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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Hardegg, Julius Löytved-

37.8746429, 32.4931554

Sat 6. [6 May 1905] Grey still, but the sun came out later. Still very
tired. Up at 6.45, breakfasted and resolved to send off the mules. I
learnt yesterday that Karaman [(Laranda)] is on the Konia [Konya
(Iconium)] line - such a piece of good news I have not heard for a long
time and I blessed Zander and resolved to go by train to Konia. The
weather got better and I went out about 10 with the Polis Effendi and
called on the Kaimakam who was an agreeable old party speaking a
little Arabic which he learnt in Egypt. I found there a most charming
banished Pasha, Husne Pasha, in full splendid uniform. He talked
very good French. He has been in Karaman 2 years and is sent there
to keep him away from all consuls with whom he is supposed to be
plotting! I then went on to the Medresseh and to the castle from which
one has a fine view of the town. Near it to the SW are two ruined
mosques, Seljuk. The first has a very beautiful tall and slender
minaret, the second is of admirable work with a charming fountain
opposite the main door. All in ruins. So back to lunch which Fattuh
brought me from the locanda. At 3 the Kaimakam and Husne Pasha
returned my call. Husne Pasha said the railway had already done a
good deal of good to the town. Prices had risen and 400 wagons of
grain had been sent from Karaman and the 2 neighbouring stations to
C'ple [Istanbul (Constantinople)]. Freights are very high, £T25 a
wagon to Haida Pasha [Haydarpasa]. What they needed here was
population which was extremely scanty. The Yuruks do no cultivating,
their business is merely flocks and a carrying trade. The hills are full
of game. They had been out the day before and got a fine moufflon.
So at 4 to the station by a shocking road. The train left at 5. I talked to
the Greek station master who had been on the line 20 years having
begun at Haidar Pasha under the English rule. He said the present
rates of pay were very low. He earned more as a boy under the
English than he did now. They get their lodging but no lighting or fire.
The stations are got up regardless of expense with velvet sofas and
the newest of telegraphic instruments etc. This and all the rolling
stock comes from Germany. He is very pessimistic as to the
prosperity of the line. Says the people are quite savages and will not
learn. Nearly all the employÈs are Greek or Armenian. The fares are
very high, often they have no passengers at all. I paid 3 mej to Konia
and 1 mej for Fattuh. They cannot as yet compete with the camel
transport. He regrets that the English did not build the line. Husne
Pasha also said "We do not know these Germans and we do not like
them. There is a long friendship between Turkey and England. We
always look to England." The train came in 4 wagons to which we
added 2 more goods wagons. On this occasion the 3rd class wagon
was full, the 2nd class pretty full and there were 2 other 1st class
passengers besides me. I had a red velvet carriage to myself. In the
first class waiting room was the only looking glass in which I have yet
been able to see myself since I came to A.M. Round all the stations
they have planted trees. We passed 4 on our way to Konia, set in a
desolate waste ringed round with mts. We got in at about 8 and I went
straight to the German consulate to get my letters. The Loytveds
received me most cordially and kept me to dinner. I got back to the
hotel at 10.30 and read my letters till past midnight. An excellent
German hotel kept by a Frenchman, most clean and comfortable - far
better than any in Syria.

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