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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

38.963745, 35.243322

Fri. 14. [14 March 1902] Woke to find Malcajik white with snow. Our
expedition to Geaul Keui was therefore abandoned. Developed my
Pergamos [Bergama (Pergamum)] photographs. Photographed
interiors in the village. There are a very odd race here called
Tachtagis, wood cutters, who are found in all the hill posts[?] and are
supposed to be a part of the indigenous population. They have a
religion apart, though they conform outwardly to Islam, and are ruled
by priests called Karabash who come travelling round and settle all
disputes. They hold yearly religious gatherings in their churchyards;
they have marriage and burial customs of their own - for instance the
bride is paraded through the village covered with a lot of rags[?] and
a red cloth on top with flowers and muslins over it. She rides a horse
on which a nice carpet is laid and whoever lends the horse takes the
carpet or saddle bag. They are bound only by a secret oath of their
own. On one occasion Mr VL [Van Lennep] threatened to turn them
out of his village because they lied and stole so and their headman
revealed to him the secret oath by wh he cd make them swear and
ensure orderliness. These people came in after lunch, but they wd
not dance because one had died of their tribe. Their musical
instrument is an earthen ware jar, the bottom of wh is made of
parchment. Mr VL won't let them pursue their wood cutter calling in his
village for it led to so much stealing of wood, so he made them sell
their mules and settle down. In the Greek ch. here is an old old picture
of St George slaying a very vivacious dragon with sea and a red
roofed Dutch town in the background. It has 4 bullet marks on it made
by Bashibazouk bullets in the wars at the beginning of the last century.
There is a Greek girl now in the house who has been sent here to be
protected. Her father lives in a Turkish village and a Greek miller
(who himself wants to marry the girl, but she won't have him) has given
information against him that he wants to make her turn Muslim and
marry a Turk who has offered £100 for her. It remains to be seen what
is true. Bitter cold north wind, a day like an English March day. At 3 Mr
v L and I went out riding, I on Kula, Mr v H [Van Heemstra] came with
us so far. We rode past the old chiflik up the most lovely gorge
above the mill. The mountains are all wooded with pine and high up
are great crags with caves and holes in them. On the ground floor live
panthers and jackals, above birds, eagles and pigeons, and in the
wood pig. The miller made us welcome and was very eager I shd
carry away a tame decoy partridge. He lives in the mill with the sound
of water in his ears. On the grindstone is a little bell which rings when
the corn gets low and wakes him. He had a big wood fire.
Developed Evelyn's photographs. Very cold. The mill had fallen into
disrepair owing to brigands coming down so often. It was opened
again 5 years ago.

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