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runs down the centre, and nothing could be more easy than to allay the clouds of dust, at present so intolerable, by keeping the avenues on either side well watered. This canal, originally the work of Feroze Shah, forms the only supply of wholesome water which the inhabitants of Delhi are enabled to obtain. Sharing the fate of the Moghul empire, it became neglected, and was at length wholly choked up, remaining in this state for more than a hundred years. The canal was re-opened by Ali Merdan Khan, a Persian nobleman attached to the court of the Emperor Shah Jehan, but was again dried up and remained useless until the establishment of the British government; which, anxious to display its paternal care, and wishing to confer a solid and lasting benefit upon the people of the city, determined upon repairing this splendid work. An undertaking of such magnitude occupied a considerable period; it required three years of unremitting labour to complete it, and the expense was enormous. At length, in 1820, during the administration of Sir Charles Metcalfe, the whole was finished. All the inhabitants of the city, in a tumult of joy, went out to greet the approaching waters, shouting lo-peans to the government which gave them the long-desired blessing, and casting garlands of flowers, ghee, oil, and spices, into the stream refreshing their eyes and giving such welcome promises of fertility and abundance. Fortunately, the present rulers of India are persevering as well as enterprizing; for, in the course of a very few years, the canal again became dry, in consequence of a change in the channel of the Jumna, whose waters, flowing through another passage, no longer afforded the customary supply. The inhabitants of Delhi, with the usual Asiatic absence of foresight, had neglected the wells, which, previous to the opening of the canal, had furnished them, though inadequately, with the precious element. The expense of obtaining it was heavy, and to many almost ruinous; the gardens became deserts, and the failure of the rains increased the distress. The sufferings thus occasioned were not of long duration; as soon as it was practicable, the engineer officer having the charge of the canal, repaired the mischief, and a second jubilee took place, attended by similar festivals and similar thanksgivings, than which nothing could have been more gratifying to the English inhabitants of the imperial city.
The palace of the residency, within the walls of modern Delhi or Shahjehanabad, formerly belonged to Ali Merdan Khan, the nobleman beforementioned. It is a large irregular building, which has been added to it, and it has been altered to suit the taste and convenience of its successive owners, the banqueting-rooms being the work of Sir David Ochterlony; some of the older apartments are adorned with elaborate ornaments, and rich Mosaic paintings; it has a large garden at the back, laid out with the stately formality which is the usual style of Oriental pleasure-grounds, and the whole, though not particularly splendid, has a solemn and imposing air.
By strangers visiting Delhi, a presentation at the court of the fallen monarch is generally desired, though there are many Anglo-Indians who, with more than.native apathy, pass through the city of the Moslem conquerors of India with as little interest in the great Moghul as they have been accustomed to take in his effigy, which is so unaccountably impressed upon a pack of cards. The imperial palace, erected by Shah Jehan, is a very noble building. The outer wall in front is sixty feet high, battlemented on the top, and adorned with small round towers; the gateways are magnificent. The whole is of red granite, surrounded by a moat, and, though only tenable against arrows and musquetry, has an air of strength and grandeur. The entrance is exceedingly fine; a lofty gothic arch, in the centre of the tower, which forms the portal, leads to a splendid vestibule, and through a vaulted colonnade, to the inner court. A second gateway leads to another quadrangle, in which the dewanee khas, or hall of audience, is situated. The throne or pavilion of the great Moghul is of white marble, beautifully carved, inlaid with gold, and of curious construction. The roof, which was formerly vaulted with silver, is supported on richly-decorated pillars; around the cornice is the celebrated inscription, “ If there be a paradise upon earth, it is this, it is this !" The throne of marble, embellished with gilded ornaments, stands in the centre of this pavilion ; it rises about three feet from the floor, and is canopied by a drapery of cloth of gold bordered with seed-pearl; there are no steps in front, the monarch entering from the rear, with his sons and favoured courtiers, and the rest of the assemblage standing round on the pavementbeneath. The quadrangle, in which this singular edifice is placed, is extremely handsome, surrounded by profusely-ornamented buildings, and adorned with flowers and fountains. The king is seated, cross-legged, upon cushions, and, except upon occasions of state, does not affect great splendour of attire, being frequently entirely wrapped up in shawls, and shewing only a few valuable jewels to the eager eyes of European strangers. The court is, in fact, shorn of all its grandeur, and the monarch, painfully conscious of his own degradation, can only be reconciled to the 'exhibition of himself, for the sake of the revenue afforded by the gold mohurs, which are offered as nuzzurs at every presentation. The whole ceremonial of the reception at this once all-powerful court has dwindled away to a mere farce. formerly, the distribution of the khillauts, or dresses of honour, was an affair of the greatest importance, and may, probably, still be considered so by the natives, amongst whom the dependent king yet maintains the shadow of his power. The personal rank and the degree of estimation, in which the person receiving the gist is held, are decided by the number of articles and the value of the materials composing the khillaut: swords with embroidered belts, the hilts and scabbards being of embossed silver, or set with precious stones, shields rimmed with silver, daggers richly ornamented, splendid turbans, shawls in pairs, cummerbunds and handkerchiefs, gold and silver muslins, Benares brocades, strings of pearls and other jewels, are comprehended in the khillauts given to the favourites whom native monarchs delight to honour. Sometimes, these rich gifts will consist of a hundred and one articles; seventy-five is a more common, and five the lowest number; these last are always of inferior quality: the greater the
quantity the more rich the materials, so that the cost and value may be calculated by the number bestowed. The investiture of khillauts takes place in the king's presence, who, when desirous of paying a mark of peculiar respect, places a turban on the head of the favoured person ; on other occasions, he merely touches the articles with his hand, and the rest of the ceremony
is left to the officers of state. These magnificent presents are not wholly disinterested marks of sovereign beneficence: the individual who receives them is always expected to make an adequate return, and to present a nuzzur corresponding with his rank and the value of the kingly gift. The khillauts presented at Delhi to the European visitants of the court are the merest frippery imaginable, and are said, with some appearance of truth, to be manufactured from the cast-off finery of the ladies of the zenana : wreaths of tinsel flowers, coarse silvered muslin, and still coarser shawls, with girdles and gewgaws of the most trumpery description, dear at the price of the few gold mohurs which are paid for them, are graciously bestowed upon the civil and military officers of the Company, who are required to masquerade in this barbarous finery, which is put on, or rather hung on, over their ordinary attire. An officer in full uniform, with a silver múslin tunic dangling from his shoulders, or arrayed in a robe of flowered gauze stuck with tinsel and edged with faded ribbons, a flimsy scarf Auttering from his cocked hat, or a tiara of false stones encircling the plain round beaver of a civilian, are objects continually offered to the view of spectators, who must have very rigid countenances not to betray the ridicule which they excite. The custom now would be more honoured in the breach than in the observance, it having become nothing more than a very absurd piece of formality, rendered as cheap as possible, in order to suit the purses of those who wish to make their salaam to the king. On visits of state, by functionaries of rank in the service, the expenses are paid by the Government; to private individuals repairing alone to the hall of audience, the cost is four gold mohurs, about eight pounds, not including a khillaut, which is only given on particular occasions, and forms an extra-expense.
The court of Delhi is still a place of considerable political intrigue; the numerous native tributaries to the British Government have always points of great importance to themselves to settle, which they endeavour to obtain by those crooked paths of diplomacy which Asiatics delight to tread; and persons attached to the residency, from the highest to the lowest, are directly or indirectly assailed by stimulants supposed to be all-powerful over every part of the East. The trade of Delhi is very extensive, particularly in shawls, for which it is a grand mart; a constant intercourse is kept up between this city and Cashmere, whence the splendid fabrics so much prized all over the civilized world are brought in immense quantities, some plain, to have borders sewed upon them, others to be embroidered in silk or gold, whence they derive the name of Delhi shawls. Nothing can exceed the beauty of the Delhi needle-work, which is in the highest esteem throughout Asia, and eagerly coveted by the rich of both sexes, the caftans of the men being often of velvet edged with rich embroidery. The gold
smiths are also celebrated beyond those of any other Indian city, and eminently merit their high reputation. It is difficult for persons, bestacquainted with the chef-d'æuvres of European artizans, to imagine the surprising beauty of the Delhi work, the champac necklaces in particular, so called from the flower whose petals it resembles. They do not succeed so well in cutting and arranging precious stones, though they are improving very fast from the instructions native workmen now obtain when in the employment of English jewellers at Calcutta. There are a great many carvers of stone and ivory in Delhi, but they have not attained to any thing approaching perfection in their art. A new and curious branch of Indian bijouterie has, however, sprung up, under the auspices of an English lady; it consists of ivory medallions, on which the principal buildings of the neighbourhood, the Kootub Minar, &c., are very delicately painted; these are set in gold and worn as necklaces, or sent as presents by the fair portion of the European community, and, though not of much value, are both curious and ornamental.
The gratifications afforded by Delhi, as a station for Europeans, must depend entirely upon the tastes and pursuits of those to whom the chances of the service have made it a temporary abode; for, with the exception of a few persons, whose appointment may be considered to be fixed for life, a constant change is taking place in the society. The number of Europeans is not very great, and the amazing superiority in rank and station, possessed by the civilians over the military, produces a jealousy exceedingly inimical to social intercourse. A dearth of unmarried ladies is frequently a subject of complaint, and when this happens at a period in which no stranger of rank is a visitant to the imperial city, gaities of every kind are in a state of suspension. Whenever any great person is passing through Delhi, the residency is always a scene of festivity to those who have not excluded themselves from its hopitalities through a dread of compromising their dignity by appearing to court the ruling powers, a prejudice which is the bane of society in India, and unfortunately fostered by the folly of a few vainglorious civilians, who, however, form a very small proportion of the whole body. In a place like Delhi, where natives of rank fancy they consult their own interest in administering to the pride and vanity of their European rulers, a pompous, ostentatious official is rendered unbearable to all save the train of parasites such personages will always have about them. The entertainments given by the resident are usually of a very magnificent description; the gardens are illuminated by coloured lamps, and the banquets have all the abundance considered so essential to splendour by the native purveyors. Moosulman gentlemen of rank frequently give parties to the European visitants at Delhi, in which ladies are included, and at these, the nautch or dancing-girls are invariably introduced: the prima donna, named Alfina, is a very celebrated artiste, outscreaming all her contemporaries, and keeping possession of the floor when vainly-aspiring rivals are desired to sit down. Sometimes five or six sets of these inharmonious vocalists appear together, all singing at the same time, after the fashion of a Dutch chorus, the natives not having an idea of making their voices accord with each other. The dancing, though not equally barbarous, is exceedingly tiresome, when, as in the presence of ladies, it is circumscribed within the bounds of propriety; but there are some European gentlemen who acquire the native taste for an exhibition which, when addressed to male eyes alone, is said to be not particularly decorous.
The horror, with which even those Asiatics who adopt foreign fashions in equipages and house-furniture regard the manners and customs of the Europeans brought in close contact with them, is sometimes openly displayed by urgent remonstrances to those for whom they have contracted a friendship; but this is nothing, compared to the expression of their disgust in private. In Delhi, the opinions entertained upon the subject are widely, though secretly, circulated through the medium of the native ukhbars, scandalous chronicles, very much resembling a few of our English newspapers, except that they are in manuscript, the language is Persian, and the editors do not scruple to write at full length the names of those who are the subjects of the most atrocious libels. It is not very easy for a European to procure a sight of the animadversions passed upon the conduct of himself or his friends ; some artifice is requisite to obtain samples of the method employed to amuse the reading portion of the native community at the expense of persons differing so widely in the habits of their public and private life. As the writers are not very scrupulous in the language they use, there is not a little difficulty in making an extract, which will display the spirit of their comments, without shocking the eye by coarseness of expression. The following description of a European entertainment will convey some idea of the estimation in which such promiscuous meetings are held. “The gentlemen of exalted dignity had a great feast last night, to which all the military chiefs and lieutenants were invited. There was a little bog on the table, before Mr. who cut it in small pieces, and sent some to each of the party; even the women ate of it. In their language, a pig is called ham. Having stuffed themselves with the unclean food, and many sorts of flesh, taking plenty of wine, they made for some time a great noise, which doubtless arose from drunkenness. They all stood up two or four times, crying 'hip! hip! and roared before they drank more wine. After dinner, they danced in their licentious manner, pulling about each other's wives." Here follows a bit of personal scandal : “Captain who is staying with Mr. went
with the latter's lady (arm-in-arm), the palanquins following behind, and they proceeded by themselves into the bungalow: the wittol remained at table, guzzling red wine." The uncourteous, ungracious manner, which too many Englishmen assume towards the natives, is touched off with truth and spirit in the following paragraph : “ The Government has manisested singular want of sense in appointing Mr.
at - . The man is a capacious blockhead, and very hot-tempered; he can do, no business himself, yet he has the extreme folly to be angry when abler persons wish to do. it for him. When the most respectable Hindoostanee gentlemen waited, Asiat. Jour.N.S.Vol.14.No.53.