February 9th 1916

2nd Lieut. Leslie de Selincourt (OBLI) has reached Ali Garbi but floods, a shortage of mule rations and an uncertainty as to the friendliness of the Arabs in the area make for slow progress.

de Selincourt L

Leslie de Selincourt

“There is a biggish Arab village 1½ miles downstream from which we bought eggs yesterday in large quantities. They charged a lot and they all turned out to be bad, so this morning we strapped on our revolvers, took half a dozen trusty followers with rifles and kit bags and marched straight into the village.

With the aid of an interpreter we interviewed the Sheik, explained our discovery about the eggs and demanded the right number in the right condition. It was about eight dozen. They hummed and hawed in excited tones and then some slunk away and after a considerable delay reappeared with two eggs. We explained that the compensation was inadequate. They merely looked stupid and pretended not to understand. So the word was given and we scattered through the village.

Time was called after sixteen minutes and the bag was as follows: 54 hens, 19 eggs, 2 leaded sticks, a Service Colt (loaded, ancient, but still serviceable), a cartridge belt containing 31 cartridges (also ancient) and a coffee pot. They came off very lightly, and as a hen in this country can be bought for four annas, we didn’t take enough to pay for our loss in eggs. But we didn’t want to make enemies of these people and if they don’t swindle us we are quite willing to trade fairly with them.”

So far Leslie and his troops have marched about 190 miles and they are now 42 miles from the firing line.

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