The Project Gutenberg eBook of The East India Vade-Mecum, Volume 1 (of 2)

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Title: The East India Vade-Mecum, Volume 1 (of 2)

Author: Thomas Williamson

Release date: October 31, 2016 [eBook #53400]

Language: English

Credits: Produced by KD Weeks, Jens Guld, and the Bayerische
Staatsbibliothek München (urn:nbn:de:bvb:12-bsb10483595-8)


Transcriber’s Note:

Minor errors, attributable to the printer, have been corrected. Please see the transcriber’s note at the end of this text for details regarding the handling of any textual issues encountered during its preparation.

The cover image has been modified to include the title, author and publication date, and is, so modified, added to the public domain.


Hon. East India Company.
Author of ‘The Wild Sports of the East.’


Booksellers to the Honorable East India Company,


Printed by Turner and Harwood, St. John’s Square,

East India Company


A work professedly undertaken with the view to promote the welfare, and to facilitate the progress, of those young gentlemen who may, from time to time, be appointed to situations under your several Presidencies, will, I flatter myself, receive from your Honorable Court that encouragement the importance of the subject solicits, and to which my own good intentions may justly offer a claim. Under your auspices, my labors cannot fail to prove of public utility, as well as to reward that zeal, and that assiduity, with which they have proceeded, under the alluring hope of meriting the approbation of your Honorable Court.

I have the honor to be,
Your most obedient Servant,

London, January 1, 1810.



In the volumes now offered to the public, it has been my zealous endeavour to supply those minutiæ and details, which have not, in any distinct manner, been heretofore tendered to its consideration. A residence of more than twenty years in Bengal, during which period I had every opportunity of visiting the several districts under that presidency, has enabled me to afford considerable insight into a variety of topics, which, whether to the statesman, the merchant, the military, or the civil character, should prove highly important, and guide, not only to a just conception of the characters of the natives, and of the European society, in India, but to the removal of that host of doubts, prejudices, and national opinions, which, if suffered to prevail, must occasion every object to be seen through a false medium.

With the view to render my labors more acceptable to my juvenile readers, whose viiiwelfare is attended to in every page, it appeared to me expedient to adopt rather a familiar, than a didactic, style; so as to lead towards the goal of instruction, in that easy manner which is generally found best suited to that intention. The same principle induced me to avoid any arrangement under abstract heads, or chapters; as well as to render the contents at large philosophically diffuse.

The mode adopted in my former publication, ‘The Wild Sports of the East’, namely, of spelling the Hindostanee words according to English pronunciation, having been highly approved, is continued on this occasion. This plan appears particularly necessary in a work intended chiefly for the use of persons proceeding to India; since nothing could be more unpleasant than a deficiency in respect to intonation; which, being once established in error, must prove extremely difficult of correction.

While studying to supply the several desiderata left unnoticed by those gentlemen who have written on subjects relating to India, I felt it incumbent on me, both from a sense of delicacy, and from the conviction that they had already passed ixthrough more able hands, to avoid whatever topics had been abstractedly considered. Therefore, such of my readers as may seek for particular information regarding the religious tenets of the several sects, the languages of the East, the literature, &c., &c., should consult those eminent authors to whom the world is so much indebted. The whole of their works may be obtained by application to Messrs. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury, of Leadenhall Street, London, from whose ample catalogue I beg leave to cull the following, as being particularly applicable to the use of students laudably intent on obtaining the most valuable sources of oriental learning.

The works of Doctor Gilchrist stand pre-eminent, and, while they do honor to himself, are highly creditable to the discrimination and liberality of the East India Company, under whom he held a Professorship. In the purchase of the few volumes necessary towards the equipment of a gentleman proceeding to India, the whole of Doctor Gilchrist’s philological publications ought to be included. Dr. Wilkin’s edition of Richardson’s Persian Dictionary is xequally indispensable to writers, who may be desirous to attain a proficiency in the Persian language, by which they become eligible for officers of the highest rank: but, to cadets, who do not wish to go to the expence of two volumes, quarto, the Abridgement, by Mr. Hopkins, in one volume, royal octavo, is particularly recommended. Dr. Wilkins’s Sanskrita Grammar will also be found eminently serviceable; while his translation of the Heetopades will afford much insight into the narratory idiom of the Hindus. Richardson’s Arabic Grammar, as also Sir W. Jones’s Persian Grammar, or Gladwin’s Persian Moonshee, and his Gulistan of Sady, should not be omitted. Sir Wm. Ouseley’s Essay towards facilitating the reading of Persian Manuscripts, will prove a substantial aid. Balfour’s Forms of Herkern, in Arabic and English, should be provided; together with Rousseau’s Dictionary of Mahomedan Law Terms. Mr. Colebrooke’s Digest Of Hindu Law, is indispensable; and I strongly recommend his Treatise on the Husbandry and Internal Commerce of Bengal. Sale’s Koran will supply the fullest information xiregarding the fundamental principles of the Mahomedan religion; and Reynell’s Memoirs, united with his Atlas, and Map, or Arrowsmith’s Map of India, on a larger scale, will prove the best guides in acquiring the geography, together with many local matters extremely interesting to persons travelling in any part of our territory, but especially in Bengal. The Ayeen Akbekry will shew what Hindostan was under the government of Akbar; and the Asiatic Researches, and Asiatic Annual Register, will be found to display an immense variety of subjects connected with natural history, &c. The Tour made, under the auspices of Marquis Wellesley, by Doctor Francis Buchanan, through the Mysore, Canara, and Malabar Districts, may be considered one of the most valuable productions of the age; inasmuch as it details, with philosophic consideration, and, in most instances, with alchemic precision, a variety of matters relating to the climate, the soil, and those various articles of produce, as well as the mode of manufacture, which cannot fail to prove highly interesting to those either engaged in mercantile speculations, or who xiithirst after useful knowledge. This work is published by Messrs. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury.

With respect to those regulations published for the control, or guidance, of persons proceeding to, or residing in, India, fluctuations must at times take place. Messrs. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury, publish yearly a Directory, under the immediate authority of the Court of Directors, the latest edition of which ought to be purchased in the first instance.

Soliciting my readers’ indulgence regarding any typographical errors, which may, notwithstanding the greatest attention in correcting for the press, occasionally appear, and anxiously hoping that he may at least be amused, if not instructed, by the perusal of my pages, I consign them to the consideration of a discriminating, just, and liberal public; trusting that my motives, at least, will be rewarded by its approbation.


London, January 1, 1810.



Instructions to Persons proceeding to India regarding articles to be provided, and precautions to be adopted 1 to 30
Matters relating to embarking, and the usual customs on board-ship, sea-sickness, fishing at sea 31 . 60
Foreign settlements, Brazils, crossing the Line 61 . 68
Religious character of sailors, funerals at sea, Cape of Good Hope 69 . 88
Of St. Helena 89 . 109
Island of Johanna, and the Comoro Cluster 110 . 119
Whale-fishery in the Mozambique Channel 120 . 123
White-squalls, passage round Ceylon, and up the Coromandel coast 124 . 126
Madras, masoolah-boats, debashes, bad meats, localities 127 . 138
General track up the Bay, cautions necessary to be adopted by pilot-schooners at the Sand-heads 139 . 141
General appearance of the coast, modes of getting up from the ship to Calcutta 142 . 154
Coins and weights in use, land measure 155 . 160
xivTaverns to be avoided, instructions and cautions regarding servants, women, &c. 161 . 172
Estimate of primary and current expences 173 . 175
Acquirement of the language, with advice regarding conduct in general 176 . 178
Reasons for retaining a number of servants, religious scruples 179 . 185
Classification of servants 186 . 188
The Banian, and Darogah 188 . 192
The Moonshy, the Jemmadar, the Chobe-dar, the Soontah-burdar, the Kansamah, the Sircar, the Cranny, specimen of style 191 . 212
The Khedmutgar, The Mosaulchy, the Hookah-burdar, the Hookah, the Kaleaun, the Goorgoory, and the Neriaul 212 . 228
Modes of carrying water, the Bheesty, Tatties 229 . 236
The Babachy, the Durzy, the Doby, the Mohout, the Mate, and the Surwan 236 . 253
The Syce, the Grass-cutter, the Mauly, mode of drawing water 254 . 266
The Aub-dar, the Compadore, the Hirkarah, the Duftoree, the Fraush, the Mater, the Dooreah, mode of keeping and feeding dogs 267 . 280
The Kalashy, the Manjy, the Goleeah, and the Dandy 281 . 287
The Berrairah, description of sheep, and mode of fattening 288 . 293
The Chokey-dar, curious system of vigilance in the upper provinces, expert thieves 294 . 298
The Durwan, the Cahar, insolence of the Ooreah bearers 298 . 310
Hints regarding the lading of cattle 310 . 311
Umbrellas, punkahs, liveries 312 . 313
The mahanah-palanquin, the boçhah, the taum-jaung, the bangy 313 . 324
xvThe r’hunt, the g’horry-waun, fine bullocks, the g’horry, the hackery 325 . 333
Cautions against engaging European servants, either male or female 333 . 336
The Portugueze Ayah, ridiculously vain of their genealogies 337 . 339
The Hindostanee Ayah 340 . 341
The Dhye, domestic secrets 341 . 346
Domestic manners and customs of the natives, with details of the state of society among them 347 . 408
Flying kites, great dexterity, natives peculiarly tenacious of privacy in their dwellings 408 . 411
European polygamy, characters of women generally domiciliated by Europeans, ordinary expences 412 . 416
Dress and ornaments of a Hindostanee lady 417 . 431
Scented oils, mode of extracting the attar of roses, with calculation of expences 431 . 441
Unctions in general use, bathing, alligators 442 . 448
Invitations, visiting, female nomenclature, loud music 449 . 451
Reasons for Europeans retaining native women, and impediments in the way of marriage 451 . 458
Orphan Institution 459 . 468
Vaccination in Bengal, mode of inoculating in use among the Brahmans, and among the Pahariahs, making capons 469 . 475
The Native Hospital at Calcutta 479 . 482
Style of building among the natives, mode of thatching, domestic furniture, the beetle-leaf and plant 483 . 498
Cheroots, women smokers, imitations of native manners, dress, &c., and vice versâ 499 . 502
xviMirza Alu Taaleb Khan, his ingratitude and vanity, comparison of his poetry with that of Hafiz and Yuqueen 503 . 509
Precautions against fire, heavy rains, protection against them 509 . 514
Bungalows, bricklayers, carpenter and smith, houses smeared with cow-dung, mindy applied to hands and feet 514 . 520


The consideration, that great numbers of young gentlemen proceed to India without the smallest idea of the customs, &c. peculiar to that country whither they are adventuring; and, that the want of some previous instruction has often proved of the greatest inconvenience; first induced me to assume the pen, for the purpose of submitting, to those under such circumstances, the result of a long residence in Bengal. When it is understood, that, merely owing to the absence of any experienced friend, or to the impossibility of obtaining some publication suited to guide under a case of no small difficulty, not only many a guinea, which could perhaps be ill spared, is thrown away, but many a lasting injury entailed, little apology need be offered for that earnestness with which I recommend my volumes to the attention, not only of those who are about to 2proceed to the East, but of such as have relatives, or friends, in that remote quarter.

The first point offering itself to notice, is, whether an appointment is to be obtained in the Company’s service, either in a civil, a military, or a naval capacity; or, whether the party is about to adventure as a merchant, or free-mariner. If the Company’s service be in question, it will be necessary to follow implicitly those regulations the Court of Directors, from whom alone any appointment can be obtained, have, from time to time, judged it expedient to promulgate for the better management of their affairs, and for obviating misconception on the part of every candidate, as well as to shield him from imposition. As these regulations are subject to much fluctuation, and as it would be burthening this work too much were they to be embodied therein, besides that it would be, to a certain degree, infringing on the rights of others, to whose assiduity the public are considerably indebted, I have excluded them altogether; confining myself to pointing out, that the ‘East India Directory,’ published annually by Messrs. Black, Parry, and Kingsbury, but edited by gentlemen holding offices at the India-House, will be found the best guide in all such matters, as it contains the code in force at the time of publication.

Formerly, a great number of persons received commissions in the army, and in the medical 3departments in India, from the governor-general, for which necessity was the plea; but that practice was severely censured, and has been for full twenty-six years completely exploded. The hope of obtaining an appointment in India, as a Company’s servant, should never be entertained; none being bestowed but by the Court of Directors; though, it is true, the recommendations of their government abroad, in behalf of meritorious individuals, have, in very numerous instances, been attended to.

Little argument need be used to demonstrate the superior policy, or rather the imperious necessity, of sending young men from England in such a state of improvement as may enable them to become useful immediately on their arrival at the presidencies to which they may be respectively nominated. This is effected by the institution of a college, and of a military academy, under the auspices of the Court of Directors: at the former, those intended for the civil service are duly grounded in the languages, &c. of the East; while, at the latter, young gentlemen are instructed in whatever may be essential towards their military career. By these means, the natives are induced to entertain more respect for the junior servants, than could possibly be expected while a want of every local requisite, and even of the very rudiments of professional science, were too conspicuously apparent. The 4Directory’, already spoken of, will be found to contain whatever relates to the proper qualifications of young men aiming at employ under the Company; but I may be permitted to state, that whenever any undue influence may be exerted, by pecuniary means, to obtain any appointment, in whatever branch, expulsion and disgrace, or eventually, fine, &c. will be the result.

The opportunity which offers for the selection of civil servants duly qualified to fill offices of considerable importance, to which either large salaries, or handsome fees, &c. are attached, affords the ready means of rewarding the labors of meritorious individuals in that branch; and, with few exceptions, of enabling them, after a fair term of servitude, to return to Europe with competent fortunes. Hence, the Company have not found it necessary to stipulate for their granting any pensions to civil servants; but, whenever the pressure of infirmity, or of misfortune, has exhibited to the Court of Directors an object justly entitled to their consideration, such civil servants, and, on many occasions, their widows and children also, have experienced that attention to their distresses which might elevate them beyond the reach of adversity.

In the military branch, where a marked level prescribes the rise of every individual, beyond which, except in a few instances of staff-appointments, the utmost merit may unhappily remain 5unrewarded; and where, in so destructive a climate, the discharge even of ordinary duties is frequently attended with most injurious results to the constitution; it has been adjudged necessary to make some provision for those who may either be compelled to seek the re-establishment of health in their native country, under the indulgence of a furlough, or who, having passed the prime of their days in that quarter, may choose to withdraw from the effective strength of the army, passing their latter years in retirement, and making way for the more active, to supply their places in the performance of the more arduous duties.

In consideration of the important services rendered to the Company by their military and naval officers and surgeons, as also by their chaplains, the Company have established certain rates of income, under the general terms of full-pay, half-pay, and pension, for such of them as may retire from their service: those rates, together with all the regulations in force, will be found in the ‘East India Directory’, before referred to.

No British subject, not born in India, can claim the right of residing within the Company’s jurisdiction; which extends from the Cape of Good Hope, easterly, towards Cape Horn; including all the Indian Seas, and the great Peninsula of Asia, so far as the British flag is displayed, with 6the exception, however, of the Island of Ceylon, on which the whole establishment appertains to the Crown, though generally some of the Madras troops, or even a portion of the Bengal army, may be seen doing duty there, as auxiliaries.

Necessity has imposed very arbitrary rules on the conduct of government abroad; none but persons whose political conduct and opinions are decidedly unexceptionable being permitted to reside within the Company’s territories. Every European inhabitant is registered, and furnished with a licence, renewable at times, or subject to be cancelled by the Supreme Council. Such is the determination supported against whatever may tend, however obliquely, towards colonization, that, in Calcutta, though purchases may be made of landed property, secured by pottahs, that correspond generally with our title-deeds, yet there does not appear to be any actual claim to the soil. This does not create any diffidence on the part of the purchaser, who, provided there be no latent mortgage, &c. always holds the property as a fee-simple. This rule does not, indeed, properly extend beyond the Maharrattah Ditch, which formerly circumscribed the town on the land side, making nearly a semi-circle, whose radius might be more than a mile and a half: beyond that ancient barrier; which in old times was found a considerable protection against the incursions 7of the Maharrattah horse: though pottahs may perhaps exist, their validity would not bear the test of litigation. The Company, it is true, have in various instances made grants of lands, but always under such terms as precluded any claim to property in the soil, as a permanent, independent, and paramount tenure.

The free-merchant, or, (as some designate him,) the free-mariner, who may proceed to India with the view of purchasing landed property, or of becoming a renter in his own name, will find himself in a very awkward, or even a very hazardous, situation, should he lay out his money in supposed purchases, or in buildings, et cetera, beyond the ascertained limits of the town of Calcutta. My readers will therefore correct, in due time, any erroneous impressions arising from misrepresentation, or from misconception: they must, in fact, alienate their British opinions, and conform to local considerations; divesting themselves of every prepossession, and viewing our Indian possessions, not as colonies, but as conquests, of a peculiar description, to which our laws and privileges are every way either unsuitable, or unwelcome.

I shall now proceed to the display of some minutiæ regarding the out-fit of a gentleman about to embark in a chartered ship; observing, that no passenger can be received on board without an express order in writing, directed to the 8captain, and signed by the secretary. Should an impostor succeed, of which, I believe, no instance has ever come to light, in obtaining a passage to India, by means of fictitious documents, he would indisputably be detected on arrival there, and be subjected to all the rigors of the law. The several commanders of the Company’s ships are so bound by agreement, as well as by regulations, not to receive unauthorized passengers, as to leave no opening for malpractices of the above description.

The out-fit of a military passenger will necessarily differ, in a few points, from that of a person proceeding in a civil capacity: whichever may be the case, it will be found least expensive to lay in the whole of the supplies of clothing, so far as may be practicable, from the stock on hand; obtaining any additional articles from those tradesmen by whom the family may have been usually furnished. I cannot too forcibly deprecate the common practice of burthening young folks with a variety of useless apparel, &c.; the greater part of which becomes the perquisite of servants, or, being found rather a burthen than a convenience, is generally thrown about in the most negligent manner. The grand object should be to provide what may be efficient after arrival in India.

The first point for consideration is the quantity and the quality of the shirts, of which not 9less than four dozen should be provided. They ought to be of very fine, stout calico, such as may be used in a hot climate, where linen is particularly prejudicial to health, owing to its feeling cold when moist with perspiration. About a dozen of the shirts may be of rather a superior quality, and have frills.

Under-shirts, made of chequered calico, of a moderate fineness, will be found extremely pleasant, and preserve the upper-shirts from being soiled by contact with the body: of such, an equal number should be made; if with sleeves, and reaching to the hips, they will serve for sleeping in: there should be no ties, nor any opening, except for about eight inches down, on one side, from the neck, but not in front; a button will suffice to keep the parts together, after the head has been passed through.

For wear on board-ship, nothing can equal pantaloons, of which two pairs of thick, and two of thin, should be provided; together with as many pairs of wove cotton long-drawers, to wear under them. The thick kinds may be milled broad cloth, or wove worsted; the thin ones of light corderoy, aleppine, &c. Half-stockings of worsted, and of cotton, will be requisite; a dozen pairs of the former, and three dozen of the latter: they will all be found useful in India. Two or three black velvet stocks, made to tie with ribbon, will be serviceable; and, as articles 10in great request abroad, about four dozen of neck-handkerchiefs, of very fine linen, not calico, should be made up: an equal quantity of a coarser kind may be laid in for under wear.

Cotton handkerchiefs, of a small size, such as may be put into a waistcoat pocket, will be found preferable: of these, full four dozen; they should be white, with very neat, narrow borders. Two good warm waistcoats of woollen must be provided, and about two dozen of white waistcoats, made of fine Irish linen. Breeches in the same proportion, and of the same qualities. To wear with the latter, two dozen pairs of long cotton stockings, and half a dozen pairs of short, wove, cotton drawers, should be provided. The stockings ought to be of the best quality. A dozen pairs of silk stockings will also be useful on arrival in India, where they are extremely scarce, generally damaged, and bear an enormous price.

A substantial great-coat will, on many occasions, be acceptable during the voyage; as will two pairs of boots, and as many of shoes; one stout, the other light, for ship wear.

I cannot too forcibly recommend that measures be left with the tailor, the shoe and boot-maker, the hatter, &c. in order that regular supplies may be sent yearly, or half-yearly, through the medium of some friend in London; who could get all articles of such a description 11shipped in the privileges of some of the officers of the Indiamen; the freight payable on delivery at Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, respectively.

It will be proper to have two or three coats to wear on board-ship: two should be of broad cloth, and one of camlet, or some other light stuff: a warm dressing gown of flannel, with two lighter, of printed linen, will be essentially serviceable.

Hats are so very subject to be injured on board-ship, and, indeed, to be blown overboard, that I should recommend but little attention to appearance in that article. In this, as well as in most of the foregoing, a large portion may be supplied from the stock in use previous to embarkation. The old saying, of ‘going to sea to wear out one’s old clothes,’ has so far sense on its side, that whatever can be decently worn will be found full good enough for that purpose. Persons who are growing, should observe the precaution of having every article of apparel made full large; else, by the time they may have been some months at sea, they will be put to serious inconvenience. It is true, that few ships sail without a tailor on board, but he is not always to be had; being generally employed by the purser; or he may be in the sick list, &c.

With respect to leather-breeches, two pairs may be taken by those accustomed to hard riding; 12though nankeen are in general use for the greater part of the year. In the cold season, the former are extremely comfortable. Three, or even four, pairs of boots, as many of shoes, and two round hats, of the best quality; together with two best coats, of the lightest cloth, or kerseymere, two waistcoats, and two pair of breeches, of fine white kerseymere, should be packed, with the intention of being reserved for use in India.

It may be said, that tailors, shoe-makers, &c. abound in India; and, that every article above-mentioned may be made up, or be obtained there. The truth is, that all artizans in that quarter expect exorbitant profits, to enable their amassing sums wherewith to return to Europe. The materials are likewise much dearer; and many, if not all, of a very inferior quality. Articles of European manufacture, except when the market is absolutely glutted, bear full £80. and occasionally £200. per cent. advance on the prime cost: add to this, that sometimes gentlemen are so far removed from their trades-people, who are by no means expeditious in their work, and, if at all expert, have ever more on hand than they can execute, as to render it next to impracticable for them to be supplied as they would wish.

With respect to woollens, boots, shoes, &c. Europe is the great source; no cloths being 14manufactured in India, except a kind somewhat resembling serge; and the leather in general use among the native cordwainers being so ill tanned, that, after being once wet through, which is effected by the slightest exposure to moisture, it stretches, losing its shape and pliancy, so as to be both uncomfortable and unsightly. The native shoe-makers are certainly very neat in their work, but, owing to the badness of their materials, cannot, in this case, be recommended.

Blankets of a good quality are scarce, and bear an unconscionable price. I should recommend to every passenger, that he take three of the largest double milled, and one smaller under blanket. He will find them useful on board-ship; and, in the cold season, will not be displeased to find such in his possession. Their value in the hottest time of the year, when the wind is dry, and clouds of dust every where passing, is extreme. If a bed be covered with two or three blankets, at that season, it will always remain cool and pleasant.

It may be supposed that calico sheets are not adapted to the torrid zone; and such is strictly the case. Accordingly, we find the greater portion of Europeans provided with hemp sheeting: many go to the expence of coarse Irish linen for that purpose, and make their pillow cases of fine Holland, or of a fabric, called grass-cloth, imported from China, and said to be made from 15the smaller fibres of what is usually called India-gut, or weed. Whatever the material may be, its smooth, glossy surface, and its disposition to resist absorption, more than any other cloth in use, qualify it pre-eminently for that purpose to which we apply it.

I should recommend that twelve sheets were taken; each formed of one breadth of very fine Russia, or other hempen cloth, and full eleven feet in length. During the passage, they may be used in that form; which, if they are full ell-wide, will be found broad enough. On arrival in India they should be joined two and two, so as to form three, instead of six pairs. In regard to pillow cases, one for every pair of sheets in their original state, will suffice: they should be of Irish linen.

A good mattress made of horse-hair, is, in the East, a valuable article. I should recommend one made to fit the cot, or bed-place, on board-ship; which will generally be from 6 ft. to 6 ft. 2 in. in length, and from 22 to 28 in. in width. This mattress should be filled to the thickness of near five inches, and enclosed in a double case of the strongest ticking: by this means, on arrival, the mattress may be extended to double its size, with the choicest materials; the hair being spread thinner, and the ticking reduced from double to single.

A pillow filled with feathers is scarcely to be 16seen in India! I would, however, recommend, that, in lieu of a bolster, a pillow stuffed with horsehair should be taken, with one feather pillow. On board-ship, the former would be found acceptable in hot weather, while the latter may be resorted to in stormy latitudes. Their alternate application, as uppermost, would prove refreshing and comfortable, at least, if not conducive to salubrity.

Table cloths can be had better, and cheaper, in India than in Europe; as can towels, or napkins, also: it will, however, be necessary to take about three or four dozen of rather large towels, of a thick strong texture. Combs of sorts, tooth, nail, clothes, and shoe brushes, with their respective et ceteras, should not be forgotten. Soap, for washing hands and for shaving, must be taken; and if about twenty or thirty pounds of the patent soap, which will wash with salt water, be laid in, it may be useful in case a few articles should, from necessity, be washed on board, and will, at all events, be an invaluable present to any persons who may do little jobs, such as making the bed, cleaning boots, &c.: to all such, soap and pig-tail tobacco are more acceptable than either money or liquor.—Cut tobacco is not considered so valuable; smoking being next to prohibited in every ship.

A wash-hand bason, ewer, and chamber utensil, will be required: these, at least the first and 17last, should be of pewter: the ewer should be in the form of a bottle, both on account of the convenience it offers in handling it, and because water is less liable to be spilled from its mouth; a common quart bottle is no bad substitute. About a pound of good tea, and five or six pounds of double-refined sugar, may be provided: in case of indisposition they may be resorted to, without troubling the captain’s servants beyond the requisition of some hot water.

Persons fond of shooting, would do well to take with them one or more good double-barrelled guns, with spare locks, a good supply of flints, and all the necessary implements for cleaning, &c. in a very solid wainscot case, firmly clamped with brass at the corners, lid, and bottom. Shot is to be had in Calcutta, as is gun-powder, of the first quality. A good pointer dog will be found highly valuable; preferable to a bitch, which rarely lives in that climate after her first, or, at most, her second litter; besides, it is common for the captain and officers to expect whatever pups are born on board: on the other hand, a male pointer, of established breed and reputation, must be eagerly sought by all sportsmen, who will cheerfully give a portion of its progeny to the owner.

With respect to military persons, whose apparel and accoutrements cannot be ascertained previous to quitting England, they should confine 18their attention to laying in those materials which cannot fail of becoming useful on their arrival: thus, an officer of infantry ought to purchase a few yards of the best super-superfine scarlet broad cloth, or kerseymere, for making up his regimentals; an officer of artillery or of engineers, blue, &c. The whole establishment not being exactly uniform in particular points, such as the colors of the facings, the patterns of the swords, &c. nothing can be done, with propriety, in those instances: this, however, is the less important, because every cadet is, on arriving in the country, sent to join a corps composed of gentlemen under similar circumstances, about sixteen miles from Calcutta, in which he must serve for two years, or until judged qualified to do duty with the regiment to which he may stand appointed as an ensign.

Every thing in the cutlery line should be taken from England; the most essential are as follow. Two good razors, in a case, with a small strop, a small looking glass, two or three pairs of scissors, of sorts; two or three good penknives, a riding knife, with fleam and picker, a pair of good carvers, a dozen of table knives and forks, ditto of dessert, all plain bone or ivory handles; a pocket case of apparatus for scaling the teeth; mathematical instruments may be included under this article, as may black-lead pencils of the first quality, with colors, hair pencils, and 19drawing and writing papers; all of which are extremely dear in India, and, according to the usual modes of shipping, rarely arrive in good condition.

A good gold watch, with light chain and seals, together with some spare glasses fitted, will be indispensable. A small telescope, that may be easily carried in the pocket, will prove amusing on many occasions, and, to a military man, must ever be ranked among absolute necessaries. In regard to plate, very little is wanted for a single gentleman. Six table spoons, twelve tea spoons, a soup spoon, a marrow spoon, and four salt spoons, will be found as much as usually can be required; as will be better understood when I come to describe the manner of living among Europeans.

The very limited space allowed for the baggage of each passenger, renders it indispensably necessary that every article should be packed close. Many consider a large sea-chest to be useful; but, in my opinion, it is the worst receptacle that could be devised; especially as it becomes useless on arrival in India. I should strongly recommend four boxes, well covered with leather, and clamped with brass, measuring about 26 or 28 inches in length, 18 in breadth, and 18 in depth. Each should have within a lifter, so that half its contents may be taken out at pleasure, the lower tier remaining undisturbed. 20The contents of each part to be noted on a piece of stiff paper, which should be pasted within the lid: a copy to be written in a memorandum book, so that the contents of the several boxes (which should be numbered and lettered with the proprietor’s initials, thus, A.B.




) may be known without opening them. Only one of these need ever be in use at a time; the rest being sent down into the after-hold; which usually is opened once or twice weekly, on stated days, for the convenience of those who may wish to have access to their packages.

I have derived very considerable convenience from sorting all my linen into sets: for instance, a shirt, an undershirt, (commonly called a banian,) a pair of stockings, two neck handkerchiefs, and a pocket ditto: these I rolled up as tight as could be effected by manual force, and surrounded with a towel, which, being pinned, kept all fast and clean. In this form my linen could be packed in a very small space. Foul linen should always be put up in the same manner. One box, containing articles in reserve, should be exempted from such as might be occasionally wanted: it should be allotted to hats, silk stockings, best coats, linen, waistcoats, &c. Each will occupy about five cubic feet; therefore, the whole may be comprised in half a ton measurement.

I should observe, that blankets, &c. not in use, 21may be put under the mattress; and, that, if a standing bed-place is in question, about four yards of coarse woollen, such as serge, perpet, shalloon, or baize, may be taken on board, wherewith to make a set of curtains; which, in some situations, such as the steerage, will be found not only comfortable, but absolutely necessary. Those who have been on board any coasting vessel, fitted up for the accommodation of passengers, will instantly accord with this piece of advice, and comprehend how desirable it is that every box, &c. beyond that in immediate use, should be consigned to the after-hold. If more than four trunks should be deemed necessary, they may generally be had ready made at most of the manufacturers. The size described ought not to be exceeded, on account of the facility with which such may be suspended in slings made of canvas, and be carried on bullocks, one trunk on each side. Too much cannot be said on this point; since the degree of compactness an officer is able to attain, will generally determine the quantity he may be able to carry, and insure its early, as well as its safe, arrival.

Those who are not in the Company’s service, are left to make the best bargain they can with the commanders of the Indiamen, and to select such ships for their conveyance as may best suit their views in regard to destination and time of sailing. The Company, some years ago, issued 22their orders, that only certain stated sums were to be taken by the commanders of ships in their employ, according to the rank of passengers respectively.—A reference to the Directory will shew what were prescribed, any trespass on which was declared tantamount to an ipso facto dismissal from the service. The regulations formerly included only as far as majors, under the supposition that all above that rank would indulge in the hire of cabins; for which they must, of course, pay extra. The specified sums were what the Company paid on all occasions where the passage-money was receivable from their own treasury.

However just and benevolent the intention of the Company evidently was; since it served to protect their servants from impositions which had, on many occasions, been ruinous to individuals in low circumstances, and, in some instances, caused them to apply to the Court of Directors for loans, to enable their returning to India; still, it cannot be denied, that the stipulated rates are by no means adequate compensation for the very heavy expence a commander incurs, when laying in stock for a voyage generally estimated at six months duration. Whatever may be paid by individuals of the several classes respectively, each invariably expects to be received with the same cordiality, and to 23partake, without distinction, of whatever the stores may afford.

It needs no argument to prove, that a ship containing a great number of cadets, under the limited rates, would by no means be a gaining concern to the commander. Hence, the outward voyage is not the object of a commander, who, even under the most favorable circumstances, could not make any great profit by his passengers; but, by his liberal treatment of them, he obtains that character which insures him a choice of rich persons returning to Europe, who, in the aggregate, rarely fail to make up to him for his former trouble, and deficiency of pecuniary benefit.

It is usual to enquire among the commanders as to their probable number of passengers, and to ascertain the dates at which their ships are, according to the arrangements made at the India House, to be despatched. The pursers are commonly employed to adjust the rates of passage, and to dispose of such cabins as may be intended for the accommodation of passengers. Matters being settled, it is necessary to apply to the secretary for an order to be received on board the vessel in question; which order is delivered to the commander, or to his purser, so soon as obtained. The secretary likewise furnishes every Company’s servant with a certificate of his appointment; 24and to each free-mariner, &c. he gives a licence to proceed to India. These papers must be carefully preserved, for delivery into the office of the secretary under that presidency to which the party may be destined. It is always best to consign them to the keeping of the purser. In cases of certificates having been lost, much difficulty has arisen, and all the parties have been obliged to depose to that effect on oath.

I should advise those who are about to embark, to cultivate an acquaintance with the respective commanders. Experience fully establishes, that civility rarely fails to produce good consequences. It is reasonable to conclude, that some previous acquaintance must engender some good will. The captains navigating under the auspices of the India Company, are men who have seen much of the world, and who rarely fail justly to appreciate those marks of attention, and respect, which flow voluntarily from persons with whom they have dealings. On the other hand, it must be rather uncomfortable to go on board a ship where all are total strangers; or, at the best, where, perhaps, the purser alone, and that with some hesitation and difficulty, acknowledges ever to have seen your face! Common sense points out that such is both impolitic, and uncomfortable.

Having made a voyage in a foreign ship from 25Bengal to the Cape, it may be serviceable to some of my readers to receive a hint or two regarding the usage he is likely to experience, should he entertain a disposition to avail himself of that channel of conveyance. The detail need not be prolix; for it may justly be asserted, in few words, that foreign vessels are rarely sea-worthy; they are badly equipped, and worse manned; their decks are low; their accommodations dark, dismal, and offensive; their water execrable; their provisions scarce and bad; their commanders ignorant, avaricious, mean, proud, tyrannical, and deceitful! That some exceptions may exist, cannot be denied; but I never heard of one who did not, more or less, merit the above stigma.

Look to the Company’s ships, and see the reverse! The truth is, that in them we find most of those good points that are established in the Royal navy, added to much desire in their commanders to be on a friendly footing with the passengers; while, I believe, there is no doubt that, in the end, their terms are more moderate than those of any foreigners.

If the circumstances of a passenger should enable him to hire a cabin, his comfort will be increased inconceivably, even though he should have barely room enough to swing a cot, or to put up a standing bed. But, that he may not deceive himself in respect to the accommodation he is to derive from such a retirement, it would 26be proper for him to pay a visit to the vessel while lying in the river, probably at Gravesend, or the Hope, and there to ascertain the exact dimensions he is to occupy. It is an object, if he uses a swinging cot, that the breadth of the cabin should be such as to allow of its being triced up between the beams during the daytime; thereby to have it out of the way, and to give more space in the cabin. When suspended, it should be lengthwise; so that, as the ship rolls, or lays down on either side, the cot should swing even. When hung athwart-ships, unless the cabin be very broad, it would be perpetually knocking against the bulk-head (or partition), and the ship’s side. Hence it is advisable, wherever the space may admit, to make a standing bed-place fore and aft, furnishing it with rails, to keep the occupant from rolling out; for, if it be made athwart-ships, and the vessel be working against an adverse wind, he must, whenever the ship goes about, change the position of his pillow, from head to foot alternately.

In peaceable times, cabins are ordinarily constructed of wooden partitions, and have a door, with lock, &c. very complete; but, during war time, it is usual to make them of canvass, fixed to the beams above, and rolling up thereto, whenever the vessel may be cleared for action. Some cabins include a port-hole, which, in large ships, is peculiarly comfortable; especially under the 27Line, when a current of air is invaluable; but, in bad weather, when the port is shut, those cabins that have only skuttles, about one-fourth the size of a port-hole, become preferable; especially when they are provided with glass shutters; which can be at any time made by the ship’s carpenter, if not previously attached. The skuttles being higher up in the side of the vessel, and nearer to the deck above the cabin, are well calculated for allowing rarefied air, which would float above the level of a port-hole, to escape. They are usually placed at intervals between the ports. When a cabin is built so as to include a port, the gun appertaining thereto is commonly sent forward, and lashed up to the ship’s side, the muzzle pointing forward; but, on emergency, the cabin is knocked down, and the gun is run into its place. Hence, each kind of cabin has its advantages, and disadvantages.

The right side of the ship, from stem to stern is called the starboard; the left side is called the larboard: the line on which the mast stands, i.e. straight over the keel, divides them. The starboard, in most modes of applying the term, implies superiority over the larboard. Thus the chief mate has his cabin, which is usually 12 or 14 feet long, by 10 or 12 in breadth, next to the great cabin, on the starboard side of the gun-deck. The second mate has one rather smaller, on the opposite, or larboard side. Then, 28again, the third mate on the starboard side, immediately before the chief mate’s; next before him the fourth mate; while the surgeon and purser usually have their cabins on the larboard side, next before the second mate’s.

What is called the ‘great-cabin,’ is a slip taken off across the stern of a ship, on the gun-deck, about 14 feet deep, leaving a passage on the larboard side that the passengers and officers may have access to the quarter-gallery, or privy, on that quarter. The great-cabin includes all the stern windows, therefore, is extremely light and airy; but, on the other hand, its situation is rather disadvantageous to those who are troubled with habitual sea-sickness. The bows and the stern partake, in an accumulated ratio, of the ship’s motion, as she pitches; that is, as she rises and sinks, alternately, at the head and stern; consequently, the centre of every vessel is the part least subject to agitation.

The captain occupies, in general, a cabin called the ‘state-room,’ situated under the fore part of the poop, on the starboard side, with a glass door towards the quarter-deck: its dimensions, as well of those of all the cabins already described, vary according to the ship’s tonnage, but may be taken at about 15 or 16 feet square: the space including it, and the larboard side under the same parallel, is called the ‘cuddy;’ while all behind is designated the ‘round-house;’ and 29has a row of glass windows in the stern part, with two doors opening into the ‘stern-gallery:’ a flight of steps, rather confined to be sure, serves as a communication, by means of the starboard quarter-gallery, with the great-cabin. These steps, under which is a privy, are particularly convenient to ladies, who usually have the starboard side of the great-cabin allotted to their accommodation. When the passengers are very numerous, especially when many families are on board, the round-house is partitioned off into three or more cabins; the larboard quarter-gallery, on the upper deck, having also a privy. In such case, the dinner table is laid in the cuddy, instead of the round-house; but, as it is rarely spacious enough to allow the whole to sit down at the same time, the company are, commonly, divided into two parties, succeeding each other every day alternately.

The sums paid for cabins entirely depend upon the demand, their size, the ship’s destination, and the circumstances of the person selling his accommodations. The several portions of the round-house and great-cabin, both of which are considered the captain’s property, of course are paid for in proportion to their respective dimensions: it may, however, be taken as some guide, that, outward bound, a slip, including one window, may produce from £200. to £300.; and that the several mates’ cabins may be averaged 30at from £3. to £5. for every square foot of the enclosed area. Homeward bound, on account of the number of children and servants shipped with a family, the rates are yet higher: I have known, more than once, the whole of a great cabin let for £2,500.!

There being an essential difference in the comfort afforded by having either a cot or a fixed bed-place, it may be acceptable to my readers to be informed of some minutiæ attached to those conveniences respectively. A cot is an oblong case of canvas, having a deal frame at the bottom, with a canvas sacking well strained; the ends are furnished with small cords, called nettles, which pass round an iron thimble, or grummet; and those again are passed over two strong hooks, placed about seven feet asunder, fore and aft, whereby the cot is suspended. During the day time, a cot is commonly taken down, and disposed of in some part where it may, so far as the means allow, be out of the way: the best mode is to trice it up between the beams that support the superior deck. In this kind of bed, the motion of the ship is scarcely felt, unless she is acted upon by a very short, broken sea; the cot always preserving its level: hence, those who are much troubled with sea-sickness should always provide a swinging cot; taking care to hang it in such a place as may preclude the danger of its being bumped against the ship’s 31sides, or the bulk-head, (i.e. a boarded partition,) than which nothing can be more unpleasant. I have several times been canted completely out of my cot, owing to the want of space at its sides. In very bad weather, when the ship has rolled many streaks of her deck under water, the frame of my cot has been forcibly dashed against the beams: at such times, if the width of the space admits, it is proper to lengthen the nettles to their utmost: whereby such inconvenience may generally be obviated.

A standing bed-place is so far convenient, that the necessity for removing in the morning, and affixing at night, is done away; whereby the bed-furniture is greatly preserved from filth and injury: besides, its occupant can ‘turn in’ whenever he pleases, and has the satisfaction of knowing that his trunk is, by being under him, secured from damage, as well as from depredation; whereas persons who sleep in cots often experience considerable inconvenience in those particulars. Those who have fixed bed-places in the larboard division of the great-cabin, are by far more privately, and more comfortably, situated than such as have them in the steerage, ranging along the bulk-head of the chief mate’s cabin: in either case, there are always two tiers, or ranges, of bed-places, one above the other; the lower are certainly most convenient.

As priority of embarkation, or at least of adjustment, 32gives a right to selection, it is advisable to visit the ship so soon as an order for being taken on board is obtained; when a choice should be made as to the situation of a bed-place; those of the lower tier, nearest the stern windows in the great cabin, are to be preferred, they being both more airy, and more light: the latter will be found an object to those who are studious, or partial to reading in bed, which, on board-ship, is held to be a most delectable recreation.

In adjusting with the captain, or his purser, it is proper to be very exact in stipulating for a berth in the great-cabin; and it would be as well to notice the conveniences to be afforded, in the body of the receipt given for the passage-money. Not that I would lead to the supposition of deceptions being practised intentionally; but, in the hurry of business of considerable importance, such lesser items will occasionally slip the memory, giving birth to disagreements which not only are attended with future distrust, but may, perhaps, be beyond the possibility of remedy. It should, however, be considered that a bed-place in the great-cabin, which generally is fitted up for eight, or, at the utmost, for twelve, will be charged somewhat higher than one in the steerage; the latter being an open passage, totally devoid of privacy, exposed to violent currents of air, not always of the sweetest, and subject to many obvious inconveniences.

33Among the ship’s company, two or three men, or boys, are usually excused the general duty of the ship, for the purpose of attending the passengers: when other matters are settling on board, care should be taken to engage one of these attendants to do all the work in the cabin, if one is hired; namely, to clean boots and shoes, brush clothes, clean the basons, provide hot and cold water, attend to the boxes in the hold; with a variety of et ceteras which will soon obtrude into notice. For such good offices, about three or four guineas will be expected; but it must not be supposed that, for such a compensation, a man will devote his whole time to one passenger; nor, indeed, is it necessary that he should, since an active, intelligent fellow, who has been used to such menial offices, may, with great ease, give satisfaction to at least four or five. When such an aid cannot be obtained, on account of the scarcity of hands on board, a douceur to any of the mates’ servants will answer every purpose, besides probably giving the advantage of being served by one perfectly conversant with ship affairs, and possessing some influence with the captain’s steward; with whom I humbly recommend to all passengers that they keep on good terms; he being no small man in his way, and having the power to afford many conveniences, which, though in the estimation of folks on shore apparently insignificant, are, 34nevertheless, of considerable value to those unaccustomed to a sea-life, and cooped up for months within such narrow limits!

This reflection leads me naturally to the consideration of that line of conduct which should, on all occasions, be maintained by those who wish to pass their time as agreeably as circumstances will admit, and to appear respectable. In the first place, the captain will exact from every one on board, of whatever class, a perfect attention to the regulations of his ship: were he to allow any deviation, the whole would be aiming at the same indulgence, and subordination would be annihilated! It is customary, whenever a person ascends from the gun-deck to the quarter-deck, or goes upon it from the cuddy, &c. to touch his hat; even though no one should appear there: a breach of this rule would be considered grossly insulting, and might induce to rebuke, by no means pleasant to the feelings, or adding to the credit, of a gentleman. When it is considered with what a high hand the officers of ships are obliged to uphold their authority, over a numerous crew composed of all nations, and often including the most hardened and daring culprits, we cannot but applaud every practice tending to preserve order, regularity, and decorum.

The hour for breakfast may be generally stated 35to be eight, for dinner two, for tea six, and for supper nine. The first is announced by the great bell on the fore-castle, which always rings a sonorous peal when the watch, or guard, is to be relieved: tea-time is known by the same signal. As the dinner hour does not correspond with the relief of the watch, it is usual to warn the passengers and officers by beat of drum: the tune of ‘Roast-beef’ being daily heard, though it rarely leads to a participation of that viand whence its designation is derived. Very little notice is required to call together those who are disposed to partake of supper: for the most part, the company amuse themselves with cards, music, &c. during the evenings; or, when the weather admits, walk the quarter-deck; observing to keep on the windward side; which is held to be the privilege only of the captain, the three senior mates, the purser, the surgeon, and those passengers who board at the captain’s table.

Although nothing very sumptuous is to be expected on board-ship, yet there will be little or no cause to complain of deficiency. The breakfast ordinarily consists of good tea and coffee, with excellent biscuit, and, at times, rolls; which, as well as every species of leavened bread, come under the marine designation of ‘soft-tommy.’ The butter, to be sure, is not to 36be boasted of; it being utterly impossible to prevent its melting, so as to resemble liquid honey.

It being studied to take on board as much fresh meat as possible, at the time of sailing, some joints of good beef and mutton may be served up for the first week; after which the ‘corned’ (or slightly salted) meat comes into use. The ample supply of poultry, of all descriptions, fed in coops on the poop, and a small flock of sheep, perhaps from twenty-five to forty in number, maintained there on hay, &c. enable the captain, for the most part, to exhibit fresh meat, of some sort, every day; which added to abundance of prime beef and pork for his use, together with tongues, pickles, sauces of all kinds, potatoes, rice, pastry, olives, &c. &c. form a tout ensemble, where even the most dainty may find something acceptable to the palate.

It cannot be supposed, that wine is so freely dispensed, as when on shore; the ladies, however, are generally supplied with as much as they may require during the repast; after the cloth is removed, the bottle is put round two or three times, according to the liberality of the commander. The last tour it makes being accompanied with ‘good afternoon’ serves as a hint for the gentlemen to withdraw, until the hour for tea; when, as already observed, 37they frequently amuse themselves until supper is ready.

This last meal is little more than a matter of form; it consists chiefly of cheese and biscuits, rasped beef, sago-soup, lobs kous, which is a curious medley of various ingredients, forming something midway between water-gruel and peas-soup. One tour of the bottle, attended with ‘good night,’ closes the operations of the day.

The water taken on board being strongly impregnated with filth, of various kinds and colors, soon becomes so nauseous as to be utterly unfit for the use of delicate persons: the quantity of animalculæ it contains could not be credited by a person who had not seen it! On this account, several filtering-stones are used, through which the water finds a passage, leaving the impurities behind. This percolation is, however, extremely tedious, and does not entirely remove the taint; though it assuredly so far sweetens it as to render the water very drinkable. The fecula left in the hollow of the drip-stone, are perfectly putrid.

The ordinary beverage is table beer, or perhaps porter: in warm weather excellent spruce beer abounds; sometimes, indeed, the whole crew are supplied with from one to two quarts daily. Nor is the punch-bowl suspended for empty shew! By means of prepared lemon-juice, 38aided by a good stock of the fresh fruit, carefully suspended in nets in the stern-gallery, &c. good punch, lemonade, and negus, are often served to the company.

I strongly recommend, that all young persons should be embarked at Gravesend, or the Nore; in preference to being taken on Board at Portsmouth; by that means they become settled before the generality of passengers arrive, and escape that indescribable confusion attendant upon the sudden influx of whole hoys full of dead and live lumber! For such they appear when interrupting the several operations attendant upon a vessel’s getting under weigh. Those who purpose delaying to the last moment, should leave their cards of address with the purser, taking care not to be far from home, that he may, when proceeding to the India-House to receive the packets, send notice of his being about to quit town. On receipt of such notice, no time must be lost in repairing to that port where the vessel may be; in being customary to sail so soon as the purser gets on board. Half an hour’s delay has proved the loss of many a passage.

The great number of ships employed in the India trade, occasions so frequent an intercourse, that scarcely two months ever elapse without one or more being despatched to some part of India. Unless under very peculiar and 39pressing circumstances, it is inadvisable to proceed in any not bound to that part whither the passenger is destined: for, although it appears, on paper, very easy to get from Madras, for instance, to Bengal, such will not always be practicable; and so great a delay may elapse as should allow a vessel bound to Bengal, sailing perhaps a month or two subsequent to that proceeding to Madras, to arrive at her port before the means might offer of getting on from Madras. Add to this, that freight and passage-money are infinitely higher in India than in Europe; which, combined with the heavy expence attendant upon long detention on shore, would prove the economy, as well as the speed, to be on the other side of the question.

The time of sailing will, under common circumstances, decide the time of arrival. Ships leaving England, that is, the Land’s End, in all April, may be expected to arrive at Madras in all September; when, if not delayed, they may run up the Bay in a week more, with great ease. As the northerly monsoon often begins to prevail in October, occasioning ships to stretch over towards Acheen-head, whereby from four to six weeks will be lost in getting to Balasore Roads, it is rather advisable not to sail later than March, if at liberty to choose the season. By so doing, the arrival will take place at a time when the great heats are over, and the cold weather 40is approaching: two points not only eligible as they relate to health, but to society also. The early, or late, arrivals of such writers and cadets, as are appointed for the same year, make no difference whatever in the rank they are relatively to bear; that being determined by a general list transmitted by the Directors, generally in the last ship of that season. The pay, however, is calculated from the date of presenting the certificate, before spoken of, at the proper office.

The period of sailing will generally indicate the weather which may be expected during the whole passage. Such as leave the pilot in the spring will round the Cape of Good Hope about Whitsuntide or Midsummer, when winter prevails in that Quarter; it being in 34° south latitude: advancing to the northward, they will meet with the trade-winds from the tropic towards the Line, where, in all probability, light and variable winds may cause some delay. Ships leaving England in our autumn, round the Cape at their Midsummer, and reach Madras generally in from eighteen to twenty weeks; carrying fair, but warm, weather all the way. If they arrive about the middle, or latter end of March, they may, by remaining for a few days, until the southerly monsoon is fairly established, sometimes reach the sand-heads in Balasore Roads in three or four days. This is 41obviously preferable to running over to the eastward.

I know nothing more unpleasant than being wind-bound! Nor, indeed, can there be well conceived a more certain recipe for draining the purse! The passenger must not suppose that, after having repaired to that port where the ship rides, he is at liberty to go on board instantly, and to remain until she sails. On the contrary, though he should not fail to intimate his arrival, and to leave his card of address, he must put up at some inn, or lodging-house, at his own expence, until the signal may be made for sailing, by firing a gun, and loosening the fore top-sail, by that ship under whose convoy a fleet is to sail; or, if there be no convoy, by the senior captain; who is, by courtesy, designated ‘Commodore.’

The Court of Directors have, latterly, in consideration of the inability of their junior servants to pay the heavy charges to which they are subject while in port, given an extra sum to the commanders of their ships for each cadet’s diet in such situations. This was no less necessary than considerate. It will have been seen, that persons going out in the civil service have fewer stipulations in their favor; for which the presumptive reason is, that they are commonly the sons of gentlemen possessing large property: the 42sum of £3000. having been so often given for writer-ships, seems to indicate that very little occasion could exist for interference in their behalf.

When a ship arrives at any regular port, where accommodations can be had, the passengers are, in like manner, expected to reside on shore, at their own charge. Such, to many, may appear unreasonable, or strange; but, when it is considered to what heavy losses a commander might else be subject, which, divided among a number, would appear trifling, and, at all events, not prove ruinous, the propriety of such a rule will not be disputed. This explanation may serve as a hint to parents, and guardians, not to ship young folks in forma pauperis, under the prudent, but here inapplicable, precaution, of taking away the means of being extravagant. Emergencies often arise, wherein a few guineas are indispensably necessary; and, as few go to sea with more cash than ordinary expences may demand, it is not easy to remedy the error.

Where a young man has established his character for imprudence, the only recourse is to place a few guineas, say from twenty to thirty, in the hands of the captain, or the purser, with directions to supply what may be absolutely required, rather in form of a loan; keeping the youth in ignorance of his having a banker on board, and 43giving him, at taking leave, perhaps five or six guineas, in order to carry on the deception.

When it is known that no shop of any kind exists in a ship, (excepting the purser’s slop-shop,) we must conclude there can be little opportunity for extravagance: the principal danger is to be apprehended from gaming, which in some ships reaches to a dreadful extent; always creating difficulty, and rarely terminating without bloodshed. This, added to emulation for the favorable opinion of the ladies, may be considered the usual causes of discord. The latter is, in a great measure, restrained by that custom which fixes every passenger to the same seat at table during the whole voyage; whereby daily contests for vicinity are avoided.

The number of accidents that have happened from trivial causes, renders it necessary to be extremely cautious in regard to smoking; which in all men of war, and India-ships, is permitted only on the fore-castle. By this means danger is avoided, and the stench carried away. It is to be lamented that so proper a regulation is not observed throughout the merchant service; in which so much carelessness prevails, that it appears to me miraculous so many vessels arrive in safety. On my return from India, I embarked at St. Helena on board a whaler, of which the captain had a strong predilection 44for his pipe, which was scarcely ever out of his mouth. His practice was, to smoke in the cabin where we dined, throwing his hot ashes down upon the deck, in which was a skuttle, or small hatchway, under his own seat. Two lieutenants of the navy, who were fellow-passengers, used to remonstrate very freely, but without the smallest effect, against so improper a practice.

It happened, one morning, as we were off the Azores, that a suspicious-looking vessel hove in sight, laying-to under close reefed top-sails: we altered our course, and were immediately chased. Having at least forty-five young fellows, and about a dozen six-pounders, on board, we cleared ship for action. Imagine what was our surprise at finding that, under the identical hatchway, over which our captain had been perpetually smoking, was a magazine of about thirty barrels of gun-powder; some hooped in, and some having their chimes barely covering their contents which proved to be ready-filled cartridges! I conceive it would have been utterly impossible, if the vessel in chace had proved an enemy, and that we had been compelled to defend our ship, to have avoided being blown up!

Many are in the habit of reading by candle light in their beds: this only requires to be known to the officers, to be completely overruled; 45nor will they, unless in cases of indisposition, allow a candle to be burning after the passengers have generally retired to rest. Hence, only a few wax tapers, or bougies, can be requisite. When it is considered, that a ship is composed of materials for the chief part highly combustible, and, that in such a situation a fire spreads with astonishing rapidity, defying the exertions of all on board; also, that there is little chance of many lives being saved, unless other vessels may be in company; we ought assuredly to adopt every means of guarding against so terrible a calamity!

Most ships have a small fire-engine on board, which is not only an admirable safe-guard, but facilitates the washing of decks; an operation that usually takes place once or twice weekly. At such times all the chests are sent below, and all the hammocks hauled upon deck, for the purpose of being aired. Seamen become habitually cleanly in their persons, and in their bedding; but when recruits are on board, they, being less attentive to personal appearance and to comfort, not only breed vermin, but sometimes propagate infectious diseases. Hence, a small quantity of vermin-ointment will perhaps prove an useful succedaneum; its timous application preventing the growth of any colony, of which some stragglers may have laid the foundation.

When the decks are washed, it is customary 46to exercise the seamen in the use of great guns. For this purpose the drum beats to quarters; when all repair to their several stations, and, under the instruction of the several officers, go through the ordinary operations attendant upon that branch of discipline. No persons, of whatever description, females excepted, are exempted from being appointed to some post, where their services may be efficient. The military officers are allotted to commands on the poop, fore-castle, waist, &c.; having under them such cadets and recruits as may be on board; the whole acting as marines. The surgeon, with his mates, those of the sick who are incapable of taking an active part, together with all females, descend to the cock-pit; which, being below the level of the water-line, is tolerably secure from danger; though sometimes a shot, between wind and water, will find its way to that retreat.

The crew are always portioned into two watches, except when very numerous; in which case, as well as during the time a vessel is in port, they divide them, including recruits, &c. into three watches. The chief mate commands the starboard-watch; the second mate commands the larboard-watch; and, when there are three, the other, called the mid-watch, is commanded by the third mate. It is customary to relieve the watch every four hours, except in the interval between four and eight o’clock 47in the evening, which is divided into two reliefs, of two hours each, called ’dog-watches.’ But for the intervention of these, there would be no change in the times of coming upon duty; as each of the starboard and larboard watches would, respectively, come on at the same hours daily; and this would be the same, even if a mid-watch existed: whereas, by dividing the evening-watch, it occasions an odd number, and changes the tour, or series, every day.

Where supplies of provisions are not attainable, it necessarily follows that each person on board can receive only a stipulated allowance of meat, water, &c. This does not always affect those who are at the captain’s table; though it is generally recommended to the passengers to be economical in their expenditure of water for washing, shaving, &c. In some ships they are restricted to a quart daily, and if the crew are upon short allowance, which is understood to be the case when each man receives less than two quarts, the passengers and officers have little or no fresh water allowed for the above purposes; but their beverage at table is rarely limited, except under the pressure of actual necessity.

All things considered, the privations experienced by passengers to India are by no means so numerous, nor so severe in their operation, as might at first view be apprehended. In many ships, ladies and gentlemen skilled in music are 48adventitiously assembled, and, by their united talents, afford a most pleasing recreation to all on board: few vessels are totally destitute of some means to attract the parties towards the quarter-deck; where, in the cool of the evening, during fair weather, the merry dance for a while banishes ennui, and contributes to give a wholesome impetus to the circulation.

Those ladies who are partial to music should be particularly careful that the piano-fortes they may take with them, be constructed in such manner as may exempt them from those wondrous effects produced by the climate of India. I have had the pleasure of aiding several friends in this instance, and found that the instruments made for exportation could never be depended upon, unless clamped at every joint with plates of brass, and secured, in the more delicate parts, by means of battens well screwed and cemented to the sounding board. Experience has fully satisfied me, that the pianos most appropriate for hot climates are made by Clementi, Kirkman, and Tomkinson, at their respective manufactories in London.

Ladies will derive considerable convenience and gratification from having an exterior case made to enclose the piano-forte, leaving a space of about an inch all around. This outward safe-guard should be of planed deal, stained of a mahogany color, or painted; and it should open in 49front, so as to admit of playing the instrument, while its lid should be fixed upon hinges, that it may be thrown back at pleasure. The lower part of the frame may be packed, and laid by; a spare frame of deal being substituted during the voyage, with a set of shelves below to contain music, books, &c.; all locked up by means of folding doors. Both the exterior case, and the frame, ought to be furnished with lacquered iron handles, whereby to lift them occasionally; but particularly intended to secure them to the side of the ship, and to the deck: without such a precaution the whole would be tumbled about, and shivered to atoms, by the vessel’s motion.

Gentlemen who perform on stringed instruments, should be careful to provide an ample supply of strings, firsts and fourths especially; they being not only very dear, and perhaps damaged, when procurable, but at times not procurable, in any part of India, for love or money! Reeds for oboes, clarionets, bassoons, &c. are similarly circumstanced. Nor would it be superfluous for a lady to take with her several sets of wires for her piano; they being very scarce. At all events, she ought to qualify herself to tune the instrument; which may be effected in the course of a month, or six weeks, by attention to the instructions of a regular tuner, who would feel himself well satisfied under a moderate compensation. This is a point whereon I 50dwell rather particularly; knowing that, even in Calcutta, Madras, or Bombay, a good tuner is not always to be had; and that, in all other situations, throughout the interior scarce a professional person can be found. Besides, in a country whose climate deranges the most skilful adjustment of the wires, often in a few minutes, merely by a slight exposure to heat, or to damp, the expence attendant upon such frequent tunings, as are indispensably requisite, would speedily absorb the full value of the instrument itself; the ordinary rates being a guinea for a grand-piano, and twelve shillings for a square one. Therefore, whether considered as a convenience, or as a matter of economy, too much cannot be said in recommendation of every lady’s learning to tune her piano before she embarks.

It being impossible to say how soon rough weather may be experienced after leaving port, (indeed, sometimes ships get under weigh while it is blowing very fresh,) it is usual to lash the dinner tables to the deck, placing their feet in mortices cut into small blocks, called cleats, which, being firmly nailed down, generally keep the whole sufficiently firm. It is not easy to render the chairs equally secure; but they are tolerably steadied by nailing two rows of battens on each side of the table, so as to embrace 51the legs of the chairs, which, in this mode of securing them, ought all to be of equal compass from front to rear. It requires, after all, some management to preserve an equilibrium when a ship rolls much; which it does chiefly in a calm, or in a gale of wind. In the former instance, the transitions of reclination from starboard to larboard, and vice versâ, are often very great, owing to the heavy swell which alternately raises the ship, and again sinks her into the trough made by two successive waves. However curious it may seem to persons unacquainted with sea affairs, it is nevertheless certain, that more masts are lost by rolling in a calm, than by stress of weather.

In regard to that most distressing malady, sea-sickness, it is not possible to lay down any specific mode of precaution, or of remedy: it ordinarily commences with that agitation occasioned in the vessel’s motion, by either the wind’s force, or the water’s undulation. Few experience more than a few qualms, while the water is smooth; such as is the case in going through the Needles with a leading wind, in fine weather; but when upon a wind, with a chopping sea, and sudden, or forcible, gusts, all who are not accustomed to the motion, become most oppressively sick. However much they may be affected by this customary derangement, those suffering under its 52influence are more frequently objects of derisive merriment, than of compassion. The prevalent opinion is, that, in a few days, the complaint will disappear; hence it is regarded as a matter of course, and as a seasoning, which, by its mode of operation, rather conduces to health, than to a dangerous issue. That such is the usual result, cannot be denied; but there are some constitutions which cannot stand so forcible an attack: women, in general, are most severely oppressed by it, and some few fall victims thereto.

It would be endless to enumerate all the recipes, which those who fancy themselves qualified to prescribe, tender on this occasion to the unhappy sufferers. I believe that acids and laudanum, in repeated small doses, are most successfully administered; though I have seen them fail. That unfeeling advice given to the unwary, ‘to drink a glass of spirits,’ invariably tends to aggravate all the symptoms, and, with those not habituated to such strong remedies, produces all those inconveniences attendant upon super-added irritation. The fresh air upon deck will be found considerably to diminish the force of the complaint; but the eyes should be kept shut, and the attention be withdrawn from the sea, and from the rigging; of both which the motion is peculiarly calculated to increase that swimming in the head inseparably attendant on sea-sickness. If, notwithstanding 53these precautions, the nausea and derangement should continue, it will be proper to retire to bed; observing the precaution of lying on one side, and keeping the eyes closed.

There may, perhaps, be no harm in taking a small case of spirits on board; but such is by no means indispensable: they do not come within the scope of a gentleman’s expenditure; and, unless preserved with uncommon vigilance, will probably be drawn off by some adventuring fellow, provided with a pick-lock, while the owner is either asleep or absent. I cannot too strongly inculcate, that every thing should be under lock and key: ships, of every description, are infested with petty pilferers, and sometimes with more expert and daring thieves; who will not fail to purloin whatever can be turned to use, in such manner as may not lead to discovery. The effects of passengers, especially, are considered to be fair booty. Blankets, sheets, &c. will all disappear towards the close of a voyage, or when in a port where they can be sold, or bartered away, if their owners confide too much in the honesty of their neighbours.

The third mate generally has a mess, in the expences of which the fourth, fifth, and sixth mates sometimes partake; the purser and surgeon being invariably at the captain’s table. The captain’s clerk, who is usually a midshipman, 54the surgeon’s mate, when there is one, and the second class of passengers, all mess with the third mate, who is allowed a certain space before the officers’ cabins; which, being enclosed with canvas, makes a very tolerable berth, wherein the table is laid. Those of the mess who belong to the ship, subscribe to lay in such articles of provision, chandlery, &c. as may suffice for their own consumption; the sums paid by passengers, who associate with them, being applied in due proportion towards the maintenance of the latter; any balances arising therein becoming the perquisite of the third mate. I have heard, that, with the exception of so large a proportion of live stock as is destined for the captain’s table, the mate’s mess, in some ships, claims the palm in many respects. When so many passengers are ordered on board, as to render it impracticable for the captain to accommodate the whole at his table, the later applicants are consigned to the mate’s mess during meals; but are admitted, so far as convenience can be extended, to a participation of the amusements and society of the round-house. On some occasions the mate’s mess has, from the above cause, been able to boast of rather eminent characters.

Those who are fond of fishing, may sometimes derive much amusement from the possession of a stock of tackle suited to the occasion. 55In warm weather, especially towards the Line, when moderate weather and calms prevail, many sharks may be taken. The hook for this purpose ought to be about a foot long in the shank (the other parts bearing a just proportion) which should be firmly attached to a stout piece of chain, from two to four feet in length, having at its other extremity a loop and swivel, to which the rope (such as is called inch and half rope, and ought to be full a hundred yards long) is tied; the bait, a piece of fat pork, of about three or four pounds weight. The weight of the chain and hook will suffice to sink the bait to about thirty feet below the surface, where it will soon be discerned by the sharks, which generally keep under the vessel’s bottom, or play around her at a considerable depth; though they will occasionally range along the ship’s side, or bask under the stern, so as to be easily shot with a musquet ball, or struck with a harpoon.

Even at the depth of fifty feet, the shark may be distinguished as he approaches the bait, by a luminous appearance, extending in an oval form, in that direction in which he swims. He generally seizes with avidity, turning on his side at the moment; without which he could not get it into his mouth, owing to the excessive length of his upper jaw. So soon as the bait is in his mouth, the fish, on feeling the resistance of the 56rope, makes a sudden plunge downward, at the same moment recovering his former position. The hook, being extremely sharp, rarely fails to pierce the jaw, when, in an instant, the whole length of line will be run out. As no human force could properly be relied on to check the fish’s course, the end of the rope is either fastened to some timber-head, or to a tackle fall: the latter is preferable, because it adds to the length of the line, and does not check the fish so suddenly: without the latter precaution, the rope may be snapped, or the hook torn away from the shark’s jaw. The quantity of heavy line, added to the weight of the hooks and chain, soon bring the fish under command, when he is towed up to the gang-way, and there, by means of a slip-knot passed over his fins, hoisted into the waist.

Few persons will taste of a blue shark, it being considered unwholesome; but of the brown shark, which rarely exceeds five feet in length, (while the former has been known to measure near thirty,) most of the seamen will solicit a steak. The average sizes of sharks may be from six to twelve feet in length: it is very common to collect a pailful of young ones, each about a foot long, that take refuge in the parent’s maw. Behind the fins are usually several sucking-fishes, adhering to the shark’s sides: these are supposed to live upon its blood; but 57some doubts may be entertained, at least whether that is its sole subsistence, when I state, that in Madras Roads I caught, by means of a hook and line put out for ground fishes, a sucking-fish that measured rather more than two feet.

Sharks are in general attended by what are called pilot-fishes: these are beautifully striped blue and white; in form they much resemble the chub, and may measure from ten to fifteen inches in length. When the shark displays himself, the pilot-fishes may be seen playing about his head and sides; but when the ship is going fast, and the shark keeps under the bottom, or stern, at a considerable depth, the pilot-fishes often rise to the surface, assembling in the eddy about the stern-post. I never could entice one of them to touch a bait.

In the higher latitudes, the albacore, boneta, dolphin, &c. may often be seen playing about the ship in great numbers; sometimes as though intent on keeping company for scores of miles. Porpoises are yet more familiar, and delight in preceding the ship, at a few yards distance; affording, to those who are expert, excellent opportunities for striking them with harpoons. The liver of the porpoise is esteemed by many to be as good as that of a pig; to which it bears some resemblance; the body of the fish is by no means palatable. The flesh of the dolphin is 58extremely dry, as is that of the boneta, which is commonly replete with small white animalculæ, not unlike short fat maggots. The albacore is inconceivably rapacious; often springing several yards out of the water after the flying-fishes, as they skim above the surface; which they sometimes do for full two hundred yards; their great enemy darting along under their course with incredible velocity, and rarely failing to make a prey of one, or more, as they fall into the water in an exhausted state.

While bonetas, and dolphins, may be taken by almost any bait, the albacore rarely can be attracted by any device wherein there is not some resemblance to the flying-fish. I have seen numbers taken, when the ship has been going fast through the water, by securing a three-inch hook to a slip of bacon fat, cut into the form of a fish, and further disguised by a long white feather, taken from a goose’s wing, stuck on each side. The line for such a purpose should be stout laid-cord; for, though bonetas rarely exceed twenty, and dolphins forty pounds, albacores will often be taken weighing from one to two hundred: I have, indeed, heard of their reaching to three hundred weight. Their flesh may be compared with carrion; it being coarse, tough, and very strong tasted; but, though not pleasing to the human palate, it is a very choice bait, attracting all fishes of prey. Albacores sometimes snap at the 59log; which is a small piece of triangular board, loaded at one corner with lead, and fastened to a long line wound on a reel. The log being lowered into the sea, will remain stationary; drawing the line off the reel in proportion to the velocity with which the ship is then passing through the water: the number of yards run off, while a minute glass is emptying, shews the number of knots, i.e. miles, sailed within the hour.

It is not uncommon, when in the vicinity of islands, to see turtles lying on the surface of the sea, fast asleep; these can sometimes be taken, if two or three careful men proceed in the jolly-boat, paddling her along with an oar out at her stern. The turtle should be secured by one of the crew dropping gently into the water, and swimming very cautiously until he can pass a slip-knot over the hind fin, generally called the fipper; the other end of the line being fast to some part of the boat.

Touching at Ascension on our way from India, for the express purpose of obtaining a supply of turtles, I had an opportunity of witnessing the facility with which they may be taken at certain seasons, when in the act of copulation; as happened while we were there, in January. The turtles floated in pairs, in a state approaching to lethargy; allowing our whale boats to run along-side of them, without, in general, being alarmed. The first object was to pass a boat-hook 60over each shoulder of the male, to prevent his escape; for, on being touched, these invariably quitted their mates, and endeavored to strike downwards. The instant the boat-hooks, were placed, their inverted points acting as curbs, a third hand dexterously passed the noose over the fipper, and left the turtle in charge of a second or third boat, to which the other end of the noose line was fastened. In that manner we took about a dozen one morning, in less than two hours; but were not equally successful in our operations on shore. There we hid ourselves, about night-fall, behind the masses of rock every where scattered on the beach, and, allowing the females to pass us, with the intention of depositing their eggs in the dry sand, beyond the reach of the surf, endeavored to intercept them in their way back to the water. Not a doubt was entertained that we should turn them over by scores; but, with the exception of one unfortunate female, which by chance ran headlong against a crag, our hopes proved to be visionary. The awkward gait of these unwieldy animals, added to the clouds of light sand they threw up, completely defeated our most zealous exertions. We had recourse to our oars, placing them in the way of the turtle, and using them as levers wherewith to overturn the shuffling animals; but in every attempt the turtle only slipped a little to one side: therefore, 61after breaking several oars, we found it expedient to desist.

While we were on shore, the gulls hovered about us like so many gnats; absolutely darkening the air, and perching familiarly on our heads and shoulders. These subsist chiefly on the shoals of mackarel cast ashore by every surf. I am confident that many a heave of the sea threw up a cart load of those fishes; some of which were drawn off by the next heave, but thousands lay along the beach time enough to be carried off by the gulls. Sharks were to be seen in every direction, and of all sizes; the large ones generally swimming near the surface, with their back-fins exposed to view, and the lesser ones at about two or three fathoms deep, on every side of the ship. I was desirous to catch one of them for the sake of its skin, but we were so environed by shoals of the chætodon plectorhenchus, or pleat-nose chætodon, which took their station much nearer the surface, and intercepted my baits, though they were tied down to the hooks with worsted yarn, (some indeed being enveloped in cloth, and secured in a similar manner), that not one hook was allowed to descend to the level where the sharks abounded. Many hundreds of the chætodon were taken, and, after being stripped of their skins, which make a beautiful black shagreen, though in the water they appear to be chiefly blue and yellow, 62were thrown to their greedy brethren, by whom they were speedily devoured.

It should be noticed, for the benefit of those who may touch at Ascension, either on their way to St. Helena outward-bound, or in coming homeward from that rendezvous, that we hooked several very fine fishes, especially the much-admired Bull’s-eye, by trailing a bait, about fifty or sixty yards astern, as we sailed partly round the island. Close in shore, among the crags, just beyond reach of the surf, we caught half a boat load of old-maids in very little time.

The modern course of ships proceeding to India, ordinarily carries them near the Cape de Verde, and Canary islands; where, if wine is to be taken in, a detention of ten or twelve days may happen. This being, in all probability, the first opportunity that may offer of going on shore, after leaving England, it may be proper to caution the young adventurer not to ridicule, nor in any way to shew disrespect towards, the religious ceremonies of the Roman Catholics who possess those islands.

Under the exercise of prudence and discretion, all persons landing among the Portuguese are certain of receiving every civility and attention; but, when insulted, no race of men are more irascible or vindictive: the offender is sure to fall a victim to their unrelenting vengeance! At either of these islands, but especially at St. Jago, 63abundance of fresh provisions may be obtained: in all of them the tropical fruits abound, but should not be eaten to excess; lest a dysentery, which, in those latitudes, proceeds with hasty strides towards death’s portal, should ensue.

Many vessels, after proceeding down the Atlantic in a mid direction, between the Azores and the Canaries, until they catch the trade-winds, which in that part blow constantly from the north-east, or nearly so, stretch over to the coast of Brazil, along which they run, to about 30° south, for the purpose of avoiding the south-east trade-wind prevailing to the southward of the Line; then being in the way of variable winds, they shape their course towards the Cape of Good Hope. Few quit this coast without putting into some port for a supply of wood, water, fresh provision of sorts, &c. Rio Janiero is the most frequented by British Indiamen, both on account of its safe harbour, and the abundance of supplies it can afford. Being in latitude 23°, it will be requisite to guard against the great heats incident thereto, and to be careful not to encounter the nightly dews, which are here extremely heavy, and give birth to the most dangerous species of fever.

The customs of the inhabitants throughout this coast being nearly alike, a description of one portion may suffice for the whole.

The natives of this part of South America appear 64to be particularly inoffensive, and to submit with perfect resignation to the authority of their conquerors. They are of a middling stature and well-proportioned; their complexions dark, and their hair lank and black. From what I saw of Pernambuco and Olinda, which lie in about 7° south, it should seem that the houses of the better class are well calculated to debar access to the powerful influence of the sun; which, for six months, is nearly vertical at the above parallel of latitude, and does not form a very acute angle with the northern horizon at any time of the year.

The Portuguese have organized several regiments of the natives, clothed and armed in the European style: it was not easy to ascertain the state of discipline of these troops; but, if we are to judge from the equipment and appearance of the regiments in the mother-country, it might be reasonable to entertain some doubts regarding their prowess.

Notwithstanding the intense heat of the climate, the Portuguese inhabitants omit no religious duties; nor do they ever appear in that deshabille we should expect to see generally adopted among an effeminate people, under such circumstances in regard to locality. It could not fail to prove highly amusing, when we beheld boys, of about six or seven years of age, full-dressed according to court etiquette, with bags, 65ruffles, swords, &c. representing the more ancient part of their population in miniature. These young gentlemen, as well as their seniors, and especially the ladies, were seen every-where riding in vehicles very strongly resembling the chair-palanquins of India, but carried by only two men; one before and one behind.

The profusion of compliments, and of real civilities, we experienced, were absolutely burthensome; we were every-where welcomed in the most kind and liberal manner; barges, rowing from twelve to thirty oars, were at our command, to take us to and from the ship, which could not pass the Bar of Pernambuco, and lay full four miles from the shore, in seven fathoms. As to fruits, fish, vegetables, and poultry, they may be had to any amount, of the first quality; their beef and mutton are not, however, much to be praised, and their pork is intolerably fat, without being firm. This last is one of the principal viands at the tables of the Portuguese, in every quarter of the globe, and is dressed in various ways, all equally offensive to a delicate stomach. The serenity of the weather rendered the acquisition of a supply of excellent water very easy; the casks being floated to and from the shore; all fastened to ropes, and towed by the large boats already mentioned.

The land lying low towards the beach, though backed at some distance by hills, occasioned us 66to be within a few leagues before we discovered our proximity to the Continent; and we should probably have run into shallow water, had not a large floating object been seen about a mile from us. Our glasses speedily enabled us to distinguish persons moving on a low frame, that we conjectured could be nothing less than some great fragment of a wreck. Boats were immediately hoisted out, and, in less than half an hour, we had the satisfaction to see our quarter-deck covered with a variety of fine fishes, chiefly rock-cod, that had been taken by the industrious Indians, whose catamaran we had mistaken for the remains of some unfortunate vessel.

Although we could not converse with these people, it was natural for us to suppose we were not far from land; to which they directed our attention, and by significant signs, as well as by leading on the catamaran, of which they had hoisted the sail, pilotted us to the Roads of Pernambuco, leaving us in good anchoring water, and gratefully receiving some beads, and other trinkets, of no value in our estimation, but highly prized among them, in exchange for the excellent repast they had afforded to the whole ship’s company.

A few days before our arrival at Pernambuco, the usual ceremonies attendant upon crossing the Line were duly observed. Those who had never been so far to the southward, were impressed with the belief that sundry operations, 67by no means pleasant, were to take place: among other things, it was said they were to be suspended from the fore-yard arm, and to be thoroughly ducked by frequent dips into the sea. However unreasonable this may appear, there exists no doubt of such a practice having been perfectly common about forty or fifty years back; it was then regarded as an excellent joke, affording wondrous merriment to the veteran part of the crew. In time, the practice ceased; either from the interposition of good sense, or owing to the judicious distribution of some liquor among the chiefs of the dramatis personæ.

The amusements incident on this occasion are not very tedious, and, though filthy in the extreme, cannot be witnessed without exciting much laughter. About noon, the boatswain, being full dressed as the god of the ocean, is supposed to hail the ship, enquiring whence she comes? whither she is bound? and if any persons are on board who never before crossed the great boundary dividing the northern from the southern hemisphere? After much pompous and authoritative elocution, wherein Neptune declares a firm resolution not to relinquish his rights, he ascends at the bow, under which his car is supposed to be in waiting, whence, attended by his mates, whose paraphernalia accord with the dignity of their office, and the solemnity of the occasion, he proceeds to the quarter-deck, 68where, after an appropriate speech, he exercises his powers of divination, and in a few minutes discovers the several novices who are to submit to his decrees. His god-head, like his progenitor of ancient times, invariably has an eye to business; and as the sea deity of the Greeks was supposed to delight in ample sacrifices, so does his descendant, or rather his representative, of our time, equally cherish the idea of copious libations in honor of the day. Hence, there is little difficulty in appeasing his wrath, and conciliating his good-will towards the vessel and her crew, by the immolation of from two to three gallons each, of good rum or gin; which, being duly tendered to the officiating priests, soon reach their destination, and avert the threatened danger.

While this is going on, some of the old hands are busied in the construction of a ship, which is to be launched in the presence of the deity, under whose auspices she is to sail the world over, and back again, in perfect safety! This important duty is conducted with great precision, and takes place in the lee-waist, where all the novices among the sailors, recruits, &c. are ranged in two rows, face to face, to represent the ribs of the stately Argo.

It is usual to select some of the more pliant, or silly, of the party, to form the head and bows: one of these being placed in the centre, looking 69forward, his head covered with a long swab, of which the threads hang down nearly to his heels, and his face being smeared with all the filth the ship affords, by way of paint, is considered the typical figure suited to the nomenclature of the vessel.

All being in readiness, the builders attend Neptune as he retires, in order to allow the shoars to be knocked away, that the launch may take place: the captain and his officers aid the farce by encouraging the passengers to advance towards the waist, there to view the construction; when, at a fit moment, the god roars forth his mandate for committing his protegé to the deep. It, however, unluckily happens that the vessel does not shew any disposition to quit the stocks; therefore, as she will not proceed to the water, the only chance of setting her afloat is by causing the water to proceed to her; which it accordingly does from some dozens of buckets, &c. previously secreted in the fore and main tops, and in the long boat, for that purpose. This drenching concludes the show, and the crew retire to make merry upon the amount of their collections, which, when not sufficiently abundant to afford a moderate allowance to each, is liberally augmented from the ship’s stores.

The sabbath is always observed on board every Indiaman with perfect decorum: there being no chaplain on board, unless perchance as a passenger, 70the captain, or one of the officers, reads the morning service, and eventually a short lecture suited to the audience, consisting of all on board who are not confined by illness. It is not easy to describe the decency which prevails on such occasions; the whole standing bare-headed on the quarterdeck, and refraining from every act, or look, that might trespass on propriety.

Many sailors, notwithstanding the character in which they are generally accepted, are of a very religious disposition, and are easily led by those who shew a reverence for the church establishment. Yet, like most persons bred up in ignorance, they are shamefully superstitious, and often entertain notions very little short of those which actuated their ancestors to throw Jonah overboard. However ridiculous it may appear, yet it is strictly true, that among hundreds of the bravest tars, one wag may, by whisperings, groanings, &c. aided by a white sheet, and a hollow intonation, create a most disgraceful panic. But our terrestrial population, of corresponding rank, can claim no title to laugh at their peers on the element. The sermon lately delivered and printed, by the Rev. Isaac Nicholson, A.M. Curate of Great Paxton, in the county of Huntingdon, in consequence of two attacks on the person of Ann Izzard, a reputed witch, whereby Alice Russel, who endeavored to protect that poor woman, was destroyed, 71evinces the deplorable state in which the minds of our lower orders remain, notwithstanding the great expence incurred for the propagation of the Scriptures among them, and the infinite pains taken to instruct those who cannot afford to pay for education.

Funerals at sea can rarely boast of much display, but their attendants are often sincere mourners. Confined within a narrow space, the loss of a companion is not easily forgotten; every object reminds us of his fate, and exacts a sigh! Few linger, either of disease, or of wounds, so long as persons under similar circumstances would do on shore. The want of room, of fresh air, of clean linen, of suitable diet, and of a change of scene, all contribute, notwithstanding the most assiduous attendance, to depress the spirits, and to aggravate the symptoms. Above all, the ravages of scurvy are peculiarly distressing, and tend most to dishearten: even those in perfect health become alarmed, and, from that circumstance alone, often participate in the dreadful evil.

It being utterly inadmissible that a corpse should be retained on board, no time is lost in sewing it up in a hammock; placing a few lumps of coal, or other ponderous matter, at the feet, to cause its sinking. Thus prepared, it is laid upon a grating at the lee gang-way; and, after the usual burial service, at which all attend, is 72committed to the deep. In some instances, during calms, sharks have been seen to dart from under the vessel, and to attack the corpse in the most ravenous manner. It is well known that all sickly ships are attended by many of those fishes; which, if numerous in the vicinity of a healthy vessel, are, in the opinions of the crew, the surest indications of great mortality on board. Without pretending to doubt the acuteness of a shark’s sense of smelling, it may be permitted us rather to ascribe their congregating to chance, than to their supposed powers of anticipation: at the same time there can be little doubt, that certain effluvia must escape from a vessel not duly purified by ventilation and ablution; and that such a neglect will rarely fail to induce diseases of the most malignant description; thereby giving a latitude, among those who view things superficially, to adduce instances apparently confirmative of their assertions.

Whatever convenience it may be thought to afford to the survivors, it appears to me, that the customary sale of all the effects of the deceased, indiscriminately in general, is contrary to the dictates of prudence, so far as relates to salubrity. That, in such a situation, whatever is appreciable may produce a better price, cannot be controverted; but I should rather incline to think it were better to forego that advantage, than to risk the dissemination of disease, though 73not previously malignant, by an unlimited distribution of the apparel of one demising under any clinical distemper. To say the least, perfect ventilation should be given to every atom; nor would the trouble or expence (if any) of fumigating the wearing apparel, and bed-clothes, be ill bestowed: perhaps baking would be found the safest precaution.

It has already been stated, that, in rounding the Cape, the weather may be expected to correspond with the season of the year: this is so well understood, that it is only during the summer season in that quarter, vessels are considered to be safe in Table Bay, situated to the north of a low, flat, sandy isthmus, over which it is evident the sea formerly flowed into False Bay, lying a few miles to the southward. The mouths of the two bays have different aspects; consequently, when a channel existed such as I have described, the Table Mountain, whence the northerly bay derives its designation, together with Cape Town, which stands between the mountain and that bay, together with Wineburg, Witti-boom, Constantia, &c. &c. including a length of about forty-five miles by four, on an average, in breadth, must have been insulated.

When a ship is to touch at the Cape, it is very desirable, on every account, that her arrival should take place during the summer season; so 74that she may come to anchor in Table Bay, about half a mile distant from the wharf. The convenience, thus afforded, of going immediately into comfortable lodgings, where nothing is wanting that can tend to the refreshment of persons fatigued by those narrow limits within which they have been confined, probably for ten or twelve weeks, is not to be calculated. The Dutch, it is true, are most offensively avaricious; but that must be compounded for, in consideration of the satisfaction attendant upon the liberty of taking exercise in a fine climate, abounding with the most delicious fruits, the choicest vegetables, and that kind of social intercourse, which, chasing away the recollection of former langour, gives energy to meet succeeding dulness and inactivity. The British visitor will, however, experience considerable disappointment if he expects to witness the performance of dramatic pieces, or that jocund hilarity which with us prevails among persons long resident together. On the contrary, the inhabitants of Cape Town think of nothing but money-making; in which they are neither inexpert, nor very scrupulous. In public, they are so awkward, stiff, and unsociable, that I have often been surprised they did not go to sleep at their visits. If such was the state of society only a few years ago, what must it have been previous to the occupation of the Cape, during 75the American war, by two French regiments; which, according to the confession of the Dutch themselves, made a very considerable improvement in their breed?

Few of those who take lodgers will admit such as do not board with them: the rates are not in any instance fixed, but the average may be taken at from three to four rix-dollars for each lady or gentleman, half-price for young children, and one dollar for each servant, per diem. From this it may be collected, that a single gentleman must be an economist if he manages to pay his expences of board, washing, horse-hire, &c. under thirty shillings daily.—The rix-dollar is fixed at four shillings; but is an imaginary sum. Notes of any value may be had; but gold and silver currency are scarcely ever seen; the Dutch being extremely eager to obtain guineas at twenty-one shillings currency, and re-selling them at the rate generally of six and a half, or seven rix-dollars. Persons visiting the Cape should be careful to reserve their cash until about to pay their bills, and then to account their guineas at their current value, as above shewn. Such is the estimation in which bullion is held, that no small coins are any where to be seen; even shillings, and stivers are paid in paper currency. Passengers from India ought to take a bag of rupees of the worst description; for, whether sicca or tersooly, each 76will be gladly received, without distinction, at two shillings and sixpence.

The cookery of the Dutch is pretty nearly on a par with their flesh-meats; their beef, mutton, veal, and pork, being rarely of tolerable quality, and invariably made to float in strong sauce, of which butter and spices are the chief ingredients. The table is, in most houses, laid in a central hall, looking into a garden; the floors are all painted, that they may not absorb the damp when washed, as they are almost daily: the beds are tolerably good, and the apartments of a moderate size. Before every house, is an elevated terrace, on a level with the ground-floor, having at each end a seat, usually of masonry also. On this terrace, called the steupe, the Dutch promenade half the day in fair weather, enjoying their pipes, and occasionally taking their sopkies; which are small glasses of raw spirits, for the most part hollands, their servants tender to them at intervals, as a matter of course.

The extensive gardens of the late Dutch Company, through the centre of which is a broad gravel-walk full half a mile in length, are crowded every Sunday evening, and on all festive days, by a promiscuous group, who walk in parties, to and fro, under the shade of the oaks and other trees planted on either side. There is also an institution, but of a more private 77nature, and frequented, with few exceptions, by the Dutch only. It is held at a neat house, where wines, &c. are sold, having attached to it a spacious garden; not unlike some of our tea-drinking places in the vicinity of London. This is called Concordia; a name perfectly unsuited to the scenes occasionally disgracing the interior, which has more than once excited the attention of our government, in consequence of the seditious principles of its visitors.

The late Lord Macartney did not fail to keep a watchful eye over Concordia, as well as to check, in their infancy, whatever attempts might be made to spread, and to inculcate, revolutionary principles. A large portion of the inhabitants being descended from delinquents who had quitted their native country, as Gil Blas says, ‘not without good reason,’ and having rarely paid much deference to their rulers in Europe, it is not to be wondered at, that those doctrines of the mountain, which condemned Louis the XVI. should have been adopted at the Cape. Such was the advance made in the cant of the day, and so numerous were the meetings at Concordia, that Lord Macartney judged it necessary to adopt measures for bringing his Dutch subjects to their senses; which he did in a manner that reflected the greatest credit on himself, and evinced with 78what facility traitors may be subdued under a just and energetic government. Among the many who resorted to Concordia every evening, was a great farmer, known at the Cape under the designation of Boor, who was particularly smitten with the new-fangled terms of gallic civism: if I err not, his name was Van Clootz. He was of immense stature, and ordinarily wore a round slouched hat, about the diameter of a gentleman’s umbrella; and as he paraded through the streets, sitting on the front board of his waggon, drawn by eight Spanish horses, always appeared like some enormous wild beast belonging to Mr. Pidcock’s menagerie.

This monstrous great man (long considered the key-stone of the arch-traitors of Constantia) was summoned, in a civil manner, by Lord Macartney; who, in becoming terms, rebuked him for his folly, and explained the whole extent of what had been reported, regarding the proceedings of those who visited the garden. Mynheer was not to be talked out of his veneration for the Revolution in France; and declared, that, in his opinion, it would be equal to a martyrdom to die in so glorious a cause. It was in vain his Lordship depicted the horrors attendant upon so great a reverse; the boor’s enthusiasm rendered him blind to such trifles, and to 79all those excesses which inseparably accompany civil convulsion.

In the course of a few days, Van Clootz was informed, that a troop of cavalry had arrived at a farm he had on the borders of Hottentot Holland, about thirty miles from the Cape, and that it was supposed they would remain some time in that neighborhood. The boor was delighted at the prospect of a long bill for hay, corn, &c. &c. folio after folio; every day’s stay was joyfully noted! It was not long, however, before complaints were made that the troopers behaved in a licentious manner, killing his poultry, destroying his fences, plundering his garden, kissing his maids, and the Lord knows what! Now, as most of his stock was consumed, it was no longer an object for Mynheer to court the stay of the cavalry; therefore he went boldly to Lord Macartney with a long list of damages, and his bill for corn, &c. demanding, in a very haughty manner, that the farm should be evacuated by his now unwelcome visitors.

‘Bless me, Mr. Van Clootz,’ said his lordship, ‘why, I thought you was delighted with revolutionary principles?’—‘Yes, my lord, I am so; the acts of the French nation should be written in characters of gold!’—‘And yet, Mr. Van Clootz, you complain against the troop I sent to be quartered upon you—no, no, Sir; you have 80been so fond of the sweets of revolution, that I am resolved you shall taste some of its bitters also: therefore the cavalry shall remain at your farm, until you acknowledge the benefits of British protection, and retire peaceably to your lands, there to cultivate corn, instead of sowing sedition at Constantia.’

The result may be easily guessed: Constantia was depopulated, and Mynheer Van Clootz was held in derision throughout the Cape. It should not remain untold, that, however strict Lord Macartney might have been during the time he governed at the Cape, such was the impression made by his equitable, liberal, and firm conduct, that, when he embarked for Europe, the inhabitants were truly grieved; but consoled themselves under the hope, that a petition they sent to his Majesty, for the re-appointment of his lordship, might prove successful.

Many of the farms, within the compass of a morning’s ride, are well worth seeing; not as objects of imitation, but as displaying much novelty, and tending to afford a just idea of the character of a Dutch agriculturist in that quarter. The vineyards, and depôts of wine at Constantia, are certainly curious; especially when it is considered, that the soil which produces that luscious wine, is confined to a very few acres, I believe not more than forty, beyond which, 81sets from the same vines, under circumstances of perfect equality, in regard to site and culture, produce a very different liquor, little superior to that sold at the several wine-houses at sixpence per quart, and possessing a peculiar terraceous flavor, which does not diminish by keeping. The stranger not habituated to the use of the Cape wines, either white or red, should be extremely cautious on his first arrival to avoid them; drinking port in their stead. A neglect of this precaution will produce considerable inconvenience, and may be attended with habitual diarrhœa. I was one of four, who, on landing at False Bay, drank about three or four glasses each, and were violently affected by it during the whole of the following night.

Many whalers frequent the coast to the eastward of the Cape, where they kill numbers of the white species, which supply both spermaceti, and the oil bearing that name. In False Bay, which includes a space equal to at least two hundred square miles, black whales may often be seen sporting about; as, indeed, they may, in Table Bay, close in among the rocks, about half a mile below the fort. A few are killed by the crews of such ships as have not been so fortunate as to fill with the former kind; but it seems to be done almost as much for pastime as for profit; the oil extracted from black 82whales being very low in price; it neither burning well, nor making so good soap as the spermaceti kind.

Although the winter months are held to be very dangerous for vessels riding in Table Bay, on account of the dreadful swell that sometimes sets in from the north-west, towards which it is much exposed, it is, however, rare that vessels are lost therein during that season; no doubt, in consequence of their very short stay, and of their usually proceeding to Seamon’s Bay, the inhabited part of which is about twenty-five miles from Cape Town. The Sceptre, of 64 guns, together with a Danish 74, and about ten or twelve other vessels, were wrecked in Table Bay on the 5th of November, 1799; a period when a gale of wind from the north-west is never expected. To make up for the deficiency, that part of the year is attended with very stiff breezes from the south-east, which drive up the small gravel against one’s face with such force as to give very acute pain. These south-easters, as they are called, certainly produce excellent effects; cooling the air, and destroying an infinite number of insects.

Nature has been truly liberal in the profusion of flowers she has scattered throughout this part of Africa: the plains are covered with heaths, or hethers, of an exquisite fragrance, of boundless variety, and of the most delicate coloring 83and formation. The whole country, where the soil is not absolutely barren, teems with all that could enrich a pleasure garden; among these, the wild geraniums bear a large proportion: the plain beyond the camp at Wine-Burg absolutely resembling a rich carpet!

The opposite side of Table Bay, as seen from Cape Town, offers nothing pleasing to the eye; the coast appearing to be low, sandy, and barren, rising gradually into a range of hills, displaying little arborage, or verdure, which connect with those on the east side of False Bay, forming a part of the district called Hottentot Holland; wherein are partially interspersed small farms, that combine to supply Cape Town with provision.

The back of the Table Mountain, so called from its top appearing horizontal for several hundred yards, indeed, for near half a mile, is rugged, and of a most dismal hue. When the wind blows from the westward, the clouds come rolling down, perfectly concealing the mountain nearly to what appears to be its base. In that, however, the spectator is deceived; for a block-house erected on a part of the hill where the signal port stands, called the Lion’s Rump, and which is also apparently near the base, has been ascertained, by measurement, to equal the highest part of Gibraltar in elevation above the sea. From this, as well as from its being discernible at full thirty leagues 84distance, some idea may be formed of the stupendous height of the Table Mountain.

It appears probable, that but for that regulation which disqualifies persons who unnecessarily put into harbours deemed at certain periods unsafe, from recovering their insurances in case of loss, few ships would resort to False Bay. The distance, the badness of the road to Cape Town, the difficulty of procuring supplies and stores, with various other inconveniences, combine to give the preference to Table Bay, notwithstanding the reputed hazard. At Cape Town abundance of accommodation, of every description, may be had; whereas, at Seamon’s Bay, there are not more than two or three houses where persons of respectability could lodge. In saying this, I exempt the quarters allotted to the officers, which are very comfortable. After all that can be urged in favour of Seamon’s Bay, it is by no means a safe harbour; as the bones of several vessels, deep buried in the sandy beach, at the most retired part, which is a perfect cul de sac, sufficiently corroborate. There are, besides, sunken rocks near its mouth, on which several ships have struck: one, called the Anvil, from its flat surface, caused the loss of the Colebrook, Indiaman, some years ago. Another, designated the Bellows, from the perpetual roar it occasions, stands about two miles from the southernmost point of the Cape: it is not so dangerous as the 85others; being discernible full ten miles off, owing to the immense surfs, arising from a strong current towards the westward, which are perpetually breaking over it.

The Cape, considered as a colony, cannot be said, at present, to be valuable in any respect, except as an asylum for shipping, homeward or outward bound. The supplies requisite for the town are derived from the labors of a few boors, settled at some distance. Hence, provisions are by no means cheap; nor would they be so, even if the demands of St. Helena could be answered from any other quarter; since the indolence of the Dutch agriculturists would, it is to be feared, cause them to limit their operations in proportion as the consumption might decrease. It is, doubtless, owing to some such cause, that the greater part of the slaves are maintained upon a very black, heavy kind of bread, on which the fat of sheeps’ tails is smeared, as a substitute for butter; and that the lower classes of the population live in the most wretched manner. This should seem inexcusable, where thousands of acres of good soil lie unheeded, within such a moderate distance of the town as could scarcely fail to repay the ordinary expences of cultivation.

Although neither coal, nor peat, is found at the Cape, and the colony is dependant entirely on the arborage of the vicinity for fuel, it is very remarkable that little, or rather no, pains are 86taken to insure a supply. If we except a few plantations, made purely for ornament, at the several garden-houses within six or seven miles of Cape Town, we may in vain search for any symptoms of foresight in respect to the future supply of so indispensable an article. I recollect stating this to a gentleman, who seemed to be, in other respects, well informed of Cape affairs; but he silenced me with a remark which appeared unanswerable; taking for granted it was true. He said, ‘We have endeavored, ever since taking possession of the colony, to induce the Dutch to plant, and to till, the adjacent lands; but in vain: they prefer a scarcity, or at least a pretended one, on all occasions; because they think it distresses us, while, at the same time, they have an excellent plea for extorting the highest prices. Possessed of his waggon, and team, Mynheer can always supply his own wants at a certain rate; but if more is brought than is required for his own use, the surplus is spared to us for a sum which covers the whole expence: therefore, the dearer the article, the better for the waggon-master!’

I am free to confess, that where such hauteur, indolence, and extortion prevail, and that, too, very extensively and actively, against a protecting power, (for we really do not appear as conquerors in that quarter,) I should not hesitate to adopt such measures as might fully meet the 87exigency. If, in so doing, I should wound the feelings, or partially injure the rights, of the inhabitants, my argument would be brief, viz. ‘You created a necessity, and necessity has no law.’ Though, here and there, something resembling an European vehicle may be seen, the general instrument of conveyance, whether of families travelling, or taking the air, is a waggon, usually drawn by eight small, but fiery horses. One Hottentot commonly holds the reins of the pair next the wheels, while another, with an immense whip, not less in the whole than thirty feet long, manages the team with wondrous dexterity. In these waggons are commonly three benches, slung crosswise, on leather straps; each bench holding two persons. They are likewise provided with painted canvas tilts, made to take off at pleasure. The motion of such a waggon, while going over the rough part between the two capes, is ‘most horrible!

The lumber-waggons are made in the rudest manner, generally with large truck wheels; some are boarded, or even thatched, above, and absolutely look like moving houses. Whether owing to the awkwardness of their construction, or to the badness of the roads, or to that incorrigible thing called custom, may not be easy to decide; though, possibly, their joint operation may be reasonably considered the cause; it is certainly true, that, even with six or eight pairs of rather 88stout, but high-boned, oxen, such a waggon rarely travels more than twelve or fifteen miles within the day. Nor is the plough a whit better managed. This stupendous machine, which appears calculated to turn up whole mountains in its progress, rarely gets through more than two roods daily, though drawn by six oxen, all in a line, and aided by three men; one of whom holds the plough stilt, (there being but one,) another drives with the usual enormous whip, and the third guides the leading ox.

The operation of thrashing is commonly performed in the open air, within an enclosed circle, about twenty yards in diameter, surrounded by a stone, or mud wall, about four feet high: the floor is made of clay and lime, rammed very hard. The sheaves being scattered within the circle, the farmer’s horses are turned in, and driven about by a slave, who, being provided with a whip, stands in the centre, and chases the cattle about; while two, or more, of his associates in bondage, stir the sheaves with forked sticks, in order that every part may be equally trodden by the galloping steeds. The winnowing is done in the same area; the horses being sent into another circle, to repeat their labors, while several men, first removing the straw, sweep the thrashings towards the windward side, and there toss it up, that the wind, which is commonly rather forcible, may blow the chaff to the 89lee side, while the corn falls nearly centrical; of course, as the latter goes with little further preparation to the mill, the flour may be supposed to contain no small portion of grit. The quantity of grain bruised, and left in the straw, must be considerable.

Few ships remain long enough to allow of passengers proceeding to the interior; where, however, they would find much to admire. At some of the farms they may be well accommodated, with the great advantage of finding their purses far less burthensome on their return! The famous vineyards of Stellenbosch are well worth seeing, as is the Salt Lake, which annually dries, leaving a bed of muriate of soda many miles in diameter, and of unknown depth! Surely, in parts accounted sterile, such a depôt of manure ought not to be overlooked. The hot baths, situate in a most romantic valley about forty miles from the Cape, demand the traveller’s attention. Whether he may proceed on horseback, (as I should recommend,) or in a waggon, a gun will be useful; both on account of the prodigious quantity of game, of every description, and as a defence against the numerous wild beasts which infest all the woody country beyond Hottentot Holland.

I have been induced to enter upon the foregoing details regarding the Cape, from the consideration of its being intimately attached to our 90Asiatic possessions; and because so large a portion of those who visit them, touch there; either in going to, or when returning from, India. The political importance of a point so advantageously situated, and having such an expanse of territory annexed, may, perhaps, at some convenient moment, become a subject for future discussion: in the mean while, as connected with the Cape, I shall treat of St. Helena.

This island is most singularly situated, being in the 16th degree of south latitude, and separated from the two continents of Africa and America by immense seas, in every part unfathomable: from the former it is about 1200 miles distant; from the latter about 1800. According to an analytic description, published in 1805, it appears tolerably certain, that Saint Helena owes its elevation above the sea to some great convulsion of nature; probably to, an earthquake: for it does not, like its neighbour Ascension, shew much remains of volcanic matter, neither does there appear any cavity at all resembling a crater. On the contrary, the whole island is composed of immense strata of rock, chiefly basaltic, which, from the variety of directions they assume, some declining one way, some another, while a few assume nearly a perpendicular tendency, may be supposed to have been disrupted, and ejected from the great sub-marine mass, by some tremendous earthquake. 91It would be difficult to form the least idea of the period when that event took place; nor, indeed, can it be altogether certified that this island was not coœval with the creation; since which it may have undergone various changes, from volcanic operations within the deep: the appearance of cinders without lava, and the regular intermixture of clay, especially of puzolana, with the rock, by such a gradual intercourse as to leave it undetermined where the one begins, and the other ceases, may be considered a lusus naturæ, and certainly tends to involve the origin of this now valuable island still more among the arcana of nature.

Situated in the heart of the trade winds, and covering so small a space, the whole island giving a girth of less than twenty-eight miles, it is not to be expected that much rain should fall upon it: such is the incertitude regarding a supply of water, that for three years in succession scarce a shower fell! This severe drought proved fatal to a very large quantity of cattle, which had, during the course of many preceding seasons, been raised by the industrious efforts of the inhabitants. Such were the chagrin, and the disappointment, felt on the occasion, that few have, since that period, turned their attention to the rearing of live stock in any quantity.

Water would never be wanting, if proper 92means were taken for its preservation; as almost every valley has a copious spring, the produce of which might be retained in tanks lined with the clay every where abounding. These tanks should be situated as near as possible to the spring heads; being dug in the form of a cone resting on its base, so as to leave but little surface for evaporation. By this means they might be kept in a continual state of overflow, from the upper tank or cone, to others below the level of its surface, at such distances as should be judged proper. The source of the spring supplying the stream that flows through James’s Valley, whence the shipping receive their water, cannot be less than six hundred feet above the level of the sea; therefore, admitting that a succession of tanks were to be made at such places as might be best suited to the retention of water, and to the supply of cattle, &c. it follows, that any quantity, beyond the actual consumption, might be upheld for times of scarcity.

It cannot fail to astonish my readers, that no means whatever have been taken to prevent even the stream above alluded to from being lost, when they are informed that it is computed, indeed, has been known to supply no less than two thousand tons in three days; and could have furnished a much greater quantity, had it been practicable to bring more boats, at the same moment, near enough to the wharf-cocks, to have 93the hoses laid into their respective casks. I have heard, that a computation of the spring was made, whence it was shewn to be equal to that conduit which supplies Liverpool. Now, the whole population of St. Helena are supposed to be rather under, than over, 3000; which, compared with Liverpool, at once displays the possibility of guarding against drought; though the lands should be stocked to their utmost with cattle. This, of itself, is sufficient reason for the adoption of some plan for preventing the escape of the surplus fluid; which ought to be retained as high up as possible; but when we consider, that, under such an improvement, agriculture would thrive in situations now deemed untenable by any farmer, merely from a want of water, there ought to be no hesitation in resorting to the proper means for securing a due supply throughout the island.

We should, at the same time, advert to the regular operations of nature, which ever conform to the changes produced, either by time or by art. The naturalist well knows, that in all well wooded islands, however distant from continents, the dews are remarkably heavy, and encourage vegetation to its utmost luxuriance: if, then, the soil could again be covered with arborage, (for, when first discovered, about three hundred years ago, the very summits of the hills were amply clothed with trees, of which some 94were peculiar to the island,) it is obvious, that, even without the aid of irrigation, an abundance of perpetual pasturage might be found. In that case, every acre might have its inhabitant; whereas, at this day, computing the whole area to measure, according to a very accurate survey, about 30,300 acres, and the population to be 3000; it should seem evident, that, although there is not more than one inhabitant to every ten acres, at least four-fifths of their provision are drawn from other countries.

The author of the ‘Description of St. Helena,’ quotes some anecdotes which shew the narrow views of those persons who have never quitted the island. In one instance, ‘a top-mast, or other spar, is reserved as a great acquisition, to be sold at an immense profit to some vessel in distress:’ in another, the author states his having been asked, ‘if the arrival of the India fleet did not make London very gay!’

In these, we certainly recognise the language of insulated ignorance; but when the author makes a jest of that exclamation of a native, who, in walking with him over a spot luxuriantly verdant, declared, that ‘if the whole island were like that part, it would be the richest spot in the world;’ the joke does not fit. I am well aware of the hyperbole of such an enthusiastic expression; but, from what appeared at the 95Government House, where, under the fostering care of Colonel Brooke, the late governor, wonderful improvements had been affected, especially in the culture of exotics; and having witnessed the great perfection to which vegetables had been raised, on a farm in the occupation of the late Major Edward Smyth, of the artillery; as well as the plantations upheld, under most inauspicious circumstances, by the late Deputy Governor Lieutenant-Colonel Robson: I feel no hesitation in avowing an opinion, that the now dreary, bleak, uncouth summits of St. Helena, might become both ornamental and useful; while the lower parts should teem with corn, wine, and oil.

In a climate where no hurricanes destroy the crops, where the medium temperature is about 54°, where health and longevity seem to hold their court, and where there exist the greatest essentials towards culture, (viz. clay, lime-stone, sand, and manure, in the greatest abundance,) I really cannot see why this now neglected, and comparatively desolate, island, should not become a perfect paradise! That health should be a common blessing among the natives, does not appear wonderful; because they have not the means of excess, at least not in drinking; for wine, and spirits, are most exorbitantly dear. I happened to be at Governor Brooke’s on New Year’s Day, 1800, when intelligence was brought that the 96whole of the troops were plunged into the deepest affliction, by the loss of a cask of rum, served from the stores as the usual basis of annual festivity: in rolling up towards the barracks, the cask had burst, and spilled every drop of its precious contents. This, in any other situation, would not have given a moment’s uneasiness; the deficiency might have been easily made up: but, at St. Helena, where the most sparing economy, in regard to all articles of subsistence, is indispensably necessary, and where no private suttlers could fill up the blank, it was really a most uncomfortable circumstance!

It cannot be expected, after the above detail, that provision should be cheap, or abundant: so far the reverse, that persons of all ranks daily receive their rations from the stores, as indispensable towards their existence. Hence, sheep, poultry, flour, &c. are rarely procurable, in any quantity, for the supply of the homeward-bound shipping; which, being sometimes detained for months, waiting for convoy, occasions their passengers to be put to considerable expence, without deriving proportionate comfort; valetudinarians being the only strangers, who, in such cases, experience the smallest benefit from the detention.

It would be difficult to state the expences incident to residence at any of those houses where lodgings are let: which includes all, excepting 97about half a dozen of the seniors on the island: the rates vary according to the demand at the moment, or the expectation of early arrivals. It may be concluded, that cheapness neither is, nor can be, the characteristic of James Town, when I observe, that, merely for the use of an apartment, such as nothing but the change of scene would have induced me to occupy, wherein I occasionally slept on a truck-bed, whereof the whole apparatus might safely have been sent to the paper mills, the charge made was twelve shillings daily, or rather nightly; for I never ate a meal in the house. Let it not be understood that I speak this in derogation of the people: far otherwise; I experienced all the civility they had the opportunity of shewing, and I really believe they regretted their want of means to render my slumbers more refreshing.

Their exertions might, perhaps, have obtained me a more comfortable lodging, but there were other matters far beyond their power to remedy: among these may be noticed the myriads of cock-roaches, (or blatta gigantea,) which at night crawled about the bed; offending not only by the very unpleasant sensations produced by their claws, but by their peculiarly nauseous scent. As for rats, of no small breed, nor, indeed, confined to one species, they made as free, at all hours, as though they had paid for their lodging, and absolutely seemed to approach with perfect 98indifference: their gallopings, not only within the walls, but over me as I slept, together with some very unceremonious pulls at my hair, (for I then used powder,) at length compelled me to sleep, when opportunity offered, on board the vessel, wherein our stock of these devastators, though not insignificant, was considerably less numerous, and far more reserved. We had, however, abundance of cock-roaches, about two inches in length, and an inch broad; but, owing to the pains taken to catch them by means of saucers filled with oil, of which they are extremely fond, their numbers were greatly reduced; but we could never hope for their extirpation, as every crevice afforded them shelter, and the opportunity of depositing their eggs in safety.

It may be asked why I did not move to some other house? In reply thereto, it will be only necessary to observe, that I was recommended to the good folks, or they to me, (I forget which) by a gentleman to whose urbanity and kindness I was under much obligation: besides, I was daily in hopes of quitting the island; therefore judged it most expedient to remain where I was, lest I might, by avoiding Scylla, stumble upon Charybdis. There are one or two shops in James Town, where goods of various descriptions are sold. I had occasion to buy a hat, for which I paid ten dollars, and on my arrival in England 99found that it could never have stood the exporter in more than twelve shillings, even under a salt-water invoice. But it was the best that was for sale, and I was compelled to the purchase.

Such ships as have touched at the Cape, on their return from India, are usually well stocked with every species of provision, and even import their own fuel; according to existing regulations: were they to be supplied with that article, or indeed with any other, to much extent, the distress occasioned to the inhabitants would be deplorable. This deficiency of fuel is occasioned, at present, by the number of wild goats, every where secreting themselves among the crags; during the night time they descend to the plantations, and to the fields, cropping every thing within their reach. Until a war of extermination, as is now proposed, be carried on against these destructive animals, it will be useless to attempt planting, at least on such a scale as should prove beneficial to the inhabitants. It may justly be supposed, that no weak measures could produce so desirable a result; but it is reasonable to conclude, that, if a party of soldiers were to be posted daily on those superior points whence the goats could be seen and alarmed; and if a number of half-bred greyhounds were to be kept to run them down, much 100might be done in the course of a few years; especially if a reward were given for every goat destroyed, by whatever means.

Yams and potatoes are cultivated in tolerable quantities on various parts of the island; but the former will not grow except in very choice situations, such as vallies through which streams flow. In Major Smyth’s grounds, an immense variety of our esculents were to be seen, growing luxuriantly: I recollect his pointing out to me a peculiarity regarding the leek, and the onion, in both which he had been frequently disappointed, after planting them to stand for seed. As an experiment which did not promise success, he sowed the little seed vessels which form the globular head of the stems; and found, that, by so doing, he could insure a regular, and very rapid succession. He cut off the heads, and separated the capsules, when they were in their green state, but rather inclining to maturity.

Having undoubted proof of the readiness with which many plants, indigenous to the cold, as well as to the hot, regions, may be naturalized at St. Helena, it must excite some surprise to be informed, that no public measures have yet been taken to stock the island with a variety of quick-growing and useful trees; which, being collected on favorable spots, might serve as the depôt for future supplies. The various species 101of palms thrive amazingly, as does the peepul; of which, for a long time, there was only one in the island, and no person could tell whence it came!

It seems curious, that peaches should thrive so luxuriantly, and acquire such an admirable flavor, notwithstanding the dryness of the atmosphere: formerly, this fruit was in such abundance, that large quantities used to be given to the hogs. Unhappily, an insect, only to be distinguished by the aid of glasses, was imported with some slips from the Constantia vines: these attacked the peach trees, devouring their bark, and destroying at least nine-tenths of their number. It is said, that every means have been tried to annihilate these minute plunderers, or to deter them from their wonted attacks, but without effect. I recollect, that, about twenty years ago, a premium was given by some association, (probably the society for the encouragement of arts,) to a person who discovered a means of ridding trees from this description of clustering insects. It was very simple; and was effected by boring holes with a gimlet, obliquely downwards, into the body of the trunk, near the ground, and filling them with quicksilver; after which the holes were closed by means of pitch, or plugs of wood. As possibly this has never been essayed at St. 102Helena, I give it a place under the hope of its proving useful: it is, however, said to render evergreens deciduous.

The teak, and poon trees, both of which are of important service in naval architecture, might certainly be raised to great size in St. Helena. The burghut, or banian tree, might also thrive; but I should except against it as requiring too much nourishment, and exhausting the soil, without being any wise useful as timber. The tamarind tree, though it supplies a large proportion of fruit, has this objection against it, that it is peculiarly unfriendly to all others in its vicinity: no grass will grow under it; and persons who sleep beneath its shelter, or within its influence, are subjected to fevers: its timber is substantial, being hard and heavy, but by no means strong, on account of its tendency to rive, and to start into fissures; especially at those knots whence boughs have been thrown out. The bamboo may be cultivated to very great advantage: it grows, throughout India, on the most elevated situations, and on spots where scarcely a handful of soil is to be found in the vicinity of its roots. The value of this reed, (for it is nothing more, though it reaches to the height of seventy feet, and frequently measures from five to six inches in diameter,) would be incalculable, were it applied merely to making fences; which, in such a climate, would be very durable. 103An invaluable acquisition would be obtained from its more general culture, especially as it is of very quick growth. But the most important advantages would certainly attend the formation of vine-yards, in such parts as might, by their aspect and soil, be best suited to the purpose. The temperature of the climate is highly favorable, the thermometer averaging, during the summer season, from 76° to 79° and 80°, and rarely falling below 54°. That great enemy to grapes, rain, is not much to be dreaded; though it cannot be doubted, that in proportion as vegetation should be increased by assiduous planting, and by preserving due supplies of water for the upper levels, more dew and more rain would fall: however, not to such excess as to ruin the vine-yards.

Coffee has been found to thrive here; but I much doubt whether it would be an object to cultivate that which is so abundant throughout the West Indies, and which can be so amply supplied from countries, whence it comes as a return for our own manufactures.

The great, at least the primary, object should be to add to the resources of the present inhabitants, and gradually to effect such an excess of provision, of their own raising, as should allow of liberal assistance being given to such ships as might touch at the island; especially to vessels from the South Seas, whither numbers of our 104whalers now resort, and to such as might, either intentionally, or accidentally, miss the Cape. This may certainly be effected, by active perseverance in a well arranged plan; the difficulties are really few, and the means, of remedy certainly within our power. After maturely weighing the pros and cons, no doubt remains in my mind, that, in the course of fifteen or twenty years, St. Helena would not only cease to be a burthen on the parent state; but that it must be able to afford a large portion of its produce to the accommodation of all shipping visiting its roads.

This island cannot boast of a harbour; nor are its Roads so extensive as to admit a very numerous fleet, owing to the small extent of the bank on which ships cast anchor; generally in from six to fifteen fathoms. After the latter depth, the bank falls off so suddenly as to become unfathomable, within a few hundred yards, rendering it necessary to lay in, as close as the surf admits, probably about two cable’s length from the beach. But it is not very easy to get so near in the first instance, on account of a strong current that sets to the north, and the necessity for being close hauled to meet the wind which comes down James’s Valley. It is best to anchor any where about twelve fathoms, and, when the wind lulls, to warp into a better berth.

105There is but one landing place, which lies to the left of a shallow inflexion, forming a small bay opposite the sea-line; built nearly on a level with the water, and mounting a very heavy battery, properly equipped for heating shot, and always kept in readiness for service. Not that it would be possible for an enemy to surprize the island, unless the most shameful inattention might prevail in every quarter. All vessels must approach on the south-east; where there are guards, and telegraphs, whereby notice is given full four hours before the northernmost point can be rounded. This, of course, alludes to the day; but, so clear is the atmosphere in general, that even during the night a ship would be discerned at many miles distance.

After passing the southernmost points, it is necessary to keep well in with the shore, which is every where composed of immense masses of rock, without any inlet, or means of disembarkation; even if the tremendous surf should not impede. Here the coast is guarded, or rather watched, by various detachments, stationed at commanding points; where strong batteries are mounted, and the means of communicating intelligence, in the most rapid manner, at hand.

The last battery to be passed, previous to casting anchor, is called Munden’s, and stands immediately between the watering, or landing-place, 106and a small bay, in which, it is recorded, that a landing was once effected during the night: from my own observation, having often gone in a boat to the edge of the surf at that part to fish, I should think it by no means easy to get ashore in any manner, much more as an armed body intending to capture the island. But, whatever may have been effected in former times, that quarter seems now so well guarded as to leave no cause for apprehension, of a surprize at least: nor does there appear the smallest danger of a landing being effected at the watering place; where a very small party might oppose the boats of a whole fleet. The swell is here very great, rendering it a matter of some hazard when jumping into, or out of, a boat; besides, only one boat can come to at a time, in a position suitable to hostile purposes; and it is not to be supposed, that the battery above, or that on the landing-place, or the sea-line, or the works on Ladder Hill, would be silent upon such an occasion. Certain destruction awaits every person who falls into the water in this part; where the sharks are as numerous as they are ravenous. The wall of the wharf is perpendicular, and built on a rock, under which is a tremendous abyss.

The whole of the northern part is composed of rocks naturally scarped in a rugged manner, so as rather to hang over, than to retire from the 107sea; rising every where from 800 to 2000 feet, and more. Yet, wonderful as it may seem, with such force does the surf break on this leeward side of the island, that the spray, or mist, may be seen constantly ascending, like clouds of smoke, nearly to the summits of the mountains. The residue of the coast is equally bold, and inaccessible; except at a part called Sandy Bay, to the southward. There the shore is nearly flat for some distance, but is interspersed with rocks, and guarded by reefs of breakers, which project some distance, and totally obviate the means of attack. If, however, a landing were to be effected, the guns kept in readiness, in masked batteries on the surrounding heights, would soon defeat the enemy’s purpose.

On account of the difficulty of approach, the several ships take their water in regular rotation, unless when a vessel is under despatch; in which case her boats have the preference. The mode of receiving water is certainly suited to the situation; but is very tedious. The butts being carried in the long-boats to the edge of the wharf, are there filled by means of leathern hoses, of which the ends severally attach to cocks on the pipes that conduct the water to that part. With the upmost assiduity, I should suppose that not more than forty or fifty butts could be supplied to any one long-boat within the course of the day, notwithstanding the shipping 108lies so close; but, by a regular succession of boats, full 1000 butts might be received.

After landing, the way leads under a very high hill on the left, to the sea gate; within which is a barrier that secures the flank of the sea-line, and defends the road into the town; it is terminated by a gate, where the main guard is posted.

The town is small, and by no means irregular; the houses very low, generally consisting of two and three floors, in all which there are abundance of windows, glazed with small panes, which, on the whole, are not very sightly. The valley, in which James Town is situated, is very narrow, and, in the hot season, extremely sultry. On the right is Ladder Hill, where a very heavy battery is mounted, both of guns and mortars, effectually commanding the road, and the valley, for a great distance. This hill is so steep, that it is ascended only by means of traverses cut out of its side, and enclosed with a parapet sufficient to prevent accidents. The soil is, however, so replete with large loose stones, as to occasion frequent mischiefs to the houses below; of which some have been greatly damaged by the fall of rubbish from above. I imagine, that the ascent, by the road, cannot measure less than a mile; and, that the perpendicular height of Ladder Hill, above the level of the sea, must be full 600 yards.

109Major Rennell states the various eminences to be as follow.

Cuckold’s Point 2672
Halley’s Mount 2467
Flag Staff 2272
The Barn 2015
(Over-hanging the sea.)
The Alarm House (centrically situated) l960
High Knoll (where the Citadel stands, above Ladder Hill) 1903
Longwood House (residence of the Deputy Governor) 1762

This very elevated part, namely, Ladder Hill, is nevertheless commanded by several small batteries, judiciously situated, which, in their turn, are subject to the fire of the works at High Knoll, built under the auspices of Colonel Brooke, and under the immediate direction of Major Smyth. This little fortification seems to be the dernier resort of the garrison, of which it might hold about two hundred in the several bomb-proofs. It has a small arsenal, reservoir, magazine, a well of immense depth, cut through the rock with great difficulty, and, exclusive of its outworks, which are peculiarly compact, has a central block-house, mounting several pieces of heavy ordnance. The site of this citadel is shewn to be full 1960 feet above the level of the sea: the highest peak in the island is about 2700; but it is too remote to have any effect on the citadel.

110The force kept up at St. Helena is, nominally, a battalion of infantry, and four companies of artillery; but I doubt whether, at any time, more than 700 men could be mustered: that number is barely equal to the defence of the several outposts, and to manning the sea-line, Ladder Hill, and the citadel. It is, fortunately, a very healthy spot, and the hospitals are rarely known to contain more than four men in the hundred.

The surrounding ocean supplies abundance of fish; Mr. Brooke describes no less than seventy-six kinds, though few are much esteemed. From the stern of a ship, mackarel, of a small size, together with gar-fish, plaice, a kind of cod, and a very fine species of gurnet, may be caught. The best bait for these is a piece of raw albacore. Chance supplied us with a very excellent stock of craw-fish: under the idea of catching some small sharks, we made a net of spun-yarn, and slung it to a butt-hoop. A few bones of salt beef were tied within for a bait. This we lowered down at night, and occasionally drew up very gently to the surface, the depth being about ten or eleven fathoms. We caught no sharks, but frequently found two or three very fine craw-fishes, of that sort called stumps.

I will now proceed with the regular order of my design, and observe that, if a ship is not to touch at the Cape outward bound, especially when that port is in possession of an enemy, or that 111hostile cruisers are known to infest the southern coast of Africa, it is not uncommon to run down to the latitude of 38° or 40°, thereby to avoid those dangers, and to get beyond the influence of the current, which sets to the westward at the rate of full three miles per hour. Experience has proved, that, by taking such a course, the voyage has been quicker than when the land has been kept in sight. When the Cape is thus avoided, it will probably be necessary to proceed by the inner passage to the island of Johanna. This is supposed to be the best route that can be followed, by such as are bound to Bombay; though the number of shoals, and of rocks, scattered through the Mozambique Channel, which separates Madagascar from the Main, subjects it to some disrepute. These are, in a measure, counterbalanced during war time, by the danger attendant upon an approach to the island of Mauritius; whence the French have always fitted out a number of privateers, that have done inconceivable mischief among our shipping in the Indian Seas.

A few vessels touch at St. Augustine’s Bay, on the west coast of Madagascar; but the treacherous disposition of the natives is a great objection, and causes the generality to pass on to Johanna, which is the only island of the Comora cluster we have been in the habit of visiting. The strong current setting round its 112southern extremity, occasions vessels to keep close to the shore as they approach Saddle Island, which, at low water, is connected with Johanna by a ridge of sand, whereon the Huntingdon Indiaman was lost about forty years back, in attempting to pass, without going round Saddle Island; which derives its name from the appearance it bears, when viewed at a certain distance. The whole coast, from the southern point to the bay where the town is situated, presents, with very little exception, a bold shore, divested of those dangerous reefs which render Mohillah, and others of its neighbours, difficult of access. The country is extremely mountainous; in some parts abounding with cocoa and other trees: wild goats are very numerous; but, being much in request among the natives, are very shy, and, in general, retire to the most rugged eminences. To the left of the town, about two miles distant, a long reef of black rocks encloses a bay, of which the beach is covered with a fine sand, shelving very gradually, and bearing a strong resemblance to that of Weymouth.

The houses in the villages on the coast are rather mean, though appertaining to persons who have ridiculously assumed European titles of eminence. The island swarms with ‘Prince Ruperts,’ ‘Prince Eugenes,’ Dukes, Marquises, and Lords, all of whom are mean and knavish 113to an extreme. The common form of building consists of a long barn-like apartment, entered by a low door in middle of its length, and having another opposite thereto at the back, which leads to the most dirty out-offices that can be imagined; wherein the culinary operations, &c. are carried on. In the dwellings of those who admit lodgers, which may be said to include half the town, the places for sleeping, for I cannot call them bed-places, are raised, towards the two gable-ends, to the height of full six feet; and, in some, are parted off by a curtain of coarse chintz, or other cloth. These recesses are from three to five feet in width, and may be ten or twelve feet long; according to the breadth of the house. The ascent to them is formed by several very broad stairs, ordinarily covered with matting made of cocoa-tree leaves, or, in a few, with carpets. Each step is considered as accommodation for two persons to repose upon, feet to feet: in most instances, however, the steps are not long enough to allow more than one person to lie down. This theatrical arrangement is by no means displeasing, nor is it attended with so much inconvenience as would be the case were the whole upon a level. The middle of the room is set apart for meals, usually served on tables of a wretched construction; the guests sitting, as well as they can, upon little stools, or eventually reclining on the 114matted floor against the lower steps; which, by the by, is not only the most comfortable, but, among the natives, is considered to be the most decorous, mode.

The inhabitants of this island, which lies in 12° south, and 45° east, are chiefly descendants of some Arabs who settled here about two centuries ago. Its name is, properly, Hinzuan, from which we have, by a series of corruptions, contrived to affix the present designation. Most of the inhabitants who are not of Arabian descent, are slaves, purchased for a mere trifle at Madagascar and Mozambique, with which places some intercourse is preserved; though the Johanna marine seems but ill suited to crossing even that narrow sea, which separates it from either Cape Ambro, or the opposite coast of Mozambique. The number of vessels called war-boats, may amount to about twenty, each capable of carrying two hundred men. These barks, which are entirely open, are usually furnished with an immense number of paddles, and oars, which, aided by a large square-sail, cause them to make good way through the water. In such a temperate climate, where the wind always blows from the south-west, and where, with the exception of those hurricanes peculiar, to the higher latitudes, fair weather prevails during the whole year, such a naval armament may prove adequate to the ordinary purposes of its construction.

115All warfare with any of the neighbouring islands, is supported by voluntary contributions; each person of consequence taking with him provisions, and arms, for his respective adherents, or slaves. The revenues are collected from about two hundred villages; but the three principal towns are exempted from any contribution beyond the fortieth part of their moveable property; which all, of whatever degree, pay annually to the Mufti, or head of their church.

The king resides at the large and populous village of Domoni, where his whole train of artillery, consisting of a condemned six-pounder, is kept in great state! The natives are, in some degree, conversant in the use of small-arms; these, with cutlasses, spears of immense length, and bows and arrows, (the latter chiefly pointed with fish-bone, or flint,) compose their stock of military implements. Their coast being generally so safe, little skill is required to bring a vessel into a safe berth; but it is usual to take on board a pilot, who is known by the name of ‘Purser Jack.’ This copper-colored knave never fails to put off, so soon as any vessel is seen on its way from Saddle Island, and to offer his services, which are supposed to be well requited by a few dollars.

It is worthy of remark, that, on account of the rapidity of the current, which sets off to 116sea round the black rocks, and would infallibly prevent any vessel from reaching an anchorage, all ships pass to the southern extremity, near Saddle Island, and proceed with a fair wind along the coast. But it is not safe to carry too much sail while under the shore; as violent gusts come down between the mountains, in the most abrupt manner.

The population of Johanna must be rather considerable: perhaps it were not too much to estimate it at ninety, or a hundred, thousands; including all ranks and ages: the towns are large and extremely populous. The Mahomedan religion prevails, though but very few sacred edifices, worthy of notice, are to be found on the island; the principal one, which does not seem to have cost any great sum, being a mosque, built by Halimah, a queen from whom the present king is descended, situated near the landing place, in the town of Matsamudo. Nevertheless the priests are sufficiently numerous; and, as in most countries, enjoy an excellent share of the earth’s produce.

The areca-nut, which grows wild all over the island, but especially on its borders, is here chewed with shell-lime, as practised throughout the East: wild pine-apples, plantains, and the greatest variety of tropical fruits, are scattered over mountains exhibiting a verdure of peculiar richness, and presenting, on the aggregate, one 117of the richest scenes imaginable. Not a horse is to be seen on the island; but plenty of excellent cattle thrive uncommonly on the rich pastures of the vallies; through most of which streams of the purest water, every where broken by rocks, or gliding over shallow beds of gravelly sand, pursue their eager course. It is rather peculiar, that, among other poultry, the Guinea fowl should abound; thousands may be seen in a wild state, if it may be so termed, when, by throwing a handful of grain at your feet, all will instantly approach to participate of the bounty.

Musquitoes are here exceedingly troublesome, and attack the plethoric mariner with avidity. It is said, that no snakes, or other venomous reptiles, are to be found at Johanna; but, in exchange for that blessing, they are plentifully supplied with bugs. The only vehicle known in the island consists of a machine, termed a palanquin; but which is, in fact, nothing but a litter made of clumsy net-work on a rough frame, and borne by four men, who each take an end of the two side-poles of bamboo on their shoulder. This splendid piece of ingenuity is appropriated solely to the conveyance of his majesty, and of such nobles, and European, or Arabian visitors, as may obtain permission to visit him at Domoni.

Angling is little understood at Johanna, yet 118large quantitiesquantities of good fish are occasionally to be had. These are either taken by night lines, or are speared by persons standing at the heads of canoes, who, with wondrous dexterity, strike such fishes as approach the surface. This practice, common throughout uncivilized countries, is in great perfection among the Nicobar Islands.

I make no doubt, that, if proper means were used, an excellent supply of stumps might be obtained. What I have said on this subject, when describing St. Helena, would, most probably, be found equally efficacious in many other insulated situations, under warm parallels. On the shoals which lie within the channel of Mozambique, immense numbers of cowries, called by us ‘Blackamoors’ teeth,’ are dredged up: these being current as money in most parts of India, are exchanged, together with live oxen, for arms and ammunition, hatchets, knives, nails, &c.

The oriental practice of dying the hands and feet red, by means of the hinna, which here glows wild in the utmost luxuriance, prevails throughout the island; especially among the females, who color their lips and gums black, with a peculiar preparation, similar to the missy of Hindustan, in order to make their teeth appear to advantage! Although the men are extremely jealous, the women of the lower class are 119allowed to walk the streets, provided they wear veils. We must not by that word suppose that any particular part of their dress is so termed, or separately made for that purpose: the only mode of concealing the face consists in drawing the cloth, or sheet, which is thrown over the head, so as to cause its meeting forward, leaving a very narrow opening to enable the wearer to see her way.

With respect to the mercantile operations of the Johanna people, I cannot afford a clearer idea than attends the description given by Alwi, a man of some consequence on the island, to Sir William Jones, who has recorded it in the following words. He said, ‘His country was poor, and produced few articles of trade; but if they could get money, they might easily procure foreign commodities, and exchange them advantageously with their neighbours in the islands, and on the continent. Thus, with a little money,’ said he, ‘we purchase muskets, powder, ball, cutlasses, knives, cloths, raw cotton, and other articles brought from Bombay; and with these we trade to Madagascar for the natural produce of that country, or for dollars, with which the French buy cattle, honey, butter, and so forth, in that island. With gold, which we receive from your ships, we can procure elephants’ teeth from the natives of Mozambique; who barter them also for bars of iron, 120and ammunition; while the Portuguese in that country give us various kinds of cloths, in exchange for our commodities. These cloths we dispose of lucratively in the three neighbouring islands; whence we bring rice, cattle, a kind of bread-fruit, which grows in Comora, and slaves; which we buy also at other places where we trade: all this traffic we carry on in our own vessels.’

The foregoing should evince, that, under an effective government, for the present may be deemed a mere toleration of royalty, the island of Johanna might become important among its neighbours; and, so long as European vessels should continue to touch there for refreshments, might, carry on a brisk trade. Yet the total want of any thing like a harbour, must inevitably prove a great drawback on its prosperity. While there, our ship was driven by a sudden squall, issuing from between two immense mountains, from her anchorage, though she had two anchors out, and rode within a short half mile of the beach; and this, too, in remarkably clear weather.

The mode of killing whales in the Mozambique Channel, and by the Africans all along their south-east coast, is extremely simple; it shews how much may be effected by perseverance; and affords, indeed, an admirable moral, together with no insignificant satire upon the 121great expence to which Europeans, engaged in that pursuit, put themselves, without becoming more certain of success.

When a whale is seen within a moderate distance of the shore, basking, as they often do for hours together, with little intermission, during the heat of the day, the fishermen put off in their canoes, which are excavated from large trees, and equipped with out-riggers on each side. Generally, each canoe carries from four to six persons; but those which are intended to approach the whale, give over their crew, with the exception of one spearsman, and one paddler, to the other canoes.

The paddler urges his canoe very gently, until within about eight or ten yards of the whale; sidling up with extreme caution so as to be parallel with its shoulders; this is done to avoid that lash of the tail which the fish invariably gives, as he plunges downwards, on feeling the spear enter his flesh. The weapons used on this occasion are about five feet long, extremely elastic, and loaded at each end with iron or lead; whereby not only the impetus is encreased, but the vibration, occasioned by the opposite weights, causes the point, which is of iron, very acute and barbed, to wriggle deeper into the flesh. Previous to striking, the head of the canoe is turned towards the whale, and a slight retrocessive motion is given; so that, at the very 122moment when the spear is delivered, the paddler may, by a sudden exertion, pull further away, and avoid the danger. It sometimes happens, that the spearsman is thrown from his station into the water, by the sudden motion of the boat opposed to his own action; being invariably expert swimmers, such an accident is not in the least regarded. After sinking to a great depth, the whale rises again to the surface, perhaps a mile off, where other boats are waiting to repeat the attack; by a succession of which he is, ordinarily in the space of an hour, so completely worn out, as to float without the power of resistance, when a long spear, pushed through between his ribs, speedily terminates the struggle.

The whale being dead, all the canoes join their efforts to tow the carcase towards the shore; where, upon some sandy part, a division is made of the spoil; each of the crews cutting away with hatchets and cutlasses, as much of the blubber as they can expend. The residue is sold, or exchanged for other articles of consumption, dress, &c. to the inhabitants of the neighbouring towns: the whale-bone is reserved for sale to European traders; the ribs serve for the couples of houses, or rather cabins; and the joints of the vertebræ, after being neatly trimmed at the sides, and at one end, make very comfortable stools; of which, however, the 123strong, rank scent, retained for many months, would prove highly offensive to any but persons who consider the blubber, after the oil has been fried, and pressed out, to be a delicate morceau!

The operation of cutting away the adipose parts; which come off in immense lumps, of from eight inches to a foot, or fifteen inches in depth, is rather laborious; it is likewise attended with the danger of attacks from an immense number of sharks, that instinctively follow the carcase; and, so soon as it is hewn open, seize whatever falls from it with the most ferocious avidity. Hence, the fishermen are obliged to be extremely careful not to expose their limbs, by allowing them to dangle in the water: such of the crews as fall overboard, are usually snapped up by their greedy competitors; which, it is said, are known in these parts to grow to the enormous length of thirty feet!

It has often occurred to me, that, in lieu of casting loose the remains of whales, after cutting away the blubber, as our fishermen usually do, an immense quantity of ammonia might be extracted, were the skeletons to be towed to the shore, and there to be applied to that purpose. Fuel is rarely wanting, and there being invariably sufficient crews on board our whale-ships, which cannot be always employed, it should seem that much advantage might thus arise, with little or no expence: the price of 124ammonia is very high, but if it could be lowered, immense quantities would be consumed. It is to be remarked, that this valuable alkali has not hitherto been put under that course of experiments to which it certainly would be subjected, did the price not stand in the way of its use on a large scale: the following qualities, as stated in the invaluable Dispensary given to the public by Dr. Andrew Duncan, may plead in apology for my digressing so far on a subject, not apparently connected with my prospectus; but which, considered philosophically, is, by no means, irrelevant thereto.

Dr. Duncan states, that, ‘ammonia does not dissolve animal substances; it extinguishes flame; colors vegetable-blues green; is decomposed by being transmitted through a red hot tube, and, by the electric spark, into its constituent gases, and by oxygen, and atmosphoric air at a red heat; by oxy-muriatic acid, it is converted into water and hydrogen-gas. It is absorbed, without change, by porous bodies; it dissolves sulphur and phosphorus; and combines readily with water, in all its states. Ammonia combines with the acids, forming neutral salts. It is formed during the putrefactive fermentation; and is commonly classed among the alkalies.’ My readers will see, at once, how wide a field is open for speculation!

After quitting Johanna, which is the only 125island, in that cluster, whither European vessels ever intentionally resort, such as may be bound to Bombay usually make the great peninsula somewhere about Anjengo, pursuing their course up the western, or Malabar side; while those proceeding to Coast and Bay, (i.e. Madras and Bengal,) endeavor to get a sight of Dondra-Head, which determines both their latitude, and their longitude; thence they pass round the eastern side of the island of Ceylon, of which the shore is sufficiently bold to allow their keeping within two or three miles of the land with perfect safety, in regard to reefs or shoals; but this quarter being extremely subject to violent gales, that come on rather suddenly, or, at least, without much notice, and are known by the name of ‘white squalls,’ it is generally considered most prudent to keep a good offing. These white squalls invariably take place when the sky is free from clouds; but may sometimes be distinguished, as they approach, by the white spray raised from the water by the violence of the wind: so soon as that is discovered, all the small sails should be taken in, and the ship rendered as compact above as time may admit. The warning spray is too frequently unnoticed; and, even when perceived, is, for the most part, too close at hand to admit of much preparation. This insidious danger extends, more or less, from the south end of Madagascar up to the latitude of 126Tranquebar, being most prevalent to the southward of the Line, where the south-west trade wind prevails at all times.

The island of Ceylon has been adopted as a royal possession, in the government of which the Company have no share whatever. The whole of the civil establishment are appointed by the king; and the military receive their commissions from the secretary at war, independent of the Company’s chartered establishment. It generally happens, however, that some of the Madras battalions are on duty in the island; which has always been in a most perturbed state, especially since it came under our dominion. It is rather unusual for the Company’s ships to touch here, except when sent to Columbo with stores, or calling there on their way home for cargoes and passengers. None but very small vessels can pass between Ceylon and the Main, notwithstanding the great width of the channel, on account of that immense reef, intermixed with shoals, stretching across its northern part. This reef, called ‘Adam’s Bridge,’ is supposed to be formed by the summits of mountains, that, by some dreadful convulsion, were sunk below those waters, between which they originally formed a stupendous isthmus, like that of Darien, connecting Ceylon with the continent.

127Notwithstanding what has been said by many authors on the subject of ‘spicy gales,’ the expectation of meeting with perfumed breezes in this quarter should not be too much encouraged. After coasting the whole length, from Dondra-Head to Point Pedro, not one puff, conveying the idea of proximate ambrosia, ever reached my nose. It must, at the same time, be understood, that a certain terraceous scent, something like that resulting from rain in dusty weather, generally prevails within a certain distance of a windward shore; particularly where the country is well wooded.

After passing to the northward of Ceylon, the navigation becomes more difficult; there being immense shoals stretching, in various directions, all the way from Tranquebar up to the mouths of the Ganges. It is generally opposite some short interval between these dangerous shallows, that our principal settlements are situated. Thus, Tranquebar, Pondicherry, Cuddalore, Negapatam, and some others, to the southward of Madras, enjoy a partial benefit in that instance; but, to the northward, our principal sea-ports are under very considerable disadvantages, arising from the great distance at which all vessels, with the exception of very small coasters, are obliged to lay out in an open road, subject to the fury of storms, and to the depredations of privateers, 128which seldom fail to take advantage of these localities, whenever the season may allow them to visit our shores.

The shallows may easily be distinguished at a considerable distance: being composed of light, shifting sand, and acted upon by a strong current, the water above them appears discolored; assuming a dun, or yellow hue, sufficiently contrasted with the deeper parts, to enable the eye at once to trace their respective limits.

Madras Roads being exempt from shoals, for some miles on either side, are entered without a pilot; ships in general anchoring off the fort, in from six to ten fathoms; the bottom a firm sand. The surf is here, at all times, rather high; but when a south-west, or westerly wind, prevails, becomes so tremendous as to debar all communication with the shipping. From the beginning of October to the middle of January, the flag-staff is struck, as a signal to vessels that no insurance is payable on account of such losses as may happen during that period, which is held to be replete with danger. So great is the apprehension entertained of the perils attendant upon a continuance on the Coromandel coast during that monsoon, that even our ships of war retire from the protection of such trade as may be carried on by adventurous individuals, and seek an asylum in some well-sheltered port, such as Trincomalee.

129Before we obtained possession of that admirable harbour, our fleets were under the necessity of going round annually to Bombay; there they employed their crews in putting the respective ships into complete order, against the ensuing season; whatever vessels required substantial repairs, being taken into dock. In the mean while, the enemy’s fleet went to the Mauritius, which could be easily reached at any season; and whence they could return full a month before our’s could get back from the Malabar coast. The serious losses occasioned, both to the Company, and to private traders, by such management, (which then appeared to be inevitable, though not so in reality, since Bengal could have received and repaired them,) rendered it a desideratum to obtain some port, not far removed from our principal settlements. The fortune of war once put us in possession of Trincomalee; but, somehow or other, it was re-taken: as we have now command over the whole of Ceylon, it is to be hoped we shall have the wit to keep it.

The construction of keeled boats being, in many respects, unsuitable to intercourse between the shipping and the shore, recourse is always had to the common country boats, called ‘masoolahs;’ which, however rude their formation may appear, are perfectly adequate to every purpose, and convey both goods and passengers with general safety.

130These masoolah-boats may carry from forty to sixty tons; they are made of plank, about two inches in thickness above, and three below, fastened together by means of coir; that is, the fibres of cocoa-nut rinds, passed through small holes pierced along the edges of the several planks, all around each: these planks appear as though sewed together with twine of the above description, and are fastened to battens and sleepers, answering for ribs and floor timbers. At the bottom, planks are laid in the opposite direction of these, which form the vessel, and near the gun-whales, several thwarts are secured across; they passing through the sides, and being firmly pinned in. There is no deck, and the rudder consists of a large kind of oar, rigged out at the stern.

At a little distance, the masoolah-boats look like rude imitations of our coal-barges: they row from ten to sixteen oars, and when unladen make more speed than persons accustomed to wherries, or to ships’ pinnaces, would expect; getting through the surf, both coming and going, with amazing facility: though sometimes, owing to letting them swing round, instead of steering head-on, they fill, or overset: but this very rarely happens; and the mere act of ‘swamping’, unless in the first, or outward surf, is not attended with any imminent danger; the next wave generally impelling the boat, and all that 131it contains, high (but not dry,) upon the beach, where it is soon run up out of the water’s way.

In order to encourage the boatmen to exert themselves towards saving any Europeans who may be in danger, owing to a masoolah-boat’s upsetting in the surf, the Company allow premiums, generally medals, to such as may prove their title thereto. Several of the Company’s servants, and others, owe their lives to the activity of these people, a few of whom have been enabled to retire upon a very comfortable subsistence allowed to them by those gentlemen they had rescued. It is much to be lamented, that the Company have never been able to adopt the only efficient means of breaking the surf for a few hundreds of yards; namely, by conical caissons, forming an angle in front of the landing place. Nature has done this for the Portugueze at Pernambuco, forming a bar of coral, at the end of which is a battery: the sea at all times breaks with tremendous violence upon the Bar, and sometimes, though very rarely, dashes over the guns. The supposed objection will be, that, owing to the great expanse of the coast of Coromandel, nothing could be made to resist the force of the water. But, in answer to this, I must observe, that Pernambuco is much more exposed than Madras, it being subject to the force of the trade winds, blowing all the year round from the south-west, across that immense, 132uninterrupted ocean lying between the two continents of Africa and America, while a very strong current at the same time sweeps round, and causes the surf to rise with full as much violence as in any part of the East. At Pernambuco, vessels lie within the bar, where the water is perfectly still, and deep enough for those of four hundred tons to ride clear of the sandy bottom. At Madras, we could scarcely expect to see so extensive a desideratum obtained, as should afford shelter to the numerous ships of great burthen which frequent its Roads; the expence would be enormous; otherwise, we should be as well able to form such a barrier there, as the French were at Cherburg. It may be said, that the inconvenience attached to the works at the latter place, namely, a vast accumulation of sand, would follow: that would by no means be likely to take place in so very strong a tide, with deep water at hand; and if it should, might perhaps rather tend to facilitate the measure, and to augment the strength of the defences.

It is indispensably necessary, when going ashore at Madras, or in any part where the surf runs high, to be well covered with a boat-cloak, or some ample exterior clothing; for, even under the best management, and during the most favorable weather, the spray will rise around the boat, completely wetting whatever finery may 133be exposed to its action. Nor must it be considered any way extraordinary, if a large portion of that surf which propels the boat, should pour over her stern or quarters, so as to drench the whole party!

The masoolah-boats are, with great propriety, under the sole management of the master-attendant, or the beach-master. None can put off without licence; and no person can be admitted to serve on board who is not an expert and bold swimmer. I believe, that instances of individuals of any description being lost are extremely rare: such as are enumerated, took place chiefly at the outer surf, (there being usually three following waves to pass, or to accompany,) where the water is very deep, and where immense numbers of ground-sharks are ever on the watch for what accident may throw in their way. It may readily be supposed the shore is tolerably bold, when it is explained, that our Indiamen, deeply laden, have been several times necessitated to warp to the very edge of the outer surf, in consequence of an enemy’s fleet having entered the Roads, with the view to cut them out.

So soon as a vessel is seen standing into the Roads, signals are hoisted, which it is expected she should, if a man of war, or a Company’s ship, be able to answer. On her approach to the anchorage, a boat puts off, with a deputation from the beach-master, to enquire whence 134she comes, as well as to take the purser, &c. ashore with the despatches. In this first boat, a number of debashes are sure to arrive, bringing with them various articles of provision, fruits, &c. as presents to the captain and officers; whose favor each of them courts, under the hope of being employed as the agent for the ship, or for the supply of necessaries, and for providing lodgings for individuals.

These debashes are generally men of property, and of some consequence among the natives, owing to their having at times so many purchases to make for those who arrive at Madras; but especially where the supplies necessary for a whole ship, or sometimes for a whole fleet, are in question. They all speak broken English, understanding far beyond what they can express in our language; they are servile to an extreme, and most completely trained in every money-making device.

The provision brought on board usually consists of half-starved mutton, buffalo-beef, which might safely be classed with carrion, some tolerable fowls, with, eventually, a few ducks and geese, yams, biringals, capsicums, and other vegetable productions. Fish abound in the Roads, yet are rather scarce, and are very rarely brought on board: this is in a measure owing to the greater number of fishermen being private servants, who are obliged to supply their 135masters first. It is said, that the water-serpents, which abound in the Roads, and may be seen, in beautiful varieties, to rise, at all hours to the surface, destroy great quantities of the smaller kinds: this I can easily suppose to be true; but, having occasionally seen the catamarans returning from the offing, with immense loads of the best sorts, it would be difficult to convince me, that the scarcity of fish in the market, and on board the ships in the Roads, does not proceed from either the want of industry, or of regulation.

Few people, taking all things into consideration, are more hospitable than the Europeans residing at Madras: where deficiency in that respect is supposed to exist, we may, by due consideration of peculiar circumstances, relating to the person, or to the place, always find some sufficient apology. Being so much frequented, and the number of European gentlemen resident on the spot being comparatively trifling, it cannot be expected they should keep open house, or indulge their friendly dispositions in the exercise of unlimited kindness. In fact, the expectations of those who visit Madras, on their way from Europe to India, are, for the chief part, rather too sanguine: they have heard much of Indian hospitality, and wonder at that disappointment which is purely the offspring of their own unreasonable anticipations. I know 136not of any situation where a letter of introduction is of more avail, or indeed more necessary, than this: but such letter should be addressed to some person resident at Madras; else it may be perfectly nugatory, in consequence of the immense expanse over which the civil servants, as well as the military, are scattered. A young gentleman taking out a dozen letters, may, on his arrival, find them entirely useless, in consequence of the parties being absent from the presidency.

The passengers of every class are expected to reside on shore during the ship’s detention in the Roads. Few, indeed, neglect to avail themselves of the opportunity offered of seeing one of our principal fortresses, and of observing the customs of a country so celebrated in history, and forming so essential a branch of the British Empire. If an introduction is obtained, by any means, the usual result will be an invitation to reside with the gentleman if he keeps house; otherwise, every attention will be paid in seeing the stranger accommodated, at the best house of that description which admits boarders; and which are commonly called ‘Punch-Houses.’ This designation doubtless arose from the habits of those who first settled in India, and who, finding spirits, sugar, and limes, (a small species of lemon,) every where abundant, indulged in copious draughts of punch. That beverage is 137now completely obsolete, unless among sea-faring persons, who rarely fail to experience its deleterious effects. In all sea-ports, taverns, or punch-houses, are more frequented than in places where shipping lie in some distant road, or harbour. This occasions them to be more respectable in the opinions of those who keep them, but nothing could reconcile a gentleman, long resident in the country, to seek an accommodation among them: it would imply a total want of respectable connexions: and, in itself, appear sufficient cause for avoiding his acquaintance: so different are the customs of different places!

Totally ignorant of the language, and without any guide, it is not to be wondered that so many impositions are practised on our countrymen on their arrival in India. A debash of the lowest order, and of the most crafty disposition, perfectly experienced in all the ordinary requisitions of Europeans, and prompt to gratify their desires so long as profit attends the speculation, is ever at the elbow of the novice, serving as banker, purveyor, pimp, and interpreter. What more can be requisite to ruin an helpless, inconsiderate youth?

Most of the gentlemen in the Company’s service reside in the fort, or at houses a few miles off, in the country, or at St. Thomas’s Mount, about six miles from Madras, where 138the Artillery are usually quartered, together with the troops destined to defend the works in case of attack. The incursions to which the Carnatic was formerly exposed, during the times of Hyder, and of Tippoo, rendered it expedient to fortify the Black-Town; which is very extensive, and contains the houses of many highly respectable European merchants, chiefly British and Portugueze, together with the entire property of the richer natives of rank and consequence. I cannot say the Black-Town is an enviable site for residence; but the situation, being subject to the land and sea breezes, the latter of which are as refreshing as the former are debilitating, reconcile the older inhabitants to many inconveniences, among which, smoke is by no means the least obnoxious. The musquitoes are here tolerably numerous, as are also rats of all sizes, cock-roaches, and scorpions: the latter grow to an immense size, and are peculiarly venomous. That most loathsome companion, the bug, is to be found here in such swarms, that it is by no means uncommon to see them crawling about at all hours, and in all places.

St. Thomas’s Mount is certainly the more pleasant station and may be fairly put in competition with any of those rural retreats, called ‘Garden-Houses,’ scattered every where in the vicinity of the capital: at these, many families reside all the year round; the gentlemen who 139have offices to attend, being conveyed thereto in the mornings, either in palanquins, or in their carriages; the climate by no means favoring much exercise on horse-back.

Except at that season when the flag-staff is struck, Madras Roads are, in general, much resorted to by shipping. Being the seat of government on the Coromandel coast, it necessarily has become the emporium of that side of the peninsula. Most of the China ships touch there, and very few of those proceeding to Bengal omit to call; especially when war either prevails, or is expected to break out. It is much to be lamented, that no means have yet been devised, nor, indeed, appear easily practicable, of rendering the Roads safe against the attack of an enemy. The fort certainly could repel any attempt to land within the reach of its cannon; but there does not appear any possibility of preventing an enterprising enemy from causing all the shipping, either to surrender, or to run ashore. Perhaps hulks might be so stationed, as to become very efficient in the defence of whatever shipping might remain beyond the surfs. One or two old 64 gun ships properly prepared against boarding, might, at all times, suffice, if moored with chains in proper situations, under cover of the batteries.

It being indispensable that every person should be conversant with the several coins, or currency, 140in which payments are made, or accounts kept, I recommend to my readers to make themselves acquainted with the tables of coins, weights, and measures, in use at Madras: observing, that, throughout the dependant provinces, an endless variety in the two last are to be found; and that, consequently, all dealings must be regulated in proportion to the encreased, or diminished, variations, wherever situated. The ‘East India Directory’ will be found to contain whatever may relate to this subject, including the three presidencies.

Conceiving, that, with few exceptions, the customs of many classes among the natives of Bengal, assimilate greatly with those of the population on the coast, I shall now pass on to the ordinary occurrences attendant upon the arrival of a ship off the Sand-Heads, in the Bay of Balasore. It has been already stated, that the voyage from Madras to Bengal will depend, in regard to duration, entirely upon the season. If the southerly monsoon prevails, Point Palmiras, which is at the southern boundary of Balasore Roads, may be made in from three to seven days: during the northerly monsoon, it is usual, experience having confirmed what accident probably first suggested, to stretch over to the opposite side of the bay upon a wind, and then to run obliquely across on the other tack, so as to arrive in soundings of the mouth of the 141Hooghly, where the tides will speedily convey a vessel up to any place on the river, notwithstanding the wind’s direction. During the passage, under the former prevalence, the land is not, in general, seen until the water becomes obviously discolored with sand. In the first instance, the course is made directly from Madras Roads, to gain a good offing, whereby the dangerous shoals of Pulicat, about five miles north of Madras, may be avoided: the land all along the coast being invariably low, and the shallows projecting, in some places, full ten miles seaward, it is prudent to keep rather towards the middle of the bay, and, from a N.N.E. course, to change latterly to a N.N.W; rounding in, when the latitude directs, until Point Palmiras may be from four to six leagues distant.

It is of infinite importance to be correct in making that point, which is best regulated by a perfect knowledge of the latitude, there being a promontory very similar thereto, thence designated ‘False Point’; by mistaking which many vessels have been lost. When in sight of Point Palmiras, it is usual to await the arrival of some pilot-vessel, of which one or more are always on the look-out below the Sand-Heads, and to proceed into the river under her guidance. The capture of several of those vessels having occurred within these few years, in consequence of French privateers anchoring, as though in want of 142pilots, thus taking advantage, in the most infamous and unprincipled manner, of an institution, that ought ever to be held sacred, has given occasion for many precautions, which must inevitably be attended with inconvenience, and even danger, on particular occasions. In lieu of proceeding boldly towards vessels anchored at the usual ne plus ultra, the pilots now draw off towards the channels, allowing the ships to follow at some distance, and refraining from sending a boat on board, until, by their knowledge of the soundings, the schooners may be placed out of danger. If all should prove right, which is soon ascertained by the signals made by the mate sent on board the ship to be piloted, the schooners may then proceed with confidence; but if any suspicion should remain, an alarm would instantly be given; and, if possible, the enemy be decoyed among those dreadful shoals, where, being once entangled, he must fall an easy prey to such force as might be sent against him.

There are various channels by which a ship may proceed to the harbour of Kedgeree, situated many miles up the river, but those most frequented, especially by such as import, are the middle, and left channels, which have, however, barely three fathoms and a half at low water; consequently, ships of burthen are commonly 143brought to anchor, in such positions as may allow their taking advantage of the best part of the tide for passing the shallows: nevertheless, the sand is ploughed up, by the action of a ship’s passage over them, in such manner as would lead one, at first sight, to conclude she were touching the ground, when perhaps her keel is many feet above it. During daylight, the pilot-schooner makes few signals, but, after night-fall, on every heave of the lead, she communicates, by means of maroons, (which are flambeaux of an immense size, alternately exhibited and concealed in a large tub,) the exact soundings in which she is proceeding. No greater care can possibly be taken, than in the Company’s pilot-service, to conduct ships in safety: exclusive of character, there is much at stake; for no pilot who loses one of the Company’s ships, is retained on the list: he is, ipso facto, dismissed. This regulation, which, no doubt, may, in a few cases, press hard on very meritorious individuals, must be considered one of the most important props of the institution, among persons who may have habitually indulged in the use of spirituous liquors to a dangerous excess. I knew some of the pilots who were perfectly sensible of their failings, and could not be induced, either by temptation, or entreaty, to taste of any beverage stronger than water or 144country-beer, until they had seen their charges moored in safety. That being done—good bye to forbearance!

It is not a little wonderful, that men who have the power to overrule a dangerous propensity, merely when their professional characters are at stake, should at every other moment throw aside that curb, which, if duly maintained, would preserve their health, and render them far more acceptable members of society!

The country all along the sea-coast, on both sides of the river’s mouth, being extremely low, and there being no hills of sufficient altitude to be distinguished at sea, especially on the right bank, very little gratification is offered to the eye by the surrounding scenery. The shelving beach, on either hand, is overgrown, in most parts, with trees rarely exceeding twenty feet in height, whose stems are surrounded with under-wood, or grass jungle, in which abundance of deer are to be found. The pursuit of sport must, however, be invariably desisted from, on account of the immense numbers of tigers which occupy the same covers. It rarely happens that a party land for the purpose of shooting deer, or wild hogs, (which are equally abundant,) without meeting with some accident; or, at least, being frightened so as to produce the most salutary forbearance. About twenty-five years ago, a son of the late Sir Hector Monro was carried 145off by a tiger from among his comrades, who had seated themselves round a large fire, made to obviate the apprehended danger, while they awaited the arrival of a boat that was to convey them back to their ship.

All the way, from Balasore up to Kedgeree, the prospect, if we except those agreeable sensations arising from the display of vegetation, and from arriving at the ultimate thule of destination, rather wearies than pleases: nothing is to be seen but a series of wilderness, perhaps here and there enclosing a few huts, or, in the broken intervals, displaying some insignificant village, of which the inhabitants are as poor as they are idle. No public edifice; no gay villas; no busy hum of men; no crowded wharfs! In fact, I scarcely know a spot more dreary than the debouché of the Hooghly, for at least thirty miles; or until arrival at Diamond Harbour.

It is usual for the pilot-schooner to return to the Roads, in search of other importations, unless her tour may be over; in which instance, she proceeds up to Calcutta; leaving a person on board, lest the vessel should drag her anchors, and to prevent her getting into foul ground. The purser, for the most part, avails himself of the attendance of the chokey-boats, which are always plying about the mouth of the rivers for the express purpose of receiving packets. In favorable seasons, these boats have been known 146to reach Calcutta, distant full sixty miles, in one tide. If a schooner should be proceeding up the river, there should be no hesitation in embarking in her: no equal accommodation can, in general, be had: the whole risk, trouble, and delay, attendant upon making a passage in any of the common country boats, are at once annihilated. The pilot may possibly expect some return for his good offices; but, if he likes his company, will, in all probability, set them ashore at Calcutta free of all expence.

I should not envy the purser his trip in a chokey-boat, with no other than a very small semi-circular covering of mats, under which it is impossible to sit upright, except exactly under its centre. In tempestuous seasons, and such are generally the periods in which the Indiamen arrive, there is often a high swell between Kedgeree and Fulta, the river being in some parts from three to six miles across, and running to the southward, from which quarter the wind blows very forcibly for five months at least. Therefore, although so very few accidents happen, it cannot be considered as a safe voyage between the ship and the capital. The chokey-boats are all under the master-attendant, and bear the Company’s colors, on a small staff, or, at times, at the head of the mast, made of a single bamboo, nearly as long as the boat; which ordinarily rows ten or twelve oars. Being of a 147light construction, and divested of all superfluous apparatus, the chokey-boats proceed at a prodigious rate; and, on emergency, even when opposed by the tide, can gain from two to six miles hourly; according as they may be able to row along the slack water; to pole up against the more rapid streams; or to track up, when both wind and tide are strongly adverse.

When relatives, or particular friends, are on board any ship whose arrival is expected, it is customary to send a stout pinnace-budgrow to meet her at Kedgeree, there to receive the persons for whose accommodation it was provided. When this act of kindness takes place, all the necessary provision, a bed, table, chairs, &c. are put on board, together with a proper number of servants of such description as are generally needful on the water. Few who have any feeling for their noviciate companions on board, especially those who have been in India, quit the ship without taking with them as many as the pinnace can, without distressing all, receive. This wind-fall does not happen every day; though few ships return to India without conveying one or more old standards, either civil or military: but it is not always that notice can be received of a ship’s being about to import; and when such notice has been received, it is not always thought of, or perhaps practicable, to send a pinnace to receive an old friend.

148Persons in a delicate state of health should, if possible, wait till some safe and comfortable conveyance can be obtained. The most certain mode is, to commission the purser to hire a vessel the moment he reaches Calcutta, and to send her off under charge of some servant, who should see that no delay were made by the boatmen; which, if paid by the day, would inevitably follow. The misfortune is, that very few can endure to be confined so much longer on board, and often impatiently reject such a proposition: here we may expect to find that the greatest haste makes the worst speed; at the same time that the expences are encreased greatly, while the accommodations are deteriorated in exact ratio.

Now and then, an adventurous manjee, (or boat-master,) who knows how to make a good bargain, will linger about Diamond Harbour, or lay up in Culpee Creek, with the intent of going down, wind and tide permitting, to the first ship which may arrive from Europe. Such men are certain of a good fare, it being very common to give from fifty rupees (about six guineas) to one hundred (about twelve guineas) for the trip. Such an opportunity, however extravagant the terms may appear, ought not to be lost; it being a great chance whether a second vessel of the same description may proceed 149to the ship. As to small boats, rowing four or six oars, and having either a thatched cabin, or a semi-circular awning of mats, several of them may come along-side; but they will not be found to yield the smallest accommodation beyond shelter from the sun; while their manjees will not fail to take every advantage of whatever distress, or difficulty, the passenger may labor under.

It would not be just to infer, from what I have said, respecting the readiness with which the boatmen avail themselves of the necessities of persons desirous to leave a ship, that they are particularly covetous, or prone to imposition: we need only look at home, where we shall find that no mercy is shewn to such unfortunate persons as become the prey of our watermen, along the whole extent of our coast. See with what hard-hearted, callous apathy, the boatman views the distress of the unthinking youth, who, either by neglect, or by accident, remains on shore after the boats that frequent his own ship, then under weigh, have put off! What prayers, or arguments, short of those issuing from the purse, can urge him to relieve the anxiety of him, whose whole hope, whose only resource, lies in that voyage for which every preparation has been made, and for which expences, often nearly ruinous to friends and connections, 150have been defrayed! I speak not of those who are in a hurry to quit their ships, before coming to an anchor; if they will have their way, they must pay for such intemperate haste; it is an expence they have the option of avoiding.

Really, when we come to a fair computation of the risks attendant upon taking a vessel, built expressly for accommodation, and not intended to meet the rude surges of, what may be called, an arm of the sea; that from twelve to eighteen men are engaged; that much time is lost in waiting arrivals; that full sixty miles are to be passed over; and that, perhaps, four or five gentlemen, with all their luggage that may be at hand, are conveyed; I say, when all this is considered, although we certainly, from habit of having things cheaper in India, may deem even the fifty rupees exorbitant, yet there appears far less reason to find fault with the extortion of the Indian than there is to condemn the cruel rapacity of the English boatman!

Whatever may be the rate at which the boat, supposing it to be a pinnace-budgrow, is engaged, no apparatus of any description should be expected; for none will be found. There will usually be an open veranda in the front, having three or four steps to descend from the deck thereto; it being on the same level with the front, or dining room. The after-room narrows 151considerably towards the stern; and, on account of the vessel’s form, its floor is usually raised one or two steps; this is the sleeping apartment: at the stern is a small slip, serving for a quarter-gallery: The roofs of these boats are usually flat; and some have side-rails above to prevent luggage, or those who sleep there, from falling overboard. The sides are furnished, for their whole length, with Venetian blinds, in frames which lift up by means of hinges at their tops; and a long curtain, made either of tarpaulin, or of painted, or of white canvas, is nailed on the outside; letting down at pleasure, to keep out wind, rain, dust, &c. The baling-place is ordinarily about the centre of the front room; that being the deepest part of the boat’s bottom. Baggage may be put under the deck; but that part is generally occupied by the dandies, (or rowers,) if permitted to sleep there; or perhaps the manjee may think it worth his while to make it a trading voyage and lay in salt, rice, &c. to be disposed of to advantage on his arrival at the presidency.

From this concise detail it will be seen, that some penance must be undergone, even in this kind of boat, and supposing it to be perfectly fitted up with the above defences against bad weather: but such will rarely turn out to be the case. The sea-cot is now of singular use; its hooks being withdrawn from the ship’s beams, 152and inserted in those of the budgrow. Those who had standing bed-places, must spread their mattresses, &c. on the floor: all must sit upon their trunks, or whatever may be at hand; and every little article of convenience brought from the ship will become useful. Candles, candle-sticks, tin-ware, glasses, &c. are now invaluable. As to table-cloths, there being no table, they may be cheerfully dispensed with; as may also knives and forks, there being no plates; it being probable that curry and rice, prepared by the boatmen, will form the bill of fare. Those who are fond of savoury dishes, may, in this instance, gratify themselves with a repast in high estimation among the gentlemen of India: viz. a dandy’s curry; but I fear, that those who have been in the habit of eating made dishes, at a distance from the culinary operations, may not altogether relish the manner of preparation, nor be invariably pleased with the appearance of the cook; whose habiliments will probably consist of a cloth wrapped round his waist, then passed between his thighs, and a small cap, if the party be a Mussulman; if a Hindu, the entire dress may be composed of a small cord tied round his waist for the purpose of supporting a narrow piece of cloth passed between his thighs thus barely answering the purpose of a fig-leaf. Herpetic eruptions, in large patches, all over the back, breast and 153arms, together with obvious symptoms of a more troublesome cutaneous complaint, about the fingers, &c. are by no means rare, yet never disqualify the scratching sufferer from officiating as cook to the crew! Were such trifles to be objectionable, it might be somewhat difficult to get a dinner dressed.

It being utterly impracticable to row a budgrow against the tide, which ordinarily runs from three to six miles in the hour, and many difficulties presenting themselves to render it by no means easy to track along the shore, especially where the mud-banks shelve out a great way, the manjee will probably come to near some village, or in some creek, during the ebb; and, as it rarely happens that the first of the flood is taken, particularly during the night time, in all probability the best part of three days will be expended between Kedgeree and Calcutta. If a few bottles of wine, a small quantity of biscuit, a piece of beef, or of pork, and a pack of cards, have been supplied from the ship, so much the more agreeably will the time be passed; but I cannot forbear from observing, that intemperance at this time rarely fails to bring on fevers, such as baffle the art of man. Those who heat their blood on first entering the country, whether by drinking, or by exposure to the sun, become subject to diseases of the liver which are too often incurable, and 154finally, though after some years perhaps, drag their lingering victim to the grave. With respect to bathing, it is not only insalubrious, as practised by persons who have not proper apparatus at hand, but highly dangerous, on account of the incredible numbers of alligators and sharks, which infest not only the great river, but every little creek, and puddle, within reach of the tide.

The manjee generally endeavors to reach Culpee, Fultah, or Diamond Harbour, with the first tide: at either of those places many articles of provision may be had, and there will be found some persons who can speak a little English. These will invariably do all in their power to encourage the purchase of many things of no use whatever, but which become perquisites to the manjee, on his passengers quitting the vessel. Abundance of poultry may be seen; but, with the exception of a curry, there will no method of dressing them; unless accidentally some person be on board, in whatever capacity, who can trim a fowl, and roast it. If fish are to be had, they will come under the same difficulty; so that, like Sancho, in the midst of plenty, a man may be next to starving, if he cannot make up his mind to partake of the dandies’ curry.

It is proper to caution against eating much fruit, though it may be perfectly ripe: unseasonable 155avidity in this way has proved fatal to many on their arrival. A few bananas will not incommode; but the cocoa-nut, however pleasant and refreshing it may be, should be partaken of very sparingly; it being extremely apt to affect the bowels, as is also the jack.

Those who have never had an opportunity of seeing the fire-fly, will be agreeably surprized at the millions of those little luminaries, which at night bespangle every bush: displaying themselves in the most vivid manner. The hind parts of these insects, which may be about the size of common house-flies, are replete with a brilliant substance, similar to that contained in the glow-worm, and, like it, equally innocent. It is extremely curious, that, in many parts of the ocean, immense shoals of the luminous sea-maggot, each about the size of a man’s finger, should be seen at nights, causing the water to assume a phosphoric appearance. In sailing through these living shoals, abundance may be drawn up in buckets; while, at the same time, innumerable fishes of prey may be heard, or seen, rushing among them, and, no doubt, making many a hearty meal. The great distance from all land at which these shoals are to be found, must cause us to wonder at their origin, and at their future purposes; for we can scarcely suppose them to be derived from terrestrial parents; nor is it very easy to reconcile to ourselves, that they change 156into fishes of any kind. It should rather seem that all-bountiful Providence has created them for the sole purpose of affording sustenance to those fishes, which, in consequence of their remaining, perhaps altogether, remote from every shore, would, but for these larvæ, (as we must, for want of knowing better, call them,) be unable to subsist.

Persons arriving from Europe, rarely have any but British coins; in the disbursing of which many impositions will be practised. The best mode is to tender the whole, without delay, to some of the English agency houses, who will readily pay their full value; it being often a matter of difficulty to obtain a few guineas for their friends who may be about to embark, without paying an exorbitant sum to the shroff’s, or native bankers, who can acquire them only from such persons as import with the Indiamen, and are rarely acquainted with their real value.

Accounts are generally kept in current rupees, which are considered, (though in themselves nominal, there being no such coin,) the standard to which all other denominations of money should be reduced: this is, in fact, the application of one term, whereby all others are to be appreciated. It is often found useful to have a second column, in every folio, wherein to note the corresponding amounts in sicca rupees, they being in general use. The infinite variety, both of gold 157mohurs, and of rupees, renders it highly necessary for the young adventurer to be careful, lest he should receive such as are of inferior value; a trick extremely common among servants, as well as shroffs, sircars, and shop-keepers; all of whom will exercise their cunning to obtain the smallest advantage, and derive peculiar satisfaction from involving the matter in as much confusion as possible.

The Calcutta seer is fixed at eighty sicca rupees weight; the factors’ maund, of the same place, amounts to one-tenth less, on account of its having but seventy-two siccas to its seer. In the upper provinces, even the neighbouring villages often vary to a great extent; some seers being only sixty-four pice, while others are ninety-six; the pice and the sicca rupee being nearly of a weight. Nor is the value of a pice, which is a copper coin, less uncertain; on some days they are at sixty to a rupee, at other times, as high as sixty-five or sixty-six; just as may happen to suit the shroffs, who, by this fluctuation, create a kind of stock-jobbing traffic; whereby they rob the public as much, and as often, as they please; no one interfering to control this nefarious and unparalleled insolence!

The following varieties regarding the guz should be understood; they being what formerly were in use, and upon which many details of ancient occurrences and measurements depend.

158The guz-soudah, 24⅔ of a finger, as measured by Haroon Resheed from the hand of one of his slaves. This was the basis of the nilometer, and of the yard for measuring cloths. The guz-me-sahet measured twenty-eight fingers, and that of Humaion thirty-two: the latter was used by order of Sheer Khan, and Selim Khan, for the measurement of cultivated lands. Akber also allowed a guz of forty-six fingers to be used for cloth only, and one measuring forty-two isecunderees, (small coins of base silver,) to be used for other purposes. This is called the secundry-guz. A coss is generally accepted at two English miles, and will, for the most part, be found to come within a mere trifle of that measurement. In some places, they reckon by the puckah, or long coss; in others, by the ghow-coss, which alludes to that distance the lowing of cattle may be heard: this is also called the cutcha-coss; meaning imperfect, or short. The fact is, that the length of a coss is perfectly undefined by any proper standard, or explanation. What else, indeed, can be expected in a country where there are neither public roads, nor inns, public conveyances, nor even mile stones, or directing posts, on the most practised routes.

Among other salutary and useful, but unfortunately temporary, regulations, the Emperor Akber fixed the coss at 5000 guz, equal to 4757 yards, or two miles, five furlongs, of our standard. 159Shah Jehan afterwards encreased it, by the addition of one furlong; but both their measurements gradually fell into disuse, and the old nominal coss of Hindostan again came into vogue. Including all the variations, however, in what are called puckah-cosses there appear less anomalies than might be expected in a range of 1700 miles, throughout which no determinate law, on that subject, obtains. Computing by horizontal measurements, between places whose distances are accurately known, it appears that the coss may be taken at a mile and nine-tenths: in this, one mile in seven is thrown into the computation, to account against the winding of roads. In the Malwa country, the cosses are about an eighth longer than in the Company’s dominions towards that quarter; while, in the vicinity of Masulipatam they are in the same proportion shorter. The goondy coss of the Nagpore district, is about three miles. Perhaps the most absurd mode of ascertaining the length of a coss, which, by the by, must be a very short one, and, according to the statement of Abu Fazil, was practised among the Hindus, depended on ‘One thousand steps taken by a woman bearing a child’ (of what age is not specified) ‘in her arms, and a jar of water’, (also indefinite as to bulk,) ‘on her head!’ Again, ‘the distance a man could go, at a quick pace, without being out of breath’, was accounted a coss! Others 160determined that measurement by ‘plucking a green leaf, and bearing it on their heads until it became dry!’

The most rational, and simple mode of adjustment, appears to be that ordered by Sheer Khan, viz. sixty jereebs of sixty guz each. This would be about 3500 yards; being only twenty less than two statute miles. Whenever the emperor marched with his armies, persons were appointed to measure his route, by means of bamboos cut to the length of twelve and a half ilahi-guz; four hundred bamboos being accounted a coss; which, as already specified, amounted to two miles and five furlongs.

The land-measure in use among the Europeans of Calcutta, is thus arranged.

20 feet by 20, equal to 400 square feet make 1 cottah,
20 cottahs 1 beegah or bigah

The natives are more particular in their divisions of the beegah, they average its parts in the following manner.

30 square feet make 1 chattack,
16 chattacks   1 cottah or biswah,
20 cottahs, or biswahs, (i.e. twentieths) 1 beegah or bigah.

Among the peasantry, other beegahs are in use, viz. one which has an area of 3600 ilahi-guz, equal to 3025 square yards; but, in general, the dessy-bigah of only 1600 square yards, 161prevails. This ilahi-guz is divided into twenty-four tesuj, each of which, in the long guz should be equal to the breadth of eight ordinary barley corns; but in the short guz, only of six. The former was used in great works; the latter in small ones, such as manufactures, &c.

All goods being landed under the inspection of custom-house officers, the passenger will have little opportunity of interfering in regard to his baggage, or merchandize. Nor should I recommend his attempting, personally, to transact any business before he may have delivered his letters of credit, or of introduction. That should be his first step; both because it will be the means of managing all his concerns with facility, and, probably, of being comfortably situated, without having occasion to resort to a tavern.

Here I deem it an indispensable duty, to warn the young adventurer not to dissipate his money, ruin his health, and injure his reputation, by frequenting taverns. In England, where persons who do not keep house must occasionally sit down to a meal in public, custom has not only connived at, but sanctioned, the resort to coffee-houses, &c. With us, these afford convenience to thousands, who could never provide so comfortably at home, at the same expence. The coffee-houses in Europe may likewise be considered as the rendezvous of persons in the 162same line of business, and offering the opportunity for adjusting a thousand matters, which, either owing to remote residence, or to the pressure of other concerns, could not else be brought to immediate conclusion.

The taverns in India are upon a very different plan: they are either of the first rate, at which public dinners are occasionally given; or they are of that mean description which receive all who have a rupee to spend, under the determination of extracting that rupee, in some shape or other. The former class is very confined in numbers, but the latter are abundantly numerous, and may be readily distinguished by the promiscuous company, the shabbiness of the treatment, and the excess of imposition practised, especially on novices. It is extremely easy to avoid the necessity for running into the mouths of these leviathans: all that is requisite, being merely to call at the first office, or shop, and to enquire for the residence of the gentleman to whom the letter of introduction may be addressed. No ceremony should be used in explaining the circumstances, and in soliciting the aid of a servant to lead the way. I never yet heard of a want of civility on such occasions.

In speaking thus confidently regarding a letter of introduction, I am pre-supposing, that the case alludes to a person not appointed to the service of the Company: for I cannot conceive 163what could induce any man of respectability to visit India, without some substantial recommendation, or, indeed, unless under some agreement, or sufficient assurance of being employed in such manner as might tend to certain advantage. Nothing can be more forlorn than the situation of a mere adventurer, on his arrival in India! With money in his pocket, he may assuredly subsist; but, without some friend to introduce him into society, he may remain for years without being noticed; for, throughout the East, and especially at the several presidencies, he who knows nobody, him will nobody know! Residence at a tavern, is, in itself, a perfect disqualification among persons of repute; as implying either an addiction to liquor, or a predilection for low company.

In saying this, I must not be understood as denying, that some worthy characters have been rescued from perpetual degradation, by accidental intercourse with persons of peculiar sensibility: but such nice feelings, and that unqualified liberality, which may have been occasionally discovered in a few individuals, are rarely united; and, when they are, it too often happens that the power to render them effectively beneficial is altogether wanting. A man may be thoroughly convinced of the worthiness of his protegé, but it will not always follow that society will join him in opinion. In considering 164the state of society in India, this will be evident: its being strongly inculcated will prove serviceable to many, who may have mis-conceived the subject in general: or who may have been led, by a too sanguine disposition, to deem the whole toil, risk, and solicitude as being over, so soon as their feet can rest on the terra firma of Hindostan.

The ordinary mode in which an European is attacked, on his first arrival at Calcutta, is by the tender of a bearer, carrying a large umbrella, to shelter master from the sun, or rain. There is something about a stranger, in that quarter, which instantly announces him to all the predatory tribe, who wait at the wharfs in expectation of living booty: but, if such were not the case, his total ignorance of the language would be sufficient to determine their conduct. The bearer, who is in league with that numerous horde of miscreants called sircars, abounding, not only at Calcutta, but throughout the lower provinces, speedily conveys the hint to his associates, when a smooth-faced chap, who speaks English well enough to be understood, and who comprehends more than he will acknowledge, advances, and making a respectful obeisance, called a salaam, by bending his head downwards, and placing the palm of his right hand to his forehead, makes an offer of his services to the stray Briton.

165However prepared a youth may be, by all the cautious injunctions of friends, and by the detail of knaveries practised by such characters, still it is by no means easy to avoid the snare! When we reflect on the anxiety inseparably attendant upon arrival in a country where every thing is new, every thing strange, and where, in case of disappointment, all must be misery; it should not surprize us to find so much dependence placed on those who cheer the novice, by speaking to him in his native tongue. But, admitting the folly of confiding in any stranger, how is the case to be ameliorated? Ignorant of the language, as well as of the customs; totally unacquainted with any soul on the spot; and eager to obtain a shelter from the oppressive heats; what is the poor adventurer to do? He cannot remain in the boat! He cannot take root, and vegetate, at the water side! Nor can he perambulate the public roads, until fatigue shall sink him to the dust, or some benevolent, and inspired European may, on perceiving his distress, offer him an asylum! What then is to be done?—Why, the sircar must lead him to some paltry tavern, in which he either is interested, or from whose keeper he receives a douceur for introducing the guest. In the mean time, his baggage, with the exception of such minutiæ as may adhere to the fingers of the boat-men, or of those who have the handling of them on shore, will follow, and there 166will be no want of attention to immediate accommodation.

The tavern-keeper, under the plausible pretext of aiding towards the completion of the youth’s wishes, never fails to enquire whether the gentleman has any friends in town? or even in the country? If affirmatively answered, ‘mine host’ feels himself tolerably secure of his money: but will probably assert, that the friend in town is out of the way, and will not be back for some days: should the gentleman be totally destitute of friends, then comes the rich harvest. Imposition following imposition, swell the bill; which, if appearances warrant forbearance, is kept back as long as possible, under the pleasing assurance of perfect confidence: but, in the end, a catalogue of items is produced, which never fails to alarm, if not to ruin, the unsuspecting victim!

If, unhappily, the guest should so far lower himself as to associate with the ordinary company of the common drinking-room, he is irretrievably gone. Quarrels, riots, and inebriety, must follow; in all probability rendering him subject to the notice of the police. Should his face ever be seen at that office, it would be next to impossible that he should be admitted into any respectable circle. What with lodging, dinners, wines, &c. of the worst description, but all rated at the highest prices, he must be a fortunate wight who escapes under a gold mohur 167(i.e. two guineas) per day: in general, double that sum is charged; so that a person starts at the rate of £1000. per annum, at least; while, in all probability no established, or even apparent, provision exists, whereby he may be maintained.

If we add the allurements held out by the sable beauties, who will contrive means to retail their charms so long as they think money is to be had, we shall find no trifling expence incurred. This latter part of the ceremony is usually performed by some fellow who can speak English, and thoroughly understands whatever relates to the interest of the concern; which, among other things, includes thieving, lying, cheating, pimping, &c. This first essay is ordinarily made by describing the elegance of the native women, and their great perfection as singers, and dancers; and rarely fails, especially with youths under such circumstances, to excite something more than curiosity. The dancing-girls are introduced, and consequences follow, over which I shall draw the veil; simply observing, that nothing can be more dangerous than this irregular indulgence; it never failing, first to drain the purse, and, in a few days, or weeks, the constitution also.

Those servants who usually ply at the wharfs, and endeavor to obtain employment, either among the officers of ships, or among persons 168fresh from Europe, for the most part speak broken English with sufficient fluency: this renders them particularly serviceable to both those classes, by enabling them to provide, and to act, when, without such assistance, they would be in distress, and at a stand. It is a very general custom among the Mussulmans of low condition, to give such of their male children as are born during their Lent, (or Ramzaun,) the name of Ramzauny: meaning ‘born during the Ramzaun.’ There being so many thus designated, renders the name extremely common; and, as an infinity of rogueries have been practised by persons so called, it has rather got into disgrace. Hence, the adventurers above described are, by a slight, but ludicrous corruption, termed Rum-Johnnies.

That a servant thus enabled to act as the medium of intercourse, must prove on many occasions highly convenient, may be confessed; but, like a double-edged sword, he may operate either way, as to himself may appear expedient; and while pretending to serve, may be pillaging his employer. It is to be lamented, that the stranger has no immediate resource; and, in case of injury, little redress. The mischief is not owing to any deficiency in the police, but arises from that invariable precaution with which Rum-Johnnies carry on their manœuvres: they never fail to have a third person in the way, who 169is to disappear with the purloined articles, and to bear all the blame; while the principal affects great resentment at the villain’svillain’s audacity, and sorrow for master’s loss. This is often so dexterously managed as to occasion serious quarrels, when friends, who see through the deception, endeavor to convince the infatuated party, that his confidential menial is at the bottom of the roguery. The disreputable circumstance of having a thief at his elbow, does not sit very easy on the stranger’s mind: deriving so much convenience from Rum-Johnny’s aid, and, having only the fair side of the knave’s conduct in view, he is unwilling to give credit to what appears a gross misrepresentation, founded on prejudiceprejudice. By this means, he sinks deeper into the mire, and renders it dangerous for his well-wisher to attempt his extrication.

I recollect an instance of a young gentleman’s joining a regiment, about a hundred miles up the country, who had among his servants a khedmutgar, (or table-attendant,) of whom I never could get a sight. The fellow was always sick, or busy; or some excuse was invariably made. At length, one of my own domestics informed me, that he was a Rum-Johnny who had been discharged from my service, in which he held the office of mosaulchy, (or link-boy,) for theft. I found out, that he had been employed in the barracks at Fort-William, where 170he picked up a little English, and had fastened upon the gentleman, no doubt with the intention to avail himself of the first good prize wherewith to decamp. Finding, to his great discomfiture, that I had been removed to that station, where he found me, the scoundrel kept aloof, under the hope of carrying his project into execution. Strange to say, it was with extreme difficulty I could convince my young friend that he was the dupe of a downright thief; who, if I had not been improperly lenient, would have had the certificate of his crime noted on his back, by the drummers of the regiment!

To state the evil, without pointing out the remedy, would be next to useless: but, when I suggest the means of avoiding those difficulties, or any portion of them, attendant on arrival in a foreign land, it must be understood, that I consider the stranger to be possessed of pecuniary means: that is, that he can pay his way. Without this, he can do nothing; and must undergo all the afflictions and miseries attendant upon despised poverty, in every part of the globe. It may be proper to point out in this place, that what might here appear to be liberal calculations, will not suit the East; where every article of European manufacture bears so enormous a price, where house-rent is so expensive, and where it is indispensably necessary to retain so many servants. The first thing to be done, (setting a letter 171of recommendation out of the question,) should be to report arrival at the secretary’s office, depositing the certificate of the Court of Directors’ licence to proceed to India; without which, the party is treated as an alien, and scarcely considered entitled to British protection. This does not arise from ill-will on the part of government, or of the inhabitants; but from that strict attention the politics of the country imperiously demand to be paid to the several characters, and descriptions, of persons residing within our territory.

The above relates equally to all persons in the civil or military branches; the certificate granted at the India House must be produced, in order to identify the party; but if it should have been lost, he himself, together with the commander who received the order to take him on board, must attend, to make affadavit to that effect, before the appointment can be admitted upon the registers in India.

Such as appertain to the civil service, being always strongly recommended and often finding many old acquaintances of their families on the spot, require but little advice; nor does the cadet stand much in need of instruction, as to the manner in which he should provide himself with a home. All he has to do is to wait upon the town-major, at his office in Fort-William, when he will receive the necessary order for 172his admission into the Cadet Corps, at Baraset, about sixteen miles from Calcutta.

He who has not these advantages, must do the best his circumstances may afford; he will find temperance to be not only cheap, but indispensable; for, if he should act so indiscreetly at the outset as to injure his health, a thousand privations, and a certain encrease of difficulties, must follow. The first point must necessarily be to get under cover. This will not be found so easy, as those who have never quitted England may suppose. It will be after much research, that a small house will be had, and then only the bare walls; for no such thing is known in India as a furnished house to be let; and lodgings are, if possible, still more out of the question. Fortunately, there are, among the European shop-keepers in Calcutta, some most respectable characters; men distinguished for their urbanity, philanthropy, and generosity. Application should be instantly made to one of these firms, for aid, and advice. The case should be candidly stated; and, in order to insure confidence, a deposit of money should be made, either with them, or at one of the Banks. The consequences will be, that, in a few hours, some small tenement will be obtained, either on hire, or granted as a temporary accommodation, and the whole of the articles really necessary will be provided, at some one or other of the auctions which daily take place within the central parts of the town.

173The appointment of proper servants will be a matter of importance; but, under the auspices of any old resident, by no means difficult; such will be not simply the most expeditious, but the safest, way of proceeding; since those who recommend will, in all probability, be expected, according to the custom of the place, to become sureties for the honesty of all persons hired through their means. One servant who can speak English, or at least, an underling sircar, deputed from the warehouse, will prove a very agreeable resource, on all occasions of difficulty; but I cannot too forcibly inculcate the good policy, or rather the absolute necessity, of immediately studying the language: till that is acquired, to such an extent as may remove the necessity for an interpreter on ordinary occasions, no person can be deemed independent; far less, capable of acting in any civil, military, or commercial capacity, with effect.

Strange to say I have known gentlemen to be resident from ten, to thirty, years in India, without being able to summon resolution to acquire sufficient of the Hindui language even to take their accounts! With such the sircar was every thing. The consequences were, invariably, that he was rich, and master ever in distress!

Without pretending to make a very accurate estimate, I shall attempt to give an outline of those expences to which every person keeping house, though in the most retired manner, and 174on the most economical plan, must be subjected. In doing this, I consider the instructions given for the outfit to have been duly attended to; and, that wearing apparel, plate, bedding, blankets, sheets, and pillow cases, have been provided. If they have not, the whole of those articles may be rated at from fifty to a hundred per cent. more than they would cost in England. The following brief catalogue will be found to contain only those conveniences which are indispensable.

One dozen of chairs; say at four rupees each 48
One dining table for six, say 25
Two tepoys (tripods) 3½ each 7
One writing-table, with drawers 25
One bedstead of 6 feet 4 in. by 4 feet 6 in. 30
Curtains to ditto; those for the exterior of chintz 20
Inside ditto, of gauze, to keep out musquitoes 10
Bookcase upon chest of drawers 100
China and glass-ware, say 100
Shades to put over candles, one pair, say 40
(Those with wooden pedestals to be preferred.)
A chillumchee (or metal bason) for washing hands, with its tripod, &c. 25
A palanquin and bedding 100
Table cloths and towels 50
One large, and one small, satringe (cotton carpet) 25 and 10 35
Various culinary articles, say 40
A variety of small articles in cutlery, &c. say 45
Making in all, on a rough estimate 700

175In this I have not included a horse, because it is not every body who keeps one, nor is it peremptorily needful; but, both as a convenience, and as tending to health, I recommend that a cheap, safe, and quiet poney be provided: numbers are sold every week, at all prices; but I should think that, including the saddle and bridle, from 250 to 300 rupees, would be going far enough: say the whole expence should be 1000 sicca rupees, or £125; which will, I apprehend, be as little as any person can expend, so as to be either creditable or comfortable. The necessary stock of wines, spirits, wax-candles, sauces, sugar-candy, tea, coffee, salt-petre, and a number of lesser items, would require full 600 rupees more; under the supposition that a year’s stock were laid in. At that rate we may compute £200. to be necessary to establish a gentleman at his residence, supposing it to be fixed. Travelling makes quite another concern, and will be found to encrease the disbursements considerably.

A comparison with the prices of those articles we, in Europe, consider to be requisite for the furniture of two or three rooms, will shew that Calcutta is by no means a favourable market for the purchase, either of furniture, or of wines, cattle, &c.; and should at once satisfy every free-mariner, free-merchant, &c. proceeding to India on speculation, that he must be provided 176with at least six hundred pounds to answer the demands of his outset, including house rent, which cannot well be taken at less than £150. per annum; his servants will amount to about as much more; and his table expences, pocket-money, &c., on the most moderate scale, will demand one hundred, after laying in his stock of wines, tea, &c. So that, in all, we may think he does very well on the £600. If, indeed, he should be so fortunate as to make numerous respectable acquaintances, at whose tables he may frequently become a guest, a considerable portion of the expences, stated at £100. may, perhaps, be retrenched; but such good fortune does not happen to all; and, when it does, rarely comes at once; it requires some time to gain that footing which may relieve the pressure of table charges; and when that footing has been gained, it may not be attended with more than common civility, without the smallest prospect of being served.

I say thus much with the view to correct an opinion known to prevail, that it is easy to get into society in India; and that then a gentleman may put his hands in his pockets, while his friends forward him rapidly. Such, assuredly, was the case in days of yore; but, within the last twenty years, there have been so many retrenchments in all the public offices, so many young men have gone to India with the hope of 177being engaged in merchants’ houses, and so many have failed in those prospects, that I should omit a very important branch of that duty I have imposed on myself, in offering my advice to those who are about to proceed to India, were I to encourage the idea of such supposed facilities being realized. It should never be forgotten, that all persons who are ignorant of the language spoken in common, namely, the Hindui, (vulgarly called the Moors’,) are incompetent to any duty, beyond what may relate to making out copies of accounts-current, and registering correspondence: even these demand some local knowledge, to be performed with correctness. This consideration will lead to the conviction, that full one year must be provided for before any employment, on which dependance can be placed for a livelihood, and affording the prospect of future rise, should be expected.

Of such importance does this appear, that, were I to advice any young friend, about to proceed to India, as to the manner in which he should pass his first year, it would be nearly in the following terms: ‘Rise at daybreak, and ride gently for one hour in the hot season, and two hours in the cold season; make a moderate breakfast, avoiding melted butter, salt meats, salt fish, sweetmeats, &c., good tea or coffee being assuredly the most wholesome; study the 178language for an hour; attend some office gratuitously, with the view to become acquainted with the accounts, price-currents, markets, provisions, commodities, &c.; about two o’clock retire to rest; about an hour before sun-set bathe, by means of three or four large pots of water poured over the head; put on clean linen, and dine moderately upon plain viands, taking care never to exceed four or five glasses of the best Madeira; proceed for two hours with studying the language, and, after taking a cup or two of tea, or of coffee, or a crust of bread and a glass of Madeira, go to bed, avoiding to sleep in a strong current of air.’

Possibly, it may be urged, that a person intent on learning the Hindui, so as to be competent to transact business in the course of twelve months, would not attain that object by three hours only of daily assiduity. I am, however, completely satisfied, that such a portion of time, appropriated under the guidance of an intelligent linguist, may enable the student to make a wonderful progress; especially when combined with the resolution to enter as much as possible into familiar colloquy in that language.

An old friend, long since gone to ‘kingdom come,’ began the study of Persian at rather an advanced age; which caused many to rally him on the new turn he had taken. He, however, 179persevered, and, in the course of two years, made himself more than commonly proficient. The explanation he gave, regarding the plan he had laid down, was such as convinced me, that any person, with a tolerable memory, may, in a moderate time, acquire any regular language. His mode was, for the first month never to retire to bed until he had learned twenty words perfectly by heart, so as to explain them with promptitude, however catechized: after that first month, he was master of no less than six hundred words. During the next month, finding that former acquirements greatly facilitated his progress, he made a point of gaining twenty-five words daily; therefore that month gave him seven hundred and fifty words; which, added to the six hundred of the preceding, made a total of thirteen hundred and fifty.

In this way he added five wordsfive words every month, until he found, that, by aid of derivations and compounds, he was well grounded in the language. His computation was, that, as few languages contain more than forty thousand words in common use, when ever he should be able to learn fifty words daily, he might, to use his own terms, ‘make the language fall before him in two years.’

This is an arithmetical demonstration of the powers annexed to persevering regularity, and ought to induce every youth, for that is the 180season for acquirements, to adopt such a system as should insure the great object in view. So steady a mode of carrying on a pursuit, cannot, however, be expected in young folks, many of whom have just escaped from the trammels of parental vigilance; and who, having passed so many years at their studies, rarely feel much disposition to prolong academic labors; while, at the same time, the pleasures of society are open to their participation. Still, I feel a hope that this volume may prove intrinsically beneficial to a large portion, by pointing out the means whereby preferment may be obtained, and by shewing with what facility the foundation may be laid for a most superb superstructure.

The number of servants, and the amount of their wages, forming so conspicuous an item in domestic economy, cannot fail to attract the attention, not only of persons proceeding to India, but of their parents, and friends, who often express much surprize at the apparent extravagance of the young debutants in this particular. Such notions of improper indulgence in retinue, though perfectly natural, as resulting from long habits, and the little necessity felt among us in Europe, for keeping many servants, even in large families, by no means find a sanction when transplanted beyond the narrow limits of our own island. In many parts of Europe, custom has rendered permanent 181various practices which, no doubt, had their origin in the purest motives, and did not, in the first instance, appear likely to serve as the basis of future excesses and encroachments.

Thus we find that, in Spain, no old servant is ever discharged by any person of rank; in such families the domestics of deceased parents are invariably retained. The obvious consequence is, that a young man, on coming to his title, often finds himself burthened with some scores of the aged, and of the idle; to discharge any of which would be not only disgraceful, but deemed illegal; they being considered as heirlooms, by the rejection of which, the rest of the inheritance would be virtually forfeited. Here we see an excellent, and meritorious act, converted into a nuisance, that proves highly injurious, both to the interests of the successor, and to the morals of the pensioners. But who shall lead the way to break through so formidable a phalanx!

The multiplicity of menials employed in the houses of European gentlemen in Bengal, results from a cause very different from that above described: it is founded on the tenets of religion, especially among the Hindus; and is by no means likely to be abrogated within our time. What may be effected by a relaxation of their present rigid principles, and by the further extention of our customs, cannot be foretold. 182Our situation has ever been critical; now is more so than ever; and we may be deprived of the opportunity of judging what would have resulted from the silent operations of succeeding ages, by some sudden burst of revolt, occasioned by the intrigues of petty rajahs within our own territory; fomented by the animosity of the native powers on our frontier, and by the intrigues of French emissaries.

It being my intention to treat separately of the religious tenets, and institutions, both of the Mussulmans and of the Hindus, little need be said in this place, further than, that, owing to the division of the latter into sects, called by us casts, which render the occupations of all perfectly distinct, a necessity exists for hiring such of each cast as may attend to those duties they undertake, without becoming subjected to the animadversions of their priesthood, or to those penalties attendant upon even the most trifling deviation from the marked path. Add to this, that the climate arbitrarily imposes the necessity for retaining some classes of servants, unknown in England; or, at least, supposed to be exclusively attached to the convenience of ladies, and of sick persons. When all matters are considered, it will be found, that that host of domestics appertaining to the establishment of a gentleman in Bengal, proves, in the aggregate, little, if at all, more expensive than the 183ordinary number retained by families of respectability in most parts of England. What with wages, liveries, lodging, board, washing, waste, negligence, and, I am sorry to say, pilfering, we shall find the one man servant, and the two maids, fully a match, in point of expence, with the whole body of those in the pay of one of our countrymen abroad.

A gentleman in this country never can guess at the ultimate of his disbursements, where his domestics are concerned either in the appropriation, or in the expenditure: in Bengal, &c. the uttermost farthing is known; each servant receiving a certain sum monthly, in consideration of which he is in attendance during the whole day, finds his own cloaths, provides his own victuals, and pays for whatever cabin he may build or occupy. As to purloining victuals, there is little danger; for, with the exception of some of the lower casts, which are held in a state of utter abomination, no native of India, by which I mean either Mussulman or Hindu, will so much as touch those viands which an European has partaken: or which have been served up to his table.

In this I must be understood to speak generally, and without any reference to those few deviations that have at times been discovered; being sensible, that some instances could be adduced of servants, particularly Mahomedans, having so far trespassed 184against the doctrines of their religion, as absolutely to eat of ham, and other viands, in secret. Such anomalies must be abstracted from my main position; which is well known, by all who have resided in India, to be perfectly correct.

So strict are all the casts, however much the one may be below the other in a religious point of view, regarding the preservation of that conspicuous distinction laid down by their sacred code, that, notwithstanding they may worship the same deities, under the same forms, and with the same ceremonies, yet will they not allow of participation at meals; nor even of contact, at such moments. The stranger will, no doubt, be greatly surprized on his arrival, to see during the evenings, about sun-set, each individual, or, perhaps, here and there, two or three, if of the same cast, squatting on the bare ground, within a small space levelled for the purpose, of which the limits are marked out by the line of dust, or rubbish, moved from the centre towards the exterior. In such an area, each man, or woman, cooks and afterwards eats, the principal meal of the day. In fair weather, these areas are made under the canopy of heaven; but during the rainy season, and perhaps in winter time, they are made within the huts of the persons respectively.

So extremely scrupulous are the natives, in 185respect to the preparation of their victuals, and to their consumption, that, if any person not of the very same cast, with the reservation of the brahmans, or priests, were to touch their bodies, or their cloaths, or any one article within the area, or even the surface of the area itself, the whole meal, together with any earthen ware, standing within the circumvallation, (if it may be so called,) would be instantly thrown away, as being polluted. Nay, whatever portion might be in the mouth, must be ejected; and the party be obliged to perform an ablution, before he could attempt to resume his culinary labors, or to join in society with his compeers. Nor will either a Mussulman, or a Hindu, drink water out of any vessel touched, while in a state of repletion, by a person of inferior cast, or by an European. Earthen ware of every kind, though new, or empty, becomes defiled by such contact, so as to be utterly useless to the proprietor.

Knowing such to be the case, it must be both cruel, and impolitic, to trespass on a prejudice in itself perfectly innocent, and by no means interfering with the rights, or the convenience, of others. It is true, the patient Hindu, even while suffering under those privations attendant upon the destruction, or at least the disqualification, of his meal, will rarely proceed to extremity against any European, who may occasion such an inconvenience and loss: because, under 186a supposition of the trespasser’s ignorance, he, in his mind, finds an excuse for, and pardons, what he mildly terms ‘the accident.’ But, should any native offend in a similar manner, a war of words would exhibit the irritation of the Hindu’s mind! Nor would he be passive were one of his countrymen to step over him while asleep; that being considered not only indelicate, but productive of serious mischiefs; inducing the visitations of evil spirits, thereby causing disease, and, at no very remote period, death. This strange infatuation must appear perfectly ridiculous in any civilized being, but especially among a race of people who are, one and all, predestinarians. The European should be careful not to stride over any of his domestics who may occasionally lay down in the veranda, &c. of his house: such an act on the part of an unbeliever, (applying the term to ourselves,) being considered doubly laden with mischief.

The servants, whether of Europeans, or of natives of consequence, are divided into two classes. The first class, which is known by the designation of nokeron, (plural of noker,) includes such as, either from the important, or confidential, offices they hold, are, in general estimation, judged exempt from all menial duties. They are as follow.

The second class comprises the Chaukeron, (plural of Chauker).

Such is the superiority claimed by the nokers, that, to ask one of them ‘whose chauker he is?’ would be considered a gross insult: the inferior class are, on the other hand, very ready to assume the former designation; holding it to be far more respectable in the eyes of their countrymen; 189who comprehend, and value, that distinction, which, among Europeans, is little attended to; far the greater portion being, indeed, absolutely ignorant of any reputed difference.

The Banians being, without doubt, the first in fortune, as well as in rank, claim priority of description. These are, invariably, Hindus, possessing in general very large property, with most extensive credit, and influence. So much is this the case, that Calcutta was, some twenty years ago, absolutely under the control of about twenty or thirty banians, who managed every concern, in which they could find means to make a profit. It is inconceivable what property was in their hands; they were the ostensible agents in every line of business, placing their dependants in the several departments over which themselves had obtained dominion. Was a contract to be made with government, by any gentleman not in the Company’s service; these became the securities, under the condition of receiving a centage, and of appointing their friends to such duties as might control the principal, and save themselves from loss. When a person in the service of the Company, was desirous of deriving benefit from some contract, in the disposal of which he had a vote, and which, consequently, he could not obtain in his own name; then, the banian became the principal, and the donor either received a share, or derived advantage from 190loans, &c. answering his purpose equally well. The same person frequently was banian to several European gentlemen; all of whose concerns were, of course, accurately known to him, and thus became the subject of conversation at those meetings the banians of Calcutta invariably held, and do yet hold, after the active business of the day has been adjusted.

It cannot, however, be denied, that many speculations have been carried on by the aid of banians, which, but for the strength of their resources, could never have been attempted. We owe our present extended trade in the fabrics of Dacca, &c. in the sugar of the western and northern districts, in indigo throughout the country, and numerous other branches of commerce, to the support given by this class to such gentlemen as appeared to them likely to succeed. It has ever been a maxim among them, never to back an unfortunate man; their opinion being, that misfortunes in trade ordinarily arise from want of management: if their own prosperity may be adduced in support of that sentiment, it will be found strongly to exhibit their policy of combining with those who have not, on any occasion, embarked on a rotten bottom.

A banian invariably rides in his palanquin, attended by several underling sircars, hirkarahs, &c. He, to a certain degree, rules the office, entering it generally with little ceremony, making 191a slight obeisance, and never divesting himself of his slippers: a privilege which, in the eyes of the natives, at once places him on a footing of equality with his employer. Under such a system, it has been easy for the tribe of banians to effect the ruin of any individual; while it was impossible for any man in distress to conceal his circumstances, so as to obtain a loan, or to extend his credit: hence, the courts of law were full of causes in which banians were plaintiffs. Of late years, the case has altered greatly; for, if we except a few large concerns, such as banking-houses, and the principal merchants, who, having valuable cargoes on hand, are each under the necessity of retaining one of this jew-like gang, for the purpose of obtaining cash to make up payments, or to advance for investments, banians are become obsolete.

In former times, there was little alternative how money should be secured, except on mortgage, or in the Company’s treasury; whereas, few now think of lending money at less than 12 per cent., which is the legal interest; and, as the Company do not receive loans at that rate, except when pressed by exigency and, that the great agency-houses continue to make such an immense profit as enables them to pay so high for money accommodation; the floating property belonging to individuals, with little exception, falls into their hands: consequently, 192there is little occasion for banians; the principal remains of whose extensive influence are to be seen in the above concerns, and in the management of elephant, bullock, or other contracts; which they often buy of the contractor, either for a specific sum paid down, or by allowing him an annual contingent; so as to exempt him from the responsibility, as well as from the management, altogether.

I shall only add, that this description of persons may be classed with the superior debashes of the Carnatic; and that, although there certainly have been found some individuals who might fairly claim exemption from the accusation, yet, that, generally speaking, the present banians, who attach themselves to the captains of European ships, may, without the least hazard of controversion, be considered as nothing more or less than Rum-Johnnies ‘of a larger growth.’ Some of these gentry usurp the designation of dewan, which should imply an extensive delegated power; that office, under the emperors of Hindustan, and even now in the courts of Lucknow, Hydrabad, &e. being confidential, and never bestowed but on persons in high favor.

The Darogah, or Gomastah, or factor, or superintendant is an office rarely held under Europeans, though extremely common in the services of native princes, and of men of opulence. 193Some of our merchants appoint persons to attend to their concerns in remote parts; such as the timber-dealers in the Morungs; the iron-smelters of various parts; the contractors for elephants, camels, bullocks, horses, &c. have also their agents at the various stations. In general, these are common sircars, who assume the title of darogah by way of pre-eminence, without any authority from, and often without the knowledge of, their employers. The latter, however, are rarely averse to such an assumption; which, while it tickles their vanity, costs not a farthing. The darogahs, or, I may rather say, the sircars, frequently call themselves naibs, or deputies: this should seem a more modest term; but, among the natives, is considered at least as consequential as the former; especially when the principal never eclipses the self-created dignitary, by personal attendance to his own affairs in that quarter. Many of this class are considered as approaching to menials.

The Moonshy, or linguist, is ordinarily a teacher of some language, particularly the Persian and Hindui: though numbers are employed only as interpreters, or as scribes. Learning is their sole pursuit; and so far as that can reach in a country where but little is understood of philosophy and mathematics, some of them do assuredly advance themselves considerably. But, speaking of them in general, it will be found, 194that a few volumes of tales, the lives of those great men who have either invaded, or ruled, the empire, some moral tracts, and the Koran, (for moonshies are Mussulmans) constitute the acquirements of this very haughty class of servants. A moonshy is never so well pleased, as when the payment of the domestic establishment is confided to his charge. Here he is sure to touch the penny, and to create an influence very injurious to his employer’s interests: the whole tribe of menials, considering him to have full command of the whole concern, and viewing their master as a mere cypher, dread the moonshy’s authority, and crouch before him in the most submissive manner.

The banian rarely receives wages, or any immediate remuneration for his services; he knows full well, that no money can pass the files on his fingers without leaving some dust. The darogah is sometimes paid by centage on the quantity of goods he transmits, or on the amount of his account; but the moonshy is ever in the receipt of wages, which vary according to his own talents and reputation, or to the rank of his employer. Perhaps, a few may be found who receive more, but two gold mohurs, (equal to four guineas,) per month, may be taken as rather a liberal, than an ordinary, rate. Some do not receive more than eight or ten rupees; but, whatever the learning of such men may amount to, their conduct is generally influenced by motives 195wide from purity. Many of this class might formerly be seen attached to those young officers, and civil servants, who found an easy mode of gratifying their ostentation by that display of study they never realized, and who employed these pretended tutors in all the drudgery of expenditure; not forgetting those meaner offices, which, while they disgraced themselves, levelled all distinction between the man of letters and the common pander!

The private habits of moonshies, in general, by no means correspond with the respectability of their profession. Having only to attend their employers at stated hours, and the residue of their time being wholly unoccupied, it is not to be wondered, that, with their liberal salaries, they should rather court, than shun, pleasure. Hence, with very few exceptions, we find them extremely debauched and unhealthy. What with venery, drinking, smoking, &c. nine in ten of them exhale the most intolerable effluvia! This, by no means, lowers their pride: on the contrary, they apparently resort to arrogance, and to that precious species of fastidious hauteur, ordinarily to be found under the same sheep-skin with every consummate hypocrite!

The Jemmadar is considered the most confidential, and important, of all that class of servants forming the retinue of a person of distinction. 196The despatches, and consultations of the various members of the council, are usually conveyed by, or presented to, the several jemmadars, in small boxes, of which each member has a key. Some jemmadars are retained merely with the view to superintend buildings, and commercial operations; but such cannot be classed, strictly speaking, with those who are merely state servants; although the wages of each may be nearly on a par; viz. from twelve to twenty rupees monthly. This servant bears no insignia of office, but, for the most part, studies to imitate the appearance of a moonshy of a respectable class; from which he may, however, be often distinguished by the dagger, ornamented with gold and tassels, or in a crimson velvet case, tipped with gilt guards, worn in his cummer-bund, or waist-cloth: whereas the moonshy never wears any weapon whatever.

The Chobe-dar, or silver-pole bearer, is retained only by persons of consequence; sometimes only one, but usually two are employed, and even four may be seen in the retinue of very exalted characters. The pole, (or chobe,) may be about four feet and a half in length, tapering gradually, from the metal ferule at its base, to the top, which may be about four inches in diameter, and is generally embossed with some figure, such as a tiger’s head, &c.; while the rest, for the whole 197length, is of some pattern such as volutes, scales, flowers, &c. The pole consists of a staff, perhaps three quarters of an inch in diameter, spreading towards its top, so as to assimilate to the form of the exterior case; which is of solid wrought silver, often weighing 150 rupees or more, into which, the staff being placed centrically, melted rosin is poured to fill up the intermediate space; the same as our plated knife handles are done, thereby rendering the whole sufficiently substantial, without adding too much to the weight.

The chobe-dar is generally a man of some prudence, versed in all the ceremonies of court etiquette. He stands at the inner door of the audience, or receiving, apartment; announcing the approach of visitors, and conducting them to the presence. The chobe being in itself of some value, and the office of considerable trust in many instances, it is usual for this servant to give adequate security, by means of creditable persons who vouch for, and take upon themselves, the actual responsibility regarding his conduct. The wages of chobe-dars vary considerably, but we may take from eight to twelve rupees as the average. They attend early in the morning; and, besides the above-noticed duty of announcing visitors, run before the palanquins of their employers, or, if there be no jemmadar, at the 198sides, so as to receive orders without being called. They likewise carry messages, or notes, on formal occasions; especially to superiors.

To this particular, great attention is paid; it being considered, that the rank of the servant bearing the message, or note, implies the degree of respect the person sending would pay to the person receiving. Thus, a message sent by a jemmadar, is held to be more ceremonious, than one by a chobe-dar; by a chobe-dar more respectful than by a soontah-burdar; and by a soontah-burdar than by a peon, or hirkarah. So well is this understood, that, the precursors of a great man always arrange themselves according to the above rules; the hirkarahs and peons are the foremost; next to them the soontah-burdars; then the chobe-dars; and, lastly, the jemmadar; the latter running at the side of the palanquin, but being replaced during occasional absence by a chobe-dar; and thus throughout. It must not be forgotten, that, in India, the retinue precede the employer: a custom by no means suited to the climate, though perhaps gratifying to those who take pleasure in seeing two lines of sweating domestics preceding them; it need hardly be urged, how unpleasant the clouds of dust raised by them must be to the person seated in the palanquin.

The dresses of the jemmadar, and of the chobe-dars, may be considered the same; there 199being no characteristic difference, though the former usually make their jammas, or robes, which are always of white calico; unless where colored broad-cloath may have been presented to them for the purpose of making up liveries: which, however, do not usually extend to this class of messengers; white being considered by themselves more dignified. Nor do they feel any partiality for colored turbans, or waist-bands.

The Soontah-burdar bears a baton of about thirty inches in length, generally curved at its upper extremity, so as to resemble the ordinary form of bludgeons. These batons are made of the same materials as the chobe, or pole; but, while the latter are borne, when their bearers are proceeding with a palanquin, by a suitable balance near their centres, like trailed arms, the former are held by their lower extremities; which, since they never are rested on the ground, as the chobes are, require no ferules; the crooked end of the soontah being carried over the shoulder.

Soontah-burdars are frequently employed by persons in a second or third rate of office, or of opulence, where no jemmadar, nor chobe-dar, is kept. As already explained, the absence of one state-servant calls up the next in rank to supply his place; a circumstance which by no means impairs the dignity of the locum tenens. The pay 200of this servant varies according to circumstances, but may be from six to ten rupees monthly: the dress differs from that of the superior class; it, in most cases, being confined to a much shorter jamma, reaching only to the knees, or but little below them, and there being less objection to wear colored turbans, &c.

The Kansamah may be classed with the house-steward, and butler; both which offices appear to unite in this servant, who, in his dress, generally imitates the jemmadar, or the chobe-dar. Those who have but rarely seen a table laid out in India, must wonder at the elegance, and perfection, which may there often be found: this must appear still more surprizing, when it is considered, that none of those concerned in the preparation of the viands, would, on any account, taste of them during the course of preparation, any more than when returned from the table. It must not be supposed, that every servant bearing this description is equally acquainted with the several minutiæ the character ought to include: in fact, but very few of them possess such qualifications as should entitle to pre-eminence: generally, some of the more observant, or intelligent, of table-attendants of the lower order, contrive by application, and even by paying those kansamahs who are considered clever in their business, to climb up the ladder of menial rank, and ultimately to reach 201this station; which is the ne plus ultra in its branch of servitude. The wages are supposed to correspond with the talents; but, there being no scale whereby to regulate estimation, we may be better guided, in this particular, by the rank of the employer; though a few instances may be adduced wherein epicures, of very moderate income, have retained kansamahs at very exorbitant rates. Perhaps I may be right in taking from twelve to fifteen rupees for a common standard; from fifteen to twenty in families of rank, or opulence; and from twenty to forty among the first circle. I have known instances far beyond even that monthly stipend: a few cases might be adduced where not less than a hundred rupees have been given! As that corresponds with £l50. per annum of British currency, a sum which all below princely magnificence could but indifferently afford, it may be concluded, that, in the East, as well as in the West, there are to be found individuals who think no expence too great, when their appetite and taste are to be indulged.

The Sircar is a genius whose whole study is to handle money, whether receivable or payable; and who contrives either to confuse accounts, when they are adverse to his view; or to render them most expressively intelligible, when such would suit his purpose. These rogues are pretty nearly the same as the Madras debashes: 202I believe all, who have experienced the kind offices of either, will readily confess that no compleater knaves are to be found in any part of the world. And this under the most sedulous appearance both to please, and to serve, those whom they are about to plunder. As peons and hirkarahs rise to be chobe-dars, and jemmadars; and as khedmutgars succeed to the appointment of kansamahs; so may sircars in time become banians, dewans, darogahs, gomastahs, &c. Many of them even set up as shroffs, or bankers, and establish such an extent of credit as would astonish the inhabitants of Lombard Street. There are sircars of all ages, and of all degrees; from the shrewd lad of twelve, to the superannuated monster, whose sixty, or seventy, years of worldly intercourse, may be considered a record of fraud and extortion.

Nothing can perhaps be more forcible in exposing the characteristic traits of sircars, than the fact of their ordinarily tendering their services to young men, under the declaration that they seek for no pay; nor for remuneration in any form, beyond the pleasure of laying out master’s money to the best advantage. I should premise, that, on account of the immense variety of coins current in India, it is customary, whenever any large sum is to be received, to employ an examiner, called a podar; who, having confined his pursuits to the acquirement of a most accurate 203knowledge of their several values, at once decides upon the correctness of a payment. The precision, quickness, and touch, of these persons, are beyond description. I have been assured that many of them can, even in the dark, distinguish between several kinds of money, whose size and weight bear no great dissimilarity: besides, even those coins that bear the same value, and come from the same mint, differ greatly in both those particulars; some being broad and flat, like a shilling, though not defaced; while others are more dumpy, and, though of purer metal, not so ponderous.

Many of the sircars, especially of late years, unite the office of podar with their own business. This, it will be supposed, should enable them to secure their employer from loss, but is, on all occasions, made the means of injuring both his pocket and his credit, by passing inferior money at an unjust value into his chest, and issuing it at a less rate, if to a native colleague; but, if to an European, then at a higher value; the sircars of each joining in the device: when circumstances fit, this operation is reversed. I am prepared for the following obvious question; viz. ‘If the master knew the rate at which the money was paid to him, how happens it, that, after entering it in his books, he allows it to be paid away at a different, or, at least, at a lower, rate, than that at which it was received?’

204This query should appear sufficient to stagger any person to whom it might be put; but to a sircar would not prove in the smallest degree difficult of solution. He immediately tells master, that the batta, i.e. the exchange, is altered, and, in saying that much, he may have the truth on his side. I have already hinted at the fluctuations that take place in all coins, whether gold, silver, or copper. This up and down price of money, if I may use the expression, is managed by the shroffs, or native bankers; who invariably, except on particular holidays, meet towards midnight, compare accounts, and settle the value of money for the succeeding day. Notice is accordingly circulated in an underhand manner; and, throughout the great town of Calcutta, covering perhaps three thousand acres, and well peopled, the whole of the parties concerned, nay, even the ordinary retail shop-keepers, are apprized of the alteration. Sometimes the exchange is allowed to remain at the same rate for a few days in succession: this rarely takes place except when a particular currency, say silver, is to be bought up at a low rate, such as 58 or 60 pice to a rupee, to be sold again when the rate has been, for that purpose, raised to 64, or 65. So soon as either purpose is accomplished, the exchange alters by the same invisible means.

The number of pice in a rupee constitutes its 205value; as the number of rupees and annas do that of a gold mohur; which, if sicca, from the Calcutta mint, ought invariably to pass at sixteen rupees. But the regulations of government have too often been openly trespassed, in the most daring manner. This was carried to such a pitch, that the whole of the silver currency at one time disappeared; the shroffs and sircars had bought it all up; so that persons in business were induced to offer premiums for silver; without which mercantile concerns could not proceed. It is a well known fact, that, for some months, the troops at the presidency were paid in gold, issued to them at par; but which, owing to the infamous combinations above described, would not pass in any part of the market, unless a deduction of one-eighth was allowed! Sircars contrive to defraud all parties with whom their masters may have concerns; thereby disgracing them on many occasions, especially in payment of card-debts; which are soon distinguished by this Argus race.

Besides the advantages thus made, the sircars derive a very considerable emolument from all purchases made in the markets, of whatever description. Whenever an European, even in person, buys goods of a native, his servants have, from time immemorial, a claim on the vendor of half an anna in every rupee the latter receives. This, which is called dustooree, or customary 206gift, being a thirty-second of the disbursement, amounts to no less than 3⅛ per cent.: it may therefore be imagined what immense sums these gentry must pocket, when serving gentlemen who have large establishments to support, and whose servants are numerous: for even from the very domestics does the sircar claim the above gratuity, when paying their wages!

Military persons have little occasion for such servants; therefore, unless in eligible circumstances, and of a very liberal disposition, a sircar will not think it worth his while to serve an officer on a small salary. But it is quite different where a young civilian is in question; to him the rogue’s purse is instantly opened; not only with a view to make him, like the steward in Gil Blas, pay interest for his own money, but under the hope of attaching firmly to the rising sun, and ultimately of being banian, naib, dewan; of course, ascending to the very acmé of prosperity. Those sircars who are employed by mercantile, or manufacturing persons, derive the advantages attendant on the foregoing transactions in a less degree than when serving an individual divested of such concerns; but they gradually acquire large property, and are often placed in situations of great trust; such as darogahs and gomastahs. In such establishments they are, for the major part, relatives to the 207banian, who assists with his purse on emergency; therefore, though they may feel the necessity of paying attention to their ostensible employer, they pay their court, under the rose, chiefly to the former. The rates of wages are, in this branch, progressive; some receiving a bare livelihood, such as from five to eight rupees monthly; while those of longer standing, or who are more in favor with the banian, sometimes receive from fifteen to thirty.

The dress of sircars is extremely simple: their heads are shaved, with the exception of one lock, about two inches in diameter at the base, which is held sacred, and is tied in a kind of loose bow-knot. The turban is white, of fine muslin, wrapped perhaps fifteen or twenty times round the head, leaving the crown nearly bare, and the lock of hair protruding. Round the waist a piece of cloth is passed, so as to allow freedom of motion; then tucked in, in a peculiar manner, and one skirt, passing between the thighs, is, in like manner, secured behind. Unless in cold weather, the body and arms are left entirely bare; in moderate seasons, they are covered by means of a cloth sewed into two breadths, thrown over the shoulders: a chintz quilt is likewise worn at times.

For the convenience of keeping accounts, and of making payments, one sircar is allowed by the 208Company to each battalion of sepoys. It is surprizing to see how these men, whose utmost legal receipts can amount to only twenty rupees monthly, get forward, and become possessed of property. Much money goes through their hands, and, as before observed, every finger is a file which takes off a trifle en passant. This class of servants rarely associate, in any degree, with the others; they form, in fact, a separate tribe of Hindus, and devote their time to one object, viz. making money. They generally read English well enough to know the contents of a bill; but, in giving receipts, usually sign their names in the Bengallee character: few of them undertake to write English accounts; but, in their own way, which appears to us prolix, they are extremely regular. The superiors seldom touch a pen, leaving that office to those servants who are entitled to confidence, and causing the less expert to act as collecting clerks; an employ in which they are eminently punctual, as most young debtors throughout the East must acknowledge. It is a peculiar circumstance, that scarcely an instance has been known of a sircar absconding with the money entrusted to him: from this, however, I exempt the vile crew of tide waiters, who are by no means scrupulous; though, for the sake of perpetuating their game, which any open act of felony might break up, they prefer extracting the money from the novice’s 209pocket, by means of extortion and fraudulent accounts.

Considering him as being at least attached to, if not of the very same species, as the knave just described, I shall give a short description of the Podar; of whom mention has already been made. He is not always an attendant at an office, though, in great concerns, his presence is indispensable. He either receives from four to ten rupees per month, or is paid, by a very small centage, for whatever money he examines. We often admire the dexterity of our money-tellers; but the podar, who counts by fours, (i.e. gundahs,) finishes the detail of a thousand in so short a time, as would cause even our most expert money-tellers to stare with astonishment! It is only mixed money that is counted, when large sums are passing; most payments are first sorted, when, the several kinds of rupees being made into parcels, are weighed, fifty at a time: in this manner, a lac (i.e. a 100,000) may be speedily ascertained; each parcel of fifty being kept separate, until a certain number is completed: when the whole are accounted, and removed into bags, to make way for further operations. Here it may be proper to remark, that no sircar will take charge of money when his employer keeps the key: nor is it, on the other hand, customary for the sircar to have the entire charge. So many tricks have been played by changing the 210coin, that it is now a general rule for every treasure-chest to have two large padlocks, of different construction; the sircar, or tusseel-dar (cash keeper,) receiving one key, and the master retaining the other. This prevents aggression on either part, but is by no means pleasing to the banians, though they affect to be highly satisfied, because a command of specie will often enable them to make very advantageous purchases in Company’s paper; but such a precaution inevitably debars their access to master’s cash.

The Cranny, or clerk, may be either a native Armenian, a native Portugueze, or a Bengallee: the former are not very common; the second are more numerous; but the third are every where to be seen. It really is wonderful how well many of the latter can write, without understanding a word of what is written. They have a steady hand, a keen eye, and an admirable readiness in casting up accounts. Those who are habituated to our mode of book keeping, profess to consider it greatly superior to their own, but it is not a very easy matter to get them into it. That multiplicity of fractions which prevails, in consequence of the perpetual fluctuation in their currency, causes them to be very well versed in that branch of arithmetic, and to 211produce the most correct calculations. The rates of wages are different according to the abilities of individuals; thus, a clever cranny in a public office, such as the auditor general’s, or the pay-master general’s, or the assay and mint, may receive from forty to a hundred rupees monthly, while, in mercantile houses, they rarely receive more than thirty, generally, indeed, from ten to twenty; while many are glad to serve gratis, merely for the purpose of an introduction to that line of employment; as well as to perfect themselves in book keeping, and in a proper style of correspondence.

The use these gentry make of English words, is often highly diverting: they study synonymes very industriously; poring over Johnson’s dictionary, and carefully selecting such terms, as appear to them least in use; thinking that such must, of course, make finer language. The following may serve as a specimen: it was written by a cranny to his master, in consequence of an exterior window shutter having been blown down by a severe north-wester.

‘Honorable Sir,

‘Yesterday vesper arrive great hurricane; valve of little aperture not fasten; first make great trepidation and palpitation, then 212precipitate into precinct. God grant master more long life, and more great post.

I remain,
Honorable Sir,
in all token of respect,
Master’s writer,

‘P.S. No tranquillity in house since valve adjourn.—I send for carpenter to make re-unite.’

Those unacquainted with the pedantry of Bengallee writers, may suspect me of coining for the occasion; placing the above on a footing with Smollet’s ‘Horse-spittle of anvil-heads,’ &c.; but I assure my readers, that it is a literal transcript from a note of which the original was in my father’s possession for many years; it is by no means so preposterous as many that have, on account of their ridiculous diction, been published in the Calcutta papers.

The dress of a Bengallee cranny is exactly the same as that of the sircar, of which tribe he may be considered a relative. The Portugueze cranny, assumes the British dress; but the Armenian invariably retains that of his own country, which is truly becoming. They shave their heads, and wear black velvet bonnets, not unlike a mitre in form. Their vests are of white linen, and reach down to their knees, so as not to conceal the knee-bands of their small-cloaths. 213Their coats, or tunics, are usually made of colored silk, for the most part purple, lilac, crimson, or brown, and flow loosely rather below their vests; the sleeves are loose, and there is no collar. They use also stockings and shoes; and, when within doors, lay aside their black bonnets, wearing in their stead white skull-caps, round like a small bowl, and often neatly tamboured with colored silks. They have pockets both in their vests, and in their small-cloaths: some wear girdles, under their tunics; and some wear silken sashes.

Having disposed of those who pride themselves as appertaining to the nokeron, it remains to detail the services, &c. of such as come under the general designation of chaukeron.

The Khedmutgar, or, as he is often termed, the kismutgar, is, with very few exceptions, a Mussulman: his business is to prepare all the apparatus, and to wait at table. For this purpose, he repairs to the house of his employer shortly after day-break; when, after seeing that the breakfast apartment has been swept, and taking care that the bearers have put on a kettle, he lays the cloth, with small plates, knives, forks, spoons, &c. together with bread, butter, sweetmeats, &c. but reserving all the tea-things for a side-table; at which, if there be no kansamah, he officiates, making the tea, coffee, chocolate, cocoa, or whatever is ordered. Where there is 214an European lady in the family, she may, perhaps, have the cups, &c. set upon the breakfast table; but, on account of the steam arising from the various preparations, this custom is by no means general; and often, after being persevered in for a while, is relinquished in favor of the bachelor’s mode; which is in every respect, the most comfortable.

Every gentleman must have one khedmutgar; but the majority keep two, or even more; not only adding thereby to their own expence, but considerably incommoding every party in which they may dine. As every gentleman, when at table, is attended by his own servants, it may easily be conceived, that where two or more are posted behind each guest, a living enclosure is formed, tending by its own exhalations, added to those from their masters, and from the viands, to banish comfort, and to render all artificial means of cooling the apartment perfectly abortive. Hence it is usual, at all public entertainments, to admit but one servant for each person invited: on some occasions a better plan is adopted, namely, that of employing only as many servants as may be deemed absolutely necessary: but this, though obviously judicious, rarely gives satisfaction; habit having so strongly confirmed, what luxury so very insagaciously invented. Gentlemen fixed at Calcutta, or at any place, as residents, cause plates, knives, 215forks, spoons, napkins, and glasses, to be laid for the whole company; but at all military stations, each guest sends his servant with two plates, a soup plate, a small plate for bones, &c. a tumbler, a long glass for claret, and a smaller for Madeira, a table spoon, a dessert spoon, perhaps also a marrow spoon, two or three knives and forks, and a napkin: these are usually taken to the rendezvous by one of his khedmutgars, who accompanies the aub-dar; the latter causing a bearer with a bangy, or sling, to carry the apparatus for cooling water.

However luxurious the latter custom may seem, yet I do not know any more gratifying, or more conducive to health. A glass of cold water is at times invaluable!

When seated at table, the khedmutgar stands behind his master, changing his plates, &c. which are cleaned by servants without; and, either keeping him cool by means of a small hand-fan, made of palm-tree; or driving away the flies with a whisk, called a chowry, made of the hair from a wild ox’s tail, or of a peacocks’ feathers, or of the roots of grass, called cuss-cuss, &c. often, however, these offices are left to a bearer, who likewise stands, behind his master’s chair, for that purpose. After dinner the khedmutgars retire to their own homes, and, about sun-set, attend their respective masters, if they have remained; but should they 216sup where they dined, as is customary where suppers are laid, the attendance is repeated, the same as at dinner time; after which the khedmutgars go to their respective houses, without ceremony. The pay of this menial varies from five, to perhaps ten, rupees monthly; but the generality receive from six to eight. Much depends on the rank of the employer, and whether the khedmutgar is ever expected to officiate as kansamah: such is, indeed, the case with the families of single gentlemen, not in possession of large receipts; but the officiating khedmutgar is honored, almost invariably, by all the other servants, with the title of khansamah.

Nor is such distinction always ill-bestowed; many of those who serve under gentlemen of a liberal disposition, and who take pleasure in keeping a good table, may fairly competite with, at least, half the servants actually entitled to that designation, in all the knowledge requisite to support its character. Few, however, of those who become thus capable of managing all that appertains to domestic economy, refrain from making attempts to enter the superior circle. Nor are there wanting persons ready to seduce such good servants from the employ of their acquaintances. About eight and twenty years ago, when it was the fashion to wear the hair, both of ladies and of gentlemen, full dressed, a good peruquier was an indispensable 217part of the establishment: the great difficulty of procuring persons properly qualified, induced several gentlemen to have lads instructed under those who were known to be expert; this often cost from eighty to a hundred rupees (ten or twelve guineas); but, in many instances, so soon as the pupils had learned the business, offers were made clandestinely from other quarters, sometimes by intimate friends of their masters; when some little disagreement was started so as to give pretext for quitting. I must remark, at the same time, that I believe the gentlemen of India are more scrupulous, and more delicate, in matters of this nature, than those in any other quarter: but we must not expect all to be perfect; still less to be disinterested!

Khedmutgars are, with few exceptions, the sons of ayahs, dhyes, &c. in the service of European, or native, ladies: their first introduction to the table commonly takes place when about eight, or nine, years of age; at which period children in that quarter are usually smart, intelligent, and well-featured. At first they attend only at home; not receiving any wages, or so little as barely to suffice for clothing: by degrees they become useful, and are allowed to attend abroad. From this it may be concluded, that, too often, a kind of compact, or coalition, takes place behind the curtain, not very favorable to either the pocket, or the brows, of the employer. 218When we consider the various opportunities both for peculation, and for intrigue, possessed by khedmutgars so initiated, we cannot refrain from condemning that practice, which is too generally prevalent; and which we should suppose could not fail to produce some inquietude: such, however, is rarely the case.

The dresses of khedmutgars are generally of the same form; but the quality of the cloth, the length of the skirts, and sleeves, and the trimmings, are matters of great consequence in the eyes of this vain tribe. All endeavor to obtain turbans and cummer-bunds (i.e. waist-cloths) of the same color, and are not the less pleased if a tassel of silver fringe be added to the outer end of the former. During the hot season, a coortah, or vest, reaching at least to the knees, of white calico, or of chintz, is worn; but, during the winter, one of perpet, or other woollen of European manufacture, is held to be more respectable. The long-drawers are ordinarily white, or of striped gingham; though some great favorites, and debauchees, who pride themselves on being favorites among the ladies, often wear a kind of silk stuff, called gool-budden, such as is used by women above the middle class, and denotes effeminacy, or a disposition to intrigue. The origin of such a type of libertinism may commonly be traced to the haram; probably to that of the fop’s own master.

219The office of Mosaulchy, or flambeau-bearer, may be considered another introduction, or rather an apprenticeship, to the foregoing. A lad serving in this capacity should be agile, smart, and careful; having to run for miles as fast as the ordinary rate of a carriage; he will find abundance of work in cleaning boots, shoes, knives, dishes, &c. together with a million of et ceteras, which fit him for the title of ‘Jack of all trades.’ Many valuable articles in glass-ware and crockery, being given to his charge, for the purpose of being washed, it is indispensably necessary that his whole attention be devoted thereto. During the time a lad remains as a mosaulchy, he may acquire much experience relating to the duties of a khedmutgar: some are to be seen, in the service of persons in rather low circumstances, acting in both capacities, and carrying the umbrella; which is properly the duty of a bearer: but, where the mosaulchy performs the khedmutgar’s duties, bearers are rarely kept. Few mosaulchies are allowed more than five rupees monthly, and then on the proviso of supplying the flambeaux and the oil, where such are used. The general pay is about four rupees; the master, as is now almost every where prevalent, using a lantern instead of a mosaul, (or flambeau,) and supplying ends of wax candles, or whole ones of tallow, for that purpose. Many of this description of 220servants begin as coolies, or laborers, and gradually acquire sufficient insight to be admitted into the services of non-commissioned officers, &c.; whence they take the opportunity of removing into the employ of gentlemen. Others start from the sepoy regiments, in which they have served as goorgahs, or fags, to some native officer, &c.; but these are more rare; the generality of our sepoys being Hindus, to whom various domestic operations occurring in the families of Europeans are obnoxious, on account of the nature of many aliments in use among us. The mosaul, or flambeau, consists of old rags, wrapped very closely around a small stick; it is generally about two feet in length, and may be two inches and a half in diameter; an iron ring fits on, so as to confine the fire within about an inch at the tip: being refreshed, from time to time, with oil extracted from the sesamum, it burns with great fierceness; as the cloth consumes, the ring is brought back, by means of an old fork, thereby renovating the flame. The oil is either carried in a glass bottle, to the embouchure of which a reed is fitted, to prevent spilling; or it is contained in a brass vessel, made expressly for the purpose, and thence called a tale daunny (i.e. oil-pot,) which may hold nearly a quart.

The dress of a mosaulchy consists of a turban, generally colored; a short pair of drawers, reaching 221half way down the thigh, nearly the same as the jangheeahs of the native soldiery; and a cloth, wrapped round the waist. But where this servant is at any time employed to wait at table, he imitates the dress of the khedmutgar, so far as his pocket may allow. Persons of distinction, among both Europeans and natives, cause their mosaulchies to carry what are called branch-lights. These consist of a semi-circular frame of iron, supported on a centre stem, to which the side ribs join; upon the circumference are five or seven spikes, on each of which a small mosaul is stuck. When they are all lighted, and raised above the head, by means of the stem, they make a great show. Commonly two, or, eventually, three branch-lights, may be seen preceding a great personage, intermixed with his retinue: two or more ordinary mosauls, or lanterns, are also carried near the palanquin, to prevent the bearers from stumbling.

The next upon our list is the Hookah-burdar, or preparer of the pipe; a domestic of wondrous consequence with many gentlemen, who give themselves up, almost wholly, to the enjoyment of smoking. Some begin before they have half breakfasted; whiffing away, with little intermission, till they retire to rest: I know not of any custom which becomes so habitual! It is inconceivable how distressed some are, in consequence of their hookahs not arriving in time 222particularly when on a march: at such moments, nothing goes right: hookah! hookah! hookah! seem to be the three indispensables towards happiness. Some few may plead in apology, that, without its aid, they would be subject to an irregularity, such as rarely fails to induce severe illness: when this is the case, we cannot censure the practice, provided it be confined to that duration which may produce the salutary stimulus; and which, it is obvious, must be rather weakened, than aided, by the subsequent use of smoke during the rest of the day. To so great an extreme is this carried, that I have known more than one instance of two hookah-burdars being retained; one for the day, the other for the night. Where such prevails, it may be rationally concluded the wages are in proportion: in most services, these may be from ten, to fifteen, rupees per month; occasionally somewhat less, but rarely exceeding; except where excessive partiality for his pipe induces a gentleman to give more, under the common error of expecting satisfaction in proportion to the disbursement. To such an egregious excess has this opinion led some persons, that I have heard of no less than one hundred rupees per month having been given to a hookah-burdar. Yet, many gentlemen, supposed to be judges, were unanimous in declaring, that such high-priced preparations were very inferior to the generality of those obtained 223at that moderate expence usually incurred by persons contenting themselves with mediocrity.

In some instances, the whole expence lies with the hookah-burdar, who receives such a sum as may, besides his wages, include tobacco, gools, (or fire-balls,) and chillums, (or sockets for receiving the towah, or tile,) on which the prepared tobacco is applied. Some even provide the snakes, or pliable conductors.

With respect to the tobacco used for smoking, ‘tot homines, tot sententiæ;’ in that particular few are to be found of the same opinion: and among those that are, probably more than half are under the grossest deception. The little village of Bilsah, in the Maharrattah country, has been long celebrated, and it should seem not without reason, for the fragrance of the tobacco raised around it. But the quantity of tobacco sold annually throughout Bengal, where it produces from thirty to sixty, and even eighty rupees per maund, (if ascertained to be genuine,) is known to exceed, full an hundred fold, the amount of any crop ever raised at Bilsah. The substitutes are various, but one kind, raised in the Bundelcund district, supplies the greater portion; many, indeed, are of opinion that it is not inferior. May not its excellence be owing to the practice, common in that quarter, of sprinkling the plants at harvest time with a solution 224of molasses? We know that many fruits yield but little of their flavor, until excited by the saccharine acid: the raspberry may serve to coroborate my position. I have known that very cheap kind of tobacco, the Cuggareah, which ordinarily sells for about four rupees per maund, (of 82 lb.) rendered so mellow, and so fragrant, by being worked up with molasses, and kept in close vessels for some months, as absolutely to be admired even by persons who prided themselves on never smoking any but the true Bilsah!

The usual mode of preparing tobacco for the hookah, is by first chopping it very small; then, adding ripe plantains, molasses, or raw sugar, together with some cinnamon, and other aromatics; keeping the mass, which resembles an electuary, in close vessels. When about to be used, it is again worked up well; some, at that time, add a little tincture of musk, or a few grains of that perfume, others prefer pouring a solution of it, or a little rose water, down the snake, at the moment the hookah is introduced: in either case, the fragrance of the tobacco is effectually superceded; giving ample scope for the hookah-burdar to serve up rank mundungus, (as bad tobacco is termed,) in lieu of the supposed, or perhaps the real, Bilsah.

The hookah-burdar rarely fails to smoke of the best his master may at any time possess; 225which, however highly perfumed, will rarely be strong enough for his gratification: the deficiency is supplied by the admixture of bang; a preparation from the leaves of the ganjah, or hemp, (the cannabis sativus,) and is extremely intoxicating. The leaves of that plant, when triturated with water, compose a drink of the same tendency, known by the name of subzy, (i.e. green,) which is a constant beverage among the more established sinners, who rarely fail, towards nightfall, to take an ample dose, of either bang, subzy, or majoom: the latter being sweetmeats impregnated with a decoction of the ganjah, or hemp plant, much used by all debauchees, and too often admitted within the sacred area of the zenanah, (or haram). The use of any preparation of the ganjah, or hemp plant, is attended with much opprobrium: like most intoxicating drugs and spirits, they, in the first instance, excite to gaiety, but ultimately leave their victim in the most deplorable state of stupefaction; the recovery from which is attended with dreadful headache, ill temper, and hypochondria. Some hookah-burdars indulge freely in the use of musk, which never fails, after a while, to produce considerable derangement of the nerves; and, not unfrequently, that complete debility which is ever attended with the greatest depressure of spirits.

A very common species of debauchery, in 226which I have known only one or two gentlemen to indulge, is the incorporation of opium with the prepared tobacco, previous to its being spread upon the towah; a custom so repugnant to discretion, as to leave little room for animadversion, the folly being usually of very short duration, and, intermediately, attended with the most abject degradation. Many native princes, and others, who have been hurled from their thrones, or from offices of trust, are said to have been treacherously overcome by means of opium thus administered: it appears to me very practicable, by such a device, to lull a whole guard to sleep; for few can resist the offer of a whiff when the goorgoory (a small kind of hookah used by the lower classes) is passing round. Among such trash as is generally sold to the poor, who care not much about the flavor, so long as they can draw abundance of smoke, the opium would probably, if at all tasted, rather give a zest, than prove an objection, to the indulgence. It is asserted, that if a capsicum be put among the gools, or be mixed with the tobacco, fatal consequences will ensue; an instant attack of apoplexy taking place. This I have never known to be done; therefore am incapable of producing any testimony, one way or the other: but it appears rather doubtful whether any reasoning, or analogy, could be adduced in support of the assertion; the acrid stimulus would, in all 227probability, be dissipated, rendering the residue as inert as any other raw culinary vegetable. Admitting it to be true, that a capsicum can produce such an effect, a very strong argument against smoking may be adduced: no man would, altogether, relish the idea of being so perpetually in the power of a debauchee, who might, either through resentment, or by a small bribe, be induced to bestow a quietus, without the possibility of a discovery. In such case, the hookah-burdar would have all the advantages of an inimical cook, without the danger of his narcotic being detected.

However complicated the hookah may appear, it is, nevertheless, extremely easy of construction. I have been told, that one has been made in England; and I have seen a few in use, that were brought from Bengal. The preparation of the tobacco with apples, in lieu of plantains, is equally simple and approved. The kaleaun, or small kind of hookah, used on the west coast of India, is certainly commodious: it has a larger bottom, in general, than the Bengal hookah; though I have seen some very small, with beautiful imitations of flowers, and of coral, shells, &c. within them.

Some of the real Persian kaleauns exhibit considerable ingenuity, and taste, on the part of their manufacturers. In the centre of the interior, bunches of flowers, beautifully colored, far 228too large, and too delicate, to have been introduced at the embouchures of the vessels, may be seen. Over these, the glass, which is rarely of the best quality, though far superior to any I have seen of Hindostanee formation, has evidently been cast, or blown. Many of these artificial bouquets are, however, made piece-meal, as I discovered by examining their construction, after their exterior cases had been accidentally broken: such were found to consist of a cone of rosin firmly cemented to the bottom of the kaleaun, by heat; it appeared that the several leaves, branches, flowers, birds, &c. were introduced one after the other, in a heated state, and applied to the rosin, in which they buried themselves sufficiently to retain a firm hold. I likewise ascertained that some models of Persian architecture were combined in the same manner; while, on the other hand, others, especially small figures of great personages, seated on thrones, elephants, &c. were never subjected to that device: in the latter instance, some grapes were, however, joined in the manner above described.

The goorgoory is a very small kind of hookah, intended to be conveyed in a palanquin, or to be carried about a house; the person who smokes holding a vase-shaped bottom by its neck, and drawing through a stiff, instead of a pliant, pipe, formed of a reed, arched into such a shape as 229should conduct its end conveniently to the mouth. In this, the pipe is rarely more than a yard in length: it is an implement very generally used by the middling classes of natives; and especially among the women in harams.

The neriaul is nothing more than a cocoa-nut, with the pipe-stem thrust through a hole at its top, and a piece of reed, about a cubit long, applied to another hole rather lower down. The nut-shell, being half filled with water, the air, or rather the smoke, we might suppose would be cooled; but, from observation, I much doubt whether any change takes place in the temperament of either. These little hookahs, (for, however paltry, their owners do not omit to give them that designation,) are often used without any reed to conduct the smoke; the lips being, in that case, applied to the small lateral aperture into which the reed should be fitted. One of these usually serves half a dozen men, who pass it round with great glee: it often forms an appendage about the feet of a palanquin, if the opportunity offers for securing it there, without master’s knowledge.

The dress of a hookah-burdar, in the service of a gentleman of rank, approaches nearly to that of a chobe-dar; a jamma being generally worn by such, but, in more humble situations, the courtah of a khedmutgar is common. In the former situation, his office is confined entirely 230to the hookah; while, in the latter, he is generally expected to wait at table, at least, on occasion; but wherever the master, of whatever rank, may go, thither the hookah-burdar is expected to proceed, so as to furnish the pipe in due season after dinner, or at any other time it may be required. The ordinary periods for smoking, are, after breakfast, after dinner, after tea, and after supper: such may be deemed regular; and, if no more than two or three charges are used, at each time, are by no means considered extraordinary. I have already stated, that some gentlemen smoke day and night.

In such a climate, water is, during four months, at least, the main spring of existence, both in the animal, and the vegetable, kingdom; consequently, its supply becomes a profession, giving bread to thousands. The person officiating in this capacity, if provided with a bullock for the purpose of conveying two large leather bags, each containing about twenty gallons, is called a Puckaully; but if he carries the water himself, in the skin of a goat, prepared for that purpose, he then receives the designation of Bheesty. The bags for a puckaully are made of strong hide, sewed very firmly at the front, which is at right angles with the bottom, where the leather doubles, and, consequently, has no seam; the back part, is diagonal, forming a kind of spout behind, opposite the bullock’s knee; 231while the top is left open, rather in a funnel form, for about a foot that the water may be poured in: the spout is first rolled up, and then tied with a strong strip of leather.

Every puckaully carries also a small bag, that he may serve as an ordinary ‘hand-bheesty’, when required. This is made of the skin of a goat, taken off in a particular manner. Being put into a solution of lime, the hair soon quits; when the inside fleshings are carefully scraped off. A tan is then made of the bark of baubool, (mimosa), khut, (catechu,) and alum.

Bheesties are, with few exceptions, Mussulmans; it being contrary to the Hindu code to touch either the carcases, or the skins, of animals killed in any way. Hence, a Hindu of this profession is extremely rare, and will seldom be discovered; owing to the necessity for change of name, so as to pass for a Mussulman. Hindus will, nevertheless, drink of the water supplied from the mussock, (or bheesty-bag); though they are extremely partial to such as they can draw themselves, by means of a line and metal pot, with which most travellers are provided. Some few are, to be sure, extravagantly scrupulous, and will undergo excessive thirst, rather than partake of the bheesty’s supply. Dust, heat, and fatigue, however, rarely fail, after a while, to overcome such ill-timed fastidiousness. The puckaullies, or, as they are 232usually called, the bullock-bheesties, replenish their bags by driving their cattle into some tank, or pond, up to their knees, or even deeper, then baling in the water, by means of a small leather bucket, holding about two quarts, or more. The hand-bheesty usually sinks his bag under water, when it soon fills. When drawing water from the wells, the leather bucket, called a dole, is used by both the puckaully and the hand-bheesty.

The constant application of a wet skin to the cloaths on the hip, necessarily disposes them to rot: on this account, most bheesties provide themselves with a piece of cloth, called karwah, which, being dyed in grain with a composition, whereof the solution of shell-lac forms a large portion, resists the effects of the moisture, better than any other substance in use for apparel. The wages of a hand-bheesty, may be from four to five rupees, according to the agreement, whether he is to furnish his own mussock, &c. which is the general mode. His duty, during the cold season, and in the rains, is mere pastime; he has then but little to do beyond the supply of water to horses, and filling a few pots for culinary purposes, bathing, drinking, &c. all of which might be done in half an hour. But in the summer months, his labors are severe. Exclusive of the above requisitions, which are multiplied ten-fold, he has to water 233the tatties, (or frames filled with grass,) applied to the windward side of every house, for the purpose of cooling the air; at that season not only uncomfortably hot, but absolutely parching the skin of a person not habituated to its influence. By day-break the bheesty must begin to fill the several tubs, or immense nauds, (pans) of earthen-ware, placed near the house; this being done, he brings the tatties, and after wetting each thoroughly, as it lays on the ground, places it against its respective aperture, supporting it with props, and, during the whole day, indeed often till mid-night, sprinkling it in every part; occasionally replenishing the vessels, as their contents may be expended. Though it cannot be said to occur often, yet, in some very dry seasons, it has been found necessary to continue the bheesties at their labor during the whole night. I recollect an instance, in the year 1793, when the winds were, if any thing, hotter at night than in the day time; rendering it absolutely necessary to keep the tatties up for a full week, or more; and demanding additional bheesties, who performed the night duty.

All the houses in India are tarrased, not only on the basements, but on every floor; therefore, previous to sweeping, the bheesty sprinkles the tarras slightly; thereby preventing the dust from rising when the sweeper performs his part. 234He likewise waters the precincts of the house, several times daily, but especially towards sun-set, when gentlemen usually take their tea in the open air. If going any distance, perhaps two or three miles, in their palanquins, during the prevalence of the hot winds, it is common for persons of respectability to be accompanied by their bheesties, who carry a small quantity of water in their mussocks; therewith sprinkling the tatties applied to the sides of the vehicle; the interior, which but for this would be insufferably hot, is thereby rendered fresh and cool. Those who do not take bheesties with them, have their gutta-topes, (or palanquin covers,) which are ordinarily made of the karwah before described, well soaked in water before they set out: this, though not so effectual as the foregoing mode, is no bad substitute.

Water, when dashed out from the end of a mussock, or bheesty-bag, would be apt to penetrate into the interior of a palanquin; and as its expenditure, while proceeding any distance, should be economically managed, a very simple device is in use, which effectually answers every purpose; namely, the introduction of a small rose-head, similar to those affixed to the spouts of garden watering-pots, which being firmly secured within the neck of the mussock, by means of the leather throng always attached to that part, divides the water more minutely, 235and checks its too abundant supply; at the same time that it causes the distribution to be more general and equal.

Tatties are made of the roots of that long grass of which most of the jungles in India consist, and which correspond exactly with the Guinea grass, once so ridiculously sent to the East as a great acquisition; the fibres are of a rusty brown color, devious in their direction, and may be from ten to twenty inches in length: we see among us cloaths brushes, and carpet brooms, made of it. The Hindostanee name is kuss-kuss, and the general price may be about four rupees per maund, (of 82 lb).

The frame, in which this material is to be enclosed, is made of split bamboo, chequered into squares, of about four inches each way, and in the whole sufficiently extensive to overlap the exterior of the door, or window, to which it is to be applied, at least six inches, or perhaps, a foot, at the sides and above. The kuss-kuss is then placed very regularly on the bamboo frame, as it lies on the ground, in the same manner as tiles; each layer being bound down, under a thin slip of bamboo, extending the full breadth of the tatty. The great art is to make the tatty neither too thick, which would exclude the wind; nor too thin, as it would then let the dust pass through, without rendering the interior sufficiently cool. I found, after much 236experiment, that a maund of kuss-kuss, applied so as to cover about a hundred square feet, answered extremely well. But it is best to have one or two tatties made rather thin; so as to apply in case of light winds: when it blows hard, these may be applied double; one at the back of the other. At such times, the interior of a house will be very cool; sometimes rather too much so; for the great evaporation caused by the heated air’s passage through the cold medium, produces perfect refrigeration.

In the western provinces, and other parts of India, tatties are frequently made of a short, prickly bush, that thrives during the hottest months on sandy plains, especially in places inundated during the rainy season. This shrub is called, jewassah; its leaves are not unlike, but not so numerous, nor of so deep a green, as those of rue. It is extremely prickly, being every where furnished with spines about the size of a pin. When fresh, the jewassah is most pleasing to the eye, and its scent is equally agreeable; but, after the first day, its verdure disappears, and the whole house is filled with its leaves, and its thorns. Hence, the kuss-kuss, which, when fresh, is rather fragrant, though the scent is somewhat terraceous, is usually preferred in making those tatties which roll up, so as to be particularly applicable to palanquins, and are called cheeks; wherein nothing but kuss-kuss is 237ever employed: where this root cannot be procured, or when in the early part of the hot season, little has come to market, common grass, pared from the soil, or even small boughs, straw, &c. are occasionally used to fill between two frames of bamboo: they answer tolerably when well watered; but, on account of their disposition to rot, soon become objectionable: kuss-kuss will keep for years.

Very few puckaullies, or bullock-bheesties, are retained in the service of individuals; such are usually attached to the establishments of barrack-masters, and quarter-masters. They answer admirably for the supply of water at the soldiers’ quarters, and at the hospitals; to which tatties are allowed, at the public expence, during the hot season. In most cases, the bullocks that carry the water, as well as the leather bags, appertain to the establishment, and the driver receives only the pay of a hand-bheesty; where he supplies the whole, his pay is from ten to twelve rupees per month.

The Babachy, or cook, is a servant who may fairly claim very considerable approbation, since he prepares most sumptuous dinners, although he never tastes any of the viands while in a state of preparation; and is, besides, often put to his wits to guard against the joint attacks of dust, wind, rain, sun, and birds of prey. In a regular, settled family, it is true he may have 238every convenience afforded him; such as a substantial and spacious kitchen, with fire-place according to the Indian style; a range of stoves, a scullery, apparatus of all sorts, &c. &c. But when on a march, the case is widely different; he must then turn to with his mattock, and dig a number of holes, to receive his fuel; which is usually green wood, or dried cow-dung; he must make choolahs, or fire places, by placing three lumps of earth, kneaded into a stiff paste, for each choolah, so as to support the boiler it is to receive; he must burn his wood to embers, over which his meat is to be roasted, by means of a small spit; perhaps made of slit bamboo, but if of iron, with a crank at one end, whereby to turn it, as it rests upon two dogs, or iron spikes, driven into the ground, a few feet asunder; he must, in all probability, kill and flay a kid, or two or three fowls; some for curry, others for roasting, &c.; and, perhaps, after all, he may have to turn the spit himself; occasionally looking to the contents of the several boilers, &c.

The fixed roasting place in a permanent kitchen is generally made of two inclined bars of iron, about four or five feet in length, set sloping against a wall, at an angle of perhaps forty degrees. Each of these bars is furnished with eight or ten hooks, in any suitable pair of which the spit is turned by a boy: the spaces under 239them, that is to say, the triangle on each side, are filled with masonry, so that the heat may be retained, and the embers be kept within certain bounds.

For roasting in this manner, the embers are divided lengthwise, leaving a vacancy, or kind of trough, under the line of the spit, wherein a metal platter is sometimes set, to receive the dripping, which is returned to the meat by a bunch of feathers, (generally those from the wings of the fowls just killed,) tied to the end of a short stick. This little neat, cleanly, and cheap dripping-ladle, answers admirably; it being in the power of the babachy to baste any part with great precision. I know not any thing in the culinary way, that proves more uncomfortable to delicate stomachs than the sight of this part of the process; unless it be the very common practice of preparing toast, by means of melted butter laid on either with the above implement, or with a piece of old rag! As for straining soup, &c. through dirty clouts, that is considered as a matter of course; therefore, after a full conviction that it is so, and that thethe soup is well flavored, very few exceptions are made.

Notwithstanding such unpicturesque operations, the dinner, when brought to table, looks well, and tastes well: appetite, at that time, supersedes daintiness, and prevents the imagination 240from travelling back to the kitchen; though, to be sure, the number of flies at times found in the sauces, will occasion a disposition to enquire how they got there, and whence they came! These obnoxious visitors rarely fail to visit the purlieus of the balachy’s camp; where they assemble in swarms; not only covering the garbage, which usually lies but a few paces distant, but settling on the meat, or visiting the stew-pots, &c. where they are overcome by the heat, or fixed by the dripping, &c. Flies may, however, be picked out; but those shoals of dust that skim during the middle of the day, often render the whole dinner absolutely unacceptable. I have been in situations where, although a large table cloth was spread over the knives, forks, &c. as laid for dinner, there has been collected near a pound of sand underneath; while the upper cloth was really covered full a quarter of an inch in depth: those who have been stationed at Lucknow, during the hot season, cannot but confirm my assertion. This never can be altogether obviated in moveable camps; but, when fixed for a while, it is usual to set up mats, or konauts, (which are walls of cloth, kept upright by ropes and sticks,) on the windward side; whereby the inconvenience may be considerably lessened: but sometimes a b’hoot, or whirlwind, comes suddenly, and not only be-grits the whole of 241the cookery, but whisks away the fences, embers, &c. in an instant!

The boilers in general are made in the country, of copper, tinned; in shape not unlike the common cast-iron pots used throughout the North, without feet, and with the addition of a flat rim projecting about an inch outward, serving both to steady a kind of inverted lid, and, as they have no handles, for the babachy to apply two wet rags, wherewith to put the vessel off, and on, the choolah. Tinning is performed by persons who make a livelihood thereby; they receiving a certain sum, from one to two rupees per score, for the several pieces, counting boilers, lids, &c., according to their size. The kully-ghur, or tinman, uses but few utensils; he has the vessels well scoured, and then, by means of powdered rosin, gives the interior a coating, scarcely distinguishable to the sight, or touch. Some use no rosin; others employ borax; but, whatever the medium may be, or whether there be none, the vessel is heated sufficiently, and equally, over embers, when the tin, being thoroughly melted, is kept rubbing round the interior, with a large piece of fine cotton wool, so long as any will adhere: the vessel is then set to cool.

It cannot require pointing out, that the above mode is retained in vogue entirely by the cheapness, and expedition, with which it is done; 242were it otherwise, its want of durability, could not fail to give the preference to some more permanent, and less soluble, preparation. But it happens, that tinning can be performed in almost every town; and, that there is rarely occasion to have recourse thereto more than once in two or three months; when a score, of good sized pieces, may be done for as little money as would be charged, by one of our artizans, for tinning a very moderate-sized kettle. Some gentlemen use tin boilers, sent from this country; but, though certainly devoid of the inconvenience, and danger, attendant upon a want of tinning, such are highly objectionable, in consequence of their being so soon burnt through, or rusted, when laid by: notwithstanding the generality of babachies adopt the precaution of smearing the bottoms of most vessels, but of these in particular, with fine clay, sufficiently diluted to be laid on thin and smooth. Our cooks at home might, perhaps, not do amiss, were they to adopt that excellent plan.

The babachy has nothing characteristic in his apparel; he is generally more of a sloven than of a beau, and may often be mistaken for a mosaulchy. In some families, mates, or assistants, are allowed, who do the drudgery, and whose pay is often included in that of his superior; in which case, four rupees are the common allowance, though the poor mate seldom receives 243more than half that sum; the cook-major adding the residue, as a perquisite, to his own wages, which may be stated at from six to twelve rupees, according to ability. As in the case of kansamahs, and hookah-burdars, a few instances may be adduced of exorbitant salaries; but we may generally take the single cook at eight rupees, and the mate at four. Where there is much work, as in taverns, &c., from fifteen to twenty rupees are sometimes given monthly to the head babachy.

The Durzy, or tailor, however strange it may appear to those who never left England, is an indispensable domestic in every part of India. It is to be recollected, that all such branches of servitude are there filled by males; except for the zenanah, or haram, where there may be from two to four females; all exclusively attached to the lady. These know nothing of needle-work; not so much as to enable their hemming a petticoat. Under such circumstances, the only alternative is to employ a sempster, who understands cutting out, and making, waistcoats, small-cloaths, pantaloons, shirts, &c.: many, indeed, can make a very tolerable coat, if furnished with a pattern. The durzy is invariably expected to be proficient in whatever relates to the apparel of native women, as well as to be a competent judge of the value of different kinds of cloths made in the country; nor is it less 244necessary, that he should know the exact quantity of materials requisite for the several parts of dress. All this science is to be had, at the average rate of seven or eight rupees monthly; the durzy finding his own needles and threads. Durzies capable of making gowns, &c. for European ladies, being scarce, and, as I have said in speaking of kansamahs, much in request, double the latter sum may always be earned by one of moderate skill in that branch. The inferior class of durzies, called keemah-dozes, who do no fine work, but principally are employed in tent-making, rarely earn more than four rupees monthly: or, if paid by the day, not more than three and a half.

The various pretexts under which the durzy obtains admission into the zenanah, added to the constancy of his attendance at the house, unless when any purchase is to be made, gives him an admirable opportunity for carrying on intrigue; for which the whole tribe are notorious: hence, if any cause of suspicion appears, the durzy is the first object of jealousy; when it generally turns out, that, if not the principal, he is accessary, as a go-between.

As a tailor is immediately distinguished among us, so is the durzy in India instantly ascertained by his gait. Some are personable men, but speedily become emaciated by debauchery; in which their liberal wages enable 245them to indulge. Yet they are, on the whole, excellent workmen; finishing apparel of all sorts in a remarkably neat manner, and often fitting with great exactness: but they are devoid of invention; mostly following old patterns, and rarely suggesting the smallest improvement. The dress of a durzy much resembles that of a khedmutgar; but, in the hot season, the former wear no coortahs, being bare from the waist upwards; sometimes substituting a small cap, (worn only by Mussulmans,) for the turban, which is usually compact and neat.

The Doby, or washerman, is also exclusively a domestic, washing for only one family; by which it should be understood, that, not only his master’s linen of every description, but the zenanah apparel is given to him to wash, and to iron. Sometimes, however, the latter operation is performed by an Istree-wallah, or ironer; yet this is rare; only taking place in very large families, or in large towns, such as Calcutta, Madras, &c. where proximity of residence renders such a resort convenient: none but box irons are used; and of these a large portion are heated by means of embers shut up in their cavities. The doby who washes for a single gentleman, will sometimes, at the risk of severe punishment, or of being discharged, take the linen of low Europeans, or Portugueze, in hand clandestinely: many have, indeed, been detected 246in letting out the linen given to their charge. Hence, it is needful to keep a watch over these folks, who commonly take all the foul articles every week, bringing home at that time what they received at the former delivery. The wages vary according to the labor; but from six to ten rupees may be taken as the standard; the doby finding soap, and every part of the apparatus, without any demand upon, or reference to, his employer. When an European lady is in the family, some encrease must be made to the pay, on account of the great additional labor; nothing but white being worn at any time. In such case, it is found expedient to have a small apartment appropriated, in which the finer articles may be got up by the lady’s maid.

The usual process of washing in India, is, first to boil all the cloaths in a large earthen naud, mixing plenty of soap, or ley, or sudjee, (fossile alkali,) or wood-ashes, with the water. This operation is called the butteah; the cloaths are then well rinsed, either in a large tank, or in a running stream, when they are again rubbed with soap, and laid in a heap to soak. After a few hours they are washed again, and, being folded up into whisps, or bundles, of a convenient size, are beaten forcibly on a board, cut into deep transverse grooves, and placed aslant in the water; in which the doby stands immersed up to his knees. After dashing each 247bundle several times on the board, he opens and rinses it in the water; repeating the dashing, as though he were beating the board with a flail, until every part of the linen appears to be duly cleansed. If a board is not at hand, (though every doby has at least one, of about four feet long, two broad, and four inches thick, with a stout stick wherewith a prop it,) any smooth stone is made to answer. It should seem, that this must be a most destructive method; but experience proves, that the fine calicoes of India will, even under such apparently rough usage, wear longer than our stout linens washed in tubs, &c.

Every doby has his drying lines, which are fixed at each end to pins driven into the ground, and then sustained by cross-sticks, on the forks of which the ropes rest. In the rainy season, the cloaths are hung somewhere under shelter, where they soon dry; though not so quick as in the summer months; during which the heaviest articles may be dried in a few minutes. The doby’s wife, (called the dobin,) usually assists in every part of the process; as do also such of his children as are of an age to be useful. This sect is very peculiar in many instances, it, and that of the comars, or potters, being the only two privileged to ride, or even to carry burthens, upon asses, without suffering the most ignominious degradation: hence, those animals are jocularly 248termed, ’dobies’s palfreys.’ The dress of the doby is generally very plain, consisting of a turban, a dotee, (or waist-cloth,) and a chudder, (or sheet,) worn loosely over the body in cold weather. When dobies are at work, their lungs aspirate strongly, like those of paviors; which produces a very singular effect; especially if, as is very often the case, several of these board-thrashers are assembled at the same piece of water.

Dobies are very generally Hindus; and ought, agreeably to the ordinary tenets of that religion, to refrain from touching any animal substance, except leather, when used in the construction of shoes, and implements of war; but a particular exception is made in favor of this cast, (or sect,) who could not otherwise use soap, when made of suet; though, by far the greater portion of that made in Hindustan, is manufactured with oil expressed from the sesamum.

When on a march, the doby in each gentleman’s service loads his cloaths, wet or dry, upon his camels, bullocks, cart, &c.: the servant’s own apparatus being conveyed on a donkey; which, in general, is tolerably well burthened with the wife, or some young children, the washing-board, its prop, the drying lines, the sticks, box irons, &c. &c.; forming, in the whole, an abundant accumulation of moveables for so small an animal as an Hindostanee jack-ass; which is 249seldom to be seen half the size of the common breed we have in England.

A Mohout is a person employed to feed, and to drive, an elephant: most of this profession are Mussulmans, and very dissipated in their conduct. Except at particular periods, on a long march for instance, the mohout has little to do; all the drudgery that relates to bringing in fodder on the elephant, for its own use, as well as taking the animal to water, rubbing it down, oiling its forehead, painting its cheeks with vermilion, or with ochre, putting on the pads, clearing away the dung, with a variety of such matters, being in general done by the mate, or deputy, who is often nothing more than a cooly, or common laborer, employed for this especial business, but who ultimately succeeds to the charge of an elephant. Mohouts receive from three to six rupees monthly: the lowest rates of wages being confined to those countries where elephants are caught; and the highest attainable only in the service of gentlemen of rank; who require this, as well as all other of their domestics, to dress more correctly than such as appertain to persons in less opulent, or less dignified, circumstances.

The duty of a mohout, when actively employed, is to sit upon the neck of his elephant, bare-footed, and furnished with an instrument, 250called a haunkus, (or driver,) wherewith to guide the animal. This is commonly about twenty, or perhaps twenty-four inches in length, generally made of iron, though some have wooden hafts; the tip is pointed, and, about six inches below it, is a hook, welded on to the stem, forming nearly a semi-circle, whose diameter may be four or five inches. At the butt of the shaft, a ring is let through, for the purpose of fastening the haunkus to a line; the other end of which is fastened to some soft cord, about half an inch in diameter, passing very loosely eight, or ten, times round the elephant’s neck, and serving, in lieu of stirrups, to keep the mohout from falling over to the right or left, on any sudden motion, as well as to retain his feet in their due direction.

When the elephant is to be urged forward, the point of the haunkus is pressed into the back of his head, while the mohout’s toes press under both the animal’s ears: when it is to be stopped, the mohout places the hook part against the elephant’s forehead; and, throwing his weight back, occasions considerable pain, which soon induces to obedience: when it is to turn to the left, the mohout presses the toes of his right foot under the right ear of the elephant, at the same time goading him about the tip of the right ear; thereby causing the animal to turn its head, 251and to change its direction: to turn to the right, vice versâ. When the elephant is to lie down, in order to be laden, the haunkus is pressed perpendicularly upon the crown of the head: but most elephants, after a year or two, become very well acquainted with the words of command; obeying them readily, without being mounted, or even approached.

Each mate, or cooly, is generally provided with a cutting bill, called a d’how, for the purpose of lopping off the lesser branches of barghuts, peepuls, and other trees, in common use as fodder. An elephant will usually carry as much of these on his back, as he can consume in two days; but it is not customary to load more than will last for one day, when on a march; as it would be superfluous. Boughs, as thick as a man’s arm, are very easily chewed by this stupendous animal; which often uses one, of full a hundred weight, to drive the flies from its body.

Besides the d’how, each mate is furnished with a spear, about six or seven feet in length, having a long pyramidal blade, ornamented at its point with a tassel, and armed at its other extremity with a blunter’s pike: the former is used to urge the animal to exertion, the mate goading his hind quarters; the latter serves to stick the implement upright in the ground, or 252to press upon the elephant’s arm while the load is putting on, or the rider ascending into the howdah.

The dress of the mohout is, in most points, similar to that of the khedmutgar; and that of the mate is, if any thing, but little better than the ordinary costume of poor laborers, though their pay may be rated from three to four rupees per month: in those provinces where elephants are caught, provisions are extremely cheap; there, few mates receive more than a rupee and a half, or two rupees. The occupation of a mohout is considered by no means conducive to longevity; a premature decrepitude generally disqualifies after a few years of service. This is supposed to arise from the motion of the elephant; but may, perhaps very justly, be attributed to the too great intervals of leisure, which are generally passed in conviviality.

The health of a Surwan, or camel-driver, is yet more subject to early decay, than that of a mohout: the motion of this animal being most oppressively severe; causing such a vibration of the loins as is attended with great pain, and often with suppression of urine, together with tenesmus, especially in tender persons not accustomed thereto. It is said to be less severe when trotting, than when walking: the former I never tried; being perfectly satisfied with a 253gentle ambulation, which made every joint of my vertebræ crack at the time, and ache for some hours after. The dress of this class resembles that of a mosaulchy of the superior order; the pay may be from four to five rupees, if in charge of only two camels; but, if three, it is usual to allow a rupee more. The duty consists in seeing the camels fed properly, for which purpose the surwan proceeds, every second or third day, to some village, for chaff of various kinds: the usual quantity of gram, (a kind of pulse wherewith laboring cattle are fed,) is given, part in the morning, and part in the evening; or perhaps all at the latter time: three seers, equal to about six pounds, are considered good keep.

Camels being rarely very tractable, especially when lustful, must be approached with great caution: their bite is dreadful, not only from the size of the mouth and the strength of the jaw, as well as the form of the tushes, but because they rarely quit their hold. It often happens that the same camel kills several surwans: probably, if there were lords of the manor to claim such beasts as deodands, fewer accidents would happen. The only mode, hitherto ascertained, of governing these vicious animals, is, by boring a hole in the nostril, and passing through it, from within, a piece of tough wood, with a knob about as large as a nutmeg. A strong piece of 254line is then fastened to the outer extremity of the wood, that, on being pulled, causes the camel to lie down at pleasure. This contrivance, which is called naukell, keeps him in tolerable order; though it is prudent to have a stout bludgeon, in case of any attempt to seize. When camels are very vicious, it is common to cut off their noses, so far as the gristle extends: this privation is supposed to do much good; but I have seen numberless instances wherein it totally failed; while, on the other hand, itit greatly depreciated; since few would like to purchase one bearing so obvious a type of treachery.

A good surwan will always distinguish himself by the order of his cattle, by their freedom from injuries in consequence of galling under the saddle, and especially by the compact manner in which he places whatever burthen is to be carried. This should never exceed six maunds of 82lb each; though the Company require, in all their contracts, that the camels furnished for their service should carry much more. Possibly, on a soil suited to the camel’s foot, he may, on emergency, carry as far as eight maunds, equal to no less than 656lb; but such must not be expected to last. If the soil is boggy, half that weight will be found sufficient; especially where slippery; for, when overladen, the animal will, in such places, be very subject to ruin; his hind legs sliding asunder, so as to 255bring the pelvis to the ground: this, which is termed ‘splitting,’ renders him unable to rise, or, if raised, to proceed, in consequence of the violent injury sustained. On such an occasion the animal’s throat is cut by some good Mussulman, who, as he performs that operation, and during the time the blood is flowing, recites a prayer and benediction, whereby the meat, which is esteemed a great delicacy, is sanctified, and may be eaten.

The Syce, or groom, attends but one horse, and has attached to him an under servant, whose business it is to provide grass for fodder, and to do various jobs relating to cleanliness, &c.: this may be looked upon as the extent of duty the latter has to perform while stationary; but, when marching, the assistant, or, as he is called, the Gaus-kot, (i.e. grass-cutter,) has to carry the pickets, headstall, head and heel ropes, curry-combs, cloathing, &c. &c. to the next place of encampment. The labor is certainly severe, but is undergone, with tolerable alacrity, under the hope of one day succeeding to the post of syce.

In every country a good groom is invaluable; but if any where more particularly enhanced, it certainly is in India: the horses there being invariably high spirited, from want of castration, and often becoming, under the least provocation, or licence, incorrigibly vicious. There we see gentlemen, when mounted, afraid to approach 256each other within ten or twelve yards, lest their horses should begin fighting: some few have, indeed, been tempted, by the supposed passiveness of their respective steeds, to ride boot to boot; but rarely without experiencing some dreadful misfortune; many legs having been thus broken! Although much may depend upon the natural temper of a horse, still there will remain much in the power of the syce. If he be timid, and the animal spirited, the affair is soon over, by the latter gaining such an ascendancy as to render him ungovernable. Being once let loose, and a mare within sight, or scent, away goes the steed, completely disqualified for future saddling.

It is inconceivable what control some syces obtain over their horses, which will allow the approach of no others. This, though it may be an admirable mode of temporizing with a vicious beast, is often attended with most ludicrous, or rather most distressing, circumstances; it being very common to see persons sitting on horses from which they dare not alight, until their own syces may arrive, and, by securing the head, with a baug-door, (or leading-halter,) grant master leave to quit the saddle. This occurs so frequently as to cause no surprize; though it often excites some merriment, not always pleasing to the sufferer.

When a person falls from his horse, the whole 257troop separate, lest the stray animal should attack them: in such case, two or three active syces may prevent mischief; but, few will attempt to catch a horse whose character for gentleness is not established. Every syce is provided with a strong cotton cord, rather thicker than a stout window line, of several yards long, which he fastens to the left cheek of the bit when leading, and does not loosen until his master has mounted; when, by drawing a slip knot, the animal is liberated from the groom’s control.

In general, the line (baug-door) is affixed before dismounting: a neglect of that precaution is frequently attended with unpleasant consequences; for, to say the least, the horse will in all probability gallop away to his stable, which may be some miles distant; leaving his incautious rider to walk after him; not always very cool, either in regard to the weather, or to his own state of mind.

In consequence of the immense number of gad-flies to be seen at all times of the year, each syce carries a whisk, made by fastening horse-hair to a short stick, commonly lacquered in rings of alternate colors. This implement, with which the flies are driven away, is called a chowry, and may cost about sixpence, or eight-pence. A small sheet of karwah, either double, or single, is usually thrown over the syce’s 258shoulder, or fastened around his waist, before he sets off to accompany his master: this is carried to lay over the horse’s back, so soon as given in charge to the groom, to prevent the accession of dry-gripes; to which the animal would be subjected, if much heated, but for that precaution, added to walking him about gently until perfectly cool. Hence it will be seen, that no gentleman ever rides unless accompanied by his groom; many of whom run remarkably fast, keeping up for many miles with a gig going at a smart pace: by habit, they become long-winded, and capable of enduring great fatigue. The dress of a syce, taken generally, is a medium between the khedmutgar and the mosaulchy; while that of the gaus-kot is rarely better than that of a common laborer. The former receives from four to six rupees per month; five being the general rate: the latter usually has three, when paid independently of the syce; but when through his hands, a small deduction is often made; to resist which would lead to discharge, either peremptorily, or by the imputation of some neglect, &c.

The grass-cutter is always expected to provide a net for carrying a large bundle of fodder, and a kind of paring instrument, called a koorpah, wherewith to cut the grass, about half an inch under the surface of the soil: the upper part of the root being considered extremely nourishing. 259No hay is ever seen in India; nor would it answer that purpose nearly so well as the common expedient of paring it for daily consumption. The Maharrattahs, it is true, make a coarse kind of hay, wherewith to feed their large bodies of horse at certain seasons; but the condition of their cattle in general by no means recommends such a measure in private studs. Nevertheless, that practice has its advantages, for while our cavalry horses would starve for want of green, or succulent fodder, the less delicate Maharrattah charger plucks at any old thatch with great readiness; and even on such diet will perform wonders. I have always thought that our public cattle were too highly pampered; at least, that the mode of feeding them by no means corresponded with that ready adoption of any kind of coarse foraging, which might become necessary under the most ordinary circumstances of a campaign: a pig will gradually become dainty, and rather starve than return to its former coarse provision. The practice of soaking gram for cavalry horses, is peculiarly objectionable; as not only causing them to expect it at all times, even when water (much less soaking-pots) cannot be had in any quantity; but inducing most horses to swallow the grains whole, without mastication. In my humble opinion, the whole of the grain supplied to cavalry horses ought to be reduced to a coarse 260meal, mixed with hay, and straw, in equal quantities, cut very fine in a chaff-trough.

It may be readily supposed, that when a camp has been settled for a few days, on even the most luxuriant verdure, the whole must disappear: it, however, speedily springs again after the first fall of rain, presenting a beautiful light-colored blade, very small, and of rapid growth. The kind of grass prepared for horses, is the doob, or sun-grass, nearly corresponding with our fine creeping-bent. This should be well beat with a stick, and be washed before used; if kept for a day or two in an airy place, it is supposed to be more wholesome, than when given immediately after being cut, as is generally done. The doob is not to be found every where; but, in the low countries about Dacca, Mahomedpoor, &c. where the inundation is general during near three months every year, this grass abounds; attaining to a prodigious luxuriance! I have often seen it full two feet and a half high, absolutely matting the ground. Cattle are turned into it promiscuously, and never fail to thrive. It appears curious, that in a part where, during the rains, nothing is to be seen of the soil; the little villages built on eminences being the only discernible objects, if we except the tops of large trees staring out of the water; no provision should be made for the maintenance of the cattle; which, at such times, 261depend entirely on what can be drawn up by means of forked poles, from, perhaps, a depth of twenty feet. This green food, highly impregnated with moisture, surely cannot be wholesome at such a season for these poor animals, which are then cooped up in the hundreds of boats that surround every village! Whereas, if the doob, such as I have described, were to be cut, and stacked in the month of February, when it is in high perfection, and the atmosphere moderately warm, there might certainly be provided a more appropriate, and less hazardous, species of fodder. But the truth is, that cattle are, in every part of India, left, so long as possible, to shift for themselves: and this, notwithstanding that a load of the finest hay in the world might be made in the low countries for about half-a-crown; even admitting that labor were paid for!

It gives me very great pleasure to observe, in the Gentleman’s Magazine, for February, 1809, that a grass has been discovered in Ireland, called the fiorin, which perfectly corresponds with the doob of Hindustan. This invaluable plant stands the severest cold of Iceland, as well as it does the scorching heats of tropical summers. In the latter instance, the verdure certainly disappears; but the root remains unimpaired, and abounds with succulence. I feel no hesitation in asserting, that if the fiorin be 262what it is described, namely, the doob of Hindostan, it will prove an invaluable acquisition to the British agriculturist. A rich grass that will stand either heat or cold, or immersion for many successive months, cannot fail to abridge our catalogue of Georgic desiderata. The doob is rarely sown in India; but, after being cut below the surface by the tool in common use among grass-cutters, called a koorpah, is chopped with a hatchet into pieces about two or three inches in length, when, being mixed with mud, it is plastered on the surface of the plot where it is intended to remain; the plot being previously saturated with water. In a very few days, the doob will be seen to vegetate, especially if care be taken to keep the mud moist for a short time. This grass is likewise well suited for transplanting, by which operation very large plots are sometimes turfed. The stems all throw out roots at every joint that is suffered to touch the ground; but when very thick, and abundant, it is disposed to tower and spindle, not unlike our pink and carnation plants. If set in small tufts, at a foot asunder, they will soon cover the surface.

The Mauly, or gardener, next claims attention. The dress of this servant, unless he be at the head of a large establishment, is scarcely better than that of a common laborer; nor are the wages much higher; four rupees being a 263very common rate, though sometimes as much as six, or seven, are given to men of superior ability, that understand some particular culture of moment to the employer. Those who act under the maully are, for the most part, bildars, hired by the day, probably at five or six pice, equal to about two rupees and a half monthly. These bildars work with a kind of mattock, called a phourah, consisting of a blade, about as large as that of a common garden-spade, furnished with a very strong eye at the top, rivetted to the blade, and set on so as to give the handle a direction of about 70° from the plane of the blade, which is slightly curved inwards. The handle may be about thirty inches in length, and is driven nearly through the eye, where it is occasionally wedged, to keep the blade from turning upon it; as would be the case, on account of the eye being round, were it not made very tight. While working with a phourah, the bildar stands in the same position as if using a pick-axe: throwing up whatever soil may accumulate at each stroke. When the tool is new, much may be lifted in this manner; but when worn down nearly to the eye, the most active laborer cannot effect much more than might be done by an ordinary bean-hoe. Those maullies who serve gentlemen, are usually provided with rakes and hoes; but, in any other situation, they content themselves with using short iron 264spuds, set into wooden handles, the stem being cranked, and the whole rarely exceeding eighteen inches in length: with these they beat the clods to pieces, and level the surface admirably: but, of course, not so quickly as our gardeners. With the same kind of tool, though of a smaller size, they dig up weeds; keeping the garden remarkably clean; and, under proper observation, raising an immense quantity of vegetables.

It would surprize an European to see with what precision maullies sow and cover their seeds; the seasons for which they are perfectly acquainted with, even though the greater portion of the horticultural produce in that quarter consists of exotics: this is the more remarkable, because there is no book of gardening extant in the Hindui language; and if there were, the chances would be, at least a thousand to one, that the maully could not read it.

The greater part of the manure used in gardens is known by the name of kallah-matty, (i.e. black-earth,) and is collected from such places as are set apart for the reception of filth of all sorts. Horse-dung, cow-dung, &c. are generally too much valued to be appropriated to the soil: these are almost invariably preserved carefully; and, being made into a mass, are formed into cakes, between the hands, about the size of a plate; while moist, they are stuck up against some wall exposed to the sun; where, 265in a day or two, they become thoroughly dry, and make an excellent kind of fuel, burning very like good peats. These guttees, as they are called, are generally prepared by the syce’s wife, and kept in a stack for culinary purposes.

The gardens of Europeans are, with few exceptions, laid out much in the same way as our kitchen-gardens; having one main walk, with a few ramifications and parallels, all of which are covered with soorkee, or brick-dust; though sometimes, where gravel, or rather shingle, can be found, it is used in preference. The whole area is intersected by little channels made of earth, or perhaps lined with semi-circular tiles, whereby water is conveyed to every part at pleasure. The peculiar gratification afforded to the eye, and, indeed, to the feelings, by the proximity of perpetual verdure, in a country where, for many months together, scarcely a green spot is to be seen, induces most persons, when laying down a garden, to appropriate such a piece of ground as may be in view, to the formation of a grass-plot. This is refreshed every third or fourth day by laying on water from the well, always made on some more elevated spot, so as to command every part to which the irrigation is to extend. The doob is invariably selected for this purpose; and, in consequence of its numerous seeds, as well as owing to the cool shelter it affords, never fails to attract great 266numbers of ants, of various colors and sizes; all of which are a perfect nuisance throughout the East. Gentlemen who rear turkies, find from experience, that few can be brought up except where such grass-plots exist; and where shade, and water, are at hand for the birds to avail themselves of at pleasure.

Most of our garden esculents thrive in India; cabbages, cauliflowers, lettuces, celery, beets, carrots, turnips, peas, cucumbers, French beans, radishes, potatoes, &c. are cultivated in abundance; together with capsicums, love-apples, egg-plants, gourds of various kinds, calavanses, yams, sweet potatoes, and hundreds of the indigenous tribe. The common fruits are guavas, peaches, nectarines, grapes, a few apples, but no pears, melons of sorts, pine-apples, mangoes, oranges, citrons, limes, pomegranates, byres of a very huge kind, comringahs, (or winged apples,) currindahs, and, in general, most of the tropical fruits. Within the last twenty years, very considerable additions have been made by the introduction of various trees, and also of gardeners, from China: the former have thriven admirably; while, to the latter we are indebted for many valuable practices, common among that industrious people, and which promise to contribute greatly to the perfection of Asiatic horticulture. The best of maullies could not be ranked with the least capable among the 267Chinese gardeners; though it cannot be denied, that they possess many strong recommendations; and are not a little proud of any improvements, or novelties, committed to their management. In the art of irrigation they cannot be surpassed. That indispensable operation is performed, in most instances, by drawing water from a narrow well, into a cistern, or hollow, at its edge; whence, by means of the channels before described, each bed receives the necessary supply of moisture. A pair of very small oxen, worth about twelve or fifteen shilling’s each, suffice to draw up a moot, or leather bag, containing from twenty-five to thirty gallons.

In general, a small hut is erected in the garden for the accommodation of the maully; most of whose operations are performed after sun-set: especially that of laying on water, and the setting of plants. Rat-catching is also an object of importance, and most successfully followed during moon-light nights; when those large black rats, called bandycoots, equalling most cats in bulk, are often speared, as they ramble among the cucumber and melon beds, wherein they make prodigious havoc. Nor is there any deficiency of other sorts, or sizes, of rats: they are to be found both in immense numbers, and in every variety; but the large Norway rat is most abundant. I never saw, nor heard of a mole in the country: most probably the soil does not suit; 268as it becomes so hard and dry during the hot season.

The Aub-dar, or water-cooler, is scarcely less indispensable than the cook; for, without the exercise of his art, all the delicacies of the table would be of no value. Hot wine, and hot water, are by no means acceptable to those who inhale so rarefied an atmosphere; and who generally prefer such made-dishes as abound in spice. It is true, that, sometimes, a khedmutgar, or a bearer, may be found, capable of cooling liquors nearly as well as aub-dars of the lower class; but such are rare, and cannot always be depended upon. In saying this, I do not mean to attribute the success of even the best qualified aub-dar to any chemical knowledge, or to much comprehension of the manner, or moment, in which the refrigeration takes place: far from it; they are all the children of imitation, and by keeping within certain parallels, wide enough asunder, hit upon their object; though not without much loss of materials, as well as of time.

The apparatus necessary for the operations of this servant, consist of a large pewter vessel, near half an inch in thickness, and in its form not unlike a very thick Cheshire cheese, of which the edges are much rounded off. At the top, a circular aperture, about a foot in diameter, is left, for the introduction of two pewter 269flasks, (each containing about a pint and a half,) of a spherical form, and furnished with long narrow necks, nearly cylindrical, about ten inches in length, and fitted with caps, of the same metal, that come down about an inch and a half, every where close. The great bason just described is called a taus, and the flasks are called soories. When water is to be cooled, about a gallon is put into the taus; which, by means of a small wooden frame, made for the purpose, or, for want of it, a few bricks, &c. is sloped a little, that the water may lie more towards one side: a handful or two of salt-petre is then put in, and the soories, being about two thirds filled with the water to be drank, are moved about in the taus, one in each hand, while the salt-petre is dissolving. So soon as that is effected, which is usually in two or three minutes, the soories are laid at rest; their necks projecting out at the opposite side of the aperture, the sphere part being immersed, and a wet cloth laid over the whole of the opening: in that manner the intense cold, generated by the solution, acts upon the water within the soories; so effectually indeed, in many instances, as to be unpleasantly condensed. As to cracking the glasses, that is extremely common, but is rather to be imputed to their being somewhat heated by the atmosphere; when the cold water, being suddenly poured in, causes nine in ten, so acted upon, 270to fly. Wine is always cooled in the common glass bottle wherein it is drawn from the cask, and so soon as taken from the taus, which may be in about five minutes after being left at rest, is covered with a petticoat made of karwah, or other cloth, well wetted. Being placed in a stand made of turned wood, to receive the drippings, the bottle is placed on the table; usually stopped with a silver-mounted cork. Decanters are rarely used in any part of India; both because they are extremely subject to crack, and, that they certainly do not keep wine so cool as the common glass bottles do.

The dress of the aub-dar generally resembles that of the khedmutgar, and his wages may rank with the superior classes serving in that capacity: he has, in general, some perquisites, both in charging for more salt-petre than is used, and from the sale of the salt-petre water; which, throughout Calcutta, and in many other places, is carefully preserved in large jars, to be sold to persons who boil it down for the purpose of producing the nitre in a more purified state. Aub-dars should not be allowed to cool water within the house; the salt-petre doing considerable injury to the walls, from which it cannot possibly be extracted.

Wherever a gentleman dines, thither his aub-dar repairs, in time to have water cooled as the dinner is served up: when a large party are assembled, 271it is curious to see perhaps two dozens of these servants, laboring at their profession under the shade of the house, and making a noise not very dissimilar to the quick motion of a stone-saw. Custom occasions it to pass unheeded, unless so far as relates to the anticipation of a cool draught. It should be remarked, that water is the common beverage: the smallest hole in the bottom of a soories utterly spoils it; therefore the defect must be well closed with solder. All the wine used at the table is cooled by the host’s own servant; though, when any particularly famous aub-dar is in attendance, he is often asked to exert his skill: a request always complied with, in a manner fully exhibiting that vanity pervades this, as well as other classes of mortals.

The Compadore, or Kurz-burdar, or Butler-konnah-sircar, are all designations for the same individual, who acts as purveyor, sometimes under the orders of the master, but more generally of the kansamah, who never fails to participate of the profits made by over-charges, and by the receipt of dustooree, (or customary gift,) from the venders of whatever may be provided for domestic, consumption. This servant may be considered as appertaining to the order of sircars, of which he should possess all the cunning, the smooth tongue, the audacious and persevering effrontery, when maintaining a palpable 272lie, together with that obsequiousness which should conciliate master, and make him believe it! Without these, the compadore could never thrive. The pay of such a rogue is generally about four, or, at the utmost, five, rupees per mensem; but that is comparatively no object, in any family where some hundreds are spent in house-keeping. In order to aid the deception, he invariably dresses so very meanly, as to claim our commiseration in behalf of his apparent poverty: while, at the same time, it is probable that, one way or other, he contrives to retain about an eighth part of the money entrusted to his disbursement. The usual custom is, for the kansamah to enquire, during the evening, what is to be done in the culinary department on the succeeding day: if the family dine abroad, no directions are necessary; otherwise, fish, flesh, and fowl must be laid in. As the best of the market is between day-light and sun-rise, after which all the prime articles will have disappeared, the compadore must proceed with his catalogue of desiderata, attended by one or two under-servants, (mosaulchies, kalashies, &c.) to purchase the required articles. No time must be lost in returning home, at least during the hot months; for such is the rapid progress towards putrefaction, that I have more than once seen veal, which had been killed after midnight, become perfectly offensive in ten 273hours, notwithstanding every possible precaution was taken to keep it cool.

It will be understood, that a compadore must, of necessity, be a good accountant; like the sircar, he is well versed in fractions, and carries his computations down to a single gundah of cowries, (i.e. four Blackamoors’ teeth). This minuteness passes with many for honesty; but by far the greater part of house-keepers either put those very small parts out of the question, (regardless of the old saying, that, ‘if the pence are well taken care of, they will nourish the shillings; while the pounds acquire strength to take care of themselves,’) or they content themselves with the reflection, that the accounts are correctly taken, without even examining their contents. Every charge thus becomes sanctioned when committed to paper; therefore each knave is anxious to have his items noted, under the full conviction, that, thenceforth, they are beyond the probability, if not the possibility, of refutation. But such will never be effected, unless a few of the filberts are, according to the old fable, dropped into the compadore’s bag; so as to diminish the bulk of the hand, and to allow its retiring with the remainder of the booty. Not a cowrie can stir without the compadore’s knowledge! Under the plea of fidelity to his employer, he insists upon being privy to every disbursement; never 274failing to preach up his own vigilance; and (which is the best of the joke,) making a point of attending every morning with his hands full of papers, and his ink-pot, &c., in readiness to give a detail of the expences of the preceding day; though he perfectly knows that detail is never attended to.

Let us not suppose that such deception is local: in other, or in various, forms, we may find it throughout the world. Some, who boast of the excellence of English menials, &c. may, perhaps, affect to believe them to be less infected with such knavery as is above displayed; but an appeal to that too correct history of the times, yclep’d ‘The Newgate Kalendar,’ must remove every doubt of the instability of such an exemption; and should assure us, that, whenever temptation solicits, and opportunity favors, few, of any sect, color, or rank, have the virtue to resist, provided the object be proportioned to the risk!

The Hirkarah was, formerly, a servant used solely for carrying expresses, or such letters, messages, &c. as were to be sent beyond the circle of ordinary, or daily, communication: he was, in fact, what is now commonly called a cossid. We have retained, however, the designation of dawk-hirkarahs for those who convey the dawks, or posts. In every other instance, the duty of the hirkarah, as an attendant upon a gentleman in office, &c. is similar to that of the peon, or 275piada, or running footman. His pay is generally the same; but the former usually bears a lacquered walking-stick, armed at its extremity with a square spike, the ferule of which is ornamented with dark-colored fringe, or tassels. This stick is carried over the shoulder, and is the only distinction between the hirkarah and the peon: but, though the latter has no such insignia, he frequently claims precedence, causing the hirkarah to precede him in the retinue, while attending their employer’s palanquin.

Both these servants, whose capacities are now perfectly blended, when serving Europeans at least, receive from four to five rupees monthly. In every respect, beyond the foregoing exceptions, they dress much the same as khedmutgars, but generally have turbans and cummer-bunds of the same color, by way of livery; and, when in the employ of great merchants, agents, and especially under the principal officers of the government, wear belts of colored broad-cloth, with metal breast-plates; bearing either the initials, or the arms, of their employers, or inscriptions stating the offices to which they appertain. The generality of such inscriptions have the English designation in the centre, with a translation in the Persian, or the Bengallee, language, (perhaps both,) around, on the margin, or vice versâ.

Many most extraordinary journies have been made by hirkarahs: instances have been adduced 276of their travelling full a hundred miles in the four and twenty hours.

The Duftoree, or office-keeper, attends solely to those general matters in an office, which do not come within the notice of the crannies, or clerks; such, for instance, as making pens, keeping the ink-stands in order, ruling account books, and perhaps binding them, preparing and trimming the lights, setting pen-knives, together with a great variety of little jobs, easily performed by an individual allotted thereto, but trenching deeply on the occupations of those engaged in more connected and important business. The pay of the duftoree may be from four to six rupees monthly; though a few may receive rather more; but such is unusual. The dress depends on the cast of the individual: if he be a Mussulman, it will correspond, in some measure, with that of the khedmutgar; but, if a Hindu, it will, probably, assimilate with that of the cranny.

The Fraush, or furniture-keeper, is generally a Mussulman, and receives about four or five rupees monthly: his dress corresponding with that of a first-rate mosaulchy, or an inferior khedmutgar. The duty of this menial, among Europeans, consists chiefly in cleaning the furniture, putting up, or taking down beds, (which, in India, is always effected without the aid of a carpenter,) beating carpets, preparing and trimming 277the lights, opening and shutting the doors for guests, handing chairs, setting tables for meals, together with a variety of minutiæ of a similar description. Among the natives, the office comprehends far more laborious employments, among which the arrangement of tents may be adduced: in this they aid the kalashies, or tent-men, reserving to themselves the performance of whatever relates to the interior. According to the account of Abu Fazil, who wrote regarding the establishment of the Emperor Akber, that monarch retained no less than one thousand fraushes, for the purpose of attending his encampments, or parties of pleasure. These, however numerous, must have had plenty to do; for we find that ‘the equipage, on such occasions, consisted of 1000 elephants, 500 camels, 400 carts, and 1000 men, escorted by 500 cavalry. There were employed in this service 1000 fraushes, 500 pioneers, 100 water-carriers, 50 carpenters, 50 tent-makers, 50 link-men, 30 workers in leather, and 150 sweepers.’ The number of large tents was prodigious; but some idea may be entertained of their amount, when it is stated, that the royal precinct was enclosed by konauts (walls of cloth) eight feet high; and, in the whole, nearly two miles in length! Such a display in this country, would attract half the population to witness its enormity!

The Mater, or sweeper, is considered the 278lowest menial in every family: his cast is held in execration, on account of the filthiness of his occupations. There are, nevertheless, various stages, or classes, even among these abhorred people; of which the hullalcore may be considered the lowest, while the loll-baygies assume the upper rank of infamy. But, however much they may arrogate to themselves, in consequence of such distinctions of cast, all are considered, by both Hindus and Mussulmans, to be equally impure, alike polluting whatever they touch. Hence, it would be considered the height of disrespect, were a mater, in the service of a native gentleman, to handle any part of his master’s raiment, or to step on the carpet intended for his master’s seat: as to touching his cooking utensils, &c. that would be an unpardonable offence, and subject the delinquent, not simply to private, but to public, castigation.

Hair, or birch, brooms are never seen in India: there the instrument for sweeping, called a jarroo, is made of bamboo, split to the size of a wheat straw, about thirty inches long, and tied together very firmly, for about six or eight inches at one end; forming a bundle of, perhaps two inches and a half in diameter. This instrument is furnished by the mater, who generally receives three, or sometimes four, rupees monthly. The dress corresponds in general with that of a decent cooly, (or laborer;) but some wear a 279short coortah, and take a little pride in this particular.

The mater is generally at little expence for provisions; he being the only servant that may, according to his tenets, partake of what has been served up at the table of any person, whether European, or native, not of his own sect. In this, the matranny, or female sweeper, whose duties are exactly the same, but usually confined to the women’s apartments, must be included. The latter is, however, in general far more sober, cleanly, and dainty, than the male sweeper. In such a climate, it is of the highest importance that all filth should be speedily removed: therefore it is established as a custom, that the privy should be cleansed so soon as soiled: the mater attending for that purpose, with his jarroo, and a tickra, or piece of broken earthen-ware, into which he sweeps away the ordure. This operation is facilitated by a slight layer of grass placed below the seat, which is usually of masonry. Wooden seats are highly objectionable; both on account of being subject to collect filth, and because they harbour centipedes, scorpions, &c. Many very ludicrous accidents used to happen, some thirty years back, before a reform was made in the construction of these conveniences; which are now on an admirable plan.

When a dog is kept, and that there is not 280occasion for retaining a professed dooreah, or dog-keeper, the mater is always expected to dress its victuals, and to supply it with such refuse from the table, as he may not deem worthy his own acceptance.

The Dooreah, though properly an out-door servant, residing at the dooreah-konnah, or kennel, occasionally officiates as mater, performing all the duties of that menial; but this is rarely done with good will; dooreahs, though of a cast held equally in abomination with the ordinary sweeper, by persons of a different persuasion, invariably considering themselves to be far superior thereto. Although confined to one occupation, in general, a dooreah can have very little knowledge of its duties, beyond the mere mechanical routine of dressing a little rice, and meat, for the dogs, and taking them out for an airing. He is usually provided with a short whip, consisting of a thong, or two, of raw hide, fastened to a piece of small bamboo; with this he corrects the animals under his charge, the number of which necessarily varies according to their size.

Thus, a brace of greyhounds, or, at the most, a leash, are considered as many as a dooreah should lead out; while of small dogs, it is common to see him surrounded by seven or eight. Each dog has a collar, to which a strong 281metal ring is sewed very firmly: this serves to fasten a piece of stout cord, the other end of which is looped, so as to pass over the dooreah’s hand, and to sit round his wrist; in general, the whole are led by the left hand, the right exercising the whip. The dress of this servant mostly resembles that of the mosaulchy: their pay is also much on a par.

The manner of preparing victuals for dogs is simple: the dooreah, being provided with a large earthen pot, proportioned to the quantity of provision to be boiled, puts in the meat, cut very small, the rice, some turmeric reduced to a pulp, some ghee, or granulated butter, some salt, and abundance of water. The pot is placed on a choolah, or stove, and its contents are stirred until they are sufficiently boiled, when they are taken out; the water being first drained off into a vessel, and the more solid contents spread upon a mat to cool. Each dog is led out to separate picket, always in the ground for that purpose, and there tied; so that he cannot quarrel with his neighbours. A parcel of old earthen vessels, every where abounding, are collected for the purpose of receiving each dog’s mess: the meat and rice are first allotted among them, according to bulk, and the gravy afterwards added. Each then receives his portion; though not without exhibiting, both by vociferation and greediness, how eager he is to obtain his meal. 282In this manner, dogs are usually fed night and morning.

The business of a Kalashy is, properly speaking, confined either to what relates to camp-equipage, or to the management of the sails, and rigging, on board a budjrow. In the former instance, he is expected to understand how to set up tents of every description; to pack, and unpack; to load and unload: to make tent-pins; to sew the taut (or canvas bags,) in which each part of a tent is generally enclosed, when on the elephant, camel, bullock, or cart, by which it is conveyed; to handle a phourah, or mattock, to level the interior; and, in short, to compleat the whole preparation, within and without.

Many kalashies are extremely expert in all the foregoing duties, and are, besides, excellent domestics; not hesitating to perform a variety of services about a house, such as swinging the punkah, (or great fan,) suspended in most dining halls, rattaning the bottoms of chairs, helping to arrange, and to clear, furniture, and doing, besides, the duties of hirkarahs, or peons. This general assemblage of useful talents, no doubt, renders the kalashy a most useful servant; hence, more are retained at this time, than were formerly employed.

As a public servant, whether attached to the train of artillery, or to a quarter-master’s establishment, his merits are equally conspicuous: 283in the former he is enrolled in some company, in which rank may be obtained by a due continuance of good conduct. Though in a private capacity he rarely receives more than five rupees, he may, in the latter instance, consider his average pay at six rupees; which, with the chance of promotion to the several ranks of cossob, tindal, and serang, with consequent encrease of wages at each gradation, is considered a very respectable situation. His duty in the above instance, is, however, by no means trifling: during the whole day he is employed, generally in the arsenal, or the store room, or the artillery shed; or, eventually, in drawing timbers, cannon, &c. on transport carriages; mounting, or dismounting great guns, cleaning arms, working in the laboratory, piling, or serving out, shot; with a million of et ceteras in the various branches of that department. Whether attached to the train, or serving with a regiment of infantry, or cavalry, the kalashy, (or, as he is often termed while in the public service, the lascar) must be adroit in whatever relates to camp-equipage, making up ammunition of all kinds, sorting stores, packing, loading, serving, and drawing field-pieces, limbering, yoking the cattle, marking out lines for a camp; and, in short, whatever relates either to the ordnance, or to the quarter-master’s duties. All appertaining to these branches, are cloathed in woollens of English manufacture: 284those in the artillery wearing blue jackets with red trimmings, and such as appertain to regiments of cavalry, or of infantry, being served with such colors as may assimilate with the dress of the corps respectively: unless when a quantity of any particular color is on hand in the Company’s stores; in which case, it is disposed of by varying the dress of regimental lascars, pro tempore, as far as it will go.

The whole of the kalashies wear blue turbans, of rather a flat form, having on their edges a red tape, about three fourths of an inch in breadth; which greatly relieves the sombre appearance of their jackets.

The kalashies on board budjrows, which are generally of the pinnace, or keeled, kind, may be placed, nearly on a footing with those retained by individuals; allowing for a certain imitation of the public servant, and a smattering in what relates to the management of sails. This class is by no means numerous, being confined entirely to the aquatic equipages of great men: one of this description is by no means flattered when directed to handle an oar on board the budjrow, though he prides himself in rowing a jolly-boat furnished with oars on the European plan.

The Manjy, Goleeah, and Dandy, are the steers-man, bow-man, and common rower in a boat, respectively. Where a gentleman keeps a boat, he must always retain the two first, and, 285if in constant employ, the last also; or he may generally, by previous notice, obtain a crew of teeka-dandies, that is, job-watermen, at any of the ghauts, or wharfs, along the river. The manjy is usually paid from five to seven rupees per mensem; the goleeah from four to five; and the dandy from two and a half to three and a half, or even four; all according to the kind of boat, and the dignity of the employer. There is no established dress for either of the above classes; though the manjy will, in general, be found to adopt a mixed costume, between the kalashy and the mosaulchy. His business is to steer, and to give directions regarding the several operations incident to the very numerous metamorphoses of circumstances in rivers perpetually changing their direction: thus, it is by no means uncommon to see a budjrow hoist, and lower, her sails, take to her oars, or to the track-rope, some scores of times during the course of a day’s progress; just as the localities may render necessary. Whatever authority may be vested in a manjy, it is rare to see one able to enforce his orders: each of the crew has an opinion of his own; and, knowing that his services cannot be dispensed with, will, in most cases, adhere to his way of thinking, until peremptorily compelled by the master’s interference, to submit to orders; or overcome by absolute force.

286The Goleeah has particular charge of the bow, where he either rows the foremost oar, or, when necessary, keeps the boat from running against the bank, or upon shoals, by means of a luggy, or bamboo pole, probably thirty feet, or more, in length; first casting it out in the proper direction, and then lapping it round several times with the end of a strong tail-strap, fastened to a ring on the forecastle; so as to prevent the pole from returning.

Those who have not witnessed the dexterity of this class of people, and the rapidity with which they recover their poles, so as to make repeated resistances in dangerous situations, can form no idea of the strength, activity, and judgment, necessary to qualify a man for this arduous situation. Often the fate of a boat depends on the certainty of the goleeh’s throw; especially under a cutchar, or sand bank, perhaps twenty feet, or more, in height, under which a strong current cuts away the foundation, occasioning immense bodies of the soil to fall in, attended by a noise competiting with thunder. One of these falling upon a boat, could not fail to sink her; as experience has too frequently proved. The very swell occasioned by the fall of such ponderous and bulky rubbish, amounting perhaps to fifty or sixty loads, is sufficient to sink the smaller class of vessels. Fortunately, the cutchars, in general, subside, as it were, perpendicularly; without 287casting outwards; otherwise, no vessels could navigate the Ganges, or the other great rivers, at certain seasons; especially during the early winter months, when the cutchars are high, and the current rather strong.

The Dandy certainly leads as hard a life as any scavenger’s cart-horse; and really I know not what more picturesque instance can be given of his consummate drudgery! Imagine the effects, even upon the most hardy constitution, of exposure to all weathers; at one moment under a burning sun, or numbed by a cold northerly blast; by turns on board, or at the track rope; moving at a slow pace against a rapid current; and wading, without the smallest hesitation, through a million of puddles, often up to the neck, or even obliged to swim: the footing perhaps rugged, or along a heavy sand, or a deep mud; and the path lying through briars, bordering steep precipices! All this the dandy undergoes for the small wages before specified; rarely equal to three-pence daily! It is true, he has some reliance on the produce of the fields he passes through, appropriating it, together with fire wood, and, occasionally, some stray poultry, or a kid, to the participation of his companions. Nor do this class, which consists promiscuously of Hindus and Mussulmans, act very fastidiously as to the means of obtaining their cloathing: they are, indeed, perfectly divested of those prejudices entertained 288by our judges, and law officers, respecting the iniquity of purloining whatever may offer itself to their acceptance: far otherwise; all is fish that comes to their net. Knowing such to be the invariable disposition of dandies, the European must blame himself, should his valuables be missing in consequence of an ill-placed confidence, or of neglect in regard to securing his property, so far as may be practicable. Hence, it is advisable never to allow any one of the crew to enter the cabin of a budjrow, under any pretext, unless attended by a servant; who must direct his whole attention to the prevention of theft. Most boats are baled by means of a skuttle in the cabin: this affords a very reasonable plea for entrance; but too much caution cannot be used, when that operation may be necessary; which may be from two, to fifty, times within the twenty-four hours; accordingly as the hirer may be in luck regarding the soundness of his vessel’s bottom.

As to describing a dandy’s dress, that is scarcely practicable; but a tolerable outline was given when treating of the passage from the ship at Kedgeree to the presidency: the perpetual changes from hot to cold, and from wet to dry, (for each dandy reserves a dry clout, to put on when he returns on board,) must, one would think, at all events, keep the poor wretches something like clean, and free from vermin. 289Such, however, is not the case; for what with ring-worms, itch, and a certain loathsome, and infectious disease, added to an inexhaustible stock of body-creepers, no mortal can well be more disgusting than a Bengal dandy. It would be injustice to class them all under one general anathema; there being, doubtless, some among them who are tolerably clean in their persons; but such most assuredly form a very disproportionate minority!

The Berriarah, or Gurrearah, is a person who, according to the general custom of the country, devotes his life to tending sheep and goats; and, in most situations beyond the metropolis, obtains a place among the usual servants attendant upon the out-door concerns of a family. This is not owing to the scarcity of meat, but to its bad quality; there being plenty of sheep in India, which, however, are rarely slaughtered for table expenditure, even by the natives; who very justly consider it to be an unclean animal, feeding on all kinds of filth. This occasions them to prefer the meat of a castrated goat, commonly denominated kussy, which is certainly not to be despised; though its taste is somewhat strong, and the meat itself rather coarse, and dark colored: but it abounds with fat, and is very juicy. Be it good, or bad, prejudice has proscribed it from the tables of persons in respectable stations, or in easy circumstances; 290a joint of bazar mutton, that is, such as the butchers sell in the market, being considered no treat, and proving extremely obnoxious to the generality of delicate persons: though I have frequently seen them partake of a joint of kussy, when palmed upon them as home-fed wether, in such style as led me to believe, that the imagination was a principal agent in condemning the unfortunate goat-mutton. I do not mean to deny, that a certain difference exists; but, when the former could not be had, I rarely failed to make an excellent meal off the latter; while some of my more fastidious friends have been grievously disappointed of their dinners.

Sheep may, in a few instances, be purchased in tolerable good condition, especially during the hot season, when they nibble the short stems, and even the roots of the finer grasses; yet it must not be expected that any, which may be procurable in the villages, should cut up well: they are usually mere skeletons; and if they have any fat it is of a bad color. This compels gentlemen to keep small flocks, perhaps from thirty to sixty, according to the average of expenditure; which, among officers in the army, may amount to one sheep in every fifteen, or twenty days: observing, that the meat is seldom good, nor the animal comparatively the better for his keep, until it may have been put up for 291about three or four months. The most approved mode of fatting sheep, is to have about a dozen on full feed; allowing as much gram as they can well eat; say about two pounds daily for each: another dozen should be upon half feed; having an allowance of very fine chaff to complete their diet; or perhaps some cut grass, the same as is brought in for horses. All these twenty-four sheep should be confined in an area, enclosed either by mud walls, or by railings of a suitable height; taking care to allow them access to sweet water, and to have a small quantity of salt in a flat vessel, accessible to them at pleasure. In this manner they will fatten admirably in the course of six or seven months; their flesh becoming fine grained, juicy, and high flavored.

Besides the above number, about as many more should be kept on a small allowance of gram; allowing them to graze, in company with half a dozen milch goats and their kids, under charge of the berriarah, in some place remote from any camp or town; so as to insure their feeding clean. This precaution may seem unnecessary, but is certainly proper; for all sheep, especially those of India, are particularly partial to certain excrements, abounding in a country where the goddess is worshipped on the plains: the borders of tanks being particularly the resort of all descriptions of persons, when pressed 292to pay their devoirs to the deity. The dress of the berriarah is usually similar to that of the cooly; with this addition, that, on account of the oppressive heats at one season; the heavy falls of rain at another; and the sharp cold during three months; he has constant recourse to a substantial blanket, generally black: that being the ordinary color of the sheep. In the hot season, the blanket serves to repel the heat; during the rains, to keep him dry; and in the winter, to keep him warm. As any cross folds, or pleats, would infallibly rather retain, than cast off, the rain, these people have recourse to a most effectual mode of managing the blanket; tying it together in a very regular manner, after puckering the longest side, and placing that part over their heads. Whatever portion of moisture may lodge within the short pleats above the tie, cannot sink downwards, if the ligature be properly made; while all the pleats below it, being in a perpendicular direction, serve as channels to carry the water downwards. In fact, the blanket becomes a bell-tent, of which the inhabitant is himself the pole. The wages of the shepherd are usually about three and a half, or four rupees monthly; but some gentlemen regulate them by the number of sheep maintained: this by no means answers their expectations; for if the number be great, one or two deficiencies, imputed to the wolves, are rarely noticed; 293and if the flock be small, the only chance a shepherd has, is to make away with a fat sheep, now and then. No sheep can be fatted, taking all things into consideration, under four rupees, equal to about ten shillings, including the price given; which of late years has risen to about a rupee per head, for such as have six teeth: all below that age are generally rejected, because their food goes more towards their growth, than to their flesh; which is seldom of a good color, but retains a certain light hue, like very young beef, until the second year be passed.

The wool of the Bengal sheep is by no means valuable, as an article of commerce; it being coarse and lank, more resembling dog’s hair than a fleece. The natives manufacture a good deal of it into puttoos; which may be made in any form, being nothing more than a very heavy close kind of felt, which, when well made, stands proof against the severest weather. The usual shape of these puttoos is nearly conical, and more resembles a bell-tent, than any thing now occurring to my memory; the generality are made with a border, rudely worked, of some color strongly contrasting with the body of the cloak: thus, a black puttoo would have a white pattern, another white puttoo a black pattern. This manufacture is extremely simple, and performed by means of a kind of carding machine 294that entangles the wool; which is previously mixed in a very strong lather of soap.

I have already stated, that the average price of a sheep fit for fatting, is about a rupee; but that price has only existed for about twenty years. Before that date, the common value of a coarge (or score) was from six to eight rupees; and I recollect, about twenty-nine years back, when marching from Berhampore to Cawnpore, with a detachment of European recruits, seeing several coarges bought for their use, by the contractor’s sircar, at three, and three and a half rupees! at the latter rate six sheep were purchased for a rupee; which, in British currency, would be five-pence each!

It is true, the sheep were not fat; far from it; being driven into the camp from the flocks grazing in the adjacent plains, and, in general, taken without much selection. They were the only animal food we could at times get; for the Hindus would never sell us an ox, knowing it was intended for slaughter. Notwithstanding the very low rate at which the sheep were purchased, many proved dear bargains. Some had their livers in such a dreadful state as disgusted every spectator, and caused an insuperable objection against the meat: fluke-worms crawled about in hundreds; while, of many, the stomachs, as well as the intestines, were completely lined with bots, which stood as close as they 295could stow, keeping each other parallel, like pins on a cushion! Strange to say, some few of which the entrails were thus preyed upon, seemed as though they would have thriven, provided they had been turned into a good pasture.

The Chokey-dar, or watchman, is a very different sort of being from such as guard the British metropolis. In India, no man dare undertake this office, unless he be a professed thief, or in league with the local chief of all the thieves of the district. Were any person of a contrary description to assume the protection of a house, &c. he would be outwitted, and, in all probability be implicated; or he would lose his life in the Quixotic attempt! This may give but an unfavorable idea of the police; but, on examination, it will be found by no means so injurious to the interests of the public, as persons ignorant of the fact, and of its derivation, might suppose. Thieving is there put on a par with other speculations; it becomes a monopoly, the invasion of which carries with it the most fatal effects.

To explain this, I must state, that, in the vicinity of all great towns, there will be found some person of apparent respectability, whose word indeed passes with the same validity as other mens’ bonds; and who is considered the chief of the chokey-dars, or watchmen; of 296which he will furnish one, or two, perhaps three, according to the extent, and situation, of the premises to be guarded.

For each person thus supplied, four rupees are paid monthly to the individual employed; the head-man being responsible for whatever losses may be occasioned by professed robbers. The chokey-dar attends during the day, often performing many little offices, in the most willing and effective manner; at night parading about with his spear, shield, and sword, and assuming a most terrific aspect, until all the family are asleep; when—HE GOES TO SLEEP TOO!!!

Thus the matter is compromised; the gang receive a tribute, and the gentleman is insured from nocturnal depredation: though, by way of deception, slight feints are now and then made, in order to keep up the system of terror, and to uphold the chokey-dar’s vigilance. I am sensible, that instances may be adduced of houses being plundered, and of the chokey-dars being cut to pieces. These, however, do not confute the well known fact I have above delivered; on examination it will always appear, that such robberies were committed either by some gang from another quarter, or where the premises were in charge of military guards.

So audacious are the thieves in India, that they have been known to come into a cantonment 297with lighted mosauls, in imitation of a marriage procession, or of a religious ceremony, and thus to attack a treasury where a strong guard was posted. They likewise crawl about in dark nights, so as to be mistaken for dogs, or other small animals; thus gradually lulling the vigilance of a sentry, and making their way good to the interior. On such occasions their bodies are usually well oiled, thereby rendering it impossible to retain a hold; which is, in most cases, prevented by a small sharp knife, always carried in a girdle by these insinuating rogues: that girdle consists only of a stout piece of twine carried round the waist, supporting a lungooty, or clout, passing between the legs, and as narrow as an exception from absolute nudity can possibly admit.

When travelling through any part of the Company’s territories, it is proper to require chokey-dars from such villages as may be in the vicinity of the encampment: on failure of this precaution, robbery will very often take place, without the most distant chance either of recovering the lost goods, or of tracing the thieves. Nor should such chokey-dars be sent away unpaid for their night’s labor: two annas, equal to nearly four-pence, should be given to each; otherwise, intelligence of the deficit will be conveyed to the next halting place, and no chokey-dar will be forthcoming; unless, indeed, one of the collector’s peons accompany, or, that his 298order be sent, particularly cautioning all the inhabitants to provide whatever may be wanting. The reader must not imagine himself in England, but transplant his ideas to a country where there is no public place of accommodation, no relay of horses, no public conveyance, and perhaps no other Christian within scores of miles! His fancy may have abundance of scope, in picturing to him the variety of preparations necessary to be made before a party, much more a single gentleman, breaks ground, for the purpose of sporting, or of repairing to some distant station. He will then see how very necessary it is to adopt the local customs, as well as every means that prudence can devise; observing particularly, that when a gratuity is to be bestowed upon any villager, &c. for provisions, or services, he should never fail to see the full sum paid into the poor fellow’s hand: otherwise, the servants will at least diminish, if not altogether withhold, the donation.

In consequence of the great number of servants that sleep within the houses, and the circumstance of each dwelling having a separate gateway, where a durwan, (or porter,) constantly attends; as well as owing to the great number of chokies or patrole stations, every where to be seen; few chokey-dars are employed in the town of Calcutta, unless by merchants who have warehouses full of valuable commodities; or 299shroffs, (i.e. bankers) residing in that part of the town inhabited principally by natives: at the baugeechahs, or garden-houses, which generally stand, like our farm-houses, at some distance from other dwellings, chokey-dars are found to be indispensably necessary. Within the Company’s provinces no head chokey-dars are to be seen: there the watchman may perhaps be exempt from the imputation of belonging to the local gang: though circumstances do sometimes authorize the suspicion, that he aids the perpetrators of the robbery. Generally speaking, however, there appears no ostensible person who comes forward to guarantee the safety of goods under charge of a chokey-dar: when this most desirable assurance is wanting, the greatest vigilance is sometimes inadequate to the prevention of theft. It is not a very easy matter to defeat the machinations of a most expert banditti, in a country where it is necessary to throw open every door, and window, during the night, lest suffocation should ensue!

I have said that a Durwan, or porter, is stationed at the gate, on entrance into that area, (called the compound,) within which most houses in Calcutta are situated. This servant usually receives from four to five rupees monthly, and dresses little better than a cooly; though, in some instances, he may be seen more respectably cloathed. So soon as a palanquin enters the 300gate, the durwan vociferates lustily; informing, that a visitor approaches; when immediately some other servant, such as a peon or hirkarah, runs to enquire the name, &c. which is immediately announced to the master or mistress.

The durwan is always allowed a small lodge near the portal, where he is in constant attendance day and night. When the family have retired to rest, he shuts and secures the gates: formerly, it was an invariable rule to close them during meals, and to retain them in that state, until notice was sent by the head servant that all the plate, &c. were safe. This certainly was not a bad custom; and, no doubt, operated as a check upon many, who, but for such a restriction, would purloin some valuable article of a portable description: I regret to think it should have been not only relaxed, but nearly abandoned: probably owing to mistaken delicacy.

The Cahar, or palanquin-bearer, is a servant of peculiar utility, in a country where, for four months, the intense heat precludes Europeans from taking much exercise; and where, during a similar term, the constant state of puddle, in every place not artificially raised, and drained, at a great expense, utterly precludes them from walking. Indeed, even in the cold months, it is not always that the palanquin can be dispensed with: at all events; the chattah, or large umbrella, 301must accompany. Many gentlemen who arrive during the winter season, find the sun little more than comfortable; they therefore, very foolishly, dispense with the chattah, and allow themselves to be heated extremely. So many instances have happened of persons being carried off suddenly, in consequence of such exposure, that I cannot too earnestly exhort all visiting India, to be very cautious of placing reliance on strength of constitution: the strongest are in most danger; on them fever seizes firmly, giving but little time for the adjustment of affairs, and even less scope for the exercise of medical skill.

The number of, what is called, a set of bearers, varies according to the situation, the occupation, and the weight of the employer. In Calcutta, where there is much visiting, at least seven must be kept, of whom one stays at home to cook victuals for the rest; and as another of them will probably be the sirdar, or head-bearer, who attends personally when his master is dressing, and generally has some charge of linen, &c. he will not, except on emergency, officiate under the bamboo. Thus, in fact, only five will be left to carry the palanquin and the umbrella; the man bearing the latter at times relieving one of the four that carry the vehicle; and they, in exchange, assuming his part of the labor, alternately.

There are, however, various tribes of bearers, 302generally provincial, all of which are to be found at Calcutta; those chiefly employed in that capital are called Ooreeahs, i.e. natives of the province of Orissa; a tract of country lying between the Roopnarain and the northern sircars: this occasions them to be generally designated ‘Balasore-bearers:’ Balasore being the principal town.

Language is scarcely adequate to describe the influence this set of menials had obtained, throughout those parts to which they extend their services; which is rarely more than a few miles around Calcutta. They are, in fact, a commonwealth, governed by one or more of their gang, and subject to the regulations, from time to time, established by councils convened, in the most imperious manner, by the old sirdars; every trespass against which is attended with, not only immediate punishment, by means of ejection from among their society in the town, but absolutely by a species of out-lawry, even in their own country!

To such a pitch had these gentry carried their audacity, that, more than once, they withdrew from Calcutta, leaving its inhabitants in the most awkward predicament, until they thought fit to return, or that their insolent demands were complied with. If any offence be given to one or more, especially to a whole set, the matter is instantly submitted to their superiors; who have, on many occasions, issued their mandate, 303interdicting all Ooreeahs from engaging in the offender’s service. Where real injury is done, they never fail to carry the matter either before the commissioners of the police, or into the supreme court: the costs being defrayed by a general assessment. The prudence with which they proceed, in this mode of prosecution, is by no means unworthy of notice; if imitated by some of our own litigious spirits, it could not fail to save infinite vexation, trouble, and expence. They put the case, very fairly, before a fictitious tribunal, consisting of sircars, writers, &c. who, having been employed by gentlemen of the law, have picked up a smattering of that profession, and are perfectly acquainted with all the forms attendant upon most civil causes. These ‘base epitomes of legal greatness’ possess wonderful shrewdness; and, by means of two fictitious advocates of a corresponding description, who, with an acuteness scarcely to be equalled, argue their respective sides of the question, i.e. plaintiff and defendant, are enabled to decide on the case with strict propriety. The fact is, that this mock court, being instituted for the purpose of preventing any native, who chooses to have his cause pleaded before it, from being entangled in that glorious net of perplexity, the supreme court, every endeavor is made to sift the several turns and arguments, that may be resorted to by the defendant. Consequently, 304it is ever the study of the accusing party to strengthen his opponent’s side, with every subtlety that can be devised. The sages give their opinions the same as in our courts; but are very cautious never to decide in favor of a plaintiff, unless the case appears fully established.

It is a well-known fact, that, with the exception of a few haughty, opinionated individuals, who, relying on their own judgment, and thinking such a resort would degrade them, or perhaps discover that chicanery on which they rely for success, omit the above very sagacious precaution, scarcely an instance is to be found where a native, residing in Calcutta, has failed to gain his cause against an European. To such a tribunal, as above described, the Ooreeahs almost invariably resort; when, if its decision is in their favor, the real court soon becomes arbiter on the occasion.

It is perhaps fortunate for the inhabitants (I mean the European families) of Calcutta, that, within the last twenty years, great numbers of Patna, Dacca, and other cahars, or bearers, have resorted to the presidency, to participate in those services formerly monopolized by the Ooreeahs. The latter, after some struggle, by endeavoring to intimidate their rivals, and by debarring the teeka, or job-bearers, who were formerly, to a man, of the Balasore tribe, from 305serving, even for the day, those who retained Patna, or other cahars, were, in the end, obliged to lower their tone, and rather to conciliate, than to arrogate, upon all occasions. Not that they are by any means reconciled to the new system; but they find their mandates of less force, their influence nearly extinguished, and their numbers considerably decreased: at least, they bear no proportion to the cahars from the country; who now ply for teeka, i.e. job-work, in every quarter.

Still it must not be denied, that the OoreeahsOoreeahs are, in some respects, excellent servants: they are very careful of furniture; and being able-bodied men in general, are capable, even with less numbers, of proceeding great distances: they are, besides, far more cleanly in their persons, and neater in their dress; which, however, consists merely of a doty, wrapped round the middle, and tucked in, together with a wrapper, to be thrown over them in very inclement weather, but usually folded up, and carried over the shoulder. When their heights are unequal, they use a small quilted pad, of linen, stuffed with rags, or cotton, which is suspended from the palanquin pole, or bamboo, and being placed between it and the shoulder of the shortest bearer of the two, (they carrying in pairs, two bearers before, and two behind,) serves to bring about an even bearing on each.

306The Balasore bearers, i.e. the Ooreeahs, all preserve but one lock on the top of their heads, the same as the sircars, and other Hindus in general; they wear no turban, but paint their faces, arms, throats, and breasts, with sandal-wood and vermilion. Some wear a few small beads, chiefly of turned wood, about their necks; and, occasionally, a stout silver ornament, of the ring kind, called a bangle, or kurrah, on either wrist, or a pair of tigers’ claws set in silver, back to back, suspended by a number of black threads from their necks. This is considered a potent charm against J’haddoo, or witchcraft: and a preventative of various dangerous diseases. It is peculiar, that the Ooreeah bearers never wear shoes, and that they prefer cloaths of an almond color. The number of Ooreeahs in a single set, is generally, as before stated, seven: the head-bearer or sirdar, receiving five, or even six, rupees monthly; sometimes a mate receives, or is said to receive, five, and the residue about four. Formerly the rates were generally one rupee less than the above for each rank: but ‘the hay was made while the sun shone,’ and these gentry did not fail, while in power, to raise their respective wages.

Where there is a lady in the family, three more bearers must be added; or perhaps five: and a good comfortable building must, at all events, be set apart for these domineering servants: 307without that is done, they will not stay. Nor will they handle a chillumchee, (or wash-hand bason,) after it has been used: though they will officiate in pouring the water, serving the napkin, laying the shaving apparatus, and a variety of matters formerly supposed to be repugnant to their tenets; but which objections are not so much insisted upon since the country cahars have resorted, in such numbers, to Calcutta, and aided to overthrow that immense edifice of insolence, imposition, and pride, so conspicuously rearing its head; whereof, fortunately, the foundation was thus destroyed. I perfectly recollect the time, and, indeed, the matter is not yet obsolete, when the council, as the sirdar vainly termed their meeting, used to send their summons to any Ooreeah in an European’s service; and, in case of refusal, or neglect, mulcted the party according to their pleasure. Thus, no individual, however attached to his master, or tired of the noxious and tyrannic mandates of the sirdars dared to disobey; the smallest relaxation in points of forbearance, or in the least tending to augment the duties of the whole class, whether individually or collectively, was certainly followed by the most severe inhibitions, and by fulminations, perfectly terrific to those brought up in ignorance, and under the complete domination of a persecuting priesthood. A few instances occurred wherein the 308masters almost forcibly debarred their servants from obedience to the adjudications of this overbearing usurpation; but it was in vain: the government, perhaps prudently, discouraged every attempt to change the system; while the Supreme Court, then newly robed, and panting for the exercise of power, whereby to shew their extensive authority, and their sedulous attention to the rights of ‘an oppressed people’, favored every complaint wherein a native was to be redressed: this was done with the view to annihilate those multifarious extortions, and severities, not to say cruelties, under which it was supposed they were groaning. The farce had its day, like all other good farces; but, in the end, Blacky found out that law was very expensive, and that it had so many ins and outs, with which they were then unacquainted, that the disease fortunately carried its own remedy: the fact, as it now stands, being simply this; that all are ready enough to complain to a justice, but are very shy of bringing the subject before a judge!

Where bearers are not constantly wanted, (a very uncommon case, by the by,) the best mode is to hire teeka-bearers, when occasion may demand: for ordinary excursions, five are usually employed; each receiving four annas, or the quarter of a rupee, daily. This has its advantages, and its disadvantages; for it is not always 309these job-men are to be had; nor will they come at the hour appointed; then, again, they must go (the Lord knows where) to their meals; and they are by no means so careful of the palanquin, &c. as regular servants; nor will they attend to a variety of in-door matters, which may be peremptorily requisite. It must further be obvious, that, if the occasions for employing them be numerous, they will prove very expensive: consequently, can only suit those whose incomes are confined, and whose ordinary avocations do not lead them further than may be walked, without danger, or great inconvenience, under the shade of a chattah, or umbrella. It is evident, that one sirdar at five, one mate at four and a half, and five bearers at four each, amount only to twenty-nine rupees and a half per mensem; whereas five teekas, if employed every day at a rupee and a quarter daily, will amount to thirty-seven rupees and a half. This would be like riding in a Hackney-coach all day, when an excellent equipage might be kept for less money.

The Patna, Dacca, and other up-country bearers, in general receive less wages than the Ooreeahs; but require to be more numerous in a set; few consisting of less than eight, including the sirdar, who generally remains at home. His usual wages are from four and a half to five rupees, and the rest receive from three up to four rupees 310monthly; according to circumstances. When in their own country, they serve for less wages than when employed elsewhere. Those at Dacca, where provisions are very cheap, seldom have more than two, of two rupees and a half; and it is wonderful how reluctant they are to quit that part of the country, even under a very considerable advance of pay; therefore, when a corps marches from the Dacca district, every endeavor is made to procure bearers who are going to the several districts lying in, or near, the route. This is sometimes attended with considerable convenience; since it obviates the necessity of exchanging servants while on the march; it being extremely common for bearers to proceed only to an appointed town, there to leave their employer, who must use his endeavors to obtain others in their stead. Thus, in marching from the frontier to Lucknow, or Cawnpore, it is necessary to obtain a new set of bearers at either of those places, to proceed to Benares; at Benares they will engage probably to go no further than Patna, if proceeding by the river route; or, if by the new road, only to Hazary-Bang, or perhaps to Rogonautpore, or to Bissunpore; where a final exchange must be made, for a set that will proceed to Calcutta, Midnapore, &c. Yet it cannot be said that this occasions any very serious difficulty; the occurrence being so common, and the prices 311so well settled by the ordinary practice, that, unless a gentleman has the character of using his servants ill, there seldom appears any deficiency of candidates for employment.

Bearers, of all descriptions, are extremely apt to carry too much luggage for themselves, stowing it, to an unmerciful amount, on the back of some poor camel, or on some cart, which their master thinks is very lightly laden. The mischief is not suspected, until he notices, day after day, the late arrival of his baggage, or receives a report that his cattle have sore backs, &c. &c.; which must, of course, prove highly pleasing in situations where no substitutes for the disabled beasts can be found!

Let me recommend my mode of correcting this evil; under which I was so often, and so grievously, a sufferer, that, at length, a radical cure became indispensable. I made a point of lagging behind sometimes, or perhaps of riding back, and of stopping my camels, &c., to see what, besides my own property, might be on their backs. It is inconceivable what bundles of cloaths, pots, and pans, were burthened: nay, even perroquets sometimes formed a part of the group. In the first instance, I gave fair warning, that whatever was found thus clandestinely laden, should be destroyed: after that, I spared nothing; but caused all the brass vessels to be beat up with a tent-mallet, and the rest of the 312luggage to be burnt. The consequence was such as might be expected; my baggage was always up in excellent time, and my cattle were no more chafed, and galled, by excessive burthens.

I anticipate the observation, that, ‘the drivers were to blame.’ True, but few of them have the resolution to withstand solicitation, or, perhaps, a small douceur, in some shape or other; and as to discharging them, it is not always practicable, the greatest fear being that they should discharge themselves. Elephants and camels must not be put into the hands of novices: neither will they always submit to be ruled by strangers.

As I have just said, the bearers are almost always principally concerned in these instances; the reason for which is, that every other servant has usually some family, or goes share in some tattoo, (poney,) which conveys his luggage: not that they would be a whit more scrupulous, were it not for the fear of discovery; to which they would be peculiarly liable. On the other hand, the Bearer, being perhaps merely a temporary servant; and, if I may so term it, an alien in the camp, has no such means of disposing of his luggage, as falls to the lot of the regular servants: besides, all this tribe are either most penurious, or most dissipated. They either hoard every cowrie; or run in debt, and then, to avoid payment—run away.

313The immediate business of a head-bearer is to prepare for his master’s dressing; seeing that the linen is all properly in order, boots and shoes cleaned, coat, &c. brushed, side-arms, &c. bright; also that the palanquin is clean, and free from defect; that the water used for drinking be purified; that the kettle is put on in due time: in general, the inferior bearers clean the furniture, and carry the chowry, (or whisk,) and swing a kind of punkah, (or fan,) made either from a large palm leaf, or with split bamboo, and printed cotton; of which pieces are to be had stamped expressly for that purpose; they are swung backwards and forwards to cool a room: the butt of the punkah-stick resting on the ground. A punkah is, by some, used instead of a chattah, (or umbrella); but it is very inferior as a defence against either sun, wind, or rain. The natives in some parts, especially to the northward, use these punkahs very generally; but, of late, they seem to have rather changed in favor of the chattah, great numbers of which are now conveyed, as an article of merchandize, from the lower provinces to Benares, Lucknow, &c.

The dress of the cahar, by which I mean the up-country bearers, usually consists of a colored turban, blue being, if anything, the prevailing color; the head-bearer generally has a short coortah, not unlike that of the mosaulchy, and, 314as well as all the inferiors, wears a doty, in the usual manner: though some few wear a kind of petticoat-trowser, not unlike the Highland kelt. Cummer-bunds are also in general use; though, with few exceptions, of a very coarse quality. Many gentlemen present their bearers, hirkarahs, peons, syces, khedmutgars, and mosaulchies, annually, with a set of turbans and cummer-bunds, all of the same color; so that the whole appear, to a certain extent, in livery. In this indulgence many of the natives take great pride: on the whole, indeed, they are as vain as our beau-footmen; and, like them, can assume wondrous airs, when they have to deal with the servant of a person inferior in rank to their own master.

While speaking of bearers, I shall describe the various kinds of palanquins in use; observing, that the greatest improvements, which perhaps ever took place in any vehicle, have been brought forward in the construction of this sine quâ non of Indian luxury. In order to preserve due order, I shall commence with a description of the naulkeen, or naulkee, it being the first in rank among the contrivances of this description.

This immense carriage is only used by crowned heads, and may be compared to a portable throne, on which the prince sits with his feet crossed, and tucked up under his hams, (the usual sitting position of Asiatics,) having at his back an immense 315pillow, and under him a suitable bedding, both sumptuously ornamented; besides these, many smaller pillows lie scattered about, to be applied as may be found agreeable. The frame of the naulkeen may be about five feet long by four broad, well secured at the corners, and taped at the bottom in a very close manner, both lengthwise and breadthwise, so as to leave no interstices. The sides are raised with richly carved wood-work, generally gilded in a very shewy style. The naulkeen is carried, like a litter, by eight men, who support two poles, one running under each side-bar, and projecting before and behind; two bearers being at each extremity, the same as in a palanquin. This vehicle, though it appears extremely ponderous, is said, by the bearers, to be far lighter than one of those Mahannah-palanquins I am about to describe: no doubt but eight men must feel less pressure, individually, from such a weight, supposing it to be equal to that of the mahannah, which is, to say the truth, a very heavy, though a very comfortable, machine.

The dooly, or covered litter, was certainly the parent of all the palanquin kind; it is yet in very common use among the less opulent classes, and especially employed for the conveyance of women; in our armies this little vehicle affords excellent means, of transporting sick and wounded men, either to the hospitals, or on a march. 316Its usual construction is extremely simple; consisting of a small carpoy, or bedstead, perhaps five feet by two and a half; having four stump feet, about nine or ten inches from the ground, into which the sides, and end pieces, are tenoned. A very slight frame of bamboo work, equal in size to the frame of the litter, is placed over it horizontally; serving as a roof for the support of a double cover, (generally of red karwah, or of blue, or white calico,) which lies over the roof, and falls all around; so as to enclose the whole space between the roof and the bedstead. There is seldom any bedding but what is provided by the party carried in the dooly; unless it be one appertaining to some family, thereby it is frequently used: in such case, the interior is made very comfortable, and the cover ornamented with borders, fringes, &c. This last kind, being almost exclusively appropriated to the zenanah, is on a very small scale; rarely exceeding three feet, by little more than two: of such, thousands are to be hired at Calcutta, and most of the provincial towns. They carry very easy; often, indeed, having only two bearers under the bamboo, with one carrying a bangy, or a bundle, who relieves the others occasionally; but, for the most part, four bearers are employed. The closeness of the interior, added to the very trifling elevation, (whereby the dust 317cannot fail to be offensive,) and the very insufficient guard against rain, combine to render this vehicle by no means pre-eminent for comfort; especially to delicate females.

It should seem that, in the course of time, an improvement was made in the construction of litters, by giving the bamboo, or pole, a considerable arch in that part which went over the interior. Thus the frame was raised considerably; while the rider was enabled to sit upright, rather more conveniently than when the bamboo was straight: this, however, could only be done towards the centre; the legs being crossed under the hams, according to the usual sitting position of the natives. To them, such a posture, being confirmed by long habit, in use from their infancy, is a relaxation; whereas, to a person not so accustomed, nothing can be more irksome and fatiguing. Gradually, the sides of the vehicle were ornamented, and changed from the simple parallelogram to an oblongated hexagon; which is now very common: the bamboo was also yet more arched, and its anterior projection carried out in an upward curve to the length of full twelve feet or more: it was also covered with broad-cloth throughout; that part above the seat being ornamented with silk fringes, and the fore-end furnished with a brass ornament; either a tiger’s, or an alligator’s head, or 318perhaps some imaginary non-descript, placed at the end of a brass ferule, enclosing the bamboo for half a yard at least.

Still there was abundant room for amelioration; but the natives could brook no encroachment on the publicity thus given to their persons, while seated in a vehicle, which, owing to the weight being nearly on a level with the bearers’ shoulders, (a great portion, namely, the head and shoulders, being far above it) added to the awkward arch above, which operated as a lever, was peculiarly unsteady; ever threatening to upset with the least inattention to equipoise. The danger of adding to the superincumbent weight, of which the mischief was sensibly felt, caused a slight reduction of the lever, by lengthening the suspending laths a few inches, so as to lower the centre of gravity. But, by way of recompence, perhaps, for the supposed degradation, a rich covering of broad-cloth was thrown over the arch; having in it several bamboo-laths running at right angles with the bamboo; and forming a canopy, corresponding in form with the curve, about four and a half feet in width; of which the corners were tied down to those of the palanquin frame, and the edges were trimmed with an open quadrated, or reticulated fringe, full six inches in depth.

As it would be a sin to spoil so costly an 319awning, it was taken off in bad weather, and put into a bag made of wax-cloth, to be carried on one of the bearers’ shoulders; in the mean while, a large sheet, of the same material, was thrown over the bamboo, to keep the inhabitant from being washed away. It is not above twenty-five years back, that this kind of palanquin was in use among the European residents of India, and especially among the military.

Probably in consequence of a painted canvas awning being used, curving down gradually at the sides, not unlike a testudo, this machine was called a ‘fly-palanquin.’ It was, however, made full six feet in length, and of a comfortable breadth, being also furnished with a good pillow or two, and a neat bedding, stuffed with that kind of cotton known by the name of seemul. The bamboo frame, on which the canvas was stretched, and of which a ruffle about six inches in depth remained pendant, was lined with colored silk, chintz, &c. giving the interior rather a finished appearance. I have no doubt but the form of this kind of palanquin, as in use among the natives, gave rise to the use of punkahs, in preference to chattahs; it must be obvious that the former, being flat, and furnished with a flounce full half a yard in depth, was more conformable to the lateral apertures than an umbrella could be; while, at the same 320moment, it was far more portable in passing through those narrow streets and gullies, characterizing every great city in India.

Time ‘astonished the natives,’ as well as the Europeans, by bringing forth the Mahannah-palanquin. This vehicle, now so common, has entirely banished the fly-palanquin, of which it would probably be difficult to find one in use with any European throughout the country: so general, indeed, has been the adoption of the former, that many of the natives, in every part, now either ride in mahannahs, or have their doolies constructed in imitation of them. The mahannah resembles an immense chest, standing on four feet, raising it nearly a foot from the ground. About two-fifths of each side is open, serving for a door; the residue being usually closed up, either with very thin pannels, or with canvas, leather, &c. The doors are sometimes made to close, by means of two Venetian frames, that, when brought from their recesses, meet in the centre, but at other times run back, on small metal wheels, in grooves behind the pannels respectively.

The roof is made of very thin pannelling board, laid longitudinally over slight battens a little cambered; though some are quite flat: over the boards a stout, but thin, canvas is well stretched, and beaded down at the edges: this is usually painted white. The fore, and back, 321parts are in general closed, with the exception of two small Venetian, or perhaps glass, windows, near the top; to allow a draught of air. The exterior is painted according to the fancy of the proprietor; often very handsomely, and well varnished. The front and hind poles attach at about three-fifths up the body of the vehicle; being rivetted to iron ribs, firmly screwed by means of diverging claws to the main pieces, they are further steadied by iron stays, proceeding from the top and bottom corners, of each end respectively, to the pole; to which they are bolted at about eighteen inches from the body. The poles are always covered with leather.

The body of a mahannah is generally about six feet, or six feet two inches long, and from twenty-six to thirty inches in width; the height is sufficient to allow a tall person’s sitting upright, without a hat. The beddings of most are covered with chintz of neat patterns; while a small piece of carpet, tiger’s-skin, morocco-leather, or some such article, is spread at the feet, to prevent its being soiled.

In most mahannahs there are racks, which serve to support the back; others are provided with two small, or one large pillow, also covered with chintz. Above the doors it is common to screw in flat brass knobs, whereon to button either canvas or leather curtains, that will roll up occasionally, and buckle like the aprons of gigs, 322&c.: there are also studs, of the same description, fixed at the sides of the doors, to fasten down the edges of the curtains. One principal use, however, of such studs, is, to affix cheeks made of kuss-kuss, to be watered when journeying any distance.

The mahannah is unquestionably a very heavy vehicle, and, being totally devoid of elasticity, far more oppressive to the bearers than any machine on a slighter construction. Yet the average rate of travelling may be computed at from three and a half, to a quarter wanting of four miles, within the hour, in going great distances; such as from Chunar to Calcutta, at the proper season, when the waters are not out, and the heat not too oppressive. That estimate includes all stops for changes of bearers, which, in travelling dawk, (that is, post,) will take place at certain stages, from ten to fifteen miles apart. Thus, a journey of four hundred miles may be made in about five days, with great ease; the night being often more favorable than the day to making progress; especially from March to the middle of June. During that period, the roads are every where good, the grass jungles in most places burnt away, and fewer tigers lurk near the highways. It is often necessary to lie by for a few hours during the mid-day; when the ground is so hot as absolutely to scorch the bearers’ feet. At such times, the kuss-kuss tatties 323are peculiarly serviceable; but, in case none are affixed, the guttah-tope, or palanquin-cover, must be kept wet; as already observed, in describing the occupations of the bheesty, or water-carrier.

Ladies are usually conveyed about Calcutta, or any where for short distances, in a kind of palanquin, called a boҫhah. This has its poles fixed much in the same manner as in the mahannah, but its body is of a very different form; being a compound of our sedan chair with the body of a chariot. Its deep shape, and its seat, much resemble the former; but having two doors, one on each side, with one window in front, as well as a small one behind, all furnished with Venetians and glasses, give it, in those respects, some claim to alliance with the latter. I should have observed, that most of the gentlemen residing at Calcutta, ride in boҫhahs; which afford a better look-out, are more portable, and can turn about in narrow places, where a mahannah could not: besides, they are far lighter. The boҫhah made expressly for a lady, is fitted up in some style, and always has four large tassels, commonly of white silk, hanging at the four upper corners. There are usually pockets in front, and to the doors; the same as in chariots, &c.

About Dacca, Chittagong, Tipperah, and other mountainous parts, a very light kind of conveyance 324is in use, called a taum-jaung, i.e. ‘a support to the feet.’ This consists of an arm-chair, with a low back, at the sides of which two poles are affixed, even with the seat; from the two fore legs of the chair, iron stays project forward, supporting a foot-board, placed diagonally, so as to meet the natural position of the soles when the feet are thrown forward, much the same as the foot-boards of coach-boxes, only on a very light construction. In some instances, the taum-jaungs (vulgarly called tom-johns) are carried the same as the naulkeen; that is, by the four ends of the poles resting on the shoulders of as many bearers, all independent of each other. Experience has, however, proved such to be a very dangerous practice; for, if one of the bearers stumbles, the machine must inevitably be overset: the fall from such a height, especially if proceeding at a quick pace, is not devoid of danger. To remedy this, it has latterly become a custom to suspend two stout batons, by means of strong doubled cords, between the ends of the poles, before and behind; making such an allowance in respect to the length of cord, or sling, as may allow the poles to come down about as low as the bearers’ hips. The batons are slung by their middles, one bearer supporting the fore, the other the hind, part of each; all moving between the two side poles, but nearly in a line one behind the other. This 325does not altogether obviate the possibility of falling, by means of a stumble; but it lessens that danger considerably, and renders the accident less severe; the seat being much lowered.

In this respect, the boҫhah is also safer than the mahannah; the former being so much nearer the ground, and the erect position of the rider rendering him less liable to injury. When the hind bearers of a mahannah fall, not only the legs of the vehicle, but the head of its inhabitant, may be injured: such accidents are rarely attended with any other inconvenience than a job for the carpenter. If the fall takes place when a bearer is pushing behind, resting the palm of his hand against the butt end of the hinder pole, as is very common, there will be an additional impetus, by no means favorable to the machine; especially if the foremost bearers give way. Most of the mahannah palanquins have a box under the feet, and perhaps one under the head also, made water tight, and furnished with a lock. This, when travelling, is extremely convenient; insuring the presence of many little articles, both of raiment and refreshment, which, if trusted to a bangy, might not arrive in due time.

The bangy is a slip of bamboo, perhaps five feet in length, which, in the middle, may be four inches in width; the thickness about an inch; towards the ends it tapers a little, and 326has shoulders left, whereby to secure the nets, wherein are two baskets, made either of rattans, or of reeds, very closely worked, and probably covered with painted canvas, of leather. The bangy-wollah, that is, the bearer who carries the bangy, supports the bamboo on his shoulder, so as to equipoise the baskets suspended at each end. If not overladen, the bangy will generally keep pace with the palanquin; the bearer shifting the bamboo from one, to the other shoulder, as he proceeds.

Many gentleman have r’hunts, or r’huts, for the conveyance of their native ladies, either on a march, or to take an airing occasionally: in such case, a man must be employed to drive, and to take care of the bullocks. He is designated the ‘g’horry-waun;’ or carriage servant. His dress cannot be reduced to any exact standard, but will generally be found to resemble that of the khedmutgar; his pay being ordinarily from four to six rupees monthly. The generality of persons following this avocation, are rather elderly, and possess the outward shew of great decency and respectability; but I believe they are, with few exceptions, by no means of a character such as would be supposed from their venerable and sanctified appearance. I have seen so much, and the instances are so common, of the intrigues carried on, or connived at, by g’horry-wauns, as to satisfy 327me of their being as great hypocrites as are to be found on earth. The construction of a r’hut is so very curious as almost to defy description.

The g’horry-waun sits astride that part of the fore-frame which may be compared with the pole and traverse of one of our four-wheeled carriages, under a seiwaun, or semiaun, made of the same stuff as the covering, supported in nearly a horizontal position, by two slight poles fixed into iron ferules at the body of the frame, and proceeding, at and angle of about 45° to the foremost edge of the seiwaun. The bullocks are managed by means of a strong cord, passed through their septums, or divisions between their nostrils, and tied over the crowns of their heads, where the rein, made also of rope, attaches: this effectually curbs the cattle. Possibly such a device may appear to partake of cruelty; but experience has proved, that no other mode is adequate to keeping this fiery, restless, and vicious, breed of cattle in tolerable subordination. The g’horry-waun is provided with a severe goad: the application of which, to the hind quarters of the bullocks, causes them to keep up a good smart trot. When they are tolerably quiet, the driver’s feet generally suffice, to keep them to their pace: but, when all other modes fail, he twists their tails, and thus urges them to their best 328speed. The reins should serve both to stop, and to guide; but, as the bullocks are not always prompt in turning when only so acted upon, the tail is often resorted to, as a never-failing rudder!

Your true home-bred Englishmen can have little idea of the rate at which a pair of oxen can draw one of these r’huts; he cannot readily imagine, that they can travel from four to six miles within the hour; and that, too, where the g’horry-ka-leek, or track of a wheel, is scarcely to be found. I have seen a pair of Nagore, or of Guzzerat, bullocks, (I forget which,) standing full sixteen hands at the withers, (making allowance for the humps on the shoulders of all cattle bred in that quarter;) that could with ease trot with a r’hut at the rate of eight miles within the hour. But such must not be considered as common: perhaps five miles may be the truest average. Nor is it to be understood, that bullocks keep up an even pace, as horses do; on the contrary, they either proceed at their quickest trot, or at a walk; there is little medium: the fact is, that, not being trained to a continuance of one set pace, but urged by starts, at the will of their driver, they want that habit which would improve their wind.

That breed of oxen said to be chiefly raised in the Guzzerat, and Nagore districts, is very fine. The animals are of a milky whiteness, 329handsomely formed, with fine eyes, and horns generally not more than a foot in length, but gracefully turned, partly forward, and partly upward. The natives invariably either paint or gild the horns; and sometimes mark the sides, necks, hams, and shoulders, of their favorites with mindy; that is, with the plant generally known among botanists, under the name of hinna. Of this I shall have occasion to speak more fully when treating of the ornaments in use among the ladies of India: at present briefly remarking, that, whether owing to the coarse manner in which the mindy is applied, or to my want of taste, the practice never pleased me; although the color itself, namely, a tawny red, forms by no means a bad contrast to the brilliant whiteness of the animal.

A conveyance on two wheels, but in most other respects perfectly similar to the r’hut, is extremely common in India; being used by men, as well as by women. The body of this kind is usually square; and the roof by no means so elevated. With few exceptions, these have red covers, in the sides of which, as also in those of the r’huts, are small slits, serving for peep-holes. In this two-wheeled kind, called generally ghorries, (i.e. carriages,) such are more necessary than in the others; the former being almost invariably fitted up with cheeks, or screens; one of which is ever appended to the 330fore-part, between the interior and the driver. The common g’horry, now under description, is rarely, if ever, kept by any European; but may be seen plying for hire in various parts of Calcutta. Some of these have shafts in which a tattoo (poney) is fixed, with very slight harness; barely sufficient to keep the crook-saddle in its place. This is a recent improvement; as is also the application of tattoos to r’huts: I understand they are found to be more manageable, and far cheaper than bullocks; besides, their pace is much quicker; and, in case of failure, they are most easily converted into cash: an object of great moment to the parsimonious Hindu!

Neither the dress, nor the emoluments, of the persons driving such carriages, can be estimated with precision, but, in regard to the latter, we may safely conjecture that something handsome is made; knowing them to be employed more in the conveyance of prostitutes than in any other kind of fare. The usual hire of a four-wheel r’hut, drawn by tattoos, is, I believe, about three rupees per diem; while those with two wheels, and only one tattoo, at the utmost earn only two rupees: I never could ascertain any fixed rate; the g’horry-waun always endeavoring to make his bargain for the trip to the best advantage. Judging from the rapid strides made in various parts of the country, especially at the several 331presidencies, to bring all matters to that kind of system, without which nothing could be done in Europe, we may expect, in a few years, to see regular fares and rates established, as in use among us, for the prevention of misconduct, and over-charges, on the parts of Hackney-coachmen and watermen.

The g’horry-waun may further be employed in a more subordinate capacity; namely, in driving a common cart, usually called a chuckrah, and known by the designation of a ‘hackery’ among Europeans. This kind of vehicle may carry, on an average, about eighteen or twenty maunds, equal to about thirteen or fourteen hundred weight: it is drawn by two oxen; though, in the northern parts of the country, we often see four attached to those which convey cotton, or other gruff merchandize, I confine myself, however, to such as may be retained by gentlemen, either for the carrying on of works, or for the transportation of baggage. Such as are hired by the day, usually cost half, or, at times, three quarters of a rupee daily, when employed on the spot; but, if required to proceed many stages, a whole rupee is demanded. When the g’horry-waun is the menial of any officer, &c. his pay, generally, is from four to five rupees monthly; or sometimes four when stationary, and five when marching. His dress is little better than that of a common cooly. Like 332all other servants to whose care the feeding of cattle is entrusted, this domestic will continue to extract some perquisite from whatever he either receives, or has to purchase. What with dustooree, short weight, over-charges, repairs, medicines, I have always found the g’horry-waun fully a match for his British compeers, in the proportion of emoluments derived from whatever money, &c. passed through his hands. Fortunately, the sum total of expences in the maintenance of a hackery, is very small, when compared with those attendant on a handsome chariot and pair, parading daily in the park.

The duty of a g’horry-waun is confined to the charge of his cattle; he seeing them properly rubbed down, and supplied with provender, which usually consists of the small chaff from various kinds of pulse, or of the stems of badjra, jewar, &c. (various kinds of millet,) or of the bootah, (or Indian-corn,) which, being purchased in bundles, he chops, with a common bill, on a log of wood. When bullocks are allowed gram, (already mentioned,) the usual portion for each is about two, or, at the utmost, three seers each; the seer weighing about two pounds avoirdupoise. It is indispensably necessary that this servant should understand how to load his carriage to advantage, and be able to repair such parts as may not actually require the aid of artizans. Thus, he must be competent to sew saleetah, 333or large sacking cloth spread at the bottom of the hackery, and lapping up, over every part, so as to prevent articles from being lost; and, in some degree, keeping them from being injured by the weather. He must likewise be able to take off a wheel, and above all things, he must be a careful, steady driver. This is the more necessary, owing to the distance between the wheels in all Hindostanee carriages being very small; and the load being placed, in most instances, above the level of their upper fellies; causing the gravity to be thrown very high in a hackery laden with bulky articles; and, consequently, very liable to be overturned. On the whole, few accidents of this kind happen; which, considering how much night travelling prevails in India, is rather surprizing. Possibly this is owing to the deepness of the ruts on roads frequented by carriages; whereby the wheels are presented in their course, so as to prevent the bullocks from deviating. As to the distance a hackery can travel in the course of a day, that must depend entirely on the state of the road, the strength and condition of the cattle, the heat of the weather, and the weight to be drawn: under fair circumstances, from fourteen to sixteen miles may be effected; but the latter distance is considered a forced march. To the weight of the carriage and its load, that of the driver must be added: he usually sitting 334immediately behind the bullocks. When the load is unavoidably rather too heavy behind, so as to cause a tendency to tilting, he sits more forward, between the cattle, and even occasionally upon the yoke itself. It is evident the latter position must be extremely oppressive to the cattle; but in hackeries laden with cotton, where the burthen necessarily occupies a great space, hanging over the rumps of the cattle, such a position is nearly inevitable.

The hackeries used in that branch of trade, are peculiarly strong, and invariably drawn by at least three bullocks; though more commonly by four. Sometimes buffaloes are used; but their pace is very slow, and they are extremely addicted to lying down in every puddle: their immense strength is, nevertheless, a great inducement to employing them, where very heavy commodities are to be carried; but it is found eligible, when buffaloes are yoked, to travel entirely by night; those animals being by no means calculated to bear the solar heat, which oppresses them inconceivably. The native merchants commonly mix one or two among their teams, and, not unfrequently, cause full thirty-five maunds, equal to about twenty-four cwt., to be laid on one hackery: but the distance travelled under such an immense load, can seldom amount to twelve miles.

While on the subject of drivers, which I have 335purposely made the last among the male servants, it may be as well to offer a few hints regarding European servants, and English cattle. It might be said, in brief, that neither the one, nor the other, is found to answer in India. An European servant must have nearly as many natives to attend him as an officer requires; he must have a house; and a million of indulgences, such as nearly abrogate his services, must be shewn towards him. Many have been taken to India, but the result has generally been, that, after saving a little money, or making a few friends, especially by farriery, they have set up in some business, and with very little warning, or ceremony, quitted their masters; who, on the other hand, were usually far from desiring their continuance. I think my own memory would furnish sufficient instances to warrant the assertion, that few, if any, of this class, can be exempted from the charge of ingratitude.

Really, when all things are considered, it must be owing to excess of vanity, or to some kindred folly, that any gentleman would retain an European coachman, or postilion, at full two hundred rupees monthly, all items included, when an excellent substitute may be found, among the many natives who follow those professions, and to whom a twelfth part of that sum is a little fortune. As to an European butler, steward, &c., the same objection exists; with the additional 336inconvenience of having not only an extra guest at all times, (for his fare will, in every respect, equal that of his master,) but a spy in livery, who will hear all the table talk, commercial, military, or political, and retail it, together with his own opinions and comments, to the whole of the native domestics.

Whenever a lady has carried out an European female servant, whether old or young, ugly or beautiful, it has usually happened that a speedy separation has taken place: many, indeed, have deserted from their mistresses while touching at Madras. Consequently, nothing but vexation and disappointment are ever to be expected from the attempt to fix such a person in her situation after arrival in India. No matter what bonds, contracts, or agreements, may have been entered into: these are all got rid of, by the party’s behaving in such a manner as totally precludes the possibility of detention. It may perhaps be urged, that, by reference to a magistrate, any unwarrantable conduct might be punished; but, however reasonable such an expectation might appear in Britain, it would be found totally inapplicable to India. I much doubt whether any justice would take cognizance of such a complaint, unless connected with some felonious proceeding, which might warrant him in committing to prison. This may appear a strange doctrine, and give but an 337indifferent opinion of the police; which, nevertheless, is superior to our own: it is far easier, for either European or native, to obtain redress in Calcutta, than at any of our public offices. The fact is, that the necessity for upholding the British character, however much formerly neglected by some persons in power, is now so well understood, that, nothing short of absolute compulsion would actuate a magistrate to commit an European woman, upon a charge of neglect of duty, inebriety, insolence, or other such impropriety: the litigation of pecuniary points would, of course, be referred to the Supreme Court; where the expences are at least three times as heavy as in the British tribunal, and the prosecutor would, in the end, have little to boast in regard to gaining his cause; though, possibly, he might gratify his resentments at a precious price!

Ladies embarking for India should seek for some female attendant, native of that country, wishing to return to her home. Many of these women, whose characters will bear ample scrutiny, come to England in charge of children, or with their mistresses, and would be extremely glad to go back under the joint advantages of emolument, and protection. An advertisement will bring forward many applicants: and a constant search among the advertisements in the various newspapers, will rarely fail to answer the 338same purpose. As numbers of this class promulgate their wishes to return to India, an additional advantage results from this measure; because, on arrival in the river, an useful interpreter is at hand; while, perhaps, a trusty and able servant is obtained; who, being attached, by many little kindnesses while on board-ship, would continue to serve, at least until some other might be obtained.

The female who attends a lady while she is dressing, &c., is called an Ayah; pretty nearly corresponding with the ‘lady’s maid’ among us. The wages of this servant are by no means settled, but may be taken on average at from eight to twelve rupees monthly. Some are half-cast children; that is, of European fathers and native mothers: brought up in families from their infancy. To these, good treatment and kindness should form a valuable compensation for the smallness of wages; and induce some among them to remain for numbers of years, faithful and affectionate; but such are by no means numerous, when compared with the thousands who, at a certain age, either quit in search of places affording either higher pay, or handsome perquisites; or who, if handsome, engage as ‘house-keepers to single gentlemen!’ The majority of ayahs are of Portugueze extraction, being descended from those heroes who, in times of yore, ‘laid bleeding Asia prostrate at 339their feet;’ but who now compose the most contemptible race to be found on earth; affording to the natives ample scope for comparison between the modern, and the quondam European. These Portuguese are all ‘good Christians,’ and, in several parts of the country, have small church-establishments, where they support missionaries; but in that humble style which strongly represents that abject state of Christianity, when the disciples were in a state of persecution.

However much their ancient splendor may have been tarnished, yet it cannot be denied, that, in religious matters, the sable Portugueze of Bengal have out-done the British completely. They had long ago churches, and have now one in Calcutta, built at a great expence by an opulent individual, which may at least competite with the only English steeple to be seen under the presidency of Fort-William. This solitary type of English devotion, was built some twenty years ago, in an old burying ground, where the bones of many worthy men, among whom I reckon my own grand-father, had lain in peace for scores of years; but which, in making arrangements for the new edifice, were torn up, and exposed, without much regard to decency. It would be difficult to pourtray the horror expressed in the countenances of many natives, who were witnesses of the disgusting scene: as 340to their observations, they were indeed pointed; and conveyed their decided detestation of so sacrilegious an act. I say sacrilegious, because no Mussulman would allow even the remains of his most bitter enemy, to be ejected from their last asylum!

Many Portugueze ayahs affect to be in possession of genealogies, whereby it should appear they are lineally descended from most illustrious characters; most of whom would, no doubt, be indeed abashed, could they now take a peep at their ill-fated and degenerate posterity! It is scarcely to be conceived how much pride is retained by women of this class: they are fond of adulation, and love the dear word ‘Signora,’ even to adoration. To see one of them full dressed on Christmas Day, is truly diverting; their costume being, as nearly as circumstances will admit, that of the days of royalty in France, with a dash of the antique Vera-cruz: to remind them, I suppose, of that eclipse which a gradual intermixture with the natives, has cast upon their once tawny, but now sable, countenances. One would think, that the humiliating reflections attendant upon such a comparison, should prompt them to burn their pedigrees, and to avoid whatever could induce to retrospection! But, no; the ayah prides herself on that remote affinity, to which her records give the claim; she retains all the offensive 341hauteur of her progenitors; which, being grafted upon the most obnoxious qualities of the Hindu, or Mussulman, characters, makes a tout ensemble as ridiculous as it is despicable!

The Hindostanee ayah, (by which I mean a woman born either of Mussulman, or of Hindu, parents,) is rather rare, unless in cases where young women have lost their casts, and, in a manner, become aliens to their own sects. These are said to be far the most valuable servants; much superior to such as come under the designation of baundy, (i.e. slave,) and which have, for the most part, been purchased in their infancy, from those miserable beings who, during times of scarcity, have been compelled to sell their offspring; thereby preserving the lives of both. The obligation, however, does not hold good, according to the existing regulations, under the British government; slavery being totally repugnant thereto; though the Mahomedan law authorizes the purchaser of a child, thus obtained, to retain it, and to command its services, upon the condition of proper food and raiment, until a certain age; when liberation takes place. There is, nevertheless, in this a wide latitude; it being extremely difficult for the slave to substantiate his age, which can only be computed according to what the purchaser may choose to assert it to have been when the sale took place: it is 342obvious, that he may sink many years in that particular.

Although very few of the Hindostanee women, except such as come under the above description, serve in the capacity of ayahs attendant upon ladies, many are employed as nurses to children after quitting the breast. In such case, an ayah rarely attends more than one child; hence, in some families, this class of domestics would be extremely numerous, were it not that few children, born of European parents, are retained beyond their third, or fourth, year in the country. The generality of those remaining, even for that term, under the care of ayahs, become crafty, proud, and unmannerly; which has occasioned several ladies to engage as few as possible of those attendants, and to give their little ones in charge to bearers, or other male servants; under whose care they are found to be less vitiated, and, in general, far more healthy. Unless great attention be paid, ayahs will initiate their young charges in many practices, and especially in language, such as must require infinite assiduity to subdue; and, after all, may not be completely suppressed. Besides, they are usually very slovenly, and offensive in their persons.

The Dhye is more generally an attendant upon native ladies: many of these are perfect in all the arts of intrigue; and, while they appear to be tottering to their graves, are often on their 343way to manage an assignation! The dress of these, in most points, corresponds with that of the Hindostanee ayah, but their pay is much less; few receiving more than five rupees, and the majority serving for four. But, according to the old saying, ‘what they loose in the dance, they gain in turning round;’ for what with little presents from both parties, and a number of domestic perquisites, especially the remains of victuals, cast-off wearing apparel, donations on certain festivals, overcharges in purchases, dustooree on all articles bought by the lady, &c. &c. &c., these Oriental ‘Mother Coles,’ manage to pick up a very good income, and, not unfrequently, lend money to their mistresses at the moderate rate of one anna, (i.e. a sixteenth,) per month, for every rupee advanced. This is never done without a pledge, generally of silver or gold ornaments, which the cunning jades lodge, under various pretexts, with some friendly goldsmith, by whom they probably were made.

Such a rate of interest may appear very high, but is in general practice where money is lent for short dates; and then under good security. It is to be understood, that the money-lending business, especially that on bunduck, or pledge, is confined entirely to the Hindus: Mussulmans are prohibited by their sacred institutes from receiving, though they are not so strictly 344tied down in respect to paying, interest; indeed, owing to the less frugal habits of this sect, and their greater indulgence in ostentatious display, few of its individuals can be considered totally exempt from that heavy fine collected by the Hindu shroffs, and mahajans, from such inconsiderate persons as have occasion to seek their aid.

It is, nevertheless, remarkable, that the generality of such money-lenders as reside at our several cantonments, are extremely liberal in their advances to officers, who, when much in arrears, are often extremely pressed for cash to defray their immediate table expences: and that, too, even on the most economical plan. I have been repeatedly kept from starving, by the accommodation afforded by shroffs; whose civility and forbearance form a most striking contrast with the punctual, and greedy, claims of both the Christian, and the Jewish, Shylocks of Britain. It must not be denied, that, when practicable, they will obtain some kind of security for their loans; which is but reasonable: but many hundreds of rupees have been furnished to me, simply on my acknowledgement, on a scrap of paper, barely specifying the sum and date, without any form such as could have validated the claim in case of my demise, or of my being prosecuted on the occasion. The truth is, 345that, where they see no danger, they feel no reluctance.

The generality of dhyes attendant upon native ladies, hold a regular intercourse with some one of the above class, by whom all difficulties resulting from irregular receipts of pay are removed. This is wonderfully facilitated by the circumstance of being related to some young khedmutgar in master’s service. Of this kind of family compact I have already spoken; therefore it is not necessary to enter into details at this moment: my readers will form a just opinion of the situation in which a gentleman is placed, when parties are formed, both before and behind the purdah, (curtain,) to watch his motions, and to carry on the great work of deception. In this, I speak feelingly, having, like hundreds of others, many of whom appeared studious to perpetuate their misfortune, been the dupe of such coalitions; from which it is, indeed, very difficult to escape. The attachment of many European gentlemen to their native mistresses, is not to be described! An infatuation, beyond all comparison, often prevails, causing every confidence, of whatever description, to be reposed in the sable queen of the haram! I do not mean to say that the above deceptions are universal; for I could adduce instances, wherein native women have 346conducted themselves invariably in the most decorous manner, and evinced the utmost fidelity, in every particular, to their keepers; some have absolutely sacrificed property to no inconsiderable amount, and given up every pretension to cast; that is, to admission among those of the same sect, or faith, braving the most bitter taunts, and the reproaches of their friends and relatives.

Here it may not be out of the way to notice that strange medley of religion, and of interest, some may say of love, which is observable in the conduct of the native women, either residing under the protection of Europeans, or coming under the ordinary description of kusbeen, (i.e. prostitutes). Their rigid adherence to, or, at least, their superficial observance of, whatever relates to the purification of their persons, after contact, is admirable! It is not uncommon, among those professing immense purity, both of body, and of soul, to get up several times during the night, for the purpose of ablution. However ridiculous such a practice may appear, yet we cannot refuse to bestow some commendation on so strict an etiquette: lamenting, at the same time, that so much perseverance should be thrown away. Must it not strike every person, as being highly curious, that a woman should make no scruple of cohabiting with a man, whose very touch, indeed, his entrance 347within a certain area, or even treading on that carpet whereon she were eating, should pollute the whole of the viands, and occasion their being thrown to the dogs, or given to some matranny, or other equally debased character? It really becomes a very serious question, I believe hitherto overlooked, under what plea a woman can allow her child, born under such a connection, to participate in her meals? But, reason is one thing, and maternal affection another! Still, though it may require no great sophistry for a woman to find an apology for such a decided inconsistency, it seems unaccountable how she is suffered to escape that vigilance, with which the priesthood, and others of her sect, watch her every act. I can ascribe it only to a certain deference, which has habitually sprung up in favor of all relating to Europeans, and regarding their domestic concerns. This, doubtless, saves many from those punishments, ordinarily attendant upon the most trifling dereliction of religious or civil ordinances.

The following description of the private lives and customs of those native women that are secluded from the public eye, was furnished to me by a friend, whose extensive researches have rendered him conspicuous as a Member of the Asiatic Society. I give it in his own words as a faithful detail, which cannot fail to prove interesting.

348‘The very confined knowledge which Europeans have of the domestic manners and customs of the inhabitants of the Company’s territories, and of their ally the Nabob Vizier, arising principally from the total want of familiar intercourse with the natives, and a consequent ignorance of the language, is a circumstance which, by the inquisitive European traveller, would scarcely be credited. There are few countries in which a year’s residence would not give a more intimate knowledge of the language and manners of the inhabitants, than is generally to be acquired during a whole life spent in India; particularly in Bengal and the eastern provinces. Europeans have little connection with the natives, of either religion; except what relates to business of a public, or of a private, nature: and, though acquaintances, which originate from such intercourse, may continue after the causes which gave rise to them have ceased, yet seldom or never do they extend to domestic communication. A native will attend rather in a ceremonious way at a nautch[1], or other exhibition given by an European; but no Hindu, and very few Mussulmans, would eat in an European’s house; at least at his table. The native will, in his turn, invite his English friend to a nautch, to an exhibition of wild beasts, and so 349forth; and sometimes an entertainment may be given, (of which, however, the master rarely partakes,) while his conduct and behaviour on such occasions can afford but a slight insight into the domestic manners of the people when free from that constraint, which the eye of a stranger, who is generally treated, if not considered as a superior, throws upon all their actions.

1. Or public dance, generally performed by hired women.

‘With the native women, of any rank in society, the European has not the most distant communication. It will be observed, therefore, how impossible it is for an European to speak from his own personal knowledge of the familiar manners of the native of Hindostan. The following sketch is collected from the various accounts received from sensible and respectable people of different ranks in society. It will probably correct some prejudices respecting the fair sex in Eastern countries, or at least afford some reasonable explanation of the manner in which they are treated. Their confinement is in general solely ascribed to the jealousy of the husband, and to the number of wives allowed to one man, to which the voluptuousness of a warm climate is supposed to conduce. But, in speaking themselves of the confinement of their women, they offer the following reasons for the custom, viz. the variety of tribes, and intermixture of strange people; the instability of their 350government, and consequent confusion in the country, requiring that their families should be placed in secure places; the tyranny of their former rulers and their favorites, with whom it was no unusual occurrence to seize by force the wives of others; and, lastly, because a passage in the Koran[2] seems to recommend a reserved deportment in women. It says, ‘You shall not shew your zeenut[3] to any one except your husband, your own father, or your husband’s; (the present custom in Bengal precludes him;) your own son, or your husband’s son; or your brother, or his son, or your sister’s son; or your own female servants, being of your own faith; or your male servants of the following description: such as old men, eunuchs, debilitated men, or fools, who think of nothing but eating, or little children, unto such are you allowed to shew your zeenut[3].’ Such exceptions from so sacred an authority, which leaves little but the fingers and toes for general inspection, would seem to render the seclusion of a Mussulman lady a matter of necessity, not choice.

2. The Institutes of Mahomed, held in the same estimation as our Bible.

3. Zeenut, literally ornamented, means such parts as are usually covered; such as the breast, from the knee to the ancle, from the wrist upwards, the hand, shoulders, &c.

‘Neither the husbands, nor the wives, will, 351by any means, allow jealousy to be the cause; for they say, ‘Were a woman viciously inclined, even encircled by walls of iron, she would, by some contrivance or other, find means for accomplishing her purpose. It is not,’ say they, ‘against such their precautions are aimed: it is, that the minds of those who are really pure may not be contaminated through the force of bad example; and, that women, being naturally weak, and easily led astray, as may be inferred from the story of poor Eve, it becomes the duty of the husbands to guard them from the flowery paths of temptation.’ Such, indeed, is the force of education, that a lady of Hindostan, of decent parentage, would rather suffer death than exposure to public view. In imprecating the greatest evils on the head of an enemy, a female could not conceive any term so severe as those which conveyed a wish that the veil of concealment might be rent asunder. However, notwithstanding the seclusion of the ladies is so much talked of, and deemed so harsh, it will, probably, on investigation, be found, that the prohibition extends only to such as could have but a slight intercourse with them, even if the full influence of social communication obtained. Their rules respecting muhrem and na muhrem, words implying forbidden and not forbidden, are, in their principle, simple enough, viz. ‘That a woman may be seen by any man whose relationship 352to her precludes marriage’; though custom has established many deviations from this rule; all which seem to have arisen, not from jealousy, but from a mistaken sense of modesty.

‘In the upper provinces, all the brothers visit each other’s wives without distinction; but, in Bengal, only those junior to the husband. Indeed, in Bengal, the distinctions of muhrem, and na muhrem, are so whimsical, and amount to such a mixture of Hindu superstition and Mahomedan prejudice, as would render a detailed account of them disgusting to the reader. I shall therefore comprize what I have to say on the subject in as few words as possible.

‘A wife, even in Bengal, may enjoy the society of all her own male relations. In this light are considered chellas, children brought up in the family, and the relations of the nurse; the nurse being considered as standing in the same relationship as the natural parents; and often, among the great in the upper provinces, where two females are solicitous to form an intimate connection, it is accomplished, as completely as marriage could do it, by obtaining a female of one family to suckle a child belonging to the other. Male friends, of the respectable class, though never permitted to see each other’s wives, make enquiries after the ladies’ healths, send and receive compliments, and are sometimes permitted (with the precaution of the curtain) 353to free and unrestrained conversation. It may be seen from the above, that the circle of a lady’s male acquaintance may be much more extensive than Europeans would in general suppose; for, taking advantage of the spirit of the regulations, and waiving the more preposterous, half a dozen sisters might enjoy the society of a number of men, little less limitted than falls to the lot of most ladies of the middle ranks in colder climates; and it must be remembered, that, what is said here generally applies to the middle ranks, including the lesser Ameers.[4]

4. Ameers are persons high in office, or of illustrious families. This title is also bestowed on military commanders.

‘In the upper provinces, the ladies and gentlemen, at least among the Sheeaus,[5] generally eat together; but in Bengal this is not the case; there the wife does not even presume to eat in the husband’s presence, and never partakes of any of his amusements. In the upper provinces the social qualities are better understood; for when the company consists of persons admissible into the zenanah, they all go in; the men and women dine together, and, in general, sit on opposite sides. The ladies, like ours, indulge in tiffings, (slight repasts,) it being delicate to eat but little before company.

5. A particular cast, or sect.

‘When there is an assemblage of fair visitors, 354the husband seldom enters the zenanah, that he may not disturb their amusements, which, when unobserved by men, take a free range. The wife never mentions her husband by name. This respect, as it is termed, is reciprocal. Indeed, people in general avoid addressing each other by name, substituting some title; as ‘your ladyship;’ or by the name of a favorite child, as ‘William’s mother;’ or by a periphrasis. It is so strictly observed by some wives, that they would not mention an indifferent matter by the same name as their husband is called by. Should, for instance, the husband’s name be ‘Year,’ the wife would say, ‘I am sixteen twelvemonths old,’ rather than sixteen ‘years.’ However, this excessive nicety will only be found among villagers.

‘Some ladies pride themselves much in the arts of needle-work and cookery: excellence in the former being deemed a good criterion to form a judgment of a lady’s education: a wife, therefore, who did not take upon herself the whole internal management of the household, would be held in great disrepute. They are, in general, allowed a certain sum yearly for cloaths, and all expences of the house within doors, from which, by good management, they often save considerable sums of money, and, in times of distress, when the inconsiderate husband thinks his all is 355gone, often does his wife relieve his distresses from her little treasury.

‘In addition to the established allowance, there are other fixed sums appropriated. In their holidays, which frequently occur, dinner is always dressed within the zenanah, except upon occasions of great feasts and entertainments, when, of course, the arrangement must be made by men. When only a few friends are expected, the wife, being informed of their number and rank, issues her orders accordingly, through her female attendants, to the male servants of the house. The education of the daughters, and sons also, whilst young, is entirely entrusted to the mother. Should one of the former forget those lessons of chastity, and of correctness of behaviour, which it is her mother’s constant solicitude to impress on her mind; nay, should her conduct even be such as to create suspicion; immediate death from the hand of the parent would be the consequence. I am speaking here of rather the higher orders; for people in the middle ranks of life are more restrained in their conduct, more within the reach of the law, and, besides, the point of honor which acts with such force in high-minded families, loses its impetus with them.—Such is the influence the women possess in Hindostan, that, whenever Soonees andand 356Sheeaus[6] intermarry, (a circumstance not unusual,) the children are always instructed in the tenets of the mother, and often their first prattle consists in a ridicule of their father’s faith.

6. Two different sects of the Mahomedan religion.

‘At all marriages, (the ceremonies of which will be hereafter detailed,) or on the occurrence of much-wished-for events, such as the return of a son safely from the wars, the recovery of a lost child, &c., or when a lady wishes to be enrolled among the naik zuns, or pure matrons, a feast is given in honor of Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, which is termed kundooree, a word implying off-falls.—No woman can partake of this feast, unless she be of the purest morals; and it is generally imagined, that an impure person, even tasting the sacred food prepared on that occasion, would surely die. The lady who gives the feast, performs menial offices to the guests, such as washing their feet, &c. The victuals served up, consists of such articles as Fatima is supposed to have preferred, viz. rice, ghee, sugar, pulse, and vegetables. A share is sent to the men; but not of that set apart for the offering; of which the pure matrons may alone partake. To be considered as such, a woman must have regularly kept all the annual feasts, and be married; or, if a virgin, she must then at least disclaim all intentions of 357changing her condition. No woman contracted in marriage only for a time, such as the moota[7] of the Sheeaus, and the nekaw[7] of the Soonees, can be admitted. The word nekaw, among the vulgar, implies, but improperly, the secondary kind of marriage. No woman, who has married a second time, though she may not have conversed with the first husband, can partake of the kundooree.

7. A loose state of irregular matrimony, sanctioned by the Mahomedan law.

‘The females are seldom married before the age of fifteen. (I wish it to be understood, when I speak indefinitely of the Mussulmans, that I allude to those of the upper provinces; for the manners of the Bengal Mussulman partake so much of the Hindu, as to leave but few traces of their original character perceptible). An earlier period is frequently fixed on, where purposes of interest and policy may be answered. Old maids, at least among the great, are not at all uncommon; caused by a kind of false pride, or I know not what to term it, of the parents, who cannot bear that their daughters’ nakedness should be known to any one. Nadir Shah, it is said, either from a prejudice of this nature, or more probably from a jealousy of too highly honoring any of his subjects, destroyed all his female children, which were extremely numerous, 358immediately on their birth, except one; who was concealed from him till she had attained her thirteenth year. It was then contrived that she should be brought into his presence. She is said to have been all that was beautiful in nature! She flew to his embrace, which he fondly returned, ignorant that he clasped his own daughter. But, when this devoted child addressed him as her father, the hardened monster seized the innocent victim by the legs, and kept her head immersed in a fountain till she expired! Such an account, even of the unfeeling Nadir Shah, is scarcely to be credited; but the story may shew the name he has left behind him in Hindostan.

‘The late vizier, Asoph ul Dowlah, left about thirty sisters unmarried; not that I believe his delicacy would have suffered from any such fastidious notions as above alluded to; their celibacy was owing to the difficulty of obtaining suitable matches for women of their rank; which, in the present state of the country, must be almost impracticable.

‘Reading and writing are not usual accomplishments with the ladies of Hindostan. Among the great, there are, however, some who read such books as the Koran, &c. and some few who write; but of all delightful intercourse by letter they are entirely debarred; it being deemed indecent even for a wife directly to address 359her husband; therefore, whether she employ an amanuensis to pen a letter, or be capable of transcribing it herself, it must be written as from a third person; such as a son, or near relation.

‘Among the better order, about ten in a hundred can read the Koran; but it must not be understood by reading, that they thence comprehend one single word of it; that book being to them, what our Bible, in a Latin version, must formerly have been to our common people. The mode of passing their time, though apparently not affording all that variety which an European lady enjoys, is not devoid of amusement. They generally rise, or should do so, at daybreak; that they may have time to purify themselves before the rising of the sun, at which time the first prayer is repeated.—After prayers, the important business at the toilette commences, in which, as is usual among ladies, two or three hours, at least, are profitably spent. The missee is applied to the feet and sweet-smelling oils, &c. to the body; while their flowing ringlets (those nets which entangle unhappy lovers, and which their poets are so fond of describing) are now nicely adjusted. In short, the toilette is become with them a perfect art, and much of a young lady’s time is engrossed in attending to instructions on this head. After the toilette, comes the breakfast; which does not, like ours, consist of fixed articles, 360but varies agreeably to the taste of the parties, and to the management of the mistress. It will not appear unnecessary to observe, that they never use knives or spoons; and, indeed, they seem to think that we lose much of the relish of the food by the artificial aids we employ on such occasions.

‘After breakfast, and having issued the necessary orders for dinner, the lady of the house, attended by her daughters and slave-girls, sits down to needle-work; an excellence on which, as well as all kinds of embroidery, they greatly pride themselves. Among the middle ranks, such as can write, often employ themselves in copying the Koran, which, when compleated, is either sold for, or given to, some poor person, to be converted into property more needful to him.

‘The sound of the cherky, or spinning wheel, is always considered indicative of poverty, and is therefore seldom heard in the houses of the great; but women of a middling class, often spin large quantities of cotton-wool into fine thread, intended to be wove into mulmuls, &c. for their own apparel. The coarser skeans being allotted to their baundees, or female slaves.

‘Between twelve and one they generally dine, every person washing the face and hands before the company sits down at table, or rather table-cloth; which is spread on the ground, and 361around which all the party arrange themselves: except it be among the Bengal Mussulmans, or among such as have adopted the Hindu manners, by whom a wife is not permitted to eat in the presence of her husband. This meal generally consists of boiled rice, or of wheaten cakes, stewed or curried vegetables. Curry is made of fowls, kid, and goats’ flesh. Beef is seldom sought after, except in cities; and mutton is by most considered as an inflating, unwholesome food. The head, heart, lights, feet, &c. of animals, are rejected. The dinner is usually divided into as many shares as the company consists of, and brought in that way from the cook-room; except on great occasions, when the servant serves it out. They have no change of plates until the sweetmeats are brought in. Tooth-picks, and the wash-hand bason, are presented to each, except there should be a large company; in that case, they perform the ablution apart.

‘They have not the custom of any particular person saying grace before or after meals; each repeating in a low voice the name of God. After meals, thanks are returned by the male part, but not by the female: a curious distinction! the reason for which, my Mussulman narrator ungallantly alleges to spring from the nature of woman in general. Immediately after dinner, the parties retire to take their afternoon-nap; on 362arising from which the toilette again engages the ladies’ attention. Disengaged from it, they walk round their gardens (which are enclosed,) to enjoy the evening air. After sun-set, when the evening prayers are over, the relations and friends visit each other; and this is the hour in which the husband withdraws himself from general intrusion, and retires to the zenanah. Here, surrounded by his wife and children, he enjoys the pleasing converse of the one, and the innocent diversions of the other. The young folks of both sexes play at blindman’s buff, and such-like sports, which are generally succeeded by the proposing of enigmas, the narration of enchanting tales, unpremeditated rhymes, and other various, and not unuseful, exhibitions of wit. In such disports, great part of the night glides away unnoticed, as the female visitors do not return home till the next morning. Games are not much encouraged among them. Patchees, a game in high vogue among the ladies, is, I believe, the only one allowed. The word means twenty-five. The game is played with cowries, which answer for dice.

‘It is a well-known circumstance, that no Mussulman, or Mussulmanee, ever thinks of dancing for the pleasure of the thing. The meerassen, (a set of women whose province it is,) are called in on particular occasions: but, 363among people of high rank, it is usual to have a number of slave-girls, termed gaeen,[8] taught music and dancing, who are always ready to amuse the family.

8. Probably from gownah, (i.e. to sing).

‘Europeans may, on such a subject, be surprized with the singular sound of ‘the wife’ so often repeated, so impressed as they generally are with the idea of a Mussulman and his seraglio of ‘wives.’ However, it will be found, by such as will take the trouble of investigation, that those travellers, whose relations have given rise to such erroneous ideas, have deceived themselves, by mistaking individual instances for general traits; thus holding up the picture of one man as the exact portraiture of a nation. We are not to suppose, that it is common for men to avail themselves of the example of their prophet, or the option he has allowed to others of having four wives. In fact, not one man in twenty, of the class now under consideration, has more than one wife, nor one in five hundred more than two. Even the permission given by Mahomed is not free from restriction; for his words are, ‘Marry, O ye people, whomsoever pleases you among women, even to two, three, or four: but, if ye apprehend that you cannot do them justice, be content with one.’ This considerate advice of the prophet however would 364probably carry but small weight, if there did not exist other obstacles, not so easily surmounted; for it frequently forms a clause in the quballa,[9] (or cabooleat,) in a marriage contract, that the husband shall not take a second wife: besides, no parent, possessed of a proper regard for his child, would willingly place her in that degraded situation a second wife is always considered to be; and subjected, as she is, to the entire control of the first; who, it may be supposed, must, from various motives, in general prove a harsh and unpleasant mistress. Neither ought we to be led away by the idea that any influence of the husband will prevent such consequences; for the wives of Hindostan, however problematical it may sound, will be found to have, in reality, even more power than those of Europe. It is true, a husband is allowed by law the privilege of divorcing his wife whenever displeased with her conduct; and this, on the first glance, appears to leave no alternative but implicit obedience in the woman: but it will be found otherwise, in fact; for the relations of the bride take care, in the marriage-settlement, that the mahir, or marriage-portion, payable in case of separation, shall be fixed at an amount far exceeding the circumstances of the husband to pay; which, of course, proves an effectual check to a divorcement. 365In addition to this, general opinion strongly opposes a separation, though not a second marriage, where there exists no sufficient cause to justify the step; such as barrenness, chronic disease, &c., in the woman.

9. Agreement and settlement.

‘Wherever there are two or more wives, an equal distribution of favors is rigidly insisted on, (unless the secondary one happens to be of inferior rank;) yet, let it not be inferred that any lady could be so lost to delicacy as to urge her claims in direct terms. The sex have always the command of general signs, whereby to intimate their expectations in the most delicate manner. But, though jealous of her rights, a wife of rank and education would, during the whole period of her existence, deem it highly indelicate to neglect, in the most secluded moments, a modest reluctance to comply with the solicitations of her husband.

‘Among the slave-girls, there are always two or three who are considered as the handmaids of the husband, and with whom, even by their religion, an intercourse is permitted: however, this must be conducted in a concealed manner. They, too, aping the manners of their mistresses, are not always at the command of the master; and I have been assured, by men of eminence and affluence among them, that, even in the midst of plenty, they have suffered all the tantalization of want.

366‘It is said, that Soojah Dowlah, whenever he paid a visit to any other lady, always imposed on himself a fine of two thousand rupees, which he sent to his wife. The prophet himself had only five wives, one of whom he preferred to all the rest; yet, though much inclined, he durst not visit her oftener than the others; two of whom, however, he ventured to divorce, that the period of his enjoyment might more quickly revolve.

‘A wife may, in certain cases, insist on a divorce, such as inefficacy in the husband, &c. under which circumstances she receives the marriage-portion. It must be remarked, that, although the mahir is always fixed in the marriage articles, yet that there does not exist any method of settling it on the wife independently, as among us; therefore, this settlement consists only of terms, except in cases of divorce. The word mahir means, literally, the price paid for any thing.

‘A wife never brings a dowry to her husband, except her plentiful stock may be so considered, such as cloaths, jewels, &c., which her parents send with her, sometimes to so great an extent, as to preclude for years the necessity of any supply from the husband.

‘When a divorce occurs, even on the demand of the wife, the husband is obliged to support her as long as any possibility remains of her affording 367nourishment to his offspring; and, should she then be pregnant, the allowance must be continued to her, agreeably to her rank in life, until the period of her delivery, when the child is taken from her; unless she chooses to support it at her own expence, and is allowed to do so by the father.

‘Should a man catch his wife in the act of adultery, and revenge himself by the death of both parties, the Mahomedan law would acquit him of murder; but, should he take the life of only one of the offenders, they would sentence him to death. The laws of the Koran, relative to trials for adultery, one would almost think were framed with the sole view of prohibiting such suits; for, whereas, in common cases, two respectable male witnesses are deemed competent to establish a fact; in cases of adultery, four male witnesses must be produced. The testimony of a thousand women would be of no avail, and that of the men must be clear and circumstantial. The smallest disagreement would invalidate the depositions of the whole. In short, such are the difficulties, or rather impossibilities, the law throws in the way of substantiating the charge, that causes of the score of adultery, or of fornication, are seldom heard of.

‘They seem not to have distinguished these two crimes by different appellations, though the punishment is different. For the first, the criminal 368is stoned to death; for the second, a hundred lashes are deemed an adequate punishment. So the award to a married man and unmarried woman, convicted of zinnah, (a general term for unlawful co-habitation,) would be death to the man, and flagellation to the woman. Such is the law; but custom has left the injured parties to pursue private measures of revenge, in which the courts never interfere.

‘Mutual intercourse among female friends and relations is kept up by visits; for which, however, previous permission from the husbands must be obtained, except when the wife intends a visit to her parents. In such a case, she intimates her intention; and, though he may dissuade, he has not the power to restrain. When first informed of this privilege, so contrary to received opinion, it excited my surprize, which I evinced by minute enquiry. The following is the answer I received from a person of rank and character: ‘A wife’ (said he) ‘is not a slave to a husband. He is her guardian, it is true; and, when she pursues a path that would lead to disgrace, it is his duty to control her, on common occasions, by advice: should that prove ineffectual, her relatives are informed of her refractoriness, and they lend their aid. If still untractable, she may be confined to her room. He may abstain from her bed; but where is the Mussulman of character that would lift his hand to the 369wife of his bosom? Is he devoid of all regard to his own honor, that he should treat the mother of his children with disgrace? or has he become regardless of the good opinion of his brethren? or could he, for a moment, forget that her relations, to a man, would start forward to resent an insult offered to their family? No man’ (continued he) ‘can, with impunity, oppose that general opinion which has for its foundation both propriety and justice. A wife must, therefore, be permitted to visit her parents whenever she is inclined to do so.’

‘It must appear curious, however, that custom has made it indecent for her to return, without an invitation from her husband! This may produce considerable effect, when a mutual regard, or children, attach them to each other; but, while the lady continues young, if she be any way coquetish and takes a pleasure, as is sometimes the case, to teaze her husband, she will, under various pretexts, continue obdurate for months, until his patience, and his ample stock of promises of future kindness, are expended. In short, the Hindostanee ladies are possessed of a thousand arts whereby to secure their influence, and to domineer over the lords of creation.

‘In the absence of her husband, a wife, though she may receive, pays no visits. When the women travel, or move from one house to another, they are concealed with all the precaution 370generally attributed to an Eastern journey; their palanquins are carefully shut up, and attended, when the rank of the person demands it, by guards composed of eunuchs, and sometimes by armed women, who are called, from their countries, Toorknees, Zillmaknees, Oorda-Bignees, &c. This jealous care, however, is not taken by all classes. The Rohillas, for instance, are less scrupulous: among themselves, their women travel unveiled, and without ceremony. Indeed, among the northern nations, we can trace but little of that guarded precaution so conspicuous in the cities of Hindostan.

‘No ceremony is observed at the naming of a child. The parents choose a name, which habit soon confirms. The great are credulous, and often call in an astrologer, who is mostly a Bramin, to cast the child’s nativity, and to fix on, or to approve of, a name; but this is not usual, nor is feasting, nor merry-making, as at our christenings.

‘A son is at no age debarred from freely entering the zenanah, though it may contain numbers of women not at all related to him; and, should the encreased bulk of any of the slave-girls shew symptoms of his attention, it will hardly be deemed a crime in either party. However, as the parents are solicitous to prevent such an intercourse, they rarely fail to 371provide the young gentleman with a wife, so early as circumstances will admit. Should this be delayed, a slave-girl would be allowed him, but the intercourse must proceed in such a manner, as if the parents were ignorant of the affair; the progeny from this connection would be received into the family on equal terms with those born in wedlock; being once acknowledged, they are entitled to every privilege of inheritance. Primogeniture, among the Mahomedans, gives no superior claims to their real, or personal property: the division of the estate is easy, for a son gets double the share of a daughter.

‘The evidence of women of rank is taken by male relations, or by women properly authorized by the Cazee[10] for that purpose; but female testimony is inadmissible in cases of life and death. A woman of rank never suffers public punishment, for the parents or husbands, to prevent her disgrace, would themselves cause her death; the only kind of punishment, indeed, that a woman of this description seems liable to undergo.

10. Cazee is a judge, or justice.

‘When they are indisposed, application is made to the doctor; who, upon enquiring into the symptomssymptoms, and examining certain QUACKISH tokens, prescribes accordingly; but, if the disorder 372be obstinate, the doctor is permitted to approach the purdah, (i.e. curtain, or screen,) and to put his hand through a small aperture, purposely made, in order to feel the patient’s pulse. The lady’s hand or arm is never exposed to view, at least not to any male: on this occasion, the doctor’s hand is guided to the pulse by a female attendant.

‘Widows seldom take a second husband, though allowed to do so. Young widows are sometimes married to the husband’s brother, but even this is not frequent. Women of rank sometimes suckle their own children. In the choice of a wet-nurse, they are extremely particular, as all her family are by that means considered in the light of relations; a custom so far adhered to, as to preclude the possibility of intermarriage between the child thus suckled, and the children of its nurse.

‘Women in India never go to public baths. Each house in general is furnished with hot and cold baths. Where the former cannot be afforded, a boiler is always in readiness. Bathing is commanded as a necessary purification after most of the common occurrences of life. So much so, that most married ladies, under certain circumstances, are obliged to perform the ablution even in the middle of the night; and, as in these ceremonies if the parties are at all particular, 373it requires the hair to be wet, it affords occasion the next morning for their female friends to exercise their wit on the occasion.

‘The dresses of the single, and of the married, ladies, differ but little. The former never wear ornaments at the nose, ungeeas, or supporters to the breast, no black ointment[11] to fill up the interstices of the teeth, nor antimony to the eye-lids. It has been erroneously supposed, that a turban was peculiar to a spinster, from the similarity of the words cheerna and cheera; the latter meaning a colored turban, which would be disgraceful for any modest woman to wear. The word cheerna has a very different etymology, which will be sufficiently evident to any one acquainted with the Hindostanee.[12]

11. The missee, before described.

12. The hymen of anatomy.

‘The present fashionable dress of our fair country-women, having had for its object the imitation of the Hindostanee, might be supposed to preclude the necessity of a particular description, did not the same inconstancy equally pervade their taste. Within these few years, the shoes with the long-turned-up tops have been introduced and abolished, in consequence (as the story goes,) of a lady in Asoph ud Doulah’s haram being thrown down by the entanglement of the string of a kite round the curvature 374of her shoe. The n’hut, or large ring, worn at the nose, is also going out of fashion: indeed, considering the inconvenience that must have been experienced from this ornament, it is strange it should so long have continued in use. The disuse of it is accounted for in the following manner. On the death of a married woman, or of her husband, (for no widows wear it,) this ornament, according to long-established usage, becomes the property of the meeraseens, a particular kind of nautch women. A lady of Oude, of a delicate way of thinking, being in possession of a n’hut of great value and elegance, thought she observed the longing eye of the meeraseens continually fixed on this jewel; and, dreading the effects of their envy on her own life, or on that of her husband, took off the n’hut and threw it away; a circumstance that created much consternation in the family, and astonishment in the husband, as it had hitherto been deemed a necessary part of a married woman’s dress, and was guarded with as much superstitious care as the marriage-ring among us. However, the explanation of her motives set all to rights again; the husband applauded her prudence, and the neighbouring families, taking up the same idea, the long-established rights of the meeraseens in that part of the country suffered almost total abolishment.

‘The dress of the ladies of rank has become 375comparatively simple, and seems to evince a considerable improvement in the national taste. Instead of both ears being weighed down, as was formerly the case, they now only wear a slight ornamented ring in the left ear, in general. The having both ears ornamented they consider as the height of vulgarity. A pearl necklace, slight golden rings at the wrists and ancles, termed zewaree ichanjeeree, include all the ornaments worn by a lady of fashion. For the wrists they prefer silken bracelets, decorated with jewels. The hair, which was brought down over the brow in two semi-circles, so as almost to bear on the eye, is divided as before, but not permitted to conceal any part of the forehead.

‘The pyjama, or drawers, were formerly worn so tight, as to render it a work of some labor to get them on. Indeed, to such a length did this taste go at one time, that many of the famous courtezans had themselves painted in imitation of keemkab[13] from the waist downwards. In the upper provinces, they are now made to fit exactly above the knee, but from thence downwards quite loose, and so long as to press on the shoe. In the lower provinces, the exact reverse takes place. In Bengal, it is 376deemed immodest to wear the ungeeas, or supporters to the breast. In the upper provinces, a woman would be ashamed to be seen without them.

13. Keemkab is a sort of silken fabric, in which flowers, &c. are woven.

‘The coortee, or kind of banian, must be of the thinnest muslin, so that the tapering waist, which they so much admire, and of which our ladies now deny us the view, may be distinctly seen. The sleeves short, and the coortee itself so much so, that the nicfa, a different colored cloth at the top of the pyjama, may not be concealed, the doo-puttah, or two breadths of muslin, formed into the shape of a scotch plaid, and worn nearly in the same manner, is thrown over the whole.

‘The paishwaz, meaning open in front, is not now in fashion. This is the robe from which our ladies have taken their present dress, but which they have modestly closed before, having no painted keemkabs to shew. Petticoats, (called bandanas,) are sometimes worn by Mahomedan ladies, especially in the rainy season, when the diversion of swinging commences, but never without drawers under them.—Widows should not wear cloaths stained with any but what are termed pukka, or lasting colors; nor should these be of the glaring kind. Their pyjamas must always be white, which a married lady never wears.

‘On the commencement of the seventh, in 377Bengal, and the ninth month up the country, of pregnancy, it is usual to give a great entertainment to the friends of the parties; on which occasion the mistress of the feast is decked with flowers, and dressed with new cloaths and ornaments. One of the females, to whom Lucinda may have been more propitious than to the rest, comes forward with a present, consisting of seven kinds of fruits, and of the flower of rice, kneaded into round and oval pieces: this part of the ceremony is confined to Bengal. The first is said to be emblematic of girls, the latter of boys. This offering is poured out into the pregnant lady’s lap, who, without tasting the fruits herself, distributes them among the company. This feast, if practicable, is given at her father’s house, where the lady is generally delivered. Here the midwife attends, who is seldom, or can be, expert in her business. Hence, unlucky births are very frequent. I need not observe, that males never officiate in this line; however, the old ladies sometimes, in dangerous cases, venture to perform chirurgical operations. A few lines from the Koran, sent by some celebrated religionist, and placed at the bed-head, or a little water sanctified by being poured on the Koran, is supposed to be wonderfully efficacious; but, in difficult births, some person, woman, boy, or girl, who has been fortunate enough to come feet foremost into the world, is 378called in to jump seven times over the womb of the person in labor. On these occasions, all the keys are taken out of the locks, doors opened, boxes unlocked, and a sword hung up in some part of the room, to frighten away the evil demons. If the danger encreases, the husband opens his turban, and spreads it over the patient’s womb, and then makes it up the wrong way. They have a stone called k’ho, or the power of seals, which is tied about the neck, and many other superstitious practices; the same as in all countries, among the common people. The child being born, the rooms are kept as close as possible, and it is not permitted to get milk for three days. During the first six, the mother tastes nothing but light caudle. On the night of the sixth, the child is brought to the door, that the starlight may shine upon it. Pen and ink are placed at the head of the bed, that the angel of fate may write on its forehead its future destiny. The first ablution is performed by the lady on the fortieth day. When the child is four months old, a feast called keer chittaee is given, to which all friends and relations are invited. Keer is a preparation of rice and milk, which the child is now made to taste, or to lick or lap, as the term chittaee implies.

‘Smoking the urqu[14] is not so general a practice 379as is supposed, at least among the middle ranks. The great, in this, as in other luxuries, indulge themselves more freely. Zeebool Nissa daughter of Alc Geer, and Noor Jehan, invented the present form of the goorgooree snake;[15] and Khummer Mahomed Shah, the arched snake now in use; which is said to have been contrived by him for the convenience of smoking as he travelled. Zeebool Nissa appears to have been a lady of great accomplishments, whose hard fate it was to lead a single life, as may be gathered from the following lines of which she was the author.

14. Commonly pronounced hookah.

15. A smaller kind of hookah, with a short stiff snake.

‘Ill-luck befall that arm that never has encircled the neck of a love! O may the eyes be dim that draw not enjoyment from the glance of a beloved. A hundred seasons have passed away, and every favorite rose has been plucked to ornament a turban:

‘But the rose-bud in the garden of my heart has been allowed to decay, and has not been plucked as a nosegay by any one.’[16]

16. Contrast this simple lamentationlamentation with the absurd effusions of Mirza Abu Taalib Khan, at a succeeding page.

‘And yet, when her father proposed a husband to her, she replied: “that learning was only to be found among the lower orders, and with such she could not wed, that princes 380were in general ignorant, and with such she could not be happy.”

‘In the zenanahs, the ladies divert themselves by bringing up pets of different kinds, such as minas, (a kind of starling,) fowls, goats, pigeons, &c. The cat, in particular, has an exclusive privilege, in consequence of the prophet’s having had a favorite puss, which he took much pleasure in feeding: hence, that animal is held sacred, and the murder of it considered as the highest sacrilege. They tell a story, that Mahomed, when ascending into heaven, happened to take a peep, en passant, into hell, where, observing an old woman making a sad lamentation, he asked the angel Gabriel why she suffered? The angel referred him for information to the old lady herself, who replied, that she underwent such torments for having caused the death of a cat! When this holy personage returned to the earth, he told the story as a warning to his disciples; but, notwithstanding such holy interference, the cat is considered as an envious animal, wishing the decrease of the family, that the mistress of it may caress her the more; whereas, the dog, (though deemed an unclean animal,) is thought to pray for encrease, that he may have more bones to pick!

‘It is a general custom among the Soozees[17], 381both men and women, to choose some holy man to be their guide and instructor, (not dissimilar to the office of a confessor,) whom they call their peer;[18] designating themselves his mooreed, or disciple. When a lady of rank has fixed on this holy personage for her peer, he is invited to the house, where the following ceremony ensues. Standing on the outside of the purdah, or curtain, he holds one end of a handkerchief, the other end of which is held by his intended mooreed within the purdah. In this position he reads aloud select passages from the Koran, allusive to the subject, and finishes with a lecture on morality. Thus adopted, he is thenceforward to her as her God and the prophet. In all difficult situations, she looks to him for relief, calling on his name in danger; and the death of the peer does not even dissolve the contract. After the first ceremony, the peer seldom visits his mooreed; indeed, as thousands may choose the same spiritual guide, such duty would prove too much even for his spirit to bear. However, there are instances of a peer being chosen from motives very different from what may be supposed in general to operate; hence, we sometimes discover, that, under the cover of a peer, the lady indulges herself with a private lecture from a 382young lover. Indeed, the Sheeaus give this as a reason for their discontinuance of the practice.

17. A particular sect.

18. Peer literally means a prophet.

‘Fatima, the Prophet’s daughter, is invoked under different appellations. Her general name is Khatoon ul junet, or Mistress of Paradise. There are, besides, several male saints, whose peculiar province is the protection of the fair sex; but Peer Bawhoor, is the hastener of lovers’ return. Among the lower ranks, Shaik Saddoo is often invoked. This was a good and great man, whom the devil tempted in the shape of a beautiful young lady; and, as he happened to die before he had time for purification, he was (as is usual in such cases,) turned into a kubbeess, or wandering wicked spirit, of whom the women are much afraid; for he is said often to enter them in the shape of the devil, such as in the times of our forefathers were used to possess the females. They give great feasts in honor of Shaik Saddoo, at which a goat forms part of the sacrifice. Hence, when a woman is in her tantrums, she is ironically said to require a slice of the Shaik’s goat. At the entertainment given in his honor, one of the women personates the Shaik, being dressed in male habiliments, and furnished with sword and target. When a woman is said to be possessed, she undergoes all the agitations of the prophetic beldames of former times; she foams at the mouth, 383and appears in strong convulsions. In this deplorable situation, true answers are supposed to be received to all questions put to her relating to past, or to future events. Some women affect to be married to this saint, and, consequently, become very, very devils to their husbands and neighbours. Zaen Khan, particularly in the upper provinces, is a saint of a similar complexion and history. One of the bhaguts, or doctors, famous for his dexterity in exorcism, gave me the following detail of his proceedings.

‘When a woman appears heavy and unwell, her friends, suspecting the cause, call in a bhagut, who generally, as may be imagined, accords with them in opinion. On hearing this sentence from so learned a personage, the patient’s imagination begins to operate, and, in a short while, she feels the spirit move within her. The bhagut loses no time in making up a magic sacrifice, which he sets on the fire under the woman’s nose. The devil being thus smoked out, loses no time in mounting upon the body of the patient, and begins (permit me the use of a vulgar, though not inapplicable term) to ride away “at a devil of a rate.” The patient now suffers violent agitation, tossing her arms, head, and legs about, in a dreadful manner, in consequence of the kicks and buffetings from the fiend; who all this while is totally invisible to every one except the bhagut. This is the moment for the display 384of the doctor’s art and dexterity! He springs forward, and seizes the possessed by the hair; which he holds fast, as it gives him an entire command over the spirit, whom he now interrogates in the following peremptory and bold manner:—“Who art thou? whence comest thou? and why disturbest thou this woman?”

‘To these queries, the fiend, through the mouth of the possessed, makes answer, “Be it known to you, that I inhabit a certain tree,” specifying one in the neighbourhood; “and that, being on my rambles, in passing this female, I espied her body to be pure and undefiled, and fit for habitation; therefore I entered into it.” The fiend now offers to quit his habitation, if it be the bhagut’s pleasure; which, after some ceremony, is done. The doctor now receives his fee, and, were it not for the fear of spoiling trade, before his departure, probably would advise the husband not to permit his wife to have too long intervals of undefilement in future, lest the devil should again take possession of her!

‘When speaking of the ornamental parts of the ladies’ dress, mention was not made of their blackening the eyelids with antimony. This practice is supposed, besides giving additional brilliancy to the eyes, to preserve and improve the sight. But, as in that country there is no antimony to be found, they employ in its stead a lead ore, unconscious of the difference; while 385such, as cannot even afford the ore, use caugull, or lamp-black. One reason given for this predilection to antimony is, that, when Mount-Sinai was set on fire by lightning from above, the whole was transfused into that semi-metal; thence their belief that it is not to be found in any other region of the earth. It will naturally be supposed, that this is a singular story, gaining belief only among the ignorant; but, though their men of learning, and science, cannot be comprized under that appellation, yet it may once for all be observed, that all their ridiculous tales, of which they have abundance, gain equal credit among people of all ranks. Rich and poor, learned and unlearned, the cazee and tipstaff, the peer and mooreed, are equally credulous, and very few, if any, instances indeed will be found, wherein they are above the most preposterous prejudices; still, many from interest, and some who choose not to encounter the taunts of Europeans, will, in their presence, affect to be free from the prejudices of the vulgar.

‘Besides the antimony to the eyes, the women apply a black stain to the teeth, called missee: it is made of the rust of iron and kurra compounded.[19] It is, in fact, ink-powder: for the kurra is a nut equally astringent with galls. The powder is rubbed on, or rather between, 386the teeth, and leaves a black stain, which is deemed both a preservation and an ornament to them. The use of the plant hinna,[20] has been described by travellers in all Eastern countries. The leaves are pounded and mixed up into a paste, which is applied to their nails, palms, and soles; after an adherence of a few hours, it is shaken off, and leaves a beautiful red stain, which lasts many days. It is supposed to have a cooling quality.

19. Likewise a preparation of kino.

20. Called mehendy, or mindy, in Moors.

‘The dancing-women are of different kinds. The most respectable are the meeraseen, sometimes called doominca; though the real doominca exhibit in public before men, which the meeraseen never do. The word meeras means an inheritance, and meeraseen an inheritress, from the custom that has obtained in families of never changing the set. Indeed, custom has so far established it as a right, that any deviation would be considered an injustice punishable by law. Many of the different trades claim similar privileges, and a barber prepucian,[21] if I may use the expression, for instance wishing to retire from business, would dispose of his custom to any individual, in the same manner as he would any part of his private property. As the meeraseem are never accompanied by male minstrels, 387they seldom play on other instruments than drums of different kinds, such as the tubla,[22] dholuk,[23] and munjeera;[24] though the meeraseens never perform before assemblies of men, yet the husband and his sons may be present. They are modest and chaste in their manners, and dress; but, notwithstanding this, it sometimes happens, that a fair meeraseen attracts the attention of the male part of the family; in such cases, any intercourse they may have is conducted with secresy.

21. The barbers in India have the sole privilege of performing the operation of circumcising.

22. The tubla are small drums usually fastened in pairs round the waist, and much resemble kettle drums.

23. The dhol, or dholuk, is a large sort, carried horizontally, and seems to be the original of our Turkish drum.

24. The munjeera is sometimes beat with a stick.

‘The kunchenee are of an opposite stamp; they dance and sing for the amusement of the male sex, and in every respect are at their command. They are attended by male minstrels, to whom they are often married. It is said these women always consider their first lover as their real husband, during the rest of their lives; and, on his death, though they should be married to another, they leave off their pursuits for a prescribed period, and mourn agreeably to the custom of widows. They do not consider any part of their profession as either disgraceful or criminal; and are not therefore liable to those pangs 388of conscience which, at some period or other, are supposed to oppress females of this description in other countries. Their profession is emphatically termed the trade, and the female a trader; and I must do them the justice to say, that many a fair trader is to be found among them. There are many other kinds of dancing women, such as hoorkenees, bazeegarnees, dharee, &c. &c.

‘Women do not attend public worship, though particularly commanded thereto in a verse of the Koran. It is not, however, uncommon for ladies of quality to have their own muzjeed, or mosque[25], within the haram, as is the case with the Begums of Fyzabad. At Mecca there seems to be no distinction kept up; both sexes there offering up their adoration at the same time and place.

25. These are small buildings answering the purpose of our churches, and many have large tracts of land attached for the maintanence of the priests.

‘It is as incumbent on women, as on men, to visit Mecca; however, they generally (I mean ladies of rank) leave orders to depute a representative to perform the pilgrimage after their death. The lower classes, putting on the dress of faqueerens[26], or religious mendicants, frequently undertake the pilgrimage in company 389with their husbands or other relatives, after the accomplishment of which they are termed hudjeecau.[27] The various ceremonies required in prayer, demand a long apprenticeship before a proficiency can be acquired. Indeed, so particular are the rules, prescribed for every inflexion of the body, that a new disciple has to undergo as severe a drilling as falls to the lot of a raw countryman in his progress through the various stages of military discipline. One single false motion renders the whole ineffectual, and a re-commencement becomes absolutely necessary.

26. Faqueer is a male mendicant, and faqueeren a female.

27. The designation of hudjee (commonly pronounced hadjee) is assumed by all who have visited the shrine of the prophet: hence the term hudjeecau.

‘People of respectability seldom have more slave-girls than are absolutely requisite for the common purposes of the house; viz. generally two for the cook-room, one who has charge of the provision, &c., one for the wardrobe and to attend the mistress’s toilette, &c., and two or three others for general purposes. There are, besides these, two or three women hired, (who are termed asseel,[28]) at the rate of two or three rupees per month, exclusive of food; one of these is always stationed as a kind of running 390sentry at the door of the zennanah,[29] for the purpose of conveying messages. There may be, besides these, one or two Mogulanees[30] to instruct the rest in the arts of sewing, &c. The above-mentioned number are equal to all the purposes of the house; where there are more, confusion generally reigns.

28. The word asseel literally means perfect, real, original, unadulterated; and here implies superiority.

29. Zenanah means the haram, or women’s apartments.

30. Mogulanee is a Mogul woman. The Moguls are one of the four principal sects of Mohamedans.

‘In the houses of some nobles, where there may be two or three hundred, or even more, slave-girls kept for state, the possessor of them generally has his quiet much disturbed by their endless quarrels and cabals. Indeed, to such lengths do they proceed, as often to force the master even to inflict death on some of the most refractory. After his demise, the whole disperse, like a swarm of bees, many of them to misery and distress. The handsomest are usually selected by the heir, for his own use; while such as may have superior attractions, though they may even have been the favored mistresses of the father, will not, on many occasions, be the less acceptable to the son.

‘It is a very extraordinary fact, and as little known as it is extraordinary, that, among all the Mussulmans who retain slave-girls only for the purposes of the house (with the exception of 391those probably originally from Iran,[31]) it is an established rule to turn them out when the family retires to bed, to seek husbands for themselves. These women generally attach themselves to some particular persons; and whatever progeny arises from this intercourse, become slaves of course. They are taught to dance, sew, and embroider; and often, in cases of unlooked for distress, the family is supported by their labors. Thus we see, that the situation, in general, of their slave-girls, is, of all others, that which would meet with their own approbation. However, the case is altered with those immured in the zenanahs of nabobs, and men of elevated rank: there, they are strictly confined, and precluded from all possible communication with men.[32] In such case, they wait anxiously for the moment of escape, or embrace the only means left them to mitigate the natural irritability arising from restraint, by forming a connection with some individual of their own sex. This kind of attachment, it is said, is often carried to the most romantic lengths, and, one would think, must be pretty common, from the circumstance of an appropriate term, viz. moosacqek, being adopted to distinguish that species of amorous dalliance.

31. A province of Persian Tartary.

32. There have, however, been many instances to the contrary.

392‘It is not allowable, by the Mahomedan laws, to purchase any slaves, except those taken in battle; but, as at present that resource proves not a plentiful one to the true believers, they have been forced into a method of escaping the law, by making out, what they term, a paper of service; by which it appears, that the parents of the child disposed of, in consequence of extreme distress, agree to give up its services for seventy years, the actual age of the child being taken into the account: a trifling sum is fixed on as a yearly stipend for the child’s services, part of which, viz. the real price, is acknowledged to have been received in advance: the remainder, it is supposed, will be expended in raiment, food, &c.

‘Children, thus purchased, are, in general, extremely well used; there being little distinction made between them and those of the family, except in the trifling work they have to perform; when they are married, and have children, the little ones always address the master and mistress of the house with the familiar appellation of grandfather and grandmother; and, indeed, are by them always considered in the light of relations.

‘The following is a detailed account of their marriage ceremonies, as written out at my request by a Mussulman friend of considerable abilities and of a most liberal disposition.

393‘When a daughter reaches the age of fourteen, some youth, of equal condition, makes offers of marriage, by sending letters to the parents, soliciting their favorable notice, (in Bengal the father himself looks out for a proper match,) and begging they will admit him within the chain of relationship. This letter is forwarded to the father in charge of some friend, and never by the hands of a common messenger. The higher the rank, and the greater the beauty, of the fair one, the more numerous are the solicitors.

‘The parents, consulting together, and having made their selection, return a favorable answer to the person approved of, and to the rest such as the occasion demands. This is followed by a ring, and a dress, being sent to the intended bridegroom, which, though it gives him an assurance of ultimate success does not accelerate the consummation of his wishes; for he has still a Jacobian period to toil through in service, and in attentions to the parents: nor is it before he has thus evinced his subjection to their commands, and his devotion to their interests, that their assent is given for the celebration of the nuptials.

‘To give publicity to that assent, and to his own happiness on the occasion the favored youth gives a great entertainment: the greater the expence he incurs in preparation, the greater is 394supposed to be the force of his love. The ordinary ceremonies take up three days (in Bengal twenty-one). On the afternoon of the first day, about sun-set, a cavalcade of the friends, male and female, of the bridegroom, issue forth to present a dress, ornaments, and fruits of all kinds, to the bride. The bridegroom always furnishes the marriage-dress, which arises from a refined delicacy on both sides: on his, that he takes her for herself alone; on her’s, or rather her parents, that she may not appear like a loose woman, who ornaments herself on going abroad.

‘The parents of the bride send him, on the second day, a dress in return; which is received about twelve o’clock at night, together with the hinna,[33] or mehendy, left from the bride’s hands, which he applies to his own in their presence. This is one criterion by which they judge of his devotion and attachment; it being considered, on common occasions, highly disgraceful to use cast-off mehendy. On the night of the third day, about eleven o’clock, the bridegroom, being arrayed in the nuptial dress, and accompanied by all his party, goes in procession, with drums, trumpets, &c., to the bride’s house, making more parade and noise than can easily be conceived by such as may not have been spectator of similar exhibitions.

33. See note, page 385.

395‘During three days, the processions are always met at the court of the house, where both parties attack each other with slender branches of trees, on which flowers are fastened. After this kind of sport is finished the party visiting is admitted, and offered sherbet. Each guest, as the bowl is presented, throws in money, according to his circumstances and rank, which becomes the perquisite of the cup-bearer. When about to depart, after refreshments being offered, the visitors are crowned with garlands of flowers.

‘On the third night, when the bridegroom arrives to carry home the bride, he is annoyed by a thousand tricks, passed on him by the servants and other dependants. For instance, the darwan, or porter, shuts the door on him, and, until he supplicates much, and pays well, there is no admittance for him. Some mount his horse, others seize his shoes, &c. none of which are returned till the parties possessing them receive considerable presents, and have had the pleasure of raising a laugh against the bridegroom.

‘After conquering these obstacles, he is introduced to the company that has assembled, and obtains, in honor of the day, the first seat in the assembly. The contract is now drawn up, as prescribed by the laws. Two persons are appointed as the vaqueels, (or attornies,) of the 396parties. The questions being now put to the bride, as she stands concealed behind the curtain, whether she chooses him as her vaqueel?[34] and whether she is willing to enter into the proposed contract or not? After some little delay, to give the appearance of consultation to what has been already arranged, she gives assent to both questions, uttering, in a voice scarcely audible, the final, I had almost said fatal, “Yes.” (In Bengal, silence gives consent). The two servants who led the vaqueel to the curtain, certify the circumstance of her assent.

34. Vakeel, as it is pronounced, literally means ambassador, deputy or other locum tenens but here is meant to imply protector, advocate, trustee.

‘The vaqueels and relations, on both sides, now proceed to fix on the mahir, (or portion;) the adjustment of which sometimes occasions much altercation and delay; nay, it has even been the cause of much bloodshed, and of total suspension of the ceremonies; but, in general, an umpire is fixed on to determine on a medium sum, which is inserted in the cabala, or marriage contract, between the extravagant demands on the bridegroom, and his unwillingness to comply therewith.

‘The bridegroom is then conducted by the female attendants into the presence of the bride, who sits veiled, on a place raised on purpose, 397in her own apartment. The meeraseens lead him up, and seat him near her. The females of the family, who stand behind a curtain, send him a present of gold mohurs, rupees, &c. The Koran is now placed between the couple, and a looking-glass is placed immediately opposite the bride, who, on modestly refusing to unveil, is forced thereto by the attendant meeraseens, so that one ray, as my author expresses it, from her fine countenance, may illumine the mirror, towards which all the bridegroom’s attention is fixed: however, this ray, transient as it is, cannot be obtained without considerable presents to the meeraseens.

‘This part of the ceremony being concluded, permission is given to the bridegroom to convey the bride home: her parents send with her great quantities of cloaths, jewels, bedding, cooking utensils, &c.; and, in short, every thing she can possibly want for years; nay, frequently, as long as she lives. The bridegroom and his female relations lift up the bride in their arms, and convey her to the palanquin. On their arrival at his house, the bearers, or carriers of the palanquin, refuse to set down their burthen until bribed to do so. The bridegroom takes her out of it, and conveys her, in his arms, into an apartment of the house, where, her feet being bathed with rose-water, the bridegroom repeats a thanksgiving prayer, in gratitude for her safe 398arrival, and for his own deliverance from this scene of harassment, and trouble, which his friends and servants force him to submit to, from the time he quits his own house until he returns to it with his bride: such, indeed, are the effects of his sufferings, that often the unhappy gentleman cannot hold up his head for some days to come.

‘On the following morning, the cloaths in which the bride slept are sent to her parents; a strange, indelicate custom, and highly indicative of a total want of refinement among the people who practise it. In the province of Bengal, this is not done; nay, so particular are they in avoiding the appearance of any thing of this kind, that the bridal bed, with all its appurtenances, is of a deep red. This day, being the fourth from the commencement of the ceremonies, the bride and bridegroom return to her parents’ house, where he has admission into the assembly of the women; and on this day the bride appears in garments furnished by him. (This visit, in Bengal, is not made till the fifth day after consummation). In this assembly, the bridegroom suffers by a general assault of the ladies, who unmercifully pelt him with fruit, flowers, &c.

‘On every Friday, for several weeks, the bride pays a similar visit to her parents; receiving, 399at each visit, a new dress. On these occasions, she never returns home until the husband’s relations wait on her, and entreat her to do so. For a month, at least, after the marriage, she would be considered as deficient in modesty were she to address her husband with her face uncovered: and a considerable time elapses before she appears unveiled to her other relations. She never speaks of her husband, in the presence of men, until she becomes a mother. It is a curious circumstance, that her own relations, ever after the marriage, avoid visiting at her husband’s house, under the fastidious apprehension of being suspected of having bestowed the lady from motives of interest.

‘Should the dispositions of the pair not accord, and the fault appear on the side of the lady, her own relations threaten her with their displeasure. Should this prove ineffectual, the husband refrains from her society, though still leaving the management of the zenanah in her hands; but if, on the contrary, it appears that their unhappiness proceeds from the husband, her relations procure a common friend to expostulate with him on the impropriety of his conduct. Should it, however, after this, continue unaltered, the wife returns to her parents, who retain her until the husband has not only made base submission, but has evinced the strongest 400contrition. In cases where the wife displays any levity of conduct, her parents are more ready than the husband to punish her.

‘From the birth of a child, until they give it the breast, it is fed with boiled cassia. On this occasion, most of the female relations attend, accompanied by a midwife.[35] This description of people are from the lowest casts. On the sixth day from the delivery, an entertainment is given in the zenanah; when the child’s head is shaved, and its nails cut; while money is distributed to the poor. It may be proper to observe, that the barber will not commence his operations before he has received handsome presents: sensible that he runs no risk in refusing, as they could not, even if so inclined, prevail on others of the tribe to officiate.—The barber, like several other trades in Hindostan, possesses a prescriptive right with particular families, whose custom he considers to be an inheritance, which cannot, without injustice, be taken from him.

35. The Chumars, or shoemakers, are one of the lowest, and most degraded sects. Their wives are termed chumynes, and are supposed to inherit a perfect knowledge of midwifery, in which no other woman is employed.

‘On the fortieth day, a grand entertainment is given, every one, according to their respective rank and consanguinity, making presents to 401the infant. In general, the children are suckled by hired nurses, but they never are sent out from the parents’ house. In the choice of a nurse they are extremely particular, as she becomes henceforward considered in the light of relative of the family;[36] she of course is never discharged, unless at her own request. The protection of her, and of her family, is of the greatest consideration; and when the child grows up, and has it in its power, he would be deemed an unnatural being, did he neglect to pension his nurse comfortably. Even the very slave-girls who assisted her are always treated by him with the utmost regard and attention.

36. The child always calls this foster-brother by the name of ‘dood-baiee’, i.e. milk-brother.

‘About the fourth month they allow of light food being given to the child; on which occasion a great entertainment is made, and repeated when a twelvemonth old; when the string which is to mark his future years, receives the first knot. This custom seems to point out the origin of our metaphorical thread of life. They never wean the child before eighteen months sometimes delaying it till two years and a half; on which occasion, great presents, and new dresses, are bestowed on the nurse, and an entertainment is given to the friends.

‘Before the child is put under the direction of 402a schoolmaster, the ceremony of circumcision takes place, which is celebrated with much rejoicing and entertainment. One schoolmaster generally teaches the children of two or three neighbouring families, but the school is always at the house of one of the parents. After being perfected in the alphabet, the children are taught to read, but not to understand, parts of the Koran. Then, in succession, come the Goolestan, Bostan, Secundar-Nameh, and some of the Persian authors; in which language, when the pupil is tolerably well versed, he is led on to the study of the Arabic.

‘All are obliged to be at school a considerable time before sun-rise, that they may be present at prayers, which are ordered to be said previous to that period: from sun-rising to ten o’clock they continue at their book; thence, till dinner-time, at writing. After dinner, a short respite is given; when prayers are again said, and reading re-commenced: this is continued till an hour before sun-set; when they are permitted to separate till summoned for the evening-prayers; after which, they repeat the day’s lesson, and receive their final dismission. We may reasonably conclude, that such severity of restraint must be destructive both to mind and body.

‘When arrived at the age of sixteen, or seventeen, the parents in general provide their son 403with a wife; after which, should he continue to reside with them, his cloaths, &c. are provided for him, as if he were still in a state of pupilage: it is only after marriage that he begins to learn the business of his father, and the rules of conduct necessary in the world; nay, it is often years before he obtains permission, or the proper means, to separate himself and his wife from their superintendance. Should the father die before this separation takes place, though the son should succeed to his property, yet the wife could have no interference in household affairs during the life of his mother; and not till then, could he effect any change in the interior arrangements.

‘The general method of passing their time is as follows. They arise a little before day-light. On coming out of the zenanah, it may be supposed necessary to visit the bath. Then the morning-prayers are repeated: a slight breakfast succeeds, consisting of fried almonds, coffee, &c.: after this, attendance at the Durbar,[37] and other business of the day. Returning home about ten o’clock, all the male part of the family assemble to partake of a more substantial breakfast than the former. This consists of bread, mint, onions, peas, limes, kubabs, kullia, and pillaw,[38] &c. After passing a short while 404in conversation, a nap generally concludes the scene; arising from which, ablution and prayers are performed. They then assemble in the hall; coffee &c. are served up; and here they continue to enjoy society, receiving the visits of their friends, &c., till the approach of the evening; when the company separate.

37. Durbar, properly means Court, or Residency.

38. Different modes of dressing meat, &c.

‘After prayers, if the master be a young man, he generally retires to the zenanah, where, in company with his wife, and some of his female relations, he enjoys his hookah, and some trifling refreshment of sweetmeat, &c. till about ten or eleven o’clock, when the rest of the females retire to their own apartments. The husband and wife always sleep on separate bed-steads, placed adjoining to each other. From motives of refinement and delicacy, the wife, without an adequate motive, abstains most rigidly from sleeping on the bed appropriated for the husband.

‘Formerly, a good deal of sociability reigned among them, and they frequently dined at each other’s houses; but at present, the practice is in disuse; owing to frequent acts of treachery having been committed at such meetings: however, sometimes, on sacred days, they still meet; but, if of the higher orders, never without much caution and suspicion.

‘When an assembly is convened to communicate an event of grief, the invited always 405sends the provisions to the habitation of the inviter; who is supposed to be too much afflicted to attend to such circumstances.

‘The hour of audience at the Durbar, is generally soon after sun-rising; when all those in the employment of the great personage, attend to make their obeisance. A few are admitted to the presence; the rest wait the great man’s coming out: but, should he not, they must retire without enjoying the sun-shine of his countenance. The modes of salutation, and the different etiquettes, have been so frequently detailed, that here it becomes unnecessary. Indeed, it is not their public, but their private, manners that we are in search of. When the levee, or Durbar, is over, the great man diverts himself with his companions, and intimate friends, till dinner-time. Their amusement consists, during the first part of the day, of desultory conversation, the repetition of poems, &c., and, towards the end, the learned men, poets, &c., are introduced to rehearse their works. Should the evening not be devoted to the zenanah, buffoons, dancing-girls, &c., are summoned to close the entertainment.

‘On joyful occasions, when an entertainment is given, the males assemble in the outer apartments, and the females in the zenanah; the master of the feast exerting himself to the utmost in providing for his guests: indeed, the 406expences incurred on such occasions are excessive to a fault; even to the utter ruin often of the fortunes of such as give them. First, pawns,[39] ottah of roses, flowers of various kinds, together with fried coffee, sooparee,[40] cardamoms, ginger mixed with acids, are offered to the guests, and such as may be unprovided with hookahs are supplied with them. After this, sugar and water, boiled up together, forming a kind of sherbet, is presented. Now the taiffa, or dancing women, buffoons, comedians, &c. exhibit for the amusement of the company. After the repast, various kinds of musicians are introduced, fire-works exhibited, drums, noise, and confusion, continuing not unfrequently for three days successively.

39. The beetle leaf filled with spices, &c., universally chewed by all classes of the natives.

40. The beetle nut.

‘Their burials are performed in the following manner. On the death of a person, all the friends attend, the corpse being put into a winding sheet called cuffin.[41] This being covered with a green canopy, the corpse is borne on the shoulder to the grave, in which it is laid, and the dust thrown, without any funeral services being read, as is usual among us. Sweet cakes and bread being distributed to the poor, the whole 407return to the house of the deceased, where they partake of some refreshment. After this, for three days, no victuals are dressed in the house. On the third day, the whole again assemble, offer up prayers for the manes of the deceased; and a great quantity of victuals being ready, presents of it are sent round to such as attended the funeral, who give it to the poor. They meet again on the tenth and fortieth days, when the apparel of the deceased is given away. On the sixth and twelfth months also, the last being termed the bursee,[42] or annual commemoration; which is strictly observed by the children of the deceased during the remainder of their lives.

41. May not this be the origin of our coffins?

42. From burress, i.e. a year.

‘It should here be noticed, that green is the color devoted exclusively to the mourning of a Mussulman; thus, in the great festival of what is commonly called ‘HOSSEIN, HOSSAN,’ all the fictitious messengers, combatants, &c. are clothed in green. Hence, we never see a Mussulman habited in that color, nor even wearing a green turban, unless on some funereal occasion; from this, however, we are to except such menials, in the services of European gentlemen, as occasionally receive from their masters pieces of green perpet, shalloon, &c. for the purpose of being made into jammas, or vests. The whole of the Mahometan population seem to avoid the 408use of green, even in the ornaments of their carriages, elephants’ trappings, purdahs, tents, &c. considering it to be, in a certain measure, sacred to the Prophet. In this they are fastidiously scrupulous on some occasions; I have known a Mussulman syce, or groom, object to the handle of a chowry, (or whisk, for keeping flies from horses,) merely because some of the ornaments were of that color. On one occasion, a refractory zemindar reproached me with insulting not only himself, (he being a Seyed, a superior sect of Mahomedans,) but the whole of the population, by pitching a tent, lined with green perpet, within sight of a nimauz, where the pious Mussulmans of the neighbourhood used daily to offer up their prayers to the Prophet. When the same hero perceived that the furniture on a little elephant I used to ride with a saddle, was also of that color, he affected to be perfectly outrageous; and, in all probability, if I had not at that time had possession both of his person and of his means of resistance, under charge of a company of Sepoys, would have used his endeavors to rouse all the fanatics, of the neighbourhood on the occasion.

‘Commonly, a cherauk, or lamp, is kept burning in a little niche, made in the pillar of masonry usually erected at the head of a Mussulman’s grave. For forty nights after the interment, and on Thursdays especially, the nearest 409of kin frequently pass many hours in vigils over the grave. Some confide this unpleasant duty to a priest; who, for a few annas, performs various ceremonies and does all in his power to keep the deceased from troubling his surviving relatives and friends; most of whom, at such times, are partaking of sweetmeats, which, being prepared on Thursdays, (joomah-raut,) are called joomah-raut ke metie; that is to say, ‘Thursday’s confectionary.’

Many of the native ladies, as well as the men, but especially the Mahomedans, are very dexterous in flying kites, called by them puttungs. The construction of these varies greatly from such as our boys use in their pastimes; they are made more in imitation of a bird with its wings distended, though the extremities are short and rounded off.

In order to preserve that figure, they are bordered with bamboo-wire, on which paper, of the lightest kind, but very tough, is pasted. The loop fastens to a very slight bamboo-rod passing down the centre. These kites have not tails, like ours, but are, nevertheless, easily managed by persons accustomed from their infancy to raising them; which they can do to an incredible height.

The lines used for this purpose are chiefly of cotton, well twisted, thin and strong: about forty or fifty yards of the upper end, nearest to 410the puttung, the cord is rubbed with a fine size, in which levigated glass is mixed; this, when dry, gives it something the appearance of very fine sand paper, such as is used for cleaning grates, &c.

Sometimes, in the great cities, thousands of these kites are to be seen floating in the air, to the great amusement of their respective owners; and, indeed, of the spectators; who often take considerable interest in the numerous contests which are perpetually presented, by the intentional crossing of the several cords; which, being armed, as above described, are calculated ‘to cut the thread of life,’ and precipitate their several opponents.

No sooner is the crossing of an adverse cord felt, as may readily be ascertained by the vibrations of that in hand, than a sawing motion is given to each by the respective operators, when, in a very little time, commonly less than a minute, one of the kites is seen to give way. On this sometimes considerable wagers are pending.

The great art appears to be, to pass over the adversary's cord, and then to let the kite lower suddenly, so as to make, momentarily, an angle in the cord thus passed over; an instantaneous pull sometimes succeeds in severing the opponent’s cord; it acting like a drawing cut, and presenting a succession of points, perhaps to the length 411of three or four yards, while the under line, unless managed with similar activity, presents but one point, and thus is subject to friction on that point only; consequently must be considerably injured.

The greatest judgment is, however, necessary, to determine whether, or not, the operator presents an armed portion of his cord to an unarmed part of that of his opponent. Should the former be correct in this instance, he may generally command success; but, if the reverse be the case, he may lose the day. An unpractised eye would be at a loss in computing the proper distance, when the length of line let out may perhaps exceed three or four hundred yards; but the natives in general form a correct estimate, and display great dexterity in avoiding to cross any cord under unfavorable circumstances.

This amusement generally takes place during the cool of the evening, on the flat tops of houses. The inhabitants of the zenanah, (or haram,) enjoy it either from their compounds, (or enclosed areas,) or on the roofs of their chambers, on tarrasses so built up, with thin brick walls, as to prevent their being over-looked by neighbours.

This trait of jealousy is every where apparent: nothing could offend a native more than the erection of an edifice, that should afford a 412command over the interior of that enclosure in which his family resided. An instance of this was attended with considerable trouble and disadvantage. The late Colonel Watson, who was Chief Engineer under the presidency of Fort-William, had obtained the grant of a large piece of land, for the purpose of forming a spacious dock for building and repairing ships.

It happened, that, in enclosing the allotted space, he overlooked the untoward circumstance of a claim on the part of a very opulent native, who resided close by, to a part of the circumscribed area, which was the sine quâ non of the undertaking. The native said nothing; and, in all probability, would have given up his land, or at least have sold it on equitable terms, rather than have thwarted the Colonel’s views; but, unfortunately, the latter erected a large wind-mill, so near to the native’s house, as to annihilate all that privacy his family had formerly enjoyed.

The native remonstrated, but to no effect: the grant was urged against him; and, in lieu of soothing measures, defiance was proclaimed. The consequence was, that the matter went into court, when, the plantiff gaining his cause, the wind-mill was stopped in its career, and, with the exception of a slip, on which some vessels have since been built, the 413important, and immense, fabric, has been suffered to fall into decay!

No woman can be more jealous than those of Hindostan: their animosity towards rivals is unparalleled; and this, even when they do not care a farthing for the bone of contention. Yet, on the other hand, when more than two ladies are retained by the same gentleman, the whole generally become perfectly passive, at least in exterior, appearing to associate with tolerable cordiality. The mention of plurality, may possibly startle many of my readers; especially those of the fair sex; but such is common among natives of opulence, and is not unprecedented among Europeans. I have known various instances of two ladies being conjointly domesticated; and one, of an elderly military character, who solaced himself with no less than SIXTEEN, of all sorts and sizes! Being interrogated by a friend as to what he did with such a number, ‘Oh!’ replied he, ‘I give them a little rice, and let them run about!’

This same gentleman, when paying his addresses to an elegant young woman lately arrived from Europe, but who was informed by the lady at whose house she was residing, of the state of affairs: the description closed with, ‘Pray, my dear, how should you like to share a sixteenth of Major ———?’ The courtship 414was allowed to proceed, merely to make sport of the good man’s foible: a term peculiarly appropriate!

Nine in ten of the women domiciliated by gentlemen, are Mussulmans; the Hindus being far more scrupulous: with few exceptions, the small portion not of the former sect are Portugueze. These latter prove, in many instances, very good house-keepers; looking after the disbursements with great acuteness, and, on a thousand occasions, shewing more promptness, and more fitness for such an employment. They are remarkably fond of rearing poultry and swine; in which they certainly succeed. But there is a certain something about this description of women, which few are partial to, and which I never could tolerate. I have already spoken of the pride of these miserable descendants of renowned characters; but it really is beyond my power to describe that fierté, that vindictive spirit, that authoritative consequence, which excite at least contempt, if not hatred, in every person towards whom they are exercised. These viragoes have no scruples as to what they are to eat and drink; many of them, indeed, can manage a bottle as well as any man in the kingdom: they are, however, staunch Catholics, and, on calendar days, dress out in all the finery their kind keepers can be coaxed out of. It is not to be supposed these ladies are more continent than 415Mussulmans, or Hindus of similar condition: far otherwise; but they are extremely crafty, and carefully lay the scene of action at some place to which they resort to offer up their prayers, in common with other equally good Christians: by this means, they are tolerably secure from the prying curiosity of ordinary menials, who are not permitted to enter within the sacred pale!

In regard to the expences attendant upon concubinage in the East, they will depend greatly on the circumstances, and the disposition, of the gentleman, generally speaking; though, after a while, the lady commonly gains a kind of ascendancy, and goes beyond those limits, which, in almost every case, are marked out by previous contract. A certain sum to be paid monthly; the pay of two, or three, female attendants; an allowance for beetle, tobacco, (it is very rarely they chew it,) shoes, cloaths, and gynahs, (i.e. gold and silver ornaments;) are articles in almost every capitulation! Taking a broad outline, we may put down the whole at about forty rupees monthly; equal to sixty pounds sterling per annum; which must certainly be considered no great price for a bosom friend, when compared with the sums laid out upon some British damsels; who are not always more scrupulous than those I have described. But, when we estimate the Asiatic chere amie according 416to her merits as a companion, then, indeed, will my fair country-women, appear most conspicuously pre-eminent! Their agreeable manners, their polished language, their highly cultivated minds, and their pleasing attentions, are so irresistible, as to level the barriers of discretion, and to render every attempt at comparison nugatory; indeed, incompatible!

In taking the above average, viz. forty rupees per month, I have supposed the gentleman to be in easy circumstances; otherwise, that sum will be found to exceed the proportion of his other expences considerably: at the lowest, we cannot estimate the charges at less than twenty-five rupees monthly; which, to say the truth, must be attended with several deficiencies, or privations, by no means creditable. In this particular, the natives are very scrupulous, and hold it the highest disgrace, for a woman to be retained, without due attendance, suitable cloathing, and a participation of the comforts, if not of the luxuries, of life. The men, especially the Hindus, are indifferent in regard to their own apparel; which is often mean to an extreme; but pride themselves on the splendor, and profusion, to be found in their zenanahs. As an instance in point, I must state, that, in the year 1784, a detachment of six companies was sent out from Cawnpore, on the road to Etayah, in compliment to the B’how-Buxey, 417a General of some note in the Maharrattah army, who was proceeding on an embassy to Lucknow. We met him about twenty miles to the Westward of the cantonments; where we were nearly smothered by the dust raised by his immense retinue, and absolutely stunned by the unmerciful clangor of cracked trumpets, and of great bells suspended from the sides of elephants, whose motion caused the pendulous monotonists to ring ‘a sonorous peal’. It was natural to expect that the B’how, who knew we were waiting to receive him, and, that an officer of rank was deputed on the occasion, would have exhibited himself to advantage; but, to our great surprize, when he alighted from his elephant, which was sumptuously caparisoned, he appeared the veriest bunyah, (or petty shop-keeper,) my eyes had ever beheld! His cloaths were absolutely filthy, and of a fabric such as disgraced the wearer. None of our khedmutgars could have changed apparel with him, without being considerable losers by the bargain. The B’how was, nevertheless, attended by a nautch-tuffah, or set of dancing-girls; whose equipage announced his liberality, and whose talents evinced his judgement. Let me not be misunderstood in this last expression: the dancers of India can suit only particular tastes, and those perhaps only from habit: they are not to be classed with persons of the same profession in 418Europe; but are a distinct genus. It cannot, however, be denied, that some among them possess very superior powers in the vocal part of their profession; and that certain individuals dance, in their style, with peculiar effect; indeed, with much graceful delicacy, and with undeviating regard to the measure. The B’how’s zenanah was of course secluded; but the number of the elephants, r’huts, palanquins, doolies and other conveyances, satisfied me that the ladies were in better plight than their most abominably filthy lord!

The Hindostanee ladies do not wear shoes, but when walking, a pair of slippers are put on for the occasion; so soon as the lady returns to her seat on the satrinje, or carpet, they are thrown aside. Such as are formed without heels, and have the back part made to flatten down under the foot, for that part is seldom, if ever, raised, are known by the name of k’hous; while those made without any back-piece, the quarters terminating under the ancles on each side, and that have raised heels, to perhaps the height of an inch, are designated chinauls. In either kind, as well as in the jooties worn by men, the toe-part is terminated by a long pointed strip, usually of leather lined with cloth, that curls inwards over the toes; without this, the shoes would be considered both unfinished, and vulgar. Men commonly wear only embroidered 419shoes, but the women have frequently an abundance of various colored foils, principally purple or green, fastened down to the body of the vamp, (which is of some bright colored broad cloth,) and serving, by the manner in which they are disposed, to fill up the pattern of the embroidery: this may be either of gold or silver thread, or, perhaps, very small bugles, not dissimilar to seed-pearls. Those who cannot afford such decorations, which may raise the price of a pair of shoes to about four or five rupees; content themselves with silken ornaments. The low price of a pair of shoes ornamented as above described, cannot fail to strike the reader, who will be yet more astonished to learn, that an admirably well-dressed hide may be had in any part of the country for less than five shillings; such as would sell with us for about thirty shillings, or even more. Those stout shoes worn by our native soldiery, rarely cost more than from four to eight annas the pair, (equal to from eight to sixteen pence.) Neither men nor women use stockings; though, during the winter months, the more opulent sometimes wear a short kind of sock, called a jooraub, made of cotton, or of silk, perhaps both intermixed, and of various colored patterns. These are remarkably thick, but rarely reach above the ancle. Persons of the first rank, have their jooraubs, as also their dustannahs, or gloves, made of shawl; strange 420to say, these are usually of the form in use among us for children; that is, they have a receptacle for the thumb, but the fingers are all contained in the same bag, or cyst. It is, however, very uncommon to see a woman, of whatever rank, wear gloves: this is, no doubt, owing to the pride they take in their hands, which are invariably ornamented with gold or silver rings, &c., to the utmost extent of their purses. In fact, the whole attention of a Hindostanee woman, retained in the family of an European, is directed towards the accumulation of trinkets, which may be supposed to be tolerably expensive, when it is understood that nothing less than solid silver is admissible. Gilt, or plated, ornaments, are held to be disreputable, and unlucky; hence, the moolumbah, or plating trade, is very little followed in India; though the jewellers will sometimes pass off a coated, for a solid article; especially in gold work.

The following are the ornaments chiefly worn by the Hindostanee ladies. The maung-teekah, meaning the frontal, ornament, has usually a star, or radiated centre, of about two inches in diameter, set in gold, and richly ornamented with small pearls, of which, various chains are attached, aiding to support it in its position; namely, on the centre of the forehead. A triple, or quadruple, row of pearls, passes up the centre of the maung, or front; the hair 421being divided, and kept down very flat. The centre piece, (and, occasionally, each end piece also,) is composed of precious stones, such as the topaz, the emerald, the amethyst, the ruby, &c.: sometimes the centre is of one color, and all the rays of some other; or perhaps the latter are alternate. The maung-teekah, as may be judged from the above description, is not a very light ornament, but is extremely splendid, and, being generally set in gold, often very valuable: one of a very ordinary description will cost full twelve or fifteen guineas, though composed of colored glass, or chrystal, or foils: when made of precious stones, the price may reach to any extent.

The kurrum-phool, is not unlike the centre piece of a maung-teekah, and may be about the same size, though usually somewhat less in diameter. This ornament is fastened to the lobe of the ear, both by the usual mode of piercing, and by a chain of gold passing over the ear, so as to bear the weight of the kurrum-phool; which would else cause the lobe to be greatly extended downward. It is, however, to be remarked, that most of the common women have large holes in that part of the ear, wide enough to pass a finger through; and that even the higher orders consider an aperture such as would admit a pea, rather honorable, than otherwise; under the opinion of its indicating 422the great weight, and consequent value, of their jewels.

The joomkah is ever of solid gold, silver being in this absolutely interdicted by the laws of taste; in framing which, pride seems to have had no very small share. This ornament consists of a hollow hemisphere, or bell, curiously fillagreed, and about three fourths of an inch in diameter; the edges suspend small rods, or pendants of gold, each furnished with one or more small pearls, garnets, &c.; perhaps to the number of a dozen pendants being attached to the circumference of each joomkah. The upper part is furnished with a small perforated stud, sometimes ornamented, through which a ring, about the thickness of a fine knitting-needle, and not less than half an inch in diameter, is inserted; it previously passing through the ear in the part usually pierced. This ring, as well as every other kind of fastening made to pass through the ears, or nose, is made of the purest gold, and so pliant as to allow the little hook made at one end, by bending the wire, for the purpose of fixing into a minute loop, or eye, formed, at the other end, by twisting it, to be straightened, at pleasure, by means of the nail only.

European ladies content themselves with one appendage at each ear; while the females of Hindostan think it impossible to have too many: 423thus, they affix a number of small rings, of pure gold, or, in case of poverty, of silver, or even of tin, all along the border of the ear; which is pierced for that purpose in at least a dozen places, to receive these ornaments, from which much distress often arises, owing to the veil (already described) frequently hitching upon the small hooked ends of the wire.

The nose has its share in the decorations of the Hindostanee fair, it usually bearing two ornaments; one, called a n’hut, commonly passed through the left nostril, consists only of a piece of gold wire, as thick as a small knitting-needle, with the usual hook and eye, and having the centre, or nearly so, furnished with several garnets, pearls, &c. perhaps to the number of five or six, each parted from its neighbour by a thin plate of gold, usually having serrated, or escaloped edges, and being fixed transversely upon the wire, which passes through their centres, as well as through the garnets, pearls, &c. The diameter of the circle of a n’hut may be, ordinarily, about two inches and a half. On the coast of Coromandel, a similar ornament is worn by men of respectability, in each ear.

The other nasal trinket is called a bolauk; it is flat, something in the form of that article of furniture called a footman, and has a small ring, with hook and eye, at its narrowest part, for the purpose of appending it to the middle of the 424nose, by means of a gold ring passing through the septum, or division between the nostrils; the ornament lying flat upon the upper lip, and having its broad end furnished with pendants, similar to those on a joomkah. It is inconceivable what some women undergo for the sake of displaying their riches in this way! Not only does the bolauk interfere with the operations of the lips during meals, but sores of the most unsightly description are often created, in that very tender part to which the ornament attaches, by those innumerable accidents, which not even the most constant vigilance can prevent.

The neck is not forgotten among those lavish decorations of which the sable ladies are so fond; it is furnished with various kinds of necklace, of which I shall describe only the chumpauk-gully. This is made of separate rays, each intended to represent a petal of the chumpauk, (a flower indigenous throughout Asia,) and having a fixed ring, or staple, at its butt, so that the whole may be strung close together, perhaps to the number of forty pieces, or more. This ornament is usually worn rather loose, that it may reach half way down the bosom. The mounting is gold, or silver, according to the means of the wearer; and the rays, or petals, are, in imitation of the maung-teekah; either chrystals, set on foils, chiefly white; or they are 425precious stones, of one color, throughout the ornament.

The haunseah is a solid collar of gold, or silver, weighing from perhaps, four ounces to near a pound. I have seen several that approached the latter weight, and must have been highly oppressive to the wearer; especially as they only came into use on high days and holidays: the general standard may be computed at about six or seven ounces. Being made of pure metal, they are easily bent, so as to be put on and off. Haunseahs are commonly square in front, under the chin, for several inches, and taper off gradually to not more than half their greatest diameter; terminating at each end with a small knob, cut into a polygonal form: this ornament is sometimes carved in the Oriental style, either for its whole length, or on the front part only.

Most of the Hindostanee women wear tabeejes, strung upon an assemblage of black silk threads, passing round their necks, and reaching to their middles: these tabeejes are silver cases, enclosing either quotations from the Koran, or some mystical writings, or some rubbish from the animal or vegetable kingdom, but, I believe, never any camphor (as lately used by a celebrated English lady). Whatever the contents may be, great reliance is placed on their efficacy 426in repelling disease, and in averting the influence of witch-craft, (j’haddoo,) of which the people of India, of every sect, entertain the most unlimited dread. Hence, it is not uncommon to see half a dozen, or more, of these charms strung upon the same threads.

The upper parts of the arms are adorned with semi-circular ornaments, made hollow, but filled up with melted rosin; the ends are furnished with loops of the same metal, generally silver, which admit silken skeans, whereby they are secured to their places. The above trinket is called a baujoo-bund.

The wrists are always profusely decorated: the more ordinary classes wear rings made of kaunch, or chank; (i.e. the common sea-conch,)sea-conch,) cut out, by means of very fine saws, into narrow slips which, when joined very accurately, give the whole an appearance of being formed from the most circular part of each shell. This is, indeed, sometimes done; but such entire rings are very scarce, and are usually preserved in their original pure whiteness with much assiduity. The city of Dacca, so famous for its muslins, carries on a large intercourse with Chittagong, and the coast of Aracan, for conchs, which are used for beetling the finer cloths, manufactured in that populous and rich emporium of cotton fabrics. The noise made by chanking the cloths, which, being laid many folds thick 427upon a large board, are beat with conchs, wherein handles are inserted, is peculiarly distressing to an unaccustomed ear; especially as the operation continues night and day, without intermission: to those interested in the trade, it may perhaps be highly agreeable! The small process, or button, at the base of each shell, is sawn off, and, after being ground to a shape resembling that of a flat turnip, is perforated, for the purpose of being strung. When so prepared, these receive the name of kuntahs; of which, two rows, each containing from thirty to forty, are worn round the neck of every Sepoy in the Company’s service, as a part of his uniform. This simple ornament affords a pleasant relief to the sable countenance of a native, and serves to fill up a space, that would otherwise appear extremely naked, between the collar-bones and the chin.

The rings made from the sea-conch, are called kaunch ke t’choory, or t’choories made of conch; in contra-distinction to a common kind of t’choories, made, by persons who follow that profession only, from a species of silicious clay, which speedily vitrifies, forming a semi-transparent mass, that is worked into rings of about a line in diameter; but having rather quadrangular than circular surfaces; so that the inner circumference may be rather easy to the wrist, and the upper part, (or outer circumference,) be sufficiently flat to exhibit various embellishments, 428given by aid of gold leaf, and little enamelled, or lacquered specks, &c., applied thereto, and afterwards burnt in. It is inconceivable how expert the women who vend the t’choories, and who are thence called t’chooríaens, are in applying these ornaments; which, after being once passed over the hand, often are found to fit the wrist admirably: persons unacquainted with the dexterity of these women, would, on seeing the rings before they were on, consider it impossible to get the hand through; yet, by means of a little oil, or even of water, and compressing the very flexible member into a suitable form, the rings are successively made to glide over the joints with tolerable facility; very few, in proportion, being broken during the operation. It is to be remarked, that, as probably forty or fifty t’choories are to be worn upon each wrist, those appropriated to the thicker part of the arm, being, of course, the first to pass, the hand becomes gradually suppled, and disposed to receive each succeeding ring, which is imperceptibly of less diameter than its predecessor. To say the most of t’choories, they have a very heavy appearance, and are always highly uncomfortable to Madam’s most intimate acquaintances, in consequence of their being peculiarly brittle.

Some ladies wear a massy ring of solid silver on each wrist, weighing, perhaps, from three to five ounces: these are commonly hexagonal, or 429octagonal, of an equal thickness throughout, and terminated by a knob at each end, the same as in the haunseah. Being of pure silver, this ornament, which is called a kurrah, may be opened sufficiently to be put on, or off, at pleasure; the ends being brought together by an easy pressure of the other hand.

A bracelet, formed of small pointed prisms of solid silver, each about the size of a very large barley-corn, and having a ring soldered to one of its sides is in very common use. These prisms are strung upon black silk, as close as their pointed, or perhaps rounded, ends will admit, in three or four parallel rows, and then fastened, the same as the baujoo-bund. Some of the bracelets, which bear the general name of poanҫhies, are of gold, intermixed with pearls; affording a very rich appearance: they are certainly more ornamental than t’choories, which are, in the end, very expensive, on account of the immense numbers that give way in the wearing.

The thumb of each hand is generally destined to bear an ornament called inah, (or looking-glass,) formed of a ring fitting upon the thumb, and having a small mirror, about the size of a half-penny, fixed upon it by the centre, so as to accord with the back of the thumb. Each finger is provided with its quota of angooties, or rings, of various sorts and sizes, generally of gold; those of silver being considered mean. The inah 430should correspond in this particular; but, on account of the quantity of gold required wherein to set the glass, many content themselves with silver mounting. That a small looking-glass may, at times, be commodiously situated at the back of the thumb, we will not dispute; but what shall we say to that preposterous custom, which I have absolutely witnessed, of wearing a similar ornament on each great toe!!!

A lady, at all priding herself on the splendor of her dress, must have a pair of very substantial kurrahs, or rings of silver, not weighing less than half a pound each, upon her ancles. She must also have a pair of paum-jebs, made flexible, and ornamented with little spherical bells, all of which tinkle at every motion of the limb. The ordinary pattern of the paum-jeb, is mural, each piece being kept in its place by wires, passing through its two ends vertically. The toes have likewise their rings, called chellahs, usually of about the fifth of an inch in breadth and very thin; these have, for the most part, beaded edges.

The women of Portugueze extraction, wear their hair in a large top knot, secured by an immense silver pin, or rather a skewer; the broad part of which is either fillagreed, enamelled, or engraved. The Hindostanee ladies wear no ornament of that description; they comb down their frontal hair, while abundantly 431moistened with tissy, that is, the mucilage obtained by steeping linseed in a small quantity of water; and causing it to part from the centre in two diverging sweeps, or crescents, that come down to the exterior corners of the eye-brows, falling in immediately above the ears, they thus render the whole smooth, compact, and glossy. All the hair appertaining to the hinder part of the head, is braided together for its whole length, and ultimately blended with black ribbon; which continues the braid for many inches, or even for a foot or more, so as to render it doubtful, at a certain distance, whether the hair does not occupy the whole length. This is a point of the utmost importance with a native lady, who values her locks beyond even her virtue. Whether it were the cause, or the effect, is difficult to say; but certain it is, that, one of the greatest punishments a judge can inflict on a woman, is to have her head shaved. Query, Did their high estimation of the hair, induce to making its privation a punishment? or, did that estimation take place, in consequence of the want of hair being considered disgraceful? I am inclined to favor the first opinion. It is very common for a native to cause the hair of his baundy, or female slave, to be taken off, for any trifling offence.

Coral beads are in high estimation throughout Hindostan, as applicable to the construction 432of necklaces and bracelets for women. Notwithstanding they are manufactured from the red coral, fished up in various parts of Asia, these beads are very costly, especially when they run to any size. They are generally sold by the sicca-weight, or tolah; that is, by their weight in silver, two and a half rupees weighing about one ounce; or eighty to the seer of nearly two pounds avoirdupoise. A tolah of high colored, sound beads, as large as a marrow-fat pea, may commonly be had for about three, or four, rupees; sometimes cheaper: consequently, an ounce of coral beads, called moongahs, will cost near a guinea. This, which is four times the value of silver, appears to be a high price, considering the low wages of laborers, and proves that coral cannot be advantageously imported from India to England. The ladies of Asia are very particular in often steeping their moongahs in pigeon’s blood; under the firm belief of their color being heightened by such immersions! This recipe may, however, be matched by many, of equal efficacy, highly valued among ourselves.

The lowest, and most poverty-struck woman in Bengal, would consider herself truly wretched if she could not, now and then, anoint her head with oil, of some kind. The ladies of affluence invariably use scented oils, of which those impregnated with the bale, the jasmine, 433and sandal, are most in use. Doubtless, custom reconciles ‘the rancid fragrance’ to the nostrils of an Asiatic; but, to an European, nothing can be more offensive. A full dressed Hindostanee lady is the living type of that sarcastic couplet of Swift.

‘Enrich’d with all the gay perfume,
She wafts a stench around the room.’

The sale of these oils, as also of the missy, which is applied by both sexes to their teeth, and, by forming a black coating, or varnish, is supposed to preserve their enamel from the action of the lime contained in the pawn, or beetle, they generally chew, as also of the soormah, or levigated antimony, used for blackening the edges of the eye-lids, together with a variety of rubbish, is confined to a class of men called gundies, who carry their ware about in small baskets. The oils, and especially the utr, or ottah of roses, are very carefully packed in cotton-wool, and every pretence is made of their being of great value. It is wonderful what deceptions this class of hawkers practise! They are most consummate in the arts of flattery and intrigue; from the exercise of one or the other, not unfrequently of both conjoined, they could not fail to become very rich, did they not generally lead most dissipated 434lives, and often take payment in kind for their wares.

With respect to the perfumed oils in common use among the Hindostanee ladies, their preparation is very easy; being, for the most part, merely sweet oils of any kind; such as that extracted from linseed, or from the cocoa-nut, or from any plant coming under the denomination of metah, (i.e. sweet,) perfumed by means of a small quantity of the essential oil of any fragrant flower, particularly the rose, the jasmine, the bale, &c. All these oils are extremely common, rarely selling for more than two or three rupees per seer; which corresponds with about seven shillings for an English quart.

That highly fragrant oil extracted from the rose, called attar, or by us ottah, is by no means so common as might be expected, at least not in perfection: as to reputed attar, that may be had of every gundy, and at even a few annas per tolah (or half ounce weight). Genuine attar can only be had of particular persons, and then at a very high price; commonly about four guineas, (i.e. two gold mohurs) per ounce. The natives, for many years, pretended to make a great secret of the process whereby this valuable oil was extracted; whence they not only retained the whole profit to themselves, but were enabled to practise various deceptions of great advantage 435to themselves but extremely injurious to the extract.

Although many gentlemen had occasionally endeavored to ascertain the proportions used by the venders of attar, it was not until about the year 1781, or 1782, that any attempt was made, on an extensive scale, to competite with that class of distillers. The late Lieutenant-Colonel Anthony Polier, who resided for many years at his beautiful villa, some miles from Lucknow, was, I believe, the first whose researches included the distillation of attar, in which pursuit he was remarkably successful; considering how much intrigue, corruption, and ignorance he had to contend with, I have heard that gentleman declare, that, in almost every train of experiments he undertook, some latent opposition was sure to prevail; often baffling every effort, and sometimes compelling him to abandon his design.

This resulted from the jealousy entertained by the natives of distinction at the court of the Nabob Vizier of Oude, Azoph ul Dowlah, with whom his extreme urbanity, suavity of manners, ingenuity, and incorruptible integrity, rendered him a great favorite. The courtiers apprehended, that, through the united intelligence of Colonel Polier, and of Colonel Claude Martine, whose genius in every mechanical 436art was on a par with that of the former in the polite arts, as well as in most branches of useful science, the several expensive establishments supported by the Nabob would ultimately be set aside, as useless, and as devouring a revenue, which might be turned towards purposes in which they should have no concern; or, at least, no profit. Therefore, notwithstanding his highness’s positive orders, most of the indispensables were either withheld, or, when furnished at all, proved of the worst quality: any man less mild than Polier, would have insisted on a due attention to his requisitions; but he forbore from remonstrance, except when so closely pressed as to render representation inevitable. Whenever, in spite of all direct hostility, and of underhand resistance, the Colonel fulfilled his wishes, displaying the complete success of his ingenuity and learning; then, all was cried down as j’haddoo, as witch-craft; and the whole body of Mahomedan ecclesiastics joined to crush the growth of science.

Being provided with an ample still, and having very extensive plantations of roses, in which I have often passed a leisure hour, admiring equally their fragrance, and the amiable qualities of their planter, the Colonel made a shift to carry on his operations, but not with invariable success; the native distillers having frequently influenced his servants, by means of bribes, to 437mix various ingredients, which either tainted, or otherwise deteriorated, the produce of his still. At length, after a great variety of experiments, in which he, of course, experienced many most mortifying, and equally unaccountable disappointments, he hit upon the just proportions, and the most favorable process. His method was as follows. To a maund (i.e. 82lb.) of roses, he put about a maund and a half of water: the roses being entire, and having their stems cut away close under the chalices. These being all duly mixed, by hand, in the still, a gentle fire was made under it; the head not being applied until the water began to throw off a vapor: after that, it was put on, and carefully luted down. The fire was, throughout the distillation, kept rather slow than fierce; especially after about a tenth part of the water had come over into the receiver: in about five hours, half the water had come over tolerably clear. The rose-water thus obtained, was again put to another maund of roses, which were subjected to the same operation, until about half its quantity had passed into the receiver. As the former was called ‘single rose-water,’ so was this designated ‘double rose-water;’ but it is evident that the term ‘quadruple’ would be more appropriate, since double the quantity of perfume was brought into half the former space. The produce of the last distillation was put into broad pans, either 438of earthen ware, or of tinned metal, and left exposed, during the night, to the cold air.

Here, I should remark, that the roses generally bloom early in the year, and that, during the month of January, sometimes, also, in February, ice is produced by pouring hot water into shallow pans of porous crockery; which, being placed on beds of loose sand, in exposed situations, during the whole night, generally yield a substantial pellicle, and, in very favorable instances, sometimes cause the whole of the water to be congealed. The colonel’s object, in exposing the rose-water, as above shewn, was to congeal the essential oil, called attar, which has the peculiar property of becoming compact, and flaky, when exposed to a degree of cold far above freezing point; in this instance, bearing some affinity to animal oils in general.

Now, it is evident, that such an exposure subjected the attar, which floated on the surface as it became cold, to the access of dust, at least, if not of other grosser rubbish; therefore the plan was certainly injudicious: this the colonel soon perceived, for the quantity of, what he considered to be, fæces, proved that there was some mismanagement. Accordingly, he took a hint, and, while the rose-water was yet lukewarm, poured it into a large caraboy, or glass bottle; so as to fill it completely. The caraboy was then subjected to a refrigerating 439process; by which the attar was condensed on its surface in its neck, whence it was easily removed into a large-mouthed phial, furnished with a ground stopper. What little adhered to the neck of the caraboy, did not come away with the rose-water, as it was poured off, but, on the vessel being reversed, and subjected to a considerable degree of heat, dropped slowly into a phial placed below it, but protected from the action of the fire.

The products in attar have been widely different. The natives rarely obtain more than a drachm and a half from a maund of roses; whereas Colonel Polier obtained full two drachms from a hundred pounds troy. In Europe, we find that some continental chymists have extracted half an ounce: Hamberg succeeded so far as to draw a whole ounce, and Hoffman was rewarded with no less than two ounces. All these persons, however, rejected the chalices; using only the petals; which necessarily made a great difference, the perfume being, principally, if not wholly, confined to them.

The rose-water, even after the attar has been completely separated, is rich in fragrance, but is far more so, when the attar is suffered to remain united with it, as may be effected by the addition of various menstrua, which keep it suspended in the fluid. The general price of such 440rose-water as is ordinarily sold under the designation of ‘double,’ and, of course, passes for the very best, may be from twenty, to forty, rupees per maund, according as the season may have been productive, or as the purchase may be made from the distiller himself, or through a second or a third hand.

Colonel Polier states that the quantity of attar obtained from nearly fifty-five maunds of roses, which grew upon about eleven acres of good soil, highly manured, amounted to sixteen tolahs, or about half a pound avoirdupoise. This gives us some insight into the value of the attar; for, if we allow the land to have been worth a guinea per acre, and that the cultivation, together with the expences of distillation, should amount to as much more, the following would be the state of the concern.

  £. s. d. £. s. d.
Rent of 11 acres, (or 33 bigahs,) 11 11 0 23 2 0
Expences of cultivation, &c. 11 11 0      

Against which we have

Sixteen tolahs of attar, say at two guineas, 33 12 0      
About thirteen and a half maunds of rose-water, say at only 20 rupees, or £2. 10s. per maund 33 10 0      
Giving a total of receipts equal to       67 2 0
And a nett produce on 11 acres, of       44 0 0
Equal per acre, to the yearly sum of       4 0 0

441In the above, I have taken the attar at far less than the price it at present bears, and the rose-water at the rate usually charged at Juanpore, Lucknow, &c. for a maund of the best rose-water, at the time Colonel Polier’s experiment, above detailed, was dated, namely, in 1787. If my information is correct, the best attar now sells at Calcutta for near six guineas the ounce; and the best rose-water at Juanpore, where a large quantity is distilled, for thirty-five and forty rupees per maund. The expence of the cultivation is taken at about seven rupees monthly, on an average; there being no work of consequence performed, except hoeing, for full eight months in the year. The rent of the land is rated at the ordinary medium at which I compute soils suited to the growth of tobacco, cotton, sugar, opium, &c. to be of late, that is, at about 2½ rupees, or eight shillings per bigah.

In Doctor Willich’s Encyclopædia, I observe it is stated, that genuine attar sells, even in the East Indies, at twenty guineas the ounce; but I apprehend this to be a great error; at least, it is far beyond what the experience of more than twenty years allows me to credit. If, indeed, the Doctor means that which the gundies retail, by mixing only one drop of genuine attar among pint of oil of sandal-wood, as is often practised, he is far short of the mark; for, in such case, the ounce may be said to sell for nearer fifty, than twenty guineas.

442The color of attar, is remarked by Colonel Polier, ‘to be no criterion of its goodness, its quality, or its country.’ That gentleman states, that he had, in the same year, and from the same rose-bushes, attar of a fine emerald green, of a bright yellow, and of a reddish hue, all obtained by the same process, only that the roses were collected on different days.days.

Here I am disposed to suspect, that the old trick, so peremptorily detected by Doctor and Professor Gilchrist, of mixing a solution of verdigris, or other coloring matter, in the still, or in the receiver, must have been practised by some of the Colonel’s attendants. It has been sufficiently proved, that, when no such adulteration takes place, attar very nearly limpid: but, though a color may be thus imparted, it does not appear that the perfume is debased; its fragrance being unimpaired: on the other hand, the admixture of any other oil is readily discovered, by its causing the disposition to liquescence, even when exposed to severe cold, which distinguishes every other known perfume from genuine attar.

Some ladies anoint their bodies with scented oils, but, for the most part, a predilection exists in favor of that extracted from the sesamum, or mustard seed; which is likewise in very general use throughout every branch of culinary preparation, among the natives of every sect. 443When the oil is applied to the body, (over every part of which it is smeared, the gratified individual generally exposing himself to the influence of the sun while the unction is performing,) it is in its raw state; but when intended for sauce, it is, on account of the peculiar rankness of its flavor, subjected to the following simple operation, whereby it is very considerably sweetened; though not divested of a certain flavor by which its presence may always be detected. The oil is put into a deep vessel, either earthen or of metal, having some kind of lid, such as a flat pan, &c. to retain the heat while the oil is preparing: when it boils, and crackles, one side of the lid is lifted, and a small quantity of cold water thrown in, the lid being shut down as quickly as possible, lest the oil, which flies immediately when touched by the water, should scald the operator. This is repeated three or four times, at short intervals, and the oil is thus nearly divested of its unpleasant and acrimonious flavor. Both sexes anoint their bodies with the oil of sesamum, commonly called by Europeans ‘mosaul oil,’ from its being invariably used by the mosaulchies to feed the flames of their links, or mosauls: by the natives it is designated kurwah-tale, or ‘bitter oil.’ In some instances, we see turmeric mixed with it, for the purpose of excitement to perspiration! this absurd practice is not very general, but one 444would suppose the fallacy of such an opinion must long ago have been discovered, and that the turmeric would have been found rather to add to that obstruction, inevitably created by the oil, than to promote diaphoresis. The only intention that seems truly to be answered by the unction, is that of stopping the pores: hence, we see all the poor people, throughout India, avail themselves, whenever the means offer, of a handful or two of kurwah-tale, to rub over their skins, during the winter season especially; thereby to resist the cold air: many, who can afford but a light kind of cloathing, and are not competent to purchase quilted jackets, would be almost frozen, were it not for this device.

This practice, so extremely common, I might say, universal, throughout India, seems to be at variance with the opinions of our physicians, who consider it highly dangerous to close too many of the pores at one time. That it is done with impunity in India, is too well known to require any evidence being here adduced: nay, more, such unctions are recommended in high fevers, by the native doctors, (generally Bramins,) who likewise prescribe a thick plaistering of pounded herbs to be in such cases applied all over the body. This, which rarely fails to produce relief, is evidently the basis of that refrigerant 445course adopted, of late years, by some of our most celebrated medical characters.

As a perfume, the more delicate ladies of India rub themselves with various drugs, not very gratifying to the olfactory nerves of our Europeans; the same is also used for the hair. A few use a kind of pomade, made extemporaneously of orange peels, ground fine upon a stone, and mixed with flour, made from peas, called basin. This is really fragrant, as well as cleansing; but I cannot so much admire the sandal some substitute for the citric aroma; it being of a peculiarly sickly scent, which does not easily wash out of linen.

With respect to religious ablutions, the natures of every sect, but especially the Bramins, are very particular; even fastidiously so: all bathe at least once daily before their dinner hour, whatever may be the state of the weather, repairing either to some neighbouring river, or to a pond, (or tank,) for that purpose. There they walk up to their waists in the water; and, placing their thumbs in their ears, and their fore-fingers pressing their nostrils, immerse themselves, by squatting suddenly upon their haunches, several times in succession; generally repeating various prayers on these occasions. All take this opportunity to wash their doties, and other parts of their apparel; having in readiness dry 446cloaths to put on, but which are, of course, left upon the shore. It is curious to see, as may often be done at some ghauts, or wharfs, hundreds of persons bathing in this manner at the same time; the water is often thronged for the whole day; especially at Benares, Allahabad, Betoor, and other sacred cities, to which pilgrims resort from immense distances for that purpose. At particular times, it is supposed that nearly a million of persons assemble to bathe in the Ganges; whence it must appear extremely curious to the European reader, that scarce an instance is known of any person losing his cloaths while bathing: perhaps it may be in some measure owing to that astonishing concourse of barbers, who officíate previous to each person entering the sacred stream; and who usually take charge of, or at least have an eye to, the vestments left for his use on returning from the water.

At all the bathing-places the sexes intermix promiscuously; each being in their usual cloathing: this does not, however, relate to women of a superior class, who are not suffered to go abroad except in close vehicles, and who, were they voluntarily to shew their faces to any male, except their husbands, would be in danger of losing their heads: such never bathe in the river but under ample precautions. A spot is selected, where the water shoals gradually, and 447where the bather cannot be overlooked from any height, &c. There, an area is enclosed, by means of kanauts, supported to the height of perhaps eight feet, or more, by means of bamboo poles, kept in their places by ropes fastened to stakes, or to poles driven into the sand. The lady is carried to an overlap, or opening, in the kanauts, mostly in a covered carriage, of which the driver retires, taking with him the oxen, and leaving the machine enclosed within the area, where it serves the purpose of a dressing-room. The female servants attend the interior, while the exterior is guarded by centinels, or perhaps by eunuchs, on the land side; and, towards any navigable channel a boat is stationed, to prevent the approach of strangers. But few Mahomedan women bathe in this manner; they, as well as their husbands, generally content themselves with having five or six large pots of water thrown over their heads; the generality of Europeans ordinarily bathe in this way daily during the hot season; and, on some occasions, even the pious Hindu resorts to the same domestic ablution; though it is held far inferior to immersion in the Ganges, or in such stream as should, by being within a reasonable distance, preclude all pleas of inconvenience. Bigots will often travel several miles to be laved by the holy fluid; while others will scarcely go as many yards to enjoy that reputed blessing. All, 448however, must conform, to a certain extent, to the law; and it is but justice to say, that, whether owing to habit, or to veneration, the number of trespasses is very, very limitted. We may suppose, that, in so hot a climate, bathing must be a luxury; this should be taken cum grano salis; for, at some seasons, the waters are by no means inviting: I have often gone into a bath in December and January, when the sensations were truly painful.

Mahomedans, in opulent circumstances, and especially those of rank, generally have baths lined with marble, or with masonry, in some private apartments, to which their families can have immediate access. These baths are sometimes furnished with the means of having water heated to any temperature; as is invariably the case with all the public baths to be seen at Calcutta, and the several great cities throughout the East. These baths, which are called hummums, (whence we have derived the term,) are extremely convenient; and, if properly used, no less conducive to health. It is necessary, after quitting them, to be extremely cautious in allowing access to the atmospheric temperature, on account of the perfect cleansing given to the skin, by the attendants, who by means of hautties, (a kind of glove, made of hair, or very coarse wool,) bring off such a quantity of scurf as astonishes those who consider themselves to be 449very cleanly in their persons. These men cause every joint in the bather’s whole frame to crack; thereby giving, sometimes, no inconsiderable pain: to this, however, the natives are so fully accustomed, as to consider it absolutely a luxury. Although the hummums are much frequented by Mahomedans, yet, I believe, they are chiefly supported by the resort of Armenians, Greeks, Portugueze, and English gentlemen.

The waters throughout the East are infested by alligators of an enormous size; of which, some are most sanguinary depredators. It often happens that a bather is carried off daily from a ghaut, perhaps for a fortnight in succession; when the evil is put a stop to by some lucky shot, which either kills the alligator, or causes him to quit the vicinity. Such is the faith entertained by all the natives, whether Mussulmans or Hindus, regarding predestination, that, although, on such occasions, they proceed to the ghaut with obvious apprehension, they allow no intermission to take place in the ablutionary duties, on account of those depredations they may have daily witnessed for some time before. This species of absurdity may be discovered, in a thousand shapes, in the conduct of predestinarians, who affect to believe in that previous arrangement which renders all human precaution unavailing. These persons, at the same time, shew great anxiety to have the alligator killed; 450consequently, may be fairly considered as aiming to subvert the ordinations of fate!

Though the native women retained by European gentlemen very rarely proceed to the rivers to bathe, but content themselves with either the use of a small bath of masonry, or with pots of water, they are, nevertheless, extremely fond of going abroad in a palanquin, or a r’hut, attended by their dhyes, and with the guttah-tope, or cover, of the vehicle, brought down close on all sides. It certainly would be uncharitable to annex a bad motive, as inseparable from all such excursions, yet it may probably be considered as a general rule, that such ladies either take the air with the intention of meeting some established gallant, or that they ultimately give way to the flattery and whisperings of their menials, who are rarely proof against a very moderate bribe, and are frequently known to throw an admirer, as though accidentally, in the way of Madam’s notice.

However recluse we may suppose the Hindostanee ladies to be, some allowance must be made for certain amusements peculiar to India, in which they indulge. The acceptance and transmission of compliments and civilities, afford no small gratification; the arrival, or despatch, of a complimentary pawn, (beetle,) or of an elauҫhee, (cardamom,) being matters of considerable importance, among a race whose whole time may 451be said to be devoted to whatever is childish or insignificant. When visits are paid, much ceremony is used, and every endeavor is exerted, on either part, to appear well-bred and affable; on such occasions, a profusion of compliments are exchanged, while each narrowly observes the dress, the equipage, and the conduct of the other, but reserves her observations until a free vent may be given to envy and jealousy; not forgetting a little scandal.

Some ladies affect to possess a musical ear, and exercise not only their own lungs, but those of their attendants also, in vociferating various common-place songs, accompanying their captivating strains with tremendous thumps on a large long drum, called a dhole; or perhaps shewing the agility of their fingers in playing upon a very small kind of tambourine, called a coonjerry. Woe be to that kind-keeper who should dissent from the fair one’s opinion, regarding either the excellence of her performance, or the pleasing tones of the instruments! Where this infatuation exists, the whole neighbourhood is compelled to submit to the nuisance. There would be no use in remonstrating with the lady, through the medium of her servants: and as to parleying with the gentleman on such a subject, that would give great offence; or, at all events, would be unavailing. The man who submits to such an uproar, ‘for the sake of a quiet life’, may be 452considered a living illustration of Shakespeare’s ludicrous, but most wholesome lesson,—‘The ewe that will not hear its lamb when it bleats, will never attend to a calf when it baes.’ In truth, some of these ladies ride upon very high horses, and keep the whip-hand most manfully! a circumstance we should by no means expect, after hearing, perhaps, that their respective names were ‘Chembayly’, (jasmine,) ‘Golaub’, (rose-water,) ‘Miscery’, (sugar,) ‘Gool-beegum’, (queen of roses,) ‘Meevah-Jehan’, (the fruit of life:) though, perhaps, those known by the name of ‘Soorooj’, (i.e. the sun,) might lay claim to some authority, without acting so grossly in opposition to their nomenclature.

When we consider the very severe privation experienced by females in general, (for our country-women often affect to adopt the recluse severities of the haram;) it cannot appear surprizing, that young girls so immured, in such a climate, so indulged occasionally, and so beset with bawds, should allow themselves to be led astray from what I must, perhaps erroneously, call ‘the ways of chastity.’ I am aware, that the term may offend many, who consider the female as being already in a state of prostitution; but due allowance must be made for the usages of the country. In India, a woman ‘under the protection’ of an European gentleman, is accounted, not only among the natives, but even by his 453countrymen, to be equally sacred, as though she were married to him; and the woman herself, values her reputation, exactly in proportion as she may have refrained from indulging in variety: some are said to have passed twenty years, or more, without the possibility for scandal to attach to their conduct. We might further take into consideration, that, even according to the Mahomedan law, there are various degrees of connubial attachment, from the strictest, and most formal, union, down to what we should call a very loose kind of left-handed marriage. These are, however, sanctioned by that law, if performed according to enjoined ceremonies.

Now, the greater part, we may say nine in ten, of those who domiciliate with Europeans, being Mussulmans, and, in many cases, very scrupulous in the observance of whatever forms are ordained respecting viands, contact, ablution, &c., it may be reasonably concluded, that they rather deem themselves to be united according to a tolerated extension of the foregoing licences, than as retained prostitutes. Therefore, when we consider received opinions, and local peculiarities, we may admit, that, even in what we term concubinage, there may be some traits exempting individuals from being confounded among that mass of prostitution, of which we are apt to form our judgments 454by what we see of that depravity, from which it appears to be, among Europeans, nearly inseparable! Without at all entering upon the defence of whatever may be inhibited by the Christian religion, or be inimical to that superiority so justly yielded by society at large, as well as by the legislature, to married women, it may be permitted me to state a few matters which will, in the minds of the liberal, appear to be some excuse for what might else be deemed libidinous, or licentious. The number of European women to be found in Bengal, and its dependencies, cannot amount to two hundred and fifty, while the European male inhabitants of respectability, including military officers, may be taken at about four thousand. The case speaks for itself; for, even if disposed to marry, the latter have not the means. It is easy enough to say, that if marriages were more frequent in India, more ladies would adventure thither; but the impediments that stand in the way of ‘a consummation devoutly to be wished,’ will not be found to yield so readily to our desires. It should be understood, that the generality of young ladies, though they may certainly comply with the will of their parents, are by no means partial to visiting India. The out-fit is not a trifle: no lady can be landed there, under respectable circumstances throughout, for less than five hundred pounds. Then, again, she should have 455friends to receive her; for she cannot else obtain even a lodging, or the means of procuring subsistence. It is not like a trip, per hoy, to Margate, where nothing but a well-lined purse is requisite; and where, if you do not meet with friends, you may easily form acquaintances. Further, some allowance must be made for the climate; which by no means suits every constitution, and invariably oppresses all whose minds are ill at ease, or who have not the means of withstanding that influence, so particularly hostile to persons newly importing from Europe.

Let us, however, suppose all these things to be done; and that some worthy dame welcomes the fair adventurer to her house, with the friendly intention of affording an asylum, until some stray bachelor may bear away the prize. We have known some instances of this, and, in particular, of a lady making it, in a manner, her study to replenish her hospitable mansion with objects of this description; thereby acquiring the invidious, or sarcastic, designation of ‘Mother Coupler’. But such characters are rare; and it generally happens, that those who have the will, do not possess the means, of thus rendering the most essential of services to young women, who, we may fairly say, are, in this case, transported to India, there to take their chance! That several have been thus sent, or, have thus adventured, round the Cape, cannot 456be denied; in any other country they would have experienced the most poignant distress, both of body and of mind; but, such has ever been the liberality evinced towards this class of unfortunate persons, that, in most instances, prompt, and effectual, relief, has been administered. It would be easy to adduce cases, wherein the most bountiful subscriptions have been made in behalf of ladies; who, by obeying the summons of husbands, or of parents, have, on arriving in the river, found themselves to be widows, or orphans! Surely, where these distressing events are by no means uncommon, there will ever exist a certain reluctance, even among such as may have relatives in India: a reluctance which will rarely be decreased by the additional consideration, that, when the vessel may arrive, the parent, &c., though alive, may be full a thousand miles distant from the metropolis, and be unable to reach it under two or three months! Here we see formidable objections against a lady’s proceeding to India; but one, not less powerful, remains to be stated, namely, the immense expence ever attendant upon wedlock in that quarter. Such is the encrease of domestics, of cloathing, of accommodation and, particularly, in keeping a carriage, without which no comfort can be expected, that it is utterly beyond the means of full four persons in five to receive an European lady into their houses. Even on a 457penurious scale, the difference will amount to full three hundred pounds yearly; but if, as is certainly desirable, it be conducted on a more appropriate footing, double that sum must be allowed. Add to this, the peremptory necessity that exists, for sending every child to Europe at a very early age; the expence of which is never to be computed under a hundred and fifty pounds. To complete the difficulties attendant on the occasion, it is a thousand to one, but, that, at the end of a few years, the mother is compelled, by those peculiar infirmities inseparable from her situation in that climate, to accompany her infants to Europe; there to seek the restoration of health, and to console herself among her little offspring, until the father may, notwithstanding those heavy demands created by the wants of his family, be able to save sufficient money to repair to the objects of his affection. This is no exaggeration: it is to be witnessed annually; and may be seen attended with the most distressing effects to most meritorious individuals, who unfortunately allow love to walk in at the door, without observing that poverty is treading upon her train.

I trust this detail will convince, even the sceptic, that matrimony is not so practicable in India as in Europe; and that, (unless, indeed, among those platonic few whose passions are unnaturally obedient,) is impossible for the 458generality of European inhabitants to act in exact conformity with those excellent doctrines, which teach us to avoid ‘fornication, and all other deadly sins.’ There are certain situations, and times, in which the law must be suffered to sleep; since its enforcement would neither be easy nor wise: such is the instance now before us. Should it be argued, that, rather than retain a concubine, it were more proper to marry a native of India, I must then adduce the great discouragement wisely held out by government against such a practice; observing, that the Court of Directors long ago set their faces against the transmission of native orphans, (i.e. those born of native mothers,) and, that they allow no native of India to be taken as a passenger on board any vessel proceeding to England, without a deposit of 500 sicca rupees, or security to that amount, lest the party should become a burthen to the Company. Further, no lady, native of India, even though her father should have been of the highest rank in the King’s or Company’s service, and though she be married to a person of that description, is ever invited to those assemblies given by the governor on public occasions. Hence, such women, whatever may be their merits, come under the censure of public characters, and, of course, are in a manner proscribed. This, however, does not extend to the European soldiery, who are allowed to marry 459native women; many of whom conduct themselves, when thus situated, in the most unexceptionable manner. Whether married, or not, each soldier is generally provided with a companion, who takes care of his linen, aids in cleaning his accoutrements, dresses his hair, and sometimes proves no bad hand at a beard! These doxies do, certainly, now and then, kick up a famous row in the barracks; but, on the whole, may be considered highly serviceable; especially during illness, at which time their attendance is invaluable.

Very few European women are to be seen with the regiments in India; such as adventure thither, soon fall victims to the climate, which nothing but the most vigorous constitutions, backed by temperance and uncommon prudence, can enable the sex to resist. Hence, the few that survive, though they present rather a masculine appearance, find it expedient to confine themselves much within the barracks; keeping out of the sun, and avoiding the use of strong liquors. The children of such women usually prove remarkably hardy; whereas, the issue of an European father by a native woman, is usually of an effeminate, weakly constitution, and of a disposition by no means entitled to commendation.

It is peculiarly unfortunate, that a very great portion of these creoles, mestees, or what not, 460cannot be provided for in some manner serviceable to the state. Their numbers are considerable, especially of females, who are allowed to remain with the orphan institution, often to a very mature age: some are, to be sure, disposed of in services, where they become attendants, or ladies’ maids, in respectable families; but, for the most part, no certain provision is made for them. Probably it is owing to reflection, as much as to their arriving at puberty, that so many of these unfortunate girls become insane. This does not occur among the boys; who are either apprenticed to some good business, if of the upper school, (in which only the children of officers are admitted,) or, if of the lower school, (wherein the children of the non-commissioned and privates are brought up,) are draughted, at a proper age, to the several regiments, both native and European, there to serve as drummers and fifers. While upon the subject, I shall offer to my readers the outline of the Orphan Institution, now so intimately blended with the military establishments throughout India, that the Company make it a part of their regulations, for all persons admitted into their military service, to become, ipso facto, subscribers to the orphan fund.

This charitable institution, which does singular honor to the Company’s army, owes its origin to the assiduity of a few officers, who, in 1782, 461framed a code, founded upon the result of voluntary subscription, for making due provision for the children of such officers as might demise, without leaving sufficient property to provide for their children, whether legitimate or otherwise. Among the gentlemen who suggested this undertaking, the present Colonel William Kirkpatrick was conspicuous: he was at that time secretary to the late General Giles Stibbert, who then commanded the Bengal army, and aided the institution by every public means, as well as by his private influence and bounty.

The following were among the preliminary articles. ‘1st. That each subaltern, and assistant surgeon, contribute monthly the sum of three rupees; each captain, and surgeon, six rupees; and each major, nine rupees.’

‘2dly. That, to prevent difficulty and expence in the collections, as well as to secure their amount against all accidents, the officers do consent, irrevocably, to the deduction of the specified contributions from their monthly pay.’

‘4th. That a governor, deputy-governor, and twelve managers, be appointed to conduct the business of the society.’

‘12th. That no orphan be admitted on the foundation, who shall be possessed by inheritance, bequest, or otherwise, of a sum exceeding 5,000 sicca rupees.’ (£425.)

‘l3th. That the trustees, or guardians, of all 462orphans making application for their admission on the foundation, be required to make affidavit, before a justice of the peace, touching the true amount or value of the monies, or estate, which they hold in trust for such orphans; to the end, that the management, besides being satisfied that they are proper objects for the institution, may be enabled to judge what assistance they will need from the society, when, their education being completed, the period shall arrive for settling them in the world: these affidavits to be transmitted to the management, along with the application for admission.’

‘15th. That all orphans now in the country, coming under the description set forth, be admitted on the foundation, so soon as the management may judge the state of the fund equal to their maintenance.’

‘19th. That the orphans be assembled together at the presidency, either in one or more houses, as the management shall find necessary; and, that proper servants be appointed to attend them.’

‘25th. That, on the female orphans attaining the age of twelve, they be placed apprentices to creditable milliners, mantua-makers, stay-makers or otherwise, as the management, or their agents, shall determine; and, that, after serving their time, they shall obtain from the society the necessary help towards enabling them 463to set up in business. That should they, at the period of their engaging in business, be disposed to enter into the matrimonial state, they shall be further entitled to receive such marriage portions, or dowries, as the management, or their agents in England, (whose approbation of the connexion shall be previously yielded,) may think proper to grant.’ In the year 1789, it was resolved, that ‘when the orphan daughters of officers, under the protection of the society, are addressed by persons in independent circumstances, such persons be required to make a settlement, as a condition; without which the managers’ consent is not to be given, even if the offer should be, in other respects, unexceptionable.’

Notwithstanding the institution was placed under the guidance and control of men highly respectable, and perfectly qualified for the charge, and that the whole of the officers, (with the exception of, I believe, not more than six,) subscribed towards its support, the object would have been defeated, had not the Company contributed liberally towards its efficiency; and, after all, it would most certainly have been subject, either to diminution, or, eventually, to bankruptcy, about the year 1796, had not the army been newly modelled, and an immense addition been made to the funds, by an unprecedented promotion and the ascent of the superior 464ranks to subscribe in proportion to their pay: otherwise, all above the rank of major would have been exempt. The Company had, in former times, allowed for each child born to an European soldier, the sum of five rupees monthly; but that indulgence was, at one period, wholly done away: afterwards, when the institution was extended to the non-commissioned and privates, three rupees were allowed monthly for every child retained with the parents, according to the liberty granted of retaining them until completing their third year; after which, they were peremptorily taken to the lower school, where they were at first allowed for by the Company at the rate of three rupees, but subsequently at five rupees each, per mensem. It is not easy to describe those affecting scenes which present themselves, when the children are taken from their parents, in order to be sent to the foundation! It is true, the latter know full well that every justice will be done to their offspring, and they cannot but express their sense of the kind intention of their benefactors; but, to part from a child, whatever may be its complexion, is a most painful struggle between duty and nature! I have repeatedly witnessed the distress of mothers, on such occasions, and lamented that the case admitted of neither consolation nor relief!

The good policy of making some provision 465for the children of the soldiery, is indisputably good; they could not, with propriety, be sent to Europe, both because the expence would be disproportionate to the means of their parents; and, that, in time, a very extensive importation of persons of color would take place among us. The boys are now amply provided for; but the situation of the girls is truly lamentable. It is wonderful, that the Society have never established any factory, in which their minds, as well as their hands, could be employed, while their maintenance would be paid for by the produce of their industry. The only argument I ever could hear urged against such a measure, was, that the price of labor being so cheap throughout India, there could arise but little profit from the exertions of the orphans. My opponents forgot, that where labor is cheap, provisions must be cheap also; consequently, that, under proper guidance, enough might be earned to defray the expence of provision for the whole establishment. I am confident, that, if the refuse, or ferret cloths, manufactured for the Company, were to be handed over, in such quantities as might be in demand, to the female orphans, for the purpose of being worked up into wearing apparel, such as shirts, under-shirts, drawers, pocket-handkerchiefs, neck ditto, upper and under waistcoats, small-cloaths, &c. there would always be so extensive a sale, 466especially among the lower classes of inhabitants, the sea-faring people, and the fresh arrivals from Europe, that no stock would remain on hand. It is a notorious fact, that if raw silk, after being wound off from the cocoons, or pods, were to be given to the orphans to finish, and to reel properly for the Europe market, there would be an immense saving both of the article itself, and of the expences in every part of the adventure; while the institution could not fail to derive the most solid advantages. To prove this, look at the number of mills established in various parts of England, for preparing raw silk for the throwster, &c.: in all these, a portion of refuse is found; on which, however, as well as on the perfect quantity, a very heavy duty has been paid, whereby the commodity is considerably enhanced in price, without being a benefit to the merchant; who is, indeed, rather injured, by the necessity he is under of demanding more for his fabrics, and thus, either deterring purchasers altogether, of enabling the traders of other countries to under-sell him.

But, in Calcutta, a city carrying on so large a trade, surely there must be an infinite variety of speculations open to the choice of the management: the lighter classes of sails for the shipping and small craft, the making of hammocks, beddings, &c., dresses for patients in the hospitals, sheets, pillow-cases, book-binding to a certain extent, 467and a number of other employments, might be peremptorily claimed, as exclusive privileges for the orphans. Let it not be said, that such would interfere with the natives following similar professions; on the contrary, let us endeavor to have our whole establishment, of every description, exempted from their aid, or interference. I would have every cartridge-case, and the greater part of the army cloathing, together with all, excepting the leather, and heavy canvas-work of tents, performed at the orphan school; the Company making due remuneration for the work thus performed. The fact lies in a nut-shell! If, with such extensive concerns, requiring so much manual labor, the Company do not give employ to five or six hundred girls, from three to twenty years of age, the fault must assuredly lie rather among the management than with Government; to which the making some provision for the maintenance of that portion of the establishment dependant entirely upon the Company for support, must be a desideratum: it can only require to be pointed out, to insure both acquiescence and encouragement.

The Court of Directors very prudently objected to some of the original articles, wherein the founders appear to have been rather too sanguine, and to have waived several considerations of a political nature. Thus, the Company 468declined to warrant admission into their service of such boys as might appear eligible as cadets; the measure was incompatible with the patronage of the Court; and, being indefinitely expressed, would have subjected the Company to a pledge, that even the sons of the native women might be considered eligible. It was, therefore, prudently resolved, that ‘the children to be sent to Europe for education, should be the legitimate offspring of European parents only.’

The salaries of the several persons employed in the charge of those on the foundation, are munificent. The house at Kidderpore, about a mile and a half from Fort-William, is paid for at the rate of £675. per annum, and the monthly disbursements for school-masters and mistresses, with their assistants, and the several servants employed about the premises, in various capacities, amount to full £l2,000. yearly. The children are boarded at the following rates: The sons of officers at about £14. yearly, on average; the daughters of officers at about the same rate; the master and mistress having, respectively, always a certain number daily at their own tables. The children of non-commissioned officers and soldiers are maintained at an average expence, for diet, of about £5. each. The secretary is allowed £450. for salary, house-rent, candles, and, other petty charges.

With respect to making provision for the sons 469of officers, there seems but little doubt: the great encrease of mercantile establishments in Calcutta, and in general throughout the country, has opened a wide field for the employment of numbers conversant with the Hindui and Bengallee languages, (which the orphans acquire habitually,) and with common accounts. It is to be lamented, that so few, if any, are sent on board the pilot-schooners, according to a clause in the original institution, or as mates on board the country-traders. They certainly would be far better qualified, for such situations, than Europeans, who are totally ignorant of the vernacular tongue, and whose constitutions are by no means so well adapted to the climate. With respect to placing creoles of any description in authority, whether civil or military, there can be but one opinion; since their admission, into either the one or the other, could not fail to lessen that respect, and deference, which ought most studiously to be exacted, on every occasion, from the natives of every rank.

The expences attendant upon sending children from India to Europe, are very considerable: few commanders of Indiamen will take a child for less than 800 sicca rupees, equal to £100.; and, even then, some attendant must be provided, whose passage will probably amount to as much more. The best mode is, for several parents to hire a small cabin between 470decks, and to send a woman in charge of their united families, to the number, perhaps, of five or six little ones; all of whom may be thus duly attended, at far less expence than if each were sent under a separate charge. Few Europeans’ children are kept in India beyond their third or fourth year; and it is generally an object that the small-pox, or vaccination, the measles, and the hooping-cough, should have been passed previous to embarkation; lest infection should take place on board, in consequence of the seamen, &c., having been among persons laboring under those complaints. It is, indeed, likewise a matter of policy, considering the heavy expence, and the trouble attendant, to have all those dangerous diseases out of the way, previous to shipping the children for England; where they might else, on landing, be carried off by them, thus rendering all their parents’ anxiety, and possibly their ill-spared disbursements, of no avail.

Vaccination was expected to have made a very powerful impression on the Hindus, who, it was supposed, would eagerly embrace a preventive arising from that animal, held so sacred by their whole sect. It was, nevertheless, found extremely difficult to induce the Bramins to adopt a practice obviously so beneficial to mankind, although the latitude was thereby given them of augmenting the attributes of their 471idol, and to claim a preference in its behalf, even over the whole of the Christian world. Those who were sanguine in their expectations, of vaccination being instantly adopted among the Hindus at large, had entirely forgot, that the people did not possess the smallest liberty, either of conscience, or of conduct: they forgot that the priesthood had become possessed of the most arbitrary power, over the minds of their peaceful and timid communicants; and, that the practice of inoculation was prescriptively confined to that priesthood: further, that, notwithstanding the veneration in which the cow was held among them, a serious objection existed, on account of the matter being taken from any but a Hindu of the highest cast.

The vaccine inoculation was effected with great difficulty in India; an immense number of experiments failed, chiefly owing to the virus having been destroyed on the way from Constantinople, whence matter was repeatedly forwarded by Lord Elgin to Dr. Short, at Bagdad. A whole year was passed under the most mortifying disappointments; but in June, 1802, a successful inoculation was made at Bombay, on a healthy child, about three years of age; which furnished a supply for every port of India. By shipping several children, who had never experienced the variolous inoculation, a succession of subjects was happily secured, 472which enabled Dr. Anderson to transmit the blessings afforded by this mitigated disease, even to Port Jackson. The greatest apprehensions entertained, arose from the danger of not being always provided with a succession of infective matter; for it was soon discovered, that the virus was highly volatile, and often made its escape in conveying the pus from one house to another. This, added to the necessity, which soon became apparent, for the formation of some depôt, and for the establishment of certain principles necessary towards the desired success, caused the Governor-General to nominate Mr. William Russell, of the Bengal Medical List, whose abilities and zeal peculiarly qualified him, to the important situation of Superintendant of the Vaccine Institution. A series of ill health, which ultimately compelled that gentleman to return to Europe, caused the records of the first months to be somewhat inaccurate, notwithstanding every exertion on his part. His assiduity, however, enabled him to register almost every child, born of European parents, at that time in the settlement, among those who received this benign and inoffensive substitute for the most malignant, loathsome, and fatal disease that ever afflicted the human race.

In aid of what was doing at the Presidency, several of the surgeons attached to the civil 473stations, and to divisions of the army serving at great distances, and in various directions, were interested to promulgate the happy issue of what had been attempted by Mr. Russell, and by his successor, Mr. Shoolbred, Surgeon to the Native Hospital. Nevertheless, notwithstanding such excellent precautions, the matter was at times very nearly extinct; more than once the establishments at the several country stations were completely destitute, and were obliged to obtain a fresh supply from the Presidency: however, during the first eighteen months, no less than 11,166 persons were vaccinated; a matter of great importance, when it is considered, that, in India, at least one in sixty dies of those inoculated with the small-pox. About the year 1787, an order had been issued, that all the European soldiers in the Company’s service, who bore no marks of having had the disease, should be inoculated, and be lodged in the Artillery Hospital at Dum Dum. A few years after, (the former operation having proved highly successful,) the order was repeated; the result was, however, very unfavorable; as full one-sixth of the patients were carried off. It is to be hoped, that, in due time, when the natives at large may be thoroughly convinced of the security afforded by vaccination, the small-pox will be but little known. Its communication by insertion being 474now very strictly prohibited in Calcutta, and its neighbourhood, will, no doubt, pave the way for the progress of vaccination, and weaken the influence of the Bramins, who are interested in variolous inoculation. It is singular, that, at the very moment when this crafty tribe were endeavoring to depreciate, or rather to explode, vaccination, there started up among them a claim to the knowledge, and practice, of the latter at Bareilly, where inoculation was almost unknown. An attempt was made to prove, on the authority of a very ancient Sanscrit book, entitled, ‘Sud’has Angraha,’ and written by a physician, whose name was Mahadeva, that vaccination was practised in India many centuries back. On examining other copies of the work, it was found, that the passage quoted from that produced at Bareilly was wanting; this, added to other circumstances, rendered the tale rather doubtful, and led to such an investigation as proved fatal to the imposition.

It is a great pity the deception was ever discovered; since nothing could have aided the views of government better, than the testimony of such an ancient authority, of the practice having been formerly common in Hindostan! We were certainly wrong in publishing that refutation, which deprived us of the best weapon we could have employed for the extension 475of our pursuit. In lieu of decrying the work in question, as ‘an impudent forgery, interpolated into a Sanscrit-book, by one of those frauds so commonly, and so dexterously, committed by the Hindu literati, for the purpose of supporting the claims of the Bramins to the prior possession of all kinds of science,’ we ought to have assented fully to that imposition; allowing the priests to enjoy the supposed antiquity of their knowledge, and contenting ourselves with the contemplation of those immense benefits produced by the concurrence in, or adoption of, our practice, by those infatuated foster-fathers. But the struggle for reputation caused us to quit our hold, in the most impolitic, and thoughtless manner!

It may not be unpleasing to my readers, to be informed as to the manner in which the Bramins, or Hindu priests, who are the only persons of that sect allowed to inoculate, perform the operation: the following extract from Mr. Shoolbred’s treatise shews, that no alteration has taken place since Mr. Holwell, from whom Mr. S. quotes, gave the public an account of their practice, viz.

‘Inoculation is performed in Hindostan by a particular tribe of Bramins, who are delegated annually for this service, from the different colleges of Bindoobund, Allahabas, Benares, &c., over all the distant provinces. Dividing themselves 476into small parties, of three or four each, they plan their travelling circuits in such wise, as to arrive at the places of their respective destinations some weeks before the usual return of the disease. They arrive commonly in the Bengal provinces early in February; although, in some years, they do not begin to inoculate before March, deferring it until they consider the state of the season, and acquire information of the state of the distemper. The inhabitants of Bengal, knowing the usual time when the inoculating Bramins annually return, observe strictly the regimen enjoined, whether they determine to be inoculated or not: this precaution consists only in abstaining for a month from fish, milk, and ghee (a kind of butter, made generally from buffalo’s milk). The prohibition of fish relates only to the native Portugueze and Mahomedans, who abound in every province of the empire. When the Bramins begin to inoculate, they pass from house to house, and operate at the door, refusing to inoculate any who have not, on a strict scrutiny, duly observed the preparatory course enjoined them. It is no uncommon thing for them to ask the parent how many pocks they choose the children should have. They inoculate indifferently on any part, but, if left to their choice, they prefer the outside of the arm, midway between the wrist and the elbow, and 477the shoulders of females. Previous to the operation, the Bramin takes a piece of cloth in his hand, (which, if the family is opulent, becomes his perquisite,) and with it gives a dry friction on the part intended for inoculation, for the space of eight or ten minutes; then, with a small instrument, he wounds by many slight touches, about the compass of a silver groat, just causing the smallest appearance of blood. Then opening a double linen rag, which he always keeps in a cloth round his waist, he thence takes a small pledget of cotton, charged with the variolous matter, which he moistens with two or three drops of the Ganges water, and applies to the wound; fixing it on with a slight bandage, and ordering it to remain on for six hours without being moved: the bandage is after that time taken off, but the pledget remains until it falls off of itself. The cotton, which he preserves in a double calico rag, is saturated with matter from the inoculated pustules of the preceding year; for they never inoculate with fresh matter, nor with matter from the disease caught in the natural way, however distinct and mild the species. Early in the morning succeeding the operation, four pots, containing about two gallons each, of cold water, are ordered to be thrown over the patient from the head downwards, and to be repeated every morning and evening, until the fever comes on, 478which usually is about the close of the sixth day from the inoculation, then to desist until the appearance of the eruption, (about three days,) and afterwards to pursue the cold bathing, as before, through the course of the disease, and until the scabs of the pustules drop off. They are ordered to open all the pustules with a sharp-pointed thorn, so soon as they begin to change their color, and whilst the matter continues in a fluid state. Confinement to the house is absolutely forbidden; and the inoculated are to be exposed to every air that blows; the utmost indulgence they are allowed, when the fever comes on, is, to be laid on a mat at the door. Their regimen is to consist of all the refrigerating things the climate and the season produce; as plantains, sugar-canes, water-melons, rice, gruel made of white poppy seeds, and cold water, or thin rice gruel, for their ordinary drink. These instructions being given, and an injunction laid on the patients to make a thanksgiving, (poojah,) or offering to the goddess, on their recovery, the operator takes his fee, which, from a poor person, is a punn of cowries, (in number eighty, and in value about a half-penny,) and goes on to another door, down one side of the street, and up the other; and is thus employed from morning till night, inoculating sometimes eight or ten in a house.’

Mr. Shoolbred observes, on the authority of 479Mr. Glass, the surgeon at Boglepore, that, in that district, inoculation is performed by the lowest casts. This is certainly true among the Pahariahs, or Hill people, inhabiting that mountainous country lying between Boglepore and Nagpore. There, inoculation is performed in a very rough manner, merely by means of a blunt instrument, which, with some labor to the operator, and abundance of pain to the patient, is made to draw blood: the matter is then rubbed in with the finger!

These same Pahariahs perform other surgical operations in the rudest way, but with most extraordinary success; thus, they cut capons with a blunt clasp knife, made of iron; which, having a ring passed through the butt of the haft, or sheath, is always suspended by a cord passing round the waist. With this instrument, they make the necessary incision, so as to introduce a finger; when, having extracted the testes, the wound is rubbed with a little ghee and turmeric, and almost invariably heals in a very few days. It may be considered curious, that among the D’hangahs, (as the people who appear to be the aborigines of Tamar, Chittrah, Puchate, are designated,) very few instances, in proportion to the bulk of their population, are to be found, of persons marked with the small pox; I should be disposed to attribute this entirely to the simplicity of their manner of living; in which 480plain rice, with a few vegetables, stewed, much the same as for a curry, but without its catalogue of spices, compose the ordinary bill of fare. It cannot be owing to any thing favorable in the climate, which is peculiarly unhealthy.

The hospital for the reception of natives requiring surgical assistance, now supported in Calcutta by voluntary contribution, was founded about the year 1793; before which time, those unfortunate persons who met with accidents had no asylum, wherein they could find either solace or remedy. The establishment is, as yet, rather limitted; but, it is to be hoped, will, in the course of a few years, rise superior to the disadvantages under which it labors, in consequence of the great expence incurred in lodging the patients, many of whom labor under complaints purely clinical; contrary to the first intention, and indeed, to the first proposal for such a charity, which was started about 1791, in a letter published in ‘the World,’ (a Calcutta weekly paper,) addressed to the Reverend ——— Owen, one of the chaplains at the Presidency.

In that letter was suggested the expediency of causing all those deformed persons who infest the streets of Calcutta, in quest of eleemosynary aid, to be sent to some hospital, which should likewise accommodate such natives as might be injured by accidents within the city. The 481proposal was founded on the peremptory necessity for conducting all upon the cheapest plan; and contained a calculation of the expences incident to the construction of thatched ranges of huts, similar to barracks, to be erected on a piece of ground to be granted by government for that purpose. The whole expence, it appeared, would not have amounted to more than £1,500., or £2,000. yearly, yet full accommodation, and subsistence, would have been afforded for three hundred patients.

The idea of permanence, which is usually supposed to carry with it cheapness, was, I understand, the plea for deviating from the proposed economical estimate: the consequence has been, that the number of patients is extremely limitted. That original expence will, in most countries, be found far cheaper than a flimsy beginning attended with constant demands for repair, cannot be doubted; but, where there is no capital, at least a very small one, it is absurd to act upon the former scale; since it must, of necessity, counteract the whole intention. Further, we should consider local circumstances: thus, in Calcutta, the same money that will cover in accommodations for a thousand persons, under a substantial thatch, laid over mud, or mat walls, adequate to the ordinary purposes of the inhabitants at large, and similar to at least ninety-nine in the 482hundred, of those habitations which shelter the bulk of the population; would not suffice to provide fifty, of the same description, with apartments formed of masonry, timber, &c., according to the scale on which Europeans build houses for their own residence, within that city. It is likewise a well-known fact, that, what is called a puckah-house, that is, one built of bricks, lime, and timber, will, at the end of ten years, cost as much in repairs, as the thatched edifices built for an equal number of inhabitants. This being the case, it will forcibly strike the reader, that, in departing from the original suggestion, the managers likewise departed from the best principle.

It has been vain-gloriously asserted, within my hearing, by many natives, that, although the institution in question was founded by Europeans, yet, that it has been principally upheld by the liberality of opulent natives. This may, perhaps, be in some measure correct; allowing it, however, to be so to the fullest extent, I cannot see that the natives have done more than an ordinary duty, in affording assistance to their own countrymen, and that too, after being urged, or guided, to the measure; while, on the other hand, the European inhabitants may certainly claim the palm, both as original founders, and subsequent benefactors, in a case, where their own countrymen were not to be 483benefitted. The present state of the funds is not the most flourishing; and its utility is too great to allow its falling from deficiency of means. Would it not be advisable, to collect a very small assessment at every house inhabited by a native within the Maharrattah Ditch, (which limits the jurisdiction of the police,) either according to extent, or to its rent? This assessment should be paid into the hands of the magistrates, to be by them disbursed, according to proper regulations, through the medium of native agents, to be elected annually by all who should contribute either a certain gross sum, or by regular yearly donation, towards the support of the institution. This would produce a stabile, and adequate, revenue; while it would likewise induce many natives, some from pride, others from hope, and a few from fear, to add their mites to such as should result from that spontaneous flow of genuine humanity, with which the Hindu code is replete; and, of which the Hindus at large make so great a boast. Possibly the day is not far off, when, in lieu of building immense houses, richly endowed, for the maintenance of an idle, haughty, ignorant, and insolent, gang of priests, some rich natives, reflecting on the want of their more industrious, and more meritorious, poor, may bequeath liberally towards the formation of such establishments, as may rescue them from that 484variety of sufferings, to which they become subjected, by the accumulation of years, the visitations of disease, and the pressure of misfortune!

The style of building in use among the natives, is very different from what we should expect to find adopted in so hot a climate; experience is, however, in its favor, and sanctions that which, no doubt, resulted from observation, more than from experiment. The walls of such edifices as are intended to be permanent, are usually constructed of mud; which, being laid in strata, of perhaps 18 or 20 inches in depth, each being suffered to dry before another stratum is added above, becomes extremely firm, and far more durable, though not quite so neat, as unburnt bricks laid in mud cement. The thickness of the wall is proportioned to the intended height; probably about 26, to 30, inches at the base, may be considered a fair average; tapering above to about three fourths of the breadth below. I have seen some bungalows run up with mud walls, which, after being chipped down to an uniform thickness, and properly plastered with fine sand, mixed with chaff, were neat enough: but all mud walls invariably crack considerably while drying; consequently, are apt to harbor centipedes, scorpions, and even snakes, within their fissures. This is a most serious defect; completely counter-balancing the advantages 485obtained, by that facility and cheapness with which they can be run up to a great height, provided due attention be paid to the perpendicular.

Few of the peasantry, even though possessing some property, carry their walls higher than 8 or 10 feet; indeed, the generality of huts may be set down at 7 feet exteriorly, though they will rise near a cubit more inwardly, when filled up to the under part of the thatch. It is rare to see any window in the front; and, in such as have enclosed areas, (by us called ‘compounds,’ but by the natives designated ‘ungnahs’,) the cricky, or door, which is always very low, obliging even short persons to stoop considerably, is commonly in some part of the environing wall, and partly concealed by an angle, so as to preclude the possibility of seeing any thing of the interior when the door is thrown open. Every door has a frame, composed of strong wood, of which the side pieces, or uprights, are tenoned into mortices, made in the threshold and the upper limb. The superincumbent part of the edifice is supported by a strong plank, or by several pieces of timber, laid parallel, and secured by thorough-pins, for the whole breadth of the wall. No arch is turned to keep off the dead pressure of the enormous weight, that, in many instances, is thus borne up entirely by the door-plate. On the top of the wall, a stout piece of timber is laid, whenever the rafters are 486fastened, each by one or more nails, but projecting at least a foot beyond the exterior, for the purpose of sustaining the thatch, which is made to hang over, with the intention to throw off the rain, that, falling in torrents during many months, would else wash away the mud, and endanqer the building.

The thatches are usually made of the kuss, or common wild grass, whose roots furnish that fibrous substance called kuss-kuss, already spoken of while describing the formation of tatties. Immense plains are covered with this kind of grass, glowing commonly about two or three feet high: though, in some places, it may be seen full five feet; serving as an asylum for every species of game; causing many gentlemen, on first entering the country, to admire, what they at first take to be ‘the prodigious fine crops of hay.’ It is commonly burnt down every year during the hot season, when perfectly dry: the ashes thus tendered to the soil, being washed in by the succeeding rains, occasion the grass to shoot forth, from the apparent ruin, with incredible freshness and vigor! At such times, nothing can be more acceptable to the herds, which, during the preceding months, are often obliged to be sent to great distances, where a little herbage may be found; or they are, perhaps, subsisted upon chaff made from straw, millet-stalks, and the refuse of the thrashing floor. For 487several months, the grass in question is relished by every description of cattle; but, after the sun has crossed the Line, on his return to the opposite tropic, it becomes harsh and dry, proving so injurious to their mouths as to cause their rejecting it, except when severely oppressed by hunger.

From the end of February, probably to the setting in of the rains in June, great numbers of persons are employed in cutting the kuss, or khur, as it is indiscriminately called, with a kind of sickle, and tying it up into haunties, (or handfuls,) usually about six inches thick. These are conveyed on hackeries to the several markets, and especially to the military cantonments, where they sell at various prices, according to the distance they may have been conveyed, the scarcity or abundance of the article, the time of the year, and the pressure of the demand. From 1000 to 1200 bundles for a rupee, may be taken as a fair medium; though, during the rains, when thatches must often be made, or replaced, cost what they may, I have often known them sold at a rupee for every hundred: on the contrary, they are often so cheap as 3000, or even 4000, for that sum. The manner of constructing a thatch according to the best principle, both for neatness and durability, is as follows. The whole side of the building, intended to be covered in, is measured, and that measurement is 488exactly represented on some level spot, by means of four cords, fastened to as many stakes; which thus exhibit the form and extent of the thatch to be constructed. Each side of a quadrangular, or other building, must be thus laid down. All hands set to work in placing either whole bamboos of the large kind, or bundles of three and four of the small kind, parallel, and about a foot asunder; all directed by the base line, towards which they stand at right angles; so that, when ready, they would be in the same line with the fall of the ‘chupper,’ (or thatch). These being duly prepared, are crossed at about five, or six inches asunder, by battens of split bamboo, which are fastened down, at every intersection, with strong twine made of a finer kind of grass, called the moonje; which is very strong, especially when wetted. Each frame being thus formed, is raised into its place by the joint efforts of perhaps fifty or sixty men; some laying hold of the frame, others pushing upwards with forked poles of various lengths, thereby to facilitate the ascent, and to prevent that friction which must attend upon any continued contact between the frame, and the several ready-laid rafters on which it is to lie, and to which it is to be firmly lashed.

The several frames being duly fitted at the corners, are properly secured in their places, and to each other; after which, a slender kind 489of scaffolding is made under the eaves of the respective frames, to enable the grammies, or thatchers, to commence their operations in laying on the coating of grass. The eaves are first brought to the thickness of at least a foot, by placing very large bundles, previously well compacted, and squared at their ends, in a line between the frame, and a succession of very strong bamboo laths: each bundle is pressed as close as possible to its neighbour, and thus the whole of the lower tier is completed.

The rest of the thatch is laid on in small portions, the several bundles being spread open, and having their butts, or lower ends, compressed between two bamboo laths, which are tied in several places, so as to secure their contents perfectly. Each parcel is then handed up, and laid with the butt downwards, at about two or three inches above its lower neighbour; causing the whole thatch to appear in over-laps from bottom to top, like so many ridges, of about an inch high, and running parallel for the whole breadth of the work.

The several corners are now covered with immense trusses of refuse grass, bound very firmly together, reaching the whole extent of the angle, or gore, and full two feet in diameter. These trusses being bound down very firmly to their adjacent sides, are ultimately covered with layers of seerky, placed so as to over-lap about a foot 490above each other, and, in their turn, duly tied to the trusses: a similar truss is laid along the ridge pole. This seerky is composed of the stems of the surput, or tassel grass, which grows to the height of ten feet, or more: it is found to be a larger species of the celebrated Guinea grass, formerly introduced as a supposed novelty into the East, but which proved to be nothing more than the common bainseah, or buffalo grass, that grows wild, in the greatest luxuriance, all over Bengal. The stems of the surput, when arrived at their full size, are as thick as a swan’s quill, and bear a remarkable gloss: in the dry season they are cut, and, after being stripped of the parched remains of their leaves, are laid parallel on a board, their ends being previously brought even to a line; a long wire needle is then passed through the several stems, as they lie contiguous, leading after it a piece of packthread, which is afterwards knotted at both ends, to prevent its withdrawing either way. Four or five of these stitches are made in the same parcel of seerky; after which, it is rolled up breadthwise, for sale. Each parcel may be from two feet to a yard in breadth, and the stems composing it may be about four feet in length. The ordinary mode of selling this commodity is by the hundred pieces, for which from three to ten rupees are given, according to circumstances.

491It is perhaps singular that I should have seen seerky in use among a groupe of gypsies in Essex: in India, those itinerants, whose habits and characters correspond with this intolerable species of banditti, invariably shelter themselves under seerky; which, being remarkably light, and, when doubled or trebled, completely water-proof, enables them to construct a very comfortable cabin in a few minutes. It often happens, during the rainy season, that part of a thatch sinks, or rots, and admits the passage of water to the interior; in such case, a piece of seerky, properly placed, causes the water to flow over the defect: when that article cannot be had, it is found expedient to throw a few pecks of chaff, or straw cut very small, upon those parts requiring relief; the chaff is drawn in by the percolating fluid, but, being obstructed in its passage, swells in consequence of the continued moisture, and thus, in a short time, usually stops the leaks. The mode of putting on a thatch above described, is confined to certain parts of the country; in other places, they put the grass on in a reversed position, as we do our wheat stubble thatches, the part which grew uppermost being placed lowest. But throughout the country, all thatching is done horizontally, and not vertically, as among us: the Indian thatcher begins at the bottom; whereas we commence at the side of a thatch: we thatch with skewers 492and rods of hazel, &c.; they with bamboo laths and twine made of grass; the latter being passed to and fro by means of long needles, made extemporaneously of bamboo, &c.

The doors used by the natives are generally made of such wood as the neighbouring country may afford, and consist of a few vertical planks, kept together by two, or more, horizontal battens; the fastenings are, for the most part, made by staples and hooks, into which strong wooden bars slip, and unslip, with ease. The windows are always very small, perhaps not more than two feet square, and are closed by means of wooden shutters, having exteriorly a jaump, made of bamboo battens and mats; which, being firmly put together, and suspended at their upper borders by hooks, or rings, fastened into the wall, or into the wooden plate covering the aperture, may be raised, as though on hinges, to any desired elevation, and preserved therein, by bamboo stilts, made either with forked ends, or having small blocks of wood nailed to them, to prevent their points from passing through the mats. The same kind of defence is used for doors in general, but of a much larger size than for windows; when raised, they certainly are extremely useful in keeping off the sun and rain; when lowered, so as to lie parallel with, and close to, the wall, they are an admirable defence against wind and 493dust; though both will find their way through the several small apertures in sufficient quantity to prove highly unpleasant at certain times. In houses constructed by the natives, the windows are placed very high up; sometimes scarcely allowing a person to look out. This is done for the sake both of privacy, and of coolness; as the rarefied air is better enabled to make its escape, than when the apertures are low. Thus, most of the houses built by the French at Chandernagore, &c. are far cooler than those formerly built in Calcutta; owing to the windows of the former being carried nearly to the tops of the rooms, while the latter have often seven or eight feet of wall above them. It has several times happened, that persons sent up to work at the timbers supporting the flat roof above, have fallen from their ladders, or scaffolds, in consequence of the air in the upper part of the room being unfit for respiration. As to chimnies, they are utterly unknown among the natives: though, in some cottages, an aperture is left for the escape of smoke, but rather by neglect than by design. The smoke must escape when and how it can; but, it does not incommode a native a thousandth part so much as it does an European, who must suffer some inconvenience at the best of times, when a fire is lighted within the sitting room; but, when green wood is put on, the latter cannot stand 494its effects. The former will, even at such moments, often be seen smoking his goorgoory, as though the atmosphere were not sufficiently burthened with fuliginous particles to amuse his lungs. Victuals are rarely cooked within the house, when the weather permits of that operation being performed in the open air; indeed, few persons, who are not extremely poor, are without some little shed, under which it may be carried on at all times.

The exterior surface of the wall is rarely plastered, even with mud; it being an object to preserve it rough, in order that the large cakes of cow-dung, intended for fuel, may be stuck up against them, and there be thoroughly dried by the sun; which is generally effected, in exposed situations, and in fair weather, in one, or two, days, at the utmost. These cakes, called gutties, burn admirably well; making a fire not unlike that resulting from good peat. The interior is usually smoothed all the way up, or at least for about three feet from the floor, and smeared with a solution of cow-dung, as is the floor itself, which is rarely made of any thing but clay, well rammed down, or perhaps of tarras; but, the latter is too costly for most individuals, and, though indicating riches, does not give so much satisfaction to the proprietor. In some houses, a few joists of rough wood are thrown across from the top of one, to that 495of the other, wall; perhaps at a yard or more asunder: some few instances may be adduced, perhaps, in each village of note, of a slight kind of flooring, either of rough planks, not fitted together, or of bamboo laths, being made above the joists, for the accommodation of luggage, or for the dormitory of some of the family; but, with such exceptions, the only use made of the upper part is for the lodgement of brush-wood, bamboo poles, ladders, farming utensils, mats, nets, &c. &c., according to the occupant’s profession.

The private apartments are commonly separate from what we should call the ‘keeping room,’ and have a separate entrance, if under the same roof; it is, however, very common to allot some detached building, having a compound divided off, and perfectly sequestered from the other accommodations, set apart for the zenanah, or female part of the family. The horses, oxen, cows, &c., are commonly picketted out in the open air when the weather permits; having a large trough of mud to receive their chaff. During great heats, or heavy rains, they are sheltered under sheds made for that purpose, and for the preservation of the palanquin, dooly, r’hut, or other vehicle the occupant may possess. Sometimes the kine are kept under the same roof with the major-domo, and all his family. Candles are not used in the houses of the 496natives, especially of the Hindus, who would consider the presence of a lump of tallow within their areas, as sufficient to pollute whatever they might contain. All use oil, which, being poured into a small earthen vessel, nearly in the shape of a heart, or of a peepul leaf, called a churraug, is placed in one of the numerous niches made in every wall, at perhaps four feet above the floor: the wicks are chiefly made of slips of rag, about a foot long, rolled up to the thickness of a goose-quill. For more immediate use, the churraug is often placed on a stem of wood, having a broad base, or a cross, to support it, and a small block at its summit, hollowed out to receive the bottom of the lamp. Some use brass apparatus, and, in a very few instances, the stems, or pillars, are made with a slide, so as to vary the height of the churraug; which, in such case, assumes the more dignified appellation of pilsoze: the ordinary height of the lamp from the floor, including the plinth, pillar, and capital, may be from twenty to twenty-six inches. Snuffers are unknown; their place is sometimes supplied by the fingers, but more generally by a pair of scissors, or a pair of duspannahs, (i.e. tongs,) such as are used by hookah-burdars. The oil in use for lamps is that already spoken of, extracted from the sesamum, of which the refuse cake is given to favorite oxen, &c.

Although charpoys, or small beds, are in use 497among all classes, the generality prefer sleeping on mats, which are infinitely cooler than any beddings. The whole of the apparatus for a dormitory may be comprised in a very short catalogue; namely, a durmah-mat, made from coarse reeds split open and laid flat, with the glossy surface uppermost; perhaps a satrinje, or small cotton carpet, a chudder, or sheet, to wrap round the body, and a tuckeah, or pillow, stuffed very hard. In cold weather, a goodry, or quilt; perhaps, indeed, two, may be added. Curtains are out of the question, as are all those paraphernalia which luxury has introduced among us. A peek-daun, or spitting pot, made generally of phool, which is a very tolerable kind of tutenagne, is always placed at the bed side, and is ever resorted to when chewing the pawn, or beetle. The vine bearing the aromatic leaf so called, is most carefully cultivated in many parts of the country; the whole being supported on trellisses made of reeds, and small bamboos, to the height of about five feet. The situation must be very dry; hence, the banks of old tanks, and other such elevated sites, are chosen for cultivating the pawn, of which it is said a bigah will produce, in the vicinity of any populous city, full two hundred rupees yearly; provided the vines be of the sunҫhah, or true sort; which is easily known by the yellowness of the borders, and ramifications, of the leaf. This species is 498far more pleasant to the palate than the common green kind; which is, besides, tough, and possesses a certain acrid quality.

Beetle, or pawn, is prepared by carefully picking out any defects in the leaves, and by removing the stalks up to their very centres; four or five leaves are then laid one above the other, when the upper one is smeared with shell-lime, a little moistened with water. The seeds of the elatchee, or cardamom, are added, together with about the fourth part of a beetle-nut, (that is, of the areca,) and, the whole being lapped up by folding the leaves over their contents, the little packet is kept together in its due form, which is usually triangular, by means of a slice of beetle-nut, cut into a thin wedge, so as to transfix it completely. It is common to see a whole family partaking of pawns, the chewing of which occasions the saliva to be tinctured as red as blood: they certainly are fragrant, and excellent stomachics; but their too frequent use produces costiveness, which, in that climate, ever induces serious illness.

The saliva will not be tinctured, if the chunam, (i.e. the lime,) be omitted; hence, it is evident that the alkali produces the color from the juices contained in the pawn. The color thus obtained does not stain linen. Some use the k’hut, which is the same as our Terra Japonica, and is 499procured by bleeding various kinds of trees, principally the mimosa, abounding in most of the jungles (or wildernesses): a small quantity, about the size of a pea, broken into several pieces, is mixed with the other ingredients, before the leaves are lapped over, and transfixed with the spike of beetle, or, perhaps, with a clove. The k’hut is not, in my opinion, any thing in favor of the pawn, and certainly adds to that noxious quality above mentioned. Some persons attribute the blackness of the teeth, in both males and females, throughout India, to the use of pawn; under the opinion, that the discoloration is effected by the lime blended therein. Such is, however, wide of the fact: pawn is found to be highly favorable to the gums, when the lime is omitted; and so sensible are those who chew it of the bad effects produced by the alkali upon the enamel of the teeth, that, in order to preserve them from corrosion, they rub them frequently with the preparation called missy; thereby coating them with that black substance which does not readily give way, even to the most powerful dentifrice. I strongly suspect, however, that, in thus shielding the teeth from the alkali, some injury is done to the enamel by the supposed preservative; though by no means to that extent the former would speedily effect, but for the use of missy. The natives only chew the pawn, rejecting the 500masticated ingredients when their flavor has been extracted; some reject even the saliva tinctured by the pawn, spitting it out into the peek-daun. A few, not content with the compound already described, absolutely mix tobacco, previously reduced to a coarse powder, by rubbing the dried leaves with the thumb in the hollow of the other hand! One would think that ‘potent weed’ must supersede all its companions, and cause them to be as little tasted, as though they had not been crowded into the jumble of flavors.

I have already explained, that earthen pipes, such as those we call ‘Dutch pipes’, are not known in India; but that the hookah, kaleaun, and goorgoory, are in general use, among the several classes respectively. The lowest classes of Europeans, as also of the natives, and, indeed, most of the officers of country-ships, frequently smoke cheroots, exactly corresponding with the Spanish segar, though usually made rather more bulky. However fragrant the smokers themselves may consider cheroots, those who use hookahs, hold them to be not only vulgar, but intolerable! Hence, we sometimes see a whole congregation of the latter put to the route by some one unlucky visitor, who, either from ignorance, of from disregard to the feelings of his more delicate participators in ‘the cloudy regale’, mounts his cheroot; thus 501abrogating all distinctions of musk, cinnamon, rose-water, &c. in a trice.

The natives smoke cheroots without any precaution whatever to guard the lips and teeth from the highly acidulated fumes derived from the burning tobacco, but when, as has sometimes been the case, cheroots were brought into fashion, though but for a while, it was found expedient to have small silver or earthen sockets made, to receive the end of the cheroot; thereby avoiding contact with the tobacco.

The natives, whether male or female, never use any sort of dentifrice, nor have they any idea of hair-brushes; which could not, indeed, according to their tenets, be admitted within the mouth. The only apparatus employed for cleaning the teeth, is a short piece of stick, commonly the branch of some bush, pulled at the moment for the occasion: this is either beat or chewed, for a short time, until the fibres, for about half an inch at the end, separate, and form a kind of stiff brush, which is applied at right angles to the teeth. This is not a very delicate implement, but, when aided by a plentiful supply of water, answers tolerably well; though it certainly can never prevent the accumulation of tartar within the teeth. Necessity has made me sometimes use the dauntwun, as it is called, but not without leaving considerable soreness about my gums.

502The ladies of Hindostan smoke their goorgoories in very high stile; as do those of inferior rank their nereauls, or cocoa-nuts, with no less glee. It would, perhaps, be difficult to decide which of the sexes were most addicted to this habit: they both begin at a very early age, and are never so happy as when engaged in its practice. After a while, we become reconciled to seeing females smoking; though I must confess, that, however delicate the preparation of the tobacco may be, and however elegant the apparatus, still a certain idea, not very conformable to feminine propriety, creeps into our minds, when we see an European lady thus employed. We revolt at a habit not authorized by what we have been accustomed to in our early youth, and consider it an intrusion upon masculine characteristics. Several ladies have gone yet further, by adopting the entire costume of the natives; a circumstance which, however gratifying it may have been to themselves, by no means raised them in the estimation of those whom they imitated; while, at the same time, it gave birth to opinions, and occasionally to experiments, by no means favorable to their reputation. The same kind of ridicule attaches equally to gentlemen, who at times allow their whiskers to grow, and who wear turbans, &c., in imitation of the Mussulmans of distinction. Their countrymen, though 503perhaps tacitly, censure such imitations, when arising from caprice; and the Mussulmans regard these renegadoes in costume much the same as we do such of the natives, as, being smitten with our general character, and partaking of our pastimes, lay aside their appropriate garments in favor of jackets, jockey-caps, boots, and leather inexpressibles! Some, indeed, do more; they sit at table, and devour, with no small degree of eagerness, the viands prepared according to English fashion; washing them down with copious libations of Claret and Madeira, to the utter degradation of their persons, and reputation, in the eyes both of their new, and of their old, companions.

But there is a certain happiness apparently attendant upon this species of infatuation; what is lost in public opinion being invariably gained in self-sufficiency; while every little ironical compliment is construed into superlative eulogium. The present Nabob Vizier of Oude, Saadut Ali, many years ago, when compelled to reside at the Presidency, under serveillance of the Bengal government, in consequence of the jealousy entertained by his brother, the late Asoph ul Dowlah, affected to enter upon this kind of apostacy. I believe, every one saw through the veil, though he hunted with fox-hounds in our style, and assimilated in many other points; but the essentials were carefully preserved 504from metamorphosis. Many characters, such as I have described, could be quoted, but the most particularly appropriate to my subject is that of Mirza Abu Taleb Khan, who embarked in the same ship with me, for the purpose of proceeding from Bengal to England, where he was at first received as a general and prince; merely owing to an empty title conferred on him at the Nabob Vizier’s court, about as important as that of a Windsor Knight. This hero did not, it is true, adopt our costume altogether, though he became a kind of ‘half and half, like the sea-calf at Sir Ashton’s;’ but he had the impudence to assert, that his paltry lodgings in Gresse-Street, (above all places under the sun,) were graced by the nocturnal visits of several Peeresses of the most exalted character; many of whose names he most scandalously, and ungratefully, disclosed! I say, ungratefully, because it was impossible for me to believe that ladies of such character could have stooped to such conduct; although, in consequence of suitable introductions, they had received him at their houses in that hospitable manner ever adopted in favor of respectable foreigners. The Mirza, very probably, may have been imposed upon by some low women, who made him the Falstaff of their drama; and, by assuming the titles of our nobility, flattered his vanity to an extreme! Yet, supposing this to 505have been the fact, how are we to find an apology for that open boast he made of the supposed intimacy! But vanity was his motto; he studied singularity in many instances; he studied also celebrity; and would willingly have impressed us with an opinion, that, from Hafiz down to the Plenipo’, his abilities were triumphant. Let us compare him with the former, whose poetry charmed his countrymen!

Sweet maid, if thou wouldst charm my sight,
And bid these arms thy neck infold;
That rosy cheek, that lily hand
Would give thy poet more delight
Than all Boҫara’s vaunted gold,
Than all the gems of Samarcand.
Boy, let yon[A] liquid ruby flow,
And bid thy pensive heart be glad,
Whate’er the frowning zealots say:
Tell them their Eden cannot show
A stream so clear as Rocnabad,
A bow’r so sweet as Moselláy.
Oh! when these fair, perfidious maids,
Whose eyes our secret haunts infest,
Their dear destructive charms display,
Each glance my tender breast invades,
And robs my wounded soul of rest,
As Tartars seize their destin’d prey.
506In vain with love our bosoms glow;
Can all our tears, can all our sighs
New lustre to those charms impart?
Can cheeks, where living roses blow,
Where nature spreads her richest dies,
Require the borrow’d gloss of art?
Speak not of fate—ah! change the theme,
And talk of odours, talk of wine,
Talk of the flow’rs that round us bloom:
’Tis all a cloud, ’tis all a dream;
To love and joy thy thoughts confine,
Nor hope to pierce the sacred gloom.
Beauty has such resistless pow’r,
That ev’n the chaste Egyptian dame [B]
Sigh’d for the blooming Hebrew boy:
For her how fatal was the hour,
When to the banks of Nilus came
[C] A youth so lovely and so coy!
But ah! sweet maid, my counsel hear,
(Youth shall attend when those advise
Whom long experience renders sage);
While music charms the ravish’d ear,
While sparkling cups delight our eyes
Be gay; and scorn the frowns of age.
What cruel answer I have heard!
And yet, by heav’n, I love thee still:
Can aught be cruel from thy lip?
Yet say, how fell that bitter word
From lips which streams of sweetness fill,
Which nought but drops of honey sip?
507Go boldly forth, my simple lay,
Whose accents flow with artless ease,
Like orient pearls at random strung;
Thy notes are sweet, the damsels say,
But oh, far sweeter, if they please
The nymph for whom these notes are sung!

A. A melted ruby is a common periphrasis for wine in the Persian poetry. See Hafiz, ode 22.

B. Zoleikha, Potiphar’s wife.

C. Joseph.

Now for my friend, the Mirza; who while in England, published a small collection of poetry he had addressed, in the Persian language, (most ably translated by George Swinton, Esq.) to a young lady, of whom we are to suppose he was deeply enamoured. In this rhodomontade, which conforms exactly with Indian hyperbole, there are certainly some figures which cannot fail to strike an European; yet are they mere common-place expressions, familiar to every native who has been introduced to that labyrinth of poetical absurdity, so delectable among Asiatics.

Take the following extracts from the poems at large, as a specimen of the author’s talents.

Praise of her Ornaments
‘Upon this ear hangs a cloud surcharg’d with lightning;
Or is it Venus sits enthroned in her ear-ring?
On that ear, behold Jupiter augments her beauty;
In one morning who ever saw both constellations?
Since the lobe of the ear is the polar-star of the world of elegance,
Her ear-rings are the Greater and Lesser Bears which revolve around!’

508Here we have fustian for metaphor, and a most un-astronomical dissertation on Jupiters, Venuses, Polar-Stars of elegance, together with big and little Bears revolving around them! How will Herschell stare when he reads of this new system!

Praise of her gait and stature.
‘From the extreme fineness of her waist,
The shadow of her ringlets is a burthen to her stature.
Her stature is a cypress when she walks,
But it bears, however, the fruit of seedless pomegranates.
She moves more gracefully than the water of life.
Like me, the pheasant and partridge are lost in astonishment.
Although she should tread on the pismire at her feet,
Its smallest hair would receive no injury.
Yes, it is for this that she treads so lightly,
Under every step lie a hundred souls!’

The following may be considered the very acmé of absurdity!

‘When they wash’d pearls and the moon pure
With BIRDS’ MILK, they have modell’d the globes of her breast!’

And again,

‘Her chin is not an apple of the garden,
It is a WELL full of the water of life!’

And, once more, again,

‘Her lip demands tribute from sugar-candy,
The BLOOD OF WINE is its only nourishment!’

509Why, really, if some other parts of the work did not assure us that the object of adoration possessed every virtue, and every agreeable quality, the world might be induced, by the foregoing lines, to consider her a most incorrigible toper! Let not these samples serve for all the poets of Hindostan, though they may suffice to exhibit that fantastic illusion which characterizes them in general: some authors, natives of India, have afforded proofs of genius, such as leave us to lament that their talents were not duly cultivated and patronized. The following little canzonet, translated from the poems of Yuqueen, a celebrated Hindostanee author, happens to lie open before me, seeming to offer itself for quotation. I think my readers will admit, that, though it does not indicate inspiration, yet that it breathes the spirit of pathetic numbers.

One day among the tombs I stray’d,
Where many slighted lovers lay:
A daffodil I there survey’d,
Which seem’d in grief to pine away!
Enquiring why it hung its head?
And why in grief it seem’d to pine?
‘I am the eyes of him,’ it said,
‘Who lies beneath this lowly shrine!’
Like me, sad emblems of despair,
Still seek they to behold again
That cruel, that relentless fair,
Who wrought his death by her disdain!
510It does, alas! from this appear,
That Love admits of no release;
Torments its vot’ries while they’re here,
Nor can the grave afford them peace!

Without upholding this little production as a prodigy, it may, perhaps, be safely adduced as a contrast to those beauties I have selected from the Mirza’s little book of great wonders.

The frequency of fires, occasioned by the common practice of thatching houses, has caused many regulations to be adopted, in regard to what Europeans commonly call the ‘Black Town’ at Calcutta. About twenty years ago, the principal streets were considerably widened, and the whole of the new tenements were ordered to be tiled. This created some dissatisfaction at the time, yet has not only been of great advantage to the inhabitants at large, but is now confessed, by the natives, to have been highly beneficial, both to their health, and to their convenience. Formerly, it was common to see immense piles of grass all along the banks of the river, brought thither for the purpose of supplying persons who might have occasion to thatch; of late years, however, the quantity has been considerably reduced; there being not a twentieth part of the former demand. Many of these stacks doubtless contained full 20,000, 511or 25,000 cubic feet, and would have formed a diminutive representation of the infernal regions, had they taken fire; to which accident they were subject equally with any part of the town. Owing to the cheapness of bamboos and mats, as well as to the immense value of land at Calcutta, most of the natives build their huts chiefly of those materials; the whole of the uprights, rafters, &c., being of bamboo, and the walls, partitions, &c., being of mats, supported by bamboo laths. The roofs are first covered with mats, or seerky, and then tiled, generally with that kind called nullies, which are about eight inches in length, representing the half of a truncated hollow cone, whose base may be about four inches in diameter.

These nullies are commonly laid upon roofs, at an angle of about 30° of elevation from the horizon; but the chuppers, or grass-thatches, usually are constructed at full 40°. At the military stations, where grass is invariably in use for the covering in of the cabins of the sepoys, &c. it is usual to order the surfaces of all thatches to be smeared with mud; from about November, to the setting in of the rains. Many very extensive lines owe their safety to this precaution; whereby not only are sparks prevented from communicating with the grass, which usually is as prompt as tinder in taking 512fire, but even when the thatch is partially kindled, the flames are greatly impeded, and more easily subdued.

The walls of huts being very frequently made of grass, tied in between bamboo laths; (like those fences we sometimes see put to folds in yeaning time, to keep the lambs warm during the night;) require to be well coated with mud: otherwise, they would be constantly subject to accension, in consequence of the too common practice of making the choolah, or fire-place, very near thereto; thus endangering both from the flame, and from the embers. As to putting out a fire that has once got firm hold of a plain thatch, it is a hopeless business: the only chance of saving the street, is to pull down all the neighbouring huts. This is not attended with that loss to which our European towns would be subjected by such a preventive; since, generally speaking, a very tolerable hut, fit for the accommodation of a moderate family, may be built, complete, for about the value of a guinea, or even much less.

Although water is generally at hand, there being abundance of wells, or tanks, or puddles, in the vicinity of every village, still it is deemed necessary, by gentlemen whose bungalows, &c., are contiguous to bazars, (or markets,) or to the lines of native troops, &c. where thatches are numerous, to have large vessels fastened 513along the ridge-poles of their stables, and other out-offices. These being constantly kept full of water, prove an immense aid towards the preservation of those buildings on which they are placed: since, in case of any neighbouring conflagration, it is easy for one or more persons to wet the thatch very thoroughly; or they may reserve the water until the moment of exigency, to be thrown upon any part that may be in immediate danger. If the thatch should have taken fire, so as to render it imprudent for persons to ascend to the pots, they, being rather brittle, may always be broken to pieces by throwing bricks, or clods, &c. at them. Some gentlemen adopt the precaution, above described, of plastering the thatches of their out-offices with mud; but, such a procedure is highly impolitic, in respect to edifices intended to be durable; as the white-ants never fail to visit such plastered thatches, and to destroy the grass entirely: sometimes they even eat the timbers. Tiles certainly offer greater security than thatches, but they are insufferably hot; causing every thing placed under them to warp, crack, and otherwise to perish: tiled stables are found to be very injurious to the health of cattle. The best plan I ever saw, was to have a coating of tiles, laid in mortar on a thatch; but, for such a mode of construction, very substantial timbers were requisite. This not only insured from 514fire, but from leaks also; and rendered the interior remarkably cool during the hot season.

The long continuance of the periodical rains, which often fall in torrents for whole days, and frequently keep drizzling for near a week, with little or no intermission, renders it necessary to protect all exterior walls by copings, either of tiles, or of thatch. The former mode is effected by small tiles, laid in the usual manner, but cemented with lime mortar; or by immense large ones, nearly semi-cylindrical, whose curve may measure full a yard, and whose breadth may be from fifteen to twenty inches; the thickness, perhaps, an inch and a half. These last are merely slung over the top of the wall, which is formed so as to retain them firmly, and are overlapped about two or three inches. The thatches are generally made with a double pent, each face being about a yard in depth: they are secured by being fastened together at their junction above, and by means of stakes passing through the wall; to these their eaves are tied with grass, or coarse hempen twine.

Nothing can be more uncomfortable than a leaky bungalow! The water trickles down the walls, dissolving the coat of mud, or sand plaster, and greatly disfiguring the interior. It often happens, that the outer walls are so far damaged by heavy rains, accompanied by a driving wind, as to be rendered unserviceable in the course of 515a night; the whole being completely sapped through. After such weather, the damages are frequently extensive; the walls surrounding gardens, &c. though substantially built, and duly coped, are seen to give way for scores of yards; falling with a tremendous crash. This is usually occasioned by some ditch near their bases, which, being filled by the heavy rains, that soak into the banks, in a few hours yield to the great weight on their borders. Fortunately, such damages are speedily repaired at no very great expence; a rod of wall about eight feet high, and averaging two feet in thickness, being generally built for about ten shillings: in some places for half that sum.

Most of the bungalows built by Europeans are run up with sun-dried bricks; usually of a large size, eight of them making a cubic foot; each being a foot long, six inches broad, and three inches thick. With these, in a proper state for building, work proceeds at a great rate, but much care must be taken that the mortar, that is, the slime used for cement, be of a proper consistence, and be well filled in. Bricks are generally made in wooden moulds, which, being laid on some level spot, previously swept, so as to remove stones, &c., are filled with mud; the surface is then levelled, either with the hand, or with a strike, when the mould is raised, by means of handles, and washed in a large pan of 516water, and then placed on a fresh spot, contiguous to the brick already formed. An expert laborer in this avocation, will, if duly supplied with mud, and water, make from 2000 to 2500 bricks daily of the above dimensions: it will usually require one laborer to mix the soil, one to supply water, and two hand-barrow men, to keep one brick-maker in constant work: the whole expence may be about sixteen or eighteen pence: the same quantity of work done in England would cost full as many shillings.

Some of the rauz, or bricklayers, in India, are very clever, so far as relates to mere practical operations; but they have not the smallest idea of planning from paper, or on paper; or of computing the quantities of materials, or the amount of labor. They work with a small trowel, much the same as that in use with us, and chip their bricks, whether sun-dried or burnt, with a small hammer, having either one, or both, its face, of a wedge form, and about three or four inches long from the insertion of the handle. They preserve the perpendiculars by means of a bell-shaped weight, commonly of free-stone, or of lead, or iron, to which a long cotton cord is attached, having on it a piece of wood exactly as long as the diameter of the weight’s base. This being pierced in the centre, and applied endwise to any part, preserving it, at the same time, as nearly horizontal as possible, 517points out the exact spot which is perpendicular to the corresponding edge of the weight.

Supposing a wall to be run up to any height, if the stick be applied to the upper tier of bricks, and the weight swings so as just to come in contact with the ground tier, the wall will be perpendicular. The method is simple, and the apparatus portable; therefore I may safely recommend their adoption to our workmen; especially when a large plumb-bevil is not at hand. It is true, that many of the bricklayers, employed under regular architects, may be seen to use our tools of every description; but this takes place only under such guidance: in all other instances, the native bricklayer resorts to the practices of his ancestors; though, to say the truth, they are by no means so unwilling to change for better, as the opinionated British mechanic; who, I am obliged to confess, must yield the palm for sobriety, cheapness, ingenuity, and docility, to the unlettered artisan of the East. Nevertheless, I am sensible that one English workman will ‘knock off’ more work than two, or perhaps three, Asiatics of the same profession, and finish that work in higher style; but, if we take into consideration, that the latter employs tools such as the former would pronounce to be useless, and, that he learns all by rote, without the smallest idea of figures, proportions, or computations, we must, however 518unwillingly, give a verdict by no means partial to our countrymen.

Another point greatly in favor of the poor Hindu, is, that he exercises not only the profession of bricklayer, but of plasterer, tarras-maker, &c. In like manner, we find the two professions of looaur (blacksmith) and burrye (carpenter) often exercised by the same individual. I once built a phaeton at Cawnpore, solely with the aid of a reputed blacksmith, who wrought every part of the iron work in a very superior manner, and constructed the whole of the wood-work in an excellent style. Nay, he made the head, and lined it with woollen very neatly; and, after all, lent a hand towards the painting. His wages were only eight rupees (twenty shillings) monthly, and he never had been concerned in constructing any kind of vehicle, except the hackery in common use; which has already been described.

The natives are extremely negligent regarding the strength of their floors; they seem to be fully satisfied when the places where they lie down on their mats are tolerably dry; though it is by no means uncommon to see the whole interior so extremely damp, that, if any seeds, such as wheat, peas, rice, &c., happen to fall, and to be swept to the skirts of the apartments, such are sure to vegetate; frequently exhibiting a very promising blade, before they fall, rather in consequence of accident, than of design 519on the part of the tenants. Whatever the flooring may consist of, whether clay, or tarras, that of the eating apartment is, almost invariably, smeared with a solution of cow-dung; which certainly gives a freshness, and may probably tend to salubrity; nor is it so devoid of neatness as an European would imagine; but the scent is by no means agreeable. Some ornament both the interior, and the exterior, of their houses, by dipping the palms of their hands, horizontally, into solutions of ochre, chiefly red, and then imprinting the walls with their hands thus colored. These prints are put on irregularly, by no means proving the taste of the operators, who, nevertheless, consider their huts to be, (in the language of church-wardens,) ‘beautified;’ the great consideration is, however, to typify the infinite power of the Creator, whose hands are supposed to be innumerable, and perpetually in action. Even horses, especially if white or dun colored, are very frequently marked in the same manner, by means of mindy, (or hinnah;) which, being reduced to a pulp, is applied to the part in such form as it may be intended to appear. This plaster, for I know not what else to call it, is allowed to remain until perfectly dry; when it commonly cracks and falls off, leaving a rich barré color; though, if not allowed, either by the animal’s restlessness, or from want of time, 520to impart its coloring matter duly, the stain will shew much fainter; perhaps not unlike a light mahogany color.

The natives rarely omit to tinge about ten inches, or a foot, of the extremity of the tail of every light-colored horse with mindy: sometimes, also, at about two inches asunder, one or two rings are stained in the same manner. Nor is this herb restricted solely to the ornamenting, or, rather, the disguising of horses, oxen &c.; the Hindostanee ladies generally stain the whole of the interior of their hands, including the fingers, as well as the soles of their feet, with mindy; the tips of all the nails are sure to undergo the operation; which often compels the party sustaining this gratifying penance, to sit motionless for hours; in order that the dye may take a firm hold of the skin. When properly managed, the stain will remain for at least a month; resisting every endeavor to wash it out, and seeming only to yield to the constant growth of the outer skin.

It has often occurred to me, that, possibly, an excellent dye for woollens might be obtained from the hinnah, which, being inspissated, or reduced to an extract, could be imported among our dyers with peculiar advantage. The plant, which is not unlike myrtle, is indigenous throughout Hindostan, where it is principally employed in making garden hedges, much the 521same as yew, box, &c., are among us; but, owing to its not proving a defence against cattle, and being of slow growth, the exterior hedges, in lieu of being formed of hinnah, are usually made of baubool, a species of mimosa, yielding some gum, and otherwise extremely serviceable; both from the excellence of its wood, for all circular or angular work, requiring great strength, durability, and toughness; and for its bark, which is at least equal to that of the oak for tanning. The natives consider the application of mindy to be attended with good effects; they say it is cooling, but I should rather apprehend it were the reverse, it being certainly an astringent, and contributing to check perspiration: hence, the hands of such as apply it commonly have a harsh, dry feel. That it may be a corrective of that scent sometimes attendant upon an habitual discharge from the feet, may be true; but, it remains still to be questioned, whether the obstruction of such a discharge can be reconciled to prudence: it is, however, a complaint very rarely to be met with in India; doubtless owing to frequent washing, and to that abundant and general perspiration which shews itself very conspicuously.


Transcriber’s Note

An extended quotation on the private lives of women, beginning on p. 347, is continued with each paragraph with an opening single quotation mark, which convention ends ambiguously, without comment, on p. 408. The succeeding paragraph begins a section on kite flying. This is the only portion of the book to employ footnotes, save for those used to annotate a poem beginning on p. 504.

Those footnotes are moved to follow the paragraph within which they are references, and a sequenced numerically for uniqueness. Notes 3 and 7 are referenced twice each in the text. The three notes on the poem beginning on p. 504 are lettered A, B, and C.

Keeping in mind the vintage of the text, spelling has generally been followed.

In a discussion of language learning, on p. 178, the phrase “he added five words each month” seems an error, but it is impossible to determine what the author must have meant.

Hyphenation of compound words can be variable. Where it occurs on a line break, the most commonly used form is assumed.

Errors deemed most likely to be the printer’s have been corrected, and are noted here. The references are to the page and line in the original. The following issues should be noted, along with the resolutions.

117.1 large quantit[i]es of good fish Added.
168.3 resentment at the vill[ia/ai]n’s audacity Transposed.
168.15 founded on p[er/re]judice Transposed.
178.19 [five words] sic.
233.25 and that [t]he soup is well flavored Added.
253.11 while, on the other hand, [it ]is greatly depreciated; Added.
304.12 that the Oore[e]ahs> are Added.
353.29 whenever Soonees and [and] Sheeaus intermarry Removed.
378.28 Contrast this simple lament[at]ion Added.
380.26 upon enquiring into the sym[p]toms Added.
425.16 (i.e. the common sea-conch,[)] Added.
441.8 roses were collected on different days.[’] Removed.