Request a high resolution copy

Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Diary entry containing pinned pressed flower.

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

43.949317, 4.805528

Wed. 19. [19 April 1893] Left Nimes at 9.45 and in half an hour reached Remoulins where we took a carriage and drove to the Pont du Garde. Lovely day, hot sun, but a fresh wind. Walked along the further side of the river in a dirty track by whose edge grew purple and white cistus, thyme and southern wood and many another plant that loves hot sand. Keeping down by the river we lost our track and spying the towers of a castle on the opposite bank we resolved to try if there were no means of crossing. Fortunately there was a dam, across which we walked, taking off our shoes and stockings and wading at one point and finally emerging actually under the wheel of a mill. The castle towers were just above us, we found that we might see the house which belonged to a young M. Calderon whose father had bought it from M le Marquis de Fournaize. The courtyard was all overgrown with wisteria, the moat filled with yellow banksia roses; a respectable black robed old lady took us round, showing us the portraits of his dead father and mother (a Nimes woman, very pretty) of his dead sister, a soufrante, pinched little face, and a medallion of M Calderon himself - Ah il est temps qu'il se marie! she said. The towers were of Saracen times she added, and the many rooms on the ground floor also very old - they might have been though their vaulted ceilings had been stuccoed and painted. We saw a bedroom too where Louis XIII had slept and pretty rooms hung with tapestry, the woven arms of the Calderons. We came back to a nice little inn near the Pont where we lunched well; then walked up to the top of it and all along - splendid it looked, and solid and marvellous in the sunlight, with an exquisite soft landscape of thorny, broomy hills, and blue river and tender patches of trees through its arches. We left about 4 for Avignon. (Papa was at the Pont du G. 21 years ago. Things were pretty black for him then. "I thought it was all over" he said.) Arrived at Avignon at 5 and went out to see the Palace of the Popes. Very splendid place like a fortress with high unbroken arches of wall and flanking towers. We went up to it by a little back slum[?] where the women were standing smoking in their doorways, some of them decked out in cheap finery with naked arms and bosoms. Since the time of the Popes that has been the quartier des courtisanes I should think; I wonder what grave clerics hurried down there in some leisure moment. The cathedral has a lovely porch but has been all spoilt inside by a gallery of Louis XIV's time cutting the romanesque arches and breaking the height - ....... piece of self satisfied barbarism. Went up onto an outlook in a garden from whence we saw the forbidding papal towers and the narrow streets and many spires of the ville sonnante, and the noble Rhone with the walls of Villeneuve on the other side of it. A boring old woman would come and point us out the sights, relating a ridiculous story of an English girl who was ennuyÈe and to whose father and mother she had given the advice to take the daughter to the fountain of Vaucluse. This they had done and had been caught in a tremendous storm there which had so excited the daughter that she came back quite cured!

IIIF Manifest