(“They eat little when they feed themselves, but when they are guests, much–they and their horses,” said Namoud). 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.
Diana and I took a half holiday yesterday and walked along the coast in frosty sun. We have had the most pitiful letters and we see the most pitiful people. 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. 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.
Mike’s Crab House
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. 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.
- The rock lies in natural terraces and is full of caves; the Brook Kedron has cut the steepest, deepest cleft for its bed and on either side rise these horizontal layers of stone.
- 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.
- 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.
- But I am tired, and being anxious to get through and be done with travel, we are making long marches, 9 and 10 hours.
- To-Morrow is the great feast of the Mohammedan year, the Feast of Sacrifice.
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.
Meet the Crinkle Cookie Inspired by a Cantonese Black Sesame Dessert Soup
Will you tell me what you want read–any of the Health Book? 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. . . .” 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.
- 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?
- It was interesting this morning to see the Hasineh on the move.
- Nor do I believe that they sleep half so well as I, nor eat so much.
- We have planned an immense journey for the winter after next, no less than to Ibn Rashid.
That has to be plotted out too on Monday at the Geog. 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. I made a détour with Mahmud and visited two villages, one more beautiful than the other. We had an ‘impayable’ conversation by the way.
Here, two pianists bang out the hits late into the night, every night. Expect lots of sing-alongs, requests and a guaranteed fun time in this venue, which makes up part of the Music Walk onboard Eurodam. Evenings on board glitter with choices. Arrive in a lounge to the strains of a lively dance band. Share a martini flight in Mix; sing along in the Piano Bar. 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.
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. My own camp goes like clockwork with never a hitch. The two muleteers are also extremely good servants and we have vowed always to travel together.
I feel I shall end by receiving special instruction from the Shah in person. 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. The little girls think it is a great pity you are coming back so soon, because we are so comfortable.
- It practically summarises her impressions.
- To-day was fine and I worked with my theodolite all the morning on the roof and went for a walk in the afternoon.
- I don’t much enjoy the prospect of another summer in Basrah.
- It was typical of him that he mulcted our Shammar companions Of 3 mejidehs before he would let them go on with us.
- But temporarily, this expert clean-up team keeps on truckin’.
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.
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 great castle built in, and rising out of, the cone of a volcano.