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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

34.802075, 38.996815

Wed Feb 24. [24 February 1909] The wife of Ahmed el Bursan came
to see me before I left, a pretty woman. He has 4 wives. He is the
Sheikh es Shuyukh of the Weldi of the Jezireh [Jazirah, Al]. A
beautiful still morning. We left Bersiba at 7.40 and rode along the river
bank. At 8 we reached Tell Sheikh Hassan. Half way between it and
Mungara there were ruined foundations by the water's edge. On the S
side of the Tell a very large stretch of ruins among which I saw a rude
capital. At 8.30 reached El 'Arab, walls and mounds as of a walled
town. Then down onto the low ground past Weldi tents and at 8.45 got
to Tell Jifneh a little off the road to the E and about 1/2 a mile from the
river. It stands on the edge of the grassland. Here too there were
ruins - to the N of the Tell. We rode for some time over the low
ground, then up onto the grasslands again and at 10.20 got to
Hallaweh, ruins standing over the river. 5 minutes further was a
graveyard called 'Ammash. At 11 Tell Murraibet standing right over
the river. Low mounds to the N of it but the town must either not have
been very large or it must have been so old that all the stones have
disappeared. At 11.50 we halted in the midst of Naif's encampments.
The baggage came up at 12.15 and I lunched till 12.35. Past Na'if
tents at 12.45. At 1 we were opposite Old Meskeneh [Maskanah]. At
2 we reached the big tent of Sheikh Mabruk whose father Suleiman
died a few months ago. We could get no corn here and rode on for a
little to a further encampment but returned to Mabruk's tent where we
camped behind some stacks of liquorice. I drank coffee in the
Sheikh's tent while the tents were being pitched - he is away. All the
Weldi are enchanted that Ibrahim Pasha is dead. They say he
wrecked the world and they did not dare to go up to their pastures in
the hills while he lived. Since he has gone all has been quiet:
"Nistarih." We have lodged all our 13 animals in the Sheikh's tent.
We are camped a little way below Dibse [Dibsi]. I can neither see nor
hear anything of the tower marked in Kiepert as being to the E of the
river here. Camels can ford the river above Dibse in the summer.
There is a safineh at Meskeneh and one at Arodeh. No safineh from
Meskineh to Rakka [Ar Raqqah]. We are nearly opposite Dibse - a
little lower down - which is Thapsaeum. A little cultivation, but very
little. Oats and khuntar.

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