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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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Thurs May 6. [6 May 1909] Off at 6. An. 2050 ie a degree lower than
last night. Mar Geh belongs to the monastery, so does Maghara a
little village which we reached at 6.30. It was 2300. We rode over
flowery foothills, campanulas, hollyhocks, gladiolus, burrage, mullins
etc. At 7.30 we reached Jezaran a village of Shabak. At 8.35 Chem
Resh = Wadi Aswad, a Kurdish village. So we went down into a
wonderful valley very little cultivated, deep in grass, the storks wading
through it. At 9.10 we crossed a river, the Wadi 'Ain Sifneh, 1500; at
9.35 we passed the tiny Yezidi village of Mukbil. The Yezidis won't
wear blue; they have red or black or white turbans and the women red
clothes. At 9.45 the big Yezidi village of Mahudan with a mound
opposite to it. At 9.50 Chem Kolla ie Wadi el Ghamik. 'Abdallah says
there are ruins at a place called Jerwan. In this valley they sow rice of
2 kinds, one needing 6 months to mature and one 3. They are sowing
the former now. Also cotton. The grass was wonderful; there were
even buttercups. At 10.15 we got to Mahed[?], a small village; we then
galopped [sic] and reached Mam Reshan at 10.30 but the caravan
did not get in till 10.45. A {Kurdish}Yezidi {village} [space left blank]. I
lunched here till 11 under a fig tree. We went up over a ridge deep in
grass and down to the river that comes from Bavian which we
reached at 12.15. It was 1700. At 12.25 village of Barrash; 1.5 Bavian.
We went on to beyond Khuns and camped by the inscrips at 1.30.
There is one fallen stele near the ruined bridge below my camp one
much defaced in the rocks below my camp. One ditto just over my
tents and 4 or 5 small ones of which nothing can be seen but the
niche, above. On the lower part of the rock a big {inscrip.} stele much
defaced with a chamber cut into it. Then 3 more chambers. Then a
big inscrip with 4 figures one mounted on a beast. Chambers cut into
it with 2 series of triple arched windows. A great block in the stream,
nothing visible. Then another big block, broken in 2 with a winged
beast at either corner their heads round the corner (on the N side
remains also of 2 figures) on the face two rows of carvings: below the
bodies of the beasts and a man between; above 2 smaller figures
one mounted on a beast, the other facing him. The mounted one
wears a brimless top hat like a Greek priest. A stone lying near with a
bit of water conduit hollowed out in it. I went up to where the rock turns
round and encloses the valley in its arm. There the river flows in a
deep still pool and I bathed. A bank covered with daisies and
poppies on the other side and on the rocks campanula pyramidalis.
Everywhere oleander. Came back by the spring below the rock
where I found a beautiful tall brown and yellow orchid, the flowers
hanging all down to the stem, the leaves rush shaped. To my
surprise I then met 2 Dominicans whom I invited to tea. They gave me
a great deal of useful information. Their names are P. Dufresne and
P. Caeldries their address Kacha-fer par semel, Mosul [Mawsil, Al].
They came from Mar Yakub. They say the Yezidi cult probably has
something to do with the Sabaeans. The [sic] worship springs and in
the underground chambers of Sheikh Adi there are a series of springs
flowing into basins, and on by underground channels into the basin in
the next chamber. The adoration of the sun is shared by Xian sects
who turn to the E to pray. Wonderful scented evening. Birds and the

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