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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

32.485707, 36.7118971

Thurs 16. [16 February 1905] Copied inscriptions and breakfasted
with Muhammad. Off at 11 about. A charming person called Saleh
rode with us. We got into Salkhad about 1.30. The road was very
muddy and there were even patches of snow. All the mts covered
with snow. Nasib and his brother Jada'allah received me most kindly.
Nasib is 29 - he says - but he looks older and has a very shrewd
Druze face, an expression that is more cunning than pleasant. We
pitched our tents in a field near the biggest birkeh below the castle. At
5 I went up to the castle to see the sunset. It is certainly a very
splendid place. Meantime Nasib came to see me and hearing this I
went up to him and had some talk with the Mudir el Mal [space left
blank] who assured me that the journey into the Safa was extremely
difficult. While I was dining I heard a wild singing and a letting off of
guns on the castle top and saw a fire burning there, so I scrambled up
the snowy sides of the mt and found a circle of Druzes, young men
and boys by the moat singing a terrible warlike song. They were all
armed and most of them carried bare swords which glittered in the
moonlight. At times the song stopped, 2 or 3 stepped into the circle
and walked round shaking sword or club in the face of each, saying
"Are you a good man? are you a true man?" And they answered "Ha
ha!" It was strange and savage and exciting. These are the
preparations for a ghazu against the Sukhur who are deadly gom and
who carried off 5000 head of Druze sheep a month or so ago.

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