The aeroplane arrived all right yesterday and gave a good show that impressed the people. To-day the democrats have engineered a run on the Bank – if it goes broke we’re done. Meantime Baghdad will not get troops on the move and things are very serious indeed. To-day I hope to get in a few men of the Hants and there are about 100 of the Cossacks still here if there is a row, but I want a squadron of cavalry and a couple of guns. The Germans and Turks are drilling the Kurds in the mountains close by, with the intention of swooping down on the towns, and I cannot stop them, and the famine is awful. It all makes me feel very, very old. But God is with us always. The news from France is bad, still retiring. Only from Baghdad the good news that we have captured 3000 Turks on the Euphrates.
A beautiful day, yesterday alternate sunshine and snowstorms. Everything, everything, everything seems always against us, but it always pans out for the best in the end though “the end” may be when all this little lot are scuppered. I have denuded myself of nearly all my men and cars to meet crises and now I am a helpless crisis myself. The cars I sent to Kasvin ought to be back to-morrow, but they got snowed up on the Sultan Bulak Pass. The cars I sent to Kermanshah, due to return with men of the Hants. regiment, have not yet reached Kermanshah, held up by bad weather and a broken bridge. Meantime if I were attacked here I have no fighting force, but 10 officers, 2 batmen, 2 clerks and 10 chauffeurs and 1 armoured car.
Yesterday we went down to choose a new road to the flying-ground. The Persian Government have answered the Ministers’ note in the most uncompromising terms and there is going to be trouble. They refuse to admit British troops and order them to leave, they practically support Kuchik Khan – a change of Cabinet seems probable, but the next one will vote the same way. I wish to goodness they’d send me some troops – I cannot put up much of a fight with 40 chauffeurs however plucky they may be. I sent down to-day 10 cars to Kermanshah to fetch up I hope 30 men of the Hants Regt [possibly 1/4th Battalion – see here]. That will be a beginning, but if it snows they will not get through I’m afraid.
I hear they have announced in the town that they mean to have a shot at me, I only wonder they haven’t done it a thousand times already – God will see that my life terminates when He wills. Meantime I cannot possibly shut myself up.