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evening having patients again. The sepoys indeed were well, but two ponies, one belonging to Mr. Ford's Chuprassee, the other, a very pretty one, to Cashiram the goomashta, were taken exceedingly ill. The causes of their attack were variously stated, but I believe that the saees had given them too much and too acid gram immediately after their journey. They had both the appearance of palsy or staggers, had lost the use of their loins, reeled to and fro, and at length fell. Before I heard of it they had given them brandy, pepper, and I know not what, and when I saw them they had every symptom of violent inflammation of the bowels. I advised bleeding immediately; nobody could do this but Abdullah, and there was no proper instrument but my penknife ; while I was hunting for this, one of the horses died, and the other was evidently in extremity. Abdullah opened the usual vein, but very little blood would run; in fact, they had given it arrack enough to kill an elephant. It died in the course of the night, and all which gave me pleasure in the business, was the exceeding attachment of the poor saees to it. He wrung his hands over it as if it had been his brother, sate by it, supporting its head, and rubbing its ears and neck, till life was actually gone, and, as it appeared,
it was his ignorant good-will in giving too large a feed of corn, which had done the mischief. Cashiram bore his loss very well, and said not a single cross word to his servant the whole time. I wish all Christians might have behaved with as much propriety.
December 17.-To-day we went six coss to Mow, a poor village without trees, where, however, by the advantage of a firmân from the collector of Meerut, and of a very civil tusseldar, we got supplies in abundance, and were allowed to pay for nothing. In the afternoon a large troop of gipsies, as I and all my people thought they were, though they themselves disowned the term, came to the camp. They said they came from Abmedabad in Guzerat, were going on pilgrimage to the Ganges, and had been eight months on their road. They pretended at first to be brahmins, to the great scandal and indignation of Cashiram, who is a brahmin, and reproved them with much austerity for their presumption. I asked them to show their "strings," on which they confessed they had none, but still persisted that they were Rajpoots. “ Tell me the truth," said I, “ are you Bheels ?" the name of the wild mountaineers near Ahmedabad. My people laughed at this question, and said they certainly were Bheels and nothing else. They, however, stiffly denied it. They were very merry, but very poor wretches, nearly naked, and the leanest specimens of human life I have ever seen; so wretched, indeed, was their poverty, that, I immediately sent for a supply of pice to distribute among them, pending the arrival of which, a man and
woman, who seemed the Tramezzani and Catalani of the party, came forwards, and sung two or three songs, the man accompanying them on a vina, a small guitar like the Russian balalaika. Their voices were really good, and though they sung in the vile cracked tone which street-singers have all the world over, the effect was not unpleasant; but it was a strange and melancholy thing to hear a love song, expressive, so far as I could catch the words, of rapture and mutual admiration, trilled out by two ragged wretches, weather-beaten, lean, and smoke-dried. The poor little children, though quite naked, seemed the best fed, and I thought they seemed kind to them, though one old man who was the head of the party, and had an infant slung in a dirty cloth, like a hammock, to a stick, which he carried in his hand, held it carelessly enough ; insomuch that, till I asked him what he had in his bundle, and he opened his cloth to show me, I did not suppose it was a child. I gave them an ana each, children and all, with which they went to buy ghee and flour in the village, and soon after made a fire under a neighbouring peepul-tree. I saw them in the course of the evening at their meal, and one of the collector's suwarrš said he heard them pray for me before they sat down. I should have fancied them very harmless poor creatures, or at worst, only formidable to hen-roosts, and in such petty thefts as gipsies practise in England. But I find these rambling parties of self-called pilgrims bear a very bad character in Hindostan. They are often described as Thugs," the name given to the practice of which they are accused, that, namely, of attaching themselves, on different pretences, to single travellers or small parties, and watching their opportunity to fling a rope with a slip-knot over the heads of their victims, with which they drag them from their horses, and strangle them. So nimbly and with such fatal aim are they said to do this, they seldom miss, and leave no time to the traveller, to draw a sword, use a gun, or in any way defend or disentangle himself. The wretches who practise this are very numerous in Guzerat and Malwah, but when they occur in Hindostan are generally from the south-eastern provinces. My poor gipsies, I hope, as they appeared at least grateful, were not monsters of this atrocious description.
SITUATION OF MEERUT-CHURCH-CONSECRATION-VALLEY OF THE
DHOON-CONDOR-ANECDOTE OF BEGUM SUMROO---SCHOOL-HOSPITAL -CONFIRMATION-SURGEON APPOINTED—SKINNER'S HORSE-HEAVY RAIN-DELHI-TOMB OF HUMAIOON--AQUEDUCT-FIROZE'S WALKING-STICK-IMMENSE EXTENT OF RUINS-SHAWL MANUFACTORYJUMNA MUSJEED-PRESENTATION TO THE EMPEROR-PALACEKOOTTAB-SAHIB-PRESENT FROM THE BEGUM-LATE AND PRESENT EMPERORS OF DELHI.
DECEMBER 18.-This morning I proceeded to Meerut, and was met at a little distance from the town by Mr. Fisher, the chaplain, (whom I had once, many years ago, heard preach at Knaresborough,) and two of his sons, one a chaplain in the Company's establishment, the other a lieutenant in the same service, and some officers of the troops in garrison, an accession of society which put Câbul into such high spirits, that I almost thought he would have shamed me, as he neighed like a trumpeter, lashed out all ways, reared, jumped with all four feet from the ground, and did every other coltish trick which could show his surprise, and tend to discompose the gravity of his rider. He has, however, no real vice, and his transports gradually subsided.
I pitched my tent, by Mr. Fisher's invitation, in his compound, which is an unusually large one. Two other sepoys were this day added to the sick-list, and, with my former patient, removed to the hospital, whither I sent with them a recommendation to the good offices of the surgeon, and directed, since I was myself to stay some time in the place, that one of their comrades should go every day to see that they wanted nothing.
Meerut is a very extensive cantonment, but less widely scattered than Cawnpoor. The native town, too, on which it is engrafted, is much less considerable. It stands advantageously on a wide and dry plain, all in pasture, which would afford delightful riding-ground, if it were not, like the steppes of Russia, which it much resembles, very full of holes made by the small marmot, which is common there, and called “suslik.” Its Hindoostanee name I have not learned. A small nullah, with a handsome bridge over it, runs through the town. When I saw it, it was quite dry, and the bridge seemed absurd; but Mr. Fisher said that,
during the rainy months, it was not a bit longer than was necessary. The church is much the largest which I have seen in India. It is one hundred and fifty feet long, eighty-four wide, and, being galleried all round, may hold at least three thousand people. It has a high and handsome spire, and is altogether a striking building, too good for the materials of which it is composed, which, like the rest of the public buildings of this country, are only bad brick covered with stacco and whitewash. It is the work of Captain Hutchinson.
December 19.—The church, which I have described, was consecrated this day with the usual forms. The congregation was very numerous and attentive, the singing considerably better than at Calcutta, and the appearance of every thing highly honourable both to the chaplain and military officers of this important station. I had the gratification of hearing my own hymns, Brightest and best,” and that for St. Stephen's day, sung better than I ever heard them in a church before. It is a remarkable thing, that one of the earliest, the largest, and handsomest churches in India, as well as one of the best organs, should be found in so remote a situation, and in sight of the Himalaya mountains. The evening service was very well attended, and this is the more creditable, inasmuch, as I have elsewhere observed, all who then come are volunteers, whereas attendance in the morning is a part of military parade.
I had heard Meerut praised for its comparative freedom from hot winds, but do not find that the residents confirm this statement: they complain of them quite as much as the people of Cawnpoor, and acknowledge the inferiority of their climate in this respect to that of Rohilcund. The beautiful valley of the Dhoon, since its conquest by the British, affords a retreat to their sick which they seem to value highly; and it has the advantage of being accessible without danger at all times; but, except during the dry months, even this lovely valley is not wholesome. Mr. Fisher had some drawings of different parts of the Dhoon, which represented scenery of very great beauty and luxuriance, on a smaller and less awful scale than Kemaoon. The animals seem much the same; but Lieutenant Fisher gave me a fuller account than I had yet received of the eagle, or, as from his statement it rather seems to be, the condor, of these mountains. It appears to belong to this latter tribe from the bareness of its neck, which resembles that of the vulture, and the character of its beak, which is longer and less hooked than the eagle's, and perhaps, too, from its size, which exceeds that of any eagle of which I have heard. Lieutenant Fisher shot one very lately at Degra, which measured thirteen feet between the tips of its extended wings, and had talons eight inches long. He was of a deep black colour,
with a bald head and neck, and appears strongly to resemble the noble bird described by Bruce as common among the mountains of Abyssinia, under the name of “ Nisser.” This is, no doubt, the bird which carries away the children from the streets of Almorah. The one which Mr. Fisher shot could, he was sure, have carried up a very well-grown boy. Nor have I any doubt that it is the “rok” of the Arabians. În Sindbad's way of telling a story, so formidable an animal might be easily magnified into all which that ingenious voyager has handed down to us concerning his giant bird.
December 20.-) observed this morning, at the gate of Mr. Fisher's compound, a sentry in the strict oriental costume, of turban and long caftan, but armed with musket and bayonet, like our own sepoys. He said he was one of the Begum Sumroo's regiment, out of which she is bound to furnish a certain number for the police of Meerut and its neighbourhood. Her residence is in the centre of her own jaghire at Sirdhana, about twelve coss from Meerut; but she has a house in this place where she frequently passes a considerable time together. She is a very little, queer-looking old woman, with brilliant, but wicked eyes, and the remains of beauty in her features. She is possessed of considerable talent and readiness in conversation, but only speaks Hindoostanee. Her soldiers and people, and the generality of the inhabitants of this neighbourhood,
pay her much respect on account both of her supposed wisdom and her courage; she having, during the Maharatta wars, led, after her husband's death, his regiment very gallantly into action, herself riding at their head, into a heavy fire of the enemy. She is, however, a sad tyranness, and, having the power of life and death within her own little territory, several stories are told of her cruelty, and the noses and ears which she orders to be cut off. One relation of this kind, according to native reports, on which reliance, however, can rarely be placed, is very horrid. One of her dancing girls had offended her, how I have not heard. The Begum ordered the poor creature to be immured alive in a small vault prepared for the purpose under the pavement of the saloon where the nâtch was then celebrating, and, being aware that her fate excited much sympathy and horror in the minds of the servants and soldiers of her palace, and apprehensive that they would open the tomb and rescue the victim as soon as her back was turned, she saw the vault bricked up before her own eyes, then ordered her bed to be placed directly over it, and lay there for several nights, till the last faint moans had ceased to be heard, and she was convinced that hunger and despair bad done their work. This woman calls herself a Christian, of the Roman Catholic faith, which was that of her husband Summers. (“Sumroo" is the Hindoostanee pronunciation of the German