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An English Girl's First Impressions of Burmah

Beth Ellis

Book Overview: 

An English Girl's First Impressions of Burmah, by Beth Ellis, is a well-edited, turn-of-the-century journal documenting a young woman’s visit to Burma. The account documents her ocean voyage to Rangoon, and her stay in a small, jungle-embedded, European community in Remyo. The author, who travelled to Asia alone to visit her brother, is quick to laugh at her own exaggerated fears. She gives us a glimpse into the less-than-glamorous lives to Myanmar’s British occupiers. The book was published in 1899, just thirteen years after the conclusion of the third Anglo-Burmese war, when Britain took formal control of Myanmar and made it a province of India

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .he result with their heads on one side, to see if all are straight and firm. And they do all in such a stately, royal manner, that they give an air of dignity to the menial work, and one comes away with the feeling that to pile teak side by side with an elephant would be an honour worth living for.

During my peregrinations round the town I was taken to see the home of the Indian Civilian, a huge imposing building, with such an air of awe-inspiring importance about every stick and stone, that none save those initiated into the secrets of the place, may enter without feeling deeply honoured by the permission to do so. Even a "Bombay Burman" could hardly approach, without losing some of his natural hardihood.

ELEPHANT MOVING TIMBER

[Pg 33]

It may have been the awe with which this building inspired me, it may have been my visit to the Pagoda, with its air of mysticism and unknown possibilities, but when I retired to my large d. . . Read More