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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

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Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
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Extent and medium
1 entry, paper

16.840939, 96.173526

Wed 25. [25 February 1903] Mr Lowis sent us his servant who took us to McGregor's timber yards where we met Mr Brown our travelling companion. Also Lady White with Miss Campbell. The teak woods are all govt. The trees are notched round and left for 3 years to die before they're cut. They take about another 2 to come down to Rangoon [Yangon]. Saw the elephants piling teak and shoving it down, with their trunks, the sludgy smudgy creek. Most clever. They like them about 35 when they are full grown; they learn from one another. The females can't do the lifting as they have no trunks. They bought some Indian elephants from the Govt. but they were too old and no good. They died of the climate. Up in the forest the elephants lead almost a natural life and breed. They do lots of the work there. The Warrens and the other American couple appeared. After breakfast we arranged plans and went to the gaol to inspect wood work. I've ended by making my own pattern for a gong stand and giving it to Goonamal. Then we went to the Baptist mission where we saw a Xian school. The Principal has been out here 25 years. He seems to like the people very much. On to St John's which is SP9 and were taken round by Mr Best. This is mostly Buddhist but it was the hour of the Scripture lesson and they were all reading the Bible and having it explained. They don't object to this at all in fact the parents prefer some sort of moral training to none. Mr Best likes Buddhism but says it has very little hold. The boys go into the monasteries for the appointed time, but they regard it as a joke. The men never to to the Pagodas, only the women and children. I wonder whether this applies more to Rangoon which has been so much changed by foreign occupation. He has a lot of boys, orphans he calls them, with foreign fathers who I thought had probably deserted the mothers, the mixture does very well, the Eurasian here is not at all like the Eurasian in India. His brightest boys are Burman Chinese, the fathers being Chinese. But they are entirely Burman, only more go and intelligence. So home to lunch. Packed and made arrangements with Al Lu our servant. Mr Lowis came at 5. Miss Macneale[?] and the Little Thing have arrived. Off at 6 in an Officer's Carriage which is a dream of comfort.

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