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After this episode, breakfast at El Umteiye followed, and a great breakfast it was, of porridge, eggs, kidneys, and water-melons, and what would be known in India as "ohupattees." All but the porridge were from locally purchased supplies, and indeed the rations that we had brought were practically exhausted, save for tea, sugar, and a few tins of milk. Y., who, as I previously explained, had acted as a sort of supply-officer-in-chief to the column (his exact position was difficult to determine, as indeed Was every British officer's, "advice" being, so to speak, frequently merged into "executive action"), had done wonders in getting as many rations and sacks of grain up as he had done, in view of the fact that the drivers of the supply camels were all hired, and had not only never heard of the words "control" or 'discipline," but were wholly ignorant of the existence of the eighth commandment; but he could not do impossibilities, and it had always been realised that for a considerable

period we should have to live on the country. Y.'s principal efforts had been directed to providing ammunition and petrol and tyres for the cars and the 'planes at Azrak, and they had succeeded admirably, though we never had anything like a big reserve of petrol. All ranks of the column were now living on the mutton, eggs, tomatoes, grapes, watermelons, and barley purchased locally, and the animals got their living by grazing eked out with grain. To the Arabs the food was good and plentiful, and the same applied to the French gunners, who were mostly Algerians, and the Egyptians and Gurkhas. So far as the British rank and file were concerned, this local dietary was rather a pleasant change after bully and biscuits-with the exception of the "chupattees." To eat flat dough-cakes, made without yeast or baking-powder, is all right for a time, but in about a week the European stomach begins to strike at such treatment, and I remember still the real joy with which we saw biscuits again when we met the British forces. It was the first time I ever thought British Army biscuits were a luxury.

We had just finished breakfast on the day in question when an enemy 'plane appeared and subjected us to a rather bad bombing, killing some animals and wounding two Arab officers and a French gunner. This bombing had at any rate the good effect of causing the various units to spread themselves over the

plateau instead of all herding higgledy-piggledy round the wells, which they had done to save themselves extra trouble in drawing water. It also ridded us of a portion of the now vast multitude of campfollowers, pedlars, and Bedouin, who had come in from the surrounding country to do a little trading, learn the news, gossip, and generally relieve the tedium of existence in the Hauran. The gulf between the Englishmen and the natives, which even the fraternising qualities of the British soldier had not broken down in Egypt, was unknown here; and to the Haurani peasant, for example, with our kefias, beards, and not overclean sun-tanned faces, we probably looked but little different to the rest of the Arabs; but, however that may be, every one treated us friends and equals. By an illiterate people that excel in small- talk, no chance of a gossip is ever missed, and not even my almost non-existent knowledge of Arabic, at any rate as spoken in Arabia, prevented me from being inveigled into long conversations with all kinds of people throughout the day. It usually started with a wild-looking man riding up to where I was sitting, dismounting, tying his horse to my bivypole, and then squatting at my side and asking, "Lorens Wenoo? "1 If "Lorens was anywhere in the vicinity I directed the visitor there, but if he was not, and if I could not pretend that he was with sufficient assurance, I had to

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endure at least half an hour of conversation, limited on my side to "Yes" and "No." Each visit entailed a further inroad

on my rapidly diminishing store of the admirable Keating's well-known preparation, as well as a quarter of an hour's work repitching my bivy on the steny soil, for the horse invariably pulled it down long before his master was ready to go. It was therefore with some pleasure that, after the bombing of the morning in question, I observed a great rush for the blue on the part of women, children, donkeys, sheep, and the lords of them all, who came streaming by us, "riding a finish” on their foam-flecked ponies, and regarding with amazement the phlegmatic British armouredcar drivers, or the equally unconcerned Gurkhas, busy cleaning their rifles, seated in a little cirole on the ground.

Later in the day L. left for Azrak to embark on an aeroplane, due to be sent from G.H.Q., E.E.F., in order to fly to Palestine G.H.Q., report what had occurred, and ask for aeroplane protection, and receive further instructions. The Egyptian Camel Corps and Gurkhas trekked, as it was decided that they had better return to Akaba in order to reduce the number of mouths to be fed, in view of the fact that rationing was bound to become a more serious problem each day. The rest of the column stayed at El Umteiye that day, but about ten o'clock at night General Nuri, the Arab com

1 Where is Lawrence?

mander, called a conference to decide on our future action, which was attended by the commander of the French contingent, J., Y., S., and myself. Nuri's point, which I think was unquestionably sound, was that the Turks, supine as they had been during the last three or four days, were bound sooner or later to take some drastic action in view of the menace to their whole line of communications that our presence in the neighbourhood constituted. This they could clearly do in several ways, the most obvious of which was to send a column to Azrak to out off our line of retreat southwards by occupying the only watering-place on the route, and at the same time sending troops from Nablus or Damascus to Deraa to attack us in force at El Umteiye. Another possible plan was to send troops along the railway northwards from Ammon and southwards from Deraa (sooner or later the railway line was bound to be open to traffic, as we could not continue to destroy it indefinitely), and attack El Umteiye simultaneously from north and south. We, of course, did not know how the Palestine attack had succeeded; but, even if the first objective of a twelve-mile advance had been attained, it did not make our position any easier. The discussion was conducted partly in French, partly in English, and partly in Arabic; and I remember, when using the first-named language, General Nuri made use of the phrase, "Nous sommes en un endroit," with some very apt remarks on the danger of

such a position from the teachings of military history. He further pointed out that the fact that we had gone forward to Deraa and then retired would be construed by the local inhabitants, on whom we virtually depended for food, as 8 set-back, and that they, who all the time were waiting to see which way the cat jumped, might become hostile to us. Moreover, we should infallibly be bombed again next day if we waited at El Umteiye, and the morale of the column would not be improved thereby; his strongest point of all was that he had had information that a Turkish reconnaissance from Deraa might be expected at dawn the next morning to endeavour to make us disclose our strength. Shorn of a goodish proportion of the local irregulars, who had departed that day as it happened by order, and only temporarily, as well as of the Egyptian Camel Corps and Gurkhas, our force was far smaller than when it crossed the railway at Deraa, and a reconnaissance would prove to the Turks how easy it would be to "mop up a force whose body was so small, but whose sting was so annoying and indeed dangerous. Up to date, the adventure had succeeded beyond all reasonable expectation, but, after all, the whole scheme was a gamble pure and simple, and we were tempting Providence by remaining much longer where we were. To do so would be as if a roulette-player, having won eight or ten times running on red, ignored the possibility of black ever coming

up again. argued and discussed the problem in our several languages (sometimes in two or three at once), and at last it was decided that we should there and then start out for Um El Surab, a ruined village some miles south of El Umteiye, on the way to Azrak. Here we should be farther from Deraa, more than a day's march in fact, and, provided a column from the latter place had more than a night's march to reach us, we were pretty sure to have warning of its departure. Here also there was less of a landmark for bombing than was afforded by El Umteiye, with its sentinel Roman fort on the top of a sugar-loaf hill. At Um El Surab there are the remains of 8 Roman fort and village, but it stands in the midst of a great plain full of small wadis and depressions, and pook - marked with ancient and modern grain-pits that afford excellent ready-made funk-holes. Um El Surab was obviously a more desirable location than El Umteiye, a landmark for miles around.

For an hour we

So just before midnight the conference broke up, and an hour or so later the column commenced its midnight flit ting, the Arab soldiery receiving, with oriental fatalism, the information that they were to face their third successive sleepless night, and the British

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armoured-car and other drivers accepting the prospect of another weary and perilous night drive boulderstrewn ground with resignstion and the expletives (when their officers were out of hearing) appropriate to the occasion. Marching all night doubtless seems a small hardship to those accustomed to a European front, but it must be remembered that, living as we were without tents and with only a few single-sheet "bivies," the heat in such a climate and the flies made sleep almost impossible in the day, however weary one was; so a night's march meant thirty-six hours at least without sleep. I have always held the view that the conditions under which we fought the Turk in Sinai, Palestine, and Arabia-with their long days and weeks of exposure to a sun, the fierceness of which is unnatural to an Englishman, and the mental and physical strain of want of sleep in a climate where sleep is essential to repair the vitality of a white man-did something to balance the far greater danger and horror of war in France. One had only to compare the sallow complexions, sun-tired eyes, and leanness of a leave- draft from the Palestine front with the wellfavoured, rosy-cheeked men from France one saw on the Boulogne leave-boat, to realise the truth of this.

(To be concluded.)




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THE post office at Bally- stone bridge with boreen is not conventional, neither is Ballyboreen itself. The latter consists of a conglomeration of cottages situated round the cross-roads in a cup formed by the encircling hills, and bounded on the south by the winding river. The cottages have four whitewashed walls and a thatched roof, for the hand of modernity and hygiene has not yet laid hold of Ballyboreen; and so your manure-heap may still, an' you choose to have it so, form a feature in front of your hall door, through which your pig and your poultry are at liberty to wander in and out 83 the fancy takes them. There is no beauty of climbing creeper or blushing rose about the cottages of Ballyboreen, nor any prettiness such as the least picturesque of English villages can easily furnish; but, on the other hand, there is a wondrous loveliness over it all, -loveliness of blue and violet hillside, of emerald field, of brown bog, of tall woods, of a wide river wending its shining way to the sea. There is & church which is Protestant, surrounded by a churchyard wherein Catholios and Pretestants alike sleep side by side in a peace which polemios will never break. There is an old

arches of exquisite yet artless symmetry. There is beautiful air; there are bad roads.

The post-office is housed in a thatched cottage, or, to be preeise, in two adjoining cottages standing in a dip at one corner of the cross-roads, for which reason it bears a somewhat

secluded air. Its presiding genius is Miss Kerrigan. She is indeed His Majesty's postmistress, though in truth she knows nothing of Majesty so remote and so exclusively English. It is perhaps part of the eternal wrongness of the Administration

which rules Ireland that the personal tie should be eliminated from the official government of a people always profoundly and supremely influenced by the personal equation.

Miss Kerrigan is a tall woman with a gaunt look, although in point of fact she is rather stout. She has a large, flat, but fleshy face and a wide head. Her hair is a streaky grey, and she wears it partly gathered up into bird's-nest ooil on the top of her head, and the remainder falling lankly in straight short looks to her shoulders and forming a frame for her face. Her eyes are the palest blue, with very pink-rimmed lids.

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