Page images
PDF
EPUB

tion. It may be questioned whether there is more tyranny in France than in India.

The conquered Indian is happy to have no bit in his mouth, to speak out his grievances. It is necessary for us to appreciate correctly the character either of the French or the Russian. If it be the will of Providence to have a yoke upon the neck of our nation, our nation should in the ripened maturity of its judgment discriminate and prefer the yoke of the English to be the least galling. Nothing less than British phlegm, and imperturbability, and constancy, and untiring energy, could have steadily prosecuted the task of consolidating the disjointed masses of India, and casting her into the mould of one compact nation. They want but the high thoughts seated in a heart of courtesy' to attach us to their rule, with a feeling of loyalty that, not merely 'playing round the head, should come near the heart.'

Allygurh has all the appearance of recovering slowly from the shock of a heavy blow. It has lost much of its consequence by the Rebellion, which has swept away many of its inhabitants. Howsoever a Moslem may pretend to doze, no sooner he finds an ill-wind blowing, than he is upon his legs to recover his status. The turbulent Mewattees form here a large element in the population, and came out yelling and brandishing their swords which had rusted for many a day in their seabbards. There was an old Bengalee Baboo, who had left home in his youth as a vagabond run-a-away, and chosen to settle here, rising from a petty Dawk Joon

shee to accumulate property, and buy large estates. His sons are yet carrying on three saltpetre refineries and twelve indigo factories. On the first alarm of the mutiny, the Baboo sent away his women for safety to Brindabun, disguising them as beggar-maids, and making over to their care the most valuable jewels to carry away under their blankets. The poor Baboo himself, who was waiting for the next opportunity to fly, happened to be caught, and was bound and tortured for money. He supported the agonies of his punishment with the most patient resignation, but died in two days from starvation and much mental racking. The task of quieting Allygurh had been made over to a most energetic Hindoostanee Teshildar, who felt no compunctious visitings to drive in scores 'out of the world' those who had sinned beyond the bounds of forgiveness.

Norember 6th. Got up at four in the morning to catch the first up-train to Delhi, starting at about sunrise. The starry sky was the great dial in which we read the hour from the position of the armed Orion just over-head. In that silent hour, the songs of a siren Baijee came in 'rich distilled music' wafted on the air. The sound of matin rites also rose from a Hindoo temple in this Mahomedan town. But the train did not arrive till ten in the morning. Took our breakfast with the Baboo who is placed in charge of a hospital here. Met an European gentleman on the platform of the station, who was also bound for Delhi. Long talk with him about the Governor-General's coming Durbar, about

merce.

his own travels in Rajpootana, about the Rajah of Jeypoor and the skilful management of his territories, about the heat of India affecting his health, about the income of Native attorneys and pleaders, and about his willingness to take service after (nothing-will-do-by speculation.

Khoorjah, a considerable town, though little of it is seen immediately on the road-side. The official return of its population is near twenty-five thousand. During Lake's campaign in the Doab, there was a fort here garrisoned by Perron's force. The town has given up all its martial pursuits for the occupations of com

Hundreds of bales of cotton lay piled on the platform of the station-cotton that is untainted with any slave-gore, and which Christian Manchester might buy with a conscientious heart.

Passed by Boolundsher, and thence on to Secunder. bad. The next station is Dadree. How all along the way the sight of a rich crop on the groundg laddened our hearts,-coming as we did from famine-stricken lands where thousands were perishing of hunger. Through these parts of the country runs a branch of the great Ganges Canal, designed to secure 3,320,000 acres from the effects of drought. The large tumuli,' spoken of by Russel, are neither the remains of brickkilns' nor ‘mortuary heaps,' but simply elevations of land on which the villages are built in a swampy country.

From Ghaziabad there remained fourteen miles of ground to go over to Delhi. This space was rapidly cleared as we were carried onward and onward by an engine of a hundred-horse power. Far off in the hazy distance, towards which the sun was approaching to close his career, rose a tall and tapering object shooting into a blue pure sky-it was the Kootub. Near and near as we advanced, became visible the great dome of Hoomayun's tomb. The eye then caught a glimpse of the Jumna, and beyond it lay full in view with its mosques, minarets, towers, and palaces, extending to a great distance along the bank, the city to which we had looked forward for many a longing year.

Delhi, which conjures up a thousand associations, is, perhaps, the most renowned city on the globe. Babylon or Balbec, Palmyra or Persepolis, Athens, Carthage, or even the imperial Rome itself, are the most celebrated theatres for acts of the human drama. But the hanging gardens of Babylon were the wonders only of a few generations—the city of Solomon threw an enchanted lustre over the deserts of Syria for a limited number of years——the glories of ancient Iran perished with the destruction of Persepolis-and the magnificence of Carthage, once swept away, lies ingulfed in irretrievable ruin. The eternal Rome excepted, there is no other place which enjoys so great a celebrity as Delhi. Its fame is as early established, as it has been the longest perpetuated—a fame extending almost in an unbroken continuity through a space of time embraced by more than three thousand years. Founded in the fifteenth century before Christ, it was known under the name of Indraprastha to countless genera

[blocks in formation]

tions of Hindoos. In subsequent ages it became celebrated for being the abode of the Great Mogul, who was for a long time regarded less as a real potentate than as a myth of Scheherzade's tales. And in our own times, it has happened to be the scene of memorable events, which, a few years ago, made its name almost a household word in every mouth upon the globe.

But how the charms of illusion fade away before stern truth, that recalls us from our reveries to the realities of the scene before us. Our journey drawing to a close, the train discharged such numbers of all classes of people, travellers, merchants, shopkeepers, gentlemen of elegant leisure, invalids, and speculators, as will have a sensible effect upon the manners and customs of the men in these places. The road beneath the platform was thronged by a dense crowd of coolies, sveetmeat vendors, and hooka-burdars, running and hawking about in all directions. Carriages of various description, but all included under the common name of 'buggies,' lay waiting to be engaged by the passengers. The dust, loosened by the tread of steps, was flying about to make big folks turn up their aristocratic noses. The 'flies of Delhi' lagged not behind to give a sample of their welcome to the stranger, by attacking his ears, eyes, nose, and mouth most inhospitably. Our patience would have given way under the strain put to it, were there not faces to peep from behind the purdahs of ekkas -faces of females whom the rash innorator, Rail, had drawn out from the seclusion of their zenanas, to throw them upon the rude gaze of the public. The hookah, too,

« PreviousContinue »