January 12th, Thursday
Started from Dokraha at 9.20. We changed at Mozufferpore, Palazer Ghat and Bankipore, not reaching Gaya until 11.20 pm. When we arrived we found Mr and Mrs Holmewood waiting up for us and after having had some supper we trotted off to bed.
They keep Calcutta hours here. We have chota hasri in bed, then breakfast at 10.30, tea at 3.30 and dinner at 8. Today spent a most interesting day. We drove all through the old town and when it got too narrow we got out and walked. The houses meet almost over the top and seems to be one long bazaar from one end to another. It was all so entirely Eastern. The high houses with their wonderful carved balconies, the picturesque shops and their brilliantly clothed owners, beggars sitting by the roadside and the everlasting pariah dogs. At the end we came to a large Hindoo temple dedicated to Vishnu. The carving was wonderful and on the pinnacle was a spike of pure gold weighing 100 lbs. Worship was going on and when we left smelly garlands were thrown round our necks, terrible things but of course we couldn’t possibly take them off. On our way back we visited the house of a very rich baboo who had shown us round and we were introduced to his two nephews, very polite young men who spoke English. After some polite conversation we drove away again. We passed some awful lepers on the way, some with their hands and feet quite eaten away and others snow white which nearly made me sick. On the walls near the temple there were one or two old old frescoes, such wonderful things and at every other turn there are shrines and sacred carvings.
Jan 14th, Saturday
Got up early and drove with Mrs H out to the Bodh Gaya. What a wonderful temple it is. It was restored by Sir Ashley Eden in 1880 and given to the Hindoos who still hold possession and have services there half the day and then allow the Buddhists to come. It seems such an awful desecration to my mind. We went up to the Burmese Rest House and saw the Japanese Buddha, it is made of carved sandalwood, and beside the big temple there grows the tree that Lord Buddha sat under and preached (at least so they tell one!)
Jan 15th, Sunday
Got up late, did a little shooting, had breakfast and trifled till tea. Some people came selling lovely glass bracelets and wee black stone figures. We bought a lot to take as remembrances of Gaya.
Jan 16th, Monday.
Left Gaya at 2 but went to see the Dufferin hospital before starting. Reached Bankipore at 6.30 and were met by Mrs Bourdillon. Did nothing in particular, watched rotten tennis and met more ghastly pogs. What dull people seem to reside in stations! Left on Wednesday.
Jan 22nd – 28th
I have left this for a whole week. I defy anyone to write a diary during Meet time. We have been rushing from one thing to another, balls, gymkhanas, tennis, waxwork tableaux vivants etc. One after another without time for breath. I met one charming man, Harry Walker by name. This evening, 27th, he is going to dance and we have had a skirt made for him, white, green and silver. I am trying to persuade him not to shave his nice moustache, it seems so rotten for a minutes dance. In the morning (28th) the ladies cricket match came off and was won by them! Rode and went to the Richardson’s camp to lunch. The Cinderella (dance) came off tonight and was the best fun of the three balls, although it was so short and we stopped at 12 punctually.
Jan 29th, Sunday
The day of departure alas! We took leave of our dull and muffy camp at about 2. The Bourdillons have been awfully good and kind to us. At the station we met heaps and heaps of people. The air was quite thick with goodbyes.
Wrote all morning, feeling blue. Everything is going so crooked at present, our financial affairs don’t seem one bit forwarded and Ell has no prospect of a berth either at Seryah or Rancola. It is terribly depressing.