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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

Monday 22. [22 January 1894] Mary Talbot and I left Ch. X at 11 and had a prosperous rainy journey to Dover. Crossing rough, I sat on deck and was not ill. An agreeable man shared his tarpaulin coat with me. Delicious lunch, journeyed to Paris with two Englishwomen one a widow with an angelic dog and the other clearly her companion and a snuffy old Frenchman with a cold. At Paris went straight to the Gare de l'Est and asked a benevolent porter where to dine. He said "En face" so we went en face which was very big and dark with lots of flaring cafÈs which didnt look at all convenable. Presently in despair I stopped and asked an old woman in a newspaper place! She said "Ah oui! madame! a l'hotel de l'Europe a deux pas d'ici" I shd think it is where she usually dines for it was a little bouge, very very dingy and low. However we were pressed for time, there were only some clerks or what who paid no attention to us and we dined (nastily) for 6 francs and returned to the station - and respectability in the shape of a coupÈ lit! We scarcely dared look our porter in the face for fear he shd ask us where we had been. French porters are very grasping - it seems to me you have to pay them a franc if they come within a radius of 10 yards of your luggage. We had a small compartment to ourselves; next door to us was a nouvelle mariÈe and her spouse. She arrived with an enormous bouquet of white lilacs and roses which she insisted on keeping in the basin where we wanted to wash our hands. I slept little - memories of other journeys came crowding into the narrow berth - journeys Eastward. I went and stood on the platform of the train and watched the hurrying moonlit country and when I went to sleep I dreamed of proofs and a nightmare of proofs woke me.

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