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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

27.0410218, 88.2662745

Sat 14. [14 February 1903] H. [Hugo] fortunately woke at 4.30, big
moon just beginning to rise, off at 5 to Tiger Hill. Rode up to the
cantonments through pine trees, then all along the hill side - the moon
light lying in the great valley almost like day. A small pink flush came
behind eastern clouds which were shot through by lightning. The pink
turned pale and then a deeper flush began. As we passed through
Ghoom we saw the snow flushed with dawn. Up through woods,
trotting and out onto a hill top whence we saw the whole range,
indescribably splendid. Found there Lord Crewe, Mr Bird and
another. With whom we set off to the last summit. As we rode the first
ray of the sun struck Kinchinjunga [Kanchenjunga]. Kinchinjunga was
47 miles away and is 28,156 ft Everest 120 m away and is 29,002 ft.
Several people already there. We watched the light catch Everest
and slip down the sides of Kinchinjunga. The latter is most beautiful in
shape. It turns the 3/4 side of a hollow crater towards Tiger Hill and is
flanked to right and left by ranges of splendid snowy peaks. To the
right more snows on which the clouds were drifting. Between it and
Everest there is another lower snow, quite detached from either the hill
of Darjeeling [Darjiling] in full sunlight for foreground. Photographed
and rode home in the delicious sun. White daphne flowering. The
ground was all white with frost. Washed dressed and breakfasted.
After which I went down to the bazaars and shopped. N.B. beware of
imitation turquoise! The clouds blew over about 9.30, a strong cold
wind in the afternoon. Sent off our ponies to Tanglu. It hailed hard. A
Darjeeling banker came and sat at our table at dinner. "You know
London!" said he. "Well then, of course you know the pub at the top of
the Grove!" The hill women, the old ones lacquer their noses and
cheek bones with a brown lacquer which is not renewed until it has
entirely worn off. It looks like a skin disease. They all carry their
loads in baskets hung from their foreheads and their delicious babies
sleep on top. We burn coal in Darjeeling.

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