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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 Antioch

34.802075, 38.996815

Sat 8. [8 April 1905] Went at 7.30 with Jebra'il up the walls. Jebra'il
sold us asparagus as we entered the town and has attached himself
to us since. We climbed up the very steep hill. The walls were rubble
with a very strong mortar, faced with dressed stones and sometimes
with layers of brick. 6 lines of brick with thick mortar, then a line or 2 of
stones. Sometimes bands of small and large stones. Nearly all the
facing has been carried off. 40 years ago most of the castle stood,
now it is nearly all gone. There is a small stone door on the S side on
top of the hill, very strong[?] with {niched} jointed stones in the lintel
and a relieving arch [sketch] that way. The fort stood at the N corner.
The walls enclose the whole hill top and from the fort drop down into
the deep and narrow valley where there are the Bab el Hadid, mixed
stone and brick. On one of the rocks above a sphynx is carved in low
relief. We came back through the town. It took us 3 hours. At 12.30
appeared Mr Orr with his horses and we rode to Daphne, 11/4 hour.
An exquisite ride, young leaves, hawthorn, Judas Bait el Ma' or
Harbiyeh is exquisite. The great springs gush out from the mt side,
the wells (11 they say) stand under plane trees in mulberry gardens,
the valley falls steeply down to the Orontes ['Asi]. Mixture of foaming
water and fresh green most heavenly. Maidenhair by the nebe'a[?].
Just outside the town there is another sarcophagus like those in the
Serai but not so good. Mr Orr had tea with me and we embarked on
horse dealings with the upshot that I sold my bay, who was on his last
legs and bought a fine chestnut for 16 naps. Called on the Duweks
and dined with the Pottons. Very pleasant. They use Turkish time
and we waited hours for dinner. Another guest was there, a French
Levantine(?) from C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]. Mme Potton is I
think a Levantine. Home at 11. Mr Orr described his work. He has to
come to the best terms he can with all the thieving aghas. They insist
on bakhshish and sieze his horses and stop his workmen if he
doesn't give it. The govt are helpless, so he has to do his best for
himself. In Reshid's property for instance, he makes a bargain with
Reshid whose people collect the sus liquorice roots. Mr Orr judges
its quality and pays accordingly. Reshid's son is the worst of rogues -
he siezed a horse from one of the agents who refused to give him
ma'ash of 60 mejs. They compromised finally for 20 mejs and got
back the horse.

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