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FATHER MECAZENAS.

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was, however, too strong to be affected by what he drank, except that it a little increased his fluency and noisy hilarity; and as soon as the cloth was fairly off the table, I thought it high time to call for coffee. I had been all this time expecting to be asked to subscribe to something or other, since the dinner always excepted, I could not perceive why else the good man should have shown so much anxiety for my acquaintance; and accordingly at length he rose, brought out an immense paper book, and after a short complimentary speech, solicited my patronage to a fund he was employed in collecting, to repair the temple of Fortuna Virilis, in Rome, which was, he said, appropriated as a hospital and place of instruction for Armenian and other youths, and pilgrims, but had been grievously injured by certain excavations which the French made while in Rome, in order to examine the nature of its substruction and foundations. His paper was to the same effect, but was written in English, and evidently the composition of some of the Calcutta native writers. He then talked of credentials from Rome; but though I asked for them, both in Latin and Italian, he produced none, but evaded the question. However, had he produced them, he would not have been at all more likely to gain his object with me, since I neither quite believed the story of the French having committed an outrage at variance with their general conduct, nor did I conceive myself called on to build

up churches for the members of a different communion in Rome, when all I can do is likely to fall so far short of the claims of charity in India. If the poor man, who was very pressing, had asked me for himself, and in the capacity which I suspect really belonged to him, of a mendicant, he would have fared better. As it was I was unrelenting, though civil; and we parted, with at least the satisfaction on my part, that I had given him a good dinner.

February 7.-I went down to Calcutta this morning, to attend a "Durbar,” or native levee of the Governor's, which all the principal native residents in Calcutta were expected to attend, as well as the vakeels from several Indian princes. I found on my arrival the levee had begun, and that Lord Amherst, attended by his aides-du-camp and Persian secretary, had already walked down one side, where the

persons of most rank, and who were to receive “ khelâts," or honorary dresses, were stationed. I therefore missed this ceremony, but joined him and walked round those to whom he had not yet spoken, comprising some persons of considerable rank and wealth, and some learned men, travellers from different eastern countries, who each in turn addressed his compliments, or petitions, or complaints to the Governor. VOL. I.

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There were several whom we thus passed who spoke English not only fluently but gracefully. Among these were Baboo Ramchunder Roy and his four brothers, all fine, tall, stout, young men, the eldest of whom is about to build one of Mr. Shakespear's rope-bridges over the Caramnasa.

After Lord Amherst had completed the circle, he stood on the lower step of the throne, and the visiters advanced one by one to take leave. First came a young Raja of the Rajapootana district, who had received that day the investiture of his father's territories, in a splendid brocade khelât and turban; he was a little, pale, shy-looking boy, of 12 years old. Lord Amherst, in addition to these splendid robes, placed a large diamond aigrette in his turban, tied a string of valuable pearls round his neck, then gave him a small silver bottle of attar of roses, and a lump of pawn, or betel, wrapped up in a plantain leaf. Next came forward the “ vakeel,” or envoy of the Maharajah Scindeah, also a boy, not above sixteen, but smart, self-possessed, and dandy-looking. His khelât and presents were a little, and but a little, less splendid than those of his precursor. Then followed Oude, Nagpoor Nepaul, all represented by their vakeels, and each in turn honoured by similar though less splendid marks of attention. The next was a Persian Khân, a fine military-looking man, rather corpulent, and of a complexion not differing from that of a Turk, or other southern Europeans, with a magnificent black beard, and a very pleasing and animated address. A vakeel from Sind gucceeded, with a high red cap, and was followed by an Arab, handsomely dressed, and as fair nearly, though not so good-looking, as the Persian. These were all distinguished, and received each some mark of favour. Those who followed had only a little attar poured on their handkerchiefs, and some pawn. On the whole it was an interesting and striking sight, though less magnificent than I had expected, and less so I think than the levee of a European monarch. The sameness of the greater part of the dresses (white muslin) was not sufficiently relieved by the splendour of the few khelâts; and even these which were of gold and silver brocade were in a great measure eclipsed by the scarlet and blue uniforms, gold-lace, and feathers of the English. One of the most striking figures was the GovernorGeneral's native aid-du-camp, a tall, strong-built, and remarkably handsome man, in the flower of his age, and of a countenance at once kind and bold. His dress was a very rich hussar uniform, and he advanced last of the circle, with the usual military salute; then, instead of the offering of money which each of the rest made, he bared a small part of the blade of his sabre, and held it out to the Governor. The

CALCUTTA-ROPE BRIDGES.

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attar he received, not on his handkerchief, but on his white cotton gloves. I had on former occasions noticed this soldier from his height, striking appearance, and rich uniform. He is a very respectable man, and reckoned a good officer.

CHAPTER IV.

CALCUTTAROPE BRIDGES-WEDDING PROCESSION-HINDOO

FESTIVAL-CHOLERA MORBUS-FRUITS-ORDINATION OF CHRISTIAN DAVID..

In passing Cossipoor on my return to Titty-ghur, I called on Mr. C. Shakespear, and looked at his rope-bridges, which are likely to be most useful, in this country at least, if not in Europe. Their principle differs from that of chain bridges, in the eentre being a little elevated, and in their needing no butments. It is in fact an application of a ship's standing rigging to a new purpose, and it is not even necessary that there should be any foundation at all, as the whole may

be made to rest on flat timbers, and, with the complete apparatus of cordage, iron, and bamboos, may be taken to pieces and set up again in a few hours, and removed from place to place by the aid of a few camels and elephants. One of these over a torrent near Benares, of 160 feet span, stood a severe test during last year's inundation, when, if ever, the cordage might have been expected to suffer from the rain, and when a vast crowd of neighbouring villagers took refuge on it as the only safe place in the neighbourhood, and indeed almost the only object which continued to hold itself above the water. He has now finished another bridge for the Caramnasa, at the expense of Ramchunder Narain, whom I met at the Durbar, and who may expect to reap much popularity with his countrymen from such a public benefit, not only as facilitating intercourse, but as freeing their religious pilgrims from a great anxiety. The name of the river in question means, “ the destroyer of good works,” from the circumstance of an ancient devotee, whose penances, like those of Kehama, had exalted him to Indra's heaven, having been precipitated headlong by Siva, till his sacrifices broke his fall half way, directly over the stream in question. He now hangs in the air, head downwards, and his saliva flows into, and pollutes the whole water in such a manner, that any person who bathes in, or even touches it, loses the merit of all his autecedent penances, alms, and other acts of piety, reserv

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ing, however, the full benefit of his misdeeds of whatever de. scription. All brahmins who are obliged to pass it, (and it lies in the way to some of the most illustrious places of pilgrimage,) are in the greatest terror. They are sometimes carried on men's shoulders, sometimes ferried over; but its ! either case, if they are in the least splashed or wetted, it amounts almost to a matter of damnation, without hope or chance of pardon. The people on the bank who act as watermen, are not influenced by these superstitions; but to Indians in general Mr. Shakespear's bridge will be most valuable. The span of this bridge, which is strong enough to bear a field-piece, is 320 feet in length, its breadth 8; its flooring is composed of stout bamboos, connected by a coir rope, with a net-work hand-rail on either side, also of coir, as are the shrouds and principal tackling which support the whole. The appearance of the bridge is light and graceful, and its inotion on passing over it not sufficient to be either dangerous or alarming

My wife tells me a curious circu stance which has occurred in my absence, illustrative of the timid character which seems to belong to the Bengalees. The coachman had asked leave to go with me to Calcutta; and as the carriage-horses were consequently idle, she ordered the saeeses to lead them out for exercise. Some demur took place, and on asking the reason, she was actually told that they were afraid! She insisted, however, and the horses, when they appeared, were quiet as lambs. The men at first, out of pure precaution, had buckled up their heads so tight, that they could scarcely breathe, and when ordered to unloose them, held them as if they had tigers in a leash: yet the horses, as I have observed, were quiet, and these are men who have been all their lives in the stable! I have, indeed, understood from many quarters, that the Bengalees are regarded as the greatest cowards in India; and that partly owing to this reputation, and partly to their inferior size, the Sepoy.regiments are always recruited from Bahar and the upper provinces. Yet that little army with which Lord Clive did such wonders, was chiefly raised from Bengal. So much are all men the creatures of circumstance and training.

I had frequently heard of the admiration which the Indians feel for corpulency, but no instance had occurred within my knowledge. I am assured, however, that a young man, whose height and bulk I had noticed to-day at the Durbar, takes a large draught of ghee every morning, in order to contribute to the bulk of which he iš vain, and that very fre. quently the natives contract liver complaints by their anxiety to fatten themselves.

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seen.

March 1.-We bade adieu to Titty-ghur with regret, but just as we were on the point of setting out, a severe storm of thunder, rain, and wind came on, which detained us about an hour, being the first regular north-wester which we had

It fairly lashed the river into high waves, and produced a delightful effect on the air, laying the dust and refreshing vegetation, as if by magic. My wife and children went by water, and I took in the carriage with me our Sircar. He is a shrewd fellow, well acquainted with the country, and possessed of the sort of information which is likely to interest travellers. His account of the tenure of lands very closely corresponded with what I had previously heard froin others. The “ Zemindars” or landholders, let their lands, sometimes in large divisions, to tenants corresponding to the Scotch tacksmen, who underlet them again, and occasionally, which generally occurs near Calcutta, to the cottagers and cultivators immediately, and in very minute portions. The lands are sometimes on lease for a good many years, sometimes from year to year only. The usual rent for rice-land in Bengal, at least in this part of it, is two rupees a begah, or about twelve or fifteen shillings an acre; for orchards five rupees, or about £1. 128. for the acre. All rents are paid in money, and the principle of “ metairie,' which I explained to him, is unknown. The tenant in most of the villages is at the expense of the buildings, but these are so cheap and frail, as probably to cost less than thatching a stack in England, and can hardly be said to last longer. Land in this neighbourhood sells at about fifty rupees the begah, but did not fetch near so much before the roads were opened, which has been a measure of exceeding utility to the landholders here. The Baboo pointed out two or three large houses which we passed, as the residences of wealthy Zemindars, but who had also still more splendid houses in Calcutta. One of these, who was dignified by Lord Wellesley with the title of rajah, has a really fine villa, surrounded with a sort of park, the borders of which are planted with a handsome myrtle-leaved tree, about as large as an English horse-chesnut, which is here very common, but which he has de faced by clipping each individual tree into a regular conical shape. This the Baboo pointed out as a piece of extreme neatness and elegance. Another gateway on the left hand, in a very picturesque wood of coco-trees and bamboos, was guarded by an immense wooden idol of a young man, having only sandals and a sash painted black, the rest being flesh colour. It must have been, I should think, thirty feet high. The Sircar said smiling, that great idol stands sentry to all

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