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[Page 64]

and Indian troops, in the former case largely composed of Royal Field Artillery, were passed thro', the typical scene being scattered sentries smartly pacing their beat, with the main body playing football or looking on: here & there were groups sitting round fires in the open. Between encampments we passed 2 or 3 groups of 3 or 4 horsemen running a race over the level country, much to the delight of the troops on the train.

Out in the direction of the canal were some most delightful scenes. A faint streak of blue was all that could be seen of the water. Here & there were plantations in which graceful date-palms were most conspicuous; patches of green showed that some crop was being grown under irrigation but what it was could not be made out: some looked like a cereal, other like Egyptian clover, & once or twice could distinguish sugar-cane.

The houses were either square white places with stone steps outside, or else low squat mud huts only abt. 4 ft high, with several openings to them in these a fire could occasionally be seen. Along the road here & there were natives riding on donkeys, sitting right back on the rump, & in one place there were 2 or 3 servants (?) running behind a rider who was clearly their master. Not only were the donkeys used as mounts, but harnessed to vehicles they were common & looked quaint, sometimes there was only the one, at other times two to the waggon.

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