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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

40.8422, 35.615248

Tuesday June 8. [8 June 1909] Off at 6.5. Cool morning but the clouds
blew away and it became hottish but not really hot before evening.
We rode across a fertile plain and got to Khan K. at the beginning of
the rising ground at 9.25. Lots of villages, all or nearly all marked in K
[Kiepert]. 9.45 Tell Mahmud left, 9.55 Chaghullah (L), 10.5 Sapirlar (L),
10.20 Harnik (R) not marked in K, 10.35 Melekjan 1 m. to R. 11-11.45
Cholak Ushagha where there is a khan where I lunched and waited for
the baggage. Soon after we crossed over the spur up which we had
been riding and went down a very long valley with big hills on either
side. (Tutli Keui 2.5 left) It finally turned down to the left and we
crossed a spur under a very big hill and dropped down onto K¸mmer
Khan by the Euphrates which we reached at 3.35. Charming place,
red tiled. Eat mulberries near by. The Euphrates (Murad Su) enters
just below a narrow rocky gorge. About a mile above an inscrip. on a
rock in Vannic cruciform. Followed up the river which is here quite as
big as the Tees at Yarm (bigger perhaps) to Iz Oglu which we
reached at 5.45. The Khan is this side but the village and a big
mound on the opposite bank. Delicious camp by the river, our last
Euphrates camp. Fattuh told me a long and amusing tale of how he
proposed to become Brotestant [sic] or Latin on account of the
passport difficulties 2 years ago. His bp protested loudly but F.
continued in his resolve and refused to allow the kasis to come and
pray in his house saying that he and all his family had become
Brotestant. But in his warakat el papas[?] he is still down as an
Armenian Catholic so he considers he now belongs to no religion.
His bp begged him to desist saying that now it wd be a very fine thing
to be an Armenian but F. does not see any change yet. On the way
we met an immense train of camels who had come from Alexandretta
[Iskenderun (Alexandria ad Issum)]. F. asked the men how was (nasl)
Kirk Khan [Kirikhan] a Xian village at the bottom of the Beilan Pass.
They said all the Giour had been killed and their houses burnt. F
"Albam dullillah." I rebuked him for this but he said these were very
mabsutin or they wd not have used the word Giour (which F also
used.) He was however very sad. All the people there had been
friends of his and had come to lunch with him when they were in
Aleppo [Halab]. He said he had heard that one of them, a particular
friend of his, had killed 25 Moslems before he had himself been
murdered. In Aleppo there is no difference bet. Xians and Moslems.
They all drink arak together and work together. All his friends are
Moslems, so are Selim's. If there was a massacre in Aleppo, a great
many Moslems wd go because the Xians were men. 20 years ago
they tried for 3 days to sieze a newly built Xian church and turn it into a
mosque, but the Xians prevented them. F. is almost inclined to
become Moslem so as to be in a better position. He has paid off all
his askarieh (8 mej. a year). Generally it is collected till the man is 60
but as F. is a kavass he does not now pay. Kavasses are in the
position and enjoy the privileges of soldiers. He pays no taxes.

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