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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
Swettenham, Frank

Sat 14. [14 March 1903] Dressed by 8 and breakfasted. Cold
breakfast - boiled eggs (also near cold) ham sausage brown bread
jam and a selection of cheeses, very good. You eat Dutch cheese
with your Banana and it's delicious. In the morning it rained in torrents.
We are seldom out of sight of some land. Made friends with the little
Dutch boy Evort Donk. In the afternoon it was positively almost cold.
The islands are extraordinary. Trees grow on rocks actually awash.
We saw a tree apparently growing out of mid ocean all by itself. After
lunch we played Bridge with Major Wiersma and "the blind, ohh yes!"
We passed through Banda straits [Bangka, Selat] so near to Banda
[Bangka] that we could clearly see the little town which is its capital.
Its thinly populated chiefly by Chinese who work the tin mines. Thickly
wooded. The coast of Sumatra is very low - we could see it as a belt
of trees on the water. Felt very slack before dinner and went to sleep.
It got hot again. Read some of Sir F. Swettenham's Unaddressed
Letters which are curious and rather good. Also On the Face of the
Waters which both irritates and interests me. Talked to Donk after
dinner and to Frau Kromshroeder. Very hot night. She described a
visit to the Sheikh al Islam and his harem.

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