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marked with the points of the compass. The object of this simple and attractive contrivance is to find the degrees of azimuth of a planet or star. On the whole perhaps a good telescope and a quadrant, whilst more portable, would be equally useful; but Jay Singh worked according to his lights, and enjoyed high honours in
The bazaars of Benares are, like the native quarters of all great cities, the most fascinating places to linger in, far above temples and ruins and the ordinary show places which have honourable mention in guide books. They lie low in the shadow of lofty buildings sacred from the noonday sun. The shops are constructed something on the principle in which a Malay digs out a boat from the trunk of a tree. A hole in the wall is pierced on the level of the street; occasionally a few shelves are put up, quite as often none; the stock-in-trade is piled about the floor, leaving place for the proprietor to squat, as near the open air as possible; and the shop is open for business.
In the larger establishments dealing in cloth and cotton goods there is
there is space for one or two customers also to squat on the floor. More generally business is conducted with the customer standing outside in the street. In either case, if all the parties engaged be natives, the proceedings are conducted in a style calculated to strike terror into the heart of the timid passer-by. Shopkeeper and customer glare upon each other with flashing eyes, they shout and rave and gesticulate till just when the order-loving foreigner thinks it his duty to go for the police the row suddenly ceases, the customer takes a yard or two of print under his arm, puts down a few annas, and goes his way. Life being long and custom fleeting in the bazaar, much time is, by mutual consent, whiled away in the practice of bargaining. The shopkeeper asks twice or three times as much as he means to take. The customer offers something less than he means to give, and before the extremes meet at the line fairly marking the value of the goods, an immense deal of shouting is done, and an hour of an otherwise dull day pleasantly disposed of.
Where Europeans are the purchasers a tiers parti appears upon the scene. This is the man who wants backsheesh for having brought the high contracting parties together. It will be your guide if you have one. Otherwise any native will do who has seen you wandering about the bazaar, and followed you up to a particular stall which you have selected without his assistance, and even without knowing that he was following.
So deeply rooted is the principle of backsheesh in the Eastern mind that even in these circumstances the shopkeeper will not deny the interloper's right, and when you have paid your money hands him a percentage.
On the first day we visited the bazaars a man got up on the gharry and rode into town. When we got out to walk he followed us, and as we stopped to make purchases at various shops he joined the party, assumed proprietorship of us, and claimed his backsheesh. At one place we bought some white muslin caps at an expenditure of six annas, whereupon this fellow extorted from the shopkeeper two pice as his legitimate backsheesh. After this I took the precaution on approaching other shops formally to introduce this gentleman to the proprietor, explaining that we had nothing to do with him, or he with us, and stipulated that if we bought anything he should get nothing. This did not abash him in the least, or influence his movements, and I believe it was with unfeigned regret that the shopkeepers found themselves debarred from giving him anything. They would much rather have done business in their own
way, and secretly resented this interference with their national customs.
An English resident told me when he took a gharry home from the station his servant openly went up to the driver and demanded his share of the money payment. All Indian servants when making purchases for the household take their commission. There is no secrecy in the matter. It is done as openly and as much a matter of course as he takes his monthly wages. I asked a householder in Bombay what percentage of the charges in the monthly expenditure book managed by his butler went into that worthy's pocket.
“Well,” he said, having carefully considered the matter, “he ought not fairly to get more than 25 per cent.”
It would be interesting to hear the comments of a congregation of native Indian servants on the story of Gehazi. That the prophet's butler, merely for following his master's guests and taking as backsheesh two changes of raiment and two talents of silver, should be turned into a leper as white as snow would seem to them an unjustifiably harsh proceeding.
proceeding. This chapter wo with such a congregation prove an insuperable obstacle to proselytizing.
BATHING IN THE GANGES.
A DIFFICULTY, small in its way, but not without embarrassment, has pursued me since I landed in India. I am constantly tempted, more especially in the cool freshness of the morning, to fill up pauses in conversation with chance acquaintances by observing “What a lovely day!” or “What beautiful weather!”
Such a remark I feel would be quite startling to an Anglo-Indian, and might even be accepted as a sign of gibbering idiotcy. One might with equal appropriateness accost an acquaintance at breakfast by remarking that “ Twice two are four," or break in upon his evening meditation by observing, “ Three from five leave two." Fine weather is a matter of course in India at this season, and is no more a subject of remark than the break of day or the constant flow of the Ganges towards the sea. Nevertheless, it is to the new-comer