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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
GB/2/8/2/2/11
Creator
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
Language
English
Location
India ยป Kolkata
Coordinates

22.572646, 88.363895

Wed 11 [11 February 1903] At 11 we called for Mr Hensman at the
Bengal Club, picked up Edyth Muir and went to Kali Ghat. 10 minutes'
drive brought us into a horrible slummy native quarter. Crowds of
marigold wreathed people. An inspector of police took us through the
narrow street full of image food and flower sellers to the temple. It is
quite modern and ugly, crowded and the courtyard swimming with the
blood of goats. They pushed a fighting struggling crowd of
worshippers aside and let us look at the idol from outside - a black
hideous image with polished bronze below a red ray like halo. The
women behind us stood rapt, with clasped hands. Then we struggled
down to the ghat where the people were bathing in the filthy water of a
tidal creek. There are acres of thatched courts for the housing of
pilgrims. The temple is very rich and the Brahmans very powerful.
They say the Manipur business was hatched here and the signal was
a telegram from here: The tiger is loose. Mr Hensman was largely
instrumental in getting Mr Quintin's murderer hanged and incurred the
fury of the priests who said he ought to be offered as a sacrifice to
Kali. Lunched with the Flemings - I don't like him at all. Then on to Mrs
Cotes where I stayed ages. Her husband and brother in law came in
and then Mr Risley, foreign secretary, who stayed talking till 7. He
says the shape of the Sontal[?] (Dravidian) nose is negroid. Mrs
Cotes drove me home through the Maidan. Mr Hornell dined with us,
after which I went and talked to Mrs Brocklebank and packed till near
12.

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