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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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1 entry, paper

Mon. 11 [11 May 1914] Reached Samos in the morning and stayed
all day. Very hot. After lunch Mr Sayer and I went on shore taking an
American girl, Miss Smith who has been studying archaeology at
Jerusalem [(El Quds esh Sherif, Yerushalayim)]. We annexed an
English speaking Greek from Smyrna [Izmir]. He deserted form the
Turkish army and fought in[?] his own through the 2 wars. He said the
Bulgarians much the worst foes, more cruel, killed more women and
children. Tried to see the museum but it was shut and the key in the
possession of the Commanadant. All official buildings occupied by
the Greek garrison. Went off to find the Director but in his rose
garlanded court heard he was away. So to the Director of the
Gymnasium, a courteous gentleman, M...... Georges Sotziou, who
came with us. He showed us the old Govt. house where the Xian
prince, nominated in C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)], held his
councils since the Treaty of Berlin. Also here the minute Chamber
where sat 19[?] deputies from different parts of the island. Now they
are to send 3 deputies to the Athens [Athenai] chamber and are
waiting for the Greek officials from Athens. I wonder whether they will
like it better. The Council Chamber hung with the portraits of Samian
worthies, all except Pythagaoras who was born here. He was
however represented in a relief, philosopher's scroll in hand, over
one of the schools. In a building occupied by soldiers we discovered
an archaic statue, rude local work draped like the Parthenon Athenas,
but the museum was shut. We took leave of the Director and went on
up the hill, past the old Turkish barracks. The little fort above had
been bombarded by the Italian fleet and the garrison evicted. The
old Samos town was at the other side of the island, facing Priene and
greedy Miletus. Ephesus too was quite near. Wiegand has
excavated the temple. We climbed into the upper town, enchanting.
Winding steep streets with white houses set corner wise and frothing
over with tiny rose garlanded gardens. Carnations hanging from the
white balconies. We had sirop in a tiny cafÈ. Admirable views over
the blue wonder of the bay and the steep coasts. Girls at their
lacemaking, one ran after me and gave me a cluster of roses and
carnations. All the inhabitants Greek, and the place quite Greek, not
Turkish at all. So down and another attempt at the museum. The
Commandant - we tried to get at him but the sentry "guessed he aint
awake yet" and his conjecture was confirmed in equally good
Yankee by the sentry opposite. They had returned from Wisconsin at
the time of the war. We gave up the museum and walked to the
extreme end of the town where we had sirop, baklawa and coffee in a
tiny cafÈ. So back after buying loquats[?] in the market. As we
steamed out of Samos the 2 mountain heads of the interior rose up
over the little white town.

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