the river till 5.30 p.m.; we then marched till 10 p.m. passing on the way a natural spring of bitumen; we found it a very cold night, especially those who had been looted of their blankets.
At 3 a.m. 24th we started again and reached IMAM ALI in the Nimrud district, this village was the site of the old Assyrian towns of Kalak and Birs-Nimroud of which Towns I could not see any visible remains. Here the local Arabs seemed more reasonable in their prices, but they were soon set on and flogged by our guards for selling at reasonable prices.
Essad Bey, was in reality a kind hearted fellow, and always gave one the impression that he was doing his best for our welfare; at this place he had some Arab tents erected for us. He lacked intelligence & foresight, and through this failing of his we often found ourselves “in the soup”. We would ask him “Is there plenty of food at the next halt?” he would reply “Qui il-y-a” but having made arrangements accordingly, we would find on arrival that the cupboard was bare! He was also often totally ignorant of the length of the marches: one said to be a 2 hours march would often turn out to be an 8 hours march.