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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.802075, 38.996815

Thurs 6. [6 April 1905] Photographed. Reshid and M. Ali rode with me
through the olive gardens to Alani which is Resid's village. He has
built himself a fine new house to which he comes for the olive harvest.
The rest of the year he is at Aleppo [Halab]. He was mounted on a
splendid mare with a silver chain halter. M. Ali on a mule ditto. We
drunk coffee, 3 obsequious people came in who whispered to me in
an audible aside that Resid was like a king. He spent the time before
they came telling me tales of govt oppression. He wants to build a
steam mill but cannot because they wd wring money from him at
every turn. He told me also how he intimidated the govt. How they
sent for him from Alani and kept him waiting from day to day for a
week, how he pinned them down to declaring that the order had come
from the Vali that he was not to leave Aleppo, but when he asked
them to put it on paper, they turned tail and apologized. But he
omitted to mention that justice begins at home. We had a large and
excellent lunch and at 12 I rode off, crossing the Orontes ['Asi] in a
ferry boat. An awful ride over the muddy hills, not a stone and the
horses up to their girths in mud. At 5 we got out into the Orontes valley
and presently saw far away above us the castle crowning the hills.
We caught up the muleteers and rode by a road turned into a river
between gardens for an hour nearly into the town. The bay flowering
in profusion. Red roofed with shallow gables - the first tiled town.
Narrow stone streets very enchanting. Pitched camp in the Maidan ej
Jedid which we reached after 6. The whole town below us, an
enchanting evening and a new moon. The great castle rock above,
and nearby an acqueduct [sic] spanning the gorge. Lovliest of
places. Orontes valley below and snowy mountains beyond. Our
camp was above the Nosairiyeh quarter and the Nosairiyeh
cemetary [sic]. Tombstones flat slabs on the ground.

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