Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Whittall, Edward

38.423734, 27.142826

Wed Ap 3. [3 April 1907] Went out at 8 and up onto Mt Pagus. Most
wonderful morning, the view superb, a brilliant light red anemones
growing inside the ruined walls and the fruit trees in flower. We came
up between the two hills where the stadium was. I looked for the site
of the theatre but in vain. Elsie W. [Whittall] told me that a man had
come recently to her father saying he had found an underground
passage in which was a sarcoph. and wd Mr W. give him a charm
wherewith to find gold, for when he worked at trying to get out the
sarcoph. he made such a noise that all the neighbours heard. Mr W.
thinks of going up to have a look at the place. Fattuh says that since
the railway came to Aleppo [Halab] all the trade goes that way and
Alexandretta [Iskenderun (Alexandria ad Issum)] is deserted. Mr
Barnham has gone to Persia. The new man is a rough rude fellow
and drinks. Walked down through the town, changed and wrote
letters. Mr van L. [Van Lennep] and Mr Bari, the fig merchant came to
see me. After lunch did some shopping and went to Burnabat
[Bornova] by train. Elsie W. met me at the station and we called on
Mrs Ernest Paterson, Mrs Stonor's aunt, a handsome oldish woman
with an older and uglier sister. Then we went to the Herbert Whittalls
whom I was very glad to see again. I found them both aged and
looking very sad; their daughter Helen died last September. They
were very friendly dear creatures. Then we went to Mr Richard W.
where we found him and his wife and his daughter Mme[?] van
Heemstra. He was most kind and gave me all sorts of help and good
advice. He then spoke of the state of AM and of the disappearance
of the Turk. In the last 10 years the military drain has been 800 000
men all of whom died or came back crippled and useless. The
Circassian settlers die out what with fevers and idleness. They will not
work but are merely horse stealers and cattle lifters. The native
population hates them and shoots them down if possible. Once he
was out shooting with a Turkish peasant and suddenly the man
stopped and crouched down behind a bush saying "Wait! be quiet!"
and prepared to shoot. Mr W said: "What are you going to shoot?"
"Hush hush!" said the men. Mr W. looked through the trees and saw a
Circassian whom the man was aiming at. He was just in time to stop
him. The man was much surprised and said "Why? isn't he carrion?"
(elish?) (Mr W couldn't find the English word). When the Russians
invaded Bulgaria and it passed from Turkish hands 300 000
Bulgarian Turks emigrated. 250 000 came to the coast lands of AM,
an excellent sober hard working population. They at once began to
cultivate with great diligence and their Turkish neighbours gradually
followed their example. As a result an immense deal more land
came into cultivation. Mr W. remembers when all round Malcajik and
to Ephesus it was nothing but scrub and swamp, now it is all under
cultivation. With more cultivation the swamps disappeared and the
country became more healthy. Formerly a Turk with 5 children used
to count upon losing 4 from fever and ague; now he only expects to
lose 2. These Bulgarians are probably not Turks by race but the
local population of the Balkans forced to embrace Islam by the
conquerors. Their villages are clean and well kept whereas the
Osmanli[?] villages are dirty and tumbledown. The immigrants from
Crete [Kriti] are idle and useless. Mr W doubts whether the C'ple
[Istanbul (Constantinople)] quays will turn out good business. Haidar
Pasha [Haydarpasa] is the port of Asiatic Turkey and it is in German
hands; the Germans will develop it more and more. C'ple is the port
of European Turkey but if Macedonia goes it will have little value for it
will only desserve the town itself. He expects that Macedonia will go
very soon and says the Turks expect it too. They are leaving the
country in large numbers and coming to AM. He thinks the Bulgarians
are the race of the future and that they will solve the Macedonian
question. He says they must not be judged by the insurgent bands of
Macedonia who are the mere riff raff. He knows Chekeji well and
says he is on the best terms with his family but that now he is reduced
to desperate straits; his wife died recently in prison. Mr Edward W
once got Chekeji pardoned and has had the most curious
correspondence with him. Once he went out by appointment to meet
him in the Nif Dagh but Ch. was ill and cd not come. Elsie W. came
with me to the station. We met Mr Harry Paterson there and she
introduced him. I had a letter to him from Dr Freshfield. The old Mrs
Whittall married at 15 and had 20 children! She is now 85.

IIIF Manifest