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resembling the first in its essential features, but placed in a yet more fertile soil. The houses stood literally in a thicket of fruit trees, plantains, and flowering shrubs; the muddy ponds were covered with the broad-leaved lotus, and the adjacent "paddy," or rice-fields, were terminated by a wood of tall coco-nut trees, between whose stems the light was visible, pretty much like a grove of Scotch firs. I here remarked the difference between the coco and the palmira : the latter with a narrower leaf than the former, and at this time of year without fruit, with which the other abounded. For a few pice one of the lads climbed up
the tallest of these with great agility, notwithstanding the total want of boughs, and the slipperiness of the bark. My wife was anxious to look into one of their houses, but found its owners unwilling to allow her. At length one old fellow, I believe to get us away from his own threshold, said he would show us a very fine house. We followed him to a cottage somewhat larger than those which we had yet seen ; but on our entering its little court-yard, the people came in much earnestness to prevent our proceeding farther. We had, however, a fair opportunity of seeing an Indian farm-yard and homestead. In front was a small mud building, with a thatched verandah looking towards the village, and behind was a court filled with coco-nut husk, and a little rice straw; in the centre of this was a round thatched building, raised on bamboos about a foot from the ground, which they said was a “Goliah," or granary; round it were small mud cottages, each to all appearance an apartment in the dwelling. In one corner was a little mill, something like a crab-mill, to be worked by a man, for separating the rice from the husk. By all which we could see through the open doors, the floor of the apartments was of clay, devoid of furniture and light, except what the door admitted. A Brahmin now appeared, a formal pompous man, who spoke better Hindoostanee than the one whom we had seen before. I was surprised to find that in these villages, and Mr. Mill tells me that it is the case almost all over India, the word
Grigi,” a corruption of " Ecclesia,” is employed when speaking of any place of worship. Many of these people looked unhealthy. Their village and its vicinity appeared to owe their fertility to excessive humidity under a burning sun. Many of the huts were surrounded by stagnant water; and near the entrance of one of them they showed us a little elevated mound like a grave, which they said was their refuge when the last inundation was at its height. So closely and mysteriously do the instruments of production and destruction, plenty and pestilence, life and death, tread on the heels of each other!
Besides tamarinds, cocos, palmiras, plantains, and banyans, there were some other trees of which we could not learn the
European name. One was the neem, a tree not very unlike the acacia, the leaves of which are used to keep moths from books and clothes. Another I supposed to be the manchineel,-a tree like a very large rhododendron, but now without flowers; its thick club-ended branches, when wounded, exuded a milky juice in large quantities, which the natives said would blister the fingers. We saw one jackall run into the woods: the cries of these animals grew loud and incessant as we returned to the ship, and so nearly resembled the voice of children at play, that it was scarcely possible at first to ascribe them to any other source. On our arrival at the vessel we found two Bholiahs, or large row boats, with convenient cabins, sent to take us up the river, as it was impossible, with such light winds, for the yacht to stem the force of the current.
October 10.–At 2 o'clock this afternoon, we set out for Cal. cutta in the Bholiahs, and had a very delightful and interesting passage up the river, partly with sails, and partly with oars. The country, as we drew nearer the capital, advanced in population; and the river was filled with vessels of every description. Among these, I was again greatly struck by the Maldivian vessels, close to some of which our boat passed. Their size appeared to me from 150 to near 200 tons, raised to an immense height above the water by upper works of split bamboo, with a very lofty head and stern, immense sails, and crowded with a wild and energetic looking race of mariners, who Captain Manning told me were really bold and expert fellows, and the vessels better sea-boats than their clumsy forms would lead one to anticipate. Bengalee and Chittagong vessels, with high heads and sterns, were also numerous. In both these the immense size of the rudders, suspended by ropes to the vessel's stern, and worked by a helmsman, raised at a great height above the vessel, chiefly attracted attention. There were many other vessels, which implied a gradual adoption of European habits, being brigs and Sloops, very clumsily and injudiciously rigged, but still improvements on the old Indian ships. Extensive plantations of sugar-cane, and numerous cottages, resembling those we had already seen, appeared among the groves of coco-nut and other fruit trees, which covered the greater part of the shore; a few cows were tethered on the banks, and some large brick-fields with sheds like those in England, and here and there a white staring European house, with plantations and shrubberies, gave notice of our approach to an European capital. At a distance of about nine miles from the place where we had left the yacht, we landed among some tall bamboos, and walked about a quarter of a mile to the front of a very dingy, deserted looking house, not very unlike a country gentleman's house in Russia, near some powder mills ; here we found carriages waiting
APPROACH TO CALCUTTA.
for us, drawn by small horses with switch tails, and driven by postilions with whiskers, turbans, bare legs and arms, and blue jackets with tawdry yellow lace. A " saces," or groom, ran by the side of each horse, and behind one of them were two decent looking men with long beards and white cotton dresses, who introduced themselves as my Peons or Hurkarus; their badges were a short mace or club of silver, of a crooked form, and terminating in a tiger's head, something resembling a Dacian standard, as represented on Trajan's pillar, and a long silver stick with a knob at the head.
We set out at a round trot; the saeeses keeping their places very nimbly on each side of us, though on foot, along a raised, broadish, but bad road, with deep ditches of stagnant water on each side, beyond which stretched out an apparently interminable wood of fruit trees, interspersed with cottages : some seemed to be shops, being entirely open with verandahs, and all chiefly made up of mats and twisted bamboo. The crowd of people was considerable, and kept up something like the appearance of a fair along the whole line of road. Many were in bullock carts, others driving loaded bullocks before them, a few had wretched ponies, which, as well as the bullocks, bore too many and indubitable marks of neglect and hard treatment; the manner in which the Hindoos seemed to treat even their horned cattle, sacred as they are from the butcher's knife, appeared far worse than that which often disgusts the eye and wounds the feelings of a passenger through London.
Few women were seen; those who appeared had somewhat more clothing than the men, -a coarse white veil, or “chuddah," thrown over their heads without hiding their faces, their arms bare, and ornamented with large silver bangles," or bracelets. The shops contained a few iron tools hanging up, some slips of coarse coloured cotton, plantains hanging in bunches, while the ground was covered with earthen vessels, and a display of rice and some kind of pulse heaped up on sheets ; in the midst of which, smoking a sort of rude hookah, made of a short pipe and a coco-nut shell, the trader was squatted on the ground.
By degrees we began to see dingy brick buildings of more pretensions to architecture, but far more ugly than the rudest bamboo hut, the abodes of Hindoos or Mussulmans of the middle class, Aat-roofed, with narrow casement windows, and enclosed by a brick wall, which prevented all curious eyes from prying into their domestic economy. These were soon after mingled with the large and handsome edifices of Garden Reach, cach standing by itself in a little woody lawn, (a “ compound” they call it here, by an easy corruption from the Portuguese word Campana,) and consisting of one or more stories, with a Grecian
ARRIVAL AT CALCUTTA.
verandah along their whole length of front. As we entered Kidderpoor, European carriages were seen, and our eyes were met by a police soldier, standing sentry in the corner of the street, nearly naked, but armed with a sabre and shield,-a pagoda or two,-a greater variety of articles in the shops,-a greater crowd in the streets,—and a considerable number 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. This 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 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 plaster, covered with mats; the ceilings of bricks, plastered also, flat, and supported by massive beams, which were visible from the rooms below, but being painted neatly had not at alla bad effect. Punkas, large frames of light wood covered with white cotton, and looking not unlike enormous fire-boards, hung
ARRIVAL AT CALCUTTA.
from the ceilings 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 cocoa-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.
I had then the ceremony to go through of being made acquainted with a considerable number of my clergy. Among whom was my old school-fellow 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,ộ Khitmutgars,|| Sirdar Bearer, 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 zur," 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.
+ Steward. # Water cooler. $ Butler. || Footmen. 1 Head of all the bearers, and valet de chambre.