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A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer

Part 5 out of 10

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4th November. In the morning we entered the Hoogly, one of the
seven mouths of the Ganges. A succession of apparently boundless
plains lay stretched along on both sides of the river. Fields of
rice were alternated with sugar plantations, while palm, bamboo, and
other trees, sprung up between, and the vegetation extended, in
wanton luxuriance, down to the very water's edge; the only objects
wanting to complete the picture were villages and human beings, but
it was not until we were within about five-and-twenty miles of
Calcutta that we saw now and then a wretched village or a few half-
naked men. The huts were formed of clay, bamboos, or palm branches,
and covered with tiles, rice-straw, or palm leaves. The larger
boats of the natives struck me as very remarkable, and differed
entirely from those I saw at Madras. The front portion was almost
flat, being elevated hardly half a foot above the water while the
stern was about seven feet high.

The first grand-looking building, a cotton mill, is situated fifteen
miles below Calcutta, and a cheerful dwelling-house is attached.
From this point up to Calcutta, both banks of the Hoogly are lined
with palaces built in the Greco-Italian style, and richly provided
with pillars and terraces. We flew too quickly by, unfortunately,
to obtain more than a mere passing glimpse of them.

Numbers of large vessels either passed us or were sailing in the
same direction, and steamer after steamer flitted by, tugging
vessels after them; the scene became more busy and more strange,
every moment, and everything gave signs that we were approaching an
Asiatic city of the first magnitude.

We anchored at Gardenrich, four miles below Calcutta. Nothing gave
me more trouble during my travels than finding lodgings, as it was
sometimes impossible by mere signs and gestures to make the natives
understand where I wanted to go. In the present instance, one of
the engineers interested himself so far in my behalf as to land with
me, and to hire a palanquin, and direct the natives where to take

I was overpowered by feelings of the most disagreeable kind the
first time I used a palanquin. I could not help feeling how
degrading it was to human beings to employ them as beasts of burden.

The palanquins are five feet long and three feet high, with sliding
doors and jalousies: in the inside they are provided with
mattresses and cushions, so that a person can lie down in them as in
a bed. Four porters are enough to carry one of them about the town,
but eight are required for a longer excursion. They relieve each
other at short intervals, and run so quickly that they go four miles
in an hour or even in three-quarters of an hour. These palanquins
being painted black, looked like so many stretchers carrying corpses
to the churchyard or patients to the hospital.

On the road to the town, I was particularly struck with the
magnificent gauths (piazzas), situated on the banks of the Hoogly,
and from which broad flights of steps lead down to the river.
Before these gauths are numerous pleasure and other boats.

The most magnificent palaces lay around in the midst of splendid
gardens, into one of which the palanquin-bearers turned, and set me
down under a handsome portico before the house of Herr Heilgers, to
whom I had brought letters of recommendation. The young and amiable
mistress of the house greeted me as a countrywoman (she was from the
north and I from the south of Germany), and received me most
cordially. I was lodged with Indian luxury, having a drawing-room,
a bed-room, and a bath-room especially assigned to me.

I happened to arrive in Calcutta at the most unfavourable period
possible. Three years of unfruitfulness through almost the whole of
Europe had been followed by a commercial crisis, which threatened
the town with entire destruction. Every mail from Europe brought
intelligence of some failure, in which the richest firms here were
involved. No merchant could say, "I am worth so much;"--the next
post might inform him that he was a beggar. A feeling of dread and
anxiety had seized every family. The sums already lost in England
and this place were reckoned at thirty millions of pounds sterling,
and yet the crisis was far from being at an end.

Misfortunes of this kind fall particularly hard upon persons who,
like the Europeans here, have been accustomed to every kind of
comfort and luxury. No one can have any idea of the mode of life in
India. Each family has an entire palace, the rent of which amounts
to two hundred rupees (20 pounds), or more, a month. The household
is composed of from twenty-five to thirty servants; namely--two
cooks, a scullion, two water-carriers, four servants to wait at
table, four housemaids, a lamp-cleaner, and half-a-dozen seis or
grooms. Besides this, there are at least six horses, to every one
of which there is a separate groom; two coachmen, two gardeners, a
nurse and servant for each child, a lady's maid, a girl to wait on
the nurses, two tailors, two men to work the punkahs, and one
porter. The wages vary from four to eleven rupees (8s. to 1 pounds
2s.) a month. None of the domestics are boarded, and but few of
them sleep in the house: they are mostly married, and eat and sleep
at home. The only portion of their dress which they have given to
them is their turban and belt; they are obliged to find the rest
themselves, and also to pay for their own washing. The linen
belonging to the family is never, in spite of the number of
servants, washed at home, but is all put out, at the cost of three
rupees (6s.) for a hundred articles. The amount of linen used is
something extraordinary; everything is white, and the whole is
generally changed twice a day.

Provisions are not dear, though the contrary is true of horses,
carriages, furniture, and wearing apparel. The last three are
imported from Europe; the horses come either from Europe, New
Holland, or Java.

In some European families I visited there were from sixty to seventy
servants, and from fifteen to twenty horses.

In my opinion, the Europeans themselves are to blame for the large
sums they have to pay for servants. They saw the native princes and
rajahs surrounded by a multitude of idle people, and, as Europeans,
they did not wish to appear in anyway inferior. Gradually the
custom became a necessity, and it would be difficult to find a case
where a more sensible course is pursued.

It is true that I was informed that matters could never be altered
as long as the Hindoos were divided into castes. The Hindoo who
cleans the room would on no account wait at table, while the nurse
thinks herself far too good ever to soil her hands by cleaning the
child's washing-basin. There may certainly be some truth in this,
but still every family cannot keep twenty, thirty, or even more
servants. In China and Singapore, I was struck with the number of
servants, but they are not half, nay, not a third so numerous, as
they are here.

The Hindoos, as is well known, are divided into four castes--the
Brahmins, Khetries, Bices and Sooders. They all sprung from the
body of the god Brahma: the first from his mouth, the second from
his shoulders, the third from his belly and thighs, and the fourth
from his feet. From the first class are chosen the highest officers
of state, the priests, and the teachers of the people. Members of
this class alone are allowed to peruse the holy books; they enjoy
the greatest consideration; and if they happen to commit a crime,
are far less severely punished than persons belonging to any of the
other castes. The second class furnishes the inferior officials and
soldiers; the third the merchants, workmen, and peasants; while the
fourth and last provides servants for the other three. Hindoos of
all castes, however, enter service when compelled by poverty to do
so, but there is still a distinction in the kind of work, as the
higher castes are allowed to perform only that of the cleanest kind.

It is impossible for a person of one caste to be received into
another, or to intermarry with any one belonging to it. If a Hindoo
leaves his native land or takes food from a Paria, he is turned out
of his caste, and can only obtain re-admission on the payment of a
very large sum.

Besides these castes, there is a fifth class--the Parias. The lot
of these poor creatures is the most wretched that can be imagined.
They are so despised by the other four castes, that no one will hold
the slightest intercourse with them. If a Hindoo happens to touch a
Paria as he is passing, he thinks himself defiled, and is obliged to
bathe immediately.

The Parias are not allowed to enter any temple, and have particular
places set apart for their dwellings. They are miserably poor, and
live in the most wretched huts; their food consists of all kinds of
offal and even diseased cattle; they go about nearly naked, or with
only a few rags at most on them, and perform the hardest and
commonest work.

The four castes are subdivided into an immense number of sects,
seventy of which are allowed to eat meat, while others are compelled
to abstain from it altogether. Strictly speaking, the Hindoo
religion forbids the spilling of blood, and consequently the eating
of meat; but the seventy sects just mentioned are an exception.
There are, too, certain religious festivals, at which animals are
sacrificed. A cow, however, is never killed. The food of the
Hindoos consists principally of rice, fruit, fish, and vegetables.
They are very moderate in their living, and have only two simple
meals a day--one in the morning and the other in the evening. Their
general drink is water or milk, varied sometimes with cocoa wine.

The Hindoos are of the middle height, slim, and delicately formed;
their features are agreeable and mild; the face is oval, the nose
sharply chiselled, the lip by no means thick, the eye fine and soft,
and the hair smooth and black. Their complexion varies, according
to the locality, from dark to light brown; among the upper classes,
some of them, especially the women, are almost white.

There are a great number of Mahomedans in India; and as they are
extremely skilful and active, most trades and professions are in
their hands. They also willingly hire themselves as servants to

Men here do that kind of work which we are accustomed to see
performed by women. They embroider with white wool, coloured silk,
and gold; make ladies' head-dresses, wash and iron, mend the linen,
and even take situations as nurses for little children. There are a
few Chinese, too, here, most of whom are in the shoemaking trade.

Calcutta, the capital of Bengal, is situated on the Hoogly, which at
this point is so deep and broad, that the largest men-of-war and
East Indiamen can lie at anchor before the town. The population
consists of about 600,000 souls, of whom, not counting the English
troops, hardly more than 2,000 are Europeans and Americans. The
town is divided into several portions--namely, the Business-town,
the Black-town, and the European quarter. The Business-town and
Black-town are very ugly, containing narrow, crooked streets, filled
with wretched houses and miserable huts, between which there are
warehouses, counting-houses, and now and then some palace or other.
Narrow paved canals run through all the streets, in order to supply
the necessary amount of water for the numerous daily ablutions of
the Hindoos. The Business-town and Black-town are always so densely
crowded, that when a carriage drives through, the servants are
obliged to get down and run on before, in order to warn the people,
or push them out of the way.

The European quarter of the town, however, which is often termed the
City of Palaces--a name which it richly merits--is, on the contrary,
very beautiful. Every good-sized house, by the way, is called, as
it is in Venice, a palace. Most of these palaces are situated in
gardens surrounded by high walls; they seldom join one another, for
which reason there are but few imposing squares or streets.

With the exception of the governor's palace, none of these buildings
can be compared for architectural beauty and richness with the large
palaces of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Most of them are only
distinguished from ordinary dwelling-houses by a handsome portico
upon brick pillars covered with cement, and terrace-like roof's.
Inside, the rooms are large and lofty, and the stairs of greyish
marble or even wood; but neither in doors or out are there any fine
statues or sculptures.

The Palace of the governor is as I before said, a magnificent
building--one that would be an ornament to the finest city in the
world. It is built in the form of a horse-shoe, with a handsome
cupola in the centre: the portico, as well as both the wings, is
supported upon columns. The internal arrangements are as bad as can
possibly be imagined; the supper-room being, for instance, a story
higher than the ball-room. In both these rooms there is a row of
columns on each side, and the floor of the latter is composed of
Agra marble. The pillars and walls are covered with a white cement,
which is equal to marble for its polish. The private rooms are not
worth looking at; they merely afford the spectator an opportunity of
admiring the skill of the architect, who has managed to turn the
large space at his command to the smallest imaginable profit.

Among the other buildings worthy of notice are the Town-hall, the
Hospital, the Museum, Ochterlony's Monument, the Mint, and the
English Cathedral.

The Town-hall is large and handsome. The hall itself extends
through one entire story. There are a few monuments in white marble
to the memory of several distinguished men of modern times. It is
here that all kinds of meetings are held, all speculations and
undertakings discussed, and concerts, balls, and other
entertainments given.

The Hospital consists of several small houses, each standing in the
midst of a grass plot. The male patients are lodged in one house,
the females and children in a second, while the lunatics are
confined in the third. The wards were spacious, airy, and
excessively clean. Only Christians are received as patients.

The hospital for natives is similar, but considerably smaller. The
patients are received for nothing, and numbers who cannot be
accommodated in the building itself are supplied with drugs and

The Museum, which was only founded in 1836, possesses, considering
the short space of time that has elapsed since its establishment, a
very rich collection, particularly of quadrupeds and skeletons, but
there are very few specimens of insects, and most of those are
injured. In one of the rooms is a beautifully-executed model of the
celebrated Tatch in Agra; several sculptures and bas-reliefs were
lying around. The figures seemed to me very clumsy; the
architecture, however, is decidedly superior. The museum is open
daily. I visited it several times, and, on every occasion, to my
great astonishment, met a number of natives, who seemed to take the
greatest interest in the objects before them.

Ochterlony's Monument is a simple stone column, 165 feet in height,
standing, like a large note of admiration, on a solitary grassplot,
in memory of General Ochterlony, who was equally celebrated as a
statesman and a warrior. Whoever is not afraid of mounting 222
steps will be recompensed by an extensive view of the town, the
river, and the surrounding country; the last, however, is very
monotonous, consisting of an endless succession of plains bounded
only by the horizon.

Not far from the column is a neat little mosque, whose countless
towers and cupolas are ornamented with gilt metal balls, which
glitter and glisten like so many stars in the heavens. It is
surrounded by a pretty court-yard, at the entrance of which those
who wish to enter the mosque are obliged to leave their shoes. I
complied with this regulation, but did not feel recompensed for so
doing, as I saw merely a small empty hall, the roof of which was
supported by a few stone pillars. Glass lamps were suspended from
the roof and walls, and the floor was paved with Agra marble, which
is very common in Calcutta, being brought down the Ganges.

The Mint presents a most handsome appearance; it is built in the
pure Grecian style, except that it is not surrounded by pillars on
all its four sides. The machinery in it is said to be especially
good, surpassing anything of the kind to be seen even in Europe. I
am unable to express any opinion on the subject, and can only say
that all I saw appeared excessively ingenious and perfect. The
metal is softened by heat and then flattened into plates by means of
cylinders. These plates are cut into strips and stamped. The rooms
in which the operations take place are spacious, lofty, and airy.
The motive-power is mostly steam.

Of all the Christian places of worship, the English Cathedral is the
most magnificent. It is built in the Gothic style, with a fine
large tower rising above half-a-dozen smaller ones. There are other
churches with Gothic towers, but these edifices are all extremely
simple in the interior, with the exception of the Armenian church,
which has the wall near the altar crowded with pictures in gold

The notorious "Black Hole," in which the Rajah Suraja Dowla cast 150
of the principal prisoners when he obtained possession of Calcutta
in 1756, is at present changed into a warehouse. At the entrance
stands an obelisk fifty feet high, and on it are inscribed the names
of his victims.

The Botanical Garden lies five miles distant from the town. It was
founded in the year 1743, but is more like a natural park than a
garden, as it is by no means so remarkable for its collection of
flowers and plants as for the number of trees and shrubs, which are
distributed here and there with studied negligence in the midst of
large grass-plots. A neat little monument, with a marble bust, is
erected to the memory of the founder. The most remarkable objects
are two banana-trees. These trees belong to the fig-tree species,
and sometimes attain a height of forty feet. The fruit is very
small, round, and of a dark-red; it yields oil when burnt. When the
trunk has reached an elevation of about fifteen feet, a number of
small branches shoot out horizontally in all directions, and from
these quantity of threadlike roots descend perpendicularly to the
ground, in which they soon firmly fix themselves. When they are
sufficiently grown, they send out shoots like the parent trunk; and
this process is repeated ad infinitum, so that it is easy to
understand how a single tree may end by forming a whole forest, in
which thousands may find a cool and shady retreat. This tree is
held sacred by the Hindoos. They erect altars to the god Rama
beneath its shade, and there, too, the Brahmin instructs his

The oldest of these two trees, together with its family, already
describes a circumference of more than 600 feet, and the original
trunk measures nearly fifty feet round.

Adjoining the Botanical Garden is the Bishop's College, in which the
natives are trained as missionaries. After the Governor's Palace,
it is the finest building in Calcutta, and consists of two main
buildings and three wings. One of the main buildings is occupied by
an extremely neat chapel. The library, which is a noble-looking
room, contains a rich collection of the works of the best authors,
and is thrown open to the pupils; but their industry does not appear
to equal the magnificence of the arrangements, for, on taking a book
from the bookcase, I immediately let it fall again and ran to the
other end of the room; a swarm of bees had flown upon me from out
the bookcase.

The dining and sleeping rooms, as well as all the other apartments,
are so richly and conveniently furnished, that a person might easily
suppose that the establishment had been founded for the sons of the
richest English families, who were so accustomed to comfort from
their tenderest infancy that they were desirous of transplanting it
to all quarters of the globe; but no one would ever imagine the
place had been built for "the labourers in the vineyard of the

I surveyed this splendid institution with a sadder heart than I
might have done, because I knew it was intended for the natives, who
had first to put off their own simple mode of life and accustom
themselves to convenience and superfluity, only to wander forth into
the woods and wildernesses, and exercise their office in the midst
of savages and barbarians.

Among the sights of Calcutta may be reckoned the garden of the chief
judge, Mr. Lawrence Peel, which is equally interesting to the
botanist and the amateur, and which, in rare flowers, plants, and
trees, is much richer than the Botanical Garden itself. The noble
park, laid out with consummate skill, the luxuriant lawns,
interspersed and bordered with flowers and plants, the crystal
ponds, the shady alleys, with their bosquets and gigantic trees, all
combine to form a perfect paradise, in the midst of which stands the
palace of the fortunate owner.

Opposite this park, in the large village of Alifaughur, is situated
a modest little house, which is the birthplace of much that is good.
It contains a small surgery, and is inhabited by a native who has
studied medicine. Here the natives may obtain both advice and
medicine for nothing. This kind and benevolent arrangement is due
to Lady Julia Cameron, wife of the law member of the Supreme Council
of India, Charles Henry Cameron.

I had the pleasure of making this lady's acquaintance, and found her
to be, in every respect, an ornament to her sex. Wherever there is
any good to be done, she is sure to take the lead. In the years
1846-7, she set on foot subscriptions for the starving Irish,
writing to the most distant provinces and calling upon every
Englishman to contribute his mite. In this manner she collected the
large sum of 80,000 rupees (8,000 pounds.)

Lady Peel has distinguished herself also in the field of science,
and Burger's "Leonore" has been beautifully translated by her into
English. She is also a kind mother and affectionate wife, and lives
only for her family, caring little for the world. Many call her an
original; would that we had a few more such originals!

I had brought no letters of recommendation to this amiable woman,
but she happened to hear of my travels and paid me a visit. In
fact, the hospitality I met with here was really astonishing. I was
cordially welcomed in the very first circles, and every one did all
in his power to be of use to me. I could not help thinking of Count
Rehberg, the Austrian minister at Rio Janeiro, who thought he had
conferred a great mark of distinction by inviting me once to his
villa; and, to purchase this honour, I had either to walk an hour in
the burning heat or to pay six milreis (13s.) for a carriage. In
Calcutta, a carriage was always sent for me. I could relate a great
many more anecdotes of the worthy count, who made me feel how much I
was to blame for not descending from a rich and aristocratic family.
I experienced different treatment from the member of the Supreme
Council, Charles Henry Cameron, and from the chief judge, Mr. Peel.
These gentlemen respected me for myself alone without troubling
their heads about my ancestors.

During my stay in Calcutta, I was invited to a large party in honour
of Mr. Peel's birthday; but I refused the invitation, as I had no
suitable dress. My excuse, however, was not allowed, and I
accompanied Lady Cameron, in a simple coloured muslin dress, to a
party where all the other ladies were dressed in silk and satin and
covered with lace and jewellery; yet no one was ashamed of me, but
conversed freely with me, and showed me every possible attention.

A very interesting promenade for a stranger is that to the Strand,
or "Maytown," as it is likewise called. It is skirted on one side
by the banks of the Hoogly, and on the other by beautiful meadows,
beyond which is the noble Chaudrini Road, consisting of rows of
noble palaces, and reckoned the finest quarter of Calcutta. Besides
this, there is a fine view of the governor's palace, the cathedral,
Ochterlony's monument, the magnificent reservoirs, Fort William, a
fine prutagon with extensive outworks, and many other remarkable

Every evening, before sunset, all the fashionable world of Calcutta
streams hitherward. The purse-proud European, the stuck-up Baboo or
Nabob, the deposed Rajah, are to be beheld driving in splendid
European carriages, followed by a multitude of servants, in Oriental
costume, some standing behind their carriages, and some running
before it. The Rajahs and Nabobs are generally dressed in silk
robes embroidered with gold, over which are thrown the most costly
Indian shawls. Ladies and gentlemen mounted upon English blood
horses gallop along the meadows, while crowds of natives are to be
seen laughing and joking on their way home, after the conclusion of
their day's work. Nor is the scene on the Hoogly less animated;
first-class East Indiamen are lying at anchor, unloading or being
cleaned out, while numberless small craft pass continually to and

I had been told that the population here suffered very much from
elephantiasis, and that numbers of poor wretches with horribly
swollen feet were to be seen at almost every turn. But this is not
true. I did not meet with as many cases of the kind during five
weeks here, as I did in one day in Rio Janeiro.

On one occasion I paid a visit to a rich Baboo. The property of the
family, consisting of three brothers, was reckoned at 150,000
pounds. The master of the house received me at the door, and
accompanied me to the reception-room. He was clad in a large dress
of white muslin, over which was wound a magnificent Indian shawl,
which extended from the hips to the feet, and made up for the
transparency of the muslin. One end of the shawl was thrown over
his shoulder in the most picturesque manner.

The parlour was furnished in the European fashion. A large hand
organ stood in one corner, and in the other a spacious bookcase,
with the works of the principal English poets and philosophers; but
it struck me that these books were there more for show than use, for
the two volumes of Byron's works were turned different ways, while
Young's Night Thoughts were stuck between. There were a few
engravings and pictures, which the worthy Baboo imagined to be an
ornament to the walls, but which were not of so much value as the
frames that contained them.

My host sent for his two sons, handsome boys, one seven and the
other four years old, and introduced them to me. I inquired,
although it was quite contrary to custom to do so, after his wife
and daughters. Our poor sex ranks so low in the estimation of the
Hindoos, that it is almost an insult to a person to mention any of
his female relations. He overlooked this in me, as a European, and
immediately sent for his daughters. The youngest, a most lovely
baby six months old, was nearly white, with large splendid eyes, the
brilliancy of which was greatly increased by the delicate eyelids,
which were painted a deep blue round the edges. The elder daughter,
nine years old, had a somewhat common coarse face. Her father, who
spoke tolerable English, introduced her to me as a bride, and
invited me to the marriage which was to take place in six weeks. I
was so astonished at this, considering the child's extreme youth,
that I remarked he no doubt meant her betrothal, but he assured me
that she would then be married and delivered over to her husband.

On my asking whether the girl loved her intended bridegroom, I was
told that she would see him for the first time at the celebration of
the nuptials. The Baboo informed me further, that every person like
himself looked out for a son-in-law as soon as possible, and that
the younger a girl married the more honourable was it accounted; an
unmarried daughter was a disgrace to her father, who was looked upon
as possessed of no paternal love if he did not get her off his
hands. As soon as he has found a son-in-law, he describes his
bodily and mental qualities as well as his worldly circumstances to
his wife, and with this description she is obliged to content
herself, for she is never allowed to see her future son-in-law,
either as the betrothed, or the husband of her child. The
bridegroom is never considered to belong to the family of the bride,
but the latter leaves her own relations for those of her husband.
No woman, however, is allowed to see or speak with the male
relations of her husband, nor dare she ever appear before the men-
servants of her household without being veiled. If she wishes to
pay a visit to her mother, she is carried to her shut up in a

I also saw the Baboo's wife and one of his sisters-in-law. The
former was twenty-five years old and very corpulent, the latter was
fifteen and was slim and well made. The reason of this, as I was
told, is that the females, although married so young, seldom become
mothers before their fourteenth year, and until then preserve their
original slimness. After their first confinement, they remain for
six or eight weeks shut up in their room, without taking the least
exercise, and living all the time on the most sumptuous and dainty
food. This fattening process generally produces the desired effect.
The reader must know that the Hindoos, like the Mahomedans, are
partial to corpulent ladies. I never saw any specimens of this kind
of beauty, however, among the lower classes.

The two ladies were not very decently attired. Their bodies and
heads were enveloped in ample blue and white muslin drapery,
embroidered with gold, and bordered with lace of the same material
as broad as a man's hand, but the delicate texture {150} was so
ethereal, that every outline of the body was visible beneath it.
Besides this, whenever they moved their arms the muslin opened and
displayed not only their arm, but a portion of their bosom and body.
They appeared to pay a great deal of attention to their hair; their
chief care seemed to consist in replacing the muslin on their heads,
whenever it chanced to fall off. As long as a female is unmarried,
she is never allowed to lay aside her head-dress.

These ladies were so overloaded with gold, pearls, and diamonds,
that they really resembled beasts of burden. Large pearls, with
other precious stones strung together, adorned their head and neck,
as likewise did heavy gold chains and mounted gold coins. Their
ears, which were pierced all over--I counted twelve holes in one
ear--were so thickly laden with similar ornaments, that the latter
could not be distinguished from one another; all that was to be seen
was a confused mass of gold, pearls, and diamonds. On each arm were
eight or ten costly bracelets; the principal one, which was four
inches broad, being composed of massive gold, with six rows of small
brilliants. I took it in my hand, and found that it weighed at
least half a pound. They had gold chains twisted three times round
their thighs, and their ankles and feet were also encircled with
gold rings and chains; their feet were dyed with henna.

The two ladies then brought me their jewel-cases, and showed me a
great many more valuable ornaments. The Hindoos must spend immense
sums in jewels and gold and silver embroidered Dacca muslin, as in
these articles it is the endeavour of every lady to outrival all her
acquaintances. As they had anticipated my arrival, the two ladies
were arrayed in their most costly apparel; being determined to
exhibit themselves to me in true Indian splendour.

The Baboo also conducted me to the inner apartments looking into the
courtyard. Some of these were furnished only with carpets and
pillows, the Hindoos not being, in general, partial to chairs or
beds; in others, were different pieces of European furniture, such
as, tables, chairs, presses, and even bedsteads. A glass case
containing dolls, coaches, horses, and other toys, was pointed out
to me with peculiar satisfaction; both children and women are very
fond of playing with these things, though the women are more
passionately fond of cards.

No married woman is allowed to enter the rooms looking out upon the
street, as she might be seen by a man from the opposite windows.
The young bride, however, profited by her freedom, and tripping
before us to the open window, glanced into the busy street.

The wives of the rich Hindoos, or of those belonging to the higher
castes, are as much confined to their houses as the Chinese women.
The only pleasure that the husband's strictness permits the wife to
enjoy, is to pay a visit, now and then, in a carefully closed
palanquin, to some friend or relation. It is only during the short
time that a woman remains unmarried that she is allowed rather more

A Hindoo may have several wives; there are, however, but few
examples of his availing himself of this privilege.

The husband's relations generally reside in the same house, but each
family has its separate household. The elder boys take their meals
with their father, but the wife, daughters, and younger boys are not
allowed this privilege. Both sexes are extremely fond of tobacco,
which they smoke in pipes called hookas.

At the conclusion of my visit, I was offered sweetmeats, fruits,
raisins, etc. The sweetmeats were mostly composed of sugar,
almonds, and suet, but were not very palatable, owing to the
predominance of the suet.

Before leaving the house, I visited the ground-floor to examine the
room, in which, once a year, the religious festival called Natch is
celebrated. This festival, which is the most important one in the
Hindoo religion, takes place in the beginning of October, and lasts
a fortnight, during which time neither poor nor rich do any business
whatever. The master closes his shops and warehouses, and the
servant engages a substitute, generally from among the Mahomedans,
and then both master and servant spend the fortnight, if not in
fasting and prayer, most certainly in doing nothing else.

The Baboo informed me that on these occasions his room is richly
ornamented, and a statue of the ten-armed goddess Durga placed in
it. This statue is formed of clay or wood, painted with the most
glaring colours, and loaded with gold and silver tinsel, flowers,
ribbons, and often with even real jewellery. Hundreds of lights and
lamps, placed between vases and garlands of flowers, glitter in the
room, the court-yard, and outside the house. A number of different
animals are offered up as sacrifices; they are not slain, however,
in the presence of the goddess, but in some retired part of the
house. Priests attend upon the goddess, and female dancers display
their talent before her, accompanied by the loud music of the tam-
tam. Both priests and danseuses are liberally paid. Some of the
latter, like our Taglionis and Elslers, earn large sums. During the
period of my stay here, there was a Persian danseuse, who never
appeared for less than 500 rupees (50 pounds.) Crowds of the
curious, among whom are numbers of Europeans, flock from one temple
to another; the principal guests have sweetmeats and fruit served
round to them.

On the last day of the festival the goddess is conveyed with great
pomp, and accompanied by music, to the Hoogly, where she is put in a
boat, rowed into the middle of the stream, and then thrown overboard
in the midst of the shouts and acclamations of the multitude upon
the banks. Formerly, the real jewels were thrown in along with the
goddess, but carefully fished up again by the priests during the
night; at present, the real jewels are replaced on the last day by
false ones, or else the founder of the feast takes an opportunity of
secretly obtaining possession of them during the goddess's progress
to the river. He is obliged to do this very cautiously, however, so
as not to be observed by the people. A Natch often costs several
thousand rupees, and is one of the most costly items in the
expenditure of the rich.

Marriages, too, are said to cost large sums of money. The Brahmins
observe the stars, and by their aid calculate the most fortunate day
and even hour for the ceremony to take place. It is, however,
frequently postponed, at the very last moment, for a few hours
longer, as the priest has taken fresh observations, and hit upon a
still luckier instant. Of course, such a discovery has to be paid
for by an extra fee.

There are several different feasts every year in honour of the four-
armed goddess Kally, especially in the village of Kallighat, near
Calcutta. There were two during my stay. Before each hut was
placed a number of small clay idols, painted with various colours
and representing the most horrible creatures. They were exposed
there for sale. The goddess Kally, as large as life, had got her
tongue thrust out as far as possible between her open jaws; she was
placed either before or inside the huts, and was richly decorated
with wreaths of flowers.

The temple of Kally is a miserable building, or rather a dark hole,
from whose cupola-like roof rise several turrets: the statue here
was remarkable for its immense head and horribly long tongue. Its
face was painted deep-red, yellow, and sky-blue. I was unable to
enter this god-like hole, as I was a woman, and as such was not
reckoned worthy of admission into so sacred a place as Kally's
temple. I looked in at the door with the Hindoo woman, and was
quite satisfied.

The most horrible and distressing scenes occur in the Hindoo dead-
houses, and at the places where the corpses are burnt. Those that I
saw are situated on the banks of the Hoogly, near the town, and
opposite to them is the wood market. The dead-house was small, and
contained only one room, in which were four bare bedsteads. The
dying person is brought here by his relations, and either placed
upon one of the bedsteads, or, if these are all full, on the floor,
or, at a push, even before the house in the burning sun. At the
period of my arrival, there were five persons in the house and two
outside. The latter were completely wrapped up in straw and woollen
counterpanes, and I thought they were already dead. On my asking
whether or no this was the case, my guide threw off the clothes, and
I saw the poor wretches move. I think they must have been half-
smothered under the mass of covering. Inside, on the floor, lay a
poor old woman, the death-rattle in whose throat proclaimed that her
end was fast approaching. The four bedsteads were likewise
occupied. I did not observe that the mouths and noses of these poor
creatures were stopped up with mud from the Ganges: this may,
perhaps, be the case in some other districts. Near the dying
persons were seated their relations, quietly and silently waiting to
receive their last breath. On my inquiring whether nothing was ever
given to them, I was told that if they did not die immediately, a
small draught of water from the Ganges was handed to them from time
to time, but always decreasing in quantity and at longer intervals,
for when once brought to these places, they must die at any price.

As soon as they are dead, and almost before they are cold, they are
taken to the place where they are burnt, and which is separated from
the high road by a wall. In this place I saw one corpse and one
person at the point of death, while on six funeral-piles were six
corpses with the flames flaring on high all around them. A number
of birds, larger than turkeys, and called here philosophers, {153}
small vultures, and ravens were seated upon the neighbouring trees
and house-tops, in anxious expectation of the half-burnt corpses. I
was horrified. I hurried away, and it was long before I could
efface the impression made upon my mind by this hideous spectacle.

In the case of rich people, the burning of the body sometimes costs
more than a thousand rupees; the most costly wood, such as rose and
sandal wood, being employed for that purpose. Besides this, a
Brahmin, music, and female mourners, are necessary parts of the

After the body has been burnt, the bones are collected, laid in a
vase, and thrown into the Ganges, or some other holy river. The
nearest relation is obliged to set fire to the pile.

There are naturally none of these ceremonies among poor people.
They simply burn their dead on common wood or cow-dung; and if they
cannot even buy these materials, they fasten a stone to the corpse
and throw it into the river.

I will here relate a short anecdote that I had from a very
trustworthy person. It may serve as an example of the atrocities
that are often committed from false ideas of religion.

Mr. N--- was once, during his travels, not far from the Ganges, and
was accompanied by several servants and a dog. Suddenly the latter
disappeared, and all the calling in the world would not bring him
back. He was at last discovered on the banks of the Ganges,
standing near a human body, which he kept licking. Mr. N--- went up
and found that the man had been left to die, but had still some
spark of life left. He summoned his attendants, had the slime and
filth washed off the poor wretch's face, and wrapped him well up.
In a few days after he was completely recovered. On Mr. N---'s now
being about to leave him, the man begged and prayed him not to do
so, as he had lost his caste, and would never more be recognised by
any of his relations; in a word that he was completely wiped out of
the list of the living. Mr. N--- took him into his service, and the
man, at the present day, is still in the enjoyment of perfect
health. The event narrated occurred years ago.

The Hindoos themselves acknowledge that their customs, with regard
to dying persons, occasion many involuntary murders; but their
religion ordains that when the physician declares there is no hope
left, the person must die.

During my stay in Calcutta, I could learn no more of the manners and
customs of the Hindoos than what I have described, but I became
acquainted with some of the particulars of a Mahomedan marriage. On
the day appointed for the ceremony, the nuptial bed, elegantly
ornamented, is carried, with music and festivity, to the house of
the bridegroom, and late in the evening, the bride herself is also
conveyed there in a close palanquin, with music and torches, and a
large crowd of friends, many of whom carry regular pyramids of
tapers; that well known kind of firework, the Bengal-fire, with its
beautiful light-blue flame, is also in requisition for the evening's

On arriving at the bridegroom's house, the newly-married couple
alone are admitted; the rest remain outside playing, singing, and
hallooing until broad day.

I often heard Europeans remark that they considered the procession
of the nuptial couch extremely improper. But as the old saying
goes--"A man can see the mote in his neighbour's eye when he cannot
perceive the beam in his own;" and it struck me that the manner in
which marriages are managed among the Europeans who are settled
here, is much more unbecoming. It is a rule with the English, that
on the day appointed for the marriage, which takes place towards
evening, the bridegroom shall not see his bride before he meets her
at the altar. An infringement of this regulation would be shocking.
In case the two who are about to marry should have anything to say
to each other, they are obliged to do so in writing. Scarcely,
however, has the clergyman pronounced the benediction, ere the new
married couple are packed off together in a carriage, and sent to
spend a week in some hotel in the vicinity of the town. For this
purpose, either the hotel at Barrackpore or one of two or three
houses at Gardenrich is selected. In case all the lodgings should
be occupied, a circumstance of by no means rare occurrence, since
almost all marriages are celebrated in the months of November and
December, a boat containing one or two cabins is hired, and the
young people are condemned to pass the next eight days completely
shut up from all their friends, and even the parents themselves are
not allowed access to their children.

I am of opinion that a girl's modesty must suffer much from these
coarse customs. How the poor creature must blush on entering the
place selected for her imprisonment; and how each look, each grin of
the landlord, waiters, or boatmen, must wound her feelings!

The worthy Germans, who think everything excellent that does not
emanate from themselves, copy this custom most conscientiously.



On the 10th of December, after a stay of more than five weeks, I
left Calcutta for Benares. The journey may be performed either by
land, or else by water, on the Ganges. By land, the distance is 470
miles; by water, 800 miles during the rainy season, and 465 miles
more during the dry months, as the boats are compelled to take very
circuitous routes to pass from the Hoogly, through the Sonderbunds,
into the Ganges.

The land journey is performed in post-palanquins, carried by men,
who, like horses, are changed every four or six miles. The
traveller proceeds by night as well as day, and at each station
finds people ready to receive him, as a circular from the post-
office is always sent a day or two before, to prepare them for his
arrival. At night the train is increased by the addition of a
torch-bearer, to scare off the wild beasts by the glare of his
torch. The travelling expenses for one person are about 200 rupees
(20 pounds), independent of the luggage, which is reckoned

The journey by water can be accomplished in steamers, one of which
leaves almost every week for Allahabad (135 miles beyond Benares).
The journey occupies from fourteen to twenty days, as, on account of
the numerous sand-banks, it is impossible for the vessel to proceed
on her course except in the day-time, and even then it is by no
means unusual for her to run aground, especially when the water is

The fares to Benares are: first cabin, 257 rupees (25 pounds 14s.);
second cabin, 216 rupees (21 pounds 12s.). Provisions, without wine
or spirits, three rupees (6s.) a day.

As I had heard so much of the magnificent banks of the Ganges, and
of the important towns situated on them, I determined to go by

On the 8th of December, according to the advertisement, the steamer
"General Macleod," 140 horse-power, commanded by Captain Kellar, was
to leave her moorings; but on going on board, I received the
gratifying intelligence that we should have to wait twenty-four
hours, which twenty-four hours were extended to as much again, so
that we did not actually set off before 11 o'clock on the morning of
the 10th. We first proceeded down the stream to the sea as far as
Katcherie, and on the following day we rounded Mud Point, and
entered the Sonderbunds, where we beat about as far as Culna. From
there we proceeded up the Gury, a large tributary stream flowing
into the Ganges below Rumpurbolea. During the first few days, the
scenery was monotonous to the highest degree; there were neither
towns nor villages to be seen; the banks were flat, and the prospect
everywhere bounded by tall, thick bushes, which the English term
_jungles_, that is to say, "virgin forests." For my own part, I
could see no "virgin forests," as by this term I understand a forest
of mighty trees. During the night, we heard, from time to time, the
roaring of tigers. These animals are pretty abundant in these
parts, and frequently attack the natives if they happen to remain
out late wooding. I was shown the tattered fragment of a man's
dress, hung upon a bush, to commemorate the fact of a native having
been torn to pieces there by one of these beasts. But they are not
the only foes that man has to dread here; the Ganges contains quite
as deadly ones, namely--the ravenous crocodiles. These may be seen
in groups of six or eight, sunning themselves on the slimy banks of
the river or on the numerous sandbanks. They vary in length from
six to fifteen feet. On the approach of the steamer, several
started up, affrighted by the noise, and glided hastily into the
dirty yellow stream.

The different branches of the Sonderbunds and the Gury are often so
narrow that there is hardly room for two vessels to pass each other;
while, on the other hand, they frequently expand into lakes that are
miles across. In spite, too, of the precaution of only proceeding
by day, on account of the numerous sandbanks and shallows, accidents
are of frequent occurrence. We ourselves did not come off scot
free. In one of the narrow branches I have alluded to, while our
vessel was stopped to allow another to pass, one of the two ships
that we had in tow came with such violence against the steamer, that
the sides of a cabin were driven in: luckily, however, no one was

In another arm of the river, two native vessels were lying at
anchor. The crews were somewhat slow in perceiving us, and had not
time to raise their anchors before we came puffing up to them. The
captain did not stop, as he thought there was room to pass, but
turned the steamer's head so far in shore, that he ran into the
bushes, and left some of the blinds of the cabin-windows suspended
as trophies behind him, whereat he was so enraged, that he
immediately dispatched two boats to cut the poor creatures' hawsers,
thereby causing them to lose their anchors. This was another action
worthy of a European!

Near Culna (358 miles from the sea), we entered the Gury, a
considerable tributary of the Ganges, which it flows into below
Rumpurbolea. The jungles here recede, and their place is occupied
by beautiful plantations of rice, and other vegetables. There was,
too, no scarcity of villages, only the huts, which were mostly built
of straw and palm-leaves, were small and wretched. The appearance
of the steamer soon collected all the inhabitants, who left their
fields and huts and greeted it with loud huzzas.

15th December. This evening we struck, for the first time, on a
sandbank. It cost us some trouble before we could get off again.

16th December. We had entered the Ganges yesterday. At a late hour
this evening we hove to near the little village of Commercolly. The
inhabitants brought provisions of every description on board, and we
had an opportunity of becoming acquainted with the prices of the
various articles. A fine wether cost four rupees (8s.); eighteen
fowls, a rupee (2s.); a fish, weighing several pounds, an anna
(1.5d.); eight eggs, an anna; twenty oranges, two annas (3d.); a
pound of fine bread, three beis (ld.); and yet, in spite of these
ludicrously cheap prices, the captain charged each passenger three
rupees (6s.) a-day for his board, which was not even passable! Many
of the passengers made purchases here of eggs, new bread, and
oranges, and the captain was actually not ashamed to let these
articles, which were paid for out of our own pockets, appear at his
table that we all paid so dearly for.

18th December. Bealeah, a place of considerable importance, noted
for the number of its prisons. It is a depot for criminals, {158a}
who are sent here from all parts. The prisoners here cannot be so
desirous of escaping as those in Europe, for I saw numbers of them,
very slightly ironed, wandering about in groups or alone, in the
place itself and its vicinity, without having any gaolers with them.
They are properly taken care of, and employed in various kinds of
light work. There is a paper manufactory, which is almost entirely
carried on by them.

The inhabitants appeared to possess a more than usual degree of
fanaticism. I and another passenger, Herr Lau, had gone to take a
walk in the place, and were about to enter a small street in which
there was a Hindoo temple; but no sooner, however, did the people
perceive our intention, than they set up a horrible yelling, and
pressed on us so closely, that we held it advisable to restrain our
curiosity and turn back.

19th December. Today we perceived the low ranges of the Rajmahal
Hills, the first we had seen since we left Madras. In the evening,
we were again stuck fast upon a sandbank. We remained tolerably
quiet during the night, but, as soon as it was morning, every
possible means were adopted to get us off again. The vessels we had
in tow were cast off, our steam got up to its highest pitch; the
sailors, too, exerted themselves indefatigably, and at noon we were
stuck just as fast as we were the evening before. About this time,
we perceived a steamer on its way from Allahabad to Calcutta; but
our captain hoisted no signals of distress, being very much vexed
that he should be seen by a comrade in such a position. The captain
of the other vessel, however, offered his assistance of his own
accord but his offer was coldly and curtly refused, and it was not
until after several hours of the most strenuous exertion that we
succeeded in getting off the bank into deep water.

In the course of the day, we touched at Rajmahal, {158b} a large
village, which, on account of the thick woods and numerous swamps
and morasses around it, is reckoned a most unhealthy place.

It was here that Gur, one of the largest towns of India, once stood.
It is said to have been twenty square miles in extent, and to have
contained about two millions of inhabitants, and, according to the
latest books of travels, the most splendid and considerable ruins
are still to be seen there. Those of the so-called "Golden Mosque"
are especially remarkable, being very fine and faced with marble;
the gateways are celebrated for their great width of span and the
solidity of their side walls.

As there was, fortunately, a depot for coals here, we were allowed a
few hours to do as we liked. The younger passengers seized the
opportunity to go out shooting, being attracted by the splendid
forests, the finest I had as yet seen in India. It was certainly
reported that they were very much infested with tigers, but this
deterred no one.

I also engaged in the chase--although it was one of a different
description. I penetrated far and wide, through forest and swamp,
in order to discover the ruins. I was successful; but how meagre
and wretched they were! The most important were those of two common
city-gates, built of sandstone and ornamented with a few handsome
sculptures, but without any arches or cupolas. One inconsiderable
temple, with four corner towers, was in several places covered with
very fine cement. Besides these, there were a few other ruins or
single fragments of buildings and pillars scattered around, but all
of them together do not cover a space of two square miles.

On the border of the forest, or some hundred paces farther in, were
situated a number of huts belonging to the natives, approached by
picturesque paths running beneath shady avenues of trees. In
Bealeah, the people were very fanatic, while here the men were very
jealous. At the conclusion of my excursion, one of the gentlemen
passengers had joined me, and we directed our steps towards the
habitations of the natives. As soon as the men saw my companion,
they called out to their wives, and ordered them to take refuge in
the huts. The women ran in from all directions, but remained very
quietly at the doors of their dwellings to see us pass, and quite
forgot to conceal their faces while they did so.

In these parts, there are whole woods of cocoa-palms. This tree is
properly a native of India, where it attains a height of eighty
feet, and bears fruit in its sixth year. In other countries, it is
scarcely fifty feet high, and does not bear fruit before it is
twelve or fifteen years old. This tree is, perhaps, the most useful
one in the known world. It produces large and nutritious fruit,
excellent milk, large leaves that are used for covering in and
roofing huts, materials for strong cordage, the clearest oil for
burning, mats, woven stuffs, colouring matter, and even a kind of
drink called surr, toddy, or palm brandy, and obtained by incisions
made in the crown of the tree, to which, during an entire month, the
Hindoos climb up every morning and evening, making incisions in the
stem and hanging pots underneath to catch the sap which oozes out.
The rough condition of the bark facilitates considerably the task of
climbing up the tree. The Hindoos tie a strong cord round the trunk
and their own body, and another round their feet, which they fix
firmly against the tree; they then raise themselves up, drawing the
upper rope with their hands and the lower one with the points of
their feet, after them. I have seen them climb the highest trees in
this manner with the greatest ease in two minutes at the most.
Round their bodies they have a belt, to which are suspended a knife
and one or two small jars.

The sap is at first quite clear, and agreeably sweet, but begins, in
six or eight hours' time, to ferment, and then assumes a whitish
tint, while its flavour becomes disagreeably acid. From this, with
the addition of some rice, is manufactured strong arrack. A good
tree will yield above a gallon of this sap in four-and-twenty hours,
but during the year in which the sap is thus extracted, it bears no

21st December. About 80 miles below Rajmahal, we passed three
rather steep rocks rising out of the Ganges. The largest is about
sixty feet high; the next in size, which is overgrown with bushes,
is the residence of a Fakir, whom the true believers supply with
provisions. We could not see the holy man, as it was beginning to
grow dark as we passed. This, however, did not cause us so much
regret, as that we were unable to visit the Botanical Garden at
Bogulpore, which is said to be the finest in all India; but as there
was no coal depot at Bogulpore, we did not stop.

On the 22nd of December, we passed the remarkable mountain scenery
of Junghera, which rises, like an island of rocks, from the majestic
Ganges. This spot was, in former times, looked on as the holiest in
the whole course of the river. Thousands of boats and larger
vessels were constantly to be seen there, as no Hindoo believed he
could die in peace without having visited the place. Numerous
Fakirs had established themselves here, strengthening the poor
pilgrims with unctuous exhortations, and taking in return their
pious gifts. The neighbourhood has, however, at present, lost its
reputation for sanctity, and the offerings received are scarcely
sufficient to maintain two or three Fakirs.

In the evening we stopped near Monghyr, {160a} a tolerably large
town, with some old fortifications. The most conspicuous object is
a cemetery, crowded with monuments. The monuments are so peculiar,
that had I not seen similar ones in the cemeteries of Calcutta, I
should never have imagined that they belonged to any sect of
Christians. There were temples, pyramids, immense catafalques,
kiosks, etc., all massively built of tiles. The extent of this
cemetery is quite disproportioned to the number of Europeans in
Monghyr; but the place is said to be the most unhealthy in India, so
that when a European is ordered there for any number of years, he
generally takes a last farewell of all his friends.

Six miles hence, there are some hot springs, which are looked upon
by the natives as sacred.

We had lost sight of the Rajmahal Hills at Bogulpore; on both sides
of the river, nothing was now to be seen but an uninterrupted
succession of flat plains.

24th December. Patna, {160b} one of the largest and most ancient
cities of Bengal, with a population of about 300,000 souls, {161}
consists of a long, broad street, eight miles long, with numerous
short alleys running into it. The houses, which are mostly
constructed of mud, struck me as particularly small and wretched.
Under the projecting roofs are exposed for sale goods and provisions
of the simplest kind. That part of the street in which the greatest
number of these miserable shops are situated, is dignified by the
grand name of the "Bazaar." The few houses of a better description
might easily be counted without any very great trouble; they are
built of tiles, and surrounded by wooden galleries and colonnades
prettily carved. In these houses were to be found the best and
finest shops.

The temples of the Hindoos, the Ghauts (flights of steps, halls, and
gateways) on the Ganges, like the mosques of the Mahomedans, always
look a great deal better at a distance than they do on a nearer
inspection. The only objects worthy of notice which I saw here,
were a few bell-shaped mausoleums, like those in Ceylon, which they
greatly surpassed in size, although not in artistic beauty; they
were certainly more than 200 feet in circumference, and eighty feet
in height. Excessively narrow entrances, with simple doors, conduct
into the interior. On the outside, two small flights of steps,
forming a semicircle, lead up to the top. The doors were not opened
for us, and we were obliged to content ourselves with the assurance
that, with the exception of a small, plain sarcophagus there was
nothing inside.

Patna is a place of great importance, from the trade in opium, by
which many of the natives acquire large fortunes. As a general
rule, they make no display of their riches, either as regards their
clothes, or in any other public kind of luxury. There are only two
sorts of dress--one for those in easy circumstances, which is like
that of the Orientals, and one for the poorest classes, which
consists of a piece of cloth bound round the loins.

The principal street presents a bustling appearance, being much
frequented by carriages, as well as pedestrians. The Hindoos, like
the Jews, are such determined foes to walking, that they do not
think the worst place in the most wretched cart beneath their

The vehicles in most general use are narrow, wooden cars upon two
wheels, and composed of four posts with cross-beams. Coloured
woollen stuff is hung over these, and a kind of canopy keeps off the
sun. There is properly only room for two persons, although I have
seen three or four crowded into them. This put me in mind of the
Italians, who fill a carriage so that not even the steps are left
vacant. These cars are called baili. They are closely curtained
when women travel in them.

I expected to see the streets here full of camels and elephants,
since I had read so much about it in some descriptions: but I saw
only bailis drawn by oxen and a few horsemen, but neither camels nor

Towards evening we drove to Deinapore, {162} which is eight miles
from Patna, along an excellent post-road, planted with handsome

Deinapore is one of the largest English military stations, and
contains extensive barracks, which almost constitute a town in
themselves. The town is but a short distance from the barracks.
There are many Mahomedans among the inhabitants, who surpass the
Hindoos in industry and perseverance.

I here saw elephants for the first time on the Indian continent. In
a serai outside the town there were eight large handsome animals.

When we returned to the ship in the evening, we found it like a
camp. All kinds of articles were brought there and laid out for
inspection; but the shoemakers were particularly numerous. Their
work appeared neat and lasting, and remarkably cheap. A pair of
men's boots, for example, cost from one and a half to two rupees
(3s. to 4s.); but it is true that twice as much is always asked for
them. I saw on this occasion the way in which the European sailors
conduct bargains with the natives. One of the engineers wanted to
buy a pair of shoes, and offered a quarter of the price asked. The
seller, not consenting to this, took his goods back; but the
engineer snatched them out of his hand, threw down a few beis more
than what he had offered, and hastened to his cabin. The shoemaker
pursued him, and demanded the shoes back; instead of which he
received several tough blows, and was threatened that if he was not
quiet he should be compelled to leave the ship immediately. The
poor creature returned half crying to his pack of goods.

A similar occurrence took place on the same evening. A Hindoo boy
brought a box for one of the travellers, and asked for a small
payment for his trouble; he was not listened to. The boy remained
standing by, repeating his request now and then. He was driven
away, and as he would not go quietly, blows were had recourse to.
The captain happened to pass accidentally, and asked what was the
matter. The boy, sobbing, told him; the captain shrugged his
shoulders, and the boy was put out of the ship.

How many similar and even more provoking incidents have I seen? The
so-called "barbarian and heathen people" have good reason to hate
us. Wherever the Europeans go they will not give any reward, but
only orders and commands; and their rule is generally much more
oppressive than that of the natives.

26th December. The custom of exposing dying people on the banks of
the Ganges, does not appear to be so general as some travellers
state. We sailed on the river for fourteen days, during which time
we passed many thickly populated towns and villages, and did not
meet with a single case until today. The dying man lay close to the
water, and several men, probably his relations, were seated round
him, awaiting his decease. One dipped water and mud out of the
river with his hands, and put them to the nose and mouth of the
dying man. The Hindoos believe that if they die at the river with
their mouths full of the holy water, they are quite certain to go to
heaven. His relations or friends remain by the dying man till
sunset, when they go home, and leave him to his fate. He generally
falls a prey to crocodiles. I very seldom saw any floating corpses;
only two during the whole journey. Most of the corpses are burnt.

27th December. Ghazipoor is an important place, and is remarkable
at a distance for its handsome ghauts. Here stands a pretty
monument erected to the memory of Lord Cornwallis, who conquered
Tippoo Saib in 1790. Very near is a large establishment for
training horses, which is said to turn out remarkably fine ones.
But Ghazipoor is most remarkable for its enormous rose-fields, and
the rose-water and attar prepared here. The latter is obtained in
the following manner:--

Upon forty pounds of roses, with the calixes, sixty pounds of water
are poured, and the whole is distilled over a slow fire. From this,
about thirty pounds of rose-water are obtained. Another forty
pounds of roses are again added to this, and, at the utmost, twenty
pounds of water distilled off. This is then exposed during the
night to the cold air in pans, and in the morning the oil is found
swimming upon the surface and is skimmed off. Not more than an
ounce and a half of attar, at the utmost, is obtained from eighty
pounds of roses. An ounce of true attar costs, even at Ghazipoor,
40 rupees (4 pounds).

At 10 o'clock on the morning of the 28th, we at length reached the
holy town of Benares. We anchored near Radschgaht, where coolies
and camels were ready to receive us.

Before taking leave of the Ganges, I must remark that, during the
whole journey of about a thousand miles, I did not meet with a
single spot remarkable for its especial beauty, or one picturesque
view. The banks are either flat or bounded by layers of earth ten
or twenty feet in height, and, further inland, sandy plains
alternate with plantations or dried-up meadows and miserable
jungles. There are, indeed, a great number of towns and villages,
but, with the exception of occasional handsome houses and the
ghauts, they are composed of a collection of huts. The river itself
is frequently divided into several branches, and is sometimes so
broad that it resembles a sea rather than a river, for the banks are
scarcely visible.

Benares is the most sacred town of India. It is to the Hindoos what
Mecca is to the Mahomedans, or Rome to the Catholics. The belief of
the Hindoos in its holiness is such that, according to their
opinion, every man will be saved who remains twenty-four hours in
the town, without reference to his religion. This noble toleration
is one of the finest features in the religion and character of this
people, and puts to shame the prejudices of many Christian sects.

The number of pilgrims amounts annually to 300,000 or 400,000, and
the town is one of the most wealthy in the country, through their
trading, sacrifices, and gifts.

This may not be an improper place to make some remarks upon the
religion of these interesting people, which I extract from
Zimmerman's "Handbook of Travels."

"The foundation of the Hindoo faith is the belief in a superior
primitive being, immortality, and a reward of virtue. The chief
idea of God is so great and beautiful, its moral so pure and
elevated, that its equal has not been found among any other people.

"Their creed is to worship the highest Being, to invoke their
guardian gods, to be well-disposed towards their fellow-men, to pity
the unfortunate and help them, to bear patiently the inconveniences
of life, not to lie or break their word, to read the sacred
histories and to give heed to them, not to talk much, to fast, pray,
and to bathe at stated periods. These are the general duties which
the sacred writings of the Hindoos enforce, without exception, upon
all castes or sects.

"Their true and only god is called 'Brahma,' which must not be
confounded with Brahma who was created by the former, who is the
true, eternal, holy, and unchangeable light of all time and space.
The wicked are punished and the good rewarded.

"Out of the Eternal Being proceeded the goddess Bhavani, i.e.,
Nature, and a host of 1,180 million spirits. Among these there are
three demi-gods or superior spirits, Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, the
Hindoo Trinity, called by them Trimurti.

"For a long time, happiness and content prevailed; but they
afterwards revolted, and many gave up their allegiance. The rebels
were cast down from on high into the pit of darkness. Hereupon
succeeded the transmigration of souls; every animal and every plant
was animated by one of the fallen angels, and the remarkable
amiability of the Hindoos towards animals is owing to this belief.
They look upon them as their fellow-creatures, and will not put any
of them to death.

"The Hindoo reverences the great purpose of nature, the production
of organized bodies, in the most disinterested and pious manner.
Everything tending to this end is to him venerable and holy, and it
is in this respect alone that he worships the Lingam.

"It may be affirmed, that the superstitions of this creed have only
gradually become an almost senseless delusion through corruption and

"In order to judge of the present state of their religion, it will
be sufficient to describe the figures of a few of their chief

"Brahma, as the creator of the world, is represented with four human
heads and eight hands; in one hand he holds the scriptures, in the
others, various idols. He is not worshipped in any temple, having
lost this prerogative on account of his ambitious desire to find out
the Supreme Being. However, after repenting of his folly, it was
permitted that the Brahmins might celebrate some festivals in his
honour, called Poutsche.

"Vishnu, as the maintainer of the world, is represented in twenty-
one different forms:--Half fish half man, as tortoise, half lion
half man, Buddha, dwarf, etc. The wife of Vishnu is worshipped as
the goddess of fruitfulness, plenty, and beauty. The cow is
considered sacred to her.

"Shiva is the destroyer, revenger, and the conqueror of Death. He
has, therefore, a double character, beneficent or terrible; he
rewards or punishes. He is generally hideously represented,
entirely surrounded by lightning, with three eyes, the largest of
which is in the forehead; he has also eight arms, in each of which
he holds something.

"Although these three deities are equal, the religion of the Hindoos
is divided into only two sects--the worshippers of Vishnu and those
of Shiva. Brahma has no peculiar sect, since he is denied temples
and pagodas; however, the whole priestly caste--the Brahmins--may be
considered as his worshippers, since they affirm that they proceeded
from his head.

"The worshippers of Vishnu have on their foreheads a red or
yellowish painted sign of the Jani; the Shiva worshippers, the sign
of the Lingam, or an obelisk, triangle, or the sun.

"333,000,000 subordinate deities are recognised. They control the
elements, natural phenomena, the passions, acts, diseases, etc.
They are represented in different forms and having all kinds of

"There are also genii, good and evil spirits. The number of the
good exceeds that of the bad by about 3,000,000.

"Other objects are also considered sacred by the Hindoos, as rivers,
especially the Ganges, which is believed to have been formed from
the sweat of Shiva. The water of the Ganges is so highly esteemed,
that a trade is carried on in it for many miles inland.

"Among animals, they chiefly look upon the cow, ox, elephant, ape,
eagle, swan, peacock, and serpent, as sacred; among plants, the
lotus, the banana, and the mango-tree.

"The Brahmins have an especial veneration for a stone, which is,
according to Sonnerat, a fossil ammonite in slate.

"It is in the highest degree remarkable that there is no
representation of the Supreme Being to be found in all Hindostan.
The idea appears too great for them; they consider the whole earth
as his temple, and worship him under all forms.

"The adherents of Shiva bury their dead; the others either burn them
or throw them into the river."

No one can form an accurate idea of India who has not gone beyond
Calcutta. This city has become almost European. The palaces, the
equipages are European; there are societies, balls, concerts,
promenades, almost the same as in Paris or London; and if it was not
for the tawny natives in the streets, and the Hindoo servants in the
houses, a stranger might easily forget that he was in a foreign

It is very different in Benares. The Europeans are isolated there;
foreign customs and manners everywhere surround them, and remind
them that they are tolerated intruders. Benares contains 300,000
inhabitants, of which scarcely 150 are Europeans.

The town is handsome, especially when seen from the river side,
where its defects are not observed. Magnificent rows of steps,
built of colossal stones, lead up to the houses and palaces, and
artistically built gateways. In the best part of the town, they
form a continuous line two miles in length. These steps cost
enormous sums of money, and a large town might have been built with
the stones employed for them.

The handsome part of the town contains a great number of antique
palaces, in the Moorish, Gothic, and Hindoo styles, many of which
are six stories high. The gates are most magnificent, and the
fronts of the palaces and houses are covered with masterly
arabesques and sculptured work; the different stories are richly
ornamented with fine colonnades, verandahs, balconies, and friezes.
The windows alone did not please me; they were low, small, and
seldom regularly arranged. All the houses and palaces have very
broad sloping roofs and terraces. The innumerable temples afford a
proof of the wealth and piety of the inhabitants of this town.
Every Hindoo in good circumstances has a temple in his house, i.e.,
a small tower, which is frequently only twenty feet high.

The Hindoo temples consist properly of a tower thirty or sixty feet
in height, without windows, and having only a small entrance. They
appear, especially at a distance, very striking and handsome, as
they are either artistically sculptured or richly covered with
projecting ornaments, such as pinnacles, small columns, pyramids,
leaves, niches, etc.

Unfortunately, many of these beautiful buildings are in ruins. The
Ganges here and there undermines the foundations, and palaces and
temples sink into the soft earth or fall entirely down. Miserable
little huts are in some places built upon these ruins, and disfigure
the fine appearance of the town, for even the ruins themselves are
still beautiful.

At sunrise, a spectacle is to be seen at the river which has not its
counterpart in the world. The pious Hindoos come here to perform
their devotions; they step into the river, turn towards the sun,
throw three handsful of water upon their heads, and mutter their
prayers. Taking into account the large population which Benares
contains, besides pilgrims, it will not be exaggeration to say that
the daily number of devotees amounts, on the average, to 50,000
persons. Numbers of Brahmins sit in small kiosks, or upon blocks of
stone on the steps, close to the water's edge, to receive the
charity of the wealthy, and grant them absolution in return.

Every Hindoo must bathe at least once in the day, and particularly
in the morning; if he is pious and has time, he repeats the ceremony
again in the evening. The women bathe at home.

At the time of the festival called Mala, when the concourse of
pilgrims is innumerable, the steps are crowded with masses of human
beings, and the river appears as if covered with black spots from
the number of the bathers' heads.

The interior of the city is far less handsome than that portion
which extends along the Ganges. It contains many palaces; but these
have not the same beautiful gateways, colonnades, and verandahs as
those already described. Many of these buildings are covered with
fine cement, and others are painted with miserable frescoes.

The streets are for the most part both dirty and ugly, and many of
them are so narrow, that there is scarcely room for a palanquin to
pass. At the corner of almost every house stands the figure of the
god Shiva.

Among the temples in the town, the handsomest is the "Bisvishas:" it
has two towers connected by colonnades, with their summits covered
with golden plates. The temple is surrounded by a wall, but we were
allowed to enter the fore-court, and to go as far as the entrance.
We saw inside several images of Vishnu and Shiva, wreathed with
flowers, and strewn over with grains of rice, wheat, etc. Small
bulls of metal or stone stood in the porch, and living white bulls
(of which I counted eight) wandered about at liberty. The latter
are considered sacred, and are allowed to roam where they please,
and are not prevented from satisfying their hunger with even the
sacrificial flowers and corn.

These sacred animals do not remain in the temples only--they wander
about the streets; and the people turn reverently out of their way,
and frequently give them fodder. They do not, however, allow them
to eat the corn exposed for sale, as was formerly the case. If one
of the sacred animals happen to die, it is either thrown into the
river or burnt. They receive in this respect the same honour as the
Hindoos themselves.

In the temple, there were men and women who had brought flowers,
with which they decorated the images. Some of them also laid a
piece of money under the flowers. They then sprinkled them over
with Ganges' water, and strewed rice and other corn about.

Near the temple are the most holy places in the town, namely--the
so-called "holy well" and the Mankarnika, a large basin of water.
The following anecdote is told of the former:--

When the English had conquered Benares, they planted a cannon before
the entrance of the temple to destroy the image of the god Mahadeo.
The Brahmins, greatly indignant at this, instigated the people to
revolt, and they hastened in numerous crowds to the temple. The
English, to prevent a disturbance, said to the people: "If your god
is stronger than the Christian God, the balls will not hurt him; but
if not, he will be broken to pieces." Of course; the latter was the
result. The Brahmins, however, did not give up their cause, but
declared that they had seen the spirit of their god leave the idol
before the cannon was fired, and plunge into the spring near at
hand. From this time the spring was considered sacred.

The Mankarnika is a deep basin, paved with stone, about sixty feet
long, and of equal breadth; broad steps lead from the four sides
into the water. A similar tradition, but connected with the god
Shiva, is attached to this place. Both deities are said to have
continued to reside in these waters down to the present day. Every
pilgrim who visits Benares must, on his arrival, bathe in this holy
pool, and, at the same time, make a small offering. Several
Brahmins are always present to receive these gifts. They are in no
way distinguished by their dress from the bulk of the better
classes, but the colour of their skin is clearer, and many of them
have very noble features.

Fifty paces from this pool, on the banks of the Ganges, stands a
remarkably handsome Hindoo temple, with three towers.
Unfortunately, the ground sunk in a few years since, and the towers
were thrown out of their proper position: one inclines to the right
and the other to the left; the third is almost sunk into the Ganges.

Among the thousand of other temples, there is here and there one
which is worth the trouble of a cursory inspection, but I would not
advise any one to go much out of their way on their account. The
place for burning the dead is very near the holy pool. When we went
there, they were just roasting a corpse--the mode of burning cannot
be described by any other name, the fire was so small, and the
corpse projected over on all sides.

Among the other buildings, the Mosque Aurang Zeb is most worthy of
the notice of travellers. It is famous on account of its two
minarets, which are 150 feet high, and are said to be the slenderest
in the world. They look like two needles, and certainly are more
deserving of the name than that of Cleopatra at Alexandria. Narrow
winding staircases in the interior lead to the top, upon which a
small platform, with a balustrade a foot high, is erected. It is
fortunate for those who are not subject to dizziness. They can
venture out, and take a bird's-eye view of the endless sea of
houses, and the innumerable Hindoo temples; the Ganges also, with
its step quays, miles long, lies exposed below. I was told that on
very clear, fine days, a distant chain of mountains was perceivable--
the day was fine and clear, but I could not see the mountains.

The observatory is a very remarkable and artistic building. It was
built by Dscheising, under the intelligent Emperor Akbar, more than
two centuries since. There are no ordinary telescopes to be found
there: all the instruments are constructed of massive blocks of
stone. Upon a raised terrace, to which stone steps lead, stand
circular tables, semicircular and quadratic curves, etc. which are
covered with signs, writing, and lines. With these instruments, the
Brahmins made, and still make, their observations and calculations.
We met with several Brahmins busily engaged with calculations and
written treatises.

Benares is on the whole the chief seat of Indian learning. Among
the Brahmins, 6,000 in number, I was told there were many who give
instruction in astronomy, Sanscrit, and other scientific subjects.

The sacred apes are another of the curiosities of Benares. Their
principal location is upon some of the immense mango-trees in the
suburbs of Durgakund. The animals seemed as if they knew we had
come to see them, for they approached quite close to us; but when
the servant, whom I had sent for some food for them, returned, and
called them to him, it was amusing to see the merry creatures come
running from the trees, the roofs of the houses, and the streets.
We were in a moment closely surrounded by several hundreds, who
fought together in the most comical manner for the fruits and grain.
The largest or oldest acted as commander. Wherever there was
quarrelling, he rushed in, and commenced thrashing the combatants,
threatening them with his teeth, and making a muttering sound, upon
which they immediately separated. It was the largest and most
comical party of monkeys I ever saw. They were generally more than
two feet high, and their skins were a dirty yellow colour.

My kind host took me one day to Sarnath (five miles from Benares),
where there are some interesting ruins of three remarkably massive
towers. They are not particularly high, and stand upon three
artificially raised mounds, a mile distant from each other. Both
the mounds and towers are constructed of large bricks. The largest
of these towers is still covered in many places with stone slabs, on
which traces of arabesques are here and there visible. Numbers of
slabs lie scattered about the ground. There are no signs of any
such covering on the remaining towers. In each there is a small
door and a single apartment.

Excavations were commenced beneath these towers by the English
government in the hope of making some discoveries which would throw
light upon the origin of these buildings; but nothing was found
beyond an empty underground vault.

There is a lake close by of artificial construction, which is
supplied with water from the Ganges by a canal.

There is a very singular tradition connected with these towers and
the lake. "In very ancient times three brothers ruled here, who
were giants, and had these buildings erected and the lake excavated,
and all in one day. It must, however, be known that a day at that
time was equal to two years of modern reckoning. The giants were so
tall that they could go from one tower to the other with a step, and
the reason these were built so close was their fondness for each
other, and their desire to be always together."

An indigo plantation in the neighbourhood, the first I ever saw, was
not less interesting to me than these towers and their singular
tradition. The indigo plant is herbaceous, and from one to three
feet high, with delicate bluish-green leaves. The harvest is
generally in August; the plants are cut tolerably low on the
principal stem, tied together in bundles, and thrown into large
wooden vats. Planks are laid on the tops of the bundles weighted
with stones, and water poured on them; generally after sixteen
hours, though sometimes after several days, according to the
character of the water, fermentation commences. This is the
principal difficulty, and everything depends upon its continuance
for the proper time. When the water has acquired a dark-green
colour, it is transferred to other wooden vessels, lime added, and
the whole stirred with wooden spades until a blue deposit takes
place. After being allowed to settle, the water is poured off, and
the substance remaining behind is put into long linen bags through
which the moisture filters. As soon as the indigo is dry, it is
broken in pieces and packed.

Shortly before my departure I had the pleasure of being presented to
the Rajah through the aid of my fellow-traveller, Mr. Law. He
resides in the Citadel Rhamnughur, which lies on the left bank of
the Ganges, above the town.

A handsomely ornamented boat awaited us at the bank of the river,
and on the other side a palanquin. We soon found ourselves at the
entrance of the palace, the gateway of which is lofty and majestic.
I expected to have been gratified in the interior by the sight of
spacious courts and a handsome style of architecture, but found only
irregular courts and small unsymmetrical apartments, destitute of
all taste and luxury. In one of the courts was a plain-columned
hall on the level of the ground, which served as a reception-room.
This hall was overcrowded with glass lustres, lamps, and European
furniture; on the walls were some miserable pictures, framed and
glazed. Outside was a swarm of servants, who gazed at us with great
attention. Presently the prince made his appearance, accompanied by
his brother, and some courtiers and attendants, who could scarcely
be distinguished the one from the other.

The two princes were very richly dressed; they wore wide trousers,
long under and short over garments, all made of satin, embroidered
with gold. The elder one, aged thirty-five, wore short silk cuffs,
embroidered with gold, the edge set with diamonds; he had several
large brilliant rings on his finger, and his silk shoes were covered
with beautiful gold embroidery. His brother, a youth of nineteen,
whom he had adopted, {170} wore a white turban with a costly clasp
of diamonds and pearls. He had large pearls hanging from his ears,
and rich massive bracelets on his wrists. The elder prince was a
handsome man, with exceedingly amiable and intellectual features;
the younger one pleased me far less.

We had scarcely seated ourselves, when a large silver basin with
elaborately worked nargillys were brought, and we were invited to
smoke. We declined this honour, and the prince smoked alone; he
took only a few whiffs from the same nargilly, which was then
replaced by another handsomer one.

The behaviour of the princes was very decorous and lively. I
regretted that we could communicate only through an interpreter. He
inquired whether I had ever seen a Natsch (festival dance). On my
answering that I had not, he immediately ordered one to be

In half an hour two female dancers and three musicians appeared.
The dancers were dressed in gay gold-embroidered muslin, wide silk
trousers, embroidered with gold, which reached to the ground, and
quite covered their bare feet. One of the musicians played upon two
small drums, the other two on four-stringed instruments, similar to
our violins. They stood close behind the dancers, and played
without melody or harmony; the dancers making at the same time very
animated motions with their arms, hands, and fingers, more than with
their feet, on which they wore silver bells, which they rung at
intervals. They made handsome and graceful drapings and figures
with their over garments. This performance lasted about a quarter
of an hour, after which they accompanied the dance with singing.
The two sylphides shrieked so miserably that I was in fear for my
ears and nerves.

During the performance, sweetmeats, fruits, and sherbet (a cooling,
sweet, acidulated beverage) were handed round.

After the dance was ended, the prince asked if I would like to see
his garden, which is a mile distant from the palace. I was
indiscreet enough to accept his offer.

In company with the young prince we proceeded to the front square of
the palace, where elegantly ornamented elephants stood ready. The
elder prince's favourite elephant, an animal of uncommon size and
beauty, was destined for myself and Mr. Law. A scarlet canopy, with
tassels, fringes, and gold embroidered lace, nearly covered the
whole animal. A convenient seat was placed upon his broad back,
which might be compared to a phaeton without wheels. The elephant
was made to kneel down, a ladder was placed against his side, and
Mr. Law and myself took our places. Behind us sat a servant, who
held an enormously large umbrella over our heads. The driver sat
upon the neck of the animal, and pricked it now and then between the
ears with a sharp-pointed iron rod.

The young prince, with his attendant and servants, took their places
upon the other elephants. Several officers on horseback rode at our
side, two soldiers with drawn sabres ran in front of the party to
clear the way, and upwards of a dozen soldiers, also with drawn
sabres, surrounded us, while a few mounted soldiers brought up the

Although the motion of the elephant is quite as jolting and
unpleasant as that of the camel, this truly Indian ride afforded me
great pleasure.

When we had arrived at the garden, the young prince seemed by his
proud look to ask whether we were not charmed with its magnificence.
Our delight was unfortunately assumed, for the garden was far too
plain to deserve much praise. In the back-ground of the garden
stands a somewhat ruinous royal summer palace.

As we were about leaving the garden, the gardener brought us some
beautiful nosegays and delicious fruits--a custom universal in

Outside the garden was a very large water-basin, covered with
handsome blocks of stone; broad steps led up to the water, and at
the corner stood beautiful kiosks, ornamented with tolerably well-
executed reliefs.

The Rajah of Benares receives from the English government an annual
pension of one lac, that is, 100,000 rupees (10,000 pounds). He is
said to receive as much more from his property, and nevertheless to
be very much in debt. The causes of this are his great extravagance
in clothes and jewellery, his numerous wives, servants, horses,
camels, and elephants, etc. I was told that the prince has forty
wives, about a thousand servants and soldiers, a hundred horses,
fifty camels, and twenty elephants.

On the following morning the Rajah sent to inquire how the excursion
had pleased us, and presented me with confectionery, sweetmeats, and
the rarest fruits; among others, grapes and pomegranates, which at
this time of the year are scarce. They came from Cabul, which is
about 700 miles distant from this place.

Finally, I must mention that for many years no one has died in the
palace which the Rajah occupies. The reason of this is said to be
the following:--"One of the rulers of this palace once asked a
Brahmin what would become of the soul of any one who died in the
palace. The Brahmin answered that it would go to heaven. The Rajah
repeated the same question ninety-nine times, and always received
the same answer. But on asking the hundredth time, the Brahmin lost
patience, and answered that it would go into a donkey." Since that
time every one, from the prince to the meanest servant, leaves the
palace as soon as they feel themselves unwell. None of them are
desirous of continuing after death the part which they have,
perhaps, so frequently commenced in this life.

While in Benares I had two opportunities of seeing the so-called
martyrs of the Fakirs (a priestly sect of the Hindoos). These
martyrs impose upon themselves the most various tortures: for
example, they stick an iron hook through their flesh, and have
themselves drawn up to a height of twenty or five-and-twenty feet;
or they stand several hours in the day upon one foot, and at the
same time stretch their arms in the air, or hold heavy weights in
various positions, turn round in a circle for hours together, tear
the flesh off their bodies, etc. They frequently torment themselves
so much as to be in danger of their lives. These martyrs are still
tolerably venerated by the people; however, there are at the present
time but a few more remaining. One of the two whom I saw, held a
heavy axe over his head, and had taken the bent attitude of a
workman hewing wood. I watched him for more than a quarter of an
hour; he remained in the same position as firmly and quietly as if
he had been turned to stone. He had, perhaps, exercised this
useless occupation for years. The other held the point of his foot
to his nose.

Another sect of the Fakirs condemn themselves to eat only a little
food, and that of the most disgusting kind: the flesh of oxen that
have died, half-rotten vegetables, and refuse of every kind, even
mud and earth; they say that it is quite immaterial what the stomach
is filled with.

The Fakirs all go about almost naked, smear their bodies with cow-
dung, not even excepting the face; and then strew ashes over
themselves. They paint their breasts and foreheads with the
symbolical figures of Vishnu and Shiva, and dye their ragged hair
dark reddish brown. It is not easy to imagine anything more
disgusting and repulsive than these priests. They wander about all
the streets, preaching and doing whatever they fancy; they are,
however, far less respected than the martyrs.

One of the gentlemen whose acquaintance I made in Benares, was so
obliging as to communicate to me some information as to the relation
of the peasants to the government. The peasant has no landed
property. All the land belongs either to the English government,
the East India Company, or the native princes. It is let out
altogether; the principal tenants divide it into small lots, and
sublet these to the peasants. The fate of the latter depends
entirely upon the disposition of the principal tenant. He
determines the amount of rent, and frequently demands the money at a
time when the crops are not harvested, and the peasant cannot pay;
the poor people are then obliged to sell the unripe crops for half
their worth, and their landlord generally contrives to buy it
himself in the name of another person. The unfortunate peasant
frequently has scarcely a sufficiency left to keep life in himself
and his family.

Laws and judges there certainly are in the country, and, as
everywhere else, the laws are good and the magistrates just; but it
is another question whether the poor ever receive justice. The
districts are so extensive, that the peasant cannot undertake a
journey of seventy or eighty miles; and even when he lives near, he
cannot always reach the presence of the magistrate. The business of
the latter is so great, that he cannot himself attend to the
details, and generally he is the only European in office, the
remaining officials consisting of Hindoos and Mahomedans, whose
character--a lamentable fact--is always worse the more they come in
contact with Europeans. If, therefore, the peasant comes to the
court without bringing a present, he is generally turned away, his
petition or complaint is not accepted or listened to; and how is he
to bring a present after being deprived of everything by the
landlord? The peasant knows this, and therefore seldom makes a

An Englishman (unfortunately I have forgotten his name) who
travelled in India for scientific purposes, proves that the peasants
have now to suffer more than formerly under their native princes.

In India, under the so-called "free English government," I found a
sad proof that the position of the slaves in Brazil is better than
that of the free peasants here. The slave there has not to provide
for any of his wants, and he is never burdened with too much work,
as the interest of his master would then suffer; for a slave costs
seven or eight hundred gulders (70 or 80 pounds), and it is to the
interest of his owner that he should be well treated, that he may be
longer of service. It cannot be denied that there are cases in
which the slaves are tyrannically treated, but this is extremely

Several German and English missionaries reside in the neighbourhood
of Benares, and go constantly to the town to preach. At one of
these missionary establishments is a Christian village, which
contains more than twenty Hindoo families. Nevertheless,
Christianity makes scarcely any advance. {173} I inquired of each
of the missionaries how many Hindoos or Mahomedans they had baptized
in the course of their labours: generally they said, "None;" very
seldom, "One." The above mentioned families result from the year
1831, when nearly the whole of India was ravaged by cholera, nervous
fever, or famine; the people died, and many children remained
orphans, wandering about without a home. The missionaries took
these, and brought them up in the Christian religion. They were
instructed in all kinds of trades, were housed, married, and their
whole maintenance provided for. The descendants of these families
are continually educated by the missionaries, and strictly watched:
as to new converts, however, there are unfortunately none.

I was present at several examinations: the boys and girls seemed to
have been taught well to read, write, reckon, and were well
acquainted with religion and geography. The girls were clever
embroiderers, they did needle-work very well, and sewed all kinds of
things; the boys and men made tables, carpets, bound books, printed,
etc. The director and professor of this excellent establishment is
the missionary, Mr. Luitpold; his wife has the superintendence of
the girls. The whole is sensibly and intelligently arranged and
conducted; Mr. and Mrs. Luitpold attend to their proteges with true
Christian love. But what are a few drops in an immeasurable sea?



From Benares, Mr. Law and myself travelled in a post-dock to
Allahabad. The distance, which amounts to seventy-six miles,
occupies about twelve or thirteen hours. We left the sacred town on
the 7th of January, 1848, at 6 o'clock in the evening, and early in
the morning found ourselves already near Allahabad, at a long bridge
of boats which here crosses the Ganges.

We left the post-dock, and were carried in palanquins to the hotel,
about a mile further on. When we arrived there, we found it so
occupied by some officers of a regiment on the march, that my
travelling companion was received only upon condition that he would
content himself with a place in the public-room. In these
circumstances, nothing remained for me but to make use of my letter
of introduction to Dr. Angus.

My arrival placed the good old gentleman in no little embarrassment:
his house was also already filled with travellers. His sister, Mrs.
Spencer, however, with great kindness, at once offered me half of
her own sleeping apartment.

Allahabad has 25,000 inhabitants. It lies partly upon the Jumna
(Deschumna), partly on the Ganges. It is not one of the largest and
handsomest, although it is one of the sacred towns, and is visited
by many pilgrims. The Europeans reside in handsome garden-houses
outside the town.

Among the objects of interest, the fortress with the palace is the
most remarkable. It was built during the reign of the Sultan Akbar.
It is situated at the junction of the Jumna with the Ganges.

The fortress has been much strengthened with new works by the
English. It serves now as the principal depot of arms in British

The palace is a rather ordinary building; only a few of the saloons
are remarkable for their interior division. There are some which
are intersected by three rows of columns, forming three adjoining
arcades. In others, a few steps lead into small apartments which
are situated in the saloon itself, and resemble large private boxes
in theatres.

The palace is now employed as an armoury. It contains complete arms
for 40,000 men, and there is also a quantity of heavy ordnance.

In one of the courts stands a metal column thirty-six feet high,
called Feroze-Schachs-Laht, which is very well preserved, is covered
with inscriptions, and is surmounted by a lion.

A second curiosity in the fort is a small unimportant temple, now
much dilapidated, which is considered as very sacred by the Hindoos.
To their great sorrow they are not allowed to visit it, as the fort
is not open to them. One of the officers told me that, a short time
since, a very rich Hindoo made a pilgrimage here, and offered the
commandant of the fortress 20,000 rupees (2,000 pounds) to allow him
to make his devotions in this temple. The commandant could not
permit it.

This fortress also has its tradition:--"When the Sultan Akbar
commenced building it, every wall immediately fell in. An oracle
said that he would not succeed in its erection before a man
voluntarily offered himself as a sacrifice. Such an one presented
himself, and made only one condition, that the fortress and town
should bear his name. The man was called Brog, and the town is,
even at this time, more frequently called Brog by the Hindoos than

In memory of the heroic man, a temple was erected near the fortress,
under ground, where he is interred. Many pilgrims come here
annually. The temple is quite dark; lights or torches must be used
on entering it. It resembles, on the whole, a large handsome
cellar, the roof of which rests upon a number of plain columns. The
walls are full of niches, which are occupied by idols and figures of
deities. A leafless tree is shown as a great curiosity, which grew
in the temple and made its way through the stone roof.

I also visited a fine large garden, in which stood four Mahomedan
mausoleums. The largest contains a sarcophagus of white marble,
which is surrounded by wooden galleries extremely richly and
handsomely decorated with mother-of-pearl. Here rests the Sultan
Koshru, son of Jehanpuira. Two smaller sarcophagi contain children
of the sultan. The walls are painted with stiff flowers and
miserable trees, between which are some inscriptions.

One part of the wall is covered with a small curtain. The guide
pushed it with great devotion on one side, and showed me the
impression of a colossal open hand. He told me that a great-great-
uncle of Mohamet once came here to pray. He was powerful, large,
and clumsy; when raising himself up, he stumbled against the wall
and left the impression of his sacred hand.

These four monuments are said to be upwards of 250 years old. They
are constructed of large blocks of stone, and richly decorated with
arabesques, friezes, reliefs, etc. The sepulchre of Koshru and the
impression of the hand are much venerated by the Mahomedans.

The garden afforded me more pleasure than the monuments--especially
on account of the enormous tamarind-trees. I thought that I had
seen the largest in Brazil, but the ground, or perhaps the climate,
here appears more favourable to this species of trees. Not only is
the garden full of such magnificent specimens, but there are
beautiful avenues of them round the town. The tamarinds of
Allahabad are even mentioned in geographical works.

On one side of the lofty wall which surrounds the garden, two
caravansaries are built, which are remarkable for their beautiful
high portals, their size, and convenient arrangement. They
presented an uncommonly lively appearance, containing people in all
costumes, horses, oxen, camels, and elephants, and a large quantity
of wares in chests, bales, and sacks.

10th January. About 3 in the afternoon, we left Allahabad and
continued our journey in a post-dock as far as Agra, with some short
stoppages. The distance is nearly 300 miles.

In twenty-two hours we reached Caunipoor (150 miles), on the Ganges,
a town which is remarkable for its English settlement.

The journey so far offered little change, an uninterrupted richly-
cultivated plain and an unfrequented road. With the exception of a
few companies of military, we did not meet a single traveller.

A party of military on the march in India resembles a small
emigration company; and, after seeing one, it is easy to form an
idea of the enormous trains of the Persian and other Asiatic armies.
The greater part of the native soldiers are married, as well as the
officers (Europeans); therefore, when the regiment marches, there
are nearly as many women and children as soldiers. The women and
children ride, two or three together, upon horses or oxen, or sit
upon cars, or go on foot with bundles on their backs. They have all
their effects packed upon cars, and drive their goats and cows
before them. The officers follow, with their families, in European
carriages, palanquins, or on horseback. Their tents, house
furniture, etc., are packed upon camels and elephants, which
generally bring up the rear. The camp is pitched on both sides of
the road--on one side are the people, and on the other the animals.

Caunipoor is a strong military station, with four handsome barracks;
there is also an important missionary society. The town possesses
some handsome schools and private buildings, and a Christian church,
in pure Gothic style.

12th January. Towards noon, we reached the small village of Beura.
Here we found a bungalow; that is, a small house with two or four
rooms barely furnished with the most necessary and plainest
furniture. These bungalows stand upon the post-roads, and supply
the place of hotels. They are built by government. One person pays
one rupee (2s.) a day for a small room; a family, two rupees. The
payment is the same in most bungalows, if the travellers remain
twenty-four hours or only half an hour; it is only in a few that it
is considered enough to pay half-price for staying a short time. At
each bungalow, a native is placed as superintendent, who waits on
the travellers, cooks for them, etc. The control is carried out by
means of a book, in which each traveller writes his name. If there
are no travellers, a person may remain as long as he chooses; when
the contrary happens, he cannot stay more than twenty-four hours.

The villages which lie on the road are small, and appear very
miserable and poor. They are surrounded by high mud walls, which
give them the appearance of a fortification.

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