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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

Fri 14. [14 April 1905] Tremendous wind early, clouds blowing up, a
very close stuffy day. Faris as usual changing muleteers. Went down
to the Lorrimers at 8 and breakfasted. Mr L. a staunch Free Trader.
The tax placed by the USA on the extract of liquorice obliged them to
set up all their factories in the USA. Formerly they made a lot of the
extract in this country, now they export all the root. This district goes
down nearly to Baalbek and East about the same distance. Further S
there is no root, but lots in Baghdad and thereabouts. He says to do
business in this country you have to engage in something in which
there is a good big profit for you cannot avoid giving presents and
tips all round. Transport is the great difficulty - he always has to pay in
advance. Then the man goes and does business for someone
native who does not pay in advance and weeks after comes back to
his liquorice carrying. At the same time it's remarkable what security
there is in the country. Mr L. sends weekly a sum of 400 or £500 to
Aleppo [Halab] or Antioch [Antakya (Hatay)], everyone knows the
man carries it and yet he has never been attacked or robbed. At 9 I
rode off with Tahir and Mikhail. Very stuffy. Our way lay along the
edge of the sea. Half way we came to a guard house by which was a
ruin, ?Jonah's pillar? and above a small Arab fort. The black and
white columns of which Murrays speaks appear to be far up in the hills
by another castle. So we descended into a narrow plain which may
perhaps have been where the battle of Issus was fought and reached
Payas at 2.30. We camped by the sea under a small Arab fort.
Payas is a most singular place; it consists of a ruined arched bazaar,
a big ruined khan, a mosque half ruined, of good Arab work, and a
castle which is a prison. Nothing else. The hills behind most lovely. I
tried to go into the castle but permission was refused on the ground
that the prisoners were all on sentences of 100 and 200 years and
very savage. Yesterday they killed 2 men - fighting together. Poor
wretches, they have nothing else to do. They are given no work and
very little to eat. Conversed with one Abu Selim, a soldier but a
Protestant converted by Mr Marten. He was seized unjustly 2 months
ago by the government and made to serve though he had long ago
bought himself out and moreover has passed the limit of age - they
said You have become a Xian and that's enough. He says he is
given neither food nor salary. Bathed. Payas lies a good quarter of
an hour from the sea but there are lots of traces of ruins down to the

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