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Roving East and Roving West by E.V. Lucas

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[Illustration: TWO MEN ADMIRING FUJI FROM A WINDOW From Hokusai's "A
Hundred Views of Fuji"]







E. L. L.


"Yes, Sir, there are two objects of curiosity,
e.g., the Christian world and the Mahometan
world."--DR. JOHNSON.

"Motion recollected in tranquillity."--WORDSWORTH (_very nearly_).







R. L. S.




Although India is a land of walkers, there is no sound of footfalls.
Most of the feet are bare and all are silent: dark strangers overtake
one like ghosts.

Both in the cities and the country some one is always walking. There are
carts and motorcars, and on the roads about Delhi a curious service of
camel omnibuses, but most of the people walk, and they walk ever. In the
bazaars they walk in their thousands; on the long, dusty roads, miles
from anywhere, there are always a few, approaching or receding.

It is odd that the only occasion on which Indians break from their walk
into a run or a trot is when they are bearers at a funeral, or have an
unusually heavy head-load, or carry a piano. Why there is so much piano-
carrying in Calcutta I cannot say, but the streets (as I feel now) have
no commoner spectacle than six or eight merry, half-naked fellows,
trotting along, laughing and jesting under their burden, all with an
odd, swinging movement of the arms.

One of one's earliest impressions of the Indians is that their hands are
inadequate. They suggest no power.

Not only is there always some one walking, but there is always some one
resting. They repose at full length wherever the need for sleep takes
them; or they sit with pointed knees. Coming from England one is struck
by so much inertness; for though the English labourer can be lazy enough
he usually rests on his feet, leaning against walls: if he is a land
labourer, leaning with his back to the support; if he follows the sea,
leaning on his stomach.

It was interesting to pass on from India and its prostrate philosophers
with their infinite capacity for taking naps, to Japan, where there
seems to be neither time nor space for idlers. Whereas in India one has
continually to turn aside in order not to step upon a sleeping figure--
the footpath being a favourite dormitory--in Japan no one is ever doing
nothing, and no one appears to be weary or poor.

India, save for a few native politicians and agitators, strikes one as a
land destitute of ambition. In the cities there are infrequent signs of
progress; in the country none. The peasants support life on as little as
they can, they rest as much as possible and their carts and implements
are prehistoric. They may believe in their gods, but fatalism is their
true religion. How little they can be affected by civilisation I learned
from a tiny settlement of bush-dwellers not twenty miles from Bombay,
close to that beautiful lake which has been transformed into a
reservoir, where bows and arrows are still the only weapons and rats are
a staple food. And in an hour's time, in a car, one could be telephoning
one's friends or watching a cinema!


I did not have to wait to reach India for that great and exciting moment
when one is first called "Sahib." I was addressed as "Sahib," to my
mingled pride and confusion, at Marseilles, by an attendant on the
steamer which I joined there. Later I grew accustomed to it, although
never, I hope, blase; but to the end my bearer fascinated me by alluding
to me as Master--not directly, but obliquely: impersonally, as though it
were some other person that I knew, who was always with me, an _alter
ego_ who could not answer for himself: "Would Master like this or
that?" "At what time did Master wish to be called?"

And then the beautiful "Salaam"!

I was sorry for the English doomed to become so used to Eastern
deference that they cease to be thrilled.


It is difficult for a stranger to India, especially when paying only a
brief visit, to lose the impression that he is at an exhibition--in a
section of a World's Fair. How long it takes for this delusion to wear
off I cannot say. All I can say is that seven weeks are not enough. And
never does one feel it more than in the bazaar, where movement is
incessant and humanity is so packed and costumes are so diverse, and
where the suggestion of the exhibition is of course heightened by the
merchants and the stalls. What one misses is any vantage point--anything
resembling a chair at the Cafe de la Paix in Paris, for instance--where
one may sit at ease and watch the wonderful changing spectacle going
past. There are in Indian cities no such places. To observe the life of
the bazaar closely and be unobserved is almost impossible.

It would be extraordinarily interesting to sit there, beside some well-
informed Anglo-Indian or Indo-Anglian, and learn all the minutia of
caste and be told who and what everybody was: what the different ochre
marks signified on the Hindu foreheads; what this man did for a living,
and that; and so forth. Even without such an informant I was never tired
of drifting about the native quarters in whatever city I found myself
and watching the curiously leisurely and detached commercial methods of
the dealers--the money lenders reclining on their couches; the pearl
merchants with their palms full of the little desirable jewels; the
silversmiths hammering; the tailors cross-legged; the whole Arabian
Nights pageant. All the shops seem to be overstaffed, unless an element
of detached inquisitiveness is essential to business in the East. No
transaction is complete without a few watchful spectators, usually
youths, who apparently are employed by the establishment for the sole
purpose of exhibiting curiosity.

I picked up a few odds and ends of information, by degrees, but only the
more obvious: such as that the slight shaving of the Mohammedan's upper
lip is to remove any impediment to the utterance of the name of Allah;
that the red-dyed beards are a record that their wearers have made the
pilgrimage to Mecca; that the respirator often worn by the Jains is to
prevent the death of even a fly in inhalation. I was shown a Jain woman
carefully emptying a piece of wood with holes in it into the road, each
hole containing a louse which had crawled there during the night but
must not be killed. The Jains adore every living creature; the Hindus
chiefly the cow. As for this divinity, she drifts about the cities as
though they were built for her, and one sees the passers-by touching
her, hoping for sanctity or a blessing. A certain sex inequality is,
however, only too noticeable, and particularly in and about Bombay,
where the bullock cart is so common--the bullock receiving little but
blows and execration from his drivers.

The sacred pigeon is also happy in Bombay, being fed copiously all day
long; and I visited there a Hindu sanctuary, called the Pingheripole,
for every kind of animal--a Home of Rest or Asylum--where even pariah
dogs are fed and protected.

I was told early of certain things one must not do: such as saluting
with the left hand, which is the dishonourable one of the pair, and
refraining carefully, when in a temple or mosque, from touching anything
at all, because for an unbeliever to touch is to desecrate. I was told
also that a Mohammedan grave always gives one the points of the compass,
because the body is buried north and south with the head at the north,
turned towards Mecca. The Hindus have no graves.

In India the Occidental, especially if coming from France as I did, is
struck by the absence of any out-of-door communion between men and
women. In the street men are with men, women with women. Most women
lower their eyes as a man approaches, although when the woman is a
Mohammedan and young one is often conscious of a bright black glance
through the veil. There is no public fondling, nothing like the familiar
demonstrations of affection that we are accustomed to in Paris and
London (more so during the War and since) and in New York. Nothing so
offends and surprises the Indian as this want of restraint and shame on
our part, and in Japan I learned that the Japanese share the Indian

It seemed to me that the chewing of the betel-nut is more prevalent in
Bombay than elsewhere. One sees it all over India; everywhere are moving
jaws with red juice trickling; but in Bombay there are more vendors of
the rolled-up leaves and more crimson splashes on pavement and wall. It
is an unpleasant habit, but there is no doubt that teeth are ultimately
the whiter for it. Even though I was instructed in the art of betel-nut
chewing by an Indian gentleman of world-wide fame in the cricket field,
from whom I would willingly learn anything, I could not endure the

Most nations, I suppose, look upon the dances of other nations with a
certain perplexity. Such glimpses, for example, as I had in America of
the movement known as the Shimmie Shake filled me with alarm, while
Orientals have been known to display boredom at the Russian Ballet.
Personally I adore the Russian Ballet, but I found the Nautch very
fatiguing. It is at once too long and too monotonous, but I dare say
that if one could follow the words of the accompanying songs, or
cantillations, the result might be more entertaining. That would not,
however, improve the actual dancing, in which I was disappointed. In
Japan, on the other hand, I succumbed completely to the odd, hypnotic
mechanism of the Geisha, the accompaniments to which are more varied, or
more acceptable to my ear, than the Indian music. But I shall always
remember the sounds of the distant, approaching or receding, snake-
charmers' piping, heard through the heat, as it so often is on Sundays
in Calcutta. To my inward ear that is India's typical melody; and it has
relationship to the Punch and Judy allurement of our childhood.

It was in Bombay that I saw my first fakir, and in Harrison Road,
Calcutta, my last. There had been so long a series in between that I was
able to confirm my first impression. I can now, therefore, generalise
safely when saying that all these strange creatures resemble a blend of
Tolstoi and Mr. Bernard Shaw. Imagine such a hybrid, naked save for a
loin cloth, and smeared all over with dust, and you have a holy man in
the East. The Harrison Road fakir, who passed on his way along the
crowded pavement unconcerned and practically unobserved, was white with
ashes and was beating a piece of iron as a wayward child might be doing.
He was followed by a boy, but no effort was made to collect alms. It is
true philosophy to be prepared to live in such a state of simplicity.
Most of the problems of life would dissolve and vanish if one could
reduce one's needs to the frugality of a fakir. I have thought often of
him since I returned, in London, to all the arrears of work and duty and
the liabilities that accumulate during a long holiday; but never more so
than when confronted by a Peace-time tailor's bill.


One of the first peculiarities of Bombay that I noticed and never lost
sight of was the kites. The city by day is never without these spies,
these sentries. From dawn to dusk the great unresting birds are sailing
over it, silent and vigilant. Whenever you look up, there they are,
criss-crossing in the sky, swooping and swerving and watching. After a
while one begins to be nervous: it is disquieting to be so continually
under inspection. Now and then they quarrel and even fight: now and then
one will descend with a rush and rise carrying a rat or other delicacy
in its claws; but these interruptions of the pattern are only momentary.
For the rest of the time they swirl and circle and never cease to watch.
Bombay also has its predatory crows, who are so bold that it is unsafe
to leave any bright article on the veranda table. Spectacles, for
example, set up a longing in their hearts which they make no effort to
control. But these birds are everywhere. At a wayside station just
outside Calcutta, in the early morning, the passengers all had tea, and
when it was finished and the trays were laid on the platform, I watched
the crows, who were perfectly aware of this custom and had been
approaching nearer and nearer as we drank, dart swiftly to the sugar
basins and carry off the lumps that remained. The crow, however, is,
comparatively speaking, a human being; the kite is something alien and a
cause of fear, and the traveller in India never loses him. His eye is as
coldly attentive to Calcutta as to Bombay.

It is, of course, the indigenous birds of a country that emphasise its
foreignness far more than its people. People can travel. Turbaned heads
are, for example, not unknown in England; but to have green parrots with
long tails flitting among the trees, as they used to flit in my host's
garden in Bombay, is to be in India beyond question. At Raisina we had
mynahs and the babblers, or "Seven Sisters," in great profusion, and
also the King Crow with his imposing tail; while the little striped
squirrels were everywhere. These merry restless little rodents do more
than run and scamper and leap: they seem to be positively lifted into
space by their tails. Their stripes (as every one knows) came directly
from the hand of God, recording for ever how, on the day of creation, He
stroked them by way of approval.

No Indian bird gave me so much pleasure to watch as the speckled
kingfishers, which I saw at their best on the Jumna at Okhla. They poise
in the air above the water with their long bills pointed downwards at a
right-angle to their fluttering bodies, searching the depths for their
prey; and then they drop with the quickness of thought into the stream.
The other kingfisher--coloured like ours but bigger--who waits on an
overhanging branch, I saw too, but the evolutions of the hovering
variety were more absorbing.

When one is travelling by road, the birds that most attract the notice
are the peacocks and the giant cranes; while wherever there are cattle
in any numbers there are the white paddy birds, feeding on their backs--
the birds from which the osprey plumes are obtained. One sees, too, many
kinds of eagle and hawk. In fact, the ornithologist can never be dull in
this country.

Wild animals I had few opportunities to observe, although a mongoose at
Raisina gave me a very amusing ten minutes. At Raisina, also, the
jackals came close to the house at night; and on an early morning ride
in a motorcar to Agra we passed a wolf, and a little later were most
impudently raced and outdistanced by a blackbuck, who, instead of
bolting into security at the sight or sound of man, ran, or rather,
advanced--for his progress is mysterious and magical--beside us for some
forty yards and then,--with a laugh, put on extra speed (we were doing
perhaps thirty miles an hour) and disappeared ahead. All about Muttra we
dispersed monkeys up the trees and into the bushes as we approached.
Next to the parrots it is the monkeys that most convince the traveller
that he is in a strange tropical land. And the flying foxes. Nothing is
more strange than a tree full of these creatures sleeping pendant by
day, or their silent swift black movements by night.

I saw no snakes wild, but in the Bacteriological Laboratory at Parel in
Bombay, which Lt.-Col. Glen Liston controls with so much zeal and
resourcefulness, I was shown the process by which the antidotes to snake
poisoning are prepared, for dispersion through the country. A cobra or
black snake is released from his cage and fixed by the attendant with a
stick pressed on his neck a little below the head. The snake is then
firmly and safely held just above this point between the finger and
thumb, and a tumbler, with a piece of flannel round its edge, is
proffered to it to bite. As the snake bites, a clear yellow fluid, like
strained honey in colour and thickness, flows into the glass from the
poison fangs. This poison is later injected in small doses into the
veins of horses kept carefully for the purpose, and then, in due course,
the blood of the horses is tapped in order to make the anti-toxin.
Wonderful are the ways of science! The Laboratory is also the
headquarters of the Government's constant campaign against malaria and
guinea worm, typhoid and cholera, and, in a smaller degree, hydrophobia.
But nothing, I should guess, would ever get sanitary sense into India,
except in almost negligible patches.


The Parsees have made Bombay their own, more surely even than the Scotch
possess Calcutta. Numerically very weak, they are long-headed and far-
sighted beyond any Indian and are better qualified to traffick and to
control. All the cotton mills are theirs, and theirs the finest houses
in the most beautiful sites. When that conflict begins between the
Hindus and the Mohammedans which will render India a waste and a
shambles, it is the Parsees who will occupy the high places--until a
more powerful conqueror arrives.

Bombay has no more curious sight than the Towers of Silence, the Parsee
cemetery; and one of the first questions that one is asked is if one has
visited them. But when the time came for me to ascend those sinister
steps on Malabar Hill I need hardly say that my companion was a many
years' resident of Bombay who, although he had long intended to go
there, had hitherto neglected his opportunities. Throughout my travels I
was, it is pleasant to think, in this way the cause of more sightseeing
in others than they might ever have suffered. To give but one other
instance typical of many--I saw Faneuil Hall in Boston in the company of
a Bostonian some thirty years of age, whose office was within a few
yards of this historic and very interesting building, and whose business
is more intimately associated with culture than any other, but who had
never before crossed the threshold.

The Towers of Silence, which are situated in a very beautiful park, with
little temples among the trees and flowers, consist of five circular
buildings, a model of one of which is displayed to visitors. Inside the
tower is an iron grating on which the naked corpses are laid, and no
sooner are they there than the awaiting vultures descend and consume the
flesh. I saw these grisly birds sitting expectantly in rows on the
coping of the towers, and the sight was almost too gruesome. Such is
their voracity that the body is a skeleton in an hour or so. The Parsees
choose this method of dissolution because since they worship fire they
must not ask it to demean itself with the dead; and both earth and water
they hold also too sacred to use for burial. Hence this strange and--at
the first blush--repellant compromise. The sight of the cemetery that
awaits us in England is rarely cheering, but if to that cemetery were
attached a regiment of cruel and hideous birds of prey we should shudder
indeed. Whether the Parsees shudder I cannot say, but they give no sign
of it. They build their palaces in full view of these terrible Towers,
pass, on their way to dinner parties, luxuriously in Rolls-Royces beside
the trees where the vultures roost, and generally behave themselves as
if this were the best possible of worlds and the only one. And I think
they are wise.

Oriental apathy, or, at any rate, unruffled receptiveness, may carry its
owner very far, and yet if these vultures cause no misgivings, no chills
at the heart, I shall be surprised. As for those olive-skinned Parsee
girls, with the long oval faces and the lustrous eyes--how must it
strike them?

It was not till I went to the caves of Elephanta that I saw vultures in
their marvellous flight. It is here that they breed, and the sky was
full of them at an incredible distance up, resting on their great wings
against the wind, circling and deploying. At this height they are
magnificent. But seen at close quarters they are horrible, revolting. On
a day's hunting which I shall describe later I was in at the death of a
gond, or swamp-deer, at about noon, and we returned for the carcase
about three hours later, only to find it surrounded by some hundreds of
these birds tearing at it in a kind of frenzy of gluttony. They were not
in the least disconcerted by our approach, and not until the bearers had
taken sticks to them would they leave. The heavy half-gorged flapping of
a vulture's wings as it settles itself to a new aspect of its repast is
the most disgusting sight I have seen.

To revert to the Towers of Silence, one is brought very near to death
everywhere in the East. We have our funeral corteges at home, with
sufficient frequency, but they do not emphasize the thought of the
necessary end of all things as do the swathed corpses that one meets so
often being carried through the streets, on their way to this or that
burning place. In Bombay I met several every day, with their bearers and
followers all in white, and all moving with the curious trot that seems
to be reserved for such obsequies. There were always, also, during my
stay, new supplies of fire-wood outside the great Hindu burning ground
in Queen's Road; and yet no epidemic was raging; the city was normal
save for a strike of mill-hands. It is true that I met wedding parties
almost equally often; but in India a wedding party is not, as with us, a
suggestion of new life to replace the dead, for the brides so often are

One of the differences between the poor of London and the poor of India
may be noticed here. In the East-End a funeral is considered to be a
failure unless its cost is out of all proportion to the survivors'
means, while a wedding is a matter of a few shillings; whereas in India
a funeral is a simple ceremony, to be hurried over, while the wedding
festivities last for weeks and often plunge the family into debts from
which they never recover.


The selective processes of the memory are very curious. It has been
decreed that one of my most vivid recollections of Bombay should be that
of the embarrassment and half-amused self-consciousness of an American
business man on the platform of the railway station for Delhi. Having
completed his negotiatory visit he was being speeded on his way by the
native staff of the firm, who had hung him with garlands like a
sacrificial bull. In the Crawford Market I had watched the florists at
work tearing the blossoms from a kind of frangipani known as the Temple
Flower, in order to string them tightly into chains; and now and again
in the streets one came upon people wearing them; but to find a shrewd
and portly commercial American thus bedecked was a shock. As it
happened, he was to share my compartment, and on entering, just before
the train started, he apologised very heartily for importing so much
heavy perfume into the atmosphere, but begged to be excused because it
was the custom of the country and he didn't like to hurt anyone's
feelings. He then stood at the door, waving farewells, and directly the
line took a bend flung the wreaths out of the window. I was glad of his
company, for in addition to these floral offerings his Bombay associates
had provided him with a barrel of the best oranges that ever were grown
--sufficient for a battalion--and these we consumed at brief intervals
all the way to Delhi.


"If you can be in India only so short a time as seven weeks," said an
artist friend of mine--and among his pictures is a sombre representation
of the big sacred bull that grazes under the walls of Delhi Fort--"why
not stay in Delhi all the while? You will then learn far more of India
than by rushing about." I think he was right, although it was not
feasible to accept the advice. For Delhi has so much; it has, first and
foremost, the Fort; it has the Jama Masjid, that immense mosque where on
Fridays at one o'clock may be seen Mohammedans of every age wearing
every hue, thousands worshipping as one; it has the ancient capitals
scattered about the country around it; it has signs and memories of the
Mutiny; it has delectable English residences; and it has the Chadni
Chauk, the long main street with all its curious buildings and crowds
and countless tributary alleys, every one of which is the East
crystallised, every one of which has its white walls, its decorative
doorways, its loiterers, its beggars, its artificers, and its defiance
of the bogey, Progress.

Another thing: in January, Delhi, before the sun is high and after he
has sunk, is cool and bracing.

But, most of all, Delhi is interesting because it was the very centre of
the Mogul dominance, and when one has become immersed in the story of
the great rulers, from Babar to Aurungzebe, one thinks of most other
history as insipid. Of Babar, who reigned from 1526 to 1530, I saw no
trace in India; but his son Humayun (1530-1556) built Indrapat, which is
just outside the walls of Delhi, and he lies close by in the beautiful
mausoleum that bears his name. Humayun's son, Akbar (1556-1605),
preferred Agra to Delhi; nor was Jahangir (1605-1627), who succeeded
Akbar, a great builder hereabout; but with Shah Jahan (1627-1658),
Jahangir's son, came the present Delhi's golden age. He it was who built
the Jama Masjid, the great mosque set commandingly on a mound and gained
by magnificent flights of steps. To the traveller approaching the city
from any direction the two graceful minarets of the mosque stand for
Delhi. It was Shah Jahan, price of Mogul builders, who decreed also the
palace in the Fort, to say nothing (at the moment) of the Taj Mahal at
Agra; while two of his daughters, Jahanara, and Roshanara, that naughty
Begam, enriched Delhi too, the little pavilion in the Gardens that bear
Roshanara's name being a gem. Wandering among these architectural
delights, now empty and under alien protection, it is difficult to
believe that their period was as recent as Cromwell and Milton. But in
India the sense of chronology vanishes.

After Shah Jahan came his crafty son, Aurungzebe, who succeeded in
keeping his empire together until 1707, and with him the grandeur of the
Grand Moguls waned and after him ceased to be, although not until the
Mutiny was their rule extinguished. As I have just said, in India the
sense of chronology vanishes, or goes astray, and it is with a start
that one is confronted, in the Museum in Delhi Fort, by a photograph of
the last Mogul!

In Bombay, during my wakeful moments in the hottest part of the day, I
had passed the time and imbibed instruction by reading the three
delightful books of the late E. H. Aitken, who called himself "Eha"--
"Behind the Bungalow," "The Tribes on My Frontier" and "A Naturalist on
the Prowl." No more amusing and kindly studies of the fauna, flora and
human inhabitants of a country can have ever been written than these;
and I can suggest, to the domestically curious mind, no better
preparation for a visit to India. But at Raisina, when the cool evenings
set in and it was pleasant to get near the wood fire, I took to history
and revelled in the story of the Moguls as told by many authorities, but
most entertainingly perhaps by Tavernier, the French adventurer who took
service under Aurungzebe. If any one wants to know what Delhi was like
in the seventeenth century during Aurungzebe's long reign, and how the
daily life in the Palace went, and would learn more of the power and
autocracy and splendour and cruelty of the Grand Moguls, let him get
Tavernier's record. If once I began to quote from it I should never
stop; and therefore I pass on, merely remarking that when you have
finished the travels of M. Tavernier, the travels of M. Bernier, another
contemporary French observer, await you. And I hold you to be envied.

The Palace in the Fort is now but a fraction of what it was in the time
of Aurungzebe and his father, but enough remains to enable the
imaginative mind to reconstruct the past, especially if one has read my
two annalists. One of Bernier's most vivid passages describes the Diwan-
i-Am, or Hall of Public Audience, the building to which, after leaving
the modern military part of the Fort, one first comes, where the Moguls
sat in state during a durbar, and painted and gilded elephants, richly
draped, took part in the obeisances. Next comes the Hall of Private
Audiences, where the Peacock Throne once stood. It has now vanished, but
in its day it was one of the wonders of the world, the tails of the two
guardian peacocks being composed of precious stones and the throne
itself being of jewelled gold. It was for this that one of Shah Jahan's
poets wrote an inscription in which we find such lines as--

By the order of the Emperor the azure of Heaven
was exhausted on its decoration....

The world had become so short of gold on account of
its use in the throne that the purse of the Earth
was empty of treasure....

On a dark night, by the lustre of its rubies and pearls
it can lend stars to a hundred skies....

That was right enough, no doubt, but when our poet went on to say,

As long as a trace remains of existence and space
Shah Jahan shall continue to sit on this throne,

we feel that he was unwise. Such pronouncements can be tested. As it
happened, Shah Jahan was destined, very shortly after the poem was
written, to be removed into captivity by his son, and the rest of his
unhappy life was spent in a prison at Agra. On each end wall of the Hall
of Private Audience is the famous couplet,--

If there is a Paradise on the face of the earth,
It is this, Oh! it is this, Oh! it is this.

I think of the garden and palace of Delhi Fort as the loveliest spot in
India. Not the most beautiful, not the most impressive; but the
loveliest. The Taj Mahal has a greater beauty; the ruined city of
Fatehpur-Sikri has a greater dignity; but for the perfection of domestic
regality in design and material and workmanship, this marble home and
mosque and accompanying garden and terrace could not be excelled. After
the Halls of Audience we come to the seraglio and accompanying
buildings, where everything is perfect and nothing is on the grand
scale. The Pearl Mosque could hardly be smaller; and it is as pure and
fresh as a lotus. There is a series of apartments all in white marble
(with inlayings of gold and the most delicately pierced marble gratings)
through which a stream of water used to run (and it ran again at the
Coronation Durbar in 1911, when the Royal Baths were again made to
"function") that must be one of the most magical of the works of man.
Every inch is charming and distinguished. All these rooms are built
along the high wall which in the time of Shah Jahan and his many lady
loves was washed by the Jumna. But to-day the river has receded and a
broad strip of grass intervenes.


One of my best Indian days was that on which Colonel Sir Umar Hayat Khan
took us out a-hawking. Sir Umar is himself something of a hawk--an
impressive figure in his great turban with long streamers, his keen
aquiline features and blackest of hair. All sport comes naturally to
him, whether hunting or shooting, pig-sticking, coursing or falconry;
and the Great War found him with a sportsman's eagerness to rush into
the fray, where he distinguished himself notably.

We found this gallant chieftain in the midst of his retainers on the
further bank of the Jumna, at the end of the long bridge. Here the
plains begin--miles of fields of stubble, with here and there a tree and
here and there a pool or marsh, as far as eye can reach, an ancient
walled city in the near distance being almost the only excrescence.
Between the river and this city was our hunting ground.

With the exception of Sir Umar, two of his friends and ourselves, the
company was on foot; and nothing more like the middle ages did I ever
see. The retainers were in every kind of costume, one having an old pink
coat and one a green; one leading a couple of greyhounds in case we put
up a hare; others carrying guns (for we were prepared for all); while
the chief falconer and his assistants had their hawks on their wrists,
and one odd old fellow was provided with a net, in which a captive live
hawk was to flutter and struggle to attract his hereditary foes, the
little birds, who, deeming him unable to hit back, were to swarm down to
deride and defy and be caught in the meshes.

I may say at once that hawking, particularly in this form, does not give
me much pleasure. There is something magnificent in the flight of the
falcon when it is released and flung towards its prey, but the odds are
too heavy in its favour and the whimperings of the doomed quarry strike
a chill in the heart. We flew our hawks at duck and plovers, and missed
none. Often the first swoop failed, but the deadly implacable pursuer
was instantly ready to swoop again, and rarely was a third manoeuvre
necessary. Man, under the influence of the excitement of the chase, is
the same all the world over, and there was no difference between these
Indians moving swiftly to intervene between the hawk and its stricken
prey and an English boy running to retrieve his rabbit. Their animation
and triumph--even their shouts and cries--were alike.

And so we crossed field after field on our gentle steeds--and no one
admires gentleness in a horse more than I--stopping only to watch
another tragedy of the air, or to look across the river to Delhi and see
the Fort under new conditions. All this country I had so often looked
down upon from those high massive walls, standing in one of the lovely
windows of Shah Jahan's earthly paradise; and now the scene was
reversed, and I began to take more delight in it than in the sport. But
at a pond to which we next came there was enacted a drama so absorbing
that everything else was forgotten, even the heat of the sun.

Upon this pond were three wild-duck at which a falcon was instantly
flown. For a while, however, they kept their presence of mind and
refused to leave the water--diving beneath the surface at the moment
that the enemy was within a foot of them. On went the hawk, in its
terrible, cruel onset, and up came the ducks, all ready to repeat these
tactics when it turned and attacked again. But on one of the party (I
swear it was not I), in order to assist the hawk, firing his gun, two of
the ducks became panic-stricken and left the water, only of course to be
quickly destroyed. It was on the hawk's return journey to the pond to
make sure of the third duck that I saw for the first time in my life--
and I hope the last--the expression on the countenance of these terrible
birds in the execution of their duty: more than the mere execution of
duty, the determination to have no more nonsense, to put an end to
anything so monstrous as self-protection in others; for my horse being
directly in the way, he flew under its neck and for a moment I thought
that he was confusing me with the desired mallard. Nothing more
merciless or purposeful did I ever see.

Then began a really heroic struggle on the part of the victim. He timed
his dives to perfection, and escaped so often that the spirit of
chivalry would have decreed a truce. But blood had been tasted, and, the
desire being for more, the guns were again discharged. Not even they,
however, could divert the duck from his intention of saving his life,
and he dived away from the shot, too.

It was at this moment that assistance to the gallant little bird
arrived--not from man, who was past all decency, but from brother
feathers. Out of a clear sky suddenly appeared two tern, dazzling in
their whiteness, and these did all in their power to infuriate the hawk
and lure him from the water. They flew round him and over him; they
called him names; they said he was a bully and that all of us (which was
true) ought to be ashamed of ourselves; they daunted and challenged and
attacked. But the enemy was too strong for them. A fusillade drove them
off, and once again we were free to consider the case of the duck, who
was still swimming anxiously about, hoping against hope. More shots were
fired, one of the boys waded in with a stick, and the dogs were added to
the assault; and in the face of so determined a bombardment the poor
little creature at last flew up, to be struck down within a few seconds
by the insatiable avenger.

That was the crowning event of the afternoon. Thereafter we had only
small successes, and some very pronounced failures when, as happened
several times, a bird flew for safety through a tree, and the hawk,
following, was held up amid the branches. One of the birds thus to
escape was a blue jay of brilliant beauty. We also got some hares. And
then we loitered back under the yellowing sky, and Sir Umar Hayat Khan
ceased suddenly to be a foe of fur and feathers and became a poet,
talking of sunsets in India and in England as though the appreciation of
tender beauty were his only delight.


There have been seven Delhis; and it required no little courage to
establish a new one--the Imperial capital--actually within sight of most
of them; but the courage was forthcoming. Originally the position was to
be to the north of the present city, where the Coronation Durbar spread
its canvas, but Raisina was found to be healthier, and it is there, some
five miles to the south-west, that the new palaces are rising from the
rock. Fatehpur-Sikri is the only city with which the New Delhi can be
compared; but not Akbar himself could devise it on a nobler scale.
Akbar's centralising gift and Napoleon's spacious views may be said to
combine here, the long avenues having kinship with the Champs Elysees,
and Government House and the Secretariat on the great rocky plateau at
Raisina corresponding to the palace on Fatehpur-Sikri's highest point.
The splendour and the imagination which designed the lay-out of Imperial
Delhi cannot be over-praised, and under the hands of Sir Edwin Lutyens
and Mr. Herbert Baker some wonderful buildings are coming to life. The
city, since it is several square miles in extent, cannot be finished for
some years, but it may be ready to be the seat of Government as soon as

As I have said, the old Delhis are all about the new one. On the Grand
Trunk road out of Delhi proper, which goes to Muttra and Agra, you pass,
very quickly, on the left, the remains of Firozabad, the capital of
Firoz Shah in the later thirteenth century. Two or three miles further
on is Indrapat on its hill overlooking the Jumna, surrounded by lofty
walls. It is as modern as the sixteenth century, but is now in ruins. At
Indrapat reigned Humayun, the son of the mighty Babar (who on his
conquering way to Delhi had swum every river in advance of his army) and
the father of the mighty Akbar. I loitered long within Indrapat's
massive walls, which are now given up to a few attendants and an
occasional visitor, and like all the monuments around Delhi are most
carefully conserved under the Act for that purpose, which was not the
least of Lord Curzon's Viceregal achievements. Among the buildings which
still stand, rising from the turf, is Humayun's library. It was here
that he met his end--one tradition relating that he fell in the dark on
his way to fetch a book, and another that his purpose had been less
intellectually amatory.

Another mile and we come, still just beside the Grand Trunk road, to
Humayun's Tomb, which stands in a vast garden where green parrots
continually chatter and pursue each other. There is something very
charming--a touch of the truest civilisation, if civilisation means the
art of living graciously--in the practice of the old Emperors and
rulers, of building their mausoleums during their lifetime and using
them, until their ultimate destiny was fulfilled, as pleasure resorts.
To this enchanting spot came Humayun and his ladies full of life, to be
insouciant and gay. Then, his hour striking, Humayun's happy retreat
became Humayun's Tomb. He died in 1556, when Queen Mary, in England, was
persecuting Protestants. The Tomb is in good repair and to the stranger
to the East who has not yet visited Agra and seen the Taj Mahal (which
has a similar ground plan), it is as beautiful as need be. Humayun's
cenotaph, in plain white marble, is in the very centre. Below, in the
vault immediately beneath it, are his remains. Other illustrious dust is
here, too; and some less illustrious, such as that of Humayun's barber,
which reposes beneath a dome of burning-blue tiles in a corner of the

From the upper galleries of the Emperor's mausoleum the eye enjoys
various rich prospects--the valley of the Jumna pulsating in the heat,
the walls of the New Delhi at Raisina almost visibly growing, and, to
the north, Delhi itself, with the twin towers of the great mosque over
all. Down the Grand Trunk road, immediately below, are bullock wagons
and wayfarers, and here and there is a loaded camel. Across the road is
a curious little group of sacred buildings whither some of the wayfarers
no doubt are bent on a pilgrimage; for here is the shrine of the Saint
Nizam-ud-din Aulia, who worked miracles during his life and died during
the reign of our Edward II--in 1324.

On visiting his shrine (which involved the usual assumption of overshoes
to prevent our infidel leather from contaminating the floor), we fell,
after evading countless beggars and would-be guides, into the hands of a
kindly old man who pressed handfuls of little white nuts upon us and who
remains in my memory as the only independent Mussulman priest in India,
for he refused a tip. In this respect nothing could be more widely
separated than his conduct and that of the three priests of the Jama
Masjid in Delhi, who, discovering us on the wall, just before the Friday
service began, held up the service for several minutes while they
explained their schedule of gratuities--beginning with ten rupees for
the High Priest--and this after we had already provided for the
attendant who had supplied the overshoes and had led us to the point of
vantage! I thought how amusing it would be if a visitor to an English
cathedral--where money usually has to pass, as it is--were surrounded by
the Dean, Archdeacon, Canons and Minor Canons, with outstretched hands,
and had to buy his way to a sight of the altar, according to the status
of each. The spectacle would be as odd to us, as it must be to the
French or Italians--and even perhaps Americans--to see a demand for an
entrance fee on the Canterbury portals.

Were we to continue on the Grand Trunk road for a few miles, first
crossing a noble Mogul bridge, we should come to a little walled city,
Badapur, where a turning due west leads to another Delhi of the past,
Tughlakabad, and on to yet another, the remains of Lal Kot, where the
famous Minar soars to the sky.

One of the most pleasing effects of the New Delhi is the series of
vistas which the lay-out provides. It has been so arranged that many of
the avenues radiating from the central rock on which Government House
and the Secretariat are being set are closed at their distant ends by
historic buildings. Standing on the temporary tower which marks this
centre one is able to see in a few moments all the ruined cities that I
have mentioned. The Kutb Minar is the most important landmark in the far
south, although the eye rests most lovingly on the red and white
comeliness of the tomb of Safdar Jang in the middle distance--which,
with Humayun's Tomb, makes a triangle with the new Government House.
Within that triangle are the Lodi tombs, marking yet another period in
the history of Delhi, the Lodis being the rulers who early in the
fifteenth century were defeated by Babar.

The Kutb Minar enclosure, which is a large garden, where beautiful
masonry, flowers, trees and birds equally flourish, commemorates the
capture of Delhi by Muhammad bin Sam in 1193, the battle being directed
by his lieutenant, Kutb-ud-din. From that time until the Mutiny in 1857
Delhi was under Mohammedan rule. One of the first acts of the conqueror
was to destroy the Hindu temple that stood here and erect the mosque
that now takes its place, and he then built the great tower known as the
Kutb Minar, or Tower of Victory, which ascends in diminishing red and
white storeys to a height of 235 feet, involving the inquisitive view-
finder in a climb of 379 steps. On the other side of the mosque are the
beginnings of a second tower, which, judging by the size of the base,
was to have risen to a still greater height, but it was abandoned after
150 feet. Its purpose was to celebrate for ever the glory of the Emperor
Ala-ud-din (1296-1316).

In front of the mosque is the Iron Pillar which has been the cause of so
much perplexity both to antiquaries and chemists, and meat and drink to
Sanscrit scholars. The pillar has an inscription commemorating an early
monarch named Chandra who conquered Bengal in the fifth century, and it
must have been brought to this spot for re-erection. But its refusal to
rust, and the purity of its constituents, are its special merits. To me
the mysteries of iron pillars are without interest, and what I chiefly
remember of this remarkable pleasaunce is the exquisite stone carvings
of the ruined cloisters and the green parrots that play among the trees.


As we were leaving the Kutb after a late afternoon visit, my host and I
were hailed excitedly by an elderly man whose speech was
incomprehensible, but whose gestures indicated plainly enough that there
was something important up the hill. The line of least resistance being
the natural one in India, we allowed him to guide us, and came after a
few minutes, among the ruins of the citadel of Lal Kot, to one of those
deep wells gained by long flights of steps whither the ladies of the
palaces used to resort in the hottest weather. Evening was drawing on
and the profundities of this cavern were forbiddingly gloomy; nor was
the scene rendered more alluring by the presence of three white-bearded
old men, almost stark naked and leaner than greyhounds, who shivered and
grimaced, and suggested nothing so much as fugitives from the grave.
They were, however, not only alive, but athletically so, being
professional divers who earned an exceedingly uncomfortable living by
dropping, feet first, from the highest point of the building into the
water eighty feet below.

One of them indicating his willingness--more than willingness,
eagerness--to perform this manoeuvre for two rupees, we agreed, and
placing us on a step from which the best view could be had, he fled
along the gallery to the top of the shaft, and after certain preliminary
movements, to indicate how perilous was the adventure, and how chilly
the evening, and how more than worth two rupees it was, he committed his
body to the operations of the law of gravity. We saw it through the
apertures in the shaft on its downward way and then heard the splash as
it reached the distant water, while a crowd of pigeons who had retired
to roost among the masonry dashed out and away. The diver emerged from
the well and came running up the steps towards us, while his companion
scarecrows fled also to the top of the shaft and one after the other
dropped down, too; so that in a minute or so we were surrounded by three
old, dripping men, each demanding two rupees. Useless to protest that we
had desired but one of them to perform: they pursued us into the open,
and even clung to our knees, and of course we paid--afterwards to learn
that one rupee for the lot was a lavish guerdon.

One meets with these divers continually, wherever there is a pool sacred
or otherwise; but some actually leap into the water and do not merely
drop. At the shrine of the Saint Nizam-ud-din, near Humayun's Tomb, I
found them--but there they were healthy-looking youths--and again at
Fatehpur-Sikri. But for this sporadic diving, the wrestling bouts which
are common everywhere, the Nautch and the jugglers, India seems to have
no pastimes.


The returning traveller from India is besieged by questioners who want
to know all about the most famous of the jugglers' performances. In this
trick the magician flings a rope into the air, retaining one end in his
hand, and his boy climbs up it and disappears. I did not see it.


All the Indian cities that I saw seemed to cover an immense acreage,
partly because every modern house has its garden and compound. In a
country where land is cheap and servants are legion there need be no
congestion, and, so far, the Anglo-Indian knows little or nothing of the
embarrassments of dwellers in New York or London. To every one in India
falls naturally a little faithful company of assistants to oil the
wheels of life--groom, gardener, butler and so forth--and a spacious
dwelling-place to think of England in, and calculate the variable value
of the rupee, and wonder why the dickens So-and-so got his knighthood.
Agra seemed to me to be the most widespreading city of all; but very
likely it is not. In itself it is far from being the most interesting,
but it has one building of great beauty--the Pearl Mosque in the Fort--
and one building of such consummate beauty as to make it a place of
pilgrimage that no traveller would dare to avoid--the Taj Mahal. Whether
or not the Taj Mahal is the most enchanting work of architecture in the
world I leave it to more extensive travellers to say. To my eyes it has
an unearthly loveliness which I make no effort to pass on to others.

The Taj Mahal was built by that inspired friend of architecture, Shah
Jahan, as the tomb of the best beloved of his wives, Arjmand Banu,
called Mumtaz-i-Mahal or Pride of the Palace. There she lies, and there
lies her husband. I wonder how many of the travellers who stand
entranced before this mausoleum, in sunshine and at dusk or under the
moon, and who have not troubled about its history, realise that Giotto's
Tower in Florence is three centuries older, and St. Peter's in Rome
antedates it by a little, and St. Paul's Cathedral in London is only
twenty or thirty years younger. Yet so it is. In India one falls
naturally into the way of thinking of everything that is not of our own
time as being of immense age, if not prehistoric.

Opinions differ as to the respective beauties of Agra Fort and Delhi
Fort, but in so far as the enclosures themselves are considered I give
my vote unhesitatingly to Delhi. Yet when one thinks also of what can be
seen from the ramparts, then the palm goes instantly to Agra, for its
view of the Taj Mahal. It is tragic, walking here, to think of the last
days of Shah Jahan, who brought into being both the marble palace and
the wonderful Moti-Masjid or marble mosque. For in 1658 his son,
Aurungzebe, deposed him and for the rest of his life he was imprisoned
in these walls.

His grandfather, Akbar, the other great Agra builder, was made of
sterner stuff. All Shah Jahan's creations--the Taj, the marble mosque,
the palaces both here and at Delhi, even the great Jama Masjid at
Delhi,--have a certain sensuous quality. They are not exactly decadent,
but they suggest sweetness rather than strength. The Empire had been
won, and Shah Jahan could indulge in luxury and ease. But Akbar had had
to fight, and he remained to the end a man of action, and we see his
character reflected in his stronghold Fatehpur-Sikri, which one visits
from Agra and never forgets. If I were asked to say which place in India
most fascinated me and touched the imagination I think I should name
this dead city.

Akbar, the son of Babar, is my hero among the Moguls, and this was
Akbar's chosen home, until scarcity of water forced him to abandon it
for Agra. Akbar, the noblest of the great line of Moguls whose splendour
ended in 1707 with the death of Aurungzebe, came to the throne in 1556,
only eight years before Shakespeare was born, and died in 1605, and it
is interesting to realise how recent were his times, the whole
suggestion of Fatehpur-Sikri being one of very remote antiquity. Yet
when it was being built so modern a masterpiece as _Hamlet_ was
being written and played. Those interested in the Great Moguls ought
really to visit Fatehpur-Sikri before Delhi or Agra, because Akbar was
the grandfather of Shah Jahan. But there can be no such chronological
wanderings in India. Have we not already seen Humayun's Tomb, outside
Delhi?--and Humayun was Akbar's father.

They say the leopard and the jackal keep
The courts where Akbar gloried....

--this adaptation of FitzGerald's lines ran through my mind as we passed
from room to room and tower to tower of Fatehpur-Sikri. There is nothing
to compare with it, except perhaps Pompeii. And in that comparison one
realises how impossible it is at a hazard to date an Indian ruin, for,
as I have said, Fatehpur-Sikri is from the days of Elizabeth, while
Pompeii was destroyed in the first century, and yet Pompeii in many ways
seems less ancient.

The walls of Fatehpur-Sikri are seven miles round and the city rises to
the summits of two steep hills. It was on the higher one that Akbar set
his palace. Civilisation has run a railway through the lower levels; the
old high road still climbs the hill under the incredibly lofty walls of
the palace. The royal enclosure is divided into all the usual courtyards
and apartments, but they are on a grander scale. Also the architecture
is more mixed. Here is the swimming bath; here are the cool, dark rooms
for the ladies of the harem in the hottest days, with odd corners where
Akbar is said to have played hide-and-seek with them; here is the hall
where Akbar, who kept an open mind on religion, listened to, and
disputed with, dialecticians of varying creeds--himself seated in the
middle, and the doctrinaires in four pulpits around him; here is the
Mint; here is the house of the Turkish queen, with its elaborate
carvings and decorations; here is the girls' school, with a courtyard
laid out for human chess, the pieces being slave-girls; here is a noble
mosque; here is the vast court where the great father of his people
administered justice, or what approximated to it, and received homage.
Here are the spreading stables and riding school; here is even the tomb
of a favourite elephant.

And here is the marble tomb of the Saint, the Shaikh Salim, whose
holiness brought it about that the Emperor became at last the father of
a son--none other than Jahangir. The shrine is visited even to this day
by childless wives, who tie shreds of their clothing to the lattice-work
of a marble window as an earnest of their maternal worthiness. It is
visited also by the devout for various purposes, among others by those
whose horses are sick and who nail votive horseshoes to the great gate.
According to tradition the mother of Jahangir was a Christian named
Miriam, and her house and garden may be seen, the house having the
traces of a fresco which by those who greatly wish it can be believed to
represent the Annunciation. Tradition, however, is probably wrong, and
the princess was from Jaipur and a true Mussulwoman.

From every height--and particularly from the Panch Mahal's roof--one
sees immense prospects and realises what a landmark the stronghold of
Fatehpur-Sikri must have been to the dwellers in the plains; but no view
is the equal of that which bursts on the astonished eyes at the great
north gateway, where all Rajputana is at one's feet. I do not pretend to
any exhaustive knowledge of the gates of the world, but I cannot believe
that there can be others set as this Gate of Victory is in the walls of
a palace, at the head of myriad steps, on the very top of a commanding
rock and opening on to thousands of square miles of country. Having seen
the amazing landscape one descends the steps to the road, and looking up
is astonished and exalted by seeing the gate from below. Nothing so
grand has ever come into my ken. The Taj Mahal is unforgettingly
beautiful; but this glorious gate in the sky has more at once to
exercise and stimulate the imagination and reward the vision.

On the gate are the words: "Isa (Jesus), on whom be peace, said: 'The
world is a bridge; pass over it, but build no house on it. The world
endures but an hour; spend it in devotion.'"

Having seen Fatehpur-Sikri, where Akbar lived and did more than build a
house, it is a natural course to return to Agra by way of Sikandra,
where he was buried. Sikandra is like the Taj Mahal and Humayun's Tomb
in general disposition--the mausoleum itself being in the centre of a
garden. But it is informed by a more sombre spirit. The burial-place of
the mighty Emperor is in the very heart of the building, gained by a
sloping passage lit by an attendant with a torch. Here was Akbar laid,
while high above, on the topmost stage of the mausoleum, in the full
light, is his cenotoph of marble, with the ninety-nine names of Allah
inscribed upon it. Near the cenotaph is a marble pillar on which once
was set the Koh-i-noor diamond, chief of Akbar's treasures. To-day it is
part of the English regalia.


The Ridge at Delhi is a sufficiently moving reminder of the Indian
Mutiny; but it is at Lucknow that the most poignant phases are re-
enacted. At Delhi may be seen, preserved for ever, the famous buildings
which the British succeeded in keeping--Hindu Rao's house, and the
Observatory, and Flagstaff Tower, the holding of which gave them
victory; while in the walls of the Kashmir Gate our cannon balls are
still visibly imbedded. There is also the statue of John Nicholson in
the Kudsia Garden, and in the little Museum of the Fort are countless

But Lucknow was the centre of the tragedy, and the Residency is
preserved as a sacred spot. Not even the recent Great War left in its
track any more poignant souvenirs of fortitude and disaster than the
little burial ground here, around the ruins of the church, where those
who fell in the Mutiny and those who fought or suffered in the Mutiny
are lying. Long ago as it was--1857--there are still a few vacant lots
destined to be filled. Chief of the tombstones that bear the honoured
names is that of the heroic defender who kept upon the topmost roof the
banner of England flying. It has the simple and touching inscription:
"Here lies Henry Lawrence, who tried to do his duty. May the Lord have
mercy on his soul!"

In the Residency every step of the siege and relief can be followed. I
was there first on a serene evening after rain; and but for some
tropical trees it might have been an English scene. All that was lacking
was a thrush or blackbird's note; but the grass was as soft and green as
at home and the air as sweet. I shall long retain the memory of the
contrast between the incidents which give this enclosure its unique
place in history and the perfect calm brooding over all. And whenever
any one calls my attention to a Bougainvillaea I shall say, "Ah! But you
should see the Bougainvillaea in the Residency garden at Lucknow."

Everywhere that I went in India I found this noble lavish shrub in full
flower, but never wearing such a purple as at Lucknow. The next best was
in the Fort at Delhi. It was not till I reached Calcutta that I caught
any glimpse of the famous scarlet goldmore tree in leaf; but I saw
enough to realise how splendid must be the effect of an avenue of them.
Bombay, however, was rich in hedges of poinsettia, and they serve as an
introduction to the goldmore's glory.

Before leaving the Residency I should like to quote a passage from the
little brochure on the defence of Lucknow which Sir Harcourt Butler, the
Governor of the United Provinces, with characteristic thoughtfulness has
prepared for the use of his guests. "The visitor to the Residency," he
wrote, thinking evidently of a similar evening to that on which we
visited it, "who muses on the past and the future, may note that upon
the spot where the enemy's assault was hottest twin hospitals for
Europeans and Indians have been erected by Oudh's premier Taluqdar, the
Maharaja of Balrampur; and as the sun sets over the great city,
lingering awhile on the trim lawns and battered walls which link the
present with the past, a strong hope may come to him, like a distant
call to prayer, that old wounds may soon be healed, and old causes of
disunion may disappear, and that Englishmen and Indians, knit together
by loyalty to their beloved Sovereign, may be as brothers before the
altar of the Empire, bearing the Empire's burden, and sharing its
inestimable privileges, and, it may be, adding something not yet seen or
dreamt of to its world-wide and weather-beaten fame."

I left Lucknow with regret, and would advise any European with time to
spare, and the desire to be at once civilised and warm, to think
seriously of spending a winter there instead of in the illusory sunshine
of the Riviera, or the comparative barbarity of Algiers. The journey is
longer, but the charm of the place would repay.


To have the opportunity of hunting a tiger--on an elephant too--which by
a stroke of luck fell to me, is to experience the un-English character
of India at its fullest. Almost everything else could be reproduced
elsewhere--the palaces, the bazaars, the caravans, the mosques and
temples with their worshippers--but not the jungle, the Himalayas, the
vast swamps through which our elephants waded up to the Plimsoll, the
almost too painful ecstasies of the pursuit of an eater of man.

The master of the chase, who has many tigers to his name, was Sir
Harcourt Butler, whose hospitality is famous, so large and warm is it,
and so minute, and it was because he was not satisfied that the ordinary
diversions of the "Lucknow Week" were sufficient for his guests, that he
impulsively arranged a day's swamp-deer shooting on the borders of
Nepaul. The time was short, or of elephants there would have been
seventy or more; as it was, we were apologised to (there were only about
six of us) for the poverty of the supply, a mere five and twenty being
obtainable. But to these eyes, which had never seen more than six
elephants at once, and those in the captivity either of a zoo or a
circus, a row of five and twenty was astounding. They were waiting for
us on the plain, at a spot distant some score of miles by car, through
improvised roads, from the station, whither an all-night railway journey
had borne us. The name of the station, if I ever knew it, I have
forgotten: there was no room in my heated brain for such trifles; but I
have forgotten nothing else.

It was after an hour and a half's drive in the cool and spicy early
morning air--between the fluttering rags on canes which told the drivers
how to steer--that we came suddenly in sight of some distant tents and
beside them an immense long dark inexplicable mass which through the
haze seemed now and then to move. As we drew nearer, this mass was
discerned to be a row of elephants assembled in line ready to salute the
Governor. The effect was more impressive and more Eastern than anything
I had seen. Grotesque too--for some had painted faces and gilded toes,
and not a few surveyed me with an expression in which the comic spirit
was too noticeable. Six or seven had howdahs, the rest blankets: those
with howdahs being for the party and its leader, Bam Bahadur, a noted
shikaree; and the others to carry provisions and bring back the spoil.
On the neck of each sat an impassive mahout.

To one to whom the pen is mightier than the gun and whose half a
century's bag contains only a few rabbits, a hedgehog and a moorhen, it
is no inconsiderable ordeal to be handed a repeating rifle and some
dozens of cartridges and be told that that is your elephant--the big one
there, with the red ochre on its forehead. To be on an elephant in the
jungle without the responsibilities of a lethal weapon would be
sufficient thrill for one day: but to be expected also to deal out death
was too much. In the company of others, however, one can do anything;
and I gradually ascended to the top, not, as the accomplished hunters
did, by placing a foot on the trunk and being swung heavenwards, but
painfully, on a ladder; by my side being a very keen Indian youth, the
son of a minor chieftain, who spoke English perfectly and was to
instruct me in Nimrod's lore.

And so the procession started, and for a while discomfort set acutely
in, for the movement of a howdah is short and jerky, and it takes some
time both to adjust oneself to it and to lose the feeling that the
elephant sooner or later--and probably sooner--must trip and fall. But
the glory of the morning, the urgency of our progress, the novelty and
sublimity of the means of transport, the strangeness of the scene, and
my companion's speculations on the day's promise, overcame any personal
want of ease and I forgot myself in the universal. Our destination was a
series of marshes some six miles away, where the gonds--or swamp-deer--
were usually found, and we were divided up, some elephants, of which
mine was one, taking the left wing, with instructions on reaching a
certain spot to wait there for the deer who would move off in that
direction; others taking the right wing; and others beating up the

We began with a trial of nervous stamina--for a river far down in its
bed below us almost immediately occurred, and this had to be crossed. I
abandoned all hope as the elephant descended the bank almost, as it
seemed, perpendicularly, and plunged into the water with an enormous
splash. But after he had squeeged through, extricating himself with a
gigantic wrench, the ground was level for a long while, and there was
time to look around and recollect one's fatalism. Far ahead in a blue
mist were the Himalayas. All about were unending fields, with here and
there white cattle grazing. Cranes stretched their necks above the
grass; now and then a herd of blackbuck (which were below our hunting
ambitions) scampered away; the sky was full of wild-duck and other

Of the hunting of the gond I should have something to say had not a
diversion occurred which relegated that lively and elusive creature to
an obscure place in the background. We had finished the beat, and most
of us had emerged from the swamp to higher ground where an open space,
or maidan, corresponding to a drive in an English preserve, but on the
grand scale, divided it from the jungle--all our thoughts being set upon
lunch--when suddenly across this open space passed a blur of yellow and
black only a few yards from the nearest elephant. It was so unexpected
and so quick that even the trained eyes of my companion were uncertain.
"Did you see?" he asked me in a voice of hushed and wondering awe.
"Could that have been a tiger?" I could not say, but I understood his
excitement. For the tiger is the king of Indian carnivorae, the most
desired of all game. Hunters date their lives by them: such and such a
thing happened not on the anniversary of their wedding day; not when
their boy went to Balliol; not when they received the K.C.I.E.; but in
the year that they shot this or that man-eater.

That a tiger had really chanced upon us we soon ascertained. Also that
it had been hit by the rifle on the first elephant and had disappeared
into the jungle, which consisted hereabouts of a grass some twenty feet
high, bleached by the sun.

A Council of War followed, and we were led by Bam Bahadur on a rounding-
up manoeuvre. According to his judgment the tiger would remain just
inside the cover, and our duty was therefore to make a wide detour and
then advance in as solid a semicircle as possible upon him and force him
again into the open, where the hunter who had inflicted the first wound
was to remain stationed. Accordingly all the rest of us entered the
jungle in single file, our elephants treading down the grass with their
great irresistible feet or wrenching it away with their invincible
trunks. It was now that the shikaree was feeling the elephant shortage.
Had there been seventy-five instead of only twenty-five, he said, all
would be well: he could then form a cordon such as no tiger might break
through. For lack of these others, when the time came to turn and
advance upon our prey he caused fires to be lighted here and there where
the gaps were widest, so that we forged onwards not only to the
accompaniment of the shrill cries of the mahouts and the noise of
plunging and overwhelming elephants, but to the fierce roar and crackle
of burning stalks.

And thus, after an hour in this bewildering tangle, with the universe
filled with sound and strangeness, and the scent of wood smoke mingling
with the heat of the air, and the lust of the chase in our veins, we
drew to the spot where the animal was guessed to be hiding, and knew
that the guess was true by the demeanour of the elephants. Real danger
had suddenly entered into the adventure; and they showed it. A wounded
tiger at bay can do desperate things, and some of the elephants now
refused to budge forward any more, or complied only with terrified
screams. Some of the unarmed mahouts were also reluctant, and shouted
their fears. But the shikaree was inexorable. There the tiger was, and
we must drive it out.

Closer and closer we drew, until every elephant's flank was pressing
against its neighbour, the outside ones being each at the edge of the
open space; in the middle of which was the twenty-fifth with its
vigilant rider standing tense with his rifle to his shoulder. The noise
was now deafening. Every one was uttering something, either to scare the
tiger or to encourage the elephants or his neighbour or possibly
himself; while now and then from the depths of the grass ahead of us
came an outraged growl, with more than a suggestion of contempt in it
for such unsportsmanship as could array twenty-five elephants, half a
hundred men and a dozen rifles against one inoffensive wild beast.

And then suddenly the grass waved, there was a rustle and rush and a
snarl of furious rage, and once again a blur of yellow and black crossed
the open space. Six or more reports rang out, and to my dying day I
shall remember, with mixed feelings, that one of these reports was the
result of pressure on a trigger applied by a finger belonging to me.
That the tiger was hit again--by other bullets than mine--was certain,
but instead of falling it disappeared into the jungle on the other side
of the maidan, and again we were destined to employ enclosing tactics.
It was now intensely hot, but nobody minded; and we were an hour and a
half late for lunch, but nobody minded: the chase was all! The phrase
"out for blood" had taken on its literal primitive meaning.

The second rounding-up was less simple than the first, because the tiger
had more choice of hiding places; but again our shikaree displayed his
wonderful intuition, and in about an hour we had ringed the creature in.
That this was to be the end was evident from the electrical
purposefulness which animated the old hands. The experienced shots were
carefully disposed, and my own peace of mind was not increased by the
warning "If the tiger leaps on your elephant, don't shoot"--the point
being that novices can be very wild with their rifles under such
conditions. As the question "What shall I do instead?" was lost in the
tumult, the latter stages of this momentous drama were seen by these
eyes less steadily and less whole than I could have wished. But I saw
the tiger spring, growling, at an elephant removed some four yards from
mine, and I saw it driven back by a shot from one of the native hunters.
And then when, after another period of anxious expectancy, it emerged
again from the undergrowth, and sprang towards our host, I saw him put
two bullets into it almost instantaneously; and the beautiful obstinate
creature fell, never to rise again.


The devout Hindu knows in Benares the height of ecstasy: but, if I am
typical, the European experiences there both discomfort and inquietude.
Nowhere else in India did I feel so foreign, so alien. To be of cool
Christian traditions and an Occidental, an inquisitive sightseer among
these fervent pilgrims intent upon their pious duties and rapt in
exaltation and unthinking inflexible belief, was in itself
disconcerting, almost to the point of shame; while the pilgrims were so
remarkably of a different world, a different era, that one felt lost.

This, however, is not all. India is never too sanitary, except where the
English are in their own strongholds, but Benares--at any rate the parts
which the tourist must visit--is least scrupulous in such matters. The
canonization of the cow must needs carry a penalty with it, and Benares
might be described as a sanctified byre without any labouring Hercules
in prospect. Godliness it may have, but cleanliness is very distant. The
streets, too, seem to be narrower and more congested than those in any
other city; so that it is often embarrassingly difficult to treat the
approaching ruminants with the respect due to them. Fortunately they are
seldom anything but mild and unaggressive. Part perplexed, part
inquisitive, and part contemptuous, they are met everywhere, while in
one of the temples in which the unbeliever may (to his great
contentment) do no more than stand at the entrance, they are frankly
worshipped. In another temple monkeys are revered too, careering about
the walls and courtyards and being fed by the curious and the devout.

Holiness is not only the peculiar characteristic of Benares: it is also
its staple industry. In the streets there is a shrine at every few feet,
while the shops where little lingams are for sale must be numbered by

The chief glory of Benares is, however, the Ganges, on one side of which
is the teeming sweltering city with its palaces and temples heaped high
for two or three miles, and bathers swarming at the river's edge; while
the other bank is flat and bare. A watering-place front on the ocean's
shore does not end more suddenly and completely. There is nothing that I
have seen with which to compare the north bank of the Ganges, with the
morning sun on its many-coloured facades and towers, but Venice. As one
is rowed slowly down the river it is of Venice that one instinctively
thinks. As in Venice, the palaces are of various colours, pink and red
and yellow and blue, and the sun has crumbled their facades in the same
way. But there is this difference--that over the Benares roofs the
monkeys scamper.

Gradually Venice is forgotten as the novel interest of the scene
captures one's whole attention. At each of the ghauts (a landing place
or steps) variegated masses of pilgrims--no matter how early the hour,
and to see them rightly one ought to start quite by six--are making
their ablutions and deriving holiness from the yellow tide. You saw them
yesterday trudging wearily through the streets, the sacred city at last
reached; and here they are in their thousands, brown and glistening.
They are of every age: quite old white-bearded men and withered women,
meticulously serious in their ritual, and then boys and girls deriving
also a little fun from their immersion. Here and there the bathing ghaut
is diversified by a burning ghaut, and one may catch a glimpse of the
extremities of the corpse twisting among the faggots. Here and there is
a boat or raft in which a priest is seated under his umbrella, fishing
for souls as men in punts on the Thames fish for roach. And over all is
the pitiless sun, hot even now, before breakfast, but soon to be

I was not sorry when the voyage ended and we returned to the Maharajah's
Guest House for a little repose and refreshment, before visiting the
early Buddhist stronghold at Sarnath, the "Deer Park," where the Master
first preached his doctrine and whither his five attendants sought a
haven after they had forsaken him. Drifting about its ruins and
contemplating the glorious capital of the famous Asoka column--all that
has been preserved--I found myself murmuring the couplet,--

With a friendly Buddhist priest I seek respite from
the strife
And manifold anomalies which go to make up life--

but the odds are that even the early Buddhists were not immune.


Calcutta and Bombay are strangely different--so different that they can
only be contrasted. Bombay, first and foremost, has the sea, and I can
think of nothing more lovely than the sunsets that one watches from the
lawn of the Yacht Club or from the promenade on Warder Road. Calcutta
has no sea--nothing but a very difficult tidal river. Calcutta, again,
has no Malabar Hill. But then Bombay has no open space to compare with
the Maidan; and for all its crowded bazaars it has no street so
diversified and interesting as Harrison Road. It has no Chinatown. Its
climate is enervating where that of Calcutta, if not bracing--and no one
could call it that--at any rate does not extract every particle of
vigour from the European system.

But the special glory of Calcutta is the Maidan, that vast green space
which, unlike so many parks, spreads itself at the city's feet. One does
not have to seek it: there it is, with room for every one and a race-
course and a cricket-ground to boot. And if there is no magic in the
evening prospect such as the sea and its ships under the flaming or
mysterious enveiling sky can offer to the eye at Bombay, there is a
quality of golden richness in the twilight over Calcutta, as seen across
the Maidan, through its trees, that is unique. I rejoiced in it daily.
This twilight is very brief, but it is exquisite.

It is easier in Calcutta to be suddenly transported to England than in
any other Indian city that I visited. There are, it is true, more
statues of Lord Curzon than we are accustomed to; but many of the homes
are quite English, save for the multitude of servants; Government House,
serene and spacious and patrician, is a replica of Kedlestone Hall in
Derbyshire: the business buildings within and without are structurally
English, and the familiar Scotch accent sounds everywhere; but the
illusion is most complete in St. John's Church, that very charming,
cool, white and comfortable sanctuary, in the manner of Wren, and in St.
Andrew's too. Secluded here, the world shut off, one might as well be in
some urban conventicle at home on a sunny August day, as in the
glamorous East. St. John's particularly I shall remember: its light, its
distinction, its surrounding verdancy.


Ah, what avails the sceptred race,
Ah, what the form divine!
What every virtue, every grace!
Rose Aylmer, all were thine!

Rose Aylmer, whom these wakeful eyes
May weep, but never see,
A night of memories and sighs
I consecrate to thee.

One curious task which I set myself in Calcutta was to find Rose
Aylmer's grave, for it was there that, in 1800, the mortal part of the
lady whom Landor immortalised was buried. But I tried in vain. I walked
for hours amid the sombre pyramidal tombs beneath which the Calcutta
English used to be laid, among them, in 1815, Thackeray's father, but I
found no trace of her whom I sought. I have seen many famous cemeteries,
all depressing, from Kensal Green to Genoa, from Rock Creek to
Montmartre, but none can approach in its forlorn melancholy the tract of
stained and crumbling sarcophagi packed so close as almost to touch each
other, in the burial ground off Rawdon Street and Park Street. Let no
one establish a monument of cement over me. Any material rather than


If I did not find Rose Aylmer's tomb, I found, in St. John's pleasant
God's Acre, the comely mausoleum of Job Charnock, and this delighted me,
because for how long has been ringing in my ears that line--

"The tall pale widow is mine, Joe, the little brown
girl's for you."

which I met with so many years ago in "The Light That Failed," where the
Nilghai sings it to his own music! He got it, he said, from a tombstone,
in a distant land; and the tombstone is now incorporated with Job
Charnock's, the distant land being India; but the verses I have had to
collect elsewhere. I found them in Calcutta, in my host's library.

Joe was Joseph, or Josiah, Townsend, a pilot of the Ganges, and
tradition has it that he and Job Charnock, who, as an officer of the
East India Company, founded Calcutta in 1690, saved a pretty young Hindu
widow from ascending her husband's funeral pyre and committing suttee.
Tradition states further that Job Charnock and his bride "lived lovingly
for many years and had several children," until in due time she was
buried in the mausoleum at St. John's, where her husband sacrificed a
cock on each anniversary of her death ever after. The story has been
examined and found to be improbable, but Charnock was a bold fellow who
might easily have started many legends; and the poem remains, and if
there is a livelier, I should like to know of it. I have been at the
agreeable pains of reconstructing the verses as they were probably
written, so that there are two more than the Nilghai sang. The whole is
a very curious haunting ballad, leaving us with the desire to know much
more of the lives of both men--Job Charnock the frontiersman, and Joseph
Townsend, "skilful and industrious, a kind father and a useful friend,"
who could navigate not only the Ganges but the shifting Hooghli. Rarely
can so much mixed autobiography and romance have been packed into six
stanzas--and here too the adventurous East and West meet:--

I've shipped my cable, messmates, I'm dropping down
with the tide;
I have my sailing orders while ye at anchor ride,
And never, on fair June morning, have I put out to sea
With clearer conscience, or better hope, or heart more light and free.

An Ashburnham! A Fairfax! Hark how the corslets ring!
Why are the blacksmiths out to-day, beating those men at the spring?
Ho, Willie, Hob and Cuddie!--bring out your boats amain,
There's a great red pool to swim them o'er, yonder in Deadman's Lane.

Nay, do not cry, sweet Katie--only a month afloat
And then the ring and the parson, at Fairlight Church, my doat.
The flower-strewn path--the Press Gang! No, I shall never see
Her little grave where the daisies wave in the breeze on Fairlight Lee.

"Shoulder to shoulder, Joe, my boy, into the crowd like a wedge!
Out with the hangers, messmates, but do not strike with the edge!"
Cries Charnock, "Scatter the faggots! Double that Brahmin in two!
The tall pale widow is mine, Joe, the little brown girl for you."

Young Joe (you're nearing sixty), why is your hide so dark?
Katie had fair soft blue eyes--who blackened yours? Why, hark!
The morning gun! Ho, steady! The arquebuses to me;
I've sounded the Dutch High Admiral's heart as my lead doth sound the

Sounding, sounding the Ganges--floating down with the tide,
Moor me close by Charnock, next to my nut-brown bride.
My blessing to Katie at Fairlight--Howell, my thanks to you--
Steady!--We steer for Heaven through scud drifts cold and blue.


I arrived in Bombay on the last day of 1919 and embarked at Calcutta for
Japan on the evening of February 17th, seven weeks later. But to embark
at Calcutta is not to leave it, for we merely dropped down the river a
short distance that night, and for the next day and a half we were in
the Hooghli, sounding all the way. It is a difficult river to emerge
from; nor do I recommend any one else to travel, as I did, on a boat
with a forward deck cargo of two or three hundred goats on the starboard
side and half as many monkeys on the port, with a small elephant
tethered between and a cage of leopards adjacent. These, the property of
an American dealer in wild animals, were intended for sale in the
States; all but one of the leopards, which, being lame, he had decided
to kill, to provide a "robe" for his wife. Nothing could be more
different than the careless aimless activities of the monkeys I had seen
among the trees between Agra and Delhi and scampering over the parapets
of Benares, all thieves and libertines with a charter, and the
restriction of these poor cowering mannikins, overcrowded in their
cages, with an abysmal sorrow in their eyes. Many died on the voyage,
and I think the Indian Government should look into the question of their
export very narrowly.



I ought not to write about Japan at all, for I was there but three short
weeks, and rain or snow fell almost all the time, and I sailed for
America on the very day that the cherry blossom festivities began. But--
well, there is only one Fujiyama, and it is surpassingly beautiful and
satisfying--the perfect mountain--and I should feel contemptible if I
did not add my eulogy of it--my gratitude--to all the others.

Since, then, I am to say something of Fuji, let the way be paved.


One is immediately struck, on landing at Kobe--and continually after--by
the littleness of Japan. The little flimsy houses, the little flimsy
shops, the small men, the toylike women, the tiny children, as numerous
and like unto each other as the pebbles on the shore--these are
everywhere. But although small of stature the Japanese men are often
very powerfully built and many of them suggest great strength. They are
taking to games, too. While I was in the country baseball was a craze,
and boys were practising pitching and catching everywhere, even in the
streets of the cities.

Littleness--with which is associated the most delicate detail and
elaborate finish--is the mark also of modern Japanese art. In the
curiosity shops whatever was massive or largely simple was Chinese. Even
the royal palaces at Kyoto are small, the rooms, exquisite as they are,
with perfect joinery and ancient paintings, being seldom more than a few
feet square, with very low ceilings. I went over two of these palaces,
falling into the hands, at each, of English-speaking officials whose
ciceronage was touched with a kind of rapture. At the Nijo, especially,
was my guide an enthusiast, becoming lyrical over the famous cartoons of
the "Wet Heron" and the "Sleeping Sparrows."

In India I had grown accustomed to removing my shoes at the threshold of
mosques. There it was out of deference to Allah, but in Japan the
concession is demanded solely in the interests of floor polish, and you
take your shoes off not only in palaces and houses but in some of the
shops. It gave one an odd burglarious feeling to be creeping noiselessly
from room to room of the Nijo; but there was nothing to steal. The place
was empty, save for decoration.

There is a certain amplitude in some of the larger Kyoto temples, with
their long galleries and massive gateways, but these only serve to
accentuate the littleness elsewhere. In the principal Kyoto temple I had
for guide a minute Japanese with the ecstatic passion for trifles that
seems to mark his race. A picture representing the miracle of the "Fly-
away Sparrows," as he called them, was the treasure on which he
concentrated, and next to that he drew my attention to the boards of the
gangway uniting two buildings, which, as one stepped on them, emitted a
sound that the Japanese believe to resemble the song of Philomela. To me
it brought no such memory, and the fact that this effect, common in
Japan, is technically known as "a nightingale squeak," perhaps supports
my insensitiveness.

If old Japan is to be found anywhere it is in Kyoto--in spite of its
huge factory chimneys. In Tokio, complete European dress is common in
the streets, but in Kyoto it is the exception. Tokio also wears boots,
but Kyoto is noisy with pattens night and day. Not only are there
countless shops in Kyoto given up to porcelain, carvings, screens,
bronzes, old armour, and so forth, but no matter how trumpery the normal
stock in trade of the other shops, a number of them have a little glass
case--a shop within a shop, as it were--in which a few rare and ancient
articles of beauty are kept. A great deal of Japan is expressed in this
pretty custom.


My first experience of Japanese scenery of any wildness was gained while
shooting the rapids of the Katsuragava, an exciting voyage among
boulders in a shallow and often very turbulent stream in a steep and
craggy valley a few miles from Kyoto. Previous to this expedition I had
seen, from the train, only the trim rice fields,--each a tiny
parallelogram with its irrigation channels as a boundary, so carefully
tended that there is not a weed in the whole country. Japan is cut up
into these absurd little squares, of which twenty and more would go into
an ordinary English field. Often the terminal posts are painted a bright
red; often a little row of family tombs is there too. The watermill is a
common object of the country. But birds are few and animals one sees
never. Indeed in all my three weeks I saw no four-footed animals,
except a dead rat, two pigs and one cat. I am excluding of course beasts
of draught--horses and bullocks--which are everywhere. Not a cow, not a
sheep, not a dog! but that there are cattle is proved by the proverbial
excellence of Kobe steaks, which I tested and can swear to. In all my
three weeks, both in cities and the country, I saw only one crying
child. Of children there were millions, mostly boys, but only one was


In spite of Kyoto's eight hundred temples I could not get any but a
materialistic concept of its inhabitants; and elsewhere this impression
was emphasised. A stranger cannot, of course, know; he can but record
his feelings, without claiming any authority for them. But I am sure I
was never in a country where I perceived fewer indications of any
spiritual life. Every one is busy; every one seems to be happy or at any
rate not discontented; every one chatters and laughs and is, one feels,
a fatalist. Sufficient unto the day! After all, it is the women of a
nation that chiefly keep burning the sacred flame and pass it on; but in
Japan, I understand, the women are far too busy in pleasing the men to
have time for such duties; Japan is run by men for men. It is an
unwritten law that a woman must never be anything but gay in her lord's
presence, must never for a moment claim the privilege of peevishness.

As an instance of the Japanese woman's indifference to fate and
readiness to oblige, I may say that we had on our ship two or three
hundred girls in charge of a duenna or so, who were bound for Honolulu
to be married to Japanese settlers there, to whom their photographs had
been forwarded. These girls are known as "Picture Brides." At Honolulu
their new proprietors awaited them, and I suppose identified and
appropriated them, although to the European eye one face differed no
whit from another.

The Japanese have the practical qualities that consort with materialism.
They are quick to supply creature comforts; their hotels are well-
managed; their cooks are excellent; their sign-posts are numerous and, I
believe, very circumstantial; at the railway stations are lists of the
show places in the neighbourhood; the telephone is general. But there
are strange failings. The roads, for example, are often very bad,
although so many motor-cars exist. Even in Tokio the puddles and mud are
abominable. There is no fixed rule to force rickshaw men to carry bells.
There is no rule of the road at all, so that the driver of a vehicle
must be doubly alert, having to make up his mind not only as to what he
is going to do himself, but also what the approaching driver is probably
going to do. From time to time, I believe, a rule of the road has been
tried, but it has always broken down.

The rickshaw bells are the more important, because the Japanese are not
observant. They may see Fuji and stand for hours worshipping a spray of
cherry blossom, but they do not see what is coming. Normally they look

The rickshaw is comfortable and speedy; but to be drawn about by a
fellow-creature is a humiliating experience and I never ceased to feel
too conspicuous and ashamed. I discovered also how easy it is to lose
one's temper with these men. I used to sit and wonder if there had ever
been a runaway, and I never hired a rickshaw without thinking of Mr.
Anstey's story of the talking horse.


I left Kyoto for Yokohama on Wednesday night, March 17, 1920, at eleven,
and Thursday, March 18, 1920, thus remains with me as a red-letter day,
for it was then, at about half-past seven in the morning, that, lifting
the blind of my sleeping compartment, I saw--almost within reach, as it
seemed, dazzlingly white under its snow against a clear blue sky, with
the sun flooding it with glory--Fujiyama. I was to see it again several
times--for I went to Myanoshita for that purpose--but never again so
startlingly and wonderfully as this.

When I am asked to name in a word the most beautiful thing I saw on my
travels I mention Fujiyama instantly. There is nothing else to challenge
it. Perhaps had I seen Everest from Darjeeling I might have a different
story to tell; but I missed it. The Taj? Yes, the Taj is a divine work
of man; but it has not the serene lofty isolation of this sublime
mountain, rising from the plain alone and immense with almost perfect

I was not to see Fujiyama again for a week or so, but in the meanwhile I
saw the Daibutsu, the giant figure of Buddha, at Kamakura, in all its
bland placidity. These were the only big things I found in Japan.


Yokohama is industrial and dirty everywhere but on the drive beside the
harbour, and on the Bluff, where the rich foreigners live. I visited one
house on this pleasant eminence and there was nothing in it to suggest
that it was in Japan any more than in, say, Cheltenham. The form was
English, the furniture was English, the pictures and books were English;
photographs of school and college cricket elevens gave it the final home
touch. Only in the garden were there exotic indications. The English
certainly have the knack of carrying their atmosphere with them. I had
noticed that often in India; but this Yokohama villa was the completest

Wandering about the city I came one morning on a funeral procession that
ought to have pleased Henry Ward Beecher, who, on the only occasion on
which I heard him, when he was very old and I was very young, urged upon
his hearers the importance of bright colours and flowers instead of the
ordinary habiliments and accoutrements of woe. For when a soul is on its
way to paradise, he said, we should be glad. The Yokohama cortege was
headed by men bearing banners; then came girls all in white, riding in
rickshaws; then the gaudy hearse; then priests in rickshaws; and finally
the relations and friends. The effect conveyed was not one of
melancholy; but even if every one had been in black, impressiveness
would have been wanting, for no one can look dignified in a rickshaw.

Compared, however, with a funeral which I saw in Hong-Kong, the Yokohama
ceremony was solemnity in essence. The Hong-Kong obsequies were those of
a tobacco-magnate's wife and the widower had determined to spare no
expense on their thoroughness. He had even offered, but without success,
to compensate the tramway company for a suspension of the service, the
result of his failure being that every few minutes the procession was
held up to permit the cars to go by; which meant that instead of taking
only two hours to pass any given point, it took three. The estimated
cost of the funeral was one hundred thousand dollars and all Hong-Kong
was there to see.

To Chinese eyes it doubtless had a sombre religious character, but to us
it was merely a diverting spectacle of incredible prolongation. We were
not wholly to blame in missing its sanctity, for the participants, who
were more like mummers than mourners, had all been hired and were
enjoying the day off. For the most part they merely wore their fancy
dress and walked and talked or played instruments, but now and then
there was a dragon and a champion boxing it and these certainly earned
their money. At intervals came bearers with trays on which were comforts
for the next world or symbolical devices, while, to infinity both in
front and behind, banners and streamers and lanterns danced and jogged
above all. A miracle-show of the middle ages can have been not unlike


I left Japan, as I have said, just before the cherry-blossom festivities
began, but I was able to see a number of the dances--which never change
but are passed with exactitude, step for step, gesture for gesture and
expression for expression, from one geisha to another--as performed by a
child who was being educated for the profession. Although so young she
knew accurately upwards of sixty dances, and the pick of these she
executed for a few spectators, in a little fragile paper-walled house
outside Yokohama, while her adoring aunt played the wistful repetitive

The little creature--a mere watch-chain ornament--had a typical Japanese
face, half mask, half mischief, and a tiny high voice which now and then
broke into the dance. But dances, strictly speaking, they are not. They
are really posturing and the manoeuvres of a fan. To me they are
strangely fascinating, and, with the music, almost more so than our
Western ballets. But there is a difference between the ballet and the
geisha dances, and it is so wide that there is no true comparison; for
whereas the ballet stimulates and excites, these Japanese movements
hypnotise and lull.


The public manners of the Japanese are not good. In all my solitary
walks about Myanoshita I met with no single peasant who passed the time
of day, and in the streets of Tokio English people were being jostled
and stared at and treated without respect. It was a moment when
Americans were unpopular, and the theory was broached that for fear of
missing the chance to be rude to an American the Japanese became rude to
all outlanders indiscriminately. One indeed gathered the impression
that, except in Kyoto, which is a backwater, foreigners are no longer
wanted. "Japan for the Japanese" would seem to be the motto: one day,
not far distant, to be amended to "The World for Japan." I shall never
forget the humiliation I suffered in a stockbroker's office in Tokio,
into which, seeing the words "English spoken" over the door, I had
ventured in the hope of being directed to an address I was seeking. Not
a word of English did any one know, but the whole staff left its
typewriters and desks to come and laugh. I was always willing to remove
the gravity of Japanese children by my grotesque Occidentalism, but I
have a very real objection to being a butt for the ridicule of grown-
ups. Such an incident could not have occurred, I believe, anywhere else.
But it is not only the foreigners to whom the Japanese are rude: they do
nothing for their fellows either. The want of chivalry in trains and
trams was conspicuous.

The ceremonial manners of the Japanese can, however, be more precise and
formal than any I ever witnessed. A wedding reception chanced to be in
progress in my Tokio hotel one afternoon, and through the open door I
had glimpses of Japanese gentlemen in frock coats bowing to Japanese
ladies and making perfect right angles as they did so. So elaborate
indeed were the courtesies that to Western eyes they bordered
dangerously on burlesque.

The destination that I was seeking when I entered the stockbroker's
office was a certain book-store, and when I eventually found it I was
asked a question by a Japanese youth that still perplexes me. It was in
the English section, the principal volumes in which, as imported to
supply Japanese demands, were American, and all bore either upon success
in engineering and other professions and crafts, or on the rapid
acquirement of wealth. "How to double your income in a week"; "How to
get rich quickly"; "How to succeed in business"; and so forth; all
preaching, in fact, the new gospel which is doing Japan no good. There
were also, however, a certain number of novels, and one of the
customers, a boy who looked as though he were still at school, noting my
English appearance, brought a translation of Maupassant to me and asked
me what "soul" meant--"A Woman's Soul" being the new title. Now I defy
any one with no Japanese to make it clear to a Japanese boy with very
little English what a woman's soul is.


At Tokio I was present for an hour or so at a performance in a national
theatre. It had been in progress for a long time when I entered and
would continue long after I left, for that is the Japanese custom. In
London people with too little to do are on occasion prepared to spend
the whole day outside theatres waiting for the doors to open. They will
then witness a two and a half hours' performance. But in Japan the plays
go on from eleven a.m. to eleven p.m. and the audience bring their
sustenance and tobacco with them. The seats are mats on the ground, and
the actors reach the stage by a passage through the auditorium as well
as from the wings. The scenery is very elementary, and there is always a
gate which has to be opened when the characters pass through and closed
after them, although it is isolated and has no contiguous wall or fence.

None of our Western morbid desire for novelty, I am told, troubles the
Japanese play-goer, who is prepared to witness the same drama, usually
based on an historical event or national legend thoroughly familiar to
him, for ever and ever. It is as though the theatres in England were
given up exclusively to, say, Shakespeare's Henry IV, V and VI sequence.
On the occasion of my visit there was little of what we call acting, but
endless elocution. During the performance the attendants walk about,
with the persistence of constables during a London police-court hearing,
carrying refreshments and little charcoal stoves. The signal for the
next act is a deafening clicking noise made by one of the stage hands on
two sticks, which gradually rises to a shattering crescendo as the
curtain is drawn aside. It must be understood that the theatre that I am
describing was set apart for national drama. In others there are topical
farces and laughter is continuous; but I did not visit any. On board
ship, however, we had a series of performances of such pieces by the
Japanese cabin attendants and waiters, many of whom were professional
actors. The Japanese passengers enjoyed them immensely.


A whole week of my too short stay was given to Myanoshita, whither I was
driven by the impossibility of retaining a room in either Yokohama or
Tokio, and where I stayed willingly on, out of delight in the place
itself. After being cooped up for so long on ships, and kept inactive
under the heat of India, it was like a new existence to take immense
walks among these mountains in the keen rarified air, even though there
was both rain and snow. Myanoshita stands some four thousand feet high
and is situated in a valley in which are many summer cottages and health
resorts. The heart of this Alpine settlement is the Fujiya Hotel, where
I was living, which is kept by an enterprising Americanised and
Europeanised Japanese proprietor and his very charming wife, Madame
Yamaguchi, whose father was the founder of the house, and, I believe,
the discoverer of the district, and who herself is famous as a gracious
hostess throughout Japan. No hotel so well or so thoughtfully
administered have I ever stayed in; nor was I ever in another where the
water for the bath gushes in from a natural hot spring. But hot springs
are numerous in this region, while there is a gorge which I visited,
some four miles distant, where boiling sulphur hisses and bubbles for
ever and aye.

Many of the Myanoshita dishes were new to me and welcome. There is an
excellent salad called "Slow," and the bamboo, which is Japan's best
friend--serving the nation in scores of ways: as fences, as walls, as
water-pipes, as supports, as carrying-poles, as thatch, as fishing-
rods--here found its way into the salad bowl and was not distasteful.
The custom of drinking a glass of orange juice before breakfast might
well be adopted with us; but not the least of the oddities of England
which I realised as I moved about the earth is our unwillingness to eat
fruit. Japan also has a perfect mineral water, "Tansan."

When not making long expeditions to catch new glimpses of Fuji I roamed

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