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and halfpence, and wherever one or other was likely to be obtained without exertion was sure to be attentive enough. To the half-grown idle lads that loitered about lazy corner, Bombazine was an object of special and peculiar delight. All low minds are fond of display against some inferior; and the natural, forming as he did a butt for them all, when gathered together, though in wit more than a match for them individually, served to gratify this propensity, and to afford great amusement at the same time. Shortly before the event detailed in last chapter occurred, he might be seen loitering up the street, gazing in at the different windows as he passed, and chanting to psalm-tune measure a scrap of doggrel rhyme
We'll bore a hole in the pope's nose,
And there we'll let him hing.
His head was destitute of any artificial covering, being sufficiently thatched with matted yellow hair; his face was tanned a deep grim brown; his eye was dark and restless, assuming, however, that vacant unoccupied expression peculiar to such unfortunates, and which stole at same time, when not actively engaged, over his whole features. A tattered jacket, large enough to hold double its contents, and the pair of wide invariables, the ends of which were stuffed into an old pair of highlows, completed the external man of Bombazine, as he came sauntering along. Halloo!' cried a big raw-boned youth of smutty visage, and carrying a carter's whip, what are ye after the day, Bombazeen?' Some people were standing at an opposite door, and smutty-face thought to magnify himself at the expense of the fool.
After you,' quoth Bombazine, stepping behind him; and noo you're after me, being next till a fule,' added he, standing in front.
The crowd joined in the laugh against the unfortunate carter, while the crack-brained swaggered out of sight, singing
'Never tak' till mowing, Tra la la,
Afore ye're done a-sowing, Tra la la!'
He had not gone far till he arrived at lazy corner, the outside of a building at an angle of our only square, where daily and nightly the political and mischief-loving wit and wisdom of Cocklestone assemble. A handful of weavers, more inclined to politics than work, a few cripples, some idle boatmen, a butcher, and two or three nondescripts, may invariably be found there, shifting from one corner to another, as the wind shifts, always in hard talk, and ever ripe for mischief. Bombazine was at present quite a windfall to them. On his approach, two cripples, who had been practising fencing with their crutches, stopped; a weaver and a boatman discussing the French republic ceased; three fellows, who had snatched off a boy's cap, and were smuggling it behind each other, returned it to the owner, all to have some chaffing with the natural.
'I say, Bomby,' said one of the cripples, tapping him on the head with his crutch, who's your tailor? That's a regular London cut you've got.'
'Ye needna speir, as ye'll get nae credit, an' it's weel kent ye ne'er had ony ready cash.'
wards, one behind again shoved him forwards, and he was knocked to and fro, amid the gibes and jeers of the company, the political-inclined weavers not aiding much, but onlooking with infinite zest. Had not the one policeman of our village came in sight, and prematurely ended the amusement, might have fared badly, in the way of knocks and kicks, with the natural. His appearance, however, created a temporary diversion in favour of Bombazine, who gladly availed himself of it, and skulked off round the corner. He happened to turn his eyes upwards on reaching Mrs Balbirnie's, and something attracted his attention about the window. Dicky, pretty Dicky, come down,' cried he. A tame jackdaw hopped forward on the window-sill, twisted its head, till its bright blue eye rested fully on the natural, and then, satisfied with the scrutiny, took a swoop down on his shoulder. Ho, Dicky! brave Dicky!' said Bombazine, what nice things I hae in my pouch-see here!' and he rummaged his garments for crumbs to the bird, which leaped on to his hand in expectation. 'Ha! what's that?' said the fool, as something dropped out of the bird's bill on the ground, which he stooped to pick up. 'Hurrah, Dicky! here's a windfa'! whiz, hurrah! This'll get cold beef an' porter for a month frae Meg at the Ha'. Hurrah! ye're in luck, Bombazine. Wheesht though, Dicky; dinna speak o't. There's a brave bird. Come, noo, come.' Quickly the lad and his black companion hurried out of sight, and away from the village.
CHAP. III.-A SHORT CONSULTATION, AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
Mrs Cleek was not long in discovering the policeman, thanks to her untiring industry; and, having poured into that worthy's ear a tale of most extraordinary and compli cated wickedness regarding Patty, dragged him along to Mrs Balbirnie.
Here's the man we want, Mrs Balbirnie, I judge,' said Grizzy, ushering him in. He'll give us an opinion on'ttrust him.'
The blue-bottle thus appealed to, in a husky, sepulchral voice, acquired by late hours and restoratives from cold, exclaimed, Bad buziness, mum, this; my dooty to see to the bottom o't, though. Have the goodness, mum, to detail the cwircimstances.'
These had been detailed already by the worthy Grizzy, but, owing to her peculiarity of style, the blue-bottle felt uncertain where actual narrative and imaginative dissertation blended. So, forthwith, Mrs Balbirnie emptied her bosom of all she knew and surmised of the matter. The result was, that the adviser recommended an instant warrant for apprehension of Patty, for, as he said, 'Noffia never stops them people till the law takes its coorse on 'em; and the ends of justice, which is to punish in time, should not be defeated.'
Patty's surprise and horror may be guessed at, when, in half-an-hour afterwards, a policeman tapped at her door, entered, and said, 'Come on-disagreeable dooty, mum, but dooty must be done-so come along.' Along where!' exclaimed Patty.
With me to the justice.'
'For what-why-what do you mean, sir?'
'No gammon now-wont do-never saw one yet but wasn't innocent as the unborn, and always took aback. That wont pervail. Just come now-will you?'
'Surely you must be joking. You are wrong, man. I've done nothing-it's a mistake,' stammered Patty.
Aint given to joking particular; and it's no mistake, as will be seen. So will you at once go without palaver?' Have mercy,' implored she; tell me what have I done? Why do you come here?' 'Oh, you don't know noffin about a ring-eh, do you?— Mrs Balbirnie's ring? Ah! I see you turn pale and gashly now. That's no go, miss.'
Patty almost sank to the floor in terror and dismay. She beseeched the officer to let her alone; that she was ignorant and innocent of the matter; that it must be a mistake; she would go to Mrs Balbirnie and tell her so, and assure her of it. All was unavailing, of course; and
she was compelled to hurry on her shawl and bonnet, and accompany the policeman. Fortunately the town-hall stood within a few yards of Patty's dwelling, so that no gaping crowd passed charitable construction upon her, or delighted their vision with her pale and terror-stricken features. She had barely time for thought till in the presence of the justice of peace-a little man, bald nearly, of rubicund visage and rapid utterance. On the prisoner being brought up he exclaimed, What's this-what's this, young womanwhat's this you've been doing? Clerk, read the complaint.' The clerk did so to the trembling girl, who then clearly learned, for the first time, the full amount of her transgression. She wrung her hands and wept, and, recovering from her first astonishment, seemed so ghastly and woestricken that the justice ordered her, in compassion, to sit down. 'Oh!' said she, recovering speech, what have I done that this disgrace should befall me? I'm ruinedlost! Will no one have pity on me?'
'What do you say to this, young woman-to this charge, young woman-guilty, or not guilty?' said the judge. 'Guilty-no, no-not guilty, sir. I could not, dared not, do such an act.'
'Put that down. Now, now, let's hear the particulars -the particulars,' said the justice.
The details, so far as already known, were gone into, after which the justice shook his head, saying, 'Must commit you, or find bail, young woman-f -find bail. Great pity for yourself-great pity. You'll be duly tried on Monday, though.' A warrant for Patty's committal was granted, and she was carried off insensible by the court officers to the prison.
As she disappeared, one who had been an observant spectator of the whole affair slipped forward from a seat at a desk to the side of the clerk, and whispered in his ear. He was a young man of two or three-and-twenty, but certain hues of premature age, the traces of dissipation and vice, lingering about his countenance, made him appear considerably older. He was dressed in a negligent, rakish style, not overly clean to all appearance, and wore a profusion of rings, guards, and jewellery about his person. His face was colourless almost; his eyes weak and red his hair and whiskers of a wiry, mouldy aspect, and abundant in quantity. As he stooped to the clerk he said, in a drawling whisper, Fine-looking gal that, Jones. i say, could you find out anything about her?'
Jones looked significantly at the justice, whose back was turned towards him, winked to the inquirer, and nodded. Do, then, like a good fellow. We'll see, you know.' Whatever this meant, it seemed satisfactory to both parties, if the delighted expression of their countenances could be taken into proof at all. Immediately thereafter he took his departure, nodding to the justice as he went. That promising youth was the son of the elderly gentleman who acted as judge-Julius Thurling, son of Andrew Thurling of the Hall, as the parish register set forth; more than this, he was the only son, the petted and spoiled child, of a weak but well-meaning mother, grown into, as the children of such mothers always do, a curse to himself, a heartgrief to his parents, and a depraved example, at least, to others. With an overlooked moral and religious education, and even any useful education at all, his great delight lay in pursuit of those contemptible sensual pleasures which a depraved mind, with no relief in labour or study, is certain to follow. Low theatres, comic singers at taverns, cock-fights, and gambling, he specially delighted in; and the company of ostlers, coachmen, pugilists, and poachers you might generally find him in-master of their slang, initiated into such life as they knew, and able to out-drink the strongest-headed of them. He had other pursuits and aims, which we need not detail, still less worthy of the name of a man, and more cruel and debasing as they proved more fashionable and rare. Many people were found his apologists, and saw only in these matters a little eccentricity and wildness of youth-an early crust covering a chrysalis of beauty yet to break forth. Many looked to him or at him with an eye of comprehensive charity; judging not harshly but compassionately of these trifles in
his character; looking forward to the day of these wild oats' expenditure, in hope of good grain being their return crop. Yet there were some unconsidered hearths whose sanctity was stained, and some heads which shame and sorrow had clothed, where no such genial charity did dwell. Oh, gold, gold! how many worshippers hast thou! Great idol of a Christian land, under whose favour meanest vices are glossed virtues, and guilty deeds are varnished over, like flaws in wood, till they glisten forth as beauties.
The tongue of rumour was not idle regarding Patty's fall, meanwhile. Truths of this kind never lie hid. If they burn under a bushel, somebody soon lifts it off, and lets them, in benevolence, glare forth. Lazy corner first caught the tidings, and discussed them; then the village gossips met, and whispered them over to each other in little teacliques and gatherings at doors; and by and by they be came a trumpet-sounded scandal in every hamlet and at every hearth. Amongst the first to learn the news was one already alluded to-Tom Halliday. Tom was a mas ter-joiner recently established in business in Cocklestone, and in the way of steady success. He might not be called an acquaintance, nor even a friend of Patty's, although both in a large measure, but something more than either. He had long loved her, but his affection was of that retir ing, distant cast, that many more bold and less in love than he might have won the maiden, while he but stood an onlooker. Could deeds betray and speak his love, it might be shown, but words then could never give expression to it such as he felt it ought to have. Patty knew his love, for woman's intuition is quick to arrive, by many unob served signs and tokens to others, at such a fact. She knew it, and, may we say, returned it? If so, it was unconfessedly almost to herself. Yet why did the blush kindle on her cheek when his name was mentioned? Why did her heart beat more quickly when he stammered a few words to her? Why was she detected by herself scrawling one day his name on the window with a needle-point? And why did she listen so eagerly when she heard him talked about? Waiving all inquiry further on such a point, we return to Tom, who felt heart-stricken at the tidings of disgrace. The party who told him well nigh measured his length on the ground, so indignant at the accusation did Halliday feel. Waiting not for particulars, he rushed off hatless to the town-hall, where a sad corroboration of the story met him, but it seemed a refutation of the lie to him, and nothing else. He would not believe the possibi lity of Patty's guilt-his heart spurned all idea of it. He would have felled on the spot the man who dared to say she was. His spirit was roused within him: it was well for Mrs Balbirnie she was without his reach then, for even men were startled at his looks. It was suggested to him that he should become bail for Patty first, and get the aid of one of the lawyers of the village to conduct her case. The first thought he at once complied with; his security was accepted, and Patty set free, not knowing by whom, for Tom insisted on that being withheld from her. That evening, however, he called upon Patty and found her seated by the fire, her eyes red with weeping, her hair dishevelled, and her whole aspect piteous with sorrow. Benumbed with grief and dismay, she had sat thus, with clasped hands and fixed eye, for hours, looking wofully forward to her disgrace, not knowing how or whither to seek advice or aid. On looking up at Tom she started. Was he come to upbraid her to cast the bitter, disgraceful falsehood at her feet? He read the thought in her eye. I know it all, Patty,' said he: 'I believe it not. I'm come to tell you so. It is some foul plot, some base scheme to injure you, which we must fathom to the bottom.'
We!' replied she; Tom, it is generous of you, but I cannot think to allow your being involved in such a matter." 'You'll think of that some other time, Patty. I've made up my mind to stand by you-to rest not till this is cleared up, and whoever is its author punished. My aid may be of small avail, but, remembering you here friendless and alone, how could I, as a Christian man, as a neigbour and acquaintance, do otherwise than offer that aid? I could not forgive myself if I did not. Will you accept of it, Patty''
There is a law in kindness ever availing on the human heart, more effectual than spell or charm, more powerful than all authority. Patty with her tears acknowledged its influence.
Then,' said Tom, 'you'll go with me to Mr Wadset the writer, and we'll see what he says of the matter. Put on your bonnet, and let us not lose any time. Remember how much there is at stake.'
Patty mechanically obeyed, and the two were in a few minutes at Mr Wadset's office.
CHAP. IV.-DIFFICULTIES NOT REMOVED.
Paul Wadset, Esquire, has, from youthdom up to mature life, occupied an office, and enjoyed a respectable, easygoing practice in our village. He is our oldest agent. There is another, a younger man, unmarried, and much more esteemed by the young lady population and young Cocklestone generally, although Wadset is looked up to as the best authority in difficult business. This may arise from his mature years, his spectacles, slow speech, and snuff-taking. He is a man to pause and well consider all points in a case, not hastily disposing of any small difficulty, but duly weighing it and allowing it full room; while Robert Styles, his opponent, on the other hand, displays much more rashness and rapidity in arriving at results and overleaping difficulties, being of a more youthful and enthusiastic temperament-an unfortunate thing for a lawyer. But Bob, as he is more familiarly known, is a good-looking fellow, which goes a great way with some; while old Wadset is decidedly not prepossessing. He might have been tolerable-even the snuff, the spectacles, and slow speech, could be overcome-did not a pair of unusually bandy legs present themselves as unsurmountable difficulties. These are so bad that the nickname of Old Parentheses' has been bestowed in reference on the bearer by the village gamins. It is told of him, that one day an unsophisticated countryman, happening to call and finding him absent, was informed by his clerk, in common parlance, that Mr Wadset had been busy all day, and had just gone out to 'straucht his legs a bit,' and the client was required to wait just a few minutes till he returned. The innocent countryman, taking the metaphorical expression in a literal light, exclaimed, Bless us! gin I wait till he gets that done, I may bide lang aneuch! Na, na, I'll come back some ither day.' From this it may be inferred that Mr Wadset was not a model man in his lower departments at least.
When Tom and Patty entered, they found him immersed in a pile of receipts and railway bills, plans, &c., connected with the Cocklestonian Junction, then in course of formation. He raised his spectacles, and, motioning them to a seat, said something vague about the weather, crops, hard times, &c., and then plumped down upon the nature of their business. This was soon explained, and the full particulars of the case submitted, during which the learned gentleman sat nursing one leg over another, making curt inquiries occasionally, tending to draw out omitted parts of the narrative. He inquired, after a meditative pause, whether Patty had ever seen the ring, whether any one was in the room from which it was stolen that day beside herself, and whether she had reason to suspect any one of such an act. Patty had seen the ring and described it: no one was in the room save herself that day, nor could she attach suspicion to any one.
'I doubt, girl,' said Wadset, after some other inquiries, 'there will be made out a presumption of guilt against you -nothing more, however, so far as I can see-there is no evidence to convict on. I'm sorry, however, I cannot get attending to your case. I shall be very busy these two days. I think you'll get off, however. Ha! there's somebody wanting me, I hear. I need not detain you. Good-by.'
The fact was, Wadset could not be troubled with petty business now, unless to oblige a particular client. Patty's case was a doubtful one, and his prospect of payment small. Besides, Mrs Balbirnie was a client of his, and it would never do to lose a respectable client for a suspicious one. Although Wadset could afford to let a case slip, Styles
could not as yet. All was grist that came to his mill; and when it did not come, he was under the necessity of sometimes fetching it. From him, to whom Tom and Patty next resorted, they received a much more cordial welcome. The full particulars were again submitted. The result, so far as Mr Styles ventured to give an opinion, was much the same as that of old Wadset, but with this difference, that Styles was quite energetic in his determination to investigate the matter to the very bottom, and quite hopeful of clearing Patty in the eyes of the whole world. In itself such assurance was comforting; nothing more could be expected, and our heroine took her leave, with instructions to call next day, by which time Styles thought something else connected with the matter might occur to her then bewildered mind, and which might prove essential. Tom went home with his charge. Many words of comfort he strove to solace poor Patty with, pointing out the certainty of her enemy being defeated, and her own character retrieved. He had never found words so to speak to her before-never even dreamed of his own capacity. His love had been of silent admiration, not expressible before; now heroism found a tongue for him.
'To-morrow, Patty,' said he, leaving her, 'I shall not be idle; and I am not without hope that I will find some way to prove your innocence!'
Oh,' said she, Tom, if I am made out guilty in this what shall I do? Ruined, lost, despised by every one'Not every one, Patty. There is one at least who, should all else take up the lie, will spurn it. You can never be guilty to me
'Stop, Tom; do not speak thus. You may rue it. You will yet think as others think of me. Go home, now. know you mean well-kindly. I feel it all-but-but-' The tears choked her utterance. Go, Tom, go,' she said again.
He hesitated, looked at her, caught the hand she motioned him to depart with, pressed it fervently, and said, 'Good night, Patty. Do cheer up; it will be all well yet;' and with heavy heart turned homewards, meditating a hundred schemes that night for bringing vengeance on the head of Mrs Balbirnie.
CHIPS FROM MY LOG.
PASSAGE UP THE HOOGLY-CALCUTTA-CHARACTER OF THE
HAVING to work up the river against a northerly wind, and, consequently, having to anchor during every ebb-tide, we required five days to reach Calcutta. The first day's work took us only to the upper end of Saugor Island, where we anchored off Mud Point, and a party went on shore to spend the afternoon in shooting. The river here is four or five miles wide; the banks flat, and presenting nothing worth looking at. Next day we made out about twenty miles more, and brought up a little below Diamond Harbour. I noticed that while we were advancing with the last of the flood-tide, the water was actually ebbing from the banks, and the pilot told me that, before the ebb ceases in the middle of the river, the water rises about three feet, on account of the tide setting in along the sides. On the third day the sailing became more interesting. The river was getting much narrower (about a mile in width perhaps), and the banks, though still quite flat, were sprinkled over with native villages nearly hidden among banyan, palm, tamarind, and other trees. Occasionally a small temple was visible, together with obelisks erected as marks for the pilots, and semaphores to transmit intelligence to Calcutta respecting the shipping. In the afternoon we anchored off Fultah, a collection of mud huts, with a single good house, which was formerly used as an inn. The inhabitants are chiefly frail females, who are very clamorous in their invitations to passing strangers. Near this village we passed a fleet of strange-looking vessels belonging to the Maldiva Islands: they come up annually to Calcutta with the south-west monsoon, bringing cowries and other
native produce, and return home again when the monsoon chauges.
By the night-tide we dropped up to Roypoor, where we landed in the morning for another ramble among the trees and rice-fields. The banks here were strewed with human skulls and bones, the remains of bodies that the jackals had dragged out of the water and picked clean. At night we heard these animals screaming like children among the woods. The mornings now began to get rather cold on the river; the thermometer at sunrise generally stood about 60 deg.; and having been so long accustomed to a higher temperature, we felt this to be somewhat uncomfortable. The heat of the day, however, was very pleasant, the thermometer ranging from 70 to 78 deg.
The first view of the city, with the approach to it through Garden Reach, is really fine; indeed, this is the only good view that Calcutta affords. After turning a sharp angle of the river, the fine vista of Garden Reach opens up at once, the company's botanic gardens being on the left hand, and a line of stately houses, their white walls and columns rising among green lawns and showy gardens, stretching away on the right. Advancing further, we see the extensive works of Fort William, with an imposing range of buildings half encircling the esplanade, the broad smooth river being also covered with shipping of all descriptions. We lay directly off one of the ghauts or landing-places, between the fort and the city; so that every night at sunset we had an opportunity of witnessing the splendid show on the broad roads of the esplanade when the inhabitants turned out for their evening drive. It was rather curious that the ship remained free of mosquitos all the way up the river till we anchored at Calcutta, when they immediately invaded us in great force, and made us pass a very unconfortable night; by next night, however, we had mosquito-curtains rigged out, which enabled us to sleep in peace. It was only after sunset that these insects were very troublesome, and at no time did they appear to be of so fierce and bloodthirsty a disposition as their friends at Singapore. What I suffered the first night on shore there, when there happened to be some apertures in the mosquitocurtains, let no one seek to realise.
Among the English residents in Calcutta, pedestrianism is thoroughly at a discount. It is not respectable to use your own organs of locomotion; and, even though one should be willing to brave public opinion, it is not agreeable to walk during the day on account of the hot sun, and in the cool of the evening it is difficult to get along the streets for the crowds of natives; hence I had little opportunity of inspecting the city leisurely on foot, the only way that I could ever trust to, if I wished to receive correct impressions. Calcutta, however, has been sufficiently often described already, and further details concerning its appearance, or the manners and customs of its population, are not much needed; and if they were so, I do not consider myself qualified to furnish them, for not only were my opportunities of observation limited (one must be better stocked with friends and rupees than I was, if he wishes to know Calcutta), but also, as my visit was rather unsatisfactory in several respects, and as one's impressions of a place depend so much on the state of his mind and feelings at the time, I believe my account might turn out to be somewhat prejudiced, and therefore I shall merely throw together a few odds and ends about the town, with a notice of an excursion or two up the river.
The most complete view of the city is obtained from the top of the Ochterlony Monument, which stands about the middle of the esplanade. The ascent is by a narrow winding stair of 213 steps, leading to two outside galleries, the one immediately above the other. From this elevation I could see the whole of the city, with a considerable extent of the surrounding country; but the view could scarcely be called fine, for the whole was on such a dead level that the town appeared only as a uniform mass of stone and lime placed in the centre of a boundless jungly plain. Not the slightest rising of the ground was anywhere perceptible; and, except that an occasional tall tree appeared above its fellows, the horizon was as unbroken as if it had been
formed by the sea. The only interesting objects (besides the town) in this dreary flat were the river with the shipping on one side, and a distant view of a salt-water lake on the other. The buildings in the immediate vicinity of the monument, such as the fort, the government-house, and a few churches with spires, appeared to considerable advantage, but the others were lost in the general mass.
Calcutta stretches along the river for more than three miles, and extends backwards about a mile and a half. Between the houses and the river runs a long street called the Strand,' and on this I walked northwards one night upwards of a mile, but was at length obliged to turn back on account of the crowds of natives and hackeries (small carts drawn by two bullocks) that obstructed the road. Under the banyan trees that skirted the river I saw many small images of gods, with lamps and festoons of flowers before them. At one place a band of religious beggars were sitting in a semi-circle by the roadside, their naked bodies covered with white dust (dried mud from the Ganges it had likely been), and their long, dirty, matted hair surrounded by garlands of reddish flowers. They kept up a low monotonous chant to attract the attention of passersby. In the English part of the city there are many fine public and private buildings, but scarcely enough to justify the term 'City of Palaces,' which the vanity of the inhabitants has caused them to assume for it. The only square in the city (Tank Square) is of great extent, each side measuring more than a furlong, so that the whole circuit exceeds half a mile; it receives its name from an immense reservoir of water dug in its centre. Throughout the town there are a good many of these 'tanks' for the purpose of keeping a supply of water for domestic and public uses. On the south side of the square there is a marble statue of Warren Hastings enclosed in a small building of stone. In Dhurrumtolla Street there is a beautiful musjeed, or Mohammedan place of prayer, erected (as seen by an inscription) by Prince Ghoolan Mohumed, son of Tippoo Sultan. Its roof is covered with domes and minarets surmounted by gilt balls, and in the court around it was often to be seen a company of Mussulmans performing their de votions. In the same street there is also a very handsome Roman Catholic church, constructed of brick, and chunamed on the outside so as to appear quite white and smooth. Many of the fine houses are built in the same style, but others are plastered so as to resemble freestone. The bazaars that exist numerously throughout the town are merely narrow streets full of small shops where everything may be got. It is no easy task to get through one, on account of the importunities of the native dealers; and a person must sometimes use physical force to get away from them. Passing along in a palankeen you are almost stunned by their clamours: Silks here, sir,'- Cashmere shawls here, sir,'-'Hats, hats,'-Boots, cheap boots, sir,'- Woollen clothes here, sir, just your size,'' Want ready-made shirts, sir?'-My shop best, sir,'-'No, that man cheat; come here, sir !'-and such like cries in Babel confusion.
In reference to the Chinese I had occasion to remark that I never suffered myself, nor did I see others suffer, from ! their want of honesty, but I cannot say the same of these lying Hindoos; and I would recommend any one that has dealings with such unscrupulous traders, by all means to keep 'wide awake.' Among servants, too, of whom such useless crowds are required about every house, it is in vain to seek for honesty as a qualification; indeed, if one of this class proves an acquisition otherwise, his master dares not charge him with his peculations, or he would run the risk of seeing him take leave with all the dignity of injured innocence. The labourers also, or 'coolies,' as they are generally called, are an unwilling, nerveless set, that require constant oversight before they can be got to do their work. I have seen on board ship, the matter of twenty big fellows pulling, screaming, and stamping, with one standing apart, whose sole duty was to clap his hands and keep up a sort of song for the rest to keep time by, all for the purpose of heaving up a cask or bale of goods, that four or five English sailors, with a cheerily men, ob!'
would have had on the deck in a twinkling. By an onlooker like myself this might be taken as a good joke-an interesting exhibition of human nature; but to those that have the responsibility of getting the work done it is quite heart-breaking, and they can scarcely keep their hands off them. In ships manned with Bengalee lascars it is no uncommon thing for the mates to enforce their orders by blows, for which, when they arrive in port, they get reprimanded and fined-a result that is no doubt quite proper, for corporeal punishment is a very degrading thing, and should never be had recourse to but from the sternest necessity; but let the most patient man on earth take such a mate's berth, and if he do not feel inclined to try an occasional application of a handspike or a rope's end, it is more than I should expect from human nature.
Labour is cheap in Calcutta, and so it may well be, for its real value is very small. House servants may be had from four to eight rupees a month, according to their duties, and they find themselves in food. Coolies get three or four annas* a day. The food of the natives (rice with a small portion of vegetables, and occasionally a little fish and curry stuff) is so cheap that I believe they can maintain life for about one anna a day. The minute subdivision of labour that exists among servants has resulted I believe quite as much from their cunning indolence as from the influence of caste; and now that Englishmen in India are finding it necessary to live more economically and keep smaller establishments than at a former period, such distinctions are a good deal broken down. Were an explanation sought of these bad phases of the native character, it may be said that they are induced partly by the enervating climate, partly by the wretched and debasing system of religious culture, and, to some degree, perhaps, by the domination of the English-cunning and deceit being the readiest weapons that the weak can use against the strong; and I am also ready to admit that my impressions may have been derived from partial and insufficient data, and are therefore not to be applied to the mass without some modifications; but certainly the lower orders of natives appeared to me a most unamiable race. In their religious aversion to foreigners, in their laziness, and cringing servility when anything was expected, they contrasted strongly with the Chinese, and my opinion of the latter was raised by the comparison.
To return to my own proceedings. I had an excursion up the river one day with a party as far as Barrackpore, about sixteen miles above Calcutta. We started at the commencement of the flood-tide in a 'bolio,' a large boat propelled by six oars, and having a sort of house built on the after part of it. As we proceeded upwards I saw, at the north end of the city, the place set apart for the Hindoos to burn their dead. Some piles were smouldering away, and a troop of adjutant-birds were stalking about, waiting to partake of what the fire might leave unconsumed. The poorer classes cannot afford sufficient firewood to effect complete combustion, and hence the bodies are often merely scorched and then thrown into the river, where they furnish food to kites, adjutant-birds, carrioncrows, jackals, &c. Bodies were every day to be seen floating past the ship with crows standing on them tearing up their flesh, while a Brahminy-kite would occasionally make a swoop down and carry off a share of the feast in his claws. The corpses would sometimes get across our chain-cable and spread a disagreeable effluvium over the ship until cleared away: the cook at the same time might be filling his kettle from the ship's side.
After getting fairly beyond the city, the banks of the river all the way to Barrackpore were very beautiful, and presented more of an oriental appearance than anything I had previously seen. Native villages, composed of mud buts with curved thatched roofs; numerous ghauts' with lines of small pagodas flanking the central arcade, and, at the bottom of the steps, crowds of men and women per
A rupee is generally counted two shillings, and an anna, being onesixteenth of a rupee, would therefore be equal to threehalfpence: but eleven rupees, or even a little more, can generally be got in exchange for a sovereign.
forming their morning ablutions, thinking thus to get washed away by the sacred waters of the Ganges at once their physical and their moral impurities; country houses of Europeans, situated in fine parks; residences of wealthy baboos; Hindoo temples, with their strange and varied architecture; and the whole embosomed in noble foresttrees, interspersed with an underwood of flowering shrubs, -were some of the features of the scene that passed before us. We landed first at Serampore, formerly a Danish settlement, and famous in the missionary annals of India; it is now a quiet, deserted-looking place. Passing over to the east bank of the river, we next landed at Barrackpore, a town occupied chiefly as a military station, there being generally five or six regiments of native infantry kept in it. The governor and some of the chief people of Calcutta have also country residences here. At the south end of the town is an extensive park intersected by pleasant walks and drives, and containing a few cages of wild animals. From that position the view of Serampore on the other side was very fine, a row of large buildings fronting the river appearing to great advantage. The afternoon turned out so hot that we were obliged to give up walking and remain in the bolio; in the cool of the evening we turned homewards, and arrived among the shipping at gunfire.
The weather, during January and February, was delightful: cold enough at night to make a blanket agreeable, and not uncomfortably hot during the day. The thermometer at sunrise varied from 60 to 65 deg., and through the day from 70 to 78 deg. In March the weather became very hot, the temperature ranging from 75 to 80 deg. in the morning, and 82 to 90, and even 95 in the course of the day. The most pleasant and healthy season at Calcutta is during the height of the north-east monsoon, or from November to February. In April and May the days are very hot (the thermometer, however, seldom rising above 95 deg.); but at this time there are frequent cold squalls and rain from the north-west during the night, and the sudden check which these give to perspiration is thought to be one of the chief causes of the prevalence of cholera at this season. In June, July, and August (while the south-west monsoon blows), the rain pours down in torrents, and the nights are generally so close and hot that a refreshing sleep can seldom be obtained. This is what people complain most of, and new comers especially find themselves very uncomfortable, being generally at the same time tormented with prickly heat. In September and October the rains wear off, and the sun's rays, acting on the marshy surface of the previously inundated country, give rise to remittent fevers and agues in abundance.
While we were at Calcutta (in 1846), cholera broke out early in March, and made considerable havoc both on shore and among the shipping. A melancholy case happened with ourselves, of a young man that we had brought round as a passenger from China. Having lost his wife by cholera a few days previously, and, having no friends in Calcutta, we asked him to come on board again and live a few days with us, until his mind should get composed, and he should be able to resume his occupation. He was very thankful to accept this invitation, and accordingly came. Early next morning he called me up to say that he felt very unwell, and, while detailing to me his symptoms, his limbs were seized with cramp. As the truth flashed on his mind he started from his couch, stood erect, with outstretched arms, and as he gazed on the convulsive working of the muscles, and the involuntary clenching of his fingers, he exclaimed, Ah, doctor, that's the disease that takes a man off!' I gave him what feeble encouragement I could, but he knew the fatal signs too well, and, merely shaking his head, laid himself down quietly to die. Knowing there would be little time to spare, he immediately told me what was to be done with his things on shore, and where his keys, letters, &c., were to be found, telling me also the addresses of some of his relations, in order that I might write and inform them of his death. He likewise bade me send on shore for a person that he was anxious to see, and entreated me to try and keep him alive till he