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JOURNEY TO CAWNPOOR.
so many unexpected comforts, my khânsaman having provided an excellent dinner of kid soup and bouillé, and the chest of wine having come up, that we had abundant reason for thankfulness, which was increased by finding that our sick men were not worse for their journey
It was evident, however, that the tents could not again be moved without a thorough drying, and as I had appointed Saturday morning for the confirmation at Cawnpoor, Mr. Lushington and I agreed with the bearers of our palanquins, for a trifling additional sum, to carry us next day, two marches in one, to that station, should the weather be such as to make it practicable. We left the tents, servants, and the two police men whom we had brought from Allahabad, with the Corries, and set off ourselves after breakfast on the 8th of October. The day was fine, and though the roads were in a very bad state, it was delightful to hear the mutual congratulations of our bearers and the villagers whom we passed, both parties full of thankfulness to God, and considering themselves, with apparent reason, as delivered from famine and all its horrors. One of these mutual felicitations, which the archdeacon overheard the day before, was very interesting, as it was not intended for his ear, and was one of the strongest proofs I have met with of the satisfaction of the Hindoos with their rulers. “A good rain this for the bread," said one of the villagers to the other. “Yes,” was the answer," and a good government under which a man may eat bread in safety." While such a feeling prevails, we may have good hopes of the stability of our Indian Government.
In crossing a nuddee, which from a ford had become a ferry, we saw some characteristic groups and occurrences; the price of passage in the boat was only a few cowries, but a number of country-folk were assembled, who could not, or would not, pay, and were now sitting patiently by the brink, waiting till the torrent should subside, or, what was far less likely to happen, till the boatmen should take compassion on them. Many of these poor people came up to beg me to make the boatmen take them over, one woman pleading that her “malik our bucher," (literally master, or lord, and young one) had run away from her, and she wanted to overtake them; another that she and her two grandchildren were following her son, who was a havildar in the regiment which we had passed just before ; and some others, that they had been intercepted the previous day by this torrent, and had neither money nor food till they reached their homes. Four anas purchased a passage for the whole crowd, of perhaps thirty people, and they were really very thankful. I bestowed two anas more on the poor deserted woman, and a whimsical scene ensued. She at first took the money with eagerness, then as if
JOURNEY TO CAWNPOOR.
she recollected herself, she blushed very deeply and seemed much confused, then bowed herself to my feet and kissed my hands, and at last said, in a very modest tone, “it was not fit for so great a man as I was, to give her two anas, and she hoped that Ỹ and the chota Sahib' little lord) would give her a rupee each !" She was an extremely pretty little woman, but we were inexorable, partly, I believe, in my own case at least, because we had only just rupees enough to take us to Cawnpoor, and to pay for our men's provisions; however, I gave her two more anas, my sole remaining stock of small change.
When this was all done, the jemautdar of the neighbouring village came to ask for the usual certificate of his having rendered us assistance. I wrote it out for him on the top of my palanquin, having provided myself for such purposes with paper and Sir Thomas Acland's inkstand, when a new scene followed. He was very grateful for the good word I gave him, but he had a brother, a fine young man, now in the service of the Peishwa Bajee Row, in the neighbouring town of Betourah, but who was anxious to get into the Company's service, “would I have the goodness to give him a recommendation to the judge Sahib of Betourah ?" "I do not know the judge Sahib of Betourah.” “ But Huzoor (your worship) is Malik of the land, and your Firmaun will be obeyed." “Suppose I could do your brother any good, I do not know him, how shall I recommend him ?" “ Huzoor may believe me when I tell him that my brother is one of the best men in the world !” “But I am only a traveller, and have no
" Huzoor is pleased to say so—but”-in short, I could hardly get him away from the palanquin side, particularly as I did not choose to set off till I had seen the poor people embark, for whose passage I had paid. We then parted, the jemautdar still declaring that he would follow me to Cawnpoor, and bring his brother with him.
The natives of India seem to attach very great importance to a written recommendation by an European, or person in a public station, in which, as in many other points, they strongly resemble the Russians. The whole scene which I have described, mutatis mutandis, (crucifixes for brahminical strings, &c.) might have occurred at a ferry on the Don or the Dnieper. The mixture of simplicity and cunning, the importunity, the patience and the flattery, seem to belong almost equally to the peasantry of both countries, or more accurately speaking, perhaps, to the state of society in which they are placed.
We arrived between three and four at Searsoul, the station half-way between Kuleaunpoor and Cawnpoor, a moderate sized village, with some neat houses, and a handsome serai. Our people, however, were so much tired with wading up to their
middles in water, that we bade them get their dinners, and go to sleep till midnight, when we should again set off. We ourselves did the same as far as dinner was concerned, and after a little walk round the village, which was completely insulated by the inundation, retired to our palanquins, which for security we bad had carried into the court-yard of the tannah or police office. We also engaged four mussaulchies, less for their light, the harvestmoon being sufficient, than to serve as guides through the flooded country.
October 9.—The night and morning were again fine, and the waters much abated. Still we were seven hours going sixteen miles, and I had the disappointment to find, on arriving at Mr. Williams's house, that, despairing of my reaching Cawnpoor in such weather, he had sent round to say that the Confirmation was postponed. It might, however, I found, be easily arranged for Sunday morning, and in the hospitality, cleanliness, and comfort of his house, we found abundant compensation for our recent labours.
During my stay at Cawnpoor not many events occurred worth noticing. On Sunday the 11th, I confirmed upwards of eighty persons, a considerable proportion of whom afterwards received the sacrament. I visited on Monday the new military hospital and regimental school of the 16th Lancers, both of which are in excellent order. There is one ward of the former furnished with tubes of a new invention, for the admission and refrigeration of air, which is introduced through two great valves like gigantic chimneys with cowls on them, and let off through the roof by a multitude of small iron tunnels with heads like ventilators. It is said to answer tolerably, but not better than tatties, which are here hardly more expensive. Externally the machinery is a great deformity to the building. The regimental school is on the national system, and conducted extremely well. An institution of a wider scope and loftier pretensions was established some years ago in Cawnpoor for the children both of Europeans and natives, which obtained a very liberal subscription from the English residents, and has since received from Government a handsome grant of 400 s. rupees per month. It has an excellent house, with good school-rooms, an English master and mistress at a large salary, and a Persian moonshee, but I found it attended but by few European and half-caste, and still fewer native children, in deplorable want of books and other similar supplies, and with a master who had apparently been brought in as a party measure, who was previously altogether inexperienced in the improved system of education, and actually declined to be examined in any of the points most necessary to his usefulness. Except their catechism, which they said well, there was nothing
satisfactory in the appearance, number, or proficiency of the European children. The native boys were learning Lindley Murray's grammar, without any tolerable knowledge of the language in which it is written, and had for their single class-book Joyce's Scientific Dialogues, which they stammered over by rote, but could none of them construe into Hindoostanee. I asked if they had any Hindoostanee books, and could read them into English? If they learned geography, mathematics, or even wrote English exercises by double translation or otherwise? Nothing of the sort seemed to have entered the master's head. He taught them to write a fair hand, and to work ridiculous and useless sums in fellowship, the double rule of three, and this was all his ambition. Archdeacon Corrie kindly undertook, during his stay at Cawnpoor, to put him into a better train, and I wrote out a list of books, which I recommended to the committee to supply him with, as well as some of the primary and simplest elements of Bell's system of education. Thus, I hope, things will be amended; at present they are bad enough, and when compared with the establishment at Benares, not at all creditable to those who have employed more ample means with so little judgment.
Cawnpoor is a place of great extent, the cantonments being six miles from one extremity to the other, but of very scattered popu. lation. Its population, however, abstracted from the civil and military establishments, is still considerable ; there are many handsome mosques, and the view of the town from the course gives quite the idea of a city. The European houses are most of them large and roomy, standing in extensive compounds, and built one story high, with sloping roofs, first thatched, and then covered with tiles, a roof which is found better than
other to exclude the heat of the sun, and to possess a freedom from the many accidents to which a mere thatched roof is liable. I received much civility and kindness from General Martindell and the other military officers, and especially from Colonel Lumsdaine, who took great pains in getting our party all which was required from the Commissariate.
Of the climate of Cawnpoor 1 had heard a very unfavourable account, which, however, was not confirmed by the residents, who said that during the rains it was a very desirable situation, that the cold months were remarkably dry and bracing, and that the hot winds were not worse than in most other parts of the Dooab. The great inconveniences of the place are, as they represent it, its glare and dust, defects, however, which are in a considerable degree removed already by the multitude of trees which they are planting in all directions. There is no regular Christian church. Divine service is performed alternate mornings and evenings in a thatched but convenient bungalow, nearly in
the centre of the station, and in a riding-house adjoining the cavalry barracks. Government has sanctioned the building of two churches, but on a scale, I am told, of so rigid inspection and economy, that nobody will undertake the contract. The shops in Cawnpoor are large, and, though far from showy, contain some good things, which are sold very little dearer than in Calcutta. The necessaries of life are barely half the price which they are there, and an excellent house may be rented for eighty or ninety rupees monthly.. On the whole, it is in many respects one of the most considerable towns which I have seen in northern India, but being of merely modern origin, it has no fine ancient buildings to show; the European architecture is confined to works of absolute necessity only, and marked by the greatest simplicity, and few places of its size can be named where there is so abso. lutely nothing to see.