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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.0046888, 36.2110399

Monday 6th. [6 March 1905] Very cold snowy sleeting and wind.
Thank heaven I am not in tents. The Chief Commissioner of Police
came to see me in the morning, a Christian and most charming. They
received a telegram about me from Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham,
Damas)] yesterday! I expect the Vali is in a state of mind. I asked my
friend about the Jap question. He said he knew that that was the haki
among the ignorant Muslims, but he did not think anything wd happen
here. I said how did he account for the constant rows in Beirut
[Beyrouth]? He said in Beirut all the population was new - since '60
when it was quite a small town - and therefore not accustomed to one
another. The Xians are far richer than the Muslimin who are jealous of
them. The population is mixed of all sorts and kinds of people
coming in from all parts to trade. Hence the difficulties. Here we were
interrupted. I went to see the Portuguese travellers whom I found on
the point of departure. Their name is de Sommar, Luiz de Sommar,
from Lisbon [Lisboa]. I asked them how they got into the Jebel [Duruz,
Jabal ad]. They replied they met Mark Sykes in 'Amman and he
advised them to go. They went up to 'Ireh where they saw Yahya who
was very unhappy at his brother's death. (First the Kaimakam at
Dera'a [Dar'a] refused them permission to enter and telegraphed to
Damascus.) When they got to Sweida [As Suwayda'] the governor
requested them to turn back. They refused, telegraphing to the Vali
and their Consul. The Kaimakam said they might go to Kanawat [Al
Qanwat] with 100 soldiers! They said all right, but they wd not pay
them or keep them. Finally they compromised for 6! In the afternoon I
went to the Temple and spent the rest of the day there. Extraordinarily
interesting what the Germans have done. It is a beautiful place, even
more so than I remembered. Short of Athens [Athinai] there is no
temple group so fine. It rained on and off most of the afternoon.

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