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We could not make out what it was all about. There were so many different suggestions made as to the cause; some said the people of the village wanted to come with us as siyara, and some that they wanted to fight the Hamoumi, who had lately taken their camels. Our men shouted, 'Siyara!

Next we went to Raida, three hours all along the top of the cliff; the old Hamoumi sultan was with us, of course, otherwise there would have been no safety for us beyond Kosseir. We had a dreadful experience passing the village of Sarrar. The smell from the cemetery was so awful that even the Bedouin had to hold their noses for many yards on both sides of it.

It was in the country of no one then present, so we could have no siyara, and the old Hamoumi chief said it would be bad for his sons, the hostages; so this plan had to be abandoned.

He is much stained with indigo, a very elastic and naked sovereign, who bends his fingers back in a way horrible to behold when he wishes to emphasise his remarks, as he did when he spoke of the Kattiri and his wars with them, and his constantly losing men in raids, as is also the case in his fights with the Hamoumi.

Seid-bin-Iselem and three soldiers witnessed this, but Talib would not allow the Hamoumi to be present. Instead of taking Talib's gun as a deposit, the soldiers were to keep the money in their hands. We were still to be at Sheher within the seven days, and not now to wait two or three days for the five tribes.

Our only pleasures were walks at sunset along the sand, picking up lovely shells and watching the crabs, and we used to sneak out as quietly as we could for fear of being pursued by soldiers. Our little walks were very much shortened when we had an armed escort dogging our steps. Once we got a mile away but were fetched back for fear of the Hamoumi, Sheher being quite on the frontier.

Talib, not knowing of our little plan of going with the Hamoumi to Al Madi, came and told us how very dangerous Al Madi was, and that it would be far better to go by Ghail Babwazir, if only the camel-drivers would agree. If they would not, he would put all our most necessary things, i.e. our money, on his own camel, and we would ride secretly off together.

My night was disturbed by the old Hamoumi chief choosing the eave of our tent just beside my ear to say his prayers. Quiet nights, however, must not be expected in Ramazan. At the entrance to Wadi Shirwan the ruins are situated.

They always were pledging them to our enemies, as an earnest that we would do what they wanted. The Hamoumi loaded the camels, on the oath of Talib that they should have the money that night at Sufeila, a place that we were to pass, and which the day before we were told it was impossible to reach in one stage. They swore to take us to Bir Baokban.

He and his companions came and wrote their names after a list of stages, and made a most solemn oath they would do anything we liked; and after we had sat for an hour or more in the sun, waiting for the Hamoumi, they said we must pass the night at Bir al Ghuz, still swearing to the seven days.