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Title: Peeps at Many Lands—India
Author: Finnemore, John, 1863-1915
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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[Illustration: Cover art]



[Illustration: A TAILOR AT WORK.  _Page 1._]



                          PEEPS AT MANY LANDS

                                 INDIA


                                   BY

                             JOHN FINNEMORE



                  WITH TWELVE FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS
                               IN COLOUR
                                   BY
                            MORTIMER MENPES



                                 LONDON
                         ADAM AND CHARLES BLACK
                                  1907



                    _Published September_ 17, 1907.

                      _Reprinted November_, 1907.



                               *CONTENTS*


CHAPTER

      I. THE GATEWAY OF INDIA
     II. IN THE LAND OF THE RAJPUTS
    III. IN THE LAND OF THE RAJPUTS (continued)
     IV. IN THE PUNJAB
      V. AMONG THE HIMALAYAS
     VI. AMONG THE HIMALAYAS (continued)
    VII. THE GREAT PLAINS OF THE GANGES
   VIII. THE LAND OF THE MOGUL KINGS
     IX. THE LAND OF THE MOGUL KINGS (continued)
      X. IN THE MUTINY COUNTRY
     XI. THE SACRED CITY OF THE HINDOOS
    XII. THE CAPITAL OF INDIA
   XIII. ACROSS THE DECCAN
    XIV. AT THE COURT OF A NATIVE PRINCE
     XV. THE RELIGIOUS MENDICANTS
    XVI. IN THE BAZAAR
   XVII. IN THE JUNGLE
  XVIII. IN THE JUNGLE (continued)
    XIX. IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE
     XX. IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE (continued)



                        *LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS*

                           BY MORTIMER MENPES


A TAILOR AT WORK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . _frontispiece_

A BUSY BAZAAR

A DISTINGUISHED MAHARAJAH

A SIKH WARRIOR

THE GOLDEN TEMPLE

WATERING CATTLE

THE TAJ MAHAL

BENARES

NATIVE TROOPS

A BAZAAR, DELHI

A NATIVE WOMAN WEARING NOSE ORNAMENT

A NATIVE BULLOCK-CART

Sketch-Map of India on page viii



[Illustration: SKETCH-MAP OF INDIA.]



                                *INDIA*



                              *CHAPTER I*

                         *THE GATEWAY OF INDIA*


To the vast majority of European travellers Bombay is the gateway of
India.  It is here they get their first glimpse of the bewildering
variety of races, of colours, of types, of customs, which make up India.
After the journey through the Suez Canal, and the long run across the
Arabian Sea, the traveller is very glad to spend a day or two at Bombay,
gaining first impressions of this new, strange country.  He may be
interested in the fine new buildings of the modern town, or he may not;
he is certain to be interested in the native quarter.

Here he gets his first glimpse of that great feature of Indian life, the
bazaar—rows and rows of narrow streets filled with shops and crowds.
The shops are small booths, often built of mud, or archways, or, again,
are mere holes in a wall.  Everything is open to full view; there are
neither windows nor doors.  The merchant or shopkeeper squats beside his
goods; the artisan does his work in sight of the passers-by.  The crowds
are stranger than the shops.  Here you may see Hindoos, Parsees,
Burmese, Singhalese, Lascars, Moslems, Arabs, Somalis, Jews of many
countries, Turks, Chinese, Japanese, and a score of other nations. Amid
the throng of many colours move white people from every land of Europe,
and the babel of tongues is as astonishing as the mingling of costumes.

Here is struck at once the note of colour which enlivens every street
scene in India.  The people wear robes of every shade, and turbans or
caps of every hue—black, white, red, green, yellow, purple, pink, every
colour of the rainbow—and a hundred shades of every colour meet and
mingle as the crowds flow to and fro.

Where there is an open space the snake-charmer squats beside his cobras,
playing on his strange pipe, and putting his venomous pets through their
tricks; or a conjurer is causing a mango-plant to spring up and put
forth fruit from apparently a little barren heap of earth.  Busy Indian
coolies, naked save for a dirty turban and a wisp of cotton cloth round
the loins, hurry along with water-skins, and the skins, filled with
water, take roughly the shape of the sheep or goat which had once filled
them with flesh and bones. Other coolies are driving queer little carts
drawn by a pair of tiny, mild-eyed, hump-backed oxen; and others, again,
squat beside the way with their chins on their knees, waiting to be
hired.

[Illustration: A BUSY BAZAAR.  _Chapter XVI_.]

When it comes to sight-seeing proper, the traveller will visit the
island of Elephanta, six miles from the city.  Here stands a great
temple cut in the solid rock, its roof supported by huge pillars left
standing when the chamber was hollowed out.  The temple is adorned with
colossal figures and carvings of Hindoo gods and of animals.  Its
excavation must have been a tremendous piece of work, and it is
considered that it was carried out some eleven hundred years ago.

Among the crowds of Bombay no people are more distinctive than the
Parsees.  The Parsees may always be known by the strange head-gear and
long coats of the men and by the splendid dresses of the women, who move
about as freely as European women, and are not shut up like Hindoo women
of the richer classes.

The Parsee man wears on his head a long, high, shiny hat in the form of
a cylinder; it has no brim, and is one of the oddest head-coverings that
may be seen.  In origin he is a Persian, for the Parsees are descended
from a race that fled into India from Persia when that land was attacked
by the Arabs twelve centuries ago.  The Parsee women are dressed very
splendidly, because their race is very rich.  The Parsee is the banker
and money-lender of India.  No other native is so clever in trade or
amasses wealth so swiftly as a Parsee.

In his religion the most sacred thing is fire, and to him the sun, as
the emblem of fire, is the greatest religious symbol.  Upon the shore of
the bay many Parsees may be seen at evening at their devotions before
the setting sun.  Each seats himself upon the sand, bows to the sun,
taking off his hat and replacing it, and then, with a small brass jar at
his side, begins to read prayers from a sacred book, chanting them
aloud.

The Parsee reverence for fire is seen in the treatment of his dead.  The
Hindoo makes a funeral pyre and burns his dead.  Not so the Parsee.  He
considers that fire is too sacred to use for such a purpose; nor, on the
other hand, is he willing to defile the earth by digging a grave.  So
the Parsee dead are exposed to be torn to pieces and devoured by
vultures.  Beside the sea there stand five broad low towers, the famous
Towers of Silence.  In these the bodies of the dead are exposed.  One of
these is reserved for the use of a wealthy family, one for suicides and
those who die by accidental deaths, and three for general use.  The
towers and the trees around are loaded with huge vultures, which, in a
couple of hours, reduce a body to a heap of bones.



                              *CHAPTER II*

                      *IN THE LAND OF THE RAJPUTS*


Rajputana is the land of the Rajputs, a splendid warrior race of
Northern India.  In times long gone by the Rajputs held power over the
wide plain watered by the Upper Ganges, but seven hundred years ago
their Moslem foes drove them westwards into the land still called
Rajputana.

The history of the Rajputs is one of battle.  They are born fighters.
They have taken a share in all the wars which have torn India through
all the centuries. They struggled hard against the British power, but
now they are good friends of ours, and their Princes rule under British
protection.

The history of this fine race is full of stories of romance and
chivalry.  Nor is the Rajput of to-day inferior to his brave and haughty
fathers: "The poorest Rajput retains all his pride of ancestry, often
his sole inheritance; he scorns to hold the plough, or use his lance but
on horseback."  Of all the brave old stories of Rajput valour and
constancy none are more beloved than the tales which hang around the
three sacks of Chitore.  Thrice was that ancient city seized and
plundered by Moslem foes, and never have those terrible days been
forgotten.  To this day the most binding oath on Rajput lips is when he
swears, "By the sin of the sack of Chitore."

Long ago there was a Prince of Chitore named Bhimsi, whose wife,
Princess Padmani, was famed far and wide as the most beautiful woman in
the world, and as good as she was beautiful.  The report of her beauty
drew Allah-u-din, a great Moslem warrior, to the walls of Chitore at the
head of a powerful army. He demanded to see the face of Padmani, were it
only a reflection of her face in a mirror.  Prince Bhimsi invited him to
a feast, and he saw Padmani.  When the feast was over, the Prince
escorted Allah-u-din back to his camp.  Then the wily Moslem seized the
Prince, and sent word to the chiefs of Chitore that, if they wished to
see their King again, they must send Padmani to become the wife of
Allah-u-din.

Every one in Chitore was aghast at this treacherous deed; but the Moslem
was powerful, and Princess Padmani, with her attendants, set out for the
enemy’s camp.  Slowly the long train of seven hundred litters wound its
way from the city, and Padmani was in the hands of Allah-u-din.  The
Moslem gave permission for Bhimsi and Padmani to take a short farewell
of each other, and then was seen a proof of Padmani’s wit and Rajput
devotion.  From out the seven hundred litters sprang, not weeping women,
but seven hundred warriors armed to the teeth, while the bearers flung
aside their robes, and showed the glittering swords in their strong
right hands.

Covered by this devoted bodyguard, Bhimsi and Padmani sprang upon swift
horses and reached Chitore in safety.  But none else escaped.  The noble
Rajputs, the flower of Chitore, gave their lives to the last man to save
their King and Queen.

Allah-u-din never forgot how he had been foiled. Years passed, and once
more he marched against the city set on its rock.  No one had ever
captured it, and Chitore feared not Allah-u-din until he began to raise
a huge mound of earth.  He did this by giving gold to all who brought a
basketful of earth, and at last he secured a vantage-ground whence he
could hurl his missiles into the city, and the end of the siege was near
at hand.

Then one night King Bhimsi had a terrible vision, from which he woke in
affright.  The goddess of Chitore had appeared to him, saying: "If my
altar and your throne is to be kept, let twelve who wear the crown die
for Chitore."

Now Bhimsi and Padmani had twelve sons.  So it was resolved to make them
twelve Kings by setting each on the throne for three days.  Then the
saying of the goddess would be fulfilled, and these twelve must die for
Chitore.  But when it came to the youngest of the twelve, to Ajeysi, the
father’s darling, Bhimsi said no.  The King called his chieftains
together.

"The child shall not die," he said.  "He shall go free to recover what
was lost.  I will be the twelfth to die for Chitore."

"And we will die for Chitore!" cried the warriors. "In bridal robes of
saffron and coronets on our heads, we will die for Chitore!"

Then a great plan was made throughout the place: all, men and women,
would die for their beloved city. In the vaults and caverns which
stretch below the rock a vast funeral pyre was built, and to it came the
Rajput women singing, dressed in their festal robes, and glittering in
all their jewels.  The last to enter the vault of death was Padmani, and
when the gate was closed upon her the men knew their turn had come.
Setting the little Prince in the midst of a picked band, who had sworn
to bear him off in safety, the King led his sons and chieftains to the
battle.  The gates were flung open, and the warriors, clad in bridal
robes, hurled themselves upon the foe: for the bride they sought was
death.

When the last had died for Chitore, Allah-u-din entered the city.  But
it was an empty triumph. Every house, every street, was still and
silent, only a wisp of smoke oozed from the vault.  This was the first
sack of Chitore.

The second sack was in the time of Humayun, father of Akbar the Great.
The ruler of Chitore had died, leaving a baby son to inherit the crown,
and when a powerful foe came against the city, the child’s mother,
Kurnavati, sent messengers to Humayun, saying: "Tell him that he is
bracelet-bound brother to me, and that I am hard pressed by a cruel
foe."

There is an ancient custom in India by which a woman may choose a
bracelet-brother to protect and assist her.  She may choose whom she
pleases, and she sends him a silken bracelet, called a ram-rukki.  It is
a mere cord of silk, bound with a tassel, and hung with seven tiny
silken tassels—red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, the
colours of the rainbow. The man may accept this bracelet or not, as he
pleases; but once he has bound it round his wrist, he becomes the
bracelet-brother of the sender, and is bound to her service.  In return
for the bracelet he sends the customary gift of a small breast-bodice.

Now Humayun, the Mogul King, was bracelet-brother to Kurnavati, and when
he heard that she was in distress, he hurried to her assistance.  But he
came too late, and the garrison of Chitore saw that their city must
fall.  Then they remembered the first sack, and all resolved to die in
the same way.  Kurnavati succeeded in getting her little son away in
safety; then she led the women to the funeral pyre.  The men of the
garrison were few, for many had fallen, but the gallant handful, clad as
before in bridal robes and crowns, dashed upon the foe, and died to the
last man, ringed about with heaps of slain.

[Illustration: A DISTINGUISHED MAHARAJAH.  _Pages 11 and 58_.]

Although the baby King, Udai Singh, was smuggled in safety from Chitore,
it was not long before he was in danger again.  He was carried off to
the palace of his half-brother, Bikramajit, where he lived under the
care of his foster-mother, Punnia.  One night Punnia heard a terrible
uproar, and then the screams of women.  Enemies had broken into the
palace of Bikramajit.  But whose life did they seek above all? Punnia
knew, and she saw that Udai Singh was in great danger.  How could she
save him?  There was only one way, a terrible way; but the Rajput woman
did not flinch.  Two children lay sleeping before her, Udai Singh and
her own child.  She caught up the baby King and thrust sugared opium
into his mouth that he might be lulled into deeper, safer slumber, hid
him in a fruit-basket, and gave the precious burden to the hands of a
faithful servant.  "Fly to the river-bed without the city," she said,
"and wait for me there."

Then she flung the rich royal robe over her own sleeping child, and
waited for the murderers.  In they burst.  "The Prince!" they cried.
"Where is the Prince?"

With a supreme effort Punnia pointed to the little figure beneath the
splendid robe, and hid her face, giving the life of her own child to
save that of the little King.

When all was over, and the last funeral rites had been performed over
the body of the child whom the conspirators supposed to be the young
King, Punnia sought the river-bed.  There she found her nursling, and
with him she fled over hill and dale, never resting till she gained a
strong fortress held by a loyal governor.  Into his presence she
hastened, and set the child on his knee.  "Guard well the life of the
King!" she cried, this noble Rajput woman.

The third sack of Chitore happened in the days of Akbar the Great, son
of Humayun, who had once hurried to the aid of the city.  The Rajputs
and the Great Mogul came to blows.  Akbar led a powerful army against
his foes.  This was the last sack, "for the conqueror was of right royal
stuff, and knew how to treat brave men.  So when the final consummation
was once more reached, and thousands of brave men had gone to death by
the sword, and thousands of brave women met death by fire, he left the
city, levying no ransom, and on the place where his camp had stood
raised a white marble tower, from whose top a light might shine to cheer
the darkness of Chitore. But a few years afterwards, when in dire
distress and riding for his life through an ambush, the man on Akbar’s
right hand and the man on his left, shielding him from blows, making
their swords his shelter, were two of the defeated Rajput generals."

These are stories of long ago.  Here is one of times nearer our own,
when the English were mastering India.  A beautiful Rajput Princess, the
Princess Kishna Komari, was sought in marriage by three powerful
suitors.  She could not wed all three, and her father feared the
vengeance of the fierce men who quarrelled over his daughter’s hand.
Lest their savage disputes might end in attack upon his city and palace,
he said that his daughter must die.  "She took the poison offered her,
smiling, saying to her weeping mother, ’Why grieve?  A Rajput maiden
often enters the world but to be sent from it.  Rather thank my father
for giving you me till to-day.’"



                             *CHAPTER III*

             *IN THE LAND OF THE RAJPUTS (*_*Continued*_*)*


The ancient town of Chitore still stands on its ridge, with its grey
lines of ruined walls and towers broken by two beautiful Towers of
Victory, which raise their slender columns toward the sky.  The smaller
tower is very old, having been raised in A.D. 896, and the larger was
built in A.D. 1439 to celebrate a victory of the Rajputs over their
Moslem enemies.  The latter is ornamented with most beautiful carving,
rises to the height of 130 feet, and is divided into nine stories.

Some sixty miles from Chitore lies Oudeypor, or Udaipur, a Rajput city
of great fame, for it is said to be the most beautiful city in all
India.  It is also of deep interest as being one of the few cities where
the old native life goes on almost untouched by the presence and
influence of the white people in the land.  Here strut Rajput nobles in
silken robes decked with gems, and followed by splendidly clothed and
armed retainers. Here the elephant is seen at its proper work of
carrying stately howdahs, carved and gilded and hung about with curtains
of rich brocade, while long flowing draperies of cloth of gold,
embroidered in the most lovely patterns and in the most striking and
brilliant colours, sweep down the broad flanks of the huge slow-moving
beast, and almost brush the ground with long fringed tassels.  Here are
bevies of women who resemble a moving garden in their shining silks of
every hue that is soft and delicate, and here are naked coolies, whose
bronze bodies glisten with sweat as they toil along under their load of
water-skins or huge baskets heaped with earth.

The people in the streets of Udaipur strike the traveller at once as a
finer type than usual.  The men are tall, slender, and of lofty bearing;
their features are fine, sharp, and regular.  As regards the women’s
features you cannot judge, for in Udaipur the rule that no woman’s face
shall be seen by a stranger is very strictly observed.  Even the poorest
woman, however busily she may be at work, has a hand at liberty to draw
her filmy veil of coloured gauze, red or green or blue or pink, across
her face when anyone glances her way.

As the crowd passes along, two things above all strike our eyes—the
beards of the men, the jewellery of the women.  The beard of the Rajput
is very black; it is combed and brushed till it shines in the sun; it is
as large as he can grow it; then it is parted in the middle, and drawn
round the face so that it stands out on either side, and the ends are
curled.  It is said that a Rajput dandy who cannot get his beard to
properly part in the middle will draw it round his face to the required
shape, and then tie a bandage tightly round his head to train the hair
to the mode which he and his friends affect.

The jewellery of the women is overwhelming, and this word is meant in
its literal sense: the women are absolutely loaded with ornaments.  If
they are wealthy, the ornaments are of gold, decked with precious
stones; the poorer classes are weighed down with silver.  A Rajput woman
often carries on her person the wealth of her house, and may be regarded
as the family savings bank.  One writer, speaking of the ornaments upon
a working woman of the lower classes, says:

"Her smaller toes were decked with rings of silver, made by an ingenious
arrangement of small movable knobs set close together.  She wore a
bracelet of the same design, which was one of the most artistic and
effective triumphs of the jeweller’s art that I have ever seen.  Upon
her eight fingers she wore twenty-six rings.  She carried on her left
lower arm a row of many bracelets, mainly of silver, but with here and
there a band of lacquer, either green or red or yellow. Upon her left
upper arm she displayed a circlet of links carved into the shape of
musk-melons, each the size of a nutmeg.  From this fell three chains,
each five inches long, and terminated with a tassel of silver.  Upon her
right arm she had also many bracelets.  Finally, upon her neck was a
chain of silver, of such length that, after it had been coiled several
times round her throat, sufficient remained to fall in a double loop
upon her bosom, where a heart-shaped silver charm finished both it and
her scheme of display."

Another writer gives a sketch of a Rajput dandy which forms a good
companion picture to the above: "A long-skirted tunic or frock of white
muslin, close-fitting white trousers, and a rose-coloured turban with a
broad band of gold lace and tall flashing plume of dark heron feathers
and gold filigree were the salient points.  Other accessories were the
sword-belt, crossing his breast and encircling his waist, of dark green
velvet, richly worked with pure gold, and thickly studded with emeralds,
rubies, and brilliants; a transparent yellow shield of rhinoceros hide,
with knobs of black-and-gold enamel; a sash of stiff gold lace, with a
crimson thread running through the gold; bracelets of the dainty
workmanship known as Jeypore enamel, thickly jewelled, which he wore on
his wrists and arms; and there were strings of dull, uncut stones about
his neck. The skirts of his tunic were pleated with many folds and stood
stiffly out, and when he mounted his horse a servant on each side held
them so that they might not be crushed.

"The trappings of the horse were scarcely less elaborate.  His neck was
covered on one side with silver plates, and his mane, which hung on the
other side, was braided, and lengthened by black fringes, relieved by
silver ornaments.  White yaks’ tails hung from beneath the embroidered
saddle-cover on both sides, and his head, encased in a headstall of
white enamelled leather and silver, topped with tall aigrettes, was tied
down by an embroidered scarf to give his neck the requisite curve."

The streets through which these gay figures move are worthy of them.
Hardly two houses are alike, but all are beautiful in "this shining
white pearl among cities."  No building is bare.  Its front is decorated
with half-columns, carved panels, or frescoes in brilliant colours,
picturing horses, elephants, and tigers in pursuit of their prey.
Balconies and projecting windows are faced with panels of stonework so
delicately carved and fretted as to resemble lacework, and in the most
beautiful and graceful patterns.  And everything is white, glittering
white, under a clear, glowing sky, and set beside a great lake as blue
as a great sheet of turquoise.

Along the streets flows a most mingled crowd, clad in all the hues of
the rainbow, and through this brilliant throng all kinds of beasts of
burden thread their way. The mighty elephant, rolling along with his
ponderous tread, is followed by a tiny ass no bigger than a large dog.
Oxen just as small as the asses, and long-legged camels with great loads
on their humped backs, come and go, and people on balconies lean over
the parapets and gaze idly on the busy scene.

The most striking thing in Udaipur is the vast palace of the native
Prince.  The most beautiful things are the two lovely water palaces
which stand on islands in the lake.

The former is entered by a fine triple-arched gateway.  "Above this
gateway soars the great white fabric, airy, unreal, and fantastic as a
dream, stretching away in a seemingly endless prospective of latticed
cupolas, domes, turrets, and jutting oriel windows, rising tier above
tier, at a dizzy height from the ground.  A single date-tree spreads its
branches above the walls of the topmost court, at the very apex of the
pile."

From the foot of the ridge on which stands this glittering pile of
splendid masonry the dark blue lake stretches away, its surface broken
by two islands, each of which is occupied by a water palace of wonderful
beauty.  Here one may roam through miles of courts, saloons, corridors,
pavilions, balconies, terraces, a fairyland of splendour, in which every
room, every gallery is decorated with the most exquisite art.  And all
this has been wrought by the hand of man, not merely the marvellous
palaces, but the very lake itself.  This site was once a desert valley,
but immense wealth and boundless power have filled the great hollow with
blue water, and littered its shores with temples and palaces and
pavilions, presenting a scene which, for charm of colour and beauty of
outline, can nowhere be surpassed.



                              *CHAPTER IV*

                            *IN THE PUNJAB*


Beyond the wide desert which stretches along the north-western border of
Rajputana lie the plains of the Punjab, running up to the foot-hills of
the Himalayas. The Punjab (the Land of Five Rivers), where the Indus and
its tributaries roll their waters to the Arabian Sea, is, above all and
beyond all, the battlefield of India.  For it was upon these plains that
the onsets of invaders first fell.  Greeks, Persians, Afghans—swarm
after swarm poured through the only vulnerable point of Northern India,
and fought out on the plains of the Punjab the struggles which meant for
them victory or disastrous retreat.

[Illustration: A SIKH WARRIOR.  _Page 17_.]

The last native rulers of the Punjab were the finest ones of all—the
Sikhs.  The Sikhs, a nation of fanatics and heroes, fought the Moslems
for hundreds of years, and the prize was the rule of the Punjab. The
Sikhs won, and formed a barrier behind which India was safe from the
savage Moslem tribes of the north-west.

The Sikhs are a warrior race pure and simple. They make splendid
soldiers under white officers, and the fine Sikh regiments are the pride
of our native Indian army.  They did not yield up the Punjab to British
rule without a stern struggle.  They were noble foes, and they proved
noble friends.  They accepted the British Raj once and for all.  Within
ten years after their conquest the Indian Mutiny broke out.  The Sikhs
stood firm, and aided the British with the utmost gallantry and
devotion.

The Sikh is a fine, tall, upstanding fellow, with an immense beard and a
huge coil of hair.  This follows on his belief that it is impious either
to shave or to cut the hair.  He holds tobacco in abhorrence, and
worships his Bible, which is called the Granth.  In every Sikh temple
sits a priest reading in a loud voice from the Granth, while beside him
an attendant priest fans the holy book with a gilt-handled plume of
feathers.

The most famous Sikh temple is at Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikh
faith.  Here is the Pool of Immortality, and in the midst of the lake
rises the Golden Temple, standing on an island.  From the gates of the
city a throng of stalwart, bearded Sikh pilgrims sets always towards the
Golden Temple. You follow in their train, and come suddenly upon a wide
open space.  It is bordered by a marble pavement, and within the
pavement lies the famous Lake of Immortality.  The Golden Temple rises
before you, glittering with blinding radiance in the hot sunshine, and
mirrored in the smooth water which runs to the foot of its walls.

But you may not yet enter the sacred place and walk round the lake and
see the temple.  At the gates you are stopped, and your boots taken from
you, and silken slippers tied on in their place.  If you have tobacco in
your pockets that, too, must be handed over, and left till you return,
for tobacco would defile the holy place.  Then you are led round by a
Sikh policeman, who will show you the temple and the hallowed ground.

The marble pavement around the sacred lake is dotted with groups of
priests and pilgrims, and behind the pavement stand palaces of marble,
owned by great Sikh chiefs who come here to worship.  Here and there are
flower-sellers weaving long chains of roses and yellow jasmine to sell
to worshippers who wish to make offerings.  A teacher with a little band
of students around him is seated beside the pool, and in a shady corner
is a native craftsman busy fashioning wooden spoons and combs, and other
trifles, which he sells as souvenirs of the shrine.

The Golden Temple itself is gained by a causeway across the lake, and
the causeway is entered through a magnificent portal with doors of
silver, and four open doors of chased silver give access to the
sanctuary itself.  Here sits the high-priest reading the Granth, and
before the holy book is spread a cloth, upon which the faithful lay
offerings of coins or flowers.

From Amritsar, the holy city, to Lahore, the capital of the Punjab, is
only some thirty miles. Lahore is a large town of great importance as a
military station, and many troops are quartered in the grand old fort
built by the Mogul Kings.  Some of the palaces which once filled this
ancient fortress still show traces of their former splendour.  There are
sheets of striking tilework, with panels of elephants, horsemen, and
warriors worked in yellow upon a blue ground.  There are marble walls
inlaid most beautifully with flowers formed of precious stones.  But
many of the halls have been converted into barracks, and in spots where
once an Emperor smoked his jewelled "hubble-bubble," surrounded by a
glittering Court, Tommy Atkins, in khaki and putties, with his helmet on
the back of his head, now puffs calmly at a clay pipe.

Lahore has streets which display some of the finest wood-carving in
India.  These streets lie within the city, the old part of the town,
enclosed by brick walls sixteen feet high, and entered by thirteen
gates.  In one street every house has a balcony or jutting window of old
woodwork, carved into the most beautiful or fantastic designs, according
to the fancy of the owner who built and designed it long ago.  The
balconies are of all sizes and shapes, and their line is delightfully
irregular.  The walls, too, are painted and decorated lavishly, and
domed windows are adorned by gaily-tinted peacocks worked in wood or
stucco.  The splendid woodwork, the shining beauty of paint and courses
of bricks richly glazed in red and blue, the gay crowd which throngs the
way—all these things combine to form a striking and splendid picture.

At the end of this marvellous street rise the tall minarets of the Great
Mosque, and close by is the fine tomb where lies Runjit Singh, the
greatest of the Sikh rulers.  Under him the Sikhs rose to the height of
power in India; but a few years after his death, in 1839, the Punjab
passed into our hands.



                              *CHAPTER V*

                         *AMONG THE HIMALAYAS*


India is bounded and guarded on the north by one of the grandest
mountain-chains in the world.  This is the mighty range of the
Himalayas, which stretches a row of lofty peaks from east to west, as if
to shut up India behind a gigantic wall.

There are very few points where this vast range can be crossed, and then
only with the greatest difficulty. The most famous pass of all lies in
the north-west, the well-known Khyber or Khaibar Pass leading into
Afghanistan.  Through this pass invader after invader in age after age
has poured his troops into the fertile plains of Hindostan.

At this point Alexander the Great at the head of a Greek army crossed
the Indus and marched into India. To this day there are left in the land
tokens of that far-off raid.  The Indian hakims, the native doctors,
practise the Greek system of medicine, and the influence of the invaders
is seen in old Indian coins which turn up with Greek inscriptions upon
them, in statues which are found in the soil, as full of Greek feeling
as any in Athens itself.

But it is now a task for British brains and hands to see to it that no
fresh invader swoops through the pass, and it is very strictly guarded.
In itself the pass presents many difficulties.  The way lies through
tremendous ravines, beside which tower precipices of stupendous height,
and the road could easily be blocked and destroyed at many points.  The
people who inhabit this region are also of a very savage and dangerous
character.  They are called Afridis, and belong to wild hill-tribes, who
are always ready for a fray, all the more so if there is a little
plunder to be gained by it.

With these fierce and lawless people the British officers have come to
an arrangement: that for two days a week the Afridis themselves shall
furnish soldiers to guard the pass.  For this duty an annual payment is
made, and thus the Khaibar Pass is quite safe on Tuesdays and Fridays.
On other days the traveller must look out for himself.  He must keep a
wide eye open for the Zakka Khels, a notorious Afridi tribe. When a son
is born to a Zakka Khel woman she swings him over a hole in a wall,
saying, "Be a thief! be a thief!"  And a thief he is to the end of his
days.

Among the Himalayas to the north-east of the Khyber Pass lies the
beautiful vale of Kashmir, or Cashmere (the Happy Valley).  Cashmere is
a lofty plain, yet it is not a plateau, for you go down into it from
every side.  It is so high that its climate is nearer to that of England
than any other part of India.  The summer is like a fine English summer,
but a little hotter, and with more settled weather.  In winter the snow
lies on the ground for two or three months, but about the end of
February the snow disappears, and the spring bursts out, and the vale
becomes beautiful with the tender green of growing crops and grass and a
profusion of most lovely flowers.  The scenery is very fine.  Around and
far off is the great wall of lofty mountains, which encompass the plain
with glittering slopes of eternal snow.  The vale itself is dotted with
hamlets and villages, with fields waving with corn and rice, with
meadows, with orchards of mulberry- and walnut-trees, with forests of
giant plane-trees.

The capital is Srinagar, the City of Sun, whose many waterways winding
through the ancient city make it an Asiatic Venice.  "The houses on the
banks are of many stories, most of them richly ornamented with carved
wood, while the sloping roofs of nearly all are overgrown with verdure.
The dome of one Hindoo temple was covered with long grass thickly
studded with scarlet poppies and yellow mustard.  On all sides are to be
seen the remains of ancient temples and palaces, testifying to what a
magnificent city Srinagar must have been."

Moving east along the Himalayan slopes, the next point of interest is
the small town of Simla.  This is important, not in itself, but as the
seat of government in the summer, when the Viceroy and his staff escape
to its cool heights from the burning plain 7,000 feet below.  "By the
time the month of May is advancing the season for Simla has begun.  The
Viceroy and his Government, with some of the official classes, have
arrived, and the world of Anglo-Indian fashion have assembled.  Social
gatherings on the greensward underneath the rocks, overshadowed by the
fir, pine, and cedar, are of daily occurrence.  The rich bloom of the
rhododendrons lends gorgeousness to the scene.

"The place is like a gay Swiss city isolated on the mountain-top, with
dark ilex forests around it, blue hills beyond, and the horizon ever
whitened by the Snowy Range.  But in this paradise, tempting the mind to
banish care and forget affairs of State, the most arduous business is
daily conducted.  Red-liveried messengers are running to and fro all the
day and half the night.  Tons of letters and dispatches come and go
daily.  Here are gathered up the threads of an Empire.  Hence issue the
orders affecting perhaps one-sixth of the human race."

In winter Simla is deserted.  The Viceroy and his staff, the gay world
of fashion, all have gone back to the plains, and in severe weather the
little town often lies deep in snow.

Simla lies near the Siwalik Hills, one of the many foot-ranges which
lead up to the greater heights of the Himalayas, and the Siwalik Hills
are famous, because through them the sacred Ganges bursts out upon the
plains of Hindostan.  It is at the city of Hard war that the Ganges
forces its bright blue stream through a wild gorge and leaves the
mountains for ever; and Hardwar is a holy place.  The city lies in the
gorge beside the stream.  It has one principal street running along the
river; the others mount the hill-side as steeply as staircases.  Temples
and ghats line the bank, and hither come vast numbers of pilgrims to the
great annual fair of Hardwar to bathe in the holy river.  At that time
the country round resembles a vast encampment, "and all the races,
faces, costumes, customs, and languages of the East, from Persia to
Siam, from Ceylon to Siberia, are represented."



                              *CHAPTER VI*

                *AMONG THE HIMALAYAS (*_*continued*_*)*


But to see the Himalayas in all their majesty we must still keep our
faces to the east, and travel on towards the great central knot, where
Mount Everest and the Kanchanjanga spring nearly 30,000 feet, about five
and a half miles, towards the sky.  Of these two mountain giants Mount
Everest, though the highest measured mountain in the world, presents the
less imposing appearance.  This is because it lies so far in the
interior of the range, and is surrounded by a girdle of snowy peaks
which seem to gather about and protect their lord.  They, however, block
the way for a complete view of the enormous height, and thus seem to
dwarf it.

[Illustration: THE GOLDEN TEMPLE, AMRITSAR.  _Page 18_.]

For majestic splendour, Kanchanjanga bears away the palm.  From the vale
of the great Ranjit River, a huge rushing torrent which pours past its
base, the whole immense mountain-slope may be surveyed in a single
prospect, a most sublime and splendid view. The traveller who climbs the
flanks of this great mountain will pass through belts of vegetation
reminding him of every zone on the earth’s surface.  He begins his climb
among the eternal green of tropical forests, through thickly-matted
jungle where large creepers bind tree to tree, and great bunches of
gaudily-coloured flowers blaze in the scorching heat of the tropical
sun.

From the land of palm and plantain and orchid he ascends through groves
of bamboo, of orange, and of fig until he gains a height at which the
air is sensibly cooler, and the vegetation of temperate zones begins to
appear.  On the border between the two zones grow splendid tree-ferns,
rhododendrons forty feet high, and groves of magnolia.  When the two
latter are in blossom the scene is gorgeous, and the white flowers of
the magnolia seem to sprinkle the forests with snow.

The trees are now those familiar to English eyes: the oak, chestnut,
willow, cherry, and beneath them grow the bramble, raspberry,
strawberry, and other well-remembered plants and shrubs.  Deep ravines
score the flanks of the hills, and down each ravine dashes a brimming
torrent, tossing its spray over ferns and wild-flowers, and butterflies
with wings of the most striking and beautiful colours flit to and fro in
the sunlight.

On goes the traveller, and now the underwood begins to thin, and the
land becomes more grassy, and the trees to gather themselves into
serried ranks of gigantic pines, firs, junipers, and larches.  Up and up
he climbs, and at last the belt of forest is left behind.  He is out on
the upper pastures beneath the open sky; he has gained the Alpine region
of the Himalayas.  Fields of flowers run upwards—of poppies, of
edelweiss, of gentians—until at length the traveller stands at the foot
of the first snow-field, and sees above him the vast sweeps of snowy
glacier, the icy precipices and pinnacles which forbid his further
advance.

We are now in the neighbourhood of the pass through which our troops
marched into Tibet in the advance to Lhassa.  The pass is approached
from Darjiling, famous as a tea-growing centre, and Darjiling is
approached by a mountain-railway.  The latter is a triumph of
engineering, so cleverly does it twist and turn its way among the hills,
skirting the edge of deep precipices, winding round spirals, and
affording splendid views at almost every turn of the way.

At the point where the railway starts for Darjiling the Himalayas spring
up abruptly from the Indian plains.  The first station is some 300 miles
from Calcutta and the sea, yet less than 400 feet from sea-level.  Then
in less than 40 miles it climbs some 7,000 feet up to Darjiling.

This town is not only a great centre of the tea industry, but is also
one of the show places of the world, for it commands the grandest known
landscape of snowy mountains in the Himalayas.  Kanchanjanga is the
chief figure in the glorious panorama of snow-clad heights, but Everest
can be seen in the distance, and a whole host of minor peaks, each
taller than Mont Blanc, carry the eye from point to point in the
widespread survey.

At Darjiling may be seen many Tibetans with their praying-wheels, which
they twist as they repeat their Buddhist prayers, and their
praying-flags, long poles of bamboo from which flutter strips of cotton
cloth, on which prayers are written.  The bazaar is frequented by the
people of the country round about, and many different types of the
hill-tribes may be seen there.

"There are Tibetans who have come down over the passes through Sikkim;
Lepchas, from Sikkim itself, who look almost like Chinese, the women
wearing heavy ear ornaments, and both men and women parting the hair in
the middle and combing it down on either side; Bhutras, the women some
of them rather pretty, with necklaces, carrying a silver charm-case and
with large ear-rings, and the men with pigtails; Nepali women, with
enormous carved necklaces, head-dresses of silver, and nose ornaments,
which sometimes hang down over the chin; and coolies carrying great
loads on their backs, supported by a wicker band across the forehead."

In the valley around Darjiling the slopes of the hills are covered with
tea-bushes, and the cultivation extends to the foot of the range, where
great tea-plantations stretch over the Terai.  The Terai is the name
given to a broad strip of land lying along the base of the Himalayas.
Here the tea-plant flourishes, but so does a terrible wasting fever,
which makes the growing of these precious leaves a dangerous task.  For
the Terai is fearfully unhealthy.  Down from the broad flanks of the
great range rush a thousand torrents.  They overflow their banks and
soak the whole country until it is a huge swamp.  Then there is a very
heavy rainfall, amounting to 120 inches in a year, and this further
saturates the sodden ground.  The tropical sun beats upon this marshy
land and raises a thick vapour which is laden with malaria.  Those who
live and work among this vapour are liable to be struck down by a
wasting fever.  The fever is very deadly to Europeans, nor do the
natives themselves escape.  The coolies who work in the tea-fields die
of it in large numbers.

At one time the natives used to fire the jungle regularly.  This great
sweep of flame through the region did much towards purifying the air;
but firing the jungle is now forbidden, for fear of harming the
tea-bushes and the houses of the planters.

The sight of a tea-plantation is curious rather than pretty.  The bushes
have no beauty: they stand in long, neat rows, and each bush is trimmed
to keep it low, broad, and flat.  From a distance a tea-garden looks
like a great bed of huge cabbages.  Among these bushes groups of
coolies, both men and women, are very busily at work, for there is
plenty to do, not merely in gathering the leaves, but in keeping the
bushes free from weeds, which would check and hinder their growth.
Under the burning sun and in the moist earth weeds spring up in great
profusion, and a plantation neglected for even a short time becomes
choked with them.

All the tea-bushes are not alike.  Some are of a darker colour than the
rest, and the leaves are smaller. This is the China plant, while the
lighter-coloured bushes with larger leaves are the Assam strain.  The
coolies at work among the plants are gaunt, thin, miserable-looking
figures.  This is not to be wondered at when their occupation is
considered, exposing them as it does to attack after attack of the
terrible Terai fever.  When the rains are very heavy they often have to
work knee-deep in water and mud beneath a burning sun, and this reduces
their strength to withstand the poisonous malaria.

When the coolies have filled their baskets with leaves, they carry them
up to the tea-factory.  First, the leaves are weighed, to see how much
each coolie has plucked; then they are carried to the withering-house.
All the leaves are spread out on shallow canvas trays, and left all
night to wither.  Next morning the leaves are put into the
rolling-machine, and after half an hour’s rolling they come out in a
huge wet mass of leaf.  This mass is broken up and spread out to dry on
trays, and left for some time to ferment.  The process of fermentation
is carefully watched, for upon this the aroma of the tea will depend,
and the process must be checked at the right moment.

Of all the rooms in the tea-factory the fermenting-room is the most
pleasant to visit.  It is filled with the most delightful fragrance.
Next, the tea is thrown into a machine, where it is dried by hot air,
and after that it enters a huge sieve, where the first rough division of
the crop is made into large and small leaves.  The next sorting is by
hand, when nimble fingers swiftly pick out the finer sorts of tea.
After this final separation the tea is dried once more, and then taken
to the warehouse, where it is packed ready to go into the market.



                             *CHAPTER VII*

                    *THE GREAT PLAINS OF THE GANGES*


Beyond the Terai the traveller, turning his back upon the Himalayas,
enters a vast plain, hundreds of miles wide and a thousand miles long.
From Calcutta in the east to beyond Delhi in the north-west, from the
Himalayas in the north to the Vindhya Hills in the south spreads this
vast sweep of land, the Plain of Hindostan. Into this plain flow a
thousand streams, great and small, from the mountains which fringe its
borders. Every stream, sooner or later, is gathered into the broad bosom
of the Ganges, which winds its majestic current through the centre of
the immense level.  The Ganges is more than the great river of India: it
is one of the great rivers of the world.  To vast numbers of mankind it
is a sacred stream, and to bathe in its holy waters is a privilege for
which pilgrims will travel on foot from distant lands.  But the mighty
flood is put to other uses than that of worship.  A network of canals
gathers up the waters of itself and of its many tributaries, and spreads
them abroad upon the fields of the husbandman, and makes the plain
blossom into fertility.

To travel this plain reminds one of being at sea. On all hands it
stretches away absolutely flat, and fades away into a misty horizon,
save that at morning and evening the great snowy heights of the
Himalayas shine out, and fade away again in the light of the rising and
setting sun.

This great sunny plain swarms with life.  It is covered with the
villages of the Indian peasants; it is coloured with the bright patches
of their crops, with green fields of paddy (rice), with golden wheat and
barley, with poppies white in flower, with yellow mustard, with lentils,
potatoes, castor-oil plants, and a score of other crops.  These grow
freely where water is. Where water is not, the land stretches bare and
sterile, sand, stones, and rocks bleaching in the sun.

Here and there a group of trees proclaims a village. The palm and the
feathery bamboo mingle their foliage; the huge banyan-tree stretches
itself over the soil and sends down its long shoots, which strike it
into the soil and form supports to the parent branches. Around the
village pastures the herd of buffaloes, often watched by a small boy,
and a clumsy cart, with wheels formed of two circles of solid wood, and
drawn by two mild-eyed, hump-backed oxen, creaks by as it journeys
towards a neighbouring place.

The life of the villages in this plain is, as a rule, untouched by
modern ideas.  They move upon the world-old ways which their fathers
followed.  In many of them, far from the main river and the railway, a
white face is scarcely ever seen.  There are great towns in the Ganges
basin, but these are only specks on the face of the mighty plain.  The
Indian ryot knows nothing of them and goes on in his own way.

Water is his first need, and lucky is the man who has a good well or
whose field is upon the bank of a river.  The water is drawn in many
ways.  One peasant employs the simple method of watering by hand,
filling his pots and emptying them upon the roots of the thirsty plants;
but if the crop be rice, which demands a flood of water, a pair of oxen
are set to the work.  They are harnessed to a rope which runs over a
pulley and has a huge water-skin fastened to its farther end.  As the
oxen go away from the well they pull up the skin full of water till it
reaches a prepared channel.  Here a man is waiting, who empties the skin
into the channel, and the water runs away to the field. Now the oxen
come back, and the skin sinks to the water; then they turn again, and
the skin rises.  One man drives the team, the other empties the water,
and so the work goes on from dawn to dark.

[Illustration: WATERING CATTLE.  _Page 32_.]

These are the people who produce the wealth of India, these quiet,
patient toilers growing their endless crops of wheat, of rice, of
barley, of poppies for opium, of cotton, and of maize.  They cut their
ditches for irrigation, and flood a once-barren stretch of country with
water.  Thenceforth they take from it always two, and often three, crops
in a year.



                             *CHAPTER VIII*

                     *THE LAND OF THE MOGUL KINGS*


Far in the north-west of the great plain of Hindostan, the ancient and
famous city of Delhi stands on the broad Jumna, the chief tributary of
the Ganges, and around her lies the land of the Mogul Kings.  Delhi has
a great name in the history of India.  She saw the empire of the
powerful Mogul Kings; she saw some of the most desperate fighting of the
Great Indian Mutiny of 1857, when the last Mogul was driven from his
throne.  But long before the Mutiny the power of the Moguls had
vanished.  Their palmy days were in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries, and the strongest of them all, Akbar, the Great Mogul, began
to reign in 1556.  He came to the throne two years before Elizabeth
became Queen of England; he died two years after her, in 1605.

Akbar the Great was only fourteen years old when he became King, but
"from that moment his grip was on all India."  He proved a wonderful
ruler and leader of men.  India was a welter of conflicting races,
tongues, and creeds.  Under his firm and wise government strife died
away, peace and order took its place, and those who had been the
fiercest enemies lived side by side in friendship.  He was at once
law-maker, soldier, ruler, and philosopher.  He was tall, and as strong
in body as in mind, for he was the best polo player in India, and it is
recorded of him that he once rode 800 miles on camel-back, and then,
without staying for rest, at once gave battle to his enemy.

To find the wonderful buildings which the Great Mogul left behind him,
we must leave Delhi and go down the Jumna to Agra and its neighbourhood.
Agra is still called by the natives Akbarabad, the city of Akbar, and
here stands the mighty fort which the monarch built, a city in itself.
In a land of magnificent buildings there is nothing grander than the
fort at Agra.  Its battlements of red sandstone tower 70 feet from the
ground, the walls run a mile and a half in circuit, and the immense mass
of masonry dwarfs the modern town.  Within the fort is a maze of courts,
pavilions, corridors, and chambers, wrought in dazzling white marble,
and decorated with the most beautiful carving and exquisite tracery in
stone.  The chief features of the vast building are Akbar’s palace, with
its golden pinnacles glittering in the sunshine, and the Moti Masjid, a
small mosque of most beautiful proportions, so perfect both in design
and in the beauty of its ornaments that it is called the Pearl Mosque,
being the pearl of all mosques.

From Agra a drive of twenty-two miles takes us to Fattehpore-Sikri, a
marvellous town, erected by Akbar himself, "where every building is a
palace, every palace a dream carved in red sandstone."  The name of the
place means "The City of Victory," and was given to it because Akbar’s
grandfather defeated the Rajputs at this place in 1527.  Here Akbar
built a splendid mosque, which stands on the west side of a great
courtyard.  From the south the courtyard is entered by the Sublime Gate,
or Gate of Victory, "the noblest portal in India."  Akbar’s palace may
still be seen, and the chief place of interest is the Throne Room,
where, in the centre of a large chamber, rises a huge column of red
sandstone, with a spreading capital surrounded by a balustrade.  Akbar’s
seat was placed on the top of this mighty pillar, and from it ran four
raised pathways, leading to the places where his ministers sat, in four
galleries, one at each corner of the room.

The tomb of Akbar is at Sikandra, about six miles from Agra.  It stands
in the midst of a garden, which is entered by four lofty gateways of red
sandstone. From each gateway a broad causeway of stone runs to the
centre of the enclosure, where rises the great building which contains
the tomb of the Great Mogul.  The building rises in terraces something
in the form of a pyramid, the lower stories of red sandstone, the top
story of white marble, the latter decorated with pierced panels of
marble wrought in the most beautiful patterns. The floor of the building
is open to the day, and in the centre stands the grandly simple tomb, a
huge block of white marble, on which is inscribed a single word,
’Akbar.’  Near at hand is a small pillar in which the famous diamond the
Koh-i-noor was once set.

Splendid as were the buildings of Akbar, yet his grandson, Shah Jehan,
was destined to surpass him; for Shah Jehan built the Taj Mahal, the
most glorious tomb that grief ever raised in memory of love, and one of
the wonders of the world.  In 1629 Shah Jehan lost his wife, and he
determined to raise to her memory a monument which should keep her name
immortal. He employed 20,000 men for eighteen years, and the splendid
building was completed in 1648, the date being inscribed upon the great
gate.  The most famous artists and workmen of India were gathered to
this task, and the result is a palace of the most wonderful beauty and
magnificence.

The Taj Mahal stands in a great garden about a mile from Agra, and is
surrounded by trees and flowers and fountains: "the song of birds meets
the ear, and the odour of roses and lemon-flowers sweetens the air."  It
is built of the purest white marble, and shines with such dazzling
brilliance that to look full upon it in strong sunshine is scarcely
possible.  Seen by moonlight, it is a radiant vision of beauty, and the
charm of its lovely form is felt to the full.  The great domes seem to
swim above in the silver light, the stately minarets shoot up towards
the dark blue of the sky, and the scene is one of unearthly beauty.

Glorious as is this mighty building in the mass, it is just as full of
beauty when examined closely and in detail.  Every part is covered with
the most graceful and exquisite designs, inlaid in marbles of different
colours.  Every wall, every arch, every portal, is ornamented and
finished as if the craftsmen had been engaged upon a small precious
casket instead of a corner of an immense palace tomb.  One striking
feature is seen in the arches of the doorways and windows.  Around them
run inlaid letters most beautifully shaped in black marble.  These
letters form verses and chapters of the Koran, the sacred book of the
Moslems, and it is said that the whole of the Koran is thus inlaid in
the Taj.

The heart of the building is the vault where Shah Jehan and his wife
sleep together, for he was laid beside her.  The tombs are formed of the
purest white marble, inlaid most beautifully with designs formed of
agate, cornelian, lapis-lazuli, jasper, and other precious stones, and
they are surrounded by a pierced marble screen whose open tracery-work
is formed of flowers carved and wrought into a thousand designs.



                              *CHAPTER IX*

            *THE LAND OF THE MOGUL KINGS (*_*continued*_*)*


It was Shah Jehan who returned to Delhi as the seat of government of the
Mogul Kings, and largely rebuilt the city.  But the memories of Delhi
reach far, far back before the time of the Mogul Kings; they stretch
away into the dim dawn of Indian history, where the threads of truth and
fable are so intermingled that the historian cannot disentangle them.

The modern Delhi stands in the midst of a plain covered with ruins—the
ruins of many cities built by many Kings before the present Delhi came
into being. It is a striking sight to drive from the city to the great
Tower of Kutb Minar, eleven miles away to the south. The road runs
through the traces of the Delhis that have been: heaps of scattered
brick, a mound that was once a gateway, a broken wall that was once the
corner of a fort, a tumbling tower, and a ruined dome. Through these
tokens of shattered palaces and tombs of dead and forgotten Kings you
pass on till the vast shaft of the Kutb rises from the plain like a
lighthouse from the sea.

It is an immense tower of five stories, rising 240 feet into the air.
At the base it measures about 50 feet through, but the sides taper till
it is only 9 feet wide at the top.  The three lower stories are of red
sandstone; the two upper are faced with white marble, and the whole
forms a very striking and wonderful monument.

This colossal tower preserves the name of Kutb, one of the "slave"
Sultans of Delhi.  Seven hundred years ago Kutb, who had been a slave,
rose by his military talents, first to the position of a General, and
then made himself Emperor of Delhi.  He was the first of ten Moslem
rulers who reigned from 1206 to 1290, and it is believed that the Kutb
Minar was raised as a tower of victory.  It is possible to ascend the
lofty shaft by a flight of 378 steps, which winds up the interior, but
"the view from the top is nothing.  The country is an infinite green and
brown chess-board of young corn and fallow, dead flat on every side,
ugly with the complacent plainness of all rich country. Beyond the
sheeny ribbon of the Jumna, north, south, east, and west, you can see
only land, and land, and land—a million acres with nothing on them to
see except the wealth of India and the secret of the greatness of
India."

But near at hand is a far more ancient monument than that of the slave
King.  This is the famous Iron Pillar, the "arm or weapon of victory."
It is a pillar of pure malleable iron, and its erection is ascribed to
the fourth century before Christ, when it was raised to commemorate a
great Hindu victory.  At present it projects some 23 feet from the
earth, and it is about a foot in diameter at the capital, but a great
part of it is buried.

In Delhi itself stand the great fort and the great mosque, the Jama
Masjid, both built by Shah Jehan. The fort was at once the stronghold
and the palace of the Mogul Emperors who followed Shah Jehan.  It is
surrounded by a towering wall built of gigantic slabs of sandstone,
crested with battlements and moated below.  The usual entrance to the
fort is through the noble Lahore Gate, and the palace stands before you.

You enter the hall of audience, a great hall of red sandstone open on
three sides.  There is an alcove in the centre of the wall at the back,
and from the alcove projects a great slab of marble.  From the four
corners of this marble platform spring four richly-inlaid marble pillars
supporting an arched canopy.  The marble is beautiful, but the work upon
it is ten times more beautiful.  The wall of the alcove is gorgeous with
tiny pictures of flowers and fruits and birds, wrought most cunningly in
paint and precious stones.  In this alcove was sometimes set the Peacock
Throne, whose glories are still celebrated in story and song, the
marvellous throne which Shah Jehan had built for himself, the throne
which blazed with gems set by the most skilful jewellers of Delhi, men
famous throughout India for their craftsmanship.

Next comes the hall of private audience, where the King sat among his
Court.  This, too, is open, a noble pavilion on columns, where the
breezes could blow if any such were moving in the burning heats of
summer.  "The whole is of white marble, asheen in the sun; but that is
the least part of the wonder. Walls and ceilings, pillars, and
many-pointed arches, are all inlaid with richest, yet most delicate,
colour. Gold cornices and scrolls and lattices frame traceries of mauve
and pale green and soft azure.  What must it have been, you ask
yourself, when the Peacock Throne blazed with emerald and sapphire,
diamond and ruby, from the now empty pedestal, and the plates of
burnished silver reflected its glory from the roof?"

Peacock Throne and plates of silver have long been gone.  Nadir Shah
carried them off in 1739, when he entered the city with his victorious
troops, put the inhabitants to the sword, and sacked the place.  Many an
attack has been made on the fort, but none, in English eyes, has so deep
an interest as the assault of 1857, and all English travellers visit the
Cashmere Gate.

[Illustration: THE TAJ MAHAL.  _Page 35_.]

The Siege of Delhi by our troops is one of the great incidents of the
Indian Mutiny, and the historic ridge to the north-west is the site of
the British camp.  After a patient siege the fort was attacked, the
Cashmere Gate was blown open by a storming-party, and the British poured
in, victorious at last.  Upon the gate is an inscription telling of the
deeds of the noble forlorn hope who led the way and opened a path for
their comrades to rush in.  Other monuments speak of the heroic
telegraph operators who "saved India" by sending far and wide news of
the Mutiny, and stuck to their posts though it cost their lives; and of
the gallant party under Lieutenant Willoughby who blew up the
powder-magazine in which they were posted rather than let its precious
contents fall into the hands of the rebels.

Beyond the fort stands the Jama Masjid, the vast mosque, said to be the
largest in the world.  It is a great building of red sandstone and
marble, "upstanding from a platform reached on three sides by flights of
steps so tall, so majestically wide, that they are like a stone
mountain."  At the head of each flight is a splendid gateway, and that
which faces eastward is opened for none save the Viceroy, who rules
India, and the Lieutenant-Governor of the Punjab.  At the mosque are
preserved some Moslem relics, which the guardian priest will show for a
fee—a slipper of Mohammed, a hair of the Prophet, his footprints in
stone, and a piece of the green canopy which was once over his tomb.

Now we will go into the city proper.  Here is indeed a change!  Mill
chimneys pour into the blue sky their long trails of black smoke.
Marble halls and mighty Kings seem very far off as you traverse a
cotton-spinning quarter where Delhi measures itself against Manchester.
The narrow streets are dirty and squalid, and filled with a crowd whose
dingy robes and shabby turbans bespeak the modern artisan of industrial
India.  Many strange things has this ancient city seen, but nothing
stranger than this last turn of her fortunes, when she bends to her
clacking loom, and boasts that with her own cotton she can spin as fine
as any mill in Lancashire.



                              *CHAPTER X*

                        *IN THE MUTINY COUNTRY*


Now we will leave Delhi and the Jumna, and strike away to the south-east
towards the parent river, the Ganges.  Our journey lies across a rich
portion of the Great Plain, and this portion has a name of its own. It
is called the Doab, or Douab, the Land of Two Rivers, since it lies
between the Jumna and the Ganges.  It is a most fertile stretch of
country, well watered and well tilled, yielding great crops of sugar,
rice, and indigo.

At last we reach Cawnpore, on the Ganges, and now we are in the very
heart of the Mutiny country. Here took place the most dreadful incident
of that great struggle—the massacre of white women and children who fell
into the hands of Nana Sahib, a rebel leader.  Their bodies were flung
into a well, and to-day a beautiful monument stands over the place. The
well is enclosed by a fine stone screen, and over the gateway is carved
the words: "These are they which came out of great tribulation."  In the
centre of the enclosure, directly over the well itself, rises the figure
of a beautiful white marble angel, and the well bears this inscription:
"Sacred to the perpetual memory of a great company of Christian people,
chiefly women and children, who near this spot were cruelly murdered by
the followers of the rebel Nana Dhundu Pant, of Bithur, and cast, the
dying with the dead, into the well below, on the 15th day of July,
MDCCCLVII."  Near by is the pretty little cemetery where the victims
were buried when the British troops seized Cawnpore two short days after
the massacre.

The Cawnpore of to-day is a busy industrial town noted for the
manufactures of cotton and leather, and when the visitor has seen the
places connected with the massacre, the railway will soon carry him to
Lucknow, where the most deeply interesting memento of the Mutiny is to
be found.  This is the Residency, the great house where the tiny British
garrison, with hundreds of women and children in their charge, held at
bay vast numbers of rebels from May to November, 1857.

The defence of Lucknow is among the finest stories of British valour and
British endurance.  Assault after assault was made by hordes of
well-armed and well-trained mutineers, for the men who wished to slay
the British had been drilled by them.  Ceaseless showers of shot and
shell were poured into the place, and by the middle of September
two-thirds of the gallant defenders were dead of wounds or disease.
Still the brave remnant held their own, and kept the foe at bay. Among
the earliest losses was the greatest of all.  This was the death of Sir
Henry Lawrence, who governed at Lucknow.  By the foresight and prudence
of this great and unselfish man means were provided by which the
garrison was enabled to make good its defence; but he was killed by a
shell, and died on the 4th of July, 1857.  His grave is covered by a
marble slab, on which is carved this fine and simple inscription, chosen
by himself: "Here lies Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty."

Towards the end of September General Havelock cut his way into Lucknow,
but he had not men enough to carry away the besieged in safety.  The
rebels closed round the Residency once more, and the siege went on. In
November Sir Colin Campbell arrived with a stronger army, and, after
most desperate fighting, defeated the mutineers and relieved the heroic
garrison.

As a memento of that stern struggle and noble defence, the Residency has
been preserved to this day just as it stood at the end of that terrible
six months.  The walls still bear the marks of shot and shell, the
shattered gates show where assault after assault was delivered, the
brick gateway of the Baillie Guard is pointed out as the famous spot
where rescued and rescuers met.

The modern city of Lucknow is one of the largest in India.  Standing on
the Gumti, a tributary of the Ganges, it is a place of great trade, and
its large native quarter is packed with bazaars devoted to commerce.
This part of the city was once famous for the excellence of its steel
weapons and the beauty of its jewellers’ work.  But the native Princes
and noblemen who purchased arms and ornaments are no longer to be found,
and these arts have decayed.

Lucknow is the chief town in the province of Oudh, and when there were
Kings of Oudh, Lucknow was their capital.  The palaces of the Kings
still stand in the court suburb, but there is nothing here to compare
with the magnificence of Delhi or Agra.  The European quarter is of
great importance.  Broad, smooth roads run through it, shaded by trees
and bordered by turf. On either side of these pleasant roads stand the
large, handsome bungalows of merchants, of officials, and of the
officers in command of the strong force of troops always stationed in
the place.  There are beautiful gardens and parks, and the business
streets are lined with handsome shops and offices.

Returning to the Ganges, and descending the course of that great stream,
the next place of importance is Allahabad, standing at the point where
the mighty Jumna joins its flood to the parent river.  Allahabad is a
town of Akbar’s founding, and the Great Mogul built the fine red stone
fort which is the chief object in the place.  The fort looks across the
broad waters of the Jumna, here about three-quarters of a mile wide.
"The appearance of the Jumna, even in the dry season, strikes one as
very imposing, with its enormous span from shore to shore, shut in by
high, shelving, sandy banks, its then placid waters a clear bright blue.
What must be the effect in the freshes, when its surging waters rush
resistlessly past, and its banks are hidden by a suddenly formed expanse
of water more resembling sea than river?"

The spot where the Jumna pours its bright flood into the muddy stream of
the Ganges is a sacred one in the eyes of all Hindoos.  Great numbers of
pilgrims resort to it, above all at the time of the melas, or religious
fairs, held every year at the full moon in January and February.  They
gather upon the sandy shores and recite their prayers and bathe in the
holy river.

But there is one spot on the Ganges still more sacred to Hindoo
worshippers, and that is Benares, the holy city.  It lies below
Allahabad, and in the fort of the latter city the mouth of a small
subterranean passage is pointed out.  The priests say, and the natives
believe, that this passage runs to Benares.



                              *CHAPTER XI*

                    *THE SACRED CITY OF THE HINDOOS*


There is one city of India to which pilgrims are for ever going or
returning.  Its temples are always crowded with worshippers; its broad
stone ghats running down to the sacred Ganges are packed day after day
with adoring and reverent throngs.  This is Benares, the most sacred
city in the world in Hindoo eyes.

Its sacred character arises from the fact that here stands the temple of
Buddha, the great Hindoo teacher, who was born six centuries before
Christ, and whose followers are to be counted in myriads in India.  From
all parts of that great country they come on pilgrimage to see the place
where their master taught, and to bathe their bodies in the sacred
stream.

It is a wonderful sight to see the row of riverside palaces, temples,
and ghats which here fringe the broad river.  It is still more wonderful
to see the vast crowd of worshippers who throng the wide stone stairs as
they stream up and down to the river to make their ablutions and to
repeat their prayers.

The best time to see this striking sight is at sunrise. Then the crowds
are thickest, for all wish to enter the water at that instant when the
sun springs into the cloudless Indian sky and pours a flood of golden
splendour over the wide stream, and lights up the long row of temples
and palaces which face him as he rises.

Viewed from a boat on the river, the scene is one of wonderful animation
and of most brilliant colour.  The broad stone steps come down the bank
in stately sweep and vanish into the stream.  They run on down to the
river-bed, and the saying goes among the natives that the river is here
so deep that it would cover the back of one elephant standing on the top
of another.  Each ghat is crowded with Hindoo worshippers, and their
robes of bright and delicate colours make the flight of stairs look like
a huge bed of flowers.  But it is a bed where the flowers are on the
move, and mingle with each other to form new pictures at every moment,
ever-changing combinations of the most delicate pinks, blues, greens,
yellows, of silk and muslin, with snowy turbans and white robes
intermingled with the brighter shades.

At the foot of the great flight many worshippers are already in the
water.  The men cast aside their robes, and the sunlight strikes upon
their brown bodies and makes them glitter like figures cast in bronze,
and then flashes brighter still as the bronze glistens with the sacred
water flung by the hands or poured from a brazen ewer; the women slip a
bathing-robe over their shoulders, and then remove their ordinary dress,
and not only bathe themselves but their garments also in the sacred
water.  Many of the devotees throw offerings of sandal-wood, betel,
sweetmeats, and flowers into the stream, and some of them have great
garlands of flowers round their necks. These have been worshipping at a
temple which gives such garlands to those who frequent it, and now these
worshippers go into the stream and bend lower and lower until the
garlands are raised by the water from their necks and float away down
the river.

At one place clouds of smoke rise into the air, and huge fires are
burning fiercely.  This is the burning ghat, where the dead bodies of
Hindoos are burned, and their ashes cast into the sacred Ganges.  Every
Hindoo wishes for this, but only the rich can have their bodies carried
to Benares; for the poor it is impossible.  Yet, if the poor Hindoo has
a faithful friend who is going on pilgrimage, this may, in some degree,
be accomplished.  A frequent sight is that of a man earnestly pouring
into the water a stream of ashes from a brazen vessel.  The ashes are
those of a friend who has died far from the sacred river, and have
perhaps been brought many hundreds of miles by the pilgrim.

[Illustration: BENARES.  _Page 46_.]

And so our boat might move along the stream past ghat after ghat and
temple after temple, the steps packed with those who wish to bathe and
those who have bathed.  The latter spread out their clothes to dry in
the sun, and sit near them, reciting prayers or reading sacred books or
in the perfect silence of deep meditation, their bodies rigid and
unmoving as figures cast in bronze.  For miles this wonderful scene of
devotion stretches along the river, and the bank is crowned with a
broken line of minarets, domes, and towers, which rise against the deep
blue of the sky.

The first thing for a pilgrim to do is to bathe. After that he must make
the round of the city—a walk of about ten miles—and pay a visit to the
temples. The ten-mile walk is more easily done than the latter task, so
innumerable are the temples of the sacred place.  Some, of course, are
more famous than others, and every one goes to see the Monkey Temple,
where offerings are made to a concourse of chattering monkeys; and the
holy Golden Temple, whose dome is plated with gold, and whose shrine is
always crowded with devotees.  Near by is the Well of Knowledge, where
the god Shiva is said to live, and this well is half filled with flowers
thrown in as offerings to the god.

For twenty-five centuries Benares has been a holy city.  Through this
vast stretch of time an unceasing throng of pilgrims has swept to it
across the great plain in which it lies.  They bathe in the Ganges, and
visit the temples.  Then they depart for their distant homes, satisfied
that they have set their eyes on the sacred places of their faith, and
in sweep fresh thousands to take the place of each departing band.



                             *CHAPTER XII*

                         *THE CAPITAL OF INDIA*


Below Benares the great river flows quietly on, ever widening as its
tributaries flow in on either bank, and watering as it goes vast
stretches of paddy-fields. Many pilgrims from the sacred city descend it
by boat as far as Patna, where they branch away to the south on a new
pilgrimage.  They walk some ninety miles to Buddh Gaya, where Gautama
sat in deep meditation beneath the sacred Bo-tree, and became the
Buddha.

The place is held in the deepest veneration by the countless followers
of the Buddhist faith, and vast numbers come to this day to see and
worship at the temple built upon the spot.  Behind the temple still
stands a pipal or Bo-tree, and the natives hold that this is the very
tree beneath which the great teacher sat.

As the Ganges approaches the sea through the plains of Bengal it is
joined by the mighty Brahmaputra, which has swept round the eastern end
of the Himalayas, and brought the waters of Tibet down to the bay.  And
now the mighty stream begins to break up.  The broad flood becomes
diverted to innumerable channels, and flows through an immense delta to
the sea.  This delta is the huge, swampy flat of the Sunderbunds.  The
Sunderbunds are very low, very unhealthy (for the swamps breed malaria),
and matted with tropical jungle.  The tide flows in and the rivers flow
out, making an inextricable confusion of channels, creeks, canals,
waterways, of every shape, size, and direction.  The water seems to flow
every way at once.  The traveller is perhaps being rowed up a channel,
and his men are straining at the oars against a strong current.
Suddenly, without change of direction, the boat is swept forward on a
favouring stream. From some side creek a fresh current has poured in
unnoticed, and now bears the boat on.

In times of flood or high tide the low, muddy banks can no longer hold
the streams, and the whole country becomes a vast swamp.  The damp soil
is hidden beneath masses of canes and reed and low-growing palms, and
when the feathery fronds cover the scene with a carpet of beautiful
green the prospect is very lovely.  Among the brakes of this thick
jungle wild animals swarm in great numbers.  Deer and wild-boars abound,
and the broad round marks of a tiger’s pads are often seen in the mud
near a drinking-place. Enormous crocodiles haunt the pools and channels.
From the deck of a river-steamer these huge reptiles may often be seen
sunning themselves on a warm mud-bank.  As the steamer draws near they
glide down the bank and vanish into the water.  Between their footprints
a long, deep groove is left in the mud. This is made by the great tail.

The chief branch of the Ganges is the River Hughli, upon which stands
Calcutta, the capital of India. Calcutta is not the capital of India
because either of its beauty or position, but because of its immense
trade. It is the natural outlet for the riches of the vast plains of the
Ganges.  Through it pour the vast stores of corn, of rice, of jute, of
tobacco, of tea, of a score of other things produced by those fertile
levels.

As regards position, the site of Calcutta is bad, for it lies on the
flat beside the river, with the swamps of the Sunderbunds on every hand.
The heats of summer are overpowering, and the Viceroy and his officials
fly to Simla, high up among the Himalayas.  But in the cold season the
town is very gay and splendid.  The European quarter is laid out on
noble lines.  The streets are of great width with park-like gardens,
called compounds, on either side.  In these compounds, filled with
flowers and trees, stand large and stately mansions, princely residences
such as befit the rulers of India.

The centre of Calcutta is the Maidan, or Park, a great open space beside
the broad river.  On its western side stands Fort William, the building
of which was commenced by Clive in 1757.  The original Fort William,
where stood the famous "Black Hole of Calcutta," was farther to the
north, and the site of the dungeon is marked in the roadway.  A tablet
on a wall near at hand reads: "The stone pavement close to this marks
the position and size of the prison-cell in Old Fort William known in
history as the Black Hole of Calcutta."

At one end of the Maidan stands the stately Government House, where the
Viceroy of India dwells, and near it are many fine public buildings.
The great park is bounded by the splendid streets in which are found the
mansions of the European merchants, bankers, and officials, and the
Maidan is the scene of the fashionable evening drive.

North of the Maidan lies the native quarter, covering six square miles,
and packed with more than half a million people.  The streets are
narrow, and the buildings are of no great interest.  The bazaars are
worthy of the traveller’s attention, not because they differ from
bazaars elsewhere, but because of the varied crowds of a vast variety of
tribes and nations which pour through this great centre of commerce.



                             *CHAPTER XIII*

                          *ACROSS THE DECCAN*


The southern part of India is shaped like a huge triangle, and within
its coasts lies a vast triangular plateau, the Deccan.  In the fierce
heats of summer this huge tableland lies flat and grey beneath the
burning sun, save where there is water.  Then village after village of
tiny huts thatched with palm-leaves cluster along the banks of river or
lake, and the water is lifted by every kind of ancient device and poured
over the thirsty land.

Water is all this rich soil needs.  Given enough of the precious fluid,
the soil covers itself thickly with crops of cotton, tobacco, rice,
millet, saffron, and castor-oil plant.  Everywhere the land swarms with
oxen, a sure sign of the people’s wealth.

We are now in the territory of Hyderabad, the greatest native State in
India, ruled over by the Nizam, the chief native Prince.  This capital
city lies towards the south of the State, and is one of the most
interesting cities in India, not so much for its beauty or its
buildings, but for its life and, above all, for its military population.
Hyderabad is the paradise of irregular troops, and it is also rich in
regulars.  Of the latter there are some thousands of British troops, and
30,000 who serve the Nizam himself; of irregulars, no man knows the
number, for every noble and chief maintains a private army of his own,
just as our barons did in feudal times.

It follows, then, that the streets of Hyderabad bear the appearance of a
military camp.  Every other man is armed to the teeth, and scarcely two
alike in weapons or uniform.  A figure in turban and embroidered robes,
a girdle full of daggers, and a six-foot-long jezail over his shoulder,
is followed by a man in trim khaki, and the latter by a trooper in
burnished breastplate and helmet of polished steel.  A lancer with long
spear swinging from his arm jogs by, and the next horseman carries a
great scimitar; and so the medley of figures and weapons passes
by—rifles and matchlocks, bayonets and tulwars, chain-mail and shields
of hide.

But among the swarms of irregulars, the Arab troops stand out by
themselves.  The Nizams are Moslem rulers, and to provide themselves
with Moslem troops have done much recruiting in Arabia.  The desert
warriors with their rough, stern, dark features, their spare, stalwart
frames, their robes of snowy white, their triple row of daggers across
their bodies, look very different from the gaily-dressed, olive-faced,
handsome soldiery who are native-born.  The Arabs are as stern and rough
as they look.  More than once they have got out of hand, and it has been
a question whether the Nizam ruled them or they the Nizam.

To the south-east of Hyderabad the province of Madras stretches along
the shore of the Bay of Bengal. This province is famous in the history
of British India. It saw the struggles between the English and the
French for the mastery of the land; it saw the victories of Clive which
raised him to power; it saw the rise of English authority.  The chief
town is Madras, a large but not a striking city, especially when seen
from the sea.  As the traveller approaches by steamer he sees a lofty
lighthouse, a few spires, rows of tall offices and public buildings, and
Fort St. George—nothing more. His vessel does not enter a bay, but a
roadstead; for Madras lies upon an open stretch of coast which is at
times swept by hurricanes of terrible fury.  Yet, in spite of this
situation, Madras ranks as the third port of India, and has a great
trade.  Some protection is now given to vessels by a couple of
breakwaters forming a harbour.

The most interesting place in the city is Fort St. George, for here the
East India Company first gained its footing in India in 1639.  The fort
was begun in the same year, and this was the first step taken in the
path which led to British supremacy in India.

The native part of the city is known as Black Town, and is a dense mass
of poorly-built native houses crowded along narrow streets, and thickly
packed with Hindoo inhabitants.  The European suburbs lie to the west o
Black Town, and, as at other great centres, consist of fine mansions
standing in spacious compounds.

To the south of Madras lies a country containing cities where some of
the mightiest temples in India may be seen.  Of these cities
Trichinopoli and its great temple of Srirangam may be taken as an
example. The temple of Srirangam is not merely, like the other temples
of Southern India, of immense size; it is the largest temple in India.
Its enclosure measures about half a mile each way.  It stands on an
island in the River Cauvery to the north of Trichinopoli, and is a vast
building which must have cost immense labour and a huge sum of money.

The chief features of this mighty temple are the Hall of a Thousand
Pillars and the Horse Court, which forms the front of the hall.  The
Horse Court consists of eight pillars carved into the figures of horses,
each pillar "representing a stallion standing on its hind-legs, its head
supporting a bracket coming forward from the pillar, and its fore-feet
resting on a monster attacked by the rider or on the shield of a
foot-soldier who is assisting in the attack.  The horses stand in other
respects free from the pillars except at the tails, which are split, or
rather doubled, so that each horse has two tails, one sculptured on each
side of the pillar.  The horses, the figures, and the columns behind are
carved from a single block of granite."  So great is this temple that
lofty trees flourish in its enclosure, and it is said that the priestly
families who inhabit it number more than twenty thousand people.

[Illustration: NATIVE TROOPS.  _Page 59_.]

In this part of India the fondness of the women for silver jewellery
seems to be greater than elsewhere, if that be possible.  Not only are
they loaded with the usual rings, bracelets, armlets, and anklets, but
they pierce the nose in three places to adorn it with trinkets. In each
nostril a sort of brooch is fastened, and the centre of the nose is
pierced to insert a large ring, which hangs down over the mouth.  A
large hole is opened in the lobe of the ear to hold a heavy ring as big
as a bracelet, and in one district a great ear-lobe is considered a mark
of beauty.  It is said that women may be seen, the lobes of whose ears
have been stretched and pulled out in such a manner that the owner can
thrust her hand and wrist through the opening.



                             *CHAPTER XIV*

                   *AT THE COURT OF A NATIVE PRINCE*


An English traveller in India who enjoys the opportunity of paying a
visit to the Court of a native Prince, often gets a glimpse of a life
which has seen very little change for many hundreds of years.  The
native Prince himself may be fond of slipping off to London or Paris,
where nothing marks him off from any other wealthy visitor save his dark
brown skin, but at home he keeps the state of his forefathers, and the
costume and customs of his Court may be just the same to-day as they
were when Saxon and Norman were fighting at Senlac.

A state function at such a Court, for instance, as that of the ruler of
Udaipur is a most splendid ceremony, and an English visitor of
consequence will attend it in the company of the British Resident.  The
latter is the agent of the British Government.  No native Prince is
allowed to exercise the absolute power his fathers once held.  At every
native capital there is a residency, and here lives the man who is the
real power behind the native throne, the representative of the British
Raj.

The journey to the palace will be made upon elephants in howdahs carved
and gilded and hung with rich curtains.  On the neck of the elephant
sits the driver in a bright dress, holding in his hand a short spear,
ending in a hook and a shining point.  When the riders are seated in the
howdah, the driver urges the elephant forward with voice and spear, and
guides him through the streets.  An elephant procession through the
streets of a native city is one of the noblest sights which can be seen
or imagined.  Two by two the huge, stately beasts, with their ponderous
swaying stride, swing along between the rows of houses, whose gaily
adorned flat tops and terraces and balconies are crowded by spectators
in newly-washed robes of every colour which is bright, and fresh, and
gay.  Here and there in the procession float glittering standards of
silk worked in gold and precious stones, and the gay dress of the
drivers, the richly-decorated howdahs, the splendid draperies which
almost conceal the great elephants, all shining and flashing in the sun,
present a wonderful picture of beautiful and stately movement.

As the procession draws near the palace the way is guarded by native
troops, and these exhibit another striking scene.  Their ranks do not
present the monotony of Western uniforms.  Each band of the Prince’s
body-guard wears the dress of that part of his dominions whence it was
drawn, and a bewildering variety of garbs and arms may be seen.  One
troop is dressed like the Saracens who fought in the Crusades. They wear
armour of chain mail and glittering steel helmets, and carry lances and
great curved scimitars. Next, the line is guarded by warriors in massive
turbans, clothed in robes of rich stuffs, and armed with sword, spear,
and shield, and with quaint firelocks slung over the shoulder.  Next
stand men in gleaming breastplates, whose helmets are sharply pointed,
and whose girdles are stuffed with daggers and pistols. Others bear huge
maces or heavy axes, and, in fine, almost every weapon with which man
has ever waged war may be seen in the lines of stalwart warriors who
keep the way.

At the palace itself the outer halls are filled with the nobles and
chiefs who owe allegiance to the Prince. They are armed and equipped
like their followers without, but in more splendid fashion.  Jewels
glitter and glow on great silken turbans; robes are stiff with gold and
costly embroidery; girdles are heavy with weapons, whose handles are
richly chased and set with diamonds and rubies; pearls and emeralds and
sapphires flash from necklet or armlet.

Through these the visitors pass on to inner halls, where they are
received by members of the reigning family and escorted to the hall of
audience.

Here, in a noble chamber, the Prince will be seated in state on a
splendid throne.  On either side stand attendants, waving fans made of
feathers or of horsehair.  The latter are only used to fan a Prince, and
are the emblems of sovereignty.

The English guests are seated on chairs, and the nobles and chiefs, who
have followed them into the room, seat themselves on the beautiful
carpets spread over the floor.  All except the guests are barefooted,
for the native company have left their gilded slippers outside the
chamber.

The Prince and his guests converse, and very often presents are given
and offered—shawls, silks, brocade, or jewels.  Perhaps nautch-girls
will come in and dance.  They wear robes of shining gauze from head to
foot, and they dance with slow, graceful movements, often singing as
they move.

At last the Prince calls for essence of roses with the leaf of the
betel-nut, and this is the signal that the interview is over.  Now the
guests will be conducted over the palace, to see the public rooms and
courts; but the zenana, the women’s apartments, are never shown; nor is
the visitor supposed even to glance towards the lattices and trellised
windows, behind which the native ladies are probably having a good look
at him.  The evening will close with a grand illumination and display of
fireworks, managed with the utmost skill. From a terrace, so placed that
the dark smooth mirror of a lake lies between himself and the
illuminations, the visitor looks upon a fairy scene.  The pavilions, the
courts, the balconies, the lines of the palace itself, will be picked
out in points of fire, and the whole is mirrored in the water.  Then the
fireworks leap into the sky—rockets, great globes of many colours,
fountains spouting golden fire, and pictures of forts outlined in flame
and firing heavy broadsides from mimic cannon.  Finally the visitor
climbs the ladder set against the side of his elephant, while the band
blares out, "God Save the King," and goes home to dream of the wonderful
things he has seen, and to try to disentangle the host of pictures which
dance before his eyes when he reflects upon his visit to a native Court.



                              *CHAPTER XV*

                       *THE RELIGIOUS MENDICANTS*


India is the land of religious mendicants.  They swarm in every part of
it; they are seen moving along the country roads and in the streets of
villages and towns; they flock around every shrine.

Some are simply wanderers; they have abandoned all earthly goods, have
left their homes, and taken their place among the poorest.  Smearing
themselves with ashes, their only garment a wisp of rag—and this they
wear simply because the police will not let them go without it—they
ramble from holy place to holy place. "Naked, homeless, he eats only
when food is offered to him, drinks only from the cup of cold water
which is given in the name of the Lord."

Many of these men have been rich and powerful members of the society in
which they moved.  Then a day came when they laid aside their robes of
muslin and silk embroidered with gold; they left their great houses
filled with troops of servants; without a word they slipped away from
wife, from children, from friends, and the place they had filled knew
them no more.  They had gone to wander far and wide through the vast
plains, the mighty hills of India—strange, naked, wild-looking figures,
unwashed, unshorn, looking the veriest outcasts of the earth.

Why is this done?  For this reason.  They feel deeply the vanity of
earthly things; they believe that the more one can get rid of the needs
and the wants of the body, the nearer he will get to the Divine.  So
they cast aside everything which pampers the body and makes this life
sweet, and forsake all things of this world in favour of prayer and
meditation.

It is not uncommon to meet a man who has the air of a naked, half-crazy
savage, and to find that man capable of arguing in the most able manner
on the highest topics.  Mrs. Steel remarks: "They are often extremely
well educated.  They will knock a false argument into a cocked hat with
easy ability.  Some of them—these naked savages—will astonish you by
quoting Herbert Spencer; for even nowadays they are recruited from all
classes, and they belong by rights to the most thoughtful of each
class."  Such men as these belong, of course, to the highest order of
the religious mendicants.  The majority of their fellows are of a much
lower order, but one and all they practise poverty and live only upon
alms.

Many of them, of the fakir class, practise all kinds of self-torture
upon themselves.  One, perhaps, has held up his arm above his head for
so many years that it is now immovable, and stands straight up from his
shoulder, thin and shrunken, and as stiff as a piece of wood.  Another
has held his fingers close shut in his palm until the nails have grown
through the flesh and stand out at the back of the hand.  A third has
lain for many years on a bed of spikes, until his skin, hard as horn,
renders so uneasy a bed no discomfort.  There are fakirs who have not
stood upright once in forty years.  They travel by crawling, and as
their cry rings along the village street, the pious hasten to bring them
a handful of rice or a cup of water.  It would be useless to offer them
better fare; they would refuse it. An account is given of one fakir who
sat so long without moving at the foot of a tree that the roots grew
around him and fettered him to his place.

Many observers have been extremely puzzled by certain powers which these
fakirs possess.  Fakirs have been seen to walk across a row of upturned
knife-blades, each blade sharpened to the keenest edge, yet no sign of
injury could be perceived on the naked foot. Another will climb a ladder
formed of a single pole, from the sides of which well-sharpened sickles
stand out to form the rungs.  The fakir climbs to the top and descends.
He rests his naked hands and feet upon the keen edges, and no cut, no
mark can be seen; or he walks, still barefoot, over stones raised to
white heat in a furnace.  These feats have been performed in the
presence of English gentlemen of high standing in the official world—men
who have taken such precautions that they were perfectly certain that
the feats were genuine—but they have been utterly unable to explain how
the things were done.  And, finally, the fakir has obtained such mastery
of himself that he can be buried alive, being left for a time in his
living grave, and restored to life again.



                             *CHAPTER XVI*

                            *IN THE BAZAAR*


What is a bazaar in India?  It is, first of all, the quarter where the
shopkeepers are gathered together, where the tiny shops stand in
close-packed rows on either side of the narrow ways, and whither all who
have money flock to spend it.  But it is more than that.  It is the
place to which those who have no money resort just as freely, for here
ebbs and flows in one unending flood the news, the rumours, the gossip
of the town and country.

All day long an Indian bazaar is filled with throngs of buyers, sellers,
newsmongers, idle loungers, merchants, sightseers—all the flotsam and
jetsam of the city.  It is always a scene of wonderful colour and
movement.  The sun strikes into the dusty ways on turbans of red, green,
and orange; on robes of white, pink and blue; on petticoats of rose and
saffron; on the bronze bodies of almost naked coolies who march along
beneath their loads.  People of every colour—white, brown, black,
yellow—jostle each other in the crowded ways, and there is a bewildering
variety of tint and form in the striking and picturesque scene.

[Illustration: A BAZAAR, DELHI.  _Chapter XVI_.]

The shops are, as a rule, of the simplest nature in form—an archway, a
booth, a hole in a wall.  Upon a low platform the trader spreads his
wares, squats beside them, and waits for customers.  Let us stroll along
a row of shops and see what they have for sale.  The first shop has a
crowd of customers, for it is a confectioner’s, and the Hindoo, big or
little, old or young, has a very sweet tooth.  The confectioner spreads
his wares on tiers of shelves or on a counter made of dried mud and
rising in steps, and at the back of his shop is a sugar-boiling furnace,
where he is busy on fresh supplies, pulling candy or making cakes of
batter fried in butter.  He sells toffee covered with silver-leaf, candy
flavoured with spices, and many kinds of a sweet called luddu, made of
sugar and curded milk.  This stall is not only a great attraction to the
children who have a pie (about one-third of an English farthing) to
spend, but to the flies also.  The latter come in myriads to settle on
the sweet stuff, and though a boy is always at work with a whisk trying
to drive them away, he can never keep the place clear.

Opposite the confectioner’s is the flour-seller, and he, too, is a very
busy man, for from his stall the everyday wants of the people are
supplied.  Great numbers of the Hindoos never touch meat, and the
bunniah (the grain-seller) furnishes the whole of their food.  He has a
great number of baskets, and these are piled high with barley, wheat,
lentils, flour, sugar, peas, rice, potatoes, nuts, dried fruits, and the
like.  He also sells ghee (clarified butter) and sour milk.  He has a
big pair of scales to weigh out his flour, sugar, peas, or whatever may
be called for, but no bags to pack them in: he leaves that to the
customers.  One brings a cloth, another a basin, another a brass ewer
for milk.  Many have nothing, and they carry away their purchases in
their hands, or, if that be impossible, flour is poured into the corner
of a shawl or the fold of a robe.  One man unwraps his turban and knots
his purchases into various corners of it, twists it into shape again,
and goes off with his day’s supply on his head.  Butter and milk are
carried away in a green leaf dexterously twisted into the form of a cup.

The next shop is one which finds the grain-seller a very convenient
neighbour, for it is a shop which sells parched grain—a bhunja’s shop.
At first glance there seems nothing in the place, then you notice a
large shallow pan set on a mud platform.  Under the pan a fire burns,
and a woman steadily feeds the fire with dry leaves and husks.  A second
woman is stirring the corn in the pan, and as the grain parches and
crackles a delicious smell fills the place, and passers-by sniff it, and
stop and throw down a small copper coin on the mud platform, which is
also the counter.  Then they hold out their hands or a fold of a robe,
and receive the sweet-smelling parched wheat or maize, and go on,
munching as they walk.

Next comes a goldsmith’s.  Here is no glittering shop with ornaments and
precious vessels in the window, as in a London street, but an archway or
a booth of mud exactly like his neighbours’.  The goldsmith himself is
at work with his blowpipe at a little brazier, softening and shaping a
piece of gold into a bangle for a customer.  He is a busy man, for the
country women bring him their silver to be made up into the ornaments
they love, and he has always a store of ear-rings and bracelets to sell.

He sells his goods by weight, and weighs them in a most delicate pair of
scales, which he keeps in a sandalwood box.  His weights are the oddest
things in the world—"tiny scraps of glass, a bean perhaps, an irregular
chunk of some metal, a bit of stick, a red and black seed, an odd morsel
of turquoise, and a thin leaf of mother-o’-pearl."  His customers thus
have to take the weight on his word; and they do not always care about
that, for, as the saying goes, a goldsmith would cheat his own mother on
the scales.  So that hot words often fly to and fro across the mud floor
of his little shop, and passers-by pause to listen to the fierce
dispute.

Beyond the goldsmith’s stands the shop of a cloth merchant, and this is
a very fine shop, one of the grandest in the bazaar.  So large is the
merchant’s stock that his booth is really big, or he fills three or four
archways with his piles of calico and woollen. Here you may buy the
strong woollen and cotton cloths of the country, made well and dyed in
quiet, tasteful colours—goods which will wash and wear for year after
year.  But, alas! you may also buy from an even greater store of the
poorest and cheapest goods which Manchester can turn out—cottons which
will be of the flimsiest as soon as the dressing is washed out of them,
cheap gaudy woollens made of shoddy, and silks of no greater strength
than the paper which enwraps them.  For the craze for cheapness has
invaded the Indian bazaar as elsewhere, and the splendid old silk
muslins, the brocade which would last for a century, the woollen shawl
that was handed down from mother to daughter, find few or no buyers
nowadays.

The druggist (the pansari-ji) contents himself with one small room, but
it is packed from floor to ceiling with a thousand odds and ends—drugs,
medicines, spices, one can hardly tell what.  He wraps his more precious
wares in scraps of paper, and stows them away in baskets, boxes, pots,
and pigeon-holes in the wall. He prides himself on keeping everything in
stock in his line, and one writer speaks of testing a pansari-ji by
asking for cuttle-fish bone, "and lo! there it was—just two or three
small broken pieces in a paper screw."  The druggist may be the doctor
of his quarter as well, and a favourite method of cure will be to write
a mysterious talisman on a scrap of paper or a betel-leaf.  This is
rolled into a pill and swallowed by the patient.  Opium he sells
largely, and at evening he dispenses the sleep-compelling drug to knot
after knot of customers.

The fruit-dealer’s shop makes a beautiful patch of colour in the bazaar,
with its heaps of golden oranges, of purple plums, of speckled
pomegranates, of jackfruits and guavas, and many other kinds.  But, as a
rule, the fruit-dealers and greengrocers like a stall in a more open
place, where they can pile their big melons up in a heap, and spread
their wares in the lee of a wall, and throw an awning over to keep the
sun off.

Now comes the cookshop, where rows of turbaned customers are squatted on
the floor with bowls before them, and the busy cook is at work over a
fireplace fed with dried leaves.  He fries cakes of rice in oil, he
spits half a dozen scraps of meat on a wooden skewer, and roasts them
over charcoal.  Then a big pot simmers over the fire of leaves, and the
smell of a "double-onioned" stew is wafted across the place to mingle
with a thousand other queer smells of the bazaar.  He sells vegetables
done up into all kinds of shapes, and made hot to the taste with plenty
of curry; he pickles carrots; he has sweetmeats and great stores of
pillau, a dish of meat cooked in rice. He has plenty of customers, for
his prices are very low.

Then there is the kobariya, the marine-store dealer of the bazaar, whose
shop is heaped with second-hand clothes, scrap-iron, and odds and ends.
Mrs. Steel gives a vivid description of the wares of the kobariya:

"Old things, and still older things, upside down, higgledy-piggledy,
hang on the top of each other: a patent rat-trap shouldering a broken
lamp, an officer’s tunic sheltering a pile of tent-pegs, a bazaar pipkin
on top of some priceless old plate, a parrot’s cage filled with French
novels, a moth-eaten saddle keeping company with an old sword, and over
all, sufficient scrap-iron to furnish forth a foundry; and in an old
caldron, incense spoons, little brass gods, prayer measures, sacred
fire-holders, all mixed up with battered electro-plated forks, hot-water
jug lids, and every conceivable kind of rubbish."



                             *CHAPTER XVII*

                            *IN THE JUNGLE*


The jungle, the Indian forest, is the home of many wild creatures, and
the sportsman who goes into it in search of them often has to take his
life in his hands. This is true, above all, if he is pursuing the tiger,
the most ferocious beast that India knows, the king of the jungle.  It
is true, there are lions in India, but not many, and the Indian lion is
of no great importance: the tiger is the beast of beasts.

The tiger is a terrible scourge to the Indian herdsman: a big brute will
often take up his quarters near a village, and levy a regular toll on
the village herds, killing cow after cow, and buffalo after buffalo.  He
is often perfectly well known, and the villagers see him about the
roads, or crossing their fields, or gliding through the jungle without a
sound on his soft pads. If a dozen of them are together they do not fear
him: they march right through his haunts, shouting and singing, rattling
sticks on the bamboo-trunks, and beating drums, and he gets out of the
way and stops there.  This is if he be an ordinary tiger, a
cattle-killer; but if a man-eater haunts the neighbourhood, then the
ryot’s soul is filled with fear.  He dares scarcely leave his house: to
leave the village is to face a terrible danger; he knows not when the
monster may steal upon him.

The man-eater goes about his work in dreadful silence.  The ordinary
tiger will often make the jungle ring again with his hoarse, deep roar;
not so the man-eater.  The latter glides without a sound, and under
cover of a patch of bamboos or a clump of reeds, up to the wood-cutter
felling a tree, or up to the peasant in his rice-field, or up to a woman
fetching water from the well.  Silent as death, he bounds upon his
victims and fells them with a single stunning blow of that huge paw
driven by muscles of steel.  The great white fangs are buried for an
instant in the throat, then the body is lifted in the mouth as a dog
lifts a rat, and is carried away to the lair, where he makes his
dreadful meal.

Most remarkable stories are told of the ferocity and daring of
man-eating tigers.  They have been known to venture boldly into a
village by night and carry off sleepers who had sought a cool couch out
of doors in the summer heats, and by day they have made fields and roads
quite impossible places to venture into. Villages and whole tracts of
country have at times been deserted by their inhabitants owing to the
ravages of these ferocious creatures, and when an English sportsman
arrives to tackle the savage beast he is hailed as a deliverer.

There are two favourite ways of hunting a tiger. The first depends on
the fact that he must drink. The sportsman, by means of native watchers,
discovers the pool or water-hole where the tiger quenches his thirst.
Then in a field near at hand is built a machan, a little platform where
the hunter may watch and wait for his prey.  He climbs into the machan
at sunset, and waits till the tiger comes to drink at some time between
the dark and the dawn, when a fortunate shot will put an end to the
marauder.

The other way—a far more exciting and picturesque fashion—is to pursue
the tiger upon elephants.  The sportsmen are in open howdahs, and the
elephants crash their way through the long grass, the reeds, the young
bamboos, in search of the tiger.  At last the tiger is driven into the
open, and bullet after bullet is poured into his body by the marksmen.
He is rarely killed at once, and in his agony he will often turn upon
his pursuers with terrible fury.  This is the moment of danger.  With
the horrible coughing roar of a charging tiger, he hurls himself with
tremendous bounds upon his foes.  His eyes blaze like green emeralds,
his great fangs glitter like ivory.  At springing distance he leaves the
ground and shoots through the air like a thunderbolt, full upon the
nearest elephant. Now is the time to try the sportsman’s nerve and
steadiness of aim.  Unless the tiger be struck down by the heavy bullet,
he will land with teeth and claws upon the flank of the elephant,
striking and tearing with terrible effect at his foes.

[Illustration: A NATIVE WOMAN WEARING NOSE ORNAMENT.  _Page 57_.]

More lives have been lost, however, by sportsmen following up a wounded
tiger on foot.  The tiger lies apparently stiff and still, as if already
dead.  The hunter comes too near, and finds that there is a flicker of
life left.  Before he can retreat, the wounded beast puts forth its last
strength to spring upon him and take a terrible revenge for its
injuries.

We said that the tiger is the king of the Indian jungle.  There are some
observers who dispute this; they award the palm to the elephant.
Certainly there can be no more majestic sight than a herd of wild
elephants in their native jungle.  They move slowly along, staying now
and again to crop the young shoots or to spout water over themselves at
a pool or river. The huge grey bodies, on the round, pillar-like legs;
the great flapping ears; the swinging, curling trunks; the rolling,
lumbering walk, present a scene of great interest, heightened by the
antics of the baby elephants, the calves, who trot along by their
mothers and frisk around the herd.

The Indian elephant is rarely pursued and shot—it is far too valuable;
but the capture and taming of these mighty creatures is very exciting
and interesting work. In Central India, especially in Mysore, their
capture is usually carried out by means of a kheddah, a kind of pound.
Two huge fences are built in the forest in the shape of a mighty V.  The
wide end of the V is often a mile or more across, and into this end a
herd of wild elephants will be driven by great numbers of beaters. The
elephants are urged forward to a large enclosure, into which the narrow
end of the V opens.  Once they are in this, a great gate is dropped
behind them, and they are imprisoned.

Now the work of taming them begins.  Tame elephants take a great share
in this, and show much cleverness in bringing their wild brethren into
captivity. Two or three tame elephants, each with a driver on its back,
will surround a wild one, and hustle and push it towards a strong tree.
Now a man slips down from the back of a tame elephant, and slips a noose
of strong rope round the leg of the wild one.  This is dangerous work,
and the man has to be very quick and skilful. The rope is now thrown
round the tree, and drawn tight.  Other ropes are soon fastened, and the
huge wild creature is made a prisoner.

The task of taming him at once begins.  From the first the men move
about the captive and talk to him, to accustom him to their sight and
presence.  They give him plenty of nice things to eat, and from the
first he does not refuse food, except in very rare cases. Very often
within a couple of days the elephant is taking pieces of sugar-cane and
fruit from the hands of his keepers.  Now the friendship grows rapidly.
The men begin to pat and caress the huge captive as they sing and talk
to him, and within a couple of weeks his bonds are loosened, and he is
led away between two tame companions to complete his education.

There is one elephant that no one tries, or dares to try, to capture.
This is the "rogue," and he is pursued and shot at once, if possible.  A
rogue elephant is a savage, vicious brute who has left the herd and
taken to a solitary life.  They are very dangerous, and many of them
will attack either man or beast that may come in their way.  Their great
size and vast strength render them easy conquerors over all they meet,
and a rogue elephant is the dread of the neighbourhood where he roams.
To hunt him is a very dangerous sport.  He is very wary, very cunning,
and quite fearless.  If fired upon he charges full upon his foes, and,
unless a well-directed bullet brings him down, the death of the hunter
is certain.  The rogue hurls him down and tramples upon him, smashing
the body beneath his huge feet.



                            *CHAPTER XVIII*

                   *IN THE JUNGLE (*_*continued*_*)*


Through the jungle bound also the swift deer and the graceful antelopes,
who so often have to fly before the pursuit of their fierce neighbours
the tiger and the panther.  The panther, when wounded, is actually more
feared by the hunter than is the tiger.  The panther is much smaller
than the tiger, and his grey skin, dotted with black spots, enables him
to hide himself easily among the tangle of the forest undergrowth, for
he resembles a patch of shade.  His limbs are long and powerful, and he
is the nimblest of all the jungle dwellers.  He can run like a leopard
and climb like a monkey.

He often lies in wait for his prey on a broad, low-hanging branch; then,
as the deer passes below, he springs full upon it, and bears it to the
ground.  He is very savage, and always full of fight, and his ferocity
is employed with wonderful cunning.  Two men have been known to fire
upon a panther and hit it.  They were apparently safe, each in a machan
set in a tall tree. The wounded brute has darted up one tree and clawed
the man there in fearful fashion; then, quick as lightning, it has
descended, climbed into the second tree, and attacked its second
assailant.  No other animal does this.  As a rule, a wounded beast makes
a blind rush; but the panther seems to reason, to calculate.

The bear is just the opposite.  The natives consider him the most stupid
of animals.  They say he is so stupid that he does not know enough to
get out of the way.  He will stretch himself in the warm dust of a
jungle path, and lie there until, in the dusk, the passer-by stumbles
over him.  Then he is angry.  He rises and strikes out with his long
claws, and often deals terrible wounds, for he strikes at the head.  One
writer speaks of seeing a man whose face was torn away—every feature
gone—with a single stroke of a bear’s paw.  But it is easy to avoid
this.  On such a path a native sings or shouts as he walks along.  The
bear is aroused by the noise, and moves away into the jungle.

The wild boar gives great sport over the plains and among the hills of
India.  He is hunted on horseback, just as the fox is hunted in England,
save that each rider has a spear with which to strike at the big, savage
beast.  When he turns at bay he is a very dangerous animal.  First he
"squats"—that is, he turns round and sits on his haunches—thrusting out
his snout, armed with great sharp tusks, towards his pursuers.  Then he
picks out a horseman, and charges him furiously.  A fine hand with a
spear will now stop him with a thrust in a vital part; but if the thrust
fails, the boar will often fetch down horse and rider.

Then comes a time of great danger, for the boar will rip up both horse
and man with swift turns of his keen tusks unless his attention be drawn
aside by other attacks.  In the end he falls under many spear-thrusts.

A walk through an open piece of jungle is very beautiful.  The bamboos
with their feathery crowns, the many trees covered with beautiful
flowers, the merry bands of monkeys which skip from branch to branch,
all draw the eye and the attention; but, at the same time, it is best to
watch where you are going. All of a sudden your native guide stops you
and tells you to step carefully.  You look, and see something in the
path among the sand looking like a dirty little stick.  But do not tread
on it.  It is the deadliest snake in India, and its bite means certain
death.  Or you think you would like to sit down on a fallen tree to
rest.  Well, do not sit on that log which seems to have a bright patch
of fungus growing about the middle of it.  Throw a stick at the patch
first.  Ah! it uncoils, and a venomous reptile slides into the grass
with angry hiss.

Look out, too, for the hooded cobra, who will sometimes dispute the way
with you, rearing himself on his lower coils, and erecting his swelling
hood, and "meaning venom."  But the most wonderful snake of all is the
huge python, the boa-constrictor, 20 to 25 feet long, and with a body as
thick as a man’s thigh.  This huge snake destroys its prey by pressure,
winding its coils round the creature’s body, and crushing it to death.
Then it swallows the body entire.

Another creature greatly dreaded by the natives belongs partly to the
land and partly to the water. This is the alligator—a hideous grey
brute, with huge jaws, furnished with long rows of teeth, and a long
tail of immense power.  On land the natives trouble little about this
great reptile, for his legs are short and his powers of pursuit are
small; but in the water or on the sandy margin it is a very different
affair.  Be careful where you bathe or draw water.  A single sweep of
that powerful tail will hurl you into the stream, and the alligator,
lurking in the shallows, has seized you for his prey.  Above all, it is
necessary to be careful when walking along the pleasant sandy bank which
often borders a river.  Here and there grey logs seem to be lying on the
sand.  They may be logs or they may be alligators sunning themselves.
In the latter case, if the walker be on the land side, well and good;
but if he incautiously ventures between the alligator and the river, it
is at the peril of his life.  With the aid of his powerful tail, the
frightful reptile hurls himself across the sand for a short distance at
wonderful speed, then his mighty jaws open and close upon his victim,
and the latter is dragged under water in the twinkling of an eye.

The tiger himself, unmatched in combat with any other beast of the
jungle, sometimes falls a prey to the alligator.  Coming to drink at the
river, the king of the jungle is seized by the waiting reptile.  A
terrific struggle follows.  Unable to wrench himself from those mighty
jaws, the tiger uses his terrible fangs and claws on the alligator’s
back.  Here for once they fail on that coat of horny scales.  The tiger
does not know that the alligator is soft beneath, and there could be
ripped up by his claws of steel, and he continues to spend his strength
in vain.  Inch by inch he is dragged into the river, and once under
water, he is lost.  He swiftly drowns, and the alligators feast on his
body.



                             *CHAPTER XIX*

                         *IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE*


We have spoken of temples and palaces and the magnificence of Kings and
nobles, but now we must turn to the homes of the common people, and see
how they live and work.  Anyone who adopted the idea that India is a
land of general riches and splendour would be making a very great
mistake.  The vast mass of the people live, not merely in the simplest
fashion, but also in the poorest fashion, for the land can scarce
produce enough food to satisfy the wants of its teeming millions.  If
the rains should fail and a crop go wrong, there is famine at once over
wide districts, and vast numbers perish.

An Indian village is a collection of small huts, with walls of mud and
roof of thatch.  At break of day the men, the ryots, go out to labour in
the fields which surround the place, putting their bullocks into the
light wooden plough, which scarcely does more than scratch the soil.  In
the shallow furrow thus formed they sow the grain, and then with hoe and
mattock they clean the weeds from a crop which is already springing up.
These few simple tools serve all the purposes of the husbandman, just as
they served his forefathers a thousand years ago.

The women of the village go to the well to draw water, passing on their
way the village temple, where they offer fruits and flowers to the stone
image of the Hindoo god, in whose honour the temple was built. When they
have drawn their water, they return home to cook food and to work in the
small compound which surrounds each mud hut.  Here they grow trees,
which yield the mango, plantain, guava, and other fruits.

As they go back to their homes they cast looks of deep interest at the
door of a house where a figure is seated.  It is a Brahmin sitting in
dharna, for this is an out-of-the-way village where old customs cling
fast.

[Illustration: A NATIVE BULLOCK CART. _Page 86_.]

What is dharna?  It is really a form of intimidation. Some one has a
quarrel with the owner of that house, and he has hired a Brahmin, a
member of the priestly caste, to sit on his enemy’s doorstep without
food or drink, until the latter will do justice.  The Brahmin, having
undertaken the task, is certain to carry it through.  He will starve
until the person at whose door he sits has given way.  The latter always
happens. If the holy man were to starve to death, the sin would lie upon
the head of the owner of the house for ever, and his fate in the next
world would be dreadful.  So, before long, some arrangement is made, and
the dispute is settled.

The house before which the Brahmin is performing dharna is that of the
money-lender, by far the most powerful man in the village.  When a ryot
cannot make both ends meet, and he is in trouble either about his rent
or his taxes, it is to the money-lender that he flies for assistance.
From that powerful personage he borrows a few rupees to tide him over
the time of need till his crops shall be ready for sale, and he has to
pay a very heavy rate of interest for the loan.

The money-lender is one of the oldest features of Indian village life.
From the earliest times his trade has been in great vogue, and the
Indian peasant is to-day as dependent upon him as ever.  Broadly
speaking, the ryot is always in debt.  He is so careless, and thinks so
little of the future that he always lives from hand to mouth, and a
failure of his crop brings him within touch of famine at once.  Then he
resorts to the money-lender to borrow money to buy food or pay his rent,
and to raise the money he often agrees to sell his next crop to the
money-lender at a price which the money-lender himself will fix.

The price is very low, and the money is at once swallowed up to pay rent
or the interest on the last loan, and so the peasant is driven to apply
to the money-lender once more to obtain funds to carry him on to the
next harvest.  In this way the ryot falls completely into the hands of
the money-lender, and, in order that the unlucky husbandman may not
escape his clutches, the creditor employs men to watch the farmer’s
crops day and night, and the latter has to pay all these expenses.

Just beyond the money-lender’s house is the dwelling of the baid, the
doctor.  He is sitting on his veranda, busily reading a very ancient
book on medicine.  It is from the instructions in this book that he
treats all his patients.  He has a store of herbs and roots, which he
uses to make pills and potions.  He looks with the greatest contempt on
the European doctors and their medicines, and declares that they do not
know how to treat Hindoo patients.

As a rule, the baid is a very poor hand at curing his patients.  If they
get well he takes all the credit; if they die he says that the hour of
their death had come, and who can resist fate?  But here and there are
to be found men who have so great a knowledge of herbs and simples that
they can effect wonderful cures.  "A curious cure of asthma is recorded
of a European who derived little benefit from the treatment of his own
countrymen.  A baid offered to cure him when his case had become almost
hopeless.  The European laughed.  However, getting quite desperate, he
submitted to the treatment of the Hindoo doctor, and the few sweet black
pills which the latter administered wrought a complete cure.  The
grateful patient begged the doctor to name his own reward; but he would
listen to nothing of the kind, nor would he tell of what ingredients the
pills were composed.  Indeed, this the baids will never do."



                              *CHAPTER XX*

                *IN AN INDIAN VILLAGE (*_*continued*_*)*


Now there comes up to the veranda a quiet-looking man with a little
bundle under his arm, and the baid lays aside his book.  The village
barber has come to shave him.  The Hindoo barber is a very important
man.  Not only has he under his care the shaven crowns, the smooth
chins, and the close-cropped hair of his neighbours, but he is the
village surgeon also, for the baid knows nothing of surgery.  It is the
barber who bores the ears and noses of the little girls to put in rings
and ornaments.

He squats down beside the doctor and unrolls his little bundle and
spreads out its contents.  He has a razor, a pair of scissors, a small
steel instrument for cutting nails, a leather strop, a little brass cup,
a scrap of looking-glass, and a towel.  He uses neither brush nor soap
for shaving, but puts cold water in the cup and dips his fingers into
it.  With these fingers he wets and rubs the chin, and then sweeps his
razor over it with light and skilful hand, doing his work like a master.
When he has finished he rolls up his little bundle and goes on to the
next house, for he has a fixed round of customers, and no Hindoo,
whether rich or poor, ever shaves himself.

Going thus from house to house the barber knows every one, and is often
employed as a match-maker. In India parents always arrange the marriages
of their children, and the wishes of the latter are not consulted in the
affair.  Indeed, marriages are often settled at so early an age that the
children do not understand what it means.  A girl is fetched from her
play and married to a boy not much older than herself. She goes back to
her dolls, and he goes back to school, and perhaps neither sees the
other again for years.

In arranging these affairs there is often much coming and going of the
family barber.  He has to find out how much dowry the parents of the
girl will give with their daughter, or, on the other hand, he is sent to
see what examinations the young man has passed.  This is an important
point.  The Hindoos think a great deal of such distinctions, and a young
man who has passed a University examination can get a much richer wife
than he who has not.

At the wedding the barber is a very busy man. Before the day he goes
round to the friends and relatives of the family inviting them to come
to the wedding-feast, and begging them not to fail in attendance.  On
the day of the wedding he has to dress the bridegroom, and when the
guests are assembled he hands round betels to chew or hookahs to smoke.
He helps to serve the wedding-feast, and when it is over he distributes
the fragments among the beggars.

The barber’s wife is as important a personage as himself.  She is just
as busy among the women as he is among the men.  She enters the zenana,
the women’s portion of the house, to dress the ladies and adorn them.
At weddings she dresses the hair of the bride, trims her nails, and
arrays her in the richest robes. Both the barber and his wife belong to
the barber caste.  In India trades are handed down from father to son,
from mother to daughter.  The children of the barber and his wife are
taught from their earliest years the duties of their business: they,
too, will become barbers in due time.

As the barber goes away the water-carrier comes up. This is another
important personage; for, in the burning climate of India, fresh, pure
water is of the greatest importance.  This water-carrier has not filled
his vessels at the village well, but has been to a spring at some
distance, where the water is very good.  He carries it in two large
vessels of brass, and these are slung from the ends of a pole which he
carries across one of his shoulders, one vessel in front and one behind.

If there are Mohammedans in the village you will also see the bhistee,
the Mohammedan water-carrier.  He bears his load in a skin on his
shoulders, or in a pair of skins which he slings across the back of a
bullock. He sells water only to people of his own faith, for no Hindoo
will use for any purpose water which a Mohammedan has handled.

The larger houses have flat roofs, and from the roofs of two standing
near each other a couple of boys are having a battle with fighting
kites.  Flying kites is a very favourite amusement in India, and in some
villages old and young, rich and poor, spend much time on this sport.
The kites are square in shape, but of all sizes, and in the case of
fighting kites the string or thread is passed through a mixture of
pounded glass and starch and then dried.  The thread has now a keen,
cutting edge, and if brought sharply across the string of another kite
will cut it through, and he who succeeds in setting his opponent’s kite
adrift is the victor.

At the farther end of our village there is a large native inn.  This is
by no means a common thing to find in such a place; but, as it happens,
a well-travelled road passes through the country at this point.  To see
this inn at its busiest we must go on some evening when a fair is to be
held in the neighbouring town, and a throng of travellers pause in it
for the night.

The inn itself, as we approach it, shows a square of four flat naked
walls.  There are neither doors nor windows to be seen, and the place is
entered by a wide opening, which can be closed by massive gates.  Near
the gate are some small shops where one can buy rice, flour, salt, and
ghee to eat, or earthen pots for cooking.

Upon entering, we find ourselves in a big courtyard, the middle of which
is packed with the bullock waggons and carts, from which the ponies and
bullocks have just been released and turned out to graze.  Round the
walls inside is a wide veranda, and behind this veranda are rooms
wherein the wayfarers may sleep. The scene is one of the greatest uproar
and confusion. Men and women are bustling to and fro, shouting and
calling to each other as they draw water, light fires, cook food, feed
their animals, spread their beds, and generally make ready for the
night.

Every inch of the veranda is taken up, and in front of each room burns
the fire of the party who intend to occupy it.  A wealthy traveller will
engage a number of rooms for himself and his family or servants; but
poor men club together, and five or six engage a single room and stow
themselves away in it.  The cost to them will then be about one farthing
per head.

The inn is under the charge of a number of inn-keepers, each of whom has
a certain part of the inn-yard under his care and a certain number of
rooms to let.  These people crowd about the traveller on his arrival,
each clamouring that his rooms are the best, and begging for his custom.
They are a thievish and quarrelsome crew, and are looked down upon as a
very low and degraded class.  In a native inn the traveller has to keep
a very sharp eye on his belongings.  He takes care to keep his money in
a safe place, and he never accepts tobacco or any eatable from a
stranger. There may be a drug in it which will throw him into a deep
sleep, from which he will awake to find all his valuables gone.

When supper is dispatched the traveller prepares for sleep.  If poor, he
stretches himself on the floor; if better off, he hires a wooden frame
from the inn-keeper, and spreads upon it his quilts and blankets. Now
the great gates are swung to and locked, and the inn is securely shut up
for the night.  This is very necessary, or some of the animals would be
missing in the morning.  There are also men who keep watch all night,
and the merchant with a stock of valuable goods gives one of these a
small sum to take particular care of his bales and animals.



              BILLING AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, GUILDFORD.





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