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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

16.840939, 96.173526

Tues 24. [24 February 1903] Up at 6.30 and went to the Pagoda which
was now full of people, pink and green robed. The women mostly
wear a pink scarf round their necks. Earrings often of rubies, and their
faces powdered. Saw a charming little lady exquisitely dressed in a
pink skirt walking up the temple stairs with two servants behind her
carrying baskets - of offerings? We tried all the gongs in turn - I
suppose these seller people are temple slaves. Upstairs it was
enchantingly secular with just enough devotion. I saw one little lady
praying and smoking alternately. There were phonographs which
attracted much attention even from the monks. Food sellers and
flower sellers whose shop was a big umbrella. We saw the famous
big bell which was fished from the bottom of the river, but either the
man didn't use a big enough hammer or the bell has suffered from its
dipping, for it didn't sound nice. The enormous mass of tiny temples
and things is due I imagine to temple building being a short cut to
Nirvana. In one image house is an enormous reclining Buddha; in
another a painted carving representing apparently English soldiers.
Came in to breakfast. Afterwards shopped while H [Hugo] went to
Capt Kincaid. At lunch Mr Lowis came to see us, very pleasant a thin
busy lawyer. Settled our plans. Mr Lowis came again at 4.30. Tea
with the Kincaids, called on Lady White who was out and went back to
the Kincaids with whom we drove into the Park, past all the
monasteries, round lawns and lakes set with canna in full flower, with a
view of the Shway Dagon across the water and a red dull sunset
behind. Driven back by a swarm of white ants. Capital tiny ponies.
After dinner talked to Mrs Foster and the Booms (the Austrians) and
we all smoked a cheroot! Not bad.

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