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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Wed 8. [8 February 1905] Up at 7 and breakfasted at 7.30. At 8
Namrud appeared and we discussed plans. He has sent out to the
Sukhur for a guide. We walked over the tell which is covered with
ruins. One probably a church, but only the side walls remain. There
are immense caves in which they all live - flies too. They are
probably natural but enlarged by men - recesses etc in the walls of
them. We also saw the cemetary [sic] which he has discovered in
digging about. In section the tombs are like this [sketch] a double
arch of rock with a narrow space between to descend through. The
loculi run like shelves all round the chambers, one on top of the other.
Had an excellent lunch at 11.30 and rode out with Namrud to
Khureibat es Suk [Khureibat es Suq]. A widish valley with ruins all
round. We saw in the distance Kuseir el Sahl [Um Quseir[?]] which
looks pretty big and several upstanding ruins on the hills. The most
interesting thing there was a big tower tomb with 6 sarcophagi. Rode
back getting in at 5. The land lies empty one year and is sown with
corn the next. All the fellahin here are from Jerusalem [(El Quds esh
Sherif, Yerushalayim)] Nablus [(Shekhem)] etc. Bright cold cloudless
day. I think I have found my man! I also think I have slipped through
the fingers of the govt. We sent into Madeba [Madaba] for 5 days'
corn. Namrud tells me that the latest news from Nejd [Najd] is that Ibn
Rashid and Ibn Sa'oud have come to terms. The former has
relinquished all the territory up to Hail, keeping Hail and Jof [Jawf, Al
(Al Jauf)]. There is a rumour that the Sultan intends to establish a
Kaimakam like at Jof but he does not mean to interfere any further in
the affairs of the two sheikhs. The troops from Jerusalem are being
sent down to Akkab ['Aqaba[?]] and so to Yemen. Ibn Rashid is
majuun, half clever and half most unwise. He may have learnt
wisdom from misfortune, Namrud doubts whether the Hajj railway will
be carried further than Ma'an. He thinks it will branch off to Akkab.
The religious authorities in Mecca [Makkah] object to it and have
even refused to allow a telegraph line to Stambul. There [sic] are by
no means inclined towards the Sultan whom they regard as no fit
dictator to Arabs of the true race of the prophet.

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