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A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer

Part 7 out of 10

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we met trains of oxen. We passed some today of incredible extent.
I do not exaggerate when I affirm that I have seen trains of several
thousand head of cattle, on whose backs, corn, wool, salt, etc.,
were conveyed. I cannot imagine where the food for so many animals
is obtained; there are nowhere any meadows, for, with the exception
of the plantations, the ground is scorched up, or at most covered
with thin, parched, jungle grass, which I never saw any animal eat.

The industry of the women and children in the villages through which
these trains pass is great beyond measure; they provide themselves
with baskets, and follow the train for a considerable distance,
collecting the excrement of the oxen, which they work up into flat
bricks, and dry them in the sun to use as fuel. Late in the
evening, we entered the village of Burwai, which lies on the river
Nurbuda, in the midst of a storm of thunder and lightning. I was
told that there was a public bungalow here, but as the darkness of
the night prevented our finding it, I contented myself with the
balcony of a house.

25th February. We had this morning to cross the river Nurbuda,
which, with the preparations for doing so, occupied two hours.

26th February. Rostampoor. Between this place and Simarola, the
land is rather barren, and also very thinly inhabited; we often
travelled several miles without seeing a village.

27th February. Today we were gratified with the prospect of a
fertile country and beautiful mountains. On an isolated mountain
was situated the famous old fortress of Assergur, from which arose
two half-decayed minarets. Towards evening we passed between many
ruins; amongst which I observed another handsome mosque, the fore-
court, the minarets, and side walls of which were standing.
Adjoining this district of ruins, lay the very flourishing town of
Berhampoor, which still numbers 60,000 inhabitants, but I was told
that it was formerly much larger.

An aumil resides in the town, and also an English officer, who keeps
an eye on his proceedings. We were obliged to pass through the
whole town, through the deep river Taptai, up and down hill, and
over shocking roads, to reach the bungalow of the latter, so that we
did not arrive there till late at night. Captain Henessey and his
family were already supping: they received me with true cordiality,
and, although worn out with fatigue, and much travel-stained, I took
my place at their hospitable table, and continued a conversation
with this amiable family until a late hour of the night.

28th February. Unfortunately I was obliged to proceed on my journey
again this morning. Between Berhampoor and Ichapoor, there were the
most beautiful and varied plantations--corn, flax, cotton, sugar-
cane, poppies, dahl, etc. The heat had already began to be
oppressive (towards 108 degrees Fah.) I was at the same time
continually on the road from 4 o'clock in the morning, till 5 or 6
in the evening, and only seldom made a short halt on the banks of
some river, or under a tree. It was altogether impossible to travel
at night, as the heaths and jungles were frequently of great extent,
and moreover, somewhat infested with tigers, the presence of which
we experienced on the following day; besides all this, my people
were unacquainted with the road.

29th February. Today's stage was one of the most considerable; we
therefore started as early as 3 o'clock in the morning; the road
passed through terrible wastes and wild jungles. After we had
proceeded for some time quietly, the animals stopped short and
remained as if fixed to the ground, and began to tremble; their fear
soon communicated itself to my people, who shouted, without
intermission, the words "Bach! bach!" which means "Tiger! tiger!" I
ordered them to continue making as much noise as possible, in order
to scare away the animals if they really were near. I had some
jungle grass gathered and made a fire, which I kept constantly
blazing. However, I heard no howling, and observed no other
indication of our dreaded neighbour than the terror of my people and
cattle. Nevertheless, I awaited the sunrise this time with great
anxiety, when we continued our journey. We afterwards learnt that
scarcely a night passes in this neighbourhood without an ox, horse,
or goat being carried off by tigers. Only a few days previously, a
poor woman who was late in returning from gathering jungle grass,
had been torn to pieces. All the villages were surrounded with high
stone and mud walls, whether from fear of the wild beasts, or from
any other cause, I could not learn with certainty. These fortified
villages extend as far as Auranjabad, over a distance of 150 miles.

March 1st. Bodur is an unimportant village. Upon the road from
Indor to Auranjabad, there are no bungalows with rooms, and it is
very seldom that even an open one is to be found--that is, a
building with three wooden walls, over which a roof is thrown. We
found one of these bungalows in Bodur. It was indeed already taken
possession of by about a dozen Indian soldiers, but they withdrew
unasked, and gave up to me half of the airy chamber. During the
whole night they remained still and quiet, and were not the
slightest annoyance.

2nd March. Furdapoor, a small village at the foot of beautiful
mountains. As the poor oxen began to be wearied with travelling,
the driver rubbed them down every evening from head to foot.

3rd March. Adjunta. Before coming to this place we passed a
terrible rocky pass which might be easily defended. The road was
very narrow, and so bad that the poor animals could scarcely make
any way with the empty cars. On the heights of the pass, a strongly
fortified gate was placed, which closed the narrow road; it was,
however, left open in time of peace. The low ground and the heights
on the sides were rendered inaccessible by strong and lofty walls.

The view became more delightful at every step: romantic valleys and
ravines, picturesque masses and walls of rock lay on both sides,
immeasurable valleys spread themselves out behind the mountains,
while in front the view swept over an extensive open plain, at the
commencement of which lay the fortress of Adjunta. We had already
reached it at about 8 o'clock in the morning. Captain Gill resides
in Adjunta, and I had letters of introduction to him from Mr.
Hamilton. When I expressed a wish, after the first greeting was
over, to visit the famous rock temples of Adjunta, he deeply
regretted that he had not received a letter from me four-and-twenty
hours sooner, as the temples were nearer to Furdapoor than to
Adjunta. What was to be done? I was resolved upon seeing them, and
had but little time to lose, so I decided upon retracing my way. I
only provided myself with a small stock of provisions, and
immediately mounted one of the horses from the captain's stable,
which brought me past the rocky pass in a good hour. The road
towards the temples here turns off to the right into desolate,
barren mountain valleys, whose death-like stillness was unbroken by
the breathing of an animal, or the song of a bird. This place was
well calculated to raise and excite expectations.

The temples, twenty-seven in number, are excavated in tall
perpendicular cliffs, which form a semicircle. In some of the
cliffs there are two stories of temples, one over the other; paths
lead to the top, but these are so narrow and broken, that one is
frequently at a loss where to set the foot. Beneath are terrible
chasms, in which a mountain stream loses itself; overhead, the
smooth rocky surface extends several hundred feet in height. The
majority of the temples are quadrangular in form, and the approach
to the interior is through verandahs and handsome gateways, which,
from being supported on columns, appear to bear the weight of the
whole mass of rock. These temples are called "Vihara." In the
larger one I counted twenty-eight, in the smallest eight pillars.
On one, and sometimes on both side-walls, there is a very small dark
cell, in which most probably the priest lived. In the background,
in a large and lofty cell, is the sanctuary. Here are gigantic
figures in every position; some measure more than eighteen feet, and
nearly reach to the roof of the temple, which is about twenty-four
feet high. The walls of the temples and verandahs are full of idols
and statues of good and evil spirits. In one of the temples, a
battle of giants is represented. The figures are above life size,
and the whole of the figures, columns, verandahs and gateways, are
cut out of the solid rock. The enormous number and remarkable
beauty of the sculptures and reliefs on the columns, capitals,
friezes, gateways, and even on the roof of the temples, is indeed
most astonishing; the variety in the designs and devices is
inexhaustible. It appears incredible that human hands should have
been able to execute such masterly and gigantic works. The Brahmins
do, indeed, ascribe their origin to supernatural agencies, and
affirm that the era of their creation cannot be ascertained.

Remains of paintings are found on the walls, ceiling, and pillars,
the colours of which are brighter and fresher than those of many
modern works of art.

The second class of temples have an oval form, and have majestic
lofty portals leading immediately into the interior; they are called
chaitya. The largest of these temples has on each side a colonnade
of nineteen pillars--the smallest, one of eight; in these there are
no verandahs, no priest's cells, and no sanctuaries. Instead of the
latter, a high monument stands at the extremity of the temple. Upon
one of these monuments an upright figure of the deity Buddha is
sculptured in a standing position. On the walls of the larger
temple gigantic figures are hewn out of the solid rock, and under
these a sleeping Buddha, twenty-one feet in length.

After I had wandered about here for some hours, and had seen enough
of each of the temples, I was led back to one of them, and saw there
a small table well covered with eatables and drinkables, inviting me
to a welcome meal. Captain Gill had been so kind as to send after
me a choice tiffen, together with table and chairs, into this
wilderness. Thus refreshed and invigorated, I did not find the
return fatiguing. The house in which Captain Gill lives at Adjunta
is very remarkably situated: a pleasant little garden, with flowers
and shrubs, surrounds the front, which commands a view of a fine
plain, while the back stands upon the edge of a most fearful
precipice, over which the dizzy glance loses itself among steep
crags and terrible gorges and chasms.

As Captain Gill had learnt that I wished to visit the famous
fortress of Dowlutabad, he told me that no one was admitted without
the permission of the commander of Auranjabad; but, to spare my
going out of my way (as the fortress lies on this side of
Auranjabad), he offered to send a courier there immediately, and
order him to bring the card of admission to me at Elora. The
courier had to travel altogether a distance of 140 miles--70 there
and as many back. I looked upon all these attentions as the more
obliging, as they were shown to me--a German woman, without
distinction or attractions--by English people.

4th March. At 4 o'clock in the morning, the good captain joined me
at the breakfast table; half an hour later, I was seated in my
waggon and travelling towards the village of Bongeloda, which I
reached the same day.

5th March. Roja is one of the most ancient towns of India. It has
a gloomy aspect; the houses are one story high, and built of large
square stones, blackened by age; the doors and windows are few in
number and irregularly situated.

Outside the town lay a handsome bungalow with two rooms; but, as I
was informed that it was occupied by Europeans, I decided upon not
going there, and took up my quarters for the night under the eaves
of a house.

The country between this and Adjunta is a flat plain; the parched
heaths and poor jungles are interspersed with beautiful plantations.
The land near Pulmary was especially well cultivated.

6th March. Early in the morning, I mounted a horse for the purpose
of visiting the equally-renowned rock temples of Elora (ten miles
from Roja). But, as it frequently happens in life that the proverb,
"man proposes and God disposes," proves true, such was the case in
the present instance--instead of the temples, I saw a tiger-hunt.

I had scarcely left the gates of the town behind, when I perceived a
number of Europeans seated upon elephants, coming from the bungalow.
On meeting each other, we pulled up, and commenced a conversation.
The gentlemen were on the road to search for a tiger-lair, of which
they had received intimation, and invited me, if such a sport would
not frighten me too much, to take part in it. I was greatly
delighted to receive the invitation, and was soon seated on one of
the elephants, in a howdah about two feet high, in which there were
already two gentlemen and a native--the latter had been brought to
load the guns. They gave me a large knife to defend myself with, in
case the animal should spring too high and reach the side of the

Thus prepared, we approached the chain of hills, and, after a few
hours, were already pretty near the lair of the tigers, when our
servants cried out quite softly, "Bach, bach!" and pointed with
their fingers to some brushwood. I had scarcely perceived the
flaming eyes which glared out of one of the bushes before shots were
fired. Several balls took effect on the animal, who rushed,
maddened, upon us. He made such tremendous springs, that I thought
every moment he must reach the howdah and select a victim from among
us. The sight was terrible to see, and my apprehensions were
increased by the appearance of another tiger; however, I kept myself
so calm, that none of the gentlemen had any suspicion of what was
going on in my mind. Shot followed shot; the elephants defended
their trunks with great dexterity by throwing them up or drawing
them in. After a sharp contest of half an hour, we were the
victors, and the dead animals were triumphantly stripped of their
beautiful skins. The gentlemen politely offered me one of them as a
present; but I declined accepting it, as I could not postpone my
journey sufficiently long for it to be dried. They complimented me
on my courage, and added, that such sport would be extremely
dangerous if the elephants were not particularly well trained; above
all, they must not be afraid of the tigers, nor even stir from the
spot; for, if they ran away, the hunters would be upset by the
branches of the trees, or be left hanging upon them, when they would
certainly become the victims of the bloodthirsty animals. It was
too late to visit the temples today, and I therefore waited till the
next morning.

The temples of Elora lie on that kind of table-land which is
peculiar to India. The principal temple, Kylas, is the most
wonderful of all those which are hewn out of the rock. It
surpasses, in magnitude and finish, the best specimens of Indian
architecture; it is, indeed, affirmed to have claims to precedence
over the marvellous buildings of the ancient Egyptians. The Kylas
is of conical form, 120 feet in height and 600 in circumference.
For the construction of this masterwork, a colossal block was
separated from the solid rock by a passage 240 feet long and 100
broad. The interior of the temple consists of a principal hall (66
feet long by 100 broad), and several adjoining halls, which are all
furnished with sculptures and gigantic idols; but the real
magnificence consists in the rich and beautiful sculptures on the
exterior, in the tastefully-executed arabesques, and in the fine
pinnacles and niches, which are cut out on the tower. The temple
rests on the backs of numerous elephants and tigers, which lie next
to each other in peaceful attitudes. Before the principal entrance,
to which several flights of steps lead, stand two figures of
elephants above life-size. The whole is, as has been said before,
hewn from a single mass of rock. The cliff from which this immense
block was separated surrounds the temple, on three sides, at a
distance of 100 feet, forming colossal perpendicular walls, in
which, as at Adjunta, enormous colonnades, larger and smaller
temples, from two to three stories high, are excavated. The
principal temple is called Rameswur, and somewhat exceeds in size
the largest vichara at Adjunta; its breadth is ninety-eight feet, it
extends into the rock 102 feet, and the height of the ceiling is
twenty-four feet; it is supported by twenty-two pilasters, and
covered with the most beautiful sculptures, reliefs, and colossal
gods, among which the principal group represents the marriage of the
god Ram and the goddess Seeta. A second vichara, nearly as handsome
as this last, is called Laoka; the principal figure in this is

Not far distant, a number of similar temples are excavated in
another rock. They are much more simple, with unattractive portals
and plain columns; therefore, not to be compared with those at
Adjunta. This task would have been impossible if the rock had been
granite or a similar primitive foundation; unfortunately, I could
not ascertain what the rock was, I only examined the pieces which
were here and there chipped off, and which were very easily broken.
It is not with the less astonishment that one contemplates these
surprising works, which will always be considered as inimitable
monuments of human ingenuity.

The temple of Kylas is, unfortunately, somewhat decayed from age and
the destructive action of the weather. It is a sad pity that the
only monument of this kind in the world will, by-and-bye, fall into
ruins. Towards 11 o'clock in the morning I returned to Roja, and
immediately continued my journey to the famous fortress Dowlutabad,
having safely received the admission in Roja.

The distance was only eight miles; but the roads were execrably bad,
and there was a mountain-pass to cross similar to that near Adjunta.
The fortress, one of the oldest and strongest in India, is
considered as the most remarkable of its kind, not only in the
Deccan but in all India. It presents a most imposing aspect, and is
situated upon a peak of rock 600 feet high, which stands isolated in
a beautiful plain, and appears to have been separated from the
adjoining mountains by some violent natural convulsion. The
circumference of this rock amounts to about a mile. It is cut round
perpendicularly to a height of 130 feet and thirty feet below the
top of the moat by which it is surrounded, which cutting is equally
perpendicular, so that the whole height of the escarpment is 160
feet, and the rock, consequently, inaccessible. There is no pathway
leading to the fortress, and I was, therefore, extremely curious to
know by what means the summit was reached. In the side of the rock
itself was a very low iron door, which is only visible in time of
peace, as the ditch can be filled a foot above its level when
required. Torches were lighted, and I was carefully conducted
through narrow low passages, which led with numerous windings
upwards through the body of the rock. These passages were closed in
many places by massive iron gates. Some considerable distance above
the precipitous part of the rock, we again emerged into the open
air; narrow paths and steps, protected by strongly-fortified works,
led from this place to the highest point. The latter was somewhat
flattened, (140 feet in diameter), completely undermined, and so
contrived, that it could be heated red-hot. A cannon, twenty-three
feet long, was planted here.

At the foot of this fortress are scattered numerous ruins, which, I
was told, were the remains of a very important town; nothing is left
of it now except the fortified walls, three or four feet deep, which
must be passed to reach the peak of rock itself.

In the same plain, but near to the range of mountains, standing on a
separate elevation, is a considerably larger fortress than
Dowlutabad, but of far inferior strength.

The numerous fortresses, as well as the fortified towns, were, as I
here learned, the remnants of past times, when Hindostan was divided
into a great number of states, continually at war with each other.
The inhabitants of the towns and villages never went out unarmed;
they had spies continually on the watch; and to secure themselves
from sudden attacks, drove their herds inside the walls every night,
and lived in a continual state of siege. In consequence of the
unceasing warfare which prevailed, bands of mounted robbers were
formed, frequently consisting of as many as ten or twelve thousand
men, who too often starved out and overcame the inhabitants of the
smaller towns, and completely destroyed their young crops. These
people were then compelled to enter into a contract with these wild
hordes, and to buy themselves off by a yearly tribute.

Since the English have conquered India, peace and order have been
everywhere established; the walls decay and are not repaired; the
people indeed frequently wear arms, but more from habit than

The distance from Dowlutabad to Auranjabad was eight miles. I was
already much fatigued, for I had visited the temples, ridden eight
miles over the mountain pass, and mounted to the top of the fortress
during the greatest heat; but I looked forward to the night, which I
preferred passing in a house and a comfortable bed, rather than
under an open verandah; and, seating myself in my waggon, desired
the driver to quicken the pace of his weary oxen as much as



On the 7th of March, late in the evening, I reached Auranjabad.
Captain Stewart, who lived outside the town, received me with the
same cordiality as the other residents had done.

8th March. Captain Stewart and his wife accompanied me this morning
to the town to show me its objects of interest, which consisted of a
monument and a sacred pool. Auranjabad is the capital of the
Deccan, has 60,000 inhabitants, and is partly in ruins.

The monument, which is immediately outside the town, was built more
than two hundred years since by the Sultan Aurung-zeb-Alemgir, in
memory of his daughter. It by no means deserves to be compared to
the great Tadsch at Agra. It is a mosque, with a lofty arched dome
and four minarets. The building is covered all round--the lower
part of the outside with a coating of white marble five feet high;
the upper portion is cased with fine white cement, which is worked
over with ornamental flowers and arabesques. The entrance doors are
beautifully inlaid with metal, on which flowers and ornamental
designs are engraved in a highly artistic manner. Unfortunately,
the monument is already much decayed; one of the minarets is half
fallen in ruins. In the mosque stands a plain sarcophagus,
surrounded by a marble trellis-work. Both have nothing in common
with the great Tadsch beyond the white marble of which they are
constructed; in richness and artistic execution, they are so much
inferior, that I could not understand how any one could be led to
make so incredible a comparison.

Near the mosque lies a pretty marble hall, surrounded by a neglected

The reigning king would have removed the marble from this monument
for use in some building in which he was to be interred! He
requested permission to do so from the English government. The
answer was to the effect, that he could do so if he wished, but he
should remember, that if he had so little respect for the monuments
of his predecessors, his own might experience a similar fate. This
answer induced him to relinquish his intentions.

The pool considered sacred by the Mahomedans is a large basin,
constructed of square stones. It is full of large pikes, none of
which, however, are allowed to be taken; in fact, there is an
attendant appointed to supply them with food. The fish are
consequently so tame and familiar, that they will eat turnips,
bread, etc., out of the hand. The rainy season causes the death of
many of them: were it not for this fortunate circumstance, the pool
would before long contain more fish than water. Since the English
have come here, the attendants are said not to be so conscientious,
and very often smuggle fish out of the pool into the English
kitchens, for the sake of a little ready money.

After spending a very agreeable day, I took a hearty farewell of my
friendly hostess, and continued my journey in a fresh waggon towards
Puna, 136 miles distant.

9th March. Toka. The roads here began to be better, and there were
bungalows to be had on payment of the ordinary fees.

10th March. Emanpoor, a small village situated on the summit of a
chain of hills. I found here the handsomest bungalow I had seen
during the whole journey from Benares to Bombay.

11th March. We passed the whole day in travelling through a barren
country, over naked hills and mountains: the majestic solitary
trees with the wells had already ceased at Auranjabad.

Towards noon we passed the very flourishing town of Ahmednugger, in
the neighbourhood of which a large English military station is

12th March. The bungalow at Serur was too near, that at Candapoor
too distant. I therefore decided upon taking up my quarters for the
night under the eaves of a house.

13th March. In Candapoor there are some handsome Hindoo temples and
several small Mahomedan monuments. Near Lony is a large English
military station. I also found an obelisk erected there in memory
of a battle won by 1,200 English against 20,000 natives.

14th March. Puna. I had endless trouble here to find Mr. Brown, to
whom I had an introduction from Mr. Hamilton. The Europeans reside
in all parts of the town, for the most part miles apart, and I had
the misfortune to meet with some who were not the most polite, and
did not consider it worth taking the trouble to give me information.
Mr. Brown, on the contrary, received me as kindly as I could desire.

His first inquiry was whether any accident had happened to me on the
road. He told me that, only a short time since, an officer was
robbed between Suppa and Puna, and as he attempted to defend
himself, was murdered; but he added that such instances were
extraordinarily rare.

I had arrived about noon. After dinner, Mr. Brown conducted me to
the town, which belongs to the East India Company. It contains
15,000 inhabitants, and is situated at the junction of the rivers
Mulla and Mutta, over both of which handsome bridges are thrown.
The streets are broad and kept clean; the houses, like those in
Udjein, are furnished with false wooden walls. Some were painted
all over, and belonged mostly, as I was informed, to fakirs, with
whom the town swarmed.

It was the month in which the Hindoos prefer to celebrate their
marriages, and we met in several streets merry processions of that
kind. The bridegroom is enveloped in a purple mantle, his turban
dressed out with gold tinsel, tresses, ribbons, and tassels, so that
from a distance it appears like a rich crown. The depending ribbons
and tassels nearly cover the whole face. He is seated upon a horse;
relatives, friends, and guests surround him on foot. When he
reaches the house of the bride, the doors and windows of which are
securely closed, he seats himself quietly and patiently on the
threshold. The female relations and friends also gather together
here, without conversing much with the bridegroom and the other men.
This scene continues unchanged until nightfall. The bridegroom then
departs with his friends; a closely covered waggon, which has been
held in readiness, is drawn up to the door; the females slip into
the house, bring out the thickly-veiled bride, push her into the
waggon, and follow her with the melodious music of the tam-tam. The
bride does not start until the bridegroom has been gone a quarter of
an hour. The women then accompany her into the bridegroom's house,
which, however, they leave soon afterwards. The music is kept up in
front of the house until late in the night. It is only the
marriages of the lower classes that are celebrated in this manner.

There is a road leading from Puna to Pannwell, a distance of seventy
miles, and travellers can post all the way. From Pannwell to Bombay
the journey is made by water. I adhered to the cheaper baili, and
Mr. Brown was so obliging as to procure one for me, and to lend me a

On the 15th of March I again set out, and on the same day arrived at
Woodgown, a village with one of the dirtiest bungalows in which I
ever made up my bed.

16th March. Cumpuily. The country between this place and Woodgown
is the most beautiful that I saw in India; the view from a mountain
some miles on this side of Kundalla, was particularly striking. The
spectator stands here in the midst of an extensive mountainous
district: peaks of the most diversified forms are piled in numerous
rows above and alongside of each other, presenting the most
beautiful and variegated outlines.

There are, also, enormous terraces of rock, flattened cones of
peaks, with battlements and pinnacles, which at first sight might be
taken for ruins and fortresses. In one place the lofty roof of a
majestic building presents itself--in another, a gigantic Gothic
tower rises aloft. The volcanic form of the Tumel mountain is the
most uncommon object which meets the eye. Beyond the mountains
extends a wide plain, at the extremity of which lies the polished
surface of the long wished-for ocean. The greater part of the
mountains is covered with beautiful green woods. I was so much
delighted with the extreme beauty of the prospect, that I
congratulated myself for the first time on the slow pace of my
sleepy oxen.

The village of Karly lies between Woodgown and Kundalla; it is
famous on account of its temples, which are about two miles distant.
I did not visit them, because I was assured that they were not half
so interesting as those at Adjunta and Elora.

Kundalla lies upon a mountain plateau. There are several pretty
country-houses here, to which many European families, from the
neighbourhood of Bombay, resort during the hot weather.

In the Deccan, and the province of Bombay, I found the natives were
less handsome than in Bengal and Hindostan; their features were much
coarser, and not so open and amiable.

For several days we have again met very large trains of oxen, some
of the drivers of which had their families with them. The females
of these people were very ragged and dirty, and at the same time
loaded with finery. The whole body was covered with coloured
woollen borderings and fringes, the arms with bracelets of metal,
bone, and glass beads; even to the ears large woollen tassels were
hung, in addition to the usual ornaments, and the feet were loaded
with heavy rings and chains. Thus bedecked, the beauties sat on the
backs of the oxen, or walked by the side of the animals.

17th March. Since the attack of the negroes in Brazil, I had not
been in such a fright as I was today. My driver had appeared to me,
during the whole journey, somewhat odd in his manner, or rather
foolish: sometimes abusing his oxen, sometimes caressing them,
shouting to the passers-by, or turning round and staring at me for
some minutes together. However, as I had a servant with me who
always walked by the baili, I paid little attention to him. But
this morning my servant had gone on, without my consent, to the next
station, and I found myself alone with this foolish driver, and on a
rather secluded road. After some time he got down from the waggon,
and went close behind it. The bailis are only covered over at the
sides with straw matting, and are open at the front and back; I
could therefore observe what he was doing, but I would not turn
round, as I did not wish to make him think that I suspected him. I,
however, moved my head gradually on one side to enable me to watch
his proceedings. He soon came in front again, and, to my terror,
took from the waggon the hatchet which every driver carries with
him, and again retired behind. I now thought nothing less than that
he had evil intentions, but I could not fly from him, and dare not,
of course, evince any fear. I very gently and unobserved drew my
mantle towards me, rolled it together, so that I might, at least,
protect my head with it, in case he made a blow at me with the

He kept me for some time in this painful state of suspense, then
seated himself on his place and stared at me, got down again, and
repeated the same proceedings several times. It was not until after
a long hour that he laid the hatchet on one side, remained sitting
on the waggon, and contented himself with gaping vacantly at me
every now and then. At the end of a second hour we reached the
station where my servant was, and I did not allow him to leave my
side again.

The villages through which we passed today were of the most wretched
description; the walls of the huts were constructed of rushes, or
reeds, covered with palm leaves; some had no front wall.

These villages are chiefly inhabited by Mahrattas, a race which
were, at one period, rather powerful in India, and indeed in the
whole peninsula. They were, however, expelled from Hindostan by the
Mongols, in the eighteenth century, and fled into the mountains
which extend from Surata to Goa. During the present century, the
majority of these people were compelled to place themselves under
the protection of the English. The only Mahratta prince who still
maintains, in any degree, his independence, is the Scindiah; the
others receive pensions.

The Mahrattas are adherent to the religion of Brahma. They are
powerfully built; the colour of their skin varies from dirty black
to clear brown; their features are repulsive and ill-formed. They
are inured to all manner of hardships, live chiefly upon rice and
water, and their disposition is represented as being morose,
revengeful, and savage. They excite themselves to fighting by means
of opium, or Indian hemp, which they smoke like tobacco.

In the afternoon, I reached the little town of Pannwell. Travellers
embark, towards the evening, in boats, and proceed down the river
Pannwell to the sea, reaching Bombay about morning.

I had safely completed the long and tedious journey from Delhi to
Pannwell in seven weeks. For having accomplished it I was
especially indebted to the English officials, who afforded me both
advice and assistance; their humanity, their cordial friendliness I
shall ever remember. I again offer them my most sincere and warmest
thanks; and the greatest compliment which I can pay them is the wish
that my own countrymen, the Austrian consuls and ambassadors,
resembled them!

At Bombay I stayed at the country-house of the Hamburgh consul, Herr
Wattenbach, intending only to draw upon his hospitality for a few
days, and to leave as soon as possible, in order to take advantage
of the monsoon {225} in my passage through the Arabian and Persian
seas. Days, however, grew into weeks, for the favourable time was
already past, and the opportunity of meeting with ship conveyance
was there very rare.

Herr Wattenbach made my stay in Bombay very agreeable; he showed me
everything worth seeing, and accompanied me in excursions to
Elephanta and Salsette.

Bombay lies on a small but remarkably pretty island, which is
separated from the mainland by a very narrow arm of the sea; its
extent is about five square miles, and it is inhabited by 250,000
souls. Bombay is the principal town of Western India, and as its
harbour is the best and safest on the whole west coast, it is the
chief seat of commerce for the produce and manufactures of India,
the Malay country, Persia, Arabia, and Abyssinia. In a commercial
respect, it stands only second to Calcutta. In Bombay, every
language of the civilized world is to be heard, and the costumes and
habits of every nation are to be seen. The finest view of the whole
island and town of Bombay, as well as the neighbouring islands of
Salsette, Elephanta, Kolabeh, Caranjah, and the mainland, is to be
had from the Malabar point. The country, at some distance from the
town, consists chiefly of low hills, which are covered with
beautiful woods of cocoa-nut and date-trees; in the plain
surrounding the town there are also many such groves divided into
gardens by walls. The natives are very fond of building their
dwellings under the dark shadows of these trees; while, on the
contrary, the Europeans seek for as much light and air as possible.
The country-houses of the latter are handsome and convenient, but
not to be compared with those of Calcutta, either in size or
magnificence. The town lies on a level, along the sea-shore.

The active life of the rich inland and European commercial
population must be sought for in the fortified parts of the town,
which constitute a large quadrangle. Here is to be found
merchandise from all parts of the world. The streets are handsome,
the large square called The Green especially so. The buildings most
remarkable for their architectural beauty are the Town-hall, whose
saloon has no equal, the English Church, the Governor's Palace, and
the Mint.

The Open Town and the Black Town {226} adjoin the fortified
portions, and are considerably larger. In the Open Town, the
streets are very regular and broad, more so than any other Indian
city that I saw; they are also carefully watered. I observed many
houses decorated with artistically-carved wooden pillars, capitals,
and galleries. The bazaar is an object of great interest; not, as
many travellers affirm, on account of the richness of the
merchandise, of which there is not more to be seen than in other
bazaars--in fact, there is not even any of the beautiful wood mosaic
work of which Bombay produces the finest--but from the diversity of
people, which is greater here than anywhere else. Three parts,
indeed, are Hindoos, and the fourth Mahomedans, Persians, Fire-
worshippers, Mahrattas, Jews, Arabs, Bedouins, Negroes, descendants
of Portuguese, several hundred Europeans, and even some Chinese and
Hottentots. It requires a long time to be able to distinguish the
people of the different nations by their dress and the formation of
their faces.

The most wealthy among people owning property here are the Fire-
worshippers, called also Gebers, or Parsees. They were expelled
from Persia about 1,200 years since, and settled down along the west
coast of India. As they are remarkably industrious and hard-
working, very well disposed and benevolent, there are no poor, no
beggars to be found among them--all appear to be prosperous. The
handsome houses in which the Europeans reside mostly belong to them;
they are the largest owners of land, ride out in the most beautiful
carriages, and are surrounded by innumerable servants. One of the
richest of them--Jamsetize-Jeejeebhoy--built, at his own expense, a
handsome hospital in the Gothic style, and provides European medical
men and receives the sick of every religious denomination. He was
knighted by the English government, and is certainly the first
Hindoo who could congratulate himself on such a distinction.

While speaking of the Fire-worshippers, I will relate all that I
myself saw of them, as well as what I learnt from Manuckjee-
Cursetjee, one of the most cultivated and distinguished among them.

The Fire-worshippers believe in one Supreme Being. They pay the
greatest reverence to the four elements, and especially to the
element of fire, and to the sun, because they look upon them as
emblems of the Supreme Being. Every morning they watch for the
rising sun, and hasten out of their houses, and even outside of the
town, to greet it immediately with prayers. Besides the elements,
the cow is considered sacred by them.

Soon after my arrival, I went one morning upon the esplanade of the
town for the purpose of seeing the great number of Parsees {227}
who, as I had read, assembled themselves there waiting for the first
rays of the sun, on the appearance of which, as if at a given
signal, they throw themselves on the ground, and raise a loud cry of
joy. I, however, merely saw several Parsees, not in groups, but
standing separately here and there, reading silently from a book, or
murmuring a prayer to themselves. These did not even come at the
same time, for many arrived as late as 9 o'clock.

It was precisely the same with the corpses which are stated to be
exposed upon the roofs for the birds of prey to feed upon. I saw
not a single one. In Calcutta, Mr. V---, who had but recently come
from Bombay, assured me that he had himself seen many. I cannot
believe that the English government would permit such a barbarous
proceeding, and one so prejudicial to health. But I must resume my
narrative. My first question, after I had been introduced to
Manuckjee, was as to the manner in which the Parsees bury their
dead. He conducted me to a hill outside the town, and pointed out a
wall, four-and-twenty feet high, enclosing a round space of about
sixty feet in diameter. He told me that within this wall there was
a bier, with three partitions, built up, and near to it a large pit
excavated. The bodies of the deceased are placed upon the bier, the
men on the first, the women on the second, and children on the third
compartment, and are fastened down with iron bands; and, according
to the commands of their religion, are left exposed to the action of
the element of air. The birds of prey, which always gather in large
swarms round such places, fall upon the bodies ravenously, and in a
few minutes devour the flesh and skin; the bones are gathered up and
thrown into the cave. When this becomes full, the place is
abandoned and another erected.

Many wealthy people have private burial-places, over which they have
fine wire gauze stretched, so that the deceased members of their
family may not be stripped of their flesh by birds of prey.

No one is allowed to enter the burial-ground except the priests, who
carry the bodies; even the door is rapidly closed, for only one
glance into it would be a sin. The priests, or rather bearers, are
considered so impure that they are excluded from all other society,
and form a separate caste. Whoever has the misfortune to brush
against one of these men, must instantly throw off his clothes and

The Parsees are not less exclusive with respect to their temples; no
one of any other belief is allowed to enter them, or even to look
in. The temples which I saw here, of course only from the outside,
are very small, extremely plain, and destitute of the slightest
peculiarity of architecture; the round entrance-hall surrounds a
kind of fore-court, enclosed by a wall. I was only allowed to go as
far as the entrance of the wall leading to the fore-court. The
handsomest temple in Bombay {228} is a small unimportant building,
and I must again contradict those descriptions which make so much of
the beautiful temples of the Fire-worshippers.

As I was informed by Manuckjee, the fire burns in a kind of iron
vase, in a completely empty, unornamented temple or apartment. The
Parsees affirm that the fire which burns in the principal temple,
and at which all the others are lighted, originates from the fire
which their prophet, Zoroaster, lighted in Persia 4,000 years since.
When they were driven out of Persia they took it with them. This
fire is not fed with ordinary wood alone; more costly kinds, such as
sandal, rose-wood, and such like, are mixed with it.

The priests are called magi, and in each temple there is a
considerable number of them. They are distinguished, as regards
their dress, from the other Parsees, only by a white turban. They
are allowed to marry.

The women visit the temple generally at different hours from the
men. They are not forbidden to go there at the same time as the
latter; but they never do so, and, indeed, very seldom go at all. A
pious Parsee is supposed to pray daily four times, and each time for
an hour; for this purpose, however, it is not necessary that he
should go to the temple; he fixes his eyes upon fire, earth, or
water, or stares into the open air. Whoever finds four hours of
prayer daily too much, ingratiates himself with the priests, who are
humane and considerate, like the priests of other religions, and
willingly release applicants from their cares for the consideration
of a moderate gift.

The Parsees prefer offering up their prayers in the morning in the
presence of the sun, which they honour the most, as the greatest and
most sacred fire. The worship of fire is carried to such an extent
by them that they do not pursue any trades which require the use of
fire, neither will they fire a gun, or extinguish a light. They let
their kitchen-fires burn out. Many travellers even affirm that they
will not assist in extinguishing a conflagration; but this is not
the case. I was assured that on such an occasion, some years since,
many Parsees had been seen giving their help to put the fire out.

Manuckjee was so obliging as to invite me to his house, that I might
become acquainted in some degree with the mode of life of Parsee
families; he also conducted me to the houses of several of his

I found the rooms furnished in the European manner, with chairs,
tables, sofas, ottomans, pictures, mirrors, etc. The dress of the
women was little different from that of the more wealthy Hindoos; it
was more decorous, as it was not made of transparent muslin, but of
silk; and they had, moreover, trousers. The silk was richly
embroidered with gold, which luxury is extended to three-year old
children. The younger ones, and even the newly-born infants, are
wrapped in plain silk stuff. The children wore little caps, worked
with gold and silver. The Parsee women consider gold ornaments,
pearl and precious stones as necessary a part of their dress as the
Hindoos; even in the house they wear a great quantity, but when
visiting, or on the occasion of any festival, the jewellery of a
wealthy Parsee woman is said to exceed in value 100,000 rupees
(10,000 pounds). Children of only seven or eight months old, wear
finger-rings and bracelets of precious stones or pearls.

The dress of the men consists of wide trousers and long kaftans.
The shirts and trousers are chiefly made of white silk, the jacket
of white muslin. The turban differs greatly from that of the
Mahomedans; it is a cap of pasteboard, covered with coloured stuff
or waxed cloth, ten or twelve inches high.

Both men and women wear round their waists, over the shirt, a girdle
passing twice round, which they take off during prayers and hold in
their hands; with this exception, they are never seen without it.
The law is so strict with regard to the point, that whoever does not
wear the girdle is driven out of society. No agreement or contract
is valid if the girdle is not worn when it is made. The children
begin to wear it when they reach their ninth year. Before this
ceremony, they do not belong to the community; they may even eat of
food prepared by Christians, and the girls can accompany their
fathers in a public place. The girdle changes all; the son eats at
his father's table, the girls remain at home, etc.

A second religious ordinance relates to the shirt; this must be cut
of a certain length and breadth, and consist of nine seams, which
are folded over each other on the breast in a peculiar manner.

A Parsee is allowed to have only one wife. If the wife has no
children, or only girls, during a period of nine years, he can, if
she consents, be divorced from her, and marry another; he must,
however, still provide for her. She can also marry again.
According to the religious belief of the Parsee, he is certain to
enjoy perfect happiness in a future state of existence if he has a
wife and a son in this life.

The Parsees are not divided into castes. In the course of time the
Parsees have acquired many of the customs of the Hindoos. For
example, the women are not allowed to show themselves in public
places; in the house they are separated from the men, take their
meals alone, and are, upon the whole, considered more as mere
property. The girls are promised when children, and betrothed to
the man when in their fourteenth year; if, however, the bridegroom
dies, the parents can seek for another. It is considered by the
Parsees to be a disgrace if the father does not find a husband for
his daughter.

The Parsee women, however, enjoy far more freedom in their houses
than the unfortunate Hindoos: they are allowed to sit even at the
front windows, and sometimes be present when their husbands receive
visits from their male friends, and on both occasions without being

The Parsees may be easily distinguished from all other Asiatic
people by their features, and especially by the lighter colour of
their skin. Their features are rather regular, but somewhat sharp,
and the cheekbones are broad. I did not think them so handsome as
the Mahomedans and Hindoos.

Manuckjee is a great exception to his country people. He is,
perhaps, the first who has visited Paris, London, and a considerable
part of Italy. He was so well pleased with European manners and
customs, that on his return he endeavoured to introduce several
reforms among the people of his sect. Unfortunately, he was
unsuccessful. He was decried as a man who did not know what he
would be doing, and many withdrew from him their friendship and
respect in consequence.

He allows his family to go about the house with freedom; but even
there he cannot depart much from established custom, as he does not
wish to separate entirely from his sect. His daughters are educated
in the European method; the eldest plays a little on the piano,
embroiders, and sews. She wrote a small paragraph in English in my
album very well. Her father did not engage her as a child, but
wished that her own inclinations might correspond with his selection
of a husband. I was told that she would probably not meet with one,
because she is educated too much in the European style; she is
already fourteen years of age, and her father has not yet provided
her with a bridegroom.

When I first visited this house, the mother and daughters were
seated in a drawing-room, engaged with needlework. I remained
during their meal-time, a liberty which an orthodox Parsee would not
have afforded to me; I was not, however, allowed to join them at
table. It was first laid for me, and I ate alone. Several dishes
were placed before me, which, with slight deviations, were prepared
in the European manner. Everyone, with the exception of the master
of the house, watched with surprise the way in which I used a knife
and fork; even the servants stared at this, to them, singular
spectacle. When I had sufficiently appeased my appetite in this
public manner, the table was as carefully brushed as if I had been
infected with the plague. Flat cakes of bread were then brought and
laid upon the uncovered table, instead of plates, and six or seven
of the same dishes which had been served to me. The members of the
family each washed their hands and faces, and the father said a
short grace. All except the youngest child, who was only six years
of age, sat at the table, and reached with their right hands into
the different dishes. They tore the flesh from the bones, separated
the fish into pieces, and then dipped the pieces into the various
soups and sauces, and threw them with such dexterity into the mouth,
that they did not touch their lips with their fingers. Whoever
accidentally does, must immediately get up and wash his hand again,
or else place before him the dish into which he has put his unwashed
hand, and not touch any other one. The left hand is not used during
the whole meal time.

This mode of eating appears, indeed, very uninviting; but it is, in
fact, not at all so; the hand is washed, and does not touch anything
but the food. It is the same in drinking; the vessel is not put to
the lips, but the liquid is very cleverly poured into the open
mouth. Before the children have acquired this dexterity in eating
and drinking, they are not permitted, even when they wear the
girdle, to come to the table of the adults.

The most common drink in Bombay is called sud or toddy, a kind of
light spirituous beverage which is made from the cocoa and date-
palm. The taxes upon these trees are very high; the latter are, as
in Egypt, numbered and separately assessed. A tree which is only
cultivated for fruit, pays from a quarter to half a rupee (6d. to
1s.); those from which toddy is extracted, from three-quarters to
one rupee each. The people here do not climb the palm-trees by
means of rope-ladders, but they cut notches in the tree, in which
they set their feet.

During my stay here, an old Hindoo woman died near to Herr
Wattenbach's house, which circumstance gave me an opportunity of
witnessing an Indian funeral. As soon as she began to show signs of
death, the women about her every now and then set up a horrible
howling, which they continued at short intervals after her decease.
Presently, small processions of six or eight women approached, who
also commenced howling as soon as they discovered the house of the
mourners. These women all entered the house. The men, of whom
there were a great number present, seated themselves quietly in
front of it. At the expiration of some hours, the dead body was
enveloped in a white shroud, laid upon an open bier, and carried by
the men to the place where it was to be burnt. One of them carried
a vessel with charcoal and a piece of lighted wood, for the purpose
of igniting the wood with the fire of the house.

The women remained behind, and collected in front of the house in a
small circle, in the middle of which was placed a woman who was
hired to assist in the lamentations. She commenced a wailing song
of several stanzas, at the end of each of which the whole joined in
chorus; they kept time also by beating their breasts with the right
hand and bowing their heads to the ground. They executed this
movement as quickly and regularly as if they had been dolls worked
by a wire.

After this had been carried on for a quarter of an hour, there was a
short pause, during which the women struck their breasts with both
their fists so violently, that the blows could be heard at some
considerable distance. After each blow, they stretched their hands
up high and bowed their heads very low, all with great regularity
and rapidity. This proceeding seemed even more comical than the
first. After much exertion, they seated themselves round in a ring,
drank toddy, and smoked tobacco.

On the following morning, both men and women repeated their visit.
The former, however, did not enter the house; they lit a fire and
prepared a plain meal. As often as a party of women came, one of
the men went to the house-door and announced them, upon which the
principal mourner came out of the house to receive them. She threw
herself with such violence on the ground before them, that I thought
she would not be able to rise up again; the women struck themselves
with their fists once on their breasts, and then drew their hands to
their heads. The widow raised herself in the meantime, threw
herself impetuously round the necks of each of the women, throwing,
at the same time, her head-dress over the head of her consoler, and
both endeavoured to out-do each other in howling. All these
evolutions were very rapidly performed; a dozen embraces were gone
through in a moment. After the reception, they went into the house
and continued howling at intervals. It was not until sun-set that
all was still, and a supper concluded the whole affair. The women
ate in the house--the men in the open air.

Funerals and marriages always cost the Hindoos a great deal. The
one here described was that of a woman of the poorer class.
Nevertheless, it is considered essential that there should be no
want of toddy during two days, or of provisions for meals, at which
there are an abundance of guests. In addition to this, there is the
wood, which also costs a considerable sum, even when it is only
common wood. The rich, who use on such occasions the most costly
wood, frequently pay more than a thousand rupees (100 pounds).

I once met the funeral procession of a Hindoo child. It lay upon a
cushion, covered with a white sheet, and was strewed with fresh and
beautiful flowers. A man carried it on both his arms as gently and
carefully as if it was sleeping. In this instance, also, there were
only men present.

The Hindoos have no particular festival-day in the week, but
festivals at certain times, which last for some days. I was present
at one of these during my stay, Warusche-Parupu, the New-Year's
festival, which took place on the 11th of April. It was a kind of
fast-night celebration. The principal amusement consisted in
throwing yellow, brown, and red colours over each other, and
painting themselves with the same on their cheeks and foreheads.
The noisy tam-tam, or a couple of violins, headed the procession,
and greater or less followed, who, laughing and singing, danced from
house to house, or from one place to another. Several, indeed, on
this occasion, found the toddy rather too exciting, but not so much
as to lose their consciousness or to exceed the bounds of decorum.
The women do not take part in these public processions; but, in the
evening, both sexes assemble in the houses, where the festivities
are said not to be carried on in the most decorous manner.

Martyrs' festivals are no longer celebrated with full splendour. I
did not see any; their time is past. I was, however, so fortunate
as to see a martyr, to whom great numbers of people flocked. This
holy man had, for three-and-twenty years, held one of his arms
raised up with the hand turned back so far that a flower-pot could
stand upon it. The three-and-twenty years were passed, and the
flower-pot was removed; but neither hand nor arm were to be brought
into any other position, for the muscles had contracted, the arm was
quite withered, and presented a most repulsive appearance.

The Island of Elephanta is about six or eight miles distant from
Bombay. Herr Wattenbach was so kind as to take me there one day. I
saw some rather high mountains, which, however, we did not ascend;
we visited only the temples, which are very near to the landing-

The principal temple resembles the larger viharas at Adjunta, with
the single exception, that it is separated on both sides from the
solid rock, and is connected with it only above, below, and at the
back. In the sanctuary stands a gigantic three-headed bust. Some
believe that it represents the Hindoo Trinity; one of the heads is
full-faced, the two others in profile, one right, the other left.
The bust, including the head-dress, measures certainly as much as
eight feet. On the walls and in the niches, there are a number of
giant statues and figures; in fact, whole scenes of the Hindoo
mythology. The female figures are remarkable; they all have the
left hip turned out, the right turned inwards. The temple appears
to be devoted to the god Shiva.

In the neighbourhood of the large temple stands a smaller one, whose
walls are also covered with deities. Both temples were much injured
by the Portuguese, who, when they conquered the island, in their
noble religious zeal planted cannon before them, in order to destroy
the shocking Pagan temples; in which attempt they succeeded much
better than in the conversion of the Pagans. Several columns are
quite in ruins; nearly all are more or less damaged, and the ground
is covered with fragments. None of either the gods or their
attendants escaped uninjured.

There is a most enchanting view across the sea of the extensive
town, and the delightful hills surrounding it, from the facade of
the large temple. We passed a whole day here very agreeably.
During the hot hours of noon, we amused ourselves by reading in the
cool shadows of the temple. Herr Wattenbach had sent on several
servants previously; among others, the cook, together with tables,
chairs, provisions, books, and newspapers. In my opinion, this was
rather superfluous; but what would my countrywomen have said could
they have seen the English family which we accidentally met with
here; they carried several couches, easy chairs, enormous foot-
stools, a tent, etc., with them. That is what I call a simple
country party!

Salsetta (also called Tiger Island) is united to Bombay by means of
a short artificial dam. The distance from the fort to the village,
behind which the temples are situated, is eighteen miles, which we
travelled, with relays of horses, in three hours. The roads were
excellent, the carriage rolled along as if on a floor.

The natural beauty of this island far exceeds that of Bombay. Not
mere rows of hills, but magnificent mountain chains here raise their
heads, covered even to their summits with thick woods, from which
bare cliffs here and there project; the valleys are planted with
rich fields of corn, and slender green palms.

The island does not appear to be densely populated. I saw only a
few villages and a single small town inhabited by Mahrattas, whose
appearance is as needy and dirty as those near Kundalla.

From the village where we left the carriage we had still three miles
to go to the temples.

The principal temple alone is in the style of a chaitza; but it is
surrounded by an uncommonly high porch, at both extremities of which
idols one-and-twenty feet high stand in niches. Adjoining to the
right is a second temple, which contains several priests' cells,
allegorical figures of deities, and reliefs. Besides these two,
there are innumerable other smaller ones in the rocks, which extend
on both sides from the principal temple; I was told there were more
than a hundred. They are all viharas with the exception of the
principal temple; the greater number, however, are scarcely larger
than ordinary small chambers, and are destitute of any peculiarity.

The rock temples of Elephanta and Salsetta rank, in respect to
magnitude, grandeur, and art, far below those of Adjunta and Elora,
and are of interest only to those who have not seen the latter.

It is said that the temples at Salsetta are not much visited,
because there is considerable danger attending it; the country is
represented to be full of tigers, and so many wild bees are said to
swarm round the temples that it is impossible to enter them; and
moreover the robbers, which are known by the name of bheels, live
all round here. We fortunately met with none of these misfortunes.
Later, indeed, I wandered about here alone. I was not satisfied
with a single sight, and left my friends privately while they were
taking their noon rest, and clambered from rock to rock as far as
the most remote temple. In one I found the skin and horns of a goat
that had been devoured, which sight somewhat frightened me; but
trusting to the unsociability of the tiger, who will rather fly from
a man in broad day than seek him out, I continued my ramble. We
had, as I have said, no danger to resist; it was different with two
gentlemen who, some days later, nearly fell victims, not indeed to
wild beasts, but to wild bees. One of them knocked upon an opening
in the side of the rock, when an immense swarm of bees rushed out
upon them, and it was only by the greatest exertion that they
escaped, miserably stung on the head, face, and hands. This
occurrence was published in the newspapers as a warning for others.

The climate of Bombay is healthier than that of Calcutta; even the
heat is more tolerable on account of the continual sea-breezes,
although Bombay lies five degrees further south. The mosquitoes
here, as in all hot countries, are very tormenting. A centipede
slipped into my bed one evening, but I fortunately discovered it in

I had already decided upon taking my passage in an Arabian boat,
which was to leave for Bassora on the 2nd of April, when Herr
Wattenbach brought the news that on the 10th a small steamer would
make its first voyage to Bassora. This afforded me great pleasure--
I did not suspect that it would happen with a steamer as with a
sailing vessel, whose departure is postponed from day to day;
nevertheless, we did not leave the harbour of Bombay until the 23rd
of April.



The steamer "Sir Charles Forbes" (forty horse-power, Captain
Lichfield) had only two cabins, a small and a large one. The former
had already been engaged for some time by an Englishman, Mr. Ross;
the latter was bespoken by some rich Persians for their wives and
children. I was, therefore, obliged to content myself with a place
upon deck; however, I took my meals at the captain's table, who
showed me the most extreme attention and kindness during the whole

The little vessel was, in the fullest sense of the word, overloaded
with people; the crew alone numbered forty-five; in addition to that
there were 124 passengers, chiefly Persians, Mahomedans, and Arabs.
Mr. Ross and myself were the only Europeans. When this crowd of
persons were collected, there was not the smallest clear space on
the deck; to get from one place to another it was necessary to climb
over innumerable chests and boxes, and at the same time to use great
caution not to tread upon the heads or feet of the people.

In such critical circumstances I looked about immediately to see
where I could possibly secure a good place. I found what I sought,
and was the most fortunate of all the passengers, more so than even
Mr. Ross, who could not sleep any night in his cabin on account of
the heat and insects. My eye fell upon the under part of the
captain's dinner-table, which was fixed upon the stern deck; I took
possession of this place, threw my mantle round me, so that I had a
pretty secure position, and no cause to fear that I should have my
hands, feet, or indeed my head trodden upon.

I was somewhat unwell when I left Bombay, and on the second day of
the voyage a slight attack of bilious fever came on. I had to
contend with this for five days. I crept painfully from my asylum
at meal times to make way for the feet of the people at table. I
did not take any medicine (I carried none with me), but trusted to
Providence and my good constitution.

A much more dangerous malady than mine was discovered on board on
the third day of the voyage. The small-pox was in the large cabin.
Eighteen women and seven children were crammed in there. They had
much less room than the negroes in a slave-ship; the air was in the
highest degree infected, and they were not allowed to go on the
deck, filled as it was with men; even we deck passengers were in
great anxiety lest the bad air might spread itself over the whole
ship through the opened windows. The disease had already broken out
on the children before they were brought on board; but no one could
suspect it, as the women came late at night, thickly veiled, and
enveloped in large mantles, under which they carried the children.
It was only on the third day, when one of the children died, that we
discovered our danger.

The child was wrapped in a white cloth, fastened upon a plank, which
was weighted by some pieces of coal or stone, and lowered into the
sea. At the moment that it touched the water, the waves closed over
it, and it was lost to our sight.

I do not know whether a relation was present at this sad event; I
saw no tears flow. The poor mother might, indeed, have sorrowed,
but she dare not accompany her child; custom forbade it.

Two more deaths occurred, the other invalids recovered, and the
contagion happily did not spread any further.

30th April. Today we approached very near to the Arabian coast,
where we saw a chain of mountains which were barren and by no means
attractive. On the following morning (1st of May) small forts and
watch-towers made their appearance, here and there, upon the peaks
of beautiful groups of rock, and presently, also, a large one was
perceptible upon an extensive mountain at the entrance of a creek.

We came to anchor off the town of Muscat, which lies at the
extremity of the creek. This town, which is subject to an Arabian
prince, is very strongly fortified, and surrounded by several ranges
of extraordinarily formed rocks, all of which are also occupied by
forts and towers. The largest of these excites a sad reminiscence:
it was formerly a cloister of Portuguese monks, and was attacked by
the Arabs one night, who murdered the whole of its inmates. This
occurrence took place about two centuries since.

The houses of the town are built of stone, with small windows and
terraced roofs. Two houses, distinguished from the others only by
their larger dimensions, are the palaces of the mother of the
reigning prince, and of the sheikh (governor). Some of the streets
are so narrow that two persons can scarcely walk together. The
bazaar, according to the Turkish custom, consists of covered
passages, under which the merchants sit cross-legged before their
miserable stalls.

In the rocky valley in which Muscat lies the heat is very oppressive
(124 degrees Fah. in the sun), and the sunlight is very injurious to
the eyes, as it is not in the slightest degree softened by any
vegetation. Far and wide there are no trees, no shrubs or grass to
be seen. Every one who is in any way engaged here, go as soon as
their business is finished to their country-houses situated by the
open sea. There are no Europeans here; the climate is considered
fatal to them.

At the back of the town lies a long rocky valley, in which is a
village containing several burial-places, and, wonderful to say, a
little garden with six palms, a fig, and a pomegranate-tree. The
village is larger and more populous than the town; containing 6,000
inhabitants, while the latter has only 4,000. It is impossible to
form any conception of the poverty, filth, and stench in this
village; the huts stand nearly one over the other, are very small,
and built only of reeds and palm-leaves; every kind of refuse was
thrown before the doors. It requires considerable self-denial to
pass through such a place, and I wonder that plague, or some other
contagion, does not continually rage there. Diseases of the eyes
and blindness are, however, very frequent.

From this valley I passed into a second, which contains the greatest
curiosity of Muscat, a rather extensive garden, which, with its
date-palms, flowers, vegetables, and plantations, constitutes a true
picture of an oasis in the desert. The vegetation is only kept up,
for the most part, by continual watering. The garden belongs to the
Arabian prince. My guide seemed to be very proud of this wonderful
garden, and asked me whether there were such beautiful gardens in my

The women in Muscat wear a kind of mask of blue stuff over the face,
fastened upon springs or wires, which project some distance beyond
the face; a hole is cut in the mask between the forehead and nose,
which allows something more than the eyes to be seen. These masks
are worn by the women only when they are at some distance from home;
in and near their houses they are not used. All the women that I
saw were very ugly; the men, also, had not the fine, proud features
which are so frequently met with among the Arabians. Great numbers
of negroes are employed here as slaves.

I made this excursion at the time of the greatest heat (124 degrees
Fah. in the sun), and rather weakened by my illness, but did not
experience the slightest ill consequences. I had been repeatedly
warned that in warm countries the heat of the sun was very injurious
to Europeans who were not accustomed to it, and frequently caused
fever and sometimes even sun-stroke. If I had attended to every
advice, I should not have seen much. I did not allow myself to be
led astray--went out in all weathers, and always saw more than my
companions in travel.

On the 2nd of May we again set sail, and on the 3rd of May entered
the Persian Sea, and passed very near to the island of Ormus. The
mountains there are remarkable for a variegated play of colours;
many spots shine as if they were covered with snow. They contain
large quantities of salt, and numbers of caravans come annually from
Persia and Arabia to procure it. In the evening we reached the
small Persian town of Bandr-Abas, off which we anchored.

May 4th. The town is situated on low hills of sand and rocks, which
are separated from higher mountains by a small plain. Here also the
whole country is barren and wild; solitary groups of palms are found
only in the plains.

I looked wistfully towards the land,--I would gladly have visited
Persia. The captain, however, advised me not to do so in the dress
I wore; because, as he informed me, the Persians were not so good-
natured as the Hindoos, and the appearance of a European woman in
this remote district was too uncommon an event; I might probably be
greeted with a shower of stones.

Fortunately there was a young man on board who was half English and
half Persian (his father, an Englishman, had married an Armenian
from Teheran), and spoke both languages equally well. I asked him
to take me on shore, which he very readily did. He conducted me to
the bazaar, and through several streets. The people indeed flocked
from all sides and gazed at me, but did not offer me the slightest

The houses here are small, and built in the Oriental style, with few
windows, and terraced roofs. The streets are narrow, dirty, and
seemingly uninhabited; the bazaar only appeared busy. The bakers
here prepare their bread in the most simple manner, and, indeed,
immediately in the presence of their customers: they knead some
meal with water into a dough, in a wooden dish, separate this into
small pieces, which they squeeze and draw out with their hands,
until they are formed into large thin flakes, which are smeared over
with salt water, and stuck into the inner side of a round tube.
These tubes are made of clay, are about eighteen inches in diameter,
and twenty-two in length; they are sunk one half in the ground, and
furnished with an air-draft below. Wood-charcoal is burnt inside
the tube at the bottom. The cakes are baked on both sides at once;
at the back by the red-hot tube, and in front by the charcoal fire.
I had half-a-dozen of such cakes baked--when eaten warm, they are
very good.

It is easy to distinguish the Persians from the Arabs, of whom there
are many here. The former are larger, and more strongly built;
their skin is whiter, their features coarse and powerful, and their
general appearance rude and wild. Their dress resembles that of the
Mahomedans. Many wear turbans, others a conical cap of black
Astrachan, from a foot to one and a half high.

I was told of so great an act of gratitude of the young man, Mr.
William Hebworth, who accompanied me to Bandr-Abas, that I cannot
omit to mention it. At the age of sixteen he went from Persia to
Bombay, where he met with the kindest reception in the house of a
friend of his father's, by whom he was assisted in every way, and
even obtained an appointment through his interest. One day his
patron, who was married, and the father of four children, had the
misfortune to be thrown from his horse, and died from the effects of
the fall. Mr. Hebworth made the truly noble resolve of marrying the
widow, who was much older than himself, and, instead of property,
possessed only her four children, that he might in this way pay the
debt of gratitude which he owed to his deceased benefactor.

In Bandr-Abas we hired a pilot to take us through the Straits of
Kishma. About noon we sailed.

The passage through these straits is without danger for steamers,
but is avoided by sailing vessels, as the space between the island
Kishma and the mainland is in parts very narrow, and the ships might
be driven on to the shore by contrary winds.

The inland forms an extended plain, and is partially covered with
thin underwood. Great numbers of people come from the neighbouring
mainland to fetch wood from here.

The captain had spoken very highly of the remarkable beauty of this
voyage, the luxuriance of the island, the spots where the sea was so
narrow that the tops of the palms growing on the island and mainland
touched each other, etc. Since the last voyage of the good captain,
a very unfrequent phenomenon would seem to have taken place--the
lofty slender palms were transformed into miserable underwood, and,
at the narrowest point, the mainland was at least half a mile from
the island. Strange to say, Mr. Ross afterwards gave the same
description of the place; he believed the captain in preference to
his own eyes.

At one of the most considerable contractions stands the handsome
fort Luft. Fifteen years since the principal stronghold of the
Persian pirates was in this neighbourhood. A severe battle was
fought between them and the English, near Luft, in which upwards of
800 were killed, many taken prisoners, and the whole gang broken up.
Since that event, perfect security has been restored.

5th May. We left the straits, and three days later came to anchor
off Buschir.

There are considerable quantities of sea-weeds and molluscae in the
Persian Gulf; the latter had many fibres, were of a milk-white
colour, and resembled a forest agaric in form; others had a
glistening rose colour with small yellow spots. Conger eels of two
or three feet in length were not uncommon.

8th May. The town of Buschir is situated on a plain six miles from
the mountains, whose highest peak, called by the Persians Hormutsch,
by the English Halala, is 5,000 feet high.

The town contains 15,000 inhabitants, and has the best harbour in
Persia; but its appearance is very dirty and ugly.

The houses stand quite close together, so that it is easy to pass
from one to the other over the terraces, and it requires no great
exertion to run over the roofs, as the terraces are enclosed only by
walls one or two feet high. Upon some houses, square chambers
(called wind-catchers), fifteen or twenty feet high, are erected,
which can be opened above and at the sides, and serve to intercept
the wind and lead it into the apartments.

The women here cover up their faces to such a degree that I cannot
imagine how they find their way about. Even the smallest girls
imitate this foolish custom. There is also no lack of nose-rings,
bracelets, sandals, etc.; but they do not wear nearly so many as the
Hindoos. The men are all armed; even in the house they carry
daggers or knives, and besides these, pistols in the streets.

We remained two days in Buschir, where I was very well received by
Lieutenant Hennelt, the resident.

I would gladly have left the ship here to visit the ruins of
Persepolis, and travel by land from thence to Shiraz, Ispahan,
Teheran, and so onwards; but serious disturbances had broken out in
these districts, and numerous hordes of robbers carried on their
depredations. I was in consequence compelled to alter my plan, and
to go straight on to Baghdad.

10th May. In the afternoon we left Buschir.

11th May. Today I had the gratification of seeing and sailing on
one of the most celebrated rivers in the world, the Schatel-Arab
(river of the Arabs), which is formed by the junction of the
Euphrates, Tigris, and Kaurun, and whose mouth resembles an arm of
the sea. The Schatel-Arab retains its name as far as the delta of
the Tigris and Euphrates.

12th May. We left the sea and the mountains behind at the same
time, and on both shores immense plains opened before us whose
boundaries were lost in the distance.

Twenty miles below Bassora we turned off into the Kaurun to set down
some passengers at the little town of Mahambrah, which lies near the
entrance of that river. We immediately turned back again, and the
captain brought the vessel round in the narrow space in an
exceedingly clever way. This proceeding caused the uninitiated some
anxiety; we expected every moment to see either the head or stern
run a-ground, but it succeeded well beyond all measure. The whole
population of the town was assembled on the shore; they had never
before seen a steamer, and took the most lively interest in the bold
and hazardous enterprise.

About six years ago, the town Mahambrah experienced a terrible
catastrophe; it was at that time under Turkish rule, and was
surprised and plundered by the Persians; nearly all the inhabitants,
amounting to 5,000, were put to death. Since that period it has
been retained by the Persians.

Towards noon we arrived at Bassora. Nothing is visible from the
river but some fortified works and large forests of date-trees,
behind which the town is situated far inland.

The journey from Bombay to this place had occupied eighteen days, in
consequence of the unfavourable monsoon, and was one of the most
unpleasant voyages which I ever made. Always upon deck in the midst
of a dense crowd of people, with a heat which at noon time rose to
99 degrees 5' Fah., even under the shade of a tent. I was only once
able to change my linen and dress at Buschir, which was the more
annoying as one could not prevent the accumulation of vermin. I
longed for a refreshing and purifying bath.

Bassora, one of the largest towns of Mesopotamia, has among its
inhabitants only a single European. I had a letter to the English
agent, an Armenian named Barseige, whose hospitality I was compelled
to claim, as there was no hotel. Captain Lichfield presented my
letter to him and made known my request, but the polite man refused
to grant it. The good captain offered me accommodation on board his
ship, so that I was provided for for the present.

The landing of the Persian women presented a most laughable
spectacle: if they had been beauties of the highest order, or
princesses from the sultan's harem, there could not have been more
care taken to conceal them from the possibility of being seen by

I was indebted to my sex for the few glimpses which I caught of them
in the cabin; but among the whole eighteen women I did not see a
single good-looking one. Their husbands placed themselves in two
rows from the cabin to the ship's ladder, holding large cloths
stretched before them, and forming in this way a kind of opaque
moveable wall on both sides. Presently the women came out of the
cabin; they were so covered with large wrappers that they had to be
led as if they were blind. They stood close together between the
walls, and waited until the whole were assembled, when the entire
party, namely, the moveable wall and the beauties concealed behind
it, proceeded step by step. The scrambling over the narrow ship's
ladders was truly pitiable; first one stumbled, and then another.
The landing occupied more than an hour.

13th May. The captain brought me word that a German missionary was
accidentally at Bassora, who had a dwelling with several rooms, and
could probably give me shelter. I went to him immediately, and he
was so obliging as to provide me with a room in which, at the same
time, I found a fireplace. I took leave of the good captain with
sincere regret. I shall never forget his friendliness and
attentions. He was a truly good-hearted man, and yet the
unfortunate crew, mostly Hindoos and negroes, were treated worse on
board his ship than I had observed elsewhere. This was the fault of
the two mates, who accompanied nearly every word with pushes and
blows of the fist. In Muscat three of the poor fellows ran away.

The Christian Europeans excel the pagan Hindoos and Musselmen in
learning and science; might they not also at least equal the latter
in kindness and humanity?

A small English war-steamer was expected at Bassora in the course of
a few days, which carried letters and dispatches between this place
and Baghdad, and whose captain was so good as to take European
travellers (of whom there are not many that lose themselves here)
with him.

I availed myself of the few days of my stay to look about the town,
and see what still remains of its ancient celebrity.

Bassora, or Bassra, was founded in the reign of the Caliph Omar, in
the year 656. Sometimes under Turkish, sometimes under Persian
dominion, it was at last permanently placed under the latter power.
There are no vestiges of antiquity remaining; neither ruins of
handsome mosques nor caravansaries. The fortified walls are much
dilapidated, the houses of the town small and unattractive, the
streets crooked, narrow, and dirty. The bazaar, which consists of
covered galleries with wretched stalls, cannot show a single good
stock of goods, although Bassora is the principal emporium and
trading port for the Indian wares imported into Turkey. There are
several coffee-stalls and a second-rate caravansary in the bazaar.
A large open space, not very remarkable for cleanliness, serves in
the day as a corn-market; and in the evening several hundred guests
are to be seen seated before a large coffee-stall, drinking coffee
and smoking nargillies.

Modern ruins are abundant in Bassora, the result of the plague which
in the year 1832 carried off nearly one half of the inhabitants.
Numbers of streets and squares consist only of forsaken and decaying
houses. Where, a few years back, men were busily engaged in trade,
there is now nothing left but ruins and rubbish and weeds, and palms
grow between crumbling walls.

The position of Bassora is said to be particularly unhealthy: the
plain surrounding it is intersected at one extremity with numerous
ditches filled with mud and filth, which give off noxious
exhalations, at the other it is covered with forests of date trees,
which hinders the current of air. The heat is so great here, that
nearly every house is furnished with an apartment, which lies
several feet below the level of the street, and has windows only in
the high arches. People live in these rooms during the day.

The inhabitants consist for the most part of Arabs; the rest are
Persians, Turks, and Armenians. There are no Europeans. I was
advised to wrap myself in a large cloth and wear a veil when I went
out; the former I did, but I could not endure the veil in the
excessive heat, and went with my face uncovered. The cloth (isar) I
carried so clumsily that my European clothes were always visible;
nevertheless I was not annoyed by any one.

On the 16th of May, the steamer Nitocris arrived. It was small
(forty horse power), but very handsome and clean; the captain, Mr.
Johns, declared himself ready to take me, and the first officer, Mr.
Holland, gave up his cabin to me. They would not take any
compensation either for passage or board.

The journey from Bassora to Baghdad would have been very fatiguing
and inconvenient if I had not met with this opportunity. With a
boat it would have required forty or fifty days, as the distance is
500 English miles, and the boat must have been for greater part of
the distance drawn by men. The distance by land amounts to 390
miles; but the road is through deserts, which are inhabited by
nomadic tribes of Bedouins, and over-run with hordes of robbers,
whose protection must be purchased at a high price.

17th May. We weighed anchor in the morning at 11 o'clock, and
availed ourselves of the current which extends 120 miles up the

In the afternoon we reached the point Korne, also called the Delta
(fifty miles from Bassora). The Tigris and Euphrates join here.
Both rivers are equally large, and as it could not, probably, be
decided which name should be retained, both were given up, and that
of Schatel-Arab adopted.

Many learned writers attempt to give increased importance to this
place, by endeavouring to prove by indubitable evidence that the
garden of Eden was situated here. If this was the case, our worthy
progenitor made a long journey after he was driven out of Paradise,
to reach Adam's Peak in Ceylon.

We now entered the Tigris. For a distance of three miles further,
we were gratified by the sight of beautiful forests of date-trees,
which we had already enjoyed, almost without intermission, from the
mouth of the Schatel-Arab; they now suddenly terminated. Both sides
of the river were still covered with a rich vegetation, and
beautiful orchards, alternated with extended plots of grass, which
were partially covered with bushes or shrub-like trees. This
fruitfulness, however, is said to extend only a few miles inland:
more distant from the river the country is a barren wilderness.

We saw in several places large tribes of Bedouins, who had pitched
their tents in long rows, for the most part close to the banks.
Some of these hordes had large closely-covered tents; others again
had merely a straw mat, a cloth, or some skins stretched on a pair
of poles, scarcely protecting the heads of those lying under them
from the burning rays of the sun. In winter, when the temperature
frequently falls to freezing point, they have the same dwellings and
clothing as in summer: the mortality among them is then very great.
These people have a wild appearance, and their clothing consists of
only a dark-brown mantle. The men have a part of this drawn between
the legs, and another part hung round them; the women completely
envelop themselves in it; the children very commonly go quite naked
until the twelfth year. The colour of their skin is a dark brown,
the face slightly tattooed: both the men and women braid their hair
into four plaits, which hang down upon the back of the head and
temples. The weapons of the men are stout knotted sticks; the women
are fond of adorning themselves with glass beads, mussel-shells, and
coloured rags; they also wear large nose-rings.

They are all divided into tribes, and are under the dominion of the
Porte, to whom they pay tribute; but they acknowledge allegiance
only to the sheikh elected by themselves, many of whom have forty or
fifty thousand tents under their control. Those tribes who
cultivate land have fixed dwellings; the pastoral tribes are

Half-way between Bassora and Baghdad, the lofty mountain chain of
Luristan becomes visible. When the atmosphere is clear, the
summits, 10,000 feet high, and covered with perpetual snow, may be

Every step in advance leads to the scene of the great deeds of
Cambyses, Cyrus, Alexander, etc.: every spot of ground has
historical associations. The country is the same; but what has
become of its towns and its powerful empires? Ruined walls and
heaps of earth and rubbish are the only remains of the most
beautiful cities; and where firmly established empires formerly
existed, are barren steppes overrun by robber hordes.

The Arabs engaged in agriculture are themselves exposed to the
depredations of their nomadic countrymen, especially in harvest
time. In order to avoid this evil as much as possible, they bring
their crops into small fortified places, of which I observed many
between Bassora and Baghdad.

We took in wood several times during the passage, and on these
occasions I could approach the inhabitants without fear, as they
were inspired with respect for the well-manned and armed vessel. In
one instance, I was led far into the underwood in pursuit of some
beautiful insects, when I found myself on a sudden surrounded by a
swarm of women and children, so that I thought it advisable to
hasten back again to the ship's people--not that any one offered me
any violence; but they crowded round me, handled my dress, wanted to
put on my straw bonnet; and this familiarity was far from pleasant
on account of their extreme dirtiness. The children seemed
shockingly neglected; many were covered with pimples and small
sores; and both great and small had their hands constantly in their

At the places where we stopped they generally brought sheep and
butter, both of which were singularly cheap. A sheep cost at the
utmost five krans (4s. 6d.). They were very large and fat, with
long thick wool, and fat tails of about fifteen inches long and
eight inches broad. Our crew had a better diet than I had ever
noticed on board any ship. What pleased me even more was the equal
good treatment of the natives, who were not in any particular less
thought of than the English. I never met with greater order and
cleanliness than here--a proof that blows and thumps are not
indispensably necessary, as I had so often been assured.

In the districts where the ground was covered with underwood and
grass, I saw several herds of wild swine; and there were said to be
lions here, who come from the mountains, especially during the
winter time, when they carried off cows and sheep: they very seldom
attacked men. I was so fortunate as to see a pair of lions, but at
such a distance, that I cannot say whether they exceeded in beauty
and size those in European menageries. Among the birds, the
pelicans were so polite as to make their respects to us by scraping.

21st May. Today we saw the ruins of the palace of Khuszew
Anushirwan at Ctesiphon. Ctesiphon was formerly the capital of the
Parthian, and afterwards of the new Persian empire: it was
destroyed by the Arabs in the seventeenth century. Nearly opposite,
on the right bank of the Tigris, lay Seleucia, one of the most
celebrated towns of Babylon, and which, at the time of its
prosperity, had a free independent government and a population of
600,000 souls. The chief portion were Greeks.

One obtained two views of Ctesiphon in passing, in consequence of
the river winding considerably--almost running back again several
miles. I made a trip there from Baghdad, and therefore reserve my
account of it.

The old caliphate appears in marvellous magnificence and extent from
a distance, but unfortunately loses this on nearer approach. The
minarets and cupolas, inlaid with variegated earthenware tiles,
glitter in the clear sunlight; palaces, gateways, and fortified
works, in endless succession, bound the yellow, muddy Tigris; and
gardens, with date and other fruit trees, cover the flat country for
miles round.

We had scarcely anchored, when a number of natives surrounded the
ship. They made use of very singular vehicles, which resemble round
baskets: these are formed of thick palm leaves, and covered with
asphalt. They are called "guffer;" are six feet in diameter and
three feet in height; are very safe, for they never upset, and may
be travelled in over the worst roads. Their invention is very

I had a letter to the English resident, Major Rawlinson; but as Mr.
Holland, the first officer of the ship, offered me the use of his
house, I took advantage of this, on account of his being a married
man, which Mr. Rawlinson was not. I found Mrs. Holland a very
pretty, amiable woman (a native of Baghdad), who, though only three-
and-twenty, had already four children, the eldest of whom was eight
years old.



Baghdad, the capital of Assyria, was founded during the reign of the
Caliph Abu-Jasar-Almansor. A century later, in the reign of Haroun-
al-Raschid, the best and most enlightened of all the caliphs, the
town was at its highest pitch of prosperity; but at the end of
another century, it was destroyed by the Turks. In the sixteenth
century it was conquered by the Persians, and continued to be a
perpetual source of discord between them and the Turks, although it
at length became annexed to the Ottoman Empire. Nadir Schah again
endeavoured to wrest it from the Turks in the eighteenth century.

The present population, of about 60,000 souls, consists of about
three-fourths Turks, and the remainder of Jews, Persians, Armenians,
and Arabs. There are only fifty or sixty Europeans living there.

The town is partly situated on both sides of the Tigris, but chiefly
on the east. It is surrounded by fortified walls of brick, with
numerous towers at regular intervals; both walls and towers,
however, are weak, and even somewhat dangerous, and the cannons upon
them are not in good condition.

The first thing that it was necessary for me to provide myself with
here, was a large linen wrapper, called isar, a small fez, and a
kerchief, which, wound round the fez, forms a little turban; but I
did not make use of the thick, stiff mask, made of horse-hair, which
covers the face, and under which the wearer is nearly suffocated.
It is impossible to imagine a more inconvenient out-door dress for
our sex than the one worn here. The isar gathers the dust from the
ground, and it requires some dexterity to hold it together in such a
way as to envelop the whole body. I pitied the poor women greatly,
who were often obliged to carry a child, or some other load, or
perhaps even to wash linen in the river. They never came from this
work, except dripping with water. Even the smallest girls here are
clothed in this way whenever they go out.

In my Oriental dress I could walk about without any covering on my
face, perfectly uninterrupted. I first examined the town, but there
was not much to see, as there are no remains of the old Caliphate
buildings. The houses are of burnt bricks, and are only one story
high; the backs are all turned towards the streets, and it is but
rarely that a projecting part of the house is seen with narrow
latticed windows. Those houses only whose facades are towards the
Tigris make an exception to this rule; they have ordinary windows,
and are sometimes very handsome. I found the streets rather narrow,
and full of dirt and dust. The bridge of boats over the Tigris,
which is here 690 feet broad, is the most wretched that I ever saw.
The bazaars are very extensive. The old bazaar, a relic of the
former town, still shows traces of handsome columns and arabesques,
and Chan Osman is distinguished by its beautiful portal and lofty
arches. The principal passages are so broad, that there is room for
a horseman and two foot passengers, to go through side by side. The
merchants and artisans here, as in all eastern countries, live in
separate streets and passages. The better shops are to be found in
private houses, or in the chans at the bazaars. Miserable coffee-
stalls are everywhere numerous.

The palace of the pascha is an extensive building, but neither
tasteful nor costly; it is imposing only from a distance. There are
but few mosques, and those present nothing costly or artistic,
except the inlaid tiles.

To be able to overlook the whole of Baghdad, I mounted, with great
difficulty, the exterior of the dome of the Osman Chan, and was
truly astounded at the extent and beautiful position of the town.
It is impossible to form any idea of an Oriental town by passing
through the narrow and uniform streets, no matter how often, as
these are all alike, and, one with the other, resemble the passages
of a jail. But, from above, I looked down over the whole town, with
its innumerable houses, many of which are situated in pretty
gardens. I saw thousands and thousands of terraces spread at my
feet, and before all, the beautiful river, rolling on through dark
orchards and palm groves, to the town, which extends along its banks
for five miles.

All the buildings are, as already remarked, constructed of unburnt
bricks, of which the greater part are stated to have been brought
down the Euphrates, from the ruins of the neighbouring city of
Babylon. By a close examination, traces of the old architecture are
to be found on the fortifications; the bricks of which they are
built are about two feet in diameter, and resemble fine slabs of

The houses are prettier inside than out; they have clean plastered
courts, numerous windows, etc. The rooms are large and lofty, but
not nearly so magnificently furnished as those in Damascus. The
summer is so hot here, that people find it necessary to change their
rooms three times a-day. The early part of the morning is passed in
the ordinary rooms; towards 9 o'clock they retire, during the
remainder of the day, into the underground rooms, called sardab,
which, like cellars, are frequently situated fifteen or twenty feet
below the surface; at sunset they go up on to the terraces, where
they receive visits, gossip, drink tea, and remain until night.
This is the most pleasant time, as the evenings are cool and
enlivening. Many affirm the moonlight is clearer here than with us,
but I did not find this to be the case. People sleep on the
terraces under mosquito nets, which surround the whole bed. The
heat rises in the rooms, during the day, as high as 99 degrees; in
the sun, to 122 or 131 degrees Fah.; it seldom exceeds 88 degrees
25' in the sardabs. In winter, the evenings, nights, and mornings
are so cold, that fires are necessary in the rooms.

The climate of this place is considered very healthy, even by
Europeans. Nevertheless, there is a disease here of which the young
females are terribly afraid, and which not only attacks the natives,
but strangers, when they remain several months here. This is a
disgusting eruption, which is called the Aleppo Boil, or Date-mark.

This ulcer, which is at first no larger than a pin's head, gradually
increases to the size of a halfcrown piece, and leaves deep scars.
It generally breaks out on the face; there is scarcely one face
among a hundred, to be seen without these disfiguring marks. Those
who have only one have reason to consider themselves fortunate; I
saw many with two or three of them. Other parts of the body are
also not exempt. The ulcers generally appear with the ripening of
the dates, and do not go away until the next year, when the same
season returns again. This disease does not occur more than once in
a lifetime; it attacks children for the most part during their
infancy. No remedy is ever applied, as experience has shown that it
cannot be prevented; the Europeans have tried inoculation, but
without success.

This disease is met with in several districts on the Tigris; there
are no traces of it to be found at a distance from the river. It
would appear, therefore, to be, in some way, connected with the
evaporation from the stream, or the mud deposited on its banks; the
former seems less probable, as the crews of the English steamers,
which are always on the river, escape, while all the Europeans who
live on land fall victims to it. One of the latter had forty such
boils, and I was told that he suffered horribly. The French consul,
who expected to remain here for several years, would not bring his
wife with him, to expose her face to the danger of these
ineradicable marks. I had only been here some weeks, when I
discovered slight indications of a boil on my hand, which became
large, but did not penetrate very deep, and left no permanent scar.
I exulted greatly at escaping so easily, but my exultation did not
continue long; only six months afterwards, when I had returned to
Europe, this disease broke out with such violence that I was covered
with thirteen of those boils, and had to contend with them more than
eight months.

On the 24th of May I received an invitation from the English
resident, Major Rawlinson, to an entertainment in honour of the
queen's birthday. There were only Europeans present at dinner, but
in the evening, all denominations of the Christian world were
admitted--Armenians, Greeks, etc. This entertainment was given upon
the handsome terraces of the house. The floor was covered with soft
carpets; cushioned divans invited the fatigued to rest, and the
brilliant illumination of the terraces, courts, and gardens diffused
a light almost equal to that of day. Refreshments of the most
delicate kind made it difficult for Europeans to remember that they
were so far from their native country. Less deceptive were two
bands of music, one of which played European, the other native
pieces, for the amusement of the guests. Fire-works, with balloons
and Bengal lights, were followed by a sumptuous supper, which closed
the evening's entertainments. Among the women and girls present,
there were some remarkably beautiful, but all had most bewitching
eyes, which no young man could glance at with impunity. The art of
dyeing the eyelids and eyebrows principally contributes to this.
Every hair on the eyebrows which makes its appearance in an improper
place, is carefully plucked out, and those which are deficient have
their place most artistically supplied by the pencil. The most
beautiful arched form is thus obtained, and this, together with the
dyeing of the eyelids, increases uncommonly the brightness of the
eye. The desire for such artificial beauty extends itself even to
the commonest servant girls.

The fair sex were dressed in Turkish-Greek costume; they wore silk
trousers, gathered together round the ankles, and over these, long
upper garments, embroidered with gold, the arms of which were tight
as far as the elbow, and were then slit open, and hung down. The
bare part of the arm was covered by silk sleeves. Round their
waists were fastened stiff girdles of the breadth of the hand,
ornamented in front with large buttons, and at the sides with
smaller ones. The buttons were of gold, and worked in enamel.
Mounted pearls, precious stones, and gold coins, decorated the arms,
neck, and breast. The head was covered with a small, pretty turban,
wound round with gold chains, or gold lace; numerous thin tresses of
hair stole from underneath, falling down to the hips.
Unfortunately, many of them had the bad taste to dye their hair, by
which its brilliant black was changed into an ugly brown-red.

Beautiful as this group of women were in appearance, their society
was very uninteresting, for an unbroken silence was maintained by
these members of our garrulous sex, and not one of their pretty
faces expressed an emotion or sentiment. Mind and education, the
zests of life, were wanting. The native girls are taught nothing;
their education is completed when they are able to read in their
mother tongue (Armenian or Arabian), and then, with the exception of
some religious books, they have no other reading.

It was more lively at a visit which I made, some days later, to the
harem of the pasha; there was then so much chatting, laughing, and
joking, that it was almost too much for me. My visit had been
expected, and the women, fifteen in number, were sumptuously dressed
in the same way that I have already described; with the single
exception, that the upper garment (kaftan) was shorter, and made of
a more transparent material, and the turbans ornamented with ostrich

I did not see any very handsome women here; they had only good eyes,
but neither noble nor expressive features.

The summer harem, in which I was received, was a pretty building, in
the most modern style of European architecture, with lofty, regular
windows. It stood in the middle of a small flower-garden, which was
surrounded by a large fruit-garden.

After I had been here rather more than an hour, a table was laid,
and chairs placed round it. The principal woman invited me to join
them, and leading the way, seated herself at the table, when,
without waiting till we were seated, she hastily picked out her
favourite morsels from the various dishes with her hands. I was
also compelled to help myself with my hands, as there was no knife
and fork in the whole house, and it was only towards the end of the
meal that a large gold teaspoon was brought for me.

The table was profusely covered with excellent meat-dishes, with
different pilaus, and a quantity of sweet-meats and fruits. I found
them all delicious, and one dish so much resembled our fritters,
that I almost thought it was meant for them.

After we had finished, those who had not room to sit down with us
took their seats together with some of the principal attendants:
after them came, in succession, the inferior slaves, among whom were
some very ugly negresses; these also seated themselves at the table,
and ate what remained.

After the conclusion of the meal, strong coffee was handed round in
small cups, and nargillies brought. The cups stood in little golden
bowls, ornamented with pearls and turquoises.

The pasha's women are distinguished from their attendants and slaves
only by their dress and jewellery; in demeanour I found no
difference. The attendants seated themselves without hesitation
upon the divans, joined, uninvited, in the conversation, smoked, and
drank coffee as we did. Servants and slaves are far better and more
considerately treated by the natives than by the Europeans. Only
the Turks hold slaves here.

Although such strict decorum is observed in all public places, there
is an utter disregard of it in the harems and baths. While a part
of the women were engaged in smoking and drinking coffee, I slipped
away, and went into some of the adjoining apartments, where I saw
enough, in a few minutes, to fill me with disgust and commiseration
for these poor creatures; from slothfulness and the want of
education, morality appeared to be so degraded as to profane the
very name of humanity.

I was not less grieved by a visit to a public female bath. There
were young children, girls, women, and mothers; some having their
hands, feet, nails, eyebrows, hair, etc., washed and coloured:
others were being bathed with water, or rubbed with fragrant oils
and pomades, while the children played about among them. While all
this was going on, the conversation that prevailed was far from
being remarkable for its decency. Poor children! how are they to
acquire a respect for modesty, when they are so early exposed to the
influence of such pernicious examples.

Among the other curiosities of Baghdad, I saw the funeral monument

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