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Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series by George Robert Aberigh-Mackay

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Or, The Tour Of Sir Ali Baba K.C.B.



Sometime Principal of the Rajkumar College Indore

Ninth Edition with New Illustrations and Elucidations


[Illustration: THE TRAVELLING M.P.--"The British Lion rampant."]


In this edition it has been considered advisable to reproduce,
verbatim, only the "Twenty-one Days" as originally published in
_Vanity Fair_, the additional series of six included in several
editions of the book issued after the Author's death being omitted.

The twenty-one papers in question have been supplemented by
contributions to _The Bombay Gazette_, which appeared in that daily
newspaper during the whole of the year 1880, the year before the
Author's death, under the _nom de plume_ of "Our Political Orphan;"
and the Publishers beg to tender their best thanks to the proprietors
of that newspaper for the permission thus generously accorded for
their present reproduction.

In carrying out the work of revision many passages previously omitted
have been restored to the text. To render such readily apparent to the
reader, they have in every case been enclosed in [] brackets.

A new series of illustrations has been specially prepared for this
edition by Mr. George Darby of Calcutta, and the Publishers venture to
think he has succeeded in a marked degree in embodying in his sketches
the spirit of the Author's subjects.

In conclusion it has been the aim of the Publishers to render this new
edition of a great work by a very gifted writer as perfect as possible
and worthy of acceptance as a standard Anglo-Indian classic.


September, 1910.
























* * * * *



_Bombay Gazette Press_, 1881.







* * * * *













No. I


[August 2, 1879.]

It is certainly a little intoxicating to spend a day with the Great
Ornamental. You do not see much of him perhaps; but he is a Presence
to be felt, something floating loosely about in wide epicene
pantaloons and flying skirts, diffusing as he passes the fragrance of
smile and pleasantry and cigarette. The air around him is laden with
honeyed murmurs; gracious whispers play about the twitching bewitching
corners of his delicious mouth. He calls everything by "soft names in
many a mused rhyme." Deficits, Public Works, and Cotton Duties are
transmuted by the alchemy of his gaiety into sunshine and songs. An
office-box on his writing-table an office-box is to him, and it is
something more: it holds cigarettes. No one knows what sweet thoughts
are his as Chloe flutters through the room, blushful and startled, or
as a fresh beaker full of the warm South glows between his amorous eye
and the sun.

"I have never known
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of twaddle so divine."

I never tire of looking at a Viceroy. He is a being so heterogeneous
from us! He is the centre of a world with which he has no affinity. He
is a veiled prophet. [He wears many veils indeed.] He who is the axis
of India, the centre round which the Empire rotates, is absolutely and
necessarily withdrawn from all knowledge of India. He lisps no
syllable of any Indian tongue; no race or caste, or mode of Indian
life is known to him; all our delightful provinces of the sun that lie
off the railway are to him an undiscovered country; Ghebers, Moslems,
Hindoos blend together in one indistinguishable dark mass before his
eye, [in which the cataract of English indifference has not been
couched; most delightful of all--he knows not the traditions of
Anglo-India, and he does not belong to the Bandicoot Club, St. James's

A Nawab, whom the Foreign Office once farmed out to me, often used to
ask what the use of a Viceroy was. I do not believe that he meant to
be profane. The question would again and again recur to his mind, and
find itself on his lips. I always replied with the counter question,
"What is the use of India?" He never would see--the Oriental mind does
not see these things--that the chief end and object of India was the
Viceroy; that, in fact, India was the plant and the Viceroy the

I have often thought of writing a hymn on the Beauty of Viceroys; and
have repeatedly attuned my mind to the subject; but my inability to
express myself in figurative language, and my total ignorance of
everything pertaining to metre, rhythm, and rhyme, make me rather
hesitate to employ verse. Certainly, the subject is inviting, and I am
surprised that no singer has arisen. How can any one view the
Viceroyal halo of scarlet domestics, with all the bravery of coronets,
supporters, and shields in golden embroidery and lace, without
emotion! How can the tons of gold and silver plate that once belonged
to John Company, Bahadur, and that now repose on the groaning board of
the Great Ornamental, amid a glory of Himalayan flowers, or blossoms
from Eden's fields of asphodel, be reflected upon the eye's retina
without producing positive thrills and vibrations of joy (that cannot
be measured in terms of _ohm_ or _farad_) shooting up and down the
spinal cord and into the most hidden seats of pleasure! I certainly
can never see the luxurious bloom of the silver sticks arranged in
careless groups about the vast portals without a feeling approaching
to awe and worship, and a tendency to fling small coin about with a
fine mediaeval profusion. I certainly can never drain those profound
golden cauldrons seething with champagne without a tendency to break
into loud expressions of the inward music and conviviality that simmer
in my soul. Salutes of cannon, galloping escorts, processions of
landaus, beautiful teams of English horses, trains of private saloon
carriages (cooled with water trickling over sweet jungle grasses)
streaming through the sunny land, expectant crowds of beauty with
hungry eyes making a delirious welcome at every stage, the whole
country blooming into dance and banquet and fresh girls at every step
taken--these form the fair guerdon that stirs my breast at certain
moments and makes me often resolve, after dinner, "to scorn delights
and live laborious days," and sell my beautiful soul, illuminated with
art and poetry, to the devil of Industry, with reversion to Sir John

How mysterious and delicious are the cool penetralia of the Viceregal
Office! It is the censorium of the Empire; it is the seat of thought;
it is the abode of moral responsibility! What battles, what famines,
what excursions of pleasure, what banquets and pageants, what concepts
of change have sprung into life here! Every pigeon-hole contains a
potential revolution; every office-box cradles the embryo of a war or
dearth. What shocks and vibrations, what deadly thrills does this
little thunder-cloud office transmit to far-away provinces lying
beyond rising and setting suns! Ah! Vanity, these are pleasant
lodgings for five years, let who may turn the kaleidoscope after us.

A little errant knight of the press who has just arrived on the
Delectable Mountains, comes rushing in, looks over my shoulder, and
says, "A deuced expensive thing a Viceroy." This little errant knight
would take the thunder at a quarter of the price, and keep the Empire
paralytic with change and fear of change as if the great
Thirty-thousand-pounder himself were on Olympus.--ALI BABA.

No. II



[Illustration: THE A.D.C.-IN WAITING--"An arrangement in scarlet and

[August 9, 1879.]

The tone of the A.D.C. is subdued. He stands in doorways and strokes
his moustache. He nods sadly to you as you pass. He is preoccupied
with--himself, [some suppose; others aver his office.] He has a
motherly whisper for Secretaries and Members of Council. His way with
ladies is sisterly--undemonstratively affectionate. He tows up rajas
to H.E., and stands in the offing. His attitude towards rajas is one
of melancholy reserve. He will perform the prescribed observances, if
he cannot approve of them. Indeed, generally, he disapproves of the
Indian people, though he condones their existence. For a brother in
aiguillettes there is a Masonic smile and a half-embarrassed
familiarity, as if found out in acting his part. But confidence is
soon restored with melancholy glances around, and profane persons who
may be standing about move uneasily away.

An A.D.C. should have no tastes. He is merged in "the house." He must
dance and ride admirably; he ought to shoot; he may sing and paint in
water-colours, or botanise a little, and the faintest aroma of the
most volatile literature will do him no harm; but he cannot be allowed
preferences. If he has a weakness for very pronounced collars and
shirt-cuffs in mufti, it may be connived at, provided he be honestly
nothing else but the man in collars and cuffs.

When a loud, joyful, and steeplechasing Lord, in the pursuit of
pleasure and distant wars, dons the golden cords for a season, the
world understands that this is masquerading, skittles, and a joke. One
must not confound the ideal A.D.C. with such a figure.

The A.D.C. has four distinct aspects or phases--(1) the full summer
sunshine and bloom of scarlet and gold for Queen's birthdays and high
ceremonials; (2) the dark frock-coats and belts in which to canter
behind his Lord in; (3) the evening tail-coat, turned down with light
blue and adorned with the Imperial arms on gold buttons; (4) and,
finally, the quiet disguises of private life.

It is in the sunshine glare of scarlet and gold that the A.D.C. is
most awful and unapproachable; it is in this aspect that the splendour
of vice-Imperialism seems to beat upon him most fiercely. The Rajas of
Rajputana, the diamonds of Golconda, the gold of the Wynaad, the opium
of Malwa, the cotton of the Berars, and the Stars of India seem to be
typified in the richness of his attire and the conscious superiority
of his demeanour. Is he not one of the four satellites of that Jupiter
who swims in the highest azure fields of the highest heavens?

Frock-coated and belted, he passes into church or elsewhere behind his
Lord, like an aerolite from some distant universe, trailing cloudy
visions of that young lady's Paradise of bright lights and music,
champagne, mayonnaise, and "just-one-more-turn," which is situated
behind the flagstaff on the hill.

The tail-coat, with gold buttons, velvet cuffs, and light blue silk
lining, is quite a demi-official, small-and-early arrangement. It is
compatible with a patronising and somewhat superb flirtation in the
verandah; nay, even under the pine-tree beyond the _Gurkha_ sentinel,
whence many-twinkling Jakko may be admired, it is compatible with a
certain shadow of human sympathy and weakness. An A.D.C. in tail-coat
and gold buttons is no longer a star; he is only a fire-balloon;
though he may twinkle in heaven, he can descend to earth. But in the
quiet disguises of private life he is the mere stick of a rocket. He
is quite of the earth. This scheme of clothing is compatible with the
tenderest offices of gaming or love--offices of which there shall be
no recollection on the re-assumption of uniform and on re-apotheosis.
An A.D.C. in plain clothes has been known to lay the long odds at
whist, and to qualify, very nearly, for a co-respondentship.

In addition to furnishing rooms in his own person, an A.D.C. is
sometimes required to copy my Lord's letters on mail-day, and, in due
subordination to the Military Secretary, to superintend the stables,
kitchen, or Invitation Department.

After performing these high functions, it is hard if an A.D.C. should
ever have to revert to the buffooneries of the parade-ground or the
vulgar intimacies of a mess. It is hard that one who has for five
years been identified with the Empire should ever again come to be
regarded as "Jones of the 10th," and spoken of as "Punch" or "Bobby"
by old boon companions. How can a man who has been behind the curtain,
and who has seen _la premiere danseuse_ of the Empire practising her
steps before the manager Strachey, in familiar chaff and talk with the
Council ballet, while the little scene-painter and Press Commissioner
stood aside with cocked ears, and the privileged violoncellist made
his careless jests--how, I say, can one who has thus been above the
clouds on Olympus ever associate with the gaping, chattering,
irresponsible herd below?

It is well that our Ganymede should pass away from heaven into
temporary eclipse; it is well that before being exposed to the rude
gaze of the world he should moult his rainbow plumage in the Cimmeria
of the Rajas. Here we shall see him again, a blinking _ignis fatuus_
in a dark land--"so shines a good deed in a naughty world" thinks the
Foreign Office.--ALI BABA.



[August 16, 1879.]

At Simla and Calcutta the Government of India always sleeps with a
revolver under its pillow--that revolver is the Commander-in-Chief.
There is a tacit understanding that this revolver is not to be let
off; indeed, sometimes it is believed that this revolver is not

[The Commander-in-Chief has a seat in Council; but the Military Member
has a voice. This division of property is seen everywhere. The
Commander-in-Chief has many offices; in each there is someone other
than the Commander-in-Chief who discharges all its duties.

What does the Commander-in-Chief command? Armies? No. In India
Commanders-in-Chief command no armies. The Commander-in-Chief only
commands respect.]

The Commander-in-Chief is himself an army. His transport, medical
attendance, and provisioning are cared for departmentally, and watched
over by responsible officers. He is a host in himself; and a corps of

All the world observes him. His slightest movement creates a molecular
disturbance in type, and vibrates into newspaper paragraphs.

When Commanders-in-Chief are born the world is unconscious of any
change. No one knows when a Commander-in-Chief is born. No joyful
father, no pale mother has ever experienced such an event as the
birth of a Commander-in-Chief in the family. No Mrs. Gamp has ever
leant over the banister and declared to the expectant father below
that it was "a fine healthy Commander-in-Chief." Therefore, a
Commander-in-Chief is not like a poet. But when a Commander-in-Chief
dies, the spirit of a thousand Beethovens sob and wail in the air;
dull cannon roar slowly out their heavy grief; silly rifles gibber and
chatter demoniacally over his grave; and a cocked hat, emptier than
ever, rides with the mockery of despair on his coffin.

On Sunday evening, after tea and catechism, the Supreme Council
generally meet for riddles and forfeits in the snug little cloak-room
parlour at Peterhoff. "Can an army tailor make a Commander-in-Chief?"
was once asked. Eight old heads were scratched and searched, but no
answer was found. No sound was heard save the seething whisper of
champagne ebbing and flowing in the eight old heads. Outside, the wind
moaned through the rhododendron trees; within, the Commander-in-Chief
wept peacefully. He felt the awkwardness of the situation. [He thought
of Ali Musjid, and he thought of Isandula; he saw himself reflected in
the mirror, and he declared that he gave it up.] An aide-de-camp stood
at the door hiccupping idly. He was known to have invested all his
paper currency in Sackville Street; and he felt in honour bound to say
that the riddle was a little hard on the army tailors. So the subject

A Commander-in-Chief is the most beautiful article of social
upholstery in India. He sits in a large chair in the drawing-room.
Heads and bodies sway vertically in passing him. He takes the oldest
woman in to dinner; he gratifies her with his drowsy cackle. He says
"Yes" and "No" to everyone with drowsy civility; everyone is
conciliated. His stars dimly twinkle--twinkle; the host and hostess
enjoy their light. After dinner he decants claret into his venerable
person, and tells an old story; the company smile with innocent joy.
He rejoins the ladies and leers kindly on a pretty woman; she forgives
herself a month of indiscretions. He touches Lieutenant the Hon.
Jupiter Smith on the elbow and inquires after his mother; a noble
family is gladdened. He is thus a source of harmless happiness to
himself and to those around him.

If a round of ball cartridge has been wasted by a suicide, or a pair
of ammunition boots carried off by a deserter, the Commander-in-Chief
sometimes visits a great cantonment under a salute of seventeen guns.
The military then express their joy in their peculiar fashion,
according to their station in life. The cavalry soldier takes out his
charger and gallops heedlessly up and down all the roads in the
station. The sergeants of all arms fume about as if transacting some
important business between the barracks and their officers' quarters.
Subalterns hang about the Mess, whacking their legs with small pieces
of cane and drinking pegs with mournful indifference. The Colonel
sends for everyone who has not the privilege of sending for him,
and says nothing to each one, sternly and decisively. The Majors
and the officers doing general duty go to the Club and swear before
the civilians that they are worked off their legs, complaining
fiercely to themselves that the Service is going, &c. &c. The
Deputy-Assistant-Quartermaster-General puts on all the gold lace he is
allowed to wear, and gallops to the Assistant-Adjutant-General--where
he has tiffin. The Major-General-Commanding writes notes to all his
friends, and keeps orderlies flying at random in every direction.

The Commander-in-Chief--who had a disturbed night in the train--sleeps
peacefully throughout the day, and leaves under another salute in the
afternoon. He shakes hands with everyone he can see at the station,
and jumps into a long saloon carriage, followed by his staff.

"A deuced active old fellow!" everyone says; and they go home and dine
solemnly with one another under circumstances of extraordinary

The effect of the Commander-in-Chief is very remarkable on the poor
Indian, whose untutored mind sees a Lord in everything. He calls the
Commander-in-Chief "the Jungy Lord," or War-Lord, in contradistinction
to the "Mulky-Lord," or Country-Lord, the appellation of the Viceroy.
To the poor Indian this War-Lord is an object of profound interest and
speculation. He has many aspects that resemble the other and more
intelligible Lord. An aide-de-camp rides behind him; hats, or hands,
rise electrically as he passes; yet it is felt in secret that he is
not pregnant with such thunder-clouds of rupees, and that he cannot
make or mar a Raja. To the Raja it is an ever-recurring question
whether it is necessary or expedient to salaam to the Jungy Lord and
call upon him. He is hedged about with servants who will require to be
richly propitiated before any dusky countryman [of theirs, great or
small,] gets access to this Lord of theirs. Is it, then, worth while
to pass through this fire to the possible Moloch who sits beyond? Will
this process of parting with coin--this Valley of the Shadow of
Death--lead them to any palpable advantage? Perhaps the War-Lord with
his red right hand can add guns to their salute; perhaps he will speak
a recommendatory word to his caste-fellow, the Country-Lord? These are
precious possibilities.

A Raja whom I am now prospecting for the Foreign Office asked me the
other day where Commanders-in-Chief were ripened, seeing that they
were always so mellow and blooming. I mentioned a few nursery gardens
I knew of in and about Whitehall and Pall Mall. H.H. at once said that
he would like to plant his son there, if I would water him with
introductions. This is young 'Arry Bobbery, already favourably known
on the Indian Turf as an enterprising and successful defaulter.

You will know 'Arry Bobbery, if you meet him, dear Vanity, by the
peculiarly gracious way in which he forgives and forgets should you
commit the indiscretion of lending him money. You may be sure that he
will never allude to the matter again, but will rather wear a piquant
do-it-again manner, like our irresistible little friend, Conny B----.
I don't believe, however, that Bobbery will ever become a
Commander-in-Chief, though his distant cousin, Scindia, is a General,
and though they talk of pawning the 'long-shore Governorship of Bombay
to Sir Cursinjee Damtheboy.--ALI BABA.

No. IV



[Illustration: THE ARCHDEACON--"A man of both worlds."]

[August 23, 1879.]

The Press Commissioner has been trying by a strained exercise of his
prerogative to make me spend this day with the Bishop, and not with
the Archdeacon; but I disregard the Press Commissioner; I make light
of him; I treat his authority as a joke. What authority has a pump? Is
a pump an analyst and a coroner?

Why should I spend a day with the Bishop? What claim has the Bishop on
my improving conversation? I am not his sponsor. Besides, he might do
me harm--I am not quite sure of his claret. I admit his superior
ecclesiastical birth; I recollect his connection with St. Peter; and I
am conscious of the more potent spells and effluences of his
shovel-hat and apron; but I find the atmosphere of his heights cold,
and the rarefied air he breathes does not feed my lungs. Up yonder,
above the clouds of human weakness, my vertebrae become unhinged, my
bones inarticulate, and I collapse. I meet missionaries, and I hear
the music of the spheres; and I long to descend again to the circles
of the everyday inferno where my friends are.

"These distant stars I can forego;
This kind, warm earth, is all I know."

I am sorry for it. I really have upward tendencies; but I have never
been able to fix upon a balloon. The High Church balloon always seems
to me too light; and the Low Church balloon too heavy; while no
experienced aeronaut can tell me where the Broad Church balloon is
bound for; thus, though a feather-weight sinner, here I am upon the
firm earth. So come along, my dear Archdeacon, let us have a stroll
down the Mall, and a chat about Temporalities, Fabrics, "Mean Whites,"
and little Mrs. Lollipop, "the joy of wild asses."

An Archdeacon is one of the busiest men in India--especially when he
is up on the hill among the sweet pine-trees. He is the recognised
guardian of public morality, and the hill captains and the
semi-detached wives lead him a rare life. There is no junketing at
Goldstein's, no picnic at the waterfalls, no games at Annandale, no
rehearsals at Herr Felix von Battin's, no choir practice at the church
even, from which he can safely absent himself. A word, a kiss, some
matrimonial charm dissolved--these electric disturbances of society
must be averted. The Archdeacon is the lightning conductor; where he
is, the leaven of naughtiness passes to the ground, and society is not

In the Bishop and the ordinary padre we have far-away people of
another world. They know little of us; we know nothing of them. We
feel much constraint in their presence. The presence of the
ecclesiastical sex imposes severe restrictions upon our conversation.
The Lieutenant-Governor of the South-Eastern Provinces once complained
to me that the presence of a clergyman rendered nine-tenths of his
vocabulary contraband, and choked up his fountains of anecdote. It
also restricts us in the selection of our friends. But with an
Archdeacon all this is changed. He is both of Heaven and Earth. When
we see him in the pulpit we are pleased to think that we are with the
angels; when we meet him in a ball-room we are flattered to feel that
the angels are with us. When he is with us--though, of course, he is
not of us--he is yet exceedingly like us. He may seem a little more
venerable than he is; perhaps there may be about him a grandfatherly
air that his years do not warrant; he may exact a "Sir" from us that
is not given to others of his worldly standing; but there is
nevertheless that in his bright and kindly eye--there is that in his
side-long glance--which by a charm of Nature transmutes homage into
familiar friendship, and respect into affection.

The character of Archdeacons as clergymen I would not venture to touch
upon. It is proverbial that Archidiaconal functions are Eleusinian in
their mysteriousness. No one, except an Archdeacon, pretends to know
what the duties of an Archdeacon are, so no one can say whether these
duties are performed perfunctorily and inadequately, or scrupulously
and successfully. We know that Archdeacons sometimes preach, and that
is about all we know. I know an Archdeacon in India who can preach a
good sermon--I have heard him preach it many a time, once on a benefit
night for the Additional Clergy Society. It wrung four annas from
me--but it was a terrible wrench. I would not go through it again to
have every living graduate of St. Bees and Durham disgorged on our
coral strand.

From my saying this do not suppose that I am Mr. Whitley Stokes, or
Babu Keshub Chundra Sen. I am a Churchman, beneath the surface, though
a pellicle of inquiry may have supervened. I am not with the party of
the Bishop, nor yet am I with Sir J.S., or Sir A.C. I abide in the
Limbo of Vanity, as a temporary arrangement, to study the seamy side
of Indian politics and morality, to examine misbegotten wars and
reforms with the scalpel, Stars of India with the spectroscope, and to
enjoy the society of half-a-dozen amusing people to whom the Empire of
India is but a wheel of fortune.

I like the recognised relations between the Archdeacon and women. They
are more than avuncular and less than cousinly; they are tender
without being romantic, and confiding without being burdensome. He has
the private _entree_ at _chhoti hazri_, or early breakfast; he sees
loose and flowing robes that are only for esoteric disciples; he has
the private _entree_ at five o'clock tea and hears plans for the
evening campaign openly discussed. He is quite behind the scenes. He
hears the earliest whispers of engagements and flirtations. He can
give a stone to the Press Commissioner in the gossip handicap, and win
in a canter. You cannot tell him anything he does not know already.

Whenever the Government of India has a merrymaking, he is out on the
trail. At Delhi he was in the thick of the mummery, beaming on
barbaric princes and paynim princesses, blessing banners, blessing
trumpeters, blessing proclamations, blessing champagne and truffles,
blessing pretty girls, and blessing the conjunction of planets that
had placed his lines in such pleasant places. His tight little cob,
his perfect riding kit, his flowing beard, and his pleasant smile were
the admiration of all the Begums and Nabobs that had come to the fair.
The Government of India took such delight in him that they gave him a
gold medal and a book.

With the inferior clergy the Archdeacon is not at his ease. He cannot
respect the little ginger-bread gods of doctrine they make for
themselves; he cannot worship at their hill altars; their hocus-pocus
and their crystallised phraseology fall dissonantly on his ear; their
talk of chasubles and stoles, eastern attitude, and all the rest of
it, is to him as a tale told by an idiot signifying nothing. He would
like to see the clergy merely scholars and men of sense set apart for
the conduct of divine worship and the encouragement of all good and
kindly offices to their neighbours; he does not wish to see them
mediums and conjurors. He thinks that in a heathen country their
paltry fetishism of misbegotten notions and incomprehensible phrases
is peculiarly offensive and injurious to the interests of civilisation
and Christianity. Of course the Archdeacon may be very much mistaken
in all this; and it is this generous consciousness of fallibility
which gives the singular charm to his religious attitude. He can take
off his ecclesiastical spectacles and perceive that he may be in the
wrong like other men.

Let us take a last look at the Archdeacon, for in the whole range of
prominent Anglo-Indian characters our eye will not rest upon a more
orbicular and satisfactory figure.

A good Archdeacon, nobly planned
To warn, to comfort, and command;
And yet a spirit gay and bright,
With something of the candle-light.


No. V


[August 30, 1879.]

He is clever, I am told, and being clever he has to be rather morose
in manner and careless in dress, or people might forget that he was
clever. He has always been clever. He was the clever man of his year.
He was so clever when he first came out that he could never learn to
ride, or speak the language, and had to be translated to the
Provincial Secretariat. But though he could never speak an
intelligible sentence in the language, he had such a practical and
useful knowledge of it, in half-a-dozen of its dialects, that he could
pass examinations in it with the highest credit, netting immense
rewards. He thus became not only more and more clever, but more and
more solvent; until he was an object of wonder to his contemporaries,
of admiration to the Lieutenant-Governor, and of desire to several
_Burra Mem Sahibs_[A] with daughters. It was about this time that he
is supposed to have written an article published in some English
periodical. It was said to be an article of a solemn description, and
report magnified the periodical into the _Quarterly Review_. So he
became one who wrote for the English Press. It was felt that he was a
man of letters; it was assumed that he was on terms of familiar
correspondence with all the chief literary men of the day. With so
conspicuous a reputation, he believed it necessary to do something in
religion. So he gave up religion, and allowed it to be understood that
he was a man of advanced views: a Positivist, a Buddhist, or something
equally occult. Thus he became ripe for the highest employment, and
was placed successively on a number of Special Commissions. He
inquired into everything; he wrote hundredweights of reports; he
proved himself to have the true paralytic ink flux, precisely the kind
of wordy discharge or brain haemorrhage required of a high official in
India. He would write ten pages where a clod-hopping collector would
write a sentence. He could say the same thing over and over again in a
hundred different ways. The feeble forms of official satire were at
his command. [He could bray ironically at subordinate officers. He had
the inborn arrogance required for official "snubbing." Being without a
ray of good feeling or modesty, he could allow himself to write with
ceremonial rudeness of men who in his inmost heart he knew to be in
every way his superiors.] He desired exceedingly to be thought
supercilious, and he thus became almost necessary to the Government of
India, was canonised, and caught up to Simla. The Indian papers
chanted little anthems, "the Services" said "Amen," and the apotheosis
was felt to be a success. On reaching Simla he was found to be
familiar with the two local "jokes," planted many years ago by some
jackass. One of these "jokes" is about everything in India having its
peculiar smell, except a flower; the second is some inanity about the
Indian Government being a despotism of despatch-boxes tempered by the
loss of the keys. He often emitted these mournful "jokes" until he was
declared to be an acquisition to Simla society.

Such is the man I am with to-day. His house is beautifully situated,
overlooking a deep ravine, full of noble pine-trees, and surrounded by
rhododendrons. The verandah is gay with geraniums and tall servants in
Imperial red deeply encrusted with gold. Within, all is very
respectable and nice, only the man is--not exactly vile, but certainly
imperfect in a somewhat conspicuous degree. With the more attractive
forms of sin he has no true sympathy. I can strike no concord with him
on this umbrageous side of nature. I am seriously shocked to discover
this, for he affects infirmity; but his humanity is weak. In his
character I perceive the perfect animal outline, but the colour is
wanting; the glorious sunshine, the profound glooms of humanity are
not there.

Such a man is dangerous; he decoys you into confidences. Even Satan
cannot respect a sinner of this complexion,--a sinner who is only
fascinated by the sinfulness of sin. As for my poor host, I can see
that he has never really graduated in sin at all; he has only sought
the degree of sinner _honoris causa_. I am sure that he never had
enough true vitality or enterprise to sin as a man ought to sin, if he
does sin. [Of course a man ought not to sin; and the nobler sort try
to reduce their sinning to a minimum; but when they do sin I hold that
they sin like men. (I have heard it said that a man should sin like a
gentleman; but I am much disposed to think that the gentleman nature
appears in the non-sinning lucid intervals.)] When I speak of sin I
will be understood to mean the venial offences of prevarication and
sleeping in church. I am not thinking of sheep-stealing or highway
robbery. My clever friend's work consists chiefly in reducing files of
correspondence on a particular subject to one or two leading thoughts.
Upon these he casts the colour of his own opinions, and submits the
subjective product to the Secretary or Member of Council above him for
final orders. His mind is one of the many dense and refractive mediums
through which the Government of India looks out upon India.

From time to time he is called upon to write a minute or a note on
some given subject, and then it is that his thoughts and words expand
freely. He feels bound to cover an area of paper proportionate to his
own opinion, of his own importance; he feels bound to introduce a
certain seasoning of foreign words and phrases; and he feels bound to
create, if the occasion seems in any degree to warrant it, one of
those cock-eyed, limping, stammering epigrams which belong exclusively
to the official humour of Simla. [In writing thus, the figure of
another Secretariat official rises before me with reproachful looks. I
see the thought-worn face of that Secretary to whom the Rajas belong,
and who is, in every particular, a striking contrast with the typical
person whose portrait I sketch. The Secretary in the Foreign
Department is a scholar and a man of letters by instinct. Whatever he
writes is something more than correct and precise--it is impressed
with the sweep and cadence of the sea; it is rhythmical, it is

[But let us return to the prisoner in the dock] I have said that the
Secretary is clever, scornful, jocose, imperfectly sinful, and nimble
with his pen. I shall only add that he has succeeded in catching the
tone of the Imperial Bumbledom; and then I shall have finished my

This tone is an affectation of aesthetic and literary sympathies,
combined with a proud disdain of everything Indian and Anglo-Indian.

The flotsam and jetsam of advanced European thought are eagerly sought
and treasured up. "The New Republic" and "The Epic of Hades" are on
every drawing-room table. One must speak of nothing but the latest
doings at the Gaiety, the pictures of the last Academy, the ripest
outcome of scepticism in the _Nineteenth Century_, or the aftermath in
the _Fortnightly_. If I were to talk to our Secretariat man about the
harvest prospects of the Deckan, the beauty of the Himalayan scenery,
or the book I have just published in Calcutta about the Rent Law, he
would stare at me with feigned surprise and horror.

"When he thinks of his own native land,
In a moment he seems to be there;
But, alas! Ali Baba at hand
Soon hurries him back to despair."


No. VI


[Illustration: THE BENGALI BABOO--"Full of inappropriate words and

[September 13, 1879.]

The ascidian[B] that got itself evolved into Bengali Baboos must have
seized the first moment of consciousness and thought to regret the
step it had taken; for however much we may desire to diffuse Babooism
over the Empire, we must all agree that the Baboo itself is a subject
for tears.

The other day, as I was strolling down the Mall, whistling Beethoven's
9th Symphony, I met the Bengali Baboo. It was returning from office. I
asked it if it had a soul. It replied that it had not, but some day it
hoped to pass the matriculation examination of the Calcutta
University. I whistled the opening bars of one of Cherubini's
Requiems, but I saw no resurrection in its eye, so I passed on.

[I have just procured an adult specimen of the Bengali Baboo (it was
originally the editor of the _Calcutta Moonshine_), and I have engaged
an embryologist, on board wages, to examine and report upon it.

I once found George Bassoon weeping profusely over a dish of
artichokes. I was a little surprised, for there was a bottle close at
hand and he had a book in his hand. I took the book. It was not
Boccaccio; it was not Rabelais; it was not even Swinburne. I felt that
something must be wrong. I turned to the title-page. I found it was a
poem printed for private circulation by the _Government of India_. It
was called "The Anthropomorphous Baboo subtilised into Man."]

When I was at Lhassa the Dalai Lama told me that a virtuous
cow-hippopotamus by metempsychosis might, under unfavourable
circumstances, become an undergraduate of the Calcutta University, and
that, when patent-leather shoes and English supervened, the thing was
a Baboo. [This sounds very plausible; but how about the prehensile
tail which the Education Department finds so much in the way of
improvement, which indeed is said to preclude all access to the
Bengali mind, and which can grasp everything but an idea, even an
inquisitorial schoolmaster? "Hereby hangs a tail" is a motto in which
Edward Gibbon had no monopoly.]

I forget whether it was the Duke of Buckingham, or Mr. Lethbridge, or
General Scindia--I always mix up these C.I.E.'s together in my mind
somehow--who told me that a Bengali Baboo had never been known to
laugh, but only to giggle with clicking noises like a crocodile. Now
this is very telling evidence, because if a Baboo does not laugh at a
C.I.E. he will laugh at nothing. The faculty must be wanting.

[The Raja of Fattehpur, Member of the Legislative Council, and
commonly known as "Joe Hookham," says that fossil Baboos have been
found in Orissa with the cuckoo-bone, everything that a schoolmaster
could wish. Now "Joe" is a palaeontologist not to be sneezed at. This
confirms the opinion of General Cunningham that the mounted figure in
the neighbourhood of Lahore represents a Bengali washerwoman riding to
the _Ghat_ to perform a lustration. Because unless the _os coccyx_
were all right it would be as difficult to ride a bullock as to get
educated by the usual process.]

When Lord Macaulay said that what the milk was to the cocoanut, what
beauty was to the buffalo, and what scandal was to woman, that Dr.
Johnson's Dictionary was to the Bengali Baboo, he unquestionably spoke
in terms of figurative exaggeration; nevertheless, a core of truth
lies hidden in his remark. It is by the Baboo's words you know the
Baboo. The true Baboo is full of words and phrases--full of
inappropriate words and phrases lying about like dead men on a
battlefield, in heaps to be carted away promiscuously, without
reference to kith or kin. You may turn on a Baboo at any moment and be
quite sure that words, and phrases, and maxims, and proverbs will come
gurgling forth, without reference to the subject or to the occasion,
to what has gone before or to what will come after. Perhaps it was
with reference to this independence, buoyancy, and gaiety of language
that Lord Lytton declared the Bengali to be "the Irishman of India."

You know, dear Vanity, I whispered to you before that the poor Baboo
often suffers from a slight aberration of speech which prevents his
articulating the truth--a kind of moral lisp. Lord Lytton could not
have been alluding to this; for it was only yesterday that I heard an
Irishman speak the truth to Lord Lytton about some little matter--I
forget what; cotton duty, I think--and Lord Lytton said, rather
curtly, "Why, you have often told me this before." So Lord Lytton must
be in the habit of hearing certain truths from the Irish.

It was either Sir Andrew Clarke, Sir Alexander Arbuthnot, or Sir
Some-one-else, who understands all about these things, that first told
me of the tendency to Baboo worship in England at present. I
immediately took steps, when I heard of it, to capitalise my pension
and purchase gold mines in the Wynaad and shares in the Simla Bank.
(Colonel Peterson, of the Simla Fencibles, supported me gallantly in
this latter resolution.) The notion of so dreadful a form of fetishism
establishing itself in one's native land is repugnant to the feelings
even of those who have been rendered callous to such things by seats
in the Bengal Legislative Council. [I refuse to believe that the
Zoological Society has lent its apiary to this movement. It must have
been a spelling-bee your informant was thinking of.

Talking of monkey-houses reminds me of] Sir George Campbell, who took
such an interest in the development of the Baboo, and the selection of
the fittest for Government employment. He taught them in
debating-clubs the various modes of conducting irresponsible
parliamentary chatter; and he tried to encourage pedestrianism and
football to evolve their legs and bring them into something like
harmony with their long pendant arms. You can still see a few of Sir
George's leggy Baboos coiled up in corners of lecture-rooms at
Calcutta. The Calcutta Cricket Club used to employ one as permanent
"leg." [The Indian Turf Club used to keep a professional "leg," but
now there are so many amateurs it is not required.]

It is the future of Baboodom I tremble for. When they wax fat with new
religions, music, painting, Comedie Anglaise, scientific discoveries,
they may kick with those developed legs of theirs, until we shall have
to think that they are something more than a joke, more than a mere
_lusus naturae_, more than a caricature moulded by the accretive and
differentiating impulses of the monad[C] in a moment of wanton
playfulness. The fear is that their tendencies may infect others. The
patent-leather shoes, the silk umbrellas, the ten thousand horse-power
English words and phrases, and the loose shadows of English thought,
which are now so many Aunt Sallies for all the world to fling a jeer
at, might among other races pass into _dummy soldiers_, and from dummy
soldiers into trampling, hope-bestirred crowds, and so on, out of the
province of Ali Baba and into the columns of serious reflection. Mr.
Wordsworth and his friends the Dakhani Brahmans should consider how
painful it would be, when deprived of the consolations of religion, to
be solemnly repressed by the _Pioneer_--to be placed under that
steam-hammer which by the descent of a paragraph can equally crack the
tiniest of jokes and the hardest of political nuts, can suppress
unauthorised inquiry and crush disaffection.

At present the Baboo is merely a grotesque Bracken shadow, but in the
course of geological ages it might harden down into something
palpable. It is this possibility that leads Sir Ashley Eden to advise
the Baboo to revert to its original type; but it is not so easy to
become homogeneous after you have been diluted with the physical
sciences and stirred about by Positivists and missionaries. "I would I
were a protoplastic monad!" may sound very rhythmical, poetical, and
all that; but even for a Baboo the aspiration is not an easy one to
gratify.--ALI BABA.



[September 20, 1879.]

Try not to laugh, Dear Vanity. I know you don't mean anything by it;
but these Indian kings are so sensitive. The other day I was
translating to a young Raja what Val Prinsep had said about him in his
"Purple India"; he had only said that he was a dissipated young ass
and as ugly as a baboon; but the boy was quite hurt and began to cry,
and I had to send for the Political Agent to quiet him and put him to
sleep. When you consider the matter philosophically there is nothing
_per se_ ridiculous in a Raja. Take a hypothetical case: picture to
yourself a Raja who does not get drunk without some good reason, who
is not ostentatiously unfaithful to his five-and-twenty queens and his
five-and-twenty grand duchesses, who does not festoon his thorax and
abdomen with curious cutlery and jewels, who does not paint his face
with red ochre, and who sometimes takes a sidelong glance at his
affairs, and there is no reason why you should not think of such a one
as an Indian king. India is not very fastidious; so long as the
Government is satisfied, the people of India do not much care what the
Rajas are like. A peasant proprietor said to Mr. Caird and me the
other day, "We are poor cultivators; we cannot afford to keep Rajas.
The Rajas are for the Lord Sahib."

The young Maharaja of Kuch Parwani assures me that it is not
considered the thing for a Raja at the present day to govern. "A
really swell Raja amuses himself." One hoards money, another plays at
soldiering, a third is horsey, a fourth is amorous, and a fifth gets
drunk; at least so Kuch Parwani thinks. Please don't say that I told
you this. The Foreign Secretary knows what a high opinion I have of
the Rajas, and indeed he often employs me to whitewash them when they
get into scrapes. "A little playful, perhaps, but no more loyal Prince
in India!" This is the kind of thing I put into the Annual
Administration Reports of the Agencies, and I stick to it. Playful no
doubt, but a more loyal class than the Rajas there is not in India.
They have built their houses of cards on the thin crust of British
Rule that now covers the crater, and they are ever ready to pour a
pannikin of water into a crack to quench the explosive forces rumbling

The amiable chief in whose house I am staying to-day is exceedingly
simple in his habits. At an early hour he issues from the zenana and
joins two or three of his thakores, or barons, who are on duty at
Court, in the morning draught of opium. They sit in a circle, and a
servant in the centre goes round and pours the _kasumbha_[D] out of a
brass bowl and through a woollen cloth into their hands, out of which
they lap it up. Then a cardamum to take away the acrid after-taste.
One hums drowsily two or three bars of an old-world song; another
clears his throat and spits; the Chief yawns, and all snap their
fingers, to prevent evil spirits skipping into his throat; a late
riser joins the circle, and all, except the Chief, give him
_tazim_--that is, rise and salaam; a coarse jest or two, and the party
disperses. A crowd of servants swarm round the Chief as he shuffles
slowly away. Three or four mace-bearers walk in front shouting, "Raja,
Maharaja salaamat ho; niga rakhiyo!" ("Please take notice; to the
King, the great King, let there be salutation!") A confidential
servant continually leans forward and whispers in his ear; another
remains close at hand with a silver tea-pot containing water and
wrapped up in a wet cloth to keep it cool; a third constantly whisks a
yak's tail over the King's head; a fourth carries my Lord's sword; a
fifth his handkerchief; and so on. Where is he going? He dawdles up a
narrow staircase, through a dark corridor, down half-a-dozen steep
steps, across a courtyard overgrown with weeds, up another staircase,
along another passage, and so to a range of heavy quilted red screens
that conceal doors leading into the female penetralia. Here we must
leave him. Two servants disappear behind the _parda_ with their
master, the others promptly lie down where they are, draw the sheets
or blankets which they have been wearing over their faces and feet,
and sleep. About noon we see the King again. He is dressed in white
flowing robes with a heavy carcanet of emeralds round his neck. His
red turban is tied with strings of seed pearls and set off with an
aigrette springing from a diamond brooch. He sits on the Royal
mattress, the _gaddi_.[E] A big bolster covered with green velvet
supports his back; his sword and shield are gracefully disposed before
him. At the corner of the _gaddi_ sits a little representation of
himself in miniature, complete even to the sword and shield. This is
his adopted son and heir. For all the queens and all the grand
duchesses are childless, and a little kinsman had to be transplanted
from a mud village among the cornfields to this dreamland palace to
perpetuate the line. On the corners of the carpet on which the _gaddi_
rests sit thakores of the Royal house, other thakores sit below, right
and left, forming two parallel lines, dwindling into sardars, palace
officers, and others of lower rank as they recede from the _gaddi_.
Behind the Chief stand the servants with the emblems of royalty--the
peacock feathers, the fan, the yak tail, and the umbrella (now
furled). The confidential servant is still whispering into the ear of
his master from time to time. This is durbar. No one speaks, unless to
exchange a languid compliment with the Chief. Presently essence of
roses and a compound of areca nut and lime are circulated, then a huge
silver pipe is brought in, the Chief takes three long pulls, the
thakores on the carpet each take a pull, and the levee breaks up amid
profound salaams. After this--dinner, opium, and sleep.

In the cool of the evening our King emerges from the palace, and,
riding on a prodigiously fat white horse with pink points, proceeds to
the place of carousal. A long train of horsemen follow him, and
footmen run before with guns in red flannel covers and silver maces,
shouting "Raja Maharaja salaamat," &c. The horsemen immediately around
him are mounted on well-fed and richly-caparisoned steeds, with all
the bravery of cloth-of-gold, yak-tails, silver chains, and strings of
shells; behind are troopers in a burlesque of English uniform; and
altogether in the rear is a mob of caitiffs on skeleton chargers,
masquerading in every degree of shabbiness and rags, down to nakedness
and a sword. The cavalcade passes through the city. The inhabitants
pour out of every door and bend to the ground. Red cloths and white
veils flutter at the casements overhead. You would hardly think that
the spectacle was one daily enjoyed by the city. There is all the
hurrying and eagerness of novelty and curiosity. Here and there a
little shy crowd of women gather at a door and salute the Chief with a
loud shrill verse of discordant song. It is some national song of the
Chiefs ancestors and of the old heroic days. The place of carousal is
a bare spot near a large and ancient well out of which grows a vast
pipal tree. Hard by is a little temple surmounted by a red flag on a
drooping bamboo. It is here that the _Gangor_[F] and _Dassahra_[F]
solemnities are celebrated. Arrived on the ground, the Raja slowly
circles his horse; then, jerking the thorn-bit, causes him to advance
plunging and rearing, but dropping first on the near foot and then on
the off foot with admirable precision; and finally, making the white
monster, now in a lather of sweat, rise up and walk a few steps on his
hind legs, the Raja's performance concludes amid many shouts of wonder
and delight from the smooth-tongued courtiers. The thakores and
sardars now exhibit their skill in the _manege_ until the shades of
night fall, when torches are brought, amid much salaaming, and the
cavalcade defiles, through the city, back to the palace. Lights are
twinkling from the higher casements and reflected on the lake below;
the _gola_[G] slave-girls are singing plaintive songs, drum and conch
answer from the open courtyards. The palace is awake. The Raja, we
will romantically presume, bounds lightly from his horse and dances
gaily to the harem to fling himself voluptuously into the luxurious
arms of one of the five-and-twenty queens, or one of the
five-and-twenty grand duchesses; and they stand for one delirious
moment wreathed in each other's embraces--

While soft there breathes
Through the cool casement, mingled with the sighs
Of moonlight flowers, music that seems to rise
From some still lake, so liquidly it rose,
And, as it swell'd again at each faint close,
The ear could track through all that maze of chords
And young sweet voices these impassioned words--

"Ho, you there! fetch us a pint of gin! and look sharp, will you!"

For who, in time, knows whither we may vent
The treasure of our tongue, to what strange shores
This gain of our best glory shall be sent,
To enrich unknowing nations with our stores!
What worlds in the yet unformed Orient
May come refined with accents that are ours!

But, dear Vanity, I can see that you are impatient of scenes whose
luxuries steal, spite of yourself, too deep into your soul; besides, I
dread the effect of such warm situations on a certain Zuleika to whom
the note of Ali Baba is like the thrice-distilled strains of the
bulbul on Bendemeer's stream. So let us electrify ourselves back to
prose and propriety by thinking of the Political Agent; let us plunge
into the cold waters of dreary reality by conjuring up a figure in
tail-coat and gold buttons dispensing justice while H.H. the romantic
and picturesque Raja, G.C.S.I., amuses himself. Yet we hear cries from
the gallery of "Vive M. le Raja; vive la bagatelle!"

So say we, in faint echoes, defying the anathemas of the Foreign
Office. Do not turn this beautiful temple of ancient days into a mere
mill for decrees and budgets; but sweep it and purify it, and render
it a fitting shrine for the homage and tribute of antique
loyalty--"that proud submission, that subordination of the heart which
kept alive, even in servitude itself, the spirit of an exalted
freedom." With tail-coat and cocked-hat government "the unbought grace
of life, the cheap defence of nations, the nurse of manly sentiment
and heroic enterprise is gone."--ALI BABA.




[Illustration: THE POLITICAL AGENT--"A man in buckram."]

[September 27, 1879.]

This is a most curious product of the Indian bureaucracy. Nothing in
all White Baboodom is so wonderful as the Political Agent. A near
relation of the Empress who was travelling a good deal about India
some three or four years ago said that he would rather get a Political
Agent, with raja, chuprassies,[H] and everything complete, to take
home, than the unfigured "mum" of Beluchistan, or the sea-aye-ee
mocking bird, _Kokiolliensis Lyttonia_. But the Political Agent cannot
be taken home. The purple bloom fades in the scornful climate of
England; the paralytic swagger passes into sheer imbecility; the
thirteen-gun tall talk reverberates in jeering echoes; the chuprassies
are only so many black men, and the raja is felt to be a joke. The
Political Agent cannot live beyond Aden.

The Government of India keeps its Political Agents scattered over the
native states in small jungle stations. It furnishes them with
maharajas, nawabs, rajas, and chuprassies, according to their rank,
and it usually throws in a house, a gaol, a doctor, a volume of
Aitchison's Treaties, an escort of native Cavalry, a Star of India,
an assistant, the powers of a first-class magistrate, a flag-staff,
six camels, three tents, and a salute of eleven or thirteen
guns. In very many cases the Government of India nominates
a Political Agent to the rank of Son-to-a-Lieut.-Governor,
Son-in-Law-to-a-Lieut.-Governor, Son-to-a-member-of-Council, or
Son-to-an-agent-to-the-Governor-General. Those who are thus elevated
to the Anglo-Indian peerage need have no thought for the morrow what
they shall do, what they shall say, or wherewithal they shall be
supplied with a knowledge of Oriental language and occidental law.
Nature clothes them with increasing quantities of gold lace and starry
ornaments, and that charming, if unblushing, female--Lord Lytton begs
me to write "maid"--Miss Anglo-Indian Promotion, goes skipping about
among them like a joyful kangaroo.

The Politicals are a Greek chorus in our popular burlesque, "Empire."
The Foreign Secretary is the prompter. The company is composed of
nawabs and rajas (with the Duke of Buckingham as a "super"). Lord
Meredith is the scene-shifter; Sir John, the manager. The Secretary of
State, with his council, is in the stage-box; the House of Commons in
the stalls; the London Press in the gallery; the East Indian
Association, Exeter Hall, Professor Fawcett, Mr. Hyndman, and the
criminal classes generally, in the pit; while those naughty little
Scotch boys, the shock-headed Duke and Monty Duff, who once tried to
turn down the lights, pervade the house with a policeman on their
horizon. As we enter the theatre a dozen chiefs are dancing in the
ballet to express their joy at the termination of the Afghan War. The
political _choreutae_ are clapping their hands, encouraging them by
name and pointing them out to the gallery.

The government of a native state by clerks and chuprassies, with a
beautiful _faineant_ Political Agent for Sundays and Hindu festivals,
is, I am told, a thing of the past. Colonel Henderson, the imperial
"Peeler," tells me so, and he ought to know, for he is a kind of
demi-official superintendent of Thugs and Agents. Nowadays, my
informant assures me, the Political Agents undergo a regular training
in a Madras Cavalry Regiment or in the Central India Horse, or on the
Viceroy's Staff, and if they have to take charge of a Mahratta State
they are obliged to pass an examination in classical Persian poetry.
This is as it ought to be. The intricacies of Oriental intrigue and
the manifold complication of tenure and revenue that entangle
administrative procedure in the protected principalities, will unravel
themselves in presence of men who have enjoyed such advantages.

When I first came out to this country I was placed in charge of three
degrees of latitude and eight of longitude in Rajputana that I might
learn the language. The soil was sandy, the tenure feudal
(_zabardast_,[I] as we call it in India), and the Raja a lunatic by
nature and a dipsomaniac by education. He had been educated by his
grandmamma and the hereditary Minister. I found that his grandmamma
and the hereditary Minister were most anxious to relieve me of the
most embarrassing details of government, so I handed them a copy of
the Ten Commandments, underlining two that I thought might be useful,
and put them in charge. They were old-fashioned in their methods--like
Sir Billy Jones; but the result was admirable. In two years the
revenue was reduced from ten to two lakhs of rupees, and the
expenditure proportionately increased. A bridge, a summer-house, and a
school were built; and I wrote the longest "Administration Report"
that has ever issued from the Zulmabad Residency. When I left money
was so cheap and lightly regarded that I sold my old buggy horse for
two thousand rupees to grandmamma, with many mutual expressions of
good-will--through a curtain--and I have not been paid to this day.
But since then the horse-market has been ruined in the native states
by these imperial _melas_[J] and durbars. A poor Political has no
chance against these Government of India people, who come down with
strings of three-legged horses, and--no, I won't say they sell them to
the chiefs--I should be having a commission of my _khidmatgars_[K]
sitting upon me, like poor Har Sahai, who was beaten by Mr. Saunders,
and Malhar Rao Gaikwar, who fancied his Resident was going to poison

I like to see a Political up at Simla wooing that hoyden Promotion in
her own sequestered bower. It is good to see Hercules toiling at the
feet of Omphale. It is good to see Pistol fed upon leeks by
Under-Secretaries and women. How simple he is! How boyish he can be,
and yet how intense! He will play leap frog at Annandale; he will
paddle about in the stream below the water-falls without shoes and
stockings; but if you allude in the most distant way to rajas or
durbars, he lets down his face a couple of holes and talks like a
weather prophet. He will be so interesting that you can hardly bear
it; so interesting that you will feel sorry he is not talking to the
Governor-General up at Peterhoff.

[But I feel that an Agent to the Governor-General is looking over my
shoulder, so perhaps I had better stop; though I know two or three
things about Politicals.]--SIR ALI BABA, K.C.B.[L]

No. IX


[October 4, 1879.]

Was it not the Bishop of Bombay who said that man was an automaton
plus the mirror of consciousness? The Government of every Indian
province is an automaton plus the mirror of consciousness. The
Secretariat is consciousness, and the Collectors form the automaton.
The Collector works, and the Secretariat observes and registers.

To the people of India the Collector is the Imperial Government. He
watches over their welfare in the many facets which reflect our
civilisation. He establishes schools and dispensaries [for their
children], gaols [for their troublesome relations and neighbours], and
courts of justice [for the benefit of their brothers who can talk and
write]. He levies the rent of their fields, he fixes the tariff, and
he nominates to every appointment, from that of road-sweeper or
constable, to the great blood-sucking officers round the Court and
Treasury. As for Boards of Revenue and Lieutenant-Governors who
occasionally come sweeping across the country, with their locust hosts
of servants and petty officials, they are but an occasional nightmare;
while the Governor-General is a mere shadow in the background of
thought, half blended with "John Company Bahadur" and other myths of
the dawn.

The Collector lives in a long rambling bungalow furnished with folding
chairs and tables, and in every way marked by the provisional
arrangements of camp life. He seems to have just arrived from out of
the firmament of green fields and mango groves that encircles the
little station where he lives; or he seems just about to pass away
into it again. The shooting-howdahs are lying in the verandah, the
elephant of a neighbouring landowner is swinging his hind foot to and
fro under a tree, or switching up straw and leaves on to his back, a
dozen camels are lying down in a circle making bubbling noises, and
tents are pitched here and there to dry, like so many white wings on
which the whole establishment is about to rise and fly away--fly away
into "the district," which is the correct expression for the vast
expanse of level plain melting into blue sky on the wide
horizon-circle around.

The Collector is a bustling man. He is always in a hurry. His
multitudinous duties succeed one another so fast that one is never
ended before the next begins. A mysterious thing called "the Joint"
comes gleaning after him, I believe, and completes the inchoate work.

The verandah is full of fat black men in clean linen waiting for
interviews. They are bankers, shopkeepers, and landholders, who have
only come to "pay their respects," with ever so little a petition as a
corollary. The chuprassie-vultures hover about them. Each of these
obscene fowls has received a gratification from each of the clean fat
men; else the clean fat men would not be in the verandah. This import
tax is a wholesome restraint upon the excessive visiting tendencies of
wealthy men of colour. [Several little groups of] brass dishes filled
with pistachio nuts and candied sugar are ostentatiously displayed
here and there; they are the oblations of the would-be visitors. The
English call these offerings "dollies"; the natives _dali_. They
represent in the profuse East the visiting cards of the meagre West.

Although from our lofty point of observation, among the pine-trees,
the Collector seems to be of the smallest social calibre, a mere
carronade, not to be distinguished by any proper name; in his own
district he is a Woolwich Infant; and a little community of
microscopicals,--doctors, engineers, inspectors of schools, and
assistant magistrates, look up to him as to a magnate.

They tell little stories of his weaknesses and eccentricities, and his
wife is considered a person entitled "to give herself airs" (within
the district) if she feels so disposed; while to their high dinners is
allowed the use of champagne and "Europe" talk on aesthetic subjects.
The Collector is not, however, permitted to wear a chimney-pot hat and
gloves on Sunday (unless he has been in the Provincial Secretariat as
a boy); a Terai hat is sufficient for a Collector.

A Collector is usually a sportsman; when he is a poet, a
co-respondent, or a neologist it is thought rather a pity; and he is
spoken of in undertones. Neology is considered especially
reprehensible. The junior member of the Board of Revenue, or even the
Commissioner of a division (if he be _pukka_)[M], may question the
literal inspiration of Genesis; but it is not good form for a
Collector to tamper with his Bible. A Collector should have no leisure
for opinions of any sort.

I have said that a Collector is usually a sportsman. In this capacity
he is frequently made use of by the Viceroy and long-shore Governors,
as he is an adept at showing sport to globe-trotters. The villagers
who live on the borders of the jungle will generally turn out and beat
for the Collector, and the petty chief who owns the jungle always
keeps a tiger or two for district officers. A Political Agent's tiger
is known to be a domestic animal suitable for delicate noble Lords
travelling for health; but a Collector's tiger is often [believed to
be almost] a wild beast, although usually reared upon buffalo calves
and accustomed to be driven. [Of course the tiger which the Collector
and his friends shoot is quite an inferior article; a fierce, roaming
creature that lives upon spotted deer when it can get them, but is
often quite savage from hunger.] The Collector, who is always the most
unselfish and hospitable of men, only kills the fatted tiger for
persons of distinction with letters of introduction. Any common jungle
tiger, even a man-eater, is good enough for himself and his friends.

The Collector never ventures to approach Simla, when on leave. At
Simla people would stare and raise their eye-brows if they heard that
a Collector was on the hill. They would ask what sort of a thing a
Collector was. The Press Commissioner would be sent to interview it.
The children at Peterhoff would send for it to play with. So the
clodhopping Collector goes to Naini Tal or Darjiling, where he is
known either as Ellenborough Higgins, or Higgins of Gharibpur in
territorial fashion. Here he is understood. Here he can bubble of his
_Bandobast_,[N] his _Balbacha_[O] and his _Bawarchikhana_;[P] and here
he can speak in familiar accents of his neighbours, Dalhousie Smith
and Cornwallis Jones. All day long he strides up and down the club
verandah with his old Haileybury chum Teignmouth Tompkins; and they
compare experiences of the hunting-field and office, and denounce in
unmeasured terms of Oriental vituperation the new sort of civilian who
moves about with the Penal Code under his arm and measures his
authority by statute, clause, and section.

In England the Collector is to be found riding at anchor in the
Bandicoot Club. He makes two or three hurried cruises to his native
village, where he finds himself half forgotten. This sours him. The
climate seems worse than of old, the means of locomotion at his
disposal are inconvenient and expensive; he yearns for the sunshine
and elephants of Gharibpur, and returns an older and a quieter man.
The afternoon of life is throwing longer shadows, the Acheron of
promotion is gaping before him; he falls into a Commissionership;
still deeper into an officiating seat on the Board of Revenue.
_Facilis est descensus, etc._ Nothing will save him now;
transmigration has set in; the gates of Simla fly open; it is all
over. Let us pray that his halo may fit him.--ALI BABA, K.C.B.

No. X


[October 11, 1879.]

The Empire has done less for Anglo-Indian Babies than for any class of
the great exile community. Legislation provides them with neither
rattle nor coral, privilege leave nor pension. Papa has a Raja and
Star of India to play with; Mamma the Warrant of Precedence and the
Hill Captains; but Baby has nothing--not even a missionary; Baby is
without the amusement of the meanest cannibal.

Baby is debarred from the society of his compatriots. His father is
cramped and frozen with the chill cares of office; his mother is
deadened by the gloomy routine of economy and fashion; custom lies
upon her with a weight heavy as frost and deep almost as life; the
fountains of natural fancy and mirth are frozen over; so Baby lisps
his dawn paeans in soft Oriental accents, wakening harmonious echoes
amongst those impulsive and impressionable children of Nature that
masque themselves in the black slough of Bearers and Ayahs; and Baby
blubbers in Hindustani.

These Ayah and Bearer people sit with Baby in the verandah on a little
carpet; broken toys and withered flowers lie around. They croon to
Baby some old-world _katabaukalesis_, while beauty, born of murmuring
sound, passes into Baby's eyes. The squirrel sits chirruping
familiarly on the edge of the verandah with his tail in the air and
some uncracked pericarp in his uplifted hands, the kite circles aloft
and whistles a shrill and mournful note, the sparrows chatter, the
crow clears his throat, the minas scream discordantly, and Baby's
soft, receptive nature thus absorbs an Indian language. Very soon Baby
will think from right to left, and will lisp in the luxuriant bloom of
Oriental hyperbole. [Presently, when Baby grows a little older, Baby
will say to the Bearer, through his sweet little nose, "Arreh! Ulu ka
bacha, tu kya karta hai?" Which being interpreted, is, "Ah! Child of
night's sweet bird, what dost thou now?" Afterwards Baby will learn to
say many other things which it is not good to repeat here.]

In the evening Baby will go out for an airing with the Bearer and Ayah
people, and while they dawdle along the dusty road, or sit on
kerb-stones and on culvert parapets, he will listen to the extensile
tale of their simple sorrows. He will hear, with a sigh, that the
profits of petty larceny are declining; he will be taught to regret
the increasing infirmities of his Papa's temper; and portraits in
sepia of his Mamma will be observed by him to excite laughter mingled
with dark impulsive words. Thus there will pass into Baby's eyes
glances of suspicious questionings, "the blank misgivings of a
creature moving about in worlds not realised."

In the long summer days Baby will patter listlessly about the darkened
rooms accompanied by his suite, who will carry a feeding bottle--Maw's
Patent Feeding Bottle--just as the Sergeant-at-Arms carries the mace;
and, from time to time, little Mister Speaker will squat down on his
dear little hams and take a refreshing pull or two. At breakfast and
luncheon time little Mister Speaker will straggle into the
dining-room, and fond parents will give him a tidbit of many soft
dainties, to be washed down with brandy and water, beer, sherry, or
other alcoholic draught. On such broken meals Baby is raised.

The little drawn face, etiolated and weary-looking, recommends sleep;
but Baby is a bad sleeper. The Bearer-in-waiting carries about a small
pillow all day long, and from time to time Baby is applied to it. He
frets and cries, and they brood over him humming some old Indian song,
["Keli Blai," or "Hillu Milli Pania"]. Still he turns restlessly and
whimpers, though they pat him and shampoo him, and call him fond names
and tell him soothing stories of bulbuls and flowers and woolly sheep.
But Baby does not sleep, and even Indian patience is exhausted. Both
Ayah and Bearer would like to slip away to their mud houses at the
other end of the compound and have a pull at the fragrant _huqqa_ and
a gossip with the _saices;_[Q] but while _Sunny Baba_ is at large, and
might at any moment make a raid on Mamma, who is dozing over a novel
on a spider-chair near the mouth of the thermantidote, the Ayah and
Bearer dare not leave their charge. So _Sunny Baba_ must sleep, and
the Bearer has in the folds of his waist-cloth a little black fragment
of the awful sleep-compeller, and Baby is drugged into a deep uneasy
sleep of delirious, racking dreams.

Day by day Baby grows paler, day by day thinner, day by day a stranger
light burns in his bonny eyes. Weird thoughts sweep through Baby's
brain, weird questions startle Mamma out of the golden languors in
which she is steeped, weird words frighten the gentle Ayah as she
fondles her darling. The current of babble and laughter has almost
ceased to flow. Baby lies silent in the Ayah's lap staring at the
ceiling. He clasps a broken toy with wasted fingers. His Bearer comes
with some old watchword of fun; Baby smiles faintly, but makes no
response. The old man takes him tenderly in his arms and carries him
to the verandah; Baby's head falls heavily on his shoulder.

The outer world lies dimly round Baby; within, strange shadows are
flitting by. The wee body is pressing heavily upon the spirit; Baby is
becoming conscious of the burthen. He will be quiet for hours on his
little cot; he does not sleep, but he dreams. Earth's joys and lights
are fast fading out of those resilient eyes; Baby's spirit is waiting
on the shores of eternity, and already hears "the mighty waters
rolling evermore."

The broken toys are swept away into a corner, a silence and fear has
fallen upon the household, black servants weep, their mistress seeks
refuge in headache and smelling salts, the hard father feels a
strange, an irrepressible welling up of little memories. He loves the
golden haired boy; he hardly knew it before. If he could only hear
once more the merry laugh, the chatter and the shouting! But he cannot
hear it any more; he will never hear his child's voice again. Baby has
passed into the far-away Thought-World. Baby is now only a dream and a
memory, only the recollection of a music that is heard no more. Baby
has crossed that cloudy, storm-driven bourn of speculation and fear
whither we are all tending.

A few white bones upon a lonely sand,
A rotting corpse beneath the meadow grass,
That cannot hear the footsteps as they pass,
Memorial urns pressed by some foolish hand
Have been for all the goal of troublous fears,
Ah! breaking hearts and faint eyes dim with tears,
And momentary hope by breezes framed
To flame that ever fading falls again,
And leaves but blacker night and deeper pain,
Have been the mould of life in every land.

Baby is planted out for evermore in the dank and weedy little cemetery
that lies on the outskirts of the station where he lived and died.
Those golden curls, those soft and rounded limbs, and that laughing
mouth, are given up to darkness and the eternal hunger of corruption.
Through sunshine and rain, through the long days of summer, through
the long nights of winter, for ever, for ever, Baby lies silent and
dreamless under that waving grass. The bee will hum overhead for
evermore, and the swallow glance among the cypress. The butterfly will
flutter for ages and ages among the rank flowers--Baby will still lie
there. Come away, come away; your cheeks are pale; it cannot be, we
cannot believe it, we must not remember it; other Baby voices will
kindle our life and love, Baby's toys will pass to other Baby hands.
All will change; we will change.

Yet, darling, but come back to me;
Whatever change the years have wrought,
I find not yet one lonely thought
That cries against my wish for thee.


No. XI



[October 18, 1879.]

The red chuprassie is our Colorado beetle, our potato disease, our
Home ruler, our cupboard skeleton, the little rift in our lute. The
red-coated chuprassie is a cancer in our Administration. To be rid of
it there is hardly any surgical operation we would not cheerfully
undergo. You might extract the Bishop of Bombay, amputate the Governor
of Madras, put a seton in the pay and allowances of the
Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and we should smile.

The red chuprassie is ubiquitous; he is in the verandah of every
official's house in India, from the Governor-General downwards; he is
in the portico of every Court of Justice, every Treasury, every Public
Office, every Government School, every Government Dispensary in the
country. He walks behind the Collector; he follows the conservancy
carts; he prowls about the candidate for employment; he hovers over
the accused and accuser; he haunts the Raja; he infests the tax-payer.

He wears the Imperial livery; he is to the entire population of India
the exponent of British Rule; he is the mother-in-law of liars, the
high-priest of extortioners, and the receiver-general of bribes.

Through this refracting medium the people of India see their rulers.
The chuprassie paints his master in colours drawn from his own black
heart. Every lie he tells, every insinuation he throws out, every
demand he makes, is endorsed with his master's name. He is the
arch-slanderer of our name in India.

[He is not an individual--he is a member of a widely rammified
society.] There is no city in India, no mofussil-station, no little
settlement of officials far up country, in which the chuprassie does
not find sworn brothers and confederates. The cutcherry clerks and the
police are with him everywhere; higher native officials are often on
his side.

He sits at the receipt of custom in the Collector's verandah, and no
native visitor dare approach who has not conciliated him with money.
The candidate for employment, educated in our schools, and pregnant
with words about purity, equality, justice, political economy, and all
the rest of it, addresses him with joined hands as "Maharaj," and
slips silver into his itching palm. The successful place-hunter pays
him a feudal relief on receiving office or promotion, and benevolences
flow in from all who have anything to hope or fear from those in

[Illustration: THE RED CHUPRASSIE--"The corrupt lictor."]

In the Native States the chuprassie flourishes rampantly. He receives
a regular salary through their representatives or vakils at the
agencies, from all the native chiefs round about, and on all occasions
of visits or return visits, durbars, religious festivals, or public
ceremonials, he claims and receives preposterous fees. The Rajas,
whose dignity is always exceedingly delicate, stand in great fear of
the chuprassies. They believe that on public occasions the chuprassies
have sometimes the power of sicklying them o'er with the pale cast of

English officers who have become de-Europeanised from long residence
among undomesticated natives, or by the habitual performance of petty
ceremonial duties of an Oriental hue, employ chuprassies to aggrandise
their importance. They always figure on a background of red
chuprassies. Such officials are what Lord Lytton calls White Baboos.

[Mr. Whitley Stokes, in his own artless way, once proposed legislating
against chuprassies, I am told. His plan was to include them among the
criminal classes, and hand them over to Major Henderson, the
Director-General of Thuggee and Dacoity; but this functionary, viewing
the matter in a different light, made some demi-official
representation to the Legal Member under the pseudonym of "Walker,"
and the subject dropped.]

A great Maharaja once told me that it was the tyranny of the
Government chuprassies that made him take to drink. He spoke of them
as "the Pindarries of modern India." He had a theory that the small
pay we gave them accounted for their evil courses. A chuprassie gets
about eight pounds sterling a year. He added that if we saw a
chuprassie on seven rupees a month living overtly at the rate of a
thousand, we ought immediately to appoint him an _attache_ or put him
in gaol.

I make a simple rule in my own establishment of dismissing a
chuprassie as soon as he begins to wax fat. A native cannot become
rich without waxing fat, because wealth is primarily enjoyed by the
mild Gentoo as a means of procuring greasy food in large quantities.
His secondary enjoyment is to sit upon it. He digs a hole in the
ground for his rupees, and broods over them, like a great obscene
fowl. If you see a native sitting very hard on the same place day
after day, you will find it worth your while to dig him up. Shares in
this are better than the Madras gold mines.

In early Company days, when the Empire was a baby, the European
writers[S] regarded with a kindly eye those profuse Orientals who went
about bearing gifts; but Lord Clive closed this branch of the
business, and it has been taken up by our scarlet runners or verandah
parasites, in our name. Now, dear Vanity, you may call me a
Russophile, or by any other marine term of endearment you like, if I
don't think the old plan was the better of the two. We ourselves could
conduct corruption decently; but to be responsible for corruption over
which we exercise no control is to lose the credit of a good name and
the profits of a bad one.

[Old qui-hyes tell you that there are three things you cannot separate
from an "Indian"--venality, perjury, and rupees. Now I totally
disagree with the old qui-hyes. In secret I am a great admirer of the
Indian, and publicly I always treat him with respect. I have such a
regard for him that I never expose him to temptation. I pay him well,
I explain to him my eccentric opinions about receiving bribes, and I
remind him of the moral and electrifying properties of the different
species of cane which Nature has so thoughtfully provided nearly
everywhere in India. The consequence is that my chuprassies do not
soil their hands with spurious gratifications, and figuratively
describe me as their father and mother.]

I hear that the Government of India proposes to form a mixed committee
of Rajas and chuprassies to discuss the question as to whether native
chiefs ever give bribes and native servants ever take them. It is
expected that a report favourable to Indian morality will be the
result. Of course Raja Joe Hookham will preside.--ALI BABA, K.C.B.




[Illustration: THE PLANTER--"A farmer prince."]

[October 25, 1879]

The Planter lives to-day as we all lived fifty years ago. He lives in
state and bounty, like the Lord of Burleigh. He lives like that fine
old English gentleman who had an old estate, and who kept up his old
mansion at a bountiful old rate. He lives in a grand wholesale manner;
he lives in round numbers; he lives like a hero. Everything is Homeric
about him. He establishes himself firmly in the land with great joy
and plenty; and he gathers round him all that makes life full-toned
and harmonious, from the grand timbre of draught-ale and the
organ-thunder of hunting, to the piccolo and tintinnabulum of Poker
and maraschino. His life is a fresco-painting, on which some Cyclopaean
Raphaelite has poured his rainbows from a fire-engine of a hundred

We paltry officials live meanly in pen-and-ink sketches. Our little
life is bounded by a dream of promotion and pension. We toil, we
slave; we put by money, we pinch ourselves. We are hardly fit to live
in this beautiful world, with its laughing girls and grapes, its
summer seas, its sunshine and flowers, its Garnet Wolseleys and
bulbuls. We go moping through its glories in green spectacles,
befouling it with our loathsome statistics and reports. The sweet air
of heaven, the blue firmament, and the everlasting hills do not
satisfy our poisoned hearts; so we make to ourselves a little tin-pot
world of blotted-paper, debased rupees, graded lists, and tinsel
honours; we try to feed our lungs on its typhoidal effluvia. Aroint[T]
thee, Comptroller and Accountant-General with all thy grisly crew!
Thou art worse than the blind Fury with the abhorred shears; for thou
slittest my thin-spun pay-wearing spectacles, thrice branded varlet!
[There is a lily on my brow with anguish moist and fever-dew, and on
my cheeks a fading rose fast withereth too, and for these emblems of
woe thou shalt have to give an answer.]

Dear Vanity, of course you understand that I do not allude to the
amiable old gentleman who controls our Accounts Department, who is the
mirror of tenderness. The person I would impale is a creation of my
own wrath, a mere official type struck in frenzied fancy, [at a moment
when Time seems a maniac scattering dust, and Life a Fury slinging

Let us soothe ourselves by contemplating the Planter and his generous,
simple life. It calms one to look at him. He is something placid,
strong, and easeful. Without wishing to appear obsequious, I always
feel disposed to borrow money when I meet a substantial Planter. He
inspires confidence. I grasp his strong hand; I take him
(figuratively) to my heart, while the desire to bank with him wells up
mysteriously in my bosom.

He lives in a grand old bungalow, surrounded by ancient trees. Large
rooms open into one another on every side in long vistas; a broad and
hospitable-looking verandah girds all. Everywhere trophies of the
chase meet the eye. We walk upon cool matting; we recline upon
long-armed chairs; low and heavy punkahs swing overhead; a sweet
breathing of wet _khaskhas_ grass comes sobbing out of the
thermantidote; and a gigantic but gentle _khidmatgar_ is always at our
elbow with long glasses on a silver tray. This man's name is Nubby
Bux, but he means nothing by it, and a child might play with him. I
often say to him in a caressing tone, "_Peg lao_";[U] and he is
grateful for any little attention of this sort.

It is near noon. My friend Mr. Great-Heart, familiarly known as "Jamie
Macdonald," has been taking me over the factory and stables. We have
been out since early morning on the jumpiest and beaniest of Waler
mares. I am not killed, but a good deal shaken. The glass trembles in
my hand. I have an absorbing thirst, and I drink copiously, almost
passionately. My out-stretched legs are reposing on the arms of my
chair and I stiffen into an attitude of rest. I hear my host splashing
and singing in his tub.

Breakfast is a meal conceived in a large and liberal spirit. We pass
from dish to dish through all the compass of a banquet, the diapason
closing full in beer. Several joyful assistants, whose appetites would
take first-class honours at any university or cattle show, join the
hunt and are well in at the beer. What tales are told! I feel glad
that Miss Harriet Martineau, Mrs. Mary Somerville, and Dr. Watts are
not present. I keep looking round to see that no bishop comes into the
room. It is a comfort to me to think that Bishop Heber is dead. I gave
up blushing five years ago when I entered the Secretariat; but if at
this moment Sir William Jones were to enter, or Mr. Whitley Stokes
with his child-like heart and his Cymric vocabulary, I believe I
should be strangely affected.

The day welters on through drink and billiards. In the afternoon more
joyful Planters drop in, and we play a rubber. From whist to the polo
ground, where I see the merry men of Tirhoot play the best and fastest
game that the world can show. At night carousals and potations pottle
deep. Next morning sees the entire party in the _khadar_[V] of the
river, mounted on Arabs, armed with spears, hunting Jamie Macdonald's
Caledonian boar. These Scotchmen never forget their nationality.

And while these joyful Planters are thus rejoicing, the indigo is
growing silently all round. While they play, Nature works for them. So
does the patient black man; he smokes his _huqqa_ and keeps an eye on
the rising crop.

You will have learnt from Mr. Caird that indigo grows in cakes (the
ale is imported); to his description of the process of manufacture I
can only add that the juice is generally expressed in the vernacular.
You give a cake of the raw material to a coloured servant, you stand
over him to see that he doesn't eat it, and your assistant canes him
slowly as he squeezes the juice into a blue bottle. Blue pills are
made of the refuse; your female servants use aniline dyes; and there
you are. If any one dies in any other way you can refuse him the rites
of cremation; fine him four annas; and warn him not to do it again.
This is a burning question in Tirhoot and occasions much litigation.

Jamie Macdonald has now a contract for dyeing the Blue ribbons of the
Turf; Tommy Begg has taken the blue boars and the Oxford Blues; and
Bobby Thomas does the blue-books and the True Blues. It may not be
generally known that the aristocracy do not employ aniline dyes for
their blue blood. The minor Planters do business chiefly in blue
stockings, blue bonnets, blue bottles, blue beards, and blue coats.
For more information of this kind I can only refer you to Mr. Caird
and the _Nineteenth Century_.

Some Planters grow tea, coffee, lac, mother-of-pearl, pickles,
poppadums and curry powder--but now I am becoming encyclopaedic and
scientific, and trespassing on ground already taken up by the Famine

Fewer Planters are killed now by wild camels who roam over the mango
fields, but a good deal of damage is still done to the prickly
pear-trees. Mr. Cunningham has written an interesting note on this.
Rewards have still to be offered for dead tigers and persons who have
died of starvation. "When the Government will not give a doit to
relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian."--




[Illustration: THE EURASIAN--"A study in chiaro oscuro."]

[November 1, 1879.]

The Anglo-Indian has a very fine eye for colour. He will mark down
"one anna in the rupee" with unerring certainty; he will suspect
smaller coin. He will tell you how he can detect an adulterated
European by his knuckles, his nails, his eyebrows, his pronunciation
of the vowels, and his conception of propriety in dress, manner, and

To the thorough-bred Anglo-Indian, whose blood has distilled through
Haileybury for three generations, and whose cousins to the fourth
degree are Collectors and Indian Army Colonels, the Eurasian, however
fair he may be, is a _bete noir_. Mrs. Ellenborough Higgins is always
setting or pointing at black blood.

And sometimes the whitey-brown man is objectionable. He is vain, apt
to take offence, sly, indolent, sensuous, and, like Reuben, "unstable
as water." He has a facile smile, a clammy hand, a manner either
forward or obsequious, a mincing gait, and not always the snowiest
linen. [In very dangerous cases he has a peculiar smell.]

Towards natives the Eurasian is cold, haughty, and formal; and this
attitude is repaid, with interest, in scorn and hatred. There is no
concealing the fact that to the mild Gentoo the Eurasian is a very
distasteful object.

But having said this, the case for the prosecution closes, and we may
turn to the many soft and gentle graces which the Eurasian develops.

In all the relations of family life the Eurasian is admirable. He is a
dutiful son, a circumspect husband, and an affectionate father. He
seldom runs through a fortune; he hardly ever elopes with a young lady
of fashion; he is not in the habit of cutting off his son with a
shilling; and he is an infrequent worshipper in that Temple of
Separation where _Decrees Nisi_ sever the Gordian knots of Hymen.

As a citizen he is zealously loyal. He will speak at municipal
meetings, write letters about drainage and conservancy to the papers,
observe local holidays in his best clothes, and attend funerals.

The Eurasian is a methodical and trustworthy clerk, and often occupies
a position of great trust and responsibility in our public offices. He
is not bold or original, like Sir Andrew Clarke; or amusing, like Mr.
Stokes; but he does what work is given him to do without overstepping
the modesty of nature.

[Most Eurasians are Catholics; but some belong to the small Protestant
heresies and call themselves Presbyterians, Anabaptists, and what not.
To whatever creed they attach themselves, they are faithful and
devoted; but the pageantry, the music, the antiquity, and the mystery
of the ancient Church, draw forth, with the most potent spells, the
fervour of their warm, emotional natures. They are never sceptical:
the harder a doctrine is to believe the more they like it; the more
improbable a tradition is the more tenaciously they cling to it. They
are attracted by the supernatural and the horrible; they would not
bate a single saint or devil of the complete faith to rescue all the
truths of modern science from the ban of the Church.]

The Eurasian girl is often pretty and graceful; and, if the solution
of India in her veins be weak, there is an unconventionality and
_naivete_ sometimes which undoubtedly has a charm; and which, my dear
friend, J.H----, of the 110th Clodhoppers (Lord Cardwell's Own
Clodhoppers) never could resist: "What though upon her lips there hung
the accents of the tchi-tchi tongue."

A good many Eurasians who are not clerks in public offices, or
telegraph signallers, or merchants, are loafers. They are passed on
wherever they are found, to the next station, and thus they are kept
in healthy circulation throughout India. They are all in search of
employment on the railway; but as a provisional arrangement, to meet
the more immediate and pressing exigencies of life, they will accept a
small gratuity, [or engage themselves in snapping up unconsidered
trifles]. They are mainly supported by municipalities, who keep them
in brandy, rice, and railway-tickets out of funds raised for this
purpose. Workhouses and Malacca canes have still to be tried.

Bishop Gell's plan for colonising the Laccadives and Cocos with these
loafers has not met with much acceptance at Simla. The Home Secretary
does not see from what Imperial fund they can be supplied with
bathing-drawers and barrel-organs; but the Home Secretary ought to
know that there is a philanthropic society at Lucknow of the
disinterested, romantic, Turnerelli type, ready to furnish all the
wants of a young colony, from underclothing to Eno's fruit salt.

A great many wise proposals emanate from Simla as regards some
artificial future for the Eurasian. One Ten-thousand-pounder asks
Creation in a petulant tone of surprise why Creation does not make the
Eurasian a carpenter; another looks round the windy hills and wonders
why somebody does not make the Eurasian a high farmer. The shovel hats
are surprised that the Eurasian does not become a missionary, or a
schoolmaster, or a policeman, or something of that sort. The native
papers say, "Deport him"; the white prints say, "Make him a soldier";
and the Eurasian himself says, "Make me a Commissioner, or give me a
pension." In the meantime, while nothing is being done, we can rail at
the Eurasian for not being as we are.

"Let us sit on the thrones
In a purple sublimity,
And grind down men's bones
To a pale unanimity."

There is no proper classification of the mixed race in India as there
is in America. The convenient term _quadroon_, for instance, instead
of "four annas in the rupee," is quite unknown; the consequence is
that every one--from Anna Maria de Souza, the "Portuguese" cook, a
nobleman on whose cheek the best shoe-blacking would leave a white
mark, to pretty Miss Fitzalan Courtney, of the Bombay Fencibles, who
is as white as an Italian princess--is called an "Eurasian."

"Do you know, dear Vanity, that it is not impossible that King Asoka
(of the Edict Pillars), the 'Constantine of Buddhism,' was an
Eurasian? I have not got the works of Arrian, or Mr. Lethbridge's
'History of the World' at hand, but I have some recollection of
Sandracottus, or one of Asoka's fathers or grandfathers, marrying a
Miss Megasthenes, or Seleucus. With such memories no wonder they call
us 'Mean Whites.'"--ALI BABA, K.C.B.



"Venio nunc ad voluptates agricolarum, quibus ego" (like the
Famine Commissioners) "incredibiliter delector."

[November 8, 1879.]

I missed two people at the Delhi Assemblage of 1877. All the gram-fed
secretaries and most of the alcoholic chiefs were there; but the
famine-haunted villager and the delirium-shattered, opium-eating
Chinaman, who had to pay the bill, were not present.

I cannot understand why Viceroys and English newspapers call the
Indian cultivator a "riot." He never amounts to a riot if you treat
him properly. He may be a disorderly crowd sometimes; but that is only
when you embody him in a police force or convert him into cavalry. The
atomic disembodied villager has no notion of rioting, _ca-ira_
singing, or any of the tomfooleries of revolution. These pastimes are
for men who are both idle and frivolous. When our villager wants to
realise a political idea, he dies of famine. This has about it a
certain air of seriousness. A man will not die of famine unless he be

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