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Title: A Popular Account of the Manners and Customs of India

Author: Charles Acland

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THE HOME AND COLONIAL LIBRARY.

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JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.


A POPULAR ACCOUNT
OF THE
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF INDIA.

Illustrated with Numerous Anecdotes.

BY THE
Rev. CHARLES ACLAND,
LATE CHAPLAIN AT POOREE, CUTTACK, AND MIDNAPORE.

LONDON:
JOHN MURRAY, ALBEMARLE STREET.

1847.

London: Printed by W. Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street.


[iii]

PREFACE.

The author of the present work was a clergyman, who, along with his wife, quitted England about the beginning of the year 1842, leaving behind him several young children, to whom, as appears from the letters he constantly addressed to them, he was most affectionately attached.

They left the country full of hope that they should all be reunited at some future period; but, before he had been three years exposed to the climate of India, he fell a victim to it. It is somewhat melancholy to find him at the outset rejoicing in the very circumstance which in some measure perhaps occasioned his death. The first destination selected for him was little in accordance with his own taste; and when it subsequently was altered from Assam to Cuttack, he expresses himself delighted with the change, though the first-named province was much more remarkable for its healthfulness than that to which he at length proceeded.

Mr. Acland felt the warmest interest in the education of his children, and, to improve their minds, determined, on quitting England, to send home, from time to time, accurate accounts of his progress, that they might be made acquainted with all he beheld—the places through which he passed,[iv] the aspect of the country, its climate, productions, flowers, trees, shrubs, and wild animals. Many an interesting adventure is related in these pages which the author met with in the jungle; the beating of which by the hunting parties, who go forth in bands for that purpose, is described with an animation calculated to awaken much interest.

The letters addressed by Mr. Acland to his children have now been thrown into the form of a Journal, as this method was considered best suited to the general reader. The Editor has, however, been careful to preserve throughout the easy familiar style in which the father first wrote them, that to the children of others they may be equally acceptable and useful.

The books hitherto published on India have been in general, from their bulk, confined to persons arrived at a more advanced period of life; and the Editor of the present volume hopes in some measure to familiarise the subject by bringing it down nearer the comprehension of the youthful reader. This work is intended to describe Indian manners in an interesting way, and will in some measure, it is hoped, supply a portion of the want that has long existed in our literature in this respect. To render the subject more attractive, Mr. Acland was careful to introduce anecdotes and short narratives throughout, which are calculated to amuse, while instruction is at the same time conveyed.

One distinguishing feature may be observed in the whole—viz. a fervent spirit of devotion, which breathes through[v] every page of the original manuscript. Such passages the Editor has thought it better to omit, as the advice from a father to his children, clothed in the simple language he considered it best to employ, though beautiful and touching in itself, would scarcely appear interesting to the general reader. For this reason the substance of his counsel has been compressed into the present brief Preface.

He impresses upon his children the necessity of living ever in brotherly love, of sustaining and comforting one another, and of seeking the Divine aid in every emergency of life, whether great or small. He shows them how, by trusting implicitly in God and acting according to His commandments, they will attain a peace of mind above all the happiness which an indulgence in the pleasures of this life can bestow. He explains to them, in the gentlest terms, how necessary it is for their welfare here and hereafter that they should act ever in accordance with the expressed wishes of the Almighty; and that they must never cease to remember that He moves about them everywhere, and sees their every action, hears each passionate word, beholds each unbecoming gesture, and will reward or punish according as they indulge in or abstain from evil. In several beautiful passages he portrays the unceasing watchfulness of the Almighty in providing for our daily wants, in supplying us with every necessary of life; and inquires, with truth, Ought not every little heart to be daily grateful to Him, without whose will the sun cannot shine, or rise, or set; without[vi] whose will the refreshing showers could not force and raise up around us the beautiful and necessary things of life? Then he inquires, How can we better show our gratitude for these blessings than by acting in accordance with the wishes of Him who is the cause of so much good?

These words were spoken by a father to his own children; but I would ask those of my young friends into whose hands this little volume may fall, does it not equally touch them? Do they not feel the truth of these sentences? Coming over the many thousand miles which stretch between India and this country, these letters were cherished the more by the three little children to whom they were addressed; and now that the hand is cold which traced the lines, how much more will they be prized!

Whatever may be the fate of the volume with the public, to those whom it more intimately concerns it will be a lasting remembrance of their father, and of the melancholy circumstances connected with his early death. For their sake, the Editor trusts that the present work may meet with at least a moderate share of success; and that, in the endeavour to render more familiar to the youthful mind the names and habits of some of the inhabitants of India, he may not altogether fail.

London, Sept. 1847.


[vii]

CONTENTS.

  Page
Madras, June, 1842.
Departure from England in March—Tremendous storm off Ushant—Ship becalmed at the equator—Great heat—Danger of sleeping in moonlight in hot climates—Storm off the Cape—Great speed of the vessel—Thunderstorm at the equator—Arrival at Madras—The mungoose; its usefulness in houses—Mother-of-pearl—Contrivances for abating the heat—Fakirs—Curious disease—Salutation of Europeans by natives—Employment of time 1
July 1.
Native wedding—Visit to the Newab—Jugglers 6
Calcutta, July 15.
Voyage up the Hoogly—Waterspout—The bishop's palace—Appointment to the province of Assam—Great number of tigers at Calcutta—Mode of voyaging—Language of natives—Number of servants necessary 7
August 6.
Change of appointment from Assam to Cuttack—Dangers of travelling—Mode of living—"Bore" in the Hoogly 9
Midnapore, September 12.
Leave Calcutta—Accident on the Hoogly—DÔk-travelling—State of the road—Arrival at Midnapore—A bungalow—Trees and plants—Mode of providing animal food—Destructiveness of ants—Snakes—Monkeys—Encounter with a buffalo—Soil, climate, and productions of Midnapore—Expenses of living—List of servants 10
September 15.
[viii]"Poujah of tools:" a rustic festival 17
October 9.
Thunderstorms—Mode of taking birds—Costume—Coins—Insects—Dinner-parties—Language—Strictness of caste regulations among servants—Employment of women—Disposal of the body after death—Dustoorie—The white ant 17
November 11.
Antics of the monkey—Parrots—Fierceness of the hyŠna—Small grey squirrel—Narrow escape from a cobra—Its bite seldom cured—Vegetable productions—Usefulness of the bamboo—Dishonesty of servants 21
November 12.
Earthquake—Population of India—Religions—Money—Designations of Europeans by natives—Mode of life 26
December 13.
Hiring of hackeries—Importunacy of natives—Encounter with a bear—Goats 29
December 14.
Birds'-nests—Cost of dress—Weather—Temperature 31
December 16.
Anonymous reptile—Destruction of serpents by the mungoose 32
Balasore, Orissa, December 30.
Balasore—Volcanic hills—Hill of the large white ant—Human skulls—Beautiful plumage of birds 32
January 2, 1843.
Legend of the origin of the hills at Balasore—Immense number of ants'-nests; their mode of building—Great abundance of these insects 34
January 3.
[ix]Journey from Midnapore—Mode of travelling—Danton—Jelasore—The fort—Ancient inscription—India-rubber tree—Attack by a tiger—A hungry bear—Paucity of furniture—Palanquin-bearers' songs—Fuel—False alarm—Jackals and crows the scavengers of the country 36
Cuttack, February 2.
Journey from Balasore—Barripore—Gratuities to bearers—Fruit-trees—Alligators—Mortality of Juggernat'h pilgrims—Sleeping arrangements—The Mohurrun—Position of Cuttack—Sea-breezes—Mode of irrigation—Ancient fort—Origin of the Mohurrun—Furious winds 43
February 13.
Proposed new village—Depredations of tigers—Gold-dust 50
March 4.
Excursion to Chogga—Sporting—Human skeleton—Wild bull—The village—Converts—Mode of starting the game—Assembly of native Christians—"Inquirers"—Conversation on religion—Baptism—Degradation and loss of caste on embracing Christianity—Return to Cuttack—Comet—Remarkable weather 50
April 13.
Narrow escape from a snake—Hindu festival—Chena poojah, or swinging festival—Elephant-riding—Sporting 60
April 15.
Domestic arrangements—Furniture—Old Cuttack—Degeneracy of modern Indians 64
April 17.
Chena poojah—Self-torture of devotees—Cotton-tree 67
Juggernat'h, May.
Pooree—Pleasant temperature—The temple—Danger from sharks in bathing 68
Cuttack, August 7.
Mofussil society—Morning visits—Costume—Dinner-parties 69
August 29.
[x]Ourang-outang—Monkeys—Bachelor's party—The Commissioner—Tiger-story—Power of the human eye over the lower animals—Bats—Plan to improve society—A "good gardener"—Cruel treatment of servants by Europeans—Milder punishment adopted by the author 73
October 12.
Return from Midnapore—Heavy rain—Description of a palanquin 84
November 8.
Bengal tiger—Mode of hunting the boar—Anecdotes of tigers—Poison of the cobra—Chanderpore—Sea-scorpions—Relief-fund 86
Barripore, November 28.
Solitude—Power of Europeans over natives—Their social relations—Rapid progress of disease 89
Cuttack, December 10.
Elephant-hunting—Juggernat'h festival—Its support by Government—Pilgrims—Mode of expression in the East—A grateful servant—Number and names of servants—Their generally unkind treatment—Gratitude and honesty of natives: instances—Rajah Bheere Singh—His testimony to personal security in the Company's territory—An unexpected meeting 92
December 25.
Choudwar—Sporting—HyŠna chase—Pariah-dog 99
January 2, 1844.
Military sportsmen—A false alarm—Moral—Costume regulations of Hindus—Mode of evasion 102
Barripore, January 5.
Mirage at Pooree 103
Guzzeepuddee, January 12.
Journey from Balasore—Scenery—A water-race—Encampment—A nocturnal visitor 105
Barripore, January 16.
Excursion to the Neilghur hills—Change of temperature and scenery—Skeleton of a boa constrictor 109
Midnapore, February 1.
[xi]Excursion to Bhohoneswar and Cundeegurree—Temples—Inscriptions—Attack of inflammation of the liver 111
February 15.
Second visit to the Neilghur hills—A beyraghee and his enclosure—Encampment at Bengwharrie—Hunnamun monkeys—Game—Peafowl shooting—Bhohoneswar: its temples—Magnificence of the principal temple—Cundeegurree—Inscriptions—Caves—Devotees—Palace of the ancient Rajahs—Statue: considerations suggested by its costume—Anecdote of an elephant 112
Pooree, May 26.
A thunderstorm—Peculiarly fearful at Pooree 122
May 29.
Temperature at Pooree and at Cuttack—Modes of conveyance—Ponies—Arrangements for sleeping in comfort—The Rajah of Neilghur—His interview with the Commissioner—Costume and appointments—Elephants—Hunting-party—Arrival at Neilghur—Adventure with a boar—Uncivil treatment of Rajahs 122
Cuttack, July 4.
Salt-monopoly—Unjust treatment of the manufacturers—Juggernat'h—Religion of the Brahmins—The idol—The procession—Immense number of pilgrims—Numerous deaths—Evil omen 131
August 10.
Brindabund monkeys—Indian marriages—Frequent results—Peacocks 136
September 14.
Plague of insects—A night's rest—The bath 138
October 13.
Government doctors—Monkeys—Goats—Electric phenomenon 139
November 14.
Rapid vegetation—Early maturity and decay of natives—Necessity for employment of the mind—Mode of passing time—Flower and kitchen gardens—An armadillo—A whale on shore 141
Khoutah, December 16.
[xii]Antiquity of Indian religions—Manner of disposal of the dead 144
Jenkia, January 4, 1845.
Mr. G., the collector and magistrate of Pooree—Departure for Khoordagurree—Regularity of seasons 145
Tanghi, January 5.
Manner of travelling—Soonercollee—Splendid scenery—Chelka Lake—Islands—Water-fowl—Flamingo 146
Midnapore, February 14.
Sporting on the banks of the Chelka Lake—Chase by a bear 150
Cuttack, April 2.
Travelling—Hunting antelopes—Snaring game—The sportsmen chased by pigs 152
Pooree, April 26.
Fatal illness of author 155
May 8.
Abrupt conclusion 155

[1]

A POPULAR ACCOUNT
OF THE
MANNERS AND CUSTOMS OF INDIA.


Madras, June, 1842.

We quitted England in the course of March, 1842, and reached Madras in the month of June of the same year. I shall give but a brief sketch of our voyage.

Soon after leaving England, having arrived near Ushant, situated on the north-west coast of France, a tremendous storm came on; the waves rose high and washed the deck, while the ship itself pitched to such a degree that the very dinner rolled off the table; in the night my wife was tossed out of bed, and thrown to the other side of the cabin. We were in the greatest danger of being drowned. I started out of my hammock, but was unable to stand upright. Towards morning, however, the wind abated.

After this storm had passed, the ship went forward rapidly until we reached the equator, where she lay becalmed for several days. The heat at this point of our voyage was excessive; we used to lie about on the deck almost all night, taking care, however, to cover our faces if the moon was shining; for it is said that, in these hot climates, if any one goes to sleep under its light, he is in danger of losing his sight, and even his life.[1]

[2]

We now proceeded more slowly until we had rounded the Cape of Good Hope, where another storm came on. Every sail was taken in; yet, without their assistance, we ran, in two days, 545 miles. The waves rose as high as mountains, and the ship seemed to toil up one side, and to send the bowsprit up into the air, then, plunging down again, seemed to bury it in the sea. I was standing with my wife at the door of the dinner cabin when a large wave burst in through the upper part of the ship, flooded the room, and shivered one of our large boats to atoms.

As we were passing the equator, too, we suffered from a tremendous thunderstorm. The heat was excessive: not a breath of wind stirred the air. About twelve o'clock a little cloud, about the size of a man's hand, rose in the horizon: gradually it spread until it hung like a huge black mass over the ship. I stood and watched its increase, when suddenly a vivid flash of lightning shot from the heavens, and almost blinded me. At the same moment a crash of thunder bellowed round the ship like the noise of a thousand cannons. The lightning slightly struck one of our passengers and the mate, but did not inflict any serious injury. The rain now descended: not a sharp thick shower, such as you may witness in England, but as it were all in one mass, and soon every trace of the storm passed away; the sun burst forth, and the ship and sails were dried in the course of a few minutes.

Calm weather was ours now until we reached Madras. During our voyage we observed many curious kinds of birds, the principal of which was the stormy petrel. These creatures quit the land, and fly many thousand miles over the sea in the track of ships, following them by night and by day. The whale-bird is about the size of a thrush, white in colour, and may be seen hovering about the great fish from which it derives its name.

CAPE PIGEON.

The Cape pigeon is a very beautiful creature, about the size of our own pigeon, white, with black spots on its body, and a blue, glossy head. We several times amused ourselves with catching them; and the way we contrived was, to let fly from our hands a piece of thread several yards in length, which was carried out by the wind, and the pigeon, flying across it,[3] became entangled in it. In fluttering about in the endeavour to extricate itself, it became only more firmly secured; and then, drawing the string towards us, we caught the bird, and, placing it on the deck, suffered it to walk about. The legs of this pigeon are so peculiarly formed that they are unable to spring up from the ground, and can only rise from the crest of a wave, or throw themselves from the edge of a rock. The albatross is a large white bird, which has been known to measure fourteen or sixteen feet from the tip of one wing to the tip of the other. We used to catch them sometimes by casting out a hook and line, as for a fish.

The Cape hen, which follows the ship in flocks, is large and black, measuring about ten feet from wing to wing. Occasionally we caught a glimpse of the tropic-bird, called by the sailors the boatswain, because of its long pointed tail resembling the pigtail which these men used formerly to wear.

PILOT-FISH, ETC.

The booby is a large brown bird, about as big as a common hen. I must not forget to tell you something about the pilot-fish. Every shark, whether old or young, is accompanied by a little fish about twelve inches long, and striped like a zebra, which keeps always near the nose of the shark, and seems to guide him to his food.

As I have in this place said so much about birds and fishes, I may as well tell you a little about the animals here in Madras. The first I shall mention is the cow, by which all the carts and many of the carriages are drawn along—sometimes, too, very swiftly. They are much smaller than English cows, and have a hump on their backs. Camels may be seen in the streets patiently carrying heavy loads of goods: the people, however, treat them very cruelly.

As I was going to the cathedral last Sunday I saw a mungoose, a little green and yellow animal, something between a ferret and a squirrel. It is said that when bitten by a snake it runs and rubs the place over with the juice of a certain plant, which immediately cures it.

My samee, or native manservant, who is a Malay, gave me one about as large as a kitten, and quite as playful. It will attain[4] to the size of a cat; it follows me about, sleeps on the foot of the bed, and if a snake comes into the room will instantly kill it. When an Indian mother wishes to go out, she need only just tell the mungoose to mind the cradle, and then he lies down by it, and suffers neither man nor reptile to approach. This creature, once tamed, is quite wretched out of human society.

The cobra de capello is one of the most poisonous snakes with which we are acquainted. I saw a girl playing with some of them the other day, but their fangs had been extracted.

There are a great number of beautiful birds here; and green paroquets can be purchased for three pence, while an avadavad costs only one penny. The cock avadavad should, when kept, be confined along with twelve hens in a cage.

The large carrion-crow is as common here as the sparrow is in England, and is so tame that they fly close to the houses, and even look in at the windows. Nobody is allowed to shoot or hurt them, because they make themselves useful in carrying away all the dirt from the town. Large vultures are almost as numerous.

I must not forget to mention the mosquito, which is a gnat exactly like those you see in England. Great numbers fly about all the night, and some people suffer much from their bite, but they never touch me.

The flowers here are beautiful, and some smell exceedingly sweet. There are two tall trees, as large as elms, covered with red and yellow flowers about the size of a plate. In the hedges, too, we see very splendid cactuses. I shall be able, however, to tell you more about these things when I have been here longer.

The fruits are exquisite, but it is dangerous to eat them in any quantity. For a pine-apple nearly as big as your head we pay only two anas—that is, three pence; but they are not exactly like those you buy in England. Here they are quite sweet, and soft and juicy as a peach. The mango is a yellow fruit about the size of a large orange, the inside of which is full of a very rich sort of custard. The plantain resembles a dahlia-root, and has very much the same taste as cheese. The guava is in appearance like an apple, but possesses the flavour of a strawberry.[5] There are several other kinds of fruit, but I have not time to describe them now. I am very fond of the pine-apple and the orange, but do not care for any of the others.

HEAT.

Mother-of-pearl may be bought very cheap here. It is found in a particular kind of oyster-shell, of which I can get three or four for a halfpenny. Though the heat here is excessive, I do not suffer from it: the thermometer in the large room where I am sitting is now 93½░. The heat causes a kind of rash called the prickle-heat, which is very disagreeable. The sensation to which it gives rise is much the same as would be caused by running needles into the body. In every room, hanging from the ceiling, is a large fan, called a punkah, about four times the size of the door, and a boy is continually employed in swinging it backward and forward, and the current of air thus created cools the whole room. The windows are without glass. Venetian blinds serve instead, and sometimes mats, which are kept constantly wetted. The water soon turns into steam, and, evaporating very fast, carries off with it the latent heat.

When my wife goes to sleep, the little black boy, with no covering but a pair of drawers and a cap, stands near and fans her, while every now and then he sprinkles her face with water as she reclines on the sofa.

FAKIRS.

The people here are nearly all black, and wear very little clothing. The population is extensive. At dinner we have generally eight or ten men to wait upon us, but they are slow in their movements, and very lazy. The Arabian Nights mentions the fakirs. I have seen some here that have let their feet grow in one position until they cannot move them.

CURIOUS DISEASE.

Some of the inhabitants of Madras are afflicted with a curious kind of disease, in which one leg swells to the size of a man's body, while the other is no thicker than the limb of an infant.

When you meet in the street with a native who is at all acquainted with you, or who wishes to express his thanks for anything, instead of merely saying "Thank you," or "How do you do?" he presses his hands upon his eyes, and says "Salaam, sahib." Some English persons, on going out for a walk, may be seen to carry a whip, with which, if the natives are at all[6] troublesome, they lash them; but this is a cruel practice. Ladies are prevented by the heat from walking abroad here, and gentlemen seldom do so, but go about in what are called palanquins, which I will describe hereafter. When we ride out, however swiftly we go, a man called a coolie runs by the side of the carriage. We are obliged to get up here at about half-past five in the morning, and then we go out for a drive, or in the palanquin; at half-past seven the sun is too powerful even for that exercise: we then return home, take a cold bath, and breakfast. At half-past six in the evening we are enabled to go out again a little. In the middle of the day we take a nap.


July 1st.

A few days ago I saw a native wedding. At about nine in the evening I was disturbed by a noise of drums and squeaking trumpets. Looking out of the window, I saw a large party with torches conducting the bride to her husband's home. She was entirely covered by a white veil, and walked in the midst of her relations.

I went to pay a visit to the Newab, a native prince of these parts, but did not succeed in obtaining an interview. He is about fifteen years of age, and generally goes out in a carriage drawn by seven horses. His uncles ride by his side on elephants, while his cousins run with the carriage.

The natives are a fine athletic race of men, with every appearance of possessing talent and intellect. The tricks of the jugglers are very entertaining: they will swallow swords, throw up three or four knives or cannon-balls, and catch them on their necks, and pull balls of cotton out of their throats, and make snakes dance.


[7]

Bishop's Palace, Calcutta, July 15.

WATERSPOUT.

Here we are arrived safely at this place, after a very disagreeable voyage, the worst part of which was the travelling up the river Hoogly. We were becalmed for some time, and merely drifted up a few miles a-day with the tide. However, I was much interested one day by watching a cloud, which, after moving and whirling about for a little time, began to send down a little thin point towards the river. Presently the column increased in size, while underneath the waves seemed to rise to meet it; and when they had done so a great quantity of the water was sucked up by the cloud, which grew larger in consequence, and then steered away towards the land: this was a waterspout.

The place in which we live—that is, our hotel—is a large house, three stories high, surrounding a square, and on each side are forty-two windows in a row.

Immediately after landing I went to pay my respects to the archdeacon, and to inform him of my arrival. Not finding him at home, I proceeded to the bishop, who treated me very hospitably, and invited us to his house.

BISHOP'S PALACE.

On returning home I found that during my absence the archdeacon's wife and daughter had been calling on my wife, for the purpose of inviting us to their house; but having already accepted the offer of the bishop, we, of course, were compelled to decline this. In the bishop's palace we have two very large apartments assigned to us, besides a bath-room, and a verandah, about three hundred yards long, to walk in. I was scarcely located here, however, before I received an order to proceed to Gowhattie, in Assam, and to assume the clerical superintendence of the whole province. At Gowhattie there is one European lady, and there are five European gentlemen, who are the only ones within two hundred and seventy miles. My parish, if such it can be called, is about twice the size of England, and I shall be continually travelling about.

But I must now tell you something about this place. The principal animals here are buffaloes, elephants, and tigers, of whose numbers you may form an idea by the fact of the Government[8] having offered a reward for every tiger's head. Last year, in the province of Assam, the number of heads brought in was two thousand six hundred, and yet these animals seem to be as numerous as ever.

We shall have to travel in a little boat, called a budjeon, with two cabins, up to Gowhattie. The boatmen are black, and we shall be the only passengers on board. We must be provided besides with two other boats, the one with the fowls and goats in it for cooking, and the other with the luggage. We shall be rather more than two months on the voyage, and must take with us enough provisions for a year. When we reach Gowhattie the boat must serve us for a home until we have built one with mats and reeds.

There are some large birds here called adjutants, about five feet high, with long white legs, black bodies, bare necks, and a beak like pelicans. They are generally seen perched on the tops of houses. The fire-flies are very pretty: on a fine night a number of them are seen flitting about the lanes and gardens glittering like stars.

The bull-frogs make a noise at night almost as loud as the bark of a dog. A pretty brown and white bird is to be found here, singing much like a blackbird; it is called a miner.

Calcutta is well termed the city of palaces, since every house is a noble mansion. Most of the rooms are at least fifteen feet high and twenty-six feet square, and along every story there is a verandah, supported by stone columns. The language of the people here seems to have retained many traces of the Portuguese, who were here before the English. For instance, the bishop is called de Lord Padre, and I go by the name of Padre Sahib.

NATIVE SERVANTS.

We have no bells by which to summon the servants, who lie on the mat outside the room door; when we require them we call out, without rising from the sofa, "Qui hi?" (who is there?) then the sirdar, or valet, runs in. We give him our orders, which he reports to the others. Although I am staying at the bishop's, and dine at his table, and use his carriage, I am obliged to have five servants. I have one kitmajar, or waiter, who does nothing but attend at table. The bishop's kitmajars will wait[9] only upon their own master. Then I have one ayah, or lady's-maid, for my wife; a sirdar, or bearer; and a matee-sirdar, or assistant-bearer. These men make the beds and assist me to dress. I have also a punkah-bearer—that is, a man who sits outside the room, and is constantly employed in pulling a string fastened to a punkah, or enormous fan, without which no Englishman could live in India. Besides these I pay a pooney-bearer, or water-carrier, and a matranes. When I go up the country I shall be obliged to have a consummar, or head servant; a dobee, or washerwoman; a dugay, or tailor; a syce, or grass-cutter; and one or two others. We cannot do with less, because, if I were to ask the kitmajar to fetch my coat, he would twist his mustachios, and say, "Me no sirdar;" or if I were to ask my sirdar to wait at table, he would say, "Kitmajar no do dat."


August 6, 1842.

CUTTACK.

The bishop has changed my appointment from Assam to Cuttack. The different towns I shall have under my jurisdiction are Midnapore, Balasore, and Poonee. Midnapore is situated eighty miles south of Calcutta, and Cuttack two hundred and forty. Poonee stands on the coast a little to the south of the great plain of Juggernat'h, which forms a part of my district.

We expect to leave Calcutta next week, and shall go down the river as far as Ooloberriab. Here we shall quit the boat for palanquins, and shall travel by night, it being too sultry to proceed by day. At Midnapore we shall stay for a few days at the judge's house, whilst I look about for one. Here we shall probably remain about three months, and shall then proceed to Poonee. Whichever of the two towns I discover to be the pleasantest and most agreeable I shall make my permanent abiding-place, only travelling occasionally to each of the others. Every one tells me my station is one of the healthiest in Bengal. Midnapore, standing on a high hill, will be best for the wet weather; Poonee, on the sea, for the hot months; and Cuttack, with a nice sea-breeze, for the winter.

[10]

The principal dangers we have to apprehend on our journey to Midnapore are the dacoits, or mountain robbers, the tigers, and the sudden swelling of the rivers from the rains.

Now, I must tell you a little of our mode of life here. At half-past five in the morning we have a cup of coffee, and then go out for a ramble. It is the only hour in the day in which it is possible to walk. If we were to go out for half an hour in the middle of the day it would most likely cause our death. At seven we take a cold bath, and pour great jars of water over our heads. I used to enjoy bathing in England, but here it becomes the greatest possible luxury. After this is over we read or write until nine, and then breakfast. At two we have tiffin, which is lunch, with plenty of meat. At five in the afternoon we have an hour's drive, at half-past seven we dine, at nine tea, and to bed at ten. These are the regular Indian hours, but as soon as I have a house of my own I mean to dine at three.

When on any occasion I ask for a glass of cold water it is brought to me with a lump of ice in it. This is excessively refreshing in a country like this, where the thermometer is at 90░. It is brought in shiploads from America. At new and full moon there is what is called a "bore" in the river Hoogly, that is, the tide, instead of coming up gradually, swells up in one large wave. When I saw it the other day it rose thirty feet in height.


Midnapore, September 12, 1842.

JOURNEY TO MIDNAPORE.

On the 14th of August I sent two boats full of furniture to Midnapore, and on the 16th we started ourselves in a boat with two large cabins and one small. I had nine Indians to manage it. Another smaller boat contained our palanquins, two servants, and a little sort of kitchen.

In going down the Hoogly river we met with an accident, and were nearly overturned; the wind drove us with great force against a large ship in a severe squall. We however reached[11] Ooloberriab, a native village on Hoogly, in safety. Here we turned into a canal, up which we journeyed for some miles, and then anchored for the night. The next morning, having slept on board, we proceeded on our course, and reached the Khatah Ghat, or landing-place (pronounced gaut), at about twelve o'clock. Here we remained until four in the afternoon, entered our palanquins, a kind of square boxes, which are carried on men's shoulders, handsomely painted outside, with soft cushions inside, and lamps like a carriage. In this sort of thing we move about everywhere, and in crossing a river do not wet our feet. To each palanquin there are eight bearers, four of whom are employed at a time; one mussuaulchee, or torch-bearer, runs by the side, along with one baugh-whaller, to carry boxes made of tin, and called patarahs. Each man carries two slung to a stick over his shoulder.

My wife travels in one palanquin, and I in another. We had taken care to write beforehand that a dÔk, or men, might be in readiness to carry us on at each stage; and we therefore proceeded rapidly through the whole night.

ARRIVAL.

Soon after leaving Khatah Ghat we found the road for two miles under water, which reached far above the men's knees; and at one time, indeed, I was afraid it would have entered the palanquin; but the only accident that actually happened was the breaking of one of the baughley-whaller's sticks, and the tin patarah, containing clothes, floated away, but, after some trouble, was again secured. We slept most comfortably in our palanquins during our journey, and arrived at Midnapore early in the morning. Here we stayed at the house of the judge until I could choose a home for myself, in which we are now at last settled. Everybody here is most kind and hospitable, and, indeed, it is necessary it should be so, for, excepting in Calcutta, there are no inns, and travellers would fare very badly were the houses of the principal people closed against them. But when you go on a visit you must be careful to take your own servants, sheets, towels, and soap. My house is called a bungalow, which I chose as being the most economical. A bungalow is a thatched cottage, with only one ground story.

[12]

The floors of the rooms are not made of wood, but a sort of cement which looks like stone. The house stands in the midst of a large field called a compound, which belongs to me, and the servants' dwellings are scattered around.

I have a flower and kitchen garden, fowl-house and place for goats, kitchen, stable, cowhouse, and a banyan-tree. The pathways through the grass are of fine gravel, and the hedges are composed almost entirely of aloes and cactuses, mixed with a very sweet-smelling flowering shrub, and here and there a bamboo, which is a most beautiful tree, resembling a very tall weeping-willow. The sensitive-plant grows wild about the compound, and bears a very pink flower resembling that of the red cloves.

The banyan-tree is abundant here. Each branch projects stalks downwards, which take root in the earth, and after a few years one tree resembles a cluster, and covers a large space of ground. I have several aloes in my garden, which are just flowering. They have thrown up a straight stalk about twenty feet high. A large cactus is now in bloom. It is about ten feet high, and each stem or leaf is thicker round than my leg. This kind bears a very beautiful large white flower, which opens only at night. In my kitchen-garden are the mango, the plantain, Indian corn, pine-apple trees, and many others.

Carpets are not used here, but the floors are covered instead with India matting. In each room is a punkah, which I have before described.

We procure water for drinking from a large tank or pond; and as we cannot purchase meat, I have provided myself with thirty-five ducks, sixty fowls, four goats, and three kids, which last are almost ready to eat; the goats we shall keep for their milk. The judge made me a present of a beautiful fawn of the spotted deer, which is becoming very tame. I am just going to join a mutton-club. Four persons enter into partnership, and agree to keep a small flock of sheep; one of which is killed twice a week, and then each partner is provided with a quarter of mutton, and each in turn has the liver, heart, and head. A gentleman yesterday sent me four guinea-fowls, and another has promised me six pigeons as soon as I have a place to keep them in.

[13]

INSECTS.

I have just begun to make a collection of insects, snakes, and butterflies and moths, of the most beautiful kind. The chameleon is very common, and changes its colour according to the temper it is in. I have one which is generally of a brilliant green; but if its anger be roused, it becomes covered with large black spots, and when hungry with white spots. These are the only changes in its colour I have as yet observed: but I have seen others yellow; others, again, black, with yellow spots. It is said that each chameleon has ten different variations of colour. There is to be seen here a light-brown lizard, called the bloodsucker, which is constantly running about the walls in the rooms. Whenever we take up a paper or a book, we are sure to find two or three cockroaches under it—not such cockroaches as you may see in England, but great ones three or four inches long. The grasshoppers come into the house in numbers, and grow to an uncommon size. You may hear them chirruping half a mile off. The ants, of which there are three sorts, are a great nuisance. Every house swarms with them; and unless the legs of tables, drawers, &c., are kept constantly standing in jars of water, they attack the dinner-cloths, and in fact everything they can reach: 1st, there is a very small red ant, whose bite causes a very hard red swelling, which continues very painful for some days; 2nd, a great black ant, about the size of an English wasp, which bites, but does not sting; 3rd, the white ant, rather larger than the common English ant, which come in a swarm, and in one night will devour a table or a shelf full of books. You may come down in the morning and find your table and books apparently all right, but no sooner do you touch them than they all crumble away to powder.

REPTILES.

There are a great number of snakes about here, though I have not yet seen one. I suspect that my mungoose or ichneumon keeps them away, as he is an inveterate enemy to all vermin. A venomous lizard, about a foot long, black, with yellow stripes down the sides, often comes into our verandah, but as soon as it hears the mungoose it disappears with all possible despatch; as do also the poisonous centipedes, of which there are several in the house. The noise of the mungoose is very peculiar,[14] generally purring like a cat, but when angry it barks short and snappishly, while every hair on its long tail stands on end.

I have already mentioned to you that there are here the tiger, the lion, the monkey, the leopard, the buffalo, the elephant (tame), the spotted deer, the jackal, the flying fox: all these I shall describe as the opportunities offer; now I shall tell you something about the monkey.

I was walking out early in the morning, and reached a very large pepul-tree, covered with its red berries. Presently I heard some one chattering over my head, and looking up beheld an enormously long ape as tall as myself, with a white face and great whiskers. He gazed at me for a moment, and then chattered again. The noise becoming louder and louder, I ran from under the tree, and soon saw a great number of these animals of different sizes come leaping down, and, after a stare, as much as to say "don't follow us," they made a few tremendous leaps, and escaped into the jungle.

The Indian buffalo has no hump on its back. It is like an immense black cow, but exceedingly fierce. As yet I have seen only tame ones. A gentleman who lives here was walking out in the jungle the other evening, with the intention of shooting some birds, when he saw before him a large bull buffalo. When alone these creatures are much more fierce than when with the herd. He did not, therefore, much relish his close acquaintance; and, turning round, strove to creep quietly away. Hearing a loud roar behind him, he looked back, and beheld the buffalo in full chase after him, tossing his head most furiously. The gentleman scarcely knew what to do, as there was no tree near into which he might climb; but he was surrounded by low bushes. Turning suddenly round, therefore, he stood still, and, looking steadfastly at the buffalo, loaded his gun. On came the animal, nearer and nearer, looking fiercer and fiercer. At last, when about twenty yards off, he stopped one minute as if in hesitation, and then, with a loud roar, turned his head, and, tearing up the ground with his hoofs, was on the point of rushing onward, when the gentleman raised his gun as a last resource, and fired.[15] The ball entered through the eye into the brain, and the monster rolled over the plain.

I have since seen the skull and the horns, which are of great size. The elephants are very large, and there are none but tame ones here. The major of the regiment quartered at this place has offered to lend us one whenever we are inclined for a ride.

The jackals are a source of great annoyance at night: they come into the compound and howl round the house, and make a dreadful noise, but are not dangerous. There are swarms of wild dogs too here, called pariah dogs—quite harmless. They resemble a hairy greyhound with a fox's head. The flying-fox is a sort of bat. Its large black wings are nearly four feet from tip to tip, and the body is like a small fox. They fly about the trees at night, and pick the fruit and berries. The birds are very beautiful. There are many sorts of doves and pigeons. One sort of the last-named is quite green; as is also the fly-catcher, which has a long single feather in the middle of his tail. The mango is about the size of a pigeon, yellow, with green stripes. There are also the pretty little amadavad, and many others.

I am making a collection of large beetles.

SOIL—CLIMATE.

Midnapore is situated on a high table-land, or flat-topped hill, about six miles across, and is much cooler than the greater part of India. The soil is about a foot deep, and underneath it is a volcanic rock, so porous that the rain soaks into it as soon as it falls, thus rendering the place dry and healthy. From the middle of June to the middle of October there are tremendous storms of rain almost every day. Then it is cool and pleasant till February. After that time the heat increases, and the weather is quite dry until April; from which time until June it is intensely hot, with occasional hurricanes and thunderstorms, of which we have had several most magnificent ones lately; and from the height of the hills we seem almost to be in the midst of them.

PRODUCTIONS.

Indigo, rice, and grain are plentiful. The first is obtained by soaking the leaves of the plant in water until they are rotten, when they deposit a thick blue sediment, which is formed into cakes, and is used for dyeing cloths.

We have some wild silkworms, from which the natives manufacture[16] a coarse sort of silk. The rice grows in fields which are under water, and looks like barley. These fields beautifully illustrate the expression in the Bible about casting your seed upon the waters, and after many days you shall find it again.

The greatest expenses here are servants and house-rent. I pay for my house, which is one of the cheapest in Midnapore, forty rupees a-month; a rupee is two shillings. I keep as few domestics as I can; but am obliged to have eleven men and one woman. The men are—

We neither feed nor clothe them: indeed their food consists of nothing but rice, except the consummar and kitmajar, who are Mussulmans. Their pay varies from three to ten rupees a-month. Many people keep forty or fifty men. The sirdar, or bearer, sleeps on a mat in the verandah; the others in houses in the compound. They are all forbidden by their religion to do the work of any other; their fathers and grandfathers performed the same duties, and so will their sons and grandsons also. They are a thievish set, and we dare not leave anything in their way that they can steal.

There is at this moment a little grey squirrel hopping about in the verandah,—facing the gate of the compound are several tame buffaloes,—and a little beyond is an elephant lying down basking in the sun and lashing his trunk about upon the grass.

There is an insect here called the flying-bug; it resembles in appearance a very large ant with wings, and, if one of them flies through the room, it leaves so disagreeable a smell that it can hardly be borne for an hour afterwards.


[17]

September 15.

THE "POUJAH OF TOOLS".

To-day is a rustic festival; the carpenters and all other workmen have a holiday, and, daubing all their tools with red paint, cover them with flowers, and then kneel down and worship them, and beg them to work well and not to break during the next year. This is called the "poujah of tools."


October 9, 1842.

STORM.

We have had several thunderstorms here. A few days ago I saw a large black cloud coming up against the wind. Gradually it spread until it covered the whole sky. The wind now died away for a few minutes, and then rose again and seemed to rush from all quarters of the heavens at once, and formed a sort of whirlwind round Midnapore; then from the darkest part of the cloud flashed a vivid streak of lightning, followed almost immediately by a terrific clap of thunder. For three hours the storm continued, and scarcely three minutes elapsed between each clap, while we saw the lightning running along the ground for several yards.

SNAKE.

The other morning two men who lived in Midnapore caught a cobra de capello, or hooded snake, and they were examining it when suddenly it bit them both, and they died in the course of half an hour. We have not yet seen any snakes in our house, although most people frequently find them. This, as I think I told you, I attribute to our keeping the mungoose, of which the snakes are much afraid.

The chikary, or huntsman, makes a large oval shield, which he covers over with leaves: in the upper part are two very small holes. When he perceives a bird he crouches down behind his screen, keeping a watch through the two little holes, and creeping on very slowly. When he has approached near enough, he thrusts forward a long thin stick like a fishing-rod, and touches the bird with one end of it, on which there is a little lime; the bird sticks to it, and then the man draws back the pole and secures the animal.

[18]

In this way a great number of partridges are taken, with snipes, woodcocks, pigeons, &c. I had two hoopoes given me the other day. The Major who commands this station has four elephants for the use of the troops under him, to carry their tents when they are marching; and whenever we like it he lends us one for a ride. On the back of the elephant is placed a large pad, and on that is a thing like a great cradle, with two seats in it. A man sits on the neck with his feet in stirrups of rope, and a pointed piece of iron in his hand, which he presses behind the elephant's ears to guide him. Another man runs by the side and encourages the animal in Hindustanee. When we want to get on his back, the man on the neck presses the iron rod on the middle of the animal's head, and he kneels down; a ladder is immediately brought, and we climb up into the seat, or houdah, as it is called, and then the huge monster rises again. His pace is very slow and very jolting. He is not allowed to pass over any bridges, lest his weight should shake them down; he accordingly goes through the water instead. Neither may he go where he is likely to meet many horses, lest he should frighten them.

My costume here would make you smile. I wear thin shoes, white stockings, white trowsers, a short black cassock reaching a little below the knees, and a hat made of pith covered with black merino—the crown is about four inches high, and the rim about six or seven inches wide. This is my out-of-door dress. Indoors, unless when any one calls, I wear a white jacket instead of the cassock. I am without any waistcoat. At a dinner-party, black silk socks, black trowsers, and my long black silk cassock.

The only coins in use at Midnapore are the pice and the rupee; the pice is worth a farthing and a half, and the rupee about two shillings. Another kind of money passes here, viz. a little shell called a cowrie, of which 120 are worth a pice. At Madras and Calcutta there are many other sorts.

The insects are a great nuisance here. If the candles were not protected by a glass shade they would be instantly extinguished. Thousands of insects of all sizes swarm, jumping and flying about the lamps, of all colours, green, yellow, blue; and many of them sting, whilst others smell most abominably.

[19]

Every morning the mollie, or gardener, brings in a basket of vegetables for us to look at, and select what we shall require for the day's consumption. The cold weather here begins about the middle of October, generally on the 15th, and we are all looking very anxiously for it; but by cold I mean only such a lower degree of heat as will enable us to go out in the middle of the day (provided we carry a great parasol), which we cannot do now.

DINNER COSTUME—NATIVE SERVANTS.

At a dinner-party every one brings his or her own table servant. This assemblage has a very pretty appearance: the ladies are all in white dresses and short sleeves, and the gentlemen in white jackets and trowsers, except the Major and myself; he wears a red jacket, and I a black cassock. Behind each chair stands a dark-brown man with long black beard and mustachios, dressed in a sort of white tunic and a white turban, with a coloured sash wound several times round the waist. As it would be the greatest mark of disrespect for a servant to appear in the presence of his master with covered feet, they all leave their shoes outside the door. After the meat is cleared away, before the puddings are brought in, the servants go out and smoke for five minutes. There is not a man, either Mussulman or Hindoo, except of the very lowest caste, who would eat anything that came from the table of a European. They would consider it a degradation, and would not even drink out of anything we had ever used, or touch what we had cooked. The Hindoos eat only once a-day, unless on their grand feasts. Their food then is boiled rice, with perhaps an onion and a little spice in it, which they eat with their hands.

LANGUAGE.

The language of this country, though confessedly a compound of two or three Eastern tongues, appears to me to have many remains of what must have been the original language of man, that is to say, those which must have existed from the very earliest time bear a close propinquity to the words of other and later languages. Several instances which came under my notice bear out this opinion.

It is curious to observe how the different castes or ranks here keep distinct, and it is this which renders so many servants necessary. The man who lays the cloth would feel degraded by[20] dusting a chair, and he who dusts the chair would rather leave his place than dust the room. Again, two men of different castes will neither eat, drink, nor sleep together. Their bed is a mere mat, which explains well that saying of our Saviour, "Take up thy bed and walk."

The other day my basin had not been emptied. I told the carah of it, whose business it is to attend to my apartment, and he went a hundred or more yards to call the matee, because it would have been beneath his dignity to throw the water out into the adjoining bath-room. The men here are a sadly idle set; they make almost slaves of their wives. Early in the morning we may see troops of women going out into the jungle, from which they return in the evening with great fagots of wood; these fagots are about twelve feet in length, and in the middle quite two in thickness, and are carried on the head. The poor creatures are obliged continually to stop and rest.

The higher classes of the natives wear a kind of loose white gown, down to the knees, and very loose trowsers, also white embroidered slippers, no stockings, and a white turban. The lower classes wear nothing but a long white cloth tied round their hips.

Every one here, both native and European, takes a cold bath at least once a-day. When a native dies his body is burnt, and to make the funeral pile every native keeps four or five large trees growing in his garden. As soon as he dies, one, or two, or three trees, according to the man's rank, are cut down and surrounded with a great quantity of dry stubble, on which the body is placed. Formerly, his wife was burnt alive at the same time. This was called a sati. There are a great many tombs of holy men about the country, and on these the people throw little wooden images. There is one tomb here on which are placed two large dumb-bells, and the people imagine that every Sunday night the man who is buried there rises up and plays with them. There is one very disagreeable custom here, which exists more or less all over India; it is called dustoorie. Whenever anything is bought, for every rupee that is paid the seller is obliged to give the servant of the purchaser two pice; so that the more he[21] has to buy, the better it is for the servant; and if a master were to say he would not allow dustoorie, no native would enter his service.

I have just been to look at the man who is making me some white jackets. The women here never do any needlework. The men sit down on the floor, and hold the work between the great toe and the next.

DESTRUCTIVENESS OF THE WHITE ANT.

I was the other day in want of a sheet of pith, on which to fasten some butterflies, and, going into my dressing-room, where I knew I had left four pieces on a shelf only the day before, I found them apparently in good condition; but, on taking them up, discovered them to be only so much dust. I then examined the other things upon the shelf, and found them to be in the same state. This was the work of the white ant, which was swarming about. I called the carah and sent him to the bazaar, or the place where all the little shops are, and told him to procure me sixteen pice worth of turpentine, and when it was brought I spread it over the shelf, and, soaking into the wood, it destroyed the ants. If let alone they would, in about two days, have eaten the chest of drawers, all my clothes, and everything in the room. I have just been engaged in catching with a green net on the end of the bamboo a most beautiful swallow-tailed butterfly, and in doing so frightened away a jackal, who was so impertinent as to intrude into the compound in the middle of the day.


Midnapore, November 11, 1842.

A friend has just made me a present of a very small kind of monkey, about nine inches high, of a light-brown colour. His antics are often very amusing. I fasten him by a chain to a thick pole in the compound, at the top of which is his house. He will sometimes turn his waterpot upside down and sit on it in the gravest possible manner. He will then perhaps stoop down and gather a blade of grass, and examine it as attentively as though he were inquiring to what species and genus it belonged.[22] Perhaps by this time several large knowing-looking crows, something like English magpies, will have collected round him, holding their heads on one side and looking as if they were listening very attentively to his lecture on botany. Presently you would see the sly little monkey turn his eye to see how near they are, and then with one bound he will catch hold of the nearest crow by the neck; but the crow is the stronger of the two and always gets away safe. These crows are as common as sparrows and quite as tame, for they will hop into the verandah and pick up anything the parrots drop. We have two parrots; they are of a kind very common here; so I told a man to go out and catch me a couple, as I wanted to teach them to talk. He did so, and they are now getting very tame. I gave him a few pice for his trouble. They are of a kind that I do not remember ever to have seen in England. The upper mandible is red, the lower black. From the lower mandible extends on each side a broad black stripe, to where we suppose the ears to be; and there is another black stripe from one eye to the other. These stripes give the bird a very peculiar appearance. The upper circle resembles a pair of tortoiseshell spectacles.

I had a young hyŠna given to me, which I made every endeavour to tame, giving him milk and food, but nevertheless as soon as I approached he flew at me. As he has scarcely any teeth I did not fear him, but took him in my arms, being careful to keep a tight hold on his neck. He slept during the day, but showed an inclination to go out at night, but, not being permitted to do so, continued making the most extraordinary noises resembling the sobbing of a child in pain. The servants were all afraid of him. Having kept us awake that night, I resolved the next to try him outside the house, and accordingly, fastening him up, I gave him a box to sleep in. The next morning I found he was dead. The servants declared he had been killed by a pack of jackals, but I shrewdly suspected they themselves to have been guilty.

The other day I caught one of those beautiful little squirrels which I have before described. It is grey, with a broad yellow stripe down each side. The body is about as big as my thumb,[23] and the tail the size of my middle finger. I borrowed a common squirrel's cage, but the little thing was so small that it immediately struggled through the wires, and the mungoose, perceiving it, killed and devoured it. A great many of them live in the thatch of our house.

MUSK-RAT—MUNGOOSE.

The musk-rat is a small sharp-snouted animal, from which musk may be extracted. The scent rising from it is overpowering. All the houses here swarm with them, but the mungoose has either killed or driven away all that were here, and our house therefore is quite free from the smell. The mungoose is very destructive. I just left the room for a few minutes, and while absent it commenced demolishing some eggs which I had brought in from the fowl-house: there were eight on the table; he had broken five over my papers and then dipped his paws in the ink and ran over the table. Whilst punishing him for this fault I held him by the neck, but he nevertheless managed to give me a severe scratch with his claws. He is a thorough beast of prey, and will eat nothing but animal food except sugar.

COBRA DE CAPELLO.

The prawns here are most delicious, and many of them are as large as a good-sized lobster. I was crossing my compound in the dusk a few evenings ago, after feeding my fowls and ducks. I walked slowly, thinking of England and my children, when I happened suddenly to cast my eyes upon the ground. I started back on perceiving within two paces of me the dreaded cobra de capello—its head raised, its hood expanded, and manifesting every sign of anger. Two, or at most three, steps more, and I should have trodden upon it and received the fatal bite. Unfortunately I had no stick in my hand; I called the servants to bring bamboos, but by the time they came it had glided into its hole, and I went home thanking the Supreme Being who had saved me from the fearful danger. Since that time I have not been out without a large bamboo in my hand, for, although I have stopped up the hole, yet the cobra de capello is, no doubt, still in my compound. The bite of this snake is most deadly.

During the last fortnight I have heard of three persons having been killed by it in Midnapore. Two of them were hunters, the other was one of the wives of the Rajah. She put her[24] hand into a cupboard to procure something, when a cobra, which had concealed itself there, bit her. When a person is wounded by this venomous reptile he generally expires within an hour. The only possible cure, and that is an uncertain one, is to swallow every few minutes a glass of brandy with some eau de luce, or smelling-salts, dissolved in it, while a man stands near beating you with a heavy whip. Or, instead of this, you may be fastened to a carriage and be compelled to run as fast as possible. The object is to keep you awake, for the danger of the bite consists in the heavy lethargy it produces. The remedies applied, however, are sure to bring on a violent fever, which frequently proves fatal. Few diseases in this country last longer than an hour or two. Fever, cholera, and inflammation of the liver, the three great scourges of India, commonly prove fatal within from two to twelve hours, so that no one can exist here without being constantly reminded of the uncertainty of human life. It is curious that I, who dreaded so greatly the reptiles of India, should have been at once sent to the station where they most abound, for there is probably no place in Bengal where serpents and lizards are so plentiful. Our house is infested by numbers of centipedes, which get on the chairs and on the clothes in a most unpleasant manner. However, we have neither of us yet been bitten.

I have not seen a scorpion alive. My wife and I were walking in the compound the other day, when we saw a very large snake looking at us through the hedge of aloes. It was of a light-brown, and was, I think, five or six feet long.

The other day my servants brought me in a venomous snake which they said they had killed in the compound; I took it up by its tail and carried it into my wife's dressing-room to show it to her. I laid it down on the floor, and soon it began to wriggle away, and, raising its head, turned at us. Fortunately there was a stick at hand, and, taking it up, I killed the animal with one blow. So great is the dread of them here, that no one ever sleeps without a light, lest, stepping out of bed at night, he should place his foot upon some venomous creature; most people keep a long bamboo in every room. We never put on our shoes without first[25] examining well to see that there is nothing alive in them. The oil which we burn in the evening and at night is extracted from the cocoa-nut and has a most agreeable smell. For this purpose cocoa-nuts are brought from Ceylon and all the neighbouring islands. This oil could not be used in England, because it congeals into a sort of fat when the thermometer is at 64░.

YAMS—POTATOES.

We have a kind of root here which they call a yam, although I do not think it is one. It is brown outside and white within; about two feet long and thickest at the middle, where it is four inches in diameter. This they boil and then fry into lumps; it is exceedingly nice. Potatoes are scarce, dear, and bad, except sweet ones, which I like; they are very stringy, and taste like potatoes mixed with sugar.

BAMBOO.

I think I have described to you the graceful appearance of the bamboo-tree, but it is its extreme usefulness that renders it so precious. It is a sort of hollow strong cane, and serves for the upright posts at the corners of the native houses and also for the door-posts. To our own bungalows or thatched houses it forms the rafters to support the thatch; it is used for scaffolding and for ladders without any shaping or preparing. One joint of it makes a very good bottle; a long piece of it, with one side cut off and the stoppage at the joints cut away, makes a waterspout or watercourse, or a thing for fowls to eat or drink out of. In short, it would be tedious to enumerate the many uses to which it is put.

I had the other day an instance of the extent to which servants carry the system of doing each his own work and no one's else. I had been feeding the parrots with a little rice and had spilt a few grains of it upon the table. I called the barah, or furniture-cleaner: he said it was the parrot's food, and therefore it was the waiter's business to clean it up. I told him to do as he was bid, but he would not, and then I said that if he did not I should discharge him with a character for disobedience; this he preferred to doing what he considered was not his own work, so I sent him away at once.

None of my servants can speak a word of English, and I am sometimes rather at a loss on this account; but I always keep a[26] dictionary on the table, and I am rapidly acquiring a knowledge of the Hindustanee language. There are no shops that Europeans can go to, except at Calcutta. In the country, which is called the Mofussil, a sort of pedlers come round with goods. I offer them generally one-third of the price they name, and they in most cases take it. The other day, my wife was making up her accounts, and asked the kitmajar how much he had given for a certain article; the man said, "Three rupees." My wife replied that she did not think he had given so much; he answered, "Yes, three rupees." She said, "Now, I don't believe you gave more than two rupees;" to which his answer was, "Yes, I gave two rupees." Still she did not credit him, and said, "Now, I am sure you only gave one rupee;" and he replied, "Yes, one rupee." And he was quite satisfied: and all this time he answered as calmly as possible, and did not appear in the least ashamed; and yet this man is one who is considered a very good servant, and whom I believe to be as honest as any one I have.


November 12.

EARTHQUAKE.

Last night, a little before ten o'clock, my wife was gone to bed, and I was sitting up reading and writing. In this country, you may know, the servants at each house, instead of having a clock, strike a gong at every hour. It is a flat circular plate of bell-metal, which, when struck with a wooden mallet, gives forth a very loud ringing sound. Just before the gong struck ten, I heard a noise like that of a buggy (or gig with a large head to it to keep the sun off) approaching.[2] I thought to myself, "Why, there must be a party somewhere to-night;" at which I wondered not a little, because every one asks the Padre Sahib to their parties, and I had received no invitation. The next moment the noise seemed to increase, and become like the motion of a large heavy carriage. Almost immediately after, with a sound like rolling thunder, the whole house rocked backwards and forwards, [27] while I was nearly thrown off the chair on which I was sitting.

The rumbling continued, I should think, for about a minute before the shock of the earthquake came, and for about a quarter of a minute after, while the shock itself may have occupied about ten minutes.

I was quite startled; and, proceeding to my wife's bed-room, advised her to get up and put on something warm, lest we should have to pass the night out of doors. I then went to the store-room, and made the best provision I could for a bivouac: my preparations were, however, needless, as the shock was not repeated.

I can compare the motion to nothing so well as to the pitching of a small boat in a short cross-sea, or where two tides meet one another. My wife said her bed gave two distinct pitches up and down. While I was making my preparations for departure I heard a loud noise of crows, ducks, fowls, and all sorts of birds, cawing, cackling, and screaming, as if they were very much frightened. The natives all round started up and blew their conchs (a sort of shell, which they use instead of a trumpet); and this morning every one is talking about the earthquake.

POPULATION.

Speaking of the natives reminds me of the subject of the population of India, which is very much exaggerated. It cannot be compared, in proportion to the extent of the country, to that of England. There are said to be 40,000 natives in Midnapore, though I much doubt the fact; and then on every side, farther than the eye can reach, extends a vast expanse of thick jungle (that is, bushes growing so close together as to be altogether impassable, and full of tigers, deer, leopards, buffaloes, elephants, &c.); and as the same is the case throughout the whole of India, I should think that nine-tenths of the country consists of thick, close jungle, or enormous swamps. Here and there, amidst all this, is found a small native village, composed of a few huts; but the population in such places is probably not above one in thirty square miles on the average; this is, of course, a mere rough guess. The jungle-men, who are nearly black, though not at all resembling the negro in feature, are said to be the[28] original inhabitants of the country. Their religion is unknown, and I believe they possess no written language. The people were driven into the bushes by the lighter race of men, whom many suppose to have been some of the ancient Egyptians, probably not less than two or three thousand years ago. Amongst this race sprang up, even subsequently to this, the religion, or rather superstition, of Hindooism. Again, about seven or eight hundred years ago, the whole country was overrun and conquered by the Mohammedans. Seventy or eighty years ago we obtained a firm footing in a small portion of the country. Not long after, the Mahratta chiefs attacked the Mohammedans in various places; the Mohammedans called upon us for assistance; and thus we in time became possessors of almost the whole country.

The greatest difficulty in the pronunciation of the language is the letter h, which is always aspirated, and never pronounced as it is in our th, and yet this letter often comes after a consonant.

The money in the Mofussil, or country, is a source of much annoyance. If you want to change a ten-pound note, they give you no gold, but 100 rupees; if you want change for a rupee, they give you 64 pice; and if you change a pice, they give you 24 cowries. But as there are no shops, and all the people bring their goods to the house, this does not signify much.

If you were to go to Midnapore, and to ask a native where Acland Sahib lived (sahib means white gentleman), he would not be able to tell you; but if you were to ask for the Padre Sahib, he would immediately direct you to my house.

When I came here I was going to stay with the judge: I told the palanquin-bearers to take me to his house, mentioning his name, and we were carried to almost every house in the station; until at last we met a European, who told the men it was the judge sahib we wanted, and then they soon found the place. I am called Padre Sahib; Mrs. Acland is Padre Sahib ke Mem, or Padre Sahib's lady; a married woman, mem sahib; an old maid is mem; and a young lady is bibi sahib, or white lady baby.

[29]

EMPLOYMENT OF TIME.

The weather is now, comparatively speaking, delightful; the thermometer is 76░ in the middle of the day, and about 66░ at sunrise and early in the morning. I assure you we find it quite chilly, and are obliged to walk very fast to get warm. Our hours are now—up at six, feed the fowls, and walk till eight; bathe and dress till nine, then breakfast; write, read, and work till four, then dinner; feed the fowls and walk till half-past six; tea at seven. My wife works and I read aloud till half-past eight; backgammon or cribbage till half-past nine; then prayers, and to bed. Sometimes, however, I have to go out and see my parishioners between breakfast and dinner, and then I go in my palanquin. One great disagreeable is, the constant change of people.

The regiment that was here, of which the Major and his wife were our chief friends, has just been ordered away, and a new one is come in its place. The Captain of Engineers has just offered to take us a trip to the mountains, fifty miles off, on elephants. I do not know yet whether we shall go or not. The historical name of my parish would be, the Ooriah district, or the Oresta. Our time is six hours earlier than in England.


Midnapore, December 13, 1842.

DEPARTURE FOR CUTTACK.

I am on the point of quitting this place for Cuttack. I have sold the greater part of my furniture, as it is expensive to move; the remainder is going forward on hackeries, or native carts. I want six of these carts; about a dozen of them are come, and there is now a crowd of native savages round the door, disputing as to who shall go; and they were making so much noise that I was compelled to go out and stop the cabal. I took a good thick stick in my hand, as if I were about to beat them. I called out "Choop!" (or silence) as loud as I could. I then explained that I only wanted six hackeries. Then began a vociferation as to whose were the best. "Choop!—will ye choop?" I roared again. I then called the mollee, and desired him to turn out all[30] the bullocks, for they had unfastened those which drew the carts, and let them all loose in the rice-ground in the compound, which was just ready for cutting. This order I hallooed out loud enough for the men to hear; and told him, as soon as he had done that, to come to me for a crowbar to break to pieces all the hackeries but six. This made them submit; and although they still continued making a great chattering, yet they soon began harnessing their bullocks. With these people we are obliged to appear very severe. They despise us as being of no caste; and were we not to be firm, they would imagine we were afraid of them.

We are now engaged in packing up our things, and shall start on the 25th, reach Balasore on the 28th, and remain there ten days, and then three days' more travelling will bring me to my head-quarters at Cuttack.

I have, with much trouble, endeavoured to persuade the people here that they ought to build a church: the Mohammedans have a splendid mosque, the Hindoos have a large temple, and yet we have no consecrated building for the worship of the true God; but, however, I hope this will be remedied. As I was passing the mosque the other day, I saw the muezzin shouting out that it was time for prayer, and stopping his ears with both hands, that he might not hear the terrible noise which he himself was making.

GOATS.

About a fortnight ago the judge went out shooting: he came to a large hole under the root of a tree, and heard a loud growling. He is a courageous man, so he was not afraid; but he told an Indian, who was with him, to get behind the tree, and then poke a long stick into the hole. Presently the growling became very loud and savage, and then out jumped an enormous bear, one of the most savage sort—the large black bear. The judge was ready, and shot it when it came out. On examining the hole, three young bears, only a few days old, were found. He sent for some Indians, who carried the dead body, and also the cubs, home, and then, as he knew that I was fond of animals, he sent the three little ones to me. They are very ugly, and cannot see yet. One of my goats had just had a kid, so I told[31] the cook to make the kid into soup, and I brought the goat to the young bears. One man held the goat, another covered her eyes with his hands, and a boy held up the cubs to suck. The goat did not like it at all at first, but now she is quite contented, almost as much so as if they were her own young ones. I have given two of them away. In England you never taste goat's milk: it is most delicious; far better, I think, than cow's milk: we use it every day. Each goat, after the kid is taken from her, gives about three-quarters of a pint a-day. The judge has promised me a bottle full of the pure bear's grease.

Every one here knows that I am very fond of animals, and they are all very kind in sending them to me. I received the other day from a gentleman a present of a goat, which is quite as big as a small pony. If I were to get on its back my feet would not touch the ground; it is of a dark brown, and of the long-eared Thibet kind.


December 14.

BIRDS'-NESTS.

I went out to tea last evening, and a lady gave me two nests made of platted grass, into which the birds enter through a hole at the bottom. They are about a yard long, and they hang swinging from the branch of a tree to which they are fastened. They are built in this form, in order to keep out the violent rains, and to preserve the birds from the monkeys.

COST OF DRESS.

The commonest articles of dress in Calcutta are at least three times as dear as they are in England. I bought a silk hat which would have cost five shillings at home, and paid fourteen rupees for it here; and some ribbon, which would have been threepence a-yard in England, cost a rupee and a half here. Then on the other hand many things are cheaper.

There has been no rain for two months, nor a cloud until the last day or two; now the clouds will continue to increase for a week, and then we shall have three days of rain, after that no more till the middle of June, except about three tremendous thunderstorms in April and May. The weather is now delightful:[32] the thermometer varies from 60░ to 80░; but I am glad of cloth clothes, and at night we have three blankets and a heavy counterpane. At this time of the year we have peas, beans, &c., and every one looks happy and cheerful, not healthy, for Europeans are all of a deadly white, and most of them exceedingly fat.


December 16.

I was walking in the compound yesterday, and I saw something black, shaped very much like a small lobster, except that it had a pointed tail; and as soon as I went near it it turned its tail over its head and tried to sting me. I managed to get him into a bottle, which I filled with spirits.

The mungoose is very fond of serpents; he kills and eats them with great rapidity, and then jumps into my wife's lap to ask for some milk.


Balasore, Orissa, December 30, 1842.

The ancient house in which I live here is situated, like the rest of Balasore, on a large flat plain, extending north, south, and west, as far as I can see. The vegetation is scanty, and the trees are small. But turn towards the east and the eye is arrested by a most magnificent sight. At the distance of about seven miles rises quite abruptly from the plain a splendid range of volcanic hills, about two thousand feet in height. Judging from their appearance at this distance, they must be composed of reddish lava without any grass, but here and there a stumpy bush. I never saw anything to compare with them before. In England our hills are always rounded at the top; but here there are points and peaks and edges, as if you had been trying to cut a piece of paper in zigzag lines.

About fifteen miles beyond these great hills tower a still loftier range, lifting their deep-blue summits seven thousand feet[33] into the clouds, and forming a background for the nearer and better-defined range.

On Monday we start with a picnic party and tents, &c., to explore these hills. We shall probably be out on our expedition for three or four days.

HILL OF THE LARGE WHITE ANT.

After standing gazing at these magnificent hills, I walked towards what appeared to be the remains of some mud hut: it was about five feet high, and in irregular blunt points at the top. When I came down to it I tried to break off one of the long bits, but it was too strong, and was as hard as a wall. However, on the other side I found a smaller projection, which I broke off by kicking against it, and found it full of round passages perforating it in all directions, the smallest about the size of a quill, the largest as big as my wrist. This was the large white ants' hill. Immediately after I had broken a portion of it there came a rush of the inhabitants from all the passages to see what was the matter. They examined the parts broken, and then some of them ran back. Presently a number more came, some dragging forward the others until they got them quite to the edge, when a bigger ant took hold of each of these prisoners and bit him in the neck until he killed him. I suppose the prisoners were those who had been on guard at that spot, or else those who built that part, and so were punished for my fault. Soon, however, they turned and attacked me, for I found many of them on my clothes and experienced the smart of their bite.

I now walked forward, and the next thing I came to was a human skull. In this part of the country wood is scarce, and therefore, when any poor person dies, instead of burning his body, they wait till evening, and then throw it out of doors, and by the next morning the jackals and vultures have picked the bones quite clean, and the ants then destroy all the fibres, whilst the sun bleaches the bones. I have picked up several of these skulls in the last few days; they appear very different from the skull of an European, being smaller, and very much narrower from ear to ear in proportion to the length from the eye to the back of the head; the forehead also retreats much more. Presently I came to two bamboo-trees; between them on the[34] ground was a pair of doves, much smaller than our English ones, and of a bright reddish purple. They were walking about, whilst out of one of the bamboo-trees poked the head of a great snake, who was quietly watching them. I frightened away the doves, as I guessed the long gentleman's intentions. It is of a kind which does not hurt men, of a dirty-brown colour, about seven feet long.

Turning towards the house again, I was struck by the very beautiful plumage of a bird; its wings were striped transversely with black and white; it was about the size of a blackbird, with yellow neck and tail, and a very long head. It alighted on the ground and opened a most beautiful round crest growing fore and aft on its head, the colour of which, like the body, was an orange yellow, but there was an edging of white and black. It was the hoopoe. The only other striking thing I saw was a great vulture, with its naked red head and its tattered-looking feathers, puffing away at the top of our house, having most likely stuffed with human flesh till he could hardly move; and when I threw a stone at him, he hopped a little way along the roof and grunted.


January 2, 1843.

NATIVE LEGEND.

Yesterday was New Year's day. I have just heard the origin of these hills, and will put it down while I remember it. The story is from one of the natives here.

"Many, many years ago there lived a giant in Ceylon, and this giant fell in love with the daughter of another giant at Lucknow, in Bengal, so he asked her father to let him marry her. But he said No, as the other lived in a little island, and was no real gentleman at all. Upon this Master Ceylon determined that, as her father said No, he would take her without leave, and off he started, seized the young lady, put her on his shoulders, and carried her across to Ceylon. But when the papa found that his daughter was gone, he got into a tremendous rage, and determined to go and punish the Ceyloney. So off he hurried,[35] until he came to the straits which separate the island from the mainland. But when he tried to cross over, he found that he was not quite so tall as the Ceylonese gentleman by a few hundred yards, and that the water was too deep for him. So he stood still, and he scratched his head and wiped his forehead with his handkerchief, and thought and pondered what he should do to get across and punish the wicked thief. At last an idea struck him, and he trotted back all up India until he reached the Himalaya mountains, and, snatching up two of the largest of them, one in each hand, threw them into the straits, and thus made them shallow enough for him to pass over. But as he went along some of the rocks and earth slipped through his fingers, for you may suppose his hands were rather full; and the chains of hills which extend from Balasore for nearly three hundred miles are the pieces which he dropped as he went along." The tale does not inform us whether the giant's daughter was restored to him.

NESTS OF WHITE ANTS.

I have not been up the hills to-day, because some of the party were frightened at the number of bears and tigers which are said to be there; but I am in hopes we shall go in a few days. I have been looking about me a good deal lately, and have noticed one very curious thing. The ground for five or six miles from our house in one direction seems to be covered with mounds of earth and small bushes; on examining these closely, however, I find they are all the nests of white ants. The green ones are those that are deserted, and over which the grass has grown—the others are still inhabited. In the plain visible from my window there must be many hundreds of thousands of these hills, varying in height from three feet to ten or twelve, and many of them six feet in diameter; and all of these are formed by little insects no larger than the common English ant. One part of their manner of building is most extraordinary: their nests are always completely covered in, so that without kicking them you cannot see a single ant inside; there are one or two doors in different parts of the building, but they are seldom used.

Their mode of building is as follows:—One day, perhaps, you[36] will perceive a single pinnacle of an ants' nest. You go and see it one day, and you find it slightly raised, but curved, like a headstone. So it increases daily until it reaches the size I have described. It is like a man building a house—as if he made a little closet with a roof on it, and then went inside and stayed there, while the closet swelled and swelled until it became a perfect house. At the foot of these ant-hills are a number of large black ants on the watch for any straggling white ants, which they kill and eat. These creatures abound in all our houses, and run about the floors: they are about an inch in length, and bite, but do not sting.


January 3.

MODE OF TRAVELLING.

I ought to give you some account of our voyage to this place. We quitted Midnapore, after a hard week's packing, at nine o'clock on Tuesday evening, December 27th. On the Monday we went to dine and sleep at the house of the Captain of Engineers, because our own was in such a condition from packing; and after dinner on Tuesday at nine o'clock we entered our horrible palanquin. I flatter myself that most of the people at Midnapore were very sorry when we left. We had sixteen men to carry us, two mussalchees, or men who carry mussals (torches made of long strips of cotton bound tightly together and dipped in oil), and two banghy-bearers, to carry each two tin boxes with our clothes in them.

We soon got clear of the station of Midnapore, and then the scene became most wild and romantic—a narrow road, bounded on each side by an interminable jungle, or plain covered with low bushes so thickly matted together as to afford only passage to the deadly cobra, the snarling jackal, and the ravenous tiger. On the road our own palanquins, one a hundred yards in front of the other, carried by black men with merely a cloth round their loins, the red glaring torches showing the others who ran swiftly by their side, the banghy-bearers trying to keep up with us, and all keeping up a loud monotonous sing-song tune, which[37] was varied occasionally by the shrill cry of the jackal, the grinning snarl of the hyŠna, or in the distance the deeper roar of the tiger in search of his prey—and yet in the midst of all this we both slept well, awakened only occasionally by the plashing of the men through the fords of the river or the stopping at a village to change bearers.

JELASORE.

In the latter case we were not detained an instant, the fresh relays being in attendance with as much patience and regularity as if they were horses waiting for a coach. Thus we travelled on without interruption until we reached Danton, called Dantoon. This was about nine o'clock in the morning. At this place there is a dÔk-bungalow—that is, a bungalow, or thatched house, built by Government for the accommodation of travellers. In Turkey it would be called a caravanserai. Here there is a man with fire and water, but the traveller brings his own provisions, wine, tea, bread, &c., in his palanquin, though he can generally get eggs. We stayed here about two hours, and had some tea, eggs, and biscuits, and no one who has not experienced it can have any idea of the comfort of a short rest after a night of dÔk travelling. Although you lie down in the palanquin, yet every limb gets cramped, and the incessant jolting is most painful to the bones, even of one so fat as I am, and I have increased sadly in bulk since I came to India. Off we started again a little before eleven, and at about one we reached the house of an Indigo-planter at Jelasore. I never saw him before, but he received us most hospitably. His wife was rejoiced to see us—she had not seen a European lady for seventeen months, for their nearest neighbours live at a distance of forty miles, or about twelve hours' journey. Here we spent a most agreeable day, delighted with everything. In the evening I took a walk with our kind host to see an old fort.

It must have been once very strong, and was probably built by the Mahrattas as a dep˘t for plunder when they overran this part of the country. In the inner court is a three-domed building, resembling, except in ornament, a mosque. The walls are several feet thick, built of hard stone strongly clamped together with iron. High up in the interior of the centre dome are four[38] niches, which I hope to explore on some future occasion. The inner enclosure is surrounded by a strong stone wall and a deep moat now dry. Beyond this is a level space of a few yards in width, and then again, in another part of the wall, there are signs of a narrow sallyport, and opposite to this, between the trenches, as if it might have been reached by a drawbridge, is a very high mound of earth. Over the sallyport there has evidently been a strong tower, and above the central entrance into the interior building is a stone with an inscription. It appears very perfect, but no one can read it; it is neither Ooriah, Hindustanee, Sanscrit, nor Persian. I have called this a Mahratta fort, because that is the general opinion amongst Europeans. I myself doubt it, and from its age and appearance think it much more likely that it was erected by the Moguls when they first invaded the country; how I wished, as I stood there, that I could have seen it as it was in former ages, with its garrison, and its horsemen, and its despotic governor. The next time I go I shall provide myself with some paper covered with charcoal, and try to take an impression of the inscription. We were in some fear, during our examination, lest we should be interrupted by the natives, as they have very recently got the idea that it was once inhabited by one of their gods, and therefore consider it a sacred place. I fancied, as well as the darkness would allow me to see, that far back in one of the niches I could dimly perceive a coloured statue of a female. Before we went to see this ruin my kind host took me into his garden to show me the India-rubber tree. We scraped the bark with a piece of rough glass, and a white sticky juice oozed out; this we took between our fingers and squeezed until it became a sort of brown gluey substance. In this state it is used by the native hunters as birdlime. After being exposed to the air for some time it gradually hardens and becomes what we call India-rubber. A large part of this garden was planted with arrow-root.

ATTACK BY A TIGER.

At half-past eight we again entered the palanquin, and started for Balasore, where we arrived at half-past seven the next morning, and were set down at the Circuit-house—a large house belonging to Government, and kept for the convenience of officers,[39] including the chaplain, who have to travel the district every year. I can conceive nothing more wild than the dÔk travelling; but I have described it all, except that in each palanquin we carry a brace of loaded pistols. I will relate an instance, and a very remarkable one, of the advantage of carrying loaded pistols in this country. Major M., now the second in command at Midnapore, was one day out with some friends, sitting quietly under the shade of a bank, when suddenly a tiger sprang out of a jungle, seized the Major by the leg, threw him over his shoulders, and trotted off with him. The Major's companions raised a loud shout; but the beast was hungry, and did not choose to be frightened from his meal. The Major, however, fortunately had a brace of loaded pistols in his belt; he pulled out one, and fired it at the head of the tiger as it carried him off. It flashed in the pan; and almost in despair he seized the other, and shot the tiger dead on the spot. The only injury the Major received was a broken and lacerated leg, which has rendered him in some measure a cripple ever since. This story I know to be true, both from the Major himself and from those who were with him.

A HUNGRY BEAR.

A small party went out for a day's pleasure a little while ago from Midnapore. They went to the Ghape, a most beautiful spot at about five miles' distance. After rambling about they went into an old house which is there, with an excellent appetite for dinner. The "cook-room" was about a hundred yards from the house. They waited and waited, and no dinner came; so at last one of the gentlemen went to see the cause of the delay, when lo! as if watching for the dinner, there was an enormous black bear sitting half-way between the house and the cook-room. They shouted, and tried to drive him away; but no, master Bruin only growled; he did not see why he should not have something to eat. None of the party had guns; and they say that they were kept waiting five hours without their dinner before the beast's patience was exhausted and he stalked off. We were, as I before said, set down at the "Circuit-house." This I expected to have found tolerably furnished; but, alas! when we went in, we found nothing but one mat, three tables, and[40] two chairs. We then had the palanquins taken into a bed-room, and determined to make ourselves as comfortable as we could. I then went out to make calls—for in India the new comers call upon the old residents, reversing the English custom. This did not take me long, as the whole station consists of the magistrate and his wife, the excise-officer and his daughter, the postmaster, doctor, and deputy-magistrate.

At night we slept as well as we could in the palanquins, but were kept awake the greater part of the time by the mosquitoes, and the next morning our hands and faces were most beautifully spotted over with their bites. On this the second day one or two people called; and when the excise-officer and his daughter came in, the deficiency in furniture was at once made manifest. There were Mr. and Miss B., Mrs. Acland, and I, with only two chairs amongst us, and these, like all the chairs in India, were arm-chairs, so that we could not even manage by sitting two on one chair; so Miss B. and my wife had the two chairs, and Mr. B. and I sat upon the table—rather a high one it was—so that our feet dangled about half-way between our seat and the floor. However, there was one great advantage in this evidence of poverty, for Mr. B., as soon as he got home, sent us a large bedstead, some chairs, and other things necessary to make us comfortable.

PALANQUIN-BEARERS' SONGS.

I ought to mention the chant of the palanquin-bearers; though they keep to the same sing-song tune, yet they generally invent the words as they go along. I will give a sample, as well as I could make it out, of what my bearers sang the other night; I have tried to render their words as nearly as I could into English, so as to preserve the metre. The poetry must be improved. A palkee means a palanquin: it is the Hindustanee word, though one also generally used in conversation. Each line is sung in a different voice; in the following, for instance, the first line would be sung in the usual voice, the second very high, the third in a sort of gruff tone:—

"Oh, what a heavy bag!
No; it's an elephant:
He is an awful weight.
[41] Let's throw his palkee down—
Let's set him in the mud—
Let's leave him to his fate.
No, for he'll be angry then;
Ay, and he will beat us then
With a thick stick.
Then let's make haste and get along,
Jump along quick."

And then, suiting the action to the word, off they set in a nasty jog-trot which rattled every bone in my body, keeping chorus all the time of "jump along quick, jump along quick," until they were obliged to stop for laughing. The second sample is from the men who carried Mrs. Acland, and is in quite a different metre. I must tell you that "cubbadar" means "take care," and "baba" (pronounced "barba") means "young lady:"—

1.

"She's not heavy,
Cubbadar!
Little baba,
Cubbadar!
Carry her swiftly,
Cubbadar!
Pretty baba,
Cubbadar!
Cubbadar!
Cubbadar!

2.

"Trim the torches,
Cubbadar!
For the road's rough,
Cubbadar!
Here the bridge is,
Cubbadar!
Pass it swiftly,
Cubbadar!
Cubbadar!
Cubbadar!

3.

"Carry her gently,
Cubbadar!
Little baba,
Cubbadar!
Sing so cheerily,
Cubbadar!
Pretty baba,
Cubbadar!
Cubbadar!
Cubbadar!"

At this place very little wood is to be found—not enough for the people to use for their fires during what is called the cold weather. The women accordingly go out, and instead of gathering wood they pick up cowdung. This they knead into flat round cakes about the size of pancakes, dry them in the sun, and they burn almost as well as the turf or peat which is used in England, though it is a great nuisance, for the thick smoke it emits has a very unpleasant smell.

The other day we saw a most beautiful sight on the nearer hills. Some of the jungle (or wild) men had set fire to the grass and bushes on the side. The fire spread, shooting rapidly from[42] one part to another, and as it was late in the evening it produced a most magnificent scene. The object in doing this was to get rid of the snakes, bears, and tigers, in order that the people might go and cut down the few large trees that grew on the hill.

Last night, as my wife and I were having a game of casino, we heard a low growl in the compound, and directly afterwards a screaming amongst the fowls, and a hallooing of the servants (we carry fowls wherever we go, or we should be almost starved); the only words I could distinguish were "Bargh! bargh!" A tiger! a tiger! I jumped up; but on examination it proved to be a false alarm. It was only a large wild animal, something resembling our fox, only with shorter legs and longer body, which had attacked the fowls; and I had not so much presence of mind as the Major I told you of, for when I ran out into the compound to see what was the matter I quite forgot to take my pistols, so the thief got safely off; but I have now secured my fowls more effectually.

Just before we left Midnapore, a large flock of birds, flying in regular order, amounting, I should think, to several thousands, passed over the place. They made a great noise, and I thought they were wild geese; but I hear they were a bird called the cyris, which stands about five feet high, and is not a water-bird.

INDIAN SCAVENGERS.

I was much amused this afternoon whilst I was sitting in the verandah with watching the crows. I think I have described them to you. They are very like the carrion-crow in England, but rather smaller. There is a law which imposes a heavy fine upon any one who kills them; this is very right, for they carry away a quantity of refuse and filth which would otherwise putrefy and cause disease; but the consequence is, that they are more numerous and more impudent than the sparrows in England. I threw out the bones of a fowl we had had for dinner; presently about fifty crows came down within a few feet of me, and began to peck away; every now and then a bird, which people here call a kite, would swoop down, and send all the crows cawing away. As soon as it rose, down came[43] the crows again; presently one of them flew away with a large bone in his beak; the kite saw it, and was off in pursuit. Backwards and forwards, up and down the poor crow dodged, but its pursuer followed it, and had nearly reached it, when the pursued thought it best to drop the bone. The sharp eye of the kite perceived this, and, although he was some distance above at the time, yet he made a dart down and caught the bone in his mouth before it had reached the ground. I have lately seen some kites like the others in all respects, except that the body and head are white, the wings being still brown; these are rather larger than the others.

Every sort of filth here is thrown out into the fields, and in a very few hours the jackals and crows clear it away, assisted by the pariah dogs. These are the only scavengers in the country.

The rain began on the 24th of December, and we had occasional showers for two days; but every one is disappointed by the season. Instead of having nice cool weather in January, the hot weather has completely set in, although it does not in general begin before the middle of February. The thermometer in the shade is at this moment above 80░, although this is considered a cool place.

For my dinner yesterday I had some peacock-cutlets, which the surgeon of the station had sent me.


Cuttack, February 2, 1843.

JOURNEY TO CUTTACK.

I must return now, and give you some account of how we started for this place from Balasore. On Sunday the 8th of January we had service in the morning; and at four in the afternoon we entered our palkees to proceed to Cuttack, a distance of 103 miles.

Throughout the journey not a single European is to be met with, but the traveller is entirely in the power of the natives, excepting such assistance as he can derive from his pistols and a thick stick. The danger however is not great. The Ooriahs, as well as the Bengalese, are a small and cowardly race; so[44] much so, indeed, that the East India Company will not allow them to be enlisted as soldiers. A Bengalee of five feet six is quite a tall man, and in shape he is as delicate and effeminate as a European lady.

We jogged on most merrily until about half-past five the next morning, when I was awakened by hearing "Sahib, Sahib;" to which I sleepily answered by inquiring what my servant wanted. He told me we were arrived at Barripore, about fifty miles from Balasore, and they wanted to know whether I meant to go to the dÔk-bungalow. I said Yes: for we had determined to remain at Barripore all day, as it is not safe to travel in the sun even in January. To the bungalow we accordingly went; where we eat, drank, and read books which we had brought with us, and amused ourselves as well as we could, until four in the afternoon, when off we started again. I only remember one adventure which happened there. My wife wanted to wash her hands, and took up a "gomlah" to pour out some water; suddenly she cried out that she was stung. I ran to see what it was, and, examining the gomlah, found she had been bitten by a hornet. In comparison with other insects the sting of this creature is an object of very little dread. Her hand, however, swelled a little, and for three or four hours she suffered a good deal of pain all up her arm, but still it was fortunately only a hornet. At four o'clock in the afternoon we again started, and arrived at our own house in Cuttack at about eight the next morning.

It is customary at the end of each stage to make the palkees a present of four annas (or sixpence) for each palkee. During one of the stages between Barripore and Cuttack the men did not go so quickly as I thought they should have done; so when we changed men I only gave them four annas for the two palkees, telling them why I did so. The consequence was, that during the next stage the men not only went much faster, but invented a new song, the whole burthen of which was, "He has only given them four annas because they went so slowly! Let us make haste and go along quickly, and then we shall get eight annas and have a good supper."

[45]

FRUIT-TREES.

My house here belongs to Government, and I am in great hope they will allow me to occupy it free of rent; it is the best in the cantonment, the compound contains about twenty acres, and there are in it several beautiful clumps of trees. In front of the house is a fine group of cedars; in one part is a hill, on the top of which are several trees: I do not yet know their names, but their foliage is of a bright green, more bright than any ever seen in England. We have an orchard containing mangoes, custard-apples, waunpearls, mulberries, guavas, &c. &c., with one chur-tree—that is, the true India-rubber tree, and, I believe, the only one in this part of India; that at Jelasore is a very inferior sort.

ALLIGATORS.

We have a grand house in the compound, and have, besides, a flower-garden with orange and lemon trees, &c. A river three miles broad flows near, and a ghaut, or landing-place, for pilgrims proceeding to Juggernat'h, a Hindu holy temple. We can see in the distance a range of hills, rising abruptly from the other side of the river, which are a continuation of those at Balasore. On the sands are storks, wild-geese, and all sorts of aquatic birds; even all the tanks here abound with alligators. The other day one of the officers was returning home from mess; it was dark, and in his compound he fell over something which proved to be a large alligator, making its way from the river to a tank, probably with a view of there depositing her eggs. About three weeks ago a poor woman went to fetch water from one of these places, on the surface of which were weeds; she was engaged in clearing a space with her hands, when one of these animals, with its jaws open, caught her arm and stripped off all the flesh below the elbow. She was compelled to have her arm amputated.

HUMAN REMAINS.

I saw to-day a large hyŠna gliding across the compound. I suppose he smelt some dead body on the beach. The Juggernat'h pilgrims come from very great distances, and many die on the road. In my compound alone, if I were to collect the skulls, bones, &c., I think I could make up eight or ten human skeletons. The other evening one of my servants came to me, and said, "If you please, sir, there is a dead pilgrim in the[46] compound, and the matee wants to know if he shall throw it away;"—that is, throw it down on the bank for the jackals, &c. I would not let him do this, but sent notice to the commanding officer, who sent for the body, and, I suppose, threw it away. About two hours after this my wife was gone to bed, and I was sitting reading, when I felt something on my foot; I examined, and in my stocking found a large centipede. I contrived to kill him without being stung.

The Government allow me a guard of soldiers; and a sentry, with musket and bayonet, parades up and down the front verandah; they also allow three servants for the use of the church. The soldiers present arms to me and salute; and when any one comes at night, they call out, "Hookum dar?" to which the answer is "Exprin:" these phrases are corruptions of the English. The church is very nicely fitted up; there is a door leading into it from my study, which serves on Sundays as a vestry. The greatest inconvenience here—as in all the churches in India—consists in the punkahs. Over the pulpit, altar, and reading-desk are three small punkahs, and over the body of the building three very large ones, extending over the whole breadth. These are kept constantly in motion, and they sadly intercept the voice of whoever is preaching. The house, being a bungalow, has, of course, only the ground-floor; the roof is a thick thatch, extending over the verandahs, which in England would be called porticoes, and these are supported on thick white columns. The ceilings in a bungalow are nothing but large sheets of canvass whitewashed. As in India people are glad to keep all the doors within the house open, there is placed between the different rooms a framework covered with crimson or green silk, which the natives call a half-door. The beds are nine or ten feet wide, with short posts, on which you may hang mosquito-curtains, which are a sort of large sacks made of gauze, without any opening. They are supported on the posts and tucked in closely all round, so as to prevent the mosquitoes from stinging the people in bed; the only covering, generally, is a sheet, and the gentleman's sleeping-dress is a flannel jacket and a pair of calico drawers with feet to them, to keep off the mosquitoes[47] if they should by chance get inside the curtains. Some people also throw a gauze over the face for the same purpose. There are no feather-beds, but the mattresses are generally stuffed with the fibres from the outside rind of the cocoa-nut, called "coir.". The usual plan is to leave the glass doors (French windows you would call them) all open, but to shut the Venetian blinds, and to have a punkah over your head going all night. At about six in the morning all the glass doors are closed, and kept shut all day to exclude the hot air. If, however, there should be any wind, one of them is opened and a tattie hung up in its place; the tattie is a thick mat the size of the doorway, made of the sweet-scented cuscus-grass; this is kept constantly wetted on the outside.

THE MOHURRUN—POSITION OF CUTTACK.

From the 1st to the 11th of February is the Mohammedan festival of the Mohurrun, which is a grand scene. Every night drums beat, and dancing and merrymaking are kept up among the men only, as the Mohammedan women are kept in seclusion. In the compound the other day I saw about a dozen men, one of them thumping away on the horrible native drum called a "tomtom." Two others held by heavy chains a tall sepoy (this word means a native soldier, and ought to be spelt "sepahi"), who was covered all over with a dress of calico, fitting tight to the skin—so much so that at first I thought he was naked. The calico was painted in alternate stripes of red and yellow, and he had two little yellow horns. I imagine it must have been intended to represent the devil conquered and chained by Mohammed. He made a number of antics, and ended, as all these people do, in begging for a few pice; I gave him three annas. The station of Cuttack is situated on a small island formed by the confluence of two rivers; during the hot weather this island becomes a peninsula joined to the main land by a narrow neck of sand. The advantage of this insular position is that, whilst we abound in alligators, we are free from bears and tigers, neither have we so many pariah-dogs as there were about Midnapore. The opposite bank swarms with tigers, and with a small telescope we can sometimes see them coming down to drink by moonlight. On the opposite bank, all round the island, except to[48] the south, rise the rugged hills which dropped from Vishna's fingers. There is one great comfort here: the sea is about fifty miles from us, in a straight line towards the south, and every evening, at about five o'clock, a deliciously cool sea-breeze sets in from that direction. About seven it becomes quite gusty, and continues to blow until about one in the morning. It is necessary to have lived in such a climate as this to know how truly luxurious such evenings are after the intense heat of the day, which is now rapidly increasing; the thermometer in the shade is about 82░ or 84░, and this is only the beginning of February.

FORT OF CUTTACK.

A walk round the compound early in the morning is quite delightful. On each tree are three or four of the beautiful little striped squirrels, whilst in the branches are many paroquets, parrots, &c. All about on the ground are numbers of a bird of a bright green, with a red breast and head, about the size of a love-bird, and very much like it, except that the beak is straight and rather long, and from the centre of the tail project two long straight feathers of a reddish green. There is also the beautiful mango-bird with its bright yellow plumage and its glossy black head. Occasionally may be seen an alligator lying asleep, with his head and shoulders on the bank and the rest of his body in the water, while a lung-bird has just alighted on his head and twitters to its mate by the side of the tank. They are about the size of the amadavad, but shaped like the swallow, and their plumage is alternately a glossy black or a deep crimson, according as the sun shines on it. Then there is the India-rubber tree, and skulls bleached in the sun. I saw one with its little teeth in the front that had not yet pierced the gums: they are the second teeth, and the skull, which is very small, must have belonged to a mere child. The house belongs to Government, and there are therefore three wells in the compound; but the water is not good. The plan for watering this large orchard and garden is as follows:—From the edge of the wall to the cistern is a wooden trough, into which the water is thrown as it is drawn from the well. By this means the cistern is filled. A brick gutter runs from the cistern and separates it into so many[49] branches; round each bed and every here and there are little openings which let the water run out on the bed. Suppose they only want to water one, they just take up a little earth in a spade and stop up the other branches of the gutter. Whenever it crosses a path, it is carried underneath by means of a small drain. The muller takes two long bamboos, having at one end a heavy weight and at the other a large gomlah suspended by a cord. One muller pulls one cord downward to make the gomlah reach the water, the other fills the gomlah, and, letting go the cord at the other end of the bamboo, draws it up. This work proceeds with great rapidity, and so the cistern gets filled and the garden watered. At a very short distance from our garden stand the remains of a fort. When the English took Cuttack this fort was garrisoned by the Mahrattas. They, however, soon gave it up. The angles of the bastion were rectangles, which prevents it being so strong as if they had been obtuse angles, for then the balls would have had a tendency to glance off; but its great strength consists in the ditch, which is about a hundred or a hundred and fifty yards wide, with the perpendicular side faced with bricks, full of water and swarming with alligators. The water is most foul and offensive, but the medical men say that, if they were to empty and drain it, it would make for many months a most fearful pestilence. The natives have offered us 30,000l. to be allowed to drain it, because they say there is a vast quantity of treasure in it.

ORIGIN OF THE MOHURRUN.

I have just learned the origin of the Mohurrun. It is a festival, or rather commemoration of the death of Hussein and Houssein, the sons of Ali, Mohammed's nephew. These two were pursued towards the desert by their enemies; they took shelter in a well, and a spider immediately wove a web across the top. Their enemies came up, and, seeing the web, thought that Houssein and Hussein could not be in the well. However, one of them looking down observed a number of lizards all hastening up the sides, so then they thought there must be some one at the bottom who frightened the lizards, and, searching, they got up the two brothers and killed them. It is to commemorate this fact that they have instituted the festival of the Mohurrun, and in[50] consequence the Mohammedans all reverence the spider, while they kill the lizard.

The fort here is of great extent, comprising, I should think, at least 100 acres. The walls have been demolished, and a great portion of the interior is now occupied by a botanical garden and a racket-court.

The winds have risen to-day with tumultuous fury, as though they had been long confined and in one fearful moment had burst their prison-house. There is something very grand, though awful, in these furious tempest-bursts within the tropics. A few minutes back not a leaf rustled; now the trees are waving to and fro, small branches are whirled into the air, and leaves and rubbish are carried far away by the revolving eddies of almost a hurricane. I could scarcely see the river through the volumes of sand which are tossing about mixed with the spray.


Monday, February 13, 1843.

I am going to cross the river into the jungle in a day or two, with two other gentlemen. Our object is to plan a new village for some native Christians. We each take a gun and a brace of pistols, and have no doubt that we shall bring home some venison. We shall also look out as we go along for two tigers, which have recently committed terrible depredations about Condah, whither we are going. The other day they carried off two men.

Gold-dust is mixed with the sand of the river, but the quantity is very small, and is therefore not considered worth the trouble and expense of collecting.


Cuttack, March 4, 1843.

One of my servants came to me this morning, and told me that there was a boa-constrictor in the garden. I immediately desired all the men to take long bamboos, and we sallied forth[51] to attack the monster. By the time we got to the place, however, he had retreated into his hole in the ground; we had therefore to dig him out, and as soon as he appeared all the men struck him with their bamboos until they killed him. It proved not to be a boa, but a yellow snake about seven feet long, and was not venomous. We killed it, however, lest it might endanger the poultry-yard.

EXCURSION TO CHOGGA.

On Wednesday the 15th of February we started on our trip—myself and Mr. L., a missionary: Captain W. was not able to accompany us on account of the parade, but was to join us in the evening. On Tuesday afternoon we got our guns in readiness, and sent off some camp furniture, viz. a bedstead, table, &c., which fold up so as to be easily portable. My bed, food, clothes, &c., were carried by two men, each of whom was to receive two annas, that is three pence, a-day. Chogga, and not Condah, is the name of the place to which we were going, and it would be impossible to obtain anything there to eat except what we shot ourselves.

At four o'clock on Wednesday morning Mr. L. came to my house, and we took some coffee, eggs, and toast, and then set off, my companion on a tall white horse and I on a little native pony, both of us dressed entirely in white. I had with me a bearer, a kitmajar, and a syce. Mr. L. had also a bearer, a cooly, and a syce, with several coolies carrying provisions. The syces were only to accompany us as far as the river, and then take the horses back; the others carried our guns, pistols, powder, hunting knives, which are very necessary both to kill everything that is wounded, and also to defend ourselves if thrown down by an elk, tiger, &c. It was necessary that we should cross the river about ten miles from my house, so off we trotted followed by our train. Everything was perfectly still, the moon just setting, and a cold damp fog hanging over the whole island. For the first half-mile we got along very well. We had then to turn into the bed of the river, now dwindled to a narrow stream. Our course lay over a deep bed of loose sand something like that at Weston-super-Mare, only much worse, our horses' feet sinking at every step five or six inches; the poor animals could not[52] move quicker than a trot. As the moon set, and the fog closed around us, the scene became one of utter desolation: the narrow pathway, if you can call it a pathway, winding so as to avoid the deeper sands and quicksands, did not permit us riding two abreast. Far ahead, magnified by the mist, I could just see the tall figure of Mr. L. and his white steed; behind I could hear a low chattering, and now and then one of the black servants would emerge from the fog and then vanish again as suddenly as he had appeared. From time to time arose a shrill cry from some one who had wandered from the path, answered as shrilly by the other men. As the fog thickened everything disappeared. The path was barely discernible, and I almost wished myself at home. However I trusted to the sagacity of my sure-footed little pony, and he carried me safely over the sand-hills and through the hollows for about three-quarters of an hour, when I heard a shout in front, announcing that Mr. L. had reached the water. I soon came up with him. We waited till our servants joined us, then dismounted, gave our horses to the syces with orders to be at the same place at six o'clock on Thursday evening, and embarked in a large boat, which, to render it water-tight, or rather to keep it afloat, was filled up to the seat with bushes and brambles trodden into a compact mass.

The boatmen told us that two nights before, as three carts were going along the path to Chogga, a tiger had sprung out and carried off the man in the centre cart, and that a few days earlier two men had been carried away from the village itself. The other side of the river is a steep bank without sand, and by the time we reached it the day was just breaking, of which, to tell the truth, I was by no means sorry.

SPORTING.

On the bank we found the coolies whom we had sent forward the evening before, and who had waited there for us, being afraid to proceed through the jungle until they had the protection of the sahibs. There we took our guns, &c., into our own hands, girded on our belts, in which were thrust our long hunting knives or daggers and our pistols, letting our servants carry our powder-flasks, shot-belts, &c. This is done in order to be able to load with greater rapidity, the servant holding the shot,[53] wad, cap, &c., in readiness. He also carries a heavy ramrod with a round knob at the top, as the drawing the ramrod from the gun, returning it, and hammering away with it at the powder, which you must do on account of its lightness, might frequently cause delay that might be fatal. Most people, for the sake of safety, use double-barrelled guns; mine was, however, only single, but the barrel was long enough for two.

At last off we started along the regular path to Chogga. The change was most extraordinary; the fog had already cleared away; we were walking along a narrow winding path cut through the jungle. On each side of us extended as far as the eye could reach a vast plain covered with laurels and shrubs of a bright green, interspersed here and there with large flowers of a brilliant crimson or scarlet, and more rarely with trees of a stunted growth, on which numbers of little tiny doves were cooing their greeting to the sun. The bushes, which we call low jungle, grow to four or five feet in height, and so thickly that it is impossible to pass through them, except where a path has been cut, or where a natural glade or opening occurs. We walked on looking out anxiously for some opening, as we knew we should find nothing worth firing at in the open plain. Suddenly, on turning an angle in the path, we saw at the distance of about a quarter of a mile on the right a clear space with a few large trees in it. Amid the branches sat fifteen or twenty pea-fowl, and on the open glade were as many more feeding. Shortly afterwards we came to a smaller one, which enabled us to separate, so that we might approach the pea-fowl in different directions; however we could not get within shot, which we much regretted.

But I own I was not quite so eager in pushing through the jungle as I should have been the next day; it was quite novel to me, and I could not help thinking every now and then of the dreaded cobra or the scarcely less dreaded tiger. Indeed, of the last I had a fearful reminder before I rejoined Mr. L.

In a small space of clear ground I came suddenly upon the skeleton of a man, evidently lately killed, for much of the flesh was still adhering to the bones. Probably it was the poor driver of whom we had heard. I had quite lost sight of Mr.[54] L., but presently heard him shout from some distance behind me. I made my way towards him, and soon reached a small paddy-field (rice-field). Here was a small bull of a very dark colour, who did not seem at all pleased with our intrusion: he looked at us for a minute, and then came galloping towards us, shaking his head and tail in his anger. My two servants called out that it was a wild cow, and crouched down behind me. I felt a little nervous, but faced the animal, and drew a pistol from my belt; however, as he came near, I saw a small piece of cord fastened to one of his horns, and therefore knew it was not an "unner" or wild cow. I desired the men to shout, and myself did the same, running towards the animal and waving my hat. He stopped a moment hesitating, and then, as I rushed forward, he threw up his tail in the air and scampered off, very much to my relief.

Mr. L. now came up, and we proceeded on our road. Presently one of the men who was a little in advance stopped and pointed to a tree at a little distance. Mr. L. primed his gun and fired, and down dropped a fine hen. Wild hens abound in the jungles, and are excellent eating, possessing a slight flavour of game.

Soon after we came to a spot of ground where we beheld a number of quails. I fired and killed two. Again we went on, but met with no further adventure until we came to Chogga. The last mile and a half of our journey lay through paddy-fields with the stubble still on them. The heat was intense, and by the time we reached our destination I was thoroughly tired.

Chogga is a small native village surrounded by jungle, standing about seven or eight miles from the river. It does not belong to the English, but is in the territory of one of our tributary rajahs. Mr. L. has a bungalow there, if such it can be called, consisting as it does of a single room about sixteen feet square, built of mud, and thatched with rice-straw. He has made many converts here, and is about to erect a Christian village about his own bungalow, which is half a mile from Chogga itself, and well situated on a small spot of rising ground. The[55] appearance and manner of these wild, naked, yet Christian savages, was to me deeply interesting.

As soon as we arrived, a number of natives, both men and women, crowded about us. Many of them were Christians, though in dress they adhered to their old habits. Mr. L. at once took off everything but his trowsers, and after some hesitation I did the same. After this we had breakfast and then lay down on our camp beds and rested for two or three hours. About one I felt hungry, so went out and shot a few doves, which abound on every tree.

SPORTING.

About half-past three we collected as many men as possible and went out to beat the jungle, through which Mr. L. and myself worked our way until we came to a small open space. There one of us posted himself; the other went on until he found another similar spot, where he also stationed himself. As soon as the shikarree who was with us saw where we were ready, he stole out of the jungle and placed the twenty-five men in a large semicircle, our positions being the centre, and the radius about half a mile. As soon as they were all stationed, at a signal they began to roar and groan and make the most frightful noises, beating the bushes with their long bamboos, and pushing through the jungle towards the open space where we were placed. This was in a high jungle, and really the scene on such an occasion is most exciting. You stand on a small space of fifteen or twenty yards in diameter, bounded on every side by lofty trees and thick underwood, your gun in your hand, your man behind you holding the next charge in readiness. In every quarter the shrieks and yells of the beaters are heard; presently there is a whirr in the air, and a peacock flies through the open space above your head. Bang goes the gun, off runs one of the men to pick up the bird; load again! quick! hark! What a rush in the bushes! There it comes! An elk or stag, shot but not killed; and a man rushes out and cuts the animal's throat.

An alarm of "Tiger!" was now given, but it proved false, as nothing but a wild cat darted over the glade. Shouts again rend the air, and a magnificent red peacock, with a deep green[56] tail and neck of gold, flies over our heads, his long tail streaming behind him, and the brown hen at his side. The opening above our heads was small, and an immediate fire was necessary: I fired and missed him. The beaters now approached nearer and nearer, shouting, and their dark forms soon became visible gliding one by one out of the jungle. Nothing more was to be found there; we accordingly moved on, and presently were beckoned to by the shikarree. He pressed his finger to his lips and whispered "Choop! choop!" and, pointing down a narrow opening in the jungle, showed us a large leopard, beautifully spotted, lying apparently asleep. While loading our guns the animal awoke, and was stealing off just as we fired and hit him, though he contrived to crawl off. The next day, however, we found the body, as the arrow was poisoned. The skin is valuable. The shikarree, who proudly bore off the body, would suffer no one to assist him; but that same man would not carry home the merest trifle from the bazaar, but must be followed by a coolie.

Captain W. soon met us, and we returned home to dinner, after which we sallied out by moonlight to seek some deer, but were unsuccessful.

CONVERTS AND "INQUIRERS."

The next morning, rising at four, after a cup of coffee we sallied into the jungle again, but obtained nothing but a few fowls. Captain W. now left us on his return home, and after breakfast a number of native Christians assembled, as this was the morning appointed for talking to them. They all squatted down on the floor, the men on one side and the women on the other. Mr. L., who is thoroughly conversant with the Oorial language, now entered into conversation with them, asking them questions and hearing all they had to say. They appear to have a very good knowledge of true religion, and to be very earnest and sincere. It was most interesting to see them all sitting so quietly with their eyes fixed on Mr. L.'s face, never attempting to interrupt either him or one another, but speaking one at a time in a low reverent tone of voice. When asked a question they would pause a moment or two in deep thought before they answered. After a little time one or two inquirers came in,[57] that is, men who are not yet converted, but are inquiring about Christianity, or arguing concerning it and comparing it with their own religion. These sat down and behaved themselves in the same decorous manner as the actual Christians. Mr. L. very judiciously encouraged the converts to argue with the inquirers, and it was most pleasing to observe the perfect mildness and the restrained gestures of both parties when talking on so holy a subject, every eye fixed upon the two disputants, and when a pause occurred some other convert gently putting in a word in support of the holy truth.

Inquirer. "You say God gave you the Bible, I say God gave us the Shasters. The religion that is good for the white man is not good for the black. God is good, and has given us each a religion proper to ourselves. I say your religion is good and comes from God; why will you not say the same of our Shasters?"

Convert. "God gave white men the Bible because he is very good, and he told them to go and teach it to every one, because he wishes every one to be good and happy, and to go to the happy country of heaven when they die; but the Shasters do not come from God."

I. "How do you know that?"

C. "Listen, brother. Brummah (God) is good, is he not?"

I. "Yes."

C. "Should not you like to go to Brummah?"

I. "Yes."

C. "Do not the Shasters of your religion teach you so?"

I. "Ha! you are very sly. No; but our religion is good for us now. By and bye Vishnoo will come again, and then he will perhaps give us a Bible."

C. "Why not take the Christian Bible and Christian Brummah now?"

I. "Then I should lose my caste, my wife will leave me, my children will go away, my brother will not smoke with me, my hut will be empty, and the Brahmins will curse me."

C. "If the Brahmins curse you, God is stronger than they[58] are, and he will bless you; if your wife and children run away, Jesus will make you happy in heaven; if your brother will not smoke with you, the great God will give you his peace."

I. "Well, I will see. Lend me the book; I will read it and show it to the Brahmins. How soon shall you be here again, sahib?"

Mr. L. "In about ten days."

I. "Good: I will see you again."

This is a mere epitome of the conversation, but may furnish some idea of the mode of argument pursued. Whenever the convert brought forward a good argument, or came to a convincing point, it was curious to see the countenance of the Christians. They had been watching their champion with the greatest interest, looking more like dark statues than human beings, so perfectly still did they sit, except when a mother pressed her infant to her bosom to keep it quiet. Suddenly, as they saw the drift of what was said more clearly, their white eyes would dance amid their dark skins, and one or two of them would smile and utter gently the emphatic word "Ha!" (yes).

A nice-looking young woman brought her baby to show it. It was only two months old, and had not yet been baptized. Poor woman! I won her heart completely by taking it from her and kissing it. Mr. L. seemed a little surprised at my doing so, but both the mother and her husband were delighted. She asked me to name her child. Mr. L. wished it to be a scriptural name. I accordingly gave it the first that came into my head, which was "Benjamin." It was interesting to watch the mother's face as I named the child, she had apparently never heard the name before, and there was much amusement amongst them, all trying to pronounce it; they could not quite manage it, but, as the mother carried the little one out, several of the men patted its cheek and smiled, and said very slowly Bend-za-min. There were to have been four adults baptized on this day, but one of them came in the morning and said that his wife declared she would not live with a Christian, that she had taken her children and all his fortune, consisting of one rupee[59] and two pice, and had gone away to her brother's house. Mr. L. advised the man to go and reason with her, which he did, and we afterwards heard that she had returned with him on condition that he would not become a Christian.

The people have literally given up father, mother, wife, children, friends, and home as soon as they become followers of Jesus. They are looked upon as utterly degraded; and the tribe to which they belong has to pay a sum of money to the Brahmins before they can be freed from the stain which attaches to them in consequence of the pollution.

Mr. L. preached in the afternoon, and in the evening the Christians again met, when he addressed them a discourse in the midst of a tremendous thunderstorm.

RETURN TO CUTTACK.

When we rose the next morning at four o'clock we found that the rain had been so heavy during the night that we could get no fuel to make a fire: our provisions, having been neglected, were all spoiled by the rain, excepting a small piece of thick pie-crust; our beer we had exhausted the evening before; so after a scanty meal we started on our way home. We shot a peacock and fowl upon the road along with three snipes, and arrived at Cuttack about half-past eight on Friday morning.

COMET.

I have just witnessed a magnificent sight; during the last month we have had such weather as the oldest inhabitant cannot recollect ever to have seen before at this time of the year. It is generally in February and March very hot and very dry. For the last month we have had almost incessant rain, with violent thunderstorms. The days are comparatively cool, and at night I am glad of two blankets. Rumours of an approaching famine began to float abroad, but at length the mystery was solved. About half-past six I thought I observed a curiously shaped long cloud, and as the sun went down and the twilight deepened it did not alter its appearance, but at about a quarter to seven proved to be a magnificent comet. The nucleus was plainly visible even with the naked eye, and equal in brightness to a small star. The tail was at least 45░ in length, and inclined from W.S.W. to E.S.E. Had it been perpendicular it would have reached from the horizon half way up over our heads, the[60] whole distance from the horizon to the zenith being 90░. The breadth of the extremity of the tail was about 2½░, and the posterior half was divided longitudinally by a dark line. The colour was that of a pale moonlight, but it would no doubt have appeared much more red if the moon had not been shining brightly at the time. There has been no comet equal to this in brilliancy and the length of the tail since the year 1759. I have hardly any books to refer to, but my idea is, that it is the same comet which appeared in 1264 and 1556, and was expected back in 1848. If so, its period of revolution is nearly 300 years. Its light was intense, being almost equal to the moon in brilliancy. The natives say it will burn the earth; they call it "jherra tarn," or "burnt star."

The weather is most remarkable. We have incessant rain, with thunder and lightning every evening, and the clouds are too heavy to allow us to see the comet. The houses require fresh thatching every year. The lightning we have here I have never seen equalled in England; each flash spreads over one quarter of the visible heavens, whilst the roaring, or rather the deafening rattle, of the thunder is incessant. The comet re-appeared last night, though hardly so brilliant as it was a week ago.

I was calling upon the judge of Cuttack the other day, and his wife told me that a few nights before she went up stairs at twelve o'clock to see her little girl, who had not been quite well. On the floor of the room she saw what she thought was a piece of ribbon, and stooped to pick it up, when a cobra raised its head and expanded its hood and hissed at her in anger. She called the servants with their bamboos, and they soon killed it, but it was a great mercy that she had not touched it.


Cuttack, April 13, 1843.

The other evening the mhator came to ask me for the key to unlock the fowl-house door, as one of the hens was loose. I[61] told him to bring a light, and then went across the compound. The padlock with which the door is fastened passes through a chain and eye at the top of the door. I raised my hand to unlock it, when the mhator, who had the lantern, called out, "Sahib, sahib, samp!" (Sir, sir, a snake!) I looked, and on the very chain which I was on the point of touching was a snake. I immediately called the men to bring bamboos, and they soon killed it. On examining it we found it to be one of that sort whose bite is always fatal, so that the person bitten never lives more than half an hour, and there would be no time for the doctor to come. How thankful I should be to God for my escape! I suspect that the snake was the cobra manilla, but am not sure. It was about two feet and a half long, small head, back dark green or nearly black, with all the way along it transverse yellow stripes.

HINDU FESTIVAL.

About three weeks ago was a poojah, or Hindu festival, of which I forget the name. About nine o'clock in the evening of the principal day four sepoys came to my house with the subadar major's compliments, and he would be glad if I would do them the honour to go and see the samam or show (the subadar major is the principal native officer in a regiment). I had refused them once or twice before, therefore this evening I sent my compliments and I would be there in a few minutes. When I got to the lines or houses of the sepoys I found a magnificent tent about two hundred feet long, into which I was ushered with much ceremony.

The scene was most interesting. At the upper end there were a few European officers, while down each side were ranged three or four rows of dark sepoys seated on their hams, which is the favourite position among the natives. The tent was lighted by a number of flaming torches, which threw their red light upon the swarthy faces of about seven or eight hundred gigantic up-country sepoys. The whole centre of the tent was clear for the evolutions of the nautch-girls (dancing girls): of these, who were generally young and tolerably good-looking, there were several parties of four or five. All those of one party held each other by the hand, and kept dancing backward and forward with a sort[62] of regular motion, and singing in a peculiar cadence. The song was an invocation of blessing on those who happened to be opposite them at the time, and every now and then they would separate to point with their hands to those who were designated in the verse. The light danced upon the spangles with which their dresses were covered, whilst innumerable little bells jingled on their arms and ankles.

When I entered the subadar major immediately came to me with a long-necked brazen vessel, from which he sprinkled over my clothes a scent extracted from the sandal-wood. He then poured some into his hand and rubbed my face and whiskers with it. This they call anointing. He then presented me with two packets of spices wrapped up in sweet-scented leaves.

As soon as he retired a party of nautch-girls came up, and, after singing a song in my praise and blessing me, suddenly separated and each one threw over me a quantity of crimson powder. In a minute my face and clothes were of a brilliant red; and wherever I had been anointed the powder stuck like paint. Every one was served in the same manner, and a pretty set we must have appeared: this is the chief fun of the festival. During the three or four days that it lasts almost every native that you meet has more or less of this red powder (called akbeer) on his body or dress. Even my monkey, which is a sacred animal with the Hindus, I found covered with it every morning. I did not stay long at the tomasa, but was glad that I had seen it: however, the cassock I had on was spoiled, not by the powder, for that I managed to brush off, but by the anointing, which has left in it so powerful a scent that it is not wearable.

CHENA POOJAH.

Last Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday was the Chena poojah, or swinging festival. Upright poles are fixed in the earth, and at the top of each is another pole which revolves upon the first. The religious devotees are said to suspend themselves to one end of the revolving pole by iron hooks stuck into their flesh, and are then whirled round and round by a number of men. Many of these mistaken men are said to die in consequence of the tortures they endure.

At this festival it is also reported that other devotees lie on[63] their stomachs whilst the priests press sharp knives into them until they pin them to the ground, and that this does not always kill them; but that when it does they consider they shall go to Brummah, their God, and that the deity will be pleased with such suffering. I am told they never utter a groan; but I would not go to see them, though there are strong doubts whether it be not a deception.

ELEPHANT-RIDING.

I now often go out with Captain W. before breakfast. An account of one morning will suffice. I was called at half-past three; dressed, and had some coffee, bread and butter, and an egg. At half-past four Captain W. and Lieutenant H. called for me on an elephant. I gave my gunpowder, &c. to two of my men to carry. The great animal then knelt down. He had no howdah, as that is not necessary, except for ladies. The only clothing on the elephant is a thick pad or cushion, covered with leather, which extends over the whole of the back. He knelt, and I climbed up in the usual manner; that is, by standing on his hind foot, then catching hold of a rope which hangs down from his pad, and scrambling up as well as one can. The mahout then told the elephant to get up; and off we started, half sitting half lying on the pad, and the servants, with the guns, &c., walking behind. It seems a fearful height, and for the first few miles I could not help thinking of the danger of a fall. However, one gets accustomed to such things.

The elephant carried us bravely over the loose sands, and down to a ford in the river. In crossing the stream he went more cautiously, seeming to feel each place before he put his foot down, as if he were afraid of getting into a quicksand. Once or twice, when the water was deep, I thought he would have been obliged to swim; but I was wrong: though it would not have mattered if he had; we should have been quite safe on his back.

After crossing the sand on the other side we went through some paddy-fields and jungle towards a jheel (or marsh), which I had mentioned as containing a great number of ducks. I had been there previously on foot with Mr. L. When we reached the jheel a heavy fog came on, and Captain W. therefore proposed that we should go on farther into the jungle, in hopes of its clearing up,[64] when we should find some hares. You must remember that in India, where we get nothing whatever but mutton and fowls, and where we cannot buy even these, everything in the shape of meat is a treat, if not a necessary.

On we went; the fog cleared up; we got down in a jungle of low brushwood, interspersed with several open spaces. We found some men taking charge of a herd of buffaloes: for two pice each they agreed to assist our servants in beating the bushes, and we were not long before we started several hares. I only shot one; the others were more fortunate.

At half-past seven we started on our way back. As we passed the jheel I shot a widgeon. At half-past eight got home, had a cold bath, and enjoyed my breakfast; and at dinner was very glad to have the hare and widgeon, for the expense of two pice. I often go out this way. The elephant belongs to the regiment which is stationed here. The exercise before breakfast is most healthy. One time we came upon a place in the midst of the jungle which I intend to visit again in the cold weather, when I shall have more time to examine it.


April 15, 1843.

FURNITURE.

I will now endeavour to give you an idea of some of our arrangements. We have moved to the other side of the house in order to have our bed-room to the west; because the sea-breeze, which blows every night, is a south-west wind. The room in which I am sitting was my wife's dressing-room; the one I use is fifty feet long. Dressing-rooms are absolutely necessary in this country, because nothing is put into the sleeping apartment except the bed, because of the mosquitoes, which harbour in swarms wherever they can find shelter. The bed is never placed against the wall, but always in the middle of the room; and the feet are placed in pans of water, to prevent the white ants, centipedes, &c. from paying you a visit during the night.

The room I am now in has one French window opening into the verandah in front, another towards the church, a door opening[65] into the next room, and another into the godown or store-room. All these windows and doors are now open, and I am sitting as near the centre as I can, to catch what little breeze there is, for the weather is fearfully hot; the thermometer at noon about 90░ in-doors. It is now eleven in the evening, and my wife is gone to bed. The floor, which is of cement (wooden floors are never used here on account of the white ant), is covered with a curious sort of matting, made of the leaves of the date-tree. We always use mats instead of carpets in India, because they are much cooler. The walls and the ceilings are whitewashed, the universal substitute for paper or paint in the Mofussil. When I say the ceiling, I mean the ceiling-cloths, which are great sheets of canvas covering the tops of the rooms, and fastened up with cords.

Over my head swings a punkah or fan, about eighteen feet long and three wide, made of canvas stretched on a wooden frame, and also whitewashed. This hangs from the ceiling, or rather from some bamboos placed upon the ceiling. Suspended from the lower edge of the punkah is a sort of full flounce of white calico circling along the whole length. The punkah is swung backwards and forwards over my head by means of a long rope pulled by a bearer sitting in the verandah. This man is now fast asleep, but still he continues to pull the rope, and so he would do for hours if I required it.

The furniture of the room consists of a table, a sideboard, and a large screen of common cloth, stretched on a frame of sissoo-wood (a sort of coarse rose-wood). It is about seven feet high and seven across, and is placed before the door of the garden. On the sideboard stands a flat candlestick, with a glass shade to keep the insects from the flame. The candle is wax; we cannot use tallow for two reasons: the climate of India is so hot that the candles would not remain upright, and the sheep here have very little fat upon them. On the table are two Indian table-lamps. I hardly know how to describe them. The lower part is like an upright candlestick, on which is placed a glass cup half filled with water, the other half with cocoa-nut oil. In the bottom is a little bit of lead with two thin cotton wicks in it, which reach a little above the surface of the oil. These are alight. Over the[66] whole is a large inverted bell-glass to keep off the insects, which at present swarm around. Every minute I hear the mosquitoes buzzing about my ears; then they settle on my face, and on my clothes, through which they are enabled to bite with ease. This keeps me in a continued fidget.

There is also an incessant whistling all around from what we call crickets, though they are somewhat different from those in England. A number of large grasshoppers, about two inches long, of a light green, are hopping about on the table, and occasionally on my paper. On the wall are several long-tailed lizards: they are only slightly venomous; and, though extremely ugly, we are always glad to see them, because they eat the mosquitoes. Round the ceiling are circling three large bats, which my mungoose, sitting in a corner, keeps watching. Should one fall, he would seize and devour him in an instant. A wild cat came through the room just now, and took a peep at me; but the mungoose growled, and it ran way. It was small; but it has been very destructive in the poultry-yard.

OLD CUTTACK.

But I must now return to what I was telling. The place which we came upon in the jungle is called Old Cuttack; and it deserves the name, for I do not suppose it has been inhabited for the last thousand years. It appears from what little I saw of it to be a most wonderful place, and certainly proves that the population in the olden times must have been very numerous, and far advanced in mechanical arts. It consists of a deep ravine, the sides of which are composed of a dark rock of extreme hardness, and containing a great quantity of iron. On one side it has been made perfectly smooth, although certainly not less than seventy feet in height: on the other are numerous steps and staircases, cut out of the solid rock. The stone does not seem to have been broken off and then chiselled smooth, but it appears as if the steps had been cut out in solid pieces.

On the summit are the remains of houses built of large blocks, all perfectly smooth, saving from the effects of time and weather. Scattered about are heaps of rock, as if collected for building. At a little distance on the banks of the river is a sort of seawall, which I have not yet seen, but in which, they tell me, many of the masses of rock are sixteen or eighteen feet long.

[67]

All this appears doubly wonderful when you remember that the natives now, almost naked, build their houses of mud, without windows, and with a miserable thatch; that their fireplaces are nothing but little holes in the ground; and that in most respects they are absolute savages. Either they have very much degenerated, or, which is more probable, the race which built these mighty works is swept away.


April 17, 1843.

I was in doubt concerning the Chena Poojah, but it appears that the hooks are fastened to a cord, which cuts into the body, and literally causes the blood to flow in streams. They say also that it is the victims themselves that pass the spears into their bodies, and not the priests.

THE COTTON-TREE.

I may here mention that my compound and garden formerly belonged to a General Carpenter, and he planted and sowed many very rare plants—some from China, from America, and from the islands in the Pacific. There are three trees of a very particular sort, of which I very much wish to know the name. They are generally called the cotton-tree, although altogether different from the ordinary cotton-plant, and I suspect they come from America. The tree is about thirty-five or forty feet in height, not many branches, and a very smooth bark. I cannot describe the leaf, for as yet it is not out; but it has borne flowers and fruit since I have been here; of course, therefore, these were before the leaves. The flower, of a brilliant red, is in appearance half-way between a tulip and a tiger-lily; it grows from buds in the thick branches, and is about twice the size of the latter flower. The blossom gives place to a pod about four or five inches in length, and in the form of a sphere drawn out at both ends. The interior of the pod is divided longitudinally into four segments: the whole contains a great number of black seeds buried in a soft silky cotton. I intend to stuff some pillows with it: I think it will be as soft as down. The fibres are said to be too short to form cloth; but I think if they had this tree in England they would manage to use it, and the cloth would resemble very soft silk.


[68]

Juggernat'h, May, 1843.

The first account I received of the Chena Poojah was correct. The hooks are passed through the muscles on each side the spine: for several days previously the muscles are rubbed and beaten in order to harden them. At the festival they frequently run pieces of iron through the tongue. The victims belong to the lowest castes, and generally swing and torture themselves as proxies for the Brahmins who have made a vow.

This place is marked Juggernat'h on the maps, although properly that is only the name of the idol in the temple. The town itself is called Pooree, or the City of Cities.

POOREE.

I left Cuttack on Thursday, April 20, and after one night's dÔk arrived here, the distance being about forty-eight miles. I went to the Circuit-house, a large unfurnished residence, appropriated by Government to the use of those officers who go on circuit through the district. However, Mr. B., the magistrate and principal person here, would not allow me to remain there, but insisted upon my coming and living at his house, and sending at once for my wife to come and join me. This I gladly did. Mrs. Acland discharged most of our servants, and came down here; so she has the benefit of living at Pooree, and at the same time of saving money, for the month's wages of the servants discharged will more than pay for her journey. We have a bed-room, sitting and dressing apartments, and two bath-rooms to ourselves; and we breakfast, dine, &c., with Mr. and Mrs. B.

It is difficult to imagine the delight of coming to such a place as Pooree. At Cuttack we are obliged to keep every door and window shut, in order to exclude the hot air. We close them at six in the morning and open them at seven in the evening. One doorway is fitted with a framework, covered with matting made of scented grass. This is called a tatty, and is kept all day thoroughly wet, in order to cool the room by evaporation, the punkah continually fanning over head; but in spite of all this the heat is fearful, and still increasing; the thermometer stood in-doors at 103░.

At Pooree, forty-eight miles from Cuttack, we have no punkahs,[69] no tatties; all the windows wide open, the waves rolling up close to the houses, a delicious sea-breeze all day, the thermometer never yet above 85░; not a mosquito to be seen, and no insects but a few English flies. Excepting among the mountains, Pooree is perhaps the coolest place in India, and I am considered most fortunate in having it in my district.

The coming here is a renewal of life and strength. When we are down on the sands in the evening, we might quite fancy ourselves in England again; and I assure you that at five o'clock in the afternoon, by the sea-side, we are glad to walk fast in order to keep ourselves warm. This is the state of Pooree at present. After the rains, that is, in October and November, it becomes extremely hot and very unhealthy; for then the sea-breeze ceases and the land-wind sets in, passing in its course over the dead bodies of hundreds of pilgrims.

The most conspicuous object here is the temple of Juggernat'h, to which devotees come from every part of India. It is an immense pile of massive buildings. There are at times as many as one hundred thousand pilgrims here at once. No European is allowed to enter even the court.

DANGER OF BATHING.

The sea is most magnificent. The beach is composed entirely of sand, something like that at Weston-super-Mare; but there is only a few yards' difference between high and low water. There is an incessant surf extending almost to the horizon—one line behind another of enormous breakers. Some people used occasionally to bathe, but the surf rendered it very dangerous, and at last one of them had a leg carried away by a shark, since which every one is afraid; we therefore have salt water brought up to the house.[3]


Cuttack, August 7, 1843.

MOFUSSIL SOCIETY—MORNING VISITS.

I must now give an account of Mofussil society. We will suppose a married couple going to a new station,—as, for instance,[70] my wife and myself coming to Cuttack. Well, we arrive wretched enough about eight o'clock in the morning, after a long dÔk journey. All that day we are engaged in setting things to rights. The next morning I order my carriage, and go out to make my calls; for in India, unlike England, the stranger calls first. The hours for calling are from half-past ten to one, after which time you would not be admitted anywhere, as it is supposed that the lady of the house is just going to tiffin (lunch), which she takes at two, and then goes to sleep for two or three hours.

Of course the first person I call on is the commanding officer. I drive in at the gate of the compound, and under some trees, up to the house door, and so under the portico; for every house has a very large carriage portico to protect the horses from the sun. My carriage is a phaŰton—the britska, phaŰton, and buggy being almost the only vehicles used in India. The britska does very well for a judge, and the buggy a sort of carriage for a single man. Mine is a phaŰton with two ponies. On the box sits the coachman—dark-brown face, large black mustachios, white calico tunic and trowsers, white turban, turned up with pale blue, as livery, and blue and white cummerband round the waist; except only when it is wet, and then he wears a crimson skull-cap, and a scarlet full cloak with sleeves. A syce or groom runs by the side of the ponies.

Arrived at the door, I call out "Sahib hy?" Gentleman in? meaning, Is your master at home? If not, I leave a card: if he is, I enter the house, and follow the servant who has answered me. I should have told you that there are no such things as knockers or bells here. Every door is open, unless in the very hot weather, and there are always six or eight servants lounging about in the verandah. As I step out of the carriage, each one of these stoops down, touches the ground with the back of his hand, and then pats his forehead three or four times, signifying, I suppose, that, if I were to order him, he would even throw dirt upon his own head.

In reply to the question "Sahib hy?" one of the men answers, "Hy, khadawum"—He is, O representative of God;[71] at the same time holding his hands pressed together as if he were saying his prayers. He precedes me into the house, still in the same attitude. He sets me a chair, whilst another man comes in, unfastens the rope of the punkah, and, taking the end of it out into the verandah, sits down and pulls it, and very soon falls asleep, still, however, continuing his occupation.

Presently in comes the master of the house, dressed in white jacket, black neckerchief (if any), white shirt, white trowsers, white stockings, and shoes made of some white skin. I should have told you that the servant who shows me in takes my card to his master, with which card his master plays the whole time I am there. In a few minutes in comes the lady, in clothes hanging loosely around her; she probably does not wear stays in the morning: her dress is white muslin, and her face, as well as those of her children, if she have any, is of a ghastly pale colour. This is universal in India.

There is not much conversation at a first visit, so I soon rise and go to some person to whom I have a letter of introduction, when he at once volunteers to accompany me on the rest of my calls. These first visits are made by the gentleman only; his wife does not accompany him. In the course of a few days the gentlemen return the call, bringing their wives with them. Daughters are out of the question: beyond the age of six they are a genus unknown in India. They go to England at that age, come out again to India at eighteen, and probably marry in Calcutta, and settle at once some four or five months' journey from their parents, who have been so anxiously looking forward to seeing them.

DINNER-PARTIES.

A few days after the form of calling has been gone through, some half-dozen different persons send you invitations to dinner, kindly wishing to welcome the stranger to the station. From half-past seven to eight is the usual hour in India; for if people dined earlier they would necessarily lose their evening drive. The carriage enters the compound; a servant runs in to the sahib, and, pressing his own hands together, says, "Ghairee ata" (carriage comes). Out issues the sahib into the front verandah:[72] the lady is handed out; the gentleman offers his arm, and walks off, leaving me to follow as best I may.

From the verandah we enter the dining-room. There are no halls or passages or cupboards in the Mofussil. Down the whole length of the room is a long table laid for dinner, round which we must wind to get to the opposite door leading into the drawing-room. Here are a number of ladies seated on one side the room, on the other side the gentlemen. After a little while an old Indian with a long silvery beard, and dressed completely in white, comes in, and, pressing his hands together, says, "Canna mig" (dinner on table).

Then the master of the house gives his arm to the most important lady present; the others do likewise, according to the most strict precedence of rank, the lady of the house being taken first. She does not take the top of the table, but assigns that place to whoever has led her in, herself occupying the seat next him on his right hand. Each person brings his khitmutgar; accordingly, behind each chair stands a man in white, who, as you sit down, unfolds and hands you the napkin which was on your plate; he then falls back a step, and crosses his arms over his chest. As soon as grace has been said, the cover is taken off the soup-tureen, and those who like it are helped to a rich sort of chicken-broth.

After that, you hear on every side—"Mrs. So-and-so, may I have the pleasure of taking a glass of wine with you?" "I shall be very happy." "Which do you take, beer or wine?" "Thank you; I will take a little beer," or "wine," as the case may be. Suppose the former, and myself the speaker, I turn round and say to my khitmutgar, "Beer, shraubs meem Sahib, ki do" (beer-wine, Mrs. Lady, give).

In the mean time they are uncovering the dishes. At the top is a pair of fine roast fowls, at the bottom a pair of boiled ditto. At the sides, fowl cutlets, fowl patties, fowl rissoles, stewed fowls, grilled fowl, chicken-pie, &c. &c. No ham, no bacon, and little tiny potatoes not larger than a cherry, with stewed cucumbers, and some sticky Indian vegetables, are handed round. But for the second course a great treat is reserved. Six or seven mutton-chops,[73] each equal to one mouthful, are brought in, and with much ceremony placed at the top of the table; at the other end are slices of potatoes fried. Your hostess tells you how glad she was that Mr. So-and-so had sent her the loin of a Patna sheep to-day: she hoped we should like it. Then comes curried fowl and rice; then pine-apple pie, custard, jelly, plantain, oranges, pine-apples, &c. &c.; but directly these sweets appear, there appear also, behind the chairs of many of the gentlemen, servants carrying a little carpet, with a neat fringe to it. These they place at the back of their masters' chairs, on the floor, and then each servant brings in a large hookah, places it on the little carpet, and, whilst the ladies and others are eating the custards, pies, and fruits, you have all around you the incessant bubble from the hookah, and smell the filthy smoke from an abominable compound of tobacco and various noxious drugs.

The ladies rarely sit for above one glass of wine, when they retire and leave the smokers to themselves. Cigars are then produced for the use of the other gentlemen; and, after they have all smoked and drunk a little more wine than enough, they join the ladies. Then there is a little general talking, then a little music: then come cards—I never play—and then the good-byes, and so home to bed—a nightmare during one's sleep, and a headache in the morning! When alone, we always dine at four.


Cuttack, August 29, 1843.

OURANG-OUTANG.

I had been sitting in the verandah reading, and went away for a few minutes to speak to my wife. When I came back my chair was occupied. There, sitting as quietly and demurely as possible, was an enormous ourang-outang, or monkey of some sort. When I first caught sight of him he had my book in his hands, and was to all appearance reading. It happened, however, to be rather a stupid book, and he very soon threw it down; he then placed his hands upon his knees and sat perfectly still, just as if he had been meditating on what he had been reading. I should say, as[74] nearly as I could judge, that he must have been above five feet in height, supposing him to stand erect. He sat as upright as any man.

After watching him for a minute or two, and observing that the calves of his legs were thicker and more like those of a man than monkeys' legs usually are, I stepped quietly back and called my wife. All this time I had not seen his face; however, as she came, one of the parrots screamed, and the old gentleman turned his head. His face was very dark, with large whiskers and beard, and hair all perfectly white; his body a light-brown, and his face and hands peculiarly large. As soon as he saw me he half rose, laid both hands on the elbow of the chair, and began to grin and show his teeth and spit at me. I did not quite like it, as I was afraid he might make a spring in my direction; yet I knew that my voice would at once frighten him away, if I raised the horrid unearthly yell used by the natives to scare wild beasts, and which even the tiger will hardly resist unless much pressed by hunger.

Still I felt more inclined to watch him. Once I thought of going round the other way and getting my gun, but really he looked so much like a man that I could not have shot him. He continued to grin and spit until I turned away, hoping he would resume his former sedate position. As soon, however, as he thought my eye was off him he rose leisurely from his chair, stepped slowly out of the verandah, caught hold of a branch of the banian-tree, and swung himself up into it. As he did this I saw that he had a long tail, so he could not, I believe, have been an ourang-outang. Indeed I never heard of them coming into this little island, nor, I think, into the district. I went into my study, and immediately afterwards heard him scuttling away over the roof of the house. I have not seen him since, but if he comes back I shall try to make friends with him by giving him food, though I believe he belongs to rather a treacherous family.

Whilst on this subject, I will mention another monkey which I saw a few days ago. It is almost two feet in height, quite black, except a circle of light-brown hair round its face, and is held in high veneration by the natives. They come chiefly from[75] a place up the country called Brinderbund, where it is said there are nothing but Brahmins and monkeys.

I was once driving with a friend when we met a party of pilgrims, who had two or three monkeys with them. We stopped and spoke to the people, and one of the monkeys came into the carriage and perched himself on my lap. I offered the people two rupees for him, but they said they were going to take the two to Juggernat'h, where the Rajah would buy them. I asked how much they would take for them; they said fifty rupees for the pair. This I could not afford, and I told them so; they then said I might have them both for twenty-five rupees. This, however, was more than I could give, and we therefore drove on, though I was very unwilling to part with the little fellows, that seemed to have taken quite a fancy to me.

The manner of reception at the judge's is much the same as I described in my last; but here there are, however, two or three different additional servants, who with long chouries keep flapping the insects off the table and the faces of the company. Here is also plenty of mutton; and cheese from England. All the side dishes are of silver.

In the drawing-room most of the tables are marble. From the ceiling is suspended a number of small plated chandeliers with glass drops; in another room is a good piano-forte, and after dinner some very tolerable music and singing. There is also a little rational conversation.

A BACHELOR'S PARTY.

But now let me describe a bachelor's party at the commissioner's, who, by the way, is above the judge in rank and in salary. I say a bachelor's party, because his wife is gone to England for her health, and he cannot therefore invite ladies. Before dinner there is much general conversation about races, church-building, hunting, the paucity of chaplains, &c. &c. Some magnificent prints are brought forward; a set of splendid silver medallions of sacred history are examined and admired; some ancient coins and inscriptions are submitted to the inspection of the unlearned; the last English reviews are brought under discussion.

In the mean time the gentlemen are lounging upon ottomans[76] about a large marble table, the host going from one to another, speaking to and trying to please all. To the sportsman he speaks of his gun, to the chaplain of a project of building a new church, to the engineer of the aŰrial steam-ship, and, in short, makes every one pleased both with himself and his neighbours. I need hardly tell you that our commissioner at Cuttack is a most agreeable man; his great object is to make others happy, and his kind good-natured face is welcome everywhere. He is about thirty-six years of age, fond of sporting, fond of reading, fond of children—although he has none himself. Every one likes him, from the judge to the faquer, from the highest to the lowest—unless, indeed, the lawless, and those he does not spare. He has the grand tact of rendering himself agreeable to everybody, and the means by which he does this is the exercise of a kind heart. He does not obtrude his concerns, but listens patiently and with interest to the remarks of others; and this, remember, with cheerfulness and pure morality, is the means by which any person may make himself beloved.

But to return: the conversation turns upon church music.

"You have an organ, Commissioner, have you not?" says one.

"Yes, but I very seldom use it."

"You should send it to the church," said I.

"Well, I have sometimes thought I would, but I am afraid you have no place for it; and, besides, I don't know whether the tunes would do."

"Let us judge of that," says the magistrate; "give us a tune whilst they are putting the dinner on the table."

"Very well; and I am sure, if the padre likes it, he is very welcome to have it till Mrs. M. comes back."

Thereupon we adjourned to an adjoining room, where there was a very large upright organ, but, as Mr. M. said, "only a grinder." He puts in the church barrel, and, turning the handle, plays, one after another, several really beautiful psalm-tunes, whilst every one stands serious and attentive. At last dinner is announced. The style is much the same as at the judge's, except that almost all the dishes are silver, and there is a magnificent racing-cup of the same metal in the centre. The eatables, however,[77] are many of them English. There is fresh salmon brought from England, English soups, English potatoes, carrots, oysters, cheese, &c. &c., all brought out in canisters hermetically sealed.

Of course, as everywhere else, the beer, wines, &c., are from England, for so devoid are we of any trading community, that in this splendid climate no attempt has ever yet been made to manufacture wine. Beer we could not make, at least so they say, for want of barley;[4] but I believe that pine-apples, of which we get three or four young juicy ones for a penny, would make splendid wine. England has no pine-apples at all like ours. Then there are preserves and pies made of green-gages, apricots, &c., all from home. Here also, as at the judge's, there is abundance of champagne, or, as we call it here, tokay. After dinner, at all houses, each person takes a small glass of liqueur.

At the commissioner's, being a bachelor's party, we remained in the dining-room. Cigars were introduced, with coffee and brandy-and-water for those who liked it. I will now relate an anecdote I heard there:—

A TIGER-STORY.

"Why, B.," said Mr. M., "I heard you had an adventure yesterday. What was it?"

"Oh! don't ask me; it makes me almost sick to think of it."

"Oh, nonsense!" from all present.

"Well, if I must, here goes." Then drinking off a glass of wine B. began: "I suppose I must make a regular history of it, so I will commence at the beginning. Last evening, in the bright and balmy, or I should say gorgeous, splendour of an oriental sunset, when the brilliant tints of—"

"Bah! B., don't be too absurd," cried some of us; "tell us what it was without all this brilliant balmy nonsense."

"Why, I thought I was poetical; but I see you have no poetry in your souls; so I will condescend to prose. I was obliged yesterday afternoon to go down the river for a short distance; I had a boat and three natives. When I had completed what I wanted I returned, and was paddling along, not far from the bank, just on this side of those enormous blocks of iron rock

[78]

which keep the river from overflowing, and form such a splendid monument of the great mechanical powers of the ancient Hindus—"

"Come, never mind the antiquities; we will have them another time. Let us hear your own adventures now."

"Well, I had just rounded this point when one of my men called out most vehemently, 'Look, sir, look; there is a tiger!' My eyes were instantly turned in the direction towards which he pointed, and there I saw a most fearful sight. A man was tearing, springing, bounding towards the river, and a hundred yards behind him followed a large panther, pursuing him with those rapid leaps for which that animal is so famous. I instantly ordered my people to pull towards the shore, in the hope of rescuing the panting wretch who thus struggled for his life. Before we reached the bank the man had made a bound into the water, and stood immersed up to his neck. I suppose he was too much exhausted to swim, for we could hardly hear his voice as he called to us to make haste.

"At this instant I saw the dark blunt snout of an enormous alligator rising slowly above the surface, as he made his way towards his intended victim. I shouted to the man, 'Crocodile! crocodile!' He heard me, hesitated an instant, then rushed back to the bank. This sudden movement disconcerted the panther, who started back a few paces, and the next moment our boat shot within reach. 'Come hither,' I exclaimed. The man made a spring; the panther leaped forward, and, as I seized the former by the arm, the latter seized him by the leg.

"Oh! the shriek of the poor victim! I shall never forget it. Foolishly I had not brought my rifle, but I shouted to the men to strike the beast with their oars. No; the cowardly wretches shrank down in the farther end of the boat, and would not move. I could do nothing, therefore, but pull at the man's shoulder, whilst his horrid shrieks were ringing in my ears. Had I let go, the panther would instantly have carried him off; had there been another European with me, the man might have been saved.

"This takes long to describe, but it was all the work of a few seconds. Presently I felt that I was drawing the man more[79] towards me; I looked, and saw the flesh of the leg peeling off in the jaws of the panther until it came to the ankle, where, with one crunch, the bone was severed, and the beast galloped off with the fearful mouthful. I now drew the man, who by this time was quite senseless, into the boat. I tied my handkerchief tightly round the upper part of his leg, and with a piece of wood formed a sort of tourniquet. We brought him to Cuttack, and sent him at once to the hospital; but he died in the course of a few hours."

"What a horrible affair!" exclaimed several voices.

POWER OF THE HUMAN EYE.

"But I thought," said I, "that the voice, or even the eye, of man was sufficient to make any beast quail."

"So it is, provided they are neither very hungry nor very much excited. This beast had been engaged in a long chase, and nothing could have frightened him from his prey."

"Ah! of course that would have made a difference," I replied; "but Mr. L. had a little adventure the other day which seems to prove the power of the eye of man."

"Oh! there is no doubt that man is master of all, and I believe many natives have been preserved by the power of the human eye, and many more might be saved if they only had the coolness to exercise the power which has been bestowed upon them. But what was the adventure of L.'s?"

"It was nothing very wonderful or exciting. He was staying at Chugga for a few days; and one morning he went out with his gun, accompanied by a native Christian of the name of Perswa. Whilst they were in the jungle they suddenly heard a distant shout, as of some one calling 'Perswa, Perswa!' They sat down and bent their ears to the ground to listen. Presently the cry was repeated, 'Perswa, Perswa!' Again it was renewed, 'Perswa, Perswa!' 'It is a tiger,' cried his follower. They immediately hastened back to the village, but found no one there but four old women, who told them that one of their people was hurt by a tiger. Mr. L. started instantly to his rescue, and as he left the village he was joined by at least fifty men, who in their fear were hiding, but, being now encouraged by the presence of a white man, sallied forth with him. Following the[80] direction of the cries of the poor wretch, they soon came to the spot where he stood facing a large tiger.

"It seems that the man, whilst in the jungle, had suddenly caught sight of it on the very point of springing upon him. With great presence of mind he stood perfectly still, and fixed his eyes steadily on the monstrous brute. The tiger wavered for an instant, then, quailing before his eye, he slunk behind a bush. Still the man kept his eye upon him, whilst the tiger every minute peered forth to see whether that dreaded eye was withdrawn.

"From bush to bush the tiger moved, as if seeking to avoid the gaze, in order that he might spring out to seize his prey. Slowly the man turned from side to side, still facing his dreaded foe, and calling upon Perswa and the Padre Sahib to come and save him; and this he continued till the party came up, who by their shouts forced the tiger to abandon his intended meal. Now this seems a strong instance of the power of the human eye."

"It does indeed," replied F. "I have known it exercised with equal success in another case. A young officer was walking through the jungle; he foolishly had nothing but his pistols with him. Suddenly he heard a noise, and observed the branches shaking near him; he crept forward on his hands and knees, to see what animal was there. Presently he found himself face to face with a huge bull bison. He started to his feet, drew a pistol from his belt, and fixed his eye upon that of the animal. The bison tore the turf with his teeth and horns, stamping furiously, but yet he dared not charge while the human eye was fixed on his. Presently the beast appeared to become uneasy, moved his enormous shaggy head from side to side, and at last slunk off to join the herd that were feeding in the distance; and so my friend was saved by his own presence of mind and the power of the human eye."

BATS.

But we have been long enough at the commissioner's dinner-table; so let us go home and to bed. It is ten o'clock, and for the people in the Mofussil that is a very late hour. I have told you what a nuisance the mosquitoes are, and also the white ants.[81] There is another creature from which you are comparatively free in England, and that is the bat. Numbers of all sizes make their nests up above the chats or ceiling-cloths in the bungalows, some not bigger than the humming-bird, others, as I have told you, so large as to deserve the name of flying foxes. Often at night they come into the rooms. One evening, when my wife was going to bed, she found five large bats wheeling round and round in her dressing-room.

On such occasions as this I post myself in one corner of the room, and my chokedar or watchman in another, both armed with long sticks, with which we keep hitting at the bats until we knock them down, and then we throw them out of doors. Often, as they whirl round the room, one will hit himself against the punkah, and fall to the ground. Instantly the mungoose springs upon him, and we hear the bones crushing in his jaws.

One night I was suddenly awakened by something moving and scratching about my head; I raised my hand, and found a large bat clinging to my hair; dreading a snake, I had started up—there was a weight upon my head. I dashed him off, and soon went to sleep again; but he appeared to have taken a fancy to me, and I was again awakened in the same manner; this time, therefore, I got out of bed, knocked the animal down, and killed him. I have several times been roused at night by a great cockroach, three or four inches long, crawling over my lace. The other evening a flight of large maulises came into the parlour, and soon drove us to bed. I have two cobras, which were both killed in my own house; also a tarantula, which I caught in my dressing-room.

To turn to another subject. I have been endeavouring to render society here more friendly and agreeable than it can be at large formal dinner-parties, and I am happy to say it has been followed by some of the most influential, and I trust that the custom may become general. The plan is to invite about eight, and those all friendly and intimate, to a quiet dinner at four o'clock. By the time this is over the sun is getting low; and, instead of sitting for a couple of hours over the wine, we soon follow the ladies into the drawing-room. The carriages come[82] to the door for those who like a drive. Some stroll into the wood with their guns; some talk; and so the time passes for about an hour, when the sudden darkness falls upon us almost without warning. We all reassemble at seven for tea and coffee; then spend a pleasant chatty hour or two, or disperse at about half-past nine, having had more amusement than can be enjoyed at a mere dinner-party.

We are making rather a large flower-garden between the house and the river. The wages to a good gardener are about two pence a-day—to a coolie, or labourer, a penny three farthings. My mollee, or gardener, is a very good one; but I must explain what we mean by a good gardener. It signifies neither more nor less than a good thief. I plan my garden and lay it out, showing the man where the paths are to be, where the beds, and where the lawns. Within a few days after it is laid out I expect to find it tolerably full of flowers and shrubs. Where they come from I do not know: you cannot purchase any such things here. Of course, then, everything must come from the gardens of my neighbours. In England this would be considered, and would in fact be, a very dishonest mode of proceeding; but in India it is the custom.

The mollees have the charge of the gardens, and they mutually supply one another. If after a time I should have anything very choice in my garden, my mollee would give cuttings or small plants of it to any of the other mollees who wished for them, and thus every garden would be improved. A person must be very churlish indeed to interfere with this system of general accommodation, which in the end is equally advantageous to all. The system, however, is liable to abuse, and therefore I do not think I altogether approve of it myself. I was once dining with a young officer, and we had some remarkably fine peas. After praising them, I observed that I did not know he had a garden. "Why, no," he replied, laughing; "but I keep a very good gardener." Now this was decidedly most unjust. This young man would not be at the trouble or expense of a garden himself, but chose to take an unfair advantage of the industry and liberality of others. I was not at all surprised to[83] hear, shortly afterwards, that a court of inquiry had been sitting to examine into the circumstances of a most dishonourable action which he had committed, and for which, if it had not been for the leniency of his commanding officer, he would most probably have been cashiered.

CRUEL TREATMENT OF SERVANTS.

I think I have told you how cruelly some of the people here beat their servants. I was standing with an officer in the porch of his house when I was last at Midnapore, when his syce, or groom, brought his horse to the door. Captain L. turned to me, and said, "I have not given that fellow a thrashing for a long time, and he'll forget what it feels like, and grow lazy." Now the fact was, the man was so attentive and industrious that Captain L. could not possibly find any fault with him. However, he went down the steps, and, on the pretence that the man did not hold his horse properly, gave him several violent blows on the face and head, kicked him three or four times with all his force, and struck him on the back with a two-foot rule with such violence that the man was obliged to have his back plastered and bandaged up: and all this without the slightest fault on the part of the servant.

Much as has been said about slavery, I do not believe that any of the slaves in Jamaica were ever worse treated than are the servants of some of our officers here. The excuse is, that it is impossible to manage the Hindus without the whip; but I never use it, and I am certainly quite as well served by all, excepting two. With these I am going to part, for they have been spoiled by living with a very violent man. I will give you an instance of the punishments I employ.

My sirdar always goes home to his supper at nine o'clock. The other evening, after he was gone, I found that he had neglected to get the night-lamp ready, so I was obliged to do it myself. The following morning, instead of thrashing him, I made no observation whatever on the subject; but at nine o'clock in the evening, when he came to ask whether he might go home, I said, "You did not bring the night-lamp last night; I may want something else that is not ready, so for the next week you will not go till eleven." This was a great punishment to him,[84] and yet it did not degrade either the man or myself as a beating would do. At the same time I fully admit that the natives, by their slowness and inactivity, are sometimes very provoking; but surely that is no excuse to the Christian who gives way to angry feelings.


Cuttack, October 12, 1843.

I returned to Cuttack yesterday from Midnapore. It was a most wretched journey, raining incessantly—not such mild gentle rain as you have in England, but regular blinding torrents. The roads were so desperately bad that, although I engaged two extra bearers at each stage, yet each day's journey of fifty miles took me twenty-four hours instead of fifteen. My last day's journey was from Barrapore to Cuttack—fifty miles. I started at two in the afternoon, and arrived at home at half-past two the next day.

About eight o'clock in the evening the rain came down almost in one sheet of water: the men could hardly stagger along with their burden. The rain was driven by the furious gusts of wind violently against the doors of the palanquin, but they were closed and bolted. I was smoking a cigar, and thinking about dear England, when suddenly it struck me that it was becoming very cold. I wondered at it, so closely shut up as the palanquin was. Still it became colder and colder. I was lying on my back. I laid my hand on my face—it was quite warm. I touched my chest—it was warm also. Suddenly I jumped up—it was only the side of me underneath that was cold. My trowsers, shirt, flannel waistcoat, &c., were all soaking. The rain had found its way in at the crevice between the doors, and formed a little puddle just where I was lying.

A severe cold is a very dangerous thing in this country, often bringing on jungle-fever. I first stripped off my wet clothes, then sopped up the puddle as well as I could, and stopped the leak. I then wrapped myself up in a warm blanket. After these preliminaries I got out of my canteen a small spirit-lamp[85] and kettle, then hung them to the top of the palanquin, struck a light, and boiled some water. This I poured into a tumbler, and, adding a little brandy and a little essence of ginger, drank it off, and then composed myself to sleep. I dozed a little; awoke again; tried to go to sleep; could not; changed horses—I mean men; on again; the blanket wet through; moved the blanket so as to have a dry part next me; soon wet through again. At last the blanket was soaking; felt my clothes, which I had hung up to dry; still very wet, but they nevertheless seemed better than the soppy blanket, so I dressed again.

I dared not call the man for my patarahs, or tin boxes, and get out fresh things, for they would have been drenched in an instant. So I dressed in the wet ones; stuffed the blanket up against the leak; lighted another cigar, and puffed away until the palanquin was quite filled with smoke. This created additional warmth, helped to dry my clothes, and by its effects upon myself I have no doubt assisted in keeping off fever.

DESCRIPTION OF A PALANQUIN.

But as I live so much in my palanquin, I think I had better give a more accurate description of it than I have done. It is made of wood, painted as an English carriage, and having arms, crest, &c., if you choose. The top is covered with a white cement to prevent its leaking, and is slightly curved, so that the rain may run off. The bottom is open wicker-work, on which is laid a mattress and other cushions, covered generally with thin leather. The sides, top, &c., are lined, often with crimson silk. I have had my mattress and other cushions covered with white drill; it is much more serviceable, and will wash: my lining is of the same. The interior length of my palanquin is six feet six inches, the breadth three feet three inches, and of the same height.

The wicker-work of the bottom extends from the head to within one foot three inches of the foot; then instead of wicker-work is a wooden box, which in mine is covered with part of a leopard's skin. In it I carry a few bottles of soda-water and beer and a bottle of water. Over my feet, resting on brackets, is a box, an invention of my own, which I find most useful. It is three feet long, one foot and a quarter broad, and one[86] foot high. In this I keep a great variety of things that I may need.

Whenever I halt I have nothing to do but lift this box out, and there is all my apparatus on the table. Most people have only a shelf, on which they place their medicine-chest, dressing-case, pistols, &c.; but I found this so inconvenient, that I resolved to have the whole in one moveable box, and I find it a great additional comfort. In the lining of the palanquin are pockets for books, &c., and stuck here and there are hooks, on which to hang a watch, &c.

I have pillows especially for my palanquin. I take a blanket and a few books, and then I can start in tolerable comfort for a four or five days' journey. There is a place outside behind for a large brass washhand-basin; in front there are two little windows, like those of a carriage, with glass and Venetian blinds; behind there is one window, and also a lamp with a glass in the back of the palanquin, so as to show its light inside.


Cuttack, November 8, 1843.

ANECDOTES OF TIGERS.

I have just been called out to see an enormous Bengal tiger which some native huntsmen shot last night. It has been long prowling about between Cuttack and Chogga, and has carried off many unfortunate men. A party of us intended to go out and look for him next week. He was wounded first by a shot in the shoulder; the second ball went through his eye and killed him at once. It was a magnificent beast.

On the 9th a large leopard was brought in, and also a wild boar. The latter animal is excessively savage and very dangerous. The usual mode of hunting is on horseback, armed with long lances or spears. His strength is very great; he is much larger and longer than the English pig. When enraged his back becomes as much curved as that of the hyŠna; indeed, it is a good deal so at all times. From the top of the head to the tail extends a thick mane of bristles, not hanging down like a horse's[87] mane, but standing perfectly upright. I have a young one now in a sty, but the men are obliged to throw his food to him, as he flies at them directly they go within reach. The tusks of the wild boar grow to several inches in length. A friend of mine was out one day when a boar charged his horse; the brute made a spring at its hinder parts, cutting right and left, and both the hind legs of the steed were severed to the bone, and his master was obliged to dismount and shoot him.

This reminds me of another anecdote. Miss D., the sister of the doctor at Balasore, was out riding a short time since; a gentleman of her acquaintance was with her. They were moving slowly along, when suddenly they heard a crackling of the branches by the roadside, and the next instant an enormous tiger sprang into the middle of the lane, just in front of them. The horses appeared paralysed; they could not move, but stood trembling in every joint. The tiger turned round, glared upon them, opened his mouth wide, and gave that horrible ya a-a-a, then made a spring, bounded into the jungle on the other side, and disappeared.

The tiger which they brought in the other day measured ten feet six inches in length, and one foot two inches round his ankle. This species possesses enormous strength; a single blow from his paw is sufficient to crush a man's skull into one frightful mass.

The adjutant of the 8th Bengal Native Regiment told me of a case which he had seen. A tiger seized a large English bullock, tossed it over his shoulders, and then sprang at one bound over a fence several feet in height: so you may easily imagine that a wild tiger is not a very pleasant companion.

We had a sad loss the night before last. I have already mentioned our beautiful little antelope, which used to come and lie at my feet while I was writing. The other night I heard him give a faint scream, and hastened to see what was the matter; he had been bitten by a cobra, and was dead in ten minutes. Poor little fellow! I could have cried,—my wife did. I have seen many, but never knew one so tame before. I doubt whether any of the servants had dry eyes as its body was thrown into the[88] river. The bite of the cobra causes the body to swell to a frightful size.

The other day my wife was walking in the garden, when a large cobra glided past her; she called some of the men, who soon killed it, but it was too large to put into a bottle. A gentleman, happening to call just then, asked me whether I had seen the poison. I said, "No." He took the head between his fingers and squeezed it in such a way as to open the mouth. In the upper jaw were two very large white fangs, corresponding as it were to our eye-teeth. As he squeezed with more force, a tiny drop of perfectly transparent colourless fluid issued through the point of each fang—these were drops of venom that pass into the wound. The gentleman who showed me this was a medical man, and he said that he would not for a lac of rupees have the half of one of those drops get into a cut in his finger.

Last June, when the weather was intensely hot, after we left Pooree, where we had resided for six weeks with Mr. and Mrs. B., I went to Chandapore, a delightful place on the sea-coast, about seven miles from Balasore. The thermometer was 105░ in-doors at six o'clock in the evening. When I started from Cuttack the thermometer in my palkee stood at 126░. At Chandapore I was glad to put on a cloth coat and cloth trowsers. That is one great advantage in my station; I have almost every variety of climate, except extreme cold. Indeed, when the bishop asked me how I liked my station, I told him I would not change with any chaplain in India.

At Chandapore four of us one morning started for a walk over the sands. We took no shoes nor stockings, and had our trowsers tucked up to the knees. How we did laugh at eyeing ourselves! we were like a set of merry boys. Every now and then one of us would step upon a quicksand and sink down half up his legs, and have to scramble out. Then, as we ran along in the water about six or eight inches deep, we would suddenly see two or three sea-scorpions, and run away, or perhaps slip or stumble over a piece of rock, and then down we came, and all roared with laughter, and then the magistrate sang out,—

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"There was an old man at Barbago,
He lived upon nothing but sago;—
Oh! how he did jump,
When a doctor said, plump,
'To a roast leg of mutton you may go.'"
SEA-SCORPIONS.

I caught a couple of the sea-scorpions; they do not sting, but cut with the edge of their tails, and it is said that the wound is incurable. They are covered with a hard shell.

RELIEF FUND.

There is a great deal of illness about now, although the weather is most delightful: the thermometer seldom above 80░; the morning quite chilly. I am very well; the only complaint I have is that of getting exceedingly fat. I think I have mentioned our relief fund. There are a number of poor Christians here who have lived by beggary, stealing, and all sorts of wretchedness. We are trying to induce them to work, and give them materials, and purchase at a high rate what they produce, and I quite hope our plan will succeed.

You would have laughed to have seen me to-day, surrounded by a crowd of half-black women, measuring out prints and calicoes for dresses, &c.; I being obliged to do it, as my wife was poorly. The things they make are to be given, as rewards, in our new Christian school.


Barripore, November 28, 1843.

SOLITUDE.

How extraordinary does this utter solitude appear! I have just been outside the bungalow: there is none of that confused murmuring sound which is almost universal in England. Every noise is distinctly heard: a child's voice, or a dove's coo, appears to break the intensity of the silence. And then, the thought that, excepting a few barbarians, there is not a human being within a day's journey! The whole feeling is exciting, but oppressive. Millions of black heathens interpose between me and a single European; and yet, with one brace of pistols and a good thick stick, I feel myself perfectly secure. But I will give an instance of the power which each European possesses over these people.

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When I went to Balasore with the L.'s, we had four palanquins, and consequently forty bearers. At one place, where we stopped to change men, Mrs. L. sent a man to my palanquin to say that she wanted to speak to me. I at once walked across to the spot where her palanquin stood. The night was as dark as pitch, with a nasty drizzling rain. The red flaming torches disclosed a group of from eighty to a hundred natives, with their long black hair and immense mustachios, naked, except a cloth round their loins.

As we changed bearers here, there was of course a double set present. We had four palanquins—one containing a native nurse and three of Captain L.'s children; another, Captain L. and one child; another, Mrs. L.; and the fourth was my own. On one side of the road was a dense thicket, or jungle; on the other, a deep canal, called by the natives a "nullah;" and these, as well as the dusky group, were flittingly lighted by the torches of the mussalchees. Every man, as is the custom, had a long stick in his hand. We were many hours' journey from any European; Captain L. was totally enfeebled by sickness; and, in short, I was the only person who could have attempted to knock a man down.

SOCIAL RELATION OF EUROPEANS AND NATIVES.

But mark the power of white skin (not but that mine is getting somewhat mahogany colour): when I bent down to learn what Mrs. L. wanted, she was too faint and weak to speak loud, and the abominable babbling of the hundred men about us prevented the possibility of my hearing what she said.

"Choop ruho!" (keep quiet) I called out, but to no effect. "Choop ruho!" I bawled, but still to no avail; I could not hear what Mrs. L. said. Suddenly I snatched the stick out of the hand of the man next me, just gave it a little flourish, and jumped into the middle of the crowd. "You want the whip, eh?" I shouted. "Choop ruho, will you?" (for a word or two of English generally slips in either at the beginning or the end of a hasty sentence). In one instant there was a dead silence: not a word of resistance, or even insolence. Mrs. L. was weak and faint, and it seemed she wanted a glass of wine-and-water; this detained us a little time, but as long as we remained there[91] I found that, even if a whisper arose, the single word "Choop" was sufficient to quiet it directly.

Now, some people may say, here is a long story about nothing, or rather about getting a glass of wine-and-water; but I wish you to observe everything that takes place. Now, the nullah and the jungles, and the torches and the palanquins, are no great wonders in themselves, but together they make a pretty picture, or rather a striking one; and so through life you will find that every half-dozen things that you observe will either form, or assist in forming, some picture in your minds, which will certainly prove amusing or useful, or both.

Then, again, suppose I had told you that I desired the men to be quiet, and they obeyed me: that would have been much shorter, but it would not have led the mind on to any other train of thought; whereas the narrative, as I have related it, suggests many ideas which, if followed up, would fill whole pages; for instance—

1st. Why did the men dread the whip, when they were equally well armed?

2nd. Are they accustomed to feel it?

3rd. Are they generally oppressed, and in what way; and would a native government be an advantage to them?

4th. In what does that superiority consist which makes one hundred Hindus afraid of one European?

5th. What is civilization? What is the difference between real civilization, and that knowledge of arts and sciences, of railroads and balloons, which is commonly dignified with the name? And also what is the connexion between real, true civilization and religion?

Here are a few out of numberless trains of thought and questions which might arise, and do naturally arise, from the little anecdote I have given. Now, suppose I had said, "At one stage Mrs. L. said something to me which I could not well make out on account of the noise the men made; however, I soon quieted them, and then found that she wanted some wine-and-water." That description would have given no idea of what actually took place, neither would it have afforded any subject for after consideration.

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It was bitterly cold last night. I had on cloak, trowsers, a flannel jacket next my skin, a thick coat buttoned up to my neck, a double blanket over me, and both doors of my palkee shut. Yet I awoke about four o'clock this morning shivering with the cold, and was glad to get out and have a good run of two or three miles, flapping my arms against my sides, to restore the warmth. Mrs. Acland has complained of the cold for the last two days, even at twelve o'clock at noon. The fact is, people here become so accustomed to intense heat that they often find the cold weather very trying, and the hot season is notoriously the most healthy part of the year, though I fancy it is now as warm as an English summer.

Poor Mr. B., with whom we stayed while at Pooree, has had an attack of the terrible jungle-fever, and will, I fear, be obliged to return to England. A sick person, at least in my district, is quite a rarity: all the diseases are so rapid in their operation, that a week's illness is considered a long time. If it is violent, the patient generally dies in a few hours, or at most in two or three days; if slight, he is by that time convalescent, and generally proceeds at once either to the Cape of Good Hope or to England.


Cuttack, December 10.

I have been to Midnapore and back again. Whilst I was at Balasore information was brought in that one hundred and fifty or two hundred elephants had come down into the paddy-fields about twelve miles from Balasore, and that they were destroying the crops. Two or three of the Europeans there wanted to make up a party to go and attack them; I should very much like to have gone with them, but could not afford the time; so the proposition fell to the ground.

It is dangerous sport, but very exciting. The elephant is invulnerable except at one point, and that is a small hollow in the middle of the forehead. I said invulnerable, but that is an improper word; I mean, that that little spot is the only point where you can hit him fatally. Fancy an enormous elephant[93] charging at full speed down a narrow path, with dense jungle on either side, and the sportsman standing still till he comes almost close, and then aiming at the forehead. Suppose he misses the one little spot—the elephant seizes him with his trunk, dashes him to the ground, and then kneels upon and crushes him; that is to say, if it is a fierce male elephant. The tusks of a large one are worth fifty pounds.

JUGGERNAT'H FESTIVAL.

The sight of the dead pilgrims by the roadside in this part of India is very dreadful; they go to Juggernat'h by hundreds, or rather by thousands. At the grand festival in June this year, when the car of Juggernat'h is dragged from the temple to his country house, there were present at least eighty thousand pilgrims from all parts of India, who each make large offerings to the idol, and during their stay are not allowed to eat any food but what has been prepared in the temple by the priests. Of course, for this food a most exorbitant price is charged, and at the same time it is of so inferior a quality that numbers died of cholera in consequence of eating it. Many of the pilgrims when they leave Pooree have not a pice left, and literally lie down and die of starvation by the roadside. The instant they are dead they are surrounded by jackals, dogs, and vultures, who quickly peel all the flesh from the bones: it is a horrid sight, but one which is too frequent to create surprise.

To the support of this temple our Christian government pays 6000l. a-year, whilst at other places it supports one, two, or more priests. Some will scarcely understand all the arguments by which this pernicious support of idolatry is defended. The principal reason given is, that, when we took possession of the country, we found a number of heathen temples, supported out of the produce of certain lands which were appropriated to their service; and that we, having taken possession of those lands, are bound to support the same temples by money derived from our own revenue. When the Roman Catholics conquered a country, their first object was to extirpate idolatry; when the Mohammedans waged war, they did it in order to destroy the idols of the heathens; but we encourage and protect all those wicked and evil superstitions.

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Terrible as is the sight of the mutilated bodies of the pilgrims, it is not to me half so shocking as their thanks when they are relieved. As I travel, some poor wretch, who has more the appearance of a skeleton than a human being, comes to the side of the palanquin, and cries in Hindustanee, "Oh, great king, have mercy! I have been to Juggernat'h, and I have no rice. I have not tasted food, O great king, for three days. Oh, great king, give me some cowries to buy some rice!" I give the man a pice or two, and then he exclaims, "May Juggernat'h bless you, O great being! May Juggernat'h make you prosperous!" This invocation of a blessing from an idol sounds most frightful. The horrors of the roadside scene I will not describe—they are too fearful.

The above account reminds me of the exaggerated manner of expression in use among the Eastern nations. I will give another instance of it, premising that it is the usual style of language employed by the natives towards their European masters. At Midnapore, the other day, I wanted to call on the commanding officer; I accordingly got into a tanjore,—that is, the body of a gig, supported on two poles, and carried by men. As they took me up, I told them to go to the Colonel Sahib's; they spoke together for a few minutes, and then one of them said in Hindustanee, "O representative of God, your slaves do not know where the Colonel Sahib lives."

"Well, do you know where the Salt-Agent Sahib lives?"

"Yes, O representative of God."

"Then take me there."

I had turned away a domestic for being impertinent—a case of very rare occurrence amongst the natives. He was my own personal attendant, and an excellent servant, but I would not allow him to be insolent, and therefore discharged him at once. For weeks this man stood at the gate of my compound, ran for miles by the side of my palanquin when I went out in it, and, if he saw me walking, threw himself on the ground at full length before me, extending his hands clasped over his head, and then crept or rather glided on his stomach close to me, kissed my feet, placed them on his head, and, whilst the tears ran from his[95] eyes, exclaimed in Hindustanee, "O great being! O representative of God, have pity on your slave! punish me, whip me, but let me be your slave, O great king!" One day he brought his two little boys with him, and made them also kneel at my feet. He was an old man with a long beard, and he rubbed it in the dust, and cried and sobbed. I looked at his sons, and thought of my own children, and, as I considered he had been sufficiently punished, I told him to get up and I would try him again. He raised himself on his knees, and kissed the hem of my garment.[5] He is now the most useful servant I have. He is a sheikh—Sheikh Ibrahim is his name, and he had served every one of my predecessors, the chaplains at Cuttack.

NUMBER AND NAMES OF SERVANTS.

I do not know the names of all my servants, but I will mention a few. Ibrahim is my sirdar, or valet, and chief man; my bearer is Maqua (which, by the way, is a name in use amongst the Indians in North America); my water-carrier is Rangore; my watchman, or chokedar, Sieboo; my sweeper, Ramoo. These last four are allowed me and paid for by Government: I give them a trifle in addition to their regular pay. The cook, or bowachee, is Callipar; and the table-servant, or khitmutgar, is Pekhoo. We only keep one table-servant; every one else keeps two, and many four or five. My syce, or groom, is Saitor; I do not know the names of the coachman, grass-cutter, tailor, and carpenter, nor of my wife's woman-servant, or ayah, as she is called. I think these are all our domestics, except the dobee, or washerman, but I do not know his name.

I believe every one in Bengal keeps more servants than I do. In the Madras presidency not nearly so many are required, as one there will do the work of three here. I do not know how it is in Bombay. I suppose it is on this account that in the Bengal presidency we receive higher pay than in the other parts of India. I said that I kept fewer than most people, but I certainly think I am better served than those who keep double the number, and I attribute it to this: I never beat my servants; I scold them, but do not strike them: and I believe

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that they exert themselves very much in order that they may remain with me on that account, for the cruelty practised by many towards their domestics is most shocking. Yet I firmly believe that I am better served, and, if I may use the expression, really loved, for that very reason.

When a servant is ill it is usual to stop his wages entirely: this I think wrong, and I therefore only stop half, which is another inducement to them to exert themselves in order to remain with me. I will give an instance of the sort of exertion to which I allude. When I packed the last box for England, my carpenter was ill; my cook is a very handy sort of man, so I called him, and desired him to nail up the box; he did it without a moment's hesitation. Almost any other cook would rather have left his situation than have done what he did not consider his work.

Again, I do not know any other person who can get one man to wait on both the sahib and the mem. My khitmutgar not only does this, but also cleans my gun, and sometimes goes out shooting with me; when he is thus engaged the cook supplies his place. These are the advantages of kindness.

It is a common saying that the Hindus have no sense of gratitude, that they have not even a word to express that feeling in their language. I do not believe it, and will give you a case in point. When we are going to travel we pay the money for the bearers into the hands of the postmasters beforehand; he then orders the men to be ready at each stage, and he subsequently sends them their pay. At one stage, as I was going to Midnapore some time ago, the men complained to me that they had not received their money for many months. I questioned them, and, finding their story probable, I promised to speak to the postmaster, and also offered to carry a petition from them to him. This I did; there had been a fault somewhere, but not, I believe, with the postmaster. However, the poor men got their money.

Since that time, whenever I go along the road, as soon as I come to that place a man calls out, "Here is the kind sahib that took our letter for us;" and although the stage is ten[97] miles in length, yet they carry me over it in less time than it takes me to go a six-mile stage elsewhere. My palkee is a heavy one, but they literally run as fast as they can the whole way; and two additional men always go with them without asking for any pay. Is not this something like gratitude?

HONESTY OF NATIVES.

They are said to be extremely dishonest—I mean the natives generally. This also I deny; although their treatment by individuals is enough to make them so; for on the part of Government the error—if any—lies in an excess of mildness and lenity. I would not hesitate, if it were necessary, to intrust a thousand rupees to a servant to take to Calcutta: that is for him a fifteen days' journey. Yet, if he chose, he might easily get beyond my reach; and such a sum would be sufficient to purchase an estate which would render himself and his descendants landed proprietors and gentlemen. I doubt whether you could say more than that for English honesty; although, of course, there may be exceptions here as well as there.

After I left Jelasore the other day, I remembered that I had omitted to lock my patarahs or tin travelling-boxes. There were many valuable things in them, and when I reached the first stage they had not then come up; yet I proceeded day after-day for one hundred and fifty miles without the slightest uneasiness; and these patarahs, which had passed through the hands of sixteen men successively, all of the poorest class and each one alone, arrived at Cuttack in safety one day after myself. I should not have felt so easy had this occurred in England. But enough of this subject for the present.

I was riding out with two friends a few days ago near Balasore, when we saw a cavalcade approaching, consisting of several armed men, some on horseback others on camels. We inquired who they were, and learned that it was the escort of Bheere Singh, who had been on a pilgrimage to Juggernat'h. We joined the Rajah and had a long gossip with him.

The first salutation was a salaam on both sides, that is,—we bowed almost to the necks of our horses, pressing the palms of our right hands against our foreheads. The Rajah, being more[98] polite, or having better command of his horse, salaamed with both hands. I shall describe the man, because, judging from the present state of his country, it is possible that he may hereafter figure in the history of India. He appeared about forty years of age, strongly built, but not very tall; large black whiskers, and the universal moustache, which however was smaller than usual. There was much fire and animation both in his eyes and gestures; I should say also that his look betrayed a cunning and intriguing spirit. He was evidently unwilling to say much concerning the disturbances which have recently taken place in his country, but was most anxious to hear our opinions. He said he had seen the burra lord (great lord), Ellenborough, as he came through Calcutta; and I wondered whether the real object of his journey might not have been to see and speak with the Governor-General rather than to perform his devotions at Pooree.

But one thing struck me especially, and it is a thing highly to the credit of our Indian Government. Pointing to his retinue, he said, "This I very much admire. In my own country and all the native states (that is, states governed by native rajahs), if I were to go to sleep, I must set my guards round me with their arms in their hands, and I dare not ask a stranger to carry a thing for me lest he should run away with it. But directly I come into the Burra Beebee Company's territories" (the East India Company is called the Burra Beebee, or the great lady, by all the natives), "directly I come into their territories, although they are so vast, so immense, from sea to sea" (and he stretched forth his hands in every direction), "directly I come there, if I am weary, I can go to sleep under any tree by the roadside, and I can tell all my guards to go to sleep also. If I want anything carried, I can say to the stranger 'Carry it,' and I know it is safe. Oh! the Burra Beebee Company is a very good great king."

And most assuredly it is so. Wherever we come we give sound laws, and the people find peace and comparative happiness. Under the native rajahs all is anarchy, bloodshed, and oppression. Would that the whole of India were under our sway, and that our Government would seek, by firm and decisive measures, to introduce the blessings of Christianity amongst the[99] thousands and millions of their heathen subjects! I consider these few words of Bheere Singh to confer far more real honour on our Government than all their victories.

A MEETING.

How little one knows in England of the pleasure of meeting with an acquaintance! The other night, as I was travelling and just dozing in my palanquin, I was roused by a loud voice—"Hulloh, Acland! what, is that you?" I was out of my palkee in an instant, and Mr. C., of Talacore, jumped out of his. What a break in the monotony of the road! and yet there was one great unpleasantness about it, and that was, we were obliged, after a few minutes' gossip, each to return to his own solitary palanquin. He produced some oranges; we sucked one or two, and then separated.


Cuttack, December 25, 1843.

Yesterday morning Captain W. sent to ask me whether I would go out into the jungle with him and try and get some hares. I did not feel much inclined, as my yearly supply of stores, such as wine, beer, candles, vinegar, &c. &c., had just arrived from Calcutta. However I thought that perhaps I should see something which might amuse me, so I went. At three we started on our ponies across the tedious sands to the river. The water we crossed in a boat, and then remounted and rode for some distance into the jungle: at last down we got. We had fourteen men with us to beat the jungle.

CHOUDWAR.

We walked along through the wildest scenery, looking for hares, until we arrived at Choudwar—at least that I believe to be the name of the place I described once before, which I said reminded me much of the ancient Petra. There are several long deep ravines filled with dense jungle, the sides composed of perpendicular black rock, a sort of iron-stone, in some parts of which steps have been cut, and in other places great blocks are lying about irregularly, or forming the foundations of the houses of the ancient inhabitants.

We had found no game of any sort except porcupines, which[100] abound here. At last we came to a ravine of the shape of an acute triangle. The lower line was a perpendicular face of rock of perhaps forty feet in height, the other line was a steep slope, and all the hollow was filled with thick jungle. Captain W. and myself were standing about the middle of the lower line, and we ordered the men that were with us to go down and beat the bushes in the hollow.

SPORTING.

As they went down I observed to Captain W. that I thought it looked a likely place for something rather larger than hares. He replied that the men said there were no wild beasts about here. He had hardly done speaking when we heard the most frightful snarling growl proceeding from the bushes down at the farther point of the angle. "A tiger!" screamed the men, and ran off in every direction as fast as they could. "Give us the guns with ball," shouted we; for those in our hands had only small shot, and the men behind us held our other guns. "It is a great hyŠna!" shouted I, as with another growl an enormous one sneaked out of the bushes up the bank opposite to that on which we stood. Bang! went the Captain's gun and mine at the same time;—down fell the brute, up again, turned round, yelled, and screamed, inclined to make a rush at us. Bang! bang! again with the other barrels, and with a scream the animal bounded off on three legs, his hind thigh having been broken by one of our balls. "Powder! powder, quickly!" was the cry, and our men handed us the powder and balls: we reloaded as quickly as possible, our hands trembling with excitement.

"Give chase!" I shouted, and off we set as hard as we could run towards the other bank, where the beast was still running, and turning every now and then to snarl at us. "Coolies, drive him hither!" cried Captain W., and on we bounded; but the coolies were not at all willing to obey the command, and so we had a long chase. "I'll fire; you mind him if he turns," exclaimed W. Bang! A yell from the hyŠna; and down he rushes towards me. Bang! he's down—no—up again. Another shot from Captain W., and over he tumbles and is dead in a few minutes.

The excitement of such a chase is very great. I was hot and[101] tired, and also fat; but when I saw the enormous brute all was forgotten, and I leaped down the rocks, scrambled up the hills, and bounded over the bushes, as if I had been a boy.

The hyŠna is a cowardly animal, although he has immense strength both of jaw and paw. Had this been a tiger, he would at the first wound have flown at us, and perhaps killed us before we had time to load again; but the hyŠna rarely turns upon the hunters unless he sees that all escape is hopeless. I had no idea that these animals were so large. This was little if at all less than a full-grown tiger. He did not spring out like the latter would have done, but sneaked along as if he thought his horrid ugliness would protect him.

As we were coming home over the sands, I asked Captain W. if he did not mean to discharge his gun before he went in. "Yes," said he, "and there is a target," pointing to a large black pariah dog, which was feasting on some rotten carrion at a considerable distance. We dismounted, took our guns, and Captain W. fired. The ball struck the sand between the animal's legs, and he stared round him as if to know what it meant. Captain W.'s next shot struck the sand close to the dog's nose. Off he started, when I raised my gun and fired, and he rolled over dead. This was a useless piece of cruelty; the killing the hyŠna was right, because these animals do much mischief among the cattle, and will also carry away young children; but the dogs are in a great measure our scavengers, and carry off all sorts of filth.

The only other things we fired at were some jackals and a white-headed falcon. The former we missed; the latter I killed. The miner is a pretty bird, of which I have before spoken. I consider it good eating, although most persons have a prejudice against it, as not being a very clean feeder. They fly in large flocks. The other day, with a small charge of shot, I killed five at once. The parrots are very destructive to the fruit, especially the custard-apple; I therefore frequently shoot them in my own garden.


[102]

Cuttack, January 2, 1844.

I have been to Pooree; but what I am going to relate now is an adventure, not of my own, but of some valiant officers of the regiment stationed here. The Captain, the Lieutenant, the Ensign, and a Serjeant, went out for a day's shooting; and I had the story from two separate individuals of the party. They rode to the ground, and then skirted for some time along the side of the dense jungle. At last the Captain says—"Well, I am tired; I shan't go any farther. Bring me my camp-stool." Fancy a man's taking a camp-stool when he goes out to hunt or shoot! However, down he sat; and the other three proceeded some way farther. At length the Lieutenant says—"Well, I am tired; I shan't go any farther. Give me my camp-stool." Down he sat; and on went the other two, until the Ensign said—"Well, I am tired; I shan't go any farther. Give me my camp-stool." And he sat down.

The Serjeant, with one native, now proceeded down a narrow path which led into the jungle. He had not been gone more than five minutes when the Ensign heard the report of a gun, and the next instant the Serjeant rushed out of the jungle, without his hat, without his gun, with his mouth wide open, eyes staring, and hair all on end. "What's the matter, Serjeant?" cries the Ensign. "A tiger, sir," says the other, without stopping. "A tiger?" "Ay." Down goes the Ensign's gun over his camp-stool, and off he starts after the Serjeant as fast as his legs can carry him. "Hulloh!" exclaims the Lieutenant, as they came rushing towards him: "why, what's in the wind now?" "A tiger! a tiger!" they shout. Down goes the Lieutenant's gun, and he quickly joins in the race. "What in the world are you all after?" cries the Captain, as they came to where he was comfortably sitting, drinking a bottle of beer, and smoking a cigar. "A tiger! a tiger! a tiger!" is again the reply. "Pooh, pooh, nonsense!" said the Captain, moving slowly towards his horse. "Nonsense!" answered the fugitives; "we tell you there is a tiger down there: go and see yourself." "No, I am tired," says the Captain; "I shall go home." And he jumped on his horse, and, followed by[103] his brave comrades, galloped back to Cuttack. How the natives did grin and chuckle. They, too, had seen the frightful monster, and knew that it was a poor harmless jackal which had put to flight the Captain, and the Lieutenant, and the Ensign, and the Serjeant!!!

But there is moral to this tale. Another officer asked the Serjeant afterwards why he ran away? The answer was, that he ran at first because he was alone and unsupported, and that he ran afterwards because he saw the officers run. And this will ever be the case. If the officers show a firm front, so will the men: if the officers waver or hesitate, it will naturally strike a panic into the minds of those who are accustomed to look up to them for guidance. Remarkable instances of both these positions we have recently had at Jellalabad and Kabul.

COSTUME REGULATIONS.

I start on Friday next for Balasore. I go principally for the sake of exercise and shooting. There are a great many bears there. My wife has just hired a new woman-servant. She is of the Ooriah Mehanee caste, and therefore may not wear petticoats, but only the common native dress. Now, all ladies like their own personal servants to wear petticoats; but here it is so strictly forbidden, that the woman, if she were once to put them on, would be deserted by her husband and children, and never be suffered to eat with any of her tribe. But then the Hindu law, whilst it is thus severe on any breach of caste, provides an easy mode of getting over the difficulty. My wife gives the woman eight shillings: the woman gives half of this to the priest, and with the other half she provides a feast for her tribe. After this she may wear her petticoats in peace and security.


Barripore, January 5, 1844.

MIRAGE AT POOREE.

There is one part of the sands at Pooree, on which if you stand about the middle of the day, and look towards the north, you are surprised to observe in the distance an English town. You see several three-storied houses, with doors and windows: interspersed here and there are several very English-looking trees; and at a[104] short distance, standing on a small hill, you see the ruins of a large castle, with the green ivy clinging to it in many parts. Often have I stood and gazed upon this scene, for it reminds me of dear England. And yet, if you go to the place, what do you suppose you find? Nothing but one long flat bed of loose sand, without one vestige of a tree.

The appearance is caused solely by the refraction of the rays of light. To explain this I will give an example. If you hold a stick so that the lower part is in the water and the upper part in the air, the stick will appear to be bent at the point where it passes the surface of the water; or, place a shilling in a cup or basin, so that you cannot see it because the side of the cup hides it from you, fill the cup with water, and then you will see the shilling, although it is still in the same spot it was in before. This bending of the rays is what is called refraction, and is caused by the rays passing out of one transparent thing into another which is more or less dense than the first. I think that the cause of the mirage at Pooree is this. Hot air is less dense than cold air. The steam which comes from a kettle is still water, but it occupies a much larger space than the water did. One kettle of water will give much more than a kettlefull of steam, so that it is evident that the heat has made the water occupy a much larger quantity of space. Still the steam is only water; therefore it must be much less dense than cold water. If you filled a saucepan with water, and fastened the lid down, so that no steam could escape, it would burst it: the particles of heat cause the particles of water to be less closely connected together. But that is a subject too abstruse for this work.

Well, hot air, like hot water, is less dense than cold air; also water is more dense than air. You could not run along as quickly in the water as you could in the air; you could not strike a person with your hand under water hard enough to hurt him; and this is because the water is more dense or solid than air: therefore, air with a good deal of moisture in it is more dense than when dry. But along the hot sands of Pooree, close to the sea-shore, there must be a great deal of heat and also a great deal of moisture.

[105]

In the direction in which you look to see the mirage I mentioned, there is a small piece of stagnant water from which much moisture must arise under the burning heat of the sun; consequently there must be much refraction in all directions. And this is seen in looking the right way from all parts of the Pooree sands; and from the particular point to which I have alluded, this picture, owing, I suppose, to certain marks in the sand, assumes the appearance of a castle, houses, &c. All this is a very rough explanation; but it may serve to give you some idea of the probable cause of the mirage. Ships have sometimes appeared to be sailing in the air from the same cause; and distant coasts, which were far below the horizon, have been distinctly seen by means of the refraction.


Guzzeepuddee, 8 miles from Balasore, January 12.

SPORTING.

Yesterday morning about four o'clock we started from Balasore on horseback. The party consisted of the magistrate, the surgeon, and myself. It was a brilliant moonlight, but somehow I thought I should like to finish my night's rest, and therefore soon got into my palanquin, and had a most comfortable nap. I was awakened at daybreak by my bearers stopping and telling me that they did not know the way to Guzzeepuddee. I got out of my palanquin, loaded my gun, inquired my way of the first native I saw, sent my palanquin on, and then with two servants entered the jungle. Whereabout the magistrate and the doctor were I had not the slightest idea. I had a delightful ramble through a jungle, many of the natives following me from each village through which I passed, and appearing to take great interest in the success of my sport.

I went on, with my broad-brimmer hat and brown leather gaiters, followed by twenty or thirty black fellows, forcing my way through the thickest, densest shrubberies, thinking at every instant that I might come suddenly on a large bear. Every now and then a break would occur in the jungle, and I would emerge from the tangled thicket into a broad open space of three or four[106] acres, covered with the smoothest turf, interspersed here and there with the graceful bamboo, and surmounted on all sides with a literal wall of trees and underwood. On their branches sat the splendid wild fowls and the beautiful peacocks, whilst from all sides I heard the soft cooing of the doves.

Then again I would find myself in a similar open space; but instead of the turf there was a broad sheet of water, with the red and white lotus-flowers floating on the surface, and the glittering white paddy-bin (a sort of small stock) stretching along the edge. A little farther on I came suddenly on a large jheel (a piece of shallow muddy water), with the heron and the pelican, and I think the spoonbill, standing on the sides and busily catching their breakfast of fish. Several of the most curious of the birds I shot, in order to preserve their skins, and occasionally, as a hare darted across my path, I would raise my gun and fire. But one bird I must describe more particularly.

I was standing by the side of a large jheel, when a native called out, "A bird, very good: look, sir." I looked in the direction in which he pointed, but could see nothing, and was going to scold him, when he said, "It will come." I continued watching, when presently I saw what appeared to be a long snake rising from the water. It was some little time before I could make up my mind that this was actually part of a bird, and by that time the long neck was again drawn under water, and nothing was visible.

A WATER-RACE.

I continued to watch, and presently, at some yards from the spot where it had before appeared, the same snaky form was again elevated into the air. It was almost like shooting at a reed, but however I raised my gun and fired. There was an instant struggle in the water, and then I saw the body of a large dark-coloured bird floating on the surface. Wishing to obtain the body, I turned to the natives and said, "The man that wants a pice, bring that bird to me." The pice is a little more than a farthing, but enough to find a family for a day. Six or eight boys and men dashed into the water, and there was a regular race, struggling and swimming in order to obtain the prize. One boy had just reached the spot, when suddenly it[107] disappeared; now the long neck rose in a different place, and again there was a rush to obtain the pice. The bird, which was evidently much wounded, began to move across the water, keeping its long neck about eighteen inches above the surface, no other part being visible. I was running round the banks to have another shot, when the bird suddenly rose, and, with its long legs extending behind, flew over the jungle. I saw it fall at a short distance, but the bushes were so thickly matted together that I could not get near the place.

As I advanced farther from Balasore the natives of the village appeared astonished at my appearance, many of them probably never having seen a white man before. Some stood still staring at me, others ran and hid themselves in their houses. At last I came to a large open space of a mile or more in diameter, and here a most singular scene presented itself. Throughout the whole extent of the space, large masses of black rock, perfectly smooth and rounded at the edges, rose at intervals to the height of twelve or sixteen feet, at an angle of about 70░. It appeared as if some mighty city had been swept over by a hurricane, and all the walls were tottering to their fall.

Some time after this, to my great satisfaction, I arrived at the tent, which had been sent there the day before, and found a plentiful breakfast ready, and the rest of the party anxiously awaiting my arrival. I had been nearly six hours on foot. Our tent is about eighteen feet square, with one pole in the centre, a table and chairs inside, and our palanquins, in which we sleep at night, standing under a sort of canvas verandah. There is another very small tent for a bath-room, and also a part composed of a single piece of canvas for the servants. The latter is about thirty feet long and fifteen broad.

ENCAMPMENT.

And now let us look around the encampment. The immediate neighbourhood consists of rice-fields, from which the paddy has been cut. At about half a mile from the tents on either side is a thick jungle, and in the distance are the rugged and magnificent hills of the Neilghur, which I have already described.

At six o'clock in the evening the sun was just setting as we three sahibs returned from our day's shooting. The magistrate[108] is just washing his hands in a chillumchee, or brass basin, at the door of the tent. In the front-ground, on two chairs, are seated the doctor and myself; the former is having his long leather gaiters or overalls pulled off. I have one foot in a chillumchee of warm water, the other resting on the black knee of one of my servants, who is shampooing and cracking each joint of the toes. Now he has done that, wiped the foot dry, put on the shoe, and is squeezing or kneading each muscle in the calf of the leg. No one but those who have experienced it can have any idea what a luxury this is when you are very tired!

Behind us stands a long-bearded turbaned khitmutgar, with sherry and glasses. Our guns are leaning against the side of the tent, our horses are picketed to a tree close by, and the grooms are busily rubbing them down. A hundred or a hundred and fifty black natives are separating into groups according to their castes, and are lighting fires all around in order to cook their dinners. Behind the servants' tent is a fire of charcoal, over which a black man is turning a hare, some partridges, a peacock, and several other results of our day's sport. Close by is another fire of wood crackling and sparkling, on which are stew-pans with salmon, oysters, &c. &c., which have come from England.

It grows late: the moon rises over the hills; the fires blaze up in all directions; I see the swarthy natives moving around them, and hear them chattering or singing their low monotonous song; everything looks wild; I begin to indulge in all sorts of reveries—when a man approaches with his hands clasped together, and, bending low before me, says "Cana meg" (dinner-table). The peacock takes the place of the reverie; visions of the partridges and oysters flit across my mind; and I run to help in demolishing a most substantial and well-earned meal. I then go to my palkee. The howling of the jackals does not awake me, I am too well used to it; but at last, about two o'clock in the morning, I was aroused by a sort of sniffing and a scratch at the door. I guessed at once what it was, and debated for an instant whether I should open it a little and try the effect of my pistols, or call out so as to rouse my companions, or lie still and leave him to[109] himself. I determined on the latter; as, supposing I had not killed him, my visitor might have come into my palanquin and killed me before I could get assistance. I therefore lay quietly with a pistol in my hand; and I felt much happier when I heard the bear at last trot off.


Barripore, January 16, 1844.

THE NEILGHUR HILLS.

On Friday morning the magistrate and myself determined to ascend one of the Neilghur hills. The doctor did not think it worth the fatigue, and therefore shot partridges and wild-ducks for our breakfasts. We started from our tents at about half-past five in the morning. For about four miles our road lay through jungle, similar to that I have already described.

As we emerged from this the effect was most extraordinary. We had been suffering much from heat, and the sudden exclamation of both of us was, "Oh, how very cold!" A chilling blast came down from the hills, which entirely altered the temperature of the air; and, moreover, the place where we now were can very rarely, if ever, be reached by the sun. These causes produce a most singular effect upon the vegetation. Behind us was a dense jungle of bamboos, brambles, cacti, &c., through which it was most difficult to force a passage. In front of us for nearly a mile—that is, extending to the foot of the hills—the appearance was altogether different: not a bamboo nor a cactus, not a bramble, scarcely even a thorn; the turf perfectly smooth; the only plants a sort of laurel and a species of wild-apple; and no two plants growing within four feet of each other. It was like a wilderness or a shrubbery in a gentleman's park. We found several marks of bears and also of elephants; and the natives were rather unwilling to proceed. However, we led the way, with our guns in our hands, and soon arrived at the foot of the hill. It rose very suddenly, and in many places we had to climb for several feet up the face of a smooth black rock, similar to that which I have already mentioned.

We had no adventures beyond a tumble or two, but it was a most fatiguing work; and the instant we reached the top we[110] threw ourselves down and called for a cigar and a glass of beer. This hill, which is much the lowest of the whole range, is not, I suppose, more than five hundred feet in height: it rises to a peak, the extreme top being about six feet in diameter. Here we fired off our guns as a signal to the doctor, and then commenced our descent.

At the bottom we were very glad to mount our horses and ride back to the tent. It was a very clear morning, and you can hardly imagine the wild magnificence of the scene from the top. Behind us lay the thick jungle through which we had passed, with Balasore in the distance, and the sea forming the background; in front, a wilderness of brushwood, extending as far as the eye could reach; to the right was a winding river, bordered by the graceful bamboo, with native villages and patches of rice-fields on its banks; whilst to the left, from the midst of the thickets, rose abruptly the other hills, towering to the height of several thousand feet. All these ranges belong to tributary rajahs, and are not the property of the English. We were delighted with our excursion, and it has led to the proposal of another, which we hope to accomplish, with the addition to our party of the doctor and the master-attendant, as soon as I return from Cuttack.

This second expedition is to be to the highest point visible from Balasore. No human being has ever yet ascended it, and the natives pretend that it is impracticable; however, we mean to try. I should like to set my foot where no man has ever trodden. We shall go well armed with guns, pistols, and swords; we are also each to carry a hatchet and a billhook, to cut our way through the jungle.

We intend to take a barometer and thermometer in order to measure the height, and go well attended by natives. It is said that this hill is tenanted by all sorts of wild beasts, but we shall be too well armed to fear them. The inhabitants are a very savage race, and offer up human sacrifices; but they will hardly dare to attack white men. I am very fond of these excursions; the exercise I consider good for me—whilst at Guzzeepuddee I was ten or eleven hours on my feet each day; and another[111] great advantage is, that they cost nothing beyond the price of powder and shot. I must now start for Cuttack. I found in the jungle the skeleton of a small boa constrictor: it is perfect except the lower jaw. I told one of my servants to take care of it. When I returned to Balasore he had lost it; I said, if he did not find it again I should deduct a rupee from his month's wages. His answer was, "O representative of God, you are the father and the mother of your slave, and you must do with him as you think fit." However, he managed to find the skeleton.


Midnapore, February 1, 1844.

BHABANESWAR AND CUNDEGANEE.

When I returned to Cuttack the last time I found that my wife had been rather poorly for some days; I therefore determined that I would take her out for a little excursion. We accordingly sent out a tent and all necessary apparatus, and then started with some friends of ours—a Captain of Engineers and his wife, and a couple of children—to explore two of the most extraordinary places in India, Bhabaneswar and Cundeganee. At the former there are nine hundred and ninety-nine temples, besides numerous tombs, &c.: at the latter place some very high hills, perforated in every direction with artificial caves; a palace, statues, and animals, cut out of the solid rock; long inscriptions in some language now forgotten; images of gods, of which the Hindus know nothing.

The trip did my wife a great deal of good; but almost immediately after our return to Cuttack I was attacked by one of the fearful diseases of the country. Fortunately I knew what it was by the very first symptoms, and therefore went to the doctor at once. The disease is what we call liver; in England it is called, I think, inflammation of the liver. It is accompanied by a soreness in the side and acute pain in the shoulder. The doctor immediately took most energetic pains to reduce me both in size and in strength, and he succeeded so well that all danger was soon over. Directly I was better I was ordered change of air, starvation, and exercise.


[112]

February 15, 1844.

I feel quite well again: we start for the hills this afternoon. The party consists of seven Europeans and about one hundred natives. It happened rather curiously that the Rajah to whom the hill belongs called here this morning on business: he is a very intelligent young man. He has volunteered to accompany us, to supply us with elephants if we wish to hunt upon the plain, and to provide us an escort of five hundred men; so we shall go in state. He rode a magnificent white horse with pink eyes. We each take a small axe, a pair of pistols, and two guns.

But before proceeding I would enter into more particulars concerning the excursion that we took for the benefit of my wife's health. On Monday we all started at half-past five in the morning—Captain R. and myself on horseback, and Mrs. R. and my wife in palanquins, having their ponies led by their side. We had about one hundred and twenty servants with us, Captain R. having a good deal of surveying and other work to do.

As we went along the road he stopped to inspect the different bridges, &c. We had one little adventure this morning. It seems that some months ago a beyraghee, or mendicant, sat himself down by the side of the road, a few miles from Cuttack, with nothing but an umbrella to shade him from the sun. There he remained for some weeks, subsisting on the charity of the pilgrims who were proceeding to Juggernat'h. I should have mentioned that our road lay, for a considerable distance, on the direct route for Pooree. After some time the beyraghee made himself a little hut of wicker-work, after the fashion of many of the Indian devotees. These baskets, as I may call them, are just large enough to contain a man in a lying-down position; they are, in fact, mere coverings.

By degrees the basket became a good-sized mud hut; then the beyraghee began to enclose a small piece of ground, which he cultivated, and built himself a granary of bamboo to contain the rice given him by the pilgrims. Now, although a man with an umbrella does not much matter, yet a hut with a little field, around which a village is likely enough to spring up, cannot be allowed upon the roadside, which belongs to Government.

[113]

The man had been warned, but paid no attention to what was said; and accordingly, when we reached the spot, Captain R. directed the chuprapees, or Government messengers, to pull down the fence and destroy the hut, granary, &c. We sat on our horses while these men obeyed the order. In a quarter of an hour the whole was level with the ground. I knew that Captain R. was perfectly right, yet I could not help pitying the poor man, who came and laid himself down at our horses' feet, with his hands clasped over his head. Like many of the beyraghees, he was entirely naked. They are a worthless, wicked set of men, and peculiarly obnoxious to Europeans. It was a singular scene. Captain R. and myself, with our broad-brimmed hats, sitting quietly on our sturdy ponies; a half-naked groom at the head of each; the naked beyraghee at our feet; and a dozen chuprapees, in the white native dress, with red badges, hewing the house and fence to pieces, and scattering the remains on all sides under the grove of mangoes with which the road was bordered. In the distance were the palanquins, whilst the wild song of the bearers faintly reached our ears.

ENCAMPMENT AT BENGWHARRIE

Nothing of interest occurred after this until we arrived at Bengwharrie, a small village, where our tents were pitched under a grove, or, as we call it, a "tope," of splendid trees. I have already described the appearance of a private encampment; the only difference here was that we had a greater number of men about us, and more tents. Mine contains one room, about twenty-four feet square; in the centre rises the high pole which supports our canvas house. At each end are cloth doors, made to roll up. The tent has a double fly or covering, one much larger than the other; it is like a small one inside a large one. This tends to keep it warm at night, and cool during the day; the outer fly forms a verandah round the inner room. In the latter are two small camp bedsteads, a camp table, camp chairs, &c. By camp bedsteads, &c., I mean such as will double up for the convenience of carriage. In the verandah are our palanquins, a chest of wine, beer, &c., some cooling apparatus, and various other articles. At one side there is an entrance into a small tent, which serves for a bathing-room.

[114]

After breakfast, we were very much interested in watching the monkeys. The tope swarmed with a grey species, some of which appeared almost as large as men. They are peculiarly sacred in the eyes of the Hindus, who imagine that one of their gods once assumed a similar form. They are called Hunnamuns, which was the name of that deity. My wife and I stood at the door of the tent watching them for hours; they do not appear to be afraid of men. Many of the females had young ones with them, and they came and sat down close to us with their little ones in their laps. First they would suckle them, then they would hush them to sleep, or turn them over and over, pulling off all the dirt that adhered to their skins, and making them clean and comfortable.

A little farther off you would see four or five males picking the fruit off a low bush, and chattering to one another all the time. Then a half-grown one would jump down, and give a hard pull at an old one's tail, for which he generally received a good box on the ear, unless he was nimble enough to get out of the way in time; presently one of the old fellows would get angry, and spring into the tree after his little tormentor, and a regular chase would ensue. The leaps they take are tremendous; they will often spring from the top of a lofty tree into the middle of the next without falling.

I saw one of the females shot; it was a cruel sight, and struck all the natives with horror. They refused to touch the dead body. The ball did not kill her instantly, and she cried piteously, whilst she pressed her little one to her bosom, and tried to get into the tree. To the last she would not relinquish her young one, and died in endeavouring to save it. I could not shoot a monkey, their actions and their cries are so like human beings. I know of a case in which an officer shot one, and the whole herd instantly sprang from the trees and attacked him; it was with difficulty he was saved. They are most interesting creatures.

CROW-PHEASANT.

In the evening I went out with my gun, accompanied by Captain R. I got nothing, however, but some doves and some crow-pheasants; the latter are not eaten by Europeans, though[115] much relished by the low-caste natives. It is a bird, as the name signifies, between a crow and a pheasant. The colour is black, tinged with a deep dull red. It has a long tail, and runs like a pheasant; but I believe that its food is the same as a crow's, that is, carrion and animal food.

GAME.

On the Tuesday morning Captain R. was lazy, so I started by myself at six o'clock to try and get some jungle-fowl. When I say by myself, I of course mean with three or four servants. I, however, shot nothing but a few doves and one green pigeon. The latter is a large bird, of a pale-green colour, and is most delicious eating, which is more than can be said of any of the game in India. The partridges are dry and flavourless; the deer have literally not a particle of fat upon them; the hares are fit for nothing but soup. A leveret is good, and so is a very young peacock, but, old or young, they must be eaten the same day that they are killed. By the by, the black partridge is pretty good: it has a black neck, shading into deep red on the head; the back is dark; the breast and tail are most beautifully covered with minute white spots.

I may as well mention now that we shot the other day a double-spurred partridge; it was of a dingy red colour, with a crest on its head; the legs were bright red, and each armed with two long sharp spurs. As I walked along I observed a bird of a species which I had never seen before; I tried to shoot it, in order to have it stuffed, but missed, and sadly frightened some monkeys who were in the same tree. As far as I could judge, every feather was a bright blue, giving a most splendid appearance to the bird.

MANGO-BIRD.

After breakfast Captain R. and I stood at the door of the tent amusing ourselves with his air-gun. I killed with it three or four birds, whose skins I should like to preserve; one especially, though I believe I have before described it, namely, the mango-bird. I fancy the European name is the golden oriole. It is of one uniform brilliant yellow, with the exception of the head, which is perfectly black. Its note is very peculiar, as indeed are the voices of many of the Indian birds. I cannot describe the sounds on paper, but I have learned to imitate many[116] of them well enough to hold a long conversation with them. Once or twice, when Captain R. wanted to get near to a bird without being observed, he asked me to continue talking to it. It is curious to observe them hopping from branch to branch replying to my call, and looking round on every side for the bird from which they suppose the sound to proceed.

On Tuesday evening Captain R. and I rode about four miles to try and find some peacocks. His pony had hurt its foot, so he took one of mine. We were going along quietly enough through some rice-fields, when suddenly the pony he was on shied; he spurred it, and it immediately reared and fell over backwards. Most fortunately he managed to throw himself off, so as to escape being under the horse, though, as it was, he got a heavy tumble. It is a very nice pony, a little inclined to rear; but I am too heavy for it to do so with me. I am getting thinner now. We came at last to a beautiful bit of bamboo-jungle, where we dismounted, inside of which was a paddy-field; in the centre were two fine cocks and five hens feeding. Beckoning to the servants to stay behind, I crouched down on the ground and crept slowly forward, until I came very near to the jungle-fowl, when I cautiously raised my gun to fire; from some cause or other it did not go off, though the cap exploded, and the birds flew away. Now, a regular Indian sportsman would not fire at a bird on the ground, but would first make a noise to frighten him, and would then fire as he was flying away; however, I am not practised enough for that, and like to get what they call a pot-shot whenever I can.

SPORTING.

A little while ago a party of officers went out from Cuttack to shoot. Their men were beating the jungle, when suddenly all the wild cry ceased, and a man came gliding to where all the sahibs were standing to tell them that there was a tiger lying asleep in his den close at hand. A consultation was instantly held; most of the party were anxious to return to Cuttack, but Captain B. insisted on having a shot at the animal. Accordingly he advanced very quickly until he came to the place, when he saw—not a tiger, but a large leopard lying quite still, with his head resting on his fore paws. He went up close and fired, but[117] the animal did not move. This astonished him, and on examination he found that the brute was already dead. One of his companions had bribed some Indians to place a dead leopard there and to say that there was a tiger asleep. You may imagine what a laugh there was, though it was very wrong of the Europeans to encourage the natives to say what was not true.

Since then a large party has been out from Cuttack on a shooting excursion: they found five leopards, two sambres (the largest species of deer), and four of the Indian bisons or ghyal, of whose horns I have preserved a specimen. They however killed only one leopard.

But I must hasten on with my description. Captain R. and I proceeded into the jungle, where we heard several peacocks; we separated, creeping along in different directions. Presently I came to an open space where some pea-fowls were feeding, but we did not succeed in killing anything. The next evening we went to the same place, when Captain R. shot a peacock. Towards dusk I was creeping along, when suddenly I saw what appeared to me a fine peahen. I signed to my men to be quiet, got as near as I could, fired, and shouted to my followers to run and pick up the bird, for it was dead. An Indian servant rarely loses his gravity; but in this instance they could not restrain themselves when they found that instead of a pea-fowl I had knocked to pieces the skull of an old cow which had been half-picked by the vultures; in the dim light I had mistaken it for a bird.

BHOHONESWAR.

The next day we proceeded about ten miles farther to Bhalmacottee; and on the day following, that is Friday, we started at five o'clock in the morning for Bhohoneswar. On the way we passed the remains of a very large old fort built of hewn stone. In one of the moats, which was still full of water, I saw the remains of a pier of a bridge. Bhohoneswar is a very ancient town, much more so than Pooree: it is celebrated for containing nine hundred and ninety-nine temples. The natives say that, had there been a thousand, Juggernat'h would have taken up his abode here; but as there were not he preferred having a new temple for himself at Pooree. The ancient city has disappeared, and the town only consists of a few hundred mud[118] huts. The temples however remain—some perfect, others in ruins; some facing the street of the modern town, others half hidden in the surrounding jungle. It is a wonderful place, and I hardly know how to describe it.

At one extremity of the town is a tank, about half a mile square, and of a great depth, entirely faced with huge blocks of black iron-stone. In the centre of this stands a small temple, whilst the sides are surrounded by others of greater or less size. At the end next the town an enormous flight of steps leads down to the water, where hundreds of pilgrims were hastening to wash themselves before entering the great temple. The farther end is bordered by a dense and lofty jungle, and in the distance is a splendid background of rugged hills.

After leaving the burrah tellores (great tank) we walked through a lane of temples, many of which were ruinous, until we came to the grand sacred edifice of the place. The form of this, as indeed of most of the others, is similar to that of Pooree. The temple of Bhohoneswar is however larger, the principal tower being about two hundred feet high. Like all the others, it is built entirely of stone, and every block is most elaborately carved. The various cornices, of elephants, horses, &c., are as beautifully executed as if they had been done by the best European artists. The fretwork is most delicate in its livery, and the many images, though representing grotesque figures, are admirably carved. The whole forms one mass of most splendid sculpture.

No description would enable the reader to form any idea of the magnificence of this building. Many of the blocks of stone are fifteen, twenty, and twenty-five feet in length, and thick in proportion. It would be curious to discover by what means they were ever raised to the height of above one hundred feet. This temple is still sacred, and we were therefore not allowed to enter it, but we examined the interior of several of the others. The lofty domes were evidently constructed by a people who were ignorant of the use of the arch; they are formed of overlapping stones, approaching nearer and nearer together until they reach the top, where the whole is surmounted by one enormous block.

CUNDEEGURREE.

We breakfasted in a small tent which we had sent forward to[119] Bhohoneswar, and then proceeded in our palanquins to Cundeegurree, a distance of about seven miles. This latter place consists of three hills surrounded by the most romantic-looking jungle. Our palanquins were set down in what may be called a forest, at the foot of the principal hill, and crowned by a small but very pretty white temple. These hills are perforated in every direction with caves of various dimensions, and reminded me most forcibly of the ancient Petra. Many of the caves are inhabited by devotees and priests. The god whom they worship is quite unknown to our Hindu servants: he is called Persilat'h, and is the god of the Jains, who were a powerful race that existed prior to the introduction of the Hindu religion. There are very few of them now remaining. The god is represented as a naked man, standing upright, with his arms hanging down by his sides. In many of the caves are small images of this deity beautifully cut in a dark-blue stone.

At the summit is a Jain temple, which has been rebuilt within the last two hundred years. The Hindus say that the caves are the works of demons. Above the entrances to many of them are long inscriptions in a forgotten tongue. Several of the letters appear to resemble the Greek; but most of them are different from any known language. The entrance to one of the caverns is through the mouth of an enormous lion's head, cut out of the solid rock: it is exceedingly well executed. The pillars about the doorway are also cut out of the solid rock. Within the lion's mouth is an inscription in two lines, which I copied.

Many of the caves are large and lofty, others very small: there are some not high enough for a man to stand upright: of these latter several have very small entrances; and in these are devotees who had vowed never to leave them alive. The wonder seems how they could ever have managed to creep in. I saw some of these holy men: one of them had entirely lost his sight; another had his right arm shrivelled, and fixed in an upright position, with the nails several inches in length growing through the palm of his hand. What suffering do these heathens endure for the sake of their religion, whilst we are so unwilling to do even a little to please the true God! Their superstitions are most[120] disgusting; but they are a reproach to us, both for our inertness in attempting to convert the Hindus, and also for the contrast they afford to our self-control, who call ourselves Christians.

In the solid rock of these hills have been excavated some tanks; but the most marvellous thing of all is the palace of the ancient rajahs. This, like all the rest, is hollowed out of the solid stone, and consists of two stories; the lower comprises a good-sized square court, surrounded on all sides by large excavated chambers. Into this yard you are obliged to descend from above. The upper floor is similarly cut, except that a large portion of the rock has been cut away before the entrances were made to the chambers. The consequence is that there is a broad terrace, overlooking the rooms beneath, and upon which the several apartments of the upper story open. What labour must have been employed in making these extraordinary excavations! The chambers are narrow, about twelve feet wide, but many of them are long; speaking from conjecture, I should say that one of them was not less than forty feet, the length corresponding with the direction of the side of the quadrangle. The entrance-walls (if I may call them so) seem to have been much ornamented; but what struck me most was a statue, cut, of course, out of the solid rock, and supporting one side of an ornamented entrance to one of the chambers. This statue, the natives say, is intended to represent the rajah who founded the palace: it is nearly the size of life and well preserved. The right arm hangs down by the side, the left is bent at the elbow, the hand resting on the hip. On the head appears to be a close helmet, with, I think, scales down each side of the face. The dress consists of a short shirt of scale armour reaching down to the thigh; below this hangs a cloth skirt to the knees; hanging from the shoulders behind is a short cloak resembling that worn by our modern horsemen; round the waist is a sash or loose belt; boots reaching half-way to the knees; and at the side is a double-edged Roman sword. Now, to what nation or people such a dress as this can have belonged I cannot conceive. I feel confident that no people of India have ever worn such garments; yet, when I look at this dress, and consider the Grecian nature of many of the letters in[121] the inscriptions, and the un-Indian appearance of the pillars in the lion's mouth, I cannot help asking myself whether it is possible that, when Alexander was stopped by the Affghans, any of his people ventured still farther into the country, and after various wanderings founded Cundeegurree, as conquerors of the district. Or, if I wish to turn my speculations in another direction, I may examine the dress, carved in stone, and that statue, and think of the name of the reputed founder Lalal, India, Kesari (quŠre CŠsar?). All this, however, is mere speculation, as I have no sufficient data at present by which to arrive at any conclusion. There is a much longer inscription very correctly copied in Stirling's 'History of Orissa.'

After spending a most interesting day at Cundeegurree we returned to Bhalmacottee, from whence my wife and myself came on to Cuttack on Saturday. I forgot to mention an animal that we killed; the natives called it a "goodee sampsnake," and said it was very savage and very venomous, though I imagine it was nothing but a guana. It is a sort of lizard, with a very tough scaly skin, about two and a half feet in length, head like that of a snake, forked tongue, sharp teeth, short legs, armed with long claws or rather talons. I have preserved and stuffed the skin.

INSCRIPTIONS—ANECDOTE OF AN ELEPHANT.

A gentleman has just been here who told me an interesting anecdote about an elephant. A friend of his bought one, and went out hunting with a large party. The animal behaved very well all day; but in the evening, when they were going to take off the howdah, the mahout called to the Europeans to stand farther off, as the elephant appeared to be getting uneasy. He had hardly spoken when the animal made a rush forward, seized an unfortunate native, and began trampling upon him with his enormous feet; a chuprapee who ran forward was seized by the elephant, and flung to the distance of many feet into the river; the beast then raised the poor wretch he had been crushing, and threw him into the jungle, where he was found with not a bone unbroken; every limb was crushed: of course he died almost directly. The elephant then ran off, and for weeks was the terror of the country round—going into the villages, tearing down the houses to look for corn or rice. At[122] last he was caught, and sold to the king of Lucknow, in Upper India. I should mention that the only limestone hills in this part of India are those around Cundeegurree.


Pooree, May 26, 1844.

How little is known in England of what a thunderstorm is! At this minute (about ten o'clock in the evening) the rain is pouring down in vast sheets of water rather than in drops. For the last two hours the lightning has not ceased for a minute at a time, whilst the thunder has continued incessantly, varied occasionally by a tremendous crash which bursts immediately above the house and shakes it to its very foundation. Add to this the roaring of the sea and the howling of the wind, and some idea may be formed of the fearful noise now sounding in my ears. But the storm is, in one respect, more fearful here than elsewhere; at this station most of the European houses are blown down once in two or three years—a process which is anything but comfortable to the inhabitants, who are compelled to shiver through the night on the bleak sands, drenched with spray and rain, half covered with loose sand, and afraid to stand lest they should be blown away.


May 29.

TEMPERATURE AT CUTTACK AND POOREE.

I find that the depth of water which fell in the two hours and a half that the storm continued was one inch and a half, a quantity which in England, I believe, would not fall without many days of rain. But this is a delightful place. The difference of climate between this and Cuttack could hardly be conceived, and yet the distance is only fifty miles. At Cuttack, during the hot season of the year, the inhabitants are obliged to close every door and window at half-past six in the morning, in order to keep out the fearfully scorching heat, neither can they open them again till seven in the evening. Although the air is[123] kept in constant motion by the punkahs, yet, being confined, and also much rarified by the heat, it produces a stifling gasping sensation, which is most painful. At this time of the year too the mosquitoes come into the houses in great numbers, and we are therefore compelled to use the mosquito-curtains at night, which have no opening all round, and the lower edge of which is tucked in with the bed-clothes; you might almost as well be shut up in a box. The intense heat, and the quantity of bad air which necessarily accumulates under the curtains, cause continual headaches and oppression of the lungs.

Well, you start from Cuttack in the evening, arrive at Pooree the next morning, and what a change! The doors and windows are open all day; and although the thermometer generally stands at 89░, yet the incessant breeze off the sea prevents any inconvenience from the heat; indeed, we are sometimes glad to close the doors in order to keep out the air. At night a delicious fresh wind, which frequently renders a blanket necessary, no mosquitoes, no curtains. In the morning we can remain out of doors till eight; in the afternoon we can go out at five.

How rejoiced many persons would be to be able to spend their hot weather at such a place. There are, nevertheless, two great drawbacks to the comfort of Pooree. First, the European houses are all situated on a vast plain of loose sand, extending from the sea as far as the eye can reach in every direction; so that it is considered at Pooree quite impossible to walk. My wife, like most other ladies, rides in a tonjon, a sort of small cab, carried on men's shoulders. I and almost all the gentlemen ride on horseback, or rather ponyback. At Cuttack only rich civilians keep horses; all we poor men are content with ponies. I have three beauties: two of them, Birmah ponies, for the carriage, are of a large size, thick built, very strong, and highly valued on account of their hardihood. It is usual to keep their manes cropped close, but I like to see them long. One carries me very well; the other is a saddle-pony, which does either for my wife or myself. It is bay, with long black mane and tail, very sleek, with thin ankles and arching neck. Indeed, several people who have looked at him say he is the best-built horse[124] they ever saw. He is full of fire and play, jumps about, and every now and then stands upon his hind legs. But he will not bear to be annoyed by strangers. A friend of mine was riding him one day, and teased him so much that at last he reared and fell over backwards with him. The carriage-horses are what is called sorrel-colour.

The second drawback to the comfort of Pooree is rather a curious one, and is, I suppose, caused by the wind and the glare of the sun upon the sands. It is the impossibility for any one to keep awake during the day. Towards twelve o'clock an overpowering drowsiness comes on. Once or twice I have resisted it, and on those occasions I verily believe that in the evening, had I shut my eyes, I should have gone to sleep upon my feet. This is the universal complaint of all visitors to that place. The regular residents get over it.

Talking of the night reminds me of a general habit which would seem very odd to people in England. A person would imagine that everybody is very fidgety at night, and rolls and tosses about a great deal in the very hot weather. To render ourselves more comfortable at such times we have a number of pillows of all shapes and sizes and hardnesses scattered about the bed. At one roll you lay your leg on one and your arm on another, then you turn over to the other side, and then, throwing your feet on to one pillow, you hold another fast under your arm: that won't do, and you roll over on your back, with one pillow under your knee and another under each arm, and so on through the night. I can assure you that, however absurd it may appear, this multiplicity of pillows is a very great comfort on very hot nights, although when you awake you certainly often find yourself and them in very funny positions.

INTERVIEW WITH NATIVE RAJAHS.

But now let us describe the journey up the hill, which is situated in the territories of the Rajah of Neilghur; that is, he pays tribute to the English, but governs his territory for himself. Just before we went there, by the advice of the masahibs or councillors, he had been into one of our villages making a great disturbance, whereupon the commissioner, a sort of governor of the district, sent for the Rajah, desiring him to come in to[125] Balasore and explain his conduct. I was with the commissioner when he arrived. The Rajah of Neilghur is a handsome intelligent-looking young man of about twenty. His estate brings him in a revenue of nearly sixty thousand rupees a-year. His brother, who is about two years younger, and full of fun and frolic, is always with him. They came to Balasore with a party of about thirty, three elephants, and twenty horses. The Rajah and his brother, with eight or ten of the masahibs, were ushered into the commissioner's room, where chairs were offered to the two former; the others remained standing. Of course all except the two young Rajahs took off their shoes before they entered the room. Mr. M., the commissioner, who, as I have told you, is the kindest of men, gave them a long quiet lecture, and strongly advised them to dismiss the masahibs and govern entirely for themselves; and he warned them that, if such disturbances occurred again, he should be obliged to send and take possession of the whole territory of Neilghur. They were very submissive and made what excuses they could, but which, in point of fact, amounted to none at all. At last they rose to take leave, and I with one or two others joined them.

I immediately told the Rajah that we were going over to Neilghur on the following day, and asked whether he would provide five hundred coolies to beat the jungle. The Rajah promised that he would procure us the coolies and elephants and make us comfortable. The party then mounted, and really it was a very pretty scene. Both the Rajahs and all their attendants were dressed in the purest white—full loose trowsers, white frocks open on one side of the chest, and white turbans. The younger brother wore a red sash, all the others white ones. The Rajahs had most splendid gold chains round their waists, and three very handsome rings in each ear. The eldest mounted first. His horse, which was very tall and strongly built, was an albino; it was perfectly white, with red eyes. The saddle, which for all natives is made deep and well padded, was covered and entirely concealed by a splendid crimson cloth extending from the shoulders to the haunches. It was surrounded by a deep gold fringe, and reached about half way to the ground on each[126] side. The young man laid his hand on the horse's shoulder, and at one vault sprang into the saddle, the cloth remaining on. This was the signal for every one to mount, and then they all began to show off. Their horses played all sorts of antics; they danced, and plunged, and reared, and capered about, though still under perfect control; indeed, it was evident that all these tricks were the result of education. After some minutes spent in this way, they suddenly started off at full gallop, and tore along at a tremendous rate as long as they continued in sight. They were followed by the elephants in a rough trot.

But I must say something more about these elephants. I was walking through the town with C. the evening before, when we saw the elephants coming towards us. We were both startled, if not alarmed. One of them is said to be the largest in India, and it really did look awful. The others, which were of the ordinary size, looked like young ones by its side. I had afterwards an opportunity of measuring it, and, if I remember rightly, its height was twelve feet eleven inches. It is very old, as Tippoo Saib rode it at Seringapatam. It is quite blind, and it is most interesting to observe its manner of walking or running. At each step its trunk swings from side to side, just touching the ground in front, so that the animal may know if there is any impediment in the way. A part near the end of the trunk is much worn away and quite hardened by this constant rubbing. His tusks are magnificent, but his body is little more than a skeleton covered with skin.

Whilst at Neilghur I saw this monster bathe. A boy took him down to a pond close to our tent. He led him by one of his tusks. When he reached the water, at an order from his attendant the elephant held out his trunk and the lad climbed up it until he reached his tusks. The elephant then raised his head until they were the highest part, when the boy slipped off them on the head itself. The animal then walked slowly into the water until it reached the top of his legs; at a signal from the boy he then lay down, whilst the lad kept on the head, scrubbing both that and his back. At another signal he sank himself lower and lower, until only his trunk and the head and[127] shoulders of the boy were visible. It seemed to enjoy it very much, and was almost unwilling to come out again.

LEAVE BALASORE.

We sent our tent on before and started from Balasore at about eleven o'clock in the evening in palanquins. Our party consisted of T., D., B., C. and his son, and myself. We arrived at Neilghur at about three o'clock, and our palanquins were simply set down on the ground that we might finish our night's rest. By the by, when the bearers of the palanquins are changed for fresh men, on taking hold they very often cry out, "Ah! my brother, my child!" but with me they generally make an addition to this—"Ah! my brother, my child, my elephant!"

When they set my palanquin down I turned to look about me. It was very dark, though the stars were shining brightly. The hill seemed to rise almost perpendicularly from my feet into the clouds; a strong blast of cold wind came rolling down its sides, and I was very glad to creep back again into my palanquin and cover myself up with a thick blanket. A little before sunrise I turned out again and roused my companions. We dressed ourselves, loaded our guns and pistols, and started on the ascent, after swallowing a hasty cup of tea and a bit of bread.

SUNRISE—SCENERY.

At this moment the sun rose, and none but those who have witnessed the splendour of the oriental sunrise can have an idea of the magnificence of the scene. Immediately in front of us was a broad sheet of water surrounded by dense jungle, interspersed with lofty trees, from which, as we looked, two peacocks came forth to drink. At the back of the lake the hill rose abruptly to the height of nearly a thousand feet, the sides partially covered with trees, but which were interspersed here and there with precipices two or three hundred feet in depth, composed of a dark-coloured rock. From each side of this principal eminence project as it were shoulders, of about half the height, and which, covered with the thickest foliage, inclined round to the right and left so as to enclose us in a sort of semicircle.

We had sent men the day before to trace a path through the jungle, and they had tolerably succeeded. But unfortunately I was weak and far from well, and was completely knocked[128] up before I got half-way to the top. One of our party was a medical man, and he insisted on my not attempting to go any farther. I felt deadly sick, my face was as white as snow, every pulse in my head and chest throbbed as if it would burst, my mouth was not dry but clammy, and when I lay down on a piece of rock I almost doubted if I should ever rise again. However, I soon felt better, descended the hill, got a glass of beer, and lay down in the tent for an hour or two. The others reached the top without much difficulty, though two of them avowed that, if the summit had been a hundred yards farther, they could not have reached it. They were very thankful for some beer and brandy-and-water which I sent up for them. They saw no animals, though in several places traces of bears were observed. The Rajah says there are no tigers in these parts.

We had but little hunting; while we were there one of our party killed a beautiful spotted deer. I shot some peacocks and a jungle-cock. Talking of hunting reminds me of an adventure which I must relate. The commissioner is the stoutest man I have seen in India, although my wife did insinuate the other day that I was nearly as big, but I am not.

The other day Mr. D., Lieutenant H., and the commissioner went out hog-hunting. This sport is always performed on horseback with long spears. The beaters soon turned out a magnificent boar. "A boar! a boar!" was the shout, and up galloped the commissioner and plunged the spear into the animal; but, in consequence of his horse swerving, he was unable to withdraw the weapon, and the boar ran off with it sticking into his back. Lieutenant H. now came up; the boar charged him, cut both the fore legs of his horse to the bone with his tusks, and tumbled horse and man over on the ground. In the mean time the commissioner had seized another spear from his syce, when the boar rushed at him. His horse swerved at the moment that he was making a thrust with his spear, and the poor commissioner rolled over on the ground. Fortunately the boar was nearly exhausted, too much so to charge again; but he did what perhaps no boar ever did before,—he seized the commissioner by the coat-tails as he lay on his stomach. Feeling the snout of the beast,[129] he at once expected to be cut, if not killed, by its tremendous tusks.

He sprang upon his feet; the boar kept hold of his tail. The Commissioner faced about; he had neither pistol nor knife, so he commenced pummelling away at the boar's face with his fist. Now imagine the scene—a man of his extraordinary size with his coat-tail held up by an enormous boar; the Commissioner himself turned half round, and having a regular boxing-match with the ferocious brute. D. came up as quickly as he could for laughing, and with one good thrust of his spear put an end to the fight. The charge of the boar is fearful; he cuts right and left with his tusks, and inflicts the most dreadful wounds.

UNCIVIL TREATMENT OF RAJAHS.

And now I must mention some circumstances which to me rendered our expedition to Neilghur very unpleasant; they relate to the manner in which our party treated the Rajah. On the morning of our arrival, after our descent from the hills, he came with a party of horsemen to call upon us. We were just sitting down to breakfast, when I observed the cavalcade approaching. I mentioned it, and proposed that, according to Indian politeness, we should go into the verandah of our tent to receive them. But the principal man of our party said, "Oh! bother the fellow, we can't see him now;" and he sent a servant out to tell him so.

In the afternoon the Rajah sent his man, corresponding to our chief gamekeeper in England, to ask when we should like the coolies to beat the jungle, and to say that he would join us in the hunt. We named the time and started accordingly, found the coolies in readiness, and saw the Rajah and his brother coming upon elephants.

Our party began to move on, when I asked, "Will you not wait for the Rajah?" "I should think not," was the reply; "we don't want the beastly niggers with us." And yet these civilized men were glad enough to make use of these beastly niggers' coolies and elephants. I stayed behind and had some talk with them.

The next day the two Rajahs called at the tent; they entered as gentlemen, and made the usual Indian salutation. With the exception of myself, I do not think one of our party even rose[130] from his chair. In the course of conversation we spoke of the badness of the water we got. The Rajah immediately offered to send a man six miles into the hills to fetch some from a mountain stream. In little more than an hour afterwards, one of our party, feeling thirsty, sent a servant to ask the Rajah whether he had not got that water yet. In India, in speaking to a servant, you use the word "toom," which signifies "you." In speaking to a gentleman you say "ab," which means "your honour." One or two of our party made a point of saying "toom" to the Rajah, which was in fact a great insult. The younger brother called upon us. The chief of our party spoke to him on the subject of the disturbances, although it had all been settled by the Commissioner, and gave him a regular blowing up. And now remember that all this was to a gentleman—an Indian it is true, but still a gentleman, with a fine estate, and about 6000l. a-year, from whom we were receiving every kindness, and on whose land we were hunting. Can it be wondered at that the natives do not like us so well as might otherwise be expected?

The Rajah, I suppose, finding me more civil than the others, gave me a great mark of honour. He took me on his own elephant, while he acted as mahout, and whenever any roughness occurred on the ground he turned to warn me of it. I own that I did not enjoy the honour much. The elephant was covered with a crimson cloth, so that there were no ropes to hold by. The only way in which I could manage was to sit astride. It was really most painful, and I almost doubted whether I should ever be able to get my legs together again. I had two brace of pistols with me. The Rajah appeared very much pleased with them, and, to make up for the rudeness of our party, I gave him one of the pair. He was delighted, and I was sadly laughed at for giving anything to a nigger. His palace is a fine white building on the side of one of the hills.


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Cuttack, July 4, 1844.

SALT-MANUFACTURE.

I have mentioned the manner in which Europeans are apt to alienate the affections of the natives; I will now give you an instance of the way in which the Government seek to conciliate them. It must be remembered that salt is a Government monopoly, that is, no person is allowed to prepare or sell it except by the appointment of Government. The cost to them is about eight annas, or one shilling, per maund of eighty pounds; they sell it for four rupees, or eight shillings, for the same quantity; and yet so necessary is it to the natives, that, if any man does not buy the usual quantity of Government, which is, I believe, about half a seer, or one pound, a-month, for each individual, he is brought by the police before a magistrate and sent to gaol, on the presumption that, as he does not purchase salt, he must smuggle it.

Now the salt-manufacturers receive a portion of their pay beforehand, and the remainder when the salt is ready. They belong mostly to the poorest classes, and their mode of working is very simple, merely collecting the sea-water, and then suffering it to evaporate in the sun. When they receive the first portion of their pay, they are told how much they will receive per maund, for the price varies slightly in different years. Last year they were promised a certain sum; I am not exactly sure how much, but say eight annas per maund; and when they came to the salt-agent for their money, they found that an order had arrived from Government reducing the promised pay to six and a half annas per maund. Of course they were excessively angry, and utterly astonished; for one strong idea with the natives is, that an Englishman will never tell an untruth. I happened to be present at the time; it occurred at Pooree, in the neighbourhood of which are some of the principal salt-works, if I may use so dignified a term.

The proper course for these poor people to have taken would have been, to have brought an action against Government for breach of contract; but this they could not possibly afford. However, the magistrates of Pooree sent a strong remonstrance[132] to Government, and the consequence was, that they authorized the salt-agent this year to renew the contracts at the higher price, much to the delight of the poor salt-manufacturers, who still lost a part of the promised price of last year; yet it is scarcely to be credited that, before the time for the second payment arrived, another order was sent down, reducing the price as they did last year, and thus again defrauding the poor wretches of part of their small pittance, for defrauding it is in the truest sense of the word. All these things are managed by four or five men, who compose what is called the Salt Board.[6] I may mention that the salt-workers have been sadly disturbed this year by the number of tigers. The natives sometimes keep the claws of those which they are so fortunate as to kill, to make charms to keep off mischief.

RELIGION OF THE BRAHMINS—JUGGERNAT'H.

And now I must describe Juggernat'h. To the temple are attached about four thousand priests and servants. Of these one set are called Pundahs. In the autumn of every year they start on a journey through India, preaching in every town and village the advantages of a pilgrimage to Juggernat'h; after which they conduct to Pooree large bodies of pilgrims for the Rath Justra, or Car Festival, which takes place in May or June—the precise time depends on the moon, as does the time of our Easter. This is the principal festival, and the number of devotees varies from about 80,000 to 150,000. About five years ago there were present, on one occasion, not less than 250,000; but that numerous meeting was owing to some peculiar sanctity which is supposed to be diffused once in 200 years. But I ought to have commenced with some account of Juggernat'h himself. He represents the ninth incarnation of Vishnoo. I have often wondered whether the Hindu religion may not, in some portions, be taken remotely from the Christian. One name of Vishnoo is Chrishna; one appellation of Juggernat'h is Sri Teo. This Teo, as Chrishna, became incarnate whilst very young; he was sought after by a king to put

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him to death. Many children were killed, but he was removed from place to place in safety. He was born amongst the shepherds. The Hindus look for a tenth incarnation, when he shall unite all the world in one religion, and himself reign over them. I believe I am correct in giving these as points of faith amongst the Brahmins; and when we consider that the Hindu religion was probably established long after St. Thomas and St. Bartholomew had visited India, it certainly seems allowable to suppose that some portion of the Christian teaching became mingled with the doctrines of the Hindus. There is one objection to this supposition, namely, that Vishnoo is represented to have lived a very wicked and immoral life while on earth.

No European, Mussulman, or low-caste Hindu is admitted into the temple; we can, therefore, only speak on hearsay of what goes on inside. The idol itself is renewed every twelve years; it consists of a mere block of sacred wood, in the centre of which is said to be concealed a fragment of the original idol, which was fashioned by Vishnoo himself. The features and all the external parts are formed of a mixture of mud and cowdung painted. Every morning the idol undergoes his ablutions; but as the cowdung and paint would not stand the washing, the priests adopt a very ingenious plan—they hold a mirror in front of the image, and wash his reflection. Every evening he is put to bed; but as the idol is very unwieldy, they place the bedstead in front of him; on that they lay a small image, lock the door, and leave him to come down himself, if he can.

Offerings are made to him, by pilgrims and others, of rice, money, jewels, elephants, &c.; the Rajah of Knoudah and the priests being his joint treasurers. About twelve days before the Rath Justra, Juggernat'h goes to bathe; whilst doing so, he is supposed to be bitten by a snake, which causes him to be sick until the day of the festival. During his illness the priests take off his paint and cowdung, and give quite a new coat; so that at the end of the time he appears quite healthy and strong.

On the grand day the three cars, which, I should say, were fifty or sixty feet in height, are brought to the gate of the temple; the idols are then taken out by the priests—Juggernat'h having[134] golden arms and diamond eyes for that one day—and by means of pulleys are hauled up and placed in their respective carriages; to these enormous ropes are attached, and the assembled thousands, with loud shouts, proceed to drag the idols to Juggernat'h's country-house, a small temple at about a mile distant. This occupies several days, and the idols, having rusticated for some time, are brought back to their regular station. The Hindus believe that every person who aids in dragging the cars receives pardon for all his past sins; every pilgrim who dies within five miles of Pooree will be greatly blessed in his next life; and every person who swims out to sea, so far as to see the top of the temple from the surface of the water, secures great blessings in another life for himself, his father and mother, his grandparents, and the three next generations descended from himself! This last experiment, however, is very rarely tried; there are too many sharks to make it pleasant. One man was drowned last year in attempting it. As to the people throwing themselves under the wheels of the car, that I believe to be altogether a European invention. Some occasionally fall accidentally, and are thus killed; but I imagine that self-immolation in this way neither is nor ever was at all a common thing.

I have very little doubt that great wickedness prevails within the temple. In two cases, lately, it is known that murder has been committed there; yet we, who have held the country so long, are not allowed to enter the building. It is said that if we attempted it we should be driven from the district; this I do not believe. Some years ago the priests declared that the god would not leave his country-house until all the English were driven from the province. The officer commanding at Cuttack directly sent word that, if the idol was not brought back on the usual day, he would come and blow both it and the temple to pieces. Juggernat'h immediately came to his senses, and was back in his temple one day before his regular time.

During the period the pilgrims remain at Pooree they are not allowed to eat anything but what has been offered to the idol, and that they have to buy at a very high price from the priests. This food is often very bad, and from that, combined with[135] other causes, the cholera makes sad ravages amongst these poor people.

NUMEROUS DEATHS—EVIL OMEN.

At the festival that is just past it is calculated that there were about 130,000 pilgrims. The cholera this year was very mild; but not less than 650 died at Pooree, or between that place and Cuttack. Their bodies are generally thrown out to be devoured by the dogs, vultures, and jackals. One Sunday morning, in coming home from church, we found that three bodies had been thrown out in front of our house; two of them were rapidly disappearing in the jaws of these animals, the other was tossing about in the surf. However, I sent to the magistrate, and he had them removed and burnt. A vast proportion of the pilgrims are widows. In India a widow is not permitted to marry again, but must be supported by her late husband's relations; and it is said that many of those poor women are sent down to Pooree in hope of getting rid of them, and no doubt this purpose frequently succeeds. And to support this system our Government pays 6000l. a-year; equal to the salaries of ten chaplains of our Church. This year an event occurred which the Hindus consider to be very ominous of evil. As they were bringing the god out, one of the chief priests was seized with cholera, and was sick all over the idol. The necessary purifications occupied so long a time, that the procession was not able to start that day.

I have just had a sad misfortune: all my cloth clothes, cloaks, &c., with two or three dozen shirts, flannels, waistcoats, drawers, &c. &c.—in short, everything but what was in actual use—were put away in a large chest. Whilst we were at Pooree my stupid man never once looked at them. When I returned I wanted something out of the chest, opened it, and found that every individual thing had been almost entirely destroyed by white ants—coats, shirts, flannels, were eaten through in all directions; and I think there was, at least, 50l. worth destroyed. I have fined my man two months' pay for his carelessness; but, as that is only 22s., it is a very poor consolation to me.


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Cuttack, August 10, 1844.

BRINDABUND MONKEYS.

The weather is now most fearfully oppressive; not so much from the actual heat, for the thermometer is seldom above 86░ or 87░, but from a dense mass of cloud, which at the height of a few hundred feet encloses us, as it were, day and night in one vast steamy vapour-bath. The last two or three months are actually the most trying that I have felt in India.

I forget whether I have described the Brindabund monkeys. I have now a pair of them. I do not remember ever to have seen them in England. They are covered all over with long, thick, black hair; but round the face, extending from temple to temple, is a very broad, thick frill of white or rather light grey: the tail is of a middling length, the snout very short, and the animal himself remarkably docile and intelligent. Those that I have are not yet a year old, and I should say the body is about a foot in length. When on their hind legs they stand nearly two feet.

I have mine in the verandah just outside my study door, and they are so full of fun that I often sit for a long time watching them. One runs a little way up the lattice, then the other makes a spring after him, and up they both go as fast as they can. Presently the lower one catches hold of the upper one's tail, and brings him down to the bottom; then he makes a jump and gets away into his kennel and sits at the door, whilst the other wanders round and round, trying to find some place where he can get in without being observed; in doing this he carelessly turns his back, when out jumps the other and catches hold of his tail or his hind leg, and drags him round and round their cage. I should tell you that the cage is the end of the verandah at the back of my house; two sides of it are wall, and the other two are lattice. It is about ten feet square, twelve feet high at one end, and eighteen or twenty at the other.

When they are frightened they sit upright on the floor, with their arms clasped round each other; and if I take one of them out tied by a string, they both scream the whole time until they are brought together again, and then they rush into each other's[137] arms. These two monkeys are very much admired by the Europeans at Cuttack, who have given them the name of "the gentlemen monkeys," because, from the great length of their hair, they look as if they were dressed, besides being quiet and docile. They are almost as rare here as in England. They are of the most sacred race of monkeys in the eyes of the Hindus; and indeed the only objection I have to them is, that I am afraid some of my servants make poojah to them, that is, worship them, and prostrate themselves before them, and make offerings of rice to them.

We have a great improvement in the use of our finger-glasses over those in England. One man waits behind every person at each meal, even at tea, and as soon as the meal is over he brings his master or mistress a finger-glass filled with water, with two or three leaves of verbenum, or bay, or sweet-smelling lime, for the persons to squeeze between their fingers. In a hot climate like India this is very pleasant and refreshing.

INDIAN MARRIAGES.

When a man in India, I mean a European gentleman, wants a wife, he says to his friend, "I should like to get married." "Well," says he, "why don't you?" and forthwith he applies for leave of absence for a month. A month consists of thirty days, of which, say five are occupied in his journey to Calcutta, and another five on his journey back, leaving him just twenty days in which to make his selection, get introduced, make himself agreeable, propose, court, and be married. A nice prospect he has for future happiness. But there is one curious result in this sort of marriage, and a result, too, which spreads among other people also. After a few years the wife loses her health and is ordered to England. The husband cannot afford to go with her, but he allows her about half his salary. At the end of two or three years, or whatever time may have been fixed, he writes to his wife to make arrangements for her return to India; and I have known two instances in which the husband was obliged to stop the allowance in order to compel the wife to return.

I have often wished to have some peacocks in my compound, but every one told me that they would fly away; however, I found that those who had tried to keep them had obtained the[138] young birds from the jungle. I thought I would try another plan, and therefore I got some eggs and set them under a hen. I have three young ones coming on nicely, perfectly tame, and which, I think, will look very well among the trees in front of my house. Two are peacocks, the other a peahen.


Cuttack, September 14, 1844.

A NIGHT'S REST.

My wife and I were sitting, after tea, playing at backgammon and enjoying the cool breeze that came through the open Venetians, when suddenly it began to rain. In an instant the room swarmed with insects of all sorts. There was the beautiful large green mantis; and, as we were watching his almost human motions, a grasshopper and a large brown cricket flew against my face, while a great cockroach, full three inches long, came on my wife's neck, and began running about her head and face and dress; the flying-ant, which emits a most nauseous effluvia; and the flying-bug, black, and about the size of an English one, which, if you crush him, will make your fingers smell most dreadfully for many hours;—and with these our clothes were covered, and we were obliged to keep brushing them away from our faces, but with very gentle handling; and then came two or three hornets, which sent Mrs. Acland to bed to get under the mosquito-curtains, where none of these horrid creatures can get at her. I sat up trying to read, but buzz came a mosquito on the side of my face, up went my hand a tremendous slap on the cheek to kill the tormentor, and buzz he went on again. Then I felt something big burying itself in my hair, and then came buzz on the other side, and then all around.

Presently, with a loud hum, a great rhinoceros-beetle dashed into my face. I now began to take some of the animals out of my hair; and the first that I touched was a flying-bug: the stench was dreadful. I rushed out of the room, brushing the horrible creatures from my hair with both hands. I nearly fell over a toad on which I trod, and reached my bed-room to find eighteen or twenty great toads croaking in different parts of the room, and five large bats were whirling round and round the bed. Having[139] washed my hands in eau-de-cologne, I quickly undressed and fell asleep.

In the course of the night a troop of jackals surrounded the house, and by their frightful yells soon drove away all idea of rest; and then, about four o'clock, as we were just dozing off again, comes the roll of the drum and the loud voice of the trumpet, the tramp of the soldiers, the firing, and all the bustle of the parade; and, as soon as that is over, comes the changing guard, and the "shoulder harrm," and the "quick marrch," near our house; and so we got up.

THE BATH.

Then comes the bath, the greatest luxury of the day (the water just cooler than the air), into which I get with a book, lie there an hour reading, get out and partly dress, and then admit my man to wash my feet in cold water, and to shampoo me and brush my hair, whilst another brings me a cup of delicious coffee or a glass of sherbet; and then breakfast, with an enormous fan swinging to and fro over our heads; and the heat, and the discomfort, and languor till five o'clock, agreeably diversified only by a bottle of beer cooled with saltpetre and water; and then a drive, and tea, and mosquitoes again, and so on.


Cuttack, October 13, 1844.

THE DOCTOR.

I had to make a five days' journey at the worst season of the year to marry a couple, and I returned with a bad cough, which became more violent after the cold had left me. I am very weak, so that I walk like an old man. The doctors here are paid by the Government for attending all persons in the service. The Company also find medicines, but not the bottles, which sometimes leads to curious circumstances. The other day I wanted some medicine, and sent to the doctor for it; presently my man brought me back a black-draught in an old eau-de-cologne bottle, with a roll of paper by way of cork, and a request that I would return the bottle, as it was the only one he had.

I am about to apply for leave of absence. I shall go up to Calcutta, spend a fortnight with my friends there, Mr. and Mrs. S.; they will then come down here, when Mrs. Acland will join us, and we shall go to the Chelka Lake and the black pagodas.

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I have another monkey now, which is kept at the stable; it is a horrible animal, about a foot and a half high, of a light greenish brown colour, no hair on its head, and very much inclined to be savage. I keep it to please my stable-people, who have a superstition that this kind of monkey prevents the horses getting unwell. Not long ago a young officer turned a very savage one loose; it took up its abode in my compound. In one night it killed three of my fan-tailed pigeons, and it chased my goats backward and forward so incessantly, that one of them died of fatigue. I told my stable-people to catch the animal, and get rid of him. This they did not do; so I then gave them notice, that, if the monkey was not in the jungle on the other side of the river by seven o'clock the next morning, I would cut them all a month's pay. This is the best method of punishing the natives, and in the present instance it was most effectual, for I have not seen the fiendish-looking face of the exile since that day.

In India the cow's milk is very bad, poor, and thin; that of the buffalo is of a bad colour and rank; but what is furnished by the goat is delicious, and many people, ourselves among the number, keep flocks of goats. I flatter myself that mine (twelve goats and seven kids) are very handsome. The male kids we eat when they are old enough to leave their mother; they are very nice indeed. Our goats are much larger than those in England, but all other animals are very small. I have heard it said at table, "Will you take a shoulder or leg of lamb?" Beef and veal in this bigoted part of the country are quite forbidden things. Yet how curious this is! No animals are worse treated than the bullocks, which are here the only beasts of burden. They are starved and ill-used in every way. I have seen a man dislocate several joints successively of his bullock's tail; yet, if I were to fire my gun at the poor animal to put it out of its misery, I should probably have my house burnt over my head.

I saw a most extraordinary sight last night. It was in the evening very hot, and a great deal of electricity in the air. There were two very heavy clouds, one at a considerable distance above the other. Suddenly some vapour separated itself[141] with a whirling motion from the upper, assuming the shape of a waterspout until the point touched the lower; then a commotion began, the lower cloud rushing in large white masses up the sides of the spout and uniting with the upper. This continued for nearly forty minutes, until the lower was absorbed.


Cuttack, November 14, 1844.

I sowed some melon-seed one Friday morning; on the Monday when I went into the garden most of the melon-plants were two inches in height. In three days, in the open ground, from being mere dry seeds they had germinated and sprung up into strong healthy plants. The same rapidity of growth is remarkable in almost all vegetation in this country. I sowed some English peas the day before yesterday; this morning they are all above the ground. Thus we see that the effect of the climate is to hurry all these things forward, so that they naturally decay and die much earlier than they would in Europe.

EARLY MATURITY AND DECAY OF NATIVES.

Now just put man in the place of a vegetable, and the case is precisely the same. A native boy has generally good-sized mustachios by the time he is fourteen, and a girl becomes a woman at eleven or twelve; then, again, at thirty the woman is old and shrivelled, and at forty the man is white-haired and decrepit. Who can wonder, then, that a climate like this should have such serious effects on Europeans, or that our constitutions should be soon worn out by the burning sun?

However, this month I have no right to complain; I am far better than I have been for some time. The weather is delightful; we are glad of a thick blanket and counterpane at night; at six, when I get up, the thermometer is rarely above 72░. I have no objection to a cloak when I am sowing seeds in the morning. The thermometer now, two o'clock P.M., is in my room exactly 80░, but there is a delightful cool breeze.

I have before observed that I did not feel satisfied with my medical man. As the East India Company do not allow above one doctor to every fifty miles, I wrote to a friend of mine in[142] whom I have much confidence, detailing all my symptoms and requesting his advice. I could not think it of any use to put blisters and leeches on my throat for a cough and sickness which I felt to proceed from my stomach, and as I was very unwell I thought it best to consult another person. In the wisdom of his advice I perfectly agree, although it is more difficult to act up to it in India: "Employ your mind and stint your body." Any amusement, anything that could interest or excite or rouse, he recommended, but to avoid all unnatural stimulants as much as possible (I mean wine and spirits), and take plenty of exercise. If I do this, he says, he thinks I may leave all physic in the bottles and the leeches in the ponds. In accordance with this advice I am occupying myself in various ways. Books it is impossible to procure, so I have been training a horse for my wife—a beautiful little thing. I have made arrangements too for going to Calcutta in the course of the cold weather; and I have enclosed about an acre of my ground, and am making a vegetable or rather a kitchen garden of it.

I get up about six, dress in my old clothes, go out, and find one of the horses, or rather ponies, at the door waiting for me. I must ride him through the long grass, which by the bye is very nearly fit to cut, to look at a number of my trees scattered here and there in the compound, which I have been planting; then, when I am down at the farther end I take a glance at the large pond, or tank as we call it, where, sheltered by the most beautiful flowering trees, two men are catching fish for our breakfast. Then I ride along inside the hedge, watching the soldiers at parade, until I come to the goat-house; then see the pigs fed, and ride back to the house.

FLOWER AND KITCHEN GARDENS.

By this time my wife is up, and she goes into the flower-garden, and I into the kitchen-garden, to sow seeds and superintend the gardeners. And here is the most curious scene; seven black men at work, their only dress a cloth round the loins, their long black hair wound up in a knot at the back of the head, their only tools a sort of broad pickaxe with a very short handle and a small sickle, these are their only gardening implements; and two men are watering with gurrahs, a sort of narrow-necked jar[143] made of black clay, which they let down into a well by a rope. In the flower-garden are the beautiful balsams, of many colours, and as large as gooseberry-bushes; the splendid coxcombs, eight or ten feet high, whose great thick flowers measure twelve or fourteen inches by six or eight; the varieties of the hybiscas, with many others; and a few of the more precious European rarities—at least to us—such as the heliotrope, verbenum, larkspur, and many others. Our borders are mostly of the sweet-scented grass from the Neilghur hills, which is always covered with a beautiful small white flower.

In the vegetable-garden, besides the precious peas, beans, celery, cress, &c., which will only grow at this time of the year, are the pine-apple, the plantain, the guava, the lime, the orange, the custard-apple, with many other native plants and trees; and in the hedges are some of the beautiful palms, from the sap of which the Indians make an intoxicating drink called toddy. In the compound are some very fine mango-trees and beeches.

The other evening I was sitting alone writing at about eleven o'clock, when I heard the sentry call out loudly to my servants who were sleeping in the verandah. I jumped up to see what was the matter. "A leopard-tiger!" was the answer; and the man said he had seen a leopard creeping stealthily along the compound. He leapt over the wall into the garden of the Colonel who lives in the next house, and the following day footsteps were found in various parts of the cantonment, which the natives said were too large for a leopard, and must have been the marks of a regular tiger. I did not see the animal myself; but if the men were correct, it must have been an extraordinary occurrence, as our little island is entirely free from wild beasts; and although it is at this time of the year joined to the main by a narrow neck of sand, yet no large beast will cross unless pressed either by hunger or by hunters.

A few days ago a man brought me an animal which he had caught in the jungle on the hills. At first sight I said it was an armadillo, but now I feel some doubt whether it was not some unknown animal. I wanted to buy it, in order to send the skin, or rather the shell, home, but the man asked ten rupees for it, which[144] I could not afford. It was nearly three feet long, covered with thick hard scales of a dirty yellow colour, the tail the same length as the body, and equally broad, which I do not think is the case with the armadillo. The shape of its whole back was a long oval. When frightened it rolled itself up into a ball, but it appeared very lethargic and stupid. The feet were armed with long, powerful claws, but it walked with the lower joints turned down under the feet, as if I were to walk on my ankles with the feet and toes turned under and behind. It burrowed a hole in a wall, pulling out the bricks and mortar very easily. I tried it with various kinds of food, but the only thing I could get it to eat was white ants. The man who brought it said he had never seen one like it before.

Not long ago the doctor at Pooree saw a number of natives running to the beach. He inquired what was the matter: "A great fish, sir." So down he went to join the crowd, and there he found a large fish indeed: a whale, measuring forty-eight feet in length, had been washed on shore; the body was rolling about in the surf, with great numbers of the natives clinging to it.

Then the doctor and the only other European present took off their shoes and stockings, turned up their trowsers, and climbed on the enormous animal's back; they got well wetted for their pains. The other gentleman that I mentioned is not a very learned man, and he said that their climbing up the sides of the whale reminded him of the "Lally prussians" climbing on to Gulliver. This same person once said that his wife had had a "historical" fit, in consequence of eating "aromatically" sealed salmon.


Khoutah, 30 miles from Cuttack, December 16, 1844.

ANTIQUITY OF INDIAN RELIGIONS.

I am now writing in a tent in which, with the exception of Christmas week, I expect to spend the next month or two, travelling in search of health. The cool weather has refreshed me much, and I feel far better than I did. A question has been asked me respecting the antiquity of the religions of this country.[145] I believe the Buddhist religion to be more ancient than the Brahminical in India; though I think that the latter is the older in reality, as I imagine it to have existed almost in its present form in ancient Egypt. The Hindus burn their dead, the Mohammedans bury them: but there are very many of the former who are too poor to purchase wood; in this case the bodies are simply thrown out for the jackals and vultures.


Jenkia, about 44 miles south of Cuttack, January 4, 1845.

From Khoulah I returned to Cuttack for Christmas. Early on Christmas morning Mr. G., the collector and magistrate of Pooree, came in to spend the day with us. Poor man! he and a cousin of his were almost brought up together, and they became much attached even in childhood. When he obtained an appointment in India, it was agreed that he should return to England and marry her as soon as he should have attained sufficient rank in the service to give him an adequate income. After about five years' residence in this country he went home and was married. This was ten years ago, and from that time his life seems to have been as happy as a human life can be. Latterly they became anxious to go home on furlough, in order that they might see their children settled in England, but they had not saved money enough; so, in April, Mr. G. applied for a better appointment, and was consequently nominated to Pooree. On their way down, as they passed through Calcutta, both were seized with cholera; he recovered, but she died; he sent his children home, but arrived at Pooree a solitary man. He is still in a very desponding state, but I do all I can to arouse him, both by bodily amusement and religious converse.

At about one o'clock of the night of Christmas-day, or rather of the following morning, my wife, Mr. G., and myself got into our palanquins, and started for Khoordagurree, which we visited last year. We arrived at our tent by about ten o'clock on Thursday morning, bathed, dressed, breakfasted, and prepared to start for the caves; but, alas! it began to rain, and the water[146] continued to fall in torrents for upwards of eighteen hours. We might have expected this, for in India it is almost invariably the case in Christmas week. The seasons are very regular; it generally rains every day from the 15th of June to the 15th of October, that is, in this part of India; the next showers are in Christmas-week, and then rarely any more till June. Now, this thorough drenching was both unpleasant and dangerous: for, although the tents kept out the water very effectually, yet everything was so thoroughly damp that we began to be afraid of the deadly jungle-fevers.

Just outside one of the doors of each tent we lighted a large wood fire, and allowed as much of the smoke to come in as we could possibly bear; this warmed us, and dried up the damp and purified the air; and we retired to bed and put out the fires: we closed the doors of the tents, and found ourselves in a comparatively dry healthy atmosphere.


Tanghi, 56 miles south of Cuttack, January 5, 1845.

MODE OF TRAVELLING.

The following afternoon we were able to revisit the caves. But I will first describe our journey. On the Monday and Tuesday we had plenty of shooting; the Wednesday, New-Year's day, we spent in-doors. At six o'clock on the morning of Thursday, the 2nd, we started for Jonkia. We went on horseback, riding fourteen miles before breakfast. Our manner of travelling is most delightfully independent: we encamp at any place we wish to see; Mr. G. transacts his necessary business as magistrate and revenue-collector; then we have one, two, or three days' exercise in hunting and shooting, the time depending chiefly on the abundance of game.

When we feel inclined to start we send forward an order to the principal man at the next place, say twelve or fifteen miles distant, to build one room, about thirty feet square, in a shady place, for ourselves; for the walls we use cocoa-nut and palm leaves, bound together with bamboos, and the ceiling is made of the same material with a few pieces of matting to keep out the[147] sun. The evening before we start we send on a cart with some of our chairs, tables, and other necessaries and provisions, which it would be very awkward to forget, under charge of some of our followers: we have about one hundred and twenty of them with us.

Then, in the morning, we get up at five; we have a bit of toast, an egg, and a cup of coffee or a glass of sherry; give orders for the tents to be struck and everything to be brought on as quickly as possible, and then we mount our horses; a groom runs by the side, and a little way behind come our palanquins and tonjons.

We are also attended by men carrying our guns and powder, by many other servants, and about half the inhabitants of the last village through which we passed. If we feel tired we get into our tonjons; if the sun is too hot we call for our palanquins. Every now and then we see five or six peacocks feeding in a rice-field, or we come to a place where there are plain tracks of deer. Then we give our horses to the grooms, and creep along gently with our heads down and our guns in our hands, whilst my wife either watches the sport or trots gently on. At last we arrive at our encamping-place; there we find our leafy house ready, and similar ones provided for the servants and horses; eat a hearty breakfast, at which we sometimes substitute beer for tea, and by the time that is over the tents are arrived.

We have them put up, arrange them comfortably, perhaps have a game at chess, and then go out for a stroll about our new ground. Our dinner-hour varies, but is generally between seven and eight. We are usually up about five, and often walk from ten to twenty miles a-day. This has done me a great deal of good. I feel already quite a different person from what I did when I was in Cuttack. I have not, however, lost my cough.

Sunday is a day of rest with us; we have service and spend the day very quietly. At Jonkia we remained until Saturday the 4th; then came on to Tanghi; on Thursday, the 9th, proceeded to Soonercollee, on the 10th to Bampoor, and yesterday, the 11th, we arrived at this place. So much for our actual route; now I will give some account of what we have seen.

[148]

When we came to Jonkia we agreed that we had never seen anything to compare with the scenery there; but as we came into Soonercollee we quite forgot Jonkia in the new splendours that met our eyes. Yet these were again eclipsed in the beauties of Chelka Lake, to which we took one evening's ride from Soonercollee. It is utterly impossible to convey any idea of the scenery either by the pen or the pencil; yet I will try what I can do.

In approaching the small village of Soonercollee you ascend a hill some 200 or 300 feet high by a steep winding road or rather path. At the top of the eminence it is cut through the solid rock, which rises about thirty feet on each side. Suddenly, at a turn in the road, the whole country in the front becomes visible, and I doubt whether any one could repress a cry of admiration at the sight. The spectator is (as I said before) at the summit of a lofty hill; beneath him is a plain of some ten or twelve miles across, bounded on every side by a lofty range and masses of rock. Peering up behind are to be seen a succession of noble mountains. The sides of the hills, where they do not consist of rocky precipices, are covered with a dense jungle: the plain below is cultivated, except where, in three places, abrupt rocky masses, interspersed with jungle, rise to a height of 300 or 400 feet. It looks as if some mighty convulsion had taken place, and the earth had thrown up large bubbles of rock from the surface of the plain.

CHELKA LAKE—WATER-FOWL.

The scenery on the Chelka Lake, a piece of water some forty miles long by from ten to twenty in breadth, is very similar to the above, if you substitute water for the level plain of the rice-fields. Here the hills rise abruptly from the lake, and many of them are quite inaccessible. The islands are inhabited by animals, but not by man; and it is rather curious that each islet appears to have its own peculiar race. Thus, one is inhabited by the beautiful spotted deer, another by the enormous Indian elk, another by goats and fowls (this one is sacred to the goddess Khalee), another by wild pigs, and another by pigeons. With some difficulty I landed on one of the pigeon islands: its greatest height did not exceed thirty feet, and in circumference it may[149] have been near a quarter of a mile; but its structure was most extraordinary. It was composed entirely of enormous masses of rock piled together without the appearance of order or arrangement: it appeared as if some earthquake had destroyed some giant dwelling-place, and left the ruins in one vast heap. Some of the stones, larger than a man's body, had fallen upon one end; they gave way beneath my foot, but returned to their position as soon as relieved of the extra weight which had destroyed the balance. The blue pigeons rose in clouds from every crevice, and fluttered about until I left the neighbourhood of their nests.

The lake lay all around—so calm, so beautiful, with the green mountains rising here and there from its surface, dotted all over with myriads of ducks, geese, teal, and many other aquatic birds: and this reminded me of one thing which I should have related before. As we approached the shores of the lake we were surprised to see a long line of tall white and red creatures standing just within the water. We looked at them through Mr. G.'s glass, and found that they were birds; we got out of our tonjons, crept towards them with loaded guns, fired, and missed them, when they all rose and flew away.

The next morning Mr. G. and I returned to the spot: we each took a separate boat, as Mrs. Acland was not with us; mine, like the others, was about thirty feet long, and formed of a single piece of wood, a tree scooped out. Mr. G. was very anxious to obtain some game, and in the course of about two hours shot a couple of large bare-headed geese and nineteen ducks of various sorts; indeed, they sat in such masses on the water as to resemble rather a low wall than a number of birds. At one shot he killed five ducks, and I three: I did not care much about them, but I was anxious to see again some of my friends of the previous evening.

At last I came in sight of a flock of them near the shore. I sat down in the bottom of the boat, whilst the men pushed it gently along. I was nearly within shot, when Mr. G. fired his gun at the distance of about a mile from my boat: up and away flew all the birds. I was very much annoyed: however, after some time, I saw about half a dozen nearly two miles from me.[150] On we went again, but they had become shy: they raised their heads and looked about them as we approached, and presently they rose. I did not think I was sufficiently near, but I might not have another chance, so I fired, and down fell one of the birds. I pushed one of the boatmen over to fetch it, though he hardly needed pushing, for they appeared quite as anxious as I was.

I will try to describe my prize: I believe the bird to have been a flamingo; and yet, if so, the usual descriptions are very erroneous. The beak is pink, and furnished with a double row of teeth on each side of the lower mandible—one row on the beak, and dark coloured; the other very white and sharp, close to the tongue, which is large. The eyes are pale, and surrounded by a thick yellow ring; the wings are of a beautiful rose-colour, edged with black; the legs pink; the rest of the body is white. When standing upright it is about five feet high: the body is extremely small, neck and legs very long; it has three toes in front and is web-footed, also a claw behind; the beak very large.


Midnapore, February 14, 1845.

This is Friday, and on Sunday night I start for Calcutta to spend a month with our friends; there I shall have plenty of occupation for the mind, and shall, I hope, get rid entirely of the oppression under which I have recently suffered.

SPORTING.

Fancy yourself standing with me on that little rising ground, near the foot of that large hill: it is near Bunool, on the banks of the Chelka Lake. Keep out of sight behind that bush. Hark! there are the beaters climbing the rocks on the opposite side of the hill. There are 400 extended along the whole side, and every tenth man has a drum or trumpet. Some of them have guns, curious native matchlocks; others have swords or spears; and every one has a thick bamboo about eight feet long. Listen! they are beginning to beat. As they force their way through the jungle they strike the bushes with their sticks, and from one end of the lake to the other resound the most unearthly noises.[151] The horrid yells of the natives, the screaming of the trumpets, the constant beating of the tom-toms and drums—you can hardly imagine such horrid discord. See: there is Mr. G. hiding himself behind that clump of trees a quarter of a mile off. Hold your gun ready, you cannot tell what may rush out of the jungle. Don't show yourself. Listen again to those yells. They must nearly have reached the top of the hill. Hush! there is a rustling in those bushes close to you. What is it? Keep close, but up with your gun. Here it comes! Bah! don't fire at that; it is only a civet-cat. What a beautiful animal it is, with its grey sides, and tail striped with that glossy black. But the skin is of no use; the stench from it is so exceedingly powerful that you could not possibly bear it in the house. Look out! there's another rush! Here it comes! a pig! no; what can it be? Why, it's a porcupine. Don't fire. Here, you messenger, catch it. Fancy the man's look of dismay when ordered to catch a porcupine. However, another of my men jumped up and stabbed the animal with his sword.

Oh, what a clash in the jungle at the top of the hill! See! that must be some large animal coming down. Don't let him see you; peep through that bush. How he plunges through the jungle! He has stopped: look now! he leaves the beaters behind him, but he suspects danger in front. You can see his head by the side of that tree, just below that high rock. He is standing still and gazing at us. What a splendid pair of antlers! He must be one of the largest sambres (Indian elk) I ever saw. I am afraid he is hardly within shot; however, I'll try. He is down; the ball struck him just in the centre of his forehead, and one of my men rushes forward to despatch him with his sword.

But look there! Mr. G. is running as fast as he can, and all his men running too. What can be the matter? Quick! see! there is an enormous bear pursuing them. Here, give me my gun; make haste. Look! G. has stumbled, and is rolling head over heels down the hill. Bang! I hit him! See, he turns back. G. shot the female, and was immediately attacked by the male, whilst his gun was not loaded, for he foolishly had but one. We got the body of the female, and brought it to our tents in triumph. It[152] was a black bear, measuring five feet seven inches in length, and its teeth quite worn out.


Cuttack, April 2, 1845.

The Government of India orders me to go from Cuttack to Midnapore and back again four times a-year, to Balasore and back twice a-year, and to Pooree and back four times a-year. The distance from Cuttack to Midnapore is one hundred and eighty miles, from Cuttack to Balasore one hundred and three miles, and from Cuttack to Pooree forty-nine miles. I travel about forty-seven miles a-day on the average. The Government allows me twelve annas and two pice per mile for travelling expenses; it costs me four annas and two pice—an anna being one-sixteenth part of a rupee, and a pice one-fourth part of an anna.

SPORTING.

I must now mention some of my adventures in the jungle. One day we went with a native Rajah to hunt antelopes. Suppose the shore of the Chelka Lake on one side and the sea on the other, with a strip of sand between them rather more than a mile wide. The antelopes live entirely on the sandy plain, and feed on the scanty plants which grow among the sand. Across this flat a net about seven feet in height and a mile long was staked, and 100 men were stationed along it as guards. About 500 men were then sent out with a similar net about a mile and a half in length, which they stretched at perhaps five miles from the other. These 500 men then walked slowly towards the first net, carrying the other in front of them, and driving lots of antelopes before them. When they came within a mile of the first net they staked the second, and there were perhaps fifty or sixty antelopes enclosed in a space of about a mile square. Mr. G., the Rajah, and myself, went inside with our guns. It was barbarous sport. In two days we killed fifteen, which our servants ate most gladly. But the interesting thing was to see twenty or thirty bound, one after the other, over the net and the men's heads, giving tremendous leaps; the black men striking at them with their swords and spears, and cowering to avoid their sharp-cutting hoofs, and all hallooing and[153] jabbering, and swearing; whilst every now and then the crack of one of our guns would be heard, and the whizz of the bullet as it passed near.

Another day we expected some danger. When we arrived at the ground, which consisted of thick patches of jungle, with open spaces between, we got out of our tonjons and took our guns. There we found a number of men looking for traces of deer, wild boars, tigers, or any other animals. As soon as they found the track of one they followed it until it led into the jungle, and exactly at that spot they pushed in amongst the bushes an enormous bag made of net of thick rope. Its mouth was kept open by a few twigs, whilst a running rope went round the entrance and was fastened to a stake on one side. If then any animal should make a rush along this track, he must go head foremost into the net: the twigs would fall down, the neck would be drawn tight, and the poor creature would be a prisoner. All these preparations were at length concluded, and the Rajah then advised us to mount the elephants, as he said two tigers had been seen in these jungles the day before. We at once asked him whether his elephants had been trained to stand the charge of a tiger, which always springs at its head. He said he did not know; and we agreed that we would rather stand the advance of a tiger on foot ourselves than be on the back of a mad elephant scampering at random through the jungle. So we built up an artificial hedge in front of us, and crouched down with our guns pointed through some loopholes we had left in our fence.

This arrangement was hardly completed before we began to hear the sounds of the drums and the trumpets, and the yells of the people, as nearly a thousand of them marched through the jungle towards us, driving before them every sort of game. I should tell you that we kept our elephants close at hand in case of the worst. You cannot imagine the excitement in such watching as this. Two or three miles off the most fearful yells from 1000 men, close around you utter silence; your eyes roaming in every direction, not knowing at what point a deer or a tiger may break out.

Ha! listen! there's a crack among the branches, and out rushes[154] a noble stag. Bang goes G.'s gun. We had agreed that he should have the first shot. He's down! "Hush! here's something else in this patch of jungle." "Where?" he whispers, as he loads. "There, I see it now: look out; here it comes!" And sure enough out rushed seven pigs, followed almost immediately by three others. Now a wild boar is a most awkward animal to fight on foot, and we had agreed we should not fire at them. However, they rushed right towards us. What's to be done? "Get on the elephant," says G. "No time," said I; "follow me:" and we both fairly turned tail, pursued by a herd of pigs until we came to a bush, or rather a patch of bushes, round which we could make a short turn to escape them, and then back to our own station, laughing as hard as we could. But really a wild boar is no laughing matter as he rushes along tearing up the earth. If he charges, as he almost invariably does, with one movement of his head he could cut both legs to the bone, dividing the arteries, and probably killing the man.

Presently a young stag rushed into one of the bags with such force as to break both his horns close off. There we found him when we examined the nets. We were sitting watching for what should come next, when G., raising his finger, whispered to me, "What's that down there in the plain? That's a deer: no, it can't be: do you see how it slouches along? Depend upon it it's not a deer." "Well, at any rate it's coming this way; we shall soon get a look at it." Another pause of half a minute and the beast was concealed in a little patch of jungle a few hundred yards from us. I now had time to examine it. "I'll tell you what, G.; that brute's a regular tiger." "Well, so I thought, but I hardly liked to say so: what shall we do if he comes this way?" "I say keep close where we are." "But suppose he should make a spring over the hedge in front of us?" "Lie flat down, and let him go over us: yet I think I could hardly resist having a shot while he was in the air." "Oh! pray don't fire; what in the world could we two do on foot against a wounded tiger?" However, our fears were needless: as the beaters advanced, the animal slunk away into a more distant piece of jungle, and we saw no more of him. Two of our people[155] were rather hurt to-day—one by a deer leaping over him, and cutting his head with his hoof; a rupee, however, made him quite happy again: the other was a man who, as a large stag rushed past, made a spring at its horns, thinking to pull it down, whereby he got a severe fall and prevented us from firing.


Pooree, April 26, 1845.

FATAL ILLNESS OF AUTHOR.

I have had another attack similar to last year; it came on in the same way and whilst I was in the pulpit. In the midst of the sermon my teeth began to chatter; I could not speak; my face became perfectly white; a cold blast seemed to enter my left side and spread over the surface of my body, and then gradually penetrate to the very innermost part, whilst I was obliged to cling to the sides of the pulpit for support. It did not last above a minute and a half, and I managed to finish my sermon; but it was enough to astonish the congregation and to warn me of what was coming. All my old symptoms returned, though not so strongly as before—utter restlessness at night and heavy sleepiness during the day, a painful cough when I lay down, and other alarming signs. We came down to Pooree, where my favourite doctor lives, and I already feel much better.

There is a billiard-table in the house where we are now staying, and the doctor desires me to play as much as I can every day. Of course playing for money is never allowed. The game of billiards is about the best exercise for India. It is not too violent, yet it gives a man about three miles of walking in the hour, and brings all the limbs into play.


[156]

May 8, 1845.

I am too weak to write much, and shall therefore continue at another time.

[Note.—On the 17th of May the author's life was closed.]

THE END.

London: Printed by William Clowes and Sons, Stamford Street.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] It is doubted whether the injury does not rather arise from the damp night-air than from the effect of the moon-beams.

[2] It is the most common sort of carriage in India.

[3] A gap occurs here in the narrative, from a portion of it having gone down in the "Memnon" in the Red Sea.

[4] Plenty of barley is grown in Bhootan.

[5] This man continued most faithfully attached till his master's death, and was then inconsolable.

[6] We can scarcely imagine that the Supreme Government would lend itself to such a transaction; we think it far more likely that it occurred through the culpability or negligence of some of the inferior agents, who may have misrepresented the case to Government.

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious typographical errors were repaired. Archaic and valid alternate spellings were retained.

Hyphenation inconsistencies were standardized.

p. 145, "I believe the Buddhist religion": Original read "Bhuddist."






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