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ARRIVAL AT CALCUTTA.
of “caranchies," or native carriages, each drawn by two horses, and looking like the skeletons of hackney coaches in our own country.
From Kidderpoor we passed by a mean wooden bridge over a muddy creek, which brought us to an extensive open plain like a race-course, at the extremity of which we saw Calcutta, its white houses glittering through the twilight, which was now beginning to close in, with an effect not unlike that of Connaught-place and its neighbourhood, as seen from a distance across Hyde Park. Over this plain we drove to the fort, where Lord Amherst has assigned the old Government-house for our temporary residence. The fort stands considerably to the south of Calcutta and west of Chowringhee, having the Hooghly on its west side. The degree of light which now remained rendered all its details indistinguishable, and it was only when we began to wind through the different works, and to hear the clash of the sentries presenting arms as we passed, that we knew we were approaching a military post of great extent and considerable importance. We at length alighted at the door of our temporary abode, a large and very handsome building in the centre of the fort, and of the vast square formed by its barracks and other buildings. The square is grassed over, and divided by broad roads of “pucka,” or pounded brick, with avenues of tall trees stocked with immense flights of crows, which had not yet ceased their evening concert when we arrived. We found at the door two sentries, resembling Europeans in
ARRIVAL AT CALCUTTA.
every thing but complexion, which, indeed, was far less swarthy than that of the other natives whom we had hitherto seen, and were received by a long train of servants in cotton dresses and turbans; one of them with a long silver stick, and another with a short mace, answering to those of the Peons who had received us at the landing place.
The house consisted of a lofty and well-proportioned hall, 40 feet by 25, a drawing-room of the same length, and six or seven rooms all on the same floor, one of which served as a Chapel, the lower story being chiefly occupied as offices or lobbies. All these rooms were very lofty, with many doors and windows on every side; the floors of plaister, covered with mats; the ceilings of bricks, plaistered also, flat, and supported by massive beams, which were visible from the rooms below, but beinig painted neatly had not at all a bad effect. Punkas, large frames of light wood covered with white cotton, and looking not unlike enormous fire-boards, hung from the cielings of the principal apartments, to which cords were fastened, which were drawn backwards and forwards by one or more servants, so as to agitate and cool the air very agreeably. The walls were white and unadorned, except with a number of glass lamps filled with coco-nut oil, and the furniture, though sufficient for the climate, was scanty in comparison with that of an English house. The beds instead of curtains had mosquito nets; they were raised high from the ground and very hard, admirably adapted for a hot climate.
ARRIVAL AT CALCUTTA.
I had then the ceremony to go through of being made acquainted with a considerable number of my Clergy. Among whom was my old schoolfellow at Whitchurch, Mr. Parsons, some years older than myself, whom I recollect when I was quite an urchin. Then all our new servants were paraded before us under their respective names of Chobdars", Sotaburdars?, Hurkarus? Khânsaman”, Abdar, Sherabdar", Khitmutgars", Sirdar Bearero, and Bearers, cum multis aliis. Of all these, however, the Sircar" was the most conspicuous,-a tall fine looking man, in a white muslin dress, speaking good English, and the editor of a Bengalee newspaper, who appeared with a large silken and embroidered purse full of silver coins, and presented it to us, in order that we might go through the form of receiving it, and replacing it in his hands. This, I then supposed, was a badge of his office, but I afterwards found that it was the relic of the ancient Eastern custom of never approaching a superior without a present, and that, in like manner, all the natives who visited me offered a “nuzzur," or offering, of a piece of gold or silver money.
· Men who carry silver sticks before people of rank; or Messengers, all bearing the generic appellation of Peons.
2 Steward. 3 Water Cooler. * Butler. 5 Footmen. • Head of all the Bearers, and valet de Chambre. * Agent.-ED.
Calcutta,Description of Calcutta : Cathedral : Environs : QuayChild-murder-Barrackpoor : Menagerie-Female Orphan Asylum
-Consecration of Churches Nách-Free School-Botanical Garden -Bishop's College-Native Female Schools—Distress among Europeans.
OCTOBER 11.- In the morning as the day broke, (before which time is the usual hour of rising in India) we were much struck by the singular spectacle before us. Besides the usual apparatus of a place of arms, the walks, roofs, and ramparts, swarmed with gigantic birds, the “ hurgila," from “hur," a bone, and “ gilana,” to swallow, larger than the largest turkey, and twice as tall as the heron, which in some respects they much resemble, except that they have a large blue and red pouch under the lower bill, in which we were told they keep such food as they cannot eat at the moment? These birds share with the jackalls, who enter the fort through the drains, the post of
It has since been ascertained by dissection, that this pouch has no connection with the stomach,—but has a very small tube opening into the nostril,—through which it is supposed air is admitted to enable the bird to breathe when the orifice of the throat is closed by any large substance, which it attempts, for some time in vain, to swallow. At such time the pouch is in this way inflated with air, and respiration goes on unimpeded.-ED.
DESCRIPTION OF CALCUTTA.
scavenger, but unlike them, instead of flying mankind and daylight, lounge about with perfect fearlessness all day long, and almost jostle us from our paths. We walked some time round the square, and were amused to see our little girl, walking with her nurse, in great delight at the animals round her, but rather encumbered with the number of servants who had attached themselves to her. For her especial service, a bearer, a khitmutgar, a hurkaru, and a cook, were appointed, and there were besides the two former, one of the silver sticks with her, and another bearer with a monstrous umbrella on a long bamboo pole, which he held over her head in the manner represented on Chinese screens ;-my wife soon reduced her nursery establishment,—but we afterwards found that it is the custom in Calcutta to go to great expense in the equipage of children.
A lady told us she had seen a little boy of six years old, paraded in a poney phaeton and pair, with his “Ayah," or nurse, coachman,
“ Chattahburdar," or umbrella-bearer, a saees on each side, and another behind, leading a third
poney, splendidly caparisoned, not in case the young Sahib should choose to ride, he was too young for that,but, as the saees himself expressed it, “ for the look of the thing." This, however, rather belongs to old times, when as a gentleman assured me, he had himself heard at the dinner party of one of the Company's civil servants, a herald proclaiming aloud all the great man's titles; and when a palanquin with the silk brocade, and gilding which then