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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.0046888, 36.2110399

Tuesday 2. [2 February 1909] My train left at 6.30. Gorgeous morning.
Mr C [Cumberbatch] came down to the station where we witnessed
the most remarkable entraining of pilgrims from Bokhara [Bukhara].
They were packed so close that there can have been scarcely room
to breath. The train was full and at the next station we telegraphed to
say they were to sell no more tickets - my carriage being still empty!
However two people got in there. Wonderful journey up Lebanon. At
'Ain Sofar we got into the snow. Lunch at Reyak where we changed
and reached Baalbek about 3. Went to the German Hotel where I
made great friends with my innkeeper an old German called Zapf. He
was for long years a merchant at Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Shams,
Damas)]. Went straight out to the ruins which I thought more splendid
than ever. The magnificent masonry gives it such a character. Also
to the little temple and the ruined mosque and the big stone and so in.
Zapf is full of hope as to the Constitution. He says the peasants are
very eager to hear about it and delighted when he explains to them
what it really means. Agriculture has fallen fearfully low owing to
oppression and extortion. The peasants starve through the winter
and the beasts too. Yet the land is very fertile. All Izzet's vast
properties are confiscated; it is to be hoped that the Govt. will make it
possible for the peasants to become proprietors by waiting and
giving them facilities for purchase. The N end of the Anti Libanus
[Sharqi, Jebel esh (Anti-Lebanon)] is depopulated, all the villages
destroyed, inhabited only by thieves and outcasts. The Govt could
find no way of ruling the Metawileh there but extermination. The
peasants are so ignorant that in one village when a large mt
prevented the sun from shining there in winter, they attached rings and
ropes to the mt side and all the villagers turned out to pull it away.

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