Behind the Veil In Persia and Turkish Arabia: An Account of an Englishwoman's Eight Years' Residence Amongst the Women of the East
A. Hume-Griffith & M. E. Hume-Griffith
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I have endeavoured in this book to give some account of that inner life of the East of which a traveller, however keen-sighted and intelligent, seldom gains more than a passing glimpse. In a residence of eight years in Persia and Turkish Arabia I have become intimate with a large circle of friends whose life is passed behind the veil, and as the wife of a medical missionary I have had unusual opportunities of winning their confidence and becoming acquainted with their thoughts. Of direct missionary effort I have said very little, but I hope that the picture I have given may arouse interest in lives spent amongst surroundings so different from our own.
It is impossible for any one, however unversed in politics, who has lived so long in Mesopotamia, not to be deeply interested in the future of the country. While all Europe has been filled with astonishment at the bloodless revolution in Turkey, we who have become familiar with its inner life are touched with a feeling of admiration and something akin to awe. Whatever misgivings there may be as to the permanence of this reformation we hope and trust that it will endure.
Of one imminent change the effect is likely to be far-reaching. The new government has secured the services of Sir William Wilcox as their adviser in great irrigation schemes. Irrigation in Mesopotamia will change the whole face of the country; vast stretches of desert will be transformed into a garden, ruined villages will be restored, a new kingdom may be born, and Babylon possibly rebuilt. Mosul, practically on the site of ancient Nineveh, will become easy of access from Europe by means of the Baghdad railway and the restored navigation of the Tigris. Its waste places may be filled with corn, and the city be crowned once more with some of its ancient glory.
I should like to take this opportunity of thanking all those who have kindly allowed me to use their photographs, amongst them the Rev. C. H. Stileman, Dr. Saati of Mosul, and the Publishing Department of the Church Missionary Society.
I am indebted to Professor Brown’s valuable book entitled “A Year amongst the Persians” for information on the Babi religion, and to Sir A. H. Layard’s classical work on the excavations of Nineveh, which I have frequently had occasion to consult.