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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell with pressed botanical specimen and feather

Diary entry accompanied by pressed botanical specimen and flower, entitled "Taj".

Reference code
Gertrude Bell
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry with 1 botanical specimen and 1 feather, paper and organic material

Wed 24. [24 December 1902] Up at 3.30 and to the station at 4.30 with
the Russells, to find the express was 2 hours late! We played Bridge,
drank tea and caught a local train which was due at 3 and arrived at
6.30. At Bandikay we breakfasted with Mr Storrs and the express
caught us up. We had a carriage to ourselves. Very barren country,
with bare hills rising suddenly out of the plain. Got to Agra at 3.30 and
went to Laurie's where we managed to lodge ourselves in big tents.
Drove off the the Taj and saw it by sunset light. We climed [sic] up
dark passages and stairs onto the top of the great sandstone gate
and had our first view across the gardens. It looks rather boxy from
there and the 4 minarets look too stiff and plain. The gate itself is
magnificent, the deep archways making such fine dark shadows. But
the Taj looks lovely from the steps of the gateway. The gardens full
of flowers and water and the dark red bougainvillia flowering. The
marble inlay over the gate is the most effective decoration possible; it
is so bold that it tells even at that great height. Also all the panels of
Persian low relief, flowers and plants are too exquisite. Within it was
dusk and I cd just see to read the inscriptions on the 2 tombs. 2 red
sandstone mosques inlaid with white marble, one on either side. We
went into a pavilion at the corner of the wall and watched the sunset
glow onto the Taj and the long dim[?] sweep of the Jumna [Yamuna]
set with Hindu shrines. The tomb shone with a soft warm light as if it
were illuminated from within and all the gardens smelt sweet of flowers
and of water. So home. Mr Cavendish - Bentinck, the Samuels,
Wolvertons and Willie Jameses here. [Dried flower and feather
attached to page. "Taj" written alongside].

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