For twenty miles one way and fifteen the other the Wilderness stretched its somber expanse. The ancient forest had been cut away long since and the thin, light soil had produced a sea of scrub and thickets in its place, in which most of the houses were the huts of charcoal burners. The undergrowth and jungle were often impenetrable, save by some lone hunter or wild animal.
There is nothing so deceiving as distance in the desert.... A distant ruin stands out of the sea of sand, the atmosphere is so clear that you think you will reach it in half an hour; you ride all day and you never seem to get any nearer to it." Arrived at Tadmor they found it to consist of a few orchards, the imposing ruins, and a number of wretched huts "plastered like wasps' nests within them."
His face was grave when he came back to the car and told the chauffeur to hurry on to the hospital. Here Ruth was amazed to see many American soldiers at work. They were piling sandbags about the various huts and over their roofs. She understood now why the people were being entirely cleared out of this sector. A great bombardment was expected. Ruth did not get out of the car.
These native huts look so clean and fresh when first put up, the straw-coloured attap walls and green leaf roofs are so agreeable to the eye. They quickly turn hay colour and then get discoloured by the wood smoke. Except that we were at times rather short of food, we enjoyed our mountain retreat very much.
The women as they turned to go with the children to the huts to prepare the evening meal bade them farewell and called out, "A fortunate sale!" Night settled down quickly, for in a tropical climate the twilight does not last so long as with us.
This is a picture of American Indians: they live in America, and are of a reddish colour; they build their huts in the thickest forests, as far from the white men as they can.
The men take with them a supply of food, and they sleep in huts on the mountain side. There is a kind of goat in Switzerland called the chamois. It lives high up in the mountains. It is very hard to hunt the chamois, for it can go into places where a man cannot follow it. It can leap very nimbly from one rock to another. It can go up and down a rough mountain side.
Here we passed a veritable department store, its ground-floor plate-glass window set as a drawing-room, with gilded, brocaded chairs, marquetry table, and ormolu clock, and I know not what costliness of rug and curtain. It was all so strange that it seemed unreal after that long passage of the savage wilds, that long habitation of huts and igloos and tents.
Moraga had a hard fight against a hundred and twenty of them, and captured eighteen, whom he soon released, "as they were all sure to die of their wounds." The survivors retreated to their huts and made a desperate resistance, and were so determined not to be captured that, when one hut was set on fire, its inmates preferred to perish in the flames rather than to surrender.
The prisoners not only constructed numerous dirt huts with balls of clay and sand, taken from the wells which they have excavated all over those hills, but they have also, in some cases, tunneled extensively from these wells. The lower portions of these hills, bordering on the stream, are wet and boggy from the constant oozing of water.