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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

36.3795989, 41.718468

Wed Ap 12 [12 April 1911] It was raining early and did not leave off till
past 10 Shukri Beg came to see me immediately after breakfast, a
charming boy who came out from C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]
with Nazim Pasha. There were zaptieh difficulties as all their men
were out on aghnam business and what with one thing and another I
decided to stay a day. After writing a letter to Andrae (which was
subsequently blown to the winds) I called on the Kaimmakam a
delightful, intelligent young Damascene Zeky Abu'l Kheir al Khatib
[Arabic characters]. He showed me coins and we talked of the
history of the place. He had seen some 9 hrs away in the hills a ruin
with fragments of columns. Presently came in the old Hakam Effendi,
a nice old Turk, and Ali Agha, the chief of the Yezidis, who cd however
talk nothing but Kurdish. After lunch I rode with a zaptieh and Abud
with a Yezidi, Suleiman, as guide, up into the hills by a narrow rocky
valley to Deir el 'Asi, an hour and 1/4 away. It consists of carefully
squared out caves, often leading the one into the other, and one
above the other. They lie by a spring high up in the rocky gorge and
are permanently inhabited by Yezidis. Trees by the spring and a few
terraced plots of ground. Nothing more. The caves may be any age.
On the top of the mts, unapproachable except on foot, there is said to
be a ruined church - a built room, quite in ruin. We rode back and got
in with a heavy storm of rain. Half an hour later I was reading in my
tent when suddenly the hail fell in heaps, a tremendous sweep of wind
came down upon us and in a second all the tents were flat. The storm
lasted only about 10 mins but we were wet through. I had taken refuge
under a flap of the muleteers' tent which stood the longest, but seeing
my boxes blow open by the wind I had to run out and shut them. F.
[Fattuh] and Abud meanwhile were chasing my scattered
possessions, letters etc, over the slopes. The muleteers were, luckily
for them, in the town buying corn. The casualties were small, an
eyeglass and a comb. The tents were soon up again and I changed
into dry clothes. We laid out our wet things in the sun while it lasted.
Books and diaries had suffered most. At sunset the Kaimmakam
came to call and sympathise. Rain in the night but not so heavy.

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