drank the tea he brought
(having sent half to the poor old sheikh, who had passed the night under
the lee of his camel) and went out into a cheerless daybreak. The sky was
heavy with low-hanging clouds, the thermometer stood at 34, as we mounted
our camels a faint and rather dismal glow in the east told us that the
sun was rising. It was as well that we had not tried to reach water the
night before. We rode to-day for six and a half hours before we got to
rain pools in the Wady Hauran, and an hour more to Muheiwir and a couple
of good wells in the valley bed. For the first four hours our way lay
across barren levels; after a time we saw innumerable camels pasturing
near the bare horizon and realised that we must be nearing the valley:
there is no water anywhere but in the Hauran and all the tents of the
Deleim are gathered near it. Then we began to descend through dry and
stony watercourses and at midday found ourselves at the bottom of the
great valley, and marched along the edge of a river of stones with a few
rain Pools lying in it. So we came to Muheiwir which is a small ruined
fort, and here we found two men of the Deleim with a flock Their of
sheep--the first men we have seen for four days. there camp is about
three miles away. Under the ruined fort there are some deep springs in
the bed of the stream, and by them camped, feeling that we needed a few
hours' rest after all our exertions. The sheikh had lighted his coffee
fire while I Was taking a first cursory view of the ruin. "Oh lady" he
cried "honour us." I sat down and drank a cup of coffee. "Where" said he,
looking at me critically, "where is thy face in Damascus and where thy
face here?" And I am bound to say that his remark was not without
justification. But after ten days of frost and wind and sun what would
you have? The clouds have all cleared away--sun and water and ruins, the
heart of man can desire no more. The sheikh salutes you.

February 21st. We got off at four this morning and made a twelve hours'
stage. It was freezing a little when we started, the moon rode high on
the shoulder of the Scorpion and was not strong enough to extinguish
him--this waning moon has done us good service. It took us two hours to
climb up out of the Wady Hauran. I was talking to Muhiyyed Din when the
sheikh came up, and said "Oh lady, speech before dawn is not good." He
was afraid of raising some hidden foe. Reckless courage is not his
characteristic. We have camped under a low bank, selecting carefully the
east side of it so that our fires can be seen only by the friendly Deleim
to the east of us. We are nowhere tonight--just out in the open
wilderness which has come to feel so homelike. Four of the sheep
merchants left us yesterday hearing that the sheikhs with whom they deal
were camped near at hand, for each man deals every year with the same
sheikh. If you could see the western sky with the evening star burning in
it, you would give thanks--as I do.

February 22nd. An hour's ride from our camp this morning brought us to
the small desert fortress of Amej. . . . But Muhiyyed Din and the other
sheep merchants found that their sheikhs were camped close at han and we
parted with much regret and a plentiful exchange of blessings. So we
rode on till at four o'clock we reached the fortress of Khubbaz and here
we have camped beneath the walls where Fattuh and I camped two years ago.
It feels almost like returning home. It blew all day; I must own that the
desert would be nicer if it were not so plagued with wind. The Sheikh and
Ali and one of the camel drivers sang trios for Part of the afternoon to
beguile the way. I have written down some of the sheikh's songs. They are
not by him, however, but by the most famous of modern desert poets, the
late Emir of Nejd.

February 23rd. The morning came grey and cheerless with an occasional
scud of rain. We set off about six and took the familiar path across
barren watercourses to Ain Zaza. The rain fell upon us and made heavy and
sticky going, but it cleared before we reached the Ain and we lunched
there and waited for the baggage camels till eleven. Kubeisa was only an
hour and a half away, and it being so early I determined to refuse all
the Sheikh's pressing invitations that we should spend the night with
him, and push on to Hit, three and a half hours further. The baggage
camels were informed of the change of plan and Fattuh and I rode on in
high spirits at the thought of rejoining our caravan that evening. For
you remember the caravan which we despatched from Damascus was to wait
for us at Hit. But before we reached Kubeisa the rain came down again in
torrents. Now the ground here is what the Arabs called 'sabkha,' soft,
crumbly salt marsh, sandy when it is dry and ready at a moment's notice
to turn into a world of glutinous paste. This is what it did and since
camels cannot walk in mud I was presently aware of a stupendous downfall
and found myself and my camel prostrate in the sticky glue. It feels like
the end of the universe when your camel falls down. However we both
rolled up unhurt and made the best of our way to the gates of Kubeisa.
And here another misfortune awaited us. The rain was still falling heavy,
Abdullah, Father of Camels, declared that his beasts could not go on to
Hit across a road all sabkha and even Fattuh admitted that, tired and
hungry as they were, it would be impossible. So in great triumph and with
much praising of God, the Sheikh conducted us to his house where I was
seized by a pack of beautiful and very inquisitive women ("They are
shameless!" said Fattuh indignantly) and conducted me into the pitch dark
room On the ground floor which is the living room. But the sheikh rescued
me and took me upstairs to the reception room On the roof. Everyone we
met fell on his neck and greeted hin, With a kiss on either cheek and no
sooner were we seated upstairs and a bonfire of trees lighted in the
middle of the room, than all the worthies of Kubeisa began to assemble to
greet him and hear the news. At the end they numbered at least fifty. Now
this was the room in which I was supposed to eat and sleep--there was no
other. I took Fattuh aside--or rather outside, for the room was packed to
overflowing--and said "The night will be troublesome." Fattuh knitted his
brows and without a word strode down the stairs. I returned to the
company, and when the room grew too smoky with trees and tobacco, sat
outside talking to the sheikh's charming son, Namân. The rain had
stopped. My old acquaintances in Kubeisa had all been up to salute me and
I sat by the fire and listened to the talk and prayed that Fattuh might
find some means of escape. He was as resourceful as usual. After a couple
of hours he returned and said "With your permission, oh Muhammad. We are
ready." He had found a couple of camels and a donkey and we were off. So
we took a most affectionate leave of the Sheikh and left him to his
narghileh. Half the town of Kubeisa, the female half, followed us through
the streets, and we turned our faces to Hit. The two camels carried our
diminished loads, Fattuh rode the donkey (it was so small that his feet
touched the ground and he presently abandoned it in favour of one of the
baggage camels and sent it back) and I was supposed to ride my mare. But
she had a sore heel, Poor little thing, and kept stumbling in the mud, so
I walked most of the way. We left at 2:30 and had two and a half hours
before sunset. The first part of our way was hard and dry; presently we
saw the smoke of the Hit pitch fires on the horizon and when we had
passed between some low hills, there was the great mound of Hit and its
single minaret in front of us. There remained an hour and a half of
journey, the sun had set and our road was all sabkha. The camels slipped
and slithered and tumbled down: "Their legs are like soap,,, explained
the camel boy. If the rain had fallen again we should have been done. But
it kept off till just as we reached Hit. The mound still loomed through
the night and we could just see enough to keep more or less to our
road-less rather than more-but not enough to make out whether stone or
mud or sulphur pools lay in front of us. So we three great travellers,
Fattuh, the mare and I, came into Hit, wet and weary, trudging through
the dark, and looking I make no doubt, like so many vagabonds, and thus
ingloriously ended our fine adventure. The khan stands outside the town;
the khanji is an old friend. "Ya Abud!" shouted Fattuh "the caravan, our
caravan, is it here?" "Kinship and welcome and may the earth be wide to
you! They are here , The muleteers hurried out, seized my bridle, seized
my hand in theirs and laid it upon their forehead. All was safe and well,
we and they and the animals and the packs. Praise God! there is no other
but He. The khanji brought me tea, and various friends came to call, I
dined and washed and went to bed.
And so you see, we have crossed the Syrian desert as easily as if it had
been the Sultan's high road, and we have made many friends and seen the
ruins we went out to see, and over and above all I have conceived quite a
new theory about the mediaeval roads through the desert which I will
prove some day by another journey. And all that remains is the hope that
this letter, which is the true history of all, will not be lost in the
post.

February2 4th. We have repacked our loads and are off this day on the
road to Ramadi.

To F.B.
RAMADI, February 27th.

We did not leave Hit yesterday till one o'clock, having a good deal of
repacking to do. Then I rode off with a Zaptieh over the sandy wastes
that surround Hit and presently Came in view of Euphrates and put up a
thanksgiving at the blessed sight of him. We rode on for three hours til
we came to a little valley, full of water after the rains, and then we
stopped to direct the baggage animals to the bridge and I heard for the
first time the sound of my own caravan bells. We camped a quarter of an
hour further under a cliff by the river's edge near a few mean huts of
the Dulaim and a patch of green
Corn, with the sound of the water wheels in our ears, and the Euphrates
lying big and calm under the sunset. There is no river to be compared to
him. Neither is it possible to describe the comfort of a fully appointed
camp. Praise be to God! as Fattuh frequently exclaims, there is nothing
that we lack. we had a march of about seven and a half hours-not very
interesting, the familiar barren landscape of the lower Euphrates. All
the palm trees have been killed by thesnow; there are miserable brown
patches instead of the old vivid green. Kubeisa and Hit were scarcely to
be recognised. It is a great misfortune. We camped about half a mile
outside Ramadi on the Rakkahyyeh road (which we take to-morrow) and
Fattuh went off into the town to buy corn and things. I was sitting
reading in my tent when suddenly I heard unusual sounds and stepping out
saw my muleteers in the grip of about fifteen rascally young men who had
picked a quarrel with them, thinking they were alone, I rushed into the
fray, feeling rather like the lady in the Nonsense Book (only I had no
stick) and soon put an end to the business, for the roughs were alarmed
when they saw a European. But after they had gone Mahmud discovered that
his watch was missing and Fattuh, presently returning with Government in
the shape of a couple of officials, found that a revolver had been taken
from one of the saddle bags. So we lodged a complaint but whether the
things will be recovered or not I don't know. It is a bore, but wasn't it
surprising? A Deleim sheikh who is camped near us came down to offer his
assistance and we have two of his men as watchmen to-night as well as two
soldiers. So we ought to be all right. Anyhow I shall be less promPt by
night for I shall be asleep.

February 26th. There were no suites to last night's incident except that
the Commissaire Effendi (whatever that post may be) paid me a second
visit and after offering me his watch and revolver-this was merely
formal--begged me not to lodge a complaint with Nazim Pasha of whom they
are all mortally afraid, I gave the promise the more readily as I never
had any intention of pursuing the offender-no more copy for the Daily
Mail if I can help it! Moreover, the combined value of the two things did
not amount to thirty shillings. We have taken a short cut to Ukhaidir via
Rakkahyyeh; it saves at least a day, probbably two. Our path lies through
the most pitiless desert I have ever seen, a pebbly sand like a hard sea
beach, and sometimes not even hard. The pebbles are all water worn; I
expect this waste was once the bottom of the sea and I can't help
thinking that it had better have remained there, for it is unfit to meet
the eye of the sun. The reports about water were extremely varied, there
was said to be a salt well at Abu Furukh which the horses would drink and
plenty of fresh water in the valley of Roda. We fortunately met a caravan
from Rakkahyyeh which said there was no water at Roda (this left me
indifferent, for I had made Fattuh fill a skin with Euphrates water, and
when we got to Abu Furukh we found a good fresh pool in the sandy water
course. I relate this tale in full so that you may realize how difficult
it is to get trustworthy information, our two zaptiehs were as ignorant
as ourselves. But I am now instructed; I always carry water. So we
watered our horses at Abu Furukh and filled five skins for their evening
provision. We came into camp among sandhills near Roda and since we have
marched nine and a half hours today I think we can only have about eight
before us, so we need not fear. It is impossible to get meat; I subsist
entirely upon the hen, sometimes in the form of eggs and at other times
in that of boiled chicken.

February 27th. We got up at six this morning and reached Rakkahyyeh at
noon. Bidding farewell to our two soldiers, who had been bidden to
accompany us only to Rakkahyyeh, we pushed on to Shethatha and got into
camp at 4:30--a long march. While we were pitching our tents the Sheikh
of the town sent us an invitation to pass the night in his house and I
replied that I was exceedingly grateful, which means No thank you. There
is a hot wind and the temperature was 70 at sunset, the highest we have
had. We bought a wild duck of a man in Rakkahyyeh marsh, the same
appeared for dinner to-night. I said: "Oh, Fattuh this duck is very good.
May God conquer her women!" He replied: "how much we laboured
With her! She would not cook." "She has turned out well," said I. "A
double health!" said Fattuh, "May God destroy her dwelling!"

March 1st. Yesterday morning broke grey and threatening and presently it
began to rain. My men went off to buy necessary provisions in the bazaar
while I devoted an hour or two to the darning needle. By the time my
caravan was ready it was near noonday and the rain was coming down in
torrents. Ukhaidir was only three hours off and I would not stay. It took
us however an intolerable four and a half hours, mostly in streaming
rain. We plunged for an hour through the slippery paths of the oasis, in
mortal danger of tumbling into the irrigation streams, and for the rest
of the time we plodded through the
Soppy desert, heavy going for man and beast. The rain had almost stopped
when we reached the beloved castle, but we were wet through. I carried a
letter to Sheikh Sukheil of the Zagarit, a subtribe of the Shammar, who
was camped near the castle, and sent out news of my arrival to his tents.
He came at once with some twenty others and found us pitching our tents
in the dusk outside the castle gate. We stabled our horses in the great
hall, and the Sheikh and three others stayed with us all night as
watchmen. This morning we moved our tents into the inner court and put
our horses into two vaulted rooms that lead out of it. The pair of Arabs
who were our guides yesterday have gone back to Shethatha and we are left
with the men of the Zagarit who are extremely friendly and agreeable. I
have had a hard day's work correcting a few details in my old plan and
beginning the measurements for an elevation. We have three men to watch
over us tonight and being within the castle walls I think we are safe
from attack--at least I hope so; one is never very safe at Ukhaidir. My
friends of last time have left and the castle is empty of all but us. I
wish they had cleaned up a little before they went away; it is very
dirty.

March 3rd. I worked for eleven hours yesterday at elevations and had
therefore little time to think of anything else. The Zagarit are
thoroughly enjoying our visit. They sit in an expecttant circle round
Fattuh's tent, waiting for any stray handful of dates or cigarettes that
he may give them. They bring their needlework and establish themselves
for the afternoon. i found the men of the tribe employed upon some new
shirts (of which they stood in great need) when I came in for a hasty
lunch. "Don't your women make your shirts?" said Fattuh. "Wallahi, our
women do nothing but keep quiet" they replied. And I'm not sure that one
can ask more of woman. They came down in the morning, a few of them, to
look at me, but they don't interrupt me--I just go on working. This
morning we rode out with the Sheikh at 6 o'clock. I went castle hunting
and he rabbit hunting. His equipment was the more picturesque for he came
hawk on wrist, with his greyhound at his heels. While we were saddling
our mares the greyhound foraged about for stray bones; when the hawk saw
her eating he was very angry and screamed to her for food, but the sheikh
would not let me give him any till we came back. He was a most charming
bird. Unfortunately we found no rabbits, but as far as I was concerned
the expedition was quite successful, for about an hour from Ukhaidir we
came to the old plaster factory, from which I make no doubt they brought
the plaster for the building of the castle, all standing and quite
interesting. So I planned and photographed it and we got home at ten. The
quarry is said to be about an hour in the other direction. The Mudir of
Shethatha came with a large party to see how I was getting on--very
friendly of him. I handed him and his friends over to Fattuh who
entertained them in the proper manner with coffee, After lunch the Mudir
came and sat with me for a little and then they all rode away. It was a
delicious day, the first fine day we have had here. I made a map of the
site with a plain table and though it isn't amazingly good I feel
unreasonably proud Of it. You see it iss the first. My plan of two years
ago, on the other hand, is wonderfully accurate. I have corrected one or
two mistakes, but they are so insignificant that really they do not
matter much. However I have the satisfaction of feeling that one or two
points on which I did not feel quite clear are now explained. Also I have
done a lot more work at details of construction.

March 4th. We left Ukhaidir this morning. I wonder whether I shall ever
see it again and whether I shall ever again come upon any building as
interesting or work at anything with a keener pleasure. We are now bound
for Nejef, but you are not to think that we are taking any common road to
it. On the contrary, we have cut straight across the desert, for I had
heard of a couple of ruins, one at least unvisited, which I longed to
see, Sukheil and Nasir. We rode for three hours over intolerable sand,
then climbed a low hill and got on to an immense level which was a little
better going. At the top of the hill I looked back and saw Ukhaidir for
the last time. An hour or so further on we came to the first ruin, Mujdeh
which proved to be a very interesting round tower, built of brick and
finely wooded. I expect it was a beacon and I should
Date it somewhere in the 9th century. It did not take long to plan it,
and I caught up the baggage horses, lunching on my mare as I went to save
time. We saw standing up above the horizon the next ruin, Khan Arsham, so
flat is the plain. All the desert was scattered over with the flocks and
tents of the Beni Hassan and we found some of the tribe camped under the
ruined khan. It was hot, the first hot day we have had, and I was feeling
rather tired after eight and a half hours hard marching--but the khan
brought back my energies. For it is a really Splendid ruin of I should
think the 9th century, about
The time of Samarra, and it opens up all kinds of interesting questions
as to old roads and as to the date of Ukhaidir itself. I set about the
plan without delay and worked on till the light failed and the camp fires
of the Beni Hassan gleamed out red all over the plain. It is a wonderful
sight the desert in the spring. And this is our last sight of it.
To-morrow we return to high roads and soldiers and the rest of it. Well,
even high roads, when you must take them, have their advantages,
especially in the matter of water. We brought ours from Ukhaidir to-day
and the horses are so thirsty after their hot march that there is not
enough for me to have a bath. A misfortune! tomorrow, please God. All the
Zagarit were very smart this morning in their new shirts. They do not,
however hem them up at the bottom, which makes them look rather ragged
round the ankles. As we crossed the desert to-day the deserted
encampments where the snow had fallen a month ago were marked by the
corpses of sheep and donkeys. None of these Arabs had ever seen snow. The
Mudir of Shethatha told me that the people there when they woke and saw
it lying on the ground, thought it was flour.

March 5th. The day broke grey and threatening and I was in mortal dread
of rain which would have made the heavy desert sand quite impassable. I
don't know what we should have done, for we had neither oats nor water,
but I suppose we should have got through somehow. However we were not put
to the test, for the rain held off. I had still an hour's work to do at
the Khan and we did not get off till seven. We parted with two men of the
Zagarit and took as guides two men of the Beni Hassan. The map was of
course a "perfect and absolute blank" and I had only a hazy idea where we
were--and how long it would take us to reach the road. I guessed we must
be five hours from the first khan and I was only a quarter of an hour
wrong-it took us four and three quarters of an hour to reach it. Our
land-mark after the first hour was the Tower of Babel. One of the Arabs
sighted it first, an almost invisible speck on the North East horizon, it
grew and grew till we could see it rising above a sea of palms, and
finally when theY were still three hours away we saw the palm trees round
Hamad which was an objective. I confessed I breathed a sigh of relief
when we reached it and found ourselves upon the Nejef road. Here we
parted from the Beni Hassan who had been most cheerful companions. They
are better by day than by night. The men of the tents near Khan Arsham
roved round our camp all last night and if my men had not kept good watch
we should have found ourselves with seriously diminished possessions this
morning. The road was almost as sandy and barren as the desert. Nejef and
Kerbela are you know the greatest Shiah shrines in the world and the
whole of Persia comes on pilgrimage to them. The inhabitants (mostly
Persian) are exceedingly fanatical; no Sunni is allowed to live within
the walls of Nejef, nor may he enter the great mosque where the Khalif
Ali is buried. The road between the two towns is provided with immense
khans for the accommodation of pilgrims and by one of them we have
camped. Its name is Muzalla; there are a few houses near its walls in a
dry canal, soldiers, chickens and most of the other luxuries of
civilisation--at least so it seems to us who come to it fresh from
difficult travel in the desert. I warned my Sunni muleteers to be on
their guard and found that they had forestalled my prudence by becoming
Shiahs for purposes of convenience. "My lady " said they, "we heard the
men here call upon Ali as we call upon Allah, and when they asked us what
we were, we said we were Shiahs come from Aleppo to pray at the grave of
our Lord." Muleteers, having a wide experience of men and customs, are
generally able to cope
with new conditions, and since they don't mind passing as Shiahs, I do
not think that my soul need feel the weight of the deception. We are all
very cheerful at having got safely through the last few days. They were
not easy. And do you realise that I have only been one day on a road
since I left Damascus? Fattuh and I feel some satisfaftion when we look
back on the events of this journey. "We are," says he, "Praise be to God,
skilled in travel--God made us!"

March 6th. We were premature when we rejoiced last night over the end of
our desert journey. I had determined to send my caravan into Nejef and to
ride out myself to see some curious caves cut in the cliff that forms the
western boundary of our old lake, now dry but still called the sea of
Nejef. Accordingly I took an Arab as a guide, Sheikh Selman of the Beni
Hassan. As we rode out across the desert, he said: "Do you want to go to
Rakban?" "What is Rakban?" said I. "it is a castle of the first time"
said he "but you cannot reach Nejef from it to-day." In a flash my mind
ran out to the Lakhrnid castles which none of us has been able to trace;
in another flash I had turned round, stopped my caravan, told the men to
buy corn at the khan and to come out with me into the desert. They
accepted the order as cheerfully as if I had invited them into a garden.
The golden dome of Nejef gleamed at us invitingly on the horizon, but
even more invitingly gleamed those delusive castles of Ibn Mundhir. There
was a high wind and by the time we reached the cliffs of the Sea of
Nejef, it had raised a dust storm. We climbed down them and crossed the
floor of the sea in driving sand. Five hours from Musella we reached some
water pools, bitter salt but the horses drank there. I meantime lunched
hastily and grittily in the unspeakable sand. An hour further we came to
a pool less bitter and I left my men to fill the water skins and rode on
with the Sheikh. Presently the black mass of the castle appeared in front
of us. I plunged on through the sand, reached it and found it to be
nothing but a mud-built enclosure, not 50 years old. "Oh, Selman," said I
"this castle is not old."
"Oh lady," he said, "before my beard was grown I saw it here." It said
much for the temper of my camp that when my men came in and I told them
we had had all our trouble for nothing, no one was angry. So we camped-it
was half past three-and I can see that the Lakhmid castles, if any of
then, still exist, are not for me. But what was I to do? I could not
leave a ruin unvisited.

To H. B.
BABYLoN, Friday,&10th.

I have been so busy travelling the last three days that I have put off
letter writing till I got here. On the 7th We retraced our steps through
the sand as far as Amm el Gharrof and then journeyed by a good firm path
along the bottom of the sea to Nejef which we reached at mid-day. It is a
walled town standing on the edge of the cliff of the dry seaand
surrounded on the other sides by a flat plain. Above the walls rises the
golden dome of Ali's tomb which is the place of pilgrimage
of all the Shiah world and outside the walls the town is encompassed on
two sides by the graves of the Faithful who are brought from far to be
buried here. We pitched our tents on the third side and after I had
lunched I went to call upon the Kaimmakam who instructed the chief of the
police to take me sight-seeing. But there was little to be seen; I might
not go into the mosque, nor even pass very close to the doors of it (even
as it was the people eyed me angrily and one man jumped out of the crowd
and tried to stop me from going neaarer the mosque); the bazaars were
without interest, and presently I returned to our tents where I received
a number of visitors, sheikhs of the mosque and official personages. At
night, however, I came into conflift with the officials who wished to
place a guard of thirty soldiers round my tents. I protested with oaths
and the guard was withdrawn. The reason for these precautions was that
there are nightly disturbances in the cemeteries. The Arabs bring in
their dead by night and try to bury them without paying the sum of 10 s.
which the town exacts as a fee for every grave; the soldiers shoot at
them and they shoot back. We heard this shooting going on, together with
the vibrating cry of the women, but we were far from the cemetery and no
one troubled us.

Next day I sent my caravan direct to Kifil and taking an aged soldier
with me (he was useless as a guide for he knew
The way to nowhere) I rode out for an hour or two south to the ruins of
Khawarnek which really was one of the Lakhmid castles. Nothing remains
but mounds, but I was interested to see the site. My old zaptieh, Abbas,
was extremely conversational, but as he was also toothless it was
difficult to understand all that he said. I rode off with a guide, and
lunched on top of the Tower of Babel. You know what it was? It was an
immense Babylonian temple dedicated to the seven spheres of heaven and
the sun god. There remains now an enormous mound of sun-dried brick, with
the ruins of a temple to the North of it and on top a great tower of
burnt brick, most of which has fallen down. But that which remains stands
up, like a finger pointing heavenwards, over the Babylonian plain and can
be seen from Nejef to Babylon. I left Babylon with many regrets, then I
rode on to Hilleh, meeting my caravan at the gates of the town. And as we
rode through the bazaar an officious policeman took upon himself to seize
my rifle from Fattuh, saying that the carrying of rifles is forbidden. I
went at once to the head of the police and Pointed out that every Arab in
the desert carries a rifle and that as we had come through the desert I
had to carry arms; Moreover I had permission to do so. But he would
listen to no reason so I betook myself to the Kaimmakam and found him to
be an intelligent and cheerful soldier from Bagdad who Promised at once
to have the rifle restored.

Sunday, 12th. Bagdad lies on the east side of the river but the bridge
had been swept away by the floods, so Fattuh and I having left our horses
at the khan with the baggage horses (which had come in hours before)
stepped into a 'guffa' and floated down the Tigris to the Residency. The
Lorimers were most friendly and gave me a large and very welcome tea. I
think it possible that I may not be able to get letters again till
Diatbekr, but you will hear pretty regularly from me and if I am a long
time on the road I will send you a telegram through the Diarbekr Consul.

To H.B.
BAGDAD,March 18, 1911.

(This for the private ear of my family). Mr. Lorimer says that he has
never met anyone who is in the confidence of the nations in the way I am,
and Mr. Lorimer, I should wish you to understand, is an exceptionally
able man!

To F.B.
21st March, 1911.

. . . . Mr. Lorimer and I steamed up the river in the launch and called
on Sir William Willcocks. He is a twentieth century Don Quixote, erratic,
illusive, maddening--and entirely loveable. . . . I left Bagdad early on
Sunday morning. I do owe an immense debt of gratitude to the Lorimers. No
two people could have been kinder. The road to Khanikin, which I am now
following, is the quickest way to the Persian frontier. We had a journey
of 11 hours the first day to Bakuba (it is 35 miles from Bagdad and very
dull it was: absolutely flat, barren country, a waste of hard sand on
which little or nothing grows. Moreover there was a strong wind). We
reached Bakuba at nightfall and camped outside the village not far from
the banks of the Diala river. Next morning I rejoiced to see those banks
set thick with blossoming fruit trees and when we had crossed the river,
by a bridge of boats, and ridden through the town, we found the plain on
the other side of it a great stretch of young spring wheat and the
irrigation trenches deep in grass. So that day's ride, though the country
was as flat as ever, was a great deal pleasanter. And it was only 9
hours. We camped in a green field outside the village of Shabraban--you
realize that during our whole journey we have never yet seen grass
covering the earth? Before us stretched the low range of the Hauran,
nearer akin to real mountains than anything we have met since the Syrian
snows dropped down below the lip of the Hamad. To-day we crossed the
Hamrin; there were flowers in its
Dry watercourses; at noon we reached the village of Kesrabad (Kizil Robat
the maps call it) and rode on another 3 hours into a second stretch of
low hills wherein we camped by a big guard house. It is a delicious camp,
all green with grass and flowering weeds, and I have a cup full of yellow
tulips on my dinner table.

Tuesday, March 28th. Most wonderful of all were the mountains of Persia,
range beyond range and white with snow. So we rode gaily along the broad
road scattered with tiny mud-built huts where you can drink tea and buy
bread and dates and hard-boiled eggs, and towards noon we came to
Khanikin which lies on either bank of the Heliwan river. The storks had
arrived before us; they were nesting on every house top. Sami Pasha's
relations in Bagdad had given me a letter to a Kurdish chief of high
repute, Mustafa Pasha, and to his house I went. I accepted his
invitation--there was nothing else to be done--and was lodged in a tiny
room at the top of the house side by side with a pair of storks. Mustafa
Pasha was sitting in his reception room when I arrived, with a number of
friends. They most of them spoke Arabic, but between themselves they
spoke Kurdish, which bored me for I wanted to hear what they were saying.
We spent a couple of hours in this fashion, the Pasha transacting
business from time to time and receiving innumerable letters. This is
also typically oriental. Every man would appear to carry on an unlimited
correspondence with the other inhabitants of his town or village, which
is the more surprising as they all seem to visit each other every day. I
was beginning to feel rather hungry when fortunately the Pasha called out
to his servants to bring food. Some 8 of us went into the next room where
we found a table spread bountifully with a variety of meats and we ate
from the dishes with our fingers as best we might. It was all very good,
if messy. I nearly had a 'fou rire' in the middle, when looking round
upon the party with which I lunched I remembered Herbert's picture of me,
so wonderfully exact was the likeness. . . .

Towards sunset the Pasha invited me to come into the harem and I spent
some time with his two wives and his other female relations. They were
extremely pleasant and I don't doubt that they were glad to see me, for
they never go out of the house. " We are imprisoned in the courtyard)"
they said. Their furthest excursion is to take the air on the roof. When
the Pasha was exiled he left them behind and they spent all those years
alone in Khanikin. Next day I was talking to one of my muleteers, a
Moslem, and I told him how Mustafa Pasha's ladies never went beyond the
courtyard. "Wall' ahi!" said he, "that is how it should be." And then he
told me that his mother (his father is also a muleteer) had never been
outside their house in Aleppo until last year, when she went to Mecca
with her husband. What a great adventure the Hajj muft seem to them, who
see the world for the first time! . . . .

(She then rides north again with a man Mustafah Pasha had sent to them
with directions to see to their safety.]

About 1 o'clock we reached Kasri Shirin which stands beautifully on the
river Helwan, a straggling street climbing the hillside, the great fort
of Kerim Khan standing on top. It was to Kerim Khan that I was specially
recommended, and I took a short cut up to his fortress, forgetting that I
ought to pass through the Persian custom house which is managed by a
Belgian. You see I had become so accustomed to neglecting custom houses.
I interviewed the Khans (there were a great many of them) and told them I
was going to work in the ruins. They bade me very welcome and I galloped
after my caravan. The ruins, I must tell you, are a couple of great
Sassanian palaces and it was these that I had
Come all this way to see. I found my servants camping near the first
palace and a little upset because two bullets had whizzed past their ears
while they were riding up to it. However, I told them that Kerim Khan
would look after us, and after that I forgot all else in the excitement
of working at the palace. A good many people came out to see me in the
course of the afternoon and they all assured me that we should be greatly
troubled by thieves if we spent the night there. I remained sceptical as
to the thieves, but there was no doubt about the rifle bullets, and it is
almost as annoying to be shot by accident as on purpose. The last
incident of this eventful evening was the arrival of a mild-looking man
with a message from Kezim Khan. He said that the Serkar had heard that I
had had some dispute with the head of the Custom House and desired to
know whether I was in any difficulty for he would be glad to settle it by
having all the custom house people shot. It was merely a complimentary
expression of good will, though so picturesquely couched. I sent back my
salaams and thanks
And said there was no need for extreme measures as I had made It up with
the head of the Custom House. I worked for the next two days at the
palaces without so much as turning round. I went out to the ruins at 6
a.m. and remained there till 9 p.m. and I never stopped for a moment
drawing, measuring and photographing except when Fattuh sent or brought
me lunch and tea. It is almost more than the human frame can bear when
you have got to struggle through such an undertaking single-handed and I
wished several times that the Sassanians had never been born. . .

I'm glad I've seen Kasri Shirin; it is one of the most beautiful places I
have ever been in and I shall never forget the exquisite look of it all
as I worked from dawn till dusk. . . .

Next morning we had a difficult job to tackle, the crossing of the Diala,
bridgeless and in flood. We rode through the first arm of it; it was not
very deep, up to a tall man's waist; but it was very swift. In the middle
I heard shouting above the turmoil of the waters and looking round caught
the terrified eye of my donkey who had been swept off his feet, thought
his last hour was come. One of the ferrymen with us rescued him, as well
as the muleteer whom he had spilt in mid stream, and they were both
brought safely over. The second arm was too deep to ford. We crossed in a
craft called a kelek, 19 inflated skins tied together and floored over
with reeds. It looked very frail in those swift waters but it served our
purpose and in 4 journeys took us and our loads over. The last kelek load
was the donkey, bound hand and foot, with Fattuh sitting on his head and
one of the muleteers on his tail. The horses had to swim. Two of the
ferrymen stripped naked and got on to the 2 bare-backed mares--the others
were driven in behind them and I watched, with my heart in my mouth,
while the rushing water swept them down. May God be praised and exalted!
they all clambered out safely on the other side. . . .

(She crosses the Zab again, where she changes Zaptiehs and buys
provisions.]

. . . .We rode off with our new Zaptieh but once outside the town I found
that he was heading for Mosul, whereas I wanted to go to Kalat Shergat. I
protested and he declared that he knew no other road to K. Shergat. So I
rode back to the mayor and with the aid of a very imperfect map (War
Office!) I explained that I did not wish to go a day's journey out of my
way. He came with me, good man, to the Mudir, and I restated my case. The
Mudir was much perplexed; one day more or less seemed to him a small
matter to fuss about. He asked to see the map, but since he looked at it
upside down we were not much further forward. He got more satisfaction
out of my permit from Kerkuk which was the next thing he asked to see. It
stated in the clearest language that I was to do anything I liked--the
officials treat me with unparalleled generosity and kindness--and that
everyone was to help me to that end. I then suggested that I should take
the Zaptieh and add to him a man of the town as guide. The Mudir agreed
with relief and told the mayor to find a guide. The mayor and I went down
into the street and there met an aged party whom the mayor clapped on the
back and taking him by the hand ticked off on his fingers all the places
to which he was to lead me, ending with Shergat. The old man did not seem
to be the least surprised---it is a two days' journey, you must realise.
He tucked up his skirts, made A suitable reply in Turkish and marched off
down the street, I following. "In the peace of God! and give him two
mejidehs (7s.) when you get to Shergat," said the mayor. "Upon my head!"
said I, "We salute you," and rode
away.

Sunday, April 2nd. My old guide is a great source of satisfaction to me.
He has no visible means of support: he does any odd job that turns up and
if someone happens to need a guide he is always ready to meet their
wishes. "Khanum Effendi" (we talk Turkish), "I had not a penny left. And
then you came. God is merciful; you came! There is no God but God!" When
we began our march this morning he repeated the profession of faith
uninterruptedly under his breath for an hour, and he never neglects the
appointed hours for prayer, though he has to run with all his might to
catch us up afterwards. I make the caravan go slowly while he prays, so
that he has not to run so far. He has a wife and two small children. How
they live is not stated. We had a 9 hours' march to-day and it was hot,
but he walked all the way with unceasing cheerfulness except when my kind
muleteers mounted him on their animal for an occasional half hour. He
takes special pride in telling me the names of all the villages. "Khanum
Effendi, that so-and-so--write, write!" So I get out my map and put it
in.

Monday, April 3rd. Safely arrived at Kalat Shergat where Dr. Andrae and
his colleagues have given me a very warm reception.

To F.B.
APril 14,1911.

I spent three enchanting days at K. Shergat and would gladly have stayed
longer. Three of the four who were there two years ago I found this year
and two others whom I had not seen before. One of them, Herr Preusser,
had visited two of my Tur Abdin churches and is publishing them, so we
had a great time comparing plans. But chiefly I found this year, as I
found two years ago, great profit from endless talks with Dr. Andrae. His
knowledge of Mesopotamian problems is so great and his views so brilliant
and comprehensive. We went over the whole ground again with such
additional matters as I had brought from Kasri Shirin, and as he had
derived from two more years of digging. He put everything at my disposal,
photographs and unpublished plans, and his own unpublished ideas. I don't
think that many people are so generous. Also they taught me to photograph
by flashlight-provided me with the material for doing so, which I shall
find very useful in some of my pitch-dark churches. And we went over the
last two years' work stone by stone and discussed it in all its bearings.
K. Shergat was looking its best. I love it better than any ruined site in
the world. The only drawback of my visit was that I was so reluctant to
go away, and I carried a heavy heart over the high desert to Hatra--which
is a long way! But one can't be heavYhearted at Hatra; it is too
wonderfully interesting. It was (perhaps you know?) the capital city of
the Parthian kings about whom we know so little. The Parthians were an
eclectic folk; their arts sprang up on ground that had already been
strongly Hellenised by the Alexandrids; and they learnt, no doubt, from
the Romans, with whom they were always at war. They worked out these new
ideas upon old oriental foundations, and the palace at Hatra is the one
building left out of all their cities where you can see the results at
which they arrived, for it stands to this day. We arrived late on a gray
and stormy afternoon and were received with acclamations by the Turkish
army. I shall write a long article for some leading journal when I get
home, and call it "Pacification of the Desert," for it should be known
how well and wisely the Turks are handling matters here.

After I had done my work we paraded the army--cavalry, infantry, and
artillery, and I photographed them all, to their great satisfaction and
to mine. The drawback of Hatra is
The water; it's all salt. The town stands about half an hour from the
river Tharthar, which is so bitter salt that no one drinks it but the
Arabs: we drank from wells, but they were exceedingly nasty. When I left
I was escorted for a couple of hours by half-a-dozen officers, who
galloped with me across the beautiful grass plains; we drew up on a mound
and waited for the caravan, and then we took a tender farewell of one
another, and I went on more soberly with my own men. We followed the
Tharthar valley and fortunately in an hour or two came to a rainwater
pool, at which we filled a skin. It was even more horrid than the Hatra
salt water, sticky, greasy standing water, tasting strongly of decayed
grass. But we had nothing else. There were Arab camps and flocks all
along the shallow valley and we camped at evening near some of these.
There was abundant grass, but we had no fresh water for the horses, and
all but my mare refused to drink the Tharthar water. I could not wonder,
for it tasted like the sea. We had a difficult journey next day.
Fattuh was verY ill and we had a march of nearly 11 hours which we could
not shorten because there was no fresh water. We passed a rain pool in
the morning, watered our horses and took a skinful with us, but the day
was hot and the men thirsty, and by five o'clock there was scarcely any
left. At last we saw Arab tents ahead and knew that there must be
drinkable water near at hand. We put up our tents near them, boiled water
and made hot compresses for Fattuh and forced him to lie down while the
muleteers made shift to cook some sort of dinner. The Arabs were very
sympathetic and brought us some curds and milk, but the water they had
was next to undrinkable, drawn from standing rain pools. We joined
company with a body of the Shammar who Were on their way northwards from
Riza Bey's gathering of the clan at Hatra. They were moving camp when I
came up to them and the whole world was alive with their camels. Now the
Shammar are Beda; only the Shammar and the Anazeh are real Bedawin, the
others are just Arabs. Akh-el bair we call the Beda, the People of the
Camel. They never cultivate the soil or stay more than a night or two in
one place, but wander ceaselessly over the inner desert. It was
delightful to see their women and children travelling in the camel
howdahs and their men carrying the long spears that are planted before
the tent door.

Fattuh having called in a native doftor who bled him copiously he rather
surprisingly recovered. . . .

We got back to our tents just as a very heavy shower of rain fell and
congratulated ourselves on having escaped the worst of it, when suddenly
a hailstorm battered on to my tent roof. I began hastily to fasten the
door and before you could wink a hurricane of wind swept down upon us and
every tent was flat. My books and papers went flying out into the
universe, Fattuh and Abud flying after them, while I, half blinded with
wind and hail, strapped up our open boxes. It only lasted for a minute or
two, but we were all wet through, We gathered ourselves together and
began putting up the tents again. The casualties were extraordinarily
small: a tent pole, an eyeglass and a comb, and a good many odds and ends
of papers--nothing very important. The two muleteers came running down
from the town where they (fortunately for themselves!) had been buying
corn, the tents were got up again, the sun came out and we changed and
spread out our wet things to dry. It was an extremely disagreeable
experience, but what we should have done if it had happened at night, I
can't think! You may imagine how we lay awake and listened to every gust
of wind!

Monday, April 17. There is a charming passage in Sir Edward Grey's book
on flyfishing in which he praises the various moods of Nature. "Rain,"
says he, "is delightful," and I remember when I read it, thinking of warm
May rain on our opening beech leaves at home and thoroughly agreeing with
him. But one begins to feel rather differently about it when one is
camping in pitiless torrents. It rained like the devil on Saturday night
and like ten thousand devils on Sunday. The wind howled through my tent
ropes till it sounded like a hurricane on board ship and the rain
thundered against the canvas. I thought my tent would go down more than
once, but my excellent servants kept the pegs firm by piling stones on to
them. The storks were less fortunate: their house was blown away . . . ..

[She then goes on by Nisibin to Mardin, and so into the mountainous
region of the Tur Abdin, exploring ruins, planning, photographing, over
the rocky ridges of the Tur Abdin across the valley and down into a rocky
gorge.]

. . . .And at the foot of the cliff rolled the Tigris, in full flood,
between the broken piers of a huge stone bridge. The first thing we
learned was that there could be no crossing of the Tigris till it had run
down. The ferry boat is a raft on skins, on which you can't put horses
and neither raft nor the horses could cross in that flood. We'were
delayed for two days, but they were not wasted days . . . ..

[More photographing of inscriptions in fifteenth century mosques and
minarets.]

I managed to piece together a very pretty piece of Arab History. . . ..

On the afternoon of the second day the river had dropped so far that I
gave the order to cross. The landing place on the opposite side was
nearly a quarter of a mile below the bridge--it looked a very long way
off and the rush of the water against the piers of that bridge was
anything but encouraging. So the horses thought, for when we drove them
into the water they struggled about in the deep backwater by the bridge
and eventually returned to us. Then we devised another scheme. We tied
two of them to the raft, which was loaded with the pack saddles, and
drove the rest in again They, seeing the raft swirling down the stream,
and two of their companions with it, swam after it, all but 2 who again
were swept back to our bank. These 2 we tied to the raft on its final
journey, when I also crossed, and so we all got over in safety--but I
shall long remember the rather too exhilarating sensations of that
ferrying, the raft darting down the flood and the two horses panting and
groaning in the water beside
it.. . .

[After 12 hours' ride she reaches Mayafarkin where she makes a day's
halt.]

I found, first, the most splendid ruined mosque I have ever seen,
secondly, the remains of a huge basilica of the fifth century and
thirdly, a great domed church of the sixth or seventh century. I have had
two days' hard work at these three. I feel very triumphant over them.
They have not been published, and no one knew any more than I did when I
arrived, what a wealth of material there was at Mayafarkin. Moreover, the
mosque will never be done again as I have done it, for they are busy
rebuilding it and the old work will disappear under the new, and under
whitewash and other abominations. I felt as if I was receiving its dying
will and testament as I worked at it, and I only hope I have written down
every word. We have suddenly jumped into summer. The temperature is 70 in
the shade, the trees have all rushed into full leaf, and the corn stands
high in the fields. The ruined bastions of Mayafarkin, walls, towers of
unrivalled Arab masonry rise out of all this sea of green; the storks
nest in every tower and the world is full of the contented clapping of
their beaks. The Kaimmakam's wife sent a special message asking me to
visit her, and when I arrived she greeted me, rather disconcertingly,
with "Addio!" It was the prelude to a very voluble conversation in
Turkish, of which I picked up what I could, and was much amused. A native
Protestant pastor gave me great help in reading the inscriptions. He had
learned a little English at Mardin, so from time to time I talked English
laboriously. G.B.-"Is it more cold here or at Mardin?" Pastor.-"Yes." It
then became very difficult to take up the thread of the dialogue.

Saturday, May 6th. When the 1st of May came I had a great 'sehnsucht' for
the daffodils and the opening beech leaves at Rounton--it's not all beer
and skittles travelling, you know. The splendid finds at Mayafarkin
consoled me a little, but I still have an overpowering desire to see my
family. However the work here must be done first--one does not pledge
oneself to ancient buildings for nothing. I feel out here more like the
Heathen than ever, for the passion for stocks and stones becomes a
positive worship. . . . Poor Maurice! his collar bone is really too
brittle. I have the most delicious post-card from Pauline--angel!

To F. B.
Sunday, May 14, 1911.

I left Diarbekr on Thursday and had 2 long days' journey to Wirausheber.
Wirausheber was the headquarters of Ibrahim Pasha the famous Kurd who was
in league with Abdul Hamid. Before I left Wirausheber I called on Ibrahim
Pasha's widow--or one of his widows--Khanza Khatun, a very remarkable
woman. She was renowned for her beauty-though she is now old, you can see
the traces of it in the fine shape of the face and in the splendid
carriage of the head. Her deep-set eyes have some of the old fire in them
and as she came out to greet me she looked like "one who wins and not
like one who loses." We sat together on a carpet outside the house by the
edge of a spring, among willow trees: it was early morning, the women
were cleaning the sour curds in skins hung from the willow branches. The
men of her household stood back while we discussed her position, and the
possibility of the sons' return. She manages all the estates, which are
still very large, during their absence. She wore a long European man's
coat over her dress, and an Arab cloak over that; on her head the male
keffiyeh, silk kerchief, bound over the head with a thick roll of black
silk. I looked back, after I had bidden her farewell and mounted. She
stood under the willow trees with shrouded head and gazed after me with
her deep-set eyes--a very striking figure. "Thijah!" murmured Fattuh, as
we rode away, "She is a man!" I must relate to you another silly talk
with Fattuh. He made for me in Diarbekr some very good little mutton
sausages. "Oh, Fattuh," said I, thinking to improve my Arabic, "What is
the name of these?"
"Effendim," said Fattuh, "these? Their name is sossigio."

URFA, Thursday 18. We had two long and rather difficult days from Ras al
Ain to Harran. We could get no corn at Ras al Ain and therefore had to do
the journey on grass, which meant stopping
2 hours in the middle of the day to let the horses feed-and there was
really nothing for them to feed on. Then there was also trouble about a
guide; my soldiers knew nothing of the desert way and I set out from
Rasal Ain with only a compass to direct me, and a map. But the good old
head of the Circassians, Hassan Bey, sent a boy after me and it was as
well he did, for though we should probably have found a way through, the
water was scanty in the extreme and not easy to find. The first day we
met no people and saw only the very smallest traces of former habitation.
The second day we passed a very interesting fortress. Lack of food
obliged us to push on. Then we came to a large ruined town, quite
deserted and full of dead sheep. There was a large encampment of Arabs
not far from it and near there we stopped and pastured our horses. Soon
afterwards we reached the Crest of the high ground and saw the great
mound of Harran before us, two or three hours away in the fertile plain.
We got into camp at 7 p.m. having started that morning soon after 5 a.m.
It is said to be the place where Abraham met Rebecca, at any rate, it was
out of this origin that the Jewish tribes migrated to Canaan and the huge
village mouns scattered over the plain are an indication of its early
importance. I had come there to see the ruins of a very splendid mosque
of the early Abbassid period. We camped in the great court and I spent
nearly 3 hours next morning photographing it stone by stone. It was
wonderfully interesting. There is no town now, only a collection of
mud-built huts inhabited by half-settled Arabs, and the mound with an
immense ruin field round it, all enclosed by the remains of a fine stone
wall. There was a very ancient moon cult here, as old as Abraham
probably; the Emperor Julian came to propitiate the goddess before he set
out on his fatal campaign. So we rode into Urfa over the fertile plain,
and were not sorry for once to have done with desert and with marches 12
hours long. The town lies on the lower slopes of the hills and I camped
above it in a terraced garden which was once a café but has fallen into
disuse, fortunately for us. I have spent the day here: it's a beautiful
place and like Harran and Hierapolis it goes back into the dimmest mists
of Oriental history, of which it preserves the memory in the sacred pool
stocked with unmolested fish which may not be caught.

It has become really hot and this morning we set out before sunrise,
while it was still cool. But we did not avoid heat and it is still at 6
p.m. 87 in the shade. I do not mind it,bUt it makes the horses languid.
Birejik is one of the most famous of the Euphrates passages. Here Crassus
passed over the river to his defeat at Harran: the eagles of the 5th
Legion turned backwards from the bridge of boats, but he would not heed
the omen. To-morrow I go to Carchemish in the hope of finding Mr. Hogarth
there.

Just after I had written to you the Kaimmakam came over to call on me and
told me that Mr. Hogarth had left but that Mr. Thompson was still at
Carchemish. Accordingly I went there-it was Only 5 hours' ride--and found
Mr. Thompson and a Young man called Lawrence (he is going to make a
traveller) who had for some time been expecting that I would appear. They
showed me their diggings and their finds and I spent a pleasant day with
them.

[This is Gertrude's first meeting with T. E. Lawrence. She then returns
to Aleppo and is back in England in June.]




CHAPTER XIII


1913-1914


JOURNEY TO HAYIL


To H. B.
LONDON, October 28th, 1913

Last night I went to a delightful party at the Glenconners' and just
before I arrived (as usual) 4 suffragettes set on Asquith and seized hold
of him. Whereupon Alec Laurence in fury seized two of them twisted their
arms until they shrieked. Then one of them bit him in the hand till he
bled. And when he told me the tale he was steeped in his own gore. I had
a great triumph on Monday. I got Edwin Montagu to lunch to meet Major
O'Connor and the latter talked for one and a half hours of all the
frontier questions--admirably E.M. sat and listened
For one and a half hours and then summed up the whole question with
complete comprehension. I was enchanted. He is not only able, E.M., he is
the real thing--he's a statesman. . . .

[On November 13th she starts for the East via Marseilles.]

to F.B
ALEXANDRIA, November 20, 1913.

Alexandria is not much of a place but it makes me feel as if I were
dropping back into the East. Oh my East! My cab driver yesterday showed
all the solicitude of one's oriental
servants, took me for a drive along a very smelly canal because I was
tired of looking at catacombs and insisted on my drinking a cup of coffee
under the trees to fortify me before I went to the museum! It did fortify
me, or else he did.

To F.B.
DAMASCUS, November 27th, 1913.

Yesterday I sent round to Muhammad al Bassam to tell him I was here. . .
. he came to see me at once and spent half the morning with me. He is my
great support in all plans and arrangements. It looks as though I have
fallen on an exceedingly lucky moment, everyone is at peace. Tribes who
have been at war for generations have come to terms and the desert is
almost preternaturally quiet. Bassan knows Of some good desert camels,
riding camels, going cheap it Damascus, an almost incredible stroke of
good luck as I thought I should have to transport myself somewhere into
the wilds and haggle for camels there. In short I scarcely like to trust
to all this good fortune but I hope it will turn out to be true. I am not
quite certain yet whether I shall go to the Druzes or the Anazeh first. I
shall have no difficulty in going to either but there may be some little
complication in passing from one to another; nothing however that cannot
be overcome. Muhammad says that it is perfectly easy to go to Nejd this
year. If I found it so I should certainly go. I will let you know anyhow
from Madeba--look for it on the map east of the north end of the Dead
Sea. Go on writing here and I will keep in touch with you as long as
possible.

Now Fattuh and I must go and talk about camels. It is heavenly weather.

To H.B.
DAMASCUS November 29th, 1913.

I sent you to-day a telegram which I fear will rather surprise you asking
you to make the National Bank telegraph 400 pounds to my credit through
the Ottoman Bank London to the Ottoman Bank here. I telegraphed to you
because I did not know whether if I telegraphed straight to the National
Bank they would think the request sufficient without receiving it in
writing, but I hasten to explain to you (which I could not do in the
telegram) that this is not a gift for which I am asking. I wish to borrow
the money from the N. Bank The position is this: As far as I can make
out and I have had a good deal of information from many sides, there
never was a year more favourable for a journey into Arabia than this. The
desert is absolutely tranquil and there should be no difficulty whatever
in getting to Hayil, that is Ibn al Rashid's capital and even much
further. Moreover I have got to-day exactly the right man as a guide. He
was with Mr. Carruthers 3 years ago. I heard of him with the highest
praise from him. To-day he turned up at Bassams and Bassam at once told
me that I could not have one who is better acquainted than he with all
the Arab tribes. To have got him is a piece of extraordinary good luck.
He is the man of all others whom I should have chosen. So much for the
chances of success in this business. As for the expenses, you see this
time I have to begin by buying everything I shall need here. As far as I
can make out we shall need 17 camels (we have bought one or two already)
and they cost an average Of 13 pounds a piece including their gear.
Bassam says I must reckon to spend 50 pounds on food to take with us, 50
more for presents such as cloaks, keffeyehs for the head, cotton cloth,
etc. It is obvious that this is wise advice because the things are wortth
much more there than they are here and a kerchief which costs only 5
shillings here is a respectable present in the desert. That comes
altogether to 321 pounds. Bassan says I ought to take 80 with me and to
give 200 to the Nejd merchant who lives here in return for a letter of
credit which will permit me to draw the sum in Hayil. I think both these
sums are reckoned very liberally but I don't like to provide myself with
less money lest when I get into the heart of Arabia (Inshallah) I should
not be able to do anything for want of funds. You will see that I have
now come to a total of 601. I could not possibly explain all this in my
telegram so I attempted to explain nothing but I hope you will not say
No. It is unlikely that you will because you are such a beloved father
that you never say No to the most outrageous demands. Perhaps it is a
pity that you don't. I am practically using all my next year's income for
this journey, but if I sit very quiet and write the book of it the year
after I don't see Why I shouldn't be able to pay it all back. And the
book ought to be worth something if I really get to Nejd and beyond. On
the whole I hope you will think it is worth it since the conditions are
so good. I shall try to keep in some sort of touch with you. At the end
of the first 3 or 4 weeks I shall have no difficulty in sending you
letters by the Hadj railway, and I shall make arrangements to have my
letters sent to me from here. After that I fear I shall not be able to
hear from you though I shall try to get one lot of letters at Hayil. I
think there is no doubt I shall be able to get news out to you, It ought
to take about a month from my station near the Hadj railway to Hayil that
is to say you will hear from me after the lapse of some 2 to 2 and a half
months. And if I go further South I will try to send out news from
somewhere on the Persian Gulf. Anyway wherever I can possibly find a
messenger I will send a letter. I must tell you that there have been very
good autumn rains so that we ought to find plenty of surface water and
also grass.

I feel much better after four days here and I am beginning to drop into
the East.

One thing more I must tell you. I have arranged with Mr. Cumberbatch that
if I reach anywhere where I can I will telegraph to him and he will
communicate with you. But of course there is no such place till I get to
the coast somewhere. Also I shall write to him from here and tell him
exactly what I intend to do and let him know that if at any time you or
he want information about me the best person from whom to get it is
Bassam. M.C. could communicate with him privately. He has all the news of
the desert, he knows exactlY what I am doing and he is sure to know more
or less where I am. But don't go to him with questions unless news of Me
is greatly overdue.

Dearest beloved Father don't think me very mad or very unreasonable and
remember always that I love you more than words can say, you and Mother.

You know things are working out much better than I expected they would
but don't talk about Nejd to outsiders in case it does not come off.

To F. B.
DAMASCUS, December 5th, 1913.

I don't think I shall be off till next Friday, 12th, so that puts all the
dates I gave Father a week later. There are such a lot of things to buy
and arrangements to make. Meantime I spend my days quite pleasantly.
To-day was fine and I worked with my theodolite all the morning on the
roof and went for a walk in the afternoon. We walked up on to a hillside
and climbed to a top of an eminence whence we had a glorious view over
Damascus and its gardens, still brown and gold with autumn leaves and
then straight into the desert where I am going. I saw the little volcanic
hills to the S.E. where I shall make the first stages of my journey and I
wished I were already among them.

I have called on a good many of my Mohammedan friends and have been
received with open arms. They are all extremely kind and cordial. There
are one or two I still want to see but the mud has made visiting
difficult except in houses near at hand. I have got much fatter than when
I came, idleness partly, I suppose, and partly an abundant diet of sour
curds which is without doubt the best food in the world.

I wonder what you are doing and where you are--it is difficult to think
of you making preparations for Xmas. My love to Maurice.

To F.B.
DAMASCUS, December 12., 1913.

My camels should have got off to-day but we were delayed by a tiresome
contretemps. Fattuh has an attack of malaria and I shall be obliged to
wait another day or two. . . . I dined in the native bazaar quarter the
Maidan with my old guide Mohamed al Mardwi. An enormous party was
assembled to meet me including the agent of Ibn al Rashid. The latter was
a curious figure, young very tall and slight, wrapped in a gold
embroidered cloak and his head covered with an immense gold bound camel's
hair robe which shadowed his crafty narrow face. He leant back among his
cushions and scarcelY lifted his eyes, talking in a soft slow voice the
purest classical Arabic, but after a bit roused himself and told
marvellous tales of hidden treasure and ancient wealth and mysterious
writings in central Arabia of which you may believe as much as you
please. The men on either side of me murmured from time to time "Ya
Satif! Ya manjud," Oh Beneficent, oh Ever Present! as they listened to
this strange lore. Finally we ate together that bread and salt might be
between us and then-why then we all came back together on the electric
tram!

To F.B.
December 15th, 1913.

A misfortune has befallen us. Fattuh fell sick a week ago and we fear it
is typhoid. Fortunately his wife is here. I have put off my departure
from day to day and now I'm going-my camels left to-day and I sleep with
the Mackinnons and start to-morrow. I still hope that in three weeks or
so when I near the railway F. may be able to join me and he of course
never doubts for a moment that he is coming. But it is a horrible bore.
I've got a boy to take his place--take his place indeed! He seems bright
and quick, I like him and I do not doubt that after a day or two my camp
will fall intO order. . . .

To F.B.
20th December, 1913.

I got off safely on the 16th from the kind Mackinnons, drove out a couple
of hours, picked up my camels, loaded water and went off into the desert.
We camped early about an hour or more S. of Dumeir and it was as well we
did so, for the first night in camp always means a good deal of sorting
out, and when you have no single man with you who has ever travelled with
a European you can guess what it Is like. I had to show them everything,
and find everything myself, Fattuh not being there, who had packed all.
They did not even know how my English tents went up, nor how to boil an
egg. But they are all most anxious to please me and most willing to
learn, and by dint of patience and timely instruction I'am getting things
into shape. It rained and blew the night of the 16th and all the day of
the 17th, impossible to travel if the devil had been behind us (and I was
a little afraid that the Damascean authorities might look for us) so
there we sat and shivered and overhauled our packs. I ve learnt by now to
bear rainy days in camp when you are never for one moment warm or dry and
the hours seem endless. We sent to Dumeir for firewood for the men,
chopped straw for the camels and cotton cloth for me, with which I sat at
my needle and made bags for all our provisions. It is long since I have
sewed so diligently. Next day was fine, but what with wet tents and
unaccustomed men we took 2 and a half hours to break camp--I despaired,
but kept silence until later, and the second morning we were under one
and a half hours from the time I woke till the time we marched and that
is as good as anybody can expect. I have good servants, you see, and
besides I know the job and they soon find that out. We struggled on the
18th for an hour through the mud and irrigation canals of the Dumeir
husbandry--a horrible business with the camels slipping and falling. At
last we were out in the open desert, with the rising ground of the stony
volcanic country, the region of Tells, under our feet, and mud forgotten.
We marched through it all yesterday and all to-day, a barren region Of
volcanic stones and tells. We have sighted but one camp of Arabs in all
our Way. A man rode out from it to see who we were and we found them to
be one of the half-cultivator tribes from near Damascus. For water we
have an occasional rain pool, very muddy, but I still have drinking water
with me from Damascus, and bread and meat and eggs and butter, so that
hardships have not yet begun. It was bitter cold last night; the
temperature fell to 28 and I woke several times shivering. When we set
off to-day in a dense mistt the sparse grass and shrubs were all white
with frost and we ourselves blue with it. But one takes no harm. The mist
did not lift till near mid-day, which made mapping most tedious as I
could take no long bearings, but we came into camp early in the afternoon
(having started early) in glorious sunshine and I am now writing in the
long afterglow of a cloudless sunset. Already I have dropped back into
the desert as if it were my own place; silence and solitude fall round
you like an impenetrable veil; there is no reality but the long hours of
riding, shivering in the morning and drowsy in the afternoon, the bustle
of getting into camp, the talk round Muhammad's coffee fire after dinner
profounder sleep than civilization contrives, and then the road again.
And as usual one feels as secure and confident in this lawless country as
one does in one's own village. We have a Rafiq, a comrade of the Ghiyatah
with us--we fetched him from Dumeir to stand surety for us if we met his
tribe. We ought by rights to have a man of the Beni Hassan, with whom our
Ghjyatah is useless since they are deadly foes and if we come across the
B. Hassan we will take one along. Good, please God! the earth is ours and
theirs and I do not think we shall trouble one another. Such good
mushrooms grow here. I have them fried for dinner.

December 7th, JEBEL SAIS. We have reached our first goal and a very
curious place it is, but I will begin at the beginning. It was horribly
cold last night. The temperature dropped to 19 and it was impossible to
keep warm in bed. N.B.-I am not cut out for Arctic Exploration, it is
clear. Anyhow I kept waking up to shiver. The men's big tent was frozen
hard and they had to light fires under it to unfreeze the canvas,
otherwise it would have torn when they packed it. But the sun rose
gloriously, clearing away the mists, just as we marched, and in half an
hour we were all warm. We sighted J. Sais at 8 and reached it at 12,
marching over almost flat ground covered with volcanic stones--a desolate
country which must be a furnace in summer. But the rains have filled all
the water pools and the grass and shrubs are growing. On our way Muhammad
saw two men in the distance and was much perturbed, but they were
probably only, shepherds of the Saiyadand--anyway I did not bother about
them. I have got men enough with me who will recognise or be recognized
by all these tribes. J. Sais is a big and very perfect volcano with a
sort of deep moat round the W. and S.sides, ending to the S.E. in a lake,
now full of water. I took some photographs while the men pitched camp and
then climbed with my Ghiyatah guide to the lip of the volcano to take
bearings. "Oh! Hammad," said I, as we breasted the stony slope, "who can
have lived in this strange place?" "By God," "we would learn from you.
But, indeed, oh lady, there is no guide to truth but God." It was a
wonderful view from the top--desert, desert and desert; wide stretches of
yellow earth, great shining water pools, and miles and miles of stones.
We scanned the whole world for Arab tents, but saw none anywhere. With
that I ran down the hill and had just time to plan all the ruins before
sunset. There remains a little photography and taking of angles for
to-morrow morning. I have not for a long time enjoyed anything so much as
this afternoon's work. Content reigns in my camp and all goes smoothly.

December 22nd. A preposterous and provoking episode has delayed us
to-day. We had marched about 2 hours when we sighted camels and the smoke
of tents. We took them to be (as indeed they were) Arabs of the Mountain,
the Jebel Druze, with flocks. I told you that we tried in Dumeir to get
one of the Jebel Druze Arabs as a companion and failed--and we suffered
for it. Presently a horseman came galloping over the plain, shooting as
he came, into the air only. He wheeled round us, shouting that we were
foes, that we should not approach with weapons, and then while he aimed
his rifle at me or other of us Muhammad and Ali tried to pacify him, but
in vain. He demanded of Ali his rifle and fur cloak, which were thrown
to him, and by this time a dozen or more men had come galloping or
running up, some shooting, all shouting, half dressed--one of them had
neglected to put on any clothes at all--with matted black locks falling
about their faces. They shrieked and leapt at us like men insane. One of
them seized Muhammad's camel and drew the sword which hangs behind his
saddle with which he danced round us, slashing the air and hitting my
camel on the neck to make her kneel. Next they proceeded to strip My men
Of their revolvers, cartridge belts and cloaks. My camel got Ub again and
as there was nothing to be done but to sit quiet and watch events that's
what I did. Things ooked rather black, but they took a turn for the
better when my camel herd, a negro, was recognised by our assailants, and
in a minute or two some sheikhs came up, knew Ali and Muhammad, and
greeted us with friendship. Our possessions were returned and we rode on
together in quiet and serenity. But to avoid the occurrence of such
events, or worse, we are to take with us a man from their tents, and to
that end we have been obliged to camp near them that a suitable companion
may be found. The sheikhs have drunk coffee with me, enjoyed a long
conversation with all of us and been so good as to accept my backsheesh
in token of our gratitude in being rescued from the hands of the
shepherds. And they have given us a comprehensive letter to all the Arabs
of the Mountain. Good, please God, but I feel not a little impatient at
the delay.

December 23rd. It rained hard till 8 o'clock this morning and the desert
turned into paste. But it dries quickly and by 10 we were off, at the
bidding of my impatience. All went well, however. We had no more rain
though it remained cold and grey. We have with us to guard us against the
Arabs of the Mountain the oldest old man you could wish to see. He
crouches upon a camel by day and over the camp fire by night. He seldom
speaks and I can scarcely think that any one would respect a party
introduced by so lifeless and ragged a guarantor. We are camped in a
strange bleak place under a gloomy volcanic hill.

Winter travel has its trials. We got off an hour before dawn in a sharp
frost. No sooner had the sun risen than a thick mist enveloped the world
and hung over it till 10:30 faith, but it was cold! far too cold to ride
so I walked for some four hours, the mist freezing into a thick hoar
frost on my clothes. We had passed out of the black hills before sunrise
and we walked on and on over an absolutely level plain with the white
walls of the fog enclosing us. It was not Unpleasant--though I wonder
why? One turns into nothing but an animal under these conditions,
satisfied with keeping warm by exercise and going on unwearied and eating
when one is hungry. But I was glad when the sun came out and we could see
our way again. I got bearings back to the hills of our camp so that my
map will not suffer. This business of mapmaking, far from being a
trouble, is a great amusement, and alleviation in the long hours of
riding and walking. The light came upon us just as we entered a wide and
shallow valley up which we shall march until we reach our goal--the fort
of Burqa which has been heard of but never seen.

BURQA, December 24. We sighted the keep of the fort at 10 this morning
and reached it at 1 o'clock--I with an excitement scarcely to be kept in
bounds. Burqa has proved most interesting. There is a good Kufic
inscription which I have deciphered--it is dated in the year 81 A.H. and
as inscriptions of the first century A.H. are very rare, it is
exceptionally important..

December 25. What paart of Xmas Day have you been spending? I have
thought of you all unwrapping presents in the Common Room and playing
with the children. But you were certainly not breakfasting out of doors
in a temperature of 28, which was what I was doing at 7 a.m. It was so
cold that I could not take rubbings of my inscriptions till late in the
morning, because it was impossible to keep the water liquid, I have
worked hard all day, planned, photographed, taken a latitude. Late in the
afternoon I discovered that the boulders were covered with Safaitic
inscriptions and I copied them till night fell. They are pre-Muhammadan,
the rude inscriptions of nomad tribes who inhabited these deserts and
wrote their names upon the stones in a script peculiar to this region. So
you can picture the history of Burqa--the Byzantine outpost with Safaitic
tribes camping round it; the Muhammadan garrison of the 7th century; then
a gentleman who passed along in the 8th century of the Hejira and wrote
his name and the date upon the walls; then the Bedouin laying their dead
in the courtyard of the fort (it is full of graves) and scratching their
tribe-marks on the stones; and lastly we to read the meagre tale. Well, I
have had a Profitable day. I have not had time to think whether it has
been merry. Bless you all.

December 26. I should like to mention that it was 25 when I breakfasted
this morning. The wonder is that one minds it so little. I walk for an
hour or two every morning so as to unfreeze after the painful process of
getting up and packing before dawn. We have been doing to-day the very
thing I dreamt of doing. We have been following an ancient road, not
metalled, but marked all the way by Safaitic inscriptions.

Heaven be praised, it is 10 degrees warmer to-night than it was last
night. What with sun and frost I am burnt out of all knowledge and, as
you may imagine, feel like the immortal gods for health. Nor do I believe
that they sleep half so well as I, nor eat so much.

December 27th. I copied inscriptions for another two hours this morning
and then we broke up camp and set off. But the devil took possession of
the old old man who is my rafiq and he set off independently or went to
sleep somewhere or I don't know what. Anyhow after half-an-hour's
searching we discovered he was not with us, and having spent an hour in
looking for him, he turned up from quite a different direction, and we
all cursed him, poor old thing, for wasting our time and energies. It was
a horrid march to-day in the teeth of a wind and over endless stones with
no apparent path through them. Heaven send us better ground to-morrow.

December 28th. The last prayer was not answered. We marched oVer stones
all day, and marched far, being waterless. At 4 in the afternoon we
reached a khabra nearly dry and after some time we espied the smoke of
Arab tents far off and camped hastily, hoping that they would not notice
us. At night we watched their distant fires flickering and sinking. No
doubt they watched ours for we had not been more than a couple of hours
on our way to-day before we heard sounds which meant our neighbours were
stirring. We left Abu Ali, my old old man--on top of a stony ridge to
tackle them and ourselves descended into low ground and halted. Presently
a horseman topped the ridge and greeted us with the customary rifle shot,
but Abu Ali met him and found him to be of his kin. So all was well.
Meantime we had lighted a fire, round which we sat with the newcomer,
gave him food and tobacco and exchanged with him information as to the
movements of tribes. He told us we should meet the Serdiyyeh moving camp
and half an hour later we did meet them and went through the usual
formulae. It happened to be the chief Sheikh, Ghalib, whose
people we had met, and he joined us and insisted on our camping with him
that night. There was no help for it since we shall have to take a rafiq
from him to guarantee us with his tribe further on. So I have spent the
afternoon sitting with him, sitting with the women, drinking coffee,
doctoring a man with a horribly bad foot--my only remedy was boric
ointment which can work neither harm nor good, but if I had said I could
do nothing they would not have believed me. And now I am going to dine
with Ghalib, who has killed a sheep for us. In return for which I shall
give him a cloak. The new moon is just setting in a wonderful clear sky,
the fires are all alight in the Arab tents; it's all very lovely and
primeval, but I prefer a solitary camp.

December 31st. Yesterday we rode all day over stones. At noon we reached
a Roman outpost, a little fort on a hill top. I sent my camels on, and
keeping two men with me planned and photographed the place. We got into
camp late, but since we were without the baggage camels we trotted our
camels wherever the ground permitted. It was a nice camp by some
springs-the joy of clean water! This morning we moved into Qasr Azraq,
which stands among palm trees, surrounded by a multitude of springs. I
had ridden on with one man, whom I left with my camels while I went into
the castle alone. It is inhabited by Arabs, but in the front room I found
a Druze who greeted me with the utmost cordiality and gave me coffee I
then began to plan the castle when immediately I was surrounded by Arabs
all shouting at the top of their voices that if I wrote a line they would
burn my book. I took them all down to my Agent, Ali, the postman of 3
years ago (they had shut the great stone gate of the castle to keep me
prisoner the better while they haggled with me). We sat down under the
palm trees and I smoked and left Ali to explain, with the result that
before long they declared themselves to be entirely at my service. I've
worked at this place all day and shall have another day at it to-morrow.
I really don't know if it was worth the trouble, but I dislike leaving
things undone in far away places. I rather think I have got one new Greek
inscription. I must take a rubbing of it to-morrow and see what can be
made of it. So the year ends.

January 2, 1914. They were all outlaws and outcasts at Azraq and, as Ali
observed, as we rode away this morning "The world would be more restful
if they were all dead."

It was really warm to-day for the first time. I dined after sunset with
my tent all open. But there seems to have been no rain here and the
question of water may present difficulties. We can carry--and are
carrying to-day--water for 4 nights, if we are careful with it--no baths
and very little washing, I fear! After dinner I sit for an hour or so at
the men's camp fire and they tell tales of raiding and of desert
journeying. The fire lights us as we sit in a circle and one after
another takes up his story. The negro camel herd, if he is not asleeP in
a corner (for he takes the first watch at night), looks Over the
shoulders of us gentry with his face one gleaming smile as the detailed
adventures grow more and mor blood curdling. When I get up to go they all
rise and send me away with a blessing. I often look round the circle and
think how closely I resemble Herbert's picture of me.

JanuarY 5 th. I have had 3 days of very hard work at Kharaneh, another of
the Umayyad pleasure palaces. Nothing so interesting has come into my way
since Ukhaidir. It is not my discovery, but I have done much more at it
than anyone else; in fact, it has not been studied at all as yet. Besides
the wonderful architectural details I have got heaps of Kufic graffites
which I hope Moritz will be able to study from my copies and photographs.
One at least is dated A.H. 92. The difficulty here has been water, as we
feared. My men have scoured the country round, but 4 waterskins was all
the neighbourhood offered. But with what we brought with us we had enough
for three nights here which was all I wanted and we still have
to-morrow's supply in case we come across none on our march. Lack of
water has unfortunately frustrated my admirable plan of sending in to
Madeba while I worked here. As we don't know when the next supply will be
found we could arrange no rendezvous. It means, too, no washing and I
begin to feel that I shall never be clean again. However Karaneh is worth
it all--delays and dirt and everything. I have worked these days from
6:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. with an hour off for lunch at 11. Darkness at
either end prevented longer hours. But it has been glorious. So now we
march west, towards Madeba, and camp where God ordains.

January 6th. My letter goes and I fetch letters.

To H. B.
january 9th, 1914.

As I said before, paf! I'm caught. I was an idiot to come in so close to
the railway, but I was like an ostrich with its head in the sand and
didn't know all the fuss there had been about me. Besides I wanted my
letters and Fattuh. Well, I've got both. Fattuh turned up yesterday
morning, just arrived from Damascus, still looking pale and thin (and no
wonder), but with a clean bill of health from Dr. Mackinnon. And do you
know I really believe that his coming makes up for all the misadventure?
I have missed him dreadfully, my faithful travelling companion. Never in
the world was anybody given more devoted friendship and service than he
gives me. He was in the seventh heaven at being with me. Well meantime
none of the 4 men whom I had sent in to Madeba and Ziza to buy stores had
returned. In the Middle of the morning one of the camel drivers arrived
with chopVed straw, and after the camels and I had lunched on all the
luxuries Fattuh had brought from Damascus) I rode off to Mshetta, which
is only an hour from my camp. As we came back Ali, the camel driver,
looked up and said "Are those horsemen or camel riders going to Our
tents?" I looked, and they were horsemen and, what is more, they were
soldiers, and when we rode in they were sitting round our camp fire. More
and more came, to the number of 10, and last of all a very angry, rude
(and rather drunken) little Jack-in-Office of a Chaowish, who said they
had been looking for me ever since I left Damascus. There it was. We put
on a good countenance and when the Chaowish stormed we held our tongue. I
sent off at once telegrams to Beyrout and Damascus to the two Consuls,
but I had to send a man with them to Madeba and the Chaowish intercepted
them--and put the man, one of my camel drivers, into the Ziza castle,
practically a prisoner. Thither he presently sent Fattuh also, on some
imaginary insult (F. had said nothing) and then he ransacked our baggage,
took possession of our arms, and posted men
all round my tent. All this which he had not the slightest right to do I
met with an icy calmness for which God give me the reward; and later in
the evening he began to feel alittle alarmed himself and sent to ask me
whether I would like Fattuh back. But I refused to have Fattuh routed out
again for the night was as icy as my demeanour and I shivering in bed,
had some satisfaction in thinking of how much those unwelcome guardians
of ruins were shivering outside. The temperature was 22. There was a
frozen fog. To-day we have waited for the Kaimmakam of Salt to turn UP or
send permission for us to go elsewhere. He is the nearest authority and I
only wish he would come. The Chaowish left us in the early morning to the
care of 6 Or 7 soldiers and turned up in the evening very affable. We
have spent the day not unpleasantly, gossiping with the soldiers, mending
a broken tent pole, and also in very long periods of gossip in Fattuh's
tent, one member of the expedition or another dropping in to share in the
talk. And I am busy forging new plans for I am not beaten yet. But I
fancy this road is closed and I shall probably have to go up to Damascus
and start afresh via Palmyra. The Bagdad Residency is the best address
for me. It's all rather comic. I don't much care. It's a laughable
episode in the adventure, but I do not think the adventure is ended, only
it must take another turn. I have done some interesting work in the last
3 weeks--just what I meant to do, but I have not enjoyed the thing much
up to now and my impression is that this is not the right road. I think I
can do better. Anyhow I will try. God ordains. Fattuh observes
cheerfully, "I spent the first night of the journey in the railway
station, and the second in prison, and now where?"

Saturday, January 10th. So far all is well. The Kaimmakam not having
arrived I came down to Amman and here I found him on his way to me, a
charming, educated man, a Christian, willing and ready to let me go
anywhere I like by any road I please. The Commandant here, a Circassian,
ditto. But there comes in a question of conscience. I do not want to get
the Kaimmakam into any trouble by taking advantage of his kindness so I
have telegraphed to Damascus for permission to visit the ruins round Ziza
and if I get that (I see no reason why I should not), I shall have
relieved my friend of all responsibility and shall be free, as occasion
offers, to go my own way. I am bound to say that I shall be glad when the
permission comes. It was curious riding through hilly ways and cultivated
country to-day after three weeks of desert. But such weather! Wind and
sleet and it's blowing like the devil to-night. They wanted me to sleep
in the serai, but I preferred my tent. This is such a wonderful place. If
only it is fine to-morrow I shall like seeing it again. I was here with
the Rosens 14 years ago. But it has been a heavy road for the laden
camels, up and down hill. The camel is not a mountain bird in this part
of the world. They all know me in these parts. I have met here a nephew
of Namoud, the man who helped me into the Jebel Druze in 1905--vide "The
Desert and the Sown." And they are all as nice as can be. Altogether the
misadventure is rather fine so far. What will Damascus say? Well, I shall
know to-morrow. But I can take no other course than that which I have
taken.

January 11th. The reply has not yet come from Damascus, but the Kaimmakam
thinks they can't refuse the permit so I wait with an easy mind. I am
sending letters up to Damascus to-night and this shall go with them. I
have spent the day receiving--and returning)--visits from the notables of
Amman and it has been very amusing. Also I took a long walk with the
Kaimmakam in the afternoon and had an interesting talk with him. He is a
very nice man, but these Christians always give me a hopeless feeling.
They walk blindfold and won't look facts in the face. It is not easy for
them to work with the Muhammadans, but if you think they meet them half
way--well, it isn't so. Yet this is a capable man and intelligent. I have
liked being with him and with the good old Circassian magnate. I expect I
shall be here to-morrow too. There was no sun to-day, but to-night it is
fine again and I have a good deal of photography to do to-morrow.

To F.B.
AmmAN, January 14, 1914-

My troubles are over. I have to-day permission from the Vali to go when I
like. The permission comes just in time for all my plans were laid and I
was going to run away to-morrow night. They could not have caught me.
However, I am now saved the trouble--and amusement! of this last
resource. The delay has had the advantage of giving Fattuh a few days to
pick up strength. He looks and is much better than when he joined me but
one does not recover from typhoid in a twinkling of an eye. Now I think
he will be able to travel without fatigue. To-morrow I camp again at Ziza
in order to pick up two rafiqs--one of the Beni Sakhr and one of the
Sherarat who will serve us as guarantors when we meet their tribes as we
probably shall in a few days.

I have made the acquaintance of all the leading inhabitants of Amman!
To-day I attended a Circassian wedding and drank tea with the protestant
congregation which numbers 15 families.

To H. B.
january 19th, 1914

I must begin a chronicle, though Heaven knows when it will be sent off.
We left Amman on the 15th, I have given the authorities at Amman an
assurance that the Ott. Government
was not responsible for me. This amounted to little, for wherever I went
without gendarmes the government had the right to wash its hands of me.
And I could not take gendarmes into the desert. I rode up that day to the
farm of some Christians in the hill above Lina, where I was given a regal
entertainment. Also Nimrud, the man who helped me in 1909, came up and
spent the night there. I was delighted to see him.

I must tell you that I was in some trouble about my muleteers. The men I
had brought from Damascus were very uncertain as to whether they would
come on with me--I think they really dreaded the perils of the road.
While we were at Amman we had fetched another man from Damascus a nephew
of my old guide, Muhammad, his name is Said. It Was as well we did so,
for on the 16th, just as I was starting, the three Agail threw down their
camel sticks and declared that they would not come. I had Said and my
negro camel herd, Fellah, an excellent boy. My hosts pressed into my
service a fellah, a peasant, on their farm (his name is Mustafa), and I
engaged as third man an Agaili, who had followed us from Amman in hope of
getting work. His name is Ali, not to be confused with Ali Mausar, the
postman guide of 1911, who is still with me and will never, I think,
leave me. Besides these, I have Salim, another nephew of Muhammad's, whom
I took at first in Fattuh's Place; he is an admirable servant and a very
nice, well-educated man, I like him immensely. And finally, I have
Fattuh, the lynch pin of the whole party.

So we set out. My hosts provided me with two Rafiqs a man of the Sherarat
of whom I have not seen much, and a man of the Beni Sakhr, Sayyah, who is
a delightful companion. They themselves rode with me till beyond Lina and
then by the Mecca railway, they, Nimrud, and I, and various slaves and
retainers made a hearty lunch and I Parted from them with a feeling of
gratitude. They clasped me by the hand, embraced Muhammad and Fattuh, and
sent us forth with many deep voiced blessings. I crossed the Mecca
railway and turned my face to Arabia.

We rode next day across the undulating country of the Beni Sakhr and
passed occasional herds of camels and flocks of sheep. A young sheikling
of the Sikhur joined us, he and his slave, and spent the night with us as
guests, the sacred word. He was a charming boy, cousin to the great
Sheikh Hathmel, and he was very anxious to come on with us, he and his
slave.

Next day we went on our way over hills and wide shallow valleys, entirely
covered with flints, and came in the afternoon to the palace of Tubah. It
had been sufficiently planned by Musil, but very insufficiently
photographed, and I spent a very profitable afternoon working at it. We
camped among the ruins and found a good clear water pool in the sandy
bed of the valley on which they stand, but the men were rather anxious
that night, as the desert to the east of us was "empty" i.e., there were
no Sukhur beyond us, and they feared the possibility of an Anazeh raiding
party, making for the grazing camel herds we had passed in the morning.
This thought did not, I need scarcely tell you, keep me awake-I should
sleep but little in the next few weeks if I were to be disturbed by such
things--and when I woke I found there had been no raiding party and my
goods were safe and sound.

It was 34 when we started before dawn, and 70 when we camped at two
o'clock. It is difficult to adjust one's toilet to a thermometer which
behaves in this fashion. We have ridden through flint country all day, no
water in the valleys, and consequently no people. We brought our water
with us from Tubah. We are camped in a dry valley bed, not far from the
great land-mark of all this country, the three pointed hills which are
called the Thlaithuwat: the blessing it is to
Have a point for my compass bearings is more than I can say! Since there
is no water there is not much fear of raiders, but we keep watch for
casual robbers, who, if they found us watchful, would turn out as guests,
and if they found us sleeping, would lift our camels. "Beni Adam!" as
Muhammad says, "Sons of Adam!" I listen all day as we ride to tales of
raid and foray. But it is a fine country, this open desert, and I am
enjoying myself mightily.

January 21st. We rode all day across flint strewn desert on the 20th.
About mid-day two camel riders came up behind us and proved to be Jadan,
the great Sheikh of the Agaili, and one of his men. They had spied us as
we passed under the Thlaithuwât, and taking us for a raiding party, had
followed us to see where we were going.

"We took you for foes," said he.

"No, praise be to God," said I, " we are friends."

he rode on with us for an hour, for company, and then turned back to
reassure his people. And we came at two o'clock to the last of the
castles, Bair, as yet unplanned and unphotographed. The plan is a very
old type and the place may be 8th century. It is very famous on account
of its wells, and in summer and autumn, if the Sukhur are not camped
here, all the ghazus pass this way. I have therefore heard more raiding
stories here than ever before, and I will tell you one.

Muhammad, Sayyah (my rafiq) and I were sitting on the top of the biggest
well, which is about twenty meters deep, and M. observed that when he
first knew Bair this well was filled in. A party of the Isa had fallen
here on the Sukhur and killed a horseman. The Sukhur killed Of the Isa
two canel riders. The Isa were thirsting and the Sukhur, before they made
off, threw the two dead men and their camels into the well and rolled in
a few big stones on top, so that the Isa might not drink and follow them.

"Haram," said I, "it is forbidden."

"No," said Sayyâh, "their thought was good."

"The Arabs are devils," observed Muhammad.

"Devils," said Sayyâh.

"They are the very devil," said I, and with such conviction that Sayyâh
looked up and laughed. You may take that as an example of our usual
conversation.

Friday, 23 rd. We have marched for two days across exceedingly
featureless country, indeed, for most of to-day there was nothing on
which to take a bearing, but my camel's ears, which are not a good line.
We march for an hour or two across flintstrewn uplands, glistening black,
and then down and up the banks of a deepish valley--dry, of course--and
then into the upland again. All the valleys here run approximately East
and West.

Last night we had some rain, and the first deep valley to which we came
there were small standing pools, which the camels drank greedily. We are
carrying water, and since we are rather uncertain whether we shall reach
pools to-morrow, we are using it sparingly, No baths and little washing
of any kind. It has turned cold after the rain, not frosty, but a nipping
wind--rather nice, however.

Yesterday we picked up a stone with a Safaitic inscription, a great deal
further south than I expected to find such things. It is a desolate
land--barren beyond all belief. But in the valleys we find dry bushes, on
which the camels Pasture-

sunday, 25th. We changed our course a little yesterday, for seeing how
dry and barren the world was, we decided that the Sukhur must have moved
off east and that it was no good looking for them. We reached the western
edge of the flint plateau.

Then we dropped down into a sandy valley and saw in the sand many
foot-prints of camels, coming and going. But what Arabs had passed this
way we did not know.

We camped in a hollow, where our fires could not be seen, and Ali,
Sayyâh, and I went off scouting for Arabs. We climbed very cautiously up
a high tell and from the shoulder surveyed the landscape through my
glasses. But there was no soul in sight

To-day we set off in a frosty dawn and marched on down the valley. Ali
and I walked on for an hour and waited in a sandy hollow for the camels,
and the foot-prints were all round us in the sand. "They are fresh," said
Ali. The valley ended in A wide, open plain, set round with fantastically
riven hills black and rusty red as the volcanic stone had weathered. The
light crept round them as we marched across the plain. They stood in
companies watchin us, and in the silence and eptiness were
extraordinarily sinister. Suddenly Sayyâh called out "There is smoke." A
tall spire of smoke wavered against a black hillock. I must tell you that
we were waterless and thirsty--the camels had not drunk for four days. We
were not at all sure when we should find water, neither did we know in
the leasft what Arabs had kindled the fire whose smoke we watched, but
the consensus of opinion was that it was a ghazu--raiders. These are the
interesting moments of desert travel. We decided that it was best to go
up and see who was there; if they were enemies, they would be certain to
see us and follow us anyway; if they were friends they would give us news
of the tribes and water. The latter question, however, we solved for
ourselves--we found the pool for which we had been looking. We watered
the camels, leaving the men to fill the water skins, Muhammad, Ali,
Sayyâh and I went on to examine that questionable smoke; we crossed a
little ridge, and on the farther side saw flocks of sheep and the
shepherds of the Howaitât who came up and greeted us and gave us news of
their sheikhs. All was safe and we went on into the hills and camped.
To-morrow I hope we shall be guests of the Howaitât. The big camps cannot
be far away, for the only water in this district is the pool we found
this morning, with the exception Of one stnall well in the hills to the
east. The Howaitât are great people. They raid all across to the
Euphrates and have a resounding name for devilry--reckless courage.

Tuesday, 27th. Yesterday we rode into the hills. On our way back we met a
camel rider who told us that a very regrettable incident had occurred the
night before. A man who was camping with the Sukhur had attacked a small
camp of the Howaitât--he had an old grudge againft the dwellers in
it--and carried off sheep. The Howaitât pursued him and killed him; in
revenge his brother shot three of the pursuers and fled to the tents of
the Sukhur. This news caused my Sukhur rafiq, Sayyâh, to feel very
anxious as to the reception he might meet with in the tents of the
Howaitât and I tried to comfort him (with some success) by assuring him
that under no circumstances would I desert him. But all turned out well.
We reached the tents of Harb, one of the sheikhs of the Howaitât, and
were received with all kindness, Sayyâh included. Harb killed a sheep for
us and we all dined with him that night. To-wards the end of dinner
another guest arrived, who proved to be Muhammad Abu Tayyi-the Abu Tayyi
are the great sheiks of the Howaitât. He is a magnificent person, tall
and big, with a flashing look--not like the slender Beduin sitting round
Harb's fire. He carried the Howaitât reputation for dare-devilry written
on his face-I should not like to Meet him in anger.

To-day we have sent the camels down for water; all this country drinks
from the pool at which we filled our water skins on Sunday, and we dare
not go on without a good provision. Accordingly, I have had rather a long
day in camp, sitting and talking to Harb and his people, drinking coffee,
talking again, photographing--they love being photographed--I took a
latitude at noon, which is much to the good. Muhammad al Marawi and his
nephew, Said, my camel driver Sayyâh, goes back from here, and I shall
send this letter in the hope that it will ultimately reach a post and
give you assurance that I am safe and flourishing. We take a Howaitât
from here, and as the Howaitât are all along our way, we reckon we ought
to be sufficiently protected. I have decided to go to Taimah--you will
see it on the map--so as to get news of Nejd there. It is a town of the
Rashids. I count it some eight easy marches from here. I expect I shall
be able to write you from there.

I've bought an ostrich skin and two eggs! They live about here but I
haven't seen a live one yet.

To H. B.
February 4, 1914.

I have really delayed too long in beginning my next letter
To you. Since I sent off the last by Sayyâh (I wonder if you will get
it?) we have changed our plans several times and I still hesitate to
pronounce that we are on the road to Nejd, though I think we are. At any
rate we are in Arabia, in the very desert and no doubt about it. But you
must hear. When it came to the point of leaving Harb's tents I found that
the question of who was to come as our new rafiq was by no means settled.
On the contrary, all the Arabs and all my men were gathered round the
camp fire with faces the one longer than the other. It seemed that the
desert before us--the way to Taimah--was "khala," empty, i.e., there were
no tribes camping in it. It would be, they all assured me, infested by
ghazus who would fall upon us by night and undoubtedly rob us, if not
worse. Whether this were true or no I had no means of judging, but I take
it to be against the rules of the game to persist in taking a road
against which I am warned by all; moreover there was the conclusive
difficulty that we could get no rafiq to lead us along it. Therefore,
after prolonged consultations, it was decided that we should strike east,
go to Jof, throw ourselves on the kindness of the Rualla and make our way
south, if possible, and, if not possible, east to Bagdad. We set out next
morning with Harb's brother, Awwad, as rafiq, for Jof and the Wadi Sirhan
in pursuance of this plan. I did not add anything to my letter, though
Sayyâh was not yet gone, because the future seemed so doubtful, and it
was as well I did not. I should have said we were going to Jof and it
would have been no truer than that our way lay to Taimah. Riding over the
last hills--they were very delicious, full of herds of camels--we came
presently to the big tent of Audah, the great sheikh of the Howaitât;
Audah was away, as we knew, raiding the Shammar, but we stopped for
coffee and photographs and then rode on east. But it happened that a man
who was among the coffee drinkers had given Awwad the information that
some of the Ruwalla were camped in the Wady Sirhan. Now as any man of the
Ruwalla whom he might chance to meet would cut his throat at sight it was
clear that he could not conduct us to the Wadi Sirhan and I was again
rafiq-less. I sent him off to the tents of Muhammad, Audah's brother (he
turned up in Harb's tents the first night we were there--a formidable
personage) to fetch a Sherari of repute who had no blood feud with the
Ruwalla, and we came into camp and waited results. He returned in an hour
accompanied by Muhammad himself and several others who all stayed to dine
and sleep. Muhammad brought in a lamb and a very beautiful ostrich skin,
and further, over the coffee cups, he told me of a ruin in the Jebel
Tubaiq which, if I would come back with him to his camp, he would take me
to see. Now I was very reluctant to turn back, but a ruin is a ruin, and
moreover it is my job to determine what kind of ruin it may be. So next
day we rode back with Muhammad, my men inclined to grumble and I not a
little inclined to doubt my own wisdom. We had got our Sherari guide,
Musrud, and might have gone on if we wanted. But after all I was right.
In the first place the ruin was worth seeing. It has a Kufic graffito and
all complete
and to get to it I rode five hours across the Jebel Tubaiq, saw and
photographed a pre-Muhammadan High Place (so I take it to be) and got a
far better idea of these exceedingly interesting hills. They are full of
wild beauty and full of legend; they deserve a good month's study which I
may perhaps give to them some day, and we such friends With the Howaitât.
For I made great friends with Muhammad. He is a good fellow and I like
him and trust him. In the 3 days I spent with him--one, indeed, a very
long one, was spent in riding over the hills and back--I saw him dealing
out justice and hospitality to his tribe and found both to be good. Of an
evening we sat in his big tent--he is an important person, you
understand--and I listened to the tales and the songs of the desert, the
exploits of Audah, who is one of the
most famous raiders of these days, and romantic adventures of the princes
of Nejd. Muhammad sat beside me on the rugs which were spread upon the
clean soft sand, his great figure wrapped in a sheepskin cloak, and
sometimes he puffed at his narghile and listened to the talk and
sometimes he joined in, his black eyes flashing in question and answer. I
watched it all and found much to look at. And then, long after dark, the
"nagas," the camel mothers, would come home with their calves and crouch
down in the sand outside the open tent. Muhammad got up, drew his robes
about him, and went out into the night with a huge wooden bowl, which he
brought back to me full to the brim of camel's milk, a most delectable
drink. And I fancy that when you have drunk the milk of the naga over the
camp fire of Abu Tayyi you are baptised of the desert and there is no
other salvation for you. I saw something of the women, too--Muhammad's
wives and sister. Yes, those were interesting days. They were prolonged
beyond my intention for this reason. The day I visited the ruin we had
sent our camels to water at a khabra and bring us water. Do you know what
khabra is? It is a rain pool. Now this khabra proved to be so far away
that the camels took 18 hours on their way there and back, and one never
came back at all. It sat down and it would not get up and they left it 6
hours away. That's what camels do; if they are tired and don't mean to
move, nothing in this world or the next will induce them to stir. It was
clear that we could not abandon a camel. We despatched a man in the
middle of the night to feed and fetch her and waited another day. During
that day we changed all our plans once more. Muhammad al Marawi came to
see me and said he thought if we went to Jof we should have great
difficulty in getting on to Nejd, since the Ruwalla are foes of the
Shammar, moreover Musrud, our Sherari rafiq, was prepared to take us
south--to Taimah, if we liked, or if we liked better, S.E. and direct to
Nejd. The ghazus, the perils, the rifle shots at night, seemed to have
vanished into thin air. I questioned Musrud very closely, made up my mind
that the scheme was feasible and told my men that the less said about it
the better. Nominally we were still going to jof--one becomes very
secretive in these countries. The camel messenger came back that night
and reported that he had persuaded the camel to move on three hours--we
did not mind her non-appearance, for our new road lay in her direction.
The real danger ahead, as I made out, was the lack of camel food. If we
found no pasturage in the desert to the south (we had only six days' aliq
with us--aliq is fodder-) we should be faced by starvation for the camels
and with I did not know--what for us. But the reports, if they were to
be believed, of the country ahead were good and as all other chances of
getting to Nejd seemed so remote I resolved to take the risk. Muhammad
gave us half a load of corn, his crowning act of hospitality, and I gave
him a Zeiss glass in return for all his kindness. We set out and rode 3
hours to the southern edge of the Jebel Tubaiq, dropping down by a rocky
gorge into the plain below, where we camped. Here we found our camel,
more or less recovered, and fit to go on next day. The " trees " were
greening and there was plenty of good pasturage. Before us lay the
country in which we now are, a country of red sandstone and the resulting
sand. But the early winter rains have been good and the sparse thorny
bushes growing in the sand have sprouted into green, all the rain pools
are full and (so far) raiders non-existent. We have with us not only our
Sherari rafiq, but still better a man to conduct us into the heart of the
Shammar country--not a man, a family. We met them in our last Tubaiq
camp, at the foot of the hills, a Shammar family who wanted to return to
Nejd. Without us for company they would not dare to take this direct
road, and we are no less grateful than they, for if we meet a Shammar
ghazu we are guaranteed against them. So here we are, camped in red gold
sand among broken hillocks of red sandstone, with all the desert shrubs
grey green and some even adventuring into colourless pale flowers. They
smell sweet and aromatic. "Like amber" said Ali, sniffing the wind as we
came into camp this afternoon. And the camels have eaten their fill. We
march slowly, for they eat as they go but I don't mind. I never tire of
looking at the red gold landscape and wondering at its amazing
desolation. I like marching on through it and sometimes I wonder whether
there is anywhere that I am at all anxious to reach.

February 7th. Three days' journey have not brought us along very far.
There is such abundance of green shrubs and flowering weeds that the
camels stop and graze as we go, and yesterday we came into camp very
early so as to give them a good feed. A day or two more of this sort of
country will make a wonderful difference to them. Yet it is nothing but
sand and sandstone, long barren hills and broken sandstone tells. But the
early rains have been good and to-day there were places where the bare
desert was like a garden. It is very delightful to see. Also the rain
which fell upon us the day we left the J. Tubaiq was very heavy over all
this land. We find the sandstone hollows full of clear, fresh rain water
and scarcely trouble to fill our water skins, so plentiful is the supply
each night. It is wonderfully fortunate. Yesterday we had an absurd
adventure. Besides the Shammar family we have a couple of Sherarat tents
with us, the people miserably poor (they seem to be kept from the
ultimate starvation which must overtake them by small gifts of flour from
us) possessing nothing but a few goats and the camels which carry them.
These goats had gone on with their herd before dawn; just before the sun
rose the Shammar and Sherarat followed on their camels and I went behind
them on foot for I Wanted to take bearings from a little ridge ahead. We
had been camping in a very shallow valley. Musrud was with me. We may
have walked about 100 yards when all those in front of us turned round
and hurried back to us. " They are afraid," said Musrud. "They have seen
an enerny." Ghadi, the chief Sharnmari came riding up. "What is it?" I
asked. "Gom," he answered, "foes." "How many?" said I. "Twenty camel
riders," he answered, and shouted to my men "To the valley, to the
valley!" We crouched all the camels behind the sand heaps and tamarisk
bushes, got out our arms and waited. Nothing happened. Presently Ghadi
crept back to the ridge to scout. Still nothing happened. Then Fattuh,
Musrud and I went across to the ridge and swept the world with my
glasses. There was nothing. We waved to the others to come on and
marching down the hills in complete security, came to the conclusion that
the 20 camel riders could have been nothing but the Father of goats who
was found presently pasturing his innocent flock ahead of us. At night I
announced that I intended to take a rafiq of the Beni Maaz, the Goat
Tribe, and this not very brilliant witticism threw the whole company
round the coffee fire into convulsions of laughter.

February 10th. On Feb. 8 we fell among thieves-worse than the goats. An
hour or two after we had struck camp we met some of the Howaitât who told
us that Sayyah, Sheikh of the Wadi Sulaman was camped a few hours to the
east. Since it was pretty certain that he would hear of our presence we
thought it wiser to camp with him that night and take a rafiq from hin,
-otherwise, you understand, he would probably have sent after us in the
night and robbed us. He received us with all courtesy, but it was only
pretence. Presently the one_eyed ruffian came into our camp, examined all
our possessions and asked for everything in turn. We thought at first to
get off with the loss of a revolver, but it ended by my having to
surrender my Zeiss glass also to my infinite annoyance. He swore that no
Christian had ever visited this country and none should go, that he would
send no rafiq with us so that he might be free to rob us, and finally he
proposed to said and Fattuh that they should aid him to kill us and share
the spoil. He got no encouragement from them and I do not know that any
of the threats were more than words. I clung to my glass as long as I
could, but when at last Said, who knows the Arabs, advised me to yield
lest things should take a worse turn, We got our rafiq, Sayyâh's cousin,
and are therefore assured against "the accursed of both parents." We took
also two men of the Faqir, another tribe whom we may meet. They are said
to be still more unfortunate in their ancestry than the Wadi Sulaiman.
One of their sheikhs was camping with Sayyah and he sent his brother and
another with us. This brother, Hamid, is a very pleasant fellow
traveller, and I have no fault to find with Sayyah's cousin Zayyid.
But Sayyah has a name for roguery. It was typical of him that he mulcted
our Shammar companions Of 3 mejidehs before he would let them go on with
us. They had no money and could not pay, but Muhammad al Marawi stood
surety for them and I shall of course give them the ransom, poor souls.
We had a very dull day's journey yesterday over rolling pebbly sandhills,
nothing whatever to be seen, except that once we crossed the tracks of an
ostrich. To-day has been rather more varied, hills on which to take
bearings, and we have come into camp in a valley bottom full of green
plants for the camels. We have recovered from the depression into which
Sayyah's conduct threw us and we are in good hopes that we shall not meet
any more sheikhs.

February 12th. We rode yesterday over a barren pebbly waste and came down
through sand hills to a desolate low lying region wherein we found water
pools. We watered our camels and filled our water skins and then turned
our faces S.E. into the Nefad which lay but an hour from us. The NeftLd
is a great stretch of sandhills, 7 or 8 days' journey across. Our path
lies through the S.W. corner and I am glad to see this famous wilderness
of sand. It is the resort of all the tribes during the winter and spring
when an abundance of vegetation springs from the warm sand, but there is
no permanent water except at the extreme borders and in summer it is a
blazing furnace. This is the right moment for it. All the plants are
greening and putting forth such flowers as they know how to produce and
our camels eat the whole day as they march. But the going is very
heavy--up and down endless ridges of soft pale yellow sand. occasionally
there are deep gulleys hollowed out by the wind and we make a long
circuit to avoid them, and from time to time the sand is piled up into a
high ridge or head--a 'tas,' it is called in Arabic--which stands out
yellow over the banks for its precipitous flanks are devoid of
vegetation. Towards midday we came to a very high tas and I climbed to
the top and saw the hills near Taimah to the west and the first of the
mountains of Nejd to the S.E., Jebel Irnan. When I came down Fattuh
greeted me with the news that one of the camels had sat down and they
could not make her stir. Muhammad, Fellah and I went back with some food
for her, thinking she might be weary with walking in the deep sand and
that with food and coaxing we could get her on, but when we reached herve
we found her rolling in the sand in the death agony. Muhammad said "She
is gone. Shall we sacrifice her?" I said "It were best." He drew his
knife and said "In the name of God. God is most powerful." With that he
cut her throat. She was, he explained, sick of a malady which comes with
great suddenness. Fortunately she was one of the 3 weak animals we have
with us. I should have been obliged to sell her at Hayil and she would
not have fetched more than a pound or two. She is no great loss as far as
that goes, but I am deeply attached to all my camels and grieve over the
death for reasons of sentiment.

February 15 th. We continue our peaceful course through the sands of the
Nefûd, for according to all the information which comes to us from the
Arabs we meet encamped it is the safest road, and I, who am now so close
to Hayil, have no other desire but to get there without being stopped. We
are now skirting Within its southern border and from every sandhill top
we see the mountains of Nejd. Yesterday we camped early in order to
water. We had seen no water since the khabra. The well Haizan was an hour
and a half from our camp and I rode down with the camels to see the
watering. Wells are very scarce in the Nefûd. They are found only on its
borders and are very deep. Haizan lies at the bottom of a great
depression enclosed by the steep sandbanks of the Nefûd. Our well rope
was 48 paces long. We carried two stout sticks with us and a little wheel
with which we made a pulley for the rope. There was an Arab camp near
ours and the Sheikh, Salim, was there with some of his people watering
their camels. They used a pulley like ours. It was interesting to watch
and I took a lot of photographs. There were some who objected at first to
my photography and asked what it was for. I asked the Shammar who was
with us and the two brothers who have come with us from the J. Tubaiq
whether I ought to stop, but they said no, it did not matter. And so I
went on and no word was said. When you consider what a strange sight I
must be to these people who have never seen a European it is remarkable
that they leave me so unmolested. Desert manners are good.

February 19th. Marching through the Nefûd is like marching through the
Labyrinth. You are for ever winding round deep sand pits, sometimes half
a mile long, with banks so steep that you cannot descend. They are mostly
shaped like horseshoes and you wander along until you come to the end and
then drop down into low ground, only to climb up anew. How one bears it I
don't know. I should think that as the crow flies we barely covered a
mile in an hour. But there is something pleasant about it too; the safe
camping grounds among the Sands, the abundance of pasture, the somnolent
monotony. But we have done with it. We came out of it to-day. Two days
ago we were held up by heavy rain. It began just as we broke up camp. We
marched for two hours, by which time all the men were wet through and I
was far from dry. The clouds stay on top of the sandhills like a thick
fog and at last my rafiq declared that he could see no landmarks and
could not be sure of our direction. No Arabs march in rain and I had to
give way. We pitched camp and dried ourselves at an immense wood fire. It
rained and hailed and thundered most of the day and night and all the
world rejoiced. "To-day the sheikhs will sacrifice a camel," said my
rafiq. The camels will pasture in the Nefûd for 3 months after this rain.
Last night we got to the first Shammar camp--the Shammar are the Arabs of
Nejd--and took as a rafiq the oldest and
raggedest sheikh in the world. Beduin are not noted for strong and steady
judgment, but he is one of the most birdwitted whom I have met. And this
morning we reached the barren sandstone crags of Jebel Misma, which bound
here the Nefûd, and passed beyond them into Nejd. As we topped the last
sand bank the landscape which opened before us was more terrifyingly dead
and empty than anything I have ever seen. The blackened rocks of Misma
drop steeply on the E. side into a wilderness of jagged peaks set in a
bed of hard sand and beyond and beyond stretches the vacant plain,
untilled and unpeopled and scattered over with isolated towers and tables
of sandstone. We have camped once more on the skirts of the Nefûd for the
sake of the pasture, and tomorrow we go down into the plain.

Sunday, February 22nd. it proves to be a very pleasant place that dead
country. The sandstone hollows were all full of water and there was
plenty of pasturage. We marched gaily over a hard floor all day and
camped in the midst of hills on a sandy floor between high cliffs. We had
some Shammar for neighbours about a mile away. Yesterday we had a dull
journey over an interminable flat and up sandbanks to another little
camp, but this time high up in the heart of the little range. Somewhere
in the sandbanks we passed the boundary between the sandstone country and
the granite. I had noticed that the strange shapes of the sandstone hills
were not to be seen before us and when we came to our camp in Jebel
Rakkam behold the rocks were granite. I climbed into the top of one of
the peaks and found flowers ggrowing in the crevices, small, white and
purple weeds and thistles and a dwarf asphodel-not a great bounty, but it
feasted the eyes in this bare land. And to-day we passed a tiny village
with corn plots round it--the first we have seen since Ziza. There were
only 6 Or 7 Of them. And thereafter we were overtaken again by the Nefûd
which puts out a long finger to the south here, and marched by hollow
ways of sand in a very hot sun. We are camped in sandhills to-day.

February 24th. We are camped within sight of Hayil and I might have
ridden in today, but I thought it better to announce my coming and
therefore I sent on Muhammad and Ali and have camped in the plain a
couple of hours or so from the town. We finished with the Nefûd for good
and all yesterday, and today we have been through a charning
country--charming for Arabia--of great granite rocks and little plains
with thorny acacia trees growing in them and very sweet scented desert
plants. We passed a small village or two, mud houses set in palm gardens
and all set round with a mud wall. I hope the Hayil people will be
polite. The Amir is away and an uncle of his is left in charge.

March 7th. And now I must relate to you the strange tale of my visit to
Hayil. I broke up camp at sunrise on the 25th and rode towards the town.
When we had been on the road for about an hour we met Ali on his camel,
all smiles. They had seen Ibrabim, the uncle in charge. He was most
polite, said I was welcome and there were three slaves of his household
come out to receive me. With that he pointed to 3 horsemen riding towards
us, one of whom carried a long lance. So we came up to the walls of Hayil
in state, skirted them and entered the town by the S. gate. At the
doorway Of the first house stood Muhammad al Rashid, great
uncle of the present boy. I walked up a long sloping passage--not a
stair, a ramp--to an open court and so into a great room with a roof
borne on columns and divans and carpets round the walls. It was the
Roshan, the reception room. Here I sat and one of the slaves with me.
These slaves, you must understand are often very important personages.
Their masters treat them like brothers and give them their full
confidence, Also when one of the Rashids removes the reigning prince and
takes his place (which frequently happens) he is careful to murder his
slaves also, lest they should revenge the slain. The men then went away
to see to the lodging of the camels and the pitching of the tents in the
wide courts below. (There are five courts to my domain, all mudwalled and
towered. It was here that in the old days, before the Mecca railway, the
Persian Hajj used to lodge.) Thereupon there appeared upon the scenery
two women. One was an old widow, Lu-lu-ah, who is caretaker here, as you
might say. The other was a Circassian, who was sent to Muhammad al Rashid
by the Sultan as a gift. Her name is Turkiyyeh. Under her dark purple
cloak--all the women are closely veiled here--she was dressed in
brilliant red and purple cotton robes and she wore ropes of bright pearls
round her neck. And she is worth her weight in gold, as I have come to
know. She is a chatterbox of the first order and I passed an exceedingly
amusing hour in her company. She had been sent here to spend the day and
welcome me. After lunch Ibrahim paid me a state visit, slaves walking
before him and slaves behind. He is an intelligent and (for an Arab) well
educated man. He was clothed in Indian silks and carried a gold mounted
sword. He stayed talking till one of the slaves announced that the call
to afternoon prayer had sounded. Then he rose and took his leave. But as
he went he whispered to old M. al Murawi that as the Amir was away and as
there was some talk in the town about my coming, a stranger and so on, he
was bound to be careful and so on and so on--in short, I was not to leave
the house without permission. I spent most of the afternoon sitting in
the women's court and talking to Turkiyyeh who was excellent company. My
camels badly wanted rest; there is no pasturage near Hayil and we decided
to send them away to the Nefûd with one of my men and a couple of Hayil
Men whom Ibrahim had provided. I sold 6 camels--the Amir being away
raiding and with him all available camels, they are fortunately much in
request at this moment--6 which were badly knocked up by the journey, and
sent the remaining 13 away next morning. And then I sat still in
honourable captivity and the days were weary long. On the 27th Ibrahim
invited me to come and see him in the evening--I had expressed a wish to
return his call. After dark he sent a man and a couple of slaves and I
rode through the silent empty town to the Qasr, the fortress palace of
the Amirs. I rode in at the gate, and was conducted by troops of slaves
to the Roshan, the great columned reception room, where I found Ibrahim
and a large company sitting on carpets round the walls. They all rose at
my entrance. I sat at Ibrahim's right hand and we talked for an hour or
more while the slaves served us first with tea and then with coffee.
Finally they brought censers and swung them before each one of us three
times and this is the sign that the reception is ended. So I rode home,
tipping each of the many doorkeepers as I left. I had sent silken robes
to all these people,--Ibrahim and the chief slaves and the absent
Amir--to him a Zeiss glass and a revolver also. I was now living upon the
money which I had received for my six camels and it became necessary to
ask for the 200 pounds which I had deposited with the Amir's agent in
Damascus. It was met by the reply that the Letter of Credit was made out
to the Amir's treasurer who was away raiding with him and that the money
could not be paid to me till he returned. Now the Amir will in all
probability be away for another month. I did not contemplate remaining in
Hayil for a month; even if I had been free to go and come as I chose.
Moreever I was persuaded that the Amir's grandmother, Fatima, who is a
very powerful person in his court, had been left in charge of the
treasury and could give (or withhold) as she pleased. But I could not
risk being left here penniless. I had just 40 pounds. I told my men that
it must suffice, that I should call in my camels, take the 8 best and go
with Fattuh, Ali and Fellah to Bagdad, while the rest of the men would
wait another week till the camels were rested and return to Damascus via
Medina and the railway. The money I had would just suffice for all of us
and for the tips in the house here. So it was agreed and after two more
days I asked for a private audience with Ibrahim, went again to the Qasr
at night, saw him and again heard from him that no disbursement could
take place in the Amir's absence. I replied that if that were so, I much
regretted that I should have to leave at once and I must ask him for a
rafiq. He said the rafiq was ready and anything I wished should be given.
That morning I must tell you, he had returned the gifts I had sent to hin
and to his brother Zamil, who is away with the Amir. Whether he did not
think them sufficient or what was the reason I do not know. I took them
back with me that evening, said I had been much hurt and must request
him to receive them, which he did. He had lent me a man in the morning
and I had ridden out with one of his slaves to a garden belonging to him
and beyond the town. For this I thanked him and we parted on the best of
terms. Next day I sent a messenger out for my camels--they proved to be
two days away-and again I sat still amusing myself as best I might and
the best was not good. I had no idea what was in their dark minds
concerning me. I sat imprisoned and my men brought me in rumours from the
town. Ali, in particular, has two uncles here who are persons of
consideration; they did not care to come and see me, but they sent me
news. The general opinion was that the whole business was the work of
Fatima, but why, or how it would end, God alone knew. If they did not
intend to let me go I was in their hands. It was all like a story in the
Arabian Nights, but I did not find it particularly enjoyable to be one of
the 'dramatis personae.' Turkiyyeh came again and spent the day with me
and next day there appeared the chief eunuch Said--none more powerful
than he. He came to tell me that I could not leave without permission
from the Amir. I replied that I had no money and go I must and would, and
sent this message to Ibrahim and Fatima. But he answered that going and
not going was not in our hands. I sent hasty messages to Ali's uncles and
in the afternoon one of their nephews came to see me--an encouraging
sign. That night I was invited to the Qasr by the women. The Amir's
mother, Mudi, received me and Turkiyyeh was there to serve as introducer
of ambassadors. It was more like the Arabian Nights than ever. The women
in their Indian brocades and jewels, the slaves and eunuchs, and the
great columned rooms, the children heavy with jewels--there was nothing
but me myself which did not belong to medieval Asia. We sat on the floor
and drank tea ate fruits--vide, as I say, the Arabian Nights passim.
Thereupon passed another long day. At night came Turkiyyeh-the women only
go out after dark. We sat in the big Roshan here and drank tea, served by
one of my slaves--for I also have two or three. A single lamp lighted us
and the night wind blew through the chinks of the shutters. No windows
are glazed. I tol her all my difficulties, that I had no money and could
get none, that I sat here day after day and that they would not let me
go. Next day I was invited by two boys of the sheikhly house--I won't
tell you all the relationships, though I heard them all--to spend the
afternoon in a garden near at hand. I went and there were the two boys
and all the other Rashid male babies--all that have not been murdered by
successive usurping Amirs, and of course many slaves And the eunuch Said.
We sat on carpets in a garden pavilion, as You may see in any Persian
miniature you choose to look at, and I again put forward my requests,
which were again met by the same replies on the part of Said. I ended by
declaring that I wished to leave the next day and asked for a rafiq.
Thereat we wandered through the gardens and my hosts, the two boys,
carefully told me the names of all the fruit trees (which of course I
knew) and the little children walked solemnly hand in hand in their long
brocade robes. And then we drank more coffee and at the afternoon prayer
I left. After prayers came Said and told Muhammad al Murawi that I must
understand that nothing could be done till permission came from the Amir.
I went to the men's tent and spoke my mind to Said without any Oriental
paraphrases and, having done so, I rose abruptly and left them sitting--a
thing which is only done by great sheikhs, you understand. The camels
came in at dusk and I, thinking that in the end I should have to stay
here for another indefinite time, was beginning to plan where to send
them out to graze, when after dark came Said and another with 200 pounds
in a bap, and full permission to go where and when I liked. The rafiq was
ready. I replied with great dignity that I was very much obliged and that
I did not intend to leave till the next day for I wished to see the Qasr
and the town by daylight. And today I have been shown everything, have
been allowed to photograph everything and do exactly as I pleased. I gave
10 pounds in backshish in the Qasr. As I was returning I was given an
invitation from Turkiyyeh and I went to her house. She says she explained
the whole position to Fatima and I think that the 'volte-face' is due to
her, but however it may be I am profoundly thankful. I go to Bagdad.
After careful enquiries I feel sure that the road south is not possible
this year. The tribes are up and there is an expedition pending from
here. They would not, therefore, give me a rafiq south and I should have
considerable difficulty in going without their leave. So Hayil must
suffice for this year. Moreover I have learnt a good deal about travel in
this country and I know that none of the southern country can be
travelled 'a la Franca.' If ever I go there I must go with no more
baggage than I can carry on my own camel.

Sunday, March 22nd. We are within sight of Nejef. I have camped an hour
from the town because I know there is no camping ground near it and I
should probably have to put up in the Government sarai, which is
tiresome. Also I very much want to get through to Bagdad without
questions or telegrams. Oh, but it is a long dull way from Nejd! I wanted
to come up by the old pilgrim road, which has a certain historic interest
and is also the shortest, but the morning I left Hayil came a slave with
a message to say I was to travel by the western road as the eastern was
not safe. As I did not much mind the one way or the other I acquiesced.
Two days out we met the Amir's messengers bringing in a tale (which they
served up to us) of a highly successful raid, the flight of all the
Anazeh before the Amir and the capture of Jof. They said the Amir was a
few days further on. But when we had crossed the Nefûd for 4 days and
come near the place where he was reported to have been he had left and
crossed over to the eastern road and was said to be off raiding some
tribes further east. I did not intend to turn back for him and it would
have been useless for I might have taken days to find him so I went on my
way in all tranquillity. We rode for ever over immense levels not a
valley or a hill to be seen and so little water that we were almost
always too short of it to spend it in washing. As long as we were with
the Shammar and that was for the first 10 days, we were perfectly safe
with a rafiq from Hayil. He rode with us for 8 days and we took on
another Shammari for the next 2 days. Then the fun began. We had to get
through the Shia tribes of Iraq, all out in the desert now for the spring
pasture and all accursed of their two parents. The first we reached were
the Beni Hasan and we spent a
Very delicate hour, during which it was not apparent whether they meant
to strip us or to treat us as guests. Ultimately they decided on the
latter course. We camped with them, they killed a lamb for us and gave us
two rafiqs next day. That day luckily we saw no one and camped in
solitude. Early on the following morning we sighted tents and our
rafiqs were reduced to a state of quivering alarm for they will kill each
other just as gaily as they kill you. One of them, however, was induced
to ride up to the tents, which he found to be those of an allied tribe.
He brought back two new rafiqs for he and his companion flatly refused to
go on. So We rode on for 6 hours or so and then again we sighted tents
and-'même jeu!' The rafiqs even talked of turning back and leaving us.
But again we made one of them go up and enquire what Arabs they were and
as great good luck would have it they were the Ghazâlat who are the only
people of any real importance and authority in these parts. We camped
with them and took on an excellent rafiq--a well-known man--his name is
Dawi. With him we have felt comparatively safe, but if we had not had him
with us we should have been stripped to the skin twice in these last two
days. The first morning we came down to water at some horribly stagnant
pools we found a large company of the Madan filling their water skins
there. The Madan are possibly the worst devils known. They offered DAwi
30 pounds if he would abandon us for they could not touch us as long as
we had a sheikh of the Ghazalat with us for fear of the Ghazalat, you
understand. And yesterday afternoon we met a large caravan of Madan
coming up from Meshed and in a moment we were surrounded by stalwart
armed men who laid hold of our camels and would have made them kneel. But
Dawi called out to them and when they saw him they let go and drew off.
This morning a casual person who was tending flocks sent a rifle bullet
between the legs of our camels. Dawi ran out and expostulated with him
before he sent another and we protested loudly at the treatment he had
accorded us. "An enemy does not come riding across the top of the plain
in full daylight!" said Ali " and if you feared us the custom is to send
a bullet over the heads of the riders till you have found out whether
they are friends or foes." He admitted that he had broken the rules and,
for my part, I rejoiced that he had broken none of the camels' legs. Even
to-night I don't upon my honour know whether we are safe camping out here
two hours from the town, but the men seem to think it is all right, and
anyhow here we are! The edges of the desert are always stormy and
difficult. The tribes are not Bedu but Arab, a very important
distinction, for they have not the code and the rules of the Beduin. But
these Shia people are a great deal worse than any one we have met upon
our whole way. Having penned these lines it occurred to me to go and ask
Ali whether he thought we were safe for the night. He replied that he did
not and that his mind was far from being at rest. (He had chosen the
camping ground himself, I mention.) I enquired what he thought we had
better do. He thought we had better go on to a village. It was then two
hours before sunset. We packed the dinner, which was cooked, into our
good camp saucepans, struck camp and loaded all in half an hour and off
we set! It was a most absurd proceeding, but I thought it would be still
more absurd to have a regrettable incident on this last night of our
desert journey. Just at sunset we reached a small village of wattle huts
and here we have camped. The villagers have received us with much
courtesy and to the best of our belief we are in security at last.

To H. B.
BAGDAD, March 19th.

Yes, we were safe and we got here without further incident. I drove from
Meshhed to Ketbela--Nejef and Meshhed are the same--dined and spent the
evening with our vice-consul and drove into Bagdad next day. I have
fallen on my feet with some new acquaintances, Mr. Tod, the head-man of
Lynch's company and his darling little Italian wife. I am going to stay
with them when I come back from Babylon. I go to Babylon for a couple of
nights to-morrow. They wanted me to come to them at once, but I thought I
would have a few dayys of complete freedom here first. I have seen all my
native friends; they precipitated themselves and gave me a
welcome which warmed my heart. Bagdad has grown a 'weltstadt!'

I may stay here another week or so when I come back from Babylon. Then
across the Syrian desert to Damascus--quite safe and easy. . . . I have
written to Louis Mallet suggesting myself to him. I should like to tell
him my tales and hear his. I love Bagdad and this country much better
than Damascus and Syria and I do not know when I shall be here again so
that I gladly stay a day or two longer. Besides I shall get another mail,
which is good--perhaps 2. It's queer and rather enjoyable at first, the
sense of being in perfect security, but one ksoon loses the realisation
of it.

To H.B.
23rd April, 1914.

Behold I'm 11 days out from Bagdad and I have not begun to tell you my
tale. I have been put to it to get through the long days and I have been
too tired at the end of them to write. I drove out from Bagdad to Feluja,
on the Euphrates, having arranged that my camels were to leave Bagdad the
previous day and meet me at Feluja. The day they left Ali made an
unjustifiable request--that I should take a cousin of his with us, the
cousin wishing to escape military service. I refused and Ali struck.
Fattuh got him and the camels off with great difficulty late at night; in
consequence they had not arrived when I reached Feluja, and when they
came Ali had brought the cousin with him! ai was very angry, Ali was in
the Devil's own temper and I dismissed hin on the spot to find his way
back to Bagdad with the cousin. He has given me a great deal of trouble.
I have put up with a great deal for the sake of long acquaintance, but
gross insubordination I won't stand and there is an end of him. MY party
therefore was Fattuh, Sayyif and Fellah (the negro) and I was left
without a guide for the Syrian desert. I am travelling very light with
two small native tents, a bed on the ground, no furniture, no
nothing--for speed's sake. We pitched our tiny camp half-an-hour out of
Feluja in the desert by your Dulaim tents--it was blazing hot, and what
with the heat and the hardness of the ground (to which I have now grown
accustomed) I did not sleep much. Next day we rode along the high road to
Ramadi on the Euphrates, where lives the chief Sheikh of the Dulaim. I
went straight to him. He received me most cordially, lodged me in his
palm garden, gave me a great feast and a rafiq from his own household,
Adwan, a charming man. It was blazing hot again and noisy, dogs and
people talking, and I slept less than ever, We were off before dawn and
struck south west into the desert to the pitch springs of Abu jir. We
arrived in a dust storm, the temperature was 90 and it was perfectly
disgusting. The following day was better, as hot as ever) but no dust
storms. We rode on west into the desert. Two days more, west and slightly
north, with the temperature falling, thank Heaven, brought us up on to
the post road and here we fell in with the sheikh of the Anazeh and I
took a new rafiq from him, Assaf is his name, and very reluctantly said
goodbye to Adwan. We rode down the following day to muhaiwir in the Wadi
Hauran, where I had been 3 years ago. The world was full of Anazeh tents
and camels--a wonderful sight. It meant, too, that with my Anazeh rafiq I
was perfectly safe. And in two more days we came to the great Sheikh of
these eastern Anazeh, Fahad Bey, and I alighted at his tents, and claimed
his hospitality. He treated me with fatherly kindness, fed me,
entertained me, and advised me to take a second rafiq, a man of the
Rwalla, who are the western amazeh. I spent the afternoon planning a ruin
near him--a town, actually a town in the heart of the Syrian desert! Only
the fortified gate was planable, the rest was mere stone heaps, but it
throws a most unexpected light on the history of the desert. There was
most certainly a settled population at one time in these eastern parts.
We had violent thunderstorms all night and yesterday, when I left Fahad,
a horrible day's journey in the teeth of a violent wind and through great
scuds of rain. To-day, however, it has been very pleasant. I have been
following the old road which I came out to find and am well content to
have my anticipations justified. We came to a small ruin in the middle of
the day which I stopped to plan. Fahad told me that the desert from the
camp to Bukhara is 'Khala,' empty, i.e., there are no Beduin camped in
it. I like solitary camps and the desert all to myself, but it has the
drawback of not being very safe. With our two rafiqs no Anazeh of any
kind will touch us, but there is always the chance of a ghazu. Very
likely they would do us no harm, but one can't be sure. However, so far I
have run my own show quite satisfactorily and it amuses me to be tongue
and voice for myself, as I have been these days. But I am tired, and
being anxious to get through and be done with travel, we are making long
marches, 9 and 10 hours. Oh, but they are long hours, day after day in
the open wilderness! I have come in sometimes more dead than alive, too
tired to eat and with just enough energy to write my diary. WE are now up
nearly a couple of thousand feet and I am beginning to feel better.

On the24th we began the day by sighting something lying on the desert
with an ominous flutter of great wings over it. Assaf observed that it
was 3 dead camels and 2 dead men, killed ten nights ago--ghazu met ghazu,
said he. . . . On 25th we came at midday to an encampment of Seubba, a
strange tribe of whose origin many tales are told. We halted at their
tents to buy some butter and I was glad to see and photograph them. They
are great hunters; one man was clad in a lovely robe of gazelle skins.
They pressed us to camp with them, but we rode on for a couple of hours
and camped by ourselves. On the 26th . . . . In the middle of the morning
we met a man walking solitary in the desert. We rode up to him and
addressed him in Arabic, but he made no answer. Assaf, my rafiq, said he
thought he must be a Persian dervish. I spoke to him in Turkish and in
what words of Persian I could muster, but he made no reply. Fattuh gave
him some bread which he accepted and turned away from us into the rainy
wilderness, going whither? But we rode on towards the mountains and
missed our way, going too far to the north, till at last we came upon
some tents and herds, an Anazeh tribe, and they directed us. We were in
sight of Palmyra, lying some 10 miles from us in a bay of the hills.
Seeing it thus from the desert one realizes the desert town, not the
Roman,--Tadmor, not Palmyra. We are terribly bothered by wind, both
marching and in camp, when it sheets us in dust. We march very long
hours, and oh, I'm tired!

May 2nd. We rode through the mountains, a beautiful road but I was too
tired to enjoy it much. Also we made very long hours, ten and twelve a
day. On the 30th we went in to Adra an camped there, on the very spot
where I mounted my camel the day I set out from Damascus, four months and
a half ago. Next morning, yesterday, through gardens and orchards to
Damascus. I rather think I shall catch a boat to C'ple on the 8th,
getting there on the 12th, stay there a week or less and come on by
train, getting to London about the 24th.

[This arrival at Damascus on her return journey marks the end of
Gertrude's travels in the desert with her caravan.

Dr. David Hogarth, President of the Royal Geographical Society, gave an
account on April 14th, 1927, before the Society, of Gertrude's
adventurous expedition to Hayil from which I quote the following.

"Her journey was a pioneer venture which not only Put On the map a line
of wells, before unplaced or unknown but also cast much new light on the
history of the Syrian desert frontiers under Roman, Palmyrene, and
Ummayad domination. . . . But perhaps the most valuable result consists
in the mass of information that she accumulated about the tribal elements
ranging between the Hejaz Railway on the one flank and the Sirhan and
Nefûd on the other, particularly about the Howaitât group, of which
Lawrence, relying on her reports, made signal use in the Arab campaigns
Of 1917-1918.

"Her stay in Hayil was fruitful of political information especially
concerning both the recent history and the actual state of the Rashid
house, and also its actual and probable relations with the rival power of
the Ibn Sauds. Her information proved of great value during the war, when
Hayil had ranged itself with the enemy and was menacing our Euphratean
flank. Miss Bell became from 1915 onwards, the interpreter of all reports
received from Central Arabia."

Dr. Hogarth also said in reference to her return across Hamad to Damascus
from Bagdad:

"To another European woman, in the days before desert motor services had
been thought of, such a journey would have seemed adventurous enough. But
to Miss Bell, who had been into Nejd, the crossing of the Hamad seemed
something of an anti-climax.

". . . .The jaded traveller, writing in April 1914 her diary and letters
at Bagdad, had no suspicion that, in little more than a year, the
knowledge and experience acquired during the past four months would
become of national value. Nor could she foresee that, even after the war
Northern Nejd would return to the obscurity from which she had rescued
it. Up to this year of grace, 1927, her visit to Hayil, thirteen years
ago, remains the last that has been put on scientific record by a
European traveller . . . . . ."




CHAPTER XIV


1914-1915-1916


WAR WORK, BOULOGNE, LONDON, CAIRO.


To F.B.
EMBASSY, CONSTANTINOPLE, May 15, 1914.

I ought to have telegraphed yesterday for I arrived on the evening of the
13th. . . . I have entirely recovered from the exhaustion of the Syrian
desert. . . . If you are at Rounton I should come straight there. Sir
Louis is perfectly delightful. He is tremendously full of his job and we
have talked for hours.

[Gertrude was then in England for the rest of the summer. At the outbreak
of war she was at Rounton. During September 1914 she went round to
various places in the North Riding of Yorkshire giving addresses on the
war, and cheering people on. She was an admirable speaker, and her
addresses always aroused enthusiasm.

After this she went for a time to Lord Onslow's Hospital at Clandon, and
afterwards, by the initiative of Lord Robert Cecil (now Lord Cecil), to
Boulogne, where she worked with Flora and Diana Russell in the office for
tracing the Missing and Wounded.]

To H.B.
BOULOGNE, November 26, 1914.

Ian Malcolm has brought a motor over with him so for the moment that's
all we want. But I can't be certain that we may not want one later, for
this whole thing is merely in course of organisation, a new branch is in
prospect and I wish you could hold your hand till I see what happens. It
Is fearful the amount of office work there is. We are at it all day from
10 till 12:30 and from2 to 5 filing, indexing and answering enquiries.
Yesterday after five I went to see Mrs. Charlie Furse at the central Ry.
station where she has her out station and afterwards we went together to
one of the big hospitals at the Casino and talked to some of the men of
the wards. A lot came in with frost bite last week; now it's warm and
that won't occur. The Red X won't let any women make the enquiries at the
hospitals, which is very silly, as it would give us all occasional change
of work, but of course I shall gradually make friends with C.O.s and
sisters and go in after to wherever I like. Mrs. Furse lunched with Diana
and me to-day, an interesting woman, she is doing her job awfully well.
Will you ask General Bethune to send us out as complete a list as he can
of the Territorial Battalions--something corresponding to the Army List
for Regulars. Also can I have some sort of London Address book for the
office? An old telephone directory would do.

To F.B.
BOULOGNE,, November 27, 1914.

. . . . I sometimes go into our big hospitals and talk to the men. It is
immensely interesting to hear their tales. There are a good many Germans
to whom I talk. Our men are exceedingly good and kind to them and try to
cheer them as far as they can with no common language. I generally go for
a walk by the sea from 8:30 to 9 a.m.--it's the only time I have. We
lunch in a tiny restaurant with soldiers of all sorts and kinds, the
oddest world. Everybody takes everybody else for granted.

To F.B.
BOULOGNE, November 28, 1914.

I hear to-day that you have your convalescents 20 of them (where have you
put them all). Now would you like me to come back? I am quite, quite
ready to come. I don't approve doing other things when you are wanted in
your own place. If you send me a telegram I will return at once and no
more said. I should not be happy here if I thought you needed me.

Please telegraph and I'll come home at once.

To F.B.
HOTEL MEURICE, BOULOGNE, November 30, 1914.

. . . . We are very busy to-day making up double card catalogue which has
to be done over and above our work mostly in the luncheon hour and after
tea when the office is supposed to be shut. It will take days I fear but
when it is done the office will be in far better order. . . .

To F.B.
BOULOGNE, December 1, 1914.

In time I think we ought to have one of the best run offices in France we
are already scheming to get into closer touch with the front which is our
weak point. Lord Robert asked the Adj. General to let us have a
representative and he refused categorically. Now we have a great plan for
getting lots of Army Chaplains for it is quite clear we shall have to
make our own channels for ourselves. Also I have several other ideas in
my head to put into execution gradually. I'll tell you about them as they
evolve.

We have had the most pitiful letters and we see the most pitiful people.

Don't let all this discourage you at all from bringing me home if you
want me.

To H.B.
BOULOGNE, December 5, 1914.

. . . . Would you please ask the County Association office to send me the
latest arrangements about Soldiers and Sailors allowances--what is given
to the widows and orphans if the man is killed and what to the man if he
is disabled. The orders have been so many that I have not kept them in MY
head and we want them for reference.

To F.B.
BOULOGNE, December 6, 1914.

I've got a great deal of work done these last days and I very nearly
cleared away the mountain of mistakes which I found when I came.

To H. B. BOULOGNE, December 19th, 1914.

You know we have a head office in London under Lord Roberts at 83 Pall
Mall. Sometime when you are near there you might go in and see him and
find out if he is satisfied with the way we run the office here.

To H.B.
BOULOGNE, December 26, 1914.

Diana and I took a half holiday yesterday and walked along the coast in
frosty sun.

To H. B.
BOULOGNE, December 30 1914.

. . . Do you mind my being here, dearest father. I feel as if I had flown
to this work as one might take to drink, for some kind of forgetting that
it brings, but, you know it, there is no real forgetting and care rides
behind one all the day. I sometimes wonder if we shall ever know again
what it was like to be happy. You sound terribly overworked. . . .
. . . ..

I try to look in the face the thing that may be before us-but it won't
bear speaking of. I shall see Maurice when he comes over and before he
goes to the front. I may very likely have a day or two with him, that's
what I hope.

To F.B.
BOULOGNE, janUary 1, 1915.

a happier New Year. What else can I wish you? Diana and I caught
ourselves wondering last night whether the next 31st Dec. would find us
still sitting at our desks here. We saw the New Year in after all. It
happened this way.

Yesterday morning there 'débouchéd' in our office Mr. Cazalet, who is
working with Fabian Ware out at the front. Mr. Cazalet brought a tangled
bundle of letters and lists which we had been working to compare with
ours and to be put straight for him. We had 24 hours for the work before
he returned to the front. It was just like a fairy story only we hadn't
the ants and the bees to help us in a mountain of work. Diana ran out got
a great ledger and proceeded to make it into an indexed ledger which we
couldn't find here.

We had two hours off from 7 to 9 to dine with her cousin who has come out
to look for a missing son--dead I tnuch fear. At 9 we went back to the
office. By 9:30 everything was sorted out and I began to fill in the
ledger, Diana keeping me supplied, we could not have done it if I had not
prepared all that was possible beforehand. At midnight we broke off for a
few minutes, wished each other a better year and ate some chocolates. At
1 a.m. a young man of an acquaintance seeing our lights burning came up
to know if he could help us but he could not and so sent him away with
thanks. By 2 a.m. we were within an hour or two of the end so we came
home to bed I was back at 8:15 prepared the ordinary days work, shortened
it a little, the rest will stand over for tomorrow got through my part
with the men when they came in and leaving Diana to clear up the rest
returned to the ledger. BY 12:30 it was finished with just an hour to
spare and I took it to Mr. Cazalet. It had been an exciting time but we
won it and now this really important thing is set going. There now
remains a card index of names to write for him but we have a week for
that.

To H.B,
BOULOGNE, january 6th, 1915.

We are going to start an office at Rouen I think and hope. The Russells
will take charge of it and I am to have Tiger Howard here. I had a long
talk with Mr. Fabian Ware tonight--he appears to be very grateful for our
lists and things and delighted to heap all his information upon us which
is the one thing I want. As for Lord R. he is quite delightful. And he is
satisfied with the way things have been done here-I think more than
satisfied which is a great relief to my mind. He contemplates making this
more and more of a centre and I think it will become the real
distributing place of information for which, geographically it is best
suited. They all seem to want that and I need not say I'm ready to take
it all. The more work they give me the better I like it.

To F.B.
BOULOGNE, January 12, 1915.

. . . The Rouen office is settled. Flora and Diana are together taking
charge of it alternate fortnights . . . ..

To H.B.
BOULOGNE, February 10, 1915

. . . . Katie Freshfield turned up. She is a V.A.D. part of a detachment
which is going up as orderlies to the Cross Hospital at G.H.Q. They are
delayed here for the moment and she and another girl came in at an early
hour to dust our office.

[From Boulogne Gertrude was summoned back to London by Lord Robert Cecil.
The office in London for tracing the wounded and missing was in a state
of chaotic confusion and Lord Robert opined that Gertrude would be the
best person to put it straight-which she did, and succeeded in organising
it on efficient lines.

In November she was sent for to Cairo. Dr. David Hogarth, then in close
connection with Col. T. E. Lawrence, who was taking an active part in the
Revolt in the Desert, felt that Gertrude's knowledge of the tribes of
Northern Arabia would be invaluable. Through his intervention therefore
and that of Capt. Hall (now Vice-Admiral Sir Reginald Hall) in London, it
was Proposed to Gertrude that she should go to Cairo at once. She went
there in November 1915.)

To F.B.
CAIRO, November 30th, 1915.

I telegraphed to you this morning after my arrival and asked you to send
me by Lady B. another gown and skirt. I have not yet been to see the
MacMahons but I must leave a card on them to-day. For the moment I am
helping Mr. Hogarth to fill in the intelligence files with information as
to the tribes and sheikhs, It's great fun and delightful to be working
with him. Our Chief is Col. Clayton whom I like very much. This week Mark
Sykes passed through and I have seen a good deal of him. I have just
heard that Neil Malcolm has arrived from Gallipoli--I think he is chief
staff officer here; I have written to him and asked him to dinner if he
is not too great for such invitations.

We had a horrible journey--almost continuous storm. Helen Brassey and I
survived triumphantly and took comfort in one another's society. She is a
very charming creature. We reached Port Said after dark on Thursday
night. Capt. Hall, the brother of our Capt. Hall (he is head of the
Railway here) made every possible arrangement for my comfort and Capt.
Woolley, ex-digger at Carchemish and head in the Intelligence Dept. at P.
Said came on board to meet me. Next morning I came up here. Mr. Hogarth
and Mr. Lawrence (you don't know him, he is also of Carchernish
exceedingly intelligent) met me and brought me to this hotel where they
are both staying. Mr. Hogarth, Mr. Lawrence and I all dined together; at
our table sit two Engineers Col. Wright (brother of Hagberg) and very
nice and Major Pearson. Occasionally we have Mr. Graves into dinner--he
was Times Correspondent in Constantinople in former days. I knew him
there. Now you know my circle-it is very friendly and pleasant, but Mr.
Hogarth leaves next week which will make a terrible gap in it. You will
write to me here in future Won't you and will you have the Times sent out
to ne--the edition which appears three times a week. I'm glad I came but
I long for news of you.

To F.B.
CAIRO, December 6th, 1915

Mr. Hogarth leaves tomorrow, to my great sorrow. He has been a most
friendly support and I have scarcely Yet found my own feet yet. They have
given me some work to do on Arab Tribes their numbers and lineage. It is
a vague and difficult subject which would take a lifetime to do properly
I should think it will be about a month before I can get it into any sort
of shape, but it rather depends on what information one can collect. I
haven't begun yet for I have been doing odds and ends of jobs for Mr.
Hogarth which have taken all my time. Far the nicest people who I have
met are the MacMahons with whom I dined last night. They are both
charming, so pleasant and agreeable. They gave me a standing invitation
to come in whenever I liked and I am going to have a long talk with him
one of these days.

To F. B.
CAIRO, December 13th, 1915.

. . . .. The days pass quickly here. I am quite happy and beginning to
feel a little more as if I were getting hold of things. I do the same
thing every day all pleasant but not matter for good letter writing. I
have an Arabic lesson from 8:15 to 9:30 then I walk up to the office and
work at tribes or annotate telegrams--the latter is great fun. Back to
lunch and then to the office again and I seldom get home much before 7. .
. . . but usually I dine here with Col. Wright, Mr. Lawrence and a party
of people, we all share the same table. And it is not till after dinner
that I go back to Arabic and do a little work for next morning. I wonder
if you sent me out a purple evening chiffon gown by Lady Brassey--I
telegraphed for it, but I haven't heard anything of it or her yet. Also a
new white skirt from Ospovat which I found I hadn't got. I am rather
short of clothes for a prolonged stay in Cairo. It is heavenly
weather--almost too nice for wartime I feel. Still I think I'm right to
be
here. . . ..

[She stayed in Cairo for 6 weeks, during which time she met one person
after another who interested her, either old friends or new
acquaintances.]

To F.B.
ON THE NILE, December 25th, 1915.

You don't mind my staying, do you? as long as they have a job for me. Of
course if you want me I will come home. I rather wish I had brought out
more clothes. Could you possibly send out to me the blue shot silk gown
with a little coat and its own hat trimmed with feathers? And if you are
sending anything I should like too the purple satin day gown with a
cape--Marie knows which I mean--and a mauve parasol, I have lots I know.
I don't know whether things sent by parcel post would be likely to reach
me. Both gowns would fold up so small that they could almost be sent by
letter post--not a hat however. Perhaps if you were to ask the kind
Captain Hall he could contrive to send out a small box for me, by bag
even. I should be very grateful--and the sooner the better.

To F.B.
CAIRO, January 1, 1916.

A second year of war--and I can only wish you as I wished you last first
of January that we may not see another. Never another year like the last.
Its probable that I may go on for a few days to India towards the end of
the month. I have had long and very interesting letters from Domnul and
an invitation from the Viceroy who wants to see me. it comes rather
conveniently for there are certain matters on which we should like to
have the V's sympathy and co-operation. I should not stay more than a
week. It seems a long way to go from Saturday to Monday but my chiefs are
inclined to think it would be worth it. I will telegraph to you if this
plan takes form. Mr. Hogarth writes to me that he is coming back as soon
as possible which will be very nice. Also he might bring me out some
clothes!

To H.B.
CAIRO, january 3, 1916.

My tribe stuff is beginning to be pulled into shape and will make quite a
respectable book when finished-a respectable basis for further work at
any rate. I love doing It--you can't think what fun it is. In fact I have
come back to it with such renewed zest that I can scarcely tear myself
away from it. . . . . They are immensely kind all these people and it is
most useful to be able to draw on their knowledge and experience. I'm
getting to feel quite at home as a Staff Officer! It is comic isn't it.

To H. B.
CAIRO, January 16th, 1916.

I rather hope I may hear this week from Domnul in reply to a cable I sent
him saying I might come out to India at the end of the month. My chief
here is warmly in favour of the idea. They would very much like me to
stay a fortnight or so at a halfway point on my way back--I won't
'préciser' further and if Lord H. views the idea with favour as I believe
he might I should certainly do so and I think it would be very useful in
many ways. There is no kind of touch between us except telegrams and it
would be a great advantage if we could establish more direct and friendly
relations. I feel a little nervous about being the person to carry it
out, but the pull one has in being so unofficial is that if one doesn't
succeed no one is any the worse.

To F.B.
CAIRO, January 19th, 1916.

Here is the letter about my summer clothes. It seems a great deal but I
know it isn't more than I had last year--they only just lasted me
through. Lady MacMahon sent me a lot of things from Egypt. I'm feeling
awfully tired and done up. I don't know what's the matter. I've been
working a great number of hours and getting through dreadfully little,
having anamia of the brain. I'm going to try a course of morning rides to
see if exercise will do any good. I feel just like I was before I had
jaundice, yet it would be unnatural to have jaundice again! Its jaundice
of the imagination this time.

To H.B.
CAIRO, JanuarY 24th, 1916.

I can't write through censors and I must therefore send you a private
word by bag enclosed to the Hogarths to tell you what I'm doing--it is of
course only for you Mother and Maurice. . . . When I got Lord H's message
through Domnul I suggested that it might be a good plan if I, a quite
unimportant and unofficial person were to take advantage of the Viceroy's
invitation and go out to see what could be done by putting this side of
the case before them and hearing that. My chief has approved. I cabled to
Domnul and received from him an enthusiastic reply. So I'm going. I don't
suppose I shall be in India more than ten days or a fortnight. I shall go
straight up to Delhi to Lord H. If they will let me I would very much
like to go to Basrah for a week or two on my way back. I shall very
probably spend a few days at Aden before I return here as there is a good
deal of information about tribes and the people which we want from them
and don't seem to get. I feel a little anxious about it, but take refuge
in my own extreme obscurity and the general kindness I find everywhere. I
shall find Domnul at Delhi which will make everything easy, otherwise I
don't think I should have the face to set out on a political mission.

To F.B.
CAIRO, January 25th, 1916.

Your news about Maurice filled me with such immense relief that I can
scarcely believe anything so fortunate should be true. It seems odd to
regard an operation in that light. The knowledge that he is safely at
home makes me feel indifferent as to going to India which did seem a
fearfully long way from home. . . . I don't much like going away from
here. I've fallen into the way of it, friendly and pleasant._ 11 days of
solitary journey is a formidable prospect but I've nO doubt it will be
very nice when I get there and I'm looking forward to seeing Domnul.
Anyhow I think I ought to go and that's an end. I have practically
finished the Tribal book I have been doing as far as it can be finished
here, but I look forward to getting lots of fresh material in India.

To H. B.
CAIRO, January 18, 1916.

I'm off finally at a moment's notice to catch a troop ship at Suez, I
really do the oddest things. I learnt at 3 p.m. that I could catch it if
I left at 6 p.m. which did not allow much time for thought. I'm charged
with much negotiation--and I hope I may be well inspired.

[An officer who was at Cairo at the time said afterwards that he "never
saw anyone mobilise as quickly as Miss Bell."]




CHAPTER XV


1916-1917


DELHI-BASRAH


To F.B.
S.S. "EURIPIDES," February 1, 1916.

We reach Karachi on the 6th and I'm cabling to Domnul to let him know. It
is an extraordinary quick voyage. The cat and I are the only two people
not in uniform on board. There is a chaplain called Wood who is a friend
of Hugo's and was ordained on the same day. I have foregathered with him
a little. He has asked me to come and talk to the troops this afternoon
about Arabia or anything--they get so bored poor dears, I shall love to
do anything to amuse them. The adjutant has also asked me to give a
conference on Mesopotamia to the officers which I shall like less. They
are the 23rd and 24th Rifle Corps coming out to do Garrison duty in India
in order to relieve younger troops. I'm luxuriously comfortable with a
large cabin and a big room next to it usually the nursery where I go and
work all the morning and again after dinner. It's the first time I've
ever succeeded in doing any work on the sea, the weather is deliciously
warm.

To F.B.
VicE-REGAL LODGE, DELHI, February 11 th, 1916.

. . . . But in order properly to appreciate dust you must go by train
across the desert of Sinde. We reached Delhi at 7:30 a.m. I hadn't an
idea what was to happen to me, nor whether anyone knew I was coming and
behold when I got outg coated in dust on an icy cold morning, there was
Domnul On the platform and a Vice-Regal motor waiting outside. YOU may
imagine my joy.

[Then followed some very interesting days at the Vice-Regal lodge
discussing the situation with the Viceroy, seeing Mr. Baker and Mr.
Lutyens, hearing of the new Delhi.]

Later. I've just come in from another dinner party at Vice-Regal Lodge.
At the beginning of dinner the V. sent me a scribbled card to say that it
was all settled about my going on and that I was given permission to go
much further up the river than I had originally thought of doing. It is
interesting, deeply interesting, but oh, it's an anxious job. I wish, I
wish, I knew more--and was more. And I am rather overwhelmed at meeting
with so much kindness and confidence.

I shall be here another week, I suppose, but as to that I shall do
what I'm told.

I know you will both think that this is right. Tell Maurice and Herbert.
Otherwise I always think the less said the better.

To H.B.
VICE-REGAL LODGE, DELHI, February 18th, 1916.

. . . . No one has helped another as you helped me, and to tell you what
your love and sympathy meant is more than I know how to do.

. . . . As at present arranged I leave Delhi on the 23rd, and spend a day
or two at Lahore and start from Karachi on the 27th. What will happen
after that I have no idea. The V. is anxious that I should stay at Basrah
and lend a hand with the Intell. Dept. there, but all depends on what
their views are and whether I can be of any use. That hangs on me, I
feel--as we have often said, all you can do for people is to give them
the opportunity of making a place for themselves. The V. has done that
amply. He has been extraordinarily kind, and indeed all the people here
have been delightful. Mr. Grant has placed all their archives at my
disposal and I have spent my time reading the Arabian files--and learning
much from them. Besides reading the files I have seen all the people
concerned with Indian Foreign Affairs and talked to them about Arabia
till I am weary of the very word--they must be
too, I should think. I think I have pulled things straight a little as
between Delhi and Cairo. But nothing will ever keep them straight except
a constant personal intercourse-it ought not to be difficult to manage
and I am convinced that it is essential.

To F.B.
VicE-REGAL LoDGE, DELHI, February 18th, 1916.

. . . . The Viceroy took me one afternoon, to see the new Delhi. It was
very wonderful seeing it with him who had invented it all, and though I
knew the plans and drawings I didn't realise how gigantic it was till I
walked over it. They have blasted away hills and filled up valleys, but
the great town itself is as yet little more than foundations. The roads
-are laid out that lead from it to the four corners of India, and down
each vista you see the ruins of some older imperial Delhi. A landscape
made up of empires is something to conjure with.

[Extract from letter written to Captain R. Hall (now Vice-Admiral Sir
Reginald Hall, G.C.B.) from the Vice-Regal Lodge, Delhi, Feb. 20th,
1916.)

DEAR CAPT. HALL,
. . . .Before I went to Basrah I remember your putting your finger on the
Bagdad corner of the map and saying that the ultimate success of the war
depended on what we did there. You are one of the people who realised how
serious are the questions we have to face. . . . I have had a most useful
fortnight here. . . . I have got on terms of understanding with the India
F.O. and the I.D. It is essential India and Egypt should keep in the
closest touch since they are dealing with two sides of the same problem.
. . .
GERTRUDE BELL.

To H.B.
KARACHi, February 26th, 1916.

I can't remember where I left off in my last letters. I spent the
remaining days at Delhi ardently reading all their files and got through
the most important of them. A man came down from Simla to see me and
spent a long day discussing how we should best co-operate intelligence
work, so that the same ground should not be covered twice over by Egypt
and by India. That was most profitable and I sent my scheme to Cairo for
an approval which I think I shall get. It seems obviously reasonable that
we should not work in watertight compartments but it's not an idea which
dominates official dealings though I find everyone curiously ready to
accept it when once it's mooted. The result is that I'm now enrolled as
one of the editors of the Gazeteer of Arabia which is being compiled at
Simla and I very much fear that I shall have to come back and see Col.
Murphy there before I return to Egypt--whenever that may be. My last
night at Delhi I dined with Mr. Grant of the Indian F.O., and had a long
evening's talk with him which was very useful. He also would like to see
me on my way back and he wants me to come with a sort of informal report
for the benefit of the new Viceroy. If
I have anything to say, therefore, I expect I shall have to go back and
say it, but it depends on how long they keep me at Basrah and on how much
they let me see and hear.

TO H.B.
March 3rd, 1916.

We are within half an hour of Basrah. I've come on a transport. It
interests me immensely coming into this country from this direction,
which I have never done before. We
have been steaming up the river all the morning through a familiar
landscape of palm groves and Arab huts, with apricot trees blooming here
and there in untidy mud-walled gardens--I'm so glad to see it all again
and I feel as if I were in my own country once more and welcome it, ugly
though it is. Now it remains to be seen whether they find a job for me or
send me away without delay.

I wish I knew how Maurice is and were certain that he is
not going back to France yet.

To F.B.
BASRAH, March 17, 1916.

Monotonous days pass so quickly that I never realize it,s mail day till
it is upon me. I am still with the Coxes but I only dine, sleep and
breakfast here--for I go in to lunch next door to G.H.Q., which saves
time and trouble. Next week I am to be lodged there also. Sir Percy is
most charming, Well read and interesting. But I can't decently impose
upon their kindness much longer--I've been with them a fOrtnight already.
Mr. Dobbs also is a great standby. I go walking with him of an evening.

I'm still wading through the stuff which they have got here but tomorrow
I have a man who is coming to see me and give me information, an Arab of
Central Arabia, and I expect to have rather an amusing talk with him.

No mail in yet. One pines for news.

To H.B.
BASRAH, March 18th, 1916.

. . . . And I fall to asking myself what I am really doing here--really
nothing, though I work at it like a nigger all day long. At the end of a
week I look back and think I've perhaps put in one useful word-and
perhaps not; I can't be certain. And if I went away it wouldn't matter,
or if I stay it wouldn't matter. However I've thrown in my lot with
it--and I would as soon be here as anywhere. They are fussing in Egypt to
know how long I'm going to stay. I don't know whether they want me to
come back, but I've written to say I think I had better stay on a bit
till we see what happens. But I don't mind either way. I have an unhappy
feeling all the time of trying to take a hand in things which are too
big to be guided. They move on inevitably and you can't stay them with
your little knowledge and your feeble will.

To F.B.
BASRAH, March 9, 1916-

I wish I ever knew how long I was going to stay in any place or what I
were likely to do next. But that is just the kind of thing which one
never can know when one is engaged in the indefinite sort of job which I
am doing. There is, however, indeed a great deal of work to be done here.
I have already begun to classify the very valuable tribal material which
I find in the files at the Intel. Dept., and I think there are pretty
wide possibilities of adding to what has been collected already. It is
extraordinarily interesting; my own previous knowledge though there was
little enough of it, comes in very handy in many ways--as a check upon,
and a frame to the new stuff I am handling. And I can't tell you how
wonderful it is to be in at the birth, so to speak, of a new
administration. Everyone is being amazingly kind. I have been given a
lodging next door to Headquarters in the big house on the river which
belongs to Gray, Mackenzie & Co. That is most convenient, for I have only
to step across the bridge a little creek to get to my work. To-day I
lunched with the Generals--Sir Percy Lake, General Cowper, General Offley
Shaw and General Money, and as an immediate result they move me and my
maps and books onto a splendid great verandah with a cool room behind it
where I sit and work all day long. My companion here is Captain Campbell
Thompson, ex-archaeologist--very pleasant and obliging and delighted to
benefit with me by the change of workshop, for we were lodged by day in
Col. Beach's bedroom (he is head of the I.D.), a plan which was not very
convenient either for us or for him. The whole of Basrah is packed full,
as u may understand when it has had suddenly to expand into the base of a
large army. Finally I have got an Arab boy as a servant. His name is
Mikhail. Sir Percy Cox came back last night--he has been away at
Bushire--and he also is going to help me to get all the information I
want by sending on to me any Arabs whom he thinks will interest me.
Therefore if I don't make something of it, it will be entirely my own
fault. I'm thankful to think that M. won't be back in France at any rate
till the end of April. The relief it is to know that he is not fighting!
The situation night develop very rapidly here and there is a feeling of
changing tide which is exciting and disturbing. My days are, however,
very uneventful. I work at G.H.Q. from 8:30 to 12:30, come in to lunch,
and go back there from 2 till near 6. Then, it being sunset, wonderfully
cool and delicious, I walk for half an hour or so through palm
gardens-it's more like a steeplechase than a walk for the paths are
continuously interrupted by irrigation channels, over some of which you
Jump while over the others you do tightrope dancing across a single palm
trunk. I shall fall in some day, and though I shall not be drowned, it
will be disgustingly muddy.

To H.B.
BASRAH, March 24, 1916.

. . . .I sometimes try to picture what it will be like when we are all at
home together again and daren't think of it lest the Gods should be
taking heed. We are now on the edge of important things and we hold our
breath. If we don't succeed it will be uncommonly awkward. I don't know
that there is much point in my being here, but I'm glad I came because
one inevitably understands much more about it. And I'm glad I have got to
know Sir Percy Cox. He is a very remarkable person, not the least
remarkable thing about him being his entire absence of any thought about
himself. He does his job-a gigantic job-and thinks no more about it.
I wonder if Elsa is back at Rounton yet. Very soon the wild daffodils by
the little pond will come out and nod their heads to the east wind. It is
3 years since I saw them.

To F.B.
BASRAH, April 9, 1916.

. . . . This week has been greatly enlivened by the appearance of Mr.
Lawrence, sent out as liaison officer from EgYPt We have had great talks
and made vast schemes for the government of the universe. He goes up
river to-morrow, where the battle is raging these days. . . . I have
nearly finished my tribe handbook, but I want go up to Nasariyeh before
it is put into it's final form, for I know it needs checking from there.
For that I must Wait to see the result of Kut.

To H. B.
BASRAH, April 16, 1916.

ow Kut holds out still I can hardly guess, but it does and we may yet get
through in time. But one feels dreadfully anxious. . . . Even Basrah has
a burst of glory in April. The palm gardens are deep in luxuriant grass
and corn, the pomegranates are flowering, the mulberries almost ripe, and
in the garden of the house where I am staying the roses are more
wonderful than I can describe. It's the only garden in Basrah, so I'm
lucky.

To F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, April 27, 1916.

Nothing happens and nothing seems likely to happen at Kut--it's a
desperate business, Heaven knows how it will end. Meantime I have been
having some very interesting work and as long as it goes on, I shall
remain. One is up against the raw material here, which one is not in
Egypt, and it is really worth while doing all these first hand things. I
don't mind the heat-there has been nothing to speak of the thermometer so
far seldom above 90, and I rather like it. But I wish I had some clothes;
my things are beginning to drop to pieces; I wonder if you are sending me
out any, and if they will ever arrive. I think I shall write to Domnul in
Bombay for some cotton skirts and some shirts. One wears almost nothing,
fortunately, still it's all the more essential that that nothing should
not be in holes. I generally get up nowadays about 5:30 or 6 and when I
haven't got to mend my clothes, bother them I go out riding through the
palm gardens and have half an hour's gallop in the desert which is Very
delicious. Then back to a bath and breakfast and across the road to
G.H.Q. by 8:30, I work there till about 5:30, with half an hour off for
lunch after which if I haven't been out in the morning I go for a little
walk, but it's getting rather too hot to walk comfortably much before
sunset. Then read a little or do some work which I have brought in with
me, have another bath, dine at a quarter to 9 and go to bed.

The days pass like lightning. Last week I went out for a night to Zubair.
We have a political officer there, Captain Marrs, very nice and
intelligent. I was put up at the post office in a room with a mud floor
furnished with my own camp bed a chair a bath and a table lent by Captain
Marrs, but the Sheikh of the town insisted on entertaining me and we went
in to him for all our meals-and unlimited gossip about the desert with
which he is always in the closest touch since the caravans come in to
Zubair. . . .

I was also much obliged to Father for his very interesting statistics
about the falling mark, and for the article on the Mesop. campaign in the
Economist. I fear the latter is nothing short of the truth, but the blame
needs a good deal of distribution. I don't hold a brief for the Govt. of
India, but it is only fair to remember that K. drained India white of
troops and of all military requirements, including hospitals and doctors,
at the beginning of the war, that the campaign was forced on them from
England, and that when it developed into a very serious matter--far too
big a matter for India to handle if she had had command of all her
resources--neither troops, nor artillery, nor hospital units, nor flying
corps, nor anything were sent back in time to be of use. And what was
perhaps still more serious was that all their best generals had gone to
France or Gallipoli many of them never to return.

Politically, too, we rushed with the business with our usual disregard
for a comprehensive political scheme. We treated Mesop. as if it were an
isolated unit, instead of which it is part of Arabia, its politics
indissolubly connected with the great and far reaching Arab question,
which presents Indeed, different facets as you regard it from different
aspects, and is yet always and always one and the same indivisible block.
The co-ordinating of Arabian politics and the creation of an Arabian
policy should have been done at home--it could only have been done
successfully at home. There was no one to do it, no one who had ever
thought of it, and it Was left to our people in Egypt to thrash out, in
the face of strenuous opposition, from India and London, some sort of
wide scheme, which will, I am persuaded, ultimately form the basis of our
relations with the Arabs. Well that is enough of Politics. But when
people talk of our muddling through it throws me into a passion. Muddle
through! why yes so we do--wading through blood and tears that need never
have been shed.

To H.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, May 14, 1916. :

You will tell me, won't you, if you think I ought to come home. I will do
exactly what you think right and what you Wish, but if you do not send
for me I shall stay here as long as they will let me-I might be recalled
to Egypt, where they are fussing to have me back, but I am persuaded that
for the moment I am much more useful here and indeed I am beginning to
feel that I am being really useful. I should have to go a long way back
to tell you how many gaps there were to fill. I have got hold of the maps
and am now bringing them out in an intelligible form, but that is only
one among the many odd jobs which I do. Also the natives here are
beginning to know me and drop in with news and gossip. Finally, and I
think most important of all, there is the difficult gap between Mesop.
and Egypt to bridge and I hope I am going to be the person who is charged
with the task. Sir P. Cox wants me and as I have a great respect and
admiration for him and get on with him excellently I believe I can keep
the matter going without friction. There is so much, oh so much to be
thought of and considered-so many ways of going irretrievably wrong at
the beginning, and some of them are being
taken and must be set right before matters grow worse. I know these
people, the Arabs; I have been in contact with them in a way which is
possible for no official, and it is that intimacy and friendship which
makes me useful here That is why I want to stay; but when I have letters
from home telling of sickness and sorrow I can scarcely bear to be away
from you.

George Lloyd [now Lord Lloyd] has just come out to work with Sir Percy.
It will make a great difference to me to have him. I hope he will find
time to ride with me sometimes in the morning, when we can talk things
over and help each other. But if I become the Egyptian link, I shall
probably go into Sir Percy's office too, and that is where I ought to be.
MY work is political, not military. The sole drawback is that it is a
quarter of an hour from where I live and one can't come backwards and
forwards in the middle of the day. Also it is not so luxurious as G.H.Q.,
where we sit under electric fans all day and really don't feel the heat.
The moment you get away from a fan you drip ceaselessly, but I suppose
one will get accustomed to that. I am absolutely fit, and don't suffer at
all from the climate.

To H.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, May 4th, 1916.

for some days before it actually happened it was clear that Kut must
fall. . . . Aubrey [Herbert] is, I gather, helping to arrange the
exchange of prisoners, his knowledge of Turkish being very useful. The
Admiral has just come down here; I have not seen him yet. And to-day the
Army Commander and all G.H.Q. staff return from up river. I must then
find out what they wish me to do. If they will let me, I shall stay for
the work is extremely interesting and I think I can make a good deal more
of the sort of jobs I have been doing if they give me a free hand to
re-cast a lot of their Intelligence publications. I am now engaged in
getting into communication with Ibn Rashid, whom it is rather important
to preserve as a neutral if we can do no more. He is only about 4 days
off and Sir Percy Cox has approved warmly of my sending him a letter. A
curious game, isn't it, but you can understand that it is exciting to
have a hand in it. The climate is, of course, infernal, but oddly enough
I don't mind it. I ride 3 or 4 mornings a week, going out about 5:30, and
then come in to a room with all doors and windows closed and electric
fans spinning--really quite comparatively cool. The temperature hasn't
run up to 100 yet, but it is very close and stuffy with a perpetual south
wind--if you can call it a wind, it seems to me perfedly still. This is
always the weather in May and they say it is more trying than the hotter
months when the N. wind sets in.

To H. B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, May 21, 1916.

The question of my position with regard to the correspondence with Egypt
is not yet definitely settled but I think it is practically certain that
I shall be appointed. I shall have to come more strictly under official
control and I should not be able to leave this country without very good
cause shown, like any other person with a Job here. But I should have no
hesitation in giving undertakings of that kind, knowing that you would
approve. The thing is to be of the best use one can and I feel certain
that this position would give me far greatter opportunities and that I
can put them to profit. Things are moving very quickly here as you will
probably learn long before this letter reaches you and the political side
has become of immense importance, and will be of more importance still.

Well, I come back to your pamphlet and find I haven't said half enough
how good and witty and wise I think it, and God bless your soul how can
any born man think otherwise?

To F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, May 26th, 1916.

. . . ..I have a lace evening gown, awhite crape gown, a stripy blue
muslin gown, two shirts and a stripy silk gown, all most suitable, and
the last superlatively right. Thank you so very much. I ride pretty
regularly in the mornings for an hour and a half setting Out at 5:30, and
feel much better for plenty of hard exercise. One comes in wet through,
has a bath and breakfast, and begins work at 8 or a little before. After
that YOu can't with any comfort go out in the sun till towards evening.
The shade temp. is not much over 100. You keep all door's and windows
shut and electric fans spinning, and except for about an hour in the
afternoon you don't feel it. One sleeps on the roof. The temp. drops to a
little above 90 and probably to 80 or so before dawn. It is quite
comfortable.

I went yesterday afternoon, after 5, in an electric launch up the
Shatt-al-Arab turned into the new Euphrates channel a few miles above
Basrah. The floods are out, and the whole country is under water. We left
the channel and went across several miles of shallow water with
occasional Palm groves standing in it, derelict villages made of reed
matting, and even the reeds themselves sticking up where the water was
very shallow. All stewing in the blazing heat. And in the middle of it
was a solitary buffalo, knee-deep in mud and water, eating the reed tops.
Whether he was there because he liked it, or whether he was there by
mistake, I don't know. He looked quite happy, but if ever he wanted to
lie down, he would have to walk for days-it is slow going-to find a dry
place to lie on. The Ark and all the rest become quite comprehensible
when one sees Mesopotamia in flood time. . . .

[She goes up to Nasariyeh by river with Generals McMunn and
Cooper--describes the flooded country on the banks of the Euphrates,
always in a burning heat with a scorching wind.]

To H.B.
June 12, 1916.

. . . . . ..I could wish Maurice were not so well. The thought of his going
back to France--he is probably there by now--is horrible. How dreadfully
you will miss him.

Much as I enjoyed my little journey I was very glad to get in under a
house roof again, for the last few days were verY hot. I found a great
deal of work when I returned. It's not easy here--some day I'll tell you
about it. But the more difflcult it is the more I feel I ought to stay.

To H.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, June 15th

I'm delighted to hear that M. doesn't go back to France yet, but how will
he like a Welsh regiment, I wonder. your encouragement to me to remain
here came just at the right moment and I have decided to let them appoint
me official Correspondent to Cairo. A routine order is now to be issued
,making me part of I.E.F. "D," the Indian Expeditionary Force "D," and I
believe I'm am to have pay, but fortunately I need not wear uniform! I
ought to have white tabs, for I am under the Political Department. It's
rather comic isn't it. It has its disadvantages, but I think it's the
right thing to do. The news this week has been of Mecca, deeply
interesting, and one up to Egypt and my beloved chiefs there, from whom I
am now entirely detached for the moment. I expect the immediate results
will not be very great--we must beat the Turkish army before anything
very striking can happen--but the revolt of the Holy Places is an immense
moral and tolitical asset. I've had a busy week and I expect I shall be
busier when I take up my new work. I shall like very much coming into
closer contact with Sir Percy Cox. He is going to give me a room in his
office where I shall go two or three mornings a week--as often as is
necessary. The other days I shall go on working at G.H.Q., which is next
door to where I live. Sir Percy's office is a quarter of an hour away-you
can't realize what that means until you've stepped out into the sun here
anywhere near the middle of the day. The heat from the ground burns you
like the breath of a furnace. We've had a very hot and heavy fortnight,
and the north wind, long overdue, doesn't come, curse it. The result is
that there's an astonishing amount of sickness, all the clerks and
typists going down first so that you can't get your work done. I am
absolutely well. I never have the smallest touch of fever or even feel
tired--a little slack at the end of the hot day, which isn't surprising
seeing that one gets up soon after 5. I sleep like a top, My bed is on
the roof; I've discarded all mattresses and sleep on a bit of fine
matting with a sheet Over it. After midnight it gets cooler and one wakes
for a moment and pulls a second sheet over oneself.

Mr. Dobbs has come back. He's a great addition to my small world. I like
him so much and he is so interesting and so clever. George (Lloyd] is
still here, but I fear he has nearly finished his job. He will be a great
loss. It's the queerest life, you know-quite unlike anything one has ever
done before. I love the work, and the people are all very kind. On the
Whole I like it all.

But I feel rather detached from you--I wish I could sit somewhere midway
and have a talk with you once or twice a week.

To H.B.
BASRAH, July 3, 1916.

I have entered on my new duties, to my great satisfaftion and amusement.
I go every morning at 9 to the Political Office--it's about 10 minutes'
walk--and work there till 12:30. They give me a cup of coffee in the
middle of the morning. Then I have a cab to fetch me and come back to
lunch, after which I rest for half-an-hour and go to G.H.Q., where I
either find some job waiting for me, or I write things from the notes I
have made during the morning. I hope that it will all work out very well
and that it will be satisfactory to the Egyptians. There's no denying
that the weather is confoundedly hot. We have had some bad days,
temperature over 111, and very damp. Hot nights, too. One swears at it,
but I'm perfectly well so I haven't any business to complain. There is a
terrible amount of sickness, however, among people who have to be out of
doors and who are not luxuriously lodged and fed. To carry on a campaign
under these conditions is no small matter, for not only are your soldiers
enduring more casualties than in the worst battle, but your staff
vanishes like sand before the sun--clerks, typists, servants, they go
down before you can wink, and you are left to do the things for yourself.

To F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, July 9, 1916.

. . . . You both tell me of Maurice's new command and Father of his
attempts to get him out to the front, which I devoutly hope will prove
fruitless. My work at the Political Office continues to be delightful,
and I think it will prove valuable. I had a touch of fever this week and
was off for a day, but am now perfectly recovered-it was no more than the
attack which I was nursed through by the old man in the mosque, you
remember, and I may congratulate myself on having got through half the
hot weather with quite exceptional immunity from all ills. Oh, but it's a
great game we're playing here, or we will play, and some day I shall have
so much to say about the general principles of it. They are so simple and
so obvious-and so apt to be neglected.

We've had some rather better days this last week; temp. something over
100 instead of something over 110, which makes a great difference. It's
Ramadhan and the Mohammadans are abstaining from food and water all
through the daylight hours. It must be awful in this weather, for
scarcely any work can be got through. How can you unload ships and tow
boats up stream when you are starving and athirst?

To H.B. and F B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH,July 15th, 1916. . . . .

. . . ..Last night I woke at 1 a.m. to find the temp. still over 100 and
myself lying in a pool, My silk nightgown goes into the bath with me in
the morning, is wrung out and needs no more bother. Yes, it has been
deuced hot, and will be for another 6 weeks at least. I'm all right, but
its trying, there's no denying it. It's the first hours of the night,
absolutely still, damp and close which I find the worst. But sometimes I
think it Pretty horrid to be wet through all day. It's uncommonly
difficult to tackle one's clothes! Don't forget, Father, to let me have
your paper on Trade Unions. I've always time and the greatest interest
for your observations on these matters. But I don't think you can argue
Free Trade now on its economic merits--there's bound to be too much
passion in the whole question now and for some time to come. Perhaps some
day the world will come back to common sense. It won't be yet. I must
tell you in confidence that I'm being useful here, more useful than I
could be anywhere else because I've got better qualifications for this
sort of job than for any. It's not of a world shaking character, but for
all that it's worth doing and it would not be done if I didn't stay.
That's what holds me up every now and then when I think the nights and
days really almost too disagreeable. I'm going to be rather desperately
solitary next month. George will be gone, Mr. Dobbs is going on leave,
Mrs. van Ess and her husband to Nasariyeh and elsewhere for a month to
see about schools. That sweeps away nearly all my circle at one stroke,
but General McMunn remains and I find him a great standby and a mighty
comfort. There are times when one gets into a sort of impasse, a helpless
feeling that there's so much to be pulled straight in human affairs and
so little pulling power. One permanent source of satisfaction is my
chief, Sir Percy Cox. He is so delightful to work with, so generous to me
about all I want to do and so kindly appreciative. I have a very real
affection for him. But he is taking on too much, more than any mortal man
could accomplish and though it's wonderful how evenly good his health is,
I'm always afraid that he may break down under it. After Mr. Dobbs goes
there'll be no one capable of taking his place. . . . The administration
here owes him a very great deal. Upon my soul, it's a comfort to come up
against real sound good sense combined with administrative capacity. One
needs it in a country of this kind which is all beginnings. The real
difficulty under which we labour here is that we don't know, and I
suppose can't know till the end of the war, exactly what we intend to do
in this country. You are continually confronted with that uncertainty.
Can you persuade people to take your side when you are not sure in the
end whether you'll be there to take theirs?

To H.B. and F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, july 23rd.

I had a letter from Maurice besides the one enclosed by Father. Thank
Heaven he's out of it for the moment. And still more thanks that he is
not out here. it's Hell at the front and nothing short of it. Sir Victor
Horsley's death will make people realize perhaps that the climate is warm
whereas the daily death from heatstroke of people who are not 'de
connaissance' doesn't filter through. The precautions which might have
been taken to mitigate the fury of the summer, such as the supplying of
plentiful ice machines, were not taken. Even here we are short of ice, at
Amarah or the front, God help you. And it's difficult to do anything now
for there's barely enough transport to keep the troops supplied with
food. There has been a little breath of north wind on and off for the
last few days, but not enough even to keep the nights cool. One comforts
oneself by thinking that in 6 weeks or SO we shall be through the worst
of it. At least in Sep. it's said to be cool at night. George has gone
and I miss him bitterly. He has done good work but even better than his
work is the atmosphere of sanity he brings with him. It's difficult at
times to see straight and to think straight. One gets bewildered--and
there are enough materials for bewilderment--and when the thermometer is
persistently over 110 one can't pull oneself together, with the result
that things won't fall into scale and the prospect is blocked by a
molehill. If you knew what it's like running offices here, with all your
clerks and typists going sick and no one to replace them.

Goodbye, my dearest parents. I'm liking my work with Sir Percy very much
and indeed I like it all, as well as I should like anything. But I shan't
be sorry when the temp. drops 20 degrees.

To H.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, July 29th, 1916.

. . . . As for Free Trade, you know what I think. The question must for
the moment cease to be a purely economic one and the wise thing is to
'reculer pour mieux sauter.' At least if not to draw back, to draw in. Is
this too much the wisdom of the serpent to suit you? You're too good to
play the part of Don Quixote, you know--don't break your lance on the
windmill wings of passion; it will be wanted strong and bright when the
tempests have ceased to turn those wheels round. But whatever you do I
shall continue to think you the most beloved Father.

Lord! it's been hot here. The actual temperature is hotter up river but
they say that the dryness there makes it more bearable. It's bearable all
right here, but so nasty. Everything you touch is hot, all the inanimate
objects--Your hair--if that's inanimate--the biscuit you eat, the clothes
you put on. The temp. of the river is 94 and one's bath water, drawn from
a tank on the roof, never under 100 except in the early morning. But it
doesn't steam--the air's hotter.

To F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, August 9th, 1916.

I've been, I'm ashamed to say, on the shelf with fever this week. I'm all
right again but feeling like a limp rag. The stiffening will come back in
a day or two. I shall not let this happen again if I can help it. A small
daily dose of quinine ought to keep it off. We really have got the north
wind at last, which means cool nights even if it doesn't much alter the
temperature of the days. Cool nights make a world of difference; the
temp. before dawn drops sometimes to 77. One feels deliciously frozen! A
fall Of 30 from the daytime temperature isn't bad. The dates are all
yellow; they will be ripe very shortly. I'm a great deal too woolly to
write.

To H.B. and F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, August 11th, 1916.

How warmly I shall welcome Richard Pennessy! [Colonel Pope-Hennessy.]
It's almost too good to be true. We have had a north wind for the last 10
days, with cold nights, though it doesn't seem to make much difference to
the days. I'm much better, nearly well--I'm thankful it's not a week ago
when I felt too ill even to write to you. I have been steadily at work
ever since and am now beginning to feel like a person again.

Yesterday we had a most entertaining man at the Political Office. He is a
famous camel doctor and I had heard of him up and down Arabia. He knows
every man in the desert and every man knows him. He can go anywhere with
perfect security thanks to his remedy for mange, whatever it is. We had a
most amusing gossip about the desert. A man Of that kind is a great asset
as a bearer of news--or a carrier of messages. I think the Turks are not
having much of a time in Mesopotamia. Ottoman Govt. seems to have
vanished from every place except Bagdad and a few of the other towns. The
tribes do exactly what they like and there is no attempt to control them.
We ought to have a look in one of these days. But I wonder what it will
be like trying to bring back some kind of order when there has been
nothing but the wildest license. I hear from the front that things are
much better, more food and more variety of it, cooler nights and the
health of the troops greatly improved; heaven be praised! We are through
the worst of this summer now, but when I look back on July I fall to
wondering how the army weathered it. It was awful.

I rejoice in the thought that M. is still in England and I am glad to
hear he's happy.

TO H.B.
G.H.Q., BAsRAH, August 19th, 1916.

I write to one parent, but it's meant for both. I'm heartily well again
and enjoying immensely a bout of cooler weather, the temp. 101 instead of
107 (you can't think the difference it makes) and cool not to say cold
nights. It's heavenly. Even if we go back to another spell of great heat
it can't last long. Meantime I've taken to riding again which is very
delicious.

My paper on labour met with Sir P. C.'s approval and he sent it up to the
W.O.-not of course as coming from me but as a memorandum from his office.
I was pleased, however. I've been engaged this week in drawing up a
memorandum about Musqat where the political situation is both curious and
interesting. That's the sort of job I do, sandwiched in with tribe notes
and things I pick up from Arabs who come in to see us. It's all very
amusing work. The I.G.C. asks me what part I intend to play in the future
administration of this country! I think I shall have to keep an eye on
it, you know, from time to time! I suppose I shall be able to keep an eye
on all the developments in the Near East through the Arab Bureau. . . .

To F.B.
G.H.Q., BASRAH, Augast 27th, 1916.

I went out last week along the light railway 25 miles into the
desert--it's the Nasariyeh railway--and found myself in the middle of a
big Shammar encampment, hearing all the desert gossip in the familiar
manner. It was so curious to travel 50 minutes by rail and find yourself
in another universe. General Maude, our new Army Commander, has just
arrived. I've made his acquaintance, no more.

I continue to like my work very much and to be extremely thankful for it.

To F.B.
BASRAH, September 20th, 1916.

I didn't write last week because I was having jaundice and truly
miserable. It was a mild bout and I'm better but I am going this
afternoon for change of air to a sort of big rest house attached to our
officers' hospital a few miles down river. It seems a sensible thing to
do and I hope a few days will set me on my feet again and restore me to
my usual complexion.

It's so provoking to be laid up when there's such a lot of work to do.
The thing is growing and this week came a letter from the W.O., to whom I
send articles through the Intell. Dept., saying I was sending just what
they wanted and would I send more. So that's all right. It makes me want
to be back more than ever. Everyone is immensely kind; the Consulting
Physician of the Force comes to see me and the woman who is Inspector
General of all the hospitals looks after me. I'm ashamed of bothering
them about such a silly little ailment.

Will you please send me a winter hat. Something of this kind in dark
violet. Either of these would do. Also I would immensely like a soft
black satin gown which I could Wear either by day or night-crossed over
in front, skirt down to the ground. I would like Marte (Conduit St.) to
make it because she will make me something pretty. She doesn't usually
make anything but evening gowns, but if you told her it's for me and
where I am I know she would do it for me.

To H.B.
BAIT NAMAH, 10 September, 1916.

I'm still in hospital but I've made a very rapid cure (I was pretty bad
when I came) and I hope they will let me go back to Basrah in a day or
two. I've been quite extraordinarily comfortable and the kindness of
everyone is past belief. It really was very pleasant to find oneself here
with all the trouble of looking after one's own self lifted off one's
shoulders. I've done little or nothing but eat and sleep and read novels,
of which I found plenty here. Oh yes and I've read all Gilbert Murray's
translations of Greek plays--glorious they are--which I also found, one
of the doctors being brother to Charles Roberts! I must tell you this
hospital is in a great huge modern Arab house which we commandeered, very
beautiful and splendid. There are two large courts with orange trees in
the middle of them, and in one of them they have set aside a ward for
convalescent nurses from the other hospitals. That's where I am. There
are always 5 or 6 other people in my ward but I have a corner bed with a
screen round it, and for the last few days I have scarcely been in the
ward at all. I sit all day in the verandah (and for the last 3 days I've
been working all the morning). After lunch I have a bath and read till
tea and then I go down and sit in the shade by the water's edge. I dine
on the verandah and sleep on the roof under the stars.

Do you know I've never been so ill as this before. I hadn't an idea what
it was like to feel so deadly weak that you couldn't move your body much
nor hold your mind at all. When once I began to mend and to eat I didn't
mind it. . . .

Would you give Bain the bookseller an order for me. He is to send me
every month from 4 to 6 new books, novels and poetry, nothing very
serious, he knows exactly the kind of thing I like. Tell him I left
England last November and have read nothing that has come out since so he
will have plenty to go on with. He might send one or two regularly every
week. New poetry I love to have and Bain knows perfectly well the sort
of novel I like-Anthony Hope at one end of the scale and the Crock of
Gold at the other

To H.B.
c/o BASE POST MASTER, M.E.F., BASRAH, November 4th. 1916.

I've just been out for a long walk with Mr. Bullard (Revenue Dept.)-the
first time I've walked a step since May. It is still too dusty to be a
very nice form of exercise; riding is better. At the Political Office I
am beginning to reap Profit from the long slow collecting and classifying
of information--a job I'm always busy with. They send me down all the
telegrams and reports that come in from the provinces with a request for
a note on the people, tribes and places mentioned. With any luck I can
find and place most of them now-it's a great satisfaction. It's so nice
to be a spoke in the wheel, one that helps to turn, not one that hinders.

To F.B.
BASRAH, November 16th, 1916.

I had a pleasant 5 days away from Basrah. I went up to Qurnah and made
that my headquarters, living on my launch but spending most of the day in
the A.P.O.'s home. I saw innumerable sheikhs and got all the information
I wanted. The weather is perfection. The rain hasn7t come yet--it ought
to have come but I'm in no hurry for it. The temperature hangs about 80,
with cool damp nights. This morning I was out riding as the sun rose and
in the desert half an hour later--the air clear as crystal, you count the
tamarisk trees at Shaaibah, 8 miles away. It was wonderfully beautiful.
From all of which you may gather that I am extremely well, as indeed I
am. I wonder what letters of mine went down in the Arabia and whether I
asked for anything in them! I know I did ask about that time for a winter
hat, smallish, felt, dark blue or purple, and for 4 thick white silk
shirts, turned open at the neck.

To H.B.
BASRAH, November 23rd, 1916.

As a fact I am not writing from Basrah but from somewhere on the Shatt al
Arab below Qurnah after what seems to Me, looking back on it, to have
been an immense journeY-but I'll begin at the beginning. I left Basrah on
a Saturday night-the I.G.C. motored me down to what we call the terminus
station. I found the night train making itself ready, with a small
guard's van hitched onto it for me. This I furnished with a camp bed, a
chair and the station master's lantern and off we started about 6 into
the desert. If ever years hence I come back into this country and travel
to Bagdad by the Basrah express, I shall remember, while I eat my
luxurious meal in the dining car, how first I travelled along the line in
a guard's van and dined on tinned tongue, tinned butter and tinned pears
by the light of the station master's lantern. What happened after that I
don't know, for I went to bed and except for an occasional vague
consciousness of halts in a wide desert dim with starlight, I didn't take
note of anything in particular till the dawn crept in at my windowless
window and I woke to find my van standing outside rail head camp in the
middle of Arabia, so to speak. All this country was Sadun headquarters,
the desert home of the ruling family in Southern Mesopotamia who came up
from Mecca in the 14th century and are now immensely multiplied, the
great aristocracy of the Iraq. Here they come in spring with their camel
herds, for they are not only powerful landowners along the rivers, but
also real Bedu, nomads of the open wilderness, a wide, flat, sandy land,
good desert from the point of view of the camel breeder, for it grows
much thorny scrub and plentiful tufts of coarse grass, eaten down now
almost to the toot, an unbroken circle of horizon except where to the
north it was intercepted by the palms of the river bank, ghostly through
the mirage though they were only a few miles away. The eye doesn't travel
far over a level waste.

At 8 o'clock there rolled in General Brooking's motor car and a motor
lorry and we bumped over the grass tufts and over the sun-split mud of
what had been flood water in the spring, to Khamiseyeh, where we have had
troops ever since Ibn Rashid came filibustering round last summer. For
Kharniseyeh is one of the markets of Central Arabia and he who holds
these holds the tribes, as Ibn Rashid found to his cost and perhaps has
related by now in Hayil. A mud-built, dirty little place is Khamiseyeh,
watered by a small and evil looking canal from the Euphrates which runs
into the town up to the walled square where the caravans lodge when they
come up from Jebel Shamman. I drove straight into our camp, picked up
General Tidswell, who is in command, and made him take me round the town.
And there we met the Sheikh of Khamiseyeh, who is a friend of mine and on
his pressing invitation went to his house and drank a cup of tea. He had
a guest, Sheikh Hamud of the Dhafir, one of our friendly Beduin, and we
sat for a while listening to the latest desert news, which I translated
for the General. I hadn't met Hamud before, though he was one of the
Sheikhs of whom I had heard much talk when I was riding up from Hail. And
so on, over the desert, some 25 miles to Nasariyeh, putting up gazelle
and sand grouse as we went. I never thought to watch them from a motor.

To F.B.
BASRAH, December 9, 1916.

The winter isn't really very nice here. One is usually sneezing, when not
coughing, and one wishes one had a nice warm comfortable place to sit in.
To think that I was once clean and tidy! However, these are things of the
past. I've been busy with a long memorandum about the whole of our
central Arabian relations, which I've just finished. It will now go to
all the High and Mighty in every part. One can't do much more than sit
and record if one is of my sex, devil take it; one can get the things
recorded in the right way and that means, I hope, that unconsciously
people will judge events as you think they ought to be judged. But it's
small change for doing things, very small change I feel at times.

To H.B.
BASRAH, December 15, 1916.

* * * *Do you know I was thinking yesterday what I would pick out as the
happiest things I've done in all my life, and I came to the conclusion
that I should choose the old Italian journeys with you, those long ago
journeys which were so delicious. . . . except only in that very big
thing, complete love and confidence in my family-I've had that always
-and can't lose it. And you are the pivot of it. But for that I don't
care much one way or the other what happens, except that sometimes I
should very much like to see you. But I'm quite content here, interested
by the work and very conscious that I couldn't anywhere be doing things
that would interest me so much.

The world continues to look autumnal-scarcely wintry yet--in spite of the
eternal green of the palms. There is a yellow mimosa in flower, fluffy,
sweet-smelling balls, a very heavenly little tree, albeit thorny. Yes,
there's always plenty of small change, isn't there!

To F.B.
BASRAH, December, 1916.

The cold weather is just as uncomfortable here as the hot, or nearly as
uncomfortable. The houses are so unsuitable for winter. We live in
semi-darkness, since all the windows are screened from the summer light
and in perpetual cold in rooms that all open on to a court or a verandah.
My working room at the Political Office is nice--dark, of course, but I
have a little oil stove in it which keeps it warm. Still I feel I've
almost forgotten what it is to be really comfortable--not that it
matters much.

This is the 4th Xmas I've spent in foreign parts--Arabia, Boulogne,
Cairo, Qalat Salih. The last is where I expect to be on Xmas Day and I'm
truly thankful to escape any attempt at feasts here.

To H.B.
AMARAH, January 1, 1917.

I will begin the New Year before breakfast by writing to you and sending
to you and all my dear family all the best of good wishes.

I must tell you I felt dreadfully depressed on Xmas Day thinking of other
Xmas Days when we were together and used to be so absurdly happy a long
time ago. I hope Maurice has been with you this year. However, I'm a
monster of ingratitude to complain, for I have had a very interesting ten
days and enjoyed them. Mr. Philby (Acting Reserve Commission) and I left
Basrah on his launch on the 22nd, got up to Qurnah in the evening and
spent the night with the A.P.o. We were off early next day and went up
river to Qulat Sabib--it was a delicious warm day and the river was
delightful. I don't know why it should be as attractive as it is. The
elements of the scene are extremely simple but the combination
still makes a wonderfully attractive result. Yet there's really
nothing--flat, far-stretching plain coming down to the river's edge,
thorn covered, water-covered in the flood in the lower reaches, a little
wheat and millet stubble in the base fields, an occasional village of
reed-built houses and the beautiful river craft, majestic on noble sails
or skimming on clumsy paddles. The river bends and winds, curves back on
itself almost and you have the curious apparition of a fleet of white
sails rising out of the thorny waste, now on one side of you, now the
other. And by these you mark where your cruise must be, where the river
divides wilderness from wilderness. We passed Ezra's Tomb and its clump
of palms and got out to look at it. There's a very ancient tradition
which is probably true, that the Prophet is buried here, but the aftual
shrine is new. . . .

Two of these days we spent in riding out over the great farms on either
side of the river. These rides brought us into a Mesopotamia which was
quite new to me. Behind the high land by the river, the thorny scrub and
the millet fields, lies the rich rice country watered by the canals from
the Tigris. And here the land is densely populated, village after
reed-built village standing on the canal banks, and everywhere the
evidences of the great harvest in mounds of straw and garnered fields and
grain laden boats panting up the canals. The farms we rode over were not
very large as farms go here; the outer edge of the largest, that is to
say, the point where the land sloping down from the Tigris runs into the
huge marsh, was some 12 miles from the river; but the sheikh pays 11,000
a year in rent to the Govt. from whom he leases the ground. The
calculation is nominally on the basis of half the profits, but in reality
it is about one-third and the produce of the farm is about 33,000 pounds
a year--a respectable output. . . . I spend my time in seeing local
people and getting lots of information about tribes and families which
had baffled me in Basrah, a satisfaftory occupation.

To F.B.
BASRAH, January 13th, 1917.

I came back to find the most delightful pile of letters. . . . if you
have no time to die, as Maurice says, I wonder you have time to write me
such splendid long letters! You really must not do it when you feel
dreadfully run. Still, I won't deny that I do enjoy havin news from you
both.

I feel so much ashamed of having bothered you about clothes, etc.,
especially as all the trouble you've taken has been fruitless, as far as
I'm concerned, for nothing has arrived! But I still hope the things may
be in time for next winter, when I shall doubtless be glad of them. I
don't want any books on Persia, thank you, and as I never seem to have
time to read anything, even books on Mesopotamia are unnecessary. I have
written straight to Batsford at various times for essentials, and perhaps
some day they will come. The failure in winter clothes makes me anxious
for the summer, and I've thought of a plan which will spare you trouble.
I shall write long and full directions (next mail) to the Ladies' Shirt
Co., telling them exactly what I want in cotton gowns. But since the shop
might perhaps have ceased to exist (one never knows) I shall send the
letter under cover to you and, if they have by chance died out, the
letter can be given to Harvey & Nichols as it stands. It's clear the only
plan is to send things by post in small parcels, as you did last spring.
One absolutely can't be without masses of summer things in this climate,
as one needs a clean gown almost daily, and the constant washing destroys
everything. So I'll be beforehand with my orders, and perhaps Moll, if
she is in London, would just step into the shop and see that they are
carrying out my requirements reasonably.

I'm going to move into a tiny suite of two rooms, which Sir Percy has
been such a dear to allot to me in the Political Office. It will be much
more convenient. What it's like plunging through winter mud to my
work!--it's just as bad in the summer being far away, because one can't
go backwards and forwards in the middle of the day without acute
discomfort. I have two servants of my own, so I shall be selfcontained.
I'm busy furnishing now, no easy matter, but I have a tower of strength
in the angelic I.G.C., who produces everything with a wave of his sword,
so to speak, the moment I ask for it. There really never was anybody so
kind, and I don't know what I should do without him. He is so cheerful
and competent. He is deeply interested in the development of the country.
And we truly are doing something behind the battlefields. I have capital
material in the local reports sent up to the head office, and I've just
drawn up a little memorandum about administrative progress, which I think
ought to give satisfaction to the High and Mighty at home. (Happy to tell
you that I hear my utterances receive a truly preposterous attention in
London.) just at this moment, this is the only theatre of the war where
things look rather bright.

The only thing that keeps one going is to have lots of work. At times I
feel as if I wasn't worth my keep here, and then at other times I think
I'm doing a certain amount of good, but fundamentally, I am sure it is no
good bothering as to whether one is or isn't useful, and the only plan
is to apply oneself steadfastly to what lies before one and ask no
questions. And at least there's plenty before me here. I like it, too, in
spite of occasional depressions, generally caused by the sense of not
knowing enough and of general inefficiency.

I hope you think I'm right to stay. I don't much enjoy the prospect of
another summer in Basrah. There are still some pleasant months before us;
it doesn't begin to be hot till May.

I must go to bed, for I'm going to try my new pony at dawn to-morrow.

To F.B.
BASRAH, january 20th, 1917.

A box has just arrived from Marte, through T. Cook & Sons-it ought to
have contained a black satin gown, but it has been opened (probably in
Bombay, it was sent by Cook to his agents in Bombay) and the gown has
been abstracted. Isn't it infuriating? All that was left was a small
cardboard box inside, containing the little black satin coat Marte sent
with the gown, some net, and a gold flower. These, by reason of their
being in the small box, the thief couldn't get out, for he only opened a
part of the nailed-down lid, and made a small hole in the interior
cardboard lining, through which he pulled the gown. I hope Marte insured
it so that Cook will have to pay-but that thought does not console me
much at this moment! Marte had better repeat the gown as quickly as
possible and send it in a small box by post. That is the only way of
getting things. If it can't possibly go by post it must go through the
military forwarding officer, but it takes 6 months Will you tell Marte.

To F.B.
BASRAH, january 26th, 1917.

In case my letter of last week didn't reach you, I send an abstract of my
directions to the Shirt Co., which it contained. I feel, however,
pessimistic as to receiving anything, and I expect I shall have to take
to Arab dress next summer. I wrote to you a very doleful letter last
week-happy to tell you that I'm better physically but I'm suffering from
a severe attack of softening of the brain, which I don't know how to
master. It makes all work horribly difficult, as well as valueless when
done. I feel so useless that I wonder they don't turn me out, perhaps
ultimately they will. But what I should do next I can't imagine. Beyond
struggling with this devil I've done nothing for the last week, except
ride occasionally in the morning. I don't wonder the Arabs are sick of
us--I am too. And oh, how weary we all are of the war! Are we going to be
beaten do you think, at the end of everything, or praftically beaten? I
suppose it would mean abandoning this country and that practically means
backing out of Asia. Meantime would you be so very kind as to send me a
new Swan Fountain pen, large size and broad nibbed. I've broken the
sheath of mine. But if you could teach it to write interesting things
before it sets out I should be all the more grateful. This one won't.

To H.B.
BAsRAH, February 2nd, 1917.

The news this week is overshadowed by Lord Cromer's death. I've turned to
him so many times this last year for advice and help. He and Sir Alfred
[Lyall] were the two wise counsellors to whom I never went in vain; now
they're both gone and I can't replace them.

I'm getting over the attack of softening of the brain of which I told
you, at least getting over it a little. I ride pretty regularly in the
mornings, going out soon after dawn. I get back to the office about 9
o'clock in better heart, and above all in a better temper. War is very
trying to that vital organ, isn't it. I've been doing some interesting
bits of work with Sir Percy which is always enjoyable. To-day there
strolled in a whole band of sheikhs from the Euphrates to present their
respects to him, and incidentally they always call on me.

I've been sorting out all the material which I gathered when I was up the
Tigris, and I have written a good deal about it, confidential and
unconfidential, but not as well as it might have been done, I'm sorry to
say. However, I feel I've begun to see what the people are like in those
parts. My acquaintance with tribes and with Ottoman conditions is a great
help, but there's an immense amount to learn. You'll see a piece of mine
in the papers about Ibn Saud. I gather the India O. are going to publish
it. No, after all I don't suppose you will for they usually publish those
things in papers which no one reads, which seems to me rather a waste of
energy on all sides, and I wish I could have a free hand with Geoffrey
Robinson who wouldn't need to be asked twice about some of them. If he
would batter at the doors of Govt. offices he might get them to change
their mysterious ways. It's not the setting forth that's of value, but
the stuff is so new--a new bit of construction work in the midst of the
waste of war.

I must make another attempt to get shoes. I'll write to Yapp again.
Otherwise I shall presently go barefoot. Isn't it a tragedy about my
black satin gown. Of course it's just the very gown most wanted.

To H.B.
BASRAH, February 16th, 1917.

It was the finger of Providence that led me to get into my new abode, for
we have had five days of rain and Basrah is a unique spectacle. It is
almost impossible to go out. I put on a riding skirt and a pair of india
rubber top boots--which I had fortunately procured from India--and
stagger through the swamp for half-an-hour after tea and it's all one can
do. Yesterday the sun shone, and the I.O.C. and I managed to get down to
the desert in a motor and walked along the top of some mounds on the edge
of the palm gardens, which so much encouraged me that I jumped up at
sunrise to-day hoping to be able to ride. But no sooner was I donned than
down came the rain again, through the mud roof of my room too and there
was nothing for it but to change sadly into ordinary clothes--and write
to you. We haven't had anything like our proper allowance of rain this
winter, so we shall probably get it all now in unmanageable quantities.
They don't seem to have had it on the Tigris front, and so far operations
continue-but very slowly. I doubt whether much more will happen there and
we shall probably spend this summer besieging the Turks in Kut. I hope
they'll like it-I feel sure we shan't. But it will be better this year
than last owing to the fact that the mud deters even those who desire
favours--with the result that I've got through a lot of work and blocked
out an article on administration which I've long had in my mind. I hope
it will see the light somewhere. All the tribal and other material on
which I've been busy for a year has now reached the point of publication
for official circulation, and I'm beginning to reap a harvest of proofs
from India. When once it's printed and put on record I shall feel that
the first goal is attained. It's not history, but it will furnish an
exact account of the country as we found it. In and out of all other work
it has been, and is still, a constant thread which gives me increasing
satisfaction as I get a better grasp of it. On the whole it's the work
I've liked best here.

Presently I shall have to ask you to send me a nice wig. I haven't got
enough hair left to pin a hat to. I don't know what happens to one's hair
in this climate. It just evaporates. A momentous event took place this
week--the clothes Sylvia [Henley] bought for me arrived, hat and gown and
everything. I feel it to be nothing short of miraculous and rejoice
accordingly.

I'm so luxuriously comfortable in my mud rooms.

To F.B.
BASRAH, February 17th, 1917.

. . . The box and the umbrella have come too ! Isn't it great. I am so
thankful for shoes, skirts, umbrella (we are in the middle of rain) silk
coat and everything. If only that rogue hadn't stolen my black gown I
should be well supplied till the hot weather comes.

You have taken such a lot of trouble-thank you so very much.

To H.B.
BASRAH, March 2, 1917.

I had a grand post at the beginning of the week with 2 letters from you
(Jan. 11th and 18th) and 3 from Mother. I really was starved for letters
from home and consequently fattened on them. . . . We really have got the
Turks shifted this time, how far shifted we don't yet know. If they make
a stand before Bagdad I suppose we shan't go on; in any case, I don't
know that we shall go on--the line of communication is immensely long.
But no matter; what we have already accomplished will make a difference
and we may expect developments in other directions. Congratulatory
effusions are coming in from Basrah--I wonder what the real thought is at
the bottom of most of them. But up country the people who have come in to
us will be content, for they will feel greater security; and the people
who haven't come in will have grave doubts as to whether they " backed
the right horse "--they're having them already. The Turks thought the
crossing of the Tigris in the face of opposition a sheer impossibility.
We have that from the prisoners. Let's hope, in consequence, that they
are not so well prepared for the achievement as they should be--indeed
their headlong flight seems to indicate as much. My own belief is that
they won't be able to hold Bagdad for long if we are close up.

Work has been slack for the last few days, at which times I get rather
bored, but I've taken to reading Arabic history every morning, with one
of our native secretaries, and at the worst I can always put in as much
time as I like, and profitably, on Arabic, till things begin again.
To-day I've been asked to write a brief outline of recent Arabian history
for the Intelligence Department (the sort of thing I really enjoy doing),
so I've turned to that. The amount I've written during the last year is
appalling. Some of it is botched together out of reports, some spun out
of my own mind and former knowledge, and some an attempt to fix the far
corners of the new world we are discovering now, and some dry as dust
tribal analyses, dull, but perhaps more useful than most things. It comes
to a great volume of material, of one kind and another, and I know I have
learnt much if I haven't helped others to learn. But it's sometimes
exasperating to be obliged to sit in an office when I long to be out in
the desert, seeing the places I hear of, and finding out about them for
myself. At the end of the war, there's one favour I'm going to ask of the
Authorities and that is that they will give me facilities, so far as they
can, to cross Southern Arabia. I would like to do one bit of real Arabian
exploration, or attempt. But I shall come home first to see you and get
theodolites and things. Dearest, I shan't come back this summer. Anyway,
we are all begged not to travel more than we can help under present
conditions. If I feel the summer too long I may go up to some hill place
in India for a week or two, but it wouldn't amuse me at all.

To H.B.
BASRAH, March 10th, 1917.

We are now hourly awaiting the news of our entrance into Bagdad. I had a
letter from Sir Percy to-day, from the Front, full of exultation and
confidence. I do hope I may be called up there before very long. It's a
wonderful thing to be at the top of the war after all these months of
marking time, and say what you will, it's the first big success of the
war, and I think it is going to have varied and remarkable consequences.

We shall, I trust, make it a great centre of Arab civilisation, a
prosperity; that will be my job partly, I hope, and I never lose sight of
it.

I had one foot in the grave for five days with a shocking cold in the
head--it's now better, and I'm riding again before breakfast. . . . I
never saw anything so beautiful as the kingfishers--flocks of them
whistling through the palm groves, two kinds, a big and a little blue
kind, and I rather think a third brown, but I have not been able quite to
spot him yet.

I have been seeing something of a very charming General Lubbock, Mr.
Percy's brother.

To H.B.
BASRAH, March 17th, 1917.

Since last I wrote the goal has been reached; we have been a week in
Bagdad. I've had no news actually from Bagdad, but I hope I shall get
letters this week. I need not tell you how much I long to hear exactly
what it is all like. Just 3 years ago I was arriving there from Arabia--3
lifetimes they seem as I look back on them. I went to tea last week with
the Matron-in-Chief, the notable Miss Jones, whom I like, and afterwards
she took me to see the wounded Turkish prisoners. I stammered into
Turkish, which I haven't spoken for 7 years, and they were even only too
delighted to hear even a few words of Turkish spoken. There they were,
the round-faced Anatolian peasants-I could have laughed and wept to see
them--from Konia, from Angora, from Cxsarxa, even from C'ple, and we
talked of their houses and what far country they lay in. Most of them
were well content to be done with war for ever.

I long to go up to Bagdad, but it is no good bothering yet. Everyone is
too busy and there is plenty of time, but I should like to have seen the
first moments. Also there's very little work here now. I've finished all
the outstanding things with a great effort this week so as to have the
road clear when the moment comes. And now I'm wearily doing rather dull
office jobs and receiving the countless people who come in with
congratulations and petitions. The congratulations are not more than skin
deep I fancy.

To F.B.
BASRAH, March 30th, 1917.

I'm sitting with my hands in front of me, practically, and shall remain
in that attitude till I go up to Bagdad. It is the first time I have been
idle since the war began. However, it is not my desire, and Heaven knows
that marking time is far worse than working. Of course it's too late now
for gray tweeds-nor have they come!-but I shall be truly thankful for
tussore, and above all for cotton gowns. Heaven waft them on their way!
All I've got now is one thin woollen gown--made, if you can call it
making--in Egypt, which is very dirty from much wear. One can get nothing
cleaned, made or even mended here. The temp. is already 80 so that the
blue clothes Sylvia sent me are too thick to wear any longer. Happy to
tell you I'm now extremely well, partly the rest, perhaps, and partly the
exemplary habit of riding before breakfast. I feel ready to take on any
amount of new work and am longing for it.

In spite of the drawbacks of Mesop. summers I do feel the people who are
working at home are shouldering much the heaviest part of the business. I
would far rather be in the East among surroundings which are a perpetual
interest to me, places and people which have no sharp edge of memory. But
here again I didn't choose, did I? The best one can do is to do what
one's told, for as long as one is told to do it. It has not been easy, in
many ways. I think I have got over most of the difficulties and the
growing cordiality of my colleagues is a source of unmixed satisfaction.

To H.B.
BASRAH, March 30th, 1917.
[Before this letter arrived we had a telegram from Gertrude saying
"address Bagdad," and knew that her ardent wish to go there had been
gratified.]

Until they let me go up to Bagdad, I have nothing to do. I have
telegraphed to my chief asking if I may come up to him and await his
reply. I read Arabic, do various odd jobs in the office and see
people-and that's all. The centre of gravity has shifted up river and my
job with it. This last week has been made very pleasant by having Sir
Arthur Lawley here.

To H.B.
SHEIKH SAAD, April 10, 1917.

I think I might get a letter posted to you from here. It's the fifth day
we have been on the way, and we have another four days before us--a long
journey, but the river is full and the current strong. My companions are
two nurses, two doctors and the ship's officer. And do you know one of
the doctors is Brownlie of Middlesbrough! He is out here for a year. We
have 600 troops on board, so closely packed on deck that one has to step
over them to reach one's cabin, Indians almost all.

All day yesterday we ran through the wide, level lands of the Bani Lam,
not much cultivation, but a great deal of grazing ground, and the tents
drawn down to the river and surrounded by flocks. Horses too, the Bani
Lam are noted horse-breeders. In the afternoon the Persian hills loomed
out of the haze, quite close to us really; the foothills are only 16
miles from the river, but partly hidden in heat mist and looking all the
taller, for eyes unaccustomed to anything taller than a palm tree, for
the veil through which you sought for their summits.



END OF VOLUME 1



THE END




This site is full of FREE ebooks - Project Gutenberg Australia