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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

36.2021047, 37.1342603

Tues 28. [28 March 1905] It rained all day. Shellun came to see me
and advised me to take fresh sunkaris from here. Went to see the
Greek Catholic Archbp whom I found to be a very pleasant and
intelligent man of about 40. He studied in Paris and was for a long
time curÈ of the congregation there. He is a Damascene. He prefers
this country for the people, though ignorant are believers. We talked
theology. Mr Barnum [i.e. Barnham[?]] came to see me and brought
Muhammad 'Ali Bey who is to arrange my visit to the Vali. After lunch
paid off my muleteers and arranged about others. The Archbp came
at 5 and M. Homsi. We talked of the country. I asked the Archbp what
he thought of the future and he confessed it was quite dark to him.
Shellun tells me interesting things of the railways - Aleppo [Halab] is
nipped between contending interests. The original French
concession was from Damascus [Dimashq (Esh Sham, Damas)] to
Hama [Hamah] Aleppo Birejek [Birecik] - even the tickets were
printed and all preparations made. Then came the German Baghdad
line with its branch line from Killiz [Kilis] to Aleppo and objected to the
French concession as spoiling theirs. Meantime in 3 years the
Germans have only got 4 hours E of Eregli [(Cybistra Heraclea)] and
it seems very doubtful whether they will be able to go on. The
kilometric guarantee is not forthcoming and they will have to raise a
loan for their work if it is to be continued. From Killiz the plan is to go
right away East and so to tap[?] Mosul [Mawsil, Al] and the Tigris
valley, but this is an immense distance. There is some talk of
bringing the railway by Adana [(Seyhan, Ataniya)] and Alexandretta
[Iskenderun (Alexandria ad Issum)] to Aleppo which wd be the only
line that wd really benefit Aleppo for what she wants is a port; but
Homsi says that he thinks the govt will never allow this as they dread
the connection between the inland routes and the sea on account of
possible invasion of foreign powers. So Aleppo is stagnant. Lately
all the camels were siezed to convey[?] military provisions, for the
Yemen soldiers and merchandize has been lying for a month or more
with no means of transport. The govt is absolutely bankrupt, there is
no money at all. Dined with the Barnhams and had a pleasant
enough evening.

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