The Project Gutenberg EBook of Up the Country, by Emily Eden

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Title: Up the Country

Author: Emily Eden

Release Date: July 12, 2014 [EBook #46260]

Language: English

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(etext transcriber's note)



Letters written to her Sister








My dear William,

I know no one but yourself who can now take any lively interest in these Letters.

She to whom they were addressed, they of whom they were written, have all passed away, and you and I are now almost the only survivors of the large party that in 1838 left Government House for the Upper Provinces.

Many passages of this Diary, written solely for the amusement of my own family, have of course been omitted; but not a word has been added to descriptions which have little merit, but that they are true and that they were written on the spot.

Now that India has fallen under the curse of railroads, and that life and property will soon become as insecure there as they are here, the splendour of a Governor-General’s progress is at an end.

The Kootûb will probably become a Railway Station; the Taj will, of course, under the sway of an Agra Company (Limited, except for destruction), be bought up for a monster hotel; and the Governor-General will dwindle down into a first-class passenger with a carpet-bag. These details, therefore, of a journey that was picturesque in its motley processions, in its splendid crowds, and in its ‘barbaric gold and pearl,’ may be thought amusing. So many changes have since taken place in Indian modes of travelling, that these contrasts of public grandeur and private discomfort will probably be seen no more, on a scale of such magnitude.

Believe me,

Ever your affectionate Aunt,


Eden Lodge, Kensington Gore:
May, 1866.



On board the ‘Megna’ flat, Saturday, Oct. 21, 1837.

‘ONCE more upon the waters, yet once more,’ and so on. We are now fairly off for eighteen months of travelling by steamers, tents, and mountains—and every day of a cabin seems to me like so much waste. They ought all to go to the great account of the long voyage that will, at last, take us home again. And this cabin looks so like my ‘Jupiter’ abode, in all its fittings and appointments, that it is really a pity so to throw its discomforts away in going farther off. Well, I am sure it is all for the best—I make no objection—I like to see things take their course; but still I do say, that for a person who required nothing but to be allowed the undisturbed enjoyment of that small Greenwich house and garden, with all its little Cockney pleasures and pursuits, I have been very hardly treated and rather overworked. We got up at five this morning; the servants were all in a fuss, and Wright was in all the delusions of carpet-bags and nice bandboxes, in which she may be indulged till we leave the steamer, and then she will be obliged to wake from them, as the coolie is yet to be discovered who would carry a carpet-bag, and a bandbox does not precisely meet the views of a camel.

When we came down for some coffee, the great hall was full of gentlemen who had come to accompany his lordship to the ghaut—even Mr. Macaulay had turned out for it. F. and I, with Captain P., soon took ourselves off, and drove down to the landing-place. There were two lines of troops from the door of Government House to the river, and the band was playing that march in the ‘Puritani’ which, when we were at the Admiralty, used to be played every morning by the Guards’ band, and which, consequently, always carries me back to the horrid time of our preparations for leaving England, so I can always cry it all over again to that tune. The road was covered with carriages and riders; and, at the ghaut, a large set of our particular acquaintances were waiting for us, so we got out and stood with them while G. made his progress on foot. It was really a very pretty procession: such crowds of people and such diversities of dress. He is not so shy as he used to be at these ceremonies, though I think a long walk through troops presenting arms is trying to everybody. The instant he arrived at the ghaut, he gave a general goodbye, offered me his arm, and we walked off to the boats as fast as we could. The guns fired, the gentlemen waved their hats, and so we left Calcutta. It has really done handsomely by us, and we ought to be obliged to them for saying—if it is no more—that they are sorry we are going. But I daresay we are an amusement to them. They liked our balls and parties, and whatever we did or said was the subject of an anecdote; and if we said or did nothing they invented something for us—and it all served to wonder at—which, in a country where there is little society and few topics, was an advantage.

The Sunderbunds, Monday, Oct. 23.

We came into these lovely riant scenes on Sunday morning. They are a composition of low stunted trees, marsh, tigers and snakes, with a stream that sometimes looks like a very wide lake and then becomes so narrow that the jungle wood scrapes against the sides of the flat—and this morning scraped away all G.’s jalousies, which are a great loss. I never saw such a desolate scene: no birds flying about—there is no grain for them to eat. We have met only one native boat, which must have been there since the Deluge. Occasionally there is a bamboo stuck up with a bush tied to it, which is to recall the cheerful fact that there a tiger has carried off a man. None of our Hindus, though they are starving, will go on shore to cook—and, indeed, it would be very unsafe. It looks as if this bit of world had been left unfinished when land and sea were originally parted. The flat is dreadfully hot at night; but not more uncomfortable than a boat must necessarily be in this climate.

I must make you acquainted with the other flat, because then, once for all, you will understand our prospect of travelling companions. You know all about Mr. and Mrs. A. and their two children. Mr. and Mrs. B. are our next couple. He is one of the Government secretaries, clever and pleasant, speaks Persian rather more fluently than English; Arabic better than Persian; but, for familiar conversation, rather prefers Sanscrit. Mr. and Mrs. C. (belonging to Mr. B.’s office) are a very pleasant couple; he acts and sings, and knows most of the people we know, and she sings and plays on the harp like an angel; and they have a small child, the least little sick thing possible, which I affection, and I mean to borrow it when we are in camp to play in my tent. I often weary for a child to talk to. Captain and Mrs. D. are our commissariat couple—she is very pretty. General E. is the public military secretary—an astutious oldish man. The two steamers generally anchor together at night; but the other comes in later than ours, and so we have seen none of the other party but Mr. A., who says they do very well together, all things considered. General E. is suspected of not being partial to the small D., A., and C. children—there had been rather an angry controversy about some apple and pear jam; and, in general, they were all, like our noble selves, so much bored that they went to bed at eight. Otherwise, they were all perfectly happy.

Wednesday, Oct. 25.

We stopped at Koolna yesterday for coals, and stayed an hour to let the Hindus cook their dinner. We are out of the Sunderbunds now, and steaming between two banks not quite so elevated, nor nearly so picturesque as those flat marshes between Eastcombe and the river; and, they say, we shall see nothing prettier, or rather less hideous, between this and Simla, except at Raj Mahl. G. is already bored to death with having nothing to do. He has read two novels and cannot swallow any more, and is longing for his quiet cool room at Government House. The nights are dreadful—all for want of a punkah—and hardly any of us get a wink of sleep. However, we shall soon overtake cooler weather. The six gentlemen passed the three first nights on deck, owing to the heat below, and I sat up in bed fanning myself. The native servants sleep any and everywhere, over our heads, under our feet, or at our doors; and as there are no partitions but green blinds at the sides and gratings above, of course we hear them coughing all night.

Thursday, Oct. 26.

They are steering us very badly; we go rolling about from one side of the river to the other, and every now and then thump against the bank, and then the chairs and table all shake and the inkstand tips over. I think I feel a little seasick. Our native servants look so unhappy. They hate leaving their families, and possibly leaving two or three wives is two or three times as painful as leaving one, and they cannot endure being parted from their children. Then they are too crowded here to sleep comfortably. Major J. observed in a gentle, ill-used voice: ‘I think Captain K. behaved very ill to us; he said that between both steamers and the flat he could lodge all the servants that were indispensably and absolutely necessary to us, so I only brought one hundred and forty, and now he says there is not room even for them.’ Certainly this boat must be drunk, she reels about in such a disorderly fashion. I wish I had my cork jacket on.

I am glad that in your last letter you deigned for once to comment on the ‘Pickwick Papers.’ I collected all the stray numbers, and began reading them straight through to-day, because hitherto I have never had time to make out exactly what they were about, delightful as they were. I wish you would read over again that account of Winkle and the horse which will not go on—‘Poor fellow! good old horse!’—and Pickwick saying, ‘It is like a dream, a horrid dream, to go about all day with a horrid horse that we cannot get rid of.’ That book makes me laugh till I cry, when I am sitting quite by myself. —— There! I thought so. We are aground, and the other steamer is going flourishing by, in grinning delight.

Friday, Oct. 27.

We remained aground for two hours, and touched several times after we were afloat. Some of the other party visited us in the evening, and I lent General E. a novel to help him on. I have been reading ‘Astoria,’ out of that last box you sent us, and that great fat ‘Johnsoniana.’ The anecdotes are not very new, but anything about Johnson is readable. G. has got some Bridgewater Treatises, which he likes.

Beanleah, Saturday, Oct. 28.

We stopped at Surder yesterday, to take in some sheep. We ought to have been there two days ago, if we had had better pilots and fewer groundings. G. said, last night, when we again failed in landing there, that it seemed to him Absurder rather than Surder. He made another good pun to-day. How our intellects are weakened by the climate!—we make and relish puns! The A.D.C.s are very apt to assemble over our cabins at night, to smoke and to talk, and we hear every word they say. When it is really time to go to sleep, I generally send old Rosina up to disperse them, in her civilest manner. I was telling W. O. that they were like so many old Chelsea pensioners; they go on prosing night after night exclusively about the army, the King’s army and the Company’s army; and that, if there were only a little levity in their talk, I should not so much mind being kept awake by it. He said, ‘Ah, yes, we were very animated last night about the Company’s army, and your old Rosina came creeping up with “O sahib, astai bolo” (gently speak); upon which G. observed, “Ah, if she had said, O sahib, nasty bolo!" that would have satisfied Emily much better.’ This joke being founded on Hindustani, and coming from the Governor-General, kept the whole suite in a roar of laughter for half an hour. They really relished it.

Two young writers whom we had known at Calcutta came to Surder to meet us, and we took them on board and took them back to Baulyah. How some of these young men must detest their lives! Mr. —— was brought up entirely at Naples and Paris, came out in the world when he was quite a boy, and cares for nothing but society and Victor Hugo’s novels, and that sort of thing. He is now stationed at B., and supposed to be very lucky in being appointed to such a cheerful station. The whole concern consists of five bungalows, very much like the thatched lodge at Langley. There are three married residents: one lady has bad spirits (small blame to her), and she has never been seen; another has weak eyes, and wears a large shade about the size of a common verandah; and the other has bad health, and has had her head shaved. A tour is not to be had here for love or money, so she wears a brown silk cushion with a cap pinned to the top of it. The Doctor and our friend make up the rest of the society. He goes every morning to hear causes between natives about strips of land or a few rupees—that lasts till five; then he rides about an uninhabited jungle till seven; dines; reads a magazine, or a new book when he can afford one, and then goes to bed. A lively life, with the thermometer at several hundred!

Raj Mahl, Monday, Oct. 30.

We are now, after ten days’ hard steaming, only 200 miles from Calcutta. G. sighs for the Salisbury ‘Highflyer’ and a good roadside inn; but to-day we have come to some hills, and a pretty bit of country. We landed at four, saw the ruins, which are very picturesque, gave Chance a run on shore, and we had time for one sketch. But the real genuine charm and beauty of Raj Mahl were a great fat Baboo standing at the ghaut, with two bearers behind him carrying the post-office packet. There were letters by the ‘Madagascar,’ which left London the 20th July, and was only three months on her passage. I had your large packet, and ten letters. Altogether it was a great prize, was not it? and just at such an interesting period. I think the young Queen a charming invention, and I can fancy the degree of enthusiasm she must excite. Even here we feel it. The account of her proroguing Parliament gave me a lump in my throat; and then, why is the Duchess of Kent not with her in all these pageants? There is something mysterious about that. Probably nothing is more simple, or obvious, but still I should like to know what the mother and daughter say to each other when they meet in private. To return to your letters. There must have been one missing, because Newsalls suddenly burst upon me as your actual residence, whereas I did not know that there was such a place, that it had ever been built, or that you ever thought of taking it.

Wednesday, Nov. 1.

We expect to be at Monghir to-morrow morning, whence I can send this. We passed through some pretty scenery yesterday; but it is all over now, I am afraid, and we shall see nothing but flat plains till we arrive at Simla.


The Ganges, Saturday, Nov. 4, 1837.

I SENT off my Journal to you the day before yesterday from Monghir. We arrived there early on Thursday morning, and G. found there were so many people there whom he ought to see, and we saw so many objects that were tempting to sketch, that he agreed to remain there all day. All the English residents, six in number (and that is what they call a large station), came on board immediately, and amongst them Mr. D., Lord S.’s son. I thought he had been married a month ago, but it appears he prefers being married in a regular clerical fashion, and is waiting for the bishop, who is travelling about marrying and confirming and christening, and who is to be at Monghir in ten days.

We landed at half-past three, in a covered boat, with umbrellas, &c., and went straight to a tent, where the Resident had collected all the Monghir manufactures for our inspection; but it is impossible to buy anything, as what is to become of it in camp? Otherwise, the inlaid tables and boxes were tempting, and there was the prettiest dolls’ furniture possible, tables, and cane-chairs, and sofas, and footstools, of such curious workmanship. The vehicles of the place, amounting to four buggies (that is a foolish term for a cabriolet, but as it is the only vehicle in use in India, and as buggy is the only name for said vehicle, I give it) and a bullock cart, were assembled for our use.

We drove off to Seetakund, where there is a hot spring—a thing I never believed in; I thought the water might be a little warm, just the chill taken off, but it was impossible to keep one’s finger in this even for a moment, and it was the most beautiful, clear-looking basin of water, so blue and bright. The drive there was a real refreshment; it is the first time for two years I have felt the carriage going up hill at all, and this was not a simple slope, but a good regular hill. Then we came to some genuine rocks—great bleak, grey stones, with weeds growing between them, and purple hills in the distance. I felt better directly.

We all sketched away, and did not come back till it was dusk. Altogether, it was a nice scrambling, homelike expedition, if I had not come back with such a bad headache. But, though I did, I liked Monghir, and respect J. for having organised such a good day.

Patna, Sunday, Nov. 5.

Here we are, in such a comfortable house, I never saw the like, and very cool and pleasant it is.

We anchored last night within sight of the town; but Patna is six miles long at least, and Mr. T. lives at Bankipore, a sort of Battersea to Patna; so we got up at six this morning, and went on deck to see the town. There never was anything so provokingly picturesque, considering that the steamer goes boring on without the slightest regard for our love of sketching.

It was a Hindu holiday. I must do the Hindus the justice to say that they make as many holidays out of one year as most people do out of ten; and I am not at all sure whether a small importation of Hindus would not be acceptable to you, to accompany your boys to school as regulators to their school-days. It would be a safeguard against their being overworked. The whole bank was lined with natives bringing immense baskets of fruit for ‘the Ganges to look at,’ as the Nazir[A] expressed it; and they were dipping their baskets into the river with their graceful salaams and then bowing their heads down to the water. They are much more clothed here than in Bengal, and the women wear bright crimson veils, or yellow with crimson borders, and sometimes purple dresses with crimson borders, and have generally a little brown baby, with a scarlet cap on, perched on their hips. I wish you would have one little brown baby for a change; they are so much prettier than white children. Behind these crowds of people, there were old mosques and temples and natives’ houses, and the boats of rich natives in front with gilded sterns, and painted peacocks at the prow. In short, just what people say of India; you know it all, but it is pretty to see; and I mean the ‘moral’ of my Indian experience to be, that it is the most picturesque population, with the ugliest scenery, that ever was put together.

[A] The head of the Governor-General’s native servants.

We breakfasted at eight, and just as we had finished, Mr. T. came with all the English resident gentlemen to take us on shore—Mr. G. amongst the rest. Such a pleasure for Miss H. I think that little iron is coming well out of the fire.

There were carriages without number at the ghaut; a regiment, brought from Dinapore to receive his lordship, which lined the way up to Mr. T.’s house; a band to play; a second breakfast to be eaten, and the most comfortable house possible.

My room is lined with idle books, and these up-country houses all have fire-places and carpets; and though it is still very hot, the idea that it ever may be cold is reviving. G. and F. went to church, where Mr. T. read prayers and another gentleman read a sermon, and they said it was one of the best-performed services they have heard in this country. We have taken a hideous drive this evening over some brown plains, and have twenty-six people at dinner, I grieve to say. I am as stiff as a poker with the fall into the hold of the flat, and was obliged to stay at home all day.

Monday, Nov. 6.

A dull dinner, very! but Mr. —— is in himself a jewel; and he looks like that man in Matthews’s ‘At home’ who used to say, with a melancholy look, that he was ‘fond of fun;’ but still, in that melancholy way, he is very pleasant. His eyebrows keep me in a continual state of wonderment. They are thick masses of very long hair, and if they were my eyebrows, or if he were my Mr. T., I should with a small pair of curling-irons and a great deal of huile antique, make them up into little ringlets, like a doll’s wig. I think they would have a very original and graceful effect. We have had such a fatiguing day—just what we must have at every station—but still it is fatiguing. There were about forty people at breakfast; then, from eleven to one, F. and I received the ladies of the station, and most of the gentlemen came again, even those who had been at breakfast. G.’s audiences went on for four hours; so the aides-de-camp had a pleasant day of it.

Then there was company at luncheon; and, at half-past three, G. held a durbar. Some of the rajahs came in great state—one with a gold howdah on his elephant; another had a crimson velvet covering to his carriage, embroidered with gold, and they all had a great many retainers. To some of them G. gave gold dresses and turbans, and we went behind a screen to see Mr. T. and the other gentlemen help the rajahs into their gold coats. The instant the durbar was over we set off, an immense party, to see Patna, and we saw the Durgah, one of the largest Mussulman temples there is, and then went to a part of the town where the streets are too narrow for a carriage, and where they had provided tonjauns and elephants for us, and we poked along, through herds of natives, to a curious Sikh temple, which is kept up by contributions from Runjeet Singh. The priest read us a little bit of their Bible (not the Koran), very much to our edification, and they brought out a sword in a red scabbard, which they worship, and they gave George some petitions, and then we went home to another great dinner.

Tuesday, Nov. 7.

We have had a much quieter day. In the morning the rajahs of yesterday sent G. his presents—shawls, kincobs, &c., three very fine elephants, and two horses. There was nothing very pretty in the presents, except an ivory arm-chair and an ivory tonjaun inlaid with silver. F. and I had two very picturesque camels and camel-drivers to sketch in the morning, and the rajah to whom they belonged sent in the afternoon to beg we would accept both camels and riders. Such nice little pets, in case of anything happening to Chance or to F.’s deer. However, we returned them, and I heard last night that he was quite puzzled and annoyed that we would not keep them.

G. went to see the jail and the opium godowns, which he said were very curious. There is opium to the value of 1,500,000l. in their storehouses, and Mr. T. says that they wash every workman who comes out; because the little boys even, who are employed in making it up, will contrive to roll about in it, and that the washing of a little boy well rolled in opium is worth four annas (or sixpence) in the bazaar, if he can escape to it.

We took a quiet drive with W., and then went to a large granary that was built years ago, and then found to be useless, and now it is only curious for the echo in it. There we found Mrs. A., Mr. G., and Miss H. and some others; and Mr. G. had brought his flute, and Miss H. observed that the echo repeated the notes of the flute better than anything else. But then Mr. G. clapped his hands, and that was better still. He gave her his arm as we came out, and she looked very shy; and we all tried to look very stupid and unobservant. I have not seen such a promising attachment for a long while. Half our party went on board to-night, and G. goes at seven to-morrow morning; but F. and I are going to stay with Mr. T. till the evening, and then drive straight to the ball at Dinapore, only five miles, and A. stays for us. All the others go, as G. has a levée in the morning.

Dinapore, Thursday, Nov. 9.

We arrived in excellent time for our ball, and to see G.’s landing, which by moonlight and torchlight was a very pretty sight. The whole way from the ghaut to the house where the ball was given was carpeted, and there are plenty of troops here to make a street, and our own people turned out in great force.

There were some very pretty people at the ball, which went off remarkably well. Mr. G. danced three times with Miss H., which is considered here equal to a proposal and a half. Dear stern old Mr. T. is quite interested in that novel, and came two or three times in the course of the evening with a melancholy face of fun, to say—‘The little affair is going on remarkably well: he is dancing with her again.’ We are now going to a review, and then to a dinner given to us by the Queen’s 31st regiment, which is to end in another ball and supper.

Well! it is lucky that anybody can do anything they ought to do, but I had only four hours’ sleep last night.

Friday, Nov. 10.

The dinner went off well, and so did the review. The 31st is J.’s regiment, so he was extremely anxious that they should do a great deal to our honour and glory. We sat down seventy-four to dinner, Colonel B. between G. and me, and the chief lady and the senior captain of the regiment on our other sides; the old bishop, whom we met here, took F. to the opposite side of the table. It was a less formal dinner than I expected. G. had to make another speech, and longer than last night’s, and it was very original and neatly turned, and gave great satisfaction. We stayed through part of the ball, and came away before supper, on pretence of fatigue. Both Patna and Dinapore have distinguished themselves, and it has really been all done so cordially and handsomely that we can bear a little fatigue for the sake of the goodnature of the people who entertain us. And, at all events, it makes a gay week for the station. Some ladies came sixty miles to these balls. At the ball there were some rajahs in splendid dresses; such magnificent jewels, and some of them had never seen an English ball before. They think the ladies who dance are utterly good for nothing, but seemed rather pleased to see so much vice.

Such jewelry as we saw yesterday morning! A native was sent by one of the gentlemen to show us some really good native jewelry. There is an ornament called a surpéche, which the rajahs wear in their turbans, but there is seldom such a handsome one as this man had for sale. It was a diamond peacock holding in his beak a rope of enormous pearls, which passed through an emerald about the size of a dove’s egg; then there came the tassel—the top was of immense diamonds, with a hole bored at one end of them, and they were simply drawn together into a sort of rosette, without any setting. Then there came strings of pearls each ending in three large diamonds. These ornaments are often made with discoloured pearls and diamonds with flaws, but this was quite perfect. The man asked 8,000l. for it, but will probably sell it to some native for 6,000l. They stick it into their turbans by a gold hook, and the tassel hangs over one ear. We have steamed quietly along to-day, and I have been asleep half the afternoon.


Buxar, Saturday, Nov. 11, 1837.

AS we were passing a place called Bullhga this morning, we saw an enormous concourse of natives, and it turned out to be a great fair for horses. So we stopped the steamer, and persuaded G. to go on shore, just ‘to go to the fair,’ as we should have done at home, only we sent all the servants with silver sticks, and took our own tonjauns and two of the body-guard, and went in the State barge and with all the aides-de-camp. In short, we did our little best to be imposing, considering that we have only the steamboat apparatus to work with; but we had hardly landed when A. came breathless from the other steamer to say that Mr. B. and Mr. C. were both half mad at the idea of a Governor-General going on shore in this way, and that C. was actually dancing about the deck with rage; and A. wanted us to turn back and give it up. Luckily, G. would not be advised to do this. They said we should be murdered amongst other things; but in my life I never saw such a civil, submissive set of people. Our people and the police of the place walked on first, desiring the crowd to sit down, which they all did instantly, crouching together and making a lane all through the fair. They are civil creatures, and I am very fond of the natives. There were a great many thousands of them, and some beautiful costumes; the bazaars were full of trinkets, and pretty shawls and coloured cottons. We went in our tonjauns, and G. walked till he was tired, which is soon done; and A. left us quite satisfied as to our safety, and almost persuaded it was a dignified measure. We wanted him to tell C. that he had left G. in one of the ‘merry-go-rounds,’ of which there were several, but it was not a subject that admitted of levity. —— said the Governor-General should never appear publicly without a regiment, and that there was no precedent for his going to Bullhga fair. I told him we had made a precedent, and that it would be his duty to take the next Governor-General, be he ever so lame or infirm, to this identical fair.

We went this evening to see the Government stud. It was rather fine to see five hundred young horses rush at once out of their stalls, and all kick each other and then run away; but, barring that little incident, both studs on each side of the river are rather tiresome sights—such ugly places!

Ghazeepore, Sunday, Nov. 12.

We arrived at three. Mr. T., the brother of our late dear T., is the Resident here, and lodges us. He had made a ghaut with a flight of steps to his house for our landing, and the 44th Regiment, with their band, were drawn up all round his lawn.

There were two women on the landing-place with a petition. They were Hindu ladies, and were carried down in covered palanquins, and very much enveloped in veils. They flung themselves on the ground, and laid hold of G., and screamed and sobbed in a horrid way, but without showing their faces, and absolutely howled at last, before they could be carried off. They wanted a pardon for the husband of one of them, who, with his followers, is said to have murdered about half a village full of Mussulmans, and these women say he did not do it, but that the Nazir of that village was his enemy, and did the murders, and then laid it on their party. These little traits are to give you an insight into the manners and customs of the East, and to open and improve your mind, &c. After we had made our way through all these impediments, we rested for a time, and then went to see the cantonments, and to evening service, which was read by two of the gentlemen remarkably well. Then we came back to a great dinner, and one of the longest I ever assisted at. I quite lost my head at last, and when second course was put down, asked Mr. T. to give me some wine, thinking it was dessert, and that we might get up and go.

The dinners certainly are endless, and I do not wonder they think us very rapid at Government House. There is sometimes half an hour between the courses. A Mr. S., the judge, sat on one side of me, and after some discourse the man seemed to know his Kent! and I discovered he was one of the George S.’s of E. Visions of country balls and cricket matches came back. He knew Eden Farm and Penge Common; in short, I liked him very much, and I think he too was refreshed with the reminiscences of his youth.

Monday, Nov. 13.

G. went in the morning to see the stud. At eleven we received all the station.

In the afternoon we went to see the opium godown, and then F., B., and I went in the band boat along the shore to sketch some of the old buildings, which are very picturesque here.

All the party out of both steamers dined at Mr. T.’s, and moreover a third steamer came up from Calcutta this morning, containing, amongst other passengers, a Mrs. P. and her pretty little daughter, who are great favourites with all our gentlemen, and they dined and went with us to a ball given by the regiment.

There were great doubts whether a ball could be made out, as the want of ladies in the Mofussil makes dancing rather difficult. However, we took a large party, and the ladies we had seen in the morning all assembled and had raised two or three extras. The mess-room was very prettily illuminated, with G.’s arms painted on the floor, and they gave us a grand supper, so it all did very well. I wish you could have seen the dancers. A Mrs. ——, something like Mrs. Glover the actress, only much fatter, with a gown two inches shorter then her petticoat, bounding through every quadrille, with her three grown-up sons dancing round her. She is an exemplary mother, and has been a widow many years, and a grandmother many more; but she never misses a dance!

Tuesday, Nov. 14.

We did not get home last night till half-past one, and were up at seven to go on board, and we had to go smirking and smiling through all that regiment again, with all the other gentlemen to go to the boat with us; but we may have a rest to-day. It certainly is a hard-working life, is not it? I never get ‘my natural rest,’ as Dandie Dinmont says, in the steamer for noise, and on the shore for work.

I wonder how you would be in this state of life. I often try to fancy you. Sometimes I think you would be amused for about five minutes, but generally I opine you would go raving mad! I constantly long to be in an open carriage with four post-horses, along with G., and that we might drive through a pretty country, and arrive at an inn where nobody could dine with us or ask us to a ball. However, to-morrow we are to get into double state, when we reach our tents, as it is of more importance with the up-country natives; so it is of no use to think of bettering ourselves.

Camp, Benares, Wednesday, Nov. 15.

We arrived at Benares at ten, lay to all through the heat of the day, whilst the servants unloaded the flat, and then steamed up within view of the city, as far as the rajah’s country-house, Ramnuggur, and then dropped down again, thereby seeing the whole of the city. The glare was horrible, but the buildings were worth all the blindness that ensued. Such minarets and mosques, rising one above the other to an immense height; and the stone is such a beautiful colour. The ghauts covered with natives, and great white colossal figures of Vishnu lying on the steps of each ghaut. Benares is one of their most sacred places, and they seem to spare no expense in their temples. We mean to keep our steamer here, and to go out sketching in it. But it would take a whole week to draw one temple perfectly; the ghaut where we landed was as pretty a sight as any. All our elephants, two or three hundred baggage camels (they are much larger beasts to live with than I thought), bullock carts without end, and everybody loading every conveyance with everything. There are twenty shooter suwars (I have not an idea how I ought to spell those words), but they are native soldiers mounted on swift camels, very much trapped, and two of them always ride before our carriage. This looks more like the ‘land of the east,’ in all its ways, than anything we have seen.

We landed at five, and drove four miles through immense crowds and much dust to our camp. The first evening of tents, I must say, was more uncomfortable than I had ever fancied. Everybody kept saying, ‘What a magnificent camp!’ and I thought I never had seen such squalid, melancholy discomfort. G., F., and I have three private tents, and a fourth, to make up the square, for our sitting-room, and great covered passages, leading from one tent to the other.

Each tent is divided into bed-room, dressing-room, and sitting-room. They have covered us up in every direction, just as if we were native women; and, besides that, there is a wall of red cloth, eight feet high, drawn all round our enclosure, so that, even on going out of the tent, we see nothing but a crimson wall.

Inside each tent were our beds—one leaf of a dining-table and three cane chairs. Our pittarrahs and the camel-trunks were brought in; and in about half an hour the nazir came to say they must all, with our books, dressing-cases, &c., be carried off to be put under the care of a sentry, as nothing is safe in a tent from the decoits; so, if there were anything to arrange, there would be no use in arranging it, as it must all be moved at dusk. The canvas flops about, and it was very chilly in the night, though that is the only part I do not object to, as when we get our curtains that will be merely bracing; but it feels open-airish and unsafe. They say everybody begins by hating their tents and ends by loving them, but at present I am much prepossessed in favour of a house. Opposite to our private tents is the great dining-tent, and the durbar tent, which is less shut up, and will be less melancholy to live in. God bless you, dearest! When I am tired, or tented, or hot, or cold, and generally when I am in India, I have at least the comfort of always sitting down to tell you all about it, and ‘There is no harm in that,’ as the man says in ‘Zohrab.’


Camp, Benares, Wednesday, Nov. 22, 1837.

I HAVE been obliged to give up the five last days to other letters, to the manifest disadvantage of my Journal, your unspeakable loss, and my own deep regret; but what can be done? It is just possible to do all we have to do—just not impossible to write it down once, but quite impossible either to live, or to write it over again; and I have had a large packet of very old English letters since we came here, which set me off answering them.

The résumé of our proceedings, since I sent off my Journal to you last Thursday, Nov. 16, is shortly and longly this:—Friday, we went a large party to the town in carriages; when the streets grew too narrow for carriages, we got on elephants; when the elephants stuck fast, we tried tonjauns; and, when the streets contracted still further, we walked; and at last, I suppose, they came to a point, for we came back. We saw some beautiful old temples, and altogether it was a curious sight. Prout would go mad in a brown outline frenzy on the spot—the buildings are so very beautiful for his style. I forgot to mention that at half-past six on Friday morning we went to a review on horseback. Saturday, we again got up at six, and F. and I went in the open carriage to sketch a tempting mosque. At eleven we received many more visitors than the tent would hold—the aides-de-camp could hardly come in with them.

G. held a durbar in the afternoon, at which seventy of the native nobility appeared. The Rajah of Benares came with a very magnificent surwarree of elephants and camels. He is immensely rich, and has succeeded an uncle who adopted him, to the great discomfiture of his father, who goes about with him in the capacity of a discontented subject. We had thirty-six people at dinner. Sunday, we went to church, and underwent the worst reading and preaching I ever heard from Mr. ——, who in general preaches to his clerk; but this time the church was very full, and the congregation were all hoping to hear a little something that might do them good from our dear Y. In the afternoon G. and I went out on an elephant, and, in an attempt to make a quiet and rural cut home, nearly drowned one of our outriding camels and his rider; so we came home, much ashamed of ourselves, by the common dusty road. Monday, we got up early, and set off at seven, to pay a visit to the old Delhi Begum. The particulars I narrated with wonderful accuracy, bordering on tediousness, to M., and I am confident you would not wish me to repeat them.

G. positively declared against any more dust or any more drives, so we stuck to the tents in the afternoon. He cannot endure his tent, or the camp life altogether, and it certainly is very much opposed to all his habits of business and regularity.

On Monday evening we went to the ball again, given to us by the station. They have a theatre here, and had boarded over the pit, and by leaving some forest scenery standing on the stage, with our band playing from under the pasteboard trees, they made out a very pretty ball-room, much the best we have seen in ‘the Mofussil,’ and there were plenty of ladies, old and young, who seemed to be very glad of a dance. We got home at one.

There! W. has heard that Mr. G. has proposed. I am so glad; for Miss H. has left in England everybody that cared for her. I know that she has long liked Mr. G. I feel, too, that it is a triumph for our camp that at our very first station we should have married off our only young lady.

Yesterday we had a grand expedition, which I am going to give you and the children, once for all, at great length, and then you will for the future take it for granted that all native fêtes are much alike.

The Rajah of Benares asked us to come to his country-house, called Ramnuggur (how it is spelt, I cannot say; probably with none of those letters). It is on the other side of the Ganges. We drove down to the river-side through a dense cloud of dust. I asked one of our servants to dust me gently with my pocket-handkerchief, and without any exaggeration a thick cloud came out of my cape.

Mrs. C.’s black bonnet was of a light brown colour.

We found the rajah’s boats waiting for us—a silver armchair and footstool for his lordship in the prow, which was decorated with silvered peacocks, and a sort of red embroidered tent for ‘his women,’ where we placed ourselves, though there was another boat with two inferior silver chairs for F. and me. All these things are grandly imagined, but with the silver chairs there are boatmen in dirty liveries or no liveries at all!—and it is all discrepant, or generally so.

This rajah is immensely rich; he had a great many handsome things. I enclose a sketch to illustrate for the children ‘their dear devoted creature,’ G., first in the silver tonjaun which took him down to the boat, then in the other State silver tonjaun that took him up from the ghaut, and then a back view of him on his elephant. I often wonder whether it really can be G., the original simple, quiet one. He does it very well, but detests great part of the ceremonies, particularly embracing the rajahs!

The rajah met us at the ghaut, and we were all carried off to the elephants, and got on them to go and see his garden, though it was nearly dusk. But the first sight was very striking.

Eighteen elephants and crowds of attendants, and then crowds as far as we could see of natives, going on ‘Wah! wah! Hi Lord Sahib.’ We rode about till it was quite dark, and then the rajah proposed we should return; and when we came to the turn of the road, the whole of the village and his castle, which is an enormous building, was illuminated. Wherever there was a straight line, or a window, or an arch, there was a row of little bright lamps; every cross of the lattices in every window had its little lamp. It was the largest illumination I ever saw. We went on the elephants through the great gateway, in a Timour the Tartar fashion, into the court. Such torches and spearmen and drums and crowds, like a melodrama magnified by a solar microscope; it was the sort of scene where Ellen Tree would have snatched up a doll from under Farley’s sword, and said, ‘My boy, my boy, my rescued Agib!’ or words to that effect, while the curtain fell slowly. We got off at the door of an immense hall, a sort of court, and the rajah’s servants spread a path of scarlet and gold kincob from the door to the seat at the farthest end, for us to walk on. Considering that it is a pound a yard, and that I have been bargaining for a week for enough for a wadded douillette and was beat out of it, it was a pity to trample on it, and it led to a catastrophe, as you will see if you read on. The rajah put us three on a velvet sofa, with a gold gauze carpet before it. He sat on one side of us and his father on the other, and Mr. B. and Mr. C. on each side to interpret, and then the aides-de-camp and the other ladies; and then the nautch-girls began dancing. He had provided an immense troop of them, and they were covered with jewels and dressed in gold brocades, some purple and some red, with long floating scarfs of gold gauze. Most of them ugly, but one was I think the prettiest creature I ever saw, and the most graceful. If I have time I will send a little coloured sketch of her, just to show the effect of her dress. She and another girl danced slowly round with their full draperies floating round them, without stopping, for a quarter of an hour, during all which time they were making flowers out of some coloured scarfs they wore, and when they had finished a bunch they came and presented it to us with such graceful Eastern genuflexions. The whole thing was like a dream, it was so curious and unnatural. Then the Ranee sent for us, and F. and I set off in tonjauns for the women’s apartments, with the ladies who were with us. They carried us through a great many courts, and then the rajah gave me his cold, flabby little hand, and handed us up some narrow, dirty stairs, and came in with us behind the purdah and introduced us to the Ranee his mother, who was very splendidly dressed, and to some of his sisters, who were ugly. Then they asked us to go and see an old grandmother, and the Ranee laid hold of my hand, and one of the sisters took F., and they led us along an immense court on the roof, to the old lady, who is blind and very ill; but they had dressed her up for us, and we had to kiss her, which was not very nice. There was another immense nautch provided, which we had not time to look at. We gave our rings, and they brought the trays of presents which are usually given, a diamond ring and drops for earrings, two necklaces (very trashy), some beautiful shawls and kincobs, and some muslin; then they put immense skipping-ropes of silver braid, bigger than a common boa, round our necks, and small ones on the other ladies, and then poured attar of roses on our hands, and we left the old lady. When we came back to the Ranee’s room, she showed us her little chapel, close to her sofa, where there were quantities of horrid-looking idols—Vishnu, and so on. Several native girls were introduced to us, but only one who was pretty, and who has just been betrothed to the father of the rajah. The young Ranees, or whatever they are called, are very shy, and stand with their eyes closed, but the older ones had great fun when we were going away in pouring the attar over our gowns, and utterly spoiled mine, which was silk: next time I shall go in muslin. When we came down, the trays for G. were brought in; they covered what would be called a very large room, and some of the gold stuffs have turned out to be very beautiful. It is a stupid etiquette, that we are not to appear to see these presents. It is a tribute, and the superior is to be too grand to see what the inferior offers. When that was done, we went to the illumination, which was done on a very large scale, but not so neatly as at home; then to the boat, where the rajah accompanied us, and there was a second illumination on the river, much more beautiful than the first—and the blue lights, and the crowds, and the great pile of buildings made a grand show. We got back at eleven, very tired and starving hungry, but it was a curious sight and much to be remembered. There! now you have borne all that so well, you shall not have any more of it, though probably we shall have more than enough. The kincob catastrophe was, that some of our servants were so over-tempted by it, that without the slightest respect for time or place, the instant we had walked over it they snatched it up and carried it off. It would have been sent to them to-morrow from the rajah, but it was a shameful thing to do; and as the Government House servants fancy they may oppress any and everybody during their journeys, Captain J. assembled all who went with us, and the chief culprits were picked out and discharged. There are five victims, but luckily only one who is a very old servant. It is a great bore, as we have brought them a great way from their homes, and it is difficult to replace them here.


Mohun ke Serai.

WE made our first march. The bugle sounds at half-past five to wake us, though the camels perform that ceremony rather earlier, and we set off at six as the clock strikes, for as nobody is allowed to precede the Governor-General, it would be hard upon the camp if we were inexact. The comfort of that rule is inexpressible, as we escape all dust that way. G. and F., with Captain N. and Captain M., went in the carriage towards Chumar, and I went with Captain J., Captain D., and W. the regular route, each on our elephant half-way, and the other half on horseback.

It is very pleasant and cool at that time, really nice weather, and we had a short march—only seven miles and a half. It seems somehow wicked to move 12,000 people with their tents, elephants, camels, horses, trunks, &c., for so little, but there is no help for it. There were a great many robberies in the camp last night. Mrs. A. saw a man on his hands and knees creeping through her tent, but she called out, and he ran away without taking anything. Mr. B. says, when he and his wife were encamped last year on this spot, which is famous for thieves, they lost everything, even the shawl that was on the bed, and the clothes Mrs. B. had left out for the morning wear, and he had to sew her up in a blanket and drive her to Benares for fresh things. W. and I went out on the elephant in search of a sketch in the afternoon, and G. and F. came back to dinner very much pleased with their expedition. Those unfortunate men who were parted with yesterday have plagued my heart out all day. Of course, Captain J.’s soft heart was melted early in the morning, and he came to beg to have them back again, but he owns it was a shocking atrocity according to the customs of the country, and if we were too easy about it, of course it would be said that G. despised and affronted the native princes, and even that our servants would think so; but still it was difficult to be firm. There is something so very imploring in these people. Three times they contrived to get into my tent with their relations, and some of the old servants to help them, and they cry, and lay hold of one’s feet, and somehow it seems so odd not to forgive anybody who wishes it even less humbly than they do.

My jemadar was interpreting for them, with tears rolling down all the time, and it shocked me when he said: ‘They say that they have followed lordship and ladyship great way from their own homes; they made one fault, one very bad one, but God Almighty even forgive everybody once, else what become of us all?’ I could not help thinking of the ‘seventy times seven;’ and if we were forgiven only once, what, as he says, would become of us? However, I pacified them to a certain degree by giving them money enough to take them back to Calcutta, and explained that if it had been any offence against our customs we should have overlooked it directly, but as it was a great disrespect to one of their own princes we could not, out of regard to their own country, forgive it; and any compliment to India goes a great way. My men told me afterwards, that it was very true one native would tell the other that the rajah had been ill-treated, and that they would say this Governor lets even his servants hurt the people. W. said the Sepoys were all talking it over, and were glad the men were punished.

Tamarhabad, Friday, Nov. 24.

We marched ten miles to-day. These moves are the most amusing part of the journey; besides the odd native groups, our friends catch us up in their déshabille—Mrs. A. carrying the baby in an open carriage; Mrs. C. with hers fast asleep in a tonjaun; Miss H. on the top of an elephant, pacifying the big boy of the A.s; Captain D. riding on in a suit of dust-coloured canvas, with a coal-heaver’s hat, going as hard as he can, to see that the tent is ready for his wife; Mrs. B. carrying Mr. B.’s pet cat in her palanquin carriage, with her ayah opposite guarding the parroquet from the cat. Then Giles comes bounding by, in fact, run away with, but apologises for passing us when we arrive, by saying he was going on to take care that tea was ready for us. Then we overtake Captain D.’s dogs, all walking with red great coats on—our dogs all wear coats in the morning; then Chance’s servant stalking along, with a great stick in one hand, a shawl draped over his livery, and Chance’s nose peeping from under the shawl. F.’s pets travel in her cart. We each have a cart, but I can never find anything to put in mine. There are fakeers who always belong to a camp, and beat their drums just by the first tent, and the instant this drum is heard everybody thinks of their breakfast and hurries on; and the Sepoys and servants are so glad to get to the end of the march, that they throw the fakeer a cowrie, or some infinitely small coin, by which he lives.

Mr. A. came over yesterday evening. They brought Mr. G. as far as Chroppra, his station, and he is to follow us to Allahabad, when the wedding will take place.

Goofrein, Sunday, Nov. 26.

We came another ten miles yesterday, and always halt on Sunday. All these places are so exactly like each other—a mere sandy plain with a tank and a little mosque near at hand—that I never can make out why they have any names; there is nothing to give a name to. The Rajah of Benares marches with us till we come to his frontier, and he always encamps within half a mile of us. He expressed a wish yesterday to see our horses, so Captain M., who takes charge of the stables, went himself this morning with all the whole concern. There are sixty horses altogether in our stables—as the aides-de-camp keep theirs with ours, and the syces are all dressed alike—so it made a very good show; and there were 140 elephants. Captain M. and the rajah sat on two ivory chairs, in front of the rajah’s tent, and the horses and carriages and elephants were all led round, and he asked the name of every animal, and which each of us rode, and any that he admired he had brought round a second time. It is one of the few civilities that amuse a native, so we were glad it answered so well. Soon after the horses returned, the nazir and three or four of the native servants came into my tent in great perturbation: the rajah had sent the nazir a pair of shawls, one shawl to the elephant jemadar, and another to G.’s mahout, and 300 rupees in little bags for the syces and elephant coolies. And after the fuss that was made a few days ago, about the servants taking no presents, the nazir clearly thought he was in danger of losing his place for having one offered to him. ‘My shawls are a present, therefore, I fear,’ he said in his most timid tone. I sent for Mr. B., who said there was no doubt that, as it was a private civility from the Governor-General to the rajah, sending his own horses, &c. &c., that the servants might keep their presents. I never saw people so happy as they were. Mr. Y. read and preached so well to-day: it was the first Sunday in tents, and the largest one was very well arranged, like a chapel. We had a larger congregation than I expected, nearly sixty; amongst them some old European soldiers, who looked very respectable. It was odd and rather awful to think that sixty Christians should be worshipping God in this desert, which is not their home, and that 12,000 false worshippers should be standing round under the orders of these few Christians on every point, except the only one that is of any importance; the idolaters, too, being in their own land, and with millions within reach, who all despise and detest our faith.

Tuesday, Nov. 28.

Yesterday we made an expedition to Mirzapore, the great carpet manufactory. We left the camp at a quarter before six, by torchlight, and went nine miles across the country to Mirzapore, leaving the camp to pursue its own straight road. We found the usual assortment of magistrates, judges, collectors, &c. &c., with boats, carriages, and tonjauns: crossed the river; landed G., who went off to see the jail and manufactories. We stuck to the boat to draw a most beautiful ghaut, a mass of temples and carving. When that was done, we went to see the house of a rich native, every inch of which is painted in arabesques, all done by native artists, and very curious. Then we saw the town, and then went to the house of Mr. K., the magistrate, where there was all the society of the place—thirty gentlemen and one lady—and we got some breakfast at ten, when we were on the point of perishing. The excellent Mr. K., like an upright judge as he is, had made out a dressing-room with two sofas and books, and every comfort, for F. and me. Major L. was at luncheon: he is the man who has taken most of the Thugs, and he told me such horrid stories of them. The temple at which they dedicate themselves to the goddess of destruction is in this town. The Thugs offer human sacrifices there whenever they can procure them. We left Mirzapore at four, and overtook our camp at six. It looked pretty by torchlight. We moved on another ten miles this morning, but, where we are, I cannot precisely tell you. I think it sounds like Gugga Gange; at all events, that is as good as the real word.


Camp near Allahabad, Nov. 30, 1837.

I SENT off one journal to you two days ago from a place that, it since appears, was called Bheekee. Yesterday we started at half-past five, as it was a twelve miles’ march, and the troops complain if they do not get in before the sun grows hot, so we had half an hour’s drive in the dark, and F. rode the last half of the way. I came on in the carriage, as I did not feel well, and one is sick and chilly naturally before breakfast. Not but that I like these morning marches; the weather is so English, and feels so wholesome when one is well. The worst part of a march is the necessity of everybody, sick or well, dead or dying, pushing on with the others. Luckily there is every possible arrangement made for it. There are beds on poles for sick servants and palanquins for us, which are nothing but beds in boxes. I have lent mine to Mrs. C. G. and I went on an elephant through rather a pretty little village in the evening, and he was less bored than usual, but I never saw him hate anything so much as he does this camp life. I have long named my tent ‘Misery Hall.’ F. said it was very odd, as everybody observed her tent was like a fairy palace.

‘Mine is not exactly that,’ G. said; ‘indeed I call it Foully Palace, it is so very squalid-looking.’ He was sitting in my tent in the evening, and when the purdahs are all down, all the outlets to the tents are so alike that he could not find which crevice led to his abode; and he said at last, ‘Well! it is a hard case; they talk of the luxury in which the Governor-General travels, but I cannot even find a covered passage from Misery Hall to Foully Palace.’

This morning we are on the opposite bank of the river to Allahabad, almost a mile from it. It will take three days to pass the whole camp. Most of the horses and the body-guard are gone to-day, and have got safely over. The elephants swim for themselves, but all the camels, which amount now to about 850, have to be passed in boats: there are hundreds of horses and bullocks, and 12,000 people.

I am sure it would have done Mrs. Trimmer’s heart good to see them all on the beach this evening. I thought of her print of the Israelites crossing the Red Sea—a skimpy representation, but it was the first idea we had of that event. The picture at Stafford House enlarged my notions, and now I think I have come to the real thing, and indeed am a Red Sea Israelite myself.

Allahabad, Dec. 2.

We crossed the river at seven yesterday morning. The Ganges and Jumna join each other here, and this junction makes the water so uncommonly precious and sacred, that Hindus come here from all parts of the country on pilgrimage. The rich Hindus at a great distance buy the water, and we met strings of pilgrims yesterday carrying jars of it, with which they will travel farther south than Calcutta.

We were met at the ghaut by a large collection of residents. I hate a great station, and Allahabad has a very modern, uninteresting, sandy look about it.

Foully Palace looked particularly unhappy this morning. G.’s furniture, somehow, was deluged, and his whole stock of comfort amounted to one cane chair and a table, and he called us all in to see his eastern luxury. I handsomely offered to lend him the armchair Mr. D. gave me, and which is so continually my companion, ‘my goods, my chattels, my household stuff,’ that I had no doubt it was in ‘Misery Hall.’ I told my little ameer to give it to the Lord Sahib, but he told me afterwards, ‘Ladyship’s chair in river too, but me find arm-chair in other tent, and me put Lord Sahib in it.’ I think I see him fixing G. in his chair. Mine is quite safe, I am happy to say.

In the afternoon G. and I, and a Mr. B., rather a clever man, went to see some tombs about three miles off. You know the sort of people who have tombs worth seeing—‘Shah Houssein,’ or ‘Nour Jehan,’ or words to that effect.

However, the tombs were there, and F. and I stayed there sketching till it was quite dusk, and kept the carriage, and G. and Mr. B. and Captain M. rode home such a roundabout way that dinner was cold before they got back.

Monday, Dec. 4.

We had church in camp again yesterday. We received visitors on Saturday evening instead of the morning, by way of an experiment, and it answered much better. It all comes more in the natural way of work than in the heat of the day, and we had the band, and tea, and negus, and sandwiches. It was a regular party, much larger than I expected; the great durbar tent was quite full, and they are a more fashioned-looking set here. By coming in the evening G. sees them, which they prefer, and which, strange to say, he likes too. We have thirty-five of them at dinner to-day, and thirty-seven to-morrow. On Thursday they give us a ball, and on Saturday we depart.

Lucknow and Agra were to have been the two incidents of the journey that were to make up for the bore of all the rest. Lucknow has been cut off, because the King cannot meet the Governor-General, and B. cannot reconcile himself to such a breach of etiquette, the poor old man being bedridden. Agra, they say, is in a state of famine and scarcity. If so, of course it would be very wrong to take our great camp there. So we shall not see the Taj—the only thing that, all Indians say, is worth looking at.

Here there is a sort of Dowager Queen of the Gwalior country; her style and title being ‘the Baiza Baee.’ She is very clever, has been handsome, and, some say, is beautiful still. She cannot endure being only a Dowager Baiza Baee; and being immensely rich, she has been suspected of carrying on intrigues amongst her former subjects. She has always been visited by all great potentates, but B. chose to say that neither G. nor we should go to see her. She took this dreadfully to heart, and has been sending ambassadors and letters and presents without end, and asserted that she would be disgraced for ever if she were so slighted. Then B. went to see her himself, and was either talked over, or was ashamed of always putting spokes in everybody’s wheel; he is a spoke himself and nothing else. Now he wants G. to go: however, he cannot get out of his lordship’s head what he has put into it, and G. will not go, but is going to send us—just the very thing Spoke wanted to prevent.

I am so glad, though it is a great deal of trouble to us; but I am glad out of spite.

Tuesday, Dec. 5.

Our great dinner yesterday went off very well. For the first time since we left Calcutta, indeed almost since we left England, I made yesterday a nice little solitary expedition. G. was gone to the native schools and jails, and F. and W. were out riding. I always have more or less of a headache the day that English letters arrive; they put me in a fuss, even if they are all right; so I thought it would be very nice to escape all companions except Chance, and I told my jemadar to have the tonjaun at the wrong side of the tent, stepped into it, and made them carry me three miles off in search of a very eligible flame-coloured idol, which I had marked down as a good sketch the day we landed. The bearers carry one very fast for that sort of distance, and Chance runs along by the chair in a very satisfactory manner. I am afraid the jemadar thought it an improper and undignified proceeding, for he fetched out every servant I have of the walking character, seventeen scarlet men in all; and the poor hirkarus, who have sat cross-legged for the last two years, ran on first as hard as they could, screaming to everybody to get out of the way. Chance thought it excellent fun, and barked all the time. We passed by the camp of the Nawâb of Banda, who is come to visit G., and has a camp as large as ours, with such strange-looking painted horses pawing about it. I found my idol, made a lovely coloured sketch with quantities of Venetian red, and got back just as it grew dark.

The country about here is hideous, and I cannot imagine why the residents like it. It is very like Calcutta, without the bright green grass, or the advantages of a town, ships, shops, &c.

I went in the morning, with Captain M., to see a native female school, which some of the ladies wanted me to see. I have not the least esteem for them (the schools, not the ladies). The natives take the little girls away from them as soon as they are betrothed—at seven or eight years old—and, even till that age, the children will not come unless they are paid for it. After that time nothing more is seen or known of them, and there has never been an instance of conversion; so there is something in their reading the Bible just as they would any story book that is rather wrong than right, I think. These children seemed to read it more fluently than any I have heard, and the schoolmistress spoke Hindustani exactly like a native, and probably asked very good questions.

The children looked very poor; and luckily half the ceiling of the school fell down while I was there, owing to the successful labours of the white ants, which gave the ladies an opportunity of observing that their funds were in a very bad state. All these sights are very expensive, and I never know exactly what is expected from us. I gave 15l. for all three of us, but it is a very odd system of the good people here, that they never acknowledge any donation. It is supposed to be a gift from Providence; so, whether it is satisfactory to them, or not, remains a mystery.


Thursday, Dec. 7, 1837.

WE had our wedding yesterday morning; the tent made up into a very good chapel. Miss H. was very nicely dressed, and looked very well. Mr. G. was uncommonly happy.

Mr. Y. always puts me in mind of R. He could not build up an altar to his mind, and was prancing up and down the tent, just in one of R.’s ways.

He treated with immense scorn an idea of mine, to try the state housings of the elephant, which are scarlet, embroidered all over in gold; but I sent for them, and you can’t imagine what a fine altar we made, with four arm-chairs for railings, and some carpets and velvet cushions in front. It was quite picturesque, only we were obliged to forewarn Mr. G. that neither he nor H. were to faint away towards the altar, because it would then all come down with a crash. She cried less than I expected; but indeed her spirits were very much kept up by a beautiful shawl G. gave her.

We had a quiet dinner yesterday. Most of the camp dine at a great wedding dinner given by a relation of the A.s.

The young Prince Henry of Orange is at Calcutta, and we heard this morning that he has settled to come up dâk (or travelling day and night in a palanquin) and join us. He will overtake us about Tuesday or Wednesday, between this and Cawnpore.

G. cannot stop here for him, but we leave Captain M. behind to bring him on, and he brings up an extra aide-de-camp from Calcutta.

We are going to put Giles at the head of his establishment, and are organising tiger hunts, &c., on the road for him. I am very glad he is coming. His father wrote such a pretty letter to G. about him, and it will be easy to amuse a boy in a camp.

St. Cloup[B] is in ecstasies at the prince’s arrival.

[B] The Governor-General’s cook.

He was cook to the Prince of Orange at the Hague, and knew this boy as a child—‘un jeune homme charmant!—toujours le chapeau à la main—si poli, si gentil!—Allons, madame, je vais parler au khansamah; nous allons faire bonne chère. Il ne se plaindra pas de son diner, Dieu merci!’

B. is defeated with great loss, and we are going to see the Baiza Baee to-morrow. A Mrs. ——, her great friend, has been here this morning, in the first place to bring Chance a pair of gold bangles and a pair of silver bangles that were made for him by a young officer who saw him at Barrackpore, and who left them to be offered to Chance on his progress. You never saw such a good figure as he is, and he walks just as the native women do, when their ankles are covered with bangles.

Then Mrs. —— came to say that the Baiza Baee had asked her to come and interpret for us, which will be a great comfort. She says the Baiza Baee had said to her, ‘I want to give the Miss Edens a native ball and supper. I think I had better buy a house large enough.’ She stopped that; and now, to save us five miles of dusty road, the Baee is to come down to her private tents, which are pitched only a mile off.

Saturday, Dec. 9.

We had our ball on Thursday—a particularly sleepy one—perhaps my fault, for I could not keep my eyes open; but the dancing seemed sleepy, considering the degree of practice the dancers must have had.

There was an old Mrs. ——, with hair perfectly white, and a nice mob cap over it, who bounded through every quadrille with some spirit, but most of the young people were very languid. We had a great deal of health-drinking and speechifying; but as they understood we liked early hours, they ordered supper at eleven, and after supper, fortunately, my nose began to bleed, which was an excellent excuse for coming away.

Everybody else is much the better for marching. F. is in a state of health and activity perfectly unequalled, and with a really good colour. G. detests his tent and his march, and the whole business so actively, that he will not perceive how well he is. I never shall think a tent comfortable, but I do not hate it so much as G. does, from the dawdlingness of the life; and I would go through much more discomfort for the sake of the coolness of the mornings.

We paid our visit to the Baiza Baee yesterday. The young princess came to fetch us, but as we could not ensure our tents being so completely private as they ought to be, B. asked her, through the curtains of her palanquin, not to get out, and said that we would follow her immediately. So we set off in one carriage, and W. and three other aides-de-camp in the other, and quantities of servants and guards, and her palanquin was carried by the side of our carriage, with six of her ayahs running by it, and a Mahratta horsewoman, all over jewels, riding behind, and hundreds of wild-looking horsemen in such picturesque dresses, galloping backwards and forwards, and the princess’s uncle on an elephant, whom they had painted bright green and blue, and who went at a full trot, much, I should think, to the detriment of ‘my uncle’s’ bones. It was an odd, wild-looking procession, quite unlike anything we have seen yet. The visit to the Baee was very like any other native visit.

She is a clever-looking little old woman, with remains of beauty. She covered us with jewels, chiefly pearls and emeralds, and there were fifteen trays a-piece, for F. and me, filled with beautiful shawls, gauzes, &c.—you never saw such treasures. However, the astutious old lady was fully aware that they all went to the Company, and after we came away was persuaded by Mr. B. to retain them; but she told us confidentially and iniquitously that the jewels had been specially prepared for us, and inferior articles of the same kind would be sent with the list that is always given to Mr. B., so that he could make no claim on these. We laughed, and assured her that was not the usual English custom, and she took them all back again very willingly, except two little rings, which we kept in exchange for ours. Mine was made of pearls in the shape of a mitre, and it looked so handsome on Chance’s tail that W. wanted to apply to B. to know if he would not waive the rights of the Company just in favour of that ring and that tail!

Mooftee-ka-Poorwah, Sunday, Dec. 10.

Yesterday they made a mistake in the time, and called us at half-past four, which gave us an hour’s drive in the dark, over a very bad road, and an hour to wait for breakfast. I never did see so hideous a country, and this is a very ugly station. ‘Foully Palace’ looks particularly striking, as the dust has actually dyed the tents brown, and G.’s disgust is turning him yellow.

He is longing to go back to Calcutta. The weather has grown so much cooler and pleasanter, I cannot agree with him.

Koosseah, Monday, Dec. 11.

We had a sixteen miles’ march, quite as much as the servants and troops could manage, and we were above three hours coming in the carriage.

G. and F. rode the last five miles. We are encamped under trees, and it looks prettier. The King of Oude has sent his cook to accompany us for the next month, and yesterday, when our dinner was set out, his khansamah and kitmutgars arrived with a second dinner, which they put down by the side of the other, and the same at breakfast this morning. Some of the dishes are very good, though too strongly spiced and perfumed for English tastes. They make up some dishes with assafœtida! but we stick to the rice and pilaus and curries. St. Cloup is so cross about them.

The king has also sent greyhounds and huntsmen, and a great many beautiful hawks, and we are going out hunting this afternoon if the elephants are rested after their long march. To-morrow, F. and I mean to strike off from the camp to a place called Kurrah, where there are some beautiful tombs, and we shall have a tent there, with breakfast and luncheon. It is three miles from the camp, and all our cool light time would be lost if we went there and back from the camp.

Kistoghur, Wednesday, Dec. 13.

Our hunting expedition was on a grand scale, huntsmen and spearmen and falconers in profusion, and twelve elephants, and five miles of open country, and the result was, that we killed one innocent and unsuspecting black crow, and two tame paddy birds, which one of the falconers quietly turned out. But it was a grand sight, and I have made a rare sketch of some of the people.

F. and I went off to Kurrah yesterday morning, and found three tents pitched opposite to a beautiful tomb. G. and Captain N. left us after they had seen two or three ruins, and we stayed out sketching with P. and M. till breakfast time. The sketching mania is spreading luckily, for as these young gentlemen must go with us, it will be a great blessing both for themselves and us if they can draw too. P. has set up a book, and seems to draw well. These little quiet encampments are very pleasant, after the great dusty camp.

W. had meant to shoot at Kurrah; he always goes on the day before, as he hates getting up early and likes living alone; but there was some mistake about his tent last night, and when he arrived with a tired horse over a cross-road, there was nothing but his bed, and no tent, and all the servants sleeping round a large fire. The servants said, ‘O, Sahib went away very impassionate.’

We went on our elephants at four, to see the fort, an old ruin, on a real, steep rock, with a great bird’s-eye view of the Oude country. Certainly a hill is a valuable article. We then joined the camp, through four miles of old temples and tombs, and the ground about as uneven as that at Eastcombe. Altogether, Kurrah answered to us.

We had rather a large dinner afterwards.

Futtehpore, Dec. 15.

Yesterday we were at a very dull place, Thurriah by name, and were not even tempted to ride out of the camp. The band plays in the afternoon, between five and six, which I established, because at dinner it is impossible to listen comfortably; and it really plays so beautifully, it is a pity not to hear it.

All the party walk up and down what we call High Street in front of our tents. The Y.s with their two children, he taking a race with his boy, and then helping to pack a camel. The ‘vicarage’ is always the tent that is first struck. The A.s slink off down A-alley, at the back of their tent, because in her present state of figure she is ashamed to be seen; the C.s take an elephant. Colonel P. walks up and down waiting to help Mrs. R. off her horse, and wishing she would not ride with her husband.

Mrs. L. toddles about with her small child, and L. always makes some excuse for not walking with ‘Carry dear.’ The officers of the escort and their wives all pursue their domestic walks; the aides-de-camp and doctor get their newspapers and hookahs in a cluster on their side of the street. W. has his hookah in front of his tent, and F. sits with him, and they feed his dogs and elephants. G. and I and Chance sit in front of my tent. Altogether it is a public sort of meeting, in which everybody understands that they are doing their domestic felicity, and nobody takes the slightest notice of anybody else.

Futtehpore, Dec. 16.

The Prince of Orange arrived at two yesterday. He is a fair, quiet-looking boy, and is very shy and very silent. He did not seem the least tired with ten days and nights of palanquin. We sent the carriage to meet him some miles off, with some luncheon. G. pressed him to try a warm bath, and five minutes after saw his own cherished green tub carried over.

‘I really can’t stand that,’ he said; ‘if he keeps my tub, there must be war with Holland immediately. I shall take Batavia, and tell the guns at Fort William to fire on the Bellona at once.’

We all went out on elephants in the afternoon; Captain A. (the Dutch captain and tutor), and Captain C., and all. The prince came on my elephant; and we saw some beautiful mosques and ruins. Also, there are twenty native chiefs encamped about, who had come from a great distance to meet G.; so there were quantities of strange sights for our guest.

We march again on Monday, and I believe that F. and I shall go to Lucknow the week after next, from Cawnpore.

This must go.


Maharajpore, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1837.

I HAVE let three or four days slip by since my last immense Journal started from Futtehpore.

I had such a number of letters to answer in other directions, and then our young prince takes up much of my time, as everything here is new to him, and he seems surprised at the horses, camels, and elephants, &c. He is continually asking if the carriage will not be overturned, which is not an unnatural question, for the roads are so bad, the wonder is that it does not overturn constantly; but a sailor would be able to jump out, and I dare say at his age he would rather like the carriage to be upset.

The gentlemen all went off on a shooting expedition yesterday to Serajapore. F. and I stuck to the camp with great difficulty, for our horses, though we change every five miles, knocked up entirely. The sands are half-way up the wheels occasionally.

G. shot for the first time from an elephant, which is considered very difficult, till people are accustomed to stand on its back, and he killed three hares and three quails. Mr. T. killed the only niel ghâu that was seen, but altogether they were much pleased at having found anything.

Cawnpore, Dec. 21.

The prince was quite bent upon taking a sketch yesterday afternoon, as he saw us all sketching. All our elephants were tired with the long marches we have had the last two days. However, that attentive creature, ‘neighbour Oude,’ sent us down six new ones this morning, so G. and I got on one, and put B. with the prince on another, P. on another by his side. We discovered a very pretty Hindu temple, and all set to work sketching.

The prince got off his elephant because he said it shook him so, and he would have made a good picture, sitting in my tonjaun, with crowds of spearmen and bearers all round him; B., who does not draw, in an attitude of resigned bore standing by him, and he, looking like a young George III. on a seven-shilling piece, peering up at the temple, and wondering how he was to begin. However, it amused him, and he has passed several hours since, touching it up.

This morning we made one of our grand entries into Cawnpore, or rather on to it; for there is no particular Cawnpore visible. But we drove over a miniature plain to our tents.

F., G., and all the gentlemen, even to Y., on his fat pony, rode in, and Prince Henry, his captain, P., and I came in the open carriage. We were met by tribes of officers, and there were two regiments of cavalry and two of infantry, and guns and bands, and altogether it was just the sight for a foreigner to see, and they seemed to like it accordingly. But we began by the four young horses in the carriage running restive. They either could not, or would not, draw the carriage over a bad pass, so at last I proposed that to save time we should take to our elephants, of which there were luckily several following us.

Cawnpore, Saturday, Dec. 23.

G. had his levée an hour after we arrived, and we had our party the same evening, for this is one of those dreadful large stations where there is not a chance of getting through all our duties if we lose an hour’s time.

It was lucky we had the large tent pitched, for there were between 200 and 300 people at our party. Luckily I thought a dance might be made out, which the Prince of Orange likes, and they had battened the floor of the tent till it was smooth; so the dancing went on very well.

It was the more essential, because, with every chair and sofa assembled from all the other tents, we could not make up a hundred seats, so it was necessary to keep part of the company constantly dancing.

There were two or three old Calcutta faces, difficult to name, amongst the company, but it was easy to seem glad to see them and to say, ‘What! are you here?’ though I scorned myself for knowing that I had not an idea who ‘you’ was. I see it is one of those crowded stations where it is better not to fatigue a failing memory by any attempt at names. Thirty-five of them dined with us yesterday, but I am no wiser and no worse. Yesterday morning we went to a fancy sale, which had been put off for our advantage. We found it extremely difficult to get rid of the necessary sum of money, but by dint of buying frocks and pelisses and caps for all the little A.s and C.s and Y.s of the camp, it was finally accomplished.

Monday (Christmas Day), Dec. 25.

I must go back to my Journal, dearest; but having just come from church, I must begin by wishing you and yours a great many happy Christmases. This is our third Christmas-day, so, however appearances are against it, time does really roll on. I don’t know why, but I am particularly Indianly low to-day. There is such a horrid mixture of sights and sounds for Christmas. The servants have hung garlands at the doors of our tents, and (which is very wrong) my soul recoiled when they all assembled, and in their patois wished us, I suppose, a happy Christmas.

Somehow a detestation of the Hindustani language sounding all round us, came over me in a very inexplicable manner.

Then, though nothing could be better than the way in which Mr. Y. performed the service, still it was in a tent, and unnatural, and we were kneeling just where the Prince of Lucknow and his son, and their turbaned attendants, were sitting on Saturday at the durbar, and there was nobody except G. with whom I felt any real communion of heart and feelings. So, you see, I just cried for you and some others, and I daresay I shall be better after luncheon.

To return to my journal. G. had a hard day’s work on Saturday, and so had everybody. We gave a breakfast to the heir-apparent of Lucknow and to sixty people; the utmost number we can accommodate.

Four aides-de-camp went, at seven in the morning, all the way to his camp (five miles) to fetch him. W. and Mr. P. met him half-way; B. again, a mile off; and then G., the Prince of Orange, and all the chief officers of station, at the end of our street.

Each individual is on an elephant, and the shock at the meeting was very amusing. A great many howdahs were broken, and it is a mercy that some of the people were not killed, for the Nawâb scatters money as he goes along, and the natives get under the elephants to find it. G. and the Nawâb embrace on meeting, and the visitor gets into the howdah of the visited, in which friendly fashion they arrived.

F. and I had taken our places in the durbar tent on the left hand of his lordship, and Mrs. A. and Mrs. B. and Mrs. J. and Mrs. Y. behind us. We could not ask any of the ladies of the station, for want of room.

The durbar and the speeches and compliments were all the same as usual, except that this is a real king’s son, so that the presents that G. gave were really handsome, and also he is the first native who has eaten with us.

St. Cloup gave us a magnificent breakfast. G. sugared and creamed the Nawâb’s tea, and the Nawâb gave him some pilau. Then he put a slice of buttered toast (rather cold and greasy) on one plate for me, and another for F., and B. said in an imposing tone, ‘His Royal Highness sends the Burra Lady this, and the Choota Lady that,’ and we looked immeasurable gratitude. At the end of breakfast, two hookahs were brought in, that the chiefs might smoke together, and a third for Colonel L., the British resident, that his consequence might be kept up in the eyes of the Lucknowites, by showing that he is allowed to smoke at the Governor-General’s table. The old khansamah wisely took care to put no tobacco in G.’s hookah, though it looked very grand and imposing with its snake and rose-water. G. says he was quite distressed; he could not persuade it to make the right kind of bubbling noise.

After breakfast we went back to the durbar, and the presents were given and dresses of honour to two of his suite, and altogether it was a two hours’ business. However, it was really a fine sight, though tedious. I got Mr. D. to change places with me, and made an excellent sketch of this immensely fat prince with his pearls and emeralds and gold, and G. by his side. Prince Henry was charmed with the show, and said to Giles, who evidently possesses his confidence, ‘I hope the King of Lucknow shall give me presents, because I may keep them; may you keep them, if you get any?’ Giles said, ‘No; he was the Governor-General’s servant, and could not be allowed to keep presents.’ ‘Oh! say you are my servant, and then B. cannot touch your presents,’ Prince Henry said. Giles told me the story with a grin of delight, and I could only say with Falstaff, ‘He is indeed the most comparative, rascalliest, sweet young prince. Indeed, able to corrupt a saint.’


Cawnpore, Dec. 28, 1837.

MY Journal is in a bad way, actually extinguished by the quantity that I should have to put into it, if there were any writing time left.

Tuesday morning the Prince of Oude returned our breakfast by one at his tents, which were pitched about five miles off. F. and I went in the carriage till the last minute, when we had to get on our elephants, but the other poor wretches had to come jolting along the whole way. The Prince of Oude’s tents are very large, and he had asked the whole station, and with his quantity of troops and odd-looking attendants, it was a very curious sight, and he did it in a very gentlemanlike way.

The presents were very magnificent. He had had two diamond combs made on purpose for F. and me, mounted in an European fashion. They are worth at least 1,500l. a-piece, and what distresses B. is, that they are of no use to give again, as natives can make no use whatever of them; there were also two lovely pairs of earrings, a single uncut emerald drop, with one large diamond at the top, really beautiful stones, not those that are so common here, full of flaws. The trays of shawls were just as usual, but the jewels had been made up on purpose, and the Prince of Oude asked leave to show them to us himself, though it is the general and foolish custom to take no notice of what is given.

This is the first time the presents have excited my cupidity. Not the combs—I am grown too old for a comb; but those emerald earrings! I should like them, should not you? They will be sold probably at Delhi.

Tuesday night the station gave us a ball and supper, and on Wednesday morning at eight, W., P., F., and I set off in two buggies, which took us down to a bridge of boats; beyond that we found our elephants, who carried us over three miles of sand utterly impassable for a carriage, and then we came to the palanquin carriage.

Our own twelve horses took us by stages of five miles to a tent of the King of Oude’s, which he had had pitched for us, and where his cook had made a grand luncheon for us. Then three relays of his horses took us on to Lucknow. His postilions were dressed much like our own, and drove very tolerably; but the road was so awfully bad, we were shaken about the carriage most uncomfortably and covered with dust. I felt so like Madame Duval in Evelina, after the captain had shaken her and rolled her in the ditch. The king sent guards for us all the way, such beautiful figures! All scarlet and green, with brass basons on their heads, and shields and spears. Just as we came to the town, we passed the Prince of Orange, Captain A., Captain K., M., and Giles still in their palanquins, though they had gone off from the ball the night before.

The residence is a fine house, not much furnished, but there is a beautiful view from the window, which is uncommon in this country.

We found Rosina and Myra perfectly miserable. They had arrived with all our goods and all our men-servants two days before, and somehow had been particularly helpless, and had not found out where to get their food. Myra, F.’s ayah, is a Portuguese, and can eat anything, and dines after our servants; but Rosina, being a Mussulmaunee, can only eat certain things, and they must be cooked in a brass pot called a ‘lotah;’ and Major J. had told her not to bring her ‘lotah,’ for at the residence they would find everything cooked by Mussulmauns. So she and Myra had wisely sat and cried, instead of going to the bazaar and buying what they wanted. However, the instant we came, they were satisfied they would not be murdered or starved, and they proved themselves excellent ladies’ maids.

We set off early on Wednesday morning in two of the king’s carriages, and saw the tombs of Saadut Ali and his wife. A very fine building, but the wife is not allowed any little tops to the cupola of her tomb, which is mean. Then to ‘Constantia,’ a sort of castle in a fine jungly park, built by an old General La Martine, who came out to India a private soldier, and died worth more than a million. I wish we had come out in those days.

He left his house at Constantia to the public. Any European in want of change of air might go with his family and live there for a month, and beyond the month, unless another family wanted it. This would be a great convenience to the few English in Oude, particularly to poor officers; so of course, for thirty years, the Supreme Court has been doubting whether the will meant what it said it meant, and the house has been going to decay; but it is now decided that people may live there, and it is all to be repaired.

Then we went to Dilkushar, a country palace of the king’s, very pretty, and then to a tomb of a former king, where there are silver tigers as large as life, a silver fish, a silver mosque, and all sorts of curiosities, and priests who read the Koran night and day. Then we came home to breakfast and to rest, and the gentlemen went to the prison to see some Thugs.

You have heard about them before, a respectable body of many thousand individuals, who consider it a point of religion to inveigle and murder travellers, which they do so neatly that ‘Thuggee’ had prospered for 2,000 years before it was discovered.

A Captain G. here is one of its great persecutors officially, but by dint of living with Thugs he has evidently grown rather fond of them, and has acquired a latent taste for strangling. One of the Thugs in the prison told the gentlemen: ‘I have killed three hundred people since I began;’ and another said, ‘I have killed only eighty myself, but my father has done much more.’

Then they acted over amongst themselves a scene of Thuggee. Some of them pretended to be travellers, and the others joined them and flattered them, and asked them to sit down and smoke, and then pointed up to the sun, or a bird; and when the traveller looked up, the noose was round his neck in an instant, and of course, as a real traveller, he would have been buried in five minutes.

Then they threw the noose over one of Colonel L.’s surwars who was cantering by, just to show him how they could have strangled him. I think it is a great shame allowing them to repeat their parts, but they really believe they have only done their duty. They say they would not steal from a house, or a tent, but they have a profession of their own, and all these men regret very much that they cannot teach their sons to walk in the right way.

In the afternoon we went to see the Emaunberra and Rooma Durwanee, two of the most magnificent native buildings I have seen yet. About a week of hard sketching would have been really pleasant amongst them, and we had only half-an-hour. However, we saw a great deal for the time, and we are uncommonly lucky in our weather. It is just right, a sort of spring afternoon; very pleasant.

Friday morning we set off in great state to see Mr. B. (who has come in G.’s place); meet the Prince of Lucknow. It was much the same meeting as that at Cawnpore; but the prince gave us afterwards a breakfast in the palace, which we wanted to see very much, and which was quite as Arabian-Nightish as I meant it to be.

The throne is gold, with its canopy and umbrella and pillars covered with cloth of gold, embroidered in pearls and small rubies. Our fat friend the prince was dressed to match his throne. All his brothers, twenty at least, appeared too—rather ill-conditioned young gentlemen; and there were jugglers and nautch-girls and musicians, all working at their vocations during breakfast.

The late king drank himself to death about six months ago; and then there was a sort of revolution conducted by Colonel L. (who was nearly killed in this palace), by which the present king was placed on the throne; so these are early days for acting royalty. Mr. B. went in to the old king, who is nearly bedridden, and he said he was quite affected by the old man. He translated to him G.’s letter, in which G. said how much he had been pleased with his heir-apparent’s manner, and the old king looked up, and held out his hand to his son, who rose and salaamed down to the ground three times. Mr. B., who is almost a native in language, and knows them thoroughly, said he was quite touched; it is so seldom natives show any emotion of that kind.

There was a fight of wild beasts after breakfast, elephants, rhinoceroses, rams, &c., but we excused ourselves, as there often are accidents at these fights. The gentlemen all went, and so did Giles, and they were quite delighted, and said we ought to have seen it.

In the afternoon we went to see the king’s yacht, which he had decked out for us, and then his garden. Such a place! the only residence I have coveted in India. Don’t you remember where in the ‘Arabian Nights,’ Zobeide bets her ‘garden of delights’ against the Caliph’s ‘palace of pictures?’ I am sure this was ‘the garden of delights!’

There are four small palaces in it, fitted up in the eastern way, with velvet and gold and marble, with arabesque ceilings, orange trees and roses in all directions, with quantities of wild parroquets of bright colours glancing about. And in one palace there was an immense bath-room of white marble, the arches intersecting each other in all directions, and the marble inlaid with cornelian and bloodstone; and in every corner of the palace there were little fountains; even during the hot winds, they say, it is cool from the quantity of water playing; and in the verandah there were fifty trays of fruits and flowers laid out for us,—by which the servants profited. It was really a very pretty sight. Then we went to the stud where the horses were displayed; the most curious was a Cutch horse (Cutch is, I opine, the name of a particular district, but I never ask questions, I hate information). He looked as if he had had a saddle of mutton cut out of his back. They said he was very easy to ride, but apt to stumble.

There was to have been a return breakfast to the heir-apparent at Colonel L.’s on Saturday morning, but that would have made our journey back very late; so it was commuted for some fireworks in the evening. We went back to the palace after dinner, or rather to another palace on the river. On the opposite bank there was an illumination in immense letters, ‘God save George Lord Auckland, Governor-General of India,’ ‘God save the King of Oude,’ and then there was a full stop, and ‘Colonel L., Resident of Lucknow,’ stood alone. Whether he was to be saved or not was not mentioned; it was not very correctly spelt, but well-meant. My jemadar asked me afterwards, ‘Did Ladyship see “God save my Lord?" I thought it very excellent, very neat.’ The river was covered with rafts full of fireworks, and the boats in front were loaded with nautch-girls, who dance on, whether they are looked at or not. The Prince of Orange was charmed with his evening.


Cawnpore, New Year’s Day, 1838.

ANOTHER year! You will be nearly half through it by the time you read this.

I was so obliged to you for those extracts from Charles Lamb. I had seen that about the two hemispheres in some newspaper, and have been longing for the book ever since.

‘Boz’s Magazine’ is disappointing. I wish he would not mix up his great Pickwick name with meaner works. It is odd how long you were writing about Pickwick, and yet I felt all the time, though we are no judges of fun in this place, that it must be everywhere the cleverest thing that has appeared in our time. I had laughed twenty times at that book. Then there is always a quotation to be had from Pickwick for everything that occurs anywhere.

That Mr. Q., of ——, who has been living with us for a month, and who admires Chance, as a clever demon, but is afraid of him, always says, if Chance goes near him at dessert:—‘Bring some cake directly! good old Chance! good little dog! the cake is coming,’ so like Pickwick and his ‘good old horse.’

We returned from Lucknow on Saturday, with no accident but that of breaking the dicky; which, considering the state of the roads, was marvellous. I never felt such jolting, and it was very hot in the middle of the day; and G., who does not believe in fatigue, had asked five-and-twenty people to dinner.

We parted with the Prince of Orange at Lucknow, which is something saved in point of trouble. He has liked his visit, I fancy, though it did not excite him much.

The dust at Cawnpore has been quite dreadful the last two days. People lose their way on the plains, and everything is full of dust—books, dinner, clothes, everything. We all detest Cawnpore. It is here, too, that we first came into the starving districts. They have had no rain for a year and a half; the cattle all died, and the people are all dying or gone away.

They are employed here by Government; every man, woman, or child, who likes to do the semblance of a day’s work is paid for it, and there is a subscription for feeding those who are unable to work at all. But many who come from a great distance die of the first food they touch. There are as many as twenty found dead on the plain in the morning.

Powrah, Thursday, Jan. 4.

We left Cawnpore on Tuesday, and now that we are out of reach of the District Societies, &c., the distress is perfectly dreadful.

You cannot conceive the horrible sights we see, particularly children; perfect skeletons in many cases, their bones through their skin, without a rag of clothing, and utterly unlike human creatures. Our camp luckily does more good than harm. We get all our supplies from Oude, and we can give away more than any other travellers.

We began yesterday giving food away in the evening; there were about 200 people, and Giles and the old khansamah distributed it, and I went with Major J. to see them, but I could not stay. We can do no more than give what we do, and the sight is much too shocking. The women look as if they had been buried, their skulls look so dreadful.

I am sure there is no sort of violent atrocity I should not commit for food, with a starving baby. I should not stop to think about the rights or wrongs of the case.

As usual, dear Shakspeare knew all about it. He must have been at Cawnpore at the time of a famine—

Famine is in thy cheeks,
Need and oppression startle in thine eyes,
The world is not thy friend, nor the world’s law.
Then be not poor, but break it.

G. and I walked down to the stables this morning before breakfast, and found such a miserable little baby, something like an old monkey, but with glazed, stupid eyes, under the care of another little wretch of six years old. I am sure you would have sobbed to see the way in which the little atom flew at a cup of milk, and the way in which the little brother fed it. Rosina has discovered the mother since, but she is a skeleton too, and she says for a month she has had no food to give it. Dr. D. says it cannot live, it is so diseased with starvation, but I mean to try what can be done for it.

Kynonze, Sunday, Jan. 7.

We go on from bad to worse; this is a large village, and the distress greater. Seven hundred were fed yesterday, and the struggle was so violent that I have just seen the magistrate, Mr. ——, who is travelling with us, and asked him for his police. We have plenty of soldiers and servants, but they hardly know what to do; they cannot strike the poor creatures, and yet they absolutely fight among themselves for the food. Captain M. saw three people drop down dead in the village yesterday, and there were several on our line of march. My baby is alive, the mother follows the camp, and I have it four times a day at the back of my tent, and feed it. It is rather touching to see the interest the servants take in it, though there are worse objects about, or else I have got used to this little creature.

This is a great place for ruins, and was supposed to be the largest town in India in the olden time, and the most magnificent. There are some good ruins for sketching remaining, and that is all. An odd world certainly! Perhaps two thousand years hence, when the art of steam has been forgotten, and nobody can exactly make out the meaning of the old English word ‘mail-coach,’ some black Governor-General of England will be marching through its southern provinces, and will go and look at some ruins, and doubt whether London ever was a large town, and will feed some white-looking skeletons, and say what distress the poor creatures must be in; they will really eat rice and curry; and his sister will write to her Mary D. at New Delhi, and complain of the cold, and explain to her with great care what snow is, and how the natives wear bonnets, and then, of course, mention that she wants to go home. Do you like writing to me? I hate writing in general, but these long letters to you are the comfort of my existence. I always have my portfolio carried on in my palanquin, which comes on early, because then, if I have anything to say to you before breakfast, I can say it, and I dare say it would be unwholesome to suppress a thought before breakfast.

Camp, Umreetpoor, Saturday, Jan. 13.

We have had three days’ rest at Futtehghur; rest at least for the horses and bullocks, who were all worn out with the bad roads, and we started again this morning; crossed the Ganges on a bridge of boats, and after five miles of very remarkably heavy sand, with hackeries and dying ponies, and obstinate mules sticking in it, in all directions, we came to a road available again for the dear open carriage and for horses. The others all rode, and I brought on Mrs. A., who has no carriage, and who gets tired to death of her palanquin and elephant.

G. and I went with Y., Dr. D., and A. and M. one morning before breakfast to see a Dr. ——, who is supposed to be very scientific, but his science seems rather insane. He insists upon it that the North Pole is at Gwalior, about thirty miles from here, and that some magnetic stones he brought from there prove it by the direction in which the needle stands on them. One needle would not stand straight on one stone, and he said that stone must have been picked up a little on one side of the exact North Pole. Then he took us to a table covered with black and white little bricks, something like those we used to have in the nursery, and he said that by a course of magnetic angles, the marks of which he discovers on his magnetic stones, any piece of wood that was cut by his directions became immediately an exact representation of Solomon’s Temple.

‘Don’t say it is ingenious! I can’t help it; it is the work of magnetic power, not mine; Solomon’s Temple will fall out of whatever I undertake.’

I looked at G. and the others, but they all seemed quite convinced, and I began to think we must all be in a Futtehghur Bedlam, only they were all too silent. To fill up the pause, I asked him how long he was discovering Solomon’s Temple. ‘Only seven years,’ he said, ‘but it is not my discovery; it must be so according to my magnetic angles. When this discovery reaches Europe (which it will through you, ma’am, for I am going to present you with Solomon’s Temple), there will be an end of all their science; they must begin again.’

Then Mrs. —— put in: ‘Yes, the Doctor said, as soon as he heard you were coming up the country, “I’ll give Solomon’s Temple to Miss Eden;” and I said, “I shall send her some flowers and water-cresses;” pray, are you fond of water-cresses?’

‘Now, my dear, don’t talk about water-cresses; you distract Miss Eden and you distract me, and so hold your tongue. I was just going to explain this cube; you see the temple was finished all but one cube, and the masons did not like the look of the stone, they did not understand the magnetic angles, so they gave it a knock and smashed it. Upon which Solomon said, “There! what a precious mess you have made of it; now I shall have to send all the way to Egypt for another."’

Upon which Mr. Y. said, ‘But where do you find that fact, Dr. ——?’

‘My dear sir, just take it for granted; I never advance a fact I cannot prove. I am like the old woman in Westminster Abbey; if you interrupt me, I shall have to go back from George III. all the way to Edward the Confessor.’

That silenced us all. You never saw such a thing as Solomon’s Temple; not nearly so pretty as the bridges we used to build of those bricks.

Mrs. —— went fidgetting about with some bottles all the time, and began, ‘Now, Doctor, show your method of instantaneous communication between London and Edinburgh.’

‘Don’t bore me, my dear, I have not time to prepare it.’

‘There now, Doctor! I knew you would say that, so I have prepared it; there it all is, bottles, wire, galvanic wheels and all. Now, Miss Eden, is not he much the cleverest man you ever saw?’ So then he showed us that experiment, and a great many of his galvanic tricks were very amusing, but still he is so eccentric that I think it is a great shame he should be the only doctor of a large station. A lady sent for him to see her child in a fit, and he told her he would not give it any medicine on any account; ‘it was possessed by the devil—a very curious case indeed.’

He sent me a bit of the Gwalior North Pole in the evening, which was such a weight I thought I should have to hire a coolie to carry it, and I wanted the servants to bury it, but luckily C. was longing for one of these magnetic stones, and took it. To-day I have had a letter from him, with fruit and flowers which Mrs. —— sent fifteen miles, and a jonquil in a blue glass, English and good, and a postscript to say that, though Solomon’s Temple would build itself almost without any help, still, if I found any difficulty I was to write to him. I am quite sure I shall never find the slightest difficulty in it—it is all carefully deposited at the bottom of a camel trunk.


Futtygunge, Jan. 17, 1838.

WE have had a Sunday halt, and some bad roads, and one desperate long march. A great many of the men here have lived in the jungles for years, and their poor dear manners are utterly gone—jungled out of them.

Luckily the band plays all through dinner, and drowns the conversation. The thing they all like best is the band, and it was an excellent idea, that of making it play from five to six. There was a lady yesterday in perfect ecstasies with the music. I believe she was the wife of an indigo planter in the neighbourhood, and I was rather longing to go and speak to her, as she probably had not met a countrywoman for many months; but then, you know, she might not have been his wife, or anybody’s wife, or he might not be an indigo planter. In short, my dear Mrs. D., you know what a world it is—impossible to be too careful, &c.

We never stir out now from the camp; there is nothing to see, and the dust is a little laid just in front of our tents. We have had a beautiful subject for drawing the last two days. A troop of irregular horse joined us at Futtehghur. The officer, a Russaldar—a sort of sergeant, I believe—wears a most picturesque dress, and has an air of Timour the Tartar, with a touch of Alexander the Great—and he comes and sits for his picture with great patience. All these irregular troops are like parts of a melodrama. They go about curvetting and spearing, and dress themselves fancifully, and they are most courteous-mannered natives. G. and I walked up to their encampment on Sunday.

They had no particular costume when first we came in sight, being occupied in cleaning their horses—and the natives think nature never intended that they should work with clothes on; but they heard G. was coming, and by the time we arrived they were all scarlet and silver and feathers—such odd, fanciful dresses; and the Russaldar and his officers brought their swords that we might touch them, and we walked through their lines. My jemadar interpreted that the Lord Sahib and Lady Sahib never saw such fine men, or such fine horses, and they all salaamed down to the ground. An hour after, this man and his attendant rode up to W.’s tent (they are under him in his military secretary capacity) to report that they certainly were the finest troops in the world—the Lord Sahib had said so; and they begged also to mention that they should be very glad to have their pictures drawn. So the chief man has come for his, and is quite satisfied with it.

Bareilly, Saturday, Jan. 20.

This is one of our long halts: we are to be here till Tuesday. Yesterday we halted at Furreedpoor, where there was an excellent plain for the native horse to show off their manner of fighting, and we all went out in the evening to see them. They stick a tent-pin in the ground, drive it in with mallets, and then going full gallop drive a spear in it and draw it out again. They drop their bridles when the horse is going at his utmost speed, and then suddenly turn round in the saddle and fire at their pursuers. Then they tilt at each other, turning their horses round in a space not much more than their own lengths. Walter Scott would have made some fine chapters out of them, and Astley would hang himself from the total impossibility of dressing and acting like them.

The only other incident of the day was a trial by rice of all my servants. I had ten rupees in small money—coins worth little more than sixpence each—which I got in the distressed districts to give to any beggars that looked starving. I had a packet of them unopened, the last the sircar had given me, sealed with his seal, and I put this in my workbasket on the table. One of the servants very cleverly took it out. It was not loose money lying about: I consider they have almost a right to take that: but this was sealed up and hid; so J. made a great fuss about it, and when all enquiries failed, he and Captain D., who manages the police of the camp, said they must try the common experiment of eating rice. The priest weighs out so much rice powder according to the weight of a particular rupee, an old coin which the natives look upon as sacred. The men all say their prayers and wash themselves, and then they each take their share of rice. It is not a nice experiment. Those who are innocent spit it out again in a liquid state, but the guilty man is not able to liquefy it in the slightest degree.

J. came in with an air of conviction. ‘Well! we have found the thief: the last man you would have suspected—your chobdar.’ He is a sort of upper servant next in rank to the jemadar, and this man is a remarkably respectable creature, and, though still young, has been fifteen years at Government House—ever since he was twelve years old. The poor wretch came in immediately after, his mouth still covered with flour: he had not been able even to touch it, but he protested his innocence, and I believe in it. He is naturally very timid, and always trembles if anybody speaks quickly to him, and he might have robbed me at any time of any trinkets, or money, as he always takes charge of my room, or tent, when the jemadar is away. I am so sorry for him, he was in such an agony; but, luckily, it would have been impossible to send a man away merely on that sort of evidence, and to-day all the others have come round to him and say they are sure it was not him, for they all think too well of him. Yesterday they were glad to put it on anybody, and they have all great faith in the trial. It is very odd; twenty-two took the rice without the slightest reluctance, yet this man could not touch it.

Rosina told me that Ameer, my little boy, said to her, ‘It must be the chobdar, Rosina. What for he shake so and not eat rice? Me eat my rice directly; me have nothing in my heart against ladyship; me never take none of her money; me eat rice for ladyship any day.’ I never shall let them do it again, but it was done to satisfy them this time. In general the poor dry victim confesses directly.

Bareilly is famous for dust and workboxes. The dust we have seen, but the boxes have not yet appeared.

There has been some quarrel about our encamping ground. Captain P. put the tents in the right place, and the Brigadier said it was the wrong one, and had them moved again, and put between two dusty roads; and now we again say that is quite wrong, and that we will be on the Brigadier’s parade ground; so last night’s camp, when it came up, was pitched there and with much dignity, but with a great deal of trouble in moving all our goods and ourselves. It was quite as bad as two marches in one day; but then, you know, we could not stand the idea of Brigadier —— presuming to interfere with the Governor-General’s camp.

The thieves at Bareilly are well educated, and pilfered quantities of things in the move. Still, Brigadier —— had the worst of it!

This is the most absurd country. Captain N. has a pet monkey, small and black, with a long white beard, and it sits at the door of his tent. It had not been here an hour when the durwar and the elders of the village came on deputation to say that it was the first of that species which had ever been at Bareilly, and they begged to take it to their temple to worship it. He did not much like trusting it out of sight, but it was one of the requests that cannot be refused, so ‘Hunamaun’ set off in great state with one of N.’s bearers to watch him. He came back extremely excited and more snappish than ever. The bearer said the priests carried the monkey into a temple, but would not let him go too. I suspect if N. washed the returned monkey, he would find the black come off.


Bareilly, Monday, Jan. 22, 1838.

WE were ‘at home’ on Friday evening. There are ten ladies at this station, several of them very pretty, and with our own ladies there were enough for a quadrille; so they danced all the evening, and it went off very well.

There are two officers (Europeans) who command that corps of irregular horse, and dress like natives, with green velvet tunics, scarlet satin trousers, white boots, bare throats, long beards, and everything most theatrical. It does tolerably well for the young adjutant, who is good-looking; but the major, who commanded the regiment, would look better with a neck-cloth and a tight coat. He doats on his wild horsemen.

He says the officers come to him every morning, and sit down round him, and show him their Persian letters, and take his orders, just as children would; and to-day, when they were all assembled, they had been reading our Russaldar’s account of how well he had shown off all his exercises, and how I had drawn his picture, and how G. had given him a pair of shawls and some spears, &c. Just as they were reading this, the man himself arrived, and the others all got up and embraced him, and thanked him for keeping up the honour of the corps. They seem to be something like the Highlanders in their way.

The regiment is made up of families. Each Russaldar has at least six sons or nephews in his troop. They are never punished, but sent away if they commit any fault; and they will do anything for their chief if their prejudices of caste are respected. But there have been some horrible tragedies lately, where young officers have come out with their St. James’s Street notions of making these men dress like European soldiers.

Amongst other things, one young officer persuaded his uncle, a Colonel E., to order them to cut off their beards—a much greater offence than pulling all their noses. The men had idolised this Colonel E., but the instant they heard this order, they drew their swords and cut him to pieces. There was great difficulty in bringing the regiment into any order again.

We had a great dinner (only men) on Saturday. Now G. has established that F. and I are to dine at these men dinners; he likes them best, and in the short halts it is the only way in which he can see all the civilians and officers. They are neither more, nor less, tiresome to us than mixed dinners. The gentlemen talk a great deal of Vizier Ali and of Lord Cornwallis, and the ladies do not talk at all: and I don’t know which I like best.

The thing that chiefly interests me is to hear the details of the horrible solitude in which the poor young civilians live. There is a Mr. G. here, whom R. recommended to us, who is quite mad with delight at being with the camp for a week. We knew him very well in Calcutta. He says the horror of being three months without seeing an European, or hearing an English word, nobody can tell. Captain N. has led that sort of life in the jungles too, and says that, towards the end of the rainy season, when the health generally gives way, the lowness of spirits that comes on is quite dreadful; that every young man fancies he is going to die, and then he thinks that nobody will bury him if he does, as there is no other European at hand. Never send a son to India! my dear M., that is the moral.

The civilians gave us a dinner on Monday, which went off better than those ceremonies usually do.

It was at the house of an old Mr. W., who has been forty-eight years in India, and whose memory has failed. He asked me if I had seen the house at Benares where ‘poor Davies’ was so nearly murdered by ‘Futty Rum,’ or some name of that kind, and he seemed surprised, and went on describing how Mrs. Davies had gone to the top of the house and said—‘My dear! I see some dust in the distance,’ just like Bluebeard’s wife; and I kept thinking of that, and wondering that I had not seen the house, and at last I thought it must have happened since we left Benares, so I asked, at last, ‘But when did this take place?’

‘Why, let me see. I was at Calcutta in ’90; it must have been in ’91, or thereabouts.’

It was the most modern topic he tried. Mrs. W. has been thirty-seven years in India, and is a wonderful-looking woman. Our band came, and after dinner there was a great whispering amongst the seven ladies and forty gentlemen, and it turned out they were longing for a little more dancing; so the band played some quadrilles, and by dint of one couple dancing first on one side of the room and then on the other, they made it out very well, and it was rather a lively evening.

Camp, Jan. 26.

My own dearest Mary—I sent off another Journal to you yesterday. I think you ought to have a very regular supply of letters from me. I never am more than a fortnight now without sending one off. And such enormous packets too! Such fine fat children! not wholesome fat, only Indian, but they look puffy and large. We are at a place which in their little easy way they call Kamovrowdamovrow—how it is spelt really I cannot say, but that is the short way of expressing the sound. We have our first view of the mountain to-day; so lovely—a nice dark-blue hard line above the horizon, and then a second series of snowy peaks, looking quite pink when the sun rises. We always travel half-an-hour by torchlight, so that we have the full benefit of the sun rising. The air is so nice to-day—I think it smells of mountains. The highest peak we see is the Gumgoutra, from which the Ganges is supposed to flow, and consequently the Gumgoutra is idolised by the natives. It was so like P., who by dint of studying Indian antiquities, believes, I almost think, in all the superstitions of the country. We were lamenting that we should lose the sight of these mountains in two more marches; but then we should be on our way to Simla. ‘Oh, Simla!’ he said, ‘what of that? There is no real historical interest about that. Simla is a mere modern vulgar mountain. I had as lief be in the plain.’ Poor Simla! which has stood there, looking beautiful, since the world began, to be termed a mere modern mountain; made of lath and plaster, I suppose. Our marching troubles increase every day. I wish we were at Simla. The roads are so infernally bad—I beg your pardon, but there is no other word for it. Those who ride can make it out pretty well, and I would begin again, only it tires me so that I cannot sit on the horse; but the riders can always find a tolerable path by the side. The road itself is very heavy sand with deep holes, and cut up into ditches by the hackeries that go on the night before. Our old horses bear it very well, but it has broken the hearts and tempers of the six young ones we got last year from the stud, and there is no sort of trick they don’t play. Yesterday I nearly killed Mrs. A. by the excessive politeness with which I insisted on bringing her the last stage. Two horses kicked themselves out of their traces, and nearly overturned the carriage, and we plodded on with a pair; however, she is not the worse for it. This morning, before F. and G. left the carriage, one of the leaders, in a fit of exasperation, threw himself over the other leader and the postilion; of course they all three came down, but luckily neither man nor horses were hurt; but the carriage could not come on, so we all got on some elephants, which were luckily close at hand. They took us two miles, and by the time mine, which was a baggage elephant, had jolted me into very small pieces, we came to fresh horses. C. and G. rode on, and I sat down on the ground by a fire of dry grass, which the syces and bearers had made for themselves. I longed very much for an inn, or an English waiter, or anything, or anybody; but otherwise it was amusing to see the camp roll by—the Baboos in their palanquins, Mr. C.’s children in a bullock carriage, Mr. B.’s clerks riding like sacks, on rough ponies, with their hats on over their nightcaps; then the Artillery, with the horses all kicking. W. O. came up to me and sent back one of the guards to fetch up the carriage, and he always sets to work with his old regimental habits, and buckles the harness himself, and sets the thing off. His horse had run away with him for three miles, and then he ran away with it for six more, and now he hopes they will do better. G. is gone to-day to return the visit of the Nawâb of Rampore, who lives four miles off, and he has had to recross the river, which makes rather a melancholy addition to the fatigues of men and cattle. G. has set up for his pet a hideous pariah dog, one amongst the many that follow a camp; but this has particularly pretty manners, coaxing and intelligent, and G. says he thinks it will keep the other pets out of his tent. Chance, and F.’s lemur, W.’s greyhounds, and Dr. D.’s dog are always running through his tent, so he has set up this, not that it really ever can go into his tent, it is much too dirty, but we call it out of compliment to the Company ‘the Hon. John,’ and it answers to its name quite readily.

Moradabad, Saturday, Jan. 27.

Another station, where we are to stay for three days; but the travelling was worse than ever. I told W. O. last night I should walk, and he said he should hop, he had tried everything else. It will be my last resource too. The first stage did pretty well. I have set up Webb to ride by me when the others ride on, and he can direct his own postilions. He does not look the least like a head-coachman, or like the Sergeant Webb which he is—rather like a ruffian in a melodrama; but he is very civil, and by dint of encouragement and example, got the horses through a mile of deep sand, down to the river-side. We passed about fifty hackeries stuck fast, and there they and the oxen probably are now. The Y.s, be the road bad or good, always come to a misfortune. Yesterday they broke the spring of their dickey; to-day they had to harness an elephant to their carriage to pull it out of the sand; and long after we had breakfasted we saw the eldest boy arrive on foot, with one of Mrs. A.’s hirkarus, Mrs. Y. and the little thing on one of our elephants, and Y. mounted on his own box, flourishing on with his tired horses. Our carriage crossed the ford very well, though the water was up to the steps, and when we had landed I said to Webb I thought we had better wait for Miss F., as the march was longer than we expected. He always speaks so like our old nurse Spencer: ‘Lord bless me, Miss Eden, we must not think of Miss F.; if the horses once stop in this sand, they will never stir again. Go on, coachmen. I think, Miss Eden, my Lord and Miss F. will make a bad job of this ford. I saw Lord William, that time he and I came up the country, up to his middle in water at this place, though he was on a tall English horse. Drive on!’ We proceeded another mile into the town, and then the horses went entirely mad, partly because the narrow street was full of camels, and partly from fatigue. Webb and the guards cleared off the camels, but the horses would not be quiet, so I got out and walked. There were immense crowds of natives waiting to see G.’s entry, but they are always very civil, and indeed must have been struck with the majesty of my procession—Webb with his long hunting-whip and Squire Bugle look, me in my dusty brown cloak and bonnet, over a dressing-gown, the ‘Hon. John’ frisking and whining after me with a marked pariah appearance, an old jemadar of G.’s, with a great sheet twisted over his turban to keep out the cold of the morning; then the carriages with the horses all kicking, and the syces all clinging to them, and Giles and Mars in the distance, each in a horrid fright about their ponies. I walked at least a mile and a half, and then met Captain C. riding out to meet us. ‘What accident has happened now?’ he said. ‘Nothing particular,’ I said, ‘I am only marching.’ He turned back and walked with me to the end of the town, and then the horses behaved pretty well through all the saluting and drumming, and our entry was made correctly; but I had no idea that I could have walked a mile and a half without dropping down dead. That is something learnt. We had all the station to dinner. There were only twenty-five of them altogether, and only two ladies. The band could not play at dinner, which is always a sad loss, as they cover all pauses, but their instruments and uniforms had stuck in the sands. Luckily there was a young Mr. J., the image of Lord Castlereagh, who talked unceasingly all through dinner. Another of the civilians here is Mr. B. O., son of the Mr. O. you know. He was probably the good-looking stepson whose picture Mrs. O. used to carry about with her, because he was such a ‘beautiful creature.’ He is now a bald-headed, grey, toothless man, and perfectly ignorant on all points but that of tiger-hunting. There is not a day that I do not think of those dear lines of Crabbe’s—

But when returned the youth? The youth no more
Returned exulting to his native shore;
But in his stead there came a worn-out man.

They were always good lines, and always had a tendency to bring tears into my eyes; but now, when I look at either the youth or the worn-out men, and think what India does for them all, I really could not venture to say those lines out loud. Please to remember that I shall return a worn-out woman.

Moradabad, Monday, Jan. 29.

Mr. Y. gave us such an excellent sermon yesterday. The residents here only see a clergyman once a year, so I am glad they had a good sermon, and they all seemed pleased with it. Captain N. was taken ill at church—the second time it has happened—and Dr. D. was obliged to go out with him and bleed him. He looks very strong, but they say nobody ever really recovers a real bad jungle-fever. We all went out on the elephants, but there is not much to see at Moradabad, though it is a cheerful-looking station. Mrs. A. came to see me, and says she is quite baffled in her attempts to teach her little R. his Bible. He is only three years old, but a fine clever boy. She gave up the creation because he always would have it that the first man’s name was Jack; and to-day she tried the story of Samuel, which she thought would amuse him, and it went on very well, with a few yawns, till she asked, ‘What did Samuel say when the Lord called him the third time?’—‘I’m a-toming, a-toming, so don’t teaze I any more.’ She thought this hopeless, and gave up her Sunday lessons.

Camp, Tuesday, Jan. 30.

G. had a durbar yesterday, and then went to see the gaol. F. and I went with P. to the native town to see if we could find anything to sketch, but we could not. Mr. C. caught a very fine old native in the town, with a white beard down to his waist, and he was rather a distinguished character, fought for the English in the time of their troubles here; so he sat for his picture, and it was a good opportunity to make him a present. It is such an immense time since we have had any letters—none by sea of a later date than August 5, nearly six months ago. For a wonder, we marched ten miles to-day without an accident.

Amroah, Wednesday, Jan. 31.

I went to see Mrs. S. yesterday, and the visit rather reminded me of you. Of course, as you observe, I should forget you utterly if it were not for these occasional remembrances of you, and the constant practice of thinking of you most hours of most days. The eldest little S. girl was ill, an attack of fever, and, I think, thrush, but at all events her mouth was in a shocking state; ‘and Dr. D. accused me of having given her calomel,’ Mrs. S. said, ‘but I really never do, I detest calomel; half the children in India are killed by it.’ Just then four of her children and two little Y.s rushed in, with guns and swords and paper helmets—‘Mamma, M. is gone on the elephant without us.’

‘No, my dears, there’s M. arranging my workbox. Now, don’t make a noise—Miss Eden’s here. Run along.’

‘But, mamma, may E. and F. Y. drink tea with us to-night?—we want them.’

‘Well, dears, we’ll see about it presently; now run along.’

‘But their mamma says she won’t let them come if you don’t write a note.’

‘Very well, dears, run along.’

‘But, mamma, will you give us the note to take?’

‘I’ll think about it, my love; perhaps I shall meet Mr Y. out walking; and now pray run along.’

Upon which M. looked up from the workbox she was arranging.

‘Mamma, may I have this seal?’

‘No, dear, certainly not; it was sent me by my little sister from England; and now run along after your brothers.’

I told her how much you were in the habit of saying ‘run along’ when you had any visitor with you—whereat we laughed. The poor little girl looked very sick, and I could not find anything to send her, not even a picture-book.

Amroah is a very long narrow town, where they make a very coarse sort of porcelain, which they paint and gild. G. had a quantity of it given to him, which he sent to me, and the native servants had great fun in dividing it amongst themselves. Captain N. drove me in the evening back to a gateway we had seen this morning—the first pretence at an object for a sketch we had had for many days. We saw a great crowd round it, and in the middle of them P. on his elephant, and in his spectacles, sketching away as hard as he could.

When we came back, I went to fetch out G., who never goes out when he can help it, and took him what I thought a prettier walk than usual—about half a quarter of a mile of sand ankle deep, to an old mosque, raised on an elevation of at least eighteen inches—‘a splendiferous creature’—(did you ever read ‘Nick of the Woods?’ you sent it out to us, and we do nothing but quote it)—but he thought it more tiresome than any walk he had taken yet. We found W. and F. there, just on the same tack, F. thinking it was rather pretty, and W. not able to guess why he was dragged all through that sand, and wishing himself at Calcutta. ‘Yes,’ G. said, ‘I am more utterly disgusted, more wretchedly bored than ever, so now I shall go back to my tent, and wish for Government House.’ In the meanwhile he is becoming a red-faced fat-ish man, and ‘if he aspires to play the leading villain of the plot, his corpulence will soon unfit him for that rôle.’ (See ‘The Heroine.’)

Gurmukteser Ghaut, Friday, Feb. 2.

We crossed the Ganges this morning on a bridge of boats, which was very well constructed, considering the magistrate had not had much notice. The elephants always go first, and if the boats bear elephants, they will bear anything. A Mr. F. and two assistants, and a Mr. and Mrs. T. had come out forty miles to meet us; and it is unfortunate we had not known it, for I had asked the B.s, D.s, General E., &c., to dinner, and unless there was another tent pitched, we had room only for three more, and it puts the aides-de-camp into consternation if any of these strangers are left out. Mrs. T. wears long thick thread mittens, with black velvet bracelets over them. She may have great genius, and many good qualities, but, you know, it is impossible to look for them under those mittens.

The weather is very changeable in these parts. On Wednesday morning the thermometer was at 41° and on Thursday at 78°, so we rush from fur cloaks, and shawls, and stoves, to muslin gowns and fans; and as far as I am concerned, I do not think it is very wholesome, but it seems to agree generally with the camp. The children are all rather ailing just now, and there is a constant demand for our spare palanquin to carry on a sick child.

Shah Jehanpore, Sunday, Feb. 4.

G., with Major J. and Mr. M., went yesterday to Haupor, where there is a Government stud, and they came back this morning pleased with their expedition. George had had the pleasure of sleeping in a house, and thought it quite delightful. When we arrived here yesterday, we found Captain C., our former aide-de-camp, waiting for us. I always said he would come out to meet us, and W. betted a rupee that he would not, so now I shall have a rupee to spend on my menus plaisirs, and may go in at half-price to the play at Meerut. Chance arrived so tired from his march. He was not the least glad to see Captain C., which was very shocking, but he made up for it in the course of the day, and to-night he is to go back with Captain C. in his palanquin, and pass two days with him, and to eat all the time I suppose. I discovered that C. had sent for Chance’s servant, and said that he thought him shockingly thin (you never saw such a ball of fat), and the man said it was very true, but it was the Lady Sahib’s orders, so then C. decided to borrow him for a few days and to feed him up. He will have a fit to a certainty.

It was so dreadfully hot yesterday—quite like a May day in Calcutta—and everybody was lying panting in their tents. It is lucky we have made the most of our six weeks of cold, which was very pleasant while it lasted. If we have rain, it may return again, but otherwise they say we have no notion what the hot winds are on these plains, and we have still six weeks to live in these horrid tents.

Meerut, Tuesday, Feb. 6.

We had some rain on Sunday night, not enough to do good to the crops or the cattle, but it has made the air cool, and the dust was quite laid yesterday. The tents we came up to at Mhow were quite wet. If once they become really wet through, we should have to stop a week wherever we might be, and however short our supply might be, as the canvas becomes too heavy for the elephants to carry. We had a very pretty entry this morning. There are four regiments here—two of them Queen’s troops, and one of them is W.’s old regiment of lancers. They were all drawn out, and an immense staff met G. and rode in with him. The most amusing incident to me, who was comfortably in the carriage, was that one of the lancers’ horses escaped from his rider, and ran amongst all the gentlemen. It would be wrong to laugh in general at such an event, for a loose horse in this country is like a wild beast, and tears people off their horses and worries them; but this one only went curvetting about, and when he took to chase old Mr. A. round the others, it was rather interesting and pretty. I had no idea Mr. A. could have turned and doubled his horse about so neatly. Five or six lancers were riding about after him, without the least chance of catching the wild beast, who was captured at last by one of the syces.

Meerut is a large European station—a quantity of barracks and white bungalows spread over four miles of plain. There is nothing to see or to draw.

George had a levée in the morning and audiences all day, and would not go out any more. F. and I went in the tonjauns wherever the bearers chose to convey us, and that happened to be to the European burial-ground. We could not discover any one individual who lived to be more than thirty-six. It may give Lady A. D. pleasure to know that Sir R.’s first wife is certainly dead and buried—at least she is buried—under a remarkably shabby tomb. People here build immense monuments to their friends, but Sir R. cut his wife off with a small child’s tombstone.

Wednesday, Feb. 7.

There now! there is the overland post come, of December 1st, with a letter from R. and one from Mr. D., both to George. It is a great thing to know you were all well at that time, but still it is very mortifying not to have any letters addressed to our noble selves. It falls so flat. I had long ago given up any sea letters, but we kept consoling ourselves with the notion of this overland business—that is, I never did; I always said we should not have our proper complement of letters, so I am not the least surprised, for I am confident that we have been here at least fifteen years, and are of course forgotten; but still it is very shocking, is not it? Lady G. used to write, but she has given it up too. I do not know what is to be done; and I consider it rather a grand trait of character that I go writing on as much as ever, considering it is six months and four days since the date of your last letter. The post brought in plenty of papers, and the Queen’s visits to Guildhall and to Covent Garden are very interesting. I think politics look ugly enough.

We had a very large party last night—the two large tents quite full of nice-looking people—and they danced away very merrily.

Meerut, Sunday, Feb. 11.

We have had so much to do I could not write. But first and foremost we have had some letters of September by the ‘Zenobia’ and the ‘Royal Saxon:’ not a line from you—you evidently have a little pet ship of your own; and but one from L., one from Lady G., &c.: in short, a good provision, but I still wish yours would come to hand. These are five months old, but that is not so bad.

We have had a ball on Wednesday from the artillery; a play on Thursday by amateurs—‘Rob Roy’—and ‘Die Vernon’ acted by a very tall lancer with an immense flaxen wig, long ringlets hanging in an infantine manner over his shoulders, short sleeves, and, as Meerut does not furnish gloves, large white arms with very red hands. Except in Calcutta, such a thing as an actress does not exist, so this was thought a very good ‘Die Vernon;’ but I hear that ‘Juliet’ and ‘Desdemona’ are supposed to be his best parts. Friday, the station gave us a ball, which was very full. There were two Miss ——s come out from England to join a married sister, the wife of an officer in the lancers. She is very poor herself, but has eight sisters at home, so I suppose thought it right to help her family; and luckily, I think, they will not hang long on her hands. They are such very pretty girls, and knowing-looking, and have brought out for their married sister, who is also very pretty, gowns and headdresses like their own. The three together had a pretty effect. They are the only young ladies at the station, so I suppose will have their choice of three regiments; but it is a bad business when all is done. They arrived just in time for this gay week, which will give the poor girls a false impression of the usual tenor of their lives. The only other unmarried woman also appeared for the first time as a lady. Her father has just been raised from the ranks for his good conduct. The poor girl was very awkward and ill-dressed, but looked very amiable and shy. I went and sat down by her, and talked to her for some time; and her father came the next day to G. and said he felt so grateful for the notice taken of his daughter. The poor girl evidently did not know how to dance.

Yesterday George gave another great dinner, at which we did not appear. I don’t think I ever felt more tired, but the weather is grown very warm again; and then, between getting up early when we are marching, and sitting up late at the stations, I am never otherwise than tired. We went to the church to-day instead of having service at home. It is rather a fine sight, as General N.’s ‘sax and twenty thoosand men’ were there. He is the Governor of the district, a good-natured old man, but he has quite lost his memory, and says the same thing ten times over, and very often it was a mistake at first. George asked him how many men he had at Meerut; he said, ‘I cannot just say, my Lord; perhaps sax and twenty thoosand’—such a fine army for a small place.

Tuesday, Feb. 13.

We were to have left Meerut to-day, but I was obliged to tell George that no human strength could possibly bear the gaieties of yesterday, and a march of sixteen miles at four this morning.

We had a dinner at General N.’s of seventy people—‘sax and twenty thoosand,’ I believe, by the time the dinner lasted—but it was very well done. Mrs. N. is a nice old lady, and the daughter, who is plain, shows what birth is: she is much the most ladylike-looking person here. When the dinner was over—and I have every reason to believe it did finish at last, though I cannot think I lived to see it—we all went to the ball the regiment gave us. I look upon it as some merit that I arrived in a state of due sobriety, for old General N.’s twaddling took the turn of forgetting that he had offered me any wine, and every other minute he began with an air of recollection, ‘Well, ma’am, and now shall you and I have a glass of wine together?’ The ball was just like the others, but with a great display of plate at supper, and the rooms looked smarter.

Tell E. Mrs. B. is our ‘Dragon Green,’ only she does not imitate us with that exquisite taste and tact which the lovely Miss Green displays. I bought a green satin the other day from a common box-wallah who came into the camp;—how she knows what we buy we never can make out, but she always does—and the next day she sent her tailor to ask mine for a pattern of the satin, that she might get one like it from Calcutta. The same with some fur F. bought. I found some turquoise earrings last week, which I took care not to mention to her, but yesterday the baboo of Mr. B.’s office stalked into my tent with a pair precisely the same, and a necklace like that I bought at Lucknow, and said his ‘Mem Sahib’ (so like the East Indians calling their ladies ‘Mem Sahibs’) had sent him to show me those, and ask if they were the same as mine. Having ascertained that the earrings were double, and the necklace four times, the price of mine, I said they were exactly similar, and that I approved of them very much. I hope she will buy them.

We saw a great deal of Captain C. at Meerut, and he would have been very happy if he had not thought Chance grown thin. F. left with him her tame deer, which is grown up and becoming very dangerous. It is a pity that tame deer always become pugnacious as soon as their horns come through.

I treated myself to such a beautiful miniature of W. O. There is a native here, Juan Kam, who draws beautifully sometimes, and sometimes utterly fails, but his picture of William is quite perfect. Nobody can suggest an alteration, and as a work of art it is a very pretty possession. It was so admired that F. got a sketch of G. on cardboard, which is also an excellent likeness; and it is a great pity there is no time for sitting for our pictures for you—but we never have time for any useful purpose.

Camp, Delhi, Feb. 20.

This identical Delhi is one of the few sights, indeed the only one except Lucknow, that has quite equalled my expectations. Four miles round it there is nothing to be seen but gigantic ruins of mosques and palaces, and the actual living city has the finest mosque we have seen yet. It is in such perfect preservation, built entirely of red stone and white marble, with immense flights of marble steps leading up to three sides of it; these, the day we went to it, were entirely covered with people dressed in very bright colours—Sikhs, and Mahrattas, and some of the fair Mogul race, all assembled to see the Governor-General’s suwarree, and I do not think I ever saw so striking a scene. They followed us into the court of the temple, which is surmounted by an open arched gallery, and through every arch there was a view of some fine ruins, or of some part of the King of Delhi’s palace, which is an immense structure two miles round, all built of deep red stone, with buttresses and battlements, and looks like an exaggerated scene of Timour the Tartar, and as if little Agib was to be thrown instantly from the highest tower, and Fatima to be constantly wringing her hands from the top of the battlements. There are hundreds of the Royal family of Delhi who have never been allowed to pass these walls, and never will be. Such a melancholy red stone notion of life as they must have! G. went up to the top of one of the largest minarets of the mosque and has been stiff ever since. From there we went to the black mosque, one of the oldest buildings in India, and came home under the walls of the palace. We passed the building in which Nadir Shah sat for a whole day looking on while he allowed his troops to massacre and plunder the city. These eastern cities are so much more thickly inhabited than ours, and the people look so defenceless, that a massacre of that sort must be a horrible slaughter; but I own I think a little simple plunder would be pleasant. You never saw such an army of jewellers as we have constantly in our tents. On Saturday morning I got up early and went with Major J. to make a sketch of part of the palace, and the rest of the day was cut up by jewellers, shawl merchants, dealers in curiosities, &c. &c., and they begin by asking us such immense prices, which they mean to lower eventually, that we have all the trouble of seeing the things twice.

Yesterday we went to the church built by Colonel Skinner. He is a native of this country, a half-caste, but very black, and talks broken English. He has had a regiment of irregular horse for the last forty years, and has done all sorts of gallant things, had seven horses killed under him, and been wounded in proportion; has made several fortunes and lost them; has built himself several fine houses, and has his zenana and heaps of black sons like any other native. He built this church, which is a very curious building, and very magnificent—in some respects; and within sight of it there is a mosque which he has also built, because he said that one way or the other he should be sure to go to heaven. In short, he is one of the people whose lives ought to be written for the particular amusement of succeeding generations. His Protestant church has a dome in the mosque fashion, and I was quite afraid that with the best dispositions to attend to Mr. Y., little visions of Mahomet would be creeping in. Skinner’s brother, Major Robert Skinner, was the same sort of melodramatic character, and made a tragic end. He suspected one of his wives of a slight écart from the path of propriety—very unjustly, it is said—but he called her and all his servants together, cut off the heads of every individual in his household, and then shot himself. His soldiers bought every article of his property at ten times its value, that they might possess relics of a man who had shown, they said, such a quick sense of honour.

G. and I took a drive in the evening all round the cantonments, and there is really some pretty scenery about Delhi, and great masses of stone lying about, which looks well after those eternal sands.

In the afternoon we all (except G., who could not go, from some point of etiquette) went to see the palace. It is a melancholy sight—so magnificent originally, and so poverty-stricken now. The marble hall where the king sits is still very beautiful, all inlaid with garlands and birds of precious stones, and the inscription on the cornice is what Moore would like to see in the original: ‘If there be an Elysium on earth, it is this, it is this!’

The lattices look out on a garden which leads down to the Jumna, and the old king was sitting in the garden with a chowrybadar waving the flies from him; but the garden is all gone to decay too, and ‘the Light of the World’ had a forlorn and darkened look. All our servants were in a state of profound veneration; the natives all look upon the King of Delhi as their rightful lord, and so he is, I suppose. In some of the pavilions belonging to the princes there were such beautiful inlaid floors, any square of which would have made an enviable table for a palace in London, but the stones are constantly stolen; and in some of the finest baths there were dirty charpoys spread, with dirtier guards sleeping on them. In short, Delhi is a very suggestive and moralising place—such stupendous remains of power and wealth passed and passing away—and somehow I feel that we horrid English have just ‘gone and done it,’ merchandised it, revenued it, and spoiled it all. I am not very fond of Englishmen out of their own country. And Englishwomen did not look pretty at the ball in the evening, and it did not tell well for the beauty of Delhi that the painted ladies of one regiment, who are generally called ‘the little corpses’ (and very hard it is too upon most corpses) were much the prettiest people there, and were besieged with partners.


The Kootûb, Wednesday, Feb. 23, 1838.

WELL, of all the things I ever saw, I think this is the finest. Did we know about it in England? I mean, did you and I, in our old ancient Briton state, know? Do you know now, without my telling you, what the Kootûb is? Don’t be ashamed, there is no harm in not knowing, only I do say it is rather a pity we were so ill taught. I have had so many odd names dinned into me during the countless years I seem to have passed in this country, that I cannot remember the exact degree of purity of mind (which enemies may term ignorance) with which I left home; but after all that had been said, I expected the Kootûb would have been rather inferior to the Monument. One has those little prejudices. It happens to be the Monument put at the top of the column in the Place Vendôme, and that again placed on a still grander base. It is built of beautiful red granite, is 240 feet high and 50 feet in diameter, and carved all over with sentences from the Koran, each letter a yard high, and the letter again interlaced and ornamented with carved flowers and garlands; it is between six and seven hundred years old, and looks as if it were finished yesterday, and it stands in a wilderness of ruins, carved gateways, and marble tombs, one more beautiful than the other.

They say that the man who built it meant it for one minaret of a mosque—a mosque, you are to understand, always possessing two minarets and three domes. But as some say Kootûb himself built this, and others say that a particular Emperor called Alexander II. has the merit of it, and as nobody knows whether there ever were a Kootûb or an Alexander II., I think it is just possible that we do not know what a man who never was born meant to make of a building that never was built. As it stands it is perfect. We went at six this morning to see a well into which divers are so good as to jump from the height of sixty feet. They seem to fly almost in the air, till they nearly reach the water, and then they join their feet together and go down straight, and the water closes over them. But they come up again, do not be afraid.

We had dispatched all our sights before seven, and had two hours’ good sketching before breakfast, and now it is as hot as ever I felt it in Bengal.

Delhi, Friday, Feb. 25.

Yesterday morning we found there was so much to do and to finish, that we settled to stay on here till Saturday, and to commit the sin for the first time of marching on Sunday, as we have not a day to spare. The heir-apparent of Delhi has been coaxed or threatened into waiting on G., so there was a second durbar to be held to-day, and when it came to the time, the prince had taken to his bed, and had sent for thirteen doctors to say he was too ill to come. However, he changed his mind again and came, and in the meanwhile, half our troops who were out for the durbar were fainting away from the heat. In the afternoon G. had to go and return the visits of the rajahs in the neighbourhood, and we went to see Humayun’s tomb, about six miles off, where we meant to sketch till G. came, but it turned out a failure after all we had heard of it.

However, there were some beautiful white marble tombs in the neighbourhood, carved like lace; and then we went to another well, or rather tank, entirely surrounded by mosques and buildings, on the roofs of which divers were all waiting to jump. We implored and begged they would not take us for the Lord Sahib, and take the fatal plunge in our honour, and the guards went and pushed the crowds off, and declared the Lord Sahib was coming, and we sat down and sketched, and at last, just as we were giving him up, he and all his people arrived, and the divers all bounded off. Some of them jumped from a height of eighty feet, clearing several buildings in their way. It is much the most curious sight I have seen, and I now cannot guess why they did not tumble head over heels twenty times before they reached the water. In the evening we went to a nautch at Colonel Skinner’s. His house is fitted up in the native fashion, and he had all the best singers and dancers in Delhi, and they acted passages out of Vishnu and Brahma’s lives, and sang Persian songs which I thought made a very ugly noise; but Mr. B., who speaks Persian as fluently as English, kept saying, ‘Well, this is really delightful—this I think is equal to any European singing—in fact, there is nothing like it.’

There is nothing like it that I ever heard before, but certainly the words, as he translated them, were very pretty. One little fat nautch girl sang a sort of passionate song to G. with little meaning smiles, which I think rather attracted his lordship, and I thought it might be too much for him if I forwarded to him Mr. B.’s translation. ‘I am the body, you are the soul: we may be parted here, but let no one say we shall be separated hereafter. My father has deserted me; my mother is dead; I have no friends. My grave is open, and I look into it; but do you care for me?’ The dancing is very slow and very dull, but the dresses and ornaments are beautiful.

Saturday, Feb. 26.

We had a melancholy catastrophe last night. There has been a great deal of pilfering in the camp the two last days, which has been the case with every great camp near Delhi, and our people were unluckily more awake than usual. A thief was seen running off with one of the servants’ cooking pots, and pursued. A syce of Mr. T. caught hold of him. The thief turned round and stuck his knife into the man and killed him on the spot. He was dead before they could even fetch Dr. D. The thief is taken, but nobody is ever hanged in this country. Mr. T., who has been agent here for twenty-two years, takes it as a personal affront that we should have been robbed in his district, though I should have thought the affront lay the other way.

Paniput, Feb. 28.

Delhi turned out a very unwholesome place. All the servants have been taken with attacks of fever and sickness; the sudden hot days after the cold weather disagree with them. Our camp has grown much larger. There are more hangers-on. Mrs. —— has taken charge of a little niece and two nephews who lost their mother suddenly, and she is taking them up to the hills—I never saw such sickly little things. I see another little European girl every morning on the line of march, who has evidently nobody but bearers to take charge of her, probably going up to a school at Mussoorie, where parents who are too poor to send children home now send them. I forget whether I told you a story Mr. T. told me about the way in which children travel here, and which strikes me as very shocking, and would probably strike you more. I believe I have told it to you twice already in hopes of making your motherly hair stand on end. He said a palanquin was brought to his house containing three little children—a little girl nine years old and two smaller brothers. They were going up to Mussoorie, had been travelling three days, and had about a week’s more journey. They had not even their names written on a piece of paper, or a note to the magistrates of the district, but were just passed on from one set of bearers to the other. You know the bearers are changed every eight miles like so many post horses, and it constantly happens on a dâk journey that the bearers get tired, or the fresh set are not at their posts, and the palanquin is put down on the road and the traveller left to help himself. The bearers who brought these children to Mr. T.’s, said they thought the children were tired, and so they had brought them to an European house for a rest. Mr. T. had them washed and dressed, and fed them and kept them half a day, when he was obliged to send them away for fear they should lose their dâk. He said they were very shy, and would hardly speak, but he made out their names and gave them notes to other magistrates, and some months afterwards he saw them at school at Mussoorie; but it is an odd way of sending children to school. I should like to see you packing off your three youngest boys for the chances of these naked half savages taking them and feeding them and looking after them on the road, without even a servant to attend to them.

When we came into camp this morning we found Mr. ——, whose turn it had been to come on with the guard of honour, perfectly desperate. His tent had been entirely stripped in the night, he and his bearers remaining in a profound sleep while the thieves cut entirely away one side of the tent, and carried off over his head a large camel-trunk and all his other boxes, with his sword, gun, and pistols. It was a sad loss for a poor lieutenant in the army, but luckily the police recovered most of his things in the course of the day, except, as he says with a most sentimental sigh, ‘a few rings of no value in themselves, but of value to me, and a few chits.’ The magistrate, Mr. ——, treats with the greatest contempt the idea of recovering any sentimental goods. ‘I assure you,’ he says, ‘the dacoits at Pannyput have no idea of sentiment.’ Probably not—but that does not console Lieut. —— for the loss of his chits.

Kurnaul, March 2.

We arrived here yesterday; a great ugly scattered cantonment, all barracks, and dust, and guns, and soldiers; and G. had a levée in the morning, and we were ‘at home’ in the evening; and the officers of four regiments, with their wives and daughters, all came and danced. The fashions are even again behind those of Delhi. Mrs. V. appeared in a turban made I think of stamped tin moulded into two fans, from which descended a long pleureuse feather floating over some very full sleeves. Mrs. Z. did not aspire to anything fanciful, but was simply attired in a plain coloured gown made of a very few yards of sarcenet. We are going to dine with the General to-day—a dinner of sixty people.

Yesterday as we were stepping over the street to luncheon, there appeared an interesting procession of tired coolies carrying boxes—our English boxes that had come plodding after us from Allahabad. I was in hopes Mr. D.’s bonnets would have come out of one of them, but we heard in the evening that they are at least a month off, and in the meantime the unpacking of these was immense fun. There were two boxes of books, and I had just come to an end of the last set, and now there is Mrs. Gore’s ‘Stokeshill Park,’ and ‘My Aunt Dorothy,’ and some French novels, and, above all, dear Charles Lamb’s Letters, which I have been sighing for and have begun upon instantly. I cannot imagine what number of hill-bearers will take our goods up to Simla. Major J. has written for 1,500, and they are already at work taking the first division of goods up. Our camp will break up almost entirely in a few days. We three, with two aides-de-camp, the doctor, and one secretary, are going through the Dhoon, a sort of route that will not admit of a large party. It is a very pretty road, and likely to be cooler than the actual plains.

The rest of the camp and most of the servants will pursue the straight road. I long to get into the hills more than ever. It is grown so very hot now, quite as bad as Calcutta in May. I believe we shall not be able to take Wright and Jones this route, which will make them very unhappy. St. Cloup told me yesterday that he had at last had a letter from Madame St. Cloup, which had made him very happy, and that she was in an excellent place with a relation of ours. Poor woman! she little knows what a faithless man he is. However, he bought her a beautiful gold chain at Delhi, and he said that now he had had this letter, he had ‘quelque envie de lui acheter des boucles d’oreilles,’ but that he thought it would be better to take them home. It would make her more glad to see him.


Camp, Kurnaul, March 5, 1838.

IT goes much against the grain with me to begin a fresh Journal on half a sheet, but it is an odd time for writing, so I must take what I can get and be thankful. The things are all put away for the night under the sentries. G. is sitting down to a dinner of forty men in red coats, ‘fathers and mothers unknown.’ F., W., and I have devoured such small cheer as St. Cloup would allow the kitmutgar to pick up from the outside of the kitchen at an early hour. W. O. is this moment gone off for his three weeks’ tiger-shooting; and now there is just one hour before I need dress for the station ball, so that I devote to writing to you. We could not help laughing at our private dinner, considering what people say of the luxuries of the East, and of the state in which the Governor-General lives. The dinner was very good, thanks to its being stolen from St. Cloup’s best company preparations; but we were in a small empty tent, lighted up by two candles and one night-lamp. The whole number of leaves of the dining-table were apparently wanted in the large tent, for they had given us a borrowed camp-table, two very dirty deal boards, covered with the marks of old slops, and of the rounds of glasses. I am sure at any of the London gin-palaces the scavengers would have grumbled at the look of it; and our three coffee-cups, with a plate of biscuits for Chance in the centre, did not look handsome. The purdahs were all up, as the evening is hot, so outside we had a good view of the kettle boiling for tea on some sticks of charcoal, and the bearers washing up the dirty plates and keeping the pariah dogs from helping themselves. W.’s dhoolie, a sort of bed on poles, was waiting for him in the distance, with two irregular horsemen for an escort. Altogether, I think a Blackheath gipsy would have sneered at us; but otherwise, nothing was absolutely wanting. I came back to my tent meaning to write to you, but found, as I told you, everything whisked off, except one table and my sofa; and that has now been carried away to serve as a bed for a Mr. ——, who has come dâk sixty miles on some business with G.

I can hardly write because I am in the middle of ‘Lamb’s Life and Letters’—such a nice book! I quite dread going on with it for fear of finishing it. It sometimes does almost as well as you to talk with for five minutes. I like the way in which he goes on revelling in a bad joke, making nonsense by the piece; and there are such good little bits of real feeling. ‘All about you is a threadbare topic. I have worn it out with thinking; it has come to me when I have been dull with anything, till my sadness has seemed more to have come from it, than to have introduced it. I want you, you don’t know how much.’ Such a jewel of a man to have put that into words, and it is so true! I often find myself saucing up my distaste for the present with regret for the past, and so disguising a little discontent with a great deal of sentiment; but yet that is rather unfair too, for I really should not mind India if you and three or four others were here. The discontent with it arises a great deal from want of the old familiar friends. However, we have at last done two years of it. I believe it has taken us forty English years to do these two Indian ones; but still it shows what time and longevity will effect. Mr. Y. brought rather an interesting individual to my tent this morning, a Christianised Indian; he has been a strict Christian for nearly twenty-three years, and last year the Bishop ordained him. He was a Brahmin of the highest class, and is a very learned man. I asked him how his conversion began, whether from discontent with his own belief, or from the persuasions of others; and he said he was dissatisfied with his own superstitions, and got a copy of Henry Martyn’s translation of St. John, and then of the Acts, and then went back to the rest of the Bible. Mrs. Sherwood, who lived at Meerut, was afterwards his chief instructress, and he speaks of her with the greatest gratitude. He keeps a school now, which is attended by about forty children, but he does not think he has made any real converts. I wish he could have spoken English: I wanted to know more about it all. He was here a long time, and I did rather a highly-finished picture of him, thinking the old Bishop would like it. He is rather like Sidney Smith blackened, and laughed about as heartily as Sidney would have done at his own picture.

Tuesday, March 6.

We went to our ball last night—it was pretty; the room was hung round with such profusion of garlands and a sort of stage, on which there were green arches decked out with flowers; but what particularly took my fancy was a set of European soldiers dressed up for the night as footmen, real red plush trousers, with blue coats and red collars, and white cotton stockings, and powdered heads, and they carried about trays of tea and ices. After the turbaned heads and ‘the trash and tiffany,’ as Hook says, with which we are surrounded, you cannot conceive what a pleasant English look this gave to the room. Such fat, rosy English footmen! It is very odd how sometimes the sudden recurrence of some common English custom shows the unnatural state of things in which we live—that red plush! it was just like Rousseau’s ‘Voilà de la pervenche,’ only not quite so romantic. To-day, before I was dressed, Rosina said that G.’s nazir wanted to speak to me, and I found him in my tent at the head of at least a hundred yards of ‘trash and tiffany,’ come to hope I would ask my lord to stay another day, as to-morrow is the great Mussulman holiday—they call it their Buckra Eed, or sounds to that effect; and it is, in fact, a commemoration of Abraham offering up Isaac, only they do it in honour of Ishmael. Nothing can be more inconvenient, but I never can refuse the nazir anything, he looks so timid and gentlemanlike; so I went to G. with the deputation, and we have altered all our plans, and may have to march on Sunday to make up for it. A shocking sacrifice of Christianity to Mahomedanism! only, as I said before, I cannot refuse the nazir; and also, the servants have in general borne the march very well, and deserve some consideration. We have written now to revive a play the privates of the Artillery had wanted to act, and which we had declined for want of time to go and see it.

Camp, one march from Kurnaul, Thursday, March 8.

I took Mrs. A. out in the carriage on Tuesday evening, and after I had taken her home, I was caught in a regular storm of dust, what they call a dry storm here, much worse than a thick London fog. The syces walked before the horses feeling their way, and hallooing because the postilions could not see them; and as it was, I came in at the wrong end of the camp with the syces missing. W. tried to go out to dinner, but could not find his way.

We went to the play last night, ‘Tekeli,’ and it really was wonderfully well acted. They did much better than the gentlemen amateurs at Meerut, and, except that the heroines were six feet high and their pink petticoats had not more than three breadths in them, the whole thing was well done: the scenery and decorations were excellent, and all got up by the privates. There was one man who sang comic songs in a quiet, dawdling way that Matthews could not have surpassed. It was all over by nine o’clock. We marched very early this morning, as it was a sixteen miles’ march, which is always a trial to the servants and to the regiment, the sun is so hot now after eight. The sergeant who sends back reports of the road the evening before, always writes them in rather a grand style, and he put down to-day: ‘First and second mile good; at the third mile, bridge over the canal which requires the greatest precaution—the roaring sluices may alarm the horses.’ I wish you had seen the ‘roaring sluices,’ something like the cascades we used to build when we were children in the ditch at Elmer’s End, but hardly so imposing. Sergeant —— is so unused to the slightest inequality either of land or water, that it astounds him. The servants enjoyed their holiday thoroughly. They all put off their liveries and went round the camp to make their little compliments, which they do in very good taste, and the old khansamah made a sort of chapel of the hangings of tents, and there was one of their priests in the centre reading the Koran, and between four and five hundred of them kneeling round, all looking so white and clean in their muslin dresses. I really think they are very good people, they are so very particular about their prayers.

Friday, March 9.

We had our overland packet of December 27 yesterday. There never was anything so praiseworthy as the regularity of that Overland Mail lately, but where are your letters? You must send them to China with directions to climb over the wall and post on to Simla, or to ‘try New South Wales, or Tartary.’ I heard from R. and M. and L. all up to Christmas, and you are still at August 5th. It is very odd, because I am confident you write, but I should like to know what you write. We have heard from Mr. D. much later than from you.


Saharunpore, Sunday, March 11, 1838.

THIS is a small station, only two ladies, one of whom is Miss T.; she came out last year to join a brother here, who is quite delighted to have her, and she seems very contented with her quiet life; but everybody is contented with their stations at the foot of the hills. They stay the cold season here, and go in twelve hours up to Mussoorie, where most of them have their regular established homes, so they escape all hot weather. Miss T. and her brother and the other Saharunpore gentlemen came out to meet us, and G. and I stopped at Captain C.’s to see an immense collection of fossils, all proving that our elephants of the present day were ‘little Chances’ of the olden time. G. had a durbar, and in the afternoon we went to the Botanical Gardens, which are very shady and nice; and we sent the band there, as the Saharunporites do not often hear music. It is a pretty little station.

Kerni, March 15.

G. has been out tiger-hunting from the two last stations. They never had a glimpse of a tiger, though here and there they saw the footprints of one. One of the days the thermometer was at 90° in our tents, but G. stayed out the whole day, and said he did not feel the heat.

Mussoorie, Sunday, March 18.

On Thursday evening we went on to Deyrah, too late to see anything, but Friday morning the beauty of the Himalayas burst upon us. We were encamped just under the mountains—too much under them to see the snowy range, but still nothing could be more beautiful than the first view of the range, and no wonder one hates plains. Colonel Y. had us out early in the morning to see his little Ghoorka regiment manœuvre. Most of the men are about five feet six, with little hands and feet in proportion. All the mountaineers are very small creatures, but they make excellent little soldiers; and the Ghoorkas beat our troops at this spot twenty-five years ago, and killed almost all the officers sent against them. Now they are our subjects they fight equally well for us, and were heard to say at Bhurtpore that they really thought some of our soldiers were nearly equal to themselves. They look like little black dolls. They are quite unlike natives. There is a regular fool attached to the regiment, who had stuck a quantity of wild flowers in his helmet, and came up and saluted G. with a large drawn sword in a most ridiculous manner. After that we went to see a Sikh temple, where there was a great festival, and about a hundred fakeers, the most horrid-looking monsters it is possible to see. They never wear any clothes, but powder themselves all over with white or yellow powder, and put red streaks over their faces. They look like the raw material of so many Grimaldis. At eleven, the two ladies and five gentlemen of the station came to visit us; and at four, G. and I set off, under Colonel Y.’s auspices, to see a cavern that has just been discovered about four miles from this, and which was found out in a very odd way. One of the soldiers had murdered his havildar out of jealousy, and escaped, and was taken, after a fortnight’s search, in this cave, nearly starved to death. It is just the place where Balfour of Burley would have hid himself. I have not enjoyed a drive so much for ages, and it was through such a beautiful country—such hills and valleys! I wish we might settle at Deyrah for the rest of the term of our transportation. One of the worst parts of this journey is that we never can go even two yards from the camp without an officer with G. on account of the petitioners. When we got near the cave we found Colonel Y., Dr. G., and Captain M. at the entrance of a dark grotto, through which a stream was running. ‘Nothing to walk through,’ Colonel Y. said, ‘not more than two feet deep, or two feet and a half at most,’ and so in they all went; but my bearers luckily declared they could carry the tonjaun through, and they contrived it, though sometimes one tumbled down, and then another, and I had once to sit at the bottom of it to prevent my head being knocked off by the rocks. It was a beautiful cavern about 500 yards long, and at the other end there was a tent, where G. and Colonel Y. had wisely established dry clothes, but the others who had not taken this precaution were glad to gallop home as fast as they could.

Yesterday we started at half-past five in the carriage, came five miles to the foot of the hills; then the gentlemen got on the ponies, and F. and I into our jonpauns, which might just as well be called tonjauns—they are the same sort of conveyances, only they swing about more, and look like coffins. The mountaineers run up the hills with them in a wonderful manner. We were two hours going up precipices which, as Vivian Grey says, ‘were completely perpendicular, but with perhaps a slight incline inwards at the bottom,’ and then we reached Colonel G.’s bungalow at Mussoorie. Such a view on all sides of it! Nothing could be grander—good fires burning—and a nice sharp wind blowing. Pleasant!

We found our Bengalee servants, who had come on the day before, very miserable. They had slept in the open air and were starved with the cold, and were so afraid of the precipices that they could not even go to the bazaar to buy food. I dare say to people who have never even seen the smallest rise in the ground, not even a molehill, these mountains must be very terrific.

While she was dressing me, Rosina was mimicking F.’s jemadar, who is in a particular state of fear. ‘There was poor Ariff, he buy great stick, and he put stick out so, and then he put his foot by it, and then he say, “Oh! what me do next, me tumble if me move me stick or me foot."’ I thought we should have been alarmed by what Miss T. said of her fears, but we went out on our ponies in the evening and cantered along the paths quite easily, though it is ugly looking down. One stumble, and horse and all must roll down out of sight. But, to be sure, how beautiful the hills are! I am certain I shall grow strong again in a week at Simla, and as for ever being well in the plains, that is an evident impossibility, so far as I am concerned.

Mussoorie, Monday, March 19.

We went to the little Mussoorie church yesterday morning. The bearers are steady men, I have no doubt, but still I wish they would not race with each other; for at the sharp corners where they try to pass, the outer jonpaun hangs over the edge, and I don’t altogether like it. In the afternoon we took a beautiful ride up to Landour, but the paths are much narrower on that side, and our courage somehow oozed out; and first we came to a place where they said, ‘This was where poor Major Blundell and his pony fell over, and they were both dashed to atoms,’—and then there was a board stuck in a tree, ‘From this spot a private in the Cameronians fell and was killed.’ Just as if there were any use in adding that he was killed, if he fell—anybody might have guessed that. Then ——, who lived up here for three years, said he would take us home by a better path, and unluckily it was a worse one, and we had to get off our ponies and lead them, and altogether I felt giddy and thought much of poor Major Blundell! But it is impossible to imagine more beautiful scenery. This morning we went to breakfast with Colonel M. and saw the whole extent of the snowy range, and very fine it is. It is a clever old range to have kept itself so clean and white for 5,000 years. As we came back we met Mars, who is quite happy here, with Ariff after him. I asked him what he was doing. ‘Je veux absolument faire monter ce pauvre Ariff là haut.’—‘Do you like going, Ariff?’ I said.—‘No, ladyship.’—‘Don’t you think the hills very beautiful?’—‘No, ladyship, very shocking;’ and he made a face of such utter nausea it was impossible to help laughing. Mars said afterwards that Ariff flung himself on the ground and declared nothing should induce him to take another step. My jemadar in consequence was particularly puffed up about it, though I believe he disliked his walk quite as much. ‘I been to the Hospital, been to Macdonald Sahib, been everywhere where ladyship has been. Poor Ariff, he fear much!’ and he walked out with a smile of self-complacency at his superior courage.

Rajpore, Wednesday, March 21.

We came down from Mussoorie Monday afternoon with great success, but the change in an hour from cold to heat made us all deaf to begin with, and half the servants were sick, and in the middle of the night I took one of my attacks of spasms. I always think Dr. D. in his heart must wish that they would begin twelve hours sooner. He always has to get up at one in the morning, and the spasm lasted till past three—such an inconvenient time when we have to march at half-past five. I really thought this time I should not have been able to go on, but somehow it always can be done when it cannot be helped; and as all the tents were ready at the next station, I went for the first time in a palanquin—it saves the trouble of dressing, and I just moved from the bed into it. G. went out shooting again this morning on positive information of a tigress and three cubs, but as usual they could not be found. However, they have had some very good shooting.

Thursday, March 22.

We had a great deal of rain last night; and so when we came to cross the Jumna this morning it was not fordable, and there never was such a mess—only three boats for all our camp. Two poor men were drowned in the night trying to swim over, and one or two camels were carried away, but found again. Then the road was so bad the carriage was not available, and I came part of the way on the elephant, which, as I was not strong, shook me to atoms. We crossed at last, and then it appeared that everything had been drenched in the night, and there was not a bed nor a sofa to lie down on. Luckily, Rosina lent me her charpoy, a sort of native couch, and Dr. D. got a medicine chest, and gave me some laudanum, and now I am better again; but of all the troubles in life for ‘an ailing body,’ I think a march the most complete. It is a pouring day, but luckily very cool. Chance has been very ill for the last week, and I have made him over to-day to the surgeon of the body-guard, who has bled him, and says he can cure him.

Friday, March 23.

We must luckily halt here three days, for half the people and things are still on the other bank. I am better to-day, and Chance is in a more hopeful state. As you will hear from us several times by the overland packet before this comes to hand, I may as well send this off without coming to the interesting crisis of Chance’s fate; but as the inflammation in his dear little chest is supposed to be subdued, you may feel tolerably easy. I, as usual, wind up with the observation that your last letter was dated August 5—seven months and three weeks old.


Camp, Nahun, March 26, 1838.

I SENT off my last Journal from Rajghaut, March 23. We got all our goods over the river on Friday evening, and marched Saturday, 24th. The regiment and the cavalry went the straight road, and we made an awfully long march of seventeen miles towards the hills. It was the last day of the dear open carriage, which has been the only comfort of my life in this march. Nothing is so tiresome as all the miserable substitutes for it—three miles of elephant and four of tonjaun, and then a pony. Both men and cattle get so tired in a long march, or when they are employed every day. The road is very pretty all through the Dhoon, and much cooler than the plains. Chance is better, thank you. I knew you would feel anxious about him. His constitution is dreadfully Indianised; but perhaps the hills, and a judicious change of diet, may be of use. However, he is done for as an English dog; he is just the sort of dog you see at Cheltenham.

We came up to Nahun yesterday morning by means of elephants and jonpauns. The road was very steep, but nothing like that to Mussoorie. The Rajah of Nahun met us at the last stage, and came up the hill with us to-day. He has his palace at the top, a sort of hill fort, and about 100 soldiers—imitations of our soldiers—and a band of mountaineers, who played ‘God save the Queen’ with great success. He is one of the best-looking people I have seen, and is a Rajpoot chief, and rides, and hunts, and shoots, and is active. Nothing can be prettier than the scenery, and altogether Nahun is the nicest residence I have seen in India; and if the rajah fancied an English ranee, I know somebody who would be very happy to listen to his proposals. At the same time, they do say that the hot winds sometimes blow here, and that his mountains are not quite high enough; and those points must be considered before I settle here.

This morning we have been to see the palace, which is an odd collection of small rooms, painted and gilded in curious patterns—of course, no tables and chairs; and indeed the only piece of furniture in the house was an English barrel-organ, and in one of the rooms downstairs there was a full-grown tiger, tolerably tame, and a large iron pot full of milk for his dinner.

Naramghur, March 28.

We rejoined the other camp this morning. We came down the mountains from Nahun on Monday afternoon with great success as far as we were concerned, but a great many of the camels suffered from it, and we passed several utterly unable to move. G. and I rode the last five miles. By remaining at Nahun till the afternoon, we reduced ourselves to one tent—all the others were obliged to go on for to-day’s use, and there is something particularly uncomfortable in a general tent.

One chair and table for G. at one end, with a supply of office boxes, two sofas for F. and me, with a book a-piece, and two cane chairs for A. and B., each pretending to read, but looking uncomfortable and stiff. I missed my old parasol about three days ago, and discovered to-day that Jimmund had applied to my jemadar for it, because he thought Chance’s ailments were brought on by the sun; and Wright says she passed him to-day marching down the hill with Chance in one hand and the parasol held over him with the other—a pretty idea. This morning I came on in the palanquin, a wretched substitute for the carriage, but anything is better than sitting bolt upright before breakfast—in fact, it is quite impossible.

W. has had great sport at last—at least, everybody says it is great sport. I cannot imagine anything more unpleasant. They found six tigers at once in a ravine. Two charged W.’s elephant, and three General E.’s; one of them disturbed a hornet’s nest, and W. says he has since taken fifty stings out of his face. The bank of the ravine gave way, and he and his elephant came down within a yard of one tiger, which was however too much wounded to do any harm. Altogether the party have killed eight, and are coming back very much delighted with having been very nearly eaten up, and then stung to death.

Raepore, Thursday, March 29.

Only five more days. I get such fits of bore with being doddled about for three hours before breakfast in a sedan-chair, that I have a sort of mad wish to tell the bearers to turn back and go home, quite home, all the way to England. I wonder if I were to call ‘coach’ as loud as I could, if it would do any good. It would be a relief to my feelings. An unfortunate Brahmin came to Dr. D. at Nahun in the most horrible state of agony, from that disease of which poor Mr. —— died. Dr. D. had him carried down, and yesterday he attempted the cure. Anything so horrible as the man’s screams I never heard; indeed, I thought it was some animal, and sent out to ask what was the matter. It was the longest and worst operation Dr. D. said he ever witnessed, but the man insisted on it. His family have cut him off, but if he lives, it will be very easy to give him all he wants. He is very ill, and had to be carried on thirteen miles in a dhoolie.

Friday, March 30.

That Brahmin is better, and Dr. D. thinks he will live. We had a melancholy letter to-day, with an account of poor Mr. S.’s death. He died of abscess on the liver—of India, in fact. I think his health had begun to fail before we left Calcutta, but we had not heard of his being ill till a week ago. I am very sorry on all accounts. He was an excellent man, and very much to be loved; and then she is left with eleven children, of whom three only are provided for. It is melancholy to think how almost all the people we have known at all intimately have in two years died off, and that out of a small society. None of them turned fifty; indeed, all but Mr. S. between thirty and forty. Mr. C., who is with us, was saying yesterday that he had been stationed a few years ago at Delhi. ‘I liked it; we were a very large party of young men, but I am the only survivor.’ And he is quite a young man.


That Brahmin is very much better, and Dr. D. has no doubt he will recover. The Brahmins’ diet leaves them so little susceptible of fever, that if they do not sink under an operation they recover rapidly. G. held a sort of durbar to-day, in which he gave the soubadars (or native officers) of the regiment which has escorted us, shawls and matchlocks, the same to the cavalry, and to the native officers of our bodyguard. They have all conducted themselves most irreproachably during this long march, and they are a class of men who ought to be encouraged. There were about thirty of them in all; and at the end, after praising them and their respective colonels, he poured attar on their hands and gave them paun, which they look upon as the greatest distinction.

They were extremely pleased, and all our servants were quite delighted, and said that ‘our lordship was the first that had ever been so good to natives.’ I am glad it went off so well, for the idea, between ourselves, was mine; and as there is a great jealousy and great fear about liberality, it was disapproved of at first by the authorities, but G. took to it after a day or two, and I mentioned it surreptitiously to ——, who manages that part of the department. G. is quite of opinion that there is too much neglect of meritorious natives, and that it is only marvellous our dominion over them has resisted the system of maltreatment, which was even much more the fashion than it is now. Even now it is very painful to hear the way in which even some of the best Europeans speak to those Rajpoot princes, who, though we have conquered them, still are considered as kings by their subjects, and who look like high-caste people.

Sabathoo, Monday, April 2.

On Saturday evening, at Pinjore, we gave a farewell dinner to all the camp, and went after dinner to some beautiful gardens belonging to the Puttealah rajah. He is not here himself, but he had had these gardens lit up for us, and the fountains were playing, and all the best nautch-girls had been sent from Puttealah, and altogether it was a very magnificent fête.

People may abuse nautching, but it always amuses me extremely. The girls hardly move about at all, but their dresses and attitudes are so graceful I like to see them. Their singing is dreadful, and very noisy.

We went on to Barr the next afternoon; it is such a hot place that we wished to have as few hours of it as possible. We found —— nearly exhausted by the labour of passing on our goods; every camel trunk takes on an average eight men, and we have several hundred camel trunks of stores alone. Colonel T., the political agent, had, however, arrived with a reinforcement of coolies, and everything was progressing. That Brahmin is so much better that Dr. D. sent him home from here, and we gave him all that he required for his expenses. We were called at half-past three this morning—is not that almost too shocking? human nature revolts from such atrocities—and at four we were all stowed away in our jonpauns and jogging by torchlight up some perpendicular paths, which might be alarming, but I could not keep awake to see.

We were four hours coming to Sabathoo. Colonel T. provided us with a house. We have had sundry alarms that our beds were gone straight to Simla. Some of the servants knocked up, but upon the whole it has been a less alarming expedition than Sir G. K. said we should find it. Colonel T. has asked all Sabathoo, consisting of nine individuals, to meet us, which we could have spared, considering we are to be up at half-past three again to-morrow.

Simla, April 3.

Well, it really is worth all the trouble—such a beautiful place—and our house, that everybody has been abusing, only wanting all the good furniture and carpets we have brought, to be quite perfection. Views only too lovely; deep valleys on the drawing-room side to the west, and the snowy range on the dining-room side, where my room also is. Our sitting-rooms are small, but that is all the better in this climate, and the two principal rooms are very fine. The climate! No wonder I could not live down below! We never were allowed a scrap of air to breathe—now I come back to the air again I remember all about it. It is a cool sort of stuff, refreshing, sweet, and apparently pleasant to the lungs. We have fires in every room, and the windows open; red rhododendron trees in bloom in every direction, and beautiful walks like English shrubberies cut on all sides of the hills. Good! I see this is to be the best part of India.

April 7.

This must go to-morrow. Simla is still like Major Waddell, ‘all that is brave, generous, and true.’ G. and I took such a nice ride yesterday round the highest mountain, to which is given the sublime name of Jacko; but Jacko is a grand animal. You may be quite comfortable about our healths here, as far as climate goes; it is quite perfection, and altogether the Himalayas are sweet pretty little hills. I have just unpacked your picture, which has been four months in a camel trunk, and is more like you than ever.


Simla, Good Friday, April 13, 1838.

I HAD better make a beginning at last. A heap of sea letters came this morning, and, amongst others, one of your dear books which I have been pining for, and a Journal from E. to me, and from T. to F., of the 20th of January, and Mr. D.’s to me the same date; so now I begin to know all about you again—your young days of 1837, and your old age of 1838. I begin to catch an idea of your character—but the state of confusion I have been in for four days between these two packets! There was Miss Ryder the Second reigning in the schoolroom, and I without an idea whether the usurper Capplische had been dethroned and beheaded, or whether it had been a regular succession, a natural death of Capplische, and a young Ryder mounting the throne in right of her descent.

Then Charley was going back to Eton. I never knew you thought of sending him there at all. I went all about the house, asking about him and his school. The old khansamah could not recollect; the jemadar thought it must be just what the Lady Sahib thought; the aides-de-camp would ‘write and ask at once’ (their favourite phrase), but still it was not clear—and now I have your letter of reasons and intentions. Then Newsalls had become ‘home,’ your shell, your manor-house, and you had never explained it to me. Now that I see the damask bed-room, and the girls’ rooms, and the library, I am better, though I still think it would have been a delicate attention if you had described cursorily my room. A southern aspect you will of course attend to; I shall be chilly! This dear Simla! it snowed yesterday, and has been hailing to-day, and is now thundering, in a cracking, sharp way that would be awful, only its sublimity is destroyed by the working of the carpenters and blacksmiths, who are shaping curtain rods and rings all round the house. It has been an immense labour to furnish properly. We did not bring half chintz enough from Calcutta, and Simla grows rhododendrons, and pines, and violets, but nothing else—no damask, no glazed cotton for lining—nothing. There is a sort of country cloth made here—wretched stuff, in fact, though the colours are beautiful—but I ingeniously devised tearing up whole pieces of red and of white into narrow strips, and then sewing them together, and the effect for the dining-room is lovely, when supported with the scarlet border painted all round the cornice, the doors, windows, &c.; and now everybody is adopting the fashion.

Another grievance that took Wright and me by surprise was, that of all our head tailors whom we had brought from Calcutta, none had ever seen the drapery of a curtain. Bengal has no curtains; so Wright had to cut out everything herself. It is in these times of emergency that the value of the European servants rises. Giles has nailed up every curtain himself. G. has made over to him the care of the garden, and he is perfectly happy with it, and in a state of the greatest importance. ‘I hope we may have rain to-night, ma’am, and I can bring a few asparagus from my garden; and perhaps you will just look at these tickets. I can manage common things, but my lord’s hard names for flowers quite puzzle me.’ The kitchen garden is at least half a mile off, down one of the steepest hills, and Giles has been to tell me that unless he has a pony he really cannot be as much in the garden as he should wish. His horse was left with Webb. I have told him to ride for the present a pony that was sent to G. by one of the hill rajahs, one of what we in our patois call the Mizzer horses, and I fondly hope that if old B. sees Giles on it, he will roll down a precipice with the shock. He will think we are going to appropriate the Mizzers.

This is the first day I have been out of my room, or hardly out of bed, for a week.

April 22.

I am quite well again now, thank you, and have begun riding and walking again, and the climate, the place, and the whole thing is quite delightful, and our poor despised house, that everybody abused, has turned out the wonder of Simla. We brought carpets, and chandeliers, and wall shades (the great staple commodity of India furniture), from Calcutta, and I have got a native painter into the house, and cut out patterns in paper, which he then paints in borders all round the doors and windows, and it makes up for the want of cornices, and breaks the eternal white walls of these houses. Altogether it is very like a cheerful middle-sized English country-house, and extremely enjoyable. I do not mean to think about the future (this world’s future) for six months. It was very well to keep oneself alive in the plains by thinking of the mountains, or to dream of some odd chance that would take one home—there is no saying the odd inventions to go home that I had invented—but now I do not mean to be imaginative for six months.

Runjeet Singh wants to see Dr. D., and so he is to accompany Mr. ——, W., and M., who go in about a fortnight, to take G.’s compliments, &c. I was asking Dr. D. who was to keep in our little sparks of life while he is away, and he does not seem to know yet.

April 29.

There never was such delicious weather, just like Mr. Wodehouse’s gruel, ‘cool, but not too cool;’ and there is an English cuckoo talking English—at least, he is trying, but he evidently left England as a cadet, with his education incomplete, for he cannot get further than cuck—and there is a blackbird singing. We pass our lives in gardening. We ride down into the valleys, and make the syces dig up wild tulips and lilies, and they are grown so eager about it, that they dash up the hill the instant they see a promising-looking plant, and dig it up with the best possible effect, except that they invariably cut off the bulb. It certainly is very pleasant to be in a pretty place, with a nice climate. Not that I would not set off this instant, and go dâk all over the hot plains, and through the hot wind, if I were told I might sail home the instant I arrived at Calcutta; but as nobody makes me that offer, I can wait here better than anywhere else—like meat, we keep better here. All the native servants are, or have been, sick, and I do not wonder. We have built twenty small houses since we came, and have lodged fifty of our servants in these outhouses. Still, there were always a great many looking unhappy, so I got J. to go round to all the houses and get me a list of all who were settled, and of those whose houses were not built, and I found there were actually sixty-seven who had no lodging provided for them. I should like to hear the row English servants would have made, and these are not a bit more used to rough it. There is not one who has not his own little house at Calcutta, and his wife to cook for him; so they feel the cold and their helplessness doubly, but they never complain. We have got them now all under tents, and their houses will be finished before the rains, but in the meantime I wonder they are all so patient. We have given several dinners, and one dance, which was an awful failure, I thought, but they say the Simlaites liked it. If so, their manners were very deceptive.

Simla, May 7.

We have had the Sikh deputation here for nearly a week. The durbar was put off from Saturday, as we had on Saturday and Sunday two regular hill rainy days, an even down-pour, that was a great trial to the flat mud roofs, and a thick mist quite up to the windows. It is the sort of thing that lasts for two months during the rains, but it has no business to come misting into our houses now. However, the clearing up on Sunday was worth seeing. The hills were so beautiful and purple, and such masses of white clouds sailing along the valleys. The Sikh deputation came on Monday. There are six principal people, one of them a young cousin of Runjeet Singh’s, and another a fakeer who is Runjeet’s chief confidant and adviser, and a clever man. He is dressed outwardly as a fakeer ought to be, in coarse brown cloth; but if that opens a little, there is underneath a gold dress embroidered in seed pearl. Captain M. and I arranged the rooms according to our own fancy, and we made out a much better-looking durbar than when —— takes our house in hand, and desecrates it with ugly white cloth, to ensure the natives taking off their shoes. We covered the rooms with scarlet linen, which looked very handsome, and equally ensured that etiquette, and saved the appearance of a drying-ground. It is not like a common durbar for tributaries, who are dismissed in five minutes, but this lasted an hour. G., in a gilt chair, in the centre, the six Sikh chiefs and Mr. B. at the right hand, and all the envoys, forty of them, in full dress and solemn silence, in a circle all round the room, and in the folding-doors between the two rooms a beautiful group of twelve Sikhs, who had no claim to chairs, but sat on the floor. And before this circle G. has to talk and to listen to the most flowery nonsense imaginable, to hear it translated and retranslated, and to vary it to each individual. It took a quarter of an hour to satisfy him about the maharajah’s health, and to ascertain that the roses had bloomed in the garden of friendship, and the nightingales had sung in the bowers of affection sweeter than ever, since the two powers had approached each other. Then he hoped that the deputation had not suffered from the rain; and they said that the canopy of friendship had interposed such a thick cloud that their tents had remained quite dry, which was touching, only it did so happen that the tents were so entirely soaked through that Runjeet Singh had been obliged to hire the only empty house in Simla for them. Their dresses were beautiful, particularly the squatting group in the centre, and it is a great pity there was no painter here.

Wednesday, May 9.

We were at home yesterday evening. I went to see Miss R. in the morning, and she told me that the ladies at Simla had settled that they would not dance, because the Sikh envoys were asked, and they had no idea of dancing before natives. Considering that we ask forty natives to every dance we give at Calcutta, and that nobody ever cares, it was late to make any objection; and Miss R. said that she begged to say that being in deep mourning, and not naturally a dancer, she meant to dance every quadrille, if there were any difficulty about it, just to show what she thought of their nonsense. However, they all thought better of it before the evening. There were only three ladies out of the whole society absent, and an absolute difficulty about room for the dancers; and our aides-de-camp had quite a rest, from the ladies being engaged for seven or eight quadrilles. The Sikhs were very quiet and well-behaved. Two of them had seen English dancing before, and were aware that the ladies were ladies, and not nautch-girls; and I hope they explained that important fact to the others. If not we shall never know it, as there are hardly any of them that speak even Hindustani. I own, when some of the dancers asked for a waltz, which is seldom accomplished, even in Calcutta, I was afraid the Sikhs might have been a little astonished; and I think Govind Jus gave Golaub Singh a slight nudge as General K—— whisked past with his daughter; but I dare say they thought it pretty. The victim G. talked to Ajeet Singh viâ Mr. B. all the evening, and occasionally I tried a little topic to help him, but they would not like much talk from a woman. The poor ignorant creatures are perfectly unconscious what a very superior article an Englishwoman is. They think us contemptible, if anything, which is a mistake. Mr. B. said he had never met with greater quickness in conversation than in that young Ajeet Singh. G. said that he regretted his ignorance of their language prevented his acquiring so much information respecting the maharajah as he wished, to which Ajeet Singh answered, that the Lord Sahib possessed the key of all knowledge in his natural talents and sense. I said to Mr. B., ‘Tell them that you are, in fact, Lord A.’s key of knowledge, as you expound everything to him.’ He translated this in his usual literal way, and Ajeet Singh paid him some compliment in return, and added, ‘But though the rays of the sun strike the earth, it is from the sun itself that the beam draws its light.’ They are all in a horrid fright of their master, which is not surprising. G. asked their opinion about a boat, one of the beautiful snake-boats with one hundred rowers which he is going to build as a present to Runjeet, and he wanted them to say what colours, ornaments, &c., would please him; but they declined giving any opinion on a subject that they had not been instructed to speak upon, and Mr. B. said he actually heard Ajeet Singh’s heart beat from fear that he might be led into any advice that might be repeated to Runjeet. Amongst the presents they brought there is such a lovely bed, with silver posts and legs, and yellow shawl curtains and counterpanes, and just the size for our little rooms at Kensington Gore. They can be had at Lahore for fifty pounds, and I certainly mean to bring one home. The silver is laid on very thin, and the shawls are not fine shawls, but the effect is very pretty.


Friday, May 11, 1838.

WE went yesterday to the Sikh camp to see their troops. W., F., and I went on first, for when G. comes with his tail on there is such a kicking and fighting amongst the horses, that it is not pleasant with a thousand feet of precipices on one side of the road. G.’s horse was more than usually vicious, and came to a regular fight with Sir G.’s. I wish everybody would stick to their ponies in this country. The Sikhs had pitched a very pretty shawl tent for us, with a silver chair and footstool for G.; and the hills all round, with the Sikhs’ showy horses and bright dresses in the foreground, made as pretty a picture as it is possible to see. Their soldiers were something like our recruits, I thought, and their firing on horseback was very inferior to that of the local corps we saw on our march. Ajeet Singh joined in the firing at a mark, and seemed to shoot better than any of his followers, but there were always two or three of them who fired at the same time as he did, to make things quite certain. We had to ride home as hard as we could to be in time for a great dinner, and only had ten minutes for dressing. This morning G. had another durbar for a farewell to the deputation, and for giving presents in exchange of theirs. After the Sikhs had retired there were some hill rajahs introduced, rather interesting. One was the brother of an ex-rajah, whose eyes had been put out by the neighbour who took his territories. Another had been dethroned by Goulâb Singh, who is one of the most powerful chiefs, except Runjeet, and a horrid character. Half his subjects are deprived of their noses and ears. This poor dethroned man, after a little formal talk, suddenly snatched off his turban and flung it at George’s feet, and then threw himself on the ground, begging for assistance to get back his dominions. He cried like a child, and they say his story is a most melancholy one, but the Company are bound not to interfere. They can only give shelter in their territories.

Monday, May 14.

We had such a dreadful sermon at church yesterday from a strange clergyman. Mr. Y. always preaches here in the morning, and F. and I go in the afternoon to the church, when he has generally preached again; but yesterday this sick gentleman took it into his head he was well enough to preach. He is rather cracked, I should think, though Y. declares not; but I never will go again when he is to preach. He quoted quantities of poetry, and when he thought any of it particularly pretty, he said it twice over with the most ludicrous actions possible. Then he imitated the voice with which he supposed Lazarus was called to come forth, and which he said must have been very loud, or Lazarus would not have heard it, and so he hallooed till half Simla must have heard. Then he described an angel appearing—‘a fine trumpeter;’ and he held out his black gown at its full extent, to show how the angel’s wings fluttered. All round the church people’s shoulders were shaking and their faces hid, and there was one moment when I was nearly going out, for fear of giving a scream. It was a most indecent exit at last. Even Sir G. R. came out, wiping his eyes, and I came home in one of those fits of laughing and crying which we used to have about ‘Pleasant but not correct,’ or such like childish jokes, which always ended by giving you a palpitation. W. and Captain M. went yesterday with the Sikhs on their way to Runjeet.

Thursday, May 17.

I have had a great deal to write and to copy for G. this week, and am amazingly backward in my letters, and I opine it must be the knowledge of that fact which has induced the Bombay Government not to advertise any steamers. Monday we had a great dinner. There is a very pretty Mrs. —— up here—a sort of Malibran in look, but more regularly pretty, who also dined with us. Her husband cannot get leave from his office, and she is come up with two children, who look thoroughly Indianised. I always think those wives who are driven by health to be so many months away from their husbands, are rather in a dangerous situation in this country, where women are seldom left to take care of themselves; but she seems to be a very nice person, and there is something in extreme beauty that is very attractive. On Tuesday we dined with the Commander-in-Chief, in order to attend Capt. Q.’s wedding; it was got up with great care by the R.s. It went off remarkably well—Miss S. looked very pretty. Miss R., one bridesmaid, is rather handsome, and Miss T., the other, is a very handsome girl, but would have looked better if she had not ridden up from Barr (forty-two miles of the steepest hills) without stopping, whereby the sun had literally burnt all the skin off her shoulders through her habit. I lent her a blonde shawl, but it could not conceal the state of things. Most men talk of riding twenty miles in these mountains as a great feat, and I never can understand the extraordinary exertions that women sometimes make—and without dying of it, too.

There was no crying at the wedding, and the young couple went off in two jonpauns, carried one after the other. There was no spare house in Simla, and they had meant to go into tents, but Captains N. and M. handsomely offered their house, which is the most retired and one of the best here.

Saturday, May 19.

F. has heard from W., who had been assisting at the evening firing at a mark, which is a constant practice with the Sikhs. Ajeet Singh put in one of his spears at forty yards’ distance, and another at sixty, and put a mangoe on the head of one. He fired twenty times without hitting either. W. hit the mangoe at the second shot, and then hit the other spear three times running, and then thought it better to say he was tired, and could not shoot any more; so the Sikhs all said ‘Wah! wah!’ and were pleased. Dr. D. says the thermometer is at 96° in their tents with tatties, and outside there is a perfect simoom. Poor things! it is so pleasant here. All Dr. D.’s medicines and instruments have been stolen from his assistant’s tent. The stomach-pump was cut to pieces by the thieves—such a blessing for Runjeet’s courtiers! He tries all medical experiments on the people about him. How they would have been pumped!

Simla, Wednesday.

It appears the Journal I sent off to you last Saturday will probably pass a month at Bombay, where this may still find it. G., in the plentitude of his power, ordered off a steamer to the Persian Gulf, for the Persians are behaving very ill to us, and the second steamer, which was to have supplied its place and to have taken the overland mail, is disabled. The weather, for Simla, is wonderfully hot—I should say painfully so, if I did not recollect the plains. Dr. D. writes word that in their houses at Adeenanuggur (Runjeet’s abode), with tatties and every possible precaution, the thermometer ranges from 102° to 105°. Calcutta never gets up to that, and then it is comparatively cool there at night; whereas, these hot winds are just the same all through the twenty-four hours. W. does not mind them—at least, he says anything is better than Simla.


Our band played again yesterday at their new place, and it is a most successful attempt for the good of society, very much aided yesterday by the goodness of the strawberry ice. The weather is so dry and hot that Giles allowed us to have as many strawberries as could be picked, as they are all dying away. The strawberries here are quite as fine as in England, but they last a very short time. I never saw anything so pretty as the shrubs are just now. Both pink and white roses in large masses, and several other quite new shrubs. When we were riding yesterday we saw some coolies in the road with boxes on their heads, and I said, ‘Let us go to them and persuade them that one of those boxes is ours;’ and when we rode up there was one directed to G. We made sure it contained those bonnets of Mr. D.’s, which we have been looking for so long, but it turned out to be books, and a very neat selection—Ernest Maltravers, the Vicar of Wrexhill, Uncle Horace, Kindness in Women, &c., and some very amusing magazines.

We had read the Vicar of Wrexhill last week; I think it such a clever book, though wicked. Those bonnets must come at last. I never see those coolies come trotting along, having traversed half India, unwatched and unguarded, without having the greatest respect for their honesty and perseverance. They get about three rupees per month (six shillings), or sometimes four, for walking six hundred miles with a heavy box on their heads.

Saturday, June 9.

We went to the play last night. There is a little sort of theatre at Simla, small and hot and something dirty, but it does very well. Captain N. got up a prospectus of six plays for the benefit of the starving people at Agra, and there was a long list of subscribers, but then the actors fell out. One man took a fit of low spirits, and another who acted women’s parts well would not cut off his mustachios, and another went off to shoot bears near the Snowy Range. That man has been punished for his shilly-shallying; the snow blinded him, and he was brought back rolled up in a blanket, and carried by six men also nearly blind—he was entirely so for three days, but has recovered now. Altogether the scheme fell to the ground, which was a pity, as the subscriptions alone would have ensured 30l. every night of acting to those poor people. So when the gentlemen gave it up, the ‘uncovenanted service’ said they wished to try. The ‘uncovenanted service’ is just one of our choicest Indianisms, accompanied with our very worst Indian feelings. We say the words just as you talk of the ‘poor chimney-sweepers,’ or ‘those wretched scavengers’—the uncovenanted being, in fact, clerks in the public offices. Very well-educated, quiet men, and many of them very highly paid; but as many of them are half-castes, we, with our pure Norman or Saxon blood, cannot really think contemptuously enough of them. In former days they were probably a bad class, but now a great many Europeans have been driven, by the failures of the banks here, to take that line, and amongst them are several thorough gentlemen. There were at least fifty of them in one camp attached to Government, and I never saw better behaved people. Some had horses, some gigs, and some their nice little wives in their nice little palkees; two wives and two families packed up together, for economy, with the two husbands riding by the side of the carriage. And then in the evening we used to hear A. and B., &c., disputing and lamenting that they could not allow Mr. V. and Mr. Z., and so on, to sit down in their presence. Well! I dare say it is all right, or at least we are all equally wrong, for they are not allowed to enter Government House; and I see how it would be impossible to ask a white Mr. and Mrs. Smith, though they are better looking than half the people we know, without hurting the feelings of a half-black Mr. Brown. Even at the theatres they have distinct places. Now they have wisely taken to the stage, a great many of the gentry were even above going to see them act. However, we went, and lent them the band, and the house was quite full—and they really acted remarkably well, one Irishman in particular. There is a son of Mr. F.’s amongst them. We always in camp used to call him Sophia; he looked like an actress dressed up in men’s clothes—little ringlets, and a little tunic, and a hat on one side. They have got Sophia to act their heroines, and she looks quite at her ease restored to her female style of dress, and is, I dare say, equally a good clerk in General C.’s office. The play was over soon after ten.

Wednesday, June 13.

The weather is very hot here now, much hotter than an English summer; at least nobody can go out after seven or before six, and the nights are very close; but of course everybody says it is a most extraordinary season, as they always do in India. It must end in rain soon; if it does not, the famine of this unfortunate country will be worse than ever. Captain M. and Mr. B. have both been ill with the dreadful heat at Adeenanuggur, and Dr. D. seems very anxious to get them away from there. I am quite sorry for the doctor. He left his little terrier here at his own house; it was a particularly clever little dog, and he doted on it, and there is very little doubt that it was eaten up, but whether by leopard or hyena remains a mystery. He will be wretched about it, and it places the happiness of the owners of little dogs generally on a wretchedly insecure footing.

We have had a slight disturbance in our household, the first serious one since we sent away those servants at Benares for taking presents. This time it was rather our fault. The Puttealah Rajah always sends, with his fruit and vegetables, various bottles, some containing rose water, and the others some sort of spirits. We ought to have broken the last, but we told the native servants to divide everything amongst them, and one of the kitmutgars, who got for his share a bottle of these spirits, asked some of the others to dine with him, took great care to drink nothing but water himself, and persuaded two others to get very drunk with what he called sherbet, and then they began to quarrel. It is such an extreme disgrace for a Mussulman to be drunk, and so degrading in the eyes of all the others, that J. turned them off forthwith. I was against it, as it had been a trick upon them, and partly our fault, but I only insisted on the giver of the feast being turned off too. As these men have only four shillings a week for themselves and families, of course they can save nothing, and if they are turned away at a distance from home they really may die of starvation. They went crying about for three or four days, and tried Giles and Wright, who could not interfere; and at last they watched me into my room yesterday, and came with two or three of the head servants to speak for them. I never can resist them; they cry, and knock their heads against the ground, and always make use of such touching expressions—that they are so very wicked, and so very unhappy, and that God forgives everybody their faults, and that they must and will die if they are not forgiven. However, I was very firm, and said I knew it was no use asking Major J., and that I never could look upon them again as respectable servants, and that none of the old servants ever gave them such an example, and would not like to associate with them. But then the old ones turned against me; and then I said, I would give them money to take them home, and then they cried still more about the disgrace; so at last I said I would ask Major J., though I was sure it was of no use, &c. Sometimes he does take it amiss; but this time he said, in his own diplomatic way, that in fact he had sent them to me, for he knew I should not resist their grief, and as he had sent them away he did not know how otherwise to help them. Giles, to whose department they belong, had been miserable about them.


Saturday, June 14, 1838.

MY last Journal departed this life on Tuesday last, and since then we have had almost unceasing rain, with a great deal of thick white fog, which I rather affection; it somehow has a smell of London, only without the taste of smoked pea-soup, which is more germane to a London fog, and consequently to my patriotic feelings. The rain last night washed down one house, and killed the man in it; and the roads have been carried down into the valleys, and the rocks washed into the roads, so that somehow our geography is not so clear as it was; but still it is cool, and what else is there that signifies in India?

My Journal must be so very dull here, that I am thinking of converting it into a weekly paper. We do not even give any dinners now (not that they would make any difference). I was thinking how much journals at home are filled with clever remarks, or curious facts, or even good jokes, but here it is utterly impossible to write down anything beyond comments on the weather, I declare I never hear in society anything that can be called a thing—not even an Indian thing—and I see in Sir James Mackintosh’s Life, which I am just finishing for the third time, that, in his Indian journal, there is nothing but longings after home, and the workings of his own brain, and remarks on books; whereas, in his English and Paris journals, there are anecdotes and witticisms of other people, and a little mental friction was going on.

I am interested in Indian politics just now, but could not make them interesting on paper. Herât is still defending itself, but the Russians are egging on the Persians, and their agents are trying to do all the mischief they can on our frontier. Two Russian letters were intercepted, and sent to G. yesterday; highly important, only unluckily nobody in India can read them. The aides-de-camp have been all day making facsimiles of them, to send to Calcutta, Bombay, &c., in hopes some Armenian may be found who will translate them. It would be amusing if they turned out a sort of ‘T. and E. Journal;’ some Caterina Iconoslavitch writing to my uncle Alexis about her partners.

I went through the thick fog this morning to visit the R.s, and found them in a great fuss. They had been trying to get news in every direction without success. ‘Pray, is it true what we heard yesterday morning, that the Governor-General had said he would burn Herât if he could?’ I said it sounded plausible, as he probably did not wish Herât to fall into the enemy’s hands. ‘Well, but then we heard that the Governor-General had said, in the afternoon, that he was against any warlike measure whatever; that contradicts the morning story.’ I recommended that they should always believe the afternoon anecdotes, because G. sees people in the morning, and he sees nobody after luncheon, so that what he says to other people might be less than the truth, but that what he says to himself, in the afternoon, must clearly be the real state of the case.

Sunday, June 17.

Still pouring! and our congregation consisted of only eight people besides Mr. Y.; but it cleared at five, and we rode all round ‘Jacko,’ the imposing name of our highest mountain, as hard as we could canter. The hills were really beautiful to-night, a sea of pinkish white clouds rolling over them, and some of their purple heads peering through like islands. It was a pleasure to look at anything so beautiful and so changeable. The clouds drew up like curtains in massy folds every now and then, and there were the valleys grown quite green in three days, just tinged with the sunbeams, the sun itself hidden; and the want of shape for which these hills are to blame on common occasions was disguised by all this vapoury dress. I love hills, but I have discovered by deep reflection that we are such artificial animals, that the recollections of art are much more pleasing and stronger in my mind than those of nature. In thinking over past travels, Rubens’ ‘Descent from the Cross’ at Antwerp, and Canova’s ‘Magdalene,’ and one or two Vandycks at Amsterdam, and parts of Westminster Abbey and of York Minster, come constantly into my thoughts; and I can see all the pictures at Panshanger, particularly the Correggio, and many of those at Woburn and Bowood, as clearly as if they were hanging in this room. There is a bit of grey sky in that ‘Descent from the Cross’ I shall never forget, whereas Killarney, and the Rhine, and the Pyrenees are all confused recollections, pleasant but not clear. And I am sure that in this country, though I do not admire Indian architecture, I shall recollect every stone of the Kootûb and every arch about it, when these mountains will be all indistinct. In short, notwithstanding that ‘God made the country and man made the town,’ I, after the fashion of human nature, enjoy most what God has given, and remember best what man has done. How do you feel about nature and art? Don’t you love a fine picture? After all, it is only nature caught and fixed. Another thing is, that all my associations with pictures and statues are those of pleasant society, and friends, and good houses, and youth and happiness, though I should love them for their own sakes too.

Simla, Wednesday, June 20.

I sent off another lump of Journal last Saturday, but somehow I feel none of those last letters are sure of reaching you. They will be drowned going overland, after the contrarious way of the world. We might have had your April packet by this time, but the Bombay dâk has not been heard of at all for five days, and it is supposed the rivers have overflowed and that all your dear little letters are swimming for their lives. Our rains have begun, but they are not very different from English rains—at least hitherto it has been fine half the day. On Saturday morning they began with a grand thunder-storm, and a great splash of water, which would have been pleasant only that it took a wrong direction, and somehow settled in my ceiling, from which it descended in a variety of small streams, after the fashion of a gigantic shower-bath, on my carpet, tables, &c. Giles rushed in at the head of a valiant band of khalasses (Indian house-maids of the male gender), and carried off my books and pictures, and nothing was hurt, only you know your face might have been entirely washed out, which, as there is not another like it within 15,000 miles, would have been an irreparable calamity. The rest of the house behaved itself beautifully, and my room was put to rights in twenty-four hours. The instant these leaks are discovered, the flat roofs are covered with natives thumping away at the mud of which they are composed, as if noise were no grievance. A strange delusion!

Friday, June 22.

I must copy out an extract from the ‘Loodheeana News,’ Runjeet’s ‘Morning Chronicle,’ which Captain M. translated from the original Persian.

There is an account of the arrival of our Mission at Adeenanugger, and then it goes on to say: ‘On the following day the Maharajah, having alighted in his silver ornamented bungalow, had an order sent through his counsellors and enlightened sages, that the state elephants adorned with golden howdahs should be sent for the purpose of bringing the Mission to the durbar. The newswriters report that before the arrival of the deputation, the troops of the Maharajah, covered from head to foot with silver, jewels, and all manner of beautiful clothes, were drawn up before his doors, and such was their appearance that the jewel-mine, out of envy, drew a stone upon its head, the river sat upon the sand of shame, and the manufacturers of the handsome cloths of Room (Constantinople) and Buper pulled down their workshops. The voices of the praise singers were raised from earth to heaven, and thus they spoke—“O God, may the gardens of these two mighty kingdoms continue prosperous and flourishing to the end of time! May the enemies of these two rivers of justice and liberality, which day by day receive the waves of victory from the whole world, perish in the stream! May the friends of these two clouds of power, which day by day shower down jewels on the inhabitants of the world, ever be victorious!" As soon as the customary forms of meeting had been gone through, the gentlemen of the Mission were seated on silver chairs. Nearly two hours were occupied in asking questions regarding the health of the Governor-General. After this a letter from his lordship, locked up in a jewelled box, and every word of which was full of the desire for an interview with the Maharajah, was presented. The deputation then retired. We shall have more to say regarding this next week.’

What delights me in that is that G.’s health should occupy two hours of enquiry. His illnesses have never been half so long, luckily.

Thursday, June 28.

I have had a letter from Dr. D., who gives a wretched account of their sufferings; the thermometer had been for three days ranging from 107° to 110°. He says W. had at last given in, and announced that he could not live twenty-four hours more, but that he had left him sitting under a fountain, smoking his hookah, and in very good spirits; he had little doubt he would live grumbling on. He is sending Captain M. home, and he will be here probably in a week, which I am very glad of. Dr. D. says that he considers him in a precarious state, though his lungs are not yet attacked, but he is so reduced that another week of such weather would be too much for him.

They are all very much occupied in burying a live native—a man who has been described in various travels, who says he has the power of existing in a trance, and who has made a vow to be buried for twelve years. We have seen a great many people who have seen him buried, a guard placed and even a house built over the grave, and who have seen him dug up again at the end of two months apparently a corpse, but he comes to again. Dr. D. was quite incredulous, but says in his letter to-day that after hearing all the witnesses, and seeing the man, he has become quite a convert. They were all going to attend the burying in the afternoon, and the man had desired that he might not be dug up till the Governor-General’s arrival at Lahore next November. He offered to come and be buried here, but Runjeet did not approve of it.

We had a musical dinner yesterday, a borrowed pianoforte and singing, and two couples who accompany each other. The flute couple I think a failure, but they are reckoned in this country perfectly wonderful; and they whispered quite confidentially, ‘I suppose you are aware that before —— came out to this country, the famous Nicholson said he could teach him nothing more.’ I suspect when he goes back the famous Nicholson will find he may throw in a lesson or two with good effect. The other couple are beautiful musicians.

Monday, July 2.

Captain P.’s house was robbed last night of about 80l. worth of plate. One of his own servants is supposed to have done it, but there was another house at the other end of Simla broken open at the same time, and robbed of the same amount of plate, so there must be a gang of robbers in the bazaar, much to ——’s disgrace. It is considered quite a shocking thing to have a robbery in India—pilfering is commendable and rather a source of vanity, but a robbery of an European is a sort of high treason in all native states, and the town pays for that loss.


Simla, Wednesday, August 8, 1838.

I OUGHT to have begun again sooner, as my last Journal was sent off this day week, but it appears it will have to wait at Bombay till the eighth of next month, so, as you may receive two at once, it will be rather in your favour if one week is omitted.

It has rained almost literally without ceasing, with constant fog; but if it is clear for ten minutes the beauty of the hills is surpassing; such masses of clouds about them and below them, and they are so purple and so green at this time of year.

August 18.

We had to go to another play last night. Luckily they only acted two farces, so we were home at ten, but anything much worse I never saw. There were three women’s parts in the last farce, and the clerks had made their bonnets out of their broad straw hats tied on; they had gowns with no plaits in them, and no petticoats nor bustles. One of them, a very black half-caste, stood presenting his enormous flat back to the audience, and the lover observed, with great pathos, ‘Upon my soul! that is a most interesting-looking little gurl.’

It seems very uncertain when our next overland packet will come. The steamers could not get there, and there is nothing but an Arab sailing-vessel to bring the letters here. I have no faith in the Arabs as postmen. I had two here yesterday to draw. They followed Captain B. from Cabul, and are genuine ‘Children of the Desert.’ They are very unlike our quiet natives, and laughed so much all the time, that I could hardly draw them; but they make excellent sketches. I often wish for Landseer here.

Wednesday, Aug. 22.

There! this must go. We had a great dinner on Monday, and another fainting lady. Somebody always faints here. I myself believe that, though they do not like to say so, it is the fleas that make them ill. You cannot imagine the provocation of those animals during the rains. W. was really ill for two days with them—irritation and want of sleep—and was obliged to see Dr. D. The worst of it is, that the more the house is cleaned and tormented, the worse the fleas get. They belong to the soil, and even the flower-garden is full of them. They say that plague is to cease next month, which is a comfort.

A box of new books arrived yesterday, just as we were at the last gasp—and such a good set! Perhaps the Annuals might have been left out, but other people like to see them; and then, by great good luck, we had not seen one of the other books, though they had been nine months coming. ‘Lady Annabella,’ ‘Ethel Churchill,’ ‘Pascal Bruno,’ &c. We are now in that age of literature. I wish you would buy on my account a copy of ‘La Marquise de Pontange’ and ‘Le Père Goriot,’ and send them out, and I wish you would send yourself out with them. That would be the real book to read over again.

[A portion of the Journal being lost, these letters of the same dates are here inserted, to carry on the narrative.]

Letter to the Countess of B.

Simla, August 20, 1838.

My dearest Sister,

I am going to run off a few short letters to-day and to-morrow, just to show what I would have done, if letters would ever go—but they won’t. They say there is an accumulation of three months’ letters lying at Bombay. There has been a monsoon, and a want of coals, and a burst boiler, and every sort of excuse. I wish, when you are driving about, you would just call at the dockyards[C] in your neighbourhood, and mention that we are not at all satisfied with the steamers they send us out; that you think yourself, their last bowsprits are a shame to be seen, and you might add, that if you do not get your letters a little more regularly, you really must speak about employing some other cast-iron men. Somehow, out of four steamers at Bombay, there has not been one available, and we are now expecting our letters of June by some Arab proa, or some sailing-vessel. We may expect, I fancy, with a witness! I have not much news for you, as I doubt (though I think you a wonderfully clever woman) whether you are quite up to the nuances of the Cabul and Candahar politics.

[C] Woolwich.

We gain one little good by this war. The army cannot muster at Ferozepore till the 20th of November, and Sir G. R. wishes G. not to meet Runjeet Singh till he can escort him at the head of 10,000 men, so that gives us three more cool weeks here, and takes off three very hot weeks of the plains. The heat subsides about December. F. and I shall be the only ladies in the whole camp. All our own ladies stay up here, bored to death to be without their husbands, but they would be still more bored if they had to drag their children through another long march. Besides, there are great difficulties this time for tents, carriages, &c., and then it is to be hoped we shall make a much shorter journey, and come up here again.

It has rained without ceasing since I wrote last—an excellent thing for India, and not so unpleasant for us as it sounds.

When I say ‘without ceasing,’ it very often stops raining for half an hour in the afternoon, and then the drip and the fog do not count.

We all get on our ponies the moment it is fair, and go cantering past each other, saying, ‘How delightful to be out again,’ and ‘I think we shall get wet’—and then that is enough exercise for two days. It is supposed the rains are breaking up now, as we have had three fine evenings, one of which we devoted to dropping in after dinner familiarly at the Commander-in-chief’s, to have tea and a rubber of whist.

Don’t you see how free-and-easy that looked? Three jonpauns—like upright coffins—rushing rapidly through the bazaar, with a long train of torch-bearers and hirkarus and three aides-de-camp, in full uniform, all ‘dropping in.’ G. and I, and Sir G. R. and Colonel U., always play at whist, and the others at a round game which is much livelier. I rather like whist, and think it will be one of the small vices of my old age.

I have been doing a quantity of drawings for the fancy sale. I wish you could buy some. There is a Mr. —— here who draws beautifully, and he is doing a picture for me of three of the fattest objects in nature—my pony, Chance, and Chance’s boy. I do not mean Chance’s own man, but his footboy, the boy who cleans his shoes and whets his razors. He was one of the skeletons whom the servants picked up in the starving districts, and, like most of those skeletons, the reaction has been frightful, and the little wretch is such an extraordinary figure, particularly seen in profile, that he makes everybody laugh. It will be a curious picture; and I never saw anything so well done as the pony.

I mentioned our fleas to you, I think, in my last letter. They are worse than ever, and bestow their liveliest attentions on W. and me. For the last three nights we have neither of us had any sleep, and the more the rooms are cleaned and worried the livelier the fleas are.

We want some new books. I am sure Mr. Wilberforce’s Life will be ‘sweet pretty reading.’ I have just re-read Mrs. Hannah More’s Life; that is a jewel of a book both for amusement and for good. I like it much better than I did the first time; and now I have taken for my morning book in bed (I always wake early) dear Madame de Sevigné for the 117th time. It is a very affecting book amongst other merits. She was such a good, warm-hearted woman, and was not loved enough. I wish she was not dead and was here! We rather want more letters about the fashions. I am quite certain, from the unmitigated hatred I feel to the tight bit at the top of my sleeves, that you have all got rid of it, and are swaggering about in the fullest of sleeves again. Indeed, if you are not, it would be only benevolent to say you are!

Letter to J. C., Esq.

Simla, Wednesday, Aug. 22.

This is to be really a short letter, for I have sent off so many that I have not the fraction of a new idea left; but I feel it my duty to encourage you in your excellent habit of writing. The letters do not come, on account of the monsoon; but still I feel confident, from my intimate knowledge of your character, that yours is an excellent habit of writing, when the monsoon does not set itself against it.

I think it has rained incessantly since I wrote to your mother last, and most people have passed their time in mopping up the wet in their houses, but ours has behaved like an angel, and since the first day has never had a leak. The roofs here are all flat, and made of mud beat into a stiff consistency; but when the rain does get through, the drippings are of a muddy nature. Captain M., after moving into every corner of his house, used to write under an umbrella; and Captain B. and his companion Dr. S. have dined every day in their house with umbrellas held over their heads and their dinners. Still, I do not dislike the rain so much as most people do. There is often a fine half-hour before sunset, in which it is easy to take a canter, quite long enough for the exercise of the day; and whenever it is not actually pouring, the hills are perfectly beautiful and the evening skies are not amiss. Then it is always cool, and people should make much of that blessing. We had an arrival two days ago of a box of new books; that is, new to us. You may remember them in the early part of the reign of Victoria the First, but the pleasure of seeing them is very great. I have read all our old ones (and we have a great collection) at least three times over, even including the twenty-one volumes of St. Simon, which I read once on board ship and now again here; and it certainly is a wonderfully amusing book. I must have begun it again if the box had not appeared. To think of our only having yet received in this legal, direct manner, the eighteenth number of Pickwick! We finished it six months ago, because it is printed and reprinted at Calcutta from overland copies. Mais, je vous demande un peu—what should we have done, if we had waited for the lawful supply, to know Pickwick’s end? I see you are making a great fuss about copyrights, &c., which I cannot understand, as we see it only by bits and scraps; but I beg to announce that I am entirely for piracy and surreptitious and cheap editions, and an early American copy of an English novel for three rupees, instead of a late English one at twenty-two shillings. ‘Them’s my sentiments’ for the next three years at least. As it is, I am reading with deep attention ‘Lady Annabella,’ by the author of ‘Constance,’ which was, I remember, a remarkably pretty novel; and so is this, only the heroine will call her mother ‘My lady.’ I keep hoping it is a joke, and pretend to laugh every time it occurs, but it looks frightfully serious at times. Perhaps the fashion of calling one’s mother ‘My lady’ may have come in, though, since my time.

All our plans have come into shape, and rather satisfactorily. We shall not leave this till the first week in November, when the great heat of the plains will be over. We are to meet Runjeet on the 20th, or thereabouts, at Ferozepore, when also the army will be assembled under Sir G. R.

There will be a review of the army before it goes down the river; and though we talk of our interview taking only a fortnight, everybody says we shall be kept there a month. That will luckily not leave us time for a very long march, and the probability is that we shall only go to Agra, and come up here again in March.


Journal continued.

Simla, Sunday, Sept. 2, 1838.

THIS is your birthday, and an excellent reason for starting again in my Journal. I wish you a great many of them, dearest; only please to be economical, and don’t spend them lavishly, till I come home to be with you.

We have not done much since my last Journal went. We had a meeting of ladies to settle about the fancy sale, which was easily done, as before they came I wrote a paper of proposals and they all read it, and said it would do very well; and if we can only find anything to sell, I dare say we shall sell it very well. It is to be held in a very pretty valley called Annandale, and G. gives some silver prizes to be shot for by the Ghoorkas, and M. is trying to get up some pony races. The only novelty I suggested was to ask the wives of the uncovenanted service (the clerks in public offices) to send contributions. This was rather a shock to the aristocracy of Simla, and they did suggest that some of the wives were very black. That I met by the argument that the black would not come off on their works, and upon the whole it was considered that we should not lose consequence, and might be saved trouble, by sending a printed paper round to each of their houses. I have done a quantity of drawings, which Mr. C. is to sell by auction. The rain still continues, but not so unceasing as it was, and as it lets us get out and prevents our giving balls, I think it a very nice time of year.

Wednesday, Sept. 5.

I have had Mr. D.’s June letter, which is always satisfactory, and is one of those gentlemanlike epistles (I don’t mean genteel, but pithy and to the point, and like a gentleman in contradistinction to a lady) that make most eligible letters in these foreign parts. G. always opens and reads Mr. D.’s letters to us before we see them, because he says he gets so much news out of them. Rather cool! What do you think I ought to do about it? Mr. D. and I might have secrets of vital importance, which G. might let out—very unpleasant!

Friday, Sept. 7.

There was such a beautiful plate-chest to be raffled for at the ‘Europe shop’ here—everything that life could require—silver tea-pot, cream, sugar, forks, spoons, bottle-stands, cruets, &c., and all so pretty. W. took two tickets, and I one, and there were only 26 tickets in all—5l. each—so it is a great shame we have not won; but it was thrown for yesterday, and Mr. C. has got it. I am glad, for he wanted it, and is quite delighted.

There was a second prize, of a clock, which I could have put up with—but did not get it; and a third, of a looking-glass, which nobody wanted, and which Dr. D. won, and now he does not know what to do with it. I advise him to bring it home some dark night, and throw it into the valley behind his house. It may amuse the monkeys, who live there in tribes, and can be of no other use.

No looking-glass in India has much quicksilver, but this happens to have none at all, except a few slight streaks here and there.

Saturday, Sept. 8.

You cannot imagine how beautiful our weather is, since a storm on Wednesday, which cleared up the rains. Such nice clear air, and altogether it feels English and exhilarating; and I think of you, and Eden Farm, and the Temple Walk, and Crouch Oak Lane, and the blue butterflies, and then the gravel-pit, and your reading ‘Corinne’ to me; and then the later days of Eastcombe and our parties there, with G. V. in his wonderful spirits, with all his wit, and all the charm about him; and all this because the air is English. I should like to go back to childhood and youth again—there was great enjoyment in them.

Monday, Sept. 10.

We had a large congregation yesterday, and an excellent sermon from Mr. Y., whose health, however, does not improve. I have made such a collection of drawings for the fancy sale—really very good. I am sorry to say it, for it may sound vain, perhaps is vain; but I persist in thinking them good drawings, and I cannot help thinking you would buy some of them.

Mrs. Chance, with her twins, came to visit Chance père to-day. He was very polite to his wife, but could not endure the young puppies. I am not surprised, for they are nearly quite black, with a little white, but no tan, and with vulgar, greasy, smooth hair. However, they are only ten days old, and babies, as you know, alter rapidly.

Thursday, Sept. 13.

We had such a nice expedition yesterday afternoon; just the sort of thing your children would have enjoyed (only you never let them come out with me now). It was to see two waterfalls, and in Simla, where water is bought at great expense, we make much of a few pailfulls that fall gratis over a rock. The valley is about 3,000 feet below our house, very Swiss, and quite different from the hills—such large cedars, and here and there a little Swiss-looking cottage, with one door and no window. I always wonder how ignorant of the ways of the world the inhabitants of these solitary valleys can be, and how such ignorance feels. No ‘crafty boys,’ no fashions, no politics, and, I suppose, a primitive religion that satisfies them. There are temples of great age in all these places. I imagine half these people must be a sort of vulgar Adams and Eves—not so refined, but nearly as innocent.

F. and I were carried down, and rode part of the way up, and when there, we clambered about some wonderful places, and I have not laughed so much for ages. There was a cave to go to, and a smooth rock to descend. G. and Captain J. got me safely to the bottom of the rock, and there we stopped to see Major U., Dr. D., and F. follow. They got half-way, clinging on, by a chain of the servants, to a tree at the top, and then they could get no further. The waterfall made such a noise, that we could not make them hear that there was nothing, in fact, to come for; and their hesitations, and scramblings back again, very nearly killed me. Luckily there was nobody left below to laugh at my return. The jonpaunees made steps of themselves, and I ran up a flight of jonpaunee-stairs very decorously. We are all so stiff to-day, not having walked so much for three years. ‘My bones, girl, my bones!’ (see ‘Romeo and Juliet.’) I wonder whether old Mrs. Davenport has died since we left England. What an actress she was!

Monday, Sept. 17.

There! I skip three entire days, for my whole soul is in England, and this letter must go to-day. This morning there came a knock at the door at seven, and Rosina brought me your July letters, with E.’s enclosed. I had scarcely digested those, when the Calcutta dâk came in, bringing to me your June despatch, which ought to have come with the other June letters exactly one fortnight ago—but never mind! How pleasant it is to have them both! The Coronation seems to have gone off wonderfully well, and must have been a beautiful sight. I suppose we shall have our English papers in two days: I am insatiable for more details. To be sure, if that little Queen’s head were quite turned, and she became the most affected and consequential of beings, it would not be surprising. A young creature of nineteen to be the occasion of such a splendid ceremony, and to have brought together all the great people from all the great nations to do her honour, is enough to intoxicate her. She must have great good sense to be so entirely guiltless of nonsense.

Letter to the Countess of B.

Simla, Sept. 8, 1838.

My dearest Sister,—There was no letter from you by the last overland (June). Odd! Can you account for it? Perhaps you did not write, which might be one reason (though a very insufficient one) why the letter did not come, but still it was a pity.

I say no more, being held back by the circumstance that you will have been a whole month without a line from us. Our letters of June, July, and August, all leave Bombay this blessed day—Saturday, Sept. 8. Such an accumulation of twaddle! We are not to blame; we have written—I wish everybody could say as much: but, however, as Falstaff says, when he had wrongfully accused Dame Quickly of picking his pocket, ‘Hostess, I forgive thee—go. Look to thy servants: cherish thy guests; thou shalt find me tractable to any honest reason. Thou seest I am pacified.’

It is such a nice day to-day. The rains ended last Wednesday. After five days of an even down-pour, there came a storm of wind that might have changed the places of some of the little hills, if they had been addicted to hopping, and which devastated my little garden, which happens to be on the windy side of the house; but since that, we have not had a drop of rain. The snowy range has appeared again after a fog of three months. The hills are all blue and green and covered with flowers, and there is a sharp, clear air that is perfectly exhilarating. I have felt nothing like it, I mean nothing so English, since I was on the terrace at Eastcombe, except perhaps the week we were at the Cape. It is a shame of the storm to have twisted my one honeysuckle into a wisp of dead leaves; to have laid low our only double dahlia, and to have broken off a branch of the lavender bush of Simla. All these treasures G. deposited in my little garden at the back of the house, and this is the result of his unguarded confidence. The dahlia was of that rhubarb and magnesia colour which makes you hear the spoon grit against the cup as you look at it. Still it was the only double dahlia in India; but that will revive again. The honeysuckle is a mortifying business. Colonel V. has another, and he used to come crowing and stuttering here about this ‘cu-cu-cu-curious plant’ of his which suddenly took a dwarfish turn and stopped growing; whereas mine had reached the top of the house, and old V. used to call once a week to look at it. Now, I don’t mind the loss of Colonel V.’s visits, but I did like to make him envious of my honeysuckle. We are all dreadfully within sight of travelling again, but there are still six weeks of repose, so that I am as deaf as a post when the word ‘tent’ is mentioned. Still, the subject of provisions, and marches, and agents and magistrates, must be alluded to.

Don’t you think it would be worth my while to buy a pot of paint, out of my own allowance, from the Simla ‘Europe shop,’ and have the acorns and oak leaves painted out of the lining of my tent? The lining is buff, with sprigs of oak leaves, and there is an occasional mistake in the pattern, which distracts me; and there is such an association of dust and bore and bad health with those acorns, that I do not think I can encounter them again. We are to leave this on November 5. I mention that openly, because if Guy Faux wishes to keep his ‘day,’ it would, perhaps, be better and more humane to blow up people who are going into camp, than people who live in houses.

Sept. 13.

I must put this up to-night. This is the first time I have had an evening quite alone, in an English fashion, since we came to India—not even a stray aide-de-camp about. They are all gone to the last of the Simla theatricals. I had seen four out of the five plays, so I excused myself, as I am drawing all day for the fancy fair, and wanted to write to you and M. and C. to-night. I was in a horrid fright. —— was going to stay with me, but with great tact he walked off to his own house; and so now, if there were but a carriage-road and a knocker, and a servant in red inexpressibles to announce you, I really should take it kindly if you would drive up, give a double knock, and be announced.

As it is, I am very comfortable. I don’t object; but the window is open to the verandah, and I see the little green Ghoorkas (the most hideous little soldiers in the world) mounting guard, with all sorts of outlandish noises. The door is, of course, open to the passage—Indian doors can’t shut—and my four hirkarus are sitting cross-legged, wrapped up in shawls, playing at a sort of draughts that they call ‘pucheese.’ There is not a human being in the house who understands a word of English: the Europeans are all gone to the play, and the head servants go to their own homes after dinner. I have a great mind to call out ‘fire!’ and ‘thieves!’ as loud as I can, to see what will come of it—it will only break up the game of pucheese; and the hirkarus will think I have gone mad, and respect me accordingly—they have a great regard for madness. I really think it awful! I wish I could speak Hindustani—I am sure I must want something, only I cannot ask for it. I will tell them to seal this letter, and if they tear it up I shall have made a sad waste of my evening.

Good-bye, dearest sister. Please always write by the overland post.


Simla, September 27, 1838.

THE last ten days have been devoted to finishing up my goods for the fancy fair, and I have not touched a pen. Yesterday the fair ‘came off,’ as they say, and to-day I am so tired I can’t do anything. Once more ‘my bones, girl, my bones.’ There never was so successful a fête. More English than anything I have seen in this country. Giles and Wright went off at seven in the morning with my goods; and at ten Mr. C. came to go down with me. Annandale is a beautiful valley, about two miles off, full of large pine trees. Colonel V. had erected a long booth for the ladies who kept stalls, and there were mottoes and devices over each of them. ‘The Bower of Eden’ was in the centre. Before we came to the booth, there was a turnpike gate with a canvas cottage and an immense board, ‘the Auckland toll bar,’ and Captain P. dressed up as an old woman who kept the gate. On one side there was the Red Cow, kept by some of the uncovenanted, who spoke excellent Irish, and whose jokes and brogue were really very good. There was a large tent opposite the booth for G., and in every part of the valley there were private tents sent by careful mothers for their ayahs and children. There were roundabouts for the natives. W. O. and three of the aides-de-camp kept a skittle-ground, with sticks to throw at, and a wheel of fortune, and a lucky bag, which had great success. G. and F. came soon after eleven, and the selling went off with great rapidity. The native servants had had great consultations whether it would be respectful to buy at my stall, and there were only two or three who arrived at that pitch of assurance; but they were all present, dressed in their finest shawls, and they all thought it very amusing. Half an hour nearly cleared off the stalls, and then Mr. C. began selling my drawings by auction, and made excellent fun of it, knowing the history of every native that I had sketched, and also of all the bidders, and he did it so like an auctioneer: ‘I have kept this gem till now—I may call it a gem, the portrait of Gholam, the faithful Persian who accompanied Major L. from Persia, from Herât! I may say this is a faithful likeness of a man who has witnessed the siege of Herât. Will that great diplomatist, Major L., who is, I know, anxious to possess this perfect picture, allow me to say eighty rupees, or seventy, or sixty?’ ‘This next picture is the Rajah of Nahun and his sons, and I think it quite unequalled for brilliancy of colouring. I shall have nothing equal to this lot to offer this morning. I bid thirty rupees for it myself—the surpêche in the rajah’s turban is worth the money.’ And so he went on, and, I hope, his is the sin of running up the price of the drawings, for I really was quite sorry to see the prices they went at. One group of heads, which only took me three days to do, sold for ninety-five rupees (£9 10s.), and my twenty drawings fetched 800 rupees. Considering that the whole proceeds of the sale is 3,400 rupees, that is a large proportion. My stall altogether produced nearly 1,400 rupees. W. and his allies got 160. The A.s and B.s kept an eating stall, but did not make much by it. As soon as the auction was over, we all went to luncheon with them; then the Ghoorkas shot for some beautiful prizes G. gave them, and he gave the sword for the single-stick fighters. Then we all went to W.’s games. Captain D. was dressed up like an old woman, and Captain P. exactly like a thimble-rigger at Greenwich, and they kept everybody, even Sir G. R., in roars of laughter. It was very amusing to see the grave pompous people, like R., taking three throws for a rupee, and quite delighted if they knocked off a tin snuff-box or a patent stay-lace. Then we had pony races, which ended in Colonel F. riding his old pony against a fat Captain D., and coming in conqueror with universal applause. And then, the sports having lasted from eleven to five, and everybody amused and in good humour, we all came home. It is lucky it was so very shady, for, as it is, hardly any of us can see to-day, from being unused to daylight. The best fancy sales in Calcutta never produced more than 2,000 rupees, so this is quite wonderful, considering that the whole of our European society is only 150 people, and many of them have not a great deal to spend. F. did not keep a stall, and I was rather afraid of it at first, for the natives are slow about that sort of novelty; but as soon as they fairly understood it was for charity, which is the only active virtue they are up to, they thought it all quite right.

We had a melancholy death last Sunday—a poor Mrs. G. She lived at Stirling Castle, just above our house, so there never was a day in which we did not meet her, with her two little boys carried after her, either going to fetch Captain G. from his office, or coming back with him. We met her on Friday evening, and stopped to tell her that Lord G. had written to enquire after her. On Saturday evening she was not at all well, and on Sunday morning Doctor W. sent for Doctor D. to consult with him. Doctor D. saw directly that she was in the blue stage of cholera, and before we came out from church she was dead; she was within a month of her confinement, but the child died too. The poor husband was in such a dreadful state, and so was the eldest boy, who is about four years old. W. says he never heard anything so shocking as the poor boy’s screams. It was necessary to bury her early on Monday morning, and as it is the custom for all acquaintances to attend a funeral, W. went up to Stirling Castle with Colonel B. None but the most degraded natives will touch an European corpse, so the doctors put her into the coffin, and Colonel B. screwed it down, and they were obliged to borrow the boys of our band to carry her to the grave. Poor Captain G. was not able to go himself, but the little boy had crept out of bed and was clinging to his father, and trying to comfort him. We were to have had a party here in the evening, but put it off; for in such a small society of Christians, every possible respect is to be paid to the feelings of any of them.

Wednesday, October 3.

We had our party, which had been put off on Monday, and it went off very well. It is the last meeting of Simla, so everybody came. A great many go down to the plains this week. Poor things! it is about as rational as if a slice of bread were to get off the plate and put itself on the toasting-fork. We have a month more of this place, but there are horrible signs of preparation, camel trunks and stores going off. I very often think I could have a fit of hysterics when I think we are to have five whole months this year of those deplorable tents, in all that dust and heat. This day three years we embarked from Portsmouth, so we have only got two years and five months more of India. That is really very satisfactory. I begin to think of what I shall say when I see you again. It really will be too great happiness; I never can think of it coolly or rationally. It gets into a medley, and I begin to breathe shortly, and to have red ears and pains in my elbows, and then I think it is presumptuous to look on so far; but still it is not so very, very far.

Saturday, Oct. 6.

It was a shocking sight last night, to find the road littered with camel trunks, and beds, and flocks of goats, and dishes and stoves—all the camp preparations of the A.s. They are the first family who have gone down to the plains, much, I should think, to the detriment of the two babies; for they say the heat still is dreadful, and they go into it from this nice climate, which is almost frosty now. But those camp preparations, I am happy to say, made everybody ill. Even Mrs. E., who is going to stay up here, said she went home quite affected by the recollection of the trouble of last year. I really think I can’t go.

We had such an evening of misfortunes on Thursday. We were all playing at loo, the doors open, house door and all, as is usual in India, when the most unearthly yell was set up, apparently in the passage, and this was repeated three or four times, and then all the servants seemed to be screaming. ‘A leopard carrying off Chance!’ was the first thing everybody said, and all the gentlemen ran out, when it proved to be one of Dr. D.’s jonpaunees, who was lying asleep at the door, and had had a violent nightmare; and though three others laid hold of him, he rolled himself off the verandah into the valley below. However, he was not the least hurt. But that set all our nerves on edge. Then, when we went to bed, I heard violent hysterics going on in the maids’ room, and that turned out to be Myra, F.’s ayah, whose husband lives with W. O. They are never a very happy couple, and all of a sudden he took up a stick and beat her dreadfully, and she had run off from his house, leaving her baby on the floor. We sent and redeemed the baby, but it was a long time before Myra could be pacified, and sent off to sleep at Rosina’s house. W. turned off Lewis the next morning, who immediately went and made it up with his wife, who came this morning and said she must go too. My poor old Rosina continues to be very ill, coughing and spitting blood, which is very often the case with the Bengalees here. I am going to send her down to Sabathoo on Tuesday, with Mrs. A. Sabathoo is a very hot place, and may very likely cure Rosina; but she does nothing but cry now, poor old thing, at the idea of going, and insists upon dying here, but I think she will get well in a warm place. One man whom we sent down to the plains, apparently in the last stage of decline, has got safe to Calcutta, and is quite well again. I suppose this is a very bad Siberia to them.

There has been great excitement and happiness in our household. Captain J. wanted to do something kind by the servants on his giving up the charge of them, and wished to have the wages of a few of his favourites raised. I thought that would raise a host of malcontents and petitioners, and suggested that a reward for length of service (as the Company will no longer pension off old servants) would be a popular and useful measure, and he took to it kindly, and by leaving two or three places vacant, we shall not entail any additional expense on our successor. There were several who had been at Government House more than thirty-five years, fifteen who had been between twenty and thirty years, and more than twenty who had served fifteen years. We made three classes of them, and gave them two rupees, and one rupee, and half a rupee per month additional pay, which measure has diffused universal satisfaction, only it occasions constant references to the house-book, for natives never know anything about time; so some of them, who had been there about five years, declare it must be nearly fifteen. Had you a good eclipse of the moon last night? I never saw a really handsome one before; but I dare say yours is quite another moon, and another earth altogether.

Tuesday, Oct. 9.

Poor Rosina set off to-day; she seemed very low, but the air now is so keen here that she naturally felt worse. She fancies she is only going to stay a week, but Dr. D. says she must stay there till we pick her up on our way to the plains.

We have begun doing a little bit of packing, that is, I have made a grand survey of my wardrobe, and found that I had fourteen gowns to bestow on Wright, besides three of which she is to give me the loan, till we leave this place. Then I start clear for the march, six superb morning gowns and six evening ditto, some the remains of M.’s last supply, and some G.’s French gowns. I calculate they will enable me to make a very creditable appearance till I meet your treasure of a box at Agra. Nothing can be more judgematically planned.

Friday, Oct. 12.

They say this must go to-day, which I believe is a mistake. However, it is better to run no risks. I have been writing to R. to send out ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ overland. Does not that book drive you demented? and I am sure it is all true. I remember years ago a trial about one of those Yorkshire schools, where all the boys had the ophthalmia, and one boy had his bones through his skin, and none of the boys were allowed a towel; and these atrocities put us all into one of those frenzies in which we used to indulge in youth. I dare say Dickens was at that school. I wish he would not take to writing horrors, he realises them so painfully.

I am so busy to-day, I have hardly time to write. G. wants to give Runjeet a picture of our Queen in her coronation robes. The Sikhs are not likely to know if it is an exact likeness as far as face goes, and the dress I have made out quite correctly, from descriptions in the papers and from prints, and it really is a very pretty picture. It is to be sent to Delhi to-morrow, and it is to have a frame of gold set with turquoises, with the orders of the Garter and the Bath enamelled. In short, it will be ‘puffect, entirely puffect;’ but I think they ought to give me Runjeet’s return present, as it has cost me much trouble to invent a whole Queen, robes and all. We are all quite well. God bless you! My next letter will be from camp. ‘Mercy on us,’ as S. would say, but it is a comfort to think we shall end here again.


Saturday, Oct. 20, 1838.

I THINK it looks ill, that I have let a whole week go by without a touch of Journal; but nothing particular has happened, and it does not mean any coldness, you know, dearest. I have spent a week more of the time I am to be away from you, so I could not be better employed.

Monday we gave a dinner, Tuesday we dined at the R.s. Met Mrs. —— and a newly-married couple, the husband being an object of much commiseration. Not but what he is very happy, probably, but he married the very first young lady that came up to the hills this season; she was ‘uncommon ordinary’ then, and nothing can look worse, somehow, than she does now. I dare say she is full of merit, but I merely wish to observe, for the benefit of any of your sons who may come out to India, that when they have been two or three years in a solitary station they should not propose to the very first girl they see. However, I dare say the ——s are very happy, as I said before.

We had such an excellent play last night, or rather two farces, acted chiefly by Captains X. and M., and Mr. C., and by Captain Y., one of Sir G.’s aides-de-camp. Captain X. is really quite as good as Liston, and I think he ought to run over a scene or two every evening for our diversion. It is supposed that R. was never seen to laugh till he cried before, which he certainly did last night. It is astonishing how refreshing a real, good laugh is. I have not had so good a one for ages.

Tuesday, Oct. 23.

The work of packing progresses, and there are no bounds to the ardour with which everybody labours to make us uncomfortable. This day fortnight we are to be in our wretched tents—that is, if we really do not find ourselves unequal to the shock at last. There was an idea that coolies enough could not be raised at last, as everybody goes away at the same time, so instead of 3,000 at once, we have 1,000 three times over, and as soon as they have taken one set of camel trunks to the plains they come back for another, so we spread our discomfort thus over a wide surface. I have succumbed to such a temptation to-day—I wish I had not, and yet I am glad I did—a large gold chain, two yards long, of the purest Indian gold. I could not let it escape me, and yet I know I should like to have the money to spend at Lahore.

Wednesday, Oct. 24.

To-day was a day of mysteries for Simla. R. came to breakfast with us, and did half an hour’s business with G., and that put his family into a fever. News had arrived yesterday that the Persians had abandoned the siege of Herât, and so the ——s fancied that the Cabul business would be now so easy, that R. would not go in person.

G. and I were walking in the evening and met the ——s, who said they had never passed such a day of curiosity, evidently thinking, poor new-married dears, that they were not going to part for ten years. Mrs. —— said to G.: ‘Now, for once, Lord A., tell us a secret; what did R. go to you about?’ ‘Why, he came,’ G. said, ‘to ask where we bought our potatoes, they are so remarkably good.’ The other mystery was, that Captain Y. said he had been eight hours trying to prevent two gentlemen from fighting, and we cannot think of any fightable people at Simla. You never saw so lovely an ornament as a great Lucknow merchant brought yesterday. A bunch of grapes made up of twenty-seven emeralds, the smallest emerald the size of a marble, and all of such a beautiful colour; there are large pearls between each, and it is mounted on a plain green enamel stalk. It looks like the fruit in Aladdin’s garden. We want G. to buy it for his parting present to Runjeet Singh. They were to have exchanged rings, and a ring, one single diamond without a flaw, valued at 1,600l., was to have come up from Calcutta this week, but it has been stolen from the dâk. It was insured, but still it was a pity such a good diamond should be lost.

Friday, Oct. 26.

We rode to Mr. B.’s yesterday, knowing that otherwise that bunch of grapes would be slurred over, and not even mentioned to us. I began by saying, we thought it beautiful, and just the present for a great potentate, upon which B. said: ‘Yes, it is almost too expensive, but I was thinking of asking his lordship to let me present it to Shah Soojah.’ Luckily, that was too much even for G., and he said: ‘No, if I allow it to be bought at all, it could only be for a Governor-General to give away; besides, we are going to give Shah Soojah a kingdom, which is quite enough without any presents.’

‘A defeat,’ I thought, and Mr. B. looked as if emerald grapes were remarkably sour, and on our ride home G. said he meant to take them for Runjeet Singh.

Tuesday, Oct. 30.

G. took a fancy on Saturday to go, after dinner, to play at whist with Sir G. R., so we all jonpauned off, and very cold it is at night in those conveyances. The cold brought a bilious attack I had been brewing, to a crisis, and I had one of the worst headaches I ever had in my life, on Sunday, and could not sit up for a moment. It is the first day’s ailment I have had since the week we came to Simla, and very lucky that it came before we go into camp. This day week we start. ‘No ind to my sufferens!’ as some novel says.

Thursday, Nov. 1.

There! now I am quite well again, and in travelling condition; and perhaps, setting off in such good health, marching may not be so fatiguing as it was last year. We have had nothing but take-leave visits the last three days. Mrs. R. sets off to-morrow with her own children and those two little orphaned G.s, whom she is taking to England. The wives to be left here are becoming disconsolate and fractious.

Dear J. left us for good this morning. I do not think he cared much for us; but all the old servants, of whom he has had the care for eleven years, went with all their eastern, devoted-looking ways, and took leave of him and quite overset his nerves, and he went off in a shocking state. After taking leave of F. he quite broke down in G.’s room, and could not come to mine; and my jemadar came in with large tears running down: ‘Major Sahib so unhappy. He say he not able to speak to ladyship—he cry very much!’ I asked if they were all sorry he was going. ‘Yes, very. He very old gentleman at Government House, and know everything, and very just.’ And then, to wind it up with a fine piece of language, ‘he adapt properly well to all lordship’s poor servants.’ What that means I have not a guess, but I think it sounds comfortable; and I see now that the fault of India is that nobody ‘adapts properly well’ to my English feelings.

Sunday, Nov. 4.

After service to-day, the dining-room was given up to Giles and the Philistines, the carpets taken up, and a long country dance formed of the camel trunks and linen-presses that we leave behind; and now we dine and live in the drawing-room, which, without its curtains and draperies, and with its crude folding-doors, looks like half a ball-room at a Canterbury inn. Poor dear house! I am sorry to see it despoiled. We have had seven as good months here as it is possible to pass in India—no trouble, no heat; and if the Himalayas were only a continuation of Primrose Hill or Penge Common, I should have no objection to pass the rest of my life on them. Perhaps you would drive up to Simla on Saturday and stay till Monday.

Monday, Nov. 5.

I had much better not write to-day, only I have nothing else to do; but the September overland post is come (the August is missing), and I always have a regular fit of low spirits that lasts twenty-four hours after that. This is your Newsalls letter, and dear T.’s account of the archery and country balls, and the neighbours; and it all sounds so natural and easy, and I feel so unnatural and so far off. Just as you say, we have been here very little more than half our time, and I am sure it feels and is almost a life.

It will be nearly six years altogether that we shall have been away, if we ever go home again; and that is an immense gap, and coming at a wrong time of life. Ten or fifteen years ago it would have made less difference; your children would still have been children; but now I miss all their youth, and ours will be utterly over. We shall meet again——

When youth and genial years have flown,
And all the life of life is gone.

I feel so very old, not merely in look, for that is not surprising at my age, and in this country, where everybody looks more than fifty; but just what Lady C. describes in her letter—the time for putting up with discomforts has gone by. I believe what adds to my English letter lowness, is the circumstance that carpets, curtains, books, everything is gone from my room, and I am sitting in the middle of it, on a straw beehive chair, which the natives always use when they do admit a chair, with Chance’s own little chair for my feet, and the inkstand on the ledge of the window. I wish I was at Newsalls. There! now they want my inkstand.

Syree, Tuesday, Nov. 6.

The beginning of a second march, and so I had better put this up and send it. We left poor Simla at six this morning, and if I am to be in India I had rather be there than anywhere. We have had seven very quiet months, with good health and in a good climate, and in beautiful scenery. That is much as times go. As for this march, I cannot say what I feel about it. It began just as it left off.

We arrived to breakfast here, and the coolies have been fractious, and so, when I took off my habit, I had no gown to put on; the right box is not come, and I have no bonnet to put on for the afternoon’s march.

We are in the dâk bungalow, two whitewashed empty rooms, with streaks of damp and dirt all over them. We have been breakfasting in one, and all the deserting husbands have joined us. To be sure, St. Cloup is a jewel of a cook for this sort of thing. He came here in the night and prepared the breakfast we have had, and the luncheon we are going to have. He is now gone on to Sabathoo, where we shall find dinner, and he meant to go on again at night to the tents, half-way between Sabathoo and the camp, to arrange to-morrow’s breakfast and luncheon. God bless you, dearest M.!

There is a ship lost—‘The Protector’—just in the mouth of the river. It was bringing troops and several passengers, but none whose names we know. There is only one soldier saved out of the whole crew.


Buddee, Friday, Nov. 9, 1838.

I SENT you my last Journal the day before yesterday, having brought our history down to the beginning of our second year’s march.

The tents look worse than ever, inasmuch as they are a year older, and the new white patches look very discrepant; but one week, I suppose, will make them all a general dirty brown. The camp looks melancholy without any ladies or children; I miss Mrs. A. particularly. Our dear friend Mr. C., of Umballa, who magistrated us last year, joined us again at the foot of the hills, and had the bright idea to station his gig at the first passable bit of the road, which, as I was shaken into small atoms by eight hours of the jonpaun, was a great relief. Moreover, after seven months of the hills, a wheeled carriage was rather a pretty sight, and I began to think of the rapid advance of science, and the curious inventions of modern times.

We are obliged to stay here, to give time for the things to come up. The old khansamah wanted another day for his arrangements, and it is impossible to refuse him anything, for he never makes a difficulty, and very seldom owns to one.

When we stopped half-way between Sabathoo and this place it was a double march, and there was not a thing come up, not even a chair; and then the dear old khansamah, with his long white beard, went fussing about, in and out of the tents and the trees, and there were fires burning amongst the grass, and tea made in a minute; and then he came with half-a-dozen fresh eggs, which he must have laid himself, and a dish of rice, and in ten minutes we had an excellent breakfast. I met my new horse on the plain: such a beautiful animal, like an Arabian in a picture book, with an arched neck and an arched tail, and he throws out his legs as if he were going to pick up a pin at a great distance. W. was riding it in a prancing sort of manner, that made me think it was the high-spirited animal its former owner described, and to which its present owner would particularly object; but I am happy to say that is a mistake. I rode it one day alone with Captain X., and to-day with G., whose horse was enough to drive any other mad, and my beauty did not care a straw.

‘I am glad, Miss Eden,’ Webb said, ‘you did not take fright at first sight, because the horse would have found you out directly; and he is about the best horse in our stable, which is saying a good deal. I rode him all the way from Kurnaul, and I think it was as much like sitting in a good easy-chair as anything ever I felt.’ I think if the horse had a view of Webb in his travelling costume, he would not consent to be an easy-chair under him: a flannel jacket, with leathers, and leather gaiters, and an immense hat made of white feathers and lined with green, supposed to keep out the sun; and now he has set up a long beard, and he rides by the side of the carriage, either common fashion or sideways, if he is exercising one of our horses. G. says he wonders how the Sikhs will describe him in their journals. We have at last arrived at the possession of Mr. D.’s bonnets, which were packed up exactly a year ago, and have come out as fresh as if the milliner’s girl had just stepped over with them, from the shop at the corner, the blonde inside looking quite blue and fresh, and the gauze ribbon just unrolled. It is very odd, and I am of opinion it would be clever, even now, to have ourselves put up in tin and soldered, till it is time to go home. We should alter no more. The bonnets are particularly pretty. I mean to appear in mine at Ferozepore, to give Runjeet some slight idea of what’s what in the matter of bonnets.

Mattae, Monday, Nov. 12.

We made our first march on Saturday to Nallyghur: roads bad, horse an angel. The carriage could not be used. G. drove me the last half in Mr. C.’s gig, and Mr. C. drove F. We went on the elephants to see Nallyghur on Sunday afternoon. It is a pretty place, and the old rajah has a very nice little palace on the top of a hill, looking into his village, and he is a nice gentleman-like old man, very fair, with lightish hair, which is, I believe, a disease almost amounting to leprosy, but it did not look bad—quite the contrary, rather distingué and European. All the Sikh chiefs under Mr. C.’s care look comfortable; he makes them keep their roads and palaces in good order. Mrs. C. had a melancholy accident the other day. She was out riding with her children; one of her bearers touched her mule, which kicked and threw her over its head. She broke one arm in two places, and dislocated the other wrist. Mr. C. was away, and there was no doctor nearer than Sabathoo; she remained four days with these broken arms before Dr. L. could be fetched from Sabathoo, but her arms are set, and she is recovering very well. That want of a doctor must very often be a sore distress in India. A Mrs. R. at Simla, whose husband was sent as Resident to ——, where she is to join him, came in tears to see us last week, saying she had two sickly children and there was not a doctor within one hundred miles, and she wished I would mention it to G. I thought what a state you would have been in, and how you would forthwith have removed your Major R. from his residency. The doctors are all wanted for the army, so I did not think she had much chance, but G. happily had one spare one at his disposal, and the poor little woman was very grateful.

We had a great storm of rain last night at Nallyghur, and brought it on here with us; and I suppose there never were such a set of miserable animals seen, sloshing about what may be called our private apartments in overshoes, and with a parasol stuck up in particularly thin places—the servants all shivering and huddled together, palanquins wanted to take us to breakfast and dinner—in short, a mess.

Roopur, Tuesday, Nov. 13.

This is the memorable place where Lord William and Runjeet had their meeting, ‘where those sons of glory, those two lights of men, met in the vale of Roopur. You lost the view of earthly glory. Men might say, till then true pomp was single, but now was married to itself,’ &c. What is that quoted from? You don’t know—you know nothing. But as touching this scene of glory, it is a large plain—in short, a slice of India—with a ruinous fort on one side and a long narrow bazaar of mud huts on another, the Sutlej running peacefully along about a mile from our encampment. We have the same tents Lord W. had, at least facsimiles of them; therefore we are quite up to the splendid meeting. Perhaps our tents are a shade handsomer, being a very deep chocolate colour owing to the rain of yesterday. They were of course let down into the mud, and have acquired that rich brown hue. Moreover, it occurred to me that my feet were very cold to-day, and at last I discovered that the wet oozed out of the setringees (an Indian excuse for a floorcloth) at every step, and I had them taken up, and the tent is littered profusely and handsomely with clean straw, giving the whole the air and odour of a rickety hackney coach. G. observes every day, as he did last year, ‘Well! I wish Sir Charles Metcalfe could see us, and explain why this is a luxurious method of travelling.’ The sufferings of the cattle, as usual, make the morning’s march hateful. We have lost seven camels and two bullocks in seven days, and generally come in for a view of their dying agonies.

Wednesday, Nov. 14.

I cannot put any names to these places, but we are three marches from Loodheeana. I had such a pretty present this morning, at least rather pretty. It is a baby elephant, nine months old, caught at Saharunpore by the jemadar of the mahouts, and he has been educating it for me, and offered it by means of Captain D., his master. W. and I have been looking about for some time for a gigantic goat for Chance to ride on great occasions, but a youthful elephant is much more correct, and is the sort of thing Runjeet’s dogs will expect. It just comes up to my elbow, seems to have Chance’s own little bad temper and his love of eating, and is altogether rather like him. I had no idea such little elephants were valuable, but it appears that they are, as the baboo told me, ‘Quite a fancy article; great rajahs like them for little rajahs to ride on.’ The mahout would not take any money, so I had it valued and it is worth about forty pounds, and I got Mr. C. to present him with a pair of shawls and a pair of bracelets to that amount, accompanied by a neat Persian speech, which C. thought was worth about an equal sum. The blue shawls would have suited my own complaint exactly. The investiture took place in my tent, and the excellent mahout was much affected, Mr. C. says by his speech, I think by the blueness of the shawls, and the man probably regretted his little elephant.

There has been an exchange of thirty elephants with various chiefs, in the course of the last ten days. Chance never means to part with his, and as Captain D. observed in his slowest tones, ‘In about forty years, that will be a very handsome elephant.’ Very interesting, because it would naturally be very vexatious to me if forty years hence it were to turn out a great gawky beast. Jimmund came with Chance under his arm to make a salaam, and when I asked what was the matter, he said he came to say he was very glad that his Chance had got a Hotty. You are of course aware that we habitually call elephants Hotties, a name that might be safely applied to every other animal in India, but I suppose the elephants had the first choice of names and took the most appropriate.


Thursday, Nov. 15, 1838.

THE August mail came in to-day; a week after the September packet. Your dear, good letter has come both these last times without making its usual Calcutta detour, which is very clever of it. Certainly Newsalls is a very nice place; mind you don’t let it slip through your fingers till I come trotting up to the door on my elephant forty years hence.

Friday, Loodheeana.

The cavalry and the artillery and the second regiment of infantry that is to make up the escort met us this morning, and the salute was fired by the howitzers that G. has had made to present to Runjeet. They are very handsome, ornamented more than our soldiers think becoming, but just what Runjeet would like; there is the bright star of the Punjâb, with Runjeet’s profile on the gun; and Captain E. says that thousands of Sikhs have been to look at these guns, and all of them salaam to Runjeet’s picture as if it were himself.

Sunday, Nov. 18.

They have been building a small church at this station, and though it is not finished, they were very anxious Mr. Y. should try it, as it is uncertain when another clergyman may pass through Loodheeana; so all our chairs and footstools were sent down to be made into pews, and Mr. Y. preached a very good sermon. There are three American missionaries here, but they have not made any conversions.

—— —— is gone to hunt up Runjeet, who always gives himself the airs of being missing when he is to have a meeting with any great potentate, and goes off on a hunting expedition. He is generally caught in time, but it is a matter of etiquette that neither party should appear to wait for the other, so if Runjeet goes out hunting, G. must stop to shoot or fish. It will not detain us long if we stop to eat all he can kill here.

Monday and Tuesday, Nov. 19 and 20.

We have marched ten miles each day without having seen tree or building, I believe. Chance’s elephant comes every afternoon to show himself, and his education is progressing rapidly, under the care of a splendid individual in a yellow satin dress, who has received the very responsible situation of his mahout. He has already learnt to kneel down, and the excellent joke of filling his little leech of a trunk with water and squirting it at anybody who affronts him.

Chance and he are frightfully alike in disposition—greedy and self-willed; and, barring the nose, very like in look.

Wednesday, Nov. 21.

The camp was very noisy the first two nights, and X. went round to the various commanding officers and made fresh arrangements with the sentries, who I fancy must have cut off the heads of any man, camel, or elephant, who presumed to speak or howl, for there has not been a sound since. ‘Gentlemen who cough are only to be slightly wounded,’ as the ‘Rejected Addresses’ say. It really is tempting, for the tent-pitchers with all their wives and all their children have set up their marching coughs, and as they sleep round their pitchees, there is a continual sound of expectoration going on. Rosina was robbed by her hackery driver. X. had the man up before D., and the money is restored.

I had a little domestic complaint to send to him last night.

I always think these domestic stories may amuse you in England, from their contrast to the habits of that excellent country, from which I have been inveigled. There is a servant called the sirdar-bearer, or head of all the palanquin and tonjaun-bearers, whose business it is to walk by the side of the palanquin and see that the bearers carry it rightly.

This has been rather a sinecure with us, but the man has always been a good little servant and has attached himself to me, and is supposed to be always at the door of my tent with an umbrella; he keeps the tonjaun in readiness, and in Calcutta he always slept at my door, and was in the way for everything that was wanted. In short, ‘Loton’ was a general favourite, and supposed to be remarkably active. To my surprise, he came in yesterday to say that he could not possibly go with my palanquin every morning; the roads were so bad, he found it tired him. In short, he evidently wanted a place on an elephant, which the servants who wait at table have; but bearers are a class who can walk thirty miles a day; and it was very much like your coachman asking to travel in the carriage, as it was too much trouble to drive. I said he had better go to Captain X. when he was in difficulties, and that I did not doubt Captain X. would find one of the other bearers who would be happy to take the place of sirdar, and that Loton would then only have to carry the palanquin half-way. (At present he carries nothing.) I told Captain X. this morning, and I thought he would have had a fit. He is not yet accustomed to the notion of the number of people who are merely kept for show and even for work; there is a double set for everything. F. and I have each thirty-two bearers, where other people have eight, that there may never be a difficulty; and the idea that I was to direct my own bearers on the road struck X. as remarkably amusing.

I should think it would have been, as I have not a single Hindustani word to say to them. I left it to him to settle, and poor Loton is degraded to the ranks. He cares very much about the gold-laced livery, and still more about the two rupees a month which he loses. A bearer lives on that, and sends all the rest home. They all come from the neighbourhood of Patna, never bring their wives, but live together like a large family; in fact, sell themselves for so many years, and then, when they have earned enough to buy a bit of land, go home for life. I hope Captain X. means to allow himself to be entreated like Major J., for I shall die of it if Loton is not restored in time. He was a great favourite of Lord W.’s, and I rather think I spoilt him by raising his wages partly on that account. Captain X. has the real Indian feeling that a servant objecting to an order is a sort of depravity that cannot be put up with—in short, that cannot be believed. I said that, as it was a first offence, he should be as lenient as he could, and he said, ‘Certainly, it would be very lenient only to turn the man away. I assure you, Miss Eden, a native would have put the man to death who had refused to run by the side of his palanquin!’ I think I see myself cutting off Loton’s head with a pair of scissors. It is very awful to think of the number of petty rajahs in the country who have the power of life and death over their followers. It must be very often abused.

Saturday, November 24.

We have had three short marches. I am not much better. Except for the march, I keep as quiet as possible, and have not been over to any meal, or out of my own tent, except to sit in an arm-chair in front of it between five and six. I always think the weather very trying in the plains. In the morning the thermometer was at 45°, and we were all shivering with shawls and cloaks on, and at twelve the glass rose to 83°, and we are now sitting under punkahs with a small allowance of clothes. That happens every day, and I cannot think it wholesome. There was an interesting arrival from Delhi this morning, my bracelet with G.’s picture, which I had sent back to have a cover fitted to the picture, and it has come back so beautifully mended—with a turquoise cross on an enamelled lid. Then Mr. B., who superintended my private bracelet, undertook on the public account a frame for my picture of the Queen, which is to be given to Runjeet, and the frame came with the bracelet. They had not time for the beautiful design of all the orders of the Garter and Bath, &c., which I wanted, and so only made the frame as massive as they could. It is solid gold, very well worked, with a sort of shell at each corner, encrusted with precious stones, and one very fine diamond in each shell.

The materials come to about £500. Forty jewellers worked at it night and day, and the head jeweller expects a khelwut, or robe of honour, with a pair of shawls, for his activity. It will be a very handsome item in the list of presents, and is to be given in great form.

One of Runjeet’s chief sirdars came into camp to-day, and there was a very fine durbar, as he was to be received as an ambassador. He is a great astronomer, and there was luckily at the Tosha Khanna an orrery and some astronomical instruments which G. added to his presents, and the man went away, they say, quite delighted. Every evening there is to be an arrival of one hundred jars of sweetmeats, which is a great delight to the native servants.


Camp, Ferozepore, Wednesday, Nov. 28, 1838.

I PUT up a large packet to you on Saturday, which will accompany this; but I was shy of making it thicker. Sunday, the whole camp was glad of a halt; the sandy roads tire all the people much.

There was a very large congregation at church, I was told; we have so many troops with us now, and Y.’s preaching is in great reputation. On Monday we marched eleven more miles with the same dusty result. The chief incident was, that G. was to have tried an Arabian of W. O.’s, which is a perfect lamb in a crowd, and was intended to officiate at the great review ‘as is to be;’ but the syce by mistake gave him another horse of W.’s, which pulls worse than G.’s own horse. F., who was riding with him, assured him that the Arabian had such a tender mouth that it was only chafing because he held it too tight: he loosened the bridle—away went the horse like a shot, and away went twenty-five of the body-guard after him, thinking it was his lordship’s pleasure to go at that helter-skelter pace: away went M., who is on duty; in short, nothing could be finer than the idea; but they all pulled up when they saw how it was. G.’s horse galloped on two miles for its own amusement, and then he made it go another for his, and finally changed it for his own horse, whose merits rose by comparison. I was in the carriage behind, and W. came up in the greatest fuss—having heard of the mistake—and just as he was saying the horse would run away, two of the guard came back to say it had done so; so he had the pleasure of a good prophecy.

Yesterday we came twelve miles. My health is neither better nor worse, so I came on in the carriage; all the others rode the last four miles, and were met by M. and all his staff at the town of Ferozepore. G. let me go on half a mile in advance, in order to avoid the dust, which must have shocked General R., who never lets even a little dog precede him in his march.

I passed him and his suite by the side of the road, drawn up according to the strictest rule—a very large body of cocked hats. General R. in front, alone, then a long row of general officers, then a longer row of a lower grade. It was too awful and military a moment for speech. I was not sure whether it was not irregular to kiss my hand; however, I ventured on that little movement, which was received with a benign ‘clignotement de l’œil’ signifying ‘Wrong, but I forgive it for once.’

I got in three-quarters of an hour before the rest, who came a foot’s pace, and General E. told F. they always marched that fashion—General R. first, they behind—a trot never allowed.

General R. was uncommonly affable, and came and paid me a visit in my tent, where I was lying down, all dust and fatigue, and wishing for breakfast. Sir W. C., too, came in for a moment, in the highest glee, not so fat as he was at Calcutta—we expected he would have been twice the size. I told him he was grown thin, and he went back to his favourite story of the courtiers telling George IV., when he was at his fattest, ‘Your Majesty is regaining your figure!’

We had a most interesting envoy from General A., who is employed by Runjeet in Peshawur, and who wrote to each of us his polite French regrets that he could not come here, but he sent ‘un très petit paquet’ of the shawls we had commissioned him to get worked in Cashmere, when we saw him in Calcutta, and also the Cashmere gowns he had promised. He declared that there never were such failures; that he had sent seven or eight ‘surveillants’ to Cashmere, ‘mais on m’a tout gâté.’

An hour after, there arrived, instead of the ‘petit paquet,’ a very large pillow, or rather a small ottoman, brought in by two men, and then we had such cutting and nicking and tearing away of oilcloth and muslin and shawl paper, and at last arrived at the treasures. Four shawl dresses, four magnificent square shawls, and four long scarfs to match the dresses—but the fineness and the brightness of the whole concern it is impossible to describe. One gets to value shawls only by their fineness at last, and we have seen nothing like these. They have been a year and a half in making. We have ascertained the prices of these shawls, which are very cheap considering their beauty. The dresses were at Calcutta promised us as presents; but under the circumstances of our being in Runjeet’s country, and A. one of his generals, we want to pay for them, which Captain E. has undertaken to do. I now say once more, as I have often said before, I really don’t want any more shawls, but yet I do always when they come in my way.

In the afternoon Sir W. C., B., W., M., and two or three more, went on elephants to compliment the Maharajah, and met half-way Kurruck Singh, his son and supposed heir, Ajeet Singh, our Simla friend, and Sujeyt Singh, the great dandy of the Punjâb, with several others coming to compliment G. The Maharajah had the best of the bargain.

Kurruck Singh is apparently an idiot; some people say he only affects it, to keep Runjeet from being jealous of him, but it looks like very unaffected and complete folly.

Runjeet kept our deputation very late. He was in the highest spirits, W. said, and laughed out loud at several jokes. Sir W. C. took the fancy of all the Sikhs. He is very jovial, besides being courteous in his manners, and talks at a great rate. Runjeet produced some of his wine, a sort of liquid fire, that none of our strongest spirits approach, and in general Europeans cannot swallow more than a drop of it.

Sir W. tossed off his glass and then asked for another, which they thought very fine. He came back of course very tipsy, but they said he was very amusing at dinner. There are always nautches at these durbars, and one of W.’s former acquaintances, called ‘the Lotus,’ who is very beautiful, looked so pretty that W. asked E. if he might give her the little bunch of pearl flowers that was given to all the gentlemen. E. said it would amuse the Maharajah, and so it did, but B. is seriously uneasy at the dreadful loss to Government of the pearl bouquet. It was worth about ten shillings, I suppose.


Yesterday was the day of the great meeting. All the ladies (only ten with the whole army) came to breakfast at half-past seven, and so did ‘the great Panjandrum himself.’

I have not been to any meal, and hardly have seen anybody, for the last three weeks, so I did not join them till it was nearly time for Runjeet to arrive: when he was at the end of the street, G. and all the gentlemen went on their elephants to meet him.

There were such a number of elephants, that the clash at meeting was very great, and very destructive to the howdahs and hangings. G. handed the Maharajah into the first large tent, where we were all waiting; but the Sikhs are very unmanageable, and they rushed in on all sides, and the European officers were rather worse, so that the tent was full in a moment, and as the light only comes in from the bottom, the crowd made it perfectly dark, and the old man seemed confused and bothered. However, he sat down for a few minutes on the sofa between G. and me, and recovered. He is exactly like an old mouse, with grey whiskers and one eye. When they got into the inner tent, which was to have been quite private, the English officers were just like so many bears; put aside all the sentries, absolutely refused to listen to the aides-de-camp, and filled the room; so then, finding it must be public, G. sent us word we might all come there, and we had a good view of it all.

Runjeet had no jewels on whatever, nothing but the commonest red silk dress. He had two stockings on at first, which was considered an unusual circumstance; but he very soon contrived to slip one off, that he might sit with one foot in his hand, comfortably. B. was much occupied in contriving to edge one-foot of his chair on to the carpet, in which he at last succeeded.

Next to him sat Heera Singh, a very handsome boy, who is Runjeet’s favourite, and was loaded with emeralds and pearls. Dhian Singh his father is the prime minister, and uncommonly good-looking: he was dressed in yellow satin, with a quantity of chain armour and steel cuirass. All their costumes were very picturesque. There were a little boy and girl about four and five years old, children of some of Runjeet’s sirdars who were killed in battle, and he always has these children with him, and has married them to each other. They were crawling about the floor, and running in and out between Runjeet and G., and at one time the little boy had got his arm twisted round G.’s leg. I sent to ask B. for two of the common pearl necklaces that are given as khelwuts, and sent them with a private note round to G., who gave them to the children, which delighted the old mouse.

After half an hour’s talk, Sir W. C., with some of our gentlemen, marched up the room with my picture of the Queen on a green and gold cushion; all the English got up, and a salute of twenty-one guns was fired. Runjeet took it up in his hands, though it was a great weight, and examined it for at least five minutes with his one piercing eye, and asked B. for an explanation of the orb and sceptre, and whether the dress were correct, and if it were really like; and then said it was the most gratifying present he could have received, and that on his return to his camp, the picture would be hung in front of his tent, and a royal salute fired. When all the other presents had been given that could come in trays, 200 shells (not fish, but gunpowder shells) were presented to the Maharajah, and two magnificent howitzers, that had been cast on purpose for him (as I think I told you), which seemed to please him; and outside, there was an elephant with gold trappings, and seven horses equally bedizened. His strongest passion is still for horses: one of these hit his fancy, and he quite forgot all his state, and ran out in the sun to feel its legs and examine it. Webb (the coachman) went down in the afternoon to take the Mizzur horses to Runjeet, and gave us such an amusing account of his interview.

He talks a sort of half-Yorkshire, half-Indian dialect.

‘Why, you see, my lord, I had a long job of it. The old man was a-saying of his prayers, and all the time he was praying, he was a-looking after my horses. At last he gets up, and I was tired of waiting in all that sun. But law! Miss Eden, then comes that picture that you’ve been a-painting of; and then the old man sends for his sirdar, and that sirdar and they all go down on their knees, a matter of sixty of them, and first one has a look and then the other, and Runjeet he asked me such a many questions, I wished the picture further. He talked about it for an hour and a half, and I telled him I never seed the Queen. How should I? I have been here with two Governor-Generals, and twelve years in India above that. So then he says, says he, “which Governor-General do you like best?" And I says, “Why, Maharajah, I haint much fault to find with neither of them.” So then we had out the horses, and there the old man was a-running about looking at ’em, more like a coolie than a king. I never see a man so pleased, and he made me ride ’em. So, when I had been there four hours a’most, all in the sun, he give me this pair of gold bracelets and this pair of shawls; and he says, says he, “Go and show yourself to the Lord Sahib, just as you are: mind you don’t take them off.” But law! I did not like to come such a figure, so here they are!’

B. was standing by, so I had the presence of mind to say, ‘Of course Lord A. should let Webb keep those;’ and he said directly, that for any actual service done, it was only payment, and they would hardly pay Webb for all the trouble he had with the young horses. So Webb went off very happy, and I suppose when we return to Calcutta Mrs. Webb will be equally so.


Sunday, Dec. 2, 1838.

I WAS very much knocked up yesterday with the durbar of the day before. I never told you—such a horrid idea! That box of yours, with that lovely velvet pelisse—that blue cloak—those little ‘modes’ of Mdlle. Sophie, are all food for sharks, I much fear. Pray always mention the name of the ship by which you send such treasures. You and R. both mentioned that these particular treasures sailed the last week in June; the only two ships in the list that did sail then were the Seringapatam and the Protector.

We have ascertained that the first had nothing for us, and the unfortunate Protector was wrecked at the Sandheads, and only five of the crew saved. There were all sorts of melancholy horrors about the shipwreck, so for a long time it never occurred to me to think about my own little venture in it, but I suppose it must have been there. The passengers, after they had been two days and nights in the boats, were passed by a ship coming to Calcutta, but this ship was in great danger from a squall, and as they were all a great way from land, she could not contrive to shorten sail, so that the shipwrecked people must have seen a ship pass them without making any sign, just as they were almost at the last gasp. I am sure that must have added a pang to death.

A pang is added to the loss of my box, by my seeing ‘a box of wearing apparel picked up at sea, from the wreck of the Protector, to be sold by auction for the benefit of ——’ I forget who—the individual that picked it up. Mine to a certainty, and if they will not let me have the box, I cannot see why it is not sold for my benefit. To return to my Journal.—On Thursday evening G. gave a dinner to fifty generals and colonels, &c., and they say St. Cloup covers himself with glory by the dinners he turns out. They really are wonderful. I sent for him this morning to tell him so, and he is always very amusing, so like one of Mathews’ negroes.

‘Si madame est contente, il n’y a rien à dire, et assurément je fais de mon mieux, mais enfin qu’est ce qu’il y a?—pas de légumes, pas de fruit; il ne faut pas tuer un bœuf, à cause de la religion de ces maudits Sikhs; enfin j’ai de la poussière pour sauce. Mon Dieu, quel pays!’

On Friday morning G. went to return Runjeet’s visit. It was just a repetition of the same ceremonies, he says. He asked G. to come back to a private conference for two hours before the nautch, which he is to give us to-morrow. Some of his presents were very handsome, particularly a bed with gold legs, completely encrusted with rubies and emeralds, all the furniture of the bed being yellow shawl. There was also one pair of blue shawls, which cost Runjeet 240l., and which are quite unique.

G. gave another great dinner to fifty colonels, majors, &c., and F. and I dined in my tent. His man-dinner for once turned out pleasant and talkative. St. Cloup maintained his reputation, and I think G. and W. came over after dinner rather merry than otherwise.

This is a dreadfully noisy camp. The cavalry have pitched themselves just behind our tents: one horse gets loose, and goes and bites all the others, and then they kick and get loose too, and all the syces wake and begin screaming, and the tent pitchers are called to knock in the rope pins, and the horses are neighing all the time, till they are tied up again. Then the infantry regiment has got a mad drummer (or two or three). He begins drumming at five in the morning and never intermits till seven. I suppose it is some military manœuvre, but I wish he would not. It was so like dear Shakespeare, specifying the ‘neighing steed and the spirit-stirring drum,’ both assisting to make ambition virtue, the particular virtue of patience being what he had in his eye, of course.

I have got Captain X. and Captain M. to make a nightly round before they go to bed, and I think the horses are a few yards further off, but any good sleep is quite out of the question.

Yesterday G. went off at three with B., C., and W., for a private talk with Runjeet, but the old fellow did not talk much business, he likes gossip so much better, and he said he thought the fakeer and B. might meet and talk business without interrupting G. and him. F. got Sir W. C. to come here and chaperon her to the nautch that was to be given in the evening. She says it was very pretty, but not near so splendid as what we saw at Benares or Lucknow. Runjeet gave her a string of small pearls, a diamond ring, and a pair of diamond bangles.

G. has given her leave to buy any of them from the Tosha Khanna as a keepsake, but the ring is the only tempting article.

Monday Evening, Dec. 3.

G. went to meet Runjeet at seven this morning, and F. joined them on her elephant as they went through our street. I did not set off in the carriage till past eight, and when I got to the ground I was still too early, for Runjeet, instead of being satisfied with a general view of the line, insisted on riding down the whole of it, about three miles, and inspecting every man.

F., Major W., C., and I waited at the flagstaff till their return, which was a beautiful sight (I mean their return was beautiful, not our waiting).

Old Runjeet looks much more personable on horseback than in durbar, and he is so animated on all military matters that he rides about with the greatest activity. G. and he, and their interpreter, finally settled themselves at the flagstaff, and there G. sent for F. and me to come on our elephants to them.

In front there was the army marching by. First, the 16th Hussars, then a body of native cavalry, then the Queen’s Buffs, then a train of Artillery drawn by camels, then Colonel Skinner’s wild native horsemen with their steel caps and yellow dresses—the band of each regiment wheeling off as they passed, and drawing up to play opposite to Runjeet.

Behind us there was a large amphitheatre of elephants belonging to our own camp, or to the Sikhs, and thousands of Runjeet’s followers all dressed in yellow or red satin, with quantities of their led horses trapped in gold and silver tissues, and all of them sparkling with jewels. I really never saw so dazzling a sight. Three or four Sikhs would look like Astley’s broke loose, but this immense body of them saves their splendour from being melodramatic. The old man himself wears a sort of red stuff dress with a little edging of the commonest grey squirrel’s fur, and a common red muslin turban. His horse, too, had less gold about it than any other. He was quite delighted with the review, and at the end of it his servants put down before him eleven bags, each containing 1,000 rupees, to be distributed among the troops. When everything was done, all the chief people went to one tent, which we had pitched on the ground, where there was a déjeûner à la fourchette and all the right things.

I drove straight home to our camp as soon as the troops had marched by, so I did not see the breakfast; but the cookery and the turn-out altogether seemed to have given such satisfaction, that I have just been buying a handsome diamond ring which G. is to present to St. Cloup, who is an absolute black angel. He went over-night to the review ground to cook his breakfast, then back here again, for a dinner of sixteen people, and to-morrow we are to have Runjeet in the evening, and a supper, or rather a dinner, for seventy people. St. Cloup says, with two English kitchenmaids nothing would be so easy, but the instant he goes to rest all the natives fling themselves on the floor and are asleep in a minute, leaving the saucers to take themselves off the fire.

G. gave St. Cloup his ring, and his grin and jump would have delighted Mathews, though perhaps a little overdone for the stage. Runjeet came over early and went with G. to see the artillery, rather against his lordship’s inclinations, for he had been to look in the morning and thought it a very poor show. However, Runjeet was delighted, and kept them there for two hours. We had prepared our fête at the end of the street—a large compound enclosed on three sides with a large tent for us, and a small one for Runjeet filling up the fourth side, guards all round to prevent anybody who had not an invitation from going in. The large tent opened into a long shemiana—I hardly know how to explain that, but it is, in fact, a tent without sides, merely a roof supported by pillars; this looked out into the compound, which was laid out like a flower garden, only instead of flowers there were little lamps laid out, as thickly as they could be placed, in the shape of flower borders. On the ground alone, P. said, there were 42,000 lamps, and the garden was railed in by an espalier of lamps. It was really very pretty and odd. G. and Runjeet had their great chairs in the centre, with B. on the other side of G., F. next to B., then Sir G. R. and a long row of ladies. I sat by the side of Runjeet, and next to me Kurruck Singh, his son, and then another long row of his sirdars.

The instant Runjeet sat down, three or four of his attendants came and knelt down before him—one, the Fakeer Uzeez-ood-deen, who is his interpreter and adviser and the comfort of his life. We all ought to have Uzeez-ood-deens of our own, if we wish to be really comfortable. The others arranged his gold bottle and glass, and plates of fruit, and he began drinking that horrible spirit, which he pours down like water. He insisted on my just touching it, as I had not been at his party on Saturday, and one drop actually burnt the outside of my lips. I could not possibly swallow it. Those two little brats, in new dresses, were crawling about the floor, and he poured some of this fire down their throats. We had two bands to play; and when the fireworks were over, a large collection of nautch-girls came in front of Runjeet, and danced and sang apparently much to his satisfaction. They were a very ugly set from Loodheeana. I could not help thinking how eastern we had become, everybody declaring it was one of the best-managed and pleasantest parties they had seen. All these satraps in a row, and those screaming girls and crowds of long-bearded attendants, and the old tyrant drinking in the middle—but still we all said: ‘What a charming party!’ just as we should have said formerly at Lady C.’s or Lady J.’s. I could not talk with any great ease, being on the blind side of Runjeet, who converses chiefly with his one eye and a few signs which his fakeer makes up into a long speech; and Kurruck Singh was apparently an idiot. Luckily, beyond him was Heera Singh, who has learnt a little English, and has a good idea of making topics, and when C. came and established himself behind the sofa I got on very well with Runjeet.

After the conversation had lasted nearly an hour, there was, I suppose, a little pause between G. and him, for he turned round and said something which C. translated in his literal way, ‘The Maharajah wishes your lordship would talk a little more friendship to him.’ G. solemnly declared he had talked an immense deal of friendship, but, of course, he began again. Another of Runjeet’s topics was his constant praise of drinking, and he said he understood that there were books which contained objections to drunkenness, and he thought it better that there should be no books at all, than that they should contain such foolish notions. He is a very drunken old profligate, neither more nor less. Still he has made himself a great king; he has conquered a great many powerful enemies; he is remarkably just in his government; he has disciplined a large army; he hardly ever takes away life, which is wonderful in a despot; and he is excessively beloved by his people.

I certainly should not guess any part of this from looking at him.

After two hours’ palaver he got up to go. I gave him a large emerald ring, and G. gave him a magnificent diamond aigrette. It only arrived from Calcutta yesterday on speculation, and was thought too expensive, but G. had a great fancy to give it to Runjeet, it was so beautifully set. After the Sikhs were all gone, we went back to our private tents, where there was a souper-dinatoire for seventy people: and that is our final festivity.

Thursday, Dec. 6.

All the gentlemen went at daybreak yesterday to Runjeet’s review, and came back rather discomfited. He had nearly as many troops out as Sir G. R. had; they were quite as well disciplined, rather better dressed, repeated the same military movements and several others much more complicated, and, in short, nobody knows what to say about it, so they say nothing, except that they are sure the Sikhs would run away in a real fight. It is a sad blow to our vanities! you won’t mention it to the troops in London—we say nothing about it to those here.

This morning we marched again, only just five miles, so as to get into the Punjâb; and G., who had more last words to say to Sir G. R. and the army, did not come till the afternoon.

Saturday, Dec. 8.

Shere Singh, Runjeet’s son, is our mehmander, and takes care of us through the Punjâb. Runjeet feeds the whole camp while we are in his country, men and beasts—the men 15,000 (we thought it was only 10,000; but when every regiment we had sent in its full muster-roll, it came to 15,000).

Shere Singh is a very jolly dog, and proffered to dine with us yesterday, which means sitting at dinner with his eyes fixed on G.; he will drink, but not eat. I did not go in to dinner, but was in the same tent, and thinking the conversation seemed to flag, sent Chance to W. O., who made him show off the multitude of tricks he has acquired; and it set Shere Singh and his attendants off laughing, and filled up the time. I dare say Shere would be pleasant if one spoke his language.

Sunday, Dec. 9.

To our horror, Shere Singh offered himself again for dinner yesterday. We had four strange officers as it was, and this promised to be an awful dinner; but it turned out very well. He brought his little boy, Pertâb Singh, seven years old, with eyes as big as saucers, and emeralds bigger than his eyes; and he is such a dear good child! G. gave the little boy a box containing an ornamented pistol, with all sorts of contrivances for making bullets, all of which Pertâb knew how to use. We accused Shere Singh of having taken a watch that had been given to his little boy; and he pretended to put this pistol in his sash, and it was very pretty to see the little fellow’s appeal to G.; but in the middle of it all, he turned round to his father and said—‘But you know, Maharaj Gee (your Highness), what is yours is mine, and what is mine is yours; I will lend it to you whenever you like.’ Shere Singh thought the child was talking too much at one time, and made him a sign, upon which the boy sunk down in the eastern fashion, with his legs crossed and his hands clasped, and he fixed his eyes like a statue. None of us could make him look or hear, and we asked his father at last to let him play, as we were used to children at home. He said one word, and the way in which Pertâb jumped up was just like a statue coming to life. His father is very fond of him, but Runjeet very often keeps the boy as a hostage when Shere Singh is employed at a distance.


Camp, Umritzir, Dec. 10, 1838.

IT has just occurred to me, in dating this letter, that we are very near the end of ’38, and in ’39 we may begin to say, ‘The year after next we shall go home.’ I never know exactly where we are in our story, for I keep so many anniversaries it puts me out. So many people have married, and died, and gone home, that it is really incredible that we should have been here so long, and yet are kept here still. Something must be done about it, because it is a very good joke; but life is passing away, and we are in the wrong place. It has now come to that pass that we are in a foreign country from India, and that crossing the Sutlej is to be called going home again. You see how it is! Our first principles are wrong, and G. says, with a placid smile, ‘If Shere Singh does not dine with us to-day, would it not be advisable to ask Hindû Rao?’—Hindû Rao being a Mahratta chief, a dependent on our Government, who has attached himself to our camp—not quite an idiot, but something like it, and in appearance like a plump feather-bed, with pillows for his head and legs—covered all over with chain armour and cuirasses, and red and yellow shawls; and he sits behind G. at table, expecting to have topics found and interpreted to him. Shere Singh has a great deal of fun; but natives at table are always a great gêne. I had only time to tell you of our arrival at Umritzir on Wednesday, and not of the show, which was really surprising. F. and I came on in the carriage earlier than the others, which was a great advantage; for the dust of fifty or sixty elephants does not subside in a hurry, and they spoil the whole spectacle. We met the old man going to fetch G. That is one of the ceremonies, naturally tiresome, to which we have become quite used, and which, in fact, I shall expect from you, when we go home. If the Maharajah asks G. to any sight, or even to a common visit, G. cannot stir from his tent, if he starves there, till an ‘istackball,’ or embassy, comes to fetch him. So this morning we were all dressed by candle-light, and half the tents were pulled down and all the chairs but two gone, while G. was waiting for Kurruck Singh to come seven miles to fetch him, and Kurruck Singh was waiting till the Governor-General’s agent came to fetch him, and then the Maharajah was waiting till they were half-way, that he might fetch them all. Then, the instant they meet, G. nimbly steps into Runjeet’s howdah, and they embrace French fashion, and then the whole procession mingles, and all this takes place every day now. If the invitation comes from our side, B. and the aides-de-camp act Kurruck Singh, and have to go backwards and forwards fifteen miles on their elephants. So now, if ever we are living in St. John’s Wood, and you ask me to dinner in Grosvenor Place, I shall first send Giles down to your house to say I am ready; and you must send R., as your istackball, to fetch me, and I shall expect to meet you yourself, somewhere near Connaught Place, and then we will embrace and drive on, and go hand-in-hand in to dinner, and sit next to each other. If I have anything to say (which is very doubtful, for I have grown rather like Hindû Rao), I will mention it to Giles, who will repeat it to Gooby, who will tell you, and you will wink your eye and stroke your hair, and in about ten minutes you will give me an answer through the same channels. Now you understand.

To return to this show. We drove for two miles and a half through a lane of Runjeet’s ‘goocherras,’ or bodyguard. The sun was up and shining on them, and I suppose there was not one who would not have made the fortune of a painter. One troop was dressed entirely in yellow satin, with gold scarfs and shawls; but the other half were in that cloth of gold which is called kincob—the fond being gold and the pattern scarlet, or purple, or yellow; their arms were all gold—many of them had collars of precious stones; their shields and lances were all studded with gold. They have long beards down to their waists, and most of them had a silver or gold tissue drapery, which they bring over their heads and pass round their beards to keep them from the dust. In the distance there was a long line of troops extending four miles and a half, and which after much deliberation I settled was a white wall with a red coping. I thought it could not possibly be alive; but it was—with 30,000 men. G. says old Runjeet was very much pleased with his own display. Shere Singh dined with us again; but otherwise it was a day of rest.

Thursday we began poking about to find shawls and agate curiosities, which are supposed to abound at Umritzir; but our native servants are afraid of going into the bazaars: they say the Sikhs laugh at them and their dress. My man told me ‘they are a very proudly people, me not much like; they say, “What this?" and “What that?" I say, “It Mussulmun dress—if you not like, don’t touch!" Then they say, “No city like our Umritzir!" I say, “I say nothing against your Umritzir; but then you never see anything else. If you come to Calcut, I show you beautiful things—ships that go by smoke, and fine houses.” However, they are so proudly that now I pretend I no understand their Punjâbee, but I know what they mean.’

With all their ‘proudliness’ they are very civil to our people, and told them that the Maharajah had proclaimed he would put to death anybody who maltreated any of the Governor-General’s followers; or, as they expressed it, that ‘he would cut open their stomachs’—very unpleasant, for a mere little incivility. In the afternoon he sent word he was going to show us the city and the famous Sikh temple, where he had consulted the oracle about his present alliance with us. This temple is the only thing the Sikhs are supposed to venerate in a religious way. After all the plans were settled, a grand schism sprang up in our camp about G.’s taking off his shoes, and parties ran very high; however, I believe it was settled that it was impossible he could ever take off his shoes, except for the purpose of going to bed; but then it was equally impossible to rebut Runjeet’s great civility in letting us go to this temple at all, and it was not a question of state. Runjeet takes off his shoes and stoops down, and puts some of the dust on his forehead; it amounts to taking off a hat, and only answers to the same respect that we should wish anybody to pay on entering one of our own churches. So it ended in G.’s drawing a pair of dark stockings on over his boots, and the Sikhs made no objection. F. and I went in white shoes, and pretended to take off our dressing slippers from over them. All they really care about is, that their sacred marble should not be defiled by shoes that have trod the common streets. I am glad we went, and would have given up my shoes, and stockings too, for it.

The temple stands in an immense tank of holy water, and a narrow marble bridge leads to it. There is a broad walk all round the, tank, and it is surrounded by palaces belonging to his principal sirdar, and by other holy buildings.

The temple is of pure gold, really and truly covered completely with gold, most beautifully carved, till within eight feet from the ground, and then there are panels of marble inlaid with flowers and birds—very Solomonish altogether. There are four large folding-doors of gold. We walked round it, and then Runjeet took us in.

There was a large collection of priests, sitting in a circle, with the Grooht, their holy book, in the centre, under a canopy of gold cloth, quite stiff with pearls and small emeralds. The canopy cost 10,000l. Runjeet made G. and F. and me sit down with him on a common velvet carpet, and then one of the priests made a long oration, to the effect that the two great potentates were now brothers and friends, and never could be otherwise. Then G. made a speech to the same effect, and mentioned that the two armies had joined, and they could now conquer the whole world; and Runjeet carried on the compliment, and said that here the oracle had prompted him to make his treaty, and now they saw that he and the English were all one family. In short, you never saw two gentlemen on better terms with themselves and each other. G. presented 16,000 rupees, and they, in return, gave us some very fine shawls. I think mine was scarlet and gold, but the Company’s baboo twisted it up in such haste that I did not see it well.

When all this was over, Runjeet took us up to a sort of balcony he has in one corner of the square, and by that time the bridge, the temple, the minarets, everything was illuminated. Shere Singh’s palace was a sort of volcano of fireworks, and large illuminated fish were swimming about the tank. It was a curious sight, and supposed, by those who know the Sikhs, to be a wonderful proof of confidence on Runjeet’s part.

Yesterday my search for small agate curiosities was rather successful; and the shawls here are not despicable by any means, and very cheap, but I happen to have spent all my money. W. O.’s tent is the great harbour for merchants, but I have found out that I make my little bargains better if I can convey my merchant safely into my own tent.

They all went to a great review this morning, and we had Runjeet’s French officers to dinner in the evening, besides the A.s and C.s; and then Shere Singh, and that darling little Pertâb came again to dinner.

We had little Pertâb to sketch this morning, and he was very pleasant. I asked him to fix his eyes on Captain M., who was acting interpreter. After a time he began to fidget, and his stern old Sikh tutor (you don’t want a Sikh tutor for your boys by chance?—if so, I can safely recommend this man for a remarkably good manner of teaching, besides having a beard half a yard long) reproved him for it. Pertâb declared he could not help it,—he was told to fix his eyes on M., and ‘this is the way he moves his head,’—and then he mimicked M. turning from one to the other and interpreting, in such a funny little way. We gave him a diamond ring, which seemed to delight him.

In the evening we went to a garden half a mile off, where Runjeet is living, and where he was going to give us an evening fête. He had had the house actually built on purpose, and it was beautifully painted in an arabesque fashion, with small pieces of looking-glass let in, in various patterns. The walks of the garden were all lined with those splendid soldiers.

I whispered to Major E., who was sitting on the other side of me, to ask if it would be wrong to step out of the house to look at these gorgeous people, as I had missed all the other opportunities of seeing them; and the old Maharajah did not wait to have the question explained—he delights to show off his soldiers. He jumped up, and took hold of my hand, and ambled out into the garden, and then made all the guards march by, and commented on their dresses, and he looked so fond of the old grey-bearded officers.

There is something rather touching in the affection his people have for him. The other day, in going through the city, it struck us all, the eagerness with which they called out ‘Maharajah!’ and tried to touch him, which is easy enough in these narrow streets, and the elephants reaching to the roofs of the houses.

When we had sufficiently admired the golden men, we all ambled back to our silver chairs, and then the drinking and nautching began. Nothing can be more tiresome! But he asked some very amusing questions of G., which I believe C. softened in the translation. If he had a wife? and when satisfied about that, How many children he had? Then he asked why he had no wife? G. said that only one was allowed in England, and if she turned out a bad one, he could not easily get rid of her. Runjeet said that was a bad custom; that the Sikhs were allowed twenty-five wives, and they did not dare to be bad, because he could beat them if they were. G. replied that was an excellent custom, and he would try to introduce it when he got home. Then Runjeet asked if there was anybody present who could drink wine as well as Sir W. C., and I said, for fun, ‘Mr. A. could;’ upon which there was a general cry for A., and poor Mr. A. was accommodated with a chair in front of all the circle, and Runjeet began plying him with glasses of that fiery spirit he drinks himself. Mr. A. is at present living strictly on toast and water! However, he contrived to empty the glass on the carpet occasionally. That carpet must have presented a horrible scene when we went. I know that under my own chair I deposited two broiled quails, an apple, a pear, a great lump of sweetmeat, and some pomegranate seeds, which Runjeet gave me with his dirty fingers into my hand, which, of course, became equally dirty at last.

F. and I came away before the others. He gave me the presents which were due, as I had never been at one of his parties before. They were very handsome; the best row of pearls we have had in this journey, with a very good emerald between every ten pearls; a magnificent pair of emerald bracelets, and a shabby little ring. G. handsomely offered to buy the pearls for me; but that is not what we came to India for. It is very well his buying a little ring, or a shawl, for ten or fifteen pounds, but I do not want pearl necklaces.

I believe now in the story our governess used to tell us, of grocers’ apprentices, who, in the first week of their apprenticeship, were allowed to eat barley-sugar and raisins to such an amount that they never again wished to touch them. We thought that a myth; but I have latterly had such a surfeit of emeralds, pearls, and diamonds, that I have quite lost any wish to possess them.


Monday, Dec. 17th, 1838.

THE Maharajah asked G. to go with him on Sunday afternoon to look at his fort of Govindghur, in which he keeps all his treasures; and it is certain that whoever gets hold of Govindghur at his death will also get hold of his kingdom. He never allows anybody to enter it, and E. says, that in all the thirteen years he has been with him he has never been able to get a sight of it, and he was convinced that Runjeet would either pretend to be ill, or to make some mistake in the hour, so that he would not really show G. even the outside of it. It was rather late before Kurruck Singh came to fetch G.; however, they soon met the Maharajah, and went towards the fort. An officer came to ask his ‘hookum,’ or orders, and he told him to have the gates opened, and desired G. to take in all the officers of his escort, even any engineers. Then he led him all over the fort, showed him where the treasure was kept, took him up to the roof, where there was a carpet spread, and two gold chairs, and there sat and asked questions about cannons and shells, and mines, and forts in general. The Europeans were all amazed; but they say the surprise of Runjeet’s own sirdars was past all concealment; even the common soldiers began talking to B. about it, and said that they now saw that the Sikhs and English were ‘to be all one family, and to live in the same house.’ It certainly is very odd how completely the suspicious old man seems to have conquered any feeling of jealousy, and it is entirely his own doing, against the wishes and plans of his prime ministers, and of most of his sirdars; but he has taken his own line, and says he is determined to show how complete his confidence is.

Whenever he dies, this great kingdom, which he has raked together, will probably fall to pieces again. His prime minister, Dhian Singh, will probably take Cashmere and the hill provinces, and, they say, is strong enough to take all the rest. But the people generally incline to the foolish son Kurruck Singh, and he will have the Punjâb. The army is attached to our dear friend Shere Singh; but Runjeet has deprived him of most of his income, or it is just possible his dear fat head will be chopped off, unless he crosses to our side of the river.

Wednesday, Dec. 19th.

We marched yesterday from Umritzir, and are to make four marches to Lahore.

The maids were quite delighted with an adventure they had in the morning’s march. Several mounted soldiers stopped their elephant, and said that Shere Singh’s wife wanted to see them. She came up in a dhoolie covered with gold curtains, in which there was a slit, through which she protruded one finger and then presented an eye. After a long study of Jones, she told her bearers to carry her round to the other side of the elephant, and desired Wright to put up her veil, that she might have a good look at her. Then she told them that she had never seen any white women before, and that they must come to her tent. An hour after breakfast one of her guards arrived and carried off the hirkaru who had been with the maids, and took him to Shere Singh’s camp, where the lady spoke to him from behind the purdah, and said she must have a visit from the maids, and that she was going to take a bath and dress herself, and then they were to come. I wrote to Major E. for his advice, and he made all the necessary enquiries, but unluckily ascertained that this was not one of the four legitimate Mrs. Sheres, who are visitable, and indeed the most exemplary wives in the world. This woman is all very well in her way, and for many years has been the reigning favourite, but he thought they had better not go to see her. The difficulty was to make an excuse, as she is always accustomed to have her own way, but G. managed it somehow. I was rather sorry he was so prudish, for it would have been a great treat for the maids, and something quite new. Shere Singh and his boy dined with us. He made a long whispered confidence to Mr. A. in the evening, and then went off to the other table, that Mr. A. might whisper it to me, and it was to the effect that his wife (that improper word natives cannot bear to mention) had heard from her little boy that we had been kind to him, and was longing to see us, and had prepared presents for us; and he hoped we would go to his palace at Lahore.

Shalimar, Thursday, Dec. 20th.

Shalimar is the garden where Dr. D. and W. lived when they suffered so much from heat last year. We are encamped close by it. I believe it is the real Shalimar where Lalla Rookh recognised Feramorz, but we do not happen to have a ‘Lalla Rookh’ at hand. Shere Singh came to my tent to sit for his picture—such a gorgeous figure! all over diamonds and emeralds; and as it was a first private visit, he brought a bag of rupees, which he waved round and threw on the ground, and of which it is indelicate to take the least notice. It is still more indelicate taking them at all, I think, but it cannot be helped. He made a very good picture. He was extremely curious about the arrangement of our tents, and poked about, looking into every book and box; and as he went away, he made A. and W. take him round to F.’s tent to look at everything there. I believe nothing can equal the shock it is to the Sikhs in general to see F. and me going about in this way. They come in crowds to ask for an explanation from the native servants. It is unpleasant being considered so disreputable; but ‘conscious worth, patient merit,’ and all that sort of thing, serve to keep us up, to say nothing of not understanding what they say. F. and I went to sketch in the gardens in the afternoon. They are a thick grove of orange and limes, so that they are cool at all times. G. settled that he would go too and take a quiet walk and look about him, with only an aide-de-camp. Deluded creature! Inexperienced traveller! The instant he got on his elephant, bang went a gun. Shere Singh and Lehna Singh with their trains appeared, a troop of Sikhs wheeled up and began playing ‘God save the Queen,’ with every other bar left out, which makes rather a pretty air. Mr. C. was sent for to interpret. His lordship went on to the gardens, where we saw him debark, and a train of devoted gardeners met him with baskets of fruit. We made him a sign not to come and interrupt our sketching, but from the opposite walk there debouched Kurruck Singh, and Ajeet Singh, and the old fakeer, sent by Runjeet to see that all was right. The brothers Kurruck and Shere don’t speak, and G. said it was horrible to see the agitation with which Shere Singh clutched hold of him, and Kurruck laid hold of the other hand, and they handed him along towards us, oversetting our tonjauns, and utterly discomposing our perspective. G. bears a real ceremony beautifully when he has made up his mind to it, and indeed rather likes it; but when he has made up his mind the other way, and wishes to see any curious sight quietly, he becomes frantic with bore if he is interrupted.

Lahore, Friday, Dec. 21.

Yesterday evening Runjeet gave us a party in the Shalimar Gardens, which were illuminated in every direction. The party was like all the others, except that it was less crowded, and there was an introduction of Afghans. The brother of our enemy Dost Mahomed, who is not fettered by foolish feelings of family affection, has come over to us. He and his sons and followers were rather picturesque, with their enormous coarse turbans and cloth gaberdines, and great jack-boots, amongst all those jewelled Sikhs. Runjeet was extremely civil to them. I thought one of the amusing incidents of the evening would be, that I should topple over backwards, chair and all, into the garden below the sort of open summer-house in which we were sitting. Runjeet is particular in the arrangement of his circle—and also rather peculiar. He and G. were seated just in a corner of the open arch, so as to have a side view of the fireworks, and my chair was put next to Runjeet’s in the middle of the arch, with no ledge to the floor and my back to the garden. I moved off, on pretence that I could see nothing, but he sent for me back again, and I think must have been disappointed at the precision with which I sat bolt upright. I always try to flirt a little with Kurruck Singh, the heir-apparent, who is supposed to be a goose, but ‘a great parti,’ as C. would say; but I think the Maharajah sees through me, for he always says to C., ‘What’s that?’ and then answers for his son. I wish he would not—I think my Kurruck would be pleasant, if they ever let him open his lips. I asked him if he had ever tasted any English wine, and he said he never drank any wine at all, upon which Runjeet immediately gave him his own little glass full of spirits, and laughed with the greatest delight at his son’s taking it. F. and I came away very early.

Most of the camp came in procession with G. and the Maharajah through the town, which F. says was very dirty and not odoriferous. Runjeet led them in and out and round about for two hours. I cannot stand much elephant, so I came across the country in the tonjaun, with Captain E. and Mr. A., who rode. The Sikh guards led us right through the fields, where there was no shade, but it was rather nice, and gave one a reminiscence of Shottesbrooke and partridge shooting. We saw in the distance the dust of our moving camp, and blessed ourselves. It was only four miles by this route from one camp to the other. Of course, Shere Singh and Pertâb came to dinner. The little boy is quite set on learning English, and he says, in such a droll voice, ‘Chance, sit up,’ ‘plate,’ ‘glass,’ and a few other words he has picked up. To fill up the evenings, we have taught him that game of soldiers by making round dots on a piece of paper, which he and W. play at; and before dessert was over, he asked whether it was not time to go into the next room. He wanted to kill Dost Mahomed with his pencil.

Heera Singh, Runjeet’s favourite, came to my tent to sit for his picture, but there was some difficulty about his coming, so he arrived late, and it was too dark to draw him well. Runjeet sent word that he considered him ‘his best-beloved son,’ and hoped somebody of consideration would be sent to fetch him. Dhian Singh, the prime minister, and the ruler of one-third of the Punjâb, was coming at the same time to see G. in a private manner. He is Heera Singh’s father, but Runjeet sent ‘the best-beloved son’ with quantities of elephants, and two regiments, to take care of him, while Dhian Singh came on horseback, with only four soldiers riding behind him. He is a very striking-looking man, and his manners are much more pleasing than his son’s.

Sunday, Dec. 23.

We went yesterday afternoon to a review of Runjeet’s goocherras. His grandson, Noor Nahal, my friend Kurruck’s son, and the probable heir, was there. He very nearly died of cholera ten days ago, so we had not seen him. Runjeet treated him with great distinction. He was very interesting-looking, like young Lord E., with enormous black eyes, very sallow, as all Sikh natives are, and he was propped up with cushions and covered with jewels. He was very popular a year ago, but they say has turned out ill since he has been his own master.

The first show of the day was Runjeet’s private stud. I suppose fifty horses were led past us. The first had on its emerald trappings, necklaces arranged on its neck and between its ears, and in front of the saddle two enormous emeralds, nearly two inches square, carved all over, and set in gold frames, like little looking-glasses. The crupper was all emeralds, and there were stud-ropes of gold put on something like a martingale. Heera Singh said the whole was valued at 37 lacs (370,000l.); but all these valuations are fanciful, as nobody knows the worth of these enormous stones; they are never bought or sold. The next horse was simply attired in diamonds and turquoises, another in pearls, and there was one with trappings of coral and pearl that was very pretty. Their saddle-cloths have stones woven into them. It reduces European magnificence to a very low pitch.

Runjeet has got a fit of curiosity about our religion, from our having declined engagements for Sundays and for Christmas-day; and he has sent the fakeer twice to Mr. Y. to say he wants to have translations of what it is, he says to the Lord Sahib every Sunday; and to-day, after the review, he stopped Mr. Y. and asked him a great many questions about our prayers, &c.

The review was picturesque, but rather tiresome; however, I did not much care, for I changed places with E., and got a quiet corner from which I could sketch Runjeet. I was on his blind side, but they said he found it out, and begged I might not be interrupted. One of his native painters was sketching G., and if my drawing looked as odd to him as his did to me, he must have formed a mean idea of the arts in England. They put full eyes into a profile, and give hardly any shade. They paint their own people with European complexions, from coxcombry, so that ours are a great puzzle to them, because we are so white. They had given G. light red hair. I made a great addition to my stock of curiosities yesterday in an agate dagger and cup, and I had a great miss this morning of some trays and cups japanned in Cashmere. A man brought them to my tent, and I would not buy them because it was Sunday; upon which W. O., who does not keep the Sunday so well as I do, immediately snapped them up. This place is full of Cashmerees. G., and the camp in general, went across the river to see the ruins of Noorjhem’s tomb. I went with X. to an enamelled mosque in the city, which must have been splendid in the Mussulman days, but the Sikhs keep up nothing of that sort. However, it is still very beautiful, and would have been charming sketching, but the crowd was so enormous the guards were of no use. It is not an uncivil crowd, all things considered—we merely threw them one and all into genuine fits of laughter; but X., who understands their language, says they did not say anything meant for impertinence, only they had never seen a European woman before, and ‘what an odd thing it was to be so white!’ And then my Leghorn bonnet was a great subject of wonder and dispute.


Monday, Dec. 24, 1838.

THE Maharajah is ill—he has cold and fever—so all parties, &c., are put off. We were to have visited his wives to-day, and to have had great illuminations at the palace; but as it is, we have passed a quiet comfortable day. We sent word to Shere Singh that Christmas-eve was one of our great festivals, and that we could not be disturbed to-day or to-morrow; and we have been quite alone this evening.

Christmas Day.

Runjeet still ill. Dr. D. has seen him twice, and says, if he were a common patient, he would be well in a day or two; but they are all rather alarmed about him as it is. He never will take any medicine whatever. Dr. D. says he has a little glass closet in a corner of his palace with a common charpoy to lie on, and no other furniture whatever, and hardly room for any. The fakeer was in attendance, and two or three of his coolies sitting on the ground at the door—the old man was asleep with all his clothes on. When he awoke, they washed his hands and feet, and then called Dr. D. in. He thought his voice very indistinct, and I fancy the danger is another stroke of palsy—he had one some years ago. However, he is not much worse than half the camp. This is a very aguish place, and three of the aides-de-camp are laid up with fever and ague. Nine officers of the escort stayed the communion to-day, which is a great many for so unreligious a country as India. It is not irreligious, but people live without seeing a clergyman or a church till they forget all about them.

Wednesday, Dec. 26.

Runjeet has been extremely curious about our Sundays and Christmas-days, and, ill as he was, sent for Mr. Y. to-day, to explain to him what it meant. Mr. Y. took with him translations of the Lord’s Prayer, the Ten Commandments, and the prayer for the Governor-General. Almost all the commandments must have been a puzzle to Runjeet’s code, from the not worshipping graven images down to not coveting his neighbour’s goods. He was very much interested, Mr. Y. said, and his fakeer and Dhian Singh asked a great many questions—the old man seemed very ill.

P., F., and I went to sketch some ruins about two miles off. There is a troop of Akalees close by, an alarming class of people, who make it a rule never to live on anything they have not gained by plunder or force. They have occasionally set fire to whole villages, and Runjeet even cannot control them, so he has incorporated some of them with his guards, but they wear their own dark blue dresses, with quoits of steel hanging all over them, which they fling at anybody and everybody. The other day, at the review of Runjeet’s own guards, a small troop of these Akalees marched past with the others, but all Runjeet’s sirdars gathered round him as they went by, and some of the Akalees abused them, and others called out to G. that they were going down to take Calcutta. They were very quiet with us to-day, but in the morning they had been very violent against Captain X. and Captain P. They are very picturesque.

Friday, Dec. 28.

We had a great fright about G. this morning—one of those sort of things one hates to think of, but yet which leave one thankful all the rest of the day, that matters were no worse. He went to a review of our three regiments, and was to ride a horse of W. O.’s, which used to have a trick of rearing so as to prevent anybody mounting it, but this trick was supposed to have been cured; and as, when once mounted, he made a very quiet charger, G. meant to ride him. Yesterday he showed a little of his old fault, but to-day when G. put his foot in the stirrup he reared bolt upright. G. still persisted in trying him, in defiance of W.’s assurances that it would not be safe. I believe he did not hear them; the second tune, the horse reared, knocked down the syce, and bolted, throwing G. to the ground. Luckily, the one foot that was in did not catch fast in the stirrup. He was quite stunned for a minute, but, except a bruise on his shoulders, was not hurt at all. W. rode home in a great fright for a palanquin, and the servants, having kept the secret for five minutes, could not then resist coming to wonder what had happened. However, we had not a long fright; the guns almost immediately began to fire again, so we knew that the review was going on; and we soon heard that he was quite well. A great many of the chiefs immediately presented purses of money on his escape; and after breakfast some of the soubadars came with their offerings of rupees, which, however, it was only necessary for him to touch. It was a narrow escape of a bad accident, and seems to have frightened the bystanders. In the afternoon he went to a private interview with the Maharajah, where all the treaties and papers connected with the Cabul business were read aloud.

This lasted a long while, and at the end, an ‘istackball’ came to fetch F. and me to see a few of Runjeet’s wives—merely a slight sample of them. We saw the old man just for an instant; he looked quite exhausted—almost dying—and made us over to Kurruck Singh and Heera Singh, who, in his capacity of favourite, enters the anderoon, and I should think must endanger the peace of mind of some of the thirty-two Mrs. Runjeets. He is very good-looking. Between him and Rosina we contrived to obtain a very good interpretation of the conversation.

The room was a wretched, little, low place: five of the ranees sat on silver chairs against the wall, with a great many of their slaves squatting round them, and we sat on chairs opposite them. Four of them were very handsome; two would have been beautiful anywhere. I suppose they were Cashmerees, they were so fair. Their heads look too large, from the quantity of pearls with which they load them, and their nose-rings conceal all the lower part of the face, and hang down almost to the waist. First, a crescent of diamonds comes from the nose, and to that is hung strings of pearls, and tassels of pearls, and rings of pearls with emerald drops. I can’t imagine how they can bear the weight; and their earrings are just the same.

Their immense almond-shaped black eyes are very striking. The conversation is always rather stupid: they laughed at our bonnets, and we rather jeered their nose-rings. They asked to hear my repeater strike, and I begged to feel the weight of their earrings, &c. Kurruck Singh was treated with the greatest respect by his five stepmothers; his own is dead.

They gave us rather shabby presents; a small pearl necklace, and diamond bracelets. They utterly spoiled my new satin gown by that horrid attar they smear over their guests, and then we came away. I wish I could make out how these women fill up their lives. Heera Singh said they each had a little room of their own, like that we saw, but never went out of the anderoon on any occasion.


It is a pouring day. We are encamped in the old bed of the river, and a very wet bed the river must have slept in. I never saw such a quagmire as my tent is. Nobody has been without a cold since we were at Ferozepore, but the sneezing and coughing never ceases now.

Everybody is paddling about in overshoes, and we are carried to dinner in palanquins, and have trenches dug round our bedrooms, which are full of water. G. and I went to the leave-taking in the shut carriage, with Kurruck Singh and A——. Kurruck was greatly taken with my green satin cloak, and made so many hints for my boa, that it was only the impossibility of getting another, and a remarkably bad cold in my head, that prevented my giving it to him.

Runjeet looked wonderfully better to-day. An hour was passed in giving khelwuts to all our gentlemen. He has got a cunning way of cutting off a great many with the ‘Bright Star of the Punjâb,’ his new order. It is worth about fifty rupees.

G. gave this morning the usual khelwuts of 1,000 rupees to all Runjeet’s sirdars; the exchange will be a dead loss to the Company, and will eventually be the death of C. Runjeet’s presents to G. were his picture set in diamonds, with two rows of pearls; a sword, matchlock, and belt, much bejewelled; a pair of shawls embroidered in seed-pearl, and the usual accompaniments—nothing very handsome.

When the distribution was ended, Runjeet said to G., ‘Now speak some words of friendship to me.’ So then G. made his farewell, and ended by saying he hoped Runjeet would wear a parting gift he had brought—that bunch of emerald grapes we got at Simla.

They produced a great effect. Kurruck Singh and Noor Mahal, who were sitting on the other side of me, got up to see them, and there was a murmur of applause, which is unusual at a durbar. Runjeet asked if G. had any request to make to him; and G. said only one more, that he would occasionally wear the ring he was going to put on his finger, and he produced the ring, made of one immense diamond, that was sent up from Calcutta on speculation. It nearly covered Runjeet’s little finger, and it was quite odd to see the effect it had on the old man. He raised himself quite up, and called for a candle to put behind it, and seemed quite taken by surprise; and the gentlemen said that they overheard all the Sikhs commenting on the generosity of the Governor-General, and the real friendship he must have for the Maharajah to give him such presents. Runjeet took a most tender farewell of us; and so now that is done.

Monday, Dec. 31.

After church, yesterday, Runjeet sent his treasures down with his great diamond, ‘the Light of the World,’ which I did not see when the others saw it. It is very large, but not very bright. There were also some immense emeralds—some of those we had seen on the horses—and some enormous rubies. It was a curious sight. G.’s presents, however, looked very handsome, even amongst all these; and the treasurer said Runjeet had had them in the morning to show to his chiefs, and that some of them had advised him to have the grapes made into a rosary, but he said he never would have it altered; it should always be shown as a proof of the Governor-General’s generosity, just as he gave it to him. The ring, which did not cost so much, the Sikhs, however, value still more.

In the afternoon, F. and I went to pay our visit to Mrs. Shere Singh. Shere Singh thought it had been given up, and has been teasing E.’s heart out about it. It would have been ill-natured not to go, and, moreover, we should have missed a very pretty sight. We have never been to any of their tents. Pertâb came to fetch us. The tents are very near ours, and very showy-looking—all red and white stripes.

We were received with a very noisy salute, and all his own goocherras, in their fancy dresses, were drawn up on each side of some fine shawl carpets. Shere Singh was a mass of gold and jewels himself, and it was a fine sight to see him come to the entrance, with all his people about him.

We went first to a little tent, where we left E. and the two aides-de-camp, and which was fitted up very like an English drawing-room, full of plate, and musical-boxes, and china. I suppose the French officers have taught him how to arrange a room; indeed, General A. brought him most of the things. He went into an inner tent, and fetched out two wives—Pertâb’s mother, who is the chief ranee, and a second wife, who was immensely fat, and rather ugly; but Pertâb’s mother was one of the prettiest little creatures I ever saw, very like Jenny Vertpré, but with the longest almond-eyes in the world, and with hands like a little child’s. They were dressed just like Runjeet’s ranees, but were much more talkative, and we stayed a long time with them, Rosina interpreting. I told her that Shere Singh had made me a present of Pertâb, and that I hoped she would let me take him to England. And she took it seriously; the tears came into those large eyes, and she said, ‘You have other amusements, and you are going back to your own country; there are four of us, and our only happiness is to see Pertâb; in another country he would be as dead!’ and then she put her little arms around him, and kissed him, and the other fat wife gave him a hug, and said she should die without him. The mother looked like a little girl herself. They gave us splendid presents, much finer than any of Runjeet’s, and showed off all their own nicknackeries, and wanted us very much to come again, but we march to-morrow. I should like to see some of these high-caste ladies several times, without all this nonsense of presents, &c., but so as to hear their story, and their way of life, and their thoughts. She did not seem at all afraid of Shere Singh, which is very unusual, and I believe does not see much of him.

New Year’s Day.

There! we left Lahore yesterday; we have made two marches, and shall cross the river in four more; and now it appears this post is to go only eighteen days after the last. This is a good day for winding-up of a Journal.


Camp, near the Sutlej, Sunday, Jan. 6, 1839.

I HAVE allowed myself my accustomed four days’ rest after sending off my Journal, and it comes just at a good time. We have had only our common marches to make from Lahore, and no break except that afforded by Shere Singh and little Pertâb, who were again sent with us by the Maharajah, to see us safe across the river, and who were by way of being very sentimental at parting with us. I believe, however, our dear friend Shere is as great a rogue as may well be—at least, like all courtiers under a despotic king, he is full of intrigue and falseness, being always on the watch to provide for his own safety. He is also very extravagant, and has to go through a course of constant makeshifts to keep himself afloat.

There are various ways of getting one’s debts paid in various countries. Shere Singh is out of favour with the Maharajah; but the other day Runjeet put a pea on the point of a spear, and told all the sirdars to shoot at it from a considerable distance. Shere Singh hit it at the first shot, and Runjeet gave him six villages; and it is always by some feat of that kind that they wring a gratuity from the old man. Shere brought one evening a beautiful pair of shawls, such as are only made for the females of the Singh family, and gave them to F. and me, begging that we would really keep them and wear them, and nothing was to be given in exchange for them. I am sure we had fairly earned them by having him at dinner almost every day for a month; but, however, we handsomely added them to the public stock, and as soon as a committee of shawl merchants has sat on them, we are to buy them. The melancholy catastrophe of the week has been the death of F.’s lemur, after two days of illness. It caught cold, like the rest of the camp, in that swamp at Lahore, and died of inflammation in the stomach, so violent that no medicine was of the slightest use. Poor little wretch! it was hardly possible to bear its screams at times; though as F. could not stand it, I did my auntly duties to it to the last. It is really a great loss, it was such a clever little animal, and she made such a constant occupation of it, that she misses it much, and is in a very low state. I own I miss it too, and then its illness has been so shocking. It had such cramps, and held out its little black hands (which are shaped exactly like ours) to be rubbed, and cried just like a child. That is the worst of a nice pet. However, they are a great amusement for the time they last, and there is, on an average, at least a year’s pleasure for a week’s grief. A natural death, too, is an uncommon termination to the life of a pet, and Dr. D. did everything that could be done for it.

Moothea, Jan. 9.

We left the Sutlej on Monday, and are halting to-day. Our dear friend Mr. C., of Umballa, laid out such a long march for us yesterday, that all the cattle are knocked up. We rode about twice the distance we intended to have done, which was no joke. Luckily he had his doubts about the villany of the proceeding, and had provided provisions for two days, so that we were able to stop a day. This is a shocking country for robberies. It belongs to nobody in particular, and the inhabitants avowedly live by plunder. Last night they took two pittarrahs belonging to one of the clerks, and beat the sepoy who was guarding them dreadfully. They also robbed and beat a camel suwar who was bringing us letters from Ferozepore.

Thursday, Jan. 10.

We had another very long march, and found on arriving at the advanced camp that there had been another robbery. Some of Mr. ——’s boxes were taken, and some belonging to an officer, whose kitmutgar was cut by a sabre across the chest. The poor sepoy is dead, who was so beaten. The servants are in a shocking state of fright, though it is a little their own fault if they are robbed. At two in the afternoon, one set of them go on with all the stores, wine, grain, &c., and a strong guard; and we have settled to send our precious imperials, camel trunks, &c., by day-light. At nine in the evening, all the plate, dinner things, furniture, a great many tents, and the servants that will be wanted in the morning, go with an escort. If they stray away they are instantly robbed. All the rest come in the morning with us, when there are four regiments on the road, so that is quite safe. To-night Colonel —— is going to send the fourth cavalry to patrol the road. These little warlike precautions are becoming interesting.

Moothee, Friday, Jan. 11.

Worse and worse. When we came up to the advanced camp, the servants declared there had been an engagement. I think we are doing more business than ever the army will do in Cabul. Our great battle of Mootheesund was fought in the night, which makes it curious as a matter of history. Four sepoys were guarding a train of pittarrahs. The inhabitants of the village (as was perhaps to be expected) wished to appropriate their contents. A hundred men attacked the four sepoys; the sepoys naturally screamed; the cavalry came up; the hundred men ran away; cavalry, sepoys, and pittarrah bearers all joined in the pursuit; the thieves ran home, and, I suppose, went to bed; and our forces brought off the jemadar of the village, who says he had nothing to do with it, and he wishes they would let him go again.

Budhoo, Saturday, Jan. 12.

We had a nice short march this morning, just ten miles. I am quite able to ride again now, which lessens the fatigue materially; and I believe it is now universally allowed that my horse is entirely faultless. Of course it cannot be so in fact, but it has every appearance of it at present. It is beautiful, and it does not kick nor bite, which all the others do, nor stumble as most Arabs do, nor pull, nor dawdle. I am so obliged to it. I hate a vicious horse, don’t you? and you cannot guess how troublesome they are in this country.

Tuesday, Jan. 15.

This morning we went half-way in the carriage and then got on elephants, to meet the Rajah of Putteealah, whose territories we enter to-day. His son came last night to meet G. He is a fine-looking boy, about eighteen. Mr. E. says that the usual custom among the Sikhs is, that once grown up, a boy ceases to be a son, or a brother—that he becomes an individual, bound only to take care of himself; but the Putteealah rajah has broken through this system, and has kept his son in his own palace, under his own control. Last night was the first time he had ever slept from under his father’s roof. He had a grey-bearded tutor, who never left his side, and an immense suite. Mr. E. says father and son are on excellent terms. The rajah’s procession was beautiful; not so large as some of Runjeet’s, but more regularly handsome, as all his followers were equally well dressed, and their riding was very striking. Runjeet’s men cannot ride at all. Some of the men we saw this morning put their horses into a gallop and then stood up on their saddles, stooping down to the right and left to cut away the weeds with their swords, very much what people do at Astley’s, only there the horses go round in a circle, which makes it more easy. Here, there is not even a made road. Another man would ride up and fire off his matchlock at a friend and then throw himself on the side of his horse, hanging only by one stirrup, till his pursuer had returned the fire, and then he would rise up again and stop his horse with the greatest ease. Two little dwarfs rode before the rajah. We had them here this afternoon to draw, and gave them two shawls, which pleased him much. He knows the rules about presents in the Company’s service, and when he and Mr. E. were coming to the durbar in the evening, he saw these dwarfs strutting along with their shawls on. He asked where they got them from; they said the Lady Sahib gave them: upon which the rajah turned round to his Sikh and asked, ‘May they keep them?’ and then laughed with Mr. E. at his knowing exactly what the English would say. This evening the Bombay extra arrived with news to the 27th of October; all good news.

Wednesday, Jan. 16.

Besides the overland letters, this has been a great day of idle business for G. and his staff. F. and I left the camp at the usual time, and a bitter nasty day it was; a regular thick Indian fog. We rode most part of the way with Captain X. and —— ‘Frump,’ Esq., as we always call him, not but what he is rather a pleasant man, but he frumps things in general, and wears a rough coat and stern-looking gloves, and never can see the fun of anything, and his name begins with an F., so I think it very likely he was christened ‘Frump.’ He was remarkably frumpish with the fog, which almost blinded us till the sun rose. The unhappy G. remained with his staff to breakfast at seven, and then set off in full-dress to return Putteealah’s visit. He gave them magnificent presents; amongst others, a horse with a gold howdah, and caparisoned like an elephant, and it sticks out its leg for the rider to mount by just as an elephant does. The little howdah would make Chance’s establishment quite complete, but the idea of presenting it to him has not yet crossed C.’s mind apparently. From that durbar they came on to the camp, and were met by the old Rajah of Nabun, a Sikh chief, and a fine-looking old creature, and he brought G. home. Then they dressed, and at two had to full-dress again for a durbar to this old creature, and he asked G. to bring us in the evening to see his garden, so the gentlemen had to put on their uniforms a third time. Towards dusk, young Nabun (Nabun junior) came to fetch us, and we all scuttled along on elephants to a very ugly dilapidated garden, lit up in an elaborate manner, where the old man met us, but could hardly walk from age. A. and Mr. C. kept charging G. on no account to sit down, as the rajah was not of sufficient rank to receive a visit from the Governor-General, and G. kept declaring that he knew he should sit down at last, so he might as well do it at once. However, they would not hear of it, but kept walking him about; and the old man went up into a garden house to rest, while the son did the honours. Then G. would go up to this house, and then up the steps, A. and C. objurgating him all the while; then the cunning old Nabun asked him to look at the paintings in the room. A. and C. grew desperate, and said the pictures were very improper. G. declared they were very pretty; and so we all went in and found a whole row of chairs, and a select assortment of nautch girls. G. sank down on one side of the rajah and told me to sit on the other, and so ended the advice of A. and C., and Nabun now thinks himself as good as Putteealah. That is the great result of this great measure, and C.’s hurt feelings were soothed by a pair of diamond bracelets that the old man gave me, and which I delivered to him. A large display of fireworks took place, and we came home in the dark.

Thursday, Jan. 17.

A rainy miserable sort of day, but not bad enough to prevent the tents from moving. We had several of the camp to dinner. St. Cloup is longing for our arrival at Kurnaul, that he may vary his cookery a little. We cannot kill a cow in the face of all these Sikhs, and at Simla the natives do not like it; so it is a long time since we have had the luxury of a beef-steak or a veal cutlet.


Soonair, Friday, Jan. 18, 1839.

WE halt here till Monday. There is a great gathering of petty chiefs, and our arrival was very pretty. Each man came on his elephant, with a few wild followers on horseback, some with a second elephant, and they all scramble up to G., every individual giving him a bow and arrows, or a matchlock. His hand was soon full, then his howdah was hung with them; the hirkaru behind was buried in bows; then they boiled over into our howdahs, and at every break in the road a fresh chief and more bows appeared.

At last we came to Mr. E., bringing the Nahun rajah. Don’t you in your ignorance go and confound him with the old Nabun rajah. This is the Nahun chief whom we visited last year in the hills, and who is very gentlemanlike and civilised. I have found out why I was so glad to see him again. He has light blue eyes, and after three years of those enormous black beads the natives habitually see with, these were mild and refreshing. They all brought us to the camp in a drizzling rain, which came on to a pour in the course of the day, and a wretched business it always is. All the servants and camp followers look so miserable and catch such bad colds. I thought when we were at Nabun that an old man, a sort of prime minister of the rajah’s, would make a good drawing, and I told him so; and to-day he arrived, having made two marches to have the picture drawn. He gave me his matchlock, which I asked Captain D. to return with the usual speech, that it was much better in his hands than in mine; but the old man said no; it was a particularly good matchlock; he had shot with it very often, and I should not easily find so good a one, so C. gave me a watch to present to him in exchange, which quite delighted him. While Captain L. E. was gone to fetch the watch, the old man took the opportunity to question my jemadar about our habits, and I understood enough of the language to make out that he was asking how many times we eat in the day. The natives generally only eat once, but I believe they think our way of eating at several different times rather grand; at all events, the jemadar did not omit a spoonful, and it was rather shocking to hear how many times in the day we were fed, beginning with the cup of coffee before marching; and the afternoon cup of tea sounded wrong and waste-not-want-not-ish. However, the old sirdar said it was all ‘wah wah’—excellent, to be able to eat so much.

Saturday, Jan. 19.

There was rather a pretty durbar this morning—two hundred of those Sikh chiefs who gave our great Apollo his bows yesterday; and as they were only shown in by fives and sixes, it made a very long durbar, and we went over to make a sketch of it. I never can make a likeness of G. to my mind, and yet there is always a look of your M. in my drawings of him, so there must be a likeness somehow, either in the sketches or in G. and M. That gentlemanlike Nahun rajah made Mr. A. bring him all across the tent to shake hands with F. and me, all owing to his blue eyes. Nobody with black eyes would have dreamed of so European an idea. G. went out shooting this afternoon. There are heaps of partridges and quails in this part of the country.

I thought of going out too, with my matchlock, only C. has claimed it for the Company. We had a large dinner to-day, forty-five; all the officers of the cavalry and artillery who leave us on Monday. One or two of them got particularly drunk. They say some of them are always so, more or less, but it happened to be more this evening.

Sunday, Jan. 20.

Mr. Y. set off after church to go back to Simla for his wife’s accouchement. He will go scrambling up to Simla in a shorter time than the post goes. He borrows a horse here, and rides a camel there, and the Putteealah rajah is to lend him a palanquin; and he set off with some cold dinner in one hand and ‘Culpepper’s Midwifery’ in the other, which he borrowed of Dr. D. at the last minute. He is very pleasant and amusing; more like R. than ever.

Such a pleasure! a letter from the agent at Calcutta to say a box of millinery has arrived at the Custom House per ‘Robert Small.’ Mine, to a certainty! It has been rather more than seven months making its voyage, and will be three more coming to the hills. I think it is about the last great invoice for which I shall trouble you. Calcutta may provide itself for the last few months; and my next order will be for a pelisse and bonnet, &c., at Portsmouth. Good!

Monday, Jan. 21.

Rather a long march; and that generally brings a large riding party together at the end; and once more W. and I had one of our hysterical fits of laughter at the extraordinary folly of a march. We feel so certain that people who live in houses, and get up by a fire at a reasonable hour and then go quietly to breakfast, would think us raving mad, if they saw nine Europeans of steady age and respectable habits, going galloping every morning at sunrise over a sandy plain, followed by quantities of black horsemen, and then by ten miles of beasts of burden carrying things which, after all, will not make the nine madmen even decently comfortable. We have discovered that a mad doctor is coming out here, and we think it must be a delicate attention of yours; but when he sees us ride into Rag Fair every morning, for no other reason than that we have left another Rag Fair ten miles behind, I am sure he will say he can do us no good. It is very kind of you to have sent him, but we are incurable, thank you, and as long as we are left at large we shall go about in this odd way. There is your missing September letter, with T.’s and E.’s dear Journals. It went to Calcutta, and came with the October packet. Newsalls sounds very delightful, and I mean to live there constantly, and to see a great many cricket matches. How very disagreeable that Sister should look so young. I look much older now than she did when we came away, so we shall never know which of us ought to respect the other.

Tuesday, Jan. 22.

We are more mad than ever!—at least we have got ourselves into one of those scrapes that mad people do. There is a wretched little rivulet, a thing not so big as that ditch by old Holledge’s, at Elmer’s End, which we were to have crossed this morning. This little creek, which is quite dry ten months of the year, and at the best of times is only called the Gugga, suddenly chose to rise in the night, and there is now seven feet of water in it, which puts crossing out of the question. There is only one boat, and a helpless magistrate on the other side.

The cavalry and artillery who left us yesterday will of course be stopped by the same river higher up, and Mr. C. has sent to carry off their one boat too; and in the meantime we are at a dead lock. Luckily, there is very good shooting here. I could not imagine this morning why Wright did not come to dress me after the bugles sounded, and I kept sending message after message to her, with a sort of wild idea that everybody would march, and I should be left lying in bed in the middle of this desert, with nothing to put on, and no glass to dress by; a sort of utter destitution.

The hirkaru who slept in the tent happened to speak no English, so I never understood a word of the long Hindustani speeches he kept screaming through the partitions, and at last Wright came, cold and sleepy. ‘Law, ma’am, did not you know the river was full, and we can’t go? and all the things have come back except the kitchen things, so I thought you would like a good sleep.’ Luckily, the kitchen recrossed before breakfast time.

Noodeean, Thursday, Jan. 24.

That little ditch the Gugga is quite pompous with twenty feet of water, and it has been dry for three years, and was nearly so on Monday, so we are just a day too late. We moved eight miles nearer to it merely for the love of moving, and are now at Noodeean—evidently a corruption of Noodleland, or the land to which we noodles should come. I want to leave the last camp standing, and to march backwards and forwards between the two; it would be just as good as any other Indian tour. We came on elephants to this place, careering wildly over the country, that the gentlemen might shoot; there never was anything like the tribes of quails and partridges, but it is very difficult to shoot them from an elephant. The hotty goes lumbering on, and it is just a chance whether the gun that is pointed at a hare on the ground, is not jerked up so as to kill a rock pigeon overhead. G. killed ten quails, which was more than anybody else did. Rajah Hindu Rao, who is now so habitually with us that we look upon him as a native aide-de-camp, took pains to miss, I think, that he might not seem to shoot better than G.

In the afternoon G. went out on foot with Captain X. and shot an antelope, which is really a great feat. There is a Mr. N., the magistrate to whom we rightfully belong to-day, and who ought to be wringing his hands constantly, and plying eternally between our camp and the river, a victim to remorse that he has not made a bridge of boats in time; instead of which, N.’s tents are seen in the distance the other side of the water, and he never stirs from them, and all the notice he has taken of us is a message that perhaps he had better go back and prepare for us at Hansi, as there seems little chance of our crossing for a week. We tell Mr. C. that if he had been N. this never would have happened. He has got two boats from those unhappy regiments up the river, and moreover he has succeeded to-day in recovering great part of Mrs. B.’s stolen property, her bracelets and some of her gowns, which have been buried in some Sikh village, and I fancy are not the better for the operation. The thieves have been sent up to Runjeet, and his justice is rather severe, I am afraid.

C. set off yesterday with all his clerks and establishment, and writes word that by making the villagers work all night, he has passed them all, except the camels, who detest water and will not swim. X. and A. went off this afternoon to pass our goods, and W. went in the evening.

Friday, Jan. 25.

We marched this morning, that is, we rode five miles to this wicked little Gugga, which is not forty yards wide, and yet gives us all this trouble. Captain S. overtook us half-way, and said that he had been detained by finding Wright and Jones at the last camp left without any conveyance. Their elephant, by some mistake, had been sent on to the ghaut, and all the usual spare resources had been sent away last night, so he found them walking. He sent them his elephant as soon as he could overtake it, but they had walked two miles, much to the wonder of the natives.

I never saw such a scene as the ghaut—such a conglomeration of carts, sepoys, bullocks, trunks, &c., and 600 camels, who would not go any way. About 200 had been coaxed over. F. and I went down there after luncheon, and sat on the shore to see the fun. W., X., P., and L. E. had each taken the command of one of the boats; and with one European the natives work very well. They each had on their broad white feather hats to keep off the sun, and a long stick to keep the people from crowding into the boats, and looked like pictures of slave-drivers, and were screaming and gesticulating, and hauling packages in and out. The only way of passing the camels was by tying six of them in a string to the tail of an elephant, who then swam across, dragging them all after him. They did so hate it! I suppose it must be much the same as we should feel if we were dragged through a bed of hot sand, which is what the camels really love. The water was like a deep canal; nothing was to be seen of the elephant but his trunk, and the mahout standing on his back holding on like grim death by the elephant’s ears. The hackeries were pushed into the water, some of them very high covered carts, but they disappeared instantly, and were dragged under the water; then if they stuck anywhere, a dear, good elephant would go in and rake about and push them along with his great hard head. A little further up, there might be seen a troop of bullocks refusing to take the water, and at last driven in, and their owners swimming behind and holding on by their tails. This has been going on ever since Tuesday morning. Captain P. and his sergeant have not had their clothes off for three days, and look thoroughly exhausted. The tent pitchers have also been at work in the water for three days. What I hate most in a camp is the amount of human and brute suffering it induces; luckily, there were no lives lost this time; an elephant picked up one little boy who was drowning. Webb’s tame bear was nearly lost, and when he got into the boat, he turned round to X. and said, ‘I hope, sir, Miss Eden seed me a saving of my bear; it would make such a pretty skitch.’ The villain N. met us at the ghaut, and came to visit us in the morning—not the least ashamed of himself—but he is by no means an unpolished jungle-man: rather the contrary, jolly and pleasant, only that he has nearly forgotten his English. He laughs like that Dr. G. we used to know, and says with a great ‘Ho! ho! ho!’ If it had not been an inconvenience on account of supplies, it is just as well you should have been stopped in this way. You ought to see the hard-ships of a camp life.’ I wonder what the ships of a camp life are which are not hard-ships?


Saturday, Jan. 26, 1839.

WE made our march this morning, but found all the people who had been obliged to come on last night so knocked up that I have persuaded G. to give up his intention of marching to-morrow. We seldom have marched on Sunday, and this is a bad time to begin. In short, it was nearly impossible. The sergeant who lays out the advanced camp is in bed with fever from fatigue.

Wednesday, Jan. 30.

It is four days since I have been able to write. I was ‘took so shocking bad’ with fever on Sunday, caught, it is supposed, at that river-side—that eternal Gugga. Captain L. E. was seized just in the same way, and several of the servants, so we all say we caught it there; but it is all nonsense—every inch of the plains in India has its fever in it, only there is not time to catch them all. I think the Gugga fever is remarkably unpleasant, and I did not know that one head and one set of bones could hold so much pain as mine did for forty-eight hours. But one ought to be allowed a change of bones in India: it ought to be part of the outfit. I hope it is over to-night; but as things are, I and L. E., with Captain C. and the doctor, are going straight to Hansi to-morrow—only a short march of ten miles, thereby saving ourselves two long marches of sixteen miles, which G. makes to Hissar, and giving ourselves a halt of three days to repair our shattered constitutions.

It is so absurd to hear people talk of their fevers. Mr. M. was to have joined us a month ago, but unfortunately caught ‘the Delhi fever’ coming up: he is to be at Hansi. Z. caught the ‘Agra fever’ coming up; hopes to be able to join us at Hansi, but is doubtful. Then N., our Hansi magistrate, looks with horror at Hansi: he has suffered and still suffers so much from ‘that dreadful Hansi fever.’ I myself think ‘the Gugga fever’ a more awful visitation, but that is all a matter of opinion. Anyhow, if N. wished us to know real hardship, fever in camp is about the most compendious definition of intense misery I know. We march early each morning; so after a racking night—and I really can’t impress upon you the pain in my Indian bones—it was necessary at half-past five—just when one might by good luck have fallen asleep—to get up by candle-light and put on bonnet and cloak and —— one’s things in short, to drive over no road. I went one morning in the palanquin, but that was so slow, the carriage was the least evil of the two. Then on arriving, shivering all over, we were obliged to wait two hours till the beds appeared; and from that time till ten at night, I observed by my watch that there was not one minute in which they were not knocking tent-pins, they said into the ground, but by mistake they all went into my head—I am sure of it, and am convinced that I wear a large and full wig of tent-pins. Dr. D. put leeches on me last night, and I am much better to-day. L. E. is of course ditto: the Gugga fevers are all alike.

Hansi, Friday, Feb. 1.

I went to sleep at last last night, and am much better to-day; but I see what N. means about Hansi. Such a place!—not, poor thing! but that it may be a charming residence in fine weather; but we have had such a wet day. It began to pour in the night. I am very glad I resisted G.’s offer of giving me half the horses and the shut carriage, for I suspect even with all the horses they will have had some difficulty in making out their long march. Such a road as ours was!—nearly under water. I started in my palanquin, but after the first three miles the bearers could hardly get on at all: they stuck and they slipped, and they helped each other into holes and handed each other out again, but altogether we did not get on. Captain P. was to have driven me the last half of the way in his buggy; and as his elephant was like my bearers—slipping and sticking—we sent on one of the guards for the buggy, and contrived to get on very well in that. When we came to what is nominally called ‘the ground,’ it looked like a very fine lake, in which my tent and the durbar tent and Dr. D.’s were all that were not standing in the water. P. and the jemadar carried me in a chair into mine, and there I was left alone in my glory. He and L. E. took the durbar tent, their own tents having a foot of water in them.

Captain D. went to live with his brother, who has a bungalow here, which he very kindly offered me. It is pouring so again to-night that I wish I had taken it; but then if I had carried off the cook and the dining-tables and the lamps, &c., I thought the aides-de-camp would be wretched, and L. E. is not well enough to go out; but to be sure, these tents! If it were not for the real misery to so many people, the incidents of the day would have been rather amusing. There is not of course a tent for the servants, so they are living in the khenauts (the space between the outer covering and the lining of our three tents), and there are thirty sleeping in my outer room, if room it may be called. The difficulties went on increasing. W.’s greyhounds, ten of them, were standing where his tent (now at Hissar) usually is, and the men said they would die, so we put them in the khenauts and told the dogs that they must not bark and the men that they must not cough, and hitherto they have been very quiet. My syce came to tell P. that my horse was not used to stand out all day in the rain, and that if it did Mr. Webb would kill him. I should assist at the execution, though how the poor syce could help it I don’t quite see. I would have given Orelio my own blankets willingly and put him to bed with my own nightcap on, but unluckily the bed did not come till the afternoon, and was then a perfect sponge. However, we lodged the horse somehow. Then F. had two Barbary goats, which she had ordered on the lemur’s death, thinking they were pretty, soft, hairy things, instead of which there arrived two days ago, large, smooth, bleak-looking English goats. However, she told me to take the greatest care of them when they came up. At twelve, a coolie without a stitch of clothes on, walked in with a Barbary kid on his back, stiff and stark. No interpreter at hand, so where the mother was remained a mystery. F. might have fancied to her dying hour that I had let her Barbary goats die—nobody ever thinks their children or pets are properly taken care of; so I set off rubbing, and made my two boys, Soobratta and Ameer, rub the kid too, and we poured hot things down its throat. We should have been worth millions to the Humane Society, but the kid would not come to. Then I made them dig a hole in the outer tent and put charcoal in it, and when it was quite hot we took out the charcoal and put in the kid—just like singeing a pig; but it was a bright idea, and quite cured it. Just as we had got the little brute on its legs, the mother was brought in, and we went through the same process with her. When they were quite well, they were also sent to sleep in the khenauts.

The bandsmen, who are chiefly Europeans, came to say they had no shelter. ‘Sleep in the khenauts,’ was the only answer; and we gave them what remained of our dinner, for the kitchen was under water. Mr. —— arrived, and I asked him to dinner too. It is fine to-day, and the tents came up in the middle of the night. We have got a paper of the 24th November, so the overland has arrived, and G. will bring us some letters to-morrow.

Saturday, Feb. 2.

And he has brought plenty—your’s and E.’s Journals amongst others.

Mahem, Tuesday, Feb. 5.

I was taken with a worse attack of ague than ever as I was writing to you on Saturday, and was obliged to go to bed for two days. Luckily, it went off just before marching time yesterday morning, and I am taking narcotine at all convenient hours. I believe it is a remedy that has been invented in this country—at all events introduced—by Dr. O’Shaughnessy. Dr. D. has tried it in many cases, and it has never failed where the patients can bear it, but it makes many people quite giddy and delirious. I do not mind it at all, and am much better to-day. Two of our bearers, old servants, are dying of cholera from that last wetting.


Wednesday, Feb. 6, 1839.

ANOTHER rainy night, and we have come on to another sloppy encampment, and I am sorry to say those bearers, and two more, have died of cholera to-day—all owing to the wet, Dr. D. says. The magistrate here has politely offered us his house to-morrow, and as Captain P. sends back word he cannot find dry ground for half the dripping tents, U. Hall will be a God-send.

Thursday, Feb. 7.

Dear U.! such a nice, dry, solid house. I suppose it would strike us as small on common occasions, but it looks to me now like the dryest, best built, most solid little palace I ever inhabited, what people call ‘quite Palladian.’ I rather like hitting myself a good hard knock against the thick solid walls, and then the pleasure of walking along the hard floor without fur slippers and without hearing the ground squelch! The quiet, too, is worth its weight in gold (though how it is to be weighed I don’t quite know).

F. and W. went out coursing this evening. G. was detained by letters just as he and I were going out, so I thought it would be polite and sent to ask U. to go out with X. and me; and he brought me a little wooden cup of his own turning, with which I was obliged to be quite delighted, in fact I was; it was a very good little cup, and then he said, ‘I did it from recollection of the famous vase in the Vatican. Does it remind you of Rome?’ I could luckily say I had never been there, but I am not very sure that that little box-wood cup and the mud walls of U.’s house would naturally have brought Rome into my mind.

Sunday Evening, Feb. 10.

We went into our tents again on Friday, with a long march of fifteen miles. The tents were still damp. By twelve o’clock I began to shiver, tried to go out in the afternoon and came back in a regular shake, had a horrid night, and after yesterday morning’s march was obliged to go to bed again with violent head-ache and fever. It has gone off this afternoon, and the day’s halt has been a great mercy; but Dr. D. says he does not think I shall get well in a camp, it disagrees so utterly with me. G. has ascertained there are four good rooms in the Residency at Delhi, which is never occupied now, so X. has gone on with my furniture and servants, and to-morrow I am going to drive straight on there; the camp will come to Delhi on Tuesday. I shall only be half a mile from them, but out of the noise and in a dry house. I have grown just like that shaking wife of ‘Jonathan Jefferson Whitlaws.’

Monday, Feb. 11.

I made out my double march most successfully with three relays of horses. X. rode out to the other camp to show me the way in; he had had all the broken windows glazed, and Mrs. B. had sent curtains; the rooms look very clean and nice. The house stands in a small shady park, with a nice garden, and the quiet is delightful. I went to sleep directly after breakfast, and am better, thank you. W. came on to Delhi to set all his shooting expedition going, and he dines here with X. and Dr. D., who are encamped in the court-yard, and they will drink tea with me. I often think of former days and of being ill at Bower Hall and at Langley, with you and L. taking all the trouble of it, and that it is done in a different method now—X. coming in when I am in my dressing-gown on the sofa, to ask about the numberless articles that a crowded camp necessitates, and saying, ‘I have had relays of bearers for Rosina, because I should like her to be there with me, that she may show me how to arrange your rooms; and is there any particular diet the khansamah should provide? I shall send on the young khansamah, he says he knows what you like; and when I am gone, Captain L. E. begs you will send to him, if you think of anything that will make you more comfortable.’

It is very good of them, poor dears! and I think I give them a great deal of trouble; but then I never meant when I came into the world to be nursed by all these young gentlemen. It cannot be helped; everything in India must be done by men. Giles is very useful on these occasions, and what people do without an English man-servant, I can’t guess.

Tuesday, Feb. 12.

This must go. Such a volume! it may as well go to the Admiralty. G. and F. arrived at the camp this morning, and F. is sitting here. They are only half a mile off, but Dr. D. has made up his mind that I shall not go near the camp till all parties and dinners are over. G. is going to drive me out this afternoon.

Residency, Delhi, Monday, Feb. 18.

I have been staying here a week to-day, with some degree of success, though I had a great deal of fever yesterday. F. went over yesterday with three or four of the sketching gentlemen to the Kootûb, and comes back to-morrow. Dr. D. would not let me go when it came to the time, and indeed it was impossible, as it turned into a fever day, but I should have liked to see it again. I heard from F. to-day, and she says it is more beautiful than ever, and that they shall stay till to-morrow afternoon, for they have found such quantities of sketching to do. It is certainly the place in the plains I should like to live at. It has a feeling about it of ‘Is not this great Babylon?’ all ruins and desolation, except a grand bit or two of magnificence kept up by the king. Then, in the modern way there are nice drives, and a considerable congregation of shawl merchants and jewellers. Our agate mania still continues, and there is no end to the curiosities that have been brought to light, or the price to which they have risen. They have been a great amusement, as I have not been able to sketch, and altogether this is rather a comfortable life for India. F. comes here for two hours in the morning. Captain X. and Dr. D. superintend breakfast and luncheon. At four, G. always comes, and we take a drive, and then, after six, I grow feverish and am glad to be quiet till bed-time; and there is a little undercurrent all the morning of W. O. and Captain L. E., and agates and presents of flowers, &c. Major J. and Captain T. have come over to see us; indeed the whole plain is dotted with the tents of people who have come to see G.; he says he never had so many applicants before.

Tuesday, Feb. 19.

W. set off this morning on his tiger-shooting expedition. It has failed in some respects. General E. is ordered off to join Sir S. R. at Bombay, and G. cannot give leave to a Mr. H. here, who is a great tiger-hunter; but he has a chance of another friend, and our native ally, Hindû Rao, is going with him, or rather after him, for he says he cannot possibly leave Delhi till the Lord Sahib goes, and every afternoon Hindû Rao comes to the door with the carriage, and trots by its side all the way, in his purple satin dress, and with his spear and shield. He says he knows G. likes him, and he also knows the reason—that he has nothing to ask for. He is very rich, and manages his money very well; and he likes G., because he says ‘he is real gentleman, as well as a Governor-General, and treats other people as if they were gentlemen too.’

Such a tea-pot to-day!—green serpentine, with a running pattern of small rubies set in it. Much too lovely!

F. came back this afternoon, rather tired, but says the ruins are all beautiful.


I have had two Delhi miniature painters here, translating two of my sketches into ivory, and I never saw anything so perfect as their copy of Runjeet Singh. Azim, the best painter, is almost a genius; except that he knows no perspective, so he can only copy. He is quite mad about some of my sketches, and as all miniatures of well-known characters sell well, he has determined to get hold of my book.

There is a fore-shortened elephant with the Putteealah Rajah in the howdah, that particularly takes his fancy. However, I do not want them to be common, so I cut out of the book those that I wish to have copied, and I never saw a native so nearly in a passion as he was, because he was not allowed the whole book. Their miniatures are so soft and beautiful. F. has had your likeness of my father copied.

Camp, Thursday, Feb. 21.

I was quite sorry to leave the Residency yesterday, all the more so, from my ague having been particularly severe last night; it is very odd that nothing will cure it. However, we shall be at Simla in three weeks, and there was a good deal of rain again last night, which is against ague.


We had such a frightful thunder-storm last night for three hours, with rain that might have drowned us all; I never heard such a clatter. Our tents stood it very well, but a great many tents were beat down, and all the servants’ tents were full of water. Luckily, this advanced camp escaped great part of the storm, and the tents are much drier than those we left. This is not good weather for ague; it goes lingering on, and they say will do so, till I get to the hills. I keep very quiet, but I shall be glad to be settled at Simla. You know I never could quite understand the Psalms, but I see what David means when he says, ‘Woe is me that I am constrained to dwell with Mesech, and to have my habitation in the tents of Kedar.’ Mesech I think he was wrong about. I should have no objection to dwell with him in a good house of his own, but the tents of Kedar are decidedly very objectionable and ‘woe-is-me-ish;’ double-poled tents, I have no doubt, and lined with buff and green.

Sunday, Feb. 24.

The idea of the December mail arriving this morning! letters of the 26th, less than two months old.

‘Oliver Twist’ we have read, doled out in monthly parts nearly to the end, and I like it very much—but ‘Nicholas Nickleby’ still better. We have left off there, at Miss Petowker’s marriage, and Mrs. Crummles’ walking tragically up the aisle ‘with a step and a stop,’ and the infant covered with flowers. There never was such a man as Dickens! I often think of proposing a public subscription for him—‘A tribute from India’—and everybody would subscribe. He is the agent for Europe fun, and they do not grow much in this country.

Paniput, Tuesday.

We are progressing every day, but this is the same road we passed over last year, so if there had been anything to say about it, you would not wish me to say it twice over. Mr. —— is with us, remarkably dull; but since I have got him to tell me anecdotes of the Delhi royal family shut up in their high walls, and of all the murders he has known, or suspected, I think the time passes pleasantly, and he goes away early.

I am much better, and began dining down again yesterday, and the weather has changed, which they say is to blow away all fevers; but Dr. D. says the hospital is quite full, and the deaths amongst the servants this year have been quite lamentable.

Gornadar, Wednesday, Feb. 27.

L. E. and Z. nearly had a tiff to-day. L. E. has taken charge of the stables since Captain M. went away, and as there are sometimes from sixty to a hundred horses there, while presents are going on from native princes on the march, besides all our own horses, it is like a little regiment occasionally, and L. E. is very gentle and quiet in his manner to the syces and with Webb.

Captain Z. came into my tent this morning and flung himself into my arm-chair—Mr. D.’s chair, that sacred piece of furniture. I thought it an odd measure, but could not help it, and he began: ‘I was just going to say—what a delicious chair this is! such a spring!—I was just going to say that I have been talking to Webb about your open carriage. I understand you want it up here. I think of sending it to Dehra, for, as I told Webb, the oxen can bring it back from Barr,’ &c. I looked rather frosty, and said I would think about it and let him know, and put it off; and then he launched out about Paul de Cocq’s novels, still seated on that much-loved chair—‘my goods, my property, my household stuff.’ As soon as he was gone, I got hold of X., who said he too had been surprised, but thought that perhaps Captain L. E., who is acting for W. in his absence, might have found he had too much to do, and so had made over the stables to Z.

Then L. E. arrived, saying he really had been quite annoyed, happened to be particularly fond of horses, had not a bit too much to do, had found Captain Z. the other day giving orders about the relays for the march, and had therefore taken the liberty of calling the four native coachmen together and desiring them never to take orders from anybody but himself. If Lord A. had chosen to ride that morning there would not have been a riding horse on the line of march; but of course if I had told Captain Z. to take charge of the stables, he would give it up, &c. I said I never told anybody anything, and so I suppose they will settle it between them.


Kurnaul, Thursday, Feb. 28, 1839.

WE came in this morning with the usual fuss of a cantonment. I always dread coming back to the two or three regiments we have met before, because they are all so excessively astonished we do not know them all again. That would not be possible, but at the same time I feel that it is very stupid I should never know one. This time there is a hope—I always know Colonel S., because he has only one arm; and two of the other regiments went with us to the Punjâb, so we have not had time quite to forget them. L. E. and Z. have evidently ‘had it out,’ and L. E. has conquered. He was quite as firm as his natural gentleness would allow, at luncheon-time, about all his arrangements. He had heard of a new horse that would be worth looking at. He had sold a pony, found a coachmaker, chosen a lining, rather thought we must have a new open carriage, had made arrangements for leaving here my elephant, which has got a rheumatic fever and can’t move any one of its poor dear lumps of legs without screaming.

In short, Z. was defeated with great loss. This place looks quite as ugly as it did last year; all barracks and plain, and not a tree in sight. I cannot think how people bear their cantonment life so well as they do.

We have been setting ourselves up with mourning here, for poor ——, and collected all the black goods in the place, consisting of four pairs of black gloves, with a finger or so missing, and a pair of black earrings, which I thought a great catch; and so they were, in fact—I was caught quite out. They had evidently been made for the Indian market, and had only mock hinges and clasps. Nobody could wear them; but they are nice earrings if there were any way into them.


We had an immense party last night. There are between sixty and seventy ladies living here—most of them deserted by their husbands, who are gone to Cabul; and they generally shut themselves up, but last night they all agreed to come out. There were some very pretty people among them; that little woman who marched with us last year, and whom we called ‘the little corpse,’ came out again more corpse-like than ever. The aides-de-camp had been agreeing in the morning to draw lots which of them should dance with her, but afterwards settled it was the business of the junior aide-de-camp; so they introduced Captain Z. to her, and he is in such a rage this morning.

I am sorry to say we heard of an accident to W. O. to-day. We hope it may turn out very slight, but it is alarming to think what it might have been. He and the K.s had just arrived at Mazuffernuggur, and he was driving their carriage, when a sudden jolt threw him first on the horses and then under the wheel, which went over him just above the left hip. No bone was touched, and there was evidently no internal injury, and General K. said he had had as yet no fever, but of course he must be laid up for a time, and probably will have to give up his shooting party, which will be a sad blow, after having taken so much trouble to organise it.

It must have been a frightful accident to see. ‘Mon Dieu! ce que c’est que de nous,’ as that old housekeeper at the Château de Bilhère used to say in her odd pâtois. An inch more or less might have been fatal to dear W.

Saturday, March 2.

W. has had a good deal of fever in the night, but wonderfully little pain. The shooting party is, however, quite out of the question; and as the K.s must be longing to go on with their expedition, we all thought it better that F. should go to take care of W. It is about forty-five miles from here, and it takes about twenty-four hours to lay a dâk for that short distance, and then you only average about three miles an hour. One longs for a chaise and four and an inn under these circumstances. A railroad we cannot even understand with our limited locomotive capacities. F. has sent off her tents and baggage, and will go to-morrow with Jones and P. to take care of them. I think poor W. must want some of his own family. G. and F. went to the Station ball last night. F. says there never was anything so amusing as the speeches. A long one about G., and another about F. and me—what we had done for society—added to its gaiety, and raised its tone, &c. &c. I should have thought it was all the other way—that society had lessened our gaiety, and lowered our tone; but who knows? there is a change somewhere, it appears.

Sunday, March 3.

A very good account of W. this morning; he writes a few lines himself: the next thing will be that he will go out shooting, so it is lucky F. will be there to stop him. G. had another great dinner yesterday, and then we went to a play that the privates of the artillery had got up, supposing, or rather ‘knowing that we were very fond of theatricals.’ They acted very well last year, but this was very much after the fashion of Bottom the Weaver and Snug.

I only stayed through half of it, but F. said the second farce was worse than the first.

F. and P. set off at half-past three to-day. He drove her in his buggy the first sixteen miles, which will save her part of a long dâk journey. She will not have quite thirty miles of palanquin, and will arrive about seven to-morrow morning.

Thanesir, Tuesday, March 6.

We left Kurnaul yesterday morning rather late (at least we call half-past six very late), for there was to be a great procession. All the colonels and various others insisted on riding half-way with G., so he cantered along in the sun, looking very hot, and very much obliged to them, and casting longing looks at the open carriage at his side. All our aides-de-camp turned back to pass another day at Kurnaul from the half-way halt. Q. alone, guarded by his engagement to Miss U., was enabled to go on steadily to take care of the camp. I never saw anything so happy as the aides-de-camp were at Kurnaul; flirting with at least six young ladies at once, visiting and luncheoning all the morning; then our band played on the course in the afternoon; then there were dinners, balls, plays, &c., and they always contrived to get a late supper somewhere, so as to keep it up till four in the morning. I dare say after four months of marching, during which time they have scarcely seen a lady, that it must be great fun to come back to the dancing and flirtation, which is, as we all know, very considerable amusement at their age. I often think that with us their lives must be necessarily dull and formal. Colonel T. had asked them all to dinner and music, and they have all come back to-day, having had a charming evening.

C. sung, and Mrs. C. sung, and there was a harp, and a bride, &c. I wish you could see Mrs. ——. She is past fifty—some say near sixty—wears a light-coloured wig with very long curls floating down her back, and a gold wreath to keep it on, a low gown, and she dances every dance; and her forward step, and side step, with an occasional Prince of Wales step, executed with the greatest precision, gave me sentimental recollections of Jenkins, our dancing-master. He would have looked admiringly at Mrs. ——’s performances.

P. got back this afternoon and brought a letter from F., who got over her journey very well. He says W. is really quite well, though very weak; but had begun smoking again, in defiance of the doctor.

They are to begin their march to-morrow, K.s and all together; W. in a palanquin. The K.s must have had a horrid fright; the great jolt that threw him off, shook them so, that they did not think of looking at the coach-box, and only thought the horses were going very wildly. The syces stopped the horses, and then told them that W. was lying in the road. They were luckily close to the tent. He spoke at first and then fainted; but he seems to have suffered very little pain. I hope he will not go out shooting; the heat is very great, and will increase every day.

We are going to halt here to-morrow. It is a famous place for Hindu devotion, I believe the most sacred in India; and all the Hindu sepoys of the escort were very anxious for a halt, and a religious wash in the tank. G. and I stopped on our way in, to see the tomb, which has that famous temple in its centre, and all our bearers and syces rushed down to the water with great ardour. The Hindu religion has two merits—this constant ablution, and the sacredness of their trees. This place is really pretty from the avenues of peepul trees. It is so long since we have seen a tree, that I am quite glad we are going to stay a day with them; but our Mussulmaun followers will spoil them, they say.

Wednesday, March 6.

And so they have. G. and I went on the elephants yesterday evening to see the town with our dear Mr. C., who took us up again at Kurnaul, and J. and Mr. B. and various others. There was a great deal to see, and just as we were turning towards home, we heard a violent émeute, and several Brahmins came running after Mr. C. to say our camel drivers were cutting down the trees, close by their mosque. Mr. C. had in the morning sent sepoys with the camel drivers to prevent it, so he begged G. would go himself to see justice done. It was a wicked scene. About two hundred camel drivers working away, and three of the finest trees reduced to stumps, and about a thousand Brahmins tearing their hair and screaming, without daring to interfere.

We all flew into violent rages. G. sent off Captain Z. with one party of the body-guard, and he captured ten camel drivers and sent them off to the camp. J. always throws out more legs and arms when he talks Hindustani than any other human being, and he looked like an enraged centipede, and finally jumped out of his howdah and began laying about him with one of the despoiled branches. Mr. C. preached with much unction to the Brahmins. Mr. B. looked vinegar at them, but was too Indianised to speak.

The result was, that we took sixteen of the ring-leaders, made them leave all the branches they had cut—so that the poor camels will be starved—and marched home in great glory.

Captain D. has levied a fine of a hundred rupees on the camel men, and paid it to the Brahmins, and as peepul trees grow again and rupees never do, the Brahmins are comforted.

Thursday, March 7.

We marched this morning only eight miles, which is pleasant; and what is still more so is, that there is a dâk bungalow close to our camp quite empty—not a traveller stirring—so I have my furniture put into it, and am comfortable. The heat of the tents the last three days has been dreadful, and when I went down to luncheon just now the thermometer was 91° in the largest and coolest tent. X. and P. had some plans to copy for G., and were so giddy they could not see. Q. had the headache. Z. was in bed with fever. The doctor was simply depressed to that degree he could not speak; and even G. thought it would be as well, if this heat lasted, that Dr. D. should give him a black dose just to put by his bedside. Of course there was no necessity for taking it, but he felt a little odd, and it would be as well to have it at hand. J. came back from luncheon quite charmed with this little bungalow, which is as cool as an English hothouse at least, and looks on some beautiful cornfields, and ‘the browsing camel bells are tinkling’ rather prettily.

I have not lived near the camels except at loading time, and had no idea they could be so quiet and merely tinkling. I have made such a nice little purchase to-day—two little girls of seven years old, rather ugly, and one of them dumb. I gave three pounds for the pair—dirt cheap! as I think you will own. They are two little orphans. The natives constantly adopt orphans—either distant relations, or children that they buy—and generally they make no difference between them and their own children; but these little wretches were very unlucky. They belonged to a very bad man, who was serving as a substitute for a sick servant whom we sent back to Calcutta. This man turned out ill and got drunk, upon which all the other Mussulmauns refused to associate with him, and he lost caste altogether. Giles was very anxious to get rid of him, as a drunken Mussulmaun is something so shocking we are all quite affected by it. On Monday he gave us an opportunity to leave him at Kurnaul. I had tried to get hold of these children at Simla, hearing they were very ill-used, and that this man was just going to take them down to Delhi to sell them into the palace, where thousands of children are swallowed up. Luckily, his creditors would not let him go, and I told A. to watch that he did not carry off the little girls; so to-day he sent word I might have them if I would pay his debts, and the baboo has just walked in triumphantly with them. They have not a stitch of clothes on; and one of them is rather an object, the man has beat them so dreadfully, and she seems stupified. I hope to deposit them finally at Mrs. Wilson’s orphanage near Calcutta.


Simla, Tuesday, March 19, 1839.

DON’T you see, that now I am come back to Simla, a Journal will be out of the question; nothing to put into it.

‘Pillicock sits on Pillicock’s hill, Halloo Loo! Loo!’ (which I take to be a prophecy of our playing at Loo every evening.) We came up in two days from Barr, a very fatiguing business at all times, though Mrs. A. had sent me down a hill dhoolie, in which I could lie down, but it makes all one’s bones ache to be jolted in a rough sedan for eight hours. The second day it poured till we came within sight of Simla, and with a sharp east wind from the mountains, the misery of all the dripping Bengalee servants was inconceivable. The gentlemen looked unhappy enough, as the hill ponies make slow work of the journey; and Dr. D. had a violent fit of ague before we arrived at Hurripore. X. abjures the aide-de-camp on these hill excursions, and appears ‘en blouse,’ a mixture of ‘a brave Belge’ and a German student.

We found Simla very white with snow; the thermometer had been 91° in our tents that day week. But I do not think it at all uncomfortably cold here. Giles had preceded us by two days, and had got all the curtains up and the carpets down, and the house looked more comfortable than ever. It is a jewel of a little house, and my own room is quite overcoming; so light and cheerful, and then all the little curiosities I have accumulated on my travels have a sweet effect now they are spread out. The only misfortune of my room is, that a long insect, much resembling a gudgeon on six legs, has eaten up your picture frame: the picture I took with me in my writing-desk, knowing that the gudgeon would have eaten that forthwith, but the frame, in an unguarded moment, I trusted to his honour, and this is the result. However, the glass he could not digest, and a wooden frame our own carpenter can make.

F. left W. O. after his first day’s tiger-shooting, and in marching up from Seharunpore with the K.s and Mrs. L., W. actually shot a tiger ten days after he had been run over, and he writes me word to-day that he is quite strong again, and that they had killed eight tigers in five days. One tiger got on an island about the size of the table, with a swamp all round it, that the elephants could not pass. The jungle was set on fire, and W. says it was beautiful to see him try to fight the fire with his paws, but when he found he could not conquer it, he charged the elephants, and was shot on the head of W.’s elephant.

Saturday, March 23.

We have had a little more snow and a great deal more rain, but now the weather is beautiful, and the servants are beginning to thaw and to move about. F. has had two dreadful days of rain in camp—a warning to her, and she says she is beginning to give up her love of tents. Q. is gone down to Barr to fetch her up the hill, but she will not now be here till Monday.

We have not had a great many visitors. There are forty-six ladies and twelve gentlemen, independent of our party, and forty more ladies and six more gentlemen are expected shortly, so how any dancing is to be managed at our parties we cannot make out. The aides-de-camp are in despair about it; they are all dancers, and they have engaged a house for the Miss S.s and their aunt quite close to ours—‘Stirling Castle,’ a bleak place that nobody will live in, and that in general is struck by lightning once a year; but then it is close by, and then they want a ball. They have got A. and all our married gentlemen to promise to dance every quadrille, but still we can’t make out more than twelve couple, and it will be dull for the sixty who look on. They are writing to their friends in the plains, and asking eligible young officers to come up and lodge with them. E. N. has settled to come here instead of going to Mussooree, and had taken a house and was to board with us; but Mr. J. has written to ask him to live with him—he must dance. ‘At all events,’ said X. as we were riding home, ‘those two little windows in the gable end of Stirling Castle look well, and when two little female forms are leaning out of them, I can conceive nothing more interesting.’ Our band twice a week is to be a great resource. G. bought W. O.’s old house, and has made it over to the aides-de-camp, which saves them some money, and in the grounds belonging to it we have discovered a beautiful little terrace for the band, and the others have persuaded P., who is ‘laying out the grounds,’ to arrange a few pretty paths for two, and also to make the gates so narrow that jonpauns cannot come through them, so that the ladies must be handed out and walk up to the music.


F. arrived yesterday. W. O. writes word that he has just killed his thirteenth tiger.

Saturday, March 30.

This must go to-day, G. says. It is a shockingly thin concern, but it is not three weeks since the last went, and, as I tell you, a second Simla year journalised would inevitably throw you into a deep slumber.

Simla, Wednesday, April 3, 1839.

I feel rather cold and hungry without my Journal. I have got such a habit of telling you everything, that somehow I cannot hinder myself from bestowing my tediousness upon you. I rather think I am like Mr. Balquwhidder, who found that the older he grew, and the more his memory failed, the more easy it was for him to preach a long sermon, only his congregation would not listen to it. You are my congregation. Our present set of gentlemen are so larking, I hope they will contrive to keep themselves and Simla alive this year. I think I told E. they had advertised a pigeon-shooting match for seven o’clock on the 1st of April, there not being a pigeon within twenty miles of this place.

Mr. C. arrived at the place, which was a mile from any house, armed with two guns, in a regular shooting dress, and followed by three hirkarus to pick up the birds, and he was met by one of X.’s servants with a note, enquiring ‘Does your mother know you’re out?’ As he hates getting up before nine, he had some merit in taking it good-humouredly.

There are several very pretty people here, but we can hardly make out any dinners. Most of the ladies send their regular excuse, that they do not dine out while Captain So-and-so is with the army. Very devoted wives, but if the war lasts three years, they will be very dull women. It is wonderful how they contrive to get on together as well as they do. There are five ladies belonging to the regiment, all with families, who have now been living six months in one small house, with only one common sitting-room, and yet they declare they have not quarrelled. I can hardly credit it—can you?


The recoil from the plains to the dry, sharp air has a shocking effect on the household. Captain Z. has been very ill since Monday, Captain Q. knocked up with fever, Dr. D. ditto; a very severe case. F.’s ayah tumbled down a hill, and cut her knee dreadfully. Rosina and her husband and ten more servants all ill with fever. Mars a bad headache; Giles ditto. St. Cloup, a confirmed case of liver complaint. That puts us all in a great fuss; the instant he complains we all think of our dinners, and are full of little attentions to him; we are now trying to hope that gout may come out, but the fact is, they have all knocked themselves up by fancying that, because they are in the hills, they may go out in the sun without an umbrella, and nobody ever can, with impunity. If Shakspeare ever said a wrong thing, it was that the sun ‘looks upon all alike.’ It is anything but alike; he looks uncommonly askance at you, and quite full at us. The band played on Wednesday in a new place we have made for it in our garden. Such a view of the snowy range! and such a pretty spot altogether! and all the retired ladies come to solace themselves with a little music, and to take a little tea and coffee and talk a little.

W. O. has killed his seventeenth tiger. I had a letter from him to-day. They had been after a great man-eater, who has carried off seven or eight people lately, and the Thanadars of the villages around had begged them to try and kill it. They took with them a Mr. P., an engineer they found making a bridge, who had never been out hunting before; and lent him an elephant and two guns. The first day they saw the tiger at a great distance, and Mr. A. and W. took care not to fire for fear of losing his track, but they ‘presently heard a tremendous shouting, and bang, bang, with both guns. This was P. at least half a mile off, and on his coming up, he said he had seen the tiger in the distance, and it was “dreadfully exciting work.” The next thing we heard of the tiger was upon my elephant’s head, but he was shaken off directly, and after two or three charges, killed. About five minutes after he was dead, up comes Mr. P. in an awful state of excitement, with a small umbrella neatly folded up in his hands, and carried like a gun. “Am I too late? Is he dead?" “Yes, but where are your guns?" “Good heavens! I thought this was them. I must have thrown them away in my excitement and taken this instead.” And so he had—and both A.’s and my guns which we had lent him were found in the jungles, after some trouble.’

Sunday, April 7.

W. and Mr. A. have at last killed another dreadful tiger, or rather tigress, which they have hunted for and given up several times. She has carried off twenty-two men in six weeks, and while they were at the village, took away the brother of the chief man of the place; took him out of his little native carriage, leaving the bullocks untouched.

They found her lair, and W. says they saw a leg and quantities of human hair and bones lying about it, and they saw her two cubs, but the swamps prevented the elephants going near, and the mahouts would not go, so they gave it up.

But the next day she carried away a boy, and the villagers implored them to try again. They came to the remains of the boy, and at last found the tigress, and brought her out by killing one of her cubs, and then shot her—but the horrid part of the story is that the screams of the boy who was carried off were heard for about an hour, and it is supposed she gave him to her cubs to play with. Such a terrible death! Altogether, W. and Mr. A. (to say nothing of P. and his umbrella) have killed twenty-six tigers—twenty large ones, and six cubs—which is a great blessing for the country they are in.


Thursday, April 11, 1839.

WE had Mrs. A., Mrs. L., and Mrs. R. to dinner yesterday, as we find it the best way to dine the most companionable ladies en famille when we can furnish gentlemen enough of our own to hand them in to dinner.

G. ought to dress himself as an abbot, and with his four attendant monks receive as many nuns as the table will hold: the dress would make all the difference, and otherwise I do not see how society is to be carried on this year.

Friday, April 12.

I wish my box of gowns would ever arrive, don’t you? I believe now, if I see it when we go down from the hills this year I shall be lucky. Do you recollect sending me a pink striped gown, a long time ago, by a Mr. R.? I had it made up only lately, and put it on new last night: it was beautifully made, ‘and I never looked more truly lovely!’ but there was an odd rent in the sleeve which, Wright said, must be the tailor’s fault. I put on my sash and heard an odd crack under the arm; then Chance jumped into my lap, and there was an odd crack in front. I sat down to dinner, and there was another odd crack behind. In short, long before bed-time my dear gown was what Mrs. M. used to call ‘all in jommetry’—there was hardly a strip wider than a ribbon, rather a pretty fashion, but perhaps too undefined and uncertain: that comes of being economical in dress. The next gown you send me shall be made up the afternoon it arrives, but you need not send any more till we come out to India next time. I really think this banishment is coming to an end. Now we have broken into the last year but one, it seems like nothing. We have forsaken the buying of shawls and trinkets, and have gone into the upholstery and furniture line; everything is done with a view to Kensington Gore. I have just been writing to C. E. for a few Chinese articles—a cabinet, and a table or so, to arrive at Calcutta next year, and not to be unpacked. I have an arm-chair and a book-case concocting at Singapore, and a sort of table with shelves of my own devising, that is being built at Bareilly, under the magistrate there. That, I think, may prove a failure, but I have a portfolio and inkstand on the stocks that will be really good articles. I got some beautiful polished pebbles from Banda and Nerbudda. (I have not a notion where that is, but everybody here seems to know; I only know my pebbles were ordered eight months ago.) I thought they would have been small trashy things, but some of them are beautiful, like that great stone you had in a brooch, and I am having them set in silver, as a portfolio incrusted and enchased, and all that sort of thing. It will make a shocking item in my month’s expenditure, but then it will be an original device, and when I go home of course everybody will observe: ‘An Indian portfolio, I see, Miss Eden,’ and I shall carelessly answer, ‘Yes, those are the common Bazaar portfolios, but you can have very handsome ones made, if you like to order them, and then, of course, everybody will write out for a common portfolio.


Nothing like a prophecy to ensure its not being fulfilled. Because I said that box would not come till next year, this very morning, after luncheon, a long file of coolies appeared ascending the hill, and the result was twenty-five boxes of sorts—preserves and sweetmeats and sardines and sauces from France, a box of silks and books from ditto. More books from Rodwell, and though last, much the greatest, ‘in our dear love,’ my two boxes of gowns and bonnets.

Thank you again, dearest, for all the trouble you have taken, and very successful trouble it has been.

Tell E., Wright of course thought her tapes, pins, &c., the most valuable part of the cargo, as I was living on a few borrowed pins, large and pointless. I suppose I shall wear the head-dress eventually, and one cap with long streamers looks very tolerably, but there is another with quantities of loose tags, in which I look exactly like Madge Wildfire. It may perhaps be subdued by pins and stitches; but if not, it suits F. remarkably well.


I thought it due to you and to myself to wear something new, so I put on that cap with the long tags for church yesterday morning, and Mrs. R. and Mrs. A. both found their devotions much interrupted thereby. We went to afternoon service at church in the Bazaar, to hear a new clergyman, who has come up for his health, and looks half dead, poor man.

Wednesday, April 17.

We had our first dance last night, and it has been one of the gayest we have had here; only fourteen dancing men, but they never sat down, and they had Quadrilles and English country-dances and waltzing, and altogether they all liked it, and beg to have another as soon as possible.

It is rather touching to see our serious Q. dancing away as if his life depended on it; and A. and C. and all the secretaries danced away too, and they were all amused at a small expense of trouble. Between the band and our dinners they are all becoming acquainted and good friends, which is lucky, for I think half the ailments in India come from the solitary lives people lead.

Friday, April 19.

W. O. arrived yesterday morning; he looks uncommonly well, considering that he has ridden sixty miles since three in the morning, and it is very hot even in the hills. He and Mr. A. have killed thirty-six tigers, the largest number ever killed in this part of the country by two guns, and his expedition seems to have answered very well.

I began Wilberforce’s Life when our new books came, but am disappointed. His journals are too short and terse, like heads of chapters; however, there are some good bits here and there, and I like the man himself very much. ‘The Woman of the World’ is a very amusing novel; evidently Mrs. Gore’s, though she writes so much that I suppose she does not put her name to all her works, but it is impossible to mistake them. ‘The Glanville Family’ we got from Calcutta, as you said so much of it, and we all thought it very amusing; but, in fact, ‘Boz’ is the only real reading in the amusing line—don’t you think so?

Our aides-de-camp gave a small fête champêtre yesterday in a valley called Annandale. The party, consisting of six ladies and six gentlemen, began at ten in the morning, and actually lasted till half-past nine at night. Annandale is a thick grove of fir-trees, which no sun can pierce. They had bows and arrows, a swing, battledore and shuttlecock, and a fiddle—the only fiddle in Simla; and they danced and eat all day, and seemed to have liked it throughout wonderfully. Oh dear! with my worn-out spirits and battered constitution, and the constant lassitude of India, it seems marvellous that any strength could stand that physical trial, but I suppose in our young Bromley ball days we should have thought it great fun. These young people did, at all events. They give another pic-nic next Thursday, and we are getting up some tableaux and charades which are to be acted here; the dining-room to be turned into a theatre. They are a very popular set of young men, and I bless their little hearts for taking so much trouble to carry on amusement; but I think they go at it rather too eagerly, and it will end in disappointment to some of them. The expense of these parties will not be so great to them, for both St. Cloup and Mars came to me yesterday to know what they were to do. ‘Ces messieurs’ had asked for a few ‘petits plats’ and a cook or two; and the man who makes ice had been to Mars for French fruits to make it with.

Wednesday, April 24.

I had a young flying squirrel given me a week ago, its eyes shut, quite a baby; it sucks beautifully, and now its eyes are open. I keep thinking of Lord Howth and his rat. It is very like one, only with beautiful sable fur, and a tail half a yard long, and wings; at present very playful and gentle, but I detect much latent ferocity, that will be brought out by the strong diet of almonds and acorns to which he must come at last.

Saturday, April 27.

We had a large dinner yesterday of the chief actors and actresses, and I had had an immense gilt frame made, and put up in the folding-doors of the drawing-room; and after dinner proposed carelessly that they should just try how tableaux would look, and with our shawls and veils and W.’s armour we got up two of the prettiest little scenes possible; I dare say much better than if they had been got up with more care. Mrs. N., Mrs. C., X., and P. acted two scenes from ‘Old Robin Gray,’ while C. sang the ballad, and then W. and X., with Mrs. R. and Mrs. L., acted two scenes out of ‘Ivanhoe.’

It was a new idea to Indians, and had the greatest success, and the acting a ballad makes a great difference. It used to be dull at Woburn for want of a meaning.

Three of the ladies were really pretty; but the odd thing is, that Mrs. R., the plain one, looked the best of all, and sat like a statue. It was a very pretty sight.

Our gentlemen gave another pic-nic down at the waterfall yesterday, and they say nothing ever was so delightful; and it is to be hoped it was, as it began at seven in the morning and lasted till eleven at night.

Then there has been great interest about our theatricals on Tuesday, but it is a difficult matter to arrange the parts so as to give satisfaction to all the ladies concerned.

Saturday, May 4.

My flying squirrel is becoming familiar, and flies a little; that is, it takes long hops after me wherever I go, and I feel be-ratted. The two little girls I bought are turning out very nice children. Wright and Jones are teaching them to work, and make quite an amusement of them. The dispensary which was built by our Fancy Fair proceeds was opened by Dr. D. this week. G. and I rode to see it yesterday, and it is a nice little place, with a very good room for surgical cases, of which, luckily, there are none at present, but Dr. D. had ten patients this morning; one was a Tartar woman, another a Cashmeree, and some Ladakh people. Such an odd result of drawings and work. One of the native doctors attends there, and has taken such a fancy to it that he has asked leave to remain here when we go down to Calcutta, and he means to give up Government House. God bless you, dearest. I suppose you are going out every evening. I cannot say how I like your London campaign. It is such an amusing story that I want it to begin again.


Simla, May 23, 1839.

A LETTER to you which is to go by the Persian Gulf only departed to-day, and I believe there will be no regular steamer for nearly six weeks. A sad interruption to our little communications. A few days after my letter to you was sealed, G. got the official accounts of the taking of Candahar, or rather how Candahar took Shah Soojah, and would have him for its King. There never was anything so satisfactory. I hope M. and Lord M. will have received and shown you the copies of Sir A. Burnes’s letters; it was such a picturesque description of the business. M. wrote me a very good account of it. He says:—‘Five days ago we poor politicals were assailed from all quarters, from the commander-in-chief to the lowest ensign. They were all exclaiming how we had deceived them; that we had given out that Shah Soojah would be received by the chiefs and people of his country with open arms; that the resources of the country would be laid open to the British army—instead of which, he was opposed by his own countrymen; no chiefs came near him; the army was starving in a land of milk and honey; in fact, we had deceived ourselves, and that Shah Soojah’s cause was impossible. A little patience, and the fallacy of these sentiments would be proved. The sirdars left their late capital with scarcely two hundred followers; their most confidential servants deserted them, for to the last their measures were most oppressive, and they were heartily execrated. Every great chief with numerous followers came out to meet the Shah, and greeted him on his arrival in his own country with every demonstration of joy; the poor crowded about him, making offerings of flowers, and they strewed the road he was to pass over, with roses. Yesterday the King went to visit the city (we are encamped about two miles from it); every person, high and low, seemed to strive how they could most show their devotion to his Majesty, and their delight at the return of a Suddozie to power. The King visited the tomb of his grandfather, Ahmed Shah; and the Prophet’s shirt, which is in keeping of the Mollahs in charge of the tomb, and which was brought out by the sirdars when they were trying to raise a religious war against us, was produced, and the King hugged and kissed it over and over again.

‘The populace are the finest race of Asiatics I have seen; the men tall and muscular, the women particularly fair and pretty, and all well dressed. It seems as if we had dropped into paradise.

‘The country that we have been traversing for two months is the most barren and desolate eye ever rested on; not a tree nor a blade of grass to be seen; we were constantly obliged to make marches of twenty miles to find water; the hills were only huge masses of clay. The contrast now is great; the good things of this life are abundant; luxurious crops, which will be ready for the sickle in three or four weeks; extensive plains of green sward for the cattle; endless gardens and orchards; the rose-trees grow wild, eight or ten feet high; fruits of all kinds; rivulets flow through the valley; the birds are all song birds, and the air rings with their notes; in short, we have reached the oasis at last, and are thoroughly enjoying ourselves.

‘The people are all at their occupations as usual, and seem to have perfect confidence in us. The natives all agree in saying that Dost Mahommed, upon hearing of his brothers having fled, will follow their example, &c. I am very happy in my appointment, and I feel I have a great deal more to say to you, but this must go.’

Poor M.! In to-day’s Calcutta paper there is the death of his pretty little sister, who came out not two years ago; she very nearly died during the first hot season, and now has been carried off by a return of the same fever. Certainly this public news is very satisfactory; the whole thing done without bloodshed; and the effect on the people here is wonderful; the happiness of the wives is very great: they see, with their mind’s eye, their husbands eating apricots and drinking acid sherbet, and they are satisfied. Our ball to-morrow will be very gay, and I have just written to P. to stick up a large ‘Candahar’ opposite the other illuminations.

Saturday, May 25.

The Queen’s ball ‘came off’ yesterday with great success. We had had, the beginning of the week, three days of rain, which frightened us, because it is a rain that nothing can stand. It did us one good deed on Monday—washed away the twenty-four people who were coming to dine with us, which was lucky, as the greater part of the dinner prepared for them was also washed away by the rain breaking the skylight in the dining-room, and plumping down on the table. I went down by myself to Annandale on Thursday evening, to see how things were going on there, and found X., who has been encamped there for three days, walking about very conjugally with Mrs. N, to whom he is engaged. I felt rather de trop as they stepped about with me, showing off the preparations. It was a very pretty-looking fête; we built one temporary sort of room which held fifty people, and the others dined in two large tents on the opposite side of the road, but we were all close together, and drank the Queen’s health at the same moment with much cheering. Between the two tents there was a boarded platform for dancing, roped and arched in with flowers, and then in different parts of the valley, wherever the trees would allow of it, there was ‘Victoria,’ ‘God save the Queen,’ and ‘Candahar’ in immense letters twelve feet high. There was a very old Hindu temple also prettily lit up. Vishnu, or Mahadevi, to whom I believe it really belonged, must have been affronted. The native dealers in sweetmeats came down to sell their goods to the servants and jonpaunees, and C. and X. went round and bought up all their supplies for about twenty rupees for the general good. We dined at six, then had fireworks, and coffee, and then they all danced till twelve. It was the most beautiful evening; such a moon, and the mountains looked so soft and grave, after all the fireworks and glare.

Twenty years ago no European had ever been here, and there we were, with the band playing the ‘Puritani’ and ‘Masaniello,’ and eating salmon from Scotland, and sardines from the Mediterranean, and observing that St. Cloup’s potage à la Julienne was perhaps better than his other soups, and that some of the ladies’ sleeves were too tight according to the overland fashions for March, &c.; and all this in the face of those high hills, some of which have remained untrodden since the creation, and we, 105 Europeans, being surrounded by at least 3,000 mountaineers, who, wrapped up in their hill blankets, looked on at what we call our polite amusements, and bowed to the ground if a European came near them. I sometimes wonder they do not cut all our heads off, and say nothing more about it.

Sunday, May 26.

The aides-de-camp are about as much trouble to me as so many grown-up sons. That sedate Captain P. followed me to my room after breakfast, and thought it right to mention that he had proposed to Miss S. on Thursday, and had been accepted, and that the aunt was agreeable, and that he had written to the stepfather, Colonel ——, for his consent, which he had no reason to doubt, &c., and that he hoped I would not mention it to anybody but Lord A., as they were exceedingly desirous Captain L. E. should not know it, but Mrs. S. wished I should be told. If the kitchen poker or church steeple had gone and proposed, it would not have been more out of character, P. has always seemed so very indifferent and cold to ladies; though ever since we have been here, we have observed how altered he was, and what high spirits he was in; and then I met him the other day carrying a little nosegay to Stirling Castle, which looked suspicious and unnatural. Still the shock was great, and the only thing I could think of at first, was to ask with infinite and mistaken promptitude if she were a nice girl, to which P. naturally answered that of course she was—a very nice girl indeed; and I said I had had no opportunity of speaking to her when she dined here, but that now I should take pains to make her acquaintance. And then we discussed his prospects.

He cannot marry for a year at soonest, even if Colonel —— consents then; but she is only eighteen, and her father will not let the elder one marry till she is twenty. P. is going away next week on an official tour to Cashmere, a sort of scientific survey which G. wants him to make, and he is to be away four months.

That business was settled, and after luncheon L. E. came, very unhappy in his mind—and thought I must have observed it. He had been on the point of proposing to Miss A. S., when he had been intercepted by the astute aunt, who said she could not but observe his attentions, and thought it as well to mention that A. was engaged. He said, so he had heard, but he did not believe it, and thereupon wrote to the aforesaid A., and brought me his letter and her answer, and his letter to the stepfather and the aunt’s letter to him, and he thought that with my knowledge of the world, I could tell him whether it did not appear that she was only sticking to her engagement because she thought it right, &c.

I could not possibly flatter him. She is a pretty-looking girl, who has evidently fretted herself into bad health because Colonel —— would not consent to her marriage with a Mr. ——, she being eighteen, and her lover the same age. As she has never heard from the lover since he joined the army of the Indus, it is very possible he is inconstant, and that is what L. E. goes upon; he does not care how long he waits, &c. (and I think he will have to wait some time), but in the meantime perhaps I would speak to Mrs. S., and above all things Captain P. was not to know. That is always the end of all confidences; and in the meantime, as P. lives in a broad grin, and L. E. in a deep sigh, I should think their secrets will be guessed in a week. Thank goodness, now they are all engaged, except Z., who is not likely to fall in love with anybody but himself.

Wednesday, May 29.

We had a theatrical dinner yesterday, and a rehearsal of our new tableaux, which promise to be very successful. Six from the ‘Corsair,’ and five from ‘Kenilworth.’ We had them at night to try how Gulnare would look with her lamp going to visit Conrade; and I had another grand idea, of a trap-door, down which Amy Robsart is supposed to have fallen, at least four inches, so that she must have had every bone in her body smashed; and Varney with a torch looking into it, and Leicester and Trevilian in despair, made it a most awful business. The rehearsal was rather amusing; all the gentlemen in their common red coats, and a pretty Mrs. V., supposed to be Medora, was sitting with the shovel in her hand, and said in such a quiet way, ‘This is, in fact, a guitar;’ which, as she is dreadfully shy, and not given to speak at all, was one of the best jokes she ever made.


Thursday, May 30, 1839.

OUR steady doctor gave his ball last night. He was asked for one by Mrs. L., and found it an easier way of returning civilities than giving a number of dinners.

Wright and I have been down two or three times to arrange his house, and put up his curtains, and he had enclosed all his verandahs with branches of trees and flowers, so that it really looked very pretty. He is very popular from his extreme good-nature in attending anybody that wants him; he never takes any fee, and he takes a great deal of pains with his patients, and, moreover, he is a really well-informed man, and liked in society. So everybody whom he asked to his ball made a point of going, and they actually danced from eight at night till five in the morning; and they said it was one of the gayest balls ever seen.

Saturday, June 1.

We had our tableaux last night, and they were really beautiful. I am quite sorry they are over. We had each of them three times over, but still it is like looking at a very fine picture for two minutes and then seeing it torn up. Mrs. K. as Queen Elizabeth, dragging in Mrs. N. as Amy Robsart, was one of the best; and Medora lying dead, and the Corsair in his ‘helpless, hopeless brokenness of heart,’ was also beautiful, but in fact they all were so, and G. is walking up and down his room this morning, wishing they would be so good as to do it all over again. The enthusiasm of the audience was unbounded. C. recitatived Lord Byron’s words for the Corsair, but wrote songs for Kenilworth; the last, alluding to Amy’s death, ‘He comes too late,’ was worthy of Mrs. Arkwright. After the tableaux were over, W. O. gave his first entertainment, a small supper, to Mrs. K., Mrs. L., Mrs. V., Mrs. N., and all the aides-de-camp and one or two gentlemen, and, as the ladies would not go unless F. and I were there, we went down to his bungalow at eleven, leaving G. to see our guests out. W.’s supper went off remarkably well, and his house looked very pretty. St. Cloup thought he had better give a look at the supper, and when I told him we were going, he said, ‘Oh! alors il faut que M. le Capitaine fasse un peu de dépense. Je vais pourvoir à tout cela.’ The dresses were magnificent last night, and W. O. looked very well in his corsair’s dress. Mrs. N. is not rich, so I make an excuse of her kindness in acting to send her a green satin pelisse, as Amy’s ‘sea-green mantle,’ and a very handsome lace dress with a satin slip from G.

Monday, June 3.

G. has had letters from the army up to May 7. The Shah seems to be as quietly and comfortably settled as if he had never left his kingdom, and Sir J. Keane writes most cheerfully about the army, makes very light of the loss of cattle, and says the soldiers were never so healthy. There has been on an average one-third fewer in hospital than is usual in cantonments, and very few deaths.

The followers of the sirdars were reduced to one hundred, and the sirdars so unpopular that two of our regiments were gone to fetch them in, almost more as guards than anything else. G. and I have been riding about the last three days with Mr. A., looking at the Dispensary and the Asylum and a Serai, the three charities of Simla. The Dispensary has been built from the proceeds of our fancy fair last year, and opened by Dr. D., who attends there every morning, and it does so much good that I am quite heartened up into trying another fancy fair this year, and am going to send out the circulars this blessed day. It is an odd list of patients at the Dispensary. There is a Thibet Tartar woman with a Chinese face, and a rheumatic daughter, and there are people from Ladakh, and Sikhs and mountaineers, and quantities of little black babies to be vaccinated. I have not an idea what to do for the sale. The trick of the drawings to produce such an immense sum cannot be tried again.

Wednesday, June 5.

This must go, dearest, G. says—where to, I have not an idea, but I know it will never reach you: it is like going to call upon you, when you are out, which under present circumstances would be uncommonly disagreeable. But no steamer can go for two months, so we must hazard something by that stupid, old-fashioned sailing apparatus.

We are all quite well, and the climate quite beautiful—a leetle too hot, but not worse than an English August day. Mr. L. gave another fancy ball last night, and yesterday morning we had a deputation from the Station to ask us for a day on which they are to give us a ball. We named June 18 (Waterloo and all that), and that is to close the season, and then we are to take to the rains for three months.

Saturday, June 8.

Our play last night went off beautifully. I do not know when I have seen better acting, and Mrs. C. really acts as if she had done nothing else all her life. I suppose it is easier in a room with carpets and chairs, and doors and windows, and then she has been brought up in France, and has the quiet self-possession of a French actress, and her arms are always in the right place, and she does not seem to think about acting; then she sings very well and looked very handsome, so that altogether, to Anglo-Indians, who never see female parts acted except by artillerymen or clerks, it was a great pleasure.

We made such pretty scenery, too, with a lattice window, and some steps and a few shrubs and plenty of curtains. After the play they danced five or six quadrilles, had some supper, and went off, all pleased; and they want more of these evenings, but it is thundering and pouring to-day, and it is no use attempting to give parties in the rains. I wish my drawing paper would not begin to spoil already, but it is turning into blotting paper. Luckily I cannot find anything to draw just now. It has occurred to me that when we go home I shall not be able to show you what an Indian woman is like, and to be sure we have seen very few; but some of the Paharee women are very pretty, who go about the hills cutting grass and wood. I met some yesterday and asked them to come and be sketched, and they said they would, but they have never arrived. Some of the nautch-girls in the bazaar are very pretty, and wear beautiful ornaments, but it is not lawful to look at them even for sketching purposes, and indeed, Mr. N., one of the magistrates, has removed them all from the main street, so the bazaar is highly correct, but not half so picturesque as last year. There are very few children ever to be seen in it. Natives who come to open shops, &c., never bring their families, from the impossibility of moving women in a sufficiently private manner, and I very often think that an English village with women and children walking about must be a pretty sight. They do go about, don’t they? I forget. Poor Mrs. ——, who had a shocking confinement in our camp last year, has had a worse now; for thirty-six hours Dr. D; could not leave her for a moment, and for twelve it was not possible to know whether she were alive—no pulse, and quite cold. We had made all arrangements for putting off our party yesterday, but she rallied in the afternoon, and is going on well now. I never saw Dr. D. quite overset before, nor indeed the least perturbed but he fairly burst out crying when he came to my room on his way home, and said he did not think anything could induce him to go through such horrors again; and it was very unlucky that, just as he was so thoroughly worn out, a poor Paharee was brought into the Dispensary almost crushed by a tree falling on him, and Dr. D. had to go and cut off his leg before he went home. I rather wonder how surgeons enough can be found for all the pains and aches of this world.

Wednesday, June 12.

Captain P. goes off early to-morrow on an official tour to Cashmere, and will be away five months. He and Miss S. take it very quietly, but they looked rather unhappy last night.

He had brought me in the morning some Berlin work which the two sisters had done for the fancy fair, and which they had sold to him in advance for a mere trifle, and he wanted to know if it were the right price. I thought it very right in the romantic view of the case, but very wrong as touching the interests of the poor Dispensary. I told Miss A. S. (the sister-in-law as is to be) that I should like to buy some of their work at a dearer rate, and she said there would be plenty, ‘but at present I am working a table-cover for Captain P.’ Then she asked if I wanted any polished pebbles—‘I have a great many, but I have given the best to Captain P.,’ just the sort of way in which people make a fuss with their brothers-in-law at first. It goes off, does it not, Mr. D.?

Saturday, June 15.

We have been a long time without letters, and nobody knows when we shall have any again. There are several stories left hanging on something which ought to have been cleared up a long time ago, and never will be now—poor L. E. L.’s death! We have heard twice from you since the first account, and it never appeared whether Maclean was ‘a brute of a husband,’ or she, poor thing! very easily excited. Then, that Baily, the supposed murderer(?), we never could find the end of that story.

I went out pleasantly yesterday evening, quite a new idea; but as we have so much to do for the little amusements of other people, I thought I might as well for once amuse myself, so I went after dinner to see Mr. and Mrs. C., and I was to lie on the sofa and they were to sing, and so they did, beautifully, all sorts of things; she sings equally well in five languages, French, English, German, Italian, and Hindustani, and Mr. C. sings anything that is played to him without having any music. Altogether it was very pleasant, which was lucky, for I meant to be at home at eleven, a very undue hour for Simla, and a violent thunderstorm came on which seemed to be splitting the hills into small shreds, so I could not get home till one, which Wright thought very shocking. I cannot imagine when we go home how we are to get back to reasonable hours.


Wednesday, June 19, 1839.

I MUST tell you for the children’s sake such a touching trait of my flying squirrel. It is the most coaxing animal I ever saw, and lives in my room without any cage, or chain, and at night I always shut him up in a little bath-room, leaving the sitting-room and the dressing-room between him and me. I was woke two nights ago by this little wretch sitting on my pillow and licking my face. I thought it was a rat at first, and did not like it; indeed I did not like it much better when I found it was the squirrel. I called up Wright, who carried him back to his room, where she found he had broken a pane of glass, got out into the garden, where he had never been before, and come in through the window of my dressing-room. I always have it open, as the nights are very hot, and I try to expect that the air will come into the bedroom, and that the thieves will not come further than the dressing-room. Wright would not believe that he had really been so clever; however, she stopped up the broken pane and shut all the doors, and a quarter of an hour after, I heard another little scratch, and there he was again patting my ear, so then I gave it up, wrapped him in the mosquito net, and let him sleep there the rest of the night. But it must have been pretty to see him hopping through the garden and finding his own way in. We went last night to the ball given to us by the Station: it was not at all a fatiguing evening, and it is the last for some time.

Friday, June 21.

I have been carrying on a suit in Colonel ——’s very unjust court for an unfortunate native tailor, attached to our house, who cannot get a small debt paid that has been due to him for a year; and these horrid magistrates are worse, if you can conceive such a thing, than common English magistrates—worse than that Blackheath man who interfered with William the pedestrian, and whom we burnt in effigy on the lawn at Eden Farm; these men spited this poor tailor, because, finding they would not hear him, he gave a petition to G. Then the magistrates found they must attend to him, so they made him come every day to their court, and at the end of the day said they had not time to summon the debtor, and he must come again. They did this four days running, which is ruin to a native who just lives on his day’s work. So I went to G. again, and he wrote a thundering note to them, and an hour after they sent the man his debt—but they are two extraordinary individuals. Our old khansamah said that the chief native officers of their court had threatened him that, if he would not give them twenty-five rupees apiece, they would summon his wife to appear in court, which is the greatest disgrace can befal a Mussulmaunee, and a complete loss of caste. Nobody would believe the old man’s story at first, but I sent him to Captain B., who heard his story, found he had plenty of witnesses, and took him up to the court. Mr. ——, the second magistrate, wrote word to Captain B. that ‘the case had been fully proved, and your old khansamah comes out with flying colours.’ This sounded very well, as it was always supposed that no servant from the plains could get any justice against —— and ——’s officers, and we were rather proud of it, but I bethought myself yesterday that we had never heard what became of the culprits, so I got G. to write and say that as Mr. —— had been so kind as to offer an English translation of the proceedings, I should be very much obliged to him for it; and there came such a paper—such a bit of real magistracy! ‘The court cannot deny that the case has been fully proved;’ just as if they ought to deny it; but as it was a delicate matter interfering with officers so immediately connected with themselves, they did not know what punishment to inflict, and had taken bail of the principal offender, and there he is acting still as vakeel of the court, and extorting bribes from every wretched native that comes for justice—very few do come here. G. was in such a rage, and wrote a minute on their paper that they will not forget, and is sending the whole thing to the principal court at Delhi. It is horrible to think how this class of Europeans oppresses the natives; the great object of the Government being to teach them reliance on English justice, and the poor natives cannot readily understand that they are no longer under their own despotic chiefs. They will be a long time understanding it here.

Sunday, June 23.

I went before breakfast yesterday with Captain L. E. and Captain Z. down to Annandale, where he had sent tents the day before. F. came in the middle of the day, and we stayed till the cool of the evening. I wanted to sketch the children sleeping under the little cascades of water which fall upon their heads. All the babies of the valley are brought up in that fashion, and some of them have great hollows at the top of their heads. It was very hot in the valley, but it was rather a nice way of passing the day, and we got home just as a great storm began.

Thursday, June 27.

I did not think of sending this for ages, but the Calcutta authorities have fitted out a Chinese clipper to go to the Persian Gulf, and seem to think the letters may be in England in three months. My Journal may be a help to them; for if you observe, our mutual Journals go safely, so I let them have it from pure kindness. It is the only letter I send, and nobody seems to guess when we can write again, not for two months certainly, so do not fidget about us. We are all well and prosperous.

Simla, Monday, July 1.

I sent off a short Journal to you on Saturday, which you will probably never hear of, as in the dearth of Bombay steamers, the Government has been trying a new experiment of taking up a Chinese clipper which will probably be of little use, and they have sent her to Aden with our letters, and have puffed their experiment so successfully that they have actually entrapped me out of a large slice of Journal, so that portion of my life will never be heard of again—‘a blank, my lord.’

I should not care what becomes of the letters I write, if I could get any to read. This is such a tiresome time of year for that, and I get such yearnings for letters, and such fancies come over me. It seems an odd thing to say to you, but I dare say you have the same thoughts with regard to me, but I sometimes think if anything should have happened to you, what would become of me? and then the thought gets fairly into my head, and runs into all sorts of details, till I cannot get to sleep, and know it is very wrong, and then I ask Dr. D. for a little medicine and I get better, but in the meanwhile it is horrid to be so far off. However, of course you are very well, and so am I; only mind we keep so, because we really must meet again, we shall have so much to say. We heard of dear old Runjeet’s death on Saturday. It took place on the 27th. It is rather fine, because so unusual in the East, that even to the last moment, his slightest signs, for he had long lost his speech, were obeyed. It is almost a pity they were, only that one is glad such a master mind should have its dues to the last; but the despatch says, that on the last day the Maharajah sent for all his famous jewels, his horses with their splendid trappings, the surpêche and pearls given him by G., and ordered them to be sent to different shrines with directions that the Brahmins should pray for him; that Kurruck Singh (the heir) and the sirdars who were sitting round his bed burst into loud lamentations and said, ‘What will become of us if you give everything away?’ and the Maharajah wept, but said it must be so. Then he ordered the Koh-i-noor (the famous diamond) to be sent down to the temple of Juggernaut, but his sirdars again represented that there was not such another diamond in the world, and that the whole wealth of India could not repurchase it, and he consented to let that remain. But the distribution of jewels went on till the evening, and he is supposed, his newswriters say, to have given away the value of two crores of rupees. It is a great pity such a collection of precious stones, quite unequalled, should be dispersed to these shrines, where they will never be seen again. The Rajah Dhian Singh, the prime minister, seems at present to manage everything, and to be in as great favour with Kurruck Singh as he was with the father; and as he is a very superior man, with dominions of his own almost equal to the Punjâb, things may go on quietly if he remains in favour; but young Noor Mahal Singh, Kurruck’s son, is coming back from Peshawur, determined to make himself prime minister to his father, so there may be a danger of a fight. G. declares that no degree of confusion (and I am willing to make as much as possible, if it would be of any use) will keep us here another year, so it is no use blowing up the coals amongst the kings. Our poor fat friend Shere Singh has sent his chief adviser here, to ask protection and advice, and he brought me a very pretty letter from little Pertâb, and I have just been signing a Persian answer to it, and equally pretty, I am confident. I just ran my eye over it to be sure that Mr. C. had expressed my real sentiments, and I think it looked very like them. Shere Singh is in a terrible fright.

Tuesday, July 2.

The accounts from Lahore describe great dismay and real grief amongst Runjeet’s subjects. Two of his ranees have declared their determination to burn themselves with him; but as their stepson Kurruck has implored them not to do so, it is to be hoped they will give it up, if they are sure of kind treatment. I begin to think that the ‘hundred wife system’ is better than the mere one wife rule; they are more attached and faithful.

Wednesday, July 3.

There have been two dry days without fog or rain, so we took advantage of them to be ‘at home’ last night, and the people all came and danced very merrily for two hours, and in the middle of the party, the express with the overland mail arrived—rather a disappointment, as it only comes down to April 15th. I presume your letter is coming, and in the meanwhile you were well to the 15th; but I want your view of things, instead of having to pick them out of “Galignani". Those poor dear ranees whom we visited and thought so beautiful and so merry, have actually burnt themselves; but I am not going to tell you any more about Lahore for the present, as G. gets every day from his native newswriter such quaint and interesting accounts of all the intrigues, and events, and lamentations there, that I will send you the papers—I am sure they will interest you. The death of those poor women is so melancholy, they were such gay young creatures, and they died with the most obstinate courage.


August 1, 1839.

THIS will be more a letter than a Journal, as I have skipped more than a fortnight, partly because I have been obliged to give all my little leisure to drawing for the fancy fair, and then, that I have had ten days of the same ague I had in the plains, from the same reason—constant rain and fog. It is a tiresome complaint while it lasts, from the violence of the headache and pains in the bones, but I do not think it does one much real harm, at least not up here. It stopped only four days ago, and I feel quite well again. We are very quiet just now. Rains and fogs the whole day, till towards five o’clock, when it kindly holds up to allow us to go out for an hour and a half, and then it kindly rains again so as to prevent anybody coming to dinner. G. and I went yesterday to show F. a beautiful new walk we had discovered; that is, we call it a walk, though there is nothing to walk upon but a goat-path, but it leads to a beautiful hill which stands bolt upright by itself, looking down on various little villages in the valleys. The first time we went, the jonpaunees contrived to carry me most part of the way, but this time what little path there had been was washed away, and we had to walk with sticks in one hand and to cling to the rocks with the other, and the jonpaunees crept along just under the path to catch us if we slipped. I never saw anything so beautiful as it was, the ground so green with all sorts of ferns, and covered with iris and mountain geraniums, and such an amphitheatre of mountains all round, with great white clouds in the valleys, just as if the mountains had let their gowns slip off their shoulders. Our Bengalee servants, who turn out in great numbers when we walk, evidently thought it a service of great danger, particularly when one of my boys slipped down a little waterfall, and looked, as G. said, in his red and gold, like a large goldfish floundering about in the pool below. My old jemadar came and gave me a regular scolding this morning, which he had evidently got up with great care in his choicest English. ‘Soobratta tell me, my lord and my two ladies take very dangerous walk, so I just ask of ladyship’s favour to ask my lord not to order any more such walk. Ladyship not strong constitution’ (that is a long word they have picked up from the native doctor, who always tells me so), ‘and what for she walk when she can be carried, and why go on bad road? I see our bheestie’s (water-carrier) cow last week tumble down hill, and she roll over and over till she come kill at the bottom, and if ladyship see that, she never go dangerous walk again.’ He walked off quite satisfied with himself and his oratory, and I own, I think the roll and ‘come kill’ of the bheestie’s cow is pathetic and conclusive.

Tuesday, August 6.

I have had such a piece of shawl luck; everybody’s mind gets a shawl twist in India, you must understand; and moreover we are all making up our packets for England now.

This place is full of Cashmerees, and they never come further south than Delhi, so this is our last shawl opportunity. Q. came into my room with a magnificent black one, a regular fifty-guinea shawl, and said the owner had told him to show it to me. I said it was very beautiful, but I could not afford any more expensive shawls, and he said if I really fancied it, he would try and beat the price down. I said no, but at the same time asked, in a fatal fit of curiosity, what the price was, and he said, ‘Perhaps I can get it cheaper, but the man says you may have it for 240 rupees.’ (24l.) Upon which I said with infinite promptitude—‘Oh, then, run for your life and pay him directly, before anybody else sees him!’ and Q. thought it advisable himself, for he said some of the other Cashmerees were offering him more for it. The shawl has been compared with three bought by Mrs. R. and Mrs. A. for fifty guineas, and there is not a shade of difference; in fact, it is a perfect beauty, quite a catch.

August 18.

I am uncommonly unhappy in my mind. My dear little flying squirrel, that I had brought up to “man’s estate” from three days old, died yesterday of cholera. I never mean to witness the death of a pet again. To be sure, Chance has lasted so many years that I have not had much practice, but I am quite wretched about this poor little animal. He was so coaxing, and though my doors and windows are never shut, and he had no cage, he never thought of stirring out of my rooms. When I came home, he used to stick his little head out from under the pillow and hold out his paw for my hand and bite it all over; and when I was dressing, he always sat on the glass, or on Wright’s shoulder, with great black eyes like Pamela’s fixed on my hair, which he helped to arrange occasionally. When G. came in the evening, he climbed up the arm-chair and sat on his shoulder, apparently whispering to him; and though G. said the squirrel was only pulling his ear, I am convinced he had more to do with public affairs than people generally supposed. I never saw such a good little thing or such a clean pet. He never ate anything but two or three spoonfuls of tea, but yesterday he got hold of a pear the servants were taking away from luncheon, and it killed him in a very few hours. My own belief is that as people in India are uncommonly dull, the surplus share of sense is “served out” to the beasts, who are therefore uncommonly clever, and their talents are developed by their owners leading such solitary lives that they are able to devote more time to the education of their animals.


Simla, Sunday, Sept 1, 1839.

I THINK I will begin again soon this time—first, because to-morrow is your birthday, so, as there is a difference of half the world in our reckoning, I begin keeping it in time for fear of accidents. Then I am moved to write, because I was looking over, for the 180th time, Swift’s Journal, and he says, in September 1710, just 129 years ago, ‘Have I not brought myself into a fine premunire to begin writing letters on whole sheets? I cannot tell whether you like these Journal-letters. I believe they would be dull to me to read them over; but perhaps little M. D. is pleased to know how Presto passes his time.’ Now, you are clearly M. D., so I look upon that as a prophecy, and think that I am fulfilling it. Then I have an extra hour to-day. It began to pour just after we went out riding, and we all had to rush home and got wet through.

W. O. writes from Loodheeana that the thermometer is 104°, and only two degrees lower at night.

Friday, Sept 6.

I had some tents sent down to the waterfall yesterday, and Mrs. A. and G. and I went down there to breakfast. The valleys are rather hot, but we found a shady place near the great waterfall, where it was much cooler than in the tents, and she and I talked there very comfortably, while G. went out ‘exploring,’ and Chance had a vague idea that by running up and down the bank he might succeed in stopping the waterfall, but though he tried for four hours the experiment was a decided failure. Those immense purple and green butterflies called ‘Purple Emperors’ were flying about in quantities—such beautiful creatures! Mrs. A. would not bring her children, and was delighted with the noise of the waterfall, because otherwise she would have missed the noise of the children so much more.

Mrs. N. and X. came down to luncheon, and then we all went to a second waterfall, which is slightly inaccessible, but by dint of ladders and chairs and being carried by jonpaunees here and there, we arrived at it, and a very pretty sight it was—the cave so dark and the water so bright. It looked so nice that we settled to pursue the bed of the river in search of a third waterfall, which everybody talks of and nobody has seen, so we were carried and the gentlemen splashed along through the water, and Chance slipped into a deep place and was carried down and nearly drowned; but Jimmund jumped in and ‘plucked up his drowned honour by the locks,’ and after a little rubbing he soon came to. We found the third fall, but could only see it from the top, as there was, no path down the sides, and then we went back to Mrs. A. at the second fall. F. came late, and was persuaded to scramble down to the second fall, and then we all came home to dinner. That sort of day in the open air and the shade is very pleasant, and though it seems like a long excursion from the steepness of the roads, it is only three miles.

W. O. writes word that their camp has been attacked by regular thieves and twenty camels carried off, and the sentries had killed two of the thieves.

A box of books arrived yesterday, rather the worse for having travelled through the rains, and unluckily the Annuals are those that have suffered the most.

Sunday, Sept. 8.

Simla is much moved just now by the arrival of a Mrs. J.,[D] who has been talked of as a great beauty all the year, and that drives every other woman, with any pretensions in that line, quite distracted, with the exception of Mrs. N., who, I must say, makes no fuss about her own beauty, nor objects to it in other people. Mrs. J. is the daughter of a Mrs. C., who is still very handsome herself, and whose husband is deputy-adjutant-general, or some military authority of that kind. She sent this only child to be educated at home, and went home herself two years ago to see her. In the same ship was Mr. J., a poor ensign, going home on sick leave. Mrs. C. nursed him and took care of him, and took him to see her daughter, who was a girl of fifteen at school. He told her he was engaged to be married, consulted her about his prospects, and in the meantime privately married this child at school. It was enough to provoke any mother, but as it now cannot be helped, we have all been trying to persuade her for the last year to make it up, as she frets dreadfully about her only child. She has withstood it till now, but at last consented to ask them for a month, and they arrived three days ago. The rush on the road was remarkable, and one or two of the ladies were looking absolutely nervous. But nothing could be more unsatisfactory than the result, for Mrs. J. looked lovely, and Mrs. C. had set up for her a very grand jonpaun, with bearers in fine orange and brown liveries, and the same for herself; and J. is a sort of smart-looking man, with bright waistcoats and bright teeth, with a showy horse, and he rode along in an attitude of respectful attention to ‘ma belle mère.’ Altogether it was an imposing sight, and I cannot see any way out of it but magnanimous admiration. They all called yesterday when I was at the waterfalls, and F. thought her very pretty.

[D] Afterwards the celebrated Lola Montez.

Tuesday, Sept. 10.

We had a dinner yesterday. Mrs. J. is undoubtedly very pretty, and such a merry unaffected girl. She is only seventeen now, and does not look so old, and when one thinks that she is married to a junior lieutenant in the Indian army, fifteen years older than herself, and that they have 160 rupees a month, and are to pass their whole lives in India, I do not wonder at Mrs. C.’s resentment at her having run away from school.

There are seventeen more officers come up to Simla on leave for a month, partly in the hope of a little gaiety at the end of the rains; and then the fancy fair has had a great reputation since last year, and as they will all spend money, they are particularly welcome; but we had got through all our formal dinners, and now we must begin again.

Wednesday, Sept. 11.

W. says the heat is terrific at Lahore, 104° at night and 109° in the day; and Captain M. says none of them have closed their eyes for three nights. We had a large party last night, the largest I have seen in Simla, and it would have been a pretty ball anywhere, there were so many pretty people. The retired wives, now that their husbands are on the march back from Cabul, ventured out and got through one evening without any prejudice to their characters.

Thursday, Sept. 12.

W. is very much bored at Lahore, and Mr. C. has given him leave to come back, and he will be here in two or three days. Little Pertâb is as nice a child as ever, W. says, and remembers all the English words we taught him. They all cried and salaamed to the picture of Runjeet Singh, which W. had copied from my sketch, and he was obliged to give it to the old fakeer.

Monday, Sept. 16.

W. O. got home this morning, having ridden from Lahore in three days; about sixty miles a day, and the thermometer at 110°—enough to kill him, but he does not seem the worse for it, though he looks very thin. He says he missed one of his relays of horses and lay down under a tree to sleep while the guide rode on for a conveyance, and when he awoke, he found one of the Akalees (those wild bigots of whom even Runjeet was afraid) sitting by him and fanning him with a large fan. Touching!

We are going to a ball to-night, which the married gentlemen give us; and instead of being at the only public room, which is a broken, tumble-down place, it is to be at the C.s, who very good-naturedly give up their house for it.

Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The ball went off with the greatest success; transparencies of the taking of Ghuznee, ‘Auckland’ in all directions, arches and verandahs made up of flowers; a whist table for his lordship, which is always a great relief at these balls; and every individual at Simla was there. There was a supper-room for us, made up of velvet and gold hangings belonging to the durbar, and a standing supper all night for the company in general, at which one very fat lady was detected in eating five suppers. We came away at one, but it was kept up till five, and altogether succeeded. W., after all that journey, sat up till five.

Thursday, Sept. 19.

The July overland came in yesterday, and I have got your nice fat letter from Newsalls, and the Journal of your last month in London. I remember the pain of leaving London at the end of the second season. It was ‘such dreadful hagony,’ as the boy says, in ‘Oliver Twist,’ that I quite enter into T.’s feelings. E. is pretty well for the first year, and I expect will show stronger symptoms of the disease next year. The third year I shall be at home, to hear all about it, which will be amazingly good fun; and in the meantime you cannot imagine the treasures these Journals are. Only think how pleasant! An old Colonel Skinner, a native as black as this ink, whose life you can see in Miss Roberts’ book, writes to W. that ‘If the Miss Edens do not wish to mortify an old soldier, and bring down his grey hairs with sorrow to the grave, they will accept a pair of shawls he has ordered for them in Cashmere, and which have just arrived. If they return them, he shall imagine they look upon him as a native, and not as an old British soldier.’ Nothing evidently could be more palpably indelicate than to refuse them. I am the last woman in the world to hurt anybody’s feelings by returning any shawl, to say nothing of a white one, made on purpose in Cashmere; and if he had thrown in a scarf, I should have thought his appearance and complexion only too fair for a British soldier. Do you think they will be long shawls, or square?


Simla, Friday, Sept. 27, 1839.

IT appears that our last letters will again be too late for the steamer. G. always keeps the express till it is a day too late for the steamer. In fact, if he has a fault (I don’t think he has, but if he has), it is a slight disposition to trifle with the English letters, just on the same principle as he always used to arrive half an hour too late for dinner at Longleat and Bowood. He never will allow for the chance of being too late, and now, for two months running, his despatches have been left at Bombay.

We had our fancy fair on Wednesday, which went off with great éclat, and was really a very amusing day, and moreover produced 6,500 rupees, which, for a very small society, is an immense sum. When we arrived at the ‘Auckland Gate,’ which was the same as last year, we were stopped by a gang of gipseys, who had their little tent and their donkey, and the pot boiling on three sticks, and a boy plucking a fowl and another with a hare, &c. X. and L. and a Captain C. were disguised as gipseys, and the most villanous-looking set possible; and they told our fortunes, and then came on to the fair and sang an excellent song about our poor old Colonel —— and a little hill fort that he has been taking; but after the siege was over, he found no enemy in it, otherwise it was a gallant action. X. showed me the song some days ago, and I thought it might affront the old man if it came upon him unawares, so they showed it to him first, and he adopted it as his own joke.

Then the selling at the stalls began, and everything was bought up very quickly; then there was a raffle for my two pictures, and we reduced the tickets to 3 rupees each, and would not let anybody take more than three, and yet, with that they produced 75l. Rather a shame! but I could not help it—a little single figure, which I had done in two mornings, and promised to W. O., was put up to auction when he was away, and fetched 15l., so I must do another for him. F. sent a great collection of toys she had made in the bazaar, which produced 20l. Mr. C. was an excellent auctioneer for the four things that were to be sold by auction—that small drawing of mine and three beautiful little oil paintings, sent to me for the fair by a regular artist, a Mr. Gwatkin, whose Christian names are Joshua Reynolds (he is a great-nephew of Sir Joshua), so Mr. C. began with the picture of an old, bald man:—‘Will anybody allow me to say 100 rupees for this splendid composition of the famous Sir Joshua Reynolds?—an absolute gem, a real Joshua Reynolds. I beg your pardon; I have just distinguished the surname of Gwatkin, but I was misled by the similarity of style. The original Sir Joshua would not, however, have been affronted; those flesh tints on the bald head are magnificent! Eighty rupees I think you said. But you have not noticed the mountain in the background—an exact representation of any one of the Alps, I may say of all the Alps, and valuable to any of us who are not likely to see the Alps in a hurry. Mr. ——, allow me to say 100 rupees for this beautiful delineation of a calm old age, unconscious of decay; it is worth your notice.’ Mr. —— looks about sixty, and still tries (without the least success) to be a young man. G. bought the picture for me. I went as far as eight guineas for the second myself, but was outbid by Mr. A.; and the third, which was a very inferior article, of a nun, hung on hand, so at last C. turned to the Baboo belonging to his office, who was grinning at his master’s jokes, and said, ‘I see, Baboo, you are determined to outbid everybody for this valuable specimen of English art—Seetannauth Baboo has bid thirty-five rupees for this remarkable portrait of a nun “in maiden meditation, fancy free,” and I have great pleasure in knock-it down to him. Seetannauth Baboo, you are most fortunate.’ The Baboo clearly did not know why, but he is very rich, and the Hindus have a great idea of the saving merits of charity; so he paid his money, and I saw him all the rest of the day walking about, with his servant carrying his little nun’s picture after him.

We had provided luncheon at a large booth with the sign of the ‘Marquess of Granby.’ L. E. was Old Weller, and so disguised I could not guess him. X. was Sam Weller; R., Jingle; and Captain C., Mrs. Weller; Captain Z. merely a waiter, with one or two other gentlemen; but they all acted very well up to their characters, and the luncheon was very good fun, and was kept up through three relays of company, fifty at a time; and as we found all the food, the proceeds for the charity were very good. Then G. gave some prizes for the Ghoorkas to shoot for, and the afternoon ended with races; a regular racing stand, and a very tolerable course for the hills, all the gentlemen in satin jackets and jockey caps, and a weighing stand—in short, everything got up regularly. I never can care about races, but this was a popular bit of the day with most of the people, who had vague recollections of Epsom in their young days. Half the stakes went to the charity. Altogether there is money enough to keep up the hospital for four years, by which time another Governor-General will be here; but I’m afraid when Dr. D. goes, it will not be the useful establishment it has been. Everybody likes these out-of-door amusements at this time of year, and it is a marvel to me how well X. and R. and L. E. contrive to make all their plots and disguises go on. I suppose in a very small society it is easier than it would be in England, and they have all the assistance of servants to any amount, who do all they are told, and merely think the ‘Sahib Logue’ are mad.

Friday, Oct. 4.

This has had a week’s interruption, for I was taken on Saturday with spasms, and then fever, and so on; and have been quite laid up.

The August overland arrived yesterday. Letters of August 12th here on October 3rd. Quicker than ever! By-the-bye, I beg to remind you that we left Portsmouth this day four years. There is something in that; I do not exactly know what, but something—the waste of four good years, if nothing else. Your letters from Newsalls, and all the letters, had a quiet, pleasant family way with them, but very few events. It is rather shocking to see you regretting your London season so much. I am afraid, my dear M., that after ‘a youth of folly’ you will be reduced to solace yourself with ‘an old age of cards.’

With the Bombay dâk came that shawl of Colonel Skinner’s I told you we were expecting, but we were so occupied with the letters, we could not at first attend to the shawl; but now, upon investigation, we are all of opinion there never was so handsome an article seen. The dâk was, I suppose, overloaded, so that only one shawl is come. F. and I are in such a horrid fright, lest the other should be lost. We have not the nerve to draw lots for this one; it would be almost less unpleasant to cut it in two.

One of our servants dropped down dead in the verandah three days ago. He was talking and laughing with some of the others, squatting on the ground in their usual fashion, and he just laid his head back and died. He was a young man—one we always called Shylock, from his sharp, Jewish look. There are several of his relations in the establishment, and their screams were horrible: but twelve hours after they buried him. Yesterday they gave a great feast to all the Mussulmauns, and when that is over, they always seem very comfortable again.

Think of T. putting in a letter to F. yesterday, ‘This happy result of the war will of course ensure Lord A.’s elevation to the peerage; there cannot be two opinions about that.’

Curious ignorance, combined with considerable vulgarity! ‘Yet Nature might have made us such as these,’ as Autolycus says; though really I do not see how she could, with any conscience, or without a great deal of trouble. T. is anxious we should stop a few days at —— on our way down, that we may make acquaintance with ‘my dear wife and daughter,’ as he fears it will not suit his finances to go to Calcutta at present. I think I see the whole camp of 12,000 precious souls stopping a few days at a station where there are three Europeans, just to make acquaintance with Mrs. and Miss T.! But all J.’s letters are ‘du Collins tout pur.’

Tuesday, Oct. 8.

The second shawl is come to hand safe. Capt. P. writes from Cashmere that he has seen those that are in the loom there for us, and that they will not be finished for some months, but he says he never saw anything the least like them. He gives such a horrid account of the tyranny of the Sikhs over the Cashmerees, and in their own jaghires, through which he has been passing; their cruelty is dreadful. He has been through the territories belonging to the Jumnoo family, to which Dhian Singh, the prime minister, our friend Heera Singh, and an uncle of his, Gholâb Singh, belong.

The number of persons without noses, or ears, are incredible, and Gholâb Singh, who is the worst of all, actually flayed alive the other day 300 men who had offended him.

It is the practice of that family never to allow a female infant of their race to live; they marry wives from other very high Rajpoot families, but they will not give their daughters to inferior princes nor let them live unmarried, so they are all put away as soon as they are born. I wonder the wives do not get up a little rebellion of their own.

Wednesday, October 9.

Sir E. Ryan, the chief justice, has come up from Calcutta on a hurried tour to see India, and has seen more in five weeks than we have by lumbering about in a camp for two years; and, moreover, we are all aghast and rather affronted at his looks. We meant him to come up with a parboiled Calcutta appearance, instead of which he looks younger and better than when we first saw him; he has a very good colour, and walks everybody to death. He came straight here after his journey up the hills, and met G. and me on the road, took one of our longest walks with us, and never would listen to our offer of the assistance of a pony. He is a pleasant man, a good Whig, and keeps up his English politics, and English books, and English laugh, and enjoys seeing everything, and wants a little cricket in the afternoon. He is staying with Mr. ——, but as the visit is by way of being to us, they dine here most days.

Sunday, Oct. 13.

We have the deputation from Kurruck Singh up here now, and had a very pretty durbar yesterday, to which they brought their presents. We asked a few ladies who had never seen a durbar, to come, and put them behind the crowd, and they thought it a beautiful sight. While the durbar was going on, there came an express to Mr. A., saying that Noor Mahal Singh, the heir-apparent, and Dhian Singh had gone into Kurruck’s durbar and shot at a favourite of his, Cheyt Singh, who was sitting so close to his master that some of the shot went into Kurruck’s foot; he begged them to kill him and spare his favourite, but they finished Cheyt with their sabres. We give the soldiers a ball to-morrow, and on Tuesday begin to pack up. I keep thinking it is the first step towards going home to you, dear M., but I wish you lived more handy like.

My journey will be shorter than the others’. I leave the camp at Agra; as G. and the rest of the party leave the camp at Gwalior, and will not be at Calcutta till the beginning of April. I shall be housed at the end of February.


Simla, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 1839.

IT is rather soon to begin again, but habit is everything, and there is a little more to say while the Sikhs are here. Our ball for them last night went off very well. I had the verandahs all closed in with branches of trees, and carpets put down and lamps put up, and the house looked a great deal larger. The chiefs were in splendid gold dresses, and certainly very gentleman-like men. They sat bolt upright on their chairs with their feet dangling, and I dare say suffered agonies from cramp. C. said we saw them amazingly divided between the necessity of listening to G. and their native feelings of not seeming surprised, and their curiosity at men and women dancing together. I think that they learned at least two figures of the quadrilles by heart, for I saw Gholâb Singh, the commander of the Goorcherras, who has been with Europeans before, expounding the dancing to the others.

The two chief sirdars were not even at Lahore when we were there. I thought they might eventually be taught to flirt, and wanted Mr. A. to try and make up a match between the old fakeer and old Miss J., who is between sixty and seventy, and something like the fakeer. Mr. A. was quite willing, but unluckily Miss J. did not come.

Thursday, Oct. 17.

The gentlemen got up some racing yesterday, to which the Sikhs came, and we all went. Racing is one of the few amusements they can enter into, and they were very much amused. G. gave a silver hookah to be run for, and the aides-de-camp a silver cheroot box, &c. The Sikhs saw us drawing a lottery for the races and enquired what it meant, and in their quick way set one up. Lehna Singh sent word to twelve of his guards to start; wrote all their names in Persian on bits of paper, and said with a complacent smile, ‘Lotteree.’

Their races were very funny. They started as fast as the horse could go—no Sikh horse can gallop 100 yards—and then they trotted on, or walked, or stopped; but towards the winning-post the first man always came in waving his whip over his head, looking in a prodigious hurry, with the others at least a quarter of a mile behind. They rode with their heavy shields and helmets on, and one man in chain-armour, which helped to break his horse’s leg. However, G. gave him a new horse, and gave the four winners a pair of shawls each, so they thought English racing quite delightful.

Friday, Oct. 18.

The Sikhs had their farewell durbar to-day. They are in such a fright, poor people! at going back to their disturbed country, that they begged for even one of the Government House hirkarus as a protection. They say they were sent by Kurruck Singh, whose power has now passed into the hands of his son and his minister, and they don’t know what may be done to them when they go back.

Noor Mahal and Dhian Singh called before them the uncle of Cheyt Singh, whose murder I mentioned to you in my last Journal, and after trying to make him confess where some pearls and jewels were hidden, killed him with their own hands, and threw his body out before the palace gate. Another chief, they say, killed himself in prison, but others say they poisoned him. The Punjâb is fast returning to the barbarous state from which Runjeet redeemed it.

The native writer describes it all so like some of the old Jewish troubles. He says: ‘The Maharajah refused comfort, and asked if he were really king, or if the power had left him; and the Koonwur (Noor Mahal) and the Rajah answered, that he was the Lord of the World, and that they were his slaves. The Maharajah went out to take the air on his elephant, and the Koonwur sat behind him and drove the flies from him with a chowry, and the Rajah carried a chattah (an umbrella) over his head’—and then they came back and imprisoned and beat more of his servants.

We had some more ladies to see the durbar, and the secretaries have become resigned to that innovation, and think it rather improves the appearance of things.

Wednesday, Oct. 23.

P. returned from Cashmere to-day, much sooner than we expected him. He walked into my room just as I was going to dress, and I should not have known him the least if I had met him out of doors. He said he had spoken to several people, who had not made him out at all. His hair is quite long, hanging about his shoulders, and his beard half-way down to his waist. It is a mark of respectability in the countries he has travelled through, but it looks ruffianish here: however, it was rather becoming. P. gives such an account of the shawls that are making for us in Cashmere, and he has brought drawings of them that make one’s shawl-mouth water.

Hurripore, Wednesday, Oct. 30.

There! I have seen the last of poor, dear Simla, except a distant glimpse from the Fir Tree Bungalow, where I shall sleep to-morrow.

This place is so very low, and hot accordingly. I had always settled to make my journey to Barr last four days. More than three hours of a jonpaun knocks me up, and the last three days I have unluckily been ailing. I should not have set off yesterday afternoon, only that my bed and sofa and every atom of clothes had gone on in the morning, and three hours of any pain can be borne. So in spite of a desperate headache, I started for Syree, with Dr. D., Giles, and Wright, meaning to get into bed the moment I arrived. But I had the sad spectacle of my bed set down about half-way, and the coolies smoking and cooking their dinner round it. However, Rosina had made me up a bed on a native charpoy that did to lie and excruciate my head upon, till the bed came up, and the doctor made me up a composing draught; but such a night as I had! I had not tasted anything for thirty-six hours, and about ten an insane desire for a sandwich seized me; so, though I had heard the cooks with all their chattels set off for this place two hours before, I called to the hirkaru who was sleeping at the door, and told him to tell Giles I wanted a sandwich. Hirkarus are good for carrying a note, or a parcel, but are never trusted with a message. After making me repeat sandwich six times, and evidently thinking it meant a friend from England, or some new medicine, I heard him repeating as he walked off round the bungalow, ‘Lady Sahib sant vich muncta’ (muncta meaning ‘wants,’ and the only word that we have all learnt, showing what wanting creatures we are). Giles made up a mixture of leg of chicken and dust, which was satisfying under the circumstances, but still my head raved; and having heard the jackals (which do not exist at Simla) tearing up a dog, I had a vague idea that the sandwich was made of the remains of Chance, which gave it an unpleasant flavour.

Then the Pariah dogs fought, and the A.s’ coolies arrived with all their things and insisted on bringing them into the bungalow.

Then the Paharrees, at least 500 of them, who were resting on the hill, began calling to their friends, 500 more, who were cooking in the valley. One man was calling for his friend Buddooah. ‘Oh! Buddooah! Buddoo!’ to which somebody responded, ‘Oh! Almooah!’ and it was not Almooah who had called; so then the caller began again at the top of his voice: ‘Oh! Buddooah!’ and the answer was, ‘Oh! Culloo!’ but it was not Culloo, by any manner of means; so then he called again, till he had woke every Buddooah in camp, and I don’t believe he ever found the right one at last.

However, I arrived at the conclusion that Buddooah must be Hindustani for ‘Jack,’ it seemed such a common name, and that is a great discovery; and I also settled that, if I had had a stick and no headache, I would have gone and taught that man to carry his own messages, and not stand there screaming all night.

The conclusion of the night was, that a rat ran over my bed and across my throat, and did not the least care for my trying to catch him. We came on early this morning, and my head is beginning to improve.

Fir Tree Bungalow, Friday, Nov. 1.

F. and G. and P. arrived to breakfast to-day, and this afternoon we all go down to our deplorable tents. There is a distant view of Simla from this place, and very pretty it looks. Giles is taking a sentimental farewell of it through a telescope, and lamenting over his lost garden: ‘But one comfort, ma’am, is that I have brought away my favourite gardener to look after your pheasants.’ I am trying to carry down to Calcutta some of the Himalayan pheasants, to be shipped off to your Charlie the moment we arrive.

They are such beautiful creatures, the whole bird of bronzed blue, like the breast of a peacock, except the tail and wings, which are of a reddish brown, and they have a bright green tuft on their heads. I have had some of them two months, and they have grown tame, but at first they are very apt to die of fright. Yesterday, when I took up the last new one to feed it, it fainted away and died soon after. However, I still have five, and they have a snug little house, carried by two men, and a little tent of netting, which is pitched in front of it when we halt, so that they may run in and out without being touched. Every precaution is taken, but still there will be many a slip between this pheasant cup and Charlie’s lip, I am afraid.


Pinjore, Sunday, Nov. 3, 1839.

YES! we are in for it now. All the old discomfort, and worse; for we left the nice autumnal air blowing at the Fir Tree, with the fern waving and the trees looking red, and brown, and green, and beautiful—and now we are in all our old camel-dust and noise, the thermometer at 90° in the tents, and the punkah going. We received the officers of the escort and their wives, after church, which was hot work, but I am rather glad we have so many ladies in camp: it makes it pleasanter for the gentlemen, and at the different stations it is very popular. Last year there were only F. and me. In ten days, when we shall have a fresh cavalry regiment, there will be at least twenty, and about twelve of them dancers, which is lucky, for we hear of an awful number of balls in prospect.

They were a ladylike set that we saw to-day; one of them a striking likeness of you—a thing that I deny to everybody else, but still I do see it; and perhaps it is better than nothing.

Munny Majra, Monday, Nov. 4.

We began riding part of the march to-day, and the horses go very well, considering they have had a rest for seven months. My horse is such an angel! I really like him with a sort of minor Chance sentiment.

Umballa, Thursday, Nov. 7.

E. N. and Mr. G. met us this morning, and rode in with us, and in the afternoon we went to see E. N.’s house, which he has furnished very nicely, quite in his mother’s style.

A Captain B. arrived from Cabul, with one or two others, and are to march with us to Kurnaul. They all deny the report of the army ever having suffered further distress than a want of wine and cigars, and they are all looking uncommonly fat.

Captain D., of G.’s body-guard, brought back three of the sheep with which he left us last year, and the 16th are bringing back in safety their pack of foxhounds. That does not look like having undergone great privation. Captain B. brought me two shawls from Sir W. C., very pretty ones—at least we should have thought them so, before we were spoiled by plenty.


Mrs. B. arrived last night to meet her husband. She did not know he was come, so she went straight to E. N.’s bungalow—the usual method with ladies travelling dâk—and he found her there when he went home from dinner.

He said he had given up the house to her and gone into a tent, and that the two little children had arrived with their dear little stomachs much discomposed by the journey, and had spoilt the sofa whose cover I had admired in the morning.

This was the place where I bought my little girls last year, and it is a curious coincidence, that their nominal father, who went to the Punjâb and took service with Shere Singh, has left him, and arrived at this place last night, found Rosina’s tent, woke her up in the middle of the night, and the little girls too, and cried and sobbed and kissed the children, and wanted very much to have them back again. They are so afraid he will carry them off, that they will not lose sight of Rosina for a moment. Shere Singh gave this man a rupee a day to teach his cook English cookery like ours. The man had only waited at our table, so his imitation of an English cuisine must have been faint and nasty.

Thanjou, Saturday, Nov. 9.

The dear overland post came in just as we came off the march, and were sitting in front of the tents, sipping gritty tea, dusty up to the eyes, and with a wretched ‘up-before-breakfast’ feeling, which evinces itself in different manners: X. and Z. sneeze at each other; W. O. smokes a double allowance; F. suffers from hunger; I yawn; G. groans and turns black; the doctor scolds C. because the road was dusty, and A. rushes off to business; but this bad bit was cut short by that packet.

I know so well all you say, dearest, about these weary feelings of life; not that you have any right to them, because you have so many young lives growing up round you—first volumes of novels that you ought to carry on to third volumes.

I have a right to feel vapid and tired and willing to lie down and rest; for during the last four years my life has been essentially an artificial life; and, moreover, from my bad health it is physically fatiguing, and I feel I am flagging much more than I ever expected to do. I should like to see you and to be at home again; but I have no wish to begin a fresh course of life—not from any quarrel with it, for I know nobody who is in fact more spoiled, as far as worldly prosperity goes. I never wish for a thing here that I cannot have, and G., who has always been a sort of idol to me, is, I really think, fonder of me than ever, and more dependent on me, as I am his only confidant. I feel I am of use to him, and that I am in my right place when I am by his side. Moreover, his government here has hitherto been singularly prosperous and his health very good, so that there is nothing outward to find fault with, and much to be thankful for. Still, I have had enough of it, and as people say in ships, there is a difficulty in ‘carrying on.’

‘My blood creeps now only in drops through its courses, and the heart that I had of old, stirs feebly and heavily within me.’ It is the change from youth to age, and made in unfamiliar scenes, so that it is the more felt. I never had any opinion of

The glories serenely adorning the close of our day,
The calm eve of our night;....

and never wanted the caution,—

Nor from the dregs of life hope to receive
What the first sprightly runnings would not give.

The dregs never held out any promise, but the first sprightly runnings gave a good deal more happiness than people generally allow. I am quite sure that you and I feel unusually detached from the future, from having enjoyed our young days so eagerly.

They were very happy lives; and very often, when I am too tired to do anything else, I can think over particular days, with nothing but high spirits to recommend them, that are still quite refreshing. Days when we were making rush-mats in the garden; then your first ‘coming out’ at Oxford, with Lady Grenville; the day Mr. C. gave me my parrot, in what we called a gold cage; then, later on, visits to Longleat, and a sort of humble adoration of Lady B. and Lady G.; and then, of all the fortnights in life I should like to do over again, that fortnight at Burgh; —— —— meeting us on his little black pony, as you brought me back from Thames Ditton, and giving me some heath and some bluebells; and then the fun of peering out of your window, to see him on the lawn. I could draw his picture now quite easily. Then there were some good passages at Neasdon, when T. and E. were such dear, little, small things; so stupid of them to grow up—they should never have consented to pass four years old. However, it is of no use going over these things; only, when you say you are rather tired, I merely answer—so am I!

God bless you, dearest. In two days we shall be at Kurnaul, where we shall halt the rest of the week; such a dusty, hot place. I never meant when I started in life to march three times through Kurnaul. However, it is all on the way home.


Camp, Kurnaul, Nov. 13, 1839.

WE arrived here yesterday morning, and it is horrible to think how by constantly campaigning about we have become ‘Kurnaul’s tired denizens.’ This is the third time we have been here; the camp is always pitched in precisely the same place; the camp followers go and cook at their old ashes; Chance roots up the bones he buried last year; we disturb the same ants’ nests; in fact, this is our ‘third Kurnaul season,’ as people would say of London or Bath.

We had the same display of troops on arriving, except that a bright yellow General N. has taken his liver complaint home, and a pale primrose General D., who has been renovating for some years at Bath, has come out to take his place. We were at home in the evening, and it was an immense party, but except that pretty Mrs. J. who was at Simla, and who looked like a star amongst the others, the women were all plain.

I don’t wonder that if a tolerable-looking girl comes up the country that she is persecuted with proposals. There were several gentlemen at Kurnaul avowedly on the look-out for a wife.

That Mrs. —— we always called ‘the little corpse’ is still at Kurnaul. She came and sat herself down by me, upon which Mr. K., with great presence of mind, offered me his arm, and asked if I would not like to walk, and said to G. he was taking me away from that corpse. ‘You are quite right,’ G. said; ‘it would be very dangerous sitting on the same sofa; we don’t know what she died of.’

G. gives a great man dinner to-day, which is refreshing to his womenkind, who may dine quietly in their own tents.

Friday, Nov. 15.

There were some races early yesterday morning, to which they expected us to go; so I got up early and went with G., and luckily they were more amusing than most Indian races. Captain Z. revels in a halt at a great station, calls at everybody’s house, eats everybody’s breakfast, and asks himself to dinner everywhere; also rides everybody’s horses, and as, when he is well fed and thickly clothed, he weighs about four pounds, he is a valuable jockey, and he won two races to his great delight.

The last race was run by fifteen of the grasscutters’ ponies, ridden by their owners. These ponies are always skeletons, and their riders wear no great quantity of drapery, partly because they have no means of buying it, and then it is not their custom. They ride without saddles, and go as fast as they can, with their legs and arms flying in the air, looking like spiders riding on ants. One pony which was not particularly lame, was reckoned so very superior, that all the other riders insisted on his carrying two grasscutters, so the poor animal cantered in with two men on his back. I was so sleepy at the ball last night; I had sat two hours by K., knowing I should have to go in to supper with him, and at last, in a fit of desperation, asked Colonel L., one of our camp, to give me his arm. He is a regular misanthrope, and a professed woman-hater, and never even will call on us, though he has to come to the house every day to see G., and he looked astounded at my assurance; however, he bore it very well, and was rather pleasant in a bitter kind of way. We did not get home till past one. To-day we have a small dinner, chiefly of people who have come into camp from a distance.

Sunday, Nov. 17.

We left Kurnaul yesterday morning. Little Mrs. J. was so unhappy at our going, that we asked her to come and pass the day here, and brought her with us. She went from tent to tent and chattered all day, and visited her friend Mrs. ——, who is with the camp. I gave her a pink silk gown, and it was altogether a very happy day for her, evidently. It ended in her going back to Kurnaul on my elephant with E. N. by her side, and Mr. J. sitting behind, and she had never been on an elephant before, and thought it delightful. She is very pretty, and a good little thing, apparently, but they are very poor, and she is very young and lively, and if she falls into bad hands, she would soon laugh herself into foolish scrapes. At present the husband and wife are very fond of each other, but a girl who marries at fifteen hardly knows what she likes.

Paniput, Tuesday, Nov. 19.

I am so tired of being always at Paniput; are not you tired of hearing of it? We are constantly dropping in there. There is one European living here, a Mr. ——, the image of Jenkins, the dancing-master, for which simple reason we have always liked him. He has no other striking merit, but there is a halo of ‘Prince of Wales’s step’ and ‘the slow movement’ floating round him which is rather interesting.

We went to see his gaol, two miles off, and the first shower of rain of the season chose to come just as we were half-way there, on the elephants. A howdah is a sort of open cage without a top, and nobody had thought of a cloak, so it was a pleasant expedition. Paniput has had several famous battles fought at, or near it, and there is a grand tradition of one battle where 200,000 men fought on each side, and four were left alive. That is something like fighting; but happily it is not true.

Friday, Nov. 22.

We have had two or three most uneventful marches, and Sergeant H., who goes on the day before, always sends back the same report, ‘Road rough and very dusty,’ or to vary it, ‘Road very rough and dusty.’ However, we are always able to ride half of the way, which is a great help.

To-day we came over a wretched road and a bridge with one arch broken and no parapet, and as Sergeant H. reported, ‘Bridge in a worse state, if possible, than last year; quite unsafe for the carriage.’ After we come in to camp, we generally all sit in front of the tents and drink tea. The gentlemen come and ask for a cup and talk over the disasters of the road, and it is rather a gossiping time; particularly when enlivened by Mr. S., who is always like a sharp contradictory character in a farce, but before he has had his breakfast he is perfectly rabid. To-day he began as usual.

‘How slowly you must have come.’

‘The road was so bad,’ I said.

‘Yes, so everybody chooses to say. I thought it the best road we have had, much better than any of C.’s famous smooth roads.’

‘Did you come safely over that bridge?’

‘What was to hinder me? I cannot think why people find fault with that bridge, one of the best bridges I ever saw.’

‘Except that it has a broken arch and no parapet,’ I suggested.

‘Well! nobody wants to drive on a parapet. I think parapets are perfectly useless.’

Then C.’s palanquin went by, and as he was standing with us, Mr. S. took the opportunity of asking, ‘What wretches of children are those, I wonder?’ ‘Mine,’ said C., ‘or you would have had no pleasure in asking.’

It was such nonsense! Little ‘Missey C.’ is the smallest, prettiest little fairy I ever saw, and the pet of the whole camp; they are really beautiful children, and S. knew the palanquin perfectly. I told him at last he was just what our governess used to call ‘a child that had got out of bed the wrong way,’ and recommended his having his breakfast as soon as possible, and he owned, he thought it advisable himself.

Delhi, Monday, Nov. 25.

I am glad to be at dear Delhi again; it is the only place in the plains I have ever seen worth looking at, and it looks grander and more ‘great Babylonish’ than ever. We arrived on Saturday morning and rode in through an immense crowd, for besides all the regiments here, people have come from all parts just to ask for what they can get; appointments are filled up in November, because all the sick people who have been knocked up by the hot season get their furloughs for going home.

G. hates Delhi from the very circumstance of all these applicants. We had an immense party on Saturday evening, and nobody but ourselves knows who composed it.

There were young ladies from Meerut come for the chance of two balls, and all the ladies of our camp, and a great many from Kurnaul, and several young civilians who really had come in from their solitary stations to look for wives.

F. has caught such a cold she cannot go out. We never can settle whether we would rather have a slight illness, or go through all the festivities of a Station.

F. has not tried it before, but she now thinks she prefers the cold, only she has too much pain in her bones.

The people will not tempt us with many pretty things to buy, or else we have grown particular.

Tuesday, Nov. 26.

We had a great dinner yesterday, and G. and I went to the Station ball, which was very well managed. I do not know why one ball should be better than another; as far as the dinners are concerned, I think they are all equally tiresome, but balls do differ.

This was a very dancing business, and we did not get away till one. It went on till three, and I have been obliged to represent to our engaged aides-de-camp how very wrong it is of them to dance three times with the same girl—such a waste of time to all parties.

P. is quite altered since he has been engaged, and will talk and joke and dance in the most débonnair manner. I suggested to him the propriety of my writing to Miss S. about his dancing three times with the same young lady, but he says he danced once under Captain L. E.’s name, and that he got up early to write an account of himself to ‘Clarissa’ this morning, mentioning that he had no pleasure in society whatever!

I have just been to ask G. to give F. and me two rings on which we have fixed our small affections, to which he was quite agreeable; but he had a lavish idea about buying for us two diamond bracelets, that a man from Lucknow has brought. I think that would be rather indefensible. However, they are gone to be valued.


Kootûb, Wednesday, Nov. 27, 1839.

WE made this our first march, as most of the camp have not seen it. It is the most magnificent pillar, I suppose, in the world, and looks as if it had been built yesterday; but all the fine ruins about it have crumbled away sadly, even since we were here two years ago.

Those diamond bracelets were not worth half what the man asked for them, which I am rather glad of, as I think it would have been a waste of money, and we do not want more trinkets.

G. and I had to go last night to a play, got up by amateurs, which was rather a failure, because the chief character did not happen to know a single word of his part, and that put out all the others, but they thought it rather good themselves.

This morning the General insisted on having all the troops paraded at six in the morning, and so, as F. still has her cold, and G. hates being left by himself, I had to ride out of camp. It was nearly dark, and they fired the salutes right into the horses’ faces, and then poked their colours into their eyes, and drummed ‘God save the King’ into their ears, all which induced them to prance. I thought it rather dangerous, very noisy, and extremely tiresome, and I could not think of a word to say to General M. that I had not said at least eight times over in the last three days, so I was glad when he thought he had convoyed us out of his grounds, and if we ever go back to Delhi again I hope there will be a new General, so that the same topics may serve me again and look fresh.

I had a great mind to tell him that I felt very ill, which was quite true, but as the water at Delhi is invariably a rank poison that would have been nothing new.

Bullumghur, Friday, Nov. 29.

We had made a pretty arrangement yesterday to go to a small private camp at Toglichabad; a very old town with some splendid ruins about it, and there had been a road made for us, and supplies sent; but then F.’s cold was still bad, and my Delhi illness was worse than ever, so we gave it up, though it looked inconsistent and foolish after all the fuss that had been made, and X. says there was a quantity to see and sketch. I have only been able to make four sketches since we left Simla, for dearth of subjects; but I am glad we did not go, I had such a headache. Half the camp was poisoned at Delhi.

Sunday, Dec. 1.

We are all well again; and just think of the pleasure of the October mail arriving this morning, only a fortnight after the last. G. has a letter of the 16th, only just six weeks old, but there is some mistake about yours and the letters of the family in general. They are sent off a fortnight too soon: at least we always have public letters and papers dated a fortnight later, and those newspapers, besides taking off the edge of the news for half the next month, put me in a fright. I am so afraid, after hearing that you were well and prosperous the 8th of September, of finding in the ‘Morning Chronicle’ of October 12th, that C. D., Esq., who lives not 100 miles from Newsalls, was taken before the magistrates for beating M. his wife, and tearing her hair and her best shawl; or else that your new house in Stratton Street had been burnt down before you could insure it, and that you had lost your little all, and perhaps were found begging in the streets, surrounded by your nine children, and causing an obstruction at Hyde Park Corner. Do you know, that whenever I read a heap of English papers at once, ‘indeed, indeed I’m very very sick,’ there is such a quantity of crime. This time the cruelty to children and apprentices has put me in a frenzy, and there are at least eight exemplary wives murdered by their husbands, and one murderer gets off with six months’ imprisonment, because his lawyer chooses to make a pert attack on Lord ——, which pleases the Recorder—so like English justice. I am also very low about politics. I hate all those last changes, and I wish the Whigs would go quietly and respectably out in a body, and leave the Tories and Radicals to fight it out.

Wednesday, Dec. 4.

Last night, when we were playing at whist, I saw X. fidgeting about behind G.’s chair with a note in his hand, and began to think you were ill, and had sent for me to your tent, or something of that sort; but it turned out to be an express with another little battle, and a most successful one. The Khan of Khelât was by way of being our ally and assistant, and professing friendship; did himself the pleasure of cutting off the supplies of the army when it was on its way to Cabul; set his followers on to rob the camp; corresponded with Dost Mahomed, &c.

There was no time to fight with him then, and I suppose he was beginning to think himself secure; but G. directed the Bombay army, on its way home, to settle this little Khelât trouble. General —— was led to suppose his place was not a strong one, and took only 1,000 men with him, but he found Khelât a very strong fort with plenty of guns, and the Khan at the head of 2,000 soldiers. It was all done in the Ghuznee manner—the gates blown in and the fort stormed—but the fighting was very severe. The Khan and his principal chiefs died sword in hand, which was rather too fine a death for such a double traitor as he has been; and one in six of our troops were either killed or wounded, which is an unusual proportion. They found in the town a great many of our camels and much of the property that had been pillaged from the army. Also there will be a great deal of prize money. Another man has been put on the Khelât throne, so that business is finished.

Bindrabund, Saturday, Dec. 7.

This is a famous Hindu place, and we have come a march out of the way to look at it, partly because there is a great deal to see, and then that the sepoys and half our camp may perform their devotions. The Hindu devotions are always inexplicable, except in the simple fact that the Brahmins cheat them out of a quantity of money, and our Mussulmaun servants cannot be sufficiently contemptuous to-day as to the state of affairs.

Monkeys and peacocks are sacred here, and consequently abound; and then they have a tradition that Krishna (who seems to have been a larking sort of Apollo) played various pranks here, and, amongst other little jokes, stole all the clothes of the wives of the cowherds when they went into the river to bathe, and carried them to the top of a tree, to which they were obliged to come and beg, before he would give them back. He is adored here for the delicacy of this freak, and a temple has been built to commemorate it.

We went yesterday to visit all the temples and ruins under the guidance of ——, who led us quite wrong and wasted our time at modern temples, when we wanted to see the old ruins, but he rather made up for it by taking us in boats on the Jumna to look at the ghauts. However, the whole thing was done in state, with tribes of elephants, and dust, and all the camp, and the secretaries, who never let us say or see anything comfortably; so F. and I settled to stay behind to-day, when the camp moved, and to pass our morning in an old Jain temple of singular beauty, red granite magnificently carved, but the roof and half the heads of the statues were knocked off by Aurungzebe in a fit of Mussulmaun bigotry. X. and P. stayed with us, and we all settled ourselves in different corners of the building, with a quantity of grains and sweetmeats in the middle, to keep the monkeys quiet. Our breakfast was laid out in a sort of side aisle of grotesque Hindu columns, and at each column was a servant with a long stick keeping off the monkeys from the tea and chocolate. One very enterprising monkey rushed down and carried off my Indian rubber, which is a great loss to me, and I trust it disagreed with him. It was an elaborate building to sketch, and we were nearly four hours about it, but we all succeeded more or less; and it was so cool and dark in the temple, it made it quite a pleasant morning, to say nothing of a brass antique teapot and some lovely little brass goats which X. bought for me coming back.

Muttra, Sunday, Dec. 8.

We came on in the evening to camp, and found G. at a durbar receiving a Vakeel from the Bhurtpore Rajah and a visit from Luckund Chund, the richest banker in India. He has two millions of money in Company’s paper at Calcutta, and only draws the interest once in four years. He is a jeweller also by trade, and has some very handsome emeralds in camp to dispose of. He brought 101 trays of presents, which gladdened Mr. C.’s heart. We had a large congregation this morning, as there is a troop of artillery here, and the English soldiers looked so well and homelike at church.

Goverdun, Monday, Dec. 9.

These have been very good sight-seeing days, and I think I like Hindus just now better than Mussulmauns. They consider trees sacred, and that makes their country so much prettier. We went to a beautiful tomb this afternoon surrounded by old temples and tombs belonging to the Bhurtpore Rajah. The inside of one temple is painted with the original siege of Bhurtpore and Lord Lake running away—the Europeans were originally painted running away without their heads, but that has been rectified. Then we went to what they call a chuttree, or something of that kind, a place where there has been a suttee, and there are some lovely temples built over the ashes. There never is time enough for sketching, which is a pity.


Dieg, Tuesday, Dec. 10, 1839.

THE Bhurtpore Rajah came out to meet G. to-day with a pretty retinue, odd-looking carriages and horses covered with gold, but he is a fat, hideous young man himself. We went in the afternoon to see the palace at Dieg, which the rajahs used to live in before the siege of Bhurtpore, but they make no use of it now, which is a pity. The gardens are intersected in all directions by fountains, and the four great buildings at each side of the garden, which make up their palaces, are great masses of open colonnades with baths, or small rooms screened off by carved white marble slabs, and the fountains play all round the halls, so that even in the hot winds, Mr. H. says, it is cool in the centre of these halls. It was a very pretty sight to-day, from the crowds of people mixed up with the spring of the waters; and the Mahrattas wear such beautiful scarlet turbans covered with gold or silver cords, that they showed it off well.

There is a Colonel E. come into camp to-day: he is the Resident at Gwalior, and is come to fetch us. He is about the largest man I ever saw, and always brings his own chair with him, because he cannot fit into any other. He has lived so entirely with natives that I fancy he very seldom sits on a chair at all, and I suppose he is, as —— says, very shy of white females, for it was impossible to get an answer from him. It is a curious fact that the very * * *

Khoomberee, Wednesday, Dec. 11.

I would give anything to know what curious fact I was going to tell you. You never will know it now, that is certain. To finish off Colonel E., I must mention that the officer who commands his escort is called Snook, and that his godfathers, to make it worse, called him Violet. He is a little man, about five feet high, and is supposed to have called out three people for calling him Snooks instead of Snook. I am giving up my plan of leaving G. at Agra. He has cut off a month of his tour, and means to go straight to Calcutta from Gwalior, which is seven marches longer than my road, and with six days there, he would only be thirteen days later than me; the old khansamah has set his face steadily against it. He says, I have no business to leave the Lord Sahib, and that if I take away one steamboat full of baggage and servants, he cannot make show enough at Gwalior. Moreover, I am so well this year, I have no excuse for idleness, when it would be so generally inconvenient; and I do not like to leave G. and F. for two months, now that it only saves thirteen days. We shall all be at Calcutta by the first of March now.

Bhurtpore, Thursday, Dec. 12.

We had some cheeta hunting on the way here. Antelopes abound, there are hundreds of them to be seen at a time; the cheetas are put in carts like the common hackeries the natives use, and which the antelopes are accustomed to see, so they do not get much out of the way, and when the cart is within 400 yards, the cheeta’s hood is taken off, and he makes two or three bounds and generally knocks down the antelope. If he fails after a few bounds, he gets disgusted and comes back to the cart. There were two or three good chases this morning but no antelope killed, which was rather a blessing. We went so much out of the road, that the regiments and all their baggage got before us, and we could not go on in the carriage, and had to ride seven miles which I thought long. The Bhurtpore Rajah came to the durbar in the afternoon. He is the ugliest and fattest young man I ever saw. A small face that takes up the usual space of the chin, and all the rest is head. He is very black, marked with the small-pox, and can hardly waddle for fat, and is only twenty-one. He was just six years old when Lord Combermere put him on his throne.

Bhurtpore, Friday, Dec. 13.

The rajah is supposed to have the best shooting in India, and was to give G. the most delightful sport, so there was such a fuss to be off at six in the morning, and such a tribe of elephants, and such jealousy as to who was to go, and how many, and perhaps a slight wonder as to how all the game was to be disposed of; and they were out five hours, and came back in a frenzy; G. having shot one quail and a wild cat, and some one else a partridge, and another had seen a hare, and the rajah had said at the end that he hoped the Lord Sahib was ‘bhote razee,’ which means more than quite delighted with his day’s sport. I think he must be facetious though he does not look so. Mr. R. stayed behind to let F. and me see some hawking, and we took Mrs. C. and Mrs. R. and several of the officers and went into a boat with a large raised platform, and the men with hawks went wading into the water and put up wild ducks which the hawks invariably caught. We could not complain of want of sport, but it is rather a butchering business.

Futtehpore-Sickrey, Saturday, Dec. 14.

We went to a beautiful fête last night, I never saw such illuminations anywhere. The whole town for two miles was lit up with straight rows of lamps, and at the palace there was a square of lights with four great arches three stories high, with doors and windows all built of lamps. The whole thing was very well ordered.

The rajah took G. into an immense hall fitted up in the oddest way with French chandeliers of green and purple and yellow glass, as thick as they could be hung. Looking-glasses, and old-fashioned mirrors, and English prints on the wall. At the end there was the ‘chamber of daïs,’ very much painted and gilded, and raised three steps, and there we were all ‘set of a row,’ G. on one side of the rajah and I on the other, and all our party in chairs, and his prime minister in the centre. All round the hall were the officers of the escort and their wives, and the Bhurtpore chiefs, and in the middle a very select assembly of nautch-girls. I never saw so orderly a native party. The rajah was very nervous at first, and his wide black face full of twitches, but Mr. H. says he was very much pleased with the success of his party, as it is the first time he has ever seemed to act for himself. It is always a dull job, except that I like to look at the nautching, which bores most people. The prime minister’s little boy was introduced, a deformed little animal, and G. gave him a diamond ring, which was unexpected and well taken.

Then after G.’s trays of presents were taken away, there came in six for me and six for F. of rather nice little articles, dressing gowns of cloth of gold lined with cashemere, ivory chowries and fans, silver tissue for turbans—very pretty pickings if they had been private presents, but I saw C. twisting his moustaches in agonies, because they were not intrinsically worth the diamond rings we gave in exchange. I fancied the Rajah smelt very strongly of green fat, and as it was past eight, and we are used to early dinners in camp, I thought in my hunger, what a pity it was that we had not brought St. Cloup, who in half-an-hour would have warmed the rajah up into excellent turtle soup. We had a march of seventeen miles this morning, the longest we have ever had, so of course the wheel of the carriage locked, before we had gone a hundred yards. We have never had an accident before, this year. Webb had gone on with the key, so we took refuge on two elephants and jogged on four miles, and then overtook our tonjauns into which F. and I subsided. Then Mr. H. came up driving Captain Z. in his buggy and set him down in the road and took me. Ten minutes after, Dr. D. caught up F. and drove her on. Mr. H. and I drove wildly on, looking for a conveyance for G. and thought ourselves uncommonly clever in overtaking and bringing together four of our carriage horses, and the palanquin carriage which is drawn by bullocks when it is not wanted, and then we found that the pole was sent on in a cart, and there was nothing but the bullock yoke, so we drove on discomfited. Then we came to an empty buggy and put a trooper to guard it and sent another back to tell G. it was there, but it turned out that it belonged to —— of the body guard, who has been in constant scrapes and is under arrest, so G. could not well take that. However, H. found his own horse for him, and altogether we got into camp in very good time, but half the people came in late with all sorts of difficulties. Camp conveyances are very good for ten or twelve miles, but always fail on a long march; the bearers get tired and out of sorts. We pass Mrs. ——, your likeness, every morning, with her bearers guarded by two sepoys, because they will put down the tonjaun and run away.

Merahoon, Monday.

It was lucky we had our halt at Futtehpore-Sickrey. Except Delhi, it is the most interesting place we have seen, and there is more to sketch, and in these hurried journeys I do not think it any sin to sketch on Sunday. There is a tomb of marble here, carved like lace—it would make such a splendid dairy for Windsor Castle, it looks so cool and so royal—and there is a beautiful gateway, the arch of which is ninety feet high; and then there are some remains of the Emperor Akbar, which give a good idea of the magnificent fellow he was. The throne in which he sat to hear petitions stands in the centre of a hall, with a cross of stone balconies abutting from it, to four open arches. His ministers were placed at each end of that cross, their seats looking out on the courts below, so any grievance that was stated to them, or against them, they were obliged to announce at the full extent of their voices, else the emperor could not hear them, and the petitioner below was made certain that his grievance was rightly stated. This throne, &c., is most beautifully carved, as you will see whenever I send my sketch books home. There is also a lovely carved room, all over European devices, supposed to have been built by the directions of a favourite wife, whom he imported from Constantinople. In the centre of the court, a pucheesee board (pucheesee is a sort of chess) is laid out in squares of marble, and there is a raised seat on which Akbar sat and played the games; the pieces were all female slaves splendidly dressed, and whoever won carried off the sixteen ladies.

Agra, Wednesday, Dec. 18.

We came here yesterday and went off the same afternoon to see the Taj, which is quite as beautiful, even more so, than we had expected after all we have heard, and as we have never heard of anything else, that just shows how entirely perfect it must be. You must have heard and read enough about it, so I spare you any more, but it really repays a great deal of the trouble of the journey. We passed the day in the tents, as they were more convenient for G.’s levée, and in the afternoon came on to this delightful house, which was Sir Charles Metcalfe’s and is now Mr. H.’s, who has good-naturedly entrenched himself in one wing and settled us in the rest. It is beautifully furnished, and so clean and quiet. I really love it—it is so pleasant not to feel dusty.

Friday, Dec. 20.

We went yesterday to see Secundra, where Akbar is buried, and his tomb of beautiful white marble is up four stories of grotesque buildings, well worth seeing; so much so that, as G. had a durbar to-night and could not go out, F. and I went back alone, and had rather a rest, in sketching there, for two hours, but it is impossible to make anything of these elaborate Mogul buildings, they are all lines and domes, and uncommonly trying to the patience. We are attempting to buy Agra marbles and curiosities, but somehow cannot find many, and those we ordered before we came down are not half done, but they will be very pretty. I have got two little tombs, facsimiles of Shah Jehan’s and his wife’s, with all the same little patterns inlaid. Valuable—but I wish they were not quite so dear. We were at home on Thursday night—there seem to be a great many people at Agra. Mrs. H., who was a Miss A., is very pretty and nice. We stay here till the 1st, and this fortnight of rest from tents is a great comfort. My small health is uncommonly good just now.


Agra, Sunday, December 29, 1839.

I HAVE let a week pass by this time, partly because, since we have been here, we have given a ball and four large dinners, seen a great many sights, had a ball given to us and a déjeûner at the Taj, and also that an awful change has taken place in our plans, one that it makes me sick to think of. We are going to stay here for the next ten months: ——, to whom G. offered the Lieutenant-Governorship, and who knew all his plans, and who had acuteness enough to carry them on, began by accepting, and ended by declining in consequence of ‘domestic calamities which he was unable to explain.’ They say that Mrs. —— is gone out of her mind. I really think it must have been at the notion of coming here. It is too late in the year to make any new arrangements, and there is so much of importance likely to occur in the Punjâb where old Runjeet is a sad loss, and so much to watch over in Affghanistan, that G. decided on staying himself. Such a shock and such trouble! We have at least three houses to build here for the European servants, the baboos, &c., and a house to repair for the aides-de-camp. Agra is avowedly the hottest place in India, and everybody says this is the hottest house in Agra, so there is a whole army of engineers now beginning to see what can be done to build up verandahs, and to make ventilators, and to pretend to make the hot winds bearable. There are in India two regular parties, one preferring Bengal with the hot days and the damp and the sea-breeze blowing at night, and the other standing up for their hot winds, twenty degrees hotter, but dry. I have never varied in thinking the account of them terrific. From the end of March to the middle of June, they blow unceasingly, night and day. Nobody stirs out, and all night the tatties are kept wet, and thermantidotes (great winnowing machines) are kept turning to make a little cool air. The windows are never opened, and they say that, at midnight, if you were to go out, it feels like going into a furnace. However, those who are all for the provinces say, the wind is dry and not unwholesome, and that as long as you do not attempt to go out of the house, you do not suffer from the heat. It is a regular strict imprisonment. Calcutta is bad, but there we had a regular evening drive, and Government House was really cool at night; then in case of illness there was the sea at hand, but here, if any of us are ill, of course there is no escape. Even natives cannot travel in the hot winds. The discomfiture is general. Most of our goods are half-way to Calcutta. The native servants, who thought they were within reach of their wives and families after two years’ absence, are utterly desperate.

Mr. A. has thrown up his place, and goes down to Calcutta. Mrs. S. plods back to Simla with her children, and leaves her husband here. Mrs. H. ditto, and I think those two ladies are rather pleased, it forces them to keep their boys another year in the country. Z. has been ill since we came here, but the day this shock was communicated to him, he got up electrified, dressed himself, and came to my room to bemoan his particular hard fate, so like Narcissus Fripps. ‘I really am quite overset—I have not an idea what to do—I am so afraid of the hot winds, and this is such a place! no society whatever! Now at Calcutta I really should have enjoyed myself.’ This was said with an air of great interest.

I saw my opportunity and put it to him, that the hot winds were very bad for the attacks he is subject to, that Dr. D. had always wished him to go home, and that he might now have a medical certificate, which would save his paying his own passage, &c. And so he took the right turn, went straight to the doctor’s tent, and came back to say that he had decided to go home. It really is the best thing he can do, and Dr. D. says it is the only chance of his getting well.

We still go to Gwalior, and go back into camp on Thursday; we shall be nearly a month away, and we leave X. behind, with Giles and all the carpenters and tailors of the establishment to make up beds, furniture, &c., for we have nothing but small camp beds, which are not endurable in heat.

Monday, December 30.

You cannot conceive what a pretty fête they gave us at the Taj, or how beautiful it looked by broad daylight.

The whole society, with our camp, was just one hundred people, and we dined in what had once been a mosque, but it was desecrated many years ago. Still I thought it was rather shocking our eating ham and drinking wine in it, but its old red arches looked very handsome.

Some of the Agra people are too strict to dance, and as much walking is difficult in the plains, it is lucky the afternoon did not hang very heavily; but the garden is very prettily laid out, and W. O. challenged a fat Mr. N., an old acquaintance, to play at hop-scotch with all their old Westminster rules. W. is wonderfully active still at all those games, and plays at them with very good grace, and it was great fun to see Mr. N., who is the image of Pickwick and dresses like him, hopping and jumping and panting after him. It kept everybody in a roar of laughter for an hour, and filled up the afternoon very well. No; the more our plan of staying here is canvassed the worse it is—the mere precautions that are to be taken, show what those horrible hot winds are to be. However, I believe, as they all say, the best way is not to think of them more than can be helped. The weather is fine now. But what I do think of, morning, noon, and night, is the utter impossibility of our going home now in 1841. It is too sore a subject to write about, and it had much better be left untouched, for fear it should establish itself into a fact, but I always foresaw those horrid secretaries would work it out if they could.

I am in that mood that I should almost be glad if the Sikhs, or the Russians, or anybody, would come and take us all. It would be one way out of the country. Captain C. has got an excellent appointment at Lucknow, but he will not leave us till after Gwalior, as he thinks he may be of use, as X. must stay here to build and superintend. Captain C. has thoroughly earned his appointment by four years’ constant service, but he is the last of the original set, and we are all very unhappy at his going, he is the most thorough gentleman in mind, and very clever and original. He has always been a great favourite with G., and as I think Mr. D. might accidentally fall in with Allan C. or find an opportunity of seeing him, perhaps he would mention how well his son is thought of, and how well he is now settled. Captain X. bore his disappointment wonderfully well, and has been very amiable in many respects. G. offered him a smaller place, which might just have enabled him to marry, but when he found Z. was going as well as Captain C., he thought we should be having so many strangers at once, just as we were settling in a new place and to a new sort of life, that he would not leave us. I really do not know what we could have done without him at this moment. He is ordering all the new buildings, buying furniture in all directions, and ordering up everything from Calcutta, where he had just provided for our return. Agra produces nothing, there is no shop, and so few Europeans that I suppose the box wallahs find no trade, so we have been obliged to send to Calcutta for mats for the floors, musquito curtains, even common pins.

Tuesday, Dec. 31.

I went early this morning with Mr. H. and —— to see the Female Orphan School. We saw the boys last week—there are 150 boys and 130 girls who were picked up at the time of the famine two years ago, starving and with no relations. The boys are learning all sorts of trades; and as we are detained here another year, I thought it would be better to send my two little girls to the other school for the time, if they will let me have them again, to take to Mrs. Wilson. There is a German missionary and his wife at the head of this school. He speaks Hindoostanee tolerably, but she speaks no English and very little Hindoostanee; however, there is another woman to assist, and they seem to make it out very tolerably, and they are an interesting looking young couple, with such soft German voices. Rosina took Ameeum and Jehurun there after breakfast, and stayed great part of the day with them, but they all three did nothing but cry, though the old body is very sensible about them, and thinks it better they should go. Poor little things! I am sorry to lose them; they were such funny little animals, and used to imitate Wright and Rosina in trying to dress me, and really made themselves useful on the march. Z. is taking home a parcel to you—two of my sketch-books, which I want you to keep for me; the others are unluckily on the river on their way to Calcutta. Then, a parcel directed to you, in which there are two half shawls, embroidered all over, really about the prettiest things I have seen, which it appeared Wright had procured from Delhi for T. and E. She thought they would be very suitable for two young ladies going out. I thought they were too expensive presents for her to send, and F. and I tried to persuade her out of it, but she said she had got them on purpose, so there they are; and for fear you should be jealous, I have sent you a green worked Delhi scarf. Also, in a little box directed to R., there are two press papiers, a marble tortoise, and a marble book—Agra works, which I send T. and E. F. has sent the girls some rings; so what you are to wring from Z. when he arrives, are two sketch-books, a parcel of shawls, and a little box of rings, all directed to you; and these two marble things in the parcel to R.


Thursday, Jan. 2, 1840.

I WENT yesterday evening to see my children, who seemed quite reconciled to their fates, and were stuffing rice and curry in large handfuls. Mrs. L., the matron, said they did not take to the other children, but pottered after her wherever she went. Rosina went to bid them good-bye, and was quite satisfied with their treatment.

We marched fifteen miles this morning over a very heavy road. The mornings are very cold now before the sun rises, but the rest of the day is very fine. They are luckily making a great deal of ice this year. Large fields are covered with very shallow porous saucers, which hold a very little water, and when the thermometer comes down to 36° this turns into very thin ice, and the people collect it and pound it; they reckon that about one-third is available in the hot weather, and it is a great comfort.

Dholepore, Saturday, Jan. 4.

The Dholepore Rajah came to fetch G. in this morning. He seems to run to size, in everything; wears eight of the largest pearls ever seen; rides the tallest elephant; his carriage has two stories and is drawn by six elephants, and he lives in a two-storied tent—ricketty, but still nobody else has one so large. He is one of the potentates who undertake to feed all our camp gratis, which is a popular measure with the sepoys and servants. Scindia, the Gwalior Rajah, is encamped on the other side of the river, about five miles off, and G. reckons that he will have about two durbars a day for the next fortnight. He had two to-day—one for Dholepore himself, and another for Scindia’s Vakeel. The Mahrattas are a very ragamuffin-looking race. E. is the Gwalior resident, and is on the same fat scale with everything else, except little Violet Snook, who is trotting about the street very busily. It is rather curious that the camp should contain three officers rejoicing in the names of Violet Snook, Gandy Gaitskell, and Orlando Stubbs. Are they common names in England? Gandy Gaitskell we are uncommonly intimate with; he is always on guard, and always dining here. Orlando Stubbs is a novelty.

Sunday, Jan. 5.

The officers of the Gwalior contingent sent to ask when they could call, and I thought it would be good for their morals to say that church began at eleven, and we could see them afterwards. They live five miles off, so Colonel E. gave them a breakfast before church, and when I went out this morning early, they were all arriving, and Violet Snook was rushing in and out in a violent state of excitement, receiving his brother officers, shaking hands, and bowing and ordering, and in short it was quite pleasant to see a Violet with such spirits, and a Snook with such manners. They all came after church, and seemed a gentleman-like set. I think if I were a soldier, I should like to belong to a local corps, or a contingent; they all wear such pretty fancy dresses.

Monday, Jan. 6.

This has been a day of durbars for G., which is a sad waste of time. Scindia, the Gwalior Rajah, came in the morning to pay his visit. G. sent a deputation yesterday to compliment him, and they had, as usual with these great native princes, to take off their shoes on going in. The rajah himself takes off his own shoes, and Europeans keep on their hats if they take off their shoes. In fact, they do not really take them off; they put stockings over them.

Scindia was four hours coming five miles to G.’s durbar this morning. Natives think it a mark of dignity to move as slowly as possible. How going down to Windsor by railroad would disgust them! And C., L. E., and P., who had been sent to fetch him, were nearly baked alive on their elephants. On the return he was polite enough to dismiss them after they had gone two hundred yards, or they would have had four hours more. He is young, very black, and not good-looking, but it is impossible to look at him, on account of his pearls. He wears three large ropes, or rather cables, of pearls, and those round his throat are as big as pigeons’ eggs, larger than Runjeet’s famous pearls. His courtiers are not ill off in matter of jewels, particularly emeralds. In the afternoon G. went to return the Dholepore Rajah’s visit, and see some fireworks, &c., &c. F. and I agreed not to go, as it was four miles off, and the Mahrattas are not pleasant natives. We went up a little hill near the camp, from which the procession looked very pretty, and then we had the advantage of righting a bit of wrong. Two of our band and an artilleryman had got into a quarrel with the priests of a little mosque on this hill, and were beating them, and the natives came rushing to us for protection. The Europeans were evidently in the wrong, and they ran off instantly, but I sent the jemadar to say I wanted them particularly, and it was so funny to hear their broad Irish. ‘That native, me lady, abused me shockingly—words I could not be shocking you with repeating; and as I cannot speak a word of their language, I bet him well!’ ‘But how do you know he was abusing you, if you do not know a word of his language?’ ‘Oh, me lady, there could be no mistake; his abuse was so shocking, worse luck for me that I could not answer.’ ‘Besides, I translated,’ one of our little band-boys said; and then the natives produced a stick they had broken on him, and the Europeans picked up a great stone they declared had been thrown at them, but they could not help laughing themselves at that, it was so obviously untrue. And so it ended in my telling the priests to come to camp with their complaint to-morrow, and telling the band to go home, and be ready to play at dinner; but there was something rather pleasant in this Irish quarrel.

Tuesday, Jan. 7.

Well! there never were such times! ‘I am too old entirely for these quick changes,’ as the old nurse says, in Miss Edgeworth’s ‘Ormond,’ but I am glad of this one. G. woke me this morning by poking his head into the tent and saying, ‘Here is the overland mail come, and all my plans are changed, and we are going down to Calcutta.’ I am so glad; it is all in the way home. I really think (don’t you?) that we shall stick now to our original time of March 1841, and it was quite hopeless a week ago. I think this is a great piece of luck, and feel as if I could do like the native servants. They are all quite mad, flinging themselves on the ground, and throwing off their turbans; and at least twenty of the head servants have been to my tent to ask if it is true, and to say, that they are praying to Allah for ‘Lordship’s health,’ and to thank him for taking them back to their families. If Allah had anything to do with it, I am much obliged to him too, and to Lordship for taking us back to our families. I could not bear Agra, and now everybody owns that the hot winds would have been fearful, but they are all in their separate difficulties. Mr. Y. has left his children at Agra; C. his wife; we have left all our goods, except a small allowance of clothes; the aides-de-camp have all bought buggies and horses, and everybody had taken a house. W. O. spent nearly 1,000l. in preparations and furniture, but a good deal of that may be retrieved. Captain X. luckily came into camp this morning, and is going back to undo all he has done; send off Giles and all the servants we left, and my two little girls, and all our dear boxes. Not that I have ever seen again any box that I ever left behind, in any place in India, and we are so marched and counter-marched, that our property is horribly scattered, but I think there is a chance of bringing it all together at Calcutta. Everything in India always comes down by water, and as a good large river comes down to Calcutta, it is a possible rendezvous for our things.

Thursday, Jan. 9.

We left Dholepore this morning, and had great difficulty in coming along; the road for four miles was through a narrow sandy ravine. Scindia’s camp moved yesterday, and his goods had only got through the pass at eight last night, and that owing to P.’s working all day. Our hackeries that left camp at one yesterday are not come in at one to-day; they had stuck in all the narrow places, and there was a dead camel here, and a dead bullock there, and an elephant had killed a man somewhere else, and in short it was a bad pass. Now, to answer your letter. I hope dear E. is better, as you do not say he is not. How you do rush about on those railways! You put me quite out of breath.

Gwalior, Saturday, Jan. 10.

We have had more letters by the second express, many of them written since the news of Ghuznee had been known. The Gwalior rajah met us this morning, rather to our discomfiture, as F. and I had meant to come on quietly in the carriage, but the roads were so narrow and his train so wide, that we were obliged to get on our elephants. He rides the largest elephant in India; it is nearly twelve feet high, and G.’s, which is generally thought a large one, looked like a little pony, and, what was worse, was so afraid of the rajah’s, that it was ten minutes before they could be driven close enough to allow of G.’s getting safely into the rajah’s howdah. I always think that a very unpleasant part of the ceremony, to say nothing of the little French embrace that follows. The Mahratta horsemen are striking-looking people in their gold dresses, with their very long spears; and altogether it was a very pretty sight, but the rajah stuck to his dignified rule of going as slow as possible, and we were just an hour and a quarter going the last two miles, though he should consider that after eight o’clock, every hour of his horrid sun is of the highest importance. Gwalior is a picturesque-looking place, a fort on a rock, which, after all the flat plains, looks distinguished.

Sunday, Jan. 11.

We received all the ladies belonging to the Gwalior contingent yesterday, and the officers, only sixteen altogether, and four ladies, two of them uncommonly black, and the third, Captain —— remembers as a little girl running about barracks, a soldier’s daughter, but she was pretty, and, by dint of killing off a husband, or two, she is now at nineteen the wife of a captain here. I should think she must look back with regret to her childish plebeian days. The husband interrupts her every time she opens her lips, and she had not been here two minutes, before he said in a gruff tone, ‘Come, Ellen,’ and carried the poor little body off.

We have had no service to-day for want of Mr. Y. We went this evening to see the fort and palace, and very beautiful it was, so like Bluebeard’s abode. As the elephants plodded up one steep flight of steps after another, with the castle still frowning over our heads, D., who is not imaginative nor jocose, said, ‘I cannot help thinking sister Anne must be looking out for us,’ and we all agreed that she must. There is a beautiful old temple in the fort—one mass of carving; and I should like to pick out a few chimney-pieces for Kensington Gore from the carved stones that are tumbling about these old places.


Monday, Jan. 12, 1840.

WE dined with Colonel J. yesterday. He lives, I believe, quite in the native style, with a few black Mrs. J.’s gracing his domestic circle when we are not here, but he borrowed St. Cloup and our cooks to dress the dinner, and it all went off very well. That little Mrs. T. looked very pretty, but Captain T. planted himself opposite to her, and frowned whenever she tried to talk, but he did not quite stop her, and another week of society would, I expect, enable her to frown again. We went to Scindia’s durbar to-day. The palace was three miles off, and we had to set off at three on elephants, and the heat and the dust and the crowd were something inconceivable, but it was a curious show. The durbar was very orderly and handsome. G. and Scindia sat together on a gold throne with a canopy, and F. and I on two silver chairs next to G., and down each side of the room were his sirdars on one side and our officers on the other. After we had sat about ten minutes, the negotiations began for our going to see the ranee, and there were many preliminaries to arrange, and at last we condescended to walk through the two rooms that led to the zenana, for fear any of the bearers should catch a glimpse of anything, and no aide-de-camp was to go for the same reason, so we walked off with Mrs. H. We had sent the two ayahs there in the morning, as Mrs. H. does not speak the language very well. Some female slaves met us at the first door, and then some cousins of the rajah’s; in the next room two stepmothers, and then an old grandmother, and at the door of her own room was the little ranee, something like a little transformed cat in a fairy tale, covered with gold tissue, and clanking with diamonds. Her feet and hands were covered with rings fastened with diamond chains to her wrists and ankles. She laid hold of our hands and led us to her throne, which was like the rajah’s, without a canopy, and her women lifted her up, and we sat on each side of her, and then all the relations sat in two rows on chairs, and looked uncomfortable, and the nautch girls began dancing. The ranee is only eight years old, and is the sister of his first wife, on whom he doted, and on her death-bed she made him promise to marry this child. She was so shy, she would hardly let us see her face, but the old women talked for her, and the presents filled up the time, for the rajah had ordered that she should put all the jewellery on us with her own little hands. I had a diamond necklace and a collar, some native pearl earrings that hung nearly down to the waist, and a beautiful pair of diamond bracelets, and the great article of all was an immense diamond tiara. I luckily could not keep this on with a bonnet. They were valued altogether at 2,400l., the mere stones. F.’s were of different shapes, some very pretty, but not so costly, but altogether it was an immense prize for the Company. Then we had a bale of shawls, and the ayahs got six shawls, and Mrs. H. a necklace, and besides all the diamonds, they hung flowers all over us. We must have looked like mad tragedy queens when we came out, but everybody was transmogrified in the same way. Some years ago, it might have made us laugh, but W. and Mr. A., with great necklaces of flowers on, led us gravely back to our silver chairs, and there was G., sitting bolt upright, a pattern of patience, with a string of pearls as big as peas round his neck, a diamond ring on one hand and a large sapphire on the other, and a cocked hat embroidered in pearls at his side. We came home through a grand illumination, and were thoroughly tired at last.

Tuesday, Jan. 13.

Scindia returned G.’s visit to-day, and the ceremonies were much the same, and I think our presents were almost handsomer than his. G. asked him to come for a secret conference into the shawl tent with silver poles that Runjeet gave us, and in that was the gold bed inlaid with rubies, also Runjeet’s, on which they both sat, with B. and A., Colonel J. on one side and the rajah’s two ministers on the other. It looked mysterious and conspiring, and the rajah’s followers were in a horrid state of alarm; they said their king had been carried off, and had no guards, and perhaps never would be let out again. G. and the rajah transacted a little real business, and then G. got up and asked him to accept the tent and the bed, which quite delighted him, and he went away.

We went on to see a much more interesting little durbar. G. had all the old soubadars and havildars of the regiments that have been with us, all through this march, and some of the body-guard, and gave them each a gun and a pair of shawls. One old fellow has been fifty-eight years in the service, and would tell his story here: he had been at Java in Lord Minto’s time, and so on, and he had five medals to show, another had four; they are all most respectable natives. Their great desire was that G. should pour attar on their hands, with his own hand, which is a great distinction; and altogether it was a very touching sight, and has pleased all the troops very much.

We had a great dinner of all the officers afterwards, which luckily was not formal; as there was a Mr. V., a cousin of Lady B.’s, who sings beautifully, without accompaniment, and filled up the evening very pleasantly.


The camp moved three miles to-day, that G. might be nearer the garden-house where the rajah was to give him a dinner, and we came over such roads! I wonder the carriage stood it. The dinner was all in the native style, but would have been eatable, G. says, only he was on so high a chair that he never could pick up a morsel from the table. The rajah sent F. and me some dinner—three kids roasted whole, and covered with gold and silver leaf, a deer, and about fifty dishes of sorts, much to the delight of the servants. Wright and Jones with Rosina went to take our return presents to the little ranee, and were charmed with their visit.


G. went to a long tiresome review to-day, and F. and C. went with Captain X., Mr. H., and Dr. D. to visit Donheit Rao’s tomb. The baizee baee erected it fifteen years ago. There is a black marble figure of him, dressed in the same sort of gold stuff he always wore, and with all his jewels on, and as, being of black marble, he cannot go to Mahadeo’s temple to say prayers, Mahadeo is brought and put on a table before him. Food is served up to him three times a day, and there is a nautch going on while he is supposed to eat. They were nautching all the time we were there, and I think the marble man liked it. The baee endowed the tomb with five villages, and the Brahmins in attendance eat up the food the marble man leaves. It has made rather a good sketch. G. said, while the review was going on, the sirdar who had been with us came and reported that the ladies had been to the tomb and had been so much pleased that they made a drawing of it, and that they had returned safely to camp, and the maharajah sent his compliments, and said he was glad to hear of our safety. I never felt much afraid, did you? but then I have sketched before, and know what it is.

Friday, Jan. 17.

I declare I think Scindia a very nice young man, likely to turn out well. There is an enamelled little box of spices that comes every day with the uneatable food he sends for luncheon, and I took it up one day and commented upon its beauty. I suppose our servants told his, for to-day Colonel E. arrived with Bajee Rao and another Vakeel, who had brought the little spice-box in a palanquin, with a message from the rajah that he heard I had admired it, and that he had sent it as a private present to me, that if the Company were to have it, he did not give it at all, but that Colonel E. was to arrange so that I should have it. G. has paid its value to the Company, which is the simplest arrangement, though he hardly ever will give leave to have anything bought by private contract, but in this instance where there was no return present he did. Colonel E. is very angry that it should be paid for because it was entirely a private present, but I see the value of the rule. It was very good-natured of the rajah to think of it, and I shall keep my little spice-box with a tender recollection of him, to say nothing of its being a lovely little article, per se.

Saturday, Jan. 18.

I should like to have kept this open till your letter arrived, but G. seems to think the great packet may not come till to-morrow. Still, I think I won’t send it. G. may be wrong, everybody is occasionally. In the meantime, I beg to say we have left Gwalior, and I shall have nothing to see, or say, till we get back to Calcutta. So you need hardly read the next journal—it will be so very heavy.

W. and I got up by a wrong gun this morning, one of Scindia’s. There is no carriage road, so we all travel separately in tonjauns, or on elephants, or horses or anyhow; and after I had set off in a great fuss at being so late, G.’s first gun fired. I found W. scrambling along on a pony, under the same delusion; and we got in here an hour before the others, riding the last six miles as hard as we could. I was glad to be in soon, the weather is so very hot. It has been cold for about three weeks this year.—God bless you! I have been trying to read over my journal and have stuck in it. What very heavy reading it is!

Jan. 20.

I have kept this open for two days, in hopes that the letters would come in, but we have just got all the Galignanis with an announcement from Bombay, that the Falmouth packet is not come at all; and all your letters are there—and everybody’s. It is so disheartening!—We cannot have them for five weeks.


Nuddea Gaon, Thursday, Jan. 23, 1840.

THAT missing Falmouth packet still hangs on my mind, and I cannot digest its loss after three days, which must be very unwholesome. We are poking along the narrow roads and ravines of Bundelcund, always afraid every night that the carriage will not be available, and finding every morning that the rajah of the day (we live in a course of rajahs) has widened the old road, or cut a new one, and picked the stones off the hills and thrown them into the holes; and so, somehow, we come along. We have our old friend, Mr. F., who marched with us two years ago, in camp with his Jhansi rajah, who has met us and been durbared and visited; and a Captain R. with his rajah in prospect; and Colonel E. still here, because we every now and then step over a mile of Gwalior territory; and Colonel H. also, an old friend, and a sad spectacle of what two more years in India have done. This morning we came in on elephants because the Duttyah rajah met G. We arrived all over dust, but still, as I was telling G., the meeting between Dutty and Dusty was tolerably good. Duttyah’s is rather a pretty story. He was picked up ‘a naked, new-born child’ under a tree at this place by the Governor-General’s agent, who was taking his morning’s ride, and who carried the child to the Palace. The old rajah, who had no children, said it was the gift of God, and that he would adopt him; and an adopted son is, with the natives, as good an heir as any other; but sometimes the English Government objects, as territories without an heir fall to the Company. There were ill-natured people who said that the Resident Agent took a paternal interest in the little brown baby, and knew exactly under which tree he was to look for a forsaken child; but I am sure the boy’s look quite disproves that calumny. He is more hideously fat than any boy of fourteen I ever saw; a regular well-fed Hindu. The Government never gave a formal consent to the adoption, but his territory is particularly well-managed by the old prime minister; and so, upon his consent to pay a certain tribute, he was to be publicly received as rajah, to-day, and he and his subjects all mustered in great force, and the old minister was fussing his heart out, to have his fat boy’s elephant at G.’s right hand, and looking very proud of his maharajah. It is very shocking, and I hope it may never be the case in any other country, but we have seen a great many young, petty sovereigns lately, and it is extraordinary how like they all are to the old prime ministers belonging to their fathers. It is rather pleasant for this boy to look at the tree where he was found without a rag on, and to think he has a very large territory with a clear income of £140,000 a year. W. O. left us last Monday evening; he did not mean to stop an hour on the road, and it is horrid to think that he is still going shaking on, with the bearers saying ‘humph! humph! ha! ha!’ which they do without ceasing.


Lord Jocelyn, who has been coming across from Bombay to join us through sundry difficulties, writes now from Gwalior, and says that Captain E. is to pass him on to Soonderah, where he hopes we shall have sent horses, &c., and that he will be in camp on Thursday night. His letter did not come till this morning, so he is probably wringing his hands at Soonderah. It is thirty miles off, but we have sent out camels and such of the horses as are not tired with this morning’s march, but the syces cannot walk more than fifteen miles a day. I have been redeeming from the Tosha Khanna (the collection of native presents made to us) two or three articles as recollections of this journey, but they price them ridiculously high out of regard for the Company. I have bought a little ring which Runjeet gave me, a poor diamond, but the only one within my means, for love of the old man; a little diamond cross that was a private gift of Hindu Rao’s, and if we had not been the most scrupulous of people, need not have been given up, and a pair of silver anklets as mere curiosities, that the little ranee gave me. I should have liked one of the King of Lucknow’s presents, but none came within my reach.


This morning there came a letter written on a scrap of brown, native paper, from Lord Jocelyn to G., saying he thought his letter to W. O. had perhaps not been opened, that he was at Soonderah after wandering five hours in the jungles, that he had lost his servant, ‘and I hope your Lordship will have the kindness to send somebody out to look after me, as I cannot make anybody understand a word I say.’

He came in in the afternoon, and nearly killed Colonel E. and Mr. L. and some of the old Indians who were dining with us by his account of his troubles. ‘They would not give me anything to eat, so I held up a rupee and said “Dood” (milk), and they brought me quantities, but nothing to eat at all, and as I only had six rupees and did not know whether I should not have to pass the rest of my life at Soonderah, I said, “chota pice” (by which he meant small change, but it is as if we were to ask for little farthings); they did not attend, so then I stalked into a kind of guard-house where there were some sepoys, and as they paid no attention to me, I knocked my stick on the table to excite them, and made signs of writing and said “Lord Sahib.” They evidently thought I had no business to write to the Lord Sahib, but at last brought me a stick and a piece of brown paper and I wrote and said “Dâk,” and they brought me a man with letter bags, and I said “Lord Sahib hi” (is the Lord Sahib here)? upon which they all burst out laughing and every time I said it, they all laughed more. Then I said, very majestically “Jow, Jow, Jow,” (which means “go.”) Then I shut my eyes and pretended to go to sleep, and they showed me a shed and I fetched my saddle for a pillow, and went to sleep; but the rats ran over me, so finding my horse was rested, I got on him and rode east, which I knew was your direction and just as the horse refused to move another step met the camels.’

I really think he managed very well considering that the Mahrattas are not in general very civil.

Oorei, Sunday.

We met the little Jhetour rajah this morning: such a pretty boy of twelve years old, and Mr. F. the agent has him constantly with him and teaches him to think for himself, and to be active and has got him to live less in the zenana than most young natives, and he seems lively and intelligent. We halt here a day, that G. may review the new local corps that has been raised in this boy’s territories; they were drawn up in our street this morning, and are fine-looking people. Lord Jocelyn has filled up the day with shooting; there are quantities of deer about, and he had the good luck to kill one.


We halted at Oorei yesterday, that G. might review those troops, who made a wonderful display, considering that eight months ago they were all common peasants; but natives are wonderfully quick under sharp Europeans, and Captain B., who has been fighting in Spain and is very active, has just hit their fancy. He goes about in a sort of blue and gold fancy dress, and puts himself into a constant series of attitudes.

The weather is so dreadfully hot, much worse than a January in Calcutta, but they say it is always so in Bundelcund. G. and I are quite beat out of riding any part of the march, even before seven o’clock, but F. still rides.

She and G. have gone on arguing to the end about the tents. He says, he should like before he gets into his palanquin, to make a great pyramid of tent pins, and put the flagstaff in the centre, with the tents neatly packed all round, and then set fire to the whole. He thinks it would be an act of humanity, as it would be at least a year before they could be replaced, so that nobody, during that time, could undergo all the discomfort and bore he has undergone. She declares it is the only life she likes, never to be two days in the same place; just as if we ever were in ‘a place.’


Culpee, Wednesday, Jan. 29, 1840.

THIS is our great place of dispersion. G., A., and Mars start to-morrow for Calcutta, Lord Jocelyn for Agra, C. for Lucknow, and we on our march to Allahabad. M., H., and Colonel E. take up G.’s dâk the next day—that is, they inherit his bearers and follow him as fast as they can, and the rest of the camp go with us. We found Mrs. C., Mrs. N., and the Y.s, all in their separate boats at the ghaut here, which was a curious coincidence, as everybody started on a different day, and a great delight to X.

Thursday, Jan. 30.

Lord Jocelyn passed two hours in my tent, talking over old days. He is very amusing and pleasant, and rubs up a number of London recollections.

We all had an early dinner at three, and then he started in a dhoolie. There were no spare palanquins in camp, and a dhoolie is a sort of bed with red curtains, that sick soldiers are carried in, very light, but squalid-looking.

The street was full of officers, and soldiers, and servants; everybody in camp assembled to wish G. good-bye, and Lord Jocelyn came out in a flowered dressing-gown and slippers, with a cigar and a volume of a French novel, and took possession of this wretched bed, and seemed quite delighted with it. His servant followed on a camel. G. and A. then set off in the shut carriage, which is to take them two stages, Mars with palanquins having gone on in the morning. G.’s going is a great grief. It is somehow impossible to live without him here, and then India is such a horrid place. People who care about each other never ought to part for a day; it is all so uncertain, and communication is so difficult. F. and H. made a short march of five miles, just across the Jumna, and C. came on with all the rest and passed the evening with us, and then set off for his appointment at Lucknow. He is a great loss in every way, and has been with us for four years nearly. M., Colonel E., and H. we left on the other bank; they are to follow G. to-morrow.

Friday, Jan. 31.

Captain D. is in a considerable fuss. Colonel —— seems never to have recollected that though so many individuals have left the camp, their property and servants remain there, just the same, and that the public officers, with all the clerks, must march on; so there is the same want of sentries. He ordered off half of the regiment that had come to escort us to Allahabad, and Colonel B., who only joined last night, sent word that he had only 300 men to do the work of 1,000. The sentries are withdrawn from all the private tents, and all the silver howdahs and waggon loads of shawls, jewellery, arms, &c., of the Tosha Khanna, are brought into the middle of the street. I should have liked to have robbed it for fun; in the first place, for the value of the goods, and then it would have put D., L., and the baboo into such a state of horror.

Nobody was robbed but Mr. ——, who always is, and looks as if he always must be; he seems so helpless, and dangles his hands about in a pair of bright yellow gloves, quite new, and too large for him, and says, ‘It is very odd how the devils of dacoits persecute me.’

The other day they stole his horse: he had put five police to guard it, and the thief just cut the ropes, jumped on its back, and rode off, and has never been heard of since. It is very convenient stealing a white horse in this country, because the natives always paint them, sometimes in stripes like zebras, and sometimes in zigzags, and always give them scarlet, or orange tails, and orange legs; so they disguise a stolen one instantly.

Mr. T. is such a prim boy; he is very gentlemanlike-looking, and seems very amiable, but he is certainly prim. His uniform is so stiff he cannot turn his head round, and he talks poetically whenever he does speak.

F. declares he quoted to-day something from Mr. Thomson’s ‘Seasons.’ I wish when he gives us his arm that he would shut it up again. He sticks it out almost akimbo, so that it is impossible to hook on with any certainty.

Ghautumpore, Sunday, Feb. 2.

We have halted here to-day to allow more troops to come and protect the general property.

I heard from G. from Futtehpore. He says he can sleep very well in his palanquin; he might call it rather a slow conveyance, but thinks of us marching, and blesses his own fate. Mr. Beechey, the painter at Lucknow, sent me to-day a miniature of G., done by a native from his picture. It is a shocking caricature, but a very little would make it like. I can make the alteration myself; and if I can get it smoothed up at Calcutta, I will send it home, and the girls can hang up ‘the devoted creature’ in their room. Mr. Beechey says he has sent me the original sketch in oils to Calcutta. It was an excellent picture, and I hope he has not touched it since.

Jehannabad, Monday, Feb. 3.

I heard again from G. from Allahabad; in fact, he is very little in his palanquin. All the magistrates and collectors of the different districts had placed their carriages and buggies at his disposal along the road that they knew he must go; so he gets on very fast, and then rests all the hot part of the day in a bungalow, which gives time for his palanquin to come up. He had gone thirty miles at one spell in a carriage drawn by four camels.

Futtehpore, Thursday, Feb. 6.

I have missed three days. They are all so exactly alike and so more than ever tiresome now G. is gone; I cannot get on at all without him. There is nobody else in this country who understands me, and you keep standing there such miles off, that you are not of the least use when I want you most. Then your letters did not come last month. You cannot imagine what companions your letters are, and I want one so very much just now.

We have come back to-day, to one of our early halting places two years ago, so that looks as if we really were coming to an end of our wanderings in the wilderness, and I am sure it is high time we did. All the chairs and tables are tumbling to pieces, the china is all cracked, the right shoe of my only remaining pair has sprung a large hole, the brambles that infest the jungles where we encamp have torn my gown into fringes, so that I look like a shabby Pharisee, and my last bonnet is brown with dust. I am obliged to get Wright to darn a thing or two surreptitiously; the tailors think it wrong and undignified to mend. Altogether I can conceive nothing pleasanter than coming to a completely fresh set out at Calcutta.

General E. passed through camp to-day in his palanquin, and stopped for two hours and came to see us. I recollect him so well with the F.s and G.s as ‘Elphy Bey,’ and never had made out it was the same man till a sudden recollection came over me a week ago. He is in a shocking state of gout, poor man!—one arm in a sling and very lame, but otherwise is a young-looking general for India. He hates being here, and is in all the first struggles of ‘a real ancient Briton.’ (Don’t you remember how you and I were ‘ancient Britons’ always, when we fell into foreign society?) He is wretched because nobody understands his London topics, or knows his London people, and he revels in a long letter from Lord W. He thought G. very much altered since he had seen him, and G. thought the same of him. I suppose it will be very dreadful when we all meet. ‘Oh! my coevals, remnants of yourselves,’ I often think of that. What sort of a remnant are you? I am a remnant of faded yellow gingham.

General E. said, ‘It seems odd that I have never seen A. since we were shooting grouse together, and now I had to ask for an audience and for employment. I got a hint, and rather a strong one, from the Governor-General to take Delhi in my way to Meerut, and to look at the troops there and be active in my command.’ He went off with a heavy heart to his palanquin, which must be a shaky conveyance for gout. One sees how new arrivals must amuse old Indians. He cannot, of course, speak a word of Hindoostanee, neither can his aide-de-camp. ‘My groom is the best of us, but somehow we never can make the bearers understand us. I have a negro who speaks English, but I could not bring him dâk.’ I suppose he means a native; but that is being what the ‘artful dodger’ in ‘Oliver Twist’ would have called ‘jolly green.’ He can hardly have picked up a woolly black negro who speaks Hindoostanee. I wish I knew.

Kutoghun, Sunday, Feb. 9.

We have halted here for Sunday under a few trees, which they call Kutoghun. I don’t see any houses within ten miles.

Syme, Feb. 10.

We were met this morning by two Shuter sirwars, bringing invitations from the serious party at Allahabad to a fancy fair and a supper, and from the wicked set, to a ball and a supper, and begging us to name our own days. We have but Thursday and Friday, and it is rather hard, after a long march and before an early boat, to put in these gaieties. However, we cannot help it, but have declined both the suppers.

Allahabad, Friday, Feb. 14.

There! we arrived yesterday; the last time in my natural life in which I will make a long dusty journey before breakfast—at least, that is my hope, my intention, and my plot; of course I may be defeated in after years.

The camp is breaking up fast; camp followers asking for rupees in every direction; a fleet of boats loaded, and more wanted; all useless horses and furniture are being sold off by Webb at the stables; and to-morrow, of all this crowd which still covers five acres, there will be nothing left but Captain C. alone in his tent.

The fancy fair looked pretty in the evening—very ‘Vicar of Wrexhillish,’ such a mixture of tracts and champagne, &c., but the cheapest shop I have been in in India. We brought home nearly a carriage-full of goods, which will do to give to the servants. To-night there is the ball. We have written to beg it may be early, and we go on board the budgerows to sleep, and they take us down to the steamer to-morrow. X. and fourteen boats’-load of trunks went this morning, and there are about thirty-five more to make their way to Calcutta without steam—carriages, horses, &c.—which will arrive about a fortnight after us.

I heard from G. about 250 miles from Calcutta: quite well, and delighted with his rapid travelling—four miles an hour!


Benares, Monday, Feb. 17, 1840.

I SENT off my last letter from Allahabad, and it is almost hard upon you to begin again; it must be such dull reading just now. Our Allahabad ball was what they considered brilliant, seeing that it brought out their whole female society except two, who were very ill, and there were four dancing ladies and four sitters-by.

They were kind enough to give us supper early, where I can always console myself with mulligatawny soup (I think it so good—don’t you?), and then F. and I came off to our separate budgerows. G. is in a great state of popularity in the Upper Provinces; all these people talked of him with such regard and admiration, and he had evidently exerted himself to talk very much during the four days he passed here, without the least idea, poor innocent man! how everything he said, was to be repeated. I heard from him near Burdwan; they are out of carriage roads, but he still likes the palanquin, and slept very well. He and A. took a long walk in the morning while Mars cleared up the palanquins for the day, and then another in the evening while he made them up for the night. They have lived on their cold provisions and seltzer-water and tea, and slept as much as they could. They passed through a jungle where a man had been killed by a tiger some time ago, so the bearers thought it necessary to make a great noise, and fire matchlocks constantly, and make a boy walk before, playing on a fife. G. says, they may have saved his life, but they spoiled his night.

Our budgerows were very comfortable, but somehow I was just as sea-sick as if mine were the Jupiter. We got down to the flat by three o’clock on Saturday afternoon, and found O. Giles had arranged everything very comfortably. We have sent for letters.

Ghazeepore, Feb. 18.

We got no letters, but Captain F., who had been waiting a day and a half to see us, came on board with some newspapers and two very pretty sandal-wood boxes he has had made for us. He looks very happy, and G., who stayed at his house on the way down, was quite delighted with his look of comfort, and the way in which his house was fitted up. A retired aide-de-camp always carries off very genteel notions of setting up house. We have seen it in several instances.

G. has had a levée, and begun his little dinners, and was received very brilliantly at Calcutta.

We stuck on a sand-bank to-day for seven hours, or rather our steamer did, and we left her, and floated independently down in the flat to a safe place, till she could pick us up. We suppose the other steamer is sticking in the same place, as she has not come up to-night.

Wednesday, Feb. 19.

A jewel of a man in a small boat came floating up with a yellow dâk packet in his hand, which he put on board—two letters from G. and W. O.

The wind is so high, it blew us on another bank to-day, and upset all the furniture. It was just like being at sea, and the river is so full of sand-banks, we have anchored till the wind goes down. I wish it would only mind what it is about, for it is uncommonly cool and pleasant, if it would only be a thought less violent.

Friday, Feb. 21.

Nothing of the other steamer. The ‘Duke of Buccleuch’ has been lost off the sand-banks, the passengers all saved, but I expect my box of clothes, which was to come this month, was in her. She has generally brought boxes for us. We were aground again for three hours to-day, and the Hindus all went on shore to cook their dinners; but the wind was so high they could not make the fire burn, and the captain called them back just as their dinners were half-cooked. It makes them wretched, poor people! A Hindu will only cook once in twenty-four hours, and then, if any accident happens, if a dog, or a Christian touches their food, or even passes too near it, they throw it all away and go without. Our Hindus would not try to cook again to-night when we came to anchor, and they may not eat in a boat.

Saturday, Feb. 22.

We stopped at Monghyr to-day for coals. We found plenty of letters there. G. says it will be quite necessary for W. O. to go to China; but there will be nothing for the troops to do, so that he may return in four months, and will just escape the hot season. My poor box is at the bottom of the sea. Cockerell and Co. have signified as much to G., and they think there was also a box for F. I particularly grudge the gown Lady G. worked for me. I was wishing to see it so much. It is an inconvenient loss, for if we arrive on Saturday, as we expect, I shall have no bonnet to go to church in on Sunday, and I have been embittering my loss by reading over M. E.’s list of pretty things. However, if one is to have a loss, a box of clothes is the most reparable, and I must try to fit myself out at Calcutta for the rest of the time we are in India. This shipwreck will be my ‘Caleb Balderstone’s’ great fire; much shabbiness may be excused thereby. The second steamer came in just as we left Monghyr, but not in time for us to speak to any of them.

Wednesday, Feb. 26.

We have gone on, sometimes sticking on a bank for an hour, sometimes not able to make the post town we wished to arrive at, but we generally make seventy, or eighty miles a day, very satisfactorily, and have almost always picked up a letter from G. or W. Last night we exerted ourselves amazingly, stuck up sails, went on in the dark, tried to sit as lightly and as pleasantly as possible on the water, in hopes of arriving at Commercolly, where we counted on finding the overland letters. We succeeded in reaching Commercolly, and there found the dâk baboo with two Calcutta newspapers for us, and not a line for anybody. Now we have left the short cut to Calcutta, there is so little water, and are going round by the Sunderbunds, where we shall see nothing but trees and jungle for four days; the fifth I hope we shall arrive at Calcutta. It is becoming so hot.


This is a collection of native huts, where there is a deposit of coals, but there was also a dear native baboo who stepped out with a parcel of letters, one from G., saying that the December overland had arrived, but as he did not think there was any chance of the letters finding us, he had only sent one or two; and he mentioned any little news he had collected.

He was quite right in his principle, but as the letters have found us, what a pity he did not send your packet, which he mentions.

It is a horrid thing; a great liberty; but G., in his Grand Mogul way, opens all our letters, and is evidently revelling in yours and the girls’ journals. Indeed, he says so; and adds he is so hurried and worried he had not time to find the journals. Such impertinence!

Barackpore, Friday, March 13.

There! this is not a journal this tune; it must turn into a letter, for I have had no time. We arrived at Calcutta late in the evening of Sunday, the 1st March. We ran down a native boat in the dark, and got a great fright from the screaming of the men, who were however all picked up immediately, and natives, one and all, can swim for two or three hours without fear.

We found W. O. in his dressing-gown, and G. in bed; however, he got up and came to us; he complains of being very much over-worked, and of being over-bitten by the musquitoes. They are dreadful; still there is something in the cleanliness and solidity of the house, and in its space, that looks very attractive after the tents and boats. It is lucky we have had that march as a set-off, otherwise the change from Simla would be too shocking.

Do not you remember the story my father used to tell us, when we were children, of how his friend the old Duke of Marlborough went to dine with a neighbour, a poor clergyman, whose house was small, whose fires were low, and whose dinner was bad, and when the Duke drove back to Blenheim and entered that magnificent hall, he said with a plaintive sigh, ‘Well! home is home, be it never so homely.’ So say I, on coming back to this grand palace, from those wretched tents, and so shall I repeat with still greater unction when we arrive at our dear little villa at Kensington Gore. If it should please God that we ever do so, mind that you and your girls are on the lawn to greet us.



Typographical errors corrected by the etext transcriber:
has a levee in the morning=> has a levée in the morning {pg 15}
shawls are not fine shaws=> shawls are not fine shawls {pg 134}
with repating=> with repeating {pg 369}

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