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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Lebanon ยป Baalbek

34.0046888, 36.2110399

Sunday 5th. [5 March 1905] Fine but a curious sort of misty look over
great Hermon [Sheikh, Jebel esh] which was not promising. We
crossed over the hills in lots of snow, leaving Surghaya on our right
and went straight down a valley marked in Murray's map which runs
into the Yahfufa valley at a village called Jauta[?]. There were
Roman inscriptions in the rocks. We saw 3 but much destroyed.
Mikhail says there are 6 and one of them near the ground is quite well
preserved. I did not see it. We lunched under the rocks by the
Yahfufa. All the people here are Metawaleh. They were very polite to
us. By this time there was a howling wind. We crossed over a rocky
ridge to Neby Shit and so on along the endless foothills to Baalbek.
The clouds blew up and it rained and sleeted hard. Times: Zebdani
[Az Zabadani] 7.30. Yahfufah 11.45, lunch till 12.15. Nebi Shit 12.35.
Baalbek 3.45. The mules got in at 4.30. They had gone by a road
along the plain from Neby Shit. The valley down which we came had
a stream in it which was only runs in the time of the melting of the
snows. Za'arur and Butm (Terebinth) bushes. We put up in the house
of a Xian woman whose name is Krunfleh[?] wife of Yusef el 'Awais. It
consists of a diwan and 3 rooms. I have one, quite empty I have put
my tent furniture into it, and Mikhail another in which he cooks. Very
comfortable. No glass in the windows only wooden shutters. Thank
Heaven we are not in tents. My host is in America and my hostess
has been there and wishes to return. I went in and talked to her after
dinner. She says the Metawaleh population here is very fanatical and
thievish. Every time the Japs gain a victory they threaten the Xians
and say "Presently we too will drive you all out." The Xians are very
much afraid. She is from Lebanon. I said "Why don't you return
there?" She said "The house is in the name of my husband. I cannot
sell it unless he returns. And the live [sic] in the Lebanon is not like the
life in the plain. If you put on a tidy skirt they say "Shuft as Sitt!" They
divide an onion into 3 parts and use a part every day. I put 7 onions
into my burghul every day. Here we have vegetables of all kinds,
there they have nothing. They eat meat once a month, I every day. I
can't do without it." Mikhail tells me the same about the Jap war. In
Jerusalem [(El Quds esh Sherif, Yerushalayim)] he says the common
people went to the Mufti and said "The time has come for us to drive
the Xians out." The Mufti said "If you make a tosheh the nations of
Europe will step in and take all the country and we shall be worse off
than before." But the native Xians are afraid that the govt may not be
able to hold in the common people. Here the Xians are 1/4, Muslim
and Metawaleh 3/4.

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