July 11th 1915
My dear Mother
We have to all intent and purposes finished our journey. We had rather a picturesque run here since we left on Thursday midday; the many islands we passed are fine rugged hills and looked very fine through the haze especially at morning and evening. We steamed into harbour just before breakfast today. It is much the finest natural harbour I have ever seen, with beautiful surrounding hills, large enough to hold all the navies in the world I should think. It is very interesting indeed from the amount of shipping there is to be seen, which is of all sorts and descriptions. Tomorrow we get into small ships to take us the short remaining distance necessary to bring us to our destination, and then to work. So in 24 hours we may expect to be within artillery fire range. Either we don’t mind or fail to realize it because there is no sign of anything out of the ordinary in everybody’s mind.
On Tuesday evening I got on shore for some hours and spent a large part of the time in a most fascinating shop where was sold all sorts of ancient and modern artistic work. Before you get this, or at any rate very soon after, you should receive a piece of embroidery work which I thought you would like as a present from the furthest point of my travels, and the last I am likely to have a chance to buy for some time to come. There was quite a party of us there all making one or more purchases, and we looked all round the shop and saw lots of beautiful things I should have liked to buy. The proprietor was most entertaining, and thorough chatterbox but an enthusiast who knew his job well and had excellent taste. In case your parcel should not turn up you might write to B & N Tawa, Rue Cherif Pacha, as owing to the late hour we could not post the things ourselves but had to leave the parcels to be posted from the shop.
The town was very eastern indeed, and interesting. The central and most civilised portion was over half an hours’ drive from the docks, all through rather mean looking and weird smelling streets inhabited by unpleasant looking Mohammedans. The very poor wore rags which would make a shabby English tramp look by comparison a regular nut. They get some good effects on the stage sometimes, but not nearly bad enough.
It is a desperately dried up place, with scarcely any growth of any kind; if it is like that by the sea one wonders what it must be like inland.
This afternoon we got our first mail which included a short note from Father, and a long letter from Kath, besides some from Mela; but the latest of all was only posted on the 24th. With luck there may be another arriving tomorrow. I have sent Mela a long letter this mail, so if you see her she will be able to supplement the news in this rather short one.
Best love to all from
Your affectionate son
Cyril E Sladden