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Modern India by William Eleroy Curtis

Part 8 out of 8

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prices, restrictive measures for the suppression of the vice, the
famine, changes in the habits of the people, and smuggling; but
it is the conviction of all the officials concerned in handling
opium that its use is not so general as formerly, and its abuse
is very small. They claim that it is used chiefly by hard-working
people and enables them to resist fatigue and sustain privation,
and that the prevailing opinion that opium consumers are all
degraded, depraved and miserable wretches, enfeebled in body
and mind, is not true. It is asserted by the inspectors that
the greater part of the opium sold in India is used by moderate
people, who take their daily dose and are actually benefited
rather than injured by it. At the same time it is admitted that
the drug is abused by many, and that the habit is usually acquired
by people suffering from painful diseases, who begin by taking
a little for relief and gradually increase the dose until they
cannot live without it.

In 1895 an unusually active agitation for the suppression of the
trade resulted in the appointment of a parliamentary commission,
of which Lord Brassey was chairman. They made a thorough
investigation, spending several months in India, examining more
than seven hundred witnesses, of which 466 were natives, and
their conclusions were that it is the abuse and not the use of
opium that is harmful, and "that its use among the people of
India as a rule is a moderate use, that excess is exceptional
and is condemned by public opinion; that the use of opium in
moderation is not attended by injurious consequences, and that no
extended physical or moral degradation is caused by the habit."



Calcutta is a modern city compared with the rest of India. It has
been built around old Fort William, which was the headquarters
of the East India Company 200 years ago, and is situated upon the
bank of the River Hoogly, one of the many mouths of the Ganges,
about ninety miles from the Bay of Bengal. The current is so swift
and the channel changes so frequently that the river cannot be
navigated at night, nor without a pilot. The native pilots are
remarkably skillful navigators, and seem to know by instinct
how the shoals shift. For several miles below the city the banks
of the river are lined with factories of all kinds, which have
added great wealth to the empire. Old Fort William disappeared
many years ago, and a new fort was erected a mile or two farther
down the river, where it could command the approaches to the
city, but that also is now old-fashioned, and could not do much
execution if Calcutta were attacked. The fortifications near
the mouth of the river are supposed to be quite formidable, but
Calcutta is not a citadel, and in case of war must be defended
by battle ships and other floating fortresses. It is one of the
cities of India which shows a rapid growth of population, the
gain during ten years having been 187,178, making the total
population, by the census of 1901, 1,026,987.

The city takes its name from a village which stood in the
neighborhood at the time the East India Company located there.
It was famous for a temple erected in honor of Kali, the fearful
wife of the god Siva, the most cruel, vindictive and relentless
of all the heathen deities. The temple still stands, being more
than 400 years old, and "Kali, the Black One," still sits upon her
altar, hideous in appearance, gorgon-headed, wearing a necklace
of human skulls and dripping with fresh blood from the morning
sacrifice of sheep and goats. She brings pestilence, famine, war
and sorrows and suffering of all kinds, and can only be propitiated
by the sacrifice of life. Formerly nothing but human blood would
satisfy her, and thousands, some claim tens of thousands, of
victims have been slain before her image in that ancient temple.
Human offerings were forbidden by the English many years ago,
but it is believed that they are occasionally made even now when
famine and plague are afflicting the people. During the late
famine it is suspected that an appeal for mercy was sealed with
the sacrifice of infants. Residents of the neighborhood assert
that human heads, dripping with blood and decorated with flowers,
have been seen in the temple occasionally since 1870. It is the
only notable temple in Calcutta, and is visited by tourists, but
they are allowed to go only so far and no farther, for fear that
Kali might be provoked by the intrusion. It is a ghastly, filthy,
repulsive place, and was formerly the southern headquarters of
that organized caste of religious assassins known as Thugs.

A little beyond the Temple of Kali is the burning ghat of Calcutta.
Here the Hindus bring the bodies of their dead and burn them on
funeral pyres. The cremations may be witnessed every morning
by anyone who cares to take the trouble to drive out there. They
take place in an open area surrounded by temples and shrines
on one side, and large piles of firewood and the palm cottages
of the attendants on the other. The river which flows by the
burning ground is covered with all kinds of native craft, carrying
on commerce between the city and the country, and the ashes of
the dead are cast between them upon the sacred waters from a
flight of stone steps which leads to the river's brink. There is
no more objection to a stranger attending the burning ceremonies
than would be offered to his presence at a funeral in the United
States. Indeed, friends who frequently accompany the bodies of
the dead feel flattered at the attention and often take bunches
of flowers from the bier and present them to bystanders.

The Black Hole of Calcutta, of which you have read so much, no
longer exists. Its former site is now partially built over, but
Lord Curzon has had it marked, and that portion which is now
uncovered he has had paved with marble, so that a visitor can see
just how large an area was occupied by it. He has also reproduced
after the original plan a monument that was erected to the dead by
Governor J. Z. Howell, one of the sufferers. You will remember
that the employes of the East India Company, with their families,
were residing within the walls of Fort William when an uprising
of the natives occurred June 20, 1756. The survivors, 156 in
number, were made prisoners and pressed into an apartment eighteen
feet long, eighteen feet wide and fourteen feet ten inches high,
where they were kept over night. It was a sort of vault in the
walls of the fortress, which had been used for storage purposes
and at one time for a prison. The company consisted of men, women,
children and even infants. Several of them were crushed to death
and trampled during the efforts of the native soldiers to crowd
them into this place, and all but thirty-three of the 156 died
of suffocation. The next morning, when the leader of the mutiny
ordered the living prisoners brought before him, the bodies of
the dead were cast into a pit outside the walls and allowed to
rot there. The monument to which I have alluded stands upon the
site of the pit. To preserve history Lord Curzon has had a model
of the old fort made in wood, and it will be placed in the museum.

Calcutta is a fine city. The government buildings, the courthouses,
the business blocks and residences, the churches and clubs are
nearly all of pretentious architecture and imposing appearance.
Most of the buildings are up to date. The banks of the river
are lined for a long distance with mammoth warehouses and the
anchorage is crowded with steamers from all parts of the world.
There is a regular line between Calcutta and New York, which, I
was told, is doing a good business. Beyond the warehouses, the
business section and the government buildings, along the bank of
the river for several miles, is an open space or common, called
the Maidan, the amusement and recreation ground of the public,
who show their appreciation by putting it to good use. There
are several thousand acres, including the military reservation,
bisected with drives and ornamented with monuments and groves of
trees. It belongs to the public, is intended for their benefit,
and thousands of natives may be found enjoying this privilege
night and day. An American circus has its tent pitched in the
center opposite a group of hotels; a little further along is a
roller skating rink, which seems to be popular, and scattered
here and there, usually beside clumps of shade trees, are cottages
erected for the accommodation of golf, tennis, croquet and cricket
clubs. On Saturday afternoons and holidays these clubhouses are
surrounded by gayly dressed people enjoying an outing, and at
all times groups of natives may be seen scattered from one end of
the Maidan to the other, sleeping, visiting, and usually resting
in the full glare of the fierce sun. Late in the afternoon, when
the heat has moderated, everybody who owns a carriage or a horse
or can hire one, comes out for a drive, and along the river bank
the roadway is crowded with all kinds of vehicles filled with
all sorts of people dressed in every variety of costume worn
by the many races that make up the Indian Empire, with a large
sprinkling of Europeans.

The viceroy and Lady Curzon, with their two little girls, come
in an old-fashioned barouche, drawn by handsome English hackneys,
with coachman, footman and two postilions, clad in gorgeous red
livery, gold sashes and girdles and turbans of white and red.
Their carriage is followed by a squad of mounted Sikhs, bronzed
faced, bearded giants in scarlet uniforms and big turbans, carrying
long, old-fashioned spears. Lord Kitchener, the hero of Khartoum
and the Boer war, appears in a landau driven by the only white
coachman in Calcutta. Lord Kitchener is a bachelor, and his friends
say that he has never even thought of love, although he is a
handsome man, of many graces, and has contributed to the pleasure
of society in both England and India. The diplomatic corps, as
the consuls of foreign governments residing in India are called
by courtesy--for all of India's relations with other countries
must be conducted through the foreign department at London--are
usually in evidence, riding in smart equipages, and they are
very hospitable and agreeable people. The United States is
represented by General Robert F. Patterson, who went to the civil
war from Iowa, but has since been a citizen of Memphis. Mrs.
Patterson, who belongs to a distinguished southern family, is
one of the recognized leaders of society, and is famous for her
hospitality and her fine dinners.

The native princes and other rich Hindus who reside in Calcutta
are quite apt in imitating foreign ways, but, fortunately, most
of them adhere to their national costume, which is much more
becoming and graceful than the awkward garments we wear. The
women of their families are seldom seen. The men wear silks and
brocades and jewels, and bring out their children to see the
world, but always leave their wives at home.

There are several sets and castes in the social life--the official
set, the military set, the professional people, the mercantile
set, and so on--and it is not often that the lines that divide
them are broken. During the winter season social life is very
gay. The city is filled with visitors from all parts of India,
and they spend their money freely, having a good time. Official
cares rest lightly upon the members of the government, with a
few exceptions, including Lord Curzon, who is always at work and
never takes a holiday. Dinners, balls, garden parties, races, polo
games, teas, picnics and excursions follow one another so rapidly
that those who indulge in social pleasures have only time enough
to keep a record of their engagements and to dress. The presence
of a large military force is a great advantage, particularly as
many of the officers are bachelors, and it is whispered that some
of the lovely girls who come out from England to spend a winter
in India hope to go home to arrange for a wedding. Occasionally
matrimonial affairs are conducted with dispatch. A young woman
who came out on the steamer with us, heart whole and fancy free,
with the expectation of spending the entire winter in India,
started back to London with a big engagement ring upon her finger
within four weeks after she landed, and several other young women
were quite as fortunate during the same winter, although not so
sudden. India is regarded as the most favorable marriage market
in the world.

Calcutta has frequently been called "the city of statues." I
think Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, the poet-viceroy, gave it that
title, and it was well applied. Whichever way you look on the
Maidan, bronze figures of former viceroys, statesmen and soldiers
appear. Queen Victoria sits in the center, a perfect reproduction
in bronze, and around her, with their faces turned toward the
government house, are several of her ablest and most eminent
servants. In the center of the Maidan rises a lofty column that
looks like a lighthouse. Its awkwardness is in striking contrast
to the graceful shafts which Hindu architects have erected in
various parts of the empire. It is dedicated to David Ochterlony,
a former citizen of Calcutta and for fifty years a soldier, and
is a token of appreciation from the people of the empire. The
latest monument is a bronze statue of Lord Roberts.

Facing the Maidan for a couple of miles is the Chowringhee, one
of the famous streets of the world, once a row of palatial
residences, but now given up almost entirely to hotels, clubs
and shops. Upon this street lived Warren Hastings in a stone
palace, and a little further along, in what is now the Bengal
Club, was the home of Thomas Babbington Macaulay during his long
residence in India.

The governor of the province of Bengal lives in a beautiful mansion
in the center of a park called "Belvedere," just outside the city.
There are few finer country homes in England, and associated with
it are many historical events. Upon a grassy knoll shaded by
stately trees occurred the historic duel between Warren Hastings,
then governor general of India, and Mr. Francis, president of
the council of state. They quarreled over an offensive remark
which Mr. Francis entered in the minutes of the council. Hastings
offered a challenge and wounded his antagonist, but the ball was
extracted and the affair fortunately ended as a comedy rather
than a tragedy.

There are many fine shops in Calcutta, for people throughout
all eastern India go there to buy goods just as those in the
northwestern part of the United States go to Chicago, and in the
eastern states to Boston, Philadelphia or New York. Of course, the
Calcutta shops are not so large and do not carry such extensive
stocks as some dealers in our large cities, because they are almost
entirely dependent upon the foreign population for patronage, and
that is comparatively small. The natives patronize merchants
of their own race, and do their buying in the bazaars, where the
same articles are sold at prices much lower than those asked
by the merchants in the foreign section of the city. This is
perfectly natural, for the native dealer has comparatively little
rent to pay, the wages of his employes are ridiculously small and
it does not cost him very much to live. If a foreigner tries to
trade in the native shops he has to pay big prices. Foreigners who
live in Calcutta usually send their servants to make purchases,
and, although it is customary for the servant to take a little
commission or "squeeze" from the seller for himself, the price
is much lower than would be paid for the same articles at one
of the European shops.

Occasionally you see American goods, but not often. We sell India
comparatively little merchandise except iron and steel, machinery,
agricultural implements, sewing machines, typewriters, phonographs
and other patented articles. One afternoon four naked Hindus went
staggering along the main street in Calcutta carrying an organ made
by the Farrand Company of Detroit, which has considerable trade
there. American pianos are widely advertised by one of the music
dealers. The beef packing houses of Chicago send considerable
tinned meat to India, and it is quite popular and useful. Indeed,
it would be difficult for the English to get along without it,
because native beef is very scarce. It is only served at the
hotels one or twice a week. That is due to the fact that cows
are sacred and oxen are so valuable for draught purposes. Fresh
beef comes all the way from Australia in refrigerator ships and
is sold at the fancy markets.

The native bazaars are like those in other Indian cities, although
not so interesting. Calcutta has comparatively a small native
trade, although it has a million of population. The shops of
Delhi, Lahore, Jeypore, Lucknow, Benares and other cities are
much more attractive. In the European quarter are some curio
dealers, who stop there for the winter and go to Delhi and Simla
for the summer, selling brocades, embroideries, shawls, wood and
ivory carvings and other native art work which are very tempting
to tourists. Several dealers in jewels from Delhi and other cities
spend the holidays in order to catch the native princes, who
are the greatest purchasers of precious stones in the world.
Several of them have collections more valuable and extensive than
any of the imperial families of Europe. Prices of all curios,
embroideries and objects of art are much higher in Calcutta than
in the cities of northern India, and everybody told us it was
the poorest place to buy such things.

The most imposing building upon the Chowringhee, the principal
street, is the Imperial Museum, which was founded nearly a hundred
years ago by the Asiatic Society, and was taken over by the
government in 1866. It is a splendid structure around a central
quadrangle 300 feet square with colonnades, fountains, plants and
flowers. Little effort has been made to obtain contributions from
other countries, but no other collection of Indian antiquities,
ethnology, archaeology, mineralogy and other natural sciences can
compare with it. It is under the special patronage of the viceroy,
who takes an active interest in extending its usefulness and
increasing its treasures, while Lady Curzon is the patroness of
the school of design connected with it. In this school about three
hundred young men are studying the industrial arts. Comparatively
little attention is given to the fine arts. There are a few native
portrait painters, and I have seen some clever water colors from
the brushes of natives. But in the industrial arts they excel,
and this institute is maintained under government patronage for
the purpose of training the eyes and the hands of designers and
artisans. In the same group of buildings are the geological survey
and other scientific bureaus of the government, which are quite
as progressive and learned as our own. A little farther up the
famous street are the headquarters of the Asiatic Society, one of
the oldest and most enterprising learned societies in the world,
whose journals and proceedings for the last century are a library
in themselves and contain about all that anybody would ever want
to know concerning the history, literature, antiquities, resources
and people of India. Here also is a collection of nearly twenty
thousand manuscripts in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Hindustani
and other oriental languages.

There is comparatively little poverty in Calcutta, considering
the enormous population and the conditions in which they live.
There are, however, several hundred thousand people who would
starve to death upon their present incomes if they lived in the
United States or in any of the European countries, but there it
costs so little to sustain life and a penny goes so far that
what an American working man would call abject destitution is
an abundance. Give a Hindu a few farthings for food and a sheet
of white cotton for clothing and he will be comfortable and

The streets of Calcutta, except in a limited portion of the native
section of the city, are wide, well paved, watered and swept. There
is an electric tramway system with about twenty miles of track,
reaching the principal suburbs, railway stations and business
sections, and whether Moline (Ill.) got it from Calcutta or Calcutta
borrowed the idea from Moline, both cities use the same method
of laying the dust. The tramway company runs an electric tank
car up and down its tracks several times a day, throwing water
far enough to cover nearly the entire street. Other streets,
where there are no tracks, are sprinkled by coolies, who carry
upon their backs pig skins and goat skins filled with water and
squirt it upon the ground through one of the legs with a twist of
the wrist as ingenious and effective as the method used by Chinese
laundrymen in sprinkling clothes. No white man can do either. The
Hindu sprinkler is an artist in his line, and therefore to be
admired, because everybody who excels is worthy of admiration,
no matter what he is doing. The street sprinklers belong to the
very lowest caste; the same caste as the garbage collectors and
the coolies that mend the roads and sweep the sidewalks, but
they are stalwart fellows, much superior to the higher class
physically, and as they wear very little clothing everybody can
see their perfect anatomy and shapely outlines.

Much of the road mending in India is done by women. They seem
to be assigned to all the heavy and laborious jobs. They carry
mortar, and bricks and stone where new buildings are being erected;
they lay stone blocks in the pavements, hammer the concrete with
heavy iron pestles, and you can frequently see them walking along
the wayside with loads of lumber or timber carefully balanced on
their heads that would be heavy for a mule or an ox. Frequently
they carry babies at the same time; never in their arms, but swung
over their backs or astride their hips. The infant population of
India spend the first two or three years of their lives astride
somebody's hips. It may be their mother's, or their sister's,
or their brother's, but they are always carried that way, and
abound so plentifully that there is no danger of race suicide
in that empire.

Next to the Sikh soldier, the nattiest native in India is the
postman, who is dressed in a blue uniform with a blue turban of
cotton or silk cloth to match, and wears a nickel number over
his forehead with the insignia of the postal service, and a girdle
with a highly ornamental buckle. The deliveries and collections
are much more frequent than with us. It is a mortification to
every American who travels abroad to see the superiority of the
postal service in other countries. That is about the only feature
of civil administration in which the federal government of the
United States is inferior, but, compared with India, as well
as the European countries, our Postoffice Department is not up
to date. You can mail a letter to any part of Calcutta in the
morning and, if your correspondent takes the trouble, he can
reach you with a reply before dinner. The rates of postage on
local matter and on parcels are much lower than with us. I can
send a package of books or merchandise or anything else weighing
less than four pounds from Calcutta to Chicago for less than
half the charge that would be required on a similar package from
Evanston or Oak Park.

The best time for a stranger to visit Calcutta is during holiday
week, for then the social season is inaugurated by a levee given
by the viceroy, a "drawing-room" by the vice-queen and a grand
state ball. The annual races are held that week, also, including
the great sporting event of the year, which is a contest for a
cup offered by the viceroy, and a military parade and review
and various other ceremonies and festivities attract people from
every part of the empire. The native princes naturally take this
opportunity to visit the capital and pay their respects to the
representative of imperial power, while every Englishman in the
civil and military service, and those of social or sporting
proclivities in private life have their vacations at that time
and spend the Christmas and New Year's holidays with Calcutta
friends. Moreover, the fact that all these people will be there
attracts the tourists who happen to be in India at the time, for
it gives them a chance to see the most notable and brilliant
social features of Indian life. Hence we rushed across the empire
with everybody else and assisted to increase the crowd and the
enthusiasm. Every hotel, boarding-house and club was crowded.
Every family had guests. Cots and beds were placed in offices
and wherever else they could be accommodated. Tents were spread
on the lawn of the Government House for the benefit of government
officials coming in from the provinces, and on the parade grounds
at the fort for military visitors. The grounds surrounding the
club houses looked like military camps. Sixteen tents were placed
upon the roof of the hotel where we were stopping to accommodate
the overflow.

Good hotels are needed everywhere in India, as I have several
times suggested, and nowhere so much as in Calcutta. The government,
the people and all concerned ought to be ashamed of their lack of
enterprise in this direction, and everybody admits it without
argument. There is not a comfortable hotel in the city, and while
it is of course possible for people to survive present conditions
they are nevertheless a national disgrace. Calcutta is a city of
more than a million inhabitants. Among its residents are many
millionaires and other wealthy men. It is frequently called "the
city of palaces," and many of the private residences in the foreign
quarter are imposing and costly. Hence there is no excuse but
indifference and lack of public spirit.

The Government House, which is the residence of the viceroy,
is one of the finest palaces in the world, and in architectural
beauty, extent and arrangement surpasses many of the royal residences
of Europe. None of the many palaces in England and the other
European capitals is better adapted for entertaining or has more
stately audience chambers, reception rooms, banquet halls and
ballrooms. It is truly an imperial residence and was erected more
than a hundred years ago by Lord Wellesley, who had an exalted
appreciation of the position he occupied, and transplanted to
India the ceremonies, formalities and etiquette of the British
court. The Government House stands in the center of a beautiful
garden of seven acres and is now completely surrounded and almost
hidden by groups of noble trees so that it cannot be photographed.
It is an enlarged copy of Kedlestone Hall, Derbyshire, and consists
of a central group of state apartments crowned with a dome and
connected with four wings by long galleries.

The throne-room is a splendid apartment and the seat of the mighty
is the ancient throne of Tipu, one of the southern maharajas,
who, during the latter part of the eighteenth century, gave the
British a great deal of trouble until he was deprived of power.
The banquet hall, the council chamber, the ballrooms and a series
of drawing rooms, nearly all of the same size, are decorated in
white and gold, and each is larger than the east room in the
White House at Washington. The ceilings are supported by rows of
marble columns with gilded capitals, and are frescoed by famous
artists. The floors are of polished teak wood; the walls are
paneled with brocade and tapestries, and are hung with historical
pictures, including full length portraits of the kings and queens
of England, all the viceroys from the time of Warren Hastings,
and many of the most famous native rulers of India. In one of the
rooms is a collection of marble busts of the Caesars. These, with
a portrait of Louis XV. and several elaborate crystal chandeliers,
were loot of the war of 1798, when they were captured from a
ship which was carrying them as a present from the Emperor of
France to the Nyzam of Hyderabad.

The palace cost $750,000 and the furniture $250,000, more than
a hundred years ago, at a time when money would go three times
as far as it does to-day. Lord Wellesley had lofty ideas, and
when the merchants of the East India Company expressed their
disapproval of this expenditure he told them that India "should
be governed from a palace and not from a counting-house, with
the ideas of a prince and not those of a retail dealer in muslin
and indigo."

Great stories are told of the receptions, levees and balls that
were given in the days of the East India Company, but they could
not have been more brilliant than those of to-day. The Government
House has never been occupied by a viceroy more capable of assuming
the dignities and performing the duties of that office than Lord
Curzon, and no more beautiful, graceful or popular woman ever sat
upon the vice-queen's throne than Mary Leiter Curzon. No period
in Indian history has ever been more brilliant, more progressive
or more prosperous than the present; no administration of the
government has even given wider satisfaction from any point of
view, and certainly the social functions presided over by Lord
and Lady Curzon were never surpassed. They live in truly royal
style, surrounded by the ceremonies and the pomp that pertain to
kings, which is a part of the administrative policy, because
the 300,000,000 people subject to the viceroy's authority are
very impressionable, and measure power and sometimes justice and
right by appearances. Lord and Lady Curzon never leave the palace
without an escort of giant warriors from the Sikh tribe, who wear
dazzling uniforms of red, turbans as big as bushel baskets, and
sit on their horses like centaurs. They carry long spears and
are otherwise armed with native weapons. Within the palace the
same formality is preserved, except in the private apartments
of the viceroy, where for certain hours of every day the doors
are closed against official cares and responsibilities, and Lord
and Lady Curzon can spend a few hours with their children, like
ordinary people.

The palace is managed by a comptroller general, who has 150 servants
under him, and a stable of forty horses, and relieves Lady Curzon
from the cares of the household. Lord Curzon is attended by a
staff of ministers, secretaries and aids, like a king, and Lady
Curzon has her ladies-in-waiting, secretaries and aids, like a
queen. People who wish to be received at Government House will
find three books open before them in the outer hall, in which
they are expected to inscribe their names, instead of leaving
cards. One of these books is for permanent residents of Calcutta,
another for officials, and another for transient visitors, who
record their names, their home addresses, their occupations,
the time they expect to stay in Calcutta, and the place at which
they may be stopping. From these books the invitation lists are
made out by the proper officials, but in order to secure an
invitation to Lady Curzon's "drawing-room" a stranger must be
presented by some person of importance who is well known at court.
At 9 o'clock those who have been so fortunate as to be invited
are expected to arrive. They leave their wraps in cloakrooms in
the basement, where the ladies are separated from the gentlemen
who escort them, because the latter are not formally presented
to the vice-queen, but they meet again an hour or so later in
the banquet hall after the ceremony is over.

The ladies pass up two flights of stairs into waiting-rooms in the
third story of the palace, pursuing a rather circuitous course over
about half the building, guided by velvet barriers and railings,
and at each comer stands an aide-de-camp or a gentleman-in-waiting,
to answer inquiries and give directions to strangers. When the
anteroom is at last reached, the ladies await their turns, being
admitted to the audience chamber in groups of four. They are
given a moment or two to adjust their plumage, and then pass
slowly toward the throne, upon which Lady Curzon is seated. The
viceroy, in the uniform and regalia of a Knight of the Garter,
stands under the canopy by her side. There is no crowding and
pushing, such as we see at presidential receptions at Washington
and often at royal functions in Europe, but there is an interval
of twenty-five or thirty feet between the guests. After entering
the room each lady hands a card upon which her name is written
to the gentleman-in-waiting, and, as she approaches the throne
he pronounces it slowly and distinctly. She makes her courtesies
to the viceroy and his lady, and then passes on. There is no
confusion, no haste, no infringement of dignity, and each woman
for the moment has the entire stage to herself.

On either side of the throne are gathered, standing, many native
princes, the higher officers of the government and the army,
the members of the diplomatic corps and other favored persons,
with their wives and daughters, and their costumes furnish a
brilliant background to the scene. The rest of the great audience
chamber, blazing with electric lights, is entirely empty. The
viceroy greets every lady with a graceful bow, and Lady Curzon
gives her a smile of welcome. The government band is playing
all this time in an adjoining room, so that the music can be
only faintly heard, and does not interfere with the ceremony,
as is so often the case elsewhere.

Having passed in review, the guests return to the other part of
the palace by a different course than that through which they
came, and find their escorts awaiting them in the banquet hall.
When the last lady has been presented, the viceroy and Lady Curzon
lead the way to the banquet hall, where a sumptuous supper is
spread, and the gentlemen are allowed to share the festivities.
The formalities are relaxed, and the hosts chat informally with
the guests.


It is a very brilliant scene, quite different from any that may
be witnessed elsewhere, particularly because of the gorgeous
costumes and the profusion of jewels worn by the native princes.
At none of the capitals of Europe can so magnificent a show of
jewels be witnessed, but the medals of honor and decorations
which adorn the breasts of the bronzed soldiers are more highly
prized and usually excite greater admiration, for many of the
heroes of the South African war were serving tours of duty in
India when we were in Calcutta.

The viceroy's levee is exclusively for gentlemen. No ladies are
expected, and a similar ceremony is carried out. It is intended to
offer an annual opportunity for the native princes, and officials
of the government, officers of the army, the Indian nobility and
private citizens of prominence to pay their respects and offer
their congratulations to their ruler and the representative of
their king, and at 9 o'clock on the evening appointed, two days
later than Lady Curzon's reception, every man of distinction in
that part of the world appears at the palace and makes his bow
to the viceroy as the latter stands under the canopy beside the
throne. It might be a somber and stupid proceeding but for the
presence of many natives in their dazzling jewels, picturesque
turbans and golden brocades, and the large contingent of army
officers, with their breasts covered with medals and decorations.
This reception is followed a few days later by a state ball,
which is considered the most brilliant function of the year in
India. Invitations are limited to persons of certain rank who
have been formally presented at Government House, but Lady Curzon
is always on the lookout for her fellow countrymen, and if she
learns of their presence in Calcutta invitations are sure to reach
them one way or another. She is a woman of many responsibilities,
and her time and mind are always occupied, but few Americans
ever visit Calcutta without having some delightful evidence of
her loyalty and thoughtfulness.

There were many other festivities for celebrating the New Year.
All the English and native troops in the vicinity of Calcutta
passed in review before the viceroy and Lord Kitchener, who is
the commander-in-chief of the forces in India.

In one of the parks in the city was a native fair and display
of art industries, and at the zoological gardens the various
societies of the Roman Catholic church in Calcutta held a bazaar
and raffled off many valuable and worthless articles, sold barrels
of tea and tons of cake, and sweetmeats to enormous crowds of
natives, who attended in their holiday attire. There was a pyramid
of gold coins amounting to a thousand dollars, an automobile,
a silver service valued at $1,000, a grand piano, a carriage
and span of ponies, and various other prizes offered in the
lotteries, together with dolls and ginger-cake, pipes and cigar
cases, slippers, neckties, pincushions and other offerings to
the god of chance. Fashionable society was attracted to the fair
grounds by a horse and dog show, and various other functions
absorbed public attention.

The great sporting event of the year in India is a race for a
big silver cup presented by the viceroy and a purse of 20,000
rupees to the winner. We took an interest in the race because Mr.
Apgar, an Armenian opium merchant, who nominated Great Scott, an
Austrian thoroughbred, has a breeding farm and stable of 200 horses,
and everything about his place comes from the United States. He
uses nothing but American harness and other accoutrements, and
as a natural and unavoidable consequence Great Scott won the cup
and the purse very easily, and his fleetness was doubtless due
to the fact that he was shod with American shoes. The programme
showed that about half the entries were by natives. His Royal
Highness Aga Khan, the Nawab of Samillolahs; Aga Shah; our old
friend of the Chicago exposition, the Sultan of Johore, and His
Highness Kour Sahib of Patiala, all had horses in the big race.
Some of these princes have breeding stables. Others import English,
Irish, Australian, American and Arabian thoroughbreds. There was
no American horse entered for the viceroy's cup this year, but
Kentucky running stock is usually represented.

There are two race tracks at Calcutta, one for regular running,
the other for steeple chasing, and, as in England and Ireland,
the horses run on the turf, and most of the riders are gentlemen.
A few professional jockeys represent the stables of breeders
who are too old or too fat or too lazy to ride themselves, but
it is considered the proper thing for every true sportsman to
ride his own horse as long as he is under weight. The tracks
are surrounded by lovely landscapes, an easy driving distance
from Calcutta, and everybody in town was there. The grand stand
and the terraces that surround it were crowded with beautifully
dressed women, many of them Parsees, in their lovely costumes,
and within the course were more than 50,000 natives, wearing every
conceivable color, red and yellow predominating, so that when one
looked down upon the inclosure from a distance it resembled a
vast flower bed, a field of poppies and roses. The natives take
great interest in the races, and, as they are admitted free,
every man, woman and child who could leave home was there, and
the most of them walked the entire distance from the city.

The viceroy and vice-queen appear in the official old-fashioned
barouche, drawn by four horses, with outriders, and escorted
by a bodyguard of Sikhs in brilliant scarlet uniforms and big
turbans of navy blue, with gold trimmings. The viceroy's box is
lined and carpeted with scarlet, and easy chairs were placed for
his comfort. Distinguished people came up to pay their respects
to him and Lady Curzon, and between visits he wandered about the
field, shaking hands with acquaintances in a democratic fashion
and smiling as if he were having the time of his life. It is
not often that the present viceroy takes a holiday. He is the
most industrious man in India, and very few of his subjects work
as hard as he, but he takes his recreation in the same fashion.
He is always full of enthusiasm, and never does anything in a
half-hearted way. Lord Kitchener came also, but was compelled
to remain in his carriage because of his broken leg. The police
found him a good place and he enjoyed it.

On the lawn behind the grand stand, under the shade of groups
of palm trees, tables and chairs were placed, and tea was served
between the events. Ladies whose husbands are members of the
Jockey Club can engage tables in advance, as most of them do, and
issue their invitations in advance also, so that Viceroy's day
is usually a continuous tea party and a reunion of old friends,
for everybody within traveling distance comes to the capital
that day. Every woman wore a new gown made expressly for the
occasion. Most of them were of white or of dainty colors, but
they did not compare in beauty or elegance with the brocades and
embroidered silks worn by bare-legged natives. Half the Hindu
gentlemen present had priceless camel's hair and Cashmere shawls
thrown over their shoulders--most of them heirlooms, for, according
to the popular impression, modern shawls do not compare in quality
with the old ones. Under the shawls they wear long coats, reaching
to their heels like ulsters, of lovely figured silk or brocade
of brilliant colors. Some of them are finished with exquisite
embroidery. No Hindu women were present, only Parsees. They never
appear in public, and allow their husbands to wear all of the
fine fabrics and jewels. With shawls wrapped around them like
Roman togas, the Hindus are the most dignified and stately human
spectacles you can imagine, but when they put on European garments
or a mixture of native and foreign dress they are positively
ridiculous, and do violence to every rule of art and law of taste.
Usually when an oriental--for it is equally true of China, Japan
and Turkey--adopts European dress he selects the same colors he
would wear in his own, and he looks like a freak, as you can
imagine, in a pair of green trousers, a crimson waistcoat, a
purple tie, a blue negligee shirt and a plaid jacket.

If you want to see a display of fine raiment and precious stones
you must attend an official function in India, a reception by
Lord or Lady Curzon, for in the number, size and value of their
jewels the Indian princes surpass the sovereigns of Europe. One
of the rajahs has the finest collection of rubies in the world,
purchased from time to time by his ancestors for several generations,
most of them in Burma, where the most valuable rubies have been
found. Another has a collection of pearls, accumulated in the
same way. They represent an investment of millions of dollars,
and include the largest and finest examples in the world. When
he wears them all, as he sometimes does, on great occasions, his
front from his neck to his waist is covered with pearls netted
like a chain armor. His turban is a cataract of pearls on all
sides, and upon his left shoulder is a knot as large as your
two hands, from which depends a braided rope of four strands,
reaching to his knee, and every pearl is as large as a grape.
You can appreciate the size and value of his collection when I
tell you that all of the pearls owned by the ex-Empress Eugenie
are worn in his turban, and do not represent ten per cent of
the collection.

Other rajahs are famous for diamonds, or emeralds, or other jewels.
There seems to be a good deal of rivalry among them as to which
shall make the greatest display. But from what people tell me I
should say that the Nizam of Haidarabad could furnish the largest
stock if these estimable gentlemen were ever compelled to go
into the jewelry business. We were particularly interested in
him because he outranks all the other native princes, and is the
most important as well as the most gorgeous in the array. His
dominions, which he has inherited from a long line of ancestors--I
believe he traces his ancestry back to the gods--include the
ancient City of Golconda, whose name for centuries was a synonym
for riches and splendors. In ancient times it was the greatest
diamond market in the world. It was the capital of the large and
powerful kingdom of the Deccan, and embraced all of southern
India, but is now in ruins. Its grandeur began to decay when the
kingdom was conquered by the Moguls in 1587 and annexed to their
empire, and to-day the crumbling walls and abandoned palaces are
almost entirely deserted. Even the tombs of the ancient kings,
a row of vast and splendid mausoleums, which cost millions upon
millions of dollars, and for architecture and decoration and
costliness have been surpassed only by those of the Moguls, are
being allowed to decay while the ruling descendant of the men
who sleep there spends his income for diamonds.

The magnificence and extravagance of these princes are the theme
of poems and legends. There is a large book in Persian filled with
elaborate and graphic descriptions of the functions and ceremonies
that attend the reception of an envoy from Shah Abbas, King of
Persia, who visited the court of Golconda in 1503. Among other
gifts brought by him from his royal master was a crown of rubies
which still remains in the family, although many people think
the original stones have been removed and imitations substituted
in order that the nizam may enjoy the glory of wearing them.
When his ambassador went back to Persia he was accompanied by
a large military escort guarding a caravan of 2,400 camels laden
with gifts from the nizam to his royal master.

The present capital of the province, the city of Haidarabad,
was founded in 1589 by a gentleman named Kutab Shah Mohammed
Kuli, who afterward removed his household there on account of a
lack of water and a malarial atmosphere at Golconda. He called
the city in honor of his favorite concubine. The name means "the
city of Haidar." The province includes about 80,000 square miles
of territory, and has a population of 11,141,946 of whom only
10 per cent are Moslems, although the ruling family have always
professed that faith.

The present nizam is Mahbub Ali, who was born in 1866, was partially
educated in England and is very popular with all classes of
people--particularly with those who profit by his extravagance.
The revenues of the state are about $20,000,000 a year, and the
people are very much overtaxed. The nizam's taste for splendor
and his desire to outdo all the other native princes in display
have caused the government of India considerable anxiety, and
the British resident at his capital, whose duty is to keep him
straight, enjoys no sinecure.

Haidarabad is one of the oldest cities in India, with a population
of 355,000, inclosed by a strong wall six miles in circumference.
The city stands in the midst of wild and rocky scenery and is one
of the most interesting places in India, because the nizam is
fond of motion and music and color, and has surrounded himself
with a large retinue of congenial spirits, who live at his expense
and pay their board by amusing him. As the most important Moslem
potentate except the Sultan of Turkey, he has attracted to his
service Mohammedans from every part of the earth, who go about
wearing their distinctive national costumes and armed with quaint
weapons--Turks, Arabs, Moors, Afghans, Persians, Rajputs, Sikhs,
Marathas, Pathans and representatives of all the other races
that confess Islam. His palaces are enormous and are filled with
these retainers, said to number 7,000 of all ranks and races, and
the courtyards are full of elephants, camels, horses, mounted
escorts and liveried servants. It reminds one of the ancient
East, a gorgeous page out of the Arabian Nights.


Abu, Mount
Afridis, the tribe of
Agra, fortress of
religious celebration at
Ahmedabad, city of
Ajmere, city of
Akbar the Great
tomb of
Allahabad, city of
Aligarh, city of
Amber, city of
Ameer of Afghanistan
Americans in India
American trade in India
Amritsar, city of
Architecture, Mogul
of India
Area of India
Art schools
Army, the

Banyan trees
Banks of India
Barbar, the Emperor
Baroda, state of
Bazaars, native
Bazaars of Delhi
Bearers, Indian
Benares, city of
Betel chewing
Bibles in India
Bird training
Birth rate
Black Hole of Calcutta
Body guard, Lord Curzon's
Bombay, death rate in
city of
residences of
ghat-burning at
Improvement Trust
Monkey temple at
old city of
public buildings of
railway station at
statues in
street-cars of
University of
Bordeaux, Austin de
Botanical Gardens
Brahmins, the
Brahmin priests
Burning bodies

Cadet corps
Calcutta, city of
Calcutta, residences of
Black Hole of
Canteen, the army
Cashmere, province of
Castle in Bombay
Catholic missions, Roman
Cave temples
Cawnpore, city of
Census of India
Christian population
Cities of India
Civil service, Indian
Coal mining
Coffee planting
College, the Moslem
at Jeypore
the Phipps
Costumes, Hindu
Cotton trade
Council of India
Criminals, professional
value of
Curzon, Lord
Customs, religious
Customs-house at Bombay
Cutch-Behar, Maharaja of

Dak bungalows
Darjeeling, city of
Dead, burning the
Death rate
at Bombay
Deccan, the
Delhi, city of
palaces of
tombs of
Docks at Bombay
Drawing room, Lady Curzon's
Durbar, the

East India Company
Elephanta Island
Elephant riding
Elephants working
Ellora, cave temples at
Embroideries, Indian
Etiquette in Calcutta

Fakirs, Hindu
Fattehpur-Sikri, city of
Frontier Question
Funeral customs

Ganges River
Gaya, town of
Ghats, burning
Girls, English and American
Goa, colony of
Gods, Hindu
Government house at Calcutta
of India
Governor of Bombay
Guilds, Indian
Gurkas, the

Haiderabad, Nizam of
Hall of the Winds, Jeypore
Himalayas, the
Hodson, Colonel
Holiday week in Calcutta
Hotels of India
of Delhi
in Muttra
Humayon, tomb of
Hume, Rev. R. A.
Hypnotism, Hindu

Income tax
Indian Ocean, temperature of
Irrigation in India

Jains, religious sect of
temples of the
Jeejeebhoy, Sir Jamsetjed
Jehanghir, the Mogul
Jeypore, city of
Maharaja of
Juggernaut, the

Khyber Pass
Kipling, Rudyard
Kitchener, Lord
Kutab Minar, the

Laboring classes
Lahore, city of
Lamington, Lord
Land laws
Languages of India
Levees, the viceroy's
Literature, Hindu
Lucknow, city of

Magicians, religious
Mark Twain, anecdote of
Marriage customs
Mayo College
Mendicants, religious
Miriam, the Christian princess
Missions, American
Mizra, Gheas Bey
Mogul Empire
Moguls, the last of the
Mohammedan College
Monkey temple at Bombay
Mortality from snake and tiger bites
Mosques in Delhi
Mountains of India
Museum, the imperial
Mutiny, the
Muttra, city of

Native princes
Nautch dancers
Nepal, state of
New Year Day in Calcutta
Nomenclature in India
Nur Jehan

Officials, English and native
Opium trade

Palace, the viceroy's
Palaces, the Mogul
Parsees, the
Patterson, Consul-general
Peacock throne
Pearl carpet
Pearl Mosque
Peerbhoy, Adamjee
Peshawar, city of
Petit family of Bombay
Phipps, Henry
Population of Bombay
of India
Portuguese colony
Postal service
Princes, native
Progress of India
Prosperity of India
P. and O. Steamers

Quinine crop

Racing horses
in Calcutta
Railway travel in India
station at Bombay
Rajputs, the
Rajputana, province of
Ramadan, feast of
Ranjitsinhji, Prince
Rarjumund Banu
Readymoney, Sir Jehanghir
Red Sea, temperature of
Reforms in India
Religions of India
Residences of Bombay
Rice eating
Road, Great Trunk
Roberts, Lord
Ruins of Delhi
Rulers, native
Russians, fear of
policy of 424

Salaries of officials
Schools, native
Servants, native
Shah Jehan
Shopping in India
Sights of Bombay
Sikhs, the
Simla, summer capital at
Siva, the demon god
Sleeping cars
Snake charmers
Social customs of India
Society in India
Stables at Jeypore
Steamers, P. and O.
Steamship passage to India
Street sprinkling
Sugar planting
"Suttee" forbidden

Taj Mahal
Tata, J. N.
Telegraphs and telephones
Temperance in the army
of Delhi
of Ahmedabad
Tiger catching
Thibet, invasion of
founder of the
Throne, the Peacock
Tomb of Akbar
Tombs of Delhi
Towers of Silence
Travellers, English and American
Trust of Bombay, the Improvement

University of Bombay
Tata, the

Viceroy, authority of
receptions of
Voyage to India

Water, impurities of the
Wedding customs
Wheat growing
Widows in India
Widow burning
Winter in India
Women of India
of Bombay
English and American

Xavier, St. Francis

Younghusband, Colonel

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