The Project Gutenberg eBook of Due West, by Maturin Murray Ballou

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Title: Due West

or Round the World in Ten Months

Author: Maturin Murray Ballou

Release Date: February 28, 2009 [eBook #28222]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1



E-text prepared by Julia Miller, Martin Pettit,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team
from digital material generously made available by
Internet Archive/American Libraries


Note: Images of the original pages are available through Internet Archive/American Libraries. See





[Pg iii]








Plus je vis l'étranger, plus j'aimai ma patrie.

De Belloy





New York: 11 East Seventeenth Street
The Riverside Press, Cambridge

[Pg iv]


Copyright, 1884,

All rights reserved.



[Pg v]


I rather would entreat thy company
To see the wonders of the world abroad,
Than, living dully sluggardized at home,
Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.

Two Gentlemen of Verona.


[Pg vii]


To circumnavigate the globe in our day is only a question of time and money, the facilities being ample, and the inducements abundant. Intelligently and successfully to consummate such a purpose is an education in itself. The tourist will find all previous study enhanced in value by ocular demonstration, which imparts life and warmth to the cold facts of the chroniclers, besides which a vast store-house of positive information is created which time cannot exhaust. Perhaps the majority of travelers see only that which comes clearly before them; but this they do most faithfully, being possessed of a stronger sense of duty than of imagination. The clear, direct vision of such people has its merit. There are others who both see and feel, to whom the simplest object in its suggestiveness may be full of beauty. It is the latter who pluck delightful mysteries out of travel; and who, after viewing nature, it may be in her calmest moods, bring away with them upon the tablets of memory a Claude Lorraine. The eyes will operate automatically, but it is of little avail unless one exercises the observing power; then they become luminous. You will find poetry nowhere unless you[Pg viii] bring some with you, says Joubert. If the author succeeds in imparting to the reader but a share of the great and varied pleasure he realized in the ten months of travel herein recorded, his object in transcribing these experiences will have been fully consummated.

M. M. B.

[Pg ix]



Synopsis of the Journey.—Crossing the Continent.—A Great Midland City.—Utah and the Mormons.—The Sierra Nevada.—San Francisco.—A Herd of Sea-Lions.—Possibilities of California.—The Love of Flowers.—Public School System.—Excursion to the Yosemite.—An Indian Stronghold.—Description of the Valley.—Passage of the Mountains.—Caught in a Snow-Storm.—A Forest of Feathers.—The Mammoth Trees of California.—Passing the Golden Gate.—Voyage across the Pacific.—A Lost Day


Landing in Japan.—Characteristic Street Scenes.—Native Bazars.—Women of Yokohama.—Excursion into the Country.—Visit to Kamakura.—Peculiar Scenes on the Road.—A Wonderful Bronze Statue.—Popular Religions of the Country.—The Hakone Pass.—A Youthful Mother.—Native Jugglers.—Temple of Shiba.—Review of the Soldiery.—Ludicrous Sights.—A Native Fair at Tokio.—A Poor Japanese Woman's Prayer


Foreign Influence in Japan.—Progress of the People.—Traveling Inland.—Fertility of the Soil.—Grand Temples and Shrines at Nikko.—The Left-Handed Artist.—Japanese Art.—City of Kobé.—Kioto and its Temples.—Idol Worship.—Native Amusements.—Morals in Japan.—Lake Biwa.—Osaka on a Gala Day.—The Inland Sea.—Island of Pappenburg.—The Tarpeian Rock of Japan.—Nagasaki.—Girls Coaling a Ship.—National Products

[Pg x]


Sail for Hong Kong.—Ocean Storms.—Sunset at Sea.—A Water-Spout.—Arrival in China.—Typhoon Bay.—Manners and Customs.—In and about Hong Kong.—Public Buildings.—Voyage up the Pearl River.—City of Canton.—Strangest of Strange Cities.—Opium Dens.—Temple of Honan.—The Worship of Swine.—Praying with a Fan.—Local Peculiarities.—Half Round the World.—Singapore.—A Tiger Hunt.—Burial at Sea.—Penang.—The Wonderful Palm


Sailing Due West.—The Indian Ocean.—Strange Sights at Sea.—Island of Ceylon.—Singhalese Canoes.—Colombo.—A Land of Slaves.—Native Town.—Singhalese Women.—Fantastic Nurses.—Local Pictures.—Cinnamon Gardens.—Wild Elephants.—Lavishness of Tropical Nature.—Curious Birds and their Nests.—Ancient Kandy.—Temple of Maligawan.—Religious Ceremonies.—Life of the Natives.—Inland Scenery.—Fruits.—Precious Stones.—Coffee Plantations.—Great Antiquity of Ceylon


Arrival in India.—Tuticorin.—Madura.—Bungalows.—Reptiles and Insects.—Wonderful Pagoda.—Sacred Elephants.—Trichinopoly and its Temples.—Bishop Heber.—Native Silversmiths.—Tanjore.—The Rajah's Palace.—Pagoda and an Immense Stone Idol.—Southern India.—City of Madras.—Want of a Harbor.—In and about the Capital.—Voyage through the Bay of Bengal.—The Hoogly River.—Political Capital of India.—A Crazy King.—The Himalayas.—Sunset and Sunrise at Darjeeling


From Calcutta to Benares.—Miles of Poppy Fields.—Ruined Temples.—The Mecca of Hindostan.—Banks of the Sacred Ganges.—Idolatry at its Height.—Monkey Temple.—The Famous River Front of the Holy City.—Fanaticism.—Cremating [Pg xi]the Dead.—A Pestilential City.—Visit to a Native Palace.—From Benares to Cawnpore.—A Beautiful Statue.—English Rule in India.—Delhi.—The Mogul Dynasty.—Lahore.—Umritsar.—Agra.—The Taj Mahal.—Royal Palace and Fort.—The Famous Pearl Mosque


From Agra to Jeypore.—An Independent Province.—A Unique Indian City.—Wild Animals.—Elephant Traveling.—Trapping Tigers.—A Royal Palace.—The Harem.—Native Rule.—Wild Monkeys and Peacocks.—Long Journey across Country.—Bombay.—The Rival of Calcutta.—The Parsees.—Towers of Silence.—Feeding the Vultures.—A Remarkable Institution.—Island of Elephanta.—Street Jugglers.—Crossing the Sea of Arabia.—The Southern Cross.—Aden.—Passage up the Red Sea.—Landing at Suez.—Traveling in Egypt


Cairo and the Arabian Nights.—Street Scenes and Cries.—Camels and Donkeys.—Turkish Bazars in Old Cairo.—Water-Carriers.—The Pyramids of Gizeh.—The Sphinx.—Interesting Visit to a Native House.—Mosque of Mehemet Ali.—The Rotten Row of Cairo.—The Khedive's Palace.—Egyptian Museum.—Mosque of Amer.—Whirling and Howling Dervishes.—Suez Canal.—Ismailia and Port Said.—Island of Malta.—City of Valetta.—Palace of the Knights.—Bird's-eye View


Voyage through the Mediterranean.—Gibraltar on Sunday.—Beautiful Alameda.—Visit to the Famous Fortress.—Wild Monkeys.—Cannon and Flowers.—Tangier.—Morocco.—Straits of Gibraltar.—A Moorish City of To-day.—Local Scenes.—A Private Museum.—The Governor's Palace.—Rusty Keys.—The Typical Moor.—The Slave Market.—Oriental Tableaux.—Visit to Washington Mount.—A Cup of Moorish Coffee.—From Gibraltar to Malaga.—Spain.—The City of Raisins and Sweet Wine

[Pg xii]


From Malaga to Granada.—Military Escort—A Beautiful Valley.—A Dream Realized in the Alhambra.—The Moor in his Glory.—Tangible Poetry.—A Brief Legend.—The Generalife.—The Moor's Seat.—The Home of the Gypsies.—A Gold Bearing River.—A Beautiful Residence.—Early Home of the Ex-Empress Eugénie.—City of Granada.—Spanish Beggars.—The Remarkable Tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella.—French Vandals.—The Cathedral.—Precious Relic.—The Cartuja.—Love of Music


Granada to Cordova.—An Antique City.—The Guadalquivir.—Old Roman Bridge.—The Grand Mosque-Cathedral of Cordova.—Court of Orange-Trees.—Army of Beggars.—From Cordova to Madrid.—Local Characteristics of the Capital.—The Gate of the Sun.—The King and Queen in Public.—The Royal Palace.—Spanish Ladies and Gentlemen.—The Fan.—The Picture-Gallery of Madrid.—National Sport of the Bull-Fight.—Cowardice!—Interesting Visit to the City of Toledo.—The Escurial


From Madrid to Burgos.—Through a Barren Country.—The Cathedral of Burgos.—Monastery of Miraflores.—Local Pictures.—A Spanish Inn.—Convent of Las Huelgas.—From Burgos to San Sebastian.—Northern Spain.—A Spanish Watering Place.—Bayonne.—Lower Pyrenees.—Biarritz.—A Basque Postilion.—A Pleasant Drive.—On Leaving Spain.—Sunday and Balloons at Bordeaux.—On to Paris.—Antwerp and its Art Treasures.—Embarking for America.—End of the Long Journey

[Pg 1]



Synopsis of the Journey.—Crossing the Continent.—A Great Midland City.—Utah and the Mormons.—The Sierra Nevada.—San Francisco.—A Herd of Sea-Lions.—Possibilities of California.—The Love of Flowers.—Public School System.—Excursion to the Yosemite.—An Indian Stronghold.—Description of the Valley.—Passage of the Mountains.—Caught in a Snow-Storm.—A Forest of Feathers.—The Mammoth Trees of California.—Passing the Golden Gate.—Voyage across the Pacific.—A Lost Day.

On the morning of September 16, 1882, four individuals, two of whom were ladies and two gentlemen, comparative strangers to each other, met at the Fitchburg depot in Boston, drawn together by the common purpose of a trip round the world. Adding the conductor, Mr. Gno. Dattari, an intelligent and experienced courier, the little party numbered five persons. The latter individual is attached to the traveling agency of Thomas Cook & Son, London, the house undertaking, for the sum of two thousand dollars each, to pay all transportation and board bills in accordance with a very comprehensive itinerary. This embraced the passage across the continent of America and the Pacific Ocean to Japan, with a month of residence and travel in that country; thence to China and up the Pearl River to Canton; a week in Hong Kong; a thousand-mile voyage down the[Pg 2] China Sea to the chief ports of the Malacca Straits; across the Indian Ocean to the Island of Ceylon, with a week for excursions therein; thence to India, with a liberal exploration of its principal cities, including a visit to the Himalayas in the extreme north; through the Sea of Arabia, the Straits of Babelmandeb, and the Red Sea to Egypt, Cairo, and Alexandria; through the Suez Canal and the Mediterranean to Italy, Malta, Gibraltar, France, and England. A reasonable length of time was allowed for each section of the route, including a voyage across the Atlantic to the starting-point.

Any divergence from the prescribed route was to be at an additional charge, according to expenses incurred. The money was paid at the outset, and the agreement on both sides fulfilled to the entire satisfaction of all concerned. Thus much it has seemed well to premise for the information of the reader who proposes to follow our course due west, as presented in these pen-and-ink sketches of many lands. It should also be mentioned that the season of the year had been judiciously chosen, so as to bring us into each country at the most favorable period for its healthful and agreeable enjoyment, a calculation which is imperative for any one contemplating a journey of this character. Otherwise, the intense heat of the tropics, as well as the Arctic chills of the north, may render such a trip a hardship rather than a season of pleasure.

The first day's experience served to acquaint the little party with each other, and no possible association can effect this so rapidly as traveling together, where individuals necessarily become inseparable, and where fixed traits of character must inevitably[Pg 3] exhibit themselves. Mr. M—— and his daughter, as also the author of these notes, were Bostonians; the fourth person being a Miss D——, of Yorkshire, England, who came hither to make the long circuit of the globe. Even American parlor-cars, which embrace as much of domestic comfort as is compatible with their legitimate purpose, could not prevent our being somewhat fatigued by an unbroken journey of over five hundred miles, when we reached Niagara Falls at two o'clock in the morning. And yet the day seemed short by reason of the varied and beautiful scenery of the Hoosac Tunnel route, particularly in the region of the Deerfield Valley, and also west of the Massachusetts state line. The abundant foliage was in its autumnal prime, not yet having been touched by the wand of the Frost King, while the teeming fields gave evidence both of fertility of soil and skilled cultivation. The neat farm-houses were ornamented by creeping vines, and tiny flower-gardens in their fronts. Tall conical haystacks flanked the spacious, well-filled barns; big yellow pumpkins dotted the half-cleared cornfields; and handsome groups of cattle quietly ruminated in the pastures. A picturesque line of beehives, half a dozen happy children at play before the house door, and the sturdy master of the thrifty scene, leaning over the fence to exchange pleasant words with a passing neighbor on horseback, were frequent rural pictures, which were afterwards contrasted with those of other countries.

A quiet Sabbath was passed at the Clifton House, on the Canada side, where an excellent opportunity is afforded for viewing the falls in their various aspects. It was a still, clear day, bright and sunny.[Pg 4] A column of vapor rose many hundred feet above the falls, white as snow where it was absorbed into the skies, and iridescent at the base, which was wreathed in ceaseless rainbows. A practical eye could not fail to observe that a portion of the enormous force here running to waste has been utilized by means of a canal, dug from a point above the falls to a plateau two miles below them, whereby some large grist-mills and paper-manufacturing establishments are operated with never-failing power. The usual round of sightseeing was performed on the following day. When we remember that there is conclusive evidence of these falls having been at a former period fully six miles nearer to Lake Ontario, and consequently that there is a daily though infinitesimal wear going on, it leads one to speculate as to what will be the probable result when the great falls shall have receded so far as to open, at one terrific plunge, the eastern end of Lake Erie.

Another day and night in the cars over the Great Western and Michigan Railroad brought us to Chicago. Fifty years ago only a scattered tribe of the Pottawatomies inhabited this spot on the shore of Lake Michigan, where is now located the most important capital of the Northwestern States. The commercial growth of Chicago is the natural sequence of its situation at the head of the great chain of lakes, which form a medium of unequaled inland navigation, supplemented by a railroad system of nearly a score of trunk lines which centre within its limits. A drive about the town served to impress us with a due appreciation of its business enterprise and rapid growth in all the departments of education and of art, which characterize a prosperous American [Pg 5]community; especially was a spirit of intense activity observable, entering into every element of trade and business. The private houses of wealthy merchants adorn the environs, while Lincoln and South Park, lying on either side of the city, rival anything of the kind in Europe or America. Chicago is the natural centre of the grain trade of our continent, and we had almost said of the food-supply of the world, a statement exemplified in the fact that, during the last year, one hundred and fifty millions of bushels of grain passed through its elevators.

The next objective point was Salt Lake City, the distance being over sixteen hundred miles, to accomplish which we passed four days and nights in sleeping-cars. Two days' rest at this point afforded an opportunity to look about us, and to gather some information touching the singular people who make it their home. The capital of Utah, so well chosen for its special purpose, was an unbroken wilderness forty years ago, but can now boast a population of twenty-five thousand. Under the hands of its present occupants, the whole surrounding valley has been cultivated to a degree of fertility scarcely equaled by the same number of square miles on the continent. The city proper is laid out in broad streets intersecting each other at right angles, and which are bordered with cottonwood trees, forming a pleasant shade; while in every gutter a stream of water runs swiftly along, with a rippling sound, fresh from the neighboring mountains. Great attention has evidently been paid to sanitary matters, and everything looks neat and clean. The visible marvel of the city is the great Mormon temple, or Tabernacle, a building capable of holding and seating over[Pg 6] twelve thousand people, the roof of which is self-supporting, and is believed to be the largest one of its character extant. The acoustic properties of this immense structure are also remarkably perfect, which was proven to us by some curious experiments. As to general effect, however, there is no more architectural character to the Mormon Tabernacle than to a prairie dog's hole. Its roof resembles nothing so much as a huge metallic dish cover, forming an awkward and prominent feature of the city.

It is not within our province to discuss in detail the peculiar and abhorrent domestic life of this people, no visible evidence of which meets the eye of the casual visitor; though in scanning the features of the large audience assembled in the Tabernacle on Sunday, the obvious want of intelligence in the faces of the women, compared with the men, was certainly striking. One seemed also to read a spirit of discontent or of calloused resignation in some of the better female countenances. Of the thrift, industry, and material success of this community there can be but one opinion. An important statistical item occurs to us in this connection which is highly significant. It appears that while Colorado and Kansas spend each one dollar and a tenth, and Nebraska two dollars and a tenth per head on the education of their school population, Utah expends but nine-tenths of a dollar for the same purpose. Upon inquiry it was discovered that polygamy did not at first form any part of the faith of Mormonism. The originator of the creed, Joseph Smith, never promulgated such doctrine, and possessed but one wife. The "celestial marriage" humbug was first preached by Brigham Young, in 1852, when he produced a [Pg 7]document bearing the above title, pretending that it was revealed to Joseph Smith a year before his death. Smith's widow and son, both surviving, pronounced this to be a falsehood, a pure invention, but Young was too strongly seated in his chair of authority not to be able to carry his point. This "revelation" was incorporated into the Mormon faith by a meeting of the assembled deacons of the church, and has since become its most prominent feature. Mormon missionaries seek proselytes mostly in Brittany, Scandinavia, Denmark, and Wales, addressing themselves to the most ignorant classes. These poor, half-starved creatures are helped pecuniarily to emigrate, believing that they are coming to a land flowing with milk and honey. In most cases any change with them would be for the better; and so the ranks of Mormonism are numerically recruited, not from any religious impulse in the new disciples, but through the simple desire to better their physical condition in life. No portrait of Mormonism will prove to be a true likeness which does not depict its twofold features, its iniquity and its thrift. The conclusion forces itself upon the visitor that railroads and contact with the world will gradually obliterate the institution of polygamy.

Two days and one night of additional travel brought us to San Francisco, a distance of six hundred miles. We passed through the grandest portion of the Sierra Nevada Mountains between midnight and dawn, but the moon was near its full, and the sky radiant with starlight; so that, by placing seats upon the platform of the cars, a fine view of this remarkable passage was obtained, characterized by deep cañons, wild gorges, lofty wooded peaks, and[Pg 8] precipitous declivities, under a most impressive aspect. A few specimens of native Indians were seen at Salt Lake City, who had come in from the hills to purchase trifles; but after leaving Ogden more or less of the Shoshones and Piute tribes were to be seen lounging in picturesque groups at nearly every railroad station. A few also traveled with us short distances in the baggage car, which is made free to them. The men were dirty, uncouth specimens of humanity, besmeared with yellow ochre and vermilion, dressed in red blankets, and bearing a hatchet in their hands, their only visible weapon. The women were dressed in tawdry colors,—striped government blankets and red flannel leggins, with a profusion of colored beads about their necks, and cheap jewelry on fingers and wrists; each one with an infant strapped in a flat basket to her back. They did not beg ostensibly, but were ready to receive trinkets, tobacco, pennies, or food. The women were very uncleanly in their appearance, their coarse long hair entirely uncared for, but they were good-natured and smiling, while the men wore a morose and frowning expression upon their countenances. War, whiskey, and exposure are gradually but surely blotting out the aborigines.

We were thus, without any special haste, but twelve days in crossing the American continent, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, on about the fortieth parallel of latitude, the trip having afforded us much quiet enjoyment and a great variety of bold and beautiful scenery, too near home and too familiar to our readers to dilate upon in these pages.

San Francisco, with its population of three hundred thousand, is a city of great commercial wealth, much[Pg 9] architectural pretension, and progressive ideas, affording the traveler the best and cheapest hotel accommodations in the world. As is well known, it owes its early impetus to the discovery of gold in 1848, but the product of the precious metal has long since been exceeded more than tenfold in intrinsic value by the agricultural development of the great Pacific region, which finds its shipping point through the Golden Gate. Though California still produces and sends out into the world at large an average of two millions of gold each month, still the shining ore is but a secondary consideration in her productiveness, and is also surpassed by her export of wine and fruit. Men who came here with the gold fever, between twenty and thirty years ago, gradually recovered from their unwholesome Aladdin-like dreams, and settled down to reap from agriculture and legitimate business surer and more permanent fortunes. The population which sought its gains in wild and lawless adventure, characterized by all the objectionable features of rude pioneer life, has gradually given place to one of a more stable nature, governed by a respect for the laws and the wise conventionalities of society. There lies a brilliant future before this section of the country, which in grand possibilities defies calculation; it has passed through its baptism of fire, and, let it be hoped, has burned out the dross which is incident to the too rapid growth of large communities.

The territorial importance of California will be most readily presented by a statement of the facts that, if it lay on the Atlantic shore, it would extend from Massachusetts to South Carolina; that it is about five times as large as the combined New [Pg 10]England States; and that it absolutely teems with gardens, vineyards, orange, apple, pear, and peach orchards, and vast grain fields. The climate presents most of the advantages of the tropics, with few of the drawbacks. Hot-houses for delicate plants are hardly needed in winter, and the fan-palm flourishes as it does at Singapore.

A visit to that part of San Francisco known as China Town revealed the fact that twenty thousand Chinese were here living in tenements which would be insufficient for three or four thousand Americans. They are clearly actuated by the same purpose as that indicated by the motto of the home Spaniard who leaves Madrid for Cuba: "Seven years of starvation and a fortune." The Chinaman hoards nearly all he receives, and in four or five years can return to his native land with a sum of money which, to him, is an assured independence. They are extremely unpopular with the citizens of all classes, and not without some good reasons, being naturally a filthy race, and in many ways specially offensive. It must not be understood that there are only Chinese washermen, laborers, and artisans in the city; there are also responsible merchants, brokers, and manufacturers belonging to that nationality, wielding considerable influence, both among their own people and the citizens at large. Every street in China Town has its joss-house or temple, and however low these Mongols are as a race, they never fail to give heed to their professed religion and its various forms. It is also a fact that crime is less frequent in China Town than it is in other parts of the city; and drunkenness, except insensibility from opium, is scarcely known among the Chinese in California.

[Pg 11]

Driving in and about the city, one is impressed by the manifest love of flowers exhibited in the front yards of the dwelling-houses, and in the pleasant gardens attached to suburban villas, as well as by the blooming plants displayed on the window-sills of the homes of all classes. The admirably chosen spot for a cemetery, on the rising ground behind the city, is also finely ornamented with choice trees and flowering shrubs, among which are pines, cypresses, Australian gum trees (evergreen), mimosas, and many other blooming plants, well arranged for good effect. The scarlet geranium here grows six and eight feet high, producing with its brilliant bloom a dazzling effect. The same drive which conducts to the cemetery, a little further on brought us to a most delightful public garden and park combined. Here were broad roads, as smooth and perfect as roads can be made; footpaths leading into inviting groves, beautiful lawns relieved by groups of graceful trees, lakes, and fountains, with several large ornamental conservatories for the most delicate exotics. The whole formed an exposition of landscape gardening of which any city might be proud.

A couple of miles beyond this noble park brought us to the Cliff House, a favorite resort of the people, situated on a high bluff of the Pacific coast and affording an ocean view only limited by the powers of the human vision. Looking due west, no land intervenes between this shore and the far-off coast of Japan, a distance of five thousand miles, which we were destined soon to traverse. Two hundred yards off the shore, just opposite the Cliff, a large rock rises from the sea some hundred feet or more, upon which scores of sea-lions come out of the water at all hours[Pg 12] of the day to sun themselves, affording a very peculiar and amusing sight. They are of all sizes, weighing from fifty to one thousand pounds, some of the old ones even exceeding this estimate, yet possessing a muscular power which enables them easily to climb the rough side of the precipitous rock. The half roar, half bark of the herd comes with harsh discordance upon the ear of the listener at the Cliff. The law of the State protects these sea-lions from all sorts of molestation; so here they quarrel among themselves furiously, suckle their young, tumble into the sea, and thrive and multiply.

In many respects San Francisco resembles a New England capital,—a very natural result when we remember that a large percentage of her people are natives of these Eastern States. She has copied the Boston school system almost exactly, and there are few of our oldest cities so well organized in this department of progress, though the city is but little over twenty years of age, dating from the time when she first came prominently into public notice. Girls and boys are not only afforded the most excellent educational advantages, but a spirit of emulation is successfully fostered among them, especially encouraging to the observant visitor. There is a high school for boys and one for girls, also a Normal school for the education of teachers. San Francisco has from the outset established a fixed reputation, by employing and liberally compensating the best pulpit talent to be had in the country.

Finding that the steamship in which we were to sail for Japan would be detained for the period of ten days, it was resolved to improve the time by a visit to the Yosemite Valley, involving a journey, in[Pg 13] the round trip, of over six hundred miles, a large portion of which is performed by coach. The time, trouble, and expense were, however, abundantly repaid by the experience gained among the wonderful developments of nature, as exhibited in Alpine scenery and the grandeur of forests which produce giant trees over three hundred feet in height and forty in diameter, and which are proven to be over thirteen centuries old. The cars took us to Madeira, a frontier station to which the broad grain fields of California already extend. From here, early next morning, we took a four-horse covered wagon to Coarse Gold Gulch to dine, and here we passed the night on our return, it being a ranch kept by a worthy German family. Though the accommodations were rather crude, ample satisfaction was assured by the cheerful service rendered and the cleanliness which characterized everything.

We reached Clark's Hotel, located at the foot of the mountains where the abrupt ascent begins, on the evening of the second day after leaving San Francisco. Early the next morning the journey was renewed, six horses now taking the place of four, which number, with frequent changes, had been quite sufficient on the previous day. The driver who now took us in charge was a large, fine specimen of the mulatto race, and certainly a very excellent whip, steady, and as strong as a Hercules. There are few positions which require more skill and vigilance than to safely drive a team of six horses and a coach full of passengers by the precipitous, winding road over the mountains intervening between Clark's and the level of the valley, to enter which a rise of over seven thousand feet must be achieved. Scarcely had[Pg 14] we fairly commenced the upward climb, when it was observed that we had left all signs of human habitation behind; and soon even fences disappeared, except about the coach company's ranches, where we stopped to change horses, in groves of sugar pine and yellow pine trees of great size and beauty. Here we were literally surrounded by Nature, which some quaint writer denominates God's Old Testament.

An austere and almost mournful air of loneliness surrounded us, as we crept higher and higher towards that ethereal blue canopy which hung over the loftiest peaks. All was silence save the rumbling noise of our conveyance; and when, as was the case at a sudden angle of the winding road, a large black bear was seen coolly sitting on his haunches, with listless hanging paws, looking at the stage and its contents, it did not seem at all strange, but quite in keeping with the solitary surroundings, though some of our horses did exhibit a little restlessness. The pistol-like crack of the driver's whip was an intimation to Bruin which he understood, for he slowly dropped into the thick brush and rolled awkwardly away from the roadside. The eye was never weary in detecting the natural architecture of the mountain acclivities, which, in the constantly varying scenery, formed amphitheatres like old Roman circuses, and now square battlemented crags, like crumbling castles on the Rhine, and again a deep, shady ravine of unknown depth, where lonely mist-wreaths rested like snowdrifts. In the far background were cliffs like oriental minarets, and balled rocks capped like the dome of St. Peter's.

There were often seen nestling beside the road, struggling for a precarious existence, frail wild flowers[Pg 15] of delicate shades, surrounded by vigorous ferns and creeping vines, showing that Nature has her poetic moods even among these deserted regions. Now we came upon a crystal stream of water, winding and fretting over a narrow bed of rocks on the mountain side, sparkling in the sunshine, as it formed tiny cascades, until presently it lost itself by an artificial culvert under the roadway; but even then it could be heard leaping and tumbling down the deep abyss on the other side. The horses were familiar with the road, and had confidence in the stout hand that guided them, or they would not have gone on at such a quiet, unconcerned, uniform gait, close beside abrupt gorges that would have destroyed us all as instantly as a stroke of lightning, were the wheels to diverge but a few inches from the track.

It was interesting to observe the species of trees which characterized the several elevations. At one thousand feet nut pines and oaks mingled gracefully together, but at another thousand gradually disappeared, giving place to the lofty yellow pines, added to which the sugar pine was found at three thousand feet, that in turn dying out at seven thousand feet. Next came the spruce, superbly developed, growing to a height of two hundred feet; then the white pine, the silver fir, and the arbor vitæ, all thriving luxuriously after their kind. Birds almost entirely disappeared at these altitudes, preferring the more genial warmth and life of the plains; but now and then an eagle, with broad spread pinions, swooped gracefully from the top of some lonely pine, and sailed, without a flutter of his wings, far away across the depth of the valley, and was soon lost to sight by the winding of the gorge. Even the presence of this proud and[Pg 16] peculiar bird but emphasized the loneliness of these silent heights.

After hours of upward struggle the crowning point was reached. The driver remarked, with a flourish of his whip: "It's all down hill from here;" soon after which we emerged from the forest road and came to the open plateau known to tourists as Inspiration Point. Here the first comprehensive view of the valley is obtained. We paused briefly to behold and to realize, as far as possible, such a scene as might never again be afforded us. Though we were now at an elevation of over seven thousand feet above the plains, the Yosemite Valley itself, from this point, was but about three thousand five hundred feet below us, into which we gazed with uninterrupted view. Running nearly due east and west, it looked small and circumscribed from this great height, but was really a gorge of about eight miles in length by two miles in width. On either side rose vertical cliffs of granite, varying from four to five thousand feet in height, the lofty gorges here and there discharging waterfalls of transparent beauty.

The precipitous mountains which wall in the valley are composed of seventeen distinctive formations, the loftiest of which is Mount Starr King, 5,600 feet in height; but the Three Brothers, with an average height of less than 4,000 feet, and Sentinel Dome, 4,500 feet, are quite as prominent, so far as the ordinary power of vision goes; while El Capitan, which is but 3,300 feet high, seems, from its special position, more striking and effective than the other three. From the gorges above and between the precipitous cliffs, eleven falls, of greater or less magnitude, come tumbling into the valley, the loftiest of which is [Pg 17]Sentinel Fall, 3,000 feet high. To our taste, the fall known as the Bridal Veil was the finest of them all in effect, though but a little over 600 feet in height, or say four times as high as Niagara. The lofty Yosemite Fall, over 2,600 feet, can be seen from the piazza of the hotel to good effect, where one can sit and watch the current of air, which sweeps up the valley, play fantastic tricks with the broad glittering sheet of flying water. No pen can adequately describe this scene, and no American who can possibly do so should fail to visit the spot. The abundant moisture of the locality and the vertical rays of the sun carpet the valley with a bright and uniform verdure, through the midst of which winds the swift flowing Merced River, altogether forming a scene of most entrancing beauty.

It was not until so late as 1851 that the feet of a white man ever trod the valley, which for years had proven the secure hiding-place of marauding Indians. In their early battles with the savages, the whites were often nonplussed by the sudden disappearance of their foes, who left no trace behind them, on which occasions, as was afterwards discovered, they fled to the nearly inaccessible Yosemite Valley. Betrayed at last by a treacherous Indian, the tribe was here surprised and nearly all destroyed; the few remaining warriors were only too glad to make terms at any sacrifice. The name Yosemite, in the native tongue, signifies "Great Grizzly Bear." There are few residents in the valley, except those connected with the stages that run hither during the summer months, and with the hotel kept for the accommodation of visitors. The vegetation is remarkable for its profuseness and almost tropical luxuriance. A few[Pg 18] domestic cattle find rich browsing and good winter quarters, but provisions must be laid in before the fall is over, the place being inaccessible in winter.

Our last view, on leaving the valley, was at the sheet of water already mentioned as the Bridal Veil, falling from such an immense height that it becomes in its course gauze-like, almost as thin as lace in appearance, notwithstanding its large body, which is evident enough when it reaches the rocky bed and joins the Merced, not far away. Around the base of the cliffs, promoted by the constant moisture, there was an abundant growth of vegetation and especially of ferns, of such size and variety as is seldom seen out of the tropics. An encampment of native Indians was located on the river's bank, under the shade of a grove of trees, adding to the picturesqueness of the scene during our visit. The fish and forest game close at hand afforded these aborigines ample food, besides which they had stored for winter use the acorn crop about them, which when ground makes good bread. They were sad looking creatures, far worse than the Spanish gypsies we afterwards saw in Andalusia. The Merced River, which winds through the valley, rises some twenty miles away towards the north, fed by the Yosemite Fall, a cataract unsurpassed in height by any other upon the globe. The vertical height of the fall is set down at 2,550 feet, though it is not composed of one perpendicular sheet of water. The reader will remember that the lands coming under the general term of the Yosemite Valley have been ceded by the National Government to the State of California, to be kept in its present wild and natural condition for all time. It must not be considered anticipatory,[Pg 19] in the course of these notes, to say that in no other part of the world have we seen the natural beauty and grandeur of the Yosemite Valley surpassed.

When we commenced our return from the valley, early in the morning, heavy clouds hung over the mountain tops, but there was no other indication of bad weather; so we started off and struggled upwards with a stout team of six horses, the gentlemen walking to lighten the load and expedite the ascent. At the close of the first hour's progress a chilliness in the atmosphere called for extra clothing for those who remained in the coach, and presently a thin mist enshrouded us, cutting off all distant view. Up, up we plodded, steadily but slowly, until the mist turned to rain and then to hail, sharp and cutting. By the time we had reached Inspiration Point we were in the midst of a lively snow-storm. This was not only disagreeable, but dangerous, as it rendered the road slippery and obliterated the wheel tracks; unless these were carefully adhered to, we might at any moment be launched into the ever-threatening abyss. It was late in the season to attempt the passage, and our party was cautioned as to the risk which was connected with the expedition. The regular stages having been taken off for the season, ours was an extra, improvised for the occasion. Suddenly it began to grow lighter; the dark clouds, like the Arabs, folded their tents, and silently stole away. The sun, the warm, bright, morning sun, shone forth in marvelous splendor.

What a scene then burst upon our vision!

Pine, and fir, and tall spruce, every tree and shrub, in place of leaves, had assumed a dress of milk white feathers. How dazzling it was. The eye could[Pg 20] hardly bear the strong reflected light. A forest of feathers! We had never seen this effect in such perfection before. And now the sun, kissing these feathery sprays with warmth and burning ardor, made them blush rosy red, like the cheeks of a young maiden pressed by amorous lips. The feathery robe of the branches was as frail as false modesty, and melted away like good resolutions under strong temptation, so that in half an hour the snow had entirely disappeared wherever the sun had discovered and visited it. The deep green of the uncovered foliage only sparkled with the dewy moisture that was left, as though dropping tears of shame at being thus denuded of their gauzy veil. Never shall we forget the varied and beautiful appearance of the foliage under these rapid changes. It was like a theatrical exhibition, where a nearly transparent scene dissolves before the eyes of the audience. The sky, before so dark and brooding, was now all smiles; the sun, after its dalliance with the foliage, seemed to have taken new life; and the atmosphere even became clear and transparent, as it had hardly been when we came up the other side of the mountain to enter the valley.

For a brief time the views were grand and far-reaching as we sped rapidly on our way, descending towards the plain. Undoubtedly it was safe enough, since accidents seldom happen; but it looked a little careless, to one not accustomed to the road, to come down its narrow winding course, just clearing such frightful chasms, drawn by a team of six horses at the full gallop. By degrees the weather changed again into a sombre mood; the clouds gathered in close array, and began to pelt us, first with hailstones, but, having apparently soon exhausted the supply,[Pg 21] were content to soak us with a deluge of water. But we only laughed at this, for had we not accomplished the Yosemite in spite of prognostications to the contrary, and the assurance that it was too late in the season to attempt it? We were rejoiced now that we had not heeded the stories about people who had, in former seasons, been "snowed in" for weeks. It was nearly night when we reached Clark's, and we were in just the condition to appreciate the big fireplace of the sitting-room piled with unsawed cordwood, by which we dried our dripping clothes and rehearsed our experiences.

It not only rained that night, but it poured so that on the following morning, when we started for the Mariposa Grove of Big Trees, twelve miles off our regular route, the query arose whether a boat or a wheeled vehicle was the best conveyance for the purpose. We will not attempt to give a detailed account of what has been so often and so well described. Suffice it to say we visited the locality famous for its forest monarchs, in a quiet glade, thousands of feet up the slopes of the Sierra, and viewed those marvels with none the less interest because we were already familiar with their actual measurement. Our entire team, stage, driver, passengers, and horses, passed through the upright hollow trunk of one of the mammoth trees, which, though sufficiently decayed to admit of this, was still possessed of such vitality as to cause it to bear leaves to the topmost branches, three hundred feet above the ground. Our attention was called to the curious fact, that although these are the largest known trees in the world, yet their cones are no bigger than walnuts, and their seeds hardly a quarter of an inch in length. There[Pg 22] are trees lying upon the ground in the immediate neighborhood, thrown down by tempests, which are believed to have been growing on the spot long before Christ first came upon earth, and others which are satisfactorily proven to have had thirteen hundred years' growth, by their clearly defined annual rings. How immense must have been the power required to uproot the huge trunks that lie here and there, like prostrate giants fallen in a confused fight. There are others, white with age, and bearing no leaves, but which still firmly retain their upright position, with outstretched skeleton arms defying the tempest.

We embarked on board the steamship Belgic, of the Occidental and Oriental line, from San Francisco, October 10, in a heavy rain storm, amid the usual bustle and commotion attendant upon the departure of a large passenger ship for a long voyage. Everything looked very cold, very dreary, and very damp, causing our spirits to partake of the same nature, when we realized that for three weeks or more this was to be our floating home. With space so circumscribed, ventilation was inadequate, and the cook's galley pungent. Finally the United States mail was passed on deck, the last loiterer was on board, the gangway was hauled on to the wharf by the stevedores; the engine gave three distressing whistles, not clear and sharp, but asthmatic ones, as though not having clearly made up its mind to whistle at all; the pilot took his station on the bridge, and the screw began to revolve. The bow-line was let go, so that the ship might swing by her stern hawser well clear of the wharf, then the order to let go the stern line was shouted, and we had literally bidden good-by to America for many a long month.

[Pg 23]

Presently, when we passed through the narrow strait known as the Golden Gate, and laid our course westward, we began to realize that five thousand miles of ocean flowed between us and the shore towards which we were steering. One is apt to have some serious reflections on such an occasion. What lay before us in the many thousand miles of land and ocean travel? What perils and experiences were to be encountered? Who could say that we should all, or indeed any of us, live to return to our several homes? At San Francisco our company was augmented by the addition of an Englishman, Mr. D——, of London, a stranger to us, but who came thither to join the party, making our number six in all.

Hundreds of large white sea-gulls hovered over and about the ship, as we lay our course due west. The harbor of Sail Francisco swarms with these marine birds, and a score of them followed the ship after the pilot left us. As we were watching them, an officer of the Belgic remarked: "They will follow us across the Pacific;" and certainly that number of sea-gulls actually appeared to do so, though whether they were always the same birds, it would be impossible to say. The flight of a sea-gull at times exceeds twenty miles an hour, while the Belgic, at her maximum speed, scarcely exceeded half that; and thus these swift-winged creatures often flew far ahead of the ship, but soon settled back again to watch our wake, from whence they got their food supply.

There were twenty-five cabin passengers, and about three hundred Chinese in the steerage. The latter were returning home after some years of labor and saving in this country, for few if any of them emigrate except with a fixed purpose of returning to the[Pg 24] Celestial Empire sooner or later. The purser of the ship informed us that there was not one of them who had not at least a thousand dollars in specie with him, and many had three times that amount, which would be sufficient to support them for life and without labor in their native land. The same authority assured us that it did not cost over ten cents a day each to feed these men, they being quite content with boiled rice, three times a day, seasoned with a little dried fish or curry. Their passage money costs them forty-five dollars each, including food, so there is a liberal margin for profit to the ship. A careful estimate was made which showed that these passengers were taking out of the country over half a million of dollars in specie, though they had landed on our shores without a dollar in their pockets, and the number returning by the Belgic was below the general average. This proved the complaint of the people of San Francisco to be correct so far as figures went, namely, that the Chinese came to take away what they earned, and that they do not spend any of their wages in this country, living on almost nothing and hoarding what they receive. Still, there is another side to this case. We must remember that they leave behind them the result of their labor at least, which in fact represents just so much capital. It is Chinese labor which has built the railroads of California, dug her canals, forwarded her public works, erected the houses of San Francisco, discharged and loaded her shipping, until she has grown up to her present high position in the political and commercial world.

Six of our cabin passengers were missionaries, four ladies and two gentlemen, bound to Japan and China; the rest were travelers intent upon business or [Pg 25]pleasure. Of these some were seriously prostrated by seasickness, and especially the ladies; but this finally passed away, the greatest sufferers being exempt from it during the last half of the voyage. The inevitable monotony of our daily life was somewhat oppressive, there being few events to vary it. Occasionally a whale was sighted, throwing up a small column of water, as it rose at intervals to the surface, and thus marking its course, leading the passengers to some discussion as to the nature of this monster of the deep, whether it was properly a fish at all. A whale can be as surely drowned in the water as a man, but this cannot be said of a fish. A whale differs also in many other respects from the finny tribe proper. They bring forth living young, they breathe atmospheric air through their lungs, in place of water through the gills, having a double heart and warm blood, like land animals. Their blow-holes on the top of the head answer to the nostrils of terrestrial animals. Many of these simple facts were quite new to some of our intelligent companions.

Flying-fish were frequently seen, queer little creatures with the nature of a fish and the ambition of a bird. Dolphins sometimes played round the ship for hours together, and a few hideous man-eating sharks kept in our wake day after day, as if they hoped for a stray victim to tumble from the decks and appease their cannibal appetites. The sea-gulls, already mentioned, with tireless pinions followed the ship thousands of miles to pick up the refuse from the cook's galley,—the mystery being how they could sustain such continuous flight, for though they were seen to light upon the water it was but for a moment, and they did not fail to keep up with the Belgic in her[Pg 26] steady headway. Save the objects named there was nothing to engage the eye except the endless expanse of waters, which seemed to typify infinite space. Our course did not lie in the track of commerce, nor did we sight ship or land from the hour we sank the shores of America until just three weeks later, when the picturesque coast-line of Japan appeared upon the horizon. It was a voyage of storms and calms combined, sometimes the ocean for days being like a small inland lake, and then again in its rage tossing our ship about as though she were a mere fishing skiff,—the waves often making a clean breach over the hull, thoroughly drenching everything and everybody who happened to be on deck.

Persons who have only witnessed a storm in narrow seas, or near the coast, would be surprised to realize the difference in the waves on the broad Pacific. The short, chopping sea is changed into long, heavy swells, covering the expanse of waters with vast parallels separated by deep valleys, the distance from crest to crest being from one hundred and fifty to two hundred feet, when a heavy gale prevails. The height of the waves is measured from the trough to the crest, and is of course conjecture, but in a continuous storm which we realized on board the Belgic was certainly some thirty feet. One aspect was to us an unsolved problem: the storm being on our starboard quarter was so nearly aft as to give us some idea of the velocity of the waves, which was clearly much greater than that of the ship's progress, and yet they increased the speed of the Belgic scarcely at all. That is to say, these waves exercised little if any propelling force, but seemed to pass under our keel, causing the hull to pitch and roll so that it was[Pg 27] quite impossible to stand without holding on to some substantial fixture. Old George Herbert, in his quaint way, advises people to praise the sea, but to keep on dry land.

Life on shipboard, as has been intimated, becomes a little trying after a week or ten days' experience. Tedium and monotony have a tendency to bring out the less amiable characteristics of passengers who are thus crowded together under peculiar circumstances. Even the most equable disposition is liable sometimes to exhibit weakness. Where there are many passengers thorough agreement becomes hardly possible. Hasty confidences and abrupt prejudices are both the outgrowth of such enforced association. Reading is a great and intelligent resort at sea, but do not let the student flatter himself that he will find time and opportunity for study. Sea-life is antagonistic to such an idea, and the best resolves in that direction will end in idleness and disappointment.

The crew, the waiters, and the cooks of the Belgic were all Chinamen, and it must be admitted that in each capacity the service rendered was excellent. It seems to be generally acknowledged that when a Chinaman knows what is required of him, he will faithfully perform the duty, and, entirely unlike most employees, does not need the watchful eye of a master constantly over him. The ship was well officered by Englishmen, was scrupulously neat and clean; there was no loud talk or reiterated orders in its management; the effective arm of discipline was felt but not seen. To observe the Chinese passengers was a source of some amusement. In fine weather they crowded the forward and lower deck aft, not being permitted to infringe upon the cabin-passengers'[Pg 28] deck. They squatted in picturesque groups round the hatchways much of the time, playing cards and dominoes for very small stakes of money. John is by nature a gambler, and cannot resist its fascination. The dull noxious smell that permeated their quarters at all times, in spite of enforced ventilation and the well-observed rules of the ship, was often wafted unpleasantly towards our cabins and deck, telling a significant story of the opium-pipe, and a certain uncleanliness of person peculiar to Africans and Mongolians. When the sea became rough and the ship labored with the storm, a visible anxiety was depicted on the Mongol faces as they gathered in groups and gave up all attempts at amusement. On such occasions they prepared pieces of joss-paper, bearing some Chinese characters, and cast them overboard to appease the presumed anger of the special gods who control the sea.

As we were losing one hour in each fifteen degrees of our course, or, to state it perhaps more clearly, in each thousand miles of progress westward, when half round the world from Greenwich twelve hours would be lost. It is therefore customary to drop a day in mid-ocean, which we did on crossing the hundred and eightieth degree of longitude west and east of Greenwich. When the traveler shall have reached Greenwich again on this course, the remaining twelve hours will be exhausted, and his time will agree with that of the starting-point. During the voyage two of the Chinese passengers died, and were embalmed by the surgeon of the ship. It is a conviction of these people that their soul cannot rest in peace unless their ashes be buried in their native land. When a Chinaman dies in a foreign country, sooner or later[Pg 29] his remains are carried home for interment. If only the bones are left, they are finally dug up and thus disposed of by surviving friends. This sort of cargo has formed no small source of profit to ships sailing west from San Francisco, bones and bodies being shipped like merchandise.

As we crept slowly at half speed into the harbor of Yokohama, among the merchant shipping, surrounded by a myriad of little shore-boats, steering in and out through the Russian, English, and Japanese men-of-war, the twilight was gradually approaching; and when we rounded to, three hundred yards from the shore, under the lee of the United States sloop-of-war Richmond and let go our anchor, she fired her evening gun. At the same moment her band, in recognition of the flag that floated from our topmast head, as we carried the American mail, poured forth the strains of the "Star-Spangled Banner" with a thrilling spirit which caused a quick and hearty cheer fore and aft the Belgic. Perhaps it is necessary for one to be thousands of miles from home, and to have just arrived in a foreign port from a long sea voyage, to fully appreciate this little incident.

[Pg 30]


Landing in Japan.—Characteristic Street Scenes.—Native Bazars.—Women of Yokohama.—Excursion into the Country.—Visit to Kamakura.—Peculiar Scenes on the Road.—A Wonderful Bronze Statue.—Popular Religions of the Country.—The Hakone Pass.—A Youthful Mother.—Native Jugglers.—Temple of Shiba.—Review of the Soldiery.—Ludicrous Sights.—A Native Fair at Tokio.—A Poor Japanese Woman's Prayer.

Passengers arriving at Yokohama are obliged to land in small boats, as there are no wharfs; and vessels, on account of shallow water, anchor half a mile off shore. A small steam-tug came for us, and we found very comfortable quarters at the Windsor Hotel, kept by an American,—a large, well-organized establishment. The housemaids were little Japanese men dressed in black tights, but very quick, intelligent, and desirous to please. The servants all spoke English; indeed it is the commercial language of the world, and there are few ports open to commerce where it does not form the basis of all business transactions. French is the polite or court language of many countries, and with these two tongues at command, one can get along easily in nearly any populous region of the globe.

When Commodore Perry, in 1854, cast anchor with his little fleet of American men-of-war in the harbor of Yokohama, it was scarcely more than a fishing village, but the population to-day must exceed a hundred and thirty thousand. The space formerly covered by rice fields and vegetable gardens is now[Pg 31] laid out in well-built, wide thoroughfares, smoothly macadamized and faultlessly clean and neat. The town extends along the shore, which is level, but is backed by a half-moon of low, well-wooded hills, among which are the private dwellings of the foreign residents, built after the European style, on the location known as the Bluff. The two principal hotels, the club-houses, and some consular business residences, are located on the water-front, a wide thoroughfare known as the Bund. A deep, broad canal surrounds the city, passing by the large warehouses and connecting with the bay at each end, is crossed in its course by half a dozen handsome bridges.

Ascending the bluff one gets a fine and extended view, embracing the city on one side and Jeddo Bay on the other, with a foreground composed of the harbor of Yokohama, where more or less shipping, representing foreign nations, is always to be seen. In the distant west, over seventy miles away, the white, cloud-like cone of Fujiyama can be clearly discerned, while close at hand are the charming, villa-like residences of the European settlers. Towards Mississippi Bay, as it is called, numerous native gardens are to be seen, with cultivated fields of millet, cotton, rice, and buckwheat. On getting nearer to them, one discovers sweet potatoes, egg-plants, and a queer vegetable called the daicum, of which great use is made by the people. It resembles an elongated turnip, is about as large round as one's wrist, and milk white. On the path leading round the base of the bluff were many pretty wild-flowers, among which the blooming trefoil and the harebell were seen intermingled with a large and handsome species of daisy. The starwort, a great favorite with the Japanese, was[Pg 32] met in abundance. It will be remembered that this flower forms part of the Mikado's arms. It was November, but the winter sleep of the flowers is brief here, and there are said to be no days in the year when a pretty bouquet may not be gathered in the open air. Ferns burst forth in abundance about the bluff, and so great is the variety, that of this special plant, one is constantly tempted to form a collection. Here and there among the undergrowth were patches of soft, pea-green moss, of a velvety texture, that no cunning of the loom can equal.

There is a smart, business-like aspect to everything in Yokohama; the impression upon the stranger is that he is in a wide-awake community. The first business of a traveler upon arriving in a new country is not to look up its history, nor to study its geography or political economy. He should be at least grounded in these already; he follows his natural instincts, guided by curiosity, shrewdly watching the out-door life about him, the dress of the people, the architecture of the houses, modes of conveyance, mechanical operations, the fruits, flowers, and shop-windows, and especially the manners of the women, their status as it regards treatment, occupation, and the respect accorded to them. Nothing is so sure a keynote or test of civilization and progress as this. We do not look to see women receive, even in Europe, much less in the East, such chivalric deference and respect as are shown to them in America, but the nearer any people imitate us in this respect, the more advanced will they be found in the other refined amenities of social life.

In this commercial capital of Japan everything struck us as curious, every fresh step afforded [Pg 33]increased novelty, every new sight was a revelation, while all about us were tangible representations of the impossible pictures of the cheap fans, the lacquered ware of commerce, and the school books. The partial nudity of men, women, and children, the extremely simple architecture of the dwelling-houses, the vegetation, the extraordinary salutations between the common people who met each other upon the streets, the trading booths or bazars, and the queer, toy-like articles which filled them, children flying kites in the shape of hideous yellow monsters, each subject became a fresh study. Men propelling vehicles like horses between the shafts, and trotting off at a six-mile pony gait while drawing after them one or two persons with ease, was at first a singular aspect to a stranger. So were the naked coolies, by fours, bearing heavy loads of merchandise swung from their shoulders upon stout bamboo poles, while they shouted a measured chant by which to keep step. No beggars were seen on the public streets, the people without exception seeming neat and clean in their remarkably scanty covering.

The houses were special examples of neatness and of toy-like size, being seldom more than twenty feet square. All persons, foreigners or natives, took off their shoes before entering upon their delicately-lacquered or polished floors. This we not only did out of respect to the universal custom of the country, but because one did not feel like treading upon those floors with nailed heels or soiled leather soles. The conviction was forced upon us that such universal neatness and cleanliness must extend even to the moral character of the people. A spirit of gentleness, industry, and thrift was observable everywhere,[Pg 34] imparting an Arcadian atmosphere. We saw at first no domestic animals except a tailless cat, with an attempt at that appendage, which was a decided and ignominious failure. These creatures were frequently tied to the house door like a dog, but for what purpose who can say? A cat confined after that fashion elsewhere would strangle itself directly. Later on we saw specimens of the curious lap-dogs of the country, so diminutive as to be quite remarkable, and which were highly prized, though one could see no beauty or attraction in their snub noses and big, bulging eyes. Great care is taken in the breeding of these oddities, which at their perfection are thoroughly useless. Some dwarfing process is employed, as they do not exceed ten inches in length when full grown.

Cows' milk is unknown among the natives, though the universal drink is tea without sugar, and by no means strong. The general food is rice and vegetables seasoned with dried fish, but no meats. Some domestic fowls were seen, not in abundance, and the eggs are used for domestic purposes. Doubtless the fowls are also eaten, but the average Japanese is satisfied with rice and vegetables, adding the inevitable cup of tea three or four times a day. Women carry their children lashed to their backs like American Indians, and thus encumbered perform field labor or domestic work, without seeming in the least to realize their double task. The elder children carry the younger ones in the same manner, going about their play with a load on their backs that would stagger a Yankee child. This we found to be a universal custom both in town and country, while the great multiplicity of young children was a constant subject of[Pg 35] surprise. The married women shave off their eyebrows and blacken their teeth as evidences of wifehood, the effect being hideous, which indeed is the wife's professed object; and, like the ancient Grecian ladies, they count their age from the time of marriage, not from the time of birth. The ideas of strangers as to the proprieties are sometimes severely outraged; but habit and custom make law, and men and women bathe promiscuously in the public baths,—notwithstanding which there is a spirit of delicacy and good breeding among them, in itself a species of Christianity. Windows are glazed with rice paper in place of glass, and the light is really but little impeded, though one cannot see through the paper, all of which circumstances fix themselves on the memory.

The pictures and authorities relative to Japanese life which one has accepted as authentic have not quite prepared the traveler for the facts and experiences which crowd upon him, when among this very interesting race. The actual embodiment of the people, their manners and customs, together with the local surroundings, are all so different from the preconceived ideal, that everything comes with the force of a surprise. Figure, physiognomy, costume, nudity,—one is not quite prepared for anything; all is like a fresh revelation. Once brought face to face with Japanese life, our fabric of anticipation tumbles to pieces like a house of cards. Everything is unique. There is no criterion for comparison. Nothing but personal observation quite reconciles one with the manners and customs of a race, powerfully individualized by the isolation of centuries. The generally accepted idea that the Japanese resemble the Chinese in their lives and habits is entirely [Pg 36]erroneous, the marked differences between them extend into all the relations of life. Especially is this the case as to courtesy and civility, qualities which cost nothing, but which buy everything.

A visit to the curiosity bazars, or curio-shops, as they are called, is one of the first excursions of the newly-arrived tourist. The Japanese have quickly discovered to what European and American tastes run, and they can manufacture antiquities as rapidly as purchasers can be found. In the line of antique bronzes they especially excel; and as to old china, from four to five centuries of age, it is now turned out by the wheelbarrow load daily at Yokohama, from half-a-dozen establishments. Of course there are some genuine pieces, though rare, and the prices charged for such are almost prohibitory. Well made, substantial lacquered ware takes the place of nearly all other for domestic utensils. China and glass are far too brittle and perishable for common use among the people. When strangers appear, the china is produced, and the universal tea served in it.

There are two streets in Yokohama known as Honcho-dori and Benten-dori, where the stranger will find an extensive collection of bricabrac, as well as other fine goods. It is amusing to examine the old spears, swords, daggers, bronzes, and astoundingly ugly carved idols. There are stores also devoted to lacquer, china, porcelain, and satsuma ware, not ancient, but choice, elegant and new patterns, far more desirable to our taste than the cracked and awkward specimens held at prices equal to their weight in gold. The former speak for themselves, the latter can be and are constantly imitated. The reason that so many swords and daggers are for sale, and at prices[Pg 37] for which it would be impossible to manufacture them, is because the army has discarded the native weapons and adopted European arms. So the junk-dealers and curio-shops have the former supply of the army. The Japanese sword is remarkably well tempered, and will cut through a copper penny without turning its keen edge, this being the usual test of its quality. In these streets there are also some fine silk and lace stores, with many choice articles of ladies' wear, embracing very fine specimens of native silk industry. The Japanese trader has got the trick of asking twice as much as he is willing finally to take for his goods, but there are also some of these establishments where the one price system is honestly observed. As a rule, however, all through the cities, the price at first asked for an article need not be taken by the purchaser as any real criterion of its value. Strangers would do well to engage the services of a resident whom they can trust, when they go upon a shopping expedition; otherwise the result of their bargains will probably be anything but satisfactory, when the goods are received at home and prices considered. All buying and selling in the East seems to be a sort of warfare, where each party endeavors to take advantage of the other. In China it is much more so than in Japan. Main Street, as the name indicates, is the principal thoroughfare, quite Europeanized, mostly improved for stores and offices, and containing at the northwest end the town hall, telegraph and post offices.

A ride in a jinrikisha, a small man-propelled chaise, afforded us other agreeable surprises. The loveliness of the hills and valleys, so delicate and diminutive compared with our late Yosemite experience,[Pg 38] seemed more like fairy land than reality, making one crave the pencil of an artist to depict them. In little plots adjoining the small, frail native houses, various cultivated flowers were observed, among which chrysanthemums and occasionally roses were to be seen; also a species of fuchsia, bearing a bell-like blue and scarlet flower. The foliage of the trees, and especially of the feathery bamboo groves, was very beautiful, while the specimens of the various pines, yews, and arbor vitæ were many of them odd and new to us. The leaves and minor branches of the pines seemed to emulate the alphabetical characters of the Japanese language, growing up, down, and inward, after their own eccentric will. The tea fields, mostly located upon side hills with favorable exposures, were in full bloom, looking as though there had been a fall of snow, and the flakes still rested on the delicate tips and branches. Far away and all around were yellow rice fields, heavy with the milk-white grain, the broad acres undulating gracefully beneath the pressure of the passing breezes. The abundant wild flowers were vivid in color and fantastic in shape, nearly all unknown to us, save now and then an azalea, an iris, or some single-leaved representative of the rose family.

In the houses which we entered—all are open; there are no fastenings upon dwelling-houses in Japan—we found neither chairs nor tables, the people all sitting, eating, and sleeping upon the floors, which were as neat and clean as a newly-laid table-cloth. The humility and deference of all classes was quite disconcerting, for when we entered or departed from a house, the host, hostess, and children bowed their heads until their foreheads touched the floor. [Pg 39]Japanese women, both in features and general appearance, are far from prepossessing, but we were told there were marked exceptions among the people of rank. The exclusiveness and debased condition of the sex produces a shyness and diffidence very prejudicial to their appreciation by strangers. The eyes of the women, though elongated, are not nearly so much so as those of the Chinese, the features being more open in expression, and devoid of a certain cunning almost always observable in the face of a Chinese woman.

Japanese women give the greatest attention to dressing their ebon-black hair. None are so poor or humble as to forget this inexpensive ornamentation. Nature has endowed them with a profusion of covering for the head, and they wear no other. It is not very fine, to be sure, but always black as ink, long and heavy, and when arranged in their peculiar style, with broad-spread puffs, like old-fashioned bow-knots, it forms a very striking exhibition of head-gear, shining with oil and sparkling with flashy hair-pins. When once disposed to the wearer's satisfaction, the hair is not disturbed for several days, and is almost the only evidence of personal vanity which they exhibit, as they wear no other ornaments in the form of jewelry. The pillow of which they make use at night, when sleeping, is calculated to preserve the well-greased and plastered tresses in good order, being nothing more nor less than a curved piece of wood upon which the neck rests rather than the head and frightfully suggestive of an execution block.

Here and there, upon the roadside, shrines and holy niches were often observed, approached generally by a flight of stone steps, on a hill-side, looking[Pg 40] very old and moss-grown. Upon these were placed consecrated idols, or religious emblems of peculiar character, calculated in our uninitiated eyes to provoke mirth rather than reverence. The principal object was usually a sitting figure in stone, wood, or metal, gilded, and more remarkable for contortion of features, multiplicity of arms, and obesity of body, than for any other characteristic, visible or symbolical. Fertility of soil was manifest everywhere, each square foot of earth bearing its tribute of rice, millet, or vegetables, the rice crop predominating. The fertilizing process is strictly observed and appreciated here, being the enrichment of the soil almost universally applied in liquid form.

A trip to Kamakura, fifteen or eighteen miles from Yokohama, and near where is located the wonderful statue of Dai-Butsu, was one affording much satisfaction. We traveled by jinrikishas, the men drawing us thither, one passenger in each vehicle, in three hours and a half, and back again towards night in the same length of time. The road is mostly located along the sea-coast, or rather in sight of it, so that in many places the ocean comes in to give additional interest and beauty to the scenery of green valleys, well-wooded hills, and richly tilled land, Fujiyama, the one volcanic mountain of Japan, nearly always in sight. Rarely is such rich and varied vegetation to be seen, combined with beautiful outlines of hill-side and mountain top, here covered with an infinite variety of firs. The ancient town of Kamakura was once the political capital of the country, but is now composed of only a few straggling tea-houses or small inns, and half a dozen native dwellings. Here is the famous and deeply interesting Shinto temple of[Pg 41] Hachiman, one of the deified heroes of Japan. Some of the trees which cluster about it are a thousand years old; while within the structure are historical emblems, rich, rare, and equally old, composed of warlike implements, sovereign's gifts, ecclesiastical relics, bronzes of priceless value, and the like. Time consecrates; and what is gray with age becomes religious, says Schiller. The temple is built upon a lofty plateau, reached by climbing many broad stone steps, slippery, moss-grown, and of centuries in age. Here was pointed out a fine, lofty specimen of the umbrella tree, of the pine family, with broad leaves of a deep green. The general form was conical, with branches and leaves so dense as to hide the stem.

Less than two miles from this temple is situated the great Buddha image, composed of gold, silver, and copper, forming a bronze figure of great size, nearly sixty feet in height, within which a hundred persons may stand together, the interior being fitted as a small chapel. A vast number of little scraps of paper, bearing Japanese characters, fluttered from the interior walls of the image, plastered there by pious pilgrims as prayers to the presiding deity. As the door was opened for us to enter and was closed again, these scraps rustled in the agitated atmosphere like an army of white bats, producing a puzzling effect until our eyes became accustomed to the dim light, and the cause was apparent.

This famous and sacred figure is certainly as remarkable as the Sphinx, which so gloomily presides over the sandy desert lying at the feet of the great Pyramids. As a work of art, perhaps its only merit consists in the calm dignity of expression and repose of features which are so colossal. It is many [Pg 42]centuries old,—certainly six hundred years; and how such an enormous amount of bronze metal was ever cast, or how set up in such perfect shape when finished, no one can say. We are told that it was formerly covered by a temple, long since mouldered to dust; but it is certainly none the less effective and impressive, as it now sits surrounded by the natural scenery and the thick woods. Were not the groves God's first temples? Guide-books have not yet invaded the far East, or we should be told how many square inches of bronze is contained in the Dai-Butsu figure, and how many ounces it weighs; statistics concerning which we felt a most sublime indifference, while we gazed upon its combined and wonderful effect.

The glorious old temple of Hachiman, already spoken of, is a sort of Japanese Mecca for pilgrims from all parts of the country; though when we were there, wandering among its lofty and sacred groves, wending our way over its well-worn stone steps and causeways, by its lotus-ponds and heavy-eaved shrines, there were no other visitors. A strangely solemn silence impressed us, until our very voices seemed to be echoed back with a mysterious significance. The shaded and pleasant paths are kept in perfect order, swept clear of every falling leaf or broken twig, showing that care and a sense of responsibility is not wanting. Although these temples are built of wood, so carefully have they been kept, they appear as fresh and bright to-day as though a single decade only had passed since they were finished, instead of a thousand years. A large body of priests reside upon the spot, and are in constant attendance, supported by the offerings of the semi-annual pilgrims who come from the south in large bodies, as[Pg 43] well as by the contributions of devout visitors from neighboring cities.

It is well to mention in this connection that the prevailing religions of Japan are Shinto and Buddhism, each, however, being sub-divided into many sects. The Shinto may be said to be indigenous to the country, and is also the official religion, being largely a form of hero worship; successful warriors are canonized as martyrs are in the Roman Catholic church. The Buddhist faith is borrowed from the Chinese, and was introduced about the sixth century. There may be any diversity of creeds among a people, extending even to idolatry. Creeds never came from heaven, but morality is the same in Christian or heathen lands, because it is of God. It is singular that two nations located so near to each other, both of Asiatic race, and with so many important features in common, should have for two thousand years maintained a policy of entire isolation towards each other, though they are now good friends as well as neighbors. This is more remarkable when we remember that a thousand years before the Japanese borrowed from China their written characters, religion, and philosophy. As to the language of Japan, it is composed, as popularly written, of the Chinese and Japanese combined,—the fifty Chinese characters being so intimately interwoven with the original Japanese as to form a medley of the two. Modern authors freely use both in the same sentences, and indeed the characters of both languages often appear in the same line.

It is rather deductions than detail which we propose to record in these pages, and though many excursions were made, a minute description of them[Pg 44] would prove tedious. Places were pointed out to us here and there, where large and populous cities once stood in eligible spots, but where no ruins marked the place. A dead and buried city in Europe, or even in India, leaves rude but almost indestructible remains to mark where great communities once built temples and monuments, and lived and thrived, like those examples of mutability, Memphis, Pæstum, Cumæ, or Delhi, but not so in Japan. At first it seemed strange that a locality where half a million of people had made their homes within the period of a century should now present the aspect only of fertile fields of grain. But when it is remembered of what ephemeral material the natives build their dwellings, namely, of light, thin wood and paper, utter disappearance ceases to be a surprise. It is a curious fact that this people, contemporary with Greece and Rome at their zenith, who have only reared cities of wood and temples of lacquer, have outlived the classic nations whose half-ruined monuments are our choicest models. The Hellenic and Latin races have passed away, but Japan still remains without a dynastic change and with an inviolate country.

One of our excursions carried us to the Hakone Pass. Miyanoshita is a little hamlet, lost as it were among the hills, yet famous for its beautiful scenery and natural hot-baths, accessible only by a difficult mountain-pass which, having become belated, we ascended by torch-light. It proved to be quite a climb, especially under the adverse circumstances of a heavy rain, which impeded the narrow path with miniature torrents; but with the advent of a clear, bright morning which followed, we looked back upon the long, laborious, and even painful struggle up the steep and[Pg 45] narrow defile, as a mere episode to heighten after enjoyment, and so it seems now in the memory. Happy the provision of nature which leads us to recall more vividly the sunshine than the shadows of our experience!

Miyanoshita is a very lovely spot, a picture of complete isolation and repose. Here a good hotel, almost American in its excellence and comfort, is to be found, replete with cleanliness, and surrounded by ornamental grounds after the Japanese style. There were rockeries, over which tumbled mountain rivulets; ponds with gigantic gold and silver fish, which seemed to be always hungry and inclined to breed a famine by eating any amount of bread; pretty miniature bridges spanned water-ways and formed foot-paths about the grounds. There were novel flowering plants, and some remarkable specimens of dwarf trees, over which the natives expend endless care and labor, together with examples of curious variegated leaves, one of which had zigzag golden stripes upon a dark green base. This hotel among the mountains was two stories high, an unusual thing for a Japanese house; but it had only rice-paper windows, and thin sliding panels in place of doors or partitions. If desired, a whole story could be thrown into one apartment, or subdivided at pleasure into cozy little sleeping-rooms. All material, all food, was brought hither up that pitiless path on the backs of mountaineers. People who do not feel able, or who are not inclined to go up the pass on foot, are carried up in kagos, as was the case with two of our little party. The kago is a sort of palanquin borne on the shoulders of four stout men, the path being impracticable even for mules; but were it less steep and wider, the Japanese have no mules.

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When we came down that five-mile reach by daylight, we saw and realized all the beauties which had been hidden from us under the inky cloak of night during the toiling ascent. The scenery was lovely, sometimes grand, often fantastic; and for the first time we heard the clear ringing notes of the little Japanese nightingale. Watching the exquisitely feathered bamboos in green clusters, camellias on trees thirty feet high, the tall, slim, but graceful pines, the rocks fringed with lichens and mosses, mingled with the rarest of ferns, fresh and bright after the rain, kept the eye busy with delight. Now and then we gathered the delicate maiden-hair ferns for a backing, and made bouquets from the white, blue, and pink wild flowers that bloomed by the wayside. They were not fragrant, though among them were blue-eyed violets, but they were beautiful as they were frail. Deep gorges lined the way, here and there relieved by sunny slopes of soft, bright green; while the music of a tumbling cascade, hidden by the dense wood, occasionally fell upon the ear. The sweet morning air was both a physical and mental tonic. All was so enjoyable, so inspiring, that the ladies broke forth in carols like the very birds among the branches.

After reaching the foot of the mountain we found our jinrikisha men, each with his little chaise, ready to trot off for Yokohama, about thirty-five miles distant. Along the road, as we progressed, evidences met the eye of fine agricultural results; the fields and meadows were cultivated to the highest point, entirely by hand. No plows are used; every foot of the soil is spaded by men and women. We were told that it was rather late in the season for the [Pg 47]cotton to remain unharvested, but the thrifty fields showed us an abundant crop of the yellow-white vegetable fleece, in little balls like Marshal Niel roses. The absence of domestic cattle was conspicuous. A few cows and sheep, browsing here and there, would have completed a delightful picture of rural life. Occasionally, when the men stopped at a wayside tea-house for a cup of their simple beverage, the only stimulant or refreshment they desired, we walked on in advance of them, observing the snowy head of Fujiyama, the pride of Japan, and which every native artist is sure to introduce into his pictures, no matter where located.

As we passed near a humble cottage, a youthful mother was observed at play with her little nude, brown baby. It lay upon its back on the green sward with wild flowers clutched in either tiny fist, itself only a blossom of humanity, crowing and laughing at its mother's pranks, as she kneeled over it. It was difficult to say which exhibited the more pleasure in the occupation. The Japanese become mothers frequently at fourteen, and here was one who was certainly no older, as brown and nearly as naked as her baby. We had surprised her at this maternal game, and she rose to her feet folding her hands before her, while looking half abashed at the passing strangers. It was a pretty tableau.

As we dashed over the smooth road at a lively pace the glowing sunset painted scarlet the white turbaned head of the distant mountain, while it bronzed and gilded the clouds in the west. Opal fires burned all over the sky, as the twilight threw its amber hues about us, and presently the men halted, each taking out a funny little painted paper[Pg 48] lantern from under the seat, and lighted a candle inside of it, which they hung on the end of the shafts. We went on then along the narrow way in a procession of six jinrikishas, the men on the full jump; for the approaching lights of the city inspired them to extra exertion, and they shouted cries of encouragement and emulation to each other, and pressed forward with increased speed. Altogether it was a very characteristic scene, as we rolled into Yokohama at a mad gallop that night, returning from the Hakone Pass.

As a rule, one has little patience with the foreign jugglers who annoy and importune travelers to witness performances of snake-charming, sleight of hand, and deceptive tricks generally, to the sound of a fife and drum, but we witnessed one exhibition at Yokohama in the open air, which was remarkable, not for any mystery about it, but as showing to what degree of adroitness and skill the human hands may be trained by patient practice. The performer was a middle-aged man who had just closed a series of the stereotyped tricks before the British Consulate. It was a new exhibition to us, though one that is well known, and which we saw indifferently imitated afterwards in China. As has been said it was out-of-doors, but the air was perfectly still. The performer took a sheet of thin white paper, and tearing it so as to obtain two small square bits, each an inch and a half in size, he rapidly twisted them so as to rudely represent butterflies, and tossed them into the air. Instantly drawing a fan from his girdle and spreading it, he kept them suspended by its action in so remarkable a manner that it seemed as though they must possess individual vitality. They were not[Pg 49] permitted to separate any great distance from each other, but the delicate force of the fan was so scientifically applied as to guide them sometimes from, and sometimes towards each other, now fluttering aloft as though pursuing some object, then turning together as in a loving embrace, and again separating, so that it was a marvel how the same hand could impart the dual motion. Presently they were made to light upon an object close at hand, the arm of one of the group of spectators, then dexterously to rise again. But, most difficult of all, they would rest for an instant on the tip of the fan itself, until promptly aided by the performer's breath, the bits of paper were again launched into the air to go on with their gyrations. The adroit performer never for one moment took his eyes off the artificial insects: it would have broken the charm at once. In using the fan, the juggler seemed scarcely to exert the muscles of the arm at all. The effort came from the wrist, as an adroit swordsman handles his weapon. Years of patient practice must have been required to enable that man to impart vitality to bits of paper in such an extraordinary manner.

Tokio, the political capital of Japan, is situated about twenty miles from Yokohama, and November 3d, being the Mikado's birthday, we went thither to see him review the local troops. A large field near the citadel was chosen for the display, and all Tokio turned out to witness it, forming about as conglomerate a mass of humanity as can be conceived of; brilliant in its array of brightly dressed and painted women, not ladies, for Tokio, like Paris, has its demi-monde. The number of babies present was amazing. There were young mothers with their infants strapped[Pg 50] to their backs, and old women with their grandchildren fastened to theirs. Each young boy and girl of nine or ten years had a baby brother or sister secured to his or her back, and there were men with babies in their arms, though this is unusual in Japan. The infantry among the spectators outnumbered the infantry in the field. No matter where one goes, on the coast or inland, the extraordinary number of young children forms a marked feature.

There were about five thousand men in line, representing the several arms of the service, all dressed in European costume, and mostly officered by foreigners. The Mikado reviewed the troops on horseback in due form, and made a very good appearance accompanied by a well-appointed suite. The military display, being conducted upon imported ideas, was very like such a ceremony in America, save that the cavalry was small in numbers, riding upon the merest caricatures of horses,—ponies about the size of Newfoundland dogs; but what they lacked in size they made up in viciousness, so that it was about all the gallant cavalry could do to keep in their saddles. Indeed, many of them came to grief, spread out like galvanized bullfrogs upon the greensward, while their horses scampered off the field.

Tokio must contain over half a million of people. There is said to be over a million, but this may be doubted, though geographically it covers more ground than London. It is well laid out, with broad streets and good roads, and has a thorough police arrangement, having adopted numerous European and American ideas. The city is intersected by many canals and river courses, one bridge especially attracting our attention, the Bridge of Japan, which is to this [Pg 51]country what the golden mile-stone was in the Forum at Rome: all distances throughout the empire are measured from it. The review having taken place in the early morning, we had a large portion of the day to visit places of interest in the town. Among these was the renowned temple of Shiba, which is over six centuries in age, composed of numerous kiosk-like buildings, looking more like immense lacquered jewel cases than anything else. There are many broad walks and courts, and stone pillars for lanterns, lofty trees and sacred tombs, for here lie buried most of the by-gone Tycoons. The temple portion of this vast space contains a great amount of gold, silver, bronze, and carved articles, the intrinsic value of which aggregates millions of dollars. Where could such an accumulation of wealth come from? History knows nothing of the importation of the precious metals, though it is true they are found in more or less abundance all over the country. Copper of the best and purest quality is a native product, the exportation of which is prohibited, and mining for the precious metals is carried on to but a very limited extent. The temple of Shiba is located near the centre of the population, occupying many acres of ground, walled in and shaded by a thick growth of trees, whose branches are black with thousands of undisturbed rooks and pigeons. The principal characteristic of the architecture is its boldness of relief, overhanging roofs, heavy brackets and carvings. The doors are of bronze, in bas-relief.

After visiting the temple of Shiba we took jinrikishas to that section of the suburbs known as Atago-Yama, a hill from which we were promised a fine view of the city. Here a steep flight of a hundred stone[Pg 52] steps were ascended, which led to the summit, where were found some tea-booths, tended by fancifully dressed Japanese girls, and a small temple with sacred birds and horses. The temple required a strong effort of the imagination to invest it with the least interest, but the view from this point was fine. A couple of miles southeasterly was the broad, glistening Bay of Tokio, and round the other points of the compass was the imperial city itself, covering a plain of some eight miles square, divided by water-ways, bridges, and clumps of graceful trees, looming conspicuously above the low dwellings. The whole was as level as a checker-board, but yet there was relief to the picture in the fine open gardens, the high, peaked gable roofs of the temples, and the broad, white roadways.

At a subsequent visit to the city we attended a fair held in the grounds surrounding one of the many temples of Tokio, giving it a half-secular, half-religious character; but the whole exhibition, as to any coherent purpose, was quite incomprehensible to a foreigner. Enormous paper lanterns covered with blue and yellow dragons, and other impossible creatures, with small bodies and big heads, hung over the grounds in all directions. We were told that these would be lighted at night, and glaring fire would be seen coming out of the eyes of these dragons! The temple was gaudily decorated for the occasion with bold and vulgar caricatures, mingled most incongruously, the sacred with the profane. The priests were propitiating the idols inside the temple with drums, fifes, and horns, while the pleasure and trading booths were doing a thriving business outside. The confusion was very great all over the crowded inclosure.[Pg 53] Old and young men were flying kites, some were shooting at a mark with bows and arrows, and some were beating tom-toms vigorously.

There was a show of wax figures in one of the booths, illustrating a terrible murder, and another of figures constructed of flowers, similar to immortelles. These last were certainly curious, and with swords and spears placed in their hands were supposed to represent warriors of the bravest type. Japanese art has much of the Chinese element in it, and is apt to culminate in dragons with half human countenances. There were a number of these graceful beings in the show. There were also inclosures where dwarf trees in pots were exhibited, some actually bearing natural sized fruit, like a baby with a man's hat on its head; beside these were singular specimens of blooming plants. In another inclosure were strange birds: green pigeons, Chinese pheasants, and parrots that looked artificially painted, so very odd was their plumage. There were cakes, candy, and fruit for sale, and men, women, and children devouring them.

In another department near at hand, there was exhibited china ware and Japanese toys and curiosities, and our party "invested." The guide could not make us understand what all this meant, but it was a "fair," that was plain enough, and he gave it the English name. The natives were very much in earnest, and worked hard to achieve a good time. At such an exhibition and miscellaneous out-door gathering nearly anywhere else there would have been sure to be many individuals present more or less under the influence of spirituous liquors, and a squad of policemen would naturally be in attendance. Here there was not the least evidence of inebriety[Pg 54] or of quarrelsomeness, and certainly no police were present. There was a child-like satisfaction depicted on the faces of the crowd, showing that the people were very easily controlled and amused.

As we stood watching this gay and singular scene, a sad-faced Japanese woman, of a youthful figure, passed up to the temple, without heeding any one of the crowd about her, and pinned a small scrap of paper on one side of the altar, among many other similar tokens. Then we wondered what her prayer might be, as she retired quietly from the spot. Was it a petition for forgiveness of sins, or asking consolation for some great bereavement? Be it what it might, tendered sincerely, though in that blind and simple form, it doubtless won as certain response as the formal devotion of the most pronounced Christian.

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Foreign Influence in Japan.—Progress of the People.—Traveling Inland.—Fertility of the Soil.—Grand Temples and Shrines at Nikko.—The Left-Handed Artist.—Japanese Art—City of Kobé.—Kioto and its Temples.—Idol Worship.—Native Amusements.—Morals in Japan.—Lake Biwa.—Osaka on a Gala Day.—The Inland Sea.—Island of Pappenburg.—The Tarpeian Rock of Japan.—Nagasaki.—Girls Coaling a Ship.—National Products.

Realizing the obtuseness of the Japanese in all matters relating to religion, it seems strange that the national government permits our missionaries, and those from other Christian countries, such free scope, even employing them to educate classes in English, formed of the young men of the country. Some writers have lately spoken of an organized persecution of Christians as existing in Japan to-day. This we cannot absolutely controvert, but it was a subject of inquiry with us in different sections of the country, and an entirely different conclusion was the result of all we could learn. There can be no doubt that an inclination to conform to the American model in government and habits of life is rapidly growing in Japan. Every returning youth who has been educated in the United States, or even in Europe, where many are sent for the purpose, becomes on his return an active agent to this end.

It is especially observed that these youths come back wearing the American costume, and they continue to do so, rather priding themselves upon it as a[Pg 56] mark of self-respect and distinction. A very earnest desire to acquire the English language is evinced by the middling classes especially in the sea-ports. Yet it is an open question with not a few intelligent people of Yokohama, where we heard the subject freely discussed, whether foreign commerce and foreign intercourse, all things considered, have been of any real advantage thus far to Japan. Trade has broken in upon the quiet habits of a people who were living in great simplicity, and has excited desires and artificial wants heretofore unknown to them. It has made the cost of living much greater, and a spirit of unrest universal, without elevating or improving the people to any appreciable extent. All this in a certain degree is undoubtedly true. At present the common classes are satisfied with the most moderate compensation for their services, and living, lodging, and transportation are cheap enough. As the Japanese become better acquainted with foreign taste and extravagance they will undoubtedly become contaminated and grow extortionate.

A pleasant excursion of a hundred miles inland, with Nikko as the objective point, enabled us to get some idea of posting with Japanese ponies, which are the most nervous and vicious little creatures of their species upon the face of the globe. One little rogue required six men to harness him, and then was dragged forward by his mate for a long distance. The driver, however, finally got the animal into a run, and kept him at that pace until the close of the stage, and another change took place. The fact is, a horse, on the dead run, has not much time to be vicious, but is obliged to go straight ahead by the simple force of circumstances.

[Pg 57]

Two thirds of the national road between Tokio and Nikko is lined on either side by large and ancient cedars, so thickly set that both body and roots, in many instances, have mingled and become one. These trees, completely overarching the narrow road, form a welcome shade, and are also very ornamental, with their straight shafts and thick foliage. The first half of the distance to Nikko is perfectly level, in fact one vast rice field. The journey was divided by stopping at Utsonomiga, where we passed the night in a native tea-house. Our sleeping arrangements were very simple. A Japanese bed consists of a thin cotton mattress spread upon the floor, and a similar article with big sleeves for the arms, which forms the covering. The pillow is a block of wood, for which the experienced traveler usually substitutes his valise. There is not much privacy afforded by the paper screens which divide the several apartments, and which prove to be no obstacle to conversation, if one desires a colloquy with his neighbor. Our night-lamp was a floating wick, in a cup of cocoanut oil, placed in a square paper lantern on legs. The morning toilet was made at a basin of water in the open court-yard. There are no chairs, tables, or wash-stands, unless you improvise them. However, we had a very good night's rest, and started off bright and early in the morning for Nikko.

One is impressed with the manifest fertility of the soil and the high cultivation it receives at the hands of the farmers; and this must be characteristic of a country which, as is shown by government statistics, with but eleven millions of acres under cultivation, feeds and clothes thirty-five millions of people; besides there are twenty-five million pounds of tea,[Pg 58] three million pounds of raw silk, and thirty-five million pounds of rice exported annually. The population must constantly be on the increase. All along this finely shaded road neat farm-houses were to be seen, but no domestic cattle. Rows of tea-houses were frequently in sight, extending occasionally into a village or town of considerable dimensions, and filled with an active population. The tea-houses, as well as the shops and dwelling-houses, were all open, exposing each domestic arrangement to the public. The floors of these country houses are slightly raised from the ground, say one step, and covered with neat straw carpeting, upon which the family and visitors "squat" and take their refreshments.

The people in the places through which we passed were a little curious at our appearance, but offered no real annoyance. Many were engaged in mechanical pursuits, but were working after what appeared a most awkward fashion, their tools being simple and of little variety; while as to machinery wherewith to facilitate hand-labor, the Japanese seem to have no more idea of it than does a South Sea Islander. Many of the people make the raising of silk-worms and silk winding a source of livelihood. In the rear of some houses were seen little mulberry orchards, and spread out by the roadside, upon mats, were thousands of cocoons in the warm sunshine. Women were frequently seen outside the houses spinning the silk and winding the thread. Though silk raising is so large and important an industry in Japan, the winding of the material is still performed in the most laborious and primitive manner. Grain was being winnowed, as we drove along, by the simple process[Pg 59] of passing it from hand to hand, this being done by the women, who also separated the rice from the stalks, drawing it by the handful through fixed upright wooden teeth, placed close together. Nothing could be more primitive.

We had read of Japanese intemperance in the use of saki, a spirit distilled from rice; but during the time we were in the country, one person only was seen under the influence of intoxication, and who was observed on the road during this trip inland. Intemperance cannot be common among the populace, or it would be more obvious. One may see more drunkenness among the common people of American cities in ten minutes than in ten weeks in Japan. Grapes are raised to some extent, but no wine is made from them, or at least not in any large quantity.

The city of Nikko is at present a place of not more than five hundred houses, all of which are located upon one broad thoroughfare, thatched with rice straw, and built of the frailest material. We were told that about a century ago a hundred thousand people dwelt here, but a fire swept their homes away in a single night, leaving only ashes to mark the spot. There is no foundation or cellar to a Japanese dwelling. The temples in this vicinity are isolated from the dwellings, a river running between, and are wonderful in architecture, size, and costliness. They are many hundred years of age, and contain, among other curious ornaments, statues of grotesque shapes in bronze, of priceless value, mammoth bronze figures of birds of the stork species, etc., life-like in character, and of exquisite finish. There are also many emblems and idols in gold, silver, and gilded wood. Some of the bronzes are known to be over a thousand[Pg 60] years old, and we were assured that none of such valuable composition has been used for centuries. All ancient Japanese bronze has in it a large percentage of gold and silver.

Before the door, just over the entrance to these temples, there is fastened a gong, and above it hangs a metallic hammer, depending from which is a rope. When a priest, or native of the people, comes hither to pray, he pulls the rope vigorously, and thus produces a series of strokes upon the gong that might wake the dead. This is to call the attention of the Deity, and lead him to give ear to the petition about to be offered! Enormous bells of exquisite purity of sound, hung a few feet from the ground in the area before the temples, are rung at stated periods by the use of a battering ram of wood, suspended near them, causing the huge monsters to give out soft, muffled, though deep and far-reaching notes, that float off among the mountain passes, and come back again from Echo's lips, with startling distinctness. Several priests, clad in long, yellow robes, were seen actively employed, chanting, praying, and performing inexplicable ceremonies. One had a lot of little pine chips by his side, and was busy in alternately feeding a small fire upon a stone slab and beating a tom-tom. This, as our guide informed us, was to propitiate the god of fire, and to avert all possible catastrophes from that much dreaded source. When we passed out of the grounds, some hours later, this priest was still busy with his chips and the noisy tom-tom, though there was no audience present except our little party.

Before another shrine, not far away, was a dancing priestess, clothed in a fantastic manner, the only woman devotee whom we chanced to see in Japan.[Pg 61] She held out a lacquered salver for money, presumedly for religious purposes, and on receiving the same she commenced a series of gyrations worthy of the whirling dervishes of Cairo. It was impossible not to recall De Foe's couplet as applied to this witch-like creature:—

"God never had a house of prayer
But Satan had a chapel there."

If she had been young and pretty one might have endured the farce, but the woman was positively hideous, old, and wrinkled. Another priest, hard by, was seen to be writing prayers upon bits of paper, in anticipation of future demand, suited to all sorts of cases; and to be sold to visiting penitents, who would pin or paste them up in the temples as already described, and where the gods could peruse them at their leisure. The wood-carvings, representing vines, flowers, birds, and beasts, which formed a part of the elaborate ornamentation of the temples, could not be surpassed in Europe or America, and were as fresh and bright as though but just finished by the artist.

Our guide told us that the carvings of these temples were executed by a man whose facility was considered miraculous, and whose whole life was devoted to this object. He was known as the Left-Handed Artist, having but partial use of the right hand, and being also a dwarf. It seems, according to the legend, that, while this artist was working at the ornamentation of the temples at Nikko, he saw and fell in love with a very beautiful Japanese girl resident in the city; but she would have nothing to do with him on account of his deformity of person. In vain was his genius, in vain his tender pleadings; she was inflexible, so that at last, quite heartbroken, the poor[Pg 62] sculptor went back to Tokio, his native place, where he carved an image of his beloved in wood, life-size, which, when finished, was so perfect and beautiful that the gods endowed it with life, and the sculptor lived with it as his wife in the enjoyment of mutual love all the rest of his life. A classic fable of similar import will occur to the reader. Is there anything new under the sun?

The temples, shrines, and tombs of Nikko, in such perfect preservation, are to the writer's mind the most remarkable in the world. Their complete isolation, far away from any populous neighborhood; the solemn silence which surrounds them at all times, shaded by a grove of lofty cedars surpassed only in size and height by the giants of the Yosemite, all tend to make them singularly impressive. The approach to the site is by a wide flight of many stone steps, black and moss-grown with the rains and dews of centuries, forming a grand example of ancient masonry, the large, uniform granite blocks so laid and bonded that, after resting there for ages, a knife-blade could not be introduced between the joints. On careful examination it appeared that no composition either of cement or mortar had ever been employed in this masonry, the builders confining themselves to proper foundation and perfect matching together of the stones. At Tokio, the Shiba temple, curious, strange, and interesting as it was, lost effect by the neighborhood of the busy throng always at hand. To enter the Shiba temple was like visiting a grand museum of specialties, while these lonely Nikko shrines at once command the visitor's half unwilling reverence.

Our tea-house at Nikko was a duplicate of that at[Pg 63] Utsonomiga. In the garden was the usual ornamentation so much affected by the people here, consisting of rockeries, little mounds of bamboo or dwarf pines, together with small plots of flowering shrubs, and little ponds of gold and silver fish. These fishes attracted notice as being quite different from any with which we were acquainted. They were a small species, not more than three inches long, and generally smaller than that; but they were supplied with a double complement of tail, and had large protruding eyes like a King Charles spaniel, and pug noses like a fashionable bull pup. They were ludicrous little fellows, so curious withal, that at great trouble and care a few were brought home by one of our party; not all of those selected, however, survived the exigencies of the long journey.

On this posting trip, both going to and coming from Nikko, we observed upon the road, in the several villages and posting stations, many curious things. Women seemed to perform the most of the out-door work, ditching and laboring in the rice swamps, with infants lashed to their backs. When they were met taking articles to market, upon the little country ponies, they rode astride, man fashion. Hens were seen with hair in place of feathers, hens as small as domestic pigeons, hens with plumes on their heads like militia captains, and hens with bare crowns like shaven priests. There were also green pigeons and speckled crows, tame as domestic fowls, among which was seen that anomaly, a white crow. At the tea-house where we stopped for the night, our passports, specially granted, were taken by the local officials and returned to us in the morning. The passport was rather a curious document, and [Pg 64]disclaimed all responsibility on the part of the Mikado and his government should the holder be murdered by the way, from whatever cause. In short, we were permitted to travel inland, but at our own peril. It is still looked upon by many as somewhat risky to travel away from the populous centres, but we met with no special trouble.

The natives upon the route were inclined to be a little curious as to the ladies' bonnets and dresses, nor were they quite satisfied without using some familiarity about the gentlemen's attire; but they seemed to be of a soft and pliant mould, easily managed by exercising a little finesse. It was curious to observe how entirely opposite to our own methods were many of theirs. At the post stations the horses were placed and tied in their stalls with their heads to the passage-way, and their tails where we place their heads. Thus they are fed and kept. In place of iron shoes the Japanese pony is shod with close-braided rice straw. Carpenters, in using the fore-plane, draw it towards them instead of pushing it from them. It is the same in using the saw, the teeth of which are set accordingly. So the tailor sews from him, not towards his body, and holds his thread with his toes. They have no chimneys to the houses, the smoke finding its way out at the doors and windows, though brasiers are used instead of fireplaces, and in hot weather are placed outside the dwelling for cooking purposes. The men shave their heads just where the Chinese do not, making a bald spot on the top; and so we might go on specifying peculiarities, showing that the Japanese are our antipodes not only geographically but also in manners and customs.

As regards Japanese art, of which every one has[Pg 65] seen such laughable specimens, it must yet be admitted that there is a certain artistic element extant among the people; otherwise we should not have the thousand and one beautifully finished articles which are produced by them, exhibiting exquisite finish and perfection of detail. Of perspective they have no idea whatever; half-tones and the play of light and shade they do not understand; there is no distinction of distances. Their figures are good, delicately executed, and their choice of colors admirable. In profile work or bas-relief they get on very well, where there is no perspective required, but in grouping they pile houses on the sea and mountains on the housetops. At caricature they greatly excel, indeed they scarcely attempt to represent the human face and figure in any other light. In place of entertaining any idea of what is lovely in our species, they look only at the human face and form from the ludicrous side, and this they render by giving it ideal ugliness, or by exaggerating the grosser characteristics. The Japanese artist knowing nothing of anatomy as a science, in its connection with art, nor even attempting the simplest principle of foreshortening, we can only fairly judge as to his success in what he practices. It will be curious to watch the progress of the Japanese, and see their first attempts in perspective drawing. So intelligent and imitative a race will not fail to acquire this simple principle of art and nature; the only mystery seems to be how it has so long escaped them.

Architecture can hardly be said to exist in Japan, though we have used the term. The houses of the prince and the cobbler are the same, consisting of a one-story building composed of a few upright posts,[Pg 66] perhaps of bamboo, and a heavy thatched roof. The outer walls are mere sliding doors or shutters, while the interior is divided by screens or sliding partitions. The man of means uses finer material and polished wood, with better painted screens: that is all. Prince and peasant use rice-paper in place of glass, and a portable brasier to warm the hands and feet and to cook with; there are no fireplaces in the country, except in European houses. The pagodas and temples at Nikko and elsewhere are of the typical Chinese stamp, and as far as architectural design is concerned are all alike, and all built of wood. When speaking of the fine and durable masonry, reference was had to the lofty inclosing walls, causeways, and steps which lead up to the broad ground and tombs at Nikko.

We took passage from Yokohama for Kobé in the English mail steamship Sumatra, of the P. and O. line, which, after two days' pleasant voyage, landed us at the northern entrance to the Inland Sea of Japan. Kobé is of some commercial importance, quite Europeanized, but of very little interest to the traveler, gaining its business as the sea-port for the imperial city of Osaka, with which it is connected by the river Yedo. After looking about us here for a day, visiting some lofty and pretty falls in the neighborhood, and some curious Buddhist shrines in a grove back of the town, the cars were taken for Kioto, sixty miles inland, where we arrived in the afternoon and found a good native public house, the Masuyama Hotel, situated on a hill-side completely overlooking the town. Here we had beds, wash-stands, chairs, and the ordinary comforts of civilization. Kioto has a population of over three[Pg 67] hundred thousand, and, as we were told, once numbered two million of inhabitants, which one can easily credit, since it was in the past the political capital of the country and sole residence of the emperors; but now the Mikado lives permanently at Tokio.

Kioto is called the City of Temples, and we certainly visited so many that only a confused memory of them in the aggregate is retained. They were by no means equal in grandeur, ornamentation, architecture, or age to those of Nikko, Kamakura, or Tokio. More religious pretentiousness was obvious here,—more people were congregated before the images, engaged in acts of devotion. It might be added, if there was any chastening influence in the ceremonies, they were more needed at Kioto than at any other place, perhaps, in the whole country, judging from only too obvious circumstances. The Japanese character presents as much unlikeness to the Oriental as to the European type, and is comparable only to itself. In nothing is this more apparent than in the fact that a people who are so intelligent, who can reason calmly and cogently on nearly any other subject, should be so obtuse in religious matters. A Japanese believes the little caricature in ivory or wood, which has perhaps been manufactured under his own eye, or even by his own hands, is sacred, and will address his prayers to it with a solemn conviction of its powers to respond. Than this idolatry cannot further go. His most revered gods are effigies of renowned warriors and successful generals. African fetich is no blinder than such baseless adoration performed by an intelligent people. Some of the indigenous animals, such as foxes, badgers, and[Pg 68] snakes, are protected with superstitious reverence, if not absolutely worshiped. At Tokio we saw ponies that were held sacred, dedicated in some way to the use of the church, kept in idleness, and reverenced by both priests and people, being fed on the fat of the land, like sacred bulls at Benares.

At the Kioto temples it was observable that fully a score of priests were kept busy writing brief prayers upon slips of paper at the solicitation of devotees, doubtless suited to their supposed necessities. These scraps the recipients pressed to their lips, foreheads, and breasts, then pinned or pasted them up in the temples among thousands of similar offerings. One of these temples, we were told by our guide, contained over thirty thousand idols, and as far as a casual glance could take in the confused mass of them ranged close to each other, the aggregate number may be correct. These idols were three feet high, representing some approach to the human figure, each possessing many arms and hands. They were carved from solid blocks of wood, and very heavily gilded, presenting a most gaudy and toy-like appearance. While we stood within this temple some women came in, prostrated themselves before the glittering toys for a few moments, and then passed out, making room for others; but we saw no men at devotion in this temple of many thousand idols.

The streets of Kioto were thronged with mountebanks, peep-shows, performing acrobats, and conjurers. Sleek and pampered priests in yellow robes were met at every turn, a class who exercise a certain influence over the people through their superstition, but who command no personal respect. We were told that they are a profligate set, like too many of[Pg 69] their class elsewhere, and enjoyed a certain immunity from the laws. Before the temples was seen in one or two instances a theatrical performance in progress, which seemed rather incongruous, but upon inquiry this was found to be designed to appease the special gods of the temple,—to entertain and amuse them! so that they would grant favors to the people. The exhibition consisted of dancing and posturing by professionals of both sexes, accompanied by the noise of tom-toms, whistles, gongs, bells, and fifes. There was no attempt at time or harmony, as far as could be discovered, the end and aim being apparently to make all the noise possible.

Amusements are not lacking at Kioto, as there are numerous theatres where farce, tragedy, and comedy are duly represented after the crude fashion of the country. These theatres open at early morning and the play lasts until midnight, with the briefest intermissions. The spectators bring their food with them; so that eating, drinking, and smoking are going on all the while during the performance. At some of these theatres women only perform, at others only men, but in no instance do the two sexes mingle in these public exhibitions. The mechanical arrangements are of the most primitive character, such as would not satisfy children in America, but the pantomime is very good. As to speaking characters, they are very seldom attempted. The price of admission is about five cents of our currency, and from six hundred to a thousand persons often gather at these theatres. Music (it is called by that name) and posturing fill up the intervals. To an American observer the whole exhibition seems cruder than a Comanche wardance.

[Pg 70]

Singing and posturing girls are here let out in groups, as in other Japanese cities, to entertain foreigners or natives at their meals; but the performances and the purpose are highly objectionable, morality in this latitude being much like that of the average European capitals, that is, at a very low ebb, as viewed from our stand-point. There are also public exhibitions of acrobats in wrestling, fencing, and the like, while others are devoted entirely to sleight-of-hand tricks, very good of their kind.

The porcelain manufactories of Kioto were found interesting,—everything being done, however, by the patient and slow process of hand labor, with the crudest of tools. The same remark applies to the silk manufactories, where the weaving is performed in a laborious manner, each small hand-loom requiring two persons to operate it. The goods thus produced are really fine, but could not be sold in the present markets of the world except that Japanese labor is held at starvation prices. The average pay of the weavers is less than thirty cents per day, and the boy helpers, who work the shuttles, receive but twelve. The various manufactories of paper here and elsewhere in the country form one of its most extended industries, the basis of the material being the bark of certain trees; indeed, one is on this account designated as the paper-tree, and, being a species of the mulberry, it serves a double purpose,—its leaves feeding the little insect which is so important a factor in Japanese products. It must not be supposed that the large amount of paper which is produced indicates its consumption for printing purposes: the demand for that species of the article is very limited, but the general uses to which the manufactured paper are put in Japan is infinite.[Pg 71] A very superior grade of oil paper is manufactured which is suitable even for clothing, and is so used. It has been mentioned how universally a certain grade is used in place of glass; paper is also employed for partitions of rooms in place of lath and plaster; for fans, an immense amount is required; also, for cases and boxes, for twine, letter-bags, purses, umbrellas, and many other articles.

The largest lake in Japan is that of Biwa, a very fine sheet of water, nearly fifty miles long, but rather narrow, probably not exceeding an average width of more than ten miles. It is situated about eight miles from Kioto, and thither we went in jinrikishas. It was anciently the summer resort of the Mikados, and is a very beautiful lake, abounding in fish, a most important matter to the neighborhood, as rice and fish are the chief diet in Japan. There are many pleasure-houses, so-called, along its banks, where the visitor is entertained with fish fresh from the water, cooked in a great variety of ways. On the north and west side the lake is hemmed in, like a Scotch loch, by lofty hills, but on the other sides by pleasant, highly cultivated lands, slightly undulating, and ornamented with pretty little hamlets, and tea-houses for visitors who sail upon the lake for pleasure. Our jinrikisha men took us there in less than an hour and a half, but as the road rises towards Kioto we were fully two hours in returning. On this occasion women harnessed tandem, with men, to some jinrikishas were met, and they trotted off quite as easily at a pony gait as did the men, but it is gratifying to say that it was the only time we saw women so employed.

We returned to Kobé by way of Osaka, a city nearly as large as Kioto, and much more of a business[Pg 72] and manufacturing centre. The national mint is located here, with some other large government works. The ancient fort overlooking the town is of great interest, and is still fortified, affording barracks for a couple of regiments of the regular army. It is a remarkably substantial structure; many of the stones of which it is composed are so large that it is a wonder how they could ever have been transported intact from the quarry. Osaka has rivers and canals running through it much like Amsterdam, though not so numerous, and has been appropriately called the Venice of Japan. It is not Europeanized like Kobé or Yokohama; it is purely Japanese in all respects, and possesses a considerable commerce. The day of our arrival was a festal one, being consecrated to the god of the waters; wherefore large boats gayly decked with flags and party-colored streamers, containing crowds of gayly dressed men in harlequin style, were rowing in long processions through the water-ways of the city and under the many high-arched bridges. On the decks of the boats the people were dancing and singing (howling), to the notes of an indescribable instrument, which could give a Scotch bag-pipe liberal odds and then surpass it in its most hideous discordance. Music is not a strong point with the Chinese or Japanese; if they have any actual melody in their compositions, no foreign ear can detect it. At one of the public performances at Kobé it seemed that the notes were produced by a file and rusty saw.

We embarked at Kobé November 26th, on the Japanese steamship Nügata Marü, officered by Europeans, but manned by natives, bound for Nagasaki, near the southernmost point of Japan, and to reach which we sailed the whole length of the famous and[Pg 73] beautiful Inland Sea. It was a most enchanting voyage of two days and two nights, among innumerable islands and grotesquely formed hills, which were covered with foliage and verdure to the very water's edge. Many of these islands were inhabited, and cultivated on their abrupt sides in terraces, like vineyards on the Rhine, displaying great care and taste. The aspect of the conical islands, bluffs, headlands, and inlets recalled the St. Lawrence River in Canada, presenting narrow and winding passages, losing themselves in creeks and bays after a most curious fashion, while little brown hamlets here and there fringed the coast line. At night, the scene changing constantly was enhanced in beauty by the clearness of the atmosphere and the brightness of the moon. We slept scarcely at all on board the Nügata Marü; it seemed almost sacrilege to miss an hour of the beautiful flying panorama which was being so silently spread before our vision.

The sea was one sheet of rippling silver; the stars, partially eclipsed by the moon, "silver empress of the night," were nevertheless bright and sparkling with diamond lustre. All was still, for though we eagerly watched, we rarely spoke; silence became eloquent on such an occasion. Now and then the deep, hoarse voice of the captain from the forecastle of the steamer floated aft: "Port your helm," "Starbord," "Steady." In this intricate navigation the captain leaves the bridge to the officer of the watch, and temporarily takes the post of the forward lookout. Now we run close in under some towering headland, now sheer off from a green isle so near that none but an experienced pilot would dare to hug the shore so closely. At many points the sea seemed to be completely [Pg 74]land-locked, like the Lakes of Killarney, framed in by lofty hills. Too much had not been promised us in this special voyage through the Inland Sea. For once, fruition was confirmation. We could have sailed on and on, over those still, deep waters and among those fairy-like isles, for weeks unwearied, and when at last we anchored in the snug harbor of Nagasaki the voyage had been only too brief.

A sad interest attaches to the small but lofty island of Pappenburg, which stands like a sentinel guarding the entrance to the harbor of Nagasaki. It is the Tarpeian Rock of the far East. During the persecution of the Christians in the seventeenth century, the steep cliff, which forms the seaward side of the island, was an execution point, and from here men and women who declined to abjure their faith were cast headlong on to the sea-washed rocks far below. The present verdure and beauty which so characterize the spot are in strong contrast with the sad history of the place; nor could we gaze upon its precipitous side, as we steamed slowly by, without a shudder at the tragedies once enacted there.

Nagasaki was found to be a thrifty commercial city of about a hundred thousand inhabitants, with a fine harbor, the entrance being as narrow as that of Havana; but once inside, the combined fleets of the world might find good anchorage under the shallow of the lofty hills which surround its deep, clear waters. The extreme length of the harbor must be about four miles, by two in width. Tall, dark pines and a verdant undergrowth mark the deep ravines and sloping hill-sides, upon which European dwellings may be seen overlooking the bay, interspersed with a few Buddhist temples. During a [Pg 75]delightful afternoon stroll and climb among these hills, we came upon many wild flowers, shaded by oaks and camphor-trees of great size and beautiful foliage, with occasional specimens of the Japan wax-tree. Still farther up, the hills were covered with dark, moss-crowned grave-stones, bearing curious characters and marking the sleeping-place of by-gone generations, the unbroken quiet of this city of the dead, contrasting with the hum of feverish life that came up from the busy town.

Nagasaki is quaint even for a Japanese city, its clean, broad streets ornamented by growing palms, pomegranates, and bamboo-trees, while each shop is a little museum in itself. Like Osaka, it is thoroughly Japanese in its appearance, as well as in the manners and customs of its thrifty inhabitants. Here, and throughout the entire country, one feels impressed with the evident peace, plenty, and content. As to the products of this locality, they are mostly figured porcelain, embroidered silks, japaned goods, ebony and shell finely carved and manufactured into ornaments. Every little low house has a shop in front, and is, as usual, quite open to the street; but small as these houses are, room is nearly always found in the rear or side for a little flower-garden, fifteen or twenty feet square, where dwarf trees flourish amid little hillocks of turf, and ferns, and small tubs of gold fish. Azaleas, laurels, and tiny clumps of bamboos are the most common plants to be seen.

This indicates a pure and simple taste in the people, yet there is a system of social debasement throughout Japan, which was here so obvious that it cannot be passed without notice. It is no worse, perhaps,[Pg 76] than in Vienna or Paris, where the law affords it certain sanction; but when realized in connection with the quiet, peaceful aspect of Japanese domestic life, the contrast renders the system more repulsive than it appears elsewhere. The young women in these public establishments are really slaves, as much as Circassian girls sold into Turkish harems, or at Moorish Tangier. In Japan they are also sold, while yet children, by their parents, for this purpose, and for a period of ten years. At the close of their term such women are not considered disgraced, and are eligible for marriage, frequently being sought by desirable husbands, and rearing respectable families. The Japanese are not immaculate, and primitive innocence does not exist among them. Virtue in women before marriage is held rather lightly, but afterwards they must be spotless, otherwise the penalty is death.

As regards the flora of Japan we learned some interesting facts. Though the country is densely populated for its number of square miles, the forest area is four times more extensive than that portion brought under cultivation. Botanists declare its vegetation to be the richest, as well as the most varied, of any portion of the globe. The cultivation of the soil is skillfully and thoroughly systematized, the greatest possible results being obtained from a given area. This is partly due to a system of thorough enrichment, applied in the form of liquid manure, and entirely by hand. Its flora is spontaneous and magnificent, repaying the least attention by a development and profuseness of yield that is surprising. Next in importance to the product of rice, which is the staple food of the people, comes that of the mulberry and tea-plants, one species of the former not only feeding the silk-worm,[Pg 77] but also, as has been mentioned, affording the fibre of which paper is made, as well as cordage and dress material. In usefulness the bamboo is most remarkable, growing to a height of fifty or sixty feet, and entering into the construction of house-frames, screens, mats, pipes, and sails. The umbrella-pine grows to a height of a hundred feet, with dense foliage, and the cedars reach two hundred feet, with a girth of twenty, which is, however, far exceeded by the noble camphor-trees. The camphor of commerce is extracted from the stem and roots, cut into small pieces, by a simple process of decoction.

As at San Francisco, there is an abundance of birds hovering constantly about the harbor of Nagasaki, not sea-gulls, but a brown fishing-hawk, which here seems to take the place of the gull, swooping down upon its finny prey after the same fashion, and uttering a wild, shrill cry when doing so. Another peculiarity about this feathery fisherman is that he affects the rigging of ships lying at anchor, and roosts in the shrouds or on the spars, which a sea-gull or other ocean bird is rarely known to do. This harbor, in its sheltered character, resembles a Swiss or Scotch lake, many of its peculiarities being identical with them. The hills spring from the very water's edge, and the pine is the prevailing tree; the principal difference being an inclination here to more tropical verdure than in the localities referred to. The bay is nearly land-locked, and while a pretty heavy gale may be blowing just outside, the surface of the harbor would be scarcely ruffled.

The ship took in coal here after a style quite Japanese. Large flat boats came alongside, each laden with many tons of coal from a native mine near at[Pg 78] hand; and a broad port-hole being opened near the ship's coal bunks, a line of Japanese girls and boys, each not more than twelve or thirteen years of age, was formed upon a gangway reaching from the bunks down the ship's side to the coal barge. Along this line of girls and boys were rapidly passed baskets of coal, which might weigh from sixty to eighty pounds each, so fast as to form one continuous stream of the article discharging on board. The empty baskets were passed back into the coaling barge by a line of younger girls at another port-hole, being refilled by a third gang in the boat. The line of full coal baskets would not be broken once in an hour, until the barge was emptied and another hauled alongside to be similarly discharged. It was remarkable how quickly the ship took on board her necessary supply of fuel in this manner, and how steadily those young begrimed children worked all day. The local agent told us they were paid for the ten or twelve hours' work fifteen cents each. Their boiled rice and dried fish would cost them four or five cents for the day, and so they would be able to save ten cents. Clothing does not enter into cost when it is not worn, and these little imps were as nearly naked as was possible. They stopped work for about twenty-five minutes at meridian, and were served each with a bowl of rice and fish, which they dispatched with chopsticks, then drank a lacquered bowl of hot tea.

An extremely interesting month had been passed in the country which we were now about to leave behind us, and should have been glad to tarry longer in, but our arrangements, to a certain extent, were imperative, and so we prepared to sail southward, through the long reach of the China Sea. Some [Pg 79]reflections, the result of our late experience, were forced upon us at this juncture, relative to the people whose brief acquaintance we had made.

The natural intelligence of the Japanese has no superior among any race, however much it may be perverted, or have lain dormant for want of stimulus. There is evidence sufficient of this in the fact that the young men of Japan, who are sent to this country for educational purposes, so frequently win academic prizes and honors over our native scholars. This, too, notwithstanding the disadvantages under which a foreigner must be placed. Instances of the brightness of their natural intelligence have been so numerous in our colleges and educational institutions as to cause public remark. It is therefore safe to say that the mental capacity of the Japanese youth is certainly equal to those of our own in the same class of society. No sooner have they been fairly introduced to American and European civilization than they have taken a stride, of four or five centuries at a single leap, from feudalism in its most ultra form to constitutional government. When an American squadron opened the port of Yokohama, in 1853, to the commerce of the world, it also opened that hermetically sealed land to the introduction of progressive ideas; and though, unfortunately, the elements of civilization which are most readily assimilated are not always the most beneficial, still, the result, taken as a whole, has been worthy of the admiration of the world at large.

When we speak of the progress of the Japanese as a nation, we must not forget that the national records of the country date from nearly seven hundred years before the time of Christ on earth, and[Pg 80] that a regular succession of Mikados, in lineal descent from the founders of their dynasty and race, has since that remote date been carefully preserved. Taking the Western Powers as a model, the Japanese have not failed to emulate them in nearly all the prominent features of civilization, promptly furnishing themselves with rifled cannon and torpedo boats, with newspapers and a national debt. As we have remarked, the army and civil officers have long since adopted the American costume. The railroad and the telegraph, too much of an innovation for the more pretentious Chinese, are quite domesticated in Japan. But still it is really to be hoped that the progressive spirit, so apparent in the policy of the Mikado and his advisers, may not quite obliterate all traces of the antique and picturesque customs of a country so peculiar and original.

[Pg 81]


Sail for Hong Kong.—Ocean Storms.—Sunset at Sea.—A Water-Spout.—Arrival in China.—Typhoon Bay.—Manners and Customs.—In and about Hong Kong.—Public Buildings.—Voyage up the Pearl River.—City of Canton.—Strangest of Strange Cities.—Opium Dens.—Temple of Honan.—The Worship of Swine.—Praying with a Fan.—Local Peculiarities.—Half Round the World.—Singapore.—A Tiger Hunt.—Burial at Sea.—Penang.—The Wonderful Palm.

We sailed from Nagasaki early on the morning of November 29th, in the same steamship, the Nügata Marü, which had brought us from Kobé, being now bound for Hong Kong, through the Yellow and China Seas, a distance of eleven hundred miles. These are proverbially rough waters, and they fully sustained their reputation for the first two days of the voyage. The marvel seemed rather to be that more ships were not lost here, than that so many were. It is really little better than a vast graveyard for commerce. Our staunch iron hull was tossed about like a feather in the wind, causing us to realize that there is something awfully grand in these ocean storms, uncomfortable as they are.

Our crew was composed of Japanese, and excellent sailors they are, quiet, obedient, and untiring. Sea life is very similar in nearly all latitudes, and affords but few incidents worthy of recording. An old sea-captain told the author, some years since, that the finest sunsets he had ever seen were in these waters, off the coast of Cochin China, and that it was a [Pg 82]peculiarity of the region; or, to use his own words, "First, we would have a typhoon that shivered our sails into threads, and then a sunset that looked like a scene in a theatre." Allowance was made in this instance for a fancied charm brought about by the great contrast of a raging storm followed by a serene nightfall. It seemed as though we had witnessed as fine exhibitions of Nature in this line, both in Europe and America, as could be enjoyed, but an agreeable surprise was in store for us.

We had crossed the southern portion of the Yellow Sea, and having run down the Corean Straits, with the Loo-Choo Islands under our lee, were sailing southward upon the China Sea. It was the 2d of December, and we too were now off the coast of Cochin China. Never before had any of our little party witnessed such a gorgeous array of cloud and color effect; nor was the display fleeting. The peculiar aspect lasted for half an hour or more, full of change to be sure, like opal hues, hovering and evanescent, but not obliterated. The transparent clouds that hung above the western horizon, as dainty in form and texture as a butterfly's wings, were tinted with turquoise blue. Immediately over the section where the sun had so lately disappeared, the gradations of color were multiform and brilliant, fading into each other's embrace. Close to the water line, where sky and ocean mingled, there was a mound of quivering flame that seemed like burning lava pouring from some volcanic source. This lavish display of iris hues was softly reflected by the vapory tissue of clouds that hung over the opposite expanse; the shades changing to ruby and sapphire tints alternately, until the east almost rivaled the west in the[Pg 83] gorgeousness of its robes. In the mean time the sea, now wonderfully calm, expanding into infinite space, reproduced upon its shimmering surface, as in a mirror, this magic array of color permeated by the amber twilight. Gradually the curtain of night dropped over the scene, but there still lingered a long crimson line on the distant horizon where the sun had sunk into the sea. The most careless eye on board the ship watched the constantly changing effects with bated breath. Nature revels in beauty, and does her work with a lavish hand in the far East. It has been our lot to see the sun set in many lands and on many seas, but never before in such gorgeous splendor.

Just at night, December 4th, we arrived below Hong Kong, dropping anchor in Typhoon Bay, where, among the dark shadows of the cliff-like shore, we watched the stars overhead and the long bright wake cast by the light-house, counted the small dancing lights in the native settlements on the shore, and wondered what Hong Kong was like.

With the early morning light we steamed up to the magnificent harbor, surrounded by a range of lofty hills, rendering it a shelter and affording depth of water sufficient for any known tonnage. Its extensive area was well covered with ships of war and merchantmen, bearing the flags of all nations, among which the Stars and Stripes gladdened our eyes. Hong Kong signifies "good harbor" in Chinese, and the name is well applied. This is the most easterly possession of Great Britain, which she has taken care to render very strong in a military point of view, and where a large number of troops are constantly kept. The scarlet uniforms of the garrison form a striking feature of the busy streets, at all hours of the day.[Pg 84] The houses in the European section of the city are large and handsome structures, mostly of stone, rising tier upon tier from the main street to a height of some hundreds of feet on the face of the hill immediately back of the town. On and about the lofty Victoria Peak are many charming bungalows, with attractive surroundings, and a noble prospect of the harbor and country. The streets appropriated to the occupancy of the Europeans are spacious and clean, but the Chinese portion of Hong Kong is quite characteristic of the race,—very crowded and very dirty, seeming to invite all sorts of epidemic diseases; and consequently the mortality is very great and sweeping at times, promoted by ignorance and excess among strangers and seamen.

One soon learns to detect an opium-eating people, and here we found examples all about us in every relation of life. It is a vice nearly always pursued in secret, but its traces upon the heavy, bleared eye and sallow features are plain and disfiguring enough. The disgraceful trade in the fatal drug, forced upon China by the English at the point of the bayonet, flourishes and increases, forming the heaviest item of import. It seems almost incredible that a people can long exist and consume such large quantities of this active poison. Other forms of stimulants are seldom resorted to by the natives, and an intoxicated person is scarcely, if ever, met with among the Chinese population. As to Europeans, it is the same here as it is in India, the habit of drinking freely of spirituous liquors is universal, and one half the invalidism which is attributed to climate should be ascribed to indulgence in hard drinking.

The streets of Hong Kong afford strange local [Pg 85]pictures. The shoemaker industriously plies his trade in the open thoroughfare; cooking goes on in the gutters beside the sidewalks filling the atmosphere with greasy odors; the itinerant peddler, with a wooden box hung from his neck, disposes of food made from mysterious sources; the street barber is seen actively employed out of doors; the milkman drives his goats to the customer's door and there milks the required quantity; the Chinese themselves ignore the article altogether. The universal fan is carried by men, not by women, and when the owner is not using it, he thrusts it in the back of his neck with the handle protruding. Sedan chairs are rushing hither and thither, borne upon men's shoulders, transporting both natives and Europeans on business errands. Here, as in southern Italy, one observes a propensity to eat, sleep, live, and die in the streets, exhibited by the mass of the population.

Imagine a short, slouchy figure, with sloping eyes, a yellow complexion, features characterized by a sort of low cunning, a shaved head with a pigtail, clad in a loose cloth blouse, half shirt and half jacket, continuations not exactly pants nor yet a petticoat, and shoes thick-soled and shearing upwards like a Madras surf-boat, and you have John Chinaman as he appears at home. The portrait is universal. One Chinaman is as like another as two peas,—a uniformity often leading to ludicrous mistakes. John eats principally rice. It is in fact the basis of all his dishes, which are varied by the addition of dried fish and vegetables, adding occasionally such portions of animals as are usually thrown away by civilized people. Rats, cats, and dogs are not declined by his omnivorous appetite, and he is charged with craving nearly[Pg 86] all sorts of vermin, such as snakes, slugs, scorpion's eggs, and caterpillars, which he complacently adds to his stews. Without the physical strength or size of Europeans, he makes up in industry what he lacks in muscle; and as his food costs about one fifth the sum which we generally calculate necessary for a common laborer, he can work much cheaper, and still lay up money from his wages.

Certain peculiarities challenge our observation. The Chinese mariner's compass does not point to the north pole, but to the south; that is, the index is placed on the opposite end of the needle. When Chinamen meet each other in the street, instead of mutually grasping hands, they shake their own hands. The men wear skirts and the women wear pants. The men wear their hair as long as it will grow, the women bind theirs up as snug as possible. The dressmakers are not women, but men. The spoken language is never written, and the written language is never spoken. In reading a book the Chinaman begins at the end and reads backwards; all notes in the books appear at the top of the page in place of the bottom, as with us. White is the mourning color, not black; surnames precede the given names; vessels are launched sideways, not endways; in mounting a horse the Chinese do so from the off-side. At dinner we commence the meal with soup and fish, they reverse the order and begin with the dessert. Grown up men fly kites, and boys look on admiringly; our bridesmaids are young and dressed in white, theirs are old women clad in black; and so on.

From its special position in the East, Hong Kong is the resort of all sorts of people, from all quarters of the globe. England is of course the most strongly[Pg 87] represented. There are comparatively very few Americans, but plenty of French and Germans, the latter mostly Jews and money lenders. There are numbers of East Indians, Italians, Portuguese, and Spaniards, with here and there a Parsee, making altogether a population which reminds one of Marseilles in its conglomerate character. These several races, mingling with the Chinese, make up an incongruous community. An early morning visit to the water front of the city affords much amusement, especially at the hour when the market boats arrive from the country, and from along shore, with fish and vegetables. Here the people swarm like ants or bees more than like human beings, all eager for business, all crowding and talking at the same time, and creating a confusion that would seem to defeat its own object, namely, to buy and to sell. The vegetables are various and good; the variety of fruit limited and poor in flavor; but the fish are abundant and various in shape, size, and colors. Nine tenths of the business on the river front is done by women, and nearly all have an infant strapped to their backs, while they carry heavy burdens in their hands, or are engaged in rowing or sculling their boats. They carry on trade, make change, clean fish, and the like, quite oblivious of the infants at their backs. Babies thus managed are often shaken about most unmercifully, and among Europeans would assert themselves by the loudest screeching; but who ever heard a Chinese or Japanese baby cry?

The environs of Hong Kong are extremely interesting, and the roads are kept in most admirable condition. The jinrikisha is the common mode of conveyance, though the palanquin is perhaps nearly as[Pg 88] much used. The introduction of the former vehicle into both China and Japan is of quite recent date. We enjoyed several expeditious in the suburbs by both means of transportation, the charges being extremely moderate. The Japanese jinrikisha men seemed lighter, yet more muscular, than do their Chinese brethren when between the shafts; and the latter, after a few miles, exhibited symptoms of fatigue, whereas, on a long thirty-five mile trip, this was never observed in a Japanese: either he was superior in pluck or muscles, or both, to John Chinaman.

The English burial-ground, located about three miles from the town, is a very beautiful cemetery, and is to Hong Kong what Mount Auburn is to Boston,—not quite so extensive, but superior in its collection of flowers and trees, which must have been gathered and naturalized here at a great cost. The varieties of the cactus family are remarkable in numbers and mode of training. The same may be said of the camphor-tree, the aloes, tall and graceful cypresses, mingling with which are Cape jasmines, hydrangeas, magnolias, and the scarlet geranium, tall and hedge-like, barked by white, variegated, and scarlet camellias. Everything indicated a semi-tropical climate. These Chinese gardeners exhibit great skill and genius in the cultivation of all plants, and landscape gardening is carried far beyond our ideas of the art in America. Some flowering shrubs, on close examination, proved to be old friends, but so trained and developed as to be hardly recognizable. We observed a curious mode of grafting plants so as to cause several species to blossom on the same branch, thus forming, as it were, a glowing bouquet. The samples of dwarf trees were also very singular,—a [Pg 89]little orange-tree, for instance, bearing an orange weighing more than itself, and lemons so arranged as to grow by grafting in and with an orange. It was an agreeable sight to see choice bouquets for sale on the public streets, containing a great variety of flowers arranged with genuine taste, a little too formal and stiff to meet our fancy, but yet finding ready customers at reasonable prices. In Madrid, Florence, or Paris, it is sunny-faced girls who offer these fragrant emblems to the passer-by; but at Hong Kong it is done with less effect by almond-eyed men and ragged boys. The city is so far Europeanized as to be less typical of Chinese manners and customs than are cities further inland; but revelations come upon us with less of a shock when mingled, as they are here, with more civilized methods.

The policemen of Hong Kong are Sikhs, whom the English government have imported from India for this special service. These officers are under excellent discipline. They are tall, dark, and heavily bearded men, presenting quite a striking appearance in their semi-military uniforms. Of course they have no sympathy with the Chinese, who cower under the police batons, which are ruthlessly used when deemed necessary. Society in the city is entirely English, and, to use an expressive word, is "fast." Balls, races, regattas, and fêtes of all kinds follow each other with ceaseless energy. The gayety of domestic and social life, and the luxurious mode of living generally, exceed that of any European colony we have chanced to meet with. Club life, evening entertainments, and late hours, are the characteristics of Hong Kong; the serious affairs of life seem to have been left at home in far-off England,—an inevitable result where the[Pg 90] military element enters so largely into the community.

It was represented to us, and so appeared upon observation, that the well known practice of compressing the feet of the females from their birth was a gradually declining custom. Some few middle-aged women were met with in the streets whose feet had been thus treated in infancy, and who hobbled about with much difficulty, but no young girls were to be seen thus hampered. When this hideous deformity has been adopted, the knee and ankle joints do not bend at all in walking; all movement is from the thigh joints, a mincing gait is imparted, and the arms swing from side to side, the whole body being at all times liable to topple over. A traveler is not competent, however, to speak of the higher classes of women, as no access is afforded to domestic life in wealthy families. Only women of the common class appear indiscriminately in public, Oriental exclusiveness wrapping itself about the sex in China nearly as rigidly as in Egypt. If women go abroad at all, it is in curtained palanquins, quite hidden from the public eye, or at most only partially visible through semi-transparent veils of gauze. Anywhere east of Italy woman is a toy or a slave.

The European portion of Hong Kong consists almost entirely of one broad avenue, called Victoria Road, which is the Broadway or Washington Street of the city, and which runs parallel with the shore front, from which it is separated by a single block. This thoroughfare is well paved, and is mostly lined with attractive stores, hotels, and club-houses, with a few dwellings intermixed. The intersecting streets are in many cases so steep as to be ascended by broad[Pg 91] stone steps, like portions of Naples and Rome. After leaving the Victoria Road, one plunges immediately into Chinese life among narrow lanes and crowded, dirty abodes, like China Town at San Francisco, such dwellings as are only to be found in the midst of a miserable and degraded condition of humanity. The river or harbor front is lined with lofty European warehouses, and some good residences,—half devoted to business, however, the locality being mostly given up to the requirements of commerce. It will be remembered that Hong Kong is an island, nearly forty miles in circumference, consisting of a cluster of hills rising almost to the dignity of mountains. The gray granite, of which the island is mostly composed, affords an excellent material for building purposes, and is largely employed for that object. Nearly all the public buildings are constructed of this granite, which presents a fine appearance, and affords good opportunity for architectural display.

The side-wheel steamer Han Kow was taken for a passage up the Pearl River to Canton, the commercial capital of China, situated a little less than one hundred miles from Hong Kong. The steamer had some two or three hundred Chinese passengers, who were partitioned off in a part of the vessel by themselves, and securely locked, away from the European passengers. In the cabin, ranged about the foremast, were a dozen loaded repeating arms, rifles, and pistols for the use of the whites, in case the Chinese should rise and attempt an act of piracy by taking the ship. This has more than once been done upon the Pearl River, and the steamboat company now goes prepared to visit condign punishment upon such offenders.

In passing up the river, on board the Han Kow,[Pg 92] a fine view was afforded of the farming and vegetation of the country. Banana, orange, sugar-cane, and tea culture, in their various stages, were in distinct view, the steamer at times nearly grazing the right or left bank, and being obliged to move slowly on account of shallow water in the winding channel. Strange birds, brilliant flowers, and remarkable trees trained to grow in the shape of men and animals, were seen bordering the plantations. Great fertility of soil, however it might be induced, was manifested on all hands, and the vegetation exhibited tropical luxuriance. The number of small fishing-boats upon the river was quite marked, showing from whence came a large percentage of the daily food of the humbler classes. These boats seemed to be almost entirely rowed and managed by women, always with the inevitable baby at their backs, sometimes sleeping, sometimes gazing vacantly about, but always quiet and contented.

The river is nearly two miles broad on an average, sometimes opening into bays of considerable size, six or eight miles across, and thus forming a water-way of immense importance in a country where railroads are unknown. The canals and rivers of China are her great dependence, her inland highways or roads being unworthy of the name,—exhibiting one of the most prominent features of the lack of national enterprise. China looks to the past, not to the future. Some advance has been forced upon her in the art of war. She no longer fights with fans, gongs, and fire-crackers, but "shoots bullets every time," as the French found to their most serious cost very lately. The remoteness of the country from the centres of civilization, the exclusiveness of the government, the almost[Pg 93] incomprehensible character of the spoken language,—entirely different from the written tongue,—has always excited curiosity, and thrown a halo of romance over everything Chinese. This false glamour, however, disappears, like dew before the sun, by personal observation, and is superseded by something like a sense of contempt. The missionaries of science, commerce, and of religion have done much within the last twenty years to dispel the extravagant ideas entertained of the Celestial Empire, and have shown us that the race is by no means celestial, but a people very much like the rest of the Eastern nations, certainly no more civilized.

Canton is the strangest of all strange cities, and perhaps the most representative one in China. With a population of a million and a half, it has not a street within its walls over eight feet wide. Horses and vehicles are unknown. Even the useful and comfortable jinrikisha could not be used here, where everything to be moved must be transported on human shoulders. The city extends to about a distance of four miles on the banks of the Pearl River, and fully a hundred thousand people live in boats along the river front. The families occupying these sampans will average at least four individuals; a man and wife with two children,—frequently there are half a dozen of the latter. These boats are about twenty feet long and five wide. But a small portion of the after part has any covering, and the cooking is done in the bow. Here the family live,—cook, eat, and sleep, knowing no other home. The youngest children are often seen tied to the thwarts, and if they tumble overboard they are easily pulled back again.

There are hundreds of temples distributed over the[Pg 94] city, many of which were visited and found to be crowded with idols and idlers, though we never saw a Chinaman praying in them. The corner of nearly every street, as well as numerous stores and dwelling-houses, have each an idol and small shrine on which incense is kept burning all the time, and every day of the year. The whole city is permeated with the smell of this highly scented incense, and though used in such small individual quantities the consumption in the aggregate must be very large. Of the numerous temples and pagodas in Canton probably the most famous is that of the Temple of the Five Hundred Gods, containing that number of gilded statues of Buddhist sages, apostles, and deified warriors. The expressions on the features of this large number of statues were remarkable in the fact that they all differed essentially from each other; otherwise they were exceedingly commonplace.

Every sort of manufacture or business is performed in the most primitive manner by hand, machinery of any sort being scarcely known; but personal service or labor is so cheap that it even competes with machinery. One is surprised as to how such a crowded community can exist in such an inconsiderable space; whole families live and sleep in a single small room. The Chinese, in point of domestic comfort and cleanliness, are a century behind the Japanese; and this remark will apply as well to nearly all the relations of life. There is less of nudity here than in the latter country; but, so far as one can judge by brief observation and inquiry, morality is at a lower gauge in China than in Japan. It is doubtless as true here as elsewhere, that "one touch of nature makes the whole world kin," but you lack the touch of nature.[Pg 95] With the Japanese the traveler feels himself sympathizing. He goes among them freely, he enters their houses and drinks tea with them, but not so with the Chinese; here we realize no sense of affiliation, but rather one of repulsion. The universal amusement is that of gambling, and the means whereby the people gratify this passion are endless. Dominos, and several similar games, are most popular in connection with cards, the latter game, however, differing very materially from our own. The Chinese cards number a hundred to the pack. Cock fighting is universal, and is as much of a national game as at Manilla.

Our guide, who was an intelligent and high-caste native, took us into one of the opium dens, to be found in nearly every street of Canton, and where we saw the victims of the terrible indulgence in the several stages of debasement. A number of the smokers appeared to be men of average health and strength, but all had the dull, vacant eye and attenuated forms of the victims of this insidious habit. It was curious to hear the guide stoutly defend the use of the opium pipe. He declared that it lengthened, not shortened, life; besides which he insisted that with opium one lived a double life, and therefore he lived twice as long as he would do without it. "Europeans get drunk," said he, "and have nasty headache; Chinaman smokes opium, enjoys paradise on earth, but has no headache." Of course one cannot argue with an opium consumer to any good effect. The habit once acquired is never successfully abandoned. There is always some hope of reform for a drunkard, but for an opium-eater, never. No statistics of a reliable character as to the quantity of the deadly drug which is consumed in China can be obtained, but the [Pg 96]aggregate amount, large as it is known to be, is yet increasing. All the opium which can be obtained from India is consumed here, beside that which is raised in China; the former by the wealthier classes, the latter by the poor,—the home product being cheaper and much inferior in quality.

The temples generally seemed to abound with votive offerings; but the one aim, so far as we could understand, was to appease the wrath of malignant deities. These gods, it would appear, are largely composed of departed ancestors, and the power of such spirits for mischief is the most prominent article of Chinese faith. In one temple was observed the hermetically sealed coffin of some lately defunct citizen, beside whose casket an abundant meal of cooked rice and vegetables was conspicuously placed. This preparation of food for the dead and buried is not, however, an exclusive Chinese idea. We have also seen food placed by the side of newly-made Italian graves at Genoa and Pisa, and our Western Indians bury arms, clothing, and dried meats with the bodies of deceased warriors. It is known that reverence for parents is the leading moral precept of Chinese faith, and more than that, it is lived up to upon earth by all classes, and when these parents die they are addressed spiritually and reverentially as guardians. At the entrance of the temples there are always two large, gilded wooden figures or idols, considered as a sort of presiding guard over the place.

We visited the Temple of Honan, a place of great sanctity to the natives. The service is conducted by a college of Buddhist priests resident within its walls. The institution consists of a group of shrines or demi-temples dedicated to special gods, and [Pg 97]standing within enclosed courts, shaded by trees of great height, size, and age, the grounds covering many acres. At the main entrance are placed, as usual, two hideous idols of colossal size, figures half animal and half human in design, with strangely distorted countenances. Here the shaven-headed priests were busy performing rites and chanting before burning incense and lighted candles, after the Roman Catholic style. Within an enclosure were a number of sacred hogs, wallowing in filth like any other swine. Some lively Chinese boys mounted the largest of these, and extracting a few of the "sacred" bristles offered them to us for pennies. Upon our inquiring as to the final disposition of these animals, our guide, himself a remarkably dignified native, with "millions" of self-conceit, admitted that the fattest of the lot would probably be eaten in due season. We shall often have occasion, in these notes, to see how low poor humanity in its blindness can descend, groveling after strange gods. When trying to analyze the frame of mind which probably actuated these people in making sacred objects of swine, the thought suggested itself that after all it might be an instinctive groping of ignorance after light and truth. Crude, and even disgusting as it appears to an intelligent Christian, it has its palliating features. The Parsee worships fire, the Japanese bows before foxes and snakes, the Hindu deifies cows and monkeys. Why should not the Chinese have their swine as objects of veneration? There are certain forms of what is called Christian worship which are by no means above comparison with even Chinese extravagance.

Within the walls of this Temple of Honan was a spacious and curious garden, where the dwarf trees[Pg 98] and flowering shrubs were ingeniously trimmed to make them grow in the forms of various animals; and here was a large pond of the sacred lotus in bloom, the thin, soft, white velvety leaves displaying every line and vein in their formation. The fragrance was very delicate. In the poetical language of the East the lotus is called the "goddess" as we call the rose the "queen" of flowers. We were here shown the cremating ovens in which the bodies of the departed priests are disposed of, and also the crude cells and the large refectory of the order. But somehow these priests, who pretend to lead such lives of self-denial, are wonderfully round and unctuous in personal appearance. Our visit to the Temple of Honan was a very curious and not uninteresting experience, made up of a strange conglomerate of swine, priests, fat idols, flower gardens, human roasting ovens, and pond lilies.

All over Canton may be seen lofty towers, square in form, which dominate the town. Our guide called these warehouses, or storehouses for the safe keeping of goods, they being both fire-proof and thief-proof. But further inquiry proved them to be a series of pawnbroker's establishments. In summer the average Chinaman pawns his winter clothing, and other articles not in actual use, thus enabling him to employ more capital in his business, whatever it may be. When the cold weather comes he redeems his needed clothing, and the same with other articles. So universal is this practice that hundreds of these tower-like pawning places are required to meet the demands of the citizens. As these establishments are supposed to be fire-proof, they do certainly afford a place of safety for valuable articles not in use, the[Pg 99] owner paying storage in the form of interest for the money loaned, the goods being security.

The dwelling-house and pleasure-grounds of the late Poon-tin-qua, a distinguished and rich Chinaman, were visited, and proved to be typical of all Chinese pictures. Here were airy summer-houses, pavilions, bridges, rockeries, and ornamental sheets of water, as we see these things represented on lacquered ware, decorated China dishes, and fans. It was really very curious and amusing, and showed much of luxurious life,—even a private theatre being contained in the establishment. Though all seem to be deserted now and somewhat neglected, still the garden showed us roses, camellias, azaleas, lilies, and green shrubs trained in the usual grotesque manner, not forgetting the dwarf trees, which seem to give this people great satisfaction when successfully cultivated.

As regards the punishment of crime in Canton, one would look in vain for justice, but there is plenty of cruelty. We visited the execution yard, a circumscribed space in the very heart of the city. Here, our guide told us, twenty condemned prisoners were executed weekly, by decapitation, each Friday being devoted to clearing the docket. The executioner takes off a head with one stroke of the sword, and the guide said he had witnessed the decapitation of eleven heads in seven minutes. Through a grating in the wall of the yard, an open area was seen where a crowd of manacled prisoners were sitting upon the ground, no shelter being afforded them night or day. The place was more filthy than a cattle-pen,—so offensive that we remained but a few moments. It is doubtful if anywhere else in the world such barbarous carnage and cruelty exists, under the guise of legal punishment.

[Pg 100]

Much has been said about the wonderful Water-clock of Canton, but it is actually a very simple and crude mode of measuring time, which any smart Yankee school-boy would improve upon. It consists of four tubs of water, located one above the other on a wooden frame, each dripping slowly into the one below it, the last being furnished with a float, the rise of which is measured on a graduated scale, indicating units of time; and such is the famous Water-clock of Canton. We were not disposed to walk any more than was necessary in the public streets, where the foulest odors assailed us at every step, and disgusting sights met the eye in the form of diseased individuals of the most loathsome type. The stranger is jostled by staggering coolies, with buckets of the vilest contents, or importuned for alms by beggars who thrust their deformed limbs into his very face. It is but natural to fear contagion of some sort from contact with such creatures, and yet the crowd is so dense that it is impossible to entirely avoid them. Underfoot the streets are wet, muddy, tortuous, and slippery, so that one comes from them with a feeling that a hot bath is an immediate necessity. Why some deadly pestilence does not at once break out and sweep away the people is a mystery. We know that the Ghetto at Rome, which forms the most filthy part of the Eternal City, was entirely spared when the rest of the place was decimated by cholera; but Canton generally is far dirtier than the Roman Ghetto.

As we found it almost impossible to traverse the streets of Canton on foot, we were carried, each person, in a palanquin, upon the shoulders of four coolies. These vehicles can make their way through the [Pg 101]narrow streets, but cannot turn round in them without going to some open space where several streets meet. The bearers trudge along, keeping step with each other, and uttering a loud, peculiar cry to clear the way, reminding one of the gondoliers on the canals of Venice. People were obliged to step into shops and doorways, or flatten themselves against buildings, in order to make room for us to pass in the palanquins, but they did so with a good grace and took it quite as a matter of course. Whenever we stopped for a trifling purchase or to visit some point of interest, a small crowd was sure to collect. The narrow lanes are lined in many sections by stores containing very attractive goods, curiosities, silks, fine China ware, ivory, scented woods, mother-of-pearl and carved tortoise shell, all goods of native manufacture. The remarkable patience and imitative skill of the Chinese enables them to produce very choice goods in these lines of art. The shops being all open in front, the entire contents can be seen by the passers-by. Many of these passages are covered over at the top by matting, which effectually excludes the sun, and, indeed, much other light, so that they often have a sombre and dreary appearance.

It was interesting to watch the operation of the primitive hand-loom in which is woven the favorite Canton silk. The fabric is beautiful and expensive, being sold by the pound in place of by the yard, as with us. Men and boys only engage in silk weaving. Women assume the heavier and more exposed branches of labor, and of out-door-life, besides lugging their infants. Some of the lofty and utterly useless pagodas, which are over twelve hundred years old, are quite unique in architecture and ornamentation.[Pg 102] One was visited which was nine stories high, measuring in a vertical line about two hundred feet. Observing a woman at one of the shrines fanning an idol, the guide was asked for an explanation. He said that the woman would presently take this fan home with which to fan some sick person, and from this process would hope for miraculous intervention in behalf of the suffering one. "And do you believe there is any efficacy in such a proceeding?" we asked. "You would call it the result of credulity and imagination," was his intelligent reply, "but I have seen some wonderful cures brought about after this manner. Do not people, who call themselves Christians, believe in prayer?" "Most certainly," we replied. "Well," continued the guide, "this is simply Chinese prayer." After this explanation, the queer proceeding of fanning an idol seamed less strange. That was certainly a good answer,—calling it Chinese prayer.

Undoubtedly our type of features is repulsive to the average Chinaman, certainly his is very much so to us. One looked in vain among the smooth chins, shaved heads, and almond eyes of the crowd for signs of intelligence and manliness. There are no tokens of humor or cheerfulness to be seen, but in its place there is plenty of cunning, slyness, and deceit, if there is any truth in physiognomy. The men look like women and the women like children, except that their features are so hard and forbidding. The better classes wear a supercilious expression of features that makes the toes of one's boots tingle; and yet in all the shops there is a cringing assiduity to get all the silver and pennies from the outside barbarians that is possible. In the streets there was a most unmistakable surliness exhibited that would have broken[Pg 103] into forcible demonstration as we passed through them only for the instinctive cowardice of the Asiatics. It is quite impossible to express what a strange sea of life these narrow Canton streets exhibited, as we floated through them in palanquins upon the shoulders of the coolies. Their filth dominated all other characteristics, and forced upon the memory Charles Lamb's remark to his friend, when he said: "Martin, if dirt was trumps, what a hand you would hold."

Philanthropic societies are numerous in the cities of China, hardly exceeded in variety and excellence of design by those of Europe and America. These embrace well-organized orphan asylums, institutions for the relief of indigent widows with families, homes for the aged and infirm, public hospitals, and free schools in nearly every district. As with ourselves, some of these are purely governmental charities, others are supported by liberal endowments left by deceased citizens. Depots for the distribution of medicines to the poor are numerous, and others exist for distributing clothing to the needy. One organization was mentioned to us which supplied coffins to the poor, and bore the expenses of burial. Among the dense population of the country there must be ample occasion for the exercise of such charities. It must be remembered that these societies and organizations are not copied from European or American models; they have existed here from time immemorial.

Philologists have vainly endeavored to trace any affinity between the Chinese language and that of other nations, ancient or modern. It is unique,—an original tongue, and, what is equally remarkable, no other nation, except the neighboring Japanese, have ever borrowed from it, or amalgamated any of its[Pg 104] elements with their own. It must have risen in its written form from the untutored efforts of a primitive people. Like the Egyptian tongue, it was at first probably composed of hieroglyphics, which, in the course of time, became symbolic as they stand to-day.

The foreign population of Canton, American, English, French, etc., live upon a spacious and beautiful island by themselves. The island is connected with the city proper by a stone bridge having iron gates, through which no native is permitted to pass unless in the domestic employment of the residents, and then they are obliged to show their written permits each time to the guard on duty at the gate of the bridge. All of the foreign consuls with their families reside here in elegant quarters, surrounding their European style of dwellings with fine gardens, trees, and pleasant walks, and here they extend to travelers hospitality only too open-handed and generous. They are completely isolated from the outer world socially, and intelligent visitors from abroad are cordially welcomed by them.

An inexhaustible agricultural capacity remains unimproved in China, and the same may be said of her rich store of mineral wealth, which, under American enterprise and facilities, would soon revolutionize the country in its products and exports. Save the districts which are traversed by the canals, the present means of communication between different parts of the country are scarcely superior to those of Central Africa. The so-called national roads are nearly impassable. No other country in the world would be so surely and rapidly benefited by a thorough system of railroads as would China. Gold and silver are found in nearly every province of the Empire, the[Pg 105] former being still procured by the most primitive processes, such as washing the river sands by hand, which are recharged by the freshets from the mountains,—a mode that would satisfy only Chinese labor. Coal is the most widespread, most valuable, and most accessible of all the buried treasures. If the twelve thousand miles of coal-fields have made Great Britain the workshop of the world, what may not be anticipated from the four hundred thousand square miles of Chinese coal-fields, which are capable of supplying the whole world, at the present rate of consumption, for thousands of years?

The depressing monotony in the customs, habits, and ideas of the Chinese, as contrasted with their neighbors, the Japanese, forces itself upon the notice of the traveler. There is no variety among the race, either in manners, dress, or architecture; one section of the country seems precisely like another, so far as the people are concerned, however widely divided, and all follow one model. There is no individuality. They look to the past not to the future. There is no such possibility as a nation's standing still; it either retrogrades or progresses. China, whose people do everything in a left-handed manner, advances like a crab, backwards. It would seem as if she must eventually dry up and die of old age; and yet, within the limits of the Chinese Empire is probably comprised one fourth of the human race. Strive as much as we may to be fair and liberal, it is yet impossible to disguise our strong dislike to the people whom we were now about to leave. A sense of relief on departing from pestilential Canton was inevitable, and there was little to attract us longer at Hong Kong, to which city we returned in the steamship Powan.

[Pg 106]

It is not wise to shut our eyes to facts which have passed into history, or be too strongly influenced by personal prejudice. The Chinese have long been a cultured, reading people. Their veritable records take them back to the days of Abraham. Five hundred years before the art of printing was known to Europe, books were multiplied by movable types in China, and her annals thereby preserved. Whatever of ignorance may attach to the people as it regards matters extraneous to their empire, the detailed and accurate knowledge of their own country and its statistics is evident enough from the elaborate printed works in the native tongue. Every province has its separate history in print, specifying its productions, a brief record of its eminent men, and of all matters of local importance. Reliable maps of every section of the country are extant. The civil code of laws is annually published and corrected. In the departments of science relating to geography and astronomy, they have long been well advanced. A certain amount of education is universal, eight tenths of the people being able to read and write. The estimate in which letters are held is clear, from the fact that learning forms the very threshold that leads to fame, honor, and official position. Competitive examination is the mode by which office is disposed of, those who hold the highest standard of scholarship bearing off the palm. The art of printing has been referred to as having its origin in China. In two other important discoveries this nation long precedes Europe; namely, in the use of gunpowder and the magnetic compass, the knowledge of which traveled slowly westward through the channels of Oriental commerce, by way of Asia Minor or the Red Sea. It is[Pg 107] only just and fair for us to look on both sides of the subject.

On the night of December 11th, being the day previous to that of our departure from Hong Kong, a slight shock of earthquake was experienced, recalling a similar event at Yokohama; but as these are not of uncommon occurrence in either place, little was thought or said about the matter. We embarked on the P. and O. steamship, Brindisi, for Singapore, by the way of the China Sea and the Gulf of Siam. The northeast monsoon favored us, as we rushed like a race-horse over the turbulent sea, with a following gale,—the threatening waves appearing as if they would certainly engulf us if they could catch up with the stern of the ship. The Philippine Islands were given a wide berth, as we steered southward towards the equator. The cholera was raging among the group; and in illustration of the fact that misfortunes never come as single spies, but in battalions, Manilla, the capital, had just been nearly destroyed by a typhoon. Leaving Borneo on our port bow as we neared the equatorial line, the ship was steered due west for the mouth of the Straits lying between the Malay Peninsula and the Island of Sumatra.

While running off the Gulf of Siam we got our first view of a veritable water-spout. It was from four to five miles off our starboard bow, but quite as near as we desired it to be. It seems that both atmospheric and aquatic currents meet here: from the China Sea northward, from the Malacca Straits southward, and from the Pacific Ocean eastward, mingling at the entrance of the Gulf of Siam, causing at times a confusion of the elements. At least this was the captain's theory, and it seems that he had[Pg 108] more than once met with water-spouts at this point. They are nothing more or less than a miniature cyclone, an eddying of the wind rotating with such velocity as to suck up a column of water from the sea to a height of one or two hundred feet. This column of water appears to be largest at the top and bottom and visibly contracted at the middle. If it were to fall foul of a ship and break, it would wreck and submerge her as surely as though she were run down by an iceberg. Modern science shows that all storms are cyclonic, that is, are circular eddies of wind of greater or less diameter.

No two geographers seem to agree as to what constitutes the Malay Archipelago, but the five islands nearest to the Peninsula should undoubtedly be thus classified; namely, Singapore, Penang, Borneo, Sumatra, and Java,—the latter containing more volcanoes, active and extinct, than any other known district of equal extent. If the reader will glance at a map of the Eastern Hemisphere, it will be observed that many islands dot the equatorial region between Asia and Australia. Some maps include New Guinea in the Malay group, though it is situated far to the eastward, and forms so independent a region, being larger than Great Britain. Lying in the very lap of the tropics, the climate is more uniformly hot and moist than in any other part of the globe, and teems with productions in the animal and vegetable kingdoms elsewhere unknown. The most precious spices, the richest fruits, the gaudiest feathered birds, are here seen at home; while man is represented by a race quite distinctive and peculiar, whose type will be looked for in vain beyond the limits of this region. Climate, vegetation, and animated life are all[Pg 109] specially equatorial. The elephant, rhinoceros, tapir, and the man-like orang-outang are all indigenous. It was quite natural to reflect upon these well-known facts as we came down the China Sea and crossed the broad Gulf of Siam.

On the 15th of December, at noon, latitude 9° 1', longitude 108° 57', we found ourselves just half round the world from our starting-point, Boston. The capital of Massachusetts was exactly beneath us on the opposite side of the globe, a physical fact somewhat difficult to realize.

We landed, December 17th, at Singapore, the most southerly point of Asia, located at the mouth of the Malacca Straits, about eighty miles north of the equator, being the capital of the Straits Settlements. It is the stopping-place of nearly all ocean travel to and from the East, not only for the landing and taking in of other cargo, but as a necessary coaling station, whether coming round the Cape of Good Hope, or from Suez and India by the Red Sea route. Singapore is an island lying just off the peninsula separation from the main-land by a strait scarcely a quarter of a mile across. It is some thirty miles long and half as broad, containing over two hundred square miles, and supporting a population of a hundred thousand, more or less. The entrance to the harbor was very picturesque as we sailed between the low lying islands grouped about it, fanned by a soft welcome morning breeze, before the burning sun had asserted its power. An aspect of tropical luxuriance and languor reigned everywhere,—the palm and cocoanut-trees looming above all the rest of the vegetation. About the ship floated tropical seaweed of brilliant colors, while the long snow-white beach[Pg 110] contrasted strongly with the dark green, glossy foliage behind it. It was easy to divine the products of the island from the nature of the merchandise piled upon the wharf for shipment, consisting of tapioca, cocoanut oil, gambia, tin, indigo, tiger skins, coral, gutta-percha, hides, gums, and camphor, some of which our ship was destined to take westward. The tin, in heavy pigs, was especially noticeable as to weight and quantity.

The surface of the island is undulating and densely wooded; in fact consists of a multitude of small hills not exceeding three or four hundred feet in height, while the jungle comes down close to the shore. The great enemy which the natives have to contend against is wild beasts,—tigers proving very fatal all the year round. There is no winter, summer, or autumn here, but a perpetual spring, with a temperature almost unvarying; new leaves always swelling from the buds, flowers always in bloom, the sun rising and setting within five minutes of six o'clock during the entire year. Singapore is considered to be a very healthy place, and gets a soft breeze most of the day from across the Bay of Bengal, laden with fragrant sweetness from the spice-bearing fields of Ceylon, while upon its own soil every flower and blossom known to the Orient affords beauty to the eye and delight to the senses. The trees here would have seemed enormous had we not so lately come from California. One observes the great abundance of the rattan-palm, which forms picturesque groups of green foliage quite distinctive from the other surroundings. It seemed rather enervating with the thermometer at 90° in the shade, these December days, but the residents did not complain. There are some [Pg 111]drawbacks to be considered, as well as the floral beauty and spice-laden air. Were this not the case it would be celestial not terrestial. The number of dangerous snakes, scorpions, mammoth spiders, lizards, mosquitoes, and all sorts of vermin is legion. Naturalists come from all parts of Europe to gather and form collections of butterflies, beetles, birds, reptiles, various insects, and shells. The great green-winged Ornithoptera, the prince of the butterfly tribe, abounds here. One enthusiastic naturalist, a German, boasted that he had obtained within a month over three hundred distinct and remarkable species of beetles, within a couple of miles of the hotel veranda where we stood.

The steamboat landing is some three miles from the centre of Singapore, and we drove thither drawn by a little horse which could hardly have performed the task had the road not been an excellent one and as level as a parlor floor. The wayside was bordered by hedges of green and growing rattans uniformly clipped, and forming a continuous wall, which, here and there, threw out a graceful feathery bit of foliage. Over the hedge occasionally bent tall and handsome palm-trees of various species, often laden with cocoanuts, or other fruit of the palm family, and occasionally whole groves of bananas were in sight. We passed many Chinamen, and many Chinese shops, showing them to be the dominating race, always moving promptly as if bent on some fixed purpose; while the natives, seen now and then on the road, were listless and objectless in their appearance,—true children of the equatorial region. The former were bent on accumulating the means to return to their native land in independence; the latter were utterly heedless of the morrow.

[Pg 112]

The local pictures, as usual in each new place, are interesting and impressive: small hump-backed oxen driven singly to harness and at a lively trot; little diminutive horses, even smaller than those of Japan, yet drawing heavy-loaded vehicles; an almost naked population, and those wearing clothes at all affecting the brightest possible colors. Scarlet turbans and white skirts, red shawls bound round the head, yellow sashes confining one thickness of narrow cotton cloth about the body, give bits of color everywhere. Peddlers roam the streets selling water, soup, fruit, and a jelly, made from seaweed, called agar-agar. These articles are cried, each after its own peculiar name, and customers are not wanting; little groups of Chinese and natives often surround the peddler and partake of his wares. Houses are built high up in the air upon stilts, a common practice for various reasons, not the least of which is protection against the much dreaded tigers, snakes, and other dangerous creatures. Tigers are said to devour three hundred of the inhabitants annually; that is nearly one a day out of a population of a hundred thousand, which is the aggregate of the whole island. The number of victims is set even higher than this, and is mostly made up from those working on the plantations.

The jungle is very dense and difficult to penetrate. English sportsmen come hither, in large numbers, to seek this royal game. It would seem strange at first thought that an island like Singapore could not be cleared of this terrible pest, and so we remarked. "Ah," replied a resident, "you forget that we draw an unlimited supply from the main-land. Tigers swim across the narrow straits continually, and not until the land is cleared from jungle will our island[Pg 113] be free from them." The natives dig pits as traps for the tigers, similar to the manner of catching them in India, except that at Singapore a series of sharp, upright stakes were introduced, upon which the animals fell and were fatally wounded. This, however, has been forbidden since an English hunter fell into a trap and was empaled upon them.

The vegetable and fruit market at Singapore affords an amusing scene in the early morning. In fact a traveler soon learns that it is a resort not to be neglected in any new city; affording, as it invariably does, strongly characteristic local pictures, and for the time drawing together representatives from nearly all classes of the community,—master, mistress, and servant. The variety of fruit is here much greater than in Japan or China; and there are one or two species, such as the delicious mangosteen,—the seductive apple of the East,—which are found indigenous in no other country. The vegetables are abundant, and the native women, who transact the market business, know how to arrange them with an eye to good effect, just as they show an artistic fancy in the mingled colors of the few clothes they wear.

The cocoanuts ripening in big clusters on the lofty trees, and many other fruits produced by the family of the palm, are inviting and handsome to look upon, especially when hanging in clusters forty or fifty feet skyward. We had often read of the fan-palm, but they are much more curious to see than to read about, being here presented in their most thriving aspect. The California specimens are quite meagre and unsatisfactory in comparison with those grown so near the equator. Here the tree springs up in the exact shape of an outspread feather-fan, as though it were[Pg 114] artificially trained, and reaches the height of thirty or forty feet, making a very distinctive feature of the scenery. Fruit is always cheap in these regions, and forms a very large portion of the native subsistence; but it was a surprise to us in paying for a dozen large, ripe, and luscious pine-apples to find that the price was but sixpence. It was amusing to watch the itinerant cooks, who wear a yoke over their necks, with a cooking apparatus on one end and a little table to balance it on the other, serving meals of rice and fish to coolies and boatmen for a couple of pennies each. Money has here, as in most Eastern countries, a larger purchasing power than it has with us of the West. Laborers at Singapore get twelve and fifteen cents a day for work on the wharves, and less inland; but the cost of living to these people is proportionally insignificant. They can go into the jungle and get a dinner of fruit at any time, and no one will interfere with them.

A visit to the Botanical Garden, located a couple of miles from the town, afforded us much pleasure, and, as a complete collection of tropical trees and plants, exceeded, in extent and variety, all previous experience. Though this entire region is a garden, it has been deemed well to gather close together all possible representatives of the trees, fruits, and flowers, and to surround them with all the beauties of landscape gardening. Here, nourished by abundant heat and moisture, thrive the bread-fruit-tree, palms, dates, figs, and mangoes, mangosteens, and creepers of infinite variety. For the first time we saw specimens of the acacia flamboyante, a large tree with broad leaves of delicate green, throwing out from its topmost boughs clusters of scarlet flowers with yellow[Pg 115] centres like military plumes. The floral display was very beautiful, and the plants must have enjoyed the care of the best trained skill to produce such perfection. One portion of the garden contained large bushes of stephanotis and alamanda in full bloom, and close by was a glorious display of the Egyptian lotus in flower. Upon a small artificial lake was a grand flourishing plant of the Victoria Regia, with leaves that would support a small child upon the surface of the water. There was an extensive aviary in the grounds, with beautiful specimens of the argus pheasant, lyre-bird, parrots of many species, and doves with strangely gaudy plumage, as though they had barely escaped being parrots. The little scarlet larie, a native here, chattered like a magpie. It was certainly an unexpected pleasure to find an excellent museum, a public library, a Protestant cathedral, a large hospital, schools, and several benevolent institutions, as well as the fine garden referred to, in this capital of the Malay coast. It will be remembered that Singapore belongs to the English, having been purchased by them so long ago as 1819 from the Sultan of Johore, Malay Peninsula; wise forethought, showing its importance as a port of call between England and India. The city is divided into the Chinese, Malay, and European quarters, with a population of sixty thousand, and is elaborately fortified. A moment's thought will recall to the reader's mind a fact which is of interest in this connection. England has established and maintains a line of outposts from the Mediterranean to the far East, commencing at Gibraltar, thence to Malta, Aden, Ceylon, Penang, Singapore, and Hong Kong, thus completely dominating the south of Asia, and giving her a clear road to[Pg 116] India, besides making her power always realized and respected in the East.

There is no disguising the fact that the Chinese, attracted to Singapore by its freedom from commercial restrictions, and its advantages of position, have contributed very largely to make it what it is, the most prosperous settlement in the East. It literally swarms with pigtails, the Chinese composing nearly half of the population. We cannot afford to ignore the commercial value of this race, however much we may dislike them personally. Opium dens are conspicuous here, over the doors of which is printed in English, "Licensed Opium Shops." It seems that these Mongolians cannot or will not do without the subtle drug, while there are many people who do not use the article, but who contend that it is not injurious except when taken to excess. An intelligent resident, however, admitted that opium was in one way or another the cause of most of the crime among the class who habitually use it. It is the Chinaman's one luxury, his one extravagance; he will stint himself in food, clothing, amusements, everything else, to add to his hoard of dollars; but this fascinating, artificial stimulant and narcotic combined he will not deny himself.

An Englishman, who joined the ship at Singapore, related a tiger adventure, which had occurred here not long previous to our visit. There was ample evidence that one of these much-dreaded creatures had made his lair not far away from the town. Our informant had come hither with a friend on a hunting excursion, and resolved, if possible, to secure the creature's hide. Three or four days before a native woman had disappeared from the suburbs, and it was resolved to take advantage of the trail which was made[Pg 117] on this occasion to track the beast through the jungle. The sportsmen, with six native beaters, easily followed the track, the animal's fore paws evidently sinking heavily into the ground with the weight of the body he carried. A full mile was passed before the path became so dense as to cause delay, and the track was quite clear. Here and there branches showed a lock of the woman's hair, where her head had come in contact with some thorny bushes in passing. Once the tiger had evidently laid the body down, and here were finger-marks in the soil, showing that life still existed in the poor victim.

The slight clothing she wore had been found at the commencement of the trail, where a disturbance of the ground indicated some sort of struggle. At the end of the second mile the tracks grew every moment more distinct, and the party moved with increased caution. An experienced beater was now sent in advance with only his broad, unsheathed knife for self-protection. Stillness reigned for some time, as the party thus advanced. The animal had scented danger, and, contrary to the usual habits of these creatures on such occasions, instead of retreating farther into the jungle, he came boldly towards the attacking party. Had this been anticipated, greater caution would have been observed. Suddenly there came a crashing sound, and a scream rang through the jungle. The head beater was borne to the ground by the whole weight of the tiger, who had sprung upon him. The man had stood at the moment in a partial opening, so that man and beast were now in full sight. One of the hunters instantly leveled his rifle, and with deliberate aim sent a ball through the tiger's brain, causing him to straighten out at once, quite dead.

[Pg 118]

The man was stunned and severely wounded, but he was not bitten, and was able to struggle to his feet, pointing exultingly to the knife, showing that he had buried the blade to the hilt in the tiger's chest, notwithstanding the suddenness of the attack. The natives generally are poor hunters, lacking courage and coolness, both of which qualities this man clearly evinced. A hundred yards further into the jungle from the spot where this struggle took place was found the monster's lair. It was a small open space, surrounded by a thick undergrowth, whither he had brought his victims, fully three miles from the nearest village. Only the bones of the poor woman were found; what the tiger had not eaten other beasts and birds had consumed. Heaps of bones testified to the havoc the animal had made. A number of bangles, arm-rings, nose and ear ornaments, were picked up, such as only women wear, showing that a number of his victims had been of that sex. The beater was well enough to walk back to the village, after a short time, and became quite a hero in consequence of the adventure. The carcass was brought to town, and proved to be that of a very large and old tiger. The fact of his coming towards the hunters instead of retiring, as is their habit when pursued by numbers, showed that he was an unusually dangerous animal.

A two days' voyage through what seemed to us like a sea of phosphorescence, every splash and ripple producing liquid gems, brought us to Penang, the most northerly sea-port of the Malacca Straits, situated at the point where they open into the Indian Ocean, and just one hundred miles from the island of Sumatra across the mouth of the Straits. The approach to the island by water afforded a fine [Pg 119]picture. Well-wooded hills of vivid greenness rise above the sea all about the town. These hills grow more or less lofty as they recede inland, until they culminate in three mountain peaks. Penang, like Singapore, is an island some thirteen miles long by ten in width, and is separated from the main-land of the Peninsula by a narrow belt of sea not more than three miles in width, giving it a position of great commercial importance. It resembles Singapore in many respects, and is almost identical with it so far as it relates to its general products and vegetation; the season, likewise, is one long, unvarying summer. The arcea palm, known as the Penang-tree, is the source of the betel-nut, and, as it abounds on the island, has given it the name it bears. The town and its immediate suburbs cover about a square mile, through which one broad main street runs, intersected by lesser thoroughfares at right angles. A drive about the place gave us an idea that it is a thrifty town, but not nearly so populous or business-like as Singapore. It was also observable here that the Chinese element predominated. The main street referred to is lined with open bazars and shops, mostly kept by Chinamen. The front of the dwellings being all open, gives the passer-by a full idea of all that is going on in each household. Shrines were nearly always to be seen in some nook or corner of each dwelling, before which incense was burning, and generally a couple of candles also, very much as at Canton. The shrine-room seemed also to be the eating, sleeping, and living room.

The natives are lithe in figure, with but slight muscular development, and are yet quite strong, appearing at all times as nearly naked as would be[Pg 120] permitted among white people. They give up nearly all branches of occupation, trade, and industries to the Chinamen, and content themselves with lying all day in the sun, eating bananas and other cheap fruits, and chewing betel-nuts. Some of them make good sailors, taken away from their home and put under discipline. The P. & O. Steamship Company, as well as many others, often recruit their crews here. Is it because surrounding nature is so bountiful, so lovely, so prolific in spontaneous food, that these, her children, are lazy, dirty, and heedless? Does it require a cold, unpropitious climate, a sterile soil and rude surroundings, to awaken human energy and put man at his best? There is compensation always. With luxury comes enervation, effort is superfluous; while with frugality and labor we have strength, accompanied with development of mind and body. The former produces slaves, the latter heroes.

Humanity and the lower grades of animal life seem here to change places. While the birds and butterflies are in perfect harmony with the loveliness of nature about them, while the flowers are glorious in beauty and in fragrance, man alone seems out of tune and out of place. Indolent, dirty, unclad, he adds nothing to the beauty or perfection of the surroundings, does nothing to adapt and improve such wealth of possibilities as nature spreads broadcast only in these regions. The home of the Malay is not so clean as that of the ants, or the birds, or the bees; the burrowing animals are much neater. He does little for himself, nothing for others, the sensuous life he leads poisoning his nature. Virtue and vice have no special meaning to him. There is no sear and yellow leaf at Penang, or anywhere on the coast of the[Pg 121] Straits. Fruits and flowers are perennial: if a leaf falls, another springs into life on the vacant stem; if fruit is plucked, a blossom follows and another cluster ripens; nature is inexhaustible. Unlike most tropical regions, neither Penang nor Singapore are troubled with malarial fevers, and probably no spot on earth can be found better adapted to the wants of primitive man.

The native women are graceful and almost pretty, slight in figure, and very fond of ornament. Indeed both sexes pierce their ears, noses, and lips, through which to thrust silver, brass, and gold rings, also covering their ankles and arms with metallic rings, the number only limited by their means. In the immediate neighborhood of the town are some English plantations and neat cottages, with inclosures of flowers and orchards of fruit trees; while still farther back are large gardens of bread-fruit, nutmegs, cinnamon, pepper, and other spices. Plantations of sugar-cane, tobacco, and coffee are also numerous, the soil being pronounced to be extremely fertile. We were told that nothing had to be wrung from the earth here, but, as Douglas Jerrold said of Australia, "just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest." Here is the very paradise of brilliant birds, with feathers "too utterly gaudy," while Flora revels in wild luxuriance. The delicate little sensitive plant here grows in a wild state, equally tremulous and subsiding at human touch, as with us. Lilies are in wonderful variety, and such ferns, and such butterflies! These latter almost as big as humming-birds and as swift of wing.

Penang is the headquarters of the cocoanut-tree, the prolific character of which is here simply [Pg 122]wonderful. How these trees manage to keep an upright position, with such heavy loads in their tufted tops, is a never-ending marvel. This tree is always in bearing at Penang, giving annually several voluntary crops, and receiving no artificial cultivation. Of the liberal gifts which Providence has bestowed upon the tropics, the cocoanut-tree is perhaps the most valuable. The Asiatic poets celebrate in verse the three hundred and sixty uses to which the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the fruit, and the juice are applied. In Penang a certain number of these trees are not permitted to bear fruit; the embryo bud, from which the blossoms and nuts would spring, is tied up to prevent its expansion, and a small incision then being made at the end, there oozes in gentle drops a cool, pleasant liquor called sarce or toddy, which is the palm-wine of the poet. This, when first drawn, is cooling and wholesome, but when fermented and distilled produces a strong, intoxicating spirit. In fruits, the banana is perhaps the next most valuable of the products of this region. We were told that between twenty and thirty distinct species of the fruit flourished within a radius of a dozen miles of the town, all wholesome and palatable. The attention of planters is being diverted from spice culture to that of fruit raising, the latter requiring so much less attention, and not being liable to blight of any sort.

In the brief stay which we made at Singapore and Penang, it is hardly to be supposed that any very reliable judgment could be formed as to the characteristics of the common people; but with observation, fortified by intelligent inquiry, certain deductions were natural. The Malay seems to be a careless,[Pg 123] happy-go-lucky race, the merest children of nature, with no thought of the morrow. The English first, and then the Chinese, dominate the masses. When they have no money, and lack for food, they will work; but only empty pockets and gnawing stomachs will induce them to labor. All life seems more or less torpid and listless in the tropics. As has been intimated, the morals of these people of the Straits will not bear writing about; the marriage rite has little force among them, and domesticity is not understood. They are more nearly Mohammedan than aught else, and its forms are somewhat preserved, but the faith of Mecca has only a slight hold upon them. There are intelligent and cultivated Malays, those of Sumatra, Borneo, and Java are notably so; but we have been speaking of the masses. Penang originally belonged to the Malay kingdom, but, about the year 1786, was given to an English sea-captain as a marriage portion with the King of Keddah's daughter, and by him transferred to the East India Company. When Captain Francis Light received it with his dusky bride, it was the wild home of a few Malay fishermen and their families; to-day it has about a hundred thousand population.

The constant changes of climate, in so prolonged a journey as that to which these notes relate, must naturally somewhat try one's physical endurance, and also demands more than ordinary care in the preservation of health. Regularity of habits, abstemiousness, and no careless exposure will, as a rule, insure the same immunity from sickness that may be reasonably expected at home, though this result cannot always be counted upon. The sturdiest and most healthy-appearing individual of our little party was[Pg 124] Mr. D——, who was in the prime of life and manly vigor when he joined us at San Francisco; but while the rest of us enjoyed good health from the beginning to the end of the journey, he lost health and strength gradually from the time we left China. Though receiving the most unremitting attention, both professional and friendly, he was conscious by the time we reached Singapore that he could not long survive. He passed away on the night of December 21st, and was buried next day at sea, with the usual solemn ceremony. It was a wild, stormy day, when the body was committed to the deep, causing the scene to be all the more impressive from the attendant rage of the elements.

[Pg 125]


Sailing Due West.—The Indian Ocean.—Strange Sights at Sea.—Island of Ceylon.—Singhalese Canoes.—Colombo.—A Land of Slaves.—Native Town.—Singhalese Women.—Fantastic Nurses.—Local Pictures.—Cinnamon Gardens.—Wild Elephants.—Lavishness of Tropical Nature.—Curious Birds and their Nests.—Ancient Kandy.—Temple of Maligawan.—Religious Ceremonies.—Life of the Natives.—Inland Scenery.—Fruits.—Precious Stones.—Coffee Plantations.—Great Antiquity of Ceylon.

After leaving Penang our course lay due west across the Indian Ocean, on a line of about the tenth degree of north latitude; the objective point being the island of Ceylon. We sighted the Andaman Islands as we passed, more than one of which has the reputation of being inhabited by cannibals; and as a matter of course some of the passengers became witty over the second-hand jokes about roasted missionary. The rains which we encountered in this equatorial region were so profuse, and yielded such a marvelous downpour of water as to almost deluge us, and set the inside of the good steamship Brindisi afloat. But the air was soft and balmy, the nights gloriously serene and bright, so that it was even more refreshing, more restful than slumber, to lie awake upon the quarter-deck, and gazing idly among the clustering stars, to build castles in the limpid atmosphere while watching the fleecy clouds floating across the gleaming planets, as a lovely woman's veil covers her luminous eyes for an instant only to vivify their splendor.

[Pg 126]

In the daytime large sea-turtles came to the surface of the water to sun themselves, stretching their awkward necks to get sight of our hull. Big schools of dolphins played their gambols about the ship, darting bodily out of the water, and pitching in again head foremost, no doubt holding their breath when submerged in atmospheric air, as a diver does when he plunges into the sea. Flying-fish were so numerous as to cease to be a curiosity, often skimming on board in their awkward attempts at aerial navigation, and being caught by the crew. As it is known that a light will attract these delicate little sea-moths at night, sailors sometimes extend a bit of canvas on a pole from a forward port, in the shape of a scoop, and placing a lantern above it, gather quite a mess of them in a brief time. One morning the cook brought himself into special notice by giving us a fry of the self-immolated creatures. Large watersnakes appeared at the surface now and again, raising their slimy heads a couple of feet or more above the waves. These have been known to board sailing ships by means of a stray rope left dragging in the water, or through an open port near the surface of the sea. But they would hardly attempt such feats with a swift gliding steamer, even if a trailing rope were to offer them the chance. Now and then the ship would sail for an hour or more through a prolific drift of that queer, indolent bit of animal life, the jelly-fish. How these waters teemed with life! Every school-boy knows that the ocean covers three quarters of the globe, but how few realize that it represents more of organic life than does the land. It is a world in itself, immense and mighty, affording a home for countless and manifold forms of life. We[Pg 127] are indebted to it for every drop of water distributed over our hills, plains, and valleys, for from the ocean it has arisen by evaporation to return again through myriads of channels. It is a misnomer to speak of the sea as a desert waste: it is teeming with inexhaustible animal and vegetable life. A German scientist has, with unwearied industry, secured and classified over five hundred distinct species of fishes from this very division of the Indian Ocean; many of which are characterized by colors as gay and various as those of tropical birds and flowers. Mirage played us strange tricks, in the way of optical delusion, in these regions. We seemed constantly to be approaching land that was never reached, and which, after assuming the undulating shore-lines of a well-defined coast, at the moment when we should fairly make it, faded into thin air. Sometimes at night the marvelous phosphorescence of the sea was fascinating to behold, the crest of each wave and ripple became a small cascade of fire, and the motion of the ship through her native element seemed as though sailing through flames. The scientific methods of accounting for this effect are familiar, but hardly satisfactory to those who have watched this phenomenon in both hemispheres. We began, nevertheless, to experience somewhat of the monotony of sea life, although the most was made of trivial occurrences; for out of the hundred days which we had been traveling since leaving Boston, nearly fifty had been passed upon various seas and oceans.

The voyage from Penang to Ceylon covers a distance of about thirteen hundred miles. We sighted the island on Sunday, December 24th, and landed at Colombo on the following day, which was Christmas.[Pg 128] When we rounded the seaward end of the substantial breakwater now building, over which the lofty waves were making a clean breach, five of the large and noble steamships of the P. and O. line were seen moored in the harbor, making this a port of call on their way to or from India, China, or Australia. As the anchor-chain rattled through the hawser-hole, and the Brindisi felt the restraint of her land-tackle, we were surrounded by half a hundred native boats, most of which were Singhalese canoes, of such odd construction as to merit a special description. They are peculiar to these seas, being designed to enable the occupant to venture out, however rough the water may chance to be, and the surf is always raging in these open roadsteads. The canoe consists of the trunk of a tree hollowed out, some twenty feet in length, having long planks fastened lengthwise so as to form the sides or gunwales of the boat, which is two feet and a half deep and two feet wide. An outrigger, consisting of a log of wood about one third the size of the canoe, is fastened alongside at a distance of some six or eight feet, by two arched poles of well-seasoned bamboo. This outrigger prevents any possibility of upsetting the boat; but without it so narrow a craft could not remain upright even in the calmest sea. The natives face any weather in those little vessels.

There was a pretense made of examining our baggage by the custom-house officers, but this was simply for form's sake, and then the trunks were put into a two-wheeled canvas-covered cart, drawn by a couple of milk-white oxen, and we walked beside them a short distance to the hotel. It was observed that the driver of the bullocks had no whip, and the[Pg 129] circumstance was set down in favor of humanity; but it soon appeared that the fellow had a resort of another sort whereby to urge on his cattle, namely, he twisted their tails, compared to which whipping would have been to them a luxury. As we at once objected to the tail-twisting operation, the native gave it up and behaved himself with humanity. The sun, meantime, was doing its best to roast us, and we were only too happy to get under the shelter of the hotel piazza. We were waited upon with prompt regard to our necessities, and assigned to comfortable apartments. The rooms were divided by partitions which did not reach to the ceiling, the upper portion being left open for ventilation; a style of building peculiar to the climate, but not calculated to afford much more privacy than the Japan paper partitions in the tea-houses. But the hotel at Colombo was a very good one in all of its belongings, and the table excellent. While we sat at our meals, in the spacious dining-hall, long lines of punkas, or suspended fans, were worked by pulleys running outside, so that during these hours we were comfortable, notwithstanding the heat.

This island, situated just off the southern point of India, stands in the same relation to it that Madagascar does to Africa, and is very ancient in its historical associations, having been in the prime of its glory four hundred years before the coming of Christ, and how far back of that period its history extends is only problematical. It is separated from the continent by a strait called the Gulf of Manar, and is about the size of Massachusetts; containing, also, nearly the same aggregate population. It is believed to be the Ophir of the Hebrews, abounding as it does,[Pg 130] to-day, in precious stones, such as rubies, sapphires, amethysts, garnets, and various mineral wealth. It is also, taken as a whole, one of the most beautiful regions of the world; the very gem of the equatorial region.

The English government have here large and admirably arranged barracks, suitable for the housing of a small army, the troops numbering at this writing between three and four thousand; but more than double that number can be provided for in the broad, open buildings, specially adapted to the service and the climate. The object is undoubtedly to maintain at this point a military depot, with which to supply troops in an emergency to India or elsewhere in the East. But it should be remembered that Ceylon, though a British colony, is quite separate from that of India, so near at hand. It is presided over by a governor, appointed by the Queen of England, an executive council of five, and a legislative council of fifteen. For the first time since landing in the East, we saw no Chinese. They ceased at Penang; for Chinamen, like some species of birds, move in flocks; they never straggle. There is here a sprinkling of Nubians, but the general population is Singhalese, with whom are seen mingled Arabs, Javanese, Afghans, Kaffirs, and Syrian Jews, these last with their hair in ringlets like young school-girls. The subjugated appearance of the common people is disagreeably apparent. In Japan, the submissiveness and humility of the population is voluntary, for they are a free and independent race after all; but here the natives are the merest slaves, realizing their humble status only too plainly. They call all white people "master" when addressing them: "Yes, master,"[Pg 131] or "No, master," "Will master have this or that?" They would not dare to resent it if they were knocked down by a white man. The English government provides means for the education of the rising generation in the form of free schools; and the English language is very generally spoken by the common people. This is wise, for even in her colonial possessions she must multiply schools, or prisons will multiply themselves.

The police arrangements of Colombo are excellent. Notwithstanding the singular variety of nationalities, one sees no outbreaks; there is no visible impropriety of conduct, no contention or intoxication, quiet and repose reign everywhere. Though the ancient Pettah, or Black Town, inhabited solely by the natives, is not a very attractive place to visit, and though it is characterized by dirt and squalor, still it is quiet and orderly, presenting many objects of interest as illustrating the domestic life of the Singhalese. The same indolence and want of physical energy is observable among them as was noted in the Malays at Penang and Singapore. Man is but a plant of a higher order. In the tropics he is born of fruitful stock and of delicate fibre; in the north his nature partakes of the hardihood of the oak and cedar. The thermometer indicated about 90° in the shade during the week we remained at Ceylon, rendering it absolutely necessary to avoid the sun. Only the thinnest of clothing is bearable, and one half envied the nudity of the natives who could be no more thinly clad unless they took off their bronzed skins.

We made our home in Colombo at the Grand Oriental Hotel, kept by an Englishman. The servants were natives, but well-trained, and all spoke English.[Pg 132] Each wore a white turban and a single white cotton garment, cut like a gentleman's dressing-gown, extending below the knee, and confined at the waist by a sash, thus being decently clothed. It was curious to sit on the piazza and watch the out-door scenes as they presented themselves to the eye. The women were strange objects, with silver and brass jewelry stuck through the tops and bottoms of their ears, through their nostrils and lips, their toes being covered with small silver coins attached to rings, and their ankles, fingers, and wrists similarly covered, but with scarcely any clothing upon their bodies. Both men and women frequently have their arms, legs, and bodies tattooed with red and black ink, representing grotesque figures and strange devices,—these pictorial illustrations on their copper-colored skins reminding one of illumined text on vellum. Like most Eastern nations, they do not sit down when fatigued, but squat on their heels to rest themselves, or when eating,—a position which no person not accustomed to it can assume for one instant without pain. The men wear their hair done up in a singular manner, combed back from the forehead and held in place by a circular shell comb, giving them an especially effeminate appearance; but the women wear nothing of the comb kind in their hair, their abundant braids being well plaited and confined by long metallic pins with mammoth heads. Some of the women are pretty, and would be almost handsome, if their ears and lips and noses were not so distorted; as it is, they have fine upright figures, and the dignified walk that so distinguishes their Egyptian sisters.

These women are very generally employed as nurses by the English officers' wives, and children[Pg 133] seem to take very kindly to them, their nature being gentle and affectionate. But these nurses seem to form a class by themselves, and the taste for cheap jewelry could hardly be carried to a greater extent than it is with them. They are got up in the "loudest" style; after the idea of the Roman women similarly employed, or those one meets with children in the gardens of the Louvre at Paris, or the Prado at Madrid. The Singhalese nurses wear a white linen chemise covering the body, except the breast, to the knee, with a blue cut-away velvet jacket, covered with silver braid and buttons, open in front, a scarlet sash gathering the chemise at the waist. The legs and feet are bare, the ankles and toes covered with rings, and the ears heavy, weighed down, and deformed with them. These, like their sisters of the masses, often have their nostrils and lower lips perforated by metallic hoops of brass or silver, and sometimes of gold; to which is often added a necklace of bright sea-shells mixed with shark's teeth, completing the oddest outfit that can well be conceived of for a human being. Savagery tinctured with civilization. The native children of six, eight, and ten, were subjects of particular interest, the boys especially, who were remarkably handsome, clean-limbed, with skins shining like satin, and brown as hazel nuts. These boys and girls have large, brilliant, and intensely black eyes, with a promise of good intelligence, but their possibilities remain unfulfilled amid such associations as they are born to. They soon subside into languid, sensuous creatures.

As we sat shaded by the broad piazza in the midday, the native jugglers and snake-charmers would come, and, squatting in the blazing sun, beg us to[Pg 134] give heed to their tricks. They are singularly clever, these Indian mountebanks, especially in sleight of hand tricks. The serpents which they handle with such freedom are of the deadly cobra species, fatally poisonous when their fangs penetrate the flesh, though doubtless when exhibited in this manner they have been deprived of their natural means of defense. True to their native instinct, however, these cobras were more than once seen to strike at the bare arms and legs of the performers. Rooks, of which there were thousands about the house, flew in and out at the open doors and windows, after their own free will, lighting confidently on the back of one's chair and trying the texture of his coat with their sharp bills. No one molests them here or makes them afraid. They are far tamer than are domestic fowls in America, for they are never killed and eaten like hens and chickens. A Singhalese's religion will not permit him to kill anything, except wild beasts in self-defense. The vegetation is what might be expected within so few miles of the equator: beautiful and prolific in the extreme. The cinnamon fields are so thrifty as to form a wilderness of green, though growing but four or five feet in height, and a drive through them was like a poetical inspiration.

The cinnamon bush is a species of laurel, and bears a white, scentless flower, which is succeeded by a small, oblong berry, scarcely as large as a pea. The spice of commerce is the inner bark of the shrub, the branches of which are cut and peeled twice in the course of the year,—say about Christmas and midsummer. The plantations resemble a thick, tangled copse, without any regularity, and require no cultivation, after being once set out; though by close [Pg 135]trimming the strength is thrown downward, and the shrub is thought to render a better crop. The raising of the spice was once a government monopoly, but all restrictions are now removed, and the plantations near to Colombo are private property. In driving through them—for they are miles in extent, and are poetically called cinnamon gardens—we tried in vain to detect the perfume derived from cinnamon; far too decided and pungent to be mistaken for aught else. It is not the bloom nor the berry which throws off this scent, but the wounded bark in process of being gathered at the semi-annual harvest. These cinnamon fields were very sweet and fragrant; there was the perfume of flowers in the air, but not even poetical license could attribute it to the cinnamon.

The wide-spread coffee plantations were much more attractive to the eye, the cultivation of which forms one of the principal industries of the island, supplemented by the raising and exporting of rice, tea, cocoanuts, pine-apples, plumbago, and precious stones. Ceylon, at one time, almost rivaled Java in the production of coffee; statistics showing that her export of the berry reached the large amount of a million hundred-weight per annum, before it was suddenly checked by the leaf disease, which has impoverished so many of the local planters. Among its wild animals are elephants, deer, monkeys, bears, and panthers,—fine specimens of which are preserved in the excellent museum near Colombo. Pearl oysters abound on the coast, and some superb specimens of this beautiful jewel have been found here, while no shore is richer in the variety and quality of its finny tribe. Game birds, especially of aquatic sorts, prevail.

Specimens of the ebony, satin-wood, and [Pg 136]celamendar-trees were met with, the latter the most highly prized of all cabinet woods, growing in wild luxuriance, surrounded by palms, bamboos, fragrant balsams, tall ferns, and the india-rubber-tree, large and lofty, with a majority of its anaconda-like roots lying above the surface of the ground. Here and there we came upon dark, shady pools, covered with the blooming lotus, like our pond-lilies, except that they are much larger. The floral display was fascinating. Nature seemed to revel in blossoms of various, and, to us, unknown species. While some large and brilliant flowers bloomed on trees, others, very lovely and sweet, caught the eye among the prolific undergrowth. Vivid colors flashed before the observer, caused by the blue and scarlet plumage of the feathered tribe among the branches of the trees, some with pleasant trilling voices, and others uttering harsh, shrill, unfamiliar cries. The variety of birds was a very marked feature of this tropical region. The keen voice of the Ceylon thrush rang in our ears like the scream of a young child. Many other smaller birds were seen in rainbow feathers; and a sparrow, like his English brother, except that the Ceylon species wear a white shirt bosom.

The difference between a tropical forest and that of our temperate zone, which at once challenges the notice of the traveler, is that trees of the same families do not characterize any particular spot. We have pine forests, oak forests, cedar, birch, and maple woods, and the like; but a tropical forest contains specimens of the most widely different classes, with every possible variety of family; and the same may be said of the countless climbing plants which cling to the vertical trunks. The various kinds of the[Pg 137] palm are sure to assert their predominance everywhere in the wooded districts and jungles of the tropics, yielding an abundance of their valuable fruits. But at the north, to see a peach or apple-tree bearing fruit in a pine grove, or fruitful cherry and pear-trees among a forest of oaks, would cause surprise. It is, after all, only a peculiarity born of the wonderful vegetable productiveness of the equatorial region, which gives birth to fruits and flowers wherever there is space to nourish their roots, and where moisture and heat have no other outlet whereon to expend their fructifying powers. The bread-fruit-tree is especially interesting, with its deeply serrated, feathery leaves, and its melon-shaped fruit, weighing from three to four pounds. This the natives prepare for eating in many ways, and as the tree bears fruit continually for nine months of the year, it forms a most important food supply. Two or three trees will support a hearty man, and half a dozen, well cared for, will sustain a small family, a portion of the fruit being dried and kept for the non-producing months. The tree grows to nearly fifty feet in height, and only requires a little attention,—no more than that marvel of productiveness, the banana.

Here we saw, for the first time, the cardamom and pepper bushes full of fruit, and the kitool-palm yielding its harvest of sugar, toddy, and sago. The usual pests of the tropics were not wanting to balance all these pleasant sights. Beetles, dragon-flies, cock-chafers, locusts, wasps, and vicious spiders, were visible everywhere; while the omnipresent mosquito was ever looking out for a victim. The curious nest of the tailor-bird, which sews leaves together and builds a dainty nest inside of them, was pointed out[Pg 138] to us, and specimens of the weaver bird's nest, with entrance tubes over two feet in length. There were also pendent nests built by a species of wasp in the trees, which indicated a nefarious design to infringe upon bird architecture. The peacock is found wild here in all its wealth of mottled, feathery splendor. Storks, ibises, and herons flew up from the lagoons, and the cooing of the gentle wood-pigeon reached the ear during the quieter moments. The woods, and indeed all out-doors at Ceylon, seemed like a conservatory of exotic birds and flowers.

There is a well-equipped railroad extending from Colombo northward to the small but ancient city of Kandy, running thus about seventy-five miles into the very heart of the ancient native kingdom, and giving the traveler an excellent opportunity to view the inland scenery, which, at many points, is grand and imposing. Kandy is perched in a basin of the mountains, two thousand feet above the level of the sea, surrounded by thickly wooded hills; beyond which are broad plains and thick jungles, which are very rarely penetrated, and which have not been explored, probably, for centuries. Here wild elephants are to be met with in herds. It will be remembered, that they are indigenous to Ceylon, and from here Hindostan was supplied in the centuries that are gone, when the huge animal was employed in such large numbers during the Mogul reign. In those days there were elephant fights, when these animals, like gladiators at Rome, were trained to single combats, or duels, fur the pleasure of cruel masters; and such was their spirit that one or both were always sacrificed on such occasions. We afterwards saw, in India, the arenas where these gladiatorial contests took place, one of[Pg 139] which was located in the fort at Agra. A well-known peculiarity of this animal is the fact that it is almost impossible to breed from them in a domestic condition, thus rendering it necessary to replenish the ranks from the jungle. In their wild state elephants are a prolific animal; otherwise Ceylon would long since have been cleared of them, since thousands have been imported from here into India within the last fifty years. The Ceylon elephants prefer the low lying forests, but do not confine themselves to them, ranging the hills to a height of six or seven thousand feet, where the nights must be frosty and rather severe. Their principal food is the leafage and young shoots of various trees, the wild fig being a favorite. There are other trees of which they eat the bark, and the young roots of the bamboo form a large source of their food supply. Rice is, however, their favorite article of food, and they often devastate whole plantations in a single night. It is fortunate that the slightest fence will keep them away from any spot so protected: a single blow of their trunks would destroy a bamboo fence, but they never attempt it. Some idea, of which we can know nothing, possesses them as it regards these frail fences. The male elephant in Ceylon gets its full size at about twenty-two years, and is then about twelve feet in height. We were told that they averaged about a hundred years of life, but in India a much longer period is given them by general calculation.

It has been found necessary to protect them by special law in Ceylon, as European sportsmen came hither in such numbers after the large game, that they threatened their extinction. There is now, therefore, a fine of five hundred pounds imposed by[Pg 140] government, as a penalty for killing an elephant; but some rich English sportsmen kill their elephant and pay the fine. It will be remembered that the Duke of Edinburgh visited the island a few years since to participate in an elephant hunt, when great preparations were made for him, and good success, from a sportsman's point of view, was achieved. This style of hunting involves considerable risk, and native beaters are liable to lose their lives in the business. The animals found on the island seem to be quite a distinctive breed from any other known race, and are noted for their intelligence, as well as for their docility, after proper domestication. They are not so large as those of Africa, but seem to be more highly prized in India. The exportation, as we learned, still goes on in behalf of the English government, sixteen hundred animals having thus been disposed of in the five years ending in 1862, and about the same number in the intervening time up to January, 1883, all of which went to India.

The principal object of interest at Kandy is the renowned and ancient temple of Maligawa, where the sacred tooth of Buddha has been preserved for more than fifteen hundred years. It is an indescribable old shrine of irregular, low architecture, black and grimy with "the sacred rust of twice ten hundred years," surrounded by a walled court and small stone apartments. It is surmounted by a tower, manifestly European in design, and which tells its own story as a modern addition. It is massive and uncouth, so as hardly to admit of classification; though it must once have been the central object of worship to a very large population, and is held so sacred that the king and priests of Burmah and Siam still send valuable[Pg 141] presents to it annually. A sacred bo-tree was pointed out to us in the grounds near the temple, believed to be the oldest historical tree in the world. It is nearly allied to the banyan species, and its record has been carefully kept since three hundred years previous to the Christian era. The temple, though wearing a most deserted and neglected aspect, is still in charge of a few yellow-robed priests, who keep up an appearance daily of regular services, such as they are, and more heathenish ones were never witnessed. The ceremonies during our brief visit consisted of grotesque dancing, beating of drums, and blowing upon a shrill fife before a rude altar, upon which incense was burning. There was also marching, by these musicians, around the altar, led by a dirty, blear-eyed priest. The scene was strongly suggestive of a powwow as performed by the Digger Indians of California. So great was the din, we were quite willing to take for granted the presence, in another part of the temple, of the tooth of Buddha, without personal inspection, and hastened to get away from the annoyance as soon as possible. As we came out of the reeking, stuffy, infected building, we expanded our lungs and umbrellas at one and the same time, for it was "raining cats and dogs" just at that time, and when it rains near the equator it does so in earnest; umbrellas become a fallacy: nothing less than an india-rubber coat is of any avail. What an exhibition of mummery it was in that time-begrimed temple! Ceylon is the classic ground of Buddhism, as its ruined temples and monuments prove,—a faith which still prevails so generally throughout Burmah, China, and Japan.

The house at which we stopped in Kandy, the only[Pg 142] one designed for the accommodation of travelers, is called the Queen's Hotel, quite pretentious, quite expensive, and very poor, especially as it regards the table. One would think a plenty of fruit, at least, might be afforded where it only costs the time and trouble of gathering, but we were obliged to seek such cheap luxuries of the itinerant outsiders. There was a liberal abundance, however, in the insectivorous department. Centipides and other noxious creatures abounded in the sleeping-rooms. Fire-flies floated about them in such force at night as to contest the illuminating power with the primitive light supplied to guests, by means of a small cork with a bit of cotton wicking floating upon a shallow dish of cocoanut oil. We will not dilate upon the still more offensive insects which disputed our sleeping accommodations with us, but did protest when the rain came pouring through the roof and ceiling upon us in bed. A large tub was brought in, the bed removed to another corner; and we fell asleep, lulled by the dull sound of dropping water, to awake next morning and find the tub overflowing.

We drove through the very extensive and well-arranged Botanical Garden of Kandy, designed as a sort of experimental nursery for the introduction of such plants as are not indigenous to the island, but which might prove to be of value to the planters could they be acclimated. The selection of various trees and plants is very extensive, and mingled with those of native origin, together forming a collection of remarkable interest. We were told that the garden had been organized for some sixty years, and it is, undoubtedly, the finest in the East, next to that of Calcutta. It covers a hundred and fifty acres of[Pg 143] well economized land. There was one fine group, we had almost said grove, of bamboos to be seen here, the stems being considerably over a hundred feet high, and from eight to ten inches in diameter,—a native of the spot. The rapidity of growth which characterizes these grasses—for that is their family—is almost incredible. The large cluster here spoken of was less than ninety days old, and, the superintendent told us, increased twelve inches a day by actual measurement! We had read of plants growing at such speed in the tropics as to be visible to the watcher, and this group of bamboos was increasing at the rate of half an inch each hour. It being observed that the atmosphere was impregnated with a delicate flavor of vanilla, inquiry was made for the cause, and the plant was pointed out to us growing in thrifty abundance close at hand. Nowhere had we previously seen such extraordinary exuberance and variety of tropical vegetation combined.

Some of the palms were of stupendous size and height, while there appeared to be a spirit of emulation between talipots, palmyras, date-palms and fan-palms, as to which should develop into the finest specimen of its class. There were plenty of flying foxes in these grounds, and some remarkable specimens of the jungle-rope creepers, or elephant-creepers, as they are more generally called here, which clasp the trees to which they attach themselves as if with the purpose of their destruction, which they often succeed in producing by their anaconda-like-hug. The flying foxes, as was explained to us, are a great annoyance, and destructive to fruit and blossoms, always attacking the choicest specimens. They move in flocks or herds of hundreds from one place to another, as the[Pg 144] most desirable food tempts them. The natives never touch them, but hunters from Europe have cooked and eaten them, pronouncing the flesh almost the same as that of the hare, with similar game-like flavor. It is not safe to walk much in the more moist portions of the garden as there is an abundance of snakes, and especially of one poisonous kind which is the terror of the natives.

On the passage from and back to Colombo, the scenery was grand, and a source of great pleasure, for our appreciation in this line was becoming somewhat trained. So abrupt was the rising grade of the road on the portion approaching Kandy, that even our small train of two passenger cars required two engines to enable it to surmount the hills. The road wound about the mountain in rather startling proximity to the deep gorges and precipitous cliffs; but, as remarked above, giving us glimpses of scenery worthy of the Yosemite in the opposite hemisphere. At the several small stations where we made a brief halt, girls and boys brought to the windows of the cars yellow bunches of freshly picked, ripe bananas, very choice and appetizing, the price of which was six pennies for a bunch of twelve or fifteen, and so we partook of the fat of the land. New England fruits, as a rule, are more satisfactory to us than those of any other country, delicious as we sometimes find them in the tropics; but an exception may be safely made in favor of freshly picked, ripe, luscious bananas and pine-apples. Green cocoanuts, which the natives much affect, were offered to us, but having a decided preference for ripe fruit, these were respectfully but firmly declined.

The common people along the route live in the[Pg 145] very simplest and frailest of huts, made of bamboo frames with walls of mud, the roofs consisting of a thatching of large palm leaves ingeniously combined, one layer upon another, so as to effectually exclude even equatorial rains. The overlapping eaves come within a couple of feet of the ground, the huts being one story high. They have no chimneys nor windows. The door, always open, admits all the required light, and there is no cold to be feared in Ceylon. Whatever of cooking the people do, and it is very little, is accomplished out of doors. Many of the small hamlets through which we passed were embedded in low-lying, thickly-shaded woods, showing the salubrity of the climate, since in some countries such a location would prove to be the very hot-bed of jungle fever. Here the natives work in the rice-fields and the swamps at all seasons of the year, and seem to be perfectly healthy; but we were told that when Europeans attempt it they die off by scores. Quite a large number of Singhalese are employed by dealers at Colombo to hunt the beds of small streams, and to dig in the mountains in search of gems, such as sapphires, cat's-eyes, moon-stones, topazes, and rubies, which, after being cut, are sold to European and American travelers, and also exported to the Paris and London jewelers. A large proportion of the finest precious stones in the market come from this island.

The pools in the low grounds here and there were rendered beautiful and fragrant by the lotus in full bloom, bearing flowers eight inches in diameter, rivaling the magnolias, which were plenty enough, but which seemed by no means superior to our northern specimens. Does this proud representative of Flora's[Pg 146] kingdom, like humanity, require a northern and invigorating atmosphere to inspire its greatest fragrance and best qualities? Coffee plantations are most numerous inland, though they have lately developed a serious blight which has reduced the production at least fifty per cent., causing many to abandon the cultivation of the berry. It is not, like the cinnamon, indigenous to Ceylon, but was introduced here from the main-land. Unless this serious scourge can be overcome, coffee, as an export from the island, will very soon cease. The kind best known and mostly grown here is the "Arab," which thrives at an elevation of three or four thousand feet. It is bush-like in form, and trimmed to within three feet of the ground, both for the purpose of throwing down the strength of the growth into the berry, and for the convenience of picking. There are other sorts of coffee raised, but this has formed the staple of the island. Experiments are being tried with several other kinds just now, cuttings growing with good promise in nurseries, which were brought from the West Indies and South America. Curious facts suggest themselves in this connection. The grape-vines of France, which have developed blight, transferred to California, take on fresh life and flourish. Those of the latter State, which show symptoms of exhausted life, renew their productiveness when in the soil of Europe. The same result relating to coffee is hoped for in Ceylon: with an exchange of seed, plentiful crops are confidently anticipated, a matter in which commerce is much interested.

Realizing that the coffee crop is still in an experimental condition, some of the planters are giving their attention to the cinchona, which thrives greatly[Pg 147] at Ceylon, even flourishing at elevations where coffee naturally dies out. The seeds of the cinchona are planted in nurseries, and when six months old are transplanted into prepared fields, where they make rapid growth. They do not begin to yield until the tree is eight years old. The earnestness with which the planters have generally adopted this idea must, if successful, as it seems sure to be, lead to very decided results when the crop becomes available for the markets of the world.

Banana groves and orchards bending under the weight of the rich nutritious fruit, tall cocoanut-trees with half a ton of ripening nuts in every tuft top, ant-hills nearly as high as native houses, rippling cascades, small rivers winding through the green valleys, tall flamingoes presiding over tiny lakes, and flowers of every hue and shape, together with birds such as one gazes at with curiosity in northern museums, all crowded upon our vision on this trip inland. No one should fail to visit Kandy who lands at Colombo, there is so much to see and to marvel at. Ceylon is a very Gan-Eden, the fairest known example of tropical luxuriance in all its natural features, its vegetable and animal kingdoms, its fruits, flowers, and scenery. In point of location the island is also greatly favored. It is fortunately situated outside the region of the cyclones, so frequent at certain seasons in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, as well as being free from the hurricanes of the Mauritius Sea, and the volcanic disturbances of the Eastern Archipelago. Snow is absolutely unknown. The exhibition of zodiacal light is not uncommon, and mirage in its many singular and interesting aspects is frequent; while the effulgence of the moon and stars of this latitude,—a constantly [Pg 148]recurring hymn written in light,—will render the most prosy individual enthusiastic, keeping the heart constantly awake to love and beauty.

Ceylon is also much richer than is generally realized in its prehistoric monuments,—ancient Hindoo and Buddhist temples, and ruins of lofty pagodas from three to four hundred feet in height, dating many centuries previous to the appearance of Christ upon earth. What an unexplored field remains for the antiquarian, not quite untrodden, but still undeveloped! There is every evidence to show that there once existed upon this island a great and powerful empire; the gigantic remains of palaces and temples at once suggest the fact. There are also ruins to be seen of a most elaborate system of irrigation, which must have covered the country from Adam's Peak to Galle, like a net-work, with most perfect means to this end, so excellent as to be the marvel of modern engineers. Their completeness, intelligent purpose, and extent are marvelous. But no one can say, or reasonably surmise, what caused the ruin and decadence of the ancient capitals, which, like those about Delhi, have crumbled away, leaving only a blank memorial of their existence. What could have swept from the globe a population of millions, and left us no clearer record of their once highly civilized occupancy? The carved pillars, ornamental fragments of temples, and stone slabs skillfully wrought, which are scattered through the jungle, and in some instances overgrown by dense forests, attest both material greatness and far-reaching antiquity. It would seem as though nature had tried to cover up the many wrinkles of age with blooming vegetation. There are no legends even extant relating to the earliest of these remains. Pæstum, Memphis, and Cumæ[Pg 149] reach far back into the dim past, though here the antiquarian is able to light us with the lamp of his knowledge; but as to the forest-covered remains of Ceylon, all is a blank, skeletons of the dead and buried past, mementos of a race who trod this beautiful island perhaps before the Pyramids or the Sphinx existed.

At Singapore, Penang, and Colombo it was observed that the common classes were incessantly chewing the betel-nut, which gives to their teeth and lips a color as if bathed in fresh blood. It is a well-known and long-established practice. The men carry the means about them at all times, and taking a piece of the nut, enclose it in a leaf of the same tree, adding a small quantity of quicklime; folding these together they chow them vigorously, one quid lasting for twenty-five minutes or half an hour, being at times permitted to rest between the gum and the cheek, as seamen masticate a quid of tobacco. The nut is known to be a powerful tonic, but only a small portion of the juice is swallowed. The habit is universal among the lower classes of Asiatics. In the southern districts of India, pepper and cardamom seeds are added to the quid, and it is then considered to be a partial preventive against malarial influences. Unless it produced some agreeable stimulating effect its use would not be so common. Wherever we go, among civilized or savage races, upon islands or upon continents, in the chilly North, or the languid, melting South, we find man resorting to some stimulant other than natural food and drink. It seems to be an instinctive craving exhibited and satisfied as surely in the wilds of Africa, or the South Sea Islands, as by the opium-consuming Chinese, or the brandy-drinking Anglo-Saxons.

[Pg 150]


Arrival in India.—Tuticorin.—Madura.—Bungalows.—Reptiles and Insects.—Wonderful Pagoda.—Sacred Elephants.—Trichinopoly and its Temples.—Bishop Heber.—Native Silversmiths.—Tanjore.—The Rajah's Palace.—Pagoda and an Immense Stone Idol.—Southern India.—City of Madras.—Want of a Harbor.—In and about the Capital.—Voyage through the Bay of Bengal.—The Hoogly River.—Political Capital of India.—A Crazy King.—The Himalayas.—Sunset and Sunrise at Darjeeling.

We took passage in the British mail steamship Kebela from Colombo to Tuticorin, the extreme point of southern India, once famous for its pearl fisheries; but now as forsaken and sleepy a spot as can be found on any sea-coast. The distance from Colombo is less than two hundred miles through the Straits of Manar, and we landed on the following day, after a stormy passage, during which the rain came down with tropical profuseness. Ceylon, at harvest time on the plantations, imports laborers from the southern provinces of India, who are very glad thus to earn a small sum of money, a commodity of which they see little enough at home. Seven or eight hundred of these laborers, having fulfilled their object at the island, were returning to the main-land, and literally crowded the lower deck of the Kebela fore and aft. They formed rather picturesque groups as they reclined or stood in their rags, nakedness, and high colors combined.

When we got up the anchor in the harbor of Colombo, it seemed to be pleasant enough, but scarcely[Pg 151] were we outside of the breakwater before the steamer began to roll and pitch like an awkward mule under the tickling application of the spur. Too much accustomed to the roughness of the sea to heed this, we were nevertheless very sorry for these exposed deck-passengers, few of whom escaped seasickness. Crowded together as they were during the copious rainfall, their sufferings that afternoon and night were pitiable. There were some families with women and children, and such shelter as a canvas awning could afford was kindly arranged for them. When we anchored in shoal water off the coast next morning, and the big flat-boats came to take them ashore, they had hardly strength and spirit sufficient to tumble into these craft, no doubt promising themselves, as usual, never, never again to quit the dry land. The water being very shallow, the Kebela anchored five miles from shore, making it necessary for us to take a small steam-launch to land at the little toy pier built on the beach. Our miniature vessel was tossed about like a bit of cork on the waves, but we had long since come to regard a wetting by salt-water as a trifling matter.

Tuticorin is a quaint old place of very little importance, dingy and dilapidated. It is represented to have twenty thousand inhabitants, but one would not have set the figure at more than half that number. There is still something done here in the pearl fisheries, though the most active stations are situated some thirty miles up the coast. We here got our first view of a new race of people, the East Indian proper, in his native land. It was easy to detect special differences in the race from the people left but a short day's sail behind us. They were tall and erect[Pg 152] in figure, square shouldered, and broad chested. Their complexions were lighter, features clearer cut, and they were a more active race. They had not full lips or flat noses like the Singhalese and Malays; so that although there was a similarity between them, yet there was a strong difference when one came to sum up the characteristics of each.

The architecture of the town is peculiar, and the few old public buildings odd in the extreme. Tuticorin sends some cotton, rice, and cocoanuts to market, but its business must be very limited. An hour's walk took us all over the town without discovering any object of special interest. Being connected by rail with northern India, if there were depth of water sufficient for steamers to make a landing here, without lying five miles off shore, Tuticorin would certainly become an important Indian port. It was New Year's Day when we landed, and was apparently being celebrated in an humble way by the few people whom we saw. The children were displaying toys, playing games, and some bore flowers aloft arranged upon poles as wreaths and hoops. Itinerant peddlers were disposing of sweetmeats to eager boys and girls. Both the articles sold and the money which was paid for them looked new and strange. Some young maidens, in half-civilized attire, displayed high-colored garments and small scarlet kerchiefs on their heads. The passion for, and habit of wearing cheap jewelry, had been imported even here, and some of the extravagances of Colombo were copied by the women in ornamentation of ears, nose, and lips. Little babies were thus bedecked, and the tender ears of some consequently hung distorted and stretched three inches downward, both the upper rim and the lobe of the[Pg 153] infant's ear being perforated with rings. Brass bangles on arms, wrists, and ankles were the rule, some of the men also wearing them. Here, on the main-land, the tattooing of the body seemed to have ceased, and the shining, naked skin of the men and women looked clean and healthy.

In the afternoon of the day on which we landed, the cars of the South Indian Railway were taken to Madura, one hundred miles northward, where we arrived late in the evening, and took lodging in a government bungalow, unfurnished, except by a few temporary articles improvised for the occasion, our meals being served at the railroad station not far away. The bungalow was in the midst of a grove of cocoanut palms which loomed high above our heads, laden with masses of the large brown fruit. It was dark and shady even at noonday. Close by was an ancient stone well, baths, and irrigating means, showing that where the jungle now is had formerly been a cultivated field with crops of grain. Native shanties were located all about the neighborhood, the people living mostly out of doors, gypsy fashion. It would be too hot to cook or to eat within these low-roofed mud walls. We found that flies, mosquitoes, and scorpions were inclined to dispute the possession of the bungalow with us; and ugly looking snakes were seen in such proximity to the low piazza as to suggest their uninvited entrance by doors or windows. India swarms with vermin, especially in the jungle. We did not fail to examine our shoes before putting them on in the morning, lest the scorpions should have established a squatter's right therein. Flying foxes were seen upon the trees, sometimes hanging motionless by the feet, at others swinging to and[Pg 154] fro with a steady sweep. Ants were now and then observed moving over the ground in columns a foot wide and three or four yards long, evidently with a well defined purpose. In the morning light, after the sun had risen, clouds of butterflies, many-colored, sunshine-loving creatures, large and small, in infinite variety, flitted about the bungalow, some with such gaudy spread of wing as to tempt pursuit—but without a proper net they are difficult to secure. Large brown, bronze, and yellow beetles walked through the short grass with the coolness and gait of young poultry. Occasionally a chameleon turned up its singularly bright eye, as though to take cognizance of our presence. The redundancy of insect and reptile life is wonderful in southern India. The railroad stations and the road itself, admirably constructed and very fairly equipped, are the only evidences of European possession to be seen between Tuticorin and Tanjore, a distance of four hundred and fifty miles. The road passes through a generally well cultivated region where thrifty fields of wheat, barley, and sugar-cane were to be seen, with here and there broad fields of intensely yellow mustard, but the appearance of the people and their mud huts indicated abject poverty.

The principal attraction to the traveler in Madura, which contains some fifty thousand inhabitants, is a remarkable and ancient pagoda, supported by two thousand stone columns. It was dedicated to Parvati, wife of Shiva, and is one of the largest and finest monuments of Hindoo art in existence, covering in all its divisions, courts, shrines, colonnades, and tanks twenty acres of ground. It has nine lofty tower-like gates of entrance and exit, each one of which has the effect of forming an individual pagoda. In[Pg 155] the central area of the temple is what is known as the Tank of the Golden Lotus, being a large body of water covering a couple of acres of ground, leading into which are broad stone steps on all sides, where the people of both sexes were bathing for religious purification; an idea not hardly compatible with the filthy condition of the water itself, which was nearly covered with a green slime. The temple contains many living sacred elephants, deified bulls and cows, enshrined idols, and, to us, meaningless ornamentations, too varied and numerous for description. Our local guide stated the probable cost at a figure so high we refrain from recording it. The elephants rivaled the beggars in their importunities, being accustomed to receive unlimited delicacies from visitors, such as sweetmeats, cakes, candies, and the like, of which these creatures are immoderately fond. One peculiarity of this temple was that it seemed to serve a double purpose, being dedicated to trade and religion. Within its walls we found established a large number of trading booths, forming a sort of bazar or fair, where were exhibited dry goods, toys, domestic utensils, jewelry; in short, all sorts of fancy articles. Madura is famous for producing high-colored napkins, small shawls and table-cloths, all on fire with color, and here they were displayed in strong kaleidoscopic effect. We thought it must be the occasion of some special charitable fair, after the practice of religious societies in more modern countries; but were informed that these merchants were engaged in their regular vocation, and were permanent fixtures in the temple. The natives crowded about these small bazars, and seemed to freely invest the few coppers they had. We were followed about[Pg 156] the courts, chapels, and departments of the immense structure by a motley and curious crowd, the girls and women satisfied to watch and stare at us; but the boys had imported a London and Dublin idea: turning cart-wheels, somersaults, and walking all about us on their hands, with feet in the air, to attract attention and elicit pennies. One little fellow gyrated about in a most marvelous style, keeping so persistently topsy-turvy as to grow black in the face, and we finally paid him to keep right side uppermost. Begging is reduced to a science in India, and our little party were beset, as by an army with banners.

Half a mile from this grand pagoda is situated Timal Naik's Tank, so named after the munificent rajah who built it. He reigned at Madura from 1621 to 1657, building palaces and temples by the score. The so-called tank is an artificial lake extending over six or eight acres, with a temple in its centre, very picturesque in effect, and approached only by boats. Timal Naik's palace was also visited, built some three hundred years ago, of granite, and a very remarkable piece of solid architecture it is for India to have produced, in that section, and at that epoch. The principal hall of this royal residence has over a hundred stone pillars supporting it. We were shown a grand Saracenic hall, with a noble dome nearly a hundred feet across, called the Hall of Justice. The whole of this grand palace is now being thoroughly restored, after having been permitted for half a century and more to fall into partial decay. We must not forget to mention the banqueting hall of the palace; nothing finer of this character exists in modern architecture. The whole was a surprise and delight, as we had not even read or heard of this Indian palace.

[Pg 157]

Another hundred miles northward by rail brought us to the city of Trichinopoly, where we were quartered at a government bungalow, as at Madura, taking our meals at the dining-room of the railroad station, and were most agreeably disappointed with both the service and the provisions. Surely some professional cook had dropped out of the skies and settled here. The food was prepared and served as delicately as at a Parisian café. The variety of fruit and pastry was a temptation to the most satiated appetite. Everything was neat and clean, the linen faultless, and the glass and china were of the choicest. We often recalled, when putting up with indifferent service and deprivations elsewhere, the admirable entertainment which we experienced so unexpectedly at this point. Here the famous Rock of Trichinopoly, from five to six hundred feet high, crested with the Temple of Ganesa, was ascended, and a group of pagodas visited of the most lofty and striking character, similar in extent and general design to those already spoken of. It is not long since, at the assembling of a thousand and more pilgrims upon this lofty and exposed Rock of Trichinopoly, a panic ensued from some unknown cause, when fully half of these pilgrims lost their lives by being crowded off and falling over the rocky precipice, a distance of five hundred feet. There is no protection to the narrow, winding path by which the apex is reached, and some nerve is required to accomplish the ascent.

The view from this eminence is exceptionally fine. The native town far below us looked as though it had been shaken up and dropped there in confusion by some convulsion of nature. There is no regularity in the laying out of the place; it is a confused mass[Pg 158] of buildings, narrow paths, crooked roads, and low-built mud cabins. We visited what is called the silversmith's quarter, but it was utterly unlike what such a locality would be elsewhere, composed of one-story mud cabins, in narrow filthy lanes full of chickens, mangy dogs, cats, and quarrelsome children. No one but a native would suspect these hovels to contain choice and finely wrought silver ornaments, and that the entire manufacture was performed upon the spot. These workmen, nevertheless, have a reputation for the excellence and originality of their product, which extends beyond the borders of India. Boxes were produced from odd corners, which were full of exquisite silver work, forming such articles as bracelets, necklaces, rings, pins, belts, etc., from which our party made selections. Trichinopoly is also famous for the manufacture of cigars, called cheroots, exported to all parts of India and the East, and which keep employed the busy fingers of a large number of the men and women of the town. In passing the open doors of the dwellings, cabins, or huts, young girls and boys were seen rolling up the cheroots, sitting cross-legged beside low benches. The manufacture of cutlery is also a specialty here, and the place has some sixty thousand population. It will be remembered that the remains of Bishop Heber were buried at Trichinopoly, where he was drowned while bathing, in the year 1826. Here also occurred some fierce struggles between the French and English for the sovereignty of southern India.

Two hundred miles of night travel by rail brought us to Tanjore, a large fortified city, where we were again quartered in a government bungalow, there being no hotel designed to accommodate travelers.[Pg 159] The palace of the late Rajah, an ancient building with lofty towers, and still occupied by the ex-queen, was quite interesting. We were permitted to examine its internal economy, and found by the library that her husband was a man of cultivation and taste, especially well read in the classics, and a good linguist. His bookcases showed several thousands of good and well-thumbed books in English, French, Latin, and Greek.

Here we saw a large gilded car of Juggernaut, the Indian idol, which makes its annual passage to and from the temple when the idol takes its yearly airing, and is drawn by thousands of worshipers, who have come from afar to assist at the strange and senseless festival. Pilgrims, delirious with fanaticism, do sometimes throw themselves under the ponderous wheels and perish there, but the stories current among writers upon the subject as to the large number of these victims are much exaggerated. This self-immolation, like that of the burning of widows upon their husband's funeral pyres, has latterly been suppressed. Between 1815 and 1826, fifteen thousand widows thus perished in India! We were told that in some native provinces the practice was even now secretly followed to some extent, but this is doubtful.

The grand pagoda of Tanjore has been rendered familiar to us by engravings and is truly remarkable, being esteemed the finest specimen in India of pagoda construction. It is fourteen stories high, and in the absence of figures we should say was over two hundred feet from the base to the top, and about eighty feet square at the ground. Among its other strange idols and emblems it contains, in the area before the main temple, in a demi-pagoda, the gigantic figure of[Pg 160] a reclining bull, hewn from a single mammoth block of black granite, and supposed to be of great antiquity. It stands within an open space, raised some twelve feet above the surrounding court, upon a granite plinth of the same color, but how it could have been raised there intact is a marvel.

All of these structures are kindred in design, reproducing here at Tanjore the spirit and many of the same figures which were seen at Madura and Trichinopoly. As they are the temples of the same idolatrous race this is natural. All are many centuries in age, and are characterized by grotesqueness, lasciviousness, caricature, and infinite detail of finish. Though they are outrageously gaudy in colors, yet are they on so grand and costly a scale as to create amazement rather than disgust. It would seem that a people equal to such efforts must have been capable of something far better. In all grosser forms of superstition and idolatry, carnal and material elements seem to be essential to bind and attract the ignorant; and this was undoubtedly the governing policy of a religion embodying emblems so outrageous to Christian sensibility. This grand pagoda at Tanjore, taken as a whole, was the most remarkable religious monument we saw in India. The city has, as prominent local industries, the manufacture of silk, cotton, and muslins. It is also surrounded by vast rice-fields the product of which it largely exports to the north. Another day upon the cars traveling due north brought us to Madras, where we found a good hotel and excellent accommodations, to which we were in a frame of body and mind to do ample justice.

In traveling through southern India to this point,[Pg 161] we observed frequently on the route of the railroad strange monuments and many ruins of temples, pagodas, and odd structures of stone, manifestly serving in by-gone ages some religious purpose. Now and again in open fields, or more generally by small groves of trees, there were mammoth stone elephants, horses, bulls and cows, more or less crumbled and decayed by the wear of centuries, but evidently objects of worship by the people who constructed them, being still held too sacred to be meddled with by the ignorant and superstitious natives, whose mud hovels cluster about them. At several points, away from any present villages or hamlets, large irregular circles of heavy, unwrought stones were observed in open fields, or near to some mounds of grass grown earth, perhaps covering the remains of former shrines. These seemed of the same character and called to mind the ancient débris which still exists at Stonehenge, and undoubtedly marked the spot of ancient sacrifice. Large flocks of goats tended by herdsmen were distributed over the plains, and so level is the country that the eye could make out these groups for miles away on either side of the track. Well cultivated plantations of sugar-cane, plantains, rice, wheat, and orchards of fruit were constantly coming into view from the cars. The olden style of irrigation was going on by means of the shaduf, worked by hand, the same as was done in the East four thousand years ago; while the very plow, rude and inefficient, which is used upon these plains to-day, is after the fashion belonging to the same period. Indeed, except that the railroad runs through southern India, there seems to have been no progress there for thousands of years. A lethargy of the most hopeless[Pg 162] character appears to possess the people. Their mud cabins are not suitable covering for human beings, and are distanced in neatness by the colossal ant-hills of wooded districts. Such a degraded state of humanity can hardly be found elsewhere among semi-civilized races. The women seemed to be worn down by hardships, and were pitiable to look upon; but the men were of dark hue, straight in figure, always thin in flesh, and remarkably like our American Indians. Nudity is the rule among them, clothing the exception. It seems like a strange assertion, but it is a fact, two thirds of the human family go naked in the nineteenth century.

Madras is situated on the open Bay of Bengal, without even the pretense of a harbor, though a grand stone breakwater, like that at Ceylon, is in course of construction. It is after the plan which was adopted by De Lesseps at Port Said, forming the Mediterranean entrance of the Suez Canal. The material which is being employed for the purpose is also the same, and is composed of a conglomerate of small stones and cement in the form of large cubes. The Prince of Wales, when on his visit to India some five or six years since, laid the foundation stone of this structure, but though it is so much needed it seemed to us to grow very slowly. No more unprotected spot could be found on the surf-beaten shore of the Coromandel coast, so completely is it exposed to the fury of the northeast monsoons. It is singular that it was ever selected for a commercial port, being inaccessible to sailing vessels from October to January, and yet it was the first capital of the British possessions in India. Such a surf is nearly always to be found on the shore that nothing but the[Pg 163] peculiar boats of the natives can pass it, and in foul weather it is in vain for even them to attempt it. Nevertheless along this inhospitable shore, for a distance of several miles, there extends a thriving, finely laid out city, with a population of nearly half a million.

Madras is spread out over a very large territory, with broad open fields and squares, some designed for drill grounds, some for games of ball, some purely as ornamental, with choice trees and shrubs. An abundant and handsome growth of trees all about the city, lining the thoroughfares and beautifying the open squares, testifies to the judicious attention given by the authorities to this species of ornamental and grateful shade, necessary in so warm a climate. We remember especially a fine and quite remarkable avenue of banyan-trees on what is called the Mowbray Avenue. The wide streets are admirably kept, being carefully macadamized, over which carriage wheels glide with noiseless motion. This description applies, however, only to the European portion of the town, with its fine public buildings, consisting of many literary and scientific institutions, as well as educational and charitable ones. The native portion of Madras is contracted, mean, and dirty in the extreme, the common people showing a degree of indigence and indifference to decency which is absolutely appalling to witness in so large a community, but it was quite in accordance with what we had observed farther south. The elaborate English fort is one of the strongest and best constructed fortifications in the East, forming a most prominent feature of the city, and crowning a moderate rise of ground contiguous to the shore with its attractive [Pg 164]surroundings, white walls, graceful though warlike buildings, flower plats, and green, sloping banks. Fort George was the original name of Madras. The noble light-house is within the grounds,—a lofty structure considerably over a hundred feet in height, and visible nearly twenty miles at sea. Near this spot, along the coast to the northward, are the rock-cut temples of Mahabalihuram, rendered familiar by Southey's charming poetry.

At night we were lulled to sleep by the hoarse, sullen roar of the restless waters. By day it was curious to watch the long surf-washed beach, directly in front of our hotel, and to see the fishermen struggle with the waves in their frail, but well adapted native boats, called catamarans. These are constructed of three pieces of timber, ten or twelve feet long, tied securely together with cocoanut fibre; the middle one being longer than the others, and curved upwards at each end. Two men generally go together, and force them through the water with short paddles used alternately on either side. We saw them repeatedly washed off by the surf; but as they are naked and good swimmers, they either reach the boat again, or, if driven away from it by the sea and undertow, regain the shore. Sometimes only one is washed off, but not unfrequently both are compelled to swim back to the shore where the frail boat itself is soon after thrown high upon the beach by the power of the waves. We were told that it was a very rare circumstance for one of these Madras boatmen to lose his life by drowning, as they become such expert swimmers.

A peculiar boat is also used between the wharves and the shipping, which come to anchor some [Pg 165]distance off shore, landing passengers or taking them from the shore to the ship. Even where these boats are used, partially protected by the half-completed breakwater, no common boat would answer the purpose, or would stand the strain. The surf runs high even here, though not so fiercely as on the open beach. The Madras boat is large and light, constructed of thin planks sewed together with hide thongs, and caulked with cocoanut fibre. No nails enter into its construction, nor would answer the purpose, which the yielding thongs only are fitted for. Each of these boats is propelled by at least eight rowers, who use an oar shaped like a spoon, being a strong elastic pole with a flat, rounded end, securely lashed to it by hide thongs. The men pull regularly until they get into the surf, and then they work like mad, and the light boat is landed high and dry on the shelving sands.

Along the shore of the business section, the broad street is lined with lofty commercial warehouses, custom house, hongs and godowns, and we observed considerable building in progress just at this point. The submerged breakwater should be brought up to its proper height before anything else is attempted in or near the bay. Anchorage is very precarious, large steamers being compelled to keep up steam to ease any strain which may come upon their land tackle. One large iron vessel lay a wreck upon the beach, and was sold at auction, to be broken up, while we were there. She was loaded with coal for the depot of the P. and O. line.

In driving and strolling about the city we noted many local pictures. Groups of professional dancing girls are to be seen in all of the cities of India, [Pg 166]generally attached to some temple, as no religious ceremony or gala day is considered complete without them; and indeed the same may be said of any large private entertainment, as guests never dance in the East, preferring to hire such work done for them. These dancers are accompanied by a musical instrument very much like a guitar, and sometimes by tambourines and fifes. Many of the girls are delicate and graceful both in form and manner. Those who adopt the calling consecrate themselves to it by some religious ceremony, and ever after are connected with the temples. They preserve decency and propriety in their public performances, which is curious to witness; their ankles being covered with silver bells and their wrists and arms similarly decked. Their effort appears to be that the bells should be so agitated as to ring in harmony with the instruments; but the fact is there is no harmony about either. These girls depend more in their performance upon pantomime, expression of features, pose of body, and graceful posturings, than upon any great exertion of muscle.

In their peculiar performance there is no exposure of the person, as in the Parisian style of dancing, only half clad as they are. These Indian girls endeavor to tell a story by their dance: to express love, hope, tenderness, jealousy, and other passions, all of which are so well portrayed, as a rule, that one can easily follow their pantomime. When idle, they sometimes perform as itinerants in the streets and squares, as was the case when we chanced to see a small group at Madras. Positive information regarding them is not to be obtained, but enough was heard to satisfy us that they constitute a priestly harem.

After passing a very pleasant week in Madras, we[Pg 167] sailed at daylight, on the 11th of January, in the P. and O. steamship Teheran, for Calcutta, through the Bay of Bengal, a five days' voyage. Soon after leaving the roadstead of Madras there was pointed out to us on the port bow the low lying coast of Orissa, India, where the famine of 1866 carried off one million of souls. As we drew northward a decided difference in the temperature was realized, and was most agreeable; the thermometer showing 70° at Calcutta, in place of 90° at Madras, so that portions of clothing, discarded when we landed at Ceylon, were now resumed. Since entering these southern waters we had remarked the entire absence of sea-gulls, so ever-present on the Atlantic and North Pacific; but the abundance of Mother Carey's Chickens, as the little petrel is called, made up for the absence of the larger birds. It is swallow-like in both its appearance and manner of flight, and though web-footed is rarely seen to light on the water. It flies very close to the surface of the sea, frequently dipping for food; but never quite losing its power of wing, or at least so it appeared to us. Sailors, who are a proverbially superstitious race, seriously object to passengers at sea who attempt to catch the petrel with hooks baited with food and floated on the water, or by any other means, contending that ill-luck will follow their capture.

The ocean currents along the coast of Coromandel are marked and curious, requiring special care in navigation. Unless observations can be had by aid of the sun at noon-day, no ship is sure of her position; dead reckoning will not answer here. We were reminded in these waters of other currents: the Gulf Stream, for instance, on our own shore, finds its rise[Pg 168] in the tropics, say in the Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico, moves northeast along the American coast, gets a cant on the banks of Newfoundland, and after crossing the Atlantic, spends its force on the shores of Western Europe. The Japan Current, as it is called by seamen, originates in the Indian Ocean, moves northward along the eastern shore of Asia, and is divided by the Aleutian Islands and the Alaska Peninsula, one branch going to the Arctic Ocean, and the other along the west coast of America into the South Pacific. These details become very interesting to the traveler when passing long weeks upon the ocean, observing how the vessel in which he sails is either favored or retarded by these known forces.

Our course was due north until we anchored at the mouth of the Hoogly River to await a favorable tide, finally arriving at Calcutta on the evening of the 15th of January. The intricate navigation of the Hoogly, with its treacherous sands and ever-shifting shoals, is conducted by a pilot system especially organized by government, and is composed exclusively of Englishmen. No vessel can hope to ascend the river safely without being in charge of one of these pilots. We saw a large iron steamship, which was a quarter of a mile ahead of the Teheran, in her attempt to make the mouth of the Hoogly, caught by an adverse current, through what seemed to be a very trifling miscalculation, and she was cast aground as quickly as though blown on a lee shore by a tornado. We passed her as we went in, with both her anchors out, adopting various nautical expedients to get afloat. As the accident occurred on a rising tide, we have no doubt that she finally got free from her dangerous position.

[Pg 169]

Calcutta is the political capital of India, but since the opening of the Suez Canal, Bombay rivals it in all commercial respects. It was rather surprising to find so poor a hotel as the "Great Eastern" proved to be. It is calculated to receive within its walls at least one hundred to one hundred and fifty guests, and yet does not present the ordinary domestic comforts to be found in an American country tavern. A good hotel is a prime necessity to any city, and is of more importance to the interests of the inhabitants at large, and to its trades-people especially, than is generally realized. We were told by our banker and others that the complaint in this matter was so general that a company was forming to give to the city a first-class hotel on the American system, a consummation devoutly to be wished. At present tourists visiting Calcutta would be prompted, as we were, to abbreviate their stay in the city, solely for want of a good temporary home.

Calcutta is a very interesting city, very Indian, notwithstanding so many Europeans live here and it has so long been under English rule; but it is by no means entitled to the name so often given to it, the "City of Palaces." It is quite modern, having no remains of antiquity in or about it, and in 1686 was but a mud village. As seen from the Hoogly when one first lands, it has a strong array of fine public buildings; but a passage of a few rods, diverging from the main thoroughfare, brings the visitor upon the dirty streets, the mean and narrow houses, and general filth of the native population. The city is strongly individualized, and it may be remarked that of all the capitals thus far visited no two are alike, or strongly resemble each other. All differ radically in[Pg 170] manners and customs, modes of conveyance, dress, architecture, and local color. We visited some of the palaces of the native princes, which show in what extravagant style they formerly lived, until compelled to come under English control. Many of these structures were partially denuded, and none pretended to be kept up to their former standard.

The National Museum is an institution of great importance, rich in its various specimens of Hindoo curiosities, and also in the possession of an extensive zoölogical and mineralogical collection, the whole contained in a noble building of modern construction. The city has also a number of literary, scientific, and charitable institutions, libraries, social and political clubs, hospitals, and the like. The Government House is a fine specimen of architecture, and is built around an open square ornamented like a garden, but really little less than a citadel if necessity should require it to assume that form. Owing to the nature of England's possession here, Government House is under semi-military organization, always ready to meet a popular uprising, and containing powerful means of defense. The zoölogical garden is almost a rival to that of London, and in some respects is superior to it. The botanical garden, located about three miles from the city proper, is equally remarkable for its size and comprehensive character. The good taste and appreciation which has gathered here so large and complete a public garden is worthy of all praise.

In this garden there is an enormous banyan-tree, one of the largest in the world, and the original of the picture of the school-books. The leaves are very similar to those of the poplar, and are four or five[Pg 171] inches long. Its age is incalculable, being a tree of very slow growth, and continually multiplying itself, so that it may be said to live forever. There is one remarkable avenue of Palmyra palms in these grounds, which we have never seen excelled in beauty of effect even in the plantation avenues of Cuba, where the family of the palm form the pride of the coffee planters. Here was also to be seen specimens of the sacred bo-tree and the camphor-tree of great size; one large conservatory was devoted solely to the cultivation of ferns, which the gardener said contained twenty thousand varieties, from the size of an infant's hand to tall trees.

The various shades of green in this conservatory were no less remarkable than the wonderful variety of form, all being arranged in the most effective manner. The tall tree ferns seemed ready to burst through the glass roof, and were ornamented with little hanging baskets on their branches, containing choice and delicate specimens, while at their base was a rockery over which played a tiny fountain, causing the exquisitely pinnated feathery fronds of the ferns to tremble incessantly. In another part was a little patch of mossy meadow, and again there were decaying logs out of which sprang various ferns in wild luxuriance, as one has seen them in deeply-shaded, low-lying woods. The maiden-hair fern was here seen ranging from leaves as large as one's thumb-nail to a species with leaves the size of pin-heads. There was a charming harmony in the whole arrangement; nothing seemed abrupt, each effect blended gracefully with those surrounding it, like well-balanced colors in an oil painting.

The King of Oude's palace, on the opposite side[Pg 172] of the river, will well pay the traveler for a visit. The old king has a reputation of being a little out of his head, or, as the Scotch say, has a bee in his bonnet; at any rate, he is very queer, very fat, and very independent, with his allowance of half a million dollars per annum from the English government who dethroned him, at which time he was King of Oude, one of the richest provinces of India, Lucknow being the capital. He is said to be still a rebel at heart, and was a strong supporter of the mutiny. He is really a sort of state's prisoner in his own palace at Garden Reach, as the place is called, where he has a whole menagerie of animals, and is especially fond of tigers, of which he keeps over twenty in stout cages. He has also a large and remarkable collection of snakes, all Indian, and "millions" of pigeons. He pays fabulous prices for any bird or animal to which he takes a fancy, and is, of course, duly victimized by cunning dealers. He is a fanatic in religious observances, and confines himself within the palace walls, from one year's end to another, with his tigers, snakes, pigeons, priests, and women. He permits tourists to visit his grounds, but will himself see no one. It would not seem that he owes any affection to the English, who, under some specious pretense, seized his private property, including his valuable jewels, and sold them for the benefit of Queen Victoria's treasury. As was said by the British press at the time, the English had no more right to those precious stones and private property than they had to the crown diamonds of Russia.

The government fortifications here will interest travelers, as they are remarkable for completeness, and presenting the advanced ideas in the line which[Pg 173] they represent. But we were most entertained and longest occupied in Calcutta by the native bazars, which, as usual, gave one a special insight into the character of the people, their tastes and occupations. An hour was passed of quite an impressive character at a large building inclosing a high-walled area on the banks of the river, known as the Burning Ghat, where the ceremony of cremating the dead is going on at all hours of the day and night. Seven corpses were brought in and placed upon the pyres, built up of unsawed cord wood in cob style, raised to the height of four feet, the fire being applied to a small handful of specially combustible material at the bottom. The whole was so prepared as to ignite rapidly, and in a very few moments after the torch was applied to it, the pile was wreathed in the devouring element. The atmosphere was impregnated with offensive odors, and one was fain to get on the windward side of the smoking mass. The Ghat was open to the sky, so that the ventilation was all that could be obtained. The bodies thus treated are entirely consumed in about three hours, during which the wood requires partial renewal, and all palpable signs having disappeared the ashes are solemnly cast into the sacred river close at hand, the Hoogly being one of the outlets of the Ganges. When first brought to the Ghat, a very simple and brief ceremony is held over each body, and then a member of the family of mourners which attend the burning applies the torch to the pyre. The custom is that this service should be performed by the oldest son of the deceased, if there be such a representative. The first time we witnessed such a scene was at the Calcutta Ghat, but our after experience, as to the disposal of the dead,[Pg 174] was still more strange, as we shall have occasion to record in these notes. Close by this Burning Ghat, along the river front, there are a number of sheds, with only partial shelter from the street, where poor dying Hindoos are brought to breathe their last, believing that if they pass away close to the sacred water, their spirits will be instantly wafted to regions of bliss. Here they are attended by persons who make a business of it; and it was intimated to us that they often hasten the demise of the sufferers by convenient means. Human life is held of very little account among these people, whose blind faith bridges the gulf of death, and who were at one time so prone to suicide, by drowning in the Ganges, as to require strict police surveillance on the part of the English to prevent it.

At the close of each day, about an hour before sunset, all fashionable Calcutta turns out in state for a drive on the Maidan,—the Hindoostani name for esplanade,—a broad and finely macadamized roadway, extending along the river's bank, by the fort, the open cricket grounds, the parade, and the gardens, arranged as a circular course of a mile or more in extent, which would be perfection had it only a proper complement of shade trees. It is really a most delightful resort after the trying heat of the day, when the cooling influence of the twilight commences; in short it is the Indian Hyde Park, or Bengal Champs Elysées. The variety, elegance, and costliness of the equipages in grand livery that crowd the Maidan during the fashionable hour was a surprise, the whole scene enlivened by the brilliant dresses of the ladies, the dashing costumes, and gold lace of the nabobs, the quaint Oriental dress of their barefooted [Pg 175]attendants, and the spirited music of the military band. The variety of nationality present was infinite; the participants in varied dress were Parsees, Hindoos, Mussulmans, English, Egyptians, with a sprinkling of French and Italians. The twilight hour is brief; the crowd dashed round the long course in the liveliest manner, until the amber shades deepened, and then a hundred electric lights of great power, shielded by ground-glass globes, flashed upon the scene, rivaling in effect the broadest daylight. Then the occupants of the open vehicles and the equestrians gathered about the Eden Gardens, where the music-stand is placed, and in ranks eight or ten lines deep, listened to the popular airs so finely rendered, or chatted gayly with each other during the intervals of the music. These Eden Gardens, always open to the public, with their tropical vegetation, picturesque temples, summer-houses, and refreshing ornamental waters, are a delightful resort in the after-part of the day, when their inviting shade can be best appreciated. The Cascine at Florence, the Pincio at Rome, the Chiaja of Naples, the Prado of Madrid, none of these can compare in point of gayety, variety, and attractiveness with the Maidan of this Indian capital.

It would seem that Calcutta ought to be a healthy city, but, as it regards English residents, it cannot be said to be so. A peculiarity in this connection was explained to us by an officer of the civil service, long resident in the East. Both himself and wife were our companions on board the Kashgar, on the voyage from Bombay to Suez, the gentleman being on leave of absence for a brief month's stay in England, where mother and father were going to meet their three children. It seems that pure blooded European[Pg 176] children, even if born in India, are unable to struggle successfully against the enervating effects of its climate, and this applies not alone to Calcutta, but to all parts of the country. Until their sixth year, children apparently retain their health and the ruddy color of the race, but, soon after that age, they grow pale and wan, the listlessness of a premature decay setting in, or some mysterious blight steals over them. Thus, without the symptoms of any fixed disease, they droop and pine, like exotic plants. Nothing but a return to England, the home of their race, will restore them. The utmost care is of no avail. Even removing them to higher table-lands in the hill country has no saving effect. An English gentleman and his wife, who had long resided at Lahore, told us the same; they being also separated from their children, who had been born in India, but necessarily sent home to England to restore their fading health. This singular peculiarity is so well known, that its fatal results are now promptly guarded against by the one and only resort,—of parents and children submitting to separation.

The city is said to contain a million of inhabitants, but this seemed an excessive computation. The frail character of the native houses, in the section of Calcutta occupied by Indians, may be judged of by the fact that the cyclone, which visited the place the year after that of the famine at Orissa, destroyed over thirty thousand of their houses; and, three years later, in 1870, another cyclone was equally destructive among these dwellings. The Hoogly River is visited, during the monsoons, about the last of April, by a tidal wave, which dashes up from the sea at a speed of twenty miles an hour, causing much [Pg 177]destruction. Ships lying off the city often part their cables, and are driven on shore; while many small craft, along the eighty miles of river course, are not unfrequently destroyed altogether.

Taking the cars of the Eastern Bengal Railway, we started for Darjeeling, in the extreme north of India, a distance of about four hundred miles from Calcutta. At Damookdea the Ganges was crossed, and the journey resumed by the North Bengal State Railway. At Siliguri the Narrow Gauge Himalayan Railway was taken, by which to ascend the mountains, and a wonderful piece of engineering it was found to be, doubling upon itself frequently in a distance of two hundred feet; in one place the train passing over a bridge which it had passed under a few minutes before. The railroad running up Mount Washington, in New Hampshire, though more precipitous, is less remarkable. The wild, extensive scenery on the route was a constant reminder of the Sierra Nevada mountains, through which we had passed by moonlight, in far-off America. As we progressed upwards, flocks of Tibet goats began to appear, and a hardier race of men and women than those we had left below on the plains of Hindostan. The road was being much improved, and laborers were busy all day along the route, consisting of men and women and young girls, all performing the same style of labor, with shovel and pick, each carrying a small basket of earth and stone on his or her back.

Among these laborers three distinct nationalities were observable, marked by dress, physiognomy, and figure. They were people from Tibet, Nepal, and Cashmere, which border on this part of northern India, and are separated from it by the Himalayan[Pg 178] Range. These mingled races formed picturesque groups, the men armed with long, sword-like knives and other weapons, after the fashion of their native lands. Some of the young women were quite pretty, though a little masculine and sturdy in figure, appearing very much like their sisters of Alpine Switzerland. At the noon hour, they gathered in groups near the doors of their shanties on the abrupt hill-sides; where, throwing themselves on the ground, they partook of their coarse, midday meal, quite in gypsy style, about a smoking iron pot, suspended over a fire by a tripod. They watched us curiously, for the passing cars formed the one daily event, connecting them with the far-away populous cities of the plains, places of which they only knew by report. Our train consisted of two cars only, a first and a second class; but the engine, built especially for this service, puffed and snorted like mad, with the wildest vigor, in its struggle to surmount the steep grade, seeming to be vastly refreshed by a few moments' rest at the frequent watering-places. These consisted of a wooden trough running out of the hill-side, and supplied by one of the thousand tiny brooks that burst out everywhere. At these the thirsty little engine drank copiously, and often; until finally, after many hours, we rounded a high projecting cliff, and in a moment after reached the little station of Darjeeling, which signifies "Up in the Clouds."

We arrived early in the afternoon, and fortunately on a clear day, so we anticipated having the rare pleasure of witnessing the sunset upon the loftiest range of snow-clad mountains on the globe. As we rounded the bluff already spoken of, there burst upon our sight, for a few moments, a complete view of the[Pg 179] range, lying under a clear sky and warm glow of sunlight, so entrancing as almost to take away one's breath. The imagination had never before depicted anything so grand and inspiring. Our little party could only point at it, and look into each other's eyes. Words would have jarred like a discord upon the ear. What the Bernese Oberland range is to the Alps, this Kinchinjunga group is to the sky-reaching Himalayas. The former, however, are but pygmies compared with these giants at Darjeeling. One gazes in amazement at the peaks, and almost doubts that they belong to the earth upon which he stands. Visitors from a distance are often compelled to depart in disappointment after waiting for days to obtain a fair view of the range. We had reason for gratitude in having reached this elevated spot at so propitious a season.

We ascended the nearest hill soon after arriving at the hotel, and, looking across the intervening valley, could count twelve peaks, the lowest of which was over twenty thousand feet in height, and the highest over twenty-eight thousand, upon which rested eleven thousand feet of perpetual snow,—the snow line being distinctly marked from east to west, as far as the eye could reach. There can be no animal life in that Arctic region, no pulsations of vitality. Only the snow and ice rest there in endless sleep, cold, pitiless, and solemn. The sun was slowly declining in the west, faintly burnishing a few silvery, transparent clouds, while it touched the pearl-white tops of the Himalayas with ruby tints, and cast a glow of mingled gold and purple down the sides most exposed to its rays. Every hue of the rainbow seemed to hang over the range, through which gleamed the snowy[Pg 180] robe in which the peaks and sides were clad. The top of Kinchinjunga, the loftiest of them all, towering three thousand feet above its fellows, as it radiated the glory of the sunset, made one hesitate whether it was indeed a mountain top or a fleecy cloud far up in the sky. As we watched with quickened pulse, the sunset glow, like a lingering kiss, hung over the grand, white-turbaned peaks for a moment, as though unwilling to say good night, and then it suddenly vanished. The cool, dewy shadows gathered on the brow of Kinchinjunga like parting tears, and night closed swiftly over the deep intervening valley, shutting out the loveliness of the vision, but leaving its impress glowingly fixed upon the memory forever.

The Himalayas—meaning in Sanskrit the Halls of Snow—form the northern boundary of India, and shut out the country from the rest of Asia. Tibet, which lies just over the range from whence we viewed it and the wild region between, is virtually impassable for travel; and yet bold parties of traders from time to time, wrapped in sheep-skins, force their way over the passes at an elevation of eighteen thousand feet. It is a hazardous thing to do, and the bones of worn-out mules mark the frozen way, telling of suffering and abandonment. The little Yak cow, whose bushy tail is manufactured into lace, has been found to be the best and most enduring animal to depend upon when such journey's are made. She will patiently toil up the steep gorges with a heavy load on her back, and will drop in her very tracks before she shows any stubbornness or want of courage. Sheep are also used at times to carry bags of borax to market near the plains, where they are shorn of their fleece, and return to the mountains laden with[Pg 181] salt. The culminating point of the range, and the highest peak in the world, is Mount Everest, a little more than twenty-nine thousand feet above the level of the sea; but it is rarely visible from Darjeeling. In an unsuccessful attempt to ascend Kinchinjunga not long since, an English physician very nearly lost his life, and was obliged to submit to the partial amputation of his feet. He still resides in the neighborhood in government employment.

The sunset view, already spoken of, had fully repaid us for the four hundred miles journey due north. On the following morning we rose betimes to see the meeting between the god of day and those white-robed sentinels of time. We hardly dared to hope for a clear atmosphere. Only the stars, perhaps a little weary with night-watching, were visible now. A fine sunrise to follow so beautiful a sunset would be almost too good fortune. The air was sharp and frosty, but we cared naught for the cold, now at freezing-point, as we were between seven and eight thousand feet above the level of the plains. Our anticipations were sufficiently exhilarating to keep us warm. First came a delicate gray tinge in the leaden sky as the morning seemed to partially awake from its slumber, and gradually a fitful light beamed out of the east, as the stars grew paler and paler. Objects about us became more distinct, until presently the white peaks came into view one after another. Then the veil of night was slowly removed, as Aurora extinguished the last of those flickering lamps, and the soft amber light touched the brow of each peak, causing it to blush like a beautiful maiden aroused from sleep, at sight of one beloved. After the first salutation the rays became bolder, more ardent, and[Pg 182] poured their depth of saffron hues all over the range, which now blushed and glowed like mountains of opals, flashing and burning in the glad, glorious sunlight. Dazzling to look upon, it grew yet stronger every moment, until the mountains and valleys were flooded in an atmosphere of azure and gold, and every outline was filled in by the clear, fresh light of the dawn, completing for us an experience never to be forgotten, the loveliness of which neither tongue nor pen can adequately express.

It was not without an effort that one could descend from such elevating and inspiring delights to more material things, but over the coffee local matters of interest were discussed with our host. It appears that Darjeeling is becoming the centre of a great tea-producing district, and that India bids fair to rival China in a product which has seemed, from time immemorial, to belong to the latter country exclusively. English capitalists are buying up the land wholesale; and their agents, employing skilled labor, have already extensive tea plantations in full process of profitable yielding, and sending tea annually to market. At first it seemed strange to us to see the tea-plant flourishing at such altitudes, covering large reaches of the mountain sides; but the fact came to mind that the latitude of Darjeeling is about that of Florida and the West Indies, which solved the apparent incongruity. As to the product of these tea-fields, one could realize no difference in its flavor from that of the Chinese leaf. We were told that it brought a higher price in the European markets, being known as Assam tea. Cinchona was also being raised in the district to a considerable extent, and it was believed was specially adapted to the locality.

[Pg 183]

We ascended a high hill overlooking the valley and town of Darjeeling, and found upon its crest a sacred stone, where Buddhists had lately sacrificed some object which left the stains of blood, and where incense had recently been burned. It was in a primitive temple constructed of stones and stunted trees, surrounded by growing bushes. The neighboring branches of the trees were decked here and there with bits of red and blue cloth, which the guide explained as being Buddhist prayers. On some bits of paper adhering to the stones there were written characters which we could not understand, but which doubtless were invocations addressed to a superior power. From this elevation we enjoyed extensive and still different views of the Himalayas, and their diadems of frosted silver flaked with gold, while close at hand were seen the hundreds of thrifty tea plantations decking the sloping hill-sides. There are no roads at these extreme heights; it is all climbing to reach them, and the path so narrow that visitors advance only in single file.

Darjeeling is what is called in India a sanitarium; that is, a resort for Europeans from the plains during that portion of the year when it is too hot to reside in the cities. There is a fixed population of over three thousand. The viceroy's summer quarters are elegant and spacious, and there are churches, schools, and a club-room, with hospitals and barracks for army invalids. We saw groups of natives from the neighboring countries, lingering about the depot, quite willing to trade, and offering us their praying machines for filthy lucre. Some of these machines were of finely wrought silver and were expensive. In the centre of the town there is an open[Pg 184] space devoted daily to an out-door bazar, where the itinerant traders spread a mat upon the ground and cover it with the articles which they wish to dispose of, seating themselves cross-legged on the ground by the side of their wares. Here we saw displayed copper coins from the neighboring countries, sweetmeats, fruit, beans, rice, betel-nuts, candles, baskets, and toys, besides heaps of various grains. Near the hotel there was an insignificant temple, at the entrance of which a hideous old woman was turning a big cylinder with a crank; a church praying machine. She seemed to have taken a contract to pray for the whole district, she worked so vigorously.

Some of the people in and about the neighborhood are of singular interest. One tribe was pointed out as belonging to the Sikkim race, known as Lepchas, who believe in spirits good and bad, but celebrate no religious rites. There were specimens of the Limboos, who are Buddhists, and whose out-door temple on the hill-top we had chanced upon. Again there were people known as Moormis, of large stature and originally from Tibet. The Nepal and Cashmere people were, small in size, compared to Europeans, but of hardy frames and stout limbs. These latter are very industrious and thrifty. There was some building of stone houses going on at Darjeeling, and some road making in the town; and it was observed that all carrying of stone, mortar, or other material, was performed by Cashmere or Nepal girls and women, who carry baskets of stone on their backs heavy enough to stagger an average American laborer. But these women, under such harsh usage, must become prematurely old.

After considerable hill climbing and exploration of[Pg 185] the vicinity we started on our return to Calcutta, and having become acquainted with the grandeur of the scenery as a whole, were better prepared for closer observation in detail. It was all the way down hill now, and our spirited little engine, like a horse under similar circumstances, had more use for the breeching than the traces. However, the speed was a very lively one, and to the uninitiated appeared almost reckless. The pure white magnolia was found to be abundant on the mountain, blooming profusely at over seven thousand feet above the plains. Amid many other flowering trees, unknown to us, the magnolia was most prominent. The wild and abundant growth of the rhododendrons, which here become a forest tree, mingled with a handsome species of cedar, which rose in dark and stately groups, was a marked feature of the woods. The general luxuriance of the vegetation was conspicuous, thickly clothing the branches of the trees with mosses, ferns, and flowering creepers or orchids. Here we saw for the first time the cotton-tree, with red blossom, and which yields a coarse material for native use. A species of lotus was seen, called here "The Queen of the Forest." It belongs to the magnolia family, and the leaves are used by the common people in place of tea. Many bright and exquisitely delicate ferns sprang up among the undergrowth and about the watering stations. Brilliant little butterflies floated in the sunshine everywhere, and contrasted with the repulsive whip-snakes hanging here and there from the branches of the trees. Vegetable and animal life seemed singularly abundant in these hills, so far above the plains of Hindostan towards which we were hastening.

The language of the masses is rather mixed, being[Pg 186] composed of Bengali, Hindi, and Nepalese, though English is almost universally understood, even by the humbler classes. We found a very comfortable hotel at Darjeeling, but discovered that the Hindoo milkman knows the trick of judiciously watering his merchandise. The fruits upon the table were bananas, pine-apples, guavas, and oranges. Wild animals are abundant in the hills, including the much-dreaded tiger, which does not confine his operations to the plains. At one of the stations on the mountain railroad, where we stopped for refreshments, a story of the most tragic character was told us of two children carried off and eaten by tigers the previous night. The demoralized condition of one of the poor families bore witness to the truth of the report. We listened to the very harrowing detail of the event, but will not weary the reader with it. The half-howl, half-bark of the jackals at night frequently awoke us. They carry off young kids in these regions, and do not hesitate to attack small dogs, but keep a wholesome distance from human beings.

One day and night upon the route—there are no sleeping-cars, so we did without them—brought us back to Calcutta, extremely gratified with our excursion to the Himalayas, and more than ever impressed with the distinctive character of each new locality. There are no two rivers alike, no two mountain ranges precisely similar, no two races of people that quite resemble each other. There is always some marked distinction to fix the new experience on the mind. Were this not the case, confusion would be the natural result of ten months of such varied travel as these notes are designed to record.

[Pg 187]


From Calcutta to Benares.—Miles of Poppy Fields.—Ruined Temples.—The Mecca of Hindostan.—Banks of the Sacred Ganges.—Idolatry at its Height.—Monkey Temple.—The Famous River Front of the Holy City.—Fanaticism.—Cremating the Dead.—A Pestilential City.—Visit to a Native Palace.—From Benares to Cawnpore.—A Beautiful Statue.—English Rule in India.—Delhi.—The Mogul Dynasty.—Lahore.—Umritsar.—Agra.—The Taj Mahal.—Royal Palace and Fort.—The Famous Pearl Mosque.

Calcutta is not a city calculated to detain the traveler more than four days, so we promptly got our baggage together to start for the next objective point, which was Benares, the holy city of the Hindoos, to reach which five hundred miles of central India must be traversed by rail. The route, however, lay through an extremely interesting region of country, where, notwithstanding it was still January, everything was green, and both planting and harvesting were in progress. The people appeared to be wretchedly poor, living in the most primitive mud cabins thatched with straw. Such squalor and poverty could be found nowhere else outside of Ireland, and yet we were passing through a famous agricultural district, which ought to support thrifty farm-houses and smiling villages. It abounded in rice, wheat, sugar-cane, and vast poppy fields,—treacherously beautiful,—from which the opium of commerce is derived. The presence of such abundance made the contrast in the condition of the peasantry all the more puzzling.

[Pg 188]

This part of India has ever been noted for the excellence and prolific yield of its sugar crops. From here, also, indigo and saltpetre are exported in large quantities. No tea-gardens were seen,—these were left behind in the hills,—nor had we met with coffee plantations since leaving Ceylon. All along the route we saw fruit trees in considerable variety, of such as are indigenous to central India; among these were recognized the lofty and handsome tamarinds, almonds, mangoes, oranges, and limes, interspersed with which was the graceful palm, laden with cocoanuts, and other products of the palm family. Temples centuries in age and in utter ruin came into view now and again, as they had done in the south, between Tuticorin and Madras, and here, as there, they were frequently adjacent to a cluster of low mud hovels. From the branches of the trees flitted birds of such fantastic shapes and plumage as to cause exclamations of surprise. Occasional specimens of the bird of paradise were seen, with its long and graceful tail-feathers glistening in the sun, presenting an array of bright colors never seen in confinement. The tall flamingos, in their bridal plumage, just touched with scarlet on either wing, like soldiers' epaulets, floated along the shores of the numerous ponds, scarcely clearing the ground, or they stood lazily by the bank upon one awkward leg. Parrots glanced across the vision in the bright noontide, in carnival costume; and buff-colored doves, with white rings about their necks, coquetted lovingly in couples. Of song birds there were but few, though the clear notes of the little Indian thrush now and then fell pleasantly on the ear.

As we progressed on our way, we picked up here[Pg 189] and there, at various stations, third class passengers in considerable numbers, consisting oftentimes of whole families, in singular variety of dress, "undress," and rags, bound for Benares. They were packed in the rude cars devoted to that class, like cattle, and there they slept and ate upon the rough pine boarding. The roads of India carry these devout people at a most trifling charge, aggregating but about a half penny per mile. And yet we were told that it paid the companies very well, besides making good friends of the natives, who were originally opposed to the laying of railroad tracks; indeed, so bitter and superstitious were they, that for a long time it was necessary to guard the track by a military force, especially in these very districts of central India. It was amusing to watch the expression upon the countenances of some of these pilgrims, who stood on the platform of the depot, watching the hissing steam as it came from the engine. In their intense ignorance and superstition they believe that it contains a "fire-devil," and that it is bribed to do the required work of transportation by frequent drinks of water at the various stations! It was difficult for the more intelligent to suppress their prejudices against the introduction of the railroad into India when it was first begun; but the ignorant, superstitious masses are still believers in the supernatural character of the iron horse. No amount of explanation can disabuse their minds of the impression; they only shake their heads; but getting into the third class compartments avail themselves of the facilities all the same, even when bent, as they all are who travel, upon some devout pilgrimage.

Benares, the first large city on the united Ganges[Pg 190] and Jumna, may be called the citadel of Hindooism, containing about one hundred and fifty thousand fixed inhabitants, and nearly as many more of floating population, composed of pilgrims, constantly coming and going. What Jerusalem is to the Jew, Rome to the Latin, Mecca to the Mohammedan, Benares is to the Hindoo. It is supposed by many to be the oldest known habitation of man in the world. Twenty-five centuries ago when Rome was unknown and Athens was in its youth, Benares was already famous. It is supported by the influx of rich and poor pilgrims from all parts of the country, whose presence gives its local trade an impetus, at certain seasons of great amount, and more or less at all times. The city is situated on the left bank of the sacred Ganges, to bathe in which insures to the devout Hindoo forgiveness of all sins, and an easy passport to the regions of the blessed. In entering the ancient capital we crossed the Ganges on a bridge of boats very similar to that at Cologne on the Rhine. As we drove through the streets troops of pilgrims, pitiable to behold, foot-sore and weary, were met coming from the Punjab a thousand miles away, simply to bow down before the local idols and to dip their bodies in the holy river. Faith must be very vigorous in these uneducated creatures to induce such sacrifice to fulfill its requirements; like superstition elsewhere, it is ever strongest in the ignorant.

These pilgrims are not all beggars or in rags. Now and then a gaudily dressed rajah may be seen, with a long line of attendants, wending his steps towards the river's front. Infirm old men and little children, crazy looking fakirs and comely youths, boys and girls, people of all ages and both sexes, were [Pg 191]represented in the motley groups who went for moral purification to these muddy waters. There is a singular mingling of races also, for these people do not by any means speak one tongue. They are from the extreme north and the extreme south of India, while the half-starved vagrants of central India could not make themselves understood by either. A common purpose moves them, but they cannot express themselves in a common language. Pilgrims are here from Tibet and Cashmere, the far-off Himalayan country as well as from Tuticorin on the Indian Ocean. Numberless idols and symbols of the most vulgar and loathsome character abound all over the town, and along the river's front, before which men and women bow down in silent devotion. Idolatry is but the synonym of impurity, and is here seen in its most repulsive form. The delusion, however, is perfect, and these poor creatures are, beyond a doubt, terribly in earnest.

The people grovel in this idolatrous spirit, animals forming the principal subjects of worship,—such as bulls, snakes, monkeys, and pigeons. One of the peculiar temples of the city is devoted solely to the worship of monkeys, where hundreds of these mischievous animals find a luxurious home, no one ever interfering with their whims, except to feed and to pet them. This temple contains a singular altar, before which devotional rites are performed by believing visitors, who also bring food offerings for the monkeys. One of the animals during our visit was misbehaving himself, considering that he was a veritable god: rolling, tossing about, and holding on to his stomach with both paws, while he cast his eyes in an agonized manner upwards, and howled dolefully. In plain English his godship had eaten too many bon-bons and [Pg 192]sweetmeats, and was paying the penalty from which even sacred monkeys are not exempt. Another, evidently the mother of twins, ran about with one under each arm, now and then stopping at convenient places to nurse them after a fashion ludicrously human. Adjoining the temple is a large water tank in which the monkeys are fond of bathing, their pranks in the water affording much amusement.

It is difficult to realize the mental degradation of a people controlled by a frame of mind leading them to worship these creatures; and it is equally ludicrous to recall the fact, in this connection, that the Japanese eat them. The hollow trunk of a venerable tamarind-tree was shown where all the baby monkeys are born. About the doors of this temple sat women with baskets of yellow marigold blossoms, to sell to native visitors for decorating purposes at the altar. Great use is made of this flower, which seems to be raised in large quantities for this object. Once or twice we saw these women sell a handful for a halfpenny; but it must be a sorry trade whereby to earn a living. Pigeons swarm in and about Benares enjoying a superstitious veneration and protection; while sacred bulls obstruct the passages, and the narrow, nauseous, over-crowded streets, rendering them too filthy for foot passage. Everything appears to be in a state of chronic decay; and as the city flourished twelve hundred years before Christ,—indeed may be said to have been at the zenith of its glory at that period,—it is not surprising that it should be in a tumble-down condition in our day. This very dilapidation, however, renders the river front one of the most picturesque sights imaginable. Being a British possession, there is a European quarter of the town,[Pg 193] quite modern in aspect, ornamented with large and fine public structures, churches, post-office, and government buildings, besides some charming private residences or bungalows. But the native portion, always crowded with sacred animals, beggars, curs, and filth of every sort, seemed a very hot-bed for pestilence. In most of the native huts the light of the sun can never penetrate, and compared to them underground dungeons would be desirable residences. Our local guide told us there were over two thousand public temples and shrines in Benares, and he might have added in every stage of dirt, decomposition, and ruin. The sights to be witnessed in them were most repulsive, and yet there were some sincere votaries there. There were rogues also, a fact proven by the circumstance that the guide, native and resident here, had his pocket picked before the altar while explaining matters to our party.

As a fine characteristic view of the city is to be obtained from the river front, a boat was taken, with half a dozen oarsmen, to pull along the ghats, or flights of broad stone steps, descending to the river from the shattered old palaces, prostrate temples, and half-sunken quays, which extend in a continuous line for more than two miles along the Ganges. Here hundreds, nay thousands of people of both sexes and of all conditions, are to be seen at any hour of the day dipping and washing in the sacred waters; which ceremony to them is tangible prayer. Here was a small group gathered about a delicate invalid, who lay upon a litter, brought to the spot that she might be bathed in these waters, which it was hoped would make her whole. Here still another collection surrounded the fading and flickering lamp of life that[Pg 194] burned dimly in the breast of age, come to die by the healing river. And close at hand, beneath that sheet, was the cold clay of one already departed, now to be consumed upon the funeral pyre and his ashes cast into the Ganges. What a picture of life and death, what a practical comment upon poor humanity! On these ghats the Hindoos pass their happiest hours, notwithstanding these sad episodes; coming from the confined, dirty, unwholesome streets in which they sleep and eat, to pray and bathe, as well as to breathe the fresh air and to bask in the sun. The hideous fakirs make their fixed lodging-places here, living entirely in the open air, in all their revolting personal deformity, diseased and filthy. Their distorted limbs fixed in every conceivable attitude of penance, their faces besmeared with white clay, and their long hair matted and clotted with dirt. There are pious fools enough to kneel before them, and to give them food and money, by which they are supported in their crazy self-immolation.

It was observed that some of the women took into the river with them short garlands of yellow and white flowers, which they seemed to count over like a Roman Catholic kneeling with her beads, and finally to break them in pieces and cast them upon the surface of the river, watching them borne away upon the tide. Each one was provided also with a small brass jar in which to carry away a portion of the sacred water, after having completed their baths, and washed their clothes therein. The people have no hesitation in drinking this water in which so many have bathed, nor in carrying it home for cooking purposes. Yet they must have, like ourselves, seen the ashes of the cremated corpses cast into it, and have observed the[Pg 195] frequent dead bodies floating therein. One would think a single glance at the yellow, filthy hue of the water would be sufficient to debar its use; but the very name of the Ganges sanctifies everything with these mentally blind creatures. Sometimes, though this is not a frequent occurrence, a crocodile takes away a bather; but such persons are rather envied than regretted, since to die in those waters is in their estimation simply to be at once wafted to the elysian fields of paradise.

All this fanaticism, mad zeal, and credulous idolatry could not alone sustain and support a city like Benares, though it attracts millions of pilgrims annually. There must be some reasonable nucleus to form about, some occupation and industry with the semblance of common sense, something besides priestly art and cunning. Therefore, looking about us we find in her bazars the skilled product of real artisans, in the form of brass ware of such admirable finish as to monopolize the markets of the world in this line. And again, there is produced in her dark alleys and dirty lanes an article of silver gilt embroidery of unequaled excellence. Specimens of these remarkable local products are sure to be brought away by appreciative travelers, while the local demand from rich natives is very large in the aggregate. So there are many homes in this strange, idolatrous, dirty, Indian Mecca, which are supported, after all, by legitimate industry.

A bird's-eye view of the city and its environs was enjoyed by ascending to the top of the lofty minaret crowning the great Mosque of Aurungzebe, so high, that not a street or roadway could be detected by the eye in all the densely populated city. The town [Pg 196]below appeared like one dense mass of houses, recalling the view of Milan from the pinnacle of its famous cathedral; but the streets of Benares are so narrow that it is hardly surprising to find them undistinguishable from so great a height. The palace of the Maharajah of Vizianagram was also visited, a well-appointed and elegant residence, where were to be seen some fine engravings upon the walls, representing American historical scenes, and especially an admirable portrait of Washington. An ancient observatory was of more than ordinary interest to us, erected by a famous Hindoo patron of science, Rajah Manu. Though now quite neglected and in partial ruins, a sun-dial, a zodiac, meridian line, and astronomical appliances are still distinctly traced upon heavy stones, arranged for celestial observations. This proves that astronomy was well advanced at Benares hundreds of years before Galileo was born, and it will be remembered that the astronomers of India first settled the fact of the rotation of the earth. The Man-Mundil, as this observatory is called, forms a most important historic link between the days of the Pharaohs and the nineteenth century.

Here, as in many other Eastern cities, we found men, women, and children lying down and sleeping in the streets and on the roadways, wherever fatigue overcame them,—all places were the same to them, vast numbers knowing no other home than the ground upon which they stood. And here, as in Calcutta, we saw the bodies of the dead being cremated in public, in the open air, along the river's bank, the pyres being prepared as already described. On one of the bodies brought to the funereal pile, covered with a plain sheet, it was observed that flowers had been[Pg 197] strewn, and pale, white rose-buds were in the folded hands. It was the body of a young girl, thus decked by loving hands for her bridal of death, a token of affection and tenderness no one could fail to respect. Five or six women followed, with downcast eyes, the four men who bore the body upon a stretcher, the sad and simple cortége of one who had doubtless been well beloved, "too early fitted for a better state." Something held us riveted to the spot, though we knew very well what must follow. After a few moments the red, scorching flames wound themselves gluttonously about that youthful figure, as though reveling in their victim, and quickly all was blackness and smouldering ashes.

To such extremes do the pilgrims who visit Benares often carry their religious fanaticism, that it has been found necessary by the English government to organize a police system to prevent their deliberately drowning themselves in the sacred waters, actuated by a firm belief that their souls will be at once wafted to paradise. Women are especially prone to the crime of infanticide, imagining that they can do nothing better for their female children than to intrust them to the bosom of the Ganges, which will bear them safely to the ocean of eternity. Poor creatures! From their stand-point of poverty, with its endless deprivations and hardships, and the hopeless condition of their sex in the East, who can be surprised at the conclusion they adopt?

Jackals are the night scavengers of Indian cities, and no sooner have the inhabitants retired to rest than their hideous half-bark, half-wailing notes jar upon the ear. Even in Calcutta, a large and populous city, one is not exempt from their howlings, but[Pg 198] in Benares they are a recognized institution, and are molested by no one. These creatures voraciously gobble up everything that is left exposed, good or bad,—vermin, decayed food, offal, every refuse,—thus rendering a certain necessary service in a climate so hot as that of India. The natives are not permitted to keep any sort of firearms, so they could not shoot the jackals if they desired to do so; but animal life is held sacred by them, and no native will spill blood except in self-defense. They seem to have no craving for animal food, supporting their bodies almost entirely upon rice. It may also be that a fellow feeling makes them kind, for they live, eat, and sleep more like wild animals than like human beings, unhoused and unclothed. The degraded condition of eight tenths of the population of India is almost incredible. Slaves to ignorance, slaves to idolatry, they are also political slaves; nor is there, so far as we can see, any better prospect for them in the near future.

Cawnpore is situated on the Ganges, about two hundred and twenty miles west of Benares, and was reached by cars over the Oude and Rohilkund Railway, the characteristics of the route being very similar to that from Calcutta to Benares. Almost the sole interest of this locality to the tourist is created by its connection with the mutiny of 1857, and the several fine monuments which commemorate the prominent features of that event. It is true that the interest in scenes where great crimes have been perpetrated is, more or less, of a morbid character. Mr. Lee, who was a subordinate officer in the English army at that memorable period, now owns and keeps, with his family, the principal hotel, acting also as an[Pg 199] efficient guide to visiting parties. He points out the various places of special interest, giving vivid and eloquent descriptions of the sad events, in which he was himself an actor. There is something very impressive in Marochetti's noble monument over the spot which was, at the time of the mutiny, a capacious well, and into which the women and children of the English prisoners, living and dead, were cast, by order of that inhuman wretch, Nana Sahib. It forms a beautiful white marble figure of an angel, with folded wings and palm-laden hands, the eyes cast downward upon the now covered well. The ground surrounding the spot is inclosed by an iron rail, and beautified with lovely flowers, carefully tended. Already familiar with the detail of the tragic deeds enacted in this place, the locality was necessarily impressive, and notably that of the Suttee-chowra Ghat, where the final scene of the Cawnpore massacre took place.

It was a sombre, cloudy day, and some rain fell while we were driving about the extensive grounds of the English cantonment. The influence of the sad story which these monuments commemorate, the funereal aspect of the spot, the gloomy, leaden, weeping sky above us, all served to heighten the effect of the dark story of crime and blood which our guide rehearsed to us. In its palmy days, before the mutiny, two cavalry regiments and three of infantry were stationed here. To use the words of Mr. Lee: "The place was full of officers' wives, children, and pretty women. Private theatricals were given twice weekly, balls as often, and picnics and dinners constantly." It must have been a round of holidays which the English residents enjoyed, while they vied with each other in their mutual hospitalities. Alas![Pg 200] what a volcano they were sleeping upon; and when it burst and the hidden fire poured forth, what rivers of blood were shed from the veins of the innocent and helpless victims!

We refer to events only too well known to the world, and which do not require any rehearsal in these pages. A very complete system of barracks is established here by the English government, and the three arms of the service are fully represented by well organized European troops. The cantonment extends some five or six miles along the river, the whole as level as a billiard-table. The present masters of the country learned too bitter a lesson from the natives to ever again trust them with any military power. Formerly the English army in India was composed of as many, or more, native troops than of those purely English, and they were drilled and taught in the use of all arms. Now the native regiments which are organized are scattered about the country and placed on outpost duty, or colonial service elsewhere, but only as infantry; they will not again be intrusted with artillery. They are looked upon as performing the police duty of the army rather than as constituting a regular portion of its active force. Without actual figures to depend upon, we should say that the English troops in India to-day must aggregate between forty and fifty thousand of all arms. When we realize the awful cruelty and blood-thirstiness of the natives in the rebellion of 1857, their diabolical and deliberate murder of innocent women and children, under the most revolting circumstances, we cannot look upon them as a people striking for liberty, or worthy of it, but as a base, degraded, ignorant, and fanatical race, utterly unfit for self-government. In[Pg 201] this light English rule in India is according to the eternal fitness of things.

One day was sufficient for us to see and understand the subjects of interest at Cawnpore, and we took passage by the East Indian Railway for Delhi, a distance of less than three hundred miles, over a very level and rather monotonous stretch of country. This city, which is located on the Jumna, also played a most important part in the great mutiny, the events of which are too fresh in the memory of the world to require special mention; but aside from those associations it has many and grand monuments to engage the attention of the traveler, connecting the ages far back of the Christian era with to-day, it having been for centuries the proudest capital of the Mogul Empire. Within a circle of twenty miles about the present city, one dynasty after another has established its capital, ruled in splendor, and passed away. Instead of occupying the same site, each has founded a new city, leaving the old to crumble into dust, scattering their débris over the plain, and telling of the mutability of human temples. All this ground is now abandoned to an army of foxes, jackals, and owls. Could this archæological soil be plowed up, and its ancient monuments, palaces, tombs, and mosques exhumed, like the dwellings of Pompeii, what might not be revealed of the hidden past?

One monument which was visited in the environs has thus far defied the destructive fingers of time: the Katub Minar stood alone in the midst of ruins, the loftiest single column in the world, but of which there is no satisfactory record. It is not inappropriately considered one of the wonders of India, and whoever erected it achieved an architectural triumph of[Pg 202] gracefulness and strength. It is built of red stone, elaborately finished in the form of a minaret, measuring about fifty feet in diameter at the base, and ten at the top, and is divided into five distinct parts or stories, one above another, each fitted with an outer gallery and adorned with colossal inscriptions in bold relief. The whole exterior is fluted from the bottom to the top, narrowing gradually as it ascends, and affording a good view of the present Delhi, twelve miles away, while it overlooks that broad region of dead and buried cities. Though the Katub Minar has stood for so many centuries, not the least crack in the masonry can be discovered, either inside or out. This singular tower, the original purpose of which can only be conjectured, stands near two courts of an ancient Hindoo temple, which are surrounded by ruins of cloisters. In the middle of the area, between the two lines of cloisters, stands a tall iron pillar with a Sanskrit inscription signifying so long as it remains the power of the Hindoos has not departed.

There is a legend which our local guide related to us, that the Mohammedans tried to destroy this column by digging it up, but were unable to find the bottom of it after working many days. They finally gave up the attempt in superstitious dread, for the Hindoos declare that it extends down to the earth's centre. We visited other temples and tombs, but the Katub Minar rivaled them all in interest. Among the branches of the trees, as we drove back to Delhi, we observed both wild monkeys and apes, the latter species being the first we had seen in India. Many birds were noticed, and whole flocks of pea-green paroquets, tiny things with mottled plumage, circled[Pg 203] about the trees and chirped incessantly. On inquiry it was learned that nowhere in all India exists so much bitterness towards the English rule as is secretly indulged in here. That the populace should not be well-disposed towards their present masters is not to be wondered at; and if this community were not completely disarmed, and watchfully kept so, there would likely occur outbreaks among them of a serious character. As none but Europeans are permitted to own firearms, the game hereabouts has greatly multiplied, and some of the best bird-shooting in India goes begging on the plains about Delhi. Standing at the door of our bungalow in the early morning, it was really wonderful to see the number of crows that flew up from their roosting-places in the neighboring wood, and passed overhead dispersing in various directions; but they, as well as the jackals, are the permitted scavengers of the land, and no one thinks of molesting them.

The present city, now in its turn declining, has been a most gorgeous capital, and has twelve fortified gates in good preservation. Its principal streets are broad and full of busy life, exhibiting representatives of all the various Asiatic races. Members of our party wished to purchase a memento of Delhi, and what was there better suited to the purpose than those fine hand-woven Cashmere shawls of many firm but delicate colors, so exquisitely finished? You do not find these hundred-guinea articles displayed in open bazars, but must follow your guide under a broad archway, up steep, narrow, winding steps into the dealer's private house and shop combined. A chair is placed for each visitor, while the proprietor sits down upon a bit of Turkish carpet, cross-legged.[Pg 204] A few formal words of welcome pass, then at a sign an attendant brings out from some mysterious corner a few shawls. The cunning Hindoo is studying you with his deep-set lustrous eyes. Not an expression of your face escapes him. He observes what pleases you best, and whether you can appreciate quality as well as looks. More shawls are ordered out from their cases, perhaps of a better grade, while your custom is all the while being quietly but shrewdly angled for, as a disciple of Izaak Walton would play with his game. You are gradually led from one piece of goods to another; your gauge as to price is adroitly discovered; and finally, with consummate judgment, a certain article, characterized by fineness, beauty, and quality, is placed before you. The moment your eyes rest upon it you are charmed. The shrewd old merchant has mentally taken your measure for this myriad-threaded beauty, and you are captivated. The price is named. "Too much," say you. But you are told that this establishment is conducted on the fixed-price principle; if cheaper goods are desired, there are those first shown to you. Why struggle? You are literally caught, and may as well surrender. So this exquisite article from far-off Cashmere is folded up and intrusted to the guide. The gold is counted, and you receive a salaam, as you depart, which might have been accorded to the Queen of Sheba.

In the broad main thoroughfare of Delhi,—the Chandni Chowk,—one constantly meets ponderous elephants, solemn and awkward camels, fine Arabian horses, and the diminutive toy-like pony of Cashmere. Daily marriage processions of the most fantastic description crowd the passage-way, with the animals[Pg 205] just named, caparisoned in the most gaudy and harlequin style, accompanied by unskilled musicians, whose qualifications evidently consist in being able to make the greatest amount of noise upon a drum, fife, or horn, which are the three instruments that are employed on these occasions. Some of the white horses in these processions are partially painted sky-blue, some saffron-yellow. In the ranks are covered bullock carts with peep-holes, in which ride the women of the harem. Mingled with these are men bearing banners with Hindoo mottoes and ludicrous characters, half human and half animal, painted thereon. This was called a marriage procession, but upon inquiry it was found to be only a betrothal of children too young to marry. The boy, bridegroom in embryo, appeared upon an elephant, and was dressed like a circus-rider; but the future bride, probably a little girl of six or eight years, did not appear. She remained at home, to be called upon by this motley crowd, when a brief ceremony would take place, presents be exchanged, and the farce would then be ended.

A visit to the palace of the late King of Delhi was full of interest, exhibiting evidences of elegance and splendor almost beyond belief. Here are still to be seen the remains of that famous Peacock Throne, the marvel of the world when the Mogul dynasty was at its zenith,—a throne of solid gold, six feet long and four feet broad, surmounted by a gold canopy supported by twelve pillars composed of the same precious metal. The back of the throne was so made as to represent a peacock with expanded tail, the natural colors of which were exactly imitated with rubies, sapphires, diamonds, and other precious stones, the aggregated value of the whole being over thirty millions[Pg 206] of dollars. And this was not an isolated case, an exception, but only an example of the lavish expenditures of the Mogul emperors. They used choice stones, gems, gold, and silver, with precious marbles, in mosaic work, as freely as modern rulers employ bricks and mortar. Their revenues were practically unlimited, and their expenditures were of the same character. The country was one of the richest in the world, but the wealth was in the hands of the few, and the poor were all the poorer in proportion, being taxed to the extremest possible point, and compelled to give free labor to all such enterprises, as the ruling power might dictate.

The Grand Mosque at Delhi is one of the best preserved and most remarkable of her monuments. It has three domes of noble proportions, a hundred and fifty feet in height, surrounded by minarets, the whole structure standing upon an elevated platform accessible by broad marble steps. It is known as the Jumna Musjid, and is conceded to be the finest of which Islamism can boast, owing its construction to that grand builder of tombs, palaces, and mosques, Shah-Jehan,—the creator of the Taj, that poem in marble at Agra, the glory and pride of India. The Jumna Musjid is built principally of red stone, but is freely inlaid with white marble, and as a whole is very impressive and Oriental in feeling.

The Hindoos claim for their country even a greater antiquity than do the Chinese, but there is probably nothing authentic relating to the early history of this people prior to the time of Alexander the Great, say four hundred years before Christ. Of one thing we are positive, that the reign of the Mogul emperors exceeded in splendor all that the world has ever[Pg 207] seen outside of Hindostan. Indeed, it was their great wealth, so lavishly displayed, which first challenged European cupidity. We have said the Delhi of to-day is in its turn declining. It has never recovered from the blow it received a century since, inflicted by Nadir Shah, who pillaged the city and carried away, in gold and precious stones, treasures estimated at over a hundred million sterling! Among his prizes on that occasion was the famous Koh-i-noor diamond, since "appropriated" by the English; and which to-day forms a part of Queen Victoria's crown jewels. It will not do to analyze too closely by what means this was brought about. What a romantic history would the true story of that "Mountain of Light" prove, could it be honestly written.

Nature does not exhibit the usual dividing lines in this region as regards the seasons of the years. Flowers are always in bloom in the open fields and gardens, trees ever putting forth their leaves, and perpetual youth is evinced by the entire vegetable kingdom. No winter, spring, or autumn is known to the Indian calendar, the year being divided only into hot, rainy, and temperate seasons. Though it was the last of January while we were in Delhi, only summer clothing was worn; outside garments were not thought of, the thermometer ranging about 68°. Such temperature admits of a series of crops tri-annually, if the husbandman chooses thus to time his planting and harvesting,—which processes indeed appear to be going on all the year round. The women were seemingly of rather a coarser type than those we had lately met, and were found working much in the fields, as well as performing a large share of the out-door labor. There is a new canal, with locks, etc., now[Pg 208] in course of construction in the environs of Delhi, where men, women, and boys were seen employed in about equal numbers, aggregating some hundreds, carrying dirt and bricks in baskets upon their backs, as well as digging, shoveling, and performing similar work. The guide informed us that the men received as wages twelve cents, the women ten, and the boys eight cents per day of ten hours. We must, however, again refer to the fact that the purchasing power of these sums is much greater than with us, say at least treble; still they are terribly low wages. Perhaps there is no better criterion of judgment as to the true domestic condition of any people, than the current value at which a man's labor is estimated. As to the common class of women in India, kept as all are in the most absolute subjection and ignorance, a more hopeless state than theirs cannot be conceived of. They are divided into two classes, the favored and the humble. The former are treated as toys, the latter as slaves.

The last journey from Cawnpore to Delhi was made by night, so again we were obliged to take the cars on the Scinde, Punjab, and Delhi road for Lahore at nine o'clock P. M., crossing the Jumna almost immediately after starting. The distance from Delhi to Lahore is about three hundred and fifty miles. Traveling, even by rail, in India is still accomplished on primitive principles, and, mostly in the hours of the night. Such bedding as one indulges in must be taken along with the other personal baggage. A pillow and blanket are absolute necessities, and anything beyond these two domestic articles is considered a luxury. With even these slight accompaniments and plenty of fatigue, one is apt to fall[Pg 209] asleep and make the best of it, whether upon the stone floor of a bungalow or in an upright position in the oscillating cars. Lahore is the capital of the Punjab, being one of the most ancient and famous cities of the country, and was flourishing and populous at the time of Alexander's invasion. Here are the headquarters of a large division of British troops, the red coats besprinkling every street and roadway. Its history is interwoven with every Mohammedan dynasty of northern India, having been founded almost two thousand years ago.

There is a museum of special local interest where are gathered and well classified specimens of the natural products, industries, native gems, minerals, animals, and birds throughout the Punjab, well worth a few hours of examination and study. Opposite the museum building there was observed, in the centre of an open plot of ground, a large, long cannon mounted, and of Indian manufacture, over a century in age. It was used by Ahmed Shah in the battle of Paniput and is famous among the populace by the name of "Zamazamah." There are also mosques, mausoleums, and forts to be visited, all attractive, with some curious ruins of old palaces and Hindoo temples, to all of which we paid due attention, but a detailed account of which would hardly interest the general reader. In the better part of the town the streets are broad and lined by two-story houses—a style not very common in India. From the ornamental balconies, and projecting windows framed in lattice-work, the women of the harems looked out upon us, with their faces partially covered, but yet taking care to exhibit a profusion of jewelry, having three or four large loops of gold in each ear, as well[Pg 210] as nose-rings, outdoing in glitter their sisters of Penang.

The few women to be met with in the streets had their bare feet thrust into the tiniest of pink kid slippers, far too small for them, their ankles covered with broad gold rings, five or six deep, coming up to the calf. Their bare arms showed the wrists covered with bracelets of gold and silver alternately, nearly to the elbow; and above the elbow was a broad gold band. Some of them were so covered with rings, bracelets, bangles, and necklaces as to amount to itinerant jewelry bazars. The etiquette of these women, some of whom were scarcely out of their teens, appeared to be, in the first place, to cover the face above the chin, except the eyes, and then to expose as much of their bodies as could effectively bear jewelry, including necklaces of either imitation or real stones hanging down over the bosom. Add to the whole a reckless disregard for natural delicacy, and you have a Lahore belle of to-day as she appears on the street. We saw nowhere else in India such freedom and publicity permitted to inmates of the harem. Girls are frequently married here at twelve years, and the number of wives a man may possess, in any part of India, is only limited by his purse.

Elephants of greater size than the famous Jumbo, and also camels, enter into common, every-day use here as do donkeys and horses in European cities; but such horses as one sees at Lahore are generally very fine creatures, of the true Arab breed, with faces almost human in intelligence. These animals are at the same time high-spirited and gentle, with forms that are the very ideal of equine grace and beauty. Round bodies, arching necks, small heads and limbs, large[Pg 211] eyes and nostrils, with full mane and tail. Lahore is a place of more than usual interest to the traveler, as exhibiting much of the peculiar and inner life of India. We were particularly attracted by public and, private flower-gardens, fruit orchards, and ornamental trees, disposed in such an excellent manner as to give the general effect of a finely and naturally-wooded country; and yet we were told that before the English took possession and built up the European quarter, Lahore was only a city surrounded by sterile fields, and absolutely without a tree, ornamental or otherwise, within its extended borders. The orchards and gardens referred to are those of European residents. Among the exotics we observed the Australian gum-tree and the Chinese tallow-tree, large and thrifty in both instances. Lahore was also the only place in India where we saw mulberry-tree orchards. Like Delhi, the city presents many evidences of its former splendor, with ruins still architecturally grand and beautiful, though rapidly mouldering to dust.

We heard of excellent educational results growing out of missionary efforts at Lahore, and it is really in this direction that the most good will be accomplished. As regards religious converts, they are few and far between, and of very little account when apparently made; but in cultivating the intelligence of the people, a great and good work is being performed, one which must eventually shake the fabric of heathen mythology to its very centre. An idolatrous people must come from the ranks of ignorance,—from a priest-ridden race. When the Hindoo is capable of thinking and reasoning for himself, he no longer believes in the idol-gods of his fathers. The[Pg 212] preaching of this or that special faith is of little avail, and to us seems to be the least of all missionary work. The true object is comprised in the single effort of enlightenment. Education is the great Christianizer for India. People of culture will not bow down before graven images, nor worship bulls and monkeys.

Umritsar, the sacred city of the Sikhs, our next stopping-place, is less than forty miles from Lahore, and is a walled city of nearly two hundred thousand inhabitants, composed mostly of Sikhs, Hindoos, Mohammedans, and Cashmiris. The principal attraction of the city to strangers is the famous Golden Temple, so called because the cupola is covered with a thin layer of the precious metal, having the same effect as that of the dome of the Invalides at Paris, or that of the Boston State House. Five hundred priests are attached to this temple, and are constantly performing ceremonies, which, to an uninitiated person, seem like utter nonsense, and want of purpose. By the side of the temple is a very large tank covering three acres or more of ground, supplied by neighboring springs; and though it is constantly bathed in by thousands of pilgrims, and has no visible outlet, was still clear and sweet, which fact the natives attribute to some miraculous intervention. This lake is called Amrita Saras, or the Fountain of Immortality, hence the name of the city. There are other mosques and public gardens of interest, and the traveler should not forget to visit one or more of the shawl manufactories, where the famous Indian article is woven by hand in a most primitive loom worked by two persons. Another specialty is the manufacture of perforated ivory goods, which are brought to great perfection and are in quick demand for foreign markets.

[Pg 213]

As we passed through an open square near the Golden Temple a dry goods auction was in progress, for the disposal of under-clothing, which seemed like sending warming-pans to the West Indies, since no native wears such articles. A Jew was the auctioneer, and was evidently selling at very low prices to get rid of the goods, for the poor people purchased and handed them about as curiosities. The scene occurred on the high stone steps leading up to a temple, and among the crowd a little girl of four or five years was thrown down the steps, cutting a severe gash on her forehead. With the usual dullness of ignorance, a crowd gathered about the now insensible child, frightened at the sight of blood, while the mother stood inert, where the child lay upon the ground, her own agonized features and clasped hands forming a picture of despair. No experienced traveler will be without sticking-plaster, and for us to pick up the child, wash out the wound, draw the lips carefully together and secure them, binding up the bruised head in a handkerchief, was the work of only a few moments. We were simply compensated by the reviving smile of the little sufferer; but it was impossible to prevent the grateful mother from lying prone upon the ground and kissing our feet.

From Umritsar to Agra is four hundred and fifty miles. One night and day of uninterrupted travel brought us to its interesting borders, where we found a large and well-conducted hotel—one of the best we had chanced upon in the country. This journey was through the plains of middle India, and afforded some attractive and quite varied scenery, including large sugar plantations in full stalk, thrifty mango groves, tall palm-trees, orange-trees with their golden[Pg 214] fruit, and far-reaching, graceful fields of waving grain, mingled with thrifty patches of the castor bean. These objects were interspersed with groups of cattle and goats tended by herdsmen, who often stood leaning on long poles in picturesque attitudes, wrapped about in flowing, sheet-like robes of white cotton, relieved by a scarlet belt and yellow turban. These men and their surroundings formed just such figures as a painter would delight to throw into a picture, with the animals feeding in the background. Now and again a group of minarets, with a central dome, would come into view on the horizon, breaking the deep blue of the sky with their dark shadows; or a ruined temple was seen close at hand, charred and crumbled by the wear of the elements for centuries.

India abounds in these forsaken and half-decayed shrines, once, no doubt, centres of busy life and religious ceremonials. Tall cranes, pelicans, ibises, and other large water-birds rose occasionally from the ponds, and fanned themselves slowly away. On portions of the road the telegraph wires, running parallel with the track, were covered with tiny birds of indigo-blue, decked with long slim tail-feathers. As we passed, they would rise in clouds, circle about for a moment, and again settle upon the wires where they had been roosting. Little clusters of rice-birds, scarcely larger than butterflies, floated like colored vapor over the fields, glistening in the warm sunlight. Wild peacocks were seen feeding near the rails, but not in populous districts. In the early gray of the morning, more than once on the lonely plains, a tall, gaunt wolf was observed coolly watching the passing train, or loping swiftly away. Camels were seen in long strings, with their loads protruding on[Pg 215] either side, slowly moving over the country roads; while an occasional elephant, with half a dozen people upon its capacious back, served to vary the ever-changing panorama.

Our course was nearly due south, so that we felt an increased rise in the temperature from hour to hour. As before remarked, it was a surprise to see how many of the poor people availed themselves of the railroad. The third class cars were thronged with them going to Benares, or some other holy place, on religious pilgrimages; which, indeed, appears to be the one absorbing idea of their lives. It was not unusual to see two hundred of these pilgrims, composed of both sexes and of all ages, enter the cars from some small station. Though these people wear the scantiest of clothing, yet they affect strong contrasts in colors, which will give picturesqueness even to rags. The third class cars of an Indian railroad are little better than our cattle cars in America; and these natives were hustled into them and locked up, much after the style of loading live stock in Illinois.

Agra, which, like Delhi, stands not on the Ganges, but on its great tributary, the Jumna, is an important city, fully as populous as Lahore; and though its history is rather vague, still there are tangible evidences carrying it back more than a thousand years, while some authorities claim for it a much greater antiquity. Its modern history is interwoven with the great mutiny, and our local guide wearied us by expatiating volubly upon the subject. To all who come hither, the first great object of interest will be the Taj Mahal, or tomb of the wife of Emperor Shah-Jehan, the most interesting building in India, and perhaps the most beautiful in the world. A tomb[Pg 216] in this country means a magnificent structure of marble, with domes and minarets, the walls inlaid with precious stones, and the whole surrounded by gardens, fountains, and artificial lakes, covering from ten to twenty acres. Cheap as labor is in India, the Taj must have cost some fifteen millions of dollars, and was seventeen years in building. The Mogul Emperor resolved to erect the most superb monument ever reared to commemorate a woman's name, and he certainly succeeded, for in his effort Mohammedan architecture reached its acme. The mausoleum is situated in a spacious garden, the equal of which can hardly be found elsewhere, beautiful to the eye, and delightful to the senses with fragrant flowers, exotic and indigenous, of every hue, and in endless variety, embracing acres of roses, "each cup a pulpit, every leaf a book." These are softly shaded by trees scarcely less beautiful than themselves. The whole scene is reflected in lakes of clearest water, from which scores of fountains throw up pearly jets in the dazzling sunshine the livelong day and through the still watches of the night. This grand structure, with the ripeness of centuries upon it, is no ruin; there is no neglect in or about the Taj and its gardens. All is fresh, fragrant, and perfect as at the hour when it was completed.

The edifice, which is of white marble, a material retaining its snow-like purity for centuries in this climate, is embellished with domes, colonnades, towers, and all the pomp, finish, and lavishness of Eastern architecture. It stands upon a stone platform of the same material, from three to four hundred feet square, to reach the surface of which one ascends about twenty steps. On the back of this platform runs a[Pg 217] marble balustrade overlooking the Jumna. On each corner of the terrace is a marble minaret about a hundred and forty feet in height, of fine proportions, like four sentinels placed there to guard the mausoleum, which forms the centre of the platform. Two mosques, built of red sandstone, stand between these minarets, one on the east and one on the west side. The height of the Taj from the base to the top of the dome must be very nearly or quite three hundred feet. The principal dome in itself is eighty feet high, and of such exquisite form and harmony is the whole, that it seems almost to float in the atmosphere. Agate, sapphire, jasper, and other precious stones are wrought into flowers, and inlaid upon the polished marble, the work having employed the best artists for years. In the centre of the edifice, beneath the glorious dome, are two sarcophagi covering the resting-place of the emperor and his wife, whose bodies are in the vault below. How appropriate the inscription at the threshold: "To the Memory of an Undying Love." On the surrounding grounds are the fragrant blossoms of nature; within are flower-wreaths of mosaic blooming in jasper, carnelian, and lapis-lazuli, fresh and bright as when they came from the artist's hand centuries ago. As we stood beneath the arched roof of the cupola, beside the pure white tombs of glistening marble, a verse from Longfellow's "Psalm of Life" was repeated in a low tone of voice. Instantly there rolled through the dimly-lighted vault above a soft and solemn repetition, which sounded as though voices were repeating the psalm in the skies, with such music and pathos as to dim our eyes with tears. The delicate echo beneath the dome of the Taj, just above where sleep the royal ashes, is one of its most remarkable and thrilling mysteries.

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This superb exposition of architectural perfection was visited first in the glow of sunrise, again in the golden haze of sunset, and once under the fiery blaze of midday. It is only beneath an intensely blue sky that one can realize the full and exquisite effect of pure white marble. Nothing finer or more lovely in architecture exists than this faultless monument, this ideal of Saracenic art, in all its rich harmony, erected by an Indian emperor to the memory of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal, which signifies the "Chosen of the Palace." The Taj leaves an undying impression of beauty on all beholders, and certainly in this instance beauty outvalues utility. Shakespeare might well have written of sermons in stones had he seen the Taj. The marble and red sandstone came from Rajpootana, the diamonds and jaspers from the Punjab, the carnelians and agates from Tibet, the corals from Arabia, the sapphires and other precious stones from Ceylon, and the genius that combined them all came from Heaven. Madame de Staël never saw this gem of India, and yet she said that architecture was frozen music. Emerson would have called it a blossoming in stone.

The Palace of Akbar is within the famous fort of Agra, a couple of miles from the Taj, the other side of the Jumna, a structure of such magnitude as to form almost a city within itself, measuring two miles around its walls. Those walls, over fifty feet in height, are of red sandstone, with towers at intervals, and a deep moat. It is situated on the banks of the river, with which its vaults have an underground communication. We were shown one dark and gloomy cellar far below the level of the fort, known as the execution room, where the criminals, condemned in[Pg 219] the Judgment Hall above, received their punishment. The headsman's block was still there, and certain dark stains were pointed out to us by means of the candle carried by the guide, which told their own story. In the centre of this dreary vault was a well whose water was level with the river, into which it opened some twenty feet from the surface, and into which the decapitated bodies of the criminals were cast and left to float away with the ebb and flow of the Jumna's tide. The bed of the river showed that at certain seasons it must be at least half a mile in width, but it was a meagre stream when we crossed it that bright and sunny February day.

The royal apartments within the palace are being restored at present, and many skilled workmen were busy upon the frescoes, inlaid stone work, and delicate marble ornamentations, while we were there. The Grotto of Glass, as the principal bath-room designed for the use of the harem is called, was a curious and luxurious marble room, with inviting pure white marble tanks large enough to swim in, and surrounded by tiny glass mirrors let into the walls at such angles as to reflect a figure myriads of times, quite distracting to look upon. All departments of this remarkable royal residence are exquisitely finished, showing no less of refined, artistic taste, than of lavish expenditure. The courts, chambers, boudoirs, fountains, pavilions, reception halls, throne room, all are of marble and mosaic, with beautiful inlaid work everywhere. Many of the floors represented delicate vines and blooming flowers in precious stones, like the modern Florentine mosaic work one sees in such perfection wrought upon tallies at the shops that line the Arno in Florence. The[Pg 220] Jewel Chamber, and the suite of apartments formerly devoted to the use of the harem, were curiously screened by a lattice work of white marble, lace-like in effect, and a curiosity in itself. Delicate carving could hardly be carried to more minute finish in alabaster. The marble inches and pockets, for holding the jewelry of the fair occupants, were so arranged that none but a delicate arm could reach the treasures; a man's hand and wrist would be too large; while the stone pockets, being curved at the bottom, required the long sensitive fingers of the owner's hand to extract what they contained.

These apartments all overlooked, by means of exquisite little marble balconies, the grand valley of the Jumna, through which the river may be traced for miles; while on the opposite shore there lies the glorious Taj, with its snow-white domes and minarets looming above the lovely setting of cypresses, and the luxurious vegetation of its surrounding gardens. Within the fort is also the Pearl Mosque, the rival of the little royal temple of similar character which we had seen at Delhi. The front of this Moli Musjed is supported by marble pillars, and is surmounted by three beautiful marble domes, of such perfection and loveliness of outline as to be the puzzle of modern architects, just as our best sculptors are nonplused before the Venus of Milo, and some other examples of Greek art; they may imitate, but they cannot hope to equal them. "Indeed," said a well-known artist to us in the gallery of the Louvre, in presence of this marvelous creation, "the sculptor himself, were he living, could not repeat his work. It was a ray of inspiration caught from Heaven." So we thought of the Moli Musjed.

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The Tomb of Akbar at Secundra was visited, a few miles from Agra. It is situated, like most other Mogul buildings of the same period, in a large inclosure laid out as a beautiful garden, with fountains, lakes, statuary, tamarind-trees, oranges, lemons, among the most fragrant flowers. It was a glorious day on which we drove out to Secundra, the air was musical with the merry notes of the minos, in their dusky red plumage, the little chirping bee-eaters, hoopoes, and blue-jays. Some little girls freely plucked the abundant rose-buds, pinks, lemon verbenas, and geraniums, bringing them to us for pennies, instigated by the gardeners, who looked on approvingly. This magnificent tomb would be a seven days' wonder in itself, were it not so near that greater charm and marvel of loveliness, the Taj. It was from this grand architectural structure that the Koh-i-noor was taken. The spacious grounds form one of the finest parks in India, art having seconded the kindly purpose of nature in a favored spot where vegetation is as various as it is luxuriant and beautiful.

Our hotel at Agra was one of the most comfortable and American-like which can be found in India. The scene on the broad piazza, all day long, was curious and interesting, forming a sort of open bazar, where every establishment in the place had a representative and samples of its goods. All tourists are presumed to have come to purchase, and importunity is a part of the natives' business. Photographs, models of the Taj, precious stones, sandal-wood boxes, mosaics, and swords, the variety is infinite, the patience of the dealers equally inexhaustible. Nothing but absolute force could drive them away, and no one uses that. If you utterly decline[Pg 222] to purchase anything, they fold their hands and wait. The most curious part of the business, if you purchase at all, is the elastic character of the prices, since no one pretends to pay that which is first charged, the dealer does not expect it, and the running fire of barter, chaffing, and cheapening is most laughable. The vendor begins by asking at least double what he will finally offer his goods for, and in the end probably gets twice their intrinsic value. If one of the natives were to offer his articles at a fixed and reasonable valuation, he would be mobbed on the spot by his companions. Dickering is the poetry of trade to a Hindoo.

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From Agra to Jeypore.—An Independent Province.—A Unique Indian City.—Wild Animals.—Elephant Traveling.—Trapping Tigers.—A Royal Palace.—The Harem.—Native Rule.—Wild Monkeys and Peacocks.—Long Journey across Country.—Bombay.—The Rival of Calcutta.—The Parsees.—Towers of Silence.—Feeding the Vultures.—A Remarkable Institution.—Island of Elephanta.—Street Jugglers.—Crossing the Sea of Arabia.—The Southern Cross.—Aden.—Passage up the Red Sea.—Landing at Suez.—Traveling in Egypt.

If the reader will consult the map of India it will be seen that few regions in the world present such an array of remarkable cities as have sprung up and flourished in the Ganges-Jumna valley, of which we are now writing. Here we have Agra, Delhi, Cawnpore, Lucknow, Allahabad, Benares, Mirzapur, Patna, Decca, and Murshedabad. What historic associations arise at the bare mention of these Indian cities, each one of which affords a record reaching so far down the corridors of the past as to fascinate the archaeologist by its very mystery.

We left Agra regretfully; one would like more time to examine and become familiar with all its monuments, and yet they seem as deeply impressed upon the memory as though we had known them for years, and had lived long in their midst. The Rajpootana State Railway was taken for Jeypore, situated a hundred and fifty miles from Agra, and justly reputed to be the finest native city in the country: in many respects it is unique. The route[Pg 224] thither lay through a very level country of great fertility, showing line crops of cereals, with frequent and vivid fields of yellow mustard in full bloom. Jeypore is the capital of the territory belonging to the Maharajah Mardozing, whose independent possessions are just about the size of the State of Massachusetts, the British not having "annexed" this special territory. The prince is a middle-aged, affable, and intelligent person, very courteous to strangers, but especially so to Americans, concerning whose government he is quite inquisitive. He is a man of more than ordinary culture, has traveled much, is exceedingly progressive in his ideas, and seems to command the respect of the English, and of all who are brought within his circle.

Jeypore is well fortified, and the prince keeps up a modest military organization. In driving about the city we observed long rows of dwelling-houses, rose-tinted, with pretty verandas and latticed windows, besides numerous large and well-arranged public structures devoted to educational purposes; some for teaching music, others devoted to the fine arts, and some to the primary branches of education, such as arithmetic, geography, etc. We were told that several able foreign teachers were in the Maharajah's employment, the schools all being free. Among the public buildings we noticed the palace, half a mile long, and eight stories high, well divided into courts, gardens, and public halls. In one of the latter was being held an extensive fair of Indian goods and manufactures, which for variety, comprehensiveness, richness of the articles, and judicious arrangement, would have done credit to any European city. We noticed a public mint, an observatory, a hospital,[Pg 225] and a large arsenal. All these, as well as a very considerable number of the dwelling-houses, bore a certain conspicuous mark, showing them to belong to the Maharajah. He is much more western than eastern in his ideas; more ready to expend his large revenue for the public good than to build Peacock Thrones, which at the same time excite the marvel and cupidity of the world; and so this very presentable city, in the heart of India, is a mixture of Orientalism and European innovation, the streets even being lighted by gas. Though, to speak honestly, this last fact seemed a trifle out of place; wild monkeys and crocodiles in the environs, and gaslights in the streets!

Jeypore is a beautiful little city, and ancient withal, though there are no ruins here; everything gives evidence of present prosperity, peace, and abundance. The houses are painted in a toy-like manner, but are neat and pretty. Queer little canvas-covered, two-wheeled carts, their tops shaped like half an egg-shell, and drawn by a single bullock, trot about the streets in a very lively fashion, some of them closely curtained containing women of the harem, but one sees few women except of the humble class; Oriental exclusion is observed here. Under this prince's seemingly wise rule the population exhibit a marked and favorable contrast to that of India generally, over which the authority of Great Britain extends. There are no mud cabins, no visible want. We did not see a beggar in all Jeypore. The people are decently clothed, and well-lodged in nice-looking houses, most of which are two stories high. The streets are exceptionally broad and neatly kept, being regularly sprinkled by coolies to lay the dust, though in a primitive[Pg 226] manner. These fellows carry goat skins, filled with water, fastened to their backs, with the neck coming forward under the right arm, and by swinging the nozzle from side to side the street gets a uniform wetting. This same mode is adopted even in so large a city as Calcutta, where a Yankee watering-cart would supersede the services of twenty-five coolies who are thus employed. Many fountains ornament the streets of Jeypore, placed in the centres of open squares. The expression upon the faces of the people is that of smiling content; in short, an air of thrift pervades everything. All this was in such decided contrast to those portions of the country which we had visited as to make a strong impression, and lead to some deductions not entirely favorable to English rule in India.

In speaking of this subject to an intelligent English resident, he replied that we had seen an exceptional specimen of the native control in this instance; and that other regions of India, were we to visit them, would present a very different state of affairs, all of which may be true. We ventured however, for the sake of argument, to question the justice of the tenure by which England held possession of India, and were promptly answered: "We conquered this territory from the Mohammedan invaders, who were ruling it with a rod of iron. Our coming has been and is a deliverance. We did not even overthrow the Mohammedan Empire. That was done by the Mahrattas, under French officers, from whom, in 1803, we rescued the Emperor, whose descendants we have ever since pensioned. None of the princes and sultans whom we have deposed were hereditary sovereigns. They were actually rebellious viceroys and[Pg 227] governors who had assumed their position during the confusion of the times. In short, that our rule is a blessing to India, to-day, does not admit of an argument." We frankly acknowledged very modified feelings upon the subject since arriving in the country.

Wild animals are abundant in the neighborhood, the tiger especially being hunted and feared, and not without abundant reason; for here, as at Singapore, men, women, and children are daily sacrificed to their rapacious appetites in some part of the district. It is said to be a fact that these animals, in their wild state, having once tasted human flesh, will be satisfied with no other food; but will leave the antelope and smaller game, known to be comparatively plenty in the neighborhood of the jungle, and lie in wait for days to capture human prey, even stealing at night within the precincts of the villages, and among the native huts. They exhibit great cunning in their attacks, rarely showing themselves when there is more than one person present, and never doing so where there are numbers, except when driven in the hunt. Instinct teaches them that one individual may be overcome, but that two or three are capable of victoriously defending themselves. The natives set ingenious traps for the tigers, and many are captured, for which they receive a bounty. The usual trap is formed by digging a well in the earth, ten feet square and fifteen feet or more in depth, wider at the bottom than the top. This is ingeniously covered with light branches and leaves, and located in the path where a tiger has been tracked. For some reason this animal, having once passed through a jungle, will ever after follow as nearly as possible his[Pg 228] own foot-prints, and can thus easily be led into a pitfall of the character we have described. Having once got into this well he cannot possibly get out, and here he is permitted to become so nearly starved as to deprive him of all powers of resistance, in which condition he is secured. A little food and water soon restores him to his normal condition, when he finds himself a prisoner in a stout cage, behind strong iron bars. For a few days after his capture the animal's rage knows no bounds, and his struggles to free himself are ceaseless, sometimes even ending in self-inflicted death by dashing himself head foremost upon the bars. If not an old animal, he, however, generally subsides into sullen acceptance of the situation after a day or two.

We were shown half a dozen lately taken and confined separately in strong cages in one of the open squares of the city. Two of them had a very bad record, and were real man-eaters, having a score or more of coolies charged to their account. These were all condemned to be killed, as they proved to be too old to sell for exhibition in the European markets, but the young ones are often thus disposed of. A tiger, one or even two years old, can be tamed and rendered quite docile for menagerie purposes; but when taken wild at an age exceeding these figures they are never quite safe. Those which we saw in the square at Jeypore were splendid specimens of their race, full of fire and rage, chafing at their imprisonment, and springing violently against the iron bars of their cages at every one who approached them. They were quite unlike the poor beasts of the menageries, who have had all their spirit and savage instincts subdued by confinement.

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Having obtained the necessary permit to visit the royal summer palace of Ambar, a few miles from the city walls, among the picturesque hills, elephants, belonging to the Maharajah were sent for us, and we mounted them, the animals kneeling at the word of command for us to do so. Our party, six in number, was divided so that four persons, including the driver, rode on each elephant. They were large and docile creatures, being respectively seventy and ninety years of age. Their shuffling, flat-footed tread is peculiar, but not very unpleasant, except when the driver hurries the animals; but even then the gait is not nearly so trying to the rider as is that of the camel, which is only comparable to a Cunarder pitching in a head sea. The elephants seem to be very easily controlled by the driver, who, however, is armed with a steel-pointed weapon which he resorts to freely if his directions are not obeyed, and the animal evidently stands in mortal dread of the instrument. All classes of the people ride upon the camel here, from the prince to the peddler; but the elephant is only in common use among the nabobs and members of the royal household, officers of state, and the like. It costs as much to keep and support an elephant as it does to maintain eight horses or ten camels, the latter animal thriving on cheap food.

A visit to the summer palace was very interesting, the local guide pointing out every object of note, and explaining all clearly. That part of the spacious buildings reserved for the harem was simply perfection, in point of luxury, as conceived from an Oriental stand-point. The audience rooms, the throne room, the domestic living rooms, and the various offices of the palace, were large and admirably [Pg 230]arranged, furnished in the Eastern fashion. The white marble work was everywhere exquisite in its finish, and, wherever it was possible, superseded the use of wood. The windows, opening from all the general apartments, afforded views across the hills, valleys, and lakes of the city of Jeypore, two or three leagues away. The group of the harem apartments, as usual, all opened inward, upon an area where grew orange, lemon, and fig-trees, full of fruit, also pomegranates and trailing vines, gracefully arranged. There were many varieties of flowers in bloom besides roses, which we strongly suspected came from afar. They were too familiar, those tea, damask, Jaqueminot, Marshal Niel, and moss roses. The indigenous ones were not nearly so full in leaf or pure in color, nor so fragrant or beautiful. The spacious marble bath was also in an open area, or court, shut in from all eyes save those of the denizens themselves, and of such depth and size as to admit of swimming. This tiny lake was bordered by thick growing myrtles, and a shrub with a dagger-like leaf, bearing a trumpet-shaped flower, snow white, but unknown to us, seemingly of the convolvulus genus. The dark winding labyrinths and passages from one part of the Ambar Palace to another were utterly confusing, and of a nature designed to mystify any one but an habitué. When the palace has its summer complement of residents, servants and all, it must contain some three hundred souls, besides the soldiery, who occupy the barracks outside to guard the entrances. It is a fort as well as a palace, and so arranged as to form a citadel capable of sustaining a siege, if necessary; while its lofty and commanding situation is such, that it could not be taken[Pg 231] by an attacking force without great loss of life on their part. We were shown in the basement a singular shrine or temple, before which was a large, flat stone, where daily sacrifices of a sheep or goat is made by the priests. In the olden time human sacrifices took place on the stone, according to the guide. Fresh signs showed that the ceremony of blood spilling had lately taken place, and, on inquiry, we were told that the carcass was given as food to the poor, which was certainly one feature of the practice quite commendable.

When at last we mounted the elephants to again return to the city, it was past meridian, but so powerful was the heat of the sun that we could hardly have sustained it without the protection of umbrellas, and thought if this was winter weather in India what must midsummer be? Though so much further north, of the equator than Ceylon, the heat seemed nearly as great, and even more insupportable. There was a certain moisture and softness about the high temperature at Colombo, which we had experienced a month before; while here there was a dry, burning directness of the sun's power which was absolutely withering. As we passed over the road, swayed hither and thither upon the backs of the huge animals, it was amusing to watch the gambols of the wild monkeys in the trees, and to observe the flocks of wild peacocks in the open fields, both monkeys and peacocks being held sacred. There were tall cranes wading on the edges of the ponds, with other queer-legged, odd water-fowls strutting through the mud. The crocodiles were seen sunning themselves on the river's bank, watching for an Indian child or dog to devour. Fancy colored parrots were plenty; and when we[Pg 232] got within the city gates, we met such dense flocks of tame pigeons, of various colors, as could not be equaled elsewhere. They were of several species, well-defined: fan-tailed, bloaters, divers, etc., some pure white, some mottled, and some as blue as the sky. Like those at Venice, they are protected by law. Indeed all animal life is spared, from religious convictions, except such as is brought to the altar. We finally got safely back to our quarters, at the Kaiser-i-Hind Hotel, far too well pleased with our trip to Ambar to cavil at a most indifferent dinner.

There are many native princes who govern states in India, as is the case at Jeypore; but they do so under sufferance, as it were, acknowledging their "subordinate dependence" to the British government. They form a body of feudatory rulers, possessing revenue and armies of their own. There is always a British "Resident" at their courts, who acts as an adviser, as it is termed, but who is, in plain English, a sort of acknowledged and permitted spy. These princes are not allowed to make war upon each other, or to form alliances with foreign states; and, upon the whole, all things considered, it is perhaps the best possible arrangement for the princes and for their subjects. England does not hesitate to interfere if a prince is guilty of any decided mismanagement, protecting the weak, and imposing peace. We were informed that the power of life and death, in single cases, rests with the Maharajah of Jeypore, as well as with the rest of the native rulers. Thus one third of India, embracing a population of between fifty and sixty millions of people, is still under native rule.

From Jeypore to Bombay is a distance of seven[Pg 233] hundred miles, a journey which we were three days and nights in performing. Most of the route lay through a sparsely-populated country, very similar in character to the sections already described,—the greater part of India being an immense plain. It was curious on this route to observe that all the railroad station-houses were built with white domes like mosques, a fancy which was also carried into practice upon many of the better class of village houses; the effect, however, was far from pleasing to the eye. Now and then a few antelopes were seen; they would gaze fixedly at the train for a moment, then turn and spring away in immense bounds. Now a lynx and now a fox would put in an appearance in the early morning, in the lonely district through which we passed, generally at a wholesome distance from the cars. We were up and watchful; there is not much sleep to be obtained on the cars in India; besides, one does not wish to lose the crisp freshness of the dawn. Before the sun fairly rises the temperature was a little chilly, but directly its power was felt, and it got fairly started upon its diurnal path, there was a change of thirty or forty degrees, and then—it is impossible to describe how the golden sunlight flooded the plains. Small game of various species was frequently seen in the fields and hedges; kingfishers, kites, and hawks put in an appearance, and a tall bird standing four feet high was pointed out to us, called a sarus, gray in color, and of the stork family. The pretty Indian blue jay seemed omnipresent.

As we got further southward we came upon the great poppy fields, cultivated for opium, which formed a remarkable feature in the landscape. They were scarlet in color, mingled occasionally with pink. In[Pg 234] other parts of the country we had seen the beautiful, though baleful, fields of poppies, dressed in bridal white. The effect of either is very fine when the eye measures the singular display by miles in extent, the rich, glutinous flowers nodding gracefully in the gentle breeze. We were told that from six to seven hundred thousand acres of land, mostly in the valley of the Ganges, were devoted to the poppy culture. A large share of these opium farms, as they may be called, belong to the English government, and are cultivated by their agents. Those which are conducted on private account are very heavily taxed, and are carried on in the interest of the Parsee merchants of Bombay, who control a large share of the opium trade, handling not only their own product, but also that of the government.

Oftentimes, near these gorgeous poppy fields were broad ripening acres of grain, which would have been denuded of their valuable property by the great flocks of birds floating hither and thither, were it not that precautions were taken to drive them away. A tall platform is raised upon poles in the centre of the field, with a slight straw shelter over it, upon which a young lad or girl is stationed, who thus overlooks the whole. They have no fire-arms, but are supplied with a simple sling and a few stones; should a bird be seen too close to the precious grain, an unerring stone will find him, and his body becomes a warning for his companions. The monkeys, who abound in southern India, are not so easily got rid of. Birds will not fly after dark, nor much before the sun rises in the morning; but the monkeys raid the fruit and vegetable fields by night, and are capable of organizing a descent upon some promising point with all the [Pg 235]forethought of human thieves. Besides which, birds, as a rule, will take only such food as they can eat, but the Indian monkeys appropriate whatever they can lay their paws upon, having a special regard for light domestic articles, with which they have a fancy for decking the tops of the highest trees.

While Calcutta is the governmental or political capital of India, Bombay is its commercial metropolis; and an obvious sense of rivalry exists between the two places. The opening of communication with England by the Red Sea route has given the latter city a great business impetus, and it is growing rapidly, possessing more elements of future greatness than any other city in Asia. It forms the western gateway to India, is entirely modern, and three quarters European. The Parsees, Hindoos, and Mussulmans make up the other quarter of the fixed population, while the floating populace represents nearly every Asiatic people. These two principal cities are located on the opposite sides of the peninsula, Calcutta being on the Bay of Bengal and Bombay on the Sea of Arabia. The Parsees number over a hundred thousand, and represent a large portion of the wealth of the city, being also by far the most intelligent and enterprising natives of India. They sympathize entirely with the English government, which gives them freedom of opinion and protection for life and property, neither of which could be assured under native auspices. They keep entirely aloof, socially, from other races, and strictly preserve their well-defined individuality. Their dress is peculiar, partly Oriental, partly European, and they are still like their fathers, after thousands of years, the consistent followers of Zoroaster.

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The Parsees settled here more than eight centuries ago, after their expulsion from Persia. Their temples contain no images, nothing but the altar bearing the sacred fire, which their fathers brought with them when they landed here so long ago, and which has never for one instant been extinguished. They worship the sun as the representative of God, and fire in all its forms, as well as the ocean, which would seem to be an antagonistic agent; but as their religion recognizes one Good and one Evil Principle, who are ever contending for the mastery of the universe, perhaps these emblems are no paradox. One of the first places we visited in Bombay was Malabar Hill, a lofty piece of ground just outside of the city, upon the apex of which are the five famous "Towers of Silence," constituting the cemetery of the Parsees. Beautiful gardens, kept ever in bloom and loveliness by the most assiduous care, surround these towers, which are the subjects of such sad associations. The oldest of these structures is between two and three centuries in age, and one is solely designed for the bodies of criminals whose bones are not permitted to mingle with those of the just. When a death occurs among the Parsees, the body is brought here to a small temple, containing the sacred fire, within the grounds. Here a certain formula is gone through with, and a solemn chant without words is performed by the assembled mourners. Presently the corpse is carried upon a stretcher through a door of one of the towers, and is placed upon a grating raised a few feet from the ground, where it is completely exposed. The bearers instantly retire, the door is closed and locked. These towers are open at the top, on the cornice of which hundreds of vultures are always[Pg 237] waiting in full view of every one, and as soon as the body is left they swoop down to their awful meal, eagerly tearing and devouring the flesh, absolutely picking it clean from the bones, which fall into a space below in an indiscriminate mass, to be decomposed by time and the elements. The hideous detail of the scene is not visible to the spectators, but the reappearance of these terrible birds of prey upon the walls, an hour later, in a gorged condition, is only too significant of what has transpired within the silent and gloomy inclosure.

During a subsequent early-morning walk the writer observed a funeral procession on its way towards Malabar Hill, and followed it to the Towers. For a moment after arriving there the face of the corpse was exposed, showing the marble features of a young girl of some fifteen years, wearing upon her pale face an expression of seraphic loveliness. The body was covered with a snow-white sheet, exhibiting the outline of a beautiful, budding form suddenly snatched from life. Over and around the body were white buds and half-blown pale flowers, indicative of youth, recalling to mind a similar experience on the banks of the Ganges. There was no apparent want of sentiment and tenderness here. As soon as the brief ceremony was over the beautiful remains, lovely even in death, were deposited in the nearest tower, the door was closed and the bearers retired. Down swooped the ravenous birds to their terrible banquet, as we turned away with a shudder. The devouring flames that wreathed about the child-corpse at Benares did not seem to us so shocking as this.

Seeing an intelligent Parsee, who had evidently been watching us, we asked: "How can you [Pg 238]reconcile to your feelings such disposal as that of the remains of a tenderly beloved child?" "What do you do with your dead?" he asked. "We bury them in the earth." "Yes," he continued, "for the worms to eat. And if there is death at sea you sink the body in the ocean to be consumed by the sharks. We prefer to give our dead to the birds of the air." We were certainly answered, though not convinced, as to the propriety of the awful scene just enacted. Perhaps, after all, it makes but little difference what becomes of these tenements of clay. The Parsee feeds the vultures with his dead, the devout Hindoo burns the body, and the professed Christian gives his to the worms and to the sharks. Still as we came down Malabar Hill that morning, and saw the hideous carrion birds, gorged and sleepy, roosting upon the walls of the cemetery, a sense of nausea came over us quite uncontrollable.

Bombay is made up of fine public buildings, sumptuous bungalows, and low hovels, not absolutely combined, each class being found in clusters about its special locality, but all going to make up the aggregate figure of the population. That the numbers should reach the round total of a million of people was a surprise. In the European cities we see the palace and the hovel, wealth and poverty, everywhere jostling each other. In Florence, Rome, or Naples a half-starved cobbler's stall may nestle beneath a palace, or a vendor of roast chestnuts may have established himself there. In Bombay a sense of propriety and fitness has assorted and adjusted these matters. Still poverty and riches are never far apart in the world, even as joy and grief are inevitable neighbors. There cannot be strong light without[Pg 239] shade near at hand. Excellent order and neatness are maintained, and well-disciplined policemen are seen at every corner. The municipality is partly elective and partly nominative, the majority of the officials being of native birth, and so far as a casual visitor may judge, affairs are managed economically and judiciously. In the neighborhood of Elphinstone Circle and the Esplanade, the city will compare favorably with any modern European capital, both in the size and style of the public and private buildings, as well as in the broad, liberal squares and thoroughfares, ornamented with statuary and fountains.

A drive in the environs of Bombay, around the base of Malabar Hill and along the picturesque shore of the Arabian Sea, is an experience never to be forgotten by one who has enjoyed its pleasure. It will be sure to recall to the traveler the almost unrivaled environs of Genoa, with those winding, rock-cut roads overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. Here the roads are admirable, cool, and half-embowered in foliage, amid which the crimson sagittaria, flaunting its fiery leaves and ponderous blossoms everywhere, meets the eye. About the fine villas, which are set back a short distance from the road, delightful gardens were to be seen of choice flowers, tastefully arranged, comprising an abundance of tropical plants, tall palms lining the drive-way up to the houses where the merchant princes dwell. The broad public roads were lined with oleanders, magnolias, laburnums, jasmines, orange and lemon-trees; and there were honeysuckles, white, scarlet, yellow; and tiger-lilies of marvelous size, each leaf looking as if it were a butterfly, and the whole flower forming a group of them lit upon a stem. Urns, from which drooped variegated flowers,[Pg 240] relieved by wreathing smilax, ornamented the posts of gates, and lined the smooth, white graveled paths about the verandas of these suburban palaces in miniature. The flora of our best kept green-houses here bloomed out of doors in wild luxuriance, but not a familiar tree was to be seen. In place of elms, maples, pines, and oaks, there were tall, slender palms, fig-trees, mangoes, and whole groves of bananas bending under the weight of the long, finger-like fruit. Verily, these Parsees, in spite of their bigotry and their adherence to ancient superstitions, know how to make their homes beautiful.

There was one institution visited in Bombay which is, so far as we know, unique, commending itself however, to every philanthropist, namely, An Asylum for Aged and Decrepit Animals. Here were found birds and beasts suffering under various afflictions, carefully tended and nursed as human beings are in a well-regulated hospital. The origin of the establishment was due to a philanthropic native who some years ago left a large sum of money, on his decease, for this purpose, so thoroughly in accordance with his religious convictions. Within the last ten years several liberal endowments have been added, all by natives, until the institution is now self-supporting. We were told of a new bequest, just added, which would enable the trustees to enlarge certain premises. Liberal visitors are also frequently inclined to leave a few dollars to encourage so worthy an institution. Bullocks, cows, dogs, and cats, otherwise homeless, here find good care, food, and shelter. The yard and buildings cover about two acres of ground, where the animals are only so far confined as to insure their own comfort and safety. None of them are ever[Pg 241] killed, but are well cared for until Nature herself closes the scene for them. One horse, which we noticed, was swung by belly straps so that his hind feet were quite off the floor; a case, as was explained, where one of his hind legs had been broken, but which had now so nearly healed that the animal would be able to stand once more upon his feet—not to work, but to live out his allotted days in peace. In America, or indeed nearly anywhere else, a horse with a broken leg is at once deprived of life. All through the East, but especially in India, there is, as a rule, a kind consideration for animals that is in marked contrast to the treatment they so often receive in what we term more civilized countries. Under the plea of humanity we take the life of most ailing animals in the Western world, but not so in Bombay. Horses, donkeys, cows, cats, dogs, and monkeys, sick or injured by accident, will be at once taken into this establishment, on application, and kindly cared for, free of all expense, until natural death ensues.

A visit to the Island of Elephanta, in the outer harbor of Bombay, situated about ten miles from the city, will afford all strangers much gratification. A small excursion steamer, tug-boat size, was chartered for our purpose, and with a favoring current took us down to the island in an hour, but was twice as long in working her way back against the tide. It was quite a picnic affair, our refreshments being taken with us from the hotel, and a nice table spread on board the little boat, where we lunched with that best of sauce, a good appetite. This famous island is about six miles in circumference, covered with a thick undergrowth of bushes and some fine specimens of tropical trees. It derives its name from a colossal[Pg 242] stone elephant which once stood near the present landing, and formed a conspicuous object visible far away. This monument was thrown down many years ago by some convulsion of nature, and now lies overgrown by vines and bushes, hidden beneath tamarind and banana-trees. As the shore is shelving, the depth of water will not permit boats to approach very near; so that the landing is made over a series of large, deep-sunken stepping-stones, rather slippery and dangerous for one without a cool head. After having landed there is still nearly a thousand irregular steps to ascend before reaching the plateau, where the mouth of the famous temple is entered.

We found this cave temple with its front half hidden by a wild growth of luxuriant vines and foliage. The cavity is hewn out of the solid rock, extending nearly two hundred feet directly into the hill-side. It was strange and incongruous in aspect,—a sort of conglomeration of sensualism, religious ideas, and Buddhist idols. Most of the school geographies of our childhood depict this entrance of the Cave of Elephanta, supported by carved pillars, hewn out of the rock just where they stand, part and parcel of it. The roof is supported by many carved pillars, also similarly hewn out of the native stone. Some of them have been willfully broken, others have mouldered away from atmospheric exposure. The Portuguese in their day, as we were told by the custodian,—a superannuated non-commissioned officer of the English army,—planted cannon before the cave and destroyed many of the pillars, as well as the heathen emblems, by round shot. One sees here the singular phenomenon of hanging pillars, the capitals only extant; but as the whole is carved out of the same huge[Pg 243] rock all parts are equally self-supporting. There are many well-executed figures in bas-relief, more or less decayed and broken, which is not surprising when we remember that the antiquarians trace them back with certainty for some fifteen centuries, and some give their origin to a period nearly ten centuries earlier.

Though embodying so much that is curious and suggestive as these rock-cave temples do, presenting such an aggregate of patient labor, the world will probably remain ever ignorant of their true history. An American traveler, whom we met in Bombay, had made these Buddhist temples a special study, and had just returned from a visit to those interesting antiquities, the Caves of Ellora, some two hundred miles from Bombay, consisting of several lofty apartments ornamented in a similar manner to those at Elephanta: in bas-relief. He also mentioned another excavated temple of the same character at Carlee, between Bombay and Puna, which in many respects resembled a Gothic church, having a vaulted roof and colonnades running on either side, like aisles. He was disposed to give the origin of them, as well as of those in the harbor of Bombay, to a period prior to the Christian era. However strange and historically interesting these excavated temples may be to the observant traveler, he will look in vain among the carvings and basso-relievi for any just proportions of form or expression of features. There is a lack of anything like artistic genius evinced, no correctness of anatomical proportions even attempted. The figures doubtless were sufficiently typical to answer their original purpose, but are as crude as Chinese idols. When the Prince of Wales was in Bombay he visited the spot and a sort of barbecue was given to him within[Pg 244] the cave, upon which the stony eyes of the idols must have looked down in amazement.

Elephanta is also unique in the production of a species of beetle remarkable for variety of colors and ornamentation of body. We had seen numerous specimens of this insect in southern India and at Singapore, some of which were an inch long, but these of Elephanta were not remarkable for size. They were hardly larger than one's little finger nail, but of such brilliancy of color, red, blue, yellow, and pink, as to cause them to resemble precious stones rather than insects. Some were a complete representative of the opal, with all its radiating fire. Some were spotted like butterflies, others like the expanded tail of the peacock, and again some had half circles of alternate colors like the eyes in a pearl oyster. We were told that only upon this island were such specimens to be found. Children gathered them, and filled little wooden boxes with various specimens, which they sold for a trifle. The harbor of Bombay is a spacious and excellent one. The old fortifications have gone mostly to decay, but two floating monitors, the Abyssinia and the Magdala, now form the principal defense of the port. The city, unlike most commercial ports, is not situated on a river, but is one of a cluster of islands connected with the main-land by causeways and railroad viaducts, turning it into a peninsula.

The fish-market is remarkable here for the variety and excellence of the finny tribe offered for sale. The fish-market of Havana has ever been famous for the size, color, and shapes of the specimens it shows upon its broad marble tables, but Bombay rivals the Cuban capital in this respect. Fish forms a large[Pg 245] portion of the substantial sustenance of the common people. The fish-women, those who sell the article in the market, are curious, swarthy creatures, covered with bangles on wrists, ankles, arms, ears, and noses. An East Indian woman seems to find vast satisfaction in this style of disfigurement. To see and to eat prawns in their perfection, three or four inches long, one must visit Bombay, where they create handsome bits of scarlet color piled up amid the silver and gold scaled fishes upon the white marble. The fruit-market is equally remarkable for variety and lusciousness. Mandarins, oranges, lemons, mangoes, grapes, bananas, cocoanuts, rose-apples, and vegetables too numerous to mention, load the tempting counters. One of the dealers, a young woman who would have been pretty if not so bedecked, had perforated each side of her nostrils and wore in the holes small gilt buttons,—this in addition to bangles innumerable, and ornaments dragging her ears quite out of shape. Her swarthy brown limbs were covered to above the calf with rings of silver and gilt, and her arms were similarly decked. Part of her bosom was tattooed with blue and red ink. This woman pressed a mango upon us at a trifling cost, but not having been educated up to liking this fruit, it was bestowed upon the first child we met. The Indian mango tastes like turpentine and musk mixed, only more so.

The last scene witnessed at Bombay, as we were waiting on the pier for the steam-launch which was to take us on board the P. and O. steamship Kashgar, was the performance of some street jugglers. We had seen many such exhibitions at Delhi, Agra, Madras, and Benares, but these fellows seemed to be more expert in their tricks, and yet not superior or even[Pg 246] equal to many prestidigitateurs whom we have seen in America. The doings of these Indian jugglers are more curious in the stories of travelers than when witnessed upon the spot. The so-often-described trick of making a dwarf mango-tree grow up from the seed before one's eyes to a condition of fruit-bearing, in an incredibly short period of time, is very common with them, but is really the merest sleight-of-hand affair, by no means the best of their performances. A Signor Blitz or Hermann would put the most expert of these Indian jugglers to shame in his own art. The performers on this occasion were particularly expert in swallowing knife blades, and thrusting swords down their throats; but it was difficult to get up much enthusiasm among the idle crowd that gathered upon the pier to watch them, and the few pennies which the performers realized could hardly be remunerative.

We prepared for our departure from India with feelings of regret at not being able longer to study its visible history, and to travel longer within its borders. Nearly a month and a half had passed since we landed in the country of the Hindoo and the Mohammedan, the land of palms and palaces, of pagodas and temples. Its remarkable scenes and monuments will never be forgotten, and with Japan will ever share our warmest interest. There are some memories which, like wine, grow mellow and sweet by time, no distance being able to obliterate them, nor any after-experience to lessen their charm. India has a record running back through thousands of years and remotest dynasties, captivating the fancy with numberless ruins, which, while at attesting the splendor of their prime, form also the only record of[Pg 247] their history. The mosaic character of its population, the peculiarities of its animal kingdom, the luxuriance of its vegetation, the dazzling beauty of its birds and flowers, all crowd upon the memory in charming kaleidoscopic combinations. There can be no doubt of the early grandeur and high civilization of India. To the intellectual eminence of her people we owe the germs of science, philosophy, law, and astronomy. Her most perfect of all tongues, the Sanskrit, has been the parent of nearly all others; and now that her lustre has faded away, and her children fallen into a condition of sloth and superstition, still let us do her historic justice; nor should we neglect to heed the lesson she so clearly presents, namely, that nations, like human beings, are subject to the unvarying laws of mutability.

We embarked from Bombay, February 9th, on board the P. and O. steamship Kashgar for Suez, a voyage of three thousand miles across the Sea of Arabia and the Indian Ocean, through the Straits of Babelmandeb and the entire length of the Red Sea. The most southerly point of the voyage took us within fourteen degrees of the equator, and consequently into an extremely warm temperature. As the ship's cabin proved to be almost insupportable on account of the heat, we passed a large portion of the nights, as well as the days, upon deck, making acquaintance with the stars, looking down from their serene and silent spaces, the new moon, and the Southern Cross, all of which were wonderfully bright in the clear, dry atmosphere. As we approach the equatorial region one cannot but admire the increasing and wondrous beauty of the southern skies, where new and striking constellations greet the observer.[Pg 248] The Southern Cross, above all other groupings, interests the beholder, and he ceases to wonder at the reverence with which the inhabitants of the low latitudes regard it. As an accurate measurer of time, it is also valued by the mariner in the southern hemisphere, who is nightly called to watch on deck, and who thus becomes familiar with the glowing orbs revealed by the surrounding darkness. As a Christian emblem all southern nations bow before this constellation which is denied to northern eyes.

Bishop F——, of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Massachusetts, was a passenger on board the Kashgar, bound to Egypt, and on Sunday, February 11th, after the captain had read the usual services, he was invited to address the passengers; this he did in an eloquent and impressive discourse. It was a calm, beautiful Sabbath, a sweet tranquillity enshrouding everything. The ship glided over the gently throbbing breast of the Arabian Sea with scarcely perceptible motion; and when night came, the stillness yet unbroken, save by the pulsation of the great motive power hidden in the dark hull of the Kashgar, the bishop delivered a lecture on astronomy. He stood on the quarter-deck, bare-headed, his snow-white hair crowning a brow radiant with intellect, while the attentive passengers were seated around, and over his head glowed the wondrous orbs of which he discoursed. Naturally eloquent, the speaker seemed inspired by the peculiar surroundings, as he pointed out and dilated upon the glorious constellations and planets blazing in the blue vault above us. He explained the immensity of these individual worlds, the harmonious system which science shows to exist in their several spheres, the almost incalculable distance[Pg 249] between them, as related to each other and as it regarded this earth. The sun, the moon, and the rotation of the globe, all were learnedly expatiated upon, and yet in language so eloquent and simple as to inform the least intelligent of his listeners. Finally, in his peroration, in touchingly beautiful language, he ascribed the power, the glory, and the harmony of all to that Almighty Being who is the Parent of our race.

The good ship held steadily on her southwest course, day after day, lightly fanned by the northeast monsoon towards the mouth of the Red Sea. Our time was passed in reading aloud to each other, and in rehearsing the experience of the last six months. We were very dreamy, very idle, but it was sacred idleness, full of pleasant thoughts, and half-waking visions induced by tropical languor, full of gratitude for life and being amid such tranquillity, and beneath skies so glowing with beauty and loveliness. At the end of the sixth day we cast anchor at the island, or rather peninsula, of Aden, a rocky, isolated spot held by English troops, to command the entrance to the Red Sea,—very properly called the Gibraltar of the Indian Ocean. Like that famous promontory it was originally little more than a barren rock,—pumice-stone and lava,—which has been improved into a picturesque and habitable place, bristling with one hundred British cannon of heavy calibre. It is a spot much dreaded by sailors, the straits being half closed by sunken rocks, besides which the shore is considered the most unhealthy yet selected by civilized man as a residence.

The town of Aden lies some distance from the shore where the landing is made, in the very centre[Pg 250] of an extinct volcano, the sides of which have fallen in and form its foundation, affording, as may reasonably be supposed, an opportunity for yet another calamity like that which so lately visited Ischia, and which swallowed up Casamicciola. As we passed in from the open sea to the harbor of Aden, the tall masts of a steamship, wrecked here very lately, were still visible above the long, heavy swell of the ocean. The name of these straits, Babelmandeb, given to them by the Arabs, signifies the "Gate of Tears," because of the number of vessels which have been wrecked in an attempt to pass through them; and the title is no less applicable to our time than when they were first named. There is a saying among seamen, that for six months of the year no vessel under canvas can enter the Red Sea, and, for the other six months, no sailing vessel can get out. This refers to the regularity with which the winds blow here, for six months together. Aden lies within the rainless zone, so that its inhabitants see no rain-fall sometimes for two or three years together, depending for their water on wells, tanks, and condensers. The remains of an ancient and magnificent system of reservoirs, antedating the Christian era, and hewn out of the solid rock, have been discovered, whereby the early inhabitants were accustomed to lay in a supply of the aqueous fluid when it did rain, which would last them for a long period of months. Following out the original idea, these stone reservoirs have been thoroughly repaired, and the present inhabitants now lay up water in large quantities when the welcome rain visits them.

As we lay at anchor just off the shore at Aden, the ship was surrounded by a score of small boats, dugout canoes, in which were boys as black as Nubians,[Pg 251] with shining white teeth and curly heads, watching us with bright, expressive eyes. Such heads of hair we never chanced to meet with before. Evidently dyed red by some means, the hair is twisted into vertical curls of oddest appearance. The little fellows, each in his own canoe, varied in age from ten to fifteen years. By eloquent gestures and the use of a few English words, they begged the passengers on board the Kashgar to throw small coin into the sea, for which they would dive in water that was at least seven fathoms deep, that is, say forty feet. The instant a piece of money was thrown, every canoe was emptied, and twenty human beings disappeared from sight like a flash. Down, down go the divers to the very bottom, and there struggle together for the trifle, some one of the throng being sure to rise to the surface with the coin displayed between his teeth. They struggle, wrestle, and fight beneath the surface, and when the water is clear can be seen, like the amphibious creatures which these shore-born tribes really are; nothing but otters and seals could be keener sighted or more expert in the water.

Quite a number of natives came on board the ship with curiosities to sell, such as choice shells, toys, leopard skins, and ostrich feathers. There are plenty of these birds running wild but a little way inland, and some are kept in domestic confinement on account of the feathers which they yield; but the tame birds do not develop such fine plumage as do the wild ones. The ladies purchased choice specimens of these elegant ornaments at prices ridiculously low compared with the charge for such in Europe or America. The men who sold these feathers differed from the other natives, and were evidently Syrian[Pg 252] Jews, queer looking fellows, small in stature, dark as Arabs, and with their hair dressed in cork-screw curls. These small traders commenced by demanding guineas for their feathers, and ended by taking shillings. Notwithstanding the barren aspect of the surrounding country, Aden manages to do something in the way of exports. Coffee is produced, not far inland, as well as honey, wax, and gums, with some spices, which are shipped to Europe.

It was just about twilight when we got up the anchor, and steamed away from Aden; and as the evening set in a bevy of birds were singularly attracted to the Kashgar. They were quite as much land as water-birds, and were fully twice as large as robins, of a mingled white and slate color. So persistent were these birds, and being perhaps a little confused by the surrounding darkness, together with the blinding lights of the ship, that they permitted themselves to be caught and handled. When thrown into the air they immediately returned, to light on the bulwarks, shrouds, deck, or awnings, in fact, anywhere affording foothold. Scores of them roosted all night on the Kashgar; but with the first break of morning light they shook their feathers briskly for a moment, uttered a few harsh, croaking notes, as a sort of rough thanks for their night's lodging, and sailed away to the Abyssinian shore.

The general appearance of Aden from the sea, though picturesque, is not inviting, giving one an idea of great barrenness. The mountains and rocks have a peaked aspect, like a spear pointed at one, as much as to say "Better keep off." People who land for the first time, however, are agreeably disappointed by finding that every opportunity for encouraging[Pg 253] vegetation and imparting its cheerful effect to the rocky soil has been duly improved. When we bid Aden good-by in the after-glow of sunset, the sea on the harbor side was of a deep azure, while in the direction of the ocean it stretched away to the horizon in a soft, pale green. This effect, added to the lingering orange hue in the west, and the sober gray of the rocky promontory itself, made up a pleasing variety of color.

Our course was now nearly north, leaving behind us the island of Prim as well as Aden, the former being also a British stronghold at the mouth of this inland sea, close to the Arabian coast, and less than ten miles from the African shore, which facts will show the reader how narrow is the southern entrance of the Red Sea. The bold headlands of Abyssinia were long visible on our port side, while on the starboard we had a distant view of Arabia with the Libyan range of mountains in the background, forming the boundary of the desert of the same name. Jeddah, the sea-port of Mecca, the resort of all pious Mohammedans, and Mocha, with its bright sunlit minarets, the place so suggestive of good coffee, were to be seen in the distance. In coasting along the shores of Nubia, the dense air from off the land was like a sirocco, suffocatingly hot, the effect being more enervating than that of any previous experience of the journey. Here the water was observed to be much saltier to the taste than that of the open sea, a fact easily accounted for, as it is subject to the fierce tropical sun, and the consequent rapid evaporation leaves the saline property in aggregated proportions at the surface. This is a phenomenon generally observable in land-locked arms of the ocean similarly[Pg 254] situated: the Persian Gulf being another instance. The free circulation of ocean-currents, as well as the heavy rain-falls of other tropical regions, renders the conditions more uniform. As we sailed through the Gulf of Suez we had the shores of Egypt on both sides of us. The last day on board the Kashgar was characterized by one of those blazing sunsets that set everything aglow, making it appear as though the world had taken fire at the horizon and was actually burning up.

Before arriving at Aden it was discovered that one of the foremast hands of the ship was quite ill with small-pox, a very annoying thing to happen under the circumstances. There were some thirty or forty cabin passengers on board, and of course serious fears as to contagion were entertained. Our small party, having already run the gauntlet of both cholera and small-pox, took the matter very quietly, though we had before us a five or six days' voyage to consummate before we could hope to land. The sick man was placed in one of the large life-boats on the port bow, which had a broad canvas nicely rigged over it, and in this small, improvised hospital was personally attended by the ship's doctor alone, who in turn isolated himself from the passengers. It was feared that we might be quarantined upon arriving at Suez: but either by management or accident, we arrived late at night and got moored at the dock before any questions were asked. Selfishness and gravitation are both immutable. We are quite satisfied to look out for the interests of number one, and must confess that we know not to this day whether the poor fellow, who lay so sick in the port boat, lived or died.

[Pg 255]

A modest effort to ascertain why this great arm of the Indian Ocean is called the Red Sea was not crowned with success. The Black Sea is not black, the Blue Danube is not blue, the Red Sea is not red. It extends between Africa and Arabia nearly fifteen hundred miles, and in the broadest part is not over two hundred miles across, gradually contracting at each end. Portions of it are a thousand fathoms deep, but the shores on either side are lined with a net-work of coral reefs and sunken rocks extending well out from the coast. It was observed that the Kashgar for the most part kept nearly in the middle of the sea. Small Arabian vessels hug the shore, as their captains are familiar with the soundings and can safely do so, and yet they never navigate by night nor go out of port when the weather is in the least threatening. They make no attempt to cross the sea except in settled weather, and are what we should call fresh-water sailors, only venturing out when a naked candle will burn on the forecastle. European sailing vessels rarely attempt to navigate the Red Sea; it is too intricate, and the chances too hazardous for anything but steam power to encounter. The color of the sea, so far from being red, is deeply blue, and where it becomes shoal changes to a pale green; but the color of all large expanses of water is constantly changing from various causes. The reflection of the clouds will turn its blue to a dark indigo tint, and even to inky blackness. Experienced seamen, foremast hands, who have no access to the charts, will tell by the color of the water, after a long voyage, that the land is near at hand; the clear transparent blue becomes an olive green, and as the water grows more shallow it grows also lighter.

[Pg 256]

Landing at Suez early in the morning we strolled about the town, which presented hardly a feature of local interest, except that it was Suez and unlike any other place one had ever seen. The landscape, if worthy of the name, consisted of far-reaching sand and water; not a single tree or sign of vegetation was visible. All was waste and barrenness. The hot sun permeating the atmosphere caused a shimmering in the air, the tremulous effect of which was trying to the eyes, and deceptive almost like a mirage. It was a relief even when a tall awkward necked camel came between one and the line of vision. A characteristic scene emphasized the surrounding desolation, on a neighboring sand-hill, where a flock of vultures were feeding upon the carcass of a mule. Disturbed for a moment they rose lazily, and circling about the spot settled again to their carrion feast. Though there has been a settlement here for five centuries, the place has only sprung into commercial importance since the completion of M. de Lesseps' great enterprise of wedding the Mediterranean and Red Seas. There was a noticeable mingling of nationalities as forming the rather incongruous community. We counted half a dozen insignificant mosques, and visited the Arabian bazars, but saw nothing of interest save a few corals and some handsome shells from the neighboring sea. The people themselves were more attractive and curious than the goods they displayed. Sailors were lounging about the bar-rooms in large numbers, and the sale of cheap liquors appeared to be the one prevailing business of Suez. The floating population was composed of Arabs, Maltese, Greeks, and Italians. Some of the first-named race were noticeable as nervous, sinewy, broad-chested fellows,[Pg 257] with narrow thighs and well-shaped limbs, like a Mohawk Indian. Everything appeared poverty-stricken, and it was a relief when the time came for us to take our seats in the dilapidated cars and leave the place.

Zagazig was reached the same afternoon, and though not so populous a place as Suez was much more alive and thrifty. This settlement is also an outgrowth of M. de Lesseps' enterprise, but it does not present any aspect of its mushroom growth, giving one the impression of a place well selected as a settlement, and which had increased slowly and permanently. We were now bound directly to Cairo, which is situated nearly two hundred miles from Suez. The first twenty or thirty miles of the route was through a level desert of sand, scorched, silent, and deserted, devoid of even a spear of grass or a single tree, the yellow soil quivering in the heated air. Mile after mile was passed without meeting one redeeming feature. It was desolation personified. At last we came gradually upon a gently undulating and beautiful district of country, enriched by the annual deposits of the Nile, where careful, intelligent cultivation produced its natural results. Here we began to see small herds of brown buffaloes, and peasants plying the irrigating buckets of the shadoof. Everything seemed verdant and thriving. Perhaps the great contrast between the sterile desert so lately crossed and the aspect which now greeted us made this really fertile region appear doubly so. Not since the plains of middle India had we seen anything forming so fine a rural picture as this. Though it was only the last of February the clover fields were being mowed, and a second crop would follow; the barley and wheat were nearly ready for the sickle,[Pg 258] while the peas and beans, both in full blossom, were picturesque and fragrant. As we progressed through this attractive region the pastures became alive with sheep, goats, many camels, and some dromedaries.

On our way we made a brief stop at the late sanguine field of Tell-el-Keber, where the English and Turks fought the closing battle of the late campaign in Egypt. The sandy plain was still strewn with the débris of hastily deserted camps, and not far away was that significant spot which war leaves always in its track,—an humble cemetery, marked by many small white stones, showing the last resting-places of men unknown to fame, but to whom life was undoubtedly as sweet as it is to those whose graves the world honors with monumental shafts.

While we were approaching Cairo, and were yet two or three leagues away, the dim outline of the everlasting pyramids could be seen, through the shimmering haze, softly limned against the evening sky, firing the imagination, and causing an involuntary and quicker pulsation of the heart. It was impossible not to recall the glowing words of the Humpback in the Thousand and One Nights, as we saw the pyramids and glistening minarets coming into view: "He who hath not seen Cairo hath not seen the world: its soil is gold; its Nile is a wonder; its women are like the black-eyed virgins of Paradise; its houses are palaces, and its air is soft,—its odor surpassing that of aloes-wood and cheering the heart; and how can Cairo be otherwise when it is the Mother of the World?"

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Cairo and the Arabian Nights.—Street Scenes and Cries.—Camels and Donkeys.—Turkish Bazars in Old Cairo.—Water Carriers.—The Pyramids of Gizeh.—The Sphinx.—Interesting Visit to a Native House.—Mosque of Mehemet Ali.—The Rotten Row of Cairo.—The Khedive's Palace.—Egyptian Museum.—Mosque of Amer.—Whirling and Howling Dervishes.—Suez Canal.—Ismailia and Port Said.—Island of Malta.—City of Valetta.—Palace of the Knights.—Bird's-eye View.

Cairo is nearly the size of Boston, having a population of about four hundred thousand. It forms a strange medley of human life,—a many-hued crowd constantly pouring through its thoroughfares, dirty lanes, and narrow streets, in picturesque confusion. On one side the observer is jostled by a liveried servant all silver braid and bright buttons, and on the other by an Arab in loose white robe and scarlet turban; now by a woman with her face half-concealed beneath her yasmak, and now by one scarce clothed at all; by jaunty Greeks in theatrical costume, and cunning Jews with keen, searching eyes; by tempting flower-girls, and by shriveled old crones who importune for alms; by Franks, Turks, and Levantines; by loaded donkeys and lazy, mournful-looking camels—a motley group. The water-carrier, with his goatskin filled and swung across his back, divides the way with the itinerant cook and his portable kitchen. In short, it is the ideal city of the Arabian Nights. The Esbekyeh is the Broadway of Cairo, and its contrast to the mass of narrow lanes and passages where[Pg 260] the native bazars are located, as well as the dingy houses of the populace, only adds to its brilliancy.

Like Paris, it is a city of cafés. During the evening and far into the night, crowds of individuals of every nationality are seen seated in groups before them in the open air, drinking every sort of known liquid, but coffee taking precedence of all others. In picturesqueness of costume, the Turk leads the world. There is none of the buttoned-up aspect of Europeans about him. His graceful turban and flowing robes are worthy of the classic antique, while the rich contrast of colors which he always wears adds finish to the general effect. As he sits cross-legged before his open bazar, smoking his long pipe, he looks very wise, learned, and sedate, though in point of fact, as has been shrewdly said, there are doubtless more brains under the straw hat of a Yankee peddler than under three average turbans. The dark, narrow lanes and endless zigzag alleys had an indescribable interest, with their accumulated dirt of neglect and dust of a land where rain is so seldom known. One looks up in passing at those overhanging balconies, imagining the fate of the harem-secluded women behind them, occasionally catching stolen glances from curious eyes peering between the lattices. What a life is theirs! Education is unknown among the Egyptian women. They have no mental resort. Life, intellectually, is to them a blank. There was a mingled atmospheric flavor impregnating everything with an incense-like odor, thoroughly Oriental. One half expected to meet Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, as we still look for Antonio and the Jew on the Rialto at Venice. The whole city, with myriads of drawbacks, was yet very sunny, very interesting, very attractive. The dreams[Pg 261] of childhood, with those veracious Arabian stories and pictures, were constantly before the mind's eye, in all their extravagant absurdities, stimulating the imagination to leap from fancy to fancy as it achieved grotesque impossibilities, and peopled the present scene as in the days of Haroun Alraschid.

Camels and donkeys were in endless numbers; the latter, small creatures carrying enormous loads, and often having big, lazy men on their backs,—so immeasurably disproportioned to the animals as to seem liable to break their tiny limbs like pipe stems. Of course the fable, wherein the old man was told it was more fitting that he should carry his ass than that his ass should carry him, occurred to us. Scores of Egyptian porters, bent half double, carried on their backs loads that would stagger a brewer's horse. Women who rode their ponies and donkeys astride, man-fashion, were yet very careful to cover their faces from view, their eyes gleaming out of peep-holes like those of a cat in the dark. Others, again, jostled you in the street with little naked children straddling one shoulder, and holding on by both hands to the mother's head. People riding upon donkeys—used in place of cabs here—require a boy to follow behind them with a stick to belabor the poor creatures; otherwise, being so trained, they will not move a step forward. Those who drive through the streets in carriages have a runner to precede them, gorgeously dressed, and carrying a long white wand in his hand, who is constantly crying to clear the way. These runners go as fast as a horse ordinarily trots, and seem never to tire. The common people lie down on the sidewalk, beside the road, in nooks and corners, anywhere in the open air, to sleep off their fatigue like[Pg 262] a dog. Speaking of dogs: here, as in Constantinople, their name is legion, and they appear to have no special masters, shrinking away into holes or behind bales of goods during the day, and coming forth by night to seek for food from the débris of the streets, like jackals in India or crows in Ceylon. Every public square has its fountain, and there are two hundred in Cairo, where the domestic portion of the households come to obtain water. The young girls carry water gracefully poised in jars upon their heads, displaying forms and gait of faultless beauty. Some of these girls scrupulously screen their faces from the public eye; others roguishly remove the yasmak when a European smiles at them, and tinkle their silver bracelets as full of roguery as a Viennese.

What a motley aspect these Cairo bazars present! This old Turk, with flowing caftan and white turban, from his dingy quarters dispenses delicious odors, curious pastes and essences, with kohl for the eyes and henna for the fingers. Another has piles of sandal-wood fans, beads, and cheap jewelry of silver and gilt; now we come upon a low platform spread with Syrian crapes of all colors, hues, and patterns, to satisfy the gaudy taste of the slaves of the harem and the negresses of the Soudan; here are sweetmeats, dates stuffed with almonds and honey and sugar, combined in a tempting mixture, with added coloring matter; again we have pipes of all shapes and sizes, with delicate stems of nicely wrought amber, and stores of trinkets from Stamboul; here are red and yellow slippers of kid and satin, some elaborately wrought in silver and gilt, and all turned up at the toes. The narrow way is crowded with white and red turbans, women with fruit in baskets upon[Pg 263] their heads, strong and wiry Bedouins leading their horses and taking count of everything with their sharp black eyes. They are the veritable sons of the desert. Nile boatmen, Abyssinian slaves, and lazy Egyptians, with Greeks, Italians, and Maltese, make up the jostling crowd of the bazars; and amid all this one feels inquisitive as to where Aladdin's uncle may be just now, with his new lamps to exchange for old ones.

Your local guide will suggest a short excursion to the Island of Roda, and it is best to go there: if you do not, some one will tell you that it was a great omission; that you will never know what you have missed, and so forth! It is reached by a ferry-boat at a fee of a few pennies. Here the gardener points out the identical spot where Moses was rescued by the king's daughter! Here is to be seen the Nilometer, a square well connected with the Nile, having in its centre an octagonal column on which is inscribed Arabian measures. The flora of the island was interesting, showing a large array of palms, oranges, lemons, bananas, date, and fig-trees. Here also was pointed out to us the henna plant, which we had not before seen, and from whence comes the dye with which the Eastern women tint their fingers, nails, and the palms of their hands. The plant is seen here in the form of a well-trimmed dwarf bush, but it grows more like a tree in its natural state.

The street cries of Cairo are unique. At the early break of the day, or rather at the moment of sunrise, the muezzin is heard: "To prayers, to prayers, O ye believers!" Mustapha translated for us. Here was a seller of peas, crying: "O parched peas. Nuts of love!" He was a rough fellow but had a[Pg 264] mellow voice. All those itinerants qualify, or recommend their goods by added words; thus a girl, with cut up sugar-cane in a basket upon her head, cried: "Sugar-canes; white sugar-canes," though the article was black and blue. The water-carrier, with a full skin slung over his shoulder, shouted: "God's gift, limpid water!" A long bearded Copt cried: "O figs; O believers, figs!" and so on. When the crowd is dense in the narrow streets lined by the bazars, the donkey-boy shouts: "O woman, to the left!" or if some peddler of goods be in the way, he or she is designated by the article on sale, as: "O oranges, to the right!" or "O eggs, out of the way!" This, which sounds so odd, is meant in good faith, and answers the desired purpose. No one calls out in Arabic, addressing another, without prefixing some expletive. Thus the dealer of sweetmeats drawls out: "In the name of the Prophet, comfits." Even the beggar says: "O Christian, backsheesh!" as he leans upon a crutch and extends his trembling hand. If you respond, all is well; if not, your ears will be assailed by a jumble of Arabic, which, if your guide faithfully translates to you, will probably be found to signify a hearty wish that Allah may roast your grandfather.

The pyramids of Gizeh are situated about ten miles from Cairo, and after crossing the Nile by a remarkable iron bridge, guarded at either end by two bronze lions, are reached by a straight level road lined with well-trimmed trees. This road terminates at a rocky plateau which serves to give these wonderful structures an elevated site, as well as to form a natural foundation for the enormous weight of solid stone to be supported. There is always an importuning group of Arabs here, who live upon the [Pg 265]gratuities obtained from visitors, and they are so persistent us to lead many people to employ them solely for the purpose of ending their annoyance. These hangers-on assist people to ascend and descend the pyramids for a fixed sum, or for a few shillings will run up and down them like monkeys. On the way between Cairo and the pyramids, through the long alley of acacias, we passed hundreds of camels bound to the city, laden with green fodder, and newly cut clover, for stable use in town. They do not employ carts; the backs of camels and donkeys supersede the use of wheels.

Nothing new can be written about these monuments. Famous and hoary, doting with age, the pyramids were disappointing to us,—not as to size, for they are immense. Every one is familiar with the marvelous statistics relating to them. But what do they really amount to? They simply show, standing there upon the border of the desert, a vast aggregate of labor performed by compulsion, and only exhibit the supreme folly of the monarchs who thus vainly strove to erect monuments which should defy all time and perpetuate their fame. Symbols of ancient tyranny and injustice, tears, and death. To-day not even the names of their founders are known. There are plausible suppositions enough about them, each investigator and writer upon the subject having plenty of argument to support his special convictions and theory; but so far as the simple truth is concerned the history of Cheops is much better standing as a blank than resting amid a confusion of very thin speculations. There is no genius evinced in the design or execution of the pyramids. Neither art, taste, nor religion are in any way subserved by these[Pg 266] unequaled follies. Nothing could be ruder: there is no architectural excellence exhibited in them; they are merely enormous piles of stone; that is absolutely all. Some pronounce them marvelous evidences of ancient greatness and power. True; but if it were desirable, we could build loftier and larger ones in our day. As they are surely over four thousand yours old we admit that they are venerable, and they enjoy a certain consideration on that account. In the religious instinct which led the Buddhists to build, at such enormous expense of time and money, those cave temples of Elephanta, Ellora, and Carlee; in the idolatrous Hindoo temples of Madura, Tanjore, and Trichinopoly, the shrines of Ceylon, the pagodas of China, and the rich temples of Nikko, one detects an underlying and elevating sentiment, a grand and reverential idea, in which there may be more of truth and acceptable veneration than we can appreciate; but in the pyramids we have no expression of devotion; only an embodiment of personal vanity, which hesitated at nothing for its gratification, and which has only proved a total failure.

The immensity of the desert landscape, and the absence of any object for comparison, make these three pyramids seem smaller than they are, but the actual height of the largest, that of Cheops, is nearly five hundred feet, and it looks to be of that height when one is far away from its base. The fixed object of the pyramids is still a subject of learned discussion, as well as by whom they were built. The theory that they are royal tombs is generally accepted; and yet have not the mummies of bulls and other animals been found in them? All record relating to Cheops is at least very questionable; thus history[Pg 267] fades into fable, and is clouded with doubt. Bunsen claims for Egypt nearly seven thousand years of civilization and prosperity before the building of these monstrous monuments. We do not often pause to consider how little real history there is. Conjecture is not history. If contemporary record so often belies itself, what ought we to consider of that which comes through the shadowy distance of ages? It will be remembered that a mummy of a human being, taken from the smallest of the three pyramids, that of Myceninus, is to be seen in the British Museum. The familiar story of the beautiful Egyptian princess, who is said to have erected this pyramid with the fortunes of her many lovers, will occur to the reader. A volume of legendary matter could be filled relative to these structures, which are called pyramids of Gizeh, after the crumbled city which once stood so near to them.

Not many hundred feet from the pyramids, on a somewhat lower plain, stands that colossal mystery, the Sphinx. The Arabs call it "The Father of Terror," and it certainly has a most weird, unworldly look. Its body, and most of the head, is hewn out of the solid rock where it stands, the upper portion forming the head and bust of a human being, to which is added the paws and body of an animal. The great size of the figure will be realized when we recall the fact that the face is thirty feet long and half as wide. The body is in a reclining, or rather a sitting posture, with the paws extended forward some fifty feet or more. This strange figure is believed to be of much greater antiquity than the pyramids, but no one knows how old it is. Notwithstanding its mutilated condition, showing the furrows of[Pg 268] time, the features have still a sad, tranquil expression, the whole reminding us, in its apparent purpose, of the great bronze image Dai-Butsu at Kamakura, though it is some five thousand years older, at least, than the Japanese figure. There is also the foundation of an ancient temple near at hand, the upper portion of the structure having long since crumbled to dust. This is supposed to have been in some way connected with the great statue, half animal and half human in form. Ages ago, from a sanctuary between the lion-like paws of the sphinx, sacrifices were undoubtedly offered, as archæologists believe, of human beings, to the divinity it was designed to represent. Here, for five or six thousand years, more or less, this strange figure has remained unchanged in the midst of change, through ancient Ethiopian dynasties, mediæval battles, and pestilences; even to our day, calm, unalterable, crumbling in parts, but still bodily extant, and doubtless the oldest known object erected by the hand of man.

In a visit to the house of our guide in Cairo, an intelligent Turk, who wore the full traditional costume of his people, and was a person of some note, though not above receiving eight francs per day for his services, it was interesting to observe the domestic arrangements, which he assured us were similar to those of most of his neighbors. The rooms were of various heights, and irregular in formation, requiring one to constantly ascend or descend a couple of steps in passing from one room to another, no two being of the same height,—a most incongruous arrangement, the object of which was not apparent. The placing of the windows in the dwelling also struck us as being very odd, until the explanation that the [Pg 269]design was to prevent being overlooked by one's neighbors. The guide touched a secret spring and showed a door, where we should not have supposed one to exist, leading into a dark, descending passage to the rear and outside of the house. This, he explained, was designed to afford an escape in case of emergency, and was only known to the builder and himself. "All houses in Cairo have some such passages," he remarked. A few minutes later, in a dark corner, a secret door was caused to open, half the size of the first, and to which he pointed mysteriously. "And what is this for?" we asked. "It is to hide treasures in, and to secrete one's self in haste, when desirable," he replied. One would suppose that the universality of these architectural secrets would rob them of all security or usefulness. There was one portion of the house not open to us, which was, as may be supposed, the apartments occupied by Mustapha's wives, of whom he acknowledged to have four behind the latticed blinds of the overhanging balcony.

Although there are plenty of schools in Cairo, such as they are, only boys are taught to read and write in them. Girls, even among the wealthy classes, are not taught, as a rule, the simplest rudiments of education. They, however, acquire some accomplishments of a domestic character,—such as sewing, embroidery,—and often play upon some simple musical instrument of a string character. We saw in Mustapha's house a mandolin which was evidently used by the women of the harem.

The Mosque of Mehemet Ali, with its tapering minarets overlooking all Cairo, was found to be quite a modern edifice, scarcely more than half a century in age, but it is a very remarkable and beautiful[Pg 270] structure, and of great cost. The spacious building is lined throughout with Oriental alabaster, and the exterior is of the same costly finish. There is the sarcophagus of Mehemet Ali, the most enlightened of modern Egyptian rulers, before which lamps are burning perpetually. The interior of this mosque in its combined effect seemed to be the most effective, architecturally, of any temple of the sort which we had visited. There is a height, breadth, and solemn dignity in its aspect, which earnestly impresses one. The exterior is much less striking, but yet admirably balanced and harmonized. The lofty situation of the mosque commands one of the most interesting views that can well be conceived of. The city, with its countless minarets and domed mosques, its public buildings and tree-adorned squares, its section of mud-colored houses and terraced roofs, lies in the form of a crescent at the visitor's feet, while the plains of Lower Egypt stretch far away in all directions. The tombs of the Memlooks lie close at hand, full of suggestiveness, as also does the lonely column of Heliopolis, four thousand years old, marking the site of the famous "City of the Sun." Beyond and towards the sea is the land of Goshen, where the sons of Jacob fed their flocks. A little more westerly in the mysterious Nile is seen the well-wooded island of Roda, quietly nestling in the broad bosom of the river. The grand Aqueduct, with its high arches reaching for miles, reminds one of the Campagna at Rome; while beyond loom up the time-defying pyramids, the horizon ending at the borders of the great Libyan Desert. Far away to the southwest a forest of palms dimly marks the site of dead and buried Memphis, where Joseph interpreted a[Pg 271] monarch's dream. Twilight was approaching when we were there The half-suppressed hum of a dense Eastern population came up from the busy, low-lying city, and a strange, sensuous flavor of sandal-wood, musk, and attar of roses floated upon the golden haze of the sunset, indelibly fixing the Oriental scene on the memory.

A visit to the Shoobra Palace, in the environs of Cairo, took us over a fine road and through a shady avenue of sycamores and lebbec-trees, the latter remarkable for its umbrageous character. This is the favorite drive of the citizens at twilight, where every known modern style of carriage may be met, from the Khedive's equipages, four-in-hand, and those of the ladies of his harem, to the single English gig or dog-cart. There are also the light American trotting wagons, elegant European barouches, mingled with equestrians upon spirited Arab horses; also people mounted upon nice donkeys,—for some of these animals are highly bred. Again, richly caparisoned camels from the Khedive's stables occasionally heighten the Eastern aspect of the scene, which recalled the Maidan of Calcutta most vividly. The roadway is not devoid of pedestrians, who come to see and to be seen. In short, the Shoobra Road is the Rotten Row of Cairo. Even here fashion steps in after her arbitrary manner, and establishes Friday and Sunday afternoons as the "swell" days for riding or driving on the avenue. But we started for the Khedive's Palace, and have stopped to gossip by the way.

The Summer Palace at Shoobra is surrounded by beautiful gardens, to visit which a permit is required from city officials; but not being thus prepared, a little silver was found to be equally effective with the[Pg 272] obliging custodian. The apartments of the palace are numerous and elegantly furnished, in a mixed Turkish and European style, with divans, lounges, chairs, tables of inlaid marble, and massive curtains mingled with silk and satin hangings. The grand drawing-room was furnished in gold and white satin; the ladies' parlor in green satin and silver; each anteroom in different colors; all gorgeous, and a little fantastic. The great number of mirrors was almost confusing; and French clocks, two in some rooms, stared at one from all directions. The mirrors produced a serious danger by their reflected perspective, and one was liable to walk boldly into them. In the centre of the palace was an area open to the sky, upon which doors and windows faced, after the Moorish style, as at Cordova and Toledo, in the centre of which was an artificial lake formed by a huge marble basin, the whole surrounded by corridors of white marble. Here were placed divans, lounges, and luxurious chairs, besides many choice plants in richly ornamented porcelain vases, evidently forming the domestic lounging place of the family. We observed an American piano in a cozy little room opening upon this corridor, and a billiard-table in another. In the extensive grounds surrounding the palace, landscape-gardening and modern floral effects have been finely carried out by a skilled foreigner, who had been imported for this special purpose from Versailles. The variety of fruit was really remarkable, embracing orange, lemon, banana, fig, peach, and pear-trees, and a great variety of choice flowers were in their glory. The peach-trees,—it was late in February,—well-divided about the long, broad paths, were in full splendor of blossom, dotting the whole view[Pg 273] with huge clusters of pink flowers delightful to the eye. The walks were clean, nicely cared for, and the shrubbery admirably trimmed, though there was no attempt at Chinese grotesqueness in shape and figures. Nature was permitted to follow her own sweet will as to form and luxuriousness of growth, filling the air with a mingled perfume of roses, heliotrope, and lemon-verbena. As we left the grounds each was presented with a bouquet by the disinterested (?) gardener.

The exhibition of Egyptian antiquities in the Cairo Museum is the most extensive and complete collection in existence, affording historic data of priceless value to the antiquarian. Here we have tangible history taking us back four thousand five hundred years before the coming of Christ, representing not only the art and culture, but also the religion of those remote periods, even to the days of Menes, the first recorded king. A wooden statue over four thousand years old, recovered from Memphis, launches one's imagination upon a busy train of thought. Here were curious tables, papyrus, bronze images, mummies, sculptures from stone, objects relating to domestic life, arms, rings, combs, vases, and many other articles which were in use four thousand years ago. By the Boulak Museum it is easily proved that the glory of Egyptian art belonged to the age of Cheops, its decadence to that of Rameses II. The collection, as we have intimated, throws a light upon Egyptian life and history for nearly five thousand years before the Christian era, but it is only a dim light. There can be but little consecutive reading of these isolated mementos. They afford us information as to generalities only, yet add link after link to a chain connecting those long past centuries with the present time.

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The Mosque of Amer, some twelve centuries in age, though little more than a ruin, is still of considerable interest to the traveler. One enters the walls of an oblong court, the east end being formed of a gallery with columns inclosing the sanctuary. The north and south sides are inclosed by piazzas with many noble columns. There are two hundred and fifty of these, formed of single stones of granite and porphyry, which are known to have come from Memphis and Heliopolis. The whole deserted temple constitutes the most important monument of Arabian architecture in Cairo. Seen as it was in the dull gray of early morning, before the sun had fairly lighted the well-preserved minarets, it presented a solemn picture of faded glory. It is quite as much in their suggestiveness as in what they exhibit to the eye, that these decaying monuments interest and instruct us. The mosque was erected by the general whose name it bears, and was one of the few that escaped, five centuries later, the fire by which the Saracens burned Cairo to prevent its falling into the hands of the invading Christians.

Let us not forget to mention a brief visit to those strange fanatics, the whirling dervishes, in witnessing whose singular movements one is at a loss whether to sigh or to laugh. To the young the performance suggests that of the circus, and until wearied of the monotony of it, is perhaps as amusing; but to this more thoughtful observer it is melancholy to see men so debase themselves. The ring in which these people whirl about was full of deluded men, on the day of our visit, self-proclaimed disciples. About twenty of them commenced at a signal to turn rapidly about on their heels and toes, without a [Pg 275]moment's pause, for a period of some thirty or forty minutes, to the monotonous notes of a fife and a sort of Chinese tom-tom, until finally their brains became addled, and they fell to the ground in a species of trance, their active devotion being supposed to have thus successfully terminated. The howling dervishes, seen in another temple, form a different branch of a similar style of worship or fanaticism; if possible, still more senseless than that already described. The bodily motion of the howlers is different, and is accompanied by a hoarse, disagreeable howling, like that of a pack of half-starved wolves, except that it is done to a certain musical accompaniment, enabling the participants to keep time, both as to the motion of the body and the hideous noise which they make. The motion is that of throwing the head and upper portion of the body forward, and bringing it back with a sudden jerk, which would, under ordinary circumstances, break a man's neck, but these creatures are used to it. The dervishes wear their hair long, which adds to their crazy appearance, by covering their faces with it during the jerking process, the hair flying back and forth with each movement. What the ecstatic point is in this ridiculous performance was not apparent, and they did not tumble down overcome by unconsciousness. It is supposed that all travelers visit them, but we came away more punished than entertained or interested in the senseless exhibition.

A week was all too brief a period to pass in the Queen City of the East, but at its close we started by rail for Ismailia, the little town which is located exactly midway on the great canal between the two seas, at the Bitter Lakes, through which the canal[Pg 276] runs. It is a pretty and attractive place of four or five thousand inhabitants, and is a creation of the last sixteen years. Here we observed gardens filled with flowers and fruit trees; vegetation being in its most verdant dress, promoted by irrigation from the neighboring fresh-water canal. The place has broad macadamized streets, and a capacious central square ornamented with large and thrifty trees. It was here that the representatives of all nations met on the occasion of the inauguration ceremony on the completion of De Lesseps' grand canal. We took a small mail steamer at Ismailia through the western half of the canal to Port Said, which is the Mediterranean terminus of the great artificial river. It was a night trip, but had it been by daylight would have afforded us no views. We passed onward between two lofty hills of sand, the sky only visible overhead, and no vegetation whatever in sight; no birds, no animals, nothing to vary the monotony, but an occasional dredging machine, when we stopped at what are called watering-stations. The reader needs hardly to be told that this successful enterprise of cutting a canal across the Isthmus of Suez has proved a vast and increasing advantage to the commerce of the world. Large as it is, and under the best of management, it has already proved insufficient for the business which it has created, rendering a second parallel water-way imperatively necessary, plans for which are now under consideration. At present, so large is the demand upon its facilities that "blocks" and serious delays are of daily occurrence. That there will be ample and remunerative business for two canals is easily demonstrable by the statistics of the original company, which show a most remarkable annual [Pg 277]increase. It is a singular fact worthy of mention, that, with all our modern improvements and progressive ideas, the Egyptians were centuries before us in this plan of shortening the path of commerce between the East and the West, or, in other words, of connecting the Red Sea with that of the Mediterranean across the Isthmus and through the Gulf of Suez.

Government engineers determined the difference of level between the two seas by careful processes, and the investigation showed that there was hardly a perceptible variation between the Mediterranean and the arm of the Indian Ocean formed by the Red Sea. The same fact has been scientifically settled regarding the Isthmus of Panama; while measurements along the Pyrenees have established the same level between the waters of the Mediterranean and the Bay of Biscay. The traveler in navigating these several waters cannot but realize an interest in such important physical facts.

The only business of Port Said is that connected directly or indirectly with the transshipment of vessels to and from the Red Sea by way of Suez. The town contains nothing of interest, and is a mere sandy plain. The languages spoken are French and Arabic. There are, counting the floating population, some eight thousand people here, not more, composed of every possible nationality; while the social status is at as low an ebb as it can possibly be. The region is perfectly barren,—like Egypt nearly everywhere away from the valley of the Nile, which enriches an extent of ten or twelve miles on either side of its course by the annual overflow, to an amount hardly to be realized without witnessing its effect. The question often suggested itself as to how camels,[Pg 278] donkeys, and goats could pick up sufficient nourishment, outside of this fertile belt, to sustain life. Through that part of the desert which we passed in coming from Suez one looked in vain for any continuous sign of vegetation. A peculiarity of the land is the entire absence of woods and forests; hence also the absence of wild beasts, only hyenas, jackals, and wolves being found. Here and there, at long intervals, an oasis was observed like a smile breaking over the arid face of nature upon which a settled gloom rested nearly all the while. Once or twice there was seen a cluster of solitary palms by a rude stone wall, hedged in by a little patch of green earth, about which a few camels and goats were quenching their thirst or cropping the scanty herbage. Some Arabs, in picturesque costumes, lingered hard by. The tents, pitched in the background, were of the same low, flat-topped, coarse camel's hair construction as these desert tribes have used for thousands of years. Such groups formed true Egyptian pictures, which are so often seen delineated on canvas.

Egypt has only her ruins, her antiquity, her Biblical associations to give her interest with the world at large. Japan is infinitely to be preferred in any light of contemplation; China, even, rivals her in all natural advantages; and India is much more inviting. In looking at Egypt we must forget her present and recall her past. The real Egypt is not the vast territory which we shall find laid down by the geographers, reaching to the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and embracing equatorial regions; it is and was, even in the days of the Pharaohs and Ptolomies, the valley of the Nile, from the First Cataract to the Mediterranean Sea, hemmed in by the Libyan and[Pg 279] Arabian deserts. From hence came to the rest of the world so much of art, science, and philosophy; and here were built those time-defying monuments which to-day challenge the wonder of the world.

The native Egyptian, the fellah, he who tills the soil, who cultivates by irrigation and gathers the rich crops of the valley, is of a fine and industrious race, well-built, broad-chested, and always of lithe frame, altogether a fine looking and vigorous figure. He has a manly, oval face, a broad brow, and a bronzed complexion, with brilliant eyes, fine teeth, and naturally luxuriant beard. He is the same figure his ancestors were six thousand years ago, as represented on the tombs and temples of Thebes, and on the slabs of Gizeh in the Museum at Cairo. He still performs his work in the nineteenth century just as he did before the days of Moses, scattering the seed and working the shadoof. He is little seen in the cities; his place is in the field; there he lives and thrives. Though his native land has found such various masters in Greek and Roman, Arab and Turk, he has never lost his individuality. He has ever been, and is to-day, the same historic Egyptian. If he were a horse in place of a man, we should say of him that he was of a pure, uncontaminated breed. The women when young are very handsome, beauty being the first present Nature gives them and the first she takes away. They are exquisite in form, and with a most graceful gait, common to nearly all Eastern women, who, from childhood, carry jars of water upon their heads, thus inducing the perfection of carriage. It made us feel almost angry to see them tattooed, their nostrils and ears pierced with rings, and awkwardly bedecked with cheap jewelry,[Pg 280] like their cruder sisters of the Malay Archipelago. These women are frequently mothers at the age of fourteen, and work as industriously in the field as at the domestic hearth. The words "domestic hearth" are used in a conventional manner, as their houses generally consist of one room, devoid of windows, and a door so low as to render it necessary to stoop in order to enter. This door is the only piece of wood in the structure, which is composed of sun-dried clay. These dens, so utterly unfit for human beings, are dark and dirty, but the people live and sleep much in the open air. Such abodes are the natural outgrowth of degradation and ignorance.

We waited four days at Port Said for the arrival of the P. and O. steamship Rome, as she was detained by one of the numerous "blocks" in the canal, but finally embarked on her for Malta and Gibraltar. The Rome is a five thousand-ton ship, and the favorite of this company's extensive fleet. Four days' sail, covering about a thousand miles, over the erratic waters of the Mediterranean, now calm and now enraged, brought us in sight of Malta. The city of Valetta lies immediately on the shore; and when we dropped anchor in the snug little harbor, we were surrounded by lofty forts, frowning batteries, and high stone buildings of various sorts. There are two harbors, in fact, known as Quarantine Harbor and Great Harbor. The Rome lay in the former. The island is about twenty miles long and half as wide, and had a place in historical record nearly three thousand years ago. We were not prepared, upon landing, to find so large, and fine a city, numbering, as Valetta does, at least a hundred and fifty thousand inhabitants. The houses are all large stone [Pg 281]structures, many of which are architecturally noticeable; fronting thoroughfares of good width, well-paved, and in fine order, an aspect of cleanliness and freshness pervading everything.

Few countries have known so many changes among their rulers as has this Mediterranean island. Phœnicians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Romans, Goths, and Arabs succeeded each other before our era, followed by German, French, Spanish, and English rulers. During the sovereignty of the Grand Masters it suffered the curse of the Inquisition, until the Knights were deposed by the French, and that hateful and bloody agent of the Romish Church was expelled. Not more heterogeneous are the nationalities under which the island has been held than is the character of its dialects; indeed, we have never seen written Maltese, which, as spoken by the populace, is a mixture of Arabic and Eastern dialects. Italian, French, and English are equally in use, but the latter, being now the official tongue, takes precedence among the educated classes.

The garrison is formed of some three or four thousand British troops. Many of the streets run up the steep hill-side on which the town stands, and are flanked by broad stone steps for foot passengers, the roadway being quite inaccessible for vehicles. The principal thoroughfare is the Strada Reale, nearly a mile long, flanked by fine and attractive stores, shops displaying choice fancy goods, jewelry, silks, and laces; also by dwelling-houses and hotels; in short, forming a busy and handsome boulevard. All the dwelling-houses over the stores are ornamented by pleasant iron balconies, where the residents can sit and enjoy the cool evening breezes after the hot days[Pg 282] that linger about Malta nearly all the year round. It was observed that the town was lighted by a complete gas system. There is a large and imposing stone opera house, of fine architectural aspect, ornamented with Corinthian columns, a wide portico, and broad steps leading up to the same. A visit to the Church of St. John was very interesting. It was built a little over three hundred years since by the Knights, who lavished large sums of money upon its erection and elaborate ornamentation. Statuary and paintings of rare merit abound within its walls, and gold and silver ornaments render the altar a work of great aggregate value. The entire roof of the church, which is divided into zones, is admirably painted by figures of such proportions as to look of life size from the floor, representing prominent Scriptural scenes. The excellence, finish, and naturalness of the figures challenged special attention; it was difficult not to believe them to be in bas-relief. On inquiring as to their authorship, we were told that they were the work of Mattia Preli, an enthusiastic artist, who spent his life in this adornment, refusing all remuneration for his labor, content to live frugally that he might thus exemplify his art and his devotion. He certainly excelled any artist with whom we are acquainted in causing figures painted on a flat surface to appear to the spectator far below them to stand out with statuesque effect. In this Church of St. John, the Knights seemed to have vied with each other in adding to its ornaments and its treasures, so that the rich marbles, bas-reliefs, and mosaics are almost confusing in their abundance. The floor is closely ornamented with inlaid marble slabs, which cover the tombs of the most distinguished Knights of the order of St. John.

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The famous Dome of Mosta, a hamlet some three or four miles from Valetta, was pointed out to us. It seems curious that this village church should be crowned by a dome larger than that of the Pantheon or St. Peter's, but such is the fact. It is built of the yellow stone of which the whole island consists. We did not visit Mosta, but were told that it was a small and miserable place. The story of the church is this: An ancient edifice of the same character stood upon the spot, but a new one of larger dimensions was needed to accommodate the people. It was essential that it should be on the same site, but the old one could not be removed until the new one was ready. To meet this difficulty the modern structure was built over the old one, and so this remarkable dome was erected without scaffolding within. Its proportions did not seem particularly fine, but the size is most remarkable. It may be mentioned, however, that Malta has some ten or more beautifully-formed domes, looming up into the azure which hangs over the Mediterranean.

We were told that snow is not known in Malta, but that ice sometimes forms during the coldest nights of winter, though only in thin layers, the climate appearing to be very similar to that of southern Italy. It was early in March, but the trees were in full bloom, and a pleasant appreciation has led the citizens to plant and cultivate fruit trees and flowers in abundance. Among the fragrant blossoms, quick to catch the eye, were those of the peach, pear, orange, and apple. Indeed, Valetta seemed to be clothed in blossoms, and in the case of the orange-trees the ripe fruit was also to be seen in rich yellow plumpness. There must be a prevailing refinement of taste in this[Pg 284] island city, otherwise the abundance of flowers offered on the Strada Reale would not find purchasers. Several kiosks were observed erected along the main thoroughfare, whose occupants were busy making up button-hole bouquets, as well as arranging larger ones in picturesque combinations. There is a place near the harbor named Casal Attand, that is, the "Village of Roses." Casal, in Maltese, signifies village; and there is also Casal Luca, the "Village of Poplars;" and still another, Casal Zebbug, the "Village of Olives." A simple but very appropriate system of nomenclature.

There are three islands in the Malta group: Malta, Gozo, and Comino, the two latter being so small as to be of comparatively little importance, and the circumference of the whole, judging by the scale of the maps, must be less than a hundred miles. The trade of the place is small, though it exports some fruits, olives, and laces, the latter a specialty. Visitors always leave more or less money in exchange for small mementos of the island, and thus aid in the support of the various fancy goods stores, photograph, and jewelry shops on the Strada Reale. The Palace of the Grand Knights of Malta, whose interesting story has so long entered into history and romance, is the most inviting object to the traveler,—in its associations quite as interesting as any modern palace. One enters the lofty corridors with a throng of historical recollections crowding upon the memory. It is a large stone building, rather imposing in its exterior, and within is divided into roomy vestibules, picture-galleries, banqueting hall, hall of justice, hall of council, chapel, and several other state apartments. The council chamber is hung in Gobelin tapestry of[Pg 285] great original cost and beauty, imported from France nearly three centuries ago. These remarkable hangings are crowded with colossal figures representing scenes in India, Africa, Europe, and America, in the latter of which were some manifest crudities. The whole is in a singularly good state of preservation, both as regards color and texture.

The Armory of the Knights is a large hall in the same building, wherein is preserved the armor and weapons as worn by them in actual service, besides specimens of guns and cannon of very peculiar mechanism. Here, too, is an interesting series of portraits, representing the various Grand Masters of the order of St. John. Some of the fire-arms challenge attention, from the fact that they so closely resemble designs and samples to be seen in Venice, showing that the principle of the modern revolver was born and partially carried out centuries before the ingenious American, Colonel Colt, perfected a weapon which has since become universal. The same remark will apply to the principle of breech-loading fire-arms, examples of which may here be seen three hundred years old. One very singular cannon was observed, actually made from closely woven rope, so strong and compact as to be capable of bearing a discharge with gunpowder, and which had once seen service in battle. The rusty old lances, broken spears, and dimmed sword-blades, hanging on the walls, shadowed by the tattered remnants of battle-flags bearing the bloody marks of contests in which they had taken part, were silent but suggestive tokens of the Crusades. There are many relics preserved in this hall besides the weapons and armor, consisting of written documents and illumined books; indeed, the place is a veritable[Pg 286] museum in itself, though containing nothing except such mementos as relate to the history of this most ancient and long-sustained order of Knights of the Church. This hall is sure to remind the visitor of the Tower of London.

We strolled through the elaborate divisions of Fort St. Angelo, which has existed as a fortification for a thousand years, and from its overhanging battlements obtained a pleasing and comprehensive view of the island and its surroundings. Malta, like Gibraltar and Aden, is principally important as a fortified station, and from this occupation derives its main support. The system of armament and the garrison here maintained are complete and effective. The lofty fort upon which we stood is very commanding, in a military point of view, as well as affording a grand prospect. Valetta lay far below us, with its white buildings and thrifty, business-like aspect, its many blossoming trees giving bits of delicate color here and there. Both harbors, with their crowded shipping and many stately warehouses, were in view. In Great Harbor there floated three frowning, black-hulled, iron-clad monsters, whose open ports and protruding cannon showed their warlike purpose. At intervals the strains of a marine band came from on board one of them.

The blue Mediterranean stretched far away to the horizon, dotted here and there by the picturesque maritime rig of these waters, its placid surface, now serene and quiet, radiating the afternoon light like a liquid sapphire. A myriad of row-boats shot hither and thither over the waters of the inner harbor, painted and emblazoned after the gaudy Maltese fashion. One or two long lines of dark, curling[Pg 287] smoke floating among the distant clouds, pointed out the course of the continental steam-packets bound east or west. The atmosphere was soft and summer-like. The hum of the busy town, far below us, came up on the air like the drone of insects, mingled with the soft chimes from the Church of St. John. It must have been some fête-day in Malta, as other bells joined in the chorus, which floated with mellow cadence on the atmosphere. We had observed the Maltese women in church costume, making them look like a bevy of nuns, hastening through the streets during the day, and doubtless it was some special occasion which drew them, with their prayer-books, to the several altars. Is it not noticeable everywhere that it is the women who respond to these church requirements, while the men coolly smoke their cigars, or gossip about business on the Exchange?

From our lofty perch on the battlements of Fort St. Angelo, we saw the signal for sailing displayed by the Rome, and knew that it was time for us to hasten on board, and so turned our faces towards the landing-place. For a few shillings, flowers enough to beautify our cabins were purchased on the way, forming a floral display as pleasing to the eye as it was grateful by its perfume. Flowers, "the air-woven children of light," are always beautiful, but especially so at sea,—no greater contrast being possible than that between these winsome blossoms and the cold, fretful element which surrounds the ocean-bound ship.

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Voyage through the Mediterranean.—Gibraltar on Sunday.—Beautiful Alameda.—Visit to the Famous Fortress.—Wild Monkeys.—Cannon and Flowers.—Tangier.—Morocco.—Straits of Gibraltar.—A Moorish City of To-day.—Local Scenes.—A Private Museum—The Governor's Palace.—Rusty Keys.—The Typical Moor.—The Slave Market.—Oriental Tableaux.—Visit to Washington Mount.—A Cup of Moorish Coffee.—From Gibraltar to Malaga.—Spain.—The City of Raisins and Sweet Wine.

The sonorous puff of the steam-winch told us that the anchor had already parted from its hold of the land, the ship glided slowly through the deep waters like a huge sea-monster, the tremulous vibration of the hull caused by the regular plunge of the screw was resumed, and we laid our course once more westward. A gale of wind welcomed us back to the sea, and the heavy weather forced the ship on a southerly course. In our passage from Malta to Gibraltar, a distance of about a thousand miles, we sighted the shores of Africa, the headlands of Tripoli, and the coast of Morocco, reaching our port of destination at last, prepared to testify to the treacherous and restless nature of this great inland sea.

We landed at Gibraltar on Sunday, March 11th, and in our walk from the shore to the quaint old tavern known as the King's Arms,—combining much comfort with its dinginess,—we found the day was but partially observed as one of rest. The stores were mostly open, and the numerous bar-rooms noticeably so, after the usual style in Roman Catholic countries.[Pg 289] The first impression was, that we were within the precincts of a large fort or military cantonment, every other person being in uniform, while sentries and cannon were as plenty as at Woolwich or West Point. England here supports a garrison of from four to six thousand men at a vast expense, but it is undoubtedly quite necessary for her to do so, as it is also important to keep a well-organized garrison at Aden, Prim, Singapore, and Ceylon. The highway to her possessions in India is too important to trust in other hands. Hence her late demonstration in Egypt, and the favor with which government looks upon the proposed new canal, to be constructed nearly parallel with that now existing, and which will be virtually an English enterprise, in spite of M. de Lesseps' ingenious devices and finesse.

The people of Gibraltar are of a mixed nationality; those of Penang and Singapore are scarcely more so. Here we have English, Portuguese, Moors, Spaniards, Italians, with some Maltese. The occupation of these people is almost entirely that of sailors, and after deducting the garrison, they form three fourths of the population. They are of rather a quarrelsome disposition, especially as the large number of bar-rooms is a constant temptation to drink; but the police arrangements are excellent, and all are kept in due subjection by the ready arm of discipline. The place is virtually under martial law at all times, and in dealing with the class of humanity which naturally congregates here, this system has special advantages. There is no compounding of felony, no compromising with crime. If the laws are outraged, the offender knows he will be instantly arrested and punished, without any fear of popular sympathy. It is not the[Pg 290] severity, so much as the certainty of punishment, which causes the reckless and abandoned element of society to respect good and wholesome laws. Punishment of crime is swift and sure at Gibraltar.

The military, warlike aspect of everything is partially relieved by a very spacious public garden and promenade combined, located at that portion of the place known as Europa Point, just outside the gates of the city proper on the seaward side. These gardens being upon a sloping hill-side are terraced, or divided into three plains, about which are planted, with regularity, a variety of fine and thrifty trees, as well as many beautiful flowers, the whole forming a charming Alameda. The broad graveled paths are bordered by sweet-scented geraniums, the scarlet and pink growing wild; verbenas, coronella, and roses of many species, mingle artistically with the statues and fountains interspersed about the grounds. To all of this, just across a stretch of blue water, Africa forms a background. The military band plays here once or twice each week, adding to the natural attractions of the spot; but there is such an almost entire absence of social life, or refined society at the rock, that we imagine few people, except children and nurses, improve the advantages of the Alameda. A walk through the principal street, known as Waterport Street, lined with low drinking places, taverns, or lodging-houses, junk stores, and cigar shops, would not lead one to expect the population to be of the sort to appreciate good music, or to enjoy a quiet promenade in well-kept grounds. Of course there are exceptions to this deduction, and there are a few delightful people, appreciative and cultured, at Gibraltar; but it must seem like being buried[Pg 291] alive to make one's residence in such an unattractive place.

Through the kind assistance of the American Consul we obtained a special permit to visit the fortifications, particularly of that portion which forms the lofty and impregnable citadel. It is difficult to decide in this most remarkable fortress whether nature or art has done the most to render it what it seems absolutely to be, impregnable,—the strongest citadel in the world. The improvements in modern gunnery have lately caused important additions and alterations to be made. A hundred-ton gun was landed fresh from England while we were at the rock. One natural cave which was visited, in the system of fortified apartments, with port-holes commanding a broad sweep, was large enough to contain a regiment of soldiers; and the entire rock, fifteen hundred feet high, seems honey-combed with small connected caves, supplied with cannon commanding all approaches, by land or sea. We asked the officer who accompanied us how it would be possible for men to work these heavy guns in such circumscribed space as characterized many of the galleries. "Why?" he asked in turn. "Because," we added, "of the concussion, reverberation, and the density of accumulated smoke." He smiled, and replied: "There is something in that!" The fact is, the deafening reëchoing of sound would prove fatal to gunners in a very short time, if suffocation itself did not ensue. We were told that all recently constructed batteries at the rock are left open to the sky, which would seem to indicate that the government engineers recognize these simple facts.

The largest cave, called St. Michael's, is eleven[Pg 292] hundred feet above the sea level, with lofty halls sixty feet high and two or three hundred feet long. Here many fossil human remains have been found from time to time. The fortress is constantly so provisioned with stores, and such arrangements are perfected for a water supply, that with but a few days', nay, possibly a few hours' notice, it could be put in a condition to withstand a year's siege. Donkeys were employed to ascend the steep and winding path which leads to the top of the lookout station, for it is a tedious climb. Wherever soil could get holding place upon the face of the cliff, wild flowers had burst forth and were thriving after their own lovely fashion. Here were daturas and daphnes mingled with heliotrope; the latter so overgrown as to be a small tree rather than a shrub. Stooping down to gather some of these, we looked into a cannon's mouth, a screened battery,—screened by heliotrope and blooming heath! Further up we came upon the face of the rock looking towards the south-east, where the wild monkeys claim undisputed possession: their home for centuries past. They are quite a recognized institution here, though they must be satisfied with very frugal fare, the stunted vegetation affording but small variety. It may be doubted if they are very gentle or amiable creatures; for when it was discovered that they were becoming gradually extinct a few years ago, some were imported from Africa to recruit their numbers; but no sooner were the foreigners let loose near the spot, than the Gibraltar monkeys resisted the intrusion, and soon killed every one of the new-comers.

On the north side of the rock we visited some half-artificial, half-natural galleries, from whence scores[Pg 293] of grim muzzled guns of heavy calibre command the Neutral Ground, which, so far as England controls it, is also entirely undermined, ready to be sprung upon the approach of an enemy on the land side. On our winding way to the summit, or signal station, we often found the path lined with asphodel and palmitos, while at the very top, where the signal sergeant has a small house, was a pretty sheltered garden of pansies, tulips, pinks, and roses, daintily arranged by some woman's hand. The remarkable view from this elevation was of vast extent, and truly magnificent; especially to seaward, where the straits were plentifully sprinkled with the white wings of commerce, full-rigged ships assuming the proportions of sea-gulls, and steamers only visible by the dark line of smoke trailing in their wake. At the foot of the rock, on the Spanish side, lay the town, a thick mass of yellow, white, and red houses; and nestling near the shore was quite a fleet of shipping, looking like maritime toys. The mountain ranges of Ceuta and Andalusia, on opposite continents, were mingled with soft, overshadowing clouds, while over our heads was a glorious dome of turquoise blue such as no temple reared by man could imitate.

One of the few fragments of antiquity, which meets the eye of the tourist at Gibraltar, is the remains of the ancient Moorish castle located on the west side, about half way up the steep acclivity of the fortifications. A crumbling wall extends, after a crooked fashion, down from the main structure towards the shore. Where everything else is so trim and orderly, this famous remnant of the barbaric ages seems strangely out of place; but it would be a positive sacrilege to remove it. It has stood some stout blows[Pg 294] and heavy shot in its day, and they have left their deep indentures on the moss-grown, crumbling stones. The Moors held sovereignty over the Rock for more than seven hundred years, and the old tower stands there as a sort of black-letter record of these ages. The merciless finger of Time has been more fatal to it than shot and shell.

We embarked on the small coasting steamer Leon Belge for a passage across the Straits of Gibraltar, which separate Europe from Africa, landing at Tangier, Morocco, the distance being some seventy or eighty miles. The sea is always rough between the two continents, quite as much so as in the channel between France and England. Our little craft was neither very steady nor very dry under the experience. As we drew away from the Spanish shore, the long range of Andalusian mountains stood out, compact and clear, with their snow-white summits sparkling in the bright morning sun. On the lowlands, sloping to the water's edge, the fields were robed in a soft green attire, and dotted with herds of goats and cattle. Old stone watch-towers lined the shore at regular intervals, and coast-guard houses sheltering squads of soldiers, for this region is famous as the resort of smugglers. On the opposite coast of Africa the Ceuta range grew every moment more distinct; the loftiest peaks were also mantled with snow, like the white flowing drapery of the Bedouins. Still further on, dazzlingly white hamlets enlivened the Morocco shore, with deep green tropical verdure in the background, while Ceuta attracted more than ordinary interest. It is a Spanish penal colony, surrounded by jealous, warlike Moors, slave-traders and smugglers. If we are to believe the stories told by our[Pg 295] captain, it must be one of the most dangerous and uncivilized spots on the face of the globe.

Tangier stands on the western shore of a shallow bay, upon a sloping hill-side, but is not at all impressive as one approaches it. The windowless houses rise like cubical blocks of masonry one above another dominated by a few square towers which crown the several mosques, while here and there a consular flag floats lazily upon the air from a lofty pole. The rude zigzag wall which surrounds the city is seen stretching about it, and this is pierced by three gates which are carefully closed at night.

Cairo is Oriental, but Tangier is much more so. Here we seem at one step to have passed from modern civilization into barbarism. There is no European quarter in Tangier; every evidence of the proximity of the opposite continent disappears; the distance might be immeasurable. It is Moorish from one end to the other; the very atmosphere and prevailing odors announce it. It has little, narrow, dirty, twisted streets, through which no vehicle could pass, and only accessible for donkeys, camels, and foot passengers; there is no such thing as a wheeled vehicle in the place. The women veiled, but scantily clad in some thin white texture, move about like uneasy spirits, while one meets constantly an humbler class, clad in a short blue cotton skirt, with little naked brown babies astride of one shoulder. The men, with scarlet turbans and striped robes, lounge about with their bare heels sticking out of yellow slippers. There is no spirit of hospitality here, no welcome to be read in those frowning bearded faces. Strangers are not liked, and are only tolerated for the shekels that can be extracted or robbed from them.[Pg 296] Now we meet a wild, tawny Arab, a straggling son of the desert, his striped abba, or white bournous, hanging in graceful folds about his straight figure; and now a Nubian with only a waistcloth. Jews with dark blue caftans and red sashes; and Jewesses in bright purple silk, with uncovered, handsome faces. Here and there is seen a Maltese or Portuguese sailor, hiding on account of some crime by which he has outraged the laws on the opposite continent. The Jews, though numerous, are hated and oppressed, being the descendants of those exiled from Europe in the Middle Ages. The variety of races which one meets in these contracted passage-ways is curious, represented by faces yellow, bronze, white, and black. Add to all the crowd of donkey-boys, camels, goats, and street peddlers, crying, bleating, blustering, and braying, and you have a modern Babel of sights and sounds such as greet the stranger in the streets of this Moorish capital.

After strolling for a while through the steep, ill-paved lanes, which were a perfect exposition of crookedness, we were brought by our guide to the house of the Belgian Consul, a curious structure in the Moorish style, more of a museum than a dwelling-house. Here, the resident official, who has long filled the post, has gathered about him a collection of articles, antique and modern; but all representative of Morocco and its surrounding countries. The collection was of warlike arms of all sorts, domestic implements, armor, dress ornaments of both sexes, saddlery, pipes, rude native pictures, precious stones, and the like; the whole forming a special historical record which would be highly valuable in any European centre. It is surprising, when one indulges[Pg 297] in a specialty, what a valuable collection can be gathered, and of what general interest it is sure to prove. From this Oriental museum we were taken to the Governor's Palace, where we met his Excellency, sitting cross-legged on the floor of a small court, at the entrance of the ancient and dilapidated structure. He was surrounded by a dozen most rascally-looking be-turbaned councillors, who, after we had been shown over the palace, were none of them above taking a shilling fee. The building was very queerly cut up, with tiled roofs at all sorts of angles, bay windows, projecting apartments, as though hung in air, and ample space for the harem, with its bathrooms, reception rooms, and many cozy nooks and corners whose use was quite past finding out. Besides there were ugly dungeons in the basement, entirely underground, like those of the Doge's Palace at Venice; and in strong contrast to which there were courts of greenery, where the thick, glossy leaves of the orange-trees set off the fragrant blossoms in a most artistic manner, and where the rank, neglected, undergrowth but half hid what must in former times have been a beautiful flower garden. There was still a heavy myrtle border, and here and there a sweet little flower struggling for existence. The denizens of the harem must once have tended and petted these flowers; but the cold, stone-latticed apartments were all vacant now, the floors damp and slippery with moss and dirt. Desolation was clearly written upon the walls.

This Governor's Palace is anything but a palace now. A portion of the building was improved as a dwelling for his Excellency, who sat soberly and silently discussing his long-stemmed pipe with [Pg 298]Oriental indifference, as we came through the outer court on our departure. In visiting the several divisions of the palace, there had been found one section where the keys were missing, and this led to some delay while the custodian tried to procure them, the door being finally forced open by a slight physical effort. On coming out a number of rusty keys were observed upon the wall, causing us to remark that the missing one might be among them; whereupon the guide told us that these were of a different character,—keys brought from Spain when the Moors were expelled thence, and now held sacred as heir-looms. This was only a casual remark, but yet one which came back to us with special emphasis, as will by and by be explained.

As we were about to mount our donkeys a dignified individual took the guide, with whom he was evidently acquainted, one side for a moment. He would have been noticeable anywhere as a man of character, a typical Moor. Mixed as the population of Tangier is, still one easily individualizes the several races, and above all cannot fail to admire the noble, manly specimens of Moorish blood. They are naturally broad, yet light, with figures faultlessly straight without stiffness; the arms are set well back and are carried with peculiar grace, while a general dignity of bearing is always observable. The eyes are large and receding, the nose aquiline, features regular, with a rather large mouth and brilliantly fine teeth. We could not but look critically at the Moor who was engaged for the moment with our guide, for he was a good representative of that proud race which in its glory built palaces like the Alhambra, and such mosques as that at Cordova.

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Our leisure moments here were passed in strolling through the queer native bazars; examining the mosques, from the towers of which at sunset we heard the Muezzin call to prayer; and in visiting the slave market, just outside of the city walls, where business is prosecuted though not so extensively as heretofore. These slaves are mostly prisoners of war, sold by native chieftains in Guinea to Morocco merchants, who drive them, chained together in long strings, from market to market until disposed of for the harems or as laborers. The sales take place always on the Sabbath, regarded as a sort of holiday. The average price of the women and girls is from fifty to sixty dollars, according to age and good looks. The men vary much in price, frequently selling at much lower figures, according to the demand for labor. About the large open space near the slave mart were congregated groups of camels and their Bedouin owners, who had just arrived from the interior, bringing native goods, with dried fruits, to market, forming an assembly such as can only be found on the borders of the desert, and which, indeed, would be utterly out of place except beneath the glow and shimmer of an African sun.

There were men, women, children, and animals, each little group a family, picturesque in their squalor and their coarseness. Their brown, flat tents were of the same shape and material as those we had seen between Suez and Ismailia. Naked children and half-clad mothers peeped at us out of their canvas homes, or raised their heads above the awkward saddles and trappings of the kneeling camels, behind which they reposed. The docile, uncouth, buff-colored beasts were soberly chewing their cuds, and resting after[Pg 300] their long and weary journey. It was a striking scene, which an artist would have traveled far to sketch, lying under a warm, hazy, atmospheric covering, so peculiar to Egypt and Africa, with the rough, red stone walls of the city for a background, and the arched Moorish gateway at the side. Here and there were to be seen dapple-gray horses of unmistakable Arab breed, animals which any rich European would have been proud to own. In one instance, seeing a fine full-bred mare and her foal lying down amid a family group, the children absolutely between the mother's legs, who was untethered, and the colt also extended on the ground with them, at our request the guide asked of the sober old Arab, who sat cross-legged, smoking by the entrance of the tent, what he would sell us the horse and colt for. "Tell your chief," was his answer, "there is not enough money coined to purchase them." This was a good and independent response. "But," added the guide, "he will sell you his wife, or any of the children!" We were contented with purchasing some fresh dates from an itinerant, who cried them in good, sonorous Arabic, "O dates, in the name of the Prophet!" and got most iniquitously cheated, both in quality and in price, according to the guide.

At sunrise, on the morning following our arrival, mules were ready at the door, and we started off, laughing merrily over the crude saddlery and other untoward fittings of the animals. Ladies' side-saddles are yet a myth in Morocco. We were bound for Washington Mount, a league or two outside the city walls, where the American Minister, several foreign consuls, and a few rich merchants of European birth make their homes, in handsome modern villas,[Pg 301] surrounded by perennial gardens and orchards. The vegetation was often so rank as to overhang the narrow and steep roads up which we wended our way. They were so thick with agave and prickly pear, that we could hardly keep upright in the saddle. The trefoil, honeysuckle, myrtle, and white convolvulus grew in rank profusion, with occasional pale pink, single-leaved roses. Over the hedges in the private grounds, though it was early in March, we saw the orange-trees and pomegranates, the former laden with large, yellow fruit, and the latter blushing crimson with flowers among companion palms, figs, and olives. On the way through the meadow, before coming to the ascent, the ground was enameled with a pale blue daisy, which the guide told us was perennial here. After an hour's ride, emerging upon the high, open plateau, there burst upon our eyes a most enchanting view. The far-reaching waters of the Mediterranean seemed to surround the land upon which we were. Looking off towards the Spanish coast, a few white sails intervened to give character to the maritime scene; while a large steamship was making the passage of the straits, leaving behind her a long line of dense smoke. How suggestive was that expanse of waters, the most interesting of all known seas: its shores hallowed by associations connected with the entire progress of civilization; the cradle, as it has been aptly called, of the human race, the battle-field of the world, and still the connecting link between Europe, Asia, and Africa.

All around us, upon the sloping hill-side, were delightful villas, painted in bright colors, and half buried in thrifty foliage, each located in an atmosphere redolent of fruits and flowers; its front ever[Pg 302] open to that glorious sea-view. The broad piazzas of these smiling homes were hung with hammocks, telling of luxurious out-door life. Family groups could be seen taking their morning coffee on the verandas; and the voices of many children rang out clear and bird-like, floating up to the eyrie where we were perched. Down towards the shore lay brown, dingy, dirty Tangier, with its mud-colored groups of tiled roofs, its teeming population, its mouldy old walls and arched gates, and its minarets, square and dominant. On our way back, we again passed through the slave market, and saw a freshly arrived caravan pitching their tents after a long and weary journey. A snake-charmer was busy amusing an idle group of boys and girls in one of the small squares, and a group of dancing girls, with tambourines and castanets, looked wistfully at us, hoping to get an audience; but our yet unhonored breakfast awaited us, and the mountain excursion had imparted healthful appetites.

It was quite the thing to patronize one of the little dingy cafés, and so we patiently endured the punishment of drinking an egg-shell cup of a muddy compound called coffee, but nothing short of compulsion would have induced a repetition of the same. A dose of senna would have been ambrosia compared to it. In passing through a narrow court we saw a group of children sitting cross-legged, in a circle, on the floor of an open house, with books in their hands, presided over by a sage-looking Moorish party, with long, snow-white beard, and deep-set dark eyes that seemed to burn like gas jets. The guide explained that it was a native school; and the children, who were all talking aloud at the same time, in a [Pg 303]drawling, sing-song tone, swaying back and forth incessantly, were learning their lessons. When we inquired what special branch was being taught them, he answered: "The Koran; they learn it from the beginning to the end." "And is that all the instruction imparted to them?" we asked. "Of course," he replied; "what else do they require in Morocco?"

The houses were more like toys than dwelling-places, they were so very small, rarely of more than one story, the walls whitewashed to such a degree as to be almost blinding. Now and then the monotony was broken by an arabesque window, but, as a rule, there were none opening outward; like all Moorish houses, they had a small inner court upon which doors and windows opened, thus avoiding being overlooked, and promoting the seclusion of the harem, which seems to be the first and foremost idea of the Eastern people. Nearly the last sound that greeted our ears as we walked down over the irregular pavements, and through the narrow lanes towards the pier from whence we were to embark, was the rude music of the snake-charmer; and the last impressive sight was that of a public story-teller, in one of the little squares, in earnest gesticulation, as with a high-pitched, shrill voice he related to a group of women, who were squatted in their white haiks, and men of the desert in their hooded gehabs, what the guide told us was a chapter from the "Thousand and One Nights!" We embarked once more on board the little Leon Belge for Gibraltar, well pleased with our brief visit to the curious Moorish capital.

The Sultan of Morocco is supreme, and holds the lives and fortunes of his subjects at his will. He[Pg 304] is judge and executor of laws which emanate solely from himself. Taxation is so heavy as to amount to prohibition in many departments of enterprise. All exportation is hampered, agriculture heavily loaded with taxation, and only so far pursued as to supply the barest necessities of life. Manufacture is where it was centuries ago, and is performed with the same primitive tools. The printing-press is unknown. There are no books; the language itself is such a mixture of tongues and so corrupted as to have hardly a distinctive existence. The power of the sultan sucks the life-blood out of the people, who obey the local sheikhs; above them are the cadis, controlling provinces; and still higher the pashas, who are accountable only to the sultan. And yet the Berbers, so-called, who form the basis of the native population, outnumbering the Moors, Arabs, Jews, and Negroes, and who live mostly in the nearly inaccessible mountains of the Atlas, are so independent, savage, and turbulent, as to nearly defy the imperial authority, yielding only so far to its control as they deem advantageous to themselves. The Arabs occupy the plains and are nomadic; the Moors possess the wealth of the land and control most branches of trade, making their homes in the cities, and are the direct descendants of the Moors of Spain. Strange there should be such a spirit of detestation existing towards every idea associated with civilized and Christian life, but so it is at Tangier.

From Gibraltar to Malaga by sea is less than a hundred miles eastward along the coast. We embarked on board the English steamer Cadiz. Fortunately the trip is a short one, for the boat was filthy, and had just been transporting cattle from[Pg 305] England to the Rock. The water was rough enough to make the few passengers, except ourselves, quite seasick; which, in the contracted accommodations of the Cadiz, made matters far from agreeable. To add to the discomfort there was a steady downpour of rain during the trip; but we were no strangers to such contingencies, and made the best of it. The irregular Spanish coast was in sight through a veil of mist nearly all the way until we landed, after a slight skirmish with the custom-house officers, at Malaga, March 15th. It is commercially one of the most important cities of Spain, and was once the capital of an independent state, with plenty of ancient lore hanging about it, as it was a large and prosperous Phœnician capital centuries before Christ. The older portions of the city have all the Moorish peculiarities of construction,—narrow streets, narrow passages, small barred windows, and heavy doors; but the more modern part of Malaga is characterized by broad, straight thoroughfares, and elegantly built houses. This is especially the case with the Alameda, which has a central walk lined on either side with handsome almond-trees, edged by plats of flowers, and green shrubs intermingled, besides which there are statues and a fountain of an elaborate character at the end of the walk. On either side of this promenade is a good roadway, flanked with houses of pleasing architectural effect, lofty and well relieved.

There are several fine open squares in Malaga, some of which contain statues and ornamental trees and flowers. The discovery, not long since, of Roman antiquities in the environs has created a warm interest among archæologists. The trade of the city in wine, dried and green fruit, is large; and we were told[Pg 306] that nearly nine tenths of the forty thousand butts of sweet wine, sold here for foreign use annually, were exported to the United States. On the whole, we were agreeably disappointed at the thrifty and business-like aspect of the city. There are no picture-galleries or art treasures to examine; but the people of new localities are always an interesting study, and the shops were decidedly the best we had seen since we left America. There is a grand cathedral, which is considered almost the only place worth exhibiting to strangers. It is of rather modern date, having been commenced in 1528, and is of mixed style, its façade constituting almost its only feature of remarkable beauty.

The old Moorish castle, crowning the seaward heights, has been converted into a modern fortress, and is well worth visiting for the superb view to be obtained from the battlements. Few people now come to Malaga except for a special purpose. In a sanitary point of view, as a resort for consumptives, it has long enjoyed a reputation which it certainly does not merit to-day, whatever it may have done in the past. First, it is much too cold and damp for delicate lungs. Again, it has not one comfort or social attraction to interest the visitor in search of health. Moreover, its sewerage is shamefully defective. Indeed, in the older parts of the town, the surface gutters receive and convey all the accumulated filth, so that the atmosphere is most unfavorably influenced. The published mortuary statistics have been unfairly given, as the mortality is larger in percentage than in any other part of Spain, which, as a rule, is far from possessing a healthy climate. We doubt if physicians any longer advise their patients[Pg 307] to resort thither, certainly they would not do so if possessed of personal experience of the place.

The present population is a little over a hundred and twenty thousand, and is made up of a community of more than average respectability, though it would appear that there is an unreasonable percentage of beggars to be met with. In and about the cathedral of Santa Barbara the visitor finds this nuisance extremely annoying. Malaga has one of the largest bull-rings to be found in Spain. We were shown all over its various offices with evident pride on the part of the custodian. All contingencies, are here provided for. One apartment, with the necessary appliances, is arranged as a surgery, so that if the picadors, chulos, or matadores (bull-fighters) be any of them seriously wounded, the surgeon, who is always in attendance, can at once proceed to business. Another large apartment is fitted up as a Roman Catholic chapel. If any of the bull-fighters are fatally injured and about to die, here the priest, as regular an attendant as the surgeon, can administer the last rite, shrive the sufferer of all sin, and start him on his triumphant way to other, and, it is to be hoped, happier hunting-grounds. At the bull-ring the populace, to the number of from fourteen to fifteen thousand, assemble nearly every Sabbath during the season, to witness this most cruel of all sports. No seat is left unoccupied, and, as we were informed, the day before the exhibition tickets are nearly always sold at a premium. The devotion of the Spaniards to this national sport is universal, from the grandee to the peasant. More than once has the attempt been made by the throne to bring the cruel business into disrepute, but it has been[Pg 308] found unavailing. The taste is too deeply rooted in the masses of the people. We were told subsequently, at Madrid, that an attempt to suppress the bull-fights in Spain would be more likely to lead to a revolution than would the most stringent political measure that could be named. The cry of the mob is "Bread and bulls," which is very significant to those who have studied Spanish character.

The English cemetery, laid out upon a terraced hill-side just out of the city borders and overlooking the harbor, is a very interesting resort, admirably kept and appropriately ornamented with choice trees, shrubs, and flowers, tropically luxuriant from its southern exposure. In the squares, streets, and market places of Malaga, women sat each morning weaving fresh-cut flowers, fragrant clusters of rose-buds, mignonette, pansies, violets, and geraniums, pretty little clusters of which they sold for about one shilling, and found ready purchasers. One may be sure there is always a refined element in the locality, whether otherwise visible or not, where such an appreciation as this is manifested. The bull-fight may thrive; the populace may be, as they often are in Malaga, riotous and mischievous; education may be at a very low ebb, art almost entirely neglected; but where a love of nature, as evinced in the appreciation of beautiful flowers, is to be found, there is still extant on the popular heart the half-effaced image of its Maker.

The Spanish heart is by no means all bad. That the bull-fight fosters a spirit of cruelty among the masses no one can doubt, and that cruelty is a characteristic of the Catalan race is also only too well known. No other people would tolerate such cruelty;[Pg 309] and that it is a disgrace to the nineteenth century every intelligent person outside of Spain will admit.

It is a very interesting fact, but seldom realized, that Spain in the time of Julius Cæsar contained nearly eighty millions of inhabitants, but to-day it has less than eighteen millions. In glancing at the map it will be perceived that Spain is a very large country, comprising nearly the whole of the southern peninsula of Europe (Portugal being confined to a small space), and extending north and south over six hundred miles. It is about double the size of Great Britain, and is rich in every known mineral, though she is poor enough in the necessary energy and enterprise requisite to improve her extraordinary possibilities. In many sections of the country great natural fertility is apparent, but nature has to perform the lion's share of the work. We were told by intelligent residents that many parts of Andalusia, for instance, could not be exceeded for rural beauty and fertility in any part of Europe, though we saw no satisfactory evidence of this; indeed, what we did see led to a contrary conclusion. In the environs of Malaga and the southern province generally, there are orange, lemon, and olive groves miles in extent; and the Moors had a poetical saying that this favored region was dropped from paradise, but there is more of poetry than truth in the legend. What is required is good cultivation and skilled agricultural enterprise. These would develop a different condition of affairs, and give to legitimate enterprise a rich reward. The sugar-cane, the grape-vine, the fig-tree, and the productive olive, mingling with the myrtle and the laurel, gratify the eye in and about the immediate district of Malaga; but as one advances [Pg 310]inland, the products become natural or wild, cultivation primitive and only partial; grain fields are sparse, and one is often led to draw disparaging contrasts between this country and those of more ambitious and industrious agricultural nations.

While the more practical traveler is filled with a sense of disappointment at the paucity of thrift and vegetation, the poet and the artist will still find enough to delight the eye and fire the imagination in Spain. The ever transparent atmosphere, and the lovely cloud effects that prevail, are accompaniments which will hallow the desolate sierras for the artist at all seasons. The poet has only to wander among the former haunts of the exiled Moors, and view the crumbling monuments of his luxurious and artistic taste, to be equally absorbed and inspired.

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From Malaga to Granada.—Military Escort.—A Beautiful Valley.—A Dream Realized in the Alhambra.—The Moor in his Glory.—Tangible Poetry.—A Brief Legend.—The Generalife.—The Moor's Seat.—The Home of the Gypsies.—A Gold Bearing River.—A Beautiful Residence.—Early Home of the Ex-Empress Eugénie.—City of Granada.—Spanish Beggars.—The Remarkable Tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella.—French Vandals.—The Cathedral.—Precious Relic.—The Cartuja.—Love of Music.

The distance from Malaga to Granada is about seventy miles, but in Spanish style it requires eight or nine hours to accomplish it. Needless delay is the rule here, and forms a national infirmity; but in the present instance we did not feel in special haste, nor regret the snail's pace at which the cars were run, as the road lay mostly through a very beautiful valley, lined on either side by high hills extending back until they terminated in lofty, snow-clad ranges. The contrast between these ice-crowned elevations not very far away, and the orchards of oranges and lemons in full bearing so near to us, was certainly striking. The dull, dusty green of the olive orchards, of which there were more than of all other trees combined, gave a rather sombre appearance to many miles of the route; but the cheerful light verdure of the occasional grain fields and pastures afforded relief to the eye.

There were but few people to be seen, quite unlike European agricultural districts generally, where human life is ever so conspicuous. The cultivated spots[Pg 312] seemed to be very far away from the hamlets whence the owners must come for field labor. It was obvious that for some strong reason the populace, sparse at best, herd together. There were no isolated farm-houses or huts. The cultivators must ride or walk long distances to reach the field of labor. Perhaps mutual protection, as in the olden time, was the inducing cause of the country people thus keeping together, and the necessity of congregating for mutual support in an exigency has by no means entirely ceased. Now and then the cars would dart suddenly into a dark tunnel, when we skirted the mountain sides, to emerge again upon a scene of redoubled sunlight, for a moment quite tantalizing to the vision, reminding one forcibly of some Swiss and Italian roads where car-lamps are burned all day. As occasional bands of brigands appear, and, stopping the trains, rob the passengers, government kindly complimented us with an escort of a dozen soldiers, and we were told that these redoubtable warriors now accompany each train, besides which two or three good-looking high privates, in neat uniforms, were observed at each of the stations where we stopped, marching up and down before the train and eying the passengers, as though they half suspected us of being banditti in disguise. It is clear that the administration is endeavoring to render traveling safe throughout the country, and if they would only render it comfortable and expeditious at the same time, the reform would commend itself to universal approval. Punctuality is not a Spanish word, being neither practiced nor understood from Malaga to Burgos. You take your seat trustingly for some objective point, but when you will reach it is a profound and subtle mystery which time alone can solve.

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Perhaps no one ever read Washington Irving's description of the Alhambra without experiencing an ardent desire to visit Granada. Although that exquisite pen-portrait reads more like romance than veritable history, yet it is minutely correct and absolutely literal, teeming with local color and atmospheric effect like the canvas of a Claude Lorraine or a Bierstadt. As we approached the ancient city, all early recollections of the glowing text were revived; nor had months of constant travel rendered us so blasé but that an eager anticipation thrilled every nerve. The train crept slowly along in the twilight with provoking deliberation, until we were finally deposited in the depot of the gray old capital, so intimately connected with the most romantic chapters of Spanish history. How vividly the days of Ferdinand and Isabella flashed before the mind's eye, mingled with which was the abortive career of Charles V. Here set the sun of Moorish glory. This was Granada, and here, close at hand, was that embodiment of poetry, the Alhambra.

The city once contained over half a million of people, but to-day it has scarcely sixty thousand,—like everything else material in Spain, growing smaller by degrees and beautifully less. After leaving the centre of the town, we drove some distance until the ground began to rise sharply, and we passed through a dense grove of tall elms planted many years ago by the Duke of Wellington. These trees have grown in such a rank, wild fashion, hung with ivy from the highest branches to the low interlacing stems, as to recall a Singapore jungle or the densely wooded district near Jeypore, in India. The trees have never been trimmed or thinned out since they were planted,[Pg 314] and cannot, therefore, become individually grand, but they appear all the more natural for this seeming neglect. Presently the hotel, named the Washington Irving, was reached, an extremely neat and comfortable establishment. It was necessary to suppress our ardor and impatience, as night had settled down over Granada; and there being no moon, nothing could be seen to advantage outside of the house. We retired early, more fatigued by the slow, dragging railroad journey of seventy miles than after accomplishing the same distance over the primitive roads of California, behind four dashing horses in a jolting stage, between Madeira and Coarse Gold Gulch.

It is not for us to describe in detail so well-known a monument as this royal palace of the Moors, those regal sovereigns who had not only a love for the beautiful in art, but also the means of indulging it. With all preconceived ideas it was still a revelation, and, next to the Taj at Agra, the most poetical embodiment of architecture we had ever seen. Surprises met us at every turn within its enchanting precincts. The names of its various halls and courts, the Hall of Justice, Court of Blessings, Hall of the Abencerrages, Court of the Lions, Hall of the Two Sisters, etc., were all familiar, but only so in pictured dreams. Here was the tangible reality; it was no disillusion. As we passed from court to court, from hall to hall, lingering here and there, how the very atmosphere teemed with historical reminiscences of that most romantic period of history, the mediæval days, when the Moors held regal court and lorded it in Andalusia. A lurking sympathy stole over us for that exiled people who could render life such a terrestrial paradise. Surrounded by fruit, flowers, and dark-eyed houris, the[Pg 315] Mohammedan but typified his idea of a higher heaven. In the Alhambra he might have closed his eyes to the outer world, and fancied that he was already in that sensuous and perpetual home which the Arabian poets so glowingly describe. It is difficult to realize that the Moors possessed such admirable architectural skill, and produced such splendid palaces, centuries upon centuries ago; and quite as remarkable that Time, the great iconoclast, should have spared for our admiration such delicate, lace-like carvings and such brilliant mosaics. Magnificence with them was an art in itself, and, combined with beauty, was one of their highest aims. Minuteness of finish and perfection of detail were lavished with Oriental profuseness. If we carefully examine the fret-work upon the walls of the various corridors and apartments, it becomes evident that it represents flowers and geometrical lines, though at a casual glance it has rather a confused appearance. The various spaces are filled with lines from the Koran; the words "There is no conqueror but God" occurring many hundred times in the various parts of the structure, in the delicately lined work over the horse-shoe arches, upon the plainer side walls and over latticed jalousies, and along the architraves.

Out of a gracefully arched window, with stucco work framing it about like curtains of crystallized lace, from whence the beauties of the harem must have often gazed upon the court below, we looked upon a setting of leafy verdure in white marble, surrounded by fountains, like an emerald set in diamonds upon a lady's hand. We looked from the boudoir of the Sultana, the Chosen of the Harem. Here were thriving orange and fig-trees mingled with glistening,[Pg 316] dark-leaved myrtles, which were bordered by an edging of box so high and stout of limb that the main stems were more like trees than shrubs. The guide told us they were centuries old. Here were also clusters of hawthorn in blossom, and little patches of blue star-like flowers looking up from the ground like human eyes, as though having hardly the courage to assert themselves amid the more pretentious bloom. The sun lay warm and lovingly in this fragrant area of the grand old palace, and the air was very soft and sweet. It was the same scene which had gladdened witching eyes centuries ago, when the notes of the lute mingled with the careless, happy voices of the beauties of the harem.

The guide had twice to summon us before we left the spot. Then we climbed up the winding, marble steps, lighted here and there by little loop-hole windows, to a balcony that commanded a view far and near over the village-dotted plain of Granada, backed by the snowy summits of the Sierra Nevada. The city, in all its brown, turreted, and tiled confusion of buildings, lay in the foreground. The Darro and the Xenil, joined together, were seen winding their silvery way through the verdant fields, where broad patches of yellow grain added a thrifty aspect to the view. Quaint little hamlets clustered together; mulberry and olive groves, a tall hay-stack here and there, and groups of domestic cattle, enlivened the whole. It was an exceptional picture for Spain, and would convey the idea of a well-cultivated and thriving agricultural country; but it was natural irrigation, not the hand of industrious labor, which was here so agreeably represented.

One never wearied in wandering about the courts[Pg 317] and luxurious apartments; luxurious, not because of their furniture, for there was none; but because of what they suggested, for the possibilities they presented, and the exquisite architectural workmanship displayed in each detail, and everywhere. It was like enchantment verified. Nothing seemed too extravagant to the imagination thus stimulated. If we had suddenly come upon a throng of the dark-eyed favorites of the harem diaphanously clad, on their way to the marble baths, with Nubian slaves perfuming their way by burning incense, it would not have seemed to us at all strange.

Alhambra signifies "Red Castle," and the vermilion-tinted structure, with its outlying towers, was thus appropriately named. In the days of its glory it was half palace, half fortress; indeed, a city within itself, capable of accommodating quite an army, and containing within its walls an immense cistern as a water supply, armories, store-houses, foundries, and every appliance of a large military cantonment. A considerable portion of the far-reaching walls are still extant, as well as the outlying towers; and all are remarkable for the excellent engineering skill displayed in their construction. Under good generalship, and properly manned, the place must have been impregnable to attack with such arms as were in use at the period of its completion. For a long time after the expulsion of the Moors, the Castilian monarchs made it their royal residence, and held high and regal court within its splendid walls; but they finally deserted it, and left desolate those unequaled halls and courts. The place was next infested by a lawless community of contrabandists and banditti, who made it, for a long period, their headquarters,[Pg 318] whence to sally forth and lay the neighboring plains under contribution, on the principle that might makes right. Then came the French as conquerors, who expelled the lawless intruders, perhaps themselves quite as deserving of the title; but they did a good work by clearing what had become an Augean stable of its worst filth, and partially restoring the choicest work of the Moorish builders. To-day the Spanish government guards with jealous care a monumental treasure which cannot be equaled in historic interest elsewhere in the kingdom.

Visiting the Court of the Lions on the last day of our stay at Granada, watching its beautiful shadows, columns, and fret-work, with its mammoth vase of Oriental alabaster fed by water brought from the mountains through the old Moorish aqueduct, it seemed as if so much of tangible poetry could nowhere else be found. Over a hundred light and graceful columns of marble surround this one court, supporting arches of perfect loveliness, and a Moorish arcade of aerial lightness and beauty. The rich stucco and the arabesque decorations of the inner walls and ceilings, finished in gold and blue, the original colors still there after centuries of exposure, together form perhaps the gem of the Alhambra. Yet one hesitates to pronounce any one hall, chamber, or court as excelling another where all are so transcendently beautiful. The characteristic embodiment of the architecture seemed to be its perfect harmony throughout. There are no jarring elements, no false notes, in the marvelous anthem which it articulates. It does not impress one as representing power or grandeur, but rather sensuousness and human love. The inspiration it imparts to the thoughtful beholder[Pg 319] is less of awe than of tenderness, and exquisite poetical delight, causing one, as he gazes upon its accumulated loveliness, almost to tremble with excess of gratification.

Many of the outlying towers of the main structure, now partly isolated by the crumbling of the connecting walls and passages, are well worth attention. We visited them with great satisfaction, but they have been too often described to require special mention here. The guide related a legend connected with one of them which was new to us. It related to that known as La Cautiva, the inner walls of which are famous for their Moorish tracery. Here, it seems, a lovely Christian maiden was imprisoned, whom Yousuf I., then reigning monarch, desired to add to his harem. In vain were her pleadings, and her assurance that she was the affianced bride of a noble knight. The king still importuned the maiden, though fruitlessly. She would not for one moment listen to his suit. Finally, pressed to the last extreme of resistance, she sought protection in death, and threw herself from the lofty battlements of the tower upon the jagged rocks at its base. Here her mangled body was found by her knightly lover, who had come, but too late, with a band of daring followers, to rescue his beloved. His revenge was swift and terrible. In the little mosque hard by Yousuf I. paid the penalty for his persecution of the gentle maiden, for there he was killed by the disconsolate knight while he was kneeling in prayer.

Crossing the glen beyond the tower of La Cautiva and ascending the hill beyond we came upon what is called the Generalife, the summer palace of the Alhambra, with which, in the olden time, it was [Pg 320]connected by an underground passage, which is still traceable though filled in by decay and débris. This structure has been scarcely less noted than the main edifice, but one is rather disappointed at its simplicity and want of finish as compared with the Alhambra itself. The view from it is so fine that one feels amply repaid for the visit, though probably but a very small portion of the original structure remains, since it is now nothing more or less than a moderate-sized white villa, located in a wilderness of laurel, myrtle, and cypresses. Through its court-yards and gardens rushes a branch of the gold-bearing river, the Darro, spending itself in scores of fountains, tiny falls, cascades, and lakes. The grounds are full of venerable cypresses of great age and beauty, the only ones we had seen in Spain except in the English burial-ground at Malaga. Nor had we observed any elms except those of the grove planted by Wellington.

The gardens of the Generalife form its principal attraction, and the number of exotic trees and plants gathered here is remarkable. The place is now owned and cared for by the Genoese family of Grimaldi, who keep a few people on the premises to protect the property and cultivate the gardens. We were told the owner had never visited Granada. Passing through a small rear door of the Generalife, the guide conducted us by a steep path to what is called the Moor's Seat, the apex of the neighboring heights, and between which and the mountain range of snow-clad peaks lies the heavily-wooded valley of the Darro on one side, and on the other the wide-spread vega of Granada. The view includes some fifteen villages, dotting plains more fertile than any other we had seen in the country. The atmosphere was clear, [Pg 321]rendering the comprehensive view very fine, taking in as its foreground both the Alhambra and the Generalife. The visit to the Moor's Seat was not hurried. Time was taken to impress the outspread picture it afforded lastingly on the memory, for we could not reasonably expect to ever behold it again.

After coming down we reviewed the picture gallery of the Generalife, though hardly a "gallery," made up as it is of a series of daubs representing the kings and queens of Spain, with other members of the royal family, of some possible historic interest, but otherwise not worth the canvas on which they are painted. The guide was well supplied with legends about the Generalife as to the Sultana Zoraya and her guilty Abencerrage lover, and so forth; but we had listened to one about the tower not far away, and had so much occupation for the eyes that the ears were permitted to rest. All show places, and especially royal palaces, have their romantic legends: what would guides and guide-books otherwise amount to? But without exception let it be understood, these stories are a tissue of nonsense, founded on a modicum of truth. Take as a fair example the universally accepted Byronic legends of the Bridge of Sighs at Venice, which Mr. Howells so quietly but thoroughly explodes by adducing the simplest historical facts.

Between the Alhambra and the Generalife, but not in a direct line, were located the headquarters of the gypsies of Spain, some four or five thousand of whom live in the rock caves adjoining the city, where the valley of the Darro affords a warm, sunny shelter. Holes excavated in the sloping mountain side form the homes of this singular and strongly individualized[Pg 322] people, where they have had a recognized habitation for centuries. They are just the same renegade race that are found in other parts of Europe and the British Isles: picturesque in their rags, lawless in the extreme, and living almost entirely in the open air. In the faces of the men, who are as coarse and uncultured as men can possibly be, there was expressed much of the same savage instinct that marked the features of those captured tigers exhibited at Jeypore. They are lazy and reckless, but fiery if roused to anger. Terrible domestic tragedies sometimes occur among them, as the guide explained to us. They observe certain principles of what has been termed "wild justice," having their king or queen as the case may be, and to such self-elected control only do they yield obedience. The men, like the women, affect gaudy colors, and both toss their loose, ragged garments about them after a graceful style all their own. The bronzed features, profuse black hair, and very dark eyes of these gypsies, often render them strikingly handsome; and when this dangerous heritage falls to the share of the young women, it often leads to experiences too tragic to record. Many of the men wear embroidered velvet jackets, with hanging silver buttons, like a Basque postilion, and add a scarlet sash about the waist, the legs being bound up in sheep's skins with fancy-colored ribbons, and the feet covered with crude sandals,—altogether quite a theatrical costume.

Gypsies worship high colors and cheap jewelry, and would spend their last farthing for either, though the question of whence the next meal was to come from might be an unsolved problem. They roam idly about the grounds of the Alhambra, but are not permitted[Pg 323] to enter its walls, and no exterior picture of the structure would be true which did not introduce one or more of them in the foreground. Strangers generally visit their quarters in the valley, and for their entertainment they dance, tell fortunes, play tricks, and, if possible, steal from them. Indeed it is hardly safe, without an experienced guide, to go among them. Their domestic life is represented to be of so objectionable a character that it will not bear discussing. Gypsies will not work unless driven to do so by absolute want, but necessity sometimes compels them; and so occasionally they may be found manipulating the waters of the swift-running Darro for gold, which is often found in paying quantities. There is a local jeweler within the precincts of the Alhambra who makes the gold from this stream into mementos, which are a favorite investment with visitors, in the form of pins and brooches. The river Darro rises in a rocky gorge of the neighboring mountains, and comes tumbling down the valley within a stone's-throw of the gypsies' cave-dwellings, thence flows through the town, and is joined by the Xenil on the plain of Granada.

Close by the Alhambra, indeed almost within the walls, we visited the delightful villa of Madame Calderon de la Barca, who was once a resident of Boston, and who was well known and highly esteemed by our best people. This fine estate was presented to her, for valuable services, by the Spanish government. It is remarkable for its spacious and beautifully arranged grounds, combining ornamentation and usefulness in a striking degree, and extending over some twenty acres of ground. Here are vineyards, fruit orchards, choice flower gardens, trees of various[Pg 324] tropical species, among which we saw dates, cocoanuts, and figs, in thrifty condition, besides orchards of pears, plums, peaches, and apricots. Miniature waterfalls, lakes, and rivers, shaded walks, aviaries, and many other attractions showed a lavish expenditure in beautifying the place. The villa itself was closed, Madame Calderon being absent in England. At the keeper's lodge we found a Spanish family who carried on a large dairy, the cattle on the estate being of the choicest breed, and their management a favorite idea with the mistress of the estate. Butter of good quality is scarce in Spain. That which was here produced found a ready market at the Washington Irving Hotel.

In strolling about the town many spacious squares were seen, old palaces, houses in ruins, and deserted convents, all in apparent keeping with the general aspect of this faded and fading old city. We were taken by our intelligent guide to several notable localities, and among them to the humble dwelling-house where the ex-empress Eugénie was born, and where her childhood was passed. A conspicuous tablet set in the façade of the house makes formal mention of the circumstance, observing which it was natural to recall, in one comprehensive thought, the strange, romantic, and tragic story of the now childless mother and unhonored widow of Chiselhurst. There would have been no Franco-Prussian War but for her reckless machinations; the Prince Imperial would not, in consequence of reverses thereby induced, have gone to Zululand to throw away his life; the map of Europe would not have been changed by the division of Alsace-Lorraine; and there would probably have been no Republic in France to-day.

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There are some very odd and very ancient stone fountains in the city, supported by grotesque animals and impossible fishes, erected far back in the regal days of Ferdinand and Isabella. The sort of fancy which could have induced these unartistic designs it is difficult to conceive of; they only require a dragon's head on a human body to make them quite Chinese. The little, narrow, winding streets recalled the older portions of Genoa and Marseilles; yet people live in them, do business there, go shopping, and generally transact the usual affairs of town life, though the space between the buildings which line these passages is not sufficient to allow two donkeys to pass each other with loads on their backs. Now one comes upon a broken stone bridge spanning the Darro on a single broad arch of great sweep, under which the noisy river rushes tumultuously down hill, and wonders how long the toppling houses, which overhang the rapids, will maintain their equilibrium. The ruthless finger of Time seems to have touched everything, neglect being only too manifest everywhere; and yet no façade is so crumbled as not to sustain a flower-bedecked balcony. If the houses are inhabited, they bristle all over their whitewashed fronts with clusters of green and blossoming flowers, strongly relieved by the snowy background. The cloth doors of the Catholic churches swing invitingly at the touch, and over the door you are informed in good plain Spanish that plenary indulgences are retailed within. Shovel-hatted priests in goodly numbers dodge out and in, but there seem to be few customers from among the people. Persons, whom by their dress and appearance one would suppose to be in comfortable circumstances, come boldly[Pg 326] up to tourists and ask for a few cents, seeming to have no feelings of pride or delicacy. Travelers are looked upon as fair game in Spain; and still one is rather nonplused to be importuned for coppers by well-dressed strangers, and is apt to conclude that sturdy beggars can bear stout denials. Now we come upon the ruins of a square stone tower, which anciently formed a portion of the public baths; and here an old Arabian gate, arch and battlement still standing. Near the Alameda another is seen, and gardens, once connected by a subterranean passage with the distant Alhambra, away on the hill. Here an arch and there a crumbling column, all souvenirs of the exiled Moor.

We visited the Royal Chapel which adjoins the Cathedral, where the magnificent tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella is the chief object of interest. The effigies of the two lie side by side, hewn from the marble in life-like proportions, and rest upon a lofty sarcophagus in front of the great altar. Close by these is a similar tomb in white marble, representing, in the same position and style, Joanna and her husband, Philip of Burgundy. In the vault below were seen the four coffins containing the several bodies of the royal dead, the leaden covering to one of which had been pried off by French bayonets in search of treasures supposed to have been buried with the body. But this sacrilegious injury to the casket has been carefully repaired. Close at hand, in a corner of this vault, was seen the metallic coffin which contains the remains of Prince Miguel of Portugal,—the little fellow who was thrown from his pony while riding in the streets of Granada and killed. Had this boy lived to grow to man's estate, he would doubtless[Pg 327] have united and reigned over both Spain and Portugal. The cathedral, which adjoins the chapel, is one of the glories of Spain, so to speak, and is a very grand and noble structure, full of superb workmanship, art treasures in oil paintings, and sculpture; among which are examples from Alonzo Cano and Torrigiano. The architectural effect of the interior is harmonious and beautiful, and was the work, or rather design, of Diego de Siloe, whose father was a famous sculptor, and, if we mistake not, was the author of that marvelous alabaster tomb at the convent of Miraflores, in Burgos. This cathedral was finished three hundred and sixty odd years ago, a year after the death of Ferdinand, who survived Isabella some twelve years.

In the sacristy we were shown portraits of Philip and Joanna, and, in one of the chapels, admirable pictures of Ferdinand and Isabella. The relics in the sacristy are of special interest. Here we saw the golden crown of Isabella, and, above all in interest, the precious box of pure gold from which she sold her jewels, to purchase an outfit to enable Columbus to sail on his first voyage to the new world. The box is exquisitely engraved, and has a few precious stones inlaid upon it: we see no such engraving nowadays. It was very heavy, as pure ore always is, and was some twelve inches long, half as wide, and about five inches in depth. It was impossible not to feel a thrill of emotion upon taking in one's hand this sacred relic. We were also shown the state sword of Ferdinand, and the royal sceptre carried by Isabella. Everything relating to this "queen of earthly queens" is of vital interest, and especially so to Americans. It was she whom Bacon described as[Pg 328] "an honor to her sex and the corner-stone of the greatness of Spain." We were reminded, while looking upon these precious objects belonging to the king and queen, of the Bridge of Pinos, which was pointed out to us on the previous day as the spot from whence Columbus, quite discouraged and brokenhearted, was recalled by Isabella, after having been denied and dismissed, as both supposed, for the last time. It was at this bridge that the messenger of the relenting queen overtook the great Pilot, and brought him back to arrange the expedition which resulted in the discovery of America. We had previously seen in the Alhambra the Hall of the Ambassadors, where the queen gave audience to Columbus, and now the jewel-box served more strongly to emphasize the historical association.

A visit in the environs of the city to a place bearing the Moorish name of Hinadamar should not be forgotten, nor should any traveler who finds himself in Granada neglect to go there. Here we were shown through the convent known as the Cartuja, which has been virtually abandoned since monastic rule in Spain was deposed. It is now in charge of civil officers of the government, and one service is held each week in the chapel. It is really wonderful in the minuteness and splendid finish of its ornamentation. Here is seen an endless amount of jasper, marble, ivory, ebony, and tortoise-shell, in the form of carved and inlaid work, curious beyond description. Most of theses ornamentations, as well as the paintings, were the work of brothers of the order, who must have spent half a life-time in their consummation. The cloisters are surrounded by a wretched series of life-size paintings in fresco of the mystic[Pg 329] type, also the work of brothers attached to the convent, representing Carthusians tormented by the English in the time of Henry VIII. But here and there was seen the work of an artistic hand shining out conspicuously above its surroundings. Apparently hanging high up on the bare wall of the sacristy is a large wooden cross, of such statuesque effect, so perfectly foreshortened and shaded, that it was difficult to believe it to be a painting, however carefully examined from the floor. The old sacristan told us that it was painted by a brother of the order named Juan Sanchez Cotan, who certainly had a painter's genius and a master's skill with the brush. Alonzo Cano has here one or two remarkable statuettes in marble, though we think of him rather as a painter than a sculptor. Some of the large pieces of variegated marble which form the base work, fonts, and tables of the chapel, are beautiful examples of the natural stone as quarried in the neighboring mountains. Indeed, larger, or finer agates cannot be found in Europe than those which ornament the Cartuja. In the natural veins of the large marbles the guide takes pleasure in suggesting likenesses to various objects, which, when once mentioned, easily form themselves to the imagination, as a wayward fancy sometimes depicts forms in the fleeting clouds at twilight.

There is a dearth of song-birds in Granada. We heard of, but not from, the nightingales in the sacred precincts of the Alhambra. Perhaps it was not the favored season, however, for this purpose. The people themselves are naturally musical and music-loving. Even the street-cries uttered by youthful and middle-aged vendors are rendered in such harmonious notes as to strike the ear agreeably. This was noticed in[Pg 330] Malaga, and also claimed our attention here. On the road one not infrequently meets some roughly-dressed muleteer at the head of his string of heavily-laden animals, caroling forth luscious notes in a fine tenor voice which a Brignoli might envy. A taste for music is born in the people, few of whom are too poor to own and play upon a guitar or some musical instrument. The only difference between Spain and Italy in this respect is that here one does not recognize the music, while in Italy we usually hear the strains of some familiar opera.

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Granada to Cordova.—An Antique City.—The Guadalquivir.—Old Roman Bridge.—The Grand Mosque-Cathedral of Cordova.—Court of Orange-Trees.—Army of Beggars.—From Cordova to Madrid.—Local Characteristics of the Capital.—The Gate of the Sun.—The King and Queen in Public.—The Royal Palace.—Spanish Ladies and Gentlemen.—The Fan.—The Picture-Gallery of Madrid.—National Sport of the Bull-Fight.—Cowardice!—Interesting Visit to the City of Toledo.—The Escurial.

The journey from Granada to Cordova covers a distance of about a hundred and twenty-five miles, and passes through a comparatively well-cultivated and interesting country, where the vine, the orange, and the lemon, together with the universal olive, are abundant and thrifty. The oil extracted from the latter product forms a large source of profit to the southern and middle provinces of Spain. The road, soon after starting, lay through a succession of valleys and lofty hills, rendering the construction of many tunnels and viaducts necessary. Occasionally we came out of one of these tunnels upon a broad prairie-like plain, where flocks of goats, sheep, and horned cattle, tended by herdsmen, were struggling to get a scanty subsistence from very unpromising fields. Not infrequently there came into view a pretty white hamlet of a score of dwellings, dominated by a rude castellated structure, and a square-towered church surmounted by a cross. Here and there were crumbling strongholds, monuments of the days when the Moors held sway over the land.

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At last we reached Cordova, where it seemed that something untoward must surely happen, as we were driven through the narrow, deserted, cobble-stoned streets in a hotel omnibus, the hubs of the wheels scraping the stone buildings on either side alternately. Nobody but Moors would have constructed such lanes and called them streets, though doubtless they aimed to exclude the intense heat of the sun's rays. The neatly white-washed houses, like those in Havana, have the lower windows all barred with iron, as if they were so many prisons, and fitted to keep people in or out, as the occupants might desire. Looking about us curiously it was natural to recall the slumber of Rip Van Winkle, and to wonder seriously if the place was destined ever to wake up. How any shops afford their proprietors a subsistence here is a marvel. The few to be seen had but one shutter down, the rest being rusty with disuse. There were a plenty of broad-brimmed hats with priests under them, a sure crop in Spain, but scarcely a citizen was to be seen, or aught else to be noticed, except a few rusty towers and antique fountains. Everything seemed impregnated with decay, more desolate than an actual ruin, because of its moth-eaten vitality, which left nothing to hope for. Plainly the only life in Cordova is that imported by curious travelers from abroad, who make pilgrimages hither to see its few historic monuments, and to behold a Herculaneum above ground.

We looked about us for specimens of the famous breed of Cordova horses, of whom poets have sung and kings were covetous. There were a few animals to be seen with fine manes and tails, with arching necks and lustrous coats, but their forms would not[Pg 333] compare with some neglected creatures whose blood showed through dirt and hard usage, at the Slave Market in Tangier. There may have been noble ancestors to these Cordova animals a thousand years ago, but they must have been crossed with mongrel races too many times to show good traces to-day.

This is one of the most ancient cities in the country, having been the capital of Moorish Spain a thousand years ago. The walls which still surround it are flanked by octagonal and square towers of Saracenic origin. From the ninth to the twelfth century it boasted a million inhabitants, and we read of its public library which contained six hundred thousand volumes. The present population cannot exceed forty or fifty thousand. Is it possible that this was once the largest city in the western world,—once the centre of European civilization? So at least history informs us. Not even one foundation of its three hundred mosques can be found to-day. Seneca and Lucan were born here before the time of Christ, and the guide rehearsed with voluble facility some other high-sounding names of historic fame who were natives of the place, but who were quite unfamiliar to us. When we pointed, however, to the broad, pale-yellow river crossed by the old Roman bridge, and asked its name, he replied: "The Guadalquivir," and the name rang softly on the ear like a strain of half-forgotten music. The old stone bridge, with its broad, irregular arches, was an object of much interest, and is, undoubtedly, with its two flanking towers, the oldest visible object in Cordova, though it was an important city in Cæsar's time. The bridge is about the sixteenth of a mile in length, and after two thousand years of battling with the elements is firm and[Pg 334] substantial still. Romans, Moors, and Spaniards have fiercely battled at its entrances, the tide of victory and of defeat sweeping again and again across its roadway, which has many times been made slippery with human blood. How often has it witnessed royal pageants, ecclesiastical parades, murderous personal conflicts, and how often been the rendezvous of lovers and of whispering groups of conspirators. Here have been enacted many vivid scenes in the long line of centuries. What a volume might that old bridge furnish of history and of romance! During our brief stay this spot was a favorite resort, usually supplementing our visits to the cathedral, which is near at hand. Leaning over its stone barriers, we watched the rapid stream which doubtless flows on just as it has done for twenty centuries. Palaces temples, towers, and shrines crumble, nations rise and fall, but the Guadalquivir still flows on. Just below the bridge, perhaps fifty yards away, are the ruins of an ancient Moorish grist-mill of stone, forming a strikingly picturesque object, in its shattered condition, amid the foaming rapids.

We visited a museum of antiquities, but it was in a dark, inappropriate building, gloomy and cobwebby, smothered in dust and obscurity; so out of the way, indeed, that it was difficult to find, and our guide was obliged to inquire where the institution was! The traveler may conscientiously omit a visit to the blind alley which contains the Museum of Antiquities at Cordova. The guide, by the way, we found much more intent upon selling us Spanish lace than anxious to impart desirable local information. To be a good guide, as Izaak Walton says of anglers and poets, a man must be born so.

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The one great and nearly unrivaled interest of Cordova is its cathedral, an architectural wonder, erected some sixteen centuries since, and hallowed by age and historical associations. Beautiful are its still remaining thousand and one interior supporting columns, composed of porphyry, jasper, granite, alabaster, verd-antique, and marble of various colors. Think of that vandal Charles V. destroying two hundred of them: he who was capable of tearing down a portion of the Alhambra to make room for his barrack of a palace! Each of the columns upholds a small pilaster, and between them is a horse-shoe arch, no two columns being precisely alike,—as they came from Greece, Rome, Constantinople, Damascus, Africa, and some are said to have come from the Temple at Jerusalem, as also from Pæstum and Cumæ. All the then known world was put under contribution to furnish this wonderful temple. The great mosque was changed into a cathedral after the expulsion of the Arabs; but a large portion of the interior is untouched, and remains as it was when the caliphs worshiped here. We felt oppressed by a sensation of gloom wandering amid the dark forest of pillars. It is, and always will be, a mosque, as characteristic and typical as the most marked shrine in the East. The Holy of Holies, as sacred to the Spanish Arabians as Mecca to those of the East, has been preserved intact, and is by far the most interesting portion of the structure. Here all the original lace-like ornamentation is entirely undisturbed, and looks as though it were a hall taken bodily out of the Alhambra. The Moslem pilgrims from far and near came to this spot, and walked seven times round it, the marble pavement being[Pg 336] visibly worn by the bare knees of devout Mussulmans.

Just outside of this large alcove, which is very similar to a side chapel in a modern cathedral, there was pointed out to us the finest piece of mosaic in the world. It originally came from Constantinople, and was the gift of the Emperor Romanus II. It contains, in accordance with the Moslem faith, no representation of any living thing; but is perfection in its graceful vines, leaves, and scroll work. The deep glowing colors, crimson and green dominating, are as bright to-day as when it first came, perhaps two thousand years ago, from the artist's hand. It recalled the contemporary productions exhumed at Pompeii, and now to be seen in the Museum at Naples. These latter however, as we remember them, are neither so large nor so choice as this masterpiece in the Cordova Mosque. The cathedral, as a whole, has been pronounced by experienced travelers to be the greatest architectural curiosity in Europe. It is a strange conglomerate and jumble of incongruities, half-Christian, half-Saracenic, reminding one strongly of the Church of St. Mark at Venice,—having, like that remarkable structure, borrowed many of its columns and ornaments from the far East. Inside and out it is gloomy, massive, and frowning, forming the most remarkable link between the remote past and the present existing in Spain. It appears to be nearly as large upon the ground as St. Peter's at Rome, and contains fifty separate chapels within its capacious walls. It has, in its passage through the several dynasties of Roman, Moorish, and Spanish rule, received distinctive architectural marks from each. Its large, cool court of [Pg 337]orange-trees, centuries old; its battlemented wall and huge gateway; its famous fountains and its mingled palms and tall cypresses, all combine to perfect a picture suggestive of the dead and buried races connected with its history.

This famous court-yard is of scarcely less interest than the interior of the great Cathedral-Mosque itself. It has at each end a colonnade of marble pillars supporting circular arches, and the grounds are broad and spacious. Here a battalion of professional beggars were drawn up in battle array as we entered, numbering fifty or sixty of both sexes, and of all ages. The poor creatures formed both a pitiable and a picturesque group, composed of the lame, the halt, and the blind. On the greensward just back of them, under the shade of the dark-leaved orange-trees, played troops of careless children, who had been sent here by their parents to beg, but had forgotten their vocation. Sitting on the stone bench, which surrounds the outside walls of the mosque, were little groups of hale and hearty men, playing cards and smoking; while others, stretched at full length upon the ground, slept just where the dancing sunlight pierced the leaves and branches of the trees and mottled their faces with its shimmering rays. Idleness is the general business of Cordova. What a strange, weird aspect the deep shades assumed beneath the graceful palms and slender cypresses. The Babel of pleading tongues from the beggars, the merry voices of the laughing children, the angry dispute of some card players, and the cool business-like aspect of the priests shuffling about the corridors, while a little confusing was still impressive.

The best dwelling-houses in Cordova are built upon[Pg 338] the Moorish model; that is, they have a central court or garden, visible from the street entrance, which is adorned with trees, flowers, and fountains, usually guarded by an iron gate and an inner glass door. The domestic life of the family centres here, where in summer a broad canvas is drawn over the top, and the meals are taken underneath in the open air. We saw, late in March, orange and lemon-trees blooming in these areas, as well as Bengal monthly and common white roses, tea-roses, verbenas, tiger-lilies, carnations, and scarlet geraniums. Neither the palm nor the orange will grow without shelter in this part of Spain,—the north winds being too cold and piercing,—except by artificial culture. Spain is almost a treeless country, her immense olive orchards serving but partially to redeem the barren aspect of the southern and middle districts. In the orange court of the Grand Mosque, the lofty old Moorish wall forms a protecting screen. The Alameda of Cordova must be quite denuded of foliage in winter, exposed as it is to the north winds and frosty nights. It is a short but very broad thoroughfare, with a tree-lined promenade through its centre, like that at Malaga, but it seemed singularly out of place in a city so utterly void of life and animation.

Spain is a country of beggars, but in this ancient town one is actually beset by them. Travelers, stopping at the same hotel with us, abbreviated their stay in the city on account of this great annoyance. As far as one can judge, these people have no pressing reason for begging. It has become a habit, and strangers are importuned as a matter of course. Cannot the priests do something to mitigate this great evil? In Spain evidence is not lacking to show that[Pg 339] the Roman Catholic faith inspires deep religious sentiment, but without religious principle. The more blindly ignorant the masses of the people are, the greater is the influence of the priesthood. Not one of the famous Spanish cathedrals but has within its vaults so-called sacred treasures of great amount, in gold and silver plate and other material, the intrinsic value of which in each instance large, being aggregated, would furnish a sum nearly large enough to liquidate the national debt. At Toledo, for instance, the mantle called the Robe of the Virgin is covered with precious stones, so large and choice that its value has been estimated at a million of Spanish dollars; and this is but one item of value stored in that rich church. So at Malaga, Seville, Cordova, and Burgos, not to name other places of which we can speak with less personal knowledge, each is a small Golconda of riches, yet the common people starve. A horde of priests, altogether out of proportion to the necessities of the case from any point of view, are kept up, the most useless of non-producers, and whence comes their support but from this very poverty-burdened mass of the common people? When Philip II. was told of the destruction of the great Spanish Armada, which had cost a hundred million ducats, he only said: "I thank God for having given me the means of bearing such a loss without embarrassment, and power to fit out another fleet of equal size!" And yet there were starving millions in Spain at that time as there are to-day.

From Cordova to Madrid is nearly three hundred miles, the first half of which distance we passed over in the daytime, lightening the journey by enjoyment of the pleasing scenery and local peculiarities. Though[Pg 340] it was quite early in the spring, still the fields were verdant and full of promise. More than once a gypsy camp was passed by the side of some cross-road, presenting the usual domestic group, mingled with animals, covered carts, lazy men stretched on the greensward, and busy women cooking the evening meal. Long strings of mules, with wide-spread panniers, came winding across the plain, sometimes in charge of a woman clad in gaudy colors, while her lazy husband thrummed a guitar, lying across one of the mules. Towards evening groups of peasants, male and female, with farming tools in their hands, were seen wending their steps towards some hamlet after the day's labor. Arched stone bridges, old and moss-grown, came into view, spanning small water-courses, on their way from the mountains to join more pretentious streams. Elevated spots often showed the ruins of the old stone towers, once a part of some feudal stronghold, but the eye sought in vain for well-wooded slopes or thrifty groves; and yet, strange to say, the song-birds which we had missed further south, in Andalusia and at Granada, put in an appearance as we came north, cheering us with their soft trilling notes in the amber sunshine that radiated about the small railroad stations. Some of these depots were rendered attractive and pretty by nicely arranged flower-beds and a few trees, imparting a home-like appearance. The ever-varying scenery kept mind and eyes busy, until by and by Night dropped her mantle over the face of nature, and with the darkness came a cool and nipping air. Then followed two hundred miles of tedious night travel, with no convenience for sleeping, except such as one could obtain sitting bolt upright, so that when daylight[Pg 341] and Madrid arrived together, we were ready to welcome them both.

Why Charles V. should have made his capital on the spot now occupied by Madrid it is difficult to understand—though writers suppose a half a dozen reasons—except that it is the geographical centre of Spain. Eight or nine hundred years ago it was a fortified outpost of Toledo, "imperial" Toledo. It is hemmed in on all sides by arid plains, and has an adjacent river, so-called, but which in America would be known as a dry gulch. If there is any special benefit to be derived from a waterless river, we have yet to learn its character. Like the Arno at Florence, it is troubled with a chronic thirst; in short, the Manzanares has the form of a river without the circulation. In the days of Charles II. its dry bed was turned into a sort of race-course and drive-way, but since the completion of the Prado it has been abandoned for even this purpose. Though Madrid is situated between two and three thousand feet above the level of the sea, it does not seem to possess the advantages usually following such a position, the climate being scorchingly hot in summer and piercingly cold in winter. Thus, in point of climate and location, the Spanish capital seems to be a mistake.

As Madrid was built when the age of cathedrals had passed, it has none within its borders, though there is no lack of modern churches; but it is a large and fine city, with some four hundred thousand inhabitants. It is not noticeable, like Genoa, Rome, and Florence, for palaces and ancient monuments; but it is well laid out; the streets are broad and nicely paved; while numerous squares ornament the city, filled with attractive shrubbery, fountains, and [Pg 342]statues. Among the latter we recall those of Murillo, Philip III., Cervantes, Lopez de Vega, Philip V., Calderon, and others. The finest statue in the city, to our taste, is that of Philip IV., representing the monarch as on horseback, the animal in a prancing position,—a wonderfully life-like bronze, designed by Velasquez and cast by Pietro Tacca at Florence. It forms the centre of the Plaza del Oriente, directly in front of the royal palace, from which it is separated, however, by a broad thoroughfare. According to history, Galileo showed how the true balance of the horse could be sustained in its remarkable position, the whole weight of rider and animal resting on the hind legs. On the Prado, the grand public drive of the citizens, there are fine marble statues and groups, combined with fountains, representative of Neptune, Apollo, and Cybele.

The Puerto del Sol is the Place del 'Opera of Madrid, always full of sparkle, life, and color, radiating from which there are a dozen large streets with two or three broad boulevards. Here all the lines of tramways meet and diverge, and the congregated fashionable idlers of the town hold high carnival daily and nightly. Our windows overlooked the Puerto del Sol (the Gate of the Sun), where the whirl of carriages, the rush of pedestrians, the passing of military bands with marching regiments, equestrians; priests decked out in church paraphernalia, preceded by smoking incense, burning candles, etc., bound to some death-bed; itinerant peddlers, and news-vendors, each hastening on some individual purpose, made the plaza a scene of incessant movement from early morning until midnight. Like Paris and Vienna, Madrid does not seem to awake until evening, and the tide of[Pg 343] life becomes the most active under the glare of gas-lights which are as numerous at midnight as the fireflies that float over a sugar plantation. The fine shops surrounding this brilliant square, which is the real geographical heart of Madrid, are more Parisian than Spanish. The large plate-glass windows present a tempting array of jewelry, laces, silver-ware and rich fancy goods, in a style and of a quality that would do no discredit to the Rue de la Paix or the Boulevard des Italiens. Indeed, it is mostly French people who keep these shops, and there is a manifest tendency of the upper classes to adopt French manners, customs, and language. Paris serves as a model to Madrid in all matters relating to fashionable life. There is a large fountain and mammoth basin of water in the centre of the square, a stream being forced to a height of fifty or sixty feet, in a graceful column, night and day, the effect of which is heightened by the brilliant array of gas-lights. The sidewalks are here at least forty feet wide, upon which, in business hours, many merchants are accustomed to meet for the discussing of affairs, and to gossip before the several hotels which front on the plaza.

Speaking of the fountain in the Puerto del Sol recalls the fact that the citizens owe it to the energy and skill of foreign engineers that they enjoy the luxury of an ample supply of good water; and foreign engineers are doing or have done the same thing for other Spanish cities, though, in fact, only restoring the ancient supplies first constructed by the quick-witted Moors, and wantonly permitted to crumble into ruin by the Spaniards. They are not sufficiently enterprising or progressive to originate any such scheme for the public good. They even dislike the railroads,[Pg 344] though they are compelled to use them; dislike them because they force them to observe punctuality, the native instinct being of the Chinese school, retrospective and retrograding. Everything is exotic in Madrid; nothing is produced in or near the city which its daily consumption demands. Strawberries, butter, cheese, fruits, meats, each comes from some special region far away to this human hive located in the desert. The city adds to its other drawbacks that of being very unwholesome as a residence, and would die out from natural causes if its population were not constantly renewed from the several provinces. There is a native proverb to the effect that so subtle is the air of Madrid, it kills a man but does not put out a candle. Why it is so unhealthy a place, especially for strangers, it is impossible to say. The same extreme difference between the sunshine and the shade is here realized which one experiences at Nice, Mentone, and Naples. The air seemed pure and clear enough during our two weeks' stay, but every one admitted its very unwholesome character. When the breeze swept down from the snowy Guadarrama, it cut like a knife, but that was a condition of temperature which one could guard against, not an atmospheric impurity. If Madrid were surrounded by and ornamented with trees, like Wiesbaden or Baden-Baden, it might prove a favorable sanitary measure, besides adding so much to its beauty. In Paris, Rome, or Venice, fires are not common in domestic living rooms, except in extremes of weather; but at Madrid, if the day is cool and damp, the cheerful, warmth-diffusing fire is lighted and regarded as a necessity.

The king and queen of Spain passed through the[Pg 345] Puerto del Sol in an open carriage nearly every afternoon during our stay, attended by half a dozen outriders, and drawn by four superb horses; for Alfonso's royal stable, as we can testify, is justly celebrated. The king rides with his hat in his hand in response to the ceaseless recognitions of respect by the people, who, however, never cheer him, and yet he appears to be fairly popular with the masses. He has seemed thus far to follow rather than to lead public sentiment, perhaps realizing the precarious nature of his seat upon the throne; remembering that the nation has a rather erratic manner of changing its rulers when displeased with them. He is quite youthful in appearance. The queen, though by no means handsome, has a pleasing face, and is represented to be of a very amiable character. It will be remembered that his first wife, Mercedes, died while yet a bride, at the age of eighteen, much regretted and much beloved. Alfonso has, in a few public instances, shown a progressive and enlightened spirit; but were he to permit himself to be demonstrative in this direction, he would not be supported either by his councillors or the public, who are imbued with the true Castilian dormancy even in this nineteenth century. He has undertaken, out of his private purse, to restore many decaying monuments of the country, and is noticeably spending money freely for this purpose, not only in Cordova, but also at Toledo, Madrid, and Burgos.

On the occasions when the king and queen drove out, the royal carriage was generally attended by a second, in which was ex-empress Isabella, at the time on a visit to the royal palace, though she makes her home at present in Paris. She is fat, dowdy, and vulgar in appearance, with features indicative of [Pg 346]sensuousness and indulgence in coarse appetites. The last time we saw her was in the Puerto del Sol, as she rode in a carriage behind the royal vehicle, with a lady companion by her side, to whom she was talking very earnestly, accompanying her words with the most energetic and emphatic gesticulation of the right forefinger. The more we heard of this woman, the less we could respect her; and yet we were told by intelligent natives that she is to-day very popular in Madrid, much more so than in other parts of the country. If this is true, it is only a reflection upon the moral instincts of the people themselves. The royal palace is located upon a slightly rising site, and is so isolated as to give full effect to its fine architecture and excellent general design. It is the only building of a remarkable character, architecturally, in the city; which, for a European capital, is in this respect very ordinary and plain. The Madrid palace is undoubtedly the largest and finest in Europe, and belongs to the Tuscan style. It cost between five and six millions of dollars a hundred years ago. The base is granite, but the upper portion is built of a fine white stone, closely resembling marble. The royal family being at home, as well as the ex-queen being there, we could not visit the palace, but were told of its interior magnificence, by those familiar with it. It contains a rich chapel, library, and theatre, with a remarkably beautiful collection of tapestries. The throne room is said to be gorgeous and its ornaments of lavish cost. In the absence of the royal occupants, strangers are admitted under proper auspices.

The Prado is to Madrid what the Champs Elysées and the Bois de Boulogne are to Paris,—a splendid avenue, through the centre of which runs a [Pg 347]continuous walk and garden, with elaborate stone fountains, somewhat similar to the Unter den Linden of Berlin, or Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, save that it is more extensive than either. The Prado nearly joins the Public Garden on the borders of the city, in which there are also fine carriage drives, roadways for equestrians, many delightful shaded walks, and paths lined with flowers, myrtles, groves, and sweet-leaved hedges, intermingled with fountains, lakes, arbors, refreshment houses, etc. On Sundays and fête days these grounds are thronged with citizens and their families for out-door enjoyment, riding, and driving. Here also several military bands are distributed, adding to the accumulated attractions. There is a certain dignity and appearance of refinement observable among the gentlemen one meets on the Prado and in the streets, but we look in vain for the traditional sombrero, which has been superseded by the conventional stove-pipe hat; while the graceful Spanish cloak has given way to the stiff European body overcoat. The Spanish ladies, with their large black eyes and dark olive complexions, are generally quite handsome, but they rouge, and powder, and paint their faces in a lavish manner. Indeed, they seem to go further in this direction than do the Parisians, obviously penciling eyes and eyebrows,—an addition which their brunette complexion requires least of all. With the public actress this resort is admissible, where effects are necessary to be produced for distant spectators in large audiences; but in daily life even custom does not rob it of its inevitable aspect of vulgarity. True, all nations resort to such artifices, more or less, especially in southern Europe. The Chinese ladies carry the practice of[Pg 348] painting their faces so far as to amount to caricature; and if the Japanese ladies do not so generally follow the example, they do blacken their teeth, which one must confess is more objectionable still. In these faithful notes it must be admitted that even the Japanese ladies paint cheeks and lips with such a tinge of vermilion as is thought to be becoming, and enamel their faces and necks. This, however, it must be remembered is before marriage. After that relationship has taken place, as has before been intimated, it becomes the ridiculous practice of every Japanese wife to render herself as unattractive as possible, forgetting that she is thus liable to become as disagreeable in the eyes of her husband as in those of other people.

The Spanish lady, like her Japanese sister, is a great devotee to the fan, and neither are ever seen abroad in full dress without this conspicuous accompaniment. The importance of this article of female requirement is fully recognized at Madrid, where many stores are devoted solely to its manufacture and sale; while artists give much time and genius to their elaborate ornamentation, the prices ranging from a few shillings to ten doubloons. The indispensable veil, covering more or less head, neck, and face, would prove but a poor substitute for the dainty French bonnet on the Parisian boulevards; but in Castilian atmosphere it is as appropriate and becoming as the florid-colored plumage of birds in the tropics. There is a certain harmony between the dark, smooth skin, the glossy raven hair, the long, dark lashes, the blue veins of the temples, and the national head-dress of the Spanish ladies, which gratifies the artistic eye. Ah! if the mind in those lovely[Pg 349] women were but as noble as their faces! Unfortunately, perhaps, their very beauty makes their defects the more conspicuous. Ermine must be spotless.

In her splendid art collection of the Museo, the city has a treasure only equaled by the Louvre at Paris and the galleries at Florence. To artists, it is the one attraction of Madrid, and is principally composed of works by the Spanish masters, though also containing many other gems. Here we find forty-four examples of Murillo, sixty-four from Velasquez, sixty by Rubens, twenty-five from Paul Veronese, thirty-four from Tintoretto, and many from Andrea del Sarto, Titian, Vandyke, Goya, Ribera, and others of similar artistic fame, in such profusion as to be a constant source of surprise to the stranger. Here one is sure to meet, daily, intelligent Americans, French, Italians, and English, but very rarely Spaniards. It is believed that Murillo appears at his best in this collection. Being a native of Seville, he is in a measure seen at home; and artists declare that his work shows more of light, power, and expression here than anywhere outside of the Museo. So we go to Antwerp to appreciate Rubens, though we find him so ably and fully represented elsewhere. Velasquez cannot be fairly judged outside the Madrid gallery. He also was at home here, and his paintings are not only the most numerous, but are decidedly his best. The arrangement of the pictures of the Museo is severely criticised; some of the best are hung too high, while those one does not care to study, or scarcely to see at all, have been accorded the best lines in the gallery. There seems to be no system observed; the hangings are frequently altered, and the printed catalogue is thus rendered of very little[Pg 350] use. The building itself is a large and admirable structure, well adapted to the purpose, quite worthy to contain the choice art treasures beneath its roof. When the French were masters in Spain they proved to be terrible iconoclasts, leaving marks of their devastation nearly everywhere in one form or another. Not content with stealing many unequaled works of art of priceless value, they often wantonly destroyed what it was impossible to carry away. In the tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella, at Granada, it will be remembered they pried open the royal coffins in search of treasure. At Seville they broke open the coffin of Murillo, and scattered his ashes to the wind. Marshal Soult treated the ashes of Cervantes in a similar manner. War desecrates all things, human and divine; but sometimes becomes a Nemesis, dispensing poetical justice, as when Waterloo caused the return to Spain of a portion of her despoiled art-treasures.

The bull-fight is very properly called the national sport of Spain, and, we are sorry to add, is typical of the natural cruelty of her people. It was the opening exhibition of the season which was advertised to take place during the first week of our stay in the city, and it was announced for Sunday afternoon, the day usually selected for these occasions; but as it proved to be rainy it was postponed to the following Thursday. The bull-ring of the capital is said to contain seating capacity for eighteen thousand persons; and yet such was the demand for tickets of admission, that it was a work of some hours to procure them at all, and only consummated finally at a considerable premium. Our seats were near to those of the royal party, consisting of the king, queen, and ex-queen Isabella, with a number of ladies and gentlemen of[Pg 351] the household. The easy and graceful manners of the queen were in strong contrast to the arrogant and vulgar style of Isabella, whose character is so dark a stain upon Spanish royalty. Every seat of the large circular theatre was occupied. Open to the sky, it was not unlike what the Coliseum of Rome must have been in its glory, and held an audience, we should judge, of over seventeen thousand. Nearly all classes were represented, for a Spaniard must be poor indeed who cannot find a dollar to pay his way into the bull-ring. The better seats were occupied by ladies and gentlemen, the lower priced ones by the masses,—both sexes being fully represented in each class of seats. Those located on the east and southerly sides are covered to protect the grandees, while the masses sitting in the sun hold fans or paper screens before their eyes.

There was a cold, murderous, business-like aspect to all the arrangements, and everything, however repulsive to strangers, was taken by the audience at large quite as a matter of course. The immense crowd were not very noisy or demonstrative, contenting themselves with smoking and chatting together. It was curious and interesting, while waiting for the commencement of the performance, to study the features of the audience, and watch their earnest gesticulations; for the Spaniards, like the Italians, talk with their whole bodies,—hands, arms, head, trunk, and all. The ladies, as usual, were each supplied with that prime necessity, a fan; and it is astonishing what a weapon of coquetry it becomes in the delicate hands of a Spanish beauty. Its coy archness is beyond comparison, guided by the pliant wrist of the owner, concealing or revealing her eloquent glances[Pg 352] and features. With her veil and her fan, a Spanish woman is armed cap-â-pie, and in Cupid's warfare becomes irresistible.

The author had seen the cruelty of the bull-ring exhibited years ago in the Spanish West Indies, yet to visit Madrid, the headquarters of all things Spanish, and not to witness the national sport, would have been a serious omission; and therefore, suppressing a strong sense of distaste, the exhibition was attended. The hateful cruelty of the bull-ring has been too often and too graphically described to require from us the unwelcome task. Suffice it to say we saw six powerful and courageous bulls killed, who, in their brave self-defense, disemboweled and killed thirteen horses. No man was seriously injured, though several were dismounted, and others run over by the enraged bulls in headlong career across the arena. The picadores were mounted on poor hacks, since the fate of the horse that entered the ring was as certain as that of the bull himself. The banderilleros and chulos, who took part in the combat on foot, were fine looking, active young fellows; and the matadores, who performed the final act of killing the bull single-handed, were as a rule older and more experienced men. It must be a practiced hand that gives the last thrust to the many-times wounded and nearly exhausted creature, who will always fight to the very last gasp.

The matadore is regarded as quite a hero by the masses of the people, receiving a princely remuneration for his services. He holds his head very high among his associates. One of these matadores was long the disgraceful favorite of Queen Isabella. We came away from this exhibition more than ever [Pg 353]convinced of the cowardly character of the game. The requisite, on the part of the much lauded bull-fighter, is not courage but cunning. He knows full well when the bull is so nearly exhausted as to render his final attack upon him quite safe. A dozen against one, twelve armed men against one animal, who has the protection only of his horns and his stout courage. The death of the bull is sure from the moment he enters the ring, but the professional fighters are rarely hurt, though often very much frightened. Another most shameful part of the game is the introduction of poor, broken-down horses, who have yet strength and spirit enough to faithfully obey their rider, and so rush forward regardless of the horns of the bull, which will surely disembowel and lay them dead upon the field. The matadore who finally faces the bull single-handed, to give him the coup-de-grace with his Toledo blade, does not do so until the animal has struggled with his other tormentors nearly to the last gasp, is weak from the loss of blood, and his strength exhausted by a long and gallant fight, so that he already staggers and is nearly blind with accumulated torments. The poor creature is but a sorry victim for the fresh, well-armed, practiced butcher, who comes to give him the finishing stroke. We would emphasize the remark that the whole game of the bull-ring is, on the part of the chulos, picadores, and matadores, a shameful exhibition not only of the most disgraceful cruelty but also of consummate cowardice.

Black is the almost universal color worn by ladies and gentlemen in public. Parisian fashions as to cut and material are very generally adopted; and, as has been intimated, the French model is paramount in all things. A business resident remarked to us[Pg 354] that the French language was becoming so universal that it absolutely threatened to supersede the native tongue. Bonnets are worn in walking and driving; but at the bull-fight, the concert-room, and the theatre the national lace head-dress is still tenaciously and becomingly adhered to. In manners the better class of Spaniards are extremely courteous, and always profuse in their offers of services, though it is hardly to be expected that their generosity will be put to the test. Gentlemen will smoke in the ladies' faces in the street, the corridors, cafés, cars, anywhere, apparently not being able to comprehend that it may be offensive. Even in the dining-rooms of the hotels, the cigar or cigarette is freely lighted, and smoked with the coffee while ladies are present. In short, tobacco seems to be a necessity to the average Spaniard, both sleeping and waking, for they smoke in bed also. Perhaps this apparent obtuseness on the part of gentlemen arises from the well-known fact that many of the ladies themselves indulge in the cigarette, though rarely in public. The writer has more than once seen the practice as exhibited in popular cafés whither both sexes resorted. At the bull-ring many of the common class of women had cigarettes between their lips.

Sunday is an acknowledged gala-day in Madrid, though the attendance upon early mass is very general, especially among the women. It is here, as at Paris and other European capitals, the chosen day for military parades, horse-races, and the bull-fight. Most of the shops are open and realize a profitable business, and especially is this the case with those devoted to the sale of cigars, liquors, fancy goods, and the cafés: with them it is the busiest day of the[Pg 355] whole week. The lottery ticket vendor makes a double day's work on this occasion, and the itinerant gamblers, with portable stands, have crowds about their tables wherever they locate. The flower-girls, with dainty little baskets, rich in color and captivating in fragrance, press buttonhole bouquets on the pedestrians, and, shall we whisper it? make appointments with susceptible cavaliers; while men perambulate the streets with bon-bons displayed upon cases hung from their necks; in short, Sunday is made a fête day, when grandees and beggars complacently come forth like marching regiments into the Puerto del Sol. The Prado and public gardens are thronged with gayly-dressed people, children, and nurses,—the costume of the latter got up in the most theatrical style, with broad red or blue ribbons hanging down behind from their snow-white caps, and sweeping the very ground at their heels. No one stays within doors on Sunday in Madrid, and all Europe loves the out-door sunshine.

We have said that the Spanish capital was deficient in buildings of architectural pretension. This is quite true; but the country is rich in the character of her monuments, possessing one order of architecture elsewhere little known. Our guide called it very appropriately the Morisco style, which has grown out of the combination of Moorish and Christian art. The former attained, during the Middle Ages, as great importance in Spain as in the East. This is, perhaps, more clearly manifested in Andalusia than elsewhere; here its harmony is presented in many brilliant examples and combinations. The greatest wealth of the country is to be found in its historic monuments, its well-defined Roman period being [Pg 356]especially rich in architectural remains; and, as to cathedrals, nowhere else are they to be found so richly and superbly endowed.

The cars took us to Toledo, a distance of about forty miles, in an hour and a half, landing us in a strange, old place, the very embodiment of antiquity, and the capital of Gothic Spain. Here let us drop a hint gained by experience. If the reader makes the excursion to Toledo from Madrid, he will most probably start early in the morning and get back late at night, as one day in the place will afford all the time absolutely necessary to visit and enjoy its most notable objects. A prepared luncheon basket should be taken from Madrid. This will obviate the necessity of encountering the dirt, unsavory food, and extortion of the fifth-rate hotels of Toledo. It has been said that banditti have been suppressed in Spain; perhaps so, on the public roads. It may be they have gone into the hotel business, as a safer and less conspicuous mode of robbing travelers. At Toledo the rule of the Moor is seen in foot-prints no time can obliterate, and to visit which is like the realization of a mediæval dream. The sombre streets are strangely winding, irregular, and steep; the reason for constructing them thus was, doubtless, that they might be the more easily defended when attacked by a foreign enemy. In the days of her prime, Toledo saw many battles, both inside and outside of her gates. One can touch the houses of these streets on both sides at the same time, by merely extending the arms.

There are scores of deserted buildings locked up, the heavy gates studded with great, protruding, iron-headed nails, while the lower windows are closely[Pg 357] iron-grated. These houses have paved entrances, leading to open areas, or courts, with galleries around them, upon which the various rooms open. The galleries are of carved and latticed wood, generally in good preservation, but the main structure is of stone, most substantially built, everything testifying to their Moorish origin. Some of these houses, once palaces, are now used for storage purposes; some for business warehouses, manufactories, and carpenters' shops. One would suppose, in such a dull, sleepy, dormant place, that the streets would be grass-grown; but there is no grass. Yet between the loosely-fitting slabs of stone pavement, here and there, little fresh flowers, of some unknown species, struggled up into a pale, fragile existence, with stems white in place of green, showing the absence of sunlight, so necessary to both human and vegetable life. They had no fragrance, these stray children from Flora's kingdom, but looked very much like forget-me-nots, reminding one of the little flower which sprung up through the hard pavement of Picciola's prison. Dilapidation is written everywhere in this Oriental atmosphere. The Moors of Morocco still believe that they will yet be restored to the Spanish home of their ancestors, and the keys of these Toledo houses have been handed down from generation to generation as emblems of their rights, tokens which were pointed out to us at Tangier; but not, until we had visited Toledo, was the idea which they involved fully appreciated. One cannot but realize a certain respect for the Moors, while wandering among these scenes of the long-buried past. Whatever may have been their failings, they must have contrasted favorably with the present occupants, who seem strangely out of place. In those[Pg 358] ancient days the city contained a quarter of a million of inhabitants; to-day it has barely fifteen thousand. The river Tagus almost surrounds Toledo, and is not, like the Manzanares, merely a dry ditch, but a full, rapid, rushing river.

The cathedral at Toledo is its most prominent object of interest, and has a deservedly high fame; while clustering about it, in the very heart of the old place, are many churches, convents, and palaces,—though a large share of them are untenanted, and as silent as the tomb. But before entering the cathedral we visited the Alcazar, formerly a royal palace of Charles V., and now the West Point of Spain, where her sons are educated for the army. Under the Moors, ten centuries ago, it was a fortress, then a palace, now an academy, capable of accommodating six hundred pupils. The view from the Alcazar, which dominates the entire city, is vast and impressive, the building itself being also the first object seen from a distance when one is approaching Toledo. It is upon a bleak height. As you come out of the broad portals of the Alcazar (Al-casa-zar, the czar's house), you walk to the edge of the precipitous rock upon which it stands, and contemplate the view across the far-reaching plain, gloomy and desolate, while at the base of the rock rushes past the rapid Tagus. This whole valley, now so dead and silent, once teemed with a dense population, and sent forth armies, and fought great battles, in the days of the Goths. The cathedral is visited by architects from all parts of Europe and America, solely as a professional study. It is a remarkably fine sample of the Gothic order, which Coleridge called petrified religion, and exhibits in all its parts that great [Pg 359]achievement of the art, entire harmony of design and execution; while the richness of its ornamentation and its artistic wealth, not to mention, in detail, its gold and silver plate, make it the rival of most other cathedrals in the world, with the possible exception of that at Burgos. Its size is vast, with a tower reaching three hundred feet heavenward, and the interior having five great naves, divided by over eighty lofty columns. It is said to contain more stained-glass windows than any other cathedral that was ever built. The effect of the clear morning light, as imparted to the interior through this great surface of delicately-tinted glass, is remarkably beautiful. The high altar, a marvel of splendid workmanship and minute detail, is yet a little confusing, from the myriads of statues, groups, emblems, columns, gilding, and ornaments generally; but it seems to be the purpose of most of these Roman Catholic churches to turn the altars into a species of museum. Guides are always plentifully supplied with marvelous legends for travelers; and ours, on this occasion, simply bristled all over with them as regarded this church. One of these, which he persisted in pouring into our unbelieving ears, was to the effect that, when the cathedral was completed and dedicated, so perfect was it found to be that the Virgin descended bodily to visit it, and to express, by her presence, her entire satisfaction!

Toledo stands there upon the boldest promontory of the Tagus,—a dead and virtually deserted city. Coveted by various conquerors, she has been besieged more than twenty times; so that the river beneath the walls has often flowed red with human gore, where it is spanned by the graceful bridge of Alcantara. Phœnicians, Romans, Goths, Moors, and[Pg 360] Christians, all have fought for and have possessed, for a greater or less period, the castle-crowned city. Its story is written in letters scarlet with blood and dark with misery; illustrating Irving's idea that history is but a kind of Newgate calendar, a register of the crimes and miseries that man has inflicted on his fellow-man. Only the skeleton of a once great and thriving capital remains. It has no commerce and but one industry,—the manufacture of arms and sword-blades,—which gives occupation to a couple of hundred souls, hardly more. The coming and going of visitors from other lands gives it a little flutter of daily life, like a fitful candle blazing up for a moment and then dying down in the socket, making darkness only the more visible by contrast. The once celebrated sword factory was found to be of little interest, though we were told that better blades are manufactured here to-day than in olden time, when it won such repute in this special line. So well are these blades tempered, that it is possible to bend them like a watch spring without breaking them. In looking at the present condition of this once famous seat of industry and power, recalling her arts, manufactures, and commerce, it must be remembered that outside of the immediate walls, which form the citadel, as it were, of a large and extended population, were over forty thriving towns and villages, located in the valley of the Tagus, under the shadow of her wing. These communities and their homes have all disappeared,—pastures and fields of grain covering their dust from the eyes of the curious traveler. The narrow, silent, doleful streets of the old city, with its overhanging roofs and yawning arches, leave a sad memory on the brain, as we turn away from its crumbling walls and antique Moorish gates.

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An excursion of thirty-five miles, to a station of the same name, took us from Madrid to the Escurial, which the Spaniards in their egotism call the eighth wonder of the world. This vast pile of buildings, composed entirely of granite, and as uniform as a military barrack, is nearly a mile in circumference,—tomb, palace, cathedral, monastery, one and all combined. The wilderness selected as the site of the structure shows about as little reason as does that of the locality of Madrid; utter barrenness and want of human or vegetable life are its most prominent characteristics. Here, however, are congregated a vast number of curious and interesting objects, while the place is redolent of vivid historical associations. One of the first objects shown us here was the tomb of Mercedes, the child-wife of the present king; also, in a deep octagonal vault, the sepulchres of some thirty royal individuals, kings and mothers of kings. Among them were Philip II., Philip V., Ferdinand VI., Charles V., etc. The niche occupied by Philip IV. attracted special notice from the fact that the eccentric monarch, during his life-time, often seated himself here to listen to mass, an idea more singular than reverential. The coffin of Charles V. was opened so late as 1871, during the visit of the Emperor of Brazil, when the face of the corpse was found to be entire,—eyebrows, hair, and all, though black and shriveled. The last burial here was that of Ferdinand VII. This octagon vault is called the Pantheon of the Escurial; but it is nothing more than a theatrical show room: nothing could be more inappropriate. While we were in Madrid, ex-queen Isabella visited the vault,—her own last resting-place being already designated herein,—and caused[Pg 362] mass to be performed while she kneeled among the coffins, as Philip IV. was accustomed to do. She does this once a year, at the hour of midnight, but why that period is chosen we do not know.

A room adjoining the church, close beside the altar, is shown to the visitor, where that prince of bigots, Philip II., passed the last days and hours of his life. It is a scantily furnished apartment, with no upholstery, hard chairs, and bare wooden tables; with a globe, scales, compasses, and a few rude domestic articles, writing material, half a dozen maps, and three or four small cabinet pictures on the walls, forming the entire inventory. A large chair in which he sat, and the coarse hard bed on which he slept and died, are also seen in a little adjoining room scarcely ten feet square. It was here that he received with such apparent indifference the intelligence of the destruction of the Spanish Armada, which had cost over a hundred million ducats and twenty years of useless labor. Everything is left as it was at the time of his death. A sliding panel was so arranged in the little sleeping-room that the king could sit or lie there, when too ill to do otherwise, and yet attend upon the performance of public mass. With this door put aside, the king lay here on that September Sabbath day, in the year of our Lord, 1598,—after having just ordered a white satin lining for his bronze coffin,—grasping the crucifix which his father, Charles V., held when dying, and with eyes fixed upon the high altar, attended by his confessor and children, the worn-out monarch breathed his last. Little as we sympathized with the character of the royal occupant, there was yet something touching in the stern simplicity with which he surrounded his[Pg 363] own domestic life. Self-abnegation must have been with him a ruling principle. The cell of a Franciscan monk could not have been more severely simple and plain than that small living and sleeping apartment.

A few statistics, as rattled off by our guide, will give the reader some idea of the vastness of the Escurial. There are sixteen open courts within its outer walls, eighty staircases, twelve thousand doors (?), and some three thousand windows. There are over forty altars. The main church is as large as most European cathedrals, being three hundred feet long, over two hundred wide, and three hundred and twenty feet high. We know of no cathedral in Italy so elaborately and beautifully finished, and yet this was only a part of the princely household of Philip II. The Escurial is now only a show place, so to speak, of no present use except as a historical link and a tomb. There are a few, very few, fine paintings left within its walls, most of those which originally hung here having been very properly removed to the Museo at Madrid. In the refectory will be noticed a choice painting by Titian, of which we are a little surprised that no more has been said, for it is a remarkable painting. On the same wall are two or three canvases by Velasquez, but none by other artists of repute. On the walls of a large hall, called by the guide the Hall of Battles, is painted a most crude and inartistic series of pictures, only worthy of a Chinese artist, representing a series of battles supposed to depict Spanish conquests.

We were also shown, preserved here, a large and useless library, kept in a noble hall over two hundred feet long and fifty or sixty wide, the books being all[Pg 364] arranged with their backs to the wall, so that even the titles cannot be read,—a plan which one would say must be the device of some madman. The bookcases are made of ebony, cedar, orange, and other choice woods, and contain some sixty thousand volumes. What possible historic wealth may here lie concealed,—what noble thoughts and minds embalmed! In the domestic or dwelling portion of the Escurial the apartments are very finely inlaid with various woods on the doors, dado, and on the floors; besides which they contain some delicate antique furniture of great beauty, finished mostly in various patterns of inlaid woods. A few cabinet pictures are seen upon the walls, and one or two large hall-like apartments are hung with tapestry, which, although centuries old, is perfect in texture and the freshness of the colors. It might have come from the Gobelins' factory during this present year of our Lord, and it could not be brighter or more perfect.

The grounds surrounding the structure are laid out, on the south side, in pleasant gardens, where fountains, flowers, and a few inferior marble statues serve for external finish. On the outside, high up above the dome, is seen the famous plate of gold, an inch thick, containing some ten square feet of surface, and forming a monument of the bravado and extravagance of Philip II., who put it there in reply to the assertion of his enemies that he had financially ruined himself in building so costly a palace. We may expect one of these days to hear of its having been taken down and coined into shining doubloons.

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From Madrid to Burgos.—Through a Barren Country.—The Cathedral of Burgos.—Monastery of Miraflores.—Local Pictures.—A Spanish Inn.—Convent of Las Huelgas.—From Burgos to San Sebastian.—Northern Spain.—A Spanish Watering Place.—Bayonne.—Lower Pyrenees.—Biarritz.—A Basque Postilion.—A Pleasant Drive.—On Leaving Spain.—Sunday and Balloons at Bordeaux.—On to Paris.—Antwerp and its Art Treasures.—Embarking for America.—End of the Long Journey.

From Madrid northward to Burgos is a little less than two hundred miles, yet a whole day was consumed in the transit by rail. The general aspect of the country was that of undulating plains, barren and arid, without trees, houses, or signs of animal life, sometimes for long and weary distances. Now and then a small herd of goats, and here and there a hut, or a group of miserable hovels, worthy of India, came into view, followed by a hilly, half-mountainous district, but yet solitary as a desert. Regarding natural beauty of scenery, Spain, as a whole, offers less attraction than any other European country. Its vegetation, except in the southern provinces, is of the sterile class; its trees, sparse, of poor development, and circumscribed in variety. Even the grass is stunted and yellow. Such a condition of vegetable life accounts for the absence of singing-birds, or, indeed, of any birds at all, in whole districts of the country. The traveler must be content with historical monuments, which are numerous and striking, and with the strange records attached to many of[Pg 366] them. Antiquity consecrates many things which in their prime must have been intolerable. The sight of old sleepy cities, ancient churches, cathedrals, and deserted convents, must often compensate for an indifferent supper and a hard bed.

Since the days of Ferdinand and Isabella, Spain has emulated China in her stand-still policy. Perhaps these facts are very generally realized, and hence so few people, comparatively, visit the country, but it is a serious mistake for those who can afford the time and money not to do so. There is quite enough legitimate attraction to repay any intelligent person for all the annoyances and trouble which are necessarily encountered. It was past midnight when we arrived at the railroad station at Burgos, where, having telegraphed from Madrid, a very dirty omnibus was in waiting to take us to the hotel. How that vehicle did smell of garlic, stale tobacco, and accumulated filth, to which the odor of an ill-trimmed kerosene lamp added its pungent flavor. But we were soon set down before the hotel, where there was not a light to be seen, every one, servants and all, being sound asleep. An entrance being finally achieved, the baggage was passed in, and rooms assigned to us. As hunger is the best sauce for supper, so fatigue makes even indifferent lodgings acceptable; and we were soon half-dreaming of the familiar legends and history of Burgos,—how centuries ago a knight of Castile, Diego Porcelos, had a lovely daughter, named Sulla Bella, whom he gave as a bride to a German cavalier, and together they founded this place and fortified it. They called it Burg, a fortified place, hence Burgos. We thought of the Cid and his gallant war-horse, Baveica; of Edward I., of the[Pg 367] richly endowed cathedral, and the old monastery where rest Juan II. and Isabella of Portugal, in their alabaster tomb. But gradually these visions faded, growing less and less distinct, until entire forgetfulness settled over our roving thoughts.

The first impression of Burgos upon the stranger is that of quaintness. It is a damp, cold, dead-and-alive place, with but three monuments really worthy of note; namely, the unrivaled cathedral, its Cartujan monastery, and its convent of Huelgas; and yet there is a tinge of the Gotho-Castilian period about its musty old streets and archways scarcely equaled elsewhere in Spain, and which one would not like to have missed. The most amusing experience possible, on arriving in such a place, is to start off in the early morning without any fixed purpose as to destination, and wander through unknown streets, lanes, and archways, coming out upon a broad square—the Plaza Mayor, for instance—containing a poor bronze statue of Charles III.; thence to another with a tall stone fountain in the centre, where a motley group of women and young girls are filling their jars with water; and again through a dull dark lane, coming upon the lofty gate of Santa Maria, erected by Charles V., and ornamented with statues of the Cid, Fernando Gonzales, and the Emperor; thence on once more to some other square, which proves to be full of busy groups of men, women, and donkeys, gathered about piles of produce. Ah! this is the vegetable market, always a favorite morning resort in every new locality. How animated are the eager sellers and buyers, expending marvelous force over transactions involving half a dozen onions or a few knock-kneed turnips. What a study do their bright [Pg 368]expressive faces afford, how gay the varied colors of dress and vegetation, how ringing the Babel of tongues, the braying of donkeys, the cackle of ducks and hens in their coops. All ways are new, and many local peculiarities strike the eye, until presently, by some instinct, one comes out again at the starting-point.

Our stopping place at Burgos was the Fonda de Rafaela, a hotel with a good name, but with regard to the food supplied to the guests the less said the better. There was one peculiarity of this Spanish inn which was too constantly present not to impress us, namely, the extraordinary character and variety of "smells," which were quite overpowering. The principal stench arose from bad drainage, besides which there was a universal mustiness. But one should not be too fastidious. Comfort is best promoted by avoiding a spirit of captiousness in traveling, not only in Spain, but upon life's entire journey. Opposite the Fonda de Rafaela was a long line of infantry barracks, and, consequently, we had plenty of the sort of music—fife and drum—which naturally accompanies military drill and company movements. There seems to be, not only here but all through the southern cities, an effort made to keep up the discipline and standard of the army, as well as its numbers; but it was observable that most of the private soldiers, especially in Madrid, were merely boys of sixteen or seventeen years of age. Burgos, like Cordova, is overrun with priests and beggars, who go as naturally together as cause and effect.

The cathedral, which the Emperor Charles V. said ought to be placed under a glass, would alone be sufficient to render the town famous, in spite of its dullness and desolation, being one of the largest, finest,[Pg 369] and most richly endowed of all the Spanish churches. Neither that of Toledo or Granada will compare with it in splendor or elaborate finish; and when we remember how much Spain surpasses Italy, as regards her cathedrals, the force of this remark will be realized. The lofty structure, like that at Antwerp, is packed behind a cluster of inferior buildings, so as to seriously detract from its external effect; though on the opposite side of the river Arlanzon a favorable view is obtained of its graceful, open-worked spires, so light and symmetrical, "spires whose silent fingers point to heaven," and its lofty, corrugated roof. The columns and high arches of the interior are a maze of architectural beauty, in pure Gothic. In all these Spanish cathedrals the choir completely blocks up the centre of the interior, so that no comprehensive general view can be had; an incongruous architectural arrangement which is found nowhere else, and which as nearly ruins the effect of the Toledo, Cordova, and Granada cathedrals as it is possible to do. Above the space between the altar and the choir rises a cupola, which, in elaborate ornamentation of bas-reliefs, statues, small columns, arches, and sculpture, exceeds anything of the sort we can recall elsewhere. The hundred and more carved stalls of the choir are in choice walnut, and are a great curiosity as an example of wood-carving, presenting human figures, vines, fantastic animals, and foliage, exquisitely delineated. The several chapels are as large as ordinary churches, while in the centre of each lies buried a bishop or a prince. The great number of statues and paintings, scattered through the interior of the cathedral, are almost as confusing as the pinnacled roof of that at Milan, whose beauty[Pg 370] disappears amid accumulation, and one is liable to come away more wearied than satisfied. In the sacristy the attendant showed us many curious relics of great intrinsic value, but which were priceless, in his estimation, from their presumed associations. The well-known carving of Christ on the Cross was shown to us, which devout believers are told was carved by Nicodemus just after he had buried the Saviour. The credulous sacristan, unless his face deceived us, believed that this effigy perspires every Friday; that it actually bleeds at certain times; and that it has performed miracles. The beard and hair are the natural article, and so are the brows and eyelashes, giving a disagreeable effect to the image.

The monastery of Miraflores, a rich and prosperous establishment before the suppression of religious communities in Spain, is now quite deserted, but of considerable interest as containing the famous tomb of Juan II. and Isabella of Portugal. The old Gothic chapel has, in the singularly elaborate and minutely sculptured sarcophagus standing before the altar, a grand example of delicate and artistic workmanship in alabaster. The two representative figures are raised about six feet above the floor of the chapel, on a pedestal of the same substance,—pure white alabaster,—the whole being ornamented with figures of saints, angels, birds, fruits, and graceful vines. The supports of the corners of the octagon base are sixteen lions, two at each angle, all executed with infinite perfection of detail. The remarkable imitation of embroidered lace upon the reclining figures, with the indented cushions and robes, are admirable. We were glad to learn the sculptor's name, Gil de Siloe. Sad and solemn was the atmosphere surrounding the[Pg 371] old monastery, now in charge of two or three aged brothers of the Carthusian order, who pointed out, as we passed into the open air, among the rank weeds, shaded by sombre cypresses, the graves of some four hundred of their departed brothers, whose bodies lay there without a stone or name to mark their last resting-place. Thus these men had lived humble and forgotten, and so they sleep, "after life's fitful fever," among the weeds.

From this interesting spot we drove to the convent known as Las Huelgas, founded by the wife of Alonzo VIII., daughter of Henry II., and sister of Richard Cœur de Lion. This large establishment, situated on the other side of the Arlanzon, and nearer to the city than Miraflores, is reached by a pleasant avenue of trees, and is surrounded by well-laid out gardens. Though it is a nunnery, and has its body of completely isolated, self-immolated nuns, still there is not the dead and forgotten aspect about it which so characterized the old monastery we had just left. To gain entrance here, the devotee must bring with her a dowry, and also be born of noble blood. It was within these walls that Eugénie, after losing husband and son, at first contemplated a lasting seclusion; but she was not quite prepared, it seems, to give up the allurements of the outside world. The church attached to the convent is of more than ordinary interest, and contains some relics highly prized by the devout and credulous. The visitor, on being shown about the church, will be likely to observe an image of Christ in a petticoat, which is rather a caricature. The sacristan stopped us before a small grated opening, exhibiting the altar of the nunnery, where one of the devotees, in her nun's dress, was to be seen[Pg 372] kneeling before the shrine, apparently engaged in prayer. Presently the kneeling figure rose slowly to her feet, walked across the dimly-lighted chapel, and disappeared. The exhibition was so timely, and the visitors to the church were brought to the spot in such a business-like fashion, to say nothing of the pose and manner of the nun, that one could not but feel that the little tableau was gotten up for the special effect it might have upon strangers.

In the small railroad depot of Burgos, while the slow purgatory of being served with tickets was endured, a traveler found fault in good Saxon English as to the stupidity of such delay about trifles, and also complained of having been robbed of some small article of luggage. Another Englishman, particularly disposed to palliate matters, said there must be some mistake about it; he had been here before, and the people of Burgos were proverbially honest. By and by a great excitement was apparent on the platform, when it came to light that the apologist and indorser of the good people here was declaring that a leather strap had been purloined from his trunk, between the hotel and the depot, and the contents of his hat-box abstracted. What was to be done? The engine was screeching forth the starting signal with unwonted vigor, and there was no time to be lost. He who had spoken so favorably of the local population a few moments before, was now red in the face with anger and improper language. He had barely time to get into his seat before the train moved onward, and doubtless left his trust in humanity behind him with the stolen property. It was only an instance of misplaced confidence; and thus we bid farewell to the sleepy but picturesque old city.

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From Burgos to San Sebastian, still northward, is a hundred and fifty miles by rail, but Spanish dispatch requires ten hours for the trip. It was a beautiful, soft, sunny day, full of the spirit and promise of early spring. The fruit trees were in blossom, the green fields strewn with wild flowers; flocks of grazing sheep were constantly in sight, and men and women busy with field labor, the red petticoats and white caps of the latter forming charming bits of color against the green background. Sparkling water-courses, with here and there a fall giving power to some rickety old stone mill, added variety to the shifting scenery. On the not far-off hills were veritable castles, border fortresses in ruins, whose gray, moss-covered towers had borne witness to the conflicts of armor-clad warriors in the days of Castilian knighthood and glory. What enchantment hangs about these rude battlements, "rich with the spoils of time!" In looking back upon the ancient days it is fortunate that the mellowing influence of time dims the vision, and we see down the long vista of years as through a softening twilight, else we should behold such harshness as would arouse more of ire than of admiration. The olden time, like the landscape, appears best in the purple distance.

The general aspect of the country, since we left Malaga in the extreme south, had been rather disappointing, and the rural appearance on this beautiful trip from Burgos to San Sebastian was therefore appreciated. It should be called the garden of Spain, the well-watered plains and valleys being spread with carpets of exquisite verdure. In the far distance one could detect snow-clad mountains, which, in fact, were not out of sight during the entire trip. Thousands[Pg 374] of acres were covered by the vine, already well advanced, and from the product of which comes the sherry wine of commerce. The vineyards were interspersed with fields of ripening grain. Wheat and wine! Or, as the Spaniards say: "The staff of life and life itself." It was impossible not to feel a sense of elation at the delightful scenery and the genial atmosphere on this early April day. Nature seemed to be in her merriest mood, clothing everything in poetical attire, rendering beautiful the little gray hamlets on the hill-sides, dominated by square bell-towers, about which the red-tiled cottages clustered. Outside of these were family groups sitting in the warm sunshine, some sewing, some spinning, while children tumbled and played in the inviting grass. We had seen nothing like this for many a day—certainly not in Spain. Presently we came up to the lofty snow-capped mountains, which had for a while ranged just ahead of us, when one of them seemed suddenly to open a wide mouth at its base as if to swallow the train. In it rushed puffing and snorting through a dark tunnel nearly a mile long, until at last we emerged on the opposite side of the mountain into a scene of great beauty, overlooking a valley worthy of Japan. Far up towards the blue sky was the snow under which we had been hidden in the darkness of the tunnel, while in this lower range we were surrounded with verdure and bloom. Here were graceful trees, smiling bits of landscape, flocks of sheep, tumbling cascades, so grouped and mingled as to seem like a theatrical effect rather than nature.

We came into San Sebastian in the early twilight; a somewhat famous watering-place on the boisterous Bay of Biscay, drawing its patronage largely from[Pg 375] Madrid, though of late both English and Americans have resorted thither. It is a small city, but the thriftiest and most business-like to be found in Spain when its size is considered. The place was entirely destroyed by fire when captured from the French by the English,—a piece of sanguinary work which cost the latter five thousand men. It was on this occasion that Wellington is reported to have said: "The next dreadful thing to a battle lost is a battle won." The dwellings are modern and handsome, the streets broad and well paved, the squares ornamented by shrubbery and fountains, and the drives in the environs and on the beach are very inviting. In short San Sebastian is a model watering-place for summer resort with several good hotels. It will be remembered that Wellington fought some severe battles in this vicinity in 1813. On the way from Burgos the battle-field of Vittoria was pointed out, where the French army was thoroughly routed. The Spanish government has made a miniature Gibraltar of San Sebastian. Overlooking the harbor is a lofty fortification which commands the town and all of its approaches. From the fort, which costs a good climb to reach, a very fine view is obtained of a broad extent of country. Whole blocks of new buildings were in course of construction, and San Sebastian seemed to be preparing for a large summer business. Seen from a short distance, as one approaches in the cars, the grouping of the town, with the lofty and frowning fortification, its neat white dwellings and undulating surface, makes a pleasing picture, standing out in bold relief against the blue sky hanging over the Bay of Biscay.

Our next stopping-place after leaving San [Pg 376]Sebastian was Bayonne,—that is "The Good Port,"—about forty miles further towards the French frontier. It is a city of some thirty thousand inhabitants, located at the junction of the Adour and Nive rivers, in the Lower Pyrenees. Here, again, the cathedral forms nearly the only attraction to strangers; though very plain, and with little architectural pretension, still it is gray, old, and crumbling, plainly telling the story of its age. The city has considerable commerce by the river, both in steam and sailing vessels, and exports a very respectable amount of domestic products. Most continental cities have their Jews' quarter,—the Ghetto, as it is called; but in Bayonne the race is especially represented by the descendants of those who escaped death at the hands of the Inquisition, in the time of Philip II. They form fully one third of the population, judging from appearances; and though not characterized by neatness or cleanliness, their quarter is the home of numerous rich men. They have retained their old Spanish and Portuguese names and fortunes. Many of the Jewish capitalists of London, Paris, and Havre, are from Bayonne. There is a decided difference in the manners and the dress of the people from those of Spain generally, being more like those of the Basque Provinces, to which it belongs geographically.

Here one sees the palace where Catherine de Medici and the Duke of Alba planned the terrible massacre of the Huguenots. In and about the city some very pleasant drives may be enjoyed. A large, well-shaded public garden commences just at the city gates and extends along the left bank of the Adour. It will occur to the reader that the familiar military weapon, the bayonet, got its name from Bayonne,[Pg 377] having been invented, or rather discovered, here. It seems that a Basque regiment, during an engagement with the Spaniards near this spot, had entirely exhausted their ammunition; but fixing their long knives in the muzzles of their guns, they thus successfully charged on and defeated the enemy. The legend is mentioned, as every one must listen to it from the local guides, though—between ourselves—it is a most gross anachronism.

We have not yet come to a conclusion as to what language our landlord spoke. He certainly understood French, though he did not attempt to express himself in it. It was not Spanish, that we know; therefore it must have been Basque, the language which Noah received from Adam, if we are to believe the residents of Bayonne. An out-door fair was visited, upon an open square lying between the hotel and the harbor, where the gay colors, shooting-booths, hurdy-gurdies, drums, fifes, flags, and games, together with a wax exhibition, representing a terrible murder and an assassin committing the deed with a poker painted red hot, all served to remind us of a similar occasion at Tokio, in far-off Japan. Striking scenic effects came in here and there, the distant summits of the Pyrenees being visible beyond the mountains of Navarre.

A drive of five miles from Bayonne took us to Biarritz, situated a little southwest of the old city, at the lower part of the Bay of Biscay, being the Newport of southern France. Our postilion was gotten up after the Basque fashion of his tribe, in a most fantastic short jacket of scarlet, with little abbreviated tails, silver laced all over, and with a marvelous complement of hanging buttons. He wore a stove-pipe[Pg 378] hat with a flashing cockade, and flourished a long whip that would have answered for a Kaffir cattle-driver. The horses—large fine specimens of the Norman breed—were harnessed three abreast, and decorated with many bells, while their headstalls were heavy with scarlet woolen tassels, and ornamented with large silver-plated buckles. The vehicle was a roomy, old-fashioned barouche, comfortable, but about as ancient as the cathedral. Altogether we looked with such unfeigned amazement at the landlord, when this queer outfit drove to the door, that he, native and to the manner born, could not suppress a broad smile. It answered our purpose, however, and as the populace was evidently accustomed to such florid display, we did not anticipate being mobbed; but during the entire trip that harlequin of a driver, who was as sober as a mute at a funeral, shared our admiration with the pleasing and varied scenery. He was a thorough native. It would have been of no use to attempt to talk with him, for the foreigner who can speak the Basque tongue has yet to be discovered.

Biarritz, which is in the department of the Basses-Pyrénées, yet a long way from the mountain range, was unknown to fame until Eugénie, empress of the French, built a grand villa here, and made it her summer resort; being, however, over five hundred miles from the French capital, it never became very popular with the Parisians. The emperor and empress resorted thither annually, and, laying aside the dignity of state, were seen daily indulging in sea-bathing. The building of the Villa Eugénie made the fortune of Biarritz. The climate is particularly dry and warm, proving, if we may believe common report, excellent for invalids. The hot days of [Pg 379]summer are tempered by a sea-breeze, which blows with great regularity inland during the day. The town is elevated, being seated upon a bluff of the coast, and has two small bays strewn with curiously honey-combed rocks, worn into the oddest of shapes by the fierce beating of the surf for ages. Art has aided nature in the grotesque arrangement of these rocks, so as to form arches and caves of all conceivable shapes. It must present a splendid sight here in a stormy day, when the surf breaks over the huge rocks and rushes wildly through these cavernous passages. Such a battle between the sea and the shore would be grand to witness. The beach shelves gently, and is firm and smooth, so that it is particularly well adapted for bathing.

Biarritz being in nearly the same latitude as Nice and Mentone, one looks for similar foliage and vegetation, but there are no palms, aloes, oranges, or trees of that class here. The place lacks the shelter of the Maritime Alps, which the two resorts just mentioned enjoy; but bright, sunny Biarritz will long live in the memory of the little party whom the Basque postilion drove thither and back. The late imperial residence, the Villa Eugénie, is now improved as a fashionable summer hotel. The drive from Bayonne to Biarritz can be made by one road, and the return accomplished by another. On the way back we passed through two or three miles of thick, sweet-scented pine forest, still and shady under the afternoon sun, except for the drowsy hum of insects, and the pleasant carol of birds. Here and there were open glades where the sun lay upon little beds of blue flowers of unknown name, but very like the gentian; and there were also the wild daphne[Pg 380] and scarlet anemones. The lofty trees located on both sides of the road had been tapped for their sap, and little wooden spouts were conducting the glutinous deposit into small earthen jars hung on the perpendicular trunks,—reminding one of the mode of "milking" the toddy palms in India and Ceylon, by which ingenious means the natives obtain, a liquor which, when fermented, is as strong as the best Scotch or Irish whiskey.

Our journey through Spain proved to be one of great and lasting interest, although it was mingled with a sense of disappointment, not as to its historic interest, nor its unrivaled monuments "mellowed by the stealing hours of time;" but we missed the bright sunny fields of France, we found none of the soft loveliness of the Italian climate or vegetation, and were ever contrasting its treeless surface with well-wooded Belgium and Switzerland. When gazing upon its stunted shrubbery and dry yellow grass, it was natural to recall the lovely valleys and plains of Japan, and even the closely-cultivated fields of China, where every square foot of soil contiguous to populous districts is made to produce its quota towards the support of man. The pleasant oases to be found here and there, the exceptional bits of verdant fields and fertile districts which we have described, only prove what the country in the possession of an enterprising race might be made to produce. Now it is little more than a land of sun and blue skies. The Spanish people seem to be imbued with all the listlessness of those of the tropics, though not by the same enervating influence. Nature is willing to meet men more than half way, even in Spain, but will not pour out there her products with the lavishness which[Pg 381] characterizes her in the low latitudes. The country is not composed of desolate sierras by any means, but its neglected possibilities are yet in such strong contrast to the most of continental Europe as to lead the tourist to very decided conclusions. The beautifully shaded avenue at Burgos along the Arlanzon, and the road to Miraflores forming a charming Alameda, show very plainly what can be done by planting a few hundred suitable trees to beautify the environs of a half-ruined, mouldering, mediæval city. It is to be hoped that those who planted these luxuriant trees may have lived to enjoy their grace and beauty. Under Ferdinand and Isabella, Spain was a great and thriving nation, almost beyond precedent. Her colonial possessions rivaled those of the entire world; but her glory has vanished, and her decadence has been so rapid as to be phenomenal, until she is now so humbled there are very few to do her honor.

The distance from Bayonne to Bordeaux is one hundred and twenty-five miles, a dull and uninteresting journey, the route lying through what seemed an interminable pine forest, so that it was a decided relief when the spires of this French capital came into view. Bordeaux was found to be a much larger and finer city than we had realized. The topographical formation is that of a crescent along the shore of the Garonne, which here forms a broad and navigable harbor, though it is located some sixty miles from the sea. There were many Roman antiquities and ancient monuments to be seen, all interesting, venerable with the wear and tear of eighteen centuries. The public buildings, commanding in their architectural character, were found to be adorned with [Pg 382]admirable sculpture and some fine paintings. The ancient part of the town has narrow and crooked streets, but the modern portion is open, airy, and has good architectural display. The Grand Theatre is remarkably effective with its noble Ionic columns, built a little more than a century since by Louis XVI. Bordeaux is connected by canal with the Mediterranean and has considerable commerce, especially in the importation of American whiskey, which is sent back to the United States and exported elsewhere as good Bordeaux brandy, after being carefully doctored. The Sabbath was passed here, but its observance or non-observance is like that common in Continental cities. It is a mere day of recreation, the Roman Catholic element attending mass, and devoting the balance of the day to amusement. There were performances at all of the theatres, the stores and shops were generally open, and very large fine shops they are. In the afternoon two balloons were sent up from the Champ de Mars: one a mammoth in size, containing half a dozen persons; the other smaller, containing but one person to manage it—a lady. There were at least fifty thousand people in the great square to witness the ascension,—a very orderly and well-dressed throng. A military band played during the inflating process, and the promenaders and loungers presented a gay concourse.

There was an unmistakable aspect of business prosperity about the streets of the city. Everybody seemed active and engaged in some purpose. There were few loungers, and, we must make a note of it, no beggars. It was observable that the large Norman horses used in the working teams were sleek and fat, splendid creatures; such as Rosa Bonheur [Pg 383]represents in her famous picture of the Horse Fair. What a contrast these noble, well-kept animals presented to the poor, half-starved creatures to be met with in the East, and, indeed, in only too many of the European cities,—Rome, Florence, Antwerp, and Madrid. We are now approaching such familiar ground that the reader will hardly expect more of us than to specify the closing route of our long journey.

From Bordeaux to Paris is about four hundred miles. As we left the former city the road passed through miles upon miles of thriving vineyards, those nearest to the city producing the brands of claret best known in the American market. The route generally all the way to Paris was through a charming and highly cultivated country, vastly different from northern and central Spain. The well-prepared fields were green with the spring grains and varied crops, showing high cultivation. Sheep in large flocks, tended by shepherdesses with tall white Norman caps, and picturesque, high-colored dresses, enlivened the landscape. These industrious women were knitting or spinning in the field. Others were driving oxen, while men held the plow. Gangs of men and women together were working in long rows, preparing the ground for seed or planting; and all seemed cheerful, decent, and happy. The small railroad stations recalled those of India between Tuticorin and Madras, where the surroundings were beautified by fragrant flower-gardens,—their bland, odorous breath acting like a charm upon the senses, amid the noise and bustle of arrival and departure. Now and again, as we progressed, the pointed architecture of some picturesque château would present itself among the clustering trees with its bright, verdant lawns and neat[Pg 384] outlying dependencies; and so we sped on, until, in the early evening, we glided into the station at Paris.

There was a clear sky, a young moon, and a full display of the starry hosts, on the night of our arrival in this the gayest capital of the world. Four hundred miles of unbroken travel that day, so far from satiating, only served to whet the appetite for observation. Ten years had passed since the writer had trod those familiar boulevards; and now hastening to the Place de la Madeleine we renewed acquaintance with the noble church which ornaments the square, the purest and grandest specimen of architecture, of its class, extant. Thence passing a few steps onward, the brilliantly-lighted Place de la Concorde was reached, that spot so emblazoned in blood upon the pages of history. How the music of the fountains mingled with the hum of the noisy throng that filled the streets! What associations crowded upon the mind as we stood there at the base of the grand old obelisk of Luxor, looming up from the centre of the grounds. In front was the long, broad, flashing roadway of the Champs Elysées, one blaze of light and busy life; for Paris does not awake until after dark. Far away the Arc de Triomphe is just discerned where commences the Bois de Boulogne. On the left, across the Seine, is outlined against the sky the twin towers of St. Clotilde, with the glittering dome of the Invalides; and to the eastward are seen the dual towers of Notre Dame. The brain is stimulated as by wine, till one grows dizzy. Proceeding through the Rue Rivoli we turn towards our hotel by the Place Vendôme, looking once more upon that vast and beautiful monument, the finest modern column in existence, and then to bed—not to sleep, but[Pg 385] to revel in the intoxication of that bitter-sweet—memory!

After a few weeks passed in Paris, the journey homeward was renewed by way of Antwerp, a city which owes its attraction almost solely to the fact that here are to be seen so many masterpieces of painting. The great influence of Rubens can hardly be appreciated without a visit to the Flemish capital, where he lived and died, and where his ashes rest in the Church of St. Jacques. This is considered the finest church in Antwerp, remarkable for the number and richness of its private chapels. Here are the burial-places of the noble and wealthy families of the past, and among them that of the Rubens family, which is situated just back of the high altar. Above the tomb is a large painting by this famous master, intended to represent a Holy Family, and the picture is in a degree typical of the idea. But its object is also well understood as being to perpetuate a series of likenesses of the Rubens family; namely, of himself, his two wives, his daughter, his father, and grandfather. The painting is incongruous, and in bad taste, being quite open also to criticism in its drawing and grouping. The whole production appears like a forced and uncongenial effort. Vandyke and Teniers were also natives of this city, where their best works still remain, and where the State has erected fitting monuments to their memory. Jordeans, the younger Teniers, and Denis Calvart, the master of Guido Reni, were natives here.

The famous cathedral, more picturesque and remarkable for its exterior than interior, is of the pointed style, and of about a century in age. Did it not contain Rubens' world-renowned pictures, the[Pg 386] Descent from the Cross, the Elevation of the Cross, and the Assumption, few people would care to visit it. A gorgeous church ceremony was in progress when we first entered the church: some one of the three hundred and sixty-five saints receiving an annual recognition on the occasion of his birthday. A score of priests were marching about the body of the church at the head of a long procession of boys, with silk banners and burning candles, chanting all the while to an organ accompaniment. On the borders of this procession the people knelt and seemed duly impressed.

The patter of wooden shoes upon the streets is almost deafening to strangers, men, women, and children adding to the din. Probably it is found to be cheaper to take a block of wood and hew out a pair of shoes from it, fit to wear, than to adopt a more civilized mode of shoeing the people; but these heavy clogs give to the inhabitants an awkward gait. In all of the older portions of the town, the houses have a queer way of standing with their gable ends to the street, just as they are addicted to doing at Amsterdam and Hamburg, showing it to be a Dutch proclivity. Dogs are universally used here for light vehicles in place of donkeys,—one or more being attached to each vehicle adapted to the transportation of milk or bread and other light articles. These are attended by boys or women. Beggars there are none, to the credit of the city be it said; nor is one importuned by hackmen or other public servants; all are ready to serve you, but none to annoy you. Antwerp has some fine broad squares, avenues, public gardens, and noble trees.

Belgium is a nation of blondes, in strong contrast[Pg 387] with its near neighbor, France, where the brunettes reign supreme. It is singular that there should be such a marked difference in communities, differences as definite as geographical boundaries, and seemingly governed by rules quite as arbitrary. Why should a people's hair, eyes, and complexion be dark or light, simply because an imaginary line divides them territorially? No one for a moment mistakes a German for a Frenchman, an Antwerp lady for a Parisian. The very animals seem to partake of these local characteristics, while the manners and customs are equally individualized. The French women of all classes put on their attire with a dainty grace that contrasts strongly with the careless, though cleanly costume of their sisters over the border. Æsthetic taste, indeed, would seem almost out of place displayed upon the square, solidly-built women of Flanders. Is it imagination, or can one really trace somewhat of the same idea in Flora's kingdom? The Dutch roses, tulips, and other flowers, like the naval architecture of the Low Countries, have a certain breadth of beam and bluntness of prow that makes them differ from the same fragrant family of France. Has any learned essayist ever attempted to draw philosophical deductions from these aspects of the vegetable world, as showing local kinship to humanity?

Embarking from Antwerp, July 14th, on board the Steamship Waesland, of the Red Star Line, New York was reached after a voyage of twelve days, July 24th, and Boston by the Shore Line the same evening, coming in at the opposite side of the city whence we started a little more than ten months previous; having thus, in a journey of about forty thousand miles, completed a circuit of the globe.




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