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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

32.3318746, 36.3652653

Tues. 14. [14 February 1905] Got off at 7.45, cloudy at first but it
cleared and became very warm. We went up and down over low
stony hills parallel I take it with the rasif. Starch hyacinths. We had
rather an exciting passage of a stream which was very deep and
muddy. Gablan was admirably efficient. So along a curving ghadir,
first over short grass and then over volcanic rock and harra[?]. But
when we came out onto the top we found ourselves on smoother
ground again. Crossing over a low hill the whole great plain opened
before us, grey and stony. And we had very little idea where exactly
Umm ej Jemal was. Gablan had only been over this country at night
on a ghazu. We we [sic] lunched, 12.15, and were off again to the NE.
We rode and rode towards a tell with some black walls of ghanamat
on it. Gablan was anxious, for the Jebel Arabs are by no means on
good terms with the Da'ja, and he wanted not to go to Umm ej J but I
insisted. On the tell we saw shepherds, evidently alarmed at the sight
of us and 2 came running across the plain from the W and fired a shot
at us. Gablan rose in his stirrups and waved his fur abbaya over his
head and we rode quietly towards them. This reassured them, and
they came up and talked peaceably with us. They were only 2 boys.
We soon came in sight of Umm ej J great towers and walls lying in a
low basin. There were a few Arab tents in the middle of the ruins and I
pitched by camp near theirs, 3.30. They are very friendly but thieves
says Gablan. One, a charming party called Fendi, is to be my guide
tomorrow. We went out to see the tombs to the E and S of the town, a
very big cemetary [sic] but as the Americans have just been here I
did not bother to copy inscriptions. The houses in the town 3 storied,
apparently built round a court with outer staircases. Some broken
columns, arched windows with a column between and a rough plain
capital, no carving. Gablan came running after me and warned me
not to walk about in the dark in my fur coat as I shd be taken for a
ghoul and shot. We part here; he has been most satisfactory and
pleasant. I have given him 3 liras and paid 2 mejs. for the sheep we
had from the Da'ja. The flocks here belong to the Druzes, the Arabs
shepherd them. Shibly Bey is dead - they say poisoned for all his
hair fell off and I shd think it is not improbable.

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