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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Chirol, Valentine
India ยป Delhi

28.7040592, 77.1024902

Mon 29. [29 December 1902] Up at 7 and off at 8.45 to the show. We drove past a line of elephants a quarter of a mile long, all painted and dressed in gold and silver, but these were only the ragtail and bobtail. The straight road to the mosque was lined with schools arranged in colours according to turbans, and the mosque itself was banked up with a garden of colour. Found ourselves next to Mr Fletcher and Miss Thornwill and Lady Boughie. The crowd was wonderful, the liveries, the passers by, the carriages drawn by 4 camels, the sea of colour everywhere. At 12.30 the Procession began to pass - troops of British soldiers. Then Pertab Singh in light blue and gold at the head of the Cadet Corps, a magnificent sight. He was loudly clapped, otherwise the crowd was almost silent. Then at last after more troops the Viceroy and Lady C. [Curzon] on a gorgeous elephant and the Connaughts following on another. And then a gorgeous throng of rajas, the 4 21 gurus[?] first, Mysore, Hyderabad, Tr....... and Kashmir (Buroda was about 1[?]) Mysore quite simple in a little black coat, and the others magnificent, and a whole crowd of rajas, elephants hung with gold and silver and with ear tassels worth a king's ransom Dhar had his world famous ropes of pearls and one man had pearls and emeralds like a cuirass. Scindia turned round laughing and I photographed him. In spite of all the magnificence Lady C. was not outshone. Then a hundred elephants or more with the followers, their faces and trunks painted and their bodies decked in splendid trappings topped by gold and silver howdahs. 2 had I'm sorry to say, Victoria bodies in place of these! Still all these were nothing to the first lot with their glitter of gold and jewels, gold and jewelled parasols held over them and the plendid mahouts with their horsetail switches. The Burmah chiefs had most comic howdahs and their followers wore large crumply straw hats. Some of the followers were just dressed in baggy white linen and wore long curling greasy black hair - frontier people. The procession took an hour, we drove home through clouds of dust and got in at 2 very hungry. In the afternoon we left more cards wrote our names on the Viceroy, called on and found Mr Chirol, and had tea at the Lawrences where we met the Bp of Lahore and Mr Landon. Mr Lawrence is a dear and so is she. We dined with Mr Chirol in the Press camp. I sat between him and Mr Hughes Buller a charming person who told me thrilling things about languages. He comes from Quetta. There's a tribe there called the [space left blank] who seem to be a remnant of Dravidians or someone dropped on the way and talk a tongue apparently like Turkish. Opposite was one Fraser the editor of the Bombay Times Mr H.B. was fire and flames for Lord C. and the Seistan route - all the outlying people are, the soldier ... hate him. The unfortunate 9th Lancer incident is a case in point. A native servant was found dead, whereon on no evidence he stopped all the officers' leave. The Duke of C. expressed his opinion of this by telegraphing for an escort of the 9th on the Durbar day - and got it. Arthur says since Lord C's time the natives are unbearable and jostle you off the pavement. After dinner I talked to Mr Landon and Mr [space left blank] who introduced one Wodehouse to me to tell me about Central Arabia. The Menpes[?] two[?] were also dining and an American, a Mr Barrett who is in our camp. One American said to Gilbert after the Entry "We can't do this in Boston."

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