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Title: From Egypt to Japan
Author: Field, Henry M. (Henry Martyn), 1822-1907
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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     _BY THE SAME AUTHOR._

     FROM THE LAKES OF KILLARNEY
     TO THE GOLDEN HORN.

     THE FIRST VOLUME OF
     DR. FIELD'S TRAVELS AROUND THE WORLD.

     1 vol. 12mo, cloth, uniform with this volume, $2.00.
     _Sent postpaid, on receipt of price, by the Publishers_,

     SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.,
     743 AND 745 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.



     FROM EGYPT TO JAPAN.

     BY HENRY M. FIELD, D.D.

     NEW YORK:
     SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.
     1877.



     COPYRIGHT BY
     SCRIBNER, ARMSTRONG & CO.
     1877.

     TROW'S
     PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING CO.,
     _205-213 East 12th St._,
     NEW YORK.



     To My Brothers,
     DAVID DUDLEY, STEPHEN J., AND CYRUS W. FIELD,
     ALL THAT ARE LEFT OF A LARGE FAMILY,
     This Volume is Dedicated,
     IN TOKEN OF THE LOVE OF A LIFETIME, WHICH
     WILL GROW STRONGER TO THE END.



CONTENTS.


     I. CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN--ALEXANDRIA--CAIRO--THE
     PYRAMIDS,                                                       1

     II. ON THE NILE,                                               15

     III. THE TEMPLES OF EGYPT--DID MOSES GET HIS LAW FROM
     THE EGYPTIANS?                                                 28

     IV. THE EGYPTIAN DOCTRINE OF A FUTURE LIFE,                    37

     V. THE RELIGION OF THE PROPHET,                                45

     VI. MODERN EGYPT AND THE KHEDIVE,                              62

     VII. MIDNIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE GREAT PYRAMID,               80

     VIII. LEAVING EGYPT--THE DESERT,                               96

     IX. ON THE RED SEA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN,                      106

     X. BOMBAY--FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF INDIA,                        115

     XI. TRAVELLING IN INDIA--ALLAHABAD--THE MELA,                 131

     XII. AGRA--VISIT OF THE PRINCE OF WALES--PALACE OF THE
     GREAT MOGUL--THE TAJ,                                         148

     XIII. DELHI--A MOHAMMEDAN FESTIVAL--SCENES IN THE
     MUTINY,                                                       162

     XIV. FROM DELHI TO LAHORE,                                    172

     XV. A WEEK IN THE HIMALAYAS,                                  182

     XVI. THE TRAGEDY OF CAWNPORE,                                 210

     XVII. THE STORY OF LUCKNOW,                                   222

     XVIII. THE ENGLISH RULE IN INDIA,                             236

     XIX. MISSIONS IN INDIA--DO MISSIONARIES DO ANY GOOD?          249

     XX. BENARES, THE HOLY CITY OF THE HINDOOS,                    265

     XXI. CALCUTTA--FAREWELL TO INDIA,                             280

     XXII. BURMAH--THE MALAYAN PENINSULA--SINGAPORE,               292

     XXIII. THE ISLAND OF JAVA,                                   326

     XXIV. UP THE CHINA SEAS--HONG KONG AND CANTON,               365

     XXV. THREE WEEKS IN JAPAN,                                    397



_This volume is complete in itself, though it is the Second Part of a
Journey Round the World, of which the First Part was published a year
ago, with the title "From the Lakes of Killarney to the Golden Horn."
The volumes are uniform in style and naturally go together, though
either is complete without the other._



FROM EGYPT TO JAPAN.



CHAPTER I.

CROSSING THE MEDITERRANEAN--ALEXANDRIA--CAIRO--THE PYRAMIDS.


On the Bosphorus there are birds which the Turks call "lost souls," as
they are never at rest. They are always on the wing, like stormy
petrels, flying swift and low, just skimming the waters, yet darting
like arrows, as if seeking for something which they could not find on
land or sea. This spirit of unrest sometimes enters into other
wanderers than those of the air. One feels it strongly as he comes to
the end of one continent, and "casts off" for another; as he leaves
the firm, familiar ground, and sails away to the distant and the
unknown.

So felt a couple of travellers who had left America to go around the
world, and after six months in Europe, were now to push on to the
farthest East. It was an autumn afternoon near the close of the year
1875, that they left Constantinople, and sailed down the Marmora, and
through the Dardanelles, between the Castles of Europe and Asia, whose
very names suggested the continents that they were leaving behind, and
set their faces towards Africa.

They could not go to Palestine. An alarm of cholera in Damascus had
caused a _cordon sanitaire_ to be drawn along the Syrian coast; and
though they might get in, they could not so easily get away; or would
be detained ten days in a Lazaretto before they could pass into
Egypt; and so they were obliged at the last moment to turn from the
Holy Land, and sail direct for Alexandria; touching, however, at
Mitylene and Scio; and passing a day at Smyrna and at Syra. With these
detentions the voyage took nearly a week, almost as long as to cross
the Atlantic.

But it was not without its compensations. There was a motley company
in the cabin, made up of all nations and all religions: English and
Americans, French and Germans and Russians, Greeks and Turks,
Christians and Mohammedans. There was a grand old Turk, who was going
out to be a judge in Mecca, and was travelling with his harem, eight
women, who were carefully screened from the observation of profane
eyes. And there were other Mussulmans of rank, gentlemen in manners
and education, who would be addressed as Effendis or Beys, or perhaps
as Pashas, who did not hesitate to spread their small Persian carpets
in the cabin or on the deck at any hour, and kneel and prostrate
themselves, and say their prayers.

Besides these, the whole forward part of the ship was packed with
pilgrims (there were four hundred of them) going to Mecca: Turks in
white turbans and baggy trousers; and Circassians in long overcoats,
made of undressed sheepskins, with tall, shaggy hats, like the
bear-skin shakos of Scotch grenadiers. Some of them had their belts
stuck thick with knives and pistols, as if they expected to have to
fight their way to the tomb of the Prophet. Altogether they were not
an attractive set, and yet one could not view, without a certain
respect, a body of men animated by a strong religious feeling which
impelled them to undertake this long pilgrimage; it requires three
months to go and return. Nor could one listen quite unmoved as at
different hours of the day, at sunrise, or midday, or sunset, the
muezzin climbed to the upper deck, and in a wailing voice called the
hour of prayer, and the true believers, standing up, rank on rank,
turned their faces towards Mecca, and reverently bowed themselves and
worshipped.

On the afternoon of the sixth day we came in sight of a low-lying
coast, with not a hill or elevation of any kind rising above the
dreary waste, the sea of waters breaking on a sea of sand. The sun
sinking in the west showed the lighthouse at Alexandria, but as the
channel is narrow and intricate, ships are not allowed to enter after
sunset; and so we lay outside all night, but as soon as the morning
broke, steamed up and entered the harbor. Here was the same scene as
at Constantinople--a crowd of boats around the ship, and boatmen
shouting and yelling, jumping over one another in their eagerness to
be first, climbing on board, and rushing on every unfortunate
traveller as if they would tear him to pieces. But they are not so
terrible as they appear, and so it always comes to pass, that whether
"on boards or broken pieces of the ship," all come safe to land.

In spite of this wild uproar, it was not without a strange feeling of
interest that we first set foot in Africa. A few days before we had
touched the soil of Asia, on the other side of the Bosphorus--the
oldest of the continents, the cradle of the human race. And now we
were in Africa--in Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs, out of which Moses
led the Israelites; the land of the Pyramids, the greatest monuments
of ancient civilization.

As soon as one comes on shore, he perceives that he is in a different
country. The climate is different, the aspects of nature are
different, the people are different, the very animals are different.
Caravans of camels are moving slowly through the streets, and outside
of the city, coming up to its very walls, as if threatening to
overwhelm it, is the "great and terrible" desert, a vast and billowy
plain, whose ever-drifting sands would speedily bury all the works of
man, if they were not kept back from destruction by the waters of the
Nile, which is at once the creator and preserver of Egypt.

Alexandria, although founded by Alexander the Great, whose name it
bears, and therefore more than two thousand years old--and although in
its monuments, Cleopatra's Needle and Pompey's Pillar, it carries back
the mind to the last of the Ptolemies, the proud daughter of kings,
and to her Roman lovers and conquerors--has yet in many parts quite a
modern aspect, and is almost a new city. It has felt, more than most
places in the East, the influence of European civilization. Commerce
is returning to its ancient seats along the Mediterranean, and the
harbor of Alexandria is filled with a forest of ships, that reminds
one of New York or Liverpool.

But as it becomes more European, it is less Oriental; and though more
prosperous, is less picturesque than other parts of Egypt; and so,
after a couple of days, we left for Cairo, and now for the first time
struck the Nile, which reminds an American traveller of the Missouri,
or the lower Mississippi. It is the same broad stream of turbid,
yellow waters, flowing between low banks. This is the Great River
which takes its rise in the heart of Africa, beyond the equator, at a
point so remote that, though the Valley of the Nile was four thousand
years ago the seat of the greatest empire of antiquity, yet to this
day the source of the river is the problem of geographers. Formerly it
was a three days' journey from Alexandria to Cairo, but the railroad
shortens it to a ride of four hours, in which we crossed both branches
of the Nile. Just at noon we came in sight of the Pyramids, and in
half an hour were driving through the streets of the capital of Egypt.

We like Cairo, after two or three weeks, much better than
Constantinople. It has another climate and atmosphere; and is
altogether a gayer and brighter city. The new quarter occupied by
foreigners is as handsomely built as any European city. The streets
are wide and well paved, like the new streets and boulevards of Paris.
We are at the "Grand New Hotel," fronting on the Ezbekieh gardens, a
large square, filled with trees, with kiosks for music, and other
entertainments. Our windows open on a broad balcony, from which we can
hear the band playing every afternoon, while around us is the city,
with its domes and minarets and palm trees.

The great charm of Egypt is the climate. It is truly the Land of the
Sun. We landed on the first day of December, but we cannot realize
that this is winter. The papers tell us that it is very cold in New
York, and that the Hudson river is frozen over; but here every thing
is in bloom, as in mid-summer, and I wear a straw hat to protect me
from the heat of the sun. But it is not merely the warmth, but the
exquisite purity of the atmosphere, that makes it so delicious. The
great deserts on both sides drink up every drop of moisture, and every
particle of miasm that is exhaled from the decaying vegetation of the
Valley of the Nile, and send back into these streets the very air of
Paradise.

Having thus the skies of Italy, and a much more balmy air, it is not
strange that Egypt attracts travellers from France, and England, and
America. It is becoming more and more a resort not only for invalids,
but for that wealthy class who float about the world to find the place
where they can pass existence with the most of languid ease. Many come
here to escape the European winters, and to enjoy the delicious
climate, and they are from so many countries, that Cairo has become a
cosmopolitan city. As it is on the road to India, it is continually
visited by English officers and civilians, going or returning. Of late
years it has become a resort also for Americans. A number of our army
officers have taken service under the Khedive, who rendezvous chiefly
at this New Hotel, so that with the travellers of the same country, we
can talk across the table of American affairs, as if we were at
Newport or Saratoga. Owing to the influx of so many foreigners, this
Hotel and "Shepheard's" seem like small colonies of Europeans.
Hearing only English, or French, or German, one might believe himself
at one of the great hotels in Switzerland, or on the Rhine. A stranger
who wishes to pass a winter in Cairo, need not die of ennui for want
of the society of his countrymen.

Besides these officers in the army, the only Americans here in
official positions, are the Consul General Beardsley, and Judge
Batcheller, who was appointed by our Government to represent the
United States in the Mixed Court lately established in Egypt. Both
these gentlemen are very courteous to their countrymen, while giving
full attention to their duties. As we have sometimes had abroad
consuls and ministers of whom we could not be proud, it is something
to be able to say, that those here now in official position are men of
whom we need not be ashamed as representatives of our country.

Another household which should not be overlooked, since it gives an
American a home feeling in Cairo, is that of the American Mission.
This has been here some years, and so won the favor of the government,
that the former Viceroy gave it a site for its schools, which proved
so valuable that the present Khedive has recently bought it back, by
giving a new site and £7000 into the bargain. The new location is one
of the best in Cairo, near the Ezbekieh square, and here with the
proceeds of the sale, and other funds contributed for the object, the
Mission is erecting one of the finest buildings for such purposes in
the East, where their chapel and schools, in which there are now some
five hundred children, will be under one roof.

This Mission School some years ago was the scene of a romantic
incident. An Indian prince, then living in England, was on his way to
India, with the body of his mother, who had died far from her country,
but with the prejudices of a Hindoo strong in death, wished her body
to be taken back to the land of her birth. While passing through
Cairo, he paid a visit to the American Mission, and was struck with
the face of a young pupil in the girls' school, and after due inquiry
proposed to the missionaries to take her as his wife. They gave their
consent, and on his return they were married, and he took her with him
to England. This was the Maharajah Dhuleep Sing, a son of old Runjeet
Sing, the Lion of Lahore, who raised up a race of warriors, that after
his death fought England, and whose country, the Punjaub, the English
annexed to their Indian dominions; and here, as in other cases,
removed a pretender out of the way by settling a large pension on the
heir to the throne. Thus the Maharajah came into the possession of a
large revenue from the British government, amounting, I am told, to
some £30,000 a year. Having been from his childhood under English
pupilage, he has been brought up as a Christian, and finds it to his
taste to reside in England, where he is able to live in splendor, and
is a great favorite at court. His choice of a wife proved a most happy
one, as the modest young pupil of Cairo introduced into his English
home, with the natural grace of her race, for she is partly of Arab
descent, the culture and refinement learned in a Mission school. Nor
does he forget what he owes to the care of those who watched over her
in her childhood, but sends a thousand pounds every year to the school
in grateful acknowledgment of the best possible gift it could make to
him, that of a noble Christian wife.

Besides this foreign society, there is also a resident society which,
to those who can be introduced to it, is very attractive. The
government of the Khedive has brought into his service some men who
would be distinguished in any European court or capital. The most
remarkable of these is Nubar Pasha, long the Minister of Foreign
Affairs.

Judge Batcheller kindly took me to the house of the old statesman, who
received us cordially. On hearing that I was on my way around the
world, he exclaimed, "Ah, you Americans! You are true Bedouins!" I
asked him what was the best guide-book to Egypt? He answered
instantly, "The Bible." It was delightful to see his enthusiasm for
Egypt, although he is not an Egyptian. He is not an Arab, nor a Turk,
nor even a Mussulman; but an Armenian by birth and by religion. His
uncle, Nubar Pasha, came over with Mehemet Ali, whose prime minister
he was for forty years; and his nephew, who inherits his name,
inherits also the traditions of that great reign. Though born on the
other side of the Mediterranean, he is in heart an Egyptian. He loves
the country of his adoption, and all his thoughts and his political
ambition are for its greatness and prosperity. He has lived here so
long that he sometimes speaks of himself playfully as "one of the
antiquities of Egypt." "Of the first dynasty?" we ask. "Yes, of the
time of Menes." I do not believe he could exist anywhere else. He
loves not only the climate, but even the scenery of Egypt, which is
more charming to his eyes than the hills and vales of Scotland or the
mountains of Switzerland. "But you must admit," I said, "that it has a
great monotony." "No," he replied, "in Lombardy there is monotony; but
Egypt is immensity, infinity, eternity. The features of the landscape
may be the same, but the eye never wearies." Surely _his_ eye never
does, for it is touched with a poetic vision; he sees more than meets
the common eye; every passing cloud changes the lights and shadows;
and to him there is more of beauty in the sunset flashing through the
palm groves, as the leaves are gently stirred by the evening wind,
than in all the luxuriance of tropical forests. Even if we did not
quite share his enthusiasm, we could not but be charmed by the
pictures which were floating before his mind's eye, and by the
eloquence of his description. As he loves the country, so he loves the
people of Egypt. Poor and helpless as they are, they have won upon his
affection; he says "they are but children;" but if they have the
weakness of children, they have also their simplicity and
trustfulness; and I could see that his great ambition was to break up
that system of forced labor which crushes them to the earth, and to
secure to them at least some degree of liberty and of justice.

With all its newness and freshness this city retains its Oriental
character. Indeed Grand Cairo is said to be the most Oriental of
cities except Damascus. It has four hundred thousand inhabitants, and
in its ancient portions has all the peculiar features of the East. Not
only is the city different from Constantinople, but the people are
different; they are another race, and speak another language. Turks
and Arabs are as different as Englishmen and Frenchmen.

We are entertained every time that we go out of doors, with the
animated and picturesque life of the streets. There are all races and
all costumes, and all modes of locomotion. There are fine horses and
carriages. I feel like Joseph riding in Pharaoh's chariot, when we
take a carriage to ride out to Shoobra, one of the palaces of the
Khedive, with syces dressed in white running before to herald our
royal progress, and shout to the people to get out of our way. But one
who prefers a more Oriental mode of riding, can mount a camel, or
stoop to a donkey, for the latter are the smallest creatures that ever
walked under the legs of a man, and if the rider be very tall, he will
need to hold up his feet to keep them from dangling on the ground. Yet
they are hardy little creatures, and have a peculiar amble which they
keep up all day. They are very useful for riding, especially in some
parts of the city where the streets are too narrow to allow a carriage
to pass.

The donkey-men are very sharp, like their tribe in all parts of the
world. The Arabs have a great deal of natural wit, which might almost
entitle them to be called the Irish of the East. They have picked up a
few words of English, and it is amusing to hear them say, with a most
peculiar accent, "All right," "Very good," "Go ahead." They seem to
know everybody, and soon find out who are their best customers. I
cannot go down the steps without a dozen rushing toward me, calling
out "Doctor, want a donkey?" One of them took me on my weak side the
first day by saying that the name of his animal was "Yankee Doodle,"
and so I have patronized that donkey ever since, and a tough little
beast he is, scudding away with me on his back at a great rate. His
owner, a fine looking Arab, dressed in a loose blue gown and snowy
turban, runs barefooted behind him, to prick him up, if he lags in his
speed, or if perchance he goes too fast, to seize him by the tail, and
check his impetuosity. We present a ludicrous spectacle when thus
mounted, setting out for the bazaars, where our experience of
Constantinople is repeated.

Of course the greatest sight around Cairo is the Pyramids. It is an
event in one's life to see these grandest monuments of antiquity. The
excursion is now very easy. They are eight miles from Cairo, and it
was formerly a hard day's journey to go there and back, as one could
only ride on a donkey or a camel, and had to cross the river in boats;
and the country was often inundated, so that one had to go miles
around. But the Khedive, who does everything here, has changed all
that. He has built an iron bridge over the Nile, and a broad road,
raised above the height of the annual inundations, so as never to be
overflowed, and lined with trees, the rapid-growing acacia, so that
one may drive through a shaded avenue the whole way. A shower which
had fallen the night before we went (a very rare thing in Egypt at
this season) had laid the dust and cooled the air, so that the day was
perfect, and we drove in a carriage in an hour and a half from our
hotel to the foot of the Pyramids. The two largest of these are in
sight as soon as one crosses the Nile, but though six miles distant
they seem quite near. Yet at first, and even when close to them, they
hardly impress the beholder with their real greatness. This is owing
to their pyramidal form, which, rising before the eye like the slope
of a hill, does not strike the senses or the imagination as much as
smaller masses which rise perpendicularly. One can hardly realize that
the Pyramid of Cheops is the largest structure in the world--the
largest probably ever reared by human hands. But as it slopes to the
top, it does not present its full proportions to the eye, nor impress
one so much as some of the Greek temples with their perpendicular
columns, or the Gothic churches with their lofty arches, and still
loftier towers, soaring to heaven. Yet the Great Pyramid is higher
than them all, higher even than the spire of the Cathedral at
Strasburg; while in the surface of ground covered, the most spacious
of them, even St. Peter's at Rome, seems small in comparison. It
covers eleven acres, a space nearly as large as the Washington Parade
Ground in New York; and is said by Herodotus to have taken a hundred
thousand men twenty years to build it. Pliny agrees in the length of
time, but says the number of workmen employed was over three hundred
thousand!

But mere figures do not give the best impression of height; the only
way to judge of the Great Pyramid is to see it and to ascend it. One
can go to the top by steps, but as these steps are blocks of stone,
many of which are four feet high, it is not quite like walking up
stairs. One could hardly get up at all but with the help of the Arabs,
who swarm on the ground, and make a living by selling their services.
Four of them set upon me, seizing me by the hands, and dragging me
forward, and with pulling and pushing and "boosting," urged on by my
own impatience--for I would not let them rest a moment--in ten minutes
we were at the top, which they thought a great achievement, and rubbed
down my legs, as a groom rubs down a horse after a race, and clapped
me on the back, and shouted "All right," "Very good." I felt a little
pride in being the first of our party on the top, and the last to
leave it.

These Arab guides are at once very troublesome and very necessary. One
cannot get along without them, and yet they are so importunate in
their demands for backsheesh that they become a nuisance. They are
nominally under the orders of a Sheik, who charges two English
shillings for every traveller who is assisted to the top, but that
does not relieve one from constant appeals going up and down. I found
it the easiest way to get rid of them to give somewhat freely, and
thus paid three or four times the prescribed charge before I got to
the bottom. No doubt I gave far too much, for they immediately quoted
me to the rest of the party, and held me up as a shining example. I am
afraid I demoralized the whole tribe, for some friends who went the
next day were told of an American who had been there the day before,
who had given "beautiful backsheesh." The cunning fellows, finding I
was an easy subject, followed me from one place to another, and gave
me no peace even when wandering among the tombs, or when taking our
lunch in the Temple of the Sphinx, but at every step clamored for
more; and when I had given them a dozen times, an impudent rascal came
up even to the carriage, as we were ready to drive away, and said that
two or three shillings more would "make all serene!"--a phrase which
he had caught from some strolling American, and which he turns to good
account.

But one would gladly give any sum to get rid of petty annoyances, and
to be able to look around him undisturbed. Here we are at last on the
very summit of the Great Pyramid, and begin to realize its immensity.
Below us men look like mice creeping about, and the tops of trees in
the long avenue show no larger than hot-house plants. The eye ranges
over the valley of the Nile for many miles--a carpet of the richest
green, amid which groups of palms rise like islands in a sea. To the
east beyond the Nile is Cairo, its domes and minarets standing out
against the background of the Mokattam hills, while to the west
stretches far away the Libyan desert.

Overlooking this broad landscape, one can trace distinctly the line of
the overflow of the Nile. Wherever the waters come, there is greenness
and fertility; at the point where they cease, there is barrenness and
desolation. It is a perpetual struggle between the waters and the
sands, like that which is always going on in human history between
barbarism and civilization.

In the Pyramids the two things which impress us most are their vast
size and their age. As we stand on the top, and look down the long
flight of steps which leads to the valley below, we find that we are
on the crest of a mountain of stone. Some idea of the enormous mass
imbedded in the Great Pyramid may be gathered from the fact,
ascertained by a careful computation (estimating its weight at seven
millions of tons, and considering it a solid mass, its chambers and
passages being as far as discovered but 1/2000th of the whole), that
these blocks of stone, placed end to end, would make a wall a foot and
a half broad, and ten feet high around England, a distance of 883
miles--a wall that would shut in the island up to the Scottish border.

And the Pyramids are not only the greatest, but the oldest monuments
of the human race, the most venerable structures ever reared by the
hand of man. They are far older than any of the monuments of Roman or
Grecian antiquity. They were a marvel and a mystery then as much as
they are to-day. How _much_ older cannot be said with certainty.
Authorities are not fully agreed, but the general belief among the
later chronologists is that the Great Pyramid was built about two
thousand one hundred and seventy years before the time of Christ, and
the next in size a century later. Thus both have been standing about
four thousand years. Napoleon was right therefore when he said to his
soldiers before the battle fought with the Mamelukes under the shadow
of the Pyramids, "From those heights forty centuries behold you." This
disposes of the idea which some have entertained, that they were built
by the children of Israel when they were in Egypt; for according to
this they were erected two hundred years before even the time of
Abraham. Jacob saw them when he came down into Egypt to buy corn; and
Joseph showed them to his brethren. The subject Hebrews looked up to
them in the days of their bondage. Moses saw them when he was brought
up in the court of Pharaoh, and they disappeared from the view of the
Israelites only when they fled to the Red Sea. They had been standing
a thousand years when Homer sang of the siege of Troy; and here came
Herodotus the father of history, four hundred years before Christ, and
gazed with wonder, and wrote about them as the most venerable
monuments of antiquity, with the same curious interest as Rawlinson
does to-day. So they have been standing century after century, while
the generations of men have been flowing past, like the waters of the
Nile.

We visited the Great Pyramid again on our return from Upper Egypt, and
explored the interior, but reserve the description to another chapter.



CHAPTER II.

ON THE NILE.


At last we are on the Nile, floating as in a dream, in the finest
climate in the world, amid the monuments and memories of thousands of
years. Anything more delightful than this climate for winter cannot be
imagined. The weather is always the same. The sky is always blue, and
we are bathed in a soft, delicious atmosphere. In short, we seem to
have come, like the Lotus-eaters, to "a land where it is always
afternoon." In such an air and such a mood, we left Cairo to make the
voyage to which we had been looking forward as an event in our lives.

To travellers who desire to visit Egypt, and to see its principal
monuments, without taking more time than they have at command, it is a
great advantage that there is now a line of steamers on the Nile. The
boats belong to the Khedive, but are managed by Cook & Son, of London,
the well-known conductors of excursions in Europe and the East. They
leave Cairo every fortnight, and make the trip to the First Cataract
and back in twenty days, thus comprising the chief objects of interest
within a limited time. Formerly there was no way to go up the Nile
except by chartering a boat, with a captain and crew for the voyage.
This mode of travel had many charms. The kind of boat--called a
_dahabeeah_--was well fitted for the purpose, with a cabin large
enough for a single family, or a very small party, and an upper deck
covered with awnings; and as it spread its three-cornered lateen sail
to the wind, it presented a pretty and picturesque object, and the
traveller floated along at his own sweet will. This had only the
drawback of taking a whole winter. But to leisurely tourists, who like
to do everything thoroughly, and so take but one country in a year; or
learned Egyptologists, who wish, in the intervals of seeing monuments,
to make a special study of the history of Egypt; or invalids, who
desire only to escape the damps and fogs of Britain, or the bitter
cold of the Northern States of America--nothing can be imagined more
delightful. There is a class of overworked men for whom no medicine
could be prescribed more effectual than a winter idled away in this
soothing, blissful rest. Nowhere in the world can one obtain more of
the _dolce far niente_, than thus floating slowly and dreamily on the
Nile. But for those of us who are wandering over all the earth,
crossing all the lands and seas in the round world, this slow voyaging
will not answer.

Nor is it necessary. One can see Egypt--not of course minutely, but
sufficiently to get a general impression of the country--in a much
less time. It must be remembered that this is not like other countries
which lie four-square, presenting an almost equal length and breadth,
but in shape is a mere line upon the map, being a hundred times as
long as it is broad. To be exact, Egypt from the apex of the
Delta--that is from Cairo--to the First Cataract, nearly six hundred
miles, is all enclosed in a valley, which, on an average, is only six
miles wide, the whole of which may be seen from the deck of a steamer,
while excursions are made from day to day to the temples and ruins. It
is a mistake to suppose that one sees more of these ruins on a boat
because he is so much longer about it, when the extra time consumed is
not spent at Denderah or Thebes, but floating lazily along with a
light wind, or if the wind be adverse, tied up to a bank to await a
change. In a steamer the whole excursion is well divided, ample time
being allowed to visit every point of interest, as at Thebes, where
the boat stops three days. As soon as one point is done, it moves on
to another. In this way no time is lost, and one can see as much in
three weeks as in a dahabeeah in three months.

Our boat carried twenty-seven passengers, of whom more than half were
Americans, forming a most agreeable company. All on deck, we watched
with interest the receding shores, as we sailed past the island of
Rhoda, where, according to tradition, the infant Moses was found in
the bulrushes; and where the Nilometer, a pillar planted in the water
ages ago, still marks the annual risings and fallings of the great
river of Egypt. The Pyramids stood out clear against the western sky.
That evening we enjoyed the first of a series of glorious sunsets on
the Nile. Our first sail was very short--only to Sakkara, a few miles
above Cairo, where we lay to for the night, the boat being tied up to
the bank, in the style of a steamer on the Mississippi.

Early the next morning our whole company hastened ashore, where a
large array of donkeys was waiting to receive us. These had been sent
up from Cairo the night before. My faithful attendant was there with
"Yankee Doodle," and claimed me as his special charge. We were soon
mounted and pricking over what we should call "bottom lands" in the
valleys of our Western rivers, the wide plain being relieved only by
the palm groves, and rode through an Arab village, where we were
pursued by a rabble rout of ragged children. The dogs barked, the
donkeys brayed, and the children ran. Followed by such a retinue, we
approached the Pyramids of Sakkara, which stand on the same plateau as
those of Ghizeh, and are supposed to be even older in date. Though
none of them are equal to the Great Pyramid, they belong to the same
order of Cyclopean architecture, and are the mighty monuments of an
age when there were giants in the earth.

There is a greater wonder still in the Tombs of the Sacred Bulls,
which were long buried beneath the sands of the desert, but have been
brought to light by a modern explorer, but which I will not describe
here, as I shall speak of them again in illustration of the religious
ideas of the Egyptians.

Near the Pyramids of Sakkara is the site of Memphis, the capital of
ancient Egypt, of whose magnificence we have the most authentic
historic accounts, but of which hardly a trace remains. We galloped
our donkeys a long distance that we might pass over the spot where it
stood, but found only great mounds of earth, with here and there a few
scattered blocks of granite, turned up from the soil, to tell of the
massive structures that are buried beneath. The chief relic of its
former glory is a statue of Rameses the Great, one of the most famous
of the long line of the Pharaohs--a statue which was grand enough to
be worthy of a god--being some fifty feet high, but which now lies
stretched upon the earth, with its face downward, all its fine
proportions completely buried in a little pond--or rather puddle--of
dirty water! At certain seasons of the year, when the Nile subsides,
the features are exposed, and one may look upon a countenance "whose
bend once did awe the world;" but at present, seeing only the back,
and that broken, it has no appearance or shape of anything, and might
be a king, or queen, or crocodile. What a bitter satire is it on all
human pride, that this mighty king and conqueror, the Napoleon of his
day--who made nations tremble--now lies prone on the earth, his
imperial front buried in the slime and ooze of the Nile! That solitary
stone is all that is left of a city of temples and palaces, which are
here entombed, and where now groves of palms wave their tasselled
plumes, like weeping willows over the sepulchre of departed greatness.

Our next excursion was to the remains of a very remote antiquity on
the other side of the Nile--the Rock-Tombs of Beni-Hassan--immense
caverns cut in the side of a mountain, in which were buried the great
ones of Egypt four thousand years ago. Many of them are inscribed with
hieroglyphics, and decorated with frescoes and bas-reliefs, in which
we recognize not only the appearance of the ancient Egyptians, but
even of the animals which were familiar in that day, such as the lion,
the jackal, and the gazelle, and more frequently the beasts of
burden--bulls and donkeys; but in none do we discover the horse, nor,
what is perhaps even more remarkable in a country surrounded by
deserts--the camel.

In the King's tomb, or sepulchral chamber, a room some forty feet
square, hollowed out of the solid rock, the vaulted roof is supported
by Doric pillars, which shows that the Greeks obtained many of their
ideas of architecture in Egypt, as well as of philosophy and religion.

As we continue our course up the river, we observe more closely the
features of the valley of the Nile. It is very narrow and is abruptly
bounded by barren and ragged mountains. Between these barriers the
river winds like a serpent from side to side, now to the east, and now
to the west, but inclining more to the range of Eastern or Arabian
hills, leaving the greater breadth of fertility on the western bank.
Here is the larger number of villages; here is the railroad which the
Khedive has built along the valley, beside which runs the long line of
telegraph poles, that sign of civilization, keeping pace with the iron
track, and passing beyond it, carrying the electric cord to the upper
Nile, to Nubia and Soudan. The Khedive, with that enterprise which
marks his administration, has endeavored to turn the marvellous
fertility of this valley to the most profitable uses. He has
encouraged the culture of cotton, which became very extensive during
our civil war, and is still perhaps the chief industry of the country.
Next to this is the growth of the sugar-cane: he has expended millions
in the erection of great manufactories of sugar, whose large white
walls and tall chimneys are the most conspicuous objects at many
points along the Nile.

Now, as thousands of years ago, the great business of the people is
_irrigation_. The river does everything. It fertilizes the land; it
yields the crops. The only thing is to bring the water to the land at
the seasons when the river does not overflow. This is done by a very
simple and rude apparatus, somewhat like an old-fashioned well-sweep,
by which a bucket is lowered into the river, and as it is swung up the
water is turned into a trench which conducts it over the land. This is
the _shadoof_, the same which was used in the time of Moses. There is
another method by which a wheel is turned by an ox, lifting up a
series of buckets attached to a chain, but this is too elaborate and
expensive for the greater part of the poor people who are the tillers
of the soil.

We pass a great number of villages, but, larger and smaller, all
present the same general features. At a distance they have rather a
pretty effect, as they are generally embowered in palm trees, out of
which sometimes peers the white minaret of a mosque. But a nearer
approach destroys all the picturesqueness. The houses are built of
unburnt brick, dried in the sun. They are mere huts of mud--as
wretched habitations as an Irish hovel or an Indian wigwam. The floor
is the earth, where all sexes and ages sit on the ground, while in an
enclosure scarcely separate from the family, sheep and goats, and dogs
and asses and camels, lie down together.

The only pretty feature of an Arab village is the _doves_. Where these
Africans got their fondness for birds, I know not, but their mud
houses are surmounted--and one might almost say _castellated_--with
dove-cotes, which of course are literally "pigeon-holed," and stuck
round with branches, to seem like trees, and these rude aviaries are
alive with wings all day long. It was a pretty and indeed a touching
sight to see these beautiful creatures, cooing and fluttering above,
presenting such a contrast, in their airy flights and bright plumage,
to the dark and sad human creatures below.

But if the houses of the people are so mean and poor, their clothing
is still worse, consisting generally of but one garment, a kind of
sack of coarse stuff. The men working at the _shadoof_ on the river
brink have only a strip of cloth around their loins. The women have a
little more _dress_ than the men, though generally barefoot and
bareheaded--while carrying heavy jars of water on their heads. The
children have the merest shred of a garment, a clout of rags, in such
tatters that you wonder how it can hold together, while many are
absolutely naked.

This utter destitution would entail immense suffering, and perhaps
cause the whole race to die out, but for the climate, which is so mild
that it takes away in a great degree the need of shelter and raiment,
which in other countries are necessary to human existence.

This extreme poverty is aggravated by one disease, which is almost
universal. The bright sun, glaring on the white sands, produces an
inflammation of the eyes, which being neglected, often ends in
blindness. I have seen more men in Egypt with one eye, or with none,
than in all Europe.

It might be supposed that a people, thus reduced by poverty and
smitten by disease, would be crushed out of all semblance of humanity.
And yet this Arab race is one which has a strong tenacity of life.
Most travellers judge them harshly, because they are disgusted by the
unceasing cry for _backsheesh_, which is the first word that a
stranger hears as he lands in Egypt, and the last as he leaves it. But
even this (although it is certainly a nuisance and a pest) might be
regarded with more merciful judgment, if it were considered that it is
only the outward sign of an internal disease; that general beggary
means general poverty and general misery.

Leaving this noisy crowd, which gathers about us in every village that
we enter, it is easy to find different specimens of Arab character,
which engage our interest and compel our respect. One cannot look at
these men without admiring their physique. They remind me much of our
American Indians. Like them, they are indolent, unless goaded to work
by necessity, and find nothing so pleasant as to sit idly in the sun.
But when they stand up they have an attitude as erect as any Indian
chief, and a natural dignity, which is the badge of their race. Many a
man who has but a single garment to cover him, will wrap it about him
as proudly as any Spanish cavalier would toss his cloak over his
shoulders, and stalk away with a bold, free stride, as if, in spite of
centuries of humiliation, he were still the untamed lord of the
desert. Their old men are most venerable in appearance. With their
long beards, white turbans, and flowing garments, they might stand for
the picture of Old Testament patriarchs. The women too (who do not
cover their faces as much as those in lower Egypt), though coarsely
and meanly dressed, yet as they walk with their water-jars on their
heads, stand more erect than the fashionable ladies of our cities. I
see them every day coming to fill their "pitchers" precisely as
Rebecca and Rachel came three thousand years ago, and if I should
approach one, saying, Give me to drink, (which I might well do, for
the water of the Nile--though containing so much sediment, that it
needs to be filtered--is as soft and sweet as that of our own Croton),
she would let down her jar from her head just as Rebecca let down her
jar for the servant of Abraham, when he came to ask her in marriage
for his master's son Isaac.

The children too, though often naked, and if clothed at all, always in
rags, yet have fine olive complexions, and dazzling teeth, and those
bright eyes which are the sign of a degree of native intelligence.

Nor can I refuse to say a word for the poor donkey-boy. Many years ago
a Scotchman in the Cape Colony, South Africa, who was accustomed to
make long journeys in the bush, wrote a little poem, depicting the
joys of that solitary life, which began,

     "Afar in the desert I love to ride,
     With the silent bush-boy by my side."

The donkey-boy is never silent, he is always singing or calling to his
donkey, urging him forward with stick and voice; yet who could wish a
more patient or faithful attendant, who, though on foot, trots by your
side from morning to night, the slave of your caprice, taking meekly
all your rebukes, perhaps undeserved, and content at last with a
pittance for his service?

So have I had a little girl as a water-carrier, running close to my
saddle all day long, keeping up with the donkey's pace, and carrying a
small jar of water on her head, to wash my hands and face, or assuage
my thirst, thankful at last for a few piastres as her reward.

We reached Assiout, the capital of Upper Egypt, early Sunday morning,
and laid up for the day. While our boat's company were preparing to go
on shore to see the town, I mounted a donkey and started off to find
the American Mission, which is at work among the Copts, who claim to
be the descendants of the ancient Egyptians. I arrived at the chapel
in time to hear a sermon and an address to the Sunday-school. As the
services were in Arabic, I could not understand what was said, but I
could perceive at once the earnestness of the speakers, and the close
attention of the hearers. After the sermon there was a baptism. The
congregation was a very respectable one both in numbers and
appearance. There were perhaps two hundred present, all decently,
although some were very poorly clad, and presented a striking contrast
to the ragged and dirty people around them. In the quiet and orderly
worship, and the songs that were sung, which were Arabic words to
American tunes, there was much to make one think of home. There was
nothing to distinguish the congregation except the Oriental turbans
and dress, and the fact that the women sat apart from the men,
separated by a screen, which shows that the seclusion of women is not
confined to the Mohammedans. It is an Oriental custom, and is observed
by the Copts as well as the Moslems. I am told that even among
Christian families here, it is not considered quite "the thing" for
women to go abroad and show impertinent curiosity, and that ladies of
good position, who are as intelligent as most Orientals, have never
seen the Nile, but two miles distant! Such is the power of fashion
even in Africa. In the church are several men of wealth, who give
freely of their means, as well as use their influence, for its
support. The Copts are nominal Christians, although, like most of the
Christian sects of the East, they are very ignorant and very
superstitious. But they have not the fanatical hatred to Christianity
of the Mussulmans. They acknowledge the authority of the Bible, and
are thus more open to argument and persuasion. Besides this
congregation, the mission has some dozen schools in the surrounding
country. In the town itself, besides the schools for the poorest
children, it has a boarding-school for those of a better class, an
academy which is the beginning of a college, and half a dozen young
men are preparing for the ministry. The field is a very hopeful one,
and I was assured that the success of the mission was limited only by
the means at its disposal.

After visiting the schools, Rev. Mr. Strang accompanied me through the
town. It has over twenty-five thousand inhabitants, and is the point
of departure for the caravans which cross the Great Desert to Darfour
and the far interior of Africa, returning laden with ivory and ostrich
feathers, as in the days of King Solomon. We saw in an open square, or
market-place, some hundred camels, that, as they lay wearily on the
earth, looked as if they might have made the long journey over the
trackless sands. Laborers were at work, with no respect for the day,
for Friday is the Mohammedan Sabbath; and my friend pointed out, where
a number of workmen were building a house, the "taskmaster" sitting on
the top of the wall to overlook them, as in the days of the Bible. As
we returned by an old portal in the city walls, we found a number of
long-bearded and venerable men, who were "sitting in the gate" as
"elders" to administer justice. The city gate is the place of honor
and of justice now, as it was thousands of years ago.

In the mountain behind the town are a great number of tombs, like
those of Beni-Hassan, vast chambers hewn out of the rock ages ago for
burial places. We walked along by these silent memorials of the mighty
dead, to the summit, from which is one of the most beautiful views of
the valley of the Nile. Below the plain is spread out for many miles,
well watered like the garden of the Lord, the emerald green coming up
to the very foot of the barren hills. But there it ceases instantly,
giving place to the desert.

These contrasts suggest some comparisons between the scenery and the
climate of Egypt, and our own country. Whoever breathes this balmy
air, and looks up to this cloudless sky, must feel that the Lord of
all the earth has been bountiful to Egypt. As we read of the winter
storms now raging over half of Europe, we bless the more kindly skies
that are over us now. But after a few weeks of this dreamy, languid
life, one begins to feel the want of something else to stir his blood.
He finds that nature in Egypt, like the works of man, like the temples
and the pyramids, is a sublime monotony. The landscapes are all the
same. There are four or five grand features, the river, the valley,
the hills that enclose it, and beyond the boundless desert, and over
all the burning sun and sky. These are the elements that enter into
every landscape. There is no change, no variety. Look where you will,
there is no vision in the distance of lofty peaks dark with pines, or
white with snow, no torrents leaping down the mountain side (the
_silence_ of Egypt is one of the things that most oppress me), no
brooks that run among the hills, no winding paths along their banks
that invite the stranger to lose himself in their shade. I see indeed
hills on either horizon, but they are barren and desolate. On all
this double range, for six hundred miles, there is not a single green
thing--not a tree, not a shrub, not a blade of grass, not even a rock
covered with moss, only a waste of sand and stone. If you climbed
those hills yonder across the valley you would look off upon a
boundless plain of sand that stretches to the Red Sea; while behind
where we stand is the Libyan Desert, which is only an arm of the Great
Sahara, that crosses almost the whole of the continent. In all this
waste the valley of the Nile is the one narrow strip of fertility. And
even this is parched and burnt up to the very water's edge. Hence the
monotony of vegetation. There is not a forest in all Egypt, only the
palm groves, which are planted like garden flowers, but no tangled
wild wood, no lofty elms, no broad-spreading oaks that cast their
grateful shadow on the burning plains. All that variety of nature,
with which in other lands she beguiles the weary heart of man, is
wanting here. It is indeed the land of the sun, and in that is at once
its attraction and its terror, as the fiery orb beats down upon it,
withering man and beast, and turning the earth into a desert.

Seeing this monotony of nature, and feeling this monotony of life, one
begins to pine after awhile, for a return to the scenes more varied,
though more wild and rugged, of his own more northern clime. We hear
much of the beauty of a "cloudless sky." It is indeed a relief for a
few weeks to those who escape from wintry storms, from bitter winds
and blinding snow. But who would have sunshine _forever_? The light
and warmth are better when softened and subdued by clouds that
intercept the overpowering rays. But here the clouds are few, and they
do not "return after the rain," for there _is_ no rain. In Lower Egypt
there is what may be called a rainy season. In the Delta, as the
clouds roll up from the Mediterranean, there is sometimes a sound of
abundance of rain. But in Upper Egypt it may be said that it never
rains. In Assiout it has rained but three times in ten years! Of
course the heat is sometimes fearful. Now it is mid-winter, and the
air is comparatively cool and bracing, but in midsummer it reaches 110
and 112 degrees in the shade! For days and nights together the heat is
so intense that not a leaf stirs in the palm groves. Not only is there
not a drop of rain--there is not a breath of air. This it is to have a
"cloudless sky"! Gladly then would our friend exchange for half the
year the climate of Egypt for that of America. How refreshing it would
be to him to see, just for once, great masses of black clouds
gathering over the Arabian Hills, to see the lightnings flash as he
has seen them in his native Ohio, and to hear the thunder-peals
rolling across the valley from mountain to mountain, and at last dying
away on the Libyan desert.

Think of this, ye who shiver in your winter storms at home, and sigh
for Egypt. Take it all in all, would you make the exchange?



CHAPTER III.

THE TEMPLES OF EGYPT--DID MOSES GET HIS LAW FROM THE EGYPTIANS?


In the distribution of the monuments of Egypt, it is a curious fact
that the Pyramids are found almost wholly in Lower Egypt, and the
great Temples in Upper Egypt. It was not till we had been a week on
the Nile, that we had our first sight of the latter at Denderah. We
have since spent three days at Thebes, the great centre of historical
interest, and have made a regular campaign of sight-seeing, starting
on excursions every morning, and thus have explored the ruins on both
sides of the river--for Thebes, like many other great cities--like
London and Paris--was built on two sides of a river, but one much
greater than the Thames or the Seine, yet not so great but that it was
spanned by a bridge (at least this is inferred from some ancient
sculptures and inscriptions), over which poured a population such as
pours over London Bridge to-day. The site seems made for a great
capital, for here the mountains retire from the river, sweeping round
in a circuit of some fifty miles, leaving a broad plain to be filled
with human habitations. Here four thousand years ago was built a city
greater than that on the banks of the Tigris or the Euphrates, than
Nineveh or Babylon. Here was the centre of power and dominion for two
continents--not only for Africa, but for Asia--to which flocked the
multitudinous nations of Assyria and Arabia and Persia and the
farthest East, as well as the tribes of Ethiopia--as two thousand
years later all the peoples of the earth flocked to Rome. It is easy,
from historical records and monumental inscriptions, to form some
idea of the glory of this capital of the ancient world. We can imagine
the tumult and the roar of this more ancient Rome, when the chariots
of mighty kings, and the tread of armies returning victorious from
distant wars, thundered through her hundred gates.

Then did the kings of Egypt rear temples and palaces and statues and
obelisks worthy of all that greatness. Then were built the most
gigantic temples ever raised by the hand of man--as much surpassing in
vastness and grandeur those reared centuries afterward by the Greeks,
as the latter surpass anything by the moderns. The temples of
Thebes--including Luxor and Karnac, which are parts of one city--are
as much grander than the Parthenon, as the Parthenon is grander than
the Madeleine at Paris, which is a feeble attempt to copy it.

We have now been a week--beginning with Denderah--studying these
ruins, and may give certain general impressions. We do not attempt any
detailed description, which must necessarily be inadequate, since
neither words nor figures convey an idea of them, any more than they
do of the Alps. What would be thought of an avenue nearly two miles
long, lined with over twelve hundred colossal sphinxes? Yet such was
the avenue from Luxor to Karnac--an approach worthy to lead to the
temple of the gods. What can we say of a forest of columns, each
twelve feet in diameter, stretching out in long colonnades; of the
massive walls covered with bas-reliefs; and obelisks in single shafts
of granite, of such height and weight that it is the wonder of modern
engineering how they could be cut from the side of the hills, and be
brought a hundred and forty miles, and erected on their firm bases.

But this temple--or rather cluster of temples and palaces--was not,
like the temple of Solomon, finished in a single reign. Karnac was not
the work of one man, or of one generation. It was twenty-five hundred
years in building, successive kings and dynasties adding to the mighty
whole, which was to represent all the glory of Egypt.

The general impression of these temples--and the same is true of the
Egyptian statues and sculptures--is one of grandeur rather than
beauty. They seek to overpower the senses by mere size. Sometimes they
overdo the matter. Thus in the temples at Karnac the columns seem to
me too large and too much crowded for the best effect. Ordinary trees
may be planted in a dense grove, but great, broad-spreading oaks or
elms require space around them; and if these columns were a little
more _spaced_--to use a printer's word--the architectural effect would
be still grander. So in the Egyptian sculpture, everything is
colossal. In the granite lions and sphinxes there is always an aspect
of power in repose which is very impressive, and strikes one with awe.
But in any lighter work, such as frescoes and bas-reliefs, there is a
total absence of delicacy and grace. Nothing can be more stiff. They
sometimes have a rude force of drawing, but beauty they have none.
That was born in Greece. All the sculptures on all the temples of
Egypt are not worth--except as historical monuments--the friezes of
the Parthenon.

One thing else has struck me much as to the plan of these temples,
viz.: that we see in them the types and models of much that has been
reproduced in various forms of ecclesiastical architecture. One has
but to observe with some care the construction of these vast
basilicas, to see how many features of Jewish, and even of Christian
and Moslem architecture, have been adopted from still older temples
and an earlier religion. Thus in the temple at Edfoo there is first
the vast enclosure surrounding the whole, and then within the walls an
outer court open to the sky, corresponding to the Court of the
Gentiles in the Temple at Jerusalem, to the Court of the Fountains
leading to the Mosques, and the cloister surrounding the approaches to
old abbeys and cathedrals. One might find a still closer resemblance
in forms of worship, in the vestments of priests, in the altars, and
in the burning of incense, etc., a parallel which scholars have often
traced.

And now of all this magnificence and glory of the ancient capital of
Egypt, what remains? Only these vast ruins of temples and palaces. The
"plain of Thebes" is still here, but deserted and silent. A few
columns and statues rise above the plain to mark where the city stood,
but the city itself is gone as much as the people who inhabited it
four thousand years ago. A few miserable mud huts are built against
the walls of mighty temples, and the ploughman drives his team over
the dust of the city of a hundred gates. I saw a fellah ploughing with
a cow and a camel yoked together, and a couple of half-naked Arabs
raising water with their _shadoof_ between the Memnon (the statue
which was said to sing when its stony lips were touched by the rising
of the sun) and its brother statue--the two great Colossi, between
which ran the Royal street to Luxor. Was there ever a more complete
and utter desolation? In the temple called the Rameseum once stood the
largest statue that ever was known--that of Rameses the Great (the
same who had a statue at Memphis, for he erected monuments to himself
everywhere), cut out of a single block of granite brought from the
First Cataract, and weighing nearly nine hundred tons! On this was
inscribed, as Herodotus writes, who saw it twenty-three hundred years
ago: "I am the king of kings: if any man wish to know how great I am,
and where I lie, let him surpass one of my works!" What a comment on
the emptiness of human ambition, that this colossal statue, which was
to last to the end of the world, was long ago pulled down by a later
conqueror, Cambyses, the Persian, and now lies on its back, with its
nose knocked off, and eyes put out, and all its glory in the dust!

In studying the figures and the inscriptions on the walls of temples,
there are many things which throw light on the manners and customs of
the ancient Egyptians. Here is a scene of hunting, or of fishing, or
of feasting. Here are the different trades, which show the skill of
the people in the mechanic arts, and many scenes which give us an
insight into their domestic life. These have been the subjects of two
learned and most interesting works by Wilkinson, which open the very
interior of ancient Egypt to our modern eyes. They show a very high
degree of civilization--of skill in all the useful arts, a skill fully
equal in many things, and in some greatly superior, to that of our own
day. Wendell Phillips, in his famous lecture on "The Lost Arts," finds
many of his illustrations in ancient Egypt. I could not but think that
this furnished a very effective answer to those advocates of
evolution, who hold that mankind sprung from animals, and have
gradually developed to their present state. How much progress have the
Egyptians made in four thousand years? Here the race has gone
backward, so that there is certainly no inherent tendency in our
nature to advance.

But I was less interested in studying the domestic life of the ancient
Egyptians, than their religious ideas. Herodotus says that the
Egyptians were a very religious people, excelling all others in the
honors paid to their gods; and this we can well believe, seeing the
temples that they reared for their worship. But what were the gods
they adored, and what sort of worship did they render, and how did all
this act on the life and character of the people? Here we obtain a
less exalted estimate of the ancient Egyptians. The remains which they
have left, while they illustrate the greatness of the empire, which
four thousand years ago had its seat in the valley of the Nile, do not
give a high idea of its Religion. The land was wholly given to
idolatry. The Egyptians had as many gods as the Greeks and Romans,
only baser and lower, indicating baser and lower ideas. They made
gods, not only of the sun, moon, and stars, but of beasts and birds
and reptiles--of the apis and the ibis--of the serpent and the
crocodile.

At Sakkara we visited one of the most stupendous mausoleums that we
have seen in Egypt--one which Herodotus described, but which for
centuries was so buried by the sands of the desert that its very site
was not known until brought to light by the researches of Mariette
Bey, who has done so much to restore the monuments of ancient Egypt.
The approach to it was by an avenue of sphinxes, which led to a vast
subterranean gallery--twenty feet wide and high--and leading two
thousand feet, more than a third of a mile, under the earth. This
long, vaulted passage is hewn in the solid rock--out of which open on
either side a series of chambers or recesses, like side chapels--each
containing a sarcophagus, 15  ×  8 feet. These tombs, hollowed out of
the solid granite, are so huge and massive that we wonder how they
ever could have been got there. Yet these great sarcophagi--fit for
the burial places of a long line of kings--were not for the Pharaohs
or the Ptolemies, but for the Sacred Bulls! Thirty of these sarcophagi
have been found, and on the walls are tablets which record the birth,
and death, and burial of each one of these sacred beasts. These were
the gods of Egypt, mother of the arts, and civilizer of the earth!
This great repository of dead divinities is a colossal monument, at
once of the architectural skill of the ancient Egyptians, and of their
degrading superstition.

This single fact is enough to answer those who would imply, if they do
not quite dare to assert, that the inspiration of the Books of Moses
was derived from the Egyptians. It is a favorite theory of certain
writers that Moses, being brought up in Egypt, here obtained both the
Law and the Religion which he gave to the Israelites. No doubt he did
learn much from a country that was at that time the most civilized in
the world. He was brought up in a court, and enjoyed every advantage
of a royal education. He was "learned in all the wisdom of the
Egyptians." And it detracts not at all from his inspiration, to
suppose that he may have been instructed to embody in his new and
better code whatever was excellent in the older system, and had been
approved by the experience of centuries. The ceremonial laws--such as
those of purification--may have been adopted from the Egyptians. But
these are the mere fringes of the garment of the great Lawgiver. As
soon as we open the Hebrew Scriptures, we find traces of a wisdom such
as the Egyptians never knew. The very first sentence--"In the
beginning God created the heavens and the earth"--scatters the fables
of Isis and Osiris, and substitutes for the troop of heathen deities
the worship of One Living and True God. This single declaration marks
a stupendous advance in the religious faith and worship of mankind.

The same first principle appears as the corner-stone of the law given
on Mount Sinai: "I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the
land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other
gods before me."

The second law of the first table breaks in pieces the images of the
gods of the Egyptians: "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven
image, nor any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, nor in
the earth beneath, nor in the waters under the earth." This was spoken
to a people that had just come out of a country where they worshipped
beasts and birds and reptiles, and where the walls of the temples were
covered with the images of all kinds of foul and creeping things.

In this age of the world, and among civilized nations, we cannot
understand the passion for idolatry. Yet it is one of the most
universal and ineradicable instincts of a half barbarous people. They
see tokens of an unseen power in the forces of nature, in clouds and
winds, in lightning and tempest, and they torment themselves with all
imaginable terrors, from which they seek relief and protection in
bowing down to gods of wood and stone.

The Israelites coming out of Egypt, were out of the house of bondage
in one sense, but they were in it in another. They were continually
relapsing into idolatry. The golden calf of Aaron was but an imitation
of the sacred bulls of Egypt. Often they pined for the products of the
fertile valley of the Nile. With nothing but the burning sands beneath
their feet, they might well long for the shade of the palm tree and
for its delicious fruit, and they said, Why hath this man Moses
brought us up to die in this wilderness? It required forty years of
wandering, and that a whole generation should leave their bones to
whiten the sands of the desert, before their children could be wholly
alienated from the worship of false gods. So not only with the
Israelites, but with all nations of men, ages of fiery discipline have
been necessary to bring back the race to this first article of our
faith: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, the Maker of heaven and
earth."

We might follow the comparison through all the tables of the law, to
show how absurd is the pretence that what Moses taught to the
Israelites he first learned from the Egyptians. Tell us, ye learned
antiquaries, where on all these temples, and in all the records which
they have left us, is there any trace of the Ten Commandments?

And yet Egypt is connected very intimately, in history at least, with
the birth of our religion. No other country, except Palestine, figures
so largely in the Bible. Abraham went down into Egypt. Here came the
sons of Jacob to buy corn, and found Joseph ruling in the house of
Pharaoh. And hither centuries later fled the virgin mother with her
child from the wrath of Herod, fulfilling the prediction, "Out of
Egypt have I called my son."

But Religion--the Divine wisdom which at once instructs and saves
mankind--came not from the valley of the Nile. Abraham and Jacob and
Moses saw the Pyramids standing just as we see them now, but they did
not point them to the true God. That knowledge came from a higher
source. "History," says Bunsen, "was born on that night when Moses,
with the law of God in his heart, led the people of Israel out of
Egypt." And not History only, but Religion then came to a new birth,
that was to be the herald of new and better hopes, and of a higher
civilization than was known to the ancient world.



CHAPTER IV.

THE EGYPTIAN DOCTRINE OF A FUTURE LIFE.


The valley of the Nile is one vast sepulchre. Tombs and temples!
Temples and tombs! This is the sum of the monuments which ancient
Egypt has left us. Probably no equal portion of the earth's surface
was ever so populous, at once with the living and the dead. It is but
a narrow strip of territory--a line of green between two deserts; and
yet on this mere _ribbon_ of Africa lived the millions that made one
of the most populous and powerful of ancient empires. They were fed by
the marvellous fertility of the Nile valley, till they stood upon it
almost as thick as the ranks of corn that waved around them: and here,
when life was ended, they found a resting-place in the bosom of the
earth that nourished them, on which they slept as children on a
mother's breast. This strip of earth, long and narrow like a grave,
has been the sepulchre of nations. Here the myriads of Egypt's ancient
reigns--from the time of Menes--through the long line of the Pharaohs
and Ptolemies--the generations that built the Pyramids and those that
came after--laid themselves down to sleep in the great valley. Thus
the very dust of Egypt was made up of the dust of ancient Egyptians.

But this was only the lot of the common people, to mingle their dust
with common clay--their tomb the common earth, their end to be exhaled
into the common air, or to reappear in other natural forms, living in
plants, blooming in flowers, or in broad-leaved palms, casting a
shadow on the earth from which they sprung. But for her great ones,
more enduring monuments were reared to guard their dust and perpetuate
their names. No people, ancient or modern, ever lavished so much on
these sacred and pious memorials. They expended more on the tombs of
the dead than on the houses of the living, for they reasoned that the
latter were but temporary dwellings, while the former were everlasting
habitations. The kings of Egypt cared more for great tombs than great
palaces, and they reared such mausoleums as the earth never saw
before. The Pyramids were their tombs, and the mountains were hollowed
into royal sepulchres. The rock tombs of Beni-Hassan are cut in the
side of the hills. The barren mountain that looks off upon the great
Libyan desert, is honeycombed with vast and silent halls of the dead.
At Thebes the traveller, ascending from the Nile, winds his way among
hills of sand into a valley of desolation. The summits around are not
covered with pines like our own darkly wooded hills, nor do even the
rocks gather moss--but all is bare and desolate. The desert has
overflowed the earth like a sea, and not a shrub nor a blade of grass
has survived the universal deluge. Yet here where not a living thing
can be found, has been discovered underground the most remarkable
series of tombs which exists. A whole mountain is pierced with deep
excavations. Passages open into its rocky sides, running many hundred
feet into the bowels of the earth, and branching off into recesses
like side chapels. These Halls of Death are like kings' palaces, with
stately chambers broad and high, whose sides and ceilings are covered
with hieroglyphics and illustrative symbols.

A fact so remarkable as this, that the architecture of a great empire
which has built the most colossal structures in the world, has this
tomblike character, must have a meaning. The Egyptians were a very
religious people. They were not a gay and thoughtless race, like some
of their Asiatic and European neighbors. There is something grave even
in their faces, as seen in ancient statues and monuments. Their very
architecture had this heavy and solemn character. These colossal
temples, these silent sphinxes, seem oppressed with some great mystery
which they cannot reveal. These tombs show that the Egyptian mind was
full of the idea of death, and of another life. The Egyptians were not
Atheists, nor Sadducees. They believed devoutly in God, and in a life
to come.

How strongly the idea of another life had taken hold of the Egyptian
mind is evident from the symbols in their religion. The symbol most
frequently employed is that of the _scarabæus_--or beetle--the image
of which appears everywhere, which by analogy teaches that life, in
passing through death, may be born to a new life. The beetle lays its
eggs in the slime of the Nile; it buries them in mud, which it works
into a ball, and rolls over and over, back to the edge of the desert,
and buries in sand. There its work is ended: nature does the rest. Out
of this grave comes in time a resurrection, and life is born of death.
The ostrich eggs hung up in mosques, have the same symbolical meaning.
The ostrich buries its eggs in the sand, and nature, that kind mother
which watches over all life, gives them being. Thus is conveyed the
same idea as in the analogy of the chrysalis and the butterfly.

Studying the religious faith of the Egyptians a little more closely,
we see that they believed not only in the immortality of the soul, but
in the resurrection of the body. The doctrine taught by Paul, was long
before taught by the priests of Egypt. Their tombs were not merely
memorials of those who had ceased to live, but resting-places for the
bodies of those whose spirits were absent but would some day return.
For this, bodies were embalmed with religious care; they were buried
in tombs hewn out of the solid rock, laid away in Pyramids, or in
caverns hollowed out of the heart of the mountains. There, embedded in
the eternal rocks, locked up with the bars of the everlasting hills,
it seemed that their remains would rest secure till the morning of
the resurrection day.

Further, they believed not only in immortality and in resurrection,
but also in retribution. The soul that was to pass into another life,
was to go into it to be judged. There it was to be called to account
for the deeds done in the body. Even the funeral rites indicated how
strong was the belief of a judgment to come for all who departed this
life. After the bodies were embalmed, they were borne in solemn
procession to the Nile (most of the tombs being on the western bank),
or to a sacred lake, across which they were to be ferried. (Did not
this suggest to later Roman mythologists the river Styx, and the
boatman Charon who conveyed departed souls to the gloomy shades of
Pluto?) As the funeral procession arrived at the borders of the lake,
it paused till certain questions were answered, on which it depended
whether the dead might receive burial: or should be condemned to
wander in darkness three thousand years. If it passed this ordeal, it
moved forward, not to its everlasting repose, but to the Hall of
Judgment, where Osiris sits upon his throne as the judge of all
mankind. This scene is constantly represented in sculptures, in
bas-reliefs, and in frescoes on the walls of tombs. In one of them a
condemned wretch is driven away in the shape of a pig! (Was it here
that Pythagoras, who studied in Egypt, obtained his doctrine of the
transmigration of souls?) Before Osiris is the scribe, the recording
angel, who keeps a faithful record of the deeds done in the body. A
long line of judges--forty-two in number--sit arrayed as the final
arbiters of his fate--each with his question, on the answer to which
may depend the destiny of the departed soul.

The "Book of the Dead" (copies of which are still found wrapped up
with mummies: several are in the British Museum) gives the answers to
be made to these searching questions, and also the prayers to be
offered, and the hymns that are to be sung, as the soul enters the
gloomy shades of the under-world.

In this Egyptian doctrine of a future life there are Christian ideas.
Some indeed will say that Egypt gave rather than received; that she
was the mother of all learning and all wisdom in the ancient world;
that the Greeks obtained their philosophy from her (for Plato as well
as Pythagoras studied in Egypt); that the Eleusinian mysteries came
from Africa; that Moses here found what he taught the Hebrews; and
that even the Christian mysteries and the Christian faith came from
the banks of the Nile.

There is certainly much food for reflection in this reappearance of
certain religious ideas in different countries and under different
forms. But there is a contrast as well as a resemblance. While the
Hebrews learned so much from the Egyptians, it is very remarkable that
they did _not_ imbibe that strong faith in the reality of the
invisible world, which lies at the foundation of religion. One would
suppose that the Israelites, coming out of Egypt, would be full of
these thoughts, and of the hopes and fears of a life to come. Yet in
all the books of Moses, rarely, if ever, are these motives addressed
to the Hebrews. The German critics argue from this that the Hebrews
did not believe in another life. The late Dr. Edward Robinson, the
distinguished Hebrew scholar, said that he could not find that
doctrine in the Old Testament. Without admitting such an extreme view,
it is certainly remarkable that that idea is much less prominent in
the Old Testament than in the New. It is not Moses, but Christ who has
brought life and immortality to light.

But the Egyptian doctrine of a future life, while very curious and
interesting as a study of ancient belief, is utterly unsatisfying. The
ideas are detached and fragmentary, and wholly without evidence or
authority; they are merely the crude fancies of mythology, and not the
precise teachings of Revelation. And so in all the tombs and temples
of Egypt there is nothing which can relieve the doubts of a troubled
mind, or the sorrows of a heavy heart.

I have had some sober thoughts while floating on the bosom of the
Nile. We cannot but see the world through our own eyes and through our
moods of mind. To those who have left their dead beyond the sea,
foreign travel has many sad and lonely hours. The world seems cold and
empty, and even the most religious mind is apt to be haunted with
gloomy thoughts. This is not a mood of mind peculiar to atheists and
unbelievers. Many devout men, in seasons of mental depression, are
tortured with doubts whether, after all, their religious faith is not
a delusion and a dream.

And so many dark and bitter questionings come to me here in this land
of sepulchres. I have come to Egypt to learn something of the wisdom
of the Egyptians. Tell me then, ye tombs and temples and pyramids,
about God; tell me about the life to come! But the Pyramids speak not;
and the Sphinx still looks towards the East, to watch for the rising
sun, but is voiceless and mute. This valley of the Nile speaks of
nothing but death. From end to end its rock-ribbed hills are filled
with tombs. Yet what do they all teach the anxious and troubled heart
of man? Nothing! All these hills are silent. Not a sound, or even an
echo, comes from these dark sepulchres. No voice of hope issues out of
the caverns hollowed in the bosom of the hills. The hard granite of
the tombs itself is not more deaf to the cry of human anguish, or the
voice of supplication.

I turn from the monuments of man to nature. I stand on the bank of the
Great River, and ask if it brings not some secret out of the heart of
Africa? Tell me, ye night winds, blowing from African deserts; tell
me, ye stars shining in the African heaven (this sky of Egypt is so
pure and clear that the stars seem higher and more distant from this
lower world), what light can ye throw on this great mystery of death?
And the stars twinkle, but speak not, and the palm trees quiver in
the night wind, but give no answer; and the great Nile flows on
silently to the sea, as life flows on to eternity. Nature is dumb; the
great secret is not revealed.

For the revelation of that secret we turn not to Egypt, but to
Jerusalem. While the Egyptians groped darkly after the truth, how do
these dim shadows, these poor emblems and analogies, set forth by
contrast the clearer and better truth of revelation! All that is
written on the tombs of Egypt; all that is carved in stone, or written
in hieroglyphics on ancient sarcophagi; all that is built in temples
and pyramids; is not worth that one saying of our Lord, "I am the
Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in me, though he were
dead, yet shall he live."

We spent Christmas day at Thebes, where a number of English boats had
drawn up to the landing to keep the day, so dear to the hearts of
Englishmen throughout the world. On Christmas eve they were decorated
with palm branches, and at night were lighted up with Chinese
lanterns, while row-boats were floating about, the Arab boatmen
singing their wild, plaintive melodies.

Christmas brought a scene, if not so picturesque, yet far more sweet
and tender. It had been our good fortune to meet there Rev. Dr. Potter
of New York, the rector of Grace Church. He was going up the Nile with
Miss Wolfe, of Madison square. They were on two dahabeeahs, but kept
company, and anchored every night together. On Christmas day there was
a service on board Miss Wolfe's boat, which was attended by all the
English parties. It was held on the upper deck, which was spread with
carpets and covered with an awning on the top and sides to protect us
from the sun. Whether it was the strange scene, occurring in a distant
part of the world, or sad memories which were recalled by these
anniversary days, seldom has a service touched me more. It was very
sweet to hear the old, old prayers--some of them almost as old as
Christianity itself--to which we had so often listened in other
lands, and to join with the little company in the Christmas hymn:

     "Hark! the herald angels sing,
     Glory to the new-born King;
     Peace on earth and mercy mild;
     God and man are reconciled."

Dr. Potter read the service in his clear, rich voice, following it
with a sermon which was quite extempore and brief, but so simple and
so appropriate to the day that it went to every heart. And when at the
close was celebrated the communion, we all felt how pleasant it was in
such a place, so far from home, in a country surrounded by the ruins
of the temples of old idolatries, to join in the worship of Him who on
this day was born to be the Light and the Hope of the world. Better is
this than all that Egypt can teach us about a life to come.

And so we turn from these great temples and tombs, which only mock our
hopes, to Him who has passed through the grave, and lighted the way
for us to follow Him. Let scholars dispute the first intent of the
words, yet nothing in the Old Testament or the New, more distinctly
expresses what I rest upon than this: "I know that my Redeemer liveth
and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth; and though
worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God!"



CHAPTER V.

THE RELIGION OF THE PROPHET.


In a review of the faiths of Egypt, one cannot overlook that which has
ruled in the land for more than a thousand years, and still rules, not
only in Egypt, but over a large part of Asia and Africa. We arrived in
Cairo a few days too late to witness the departure of the pilgrims for
Mecca. Once in the year there is a gathering of the faithful for a
journey which is the event of their lives. The spectacle is one of the
most picturesque in the East, as a long procession, mounted on camels,
many of which are richly caparisoned, files through the streets of the
city, amid the admiring gaze of the whole population, and takes the
way of the desert. Slowly it moves Eastward to the Red Sea, and
passing around it, turns South to the heart of the Arabian Peninsula.

A caravan of pilgrims crossing the desert to visit the birthplace of
the prophet, is a proof that religious enthusiasm still lives even in
this unbelieving age. Perhaps the Moslem spirit is not so bigoted here
as at Constantinople. The Turk, with his heavy stolid nature, is a
more obstinate religionist than the Arab. And yet Mohammed was not a
Turk; he was an Arab, and the faith which he taught still fires the
heart of his race.

In one view Cairo may be considered the capital of Islam, as it is the
seat of the great University, from which its priests go forth to all
parts of the Mohammedan world. This University is nine hundred years
old--older than Oxford, and still flourishes with as much vigor as in
the palmy days of the Arabian conquest. A visit to it is the most
interesting sight in Cairo. There I saw collected together--not one
hundred or two hundred students, such as are found in our Theological
Seminaries in America--but ten thousand! As one expressed it, "there
were two acres of turbans," assembled in a vast inclosure, with no
floor but a pavement, and with a roof over it, supported by four
hundred columns, and at the foot of every column a teacher, surrounded
by pupils, who sat at his feet precisely as Paul sat at the feet of
Gamaliel. As we entered there rose a hum of thousands of voices,
reciting the Koran. These students are not only from Egypt, but from
all parts of Africa, from Morocco to Zanzibar. They come from far up
the Nile, from Nubia and Soudan; and from Darfour beyond the Great
Desert, and from the western coast of Africa. Asia too is largely
represented in students both from Western Asia, from Turkey, Arabia,
and Persia; and from Central Asia, from Khiva and Bokhara, and
Turkistan and Afghanistan, and the borders of China. They come without
staff or scrip. There is no endowment to support them; no Students'
Fund or Education Board. They live on the charities of the faithful,
and when their studies are ended, those who are to be missionaries on
this continent mount their camels, and joining a caravan, cross the
Desert, and are lost in the far interior of Africa.

This strange sight has set me a-thinking, and the more I think, the
more the wonder grows. A religion that supports great universities
from generation to generation; and that sends forth caravans, that are
like armies, on long pilgrimages, is not dead; it is full of life, and
can bring into the field tremendous forces to uphold its empire in the
East. What is the secret of its power, by which it lives on from
century to century, and seems as if it could not but by annihilating
die? There is no question of more interest to the historical student;
and no one which it is more necessary to understand in order to form
some just idea of the great Eastern War which is already looming above
the horizon. A full recognition of that which is good in Islam, and of
that which gives it power, would prevent many mistakes in forecasting
the future, although it might abate the sanguine confidence of our
missionary friends in the speedy triumph of Christianity over its
hereditary foe.

First of all, we must recognize the fact of its existence as one of
the great religions of the world. The number of its adherents is
variously estimated at from a hundred and fifty to a hundred and
eighty millions. It holds but a corner of Europe, but extends its
empire over a large part of Asia and Africa. The whole of Africa which
is not Pagan, is Moslem. In Asia Islam disputes the sway of Hindooism
in India, where the Queen has more Moslem subjects than the Sultan
himself, and of Buddhism in the islands of the Malayan Archipelago.
Over so large a part of the earth's surface is extended the wide
dominion of the Prophet. His followers number one-tenth, perhaps
one-eighth, or even one-sixth part of the human race.

Nor is this dominion a merely nominal thing. On the contrary, the true
believers are strong believers. It may well be doubted, whether among
the nations nominally Christian the mass of the people really believe
with half the firmness and the fervor of Mussulmans. The Moslems are
as sincere, and in their way as devout, as the adherents of any
religion on the face of the globe. No one can enter the mosque of St.
Sophia, and see the worshippers turning their faces towards Mecca, not
only kneeling but prostrating themselves, touching the pavement with
their foreheads, and repeating, in a low, mournful tone, passages from
the Koran, without feeling that these men really believe. Those
prostrate forms, those wailing voices, are not the signs of hypocrisy,
but of a faith that, however mistaken, is at least sincere. In their
own minds they are in the presence of the Highest, and offer worship
to the unseen God. Indeed they are more than believers, they are
zealots, carrying their faith to fanaticism. A body so vast in number,
composed of such fierce religionists, is certainly a great power in
the political and military, as well as religious, forces, that are yet
to contend for the mastery of the Eastern world.

Nor is this power inactive in spreading its faith; it is full of
missionary zeal. Max Müller divides all the religions of the world
into proselytizing and non-proselytizing. Mohammedanism belongs to the
former class as much as Christianity. The days are past when the
followers of the Prophet swept over large parts of Asia and Africa,
converting tribes and nations by the sword. And yet even at the
present day it keeps up a Propaganda as vigorous as that of the
Catholics at Rome. Its university here is training ten thousand young
apostles. Moslem missionaries preach the Koran, and make proselytes,
in all parts of India. But the chief field of their labors is in
Africa, where they have penetrated far into the interior, and
converted numerous tribes to the faith. It is difficult to obtain
accurate statistics in regard to the spread of Islam in Africa.
Livingstone thought the reports greatly exaggerated. That is quite
possible, and yet, making every allowance, there can be no doubt that
it has obtained a success much greater than that of Christian
missions.

A religion which has such a foundation on the solid earth, holding
nations and empires in its wide dominion; and which has such a
history, stretching over twelve centuries; is a subject worthy the
closest attention of scholars. Its history is not unlike that of
Christianity itself, in the feebleness of its beginning and the
greatness of its results. It started in an obscure corner of the
world--in the deserts of Arabia--and rapidly conquered the East,
overrunning all the adjacent parts of Asia and Africa, and extending
along the Mediterranean to the Straits of Gibraltar, and thence
crossed into Spain, where it maintained itself for eight hundred
years against all the power of Europe to expel it. Such conquests
show a prodigious vitality--a vitality not yet exhausted, as it still
holds the half of Asia and Africa. A faith which commands the
allegiance of so large a part of mankind must have some elements of
truth to give it such tremendous power. Perhaps we can find the key in
the character of its Founder, and in the faith which he taught.

A great deal has been written about the life of Mohammed, but even yet
his character is imperfectly understood. Perhaps we cannot fully
understand it, for there are in it contradictions which perplex the
most patient and candid student. By many he is dismissed at once as a
vulgar impostor, a sort of Joe Smith, who invented monstrous lies, and
by stoutly sticking to them got others to believe in them, and as soon
as he rallied a few followers about him, compelled neighboring tribes
to accept his faith by the unsparing use of the sword.

This is an easy way to get rid of a difficult historical question, but
unfortunately it does not explain the facts. It is by that sort of
cheap reasoning that Gibbon undertakes to explain the rapid spread of
Christianity. But if Mohammed had been a cunning impostor, his first
claim would have been to work miracles, which on the contrary he never
claimed at all, but distinctly repudiated. Nor was he a greedy
mercenary; he was a poor man; his followers relate with pride how he
mended his own clothes, and even pegged his own shoes. But he combined
every element of the visionary and the enthusiast. He had that vivid
imagination that conceives strongly of things invisible to the natural
sense, to which "things that are not become as things that are," and
that ardent temperament that kindles at the sight of these unseen
realities. Perhaps this temperament was connected with his bodily
constitution; from his youth he was subject to epileptic fits, and his
revelations were accompanied with convulsions. Such things are found
in other religions. They are quite common in the history of devout
and passionate Romanists. Nor are they unknown even among Protestants,
who profess to be more sober and rational. Among the Methodists, at
camp-meetings, a very frequent effect of religious emotion has been
that strong men were so prostrated that they fell to the ground and
became as dead, and when they recovered, retained impressions never to
be effaced, as if they had seen things which it was not lawful to
utter. The revelations of Mohammed were all accompanied by these
"physical manifestations." Sometimes the angel spoke to him as one man
to another; at other times something within his bosom sounded like a
bell, which he said "rent him in pieces." At such times he fell to the
ground and foamed at the mouth, or his eyes turned red, and he
streamed with perspiration, and roared like a camel, in his struggle
to give utterance to the revelation of God. This does not look like
imposture, but like insanity. The constitution of such a man is a
psychological study.

This natural ardor was inflamed by long seclusion. From his youth he
loved solitude. Like the old prophets, he withdrew from the world to
be alone with God. Like Elijah, he hid himself in a cave. Every year,
during the month of Ramadan, he retired to a cave in Mount Hera, three
miles from Mecca, to give himself up to religious contemplation; and
there, it is said, amid spasmodic convulsions, he had his first
vision, in which the angel Gabriel appeared to him.

This explanation of a mind half disordered, subject to dreams and
visions and fanatical illusions, is much more rational than that of
supposing in him an artful design to impose a new religion on his
countrymen. Like other enthusiasts, he became the victim of his own
illusions. His imagination so wrought upon him that he came to accept
his visions as Divine revelations. In this he was not playing a part;
he was not the conscious hypocrite. No doubt he believed himself what
he wished others to believe. Indeed he made them believe, by the very
sincerity and intensity of his own convictions.

Mohammedanism may be considered as a system of theology, and as a
system of morality. The former seems to have been derived largely from
Judaism. Mohammed belonged to the tribe of the Koreishites, who
claimed to be descended from Abraham through Ishmael. His family were
the keepers of the Caaba, or holy place of Mecca, where is the black
stone which was brought from heaven, and the spring Zemzem, which
sprang up in the desert to save the life of Hagar and her child. Thus
he was familiar from his earliest years with the traditions of the
patriarchs.

When a boy of fourteen he made a journey with his uncle into Syria,
where he may have learned more of the ancient faith. Much is said of
his becoming acquainted with a Nestorian bishop or monk, from whom he
is supposed to have learned something of Christianity. But he could
not have learned _much_, for his views of it were always extremely
vague. It is doubtful whether he ever saw the New Testament, or had
any knowledge of it other than that derived from some apocryphal
books. There is no trace in the Koran of the sublime doctrines of the
Gospel, or even of its moral precepts. Although Mohammed professed
great reverence for Jesus, whom with Moses he considers the greatest
of prophets next to himself, yet his ideas of the Religion which He
taught were of the most indefinite kind.

But one thing he did learn, which was common to Judaism and
Christianity--that there is but one God. The Monotheism of the Hebrews
took the stronger hold of him, from its contrast to the worship around
him, which had degenerated into gross idolatry. The tribes of Arabia
had become as base idolaters as the Canaanites. Even the holy Caaba
was filled with idols, and the mission of the prophet--as he regarded
it--was to restore the worship of the One Living and True God. His
first burst of prophetic fire and prophetic wrath was a fierce
explosion against idolatry, and it was a moment of triumph when he was
able to walk through the Caaba, and see the idols dashed in pieces.

Here then is the first and last truth of Islam, the existence of one
God. The whole is comprehended in this one saying, "God is God, and
Mohammed is his prophet."

With the homage due to God, is the respect due to His revealed will.
Moslems claim for the Koran what many Christians do not claim for the
Bible--a literal and verbal inspiration. Every word is Divine.

And not only is the unity of God the cardinal truth, but it is vital
to salvation. In this respect Islam is a Religion. It is not a mere
philosophy, the acceptance or rejection of which is a matter of
indifference. It is not merely a system of good morals--it is a Divine
code for the government of mankind, whose acceptance is a matter of
life and death--of salvation or damnation.

The doctrine of _retribution_ is held by the Moslems in its most rigid
form--more rigid indeed than in the Christian system: for there is no
atonement for sin. The judgment is inexorable; it is absolute and
eternal. Before their eyes ever stands the Day of Judgment--the Dies
Iræ--when all men shall appear before God to receive their doom.

But in that last day, when unbelievers shall be destroyed, the
followers of the prophet shall be saved. They can go to the tribunal
of their Maker without trembling. One day riding outside the walls of
Constantinople, we approached a cemetery just as a funeral procession
drew near, bearing the form of the dead. We stopped to witness the
scene. The mourners gathered around the place where the body was laid,
and then the ulema approached the grave, and began _an address to the
dead_, telling her (it was a woman) not to be afraid when the angel
came to call her to judgment, but to appear before the bar of the
Almighty, and answer without fear, for that no follower of the prophet
should perish.

The religious observances of the Moslems are very strict. As God is
the sole object of worship, so the great act of Religion is communion
with Him. Five times a day the voice of the muezzin calls them to
prayer. The frequent ablutions were perhaps derived from the Jewish
law. Fasting is imposed with a severity almost unknown in the
Christian world. The most rigid Catholics hardly observe the forty
days of Lent as the Moslems do the month of Ramadan. Almsgiving is not
only recommended, but required. Every true believer is commanded to
give one-tenth of his income to charity.

As to the moral results of Mohammedanism, it produces some excellent
effects. It inculcates the strictest temperance. The Koran prohibits
the use of wine, even though wine is one of the chief products of the
East. In this virtue of total abstinence the Moslems are an example to
Christians.

So in point of integrity; the honesty of the Turk is a proverb in the
East, compared with the lying of Christians. Perhaps this comes in
part not only from his religion, but from the fact that he belongs to
the conquering race. Tyrants and masters do not need to deceive, while
falsehood and deceit are the protection of slaves. Subject races,
which have no defence before the law, or from cruel masters, seek it
in subterfuge and deception. But this claim of integrity may be pushed
too far. However it may be in Asia Minor, among simple-minded Turks,
who have not been "spoiled by coming in contact with Christians,"
those who have to do with Turks in the bazaars of Constantinople, are
compelled to confess, that if they do not tell lies, they tell very
big truths. However, as between the Turk and the Greek, in point of
honesty, it is quite possible that those who know them both would give
the preëminence to the former.

Whatever the weakness of Mohammedanism, it does not show itself in
_that sort_ of vices. His very pride makes the Mussulman scorn these
meaner sins. His religion, as it lifts him up with self-esteem,
produces an effect on his outward bearing. He has an air of
independence which is unmistakable. I think I never saw a Mussulman
that was afraid to look me in the face. He has none of the sneaking
servility that we see in some races. This is a natural consequence of
his creed, according to which God is so great that no man is great in
his sight. Islam is at once a theocracy and a democracy. God is sole
Lawgiver and King, before whom all men stand on the same level. Hence
men of all nations and races fraternize together. In Constantinople
blacks and whites, the men of Circassia and the men of Ethiopia, walk
arm in arm, and stand on the level of absolute equality.

This democratic spirit is carried everywhere. There is no caste in
Islam, not even in India, where it is at perpetual war with the castes
of Hindooism. So as it spreads in the interior of Africa, it raises
the native tribes to a degree of manliness and self-respect which they
had not known before. It "levels up" the African race. Our
missionaries in Liberia, who come in contact with certain Moslem
tribes from the interior, such as the Mandingoes, will testify that
they are greatly superior to those farther South, on the Gold Coast,
the Ashantees and the people of Dahomey, who have filled the world
with horror by their human sacrifices. All this disappears before the
advance of Islam. It breaks in pieces the idols; it destroys devil
worship and fetichism and witchcraft, and puts an end to human
sacrifices. Thus it renders a service to humanity and civilization.

So far Islam is a pretty good religion--not so good indeed as
Christianity, but better than any form of Paganism. It has many
elements of truth, derived chiefly from Judaism. So far as Mohammed
followed Moses--so far as the Koran followed the Old Testament--they
uttered only the truth, and truth which was fundamental. The unity of
God is the foundation of religion. It is not only a truth, but the
greatest of truths, the first condition of any right religious
worship. In declaring this, Mohammed only proclaimed to the Arabs what
Moses had proclaimed to the Hebrews: "Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God
is one Lord." But he repeated it with great vehemence and effect,
wielding it as a battle-axe to break in pieces the idols of the
heathen. And so far--as against idolatry--Islam has served a great
purpose in history. But there its utility ends. It teaches indeed that
there is but one God. But what a God is that which it presents to our
worship! "This God is not our God." The Mohammedan idea of God is very
different from the Christian idea of a Father in heaven. It is the
idea of the Awful, the Invisible--grand indeed, yet cold and distant
and far away, like the stars on the desert, or in the Arctic night,
"wildly, spiritually bright," shining with a glittering splendor, but
lofty and inaccessible, beyond the cries of human agony or despair.
This view of God is so limited and partial as to produce the effect of
positive error. In a just religious system there must be included the
two ideas of God and man; and these in their proper relation to each
other. Exclusive contemplation of either leads astray. When man
fastens on the idea of one God, he plants himself on a rock. But he
must not bow himself upon the rock, and clasp it so as to forget his
own separate individuality, lest the mighty stone roll over upon him
and crush him. This the Mussulman does. He dwells so on the idea of
God, that his own existence is not only lost sight of, but
annihilated. The mind, subdued in awe, is at length overpowered by
what it beholds. Man is nothing in that awful presence, as his life is
but a point in the Divine eternity.

It cannot be denied that the idea of God, and God alone, may produce
some grand effects on human character. It inspires courage. If God be
for us, who can be against us? That God _is_ for him, the Mussulman
never doubts; and this confidence inspires him in danger, and on the
field of battle, so that he fights with desperation. But if the
fortune of war be against him, who so well as the devout Mussulman
knows how to suffer and to die? He murmurs not; but bows his head,
saying "God is great," and submits to his fate. Thus his creed carried
out to its logical consequence ends in fatalism. He believes so
absolutely in God, that the decrees of the Almighty become a fixed
fate, which the will of man is impotent to resist. All this comes from
an imperfect idea of God. Here Islam is defective, just where
Christianity is complete.

There is nothing in Mohammedanism that brings God down to earth,
within the range of human sympathy or even of human conception. There
is no incarnation, no Son of God coming to dwell among men, hungry and
weary, bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows, suffering in the
garden, and dying on the cross.

The Mussulman does not feel his need of such help. In his prayers
there is no acknowledgment of sin, no feeling of penitence, no
confession of unworthiness. He knows not how poor and weak he is, with
a religion in which there is no Saviour and Redeemer, no Lamb of God
that taketh away the sin of the world, no Holy Spirit to help our
infirmities, to strengthen our weaknesses.

So with Moslem morality; if we scan it closely, we find it wanting in
many virtues. Some writers give the most elevated ideas of it. Says
Chambers' Cyclopædia: "Aside from the domestic relations, the ethics
of the Mohammedan religion are of the highest order. Pride, calumny,
revenge, avarice, prodigality, and debauchery, are condemned
throughout the Koran; while trust in God, submission to His will,
patience, modesty, forbearance, love of peace, sincerity, frugality,
benevolence, liberality, are everywhere insisted upon."

This is very high praise. But mark the exception: "Aside from the
domestic relations." That exception takes out of the system a whole
class of virtues, and puts a class of vices in their place. Here is
the great crime of Islam against humanity--its treatment of woman. We
will not charge against it more than belongs to it. The seclusion of
woman is not a Mohammedan custom so much as an Oriental one, and one
of a very ancient date. When Abraham sent a servant to find a wife for
Isaac, and he returned bringing Rebekah, as the caravan drew near
home, and Isaac went out to meditate at eventide, as soon as Rebekah
saw him in the distance, she lighted off from her camel and "veiled
herself." Polygamy too existed before Mohammed: it existed among the
patriarchs. It is claimed that Mohammed repressed it, limiting a man
to four wives, although he far exceeded the number himself. Gibbon,
who never misses an opportunity of making a point against the Bible,
says: "If we remember the seven hundred wives and three hundred
concubines of the wise Solomon, we shall applaud the modesty of the
Arabian who espoused no more than seventeen or fifteen wives." But
this pretence of self-restraint is a mockery. It is notorious that
Mohammed was a man of the grossest licentiousness; and the horrible
and disgusting thing about it is that he grew more wicked as he grew
older; and while trying to put restraint upon others put none upon
himself. He punished licentiousness with a hundred stripes, and
adultery with death, and yet he was a man of unbounded profligacy, and
to make it worse, pleaded a Divine revelation to justify it!

This example of the prophet has had its influence on all the
generations of his followers. It has trailed the slime of the serpent
over them all. Any one who has been in a Mohammedan country must have
felt that the position of woman is a degradation. One cannot see them
gliding through the streets of Cairo or Constantinople, with their
faces veiled as if it were a shame to look on them, and passing
swiftly as if indeed it were a sin for them to be seen abroad,
without a feeling of pity and indignation.

And in what a position are such women at home, if it can be called a
home, where there is no family, no true domestic life! The wife of a
Mohammedan--the mother of his children--is little better than a slave.
She is never presented to his friends--indeed you could not offer a
greater insult to a Turk than to ask after his wife! Of course there
is no such thing as society where women are not allowed to appear.
Such a society as that of London or Paris, composed of men eminent in
government, in science and literature--a society refined and elevated
by the presence of women of such education and manners and knowledge
of the world as to be the fit companions of such men--could not
possibly exist in Constantinople.

But the degradation of woman is not the only crime to be charged to
Islam. In fit companionship with it is cruelty. Mohammed had many
virtues, but he had no mercy. He was implacable toward his enemies. He
massacred his prisoners, not from hard necessity, but with a fierce
delight. Fanaticism extinguished natural compassion, and he put his
enemies to death with savage joy. In this his followers have "bettered
his instructions." The Turks are cruel, perhaps partly by nature, but
partly also because any tender sympathies of nature are kept down by a
fiery zeal. Their religion does not make them merciful. When a people
have become possessed with the idea that they are the people of God,
and that others are outcasts, they become insensible to the sufferings
of those outside of the consecrated pale.

In the Greek Revolution the people of Scio joined in the rebellion. A
Turkish army landed on the island, and in two months put 23,000 of the
inhabitants to the sword, without distinction of age or sex; 47,000
were sold into slavery, and 5,000 escaped to Greece. In four months
the Christian population was reduced from 104,000 to 2,000.

What the Turks are in Europe and Asia, the Arabs are in Africa. The
spread of Mohammedanism is a partial civilization of some heathen
tribes. But, alas, the poor natives come in contact with
"civilization" and "religion" in another way--in the Arab
slave-hunters, who, though they are Mohammedans, and devoutly pray
toward Mecca, are the most merciless of human beings. One cannot read
the pages of Livingstone without a shudder at the barbarities
practised on defenceless natives, which have spread terror and
desolation over a large part of the interior of Africa.

These cruel memories rise up to spoil the poetry and romance which
some modern writers have thrown about the religion of the prophet.
They disturb my musings, when awed or touched by some features of
Moslem faith; when I listen to the worship in St. Sophia, or witness
the departure of pilgrims for Mecca. Whatever Oriental pomp or
splendor may still survive in its ancient worship, at its heart the
system is cold, and hard, and cruel; it does not acknowledge the
brotherhood of man, but exalts the followers of the prophet into a
caste, who can look down on the rest of mankind with ineffable scorn.
Outside of that pale, man is not a brother, but an enemy--an enemy not
to be won by love, but to be conquered and subdued, to be made a
convert or a slave. Not only does the Koran not bid mercy to be shown
to unbelievers, but it offers them, as the only alternatives,
conversion, or slavery, or death.

Needs it any argument to show how impossible is good government under
a creed in which there is no recognition of justice and equality? I
think it is Macaulay who says that the worst Christian government is
better than the best Mohammedan government. Wherever that religion
exists, there follow inevitably despotism and slavery, by which it
crushes man, as by its polygamy and organized licentiousness, it
degrades and crushes woman. Polygamy, despotism, and slavery form the
trinity of woes which Mohammedanism has caused to weigh for ages,
like a nightmare, on the whole Eastern world. Such a system is as
incompatible with civilization as with Christianity, and sooner or
later must pass away, unless the human race is to come to a
standstill, or to go backward.

But when and how? I am not sanguine of any speedy change. Such changes
come slowly. We expect too much and too soon. In an age of progress we
think that all forms of ignorance and superstition must disappear
before the advance of civilization. But the _vis inertiæ_ opposes a
steady resistance. It has been well said, "We are told that knowledge
is power, but who has considered the power of ignorance?" How long it
lives and how hard it dies! We hear much of the "waning crescent," but
it wanes very slowly, and it sometimes seems as if the earth itself
would grow old and perish before that waning orb would disappear from
the heavens. Christian Missions make no more impression upon Islam
than the winds of the desert upon the cliffs of Mount Sinai.

I do not look for any great change in the Mohammedan world, except in
the train of political changes. That religion is so bound up with
political power, that until that is destroyed, or terribly shaken,
there is little hope of a general turning to a better faith. War and
Revolution are the fiery chariots that must go before the Gospel, to
herald its coming and prepare its way. Material forces may open the
door to moral influences; the doctrines of human freedom and of human
brotherhood may be preached on battle plains as well as in Christian
temples. When the hard iron crust of Islam is broken up, and the
elements begin to melt with fervent heat, the Eastern world may be
moulded into new forms. Then will the Oriental mind be brought into an
impressible state, in which argument and persuasion can act upon it;
and it may yield to the combined influence of civilization and
Christianity. The change will be slow. It will take years; it may
take centuries. But sooner or later the fountains of the great deep
will be broken up. That cold, relentless system must pass away before
the light and warmth of that milder faith which recognizes at once the
brotherhood of man and the fatherhood of God.

In that coming age there may be other pilgrimages and processions
going up out of Egypt. "The dromedaries shall come from far." But
then, if a caravan of pilgrims issues from Cairo, to cross the desert,
to seek the birthplace of the founder of its religion, it will not
turn South to Mecca, but North to Bethlehem, asking with the Magi of
old, "Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his
star in the East, and are come to worship him."



CHAPTER VI.

MODERN EGYPT AND THE KHEDIVE.


Egypt is a country with a long past, as we found in going up the Nile;
may we not hope, also, with a not inglorious future? For ages it was
sunk so low that it seemed to be lost from the view of the world. No
contrast in history could be greater than that between its ancient
glory and its modern degradation. Its revival dates from about the
beginning of the present century, and, strange to say, from the
invasion of Egypt by Napoleon, which incidentally brought to the
surface a man whose rise from obscurity, and whose subsequent career,
were only less remarkable than his own. When Napoleon landed in Egypt
at the head of a French army of invasion, among the forces gathered to
oppose him was a young Albanian, who had crossed over from Greece at
the head of three hundred men. This was Mehemet Ali, who soon
attracted such attention by his daring and ability, that a few years
after the French had been driven out, as the country was still in a
distracted state, which required a man of vigor and capacity, he was
made Pasha of Egypt--a position which he retained from that time
(1806) until his death in 1850. Here he had new dangers, which he
faced with the same intrepidity. That which first made his name known
to the world as a synonym of resolute courage and implacable revenge,
was the massacre of the Mamelukes. These had long been the real
masters of Egypt--a terror to every successive government, as were the
Janissaries to the Sultan in Constantinople. Mehemet Ali had been but
five years in power, when, finding that he was becoming too strong
for them, they plotted to destroy him. He learned of the conspiracy
just in time, and at once determined to "fight fire with fire;" and,
inviting them to the Citadel of Cairo for some public occasion,
suddenly shut the gates, and manning the walls with his troops, shot
them down in cold blood. Only one man escaped by leaping his horse
from the wall. This savage butchery raised a cry of horror throughout
Europe, and Mehemet Ali was regarded as a monster of treachery and of
cruelty. It is impossible to justify such a deed by any rules of
civilized warfare. But this, it is said, was not civilized warfare; it
was simply a plot of assassination on one side, forestalled by
assassination on the other. I do not justify such reasoning. And yet I
could not but listen with interest to Nubar Pasha (the most eloquent
talker, as well as the most enlightened statesman, of Egypt), as he
defended the conduct of his hero. He, indeed, has a hereditary
allegiance to Mehemet Ali, which he derived from his uncle, the prime
minister. Said he: "The rule of the Mamelukes was anarchy of the worst
kind; it was death to Egypt, and IT IS RIGHT TO KILL DEATH." The
reasoning is not very different from that by which Mr. Froude
justifies Cromwell's putting the garrison of Drogheda to the sword.
Certainly in both cases, in Egypt as in Ireland, the end was peace.
From that moment the terror of Mehemet Ali's name held the whole land
in awe; and from one end of the valley of the Nile to the other, there
was perfect security. "Every tree planted in Egypt," said Nubar Pasha,
"is due to him; for till then the people in the country did not dare
to plant a tree, for the Mamelukes or the wandering Bedouins came and
pitched their tents under its shade, and then robbed the village." But
now every wandering tribe that hovered on the borders of the desert,
was struck with fear and dread, and did not dare to provoke a power
which knew no mercy. Hence the plantations of palms which have sprung
up around the Arab villages, and the beautiful avenues of trees which
have been planted along the roads.

It is not strange that such a man soon became too powerful, not only
for the Mamelukes, but for Turkey. The Sultan did not like it that one
of his subjects had "grown so great," and tried more than once to
remove him. But the servant had become stronger than his master, and
would not be removed. He raised a large army, to which he gave the
benefit of European discipline, and in the latter part of his life
invaded Syria, and swept northward to Damascus and Aleppo, and was
only prevented from marching to Constantinople by the intervention of
foreign powers. It seems a pity now that France and England
interfered. The Eastern question might have been nearer a solution
to-day, if the last blow to the Grand Turk had been given by a Moslem
power. But at least this was secured, that the rule of Egypt was
confirmed in the family of Mehemet Ali, and the Viceroy of Egypt
became as fixed and irremovable as the Sultan himself.

Mehemet Ali died in 1850, and was succeeded by his son Ibrahim Pasha,
who inherited much of his father's vigor. Ismail Pasha, the present
Khedive, is the son of Ibrahim Pasha, and grandson of Mehemet Ali.
Thus he has the blood of warriors in his veins, with which he has
inherited much of their proud spirit and indomitable will.

No ruler in the East at the present moment attracts more of the
attention of Europe. I am sorry to go away from Cairo without seeing
him. I have had two opportunities of being presented, though not by
any seeking or suggestion of my own. But friends who were in official
positions had arranged it, and the time was fixed twice, but in both
cases I had to leave on the day appointed, once to go up the Nile, and
the other to embark at Suez. I cannot give therefore a personal
description of the man, but can speak of him only from the reports of
others, among whom are some who see him often and know him well. The
Khedive has many American officers in his service, some of them in
high commands (General Stone is at the head of the army), and these
are necessarily brought into intimate relations with him. These
officers I find without exception very enthusiastic in their
admiration. This is quite natural. They are brought into relations
with him of the most pleasant kind. He wants an army, and they
organize it for him. They discipline his troops; if need be, they
fight his battles. As they minister to his desire for power, and for
military display, he gives them a generous support. And so both
parties are equally pleased with each other.

But making full allowance for all these prepossessions in his favor,
there are certain things in which not only they, but all who know the
present ruler of Egypt, agree, and which therefore may be accepted
without question, which show that he has a natural force of mind and
character which would be remarkable in any man, and in one of his
position are still more extraordinary. Though living in a palace, and
surrounded by luxury, he does not pass his time in idleness, but gives
himself no rest, hardly taking time for food and sleep. I am told that
he is "the hardest-worked man in Egypt." He rises very early, and sees
his Ministers before breakfast, and supervises personally every
department of the Government to such extent indeed as to leave little
for others to do, so that his Ministers are merely his secretaries. He
is the government. Louis XIV. could not more truly say, "I am the
State," than can the Khedive of Egypt, so completely does he absorb
all its powers.

Such activity seems almost incredible in an Oriental. It would be in a
Turk. But Ismail Pasha boasts that "he has not a drop of Turkish blood
in his veins." It is easy to see in his restless and active mind the
spirit of that fierce old soldier, Mehemet Ali, though softened and
disciplined by an European education.

This may be a proof of great mental energy, but it is not necessarily
of the highest wisdom. The men who accomplish most in the world, are
those who use their brains chiefly to plan, and who know how to choose
fit instruments to carry out their plans, and do not spend their
strength on petty details which might be done quite as well, or even
better, by others.

The admirers of the Khedive point justly to what he has done for
Egypt. Since he came into power, the Suez Canal has been completed,
and is now the highway for the commerce of Europe with India; great
harbors have been made or improved at Alexandria, at Port Said, and at
Suez; canals for irrigation have been dug here and there, to carry
over the country the fertilizing waters of the Nile; and railroads
have been cut across the Delta in every direction, and one is already
advanced more than two hundred miles up the Nile. These are certainly
great public works, which justly entitle the Khedive to be regarded as
one of the most enlightened of modern rulers.

But while recognizing all this, there are other things which I see
here in Egypt which qualify my admiration. I cannot praise without
reserve and many abatements. The Khedive has attempted too much, and
in his restless activity has undertaken such vast enterprises that he
has brought his country to the verge of bankruptcy. Egypt, like
Turkey, is in a very bad way. She has not indeed yet gone to the
length of repudiation. From this she has been saved for the moment by
the sale of shares of the Suez Canal to England for four millions
sterling. But this is only a temporary relief, it is not a permanent
cure for what is a deep-seated disease. The financial troubles of
Egypt are caused by the restless ambition of the Khedive to accomplish
in a few years the work of a century; and to carry out in an
impoverished country vast public works, which would task the resources
of the richest country in Europe. The Khedive has the reputation
abroad of being a great ruler, and he certainly shows an energy that
is extraordinary. But it is not always a well regulated energy. He
does too much. He is a man of magnificent designs, and projects public
works with the grandeur of a Napoleon. This would be very well if his
means were at all equal to his ambition. But his designs are so vast
that they would require the capital of France or Great Britain, while
Egypt is a very poor country. It has always of course the natural
productiveness of the valley of the Nile, but beyond that it has
nothing; it has no accumulated wealth, no great capitalists, no large
private fortunes, no rich middle class, from which to draw an imperial
revenue. With all that can be wrung from the miserable fellahs, taxed
to the utmost limit of endurance, still the expenses outrun enormously
the income.

It is true that Egypt has much more to show for her money than Turkey.
If she has gone deeply in debt, and contracted heavy foreign loans,
she can at least point to great public works for the permanent good of
Egypt; although in the construction of some of these she has
anticipated, if not the wants of the country, at least its resources
for many years to come.

For example, at the First Cataract, I found men at work upon a
railroad that is designed to extend to Khartoum, the capital of
Soudan, and the point of junction of the Blue and the White Nile! In
the latter part of its course to this point, it is to cross the
desert; as it must still farther, if carried eastward, as projected,
to Massowah on the Red Sea! These are gigantic projects, but about as
necessary to the present commerce of Egypt as would be a railway to
the very heart of Africa.

But all the money has not gone in this way. The Khedive has had the
ambition to make of Egypt a great African Empire, by adding to it vast
regions in the interior. For this he has sent repeated expeditions up
the Nile, and is in a continual conflict with his barbarous
neighbors, and has at last got into a serious war with Abyssinia.

But even this is not all. Not satisfied with managing the affairs of
government, the Khedive, with that restless spirit which characterizes
him, is deeply involved in all sorts of private enterprises. He is a
speculator on a gigantic scale, going into every sort of mercantile
adventure. He is a great real estate operator. He owns whole squares
in the new parts of Cairo and Alexandria, on which he is constantly
building houses, besides buying houses built by others. He builds
hotels and opera houses, and runs steamboats and railroads, like a
royal Jim Fisk. The steamer on which we crossed the Mediterranean from
Constantinople to Alexandria, belonged to the Khedive, and the
railroad that brought us to Cairo, and the hotel in which we were
lodged, and the steamer in which we went up the Nile.

Nor is he limited in his enterprises to steamers and railroads. He is
a great cotton and sugar planter. He owns a large part of the land in
Egypt, on which he has any number of plantations. His immense sugar
factories, on which he has expended millions of pounds, may be seen
all along the valley of the Nile; and he exports cotton by the
shipload from the port of Alexandria.

A man who is thus "up to his eyes" in speculation, who tries to do
everything himself, must do many things badly, or at least
imperfectly. He cannot possibly supervise every detail of
administration, and his agents have not the stimulus of a personal
interest to make the most of their opportunity. I asked very often,
when up the Nile, if these great sugar factories which I saw _paid_,
and was uniformly answered "No;" but that they _would_ pay in private
hands, if managed by those who had a personal stake in saving every
needless expense, and increasing every possible source of income. But
the Khedive is cheated on every side, and in a hundred ways. And even
if there were not actual fraud, the system is one which necessarily
involves immense waste and loss. Here in Cairo I find it the universal
opinion that almost all the Khedive's speculations have been gigantic
failures, and that they are at the bottom of the trouble which now
threatens the country.

Such is the present financial condition of the Khedive and of Egypt. I
couple the two together; although an attempt is made to distinguish
them, and we hear that although Egypt is nearly bankrupt, yet that the
Khedive is personally "the richest man in the world!" But the accounts
are so mixed that it is very difficult to separate them. There is no
doubt that the Khedive has immense possessions in his hands; but he
is, at the same time, to use a commercial phrase, enormously
"extended;" he is loaded with debt, and has to borrow money at ruinous
rates; and if his estate were suddenly wound up, and a "receiver"
appointed to administer upon it, it is extremely doubtful what would
be the "assets" left.

Such an administrator has appeared. Mr. Cave has just come out from
England, to try and straighten out the Khedive's affairs. But he has a
great task before him. Wise heads here doubt whether his mission will
come to anything, whether indeed he will be allowed to get at the
"bottom facts," or to make anything more than a superficial
examination, as the basis of a "whitewashing report" which may bolster
up Egyptian credit in Paris and London.

But if he does come to know "the truth and the whole truth," then I
predict that he will either abandon the case in despair, or he will
have to recommend to the Khedive, as the only salvation for him, a
more sweeping and radical reform than the latter has yet dreamed of.
It requires some degree of moral courage to talk to a sovereign as to
a private individual; to speak to him as if he were a prodigal son who
had wasted his substance in riotous living; to tell him to moderate
his desires, and restrain his ambition, and to live a quiet and sober
life; and to "live within his means." But this he must do, or it is
easy to see where this brilliant financiering will end.

If Mr. Cave can persuade the Khedive to restrain his extravagance; to
stop building palaces (he has now more than he can possibly use); and
to give up, once for all, as the follies of his youth, his grand
schemes of annexing the whole interior of Africa, as he has already
annexed Nubia and Soudan; and to "back out" as gracefully as he can
(although it is a very awkward business), of his war with Abyssinia;
and then to follow up the good course he has begun with his Suez Canal
shares, by selling all his stock in every commercial company (for one
man must not try to absorb all the industry of a kingdom); if he can
persuade him to sell all the railways in Egypt; and to sell every
steamship on the Mediterranean, except such as may be needed for the
use of the government; and every boat on the Nile except a yacht or
two for his private pleasure; to sell all his hotels and theatres; his
sugar factories and cotton plantations; and abandoning all his private
speculations, to be content with being simply the ruler of Egypt, and
attending to the affairs of government, which are quite enough to
occupy the thoughts of "a mind capacious of such things;" then he may
succeed in righting up the ship. Otherwise I fear the Khedive will
follow the fate of his master the Sultan.

But impending bankruptcy is not the worst feature in Egypt. There is
something more rotten in the State than bad financial management. It
is the want of justice established by law, which shall protect the
rights of the people. At present, liberty there is none; the
government is an absolute despotism, as much as it was three thousand
years ago. The system under which the Israelites groaned, and for
which God brought the plagues upon Egypt, is in full force to-day. The
Khedive has obtained great credit abroad by the expeditions of Sir
Samuel Baker and others up the Nile, which were said to be designed to
break up the slave trade. But what signifies destroying slavery in
the interior of Africa, when a system still more intolerable exists in
Egypt itself? It is not called slavery; it is simply _forced labor_,
which, being interpreted, means that when the Khedive wants ten
thousand men to dig a canal or build a railroad, he sends into the
requisite number of villages, and "conscripts" them _en masse_, just
as he conscripts his soldiers (taking them away from their little
farms, perhaps, at the very moment when their labor is most needed),
and sets them to work for himself, under taskmasters, driving them to
work under the goad of the lash, or, if need be, at the point of the
bayonet. For this labor, thus cruelly exacted, they receive absolutely
nothing--neither pay _nor food_. A man who has constructed some of the
greatest works of Modern Egypt, said to me, as we were riding over the
Delta, "I built this railroad. I had under me twenty thousand men--all
forced labor. In return for their labor, I gave them--_water_!" "But
surely you paid them wages?" "No." "But at least you gave them food?"
"No." "But how did they live?" "The women worked on the land, and
brought them bread and rice." "But suppose they failed to bring food,
what became of the workmen?" "They starved." And not only were they
forced to work without pay and without food, but were often required
to furnish their own tools. Surely this is making bricks without
straw, as much as the Israelites did. Such a system of labor, however
grand the public works it may construct, can hardly excite the
admiration of a lover of free institutions.

On all who escape this forced labor, the _taxation_ is fearful. The
hand of the government is as heavy upon them as in the ancient days.
To one who was telling me of this--and no man knows Egypt better--I
said, "Why, the government takes half of all that the country yields."
"Half?" he answered, "_It takes all._" To the miserable fellahs who
till the soil it leaves only their mud hovels, the rags that scarcely
hide their nakedness, and the few herbs and fruits that but just keep
soul and body together. Every acre of ground in Egypt is taxed, and
every palm tree in the valley of the Nile. What would our American
farmers say to a tax of twelve dollars an acre on their land, and of
from twenty-five to fifty cents on every apple tree in their orchards?
Yet this enormous burden falls, not on the rich farmers of New
England, or New York, or Ohio, but on the miserable fellahs of Egypt,
who are far more destitute than the negroes of the South. Yet in the
midst of all this poverty and wretchedness, in these miserable Arab
villages the tax gatherer appears regularly, and the tax, though it be
the price of blood, is remorselessly exacted. If anybody refuses, or
is unable to pay, no words are wasted on him, he is immediately
bastinadoed till his cries avail--not with the officers of the law,
who know no mercy, but with his neighbors, who yielding up their last
penny, compel the executioner to let go his hold.

Such is the Egyptian Government as it presses on the people. While its
hand is so heavy in ruinous taxations, the administration of justice
is pretty much as it was in the time of the Pharaohs. It has been in
the hands of a set of native officials, who sometimes executed a rude
kind of justice on the old principle of strict retaliation, "an eye
for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth," but commonly paid no regard to
the merits of a case, but decided it entirely by other considerations.
In matters where the Government was concerned, no private individual
had any chance whatever. The Khedive was the source of all authority
and power, a central divinity, of whom every official in the country
was an emanation, before whom no law or justice could stand. In other
matters judges decided according to their own pleasure--their like or
dislike of one or the other of the parties--or more often according to
their interest, for they were notoriously open to bribes. Thus in the
whole land of Egypt justice there was none. In every Arab village the
sheik was a petty tyrant, who could bastinado the miserable fellahs at
his will.

This rough kind of government answered its purpose--or at least there
was no one who dared to question it--so long as they had only their
own people to rule over. But when foreigners came to settle in Egypt,
they were not willing to be subjected to this Oriental justice. Hence
arose a system of Consular Courts, by which every question which
concerned a foreigner was argued and decided before a mixed tribunal,
composed of the Consul of the country and a native judge. This seemed
very fair, but in fact it only made confusion worse confounded. For
naturally the Consul sided with his own countryman (if he did not, he
would be considered almost a traitor), his foreign prejudices came
into play; and so what was purely a question of law, became a
political question. It was not merely a litigation about property
between A and B, but a matter of diplomatic skill between France (or
any other foreign power) and Egypt; and as France was the stronger,
she was the more likely to succeed. Hence the foreigner had great
advantages over the native in these Consular Courts, and if in
addition the native judge was open to a bribe, and the foreigner was
willing to give it, the native suitor, however wronged, was completely
at his mercy.

Such was the state of things until quite recently. But here at least
there has been a reform in the introduction of a new judicial system,
which is the greatest step forward that has been taken within half a
century.

The man who was the first to see what was the radical vice of the
country, the effectual hindrance to its prosperity, was Nubar Pasha.
He had the sagacity to see that the first want of Egypt was not more
railroads and steamboats, but simple justice--the protection of law.
How clearly he saw the evil, was indicated by a remark which I once
heard him make. He said: "The idea of justice does not exist in the
Oriental mind. We have governors and judges, who sit to hear causes,
and who decide them after the Oriental fashion--that is, they will
decide in favor of a friend against an enemy, or more commonly in
favor of the man who can pay the largest bribe; but to sit patiently
and listen to evidence, and then decide according to abstract justice,
is something not only foreign to their customs, but of which they have
absolutely no idea--they cannot conceive of it." He saw that a feeling
of insecurity was at the bottom of the want of confidence at home and
abroad; and that to "establish justice" was the first thing both to
encourage native industry, and to invite the capital of France and
England to expend itself in the valley of the Nile. To accomplish this
has been his single aim for many years. He has set himself to do away
with the old Oriental system complicated by the Consular Courts, and
to introduce the simple administration of justice, by which there
should be one law for natives and foreigners, for the rich and the
poor, for the powerful and the weak.

To inaugurate such a policy, which was a virtual revolution, the
initiative must be taken by Egypt. But how could the Khedive propose a
change which was a virtual surrender of his own absolute power? He
could no longer be absolute _within the courts_: and to give up this
no Oriental despot would consent, for it was parting with the dearest
token of his power over the lives and fortunes of his subjects. But
the Khedive was made to see, that, if he surrendered something, he
gained much more; that it was an immense advantage to himself and his
country to be brought within the pale of European civilization; and
that this could not be until it was placed under the protection of
European law.

But Egypt was not the only power to be consulted. The change could
only be made by treaty with other countries, and Egypt was not an
independent State, and had no right to enter into negotiations with
foreign powers without the consent of the Porte. To obtain this
involved long and tedious delays at Constantinople. And last of all,
the foreign States themselves had to be persuaded into it, for of
course the change involved the surrender of their consular
jurisdiction; and all were jealous lest it should be giving up the
rights of their citizens. To persuade them to the contrary was a slow
business. Each government considered how it would affect its own
subjects. France especially, which had had great advantages under the
old Consular Courts, was the last to give its consent to the new
system. It was only a few days before the New Year, at which it was to
be inaugurated, that the National Assembly, after a debate lasting
nearly a week, finally adopted the measure by a majority of three to
one, and thus the great judicial reform, on which the wisest statesman
of Egypt had so long fixed his heart, was consummated.

The change, in a word, is this. The old Consular Courts are abolished,
and in their place are constituted three courts--one at Cairo, one at
Alexandria, and one at Ismailia--each composed of seven judges, of
whom a majority are nominated by the foreign powers which have most to
do with Egypt: France, England, Germany, Austria, Russia, and the
United States. In the selection of judges, as there are three benches
to be filled, several are taken from the smaller states of Europe.
There is also a higher Court of Appeal constituted in the same way.

The judges to fill these important positions have already been named
by the different governments, and so far as the _personnel_ of the new
courts is concerned, leave nothing to be desired. They are all men of
reputation in their own countries, as having the requisite legal
knowledge and ability, and as men of character, who will administer
the law in the interest of justice, and that alone. The United States
is represented by Judge Barringer at Alexandria, and Judge Batcheller
at Cairo--both of whom will render excellent service to Egypt, and do
honor to their own country.

The law which these courts are to administer, is not Moslem law (until
now the supreme law of Egypt was the Koran, as it still is in Turkey),
nor any kind of Oriental law--but European law. Guided by the same
intelligence which framed the new judicial system, Egypt has adopted
the Code Napoleon. The French language will be used in the courts for
the European judges, and the Arabic for the native.

In administering this law, these courts are supreme; they cannot be
touched by the Government, or their decisions annulled; for _they are
constituted by treaty_, and any attempt to interfere with them would
at once be resented by all the foreign powers as a violation of a
solemn compact, and bring down upon Egypt the protest and indignation
of the whole civilized world.

The change involved in the introduction of such a system can hardly be
realized by Europeans or Americans. It is the first attempt to
inaugurate a reign of law in Egypt, or perhaps in any Oriental
country. It is a breakwater equally against the despotism of the
central power, and the meddlesomeness of foreign governments, acting
through the Consular Courts. For the first time the Khedive is himself
put under law, and has some check to his power over the lives and
property of his subjects. Indeed we may say that it is the first time
in the history of Egypt that there has been one law for ruler and
people--for the Khedive and the fellah, for the native-born and for
the stranger within their gates.

The completion of such a system, after so much labor, has naturally
been regarded with great satisfaction by those who have been working
for it, and its inauguration on the first of the year was an occasion
of congratulation. On that day the new judges were inducted into
office, and after taking their official oaths they were all
entertained at the house of Judge Batcheller, where was present also
Mr. Washburne, our Minister at Paris, and where speeches were made in
English, French, German, and Arabic, and the warmest wishes expressed
both by the foreign and native judges, that a system devised with so
much care for the good of Egypt, might be completely successful. Of
course it will take time for the people to get accustomed to the new
state of things. They are so unused to any form of justice that at
first they hardly know what it means, and will be suspicious of it, as
if it were some new device of oppression. They have to be educated to
justice, as to everything else. By and bye they will get some new
ideas into their heads, and we may see a real administration of
justice in the valley of the Nile. That it may realize the hopes of
the great man by whom it has been devised, and "establish justice" in
a country in which justice has been hitherto unknown, will be the wish
of every American.

This new judicial system is the one bright spot in the state of Egypt,
where there is so much that is dark. It is the one step of real
progress to be set over against all the waste and extravagance, the
oppression and tyranny. Aside from that I cannot indulge in any
rose-colored views. I cannot go into ecstasies of admiration over a
government which has had absolute control of the country for so many
years, and has brought it to the verge of ruin.

And yet these failures and disasters, great as they are, do not abate
my interest in Egypt, nor in that remarkable man who has at present
its destinies in his hands. I would not ask too much, nor set up an
unreasonable standard. I am not so foolish as to suppose that Egypt
can be a constitutional monarchy like England; or a republic like
America. This would be carrying republicanism to absurdity. I am not
such an enthusiast for republican institutions, as to believe that
they are the best for all peoples, whatever their degree of
intelligence. They would be unsuited to Egypt. The people are not fit
for them. They are not only very poor, but very ignorant. There is no
middle class in Egypt in which to find the materials of free
institutions. Republican as I am, I believe that _the best possible
government for Egypt is an enlightened despotism_; and my complaint
against the government of the Khedive is, not that he concentrates all
power in himself, but that he does not use it wisely--that his
government unites, with many features of a civilized state, some of
the very worst features of Oriental tyranny.

But with all that is dark in the present state of this country, and
sad in the condition of its people, I believe that Egypt has a great
future before it; that it is to rise to a new life, and become a
prosperous State of the modern world. The Nile valley has a great part
yet to play in the future civilization of Africa, as an avenue of
access to the interior--to those central highlands where are the Great
Lakes, which are the long-sought sources of the Nile; and from which
travellers and explorers, merchants and missionaries, may descend on
the one hand to the Niger, and to the Western Coast; or, on the other,
to those vast regions which own the rule of the Sultan of Zanzibar. I
watch with interest every Expedition up the Nile, if so be it is an
advance, not of conquest, but of peaceful commerce and civilization.

Perhaps the Khedive will rise to the height of the emergency, and
bring his country out of all its difficulties, and set it on a new
career of prosperity. He has great qualities, great capacity and
marvellous energy. Has he also the gift of political wisdom?

Never had a ruler such an opportunity. He has a part to act--if he
knows how to act it well--which will give him a name in history
greater than any of the old kings of Egypt, since to him it is given
to reconstruct a kingdom, and to lead the way for the regeneration of
a continent. If only he can see that his true interest lies, not in
war, but in peace, not in conquering all the tribes of Africa, and
annexing their territory, but in developing the resources of his own
country, and in peaceful commerce with his less civilized neighbors,
he will place himself at the head of a continent, and by the powerful
influence of his example, and of his own prosperous State, become not
only the Restorer of Egypt, but the Civilizer of Africa.



CHAPTER VII.

MIDNIGHT IN THE HEART OF THE GREAT PYRAMID.


Our last night in Cairo we spent in riding out to Ghizeh by moonlight,
and exploring the interior of the Great Pyramid. We had already been
there by day, and climbed to the top, but did not then go inside.
There is no access but by a single narrow passage, four feet wide and
high, which slopes at a descending angle, so that one must stoop very
low while he slides down an inclined plane, as if he were descending
into a mine by a very small shaft. There is not much pleasure in
crouching and creeping along such a passage, with a crowd of Arab
guides before and behind, lighting the darkness with their torches,
and making the rocky cavern hideous with their yells. These creatures
fasten on the traveller, pulling and pushing, smoking in his face, and
raising such a dust that he cannot see, and is almost choked, and
keeping up such a noise that he cannot hear, and can hardly think. One
likes a little quiet and silence, a little chance for meditation, when
he penetrates the sepulchre of kings, where a Pharaoh was laid down to
rest four thousand years ago. So I left these interior researches, on
our first visit to the Pyramid, to the younger members of our party,
and contented myself with clambering up its sides, and looking off
upon the desert and the valley of the Nile, with Cairo in the
distance.

But on our trip up the Nile, I read the work of Piazzi Smyth, the
Astronomer Royal of Scotland, "Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid,"
and had my curiosity excited to see again a structure which was not
only the oldest and greatest in the world, but in which he thought to
have discovered the proofs of a divine revelation. Dr. Grant of Cairo,
who had made a study of the subject, and had spent many nights in the
heart of the Pyramid, taking accurate measurements, kindly offered to
accompany us; and so we made up a party of those who had come down the
Nile--an Episcopal clergyman from New England, a Colonel from the
United States Army, a lady from Cambridge, Mass., and a German lady
and her daughter who had been with us for more than two months, and my
niece and myself. It was to be our last excursion together, as we were
to part on the morrow, and should probably never all meet again.

At half-past eight o'clock we drove away from the Ezbekieh square in
Cairo. It was one of those lovely nights found only in Egypt. The
moon, approaching the full, cast a soft light on everything--on the
Nile, as we crossed the long iron bridge, and on the palms, waving
gently in the night wind. We rode along under the avenue of trees
planted by old Mehemet Ali, keeping up an animated conversation, and
getting a great deal of information about Egypt. It was two hours
before we reached the Pyramid. Of course the Arabs, who had seen the
carriages approaching along the road, and who like vultures, discern
their prey from a great distance, were soon around us, offering their
services. But Dr. Grant, whose experience had taught him whom to seek,
sent for the head man, whom he knew, who had accompanied him in his
explorations, and bade him seek out a sufficient number of trusty
guides for our party, and keep off the rest.

While the sheik was seeking for his retainers, we strolled away to the
Sphinx, which looked more strange and weird than ever in the
moonlight. How many centuries has he sat there, crouching on the
desert, and looking towards the rising sun. The body is that of a
recumbent lion. The back only is seen, as the giant limbs, which are
stretched out sixty feet in front, are wholly covered by the sand.
But the mighty head still lifts its unchanged brow above the waste,
looking towards the East, to see the sun rise, as it has every morning
for four thousand years.

On our return to the Pyramid, Dr. Grant pointed out the "corner
sockets" of the original structure, showing how much larger it was
when first built, and as it stood in the time of the Pharaohs. It is
well known that it has been mutilated by the successive rulers of
Egypt, who have stripped off its outer layers of granite to build
palaces and mosques in Cairo. This process of spoliation, continued
for centuries, has reduced the size of the Pyramid _two acres_, so
that now it covers but eleven acres of ground, whereas originally it
covered thirteen. Outside of all this was a pavement of granite,
extending forty feet from the base, which surrounded the whole.

By the time we had returned, the sheik was on hand with his swarthy
guides around him, and we prepared to enter the Pyramid. It was not
_intended_ to be entered. If it had been so designed--as it is the
largest building in the world--it would have had a lofty gateway in
keeping with its enormous proportions, like the temples of Upper
Egypt. But it is not a temple, nor a place for assembly or for
worship, nor even a lofty, vaulted place of burial, like the tombs of
the Medici in Florence, or other royal mausoleums. Except the King's
and Queen's chambers (which are called chambers by courtesy, not being
large enough for ordinary bedrooms in a royal palace, but more like a
hermit's rocky cell), the whole Pyramid is one mass of stone, as solid
as the cliff of El Capitan in the Yo Semite valley. The only entrance
is by the narrow passage already described; and even this was walled
up so as to be concealed. If it were intended for a tomb, whoever
built it sealed it up, that its secret might remain forever inviolate;
and that the dead might slumber undisturbed until the Judgment day. It
was only by accident that an entrance was discovered. About a
thousand years ago a Mohammedan ruler, conceiving the idea that the
Pyramid had been built as a storehouse for the treasures of the kings
of Egypt, undertook to break into it, and worked for months to pierce
the granite sides, but was about to give it up in despair, when the
accidental falling of a stone led to the discovery of the passage by
which one now gains access to the interior.

In getting into the Pyramid one must stoop to conquer. But this
stooping is nothing to the bodily prostrations he has to undergo to
get into some passages of the temples and underground tombs. Often one
has not only to crouch, but to crawl. Near the Pyramid are some tombs,
the mouths of which are so choked up with sand that one has actually
to forego all use of hands and knees. I threw myself in despair on the
ground, and told the guides to drag me in by the heels. As one lies
prone on the earth, he cannot help feeling that this horizontal
posture is rather ridiculous for one who is in the pursuit of
knowledge. I could not but think to what a low estate I had fallen.
Sometimes one feels indeed, as he is thus compelled to "lick the
dust," as if the curse of the serpent were pronounced upon him, "On
thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy
life."

We had trusted to the man in authority to protect us from the horde of
Arabs; but nothing could keep back the irrepressible camp-followers,
who flocked after us, and when we got into the King's chamber, we
found we had twenty-four! With such a bodyguard, each carrying a
lighted candle, we took up our forward march, or rather our forward
_stoop_, for no man can stand upright in this low passage. Thus
bending one after another, like a flock of sheep, we vanished from the
moonlight. Dr. Grant led the way, and, full of the wonders of the
construction of the Pyramid, he called to me, as he disappeared down
its throat, to look back and see how that long tube--longer and larger
than any telescope that ever was made--pointed towards the North
Star. But stars and moon were soon eclipsed, and we were lost in the
darkness of this labyrinth. The descent is easy, indeed it is too
easy, for the sides of the passage are of polished limestone, smooth
as glass, and the floor affords but a slight hold for the feet, so
that as we bent forward, we found it difficult to keep our balance,
and might have fallen from top to bottom if we had not had the strong
arms of our guides to hold us up. With such a pair of crutches to lean
upon, we slid down the smooth worn pavement till we came to a huge
boulder, a granite portcullis, which blocked our way, around which a
passage had been cut. Creeping around this, pulled and hauled by the
Arabs, who lifted us over the dangerous places, we were shouldered on
to another point of rock, and now began our ascent along a passage as
slippery as that before. Here again we should have made poor progress
alone, with our boots which slipped at every moment on the smooth
stones, but for the Arabs, whose bare feet gave them a better hold,
and who held us fast.

And now we are on a level and move along a very low passage, crouching
almost on our hands and knees, till we raise our heads and stand in
the Queen's Chamber--so called for no reason that we know but that it
is smaller than the King's.

Returning from this, we find ourselves at the foot of the Grand
Gallery, or, as it might be called, Grand Staircase (as in its lofty
proportions it is not unlike one of the great staircases in the old
palaces of Genoa and Venice), which ascends into the heart of the
Pyramid. This is a magnificent hall, 157 feet long, 28 feet high, and
7 feet wide. But the ascent as before is over smooth and polished
limestone, to climb which is like climbing a cone of ice. We could not
have got on at all but for the nimble Arabs, whose bare feet enabled
them to cling to the slippery stone like cats, and who, grasping us in
their naked arms, dragged us forward by main force. The ladies shrank
from this kind of assistance, as they were sometimes almost embraced
by these swarthy creatures. But there was no help for it. This kind of
bodily exercise, passive and active, soon brought on an excessive
heat. We were almost stifled. Our faces grew red; I tore off my cravat
to keep from choking. Still, like a true American, I was willing to
endure anything if only I got ahead, and felt rewarded when we reached
the top of the Grand Gallery, and instead of looking _up_, looked
_down_.

From this height we creep along another passage till we reach the
object of our climbing, in the lofty apartment called the King's
Chamber. This is the heart of the Great Pyramid--the central point for
which apparently it was built, and where, if anywhere, its secret is
to be found. At one end lies the sarcophagus (if such it was; if the
Pyramid was designed to be a tomb) in which the great Cheops was
buried. It is now tenantless, except by such fancies as travellers
choose to fill it withal. I know not what sudden freak of fancy took
me just then, perhaps I thought, How would it seem to be a king even
in his tomb? and instantly I threw myself down at full length within
the sarcophagus, and lay extended, head thrown back, and hands folded
on my breast, lying still, as great Cheops may have lain, when they
laid him in his royal house of death. It was a soft bed of dust,
which, as I sank in it, left upon my whole outward man a _marked_
impression. It seemed very like ordinary dust, settled from the clouds
raised by the Arabs in their daily entrances to show the chamber to
visitors. But it was much more poetical to suppose that it was the
mouldering dust of Cheops himself, in which case even the mass that
clung to my hair might be considered as an anointing from the historic
past. From this I was able to relieve myself, after I reached home
that night, by a plentiful application of soap and water; but alas, my
gray travelling suit bore the scars of battle, the "dust of conflict,"
much longer, and it was not till we left Suez that a waiter of the
ship took the garment in hand, and by a vigorous beating exorcised the
stains of Egypt, so that Pharaoh and his host--or his dust--were
literally cast into the Red Sea.

And now we were all in the King's Chamber, our party of eight, with
three times the number of Arabs. The latter were at first quite noisy,
after their usual fashion, but Dr. Grant, who speaks Arabic, hushed
them with a peremptory command, and they instantly subsided, and
crouched down by the wall, and sat silent, watching our movements. One
of the party had brought with him some magnesium wire, which he now
lighted, and which threw a strong glare on the sides and on the
ceiling of the room, which, whether or not intended for the sepulchre
of kings, is of massive solidity--faced round with red granite, and
crossed above with enormous blocks of the same rich dark stone. With
his subject thus illuminated, Dr. Grant pointed out with great
clearness those features of the King's Chamber which have given it a
scientific interest. The sarcophagus, which is an oblong chest of red
granite, in his opinion, as in that of Piazzi Smyth, is not a
sarcophagus at all; indeed it looks quite as much like a huge bath-tub
as a place of burial for one of the Pharaohs. He called my attention
to the fact that it could not have been introduced into the Pyramid by
any of the known passages. It must, therefore, have been built in it.
It is also a singular fact that it has no cover, as a sarcophagus
always has. No mummy was ever found in it so far as we have any
historic record. Piazzi Smyth, in his book, which is full of curious
scientific lore, argues that it was not intended for a tomb, but for a
fixed standard of measures, such as was given to Moses by Divine
command. It is certainly a remarkable coincidence, if nothing more,
that it is of the exact size of the Ark of the Covenant. But without
giving too much importance to real or supposed analogies and
correspondences, we must acknowledge that there are many points in
the King's Chamber which make it a subject of curious study and of
scientific interest; and which seem to show that it was constructed
with reference to certain mathematical proportions, and had a design
beyond that of being a mere place of burial.

After we had had this scientific discussion, we prepared for a
discussion of a different kind--that of the lunch which we had brought
with us. A night's ride sharpens the appetite. As the only place where
we could sit was the sarcophagus itself, we took our places in it,
sitting upon its granite sides. An Arab who knew what we should want,
had brought a pitcher of water, which, as the heat was oppressive, was
most grateful to our lips, and not less acceptable to remove the dust
from our eyes and hands. Thus refreshed, we relished our oranges and
cakes, and the tiny cups of Turkish coffee.

To add to the weirdness of the scene, the Arabs asked if we would like
to see them perform one of their native dances? Having our assent,
they formed in a circle, and began moving their bodies back and forth,
keeping time with a strange chant, which was not very musical in
sound, as the dance was not graceful in motion. It was quickly over,
when, of course, the hat was passed instantly for a contribution.

The Colonel proposed the health of Cheops! Poor old Cheops! What would
he have said to see such a party disturbing the place of his rest at
such an hour as this? I looked at my watch; it was midnight--an hour
when the dead are thought to stir uneasily in their graves. Might he
not have risen in wrath out of his sarcophagus to see these frivolous
moderns thus making merry in the place of his sepulture? But this
midnight feast was not altogether gay, for some of us thought how we
should be "far away on the morrow." For weeks and months we had been
travelling together, but this excursion was to be our last. We were
taking our parting feast--a fact which gave it a touch of sadness, as
the place and the hour gave it a peculiar interest.

And now we prepared to descend. I lingered in the chamber to the last,
waiting till all had gone--till even the last attendant had crawled
out and was heard shouting afar off--that I might for a moment, at
least, be alone in the silence and the darkness in the heart of the
Pyramid; and then, crouching as before, followed slowly the lights
that were becoming dimmer and dimmer along the low and narrow passage.
Arrived at the top of the Grand Gallery, I waited with a couple of
Arabs till all our party descended, and then lighting a magnesium
wire, threw a sudden and brilliant light over the lofty walls.

It was one o'clock when we emerged from our tomb to the air and the
moonlight, and found our carriages waiting for us. The moon was
setting in the West as we rode back under the long avenue of trees,
and across the sacred Nile. It was three o'clock when we reached our
hotel, and bade each other good-night and good-bye. Early in the
morning two of us were to leave for India on our way around the world,
and others were to turn their faces towards the Holy Land and Italy.
But however scattered over Europe and America, none of us will ever
forget our Midnight in the Heart of the Great Pyramid.

In recalling this memory of Egypt, my object is not merely to furnish
a poetical and romantic description, but to invite the attention of
the most sober readers to what may well be a study and an instruction.
This Pyramid was the greatest of the Seven Wonders of the World in the
time of the Greeks, and it is the only one now standing on the earth.
May it not be that it contains some wisdom of the ancients that is
worthy the attention of the boastful moderns; some secret and sacred
lore which the science of the present day may well study to reveal? It
may be (as Piazzi Smyth argues in his learned book) that we who are
now upon the earth have "an inheritance in the Great Pyramid;" that
it was built not merely to swell the pride of the Pharaohs, and to be
the wonder of the Egyptians; but for our instruction, on whom the ends
of the world are come. Without giving our adhesion in advance to any
theory, there are certain facts, clearly apparent, which give to this
structure more than a monumental interest. For thousands of years it
had been supposed to have been built for a royal tomb--for that and
that only. So perhaps it was--and perhaps not. At any rate a very
slight observation will show that it was built also for other
purposes. For example:

Observe its geographical position. It stands at the apex of the Delta
of the Nile, and Piazzi Smyth claims, in the centre of the habitable
globe! He has a map in which its point is fixed _in_ Africa, yet
between Europe and Asia, and which shows that it stands in the exact
centre of the land surface of the whole world. This, if it be an
accident, is certainly a singular one.

Then it is exactly on the thirtieth parallel of latitude, and it
stands four-square, its four sides facing exactly the four points of
compass--North, South, East, and West. Now the chances are a million
to one that this could not occur by accident. There is no need to
argue such a matter. It was certainly done by design, and shows that
the old Egyptians knew how to draw a meridian line, and to take the
points of compass, as accurately as the astronomers of the present
day.

Equally evident is it that they were able to measure the solar year as
exactly as modern astronomers. Taking the sacred cubit as the unit of
measure there are in each side of the Pyramid just 365¼ cubits, which
gives not only the number of days in the year, but the six hours over!

That it was built for astronomical purposes, seems probable from its
very structure. Professor Proctor argues that it was erected for
purposes of astrology! Never was there such an observatory in the
world. Its pinnacle is the loftiest ever placed in the air by human
hands. It seems as if the Pyramid were built like the tower of Babel,
that its top might "touch heaven." From that great height one has
almost a perfect horizon, looking off upon the level valley of the
Nile. It is said that it could not have been ascended because its
sides were covered with polished stone. But may there not have been a
secret passage to the top? It is hard to believe that such an
elevation was not made use of by a people so much given to the study
of the stars as were the ancient Egyptians. In some way we would
believe that the priests and astrologers of Egypt were able to climb
to that point, where they might sit all night long looking at the
constellations through that clear and cloudless sky; watching Orion
and the Pleiades, as they rose over the Mokattam hills on the other
side of the Nile, and set behind the hills of the Libyan desert.

There is another very curious fact in the Pyramid, that the passage by
which it is entered points directly to the North Star, and yet not to
the North Star that now is, but to Alpha Draconis, which was the North
Star four thousand years ago. This is one way in which the age of the
Pyramid is determined, for it is found by the most exact calculations
that 2170 years before Christ, a man placed at the bottom of that
passage, as at the bottom of a well, and looking upward through that
shaft, as if he were looking through the great telescope of Lord
Rosse, would fix his eye exactly on the North Star--the pole around
which was revolving the whole celestial sphere. As is well known, this
central point of the heavens changes in the lapse of ages, but that
star will come around to the same point in 25,800 years more, when, if
the Pyramid be still standing, the observers of that remote period can
again look upward and see Alpha Draconis on his throne, and mark how
the stars "return again" to their places in the everlasting
revolutions of the heavens.

As to the measurement of _time_, all who have visited astronomical
observatories know the extreme and almost infinite pains taken to
obtain an even temperature for clocks. The slightest increase of
temperature may elongate the pendulum, and so affect the duration of a
second, and this, though it be in a degree so infinitesimal as to be
almost inappreciable, yet becomes important to the accuracy of
computations, when a unit has to be multiplied by hundreds of
millions, as it is in calculating the distances of the heavenly
bodies. To obviate this difficulty, astronomical clocks are sometimes
placed in apartments under ground, closed in with thick walls (where
even the door is rarely opened, but the observations are made through
a glass window), so that it cannot be affected by the variations of
temperature of the outer world. But here, in the heart of this
mountain of stone, the temperature is preserved at an absolute
equilibrium, so that there is no expansion by heat and no contraction
by cold. What are all the observatories of Greenwich, and Paris and
Pulkowa, to such a rock-built citadel as the Great Pyramid?

But not only was the Pyramid designed to stand right in its position
towards the earth and the heavenly bodies; but also, and perhaps
chiefly (so argues Prof. Smyth) was it designed for metrological (not
met_eo_rological) purposes--to furnish an exact standard of weights
and measures. The unit of lineal measure used in the Pyramid he finds
to correspond not to the English _foot_, nor to the French _metre_,
but to the Hebrew _sacred cubit_. This is certainly a curious
coincidence, but may it not prove simply that the latter was derived
from the former? Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians,
and may have brought from the Valley of the Nile weights and measures,
as well as customs and laws.

But this cubit itself, wherever it came from, has some very remarkable
correspondences. French and English mathematicians and astronomers
have had great difficulty to fix upon an exact standard of lineal
measure. Their method has been to take some length which had an exact
relation to one of the unchangeable spaces or distances of the globe
itself. Thus the English inch is one five hundred millionth part of
the axis of the earth. But Prof. Smyth finds in the Great Pyramid a
still better standard of measure. The cubit contains twenty-five of
what he calls "Pyramid inches," and fifty of these are just equal to
one ten-millionth part of the earth's axis of rotation! He finds in
the Pyramid a greater wonder still in a measure for determining the
distance of the earth from the sun, which is the unit for calculating
the distances of the heavenly bodies! That which scientific
expeditions have been sent into all parts of the earth within the last
two years to determine by more accurate observations of the transit of
Venus, is more exactly told in the Great Pyramid erected four thousand
years ago!

It is a very fascinating study to follow this learned professor in his
elaborate calculations. He seems to think the whole of the exact
sciences contained in the Great Pyramid. The vacant chest of red
granite in the King's Chamber, over which Egyptologists have puzzled
so much, is to him as the very ark of the Lord. That which has been
supposed to be a sarcophagus, with no other interest than as having
once held a royal mummy, he holds not to be the tomb of Cheops, or of
any of the kings of Egypt, but a sacred coffer intended to serve as a
standard of weights and measures for all time to come. He thinks it
accomplishes perfectly the arithmetical feat of squaring the
circle!--the height being to the circumference of the base, as the
radius is to the circumference of a circle.

But the Great Pyramid has, to Professor Smyth, more than a
scientific--it has a religious interest. He is a Scotchman, and not
only a man of science, but one who believes, with all the energy of
his Scotch nature, in a Divine revelation; and as might be supposed,
he connects this monument of scientific learning with One who is the
source of all wisdom and knowledge. However great may have been the
wisdom of the Egyptians, he does not believe that they had a knowledge
of geodesy and astronomy greater than the most learned scientific men
of our day. He has another explanation, that the Great Pyramid was
built by the guidance of Him who led the Israelites out of Egypt, and
who, as he shone upon their path in the desert, now shines by this
lighthouse and signal tower upon the blindness and ignorance of the
world. He believes that the Pyramid was constructed by Divine
inspiration just as much as the Jewish Tabernacle; that as Moses was
commanded to fashion everything according to the pattern showed to him
in the Mount, so some ancient King of Egypt, working under Divine
inspiration, builded better than he knew, and wrought into enduring
stone, truths which he did not perhaps himself understand, but which
were to be revealed in the last time, and to testify to a later
generation the manifold wisdom of God. As to its age he places it
somewhere between the time of Noah and the calling of Abraham. Dr.
Grant even thinks it was built before the death of Noah! But mankind
could hardly have multiplied in the earth in the lifetime of even the
oldest of the patriarchs, so as to be capable of building such
monuments. The theory is that it was not built by an Egyptian
architect. There is a tradition mentioned in Herodotus of a shepherd
who came from a distant country, from the East, who had much to do
with the building of the Pyramid, and was regarded as a heavenly
visitant and director. Prof. Smyth thinks it probable, that this
visitor was Melchisedek! He even gives the Pyramid a prophetic
character, and thinks that the different passages and chambers are
designed to be symbolical of the different economies through which God
educates the race. The entrance at first _descends_. That may
represent the gradual decadence of mankind to the time of the Flood,
or to the exodus of the Israelites. Then the passage begins to
_ascend_, but slowly and painfully, which represents the Jewish
Dispensation, when men were struggling towards the light. After a
hundred and twenty-seven feet of this stooping and creeping upward,
there is a sudden enlargement, and the low passage rises up into the
Grand Gallery, just as the Mosaic economy, after groping through many
centuries, at last bursts into the full glory of the Christian
Dispensation.

Believing in its inspired character, he finds in every part of this
wonderful structure signs and symbols. Taking it as an emblem of
Christian truth, where is the chief corner-stone? Not at the base, but
at the top--the apex! At the bottom, there are four stones which are
equal--no one of which is above another--the _chief_ corner-stone
therefore must be the capstone!

It will be perceived that this is a very original and very sweeping
theory; that it overturns all our ideas of the Great Pyramid; that it
not only turns Cheops out of it, but turns Science and Revelation
together into it. We may well hesitate before accepting it in its full
extent, and yet we must acknowledge our indebtedness to Prof. Smyth.
He has certainly given a new interest to this hoary monument of the
past. Scientific men who reject his theory are still deeply interested
in the facts which he brings to light, which they recognize as very
extraordinary, and which show a degree of scientific knowledge which
not only they did not believe to exist among the Egyptians, but which
hardly exists in our day.

So much as this we may freely concede, that the Pyramid has a
scientific value, if not a sacred character; that it is full of the
wisdom of the Egyptians, if not of the inspiration of the Almighty;
and that it is a storehouse of ancient knowledge, even if it be not
the very Ark of the Covenant, in which the holiest mysteries are
enshrined!

Leaving out what may be considered fanciful in the speculations of
the Scotch astronomer, there is yet much in the facts he presents
worthy the consideration of the man of science, as well as the devout
attention of the student of the Bible, and which, if duly weighed,
will at once enlarge our knowledge and strengthen our faith.

Such are the lessons that we derive from even our slight acquaintance
with the Great Pyramid; and so, as we looked back that night, and saw
it standing there in the moonlight, its cold gray summit, its "chief
corner-stone," pointing upwards to the clear unclouded firmament, it
seemed to point to something above the firmament--to turn our eyes and
thoughts to Heaven and to God.



CHAPTER VIII.

LEAVING EGYPT--THE DESERT.


We left Cairo the next morning. Our departure from Egypt was not
exactly like that of the Israelites, though we came through the land
of Goshen, and by the way of the Red Sea. We did not flee away at
night, nor hear the rush of horses and chariots behind us. Indeed we
were very reluctant to flee at all; we did not like to go away, for in
those five or six weeks we had grown very fond of the country, to
which the society of agreeable travelling companions lent an
additional charm.

But the world was all before us, and necessity bade us depart. It was
the 6th of January, the beginning of the feast of Bairam, the
Mohammedan Passover. The guns of the Citadel ushered in the day,
observed by all devout Mussulmans, which commemorates the sacrifice by
Abraham--not of Isaac, but of _Ishmael_, for the Arabs, who are
descendants of Ishmael, have no idea of his being set aside by the
other son of the Father of the Faithful. On this day every family
sacrifices the paschal lamb (which explains the flocks of sheep which
we had seen for several days in the streets of the city), and
sprinkles its blood upon the lintels and doorposts of their houses,
that the angel of death may pass them by. The day is one of general
rejoicing and festivity. The Khedive gives a grand reception to all
the foreign representatives at his palace of Gezireh, at which I had
been invited to be present. But from this promised pleasure I had to
tear myself away, to reach the steamer at Suez on which we were to
embark the next day for India. But if we missed the Khedive, we had at
least a compensation, for as we were at the station, who should appear
but Nubar Pasha! He had just resigned the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,
which took a load off his shoulders, and felt like a boy out of
school, and was now going off to a farm which he has a few miles from
Cairo, to have a holiday. He immediately came to us and took a seat in
the same carriage, and we sat together for an hour, listening to his
delightful conversation, as he talked of Egypt with a patriot's love
and a poet's enthusiasm. There is no man who more earnestly wishes its
prosperity, and it would be well for the Khedive if he were always
guided by such advisers. At the station his servants met him with one
of those beautiful white donkeys, so much prized in the East, and as
he rode away waving his hand to us, we felt that we were parting from
one of the wisest and wittiest men whom it had been our good fortune
to meet in all our travels.

At Zagazig, the railroad from Cairo unites with that from Alexandria.
Here we stopped to dine, and while waiting, a special train arrived
with Mr. Cave, who has come out from London to try and put some order
into the financial affairs of Egypt. If he succeeds, he will deserve
to be ranked very high as a financier. He was going on to Ismailia to
meet M. de Lesseps, that they might go through the Suez Canal
together.

And now we leave behind us the rich land of Goshen, where Joseph
placed his father Jacob and his brethren, with their flocks and herds;
we leave the fertile meadows and the palm groves. We are on the track
of the Israelites; we have passed Rameses, the first station in their
march, and entered the desert, that "great and terrible wilderness" in
which they wandered forty years. We enter it, not on camels or horses,
but drawn by a steed of fire. A railway in the desert! This is
progress indeed. There is something very imposing to the imagination
in the idea of an iron track laid in the pathless sands, over which
long trains move swifter than "the swift dromedaries," and carrying
burdens greater than the longest caravans. These are the highways of
civilization, which may yet carry it into the heart of Africa. Here,
too, are the great ships, passing through the Suez Canal, whose tall
masts are outlined against the horizon, as they move slowly from sea
to sea.

And now we are approaching the border line between Asia and Africa. It
is an invisible line; no snow-capped mountains divide the mighty
continents which were the seats of the most ancient civilization; no
sea flows between them: the Red Sea terminates over seventy miles from
the Mediterranean; even the Suez Canal does not divide Asia and
Africa, for it is wholly in Egypt. Nothing marks where Africa ends and
Asia begins, but a line in the desert, covered by drifting sands. And
yet there is something which strangely touches the imagination, as we
move forward in the twilight, with the sun behind us, setting over
Africa, and before us the black night coming on over the whole
continent of Asia.

So would I take leave of Africa--in the Night and in the Desert. Byron
closes his Childe Harold with an apostrophe to the Ocean, his Pilgrim
ending his wanderings on the shore. The Desert is like the Sea: it
fills the horizon, and shuts out the sight of "busy cities far away,"
leaving one on the boundless plain, as on the Ocean--alone with the
Night. Perhaps I may be indulged in some quiet musings here, before we
embark on the Red Sea, and seek a new world in India.

But what can one say of the desert? The subject seems as barren as its
own sands. _Life_ in the desert? There is _no_ life; it is the very
realm of death, where not a blade of grass grows, nor even an insect's
wing flutters over the mighty desolation; the only objects in motion,
the clouds that flit across the sky, and cast their shadows on the
barren waste below; and the only sign that man has ever passed over
it, the bleaching bones that mark the track of caravans.

But as we look, behold "a wind cometh out of the North," and stirring
the loose sand, whirls it into a column, which moves swiftly towards
us like a ghost, as if it said: "I am the spirit of the desert; man,
wherefore comest thou here? Pass on. If thou invadest long my realm of
solitude and silence, I will make thy grave." We shall not linger, but
only "tarry for a night," to question a little the mystery that lies
hidden beneath these drifting sands.

We look again, and we see shadowy forms coming out of the
whirlwind--great actors in history, as well as figures of the
imagination. The horizon is filled with moving caravans and marching
armies. Ancient conquerors pass this way for centuries from Asia into
Africa, and back again, the wave of conquest flowing and reflowing
from the valley of the Tigris to the valley of the Nile. As we leave
the Land of Goshen, we hear behind us the tramp of the Israelites
beginning their march; and as the night closes in, we see in another
quarter of the horizon the wise men of the East coming from Arabia,
following their guiding star, which leads them to Bethlehem, where
Christ was born.

And so the desert which was "dead" becomes "alive;" a whole living
world starts up from the sands, and glides into view, appearing
suddenly like Arab horsemen, and then vanishing as if it had not been,
and leaving no trace in the sands any more than is left by a wreck
that sinks in the ocean. But like the sea, it has its passing life,
which has a deep human interest. And not only is there a life of the
desert, but a literature which is the expression of that life--a
history and a poetry, which take their color from these peculiar forms
of nature--and even a music of the desert, sung by the camel-drivers,
to the slow movement of the caravan, its plaintive cadence keeping
time to the tinkling of the bells.

It has been one of the problems of physical geographers: What was the
_use_ of deserts in the economy of nature? A large part of Africa is
covered by deserts. The Libyan Desert reaches to the Sahara, which
stretches across the continent. All this seems an utterly waste
portion of the earth's surface. The same question has been raised in
regard to the sea: Why is it that three-fourths of the globe are
covered by water? Perhaps the same answer may be given in both cases.
These vast spaces may be the generators and purifiers of the air we
breathe--the renovators of our globe's atmosphere.

And the desert has its beauty as well as its utility. It is not all a
dead level, a boundless monotony, but is billowy like the sea, with
great waves of sand cast up by the wandering winds. The color, of
course, is always the same, for there is no green thing to relieve the
yellow sand. But nature sometimes produces great effects with few
materials. This monotony of color is touched with beauty by the glow
of sunset, as the light of day fades over the wide expanse. Sunrise
and sunset on the desert have all the simple but grand effects of
sunrise and sunset on the ocean. What painter that has visited Egypt
has not tried to put on canvas that after-glow on the Nile, which is
alike his wonder and his despair? Egypt is one of the favorite
countries sought by European artists, who seek to catch that
marvellous color which is the effect of its atmosphere. They find many
a subject in the desert. With the accessories of life, few as they
are, it presents many a scene to attract a painter's eye, and
furnishes full scope to his genius. A great artist finds ample
material in its bare and naked outlines, relieved by a few solitary
figures--the Arab and his tent, or the camel and his rider. Perhaps
the scene is simply a few palm trees beside a spring, under whose
shade a traveller has laid him down to rest from the noon-tide heat,
and beside him are camels feeding! But here is already a picture. With
what effect does Gérome give the Prayer in the Desert, with the camel
kneeling on the sands, and his rider kneeling beside him, with his
face turned towards Mecca; or Death in the Desert, where the poor
beast, weary and broken, is abandoned to die, yet murmurs not, but has
a look of patience and resignation that is most pathetic, as the
vultures are seen hovering in the air, ready to descend on their prey!

A _habitat_ so peculiar as the desert must produce a life as peculiar.
It is of necessity a lonely life. The dweller in tents is a solitary
man, without any fixed ties, or local habitation. Whoever lives on the
desert must live alone, or with few companions, for there is nothing
to support existence. It must be also a nomadic life. If the Arab
camps, with his flocks and herds, in some green spot beside a spring,
yet it is only for a few days, for in that time his sheep and cattle
have consumed the scanty herbage, and he must move on to some new
resting-place. Thus the life of the desert is a life always in motion.
The desert has no settled population, no towns or villages, where men
are born, and grow up, and live and die. Its only "inhabitants" are
"strangers and pilgrims," that come alone or in caravans, and pitch
their tents, and tarry for a night, and are gone.

Such a life induces peculiar habits, and breeds a peculiar class of
virtues and vices. Nomadic tribes are almost always robbers, for they
have to fight for existence, and it is a desperate struggle. But, on
the other hand, their solitary life as well as the command of the
prophet, has taught them the virtue of hospitality. Living alone, they
feel at times the sore need of the presence of their kind, and welcome
the companionship even of strangers. An Arab sheik may live by preying
on travellers, but if a wanderer on the desert approaches his tent and
asks shelter and protection, he gives it freely. Even though the old
chief be a robber, the stranger sleeps in peace and safety, and his
entertainer is rewarded by the comfort of seeing a human face and
hearing a human voice.

To traverse spaces so vast and so desolate would not be possible were
it not for that faithful beast of burden which nature has provided.
Horses may be used by the Bedouins on their marauding expeditions, but
they keep near the borders of the desert, where they can make a dash
and fly; but on the long journey across the Great Sahara, by which the
outer world communicates with the interior of Africa, no beast could
live but the camel, which is truly the ship of the desert. Paley might
find an argument for design in the peculiar structure of the camel for
its purpose; in its stomach, that can carry water for days, and its
foot, which is not small like that of the horse, but broad, to keep
the huge animal from sinking in the sands. It serves as a snow-shoe,
and bears up both the beast and his rider. Then it is not hard like a
horse's hoof, that rings so sharp on the pavement, but soft almost
like a lion's paw. And tall as the creature is, he moves with a
swinging gait, that is not unpleasant to one accustomed to it, and as
he comes down on his soft foot, the Arab mother sits at ease, and her
child is lulled to rest almost as if rocked in a cradle.

Thus moving on in these slow and endless marches, what so natural as
that the camel-riders should beguile their solitude with song? The
lonely heart relieves itself by pouring its loves and its sorrows into
the air; and hence come those Arabian melodies, so wild and plaintive
and tender, which constitute the music of the desert. Some years since
a symphony was produced in Paris, called "The Desert," which created a
great sensation, deriving its peculiar charm from its unlikeness to
European music. It awakened, as it were, a new sense in those who had
been listening all their lives to French and German operas. It seemed
to tell--as music only tells--the story of the life of the desert. In
listening one could almost see the boundless plain, broken only by the
caravan, moving slowly across the waste. He could almost "feel the
silence" of that vast solitude, and then faintly in the distance was
heard the tinkling of the camel-bells, and the song of the desert rose
upon the evening air, as softly as if cloistered nuns were singing
their vesper hymns. The novel conception took the fancy of the
pleasure seekers of Paris, always eager for a new sensation. The
symphony made the fame of the composer, Felicien David, who was
thought to have shown a very original genius in the composition of
melodies, such as Europe had not heard before. The secret was not
discovered until some French travellers in the East, crossing the
desert, heard the camel-drivers singing and at once recognized the
airs that had so taken the enthusiasm of Paris. They were the songs of
the Arabs. The music was born on the desert, and produced such an
effect precisely because it was the outburst of a passionate nature
brooding in solitude.

Music and poetry go together: the life that produces the one produces
the other also. And as there is a music of the desert, so there is a
poetry of the desert. Indeed the desert may be almost said to have
been the birthplace of poetry. The Book of Job, the oldest poem in the
world, older than Homer, and grander than any uninspired composition,
was probably written in Arabia, and is full of the imagery of the
desert.

But while the mind carols lightly in poetry and music, its deeper
musings take the form of Religion. It is easy to see how the life of
the desert must act upon a thoughtful and "naturally religious" mind.
The absence of outward objects throws it back upon itself; and it
broods over the great mystery of existence. Coleridge's Ancient
Mariner, when he was

     "Alone on the wide, wide sea,"

found that

     "So lonely 'twas that God himself
     Scarce seemèd there to be."

But in the desert one may say there is nothing but God. If there is
little of earth, there is much of heaven. The glory of the desert is
at night, when the full moon rises out of the level plain, as out of
the sea, and walks the unclouded firmament. And when she retires, then
all the heavenly host come forth. The atmosphere is of such exquisite
purity, that the stars shine with all their splendor. No vapor rises
from the earth, no exhalation obscures the firmament, which seems all
aglow with the celestial fires. It was such a sight that kindled the
mind of Job, as he looked up from the Arabian deserts three thousand
years ago, and saw Orion and the Pleiades keeping their endless march;
and as led him to sing of the time "when the morning stars sang
together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy."

Is it strange that God should choose such a vast and silent temple as
this for the education of those whom He would set apart for his own
service? Here the Israelites were led apart to receive the law from
the immediate presence of God. The desert was their school, the place
of their national education. It separated them from their own history.
It drew a long track between them and the bitter past. It was a fit
introduction to their new life and their new religion, as to their new
country.

In such solitudes God has had the most direct communion with the
individual soul. It was in the desert that Moses hid himself in a
cleft of the rock while the Lord passed by; that the Lord answered Job
out of the whirlwind; and from it that John the Baptist came forth, as
the voice of one crying in the wilderness.

So in later ages holy men who wished to shun the temptations of
cities, that they might lead lives of meditation and prayer, fled to
the desert, that they might forget the world and live for God alone.
This was one of the favorite retreats of Monasticism in the early
Christian centuries. The tombs of the Thebaïd were filled with monks.
Convents were built on the cliffs of Mount Sinai that remain to this
day.

We do not feel the need of such seclusion and separation from the
world, but this passing over the desert sets the mind at work and
supplies a theme for religious meditation. Is not life a desert,
where, as on the sea, all paths are lost, and the traveller can only
keep his course by observations on the stars? And are we not all
pilgrims? Do we not all belong to that slow moving caravan, that
marches steadily across the waste and disappears in the horizon? Can
we not help some poor wanderer who may be lonely and friendless, or
who may have faltered by the way; or guide another, if it be only to
go before him, and leave our footprints in the sands, that

     "A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
     Seeing may take heart again?"



CHAPTER IX.

ON THE RED SEA AND THE INDIAN OCEAN.


Suez lies between the desert and the sea, and is the point of
departure both for ships and caravans. But the great canal to which it
gives its name, has not returned the favor by giving it prosperity.
Indeed the country through which it passes derives little benefit from
its construction. Before it was opened, Egypt was on the overland
route to India, from which it derived a large revenue. All passengers
had to disembark at Alexandria and cross by railroad to Suez; while
freight had to be unshipped at the one city and reshipped at the
other, and thus pay tribute to both. Now ships pass directly from the
Mediterranean into the canal, and from the canal into the Red Sea, so
that the Englishman who embarks at Southampton, need not set his foot
on the soil of Egypt. Thus it is not Egypt but England that profits by
the opening of the Suez Canal; while Egypt really suffers by the
completion of a work which is of immense benefit to the commerce of
the world.

Though the Suez Canal is an achievement of modern times, yet the idea
is not modern, nor indeed the first execution. It was projected from
almost the earliest period of history, and was begun under the
Pharaohs, and was at one time completed, though not, as now, solely
for the passage of ships, but also as a defence, a gigantic moat,
which might serve as a barrier against invasions from Asia.

There is nothing in Suez to detain a traveller, and with the morning
we were sailing out in one of the native boats, before a light wind,
to the great ship lying in the harbor, which was to take us to India.
We had, indeed, a foretaste, or rather fore_sight_, of what we were
soon to look upon in the farthest East, as we saw some huge elephants
moving along the quay; but these were not familiar inhabitants, but
had just been disembarked from a ship arrived only the day before from
Bombay--a present from the Viceroy of India to the Viceroy of Egypt.

Once on board ship I was as in mine own country, for now, for the
first time in many months, did I hear constantly the English language.
We had been so long in Europe, and heard French, German, Italian,
Greek and Turkish; and Arabic in Egypt; that at first I started to
hear my own mother tongue. I could not at once get accustomed to it,
but called to the waiter "garçon," and was much surprised that he
answered in English. But it was very pleasant to come back to the
speech of my childhood. Henceforth English will carry me around the
globe. It is the language of the sea, and of "the ends of the earth;"
and it seems almost as if the good time were coming when the whole
earth should be of one language and of one speech.

And now we are on the Red Sea, one of the historical seas of the
world. Not far below the town of Suez is supposed to be the spot where
the Israelites were hemmed in between the mountains and the sea; where
Moses bade the waves divide, and the fleeing host rushed in between
the uplifted walls, feeling that, if they perished, the waters were
more merciful than their oppressors; while behind them came the
chariots of their pursuers.

It was long before we lost sight of Egypt. On our right was the
Egyptian coast, still in view, though growing dimmer on the horizon;
and as we sat on deck at evening the gorgeous sunsets flamed over
those shores, as they did on the Nile, as if reluctant to leave the
scene of so much glory.

On the other side of the sea stretched the Peninsula of Sinai, with
its range of rugged mountains, among which the eye sought the awful
summit from which God gave the law.

This eastern side of the Red Sea has been the birthplace of religions.
Half way down the coast is Jhidda, the port of Mecca. Thus Islam was
born not far from the birthplace of Judaism, of which in many features
it is a close imitation.

I have asked many times, What gave the name to the Red Sea? Certainly
it is not the color of the water, which is blue as the sea anywhere.
It is said that there is a phosphorescent glow, given by a marine
insect, which at night causes the waters to sparkle with a faint red
light. Others say it is from the shores, which being the borders of
the desert, have its general sandy red, or yellow, appearance. I
remember years ago, when sailing along the southern coast of Wales, a
gentleman, pointing to some red-banked hills, said they reminded him
of the shores of the Red Sea.

But whether they have given it its name or not, these surrounding
deserts have undoubtedly given it its extreme heat, from which it has
become famous as "the hottest place in the world." The wind blowing
off from these burning sands, scorches like a sirocco; nor is the heat
much tempered by the coolness of the sea--for indeed the water itself
becomes heated to such a degree as to be a serious impediment to the
rapid condensation of steam.

We began to feel the heat immediately after leaving Suez. The very
next day officers of the ship appeared in white linen pantaloons,
which seemed to me a little out of season; but I soon found that they
were wiser than I, especially as the heat increased from day to day as
we got more into the tropics. Then, to confess the truth, they
sometimes appeared on deck in the early morning in the most negligé
attire. At first I was a little shocked to see, not only officers of
the ship, but officers of the army, of high rank, coming on deck after
their baths barefoot; but I soon came to understand how they should be
eager, when they were almost burning with fever, to be relieved of
even the slightest addition to weight or warmth. In the cabin,
_punkas_, long screens, were hung over the tables, and kept swinging
all day long. The deck was hung with double awnings to keep off the
sun; and here the "old Indians" who had made this voyage before, and
knew how to take their comfort in the hot climate, were generally
stretched out in their reclining bamboo-chairs, with a cigar in one
hand and a novel in the other.

The common work of the ship was done by Lascars, from India, as they
can stand the heat much better than English sailors. They are docile
and obedient, and under the training of English officers make
excellent seamen.

But we must not complain, for they tell us our voyage has been a very
cool one. The thermometer has never been above 88 degrees, which
however, considering that this is _midwinter_, is doing pretty well!

If such be the heat in January, what must it be in July? Then it is
fairly blistering; the thermometer rises to 110 and 112 degrees in the
shade; men stripped of clothing to barely a garment to cover them, are
panting with the heat; driven from the deck, they retreat to the lower
part of the ship, to find a place to breathe; sometimes in despair,
the captain tells me, they turn the ship about, and steam a few miles
in the opposite direction, to get a breath of air; and yet, with all
precautions, he adds that it is not an infrequent thing, that
passengers overpowered sink under a sunstroke or apoplexy.

Such heat would make the voyage to India one of real suffering, and of
serious exposure, were it not for the admirable ships in which it can
be made. But these of the Peninsular and Oriental company are about as
perfect as anything that swims the seas. We were fortunate in hitting
upon the largest and best of the fleet, the Peshawur. Accustomed as we
have been of late to the smaller steamers on the Mediterranean, she
seems of enormous bulk, and is of great strength as well as size; and
being intended for hot climates, is constructed especially for
coolness and ventilation. The state-rooms are much larger than in most
sea-going steamers, and though intended for three persons, as the ship
was not crowded (there were berths for 170 passengers, while we had
but 34, just one-fifth the full complement) we had each a whole
state-room to ourselves. There were bath-rooms in ample supply, and we
took our baths every morning as regularly as on land.

On the Peshawur, as on all English ships, the order and discipline
were admirable. Every man knew his place, and attended to his duty.
Everything was done silently, and yet so regularly that one felt that
there was a sharp eye in every corner of the ship; that there was a
vigilant watch night and day, and this gave us such a sense of safety,
that we lay down and rose up with a feeling of perfect security.

Besides, the officers, from the captain down, not only took good care
for the safety of our lives, but did everything for our comfort. They
tried to make us feel at home, and were never so well pleased as when
they saw us all pleasantly occupied; some enjoying games, and others
listening to music, when some amateur was playing on the piano, at
times accompanied by a dozen manly and womanly voices. Music at sea
helps greatly to beguile the tedium of a voyage. Often the piano was
brought on deck, at which an extemporized choir practised the hymns
for public service; among which there was one that always recurred,
and that none can forget:

     "Eternal Father, strong to save,
     Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
     Who bid'st the mighty ocean deep
     Its own appointed limits keep:
         Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee
         For those in peril on the sea."

And when the Sunday morning came and the same prayers were read which
they had been accustomed to hear in England, many who listened felt
that, whatever oceans they might cross, here was a tie that bound them
to their island home, and to the religion of their fathers.

On the morning of the sixth day we passed the island of Perim, which
guards the Gates of the Red Sea, and during the day passed many
islands, and were in full sight of the Arabian coast, and at the
evening touched at Aden. Here the heat reaches the superlative. In
going down the Red Sea, one may use all degrees of comparison--hot,
hotter, hottest--and the last is Aden. It is a barren point of rock
and sand, within twelve degrees of the Equator, and the town is
actually in the crater of an extinct volcano, into which the sun beats
down with the heat of Nebuchadnezzar's furnace. But the British
Government holds it, as it commands the entrance to the Red Sea, and
has fortified it, and keeps a garrison here. However it mercifully
sends few English soldiers to such a spot, but supplies the place
chiefly with native regiments from India. All the officers hold the
place in horror, counting it a very purgatory, from which it is
Paradise to be transferred to India.

But from this point the great oppression of the heat ceased. Rounding
this rock of Aden, we no longer bore southward (which would have taken
us along the Eastern coast of Africa, to the island of Zanzibar, the
point of departure for Livingstone to explore the interior, and of
Stanley to find him), but turned to the East, and soon met the
Northeast monsoon, which, blowing in our faces, kept us comparatively
cool all the way across the Indian Ocean.

And now our thoughts began to be busy with the strange land which we
were soon to see, a land to which most of those on board belonged, and
of which they were always ready to converse. Strangers to each other,
we soon became acquainted, and exchanged our experiences of travel.
Beside me at the table sat a barrister from Bombay, and next to him
three merchants of that city, who, leaving their families in England,
were returning to pursue their fortunes in India. One had been a
member of the Governor's Council, and all were familiar with the
politics and the business of that great Empire. There was also a
missionary of the Free Church of Scotland, who, after ten years'
service, had been allowed a year and a half to recruit in the mother
country, and was now returning to his field of labor in Bombay, with
whom I had many long talks about the religions of India and the
prospects of missions. There was a fine old gentleman who had made his
fortune in Australia, to which he was returning with his family after
a visit to England.

The military element, of course, was very prominent. A large
proportion of the passengers were connected in some way with the army,
officers returning to their regiments, or officers' wives returning to
their husbands. Of course those who live long in India, have many
experiences to relate; and it was somewhat exciting to hear one
describe the particulars of a tiger hunt--how the game of all kind was
driven in from a circuit of miles around by beaters, and by elephants
trained for the work; how the deer and lesser animals fled frightened
by, while the hunter, bent on royal game, disdained such feeble prey,
and every man reserved his fire, sitting in his howdah on the back of
an elephant till at last a magnificent Bengal tiger sprang into view,
and as the balls rained on his sides, with a tremendous bound he fell
at the feet of the hunters; or to hear a Major who had been in India
during the Mutiny, describe the blowing away of the Sepoys from the
mouths of cannon; with what fierce pride, like Indian warriors at the
stake, they shrank not from the trial, but even when not bound, stood
unmoved before the guns, till they were blown to pieces, their legs
and arms and mangled breasts scattered wide over the field.

There was a surgeon in the Bengal Staff Corps, Dr. Bellew, who had
travelled extensively in the interior of Asia, attached to several
missions of the Government, and had published a volume, entitled "From
the Indus to the Tigris." He gave me some of his experiences in
Afghanistan, among the men of Cabul, and in Persia. Three years since
he was attached to the mission of Sir Douglas Forsyth to Kashgar and
Yarkund. This was a secret embassy of the government to Yakoob Beg,
the Tartar chief, who by his courage as a soldier had established his
power in those distant regions of Central Asia. In carrying out this
mission, the party crossed the Himalayas at a height far greater than
the top of Mont Blanc. Our fellow traveller gave us some fearful
pictures of the desolation of those snowy wastes, as well as some
entertaining ones of the strange manners of some parts of High Asia.
He passed through Little Thibet, where prevails the singular custom of
polyandry--instead of one man having many wives, one woman may have
many husbands, although they cannot be of different families. She can
marry half a dozen brothers at once, but must not extend her household
into another family. He was now bound for Nepaul, under the shadow of
the Himalayas, being ordered to report at once to the Maharajah, who
is preparing to receive the Prince of Wales, and to entertain him with
the grandest tiger hunt ever known in India.

With such variety of company, and such talk to enliven the hours, as
we sat on deck at twilight, or by moonlight--for we had the full moon
on the Indian Ocean--the days did not seem long, and we were almost
taken by surprise as we approached the end of our voyage.

On the afternoon of the twelfth day from Suez we were nearing our
destined port, and eyes and glasses were turned in that direction; but
it was not till the sun was setting that his light shone full on the
Ghauts, the range of mountains that line the western coast of
India--steps, as their name implies, to the high table-land of the
interior. Presently as the darkness deepened, the revolving light of
the lighthouse shot across the deep; signal guns from the city
announced the arrival of the mail from England; rows of lamps shining
for miles round the bay lighted up the waters and the encircling
shore; and, there was India!



CHAPTER X.

BOMBAY--FIRST IMPRESSIONS OF INDIA.


Never did travellers open their eyes with more of wonder and curiosity
than we, as we awoke the next morning and went on deck and turned to
the unaccustomed shore. The sun had risen over the Ghauts, and now
cast his light on the islands, covered with cocoanut palms, and on the
forest of shipping that lay on the tranquil waters. Here were ships
from all parts of the world, not only from the Mediterranean and from
England, but from every part of Asia and Africa, and from Australia. A
few weeks before had been witnessed here a brilliant sight at the
landing of the Prince of Wales. A long arched way of trellis work,
still hung with faded wreaths, marked the spot where the future
Emperor of India first set foot upon its soil. Our ship, which had
anchored off the mouth of the harbor, now steamed up to her moorings,
a tug took us off to the Mazagon Bunder, the landing place of the
Peninsular and Oriental Company, where we mounted a long flight of
granite steps to the quay--and were in India.

Passing through the Custom House gates, we were greeted not by the
donkey-boys of Egypt, but by a crowd of barefooted and barelegged
Hindoos, clad in snowy white, and with mountainous turbans on their
heads, who were ambitious of the honor of driving us into the city.
The native carriage (or _gharri_, as it is called) is not a handsome
equipage. It is a mere box, oblong in shape, set on wheels, having
latticed windows like a palanquin, to admit the air and shut out the
sun. Mounting into such a "State carriage," our solemn Hindoo gave
rein to his steed, and we trotted off into Bombay. As our destination
was Watson's Hotel, in the English quarter at the extreme end of the
city, we traversed almost its whole extent. The streets seemed
endless. On and on we rode for miles, till we were able to realize
that we were in the second city in the British empire--larger than any
in Great Britain except London--larger than Liverpool or Glasgow, or
Manchester or Birmingham.

Of course the population is chiefly native, and this it is which
excites my constant wonder. As I ride about I ask myself, Am I on the
earth, or in the moon? Surely this must be some other planet than the
one that I have known before. I see men as trees walking, but they are
not of any familiar form or speech. Perhaps it is because we are on
the other side of the world, and everything is turned topsy-turvy, and
men are walking on their heads. We may have to adopt the Darwinian
theory of the origin of man; for these seem to be of another species,
to belong to another department of the animal kingdom. That old Hindoo
that I see yonder, sitting against the wall, with his legs curled up
under him, seems more like a chimpanzee than a man. He has a way of
sitting on his _heels_ (a posture which would be impossible for a
European, but which he will keep for hours), which is more like an
animal than a human creature.

Truly we have never been in such a state of bewilderment since we
began our travels, as since we landed in Bombay. Constantinople seemed
strange, and Egypt stranger still; but India is strangest of all. The
streets are swarming with life, as a hive swarms with bees. The
bazaars are like so many ant-hills, but the creatures that go in and
out are not like any race that we have seen before. They are not white
like Europeans, nor black like Africans, nor red like our American
Indians; but are pure Asiatics, of a dark-brown color, the effect of
which is the greater, as they are generally clad in the garments which
nature gives them. The laboring class go half naked, or more than
half. It is only the house-servants that wear anything that can be
called a costume. The coolies, or common laborers, have only a strip
of cloth around their loins, which they wear for decency, for in this
climate they scarcely need any garment for warmth. One thing which is
never omitted is the turban, or in its place a thick blanket, to
shield the head from the direct rays of the sun. But there is nothing
to hide the swarthy breast or limbs. Those of a better condition, who
do put on clothing, show the Oriental fondness for gorgeous apparel by
having the richest silk turbans and flowing robes. The women find a
way to show their feminine vanity, being tricked out in many colors,
dark red, crimson and scarlet, with yellow and orange and green and
blue--the mingling of which produces a strange effect as one rides
through the bazaars and crowded streets, which gleam with all the
colors of the rainbow. The effect of this tawdry finery is heightened
by the gewgaws which depend from different parts of their persons.
Earrings are not sufficiently conspicuous for a Hindoo damsel, who has
a ring of gold and pearl hung in her nose; which is considered a great
addition to female beauty. Heavy bracelets of silver also adorn her
wrists and ankles. Almost every woman who shows herself in the street,
though of the lowest condition, and barefoot, still gratifies her
pride by huge silver anklets clasping her naked feet.

But these Asiatic faces, strange as they are, would not be
unattractive but for artificial disfigurements--if men did not chew
the betel nut, which turns the lips to a brilliant red, and did not
have their foreheads striped with coarse pigments, which are the
badges of their different castes!

Imagine a whole city crowded with dark skinned men and women thus
dressed--or not dressed--half naked on the one hand, or bedizened like
harlequins on the other, walking about, or perchance riding in little
carriages _drawn by oxen_--a small breed that trot off almost as fast
as the donkeys we had in Cairo--and one may have some idea of the
picturesque appearance of the streets of Bombay.

We are becoming accustomed to the manners and customs of this eastern
world. We never sit down to dinner but with the punka swinging over
us, and the "punka-walla," the coolie who swings it, is a recognized
institution. In the hot months it is kept swinging all night, and
Europeans sleep under it. These things strike us strangely at first,
but we soon get used to these tropical devices, and in fact rather
like them. In a few days we have become quite Oriental. To confess the
truth, there are some things here in the East that are not at all
disagreeable to the natural man, especially the devices for coolness
and comfort, and the extreme deference to Europeans, which we begin to
accept as naturally belonging to us.

At first I was surprised and amused at the manners of the people. It
was a new sensation to be in this Asiatic atmosphere, to be surrounded
and waited upon by soft-footed Hindoos, who glided about noiselessly
like cats, watching every look, eager to anticipate every wish before
they heard the word of command. I was never the object of such
reverence before. Every one addressed me as "Sahib." I did not know at
first what this meant, but took it for granted that it was a title of
respect--an impression confirmed by the deferential manner of the
attendants. I could not walk through the corridor of the hotel without
a dozen servants rising to their feet, who remained standing till I
had passed. I was a little taken aback when a turbaned Oriental, in
flowing robe, approached me with an air of profound reverence, bending
low, as if he would prostrate himself at my feet. If he desired to
present a petition to my august majesty (which was, probably, that I
would buy a cashmere shawl), he bowed himself almost to the ground,
and reached down his hand very low, and then raising it, touched his
forehead, as if he would take up the dust of the earth and cast it on
his head, in token that he was unworthy to enter into such an awful
presence. I never knew before how great a being I was. There is
nothing like going far away from home, to the other side of the world,
among Hindoos or Hottentots, to be fully appreciated.

After a little experience, one learns to accept these Hindoo salaams
and obeisances. Now, when I walk down the passages of the hotel, and
snowy turbans rise on either side in token of homage, I bow in
acknowledgment, though very slightly, so as not to concede a particle
of my dignity, or encourage any familiarity. When I open my door in
the morning, I find half a dozen coolies in the passage, who have
curled up on mats and slept there all night, as Napoleon's Mameluke
slept before his master's door. It gives one a sense of dignity and
importance to be thus served and guarded and defended! I suspect all
of us have a little (or a good deal) of the Asiatic in our
composition, and could easily play the pasha and drop into these soft
Eastern ways, and find it not unpleasant to recline on a divan, and be
waited on by dusky slaves!

We find that we are in a tropical climate by the heat that oppresses
us. Although it is midwinter, we find it prudent as well as pleasant
to remain indoors in the middle of the day (time which is very
precious for writing), and make our excursions in the morning or
evening.

Morning in the tropics is delightful. There is a dewy freshness in the
air. Rising at daylight we take a small open carriage--a kind of "one
horse shay"--for our ride. It has but one seat, but the Hindoo driver,
nimble as a cat, crouches at our feet, with his legs dangling over the
side in front of the wheels, and thus mounted we gallop off gayly.

One of our morning excursions was to the Flower Market, where the
fruits and flowers of the country are displayed with truly tropical
profusion. The building, designed with English taste, is of great
extent, surrounding a spacious court, which is laid out like a
garden, with fountains and ferns, and flowering shrubs and creepers
growing luxuriantly. Here are offered for sale all kinds of poultry
and birds, parrots, and even monkeys. The Flower Market is especially
brilliant, as flowers are the customary offerings at temples. They are
very cheap. Five cents bought a large bunch of roses. White jessamines
and yellow marigolds are wrought into wreaths and garlands for their
festivities. The fruits we liked less than the flowers. They were very
tempting to the eye, but too rich for our appetite. The famous mango
cloyed us with its sweetness. Indeed, I made the observation here,
which I had to repeat afterwards in Java, that the tropical fruits,
though large and luscious, had not the delicate flavor of our Northern
fruits. A good New Jersey peach would have been far sweeter to my
taste than the ripest orange or mango, or the longest string of
bananas.

In the evening we ride out to Malabar Hill, or go to the public
gardens which English taste has laid out in different parts of the
city. Although Bombay is a city of Hindoos, yet the stamp of English
rule is everywhere impressed upon it. Like the cities of Great
Britain, it is thoroughly governed. The hand of a master is seen in
its perfect police, its well ordered and well lighted streets. There
are signs of its being gained by conquest and held by military power.
The English quarter is still called the Fort, being on the site of an
old fortress, the ramparts of which are all swept away, and in their
place are wide streets (indeed too wide for shade), and a number of
public buildings--Government offices, the Postoffice, and the
Telegraph Building, and the University--which would be an ornament to
any city in England. Here English taste comes in to add to its natural
beauty in the laying out of open squares. Our windows at the Hotel
look out upon the Esplanade, a large parade ground, the very spot
where the Sepoys were shot away from the guns after the mutiny, and
upon the sea, from which comes at evening a soft, delicious air from
the Indian ocean. It is a pretty sight to go here at sunset, when the
band is playing and there is a great turnout of carriages, bringing
the fashion and wealth of Bombay to listen to the music and inhale the
fresh breezes from the sea, that no doubt are sweeter to many in that
they seem to come from their beloved England. In the crowd of well
dressed people wealthy Parsees (distinguished by their high hats), and
Hindoos by their turbans, mingle with English officers, and the
children of all run about together on the lawn. My companion noticed
particularly the Parsee children, whose dresses were gay with many
colors--little fellows shining in pink trousers, blue shirts, green
vests, and scarlet caps! Others had satin trousers and vests of some
bright color, and over all white muslin or lace trimmings. The effect
of such a variety of colors was as if parterres of flowers were laid
out on the smooth shaven lawn. In another part of the city the
Victoria Gardens are set out like a Botanical Garden, with all manner
of plants and trees, especially with an endless variety of palms,
under which crowds saunter along the avenues, admiring the wonders of
tropical vegetation, and listening to the music that fills the evening
air.

The environs of Bombay are very beautiful. Few cities have a more
delightful suburb than Malabar Hill, where the English merchant, after
the business of the day is over, retreats from the city to enjoy a
home which, though Indian without, is English within. Hundreds of
bungalows are clustered on these eminences, shaded with palms and
embowered in tropical foliage, with steep roofs, always thatched as a
better protection from the sun. Here the occupants sit at evening on
the broad verandahs, stretched in their long bamboo chairs, enjoying
the cool air that comes in from the sea, and talk of England or of
America.

There are not many Americans in Bombay, although in one way the city
is, or was, closely connected with our country. Nowhere was the
effect of our civil war more felt than in India, as it gave a great
impetus to its cotton production. Under the sudden and powerful
stimulus, Bombay started up into an artificial prosperity. Fortunes
were made rapidly. The close of the war brought a panic from which it
has not yet recovered. But the impulse given has remained, and I am
told that there is at this moment more cotton grown in India than ever
before, although the fall in prices has cut off the great profits. But
the cost of transportation is much less, as the railroads constructed
within a few years afford the means of bringing it to market, where
before it had to be drawn slowly over the mountains in ox-carts. This
flow of cotton to the seaports has been turned to account by the
erection of cotton mills (several of which have been started here in
Bombay), which, under the direction of Englishmen, and having the
double advantage of native cotton and native labor, may yet supplant
English fabrics in the markets of India.

Though there are few Americans (except the missionaries) here, yet
there is one who has all the enterprise of his countrymen, Mr.
Kittredge, who came out to India many years ago, and is now the head
of the old house of Stearns, Hobart & Co. He has introduced that
peculiarly American institution, the street railway--or tramway, as it
is called here--which is a great comfort in moving about the city,
where transportation before was chiefly by little ox-carts. The cars
run smoothly, and as they are open at the sides are delightfully cool.
The Hindoos, though slow in adopting new ideas or new ways, take to
these as an immense convenience. Not the least good effect is the
pressure which they bring to bear on caste, by forcing those of
different castes to sit side by side!

A very singular people, found in Bombay, and nowhere else in India,
are the Parsees, who differ from the Hindoos both in race and
religion. They are followers of Zoroaster, the philosopher of Persia,
from which they were driven out centuries ago by the merciless
followers of the Prophet, and took refuge in Western India, and being,
as a class, of superior intelligence and education, they have risen to
a high position. They are largely the merchants of Bombay, and among
them are some of its wealthiest citizens, whose beautiful houses,
surrounded with gardens, line the road to Parell, the residence of the
Governor. They are fire-worshippers, adoring it as the principle of
life. Morning and evening they may be seen uncovering their heads, and
turning reverently to the rising or the setting sun, and offering
their adoration to the great luminary, which they regard as the source
of all life on earth. As I have seen them on the seashore, turning
their faces to the setting sun, and lifting their hands as if in
prayer, I have thought, that if this be idolatry, it is at least not
so degrading as that of the Hindoos around them, for if they bow to a
material object, it is at least the most glorious which they see in
nature. The more intelligent of them, however, explain that it is not
the sun itself they worship, but only regard it as the brightest
symbol and manifestation of the Invisible Deity. But they seem to have
an idolatrous reverence for fire, and keep a lamp always burning in
their houses. It is never suffered to go out day nor night, from year
to year. The same respect which they show to fire, they show also to
the other elements--earth, air, and water.

A revolting application of their principles is seen in their mode of
disposing of the dead. They cannot burn them, as do the Hindoos, lest
the touch of death should pollute the flames; nor can they bury them
in the earth, nor in the sea, for earth and water and air are all
alike sacred. They therefore expose the bodies of their dead to be
devoured by birds of the air. Outside of Bombay, on Malabar Hill, are
three or four circular towers--called The Towers of Silence, which are
enclosed by a high wall to keep observers at a distance. When a Parsee
dies, his body is conveyed to the gates, and there received by the
priests, by whom it is exposed on gratings constructed for the
purpose.

Near at hand, perched in groves of palms, are the vultures. We saw
them there in great numbers. As soon as a funeral procession
approaches, they scent their prey, and begin to circle in the air; and
no sooner is a body uncovered, and left by the attendants, than a
cloud of black wings settles down upon it, and a hundred horned beaks
are tearing at the flesh. Such are their numbers and voracity, that in
a few minutes--so we are told--every particle is stripped from the
bones, which are then slid down an inclined plane into a deep pit,
where they mingle with common clay.

Compared with this, the Hindoo mode of disposing of the dead, by
burning, seems almost like Christian burial. Yet it is done in a mode
which is very offensive. In returning from Malabar Hill one evening,
along the beautiful drive around the bay, we noticed a number of
furnace-like openings, where fires were burning, from which proceeded
a sickening smell, and were told that this was the burning of the
bodies of the Hindoos!

This mode of disposing of the dead may be defended on grounds of
health, especially in great cities. But, at any rate, I wish there was
nothing worse to be said of the Hindoos than their mode of treating
the forms from which life has departed. But their religion is far more
cruel to the living than to the dead.

To one who has never been in a Pagan country, that which is most new
and strange is its idolatry. Bombay is full of temples, which at
certain hours are crowded with worshippers. Here they flock every
morning to perform their devotions. There is nothing like the orderly
congregation gathered in a Christian house of worship, sitting quietly
in their places, and listening to a sermon. The people come and go at
will, attending to their devotions, as they would to any matter of
business. A large part of their "worship" consists in washing
themselves. With the Hindoos as with the Mohammedans, bathing is a
part of their religion. The temple grounds generally enclose a large
tank, into which they plunge every morning, and come up, as they
believe, clean from the washing. At the temple of Momba Davi (the god
who gives name to Bombay), we watched these purifications and other
acts of worship. Within the enclosure, beside the temple filled with
hideous idols, there was the sacred cow (which the people would
consider it a far greater crime to kill than to kill a Christian)
which chewed her cud undisturbed, though not with half so much content
as if she had been in a field of sweet-scented clover; and there stood
the peepul tree, the sacred tree of India (a species of banyan), round
which men and women were walking repeating their prayers, and leaving
flowers as offerings at its foot. This latter custom is not peculiar
to Pagan countries. In Christian as well as in heathen lands flowers
are laid on the altar, as if their beauty were grateful to the Unseen
Eye, and their perfume a kind of incense to the object of devotion.
Inside the enclosure men were being washed and shaved (on their heads
as well as on their faces), and painted on their foreheads (as
Catholics might be with the sign of the cross) to mark the god they
worship. And not only in the temples, but along the streets, in the
houses, which were open to the view of passers-by, people were taking
plentiful ablutions, almost a full bath, and making their toilet,
quite unembarrassed by the presence of strangers.

These observances (if divested of any religious value) are not to be
altogether condemned. The habit of frequent bathing is very useful in
a sanitary point of view, especially in this hot climate. But that
which most excites our admiration is the scrupulous regularity of the
Hindoos in their worship. They have to "do their pooja" (that is, make
their offerings and perform their devotions) before they go to their
work, or even partake of food! Here is an example of religious
fidelity worthy of Christian imitation.

The religious ideas of the Hindoos show themselves in other ways,
which at least challenge our respect for their consistency. In their
eyes all life is sacred, the life of beast and bird, nay, of reptile
and insect, as well as of man. To carry out this idea they have
established a Hospital for Animals, which is one of the institutions
of Bombay. It is on a very extensive scale, and presents a spectacle
such as I do not believe can be seen anywhere else in the world. Here,
in an enclosure covering many acres, in sheds, or stables, or in the
open grounds, as may best promote their recovery, are gathered the
lame, the halt, and the blind, not of the human species, but of the
animal world--cattle and horses, sheep and goats, dogs and cats,
rabbits and monkeys, and beasts and birds of every description. Even
poor little monkeys forgot to be merry, and looked very solemn as they
sat on their perch. The cows, sacred as they were, were yet not beyond
the power of disease, and had a most woe-begone look. Long rows of
stables were filled with broken-down horses, spavined and ring-boned,
with ribs sticking out of their sides, or huge sores on their flanks,
dripping with blood. In one pen were a number of kittens, that mewed
and cried for their mothers, though they had a plentiful supply of
milk for their poor little emaciated bodies. The Hindoos send out
carts at night and pick them up wherever they have been cast into the
street. Rabbits, whom no man would own, have here a snug warren made
for them, and creep in and out with a feeling of safety and comfort.
In a large enclosure were some hundred dogs, more wretched-looking
than the dogs of Constantinople--"whelps and curs of low degree."
These poor creatures had been so long the companions of man that,
ill-treated as they were, starved and kicked, they still apparently
longed for human society, and as soon as they saw us they seemed to
recognize us as their deliverers, and set up a howling and yelping,
and leaped against the bars of their prison house, as if imploring us
to give them liberty.

And here is a collection of birds to fill an extensive aviary, though
in their present condition they do not look exactly like birds of
Paradise. There are not only "four black crows," but more than any
farmer would like to see in his wheat field (for India is the land of
crows). Tall cranes, that had been wont to step with long legs by the
marshy brink of rivers, here were bandaged and splintered till they
could walk once more. Broken-winged seagulls, that could no more sweep
over the boundless sea, free as its own waves, were nursed till they
could fly again.

The spectacle thus presented was half touching and half ludicrous. One
cannot but respect the Hindoo's regard for life, as a thing not to be
lightly and wantonly destroyed. And yet they carry it to an extent
that is absurd. They will not take the life of animals for food, nor
even of creatures that are annoying or dangerous to themselves. Many
will not crush the insects that buzz around them and sting them, nor
kill a cobra that crawls into their houses, even when it threatens to
bite them or their children. It has been said that they even nurse
serpents, and when recovered, turn them loose into the jungle; but of
this we saw no evidence. But certainly many wretched creatures, whose
existence is not worth keeping, which it were a mercy to let die, are
here rescued and brought back to life.

While walking through these grounds in company with a couple of
missionaries, I thought how much better these animals were cared for
than some men. I was thinking of some of our broken-down ministers at
home, who, after serving their people faithfully for a whole
generation, are at last sent adrift without ceremony, like an old
horse turned out by the roadside to die! What lives of drudgery and
toil do such ministers lead! They are "beasts of burden," more than
any beast of the field. And when their working days are over, can
they not be cared for as well as the Hindoos care for old horses and
camels? If only these shattered wrecks (and magnificent wrecks some of
them are) were towed into port and allowed to rest in tranquil waters;
or (to change the figure) if these old veterans were housed and warmed
and fed and nursed as carefully as the Hindoos nurse their broken-down
animals, we should have fewer of those instances of cruel neglect
which we sometimes hear of to our sorrow and shame!

Of the antiquities of India, one of the most notable is found here in
the Caves of Elephanta, which are on an island lying off the harbor.
We set apart a day to this visit, which we made with a couple of
Americans and a couple of Englishmen, the latter of whom we met first
in Bombay, but who were to keep us company a large part of our journey
around the world. We were to embark at the Apollo Bunder, and while
waiting here for our boat (a steam launch which is used for this
purpose), a snake-charmer desired to entertain us with the dexterous
manner in which he handled cobras, taking them up like kittens,
coiling them round his neck, and tossing them about in a very playful
and affectionate manner. No doubt their fangs had been completely
extracted before he indulged in these endearments. A very cruel form
of sport was to throw one on the ground, and let it be set upon by a
mangoose, a small animal like a weasel, that is not poisoned by the
bite of serpents, and attacks them without hesitation. One of these
the man carried in a bag for the purpose. As soon as let loose, the
little creature flew at the snake spitefully, as a terrier dog would
at a rat, and seized it by the head, and bit it again and again with
its sharp teeth, and left it covered with blood. As we expressed our
disgust at this cruelty, the juggler assured us that the deceitful
reptile was not dead (in fact as soon as laid on the ground it began
to wriggle), and that he would take it by the tail and hold it up,
and pour water on its head, and it would come all right again. He did
not say, but no doubt thought, "and will be all ready for torture when
the next American or Englishman comes along."

By this time the steam launch had come round to the Bunder, and we got
on board. It was a little mite of a vessel, just big enough for the
half dozen of us, with a steam boiler not much larger than a teapot,
that wheezed as if it had the asthma. But it did its work well, and
away we shot swiftly across the beautiful bay. The island of Elephanta
is seven miles from the city, and takes its name from a gigantic
statue of an elephant that once stood upon its shore. Landing here, we
found ourselves at the foot of a rocky hill, which we mounted by
several hundred steps, and stood at the entrance of a gigantic cave or
cavern cut into the hill-side, with a lofty ceiling, pillared like a
temple. The main hall, as it might be called, runs back a hundred and
thirty feet into the solid rock.

The first thing that struck me on entering was the resemblance to the
temples of Egypt. Though in size and extent it does not approach the
ruins of Karnak, yet one recognizes the same massive architecture in
this temple, which is literally "cut out of a mountain," its roof the
overhanging cliff, supported by rows of heavy columns.

The resemblance to Egypt appears also in the symbol of divinity and
the objects of worship; the sacred bull in one country answering to
the sacred cow in the other; and the serpent, the same hooded cobra,
rearing its head on the front of the Temples of Thebes, and in the
Caves of Elephanta.

At the end of the great hall are the objects of worship in three
colossal images of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. This is the Hindoo
Trinity, and the constant recurrence of these figures in their
mythology shows how the idea of a Trinity pervaded other ancient
religions besides our own. It is a question for scholars, whence came
the original conception of this threefold personality in the Divine
Being, whether from revelation, or from a tradition as old as the
human race.

The faces are Egyptian--immobile like the Sphinx, with no expression
of eagerness or desire, but only of calm and eternal repose. Such was
the blessedness of the gods, and such the beatitude sought by their
worshippers.

The age of the Caves of Elephanta is not known, but they must be of a
great antiquity. For many centuries this rock-temple has been the
resort of millions of worshippers. Generation after generation have
the poor people of India crossed these waters to this sacred island,
and climbed wearily up this hill as if they were climbing towards
heaven.

That such a religion should have lived for thousands of years, and be
living still (for the worship of Brahma and Vishnu and Shiva is still
the religion of India), is a reflection that gives one but little hope
for the future of the human race.



CHAPTER XI.

LEAVING BOMBAY--TRAVELLING IN INDIA--ALLAHABAD--THE MELA.


We had been in Bombay a week, and began to feel quite at home, when we
had to leave. A man who undertakes to go around the world, must not
stop too long in the soft places. He must be always on the march, or
ready to start at the tap of the drum. We had a long journey before
us, to the North of India, and could not linger by the way. So we set
out just at evening. Much of the travelling in India is at night, to
avoid the heat of the day. The sun was setting over the waters as we
moved slowly out of the station at Bombay, and sweeping around the
shores, caught our last glimpse of the Western sea, and then rushed
off for the mountains.

"You'll need to take beds with you," said our friends, foreseeing that
we might have to lie down in rough places. So we procured for each of
us what is called a resai, a well-stuffed coverlet, which answered the
purpose of a light mattress. There are no sleeping-cars in India; but
the first-class carriages have generally a sofa on either side, which
may be turned into a sort of couch. On these sofas, having first
secured a whole compartment, we spread our resais, with pillows on
which to rest our weary heads, and stretch ourselves "to
sleep--perchance to dream." But the imagination is so busy that sleep
comes but slowly. I often lie awake for hours, and find a great peace
in this constant wakefulness.

It was quite dark when we found ourselves climbing the Ghauts (what in
California would be called the Coast Range), a chain of mountains not
very high, but which separates the coast from the table-land of the
interior. As the train moved more slowly, we perceived that we were
drawing up a heavy incline. This slow motion soothes one to slumber,
and at length we closed our eyes, and when the morning broke, found
that we had passed the summit, and were rushing on over an open
country, not unlike our Western prairies. These were the Plains of
India--a vast plateau, broken here and there, but preserving its
general character across the whole peninsula from Bombay to Calcutta,
and North to the Himalayas.

In this month of January, these plains are without verdure to give
them beauty. The trees keep their foliage, and here and there is a
broad-spreading banyan, or a mango grove, with its deep shade. But we
miss the fresh green grass and the flowers that come only with the
Spring. Landscapes which are not diversified in surface by hills and
valleys are only relieved from monotony by varieties of color. These
are wanting now, and hence the vast plain is but "a gray and
melancholy waste" like the sea. We visit India in winter because the
summer would be too oppressive. But in choosing this season, we have
to sacrifice that full glory when nature comes forth in all the
richness of tropical vegetation. It is in the rainy season that the
earth bursts suddenly into bloom. Then the dead plain, so bleak and
bare, in a few days is covered with a carpet of green, and decked with
innumerable flowers. But there are drawbacks to that gorgeous time and
that prodigality of nature. With the bursting into light of the
vegetable world, the insect world also comes forth. All the insects
that buzz and sting, fill the summer air; and then the reptile world
creeps abroad. Out of millions of holes, where they have slept all
winter long, crawl cobras and other deadly serpents, and all slimy
things. On the whole, therefore, I am content to see India in its
sombre dress, and be spared some other attendants of this tropical
world.

Nor is there much animal life to give animation to the scene. A few
cattle are grazing here and there. Now a deer startled looks up, as we
go by, or a monkey goes leaping across the fields, but not a wild
beast of any kind is seen--not even a wild-cat or a jackal. As for
birds, storks are at home in India as much as in Holland. Red
flamingoes haunt

     "The plashy brink, or marge of river wide,"

while on the broad open plain the birds most seen are crows! They are
very tame, and quite familiar with the rest of the animal creation, a
favorite perch being the backs of cows or buffaloes, where they light
without resistance, and make themselves at home. They are said to be
very useful as scavengers. That is quite possible; but however useful,
they are certainly not beautiful.

In these long stretches of course we pass hundreds of villages, but
these do not attract the eye nor form a feature in the landscape, for
the low mud hovels of which they are composed hardly rise above the
level of the plain. There is no church spire to be seen, as from a New
England village, nor even the dome or minaret of a mosque, for we are
not yet in the Mohammedan part of India.

One feature there is which relieves the monotony--the railway stations
are the prettiest I have seen out of England. Simply but tastefully
built, they are covered with vines and flowers, which with irrigation
easily grow in this climate in the open air at all seasons of the
year. The railway administration has offered prizes for the
embellishment of stations, so that the natives, who are fond of
flowers, and who are thus tempted by the hope of reward, plant roses
and trail vines everywhere, so that the eye is relieved from the
glare of the barren plain by resting on a mass of flowers and
verdure.

In their internal arrangements, too, these stations are models of
comfort, which might furnish an example to us in America. Wherever we
are to breakfast or lunch ("take tiffin") or dine, we find a table
neatly spread, with soft-footed Hindoos gliding about to serve us, and
with plenty of time to eat in peace, without that rushing which makes
travel in America such a hurry and fatigue. I am often asked about the
difficulty of travelling in India, to which I answer that there is no
difficulty, except from the climate, and that is to be guarded against
by going in the cold season. There are railroads all over the country,
and if Mr. Pullman would only introduce his sleeping-cars, made more
open to give more ventilation in this hot climate, one might travel in
India with as perfect comfort as in any part of Europe or America.

But with all these comforts, and all that there is to divert the eye,
the way seems long. It is not till one reaches India that he
comprehends how vast a country it is--not only in density of
population, but in extent of territory. In "magnificent distances" it
is almost equal to America itself: all small ideas are dispelled as
soon as one leaves the coast, and penetrates into the interior. Our
first stage from Bombay to Allahabad was 845 miles, which took us not
only the first night and the day after, but the second night also, so
that it was not till the morning of the third day that we found
ourselves crossing the long bridge over the Jumna into the city which
is the great railroad centre in India--a sort of half-way station,
both on the "trunk line" from Bombay to Calcutta, and on the line to
the North of India.

By this time we were glad of rest, and willingly exchanged our railway
carriage for a hotel, where we found the luxury of baths, which
refreshed us so that in an hour or two we were able to come forth
"clad in fine linen, white and clean," and ride about to see the
sights of the town.

Allahabad is not a city of so much historical interest as many others,
but it has grown very much within a few years. The railroads have
given such an impulse to its business, and increase to its population,
that it has now 130,000 inhabitants. It is the capital of the
Northwest Provinces, and thus has a political as well as a commercial
importance. Owing to its position, it has been chosen as a convenient
centre for missionary operations, and is the seat of one of the best
organized missions of our Presbyterian Board. Here we met some
excellent countrymen, who at once took us to their hearts and homes:
and though reluctant to accept hospitality, or to trespass on their
kindness, yet it was impossible to refuse an invitation so cordially
given, which took us from a great barrack of a hotel to a refined
American home. Our Board is fortunate in owning for its mission
premises a large "compound," an enclosure of many acres, on the banks
of the Jumna--obtained years ago at a nominal price, and which costs
now only the small tax of fifty rupees (twenty-five dollars) a year.
Here under one broad roof were Rev. Mr. Kellogg and his family--a wife
and four children--and Mr. Wynkoop, and Mr. Heyl: Dr. Brodhead had
just left for America. In the compound stands a neat chapel, in which
met three years ago the great conference of missionaries of different
denominations from all parts of India, the most memorable gathering of
the kind ever held in this country. Here there is a service in
Hindostanee every Sabbath. In another building is a school of 300
pupils, under charge of Mr. Heyl. He has also, to give sufficient
variety to his occupation, to look after an asylum for the blind, and
another for lepers. Rev. Messrs. Holcomb and Johnson live in other
parts of the city, where there is a Printing-press and a large
Depository for the sale of Bibles and Tracts in the different
languages of India. All of these missionaries, besides preaching in
churches, preach in the streets and bazaars, and spend some months of
the year in itinerating through the villages in a large circuit of
country, living in tents, and speaking to the people by the roadside,
or in groves, or in their houses, wherever they can find them--a work
which they enjoy greatly. Thus with preaching in city and country, and
keeping up their schools, and looking after printing presses, writing
and publishing books and tracts, they have their hands full.

Nor can I overlook our countrywomen in Allahabad. There is here a
"Zenana Mission," supported by the society of the good Mrs. Doremus,
and also two ladies connected with the Presbyterian Board, one of
whom, Miss Wilson, devotes herself to visiting in the Zenanas, while
the other, Miss Seward, is a physician, practising with great success
in many of the best native families, thus rendering a physical as well
as a spiritual service. She is a niece of the late Secretary of State,
William H. Seward, who when in India paid her a visit, and was so
impressed with what she was doing so quietly and yet so effectively;
with the access which her medical skill and her feminine tact gave her
to the interior life of the people; that on his return to America he
summed up the result of all his observations of missions in this brief
counsel: "Make all your missionaries women, and give them all a
medical education."

Allahabad has a proud name--the City of God; but one sees not much to
render it worthy of that exalted title. It is however, in the
estimation of the Hindoos a sacred city, as it stands at the junction
of the Jumna and the Ganges, the two sacred rivers of India, which
issuing out of the glaciers of the Himalayas, hundreds of miles to the
north, here unite, and flow on in a broader stream, and with an
increased volume of sanctity. The point of junction is of course a
very holy place--one of the most sacred in India--and draws to it more
pilgrims than Mecca. Every year hundreds of thousands of pilgrims,
come from all parts of India to bathe in these holy waters. This is
the Méla--or great religious festival--which was now in progress. The
missionaries congratulated us that we had arrived at such an opportune
moment, as we had thus an opportunity of witnessing a spectacle which
would show more of Hindooism than any other that we could see in
India, unless it might be in the holy city of Benares.

On a Saturday evening we rode down to the place of the encampment,
which we found covering a wide sandy plain at the junction of two
rivers. It was a camp-meeting of magnificent dimensions. The tents or
booths were laid out in streets, and sometimes grouped in a hollow
square, which for the time being was a compact and populous city. As
the evening was not the hour for bathing, we did not go down to the
river bank, but strolled among the camps to see the people. At every
tent fires were burning, and they were cooking their food.

Our friends led the way to the camp of the Sikhs, the famous warrior
race of the Punjaub, who form a sect by themselves, and, strange to
say, are not idolators. They follow the teachings of a prophet of
their own, and like the Mohammedans, make it a special virtue, that
they do not worship idols. But the old instinct is too strong for
them, and while they do not bow to images, they pay a reverence to
their sacred book--the writings of their teacher--which is little
short of idolatry. At several places in their camp was something like
an altar, a raised platform which was too holy for us to ascend, where
sat a priest reading from this volume, before which all knelt as at
the shrine of a saint, while they scattered flowers around it as a
kind of incense or adoration.

In other parts of the camp men were blowing horns and making all sorts
of hideous noise, as an intense way of offering devotions. This mockery
of religion moved the indignation of our friends, who opened their
mouths boldly in exposure of such folly and superstition, but they
found that those whom they addressed did not shrink from the encounter.
Some of them were very keen in argument. They have a subtle philosophy
at the bottom of their worship, which they explained with a good deal
of ingenuity, and tried to illumine by apt analogies and illustrations.
Like all Hindoos, they were most liberal in their tolerance of other
religions--much more so than the Mohammedans--generously conceding
that our religion was best _for us_, while claiming that theirs was
best _for them_. They did not try to convert us, and saw no reason why
we should try to convert them. This was the Broad Church indeed, large
enough for "all sorts and conditions of men." They even went further,
and paid us not only the respect due to men, but to gods. One of the
fakirs said to us in so many words: "You are God and I am God!" This
tells the whole story in a sentence. Their creed is the baldest
Pantheism: that God is in everything, and therefore everything is God.
As all life comes from Him, He is in everything that lives--not only
in man, but in beasts, and birds, and reptiles. All alike are
incarnations of a Divine life, and hence all alike are fit objects of
adoration. Man can adore himself. He need not carry any burden of
sorrow or guilt; he need not know repentance or shame; for how can he
mourn for impulses which are but the inspirations of the God in him,
or for acts which are but the manifestations of the Universal Soul?

This was our first close contest with Hindooism, but still we had not
seen the Méla till we had seen the bathing of the pilgrims in the
Ganges, which was still in reserve. The Festival lasts a month--like
the Ramadan of the Mohammedans--and is regulated by the changes of the
moon. The day of the new moon, which was last Wednesday, was the great
day of the feast. On that day there was a grand procession to the
river, in which there were twenty-five elephants, mounted by their
_mahants_ (a sort of chief priests), with hundreds of fakirs on foot,
and a vast crowd in all the frenzy of devotion. On Monday, as the moon
was approaching her first quarter, there was likely to be a large
concourse, though not equal to the first, and we made arrangements to
be on hand to witness a spectacle such as we had never seen before,
and should probably never see again. Rev. Mr. Holcomb came very early
in the morning with his carriage, to take us to the riverside. As we
drove along the roads, we passed thousands who were flocking to the
place of bathing. Some rode in ox-carts, which carried whole families;
now and then a mounted horseman dashed by; while a long row of camels
told of a caravan that had toiled wearily over a great distance,
perhaps from the foot of the Himalayas or the Vale of Cashmere, to
reach the sacred spot. But the greater part of those who came were on
foot, and looked like pilgrims indeed. Most of them carried on their
shoulders a couple of baskets, in one of which was their food, and in
the other the ashes of their dead, which they had brought from their
homes, sometimes hundreds of miles, to cast into the sacred waters of
the Ganges.

The carriage brought us only to the Bund, near the Fort--a huge
embankment of earth raised to keep out the waters at the time of the
annual risings, and which during the past year had saved the city from
inundation. Here our friends had provided an elephant to take us
through the crowd. The huge creature was waiting for us. The mahout
who stood at his head now mounted in an extraordinary manner. He
merely stepped in front of the elephant, and took hold of the flaps of
his ears, and put up a foot on his trunk, which the beast raised as
lightly as if the man had been a feather, and thus tossed his rider
upon his head. A word of command then brought him to his knees, when a
ladder was placed against his side, and we climbed to the top, and as
he rose up, were lifted into the air. An elephant's back is a capital
lookout for observation. It raises one on high, from which he can
look down upon what is passing below; and the mighty creature has not
much difficulty in making his way through even the densest crowd. He
moved down the embankment a little slowly at first, but once on level
ground, he strode along with rapid strides; while we, sitting aloft,
regarded with amazement the scene before us.

Indeed it was a marvellous spectacle. Here was a vast camp, extending
from river to river. Far as the eye could reach, the plain was covered
with tents and booths. We had no means of estimating the number of
people present. Mr. Kellogg made a rough calculation, as he stood in
his preaching tent, and saw the crowd pouring by. Fixing his eye on
the tent-pole, with watch in hand, he counted the number that passed
in a minute, and found it to be a hundred and fifty, which would make
nine thousand in an hour. If this steady flow were kept up for four
hours (as it began at daylight, and was continued, though with varying
volume, through the forenoon), it would make thirty-six thousand; and
reckoning those encamped on the ground at twenty thousand, the whole
number would be over fifty thousand.

This is a very small number, compared with that present at some times.
Last Wednesday it was twice as great, and some years the
multitude--which overflows the country for miles, like an inundation
of the Ganges--has been estimated at hundreds of thousands, and even
millions. Every twelve years there is a greater Méla than at other
times, and the concourse assumes extraordinary proportions. This came
six years ago, in 1870. That year it was said that there were present
75,000 fakirs alone, and on the great day of the feast it was
estimated that a million of people bathed in the Ganges. So fearful
was the crush that they had to be marshalled by the police, and
marched down to the river by ten or twenty thousand at a time, and
then across a bridge of boats to the other side, returning by another
way, so as to prevent a collision of the entering and returning mass,
that might have occasioned a fearful loss of life. That year it was
estimated that not less than two millions of pilgrims visited the
Méla. Allowing for the common exaggeration in estimating multitudes,
there is no doubt whatever that the host of pilgrims here has often
been "an exceeding great army."

I could not but look with pity at the ignorant creatures flocking by,
but the feeling of pity changed to disgust at the sight of the priests
by whom they were misled. Everywhere were fakirs sitting on the
ground, receiving the reverence of the people. More disgusting objects
I never looked upon, not even in an asylum for the insane. They were
almost naked; their hair, which they suffer to grow long, had become
tangled and knotted, and was matted like swamp grass, and often bound
round with thick ropes; and their faces smeared with filth. The
meagerness of their clothing is one of the tokens of their sanctity.
They are so holy that they do not need to observe the ordinary rules
of decency. Yet these filthy creatures are regarded not only with
reverence, but almost worshipped. Men--and women also--stoop down and
kiss their feet. On Wednesday some three hundred of these fakirs
marched in procession _absolutely naked_, while crowds of women
prostrated themselves before them, and kissed the very ground over
which they had passed. One is amazed that such a disgusting exhibition
was not prevented by the police. Yet it took place under the guns of
an English fort, and--greatest shame of all--instead of being
suppressed, was accompanied and protected by the police, which, though
composed of natives, wore the uniform, and obeyed the orders, of
Christian England! There are not many sights which make one ashamed of
the English government in India, but surely this is one of them.[1]

How such "brute beasts" can have any respect or influence, is one of
the mysteries of Hindooism. But the common people, ignorant and
superstitious, think these men have a power that is more than human,
and fear to incur their displeasure. They dread their curses: for
these holy men have a fearful power of imprecation. Wherever they
stroll through the country, no man dares to refuse them food or
shelter, lest one of their awful curses should light upon his head,
and immediately his child should die, or disaster should overtake his
house.

But let us pass on to the banks of the river, where the crowd is
already becoming very great. To go among them, we get down from our
elephant and walk about. Was there ever such a scene--men, women, and
children, by tens of thousands, in all stages of nakedness, pressing
towards the sacred river? The men are closely shaved, as for every
hair of their heads they gain a million of years in Paradise! Some had
come in boats, and were out in the middle of the stream, from which
they could bathe. But the greater part were along the shore. The water
was shallow, so that they could wade in without danger; but to afford
greater security, lines of boats were drawn around the places of
bathing, to keep them from drowning and from suicide.

It would not have been easy to make our way through such a crowd, had
not the native police, with that respect for Englishmen which is seen
everywhere in India, cleared the way for us. Thus we came down to the
water's edge, passing through hundreds that were coming up dripping
from the water, and other hundreds that were pressing in. They were of
all ages and sexes. It was hard to repress our disgust at the
voluntary debasement of men who might know better, but with these
there were some wretched objects, who could only excite our
pity--poor, haggard old women, who had dragged themselves to this
spot, and children borne on their mothers' shoulders! In former times
many infants were thrown into the Ganges. This was the most common
form of infanticide. But this practice has been stopped by the strong
hand of the government. And now they are brought here only to "wash
and be cleansed." Even the sick were carried in palanquins, to be
dipped in the healing waters; and here and there one who seemed ready
to die was brought, that he might breathe his last in sight of the
sacred river.

I observed a great number of flags flying from tall poles in different
parts of the ground, which made the place look like a military
encampment. These marked the headquarters of the men who get up these
Mélas, and in so doing contrive to unite business with religion.
During the year they perambulate the country, drumming up pilgrims. A
reputation for sanctity is a stock in trade, and they are not too
modest to set forth their own peculiar gifts, and invite those who
come to the holy water to repair to their shop, where they can be "put
through" in the shortest time, and for the least money. This
money-making feature is apparent in all the arrangements of these
pious pilgrimages.

In keeping with these coarser features of the scene, was the presence
of dancing girls, who gathered a group around them close to the
bathing places, and displayed their indecent gestures on the banks of
the holy river, to those who had just engaged in what they considered
an act of moral purification.

In other parts of the camp, retired from the river, was carried on the
business of "religious instruction." Here and there pundits, or
learned Brahmins, surrounded by large companies, chiefly of women,
were reading from the Shasters, which, considering that they got over
the ground with great velocity, could hardly be very edifying to their
hearers. This mattered little, however, as these sacred books are in
Sanscrit, which to the people is an unknown tongue.

I was glad to see that these blind leaders of the blind did not have
it all their own way. Near by were the preaching-tents of several
missionaries, who also drew crowds, to whom they spoke of a better
religion. Among them was Rev. Mr. Macombie, who is a famous preacher.
He is a native of India, and is not only master of their language, but
familiar with their ideas. He knows all their arguments and their
objections, and if a hearer interrupts him, whether a Hindoo, or a
Mohammedan, he is very apt to get a shot which makes him sink back in
the crowd, glad to escape without further notice. Whether this
preaching converts many to Christianity, there can be no doubt that it
diffuses a widespread sense of the folly of these Mélas, and to this
as one cause may be ascribed the falling-off in the concourse of
pilgrims, who were formerly counted by millions and are now only by
hundreds of thousands.

While "religion" thus went on vigorously, business was not forgotten.
In the remoter parts of the camp it was turned into a market-place. A
festival which brings together hundreds of thousands of people, is an
occasion not to be lost for traffic and barter. So the camp becomes a
huge bazaar (a vast fair, such as one may see in America at a cattle
show or a militia muster), with streets of shops, so that, after one
has performed his religious duties, as he comes up from the holy
waters and returns to "the world," he can gratify his pride and vanity
by purchasing any quantity of cheap jewelry.

There are shops for the sale of idols. We could have bought a lovely
little beast for a few pence. They are as "cheap as dirt;" in fact,
they are often made of dirt. As we stood in front of one of the shops,
we saw a group rolling up a little ball of mud, as children make mud
pies; who requested a lady of our party to step one side, as her
shadow, falling on this holy object, polluted it!

It is hard to believe that even the most ignorant and degraded of men
can connect such objects with any idea of sacredness or religion. And
yet the wretched-looking creatures seemed infatuated with their
idolatries. To bathe in the Ganges washes away their sins. It opens to
them the gates of paradise. Such value do they attach to it that even
death in its sacred waters is a privilege. Formerly suicides were very
frequent here, till they were stopped by the Government. Fanaticism
seems to destroy the common sympathies of life. Last Wednesday, while
the great procession was in progress, a fire broke out in one of the
booths. As they are made of the lightest material it caught like
tinder, and spread so rapidly that in a few minutes a whole camp was
in a blaze. But for the presence of mind and energy of a few English
soldiers from the Fort who were on the ground, and who seized an
engine, and played upon the burning wood and thatch, the entire
encampment might have been destroyed, involving an appalling loss of
life. As it was, some thirty perished, almost all women. Mr. Kellogg
came up in time to see their charred and blackened remains. Yet this
terrible disaster awakened no feeling of compassion for its victims.
They were accounted rather favored beings to have perished in such a
holy spot. Thus does the blindness of superstition extinguish the
ordinary feelings of humanity.

Weary and heart-sick at such exhibitions of human folly, we mounted
our elephant to leave the ground. The noble beast, who had waited
patiently for us (and was duly rewarded), now seemed as if he could
stand it no longer, and taking us on his back, strode off as if
disgusted with the whole performance, and disdaining the society of
such debased human creatures.

This Méla, with other things which I have seen, has quite destroyed
any illusions which I may have had in regard to Hindooism. In coming
to India, one chief object was to study its religion. I had read much
of "the mild Hindoo" and "the learned Brahmin," and I asked myself,
May not their religion have some elements of good? Is it not better at
least than no religion? But the more I study it the worse it seems. I
cannot understand the secret of its power. I can see a fascination in
Romanism, and even in Mohammedanism. The mythology of the Greeks had
in it many beautiful creations of the imagination. But the gods of the
Hindoos are but deified beasts, and their worship, instead of
elevating men intellectually or morally, is an unspeakable
degradation.

Hindooism is a mountain of lies. It is a vast and monstrous system of
falsehood, kept in existence mainly for the sake of keeping up the
power of the Brahmins. Their capacity for deceit is boundless, as is
that of the lower castes for being deceived. Of this I have just had a
specimen. In the fort here at Allahabad is a subterranean passage
which is held in the highest veneration, as it is believed that here a
river flows darkly underground to join the sacred waters of the Jumna
and the Ganges, and here--prodigy of nature--is a sacred tree, which
has been here (they tell us) for hundreds of years, and though buried
in the heart of the earth, still it lives. It is true it does show
some signs of sap and greenness. But the mystery is explained when the
fact comes out that the tree is changed every year. The
sergeant-major, who has been here four years, told me that he had
himself given the order three times, which admitted the party into the
Fort at midnight to take away the old stump and put in a fresh tree!
He said it was done in the month of February, so that with the first
opening of spring it was ready to bloom afresh! How English officers
can reconcile it with their honor to connive at such a deception--even
though it be to please the Brahmins--I leave them to explain. But the
fact, thus attested, is sufficient to show the unfathomable lying of
this ruling caste of India, and the immeasurable credulity of their
disciples.

A religion that is founded on imposture, and supported by falsehood,
cannot bear the fruits of righteousness. In the essence of things
truth is allied to moral purity. Its very nature is "sweetness and
light." But craft and deceit in sacred things breed a vicious habit of
defending by false reasoning what an uncorrupted conscience would
reject; and the holy name of religion, instead of being a sacrament of
good, becomes a sacrament of evil, which is used to cover and
consecrate loathsome immoralities. Thus falsehood works like poison in
the blood, and runs through every vein till the whole moral being is
spotted with leprosy.


FOOTNOTE:

[1] That we may not do injustice, we add the excuse which is given,
which is, that such attendance of the police is necessary to prevent a
general mélée and bloodshed. It seems that these fakirs, holy as they
are, belong to different sects, between which there are deadly feuds,
and if left to themselves unrestrained, when brought into close
contact in a procession, they might tear each other in pieces. But
this would be no great loss to the world.



CHAPTER XII.

AGRA--VISIT OF THE PRINCE OF WALES--PALACE OF THE GREAT MOGUL--THE
TAJ.


We left Allahabad at midnight, and by noon of the next day were at
Agra, in the heart of the old Mogul Empire. As we approached from the
other side of the Jumna, we saw before us what seemed a royal castle,
of imposing dimensions, strongly fortified, with walls and moat, like
one of the strongholds of the Middle Ages, a castle on the Rhine,
built for a double purpose, half palace and half fortress. As we
crossed the long bridge flags were flying in honor of the Prince of
Wales, who had arrived the week before. His entry into this old Mogul
capital was attended with a display of magnificence worthy of the days
of Aurungzebe. At the station he was met by a great number of Rajahs,
mounted on elephants richly caparisoned, of which there were nearly
two hundred in the procession, with long suites of retainers, who
escorted him to his camp outside of the city. Rev. Mr. Wynkoop (who
came on a few days before to witness the fêtes, and was staying with a
friend who had a tent quite near to that of the Prince), met us at the
station and took us out to the Royal camp. It was indeed a beautiful
sight. The tents, many of which were very large, were laid off in an
oblong square, with the marquee of the Prince at the end, in front of
which floated the royal standard of England. The rest of the camp was
laid off in streets. On the outskirts of the Maidan (or parade ground)
were the military selected from different corps of the Indian army.
Some of the native troops in drill and discipline were equal to the
English. The Punjaubees especially were magnificent fellows. Tall and
athletic in figure, they are splendid horsemen, so that a regiment of
Punjaubee (or Sikh) cavalry is one of the sights of India. English
artillery manned the guns with which they saluted the native princes
according to their rank, as they came to pay their respects. Here, on
the Saturday before, the Prince had held a grand Durbar, to which the
Rajahs came riding on elephants, and each with a body-guard of
cavalry, mounted sometimes on horses and sometimes on camels, making
altogether such a scene of barbaric splendor as could not be witnessed
in any country in the world but India.

The Prince was absent from the camp, having gone off a day or two
before to pay a visit to the Maharajah of Gwalior, but an hour later,
while we were making a first visit to the Taj, we heard the guns which
announced his return. A day or two after we saw him starting for
Jeypore, when, although he drove off in a carriage very quietly, the
camels and elephants that went rolling along the different roads, as
we drove out once more to the camp, told of the brilliant pageant that
was ended.

This visit of the Prince of Wales is a great event. It has excited a
prodigious interest in official and military circles. His progress
through the country has been in a blaze of processions and
illuminations. To himself it must have been very gratifying. As he
said, "It had been the dream of his life to visit India." It was a
matter of political wisdom that he should know it, not only through
others but by personal observation. Mr. Disraeli, in proposing it in
Parliament, said justly that "travel was the best education for
princes." It was well that the future King of England, should make
himself acquainted with the great Empire that he was one day to rule.
But whether this royal visit will result in any real benefit to India
to correspond with the enormous expense it has involved, is a question
which I hear a good deal discussed among Englishmen. In some ways it
cannot fail to do good. It has presented to the people of India an
impersonation of sovereignty, a visible representative of that mighty
power, the British Empire. It has conciliated the native princes, who
have been greatly pleased by the frank and manly courtesy of their
future sovereign. In the art of courtesy he is a master. History will
give him this rank among princes, that he was not great, but gracious.
This is a kingly virtue which it was well to have exhibited in the
person of one of such exalted rank, the more as English officials in
India are charged with showing, often in the most offensive way, the
insolence of power. Perhaps it was on this very account that he took
such pains to show a generous and even chivalrous courtesy to natives
of rank, even while he did not hesitate, so I was told by Englishmen,
to "snub" his own countrymen. Such a bearing has certainly commanded
respect, and given him a personal popularity. But it has not converted
the people to loyalty any more than to Christianity. They run to see
the parades, the Rajahs, and the elephants. But as to its exciting any
deeper feeling in them, no Englishman who has lived long in the
country will trust to that for a moment. Even though English rule be
for their own safety and protection, yet their prejudices of race and
religion are stronger than even considerations of interest. It is a
curious illustration of the power of caste that the very Rajahs who
entertain the Prince of Wales with such lavish hospitality, who build
palaces to receive him, and spread before him sumptuous banquets,
still do not themselves sit down at the table; they will not even eat
with their Royal guest; and count his touch of food, and even his
shadow falling upon it, a pollution! Such a people are not to be
trusted very far beyond the range of English guns. The security of
English rule in India is not to be found in any fancied sentiment of
loyalty, which does not exist, but in the overwhelming proof of
English power. British possession is secured by the well-armed
fortresses which overlook every great city, and which could lay it in
ruins in twenty-four hours. The rule that was obtained by the sword,
must be held by the sword.

But the interest of Agra is not in the present, but in the past. There
are few chapters in history more interesting than that of the
Mohammedan invasion of India--a history dating back to the Middle
Ages, but culminating about the time that Columbus discovered the New
World. Those fierce warriors, who had ravaged Central Asia, had long
made occasional incursions into India, but it was not till the
beginning of the sixteenth century that they became complete masters
of the country, and the throne was occupied by a descendant of the
house of Tamerlane.

The dominion thus introduced into India was an exotic, but like other
products of the North, transplanted into a tropical clime, it
blossomed and flowered anew. The Moguls (a corruption of Mongols) had
all the wealth of Ormus and of Ind at their feet, and they lavished it
with Oriental prodigality, displaying a royal state which surpassed
the grandeur of European courts.

The Great Mogul! What power there is in a name! Ever since I was a
child, I had read about the Great Mogul, until there was a magic in
the very word. To be sure, I had not much idea who or what he was; but
perhaps this vagueness itself added to the charm in my imagination. He
was an Oriental potentate, living somewhere in the heart of Asia, in a
pomp and glory quite unknown among barbarians of the West. He was a
sort of Haroun al Raschid, whose magnificence recalled the scenes of
the Arabian Nights. Even more, he was like the Grand Lama, almost an
object of worship. To keep up the illusion, he withdrew from
observation into his Palace, where he sat like a god, rarely seen by
mortal eyes, except by his court, and dwelling in unapproachable
splendor.

And now here I was in the very Palace of the Great Mogul, walking
through the glittering halls where he held his gorgeous revelries,
entering the private apartments of his harem, and looking out of the
very windows from which they looked down upon the valley of the Jumna.

The Palace is in the Citadel of Agra, for those old Emperors took good
care to draw fortified walls around their palaces. The river front
presents a wall sixty feet high, perhaps half a mile long, of red
sandstone, which heightens by contrast the effect of the white marble
pavilions, so graceful and airy-like, that rise above it. The Fort is
of great extent, but it is the mere casket of the jewels within, the
Palace and the Mosque, in which one may see the infinite beauty of
that Saracenic architecture, which is found nowhere in Europe in such
perfection, except in the Alhambra. The Mohammedan conquerors of
India, like the same conquerors of Spain, had gorgeous tastes in
architecture. Both aimed at the grandeur of effect produced by great
size and massive construction, combined with a certain lightness and
airiness of detail, which give it a peculiar delicacy and grace. Here
the imagination flowers in stone. The solid marble is made to bend in
vines and wreaths that run along the walls. The spirit of Oriental
luxury finds expression in cool marble halls, and open courts, with
plashing fountains, where the monarch could dally with the beauties of
his court. In all these things the life of the Great Mogul did not
differ from that of the Moorish Kings of Spain.

The glory of Agra dates from the reign of Akbar the Great who made it
the capital of the Mogul Empire. He built the Fort, with its long line
of castellated walls, rising above the river, and commanding the
country around. Within this enclosure were buildings like a city, and
open spaces with canals, among which were laid out gardens, blooming
with flowers. On the river side of the Fort was a lofty terrace, on
which stood the Palace, built of the purest marble. It was divided
into a number of pavilions whose white walls and gilded domes
glittered in the sun. Passing from one pavilion to another over
tessellated pavements, we enter apartments rich in mosaics and all
manner of precious stones. Along the walls are little kiosks or
balconies, the windows of which are half closed by screens of marble,
which yet are so exquisitely carved and pierced as to seem like veils
of lace, drawn before the flashing eyes that looked out from behind
them. Straying through these rich halls, one cannot but reproduce the
scenes of three centuries ago, when Akbar ruled here in the midst of
his court; when the beauties of his seraglio, gathered from all the
East, sported in these gardens, and looked out from these latticed
windows.

Of equal beauty with the palace is the mosque. It is called the Pearl
Mosque, and a pearl indeed it is, such is the simplicity of outline,
and such the exquisite and almost tender grace in every arch and
column. Said Bishop Heber: "This spotless sanctuary, showing such a
pure spirit of adoration, made me, a Christian, feel humbled when I
considered that no architect of our religion had ever been able to
produce anything equal to this temple of Allah."

But these costly buildings have but little use now. The Mosque is
still here, but few are the Moslems who come to pray; and the palace
is tenantless. The great Moguls are departed. Their last descendant
was the late King of Delhi, who was compromised in the Great Mutiny,
and passed the rest of his life as a state prisoner. Not a trace
remains here nor at Delhi of the old Imperial grandeur. Yet once in a
long while these old palaces serve a purpose to entertain some royal
guest. Last week they were fitted up for a fête given to the Prince of
Wales, when the stately apartments were turned into reception rooms
and banqueting halls. It was a very brilliant spectacle, as the
British officers in their uniforms mingled with the native princes
glittering with diamonds. But it would seem as if the old Moguls must
turn in their coffins to hear this sound of revelry in their vacant
palaces, and to see the places where the Mohammedan ruled so long now
filled by unbelievers.

Perhaps one gets a yet stronger impression of the magnificence of the
Great Mogul in a visit to the Summer Palace of Akbar at
Futtehpore-Sikri, so called from two villages embraced in the royal
retreat. This was the Versailles of the old Moguls. It is over twenty
miles from Agra, but starting early we were able to drive there and
return the same day. The site is a rocky hill, which might have been
chosen for a fortress. The outer wall enclosing it, with the two
villages at its foot, is nine miles in extent. The buildings were on a
scale to suit the wants of an Imperial Court--the plateau of the hill
being laid off in a vast quadrangle, surrounded by palaces, and
zenanas for the women of the Imperial household, and mosques and
tombs. Perhaps the most exquisite building of all is a tomb in white
marble--the resting place of Selim, a Moslem saint, a very holy shrine
to the true believers; although the Mosque is far more imposing, since
before it stands the loftiest gateway in the world. Around the hill
are distributed barracks for troops, and stables for horses and camels
and elephants. The open court in the centre of all these buildings is
an esplanade large enough to draw up an army. Here they show the spot
where Akbar used to mount his elephant, and here his troops filed
before him, or subject princes came with long processions to pay him
homage.

As this palace was built for a summer retreat, everything is designed
for coolness; pavilions, covered overhead, screen from the sun, while
open at the sides, they catch whatever summer air may be stirring. In
studying the architecture of the Moors or the Moguls, one cannot but
perceive, that in its first inception it has been modelled after forms
familiar to their nomadic ancestors. The tribes of Central Asia first
dwelt in tents, and when they came to have more fixed habitations
built of wood or stone, they reproduced the same form, so that the
canvas tent became the marble pavilion--just as the builders of the
Gothic cathedrals caught the lines of their mighty arches from the
interlacing branches of trees which made the lofty aisles of the
forest. So the tribes of the desert, accustomed to live in tents, when
endowed with empire, falling heir to the riches of the Indies, still
preserved the style of their former life, and when they could no
longer dwell in tents, dwelt in tabernacles. These palaces are almost
all constructed on this type. There is one building of singular
structure, five stories high, which is a series of terraces, all open
at the side.

If we believe the tales of travellers and historians, nothing since
the days of Babylon has equalled the magnificence of the Great Mogul.
But magnificence in a sovereign generally means misery in his
subjects. The wealth that is lavished on the court is wrung from the
people. So it is said to have been with some of the successors of
Akbar. The latest historian of Mussulman India[2] says: "They were the
most shameless tyrants that ever disgraced a throne. Mogul
administration ... was a monstrous system of oppression and extortion,
which none but Asiatics could have practised or endured. Justice was a
mockery. Magistrates could always be bribed; false witnesses could
always be bought.... The Hindoos were always in the hands of grinding
task-masters, foreigners who knew not how to pity or to spare."

But Akbar was not merely a magnificent Oriental potentate--he was
truly a great king. A Mohammedan himself, he was free from Moslem
fanaticism and bigotry. Those conquerors of India had a difficult task
(which has vexed their English successors after two centuries), to
rule a people of a different race and a different religion. It was
harder for the Moslem than for the Christian, because his creed was
more intolerant; it made it his duty to destroy those whom he could
not convert. The first law of the Koran was the extermination of
idolatry, but the Hindoos were the grossest of idolaters. How then
could a Mohammedan ruler establish his throne without exterminating
the inhabitants? But the Moslems--like many other conquerors--learned
to bear the ills which they could not remove. Necessity taught them
the wisdom of toleration. In this humane policy they were led by the
example of Akbar, who, though a Mussulman, was not a bigot, and
thought it a pity that subtle questions of belief should divide
inhabitants of the same country. He admitted Hindoos to a share in his
government, and endeavored by complete tolerance to extinguish
religious hatreds. He had even the ambition to be a religious
reformer, and tried to blend the old faith with the new, and to make
an eclectic religion by putting together the systems of Zoroaster, of
the Brahmins, and of Christianity, while retaining some of the
Mohammedan forms. But he could not convert even his own Hindoo wives,
of whom he had one or two, and built a house for each, in Hindoo
architecture, with altars for idol worship. What impression then could
he make outside of the circle of his court?

But greatness commands our homage, even though it sometimes undertakes
tasks beyond human power. Akbar, though he could not inspire others
with his own spirit of justice and toleration, deserves a place in
history as the greatest sovereign that ever sat in the seat of the
Great Mogul. And therefore, when in the Fort at Agra I stood beside
the large slab of black marble, on which he was wont to sit to
administer justice to his people, it was with the same feeling that
one would seek out the oak of Vincennes, under which St. Louis sat for
the same purpose; and at Secundra, a few miles from Agra, we visited
his tomb, as on another continent we had visited the tomb of Frederick
the Great, and of Napoleon.

But the jewel of India--the Koh-i-noor of its beauty--is the TAJ, the
tomb built by the Emperor Shah Jehan, the grandson of Akbar, for his
wife, whom he loved with an idolatrous affection, and on her deathbed
promised to rear to her memory such a mausoleum as had never been
erected before. To carry out his purpose he gathered architects from
all countries, who rivalled each other in the extravagance and
costliness of their designs. The result was a structure which cost
fabulous sums of money (the whole empire being placed under
contribution for it, as were the Jews for the Temple of Solomon), and
employed twenty thousand workmen for seventeen years. The building
thus erected is one of the most famous in the world--like the Alhambra
or St. Peter's--and of which enthusiastic travellers are apt to say
that it is worth going around the world to see. This would almost
discourage the attempt to describe it, but I will try and give some
faint idea of its marvellous beauty.

But how can I convey to others what is but a picture in my memory?
Descriptions of architecture are apt to be vague unless aided by
pictorial illustrations. Mere figures and measurements are dry and
cold. The most I shall aim at will be to give a general (but I hope
not indistinct) _impression_ of it. For this let us approach it
gradually.

It stands on the banks of the Jumna, a mile below the Fort at Agra. As
you approach it, it is not exposed abruptly to view, but is surrounded
by a garden. You enter under a lofty gateway, and before you is an
avenue of cypresses a third of a mile long, whose dark foliage is a
setting for a form of dazzling whiteness at the end. That is the TAJ.
It stands, not on the level of your eye, but on a double terrace; the
first, of red sandstone, twenty feet high, and a thousand feet broad;
at the extremities of which stand two mosques, of the same dark stone,
facing each other. Midway between rises the second terrace, of
marble, fifteen feet high, and three hundred feet square, on the
corners of which stand four marble minarets. In the centre of all,
thus "reared in air," stands the Taj. It is built of marble--no other
material than this of pure and stainless white were fit for a purpose
so sacred. It is a hundred and fifty feet square (or rather it is
eight-sided, since the corners are truncated), and surmounted by a
dome, which rises nearly two hundred feet above the pavement below.

These figures rather belittle the Taj, or at least disappoint those
who looked for great size. There are many larger buildings in the
world. But that which distinguishes it from all others, and gives it a
rare and ideal beauty, is the union of majesty and grace. This is the
peculiar effect of Saracenic architecture. The slender columns, the
springing arches, the swelling domes, the tall minarets, all combine
to give an impression of airy lightness, which is not destroyed even
when the foundations are laid with massive solidity. But it is in the
finish of their structures that they excelled all the world. Bishop
Heber said truly: "They built like Titans and finished like
jewellers." This union of two opposite features makes the beauty of
the Taj. While its walls are thick and strong, they are pierced by
high arched windows which relieve their heaviness. Vines and
arabesques running over the stone work give it the lightness of
foliage, of trees blossoming with flowers. In the interior there is an
extreme and almost feminine grace, as if here the strength of man
would pay homage to the delicacy of woman. Enclosing the sacred spot
is a screen of marble, carved into a kind of fretwork, and so pure and
white that light shines through it as through alabaster, falling
softly on that which is within. The Emperor, bereaved of his wife,
lavished riches on her very dust, casting precious stones upon her
tomb, as if he were placing a string of pearls around her neck. It is
overrun with vines and flowers, cut in stone, and set with onyx and
jasper and lapis lazuli, carnelians and turquoises, and chalcedonies
and sapphires.

But the body rests in the crypt below. We descend a few steps and
stand by the very sarcophagus in which all that loveliness is
enshrined. Another sarcophagus contains the body of her husband. Their
tombs were covered with fresh flowers, a perpetual tribute to that
love which was so strong even on the throne; to those who were thus
united in life, and in death are not divided.

Here sentiment comes in to affect our sense of the beauty of the
place. If it were not for the touching history connected with it, I
could not agree with those who pronounce the Taj the most beautiful
building in the world. Merely as a building, it does not "overcome" me
so much as another marble structure--the Cathedral of Milan. I could
not say with Bishop Heber that the mosques of Islam are more
beautiful, or more in harmony with the spirit of devotion, than
Christian churches or cathedrals. But the Taj is not a mosque, it is a
tomb--a monument to the dead. And that gives it a tender interest,
which spiritualizes the cold marble, and makes it more than a
building--a poem and a dream.

This impression grew upon us the more we saw it. On our last night in
Agra we drove there to take our last view by moonlight. All slept
peacefully on the banks of the Jumna. Slowly we walked through the
long avenue of dark cypresses, that stood like ranks of mourners
waiting for the dead to pass, their tops waving gently in the night
wind, as if breathing a soft requiem over the departed. Mounting the
terrace we stood again before the Taj, rising into the calm blue
heavens. A few nights before the Prince of Wales had been here, and
the interior had been illuminated. As we had not seen it then, we had
engaged attendants with blue lights, who gave us an illumination of
our own. It was a weird scene as these swarthy natives, with naked
arms, held aloft their torches, whose blue flames, flaring and
flickering, cast a spectral light upward into the dim vault above.

To add to the ghostly effect, we heard whispers above us, as if there
were unseen witnesses. It was the echo of our own voices, but one
starts to hear himself in such a place. The dome is a whispering
gallery; and as we stood beside the tomb, and spoke in a low voice
(not to disturb the sleep of the dead), our words seemed to be
repeated. Any sound at the tomb--a sigh of pity, or a plaintive
melody--rising upward, comes back again,--faintly indeed, yet
distinctly and sweetly--as if the very air trembled in sympathy,
repeating the accents of love and of despair, or as if unseen spirits
were floating above, and singing the departing soul to its rest.

Then we went down once more into the crypt below, where sleeps the
form of the beautiful empress, and of Shah Jehan, who built this
monument for her, at her side. The place was dark, and the lights in
the hands of the attendants cast but a feeble glimmer, but this deep
shadow and silence suited the tenor of our thoughts, and we lingered,
reluctant to depart from the resting-place of one so much beloved.

As we came out the moon was riding high overhead, flooding the marble
pile with beauty. Round and round we walked, looking up at arch and
dome and minaret. At such an hour the Taj was so pale and ghostlike,
that it did not seem like a building reared by human hands, but to
have grown where it stood--like a night-blooming Cereus, rising slowly
in the moonlight--lifting its domes and pinnacles (like branches
growing heavenward) towards that world which is the home of the love
which it was to preserve in perpetual memory.

With such thoughts we kept our eyes fixed on that glittering vision,
as if we feared that even as we gazed it might vanish out of our
sight. Below us the Jumna, flowing silently, seemed like an image of
human life as it glided by. And so at last we turned to depart, and
bade farewell to the Taj, feeling that we should never look on it
again; but hoping that it might stand for ages to tell its history of
faithful love to future generations. Flow on, sweet Jumna, by the
marble walls, reflecting the moonbeams in thy placid breast; and in
thy gentle murmurs whispering evermore of Love and Death, and Love
that cannot die!

FOOTNOTE:

[2] Mr. Talboys Wheeler.



CHAPTER XIII.

DELHI--A MOHAMMEDAN FESTIVAL--SCENES IN THE MUTINY.


Delhi is the Rome of the old Mogul Empire. Agra was the capital in the
time of Akbar, but Delhi is an older city. It had a history before the
Moguls. It is said to have been destroyed and rebuilt seven times, and
thus is overspread with the ashes of many civilizations. Its very
ruins attest its ancient greatness. The plain around Delhi is like the
Campagna around Rome--covered with the remains of palaces and mosques,
towers and tombs, which give credit to the historical statement that
the city was once thirty miles in circuit, and had two millions of
inhabitants. This greatness tempted the spoiler. In 1398 it was
plundered by Tamerlane; in 1525 it was taken by his descendant, Baber,
the founder of the Mogul dynasty. Akbar made Agra, 112 miles to the
south, his capital; but Shah Jehan, the monarch of magnificent tastes,
who built the Taj, attracted by the mighty memories of this Rome of
Asia, returned to Delhi, and here laid the foundations of a city that
was to exceed all the capitals that had gone before it, if not in
size, at least in splendor.

That distinction it still retains among the cities of India. Though
not a tenth of old Delhi in size, it has to-day over 160,000
inhabitants. It is surrounded by walls seven miles in extent. We enter
under lofty arched gateways, and find ourselves in the midst of a
picturesque population, representing all the races of Southern and
Central Asia. The city is much gayer than Agra. Its streets are full
of people of all colors and costumes. Its shops are rich in Indian
jewelry, which is manufactured here, and in Cashmere shawls and other
Oriental fabrics; and in walking through the Chandney Chook, the
Broadway of Delhi, one might imagine himself in the bazaars of Cairo
or Constantinople.

The Fort is very like that of Agra, being built of the same red
sandstone, but much larger, and encloses a Palace which Bishop Heber
thought superior to the Kremlin. In the Hall of Audience, which still
remains, stood the famous Peacock Throne, which is estimated to have
been worth thirty millions of dollars. Here the Great Mogul lived in a
magnificence till then unknown even in Oriental courts. At the time
that Louis XIV. was on the throne of France, a French traveller,
Tavernier, made his way to the East, and though he had seen all the
glory of Versailles, he was dazzled by this greater Eastern splendor.
But what a comment on the vanity of all earthly power, that the
monarch who built this Palace was not permitted to live in it! He was
dethroned by his son, the wily Aurungzebe, who imprisoned his father
and murdered his brother, to get possession of the throne. Shah Jehan
was taken back to Agra, and confined in the Fort, where he passed the
last years of his life. But as it is only a mile from the Taj, the
dethroned King, as he sat in his high tower, could see from his
windows the costly mausoleum he had reared. Death came at last to his
relief, as it comes alike to kings and captives, and he was laid in
his marble tomb, beside the wife he had so much loved.

This story of crime is relieved by one of the most touching instances
of fidelity recorded in history. When all others deserted the fallen
monarch, there was one true heart that was faithful still. He had a
daughter, the favorite sister of that murdered brother, who shared her
father's captivity. She was famous throughout the East for her wit and
beauty, but sorrow brought out the nobler traits of her character. She
clung to her father, and thus comforted the living while she mourned
for the dead. She became very religious, and spent her life in deeds
of charity. She is not buried in the Taj Mahal, but at Delhi in a
humble grave. Lowly in spirit and broken in heart, she shrank from
display even in her tomb. She desired to be buried in the common
earth, with only the green turf above her. There she sleeps beneath a
lowly mound (though surrounded by costly marble shrines), and near the
head is a plain tablet, with an inscription in Persian, which reads:
"Let no rich canopy cover my grave. This grass is the best covering
for the tomb of one who was poor in spirit--the humble, the transitory
Jehanara, the disciple of the holy men of Cheest, the daughter of the
Emperor Shah Jehan." Was there ever a more touching inscription? As I
stood by this grave, on which the green grass was growing, and read
these simple words, I was more moved than even when standing by the
marble sarcophagus under the dome of the Taj. That covered an
Emperor's wife, and was the monument of a royal husband's affection;
this recalled a daughter's fidelity--broken in heart, yet loving and
faithful, and devoted to the last.

But humiliations were to come to the house of Aurungzebe. As Louis
XIV. on his deathbed had to mourn his haughty policy, which had ended
in disaster and defeat, so Aurungzebe was hardly in his grave when
troubles gathered round his house.[3] About thirty years after, a
conqueror from Persia, Nadir Shah, came down from the passes of the
Himalayas, ravaged the North of India to the gates of Delhi, plundered
the city and the palace, and carried off the Peacock Throne--putting
out the eyes of the Great Mogul, telling him in bitter mockery that
he had no more need of his throne, since he had no longer eyes to see
it!

Other sorrows followed hard after. The kingdom was overrun by the
terrible Mahrattas, whose horses' hoofs had so often trampled the
plains of India. Then came the English, who took Delhi at the
beginning of this century. But still the phantom of the old Empire
lived, and there was an Indian Rajah, who bore the sounding name of
the Great Mogul. The phantom continued till the Mutiny twenty years
ago, when this "King of Delhi" was set up by the Sepoys as their
rallying cry. The overthrow of the Rebellion was the end of his house.
His sons were put to death, and he was sent into exile, and the Great
Mogul ceased to reign.

But though he no longer reigns in Delhi, yet it is one of the chief
centres of Islam in the world. Queen Victoria has more Mohammedan
subjects than the Sultan. There are forty millions of Moslems in
India. Delhi is their Mecca. It has some forty mosques, whose tall
minarets and gilded domes produce a very brilliant effect. One
especially, the Jumma Musjid, is the most magnificent in India. It
stands on a high terrace, mounted by long flights of steps, which give
it an imposing effect. Huge bronze doors open into a large court, with
a fountain in the centre, and surrounded by arched passages, like
cloisters. Here are preserved with religious care some very ancient
copies of the Koran, and the footprint of Mohammed in black marble (!),
and (holiest relic of all) a coarse red hair, which is said to have
been plucked from the beard of the prophet!

Nor is Mohammedanism in India a dead faith, whose fire has died out,
its forms only being still preserved. The recurrence of one of their
festivals arouses their religious zeal to the highest pitch of
fanaticism. We were in Delhi at the time of the Mohurrim, the Moslem
"Feast of Martyrs," designed to commemorate the bloody deaths of the
grandsons of Mohammed. Macaulay, in his review of the Life of Lord
Clive, gives an instance in which this day was chosen for a military
assault because of the frenzy with which it kindled all true
Mussulmans. He says:

     "It was the great Mohammedan festival, which is sacred to
     the memory of Hosein, the son of Ali. The history of Islam
     contains nothing more touching than the event which gave
     rise to that solemnity. The mournful legend relates how the
     chief of the Fatimites, when all his brave followers had
     perished round him, drank his latest draught of water and
     uttered his latest prayer; how the assassins carried his
     head in triumph; how the tyrant smote the lifeless lips with
     his staff; and how a few old men recollected with tears that
     they had seen those lips pressed to the lips of the Prophet
     of God. After the lapse of twelve centuries, the recurrence
     of this solemn season excites the fiercest and saddest
     emotions in the bosoms of the devout Moslems of India. They
     work themselves up to such agonies of rage and lamentation,
     that some, it is said, have given up the ghost from the mere
     effect of mental excitement."

Such was the celebration that we witnessed in Delhi. The martyrdom of
these Moslem saints is commemorated by little shrines in their houses,
made of paper and tinsel, and on the great day of the feast they go in
procession out of the city to a cemetery five miles distant, and there
bury them in hundreds of newly-opened graves. As we drove out of
Delhi, we found the procession on its march; men, women, and children
by tens of thousands on foot, and others in bullock-carts, or mounted
on horses, camels, and elephants. Immense crowds gathered by the
roadside, mounting the steps of old palaces, or climbing to the tops
of houses, to see this mighty procession pass, as it went rolling
forward in a wild frenzy to its Golgotha--its place of a skull. There
they lay down these images of their saints as they would bury their
dead. We went into the cemetery, and saw the open graves, and the
little shrines garlanded with flowers, that were laid in the earth,
not (so far as we saw) with weeping and wailing, but rather with a
feeling of triumph and victory.

Leaving this scene of wild fanaticism, we rode on a few miles farther
to the Kootub Minar, the loftiest isolated tower in the world, that
has stood there six hundred years, looking down on all the strange
scenes that have passed within its horizon, since watchers from its
summit saw the armies of Tamerlane march by. We rode back through a
succession of ruins, stopping at several royal tombs, but most
interested in one where the sons of the aged king of Delhi took refuge
after the fall of the city, and from which they were taken out by
Captain Hodson, and shot in the presence of their deluded followers,
and their bodies exposed in the Chandney Chook, to the terror of the
wretched people, who had seen the cruelty of these young princes, and
were awed to see the retribution that overtook those who had stained
their hands with blood.

This tragedy took place less than twenty years ago, and recalls that
recent history from which fresh interest gathers round the walls of
Delhi. This city played a great part in the Mutiny of 1857. Indeed it
broke out at Meerut, thirty miles from here, where the Sepoys rose
upon their officers, and massacred the Europeans of both sexes, and
then rushed along the road to Delhi, to rouse the natives here to
mutiny. Had those in command anticipated such a blow, they might have
rallied their little force, and shut themselves up in the Fort (as was
done at Agra), with provisions and ammunition for a siege, and there
kept the tigers at bay. But they could not believe that the native
troops, that had been obedient till now, could "turn and rend them."
They were undeceived when they saw these Sepoys drunk with blood,
rushing into the town, calling on their fellow-soldiers to rise and
kill. Many perished on the spot. But they fell not ingloriously. A
brave officer shut himself up in the Arsenal, and when the mutineers
had gathered around, ready to burst in, applied the torch, and blew
himself and a thousand natives into the air. The little handful of
troops fled from the town, and were scarcely able to rally enough to
be safe even at a distance. But then rose the unconquerable English
spirit. With this small nucleus of an army, and such reinforcements as
could be brought from the Punjaub, they held out through the long,
dreadful Summer, till in September they had mustered all together
seven thousand men (half of whom were natives), with which they
proposed to assault a walled city held by sixty thousand native
troops! Planting their guns on the Ridge, a mile or two distant, they
threw shells into the town, and as their fire took effect, they
advanced their lines nearer and nearer. But they did not advance
unopposed. Many of the Sepoys were practised artillerists (since the
Mutiny all the artillery regiments in India are English), and answered
back with fatal aim. Still, though the English ranks were thinned,
they kept pushing on; they came nearer and nearer, and the roar of
their guns was louder and louder. Approaching the walls at one point,
they wished to blow up the Cashmere Gate. It was a desperate
undertaking. But when was English courage known to fail? A dozen men
were detailed for the attempt. Four natives carried bags of powder on
their shoulders, but as they drew within rifle range, English soldiers
stepped up to take their places, for they would not expose their
native allies to a danger which they were ready to encounter
themselves. The very daring of the movement for an instant bewildered
the enemy. The Sepoys within saw these men coming up to the gate, but
thinking perhaps that they were deserters, did not fire upon them, and
it was not till they darted back again that they saw the design. Then
came the moment of danger, when the mine was to be fired. A sergeant
advanced quickly, but fell mortally wounded; a second sprang to the
post, but was shot dead; the third succeeded, but fell wounded; the
fourth rushed forward, and seeing the train lighted sprang into the
moat, the bullets whizzed over him, and the next instant a tremendous
explosion threw the heavy wall into the air.

Such are the tales of courage still told by the camp-fires of the
regiments here. More than once did we walk out to the Cashmere Gate,
and from that point followed the track of the English troops as they
stormed the city, pausing at the spot where the brave General
Nicholson fell. With mingled pride and sadness, we visited his grave,
and those of others who fell in the siege. The English church is
surrounded with them, and many a tablet on its walls tells of the
heroic dead. Such memories are a legacy to the living. We attended
service there, and as we saw the soldiers filing into the church, and
heard the swords of their officers ringing on the pavement, we felt
that the future of India was safe when committed to such brave
defenders!

This church was standing during the siege, and above it rose a gilded
ball, supporting a cross, which was an object of hatred to both
Mohammedan and Hindoo, who wished to see this symbol of our religion
brought to the ground. Again and again they aimed their guns at it,
and the globe was riddled with balls, but still _the cross stood_,
until the city was completely subdued, when it was reverently taken
down by English hands, and carried to the Historical Museum, to be
kept as a sacred relic. May we not take this as a sign of the way in
which the Christian faith will stand against all the false religions
of India?

But I turn from battles and sieges to a lighter picture. One may find
great amusement in the street scenes of Delhi, which will relieve
these "dun clouds of war." In the Mohammedan procession we had seen
hundreds of the drollest little carts, drawn by oxen, on which the
natives were stuck like pins, the sight of which, with the loads of
happy life they bore, excited our envy. Before leaving Delhi, we
thought it would be very "nice" to take a turn around the town in one
of these extraordinary vehicles. We had tried almost every kind of
locomotion; we had ridden on horses and donkeys, on camels and
elephants, and had been borne in palanquins; but one more glory
awaited us--to ride in a "bali,"--and so we commanded one to attend
us for our royal pleasure. But when it drew up in the yard of the
hotel, we looked at it in amazement. There stood the oxen, as ready to
draw us as a load of hay; but what a "chariot" was this behind! It was
a kind of baby-house on cart-wheels--a cushion and a canopy--one seat,
with a sort of umbrella over it, under which a native "lady" sits in
state, with her feet curled up between her. How we were to get into it
was the question. There were three of us, for the surgeon of the
Peshawur had joined us. C. of course had the place of honor, while the
Doctor and I sat on the edge of the seat, with our lower limbs
extended at right angles. The "bali" is rigged somewhat like an Irish
jaunting-car, in which one sits sidewise, hanging over the wheels;
only in a jaunting-car there is a board for the feet to rest upon,
whereas here the feet are literally "nowhere." In the East there is no
provision for the lower part of a man. Legs are very much in the way.
A Turk or Hindoo curls them up under him, and has done with them. But
if an impracticable European will dangle them about where they ought
not to be, he must take the consequences. I find that the only way is
to look out for the main chance--to see that the body is safe, and let
the legs take care of themselves. Then if an accident happens, I am
not responsible; I have done my duty. So we now "faced the situation,"
and while the central personage reposed like a Sultana on a soft
divan, her attendants faced in either direction, with their
extremities flying all abroad. We felt as if sitting on the edge of a
rickety chair, that might break any moment and pitch us into the
street. But we held fast to the slender bamboo reeds that supported
the canopy, and, thrusting our feet into the air, bade the chariot
proceed.

The driver sits astride the tongue of the cart, and sets the thing
going by giving the animals a kick in the rear, or seizing the tails
and giving them a twist, which sets the beasts into an awkward,
lumbering gallop. He was proud of his team, and wished to show us
their mettle, and now gave the tails a Herculean twist, which sent
them tearing like mad bulls along the street. Everybody turned to look
at us, while we laughed at the absurdity of our appearance, and wished
that we could have our photograph taken to send home. Thus we rode to
the great Mosque of the city, and through the Chandney Chook, the
street of the bazaars, and back to our hotel, having had glory enough
for one day.

FOOTNOTE:

[3] There are many parallels between Louis XIV. and Aurungzebe. They
were contemporaries--and both had long reigns, the former a little
over, and the latter a little less than, half a century. They were the
most splendid sovereigns of their time--one in Europe, and the other
in Asia, and with both the extravagance and prodigality of the
monarchs prepared the way for revolution after their deaths.



CHAPTER XIV.

FROM DELHI TO LAHORE.


Times have changed since twenty years ago, when Delhi was the head and
front of the Rebellion. It is now as tranquil and loyal as any city in
India. As we rode out to the Ridge, where the English planted their
guns during the siege, we found it surmounted by a lofty Memorial
Tower, reared to mark the spot where the courage of a few thousand men
saved India. So completely is the English power re-established, that
Delhi was lately chosen over all Indian cities as the one where should
be gathered the most imposing display of troops to do honor to their
future sovereign, the Prince of Wales. Some forty regiments, native
and English, were mustered here to form a grand Camp of Exercise.
Never before had India witnessed such a military display. Here were
native regiments in the picturesque costumes of the East--the superb
Sikh cavalry; a corps of guides mounted on camels; and heavy artillery
drawn by elephants, which, as they came before the Prince, threw up
their trunks and trumpeted a salute to the Majesty of England. Two
weeks passed in military manoeuvres, and the nights in a constant
round of festivities. The Fort was brilliantly illuminated, and the
Palace was thronged with "fair women and brave men," but they were
those of another race, and speaking another language, from any known
to the Great Mogul. Manly English forms took the place of the dusky
Hindoos, and bright English eyes shone where once the beauties of the
Seraglio "looked out from the lattice." As we walked through these
marble halls that had just witnessed these splendid festivities, I
could but think, What would the old fanatical Mohammedan Aurungzebe
have said, if he could have seen, less than two hundred years after
his day, a Christian prince from that distant island of which he had
perhaps scarcely heard, received in his palace, the heir of a power
ten thousand miles away, that from its seat on the banks of the Thames
stretches out its hand across the seas to grasp and hold the vast
empire of the house of Tamerlane?

The change has been from darkness to light. If England has not done as
much for Delhi as the Great Mogul to give it architectural beauty, it
has done far more for the people. It has given them good government
for their protection, just laws rigidly enforced against the rich as
well as the poor, a police which preserves perfect order; and it even
cares for the material comfort of its subjects, giving them good
roads, clean and well-lighted streets, and public gardens; thus
providing for ornament and pleasure as well as for utility.

The Camp of Exercise was breaking up as we left Delhi, and the troops
were marching home. We saw them filing out of the gates of the city,
and drew up by the roadside to see the gallant warriors pass. Among
them was the corps of Sikh guides, or couriers, mounted on "swift
dromedaries." As they were scattered along the road, our guide asked
some of them to show us how they could go. In an instant they dashed
their feet against the sides of their "coursers," and set them off at
full speed. I cannot say that they were very beautiful objects. The
camel with his long strides, and with the legs of his rider outspread
like the wings of a bird, looked like an enormous ostrich flying at
once with legs and wings in swift chase over the desert. But certainly
it was a picturesque sight. The infantry marched in column. The
spectacle was very gay, as the morning sun shone on the waving banners
and gleaming bayonets, and the sound of their bugles died away in the
distance. Regiments had been leaving for days, and were scattered at
intervals far to the North. As we travelled at night, we saw their
camp-fires for a hundred miles. Indeed the whole country seemed to be
a camp. Once or twice we came upon a regiment at sunset, just as they
had pitched their tents. They had parked their guns, and picketed
their horses, and the men were cooking their evening meal. It was a
busy scene for an hour or two, till suddenly all became quiet, and the
silence of night was broken only by the sentinel's tramp and the
jackal's cry.

At Gazeeabad we met Sir Bartle Frere, the chief of the suite of the
Prince of Wales, and Canon Duckworth, his chaplain, who were going
North on the same train, and found them extremely courteous. The
former, I think, must be of French descent from his name (although his
family has been settled in England for generations), and from his
manners, which seemed to me more French than English, or rather to
have the good qualities of both. When French courtesy is united with
English sincerity, it makes the finest gentleman in the world. He is
an "old Indian," having been many years in the Indian service, and at
one time Governor of Bombay. I could but share the wish (which I heard
often expressed) that in the change which was just taking place, he
were to be the new Governor-General of India.

Canon Duckworth seemed to me also a very "manly man." Though coming to
India in the train of royalty, he is much less interested in the fêtes
which are setting the country ablaze, than in studying missions,
visiting native churches and schools and orphanages. Our American
missionaries like his bearing, and wish that he might be appointed the
new Bishop of Bombay. One fact should be mentioned to his credit--that
he is one of the strongest temperance men in England, carrying his
principles and his practice to the point of rigid total abstinence,
which, for one travelling in such company, and sitting at such
entertainments, shows a firmness in resisting temptation, greatly to
his honor. It is a good sign when such men are chosen to accompany
the future King of England on his visit to this great dependency, over
which he is one day to rule.

That night we had our first sight of the Himalayas. Just at evening we
saw on the horizon a fire spreading on the side of a mountain. It was
kindled by the natives, as fires are sometimes lighted in our forests
or on our prairies. There were the Himalayas!

We now entered the most Northwestern Province of India, the Punjaub,
which signifies in Persian "the land of the five streams," which
coming together like the fingers of a hand, make the Indus. About
midnight we crossed the Sutlej, which was the limit of the conquests
of Alexander the Great.

Morning brought us to Umritzur, the holy city of the Sikhs--a sect of
reformed Hindoos, who began their "reforms" by rejecting idolatry, but
have found the fascination of the old worship too strong for them, and
have gradually fallen back into their old superstitions. Their most
holy place is a temple standing in the centre of a large tank of
water, which they call the Lake of Immortality, and with its pure
white marble, and its roof made of plates of copper, richly gilded,
merits the title of the Golden Temple. This is a very holy place, and
they would not let us even cross the causeway to it without taking off
our shoes; and when we put on slippers, and shuffled about, still they
followed, watching us with sharp eyes, lest by any unguarded step we
should profane their sanctuary. They are as fanatical as Mussulmans,
and glared at us with such fierce looks that the ladies of our party
were almost frightened. In the centre of the temple sat two priests,
on raised mats, to whom the rest were making offerings, while half a
dozen musicians kept up a hideous noise, to which the people responded
in a way that reminded us of the Howling Dervishes of Constantinople.

A pleasant change from this disgusting scene was a visit to the
bazaars, and to the places where Cashmere shawls are manufactured. Of
the latter I must say that (as a visit to a dirty kitchen does not
quicken one's appetite for the steaming dinner that comes from it), if
our fine ladies could see the dens in which these shawls are woven,
they might not wear them with quite so much pride. They are close,
narrow rooms, in which twenty or thirty men are crowded together,
working almost without light or air. The only poetical thing about it
is that the patterns are written out _in rhyme_, which they read or
sing as they weave, and thus keep the patterns so regular. But the
rooms themselves seem like breeding places for the cholera and the
plague. But out of this filth comes beauty, as a flower shoots up from
the damp, black soil. Some of the shawls were indeed exquisite in
pattern and fabric. One was offered to us for eight hundred rupees
(four hundred dollars), which the dealer said had taken two years and
a half in its manufacture!

We left Umritzur at five o'clock, and in a couple of hours rolled into
the station at Lahore. As the train stopped a friendly voice called
our name, and we were greeted most heartily by Dr. Newton, the father
of the Mission. Coolies were waiting to carry our baggage, and in a
few minutes we were in an American home, sitting before a blazing
fire, and receiving a welcome most grateful to strangers on the other
side of the world. Dr. Newton is the head of a missionary family, his
four sons being engaged in the same work, while his only daughter is
the wife of Mr. Forman, another missionary. Very beautiful it was to
see how they all gathered round their father, so revered and beloved,
happy to devote their lives to that form of Christian activity to
which he had led them both by instruction and example. Here we spent
four happy days in one of the most pleasant homes in India.

Lahore, like Delhi, has a historical interest. It was a great city a
thousand years ago. In 1241 it was taken and plundered by Genghis
Khan; a century and a half later came Tamerlane, who did not spoil it
only because it was too poor to reward his rapacity. But as it
recovered a little of its prosperity, Baber, in 1524, plundered it and
partially burnt it. But again it rose from its ashes, and became a
great city. The period of its glory was during the time of the Moguls,
when it covered a space eighteen miles in circumference, and this vast
extent is still strewn with the ruins of its former greatness. Huge
mounds, like those which Layard laid open at Nineveh, cover the mighty
wreck of former cities.

But though the modern city bears no comparison to the ancient, still
it has a political and commercial importance. It is the capital of the
Punjaub, and a place of commerce with Central Asia. The people are the
finest race we have seen in India. They are not at all like the
effeminate Bengalees. They are the Highlanders of India. Tall and
athletic, they seem born to be warriors. Their last great ruler, old
Runjeet Sing, was himself a soldier, and knew how to lead them to
victory. Uniting policy with valor, he kept peace with the English,
against whom his successors dashed themselves and were destroyed. All
readers of Indian history will remember the Sikh war, and how
desperate was the struggle before the Punjaub was subdued. But English
prowess conquered at last, and the very province that had fought so
bravely became the most loyal part of the Indian empire. It was
fortunate that at the breaking out of the mutiny the Governor of the
Punjaub was Sir John Lawrence, who had a great ascendancy over the
natives, and by his courage and prompt measures he succeeded not only
in keeping them quiet, but in mustering here a considerable force to
restore English authority in the rest of India. The Punjaubees took
part in the siege of Delhi. From that day they have been the most
trusted of natives for their courage and their fidelity. They are
chosen for police duty in the cities of India, and three months later
we were much pleased to recognize our old friends keeping guard and
preserving order in the streets of Hong Kong.

Old Runjeet Sing is dead--and well dead, as I can testify, having seen
his tomb, where his four wives and seven concubines, that were burnt
on his funeral pile, are buried with him. His son too sleeps in a tomb
near by, but only seven widowed women were sacrificed for him, and for
a grandson only four! Thus there was a falling off in the glory of the
old suttee, and then the light of these fires went out altogether.
These were the last widows burnt on the funeral pile, and to-day the
old Lion of the Punjaub is represented by his son Maharajah Dhuleep
Sing, of whose marriage we heard such a romantic story in Cairo, and
who now lives with his Christian wife in Christian England.

We had now reached almost the frontier of India. Two hundred and fifty
miles farther we should have come to Peshawur, the last military post,
on the border of Afghanistan, which no man crosses but at the peril of
his life. We find how far North we have come by the race and the
language of the people. Persian begins to be mingled with Hindostanee.
In the streets of Lahore we meet not only the stalwart Punjaubees, but
the hill tribes, that have come out of the fastnesses of the
Himalayas; the men of Cabul--Afghans and Beloochees--who have a
striking resemblance to the Circassians, who crossed the Mediterranean
with us on their pilgrimage to Mecca, the long dresses of coarse,
dirty flannel, looking not unlike the sheepskin robes of the wild
mountaineers of the Caucasus.

One cannot be so near the border line of British India without having
suggested the possibility of a Russian invasion, the fear of which has
been for the last twenty years (since the Mutiny and since the Crimean
War) the bugbear of certain writers who are justly jealous of the
integrity of the English Empire in the East. Russia has been steadily
pushing Eastward, and establishing her outposts in Central Asia. These
gradual advances, it is supposed, are all to the end of finally
passing through Afghanistan, and attacking the English power in India.
The appearance of Russian soldiers in the passes of the Hindoo Koosh,
it is taken for granted, will be the signal for a general insurrection
in India; the country will be in a state of revolution; and at the end
of a struggle in which Russians and Hindoos will fight together
against the English, the British power will have departed never to
return. Or even should the Russians be held back from actual invasion,
their approach in a threatening attitude would be such a menace to the
Indian Empire, as would compel England to remain passive, while Russia
carried out her designs in Europe by taking possession of
Constantinople.

This is a terrible prospect, and no one can say that it is impossible
that all this should yet come to pass. India has been invaded again
and again from the time of Alexander the Great. Even the mighty wall
of the Himalayas has not proved an effectual barrier against invasion.
Genghis Khan and Tamerlane, with their Tartar hordes, crossed the
mountains and swept over the plains of Northern India. A King of
Persia captured Delhi, and put out the eyes of the Great Mogul, and
carried off the Peacock Throne of Aurungzebe. What has been, may be;
what Persia has done, Russia may do.

But while no one can say that it is impossible, all can see that the
difficulties are enormous. The distance to be traversed, the deserts
and the mountains to be crossed, are so many obstacles set up by
nature itself. An army from the Caspian Sea must march thousands of
miles over great deserts, where even a small caravan can hardly
subsist, and then only by carrying both food to eat and water to
drink. Many a caravan is buried by the sands of the desert. What then
must be the difficulty of passing a whole army over such a distance
and such a desert, with food for men and horses, and carrying guns and
all the munitions of war! Five years ago, Russia attempted a campaign
against Khiva, and sent out three separate expeditions, one of which
was forced to turn back, not by hostile armies, but by the natural
obstacles in its path, while the main column, under Gen. Kaufman, came
very near succumbing to heat and thirst before reaching its
destination. But if the deserts are crossed, then the army is at the
foot of the loftiest mountains on the globe, in the passes of which it
may have to fight against savage enemies. It is assumed that Russia
will have the support of Afghanistan, which will give them free access
to the country, and aid them in their march on India; though how a
government and people, which are fanatically Mussulman, should aid
Russia, which in Europe is the bitterest enemy of Turkey, the great
Mohammedan power, is a point which these alarmists seem not to
consider.

But suppose all difficulties vanquished--the deserts crossed and the
mountains scaled, and the Russians descending the passes of the
Himalayas--what an army must they meet at its foot! Not a feeble race,
like that which fled before Nadir Shah or Tamerlane. With the railways
traversing all India, almost the whole Anglo-Indian army could be
transported to the Punjaub in a few days, and ready to receive the
invaders.

With these defences in the country itself, add another supreme fact,
that England is absolute master of the sea, and that Russia has no
means of approach except over the deserts and the mountains, and it
will be seen that the difficulties in the way of a Russian invasion
render it practically impossible, at least for a long time to come.
What may come to pass in another century, no man can foresee; but of
this I feel well assured, that there will be no Russian invasion
within the lifetime of this generation.

We had now reached the limit of our journey to the North, though we
would have gladly gone farther. Dr. Newton had spent the last summer
in Cashmere, and told us much of its beauty. We longed to cross the
mountains, but it was too early in the year. The passes were still
blocked up with snow. It would be months before we could make our way
over into the Vale of Cashmere. And so, though we "lifted up our eyes
unto the hills," we had to turn back from seeing the glory beyond.
Might we not comfort ourselves by saying with Mohammed, as he looked
down upon Damascus, "There is but one Paradise for man, and I will
turn away my eyes from this, lest I lose that which is to come."

And so we turned away our eyes from beholding Paradise. But we had
seen enough. So we thought as on Saturday evening we rode out to the
Shalamir gardens, where an emperor had made a retreat, and laid out
gardens with fountains, and every possible accompaniment of luxury and
pride. All remains as he left it, but silent and deserted. Emperor and
court are gone, and as we walked through the gardens, our own footfall
on the marble pavement was the only sound that broke the stillness of
the place. But the beauty is as great as ever under the clear, full
moon, which, as we rode back, recalled the lines of Scott on Melrose:

     "And home returning, sooth declare,
     Was ever scene so sad and fair?"



CHAPTER XV.

A WEEK IN THE HIMALAYAS.


Ever since we landed in India my chief desire has been to see the
Himalayas. I had seen Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in Europe, and
now wished to look upon the highest mountains in Asia, or the world.
To reach them we had travelled nearly fifteen hundred miles. We had
already had a distant view of them at night, lighted up by fires
blazing along their sides; but to come into their presence one must
leave the railway and cross the country some forty miles.

We left Lahore Monday morning, and at noon were at Lodiana, a place
with sacred missionary associations; which we left at midnight, and in
the morning reached Saharanpur, where also is one of our Presbyterian
missions. Rev. Mr. Calderwood met us at the station, and made us
welcome to his home, and sped us on our way to the Hills.

Saharanpur is forty-two miles distant from Dehra Doon, the beautiful
valley which lies at the foot of the Himalayas. A mail wagon runs
daily, but as it suited our convenience better, we chartered a vehicle
not unlike an omnibus, and which the natives, improving on the
English, call an _omnibukus_. It is a long covered _gharri_, that
looks more like a prison van than anything else to which I can compare
it, and reminded me of the Black Maria that halts before the Tombs in
New York to convey prisoners to Blackwell's Island. There are only two
seats running lengthwise, as they are made to lie down upon in case of
necessity. Much of the travelling is at night, and "old Indians," who
are used to the ways of the country, will spread their "resais" and
sleep soundly over all the joltings of the road. But we could sleep
about as well inside of a bass drum. So we gave up the idea of repose,
and preferred to travel by day to see the country, for which this sort
of conveyance is very well contrived. The canvas top keeps off the
sun, while the latticed slides (which are regular green blinds), drawn
back, give a fine view of the country as we go rolling over the road.
Our charioteer, excited by the promise of a liberal backsheesh if he
should get us into Dehra Doon before nightfall, drove at full speed.
Every five or six miles the blast of his horn told those at the next
stage that somebody was coming, and that a relay of fresh horses must
be ready. As we approached the hills he put on an extra horse, and
then two, so that we were driving four-in-hand. Then as the hills grew
steeper, he took two mules, with a horse in front as a leader, mounted
by a postilion, who, with his white dress and turbaned head, made a
very picturesque appearance. How gallantly he rode! He struck his
heels into the spirited little pony and set him into a gallop, which
the mules could but follow, and so we went tearing up hill and down
dale at a furious rate; while the coachman blew his horn louder still
to warn common folks to get out of the way, and the natives drew to
the roadside, wondering what great man it was who thus dashed by.

But horses and mules were not enough to sustain such a load of
dignity, and at the last stage the driver took a pair of the beautiful
white hump-backed oxen of the country, which drew us to the top of the
pass. The hills which we thus cross are known as the Sewalic range.
The top once attained, two horses were quite enough to take us down,
and we descended rapidly. And now rose before us a vision of beauty
such as we had not seen in all India. The vale of Dehra Doon is
enclosed between two walls of mountains--the Sewalic range on one
side, and the first range of the Himalayas on the other. It is fifteen
miles wide, and about sixty miles long, extending from the Jumna to
the Ganges. Thus it lies between two mountains and two rivers, and
has a temperature and a moisture which keep it in perpetual green.
Nothing can be more graceful than the tall feathery bamboos, which
here grow to a great height. Here are fine specimens of the peepul
tree--the sacred tree of India, massive as an English oak--and groves
of mangoes. Everything seems to grow here--tea, coffee, tobacco,
cinnamon, cloves. The appearance of this rich valley, thus covered
with groves and gardens, to us coming from the burnt plains of India,
was like that of a garden of Paradise. Riding on through this mass of
foliage, we rattled into the town, but were not obliged to "find our
warmest welcome at an inn." Rev. Mr. Herron had kindly invited us to
accept his hospitality, and so we inquired for "Herron-sahib," and
were driven along a smooth road, embowered in bamboos, to the
Missionary Compound, where a large building has been erected for a
Female Seminary, chiefly by the labors of Messrs. Woodside and Herron,
the latter of whom is in charge of the institution, one of the most
complete in India. Here we were most cordially received, and found how
welcome, in the farthest part of the world, is the atmosphere of an
American home.

But once in presence of the great mountains, we were impatient to
climb the first range, to get a view of the snows. Mr. Herron offered
to keep us company. We rose at four the next morning, while the stars
were still shining, and set out, but could ride only five miles in a
carriage, when we came to the foot of the hills, and were obliged to
take to the saddle. Our "syces" had led three horses alongside, which
we mounted just as the starlight faded, and the gray light of day
began to show over the mountain-tops, while our attendants, light of
foot, kept by our side in case their services were needed.

And now we begin the ascent, turning hither and thither, as the road
winds along the sides of the mountain. The slope of the Himalayas is
not a smooth and even one, rising gently through an unbroken forest.
The mountain side has been torn by the storms of thousands of years.
In the spring, when the snows melt and the rains come, every torrent
whose rocky bed is now bare, becomes a foaming flood, rushing down the
hills, and tearing its way through the lowlands, till lost in the
Jumna or the Ganges. Thus the mountain is broken into innumerable
spurs and ridges that shoot out into the valley. Where the scanty
herbage can gather like moss on the rocks, there is grazing for sheep
and goats and cattle; and these upland pastures, like those of the
Alps or the Tyrol, are musical with the tinkling of bells. High up on
the mountains they are dark with pines; while on the inner ranges of
the Himalayas the mighty cedars "shake like Lebanon."

One can imagine how lovely must be the Vale of Dehra Doon, with its
mass of verdure, set in the midst of such rugged mountains. Although
we were climbing upward, we could but stop, as we came to turning
points in the road, to look back into the valley. Sometimes a
projecting ledge of rock offered a fine point of view, on which we
reined up our horses; or an old oak, bending its gnarled limbs over
us, made a frame to the picture, through which we looked down into the
fairest of Indian vales, unless it be the Vale of Cashmere. From such
a point the landscape seemed to combine every element of
beauty--plains, and woods, and streams and mountains. Across the
valley rises the long serrated ridge of the Sewalic range. Within this
space is enclosed a great variety of surface--undulating in hill and
valley, with green meadows, and villages, and gardens, while here and
there, along the banks of the streams, whose beds are now dry, are
belts of virgin forest.

The industry of the people, which turns every foot of soil to account,
is shown by the way in which the spurs of the mountains are terraced
to admit of cultivation. Wherever there is an acre of level ground,
there is a patch of green, for the wheat fields are just springing
up; and even spaces of but a few rods are planted with potatoes. Thus
the sides of the Himalayas are belted with lines of green, like the
sides of the Alps as one descends into Italy. The view is especially
beautiful at this morning hour as the sun rises, causing the dews to
lift from the valley, while here and there a curl of smoke, rising
through the mist, marks the place of human habitation.

But we must prick up our horses, for the sun is up, and we are not yet
at the top. It is a good ride of two hours (we took three) to the
ridge on which are built the two "hill stations" of Mussoorie and
Landour--which are great resorts of the English during the summer
months. These "stations" do not deserve the name of towns; they are
merely straggling Alpine villages. Indeed nowhere in the Alps is there
such a cluster of houses at such a height, or in such a spot. There is
no "site" for a regular village, no place for a "main street." One
might as well think of "laying out" a village along the spine of a
sharp-backed whale, as on this narrow mountain ridge. There is hardly
an acre of level ground, only the jagged ends of hills, or points of
rocks, from which the torrents have swept away the earth on either
side, leaving only the bare surface. Yet on these points and
edges--wherever there is a shelf of rock to furnish a foundation, the
English have built their pretty bungalows, which thus perched in air,
7,500 feet high, look like mountain eyries, and might be the home of
the eagles that we see sailing over the valley below. From such a
height do they look over the very top of the Sewalic range to the
great plains of India.

But we did not stop at this mountain to look back. Dashing through the
little straggling bazaar of Landour, we spurred on to the highest
point, "Lal Tiba"; from which we hoped for the great view of "the
snows." We reached the spot at nine o'clock, but as yet we saw "only
in part." Our final vision was to come three days later. Away to the
North and East the horizon was filled with mountains, whose summits
the foot of man had never trod, but the intervening distance was
covered with clouds, out of which rose the snowy domes, like islands
in a sea.

My first impression of the Himalayas was one of disappointment, partly
because we "could not come nigh unto" them. We saw their summits, but
at such a distance that they did not look so high as Mont Blanc, where
we could come "even to his feet" in the Vale of Chamouni. But the
Himalayas were seventy miles off,[4] filling the whole horizon. Nor
did they rise up in one mighty chain, like the Cordilleras of Mexico,
standing like a wall of rock and snow against the sky; but seemed
rather a sea of mountains, boundless and billowy, rising range on
range, one overtopping the other, and rolling away to the heart of
Asia; or, to change the figure, the mountains appeared as an ice
continent, like that of the Polar regions, tossed up here and there
into higher and still higher summits, but around which, stretching
away to infinity, was the wild and interminable sea.

Thus the view, though different from what I expected, was very grand,
and though we had not yet the full, clear vision, yet the sight was
sublime and awful, perhaps even more so from the partial obscurity, as
great clouds came rolling along the snowy heights, as if the heavenly
host uprose at the coming of the day, and were moving rank on rank
along the shining battlements.

We had hoped by waiting a few hours to get an unobstructed view, but
the clouds seemed to gather rather than disperse, warning us to hasten
our descent.

In going up the mountain, C---- had kept along with us on horseback,
but the long ride to one not used to the saddle had fatigued her so
that on the return she was glad to accept Mr. Herron's offer of a
_dandi_, a chair borne by two men, which two others accompanied as
relays, while we, mounted as before, followed as outriders. Thus
mustering our little force, we began to descend the mountain.

A mile or so from the top we turned aside at the house of a gentleman
who was a famous hunter, and who had a large collection of living
birds, pheasants and manauls, while the veranda was covered with tiger
and leopard skins. He was absent, but his wife (who has the spirit and
courage of a huntress, and had often brought down a deer with her own
hand) was there, and bade us welcome. She showed us her birds, both
living and stuffed, the number of which made her house look like an
ornithological museum. To our inquiry she said, "The woods were full
of game. Two deer had been shot the evening before."

We asked about higher game. She said that tigers were not common up on
the mountain as in the valley. She had two enormous skins, but "the
brutes" her husband had shot over in Nepaul. But leopards seemed to be
her special pets. When I asked, "Have you many leopards about here?"
she laughed as she answered, "I should think so." She often saw them
just across a ravine a few rods in front of her house, chasing goats
or sheep. "It was great fun." Of late they had become rather
troublesome in killing dogs. And so they had been obliged to set traps
for them. They framed a kind of cage, with two compartments, in one of
which they tied a dog, whose yelpings at night attracted the leopard,
who, creeping round and round, to get at his prey, at length dashed in
to seize the poor creature, but found bars between them, while the
trap closed upon him, and Mr. Leopard was a prisoner. In this way they
had caught four the last summer. Then this Highland lady came out from
her cottage, and with a rifle put an end to the leopard's career in
devouring dogs. The number of skins on the veranda told of their skill
and success.

Pursuing my inquiry into the character of her neighbors, I asked,
"Have you any snakes about here?" "Oh no," she replied carelessly;
"that is to say not many. The cobras do not come up so high on the
mountain. But there is a serpent in the woods, a kind of python, but
he is a large, lazy creature, that doesn't do any mischief. One day
that my husband was out with his gun, he shot one that was eighteen
feet long. It was as big around as a log of wood, so that when I came
up I sat down and took my tiffin upon it."

While listening to these tales, the clouds had been gathering, and now
they were piled in dark masses all around the horizon. The lightning
flashed, and we could hear the heavy though distant peals of thunder.
Presently the big drops began to fall. There was no time to be lost.
We could see that the rain was pouring in the valley, while heavy
peals came nearer and nearer, reverberating in the hollows of the
mountains. It was a grand spectacle of Nature, that of a storm in the
Himalayas. Thunder in front of us, thunder to the right of us, thunder
to the left of us! I never had a more exciting ride, except one like
it in the Rocky Mountains four years before. At our urgent request,
Mr. Herron spurred ahead, and galloped at full speed down the
mountain. I came more slowly with C---- in the _dandi_. But we did not
lose time, and after an hour's chase, in which we seemed to be running
the gauntlet of the storm, "dodging the rain," we were not a little
relieved, just as the scattered drops began to fall thicker and
faster, to come into the yard of the hotel at Rajpore.

The brave fellows who had brought the dandi deserved a reward,
although Mr. Herron said they were his servants. I wanted to give them
a rupee each, but he would not hear of it, and when I insisted on
giving at least a couple of rupees for the four, which would be
twenty-five cents a piece, the poor fellows were so overcome with my
generosity that they bowed almost to the ground in acknowledgment, and
went off hugging each other with delight at the small fortune which
had fallen to them.

At Rajpore the carriage was waiting for us, and under its cover from
the rain, we rode back, talking of the incidents of the day; and when
we got home and stretched ourselves before the blazing fire, the
subject was renewed. I have a boy's fondness for stories of wild
beasts, and listened with eager interest to all my host had to tell.
It was hard to realize that there were such creatures in such a lovely
spot. "Do you really mean to say," I asked, "that there are tigers
here in this valley?" "Yes," he answered, "within five miles of where
you are sitting now." He had seen one himself, and showed us the very
spot that morning as we rode out to the hills, when he pointed to a
ravine by the roadside, and said: "As I was riding along this road one
day with a lady, a magnificent Bengal tiger came up out of that
ravine, a few rods in front of us, and walked slowly across the road.
He turned to look at us, and we were greatly relieved when, after
taking a cool survey, he moved off into the jungle."

But leopards are still more common and familiar. They have been in
this very dooryard, and on this veranda. One summer evening two years
ago, said Miss P., I was sitting on the gravelled walk to enjoy the
cool air, when an enormous creature brushed past but a step in front
between us and the house. At first we thought in the gloaming it might
be a dog of very unusual size, but as it glided past, and came into
the light of some cottages beyond, we perceived that it was a very
different beast. At another time a leopard crossed the veranda at
night, and brushed over the face of a native woman sleeping with her
child in her arms. It was well the beast was not hungry, or he would
have snatched the child, as they often do when playing in front of
native houses, and carried it off into the jungle.

But we will rest to-night in sweet security in this missionary home,
without fear of wild beasts or thunder storms. The clouds broke away
at sunset, leaving a rich "after-glow" upon the mountains. It was the
clear shining after the rain. Just then I heard the voices of the
native children in the chapel, singing their hymns, and with these
sweet suggestions of home and heaven, "I will lay me down in peace and
sleep, for thou Lord only makest me dwell in safety."

       *       *       *       *       *

We had had a glimpse of the Himalayas, but the glimpse only made us
eager to get the full "beatific vision"; so, after resting a day, we
determined to try again, going up in the afternoon, and spending the
night, so as to have a double chance of seeing the snows--both at
sunset and at sunrise. This time we had also the company of Mr.
Woodside, beside whom I rode on horseback; while Mr. Herron gave his
escort to C----, who was "promoted" from a _dandi_ to a _jahnpan_,
which differs from the former only in that it is more spacious, and is
carried by four bearers instead of two. Thus mounted she was borne
aloft on men's shoulders. She said the motion was not unpleasant,
except that the men had a habit, when they came to some dangerous
point, turning a rock, or on the edge of a precipice, of changing
bearers, or swinging round the bamboo pole from one shoulder to
another, which made her a little giddy, as she was tossed about at
such a height, from which she could look down a gorge hundreds of feet
deep. However, she takes all dangers very lightly, and was enraptured
with the wildness and strangeness of the scene--to find herself, an
American girl, thus being transported over the mountains of Asia.

So we took up our line of march for the hills, and soon found our
pulses beating faster. Why is it that we feel such exhilaration in
climbing mountains? Is it something in the air, that quickens the
blood, and reacts upon the brain? Or is it the sensation of rising
into a higher atmosphere, of "going up into heaven?" So it seemed that
afternoon, as we "left the earth" behind us, and went up steadily into
the clouds.

I found that the Himalayas grew upon acquaintance. They looked more
grand the second time than the first. The landscape was changed by the
westering sun, which cast new lights and shadows across the valley,
and into the wooded bosom of the hills. To these natural beauties my
companion added the charm of historical associations. Few places in
India have more interest to the scholar. The Sewalic range was almost
the cradle of the Brahminical religion. Sewalic, or Sivalic, as it
might be written, means literally the hills of Shiva, or the hills of
the gods, where their worshippers built their shrines and worshipped
long before Christ was born in Bethlehem. The same ridge is a mine to
the naturalist. It is full of fossils, the bones of animals that
belonged to some earlier geological epoch. The valley has had a part
in the recent history of India. Here the Goorkas--one of the hill
tribes, which stood out longest against the English--fought their last
battle. It was on yonder wooded height which juts out like a
promontory into the plain, where the ruin of an old fort marks the
destruction of their power. Today the Goorkas, like the Punjaubees,
are among the most loyal defenders of English rule.

At present the attraction of this valley for "old Indians" is not so
much in its historical or scientific associations, as the field which
it gives to the hunter. This belt of country, running about a hundred
miles along the foot of the Himalayas, is composed of forest and
jungle, and is a favorite habitat of wild beasts--tigers and leopards
and wild elephants. It was in this belt, called the Terai, though
further to the East, in Nepaul, that the Prince of Wales a few weeks
later made his great tiger-hunting expedition. He might perhaps have
found as good sport in the valley right under our eyes. "Do you see
that strip of woods yonder?" said Mr. Woodside, pointing to one four
or five miles distant. "That is full of wild elephants." An Indian
Rajah came here a year or two since for a grand hunt, and in two days
captured twenty-four. This is done by the help of tame elephants who
are trained for the purpose. A large tract of forest is enclosed, and
then by beating the woods, the herd is driven towards a corner, and
when once penned, the tame elephants go in among them, and by tender
caressing engage their attention, till the coolies slip under the huge
beasts and tie their feet with ropes to the trees. This done, they can
be left till subdued by hunger, when they are easily tamed for the
service of man.

These creatures still have the range of the forests. In riding through
the woods one may often hear the breaking of trees, as wild elephants
crash through the dense thicket. I had supposed that all kinds of wild
beasts were very much reduced in India under English rule. The hunters
say they are so much so as to destroy the sport. But my companion
thinks not, for two reasons: the government has made stringent laws
against the destruction of forests; and since the mutiny the natives
are not allowed to carry fire-arms.

We might have startled a leopard anywhere on the mountain side. A
young Scotchman whom we met with his rifle on his shoulder, said he
had shot two a fortnight ago, but that there was a very big one about,
which he had seen several times, but could never get a shot at, but he
hoped to bring him down before long.

With such chat as this we trotted up the mountain road, till we came
to where it divides, where, leaving Mr. Herron and C---- to go on
straight to Landour, we turned to the left to make a flying visit to
the other hill station of Mussoorie. As we rode along, Mr. Woodside
pointed out to me the spot where, a few weeks before, his horse had
backed off a precipice, and been dashed to pieces. Fortunately he was
not on his back (he had alighted to make a call), or the horse and his
rider might have gone over together. As we wound up the road he
recalled another incident, which occurred several years ago: "I had
been to attend an evening reception at the Young Ladies' school (which
we had just left), and about eleven o'clock mounted to ride home. I
had a white horse, and it was a bright moonlight night, and as I rode
up the hill, just as I turned a corner in the road _there_ (pointing
to the spot) I saw a huge leopard crouching in the attitude of
preparing to spring. I rose up in the saddle (my friend is a man of
giant stature) and shouted at the top of my voice, and the beast, not
knowing what strange monster he had encountered, leaped over the bank
and disappeared."

"The next day," he added, "I was telling the story to a gentleman, who
replied, 'You were very fortunate to escape so,' and then related an
incident of his own, in which a leopard sprang upon his horse, which
the fright caused to give such a bound that the brute fell off, and
the horse starting at full speed, they escaped. But he felt that the
escape was so providential that he had thanks returned in the church
the next Sabbath for his deliverance from a sudden death."

Thus listening to my companion's adventures, we rode along the ridge
of Mussoorie to its highest point, which commands a grand view of the
Snowy Range. Here stands a convent, which educates hundreds of the
daughters of Protestant Englishmen, as well as those of its own faith.
Thus the Catholic Church plants its outposts on the very crests of the
mountains.

At Landour is another Catholic institution (for boys) called St.
George's College, perhaps as a delicate flattery to Englishmen in
taking the name of their guardian saint. It has a chime of bells,
which at that height and that hour strikes the ear with singular and
touching effect. It may well stir up our Protestant friends, both to
admire and to imitate, as it furnishes a new proof of the omnipresence
of Rome, when the traveller finds its convents, and hears the chime of
its vesper bells, on the heights and amid the valleys of the
Himalayas.

But the sun was sinking, and it was four miles from Mussoorie to
Landour, where we were to make our second attempt to see the snows.
Turning our horses, we rode at full speed along the ridge of the
mountain, and reached the top of Lal Tiba before sunset, but only to
be again disappointed. Northward and eastward the clouds hung upon the
great mountains. But if one part of the horizon was hidden, on the
other we looked over the top of the Sewalic range, to where the red
and fiery sun was sinking in a bank of cloud--not "clouds full of
rain," but merely clouds of dust, rolling upward "like the smoke of a
furnace" from the hot plains of India. In the foreground was the soft,
green valley of Dehra Doon, more beautiful from the contrast with the
burning plains beyond. It was a peaceful landscape, as the shadows of
evening were gathering over it. From this we turned to watch the light
as it crept up the sides of the mountains. The panorama was constantly
changing, and every instant took on some new feature of grandeur. As
daylight faded, another light flashed out behind us, for the mountains
were on fire. It is a custom of the people, who are herdsmen, to burn
off the low brush (as the Indians burned over the prairies), that the
grass may spring up fresh and green for their flocks and cattle; and
it was a fearful spectacle, that of these great belts of fire running
along the mountain side, and lighting up the black gorges below.

Giving our horses to the guides to be led down the declivity, we
walked down a narrow path in the rocks that led to Woodstock, a female
seminary, built on a kind of terrace half a mile below--a most
picturesque spot (none the less romantic because a tiger had once
carried off a man from the foot of the ravine a few rods below the
house), and there, around a cheerful table, and before a roaring fire,
forgot the fatigues of the day, and hoped for sunshine on the morrow.

It was not yet daylight when we awoke. The stars were shining when we
came out on the terrace, and the waning moon still hung its crescent
overhead. A faint light began to glimmer in the east. We were quickly
muffled up (for it was cold) and climbing up the steep path to Lal
Tiba, hoping yet trembling. I was soon out of breath, and had more
than once to sit down on the rocks to recover myself. But in a moment
I would rise and rush on again, so eager was I with hope, and yet so
fearful of disappointment. One more pull and we were on the top, and
behold the glory of God spread abroad upon the mountains! Our
perseverance was rewarded at last. There were the Himalayas--the great
mountains of India, of Asia, of the globe. The snowy range was in full
view for more than a hundred miles. The sun had not yet risen, but his
golden limb now touched the east, and as the great round orb rose
above the horizon, it seemed as if God himself were coming to illumine
the universe which he had created. One after another the distant peaks
caught the light upon their fields of snow, and sent it back as if
they were the shining gates of the heavenly city. One could almost
look up to them as Divine intelligences, and address them in the lines
of the old hymn:

     These glorious _minds_, how bright they shine,
       Whence all their white array?
     How came they to the happy seats
       Of everlasting day?

But restraining our enthusiasm for the moment, let us look at the
configuration of this Snowy Range, simply as a study in geography. We
are in presence of the highest mountains on the globe. We are on the
border of that table-land of Asia ("High Asia") which the Arabs in
their poetical language call "The Roof of the World." Yonder pass
leads over into Thibet. The trend of the mountains is from southeast
to northwest, almost belting the continent. Indeed, physical
geographers trace it much farther, following it down on one hand
through the Malayan Peninsula and on the other running it through the
Hindoo Koosh (or Caucasus) northwest to Mt. Ararat in Armenia; and
across into Europe, through Turkey and Greece, to the Alps and the
Pyrenees, forming what the Arabs call "The Stony Girdle of the Earth."
But the centre of that girdle, the clasp of that mighty zone, is here.

It is difficult to form an idea of the altitude of mountains, when we
have no basis of comparison in those which are familiar. But nature
here is on another scale than we have seen it before. In Europe Mont
Blanc is "the monarch of mountains," but yonder peak, Nunda Davee,
which shows above the horizon at the distance of a hundred and ten
miles, is 25,600 feet high--that is, nearly two miles higher than Mont
Blanc! There are others still higher--Kinchinganga and Dwalaghiri--but
they are not in sight, as they are farther east in Nepaul. But from
Darjeeling, a hill station much frequented in the summer months by
residents of Calcutta, one may get an unobstructed view of Mount
Everest, 29,000 feet high, the loftiest summit on the globe. And here
before us are a number of peaks, twenty-two, twenty-three, and
twenty-four thousand feet high--higher than Chimborazo, or any peak of
the Andes.

Perhaps the Himalayas are less impressive than the Alps _in
proportion_, because the snow line is so much higher. In Switzerland
we reach the line of perpetual snow at 8,900 feet, so that the
Jungfrau, which is less than 14,000 feet, has a full mile of snow
covering her virgin breast. But here the traveller must ascend 18,000
feet, nearly two miles higher, before he comes to the line of
perpetual snow. It is considered a great achievement of the most
daring Alpine climbers to reach the top of the Jungfrau or the
Matterhorn, but here many of the _passes_ are higher than the summit
of either. Dr. Bellew, who accompanied the expedition of Sir Douglas
Forsyth three years since to Yarkund and Kashgar, told me they crossed
passes 19,000 feet high, nearly 4,000 feet higher than Mont Blanc. He
said they did not need a guide, for that the path was marked by bones
of men and beasts that had perished by the way; the bodies lying where
they fell, for no beast or bird lives at that far height, neither
vulture nor jackal, while the intense cold preserved the bodies from
decay.

But the Himalayas are not all heights, but heights and depths. The
mountains are divided by valleys. From where we stand the eye sweeps
over the tops of nine or ten separate ranges, with valleys between, in
which are scattered hundreds of villages. The enterprising traveller
may descend into these deep places of the earth, and make his toilsome
way over one range after another, till he reaches the snows. But he
will find it a _fourteen days' march_. My companion had once spent six
weeks in a missionary tour among these villages.

Wilson, the author of "The Abode of Snow,"[5] who spent months in
travelling through the Inner Himalayas, from Thibet to Cashmere, makes
a comparison of these mountains with the Alps. There are some
advantages to be claimed for the latter. Not only are they more
accessible, but combine in a smaller space more variety. Their sides
are more generally clothed with forests, which are mirrored in those
beautiful sheets of water that give such a charm both to Swiss and
Scottish scenery. But in the Himalayas there is hardly a lake to be
seen until one enters the Vale of Cashmere. Then the Alps have more of
the human element, in the picturesque Swiss villages. The traveller
looks down from snow-covered mountains into valleys with meadows and
houses and the spires of churches. But in the Himalayas there is not a
sign of civilization, and hardly of habitation. Occasionally a village
or a Buddhist monastery may stand out picturesquely on the top of a
hill, but generally the mountains are given up to utter desolation.

     "But," says Wilson, "when all these admissions in favor of
     Switzerland are made, the Himalayas still remain
     unsurpassed, and even unapproached, as regards all the
     wilder and grander features of mountain scenery. There is
     nothing in the Alps which can afford even a faint idea of
     the savage desolation and appalling sublimity of many of the
     Himalayan scenes. Nowhere have the faces of the rocks been
     so scarred and riven by the nightly action of frost and the
     midday floods from melting snow. In almost every valley we
     see places where whole peaks or sides of great mountains
     have very recently come shattering down."

This constant action of the elements sometimes carves the sides of the
mountains into castellated forms, like the cañons of the Yellowstone
and the Colorado:

     "Gigantic mural precipices, bastions, towers, castles,
     citadels, and spires rise up thousands of feet in height,
     mocking in their immensity and grandeur the puny efforts of
     human art; while yet higher the domes of pure white snow and
     glittering spires of ice far surpass in perfection, as well
     as in immensity, all the Moslem musjids and minars."

But more impressive than the most fantastic or imposing forms are the
vast spaces of untrodden snow, and the awful solitudes and silences of
the upper air. No wonder that the Hindoos made this inaccessible
region the dwelling-place of their gods. It is their Kylas, or Heaven.
The peak of Badrinath, 24,000 feet high, is the abode of Vishnu; and
that of Kedarnath, 23,000, is the abode of Shiva--two of the Hindoo
Trinity. Nunda Davee (the goddess Nunda) is the wife of Shiva. Around
these summits gathers the whole Hindoo mythology. Yonder, where we see
a slight hollow in the mountains, is Gungootree, where the Ganges
takes its rise, issuing from a great glacier by a fissure, or icy
cavern, worn underneath, called the Cow's Mouth. Farther to the west
is Jumnootree, the source of the Jumna. Both these places are very
sacred in the eyes of the Hindoos, and as near to them as any
structure can be placed, are shrines, which are visited by hundreds of
thousands of pilgrims from all parts of India.

Thus these snowy heights are to the Hindoo Mount Sinai and Calvary in
one. Here is not only the summit where God gave the law, but where God
dwells evermore, and out of which issue the sacred rivers, which are
like the rivers of the water of life flowing out of the throne of God;
or like the blood of atonement, to wash away the sins of the world.

But the associations of this spot are not all of Hindooism and
idolatry. True, we are in a wintry region, but there is an Alpine
flower that grows at the foot of the snows. Close to Lal Tiba I
observed a large tree of rhododendrons, in full bloom, although it was
February, their scarlet blossoms contrasting with the snow which had
fallen on them the night before. But the fairest blossom on that
Alpine height is a Christian church. Lal Tiba itself belongs to the
Presbyterian mission, and adjoining it is the house of the
missionaries. On the ridge is a mission church, built chiefly by the
indefatigable efforts of Mr. Woodside. It is a modest, yet tasteful
building, standing on a point of rock, which is in full view of the
Snowy Range, and overlooks the whole mountain landscape. It was like a
banner in the sky--that white church--standing on such a height, as if
it were in the clouds, looking across at the mighty range beyond, and
smiling at the eternal snows!

The hardest thing in going round the world, is to break away from
friends. Not the friends we have left in America, for those we may
hope to see again, but the friends made along the way. One meets so
many kind people, and enters so many hospitable homes, that to part
from them is an ever-renewing sorrow and regret. We have found many
such homes in India, but none in which we would linger more than in
this lovely Vale of Dehra Doon.

One attraction is the Girls' School, which we might almost call the
missionary flower of India. The building, which would be a "Seminary"
at home, stands in the midst of ample grounds, where, in the intervals
of study, the inmates can find healthful exercise. The pupils are
mostly the daughters of native Christians--converted Hindoos or
Mohammedans. Some are orphans, or have been forsaken by their parents,
and have thus fallen to the care of an institution which is more to
them than their natural fathers and mothers. Many of these young girls
had very sweet faces, and all were as modest and well behaved as the
girls I have seen in any similar institution in our own country. Some
are adopted by friends in America, who engage to provide for their
education. Wishing to have a part in this good work, we looked about
the school till we picked out the veriest morsel of a creature, as
small as Dickens's Tiny Tim--but whose eyes were very bright, and her
mind as active as her body was frail, and C---- thereupon adopted her
and paid down a hundred rupees for a year's board and teaching. She is
by birth a Mohammedan, but will be trained up as a Christian. She is
very winning in her ways; and, dear me, when the little creature crept
up into my lap, and looked up into my face with her great black eyes,
it was such an appeal for love and protection as I could not resist;
and when she put her thin arms around my neck, I felt richer than if I
had been encircled with one of those necklaces of pearl, which the
Rajahs were just then throwing around the neck of the Prince of
Wales.

Our last day was spent in a visit to the tea plantations. The culture
of tea has been introduced into India within a few years, and portions
of the country are found so favorable that the tea is thought by many
equal to that imported from China. Mr. Woodside took us out in a
carriage a few miles, when we left the road and crossed the fields on
the back of an elephant, which is a better "coigne of vantage" than
the back of a horse, as the rider is lifted up higher into the air,
and in passing under trees can stretch out his hand (as we did) and
pick blossoms and birds' nests from the branches; but there is a
rolling motion a little too much like "life on an ocean wave," and if
it were not for the glory of the thing I confess I should rather have
under me some steady old trotter, such as I have had at home, or even
one of the little donkeys with which we used to amble about the
streets of Cairo. But there are times when one would prefer the
elephant, as if he should chance to meet a tiger! The beast we were
riding this morning was an old tiger hunter, that had often been out
in the jungle, and as he marched off, seemed as if he would like
nothing better than to smell his old enemy. In a deadly combat the
tiger has the advantage in quickness of motion, and can spring upon
the elephant's neck, but if the latter can get his trunk around him he
is done for, for he is instantly dashed to the ground, and trampled to
death under the monster's feet. We had no occasion to test his
courage, though, if what we heard was true, he might have found game
not far off, for a native village through which we passed was just
then in terror because of a tiger who had lately come about and
carried off several bullocks only a few days before, and they had sent
to Mr. Bell, a tea planter whom we met later in the day, to come and
shoot him. He told me he would come willingly, but that the natives
were of a low caste, who had not the Hindoos' horror of touching such
food, and devoured the half eaten bullock. If, he said, they would
only let the carcass alone, the tiger always comes back, and he would
plant himself in some post of observation, and with a rifle which
never failed would soon relieve them of their terrible enemy.

After an hour of this cross-country riding, our elephant drew up
before the door of a large house; a ladder was brought, and we
clambered down his sides. Just then we heard the sharp cracks of a
gun, and the planter came in, saying that he had been picking off
monkeys which were a little troublesome in his garden. This was Mr.
Nelson, one of the largest planters in the valley, with whom we had
engaged to take tiffin. He took us over his plantation, which is laid
out on a grand scale, many acres being set in rows with the tea plant,
which is a small shrub, about as large as a gooseberry bush, from
which the leaves are carefully picked. The green tea is not a
different plant from the black tea, but only differently prepared.
From the plantation we were taken to the roasting-house, where the tea
lay upon the floor in great heaps, like heaps of grain; and where it
is subjected to a variety of processes, to prepare it for use or for
exportation. It is first "wilted" in large copper pans or ovens; then
"rolled" on a table of stretched matting; then slightly dried, and put
back in the ovens; then rolled again; and finally subjected to a good
"roasting," by which time every drop of moisture is got out of it, and
it acquires the peculiar twist, or shrivelled look, so well known to
dainty lovers of the cup which cheers but not inebriates. How perfect
was the growing and the preparation appeared when we sat down at the
generous table, where we found the flavor as delicate as that of any
we had ever sipped that came from the Flowery Land.

Leaving this kind and hospitable family, we rode on to the plantation
of Mr. Bell, who had the "engagement" to shoot the tiger. He is a
brave Scot, very fond of sport, and had a room full of stuffed birds,
which he was going to send off to Australia. Occasionally he had a
shot at other game. Once he had brought down a leopard, and, as he
said, thought the beast was "deed," and went up to him, when the brute
gave a spring, and tore open his leg, which laid him up for two
months. But such beasts are really less dangerous than the cobras,
which crawl among the rows of plants, and as the field-hands go among
them barefoot, some fall victims every year. But an Englishman is
protected by his boots, and Mr. Bell strolls about with his dog and
his gun, without the slightest sense of danger.

We had now accomplished our visit to the Himalayas, and were to bid
adieu to the mountains and the valleys. But how were we to get back to
Saharanpur? There was the mail-wagon and the _omnibuckus_. But these
seemed very prosaic after our mountain raptures. Mr. Herron suggested
that we should try _dooleys_--long palanquins in which we could lie
down and sleep (perhaps), and thus be carried over the mountains at
night. As we were eager for new experiences, of course we were ready
for any novelty. But great bodies move slowly, and how great we were
we began to realize when we found what a force it took to move us. Mr.
Herron sent for the _chaudri_--a kind of public carrier whose office
it is to provide for such services--and an engagement was formally
entered into between the high contracting parties that for a certain
sum he was to provide two dooleys and a sufficient number of bearers,
to carry us over the mountains to Saharanpur, a distance of forty-two
miles. This was duly signed and sealed, and the money paid on the
spot, with promise of liberal backsheesh at the end if the agreement
was satisfactorily performed.

Thus authorized and empowered to enter into negotiations with inferior
parties, the _chaudri_ sent forward a courier, or _sarbarah_, to go
ahead over the whole route a day in advance, and to secure the relays,
and thus prepare for our royal progress.

This seemed very magnificent, but when our retinue filed into the
yard on the evening of our departure, and drew up before the veranda,
we were almost ashamed to see what a prodigious ado it took to get us
two poor mortals out of the valley. Our escort was as follows: Each
dooley had six bearers, or _kahars_--four to carry it, and two to be
ready as a reserve. Besides these twelve, there were two
_bahangi-wallas_ to carry our one trunk on a bamboo pole, making
fourteen persons in all. As there were five stages (for one set of men
could only go about eight miles), it took seventy men (besides the two
high officials) to carry our sacred persons these forty-two miles! Of
the reserve of four who walked beside us, two performed the function
of torch-bearers--no unimportant matter when traversing a forest so
full of wild beasts that the natives cannot be induced to cross it at
night without lights kept burning.

The torch was made simply by winding a piece of cloth around the end
of a stick, and pouring oil upon it from a bottle carried for the
purpose (just the mode of the wise virgins in the parable). Our kind
friends had put a mattress in each dooley, with pillows and coverlet,
so that if we could not quite go to bed, we could make ourselves
comfortable for a night's journey. I took off my boots, and wrapping
my feet in the soft fur of the skin of the Himalayan goat, which I had
purchased in the mountains, stretched myself

     Like a warrior taking his rest,
     With his martial cloak around him,

and bade the cavalcade take up its march. They lighted their torches,
and like the wise virgins, "took oil in their vessels with their
lamps," and set out on our night journey. At first we wound our way
through the streets of the town, through bazaars and past temples,
till at last we emerged from all signs of human habitation, and were
alone with the forests and the stars.

When we were fairly in the woods, all the stories I had heard of wild
beasts came back to me. For a week past I had been listening to
thrilling incidents, many of which occurred in this very mountain
pass. The Sewalic range is entirely uninhabited except along the
roads, and is thus given up to wild beasts, and nowhere is one more
likely to meet an adventure. That very morning, at breakfast, Mrs.
Woodside had given me her experience. She was once crossing this pass
at night, and as it came near the break of day she saw men running,
and heard the cry of "tiger," but thought little of it, as the natives
were apt to give false alarms; but presently the horses began to rear
and plunge, so that the driver loosed them and let them go, and just
then she heard a tremendous roar, which seemed close to the wagon,
where a couple of the brutes had come down to drink of a brook by the
roadside. She was so terrified that she did not dare to look out, but
shut at once the windows of the gharri. Presently some soldiers came
up the pass with elephants, who went in pursuit, but the monsters had
retreated into the forest.

That was some years ago, but such incidents may still happen. Only a
few weeks since Mr. Woodside was riding through the pass at night in
the mail-wagon, and had dropped asleep, when his companion, a British
officer, awoke him, telling him he had just seen a couple of tigers
distinctly in the moonlight.

One would suppose we were safe enough with more than a dozen
attendants, but the natives are very timid, and a tiger's roar will
set them flying. A lady at Dehra, the daughter of a missionary, told
us how she was once carried with her mother and one or two other
children in dooleys, when just at break of day a huge tiger walked out
of a wood, and came right towards them, when the brave coolies at once
dropped them and ran, leaving the mother and her children to their
fate. Fortunately she had presence of mind to light a piece of
matting, and throw it out to the brute, who either from that, or
perhaps because he was too noble a beast to attack a woman, after
eyeing them for some moments, deliberately walked away.

Such associations with the road we were travelling, gave an excitement
to our night journey which was not the most composing to sleep. It is
very well to sit by the fireside and talk about tigers, but I do not
know of anybody who would care to meet one in the woods, unless well
armed and on an elephant's back.

But what if a wild elephant should come out upon us? In general, I
believe these are quiet and peaceable beasts, but they are subject to
a kind of madness which makes them untamable. A "rogue elephant"--one
who has been tamed, and afterwards goes back to his savage state--is
one of the most dangerous of wild beasts. When the Prince of Wales was
hunting in the Terai with Sir Jung Bahadoor, an alarm was given that a
rogue elephant was coming, and they pushed the Prince up into a tree
as quickly as possible, for the monster has no respect to majesty.
Mrs. Woodside told me that they once had a servant who asked to go
home to visit his friends. On his way he lay down at the foot of a
tree, and fell asleep, when a rogue elephant came along, and took him
up like a kitten, and crushed him in an instant, and threw him on the
roadside.

The possibility of such an adventure was quite enough to keep our
imagination in lively exercise. Our friends had told us that there was
no danger with flaming torches, although we might perhaps hear a
distant roar on the mountains, or an elephant breaking through the
trees. We listened intently. When the men were moving on in silence,
we strained our ears to catch any sound that might break the stillness
of the forest. If a branch fell from a tree, it might be an elephant
coming through the wood. If we could not see, we imagined forms
gliding in the darkness. Even the shadows cast by the starlight took
the shapes that we dreaded. Hush! there is a stealthy step over the
fallen leaves. No, it is the wind whispering in the trees. Thus was it
all night long. If any wild beasts glared on us out of the covert, our
flaming torches kept them at a respectful distance. We did not hear
the tramp of an elephant, the growl of a tiger, or even the cry of a
jackal.

But though we had not the excitement of an adventure, the scene itself
was wild and weird enough. We were entirely alone, with more than a
dozen men, with not one of whom we could exchange a single word,
traversing a mountain pass, with miles of forest and jungle separating
us from any habitation. Our attendants were men of powerful physique,
whose swarthy limbs and strange faces looked more strange than ever by
the torchlight. Once in seven or eight miles they set down their
burden. We halted at a camp fire by the roadside, where a fresh relay
was waiting. There our fourteen men were swelled to twenty-eight. Then
the curtain of my couch was gently drawn aside, a black head was
thrust in, and a voice whispered in the softest of tones "Sahib,
backsheesh!" Then the new bearers took up their load, and jogged on
their way.

I must say they did very well. The motion was not unpleasant. The
dooley rested not on two poles, but on one long bamboo, three or four
inches in diameter, at each end of which two men braced themselves
against each other, and moved forward with a swinging gait, a kind of
dog trot, which they accompanied with a low grunt, which seemed to
relieve them, and be a way of keeping time. Their burdens did not
fatigue them much--at least they did not groan under the load, but
talked and laughed by the way. Nor were luxuries forgotten. One of the
men carried a hooka, which served for the whole party, being passed
from mouth to mouth, with which the men, when off duty, refreshed
themselves with many a puff of the fragrant weed.

Thus refreshed they kept up a steady gait of about three miles an
hour through the night. At length the day began to break. As we
approached the end of our journey the men picked up speed, and I
thought they would come in on a run. Glad were we to come in sight of
Saharanpur. At ten o'clock we entered the Mission Compound, and drew
up before the door of "Calderwood Padre," who, as he saw me stretched
out at full length, "like a warrior taking his rest," if not "with his
martial cloak around him," yet with his Scotch plaid shawl covering
"his manly breast," declared that I was "an old Indian!"

FOOTNOTES:

[4] This is given as an average distance in an air line. The nearest
peak, Boonderpunch (Monkey's Tail), is forty-five miles as the crow
flies, though by the nearest accessible route, it is a hundred and
forty! Nunda Davee is a hundred and ten in an air line, but by the
paths over the mountains, must be over two hundred.

[5] A very fascinating book, especially to Alpine tourists, or those
fond of climbing mountains. The title, "The Abode of Snow," is a
translation of the word Himalaya. The writer is a son of the late Dr.
Wilson, of Bombay. Taking a new field, he has produced a story of
travel and adventure, which will be apt to tempt others to follow him.



CHAPTER XVI.

THE TRAGEDY OF CAWNPORE.


The interest of India is not wholly in the far historic past. Within
our own times it has been the theatre of stirring events. In coming
down from Upper India, we passed over the "dark and bloody ground" of
the Mutiny--one of the most terrible struggles of modern times--a
struggle unrelieved by any of the amenities of civilized warfare. On
the banks of the Ganges stands a dull old city, of which Bayard Taylor
once wrote: "Cawnpore is a pleasant spot, though it contains nothing
whatever to interest the traveller." That was true when he saw it,
twenty-four years ago. It was then a "sleepy" place. Everything had a
quiet and peaceful look. The river flowed peacefully along, and the
pretty bungalows of the English residents on its banks seemed like so
many castles of indolence, as they stood enclosed in spacious grounds,
under the shade of trees, whose leaves scarcely stirred in the sultry
air. But four years after that American traveller had passed, that
peaceful river ran with Christian blood, and that old Indian town
witnessed scenes of cruelty worse than that of the Black Hole of
Calcutta, committed by a monster more inhuman than Surajah Dowlah. The
memory of those scenes now gives a melancholy interest to the place,
such as belongs to no other in India.

It was midnight when we reached Cawnpore (we had left Saharanpur in
the morning), and we were utter strangers; but as we stepped from the
railway carriage, a stalwart American (Rev. Mr. Mansell of the
Methodist Mission) came up, and calling us by name, took us to his
home, and "kindly entreated us," and the next morning rode about the
city with us to show the sadly memorable places.

The outbreak of the Mutiny in India in 1857, took its English rulers
by surprise. They had held the country for a hundred years, and
thought they could hold it forever. So secure did they feel that they
had reduced their army to a minimum. In the Russian war, regiment
after regiment was called home to serve in the Crimea, till there were
left not more than twenty thousand British troops in all India--an
insignificant force to hold such a vast dependency; and weakened still
more by being scattered in small bodies over the country, with no
means of rapid concentration. There was hardly a railroad in India.
All movements of troops had to be made by long marches. Thus detached
and helpless, the military power was really in the hands of the
Sepoys, who garrisoned the towns, and whom the English had trained to
be good soldiers, with no suspicion that their skill and discipline
would ever be turned against themselves.

This was the opportunity for smothered discontent to break out into
open rebellion. There had long been among the people an uneasy and
restless feeling, such as is the precursor of revolution--a ground
swell, which sometimes comes before as well as after a storm. It was
just a hundred years since the battle of Plassey (fought June, 1757),
which decided the fate of India, and it was whispered that when the
century was complete, the English yoke should be broken, and India
should be free. The Crimean war had aroused a spirit of fanaticism
among the Mohammedans, which extended across the whole of Asia, and
fierce Moslems believed that if the English were but driven out, there
might be a reconstruction of the splendid old Mogul Empire. This was,
therefore, a critical moment, in which the defenceless state of India
offered a temptation to rebellion. Some there were (like the
Lawrences--Sir John in the Punjaub, and Sir Henry in Lucknow) whose
eyes were opened to the danger, and who warned the government. But it
could not believe a rebellion was possible; so that when the storm
burst, it was like a peal of thunder from a clear sky.

Thus taken by surprise, and off their guard, the English were at a
great disadvantage. But they quickly recovered themselves, and
prepared for a desperate defence. In towns where the garrisons were
chiefly of native troops, with only a small nucleus of English
officers and soldiers, the latter had no hope of safety, but to rally
all on whom they could rely, and retreat into the forts, and hold out
to the last. Such a quick movement saved Agra, where Sir William Muir
told me, he and hundreds of refugees with him, passed the whole time
of the mutiny, shut up in the fort. The same promptness saved
Allahabad. But in Delhi, where the rising took place a few days
before, the alarm was not taken quickly enough; the Sepoys rushed in,
shooting down their officers, and made themselves masters of the fort
and the city, which was not retaken till months after, at the close of
a long and terrible siege.

At Cawnpore there was no fort. Sir Hugh Wheeler, who was in command,
had three or four thousand troops, but not one man in ten was an
English soldier. The rest were Sepoys, who caught the fever of
disaffection, and marched off with horses and guns. Mustering the
little remnant of his force, he threw up intrenchments on the
parade-ground, into which he gathered some two hundred and fifty men
of different regiments. Adding to these "civilians" and native
servants, and the sick in the hospital, there were about 300 more,
with 330 women and children. The latter, of course, added nothing to
the strength of the garrison, but were a constant subject of care and
anxiety. But with this little force he defended himself bravely for
several weeks, beating off every attack of the enemy. But he was in no
condition to sustain a siege; his force was becoming rapidly reduced,
while foes were swarming around him. In this extremity, uncertain when
an English army could come to his relief, he received a proposal to
surrender, with the promise that all--men, women, and children--should
be allowed to depart in safety, and be provided with boats to take
them down the Ganges to Allahabad. He did not listen to these smooth
promises without inward misgivings. He was suspicious of treachery;
but the case was desperate, and Nana Sahib, who up to the time of the
Mutiny had protested great friendship for the English, took a solemn
oath that they should be protected. Thus tempted, they yielded to the
fatal surrender.

The next morning, June 27th, those who were left of the little
garrison marched out of their intrenchments, and were escorted by the
Sepoy army on their way to the boats. The women and children and
wounded were mounted on elephants, and thus conveyed down to the
river. With eagerness they embarked on the boats that were to carry
them to a place of safety, and pushed off into the stream. At that
moment a native officer who stood on the bank raised his sword, and a
masked battery opened on the boats with grape-shot. Instantly ensued a
scene of despair. Some of the boats sunk, others took fire, and men,
women, and children, were struggling in the water. The Mahratta
horsemen pushed into the stream, and cut down the men who tried to
save themselves (only four strong swimmers escaped), while the women
and children were spared to a worse fate. All the men who were brought
back to the shore were massacred on the spot, in the presence of this
human tiger, who feasted his eyes with their blood; and about two
hundred women and children were taken back into the town as prisoners,
in deeper wretchedness than before. They were kept in close
confinement nearly three weeks in dreadful uncertainty of their fate,
till the middle of July, when Havelock was approaching by forced
marches; and fearful that his prey should escape, Nana Sahib gave
orders that they should be put to death. No element of horror was
wanting in that fearful tragedy. Says one who saw the bodies the next
day, and whose wife and children were among those who perished:

     "The poor ladies were ordered to come out, but neither
     threats nor persuasions could induce them to do so. They
     laid hold of each other by dozens, and clung so close that
     it was impossible to separate them, or drag them out of the
     building. The troopers therefore brought muskets, and after
     firing a great many shots from the doors and windows, rushed
     in with swords and bayonets. [One account says that, as
     Hindoos shrink from the touch of blood, five Mohammedan
     _butchers_ were sent in to complete the work.] Some of the
     helpless creatures, in their agony, fell down at the feet of
     their murderers, clasped their legs, and begged in the most
     pitiful manner to spare their lives, but to no purpose. The
     fearful deed was done most deliberately, and in the midst of
     the most dreadful shrieks and cries of the victims. From a
     little before sunset till candlelight was occupied in
     completing the dreadful deed. The doors of the building were
     then locked up for the night, and the murderers went to
     their homes. Next morning it was found, on opening the
     doors, that some ten or fifteen women, with a few of the
     children, had managed to escape from death by falling and
     hiding under the murdered bodies of their fellow-prisoners.
     A fresh order was therefore sent to murder them also; but
     the survivors, not being able to bear the idea of being cut
     down, rushed out into the compound, and seeing a well, threw
     themselves into it without hesitation, thus putting a period
     to lives which it was impossible for them to save. The dead
     bodies of those murdered on the preceding evening were then
     ordered to be thrown into the same well, and 'jullars' were
     employed to drag them along like dogs."[6]

The next day after the massacre, Havelock entered the city, and
officers and men rushed to the prison house, hoping to be in time to
save that unhappy company of English women and children. But what
horrors met their sight! Not one living remained. The place showed
traces of the late butchery. The floors were covered with blood. "Upon
the walls and pillars were the marks of bullets, and of cuts made by
sword-strokes, not high up as if men had fought with men, but low
down, and about the corners, where the poor crouching victims had been
cut to pieces." "Locks of long silky hair, torn shreds of dress,
little children's shoes and playthings, were strewn around."

The sight of these things drove the soldiers to madness. "When they
entered the charnel house, and read the writing on the walls
[sentences of wretchedness and despair], and saw the still clotted
blood, their grief, their rage, their desire for vengeance, knew no
bounds. Stalwart, bearded men, the stern soldiers of the ranks, came
out of that house perfectly unmanned, utterly unable to repress their
emotions." Following the track of blood from the prison to the well,
they found the mangled remains of all that martyred company. There the
tender English mother had been cast with every indignity, and the
child still living thrown down to die upon its mother's breast. Thus
were they heaped together, the dying and the dead, in one writhing,
palpitating mass.

Turning away from this ghastly sight, the soldiers asked only to meet
face to face the perpetrators of these horrible atrocities. But the
Sepoys, cowardly as they were cruel, fled at the approach of the
English. Those who were taken had to suffer for the whole. "All the
rebel Sepoys and troopers who were captured, were collectively tried
by a drumhead court-martial, and hanged." But for such a crime as the
cold-blooded murder of helpless women and children, death was not
enough--it should be death accompanied by shame and degradation. The
craven wretches were made to clean away the clotted blood--a task
peculiarly odious to a Hindoo. Says General Neill:

     "Whenever a rebel is caught, he is immediately tried, and
     unless he can prove a defence, he is sentenced to be hanged
     at once; but the chief rebels, or ringleaders, I make first
     clear up a certain portion of the pool of blood, still two
     inches deep in the shed where the fearful murder and
     mutilation of women and children took place. To touch blood
     is most abhorrent to the high-caste natives; they think by
     doing so, they doom their souls to perdition. Let them think
     so. My object is to inflict a fearful punishment for a
     revolting, cowardly, and barbarous deed, and to strike
     terror into these rebels.

     "The first I caught was a subahdar, or native officer--a
     high-caste Brahmin, who tried to resist my order to clean up
     the very blood he had helped to shed; but I made the
     provost-marshal do his duty, and a few lashes made the
     miscreant accomplish his task. When done, he was taken out
     and immediately hanged, and after death, buried in a ditch
     at the roadside. No one who has witnessed the scenes of
     murder, mutilation, and massacre, can ever listen to the
     word mercy, as applied to these fiends.

     "Among other wretches drawn from their skulking places, was
     the man who gave Nana Sahib's orders for the massacre. After
     this man's identity had been clearly established, and his
     complicity in directing the massacre proved beyond all
     doubt, he was compelled, upon his knees, to cleanse up a
     portion of the blood yet scattered over the fatal yard, and
     while yet foul from his sickening task, hung like a dog
     before the gratified soldiers, one of whom writes: 'The
     collector who gave the order for the murder of the poor
     ladies, was taken prisoner day before yesterday, and now
     hangs from a branch of a tree about two hundred yards off
     the roadside.'"

What became of Nana Sahib after the Mutiny, is a mystery that probably
will never be solved. If he lived he sought safety in flight. Many of
the Mutineers took refuge in the jungle. The Government kept up a hunt
for him for years. Several times it was thought that he was
discovered. Only a year or two ago a man was arrested, who was said to
be Nana Sahib, but it proved to be a case of mistaken identity. In
going up from Delhi we rode in the same railway carriage with an old
army surgeon, whose testimony saved the life of the suspected man. He
had lived in Cawnpore before the Mutiny, and knew Nana Sahib well,
indeed had been his physician, and gave me much information about the
bloody Mahratta chief. He said he was not so bad a man by nature, as
he became when he was put forward as a leader in a desperate
enterprise, and surrounded by men who urged him on to every crime. So
long as he was under the wholesome restraint of English power, he was
a fair specimen of the "mild Hindoo," "as mild a mannered man as ever
scuttled ship or cut a throat." His movement was as soft as that of a
cat or a tiger. But like the tiger, when once he tasted blood, it
roused the wild beast in him, and he took a delight in killing. And so
he who might have lived quietly, and died in his bed, with a
reputation not worse than that of other Indian rulers, has left a name
in history as the most execrable monster of modern times. It seems a
defeat of justice that he cannot be discovered and brought to the
scaffold. But perhaps the judgment of God is more severe than that of
man. If he still lives, he has suffered a thousand deaths in these
twenty years.

My informant told me of the punishment that had come on many of these
men of blood. Retribution followed hard after their crimes. When the
rebellion was subdued, it was stamped out without mercy. The leaders
were shot away from guns. Others who were only less guilty had a short
trial and a swift punishment. In this work of meting out retribution,
this mild physician was himself obliged to be an instrument. Though
his profession was that of saving lives, and not of destroying them,
after the Mutiny he was appointed a Commissioner in the district of
Cawnpore, where he had lived, to try insurgents, with the power of
life and death, and with no appeal from his sentence! It was a
terrible responsibility, but he could not shrink from it, and he had
to execute many. Those especially who had been guilty of acts of
cruelty, could not ask for mercy which they had never shown. Among
those whom he captured was the native officer who had given the
signal, by raising his sword, to the masked battery to fire on the
boats. He said, "I took him to that very spot, and hung him there!"
All this sad history was in mind as we went down to the banks of the
Ganges, where that fearful tragedy took place not twenty years before.
The place still bears the name of the Slaughter Ghat, in memory of
that fearful deed. We imagined the scene that summer's morning, when
the stream was covered with the bodies of women and children, and the
air was filled with the shrieks of despair. With such bitter memories,
we recalled the swift retribution, and rejoiced that such a crime had
met with such a punishment.

From the river we drove to "the well," but here nothing is painful but
its memories. It is holy ground, which pious hands have decked with
flowers, and consecrated as a shrine of martyrdom. Around it many
acres have been laid out as a garden, with all manner of tropical
plants, and well-kept paths winding between, along which the stranger
walks slowly and sadly, thinking of those who suffered so much in
life, and that now sleep peacefully beyond the reach of pain. In the
centre of the garden the place of the well is enclosed, and over the
sacred spot where the bodies of the dead were thrown, stands a figure
in marble, which might be that of the angel of Resignation or of
Peace, with folded wings and face slightly bended, and arms across her
breast, and in her hands palm-branches, the emblems of victory.

The visit to these spots, consecrated by so much suffering, had an
added tenderness of interest, because some of our own countrymen and
countrywomen perished there. In those fearful scenes the blood of
Americans--men, women, and children--mingled with that of their
English kindred. One of the most terrible incidents of those weeks of
crime, was the massacre of a party from Futteghur that tried to escape
down the Ganges, hoping to reach Allahabad. As they approached
Cawnpore, they concealed themselves in the tall grass on an island,
but were discovered by the Sepoys, and made prisoners. Some of the
party were wealthy English residents, who offered a large ransom for
their lives. But their captors answered roughly: "What they wanted was
not money, but blood!" Brought before Nana Sahib, he ordered them
instantly to be put to death. Among them were four American
missionaries, with their wives, who showed in that hour of trial that
they knew how to suffer and to die. Of one of these I had heard a very
touching story but a few days before from my friend, Mr. Woodside.
When we were standing on the lower range of the Himalayas, looking off
to "the snows," he told me how he had once made an expedition with a
brother missionary among these mountains, which are full of villages,
like the hamlets in the High Alps. He pointed out in the distance the
very route they took, and even places on the sides of the successive
ranges where they pitched their tents. They started near the close of
September, and were out all October, and came in about the middle of
November, being gone six weeks. After long and weary marches for many
days, they came to a little village called Karsali near Jumnootree,
the source of the sacred river Jumna, near which rose a giant peak,
19,000 feet high (though we could but just see it on the horizon),
that till then had never been trodden by human foot, but which they,
like the daring Americans they were, determined to ascend. Their
guides shrank from the attempt, and refused to accompany them; but
they determined to make the ascent if they went alone, and at last,
rather than be left behind, their men followed, although one sank down
in the snow, and could not reach the summit. But the young
missionaries pressed on with fresh ardor, as they climbed higher and
higher. As they reached the upper altitudes, the summit, which to us
at a distance of ninety miles seemed but a peak or cone, broadened out
into a plateau of miles in extent; the snow was firm and hard; they
feared no crevasses, and strode on with fearless steps. But there was
something awful in the silence and the solitude. Not a living thing
could be seen on the face of earth or sky. Not a bird soared to such
heights; not an eagle or a vulture was abroad in search of prey; not a
bone on the waste of snow told where any adventurous explorer had
perished before them. Alone they marched over the fields of untrodden
snow, and started almost to hear their own voices in that upper air.
And yet such was their sense of freedom, that they could not contain
their joy. My companion, said Mr. Woodside, was very fond of a little
hymn in Hindostanee, a translation of the familiar lines:

     I'm a pilgrim, I'm a stranger,
     And I tarry but a night,

and as we went upward, he burst into singing, and sang joyously as he
strode over the fields of snow. Little he thought that the end of his
pilgrimage was so near! But six months later the Mutiny broke out, and
he was one of its first victims. He was of the party from Futteghur,
with a fate made more dreadful, because he had with him not only his
wife, but two children, and the monster spared neither age nor sex.
After the Mutiny, Mr. Woodside visited Cawnpore, and made diligent
inquiry for the particulars of his friend's death. It was difficult to
get the details, as the natives were very reticent, lest they should
be accused; but as near as he could learn, "Brother Campbell," as he
spoke of him, was led out with his wife--he holding one child in his
arms, and she leading another by the hand--and thus all together they
met their fate! Does this seem very hard? Yet was it not sweet that
they could thus die together, and could come up (like the family of
Christian in Pilgrim's Progress) in one group to the wicket gate? No
need had he to sing any more:

     I'm a pilgrim, I'm a stranger,
     And I tarry but a night,
for on that summer morning he passed up a shining pathway, whiter than
the fields of snow on the crest of the Himalayas, that led him
straight to the gates of gold. Let no man complain of the sacrifice,
who would claim the reward; for so it is written, "It is through much
tribulation that we must enter into the Kingdom of God."

FOOTNOTE:

[6] "Narrative of Mr. Shepherd." He owed his escape to the fact that
before the surrender of the garrison he had made an attempt to pass
through the rebel lines and carry word to Allahabad to hasten the
march of troops to its relief, and had been taken and thrown into
prison, and was there at the time of the massacre.



CHAPTER XVII.

THE STORY OF LUCKNOW.


"You are going to Lucknow?" she said. It was a lady in black, who sat
in the corner of the railway carriage, as we came down from Upper
India. A cloud passed over her face. "I cannot go there; I was in the
Residency during the siege, and my husband and daughter were killed
there. I cannot revisit a place of such sad memories." It was nothing
to her that the long struggle had ended in victory, and that the story
of the siege was one of the most glorious in English history. Nothing
could efface the impression of those months of suffering. She told us
how day and night the storm of fire raged around them; how the women
took refuge in the cellars; how her daughter was killed before her
eyes by the bursting of a shell; and how, when they grew familiar with
this danger, there came another terrible fear--that of death by
famine; how strong men grew weak for want of food; how women wasted
away from very hunger, and children died because they could find no
nourishment on their mother's breasts.

But amid those horrors there was one figure which she loved to
recall--that of Sir Henry Lawrence, the lion-hearted soldier, who kept
up all hearts by his courage and his iron will--till he too fell, and
left them almost in despair.

Such memories might keep away one who had been a sufferer in these
fearful scenes, but they stimulated our desire to see a spot
associated with such courage and devotion, and led us from the scene
of the tragedy of Cawnpore to that of the siege of Lucknow.

But how soon nature washes away the stain of blood! As we crossed the
Ganges, the gentle stream, rippling against the Slaughter Ghat, left
no red spots upon its stony steps. Near the station was a large
enclosure full of elephants, some of which perhaps had carried their
burden of prisoners down to the river's brink on that fatal day, but
were now "taking their ease," as beasts and men like to do. Familiar
as we are with the sight, it always gives us a fresh impression of our
Asiatic surroundings, to come suddenly upon a herd of these creatures
of such enormous bulk, with ears as large as umbrellas, which are kept
moving like punkas to keep off the flies; to see them drawing up water
into their trunks, as "Behemoth drinketh up Jordan," and spurting it
over their backs; or what is more ludicrous still, to see them at
play, which seems entirely out of character. We think of the elephant
as a grave and solemn creature, made to figure on grand occasions, to
march in triumphal processions, carrying the howdahs of great Rajahs,
covered with cloth of gold. But there is as much of "youth" in the
elephant as in any other beast. A baby elephant is like any other
baby. As little tigers play like kittens, so a little elephant is like
a colt, or like "Mary's little lamb."

Lucknow is only forty miles from Cawnpore, with which it is connected
by railway. A vast plain stretches to the gates of the capital of
Oude. It was evening when we reached our destination, where another
American friend, Rev. Mr. Mudge of the Methodist Mission, was waiting
to receive us. A ride of perhaps a couple of miles through the streets
and bazaars gave us some idea of the extent of a city which ranks
among the first in India. Daylight showed us still more of its extent
and its magnificence. It spreads out many miles over the plain, and
has a population of three hundred thousand, while in splendor it is
the first of the native cities of India--by native I mean one not
taking its character, like Calcutta and Bombay, from the English
element. Lucknow is more purely an Indian city, and has more of the
Oriental style in its architecture--its domes and minarets reminding
us of Cairo and Constantinople. Bayard Taylor says: "The coup d'oeil
from one of the bridges over the Goomtee, resembles that of
Constantinople from the bridge over the Golden Horn, and is more
imposing, more picturesque, and more truly Oriental than any other
city in India." It is a Mohammedan city, as much as Delhi, the mosques
quite overshadowing the Hindoo temples; and the Mohurrim, the great
Moslem festival, is observed here with the same fanaticism. But it is
much larger than Delhi, and though no single palaces equal those of
the old Moguls, yet it has more the appearance of a modern capital, in
its busy and crowded streets. It is a great commercial city, with rich
merchants, with artificers in silver and gold and all the fabrics of
the East.

But the interest of Lucknow, derived from the fact of its being one of
the most populous cities of India, and one of the most splendid, is
quite eclipsed by the thrilling events of its recent history. All its
palaces and mosques have not the attraction of one sacred spot. This
is the Residency, the scene of the siege, which will make the name of
Lucknow immortal. How the struggle came, we may see by recalling one
or two facts in the history of India.

A quarter of a century ago, this was not a part of the British
possessions. It was the Kingdom of Oude, with a sovereign who still
lives in a palace near Calcutta, with large revenues wherewith to
indulge his royal pleasure, but without his kingdom, which the English
Government has taken from him. This occurred just before the Mutiny,
and has often been alleged as one of the causes, if not _the_ cause,
of the outbreak; and England has been loudly accused of perfidy and
treachery towards an Indian prince, and of having brought upon
herself the terrible events which followed.

No doubt the English Government has often carried things with a high
hand in India, and done acts which cannot be defended, just as we must
confess that our own Government, in dealing with our Indian tribes,
has sometimes seemed to ignore both justice and mercy. But as to this
king of Oude, his "right" to his dominion (which is, being
interpreted, a right to torture his unhappy subjects) is about the
same as the right of a Bengal tiger to his jungle--a right which holds
good till some daring hunter can put an end to his career.

When this king ruled in Oude he was such a father to his people, and
such was the affection felt for his paternal government, that he had
to collect his taxes by the military, and it is said that the poor
people in the country built their villages on the borders of the
jungle, and kept a watch out for the approach of the soldiers. As soon
as they were signalled as being in sight, the wretched peasants
gathered up whatever they could carry, and fled into the jungle,
preferring to face the wild beasts and the serpents rather than these
mercenaries of a tyrant. The troops came, seized what was left and set
fire to the village. After they were gone, the miserable people
returned and rebuilt their mud hovels, and tried by tilling the soil,
to gain a bare subsistence. Such was the patriarchal government of one
of the native princes of India.

This king of Oude now finds his chief amusement in collecting a great
menagerie. He has a very large number of wild beasts. He has also a
"snakery," in which he has collected all the serpents of India. It
must be confessed that such a man seems more at home among his tigers
and cobras than in oppressing his wretched people. If Americans who
visit his palace near Calcutta are moved to sympathy with this deposed
king, let them remember what his government was, and they may feel a
little pity for his miserable subjects.

To put such a monster off the throne, and thus put an end to his
tyrannies, was about as much of a "crime" as it would be to restrain
the king of Dahomey or of Ashantee from perpetuating his "Grand
Custom." I am out of patience with this mawkish sympathy. There is too
much real misery in the world that calls for pity and relief, to have
us waste our sensibilities on those who are the scourges of mankind.

But once done, the deed could not be undone. Having seized the bull by
the horns, it was necessary to hold him, and this was not an easy
matter. It needed a strong hand, which was given it in Sir Henry
Lawrence, who had been thirty years in India. Hardly had he been made
governor before he felt that there was danger in the air. Neither he
nor his brother John, the Governor of the Punjaub, were taken by
surprise when the Mutiny broke out. Both expected it, and it did not
find them unprepared. Oude was indeed a centre of rebellion. The
partisans of the ex-king were of course very active, so that when the
Sepoys mutinied at Meerut, near Delhi, the whole kingdom of Oude was
in open revolt. Every place was taken except Lucknow, and that was
saved only by the wisdom and promptness of its new governor.

His first work was to fortify the Residency (so called from having
been occupied by the former English residents), which had about as
much of a military character as an old English manor-house. The
grounds covered some acres, on which were scattered a few buildings,
official residences and guardhouses, with open spaces between, laid
out in lawns and gardens. But the quick eye of the governor saw its
capability of defence. It was a small plateau, raised a few feet above
the plain around, and by connecting the different buildings by walls,
which could be mounted with batteries and loopholed for musketry, the
whole could be constructed into a kind of fortress. Into this he
gathered the European residents with their women and children. And
behind such rude defences a few hundred English soldiers, with as many
natives who had proved faithful, kept a large army at bay for six
months.

There was a fort in Lucknow well supplied with guns and ammunition,
but it was defended by only three hundred men, and was a source of
weakness rather than strength, since the English force was too small
to hold it, and if it should fall into the hands of the Sepoys with
all its stores, it would be the arsenal of the rebellion. At Delhi a
similar danger had been averted only by a brave officer blowing up the
arsenal with his own hand. It was a matter of the utmost moment to
destroy the fort and yet to save the soldiers in it. The only hope of
keeping up any defence was to unite the two feeble garrisons. But they
were more than half a mile apart, and each beleaguered by watchful
enemies. Sir Henry Lawrence signalled to the officer in command: "Blow
up the fort, and come to the Residency at twelve o'clock to-night.
Bring your treasure and guns, and destroy the remainder." This
movement could be executed only by the greatest secrecy. But the order
was promptly obeyed. At midnight the little band filed silently out of
the gates, and stole with muffled steps along a retired path, almost
within reach of the guns of the enemies, who discovered the movement
only when they were safe in the Residency, and the fuse which had been
lighted at the fort reached the magazine, and exploding two hundred
and fifty barrels of gunpowder, blew the massive walls into the air.

But the siege was only just begun. Inside the Residency were collected
about two thousand two hundred souls, of whom over five hundred were
women and children. Only about six hundred were English soldiers, and
seven or eight hundred natives who had remained faithful, held to
their allegiance by the personal ascendancy of Sir Henry Lawrence.[7]
There were also some three hundred civilians, who, though unused to
arms, willingly took part in the defence. Thus all together the
garrison did not exceed seventeen hundred men, of whom many were
disabled by sickness and wounds. The force of the besiegers was twenty
to one. There is in the Indian nature a strange mixture of languor and
ferocity, and the latter was aroused by the prospect of vengeance on
the English, who were penned up where they could not escape, and where
their capture was certain; and every Sepoy wished to be in at the
death. Under the attraction of such a prospect it is said that the
besieging force rose to fifty thousand men. Many of the natives, who
had been in the English service, were practised artillerists, and
trained their guns on the slender defences with fatal effect.
Advancing over the level ground, they drew their lines nearer and
nearer, till their riflemen picked off the soldiers serving in the
batteries. Three times they made a breach by exploding mines under the
walls, and endeavored to carry the place by storm. But then rose high
the unconquerable English spirit. They expected to die, but they were
determined to sell their lives dearly. When the alarm of these attacks
reached the hospital, the sick and wounded crawled out of their beds
and threw away their crutches to take their place at the guns; or if
they could not stand, lay down flat on their faces and fired through
the holes made for musketry.

But brave as were the defenders, the long endurance told upon them.
They were worn out with watching, and their ranks grew thinner day by
day. Those who were killed were carried off in the arms of their
companions, who gathered at midnight for their burial in some lonely
and retired spot, and while the chaplain in a low voice read the
service, the survivors stood around the grave, thinking how soon their
turn would come, the gloom of the night in fit harmony with the dark
thoughts that filled their breasts.

But darker than any night was the day when Sir Henry Lawrence fell. He
was the beloved, the adored commander. "While he lived," said our
informant, "we all felt safe." But exposing himself too much, he was
struck by a shell. Those around him lifted him up tenderly and carried
him away to the house of the surgeon of the garrison, where two days
after he died. When all was over "they did not dare to let the
soldiers know that he was dead," lest they should give up the
struggle. But he lived long enough to inspire them with his
unconquerable spirit.

He died on the 4th of July, and for nearly three months the siege went
on without change, the situation becoming every day more desperate. It
was the hottest season of the year, and the sun blazed down fiercely
into their little camp, aggravating the sickness and suffering, till
they longed for death, and were glad when they could find the grave.
"When my daughter was struck down by a fragment of a shell that fell
on the floor, she did not ask to live. She might have been saved if
she had been where she could have had careful nursing. But there was
no proper food to nourish the strength of the sick, and so she sunk
away, feeling that it was better to die than to live."

But still they would not yield to despair. Havelock had taken
Cawnpore, though he came too late to save the English from massacre,
and was straining every nerve to collect a force sufficient to relieve
Lucknow. As soon as he could muster a thousand men he crossed the
Ganges, and began his march. The movement was known to the little
garrison, and kept up their hopes. A faithful native, who acted as a
spy throughout the siege, went to and fro, disguising himself, and
crept through the lines in the night, and got inside the Residency,
and told them relief was coming. "He had seen the general, and said he
was a little man with white hair," who could be no other than
Havelock. Word was sent back that, on approaching the city, rockets
should be sent up to notify the garrison. Night after night officers
and men gazed toward the west for the expected signal, till their
hearts grew sick as the night passed and there was no sign.
Deliverance was to come, but not yet.

Havelock found that he had attempted the impossible. His force was but
a handful, compared with the hosts of his enemies. Even nature
appeared to be against him. It was the hot and rainy season, when it
seemed impossible to march over the plains of India. Cannon had to be
drawn by bullocks over roads and across fields, where they sank deep
in mud. Men had to march and fight now in the broiling sun, and now in
floods of rain. "In the full midday heat of the worst season of the
year, did our troops start. The sun struck down with frightful force.
At every step a man reeled out of the ranks, and threw himself
fainting by the side of the road; the calls for water were incessant
all along the line." "During the interval between the torrents of
rain, the sun's rays were so overpowering that numbers of the men were
smitten down and died." But the survivors closed up their ranks and
kept their face to the foe. Their spirit was magnificent. Death had
lost its terrors for them, and they made light of hardships and
dangers. When fainting with heat, if they found a little dirty water
by the roadside "it was like nectar." After marching all day in the
rain, they would lie down in the soaking mud, and grasp their guns,
and wrap their coats around them, and sleep soundly. Says an officer:

     "August 5th we marched toward Lucknow nine miles and then
     encamped on a large plain for the night. You must bear in
     mind that we had no tents with us, they are not allowed, so
     every day we were exposed to the burning sun and to the rain
     and dew by night. No baggage or beds were allowed; but the
     soldier wrapped his cloak around him, grasped his musket and
     went to sleep, and soundly we slept too. My Arab horse
     served me as a pillow, I used to lie down alongside of him,
     with my head on his neck, and he never moved with me except
     now and then to lick my hand." But he adds, "We found that
     it was impossible to proceed to Lucknow, for our force was
     too small--for though we were a brave little band, and could
     fight to Lucknow, yet we could not compel them to raise the
     siege when we got there."

Another enemy also had appeared. Cholera had broken out in the camp;
eleven men died in one day. The Rebels too were rising behind them. As
soon as Havelock crossed the Ganges they began to gather in his rear.
Nana Sahib was mustering a force and threatened Cawnpore. Thus beset
behind and before, Havelock turned and marched against the Mahratta
chief, and sent him flying towards Delhi. In reading the account of
these marches and battles, it is delightful to see the spirit between
the commander and his men. After this victory, as he rode along the
lines, they cheered him vehemently. He returned their salute, but
said, "Don't cheer me, my lads, you did it all yourselves." Such men,
fighting together, were invincible.

In September Havelock had collected 2,700 men, and again set out for
Lucknow. Three days they marched "under a deluge of rain." But their
eyes were "steadfastly set" towards the spot where their countrymen
were in peril, and they cared not for hardships and dangers. The
garrison was apprised of their coming, and waited with feverish
anxiety. In the relieving force was a regiment of Highlanders, and if
no crazy woman could put her ears to the ground (according to the
romantic story so often told) and hear the pibroch, and shout "The
Campbells are coming," they knew that those brave Scots never turned
back. As they drew near the city over the Cawnpore road, they found
that it was mined to blow them up. Instantly they wheeled off, and
marched round the city, and came up on the other side. Capturing the
Alumbagh, one of the royal residences, which, surrounded by a wall,
was easily converted into a temporary fortress, Havelock left here his
heavy baggage and stores of ammunition, with an immense array of
elephants and camels and horses; and all his sick and wounded, and the
whole train of camp-followers; and three hundred men, with four guns
to defend it. Thus "stripped for the fight," he began his attack on
the city. It was two miles to the Residency, and every step the
English had to fight their way through the streets. The battle began
in the morning, and lasted all day. It was a desperate attempt to
force their way through a great city, where every man was an enemy,
and they were fired at from almost every house. "Our advance was
through streets of flat-roofed and loop-holed houses, each forming a
separate fortress." Our informant told us of the frenzy in the
Residency when they heard the sound of the guns. "The Campbells were
coming" indeed! Sometimes the firing lulled, and it seemed as if they
were driven back. Then it rose again, and came nearer and nearer. How
the tide of battle ebbed and flowed, is well told in the narratives of
those who were actors in the scenes:

     "Throughout the night of the 24th great agitation and alarm
     had prevailed in the city; and, as morning advanced,
     increased and rapid movements of men and horses, gave
     evidence of the excited state of the rebel force. At noon,
     increasing noise proclaimed that street fighting was growing
     more fierce in the distance; but from the Residency nought
     but the smoke from the fire of the combatants could be
     discerned. As the afternoon advanced, the sounds came nearer
     and nearer, and then we heard the sharp crack of rifles
     mingled with the flash of musketry; the well-known uniforms
     of British soldiers were next discerned."

A lady who was in the Residency, and has written a Diary of the Siege,
thus describes the coming in of the English troops:

     "Never shall I forget the moment to the latest day I live.
     We had no idea they were so near, and were breathing the air
     in the portico as usual at that hour, speculating when they
     might be in; when suddenly just at dusk, we heard a very
     sharp fire of musketry close by, and then a tremendous
     cheering. An instant after, the sound of bagpipes--then
     soldiers running up the road--our compound and veranda
     filled with our deliverers, and all of us shaking hands
     frantically, and exchanging fervent 'God bless you's' with
     the gallant men and officers of the 78th Highlanders. Sir
     James Outram and staff were the next to come in, and the
     state of joyful confusion and excitement was beyond all
     description. The big, rough-bearded soldiers were seizing
     the little children out of our arms, kissing them, with
     tears rolling down their cheeks, and thanking God they had
     come in time to save them from the fate of those at
     Cawnpore. We were all rushing about to give the poor fellows
     drinks of water, for they were perfectly exhausted; and tea
     was made down in the Tye-khana, of which a large party of
     tired, thirsty officers partook, without milk or sugar. We
     had nothing to give them to eat. Every one's tongue seemed
     going at once with so much to ask and to tell; and the faces
     of utter strangers beamed upon each other like those of
     dearest friends and brothers."

It was indeed a great deliverance, but the danger was not over. Of all
that were in the Residency when the siege began, three months before,
more than half were gone. Out of twenty-two hundred but nine hundred
were left, and of these less than one-half were fighting men. Even
with the reinforcement of Havelock the garrison was still far too
small to hold such a position in the midst of a city of such a
population. The siege went on for two months longer. The final relief
did not come till Sir Colin Campbell, arriving with a larger force,
again fought his way through the city. The atrocities of the Sepoys
had produced such a feeling that he could hardly restrain his
soldiers. Remembering the murders and massacres of their countrymen
and countrywomen, they fought with a savage fury. In one walled
enclosure, which they carried by storm, were two thousand Sepoys, and
they killed every man!

Even then the work was not completed. Scarcely had Sir Colin Campbell
entered the Residency before he decided upon its evacuation. Again the
movement was executed at midnight, in silence and in darkness. While
the watch-fires were kept burning to deceive the enemy, the men filed
out of the gates, with the women and children in the centre of the
column, and moving softly and quickly through a narrow lane, in the
morning they were several miles from the city, in a strong position,
which made them safe from attack.

The joy of this hour of deliverance was saddened by the death of
Havelock. He had passed through all the dangers of battle and siege,
only to die at last of disease, brought on by the hardships and
exposures of the last few months. But his work was done. He had
nothing to do but to die. To his friend, Sir James Outram, who came to
see him, he stretched out his hand and said: "For more than forty
years I have so ruled my life, that when death came, I might face it
without fear."

The garrison was saved, but the city was still in the hands of the
Rebels, who were as defiant as ever. It was some months before Sir
Colin Campbell gathered forces sufficient for the final and crushing
blow. Indeed it was not till winter that he had collected a really
formidable army. Then he moved on the city in force and carried it by
storm. Two days of terrible fighting gave him the mastery of Lucknow,
and the British flag was once more raised over the capital of Oude,
where it has floated in triumph unto this day.

But the chief interest gathers about the earlier defence. The siege of
Lucknow is one of the most thrilling events in modern history, and may
well be remembered with pride by all who took part in it. A few weeks
before we were here the Prince of Wales had made his visit to Lucknow,
and requested that the survivors of the siege might be presented to
him. Mr. Mudge was present at the interview, and told me he had never
witnessed a more affecting scene than when these brave old soldiers,
the wrecks of the war, some of them bearing the marks of their wounds,
came up to the Prince, and received his warmest thanks for their
courage and fidelity.

These heroic memories were fresh in mind as we took our morning walk
in Lucknow, along the very street by which Havelock had fought his way
through the city. The Residency is now a ruin, its walls shattered by
shot and shell. But the ruins are overrun with vines and creeping
plants, and are beautiful even in their decay. With sad interest we
visited the spot where Sir Henry Lawrence was struck by the fatal
shell, and the cemetery in which he is buried. He was a Christian
soldier and before his death received the communion. He asked that no
eulogy might be written on his tomb, but only these words: "Here lies
Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty. May God have mercy on his
soul." This dying utterance is inscribed on the plain slab of marble
that covers his dust. It is enough. No epitaph could say more. As I
stood there and read these simple words and thought of the noble dead,
my eyes were full of tears. With such a consciousness of duty done,
who could fear to die? How well do these words express that which
should be the highest end of human ambition. Happy will it be for any
man of whom, when he has passed from the world, it can with truth be
written above his grave, "Here lies one who tried to do his duty!"

FOOTNOTE:

[7] As the historian of the mutiny has frequent occasion to speak of
the treachery of the Sepoys, it should not be forgotten that to this
there were splendid exceptions; that some were "found faithful among
the faithless." Even in the regiments that mutinied there were some
who were not carried away by the general madness; and, when the little
remnant of English soldiers retreated into the Residency, these loyal
natives went with them, and shared all the dangers and hardships of
the siege. Even after it was begun, they were exposed to every
temptation to seduce them from their allegiance; for as the lines of
the besiegers drew closer to the Residency and hemmed it in on every
side, the assailants were so near that they could talk with those
within over the palisades of the intrenchments, and the Sepoys
appealed to their late fellow-soldiers by threats, and taunts, and
promises; by pride of race and of caste; by their love of country and
of their religion, to betray the garrison. But not a man deserted his
post. Hundreds were killed in the siege, and their blood mingled with
that of their English companions-in-arms. History does not record a
more noble instance of fidelity.



CHAPTER XVIII.

THE ENGLISH RULE IN INDIA.


In reviewing the terrible scenes of the Mutiny, one cannot help asking
whether such scenes are likely to occur again; whether there will ever
be another Rebellion; and if so, what may be the chance of its
success? Will the people of India wish to rise? How are they affected
towards the English government? Are they loyal? We can only answer
these questions by asking another: Who are meant by the people of
India? The population is divided into different classes, as into
different castes. The great mass of the people are passive. Accustomed
to being handed over from one native ruler to another, they care not
who holds the power. He is the best ruler who oppresses them the
least. But among the high caste Brahmins, and especially those who
have been educated (among whom alone there is anything like political
life in India), there is a deep-seated disaffection towards the
English rule. This is a natural result of an education which enlarges
their ideas and raises their ambition. Some of the Bengalees, for
example, are highly educated men, and it is but natural that, as they
increase in knowledge, they should think that they are quite competent
to govern themselves. Hence their dislike to the foreign power that is
imposed upon them. Not that they have any personal wrongs to avenge.
It may be that they are attached to English _men_, while they do not
like the English rule. Every man whose mind is elevated by knowledge
and reflection, wishes to be his own master; and if ruled at all, he
likes to be ruled by those of his own blood and race and language.
This class of men, whether Hindoos or Mohammedans, however courteous
they may be to the English in their personal or business relations,
are not thereby converted to loyalty, any more than they are converted
to Christianity.

But however strong their dislike, it is not very probable that it
should take shape in organized rebellion, and still less likely that
any such movement should succeed. The English are now guarded against
it as never before. In the Mutiny they were taken at every possible
disadvantage. The country was almost stripped of English troops. Only
20,000 men were left, and these scattered far apart, and surrounded by
three times their number of Sepoys in open rebellion. Thus even the
military organization was in the hands of the enemy. If with all these
things against them, English skill and courage and discipline
triumphed at last, can it ever be put to such a test again?

When the Mutiny was over, and the English had time to reflect on the
danger they had escaped, they set themselves to repair their defences,
so that they should never more be in such peril. The first thing was
to reorganize the army, to weed out the elements of disaffection and
rebellion, and to see that the power was henceforth in safe hands. The
English troops were tripled in force, till now, instead of twenty,
they number sixty thousand men. The native regiments were carefully
chosen from those only who had proved faithful, such as the Goorkas,
who fought so bravely at Delhi, and other hill tribes of the
Himalayas; and the Punjaubees, who are splendid horsemen, and make the
finest cavalry. But not even these, brave and loyal as they had been,
were mustered into any regiment except cavalry and infantry. Not a
single native soldier was left in the artillery. In the Mutiny, if the
Sepoys had not been practised gunners, they would not have been so
formidable at the siege of Lucknow and elsewhere. Now they are
stripped of this powerful arm, and in any future rising they could do
nothing against fortified places, nor against an army in the field,
equipped with modern artillery. In reserving this arm of the service
to themselves, the English have kept the decisive weapon in their own
hands.

Then it is hardly too much to say that by the present complete system
of railroads, the English force is _quadrupled_, as this gives them
the means of concentrating rapidly at any exposed point.

To these elements of military strength must be added the greater
organizing power of Englishmen. The natives make good soldiers. They
are brave, and freely expose themselves in battle. In the Sikh war the
Punjaubees fought desperately. So did the Sepoys in the Mutiny. But
the moment the plan of attack was disarranged, they were "all at sea."
Their leaders had no "head" for quick combinations in presence of an
enemy. As it has been, so it will be. In any future contests it will
be not only the English sword, English guns, and English discipline,
but more than all, the English brains, that will get them the victory.

Such is the position of England in India. She holds a citadel girt
round with defences on every side, with strong walls without, and
brave hearts within. I have been round about her towers, and marked
well her bulwarks, and I see not why, so guarded and defended, she may
not hold her Indian Empire for generations to come.

But there is a question back of all this. Might does not make right. A
government may be established in power that is not established in
justice. It may be that the English are to remain masters of India,
yet without any right to that splendid dominion. As we read the
thrilling stories of the Mutiny, it is almost with a guilty feeling
(as if it betrayed a want of sympathy with all that heroism), that we
admit any inquiry as to the cause of that fearful tragedy. But how
came all this blood to be shed? Has not England something to answer
for? If she has suffered terribly, did she not pay the penalty of her
own grasping ambition? Nations, like individuals, often bring curses
on themselves, the retribution of their oppressions and their crimes.
The fact that men fight bravely, is no proof that they fight in a just
cause. Nay, the very admiration that we feel for their courage in
danger and in death, but increases our horror at the "political
necessity" which requires them to be sacrificed. If England by her own
wicked policy provoked the Mutiny, is she not guilty of the blood of
her children? Thomas Jefferson, though a slaveholder himself, used to
say that in a war of races every attribute of Almighty God would take
part with the slave against his master; and Englishmen may well ask
whether in the conflict which has come once, and may come again, they
can be quite sure that Infinite Justice will always be on their side.

In these sentences I have put the questions which occur to an American
travelling in India. Wherever he goes, he sees the English flag flying
on every fortress--the sign that India is a conquered country. The
people who inhabit the country are not those who govern it. With his
Republican ideas of the right of every nation to govern itself, he
cannot help asking: What business have the English in India? What
right have a handful of Englishmen, so far from their native island,
in another hemisphere, to claim dominion over two hundred millions of
men?

As an American, I have not the bias of national feeling to lead me to
defend and justify the English rule in India; though I confess that
when, far off here in Asia, among these dusky natives, I see a white
face, and hear my own mother tongue, I feel that "blood is thicker
than water," and am ready to take part with my kindred against all
comers. Even Americans cannot but feel a pride in seeing men of their
own race masters of such a kingdom in the East. But this pride of
empire will not extinguish in any fair mind the sense of justice and
humanity.

"Have the English any right in India?" If it be "a question of
titles," we may find it difficult to prove our own right in America,
from which we have crowded out the original inhabitants. None of us
can claim a title from the father of the human race. All new settlers
in a country are "invaders." But public interest and the common law of
the world demand that power, once established, should be recognized.

According to the American principle, that "all just government derives
its authority from the consent of the governed," there never was a
just government in India, for the consent of the governed was never
obtained. The people of India were never asked to give their "consent"
to the government established over them. They were ruled by native
princes, who were as absolute, and in general as cruel tyrants, as
ever crushed a wretched population.

No doubt in planting themselves in India, the English have often used
the rights of conquerors. No one has denounced their usurpations and
oppressions more than their own historians, such as Mill and Macaulay.
The latter, in his eloquent reviews of the lives of Clive and Warren
Hastings, has spoken with just severity of the crimes of those
extraordinary but unscrupulous men. For such acts no justification can
be pleaded whatever. But as between Clive and Surajah Dowlah, the rule
of the former was infinitely better. It would be carrying the doctrine
of self-government to an absurd extent, to imagine that the monster
who shut up English prisoners in the Black Hole had any right which
was to be held sacred. The question of right, therefore, is not
between the English and the people of India, but between the English
and the native princes. Indeed England comes in to protect the people
against the princes, when it gives them one strong master in place of
a hundred petty tyrants. The King of Oude collecting his taxes by
soldiers, is but an instance of that oppression and cruelty which
extended all over India, but which is now brought to an end.

And how has England used her power? At first, we must confess, with
but little of the feeling of responsibility which should accompany the
possession of power. Nearly a hundred years ago, Burke (who was master
of all facts relating to the history of India, and to its political
condition, more than any other man of his time) bitterly arraigned the
English government for its cruel neglect of that great dependency. He
denounced his countrymen, the agents of the East India Company, as a
horde of plunderers, worse than the soldiers of Tamerlane, and held up
their greedy and rapacious administration to the scorn of mankind,
showing that they had left no beneficent monuments of their power to
compare with those of the splendid reigns of the old Moguls. In a
speech in Parliament in 1783, he said:

     "England has erected no churches, no palaces, no hospitals,
     no schools; England has built no bridges, made no high
     roads, cut no navigations, dug out no reservoirs. Every
     other conqueror of every other description has left some
     monument either of State or beneficence behind him. Were we
     to be driven out of India this day, nothing would remain to
     tell that it had been possessed, during the inglorious
     period of our dominion, by anything better than the
     orang-outang or the tiger."

This is a fearful accusation. What answer can be made to it? Has there
been any change for the better since the great impeacher of Warren
Hastings went to his grave? How has England governed India since that
day? She has not undertaken to govern it like a Model Republic. If she
had, her rule would soon have come to an end. She has not given the
Hindoos universal suffrage, or representation in Parliament. But she
has given them something better--Peace and Order and Law, a trinity of
blessings that they never had before. When the native princes ruled in
India, they were constantly at war among themselves, and thus
overrunning and harassing the country. Now the English government
rules everywhere, and Peace reigns from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas.

Strange to say, this quietness does not suit some of the natives, who
have a restless longing for the wild lawlessness of former times. A
missionary was one day explaining to a crowd the doctrine of original
sin, when he was roughly interrupted by one who said, "I know what is
original sin: it is the English rule in India." "You ought not to say
that," was the reply, "for if it were not for the English the people
of the next village would make a raid on your village, and carry off
five thousand sheep." But the other was not to be put down so, and
answered promptly, "_I should like that_, for then we would make a
raid on them and carry off ten thousand!" This was a blunt way of
putting it, but it expresses the feeling of many who would prefer that
kind of wild justice which prevails among the Tartar hordes of Central
Asia to a state of profound tranquility. They would rather have
Asiatic barbarism than European civilization.

With peace between States, England has established order in every
community. It has given protection to life and property--a sense of
security which is the first condition of the existence of human
society. It has abolished heathen customs which were inhuman and
cruel. It has extirpated thuggism, and put an end to infanticide and
the burning of widows. This was a work of immense difficulty, because
these customs, horrid as they were, were supported by religious
fanaticism. Mothers cast their children into the Ganges as an offering
to the gods; and widows counted it a happy escape from the sufferings
of life to mount the funeral pile. Even to this day there are some who
think it hard that they cannot thus sacrifice themselves.

So wedded are the people to their customs, that they are very jealous
of the interference of the government, when it prohibits any of their
practices on the ground of humanity. Dr. Newton, of Lahore, the
venerable missionary, told me that he knew a few years ago a fakir, a
priest of a temple, who had grown to be very friendly with him. One
day the poor man came, with his heart full of trouble, to tell his
griefs. He had a complaint against the government. He said that Sir
John Lawrence, then Governor of the Punjaub, was very arbitrary. And
why? Because he wanted to bury himself alive, and the Governor
wouldn't let him! He had got to be a very old man (almost a hundred),
and of course must soon leave this world. He had had a tomb prepared
in the grounds of the temple (he took Dr. Newton to see what a nice
place it was), and there he wished to lie down and breathe his last.
With the Hindoos it is an act of religious merit to bury one's self
alive, and on this the old man had set his heart. If he could do this,
he would go straight to Paradise, but the hard English Governor,
insensible to such considerations, would not permit it. Was it not too
bad that he could not be allowed to go to heaven in his own way?

Breaking up these old barbarities--suicide, infanticide, and the
burning of widows--the government has steadily aimed to introduce a
better system for the administration of justice, in which, with due
regard to Hindoo customs and prejudices, shall be incorporated, as far
as possible, the principles of English law. For twenty years the
ablest men that could be found in India or in England, have been
engaged in perfecting an elaborate Indian Code, in which there is one
law for prince and pariah. What must be the effect on the Hindoo mind
of such a system, founded in justice, and enforced by a power which
they cannot resist? Such laws administered by English magistrates,
will educate the Hindoos to the idea of justice, which, outside of
English colonies, can hardly be said to exist in Asia.

The English are the Romans of the modern world. Wherever the Roman
legions marched, they ruled with a strong hand, but they established
law and order, the first conditions of human society. So with the
English in all their Asiatic dependencies. Wherever they come, they
put an end to anarchy, and give to all men that sense of protection
and security, that feeling of personal safety--safety both to life and
property--without which there is no motive to human effort, and no
possibility of human progress.

The English are like the Romans in another feature of their
administration, in the building of roads. The Romans were the great
road-builders of antiquity. Highways which began at Rome, and thus
radiated from a common centre, led to the most distant provinces. Not
only in Italy, but in Spain and Gaul and Germany, did the ancient
masters of the world leave these enduring monuments of their power.
Following this example, England, before the days of railroads, built a
broad macadamized road from Calcutta to Peshawur, over 1,500 miles.
This may have been for a military purpose; but no matter, it serves
the ends of peace more than of war. It becomes a great avenue of
commerce; it opens communication between distant parts of India, and
brings together men of different races, speaking different languages;
and thus, by promoting peaceful and friendly intercourse, it becomes a
highway of civilization.

Nor is this the only great road in this country. Everywhere I have
found the public highways in excellent condition. Indeed I have not
found a bad road in India--not one which gave me such a "shaking up"
as I have sometimes had when riding over the "corduroys" through the
Western forests of America. Around the large towns the roads are
especially fine--broad and well paved, and often planted with trees.
The cities are embellished with parks, like cities in England, with
botanical and zoölogical gardens. The streets are kept clean, and
strict sanitary regulations are enforced--a matter of the utmost
moment in this hot climate, and in a dense population, where a sudden
outbreak of cholera would sweep off thousands in a few days or hours.
The streets are well lighted and well policed, so that one may go
about at any hour of day or night with as much safety as in London or
New York. If these are the effects of foreign rule, even the most
determined grumbler must confess that it has proved a material and
substantial benefit to the people of India.

Less than twenty years ago the internal improvements of India received
a sudden and enormous development, when to the building of roads
succeeded that of railroads. Lord Dalhousie, when Governor-General,
had projected a great railroad system, but it was not till after the
Mutiny, and perhaps in consequence of the lessons learned by that
terrible experience, that the work was undertaken on a large scale.
The government guaranteed five per cent. interest for a term of years,
and the capital was supplied from England. Labor was abundant and
cheap, and the works were pushed on with unrelaxing energy, till India
was belted from Bombay to Calcutta, and trunk lines were running up
and down the country, with branches to every large city. Thus, to
English foresight and sagacity, to English wealth and engineering
skill, India owes that vast system of railroads which now spreads over
the whole peninsula.

In no part of the world are railroads more used than in India. Of
course the first-class carriages are occupied chiefly by English
travellers, or natives of high rank; and the second-class by those
less wealthy. But there are trains for the people, run at very low
fares. There are huge cars, built with two stories, and carrying a
hundred passengers each, and these two-deckers are often very closely
packed. The Hindoos have even learned to make pilgrimages by steam,
and find it much cheaper, as well as easier, than to go afoot. When
one considers the long journeys they have been accustomed to undertake
under the burning sun of India, the amount of suffering relieved by a
mode of locomotion so cool and swift is beyond computation.

Will anybody tell me that the people of India, if left alone, would
have built their own railways? Perhaps in the course of ages, but not
in our day. The Asiatic nature is torpid and slow to move, and cannot
rouse itself to great exertion. In the whole Empire of China there is
not a railroad, except at Shanghai, where a few months ago was opened
a little "one-horse concern," a dozen miles long, built by the
foreigners for the convenience of that English settlement. This may
show how rapid would have been the progress of railroads in India, if
left wholly to native "enterprise." It would have taken hundreds of
years to accomplish what the English have wrought in one generation.

Nor does English engineering skill expend itself on railroads alone.
It has dug canals that are like rivers in their length. The Ganges
Canal in Upper India is a work equal to our Erie Canal. Other canals
have been opened, both for commerce and for irrigation. The latter is
a matter vital to India. The food of the Hindoos is rice, and rice
cannot be cultivated except in fields well watered. A drought in the
rice fields means a famine in the province. Such a calamity is now
averted in many places by this artificial irrigation. The overflow
from these streams, which are truly "fountains in the desert," has
kept whole districts from being burnt up, by which in former years
millions perished by famine.

While thus caring for the material comfort and safety of the people of
India, England has also shown regard to their enlightenment in
providing a magnificent system of National Education. Every town in
India has its government school, while many a large city has its
college or its university. Indeed, so far has this matter of education
been carried, that I heard a fear expressed that it was being
overdone--at least the higher education--because the young men so
educated were unfitted for anything else than the employ of the
government. All minor places in India are filled by natives, and well
filled too. But there are not enough for all. And hence many, finding
no profession to enter, and educated above the ordinary occupations of
natives, are left stranded on the shore.

These great changes in India, these schools and colleges, the better
administration of the laws, and these vast internal improvements, have
been almost wholly the work of the generation now living. In the first
century of its dominion the English rule perhaps deserved the bitter
censure of Burke, but

     "If 'twere so, it were a grievous fault,
     And grievously hath Cæsar answered it."

England has paid for the misgovernment of India in the blood of her
children, and within the last few years she has striven nobly to
repair the errors of former times. Thus one generation makes atonement
for the wrongs of another. She has learned that justice is the highest
wisdom, and the truest political economy. The change is due in part to
the constant pressure of the Christian sentiment of England upon its
government, which has compelled justice to India, and wrought those
vast changes which we see with wonder and admiration.

Thus stretching out her mighty arm over India, England rules the land
from sea to sea. I say not that she rules it in absolute
righteousness--that her government is one of ideal perfection, but it
is immeasurably better than that of the old native tyrants which it
displaced. It at least respects the forms of law, and while it
establishes peace, it endeavors also to maintain justice. The
railroads that pierce the vast interior quicken the internal commerce
of the country, while the waters that are caused to flow over the
rice-fields of Bengal abate the horrors of pestilence and famine. Thus
England gives to her Asiatic empire the substantial benefits of modern
civilization; while in her schools and colleges she brings the subtle
Hindoo mind into contact with the science and learning of the West. At
so many points does this foreign rule touch the very life of India,
and infuse the best blood of Europe into her languid veins.

With such results of English rule, who would not wish that it might
continue? It is not that we love the Hindoo less, but the cause of
humanity more. The question of English rule in India is a question of
civilization against barbarism. These are the two forces now in
conflict for the mastery of Asia. India is the place where the two
seas meet. Shall she be left to herself, shut up between her seas and
her mountains? That would be an unspeakable calamity, not only to her
present inhabitants, but to unborn millions. I believe in modern
civilization, as I believe in Christianity. These are the great forces
which are to conquer the world. In conquering Asia, they will redeem
it and raise it to a new life. The only hope of Asia is from Europe:

     "Better fifty years of Europe than a cycle of Cathay;"

and the only hope of India is from England. So whatever contests may
yet arise for the control of this vast peninsula, with its two hundred
millions of people, our sympathies must always be against Asiatic
barbarism, and on the side of European civilization.



CHAPTER XIX.

MISSIONS IN INDIA--DO MISSIONARIES DO ANY GOOD?


"Is it not all a farce?" said a Major in the Bengal Staff Corps, as we
came down from Upper India. We were talking of Missions. He did not
speak of them with hatred, but only with contempt. The missionaries
"meant well," but they were engaged in an enterprise which was so
utterly hopeless, that no man in his senses could regard it as other
than supreme and almost incredible folly. In this he spoke the opinion
of half the military men of India. They have no personal dislike to
missionaries--indeed many an officer in an out-of-the-way district,
who has a missionary family for almost his only neighbors, will
acknowledge that they are "a great addition to the English society."
But as for their doing any good, as an officer once said to me: "They
might as well go and stand on the shore of the sea and preach to the
fishes, as to think to convert the Hindoos!" Their success, of which
so much is said in England and America, is "infinitesimally small."
Some even go so far as to say that the missionaries do great mischief;
that they stir up bad blood in the native population, and perpetuate
an animosity of races. Far better would it be to leave the "mild
Hindoo" to his gods; to let him worship his sacred cows, and monkeys
and serpents, and his hideous idols, so long as he is a quiet and
inoffensive subject of the government.

If one were preaching a sermon to a Christian congregation, he might
disdain a reply to objections which seem to come out of the mouths of
unbelievers; it would be enough to repeat the words of Him who said,
"Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." But I
am not preaching, but conversing with an intelligent gentleman, who
has lived long in India, and might well assume that he knows far more
about the actual situation than I do. Such men are not to be put down.
They represent a large part of the Anglo-Indian population. We may
therefore as well recognize the fact that Modern Missions, like any
other enterprise which is proposed in the interest of civilization,
are now on trial before the world. We may look upon them as too sacred
for criticism; but in this irreverent age nothing is too sacred;
everything that is holy has to be judged by reason, and by practical
results, and by these to be justified or to be condemned. I would not
therefore claim anything on the ground of authority, but speak of
missions as I would of national education, or even of the railroad
system of India.

The question here raised I think deserves a larger and more candid
treatment than it commonly receives either from the advocates or the
opponents of missions. It is not to be settled merely by pious
feeling, by unreasoning sentiment on the one hand, nor by sneers on
the other. To convert a whole country from one religion to another, is
an undertaking so vast that it is not to be lightly entered upon. The
very attempt assumes a superior wisdom on the part of those who make
it, which is itself almost an offence. If it be not "a grand
impertinence," an intrusion into matters with which no stranger has a
right to intermeddle, it is at least taking a great liberty to thrust
upon a man our opinion in censure of his own. We may think him very
ignorant, and in need of being enlightened. But he may have a poor
opinion of our ability to enlighten him. We think him a fool, and he
returns the compliment. At any rate, right or wrong, he is entitled to
the freedom of his opinion as much as we are to ours. If a stranger
were to come to us day by day, to argue with us, and to force his
opinions upon us, either in politics or religion, we might listen
civilly and patiently at first, but we should end by turning him out
of doors. What right have we to pronounce on his opinions and conduct
any more than he upon ours?

In the domain of religion, especially, a man's opinions are sacred.
They are between himself and God. There is no greater offence against
courtesy, against that mutual concession of perfect freedom, which is
the first law of all human intercourse, than to interfere wantonly
with the opinions--nay, if you please, with the false opinions, with
the errors and prejudices--of mankind. Nothing but the most imperative
call of humanity--a plea of "necessity or mercy"--can justify a
crusade against the ancestral faith of a whole people.

I state the case as strongly as I can, that we may look upon it as an
English officer, or even an intelligent Hindoo, looks upon it, and I
admit frankly that we have no more right to force our religion upon
the people of India, than to force upon them a republican form of
government, unless we can give a reason for it, which shall be
recognized at the bar of the intelligent judgment of mankind.

Is there then any good reason--any _raison d'être_--for the
establishment of missions in India? If there be not some very solid
and substantial ground for their existence, they are not to be
justified merely because their motive is good. Is there then any
reason whatever which can justify any man, or body of men, in invading
this country with a new religion, and attacking the ancient faith of
the people?

All students of history will acknowledge that there are certain great
revolutions in the opinions of mankind, which are epochs in history,
and turning points in the life of nations. India has had many such
revolutions, dating far back before the Christian era. Centuries
before Christ was born, Buddha preached his new faith on the banks of
the Ganges. For a time it conquered the country, driving out the old
Brahminism, which however came back and conquered in its turn, till
Buddhism, retiring slowly from the plains of India, planted its
pagodas on the shores of Burmah and among the mountains of Ceylon.

Thus India is a land of missions, and has been from the very
beginnings of history. It was traversed by missionaries of its ancient
faith ages before Tamerlane descended the passes of the Himalayas with
the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other; or Francis Xavier,
the Apostle of the Indies, laid his bones in the Cathedral of Goa. If
then Buddhists and Brahmins, and Moslems and Romanists, have so long
disputed the land, there is certainly no reason why we should condemn
at the very outset the entrance of Protestant Christianity.

Beside this great fact in the history of India place another: that
there is no country in the world where religion is such a power, such
an element in the life of the people. The Hindoos are not only
religious, they are intensely so. They have not indeed the fierce
fanaticism of the Moslems, for their creed tolerates all religions,
but what they believe they believe strongly. They have a subtle
philosophy which pervades all their thinking, which digs the very
channels in which their thoughts run, and cannot overflow; and this
philosophy, which is imbedded in their religious creed, fixes their
castes and customs, as rigidly as it does their forms of worship.
Religion is therefore the chief element in the national life. It has
more to do in moulding the ideas and habits, the manners and customs,
of the people, than laws or government, or any other human
institution. Thus India furnishes the most imposing illustration on
earth of the power of Religion to shape the destiny of a country or a
race.

Whether there be anything to justify a friendly invasion of India, and
the attempt to convert its people to a better religion, may appear if
we ask, What is Hindooism? Is it a good or bad faith? Does it make men
better or worse--happy or unhappy? Does it promote the welfare of
human beings, or is it a system which is false in belief and deadly in
its effects, and against which we have a right to wage a holy war?

Hindooism has a thousand shapes, spreading out its arms like a mighty
banyan tree, but its root is one--Pantheism. When an old fakir at the
Méla at Allahabad said to me, "You are God and I am God!" he did not
utter a wild rhapsody, but expressed the essence of Hindoo philosophy,
according to which all beings that exist are but One Being; all
thoughts are but the pulse-beats of One Infinite Mind; all acts are
but the manifestation of One Universal Life.

Some may think this theory a mere abstraction, which has no practical
bearing. But carried out to its logical consequences, it overthrows
all morality. If all acts of men are God's acts, then they are all
equally good or bad; or rather, they are neither good nor bad. Thus
moral distinctions are destroyed, and vice and virtue are together
banished from the world. Hence Hindooism as a religion has nothing
whatever to do with morality or virtue, but is only a means of
propitiating angry deities. It is a religion of terror and fear. It is
also unspeakably vile. It is the worship of obscene gods by obscene
rites. Its very gods and goddesses commit adultery and incest. Thus
vice is deified. Such a mythology pollutes the imaginations of the
people, whereby their very mind and conscience are defiled. Not only
the heart, but even the intellect is depraved by the loathsome objects
set up in their temples. The most common object of worship in India is
an obscene image. Indeed, so well understood is this, that when a law
was passed by the Government against the exhibition of obscene images,
an express exception was made in favor of those exposed in temples,
and which were objects of religious worship. Thus Hindooism has the
privilege of indecency, and is allowed to break over all restraints.
It is the licensed harlot, that is permitted, in deference to its
religious pretensions, to disregard the common decencies of mankind.
The effect of this on public morals can be imagined. The stream cannot
rise higher than its source. How can a people be pure, when their very
religion is a fountain of pollution? But this is a subject on which we
cannot enlarge. It is an abyss into which no one would wish to look.
It is sufficient to indicate what we cannot for very loathing
undertake to describe.

There is another element in the Hindoo religion, which cannot be
ignored, and which gives it a tremendous power for good or evil. It is
Caste. Every Hindoo child is born in a certain caste, out of which he
cannot escape. When I landed at Bombay I observed that every native
had upon his forehead a mark freshly made, as if with a stroke of the
finger, which indicated the god he worshipped or the caste to which he
belonged. Of these there are four principal ones--the Priest, or
Brahmin caste, which issued out of the mouth of Brahm; the Warrior
caste, which sprung from his arms and breast; the Merchant caste, from
his thighs; and the Shoodras, or Servile caste, which crawled out from
between his feet; beside the Pariahs, who are below all caste. These
divisions are absolute and unchangeable. To say that they are
maintained by the force of ancient custom is not enough: they are
fixed as by a law of nature. The strata of society are as immovable as
the strata of the rock-ribbed hills. No man can stir out of his place.
If he is up he stays up by no virtue of his own; and if he is down, he
stays down, beyond any power of man to deliver him. No gift of genius,
or height of virtue, can ever raise up one of a low caste into a
higher, for caste is a matter of birth. Upon these sub-strata this
fixity of caste rests with crushing weight. It holds them down as with
the force of gravitation, as if the Himalayas were rolled upon them to
press them to the earth.

Against this oppression there is no power of resistance, no lifting up
from beneath to throw it off. One would suppose that the people
themselves would revolt at this servitude, that every manly instinct
would rise up in rebellion against such a degradation. But so
ingrained is it in the very life of the people, that they cannot cast
it out any more than they can cast out a poison in their blood. Indeed
they seem to glory in it. The lower castes crouch and bow down that
others may pass over them. A Brahmin, who had become a Christian, told
me that the people had often asked him to wash his feet in the water
of the street, that they might drink it!

Caste is a cold and cruel thing, which hardens the heart against
natural compassion. I know it is said that high caste is only an
aristocracy of birth, and that, as such, it fosters a certain nobility
of feeling, and also a mutual friendliness between those who belong to
the same order. A caste is only a larger family, and in it there is
the same feeling, a mixture of pride and affection, which binds the
family together. Perhaps it may nurture to some extent a kind of
clannishness, but it does this at the sacrifice of the broader and
nobler sentiment of humanity. It hardens the heart into coldness and
cruelty against all without one sacred pale. The Brahmin feels nothing
for the sufferings of the Pariah, who is of another order of being as
truly as if he were one of the lower animals. Thus the feeling of
caste extinguishes the sentiment of human brotherhood.

Taking all these elements together, Hindooism must rank as the most
despotic, the most cruel, and the vilest of all that is called
religion among men. There is no other that so completely upturns moral
distinctions, and makes evil good and good evil. Other religions, even
though false, have some sentiment that ennobles them, but Hindooism,
the product of a land fertile in strange births, is the lowest and
basest, the most truly earth-born, of all the religions that curse
mankind.

And what burdens does it lay upon a poor, patient, and suffering
people, in prayers, penances, and pilgrimages! The faith of Hindooism
is not a mild and harmless form of human credulity. It exacts a
terrible service, that must be paid with sweat and blood. Millions of
Hindoos go every year on pilgrimages. The traveller sees them
thronging the roads, dragging their weary feet over the hot plains,
many literally _crawling_ over the burning earth, to appease the wrath
of angry gods! A religion which exacts such service is not a mere
creature of the imagination--it is a tremendous reality, which makes
its presence felt at every moment. It is therefore not a matter of
practical indifference. It is not a mere exhibition of human folly,
which, however absurd, does no harm to anybody. It is a despotism
which grinds the people to powder.

Seeing this, how they suffer under a power from which they cannot
escape, can there be a greater object of philanthropy in all the world
than to emancipate them from the bondage of such ignorance and
superstition? Scientific men, the apostles of "modern thought,"
consider it not only a legitimate object, but the high "mission" of
science, by unfolding the laws of nature, to disabuse our minds of
idle and superstitious fears; to break up that vague terror of unseen
forces, which is the chief element of superstition. If they may fight
this battle in England, may we not fight the battle of truth with
error and ignorance in Hindostan? Englishmen think it a noble thing
for brave and adventurous spirits to form expeditions to penetrate the
interior of Africa to break up the slave trade. But here is a slavery
the most terrible which ever crushed the life out of human beings.
Brahminism, which is fastened upon the people of India, embraces them
like an anaconda, clasping and crushing them in its mighty folds. It
is a devouring monster, which takes out of the very body of every
Hindoo, poor and naked and wretched as he may be, its pound of
quivering flesh. Can these things be, and we look on unmoved? Can we
see a whole people bound, like Laocoön and his sons, in the grasp of
the serpent, writhing and struggling in vain, and not come to their
rescue?

Such is Hindooism, and such is the condition to which it has reduced
the people of India. Do we need any other argument for Christian
missions? Does not this simple statement furnish a perfect defence,
and even an imperative demand for their establishment? Christianity is
the only hope of India. In saying this I do not intend any disrespect
to the people of this country, to whom I feel a strong attraction. We
are not apt to hear from our missionary friends much about the virtues
of the heathen; but virtues they have, which it were wrong to ignore.
The Hindoos, like other Asiatics, are a very domestic people, and have
strong domestic attachments. They love their homes, humble though they
be, and their children. And while they have not the active energy of
Western races, yet in the passive virtues--meekness, patience under
injury, submission to wrong--they furnish an example to Christian
nations. That submissiveness, which travellers notice, and which moves
some to scorn, moves me rather to pity, and I find in this patient,
long-suffering race much to honor and to love. Nor are they
unintelligent. They have very subtle minds. Thus they have many of the
qualities of a great people. But their religion is their destruction.
It makes them no better, it makes them worse. It does not lift them
up, it drags them down. It is the one terrible and overwhelming curse,
that must be removed before there is any hope for the people of India.

Is there not here a legitimate ground for an attempt on the part of
the civilized and Christian world to introduce a better faith into
that mighty country which holds two hundred millions of the human
race? This is not intrusion, it is simple humanity. In seeking to
introduce Christianity into India, we invade no right of any native of
that country, Mohammedan or Hindoo; we would not wantonly wound their
feelings, nor even shock their prejudices, in attacking their
hereditary faith. But we claim that here is a case where we cannot
keep silent. If we are told that we "interfere with the people," we
answer, that we interfere as the Good Samaritan interfered with the
man who fell among thieves, and was left by the roadside to die; as
the physician in the hospital interferes with those dying of the
cholera; as one who sees a brother at his side struck by a deadly
serpent applies his mouth to the wound, to suck the poison from his
blood! If that be interference, it is interference where it would be
cruelty to stand aloof, for he would be less than man who could be
unmoved in presence of misery so vast, which it was in any degree in
his power to relieve.

Thus India itself is the sufficient argument for missions in India.
Let any one visit this country, and study its religion, and see how it
enters into the very life of the people; how all social intercourse is
regulated by caste; how one feels at every instant the pressure of an
ancient and unchangeable religion, and ask how its iron rule is ever
to be broken? Who shall deliver them from the body of this death?
There is in Hindooism no power of self-cure. For ages it has remained
the same, and will remain for ages still. Help, if it come at all,
must come from without, and where else can it come from, but from
lands beyond the sea?

Therefore it is that the Christian people of England and America come
to the people of India, not in a tone of self-righteousness, assuming
that we are better than they, but in the name of humanity, of the
brotherhood of the human race. We believe that "God hath made of one
blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the earth," and these
Hindoos, though living on the other side of the globe, are our
brothers. They are born into the same world; they belong to the same
human family, and have the same immortal destiny. To such a people,
capable of great things, but crushed and oppressed, we come to do
them good. We would break the terrible bondage of caste, and bring
forth woman out of the prison-house where she passes her lonely
existence. This involves a social as well as a religious revolution.
But what a sigh of relief would it bring to millions who, under their
present conditions, are all their lifetime subject to bondage.

There is a saying in the East that in India the flowers yield no
perfume, the birds never sing, and the women never smile. Of course
this is an exaggeration, and yet it has a basis of truth. It is true
that the flowers of the tropics, though often of brilliant hues, do
not yield the rich perfume of the roses of our Northern clime; and
many of the birds whose golden plumage flashes sunlight in the deep
gloom of tropical forests, have only a piercing shriek, instead of the
soft, delicious notes of the robin and the dove; and the women have a
downcast look. Well may it be so. They lead a secluded and solitary
life. Shut up in their zenanas, away from society, they have no part
in many of the joys of human existence, though they have more than
their share of life's burdens and its woes. No wonder that their faces
should be sad and sorrowful. Thus the whole creation seems to groan
and travail in pain.

Now we desire to dispel the darkness and the gloom of ages, and to
bring smiles and music and flowers once more into this stricken world.
Teaching a religion of love and good will to men, we would cure the
hatred of races, and bring all together in a common brotherhood. We
would so lift up the poor of this world, that sorrow and sighing shall
flee away, and that every lowly Indian hut shall be filled with the
light of a new existence. In that day will not nature share in the joy
of man's deliverance? Then will the birds begin to sing, as if they
were let loose from the gates of heaven to go flying through the
earth, and to fill our common air with the voice of melody. Then shall
smiles be seen once more on human faces; not the loud cackling of
empty laughter; but smiles breaking through tears (the reflection of
a peace that passeth understanding), shall spread like sunshine over
the sad faces of the daughters of Asia.

But some "old Indian" who has listened politely, yet smiling and
incredulous, to this defence of missions, may answer, "All this is
very fine; no doubt it would be a good thing if the people of India
would change their religion; would cast off Hindooism, and adopt
Christianity. But is it not practically impossible? Do all the efforts
of missionaries really amount to anything." This is a fair question,
and I will try to give it a fair answer.

"Do missionaries do any good?" Perhaps we can best answer the question
by drawing the picture of an Indian village, such as one may see at
thousands of points scattered over the country. It is a cluster of
huts, constructed sometimes with a light frame-work of bamboo, filled
in with matting, but more commonly of mud, with a roof of thatch to
prevent its being washed away in the rainy season. These huts are
separated from each other by narrow lanes that can hardly be dignified
with the name of streets. Yet in such a hamlet of hovels, hardly fit
for human habitation, may be a large population. Every doorway is
swarming with children. On the outskirts of the village is _the
missionary bungalow_, a large one-story house, also built of mud, but
neatly whitewashed and protected from the rains by a heavy thatched
roof, which projects over the walls, and shades the broad veranda. In
the "compound" are two other buildings of the same rude material and
simple architecture, a church and a schoolhouse. In the latter are
gathered every day ten, twenty, fifty--perhaps a hundred--children,
with bare feet and poor garments, though clean, but with bright eyes,
and who seem eager to learn. All day long comes from that low building
a buzz and hum as from a hive of bees. Every Sunday is gathered in the
little chapel a congregation chiefly of poor people, plainly but
neatly dressed, and who, as they sit there, reclaimed from
heathenism, seem to be "clothed and in their right minds." To the poor
the Gospel is preached, and never does it show its sweetness and
power, as when it comes down into such abodes of poverty, and gives to
these humble natives a new hope and a new life--a life of joy and
peace. Perhaps in the same compound is an orphanage, in which are
gathered the little castaways who have been deserted by their parents,
left by the roadside to die--or whose parents may have died by
cholera--and who are thus rescued from death, and given the chance
which belongs to every human creature of life and of happiness.

Perhaps the missionary is a little of a physician, and has a small
chest of medicines, and the poor people come to him for cures of their
bodily ailments, as well as for their spiritual troubles. After awhile
he gains their confidence, and becomes, not by any appointment, but
simply by the right of goodness and the force of character, a sort of
unofficial magistrate, or head man of the village, a general
peacemaker and benefactor. Can any one estimate the influence of such
a man, with his gentle wife at his side, who is also active both in
teaching and in every form of charity? Who does not see that such a
missionary bungalow, with its school, its orphanage, and its church,
and its daily influences of teaching and of example, is a centre of
civilization, when planted in the heart of an Indian village?

How extensive is this influence will of course depend on the many or
the few devoted to this work, and the wisdom and energy with which
they pursue it. The number of missionaries in India is very small
compared with the vast population. And yet the picture here drawn of
one village is reproduced in hundreds of villages. Take the
representatives of all the churches and societies of Protestant
Christendom, they would make a very respectable force. But even this
does not represent the full amount of influence they exert. Moral
influences cannot be weighed and measured like material forces. Nor
are missionaries to be counted, like the soldiers of an army. They are
not drawn up on parade, and do not march through the streets, with
gleaming bayonets. Their forces are scattered, and their work is
silent and unseen.

But in all quiet ways, by churches, schools, and orphanages, their
influence is felt; while by the printing-press they scatter religious
truth all over India, the effect of which, in tens of thousands of
those whom it does not "convert," is to destroy the power of their old
idolatry.

That more Hindoos do not openly embrace Christianity is not
surprising, when one considers the social influences which restrain
them. When a Hindoo becomes a Christian, he is literally an outcast.
His most intimate friends will not know him. His own family turn him
from their door, feeling that he has brought upon them a disgrace far
greater than if he had committed a crime for which he was to perish on
the scaffold. To them he is _dead_, and they perform his funeral rites
as if he were no more in this world. The pastor of the native church
in Bombay has thus been _buried_ or _burned_ by his own family.
Another told me that his own father turned from him in the street, and
refused to recognize him. These things are very hard to bear. And so
far from wondering that there are not more conversions among the
natives of India, I wonder that there are so many.

But what sort of Christians are they? Are they like English or
American Christians? When I landed in India, and saw what a strange
people I was among, how unlike our own race, I asked a question which
many have asked before: Whether these people _could_ become
Christians? It is a favorite idea of many travellers--and of many
English residents in India--that not only is the number of conversions
small, but that the "converts" are not worth having when they are
made. It is said that it is only low caste natives, who have nothing
to lose, that will desert their old religion; and that they are
influenced only by the lowest motives, and that while they profess to
be converted, they are in no wise changed from what they were, except
that to their old heathen vices they have added that of hypocrisy.
Hearing these things, I have taken some pains to ascertain what sort
of people these native converts are. I have attended their religious
services, and have met them socially, and, so far as I could judge, I
have never seen more simple-minded Christians. Some of them are as
intelligent as the best instructed members of our New England
churches. As to their low caste, statistics show, among them, a
greater proportion of Brahmins than of any other caste, as might be
expected from their greater intelligence.

The work, then, has not been in vain. The advance is slow, but it is
something that there _is_ an advance. I am told, as the result of a
careful estimate, that if the progress continues in the future as it
has for the last fifteen years, in two centuries the whole of India
with its two hundred millions of people, will be converted to the
Christian religion. This is a spread of Christianity more rapid than
that in the age of the apostles, for it was three centuries before the
faith which they preached became master of the Roman empire.

With such a record of what Christian Missions have done in India, with
such evidences of their good influence and growing power, they are
entitled to honor and respect as one of the great elements in the
problem of the future of that country. To speak of them flippantly,
argues but small acquaintance with the historical forces which have
hitherto governed India or indeed Britain itself. It ill becomes
Englishmen to sneer at missions, for to missionaries they owe it that
their island has been reclaimed from barbarism. When Augustine landed
in Britain their ancestors were clothed in skins, and roaming in
forests. It was the new religion that softened their manners, refined
their lives, and in the lapse of generations wrought out the slow
process of civilization.

In Johnson's "Tour to the Hebrides," he refers to the early
missionaries who civilized Britain in a passage which is one of the
most eloquent in English literature: "We were now treading that
illustrious island which was once the luminary of the Caledonian
regions, whence savage clans and roving barbarians derived the
benefits of knowledge and the blessings of religion.... Far from me
and from my friends, be such frigid philosophy as may conduct us
indifferent and unmoved over any ground which has been dignified by
wisdom, bravery or virtue. That man is little to be envied whose
patriotism would not gain force upon the plain of Marathon, or whose
piety would not grow warmer among the ruins of Iona."

That power which has made England so great; which has made the English
race the foremost race in all this world; is now carried to another
hemisphere to work the same gradual elevation in the East. It is a
mighty undertaking. The lifting up of a race is like the lifting up of
a continent. Such changes cannot come suddenly; but in the slow lapse
of ages the continent may be found to have risen, and to be covered,
as it were, with a new floral vegetation; as that faith, which is the
life of Europe, has entered into the vast populations of Asia.



CHAPTER XX.

BENARES, THE HOLY CITY.


We had begun to feel ourselves at home in India. A stranger takes root
quickly, as foreign plants take root in the soil, and spring up under
the sun and rain of the tropics. A traveller makes acquaintances that
ripen into friendship and bind him so fast that it is a real pain when
he has to break away and leave these new friends behind. Thus
Allahabad had become our Indian home. The missionary community was so
delightful, and everybody was so kind and hospitable, that we had come
to feel as if we were only in an outlying corner of America. The
missionary bungalow was like a parsonage in New England; and when we
left all, and the train rolled across the long bridge over the Jumna,
from which we saw Miss Seward and Miss Wilson standing on their
veranda, and waving us farewell, it seemed as if we were leaving home.

But the holy city was before us. Some seventy miles from Allahabad
stands a city which, to the devout Hindoo, is the most sacred place on
earth--one which overtops all others, as the Himalayas overtop all
other mountains on the globe. There are holy shrines in different
countries, which are held sacred by the devotees of different
religions; but there are four chief holy cities--Rome, Jerusalem,
Mecca, and Benares. As the devout Catholic makes a pilgrimage to Rome,
to receive the blessing of the Holy Father; as the Jew traverses land
and sea, that his feet may stand within the gates of Jerusalem, where
he weeps at the place of wailing under the walls of the ancient
temple; as the caravan of the Arab still crosses the desert to Mecca;
so does the devout Hindoo come to Benares, and count it his supreme
joy if he can but see its domes and towers; and eternal felicity to
die on the banks of the sacred river.

A couple of hours brought us to the Ganges, from which we had a full
view of the city on the other side of the river. If the first sight
did not awaken in us the same emotions as in the mind of the Hindoo,
the scene was picturesque enough to excite our admiration. The
appearance of Benares is very striking. For two miles it presents a
succession of palaces and temples which are built not only on, but
almost in, the river, as Venice is built in the sea; the huge
structures crowding each other on the bank, and flights of steps going
down into the water, as if they would receive the baptism of the
sacred river as it flowed gently by; as if the people listened fondly
to its murmurs, and when wakened in their dreams, were soothed to hear
its waters lapping the very stones of their palaces.

We crossed the river on a bridge of boats, and drove out to the
English quarter, which is two or three miles distant, and here rested
an hour or two before we took a courier and plunged into the labyrinth
of the city, in which a stranger would soon be lost who should attempt
to explore it without a guide. Benares would be well worth a visit if
it were only for its Oriental character. It is peculiarly an Indian
city, with every feature of Asiatic and of Indian life strongly
marked. Its bazaars are as curious and as rich as any in Asia, with
shawls of cashmere, and silks wrought by fine needlework into every
article of costly array. It has also cunning workmen in precious
metals and precious stones--in gold and silver and diamonds. One
special industry is workmanship in brass. We brought away a number of
large trays, curiously wrought like shields. One contains a lesson in
Hindoo mythology for those who are able to read it, as on it are
traced all the incarnations of Vishnu.

While thus rambling about the city, we had an opportunity to see
something of the marriage customs of the Hindoos, as we met in the
streets a number of wedding processions. The heavenly influences were
favorable to such unions. The Hindoos are great astrologers, and give
high importance to the conjunction of the stars, and do not marry
except when Jupiter is in the ascendant. Just now he rides high in the
heavens, and this is the favored time of love. The processions were
very curious. The bridegroom was mounted on horseback, tricked out in
the dress of a harlequin, with a crowd on horses and on foot, going
before and following after, waving flags, beating drums, and making
all manner of noises, to testify their joy; while the bride, who was
commonly a mere child, was borne in a palanquin, covered with ribbons
and trinkets and jewelry, looking, as she sat upright in her doll's
house, much more as if she were a piece of frosted cake being carried
to the wedding, than a living piece of flesh and blood that had any
part therein. Altogether the scene was more like a Punch-and-Judy
show, than any part of the serious business of life. Engagements are
often made when the parties are in childhood, or even in infancy; and
the marriage consummated at twelve. These child-marriages are a great
curse to the country, as they fill the land with their puny offspring,
that wither like weeds in the hot sun of India. It is a pity that they
could not be prohibited; that marriages could not be forbidden until
the parties had reached at least sixteen years of age.

Another thing which greatly amused us was to see how the people made
way for us wherever we came. The streets are very narrow, and there is
not room for a jostling crowd. But their politeness stopped at no
obstacle. They meant to give us a free passage. They drew to one side,
making themselves very small, and even hugging the wall, to get out of
our way. We accepted this delicate attention as a mark of respect,
which we thought a touching proof of Oriental courtesy; and with the
modesty of our countrymen, regarded it as an homage to our greatness.
We were a little taken aback at being informed that, on the contrary,
it was to avoid pollution; that if they but touched the hem of our
garments, they would have had to run to the Ganges to wash away the
stain!

But we need not make merry with these strict observances of the
people, for with them Religion is the great business of life, and it
is as the Mecca of their faith that Benares has such interest for the
intelligent traveller. No city in India, perhaps none in all Asia,
dates back its origin to a more remote antiquity. It is the very
cradle of history and of religion. Here Buddha preached his new faith
centuries before Christ was born in Judea--a faith which still sways a
larger part of mankind than any other, though it has lost its dominion
in the place where it began. Here Hindooism, once driven out, still
fought and conquered, and here it still has its seat, from which it
rules its vast and populous empire.

It is always interesting to study a country or a religion in its
capital. As we go to Rome to see Romanism, we come to Benares to see
Hindooism, expecting to find it in its purest form. Whether that is
anything to boast of, we can tell better after we have seen a little
of this, its most holy city. Benares is full of temples and shrines.
Of course we could only visit a few of the more sacred. The first that
we entered was like a menagerie. It was called the Monkey Temple; and
rightly so, for the place was full of the little creatures. It fairly
swarmed with them. They were overhead and all around us, chattering as
if they were holding a council in the heart of a tropical forest. The
place was for all the world like the monkey-house in the Zoölogical
Gardens in London, or in our Central Park in New York, and would be an
amusing resort for children were it not regarded as a place for
religious worship. Perhaps some innocent traveller thinks this a
touching proof of the charming simplicity of the Hindoos, that they
wish to call on all animated nature to unite in devotion, and that
thus monkeys (speaking the language which monkeys understand) are
permitted to join with devout Hindoos in the worship of their common
Creator. But a glance shows the stranger that the monkeys are here,
not to worship, but to be worshipped. According to the Pantheism of
the Hindoos, all things are a part of God. Not only is he the author
of life, but he lives in his creatures, so that they partake of his
divinity; and therefore whatsoever thing liveth and moveth on the
earth--beast, or bird, or reptile--is a proper object of worship.

But the monkeys were respectable compared with the hideous idol which
is enthroned in this place. In the court of the Temple is a shrine, a
Holy of Holies, where, as the gilded doors are swung open, one sees a
black divinity, with thick, sensual lips, that are red with blood, and
eyes that glare fiendishly. This is the goddess Doorgha, whose sacred
presence is guarded by Brahmin priests, so that no profane foot may
come near her. While they kept us back with holy horror from
approaching, they had no scruples about reaching out their hands to
receive our money. It is the habit of strangers to drop some small
coin in the outstretched palms. But I was too much disgusted to give
to the beggars. They were importunate, and said the Prince of Wales,
who was there a few days before, had given them a hundred rupees.
Perhaps he felt under a necessity of paying such a mark of respect to
the religion of the great Empire he was to rule. But ordinary
travellers are under no such obligation. The rascals trade in the
curiosity of strangers. It might be well if they did not find it such
a source of revenue. So I would not give them a penny; though I
confess to spending a few pice on nuts and "sweets" for the monkeys,
who are the only ones entitled to "tribute" from visitors; and then,
returning to the gharri, we rode disgusted away. In another part of
the city is the Golden Temple, devoted to the god Shiva, which
divides with that of the monkeys the homage of the Hindoos. Here are
no chattering apes, though the place is profaned with the presence of
beasts and birds. Some dozen cows were standing or lying down in the
court, making it seem more like a stable or a barnyard than a holy
place. Yet here was a fakir rapt in the ecstasies of devotion, with
one arm uplifted, rigid as a pillar of iron. He was looked upon with
awe by the faithful who crowded around him, and who rewarded his
sanctity by giving him money; but to our profane eyes he was a figure
of pride (though disguised under the pretence of spirituality), as
palpable to the sight as the peacock who spread his tail and strutted
about in the filthy enclosure.

But perhaps the reader will think that we have had enough of this, and
will gladly turn to a less revolting form of superstition. The great
sight of Benares is the bathing in the Ganges. This takes place in the
morning. We rose early the next day, and drove down to the river, and
getting a boat, were rowed slowly for hours up and down the stream. It
is lined with temples and palaces, which descend to the water by
flights of steps, or _ghauts_, which at this hour are thronged with
devout Hindoos. By hundreds and thousands they come down to the
river's brink, men, women, and children, and wade in, not swimming,
but standing in the water, plunging their heads and mumbling their
prayers, and performing their libations, by taking the water in their
hands, and casting it towards the points of the compass, as an act of
worship to the celestial powers, especially to the sun.

As the boatmen rested on their oars, that we might observe the strange
scene, C---- started with horror to see a corpse in the water. It was
already half decayed, and obscene birds were fluttering over it. But
this is too common a sight in Benares to raise any emotion in the
breast of the Hindoo, whose prayer is that he may die on the banks of
the Ganges. Does his body drift down with the stream, or become food
for the fowls of the air, his soul floats to its final rest in the
Deity, as surely as the Ganges rolls onward to the sea.

But look! here is another scene. We are approaching the Burning Ghaut,
and I see piles of wood, and human bodies, and smoke and flame. I bade
the boatmen draw to the shore, that we might have a clearer view of
this strange sight. Walking along the bank, we came close to the
funeral piles. Several were waiting to be lighted. When all is ready,
the nearest male relative walks round and round the pile, and then
applies to it a lighted withe of straw. Here was a body just dressed
for the last rites. It was wrapped in coarse garments, perhaps all
that affection could give. Beside it stood a woman, watching it with
eager eyes, lest any rude hand should touch the form which, though
dead, was still beloved. I looked with pity into her sad, sorrowful
face. What a tale of affection was there!--of love for the life that
was ended, and the form that was cherished, that was soon to be but
ashes, and to float away upon the bosom of the sacred river.

Another pile was already lighted, and burning fiercely. I stood close
to it, till driven away by the heat and smoke. As the flames closed
round the form, portions of the body were exposed. Now the hair was
consumed in a flash, leaving the bare skull; now the feet showed from
the other end of the pile. It was a ghastly sight. Now a horrid smell
filled the air, and still the pile glowed like a furnace, crackling
with the intense heat, and shot out tongues of flame that seemed eager
to lick up every drop of blood.

In this disposal of the dead there is nothing to soothe the mourner
like a Christian burial, when the body is committed to the earth,
ashes to ashes, dust to dust, when a beloved form is laid down under
the green turf gently, as on a mother's breast.

The spectacle of this morning, with the similar one at Allahabad, have
set me a-thinking. I ask, What idea do the Hindoos attach to bathing
in the Ganges? Is it purification or expiation, or both? Is it the
putting away of sin by the washing of water; the cleansing of the body
for the sins of the soul? Or is there in it some idea of atonement?
What is the fascination of this religious observance? Perhaps no
stranger can fully understand it, or enter into the feeling with which
the devout Hindoo regards the sacred river. The problem grows the more
we study it. However we approach the great river of India, we find a
wealth of associations gathering around it such as belongs to no other
river on the face of the earth. No other is so intimately connected
with the history and the whole life of a people. Other rivers have
poetical or patriotic associations. The ancient Romans kept watch on
the Tiber, as the modern Germans keep watch on the Rhine. But these
are associations of country and of patriotic pride--not of life, not
of existence, not of religion. In these respects the only river in the
world which approaches the Ganges is the Nile, which, coming down from
the Highlands of Central Africa, floods the long valley, which it has
itself made in the desert, turning the very sands into fertility, and
thus becoming the creator and life-giver of Egypt.

What the Nile is to Egypt, the Ganges is to a part of India, giving
life and verdure to plains that but for it were a desert. As it bursts
through the gates of the Himalayas, and sweeps along with resistless
current, cooling with its icy breath the hot plains of India, and
giving fertility to the rice fields of Bengal, it may well seem to the
Hindoo the greatest visible emblem of Almighty power and Infinite
beneficence.

But it is more than an emblem. The ancient Egyptians worshipped the
Nile as a god, and in this they had the same feeling which now exists
among the Hindoos in regard to the Ganges. It is not only a sacred
river because of its associations; it is itself Divine, flowing, like
the River of Life in the Book of Revelation, out of the throne of God.
It descends out of heaven, rising in mountains whose tops touch the
clouds--the sacred mountains which form the Hindoo Kylas, or Heaven,
the abode of the Hindoo Trinity--of Brahma and Shiva and Vishnu.
Rushing from under a glacier in the region of everlasting snow, it
seems as if it gushed from the very heart of the Dweller on that holy
mount; as if that flowing stream were the life-blood of the Creator.
When the Hindoo has seized this idea, it takes strong hold of his
imagination. As he stands on the banks of the Ganges at night, and
sees its broad current quivering under the rays of the full moon, it
seems indeed as if it were the clear stream flowing through the calm
breast of God himself, bearing life from Him to give life to the
world. Hence in his creed it has all the virtue and the "divine power
that belongs in the Christian system to the blood of Christ. It makes
atonement for sins that are past." "He that but looks on the Ganges,"
says the Hindoo proverb, "or that drinks of it, washes away the stains
of a hundred births; but he that bathes in it washes away the stains
of a thousand births." This is a virtue beyond that of the Nile, or
the rivers of Damascus, or of the Jordan, or even of

                        Siloa's brook
     That flowed fast by the oracle of God.

It is a virtue which can be found alone in that blood which "cleanseth
from all sin."

The spectacle of such superstition produced a strong revulsion of
feeling, and made me turn away from these waters that cannot cleanse
the guilty soul, nor save the dying, to the Mighty Sufferer, whose
blood was shed for the sins of the world, and I seemed to hear voices
in far-off Christian lands singing:

     E'er since by faith I saw the stream
       Thy flowing wounds supply,
     Redeeming love has been my theme,
       And shall be till I die.

But I do not sit in judgment on the Hindoos, nor include a whole
people in one general condemnation. Some of them are as noble
specimens of humanity, with as much "natural goodness" as can be found
anywhere; and are even religious in their way, and in zeal and
devotion an example to their Christian neighbors. Of this, a very
striking instance can be given here.

On the other side of the Ganges lives a grand old Hindoo, the
Maharajah of Benares, and as he is famed for his hospitality to
strangers, we sent him a letter by a messenger (being assured that
that was the proper thing to do), saying that we should be happy to
pay our respects to my lord in his castle; and in a few hours received
a reply that his carriage should be sent to our hotel for us the next
morning, and that his boat would convey us across the river. We did
not wait for the carriage, as we were in haste to depart for Calcutta
the same forenoon, but rode down in our own gharri to the river side,
where we found the boat awaiting us. On the other bank stood a couple
of elephants of extraordinary size, that knelt down and took us on
their broad backs, and rolled off at a swinging pace to a pleasant
retreat of the Maharajah a mile or two from the river, where he had a
temple of his own, situated in the midst of beautiful gardens.

On our return we were marched into the courtyard of the castle, where
the attendants received us, and escorted us within. The Maharajah did
not make his appearance, as it was still early, but his secretary
presented himself to do the honors, giving his master's respects with
his photograph, and showing us every possible courtesy. We were shown
through the rooms of state, where the Prince of Wales had been
received a few weeks before. The view from the terrace on the river
side is enchanting. It is directly on the water, and commands a view
up and down the Ganges for miles, while across the smooth expanse rise
the temples and palaces of the Holy City. What a place for a Brahmin
to live or to die!

This Maharajah of Benares is well known all over India. He is a member
of the Viceroy's Council at Calcutta, and held in universal respect by
the English community. Sir William Muir, who is one of the most
pronounced Christian men in India, whom some would even call a Puritan
for his strictness, told me that the Maharajah was one of the best of
men. And yet he is of the straitest sect of the Hindoos, who bathes in
the Ganges every morning, and "does his pooja." In all religious
observances he is most exemplary, often spending hours in prayer. The
secretary, in excusing his master's absence, said that he had been up
nearly all night engaged in his devotions. How this earnest faith in a
religion so vile can consist with a life so pure and so good, is one
of the mysteries of this Asiatic world which I leave to those wiser
than I am to explain.

We had lingered so long that it was near the hour of our departure for
Calcutta, and we were three miles up the river. The secretary
accompanied us to the boat of the Maharajah, which was waiting for us,
and bade us farewell, with many kind wishes that we might have a
prosperous journey. Lying against the bank was the gilded barge in
which the Maharajah had received and escorted the Prince of Wales.
Waving our adieu, we gave the signal, and the boatmen pushed off into
the stream. It was now a race against time. We had a long stretch to
make in a very few minutes. I offered the men a reward if they should
reach the place in time. The stalwart rowers bent to their oars, their
swarthy limbs making swift strokes, and the boat shot like an arrow
down the stream. I stood up in the eagerness and excitement of the
chase, taking a last look at the sacred temples as we shot swiftly by.
It wanted but two or three minutes of the hour as our little pinnace
struck against the goal by the bridge of boats, and throwing the
rupees to the boatmen, we hurried up the bank, and had just time to
get fairly bestowed in the roomy first-class carriage, which we had
all to ourselves, when the train started for Calcutta, and the towers
and domes and minarets of the holy city of India faded from our sight.

Thinking! Still thinking! What does it all mean? Who can understand
Hindooism--where it begins and where it ends? It is like the fabled
tree that had its roots down in the Kingdom of Death, and spread its
branches over the world. Behind it, or beneath it, is a deep
philosophy, which goes down to the very beginnings of existence, and
touches the most vital problems of life and death, of endless dying
and living. Out of millions of ages, after a million births, following
each other in long succession, at last man is cast upon the earth, but
only as a bird of passage, darting swiftly through life, and then, in
an endless transmigration of souls, passing through other stages of
being, till he is absorbed in the Eternal All. Thus does man find his
way at last back to God, as the drop of water, caught up by the sun,
lifted into the cloud, descends in the rain, trickles in streams down
the mountain side, and finds its way back to the ocean. So does the
human soul complete the endless cycle of existence, coming from God
and returning to God, to be swallowed up and lost in that Boundless
Sea.

Much might be said, by way of argument, in support of this pantheistic
philosophy. But whatever may be urged in favor of Hindooism in the
abstract, its practical results are terrible. By a logic as close and
irresistible as it is fatal, it takes away the foundation of all
morality, and strikes down all goodness and virtue--all that is the
glory of man, and all that is the beauty of woman. It is nothing to
the purpose to quote the example of such a man as the Maharajah of
Benares, for there is a strange alchemy in virtue, by which a pure
nature, a high intelligence, and right moral instincts, will convert
even the most pernicious doctrines to the purpose of a spiritual life.
But with the mass of Hindoos it is only a system of abject
superstition and terror. As we rolled along the banks of the Ganges,
I thought what tales that stream could tell. Could we but listen in
the dead of night, what sounds we might hear! Hush! hark! There is a
footstep on the shore. The rushes on the bank are parted, and a Hindoo
mother comes to the water's edge. Look! she holds a child in her arms.
She starts back, and with a shriek casts it to the river monsters.
Such scenes are not frequent now, because the government has repressed
them by law, though infanticide is fearfully common in other ways. But
even yet in secret--"darkly at dead of night"--does fanaticism
sometimes pay its offering to the river which is worshipped as a god.
This is what Hindooism does for the mother and for her child. Thus it
wrongs at once childhood and motherhood and womanhood. Who that thinks
of such scenes can but pray that a better faith may be given to the
women of India, that the mother may no longer look with anguish into
the face of her own child, as one doomed to destruction, but like any
Christian mother, clasp her baby to her breast, thanking God who has
given it to her, and bidden her keep it, and train it up for life, for
virtue and for happiness.

But is there any hope of seeing Hindooism destroyed? I fear not very
soon. When I think how many ages it has stood, and what mighty forces
it has resisted, the task seems almost hopeless. For centuries it
fought with Buddhism for the conquest of India, and remained master of
the field. Then came Mohammedanism in the days of the Mogul Empire. It
gained a foothold, and reared its mosques even in the Holy City of the
Hindoos. To this day the most splendid structure in Benares is the
great Mosque of Aurungzebe. As I climbed its tall minaret, and looked
over the city, I saw here and there the gilded domes and slender
spires that mark the temples of Islam. But these fierce iconoclasts,
who set out from Arabia to break the idols in pieces, could not
destroy them here. The fanatical Aurungzebe could build his mosque,
with its minaret so lofty as to overtop all the temples of Paganism;
but he could not convert the idolaters. With such tenacity did they
cling to their faith, that even the religion of the Prophet could make
little impression, though armed with all the power of the sword.

And now come modern civilization and Christianity. The work of
"tearing down" is not left to Missions alone. There is in India a
vast system of National Education. In Benares there is an University
whose stately halls would not look out of place among the piles of
Oxford. In the teaching there is a rigid--I had almost said a
religious--abstinence from religion. But science is taught, and
science confutes the Hindoo cosmogony. When it is written in the
Purânas that the world rests on the back of an elephant, and that the
elephant stands on the back of a tortoise, and the tortoise on the
back of the great serpent Nâga, it needs but a very little learning to
convince the young Hindoo that his sacred books are a mass of fables.
But this does not make him a Christian. It lands him in infidelity,
and leaves him there. And this is the state of the educated mind of
India, of what is sometimes designated as Young India, or Young
Bengal. Here they stand--deep in the mire of unbelief, as if they had
tried to plant their feet on the low-lying Delta of the Ganges, and
found it sink beneath them, with danger of being buried in Gangetic
ooze and slime. But even this is better than calling to gods that
cannot help them; for at least it may give them a sense of their
weakness and danger. It may be that the educated mind of India has to
go through this stage of infidelity before it can come into the light
of a clearer faith. At present they believe nothing, yet conform to
Hindoo customs for social reasons, for fear of losing caste. This is
all-powerful. It is hard for men to break away from it in detail. But
once that a breach is made in their ranks, the same social tyranny may
carry them over _en masse_, so that a nation shall be born in a day.
At present the work that is going on is that of sapping and mining,
of boring holes into the foundation of Hindooism; and this is done as
industriously, and perhaps as effectively, by Government schools and
colleges as by Missions.

At Benares we observed, in sailing up and down the Ganges, that the
river had undermined a number of temples built upon its banks, and
that they had fallen with their huge columns and massive architecture,
and were lying in broken and shapeless masses, half covered by the
water. What a spectacle of ruin and decay in the Holy City of the
Hindoos! This is a fit illustration of the process which has been
going on for the last half century in regard to Hindooism. The waters
are washing it away, and by and by the whole colossal fabric, built up
in ages of ignorance and superstition, will come crashing to the
earth. Hindooism will fall, and great will be the fall of it.



CHAPTER XXI.

CALCUTTA-FAREWELL TO INDIA.


It is a good rule in travelling, as in rhetoric, to keep the best to
the last, and wind up with a climax. But it would be hard to find a
climax in India after seeing the old Mogul capitals, whose palaces and
tombs outshine the Alhambra; after climbing the Himalayas, and making
a pilgrimage to the holy city. And yet one feels a _crescendo_ of
interest in approaching the capital. India has three capitals--Delhi,
where once reigned the Great Mogul, and which is still the centre of
the Mohammedan faith; Benares, the Mecca of the Hindoos; and Calcutta,
the capital of the modern British Empire. The two former we have seen;
it is the last which is now before us.

Our route was southeast, along the valley of the Ganges, and through
the province of Bengal. What is the magic of a name? From childhood
the most vivid association I had with this part of India, was that of
Bengal tigers, which were the wonder of every menagerie; and it was
not strange if we almost expected to see them crouching in the forest,
or gliding away in the long grass of the jungle. But Bengal has other
attractions to one who rides over it. This single province of India is
five times as large as the State of New York. It is a vast alluvial
plain, through which the Ganges pours by a hundred mouths to the sea,
its overflow giving to the soil a richness and fertility like that of
the valley of the Nile, so that it supports a population equal to that
of the whole of the United States. The cultivated fields that we pass
show the natural wealth of the country, as the frequent towns show the
density of the population. Of these the largest is Patna, the centre
of the opium culture. But we did not stop anywhere, for the way was
long. From Benares to Calcutta is over four hundred miles, or about as
far as from New York city to Niagara Falls. We started at eleven
o'clock, and kept steadily travelling all day. Night fell, and the
moon rose over the plains and the palm groves, and still we fled on
and on, as if pursued by the storm spirits of the Hindoo Kylas, till
the morning broke, and found us on the banks of a great river filled
with shipping, and opposite to a great city. This was the Hoogly, one
of the mouths of the Ganges, and there was Calcutta! A carriage
whirled us swiftly across the bridge, and up to the Great Eastern
Hotel, where we were glad to rest, after travelling three thousand
miles in India, and to exchange even the most luxurious railway
carriage for beds and baths, and the comforts of civilization. The
hotel stands opposite the Government House, the residence of the
Viceroy of India, and supplies everything necessary to the dignity of
a "burra Sahib." Soft-footed Hindoos glided silently about, watching
our every motion, and profoundly anxious for the honor of being our
servants. A stalwart native slept on the mat before my door, and
attended on my going out and my coming in, as if I had been a grand
dignitary of the Empire.

Calcutta bears a proud name in the East--that of the City of
Palaces--from which a traveller is apt to experience a feeling of
disappointment. And yet the English portion of the city is
sufficiently grand to make it worthy to rank with the second class of
European capitals. The Government House, from its very size, has a
massive and stately appearance, and the other public buildings are of
corresponding proportions. The principal street, called the
Chowringhee road, is lined for two miles with the handsome houses of
government officials or wealthy English residents. But the beauty of
Calcutta is the grand esplanade, called the Maidan--an open space as
large as our Central Park in New York; beginning at the Government
House, and reaching to Fort William, and beyond it; stretching for two
or three miles along the river, and a mile back from it to the
mansions of the Chowringhee Road. This is an immense parade-ground for
military and other displays. Here and there are statues of men who
have distinguished themselves in the history of British India.
Tropical plants and trees give to the landscape their rich masses of
color and of shade, while under them and around them is spread that
carpet of green so dear to the eyes of an Englishman in any part of
the world--a wide sweep of soft and smooth English turf. Here at
sunset one may witness a scene nowhere equalled except in the great
capitals of Europe. In the middle of the day the place is deserted,
except by natives, whom, being "children of the sun," he does not
"smite by day," though the moon may smite them by night. The English
residents are shut closely within doors, where they seek, by the
waving of punkas, and by admitting the air only through mats dripping
with water, to mitigate the terrible heat. But as the sun declines,
and the palms begin to cast their shadows across the plain, and a cool
breeze comes in from the sea, the whole English world pours forth. The
carriage of the Viceroy rolls out from under the arches of the
Government House, and the other officials are abroad. A stranger is
surprised at the number of dashing equipages, with postilions and
servants in liveries, furnished by this foreign city. These are not
all English. Native princes and wealthy baboos vie with Englishmen in
the bravery of their equipages, and give to the scene a touch of
Oriental splendor. Officers on horseback dash by, accompanied often by
fair English faces; while the band from Fort William plays the martial
airs of England. It is indeed a brilliant spectacle, which, but for
the turbans and the swarthy faces under them, would make the traveller
imagine himself in Hyde Park.

From this single picture it is easy to see why Calcutta is to an
Englishman the most attractive place of residence in India, or in all
the East. It is more like London. It is a great capital--the capital
of the Indian Empire; the seat of government; the residence of the
Viceroy, around whom is assembled a kind of viceregal court, composed
of all the high officials, both civil and military. There is an Army
and Navy Club, where one may meet many old soldiers who have seen
service in the Indian wars, or who hold high appointments in the
present force. The assemblage of such a number of notable men makes a
large and brilliant English society.

Nor is it confined to army officers or government officials. Connected
with the different colleges are men who are distinguished Oriental
scholars. Then there is a Bishop of Calcutta, who is the Primate of
India, with his clergy, and English and American missionaries, who
make altogether a very miscellaneous society.[8] Here Macaulay lived
for three years as a member of the Governor's Council, and was the
centre of a society which, if it lacked other attractions, must have
found a constant stimulus in his marvellous conversation.

And yet with all these attractions of Calcutta, English residents
still pine for England. One can hardly converse with an English
officer, without finding that it is his dream to get through with his
term of service as soon as he may, and return to spend the rest of his
days in his dear native island. Even Macaulay--with all the resources
that he had in himself, with all that he found Anglo-Indian society,
and all that he made it--regarded life in India as only a splendid
exile.

The climate is a terrible drawback. Think of a country, where in the
hot season the mercury rises to 117-120° in the shade; while if the
thermometer be exposed to the sun, it quickly mounts to 150, 160, or
even 170°!--a heat to which no European can be exposed for half an
hour without danger of sunstroke. Such is the heat that it drives the
government out of Calcutta for half the year. For six months the
Viceroy and his staff emigrate, bag and baggage, going up the country
twelve hundred miles to Simla, on the first range of the Himalayas,
which is about as if the President of the United States and his
Cabinet should leave Washington on the first of May, and transfer the
seat of government to some high point in the Rocky Mountains.

But the climate is not the only, nor the chief, drawback to life in
India. It is the absence from home, from one's country and people,
which makes it seem indeed like exile. Make the best of it, Calcutta
is not London. What a man like Macaulay misses, is not the English
climate, with its rains and fogs, but the intellectual life, which
centres in the British capital. It was this which made him write to
his sister that "A lodgings up three pairs of stairs in London was
better than a palace in a compound at Chowringhee." I confess I cannot
understand how any man, who has a respectable position in his own
country, should choose Calcutta, or any other part of India, as a
place of residence, except for a time; as a merchant goes abroad for a
few years, in the hope of such gain as shall enable him to return and
live in independence in England or America; or as a soldier goes to a
post of duty ("Not his to ask the reason why"); or as a missionary,
with the purely benevolent desire of doing good, for which he accepts
this voluntary exile.

But if a man has grown, by any mental or moral process, to the idea
that life is not given him merely for enjoyment; that its chief end is
not to make himself comfortable--to sit at home in England, and hear
the storm roar around the British Islands, and thank God that he is
safe, though all the rest of the world should perish; if he but once
recognize the fact that he has duties, not only to himself, but to
mankind; then for such a man there is not on the round globe a broader
or nobler field of labor than India. For an English statesman, however
great his talents or boundless his ambition, one cannot conceive of a
higher place on the earth than that of the Viceroy of India. He is a
ruler over more than two hundred millions of human beings, to whose
welfare he may contribute by a wise and just administration. What
immeasurable good may be wrought by a Governor-General like Lord
William Bentinck, of whom it was said that "he was William Penn on the
throne of the Great Mogul." A share in this beneficent rule belongs to
every Englishman who holds a place in the government of India. He is
in a position of power, and therefore of responsibility. To such men
is entrusted the protection, the safety, the comfort, and the
happiness of multitudes of their fellow-men, to whom they are bound,
if not by national ties, yet by the ties of a common humanity.

And for those who have no official position, who have neither place
nor power, but who have intelligence and a desire to do good on a wide
scale, India offers a field as broad as their ambition, where, either
as moral or intellectual instructors, as professors of science or
teachers of religion, they may contribute to the welfare of a great
people. India is a country where, more than in almost any other in the
world, European civilization comes in contact with Asiatic barbarism.
Its geographical position illustrates its moral and intellectual
position. It is a peninsula stretched out from the lower part of Asia
into the Indian Ocean, and great seas dash against it on one side and
on the other. So, intellectually and morally, is it placed "where two
seas meet," where modern science attacks Hindooism on one side, and
Christianity attacks it on the other.

In this conflict English intelligence has already done much for the
intellectual emancipation of the people from childish ignorance and
folly. In Calcutta there are a number of English schools and colleges,
which are thronged with young Bengalees, the flower of the city and
the province, who are instructed in the principles of modern science
and philosophy. The effect on the mind of Young Bengal has been very
great. An English education has accomplished all that was expected
from it, _except_ the overthrow of idolatry, and here it has
conspicuously failed.

When Macaulay was in India, he devoted much of his time to perfecting
the system of National Education, from which he expected the greatest
results; which he believed would not only fill the ignorant and vacant
minds of the Hindoos with the knowledge of modern science, but would
uproot the old idolatry. In the recently published volumes of his
letters is one to his father, dated Calcutta, Oct. 12, 1836, in which
he says:

     "Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. We find it
     difficult--in some places impossible--to provide instruction
     for all who want it. At the single town of Hoogly 1400 boys
     are learning English. The effect of this education on the
     Hindoos is prodigious. No Hindoo who has received an English
     education ever remains sincerely attached to his religion.
     Some continue to profess it as a matter of policy; but many
     profess themselves pure Deists, and some embrace
     Christianity. It is my firm belief that, if our plans of
     education are followed up, there will not be a single
     idolater among the reputable classes in Bengal thirty years
     hence. And this will be effected without any efforts to
     proselytize; without the smallest interference with
     religious liberty; merely by the natural operation of
     knowledge and reflection."

These sanguine expectations have been utterly disappointed. Since that
letter was written, forty years have passed, and every year has turned
out great numbers of educated young men, instructed in all the
principles of modern science; and yet the hold of Hindooism seems as
strong as ever. I find it here in the capital, as well as in the
provinces, and I do not find that it is any better by coming in
contact with modern civilization. Nothing at Benares was more
repulsive and disgusting than what one sees here. The deity most
worshipped in Calcutta is the goddess Kali, who indeed gives name to
the city, which is Anglicized from Kali-ghat. She delights in blood,
and is propitiated only by constant sacrifices. As one takes his
morning drive along the streets leading to her shrine, he sees them
filled with young goats, who are driven to the sacred enclosure, which
is like a butcher's shambles, so constantly are the heads dropping on
the pavement, which is kept wet with blood. She is the patron of
thieves and robbers, the one to whom the Thugs always made offerings,
in setting out on their expeditions for murder. No doubt the young men
educated in the English colleges despise this horrid worship. Yet in
their indifference to all religion, they think it better to keep up an
outward show of conformity, to retain the respect, or at least the
good will, of their Hindoo countrymen, among whom it is the very first
condition of any social recognition whatever, that they shall not
break away from the religion of their ancestors.

How then are they to be reached? The Christian schools educate the
very young; and the orphanages take neglected children and train them
from the beginning. But for young men who are already educated in the
government colleges, is there any way of reaching _them_? None, except
that of open, direct, manly argument. Several years since President
Seelye of Amherst College visited India, and here addressed the
educated Hindoos, both in Calcutta and Bombay, on the claims of the
Christian religion. He was received with perfect courtesy. Large
audiences assembled to hear him, and listened with the utmost respect.
What impression he produced, I cannot say; but it seems to me that
this is "the way to do it," or at least one way, and a way which gives
good hope of success.

In fighting this battle against idolatry, I think we should welcome
aid from any quarter, whether it be evangelical or not. While in
Calcutta, I paid a visit to Keshoob Chunder Sen, whose name is well
known in England from a visit which he made some years ago, as the
leader of the Brahmo Somaj. I found him surrounded by his pupils, to
whom he was giving instruction. He at once interrupted his teaching
for the pleasure of a conversation, to which all listened apparently
with great interest. He is in his creed an Unitarian, so far as he
adopts the Christian faith. He recognizes the unity of God, and gives
supreme importance to _prayer_. The interview impressed me both with
his ability and his sincerity. I cannot agree with some of my
missionary friends who look upon him with suspicion, because he does
not go far enough. On the contrary, I think it a matter of
congratulation that he has come as far as he has, and I should be glad
if he could get Young Bengal to follow him. But I do not think the
Brahmo Somaj has made great progress. It has scattered adherents in
different parts of India, but the whole number of followers is small
compared with the masses that cling to their idols. He frankly
confessed that the struggle was very unequal, that the power of the
old idolatry was tremendous, and especially that the despotism of
caste was terrific. To break away from it, required a degree of moral
courage that was very rare. The great obstacle to its overthrow was a
social one, and grew out of the extreme anxiety of Hindoo parents for
the marriage of their children. If they once broke away from caste, it
was all over with them. They were literally outcasts. Nobody would
speak to them, and they and their children were delivered over to one
common curse. This social ostracism impending over them, is a terror
which even educated Hindoos dare not face. And so they conform
outwardly, while they despise inwardly. Hence, Keshoob Chunder Sen
deserves all honor for the stand he has taken, and ought to receive
the cordial support of the English and Christian community.

What I have seen in Calcutta and elsewhere satisfies me that in all
wise plans for the regeneration of India, Christian missions must be a
necessary part. One cannot remember but with a feeling of shame, how
slow was England to receive missionaries into her Indian Empire. The
first attempt of the English Church to send a few men to India was met
with an outcry of disapprobation. Sydney Smith hoped the Government
would send the missionaries home. When Carey first landed on these
shores, he could not stay in British territory, but had to take refuge
at Serampore, a Danish settlement a few miles from Calcutta, where he
wrought a work which makes that a place of pilgrimage to every
Christian traveller in India. We spent a day there, going over the
field of his labor. He is dead, but his work survives. There he opened
schools and founded a college, the first of its kind in India (unless
it were the government college of Fort William in Calcutta, in which
he was also a professor), and which led the way for the establishment
of that magnificent system of National Education which is now the
glory of India.

What Carey was in his day, Dr. Duff in Calcutta and Dr. Wilson in
Bombay were a generation later, vigorous advocates of education as an
indispensable means to quicken the torpid mind of India. They were the
trusted advisers and counsellors of the government in organizing the
present system of National Education. This is but one of many benefits
for which this country has to thank missionaries. And if ever India is
to be so renovated as to enter into the family of civilized and
Christian nations, it will be largely by their labors. One thing is
certain, that mere education will not convert the Hindoo. The
experiment has been tried and failed. Some other and more powerful
means must be taken to quicken the conscience of a nation deadened by
ages of false religion--a religion utterly fatal to spiritual life.
That such a change may come speedily, is devoutly to be wished. No
intelligent traveller can visit India, and spend here two months,
without feeling the deepest interest in the country and its people.
Our interest grew with every week of our stay, and was strongest as we
were about to leave.

The last night that we were in Calcutta, it was my privilege to
address the students at one of the Scotch colleges. The hall was
crowded, and I have seldom, if ever, spoken to a finer body of young
men. These young Bengalees had many of them heads of an almost
classical beauty; and with their grace of person heightened by their
flowing white robes, they presented a beautiful array of young
scholars, such as might delight the eyes of any instructor who should
have to teach them "Divine philosophy." My heart "went out" to them
very warmly, and as that was my last impression of India, I left it
with a very different feeling from that with which I entered it--with
a degree of respect for its people, and of interest in them, which I
humbly conceive is the very first condition of doing them any good.

It was Sunday evening: the ship on which we were to embark for Burmah
was to sail at daybreak, and it was necessary to go on board at once.
So hardly had we returned from our evening service, before we drove
down to the river. The steamer lay off in the stream, the tide was
out, and even the native boats could not come up to where we could
step on board. But the inevitable coolies were there, their long naked
legs sinking in the mud, who took us on their brawny backs, and
carried us to the boats, and in this dignified manner we took our
departure from India.

The next morning, as we went on deck, the steamer was dropping down
the river. The guns of Fort William were firing a salute; at Garden
Reach we passed the palace of the King of Oude, where this deposed
Indian sovereign still keeps his royal state among his serpents and
his tigers. We were all day long steaming down the Hoogly. The country
is very flat; there is nothing to break the monotony of its swamps and
jungles, its villages of mud standing amid rice fields and palm
groves. As we approach the sea the river divides into many channels,
like the lagoons of Venice. All around are low lying islands, which
now and then are swept by terrible cyclones that come up from the Bay
of Bengal. At present their shores are overgrown with jungles, the
home of wild beasts, of serpents, and crocodiles, of all slimy and
deadly things, the monsters of the land and sea. Through a net-work of
such lagoons, we glide out into the deep; slowly the receding shores
sink till they are submerged, as if they were drowned; we have left
India behind, and all around is only a watery horizon.

FOOTNOTE:

[8] There are not many Americans in Calcutta, and as they are few, we
are the more concerned that they should be respectable, and not
dishonor our national character. Sometimes I am told we have had
representatives of whom we had no reason to be proud. We are now most
fortunate in our Consul, General Litchfield, a gentleman of excellent
character, who is very obliging to his countrymen, and commands in a
high degree the respect of the English community. There is here also
an American pastor, Dr. Thorburn, who is very popular, and whose
people are building him a new church while he is absent on a visit to
his own country; and what attracts a stranger still more, an excellent
family of American ladies, engaged in the Zenana Mission, which is
designed to reach Hindoo women, who, as they live in strict seclusion,
can never hear of Christianity except through those of their own sex.
This hospitable "Home" was made ours for a part of the time that we
were in Calcutta, for which, and for all the kindness of these
excellent ladies, we hold it in grateful remembrance.



CHAPTER XXII.

BURMAH, OR FARTHER INDIA.


In America we speak of the Far West, which is an undefined region,
constantly receding in the distance. So in Asia there is a Far and
Farther East, ever coming a little nearer to the rising sun. When we
have done with India, there is still a Farther India to be "seen and
conquered." On the other side of the Bay of Bengal is a country,
which, though called India, and under the East Indian Government, is
not India. The very face of nature is different. It is a country not
of vast plains, but of mountains and valleys, and springs that run
among the hills; a country with another people than India, another
language, and another religion. Looking upon the map of Asia, one sees
at its southeastern extremity a long peninsula, reaching almost to the
equator, with a central range of mountains, an Alpine chain, which
runs through its whole length, as the Apennines run through Italy.
This is the Malayan peninsula, on one side of which is Burmah, and on
the other, Siam, the land of the White Elephant.

Such was the "undiscovered country" before us, as we went on deck of
the good ship Malda, four days out from Calcutta, and found her
entering the mouth of a river which once bore the proud name of the
River of Gold, and was said to flow through a land of gold. These
fabled riches have disappeared, but the majestic river still flows on,
broad-bosomed like the Nile, and which of itself might make the riches
of a country, as the Nile makes the riches of Egypt. This is the
mighty Irrawaddy, one of the great rivers of Eastern Asia; which takes
its rise in the western part of Thibet, not far from the head waters
of the Indus, and runs along the northern slopes of the Himalayas,
till it turns south, and winding its way through the passes of the
lofty mountains, debouches into Lower Burmah, where it divides into
two large branches like the Nile, making a Delta of ten thousand
square miles--larger than the Delta of Egypt--whose inexhaustible
fertility, yielding enormous rice harvests, has more than once
relieved a famine in Bengal.

On the Irrawaddy, twenty-five miles from the sea, stands Rangoon, the
capital of British Burmah, a city of nearly a hundred thousand
inhabitants. As we approach it, the most conspicuous object is the
Great Pagoda, the largest in the world, which is a signal that we are
not only in a new country, but one that has a new religion--not
Brahmin, but Buddhist--whose towering pagodas, with their gilded
roofs, take the place of Hindoo temples and Mohammedan mosques.
Rangoon boasts a great antiquity; it is said to have been founded in
the sixth century before Christ, but its new masters, the English,
with their spirit of improvement, have given it quite a modern
appearance. Large steamers in the river and warehouses along its bank,
show that the spirit of modern enterprise has invaded even this
distant part of Asia.

Burmah is a country with a history, dating back far into the past. It
was once the seat of a great empire, with a population many fold
larger than now. In the interior are to be found ruins like those in
the interior of Cambodia, which mark the sites of ancient cities, and
attest the greatness of an empire that has long since passed away.
This is a subject for the antiquarian; but I am more interested in its
present condition and its future prospects than its past history.
Burmah is now a part of the great English Empire in the East, and it
has been the scene of events which make a very thrilling chapter in
the history of American Missions. Remembering this, as soon as we got
on shore we took a gharri, and rode off to find the American
missionaries, of whom and of their work I shall have more to say. We
brought a letter also to the Chief Commissioner, Mr. Rivers Thompson,
who invited us to be his guests while in Rangoon. This gentleman is a
representative of the best class of English officials in the East, of
those conscientious and laborious men, trained in the civil service in
India, whose intelligence and experience make the English rule such a
blessing to that country. The presence of a man of such character and
such intelligence in a position of such power--for he is virtually the
ruler of Burmah--is the greatest benefit to the country. We shall long
remember him and his excellent wife--a true Englishwoman--for their
courtesy and hospitality, which made our visit to Rangoon so pleasant.
The Government House is out of the city, surrounded partly by the
natural forest, which was alive with monkeys, that were perched in the
trees, and leaping from branch to branch. One species of them had a
very wild and plaintive cry, almost like that of a human creature in
distress. It is said to be the only animal whose notes range through
the whole scale. It begins low, and rises rapidly, till it reaches a
pitch at which it sounds like a far-off wail of sorrow. Every morning
we were awakened by the singing of birds, the first sound in the
forest, with which there came through the open windows a cool,
delicious air, laden with a dewy freshness as of Spring, the exquisite
sensation of a morning in the tropics. Then came the tramp of soldiers
along the walk, changing guard. In the midst of these strange
surroundings stood the beautiful English home, with all its culture
and refinement, and the morning and evening prayers, that were a
sweeter incense to the Author of so much beauty than "the spicy
breezes that blow soft o'er Ceylon's isle." The evening drive to the
public gardens, where a band of music was playing, gave one a sight
of the English residents of Rangoon, and made even an American feel,
in hearing his familiar tongue, that he was not altogether a stranger
in a strange land. The Commissioner gave me his Report on British
Burmah, made to the Government of India. It fills a large octavo
volume, and in reading it, one is surprised to learn the extent of the
country, which is twice as large as the State of New York, and its
great natural wealth in its soil and its forests--the resources for
supporting a dense population.

I found the best book on Burmah was by an American missionary, Dr.
Mason, who, while devoted to his religious work, had the tastes of a
naturalist, and wrote of the country with the enthusiasm of a poet and
a man of science.[9] He describes the interior as of marvellous
beauty, with rugged mountains, separated by soft green valleys, in
which sometimes little lakes, like the Scottish lochs, sleep under the
shadow of the hills; and rivers whose banks are like the banks of the
Rhine. He says: "British Burmah embraces all variety of aspect, from
the flats of Holland, at the mouths of the Irrawaddy, to the more than
Scottish beauty of the mountainous valley of the Salwen, and the
Rhenish river banks of the Irrawaddy near Prome." With the zest of an
Alpine tourist, he climbs the wild passes of the hills, and follows
the streams coursing down their sides, to where they leap in
waterfalls over precipices fifty or one hundred feet high. Amid this
picturesque scenery he finds a fauna and flora, more varied and rich
than those of any part of Europe.

The country produces a great variety of tropical fruits; it yields
spices and gums; while the natives make use for many purposes of the
bamboo and the palm. The wild beasts are hunted for their skins, and
the elephants furnish ivory. But the staples of commerce are two--rice
and the teak wood. Rice is the universal food of Burmah, as it is of
India and of China. And for timber, the teak is invaluable, as it is
the only wood that can resist the attacks of the white ants. It is a
red wood, like our cedar, and when wrought with any degree of taste
and skill, produces a pretty effect. The better class of houses are
built of this, and being raised on upright posts, with an open story
beneath, and a broad veranda above, they look more like Swiss chalets
than like the common Eastern bungalows. The dwellings of the poorer
people are mere huts, like Irish shanties or Indian wigwams. They are
constructed only with a frame of bamboo, with mats hung between. You
could put up one as easily as you would pitch a tent. Drive four
bamboo poles in the ground, put cross pieces and hang mats of bark,
and you have a Burmese house. To be sure it is a slender
habitation--"reeds shaken with the wind;" but it serves to cover the
poor occupants, and if an earthquake shakes it down, little harm is
done. It costs nothing for house-rent; rice is cheap, and the natives
are expert boatmen, and get a part of their living from the rivers and
the sea. Their wants are few and easily supplied. "There is perhaps no
country in the world," says Mason, "where there are so few beggars, so
little suffering, and so much actual independence in the lower strata
of society." Thus provided for by nature, they live an easy life.
Existence is not a constant struggle. The earth brings forth
plentifully for their humble wants. They do not borrow trouble, and
are not weighed down with anxiety. Hence the Burmese are very
light-hearted and gay. In this they present a marked contrast to some
of the Asiatics. They have more of the Mongolian cast of countenance
than of the Hindoo, and yet they are not so grave as the Hindoos on
the one hand, or as the Chinese on the other. The women have much more
freedom than in India. They do not veil their faces, nor are they shut
up in their houses. They go about as freely as men, dressed in
brilliant colored silks, wound simply and gracefully around them, and
carrying the large Chinese umbrellas. They enjoy also the glorious
liberty of men in smoking tobacco. We meet them with long cheroots,
done up in plantain leaves, in their mouths, grinning from ear to ear.
The people are fond of pleasure and amusement, of games and festivals,
and laugh and make merry to-day, and think not of to-morrow. This
natural and irrepressible gayety of spirit has given them the name of
the Irish of the East. Like the Irish too, they are wretchedly
improvident. Since they can live so easily, they are content to live
poorly. It should be said, however, that up to a recent period they
had no motive for saving. The least sign of wealth was a temptation to
robbery on the part of officials. Now that they have security under
the English government, they can save, and some of the natives have
grown rich.

This is one of the benefits of English rule, which make me rejoice
whenever I see the English flag in any part of Asia. Wherever that
flag flies, there is protection to property and life; there is law and
order--the first condition of civilized society. Such a government has
been a great blessing to Burmah, as to India. It is not necessary to
raise the question how England came into possession here. It is the
old story, that when a civilized and a barbarous power come in
contact, they are apt to come into conflict. They cannot be quiet and
peaceable neighbors. Mutual irritations end in war, and war ends in
annexation. In this way, after two wars, England acquired her
possessions in the Malayan Peninsula, and Lower Burmah became a part
of the great Indian Empire. We cannot find fault with England for
doing exactly what we should do in the same circumstances, what we
have done repeatedly with the American Indians. Such collisions are
almost inevitable. So far from regretting that England thus "absorbed"
Burmah, I only regret that instead of taking half, she did not take
the whole. For British Burmah is not the whole of Burmah; there is
still a native kingdom on the Upper Irrawaddy, between British Burmah
and China, with a capital, Mandelay, and a sovereign of most
extraordinary character, who preserves in full force the notions of
royalty peculiar to Asiatic countries. Recently a British envoy, Sir
Douglas Forsyth, was sent to have some negotiations with him, but
there was a difficulty about having an audience of his Majesty, owing
to the peculiar etiquette of that court, according to which he was
required to take off his boots, and get down on his knees, and
approach the royal presence on all fours! I forget how the great
question was compromised, but there is no doubt that the King of
Burmah considers himself the greatest potentate on earth. His capital
is a wretched place. A Russian gentleman whom we met in Rangoon, had
just come down from Mandelay, and he described it as the most
miserable mass of habitations that ever assumed to be called a city.
There were no roads, no carriages, no horses, only a few bullock
carts. Yet the lord of this capital thinks it a great metropolis, and
himself a great sovereign, and no one about him dares tell him to the
contrary. He is an absolute despot, and has the power of life and
death, which he exercises on any who excite his displeasure. He has
but to speak a word or raise a hand, and the object of his wrath is
led to execution. Suspicion makes him cruel, and death is sometimes
inflicted by torture or crucifixion. Formerly bodies were often seen
suspended to crosses along the river. Of course no one dares to
provoke such a master by telling him the truth. Not long ago he sent a
mission to Europe, and when his ambassadors returned, they reported to
the King that "London and Paris were very respectable cities, but not
to be compared to Mandelay!" This was repeated to me by the captain of
the steamer which brought them back, who said one of them told him
they did not dare to say anything else; that they would lose their
heads if they should intimate to his majesty that there was on the
earth a greater sovereign than himself.

But in spite of his absolute authority, this old King lives in
constant terror, and keeps himself shut up in his palace, or within
the walls of his garden, not daring to stir abroad for fear of
assassination.

It requires a few hard knocks to get a little sense into such a thick
head; and if in the course of human events the English were called to
administer these, we should be sweetly submissive to the ordering of
Providence.

But though so ignorant of the world, this old king is accounted a
learned man among his people, and is quite religious after his
fashion. Indeed he is reported to have said to an English gentleman
that "the English were a great people, but what a pity that they had
no religion!" In his own faith he is very "orthodox." He will not have
any "Dissenters" about him--not he. If any man has doubts, let him
keep them to himself, lest the waters of the Irrawaddy roll over his
unbelieving breast.

But in the course of nature this holy man will be gathered to his
rest, and then his happy family may perhaps not live in such perfect
harmony. He is now sixty-five years old, and has _thirty sons_, so
that the question of succession is somewhat difficult, as there is no
order of primogeniture. He has the right to choose an heir; and has
been urged to do so by his English neighbors, to obviate all dispute
to the succession. But he did this once and it raised a storm about
his ears. The twenty-nine sons that were not chosen, with their
respective mothers, raised such a din about his head that the poor man
was nearly distracted, and was glad to revoke his decision, to keep
peace in the family. He keeps his sons under strict surveillance lest
they should assassinate him. But if he thus gets peace in his time, he
leaves things in a state of glorious uncertainty after his death. Then
there may be a household divided against itself. Perhaps they will
fall out like the Kilkenny cats. If there should be a disputed
succession, and a long and bloody civil war, it might be a duty for
their strong neighbors, "in the interest of humanity," to step in and
settle the dispute by taking the country for themselves. Who could
regret an issue that should put an end to the horrible oppression and
tyranny of the native government, with its cruel punishments, its
tortures and crucifixions?

It would give the English the mastery of a magnificent country. The
valley of the Irrawaddy is rich as the valley of the Nile, and only
needs "law and order" for the wilderness to bud and blossom as the
rose. Should the English take Upper Burmah, the great East Indian
Empire would be extended over the whole South of Asia, and up to the
borders of China.

But the excellent Chief Commissioner has no dream of annexation, his
only ambition being to govern justly the people entrusted to his care;
to protect them in their rights; to put down violence and robbery, for
the country has been in such a fearful state of disorganization, that
the interior has been overrun with bands of robbers. Dacoity, as it is
called, has been the terror of the country, as much as brigandage has
been of Sicily. But the English are now putting it down with a strong
hand. To develop the resources of the country, the Government seeks to
promote internal communication and foreign commerce. At Rangoon the
track is already laid for a railroad up the country to Prome. The
seaports are improved and made safe for ships. With such facilities
Burmah may have a large commerce, for which she has ample material.
Her vast forests of teak would supply the demand of all Southern Asia;
while the rice from the delta of the Irrawaddy may in the future, as
in the past, feed the millions of India who might otherwise die from
famine.

With the establishment of this civilized rule there opens a prospect
for the future of Burmah, which shall be better than the old age of
splendid tyranny. Says Mason: "The golden age when Pegu was the land
of gold, and the Irrawaddy the river of gold, has passed away, and
the country degenerated into the land of paddy (rice), and the stream
into the river of teak. Yet its last days are its best days. If the
gold has vanished, so has oppression; if the gems have fled, so have
the taskmasters; if the palace of the Brama of Toungoo, who had
twenty-six crowned heads at his command, is in ruins, the slave is
free." The poor native has now some encouragement to cultivate his
rice field, for its fruit will not be taken from him. The great
want of the country is the same as that of the Western States of
America--population. British Burmah has but three millions of
inhabitants, while, if the country were as thickly settled as Belgium
and Holland, or as some parts of Asia, it might support thirty
millions. Such a population cannot come at once, or in a century, but
the country may look for a slow but steady growth from the overflow of
India and China, that shall in time rebuild its waste places, and
plant towns and cities along its rivers.

While thus interested in the political state of Burmah we cannot
forget its religion. In coming from India to Farther India we have
found not only a new race, but a new faith and worship. While
Brahminism rules the great Southern Peninsula of Asia, Buddhism is the
religion of Eastern Asia, numbering more adherents than any other
religion on the globe. Of this new faith one may obtain some idea by a
visit to the Great Pagoda. The Buddhists, like the priests of some
other religions, choose lofty sites for their places of worship,
which, as they overtop the earth, seem to raise them nearer to heaven.
The Great Pagoda stands on a hill, or rocky ledge, which overlooks the
city of Rangoon and the valley of the Irrawaddy. It is approached by a
long flight of steps, which is occupied, like the approaches to the
ancient temple in Jerusalem, by them that buy and sell, so that it is
a kind of bazaar, and also by lepers and blind men, who stretch out
their hands to ask for alms of those who mount the sacred hill to
pray. Ascending to the summit, we find a plateau, on which there is an
enclosure of perhaps an acre or two of ground. The Pagoda is a
colossal structure, with a broad base like a pyramid, though round in
shape, sloping upwards to a slender cone, which tapers at last to a
sort of spire over three hundred feet high, and as the whole, from
base to pinnacle, is covered with gold leaf, it presents a very
dazzling appearance, when it reflects the rays of the sun. As a pagoda
is always a solid mass of masonry, with no inner place of worship--not
even a shrine, or a chamber like that in the heart of the Great
Pyramid--there was more of fervor than of fitness in the language of
an English friend of missions, who prayed "that the pagodas might
resound with the praises of God!" They might resound, but it must
needs be on the outside. The tall spire has for its extreme point,
what architects call a finial--a kind of umbrella, which the Burmese
call a "htee," made of a series of iron rings gilded, from which hang
many little silver and brass bells, which, swinging to and fro with
every passing breeze, give forth a dripping musical sound. The
Buddhist idea of prayer is not limited to human speech; it may be
expressed by an offering of flowers, or the tinkling of a bell. It is
at least a pretty fancy, which leads them to suspend on every point
and pinnacle of their pagodas these tiny bells, whose soft, aërial
chimes sound sweetly in the air, and floating upward, fill the ear of
heaven with a constant melody. Besides the Great Pagoda, there are
other smaller pagodas, one of which has lately been decorated with a
magnificent "htee," presented by a rich timber merchant of Maulmain.
It is said to have cost fifty thousand dollars, as we can well
believe, since it is gemmed with diamonds and other precious stones.
There was a great festival when it was set up in its place, which was
kept up for several days, and is just over. At the same time he
presented an elephant for the service of the temple, who, being thus
consecrated, is of course a sacred beast. We met him taking his
morning rounds, and very grand he was, with his crimson and gold
trappings and howdah, and as he swung along with becoming gravity, he
was a more dignified object than the worshippers around him. But the
people were very good-natured, and we walked about in their holy
places, and made our observations with the utmost freedom. In the
enclosure are many pavilions, some of which are places for worship,
and others rest-houses for the people. The idols are hideous objects,
as all idols are, though perhaps better looking than those of the
Hindoos. They represent Buddha in all positions, before whose image
candles are kept burning.

In the grounds is an enormous bell, which is constantly struck by the
worshippers, till its deep vibrations make the very air around holy
with prayer. With my American curiosity to see the inside of
everything, I crawled under it (it was hung but a few inches above the
ground), and rose up within the hollow bronze, which had so long
trembled with pious devotion. But at that moment it hung in silence,
and I crawled back again, lest by some accident the enormous weight
should fall and put an extinguisher on my further comparative study of
religions. This bell serves another purpose in the worship of
Buddhists. They strike upon it before saying their prayers, to attract
the attention of the recording angel, so that they may get due credit
for their act of piety. Those philosophical spirits who admire all
religions but the Christian, will observe in this a beautiful economy
in their devotions. They do not wish their prayers to be wasted. By
getting due allowance for them, they not only keep their credit good,
but have a balance in their favor. It is the same economy which leads
them to attach prayers to water-wheels and windmills, by which the
greatest amount of praying may be done with the least possible amount
of labor or time. The one object of the Buddhist religion seems to be
to attain merit, according to the amount of which they will spend more
or less time in the realm of spirits before returning to this cold
world, and on which depends also the form they will assume on their
reincarnation. Among those who sit at the gate of the temple as we
approach, are holy men, who, by a long course of devotion, have
accumulated such a stock of merit that they have enough and to spare,
and are willing to part with it for a consideration to others less
fortunate than themselves. It is the old idea of works of
supererogation over again, in which, as in many other things, they
show the closest resemblance to Romanism.

But however puerile it may be in its forms of worship, yet as a
religion Buddhism is an immeasurable advance on Brahminism. In
leaving India we have left behind Hindooism, and are grateful for the
change, for Buddhism is altogether a more respectable religion. It has
no bloody rites like those of the goddess Kali. It does not outrage
decency nor morality. It has no obscene images nor obscene worship. It
has no caste, with its bondage and its degradation. Indeed, the
scholar who makes a study of different religions, will rank Buddhism
among the best of those which are uninspired; if he does not find in
its origin and in the life of its founder much that looks even like
inspiration. There is no doubt that Buddha, or Gaudama, if such a man
ever lived (of which there is perhaps no more reason to doubt than of
any of the great characters of antiquity), began his career of a
religious teacher, as a reformer of Brahminism, with the honest and
noble purpose of elevating the faith, and purifying the lives of
mankind. Mason, as a Christian missionary, certainly did not desire to
exaggerate the virtues of another religion, and yet he writes of the
origin of Buddhism:

     "Three hundred years before Alexandria was founded; about
     the time that Thales, the most ancient philosopher of
     Europe, was teaching in Greece that water is the origin of
     all things, the soul of the world; and Zoroaster, in Media
     or Persia, was systematizing the fire-worship of the Magi;
     and Confucius in China was calling on the teeming multitudes
     around him to offer to guardian spirits and the names of
     their ancestors; and Nebuchadnezzar set up his golden image
     in the plains of Dura, and Daniel was laboring in Babylon to
     establish the worship of the true God; a reverend sage, with
     his staff and scrip, who had left a throne for philosophy,
     was travelling from Gaya to Benares, and from Benares to
     Kanouj, exhorting the people against theft, falsehood,
     adultery, killing and intemperance. No temperance lecturer
     advocates teetotalism now more strongly than did this sage
     Gaudama twenty-three centuries ago. Nor did he confine his
     instructions to external vices. Pride, anger, lust, envy and
     covetousness were condemned by him in as strong terms as are
     ever heard from the Christian pulpit. Love, mercy, patience,
     self-denial, alms-giving, truth, and the cultivation of
     wisdom, he required of all. Good actions, good words, and
     good thoughts were the frequent subjects of his sermons,
     and he was unceasing in his cautions to keep the mind free
     from the turmoils of passion, and the cares of life.
     Immediately after the death of this venerable peripatetic,
     his disciples scattered themselves abroad to propagate the
     doctrines of their master, and tradition says, one party
     entered the principal mouth of the Irrawaddy, where they
     traced its banks to where the first rocks lift themselves
     abruptly above the flats around. Here, on the summit of this
     laterite ledge, one hundred and sixty feet above the river,
     they erected the standard of Buddhism, which now lifts its
     spire to the heavens higher than the dome of St. Paul's."

In its practical effects Buddhism is favorable to virtue; and its
adherents, so far as they follow it, are a quiet and inoffensive
people. They are a kind of Quakers, who follow an inward light, and
whose whole philosophy of life is one of repression of natural
desires. Their creed is a mixture of mysticism and stoicism, which by
gentle meditation subdues the mind to "a calm and heavenly frame," a
placid indifference to good or ill, to joy or sorrow, to pleasure and
pain. It teaches that by subduing the desires--pride, envy, and
ambition--one brings himself into a state of tranquillity, in which
there is neither hope nor fear. It is easy to see where such a creed
is defective; that it does not bring out the heroic virtues, as shown
in active devotion to others' good. This active philanthropy is born
of Christianity. There is a spiritual selfishness in dreaming life
away in this idle meditation. But so far as others are concerned, it
bids no man wrong his neighbor.

Buddha's table of the law may be compared with that of Moses. Instead
of Ten Commandments, it has only Five, which correspond very nearly to
the latter half of the Decalogue. Indeed three of them are precisely
the same, viz.: Do not kill; Do not steal; and Do not commit adultery;
and the fourth, Do not lie, includes, as a broader statement, the
Mosaic command not to bear false witness against one's neighbor; but
the last one of all, instead of being "not to covet," is, Do not
become intoxicated. These commands are all prohibitions, and enforce
only the negative side of virtue. They forbid injury to property and
life and reputation, and thus every injury to one's neighbor, and the
last of all forbids injury to one's self, while they do not urge
active benevolence to man nor piety towards God.

These Five Commandments are the rule of life for all men. But to those
who aspire to a more purely religious life, there are other and
stricter rules. They are required to renounce the world, to live
apart, and practice rigid austerities, in order to bring the body into
subjection. Every day is to be one of abstinence and self-denial. To
them are given five other commands, in addition to those prescribed to
mankind generally. They must take no solid food after noon (a fast not
only Friday, but every day of the week); they must not visit dances,
singing or theatrical representations; must use no ornaments or
perfumery in dress; must not sleep in luxurious beds, and while living
by alms, accept neither gold nor silver. By this rigid self-discipline,
they are expected to be able to subdue their appetites and passions
and overcome the world.

This monastic system is one point of resemblance between Buddhism and
Romanism. Both have orders of monks and nuns, who take vows of
celibacy and poverty, and live in convents and monasteries. There is
also a close resemblance in their forms of worship. Both have their
holy shrines, and use images and altars, before which flowers are
placed, and lamps are always burning. Both chant and pray in an
unknown tongue.[10]

This resemblance of the Buddhist creed and worship to their own, the
Jesuit missionaries have been quick to see, and with their usual
artfulness have tried to use it as an argument to smooth the way for
the conversion of the Asiatics by representing the change as a slight
one. But the Buddhist, not to be outdone in quickness, answers that
the difference is so slight that it is not worth making the change.
The only difference, they say, is "we worship a man and you worship a
woman!"

But Christianity has had other representatives in Burmah than the
Jesuits. At an early day American missionaries, as if they could not
go far enough away from home, in their zeal to carry the Gospel where
it had not been preached before, sought a field of labor in
Southeastern Asia. More than sixty years ago they landed on these
shores. They planted no colonies, waged no wars, raised no flag, and
made no annexation. The only flag they carried over them was that of
the Gospel of peace. And yet in the work they wrought they have left a
memorial which will long preserve their sainted and heroic names.
While in Rangoon I took up again "The Life of Judson" by Dr. Wayland,
and read it with new interest on the very spot which had been the
scene of his labors. Nothing in the whole history of missions is more
thrilling than the story of his imprisonment. It was during the second
Burmese war. He was at that time at Ava, the capital of Burmah, where
he had been in favor till now, when the king, enraged at the English,
seized all that he could lay hands upon, and threw them into prison.
He could not distinguish an American, who had the same features and
spoke the same language, and so Judson shared the fate of the rest.
One day his house was entered by an officer and eight or ten men, one
of whom he recognized by his hideous tattooed face as the executioner,
who seized him in the midst of his family, threw him on the floor,
drew out the instrument of torture, the small cord, with which he
bound him, and hurried him to the death prison, where he was chained,
as were the other foreigners, each with three pairs of fetters to a
pole. He expected nothing but death, but the imprisonment dragged on
for months, varied with every device of horror and of cruelty. Often
he was chained to the vilest malefactors. Sometimes he was cast into
an inner prison, which was like the Black Hole of Calcutta, where his
limbs were confined with five pairs of fetters. So loathsome was his
prison, that he counted it the greatest favor and indulgence, when,
after a fever, he was allowed to sleep in the cage of a dead lion!
This lasted nearly two years. Several times his keepers had orders (as
they confessed afterward) to assassinate him, but, restrained perhaps
by pity for his wife, they withheld their hand, thinking that disease
would soon do the work for them.

During all that long and dreadful time his wife watched over him with
never-failing devotion. She could not sleep in the prison, but every
day she dragged herself two miles through the crowded city, carrying
food for her husband and the other English prisoners. During that
period a child was born, whose first sight of its father was within
prison walls. Some time after even his heathen jailors took pity on
him, and allowed him to take a little air in the street outside of the
prison gate. And history does not present a more touching scene than
that of this man, when his wife was ill, carrying his babe through the
streets from door to door, asking Burman mothers, in the sacred name
of maternity, of that instinct of motherhood which is universal
throughout the world, to give nourishment to this poor, emaciated, and
dying child.

But at length a day of deliverance came. The English army had taken
Rangoon and was advancing up the Irrawaddy. Then all was terror at
Ava, and the tyrant that had thrown Judson into a dungeon, sent to
bring him out and to beg him to go to the English camp to be his
interpreter, and to sue for terms of peace. He went and was received
with the honor due to his character and his sufferings. But the
heroine of the camp was that noble American woman, whose devotion had
saved, not only the life of her husband, but the lives of all the
English prisoners. The commander-in-chief received her as if she had
been an empress, and at a great dinner given to the Burmese
ambassadors placed her at his right hand, in the presence of the very
men to whom she had often been to beg for mercy, and had been often
driven brutally from their doors. The tables were turned, and they
were the ones to ask for mercy now. They sat uneasy, giving restless
glances at the missionary's wife, as if fearing lest a sudden burst of
womanly indignation should impel her to demand the punishment of those
who had treated her with such cruelty. But they were quite safe. She
would not touch a hair of their heads. Too happy in the release of the
one she loved, her heart was overflowing with gratitude, and she felt
no desire but to live among this people, and to do good to those from
whom she had suffered so much. They removed to Amherst, at the mouth
of the Maulmain River, and had built a pretty home, and were beginning
to realize their dream of missionary life, when she was taken ill,
and, broken by her former hardships, soon sank in death.

Probably "The Life of Judson" has interested American Christians in
Burmah more than all the histories and geographical descriptions put
together. General histories have never the interest of a personal
narrative, and the picture of Judson in a dungeon, wearing manacles on
his limbs, exposed to death in its most terrible forms, to be tortured
or to be crucified, and finally saved by the devotion of his wife, has
touched the hearts of the American people more than all the learned
histories of Eastern Asia that ever were written.

And when I stood at a humble grave on Amherst Point, looking out upon
the sea, and read upon the stone the name of ANN HASSELTINE JUDSON,
and thought of that gentle American wife, coming out from the peace
and protection of her New England home to face such dangers, I felt
that I had never bent over the dust of one more worthy of all the
honors of womanhood and sainthood; tender and shrinking, but whom love
made strong and brave; who walked among coarse and brutal men, armed
only with her own native modesty and dignity: who by the sick-bed or
in a prison cast light in a dark place by her sweet presence; and who
united all that is noble in woman's love and courage and devotion.

Judson survived this first wife about a quarter of a century--a period
full of labor, and in its later years, full of precious fruit. That
was the golden autumn of his life. He that had gone forth weeping,
bearing precious seed, came again rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with
him. I wish the Church in America could see what has been achieved by
that well-spent life. Most of his fellow-laborers have gone to their
rest, though Mr. and Mrs. Bennett at Rangoon, and Dr. and Mrs. Haswell
at Maulmain, still live to tell of the trials and struggles of those
early days.[11] And now appears the fruit of all those toilsome years.
The mission that was weak has grown strong. In Rangoon there are a
number of missionaries, who have not only established churches and
Christian schools, but founded a College and a Theological Seminary.
They have a Printing Press, under the charge of the veteran Mr.
Bennett, who has been here forty-six years. In the interior are
churches in great numbers. The early missionaries found a poor
people--a sort of lower caste among the Burmese--the Karens. It may
almost be said that they caught them in the woods and tamed them. They
first reduced their language to writing; they gave them books and
schools, and to-day there are twenty thousand of this people who are
members of their churches. In the interior there are many Christian
villages, with native churches and native pastors, supported by the
people themselves, whose deep poverty abounds to their liberality in a
way that recalls Apostolic times.

The field which has been the scene of such toils and sacrifices
properly belongs to the denomination which has given such examples of
Christian devotion. The Baptists were the first to enter the country,
led by an apostle. The Mission in Burmah is the glory of the Baptist
Church, as that of the Sandwich Islands is of the American Board. They
have a sort of right to the land by reason of first occupancy--a right
made sacred by these early and heroic memories; and I trust will be
respected by other Christian bodies in the exercise of that comity
which ought to exist between Churches as between States, in the
possession of a field which they have cultivated with so much zeal,
wisdom, and success.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is not till one leaves Rangoon that he sees the beauty of Burmah.
The banks of the Irrawaddy, like those of the Hoogly, are low and
jungly; but as we glide from the river into the sea, and turn
southward, the shores begin to rise, till after a few hours' sail we
might be on the coast of Wales or of Scotland. The next morning found
us at anchor off the mouth of the Salwen River. The steamers of the
British India Company stop at all the principal ports, and we were now
to pass up the river to Maulmain. But the Malda was too large to cross
the bar except at very high tide, for which we should have to wait
over a day. The prospect of resting here under a tropical sun, and in
full sight of the shore, was not inviting, and we looked about for
some way of escape. Fortunately we had on board Miss Haswell, of the
well-known missionary family, who had gone up from Maulmain to Rangoon
to see some friends off for America, and was now returning. With such
an interpreter and guide, we determined to go on shore, and hailing a
pilot-boat, went down the ship's ladder, and jumped on board. The
captain thought us very rash, as the sea was rough, and the boat rose
and plunged in waves; but the Malays are like seagulls on the water,
and raising their sail, made of bamboo poles, and rush matting, we
flew before the wind, and were soon landed at Amherst Point. This was
holy ground, for here Judson had lived, and here his wife died and was
buried. Her grave is on the sea-shore, but a few rods from the water,
and we went straight to it. It is a low mound, with a plain headstone,
around which an American sea captain had placed a wooden paling to
guard the sacred spot. There she sleeps, with only the murmur of the
waves, as they come rippling up the beach, to sing her requiem. But
her name will not die, and in all the world, where love and heroism
are remembered, what this woman hath done shall be told for a memorial
of her. Her husband is not here, for (as the readers of his life will
remember) his last years were spent at Maulmain, from which he was
taken, when very ill, on board a vessel, bound for the Mauritius, in
hope that a voyage might save him when all other means had failed, and
died at sea when but four days out, and was committed to the deep in
the Bay of Bengal. One cannot but regret that he did not die on land,
that he might have been buried beside his wife in the soil of Burmah;
but it is something that he is not far away, and the waters that roll
over him kiss its beloved shores.

Miss Haswell led the way up the beach to the little house which Judson
had built. It was unoccupied, but there was an old bedstead on which
the apostle had slept, and I stretched myself upon it, feeling that I
caught as much inspiration lying there as when I lay down in the
sarcophagus of Cheops in the heart of the Great Pyramid. We found a
rude table too, which we drew out upon the veranda, and a family of
native Christians brought us rice and milk and eggs, with which we
made a breakfast in native style. The family of Miss Haswell once
occupied this mission house, and it was quite enlivening to hear, as
we sat there quietly taking our rice and milk, how the tigers used to
come around and make themselves at home, snuffing about the doors, and
carrying off dogs from the veranda, and killing a buffalo in the
front yard. They are not quite so familiar now along the coast, but in
the interior one can hardly go through a forest without coming on
their tracks. Only last year Miss Haswell, on her way to attend the
meeting of an association, camped in the woods. She found the men were
getting sleepy, and neglected the fire, and so she kept awake, and sat
up to throw on the wood. It was well, for in the night suddenly all
the cattle sprang up with every sign of terror, and there came on the
air that strong smell which none who have perceived it can mistake,
which shows that a tiger is near. Doubtless he was peering at them
through the covert, and nothing but the blazing fire kept him away.

After our repast, we took a ride in native style. A pair of oxen was
brought to the door, with a cart turned up at both ends, in such a
manner that those riding in it were dumped into a heap; and thus well
shaken together, we rode down to the shore, where we had engaged a
boat to take us up the river. It was a long slender skiff, which, with
its covering of bamboo bent over it, was in shape not unlike a gondola
of Venice. The arch of its roof was of course not very lofty; we could
not stand up, but we could sit or lie down, and here we stretched
ourselves in glorious ease, and as a pleasant breeze came in from the
sea, our little bark moved swiftly before it. The captain of our boat
was a venerable-looking native, like some of the Arabs we saw on the
Nile, with two boatmen for his "crew," stout fellows, whose brawny
limbs were not confined by excess of clothing. In fact, they had on
only a single garment, a kind of French blouse, which, by way of
variety, they took off and washed in the river as we sailed along.
However, they had another clout for a change, which they drew over
them with great dexterity before they took off the first, so as not to
offend us. Altogether the scene was not unlike what some of my readers
may have witnessed on one of our Southern rivers; and if we could
only have had the rich voices of the negro boatmen, singing

     "Down on the Alabama,"

the illusion would have been complete. Thus in a dreamy mood, and with
a gentle motion, we glided up the beautiful Salwen, between low banks
covered with forests, a distance of thirty miles, till at five o'clock
we reached the lower end of Maulmain, and went ashore, and rode two or
three miles up the river to Dr. Haswell's, where Miss H. claimed C----
for her guest, while I was entertained at her brother's in the old
missionary compound, where Dr. Judson lived for so many years, and
which he left only to die. These American friends, with their kind
hospitalities, made us feel quite at home in Burmah; and as if to
bring still nearer Christian England and America, we were taken the
same evening to a prayer-meeting at the house of an English officer
who is in command here, where they sang Sankey's hymns!

Maulmain is a place of great natural beauty. Though on the river, it
rises from the water's edge in steep and wooded banks, and has a
background of hills. One can hardly find a lovelier view in all the
East than that from the hill behind it, on which stands an old
Buddhist monastery and pagoda. Here the eye ranges over a distance of
many miles. Several rivers which flow together give the country the
appearance of being covered with water, out of which rise many
elevated points, like islands in a sea. In clear weather, after the
rains, one may see on the horizon the distant peaks of the mountains
in Siam. This was a favorite resort of Dr. Judson, who, being a man of
great physical as well as intellectual vigor, was fond of walking, and
loved to climb the hills. Miss Haswell, who as a child remembered him,
told us how she once saw him here "playing tag" with his wife, chasing
her as she ran down the hill. This picture of the old man delighted
me--to think that not all his labors and sufferings could subdue that
unconquerable spirit, but that he retained even to old age the
freshness of a boy, and was as hearty in play as in preaching. This is
the sort of muscular Christians that are needed to face the hardships
of a missionary life--men who will not faint in the heat of the
tropics, nor falter at the prospect of imprisonment or death.

While we stood here the Buddhist monks were climbing slowly up the
hill, and I could but think of the difference between our intrepid
missionary and these languid, not to say lazy, devotees. We had a good
chance to observe them, and to remark their resemblance to similar
orders in the Church of Rome. The Buddhist monk, like his Romish
brother, shaves his head, eats no animal food (the command of Buddha
not to kill, is interpreted not to take life of any kind), and lives
only by the alms of the faithful. Seeing them here, with their shaven
heads and long robes, going about the streets, stopping before the
doors to receive their daily tributes of rice, one is constantly
reminded of the mendicant friars of Italy. They live in monasteries,
which are generally situated, like this, on the tops of hills, retired
from the world, where they keep together for mutual instruction, and
to join in devotion. They do no work except to cultivate the grounds
of the temple, but give up their lives to meditation and to prayer.

It would be wrong to speak of such men but with proper respect. They
are quiet and inoffensive; some of them are learned; still more are
serious and devout. Says Dr. Williams: "Their largest monasteries
contain extensive libraries, and a portion of the fraternity are well
acquainted with letters, though numbers of them are ignorant even of
their own books." "Their moral character, as a class, is on a par with
their countrymen, and many of them are respectable, intelligent, and
sober-minded persons, who seem to be sincerely desirous of making
themselves better, if possible, by their religious observances."

But this life of a recluse, while favorable to study and meditation,
does not inspire active exertion. Indeed the whole Buddhist philosophy
of life seems to be comprised in this, that man should dream away
existence here on earth, and then lapse into a dreamy eternity.

     "To be or not to be, that's the question;"

and for them it seems better "not to be." Their heaven--their
Nirvana--is annihilation, yet not absolute non-existence, but only
absorption of their personality, so that their separate being is
swallowed up and lost in God. They will still be conscious, but have
no hope and no fear, no dread and no desire, but only survey existence
with the ineffable calm of the Infinite One. This passive, emotionless
state is expressed in all the statues and images of Buddha.

If that be heaven, it is not earth; and they who pass life in a dream
are not the men to revolutionize the world. This whole monastery, full
of monks, praying and chanting for generations, cannot so stir the
mind of Asia, or make its power felt even in Burmah, as one heroic man
like Judson.

Miss Haswell belongs to a family of missionaries. Her father and
mother were companions of Judson, and the children are in one way and
another devoted to the same work. She has a school for girls, which is
said to be the best in Burmah. The Chief Commissioner at Rangoon spoke
of it in the highest terms, and makes special mention of it in his
Report. She told us with great modesty, and almost with a feeling of
shame, of the struggle and mortification with which she had literally
"begged" the money for it in America. But never did good seed
scattered on the waters bear richer fruit. If a deputation from all
the Baptist churches which contributed to that school could but pay it
a visit, and see what it is doing, it would never want for funds
hereafter.

Burmah is a country which needs all good influences--moral and
religious. It needs also a strong government, just laws rigidly
enforced, to keep peace and order in the land. For though the people
are so gay and merry, there is a fearful degree of crime. In Maulmain
there is a prison, which holds over a thousand prisoners, many of whom
have been guilty of the worst crimes. A few days since there was an
outbreak, and an attempt to escape. A number got out of the gate, and
were running till they were brought up by shots from the military.
Seven were killed and seven wounded. I went through this prison one
morning with the physician as he made his rounds. As we entered a man
was brought up who had been guilty of some insubordination. He had
once attempted to kill the jailer. The Doctor inquired briefly into
the offence, and said, without further words: "Give him fifteen cuts."
Instantly the man was seized and tied, arms extended, and legs
fastened, so that he could not move, and his back uncovered, and an
attendant standing off, so that he could give his arm full swing, gave
him fifteen cuts that made the flesh start up like whip-cord, and the
blood run. The man writhed with agony, but did not scream. I suppose
such severity is necessary, but it was a very painful sight. In the
hospital we found some of the prisoners who had been concerned in the
mutiny. The ringleader had been shot in the leg, which had been
amputated. They had found that the ways of transgressors were hard.

Continuing our walk, we went through the different workshops, and saw
the kinds of labor to which the men were put, such as making chairs of
bamboo, weaving cloth, beating cocoanut husks to make stuff for
mattresses, carving, making furniture, blacksmithing, &c. The worst
offenders were put to grinding corn, as that was a species of labor in
which they had no tools which could be used as deadly weapons. The men
in this ward--perhaps a hundred in number--were desperate characters.
They were almost all highway robbers, Dacoits, bands of whom have long
been the terror of the country. They all had irons on their ankles,
and stood up to their tasks, working with their hands. I was not sorry
to see "their feet made fast in the stocks," for in looking into their
savage faces, one could but feel that he would rather see them in
chains and behind iron bars, than meet them alone in a forest.

But I turn to a more agreeable spectacle. It is sometimes more
pleasant to look at animals than at men, certainly when men make
beasts of themselves, and when, on the other hand, animals show an
intelligence almost human. One of the great industries of Burmah is
the timber trade. The teak wood, which is the chief timber cut and
shipped, is very heavy, and requires prodigious force to handle it;
and as the Burmese are not far enough advanced to use machinery for
the purpose, they employ elephants, and bravely do the noble beasts
perform their task. In the timber yards both at Rangoon and at
Maulmain, all the heavy work of drawing and piling the logs is done by
them. I have never seen any animals showing such intelligence, and
trained to such docility and obedience. In the yard that we visited
there were seven elephants, five of which were at that moment at work.
Their wonderful strength came into play in moving huge pieces of
timber. I did not measure the logs, but should think that many were at
least twenty feet long and a foot square. Yet a male elephant would
stoop down, and run his tusks under a log, and throw his trunk over
it, and walk off with it as lightly as a gentleman would balance his
bamboo cane on the tip of his finger. Placing it on the pile, he would
measure it with his eye, and if it projected too far at either end,
would walk up to it, and with a gentle push or pull, make the pile
even. If a still heavier log needed to be moved on the ground to some
part of the yard, the mahout, sitting on the elephant's head, would
tell him what to do, and the great creature seemed to have a perfect
understanding of his master's will. He would put out his enormous
foot, and push it along; or he would bend his head, and crouching
half way to the ground, and doubling up his trunk in front, throw his
whole weight against it, and thus, like a ram, would "butt" the log
into its place; or if it needed to be taken a greater distance, he
would put a chain around it, and drag it off behind him. The female
elephant especially was employed in drawing, as having no tusks, she
could not lift like her big brothers, but could only move by her power
of traction or attraction. Then using her trunk as deftly as a lady
would use her fingers, she would untie the knot or unhitch the chain,
and return to her master, perhaps putting out her trunk to receive a
banana as a reward for her good conduct. It was a very pretty sight,
and gave us a new idea of the value of these noble creatures, and of
the way in which they can be trained for the service of man, since
they can be not only made subject to his will, but taught to
understand it, thus showing equal intelligence and docility.

After a day or two thus pleasantly passed, we went on board the Malda
(which had finally got over the bar and come up to Maulmain), and
dropped down the river, and were soon sailing along the coast, which
grows more beautiful as we steam southward. We pass a great number of
islands, which form the Mergui Archipelago, and just now might be off
the shores of Greece. Within these sheltered waters is Tavoy, from
which it is proposed to build a road over the mountains to Bangkok in
Siam. There has long been a path through the dense forest, but one
that could only be traversed by elephants. Now it is proposed to have
a good road, the expense to be borne by the two kingdoms. Is not this
a sign of progress, of an era of peace and good will? Formerly Burmah
and Siam were always at war. Being neighbors and rivals, they were
"natural enemies," as much as were France and England. But now the
strong English hand imposes peace, and the two countries seek a closer
connection. The road thus inaugurated will bind them together, and
prove not only an avenue of commerce but a highway of civilization.

At Penang we enter the Straits of Malacca, on one side of which is the
Malayan Peninsula, and on the other the island of Sumatra, which is
larger than all Great Britain, and where just now, at this upper end,
the Dutch have a war on their hands. Penang is opposite Acheen, and
the Malays, who are engaged in such a desperate resistance to the
Dutch, often cross the Straits, and may be seen at any time in the
streets of the English settlement. Perhaps it is but natural that the
English should have a sympathy with these natives, who are defending
their country against invaders, though I do not perceive that this
makes them more ready to yield the ground on their own side of the
Straits, where just now, at Perak, they have a little war of their
own. To this war in Acheen I may refer again, when I come to write of
the Dutch power in Java.

Bayard Taylor celebrates Penang as "the most beautiful island in the
world," which is a great deal for one to say who has travelled so far
and seen so much. I could not be quite so enthusiastic, and yet I do
not wonder at any degree of rapture in one who climbs the Peak of
Penang, which commands a view not only of the town and harbor below,
but of other islands and waters, as well as of mountains and valleys
in the interior, which are a part of Siam. Turning seaward, and
looking down, this little island of Penang appears as the gem of the
scene--a mass of the richest tropical vegetation, set in the midst of
tropical seas.

We were now in the tropics indeed. We had been for weeks, but we had a
more "realizing sense" of it as we got into the lower latitudes. The
heat grew intense as we approached the Equator. One after another we
laid aside the garments of the colder North, and put on the lightest
and thinnest costume, till we did not know but our only relief would
be that suggested by Sydney Smith, "to take off our flesh and sit in
our bones." With double awnings spread over the deck, and the motion
of the ship stirring the air, still the vertical sun was quite
overpowering. We were obliged to keep on deck day and night, although
there was ample room below. As there were but eight passengers in the
cabin, each had a state-room; but with all this space, and portholes
wide open, still it was impossible to keep cool. An iron ship becomes
so heated that the state-rooms are like ovens. So we had to take
refuge on deck. Every evening the servants appeared, bringing our
mattresses, which were spread on the skylight above the cabin. This
was very well for the gentlemen of our company, but offered no relief
of coolness for our only lady passenger. But a couple of gallant young
Englishmen, who with us were making the tour of the world, were
determined that she should not be imprisoned below, and they set up on
deck a screen, in which she was enclosed as in a tent; and not
Cleopatra, when floating in her gilded barge, reclined more royally
than she, thus lifted up into the cool night air. Then we all had our
reward. The glory of the night made up for the fervors of the day.
From our pillows we looked out upon the sea, and as the hot day
brought thunderstorms, the lightning playing on the distant horizon
lighted up the watery leagues around, till it seemed as if we were

     "Alone, alone, all, all alone,
     Alone on the wide, wide sea,"

floating on in darkness over an unfathomable abyss. At other times the
sea was luminous with the light which she carries in her own bosom.
These Southern seas are full of those marine insects which shine like
glow-worms in the dark; and when the waters were calm and still, when
there was not a ripple on the bosom of the deep, we leaned over the
stern of the ship to watch the long track of light which she left in
the phosphorescent sea. But brighter than this watery illumination
was the sky above, which was all aglow with celestial fires. We had
long become familiar with the Southern Cross, which we first saw in
Egypt on the Nile, near the First Cataract. But then it was just above
the horizon. Now it shone in mid-heaven, while around it were gathered
the constellations of the Southern hemisphere. I have seen the stars
on the desert and on the sea, but never anything before that quite
equalled these nights on the Equator.

But our voyage was coming to an end. We had already been twice as long
on the Bay of Bengal as in crossing the Atlantic. It was the last day
of March when the captain of the ship came to me, as I was standing on
deck, and said: "Do you see that low point of land, with the trees
upon it, coming down to the water? That is the most Southern point of
Asia." That great continent, which we saw first at Constantinople, and
had followed so far around the globe, ended here. An hour afterward,
as we rounded into Singapore, a hand pointed Eastward, and a voice at
my side said: "Uncle, there's the Pacific!" She who spoke might
perhaps have said rather, "There are the China Seas," but they are a
part of the great Ocean which rolls its waters from Asia to America.

Singapore is on an island, at the very end of the peninsula, so that
it may be called truly "the jumping-off place." On this point of land,
but a degree and a half from the Equator, England has planted one of
those colonies by which she keeps guard along the coasts, and over the
waters, of Southern Asia. The town, which has a population of nearly a
hundred thousand, is almost wholly Chinese, but it is the English
power which is seen in the harbor filled with ships, and the fort
mounted with guns; and English taste which has laid out the streets
and squares, and erected the public buildings. This might be called
the Island of Palms, which grow here in great profusion--the tall
cocoanut palm with its slender stem, the fan palm with its broad
leaves, and many other varieties which mantle the hillsides, forming a
rich background for the European bungalows that peer out from under a
mass of tropical foliage.

Whoever goes around the world must needs pass by Singapore. It is the
one inevitable point in Asia, as San Francisco is in America. One is
sure to meet here travellers, mostly English and American, passing to
and fro, from India to China, or from China to India, making the Grand
Tour. So common are they that they cease to inspire as much awe as
Marco Polo or Capt. Cook, and have even received the nickname of
"globe-trotters," and are looked upon as quite ordinary individuals.
Singapore is a good resting-point for Americans--a convenient half-way
house--as it is almost exactly on the other side of the globe from New
York. Having "trotted" thus far, we may be allowed to rest, at least
over Sunday, before we take a new start, and sail away into the
Southern hemisphere.

FOOTNOTES:

[9] This book furnishes a good illustration of the incidental service
which missionaries--aside from the religious work they do--render to
the cause of geography, of science, and of literature. They are the
most indefatigable explorers, and the most faithful and authentic
narrators of what they see. Its full title is: "BURMAH: its People and
Natural Productions; or Notes on the Natives, Fauna, Flora, and
Minerals, of Tenasserim, Pegu, and Burmah; With systematic catalogues
of the known Mammals, Birds, Fishes, Reptiles, Insects, Mollusks,
Crustaceans, Anellides, Radiates, Plants, and Minerals, with
vernacular names." In his preface the writer says:

"No pretensions are made in this work to completeness. It is not a
book composed in the luxury of literary leisure, but a collection of
Notes [What is here so modestly called Notes, is an octavo of over 900
pages] which I have been making during the twenty years of my
residence in this country, in the corners of my time that would
otherwise have been wasted. Often to forget my weariness when
travelling, when it has been necessary to bivouac in the jungles;
while the Karens have been seeking fuel for their night-fires, or
angling for their suppers in the stream; I have occupied myself with
analyzing the flowers that were blooming around my couch; or examining
the fish that were caught; or an occasional reptile, insect, or bird,
that attracted my attention. With such occupations I have brightened
many a solitary hour; and often has the most unpromising situation
proved fruitful in interest; for 'the barren heath, with its mosses,
lichens, and insects, its stunted shrubs and pale flowers, becomes a
paradise under the eye of observation; and to the genuine thinker the
sandy beach and the arid wild are full of wonders.'"

[10] Dr. S. Wells Williams, who was familiar with Buddhism during his
forty years residence in China, says ("Middle Kingdom," Vol. II., p.
257):

"The numerous points of similarity between the rites of the Buddhists
and those of the Romish Church, early attracted attention, ... such as
the vow of celibacy in both sexes, the object of their seclusion, the
loss of hair, taking a new name and looking after the care of the
convent. There are many grounds for supposing that their favorite
goddess Kwanyin, i. e., the Hearer of Cries, called also Holy Mother,
Queen of Heaven, is only another form of Our Lady. The monastic habit,
holy water, counting rosaries to assist in prayer, the ordinances of
celibacy and fasting, and reciting masses for the dead, worship of
relics, and canonization of saints, are alike features of both sects.
Both burn candles and incense, and bells are much used in their
temples: both teach a purgatory, from which the soul can be delivered
by prayers, and use a dead language for their liturgy, and their
priests pretend to miracles. These striking resemblances led the
Romish missionaries to suppose that some of them had been derived from
the Romanists or Syrians who entered China before the twelfth century;
others referred them to St. Thomas, but Prémare ascribes them to the
devil, who had thus imitated holy mother church in order to scandalize
and oppose its rights. But as Davis observes: 'To those who admit that
most of the Romish ceremonies are borrowed directly from Paganism,
there is less difficulty in accounting for the resemblance.'"

The following scene in a Buddhist temple described by an eye-witness,
answers to what is often seen in Romish churches:

"There stood fourteen priests, seven on each side of the altar, erect,
motionless, with clasped hands and downcast eyes, their shaven heads
and flowing gray robes adding to their solemn appearance. The low and
measured tones of the slowly moving chant they were singing might have
awakened solemn emotions, and called away the thoughts from worldly
objects. Three priests kept time with the music, one beating an
immense drum, another a large iron vessel, and a third a wooden bell.
After chanting, they kneeled upon low stools, and bowed before the
colossal image of Buddha, at the same time striking their heads upon
the ground. Then rising and facing each other, they began slowly
chanting some sentences, and rapidly increasing the music and their
utterance until both were at the climax of rapidity, they diminished
in the same way until they had returned to the original measure....
The whole service forcibly reminded me of scenes in Romish chapels."

[11] Dr. Haswell died a few months after we left Burmah.



CHAPTER XXIII.

THE ISLAND OF JAVA.


Most travellers who touch at Singapore sweep round that point like a
race-horse, eager to be on the "home stretch." But in turning north,
they turn away from a beauty of which they do not dream. They know not
what islands, embowered in foliage, lie in those Southern seas--what
visions would reward them if they would but "those realms explore."
The Malayan Peninsula is a connecting link between two great divisions
of the globe; it is a bridge hundreds of miles long--a real Giants'
Causeway, reaching out from the mainland of Asia towards the Island
World beyond--a world with an interest all its own, which, now that we
were so near, attracted us to its shores. Leaving our fellow-travellers
to go on to Siam or to China, we took the steamer of the Netherlands
India Company for Java. It was a little boat of but 250 tons, but it
shot away like an arrow, and was soon flying like a sea-bird among
islands covered with palm groves. On our right was the long coast of
Sumatra. Towards evening we entered the Straits of Rhio, and in the
night crossed the Equator. When as a child I turned over the globe, I
found this line indicated by a brass ring, and rather expected that
the ship would get a thump as she passed over it; but she crossed
without a shock, or even a jar; ocean melted into ocean; the waters of
the China and the Java seas flowed together, and we were in the
Southern hemisphere.

The first thing on board which struck us strangely was that we had
lost our language. The steamer was Dutch, and the officers spoke only
Dutch. But on all these waters will be found passing to and fro
gentlemen of intelligence, holding official positions here, but who
have lived long in Europe, and who speak English or French. At Rhio we
were joined by the Resident, the highest official of that island, and
by the Inspector of Schools from Batavia; and the next day, as we
entered the Straits of Banca, by the Resident of Palembang in
Sumatra--all of whom were very polite to us as strangers. We saw them
again in Java, and when we parted, felt almost that they were not only
acquaintances, but friends. They were of course thoroughly informed
about the new world around us, and were ready to enlighten our
ignorance. We sat on deck at evening, and as they puffed their cigars
with the tranquillity of true Dutchmen, we listened to their discourse
about the islands and people of the Malayan Archipelago.

This part of the world would delight Mr. Darwin by the strange races
it contains, some of which approach the animal tribes. In the island
of Rhio the Resident assured me there were wild men who lived in
trees, and had no language but cries; and in Sumatra the Resident of
Palembang said there were men who lived in the forests, with whom not
only the Europeans, but even the Malays, could have no intercourse. He
himself had never seen one. Yet, strange to say, they have a petty
traffic with the outer world, yet not through the medium of speech.
They live in the woods, and live by the chase. They hunt tigers, not
with the gun, but with a weapon called a sumpitan, which is a long
tube, out of which they blow arrows with such force, and that are so
keen of point, and touched with such deadly poison, that a wound is
almost immediately fatal. These tiger skins or elephant tusks they
bring for barter--not for sale--they never sell anything, for money is
about the most useless thing they could have; they cannot eat it, or
drink it, or wear it. But as they have wants, they exchange; yet they
themselves are never seen. They bring what they have to the edge of
the forest, and leave it there, and the Malays come and place what
_they_ have to dispose of, and retire. If the offer is satisfactory,
when the Malays return they find what they brought gone, and take what
is left and depart. If not, they add a few trifles more to tempt the
eyes of these wild men of the woods, and so at last the exchange is
effected, yet all the while the sellers keep themselves invisible.
This mode of barter argues great honesty on both sides.

This island of Sumatra is a world in itself. The Resident of Palembang
has under him a country as large as the whole of Java. The people of
Palembang are Malays and Chinese, thousands of whom live on rafts. In
the interior of the island there are different races, speaking a dozen
different languages or dialects. But with all its population, the
greater part of the country is still given up to forest and jungle,
the home of wild beasts--of the tiger and the rhinoceros. Wild
elephants range the forests in great numbers. He had often seen them
in herds of two or three hundred. It seemed strange that they were not
tamed, as in India and Burmah. But such is not the habit of the
people, who hunt them for ivory, but never attempt to subdue them, or
use them as beasts of burden. Hence they become a great nuisance, as
they come about the villages and break into the plantations; and it is
only when a grand hunt is organized for their destruction, that a
neighborhood can be for a time rid of the pest.

But if these are uncomfortable neighbors, there are others that are
more so--the reptiles, which abound here as in India. But familiarity
breeds contempt or indifference. The people are not afraid of them,
and hardly notice them, but speak of them in an easy sort of way, as
if they were the most harmless things in nature--poor innocent
creatures, which might almost be pets in the family, and allowed to
run about the house at their will. Soberly, there are certain
domestic snakes which are indulged with these liberties. Said Mr. K.:
"I was once visiting in Sumatra, and spending a night at the house of
a friend. I heard a noise overhead, and asked, 'What is that?' 'Oh,
nothing,' they said; 'it's only the serpent.' 'What! do you keep a
family snake?' 'Yes,' they said; it was a large black snake which
frequented the house, and as it did no mischief, and hunted the rats,
they let it roam about wherever it liked." Thinking this rather a big
story, with which our friend might practise on the credulity of a
stranger, I turned to the Resident of Palembang, who confirmed it. He
said this domestication of serpents was not uncommon. There was a kind
of boa that was very useful as an exterminator of rats, and for this
purpose the good Dutch housekeepers allowed it to crawl about or to
lie coiled up in the pantry. Sometimes this interesting member of the
family was stretched out on the veranda to bask in the sun--a pleasant
object to any stranger who might be invited to accept hospitality. I
think I should have an engagement elsewhere, however pressing the
invitation. I never could "abide" snakes. From the Old Serpent down,
they have been my aversion, and I beg to decline their company, though
they should be as insinuating as the one that tempted Eve. But an
English merchant in Java afterwards assured me that "snakes were the
best gardeners; that they devoured the worms and insects and small
animals; and that for his part, he was rather pleased than otherwise
when he saw a big boa crawling among the vines or in the rice-fields."
I thought that the first instance of a serpent's gardening was in
Paradise, the effect of which was not encouraging, but there is no
disputing about tastes. He said they frequently came around the
houses, but did not often enter them, except that they were very fond
of music (the dear creatures!); and sometimes in the evening, as doors
and windows were left open for coolness, if the music was very fine, a
head might be thrust in of a guest that had not been invited.

But our conversation was not limited to this harrowing topic, but
ranged over many features of Sumatra--its scenery and climate, soil
and vegetation. It is indeed a magnificent island. Over a thousand
miles long, and with more square miles than Great Britain and Ireland
together, it is large enough for a kingdom. In some parts the scenery
is as grand as that of Switzerland. Along the western coast is a range
of mountains like the Alps (some peaks are 15,000 feet high), among
which is set many an Alpine valley, with its glistening lake. That
coast is indented with bays, on one of which is the Dutch capital,
Padang. East of the mountains the island spreads out into vast plains,
watered by noble rivers. The soil is very rich, yielding all the
fruits of the tropics in great abundance. The tobacco especially is of
a much finer quality than that of Java, and brings twice as much in
the market. This fertility will attract population both from Asia and
from Europe, and under a good government this island may yet be the
seat of an empire worthy of its greatness.

But just now the Dutch have a task to bring it into subjection. They
have an enemy in the North harder to subdue than tigers and wild
elephants. These are the terrible Malays, against whom has been kept
up for years the war in Acheen--a war waged with such deadly and
unrelenting hate and fury, that it has taken on a character of
ferocity. Of the right or wrong of this savage contest, I cannot
judge, for I hear only one side of the story. I am told that the
Malays are a race of pirates, with whom it is impossible to live in
good neighborhood, and that there can be no peace till they are
subdued. At the same time, one cannot refuse a degree of sympathy even
to savages who defend their own country, and who fight with such
conspicuous bravery. To this all the Dutch officers bore testimony,
saying that they fought "like devils." The Malays are very much like
our American Indians, both in features and in character--a proud,
high-spirited race, capable of any act of courage or devotion, but
full of that hot blood that resents an insult. "If you have a Malay
servant," I heard often in the East, "you may scold him or send him
away, but _never strike_ him, for that is an indignity which he feels
more than a wound; which he never forgets or forgives; but which, if
he has an opportunity, he will avenge with blood." Such a people, when
they come into battle, sacrifice their lives without a moment's
hesitation. They have a great advantage, as they are in their own
territory, and can choose their own time and place of attack, or keep
out of the way, leaving the enemy to be worn out by the hot climate
and by disease. Of course if the Dutch could once bring them within
range of their guns, or entice them into a pitched battle, European
skill and discipline would be victorious. But the Malays are too wary
and active; they hide in the fastnesses of the hills, and start up
here and there in unexpected quarters, and after a sudden dash, fly to
the mountains. They have a powerful ally in the pestilential climate,
which brings on those deadly fevers that kill more than perish in
battle. Such a war may drag on for years, during which the Dutch
territory will not extend much beyond the places occupied by troops,
or the ports defended by the guns of the fleet. If the Dutch hold on
with their proverbial tenacity, they may conquer in the end, though at
an immense cost in treasure and in life. If the Malays are once
subdued, and by a wise and lenient policy converted to some degree of
loyalty, they may prove, like the Sikhs in India, the brave defenders
of the power against which they fought so well.

With such conversation to lighten the hours, they did not seem long,
as we were running through the Java Sea. On the third day from
Singapore, we came among the Thousand Islands, and in the afternoon
descried on the horizon the mountains of Java, and just at sunset were
in the roads of Batavia. There is no harbor, but an open roadstead;
and here a whole fleet of ships were riding at anchor--ships of war
and merchant ships from all parts of the world. It was two or three
miles from the quay, but as the evening drew on, we could see lights
along the shore; and at eight o'clock, just as the gun was fired from
the flagship of the Dutch Admiral, we put off in a native boat, manned
by a Malay crew. It was a beautiful moonlight night, and we seemed to
be floating in a dream, as our swarthy boatmen bent to their oars, and
we glided silently over a tropical sea to this unknown shore.

At the Custom House a dark-skinned official, whose buttons gave him a
military air, received us with dignity, and demanded if we had
"pistolets," and being satisfied that we were not attempting an armed
invasion of the island, gave but a glance at our trunks, and politely
bowed us to a carriage that was standing outside the gates, and away
we rattled through the streets of Batavia to the Hotel Nederland.

The next morning at an early hour we were riding about to "take our
bearings" and adjust ourselves to the situation. If we had not known
where we were, but only that we were in some distant part of the
world, we could soon guess that we were in a Dutch rather than in an
English colony. Here were the inevitable canals which the Dutch carry
with them to all parts of the earth. The city is intersected by these
watery streets, and the boats in them might be lying at the quays of
Rotterdam or Amsterdam. The city reminds us a good deal of the Hague,
in its broad streets lined with trees, and its houses, which have a
substantial Dutch look, as if they were built for comfort and not for
show. They are low and large, spreading out over a great deal of
surface, but not towering ambitiously upwards. A pretty sight it was
to see these fine old mansions, standing back from the street, with
ample space around them, embowered in trees and shrubbery, with lawns
and gardens kept in perfect order; and with all the doors and windows
wide open, through which we could see the breakfast tables spread, as
if to invite even strangers, such as we were, to enter and share their
hospitality. Before we left Java, we were guests in one of these
mansions, and found that Dutch hospitality was not merely in name.

Among the ornaments of the city are two large and handsome public
squares--the King's Plain and Waterloo Plain. The latter name reminds
us that the Dutch had a part in the battle of Waterloo. With
pardonable pride they are persuaded that the contingent which they
contributed to the army of Wellington had no small part in deciding
the issue of that terrible day, and they thus commemorate _their_
victory. This plain is used as a parade-ground, and the Dutch cavalry
charge over it with ardor, inspired by such heroic memories.

It may surprise some of my readers accustomed to our new American
cities, to learn how old is Batavia. About the time that the Pilgrim
Fathers sailed from Holland, another expedition from the same country
carried the Dutch flag to the other side of the world, and Batavia was
settled the year before the landing on Plymouth Rock. Of course it was
a very small beginning of their power in the East, but slowly the
petty trading settlement grew into a colony, and its territory was
extended by degrees till, more than a hundred years after, it took in
the whole island. In the old palace on Waterloo Plain, now used as a
museum, are the portraits of Dutch governors who have ruled here for
two hundred and fifty years.

But the capital of Java--at least the residence of the
Governor-General--is not at Batavia, but at Buitenzorg, nearly forty
miles in the interior, to which one can go by railroad in two hours.
As we took our seats in the carriage we had the good fortune to meet
Mr. Fraser, an English merchant, who has lived many years in Java, and
is well known and highly respected throughout the island, who gave us
information of the country over which we were passing. The plains
near the sea had at this time an appearance of great beauty. They were
laid out in rice fields which have a more vivid color than fields of
grain, and now shone with an emerald green. It was the time of the
gathering of the harvest, and the fields were filled with reapers, men
and women, young men and maidens. But one hears not the click of the
reaper. I am told that the attempt to introduce a mowing machine or a
patent reaper would make a revolution in the island. All the rice of
Java is cut by hand, and not even with the sickle, which is an
instrument much too coarse for this dainty work, but with a knife
three or four inches long, so that the spears are clipped as with a
pair of scissors. Taking a few blades gently, they cut them off, and
when they have a handful bind it in a tiny sheaf about as large as a
bunch of asparagus. When they have cut and bound up five, one is laid
aside for the landlord and four go to the cultivators.

This slow progress might make a young American farmer very impatient.
Perhaps not, if he knew all the charms of the rice field, which might
make a country swain quite willing to linger. Mr. Fraser explained
that this season was the time, and the rice field the scene, of the
matrimonial engagements made during the year! Ah, now it is all
explained. Who can wonder that the gentle reapers linger over the rice
blades while they are proposing or answering questions on which their
whole life may depend? No doubt in merry England it has often happened
that hay-making and love-making have gone on in the fields together.
And we cannot wonder that such rural arts should be known in a land
warmed by a tropical sun.

But the food of the natives is not found in the rice fields alone; it
is brought down from the top of the cocoanut palm, and drawn up from
the bottom of caves of the earth. "Do you see yonder small mountain?"
said Mr. F. "That is a famous hunting-ground for the edible birds'
nests, which are esteemed such a delicacy by the Chinese. The birds
are swallows and build their nests in caves, into which the hunters
are let down by long bamboo ropes, and drawn up laden with spoil. So
great has been the yield, and so highly prized, that the product of
that hill exported to China in one year returned a profit of £4,000.
Of late this has been much reduced, owing to the diminished
production, or that the Chinese are not ready to pay so much for such
dainty luxuries."

At Buitenzorg the low land of the coast is exchanged for the hills. We
are at the foot of the range of mountains which forms the backbone of
the island. To give an idea of the character of the scenery, let me
sketch a picture from my own door in the Bellevue Hotel. The rooms, as
in all tropical climates, open on a broad veranda. Here, stretched in
one of the easy chairs made of bamboo, we look out upon a scene which
might be in Switzerland, so many features has it which are Alpine in
their character. The hotel stands on a projecting shelf of rock or
spur of a hill, overlooking a deep gorge, through which flows, or
rather rushes, a foaming mountain torrent, whose ceaseless murmurs
come up from below; while in front, only three or four miles distant,
rises the broad breast of a mountain, very much like the lower summits
or foothills of the Alps, which hang over many a sequestered vale in
Switzerland or in the Tyrol.

But here the resemblance ends. For as we descend from the broad
outlines of the landscape to closer details, it changes from the
rugged features of an Alpine pass, and takes its true tropical
character. There are no snow-clad peaks, for we are almost under the
Equator. The scene might be in the Andes rather than in the Alps. The
mountain before us, the Salak, is a volcano, though not now in action.
As we look down from our perch, the eye rests upon a forest such as is
never seen in the Alps. Here are no dark pines, such as clothe the
sides of the vale of Chamouni. In the foreground, on the river bank,
at the foot of the hill, is a cluster of native huts, half hidden by
long feathery bamboos and broad-leaved palms. The forest seems to be
made up of palms of every variety--the cocoanut palm, the sago palm,
and the sugar palm, with which are mingled the bread-fruit tree, and
the nutmeg, and the banana; and not least of all, the _cinchona_,
lately imported from South American forests, which yields the famous
Peruvian bark. The attempt to acclimatize this shrub, so precious in
medicine, has been completely successful, so that the quinine of Java
is said to be even better than that of South America. In the middle
distance are the rice fields, with their intense green, and farther,
on the side of the mountain, are the coffee plantations, for which
Java is so famous.

Buitenzorg has a Botanical Garden, the finest by far to be found out
of Europe, and the richest in the world in the special department of
tropical plants and trees. All that the tropics pour from their
bounteous stores; all those forms of vegetable life created by the
mighty rains and mightier sun of the Equator--gigantic ferns, like
trees, and innumerable orchids (plants that live on air)--are here in
countless profusion. One of the glories of the Garden is an
india-rubber tree of great size, which spreads out its arms like an
English oak, but dropping shoots here and there (for it is a species
of banyan) which take root and spring up again, so that the tree
broadens its shade, and as the leaves are thick and tough as leather,
offers a shield against even the vertical sun. There are hundreds of
varieties of palms--African and South American--some of enormous
height and breadth, which, as we walked under their shade, seemed
almost worthy to stand on the banks of the River of Life.

Such a vast collection offers an attraction like the Garden of Plants
in Paris. I met here the Italian naturalist Beccari, who was spending
some weeks at Buitenzorg to make a study of a garden in which he had
the whole tropics in a space of perhaps a hundred acres. He has spent
the last eight years of his life in the Malayan Archipelago, dividing
his time, except a few months in the Moluccas, between Borneo and New
Guinea. The latter island he considered richer in its fauna and flora
than any other equal spot on the surface of the globe, with many
species of plants and animals unknown elsewhere. He had his own boat,
and sailed along the coast and up the rivers at his will. He
penetrated into the forest and the jungle, living among savages, and
for the time adopting their habits of life, not perhaps dressing in
skins, but sleeping in their huts or on the ground, and living on
their food and such game as he could get with his gun. He laughed at
the dangers. He was not afraid of savages or wild beasts or reptiles.
Indeed he lived in such close companionship with the animal kingdom
that he got to be in very intimate, not to say amicable, relations;
and to hear him talk of his friends of the forest, one would think he
would almost beg pardon of a beast that he was obliged to shoot and
stuff in the interest of science. He complained only that he could not
find enough of them. Snakes he "doted on," and if he espied a monster
coiling round a tree, or hanging from the branches, his heart leaped
up as one who had found great spoil, for he thought how its glistening
scales would shine in his collection. I was much entertained by his
adventures. He left us one morning in company with our host Carlo, who
is a famous hunter, on an expedition after the rhinoceros--a royal
game, which abounds in the woods of Java.

The beauty of this island is not confined to one part of it. As yet we
have seen only Western Java, and but little of that. But there is
Middle Java and Eastern Java. The island is very much like Cuba in
shape--long and narrow, being near seven hundred miles one way, and
less than a hundred the other. Thus it is a great breakwater dividing
the Java Sea from the Indian Ocean. To see its general configuration,
one needs to sail along the coast to get a distant view; and then, to
appreciate the peculiar character of its scenery, he should make
excursions into the interior. The Residents of Rhio and Palembang
called to see us and made out an itinéraire; and Mr. Levyssohn Norman,
the Secretary General, to whom I brought a letter from a Dutch officer
whom we met at Naples, gave me letters to the Residents in Middle
Java. Thus furnished we returned to Batavia, and took the steamer for
Samarang--two days' sail to the eastward along the northern shore. As
we put out to sea a few miles, we get the general figure of the
island. The great feature in the view is the mountains, a few miles
from the coast, some of which are ten and twelve thousand feet high,
which make the background of the picture, whose peculiar outline is
derived from their volcanic character. Java lies in what may be called
a volcano belt, which is just under the Equator, and reaches not only
through Java, but through the islands of Bali and Lombok to the
Moluccas. Instead of one long chain of equal elevation in every part,
or a succession of smooth, rounded domes, there is a number of sharp
peaks thrown up by internal fires. Thus the sky line is changing every
league. European travellers are familiar with the cone-like shape of
Vesuvius, overlooking the Bay of Naples. Here is the same form,
repeated nearly forty times, as there are thirty-eight volcanoes in
the island. Around the Bay of Samarang are nine in one view! Some of
them are still active, and from time to time burst out in fearful
eruptions; but just now they are not in an angry mood, but smoking
peacefully, only a faint vapor, like a fleecy cloud, curling up
against the sky. All who have made the ascent of Vesuvius, remember
that its cone is a blackened mass of ashes and scoriæ. But a volcano
here is not left to be such a picture of desolation. Nature, as if
weary of ruin, and wishing to hide the rents she has made, has mantled
its sides with the richest tropical vegetation. As we stand on the
deck of our ship, and look landward, the mountains are seen to be
covered near their base with forests of palms; while along their
breasts float belts of light cloud, above which the peaks soar into
the blue heavens.

At the eastern end of the island, near Souraboya, there is a volcano
with the largest crater in the world, except that of Kilaccea in the
Sandwich Islands. It is three miles across, and is filled with a sea
of sand. Descending into this broad space, and wading through the
sand, as if on the desert, one comes to a new crater in the centre, a
thousand feet wide, which is always smoking. This the natives regard
with superstitious dread, as a sign that the powers below are in a
state of anger; and once a year they go in crowds to the mountain,
dragging a bullock, which is thrown alive into the crater, with other
offerings, to appease the wrath of the demon, who is raging and
thundering below.

Wednesday morning brought us to Samarang, the chief port of Middle, as
Batavia is of Western, and Sourabaya of Eastern Java. As we drew up to
the shore, the quay was lined with soldiers, who were going off to the
war in Acheen. The regiments intended for that service are brought
first to Java, to get acclimated before they are exposed to what would
be fatal to fresh European troops. These were now in fine condition,
and made a brave sight, drawn up in rank, with the band playing, and
the people shouting and cheering. This is the glittering side of war.
But, poor fellows! they have hard times before them, of which they do
not dream. It is not the enemy they need to fear, but the hot climate
and the jungle fever, which will be more deadly than the kris of the
Malay. These soldiers are not all Dutch; some are French. On our
return to Batavia, the steamer carried down another detachment, in
which I found a couple of French zouaves (there may have been others),
one of whom told me he had been in the surrender at Sedan, and the
other had taken part in the siege of Paris. After their terms had
expired in the French army, they enlisted in the Dutch service, and
embarked for the other side of the world, to fight in a cause which is
not their own. I fear they will never see France again, but will leave
their bones in the jungles of Sumatra.

But our thoughts are not of war, but of peace, as we ride through the
long Dutch town, so picturesquely situated between the mountains and
the sea, and take the railway for the interior. We soon leave the
lowlands of the coast, and penetrate the forests, and wind among the
hills. Our first stop is at Solo, which is an Imperial residence. It
is a curious relic of the old native governments of Java, that though
the Dutch are complete masters, there are still left in the island an
Emperor and a Sultan, who are allowed to retain their lofty titles,
surrounded with an Imperial etiquette. The Emperor of Solo lives in
his "Kraton," which is what the Seraglio is among the Turks, a large
enclosure in which is the palace. He has a guard of a few hundred men,
who gratify his vanity, and enable him to spend his money in keeping a
number of idle retainers; but there is a Dutch Resident close at hand,
without whose permission he cannot leave the district, and hardly his
own grounds; while in the very centre of the town is a fort, with guns
mounted, pointing towards his palace, which it could soon blow about
his ears. Thus "protected," he is little better than a State prisoner.
But he keeps his title "during good behavior," and once a year turns
out in grand state, to make an official visit to the Resident, who
receives him with great distinction; and having thus "marched up the
hill," he "marches down again." We had a letter to the Resident, and
hoped to pay our respects to his Majesty, but learned that it would
require several days to arrange an audience. It is a part of the Court
dignity which surrounds such a potentate, that he should not be easily
accessible, and we should be sorry to disturb the harmless illusion.

But if we did not see the "lion" of Solo, we saw the tigers, which
were perhaps quite as well worth seeing. The Emperor, amid the
diversions with which he occupies his royal mind, likes to entertain
his military and official visitors with something better than a
Spanish bull-fight, namely, a tiger-fight with a bull or a buffalo, or
with men, for which he has a number of trained native spearmen. For
these combats his hunters trap tigers in the mountains; and in a
building made of heavy timbers fitted close together, with only space
between for light and air, were half a dozen of them in reserve. They
were magnificent beasts; not whelped in a cage and half subdued by
long captivity, like the sleek creatures of our menageries and
zoölogical gardens; but the real kings of the forest, caught when full
grown (some but a few weeks before), and who roared as in their native
wilds. It was terrific to see the glare of their eyes, and to hear the
mutterings of their rage. One could not look at them, even through
their strong bars, without a shudder. A gentleman of Java told me that
he had once caught in the mountains a couple of tigers in a pit, but
that as he approached it, their roaring was so terrific, as they
bounded against the sides of the pit, that it required all his courage
to master a feeling of indescribable terror.

Adjoining the dominion of Solo is that of Jookja, where, instead of an
Emperor, is a Sultan, not quite so great a potentate as the former,
but who has his chateau and his military guard, and goes through the
same performance of playing the king. The Dutch Resident has a very
handsome palace, with lofty halls, where on state occasions he
receives the Sultan with becoming dignity--a mark of deference made
all the more touching by the guns of the fort, which, from the centre
of the town, keep a friendly watch for the least sign of rebellion.

This part of Middle Java is very rich in sugar plantations. One
manufactory which we visited was said to yield a profit of $400,000 a
year. Nor is this the product of slave labor, like the sugar of Cuba.
Yet it is not altogether free labor. There is a peculiar system in
Java by which the government, which is the owner of the land, in
renting an estate to a planter, rents those who live on it with the
estate. It guarantees him sufficient labor to work his plantation. The
people are obliged to labor. This is exacted partly as a due to the
government, amounting to one or two days in the week. For the rest of
the time they are paid small wages. But they cannot leave their
employer at will. There is no such absolute freedom as that which is
said to have ruined Jamaica, where the negro may throw down his tools
and quit work at the very moment when the planter is saving his crop.
The government compels him to labor, but it also compels his master to
pay him. The system works well in Java. Laborers are kept busy, the
lands are cultivated, and the production is enormous--not only making
the planters rich, but yielding a large revenue to Holland.

At Jookja the railroad ends. Further excursions into the country must
be by a private carriage. Some thirty miles distant is an ancient
ruin, which is in Java what the Great Pyramid is in Egypt, with which
it is often compared. To reach this, we ordered a carriage for the
next morning. Probably the landlord thought he had a Milord Anglais
for his guest, who must make his progress through the island with
royal magnificence; for, when we rose very early for our ride, we
found in front of the door a huge carriage with _six horses_! The
horses of Java are small, but full of spirit, like the Canadian
ponies. On the box was a fat coachman, who outweighed both of us
inside. Behind us stood two fellows of a lighter build, whose high
office it was to urge our gallant steeds by voice and lash to their
utmost speed. They were dressed in striped jackets, like
circus-riders, and were as agile as cats. Whenever the mighty chariot
lagged a little, they leaped to the ground, and running forward with
extraordinary swiftness, shouted and lashed the horses till, with
their goadings and their cries, the beasts, driven to madness, reared
and plunged and raced forward so wildly, that we almost expected to be
dashed in pieces. Such is the price of glory! What grandeur was this!
When we were in Egypt, riding about the streets of Cairo with two
"syces" (servants dressed in white, who run before a carriage to clear
the way), I felt like Joseph riding in Pharaoh's chariot. But now I
felt as if I were Pharaoh himself.

Our route was through long avenues of trees, of palms and bamboos. The
roads, as everywhere in Java, are excellent, smooth as a floor,
solidly built, and well kept. To construct such roads, and keep them
in repair, must be a work of great difficulty, as in the rainy season
the floods come in such force as would sweep away any but those which
are firmly bedded. These roads are said to be owing to a famous Dutch
governor, Marshal Dændels, who ruled here in the early part of this
century. According to tradition he was a man of tremendous will, which
he enforced with arbitrary and despotic authority. He laid out a
system of highways, and assigned to certain native officers each his
portion to build. Knowing that things moved slowly in these Eastern
countries, and that the officers in charge might try to make excuses
for delay, he added a gentle admonition that he should hold each man
responsible; and by way of quickening their sense of duty, he erected
gibbets at convenient intervals along the road, and if an official
failed to "come to time," he simply had him executed. The spectacle of
a few of these native gentry hanging by the roadside had such an
enlivening effect on the Javanese imagination, that the roads were
built as if by magic. Perhaps the system might be applied with
excellent effect to "contractors" in other parts of the world!

But on the best roads this speed could not be kept up for a long time.
The stages were short, the relays being but five miles apart. Every
three-quarters of an hour we changed horses. The stations were built
over the roads, something in the style of an old-fashioned turnpike
gate; so that we drove under the shelter, and the horses, dripping
with foam, were slipped out of the carriage, and left to cool under
the shade of the trees, or rolled over in the dust, delighted to be
free.

As we advanced, our route wound among the hills. On our right was
Merapé, one of the great mountains of Java--his top smoking gently,
while rice-fields came up to his foot. This middle part of the island
is called the Garden of Java, and it might be called one of the
gardens of the world. Nowhere in Europe, not even in Lombardy nor in
England, have I seen a richer country. Every foot of ground is in a
high state of cultivation. Not only are the plains and valleys covered
with rice-fields, but the hills are terraced to admit of carrying the
culture far up their sides. Here, as in Western Java, it was the time
of the harvest, and the fields were filled with joyous reapers. To
this perfect tilling of the earth it is due that this island is one of
the most populous portions of the globe. The country literally swarms
with inhabitants, as a hive swarms with bees; but so few are their
wants, that everybody seems to "live and be merry." We passed through
a number of villages which, though the dwellings were of the rudest,
yet had a pretty look, as they were embowered in foliage of palms and
bamboos. As the country grew more hilly, our progress was not so
swift. Sometimes we went down a steep bank to cross a river on a boat,
and then it was not an easy task to draw up the carriage on the
opposite bank, and we had to call on Cæsar for help. Almost a whole
village would turn out. At one time I counted eighteen men pushing and
tugging at our wheels, of course with no eye to the small coin that
was scattered among them when the top of the bank was reached. So
great was the load of dignity we bore!

At noon we reached the object of our journey in the famous ruins of
Borobodo. Sir Stamford Raffles says that all the labor expended on the
Pyramids of Egypt sinks into insignificance when compared with that
bestowed on the grand architectural remains of Java; but after seeing
this, the greatest on the island, his estimate seems to me very
extravagant. This is much smaller than the Great Pyramid, in the space
of ground which it covers, and lower in height, and altogether less
imposing. But without making comparisons, it is certainly a wonderful
pile. It is a pyramid in shape, some four hundred feet square, and
nine stories high, being ascended by a series of gigantic steps or
terraces. That it was built for Buddhist worship is evident from the
figures of Buddha which cover its sides. It is the monument not only
of an ancient religion, but of an extinct civilization, of a mighty
empire once throned on this island, which has left remains like those
of ancient Egypt. What a population and what power must have been here
ages ago, to rear such a structure! One can imagine the people
gathered at great festivals in numbers such as now assemble at
pilgrimages in India. Doubtless this hill of stone was often black
with human beings (for as many could stand on its sides as could be
gathered in the Coliseum at Rome), while on the open plain in front,
stretching to a mountain in the background, a nation might have
encamped, like the Israelites before Sinai, to receive the law. But
the temple is in ruins, and there is no gathering of the people for
worship any more. The religion of the island is changed. Buddhism has
passed away, and Islam has taken its place, to pass away in its turn.
It was Good Friday, in 1876, that I stood on the top of this pyramid,
and thought of Him who on this day suffered for mankind, and whose
religion is yet to possess the world. When it has conquered Asia, it
will cross the sea, and take this beautiful island, from which it may
pass on to the mainland of the continent of Australia.

In such musings we lingered for hours, wandering about the ruins and
enjoying the landscape, which is one of the most beautiful we have
seen in all our travels--the wide sweep in the foreground reminding us
of the view from Stirling Castle in Scotland.

But the carriage is waiting, and once more the driver cracks his whip,
his horses prance, and away we fly along the roads, through the
valleys, and over the hills. At evening we reached Magellang, the
centre of one of the districts into which Java is divided, and a town
of some importance. It is a curious geographical fact that it stands
exactly in the centre of the island. One spot is called the Navel of
Java. The Javanese think a certain hill is the head of a great nail,
which is driven into the earth and holds the island firm in its place.
If this be so, it is strange that it does not keep it more quiet. For
if we may use the language of the brokers, we might say with truth
that in Java "real estate is active," since it is well shaken up once
or twice a year with earthquakes, and is all the time smouldering with
volcanoes.

But however agitated underground, the country is very beautiful above
it. Here as in all the places where the Dutch "most do congregate,"
there is a mixture of European civilization with the easy and
luxurious ways of the East. Some of the villages are as pretty as any
in our own New England, and reminded us of those in the Connecticut
valley, being laid out with a broad open square or common in the
centre, which is shaded by magnificent trees, and surrounded by
beautiful residences, whose broad verandas and open doors give a most
inviting picture of domestic comfort and generous hospitality. There
is a club-house for the officers, and music by the military band. The
Residents always live very handsomely. They are the great men in every
district. Each one has a spacious residence, with a military guard,
and a salary of six or eight thousand dollars a year, with extras for
the expense of entertaining or of travelling, and a liberal pension
at the close of twenty years of service.

Magellang is marked with a white stone in our memories of Java, as it
was the scene of a novel experience. When we drove into the town, we
found the hotel full, which obliged us to fall back upon our letter to
the Resident. He was absent, but his secretary at once took us in
hand, and requested the "Regent" (a native prince who holds office
under the Dutch government, and has special oversight of the native
population) to entertain us. He responded in the most courteous
manner, so that, instead of being lodged at a hotel, we were received
as guests in a princely residence. His "palace" was in the Eastern
style, of but one story (as are most of the buildings in Java, on
account of earthquakes), but spread out over a large surface, with
rows of columns supporting its ample roof, presenting in front in its
open colonnade what might be regarded as a spacious hall of audience;
and furnishing in its deep recesses a cool retreat from the heat of
the tropical sun. A native guard pacing before the door indicated the
official character of the occupant. The Regent received us with
dignity, but with great cordiality. He was attired in the rich costume
of the East. His feet were without stockings, but encased in richly
embroidered sandals. He could speak no English, and but a few words of
French--only Malay, Dutch, and Javanese. But he sent for a gentleman
to dine, who was of Spanish descent, and who, though a native of Java,
and had never been out of it, yet spoke both French and English, and
thus we were able to converse.

The Regent had a wife, and after a time she entered the hall, and
welcomed my niece with a cordiality almost like that of two
school-girls meeting. She was simply dressed, in the lightest costume,
with bare feet, but in gold-embroidered slippers. Everything in her
attire was very plain, except that her ears were hung with diamonds
that fairly dazzled us with their brilliancy. She began talking with
great volubility, and seemed not quite to comprehend why it was that
we did not understand Malay or Javanese. However, with the help of our
interpreter, we got along, and were soon in the most confidential
relations. She had very vague ideas of the part of the world we came
from. We tried to make her understand that the world was round, and
that we lived on the other side of the globe. We asked why the Regent
did not go abroad to see the world? But she signified with a peculiar
gesture, as if counting with her fingers, that it took a great deal of
money. She asked "if we were rich," to which we replied modestly that
we had enough for our wants. As she talked of family matters, she
informed us that her lord had another wife. Of this she spoke without
the least reserve. It was quite natural that he should desire this.
She (his first wife) had been married to him over twenty years, and
was getting a little _passée_, and he needed a young face to make the
house bright and gay. Presently the second wife entered, and we were
presented to her. She was very young--I should think not twenty years
of age. Evidently the elder occupied the first place in the household,
and the younger took the second. They seemed to stand in a kind of
sisterly relation to each other, without the slightest feeling of
jealousy between them. Both were very pretty, after the Malayan
type--that is, with mild, soft eyes, and skins, not black, like
Africans, but of a rich brown color. They would have been even
beautiful if they had had also, what the Africans so often have,
dazzling white teeth; but this is prevented by the constant chewing of
the betel-nut and tobacco.

At half-past eight o'clock we went to dinner. C---- had the honor of
sitting between the two wives, and enjoyed the courtesy of both, who
prepared fruit for her, and by many little attentions, such as are
understood in all parts of the world, showed that they belonged to the
true sisterhood of woman. The position of woman in Java is somewhat
peculiar. The people are Mohammedans, and yet the women are not
secluded, nor do they veil their faces; they receive strangers in
their houses and at their tables; thus they have much greater freedom
than their sisters in Turkey or Egypt. The Regent, being a Mussulman,
did not take wine, though he provided it for his guests. After the
dinner, coffee was served, of a rich, delicious flavor--for Java is
the land of coffee--followed by the inevitable cigar. I do not smoke,
but could not allow my refusal to interfere with the habits of those
whose guest I was, and could but admire the ineffable satisfaction
with which the Regent and his friend puffed the fragrant weed. While
they were thus wreathed in clouds, and floating in a perfect Nirvana
of material enjoyment, the gentler sex were not forgotten. The two
wives took their pleasure in their own fashion. A small box, like a
tea-caddy, was brought on the table, full of little silver cups and
cases, containing leaves of the betel-nut, and spices, cassia and
gambier, a little lime, and a cup of the finest tobacco. Out of these
they prepared a delicate morsel for their lips. With her own dainty
fingers, each rolled up a leaf of the betel-nut, enclosing in it
several kinds of spices, and filling it with a good pinch of tobacco,
which, our Spanish friend explained, was not so much for the taste, as
to make the morsel plump and round, large enough to fill the mouth
(or, as a wine-taster would say of his favorite madeira or port, to
give it sufficient _body_); and also, he added, it was to clean the
teeth, and to give an aromatic fragrance to the breath! I repeat, as
exactly as I can recall them, his very words.

Whether the precious compound had all these virtues, certainly these
courtly dames took it with infinite relish, and rolled it as a sweet
morsel under their tongues, and looked on their lord with no jealousy
of his enjoyment of his cigar.

Here was a picture of conjugal felicity. The family was evidently an
affectionate and happy one. The Regent loved both his wives, and they
sat side by side without envy or uncharitableness, happy in the
sunshine of his face, and chewed their betel-nut with a composure, an
aspect of tranquil enjoyment, which many in more civilized countries
may admire, but cannot equal.

In the morning, when the family came together, I remarked that the
first wife, who then apparently saw her husband for the first time,
came forward, and bending low, kissed his jewelled hand; and soon
after the second wife entered, and kissed the first wife's hand, thus
observing that natural order of precedence which is so beautiful in
every well-regulated family.

I observed also with curious interest the relations of master and
servant in this Oriental household. The divisions are very marked. The
Regent, for example, is regarded by his retainers with an awe as if he
were a sacred person. No one approaches him standing. The theory is,
that no inferior must ever be in a position or attitude where his head
is higher than his master's. If the Regent but looks at a man, he
drops as if shot with a bullet. If a servant wishes to communicate
with his master, he falls, not on his knees, but on his haunches, and
in this posture shuffles forward till he comes behind his chair, and
meekly whispers a word into his ear. He receives his orders, and then
shuffles back again. In one way, the division of ranks in Java is more
marked even than that of castes in India. The Javanese language, which
is a branch of the Malay, has three separate forms of speech--one,
that used by a superior addressing an inferior; second, that of an
inferior addressing a superior; and a third, that used between equals.
Such divisions would seem to cut off all relations between those of
different rank. And yet, with all this stooping and bowing, abject as
it seems to us, the relation of the master to his dependants is rather
patriarchal; and to these same servants the Regent will speak, not
only kindly, but familiarly, all the more so as the lines are so
drawn that there is no danger that they should ever presume on undue
familiarity.

In the morning the Regent took me out for a ramble. We strolled along
under the trees, admiring the beauty of the country. After half an
hour's walk, suddenly, like an apparition, an open phaeton stood
beside us, with two beautiful ponies, into which the Regent invited me
to step, and taking his seat by my side, drove me about the town. We
returned for breakfast, and then he sent for his musicians to give us
a performance, who, beating on drums and other native instruments,
executed a plaintive kind of music. With such attentions did this
Javanese prince and his wives (none of whom we had ever seen till a
few hours before, and on whom we had no claim whatever) win our hearts
by their kindness, so that, when the carriage came round to the door,
we were sorry to depart. The Regent pressed us to stay a month, or as
long as we would. We could not accept a longer hospitality; but we
shall remember that which we had. We keep his photograph, with others
which we like to look upon; and if these words can reach the other
side of the world, they will tell him that his American friends have
not forgotten, and will not forget, the kind manner in which they were
entertained in the island of Java by the Regent of Magellang.

The drive of to-day was hardly less interesting than that of
yesterday, although our pride had a fall. It was a great come-down,
after riding with six horses to be reduced to four! But the
mortification was relieved by adding now and then, at the steep
places, a pair of buffaloes. As we were still in the hill country, we
were all day among the coffee plantations, which thrive best at a
considerable elevation above the sea. Other products of the island
flourished around us in rich abundance: the spices--aloes and cassia,
and nutmeg and pepper. And there was our old friend, the peanut. They
were gathering perhaps the very nuts that were yet to ornament the
stands of the apple-women of New York, and to be a temptation to
bootblacks and newsboys. Amid such fields and forests, over mountain
roads, and listening to the roar of mountain streams, we came down to
Ambarrawa, a place of note in Java, as containing the strongest
fortress in the island. It is planted here right in the heart of
Middle Java, where, half a century ago, was a formidable insurrection,
which was quelled only after an obstinate contest, lasting five
years--from 1825 to 1830. Ambarrawa is connected by railroad with
Samarang. It is easy to see that both the railroads which start from
that point, and which have thus a base on the sea (the one leading to
Solo and Jookja, the residences of the Emperor and the Sultan, who
might make trouble, and the other to the great fortress of Ambarrawa),
have been constructed with a military as well as a commercial purpose.

So the Dutch have had their wars in Java, as the English have had in
India; but having conquered, it must be said that on the whole they
have ruled wisely and well. The best proof of this is the perfect
tranquillity that reigns everywhere, and that with no great display of
armed force. What a contrast in this respect between the two most
important islands in the East and West Indies--Java and Cuba! They are
about equal in the number of square miles. Both have been settled by
Europeans for nearly three centuries, and yet to-day Cuba has less
than two millions of inhabitants, and is in a chronic state of
insurrection; while Java has over fifteen millions (or eight times as
many), and is as quiet as Holland itself. The whole story is told in
one word--the one is Dutch rule, and the other is Spanish rule.

We spent our Easter in Samarang--a day which is not forgotten in this
part of the world, although Sunday is not observed after the manner of
Scotland or New England, but rather of Continental Europe, with bands
playing on the public square, and all the European world abroad
keeping holiday. From Samarang, another two days' sail along the same
northern coast, with the grand outline of mountains on the horizon,
brought us back to Batavia.

Batavia was not the same to us on the second visit as on the first; or
rather it was a great deal more, for now we knew the place, the
streets were familiar, and we felt at home--the more so as a Scotch
gentleman, to whom we brought a letter from Singapore, Mr. James Greig
(of the old house of Syme, Pitcairn & Co., so well known in the East),
took us in charge, and carried us off to one of those large mansions
which we had so much admired on our former visit, set far back from
the street, and surrounded with trees; and constructed especially for
this climate, with spacious rooms, wide hall, high ceilings, and broad
veranda, and all the devices for mitigating the heat of the tropics.
More than all, this hospitable mansion was lighted up by the sweetest
feminine presence in one who, though of an old Dutch family well known
in Java, had been educated in Paris, and spoke English and French, as
well as Dutch and Malay, and who gave us such a welcome as made us
feel that we were not strangers. Not only did these friends open their
house to us, but devoted themselves till our departure in going about
with us, and making our visit pleasant. I do not know whether to call
this Scotch or Dutch hospitality, but it was certainly of the most
delightful kind.

As we had three or four days before the sailing of the French steamer
for Singapore, our friends planned an excursion into the mountains of
Western Java, for which we returned to Buitenzorg, and engaged a
couple of _cahars_, carriages as light as if made of wicker-work, with
the small Javanese ponies, and thus mounted, began to climb the hills.
Our route was over the great post-road, which runs through the island
to Souraboya--a road which must have been constructed with immense
labor, as it passes over high mountains, but which is as solidly built
and as well kept as Napoleon's great road over the Simplon Pass of the
Alps. Indeed it is very much the same, having a rocky bed for its
foundation, with a macadamized surface, over which the carriage rolls
smoothly. But it does not climb so steadily upward as the Simplon or
the Mont Cenis. The ascent is not one long pull, like the ascent of
the Alps, but by a succession of hills, one beyond another, with many
a deep valley between, so that we go alternately up hill and down
dale. The hills are very steep, so that the post-carriage, which is as
heavy and lumbering as a French diligence, has to be drawn up by
buffaloes. Thus it climbs slowly height after height, and when it has
reached the summit, goes thundering down the mountain, and rolls
majestically along the road. But our light carriages suited us much
better than these ponderous vehicles; and as our little ponies trotted
swiftly along, we were in a very gay mood, making the woods ring with
our merry talk and glee. Sometimes we got out to stretch our limbs
with a good walk up the hills, turning as we reached the top to take
in the landscape behind us, which spread out broader and broader, as
we rose higher and higher. At every stage the view increased in extent
and in majesty, till the whole island,

     "From the centre all round to the sea,"

was piled with mountains, which here, as in Middle Java, showed their
volcanic origin by their forms, now rising in solitary cones, and now
lying on the horizon in successive ridges, like mighty billows tossed
up on a sea of fire, that in cooling had cracked in all fantastic
shapes, which, after being worn down by the storms of thousands of
years, were mantled thick with the verdure of forests. As in England
the ivy creeps over old walls, covering ruined castles and towers with
its perpetual green, so here the luxuriance of the tropics has
overspread the ruin wrought by destroying elements. The effect is a
mingled wildness and beauty in these mountain landscapes, which often
reminded us of Switzerland and the Tyrol.

The enjoyment of this ride was increased by the character of the day,
which was not all sunshine, but one of perpetual change. Clouds swept
over the sky, casting shadows on the sides of the mountains and into
the deep valleys. Sometimes the higher summits were wrapped so as to
be hidden from sight, and the rain fell heavily; then as the storm
drifted away, and the sun burst through the parted clouds, the
glorious heights shone in the sudden light like the Delectable
Mountains.

The object of our journey was a mountain retreat four thousand feet
above the level of the sea--as high as the Righi Kulm, but in no other
respect like that mountain-top, which from its height overlooks so
many Swiss lakes and cantons. It is rather like an Alpine valley,
surrounded by mountains. This is a favorite resort of the Dutch from
Batavia. Here the Governor-General has a little box, to which he
retires, from his grander residence at Buitenzorg, and here many sick
and wounded officers find a cool retreat and recover strength for
fresh campaigns. The place bears the musical name of Sindanglaya,
which one would think might have been given with some reference to the
music of murmuring winds and waters which fill the air. The valley is
full of streams, of brooks and springs, that run among the hills.
Water, water everywhere! The rain pattering on the roof all night long
carried me back to the days of my childhood, when I slept in a little
cot under the eaves, and that sound was music to my ear. The Scotch
mist that envelopes the mountains might make the traveller fancy
himself in the Highlands; and so he might, as he seeks out the little
"tarns" that have settled in the craters of extinct volcanoes, where
not only wild deer break through the tangled wood of the leafy
solitudes, but the tiger and the rhinoceros come to drink. Streams run
down the mountain-sides, and springs ooze from mossy banks by the
roadside, and temper the air with their dripping coolness. What a
place to rest! How this perfect quiet must bring repose to the brave
fellows from Acheen, and how sweet must sound this music of mountain
streams to ears accustomed to the rude alarms of war!

That we were in a new quarter of the world--far away, not only from
America and Europe, but even from Asia--we were reminded by the line
of telegraph which kept us company over the mountains, and which here
crosses the island on its way to Australia! It goes down the coast to
Bangaewangi, where it dives into the sea only to come up on the
mainland of the great Southern Continent. Indeed we were strongly
advised to extend our journey around the world to Australia, which we
could have reached in much less time than it had taken to come from
Calcutta to Singapore. But we were more interested to visit old
countries and old nations than to set foot on a virgin continent, and
to see colonies and cities, which, with all their growth, could only
be a smaller edition of what we have so abundantly in the new States
of America.

We were now within a few miles of the Southern Ocean, the greatest of
all the oceans that wrap their watery mantle around the globe. From
the top of the Gédé, a mountain which rose above us, one may look off
upon an ocean broader than the Pacific--a sea without a shore--whose
waters roll in an unbroken sweep to the Antarctic Pole.

From all these seas and shores, and woods and waters, we now turned
away, and with renewed delight in the varied landscapes, rode back
over the mountains to Buitenzorg, and came down by rail to Batavia.

Before I depart from this pleasant land of Java, I must say a word
about the Dutch and their position in South-eastern Asia. The Dutch
have had possession of Java over 250 years--since 1623--without
interruption, except from 1811 to 1816, when Napoleon had taken
Holland; and as England was using all her forces on land and sea to
cripple the French empire in different parts of the world, she sent a
fleet against Java. It yielded almost without opposition; indeed many
of the Dutch regarded the surrender as simply placing the island under
British protection, which saved it from the French. For five years it
had an English Governor, Sir Stamford Raffles, who has written a large
work on Java. After the fall of Napoleon, England restored Java to the
Dutch, but kept Ceylon, Malacca, and the Cape of Good Hope. Thus the
Dutch have lost some of their possessions in the East, and yet Holland
is to-day the second colonial power in the world, being inferior only
to England. The Dutch flag in the East waves not only over Java, but
over almost the whole of the Malayan Archipelago, which, with the
intervening waters, covers a portion of the earth's surface larger
than all Europe.

There are some peculiar physical features in this part of the world.
The Malayan Archipelago lies midway between Asia and Australia,
belonging to neither, and yet belonging to both. It is a very curious
fact, brought out by Wallace, whose great work on "The Malayan
Archipelago" is altogether the best on the subject, that this group of
islands is in itself divided by a very narrow space between the two
continents, which it at once separates and unites. Each has its own
distinct fauna and flora. The narrow Strait of Bali, only fifteen
miles wide, which separates the two small islands of Bali and Lombok,
separates two distinct animal and vegetable kingdoms, which are as
unlike as are those of the United States and Brazil. One group belongs
to Asia, the other to Australia. Sumatra is full of tigers; in Borneo
there is not one. Australia has no carnivora--no beasts that prey on
flesh--but chiefly marsupials, such as kangaroos.

There are a good many residents in the East who think Holland, in the
management of her dependencies, has shown a better political economy
than England has shown in India. An English writer (a Mr. Money), in a
volume entitled "How to Govern a Colony," has brought some features
of the Dutch policy to the notice of his countrymen. I will mention
but one as an illustration. Half a century ago Java was very much run
down. A native rebellion which lasted five years had paralyzed the
industry of the country. To reanimate it, a couple of years after the
rebellion had been subdued, in 1832, the home government began a very
liberal system of stimulating production by making advances to
planters, and guaranteeing them labor to cultivate their estates. The
effect was marvellous. By that wise system of helping those who had
not means to help themselves, a new life was at once infused into all
parts of the island. Out of that has grown the enormous production of
coffee, sugar, and tobacco. Now Java not only pays all the expenses of
her own government, (which India does not do, at least without
contracting very heavy loans,) but builds her own railroads, and other
roads and bridges, and supplies the drain of the Acheen war, and
remits every year millions to the Hague to build railroads in Holland.

Is it too much to believe that there is a great future in store for
South Eastern Asia? We talk about the future of America. But ours is
not the only continent that offers vast unoccupied wastes to the
habitation of man. Besides Australia, there are these great islands
nearer to Asia, which, from the overflow of India and China, may yet
have a population that shall cultivate their waste places. I found in
Burmah a great number of Bengalees and Madrasees, who had crossed the
Bay of Bengal to seek a home in Farther India; while the Chinese, who
form the population of Singapore, had crept up the coast. They are
here in Java, in every seaport and in every large town in the
interior, and there is every reason to suppose that there will be a
yet greater overflow of population in this direction. Sumatra and
Borneo are not yet inhabited and cultivated like Java, but in their
great extent they offer a magnificent seat for future kingdoms or
empires, which, Asiatic in population, may be governed by European
laws, and moulded by European civilization.

One thing more before we cross the Equator--a word about nature and
life in the tropics. I came to Java partly to see the tropical
vegetation, of which we saw but little in India, as we were there in
winter, which is at once the cold and the dry season, when vegetation
withers, and the vast plains are desolate and dreary. Nature then
holds herself in reserve, waiting till the rains come, when the earth
will bloom again. But as I could not wait for the change of seasons, I
must needs pass on to a land where the change had already come. We
marked the transition as we came down the Bay of Bengal. There were
signs of changing seasons and a changing nature. We were getting into
the rainy belt. In the Straits of Malacca the air was hot and
thunderous, and we had frequent storms; the heavens were full of rain,
and the earth was fresh with the joy of a newly-opened spring. But
still we kept on till we crossed the Equator. Here in Java the rainy
season was just over. It ends with the last of March, and we arrived
at the beginning of April. For months the windows of heaven had been
opened, the rains descended, and the floods came; and lo! the land was
like the garden of the Lord. Here we had at last the tropical
vegetation in its fullest glory. Nothing can exceed the prodigality
and luxuriance of nature when a vertical sun beats down on fields and
forests and jungles that have been drenched for months in rain.
Vegetation of every kind springs up, as in the temperate zone it
appears only when forced in heated conservatories (as in the Duke of
Devonshire's gardens at Chatsworth), and the land waves with these
luxuriant growths. In the forest creeping plants wind round the tall
trunks, and vines hang in festoons from tree to tree.

But while the tropical forest presents such a wild luxuriance of
growth, I find no single trees of such stature as I have seen in
other parts of the world. Except an occasional broad-spreading banyan,
I have seen nothing which, standing alone, equals in its solitary
majesty the English oak or the American elm. Perhaps there is a
difference in this respect between countries in the same latitude in
the Eastern and Western hemispheres. An English gentleman whom we
found here in charge of a great sugar plantation, who had spent some
years in Rio Janeiro, told me that the trees of Java did not compare
in majesty with those of Brazil. Nor is this superiority confined to
South America. Probably no trees now standing on the earth equal the
Big Trees of California. And besides these there are millions of lofty
pines on the sides of the Sierra Nevada, which I have seen nowhere
equalled unless it be in the mighty cedars which line the great
Tokaido of Japan. On the whole, I am a little inclined to boast that
trees attain their greatest height and majesty in our Western
hemisphere.

But the glory of the tropics is in the universal life of nature,
spreading through all her realms, stirring even under ground, and
causing to spring forth new forms of vegetation, which coming up, as
it were, out of the darkness of the grave, seek the sun and air,
whereby all things live.

Of course one cannot but consider what effect this marvellous
production must have upon man. Too often it overpowers him, and makes
him its slave, since he cannot be its master. This is the terror of
the Tropics, as of the Polar regions, that nature is too strong for
man to subdue her. What can he do--poor, puny creature--against its
terrible forces; against the heat of a vertical sun, that while it
quickens the earth, often blasts the strength of man, subduing his
energy, if not destroying his life? What can man do in the Arctic
circle against the cold that locks up whole continents in ice? Much as
he boasts of his strength and of his all-conquering will, he is but a
child in the lap of nature, tossed about by material forces as a leaf
is blown by the wind. The best region for human development and
energy is the temperate zone, where nature stimulates, but does not
overpower, the energies of man, where the winter's cold does not
benumb him and make him sink into torpor, but only pricks him to
exertion and makes him quicken his steps.

The effect of this fervid climate shows itself not only upon natives,
but upon Europeans. It induces a languor and indisposition to effort.
It has two of the hardest and toughest races in the world to work
upon, in the English in India and the Dutch in Java, and yet it has
its effect even upon them, and would have a still greater were it not
that this foreign element is constantly changing, coming and going,
whereby there is all the time a fresh infusion of European life. Here
in Java the Dutch have been longer settled than the English in India;
they more often remain in the island, and the effect of course is more
marked from generation to generation. The Dutchman is a placid,
easy-going creature, even in his native Holland, except when roused by
some great crisis, like a Spanish invasion, and then he fights with a
courage which has given him a proud name in history. But ordinarily he
is of a calm and even temper, and likes to sit quietly and survey his
broad acres, and smoke his pipe in blissful content with himself and
all the world beside. When he removes from Holland to the other side
of the world, he has not changed his nature; he is a Dutchman still,
only with his natural love of ease increased by life in the tropics.
It is amusing to see how readily his Dutch nature falls in with the
easy ways of this Eastern world.

If I were to analyze existence, or material enjoyment in this part of
the world, I should say that the two great elements in one's life, or
at least in his comfort, are sleep and smoke. They smoke in Holland,
and they have a better right to smoke in Java; for here they but
follow the course of nature. Why should not man smoke, when even the
earth itself respires through smoke and flame? The mountains smoke,
and why not the Dutch? Only there is this difference: the volcanoes
sometimes have a period of rest, but the Dutch never. Morning, noon,
and night, before breakfast and after dinner, smoke, smoke, smoke! It
seems to be a Dutchman's ideal of happiness. I have been told of some
who dropped to sleep with the cigar in their lips, and of one who
required his servants to put his pipe between his teeth while he was
yet sleeping, that he might wake up with the right taste in his mouth.
It seemed to me that this must work injury to their health, but they
think not. Perhaps there is something in the phlegmatic Dutch
temperament that can stand this better than the more mercurial and
excitable English or American.

And then how they do sleep! Sleep is an institution in Java, and
indeed everywhere in the tropics. The deep stillness of the tropical
noon seems to prescribe rest, for then nature itself sinks into
repose. Scarcely a leaf moves in the forest--the birds cease their
musical notes, and seek for rest under the shade of motionless palms.
The sleep of the Dutch is like this stillness of nature. It is
profound and absolute repose. For certain hours of the day no man is
visible. I had a letter to the Resident of Solo, and went to call on
him at two o'clock. He lived in a grand Government House, or palace;
but an air of somnolence pervaded the place, as if it were the Castle
of Indolence. The very servant was asleep on the marble pavement,
where it was his duty to keep watch; and when I sent in my letter, he
came back making a very significant gesture, leaning over his head to
signify that his master was asleep. At five o'clock I was more
fortunate, but even then he was dressed with a lightness of costume
more suitable for one who was about to enter his bath than to give
audience.

There is a still graver question for the moralist to consider--the
effect of these same physical influences upon human character. No
observer of men in different parts of the world can fail to see that
different races have been modified by climate, not only in color and
features, but in temperament, in disposition, and in character. A hot
climate makes hot blood. Burning passions do but reflect the torrid
sun. What the Spaniard is in Europe, the Malay is in Asia. There is a
deep philosophy in the question of Byron:

     "Know ye the land where the cypress and myrtle
       Are emblems of deeds that are done in their clime,
     Where the rage of the vulture, the love of the turtle,
       Now melt into sorrow, now madden to crime?"

But I must not wander into deep philosophy. I only say that great as
is the charm of life in the tropics, it is not without alloy. In
landing in Java it seemed as if we had touched the shores of some
enchanted island, as if we had found the Garden of Paradise lying far
off in these Southern seas. We had come to the land of perpetual
spring and perpetual summer, where nature is always in bloom, and
frost and snow and hail have fled away to the bleak and wintry North.
But as we are obliged to go back to that North, we wish to be
reconciled to it. We find that one may have too much even of Paradise.
There is a monotony in perpetual summer. The only change of seasons
here is from the dry season to the rainy season; and the only
difference between these, so far as we can see, is that in the dry
season it rains, and in the rainy season it pours. We have been here
in the dry season, and yet we have had frequent showers, with
occasional thunderstorms. If we should stay here a year, we should
weary of this unrelieved monotony of sun and rain. We should long for
some more marked change of seasons, for the autumn leaves and the
winter winds, and the gradual coming on of spring, and all those
insensible gradations of nature which make the glory of the full round
year.

And what a loss should we find in the absence of twilight. Java, being
almost under the Equator, the days and nights are almost equal
throughout the year; there are no short days and no long days. Day and
night come on suddenly--not instantly, but in a few minutes the night
breaks into the full glare of day, and the day as quickly darkens into
night. How we should miss the long summer twilight, which in our
Northern latitudes lingers so softly and tenderly over the quiet
earth.

Remembering these things, we are reconciled to our lot in living in
the temperate zone, and turn away even from the soft and easy life of
the tropics, to find a keener delight in our rugged clime, and to
welcome even the snow-drifts and the short winter days, since they
bring the long winter evenings, and the roaring winter fires!

We leave Java, therefore, not so much with regret that we can no
longer sit under the palm groves, and indulge in the soft and easy
life of the tropics, as that we part from friends. Our last night in
Batavia they took us to a representation given by amateurs at the
English Club, where it was very pleasant to see so many English faces
in this distant part of the world, and to hear our own mother tongue.
The next morning they rode down with us to the quay, and came off to
the steamer, and did not leave us till it was ready to move; and it
was with a real sadness that we saw them over the ship's side, and
watched their fluttering signals as they sailed back to the shore.
These partings are the sore pain of travel. But the friendships
remain, and are delightful in memory. A pleasure past is a pleasure
still. Even now it gives us a warm feeling at the heart to think of
those kind friends on the other side of the globe.



CHAPTER XXIV.

UP THE CHINA SEAS--HONG KONG AND CANTON.


In Singapore, as in Batavia, the lines fell to us in pleasant places.
An English merchant, Mr. James Graham, carried us off to his
hospitable bungalow outside the town, where we passed four days. It
stood on a hill, from which we looked off on one side to the harbor,
where were riding the ships of all nations, and on the other to an
undulating country, with here and there an English residence embowered
in trees. In this delightful retreat our hosts made us feel perfectly
at home. We talked of England and America; we romped with the
children; we played croquet on the lawn; we received calls from the
neighbors, and went out to "take tea" in the good old-fashioned way.
We attended service, the Sunday before going to Java, in the
Cathedral, and on our return, in the Scotch church; so that around us,
even at this extremity of Asia, were the faces and voices, the happy
domestic life, and the religious worship, of dear old England.

But just as we began to settle into this quiet life, the steamer was
signalled from Ceylon which was to take us to China, and we had to
part from our new friends.

It had been in my plan to go from here to Siam. It is but three days'
sail from Singapore up the Gulf to Bangkok; but it is not so easy to
get on from there. Could we have been sure of a speedy passage to
Saigon, to connect with the French steamer, we should not have
hesitated; but without this, we might be detained for a week or two,
or be obliged to come back to Singapore. Thus uncertain, we felt that
it was safer to take the steamer direct for Hong Kong, though it was
a sore disappointment to pass across the head of the Gulf of Siam,
knowing that we were so near the Land of the White Elephant, and leave
it unvisited.

The China seas have a very bad name among sailors and travellers, as
they are often swept by terrible cyclones; but we crossed at a
favorable season, and escaped. The heat was great, and passengers sat
about on deck in their easy cane chairs, as on the Red Sea; but beyond
that, we experienced not so much discomfort as on the Mediterranean.
On the sixth morning we saw in the distance an island, which, as we
drew nearer, rose up so steeply and so high that it appeared almost
like a mountain. This was the Peak of Hong Kong--a signal-station from
which men, with their glasses, can look far out to sea, and as soon as
one of the great steamers is descried on the horizon, a flag is run up
and a gun fired to convey the news to the city below. Coming up behind
the island, we swept around its point, and saw before us a large town,
very picturesquely situated on the side of a hill, rising street above
street, and overlooking a wide bay shut in by hills, so that it is
sheltered from the storms that vex the China seas. The harbor was full
of foreign ships, among which were many ships of war (as this is the
rendezvous of the British fleet in these waters), which were firing
salutes; among those flying the flags of all nations was one modest
representative of our country, of which we did not need to be
ashamed--the Kearsarge. We afterwards went on board of her, and saw
and stroked with affection, mingled with pride, the big gun that sunk
the Alabama.

Hong Kong, like Singapore, is an English colony, but with a Chinese
population. You can hardly set foot on shore before you are snapped up
by a couple of lusty fellows, with straw hats as large as umbrellas on
their heads, and who, though in bare feet, stand up as straight as
grenadiers, and as soon as you take your seat in a chair, lift the
bamboo poles to their shoulders, and walk off with you on the
double-quick.

No country which we see for the first time is exactly as we supposed
it to be. Somehow I had thought of China as a vast plain like India;
and behold! the first view reveals a wild, mountainous coast. As we
climb Victoria Peak above Hong Kong, and look across to the mainland,
we see only barren hills--a prospect almost as desolate as that of the
Arabian shores on the Red Sea.

But what wonders lie beyond that Great Wall of mountains which guards
this part of the coast of China! One cannot be in sight of such a
country without an eager impulse to be in it, and after two or three
days of rest we set out for Canton, which is only eight hours distant.
Our boat was an American one, with an American captain, who took us
into the wheel-house, and pointed out every spot of interest as we
passed through the islands and entered the Canton river. Forty miles
south is the old Portuguese port of Macao. At the mouth of the river
are the Bogue Forts, which played such a part in the English war of
1841, but which were sadly battered, and now lie dismantled and
ungarrisoned. Going by the stately Second Bar Pagoda, we next pass
Whampoa, the limit to which foreign vessels could come before the
Treaty Ports were opened. As we ascend the river, it is crowded with
junks--strange craft, high at both ends, armed with old rusty cannon,
with which to beat off the pirates that infest these seas, and
ornamented at the bow with huge round eyes, that stand out as if from
the head of some sea-monster, some terrible dragon, which keeps watch
over the deep. Amid such fantastic barks, with their strange crews, we
steamed up to Canton.

At the landing, a son of Dr. Happer, the American missionary, came on
board with a letter from his father inviting us to be his guests, and
we accordingly took a native boat, and were rowed up the river. Our
oarsman was a woman, who, besides the trifle of rowing our boat up
the stream, had a baby strapped on her back! Perhaps the weight helped
her to keep her balance as she bent to the oar. But it was certainly
bringing things to a pretty fine point when human muscles were thus
economized. This boat, well called in Chinese a _tan-ka_ or egg-house,
was the home of the family. It sheltered under its little bamboo cover
eight souls (as many as Noah had in the Ark), who had no other
habitation. Here they ate and drank and slept; here perhaps children
were born and old men died. In Canton it is estimated that a hundred
and fifty thousand people thus live in boats, leading a kind of
amphibious existence.

Above the landing is the island of Shameen, a mile long, which is the
foreign quarter, where are the Hongs, or Factories, of the great
tea-merchants, and where live the wealthy foreign residents. Rounding
this island, we drew up to the quay, in front of Dr. Happer's door,
where we found that welcome which is never wanting under the roof of
an American missionary. Dr. Happer has lived here thirty-two years,
and was of course familiar with every part of Canton, and was an
invaluable guide in the explorations of the next three or four days.

When we were in Paris, we met Dr. Wells Williams, the well-known
missionary, who had spent over forty years in China, twelve of them in
Peking, of which he said, that apart from its being the capital, it
had little to interest a stranger--at least not enough to repay the
long journey to reach it. He said it would take a month to go from
Shanghai to Tientsin, and then cross the country cramped up in carts
to Peking, and visit the Great Wall, and return to Shanghai. Canton
was not only much nearer, but far more interesting, and the best
representative of a Chinese city in the Empire.

The next morning we began our excursions, not with horses and
chariots, but with coolies and chairs. An English gentleman and his
wife, who had come with us from Singapore, joined us, making, with a
son of Dr. Happer and the guide, a party of six, for whom eighteen
bearers drew up before the door, forming quite a procession as we
filed through the streets. The motion was not unpleasant, though they
swung us along at a good round pace, shouting to the people to get out
of the way, who forthwith parted right and left, as if some high
mandarin were coming. The streets were narrow and densely crowded.
Through such a mass it required no small effort to force our way,
which was effected only by our bearers keeping up a constant cry, like
that of the gondoliers in Venice, when turning a corner in the
canals--a signal of warning to any approaching in the opposite
direction. I could but admire the good-nature of the people, who
yielded so readily. If we were thus to push through a crowd in New
York, and the policemen were to shout to the "Bowery boys" to "get out
of the way," we might receive a "blessing" in reply that would not be
at all agreeable. But the Chinamen took it as a matter of course, and
turned aside respectfully to give us a passage, only staring mildly
with their almond eyes, to see what great personages were these that
came along looking so grand.

Our way led through the longest street of the city, which bears the
sounding name of the Street of Benevolence and Love. This is the
Broadway of Canton, only it is not half as wide as Broadway. It is
very narrow, like some of the old streets of Genoa, and paved, like
them, with huge slabs of stone. On either side it is lined with shops,
into which we had a good opportunity to look as we brushed past them,
for they stood wide open. They were of the smallest dimensions, most
of them consisting of a single room, even when hung with beautiful
embroideries. There may be little recesses behind, hidden interiors
where they live, though apparently we saw the whole family. In many
shops they were taking their meals in full sight of the passers-by.
There was no variety of courses; a bowl of rice in the centre of the
table was the universal dish (for rice is the staff of life in Asia,
as bread is in America), garnished perchance with some "little
pickle," in the shape of a bit of fish and soy, to serve _as a sauce
piquante_ to stimulate the flagging appetite. But apparently they
needed no appetizer, for they plied their chop-sticks with unfailing
assiduity.

Our first day's ride was probably ten or twelve miles, and took us
through such "heavenly streets" as we never knew before, and did not
expect to walk in till we entered the gates of the New Jerusalem.
Besides the Street of Benevolence and Love, which might be considered
the great highway of the Celestial City, there were streets which bore
the enrapturing names of "Peace," "Bright Cloud," and "Longevity;" of
"Early-bestowed Blessings" and of "Everlasting Love;" of "One Hundred
Grandsons" and (more ambitious still) of "One Thousand Grandsons;" of
"Five Happinesses" and of "Refreshing Breezes;" of "Accumulated
Blessings" and of "Ninefold Brightness." There was a "Dragon street,"
and others devoted to "The Ascending Dragon," "The Saluting Dragon,"
and "The Reposing Dragon;" while other titles came probably a little
nearer the plain fact, such as "The Market of Golden Profits." All the
shops have little shrines near the door dedicated to _Tsai Shin_, or
the God of Wealth, to whom the shopkeepers offer their prayers every
day. I think I have heard of prayers offered to that divinity in other
countries, and no one could doubt that these prayers at least were
fervent and sincere.

But names do not always designate realities, and though we passed
through the street of a "Thousand Beatitudes" and that of a
"Thousandfold Peace," we saw sorrow and misery enough before the day
was done.

One gets an idea of the extent of a city not only by traversing its
streets, but by ascending some high point in the vicinity that
overlooks it. The best point for such a bird's-eye view is the
Five-storied Pagoda, from which the eye ranges over a distance of many
miles, including the city and the country around to the mountains in
the distance, with the broad river in front, and the suburb on the
other side. The appearance of Canton is very different from that of a
European city. It has no architectural magnificence. There are some
fine houses of the rich merchants, built of brick, with spacious rooms
and courts; but there are no great palaces towering over the city--no
domes like St. Paul's in London, or St. Peter's in Rome, nor even like
the domes and minarets of Constantinople. The most imposing structure
in view is the new Roman Catholic Cathedral. Here and there a solitary
pagoda rises above the vast sea of human dwellings, which are
generally of but one, seldom two stories in height, and built very
much alike; for there is the same monotony in the Chinese houses as in
the figures and costumes of the Chinese themselves. Nor is this level
surface relieved by any variety of color. The tiled roofs, with their
dead color, but increase the sombre impression of the vast dull plain;
yet beneath such a pall is a great city, intersected by hundreds of
streets, and occupied by a million of human beings.

The first impression of a Chinese city is of its myriad, multitudinous
life. There are populous cities in Europe, and crowded streets; but
here human beings _swarm_, like birds in the air or fishes in the sea.
The wonder is how they all live; but that is a mystery which I could
not solve in London any more than here. There is one street a mile
long, which has in it nothing but shoemakers. The people amused us
very much by their strange appearance and dress, in both which China
differs wholly from the Orient. A Chinaman is not at all like a Turk.
He does not wear a turban, nor even a long, flowing beard. His head is
shaved above and below--face, chin, and skull--and instead of the
patriarchal beard before him, he carries only a pigtail behind. The
women whom we met in the streets (at least those of any position, for
only the common work-women let their feet grow) hobbled about on their
little feet, which were like dolls' feet--a sight that was half
ludicrous and half painful.

But if we were amused at the Chinese, I dare say they were as much
amused at us. The people of Canton ought by this time to be familiar
with white faces. But, strange to say, wherever we went we attracted a
degree of attention which had never been accorded us before in any
foreign city. Boys ran after us, shouting as they ran. If the chairs
were set down in the street, as we stopped to see a sight, a crowd
gathered in a moment. There was no rudeness, but mere curiosity. If we
went into a temple, a throng collected about the doors, and looked in
at the windows, and opened a passage for us as we came out, and
followed us till we got into our chairs and disappeared down the
street. The ladies of our party especially seemed to be objects of
wonder. They did not hobble on the points of their toes, but stood
erect, and walked with a firm step. Their free and independent air
apparently inspired respect. The children seemed to hesitate between
awe and terror. One little fellow I remember, who dared to approach
too near, and whom my niece cast her eye upon, thought that he was
done for, and fled howling. I have no doubt all reported, when they
went home, that they had seen some strange specimens of "foreign
devils."

But the Chinese are a highly civilized people. In some things, indeed,
they are mere children, compared with Europeans; but in others they
are in advance of us, especially those arts which require great
delicacy, such as the manufacture of some kinds of jewelry, exquisite
trinkets in gold and silver, in which Canton rivals Delhi and Lucknow,
and in the finest work in ivory and in precious woods; also in those
which require a degree of patience to be found nowhere except among
Asiatics. For example, I saw a man carving an elephant's tusk, which
would take him a whole year! The Chinese are also exquisite workers in
bronze, as well as in porcelain, in which they have such a conceded
mastery that specimens of "old China" ornament every collection in
Europe. Their silks are as rich and fine as any that are produced from
the looms of Lyons or Antwerp. This need not surprise us, for we must
remember the great antiquity of China; that the Chinese were a highly
civilized people when our ancestors, the Britons, were barbarians.
They had the art of printing and the art of gunpowder long before they
were known in Europe. Chinese books are in some respects a model for
ours now, not only in cheapness, but in their extreme lightness, being
made of thin bamboo paper, so that a book weighs in the hand hardly
more than a newspaper.

Of course every stranger must make the round of temples and pagodas,
of which there are enough to satisfy any number of worshippers. There
is a Temple of the Five Genii, and one of the Five Hundred Arhans, or
scholars of Buddha. There is a Temple of Confucius, and a Temple of
the Emperor, where the mandarins go and pay to his Majesty and to the
Sage an homage of divine adoration. I climbed up into his royal seat,
and thought I was quite as fit an object of worship as he! There is a
Temple of Horrors, which outdoes the "Chamber of Horrors" in Madame
Tussaud's famous exhibition of wax-works in London. It is a
representation of all the torments which are supposed to be endured by
the damned, and reminds one of those frightful pictures painted in the
Middle Ages in some Roman Catholic countries, in which heretics are
seen in the midst of flames, tossed about by devils on pitchforks. But
the Chinese soften the impression. To restore the balance of mind,
terrified by these frightful representations, there is a Temple of
Longevity, in which there is a figure of Buddha, such as the ancient
Romans might have made of Bacchus or Silenus--a mountain of flesh,
with fat eyes, laughing mouth, and enormous paunch. Even the four
Kings of Heaven, that rule over the four points of the compass--North,
South, East, and West--have much more of an earthly than a heavenly
look. All these figures are grotesque and hideous enough; but to their
credit be it said, they are not obscene, like the figures in the
temples of India. Here we made the same observation as in Burmah, that
Buddhism is a much cleaner and more decent religion than Hindooism.
This is to its honor. "Buddhism," says Williams, "is the least
revolting and impure of all false religions." Its general character we
have seen elsewhere. Its precepts enjoin self-denial and practical
benevolence. It has no cruel or bloody rites, and nothing gross in its
worship. Of its priests, some are learned men, but the mass are
ignorant, yet sober and inoffensive. At least they are not a scandal
to their faith, as are the priests of some forms of Christianity. That
the Chinese are imbued with religious ideas is indicated in the very
names of the streets already mentioned, whereby, though in a singular
fashion, they commemorate and glorify certain attributes of character.
The idea which seems most deep-rooted in their minds is that of
retribution according to conduct. The maxim most frequent in their
mouths is that good actions bring their own reward, and bad actions
their own punishment. This idea was very pithily expressed by the
famous hong-merchant, Howqua, in reply to an American sea-captain, who
asked him his idea of future rewards and punishments, to which he
replied in pigeon-English: "A man do good, he go to Joss; he no do
good, very much bamboo catchee he!"

But we will leave the temples with their grinning idols; as we leave
the restaurants, where lovers of dainty dishes are regaled with dogs
and cats; and the opium-shops, where the Chinese loll and smoke till
they are stupefied by the horrid drug; for Canton has something more
attractive. We found a very curious study in the Examination Hall,
illustrating, as it does, the Chinese manner of elevating men to
office. We hear much in our country of "civil service reform," which
some innocently suppose to be a new discovery in political economy--an
American invention. But the Chinese have had it for a thousand years.
Here appointments to office are made as the result of a competitive
examination; and although there may be secret favoritism and bribery,
yet the theory is one of perfect equality. In this respect China is
the most absolute democracy in the world. There is no hereditary rank
or order of nobility; the lowest menial, if he has native talent, may
raise himself by study and perseverance to be Prime Minister of the
Empire.

In the eastern quarter of Canton is an enclosure of many acres, laid
off in a manner which betokens some unusual purpose. The ground is
divided by a succession of long, low buildings, not much better than
horse-sheds around a New England meeting-house of the olden time. They
run in parallel lines, like barracks for a camp, and are divided into
narrow compartments. Once in three years this vast camping-ground
presents an extraordinary spectacle, for then are gathered in these
courts, from all parts of the province, some ten thousand candidates,
all of whom have previously passed a first examination, and received a
degree, and now appear to compete for the second. Some are young, and
some are old, for there is no limit put upon age. As the candidates
present themselves, each man is searched, to see that he has no books,
or helps of any kind, concealed upon his person, and then put into a
stall about three feet wide, just large enough to turn around in, and
as bare as a prisoner's cell. There is a niche in the wall, in which a
board can be placed for him to sit upon, and another niche to support
a board that has to serve as breakfast-table and writing-table. This
is the furniture of his room. Here he is shut in from all
communication with the world, his food being passed to him through the
door, as to a prisoner. Certain themes are then submitted to him in
writing, on which he is to furnish written essays, intended generally,
and perhaps always, to determine his knowledge of the Chinese
classics. It is sometimes said that these are frivolous questions, the
answers to which afford no proof whatever of one's capacity for
office; but it should be remembered that these classics are the
writings of Confucius, which are the political ethics of the country,
the very foundation of the government, without knowing which one is
not qualified to take part in its administration.

The candidate goes into his cell in the afternoon, and spends the
night there, which gives him time for reflection, and all the next day
and the next night, when he comes out, and after a few days is put in
again for another trial of the same character; and this is repeated a
third time; at the end of which he is released from solitary
confinement, and his essays are submitted for examination. Of the ten
thousand, only seventy-five can obtain a degree--not one in a hundred!
The nine thousand and nine hundred must go back disappointed, their
only consolation being that after three years they can try again. Even
the successful ones do not thereby get an office, but only the right
to enter for a third competition, which takes place at Peking, by
which of course their ranks are thinned still more. The few who get
through this threefold ordeal take a high place in the literary or
learned class, from which all appointments to the public service are
made. Here is the system of examination complete. No trial can be
imagined more severe, and it ought to give the Chinese the best civil
service in the world.

May we not get a hint from this for our instruction in America, where
some of our best men are making earnest efforts for civil service
reform? If the candidates, who flock to Washington at the beginning of
each administration, were to be put into cells, and fed on bread and
water, it might check the rage for office, and the number of
applicants might be diminished; and if they were required to pass an
examination, and to furnish written essays, showing at least some
degree of knowledge of political affairs, we might have a more
intelligent class of officials to fill consular posts in different
parts of the world.

But, unfortunately, it might be answered that examinations, be they
ever so strict, do not change human nature, nor make men just or
humane; and that even the rigid system of China does not restrain
rulers from corruption, nor protect the people from acts of oppression
and cruelty.

Three spots in Canton had for me the fascination of horror--the court,
the prison, and the execution ground. I had heard terrible tales of
the trial by torture--of men racked to extort the secrets of crime,
and of the punishments which followed. These stories haunted me, and I
hoped to find some features which would relieve the impression of so
much horror. I wished to see for myself the administration of
justice--to witness a trial in a Chinese court. A few years ago this
would have been impossible; foreigners were excluded from the courts.
But now they are open, and all can see who have the nerve to look on.
Therefore, after we had made a long circuit through the streets of
Canton, I directed the bearers to take us to the Yamun, the Hall of
Justice. Leaving our chairs in the street, we passed through a large
open court into a hall in the rear, where at that very moment several
trials were going on.

The court-room was very plain. A couple of judges sat behind tables,
before whom a number of prisoners were brought in. The mode of
proceeding was very foreign to American or European ideas. There was
neither jury nor witnesses. This simplified matters exceedingly. There
is no trial by jury in China. While we haggle about impanelling juries
and getting testimony, and thus trials drag on for weeks, in China no
such obstacle is allowed to impede the rapid course of justice; and
what is more, there are no lawyers to perplex the case with their
arguments, but the judge has it all his own way. He is simply
confronted with the accused, and they have it all between them.

While we stood here, a number of prisoners were brought in; some were
carried in baskets (as they are borne to execution), and dumped on the
stone pavement like so many bushels of potatoes; others were led in
with chains around their necks. As each one's name was called, he came
forward and fell on his knees before the judge, and lifted up his
hands to beg for mercy. He was then told of the crime of which he was
accused, and given opportunity if he had anything to say in his own
defence. There was no apparent harshness or cruelty towards him,
except that he was presumed to be guilty, unless he could prove his
innocence; contrary to the English maxim of law, that a man is to be
presumed innocent until he is proved guilty. In this, however, the
Chinese practice is not very different from that which exists at this
day in so enlightened a country as France.

For example, two men were accused of being concerned together in a
burglary. As they were from another prefecture, where there is another
dialect, they had to be examined through an interpreter. The judge
wished to find out who were leagued with them, and therefore
questioned them separately. Each was brought in in a basket, chained
and doubled up, so that he sat helplessly. No witness was examined,
but the man himself was simply interrogated by the judge.

In another case, two men were accused of robbery with violence--a
capital offence, but by the Chinese law no man can be punished with
death unless he confesses his crime; hence every means is employed to
lead a criminal to acknowledge his guilt. Of course in a case of life
and death he will deny it as long as he can. But if he will not
confess, the court proceeds to take stringent measures to _make_ him
confess, for which purpose these two men were now put to the torture.
The mode of torture was this: There were two round pillars in the
hall. Each man was on his knees, with his feet chained behind him, so
that he could not stir. He was then placed with his back to one of
these columns, and small cords were fastened around his thumbs and
great toes, and drawn back tightly to the pillar behind. This soon
produced intense suffering. Their breasts heaved, the veins on their
foreheads stood out like whipcords, and every feature betrayed the
most excruciating agony. Every few minutes an officer of the court
asked if they were ready to confess, and as often they answered, "No;
never would they confess that they had committed such a crime." They
were told if they did not confess, they would be subjected to still
greater torture. But they still held out, though every moment seemed
an hour of pain.

While these poor wretches were thus writhing in agony, I turned to the
judge to see how he bore the spectacle of such suffering. He sat at
his table quite unmoved; yet he did not seem like a brutal man, but
like a man of education, such as one might see on the bench in England
or America. He seemed to look upon it as in the ordinary course of
proceedings, and a necessary step in the conviction of a criminal. He
used no bravado, and offered no taunt or insult. But the cries of the
sufferers did not move him, nor prevent his taking his accustomed
ease. He sat fanning himself and smoking his pipe, as if he said he
could stand it as long as they could. Of course he knew that, as their
heads were at stake, they would deny their guilt till compelled to
yield; but he seemed to look upon it as simply a question of
endurance, in which, if he kept on long enough, there could be but one
issue.

But still the men did not give in, and I looked at them with amazement
mingled with horror, to see what human nature could endure. The sight
was too painful to witness more than a few moments, and I rushed away,
leaving the men still hanging to the pillars of torture. I confess I
felt a relief when I went back the next day, to hear that they had
not yielded, but held out unflinchingly to the last.

Horrible as this seems, I have heard good men--men of humanity--argue
in favor of torture, at least "when applied in a mild way." They
affirm that in China there can be no administration of justice without
it. In a country where testimony is absolutely worthless--where as
many men can be hired to swear falsely for ten cents apiece as you
have money to buy--there is no possible way of arriving at the truth
but by _extorting_ it. No doubt it is a rough process, but it secures
the result. As it happened, the English gentleman who accompanied us
was a magistrate in India, and he confirmed the statement as to the
difficulty, and in many cases the impossibility, of getting at the
truth, because of the unfathomable deceit of the natives. Many cases
came before him in which he was sure a witness was lying, but he was
helpless to prove it, when a little gentle application of the
thumbscrew, or even a good whipping, would have brought out the truth,
which, for want of it, could not be discovered.

To the objection that such methods may coerce the innocent as well as
the guilty--that the pain may be so great that innocent men will
confess crimes that they never committed, rather than suffer tortures
worse than death--the answer is, that as guilt makes men cowards, the
guilty will give up, while the innocent hold out. But this is simply
trusting to the trial by lot. It is the old ordeal by fire. A better
answer is, that the court has beforehand strong presumptive evidence
of the crime, and that a prisoner is not put to the torture until it
has been well ascertained by testimony obtained elsewhere that he is a
great offender. When it is thus determined that he is a robber or a
murderer, who ought not to live, then this last step is taken to
compel him to acknowledge his guilt, and the justice of his
condemnation.

But there are cases in which a man may be wrongfully accused; an enemy
may bribe a witness to make a complaint against him, upon which he is
arrested and cast into prison. Then, unless he can bring some powerful
influence to rescue him, his case is hopeless. He denies his guilt,
and is put to the rack for an offence of which he is wholly innocent.
Such cases, no doubt, occur; and yet men who have lived here many
years, such as Dr. Happer and Archdeacon Gray, tell me that they do
not believe there is a country in the world where, on the whole,
justice is more impartially administered than in China.

I was so painfully interested in this matter, that I went back to the
Yamun the next day in company with Dr. Happer, to watch the
proceedings further. As before, a number of prisoners were brought in,
with chains around their necks, each of whom, when called, fell down
on his knees before the judge and begged for mercy. They were not
answered harshly or roughly, but listened to with patience and
attention. Several whose cases were not capital, at once confessed
their offence, and took the punishment. One young fellow, a mere
overgrown boy of perhaps eighteen, was brought up, charged with
disobedience to parents. He confessed his fault, and blubbered
piteously for mercy, and was let off for this time with rather a mild
punishment, which was to wear a chain with a heavy stone attached,
which he was to drag about after him in the street before the prison,
where he was exposed to the scorn of the people. The judge, however,
warned him that if he repeated the disobedience, and was arrested
again, he would be liable to be punished with death! Such is the rigor
with which the laws of China enforce obedience to parents.

A man accused of theft confessed it, and was sentenced to wear the
_cangue_--a board about three feet square--around his neck for a
certain time, perhaps several weeks, on which his name was painted in
large characters, with the crime of which he was guilty, that all who
saw him might know that he was a thief!

These were petty cases, such as might be disposed of in any police
court. But now appeared a greater offender. A man was led in with a
chain around his neck, who had the reputation of being a noted
malefactor. He was charged with both robbery and murder. The case had
been pending a long time. The crime, or crimes, had been committed
four years ago. The man had been brought up repeatedly, but as no
amount of pressure could make him confess, he could not be executed.
He was now to have another hearing. He knelt down on the hard stone
floor, and heard the accusation, which he denied as he had done
before, and loudly protested his innocence. The judge, who was a man
of middle age, with a fine intellectual countenance, was in no haste
to condemn, but listened patiently. He was in a mild, persuasive mood,
perhaps the more so because he was refreshing himself as a Chinaman
likes to do. As he sat listening, he took several small cups of tea. A
boy in attendance brought him also his pipe, filled with tobacco,
which he put in his mouth, and took two or three puffs, when he handed
it back; and the boy cleaned it, filled it, and lighted it again. With
such support to his physical weakness, who could not listen patiently
to a man who was on his knees before him pleading for his life? But
the case was a very bad one. It had been referred back to the village
in which the man was born, and the "elders," who form the local
government in every petty commune in China, had inquired into the
facts, and reported that he was a notorious offender, accused of no
less than seven crimes--five robberies, one murder, and one maiming.
This was a pretty strong indictment. But the man protested that he had
been made the victim of a conspiracy to destroy him. The judge replied
that it might be that he should be wrongfully accused by one enemy,
but it was hardly possible that a hundred people of his native
village should combine to accuse him falsely. Their written report
was read by the clerk, who then held it up before the man, that he
might see it in white and black. Still he denied as before, and the
judge, instead of putting him to the torture, simply remanded him to
prison for further examination. In all these cases there was no
eagerness to convict or to sentence the accused. They were listened to
with patience, and apparently all proper force was allowed to what
they had to say in their own defence.

This relieves a good deal the apparent severity of the Chinese code.
It does not condemn without hearing. But, on the other hand, it does
not cover up with fine phrases or foolish sentiment the terrible
reality of crime. It believes in crime as an awful fact in human
society, and in punishment as a repressive force that must be applied
to keep society from destruction.

Next to the Yamun is the prison, in which are confined those charged
with capital offences. We were admitted by paying a small fee to the
keepers, and were at once surrounded by forty or fifty wretched
objects, some of whom had been subjected to torture, and who held up
their limbs which had been racked, and showed their bodies all covered
with wounds, as an appeal to pity. We gave them some money to buy
tobacco, as that is the solace which they crave next to opium, and
hurried away.

But there is a place more terrible than the prison; it is the
execution-ground. Outside the walls of Canton, between the city gate
and the river, is a spot which may well be called Golgotha, the place
of a skull. It is simply a dirty vacant lot, partly covered with
earthenware pots and pans, a few rods long, on one side of which is a
dead wall; but within this narrow space has been shed more blood than
on any other spot of the earth's surface. Here those sentenced to
death are beheaded. Every few days a gloomy procession files into the
lane, and the condemned are ranged against the wall on their knees,
when an assistant pulls up their pinioned arms from behind, which
forces their heads forward, and the executioner coming to one after
another, cleaves the neck with a blow. A number of skulls were
scattered about--of those whose bodies had been removed, but whose
heads were left unburied. In the lane is the house of the
executioner--a thick, short-set man, in a greasy frock, looking like a
butcher fresh from the shambles. Though a coarse, ugly fellow, he did
not look, as one might suppose, like a monster of cruelty, but was
simply a dull, stolid creature, who undertook this as he would any
other kind of business, and cut off human heads with as little feeling
as he would those of so many sheep. He picks up a little money by
exhibiting himself and his weapon of death. He brought out his sword
to show it to us. It was short and heavy, like a butcher's cleaver. I
took it in my hand, and felt of the blade. It was dull, and rusted
with stains of blood. He apologized for its appearance, but explained
that it had not been used recently, and added that whenever it was
needed for service, he sharpened it. I asked him how many heads he had
cut off. He did not know--had not kept count--but supposed some
hundreds. Sometimes there were "two or three tens"--that is, twenty or
thirty--at once. Rev. Mr. Preston told me he had seen forty cut off in
one morning. Dr. Williams had such a horror of blood that he could
never be present at an execution, but he one day saw nearly two
hundred headless trunks lying here, with their heads, which had just
been severed from the bodies, scattered over the ground. Mr. Preston
had seen heads piled up six feet high. It ought to be said, however,
that in ordinary times no criminal convicted of a capital offence can
be executed anywhere in the province (which is a district of nearly
eighty thousand square miles, with twenty millions of inhabitants)
except in Canton, and with the cognizance of the governor.

The carnival of blood was during the Taiping rebellion in 1855. That
rebellion invaded this province; it had possession of Whampoa, and
even endangered Canton. When it was suppressed, it was stamped out in
blood. There were executions by wholesale. All who had taken part in
it were sentenced to death, and as the insurgents were numbered by
tens of thousands, the work went on for days and weeks and months. The
stream of blood never ceased to flow. The rebels were brought up the
river in boat-loads. The magistrates in the villages of the province
were supposed to have made an examination. It was enough that they
were found with arms in their hands. There were no prisons which could
hold such an army, and the only way to deal with them was to execute
them. Accordingly every day a detachment was marched out to the
execution ground, where forty or fifty men would be standing with
coffins, to receive and carry off the bodies. They were taken out of
the city by a certain gate, and here Dr. Williams engaged a man to
count them as they passed, and thus he kept the fearful roll of the
dead; and comparing it with the published lists he found the number
executed in fourteen months to be eighty-one thousand! An Aceldama
indeed! It is not, then, too much to say that taking the years
together, within this narrow ground blood enough has been shed to
float the Great Eastern.

But decapitation is a simple business compared with that which the
executioner has sometimes to perform. I observed standing against the
wall some half a dozen rude crosses, made of bamboo, which reminded me
that death is sometimes inflicted by crucifixion. This mode of
punishment is reserved for the worst malefactors. They are not nailed
to the cross to die a lingering death, but lashed to it by ropes, and
then slowly strangled or cut to pieces. The executioner explained
coolly how he first cut out an eye, or sliced off a piece of the cheek
or the breast, and so proceeded deliberately, till with one tremendous
stroke the body was cleft in twain.

Thus Chinese law illustrates its idea of punishment, which is to
inflict it with tremendous rigor. It not only holds to capital
punishment, but sometimes makes a man in dying suffer a thousand
deaths. A gentleman at Fuhchau told me that he had seen a criminal
starved to death. A man who had robbed a woman, using violence, was
put into a cage in a public place, with his head out of a hole,
exposed to the sun, and his body extended, and there left to die by
inches. The foreign community were horror-struck; the consuls
protested against it, but in vain. He lingered four days before death
came to put an end to his agony. There were about twenty so punished
at Canton in 1843, for incendiarism.

We shudder at these harrowing tales of "man's inhumanity to man." But
we must not take the pictures of these terrible scenes, as if they
were things which stare in the eyes of all beholders, or which give
the fairest impression of Chinese law; as if this were a country in
which there is nothing but suffering and crime. On the contrary, it is
pre-eminently a land of peace and order. The Chinese are a law-abiding
people. Because a few hundred bad men are found in a city of a million
inhabitants, and punished with severity, we must not suppose that this
is a lawless community. Those who would charge this, may at least be
called on to point out a better-governed city in Europe.

This fearful Draconian code can at least claim that it is successful
in suppressing crime. The law is a terror to evil-doers. The proof of
this is that order is so well preserved. This great city of Canton is
as quiet, and life and property are as safe, as in London or New York.
Yet it is done with no display of force. There is no obtrusion of the
police or the military, as in Paris or Vienna. The gates of the city
are shut at night, and the Tartar soldiers make their rounds; but the
armed hand is not always held up before the public eye. The Chinese
Government has learned to make its authority respected without the
constant display of military power.

The Chinese are the most industrious people on the face of the earth,
for only by constant and universal industry can a population of four
hundred millions live. When such masses of human beings are crowded
together, the struggle for existence is so great, that it is only by
keeping the millions of hands busy that food can be obtained for the
millions of mouths. The same necessity enforces peace with each other,
and therefore from necessity, as well as from moral considerations,
this has been the policy of China from the beginning. Its whole
political economy, taught long since by Confucius, is contained in two
words--Industry and Peace. By an adherence to these simple principles,
the Empire has held together for thousands of years, while every other
nation has gone to pieces. China has never been an aggressive nation,
given to wars of conquest. It has indeed attempted to subdue the
tribes of Central Asia, and holds a weak sway over Turkistan and
Thibet; while Corea and Loochoo and Annam still acknowledge a kind of
fealty, now long since repudiated by Burmah and Siam. But in almost
all cases it has "stooped to conquer," and been satisfied with a sort
of tribute, instead of attempting roughly to enforce its authority,
which would lead to perpetual wars. Thus has China followed the lesson
of Confucius, furnishing the most stupendous example on the face of
the earth of the advantage to nations of industry and peace.

The reason for this general respect and obedience to law may be found
in another fact, which is to the immortal honor of the Chinese. It is
the respect and obedience to parents. In China the family is the
foundation of the state; and the very first law of society, as well as
of religion, is: "Honor thy father and mother." In no country in the
world is this law so universally obeyed. The preservation of China
amid the wreck of other kingdoms is largely due to its respect to the
Fifth Commandment, which has proved literally "a commandment with
promise;"--the promise, "that thy days may be long in the land which
the Lord thy God giveth thee," having been fulfilled in the
preservation of this country from age to age.

As a consequence of this respect to parents, which imposes an
authority over children, and binds them together, the family feeling
in China is very strong. This, however noble in itself, has some evil
effects, as it often separates the people of a town or village by
feuds and divisions, which are as distinct, and as jealous and
hostile, as the old Highland clans in Scotland. This interferes with
the administration of justice. If a crime is committed, all of one's
clan are in league to screen and protect the offender, while the rival
clan is as eager to pursue and destroy him. Woe to the man who is
accused, and who has no friend! But the disposition to stand by each
other manifests itself in many acts of mutual helpfulness, of devotion
and personal sacrifice.

Carrying out the same idea, the nation is only a larger family, and
the government a patriarchal despotism. There is no representative
government, no Congress or Parliament; and yet there is a kind of
local government, like that of our New England towns. Every village is
governed by "elders," who are responsible for its police, who look
after rascals, and who also aid in assessing the taxes for the local
and general governments. By this union of a great central power with
local administration of local affairs, the government has managed to
hold together hundreds of millions of human beings, and make its
authority respected over a large part of Asia.

This family feeling moulds even the religion of China, which takes the
form of a worship of ancestors. Those who have given them existence
are not lost when they have ceased to breathe. They are still the
links of being by which, and through which, the present living world
came from the hand of the Creator, and are to be reverenced with a
devotion next to that felt for the Author of being himself. Their
memory is still cherished. Every household has its objects of
devotion; every dwelling has its shrine sacred to the memory of the
dead; and no temple or pagoda is more truly holy ground than the
cemeteries, often laid out on hill-sides, where reposes the dust of
former generations. To these they make frequent pilgrimages. Every
year the Emperor of China goes in state to visit the tombs of his
ancestors. The poor emigrant who leaves for America or Australia,
gives a part of his earnings, so that, in case of death, his body
shall be brought back to China to sleep in the soil that contains the
dust of his ancestors. Thus the living are joined to the dead; and
those who have vanished from the earth, from the silent hills where
they sleep, still rule the most populous kingdom of the world.

One cannot leave China without a word in regard to its relations with
other countries. In this respect a great change has taken place within
this generation. The old exclusiveness is broken down. This has come
by war, and war which had not always a justifiable origin, however
good may have been its effects. The opium war in 1841 is not a thing
to be remembered by England with pride. The cause of that war was an
attempt by the Chinese government in 1839 to prevent the English
importation of opium. Never did a government make a more determined
effort to remove a terrible curse that was destroying its population.
Seeing the evil in all its enormity, it roused itself like a strong
man to shake it off. It imposed heavy penalties on the use of opium,
even going so far as to put some to death. But what could it do so
long as foreigners were selling opium in Canton, right before its
eyes? It resolved to break up the trade, to stop the importation. As a
last resort, it drew a cordon around the factories of the foreign
merchants, and brought them to terms by a truly Eastern strategy. It
did not attack them, nor touch a hair of their heads; but it assumed
that it had at least the right to exercise its authority over its own
people, by forbidding them to have any intercourse with foreigners.
Immediately every Chinese servant left them. No man could be had, for
love or money, to render them any service, or even to sell them food.
Thus they were virtually prisoners. This state of siege lasted about
six weeks. At the end of that time the British merchants surrendered
all the opium, at the order of their consular chief, Charles Elliot,
for him to hand it over to the Chinese; it amounted to 20,283 chests
(nearly three million pounds in weight), mostly on board ship at the
time. The Chinese received it at the mouth of the river, near the
Bogue Forts, and there destroyed it, by throwing it overboard, as our
fathers destroyed the tea in Boston harbor. To make sure work of it,
lest it should be recovered and used, they broke open the chests and
mixed it thoroughly with salt water. As it dissolved in the sea, it
killed great quantities of fish, but that opium at least never killed
any Chinamen.

This brought on war. Much has been said of other causes, but no one
familiar with affairs in the East doubts that the controlling motive
was a desire to force upon China the trade in opium which is one chief
source of the revenue of India.

The war lasted two years, and ended in a complete victory for the
foreigners. The Bogue Forts were bombarded, and foreign ships forced
their way up the river. Canton was ransomed just as it was to have
been attacked, but Amoy, Ningpo, Shanghai, and Chinkiang were
assaulted and captured. The war was finally terminated in 1842 by a
treaty, by the terms of which China paid to England six millions of
dollars for the opium which had been destroyed, and opened five ports
to foreign trade. This, though a gain to European and Indian commerce,
was a heavy blow to Canton, which, instead of being the only open
port, was but one of five. The trade, which before had been
concentrated here, now spread along the coast to Amoy, Fuhchau,
Ningpo, and Shanghai.

But the Ruler of Nations brings good out of evil. Wrong as was the
motive of the opium war, it cannot be doubted that sooner or later war
must have come from the attitude of China toward European nations. For
ages it had maintained a policy of exclusiveness. The rest of the
world were "outside barbarians." It repelled their advances, not only
with firmness, but almost with insult. While keeping this attitude of
resistance, as foreign commerce was continually knocking at its doors,
a collision was inevitable. Recognizing this, we cannot but regret
that it should have occurred for a cause in which China was in the
right, and England in the wrong.

In the wars of England and France with China, Europe has fought with
Asia, and has gotten the victory. Will it be content with what it has
gained, or will it press still further, and force China to the wall?
This is the question which I heard asked everywhere in Eastern Asia.
The English merchants find their interests thwarted by the obstinate
conservatism of the Chinese, and would be glad of an opportunity for a
naval or military demonstration--an occasion which the Chinese are
very careful not to give. There is an English fleet at Hong Kong, a
few hours' sail from Canton. The admiral who was to take command came
out with us on the steamer from Singapore. He was a gallant seaman,
and seemed like a man who would not willingly do injustice; and yet I
think his English blood would rise at the prospect of glory, if he
were to receive an order from London to transfer his fleet to the
Canton River, and lay it abreast of the city, or to force his way up
the Pei-ho. The English merchants would hail such an appearance in
these waters. Not content with the fifteen ports which they have now,
they want the whole of China opened to trade. But the Chinese think
they have got enough of it, and to any further invasion oppose a
quiet but steady resistance. The English are impatient. They want to
force an entrance, and to introduce not only the goods of Manchester,
but all the modern improvements--to have railroads all over China, as
in India, and steamers on all the rivers; and they think it very
unreasonable that the Chinese object. But there is another side to
this question. Such changes would disturb the whole internal commerce
of China. They would throw out of employment, not thousands nor tens
of thousands, but millions, who would perish in such an economical and
industrial revolution as surely as by the waters of a deluge. An
English missionary at Canton told me that it would not be possible to
make any sudden changes, such as would be involved in the general
introduction of railroads, or of labor-saving machines in place of the
labor of human hands, without inflicting immense suffering. There are
millions of people who now keep their heads just above water, and that
by standing on their toes and stretching their necks, who would be
drowned if it should rise an inch higher. The least agitation of the
waters, and they would be submerged. Can we wonder that they hesitate
to be sacrificed, and beg their government to move slowly?

America has had no part in the wars with China, although it is said
that in the attack on the forts at the mouth of the Pei-ho, when the
English ships were hard pressed, American sailors went on board of one
of them, and volunteered to serve at the guns, whether from pure love
of the excitement of battle, or because they felt, as Commodore
Tatnall expressed it, that "blood was thicker than water," is not
recorded.[12] American sailors and soldiers will never be wanting in
any cause which concerns their country's interest and honor. But
hitherto it has been our good fortune to come into no armed collision
with the Chinese, and hence the American name is in favor along the
coast. Our country is represented, not so much by ships of war as by
merchants and missionaries. The latter, though few in number, by their
wisdom as well as zeal, have done much to conciliate favor and command
respect. They are not meddlers nor mischief-makers. They do not belong
to the nation that has forced opium upon China, though often obliged
to hear the taunt that is hurled against the whole of the
English-speaking race. In their own quiet spheres, they have labored
to diffuse knowledge and to exhibit practical Christianity. They have
opened schools and hospitals, as well as churches. In Canton, a
generation ago, Dr. Peter Parker opened a hospital, which is still
continued, and which receives about nine hundred every year into its
wards, besides some fifteen thousand who are treated at the doors. For
twenty years it was in charge of Dr. Kerr, who nearly wore himself out
in his duties; and is now succeeded by Dr. Carrow, a young physician
who left a good practice in Jersey City to devote himself to this
work. Hundreds undergo operation for the stone--a disease quite common
in the South, but which Chinese surgery is incompetent to treat--and
who are here rescued from a lingering death. That is the way American
Christianity should be represented in China. In Calcutta I saw the
great opium ships bound for Hong Kong. Let England have a monopoly of
that trade, but let America come to China with healing in one hand and
the Gospel in the other.

Nor is this all which American missionaries have done. They have
rendered a service--not yet noticed as it should be--to literature,
and in preparing the way for the intercourse of China with other
nations. An American missionary, Dr. Martin, is President of the
University at Peking, established by the government. Dr. S. Wells
Williams, in the more than forty years of his residence in China, has
prepared a Chinese-English Dictionary, which I heard spoken of
everywhere in the East as the best in existence. In other ways his
knowledge of the language and the people has been of service both to
China and to America, during his twenty-one years' connection with the
Legation. And if American diplomacy has succeeded in gaining many
substantial advantages for our country, while it has skilfully avoided
wounding the susceptibilities of the Chinese, the success is due in no
small degree to this modest American missionary.

De Quincey said if he were to live in China, he should go mad. No
wonder. The free English spirit could not be so confined. There is
something in this enormous population, weighed down with the
conservatism of ages, that oppresses the intellect. It is a forced
stagnation. China is a boundless and a motionless ocean. Its own
people may not feel it, but one accustomed to the free life of Europe
looks upon it as a vast Dead Sea, in whose leaden waters nothing can
live.

But even this Dead Sea is beginning to stir with life. There is a
heaving, as when the Polar Ocean breaks up, and the liberated waves
sweep far and wide--

     "Swinging low with sullen roar."

Such is the sound which is beginning to be heard on all the shores of
Asia. Since foreigners have begun to come into China, the Chinese go
abroad more than ever before. There is developed a new spirit of
emigration. Not only do they come to California, but go to Australia,
and to all the islands of Southern Asia. They are the most
enterprising as well as the most industrious of emigrants. They have
an extraordinary aptitude for commerce. They are in the East what the
Jews are in other parts of the world--the money-changers, the
mercantile class, the petty traders; and wherever they come, they are
sure to "pick up" and to "go ahead." Who can put bounds to such a
race, that not content with a quarter of Asia, overflows so much of
the remaining parts of the Eastern hemisphere?

On our Pacific Coast the Chinese have appeared as yet only as laborers
and servants, or as attempting the humblest industries. Their
reception has not been such as we can regard with satisfaction and
pride. Poor John Chinaman! Patient toiler on the railroad or in the
mine, yet doomed to be kicked about in the land whose prosperity he
has done so much to promote. There is something very touching in his
love for his native country--a love so strong that he desires even in
death to be carried back to be buried in the land which gave him
birth. Some return living, only to tell of a treatment in strange
contrast with that which our countrymen have received in China, as
well as in violation of the solemn obligations of treaties. We cannot
think of this cruel persecution but with indignation at our country's
shame.

No one can visit China without becoming interested in the country and
its people. There is much that is good in the Chinese, in their
patient industry, and in their strong domestic feeling. Who can but
respect a people that honor their fathers and mothers in a way to
furnish an example to the whole Christian world? who indeed exaggerate
their reverence to such a degree that they even worship their
ancestors? The mass of the people are miserably poor, but they do not
murmur at their lot. They take it patiently, and even cheerfully; for
they see in it a mixture of dark and bright. In their own beautiful
and poetical saying: "The moon shines bright amid the firs." May it
not only shine through the gloom of deep forests, but rise higher and
higher, till it casts a flood of light over the whole Eastern sky!

FOOTNOTE:

[12] As this incident has excited a great deal of interest, I am happy
to give it as it occurred from an eye-witness. One who was on board of
Commodore Tatnall's ship writes:

"I was present at the battle in the Pei-ho in 1859, and know all the
particulars. Admiral Hope having been wounded, was urged to bring up
the marines before sunset, and sent his aid down to take them off the
three junks, where they were waiting at the mouth of the river. The
aid came on board the "Toeywan" to see Commodore Tatnall, tell him the
progress of the battle, and what he had been sent down for, adding
that, as the tide was running out, it would be hard work getting up
again. As he went on, Tatnall began to get restless, and turning to me
(I sat next), said: 'Blood is thicker than water; I don't care if they
do take away my commission.' Then turning to his own flag-lieutenant
at the other end of the table, he said aloud: 'Get up steam;' and
everything was ready for a start in double-quick time. When all was
prepared, the launches, full of marines, were towed into action by the
"Toeywan"; and casting them off, the Commodore left in his barge to go
on board the British flag-ship, to see the wounded Admiral. On the way
his barge was hit, his coxswain killed, and the rest just managed to
get on board the "Lee" before their boat sunk, owing their lives
probably to his presence of mind. It was only the men in this boat's
crew who helped to work the British guns. I suppose Tatnall never
meant his words to be repeated, but Hope's aid overheard them, and
thus immortalized them."



CHAPTER XXV.

THREE WEEKS IN JAPAN.


We left Hong Kong on the 15th of May, just one year from the day that
we sailed from New York on our journey around the world. As we
completed these twelve months, we embarked on our twelfth voyage.
After being so long on foreign ships--English and French and Dutch:
Austrian Lloyds and Messageries Maritimes--it was pleasant to be at
last on one that bore the flag of our country, and bore it so proudly
as "The City of Peking." As we stepped on her deck, and looked up at
the stars above us, we felt that we were almost on the soil of our
country. As we were now approaching America, though still over six
thousand miles away, and nearly ten thousand from New York, we thought
it was time to telegraph that we were coming, but found that "the
longest way round was the nearest way home." The direct cable across
the Bay of Bengal, from Penang to Madras, was broken, and the message
had to go by Siberia. It seemed indeed a long, long way, but the
lightning regards neither space nor time. Swift as thought the message
flew up the coast of China to Siberia, and then across the whole
breadth of two continents, Asia and Europe, and dived under the
Atlantic, to come up on the shores of America.

The harbor of Hong Kong was gay with ships decorated with flags, and
the British fleet was still firing salutes, which seemed to be its
daily pastime, as the City of Peking began to move. With a grand sweep
she circled round the bay, and then running swiftly into a winding
passage among islands, through which is the entrance to the harbor,
steamed out on the broad Pacific.

We had intended to go to Shanghai, and through the Inland Sea of
Japan, but we sacrificed even such a pleasure (or rather left it till
the next time) to take advantage of this noble ship, that was bound
direct for Yokohama. Our course took us through the Channel of
Formosa, in full sight of the island, which has had an unenviable
notoriety from the treatment of the crews of ships wrecked on its
inhospitable coast. Leaving it far behind, in six days we were running
along the shores of Japan, and might have seen the snowy head of
Fusiyama, had it not been wrapped in clouds. The next morning we left
behind the long roll of the Pacific, and entered the Bay of Yedo--a
gulf fifty miles deep, whose clear, sparkling waters shone in the
sunlight. Fishing-boats were skimming the tranquil surface. The
Japanese are born to the sea. All around the coast they live upon it,
and are said to derive from it one-third of their subsistence. The
shores, sloping from the water's edge, are sprinkled with Japanese
villages. Some thirty miles from the sea we pass Mississippi Bay, so
called from the flag-ship of Commodore Perry, which lay here with his
fleet while he was conducting the negotiations for the opening of
Japan; the headland above it bears the name of Treaty Point. Rounding
this point, we see before us in the distance a forest of shipping, and
soon cast anchor in the harbor of Yokohama.

Yokohama has a pleasant look from the sea, an impression increased as
we are taken off in a boat, and landed on the quay--a sea wall, which
keeps out the waves, and furnishes a broad terrace for the front of
the town. Here is a wide street called "The Bund," on which stand the
principal hotels. From our rooms we look out directly on the harbor.
Among the steamers from foreign ports, are a number of ships of war,
among which is the Tennessee, the flagship of our Asiatic squadron,
bearing the broad pennant of Admiral Reynolds, whom we had known in
America, and indeed had bidden good-by at our own door, as we stepped
into the carriage to drive to the steamer. We parted, hoping to meet
in Asia, a wish which was now fulfilled. He was very courteous to us
during our stay, sending his boat to bring us on board, and coming
often with his excellent wife to see us on shore. It gave us a
pleasant feeling of nearness to home, to have a great ship full of our
countrymen close at hand.

In the rear of the town the hill which overlooks the harbor, bears the
foreign name of "The Bluff." Here is quite an American colony,
including several missionary families, in which we became very much at
home before we left Japan.

Yokohama has an American newness and freshness. It is only a few years
since it has come into existence as a place of any importance. It was
only a small fishing village until the opening of Japan, since which
it has become the chief port of foreign commerce. It is laid out in
convenient streets, which are well paved, and kept clean, and
altogether the place has a brisk and lively air, as of some new and
thriving town in our own country.

But just at this moment we are not so much interested to see American
improvements as to see the natives on their own soil. Here they are in
all their glory--pure-blooded Asiatics--and yet of a type that is not
Mongolian or Malayan or Indian. The Jap is neither a "mild Hindoo" nor
a "heathen Chinee." His hair is shaved from his head in a fashion
quite his own, making a sort of triangle on the crown; and no long
pigtail decorates his person behind. We recognize him at once, for
never was a human creature so exactly like his portrait. We see every
day the very same figures that we have seen all our lives on tea-cups
and saucers, and fans and boxes. Our first acquaintance with them was
as charioteers, in which they take the place, not of drivers, but of
horses; for the _jin-riki-sha_ (literally, a carriage drawn by man
power) has no other "team" harnessed to it. The vehicle is exactly
like a baby carriage, only made for "children of a larger growth." It
is simply an enlarged perambulator, on two wheels, drawn by a coolie;
and when one takes his seat in it, he cannot help feeling at first as
if he were a big baby, whom his nurse had tucked up and was taking out
for an airing. But one need not be afraid of it, lest he break down
the carriage, or tire out the steed that draws it. No matter how great
your excellency may be, the stout fellow will take up the thills,
standing where the pony or the donkey ought to be, and trot off with
you at a good pace, making about four miles an hour. At first the
impression was irresistibly ludicrous, and we laughed at ourselves to
see what a ridiculous figure we cut. Indeed we did not quite recover
our sobriety during the three weeks that we were in Japan. But after
all it is a very convenient way of getting about, and one at least is
satisfied that his horses will not run away, though he must not be too
sure of that, for I sometimes felt, especially when going down hill,
that they had got loose, and would land me with a broken head at the
bottom.

But Yokohama is only the gate of Yedo (or Tokio, as it is the fashion
to call it now, but I keep to the old style as more familiar), of
which we had read even in our school geographies as one of the most
populous cities of Asia. The access is very easy, for it is only
eighteen miles distant, and there is a railroad, so that it is but an
hour's ride. While on our way that morning, we had our first sight of
Fusiyama. Though seventy miles distant, its dome of snow rose on the
horizon sharp and clear, like the Jungfrau at Interlachen.

Arrived at Yedo, the station was surrounded by _jinrikishas_, whose
masters were kept in better order than the cabmen of New York. Wishing
to appear in the capital with proper dignity, we took two men instead
of one, so that each had a full team; and fine young bloods they were,
full of spirit, that fairly danced with us along the street, in such
gay fashion that my clerical garb was hardly sufficient to preserve
my clerical character. We first trotted off to the American
Minister's, Mr. Bingham's, who received us with all courtesy, and sent
for the interpreter of the Legation, Rev. Mr. Thompson, an American
missionary, who kindly offered to be our guide about the city, and
gave up the day to us. With such a cicerone, we started on our rounds.
He took us first to what is called the Summer Palace, though it is not
a palace at all, but only a park, to which the Mikado comes once in a
while to take his royal pleasure. There are a few rest-houses
scattered about, where one, whether king or commoner, might find
repose; or strolling under the shade of trees, and looking off upon
the tranquil sea. Next we rode to the Tombs of the Tycoons, where,
under gilded shrines, beneath temples and pagodas, sleep the royal
dead. The grounds are large and the temples exquisitely finished, with
the fine lacquer work for which the Japanese are famous; so that we
had to take off our shoes, and step very softly over the polished
floors. Riding on through endless streets, our friend took us to a
hill, ascended by a long flight of steps, on the top of which, in an
open space, stood a temple, an arbor, and a tea-house. This point
commands an extensive view of Yedo. It is a city of magnificent
distances, spreading out for miles on every side; and yet, except for
its extent, it is not at all imposing, for it is, like Canton, a mere
wilderness of houses, relieved by no architectural magnificence--not a
single lofty tower or dome rising above the dead level. But, unlike
Canton, the city has very broad streets, sometimes crossed by a river
or a canal, spanned by high, arched bridges. The principal business
street is much wider than Broadway, but it has not a shop along its
whole extent that would make any show even in "The Bowery." The houses
are built only one story high, because of earthquakes which are
frequent in Japan, caused, as the people believe, by a huge fish which
lies under the island, and that shakes it whenever he tosses his head
or lashes his tail. The houses are of such slight construction that
they burn like tinder; and it is not surprising that the city is often
swept by destructive fires. But if the whole place were thus swept
away, or if it were shaken to pieces by an earthquake in the night,
the people would pick themselves up in the morning and restore their
dwellings, with not much more difficulty than soldiers, whose tents
had been blown down by the wind, would find in pitching them again and
making another camp. Some of the government buildings are of more
stately proportions, and there are open grounds in certain quarters of
the city, adorned with magnificent trees, like the ancient oaks which
cast their shadows on the smooth-shaven lawns of England, and give to
English parks such an air of dignity and repose.

The Castle of the late Tycoon, which may be said to be the heart of
the city, around which it clusters, is more of a fortress than a
palace. There is an immense enclosure surrounded by a deep moat (whose
sides are very pretty, banked with rich green turf), and with
picturesque old towers standing at intervals along the walls. In the
rear of the grounds of the old Castle is the much less ambitious
residence of the Mikado, where he is duly guarded, though he does not
now, as formerly, keep himself invisible, as if he were a divinity
descended from the skies, who in mysterious seclusion ruled the
affairs of men.

By this time we were a little weary of sight-seeing, and drew up at a
Japanese tea-house, to take our tiffin. The place was as neat as a
pin, and the little maids came out to receive us, and bowed themselves
to the ground, touching the earth with their foreheads, in token of
the great honor that had come to their house--homage that we received
with becoming dignity, and went on our way rejoicing.

The pleasantest sights that we saw to-day were two which showed the
awakened intelligence and spirit of progress among the people. These
were the Government College, with two hundred students, manned in part
by American professors (where we found our countryman Dr. Veeder in
his lecture-room, performing experiments); and an old Temple of
Confucius which has been turned into a library and reading-room. Here
was a large collection of books and periodicals, many from foreign
countries, over which a number of persons were quietly but studiously
engaged. The enclosure was filled with grand old trees, and had the
air of an academic grove, whose silent shades were devoted to study
and learning.

After this first visit to the capital, we took a week for an excursion
into the interior, which gave us a sight of the country and of
Japanese life. This we could not have made with any satisfaction but
for our friends the missionaries. They kindly sketched the outlines of
a trip to the base of Fusiyama, seventy miles from Yedo. It was very
tempting, but what could we do without guides or interpreters? We
should be lost like babes in the wood. It occurred to us that such a
journey might do _them_ good. Dr. Brown and Dr. Hepburn, the oldest
missionaries in Japan, had been closely confined for months in
translating the Scriptures, and needed some relief. A little country
air would give them new life; so we invited them to be our guests, and
we would make a week of it. We finally prevailed upon them to "come
apart and rest awhile," not in a "desert," but in woodland shades,
among the mountains and by the sea. Their wives came with them,
without whom their presence would have given us but half the pleasure
it did. Thus encompassed and fortified with the best of companions,
with a couple of English friends, we made a party of eight, which,
with the usual impedimenta of provisions and a cook, and extra shawls
and blankets, required eleven _jinrikishas_, with two men harnessed to
each, making altogether quite a grand cavalcade, as we sallied forth
from Yokohama on a Monday noon in "high feather." To our staid
missionary friends it was an old story; but to us, strangers in the
land, it was highly exciting to be thus starting off into the interior
of Japan. The country around Yokohama is hilly and broken. Our way
wound through a succession of valleys rich with fields of rice and
barley, while along the roads shrubberies, which at home are
cultivated with great care, grew in wild profusion--the wisteria, the
honeysuckle, and the eglantine. The succession of hill and valley gave
to the country a variety and beauty which, with the high state of
cultivation, reminded us of Java. As we mounted the hills we had
glimpses of the sea, for we were skirting along the Bay of Yedo. After
a few miles we came to an enchanting spot, which bears the ambitious
title of the Plains of Heaven, yet which is not heaven, and is not
even a plain--but a rolling country, in which hill and valley are
mingled together, with the purple mountains as a background on one
side and the blue waters on the other.

As we rode along, I thought how significant was the simple fact of
such an excursion as this in a country, where a few years ago no
foreigner's life was safe. On this very road, less than ten years
since, an Englishman was cut down for no other crime than that of
being a foreigner, and getting in the way of the high daimio who was
passing. And now we jogged along as quietly, and with as little
apprehension, as if we were riding through the villages of New
England.

On our way lies a town which once bore a great name, Kamakura, where
nine centuries ago lived the great Yoritomo, the Napoleon of his day,
the founder of the military rule in the person of the Shogun (or
Tycoon, a title but lately assumed), as distinguished from that of the
Mikado. Here he made his capital, which was afterwards removed, and
about three hundred years since fixed in Yedo; and Kamakura is left,
like other decayed capitals, to live on the recollections of its
former greatness. But no change can take away its natural beauty, in
its sheltered valley near the sea.

A mile beyond, we came to the colossal image of Dai-Buts, or Great
Buddha. It is of bronze, and though in a sitting posture, is
forty-four feet high. The hands are crossed upon the knees. We crawled
up into his lap, and five of us sat side by side on his thumbs. We
even went inside, and climbed up into his head, and proved by
inspection that these idols, however colossal and imposing without,
are empty within. There are no brains within their brazen skulls. The
expression of the face is the same as in all statues of Buddha: that
of repose--passive, motionless--as of one who had passed through the
struggles of life, and attained to Nirvana, the state of perfect calm,
which is the perfection of heavenly beatitude.

It was now getting towards sunset, and we had still five or six miles
to go before we reached our resting-place for the night. As this was
the last stage in the journey, our fleet coursers seemed resolved to
show us what they could do. They had cast off all their garments,
except a cloth around their loins, and straw sandals on their feet, so
that they were stripped like Roman gladiators, and they put forth a
speed as if racing in the arena. A connoisseur would admire their
splendid physique. Their bodies were tattooed, like South Sea
Islanders, which set out in bolder relief, as in savage warriors,
their muscular development--their broad chests and brawny limbs. With
no stricture of garments to bind them, their limbs were left free for
motion. It was a study to see how they held themselves erect. With
heads and chests thrown back, they balanced themselves perfectly. The
weight of the carriage seemed nothing to them; they had only to keep
in motion, and it followed. Thus we came rushing into the streets of
Fujisawa, and drew up before the tea-house, where lodgings had been
ordered for the night. The whole family turned out to meet us, the
women falling on their knees, and bowing their heads till they touched
the floor, in homage to the greatness of their guests.

And now came our first experience of a Japanese tea-house. If the
_jin-riki-sha_ is like a baby carriage, the tea-house is like a baby
house. It is small, built entirely of wood with sliding partitions,
which can be drawn, like screens, to enclose any open space, and make
it into a room. These partitions are of paper, so that of course the
"chambers" are not very private. The same material is used for
windows, and answers very well, as it softens the light, like ground
glass. The house has always a veranda, so that the rooms are protected
from the sun by the overhanging roof. The bedrooms are very small, but
scrupulously clean, and covered with wadded matting, on which we lie
down to sleep.

At Fujisawa is a temple, which is visited by the Mikado once or twice
in the year. We were shown through his private rooms, and one or two
of us even stretched ourselves upon his bed, which, however, was not a
very daring feat, as it was merely a strip of matting raised like a
low divan or ottoman, a few inches above the floor. The temples are
not imposing structures, and have no beauty except that of position.
They generally stand on a hill, and are approached by an avenue or a
long flight of steps, and the grounds are set out with trees, which
are left to grow till they sometimes attain a majestic height and
breadth. In front of this temple stands a tree, which we recognized by
its foliage as the _Salisburia adiantifolia_--a specimen of which we
had in America on our own lawn, but there it was a shrub brought from
the nursery, while here it was like a cedar of Lebanon. It was said to
be a thousand years old. Standing here, it was regarded as a sacred
tree, and we looked up to it with more reverence than to the sombre
temple behind, or the sleepy old bonzes who were sauntering idly about
the grounds.

The next morning, as we started on our journey, we came upon the
Tokaido, the royal road of Japan, built hundreds of years ago from
Yedo to Kioto, to connect the political with the spiritual
capital--the residence of the Tycoon with that of the Mikado. It is
the highway along which the daimios came in state to pay their homage
to the Tycoon at Yedo, as of old subject-princes came to Rome. It is
constructed with a good deal of skill in engineering, which is shown
in carrying it over mountains, and in the building of bridges.
Portions of the road are paved with blocks of stone like the Appian
Way. But that which gives it a glory and majesty all its own, is its
bordering of gigantic cedars--the _Cryptomeria Japonica_--which attain
an enormous height, with gnarled and knotted limbs that have wrestled
with the storms of centuries.

As we advance, the road comes out upon the sea, for we have crossed
the peninsula which divides the Bay of Yedo from the Pacific, and are
now on the shores of the ocean itself. How beautiful it seemed that
day! It was the last of May, and the atmosphere was full of the warmth
of early summer. The coast is broken by headlands shooting out into
the deep, which enclose bays, where the soft, warm sunshine lingers as
on the shores of the Mediterranean, and the waters of the mighty
Pacific come gently rippling up the beach. So twixt sea and land,
sunshine and shade, we sped gaily along to Odawara--another place
which was once the residence of a powerful chief, whose castle is
still there, though in ruins; its stones, if questioned of the past,
might tell a tale like that of one of the castles on the Rhine. These
old castles are the monuments of the same form of government, for the
Feudal System existed in Japan as in Germany. The kingdom was divided
into provinces, ruled by great daimios, who were like the barons of
the Middle Ages, each with his armed retainers, who might be called
upon to support the central government, yet who sometimes made war
upon it. This Feudal System is now completely destroyed. As we were
riding over the Tokaido, I pictured to myself the great pageants that
had swept along so proudly in the days gone by. What would those old
barons have thought if they could have seen in the future an
irruption of invaders from beyond the sea, and that even this king's
highway should one day be trodden by the feet of outside barbarians?

At Odawara we dismissed our men, (who, as soon as they received their
money, started off for Yokohama,) as we had to try another mode of
transportation; for though we still kept the Tokaido, it ascends the
mountains so steeply that it is impassable for anything on wheels, and
we had to exchange the _jinrikisha_ for the _kago_--a kind of basket
made of bamboo, in which a man is doubled up and packed like a bundle,
and so carried on men's shoulders. It would not answer badly if he had
neither head nor legs. But his head is always knocking against the
ridge-pole, and his legs have to be twisted under him, or "tied up in
a bow-knot." This is the way in which criminals are carried to
execution in China; but for one who has any further use for his limbs,
it is not altogether agreeable. I lay passive for awhile, feeling as
if I had been packed and salted down in a pork-barrel. Then I began to
wriggle, and thrust out my head on one side and the other, and at last
had to confess, like the Irishman who was offered the privilege of
working his passage on a canal-boat and was set to leading a horse,
that "if it were not for the honor of the thing, I had as lief walk."
So I crawled out and unrolled myself, to see if my limbs were still
there, for they were so benumbed that I was hardly conscious of their
existence, and then straightening myself out, and taking a long bamboo
reed, which is light and strong, lithe and springy, for an alpenstock,
I started off with my companions. We all soon recovered our spirits,
and

     "Walked in glory and in joy
     Along the mountain side,"

till at nightfall we halted in the village of Hakoné, a mountain
retreat much resorted to by foreigners from Yedo and Yokohama.

Here we might have been in the Highlands of Scotland, for we were in
the heart of mountains, and on the border of a lake. To make the
resemblance more perfect, a Scotch mist hung over the hills, and rain
pattered on the roof all night long, and half the next day. But at
noon the clouds broke, and we started on our journey. Dr. and Mrs.
Brown and Mrs. Hepburn kept to their baskets, and were borne a long
way round, while the rest of us were rowed across the lake, a
beautiful sheet of water, nestled among the hills, like Loch Katrine.
One of these hills is tunnelled for two miles, to carry the water
under it to irrigate the rice fields of some twenty villages. Landing
on the other side of the lake, we had before us a distance of eight or
ten miles. Our coolies stood ready to carry us, but all preferred the
freedom of their unfettered limbs. The mountain is volcanic, and on
the summit is a large space made desolate by frequent eruptions, out
of which issues smoke laden with the fumes of sulphur, and hot springs
throw off jets of steam, and boil and bubble, and hiss with a loud
noise, as if all the furies were pent up below, and spitting out their
rage through the fissures of the rocks. The side of the mountain is
scarred and torn, and yellow with sulphur, like the sides of Vesuvius.
The natives call the place Hell. It was rather an abrupt transition,
after crossing the Plains of Heaven a day or two before, to come down
so soon to the sides of the pit.

Towards evening we came down into the village of Miya-no-shita (what
musical names these Japanese have!), where our friends were waiting
for us, and over a warm cup of tea talked over the events of the day.
This is a favorite resort, for its situation among the mountains, with
lovely walks on every side, and for its hot springs. Water is brought
into the hotel in pipes of bamboo, so hot that one is able to bear it
only after slowly dipping his feet into it, and thus sliding in by
degrees, when the sensation is as of being scalded alive. But it takes
the soreness out of one's limbs weary with a long day's tramp; and
after being steamed and boiled, we stretched ourselves on the clean
mats of the tea-house, and slept the sleep of innocence and peace.

One cannot go anywhere in Japan without receiving a visit from the
people, who, being of a thrifty turn, seize the occasion of a
stranger's presence to drive a little trade. The skill of the Japanese
is quite marvellous in certain directions: They make everything _in
petto_, in miniature--the smallest earthenware; the tiniest cups and
saucers. In these mountain villages they work, like the Swiss, in
wooden-ware, and make exquisite and dainty little boxes and bureaus,
as if for dolls, yet with complete sets of drawers, which could not
but take the fancy of one who had little people at home waiting for
presents. Besides the temptation of such trinkets, who could resist
the insinuating manner of the women who brought them? The Japanese
women are not pretty. They might be, were it not for their odious
fashions. We have seen faces that would be quite handsome if left in
their native, unadorned beauty. But fashion rules the world in Japan
as in Paris. As soon as a woman is married her eyebrows are shaved
off, and her teeth blackened, so that she cannot open her mouth
without showing a row of ebony instead of ivory, which disfigures
faces that would be otherwise quite winning. It says a good deal for
their address, that with such a feature to repel, they can still be
attractive. This is owing wholly to their manners. The Japanese men
and women are a light-hearted race, and captivate by their gayety and
friendliness. The women were always in a merry mood. As soon as they
entered the room, before even a word was spoken, they began to giggle,
as if our appearance were very funny, or as if this were the quickest
way to be on good terms with us. The effect was irresistible. I defy
the soberest man to resist it, for as soon as your visitor laughs, you
begin to laugh from sympathy; and when you have got into a hearty
laugh together, you are already acquainted, and in friendly
relations, and the work of buying and selling goes on easily. They
took us captive in a few minutes. We purchased sparingly, thinking of
our long journey; but our English friends bought right and left, till
the next day they had to load two pack-horses with boxes to be carried
over the mountains to Yokohama.

The next day was to bring the consummation of our journey, for then we
were to go up into a mountain and see the glory of the Lord. A few
miles distant is the summit of Otometoge, from which one obtains a
view of Fusiyama, looking full in his awful face. We started with
misgivings, for it had been raining, and the clouds still hung low
upon the mountains. Our way led through hamlets clustered together in
a narrow pass, like Alpine villages. As we wound up the ascent, we
often stopped to look back at the valley below, from which rose the
murmur of rushing waters, while the sides of the mountains were
clothed with forests. These rich landscapes gave such enchantment to
the scene as repaid us for all our weariness. At two o'clock we
reached the top, and rushed to the brow to catch the vision of
Fusiyama, but only to be disappointed. The mountain was there, but
clouds covered his hoary head. In vain we watched and waited; still
the monarch hid his face. Clouds were round about the throne. The
lower ranges stood in full outline, but the heaven-piercing dome, or
pyramid of snow, was wrapped in its misty shroud. That for which we
had travelled seventy miles, we could not see at last.

Is it not often so in life? The moments that we have looked forward to
with highest expectations, are disappointing when they come. We cross
the seas, and journey far, to reach some mount of vision, when lo! the
sight that was to reward us is hidden from our eyes; while our highest
raptures come to us unsought, perhaps in visions of the night.

But our toilsome climb was not unrewarded. Below us lay a broad, deep
valley, to which the rice fields gave a vivid green, dotted with
houses and villages, which were scattered over the middle distance,
and even around the base of Fusiyama himself. Drinking in the full
loveliness of the scene, we turned to descend, and after a three
hours' march, footsore and weary, entered our Alpine village of
Miya-no-shita.

The next morning we set out to return. Had the day shone bright and
clear, we should have been tempted to renew our ascent of the day
before. But as the clouds were still over the sky, we reluctantly
turned away. Taking another route from that by which we came, we
descended a deep valley, and winding around the heights which we had
crossed before, at eleven o'clock reëntered Odawara.

And now we had done with our marching and our kagos, and once more
took to our chariots, which drew up to the door--the men not exactly
saddled and bridled, but stripped for the race, with no burden added
to the burden of the flesh which they had to carry. A crowd collected
to see us depart, and looked on admiringly as we went dashing through
the long street of Odawara, and out upon the Tokaido. Our way, as
before, led by the sea, which was in no tempestuous mood, but calm and
tranquil, as if conscious that the summer was born. The day was not
too warm, for the clouds that were flying over the sky shielded us
from the direct rays of the sun; yet as we looked out now and then,
the giant trees cast their shadows across our path. An American poet
sings:

     "What is so rare as a day in June?"

Surely nothing could be _more_ rare or fair; but even the sky and the
soft Summer air seemed more full of exquisite sensations to the
strangers who were that day rolling along the shores of the Pacific,
under the mighty cedars of the Tokaido.

Once more I was surprised and delighted at the agility and swiftness
of the men who drew our _jin-riki-shas_. As we had but twenty-three
miles to go in the afternoon, we took it easily, and gave them first
only a gentle trot of five miles to get their limbs a little supple,
and then stopped for tiffin. Some of the men had on a loose jacket
when we started, besides the girdle about the loins. This they took
off and wrung out, for they were dripping with sweat, and wiped their
brawny chests and limbs, and then took their chopsticks and applied
themselves to their rice, while we went upstairs in the tea-house, and
had our soup and other dishes served to us, sitting on the floor like
Turks, and then stretched ourselves on the mats, weary with our
morning's walk, and even with the motion of riding. While we were
trying to get a little rest our men talked and laughed in the court
below as if it were child's play to take us over the road. As we
resumed our places and turned out of the yard, I had the curiosity to
"time" their speed. I had a couple of athletic fellows, who thought me
a mere feather in weight, and made me spin like a top as they bowled
along. They started off at an easy trot, which they kept up, without
breaking, mile after mile. I did not need to crack the whip, but at
the word, away they flew through villages and over the open country,
never stopping, but when they came to slightly rising ground, rushing
up like mettlesome horses, and down at full speed. Thus they kept on,
and never drew rein till they came to the bank of a river, which had
to be crossed in a boat. I took out my watch. It was an hour and a
quarter, and they had come seven miles and a half! This was doing
pretty well. Of course they could not keep this up all day; yet they
will go thirty miles from sunrise to sunset, and even forty, if
spurred to it by a little extra pay. Sometimes, indeed, they go even
at a still greater speed for a short distance. The first evening, as
we came into Fujisawa, I do not doubt that the last fifteen minutes
they were going at a speed of ten miles an hour, for they came in on a
run. This is magnificent, but I cannot think it very healthful
exercise. As gymnasts and prize-fighters grow old and die before their
time, so with these human racehorses. Dr. Hepburn says it exhausts
them very early; that they break down with disease of the heart or
lungs. They are very liable to rheumatism. This is partly owing to
their carelessness. They get heated, and then expose their naked
bodies to drafts of cold air, which of course stiffens their limbs, so
that an old runner becomes like a foundered horse. But even with all
care, the fatigue is very exhausting, and often brings on diseases
which take them off in their prime. Yet you cannot restrain their
speed, any more than that of colts that have never been broken. I
often tried to check them, but they "champed at the bit," and after a
few vain remonstrances I had to give it up, and "let them slide."

We did not stop at Fujisawa, where we had slept before, for it is a
large and noisy town, but pushed on three miles farther, across a
sandy beach to Enoshima, a little fishing village, which stands on a
point of land jutting out into the sea, so that at high tide it is an
island, and at low tide a peninsula. Indeed, it is not much more than
a projecting rock of a few hundred acres, rising high out of the
waters, and covered thickly with groves of trees, among which are
several Buddhist temples. As we strolled along the top of the cliffs
at sunset, there were a dozen points of view where we could sit under
the shade of trees a hundred feet above the waves, as on the cliffs of
the Isle of Wight, saying with Tennyson:

     "Break, break, break,
     At the foot of thy crags, O Sea!"

The next morning we rambled over the hills again, for it was a spot
where one could but linger. The bay was alive with boats, as

     "The fishers went sailing out into the West."

On the shore were divers, who plunged from the rocks into deep water,
to bring up shells and coral for us, and a sort of sponge peculiar to
this country, with spicules like threads of spun glass. Under the
cliff is a long cave, hollowed out by the waves, with an arch overhead
like a vaulted roof. Thus under ground or above ground we wandered
hour after hour.

But all things pleasant must have an end. The week was gone; it was
Saturday noon: and so reluctantly leaving both the mountains and the
sea, and taking to our chariots once more, we struck into the Tokaido,
and in four hours were rolling along the Bund at Yokohama.

Three days after we made a second visit to Yedo, to visit an American
gentleman who held a position in the Foreign Office, and spent a night
at his pretty Japanese house in the Government grounds. Here being, as
it were, in the interior of the State Department, we got some European
news; among which was the startling intelligence of a revolution in
Turkey, and that Abdul Aziz had been deposed!

In our second excursion about the city, as we had long distances to
traverse, we took two prancing bucks to each jinrikisha, who ran us
such a rig through the streets of Yedo as made us think of John Gilpin
when he rode to London town. The fellows were like wild colts, so full
of life that they had to kick it off at the heels. Sometimes one
pulled in front while the other pushed behind, but more often they
went tandem, the one in advance drawing by a cord over his shoulder.
The leader was so full of spring that he fairly bounded over the
ground, and if we came to a little elevation, or arched bridge, he
sprang into the air like a catamount, while his fellow behind, though
a little more stiff, as a "wheel horse" ought to be, bore himself
proudly, tossing up his head, and throwing out his chest, and never
lagged for an instant. C---- was delighted, nothing could go too fast
for her; but whether it was fear for my character or for my head, I
had serious apprehension that I should be "smashed" like Chinese
crockery, and poked my steeds in the rear with my umbrella to signify
that I was entirely satisfied with their performances, and that they
need not go any faster!

While in Yedo we attended a meeting of missionaries, English, Scotch,
and American, in a distant part of the city, and in the evening paid a
visit to Prof. Verbeck, who has been here so long that he is an
authority on all Japanese matters. It was eight o'clock when we set
out to return to our friends in the Foreign Office, and we bade our
men take us through the main streets, that we might have a view of
Yedo by night. The distance was some three miles, the greater part
through the principal street. It was near the time of the full moon,
but fortunately she was hidden to-night by clouds, for even her soft
radiance could not give such animation and picturesqueness to the
scene as the lights of the city itself. The broad street for two miles
was in a flare of gas-light, like one of the great streets of Paris.
The shops were open and lighted; added to which were hundreds (perhaps
thousands) of _jin-riki-shas_, each with its Chinese lantern, glancing
two and fro, like so many fireflies on a summer night, making a scene
such as one reads of in the Arabian Nights, but as I had never
witnessed before.

But that which is of most interest to a stranger in Japan, is not Yedo
or Fusiyama, but the sudden revolution which has taken place in its
relations with other countries, and in its internal condition. This is
one of the most remarkable events in history, which, in a few years,
has changed a whole nation, so that from being the most isolated, the
most exclusive, and the most rigidly conservative, even in Asia, it
has become the most active and enterprising; the most open to foreign
influences; the most hospitable to foreign ideas, and the most ready
to introduce foreign improvements. This change has taken Japan out of
the ranks of the non-progressive nations, to place it, if not in the
van of modern improvement, at least not very far in the rear. It has
taken it out of the stagnant life of Asia, to infuse into its veins
the life of Europe and America. In a word, it has, as it were,
unmoored Japan from the coast of Asia, and towed it across the
Pacific, to place it alongside of the New World, to have the same
course of life and progress.

It is a singular fact, which, as it has united our two nations in the
past, ought to unite us in the future, that the opening of Japan came
from America. It would have come in time from the natural growth of
the commerce of the world, but the immediate occasion was the
settlement of California. The first emigration, consequent on the
discovery of gold, was in 1849; the treaty with Japan in 1854. As soon
as there sprang up an American Empire on our Western coast, there
sprang up also an American commerce on the Pacific. Up to that time,
except the whalers from New Bedford that went round Cape Horn, to cast
their harpoons in the North Pacific, or an occasional vessel to the
Sandwich Islands, or that brought a cargo of tea from China, there
were few American ships in the Pacific. But now it was ploughed by
fleets of ships, and by great lines of steamers. The Western coast of
America faced the Eastern coast of Asia, and there must be commerce
between them. Japan lay in the path to China, and it was inevitable
that there must be peaceful intercourse, or there would be armed
collision. The time had come when the policy of rigid exclusion could
not be permitted any longer. Of course Japan had the right which
belongs to any independent power, to regulate its commerce with
foreign nations. But there were certain rights which belonged to all
nations, and which might be claimed in the interest of humanity. If an
American ship, in crossing the Pacific on its way to China, were
shipwrecked on the shores of Japan, the sailors who escaped the perils
of the sea had the right to food and shelter--not to be regarded as
trespassers or held as prisoners. Yet there had been instances in
which such crews had been treated as captives, and shut up in prison.
In one instance they were exhibited in cages. If they had fallen
among Barbary pirates, they could not have been treated with greater
severity. This state of things must come to an end; and in gently
forcing the issue, our government led the way. As English ships had
broken down the wall of China, so did an American fleet open the door
of Japan, simply by an attitude of firmness and justice; by demanding
nothing but what was right, and supporting it by an imposing display
of force. Thus Japan was opened to the commerce of America, and
through it of the world, without shedding a drop of blood.

The result has been almost beyond belief. A quarter of a century ago
no foreign ship could anchor in these waters. And now here, in sight
of the spot where lay the fleet of Commodore Perry, I see a harbor
full of foreign ships. It struck me strangely, as I sat at our windows
in the Grand Hotel, and looked out upon the tranquil bay. There lay
the Tennessee, not with guns run out and matches lighted, but in her
peaceful dress, with flags flying, not only from her mast-head, but
from all her yards and rigging. There were also several English ships
of war, with Admiral Ryder in command, from whose flag-ship, as from
the Tennessee, we heard the morning and evening gun, and the bands
playing. The scene was most beautiful by moonlight, when the ships lay
motionless, and the tall masts cast their shadows on the water, and
all was silent, as in so many sleeping camps, save the bells which
struck the hours, and marked the successive watches all night long. It
seemed as if the angel of peace rested on the moonlit waters, and that
nations would not learn war any more.

The barrier once broken down, foreign commerce began to enter the
waters of Japan. American ships appeared at the open ports. As if to
give them welcome, lighthouses were built at exposed points on the
coast, so that they might approach without danger. A foreign
settlement sprung up at Yokohama. By and by young men went abroad to
see the world, or to be educated in Europe or America, and came back
with reports of the wealth and power of foreign nations. Soon a spirit
of imitation took possession of Young Japan. These students affected
even the fashions of foreign countries, and appeared in the streets of
Yedo in coat and pantaloons, instead of the old Japanese dress; and
ate no longer with chopsticks, but with knives and forks. Thus manners
and customs changed, to be followed by a change in laws and in the
government itself. Till now Japan had had a double-headed government,
with two sovereigns and two capitals. But now there was a revolution
in the country, the Tycoon was overthrown, and the Mikado, laying
aside his seclusion and his invisibility, came from Kioto to Yedo, and
assumed the temporal power, and showed himself to his people. The
feudal system was abolished, and the proud daimios--who, with their
clans of armed retainers, the _samourai_, or two-sworded men, were
independent princes--were stripped of their estates, which sometimes
were as large as German principalities, and forced to disband their
retainers, and reduced to the place of pensioners of the government.
The army and navy were reconstructed on European models. Instead of
the old Japanese war-junks, well-armed frigates were seen in the Bay
of Yedo--a force which has enabled Japan to take a very decided tone
in dealing with China, in the matter of the island of Formosa; and
made its power respected along the coast of Eastern Asia. We saw an
embassy from Corea passing through the streets of Yokohama, on its way
to Yedo, to pay homage to the Mikado, and enter into peaceful
relations with Japan. A new postal system has been introduced,
modelled on our own. In Yokohama one sees over a large building the
sign "The Japanese Imperial Post-Office," and the postman goes his
rounds, delivering his letters and papers as in England and America.
There is no opposition to the construction of railroads, as in China.
Steamers ply around the coast and through the Inland Sea; and
telegraphs extend from one end of the Empire to the other; and
crossing the sea, connect Japan with the coast of Asia, and with all
parts of the world. Better than all, the government has adopted a
general system of national education, at the head of which is our own
Prof. Murray; it has established schools and colleges, and introduced
teachers from Europe and America. In Yedo I was taken by Prof.
McCartee to see a large and noble institution for the education of
girls, established under the patronage of the Empress. These are signs
of progress that cannot be paralleled in any other nation in the
world.

With such an advance in less than one generation, what may we not hope
in the generation to come? In her efforts at progress, Japan deserves
the sympathy and support of the whole civilized world. Having
responded to the demand for commercial intercourse, she has a just
claim to be placed on the footing of the most favored nations.
Especially is she entitled to expect friendship from our country. As
it fell to America to be the instrument of opening Japan, it ought to
be our pride to show her that the new path into which we led her, is a
path of peace and prosperity. Japan is our nearest neighbor on the
west, as Ireland is on the east; and among nations, as among
individuals, neighbors ought to be friends. It seemed a good token
that the American Union Church in Yokohama should stand on the very
spot where Commodore Perry made his treaty with Japan--the beginning,
let us hope, of immeasurable good to both nations. As India is a part
of the British Empire, and may look to England to secure for her the
benefits of modern civilization, so the duty of stretching out a hand
across the seas to Japan, may fairly be laid on the American church
and the American people.

Our visit was coming to an end. A day or two we spent in the shops,
buying photographs and bronzes, and in paying farewell visits to the
missionaries, who had shown us so much kindness. The "parting cup" of
tea we took at Dr. Hepburn's, and from his windows had a full view of
Fusiyama, that looked out upon us once more in all his glory. We were
to embark that evening, to sail at daylight. Mr. John Ballagh and
several ladies of "The Home," who had made us welcome in their
pleasant circle, "accompanied us to the ship." We had a long row
across the bay just as the moon was rising, covering the waters with
silver, and making the great ships look like mighty shadows as they
stood up against the sky. "On such a night" we took our farewell of
Asia.

The next morning very early we were sailing down the bay of Yedo, and
were soon out on the Pacific. But the coast remained long in sight,
and we sat on deck watching the receding shores of a country which in
three weeks had become so familiar and so dear; and when at last it
sunk beneath the waters, we left our "benediction" on that beautiful
island set in the Northern Seas.

We did not steer straight for San Francisco, although it is in nearly
the same latitude as Yokohama, but turned north, following what
navigators call a Great Circle, on the principle that as they get high
up on the globe, the degrees of longitude are shorter, and thus they
can "cut across" at the high latitudes. "It is nearer to go around the
hill than to go over it." We took a prodigious sweep, following the
_Kuroshiwo_, or Black Current, the Gulf Stream of the Pacific, which
flows up the coast of Asia, and down the coast of America. We bore
away to the north till we were off the coast of Kamschatka, and within
a day's sail of Petropaulovski, before we turned East. Our ship was
"The Oceanic," of the famous White Star line, which, if not so
magnificent as "The City of Peking," was quite as swift a sailer,
cleaving the waters like a sea-bird. In truth, the albatrosses that
came about the ship for days from the Aleutian Islands, now soaring in
air, and now skimming the waters, did not float along more easily or
more gracefully.

As we crossed the 180th degree of longitude, just half the way around
the world from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich, we "gained a day,"
or rather, recovered one that we had lost. As we had started eastward,
we lost a few minutes each day, and had to set our watches every noon.
We were constantly changing our meridian, so that no day ended where
it began, and we never had a day of full twenty-four hours, but always
a few minutes, like sands, had crumbled away. By the time we reached
England, five hours had thus dropped into the sea; and when we had
compassed the globe, we had parted, inch by inch, moment by moment,
with a whole day. It seemed as if this were so much blotted out from
the sum of our being--gone in the vast and wandering air--lost in the
eternities, from which nothing is ever recovered. But these lost
moments and hours were all gathered up in the chambers of the East,
and now in mid-ocean, one morning brought us a day not in the
calendar, to be added to the full year. Two days bore the same date,
the 18th of June, and as this fell on a Sunday, two holy days came
together--one the Sabbath of Asia, the other of America. It seemed fit
that this added day should be a sacred one, for it was something
taken, as it were, from another portion of time to be added to our
lives--a day which came to us fresh from its ocean baptism, with not a
tear of sorrow or a thought of sin to stain its purity; and we kept a
double Sabbath in the midst of the sea.

Seventeen days on the Pacific, with nothing to break the boundless
monotony! In all that breadth of ocean which separates Asia and
America, we saw not a single sail on the horizon; and no land, not
even an island, till we came in sight of those shores which are dearer
to us than any other in all the round world.

Here, in sight of land, this story ends. There is no need to tell of
crossing the continent, which completed our circuit of the globe, but
only to add in a word the lesson and the moral of this long journey.
Going around the world is an education. It is not a mere pastime; it
is often a great fatigue; but it is a means of gaining knowledge which
can only be obtained by observation. Charles V. used to say that "the
more languages a man knew, he was so many more times a man." Each new
form of human speech introduced him into a new world of thought and
life. So in some degree is it in traversing other continents, and
mingling with other races. However great America may be, it is
"something" to add to it a knowledge of Europe and Asia. Unless one be
encased in pride, or given over to "invincible ignorance," it will
teach him modesty. He will boast less of his own country, though
perhaps he will love it more. He will see the greatness of other
nations, and the virtues of other people. Even the turbaned Orientals
may teach us a lesson in dignity and courtesy--a lesson of repose, the
want of which is a defect in our national character. In every race
there is something good--some touch of gentleness that makes the whole
world kin. Those that are most strange and far from us, as we approach
them, show qualities that win our love and command our respect.

In all these wanderings, I have met no rudeness in word or act from
Turks or Arabs, Hindoos or Malays, Chinese or Japanese; but have often
received kindness from strangers. The one law that obtains in all
nations is the law of kindness. Have I not a right to say that to know
men is to love them, not to hate them nor despise them?

He who hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the
earth, hath not forgotten any of His children. There is a beauty in
every country and in every clime. Each zone of the earth is belted
with its peculiar vegetation; and there is a beauty alike in the pines
on Norwegian hills, and the palms on African deserts. So with the
diversities of the human race. Man inhabits all climes, and though he
changes color with the sun, and has many varieties of form and
feature, yet the race is the same; all have the same attributes of
humanity, and under a white or black skin beats the same human heart.
In writing of peoples far remote, my wish has been to bring them
nearer, and to bind them to us by closer bonds of sympathy. If these
pictures of Asia make it a little more real, and inspire the feeling
of a common nature with the dusky races that live on the other side of
the globe, and so infuse a larger knowledge and a gentler charity,
then a traveller's tale may serve as a kind of lay sermon, teaching
peace and good will to men.





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