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A Dweller in Mesopotamia Being the Adventures of an Official Artist in the Garden of Eden   By: (1877-1936)

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A DWELLER IN MESOPOTAMIA

Being the Adventures of an Official Artist in the Garden of Eden

by

DONALD MAXWELL

With Sketches in Colour, Monochrome, and Line

BY THE SAME AUTHOR THE LAST CRUSADE ADVENTURES WITH A SKETCH BOOK WITH BIBLE AND BRUSH IN PALESTINE [ In preparation ] THE BODLEY HEAD

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN TOWERS OF KHADAMAIN]

[Illustration]

London: John Lane, The Bodley Head, Vigo Street New York: John Lane Company MCMXXI William Clowes and Sons, Limited, London and Beccles, England.

PREFACE

Few adventurous incidents in our lives seem romantic at the time of their happening, and few places we visit are invested with that glamour that haunt them in recollection or anticipation. I remember comparing the colour scheme of a barge in Baghdad with that of one in Rochester. It was a comparison most unfavourable to Baghdad a thing the colour of ashes with a thing of red and green and gold. Yet now that I am back in Rochester, the romance lingers around memories of dusty mahailas. It is easy to forget discomfort and insects and feel a certain glamour coming back to things which, at the time, represented the commonplaces of life. There certainly is a glamour about Mesopotamia. It is not so much the glamour of the present as of the past.

To have travelled in the land where Sennacherib held sway, to have walked upon the Sacred Way in Babylon, to have stood in the great banquet hall of Belshazzar's palace when the twilight is raising ghosts and when little imagination would be required to see the fingers of a man's hand come forth and write upon the plaster of the wall, to wander in the moonlight into narrow streets in Old Baghdad, with its recollections of the Arabian Nights: these things are to make enduring pictures in the Palace of Memory, that ideal collection where only the good ones are hung and all are on the line.

Although it was for the Imperial War Museum that I went to Mesopotamia, these notes are not about the War, but they are a series of impressions of Mesopotamia in general. The technical side of my work I have omitted, and any account of the campaign in this field I have left to other hands. The sketches here collected might be described as a bye product of my mission in Mesopotamia; but most of them are the property of the Imperial War Museum, and it is by the courtesy of the Art Committee of that body that I have now been able to reproduce them.

THE BEACON, BORSTAL, ROCHESTER.

June 12, 1920.

CONTENTS

PAGE I. THE FIERY FURNACE 1

II. THE VENICE OF THE EAST 15

III. SINBAD THE SOLDIER 27

IV. THE WISE MEN FROM THE WEST 37

V. BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON 49

VI. ARABIAN NIGHTS IN 1919 67

VII. IN OLD BAGHDAD 89

VIII. PARADISE LOST 97

IX. THE DESERT OF THE FLAMING SWORD 109

X. THE KINGS OF THE EAST 119

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

PLATES IN COLOUR AND MONOCHROME

THE GOLDEN TOWERS OF KHADAMAIN Frontispiece

ABADAN, PERSIA, THE OIL QUAYS 4

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