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. On Thursday I walked in the afternoon with Flora and went back with her to tea. 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!.
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.
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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. 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.
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. 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.
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I went to visit her and her family after dinner yesterday–they are quite close. I found the mother a pretty charming woman who has had ten children and looks ridiculously young . 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.
- 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 old man did not seem to be the least surprised—it is a two days’ journey, you must realise.
- They are looking blooming and are such angels!
- I have just come in from dining with Selim Tabit.
- 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.
I look forward to being very comfortable in a modest way. I’ve seen a great deal of the Sykeses and like them very much. I left Grimsel on the Monday after my adventure and returned to Rosenlaui, walking up, although on rather swollen toes.
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. 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. 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.
- We went to tea with Lady Barnes the sister of the Vanbrughs and a most charming woman with whom I have sworn friendship.
- We also made the acquaintance of her husband, Sir Hugh, who is very nearly as charming as she is.
- 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.
- We reached Port Said after dark on Thursday night.
- Nearly all the fish Mitch’s serves is either caught by in-house or by fishermen almost exclusively from San Diego or northern Baja waters.
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! 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. I can all but sleep in the saddle, however, which passes the time wonderfully.
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.
I sat on a bench and watched them dancing round and knew just what you felt like at Oxford. 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. 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.
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. I told him a lot about the book and he expressed a desire to see it. I shall send him the poems and preface from Berlin, Mr. Strong cannot come to town and has not yet finished the preface. 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.