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NATIVE FEMALE SCHOOLS.
the little swarthy children come forward to repeat their lessons, and shew their work to Lady Amherst, blushing even through their dark complexions, with their muslin veils thrown carelessly round their slim half-naked figures, their black hair plaited, their foreheads specked with white or red paint, and their heads, necks, wrists, and ancles loaded with all the little finery they could beg or borrow for the occasion.
Their parents make no objection to their learning the catechism, or being taught to read the Bible, provided nothing is done which can make them lose caste. And many of the Brahmins themselves, either finding the current of popular opinion too strongly in favour of the measures pursued for them to struggle with, or really influenced by the beauty of the lessons taught in Scripture, and the advantage of giving useful knowledge, and something like a moral sense to the lower ranks of their countrymen and countrywomen, appear to approve of Mrs. Wilson's plan, and attend the examination of her scholars. There is not even a semblance of opposition to the efforts which we are now making to enlighten the Hindoos ; this I had some days ago an excellent opportunity of observing, in going round the schools supported by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge with Mr. Hawtayne, and seeing with how much apparent cordiality he was received, not only by the children themselves and the schoolmasters, though all Hindoos and Mussulmans, but by the parents and the neighbouring householders of whatever religion.
STATE OF EUROPEAN POOR.
On all these points, however, and on the great change which seems to be taking place in the character of this vast nation, or at least in the province of Bengal, I have written at considerable length to my friends in England, and therefore shall not repeat my opinions and observations here.
December 25.-- This being Christmas-day I had a large congregation and a great number of communicants, I think above 300. Now, and at Easterday, it is the custom in Calcutta to give very splendidly to the communion collection, which is the fund for the support of the European poor (for there are no poor rates), and is managed with great judgment and attention by a body of gentlemen, calling themselves the select vestry of the Cathedral. There is a good deal of distress among the Europeans and half-castes here, arising from various causes, especially from the multitude of speculations which have been tried of late years in indigo and other establishments. If a man once begins falling so far as to borrow money, it is hardly possible for him to recover himself, the interest of loans is so high, and the necessary expences of living so great, while a return to England, except in forma pauperis and at the Company's cost, is too expensive to be thought of by persons under such circumstances. Nor are they luxuries only that ruin the colonist in Calcutta. House-rent is enormous, and though the poorer classes of Europeans and half-castes live in wretched dwellings, in very unwholesome parts of the town, they are
often obliged to pay for these as much as would rent an excellent house in most of the markettowns of England, and would furnish them with very tolerable dwellings even in London. Clothes too are dear. On the other hand provisions, by those who will stoop so low, are to be had for almost nothing from the remains of the dinners of the principal European families, which the climate will not suffer to be kept till another day, and are therefore disposed of by the Khânsamans at a very low rate indeed. Still there is much real want, and I apprehend that a man who gives as a Christian ought to give, will in Calcutta find little opportunity for saving, and still less for amusement and needless luxury. Deus faxit ut quod ei debeo absolyam!
My wife went a few days ago on a cruise to the Sand-heads, for the benefit of our child's health.
Captain Manning joined his ship at Saugor at the same time, with a promise that when he next returns here, he is again to become our guest. He is an excellent man, warm and single-hearted beyond most I know, of considerable talent in his profession and in mechanics, and of very pleasing unaffected manners. During the time he has been with us, I have had an opportunity of knowing his character thoroughly, and am very glad to be able to rank him among the number of my friends.
Pagodas-Barrackpoor-Serampoor : Decoits-Chandernagore-Christ
mas-boxes-Idols-Titty-ghur-Suttee-Bore in the River-Saltpetre -Confirmation-Governor-Generals Native Levee.
On the 27th of December I paid a visit of two days to the Governor at Barrackpoor. I went by water early enough in the morning to preach to the congregation, which, for want of a church, assembles in the great hall of the Government-house. The distance is about 24 miles, which, with a favourable tide and a good set of rowers, may be ascended in two hours and a half, and descended in less than two hours. The river continues of nearly the same width as at Calcutta ; its banks are covered with fruit-trees and villages, with many very handsome pagodas, of which buildings Calcutta only offers some small, mean, and neglected specimens. The general style of these buildings is, a large square court, sometimes merely surrounded by a low wall, with brick balustrades, plaistered so as to resemble stone, or indented at the top, with two or sometimes four towers at the angles, generally, in the present day, of Grecian architecture, and ornamented with pilasters, balustrades, and friezes. In the centre of the principal front is, for the most part, an entrance resembling in its general character, and style of arrangement, the beautiful Propy
læum at Chester castle. When the pagoda adjoins the river, a noble flight of steps, the whole breadth of the portico, generally leads from the water to this entrance. Sometimes the whole court is surrounded by a number of square towers, detached by a small interval from each other, and looking not unlike tea-canisters, having such a propylæum as I have described in the centre of the principal front.
In the middle of the quadrangle, or at least in the middle of one of its sides, opposite to the main entrance, is the temple of the principal deity, sometimes octagonal, with pinnacles and buttresses, greatly resembling a Gothic Chapter House, but in some instances taller and larger, with three domes, one large in the centre, and a smaller at each side, with three gilded ornaments on the summit of each, extremely like the old churches in Russia. All these buildings are vaulted with brick, and the manner in which the Hindoos raise their square or oblong domes seems to me simple and ingenious, and applicable to many useful purposes.
It is very seldom that any thing like a congregation assembles in these temples. A few priests and dancing women live in them, whose business it is to keep the shrines clean, to receive the offerings of the individuals who come from time to time to worship, and to beat their gongs in honour of their idols, which is done three or four times in the twenty-four hours. On more solemn occasions, however, wealthy Hindoos give money to illuminate the building, and throw up fire-works, which