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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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

28.7040592, 77.1024902

Thurs 8. [8 January 1903] Arthur lent us poneys [sic] and we rode to
the review ground. There we left our poneys in the hands of a native
and got excellent seats in the stand near the Dunlop Smiths and
Diana. It was a splendid show. The native cavalry magnificent.
Bikanir [Bikaner] led his camel corps. Patiala and old Nabha and the
Maharaja of Kashmir [Jammu and Kashmir]'s brother came by at the
head of their Imperial Service troops, the first two in gorgeous gold
Raja clothes and old Nabha holding a magnificent Arab with one
hand and saluting with the other. Then the artillery with heavy guns
drawn by 8 pairs of bullocks, then the Infantry all very fine. The
cavalry rode past again at a trot, then they charged in single line, it
took 4 charges, the last being the Imp. Service - and the best. The
[sic] came up at a canter and halted dead and had almost no
dressing to do. The dust rolled away behind them in yellow clouds
like battlesmoke. And last all the cavalry charged in companies and
perfectly magnificent it was. We rode on to Sikkim and lunched with
the Whites. We arrived first and sat in a charming courtyard of an
embroidered Tibetan tent while some little black Tibetan dogs
entertained us. Presently came in the Whites and we lunched. I sat
between Mr White and Mr Paul and Mr W. and I talked mountains and
mountain photographs. The Raja has not come but has sent his son,
a charming little Buddhist with a Chinese face who has been
educated by the Whites and says he won't marry at all rather than
marry an uneducated woman. Mr White has his eye on the daughter
of Kang Yin(?) the reformer, who is a charming and very well educated
girl who has gone to America for two years and to England for one to
complete her education. If when she returns the Empress is still alive,
her father will still be an exile and the heir to Sikkim not a bad match,
otherwise her father will be in power and no one too good for her.
After lunch we looked at mountain photographs and Buddhist
symbols of luck and I saw a photograph of the Lama's palace at
Llassa - there are only 2 copies in the world! Mr Paul explained the
embroideries on the tents. They are all signs of wealth: two crossed
incense burners, 2 elephants' tusks, coral and baskets of ivory and
gems. On the roof of the tent were the wheel and the lotus etc. The
whole camp in set round with praying flags. When the Duke of
Connaught visited it the little Kunwa said: "I think our camp has been
very lucky - it must be because of all the praying flags." Up in Sikkim
you can ride up to 18000 ft without snow. The mountains go to 22000.
Called on the Russells on our way back and found Lady A [Arthur] on
a sofa. So home at 5 and packed and went to see Sibyl. We dined
with Arthur at a litle restaurant and had a merry time talking Orient as
we always do. It was most cheerful. Mr Schuster told me a nice tale:
There is a Raja who married the most beautiful girl in India, she was
16 and he 20, and she had no caste, but he wd marry her, so they
trumped up a descent for her. She had a son and all went well. One
evening there came to the palace some travelling players and they
came in and sang to the queen. And they sang a song saying how
happy was one who lived at ease and whose enemies were crushed
beneath his feet. She listened and said "I know that what you sing is
true, for I am not happy. My husband's uncle watches us and I fear for
my son's life and successor's." A fortnight later the uncle died under
suspicious circumstances. So the English Govt looked into matters
and decided that he had been poisoned and ordered the Raja to put
away his queen or to renounce his throne. And he renounced his
throne and went off with her into the wide world. Mr Chirol can't come
with us to Oudeypur [Udaipur] for an absurd reason. As he was
travelling from Peshawar he passed a station called Shaharanpur at
dead of night, a babu put his head in at the window and woke him. So
he shut the window rather angrily and in a minute or two the babu
reappeared and roused him again. So Domnul pushed him away
with his hand. Whereat the babu stormed and raged and came in to
the carriage and said "I am medical man - very high offeecial [sic]"
and that Domnul had assaulted him and took his name and address,
evidently wanting 10 rupees. So Domnul gave his name and thought
no more of it, but at Calcutta he told Walter Lawrence the story who
laughed and said "Tell it to the Viceroy - it will please him." So
Domnul told him but he received it rather grimly and commented
"Yes, its unwise to wake up an Englishman at 2PM!" At Delhi Domnul
gets a summons to appear at Shaharanpur on the 10th goes to Walter
L. and says he can't go and takes Stewart with him before the
Viceroy's departure and gets it put off - till he never[?] knows when.
Anyhow he can't come. And what is more he says he begins to
realize what people mean by declaring that the results of Lord C
[Curzon]'s policy are that the natives push you off the pavement.
Arthur is delighted and says it cd not have happened to a better

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