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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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Fri. 7. [7 March 1902] Cold but fine. Snow on the hills. Went out and
photographed; ending with the Kara Osman house now deserted and
fallen into decay but once very splendid. The Karamanians they say
cd not count their wealth and were independent princes. Now only
one remains, living in a house near the station, and he has no
children. Mr and Mrs G. came to the station with me. 9.20 my train
went. Mr Hatton appeared in it, rotund and cheerful and booted and
we set off very gaily. Excellent lunch in the train of my own delicious
kaimah and Mr Hatton's good provisions. The day cleared and
though the wind was cold, the sun was delicious. Got to Sardes
[Sardis] about 11. The hill on wh. it stood is made of mud which has
washed away and fallen down in great masses covering ruins and
everything else; but some Roman and Byzantine fragments remain
on the lower slopes facing the station and some bits of Byzantine wall
on the top, much undermined. Walked up the Pactolus, a very small
stream no bigger than the Wiske to the T of Cybele of wh 2 great Ionic
pillars are standing one with its capital all askew. The T was knocked
down by a earthquake. Near here must have been the agora through
which the Pactolus flowed. Skirted round the back of the hill past
some Yuruk tents and up by the E side through the largest bit of wall
all built up of fragments of earlier work. Here there is a big grass
plateau, red with anemones. You look E to the Tmolus, Bos Dagh
[Boz Dag], and I think this must be the side Herodotus meant when he
describes the Median soldier climbing up by the side that faces
Tmolus. But it is now the least precipitous. Beyond the plateau the mt
top is knife edged, all fallen down in debris below. We sat here and
looked out over the great plain where Croesus was defeated. Bin
Tepe lay in front of us with its line of great mounds, the most E being
the Tomb of Alyattes described by Herodotus, and Marmara Giul
[Marmara Gˆl¸] behind. And behind that the stretching country and
low hills of the battle field - that wide country through which the Hyllas
flows. At the W end is a tiny bit of fort wh will soon fall and by this we
descended skirting the N side of the hill to the place where the theatre
and stadium can still be traced in the hillside with great masses of
substructure. We came back by a road which leads past the
gymnasium and a Byzantine ch. Saw on the ground a marble slab
with a long Greek inscription. Back to the station where we made and
eat an excellent tea and caught the 5 o'clock train. M. Sarandides
was in it. At Salikly [Salihli] I was welcomed by the daughter and son
in law of my Soma hosts who gave us coffee and cognac. At Ala
Sheher [Alasehir] (Philadelphia) Mr Sarandides and I drove off to his
house, leaving Mr Hatton at the station. A very nice station master M.
Fiorevitch pressed me to stay. We got to Alasheir at 7. Sarandides
house the regular Greek sort, the door opening onto a hall with the
Salon and its rows of brocade covered chairs and sofa, and the
dining room at the end. I found the 2nd wife, a handsome woman but
very fat, a pretty daughter and a cousin of the wife's and 2 sons of 10
and 13. The daughter spoke a little French. I sat on the sofa solemnly
till they asked me what I'ld like to do so I said I'ld like to wash and was
taken up to a very comfortable room where I washed and changed
and came down and again sat in a circle conducting a most laborious
conversation in wh. we repeated the same platitutes over and over
again - the amount of times I've said that the Spring was the best
season of the year!) and eating various confections and cognacs till
near 9 when M.S. asked me what time I was accustomed to dine. I
replied with great firmness Now and in ten minutes we sat down to a
long elaborate dinner. During and after dinner troops of masques
came in dressed in all sorts of costumes and played and danced. At
last one dressed as a woman who presently disclosed himself as a
friend of the family and sat playing on the guitar and singing a long
time. He spoke a little French. At 11.30 I went to bed.

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