The Back Garden of Allah – C. S. Jarvis (1939)


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The Back Garden of Allah – C. S. Jarvis (1939)


Title: The Back Garden of Allah

Author: Major C.S. Jarvis, Roly (illus.)

Publisher: John Murray, 1939. 2nd impression.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Tanned pages and sunned spine with slight fraying. 212pp.

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SKU: jarvis-backgarden Categories: , ,

A hilarious series of sketches on the Middle East, mainly about Egypt and Sinai, with some anecdotes from World War


“Did you stir the paint before you used it?” I asked.

No,” said the corporal, indignantly, “certainly not.”

But doesn’t every fool in the world know that paint must be stirred before it is used?” I inquired.

“Yes, “Admitted the corporal, readily, “of course every fool knows that but you gave me no instructions to stir it.”

page 135, “Arab mentality”

“The Arab has a natural and deep-rooted objection to all forms of taxation, licences, payment of dues, and the other inflictions that an orderly Government brings in its train. This is quite understandable, for in his heart he strongly disapproves of Governments in any form and the ideal state of affairs in his eyes is mafeesh Hakooma (no Government at all), which ensures a really glorious time for all nomads. This was one reason why the Great War was so popular and thoroughly enjoyable in the Mid-East.” – page 153, “Farmers’ Glory”

About the author (from Wikipedia):

Major Claude Scudamore Jarvis CMG OBE (born 20 July 1879 in Forest Gate, London, died 8 December 1953 in Ringwood, Hampshire) was a British colonial governor, Arabist and naturalist noted for his knowledge of and rapport with the desert Bedouin.

Jarvis’s interest in Arabs and the Arabic language grew from wartime army service in Palestine and Egypt, then a British protectorate. He was seconded to the new Egyptian frontiers administration by the British high commissioner, Sir Reginald Wingate, serving first in the Western desert and then in Sinai. His Arabic and knowledge of Bedouin customs allowed him as governor of Sinai from 1923 to intercede successfully in local disputes and to clamp down on banditry and drug trafficking. He also traced the remains of a Roman and Byzantine settlement in northern Sinai, and by damming the local Wadi Gedeirat and restoring the stone channels succeeded in recreating an oasis.

In 1933 while Governor of Sinai Jarvis was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire. The King of Egypt had early in 1931 awarded him with the Insignia of the Third Class of the Order of the Nile.