Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Russell, Flora
Russell, Arthur
Swettenham, Frank

1.352083, 103.819836

Fri 13 [13 March 1903] Up at 7 and out with H [Hugo] to the Botanical
Gardens. Very pretty drive through lanes of trees and green. Walked
about the gardens and saw the Victoria Regia in a pond. Amaryllis,
Eucharis lily and crinum flowering. Lots of orchids on the trees. An
orchid house protected from the sun by a light roof of wooden lathes.
Saw an extraordinary water plant, Lattice plant, growing underwater no
flesh on its leaves only a crisscross of fibres. Back to breakfast at 9
with Captain Barry. Sir F [Frank Swettenham] came in late and we
stopped to talk about the Chinese question with him. He says: they've
opened up the whole country, they work when the Englishman can't
and won't. They are much better than the German or Dane whom we
can't tax in any way, except the tiny tax on his carriage, and who goes
home the moment he has made his pile. The Chinaman smokes
opium and drinks and[?] spirits and thus contributes largely to the
expenses of our Govt. Moreover he is a landowner and taxable as
such - he probably naturalizes himself and he stays here till the end of
his days. Packed and wrote letters till lunch. A {Major} Capt.
Tompkins, a sailor and a Mr Paul (he a globe trotter, I think, just
arrived) lunched. We talked of the daughter of Kang Yu Wai and the
chances of the Kunwa of Sikkim in that direction. Sir F. thinks they're
nil. He also doesn't think much of Kang Yu Wai. Also of tiger
shooting. There are lots of tigers in Johore [Johor] but you can't get at
them in the thick jungle. The Sultan has cuttings make like drives and
has the movements of the tigers watched and so gets them. The chief
sport here seems to be pigeon shooting from boats - they fly across
from island to island and come the pace of a driven grouse. Sir F. lent
me two of his books to read: Unaddressed Letters and Malay
Sketches. After lunch we drove down to the docks and installed
ourselves on the Van Riemsdijk a delightful boat as clean as a Dutch
town. Then across to the Sachsen which had just come in and had a
talk with the Russells, dear creatures. They're going up to Govt
House to dine. The German couple and Major Wiersma are on
board our boat - they gave us a hearty welcome. We have exquisite
cabins to ourselves. Delicious biscuits and cups of ship's tea at 4.
Got off about 5, cool breeze. Talked to the Captain who is a big
pleasant man and talks English. H sits at dinner by a little soldier
called Donk who is teaching him Malay. His small daughter has been
bitten by a mad dog and they're taking her to the Pasteur institute in
Batavia [Jakarta]. He's quartered somewhere in Java [Jawa].
Excellent dinner with funny Dutch peas and pears with our turkey.
Very early to bed and read some of On the Face of the Waters - it is
clever though I hate it. Hot night. It rained about 3 and was cooler

IIIF Manifest