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Diary entry by Gertrude Bell

Reference code
Bell, Gertrude Margaret Lowthian
Creation Date
Extent and medium
1 entry, paper
France ยป Nimes

43.836699, 4.360054

Monday 17. [17 April 1893] Left Clermont at 6.13. Passed through first
a fertile volcanic country each of whose little round hills was crowned
with some little town, mountain[?] built with peaceful citadel. Then into
a more mountainous land where fluted[?] columns of basalt ........ from
granite to support the mountain tops and narrow meadows exquisitely
beautiful with white fruit trees and yellow buttercups sloped down to
the Allier. Often a grey red roofed village with its church in the middle
and simple, stately romanesque tower standing guard over it. Finally
up into quite barren mountains where only chestnut trees grew among
the stones terraced up with little walls in the most laborious way. At
the top a fat and friendly gentleman got in, he had property in St
Laurent les Bains - "Ah triste pays!" he kept saying. He made our
acquaintance by offering me some milk and travelled with us to
Nimes. Next carriage to us a party from Clermont - I watched the
women growing more and more dishevelled - the paint lasted well
however. In the afternoon it became hot and our carriage was full for
the last two hours. At 6 we reached Nimes, cypresses olives roses in
flower, all the southern vegetation. Took a carriage and drove round
in the dusk past the Arena and the garden where lies the Temple of
the Nymphs. A garrulous little man of the Midi showed us round in the
dusk, pointing out the Avenues much larger than those of Versailles,
and the gardens, and the Roman buildings much more beautiful than
any in Nimes. The frogs croaked and the little[?] owls screamed in
the trees and the warm scented night with all its sounds was so like
those other nights in a far away garden where the owls scream. I
cried and cried in the Temple of the Nymphs and filled the Roman
baths with tears which no one saw in the dusk. Early to bed.

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