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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

47.2692124, 11.4041024

Wed. 12. [12 September 1894] Up at 4.30 and away at a quarter to 6,
Papa, Elsa and I. Mother breakfasted with us and started us along
the road. It was bitter cold. A carriage had been ordered to take us
along the first 3 miles, but it did not appear and Papa rushed into an
open coach house as we walked along and cursed the wrong man!
The right one then hove in sight with a tiny Victoria drawn by two mules
into which we hopped and drove off very slowly. L'Amore had to be
taken in too he yelped so. We began walking at 6.45 and went along
very narrow wooded valleys, so deep the sun can only come into
them late in the day and so cold we scrunched the ice in the puddles
underfoot. We eat large iced wild strawberries and cranberries. We
hoped to find a guide somewhere - at Amtsegg, but Amtsegg turned
out to be nothing but a half dozen deserted log huts - at Kristen Alpe,
but that too was quite deserted by man and beast, and finally at the
Erl Sattel, but there again the Sennh¸tte was empty and shut up. We
reached the Sattel at 10.15 and sat down by the course of a stream
and lunched on cold ham[?] and cheese and black bread. Left at
11.5 and had a 2 hours' pull straight up the hill. This was the slope we
ran down last time. Not at all bad, but a steepish pull the last half hour.
I was up at 1. A good deal of snow on the top - the Kleine Solstein
jumped up over the edge as I came over the brow. I lay down by the
cairn and looked out over peak after great peak, dusted with snow,
with great cups of air in between. The sun was hot, but the wind cold
with that biting freshness which it brings from those snow fields, and
ones ears were filled with silence and one's mind with space. Papa
and Elsa arrived at 1.30; we boiled some snow and drank it with wine
and eat the last of the chocolate and about 1.45 we started again
through deep patches of snow. At first it was easy enough but among
the precipices we missed our path. Papa and I scrabbled about in
steep slopes of Austrian Fir and finally managed by great good luck
to hit it. He went down to make sure and I sat waiting on the little grass
slope, looking into eternity, as one always does on that mountain top -
it's so steep. Once on the right road, I hurried on to the H¸tte. There it
was at the bottom of its little grass slope all bathed in sunshine with
the cows tinkling round it and they were the first living beasts I had
seen since 7 that morning except 2 choughs and a partridge. It was
then 4. The room at the H¸tte was all sunshiny and round the table
were sitting Frantz, the cowherd and another guide and a woman, all
in their charming Tyrolese mountain dress with bare knees and
ankles and green stockings and braces. I stood in the doorway and
said Gr¸ss Gott and they, when they saw me all jumped up and
waved their hats over their heads. The dear Wirth appeared and I
ordered our meal from him and then Frantz and the other guide asked
me where I came from and how - so I told how we had come over
those great hills alone and at first they wouldn't believe me and then
the other men muttered "Verflucht!" and looking down at my feet clad
in leather from which the snow had taken all blacking and the dust and
stones had blacked anew in their own fashion, he said "Well, you
must have very good boots!" Presently the others arrived and we
had a bowl of milk and 6 boiled eggs and plates of biscuits and
butter, and while we eat Frantz the other guide sang duets to the guitar
and the goats looked in through the sunny doorway to see if any salt
were going. Some other tedious people from Innsbr¸ck came in and
stopped the singing. At 5.30 we were off again, all the guides
standing up and waving their hats to us as they said goodbye. We
went down the Klamm, getting to the bottom of it at 7, where we found a
great moon ready to light our road home. Tedious enough it was and
oh so long! We caught the 8.19 train at Innbr¸che and arrived home at
20 minutes to 9. Supped, washed and to bed.

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