Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

27.5114102, 41.7208243

Fri. Feb 27 [27 February 1914] Wrote my diary and took a bad
latitude in the morning. Sat a little with old and photographed
the house. In the evening after dark Ibrahim sent a mare and a couple
of slaves - Hasan and 'Id. I rode through the pitch dark streets, very
clean and almost empty - sometimes the black figure of a woman
creeping along the wall. One of the men carried a lantern. We
passed through a big wooden gate into the Suq, locked doors with a
low step before them, and so by the colonnaded faÁade of the
mosque to the wooden gate of the qasr. Clay seats in the outer wall of
the qasr. I rode along a narrow open way between walls to a second
gate which was opened by another slave. There I dismounted and
went through a big antechamber divided from the roshan by a clay
battlemented screen-wall. This roshan was a very spacious and lofty
room, the roof supported by great stone columns covered with jiss -
square capitals. The floor of hand beaten jiss almost like marble.
Round the wall carpets and cushions. Ibrahim sat before a great
oblong m...... in which burned a fire. They all rose and I sat down
beside them. The talk followed the safe paths of history. He
produced from under the cushions a daftar in which he had written the
principal events with their dates in the history of the Reshid. The qasr
was begun by the Ibn Ali with whom the Reshids disputed the shikhah
Abdullah father of Muhammad completed the outer wall. The interior
was built bit by bit. The Shammar are not of one jidd but the Ja'far, to
whom the Rashid belong come from the Qahtan from near Yemen.
They took their Nejd [Najd] dirah kesb. He spoke of an old masalla
with hills about 4 hours from the town. They say they found small
round stones munaqqash about 4 days from here on the Derb
Zubaidah and from the description they sound like cuneiform.
Meantime, slave boys brought us glasses of tea and sweet lemons to
squeeze into them - then most excellent coffee. Ibrahim said Bander
had no son he had a daughter - but 7 brothers in all. Naif only left a
son. Finally the slaves brought censors [sic] with burning 'ud and
swung them 3 times in the face of each of the company. With this I
rose and went back through the dark streets. I tipped each of the
doorkeepers 2 reals and Hasan, 'Id and another who was with me 4
reals. Hasan and 'Id were also mulabbis. They sat for a little in F
[Fattuh]'s tent drinking coffee and so to bed.

IIIF Manifest