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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Gertrude Bell
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1 entry, paper

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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