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Full text of "Goa, and the Blue Mountains, or, Six months of sick leave"

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The Voyage • .... 1 

New Goa ...... 22 

Old Goa as it Was . . ... 40 

Old Goa as it Is . . . . . 53 

Return to Panjim . . ... 77 

The Population of Panjim .... 96 

Seroda . . . . . .117 

Education, Professions, and Oriental Studies . . 136 

Adieu to Panjim . . . . .154 




Calicut ...... 1G9 

Malabar . . . . . .186 

The Hindoos of Malabar . . . .203 


The Moslem and other Natives of Malabar . . 230 

The Land Journey ..... 246 

First Glimpse of " Ooty" . . . .269 

LifeatOoty ..... 287 

Life outside Ooty . . . . .313 

Inhabitants of the Neilgherries . . . 334 


Kotagherry. — Adieu to the Blue Mountains . . S53 

G A, 





What a glad moment it is, to be sure, when the 
sick and seedy, the tired and testy invalid from 
pestiferous Scinde or pestilential Guzerat, " leaves 
all behind him" and scrambles over the sides of 
his Pattimar. 

His what '? 

Ah ! we forget. The gondola and barque are 
household words in your English ears, the budge- 
row is beginning to own an old familiar sound, but 
you are right — the " Pattimar" requires a defini- 
tion. Will you be satisfied with a pure landsman's 








What a glad moment it is, to be sure, when the 
sick and seedy, the tired and testy invalid from 
pestiferous Scinde or pestilential Guzerat, " leaves 
all behind him" and scrambles over the sides of 
his Pattimar. 

His what 1 

Ah ! we forget. The gondola and barque are 
household words in your English ears, the budge- 
row is beginning to own an old familiar sound, but 
you are right — the " Pattimar" requires a defini- 
tion. Will you be satisfied with a pure landsman's 


description of the article in question. We have 
lost ou i^edition of " The Ship," and to own hum- 
bling truth, though we have spent many a weary 
month on the world of waters, we never could 
master the intricacies of blocks and braces, sky- 
lights and deadlights, starboards and larboards. 
But if we are to believe the general voice of the 
amphibious race, we terrestrial animals never fail 
to mangle the science of seamanship most barba- 
rously. So we will not expose ourselves by preten- 
sion to the animadversions of any small nautical 
critic, but boldly talk of going " up-stairs" instead 
of " on deck," and unblushingly allude to the 
"behind" for the "aft" and the "front" instead 
of the " fore" of our conveyance. 

But the Pattimar — 

De suite : you shall pourtray it from our descrip- 
tion. Sketch a very long boat, very high behind, 
and very low before, composed of innumerable bits 
of wood tied together with coir, or cocoanut rope, 
fitted up with a dark and musty little cabin, and 
supplied with two or three long poles intended as 
masts, which lean forward as if about to sink under 
the weight of the huge lateen sail. Fill up the 
outline with a penthouse of cadjans (as the leaves 
of that eternal cocoanut tree are called) to protect 


the bit of deck outside the cabin from the rays of 
a broiling sun. People the square space in the 
middle of the boat with two nags tethered and tied 
with halters and heel ropes, which sadly curtail the 
poor animals' enjoyment of kicking and biting ; and 
half-a-dozen black "tars" engaged in pounding rice, 
concocting bilious-looking masses of curry, and 
keeping up a fire of some unknown wood, whose 
pungent smoke is certain to find its way through 
the cabin, and to terminate its wanderings in your 
eyes and nostrils. Finally, throw in about the 
same number of black domestics courting a watery 
death by balancing themselves over the sides of the 
vessel, or a fever by sleeping in a mummy case of 
dirty cotton cloth — 

And you have a pattimar in your mind's eye. 

Every one that has ever sailed in a pattimar can 
oblige you with a long list of pleasures peculiar to 
it. All know how by day your eyes are blinded 
with glare and heat, and how by night mosquitos, a 
trifle smaller than jack snipes, assault your defence- 
less limbs ; how the musk rat defiles your property 
and provender ; how the common rat and the cock- 
chafer appear to relish the terminating leather of 
your fingers and toes ; and, finally, how the im- 
polite animal which the transatlantics delicately 


designate a " chintz," and its companion, the lesser 
abomination, do contribute to your general discom- 
fort. Still these are transient evils, at least com- 
pared with the permanent satisfaction of having 
" passed the Medical Board " — a committee of 
ancient gentlemen who never will think you suffi- 
ciently near death to meet your wishes — of having 
escaped the endless doses of the garrison surgeon, 
who has probably, for six weeks, been bent upon 
trj'ing the effects of the whole Materia Medica upon 
your internal and external man — of enduring the 
diurnal visitation of desperate duns who threaten 
the bailiff without remorse ; and to crown the 
climax of your happiness, the delightful prospect 
of two quiet years, during which you may call life 
your own, lie in bed half or the whole day if you 
prefer it, and forget the very existence of such 
things as pipeclay and parade, the Court Martial and 
the Commander-in-chief. So if you are human, 
your heart bounds, and whatever its habits of 
grumbling may be, your tongue involuntarily owns 
that it is a joyful moment when you scramble over 
the side of your pattimar. And now, having con- 
vinced you of that fact, we will request you to walk 
up stairs with us, and sit upon the deck by our 
side, there to take one parting look at the boasted 


Bay of Bombay, before we bid adieu to it, with a 
free translation of the celebrated Frenchman's good 
bye, " Canards, canaux, canaille" — adieu ducks, 
dingies, drabs, and duns/'* 

Gentlemen tourists, poetical authors, lady pro- 
sers, and, generally, all who late in life, visit the 
" palm tasselled strand of glowing Ind," as one of 
our European celebrities describes the country in 
prose run mad, certainly are gifted with wonderful 
optics for detecting the Sublime and Beautiful. 
N^ow this same bay has at divers and sundry times 
been subjected to much admiration ; and as each 
succeeding traveller must improve upon his pre- 
decessors, the latest authorities have assigned to its 
charms a rank above the Bay of Naples — a bay 
which, in our humble opinion, places every other 
bay in a state of abeyance. At least so we under- 
stand Captain Von Orlich — the gentleman who con- 
cludes that the Belochees are of Jewish origin, 
because they divorce their wives. To extract Bom- 
bay from the Bay of Naples, proceed thus. Remove 
Capri, Procida, Ischia, and the other little pictu- 

* " Ducks" are the Bombayites in general: "Dingies" is 
tlie name popularly given to the smaller specimens of native 
craft. The Dun and the Drab are probably familiar to the 
reader's ears. 


resque localities around them. Secondly, level 
Vesuvius and the rocky heights of St. Angelo with 
the ground. Thirdly, convert bright Naples, with 
its rows of white palazzi, its romantic-looking forts, 
its beautiful promenade, and charming background 
into a low, black, dirty port, et void the magnificent 
Bombahia.''^ You may, it is true, attempt to get 
up a little romance about the " fairy caves " of 
Salsette and Elephanta, the tepid seas, the spicy 
breeze, and the ancient and classical name of 

But you 11 fail. 

Remember all we can see is a glowing vault of 
ultramarine-colour sky, paved with a glaring ex- 
panse of indigo-tinted water, with a few low hills 
lining the horizon, and a great many merchant ships 
anchored under the guns of what we said before, 
and now repeat, looks like a low, black, dirty port. 

We know that you are taking a trip with us to 
the land flowing with rupees and gold mohurs — 
growing an eternal crop of Nabobs and Nawwabs f 

* Bombahia, the Portuguese P. N. of the town : it was pro- 
bably suggested by " Momba-devi," as the place was called 
by the Hindoos after the patron goddess of the spot. 

t The Nabob is the European, the Nawwab'the Asiatic, 


— showing a perpetual scene of beauty, pleasure 
and excitement. 

But we can't allow you to hand your rose- 
coloured specs, over to us. We have long ago 
superseded our original "greens" by a pair duly 
mounted with sober French grey glasses, and through 
these we look out upon the world as cheerily as our 
ophthalmic optics will permit us to do. 

]^ow the last " nigger," in a manifest state of 
full-blown inebriation, has rolled into, and the 
latest dun, in a fit of diabolical exasperation, has 
rolled out of, our pattimar. So we will persuade 
the Tindal, as our Captain is called, to pull up 
his mud-hook, and apply his crew to the task of 
inducing the half acre of canvas intended for a 
sail to assume its proper place. Observe if you 
please, the Tindal swears by all the skulls of the 
god Shiva's necklace, that the wind is foul — the 
tide don't serve — his crew is absent — and the 
water not yet on board. 

Of course ! 

But as you are a " griff," and we wish to educate 
you in native peculiarities, just remark how that 
one small touch of our magic slipper upon the 
region of the head, and the use of that one little 
phrase " Suar ka Sala" (Anglice, "0 brother-in- 


law of a hog !) has made the wind fair, the tide 
serve, the crew muster, and the water pots abound 
in water. And, furthermore, when you have got 
over jour horror of seeing a " fellow-creature " so 
treated — and a " fellow subject " subjected to such 
operation, kindly observe that the Tindal has im- 
proved palpably in manner towards us ; — indeed, 
to interpret his thoughts, he now feels convinced 
that we are an " Assal Sahib " — a real gentleman. 

Evening is coming on, the sea-breeze (may it be 
increased !) is freshening fast, and Dan Phoebus 
has at last vouchsafed to make himself scarce. 
After watching his departure with satisfaction — 
with heartfelt satisfaction, we order our hookah 
up, less for the pleasure of puffing it, than for 
the purpose of showing you how our servant de- 
lights to wander through heaps of hay and straw, 
canvas, and coir rope, with that mass of ignited 
rice ball, rolling about on the top of our pipe. 
You are looking curiously at our culinary arrange- 
ments. Yes, dear sir, or madam, as the case may 
be, that dreadful looking man, habited in a pair 
of the dingiest inexpressibles only, excepting the 
thick cap on his furzy head — that is our cook. 
And we dare say you have been watching his ope- 


rations. If not, jou must know that he prepared 
for our repast by inserting his black claw into 
that hencoop, where a dozen of the leanest possible 
chickens have been engaged for some time in 
pecking the polls of one another's heads, and 
after a rapid examination of breast-bone, withdrew 
his fist full of one of the aforementioned lean 
chickens, shrieking in dismay. He then slew it, 
dipped the corpse in boiling water to loosen the 
feathers, which he stripped off in masses, cut througli 
its breast longitudinally, and with the aid of an 
iron plate, placed over a charcoal fire, proceeded 
to make a spatchcock, or as it is more popularly 
termed, a " sudden death." After this we can 
hardly expect the pleasure of your company at 
dinner to-day. But never mind ! you will soon 
get over the feeling nolens, if not volens. Why, 
how many Scinde " Nabobs " have not eaten three 
hundred and sixty-five lean chickens in one year '{ 

"We will not be in any hurry to go to bed. 
In these latitudes, man lives only between the 
hours of seven p.m. and midnight. The breeze gives 
strength to smoke and converse ; our languid minds 
almost feel disposed to admire the beauty of the 
moonlit sea, the serenity of the air, and the varying 


tints of the misty coast. Our lateen sail is doing 
its duty right well, as the splashing of the water 
and the broad stripe of phosphoric light eddying 
around and behind the rudder, prove. At this 
rate we shall make Goa in three days, if kindly 
fate only spare us the mortification of the morning 
calms which infest these regions. And we being 
" old hands " promise to keep a sharp look out 
upon the sable commander of the " Durrya Prashad" 
the " Joy of the Ocean," as his sweetheart of a 
pattimar is called. Something of the kind will 
be necessary to prevent his creeping along the 
shore for fear of squalls, or pulling down the sail 
to ensure an unbroken night's rest, or slackening 
speed so as not to get the voyage over too soon. 
As he is a Hindoo we will place him under the 
surveillance of that grim looking bushy-bearded 
Moslem, who spends half his days in praying for 
the extermination of the infidel, and never retires 
to rest without groaning over the degeneracy of 
the times, and sighing for the good old days of 
Islam, when the Faithful had nothing to do but 
to attack, thrash, rob, and murder, the Unfaithful. 

Now the last hookah has gone out, and the most 
restless of our servants has turned in. The roof 
of the cabin is strewed with bodies anything but 


fragrant, indeed, we cannot help pitying the melan- 
choly fate of poor Morpheus, who is traditionally 
supposed to encircle such sleepers with his soft 
arms. Could you believe it possible that through 
such a night as this they choose to sleep under 
those wadded cotton coverlets, and dread not in- 
stantaneous asphixiation "? The only waker is that 
grisly old fellow with the long white mustachios 
flourishing over his copper coloured mouth like 
cotton in the jaws of a Moslem body. And even 
he nods as he sits perched at the helm with his 
half-closed eyes mechanically directed towards the 
binnacle, and its satire upon the mariner's compass, 
which has not shifted one degree these last two 
years. However there is little to fear here. The 
fellow knows every inch of shore, and can tell 
you to a foot what depth of water there is beneath 
us. So as this atmosphere of drowsiness begins 
to be infectious, we might as well retire below. 
Not into the cabin, if you please. The last trip 
the Durrya Prashad made was, we understand, for 
the purpose of conveying cotton to the Presidency. 
You may imagine the extent of dark population 
left to colonise her every corner. We are to sleep 
under the penthouse, as well as we may ; our 
servants, you observe, have spread the mats of 


rushes — one of the much vaunted luxuries of the 
East — upon our humble couches, justly anticipating 
that we shall have a fair specimen of the night 
tropical. Before you " tumble in " pray recollect 
to see that the jars of cold water have been placed 
within reach, for we are certain to awake as soon 
after our first sleep as possible, sufiering from the 
torments of Tantalus. And we should advise you 
to restore the socks you have just removed, that 
is to say, if you wish the mosquitos to leave you 
the use of your feet to-morrow. 

" Good night ! " 

The wish is certainly a benevolent one, but it 
sounds queer as a long grace emphatically prefixed 
to a " spread " of cold mutton or tough beefsteak, 
for which nothing under a special miracle could 
possibly make one "truly thankful." However, 
good night ! 

From Bombay southwards as far as Goa, the 
coast,* viewed from the sea, merits little admira- 

* Note for readers geographically disposed. 

This region, the Ariake of the Greeks, Kemkem of the 
Arabs, Kukan of the Hindoos, Concan of the present pos- 
sessors, and, as Vincent says, " the pirate coast of all," is well 
adapted for its ancient occupation by a multitude of small 
ports, uninterrupted view along the coast, high ground favour- 


tion. It is an unbroken succession -of gentle rises 
and slopes, and cannot evade the charge of dulness 
and uniformity. Every now and then some fort 
or rock juts out into the water breaking the line, 
but the distance we stand out from land prevents 
our distinguishing the features of its different 

able to distant vision, and the alternate land and sea breezes 
that oblige vessels to hug the shore. Moreover, the ports, 
besides being shallow, are defended against large ships by bars ; 
a defect from which even Goa is not exempt, although Taver- 
nier calls it " one of the finest harbours in the world, rivalling 
those of Toulon and Constantinople." The pirates were pro- 
tected by the strength of the inland country, and, like the 
Greeks, had only to lie secure in port until they discovered 
their prey. During the Monsoon they cultivated the ground, 
or lived peaceably at home : when the fine weather set in, 
they launched their boats, and set out in quest of adventure. 
Pliny notices the depredations they committed on the Roman 
East India trade, and our early travellers are full of horrible 
tales about them. 

It is curious to observe that the whole line of coast between 
the mouth of the Euphrates and Cape Comorin, has been in- 
famous for the piratical propensities of the many and various 
tribes that inhabit it. The Persian Gulf still requires the 
presence of our armed cruisers ; the ancient annals of Scinde 
enlarge upon its celebrity for robbery ; the Coolies of Kutch 
and Guzerat were known as pirates from Marco Polo's time 
till A. D. 1800; the Angria territory was a nest of thieves 
till we destroyed their fleet ; and Tavernier testifies that the 
natives of Malabar were not inferior in enterprise to their 
northern brethren. 


" lions," such as Severndroog " the Golden Fortress," 
Rutnageree "the Hill of Jewels," and the Burnt 
Islands,* or Vingorla Rocks. The voyage, therefore, 
will be an uninteresting one — though at this season 
of the year, early spring, it will not be tedious. 

The ancient Hindoos have a curious tradition 
concerning the formation and population of this 
coast. They believe that Parasu Rama, one of 
their demigods, after filling the earth with the blood 
of the offending Kshatriya, or regal and military 
caste, wished to perform an expiatory sacrifice. 
As, however, no Brahmin would attend, his demi- 
godship found himself in rather an awkward pre- 
dicament. At length, when sitting on the mountains 
of Concan {i.e. the Sayhadree Range, or Western 
Ghauts), he espied on the shore below, the putrefied 
corpses of fourteen Mlenchhas (any people not 
Hindoos), which had floated there borne by the 

* They lie in lat. 15" 52' 30", about thirty-five miles from 
Goa, and seven off the shore, from w^hich they are separated 
by a deep channel. The group consists of more than twenty 
small rocks, amongst which are six or seven about as large as 
the Sirens Isles in the Gulf of Salerno. The Greeks called 
them iTfcrEKpEityai, which Mr. Hamilton understands to signify 
" black rabbits ;" and Vincent supposes them to have been 
so termed, because in form they may be fancied to resemble 
those animals crouching. 


tides from distant lands to the westward. Pama 
restored them to life, taught them religious know- 
ledge, and, after converting them into Brahmins, 
performed his sacrifice. He afterwards, by means 
of his fiery darts, compelled Samudra, the Indian 
Neptune, to retire several miles from the foot of 
the Ghauts, and allotted to his proteges the strip 
of land thus recovered from the sea. From these 
fourteen men sprang the Kukanastha, or Concanese 
tribe of Maharattas, and the pious Hindoo still 
discovers in their lineaments, traces of a corpse- 
like expression of countenance inherited from their 

We remarked that it was a glad moment when 
we entered the pattimar. We will also observe 
that it was another when our sable Portuguese 
"butler," as he terms himself, ecstasied by his 
propinquity to home — sweet home, and forgetting 
respect and self-possession in an elaii of patriotism, 
abruptly directed our vision towards the white- 
washed farol, or lighthouse, which marks the north 
side of the entrance to the Goa creek. And now, 
as we glide rapidly in, we will take a short military 
coup d^ceil at the outward defences of the once 
celebrated Portuguese capital. 


The hill, or steep, upon which the farol stands, 
is crowned with batteries, called the Castello de 
Agoada, as ships touch there to water. There are 
other works, d fleur cVeau, all round the point. 
These defences, however, are built of stone, without 
any embankments of earth, and suggest uncomfort- 
able ideas of splinters. In fact, a few gun-boats 
would drive any number of men out of them in 
half an hour. The entrance of the creek is at 
least two miles broad, and the southern prong, the 
" Cabo de Convento," is occupied, as its name shows, 
by a monastery instead of a fort. Moreover, none 
but a native general would ever think of thrusting 
an invading force through the jaws of the bay, 
when it might land with perfect safety and con- 
venience to itself a few miles to the north or south. 

" What are we pulling up for 1 " 

The Tindal informs us that we may expect a 
visit from the " Portingal Captain," who commands 
the Castello, for the purpose of ascertaining our 
rank, our wealth, and our object in visiting Goa. 
He warns us to conceal our sketch-book, and not 
to write too much ; otherwise, that our ardour 
for science may lead us into trouble. But, mind, 


we langh him to scorn ; natives must have 
something mysterious to suspect, or expect, or 

But here comes the officer, after keeping us wait- 
ing a good hour. He is a rhubarb-coloured man, 
dressed in the shabby remains of a flashy uniform ; 
his square inch of blackish brown mustachio, and 
expression of countenance, produce an appearance 
which we should pronounce decidedly valiant, did we 
not know that valour here seldom extends below or 
beyond the countenance. How respectfully our but- 
ler bows to him, and with what fellow-feeling the 
same valuable domestic grasps the hand of that 
orderly in shell jacket, but not in pantaloons, who 
composes the guard of his superior officer ! Be- 
hold ! he has a bundle of cigarettos, made of the 
blackest tobacco, rolled up in bits of plantain leaf; 
and he carries his " weeds " in a very primitive 
cigar-case, namely, the pouch formed by the junction 
of his huge flap of an ear, with the flat and stubby 
poll behind it. As the favourite narcotic goes round, 
no Portuguese refuses it. The Hindoos shake their 
heads politely and decliningly, the Moslems grimly 
and with a suspicion of a curse. 

But we must summon our domestic to mediate 
between us and our visitor, who speaks nothing 


but most Maharatta-like Portuguese and Portuguese- 
like ]\Ialiaratta. 

We begin by ofiPering him a glass of wine, and 
he inquires of Salvador, our acting interpreter, 
— " Why 1 " Being assured that such is the prac- 
tice among the barbarous Anglo-Indians, he accepts 
it with a helpless look, and never attempts to con- 
ceal the contortions of countenance produced by 
the operation of a glass of Parsee sherry, fiery as 
their own divinity, upon a palate accustomed to 
tree-toddy and thin red wine. However, he appears 
perfectly satisfied with the inspection, and after 
volunteering an introductory epistle to one loao 
Thomas — i.e. John Thomas, a cicerone of Goanese 
celebrity — which we accept without the slightest 
intention of delivering, he kindly gives us per- 
mission to proceed, shakes our hand with a cold 
and clammy palm, which feels uncommonly like 
a snake, and with many polite bows to our ser- 
vants, disappears over the side, followed by his 
suite. Whilst the anchor is being re-weighed, 
before we forget the appearance of the pair, we 
will commit them to the custody of the sketch- 

The old lateen creeps creaking crankily up the 


mast once more, and the Durrja Prashad recom- 
mences to perambulate the waters as unlike a thing 
of life as can be imagined. Half an hour more will 
take us in. Perched upon the topmast angle of our 
penthouse, we strain our eyes in search of the tall 
buildings and crowded ways that denote a capital : 
we can see nought but a forest of lanky cocoa-nut 
trees, whose stems are apparently growing out of 
a multitude of small hovels. 

Can this be Goa 1 

Rendered rabid by the query our patriotic domes- 
tic, sneering as much as he safely can, informs us 
that this is the village of Yerim, that St. Agnes, 
and proceeds to display his store of topographical 
lore by naming or christening every dirty little 
mass of hut and white-washed spire that meets 
the eye. 

Bus, Bus, — enough in the name of topography ! 
We will admire the view to-morrow morning when 
our minds are a little easier about John Thomas, 
a house, &c. 

We turn the last corner which concealed from 
view the town of Paujim, or as others call it, the 
city of New Goa, and are at last satisfied that we 
are coming to something like a place. Suddenly 
the Tindal, and all his men, begin to chatter like 


a wilderness of provoked baboons ; thej are de- 
bating as to what part of the narrow creek whicli 
runs parallel with the town should be selected 
for anchor ground. Not with an eye to our 
comfort in landing, observe, but solely bearing 
in mind that thej are to take in cargo to- 

At length our apology for an anchor once more 
slides down the old side of the Durrya Prashad, 
and she swings lazily round with the ebb tide, 
like an elephant indulging in a solitary roll. It 
is dark, we can see nothing but a broken line of 
dim oil-lamps upon the quay, and hear nought save 
the unharmonious confusion of native music with 
native confabulation. Besides the wind that pours 
down the creek feels damp and chilly, teeming 
with unpleasant reminiscences of fever and ague. 
So after warning our domestics, that instant dis- 
missal from the service will follow any attempt to 
land to-night, a necessary precaution if we wish 
to land to-morrow, we retire to pass the last of 
three long nights in slapping our face in the despe- 
rate hope of crushing mosquitos, dreaming of De 
Gama and Albuquerque, starting up every two hours 
with jaws glowing like those of a dark age dragon, 
scratching our legs and feet, preferring positive 


excoriation to the exquisite titillation produced by 
the perpetual perambulation, and occasional morsica- 
tion (with many other -ations left to the reader's 
discrimination) of our nocturnal visitations, and in 
uttering emphatic ejaculations concerning the man 
with the rhinoceros hide and front of brass who 
invented and recommended to his kind the patti- 
mar abomination. 




Early in the morning, rudely roused by curiosity, 
we went on deck to inspect the celebrated view of 
the Rio de Goa. 

The air was soft and fragrant, at the same time 
sufficiently cool to be comfortable. A thin mist 
rested upon the lower grounds and hovered half 
way up the hills, leaving their palm -clad summits 
clear to catch the silvery light of dawn. Most beau- 
tiful was the hazy tone of colour all around con- 
trasted with the painfully vivid tints, and the sharp 
outlines of an Indian view seen a few hours after 
sunrise. The uniformity of the cocoa-nut groves, 
which at first glance appeared monotonous, gra- 
dually became tolerable. We could now remark 
that they were full of human habitations, and in- 
tersected by numbers of diminutive creeks. Close 
by lay Panji Panjim, Panjem or K'ew Goa, with its 

NEW GOA. 23 

large palace and little houses, still dark in the 
shadow of the hill behind it. As for Goa Yelha 
(the Old Goa) we scarcely ventured to look towards 
it, such were our recollections of Tavernier, Dillon, 
and Amine Vanderdecken, and so strong our con- 
viction that a day at least must elapse before we 
could tread its classic ground. An occasional peep, 
however, discovered huge masses of masonry — some 
standing out from the cloudless sky, others lining 
the edge of the creek, — ruins of very picturesque 
form, and churches of most unpicturesque hue. 

Precisely at six a.m. appeared Mr. John Thomas, 
whose aristocratic proper name, by the by, is the 
Seiior loao Thomas de Sonza. After perpetrating 
a variety of congees in a style that admirably com- 
bined the Moorish salaam with the European bow, 
he informed us in execrable English that " he show 
de Goa to de Bombay gentlemens." We rapidly 
pass over the preliminary measures of securing a 
house with six rooms, kitchen, stable and back court, 
for fourteen shillings per mensem — a low rate of 
rent for which the owner was soundly rated by his 
compatriots, who have resolved that treble that 
sum is the minimum chargeable to Englishmen — 
of landing our bag and baggage, which were after- 


wards carried to our abode by coolies * — the pri- 
mitive style of transportation universally used here, 
— and finally of disembarking our steeds by means 
of a pigmy crane, the manipulation of which called 
together a herd of admiring gazers. 

Then the Sefior began to take command. He 
obligingly allowed us to breakfast, but insisted upon 
our addressing a note to the aide-de-camp in wait- 
ing to ascertain the proper time for waiting upon 
his Excellency the Governor of Goa. This the 
Senor warned us was de rigueur, and he bade us 
be prepared to face the burning sun between 
eleven and twelve, such being the hour usually 
appointed. Then with our missive between his 
sable fingers he performed another ceremonious bow 
and departed for a while. 

Just as the Senor- disappeared, and we were pre- 
paring to indulge in our morning meal en deshabille, 
as best suits the climate, an uncomely face, grin- 
ning prodigiously, and surmounted by a scampish 
looking cap, introduced itself through the open 
window, and commenced a series of felicitations 
and compliments in high-flown Portuguese. 

Who might our visitor be 1 A medical student, 
a poet, or a thief? Confused in mind, we could 
* Porters and labourers. 

NEW GOA. 25 

only look at him vacantly, with an occasional 
involuntary movement of the head, respondent to 
some gigantic word, as it gurgled convulsively out 
of his throat. He must have mistaken the sign for 
one of invitation, for, at the close of his last com- 
pliment to the British nation, he withdrew his 
head from the window, and deliberately walked 
in by the door, with the usual series of polite 

Once in the house, he seemed determined to 
make himself at home. 

We looked up from our breakfast with much 
astonishment. Close to our elbow stood our new 
friend in the form of a tall ugly boy about seven- 
teen, habited in a green cloth surtout, with plaited 
plaid unmentionables, broad-toed boots, and a pecu- 
liar appearance about the wrists, and intervals 
between the fingers, which made us shudder at the 
thought of extending to him the hand of fellowship. 
Rapidly deciding upon a plan of action, we assumed 
ignorance of the I'mgoa Baxa* and pronounced 
with much ceremony in our vernacular, 

" Whom have I the honour to address V 

Horror of horrors ! Our visitor broke out in 
disjointed English, informed us that his name was 

* The Portuguese tongue. 



the Seiior Gaetano de Gama, son of the collector of 
Ribandar, and a lineal descendant from the Gran 
Capitao ; that he had naturally a great admiration 
for the British, together with much compassion for 
friendless strangers ; and finally, that he might be 
of the utmost use to us during our stay at Goa. 
Thereupon he sat down, and proceeded to make 
himself comfortable. He pulled a cigar out of our 
box, called for a glass of water, but preferred 
sherry, ate at least a dozen plantains, and washed 
down the sherry with a coifee-cup full of milk. 
We began to be amused. 

" Have you breakfasted 1 " 

Yes, he had. At Goa they generally do so be- 
times. However, for the sake of companionship 
he would lay down his cigar and join us. He was 
certainly a good trencher-companion, that young 
gentleman. Witness his prowess upon a plate of 
fish, a dish of curry, a curd cheese, a water melon, 
and half-a-dozen cups of cafe au lait. Then after 
settling the heterogeneous mass with a glass of our 
anisette, he re-applied himself to his cheroot. 

We were in hopes that he had fallen into a state 
of torpor. By no means ! The activity of his 
mind soon mastered the inertness of the flesh. 
Before the first few pus's had disappeared in the 

NEW GOA. 27 

thin air, our friend arose, distinctly for the purpose 
of surveying the room. He walked slowly and 
calmly around it, varying that recreation by occa- 
sionally looking into our bed, inspecting a box or 
two, opening our books, addressing a few chance 
words to us, generally in the style interrogative, 
trying on our hat before the looking-glass, defiling 
our brushes and combs with his limp locks, redolent 
of rancid cocoa-nut oil, and glancing with fearful 
meaning at our tooth-brushes. 

Our amusement now began to assume the form of 
indignation. Would it be better to disappear into 
an inner room, send for Salvador to show our hete 
noire the door, or lead him out by the ear 1 Whilst 
still deliberating, we observed with pleasure the 
tawny face of John Thomas. 

The Senor loao Thomas de Sonza no sooner 
caught sight of the Senor Gaetano de Gama than 
his countenance donned an expression of high indig- 
nation, dashed with profound contempt ; and the 
latter Senor almost simultaneously betrayed out- 
ward and visible signs of disappointment and con- 
siderable confusion. The ridiculous scene ended 
with the disappearance of the unsuccessful aspirant 
to ciceronic honours, a homily from John Thomas 
upon the danger of having anything to do with 

c 2 


such rabble, and an injunction to Salvador never 
to admit the collector's son again. 

" His Excellency the Governor General of all the 
Indies cannot have the exalted honour of receiving 
your Excellency this morning, on account of the 
sudden illness of Her Excellency the Lady of the 
Governor General of all the Indies ; but the Gover- 
nor General of all the Indies will be proud to 
receive your Excellency to-morrow — if Heaven be 
pleased ! " said John Thomas, tempering dignity 
with piety. 

Thank Goodness for the reprieve ! 

" So, if the measure be honoured with your 
Excellency's approval, we will now embark in a 
covered canoe, and your servant will have the 
felicity of pointing out from the sea the remarkable 
sites and buildings of New Goa ; after which, a 
walk through our celebrated city will introduce 
your Excellency to the exteriors and interiors of its 
majestic edifices, its churches, its theatre, its hos- 
pital, its library, and its barracks." 

Very well ! 

A few minutes' rowing sufficed to bring our 
canoe to the centre of the creek, along side and in 
full view of the town. Around us lay the shipping, 
consisting of two or three vessels from Portugal and 

NEW GOA. 29 

China, some score of native craft, such as pattiraars, 
cottias, canoes, and bunclerboats, with one sloop of 
war, composing the Goanese navj. 

Panjim is situated upon a narrow ledge, between 
a hill to the south, and, on the north, the Rio de 
Goa, or arm of the sea, which stretches several 
miles from west to east. A quay of hewn stone, 
well built, but rather too narrow for ornament or 
use, lines the south bank of the stream, if we may 
so call it, which hereabouts is a little more than a 
quarter of a mile in breadth. The appearance of 
the town is strange to the Indian tourist. There 
are many respectable-looking houses, usually one 
story high, solidly constructed of stone and mortar, 
with roofs of red tile, and surrounded by large 
court-yards overgrown with cocoa-nut trees. Bun- 
galows are at a discount ; only the habitations of 
the poor consist solely of a ground floor. In general 
the walls are whitewashed, — an operation performed 
regularly once a year, after the Monsoon rains ; and 
the result is a most offensive glare. Upon the 
eminence behind the town is a small telegraph, and 
half-way down the hill, the Igreja (church) de Con- 
ceicao, a plain and ill-built pile, as usual, beauti- 
fully situated. The edifices along the creek which 


catch the eye, are the Palacio, where the Governor 
resides, the Archbishop's Palace, the Contadorin or 
Accomptant's Office, and the Alfandega or Custom 
House. All of them are more remarkable for vast- 
ness than neatness of design. 

" We will now row down the creek, and see the 
Aldeas or villages of St. Agnes and Verim," quoth 
our guide, pointing towards a scattered line of 
churches, villas, and cottages, half concealed from 
view by the towering trees, or thrown forward in 
clear relief by the green background. 

To hear was to obey : though we anticipated 
little novelty. On landing we were surprised to 
find the shore so thickly inhabited. Handsome 
residences, orientally speaking, appeared here and 
there ; a perfect network of footpaths ramified over 
the hills; in a word, every yard of ground bore 
traces of life and activity. I*(ot that there was 
much to be seen at St. Agnes, with its huge, 
rambling old pile, formerly the archiepiscopal 
palace, or at Yerim, a large village full of Hindoos, 
who retreat there to avoid the places selected 
for residence by the retired officers, employes of 
government, students, and Christian landed pro- 

" And now for a trip to the eastward ! " 

NEW GOA. 31 

" What ! " we exclaimed, " is n't the lionizing to 
stop here 1 " 

" By no means," replied John Thomas, solemnly ; 
" all English gentlemen visit Ribandar, Britona, and 
the Seminary of Chorao/' 

Ribandar is about two miles to the east of 
Panjim, and is connected with it by a long stone 
bridge, built by the viceroy Miguel de Noronha. 
It seems to be thriving upon the ruins of its neigh- 
bour, San Pedro or Panelly, an old village, laid 
waste by the devastator of Yelha Goa — intermittent 
fever. From some distance we saw the noble palace, 
anciently inhabited by the archbishops, and the 
seat of the viceroys and governors, called the Casa 
de Polvora, from a neighbouring manufactory of 
gunpowder. Here, however, we became restive, and 
no persuasion could induce us to walk a mile in 
order to inspect the bare walls. 

Being somewhat in dread of Britona, which 
appeared to be a second edition of St. Agnes and 
Verim, we compounded with John Thomas, and 
secured an exemption by consenting to visit and 
inspect the Seminary. 

Chorao was formerly the noviciate place of the 
Jesuits.'" It is an island opposite Ribandar, small 

* Their other great clerical establishment being the Seminary 


and thinly populated, the climate being confessedly 
most unwholesome. AYe were informed that the 
director was sick and the rector suffering from 
fever. The pallid complexion of the resident pupils 
told a sad tale of malaria. 

The building is an immense mass of chapels, 
cloisters, and apartments for the professors and 
students. There is little of the remarkable in it. 
The walls are ornamented with abominable fres- 
coes and a few prints, illustrating the campaigns 
of iS^apoleon and Louis Quatorze. The crucifixes 
appear almost shocking. They are, generally speak- 
ing, wooden figures as large as life, painted with 
most livid and unnatural complexions, streaked 
with indigo-coloured veins, and striped with streams 
of blood. j\Iore offensive still are the representa- 
tions of the Almighty, so common in Roman 
Catholic countries. 

In the sacristy, we were shown some tolerable 
heads of apostles and saints. They were not ex- 
actly original Raphaels and Guidos, as our black 
friends declared, but still it was a pleasure to see 

at Rachol, a town which, when the Portuguese first came 
to India, was the capital of the province of Salsette. In 
Tavernier's time the Jesuits had no less than five religious 
houses at Goa^ 


NEW GOA. 33 

good copies of excellent exemplars iu India, the 
land of coloured prints and lithographs of Cerito 
and Taglioni. 

Ah ! now we have finished our peregrinations. 

" Yes," responded John Thomas ; " jour Excel- 
lency has now only to walk about and inspect the 
town of Panjira." 

Accordingly we landed and proceeded to make 
our observations there. 

That Panjim is a Christian town appears in- 
stantly from the multitude and variety of the filthy 
feeding hogs, that infest the streets. The pig here 
occupies the social position that he does in Ireland, 
only he is never eaten when his sucking days are 
past. Panjim loses much by close inspection. The 
streets are dusty and dirty, of a most disagreeable 
brick colour, and where they are paved, the pave- 
ment is old and bad. The doors and window-frames 
of almost all the houses are painted green, and none 
but the very richest admit light through anything 
more civilized than oyster-shells. The balcony is 
a prominent feature, but it presents none of the 
gay scenes for which it is famous in Italy and Spain. 

We could not help remarking the want of horses 
and carriages in the streets, and were informed that 
the whole place did not contain more than half 

c 5 


a dozen vehicles. The popular conveyance is a 
kind of palanquin, composed of a light sofa, cur- 
tained with green wax cloth, and strung to a 
bamboo pole, which rests upon the two bearers' 
heads or shoulders. This is called a mancheel, and 
a most lugubrious-looking thing it is, forcibly re- 
minding one of a coffin covered with a green pall. 
At length we arrived at the Barracks, a large 
building in the form of an irregular square, fronting 
the Rio, and our British curiosity being roused by 
hearing that the celebrated old thief, Phonde Sa- 
wunt,* was living there under surveillance, we 
determined to visit that rebel on a small scale. 
His presence disgraces his fame ; it is that of a 
wee, ugly, grey, thin, old and purblind ]\laha- 
ratta. He received us, however, with not a little 
dignity and independence of manner, motioned us 
to sit down with a military air, and entered upon a 
series of queries concerning the Court of Lahore, 
at that time the only power on whose exertions the 
agitators of India could base any hopes. Around 
the feeble, decrepit old man stood about a dozen 
stalworth sons, with naked shoulders, white cloths 
round their waists and topknots of hair, which 

* He raised the standard of revolt against the Indian 
government spiritedly but unsuccessfully. 

NEW GOA. 35 

the god Shiva himself might own with pride. They 
have private apartments in the barracks, full of 
wives and children, and consider themselves per- 
sonages of no small importance ; in which opinion 
they are, we believe, hj no means singular. Their 
fellow-countrymen look upon them as heroes, and 
have embalmed, or attempted to embalm their 
breakjaw names in immortal song. They are, in 
fact, negro Robin Hoods and Dick Turpins — knights 
of the road and the waste it is true, but not 
accounted the less honourable for belonging to that 
celebrated order of chivalry. The real Maharatta 
is by nature a thorough-bred plunderer, and well 
entitled to sing the Suliot ditty — 

" K\£^7-£c TTorf Ilapyav, " * 

with the slight variation of locality only. Be- 
sides, strange to say, amongst Orientals, they have 
a well-defined idea of what patriotism means, and 
can groan under the real or fancied wrongs of the 
"stranger" or the " Sassenach's " dominion as loudly 
and lustily as any Hibernian or Gael in the land. 

We now leave Phonde Sawunt and the Barracks 
to thread our way through a numerous and dis- 
agreeable collection of yelping curs and officious 

* " All thieves at Parga." 


" Would your Excellency prefer to visit the 
hospital, the churches of St. Sebastian and Con- 
ceigao, the jail, the library, the printing-house, and 
the bazaars now or to-morrow morning "? " 

" Neither now nor ever — thank you — we are 
going to the promenade." 

After a few minutes' walk we came to the west 
end of Panjim, where lies a narrow scrap of sea- 
beach appropriated to "constitutionals." On our 
way there we observed that the Goanese, with pecu- 
liar good taste, had erected seats wherever a pretty 
point de mie would be likely to make one stand 
and wish to sit awhile. 

Had w^e expected a crowded corso, we should 
have been disappointed ; half-a-dozen mancheels, 
two native officers on horseback, one carriage, and 
about a dozen promenaders, were moving lazily and 
listlessly down the lugubrious-looking strand. 

Reader, has it ever been your unhappy fate to 
be cooped up in a wretched place called Pisa 1 If 
so, perhaps you recollect a certain drive to the 
Cascine — a long road, down whose dreary length 
run two parallel rows of dismal poplars, desolating 
to the eye, like mutes at a funeral. We mentally 
compared the Cascine drive and the Panjim corso, 
and the result of the comparison was, that we 

NEW GO A. 37 

wished a very good evening to the Seuor, and went 

"Salvador, what is that terrible noise— arc they 
slaughtering a pig— or murdering a boy ? " 

" Nothing," replied Salvador, " nothing whatever 
— some Christian beating his wife." 

" Is that a common recreation '? " 

" Very." 

So we found out to our cost. First one gentle- 
man chastised his spouse, then another, and then 
another. To judge by the ear, the fair ones did 
not receive the discipline with that patience, sub- 
mission, and long-suffering which Eastern dames are 
most apocryphally believed to practise. In fact, 
if the truth must be told, a prodigious scuffling 
informed us that the game was being played with 
similar good will, and nearly equal vigour by both 
parties. The police at Goa never interfere with 
these little domesticalities ; the residents, we sup- 
pose, lose the habit of hearing them, but the 
stranger finds them disagreeable. Therefore, we 
should strongly advise all future visitors to select 
some place of residence where they may escape the 
martial sounds that accompany such tours de force 
when displayed by the lords and ladies of the 
creation. On one occasion we were obliged to 


change our lodgings for others less exposed to the 
nuisance. Conceive inhabiting a snug corner of a 
locality devoted to the conversion of pig into 
pork ! 

" Sahib," exclaimed Salvador, " you had better 
go to bed, or retire into another room, for I see 
the Seiior Gaetano coming here as fast as his legs 
can carry him." 

" Very well," we whispered, slipping rapidly 
through the open door, " tell him we are out." 
And behind the wall we heard the message duly 

But the Seilor saw no reason in our being out 
why he should not make himself at home. He 
drew two chairs into the verandah, called for cigars 
and sherry, fanned himself with his dirty brown 
cotton pocket-handkerchief, and sat there patiently 
awaiting our return. 

We did not forcibly eject that Seiior. The fact is, 
memory began to be busily at work, and dim scenes 
of past times, happy days spent in our dear old 
distant native land were floating and flashing before 
our mental eye. Again we saw our neat little 

rooms at College, Oxford, our omnipresent 

dun, Mr. Joye — what a name for a tailor ! — com- 

NEW GOA. 39 

fortably ensconsed in the best arm-chair, with the 
best of our regalias in his mouth, and the best of 
our Port wine at his elbow, now warming his lean 
hands before the blazing coal fire — it was very near 
Christmas — now dreamily gazing at the ceiling, as 
if £ s. d. were likely to drop through its plaster. 

And where were we 1 

Echo cannot answer, so we must. 

Standing in the coal-hole — an aperture in the 
wall of our bedchamber — whence seated upon a 
mass of coke, we could distinctly discern through 
the interstices of the door, Mr. Joye enjoying him- 
self as above described. 

Years of toil and travel and trouble had invested 
that coal-hole with the roseate hue which loves to 
linger over old faces and old past times ; so we 
went quietly to bed, sacrificing at the shrine of 
Mnemosyne the sherry and the cheroots served to 
us, and the kick-out deserved by the Sefior Gaetano 
de Gama, son of the Collector of Ribandar, and a 
lineal descendent of the Gran Capitao. 




"Senor," said our cicerone, entering unan- 
nounced, at about ten a. m., " it is time for your 
Excellency to prepare for an interview with bis 
Excellency the Governor- General of all the Indies ; 
and if it meet with your approbation, we can see 
the library, and the celebrated statue of Alfonso de 
Albuquerque on our way to the palacio." 

The horses were soon saddled, and the Sefior was 
with some difficulty persuaded to mount. En route 
his appearance afforded no small amusement to his 
fellow townsmen, who grinned from ear to ear see- 
ing him clinging to the saddle, and holding on by 
the bridle, with his back hunched, and his shoulders 
towering above his ears like those of an excited cat. 
The little Maharatta " man-eater " * was dancing 

* The name given to that breed of ponies on account of 
their extraordinary viciousness. 


with disgust at this peculiar style of equitation, and 
the vivacity of his movements so terrified the Seuor, 
that, to our extreme regret, he chose the first 
moment to dismount under pretext of introducing 
us to Albuquerque. 

The statue of that hero stands under a white- 
washed dome, in a small square opposite the east 
front of the Barracks. It is now wrapped up in 
matting, having lately received such injuries that it 
was deemed advisable to send to Portugal for a new 
nose and other requisites. 

The library disappointed us. We had heard 
that it contained many volumes collected from 
the difiierent religious houses by order of the go- 
vernment, and thus saved from mildew and the 
white ants. Of course, we expected a variety of 
MSS. and publications upon the subject of Orien- 
tal languages and history, as connected with the 
Portuguese settlements. The catalogue, however, 
soon informed us that it was a mere ecclesiastical 
library, dotted here and there with the common 
classical authors ; a few old books of travels ; some 
volumes of history, and a number of musty dis- 
quisitions on ethics, politics, and metaphysics. We 
could find only three Oriental works — a Syriac 
book printed at Oxford, a manuscript Dictionary, 


and a Grammar of the Concanee dialect of Maha- 

Arrived at the palace, we sent in our card, 
and were desired to walk up. We were politely 
received by an aide-de-camp, who, after ascertaining 
that we could speak a few words of Portuguese, 
left the room to inform the Governor of that pro- 
digious fact, which, doubtless, procured us the 
honour of an interview with that exalted personage. 
It did not last long enough to be tedious, still 
we were not sorry when his Excellency retired 
with the excuse of public business, and directed 
the aide-de-camp to show us about the building. 
There was not much to be seen in it, except a 
tolerably extensive library, a private chapel, and 
a suite of lofty and spacious saloons, with enor- 
mous windows, and without furniture ; containing 
the portraits of all the Governors and Viceroys 
of Portuguese India. The collection is, or rather 
has been, a valuable one ; unfortunately some Goth, 
by the order of some worse than Goth, has renewed 
and revived many of the best and oldest pictures, 
till they have assumed a most ludricrous appear- 
ance. The handsome and chivalrous-looking knights 
have been taught to resemble the Saracen's Head, 
the Marquis of Granby, and other sign-post cele- 


brities in England. An artist is, however, it is 
said, coming from Portugal, and much scraping and 
varnishing may do something for the De Gamas 
and de Castros at present so miserably disfigured. 

And now, thank Goodness, all our troubles are 
over. We can start as soon as we like for the 
" ruin and the waste," merely delaying to secure 
a covered boat, victual it for a few days, and 
lay in a store of jars of fresh water — a necessary 
precaution against ague and malaria. Salvador is 
to accompany us, and John Thomas has volunteered 
to procure us a comfortable lodging in the Aljube, 
or ecclesiastical prison. 

A couple of hours' steady rowing will land us 
at old Goa. As there is nothing to be said about 
the banks which are lined with the eternal suc- 
cession of villages, palaces, villas, houses, cot- 
tages, gardens, and cocoa-nut trees ; instead of lin- 
gering upon the uninteresting details, we will pass 
the time in drawing out a short historical sketch 
of the hapless city's fortunes. 

It is not, we believe, generally known that there 
are two old Goas. Ancient old Goa stood on the 
south coast of the island, about two miles from 
its more modern namesake. Ferishteh, and the 


other JMoslem annalists of India allude to it as a 
great and celebrated seaport in the olden time. 
It was governed bv its own Rajah, who held it in 
fief from the Princes of Beejanugger and the Car- 
natic. In the fifteenth century it was taken by 
the Moslem monarchs of the Bahmani line. Even 
before the arrival of the Portuguese in India the 
inhabitants began to desert their old seaport and 
migrate to the second Goa. Of the ancient Hindoo 
town no traces now remain, except some wretched 
hovels clustering round a parish church. Desola- 
tion and oblivion seem to have claimed all but 
the name of the place, and none but the readers 
of musty annals and worm-eaten histories are aware 
that such a city ever existed. 

The modern old Goa was built about nineteen 
years before the arrival of Vasco de Gama at 
Calicut, an event fixed by the historian, Faria, on 
20th of May, 1498. It was taken from the Moors 
or Moslems by Albuquerque, about thirty years 
after its foundation — a length of time amply suflS- 
cient to make it a place of importance, considering 
the mushroom-like rapidity with which empires and 
their capitals shoot up in the East. Governed by 
a succession of viceroys, many of them the bravest 
and wisest of the Portuguese nation, Goa soon rose 


to a height of power, wealth, and magnificence 
almost incredible. But the introduction of the 
Jesuits, the Holy Tribunal, and its fatal offspring, 
religious persecution ; pestilence, and wars with 
European and native powers, disturbances arising 
from an unsettled home government, and, above all 
things, the slow but sure workings of the short- 
sighted policy of the Portuguese in intermarrying 
and identifying themselves with Hindoos of the 
lowest castes, made her fall as rapid as her rise 
was sudden and prodigious. In less than a century 
and a half after De Garaa landed on the shore of 
India, the splendour of Goa had departed for ever. 
Presently the climate changed in that unaccount- 
able manner often witnessed in hot and tropical 
countries. Every one fled from the deadly fever 
that raged within the devoted precincts, and the 
villages around began to tlirive upon the decay of the 
capital. At last, in 1758, the viceroy, a namesake 
of Albuquerque, transferred his habitual residence 
to Panjim. Soon afterwards the Jesuits were ex- 
pelled, and their magnificent convents and churches 
were left all but utterly deserted. The Inquisi- 
tion * was suppressed when the Portuguese court 

* At that time, however, this horrible instrument of reli- 
gious tyranny seems to have lost much of its original activity. 


was at Rio Janeiro, at the recommendation of the 
British Government — one of those good deeds with 
which our native land atones for a multitude of 
minor sins. 

The descriptions of Goa in her palmy days are, 
thanks to the many travellers that visited the land, 
peculiarly graphic and ample. 

First in the list, by seniority, stands Lin- 
schoten, a native of Haarlem, who travelled to the 
capital of Portuguese India about 1583, in com- 
pany with the Archbishop Fre Vincent de Fon^ega. 
After many years spent in the East, he returned 
to his native country, and published his travels, 
written in old French. The book is replete with 
curious information. Linschoten's account of the 
riches and splendour of Goa would be judged ex- 
aggerated, were they not testified to by a host of 
other travellers. It is described as the finest, 
largest, and most magnificent city in India : its 
villas almost merited the title of palaces, and 
seemed to be built for the purpose of displaying 
the wealth and magnificence of the erectors. It 
is said that during the prosperous times of the 

/When the dungeons were thrown open there was not a single 
prisoner within the walls, and Mons. de Kleguen asserts that 
,no one then living remembered having seen an Auto da Fe. 


Portuguese in India, you could not have seen a 
bit of " iron in any merchant's house, but all gold 
and silver." They coined an immense quantity of 
the precious metals, and used to make pieces of 
workmanship in them for exportation. They were 
a nation of traders, and the very soldiers enriched 
themselves by commerce. After nine years' service, 
all those that came from Portugal were entitled to 
some command, either by land or sea ; they fre- 
quently, however, rejected government employ on 
account of being engaged in the more lucrative 
pursuit of trade. The viceroyalty of Goa was one 
of the most splendid appointments in the world. 
There were five other governments, namely — 
Mozambique, Malacca, Ormus, Muscat, and Ceylon, 
the worst of which was worth ten thousand crowns 
(about two thousand pounds) per annum — an 
enormous sum in those days. 

The celebrated Monsieur Tavernier, Baron of 
Aubonne, visited Goa twice ; first in 1641, the 
second time seven years afterwards. In his day 
the city was declining rapidly,* and even during 

* About the end of the sixteenth century the Dutch sent 
ships round the Cape, and soon managed to secure the best 
part of the Eastern trade, formerly monopoHzed by the Por- 


the short period that elapsed between his two 
voyages, he remarked that many whom he had 
known as people of fashion, with above two thou- 
sand crowns revenue, were reduced to visiting him 
privately in the evening, and begging for alms. 
Still, he observed, " they abated nothing, for all 
that, of their inherent pride and haughtiness." He 
pays no compliment to the Portuguese character : 
" They are the most revengeful persons, and the 
most jealous of their wives in the world, and where 
the least suspicion creeps into their saddles, they rid 
themselves of them either by poison or dagger." 
The baron had no cause for complaint in his recep- 
tion at Goa by the viceroy, Don Philip de Masca- 
regnas, who " made him very welcome, and esteeming 
much a pistol, curiously inlaid," which the traveller 
presented to him, sent for him five or six times to 
the Powder-house, or old palace. That viceroy 
seems, however, to have been a dangerous host. 
He was a most expert poisoner, and had used his 
skill most diligently, ridding himself of many 
enemies, when governor of Ceylon. At Goa he 
used to admit no one to his table — even his own 
family was excluded. He was the richest Portu- 
guese noble that ever left the East, especially in 
diamonds, of which he had a large parcel containing 


none but stones between ten and forty carats 
weight. The Goanese hated him, hung him in 
effigy before his departure, and when he died on 
the voyage, reported that he had been poisoned in 
the ship— a judgment from Heaven. 

Monsieur Tavernier visited the Inquisition, where 
he was received with sundry " searching questions " 
concerning his faith, the Protestant. During the 
interview, the Inquisitor " told him that he was 
welcome, calling out at the same time, for some 
other persons to enter. Thereupon, the hangings 
being held up, came in ten or twelve persons out 
of a room hard by." They were assured that the 
traveller possessed no prohibited books ; the pru- 
dent Tavernier had left even his Bible behind him. 
The Inquisidor Mor * discoursed with him for a 
couple of hours, principally upon the subject of his 
wanderings, and, three days afterwards, sent him 
a polite invitation to dinner. 

But a well-known practice of the Holy Tribunal 
— namely, that of confiscating the gold, silver, and 
jewels of every prisoner, to defray the expenses of 
the process — had probably directed the Inquisitor's 
attention to so rich a traveller as the baron was. 
Tavernier had, after all, rather a narrow escape from 

* The Grand Inquisitor, 



the Holy Office, in spite of its civilities. When 
about to leave Goa, he imprudently requested and 
obtained from the Viceroy, permission to take with 
him one Mons. de Belloy, a countryman in distress. 
This individual had deserted from the Dutch to the 
Portuguese, and was kindly received by them. At 
Macao, however, he lost his temper at play, and 
" cursed the portraiture of some Papistical saint, as 
the cause of his ill-luck." For this impiety he was 
forthwith sent by the Provincial Inquisitor to Goa, 
but he escaped the stake by private interest with 
the Viceroy,* and was punished only by " wearing 
old clothes, which were all to tatters and full of 
vermin." When Taveniier and his friend set sail, 
the latter " became very violent, and swore against 
the Inquisition like a madman." That such pro- 
cedure was a dangerous one was proved by Mons. 
de Belloy's fate. He was rash enough to return 
some months afterwards to Goa, where he remained 
two years in the dungeons of the Holy Office, " from 
which he was not discharged but with a sulphured 

* The Holy Office had power over all but the Viceroy and 
Archbishop, and they did not dare openly to interpose in 
behalf of any prisoner, under pain of being reported to the 
Inquisitor and his Council in Portugal, and being recalled. 
Even the Papal threats were disregarded by that dread 


shirt, and a St. Andrew's cross upon his stomach." 
The unfortunate man was eventually taken prisoner 
by the enraged " Hollanders," put into a sack, and 
thrown into the sea, as a punishment for desertion. 

About twenty-five years after Tavernier's depar- 
ture. Dellon, the French physician, who made him- 
self conspicuous by his " Relation de I'lnquisition 
de Goa," visited the city. By his own account, he 
appears to have excited the two passions which 
burn fiercest in the Portuguese bosom — jealousy 
and bigotry. When at Daman, his " innocent 
visits" to a lady, who was loved by Manuel de 
Mendonca, the Governor, and a black priest, who 
was secretary to the Inquisition, secured for him 
a pair of powerful enemies. Being, moreover, an 
amateur of Scholastic Theology, a willing disputer 
with heretics and schismatics, a student of the Old 
as well as the New Testament, and perhaps a little 
dogmatical, as dilettanti divines generally are, he 
presently found himself hr-ouille at the same place 
with a Dominican friar. The Frenchman had re- 
fused to kiss the figure of the Virgin, painted upon 
the lids of the alms boxes : he had denied certain 
efiects of the baptism, called " flaminis," protested 
against the adoration of images, and finally capped 
the whole by declaring that the decrees of the 

T. 2 


Holj Tribunal are not so infallible as those of the 
Divine Author of Christianity. The horror-struck 
auditor instantly denounced him with a variety of 
additions and emendations sufficient to make his 
case very likely to conclude with strangling and 

Perceiving a storm impending over him, our 
physician waited upon the Commissary of the In- 
quisition, if possible to avert the now imminent 
danger. That gentlemanly old person seems to have 
received him with uncommon urbanity, benevolently 
offered much good advice, and lodged him in jail 
with all possible expedition. 

The prison at Daman is described as a most 
horrible place ; hot, damp, fetid, dark, and crowded. 
The inmates were half starved, and so miserable 
that forty out of fifty Malabar pirates, who had been 
imprisoned there, preferred strangling themselves 
with their turbans to enduring the tortures of 
such an earthly Hades. 

The first specimen of savoir faire displayed by 
the Doctor's enemies was to detain him in the 
Daman jail till the triennial Auto da Fe at Goa had 
taken place ; thereby causing for him at least two 
years' delay and imprisonment in the capital before 
he could be brought to trial. Having succeeded in 


this they sent him heavily ironed on board a boat 
which finally deposited him in the Casa Santa.""" 
There he was taken before the Mesa, or Board, 
stripped of all his property, and put into the cham- 
brette destined for his reception. 

Three weary years spent in that dungeon gave 
Dellon ample time to experience and reflect upon 
the consequences of amativeness and disputative- 
ness. After being thrice examined by the grand 
Inquisitor, and persuaded to confess his sins by 
the false promise of liberty held out to him, 
driven to despair by the system of solitary im- 
prisonment, by the cries of those who were being 
tortured, and by anticipations of the noose and 
the faggot, he made three attempts to commit 
suicide. During the early part of his convalescence 
he was allowed the luxury of a negro fellow-pri- 
soner in his cell; but when he had recovered 
strength this indulgence was withdrawn. Five or 
six other examinations rapidly succeeded each other, 
and finally, on the 11th of January, 1676, he was 

* No description of the building and its accommodations 
is given. Captain Marryat's graphic account of it in the 
" Phantom Ship/' must be fresh in the memory of all readers. 
The novelist seems to have borrowed his account from the 
pages of Dellon. 


fortunate enough to be present at the Auto da Fe 
in that garb of good omen, the black dress with 
white stripes. The sentence was confiscation of 
goods and chattels, banishment from India, five 
years of the galleys in Portugal, and a long list 
of various penances to be performed during the 

On arriving at Lisbon he was sent to the hulks, 
but by the interest of his fellow-countrymen he 
recovered his liberty in June, 1677. About eleven 
years afterwards he published anonymously a little 
volume containing an account of his sufiferings. By 
so doing he broke the oaths of secrecy administered 
to him by the Holy Tribunal, but probably he found 
it easy enough to salve his conscience in that 

The next in our list stands the good Capt. Hamil- 
ton, a sturdy old merchant militant, who infested 
the Eastern seas about the beginning of the 
eighteenth century. 

The captain's views of the manners and customs 
of the people are more interesting than his descrip- 
tion of the city. After alluding to their habits 
of intoxication he proceeds to the subject of reli- 
gion, and terms both clergy and laity " a pack of 
the most atrocious hypocrites in the world ;" and, 


at the same time, " most zealous bigots." There 
were not less than eighty churches, convents, and 
monasteries within view of the town, and these were 
peopled bj " thirty thousand church vermin who 
live idly and luxuriously on the labour and sweat 
of the miserable laity." Our voyager then falls 
foul of the speciosa miracula of St. Francis de 
Xavier. He compares the holy corpse to that of 
" new scalded pig," opines that it is a " pretty piece 
of wax-work that serves to gull the people," and 
utterly disbelieves that the amputated right-arm, 
when sent to Rome to stand its trial for sainthood, 
took hold of the pen, dipped it in ink and fairly 
wrote " Xavier " in full view of the sacred college. 

The poverty of Goa must have been great in 
Capt. Hamilton's time, when " the houses were 
poorly furnished within like their owners' heads, 
and the tables and living very mean." The army 
was so ill-paid and defrauded that the soldiers were 
little better than common thieves and assassins. 
Trade was limited to salt and arrack, distilled from 
the cocoa-nut. The downfall of Goa had been has- 
tened by the loss of Muscat to the Arabs, a disaster 
brought on by the Governor's insolent folly,'"' by an 

* An Arab chieftain sent a civil request to the governor, 
desiring liberty to buy provisions. The answer was a bit of 


attack made in 1660 upon the capital by a Dutch 
squadron, which, though it failed in consequence of 
the strength of the fortifications, still caused great 
loss and misery to the Portuguese, and finally by 
the ]\Iaharatta war. In 1685, Seevagee, the Ro- 
bert Bruce of Southern India, got a footing in the 
island, and would have taken the city had he not 
been — 

" Foiled by a woman's hand before a broken wall." 

The " Maid of Goa " was one Donna JMaria, a 
Portuguese lady, who travelled to Goa dressed like 
a man in search of a perfidious swain who had been 
guilty of breach of promise of marriage. She found 
him at last and challenged him to the duello with 
sword and pistol, but the gentleman declined the 
invitation, preferring to marry than to fight Donna 

A few years afterwards the Maharatta war began, 
and the heroine excited by her country's losses, 
and, of course, directed by inspiration, headed a 
sally against Seevagee, took a redoubt, and cut 

pork wrapped up in paper^ and a message, that such was the 
only food likely to be furnished. The chieftain's wife, who 
was a Sayyideh, a woman of the Prophet's tribe, and a lady 
of proper spirit, felt the insult so keenly, that she persuaded 
her husband and his tribe to attack Muscat and massacre all 
its defenders. This event took place in 1650. 


all the heathen in it to pieces. The enemy, pro- 
bably struck by some superstitious terror, precipi- 
tately quitted the island, and the Donna's noble 
exploit was rewarded with a captain's pay for life. 

We conclude with the Rev. Mons. Cottineau de 
Kleguen, a French missionary, who died at Madras 
in 1830. His "Historical Sketch of Goa" was 
published the year after his death. It is useful as 
a guide-book to the buildings, and gives much in- 
formation about ecclesiastical matters. In other 
points it is defective in the extreme. As might be 
expected from a zealous Romanist, the reverend 
gentleman stands up stoutly for the inquisition in 
spite of his " entire impartiality," and displays 
much curious art in defending the Jesuits' peculiar 
process of detaching the pagans from idol worship, 
by destroying their temples and pagodas. 

D 5 




The setting sun was pouring a torrent of crimson 
light along the Rio as the prow of our canoe 
bumped against the steps of the wharf, warning us 
that we had at length reached our destination. 
The landing-place is a little beyond the arsenal, and 
commands a full view of the cathedral and other 
conspicuous objects. The first glance around con- 
vinced us that we were about to visit a city of the 
dead, and at once swept away the delusion caused 
by the distant view of white-washed churches and 
towers, glittering steeples and domes. 

As such places should always, in our humble 
opinion, be visited for the first time by moonlight, 
we spent an hour or two in ascertaining what 
accommodations the Aljube, or ecclesiastical prison, 
would afford. Dellon's terrible description of the 
place had prepared us for " roughing it," but we 


were agreeably disappointed.'" The whole building, 
with the exception of a few upper rooms, had been 
cleaned, plastered, and painted, till it presented a 
most respectable appearance. Salvador, it is true, 
had ventured into the garrets, and returned with 
his pantaloons swarming with animal life. This, 
however, only suggested the precaution of placing 
water-pots under the legs of our " Waterloo," and 
strewing the floor with the leaves of the "sacred 
grass," a vegetable luxury abounding in this part of 
the world. 

When the moon began to sail slowly over the 
eastern hills, we started on our tour of inspection, 
and, as a preliminary measure, walked down the 
wharf, a long and broad road, lined with double 
rows of trees, and faced with stone, opposite the 
sea. A more suggestive scene could not be con- 
ceived than the utter desolation which lay before 
us. Everything that met the eye or ear seemed 
teeming with melancholy associations ; the very 
rustling of the trees and the murmur of the waves 
sounded like a dirge for the departed grandeur of 
the city. 

A few minutes' walk led us to a conspicuous 

* He calls it the " Aljouvar." It is probably a corrupted 
Arabic word ^^I Al-jabr, "the prison." 


object on the right hand side of the wharf. It was 
a solitary gateway, towering above the huge mass 
of ruins which flanks the entrance to the Strada 
Diretta.* On approaching it we observed the 
statue of Saint Catherine,! shrined in an upper 
niche, and a grotesque figure of Vasco de Gama in 
one beneath. Under this arch the newly-appointed 
viceroys of Goa used to pass in triumphal procession 
towards the palace. 

Beyond the gateway a level road, once a populous 
thoroughfare, leads to the Terra di Sabaio, a large 
square, fronting the Se Prima9ial or Cathedral of 
Saint Catherine, and flanked by the Casa Santa. 
Before visiting the latter spot we turned to the left, 
and ascending a heap of ruins, looked down upon 
the excavation, which now marks the place where 
the Viceregal Palace rose. The building, which oc- 
cupied more than two acres of ground, has long 
been razed from the very foundations, and the 
ground on which it stood is now covered with the 
luxuriant growth of poisonous plants and thorny 
trees. As we wandered amidst them, a solitary 

* The Straight Street, so called because almost all the streets 
of Goa were laid out in curvilinear form. 

■f St. Catherine was appointed patron saint of Goa, because 
the city was taken by the Portuguese on her day. 


jackal, slinking away from the intruder, was the 
only living being that met our view, and the deep 
bell of the cathedral, marking the lapse of time 
for dozens, where hundreds of thousands had once 
hearkened to it, the only sound telling of man's 
presence that reached our ear. 

In the streets beyond, nothing but the founda- 
tions of the houses could be traced, the tall cocoa 
and the lank grass waving rankly over many a 
forgotten building. In the only edifices which 
superstition has hitherto saved, the churches, con- 
vents, and monasteries, a window or two, dimly 
lighted up, showed that here and there dwells some 
solitary priest. The whole scene reminded us of 
the Arab's eloquent description of the " city with 
impenetrable gates, still, without a voice or a cheery 
inhabitant : the owl hooting in its quarters, and 
birds skimming in circles in its areas, and the raven 
croaking in its great thoroughfare streets, as if 
bewailing those that had been in it." What a con- 
trast between the moonlit scenery of the distant 
bay, smiling in all eternal Nature's loveliness, and 
the dull grey piles of ruined or desolate habitations, 
the short-lived labours of man ! 

We turned towards the Casa Santa, and with 
little difficulty climbed to the top of the heaps 


which mark the front where its three gates stood. 
In these remains the eje, perhaps influenced by 
imagination, detects something more than usually 
dreary, A curse seems to have fallen upon it ; not 
a shrub springs between the fragments of stone, 
which, broken and blackened with decay, are left 
to encumber the soil, as unworthy of being re- 

Whilst we were sitting there, an old priest, who 
was preparing to perform mass in the cathedral, 
came up and asked what we were doing. 

" Looking at the Casa Santa," we answered. He 
inquired if we were Christian, meaning, of course, 
Roman Catholic. We replied in the affirmative, 
intending, however, to use the designation in its 
ampler sense. 

" Ah, very well," replied our interrogator. " I 
put the question, because the heretics from Bombay 
and other places always go to see the Casa Santa 
first in order to insult its present state." 

And the Seiior asked us whether we would 
attend mass at the cathedral ; we declined, how- 
ever, with a promise to admire its beauties the 
next day, and departed once more on our wan- 

For an hour or two we walked about without 


meeting a single human being. Occasionally we 
could detect a distant form disappearing from the 
road, and rapidly threading its way through the 
thick trees as we drew near. Such precaution is 
still deemed necessary at Goa, though the induce- 
ments to robbery or violence, judging from the 
appearance of the miserable inhabitants, must be 
very small. 

At last, fatigued with the monotony of the ruins 
and the length of the walk, we retraced our steps, 
and passing down the Strada Diretta, sat under the 
shade of a tree facing the Rio. E'othing could be 
more delicately beautiful than the scene before us — 
the dark hills, clothed with semi-transparent mist, 
the little streams glistening like lines of silver over 
the opposite plain, and the purple surface of the 
creek stretched at our feet. Most musically too, 
the mimic waves splashed against the barrier of 
stone, and the soft whisperings of the night breeze 
alternately rose and fell in unison with the voice of 
the waters. 

Suddenly we beard, or thought we heard, a 
groan proceeding from behind the tree. It was 
followed by the usual Hindoo ejaculation of "Ram ! 

* Calling upon the name of the Almighty. 


Our curiosity was excited. We rose from our 
seat and walked towards the place whence the 
sound came. 

By the clear light of the moon we could dis- 
tinguish the emaciated form and features of an old 
Jogee.* He was sparingly dressed, in the usual 
ochre-coloured cotton clothes, and sat upon the 
ground, with his back against the trunk of the tree. 
As he caught sight of us, he raised himself upon 
his elbow, and began to beg in the usual whining 

" Thy gift will serve for my funeral," he said 
with a faint smile, pointing to a few plantain leaf 
platters, containing turmeric, red powder, rice, and 
a few other similar articles. 

We inquired into what he considered the signs 
and symptoms of approaching dissolution. It was 
a complaint that must have caused him intense 
pain, which any surgeon could have instantly alle- 
viated. We told him what medical skill could do, 
offered to take him at once where assistance could 
be procured, and warned him that the mode of 
suicide which he proposed to carry out, would be 
one of most agonising description. 

" I consider this disease a token from the Bhag- 
* A particular class of Hindoo devotee and beggar. 


wan (the Almighty) that this form of existence is 
finished I" and he stedfastlj refused all aid. 

We asked whether pain might not make him 
repent his decision, perhaps too late. His reply 
was characteristic of his caste. Pointing to a long 
sabre cut, which seamed the length of his right 
side, he remarked, 

" I have been a soldier — under your rule. If I 
feared not death in fighting at the word of the 
Feringee, am I likely, do you think, to shrink from 
it when the Deity summons me ? " 

It is useless to argue with these people ; so we 
confined ourselves to inquiring what had made him 
leave the Company's service. 

He told us the old story, the cause of half the 
asceticism in the East — a disappointment in an 
affaire de cceur. After rising to the rank of naich, 
or corporal, very rapidly, in consequence of saving 
the life of an officer at the siege of Poonah, he and 
a comrade obtained leave of absence, and returned 
to their native hamlet, in the Maharatta hills. 
There he fell in love, desperately, as Orientals only 
can, with the wife of the village Brahman. A few 
months afterwards the husband died, and it was 
determined by the caste brethren that the relict 
should follow him, by the Suttee rite. The soldier, 


however, resolved to save her, and his comrade, 
apprised of his plans, promised to aid him with 
heart and hand. 

The pjre was heaped up, and surrounded by a 
throng of gazers collected to witness the cere- 
mony, so interesting and exciting to a superstitious 

At length the Suttee appeared, supported by her 
female relations, down the path opened to her by 
the awe-struck crowd. Slowly she ascended the 
pile of firewood ; and, after distributing little gifts 
to those around, sat down, with the head of the 
deceased in her lap. At each of the four corners 
of the pyre was a Brahman, chaunting some holy 
song. Presently the priest who stood fronting the 
south-east, retired to fetch the sacred fire. 

Suddenly a horseman, clad in yellow clothes,* 
dashed out of a neighbouring thicket. Before any 
had time to oppose him, his fierce little Maharatta 
pony clove the throng, and almost falling upon his 
haunches with the efi'ort, stood motionless by the 
side of the still unlit pyre. At that instant the 
widow, assisted by a friendly hand, rose from her 
seat, and was clasped in the horseman's arms. 

* Yellow is the colour usually chosen by the Hindoo when 
about to " do some desperate deed." 


One touch of the long Maharatta spur, and the 
pony again bounds, plunging through the crowd, 
towards the place whence he came. Another mo- 
ment and thej will be saved ! 

Just as the fugitives are disappearing behind the 
thicket, an arrow shot from the bow of a Rankari,* 
missing its mark, pierces deep into the widow's side. 

The soldier buried his paramour under the tree 
where we were sitting. Life had no longer any 
charms for him. He never returned to his corps, 
and resolved to devote himself to futurity. 

It was wonderful, considering the pain he must 
have been enduring, to hear him relate his tale so 
calmly and circumstantially. 

The next morning, when we passed by the spot, 
three or four half-naked figures, in the holy garb, 
were sitting like mourners round the body of the 
old Jogee. 

Strange the contempt for life shown by all these 
metempsychosists. Had we saved that man by main 
force — an impossibility, by the by, under the cir- 
cumstances of the case — he would have cursed us, 
during the remnant of his days, for committing an 

* A " forester," and generally a regular sylvan or savage 


act of bitter and unprovoked enmity. With the 
Hindoo generally, death is a mere darkening of the 
stage in the mighty theatre of mundane life. To 
him the Destroyer appears unaccompanied by the 
dread ideas of the ]\Ioslem tomb-torments, or the 
horror with which the Christian* looks towards the 
Great Day ; and if Judgment, and its consecutive 
state of reward or punishment, be not utterly un- 
known to him, his mind is untrained to dwell upon 
such events. Consequently, with him Death has 
lost half his sting, and the Pyre can claim no vic- 
tory over him. 

Old Goa has few charms when seen by the light 
of day. The places usually visited are the Se 
Primaqial (Cathedral), the nunnery of Santa Monaca, 
and the churches of St. Francis, St. Gaetano, and 
Bom Jesus. The latter contains the magnificent 
tomb of St. Francis Xavier. His saintship, how- 
ever, is no longer displayed to reverential gazers in 
mummy or " scalded pig " form. Altogether we 
reckoned about thirty buildings. Many of them 
were falling to ruins, and others were being, or 
had been, partially demolished. The extraordinary 

* This is said particularly of the Eastern Christian, whose 
terror of the tomb is most remarkable. 


amount of havoc committed during the last thirty* 
years, is owing partly to the poverty of the Portu- 
guese. Like the modern Romans, they found it 
cheaper to carry away cut stone, than to quarry it ; 
but, unlike the inhabitants of the Eternal City, they 
have now no grand object in preserving the ruins. 
At Panjim, we were informed that even the wood- 
work that decorates some of the churches, had been 
put up for sale. 

The edifices, which are still in good repair, may 
be described in very few words. They are, gene- 
rally speaking, large rambling piles, exposing an 
extensive surface of white-washed wall, surmounted 
by sloping roofs of red tile, with lofty belfries and 
small windows. The visitor will admire the vast- 
ness of the design, the excellence of the position, 
and the adaptation of the architecture to the 
country and climate. But there his praise will 
cease. With the exception of some remarkable 
wood-work, the minor decorations of paintings and 
statues are inferior to those of any Italian village 
church. As there is no such thing as coloured 
marble in the country, parts of the walls are painted 

* For a detailed list and description of the buildings, we 
must refer readers to the work of Monsieur de Kleguen, alluded 
to in the third chapter. 


exactly in the style of a small cabaret in the south 
of France. The frescoes are of the most grotesque 
description. Pontius Pilate is accommodated with 
a huge Turkish turban ; and the other saints and 
sinners appear in costumes equally curious in an 
historical and pictorial point of view. Some groups, 
as for instance the Jesuit martyrs upon the walls 
of Saint Francis, are absolutely ludicrous. Boiled, 
roasted, grilled and hashed missionaries, looking 
more like seals than men, gaze upon you with an 
eternal smile. A semi-decapitated individual stands 
bolt upright during the painful process which is 
being performed by a score of grim-looking heathen. 
And black savages are uselessly endeavouring to 
stick another dart in the epidermis of some unfor- 
tunate, whose body has already become more 

" Like an Egj'ptian porcupig " 

than aught human. One may fancy what an ex- 
hibition it is, from the following fact. Whenever 
a picture or fresco fades, the less brilliant parts are 
immediately supplied with a coating of superior 
vividness by the hand of a common house-decorator. 
They reminded us forcibly of the studio of an 
Anglo-Indian officer, who, being devotedly fond of 
pictorial pursuits, and rather pinched for time 


withal, used to teach his black servants to lay the 
blue, green, and brown on the canvas, and when he 
could spare a leisure moment, return to scrape, brush, 
and glaze the colour into sky, trees, and ground. 

Very like the paintings is the sculpture : it pre- 
sents a series of cherubims, angels, and saints, 
whose very aspect makes one shudder, and think of 
Frankenstein. Stone is sometimes, wood the ma- 
terial generally used. The latter is almost always 
painted to make the statue look as unlike life as 

Yet in spite of these disenchanting details, a 
feeling not unallied to awe creeps over one when 
wandering down the desert aisles, or through the 
crowdless cloisters. In a cathedral large enough for 
a first-rate city in Europe, some twenty or thirty 
native Christians may be seen at their devotions, 
and in monasteries built for hundreds of monks, a 
single priest is often the only occupant. The few 
human beings that meet the eye, increase rather 
than diminish the dismal effect of the scene ; as 
sepulchral looking as the spectacle around them, 
their pallid countenances, and emaciated forms seem 
so many incarnations of the curse of desolation 
which still hovers over the ruins of Old Goa. 


We felt curious to visit the nunnery of Santa 
Monaca, an order said to be strict in the extreme. 
The nuns are called madres (mothers) by the 
natives, in token of respect, and are supposed to 
lead a very correct life. Most of these ladies are 
born in the country ; they take the veil at any age 
when favoured with a vocation. 

Our curiosity was disappointed. All we saw was 
a variety of black handmaids, and the portress, an 
antiquated lay sister, who insisted upon our pur- 
chasing many rosaries and sweetmeats. Her gar- 
rulity was excessive ; nothing would satisfy her 
desire for mastering the intricacies of modern Por- 
tuguese annals but a long historical sketch by us 
fancifully impromptued. Her heart manifestly 
warmed towards us when we gave her the informa- 
tion required. Upon the strength of it she led us 
into a most uninteresting chapel, and pointed out 
the gallery occupied by the nuns during divine 
service. As, however, a close grating and a curtain 
behind it effectually conceal the spot from eyes 
profane, we derived little advantage from her 
civility. We hinted and hinted that an introduc- 
tion to the prioress would be very acceptable — in 
vain ; and when taking heart of grace we openly 
asked permission to view the cloisters, which are 


said to be worth seeing, the amiable old soror re- 
plied indignantly, that it was utterly impossible. 
It struck us forcibly that there was some mystery in 
the case, and accordingly determined to hunt it out. 

" Did the Sahib tell them that he is an English- 
man 1 " asked Salvador, after at least an hour's hesi- 
tation, falsification, and prevarication produced by a 
palpable desire to evade the subject. 

We answered affirmatively, and inquired what 
our country had to do with our being refused ad- 
mittance ? 

" Everything," remarked Salvador. He then pro- 
ceeded to establish the truth of his assertion by a 
variety of distorted and disjointed fragments of an 
adventure, which the labour of our ingenious cross- 
questioning managed to put together in the follow- 
ing form. 

" About ten years ago," said Salvador, " I returned 

to Goa with my master, Lieut. , of the — 

Regt,, a very clever gentleman, who knew every- 
thing. He could talk to each man of a multi- 
tude in his own language, and all of them would 
appear equally surprised by, and delighted with 
hira. Besides, his faith was every man's faith. In 
a certain Mussulmanee country he married a girl, 
and divorced her a week afterwards. JMoreoAcr, he 



chaunted the Koran, and the circumcised dogs con- 
sidered him a kind of saint. The Hindoos also 
respected him, because he always eat his beef in 
secret, spoke religiously of the cow, and had a 
devil, {i e., some heathen image) in an inner room. 
At Cochin he went to the Jewish place of worship, 
and read a large book, just like a priest. Ah ! he 
was a clever Sahib that ! he could send away a 
rampant and raging creditor playful as a little 
goat, and borrow more money from Parsees at less 
interest than was ever paid or promised by any 
other gentleman in the world. 

" At last my master came to Goa, where of course 
he became so pious a Christian that he kept a priest 
in the house — to perfect him in Portuguese — and 
attended mass once a day. And when we went to 
see the old city, such were the fervency of his 
lamentations over the ruins of the Inquisition, and 
the frequency of his dinners to the Padre of Saint 
Francis, that the simple old gentleman half canon- 
ized him in his heart. But I guessed that some 
trick was at hand, when a pattimar, hired for a 
month, came and lay off the wharf stairs, close to 
where the Sahib is now sitting ; and presently it 
appeared that my officer had indeed been cooking 
a pretty kettle of fish ! 


" My master had been spending his leisure hours 
with the Prioress of Santa Monaca, who — good lady 
— when informed by him that his sister, a young 
English girl, was only waiting till a good comfort- 
able quiet nunnery could be found for her, not 
only showed her new friend about the cloisters and 
dormitories, but even introduced him to some of the 
nuns. Edifying it must have been to see his meek 
countenance as he detailed to the Madres his well- 
digested plans for the future welfare of that apo- 
cryphal little child, accompanied with a thousand 
queries concerning the style of living, the moral 
and religious education, the order and the discipline 
of the convent. The Prioress desired nothing more 
than to have an English girl in her house — ex- 
cept, perhaps, the monthly allowance of a hundred 
rupees which the affectionate brother insisted upon 
making to her. 

" You must know. Sahib, that the madres are, 
generally speaking, by no means good-looking. 
They wear ugly white clothes, and cut their hair 
short, like a man's. But, the Latin professor — " 

" The who 1 " 

" The Latin professor, who taught the novices 
and the younger nuns learning, was a very pretty 
white girl, with large black eyes, a modest smile, 

E 2 


and a darling of a figure. As soon as I saw that 
Latin professor's face, I understood the whole nature 
and disposition of the affair. 

" My master at first met with some difiicultj, 
because the professor did not dare to look at him, 
and, besides, was always accompanied by an elder 

" Then, how did he manage ? " 

" Hush, sir, for Santa Maria's sake ; here comes 
the priest of Bom Jesus, to return the Sahib's 




Once more the canoe received us under its 
canopy, and the boatmen's oars, plunging into the 
blue wave, sounded an adieu to old Goa. After 
the last long look, with which the departing 
vagrant contemplates a spot where he has spent 
a happy day or two, we mentally reverted to the 
adventure of the Latin professor, and made all 
preparations for hearing it to the end. 

" Well, Sahib," resumed Salvador, " I told you 
that my master's known skill in such matters was 
at first baffled by the professor's bashfulness, and 
the presence of a grim-looking sister. But he was 
not a man to be daunted by difficulties : in fact, 
he became only the more ardent in the pursuit. 
By dint of labour and perseverance, he succeeded 
in bringing the lady to look at him, and being 
rather a comely gentleman, that was a considerable 


point gained. Presently her eternal blushings gave 
way, though occasionally one would pass over her 
fair face when my master's eyes lingered a little too 
long there : the next step in advance was the selec- 
tion of an aged sister, who, being half blind with 
conning over her breviary, and deaf as a dead 
donkey, made a very suitable escort." 

" Pray, how did you learn all these particu- 
lars ? " 

" Ah, Sahib," replied Salvador, " my master be- 
came communicative enough when he wanted my 
services, and during the trip which we afterwards 
made down the coast. 

" I was now put forward in the plot. After two 
days spent in lecturing me as carefully as a young 
girl is primed for her first confession, I was sent up 
to the nunnery with a bundle of lies upon my 
tongue, and a fatal necessity for telling them under 
pain of many kicks. I did it, but my repentance 
has been sincere, so may the Virgin forgive me ! " 
ejaculated Salvador, with fervent piety, crossing 
himself at the same time. 

" And, Sahib, I also carried a present of some 
Cognac — called European medicine — to the prioress, 
and sundry similar little gifts to the other officials, not 
excepting the Latin professor. To her, I presented 


a nosegay, containing a little pink note, whose 
corner just peeped out of the chambeli '''' blossoms. 
With fear and trembling I delivered it, and was 
overjoyed to see her presently slip out of the room. 
She returned in time to hear me tell the prioress that 
my master was too ill to wait upon them that day, 
and by the young nun's earnest look as she awaited 
my answer to the superior's question concerning the 
nature of the complaint, I concluded that the poor 
thing was in a fair way for perdition. My reply 
relieved their anxiety. Immediately afterwards 
their curiosity came into play. A thousand ques- 
tions poured down upon me, like the pitiless pelting 
of a monsoon rain. My master's birth, parentage, 
education, profession, travels, rank, age, fortune, 
religion, and prospects, were demanded and re- 
demanded, answered and re-answered, till my brain 
felt tired. According to instructions, I enlarged 
upon his gallantry in action, his chastity and 
temperance, his love for his sister, and his sincere 
devotion to the Roman Catholic faith." 

" A pretty specimen of a rascal you proved your- 
self, then ! " 

" What could I do. Sahib 1 " said Salvador, with 
a hopeless shrug of the shoulders, and an expression 

* The large flowered jessamine. 


of profound melancholy. " ]\Ij master never failed 
to find out a secret, and had I deceived him — " 

" Well ! " 

" Mj allusion to the sister provoked another out- 
burst of inquisitiveness. On this subject, also, I 
satisfied them by a delightful description of the dear 
little creature, whose beauty attracted, juvenile 
piety edified, and large fortune enchanted every one. 
The eyes of the old prioress glistened from behind 
her huge cheeks, as I dwelt upon the latter part of 
the theme especially : but I remarked the Latin 
professor was so little interested by it, that she had 
left the room. When she returned, a book, bound 
in dirty white parchment, with some huge letters 
painted on the back of the binding, was handed 
over to me for transmission to my master ; who, it 
appears, had been very anxious to edify his mind 
by perusing the life of the holy Saint Augustine. 

" After at least three hours spent in perpetual 
conversation, and the occasional discussion of mango 
cheese, I was allowed to depart, laden with messages, 
amidst a shower of benedictions upon my master's 
head, prayers for his instant recovery, and anticipa- 
tions of much pleasure in meeting him. 

" I should talk till we got to Calicut, Sahib, if 
I were to detail to you the adventures of the 


ensuing fortnight. My master passed two nights 
in the cloisters— not praying, I suppose; the days 
he spent in conversation with the prioress and sub- 
prioress, two holy personages who looked rather like 
Guzerat apes than mortal women. At the end of 
the third week a swift-sailing pattimar made its 

" I was present when my master took leave of 
the Superior, and an affecting sight it was ; the 
fervour with which he kissed the hand of his 
' second mother,' his ' own dear sister's future pro- 
tectress/ How often he promised to return from 
Bombay, immediately that the necessary prepara- 
tions were made ! how carefully he noted down the 
many little commissions entrusted to him ! And, 
how naturally his eyes moistened as, receiving the 
benediction, he withdrew from the presence of the 
reverend ladies ! 

" But that same pattimar was never intended for 
Bombay ; I knew that ! 

" My master and I immediately packed up every- 
thing. Before sunset all the baggage and servants 
were sent on board, with the exception of myself, 
who was ordered to sit under the trees on the side 
of the wharf, and an Affghan scoundrel, who went 
out walking with the Sahib about eleven o'clock 

E 5 


that night. The two started, in native dresses, 
with their turbans concealing all but the parts 
about their eyes ; both carried naked knives, long 
and bright enough to make one shake with fear, 
tucked under their arms, with dark lanterns in 
their hands. My master's face — as usual when he 
went upon such expeditions — was blackened, and 
with all respect, speaking in your presence, I never 
saw an English gentleman look more like a Mussul- 
man thief ! " 

" But why make such preparations against a house 
full of unprotected women "? " 

" Because, Sahib," replied Salvador, " at night 
there are always some men about the nunnery. 
The knives, however, were only in case of an acci- 
dent ; for, as I afterwards learned, the Latin pro- 
fessor had mixed up a little datura * seed with the 
tobacco served out to the guards that evening. 

" A little after midnight I felt a kick, and awoke. 
Two men hurried me on board the pattimar, which 
had weighed anchor as the clock struck twelve. 
Putting out her sweeps she glided down the Rio 
swiftly and noiselessly. 

" When the drowsiness of sleep left my eyelids I 
observed that the two men were my master and 
* The Datura stramonium, a powerful narcotic. 


that ruffian Khucladad. I dared not, however, ask 
any questions, as they both looked fierce as wounded 
tigers, though the Sahib could not help occasion- 
ally showing a kind of smile. They went to the 
head of the boat, and engaged in deep conversa- 
tion, through the medium of some tongue to me 
unknown ; and it was not before we had passed 
under the guns of the Castello, and were dancing 
merrily over the blue water, that my officer retired 
to his bed. 

" And what became of the Latin professor 1 " 
" The Sahib shall hear presently. In the morn- 
ing I was called up for examination, but my inno- 
cence bore me through that trial safely. My master 
naturally enough suspected me of having played 
him some trick. The impression, however, soon 
wore off, and I was favoured with the following 
detail of his night's adventure. 

" Exactly as the bell struck twelve, my Sahib and 
his cut-throat had taken their stand outside the 
little door leading into the back-garden. According 
to agreement previously made, one of them began 
to bark like a jackal, while the other responded 
regularly with the barking of a watch-dog. After 
some minutes spent in this exercise they care- 
fully opened the door with a false key, stole 


through the cloisters, having previously forced the 
lock of the grating with their daggers, and made 
their way towards the room where the Latin profes- 
sor slept. But my master, in the hurry of the 
moment, took the wrong turning, and found himself 
in the chamber of the sub- prioress, whose sleeping 
form was instantly raised, embraced, and borne off 
in triumph by the exulting Khudadad. 

" My officer lingered for a few minutes to ascertain 
that all was right. He then crept out of the room, 
closed the door outside, passed through the garden, 
carefully locked the gate, whose key he threw away, 
and ran towards the place where he had appointed 
to meet Khudadad, and his lovely burthen. But 
imagine his horror and disgust when, instead of the 
expected large black eyes and the pretty little rose- 
bud of a mouth, a pair of rolling yellow balls 
glared fearfully in his face, and two big black lips, 
at first shut with terror, began to shout and scream 
and abuse him with all their might. 

'•' ' Khudadad, we have eaten filth,' said my master, 
' how are we to lay this she-devil 1 ' 

"• ' Cut her throat V replied the ruffian. 

" ' No, that won't do. Pinion her arms, gag her 
with your handkerchief, and leave her — we must 
be off instantly.' 


" So tliey came on board, and we set sail as I 
recounted to your honour." 

" But why didn't your master, when he found out 
his mistake, return for the Latin professor V 

" Have I not told the Sahib that the key of the 
garden-gate had been thrown away, the walls can- 
not be scaled, and all the doors are bolted and 
barred every night as carefully as if a thousand 
prisoners were behind them ?" 

The population of Goa is composed of three 
heterogeneous elements, namely, pure Portuguese, 
black Christians, and the heathenry. A short descrip- 
tion of each order will, perhaps, be acceptable to 
the reader. 

The European portion of Goanese society may 
be subdivided into two distinct parts — the officials, 
who visit India on their tour of service, and the 
white families settled in the country. The former 
must leave Portugal for three years ; and if in the 
army get a step by so doing. At the same time as, 
unlike ourselves, they derive no increase of pay 
from the expatriation, their retura home is looked 
forward to with great impatience. Their existence 
in the East must be one of endurance. They com- 
plain bitterly of their want of friends, the dis- 


agreeable state of society, and the dull stagnant 
.life they are compelled to lead. They despise their 
dark brethren, and consider them uncouth in man- 
ner, destitute of usage in society, and deficient in 
honour, courage,""' and manliness. The despised 
retort by asserting that the white Portuguese are 
licentious, ill-informed, haughty, and reserved. No 
better proof of how utterly the attempt to pro- 
mote cordiality between the European and the 
Asiatic by a system of intermarriage and equality 
of rights has failed in practice can be adduced, than 
the utter contempt in which the former holds the 
latter at Goa. No Anglo-Indian Nabob sixty years 
ago ever thought less of a " nigger " than a Portu- 
guese officer now does. But as there is perfect 
equality, political f as well as social, between the two 
colours, the " whites," though reduced to the level 

* The European Portuguese can fight bravely enough, as 
many a bloody field in the Peninsular war has testified. Their 
Indian descendants, however, have never distinguished them- 
selves for that quality. 

t Formerly, only the Reinols, as the Portuguese who came 
directly from Europe were called, could be viceroys, governors 
of Ceylon, archbishops, or grand inquisitors of Goa. Tavernier 
tells us that all the adventurers who passed the Cape of Good 
Hope forthwith became fidalgos, or gentlemen, and consequently 
assumed the title of Don. 


of the herd, hold aloof from it ; and the " blacks " 
feel able to associate with those who despise them 
but do so rarely and unwillingly. Few open signs 
of dislike appear to the unpractised observer in 
the hollow politeness always paraded whenever the 
two parties meet ; but when a Portuguese gentle- 
man becomes sufficiently intimate with a stranger 
to be communicative, his first political diatribe is 
directed against his dark fellow-subjects. We were 
assured by a high authority that the native mem- 
bers of a court-martial, if preponderating, would 
certainly find a European guilty, whether rightly 
or wrongly, rCimporte. The same gentleman, when 
asked which method of dealing with the natives 
he preferred, Albuquerque's or that of Leadenhall 
Street, unhesitatingly replied, " the latter, as it is 
better to keep one's enemies out of doors." How 
like the remark made to Sir A. Burnes by Runjeet 
Singh, the crafty old politician of Northern India. 

The reader may remember that it was Albu- 
querque''' who advocated marriages between the 
European settlers and the natives of India. How- 

* As that " greatest hero of Portuguese Asia " governed for 
the short space of six years a country of which he and all 
around him were utterly ignorant, his fatal measure must have 
been suggested entirely by theory. 


ever reasonable it might have been to expect the 
amalgamation of the races in the persons of their 
descendants, experience and stern facts condemn 
the measure as a most delusive and treacherous poli- 
tical day dream. It has lost the Portuguese almost 
everything in Africa as well as Asia. May Heaven 
preserve our rulers from following their example ! 
In our humble opinion, to tolerate it is far too 
liberal a measure to be a safe one. 

The white families settled in the country were 
formerly called Castissos to distinguish them from 
Reinols. In appearance there is little difference 
between them ; the former are somewhat less robust 
than the latter, but both are equally pallid and 
sickly-looking — they dress alike, and allow the 
beard and mustachios* to grow. This colonist class 
is neither a numerous nor an influential one. As 
soon as intermarriage with the older settlers takes 
place the descendants become Mestici — in plain 
English, mongrels. The flattering term is occasion- 
ally applied to a white family which has been settled 

* If our rulers only knew what the natives of Central 
Asia generally think of a " clean shaved" face, the growth of 
the mustachio would soon be the subject of a general order. 
We doubt much if any shaven race could possibly hold AfF- 
ghanistan. In Western Arabia the Turks were more hated 
for shaving the beard than for all their flogging and impaling. 


in the country for more than one generation, " for 
although," say the Goanese, " there is no mixture of 
blood, still there has been one of air or climate, 
which comes to the same thing." Owing to want of 
means, the expense of passage, and the unsettled 
state of the home country, children are very seldom 
sent to Portugal for education. They presently 
degenerate, from the slow but sure effects of a 
debilitating climate, and its concomitant evils, 
inertness, and want of excitement. Habituated 
from infancy to utter idleness, and reared up to 
consider the far niente their summum honum, they 
have neither the will nor the power of active exer- 
tion in after years. 

There is little wealth among the classes above 
described. Rich families are rare, landed property 
is by no means valuable ; salaries small ;* and in 
so cheap a country as Goa anything beyond 200/. or 
300/. a-year would be useless. Entertainments are 
not common ; a ball every six months at Govern- 
ment House, a few dinner parties, and an occasional 

* Compared with those of British India. Probably there 
are not three fortunes of 500/. per annum amongst the half 
million of souls that own the rule of the successor of the 
viceroys. A large family can live most comfortably upon 
one-fifth of that sum. 


soiree or nautch, make up the list of gaieties. In 
the different little villages where the government 
employes reside, once a week there is quadrilling 
and waltzing, a I'antique, some flirting, and a great 
deal of smoking in the verandah with the ladies, 
who are, generally speaking, European. Gambling 
is uncommon ; high play unknown. The theatre is 
closed as if never to open again. No serenades 
float upon the evening gale, the guitarra hangs 
dusty and worm-eaten against the wall, and the 
cicisheo is known only by name. Intrigue does 
not show itself so flauntingly as in Italy, and other 
parts of Southern Europe. Scandal, however, is 
as plentiful as it always is in a limited circle of 
idle society. The stranger who visits Goa, per- 
suaded that he is to meet with the freedom of man- 
ners and love of pleasure which distinguish the 
people of the Continent, will find himself grievously 
mistaken. The priesthood is numerous, and still 
influential, if not powerful. The fair sex has not 
much liberty here, and their natural protectors 
are jealous as jailers. 

The ancient Portuguese costume de dame, a plain 
linen cap, long white waistcoat, with ponderous 
rosary slung over it, thick striped and coloured 
petticoat, and, out of doors, a huge white, yellow. 


blue, or black calico sheet, muffling the whole figure 
— is now confined to the poor — the ladies dress 
according to the Parisian fashions. As, however, 
steamers and the overland route have hitherto done 
little for Goa, there is considerable grotesqueness to 
be observed in the garments of the higher as well as 
the lower orders. The usual mode of life among 
the higher orders is as follows : — They rise early, 
take a cold bath, and make a light breakfast at some 
time between seven and nine. This is followed 
by a dinner, usually at two ; it is a heavy meal 
of bread, meat, soup, fish, sweetmeats, and fruits, 
all served up at the same time, in admirable con- 
fusion. There are two descriptions of wine, in 
general use ; the tinto and hranco* both imported 
from Portugal. About five in the evening some 
take tea and biscuits, after awaking from the siesta 
and bathing ; a stroll at sunset is then indulged 
in, and the day concludes with a supper of fish, 
rice, and curry. Considering the little exercise in 
vogue, the quantity of food consumed is wonderful. 
The Goanese smoke all day, ladies as well as gen- 
tlemen ; but cheroots, cigars, and the hookah are 
too expensive to be common. A pinch of Virginia 
or Maryland, uncomfortably wrapped up in a dried 

* Red and white wine : the latter is the favourite. 


plantain leaf, and called a cannudo, is here the 
poor succedaneuni for the charming little cigarita 
of Spain. The talented author of a "Peep at 
Polynesian Life " assures us, that, " strange as it 
may seem, there is nothing in which a young and 
beautiful female appears to more advantage than 
in the act of smoking." We are positive that 
nothing is more shocking than to see a Goanese lady 
handling her hiree* except to hear the peculiarly 
elaborate way in which she ejects saliva when en- 
joying her weed. 

The reader who knows anything of India will 
at once perceive the difference between English 
and Portuguese life in the East. The former is 
stormy from perpetual motion, the latter stagnant 
with long-continued repose. Our eternal " knock- 
ing about" tells upon us sooner or later. A Por- 
tuguese lieutenant is often greyheaded before he 
gets his company ; whereas some of our captains 
have scarcely a hair upon their chins. But the 
former eats much and drinks little, smokes a pinch 
of tobacco instead of Manillas, marries early, has 
a good roof over his head, and, above all things, 
knows not what marching and counter-marching 
mean. He never rides, seldom shoots, cannot 
* The Hindostanee name for the cannudo. 


hunt, and ignores mess tiffins and guest nights. 
No wonder that he neither receives nor gives pro- 

An entertainment at the house of a Goanese 
noble presents a curious contrast to the semi-bar- 
barous magnificence of our Anglo-Indian "doings/' 
In the one as much money as possible is lavished 
in the worst way imaginable ; the other makes all 
the display which taste, economy, and regard for 
efiect combined produce. The balls given at the 
palace are, probably, the prettiest sights of the 
kind in Western India. There is a variety of 
costumes, which if not individually admirable, make 
up an efiective tout ensemble ; even the dark faces, 
in uniforms and ball dresses, tend to variegate and 
diversify the scene. The bands are better than 
the generality of our military musicians, European 
as well as Native, and the dancing, such as it is, 
much more spirited. For the profusion of refresh- 
ments, — the ices, champagne, and second suppers, 
which render a Bombay ball so pernicious a thing 
in more ways than one, here we look in vain. 

The dinner parties resemble the other entertain- 
ments in economy and taste ; the table is decorated, 
as in Italy, with handsome China vases, containing 
bouquets, fruits, and sweetmeats, which remain there 


all the time. Amongst the higher classes the cook- 
ery is all in the modified French style common 
to the South of Europe. The wines are the white 
and red vins ordinaires of Portugal ; sometimes a 
bottle of port, or a little bitter beer from Bombay, 
are placed upon the table. The great annoyance 
of every grand dinner is the long succession of 
speeches which concludes it. A most wearisome 
recreation it is, certainly, when people have nothing 
to do but to propose each other's healths in long 
orations, garnished with as many facetious or flat- 
tering platitudes as possible. After each speech 
all rise up, and with loud " vivas" wave their 
glasses, and drain a few drops in honour of the 
accomplished cahallero last lauded. The language 
used is Portuguese ; on the rare occasions when the 
person addressed or alluded to is a stranger, then, 
probably, Lusitanian French will make its appear- 
ance. We modestly suggest to any reader who may 
find himself in such predicament the advisability 
of imitating our example. 

On one occasion after enduring half an hour's 
encomium delivered in a semi-intelligible dialect of 
Parisian, we rose to return thanks, and for that 
purpose selecting the English language, we launched 
into that inexhaustible theme for declamation, the 


glories of the Portuguese eastern empire, begin- 
ning at De Gama, and ending with his Excellency 
the Governor-General of all the Indies, who was 
sitting hard by. It is needless to say that our 
oratory excited much admiration, the more, perhaps, 
as no one understood it. The happiest results en- 
sued — during our stay at Goa we never were urged 
to address the company again. 




The black Christians, like the whites, may be 
subdivided into two orders ; first, the converted 
Hindoos ; secondly, the mixed breed of European 
and Indian blood. Moreover, these latter have an- 
other distinction, being either Brahman Christians, 
as they ridiculously term themselves, on account 
of their descent from the Hindoo pontifical caste, or 
common ones. The only perceptible difierence be- 
tween them is, we believe, a moral one ; the former 
are justly renowned for extraordinary deceitfulness 
and treachery. They consider themselves superior to 
the latter in point of dignity, and anciently enjoyed 
some peculiar privileges, such as the right of belong- 
ing to the orders of the Theatins, or regular clerks, 
and Saint Philip Nerius.* But in manners, appear- 

* Goez, who travelled in India about 1650, says that he 
was surprised to see the image of a black saint on the altars, 


ance, customs, and education, thej exactly resemble 
the mass of the community. 

The Mestici, or mixed breed, composes the great 
mass of society at Goa ; it includes all classes, from 
the cook to the government official. In 1835 one 
of them rose to the highest post of dignity, but his 
political career was curt and remarkably unsuc- 
cessful. Some half-castes travel in Europe, a great 
many migrate to Bombay for service and commerce' 
but the major part stays at Goa to stock professions, 
and support the honour of the family. It would be, 
we believe, difficult to find in Asia an uglier or more 
degraded looking race than that which we are now 
describing. The forehead is low and flat, the eyes 
small, quick, and restless ; there is a mixture of 
sensuality and cunning about the region of the 
mouth, and a development of the lower part of the 
face which are truly unprepossessing, not to say 
revolting. Their figures are short and small, with 
concave chests, the usual calfless Indian leg, and a 
remarkable want of muscularity. In personal at- 
tractions the fair sex is little superior to the other. 
During the whole period of our stay at Goa we 

and to hear that a black native was not thought worthy to 
be a " religious" in this life, though liable to be canonized 
when he departs it. 


scarcely ever saw a pretty half-caste girl. At the 
same time we must confess that it is difficult to 
pronounce judgment upon this point, as women of 
good mixed family do not appear before casual 
visitors. And this is of course deemed a sign of 
superior modesty and chastity, for the black Chris- 
tians, Asiatically enough, believe it impossible for a 
female to converse with a strange man and yet be 
virtuous. The dark ladies affect the old Portuguese 
costume, described in the preceding chapter ; a few 
of the wealthiest dress like Europeans. Their 
education is purposely neglected — a little reading 
of their vernacular tongue, with the Ave and other 
prayers in general use, dancing, embroidery, and 
making sweetmeats,* are considered satis super que 
in the way of accomplishments. Of late years, a 
girls' school has been established by order of govern- 
ment at Panjim, but a single place of the kind is 
scarcely likely to affect the mass of the community. 
The life led by the fair sex at Goa must be, one 
would think, a dull one. Domestic occupations, 

* Bernier, the traveller, in 1655 remarks, that " Bengala 
is the place for good comfits, especially in those places where 
the Portuguese are, who are dexterous in making them, and 
drive a great trade with them." In this one point their de- 
scendants have not degenerated. 


smoking, a little visiting, and going to church, espe- 
cially on the jerie, or festivals, lying in bed, sitting en 
deshabille, riding about in a mancheel, and an occa- 
sional dance — such are the blunt weapons with 
which they attack Time. They marry early, begin 
to have a family probably at thirteen, are old women 
at twenty-two, and decrepit at thirty-five. Like 
Indians generally, they appear to be defective in 
amativeness, abundant in philoprogenitiveness, and 
therefore not much addicted to intrigues. At the 
same time we must record the fact, that the present 
archbishop has been obliged to issue an order for- 
bidding nocturnal processions, which, as they were 
always crowded with lady devotees, gave rise to 
certain obstinate scandals. 

The mongrel men dress as Europeans, but the 
quantity of clothing diminishes with the wearer's 
rank. Some of the lower orders, especially in the 
country, affect a full-dress costume, consisting in 
toto, of a cloth jacket and black silk knee breeches. 
Even the highest almost always wear coloured 
clothes, as, by so doing, the washerman is less re- 
quired. They are intolerably dirty and disagree- 
able : — verily cleanliness ought to be made an article 
of faith in the East. They are fond of spirituous 
liquors, and seldom drink, except honestly for the 


purpose of intoxication. As regards living, they 
follow the example of their white fellow-subjects in 
all points, except that they eat more rice and less 
meat. Their characters may be briefly described as 
passionate and cowardly, jealous and revengeful, 
with more of the vices than the virtues belonging to 
the two races from which they are descended. In 
early youth, especially before arriving at years of 
puberty, they evince a remarkable acuteness of 
mind, and facility in acquiring knowledge. They 
are equally quick at learning languages, and the 
lower branches of mathematical study, but they 
seem unable to obtain any results from their acquire- 
ments. Goa cannot boast of ever having produced 
a single eminent literato, or even a second-rate poet. 
To sum up in a few words, the mental and bodily 
development of this class are remarkable only as 
being a strange melange of European and Asiatic 
peculiarities, of antiquated civilization and modern 

We before alluded to the deep-rooted antipathy 
between the black and the white population : the 
feeling of the former towards an Englishman is one 
of dislike not unmingled with fear. Should Por- 
tugal ever doom her now worse than useless colony 
to form part payment of her debts, their fate would 


be rather a hard one. Considering the wide spread 
of perhaps too liberal opinions concerning the race 
quaintly designated as " God's images carved in 
ebony/' they might fare respectably as regards public 
estimation, but scarcely well enough to satisfy their 
inordinate ambition. It is sufficiently amusing to 
hear a young gentleman, whose appearance, man- 
ners, and colour fit him admirably to become a 
band-boy to some Sepoy corps, talk of visiting 
Bombay, with letters of introduction to the Governor 
and Commander-in-chief. Still more diverting it is 
when you know that the same character would in- 
variably deduct a perquisite from the rent of any 
house he may have procured, or boat hired for a 
stranger. Yet at the same time it is hard for a 
man who speaks a little English, French, Latin, and 
Portuguese to become the lower clerk of some office 
on the paltry pay of 70/. per annum; nor is it 
agreeable for an individual who has just finished 
his course of mathematics, medicine, and philosophy 
to sink into the lowly position of an assistant 
apothecary in the hospital of a native regiment. 
No wonder that the black Indo-Portuguese is an 
utter radical ; he has gained much by Constitution, 
the " dwarfish demon " which sets everybody by the 
ears at Goa. Hence it is that he will take the first 


opportunity in conversation witli a foreigner to 
extol Lusitanian liberty to the skies, abuse English 
tyranny over, and insolence to, their unhappy Indian 
subjects, and descant delightedly upon the proba- 
bility of an immediate crash in our Eastern empire. 
And, as might be expected, although poverty sends 
forth thousands of black Portuguese to earn money 
in foreign lands, they prefer the smallest compe- 
tence at home, where equality allows them to in- 
dulge in a favourite independence of manner utterly 
at variance with our Anglo-Indian notions concern- 
ing the proper demeanour of a native towards a 

The native Christian is originally a converted 
Hindoo, usually of the lowest castes ; * and though 
he has changed for centuries his manners, dress, and 
religion, he retains to a wonderful extent the ideas, 
prejudices, and superstitions of his ancient state. 
The learned griff. Bishop Heber, in theorizing upon 
the probable complexion of our First Father, makes a 
remark about these people, so curiously erroneous, 
that it deserves to be mentioned. " The Portuguese 
have, during a three hundred years' residence in 
India, become as black as Caffres ; surely this goes 

* Many tribes, however, are found among them. Some 
have African features. 


far to disprove the assertion which is sometimes 
made, that climate alone is insufEcient to account 
for the difference between the Negro and the 
European." Climate in this case had nothing what- 
ever to do with the change of colour. And if it 
had, we might instance as an argument against the 
universality of such atmospheric action, the Parsee, 
who, though he has been settled in the tropical 
lands of India for more than double three hundred 
years, is still, in appearance, complexion, voice, and 
manners, as complete an Iranian as when he first 
fled from his native mountains. But this is par 

The native Christians of Goa always shave the 
head; they cultivate an apology for. a whisker, but 
never allow the beard or mustachios to grow. Their 
dress is scanty in the extreme, often consisting only 
of a dirty rag, worn about the waist, and their 
ornaments, a string of beads round the neck. The 
women are equally badly clothed : the single long 
piece of cotton, called in India a saree, is their 
whole attire,* consequently the bosom is unsup- 
ported and uncovered. This race is decidedly the 
lowest in the scale of civilized humanity we have 

* Without the cholee or bodice worn by Hindoo and 
Moslem women in India. 


yet seen. In appearance they are short, heavy, 
meagre, and very dark ; their features are uncomely 
in the extreme ; they are dirtier than Pariahs, and 
abound in cutaneous diseases. They live princi- 
pally on fish and rice, with pork and fruit when 
they can afford such luxuries. Meat as well 
as bread* is holiday diet ; clarified butter, rice, 
water, curry, and cocoa-nut milk are every-day 

These people are said to be short lived, the result 
of hard labour, early marriages, and innutritions 
food. We scarcely ever saw a man that looked 
fifty. In disposition they resemble the half-castes, 
but they are even more deficient in spirit, and 
quarrelsome withal, than their " whitey-brown " 
brethren. All their knowledge is religious, and 
consists only of a few prayers in corrupt ]\Iaharatta, 
taught them by their parents or the priest ; these 
they carefully repeat three times per diem — at 
dawn, in the afternoon, and before retiring to rest. 
Loudness of voice and a very Puritanical snuffle 
being sine qua nons in their devotional exercises, 
the neighbourhood of a pious family is anything 

* Leavened bread is much better made here than in any other 
part of Western India ; moreover, it is eaten by all those who 
can afford it. 


but pleasant. Their superiority to the heathen 
around them consists in eating pork, drinking toddy 
to excess, shaviiig the face, never washing, and a 
conviction that they are going to paradise, whereas 
all other religionists are emphatically not. They 
are employed as sepoys, porters, fishermen, seamen, 
labourers, mancheel bearers, workmen and servants, 
and their improvident indolence renders the neces- 
sity of hard labour at times imperative. The car- 
penters, farriers, and other trades, not only ask an 
exorbitant sum for working, but also, instead of 
waiting on the employer, scarcely ever fail to keep 
him waiting for them. For instance, on Monday 
you wanted a farrier, and sent for him. He politely 
replied that he was occupied at that moment, but 
would call at his earliest convenience. This, if you 
keep up a running fire of messages, will probably be 
about the next Saturday. 

The visitor will not find at Goa that number and 
variety of heathen castes which bewilder his mind 
at Bombay. The capital of Portuguese India now 
stands so low amongst the cities of Asia that few or 
no inducements are ofi'ered to the merchant and the 
trader, who formerly crowded her ports. The Turk, 
the Arab, and the Persian have left them for a 
wealthier mart, and the only strangers are a few 

p 5 


Englishmen, who pass through the place to visit its 
monuments of antiquity. 

The Moslem population at Panjim scarcely 
amounts to a thousand. They have no place of 
worship, although their religion is now, like all 
others, tolerated.""' The distinctive mark of the 
Faithful is the long beard. They appear superior 
beings by the side of the degenerate native Christians. 
Next to the Christians, the Hindoos are the most 
numerous portion of the community. They are 
held in the highest possible esteem and consider- 
ation, and no office unconnected with religion is 
closed to them. This fact may account for the 
admirable ease and freedom of manner prevalent 
amongst them. The Gentoo will enter your room 
with his slippers on, sit down after shaking hands 
as if the action were a matter of course, chew his 
betel, and squirt the scarlet juice all over the floor, 
in a word, make himself as ofiensive as you can 
conceive. But at Goa all men are equal. More- 
over, the heathens may be seen in Christian 
churches,t with covered feet, pointing at, putting 

* Anciently, neither Moslem nor Jew could, under pain of 
death, publicly perform the rites of his religion in any Indo- 
Portuguese settlement. 

+ At the same time we were not allowed to pass the thresh- 
old of the little pagoda to the southward of the town. 


questions concerning, and criticising tlie images 
with the same quite-at-home nonchalance with 
which thej would wander through the porticoes of 
Dwarka or the pagodas of Aboo. And these men^s 
fathers, in the good old times of Goa, were not 
allowed even to burn their dead "' in the land ! 

In appearance the Hindoos are of a fair, or rather 
a light yellow complexion. Some of the women 
are by no means deficient in personal charms, and 
the men generally surpass in size and strength the 
present descendants of the Portuguese heroes. They 
wear the mustachio, but not the beard, and dress in 
the long cotton coat, with the cloth wound round 
the waist, very much the same as in Bombay. The 
head, however, is usually covered with a small red 
velvet skullcap, instead of a turban. The female 
attire is the saree, with the long-armed bodice 
beneath it ; their ornaments are numerous ; and 
their caste is denoted by a round spot of kunkun, or 
vermilion, upon the forehead between the eyebrows. 

As usual among Hindoos, the pagans at Goa are 
divided into a number of sub-castes. In the Brah- 

* Tavernier says of them, " the natives of the country called 
Canarins are not permitted to bear any office but only in refer- 
ence to the law, i. e., as solicitors, advocates, and scriveners. 
If a Canarin happened to strike a European, his hand was 


man we find two great subdivisions, the Sashteekar, 
or inhabitants of Salsette, and the Bardeskar, or 
people of Bardes. The former is confessedly supe- 
rior to the latter. Both families will eat together, 
but they do not intermarry. Besides these two, 
there are a few of the Chitpawan, Sinart, Kararee 
and Waishnau castes of the pontifical order. 

The Brahmans always wear the tika, or sectarian 
mark, perpendicularly, to distinguish them from the 
Sonars, or Goldsmiths, who place it horizontally on 
the forehead. They are but superficially educated, 
as few of them know Sanscrit, and these few not 
well. All read and write Maharatta fluently, but 
they speak the inharmonious Concanee dialect. 

Next to the Brahmans, and resembling them in 
personal appearance, are the Banyans, or traders. 
They seem to be a very thriving portion of the 
population, and live in great comfort, if not luxury. 

The Shudra, or servile class of Hindoos, is, of 
course, by far the most numerous ; it contains many 
varieties, such as Bhandan (toddy-makers), Koonbee 
(potters), Hajjam (barbers), &c. 

Of mixed castes we find the goldsmith, who is 
descended from a Brahman father and servile 
mother, and the Kunchanee, or Erut^'/], whose mater- 
nal parent is always a Maharatta woman, whatever 


the other progenitor may chance to be. The out- 
casts are principally Chamars, or tanners, and Par- 
wars (Pariahs). 

These Hindoos very rarely become Christians, 
now that fire and steel, the dungeon and the rack, 
the rice-pot and the rupee, are not allowed to 
play the persuasive part in the good work formerly 
assigned to them. Indeed, we think that conver- 
sion of the heathen is almost more common in 
British than in Portuguese India, the natural result 
of our being able to pay the proselytes more liber- 
ally. When such an event does occur at Goa, it is 
celebrated at a church in the north side of the 
creek, opposite Panjim, with all the pomp and cere- 
mony due to the importance of spoiling a good 
Gentoo by making a bad Christian of him. 

We were amused to witness on one occasion a 
proof of the high importance attached to Hindoo 
opinion in this part of the world. Outside the 
church of St. Agnes, in a little chapel, stood one of 
the lowest orders of black priests, lecturing a host of 
naked, squatting, smoking, and chattering auditors. 
Curiosity induced us to venture nearer, and we then 
discovered that the theme was a rather imaginative 
account of the birth and life of the Redeemer. 
Presently a group of loitering Gentoos, who had 


been strolling about the church, came up and stood 
bj our side. 

The effect of their appearance upon his Reverence's 
discourse was remarkable, as may be judged from 
the peroration, which was very much in these 
words : — 

" You must remember, sons, that the avatar, or 
incarnation of your blessed Lord, was in the form 
of a rajah, who ruled millions of men. He was 
truly great and powerful; he rode the largest 
elephant ever trapped ; he smoked a hookah of 
gold, and when he went to war he led an army the 
like of which for courage, numbers, and weapons 
was never seen before. He would have conquered 
the whole world, from Portugal to China, had he 
not been restrained by humility. But, on the last 
day, when he shall appear even in greater state 
than before, he will lead us his people to most 
glorious and universal victory." 

When the sermon concluded, and the listeners 
had wandered away in different directions, we 
walked up to his Reverence and asked him if he 
had ever read the Gospel. 

" Of course." 


" Then where did you find the historical picture 
you so graphically drew just now about the rajah- 
ship V' 

" Where 1 " said the fellow, grinning and pointing 
to his forehead : " here, to be sure. Didn't you 
see those Gentoos standing by and listening to every 
word I was saying 'i A pretty thing it would have 
been to see the pagans laughing and sneering at us 
Christians because the Founder of our Blessed Faith 
was the son of a Burhaee." ^' 

Such reasoning was conclusive. 

If our memory serve us aright, there is a story 
somewhat like the preceding in the pages of the 
Abbe Dubois. Such things we presume must con- 
stantly be taking place in different parts of India. 
On one occasion we saw an unmistakable Lakhshmi f 
borne in procession amongst Christian images, and, 
if history be trusted, formerly it was common to 
carry as many Hindoo deities as European saints in 
the palanquins. On the other hand, many a Gentoo 
has worn a crucifix for years, with firm faith in the 
religious efficacy of the act, yet utterly ignorant of 
the nature of the symbol he was bearing, and we 
have ourselves written many and many a charm for 

* A carpenter, one of the lowest castes amongst Hindoos, 
t The Hindoo goddess of plenty and prosperity. 


ladies desirous of becoming prolific, or matrons 
fearful of the evil eje being cast upon their off- 

On our return from old Goa to Panjim we visited 
an establishment, which may be considered rather a 
peculiar one. It is called the Gaza de Misericordia, 
and contains some forty or fifty young ladies, for 
the most part orphans, of all colours, classes, and 
ages. They are educated by nuns, under the direc- 
tion of a superior and a committee, and when 
grown up, remain in the house till they receive and 
accept suitable offers of marriage. 

Hearing that it was not unusual to propose one- 
self as a suitor; with a view of inspecting the curio- 
sities of the establishment, we repaired to the Gaza, 
and were politely received by the old lady at the 
gate. After showing us over the chapel and other 
public portions of the edifice, she perceived that we 
had some other object, and presently discovered 
that we were desirous of playing the part of Gce- 
lebs in search of a wife. Thereupon she referred 
us to another and more dignified relic of antiquity, 
who, after a long and narrow look at our outward 
man, proceeded to catechise us in the following 


" You say, seiior, that you want a wife ; what 
may be your name 1 " 

" Peter Smith." 

" Your religion 1 " 

" The Christian, senora." 

" Your profession ? " 

" An ensign in H. E. I. Company's Navy. 

Not satisfied with such authentic details, the 
inquisitive old lady began a regular system of cross- 
questioning, and so diligently did she pursue it, 
that we had some difficulty to prevent contradict- 
ing ourselves. At length, when she had, as she 
supposed, thoroughly mastered the subject, she re- 
quested us to step into a corridor, and to dispose of 
ourselves upon a three-legged stool. This we did, 
leaning gracefully against the whitewashed wall, and 
looking stedfastly at the open grating. Presently, 
a wrinkled old countenance, with a skin more like a 
walnut's than a woman's, peered through the bars, 
grinned at us, and disappeared. Then came half-a- 
dozen juveniles, at the very least, tittering and 
whispering most diligently, all of which we endured 
with stoical firmness, feeling that the end of such 
things was approaching. 

At last, a sixteen-year old face gradually 
drew within sight from behind the bars. That 


was clearly one of the young ladies. Now for 

" Good day, and my respects to you, seuorita ! " 

" The same to you, sir." 

Hem ! It is rather a terrible thing to make love 
under such circumstances. The draw upon one's 
imagination in order to open the dialogue, is alone 
suflacient to frighten Cupid out of the field. It 
was impossible to talk of the weather, in that 
country where it burns, deluges, and chills with 
the regularity of clock-work. So we plunged at 
once m medias res. 

" Should you like to be married, senorita ? " 

" Yes, very much, seiior." 

" And why, if you would satisfy my curiosity ? " 

" I don't know." 

Equally unsatisfactory was the rest of the con- 
versation. So we bowed politely, rose from our 
three-legged stool, and determined to seek an inter- 
view with the Superior. Our request was at last 
granted, and we found a personage admirably 
adapted, in point of appearance, to play dragon 
over the treasures committed to her charge. She 
had a face which reminded us exactly of a white 
horse, a body answerable, and manners decidedly 
repulsive. However, she did not spare her tongue. 


She informed us that there were twelve marriage- 
able yoimg ladies tlien in the establishment, named 
them, and minutely described their birth, parent- 
age, education, mental and physiological develop- 
ment. She also informed us that they would re- 
ceive a dowry from the funds of the house, which, 
on further inquiry, proved to be the sum of ten 

At length we thought there was an opportunity 
to put in a few words about our grievance — how 
we had been placed on a three-legged stool before 
a grating — exposed to the inquisitiveness of the 
seniors, and subjected to the ridicule of the junior 
part of the community. We concluded with a 
modest hint that we should like to be admitted 
within, and be allowed a little conversation with 
the twelve marriageable young ladies to whom she 
had alluded. 

The old lady suddenly became majestic. 

" Before you are admitted to such a privilege, 
senor, you must be kind enough to address an 
official letter to the mesa, or board, explaining your 
intentions, and requesting the desired permission. 
We are people under government, and do not 
keep a naughty house. Do you understand me, 
senor 1 " 


" Perfectly, madam." 

Upon which we arose, scraped the ground thrice, 
with all the laboriousness of Indo-Portuguese polite- 
ness, promised compliance in our best phraseology, 
and rapidly disappeared, resolving never to near the 
Caza de Misericordia again. 

SERODA. 117 



After an unusually protracted term of isolation 
and friendlessness, we were agreeably surprised by 

meeting Lieutenants L and T , walking 

in their shooting-jackets, somewhat slowly and dis- 
consolately, down the dusty wharf of New Goa. 

It is, we may here observe, by no means easy for 
a stranger — especially if he be an Englishman — 
to get into Goanese society : more difficult still to 
amuse himself when admitted. His mother tongue 
and Hindostanee will not be sufficient for him. 
French, at least, or, what is more useful, Portuguese 
should be well understood, if not fluently spoken. 
As the generality of visitors pass merely a few days 
at Panjim, call at the palace, have a card on the 
secretary, rush to the ruins, and then depart, they 
expect and receive little attention. There are no 
messes to invite them to — no public amusements 


or places of resort, and private families do not easily 
open their doors. Besides, as might be expected, 
the Goanese have occasionally suiFered severely from 
individuals terming themselves " British Officers." 
It were well too, had the offenders been always of 
the male sex : unfortunately for our national repu- 
tation, such is by no means the case. However, 
a stranger may be sure that with his commission, 
some knowledge of languages, and any letter of 
introduction, he will be most hospitably received in 
society, such as it is. 

The unlearned in such matters may be disposed 
to inquire whether there are no resident English- 
men at Goa. 

Certainly, there are a few ; but they are, gene- 
rally speaking, of that class who have made Bombay 
too hot for them. Once in the Portuguese territory, 
they may laugh at the bailiff, and fearlessly meet 
the indignant creditor. The cheapness of the 
locality is, to certain characters, another induce- 
ment ; so that, on the whole, it is by no means 
safe to become acquainted with any compatriot one 
may chance to meet at Goa. 

Now it so happened that all three of us had been 
reading and digesting a rich account of Seroda, 

SERODA. 119 

which had just appeared in one of the English 
periodicals. We remembered glowing descriptions 
of a village, inhabited by beautiful Bayaderes, 
governed by a lady of the same class — Eastern 
Amazons, who permitted none of the rougher sex 
to dwell beneath the shadow of their roof-trees — 
high caste maidens, who, having been compelled to 
eat beef by the " tyrannical Portuguese in the olden 
time," had forfeited the blessings of Hindooism, 
without acquiring those of Christianity, — lovely 
patriots, whom no filthy lucre could induce to quit 
their peaceful homes : with many and many et- 
ceteras, equally enchanting to novelty-hunters and 

We unanimously resolved to visit, without loss 
of time, a spot so deservedly renowned. Having 
been informed by our old friend John Thomas, that 
we should find everything in the best style at 
Seroda, we hired a canoe, cursorily put up a few 
cigars, a change of raiment, and a bottle of Cognac 
to keep out the cold ; and, a little after sunset, 
we started for our Fool's Paradise. 

Our course lay towards the south-east. After 
about an hour's rowing along the coast, we en- 
tered a narrow channel, formed by the sea and 
innumerable little streams that descend towards 


the main, winding tlirough a dense mass of bright 
green underwood. It was a lovely night, but the 
thick dew soon compelled us to retreat under the 
mats destined to defend our recumbent forms. The 
four boatmen that composed the crew must have 
been sadly addicted to sleeping on duty, for, 
although the distance was only fifteen miles, the 
sun appeared high in the heavens next morning 
before we arrived at the landing-place. A guide 
was soon procured, and under his direction we 
toiled up two miles of a steep and rocky path, 
through a succession of cocoa groves, and a few 
parched-up fields scattered here and there, till at 
last we saw, deep in a long narrow hollow, sur- 
rounded by high hills, the bourne of our pilgrim- 

The appearance of Seroda is intensely that of 
a Hindoo town. Houses, pagodas, tombs, tanks, 
with lofty parapets, and huge flights of steps, peepul 
trees, and bazaars, are massed together in chaotic 
confusion. No such things as streets, lanes, or 
alleys exist. Your walk is invariably stopped at 
the end of every dozen steps by some impediment, 
as a loose wall, or a deep drop, passable only to the 
well practised denizens of the place. The town is 
dirty in the extreme, and must be fearfully hot 

SERODA. 121 

in summer, as it is screened on all sides from the 
wind. The houses are raised one story above the 
ground, and built solidly of stone and mortar : 
as there is no attempt at order or regularity, tlieir 
substantial appearance adds much to the strangeness 
of the coup d'oeil. 

To resume our personal adventures. Descending 
the slope which leads through the main gate we 
wandered about utterly at a loss what to do, or 
where to go, till a half-naked sample of the Hindoo 
male animal politely offered to provide us with a 
lodging. Our hearts felt sad at witnessing this prac- 
tical proof of the presence of ?7iawkind, but sleepy, 
tired, and hungry withal, we deferred sentimental- 
izing over shattered delusions and gay hopes faded, 
till a more opportune moment, and followed him 
with all possible alacrity. A few minutes after- 
wards we found ourselves under the roof of one of 
the most respectable matrons in the town. We 
explained our wants to her. The first and most 
urgent of the same being breakfast. She stared at 
our ideas of that meal, but looked not more aghast 
than we did when informed that it was too late to 
find meat, poultry, eggs, bread, milk, butter, or 
wine in the market — in fact, that we must be con- 
tented with " kichree " — a villanous compound of 



boiled rice and split vetches — as a j^^^c^ de resist- 
ance, and whatever else Providence might please to 
send us in the way of " kitchen/' 

Rude reality the second ! — 

We had left all our servants behind at Panjim, 
and not an iota of our last night's supper had es- 
caped the ravenous maws of the boatmen. — 

Presently matters began to mend. The old lady 
recollected that in days of yore she had possessed 
a pound of tea, and, after much unlocking and 
rummaging of drawers, she produced a remnant of 
that luxury. Perseverance accomplished divers 
other feats, and after about an hour more of half 
starvation we sat down to a breakfast composed of 
five eggs, a roll of sour bread, plantains, which 
tasted exactly like edible cotton dipped in eau 
sucree, and a " fragrant infusion of the Chinese 
leaf," whose perfume vividly reminded us of the 
haystacks in our native land. Such comforts as 
forks or spoons were unprocurable, the china was a 
suspicious looking article, and the knives were 
apparently intended rather for taking away animal 
life than for ministering to its wants. Sharp appe- 
tites, however, removed all our squeamishness, and 
the board was soon cleared. The sting of hunger 
blunted, we lighted our " weeds," each mixed a 

SERODA. 123 

cordial potion in a tea-cup, and called aloud for 
the nautcli, or dance, to begin. 

This was the signal for universal activity. All 
the fair dames who had been gazing listlessly or 
giggling at the proceedings of their strange guests, 
now starting up as if animated with new life rushed 
off to don their gayest apparel : even the grey-haired 
matron could not resist the opportunity of display- 
ing her gala dress, and enormous pearl nose-ring. 
The tables were soon carried away, the rebec and 
kettledrum sat down in rear of the figurantes, 
and the day began in real earnest. The singing 
was tolerable for India, and the voices good. As 
usual, however, the highest notes were strained 
from the chest, and the use of the voix de gorge 
was utterly neglected. The verses were in Hindos- 
tanee and Portuguese, so that the performers under- 
stood about as much of them as our young ladies 
when they perform Italian bravura songs. There 
was little to admire either in the persons, the dress 
or the ornaments of the dancers : common looking 
Maharatta women, habited in the usual sheet and 
long-armed bodice, decked with wreaths of yellow 
flowers, the red mark on the brow, large nose and 
ear-rings, necklaces, bracelets, bangles, and chain or 
ring anklets, studded with strings of coarsely made 


little brass bells. Some of them were very fair, 
having manifestly had the advantage of one Euro- 
pean progenitor : others showed the usual dark 
yellow hue ; the features were seldom agreeable, 
round heads, flat foreheads, immense eyes, increased 
by the streaks of black dye along the thickness of 
the eyelid, projecting noses, large lips, vanishing 
chins, and a huge development of "jowl," do not 
make up a very captivating physiognomy. A few, 
but very few, of quite the youngest Jigurantes, were 
tolerably pretty. They performed in sets for about 
four hours, concluding with the pugree, or turban 
dance, a peculiar performance, in which one lady 
takes the part of a man. 

Our matron informed us that Seroda contains 
about twenty establishments, and a total number 
of fifty or sixty dancing-girls. According to her 
account all the stars were at the time of our visit 
engaged at Panjim, or the towns round about : 
personal experience enabled us to pronounce that 
the best were in her house, and, moreover, that 
there is scarcely a second-rate station in the Bom- 
bay Presidency that does not contain prettier 
women and as good singers. The girls are bought 
in childhood — their price varies from 3/. to 20/. 
according to the market value of the animal. 

SERODA. 125 

The offspring of a Bayadere belongs of right to her 
owner. When mere children they are initiated 
in the mysteries of nautching, — one young lady 
who performed before us could scarcely have been 
five years old. Early habit engenders much en- 
thusiasm for the art. The proportion of those 
bought in distant lands to those born at Seroda is 
said to be about one to five. Of late years the 
nefarious traffic has diminished, but unhappily 
many are interested in k'eeping it up as much as 

Several of these iiautch women can read and 
write. Our matron was powerful at reciting Sans- 
crit shlokas (stanzas), and as regards Pracrit, the 
popular dialect, she had studied all the best known 
works, as the " Panja Tantra," together with the 
legends of Vikram, Rajah Bhoj, and other celebrated 
characters. Their spoken language is the corrupt 
form of Maharatta, called the Concanee,* in general 
use throughout the Goanese territory ; the educated 
mix up many Sanscrit vocables with it, and some 
few can talk a little Portuguese. Their speaking 
voices are loud, hoarse, and grating : each sentence, 

* Opposite to the Desha, the pure dialect of Maharatta 
They are about as different as Enghsh spoken in the south of 
England and Lowland Scotch. 


moreover, ends in a sing-song drawl, which is un- 
commonly disagreeable to a stranger's ear. These 
ladies all smoke, chew betel-nut, drink wine and 
spirits, and eat fowls and onions, an unequivocal 
sign of low caste. They do not refuse to quit 
Seroda, as is generally supposed, but, of course, 
prefer their homes to other places. Living being 
extremely cheap most of the money made by 
nautching is converted into pearl and gold orna- 
ments ; and these are handed down from generation 
to generation. Some of the coins strung together 
into necklaces are really curious. An old English 
five-guinea-piece may be found by the side of a 
Portuguese St. Thomas, a French Louis d'or, and 
a Roman medal of the Lower Empire. We should 
be puzzled to account for how they came there, did 
we not know that India has from the earliest 
ages been the great sink for Western gold. Many 
of the matrons have collected a considerable stock 
of linen, pictures, and furniture for their houses, 
besides dresses and ornaments. Our countrymen 
have been liberal enough to them of late, and nu- 
merous, too, as the initials upon the doors and 
shutters prove. establishment is violently 
jealous of its neighbour, and all appear to be more 
remarkable for rapacity than honesty. In spite 

SERODA. 127 

of the general belief, we venture to assert that a 
chain, a ring, or a watch, would find Seroda very 
dangerous quarters. As a stranger soon learns, 
everything is done to fleece him ; whether he have 
five or five hundred rupees in his pocket, he may 
be sure to leave the place without a farthing. 
This seems to be a time-honoured custom among 
the Bayaderes cherished by them from immemorial 

When the rising shades of evening allowed us 
to escape from the house of dancing, we sallied 

forth to view the abode in which Major G passed 

his last years. The matron soon found a boy who 
preceded us to the place, threading his way through a 
multitude of confused dwellings, climbing over heaps 
of loose stones, walking along the walls of tanks, and 
groping through the obscurity of the cocoa groves. 
At the end of this unusual kind of walk, we found 
ourselves at the house, asked, and obtained leave 
to enter it. There was nothing to attract attention 
in the building, except a few old books ; the peculiar 
character of its owner will, perhaps, plead our ex- 
cuse to the reader, if we dwell a little upon the cir- 
cumstances which led him to make Seroda his home. 
Major G was an officer who had served with 


distinction for many years in a Native Regiment. 
He was a regular old Indian, one of the remnants 
of a race which, like its brethren in the far west, 
is rapidly disappearing before the eastward progress 
of civilisation in the shape of rails, steamers, and 
overland communication. By perpetual intercourse 
with the natives around him he had learned to speak 
and write their language as well as, if not better 
than, his own. He preferred their society to that 
of his fellow-countrymen : adopted the Hindoo 
dress ; studied their sciences, bowed to their pre- 
judices, and became such a proficient in the ritual 
of their faith as to be considered by them almost 
a fellow-religionist. Having left England at an 
early age, with a store of anything but grateful 
reminiscences, he had determined to make India 
his country and his home, and the idea once con- 
ceived, soon grew familiar to his mind. Knowing 
that there is no power like knowledge amongst a 
semi-civilised people, and possibly inclined thereto 
by credulity, he dived deep into the " dangerous 
art," as the few books preserved at Seroda prove. 
Ibn Sirin,* and Lily, the Mantras,t and Casaubon, 

* A celebrated Arabic author on the interpretation of dreams, 
t Magical formula and works on " Gramarye," generally 
in the Sanscrit, sometimes in the Pracrit, tongue. 

SERODA. 1*29 

works on Geomancy, Astrology, Ihzar or the Sum- 
moning of Devils, Osteomancy, Palmistry, Oneiro- 
raancy, and Divination. The relics of his library still 
stand side by side there, to be eaten by the worms. 

Late in life Major G fell in love with a 

Seroda Nautch girl living under his protection ; 
not an usual thing in those days : he also set 
his mind upon marrying her, decidedly a peculiar 
step. His determination gave rise to a series of 
difficulties. No respectable Hindoo will, it is true, 
wed a female of this class, yet, as usual amongst 
Indians, the caste has at least as much pride and 
prejudice as many far superior to it. So Sita 
would not accept a mlenchha (infidel) husband, 
though she was perfectly aware that she had no 
right to expect a dwija, or twice born one. 

But Major G 's perseverance surmounted every 

obstacle. Several times the lady ran away, he 
followed and brought her back by main force at 
the imminent risk of his commission. At last, find- 
ing all opposition in vain, possibly thinking to 
prescribe too hard a trial, or, perhaps, in the re- 
lenting mood, she swore the most solemn oath 
that she would never marry him unless he would 
retire from the service to live and die with her 
in her native town. 


Major G at once sold out of his regiment, 

disappeared from the ejes of his countrymen, bought 
a house at Seroda, married his enchantress, and 
settled there for the remainder of his years. Many 
of the elder inhabitants recollect him ; they are 
fond of describing to you how regularly every morn- 
ing he would repair to the tank, perform his ablu- 
tions, and offer up water to the manes of his 
pitris, or ancestors, how religiously he attended 
all the festivals, and how liberal he was in fees 
and presents to the Brahmans of the different 

AVe were shown his tomb, or rather the small 
pile of masonry which marks the spot where his 
body was reduced to ashes — a favour granted to 
him by the Hindoos on account of his pious mu- 
nificence. It is always a melancholy spectacle, the 
last resting-place of a fellow-countryman in some 
remote nook of a foreign land, far from the dust 
of his forefathers — in a grave prepared by strangers, 
around which no mourners ever stood, and over 
which no friendly hand raised a tribute to the 
memory of the lamented dead. The wanderer's 
heart yearns at the sight. How soon may not 
such fate be his own 1 

The moonlight was falling clear and snowy upon 

SERODA. 131 

the tranquil landscape, and except the distant roar of 
a tiger, no noise disturbed the stillness that reigned 
over the scene around, as we slowly retraced our steps 
towards Seroda. Passing a little building, whose low 
doomed roof, many rows of diminutive columns, and 
grotesque architectural ornaments of monkeys and 
elephants' heads, informed us was a pagoda, whilst 
a number of Hindoos lounging in and out, showed 
that some ceremony was going on, we determined 
to attempt an entrance, and passed the threshold 
unopposed. Retiring into a remote corner we sat 
down upon one of the mats, and learned from a 
neighbour that the people were assembled to hear 
a Rutnageree Brahman celebrated for eloquence, and 
very learned in the Vedas. The preacher, if we 
may so call him, was lecturing his congregation upon 
the relative duties of parents and children ; his 
discourse was delivered in a kind of chaunt, mo- 
notonous, but not rude or unpleasing, and his ges- 
ticulation reminded us of many an Italian Pre- 
dicatore. He stood upon a strip of cloth at the 
beginning of each period, advancing gradually as 
it proceeded, till reaching the end of his sentence 
and his carpet, he stopped, turned round, and 
walked back to his standing place, pausing awhile 
to take breath and to allow the words of wisdom 


to sink deep into his hearers' hearts. The discourse 
was an excellent one, and we were astonished to 
perceive that an hour had slipped away almost un- 
observed. However, the heat of the place, crowded 
as it was with all ages and sexes — for the ladies 
of Seroda, like the frail sisterhood generally in 
Asia, are very attentive to their dharma, or re- 
ligious duties — the cloud of incense which hung 
like a thick veil under the low roof, and the over- 
powering perfume of the huge bouquets and garlands 
of jessamine with which the assembly was profusely 
decorated, compelled us to forfeit the benefit we 
might have derived from the peroration of the 
learned Brahman's discourse. 

Our night was by no means a pleasant one ; the 
Seroda vermin, like the biped population, were too 
anxious to make the most of the stranger. Early 
the next morning we arose to make our exit ; 
but, alas ! it was not destined to be a triumphant 
one. The matron and her damsels, knowing us 
to be English, expected us to be made of money, and 
had calculated upon easing our breeches pockets 
of more gold than we intended to give silver. Fear- 
ful was the din of chattering, objurgating, and im- 
precating, when the sum decided upon was grace- 
fully tendered to our entertainers, the rebec and 

SERODA. 1 33 

the kettle-drum seemed inclined to be mutinous, 
but they were more easily silenced than the ladies. 
At length, by adding the gift of a pair of slippers 
adorned with foil spangles, to which it appeared 
the company had taken a prodigious fancy, we 
were allowed to depart in comparative peace. 

Bidding adieu to Seroda, we toiled up the hill, 
and walked dejectedly towards the landing-place, 
where we supposed our boat was awaiting us. But 
when we arrived there, the canoe, of course, was 
not to be found. It was breakfast time already, 
and we expected to be starved before getting over 
the fifteen miles between us and Panjim. One 
chance remained to us ; we separated, and so dili- 
gently scoured the country round that in less than 
half an hour we had collected a fair quantity of 
provender ; one returning with a broiled spatchcock 
and a loaf of bread ; another with a pot full of 
milk and a cocoa-nut or two, whilst a third had 
succeeded in "bagging" divers crusts of stale bread, 
a bunch of onions, and a water-melon. The hospit- 
able portico of some Banyan's country-house afibrded 
us a breakfast-room ; presently the boat appeared, 
and the crew warned us that it was time to come 
on board. It is strange that these people must 
tell lies, even when truth would be in their favour. 


This we found to our cost, for wind and tide proved 
both against us. 

Six hours' steaming and broiling under a sun 
which penetrated the matting of our slow convey- 
ance, as if it had been water within a few de- 
grees of boiling heat, brought us on towards evening. 
Seeing some difficulty in rowing against every dis- 
advantage, we proposed to our rascally boatmen — 
native Christians, as usual — to land us at the most 
convenient place. Coming to a bluff cape, the 
wretches swore by all that was holy, that we were 
within a mile's walk of our destination. In an evil 
hour, we believed the worse than pagans, and found 
that by so doing we had condemned ourselves to 
a toilsome trudge over hill and dale, at least five 
times longer than they had asserted it to be. Our 
patience being now thoroughly exhausted, we re- 
lieved our minds a little by administering periodical 
chastisements to the fellow whom our bad luck had 
sent to deceive and conduct us, till, at length, 
hungry, thirsty, tired, and sleepy, we found ourselves 
once more in the streets of Panjim. 

Reader, we have been minute, perhaps unneces- 
sarily so, in describing our visit to Seroda. If you 
be one of those who take no interest in a traveller's 
" feeds," his sufferings from vermin, or his " rows 

SERODA. 135 

about the bill," you will have found the preceding- 
pages uninteresting enough. Our object is, however, 
to give you a plain programme of what entertain- 
ment you may expect from the famed town of the 
Bayaderes, and, should your footsteps be ever likely 
to wander in that direction, to prepare you for the 
disappointment you will infallibly incur. 




Panjim and Alargao (a large town in the province 
of Salsette, about fifteen miles south-east of Goa), 
are the head-quarters of the Indo-Portuguese muses. 
The former place boasts of mathematical and 
medical schools, and others in which the elements 
of history, and a knowledge of the Portuguese, 
Latin, English, French, and ]\Iaharatta languages are 
taught gratis. The students are, generally speak- 
ing, proficients in the first,* tolerable in the second, 
and execrable in the third and fourth dialects above 
specified. As regards the Maharattas, the study 
of its literature has been rendered obligatory by 
government, which however, in its wisdom, appears 

* As, however, the Maharatta is the mother tongue of the 
Goanese, ft communicates its peculiar twang to every other 
language they speak. The difference of their Portuguese from 
the pure Lusitanian, is at once perceptible to a practised ear. 


to have forgotten, or perhaps never knew, that cer- 
tain little aids called grammars and dictionaries are 
necessary to those who would attain any degree of 
proficiency in any tongue. For the benefit of the 
fair sex there is a school at Panjim. Dancing and 
drawing masters abound. j\Iusic also is generally 
studied, but the Portuguese here want the " furore," 
as the Italians call it, the fine taste, delicate ear, 
and rich voice of Southern Europe. 

At Panjim there is also a printing office, called 
the Imprensa National, whence issues a weekly 
gazette, pompously named the Boletim do Governo 
do Estado da India. It is neatly printed, and what 
with advertisements, latest intelligence borrowed 
from the Bombay papers, and government orders, it 
seldom wants matter. At the Imprensa also, may 
be found a few Portuguese books for sale, but they 
are, generally speaking, merely elementary, besides 
being extravagantly dear. 

Physic as well as jurisprudence may be studied at 
Margao. The same town also has schools of the- 
ology, philosophy, Latin, Portuguese, and the rude 
beginnings of a Societade Estudiosa, or Literary 
Society. The latter is intended for learned dis- 
cussion : it meets twice a week, does not publish 
but keeps ]\IS. copies of its transactions, and takes 


from eacli member an annual subscription of 
about \l. 

Upon the whole, education does not thrive in the 
Indo-Portuguese settlement. It seldom commences 
before the late age of nine or ten, and is very- 
soon ended. After entering some profession, and 
coquetting a little with modern languages and 
general literature, study is considered a useless 
occupation. Moreover, if our observation deceive 
us not, the description of talent generally met 
with at Goa is rather of the specious and shallow 
order. A power of quick perception, an instinc- 
tive readiness of induction, and even a good 
memory, are of little value when opposed to consti- 
tutional inertness, and a mind which never pro- 
poses to itself any high or great object. Finally, 
the dispiriting influence of poverty weighs heavy 
upon the student's ambition, and where no rewards 
are offered to excellence, no excellence can be ex- 
pected. The romantic, chivalrous, and fanatic rage 
for propagating Christianity which animated the 
first conquerors of Goa, and led their immediate 
descendants to master the languages and literature 
of the broad lands won by their sharp swords, has 
long since departed, in all human probability for 


The religion of Goa is the Roman Catholic. The 
primate is appointed from home, and is expected to 
pass the rest of his life in exile. In the ceremonies 
of the church we observed a few, but not very im- 
portant deviations from the Italian ritual. The 
holy week and other great festivals are still kept 
up, but the number of jerie (religious holidays) has 
of late been greatly diminished, and the poverty 
of the people precludes any attempt at display 
on these occasions. All ecclesiastical matters are 
settled with the utmost facility. By the constitu- 
tion lately granted, the clergy have lost the power 
of excommunication. The Papal see, who kept so 
jealous and watchful an eye upon Goa in the days 
of her wealth and grandeur, seems now almost 
to have forgotten the existence of her froward 
daughter.* As regards the effect of religion upon 
the community in general, we should say that the 
mild discipline of the priesthood has produced so far 
a happy result, that the free-thinking spirit roused 
by ecclesiastical intolerance in Europe, is all but 
unknown here. 

* And yet as late as 1840, the Government of Goa was 
obliged to issue an order confiscating the property of all priests 
who should submit to the Vicar-apostolic appointed by the 


The priests always wear out of doors the clerical 
cap and cassock. They are now very poorly pro- 
vided for, and consequently lead regular lives. The 
archbishop's prison is almost always empty, and 
the amount of profligacy which in Rome would be 
smiled at in a polite young abbate, would certainly 
incur the severest penalty at Goa. It is said that 
the clergy is careful to maintain the reputation of 
the profession, and that any little peccadilloes, such 
as will and must occur in a warm climate, and an 
order of celibataires, are studiously concealed from 
public observation. As might be expected, the 
ecclesiastical party prefers Don Miguel to Donna 
Maria, the favourite of the laity, the more so as that 
" excellent son of Don John of Portugal," were he 
even to set his august foot on the floors of the 
Adjuda, would probably humour them in such trifles 
as readmitting the Jesuits, and reestablishing the 
Inquisition. The only objection to the holy pro- 
fession at Goa is, that the comparatively idle life led 
by its members oifers strong inducements to a poor, 
careless, and indolent people, who prefer its inutility 
to pursuits more advantageous to themselves, as well 
as .more profitable to the commonweal. 

The ecclesiastical education lasts about seven 
years, three of which are devoted to studying Latin, 


one is wasted upon moral philosophy, dialectics and 
metaphysics, and the remainder is deemed sufficient 
for theology. On certain occasions, students at the 
different seminaries are taught the ceremonies of 
the church, and lectured in the Holy Scriptures. 
There are two kinds of pupils, the resident, who 
wear the clerical garb, and are limited in number, 
and the non-resident, who dress like the laity, 
unless they intend to take orders. In this course of 
education much stress is laid upon, and pride taken 
in, a knowledge of Latin, whose similarity to Por- 
tuguese enables the student to read and speak it 
with peculiar facility. Many authors are perused, 
but the niceties of scholarship are unknown, good 
editions of the poets and orators being unprocurable 
here. Few Goanese write the classical language 
well ; and though all can master the words, they 
seldom read deeply enough to acquire the idiom. 
And lastly, the strange pronunciation of the conso- 
nants in Portuguese is transferred to Latin, impart- 
ing to it an almost unrecognisable sound. The 
clergy belonging to the country, of course under- 
stand and speak the Concanee Maharattas. Ser- 
mons are sometimes preached, and services per- 
formed in this dialect : it boasts of a printed 
volume of oraqoens (prayers) dated 1660, for 


the benefit of the lowest and most ignorant 

The military profession is bj no means a fa- 
vourite one, on account of poor pay and slow- 
promotion. The aspirante, or cadet, enters the 
service as a private, wears the uniform of that rank, 
and receives about 10s. per mensem for attending 
lectures. After learning Portuguese, the course of 
study is as follows : — 

1st Term. Geometry, Trigonometry (plane and 
spherical), Geodesy and Surveying. 

2nd Term. Algebra, differential and integral cal- 

3rd Term. ]\Iechanics, Statics, Dynamics, Hydro- 
dynamics, Hydrostatics, Hydraulics, &c. 

4th Term. Gunnery, Mining, Practice of Artil- 

5th Term. IS^'avigation and the Use of Instru- 

6th Term. Fortification and Military Architec- 

Infantry cadets study geometry and field-fortifi- 
cation during two or three years. Those intended 
for the Artillery and Engineers, go through all the 
course above mentioned, except navigation. Draw- 
ing, in all its branches, is taught by professors who 


are, generally speaking, retired officers superintended 
by a committee. After passing their examinations, 
the names of the cadets are put down in the 
Roster, and they are promoted, in due order, to 
the rank of alferez, or ensign. 

The total number of the Goanese army may be 
estimated at about two thousand '"" men on actual 
duty, besides the Mouros, or Moors, who act as 
police and guards at Panjim. The regiments are — 
two of infantry, stationed at Bicholim and Ponda ; 
two battalions of caqadores (chasseurs not mounted), 
at Margao and Mapuca ; a provincial battalion, and 
a corps of artillery at Panjim. In each regiment 
there are six companies, composed of between sixty 
and seventy men : a full band reckons thirty 
musicians. The officers are about as numerous as 
in a British corps on foreign service. 

The army is poorly paid ; f the privates receive 
no salary when in sick quarters, and the conse- 
quence is that they are frequently obliged to beg 
their bread. We cannot therefore wonder that the 

* Francklin, who visited Goa in 1786, says that the army 
was about five thousand men, two regiments of which were 
Europeans. Even in his day the Home Government was 
obliged to send large sums of money annually to defray the 
expenses of their Indian possessions. 

f A colonel receiving about 1 51., an ensign, 3l. per mensem. 


European soldiery is considered the least respectable 
part of the whole community. Most of the officers 
belong to some family resident in India ; conse- 
quently, they do not live upon their pay. More- 
over, they have no expensive establishments to 
keep up, and have little marching or change of 

The corps are seldom paraded ; once every two 
days is considered ample work during the cold 
season. Except on particular occasions, there are 
no mounted officers on the ground, a peculiarity 
which gives a remarkably " Isfational Guard " like 
appearance to the field. They are well dressed, 
but very independent in such movements as in 
carrying the sword, or changing flanks : after a few 
manoeuvres, which partake more of the character of 
company than battalion exercise, the men order 
arms, and the captains, lieutenants, and ensigns all 
fall out for a few minutes, to smoke a leaf-full of 
tobacco, and chat with the commanding officer. 
They then return to their places, and the parade 
proceeds. The appearance of the privates on the 
drill-ground is contemptible in the extreme The 
smallest regiment of our little j\Iaharattas would 
appear tolerable sized men by the side of them ; 
and as for a corps of Bengalees, it ought to be able 


to walk over an equal number of such opponents, 
without scarcely a thrust of the bayonet. Euro- 
peans and natives, in dirty clothes, and by no means 
of a uniform colour — some fiercely " bearded like 
the pard," some with moustachios as thick as 
broomsticks, others with meek black faces, re- 
ligiously shaven and shorn - — compose admirably 
heterogeneous companies which, moreover, never 
being sized from flanks to centre, look as jagged 
as a row of shark's teeth. Drill is the last thing 
thought of. The sergeant, when putting his recruits 
through their manual and platoon, finds it neces- 
sary to refer to a book. When the pupils are not 
sufficiently attentive, a spiteful wring of the ear, 
or poke between the shoulders, reminds them of 
their duty. To do justice to their spirit, we seldom 
saw such admonition received in silence ; generally, 
it was followed by the description of dialogue 
affected by two irritated fishwives. So much for 
the outward signs of discipline. As regards the 
efiects of drill, the loose, careless, and draggling 
way in which the men stand and move, would be 
the death of a real English martinet. "We could 
not help smiling at the thought of how certain 
friends of ours who, after a march of fifteen miles, 
will keep an unhappy regiment ordering and 



shouldering arms for half an hour in front of their 
tents, would behave themselves, if called to com- 
mand such corps. 

Till latel}^, no books of tactics have been pub- 
lished for the instruction of the Goanese army. 
At present there are several, chiefly elementary, 
and translated from the English and French. The 
manual and platoon, the sword exercise, and other 

small works were prepared by ]\Iajor G n, an 

ofl[icer and linguist of some talent. We saw few 
publications upon the subject of military law. 
Courts-martial are rare compared with the absurd 
number yearly noted in the annals of the Indian 
army, where a boy of eighteen scarcely ever com- 
mits a fault for which he would be breeched at 
school, without being solemnly tried upon the charge 
of " conduct highly unbecoming an oflficer and a 

To conclude the subject of the Goanese army, 
it is evident that there are two grand flaws in its 
composition. The oiEcers are compelled to be 
scientific, not practical men, and the soldiers are 
half-drilled. This propensity for mathematics is, 
of course, a European importation. Beginning with 
France, it has spread over the Western Continent 
till at last, like sundry other new-fangled fashions, 


it has been seized upon and applied to the British 
army. AYhj a captain commanding a company, or 
a colonel in charge of a battalion, should be required 
to have Geometry, History, and Geography at his 
fingers' ends, we cannot exactly divine. With 
respect to drill, it may be remarked that, when 
imperfectly taught, it is worse than useless to the 
soldier. We moderns seem determined to dis- 
courage the personal prowess, gymnastics, and the 
perpetual practice of weapons in which our fore- 
fathers took such pride. We are right to a certain 
extent : the individual should be forced to feel that 
his safety lies in acting in concert with others. At 
the same time, in our humble opinion, they carry 
the principle too far who would leave him destitute 
of the means of defending himself when obliged 
to act singly. How many good men and true have 
we lost during the late wars, simply in consequence 
of our neglecting to instruct them in the bayonet 
exercise! And may not this fact in some wise 
account for the difficulty experienced of late by 
disciplined troops in contending with semi-civilised 
tribes, whose military studies consist of athletic 
exercises which prepare the body for hardship and 
fatigue, and the skilful use of weapons that ensures 
success in single combat '{ The English, Frencli, 

H 2 


and Russians have, within the last fifteen years, all 
suffered more or less severely from the undrilled 
valour, and the irregular attacks of the Aflfghans, 
Arabs, and Circassians. 

Young aspirants to the honours which Justinian 
gives, have no public schools to frequent, nor can 
they study gratis. In a community which so deci- 
dedly prefers coppers to knowledge, this is per- 
haps one of the most judicious measures imagin- 
able for limiting the number of this troublesome 
order. The law students frequent private establish- 
ments at Margao, and a course of two years is 
generally considered sufficient to qualify them for 
practice. After a very superficial examination in 
the presence of a committee composed of two judges 
and a president, they receive, if found competent, 
a diploma, and proceed to seek employment in one 
of the courts. 

Justice at Goa, as in British India, seems to have 
adapted herself to the peculiarities of the country 
much better than one might have expected from a 
character so uncompromising as hers is generally 
represented to be. The great difference between 
us and the Portuguese is, that whereas we shoot 
and hang upon the authority of our civil and mili- 
tary courts, no Goanese can be brought to the 


gallows till the death-warrant, bearing her majesty's 
signature, arrives from Europe, — a pleasant state of 
suspense for the patient ! Murder and sacrilege are 
the only crimes which lead to capital punishment ; 
for lesser offences, criminals are transported to the 
Mozambique, or imprisoned in the jail — a dirty 
building, originally intended for a Mint — or simply 
banished from Goa. 

Those covetous of the riches which Galen is said 
to grant, are prepared for manslaughter — to use a 
Persian phrase — by a course of five years' study. 
They are expected to attend lectures every day, 
except on Thursdays and Sundays, the principal 
religious festivals, and a long vacation that lasts 
from the fifteenth of March to the middle of June. 
On the first of April every year, the students are 
examined, and two prizes are given. The professors 
are four in number, three surgeons and one phy- 
sician, together with two assistants. The course 
commences with Anatomy and Physiology ; during 
the second year Materia Medica and Pharmacy are 
studied ; the surgical and chemical branches of the 
profession occupy the third ; and the last is devoted 
to Pathology and Medical Jurisprudence. The hos- 
pital must be visited every day during the latter 
half of the course. It is a large edifice, situated 


at the west end of the town, close to the sea, but 
by no means, we should imagine, in a favourable 
position for health, as a channel of fetid mud 
passes close under the walls. The building can 
accommodate about three hundred patients and is 
tolerably but not scrupulously clean. It contains 
two wards, one for surgical, the other for medical 
cases, a chapel, an apartment for sick prisoners and 
a variety of different lecture-rooms. After his four 
years of study, the pupil is examined, and either 
rejected or presented with a diploma and permis- 
sion to practise. 

The elementary works upon the subjects of 
Anatomy and Materia Medica are, generally speak- 
ing, Portuguese ; the proficient, however, is com- 
pelled to have recourse to French books, which have 
not been translated into his vernacular tongue. 
The English system of medicine is universally 
execrated, and very justly. Dieting, broths, and 
ptisanes, cure many a native whose feeble constitu- 
tion would soon sink beneath our blisters, calomel, 
bleeding, and drastic purges. As might be ex- 
pected, all the modern scientific refinements, or 
quackeries, are known here only by name. We 
were surprised, however, by the general ignorance 
of the properties of herbs and simples — a primitive 


science in which the native of India is, usually 
speaking, deeply read. 

The principal Oriental tongues studied by the 
early Portuguese in their mania for converting the 
heathens were the Malabar, Maharatta, Ethiopic, 
and Japanese, the dialects of Congo, and the 
Canary Isles, the Hebrew, and the Arabic. The 
Portuguese Jews, in the fifteenth century, were cele- 
brated for their proficiency in Biblical, Talmudic, 
and Rabbinical lore ; and the work of Joao de 
Souza, entitled, " Documentos Arabics de Historia 
Portugueza copiades dos originaes da Torre do' 
Tombo," is a fair specimen of Orientalism, consider- 
ing the early times in which it was composed. Of 
late years, Portuguese zeal for propagating the faith, 
depressed by poverty, and worn out by the slow 
and sure spiritual vis inertice, which the natives 
of the East have opposed to the pious efforts of 
Modern Europe, appears to have sunk into the last 
stage of decline, and with it their ancient ardour 
for the study of so many, and, in some cases, 
such unattractive languages. 

Our case is very different from theirs. In addi- 
tion to religious incentives, hundreds of our nation 
have more solid and powerful inducements to labour 


held out to tliem. We fondly hope and believe 
that the days are passed when Oriental study and 
ruin were almost synonymous. Within the last 
few years we have more or less facilitated the ac- 
quisition, and rifled the literature of between thirty 
and forty eastern dialects — a labour of which any 
nation might be proud. Our industry, too, is ap- 
parently still unabated. Societies for the trans- 
lation and publication of new works. Oriental 
libraries ; and, perhaps, the most useful step of 
all, the lithographic process, which has lately sup- 
planted the old and unseemly moveable types, are 
fast preparing a royal road for the Oriental learner. 
It may be observed that the true means of pro- 
moting the study is to diminish its laboriousness, 
and still more its expense. So far we have been 
uncommonly successful. For instance, an excellent 
and correct lithograph of Mirkhond's celebrated his- 
tory, the " Rauzat el Safa," may now be bought for 
3/. or 4/. ; a few years ago the student would have 
paid probably 70/. or 80/. for a portion of the same 
work in the correct MS. 

At the same time we quite concur in the opinion 
of the eminent Orientalist,"' who declared, ex ca- 
thedra, that our literary achievements in this branch 
* The translator of Ibn Batuta's Travels. 


bear no flattering proportion to the vastness of 
our means as a nation. It is true, to quote one 
of many hard cases, that we must send to Ger- 
many or Russia for grammars and publications in 
the Affghan language, although the country lies 
at our very doors. But the cause of this is the 
want of patronage and assistance, not any defici- 
ency in power or ability. There are many un- 
known D'Herbelots in India, unfortunately Eng- 
land has not one Ferdinand. '" 

* Ferdinand, the second Duke of Tuscany, was the muni- 
ficent patron of the father of Western Orientalism. 

H .5 




At a time when public attention is so deeply 
interested in the twin subjects of colonization and 
conversion, some useful lessons may be derived 
from the miserable state of the celebrated Por- 
tuguese settlement ; even though our present and 
their past positions be by no means parallel in 
all points, and though a variety of fortuitous cases, 
such as the pestilence and warfare which led to 
their decadence, cannot or may not affect our more 
extended Indian empire. 

The Portuguese, it must be recollected, generally 
speaking, contented themselves with seizing the dif- 
ferent lines of sea-coast, holding them by means of 
forts, stations, and armed vessels, and using them 
for the purpose of monopolising the export and 
import trade of the interior. In the rare cases 
when they ventured up the country they made 


a point of colonising it. We, on the contrary, 
have hitherto acted upon the principle of subju- 
gating whole provinces to our sway, and such has 
been our success, that not only the Christian, but 
even the heathen, sees the finger of Providence 
directing our onward course of conquest. 

Of late years, climates supposed to be favourable 
to the European constitution, such as the Neilgherry 
hills and the lower slopes of the Himalayas, have 
been discovered, tested, and approved of. Deter- 
mined to make use of them, our legislators have 
taken the wise step of establishing barracks for the 
British soldiery in places where they may live in 
comparative health and comfort during peaceful 
times, and yet be available for immediate active 
service, whenever and wherever their presence may 
be required. 

But we are not willing to stop here, we argue 
that such salubrious and fertile tracts of country 
would form excellent permanent settlements for 
half-pay officers, pensioners, worn-out soldiers, and 
others, who prefer spending the remainder of 
their days in the land of their adoption. Here, 
then, we have the proposed beginning of a 

To the probability of extensive success, or public 


utility in such a scheme, there are two important 

In the first place, supposing the offspring of the 
colonists to be of pure European blood, we must 
expect them to degenerate after the second genera- 
tion. All who have sojourned long in the southern 
parts of Europe, such as Italy or Spain, must have 
remarked the deleterious effects of a hot and dry 
climate upon a race that thrives only in a cold and 
damp one. An English child brought up in Italy 
is, generally speaking, more sickly, more liable to 
nervous and hepatic complaints, and, consequently, 
more weakened in mind as well as body, than 
even the natives of the country. If this remark 
hold true in the South of Europe, it is not likely 
to prove false in tropical latitudes. 

But, secondly, if acting upon Albuquerque's fatal 
theory, we encourage intermarriage with the natives 
of the country, such colony would be Avorse than 
useless to us. We cannot but think that the 
Hindoos are the lowest branch of the Caucasian or 
Iranian family ; and, moreover, that, contrary to 
what might be expected, any intermixture of blood 
with the higher classes of that same race produces 
a still inferior development. Some have accounted 
for the mental inferiority of the mixed breed by 


a supposed softness or malformation of the brain, 
others argue that the premature depravity and 
excess to which they are prone, enervate their 
bodies, and, consequently, affect their minds. What- 
ever may be the cause of the phenomenon its ex- 
istence is, we humbly opine, undeniable. Neither 
British nor Portuguese India ever produced a half- 
caste at all deserving of being ranked in the typical 
order of man. 

Our empire in the East has justly been described 
as one of opinion, that is to say, it is founded upon 
the good opinion entertained of us by the natives, 
and their bad opinion of themselves. In the old 
times of the Honourable East India Company, when 
no Englishman or Englishwoman was permitted to 
reside in India, without formal permission, the 
people respected us more than they do now. Ad- 
mitting this assertion, it is not difficult to account 
for the reason why, of late years, a well-appointed 
British force has more than once found it difficult 
to defeat a rudely-drilled Indian array. We are 
the same men we were in the days of Clive and 
Cornwallis ; the people of India are not ; formerly 
they fought expecting to be defeated, now they enter 
the field flushed with hopes of success. We can- 
not but suspect that the lower estimate they have 


formed of their antagonists has more to do with 
their increased formidableness, than any other of 
the minor causes to which it is usually attributed. 
But if not contented with exposing individuals to 
their contempt, we offer them whole colonies, we 
may expect to incur even greater disasters. Every 
' one knows that if the people of India could be 
c unanimous for a day they might sweep us from 
their country as dust before a whirlwind. There 
is little danger of their combining so long as they 
dread us. Such fear leads to distrust ; every man 
knows himself, and, consequently, suspects his neigh- 
bour, to be false. Like the Italians in their late war 
of independence the cry of tradimento (treachery) 
is sufficient to paralyse every arm, however critical 
be the hour in which it is raised. So it is in India. 
But their distrust of each other, as well as their 
respect for us, is founded entirely upon their fear 
of our bayonets. 

In whatever way, then, we propose to populate 
our settlement, we place ourselves in a position of 
equal difficulty and danger. Such colonies would, 
like Goa, be born with the germs of sure and speedy 
decline, and well for our Indian empire in general, 
if the contagious effects of their decay did not 
extend far and wide through the land. 


The conversion of the natives of India to Chris- 
tianity has of late years become a species of ex- 
citement in our native country, and, consequently, 
many incorrect, prejudiced and garbled statements of 
the progress and success of the good work have gone 
forth to the world. Not a few old Indians returned 
home, have been very much surprised by hearing 
authentic accounts and long details of effectual 
missionary labour which they certainly never wit- 
nessed. Our candour may not be appreciated — it 
is so difficult for the enthusiastic to avoid running 
down an opinion contrary to their own — we can- 
not, however, but confess that some years spent in 
Western India have convinced us that the results 
hitherto obtained are utterly disproportionate to 
the means employed for converting the people. 
Moreover, study of the native character forces us 
to doubt whether anything like success upon a 
grand scale can ever reasonably be anticipated. We 
have often heard it remarked by those most con- 
versant with the deep-rooted prejudices and the 
fanatic credulity of the Hindoos that with half 
the money and trouble we have lavished upon them 
they could have made double the number of con- 
verts to their heathenism in Europe. 

The splendid success of the Portuguese in con- 


verting the Hindoos, was owing to two main causes, 
the first, their persecution,* which compelled many 
natives to assume European names, adopt the dress, 
manners, and customs of the West, and gradually to 
lapse, if we may use the expression, into Chris- 
tianity. After once entering a church, the prose- 
lytes were under the strict surveillance of the 
Inquisition, who never allowed a " new Christian " 
to apostatize without making a signal example of 
him. In the second place, the Portuguese sent out 
in all directions crowds of missionaries, who, as 
Tavernier informs us, assumed the native dress, and 
taught under the disguise of Jogees and other 
Hindoo religious characters, a strange, and yet 
artful mixture of the two faiths. That these indi- 
viduals sacrificed the most vital points of their 
religion to forward the end they proposed to them- 
selves, we have ample proof; at the same time that 
they were eminently successful, is equally well 
known. The virulent animosity that existed be- 
tween the Jesuits and Jansenists disclosed to asto- 
nished Europe the system of adaptation adopted by 

* When Vasco de Gama returned to India, part of his 
freight was " eight Franciscan friars, eight chaplains, and one 
chaplain major, who were instructed to begin by preaching 
and, if that failed, to proceed to the decision of the sword." 


the former, and Benedict XIV., by a violent bull, 
put an end at once to their unjustifiable means, and 
their consequent successfulness of conversion.'"" 

We bj no means mean to insinuate that our 
holy faith is unfavourable to the development 
or progression of the human species. Still it can- 
not be concealed that, generally speaking, through- 
out the East the Christian is inferior, as regards 
strength, courage, and principle to the average of 
the tribes which populate that part of the world. 
His deficiency of personal vigour may be accounted 
for by the use of impure meats, and the spirituous 
liquors in which he indulges. The w^ant of cere- 
monial ablutions, also, undoubtedly tends to dete- 
riorate the race. It may be observed, that from 
Zoroaster and Moses downwards, no founder of an 
Eastern faith has ever omitted to represent his 
dietetic or ablusive directions as inspired decrees, 
descending from Heaven. Care applied to public 
health, ensures the prosperity of a people, especially 
amongst semi-barbarous races, where health engen- 
ders bodily vigour, strength begets courage, and 
bravery a rude principle of honour. 

* The curious reader will find the subject of Jesuitical con- 
version in India most ably treated in Sir J. E. Tennent's late 
work on " Christianity in Ceylon." 


What Goa has done may serve as a lesson to 
us. She compelled or induced good Hindoos and 
Moslems to become bad Christians. The conse- 
quence has been the utter degeneracy of the breed, 
who have been justly characterized by our House 
of Commons as " a race the least respected and re- 
spectable, and the least fitted for soldiers of all the 
tribes that diversify the populous country of India." 

In conclusion, we have only to inform our reader 
that the opinions thus boldly proposed to him are, 
we believe, those entertained by many of the acutest 
judges of native character and native history. It 
is easy to understand why they are not more often 
offered to public attention. 

After addressing a note to the Secretary for per- 
mission to leave Goa, we set out in quest of a 
conveyance ; and deeply we had to regret that we 
did not retain our old pattimar. The owners of 
vessels, knowing that we must pay the price they 
asked, and seeing that we were determined to 
migrate southwards, became extortionate beyond 
all bounds. At last we thought ourselves happy 
to secure a wretched little boat for at least 
double the usual hire. After duly taking leave 
of our small circle of acquaintances, we transferred 


ourselves and luggage on board the San Ignacio 
awaiting the pleasure of the Tindal — a hard- 
featured black Portuguese — to quit the land of 
ruins and cocoa trees. Before preparing for rest 
we went through the usual ceremony of muster- 
ing our crew, and ascertaining the probable hour 
of our departure : we presently found, as we might 
have guessed, that they were all on shore except a 
man and a diminutive boy, and that consequently 
we were not likely to weigh anchor before 2 a.m., 
at least five hours later than was absolutely neces- 
sary. As we felt no desire to encounter the various 
Egyptian plagues of the cabin, we ordered a table 
to be placed under the awning, and seated ourselves 
upon the same with the firm determination of being 
as patient and long-sufiering as possible. 

The night was a lovely one — fair and cool 
as ever made amends for a broiling and glaring 
April day in these detestable latitudes. A more 
beautiful sight, perhaps, was never seen than the 
moon rising like a ball of burnished silver through 
the deep azure of the clear sky, and shedding 
her soft radiance down the whole length of the 
Rio. The little villages almost hidden from view 
by the groves of impending trees, whose heads 
glistened as if hoar-frost had encrusted them ; the 


solemn forms of the towering churches, the ruins 
of Old Goa dimlj perceptible in the far distance, 
and nearer, Panjim, lying in darkness under the 
shadow of the hills, all looked delightfully tranquil 
and peaceful. Besides, we were about to bid adieu 
to scenes in which we had spent a pleasant hour or 
two, and they are epochs in the traveller's life, 
these farewells to places or faces we admire. Will 
then the reader wonder if we confess that, under 
the circumstances of the case, we really had no 
resource but to feel poetically disposed? And, as 
happens in such cases, the Demon of Doggrel em- 
boldened by the presence of those two kindred 
spirits, the naughty Herba Nicotiana and the im- 
modest " Naiad of the Phlegethontic Eill Cogniac," 
tempted us so long and sorely, that he at last suc- 
ceeded in causing us to perpetrate the following 


Adieu, fair land, deep silence reigns 
O'er hills and dales and fertile plains ; 
Save when the soft and fragrant breeze 
Sighs through the groves of tufted trees ; 
Or the rough breakers' distant roar, 
Is echoed by the watery shore. 
Whilst gazing on the lovely view, 
How grating sounds the word " adieu ! " ■ 
What tongue 


Aye, what tongue indeed 1 In an instant the 
demon fled, as our crew, in the last stage of roaring 
intoxication, scaled the side of what we were about 
poetically to designate our " bark." A few minutes' 
consideration convinced us that energetic measures 
must be adopted if we wished to restore order or 
quiet. In vain were the efforts of our eloquence ; 
equally useless some slight preliminary exertions of 
toe and talon. At last, exasperated by the failure, 
and perhaps irritated by thinking of the beautiful 
lines we might have indited but for the inopportune 
interruption, we ventured to administer a rapid 
succession of small double raps to the Tindal's 
shaven and cocoanut-like pericranium. The wretch 
ceased his roaring, rose from off his hams, and after 
regarding us for a minute with a look of intense 
drunken ferocity, precipitated himself into the 
water. Finding the tide too strong for him he 
iDegan to shriek like a dying pig ; his crew shouted 
because he shouted, sympathetically yelled the 
sailors in the neighbouring boats, and the sentinels 
on shore began to give the alarm. Never, perhaps, 
has there been such confusion at Goa since the 
Maharatta rode round her walls. Up rushed the 
harbour master, the collector of customs, the mili- 
tary, and the police — even his Excellency the 


Governor General of all the Indies, did not deem 
it beneath his dignity to quit the palace for the 
purpose of ascertaining what had caused the tur- 
moil. The half-drowned wretch, when hurried into 
the high presence, declared, in extenuation of his 
conduct, that he had imprudently shipped on board 
the San Ignacio, an Inglez or Englishman, who had 
deliberately commenced murdering the crew the 
moment they came on board. The Governor, how- 
ever, seeing the truth of things, ordered him imme- 
diately to be placed in the nearest quarter guard 
till midnight, at which time it was calculated that, 
by virtue of the ducking, he might be sober enough 
to set sail. 

As we rapidly glided by the Castle of Agoada, all 
our crew stood up, and with hands reverentially 
upraised, said their prayers. They did not, how- 
ever, pay much respect to the patron saint of the 
boat, whose image, a little painted doll, in a wooden 
box, occupied a conspicuous position in the " cuddy." 
A pot of oil with a lighted wick was, it is true, 
regularly placed before him every night to warn the 
vermin against molesting so holy a personage : the 
measure, however, failed in success, as the very first 
evening we came on board, a huge rat took his 
station upon the saint's back and glared at us, 


stretching his long sharp snout over the unconscious 
San Ignacio's head. One evening, as the weather 
appeared likely to be squally, we observed that the 
usual compliment was not offered to the patron, 
and had the curiosity to inquire why. 

" Why 1 " vociferated the Tindal indignantly, " if 
that chap can't keep the sky clear, he shall have 
neither oil nor wick from me, d — n him ! " 

" But I should have supposed that in the hour 
of danger you would have paid him more than 
usual attention 1 " 

" The fact is. Sahib, I have found out that the 
fellow is not worth his salt : the last time we had 
an infernal squall with him on board, and if he 
doesn't keep this one off, I '11 just throw him over- 
board, and take to Santa Caterina: hang me, if 
I don't — the brother-in-law !" * 

And so saying the Tindal looked ferocious 
things at the placid features of San Ignacio. 

The peculiar conformation of our captain's mind, 
recalled to memory a somewhat similar phenomenon 
which we noticed in our younger days. We were 
toiling up a steep and muddy mountain-road over 
the Apennines, on foot, to relieve our panting steeds, 
whom the vetturino was fustigating, con amore, at 

* A common term of insult. 


the same time venting fearful imprecations upon 
the soul of Sant' Antonino Piccino, or the younger. 

At length, tired of hearing the cadet so defamed, 
we suggested that our friend should address a few 
similar words to the other Sant' Antonino — the 

" The elder ! " cried the vetturino, aghast with 
horror. " Oh, 'per Bacco die hestemmia — what a 
blasphemy ! No, I daren't abuse His Sanctity ; but 
as for this little riifiano of a younger, I Ve worn 
his portrait these ten years, and know by this time 
that nothing is to be got out of him without hard 

On the fourth day after our departure from 
Panjim, a swarm of canoes full of fishermen, 
probably the descendants of the ancient Malabar 
pirates, gave us happy tidings of speedy arrival. 
They were a peculiar-looking race dressed in head- 
gear made of twisted palm leaves, and looking 
exactly as if an umbrella, composed of matting, 
had been sewn on to the top of a crownless hat 
of the same material. 

And now we are in the ]\Ialabar seas. 




Can those three or four bungalows, with that 
stick-like light-house between them and the half- 
dozen tiled and thatched roofs peeping from amongst 
the trees, compose Calicut — the city of world-wide 
celebrity, which immortalised herself by giving a 
name to calico 1 

Yes ; but when we land we shall find a huge 
mass of huts and hovels, each built in its own 
yard of cocoas with bazaars, vast and peculiar- 
looking mosques, a chapel or two, courts and 
cutcherries, a hospital, jail, barracks, and a variety 
of bungalows. Seen from the sea, all the towns 
on this coast look like straggling villages, with a 
background of distant blue hill," and a middle 

* The mountains distinctly visible from the sea off Calicut, 
in clear weather, are the Koondah range of the Neilgherries, 
or Blue Hills. 



space of trees, divided by a strip of sand from the 
watery plain, 
, Calicut is no longer the 

Cidade — nobre e rica * 
described by Camoens' tuneful muse. Some, indeed, 
declare that the present city is not the one alluded 
to in the Lusiad. There is a tradition amongst 
the natives of the country, that the ancient Calicut 
was merged beneath the waves ; but in the East, 
tradition is always a terrible romancer. So we 
will still continue to believe that here old De Gama 
first cast anchor and stepped forth from his weather- 
beaten ship, at the head of his mail-clad warriors, 
upon the land of promise. 

D'Anville assigns two dates to the foundation of 
Calicut, the earlier one f — a.d. 805 — will suit his- 
torical purposes sufficiently well. There is nothing 
to recommend the position selected. During the mon- 
soon, no vessel can approach the anchorage-ground 
with safety, and even in the fine season many have 
been wrecked upon the reefs of rocks which line the 
coast. Very little wind suffices to raise the surf : 
Nature has made no attempt at a harbour, and the 
ships lying in an open roadstead, are constantly liable 

* " Noble and wealthy city." 
t The later is a.d. 907. 


to be driven on the sand and mud-banks around 
them. Tippoo Sultan — a very long-headed indi- 
vidual, by the bye — saw the defects of the situation, 
and determining to remove the town about six miles 
southward to the mouth of the Beypoor, or Arricode 
river, where a natural port exists, adopted the 
energetic measure of alm.ost destroying the old city, 
that the inhabitants might experience less regret 
in leaving their homes. The Moslem emperor re- 
garded Calicut with no peculiar good-will. He and 
his subjects were perpetually engaged in little 
squabbles, which by no means tended to promote 
kindly feeling between them.* On one occasion, 
offended by the fanaticism of the Nair and Tiyar 
Hindoos, their ruler pulled down almost every 
pagoda in the place, and with the stones erected 
a splendid tank in the middle of the large open 
space where the travellers' bungalow now stands. 

* In 1788, Tippoo was induced by ill-timed zeal or mistaken 
policy to order the circumcision and conversion of the Malabar 
Hindoos, and compelled the Brahmans to eat beef, as an example 
to the other inferior castes. A general insurrection of the op- 
pressed was the natural consequence of the oppressive measure. 

Tradition asserts that there was a forcible but partial cir- 
cumcision of the natives of Malabar by the people of Arabia 
long before Hyder's time. So the grievance was by no means 
a new one. 

I 2 


Tippoo unfortunately failed in this project of re- 
moval, and when the British became supreme in 
Malabar, the natives all returned to their ancient 
haunts. Calicut, for many reasons, is not likely to 
be deserted under the present rule : it is the point 
to which all the lines of road which intersect the 
country converge ; besides it would now scarcely be 
worth our while to bring about so violent a change 
for the purpose of eventual improvement. 

When old Nelkunda began to decline, Calicut 
rose to importance, probably in consequence of its 
])eing in very early times the metropolis of the 
Samiry Rajah (the Zamorin of Camoens), lord para- 
mount of Malabar. Shortly after the origin of 
Islam, it was visited and colonised by thousands of 
Arabs,'"" who diffused energy and activity throughout 

* Who, it may be observed, are the navigators and traders 
j)ar excellence of the Eastern w^orld. The Jews and Phoeni- 
cians generally confined themselves to the Mediterranean and 
the parts about the Red Sea. The Turks were an inland 
nation ; the Hindoos have ever been averse to any but coast- 
ing voyages, and the religion of Zoroaster forbade its followers 
to cross the seas. But the Arab is still what he was — the 
facile princeps of Oriental sailors. 

As a proof of how strong the followers of Mohammed mus- 
tered on the Malabar coast, we may quote Barthema, who 
asserts, that when the Portuguese landed at Calicut, they 
found not less than fifteen thousand of them settled there. 


the land. As trade increased, Calicut throve be- 
cause of its centrical position between the countries 
east and west of Cape Comorin. Even in the pre- 
sent day, although Goa, and subsequently Bombay, 
have left the ancient emporium of Western India 
but little of its former consequence, commerce'''" still 
continues to flourish there. The export is brisker 
tlian the import trade : the latter consists princi- 
pally^ of European piece goods and metals, the 
former comprises a vast variety of spices, drugs, 
valuable timber and cotton cloths. 

We will now take a walk through the town and 
remark its several novelties. Monuments of an- 
tiquity abound not here: the fort erected by the 
Portuguese has long since been level with the 
ground, and private bungalows occupy the sites of 
the old Dutch, French, and Danish factories. We 
shall meet few Europeans in the streets : there are 
scarcely twenty in this place, including all the 
varieties of civilians, merchants, missionaries, and 

Camoens also tells us how the friendly and disinterested plans 
of his hero were obstructed and thwarted by the power and 
influence of these infidel Moors. 

* Between September 1846 and May 1847^ no less than 
eighty ships, besides an immense number of pattimars and 
native craft touched at Calicut. 


the officers belonging to the two seapoj companies 
detached from the neighbouring station — Cana- 
nore. Most of the residents inhabit houses built 
upon an eminence about three miles to the north of 
the town ; others live as close as possible to the 
sea. A dreary life they must lead, one would 
suppose, especially during the monsoon, when the 
unhappy expatriated's ears are regaled by no other 
sounds but the pelting of the rain, the roaring of the 
blast, and the creaking of the cocoa trees, whilst a 
curtain of raging sea, black sky, and watery air, is 
all that meets his weary ken. 

The first thing we observe during our perambu- 
lation, is the want of the quadruped creation : there 
are no horses,"' sheep, or goats, and the cows are 
scarcely as large as English donkeys. >Secondly, the 
abundance of sore eyes, produced, it is supposed 
by the offensive glare and the peculiar effect of 
the sun's rays, which in these regions are insuffer- 
able even to the natives of other Indian provinces. 
The population apparently regards us with no 
/ friendly feeling, Moslem and Hindoo, all have scowls 
upon their faces, and every man, moreover, carries 

* Arab and other valuable horses cannot stand the climate, 
— a Pegu pony is the general monture. The sheep intended 
for consumption are brought down from Mysore. 


a knife conveniently slung to his waistband. Those 
dark-faced gentlemen, in imitation European dresses, 
are familiar to our eyes : they are Portuguese, not, 
however, from Goa, but born, bred, and likely to be 
buried at Calicut. A little colony, of fifty or sixty 
families of the race is settled here ; they employ 
themselves either in commerce, or as writers in the 
different government offices. 

The bazaars appear to be well stocked with every- 
thing but vegetables and butcher's meat, these two 
articles being as scarce and bad as the poultry ; fish 
and fruit are plentiful and good. The shops are 
poor ; there is not a single Parsee or European 
store in the town, so that all supplies must be 
procured from the neighbouring stations. Every- 
where the houses are much more comfortably and 
substantially built than in the Bombay presidency ; 
the nature of the climate requires a good roof, and 
as much shade on and around it as possible : the 
streets and roads, also, look civilised compared with 
the narrow and filthy alleys of our native towns 
in general. But we shall find little amusement in 
inspecting the mass of huts and hovels, mosques 
and schools, gardens and tanks, so we might as well 
prolong our stroll beyond the town, and visit the 
venerable pagoda of Varkool. 


It is, you see, a building by no means admirable 
in point of outward appearance ; the roof is tiled, 
and there is little to excite your curiosity in the 
woodwork. Its position is remarkable — perched 
upon the summit of a pile of laterite rock rising 
abruptly from a level expanse of sand. But it is 
great, very great, in its historical importance. That 
edifice was one of the hundred and eight Maha 
Chaitrum, or temples of the first order, built by the 
demigod Parasu Rama, upon this coast, and dedi- 
cated to the Hindoo Triad. Equally notable it is 
for sanctity. Early in the month of October, water 
appears bubbling from a fissure of the rock, and 
this, learned Brahmans, by what test we know 
not, have determined to be the veritable fluid of the 
Ganges, which, passing under ground,* via Central 
India, displays itself regularly once a year to the 
devotees of Rama. Kindly observe that there is a 
crowd of Nairs gathered round the temple, and that 
some petty prince, as we may know by his retinue 
of armed followers, is visiting the shrine. We will 
not venture in, as the Hindoos generally in this 
part of the world, and the Nairs particularly, are 
accustomed to use their knives with scant ceremony. 

* Subterraneous streams are still as common in India as 
they were in heathen Greece and Italy. 


Besides, just at present, they are somewhat in a 
state of excitement : they expect a partial eclipse 
of the moon, and are prepared to make all the noise 
they can, with a view of frightening away the wicked 
monster, Rahu, who is bent upon satisfying his 
cannibal appetites with the lucid form of poor 


The present Samiry Rajah is a proud man, who 
shuns Europeans, and discourages their visiting him 
on principle. Wishing, however, to see some sample 
of the regal family, we called upon a cadet of the 
house of Yelliah, an individual of little wealth or 
influence, but more sociable than the high and 
mighty Mana Vikram.* After a ride of about 
three miles, through lanes lined with banks of 
laterite, and over dykes stretching like rude cause- 
ways along paddy fields invested with a six-foot 
deep coating of mud, we arrived at the village of 
Mangaon. The Rajah was apparently resolved to 
receive us with all the honours : a caparisoned 
elephant stood at the gate of the " palace," and a 
troop of half-naked Nairs, armed as usual, crowded 
around to receive us. We were ushered through 
a succession of courts and gateways — the former 
full of diminutive, but seemingly most pugnacious 

* The dynastical name of the Samiry. 

I 5 


COWS — and at last, ascending a long flight of dark 
and narrow steps, suddenly found ourselves in the 
" presence." Our Kajah was a little dark man, 
injudiciously attired in a magnificent coat of gold 
cloth, a strangely-shaped cap of the same material, 
and red silk tights. The room was small, and 
choked with furniture ; chairs, tables, clocks, 
drawers, washing-stands, boxes, book-shelves, and 
stools, were arranged, or rather piled up around 
it, with all the effect of an old curiosity-shop. 
The walls exhibited a collection of the cheap- 
est and worst of coloured prints — our late 
gracious queen dangling in dangerous proximity 
to the ferocious-looking Beau Sabreur, and La 
Belle Americaine occupied in attentively scrutinis- 
ing certain diminutive sketches of Richmond Hill, 
and other localities, probably torn out of some 
antiquated Annual. Our host met us a I'Anglaise 
— that is to say, with a warm, moist, and friendly 
squeeze of the hand : he was profuse in compli- 
ments, and insisted upon our sitting on the sofa 
opposite his chair. With the assistance of an in- 
terpreter — for the Eajah understands little Hindo- 
stani, and we less Malayalim — some twenty minutes 
were spent in conversation, or rather in the usual 
exchange of questions and answers which composes 


the small- talk of an Oriental visit. Presently we 
arose and took polite leave of our host, who accom- 
panied us as far as the door of his little den : the 
regal rank and dignity forbidding him to pass the 
threshold. Not a little shuffling and shrieking was 
caused by our turning a corner suddenly and meet- 
ing in the gateway a crowd of dames belonging 
to the palace. They and their attendants appeared 
as much annoyed as we were gratified to catch a 
sight of Nair female beauty. The ladies were very 
young and pretty — their long jetty tresses, small '^ 
soft features, clear dark olive-coloured skins, and 
delicate limbs, reminded us exactly of the old prints 
and descriptions of the South Sea Islanders. Their 
toilette, in all save the ornamental part of rings and 
necklaces, was decidedly scanty. It was the same 
described by old Capt. Hamilton, who, when intro- 
duced at the Court of the Samorin, observed that 
the queen and her daughters were " all naked above 
the waist, and barefooted." 

People are fond of asserting that native preju- 
dices are being rapidly subjugated by the strong 
arm of English civilization. We could instance 
numerous proofs of the contrary being the case. 
Two hundred years ago the white man was al- ^ 
lowed to look upon a black princess in the pre- 


sence of her husband. How long will it be 
before such privilege will ever be extended to 
him again in India ? 

On the way homewards our guide pointed out 
what he considered the great lion of Calicut. It 
is a square field, overgrown with grass and weeds 
and surrounded by a dense grove of trees. Front- 
ing the road stands a simple gateway, composed of 
one stone laid horizontally across two of the same 
shape, planted perpendicularly in the ground. Not 
detecting instantly any great marvel about the place 
we looked our curiosity for further information, 

" In days of old a strong fort, and a splendid 
palace adorned that spot — their only remains now 
those two mounds " — said the guide, pointing at 
what appeared to be the ruins of bastions — "and 
that raised platform of earth at the other end. 
Upon the latter a temporary festive building is 
erected whenever a Kajah is invested with the 
turban of regal dignity, in memory of the ancient 
dwelling-place of his ancestors, and the city which 
is now no more." 

We had half an hour to waste, and were not 
unwilling to hear a detailed account of old Cali- 
cut's apocryphal destruction. So we asked the man 


to point out its former site. He led us towards the 
shore, and called our attention to a reef of rocks 
lying close off the mouth of the little Kullai River ; 
thej were clearly discernible as it was then low 

" There," said the guide, — a good Hindoo, of 
course — " there lies the accursed city of Cherooman 
Rajah !" 

Our escort did not require much pressing to ease 
himself of a little legendary lore. After preparing 
his mouth for conversation by disposing of as much 
betel juice as was convenient, he sat down upon 
the ground near the log of wood occupied by our- 
selves, and commenced. 

" When Cherooman Rajah, the last and most pow- 
erful of our foreign governors, apostatizing from the 
holy faith of his forefathers, received the religion 
of the stranger, he went forth as a pilgrim to the 
land of the Arab, and dwelt there for several 
years, f 

* Captain Hamilton mentions his ship striking in six fa- 
thoms at the mainmast on some of the ruins of " the sunken 
town built by the Portuguese in former times.'' But he hesi- 
tates to determine whether the place was " swallowed up by 
an earthquake, as some affirm, or undermined by the sea." 

f A further account of Cherooman will be found in the 
twelfth chapter. Ferishteh, the celebrated JMoslem annalist, in- 


" Our ruler's return was signalized by a deter- 
mination to propagate the new belief throughout 
iAIalabar, and unusual success attended upon the 
well-planned system of persuasion and force adopted 
by him. Thousands of the slaves, the cultivators 
and the fishermen, became jMoslems, many of the 
N'airs, some of them men of high rank, and even a 
few of the Brahmans did not disdain to follow their 
prince's example. But the Numhoory '"' stood firm 
in his refusal to turn from the law of Brahma ; 
he not only toiled to counteract the monarch's 
influence, but on more than one occasion in solemn 
procession visited the palace, and denounced a curse 
upon the Rajah and people of Calicut if the prose- 
lytising continued, 

" At length the chieftain, irritated by tlie deter- 

forms us that the Rajah became a Mussulman in consequence 
of the pious exhortations of some Arab sailors who were driven 
into the port of Craganore. Captain Hamilton remarks that, 
" when the Portuguese first came to India, the Samorin of 
Calicut, who was lord paramount of Malabar, turned IMoslem 
in his dotage, and to show his zeal, went to Mecca on a 
pilgrimage, and died on the voyage." The tradition handed 
down amongst the Moslems is, that the Malabar Rajah became 
a convert to Islam in consequence of seeing the Shakk el- 
Kamar, or miraculous splitting of the moon by Mohammed, 
and that, warned by a dream, he passed over to Arabia. 
* See Chapter XII. 


rained opposition of the priesthood, and urged on 
by his Arab advisers, swore a mighty oath that he 
would forcibly convert his arch enemies. The per- 
son selected to eat impure meat as a warning to his 
brethren was the holy Sankaracharya, the high 
Brahman of the Varkool pagoda. 

"Slowly the old man's tottering frame bowed^ and 
trembling with age, moved down the double line of 
bearded warriors that crowded the audience-hall. 
At the further end of the room, upon the cushion 
of royalty, and surrounded by a throng of foreign 
counsellors, sat Cherooman, looking like a Rakshasa 
or Spirit of Evil. 

" Few words passed between the Brahman and the 
ruler. The threats of the latter, and the scoffs of 
his myrmidons, fell unheeded upon the old priest's 

" ' It is said that a Rajah is a sword in the hand 
of the Almighty — but thou, Cherooman, -art like the 
assassin's knife. Since thou art thus determined 
upon thine own destruction accompany me to the 
beach, and there, unless before sunset the dread 
Deity I adore vouchsafe to show thee a sign of his 
power, I will obey thine unhallowed orders.' 

" The Rajah mounted his elephant, and followed 
by his muftieS; his wuzeers, and guardsmen, moved 


slowly towards the brink of the briny wave. On 
foot and unattended, propping his faltering foot- 
steps with a sandal wand, the Brahman accompa- 
nied the retinue. And all the people of Calicut, 
whose leaning towards the new faith made them 
exult in the prospect of conversion being forced 
upon so revered a personage as the old priest, in- 
formed of the event, hurried down in thousands 
to the shore, and stood there in groups conversing 
earnestly, and sparing neither jest nor jibe at the 
contrast between the champions of the two rival 

" Sankaracharya sat down upon the sand where 
the small waves swelled and burst at his feet. Muf- 
fling his head in a cotton sheet removed from his 
shoulders, he drew the rosary bag over his right 
hand, and after enumerating the Deity's names 
upon his beads, proceeded to recite the charm of 

" Presently, a cloud no bigger than a man's hand 
rose like a sea-bird above the margin of the western 
main. It increased with preternatural growth, and 
before half an hour had elapsed it veiled the mid- 
day light of heaven, and spread over the sky like 
the glooms of night. A low moaning sound as of 
a rising hurricane then began to break the drear 


stillness of the scene, and fierce blasts to career 
wildly over the heaving bosom of the waters. 

" Still the Brahman continued his prayer. 

" Now huge billowy waves burst like thunder upon 
the yellow sands, the zig-zag lightning streaking the 
murky sky blinded the eyes, whilst the roar of the 
elements deafened the ears of the trembling crowd. 
Yet they stood rooted to the spot by a mightier 
power than they could control. The Rajah, on his 
elephant, and the beggar crawling upon his knees, 
all had prepared for themselves one common doom. 

" Before the bright car of Surya,'"" the Lord of Day, 
borne by its flaming steeds with agate hoofs, had 
entered upon their starry way, the wavelet was rip- 
pling, and the sea-gull flapping his snowy wing 
over the city of Cherooman the Apostate." 

* Surya, the Hindoo Phcebus. 




The province, now called Malabar, is part of 
the Kerula Rajya, the kingdom of Kerula, one of the 
fifty-six deshas, or regions, enumerated in ancient 
Hindoo history as forming the Bharata Khanda or 
Land of India. It is supposed to have been reco- 
vered from the sea by the sixth incarnation of 
Vishnu, who in expiation of a matricidal crime gave 
over to the Brahmans, particularly to those of the 
Moonsut tribe, the broad lands lying between Go- 
karna'" and Kanya Kumari, or Cape Comorin. The 
country is also known by the names of Malayalim, 
the "mountain land ;" Malangara and Cherun,t 

* Go-karna, the "Cow's- ear," a celebrated place of pilgrim- 
age in the Canara district. 

t Cherun or Chairim was one of the three kingdoms con- 
tained in South India; the other two were Sholum (Tanjore) 
and Pundium (Madura). 


from the Rajahs, who governed it at an early 
period. It is probably the kingdom of Pandion, 
described in the pages of the classical geographers. 

By Malabar we now understand the little tract 
bounded on the north by Canara, to the south by 
the province of Cochin, having Coorg and Mysore 
to the east, and washed by the waves of the Indian 
Ocean on the west. Marco Polo (thirteenth cen- 
tury)" speaks of it as a "great kingdom," and 
Linschoten (sixteenth century) describes it as ex- 
tending from Coraorin to Goa. The natives assert 
that the old Kerula Rajya was divided into sixty- 
four grama or districts, of which only eight are 
included in the present province of Malabar, f 

* We know not which to admire or to pity the more : this 
wonderful old traveller's accuracy and truthfulness, or the hard 
fate which gave him the nickname of Messer Marco Milioni. 
Tardy justice, however, has been done to his memory, and a 
learned Italian Orientalist, M. Romagnosi, now asserts, that 
from his adventurous wanderings "scaturirono tutte le specu- 
lazioni e teorie che condussero finalmente alia scoperta del 
Nuovo Mondo." 

f Paolino observes, that the term Malabar ought not to be 
deduced from the Arabic mala, a mountain, and bakr, a coast. 
And Paolino is right ; neither of those vocables are Arabic at 
all. The word is of Sanscrit origin, derived from mahja (T"^ 
a mountain generally, but particularity the ranges called by us 
the Western Ghauts), and var (^TT, a multitude). The Per- 


The whole of this part of the coast acquired an 
early celebrity from the valuable exports '"' which 
it dispersed over the Western World. Nelkunda, 
the chief port, is mentioned by Ptolemy and Pliny : 
and the author of the "Periplus" places it near 
Barake or Ela Barake, the roadstead where vessels 
lay at anchor till their cargoes were brought down 
to the sea. Major Rennell has identified the 
ancient Nelkunda with the modern Nelisuram, as 
the latter place is situated twelve miles up the 
Cangerecora River — a distance corresponding Avith 

sian word j^ (bar), used in compounds, as Zang-bar, the 
region of blacks, or Zanguebar, is palpably a corruption of the 
said var. Thus the original Sanscrit term malaya-desha, the 
mountain land, became in Persian and Arabic Malbar, or 
Malibar, and hence our Malabar. A late editor of Marco Polo's 
travels might have been more cautious than to assert that 
" the very term is Arabic." 

* Anciently described to be pepper, ivory, timber, and pearls. 
The three former articles are still produced in great abundance. 

We may here notice that Vincent translates 'i,v\a anyuXiva, 
" sandalwood," and supposes the word to have been originally 
written aai'CaXLya. He is wrong : the tectona grandis, or teak, 
called throughout Western India sag (cay), or sagwan, is al- 
luded to. So also (paXayyag o-T/o-a/xj/vai is rendered "ebony 
in large sticks," and in a note we are informed that it is a 
corrupt reading, that wood of some sort is meant, but that 
sesamum is a herb. The a-qaaii of the Greeks is manifestly 
the Indian sisam, or black tree. 


that specified in the " Periplus." Vincent acutely 
guesses Ela Barake to be the spot near Cananore, 
called by Marco Polo "Eli," and by us Delhi* 
— the " Ruddy Mountain " of the ancients. 

Malabar, from remote times, has been divided 
into two provinces, the northern and the southern : 
the Toorshairoo or Cottah River forming the line 
of demarcation. The general breadth of the 
country, exclusive of the district of Wynad, is 
about twenty-five miles, and there is little level 
ground. The soil is admirably fertile ; in the 
inland parts it is covered with clumps of bamboos, 
bananas, mangoes, jacktrees, and several species of 
palms. Substantial pagodas, and the prettiest pos-\ 
sible little villages crown the gentle eminences 
that rise above the swampy rice lands, and the 
valleys are thickly strewed with isolated cottages 
and homesteads, whose thatched roofs, overgrown 
with creepers, peep out from the masses of luxuriant 

* It is variously and incorrectly written Dely, Delly, 
D'illi, and Dilla. The mountain derives its present name from 
a celebrated Moslem fakir, Mahommed of Delhi, who died 
there, and is invoked by the sea-faring people of the coast. 
Its Hindoo appellation is Yeymullay. No stress therefore 
should be laid upon the resemblance between Mount Delhi 
and the Ela Barake of the Periplus. The identity of the two' 
places rests, hovvever, on good local evidence. 


vegetation, the embankments and the neat fences 
of split bamboo interlaced with thorns, that con- 
ceal them. Each tenement has its own croft 
planted with pepper, plantains, and the betel vine, 
with small tufts of cocoas, bamboos, and that most 
graceful species of the palm, the tall and feathery 
areca. These hamlets are infinitely superior in ap- 
pearance to aught of the kind we have ever seen 
in India ; the houses are generally built of brick 
or hewn stone and mortar, and those belonging 
to the wealthy have been copied from the Anglo- 
Indian bungalow. As the traveller passes he will 
frequently see the natives sitting at their doors 
upon chairs exactly as the rustics of Tuscany would 
do. The quantity of rain that annually falls* 
covers the ground with the bloom of spontaneous 
vegetation ; cocoa-trees rise upon the very verge 
where land ends, and in some places the heaps of 
sand that emerge a few feet from the surface of 
the sea, look bright with a cap of emerald hue. 
In consequence of the great slope of the country 
the heaviest monsoon leaves little or no trace 
behind it, so that lines of communication once 
formed are easily preserved. Generally speaking 

* Varying from eighty to one hundred and thirty-five inches 
per annum. 


the roads are little more than dykes running over 
the otherwise impassable paddy fields, and, during 
wet weather, those in the lower grounds are remark- 
ably bad. Some of the highways are macadamised 
with pounded laterite spread in thin layers upon 
the sand ; the material is found in great quantities 
about Calicut, and it makes an admirable monsoon 
road, as the rain affects it but little on account 
of its extreme hardness. The magnificent avenues 
of trees,* which shade the principal lines, are most 
grateful to man and beast in a tropical climate. 
On all of them, however, there is one great an- 
noyance, particularly during the monsoon, namely, 
the perpetual shifting to and from ferries f — an 

* Unhappily the banyan has been selected, a tree which, 
though sufficiently shady when its root-like branches are al- 
lowed to reach the ground, is comparatively valueless as a 
protection against the sun, when planted by a roadside. Also, 
it is easily overthrown by high winds, for, after a time, the 
long and tenacious roots that uphold it rot off, and the thin 
branches of young shoots that cling round the parent stem have 
not the power to support its weight. A third disadvantage in 
the banyan is, that in many places the boughs grow low, and 
a horseman's head is in perpetual danger. 

t The usual ferry-boat is a platform of planks lashed to 
two canoes, and generally railed round. We know not a more 
disagreeable predicament than half an hour's trip upon one of 
these vessels, with a couple of biting and kicking nags on board. 


operation rendered necessary by the network of 
lakes, rivers, and breakwaters, that intersects the 
country. A great public use could be made 
of these inconvenient streams : with very little 
cutting a channel of communication might be run 
down the coast, and thus the conveyance of goods 
would remain uninterrupted even during the pre- 
valence of the most violent monsoons. Water 
transit, we may observe, would be a grand boon 
here, as carts are rare, cattle transport is almost 
unknown, and the transmission of merchandise by 
means of coolies or porters is the barbarous, slow, 
and expensive method at present necessarily in 
general use. 

The practical husbandry of ]\Ialabar is essentially 
rude, and yet in few countries have we seen more 
successful cultivation. The plough is small, of 
simple form, and so light, that it merely scratches 
the ground ; a pair of bullocks, or a bullock and 
a woman or two, are attached to the log, and 
whilst the labourer dawdles over his task, he 
chaunts monotonous ditties to Mother Earth with 
more pious zeal than industry. The higher lands 
produce the betel vine, cocoa, areca, and jack-trees,* 

* The botanical name of this tree is derived from the 
Malayalim adeica, a betel nut. The English "jackfruit" is 


together with hill rice : the latter article is sown 
some time after the setting in of the heavy rains, 
and reaped about September or October. The 
lower rice-fields, lying in the valleys between the 
acclivities, are laid out in little plots, with raised 
footpaths between to facilitate passage and regulate 
the irrigation. They generally bear one, often 
two, and in some favoured spots, three crops a 
year ; the average is scarcely more than six or 
seven fold, though a few will yield as much as 
thirty. The south-west monsoon, which lasts from 
June to September, brings forward the first harvest : 
the second is indebted to the south-east rains which 
set in about a month later. The Sama (Panicum 
Miliaceum) requires the benefit of wet weather ; it is 
therefore sown in ]\Iay, and reaped in August. The 
oil plant Yelloo (Sesamum Orientale) and the cooltie 
or horsegram cannot be put into the ground till the 
violence of the monsoon has abated. 

The annual revenue of Malabar is about thirty 
lacs of rupees (300,000/.), land is valuable, the 
reason probably being that it is for the most part 
private, not government property. 

the Portuguese "jacka," a corruption of the native name 



When the Hindoo law authorizes a twelfth, an 
eighth, or a sixth, and at times of urgent necessity 
even a fourth of the crop to be taken, specifying 
the Shelbhaga, or one-sixth, as the rulers' usual 
share, it appears extraordinary that this province 
was exempted from all land-tax till 913,* or a.d. 
1736-7. We may account for the peculiarity, how- 
ever, by remembering that the country belonged, 
properly speaking, to the Brahmans, who were, 
in a religious point of view, the owners of the soil. 
Moreover, the avowed and legitimate sources of 
revenue were sufficient for the purposes of a 
government that had no standing army, and whose 
militia was supported chiefly by assignments of 
land. The rulers, however, were anything but 
wealthy : many of their perquisites were, it is true, 
by a stretch of authority, converted into the means 
of personal aggrandisement, but the influence of 
the Brahmans, and the jealousy of the chiefs, 

* Of the Malayalim aera. It is called Kolum, from a vil- 
lage of that name, and dates its beginning in a.d. 824, the 
time when a rich Nair merchant adorned the place with a 
splendid palace and tank. Previous to its establishment, the 
natives used a cycle of twelve years, each called after some 
zodiacal sign. The months were also denoted by the same 
terms, so that the name of the year and the month were 
periodically identical. 


generally operated as efficient checks upon indi- 
vidual ambition. 

Malabar has been subjected to three dilSerent 

1st. That of the Hindoo Rajahs. 

2dly. In the days of the Moslems, and, 

3dly. Under the British Government. 

We propose to give a somewhat detailed account 
of the chief items composing the curious revenue 
of the Hindoo rajahs and chiefs in the olden 

1. Unha, battle-wager, or trial by single com- 
bat. Quarrels and private feuds were frequent 
amongst the Nairs, especially when diiferences on 
the subject of the fair sex, or any of their peculiar 
principles of honour aroused their pugnacity. It 
was not indispensable that the parties who were 
at issue should personally fight it out. Champions 
were allowed by law, and in practice were fre- 
quently substituted. The combatants undertook 
to defend the cause they espoused till death, and 
a term of twelve years was granted to them that 
they might qualify themselves for the encounter 
by training and practising the use of arms. Be- 
fore the onset both champions settled all their 
worldly matters, as the combat was a louti^ance. 


The weapons used were sword and dagger : a small 
shield and a thick turban being the only articles 
of defensive armour. This system of duelling was 
a source of considerable revenue to the Rajah, 
as he was umpire of the battle, and levied the 
tax in virtue of his office. The amount of the 
fee varied according to the means of the parties. 
Sometimes it was as high as one thousand 

2. Poorooshandrum — a word literally meaning 
the " death of the man" — a relief or sum of money 
claimed by the ruler from Nadwallees,t Deshwallees, 
heads of guilds, holders of land in free gift or under 
conditional tenure, and generally from all persons 
enjoying Sthanum or official position in the state, 
whenever an heir succeeded to a death vacancy. 
The chiefs of provinces and districts, like the 
private proprietors, were exclusively entitled to 
receive Poorooshandrum from their own tenantry, 
as a price of entry paid upon the decease of either 
party, lessor or lessee. Sometimes the chiefs 
claimed the privilege of levying this tax from 
the Rajah's subjects living under their protection. 
It is supposed that the Hindoo rulers were entitled, 

* Equal to Cos. Rs. 250, about 2oL 
t See Chapter XII. 


under the head of Poorooshandrum, to a certain 
share of the property left bj deceased Moslems, but 
the prevalent opinion seems to be that in such cases 
there was no fixed sum payable, and, moreover, that 
it was not claimed from all, but only from those 
individuals who held situations or enjoyed privileges 
dependent upon the will and favour of the Rajah. 
This tax, so similar to one of our feudal sources of 
revenue in the West, often reached the extent of 
one thousand two hundred fanams. 

3. Polyatta Feima, or degraded women, were 
another source of profit to the Rajah, who exacted 
various sums from Brahman families for the main- 
tenance of such females, and for saving them from 
further disgrace. These persons became partial 
outcastes, not slaves in the full sense of the word ; 
and yet the rulers used to sell them to the Chetties, 
or coast merchants. Their ofi'spring always married 
into families of the same degraded class, and, after 
a few generations, the memory of their origin was 
lost in the ramifications of the race into which they 
had been adopted. 

4. Kaleecha — another feudal tax, answering to 
the Nuzzuranah of Mussulman India. It consisted 
of presents made by all ranks of people to the 
ruler on such occasions of congratulation and con- 


dolence as his ascending the throne, opening a new 
palace, marrying, and dying. The amount expected 
varied from two to one thousand fanams. 

5. Chungathum, or protection. Whenever a 
person wished to place himself under the safe- 
guard of a man of consequence, he paid from four 
to sixty-four fanams annually for the privilege. 
He might also make an assignment on particular 
lands for the payment. The sum was devoted to 
the maintenance of a kind of sentinel, similar to 
the belted official Peon of the Anglo-Indian settle- 
ments, furnished by the protector to his dependent. 
In cases of necessity, however, the former was 
bound to aid and assist the other with a stronger 

6. Recha-Bhogum — a tax dijBFering from Chun- 
gathum only in one point, viz., that the engagement 
was a general one, unlimited to any specific aid in 
the first instance. 

7. Under the name of Uttuduhum, the Rajah was 
entitled to the property of any person who, holding 
lands in free gift, died without heirs ; moreover, no 
adoption was valid without his sanction. The 
feudal chiefs had similar privileges with respect 
to their tenants. 

8. Udeema punum — the yearly payment of 


one or two fanams, levied by every Tumbooran '"'' 
or patron from his Udian (client). 

9. Soonka — customs upon all imports and ex- 
ports by laud or sea. The amount is variously spe- 
cified as two-and-a-half, three, and even ten per cent. 

10. Yela — the systematic usurpation of territory 
belonging to the neighbouring rulers or chiefs, whom 
poverty or other causes incapacitated from holding 
their own. The Hindoo Scripture affirms that 
territorial aggrandisement is the proper object and 
peculiar duty of a king. 

11. Kola or Gharadayum — forced contributions 
levied by Rajahs on occasions of emergency, accord- 
ing to the circumstances of their subjects. 

12. Tuppa — mulcts imposed upon those who 
were convicted of accidental and unintentional 

13. Pala — fines taken in the same manner for 
intentional crimes, according to their magnitude 
and the circumstances of the criminal. They some- 
times extended to a total confiscation of property. 

1 4. Ponnarippa — the sifting of gold. Gold dust 
generally was a perquisite belonging to the Eajah 
or Nadwallee, as the case might be. 

* Tumbooran, in Malayalim, means a lord or prince. If a 
minor he is termed Tumban. 


15. Udeenya Oorookul, or shipwrecked vessels, 
which became crown property. 

16. Ghaireehul, or private domains, which the 
Eajahs possessed in proprietary right, acquired 
either by purchase, lapses, or escheats. 

17. Aeemoola ] ^ . , , , ^ i 

I- Cows with three and nve dugs. 

18. Moomoola ] 

19. Ghenghomba, or cattle that had destroyed 
life, human or bestial. 

20. Kunnuda poolee- — beeves born with a pecu- 
liar white spot near the corner of the eye. 

21. Ana-pidee — elephants caught in the jungles. 

22. Poowala — buffalos with a white spot at the 
tip of the tail. 

23. Koomha — the tusks of dead elephants. 

24. Koraiva — the leg of a hog, deer, or any other 
eatable animal killed in the jungles. 

25. Wala , . ^ . 

^^ rr, ^ The tail and skm of a tiger. 

26. Tola J ^ 

27. Kennutil punne — a pig that had fallen into 
a well."^'' 

* Most of the matter contained in this chapter has been 
taken from old and valuable papers preserved in the Nuzoor 
Cutcherry at Calicut. By the kindness of the collector we 
were permitted to inspect and make any extracts from them 
we pleased. 


This system of aid and perquisites, rather than 
of taxes and assessments, continued, as we have said 
before, till a.d. 1736. At that time the invasion 
of the Ikkairee, or Bednore Rajah, to whom the 
Canara province was then in subjection, obliged 
some of the rulers of Northern Malabar to levy 
twenty per cent, on Patum, or rent. The part of the 
Palghaut and Temelpooram districts, which belonged 
to the Calicut house, was subjected to a land tax, 
under the name of Kavil, or compensation for 
protection. With these exceptions,* Malabar was 
free from any land rent or regular assessment pro- 
portioned to the gross produce before Hyder's inva- 
sion in A.D. 1777. 

Some are of opinion that, during Hyder's life, 
the land-tax assumed, in the Southern division of 
Malabar, the shape which it now bears in the public 
records. Others attribute the principles of the 
assessment to Arshad Beg Khan, the Foujdar, or 
commander of Tippoo Sultan's forces in Malabar, 
about A.D. 1783. His system was carefully ex- 
amined by Messrs. Duncan, Page, Bodham, and 

* The reader must bear in mind that in Malabar, as in all 
other native states, contributions carefully proportioned to the 
circumstances of the parties so mulcted, were called for on 
every occasion of emergency. 

K 5 


Dow, who, iu 1792 and 1793, were appointed com- 
missioners to inspect and report upon the state and 
condition of the country. To their laborious work* 
we must refer the curious reader, as the subject is 
far too lengthy and profound to suit such light 
pages as these. 

* In three vols. Printed at the Courier press, Bombay. 




When Parasu Rama, the demigod, departed this 
transitory life, he left, as we said before, the 
kingdom of Malabar as a heritage to the priestly 
caste. For many years a hierarchy of Brahmans 
governed the land.'" At length, finding themselves 
unable to defend the country, they established 
Nair chiefs in each Nad (province), and Desha 
(village), f- called from their places of jurisdiction 
Nadwallee and Deshwallee. The main distinction 
between them seems to have been, that whereas 
the latter could not command more than a hundred 

* Tradition obscurely alludes to a Rajah called Kerulam 
(probably from his kingdom), who reigned sixty-three years 
after Parasu Rama. 

t In Sanscrit the word means a continent, country, or re- 
gion : it is used hereabouts in a limited sense, generally signi- 
fying a village. 


fighting men, the Nadwallee never went to battle 
with a smaller number than that under his banner ; 
some few led as many as twenty thousand vassals 
to the field. Both were bound to conduct the afiairs 
of their feofs, to preserve the peace of the country, 
and to assemble and head their respective forces 
at the summons of the Rajah. There does not 
appear to have been any limitation to the power 
of settling disputes vested in these feudal superiors, 
nor were they prohibited from taking fines and 
costs of suit ; '"' parties appearing before them had, 
however, a right of appeal to the Rajah. These 
dignities were hereditary ; still they may be con- 
sidered political offices, — for, in case of demise, 
the heir did not succeed without a formal investi- 
ture by the ruler, and a relief, or fine of entry, 
taken in token of allegiance. Like the feudal 
landowners of England, both the Nadwallee and 
the Deshwallee were dependent upon the prince 
to whom they swore the oath of fidelity. Neither 
of these dignitaries was necessarily owner of all 

* The Hindoo law lays down five per cent, as the amount 
to be levied from the plaintiff, ten from the defendant if cast 
in a suit, otherwise he is exempt from any tax. Some of the 
Rajahs were by no means content with such a moderate per- 
quisite ; the ruler of Cochin, for instance, never took less than 
double the sum above specified. 


the landed property within his province or village 
boundaries : in fact he seldom was so, although 
there was no objection to his becoming proprietor 
bj purchase or other means. They were not 
entitled to a share of the produce of the lands 
in their jurisdiction, nor could they claim the 
seignoral privileges, which the heads of villages 
on the eastern coast, and many other parts of 
India, enjoy. Under the Deshwallee of each village 
were several Turravattakara, * or chief burgesses. 
They possessed a certain hereditary dignity, but 
no controlling authority. In them, however, we 
may trace the germ of a municipal corporation, as 
their position entitled them to the honour of being 
applied to on occasions of marriages, deaths, religious 
ceremonies, and differences amongst the vassals. 
When their mediation failed the cause went before 
the Deshwallee. 

The anarchy introduced by this complicated 
variety of feudalism soon compelled the hierarchy 
to call in the aid of the Bejanuggur, or, as it is 
commonly termed, the Anagundy government, and 
the latter, at the solicitation of the Brahmans, 
appointed a Peroomal, or Viceroy, whose adminis- 

* Sometimes called Prumani and Mookoodee, " principal in- 


tration was limited to the term of twelve years, 
to rule the fair lands of Malabar. These governors, 
who are also known by the name of Cherun,'" were 
first appointed in the 3511th y6ar of the Kali 
Yug,t about A.D. 410. Seventeen of them, curious 
to say, followed each other in regular succession. 
The last, however, Cherooman Peroomay so in- 
gratiated himself with his temporary subjects, that 
he reigned thirty-six years, and, at the head of a 
numerous army, defeated the home government, 
which attempted to dispossess him of his power, 
in a pitched battle fought near the village of 
Annamalay.§ Afterwards, becoming a convert to 
Islam, he made a pilgrimage to Mecca. Before 
leaving India, he divided the province among the 
seventeen chiefs |1 to whose valour he was indebted 
for his success in war. These were the ancestors 
of the present race of Rajahs. 

* " Ruler of the land of Cherun." See Chapter XI. 

+ The current aera of the Hindoos. 

t See Chapter X. 

§ In the present talook of Temelpooram. 

II Captain Hamilton — no great authority by the bye in such 
matters — relates that the Samiry divided his territories be- 
tween his four nephews, and says that the partition led to 
long and bloody wars between the brothers. He probably 
confounded a Moslem with the Hindoo tradition. 


Malabar was soon torn with intestine feuds, 
arising from the power and ambition of its host 
of rulers, and the Samiry, Samoory, or Calicut 
Rajah, soon became de facto — if not dejure — the 
lord paramount. He was a native of Poontoora, 
in the Coimbatore province, and derived his name, 
Mana Vikram, from Manicham and Vikram — the 
two brothers present on the occasion when Cheroo- 
man conferred dominion upon the head of the 
house. His superiority was acknowledged until 
Hyder's time, by all the chiefs from the north point 
of Malabar to the south extremity of Travancore. 

After that Hyder had become regent of Mysore, 
he made use of the following pretext for invading 
Malabar. The Palghaut Rajah, a descendant from 
the Pandian sovereigns of Madura, terrified by the 
power of the Samiry, had, in early times, sought 
the alliance of the Mysore state, then governed by 
its Hindoo princes, and constituted himself a client 
of the same by paying a certain annual sum for 
a subsidiary force to be stationed in his territory. 
The ambitious ]\Ioslem, under colour of avenging 
his ally and protecting him against the oppressions 
of the Samiry and other princes, forthwith at- 
tacked them on their own ground. 


The manner in which the Calicut house is and 
has been, from the days of hoar antiquity, broken 
and divided, appears curious in the extreme. It 
may be supposed that the Brahmans, jealous of 
the overgrown power of one individual, in the 
person of the Samiry, endeavoured to temper its 
force by assigning to the other members of the 
family certain official dignities, together with con- 
comitant privileges. It is also possible that this 
partition might have taken place at the solici- 
tation of the princes, who naturally would wish 
to secure for themselves a settled and independent 
subsistence. They were appointed to act as a 
council to the reigning sovereign ; they could 
check his authority as well as aid him in his 
wisdom ; and, finally, they were his principal of- 
cers, each having separate and particular duties 
to perform. { By this arrangement, in case of the 
ruler's demise, his heir would succeed to the throne 
without any of the harassing disturbances and 
sanguinary contentions so common amongst Asiatic 

Where rank and property descend from father 
to son, there is little difficulty in settling the suc- 
cession. But when families remain united for years 
under the Murroo-muka-tayum, or inheritance by 


the nephew or sister's son— the strange law which 
prevails among the Rajahs and Nairs of Malabar — 
it becomes bj no means an easy matter to ascertain 
who is the senior in point of birth. The crafty 
Brahmans provided against this difficulty by estab- 
lishing a system of intermediate dignities, which 
acted as a register, and by requiring a long interval 
of time, during which each individual's rights 
might be frequently discussed and deliberately 
settled, to elapse between promotion from the 
inferior to the superior grades. 

The head of the Calicut house, who may be 
supposed to occupy the position of the first Samiry's 
mother, is called the Vullia Tumbooratee,'" or prin- 
cipal queen. She resides in the Kovilugum, or 
palace of Umbadee. Priority of birth gives a claim 
to this dignity, and the eldest of all the princesses 
is entitled to it, no matter what be her relationship 
to the reigning sovereign. The Umbadee is the 
only indispensable palace ; but, for the sake of 
convenience, an unlimited number of private dwell- 
ings have been established for the junior princesses. 
Thus we find the " new palace," the " eastern 
palace " (relatively to the Umbadee), the " western 

* Tumbooratee, in Malayalini, a lady or princess; if a 
minor she is termed Tumbatee. 


palace/' and many others/" The queen and prin- 
cesses are compelled to occupy the residences 
allotted to their several ranks ; they are also pro- 
hibited from holding any commerce with men of 
their own family, as their paramours must either 
be of the Kshatriya f (military) caste, or Numboory 
Brahmans, and may not be changed without the 
consent of the Samiry and that of the whole body 
of near relations. 

The princes are taken according to their seniority 
out of the above-mentioned Umbadees, and the 
eldest of all, when a death occurs, becomes the 
Samiry. There are five palaces of state allotted to 
the different princes — namely, the Samotree Kovi- 
lugum, or palace of the First Rajah ; the Yeirumpiree 
Kovilugum, or palace of the Yellia Rajah — the heir 
apparent to the Samiry-ship ; and three others, 
which are respectively termed the " Governments of 
the Third, Fourth, and Fifth Portions. After that 
a prince has been once established in any of these 
dignities, his order of rank may be considered 

* The above four are the only recognised palaces. 

f Some of the present chieftains of Malabar style them- 
selves Kshatriyas, but by far the greater number derive their 
pedigree from the intercourse of Brahmans with the royal ladies, 
who principally belong to the Nair caste of Hindoos. 


finally settled : he cannot be superseded, but must, 
if he lives, rise step by step — each time with 
formal investiture — till he attains the highest 
dignity. Whenever a superior palace becomes 
vacant, he is duly installed in it, and succeeds 
to the revenue arising from the landed property 
belonging to it. But he cannot remove any of 
the furniture, or the gold and silver utensils, from 
the inferior residence which he formerly occupied, 
as these articles are considered public goods, and, 
as such, are marked with distinctive stamps. Under 
all circumstances, however, the prince retains the 
right of private property. 

The principles of the arrangement which we have 
attempted to describe, not only exist in the Calicut 
house but pervade all the families of the difi"erent 
Rajahs in Malabar. 

In the intercourse between the princes there is 
much ceremony, and, as might be expected, little 
afiection. No one is allowed to sit down in the 
presence of a superior ; all must stand before the 
Samiry, and do obeisance to him with folded 

According to a census taken in 1846, the dif- 
ferent castes were enumerated as follows in round 
numbers : — 




Numboory Brahmans 



Puttur, or foreign Brahmans 






Tiyars . 









Chermur, or serfs 



Christians and other strangers 




Even in India, the land of ethnologic marvels, 
there are few races so strange and remarkable in 
their customs as the people of ]\Ialabar. The soil 
or the climate seems to have exercised some pecu- 
liar eifect upon its inhabitants : Hindoos as well 
as Moslems abound in peculiarities unknown to 
their tenets and practices in other parts of the 
world. The correctness of our observation will 
appear in the following sketches of the diflferent 

The priesthood of Malabar is at present divided 
into two great classes ; the N'umboory, Numoodree 
or Malabar Brahmans, and the Puttur, or families 
of the pontifical stock that do not originally be- 
long to the country. 

* This gives upwards of two hundred souls per mile, estimat- 
ing the extent of Malabar at about six thousand square miles. 


The Numboorj is the scion of an ancient and 
celebrated tree. The well known polemic San- 
karacharya belonged to this race ; he was born in 
the village of Kaludee, in the 3501st, or, according 
to others, the 3100th year of the Kali Yug. His 
fame rests principally upon his celebrated work, 
the sixty-four anacharun, or Exceptions to Estab- 
lished Rules, composed for the purpose of regulating 
and refining the customs of his fellow religionists.* 
No copy of the institutes which have produced 
permanent effects upon the people exists in Mala- 
bar. There is a history of the sainfs life called 
Sankaracharya Chureedun, containing about seven 
hundred stanzas, written by a disciple. 

The Numboory family is governed by several 
regulations peculiar to it : only the eldest of any 
number of brothers takes a woman of his own 
caste to wife. All the juniors must remain single 
except when the senior fails in having issue. This 
life of celibacy became so irksome to the Brah- 
mans that they induced the Nair caste to permit 
unrestrained intercourse between their females 
and themselves, it being well understood that the 

* It ordainedj for instance, that corpses shall be burned 
within private premises, instead of being carried out for that 
purpose into the woods, &c. 


priesthood was conferring an especial honour upon 
their disciples. Probably in order to please the 
compliant Sliudras the more, the Numboorj in 
many parts of the country changed their regular 
mode of succession for the inheritance by nephews 
practised amongst the Nairs. As might be sup- 
posed, the birth of female children is considered 
an enormous evil by these Brahmans ; their 
daughters frequently live and die unmarried, and 
even when a suitable match has been found for 
them, their nuptials are seldom celebrated till late 
in life, owing to the extraordinary expense of the 
ceremony. Throughout India the marriage of a 
girl is seldom delayed after her twelfth year ; in 
Malabar, few Numboory women are married before 
they reach the age of twenty-five or thirty. They 
are most strictly watched, and all faux pas are 
punished by a sort of excommunication pronounced 
by the hereditary Brahman, with the consent of 
the Rajah. The relations of the female delinquent 
are also heavily fined, and such mulcts in ancient 
times formed one of the items of the ruler's 

There is nothing striking in the appearance of 
the Numboory. He is, generally speaking, a short, 
spare man, of a dark olive-coloured complexion, 


sharp features, and delicate limbs. His toilette 
is not elaborate ; a piece of white cotton cloth 
fastened round the waist, and a similar article 
thrown loosely over the shoulders, together with 
the cord of the twice-born, compose the tout 
ensemble. These Brahmans are solemn in their 
manners and deportment, seldom appear in public, 
and when they do, they exact and receive great 
respect from their inferiors in caste. A Nair 
meeting a Numboory must salute him by joining 
the palms of the hands together, and then separ- 
ating them three successive times.* 

The Nairsf are a superior class of Shudra, or 
servile Hindoos, who formerly ^composed the militia,| 
or landwehr, of Malabar. Before the land-tax was 
introduced they held estates rent free ; the only 

* There is an abridged form of this salutation, which con- 
sists of joining the hands and then parting them, at the same 
time bending the fingers at the second joint. 

t This word generally follows the name of the individual, 
and seems to be the titular appellation of the class. It is 
probably derived from the Sanscrit Nayaka (a chief), like the 
Teloogoo Naidoo, the Canarese and Tamul Naikum, and the 
Hindoo Naik. 

X Captain Hamilton makes the number of fighting men 
throughout the province, of course including all castes, amount 
to one million two hundred and sixty-two thousand. 


prestation required from them was personal service ; 
to attend the rajah, or chief, on all official and 
religious occasions, and to march to battle under 
his banner. When absent from their homes, they 
were entitled to a daily subsistence, called Kole. 
Their arms were sword and shield, spear and match- 
lock, with a long knife or dagger suspended behind 
the back by a hook attached to a leathern waist- 
band. Being now deprived of their favourite 
pastimes — fighting and plundering — they have 
become cultivators of the soil, and disdain not to 
bend over the plough, an occupation formerly 
confined to their slaves. And yet to the present 
day they retain much of their old military character, 
and with it the licentiousness which in Eastern 
countries belongs to the profession of arms. In fact, 
" war, wine, and women " appear to be the three 
ingredients of their summum honum, and forced 
abstinence from the first, only increases the ardour 
of their afiection for the last two. Although quite 
opposed to the spirit of Hindoo law, intoxication 
and debauchery never degrade a Nair from his 

Wedlock can hardly be said to exist among the 
Nairs. They perform, however, a ceremony called 
Iculleanum, which in other castes implies marriage, 


probably a relic of the nuptial rite. The Nair 
woman has a Talee, or necklace, bound round her 
throat by some fellow-caste man, generally a friend 
of the family ; a procession then ambulates the 
town, and by virtue thereof the lady takes the title 
of Ummah, or matron. But the gentleman is not 
entitled to the privileges of a husband, nor has he 
any authority over the said matron's person or 
property. She is at liberty to make choice of the 
individual with whom she intends to live — her 
Bhurtao, as her protector is called, she becoming 
his Bharya. The connection is termed Goona- 
doshum, words which literally signify "good and 
bad," and imply an agreement between the parties 
to take each other for better and worse ; it cannot 
be dissolved without the simple process of one party 
" giving warning " to the other. In former times, 
the lady used always to reside in her mother's 
house, but this uncomfortable practice is now 
rapidly disappearing. 

Another peculiar custom which prevails among 
the Nairs, is the murroo-muka-tayura,'"" hereditary 
succession by sisters' sons ; or in case of their 
failing, by the male nearest in consanguinity from 
the father's grandmother. The ancient ordinances 
* Opposed to muka-tayum, the succession of sons. 



of Malabar forbade a Nair to leave his property 
by will to his offspring, and it was considered un- 
becoming to treat a son with the affection shown 
to a nephew. Of late years some heads of families 
have made a provision for their own children 
during life time, but it has been necessary to pro- 
cure the assent of the rightful heirs to bequests 
thus irregularly made. When property is left to 
sons, the division follows the general Hindoo law, 
with two essential points of difference. In the 
first place, children inherit the estate of the mother 
only ; and, secondly, a daughter is, in certain cases, 
entitled to preference to a son. Thus, a female 
can, a male cannot, mortgage or sell land inherited 
from his maternal progenitor : after his death it 
must revert to those who were co-heirs with him ; 
and though a man is entitled to the same share as 
his sister, his right to it continues only as long as 
they live in the same house. 

The origin of this extraordinary law is lost in 
the obscurity of antiquity. The Brahmans, accord- 
ing to some, were its inventors; others suppose 
that they merely encouraged and partially adopted 
it. Its effects, politically speaking, were beneficial 
to the community at large. The domestic ties, 
always inconvenient to a strictly military popu- 


lation, were thereby conveniently weakened, and 
the wealth, dignity, and unbroken unity of interests 
were preserved for generations unimpaired in great 
and powerful families, which, had the property been 
divided among the several branches, according to 
the general practice of Hinduism, would soon have 
lost their weight and influence. As it was un- 
necessary that a woman should be removed from 
her home, or introduced into a strange family, the 
eldest nephew on the sister's side, when he became 
the senior male member of the household, succeeded, 
as a matter of course, to the rights, property, and 
dignity of Karnovun.* 

We suspect that the priesthood — those crafty 
politicians whose meshes of mingled deceit and 
superstition have ever held the Hindoo mind 
" in durance vile " — were the originators of the 
murroo-muka-tayum and the goonadoshum. Both 
inventions, like many of the laws of Lycurgus, 
appear the result of well-digested plans for carrying 
out the one proposed object. They are audacious 
encroachments upon the rights of human nature ; 
and we cannot account for their existence by any 
supposition except that the law-givers were deter- 
mined to rear a race of warriors— no matter by 

* The head of the house. 

L 2 


what means. As a corroboration of our theory, 
we may instance the fact that these strange and 
now objectless ordinances are gradually giving way 
to the tide of truer feeling. Already the succession 
of nephews has been partially broken through, and 
in the present day the control of the heads of 
families is nothing compared with what it was. 

There is a tradition among the Nairs, that 
anciently, the Samiry Rajah was, by the law of the 
land, compelled to commit suicide by cutting his 
throat in public at the expiration of a twelve-years' 
reign. When that ceremony became obsolete, an- 
other and an equally peculiar one was substituted 
in its stead. A jubilee was proclaimed throughout 
the kingdom, and thousands flocked from all direc- 
tions to the feasts and festivals prepared for them 
at Calicut. On an appointed day, the Rajah, after 
performing certain religious rites, repaired to the 
shore, and sat down upon a cushion, unarmed, bare- 
headed, and almost undressed, whilst any four men 
of the fighting caste, who had a mind to win a 
crown, were allowed to present themselves as candi- 
dates for the honour of regicide. They were bathed 
in the sea, and dressed in pure garments, which, 
as well as their persons, were profusely sprinkled 
over with perfumes and water coloured yellow by 


means of turmeric. A Brahman then putting a 
long sword and small round shield into each man's 
hand, told him to " go in and win ^' if he could. 
Almost incredible though it may appear, some cases 
are quoted in which a lucky desperado succeeded 
in cutting his way through the thirty or forty thou- 
sand armed guards who stood around the Rajah, 
and in striking off the sovereign's head. This 
strange practice has of late years been abolished. 

The Nairs are rather a fair and comely race, with 
neat features, clean limbs, and decidedly a high 
caste look. They shave the head all over, except- 
ing one long thin lock of hair, which is knotted 
at the end, and allowed to lie flat upon the crown. 
Neither cap nor turban is generally worn. Their 
dress consists of the usual white cotton cloth 
fastened round the loins : when en grande tenue, a 
similar piece hangs round their necks, or is spread 
over the shoulders. We have alluded to the ap- 
pearance of their females in our account of Calicut, 
and may here observe that we were rather fortu- 
nate in having accidentally seen them. The Nair 
is as jealous as he is amorous and vindictive : many 
travellers have passed through the country without 
being able to catch one glimpse of their women, 
and the knife would be unhesitatingly used if a 


foreigner attempted to satisfy his curiosity by any- 
thing like forcible measures. ; 

The Tian "' of Malabar is to the Nair what the 
villein was to the feoffee of feudal England. These 
two families somewhat resemble each other in 
appearance, but the former is darker in complexion, 
and less " castey " in form and feature than the 
latter. It is the custom for modest women of the 
Tiyar family to expose the whole of the person 
above the waist, whereas females of loose character 
are compelled by custom to cover the bosom. As 
this class of Hindoo, generally speaking, provides 
the European residents with nurses and other 
menials, many of our countrymen have tried to 
make them adopt a somewhat less natural costume. 
The proposal, however, has generally been met 
pretty much in the same spirit which would be 
displayed were the converse suggested to an Eng- 

In writings tbe Tiyar are styled Eelavun. They 
are supposed to be a colony of strangers from an 
island of that name near Ceylon. An anomaly in 
the Hindoo system they certainly are : learned 

* The masculine singular of this word is Tian (fern. Tiatti), 
in the plural Tiyar. 


natives know not whether to rank them among 
the Shudras or not ; some have designated them by 
the term Uddee Shudra, meaning an inferior branch 
of the fourth great division. Their principal em- 
ployments are drawing toddy, dressing the heads 
of cocoa and other trees, cultivating rice lands, and 
acting as labourers, horse-keepers, and grass-cutters ; 
they are free from all prejudices that would re- 
move them from Europeans, and do not object 
to duties which only the lowest outcastes in India 
will condescend to perform. Some few have risen 
to respectability and even opulence by trade. They 
will not touch the flesh of the cow, and yet they 
have no objection to other forbidden food. They 
drink to excess, and are fond of quarrelling over 
their cups. Unlike the Nairs, they are deficient 
in spirit ; they are distinguished from the natives 
of Malabar generally by marrying and giving in 
marriage. Moreover, property with them descends 
regularly from father to son. 

Throughout the province a sort of vassalage 
seems to have been established universally among 
the Tiyar, occasionally among the Nair tribes.* 

* The Moplahs, as strangers, and the merchants, trades- 
people, and professional men who had no fixed places of resi- 
dence, did not engage in this feudal relationship. 


The latter would sometimes place himself in a 
state of dependency upon some Rajah, or powerful 
chief, and pay Chungathum,"^ or protection-money, 
for the advantage derived from the connexion. 
The Tiyar willingly became the Udianf of any 
superior whose patronage would guarantee him 
quiet possession of his goods and chattels. This 
kind of allegiance by no means amounted to 
slavery. The Tumbooran could not dispose of the 
person or property of his vassal, nor did the private 
tie acquit an individual of any public duty to the 
Rajah or his representatives upon emergent occa- 
sions. The patron was on all occasions bound to 
defend, protect, and procure redress for his client — 
favours which the latter acknowledged by yearly tri- 
bute, and by affording personal service to his supe- 
rior in private quarrels. To the present day the 
Tian will immediately say who his Tumbooran is : 
the annual offerings are still kept up, and though 
British law entitles all parties to equality of social 

* See Chapter XL 

t The word Udian, in Malayalira and Tamul, literally sig- 
nifies a slave. Here it is used in its limited signification of 
vassal or client, as opposed to the Tumbooran or patron. The 
word, however, would be considered degrading to a Nair, and 
is therefore never applied to him. 


rights, it must be an injury of some magnitude that 
can induce the inferior to appear against his patron 
in a court of justice. Some individuals became 
vassals of the Pagoda, which, in its turn, often 
subjected itself to fee a Rajah for the maintenance 
of its rights and the defence of its property. 

The reader will remark how peculiarly characte- 
ristic of the nation this state of voluntary depend- 
ency is. In European history we find the allodialist 
putting himself and his estate in a condition of 
vassalage, but he did so because it was better to 
occupy the property as a fief incident to certain 
services than to lose it altogether, or even to be 
subjected to pillage and forced contributions. But 
the Asiatic is not comfortable without the shade 
of a patron over his head ; even if necessity ori- 
ginally compelled him to sacrifice half his freedom, 
habit and inclination perpetuate the practice long 
after all object for its continuance has ceased to 
exist. / 

The Chermur,* or serfs of Malabar, amongst the 
Hindoos, were entirely prasdial or rustic. The sys- 

* " Sons of the soil," from cher, earth, and mukkul, children. 
In the masculine singular the word is chermun (fern, chermee), 
plural, chermur. 

L 5 


tern of slavery is said to have been introduced by 
Parasu Rama, as a provision for agriculture when 
he gave the country to the Brahmans. We may 
account for it more naturally by assigning its origin 
and referring its subsequent prevalence to the ope- 
ration of the ancient Indian laws. The rules of 
caste were so numerous and arbitrary that constant 
deviations from them would take place in a large 
community ; and for certain offences freeborn indi- 
viduals became Chandalas (outcastes), and were 
liable to disenfranchisement. 

Servitude in Malabar offered few of the revolting, 
degrading, and horrible features which characterized 
Vit in the ancient, mediaeval, and modern annals of 
the Western World. The proprietor never had 
the power of life or death over a slave without 
the sanction of the feudal chief, or more generally 
of the sovereign ; he could inflict corporeal punish- 
ment upon him, but old established custom limited 
the extent as effectually as law would. Moreover, 
in this part of the globe serfs were born and bred 
in subserviency, they had no cherished memories 
of rights and comforts once enjoyed, — ^no spirit of 
independence conscious of a title to higher privi- 
leges and indignant at unjust seclusion from them. 
In their case slavery did not begin with the horrors 


of violent separatioD from country and home, the 
cruelties of a ship-imprisonment, forcible introduc- 
tion to new habits and customs, food and dress, 
languages and connections. They were not de- 
graded to the level of beasts, nor were they sub- 
jected to treatment of the worst description by 
strange masters, who neither understood their na- 
tures, nor sympathized with their feelings. 

A proprietor in Malabar could always sell * his 
serfs with or without the soil, but to remove them 
far from their homes would have been considered 
a cruel and unwarrantable measure sufficient to 
cause and almost justify desertion. Only in some 
castes the wives of slaves might be sold to another 
master, and, generally speaking, parents were not 
separated from their children.f They might, how- 
ever, be let out in simple rent, or mortgaged under 
certain deeds. The proprietors were bound to feed 
their slaves throughout the year. The allowance 
on work days was double the proportion issued at 

* The price of a slave varied from 31. to 8/. 

t In the CaHcut district, half the children belonged to the 
mother, or rather to her proprietor, and the other half to the 
father's master; the odd number was the property of the 
former. When both parents belonged to one owner, he of 
course claimed all the offspring. 


other times, but it was never less than two pounds 
of rice to a male, and about three quarters of that 
quantity to a female. In Malabar there have been 
instances of a Chermun's holding land in lease, and 
being responsible to government for paying its taxes. 
In Canara it was by no means uncommon for slaves 
to have slips of rice-fields, and small pieces of land 
given to them by their masters for growing fruit 
and vegetables. When a slave possessing any 
property died, his owner was not entitled to it, 
except in the cases when no lawful heir could be 
found. In some places on the coast,* and near large 
towns, the serfs were permitted, when not labour- 
ing for their proprietor, to employ themselves in 
carrying grass, firewood, and other articles to mar- 
ket. On great occasions they expected presents of 
clothes, oil, grain, and small sums of money when- 
ever the owner was wealthy enough to distribute 
such largesse. And at harvest time they were enti- 
tled to a certain portion of the produce, as a com- 
pensation for watching the crop. 

There are several castes of serfs who do not 
intermarry or eat with each other. The Poliur is 

* Generally speaking, the slaves in the maritime districts 
were in better condition, and far superior in bodily and mental 
development to their brethren in the interior. 


considered the most industrious, docile, and trust- 
worthy. Proprietors complained loudly of the pil- 
fering propensities displayed by the others. With 
the exception of the Parayen and Kunnakun tribes, 
they abstain from slaying the cow, and using beef 
as an article of food. All are considered im- 
pure, though not equally so. For instance, slaves 
of the Polyan, Waloovan, and Parayen races must 
stand at a distance of seventy-two paces from the 
Brahman and Nair : the Kunnakuns may approach 
within sixty-four, and other servile castes within 
forty-eight paces of the priestly and military orders. 




We are informed by the Moslem historians that 
their faith spread wide and took deep root in 
the southern parts of Western India, principally 
in consequence of the extensive immigration of 
Arabs. It may be observed that the same cause 
which provided the Hindoos with serfs, supplied 
the stranger with proselytes : a Rajah would often, 
when in want of money, dispose of his outcastes 
to the Faithful, who, in such cases, seldom failed 
to make converts of their purchasers. 

The Moplahs, or Mapillahs,'" — the Moslem in- 
habitants of Malabar — are a mixed breed, sprung 

* There are three different derivations of this word. Some 
deduce it fronn the pure Hindostani and corrupted Sanscrit 
word ma (a mother), and the Tamul pilla (a son), " sons of 
their mothers," the male progenitor being unknown. Others 
suppose it to be a compound of mukkul (a daughter) and pilla 
(a son), " a daughter's son," also an allusion to their origin. 


from the promiscuous intercourse that took place 
between the first Arab settlers and the women of 
the country. Even to the present day they display 
in mind and body no small traces of their mongrel 
origin. They are a light coloured and good look- 
ing'"'' race of men, with the high features, the proud 
expression, and the wiry forms of the descendants 
of Ishmael : their delicate hands and feet, and 
their long bushy beards, •[ show that not a little 
Hindoo blood flows in their veins. They shave 
the hair, trim the mostachios according to the 
Sunnat,| and, instead of a turban, wear a small 
silk or cloth cap of peculiar shape upon their heads. 
The chest and shoulders are left exposed, and a 
white or dyed piece of linen, resembling in cut 

The third is a rather fanciful derivation from Mokhai-pilla 
" sons of, or emigrants from, Mocha," in Arabia. 

* This description applies exclusively to the higher orders ; 
the labouring classes are dark and ill-favoured. 

t The genuine Arab, especially in Yemen and Tehamah, is, 
generally speaking, a Kusaj^ or scant-bearded man ; and his 
envy when regarding the flowing honours of a Persian chin, is 
only equalled by the lasting regret with which he laments his 
own deficiency in that semi-religious appurtenance to the 
human face. 

X The practice of the Prophet, whom every good Moslem is 
bound to imitate, even in the most trivial and every-day occa- 


and colour the " lung " or bathing cloth of Central 
Asia, is tied round the loins. The garment, if 
we may so call it, worn by the males, does not 
reach below the calves of the legs, whereas the 
fair sex prolongs it to the ankles. Unlike the 
Hindoo inhabitants of ]\Ialabar, the upper portion 
of the female figure is modestly concealed by a 
shift buttoned round the neck, with large sleeves, 
and the opening in front : according to the custom 
of the Faithful a veil is always thrown over the 

The only peculiarity in the Moplah lady's cos- 
tume is the horrible ornamenting of the ear. At 
an early age the lobe is pierced, and a bit of lead, 
or a piece of Shola wood * is inserted in order to 
enlarge the orifice. After a time the lobe becomes 
about the size of a crown piece, and a circle of 
gold, silver, or palm-leaf, dyed red, white, or yellow, 
is inserted into it — the distended skin of the lobe 
containing and surrounding the ring. There is 
something peculiarly revolting to a stranger's eye 
in the appearance of the two long strips of flesh 
instead of ears, which hang down on each side of 

* The jEschynomene paludosa, a wood of porous texture, 
which swells when water is poured upon it. Lead is some- 
times used to distend the flap of the ear by its weight. 


the head in old age, when ornaments are no longer 

The countenance of the Moplah, especially when it 
assumes the expression with which he usually regards 
infidels and heretics, is strongly indicative of his 
ferocious and fanatic disposition. His deep undying 
hatred for the Kafir * is nurtured and strengthened 
by the priests and religious instructors. Like the 
hierarchy of the Moslem world in general, they 
have only to hold out a promise of Paradise to their 
disciples as a reward, and the most flagrant crimes 
will be committed. In Malabar they lie under 
the suspicion of having often suggested and coun- 
tenanced many a frightful deed of violence. The 
Moplah is an obstinate ruffian. Cases are quoted 
of a culprit spitting in the face of a judge when 
the warrant of execution was being read out to 
him. Sometimes half a dozen desperadoes will 
arm themselves, seize upon a substantial house, 
and send a message of defiance to the collector 
of the district. Their favourite weapon on such 
occasions is the long knife that usually hangs 
from the waist : when entering battle they gene- 
rally carry two, one in the hand, and the other 

* A name, by no naeans complimentary, applied to all who 
are not Moslems. 


between the teeth. Thej invariably prepare them- 
selves for combat by a powerful dose of hemp or 
opium, fight to the last with frenzied obstinacy, 
despise the most dreadful wounds, and continue 
to exert themselves when a European would be 
quite disabled — a peculiarity which they probably 
inherit from their Arab'"" ancestors. Like the 
Malay when he runs a-muck, these men never 
think of asking for, or giving quarter, they make 
up their minds to become martyrs, and only try 
to attain high rank in that glorious body by slay- 
ing as many infidels as they can. At times they 
have been eminently successful. On one occasion 
we heard of a rencontre in which about a dozen 
desperate robbers, dropping from the window of 
a house into the centre of a square, inopportunely 
formed by a company of seapoys, used their knives 
with such efiect upon the helpless red-coats' backs, 
that they ran away with all possible precipitation. 
The result of a few such accidents is, that the na- 
tive soldier cannot always be trusted to act against 
them, for, with the usual Hindoo superstition and 
love of the marvellous, he considers their bravery 

* The descendants of the Wild Man have at all times been 
celebrated for obstinate individual valour, and enduring an 
amount of " punishment " which seems quite incredible. 


something preternatural, and connected with cer- 
tain fiendish influences. 

In former days, the Moplas played a conspicuous 
part among the pirates who infested the j\Ialabar 
coast. Marco Polo mentions that there issued an- 
nually '■' a body of upwards of one hundred vessels,* 
who captured other ships and plundered the mer- 
chants." He alludes to their forming what they 
called a ladder on the sea, by stationing themselves 
in squadrons of twenty, about five miles from each 
other, so as to command as great an extent of 
water as possible. But in the old Venetian's day, 
the corsairs appear to have been by no means so 
sanguinary as they afterwards became. He ex- 
pressly states, that when the pirates took a ship, 
they did no injury to the crew, but merely said to 
them, " Go and collect another cargo, that we may 
have a chance of getting it too." In later times, 
Tavernier describes them as blood-thirsty in the 
extreme. " The J\Ialavares are violent Mahometans 
and very cruel to the Christians.! I saw a barefoot 

* Manned in those days by Hindoos. Marco Polo tells us 
that the people of Malabar are idolaters, and subject to no 

t Who ret oiled by hanging them upon the spot, or throwing 
them overboard. This style of warfare was productive of great 
barbarities. There is a pile of stone rising above the sea, about 


Carmelite friar, who had been taken by the pirates, 
and so tortured, in order to obtain his ransom,* 
that his right arm and one leg were shorter by one 
half than the other." He alludes to their audacity 
in attacking large armed vessels with squadrons 
composed of ten or fifteen barques, each carrying 
from two hundred to two hundred and fifty men, 
and describes their practice of boarding suddenly 
and setting fire to the ship with pots of artificial 
fire. The style of defence usually adopted was to 
prepare for them by closing the scuttles, and swamp- 
ing the deck with water, to hinder the fire-pots from 
doing execution. 

The Moplahs being now deprived of their old 
occupation, have addicted themselves, in some 
places, to gang-robbery and smuggling. The prin- 
cipal contraband articles are tobacco and salt, 
both of which are government monopolies.! To 

seven leagues north-west of Calicut, called the Sacrifice Rock, 
from the slaughter of the crew of a Portuguese vessel which 
was captured by the Cottica cruisers shortly after the settlement 
of the Christians in India. 

* The sum usually paid was from eight to ten shillings, a 
portion of which went to the Rajah, part to the women who 
had lost their husbands in these predatory encounters, and the 
remainder was " prize-money." 

t Few would be disposed to consider the salt-duty a practi- 


strengthen their bands, they will associate to them- 
selves small bodies of Nairs and villains of the 
lowest Hindoo castes, who shrink from no species 
of cruelty and outrage. But, generally speaking, 
especially in the quieter districts of Malabar, the 
Moplahs and the Nairs are on terms of deadly 
enmity. The idolaters, who have been taught to 
hate the Faithful by many a deed of blood, would 
always act willingly against them, provided that 
our rulers would ensure subsistence to their families, 
according to the ancient custom of the country.* 
Both are equally bigoted, violent, and fond of the 
knife. In few parts of the world there are more 
deadly feuds than in this province ; and whenever 
a Nair is killed by a Moplah, or vice versd, the 
relations will steep a cloth in the dead man's blood, 
and vow never to lose sight of it till they have 
taken revenge upon the murderer. 

cal proof of the enlightened nature of our rule in the East, and 
there is no one, we believe, except a "crack collector," who 
would not rejoice to see it done away with, or at least much 

* The rajah was expected to grant lands to the families of 
those who heroically bound themselves by solemn vow to fight 
till death against the enemy. If the self-devoted escaped de- 
struction, he became an outcaste, and was compelled to leave 
the country. 


Near the coast, the Moplahs are a thriving race 
of traders, crafty, industrious, and somewhat refined 
by the influence of wealth. Those of the interior 
cultivate rice and garden lands. Some few of the 
latter traffic, but as they do not possess the op- 
portunities of commerce enjoyed by their mari- 
time brethren, their habitations and warehouses 
are not so comfortable, substantial, and spacious. 
Both of them have a widely diffused bad name. 
Among the people of Southern India generally, 
the word Moplah is synonymous with thief and 
rascal. All are equally celebrated for parsimony, 
a I^indoo, as well as an Arab, quality, and for 
rigid observance of their religious rites and cere- 
monies. The desire of gaining proselytes is one 
of their ruling passions ; consequently Islam is 
steadily extending itself. The zeal of its followers 
is well supported by their means, and the willing- 
ness with which they admit new converts, even of 
the lowest and most despised classes, to perfect 
social equality with themselves, offers irresistible 
attractions to man}^ wretched outcastes of Hinduism. 
They transgress the more laudable ordinances of 
their faith, and yet cling fondly to its worse spirit. 
They will indulge to excess in the forbidden plea- 
sures of distilled waters and intoxicating drugs, 


in immorality and depravity ; at the same time 
they never hesitate to protect a criminal of their 
own creed, and, to save him, would gladly perjure 
themselves, in the belief that, under such circum- 
stances, false oaths and testimony are not only justi- 
fiable, but meritorious in a religious point of view.* 
The faith professed by the Moplahs is the Shafei 
form of Islam. All their priests and teachers are 
of the same persuasion ; and such is their besotted 
bigotry, that they would as willingly persecute a 
Hanafif Moslem as the Sunni of most Mussulman 
countries would martyr a heretic or schismatic. 
No Sheah dare own his tenets in Malabar. We 
doubt whether the mighty hand of British law 
would avail to save from destruction any one who 
had the audacity to curse Omar or Usman at 
Calicut. They carefully cultivate the classical and 
religious branches of study, such as Sarf o Nahv, 

* This is the universal belief and practice of the more bigot- 
ed parts of the Moslem world, and so deep-rooted is the feel- 
ing, that it acquires a degree of power and influence truly 
formidable, and difficult to deal with. 

t The natives of India generally belong to the Hanafi : the 
Arabs are the principal followers of the Shafei sect. Both are 
Sunnis, or orthodox Moslems, and there is little difference be- 
tween them, except in such trifling points as the eating or 
rejecting fish without scales. &c. # 


grammar, and syntax ; Mantik, or logic ; Hadis, the 
traditions of the Prophet ; and Karaat, or the 
chaunting of the Koran. They seldom know Per- 
sian ; but as they begin the Arabic language almost 
as soon as they can speak, and often enjoy the 
advantage of Arab instructors, their critical know- 
ledge of it is extensive, and their pronunciation 
good. The vernacular dialect of the Moplah is the 
Malayalim, into which, for the benefit of the un- 
learned, many sacred books have been translated. 
The higher classes are instructed by private tutors, 
and appear to be unusually well educated. The 
priest has charge of the lower orders, and little 
can be said in praise of the schoolmaster or the 

As regards testaments and the law of inheritance, 
the Moplahs have generally adhered to the Koran ; 
in some families, however, the succession is by 
nephews, as amongst the Nairs.* This custom is 
palpably of Pagan origin, like many of the hetero- 
geneous practices grafted by the Mussulmans of 
India upon the purer faith of their forefathers. Of 
course they excuse it by tradition. When Cheroo- 
man Rajah, they say, became a convert to Islam, 

* Except that a Moslem father may always allot a portion 
of property during his lifetime to his children. 


and was summoned by Allah in a vision to 
Mecca, he asked his wife's permission to take his 
only son with him. She refused. The ruler's 
sister then offered to send her child under his 
charge. The Eajah adopted the youth, and upon 
his return from the Holy City he instituted the 
custom of murroo-muka-tayum, in order to com- 
memorate the introduction of Islam into the land 
of the Infidel. 

The Mokawars, Mokurs, or as we call them, the 
Mucwars, are an amphibious race of beings, half 
fishermen, half labourers :* generally speaking 
Moslems, sometimes Hindoos. Yery slight is the 
line of demarcation drawn between them, and they 
display little or no fanaticism. It is common for 
one or two individuals in a family to become 
Poothoo Islam, or converts to the faith of Mo- 
hammed, and yet to eat, sleep, and associate with 
the other members of the household as before. f 

In appearance these fishermen are an uncom- 
monly ill-favoured race ; dark, with ugly features, 
and forms which a developist would pronounce to 

* Usually they prefer the occupation of carrying the palan- 
quin to any other bodily labour. 

t Intermarriage, however, is not permitted. 



be little removed from the original orang-outang. 
Their characters, in some points, show to advantage, 
when contrasted with those of their superiors — 
the Nairs and Moplahs. They are said to be in- 
dustrious, peaceful, and as honest as can be ex- 
pected. A Mucwa village is usually built close to 
the sea ; the material of its domiciles consisting of 
wattle or matting, roofed over with thatch ; the 
whole burned to blackness by the joint influence 
of sun, rain, wind, and spray. 

Servitude amongst the Moslems partook more of 
the nature of social fraternity, and was dissimilar 
in very essential points, to that of the Hindoos. 
The slaves were always domestic, never prjedial : 
instead of inhabiting miserable huts built in the 
centre of the paddy fields, they lived in the houses 
of their proprietors. They were efficiently pro- 
tected by law, for in case of ill-treatment, duly 
proved before the Kazee, the complainant was 
either manumitted or sold to some other master, 
and so far from being considered impure outcastes, 
they often rose to confidential stations in the 
family. This is the case generally throughout the 
Moslem world. 


The native Christians do not constitute a large 
or influential portion of the community in this part 
of India, although the Nestorians in very early 
times settled and planted their faith on the western 
coast of the peninsula. About the towns of Can- 
nanore and Tellichery, there are a few fishermen 
and palanquin bearers, called Kolakar and Pandee, 
said to have migrated from the Travancore country. 
The other " ]!^ussuranee (Nazarene) Moplahs," as 
the Christians are styled by the Heathen, are almost 
all Catholics, either the descendants of the Portu- 
guese, or converted by them to Romanism. They 
reside principally in the large towns upon the 
coast : unlike their brethren in Canara.. they imi- 
tate the European costume, and occupy themselves 
either with trade, or in the government courts and 
cutcherries. They are notorious for dishonesty and 
habitual intoxication.'^'' 

Amongst the many social usages and customs 
peculiar to the natives of Malabar, the two foUow- 

* The races above described are those settled in the country. 
The fluctuating portion of the community is composed of the 
Europeans, the soldiery and camp followers, Arabs and foreign 
Mussulmans, Banyans from Guzerat, a few Parsees, and some 
boat loads of the half-starved wretches that leave the Maldives 
and Laccadives in search of employment during the cold season 

M 2 


ing deserve some mention. There is a kind of 
general meeting, called Chengathee koree, or the 
" Society of friends," established for the purposes 
of discussing particular subjects, and for inquiring 
into the conduct of individuals. It is supported 
by the monthly subscriptions of the members, and 
all must in regular turn — the order being settled 
by lots — give an entertainment of rice, flesh, and 
fruit to the whole party. As the entertainer is 
entitled to the amount of money in deposit for 
the month, and the feast does not cost half that 
sum, each member is anxious to draw the ticket 
with his name upon it as soon as possible. In 
some places these convivial meetings are hetero- 
geneously composed of Nairs, Moplahs, and Tiyars ; 
when such is the case, the master of the house 
provides those of the other faith with raw food, 
which they cook and serve up for and by them- 

The way in which " dinner parties " are given 
show some talent in the combination of hospitality 
with economy. A feast is prepared, and all the 
guests are expected to present a small sum of money, 
and a certain number of cocoa-nuts, plantains, 
betel-nuts or pepper-vine leaves to the master of 
the house. An account of each offering is regular! v 


kept, and a return of the invitation is considered 
de rigueur. Should any member of society betray 
an unwillingness to make the expected requital, or 
to neglect the gifts with which he ought to come 
provided, they despatch a little potful of arrack, and 
the bone of a fowl, desiring the recusant in derision 
to make merry upon such small cheer. The taunt 
is, generally speaking, severe enough to ensure com- 
pliance with the established usages of society. 




Being desirous of seeing as mucli as possible of 
the country we preferred tlie route which winds 
along the sea-shore to Poonanee, and then striking 
westward ascends the Blue Hills, to the short moun- 
tain-cut up the Koondah Range. Our curiosity, 
however, more than doubled the length of the 

No detailed account of the ten stages f will be 
inflicted upon the peruser of these pages. The 
journey as far as Poonanee was a most uninteresting 
one : we have literally nothing to record, except the 
ever-recurring annoyances of being ferried over 
backwaters, riding through hot sand fetlock deep, 

* The Koondah road is about seventy, that via Poonanee, 
one hundred and sixty miles in length. 

t The pages of the Madras directories and road-books give 
ample accounts of all the chief routes in the presidency. 


enduring an amount of glare enough to blind any- 
thing but a Mucwa or a wild beast ; and at the end 
of our long rides almost invariably missing the halt- 
ing place. Arrived at the head-quarter village of 
Paulghaut, the victims of its deceptive nomencla- 
ture,* we instituted a diligent inquiry for any ob- 
jects of curiosity the neighbourhood might offer ; and 
having courted deceit we were deceived accordingly. 
A " native gentleman" informed us that the Yemoor 
Malay Hills, a long range lying about ten miles to 
the north of the town, contains a variety of splendid 
points de vue, and a magnificent cataract, which 
every traveller is in duty bound to visit. More- 
over, said the Hindoo, all those peaks are sacred 
to Parwati, the mountain deity, who visited 
them in person, and directed a number of small 
shrines to be erected there in honour of her 

So after engaging a mancheel we set out in quest 
of the sublime and beautiful. After winding for 
about three quarters of the total distance through a 
parched-up plain, the road reaches the foot of a 

* Judging from the name, a stranger would suppose that 
the place was called after some neighbouring Ghaut, or pass, in 
the hills. The uncorrupted native appellation, however, is Pala- 
kad, from Kadu, a jungle, and Pala, a tree used in dyeing. 


steep and rugged hill overgrown with bamboos, and 
studded with lofty trees, whose names and natures 

are — 

To ancient song unknown, 

The noble sons of potent heat and floods. 

As we advanced, the jungle became denser and 
denser : there were evident signs of hog and deer 
in the earths of those animals which strewed the 
ground. Tigers and elephants, bisons and leopards, 
are said to haunt the remoter depths, and the dry 
grass smouldering on our path proved the presence 
of charcoal burners — beings quite as wild as the 
other denizens of the forest. 

The difficulty of the ascent being duly overcome 
we arrived at the cascade, and stood for a while 

gazing with astonishment at the prospect of 

a diminutive stream of water, trickling gently down 
the sloping surface of a dwarf rock. Remembering 
Terni and Tivoli, we turned our bearers' heads 
homewards, not however forgetting solemnly to 
enjoin them never to let a tourist pass by that way 
without introducing him to the Prince of all the 

We were curious to see the fort of Paulghaut, once 
the key of Malabar, the scene of so many bloody 
conflicts between the power of Mysore and British 


India in the olden time.^' A square building, witli 
straight curtains, and a round tower at each angle, 
with the usual intricate gateway, the uselessly deep 
fosse, and the perniciously high glacis that charac- 
terize native fortifications — such was the artless 
form that met our sight. In the present day it 
would be untenable for an hour before a battery of 
half-a-dozen mortars. 

Passing through the magnificent and most un- 
healthy Wulliyar jungle, f celebrated at all times 
for teak and sport, and during the monsoon for 
fever and ague, and dangerous torrents even more 

* For a detailed description of the sieges and captures of 
Paulghaut, we beg to refer to a work entitled, " Historical 
Record of the H. E. I. Company's First European Regiment ; 
Madras. By a Staff Officer." 

t Anciently an excellent forest. The trees were felled, 
hewn into rough planks, and floated down the Poonanee river 
at very little expense. This valuable article has, however, 
been sadly mismanaged by us in more ways than one. All 
the timber growing near the streams has been cleared away, 
and as the local government will not lay out a few lacs of 
rupees in cutting roads through the forests^ its expense has 
been raised almost beyond its value. Considerable losses in 
the dockyards have been incurred in consequence of the old 
erroneous belief that " teak is the only wood in India which 
the white ants will not touch." The timber should be stacked 
for at least eight years, three of which would enable it to dry, 
and the remaining five to become properly seasoned. 

M 5 


dangerously bridged, we arrived by a rough and 
rugged road at Coimbatore, a place which every cotton 
student and constant reader of the Indian Mail fami- 
liarly knows. A most unpromising looking locality 
it is— a straggling line of scattered houses, long 
bazaars, and bungalows, separated from each other 
by wide and desert " compounds." The country 
around presented a most unfavourable contrast to 
the fertile region we had just quitted, and the high 
fierce wind raising clouds of gravelly dust from the 
sun-parched plain, reminded us forcibly of similar 
horrors experienced in Scinde and Bhawalpore. 

A ride of twenty miles along a dry and hard 
highway, skirted with numerous and, generally 
speaking, ruinous villages, led us to Matypolliam at 
the foot of the Neilgherry Hills — our destination. 
And now as we are likely to be detained here for 
some time by that old offender the Bhawany River, 
who has again chosen to assault and batter down 
part of her bridge, we will deliberately digress a 
little and attempt a short description of land tra- 
velling in the " land of the sun." 

For the conveyance of your person, India sup- 
plies you with three several contrivances. You 
may, if an invalid, or if you wish to be expeditious, 


engage a palanquin, station bearers on the road, and 
travel either with or without halts, at the rate of 
three or four miles an hour : we cannot promise 
jou much pleasure in the enjoyment of this cele- 
brated Oriental luxury. Between your head and 
the glowing sun, there is scarcely half an inch of 
plank, covered with a thin mat, which ought to 
be, but never is, watered. After a day or two you 
will hesitate which to hate the most, your bearers' 
monotonous, melancholy, grunting, groaning chaunt, 
when fresh, or their jolting, jerking, shambling, 
staggering gait, when tired. In a perpetual state 
of low fever you cannot eat, drink, or sleep ; your 
mouth burns, your head throbs, your back aches, 
and your temper borders upon the ferocious. At 
night, when sinking into a temporary oblivion of 
your ills, the wretches are sure to awaken you 
for the purpose of begging a few pice, to swear 
that they dare not proceed because there is no 
oil for the torch, or to let you and your vehicle 
fall heavily upon the ground, because the foremost 
bearer very nearly trod upon a snake. Of course 
you scramble as well as you can out of your cage, 
and administer discipline to the offenders. And 
what is the result '? They all run away and leave 
you to pass the night, not in solitude, for probably 


a hungry tiger circumambulates your box, and is 
only prevented by a somewhat superstitious awe of 
its general appearance, from pulling you out of it 
with claw and jaw, and all the action of a cat 
preparing to break her fast upon some trapped 

All we have said of the palanquin is applicable 
to its humble modification. The mancheel in this 
part of the world consists merely of a pole, a can- 
vas sheet hung like a hammock beneath it, and 
above it a square moveable curtain, which you 
may draw down on the sunny or windy side. In 
this conveyance you will progress somewhat more 
rapidly than you did in the heavy wooden chest, 
but your miseries will be augmented in undue 
proportion. As it requires a little practice to 
balance oneself in these machines, you will in- 
fallibly be precipitated to the ground when you 
venture upon your maiden attempt. After that 
a sense of security, acquired by dint of many falls, 
leaves your mind free to exercise its powers of 
observation, you will remark how admirably you 
are situated for combining the enjoyments of oph- 
thalmic glare, febrile reflected heat, a wind like 
a Sirocco, and dews chilling as the hand of the 
Destroyer. You feel that your back is bent at 


the most inconvenient angle, and that the pillows 
which should support your head invariably find 
their way down between your shoulders, that you 
have no spare place, as in the- palanquin, for car- 
rying about a variety of small comforts, no, not 
even the room to shift your position — in a word, 
that you are a miserable being. 

If in good health, your best plan of all is to 
mount one of your horses, and to canter him from 
stage to stage, that is to say, between twelve and 
fifteen miles a day. In the core of the nineteenth 
century you may think this style of locomotion 
resembles a trifle too closely that of the ninth, but, 
trust to our experience, you have no better. AVe 
will suppose, then, that you have followed our ad- 
vice, engaged bandies """ for your luggage, and started 
them off overnight, accompanied by your herd of 
domestics on foot. The latter are all armed with 
sticks, swords, and knives, for the country is not 
a safe one, and if it were, your people are endowed 
with a considerable development of cautiousness. 
At day-break, your horse-keeper brings up your 
nag saddled, and neighing his impatience to set 

* The common country carts, called garees in other parts of 
India. Here they are covered with matting, for the same 
reason that compels the people to thatch their heads. 


out : jou mount the beast, and leave the man to 
follow with a coolie or two, bearing on their 
slioulders the little camp-bed, on which you are 
wont to pass youv nights. There is no danger 
of missing the road : jou have only to observe the 
wheel-ruts, which will certainly lead you to the 
nearest and largest, perhaps the only town within 
a day's march. As you canter along, you remark 
with wonder the demeanour of the peasantry, and 
the sensation your appearance creates. The women 
veil their faces, and dash into the nearest place 
of refuge, the children scamper away as if your 
countenance, like ]\Iokanna's, were capable of anni- 
hilating a gazer, the very donkeys and bullocks 
halt, start, and shy, as you pass them.* In some 
places the men will muster courage enough to stand 
and gaze upon you, but they do so with an ex- 
pression of countenance, half-startled, half-scowling, 
which by no means impresses you with a sense 
of your individual popularity.) 

Between nine and ten a.m. you draw in sight 
of some large village, which instinct suggests is to 
be the terminus of that day's wandering. You 

* In Malabar the horse is perhaps as great an object of 
horror as the rider, the natives are so little accustomed to see 
such quadrupeds. 


had better inquire where the travellers' bungalow 
is. Sign-posts are unknown in these barbarous 
regions, and if you trust overmuch to your own 
sagacity, your perspiring self and panting steed 
may wander about for half an hour before you 
find the caravanserai. 

At length you dismount. A horse-keeper rising 
grumbling from his morning slumbers, comes for- 
ward to hold your nag, and, whilst you are dis- 
cussing a cup of tea in the verandah, parades the 
animal slowly up and down before you, as a pre- 
cautionary measure previous to tethering him in 
the open air. Presently the " butler " informs you 
that your breakfast, a spatchcock, or a curry with 
eggs, and a plateful of unleavened wafers, called 
aps — bread being unprocurable hereabouts — is 
awaiting you. You find a few guavas or plantains, 
intended to act as butter, and when you demand 
the reason, your domestic replies at once, that 
he searched every house in the village, but could 
procure none. You might as well adopt some line 
of conduct likely to discourage him from further 
attempts upon your credulity, otherwise you will 
starve before the journey's end. The fact is, he 
was too lazy to take the trouble of even inquiring 
for that same butter. 


We must call upon you to admire the appearance 
of the travellers' bungalows in this part of the 
country. You will see in them much to appreciate 
if you are well acquainted with Bombay India. 
Here they are cleanly looking, substantially built, 
tiled or thatched tenements, with accommodation 
sufficient for two families, good furniture, at least 
as far as a table, a couch, and a chair, go, out- 
houses for your servants, and an excellent verandah 
for yourself. There you may remember, with a 
touch of the true meminisse juvat feeling, certain 
dirty ill-built ruinous roadside erections, tenanted 
by wasps and hornets, with broken seats, tottering 
tables, and populous bedsteads, for the use of 
which, moreover, you were mulcted at the rate 
of a rupee a day. The result of the comparison 
will be that the "Benighted Land,"'"" in this point 
at least, rises prodigiously in your estimation. 

A siesta after breakfast, and a book, or any 
such passe-temps, when you awake, bring you on 
towards sunset. You may now, if so inclined, start 
for an hour's constitutional, followed by a servant 
carrying your gun, and keep your hand in by knock- 
ing down a few of the old kites that are fighting 
with the Pariah dogs for their scanty meal of ofials, 
* The pet name for the Madras Presidency. 


or you may try to bag one or two of the jungle 
cocks, whose crowing resounds from the neigh- 
bouring brakes. 

Dinner ! lovely word in English ears, unlovely 
thing — hereabouts — for English palate. The beer 
is sure to be lukewarm, your vegetables deficient, 
and your meat tough, in consequence of its having 
lost vitality so very lately. 

You must take the trouble, if you please, of 
personally superintending the departure of your 
domestics. And this you will find no easy task. 
The men who have charge of the carts never return 
with their cattle at the hour appointed, and, when 
at last they do, there is not a box packed, and 
probably half your people are wandering about 
the bazaar. At length, with much labour, you 
manage to get things somewhat in order, witness 
with heartfelt satisfaction the first movement of 
the unwieldy train, and retire to the bungalow 
for the purpose of getting through the evening, with 
the assistance of tea, and any other little "dis- 
tractions" your imagination may suggest. 

Before retiring to rest you might as well look 
to the priming and position of your pistols. Other- 
wise you may chance to be visited by certain 
animals, even more troublesome than sand-flies and 


white ants. A little accident of the kind happened 
to us at Waniacollum, a village belonging to some 
Nair Rajah, whose subjects are celebrated for their 
thievish propensities. About midnight, the sound- 
ness' of our slumbers was disturbed bj the uninvited 
presence of some half-a-dozen black gentry, who 
were gliding about the room with the stealthy tread 
of so many wild cats in purissimis naturalihus, 
with the exception of an outside coating of cocoa- 
nut oil. One individual had taken up a position 
close to our bedside, with so very long a knife so 
very near our jugular region, that we judged it 
inexpedient in the extreme to excite him by any 
display of activity; so, closing our eyes, we slept 
heavily till our visitors thought proper to de- 

Our only loss was the glass shade of a candle- 
stick, which the thieves, supposing to be silver, 
had carried into the verandah, where, we presume, 
after discovering that it was only plated, they had 
thrown it upon the ground and abandoned it as a 
useless article. We had, it is true, pistols in the 
room, but as the least movement might have pro- 
duced uncomfortable results ; and, moreover, we felt 
uncommonly like Juvenal's poor traveller, quite 
reckless of consequences as regarded goods and 


chattels, we resolved not to be blood-thirsty. At 
the same time we confess that such conduct was 
by no means heroic. But an officer of our own 
corps, only a few weeks before, was severely 
wounded, and narrowly escaped being murdered, 
not fifty miles from the scene of our night's 
adventure, and we had little desire to figure among 
the list of casualties recorded in the bimonthly 
summaries of Indian news. 

You would scarcely believe the extent of benefit 
in a sanitary point of view, derived from riding 
about the country in the way we have described. 
Every discomfort seems to do one good : an amount 
of broiling and wetting, which, in a cantonment, 
would lead directly to the cemetery, on the road 
seems only to add to one's ever-increasing stock 
of health. The greatest annoyance, perhaps, is 
the way in which the servants and effects sufier ; 
a long journey almost invariably knocks up the 
former for an unconscionable time, and perma- 
nently ruins the latter. 

We are still at Matypolliam, but our stay will 
be short, as the bridge is now nearly repaired. 
By weighty and influential arguments we must 


persuade the Kotwal""'' — a powerful native func- 
tionary — to collect a dozen baggage-bullocks and 
a score of naked savages, destined to act as beasts 
of burden : no moderate inducement will make 
the proprietors of the carts drive their jaded cattle 
up the steep acclivities of the hills. A ridiculous 
sight it is — the lading of bullocks untrained to 
carry weight ; each animal requires at least half- 
a-dozen men to keep him quiet ; he kicks, he butts, 
he prances, he shies : he is sure to break from them 
at the critical moment, and, by an opportune 
plunge, to dash your unhappy boxes on the ground, 
scattering their contents in all directions. What 
a scene of human and bestial viciousness, of plung- 
ing and bellowing, of goading of sides, punching of 
stomachs, and twisting of tails ! We must, how- 
ever, patiently sit by and witness it ; otherwise 
the fellows will not start till late in the afternoon. 

You would scarcely believe that the inmates of 
that little bungalow which just peeps over the 

* It is curious to see the different way in which the kot- 
wals, peons, and other such official characters behave towards 
the Bombay and the Madras traveller. The latter escapes their 
importunity, whereas the former, b}'' keeping up his presi- 
dency's bad practice of feeing government servants, teaches 
them incivility to all who either refuse or neglect to pay this 
kind of " black mail." 


brow of the mountain, are enjoying an Alpine and 
almost European climate, whilst we are still in all 
the discomforts of the tropics. The distance between 
us is about three miles, as the crow flies — eleven 
along the winding road. We must prepare for 
the change by strapping thick coats to our saddle- 
bows, and see that our servants are properly clothed 
in cloths and flannels. Otherwise, we render our- 
selves liable to the peine forte et dure of a catarrh 
of three months' probable duration, and our 
domestics will certainly be floored by fever and 
ague, cholera or rheumatism. 

It is just nine o'clock a.m., rather an unusual 
time for a start in these latitudes. But the eddying 
and roaring of Bhawany's muddy stream warns us 
that there has been rain amongst the hills. The 
torrents are passable now ; they may not be so 
a few hours later. So we will mount our nags, 
and gallop over the five miles of level country, 
partially cleared of the thick jungle which once 
invested it, to the foot of the Neilgherry hills. 

We now enter the ravine which separates the 
Oolacul from the Coonoor range. A vast chasm it 
is, looking as if Nature, by a terrible efibrt, had 
split the giant mountain in twain, and left 
its two halves standing separated opposite each 


other. A rapid and angry little torrent brawls 
down tlie centre of the gap towards the Bhawany 
river, and the sides are clothed with thick under- 
wood, dotted with tall wide-spreading trees. After 
the dusty flats of Mysore, and even the green 
undulations of Malabar, you admire the view with 
a sensation somewhat resembling that with which 
you first gazed upon the " castled crag of Drachen- 
fels," when you visited it en route from monotonous 
France, uninteresting Holland, or unpicturesque 
Belgium. Probably, like certain enthusiastic indi- 
viduals who have indited high-flown eulogies of 
Neilgherry beauty, you will mentally compare the 
scenery with that of the Alps, Apennines, or Py- 
renees. We cannot, however, go quite so far Avith 
you : with a few exceptions the views generally — 
and this particularly — want grandeur and a cer- 
tain nescio quid to make them really imposing. 

Slowly our panting nags toil along the narrow 
parapetless road up the steep ascent of the Coonoor 
Pass. The consequence of the storm is that our 
pathway appears plentifully besprinkled with earth, 
stones, and trunks of trees, which have slipped from 
the inner side. In some places it has been worn by 
the rain down to the bare rock, and the gutters or 
channels of rough stone, built at an average dis- 


tance of fifty yards apart to carry off the water, 
are slippery for horses, and must be uncommonly 
troublesome to wheeled conveyances. That cart 
which on the plains requires a single team, will 
not move here without eight pair of oxen ; and 
yonder carriage demands the united energies of 
three dozen coolies, at the very least. As, how- 
ever, its too-confiding owner has left it to a care- 
less servant's charge, it will most probably reach 
its destination in a state picturesque, if not useful 
— its springs and light gear hanging in graceful 
festoons about the wheels. 

And now, after crossing certain torrents and 
things intended for bridges — during which, to 
confess the truth, we did feel a little nervous — 
our nags stand snorting at the side of the stream 
which forms the Coonoor Falls. Its bottom is a 
mass of sheet rock, agreeably diversified with occa- 
sional jagged points and narrow clefts : moreover, 
the water is rushing by with uncomfortable rapidity, 
and there is no visible obstacle to your being swept 
down a most unpleasant slope. In fact it is the 
kind of place usually described as growing uglier 
the more you look at it, so you had better try 
your luck as soon as possible. Wheel the nag 
round, " cram " him at the place, and just when 


he is meJitatiug a sudden halt, apply your spurs 
to his sides and your heavy horsewhip to his flanks, 
trusting to Providence for his and your reaching 
the other side undamaged. 

The Burleyar bungalow — a kind of half-way 
house, or rather an unfinished shed, built on an 
eminence to the right of the road, — informs us that 
we are now within six miles of our journey's end. 
The air becomes sensibly cooler, and we begin to 
look down upon the sultry steaming plain below 
with a sensation of acute enjoyment. 

We might as well spend a day or two at Coonoor. 
Ootacamund is at least ten miles ofi", and it is 
perfectly useless to hurry on, as our baggage will 
certainly not arrive before the week is half over, even 
if it does then. Not, however, at the government 
bungalow — that long rambling thing perched on 
the hill above the little bazaar, and renowned for 
broken windows, fireless rooms, and dirty comfort- 
less meals, prepared by a native of " heathen caste." 
We will patronize the hotel kept, in true English 
style, by Mr. Davidson, where we may enjoy the 
luxuries of an excellent dinner, a comfortable 
sitting-room, and a clean bed. 

A survey of the scenery in this part of the 


Neilgherries takes in an extensive range of swelling 
waving hill, looking at a distance as if a green 
gulf had suddenly become fixed for ever. On the 
horizon are lofty steeps, crowned with remnants of 
forests, studded with patches of cultivation, and 
seamed with paths, tracks, and narrow roads. 
There is little or no table-land : the only level 
road in the vicinity is scarcely a mile long. At 
the bottom of the hollow lies the bazaar, and upon 
the rising knolls around are the nine or ten houses 
which compose the first European settlement you 
have seen on the Blue Hills. 

Coonoor occupies the summit of the Matypolliam 
Pass, about five thousand eight hundred and eighty 
feet above the level of the sea. The climate is 
warmer than that of the other stations, and the 
attractions of an occasional fine day even during 
the three odious months of June, July, and August, 
fill it with invalids flying from the horrors of Oota- 
camund. The situation, however, is not considered 
a good one : its proximity to the edge of the hills, 
renders it liable to mists, fogs, and a suspicion of 
the malaria which haunts the jungly forests belting 
the foot of the hills. Those who have suffered from 
the obstinate fevers of the plains do well to avoid 


The day is fine and bright — a si?ie qua non in 
Neilgheny excursions, — if the least cloud or mist be 
observed hanging about the mountain tops, avoid 
trips ! — so we will start ofi* towards that scarcely- 
distinguishable object, half peak, half castle, that 
ends the rocky wall which lay on our left when we 
rode up the Pass. 

You look at Oolacul * Droog, as the fort is called, 
and wonder what could have been the use of it. 
And you are justified in your amazement. But 
native powers delight in cooping up soldiery where 
they may be as useless as possible ; they naturally 
connect the idea of a strong place with isolated and 
almost inaccessible positions, and cannot, for the 
life of them conceive, what Europeans mean by 
building their fortifications on level ground. Hyder 
Ali and his crafty son well knew that the unruly 
chieftains of the plains would never behave them- 
selves, unless overawed and overlooked by some 
military post which might serve equally well for a 

* Etymologists write the word " Hullicul," deriving it 
from culj a rock, and huUi, a tiger, as formerly a stone figure 
of one of those animals that had been slain by a chief single- 
handed, stood thereabouts. There are several forts in other 
parts of the hills similar to Oolacul Droog : some suppose them 
to have been built by Hyder Ali, others assign an earlier date 
to them. 


watch-tower and a dungeon. We think and act 
otherwise, so such erections go to ruin. 

Starting, we pursue a road that runs bj the 
travellers' bungalow, descends a steep, rough, and 
tedious hill — where we should prefer a mule to a 
horse — crosses two or three detestable watercourses, 
and then skirting the western end of the Oolacul 
chasm shows us a sudden ascent. Here we dis- 
mount for convenience as well as exercise. The 
path narrows ; it becomes precipitous and slippery, 
owing to the decomposed vegetation that covers it, 
and presently plunges into a mass of noble trees. 
You cannot see a vestige of underwood : the leaves 
are crisp under your feet ; the tall trunks rise 
singly in all their sylvan glory, and the murmurs 
of the wind over the leafy dome above, inform 

you that 

This is the forest primseval — 

as opposed to a rank bushy jungle. You enjoy the 
walk amazingly. The foot-track is bounded on 
both sides by dizzy steeps : through the intervals 
between the trees you can see the light mist-clouds 
and white vapours sailing on the zephyr far beneath 
your feet. After about an hour's hard work, we 
suddenly come upon the Droog, and clambering over 
the ruined parapet of stone — the only part of it 

N 2 


that remains — stand up to catch a glimpse of 
scenery which even a jaded lionizer would admire. 

The rock upon which we tread falls with an 
almost perpendicular drop of four thousand feet 
into the plains. From this eyrie we descry the 
houses of Coimbatore, the windings of the Bhawany, 
and the straight lines of road stretching like 
ribbons over the glaring yellow surface of the 
low land. A bluish mist clothes the distant hills 
of Malabar, dimly seen upon the horizon in front. 
Behind, on the far side of the mighty chasm, the 
white bungalows of Coonoor glitter through the 
green trees, or disappear behind the veil of fleecy 
vapour which floats along the sunny mountain 
tops. However hypercritically disposed, you can 
find no fault with this view ; it has beauty, variety, 
and sublimity to recommend it. 

If an inveterate sight-seer, you will be persuaded 
by the usual arguments to visit Castle Hill, an 
eminence about three miles to the east of Coonoor, 
for the purpose of enjoying a very second rate 
prospect. Perhaps you will also be curious to 
inspect a village inhabited by a villanous specimen 
of the Toda race, close to Mr. Davidson's hotel. 
"We shall not accompany you. 




The distance from Coonoor to the capital of the 
Neilgherries is about ten miles, over a good road. 
We propose, however, to forsake the uninteresting 
main line, and, turning leftwards, to strike into 
the bye way which leads to the Khaity Falls. 

Khaity is a collection of huts tenanted by the 
hill people, and in no ways remarkable, except that 
it has given a name to a cascade which " every- 
body goes," &c. 

After six miles of mountain and valley in rapid 
and unbroken succession, we stand upon the natural 
terrace which supports the little missionary settle- 
ment, and looking over the deep ravine that yawns 
at our feet, wonder why the " everybody " ^above 
alluded to, takes the trouble of visiting the Khaity 
falls. They are formed by a thin stream which 
dashes over a gap in the rock, and disperses into 


spray before it lias time to reach the basin below. 
As usual with Neilgherrj cascades they only want 

Now as our disappointment has brought on 
rather a depressed and prosy state of mind, we 
will wile away the tedium of the eight long miles 
which still separate us from our destination, with 
a little useful discourse upon subjects historical 
and geographical connected with the Neilgherries. 

The purely European reader will consider it ex- 
traordinary that this beautiful range of lofty hills 
should not have suggested to all men at first sight 
the idea of a cool, healthy summer abode. But 
we demi-Orientals, who know by experience the 
dangers of mountain air in India, only wonder at 
the daring of the man who first planted a roof-tree 
upon the Neilgherries. 

From the year 1799 to 1819 these mountains 
were in the daily view of all the authorities from 
the plains of Coimbatore ; revenue was collected 
from them for the company by a native renter ; 
but, excepting Dr. Ford and Capt. Bevan, who in 
1809 traversed the hill with a party of pioneers, 
and certain deputy surveyors under Colonel Mon- 
son, who partially mapped the tract, no strangers 


had ventured to explore the all but unknown 

In 1814, Mr, Keys, a sub-assistant, and Mr. 
McMahon, then an apprentice in the survey de- 
partment, ascended the hills by the Danaynkeu- 
cottah Pass, penetrated into the remotest parts and 
made plans, and sent in reports of their discoveries. 
In consequence of their accounts, Messrs. Whish and 
Kindersley, two young Madras civilians, availing 
themselves of the opportunity presented by some 
criminal's taking refuge amongst the mountains, 
ventured up in pursuit of him, and proceeded to 
reconnoitre the interior. They soon saw and felt 
enough to excite their own curiosity and that of 
others. Mr. Sullivan, collector of Coimbatore, built 
the first house upon the Neilgherries. He chose a 
hillock to the east of the hollow, where the lake 
now lies, and after some difficulty in persuading 
the superstitious natives to work — on many occa- 
sions he was obliged personally to set them the 
example — he succeeded in erecting a tenement 
large enough to accommodate his family. 

In the month of ]\Iay, 1819, the same tourists 
from Coimbatore, accompanied by Mons. Leschnault 
de la Tour, naturalist to the King of France, re- 
peated their excursion, and published the result 


of their observations in one of the Madras news- 
papers. They asserted the maximum height of 
the thermometer in the shade to be 74° at a time 
when the temperature of the plains varied from 
90° to 100°. Such a climate within the tropics 
was considered so great an anomaly that few would 
believe in its existence. At length the Madras 
Government determined to open one of the passes, 
and the pioneer officer employed on this service 
deriving immediate and remarkable benefit from the 
mountain air — he had been suffering from fever and 
ague — hastened to corroborate the accounts of it 
already published. The road was opened in 1821 ; 
some families then took up their abode on the 
hills ; the inveterate prejudice against them began 
to disappear, and such numbers presently flocked 
to the region of health, that the difficulty was to 
find sufficient accommodation. As late as 1826, 
Bishop Heber complained that for want of lodgings 
he was unable to send his family to the sanitarium. 
Incredulity received its coup de grace from the 
hand of the Rev. Mr. Hough, a chaplain in the 
Madras establishment, who in July, 1826, published 
in the Bengal Hurkaru, under the iiom de guerre 
of Philanthropes, a series of eight letters,* de- 
* See Chapter XIX. for a further account of the work. 


scribing the climate, inhabitants, and productions 
of the Neilgherries, with the benevolent intention 
of inducing the Government of India to patronize 
the place as a retreat for invalids. 

Having " done " the history, we will now attempt 
a short geographical account of the Blue Mountains. 
En passant we may remark, that the native name 
Nilagiri,* limited by the Hindoos to a hill sacred 
to Parwati, has been extended by us to the whole 

The region commonly known by the name of 
the N'eilgherries, or Blue Mountains of Coimbatore, 
is situated at the point where the Eastern and 
Western Ghautsf unite, between the parallels of 
11° and 12° N. lat., and 76" and 77° E. Ion. Its 
shape is a trapezoid, for though quadrilateral, none 

* The " blue hill :" it lies near the Danaynkeucottah Pass, 
one of the first ascended by Europeans. The visitors would 
naturally ask the natives what name they gave to the spot, 
and when answered Nilagiri, would apply the word to the 
whole range. The sacred mount is still a place of pilgrimage, 
although its pagoda has long been in ruins. 

+ The Eastern Ghauts begin south of the Cavery river, and 
extend almost in a straight line to the banks of the Krishna. 
The western range commences near Cape Comorin, and after 
running along the western coast as far north as Surat, diverges 
towards the north-east, and is lost in the valley of the Tapti. 

N 5 


of its sides are equal or even : it is bounded on 
the north by the table-land of Mysore, on the 
south and east by the provinces that stretch towards 
the Arabian Sea ; another range of hills forms its 
western frontier. Its base covers a surface of about 
two hundred miles ; the greatest length from east 
to west at an elevation of five thousand feet, is 
nearly forty-three, and the medium breadth at the 
same height, is little less than fifteen, miles. The 
major part of the mass presents a superficies of 
parallel and irregular hill and knoll, intersected 
by deep valleys and precipitous ravines ; a loftier 
chain, throwing ofi" a number of minor ridges, runs 
north-east and south-west, and almost bisects the 
tract. In the loftier parts many small streams, 
such as the Pykarry, the Porthy, and the Avalanche 
take their rise, and, after winding over the surface, 
sweep down the rocky sides of the mountains, and 
fall into the Moyar,"' or swell the Bhawany River. 

The Neilgherries are divided into four Nads, or 
provinces : Perunga Nad, the most populous, occu- 

* The Pykarry becomes the Moyar river, and under that 
name flows round the north and north-west base of the hills : 
it falls into the Bhawany, which bounds the south and east 
slopes, and acts as the common drain of every little brook and 
torrent in the Neilgherries. 


pies the eastern portion ; Malka lies towards the 
south ; Koondah is on the west and south-west mar- 
gin ; and Toda Nad, the most fertile and extensive,"'" 
includes the northern regions and the crest of the 
hills. Many lines of roads have been run up the 
easier acclivities ; the most travelled upon at pre- 
sent are the Seegoor Ghaut,f which enters from the 
Mysore side, and the Coonoor, or Coimbatore Pass, 
by which, if you recollect, we ascended. 

Our Government asserts no right to this bit of 
territory, although the hills belonged to Hyder, and 
what was Hyder's now belongs to us. The peculiar 
tribe called the Todas,J lay claim to the land, and 
though they consent to receive a yearly rent, they 
firmly refuse to alienate their right to the soil, con- 
sidering such measure " nae canny " for both seller 
and buyer. Chance events have established this su- 
perstition on a firm footing. When Europeans first 
settled in the Neilgherries, a murrain broke out 
among the Toda cattle, and the savages naturally 

* Its extent is about twenty miles from east to west, and 
seven from north to south. 

t The Seegoor Ghaut, which was almost impassable in Cap- 
tain Harknes and Dr. Baikie's time, is now one of the easiest 
and best ascents. 

+ See Chapter XVIII. 


attributed their misfortune to the presence of the 
new comers. Sir W. Rumbold lost his wife, and 
died prematurely soon after purchasing the ground 
upon which his house stood — of course, in conse- 
quence of the earth-god's ire. 

In August, 1847, there were a hundred and four 
officers on sick leave, besides visitors and those 
residing on the Neilgherries. The total number of 
Europeans, children included, was between five and 
six hundred. It is extremely difficult to estimate 
the number of the hill people. Some authorities 
give as many as fifteen thousand ; others as few 
as six thousand. 

Now we fall into the main road at the foot of the 
zigzag, which climbs the steep skirt of Giant Doda- 
betta.* Our nags, snorting and panting, breast 

* Dodabetta, or the " Great Mountain," called by the Todas, 
Pet-, or Het-marz, The summit is eight thousand seven hun- 
dred and sixty feet above the level of the sea, and forms the 
apex of the Neilgherry range. The vicinity of the giant has 
its advantages and disadvantages. It is certainly a beautiful 
place for pic-nics, and the view from the observatory on the 
top is grand and extensive. But as a counterpoise, the lofty 
peak attracting and detaining every cloud that rolls up from 
the coast during the rainy season, makes one wish most fer- 
vently that the Great Mountain were anywhere but in its pre- 
sent position. 


the hill — we reach the summit — we descend a 
few hundred yards — catch sight of some detached 
bungalows — a lake — a church — a bazaar — a 

The cantonment of Ootacamund,* or, as it is 
familiarly and affectionately termed by the abbre- 
viating Saxon, " Ooty," is built in a punch bowl, 
formed by the range of hills which composes the 
central crest of the Neilgherries. But first for the 
" Windermere." 

The long narrow winding tarn which occupies the 
bottom of Ooty's happy vale, is an artificial affair, 
intended, saith an enthusiastic describer, " like that 
of Como, to combine utility with beauty." It was 
made by means of a dam, which, uniting the con- 
verging extremities of two hills, intercepted the 
waters of a mountain rivulet, and formed an " ex- 
pansive and delightful serpentine lake," about two 
miles in length, upon an average six hundred yards 
broad, in many places forty feet deep, generally 

* Ootacamund, Wootaycamund, or Wotay. " Mund" means 
a village in the language of the hill people. Ootac is a cor- 
ruption of the Toda vocable Hootkh, a word unpronounceable 
to the Indians of the plain. The original hamlet still nestles 
against the towering side of Dodabetta, but its pristine inhabi- 
tants, the Todas, have given it up to another race, and mi- 
grated to the wood which lies behind the public gardens. 


very muddy, and about as far from Windermere 
or Como as a London Colosseum or a Parisian 
Tivoli might be from its Italian prototype. Two 
roads, the upper and the lower, wind round the 
piece of water, and it is crossed by three embank- 
ments ; the Willow Bund, as the central one is 
called, with its thick trees and apologies for arches, 
is rather a pretty and picturesque object. The 
best houses, you may remark, are built as close to 
the margin of the lake as possible. Turn your 
eyes away from the northern bank ; that dirty, 
irregular bazaar is the very reverse of romantic. 
The beauties of the view lie dispersed above and 
afar. On both sides of the water, turfy peaks and 
woody eminences, here sinking into shallow valleys, 
there falling into steep ravines, the whole covered 
with a tapestry of brilliant green, delight your eye, 
after the card-table plains of Guzerat, the bleak and 
barren Maharatta hills, or the howling wastes of 
sun-burnt Sciude. The back-ground of distant hill 
and mountain, borrowing from the intervening at- 
mosphere the blue and hazy tint for which these 
regions are celebrated, contrasts well with the 
emerald hue around. In a word, there is a rich 
variety of form and colour, and a graceful blending 
of the different features that combine to make a 


beautiful coup dceil, which, when the gloss of 
novelty is still upon them, are infinitely attractive. 

The sun is sinking in the splendour of an Indian 
May, behind the high horizon, and yet, marvellous 
to relate, the air feels cool and comfortable. The 
monotonous gruntings of the frequent palanquin- 
bearers — a sound which, like the swift's scream, is 
harsh and grating enough, yet teems in this region 
with pleasant associations — inform us that the 
fair ones of Ootacamund are actually engaged in 
taking exercise. We will follow their example, 
beginning at "Charing Cross," — the unappropriate 
name conferred upon those few square yards of 
level and gravelled ground, with the stunted tree 
boxed up in the centre. Our path traverses the 
half-drained swamp that bounds this end of the 
Neilgherry Windermere, and you observe with pain 
that those authors who assert the hills to be "en- 
tirely free from the morasses and the vast collection 
of decayed vegetables that generate miasma," have 
notably deceived you. In 1847, there is a small 
swamp, formed by the soaking of some arrested 
stream, at the bottom of almost every declivity. 
We presume the same was the case in 1826. 
Indeed, were the Neilgherries seven or eight hun- 


dred feet, instead of as many thousands, above the 
level of the sea, even the Pontine marshes would 
not be better adapted for the accommodation of 
Quartana and Malaria. Before you have been long 
on the hills, you will witness many amusing acci- 
dents occurring to new comers, who attempt to 
urge their steeds through the shaking bogs of black 
mud, treacherously lurking under a glossy green 
coating of grassy turf. 

"Probably it is to the local predilections for 
such diversion that I must attribute the unwilling- 
ness of the authorities to remedy the nuisance "? " 

We cannot take upon ourselves to reply, yes or 
no. The cantonment is by no means scrupulously 
clean. The bazaar is at all times unpleasant, and, 
during the rains, dirty in the extreme. Making all 
due allowance for the difficulty of keeping any 
place where natives abound, undefiled, still we 
opine, that the authorities might be much more 
active, in promoting the cause of cleanliness, than 
they are. But, if report speak true, the local 
government is somewhat out of temper with her hill 
protegee, for spending her rupees a little too freely. 

There go the promenaders — stout pedestrians — 
keeping step in parties and pairs. Equestrians 
ride the fashionable animals — a kind of horse cut 


down to a ponj, called the Pegu, Arabs being rare 
and little valued here. And invalids, especially 
ladies, "eat the air," as the natives say, in palan- 
quins and tonjons. The latter article merits some 
description. It is a light conveyance, open and 
airy, exactly resembling the seat of a Bath chair, 
spitted upon a long pole, which rests on the shoul- 
ders of four hammals, or porters. Much barbaric 
splendour is displayed in the equipments of the 
"gang." Your first thought, on observing their 
long scarlet coats, broad yellow bands round the 
waist, and the green turban, or some other curiously 
and wonderfully made head -gear, which surmounts 
their sooty faces, is a sensation of wonder that the 
tonjon and its accompaniments have not yet been 
exhibited in London and Paris. Much hardness 
of heart is occasionally shown by the fair sex to 
their unhappy negroes. See those four lean 
wretches staggering under the joint weights of 
the vehicle that contains the stout daughter and 
stouter mama, or the huge Ayah who is sent out 
to guard those five or six ponderous children, whose 
constitutional delicacy renders " carriage exercise" 
absolutely necessary for them. 

Two things here strike your eye as novel, in 


There is a freshness in the complexion of the 
Sanitarians that shows wonderfully to advantage 
when compared with the cadaverous waxy hue 
which the European epidermis loves to assume in 
the tropics. Most brilliant look the ladies ; the gen- 
tlemen are sunburnt and robust ; and the juveniles 
appear fresh and chubby, quite a different creation 
from the pallid, puny, meagre, sickly, irritable little 
wretches that do nothing but cry and perspire in 
the plains. Another mighty pleasant thing, after a 
few years of purely camp existence, is the non- 
military appearance and sound of Ootacamund. 
Uniform has been banished by one consent from 
society, except at balls and parties. The cotton 
and linen jackets, the turbaned felt " wide-awake," 
and the white jockey's cap, with its diminutive 
apron, intended to protect the back of the head 
from the broiling sun, are here exchanged for 
cloth coats and black hats. Morning bugles 
and mid-day guns, orderlies, and order-books, the 
" Officers' call" and " ^o parade to-day," are things 
unknown. Vestiges of the " shop" will, it is true, 
occasionally peep out in the shape of a regimental 
cap, brass spurs, and black pantaloons, denuded of 
the red stripe. But such traces rather add to our 
gratification than otherwise, by reminding us of 


A.M. drills, meridian sword exercises, and p.m. reviews 
in days gone by. 

And now, advancing along the gravelled walk 
that borders the lake, we pass beneath a thatched 
cottage, once a masonic lodge,* but ia.QVf,prohpudor ! 
converted into a dwelling-house. Near it, we re- 
mark a large building — Bombay House. It was 
formerly appropriated to officers of that presidency. 
At present they have no such luxury .f Taking up 
a position above the south end of the Willow-Bund, 
we have a good front view of the principal buildings 
in the cantonment. On the left hand is the Pro- 
testant church of St. Stephens, an unpraisable 
erection, in the Saxo-Gothic style, standing out 
from a grave-yard, so extensive, so well stocked, 
that it makes one shudder to look at it. Close by 
the church are the Ootacamund Free School, the 
Post-office, the Pay-office, and the bungalow where 
the Commanding officer of the station transacts his 

* It was established at Ootacamund under a warrant of 
constitution from the Provincial Grand Lodge on the coast of 

t The Bombayites had, moreover, their own medical atten- 
dant, with a hospital and the usual number of subalterns 
attached to it. There are now but three surgeons on the hills, 
attending on one hundred and four invalids, who are scattered 
over many miles of country. 


multifarious business. Below, near the lake, you 
see the Library, the Victoria hotel — a large and 
conspicuous building — the Dispensary, the subor- 
dinate's courts, and the Bazaar. Beyond the church 
a few hundred yards of level road leads to the 
" palace," built by Sir W. Rumbold, which, after 
enduring many vicissitudes of fortune, has settled 
down into the social position of a club-house and 
place for periodical balls. Around it, the mass of 
houses thickens, and paths branch off in all direc- 
tions. In the distance appears the wretched bazaar 
of Kaundlemund — the haunt of coblers and thieves ; 
— a little nearer is the old Roman Catholic chapel ; 
closer still, the Union hotel — a huge white house, 
which was once the Neilgherry Church Missionary 
grammar school, — bungalows by the dozen, and 
several extensive establishments, where youth, male 
and female, is lodged, boarded, and instructed. On 
the southern side of a hill, separated from the 
Kaundle bazaar, stands Woodcock Hall, the locality 
selected for Government House, and, in 1847 at 
least, a most unimportant place, interiorly as well 
as exteriorly. 

We will conclude our ciceronic task with calling 
your attention to one fact, namely, that the capital 
of the Neilgherries is growing up Avith maizelike rapi- 


ditj. Houses are rising in all directions ; and if 
fickle fortune only favour it, Ooty promises fair to 
become in a few years one of the largest European 
settlements in India. But its fate is at present 
precarious. Should the Court of Directors be in- 
duced to revise the old Furlough and Sick-leave 
Regulations, then will poor Ooty speedily revert 
to the Todas and jackals — its old inhabitants. 
On the contrary, if the status quo endure, and 
European regiments are regularly stationed on the 
hills,"' officers will flock to Ootacamund, the settlers, 
retired servants of Government, not Eurasian colo- 
nists, will increase in number, schools f will flourish 

* The measure was advocated by Mr. Sullivan as early as 
1828, but financial, not common-sensical or medical, considera- 
tions have long delayed its being carried into execution. 

t The principal schools now (1847) to be found at Ootaca- 
mund are four in number, viz. : — 

1. The Ooty free school, established for the purpose of giving 
education gratis to the children of the poor : it is supported by 
voluntary contributions, and superintended by the chaplain of 
the station. The number of scholars on the rolls is generally 
about thirty. 

2. Fern Hill, the Rev. Mr. Rigg's boarding-school for young 
gentlemen. It contains twenty-six pupils, varying in age from 
five to fifteen. Of these, fourteen are the sons of officers in the 
service, and the rest are youths of respectable families. Terms 
for boarders, 4/. per mensem, the usual charges on the Neil- 


and prosperity steadily progress. The " to be or 
not to be " thus depends upon the turn of a die. 

The chilly shades of evening are closing rapidly 
upon us, and we know by experience that some care 
is necessary, especially for the newly arrived health- 
hunter. So we wend our way homewards, remark- 
ing, as night advances, the unusual brilliancy of the 
heavenly bodies. Yenus shines almost as brightly 
as an average English moon in winter : her light 
with that of the lesser stars is quite sufficient to 
point out to us the direction of " Subaltern Hall." 

3. An establishment for young ladies, conducted by Miss 
Hale and Miss Millard. 

4. Ditto for young ladies and young gentlemen under ten 
years of age, conducted by Mrs. James and Miss Ottley. 

Besides those above mentioned, several ladies receive a 
limited number of pupils. 

The schools for natives at Ootacamund are — 

1. The Hindostani school^ Conducted by the Rev. Bernard 

2. The Tamul school J Schmidt, D.D. 

There are many other similar establishments for native chil- 
dren in different parts of the hills. 

So that the pedagogue has not neglected to visit this remote 
corner of his wide domains. 




If a bachelor, you generally begin by depositing 
your household gods in the club buildings, or one 
of the two hotels ''' — there is no travellers' bunga- 
low at Ootacamund — if a married man, you have 
secured lodgings by means of a friend. 

The Neilgherry house merits description prin- 

* The Union and the Victoria. For bed and board the 
prices usually charged are — 

For a lady or gentleman, 22l. per mens. 

Ditto for any broken period in a month, 1 65. per diem. 

For children under ten years of age and European servants, 
2s. per diem. 

Native ayah or nurse, Is, per diem. 

The expense of housekeeping is not great at Ootacamund. 
A single man may manage to live for 20/. per mensem, com- 
fortably for 30/. It is common for two or more bachelors to 
take a house together, and the plan suits the nature of the 
place well. 

Only be careful who your monsoon " chum" is ! 


cipally because it is a type of the life usually led 
in it. The walls are made of coarse bad bricks — 
the roof of thatch or wretched tiles, which act 
admirably as filters, and occasionally cause the 
downfall of part, or the whole of the erection. 
The foundation usually selected is a kind of plat- 
form, a gigantic step, cut out of some hill-side, 
and levelled by manual labour. The best houses 
occupy the summits of the little eminences around 
the lake. As regards architecture the style bun- 
galow — a modification of the cow-house — is pre- 
ferred : few tenements have upper stories, whilst 
almost all are surrounded by a long low verandah, 
perfectly useless in such a climate, and only cal- 
culated to render the interior of the domiciles as 
dim and gloomy as can be conceived. The furniture 
is decidedly scant, being usually limited to a few 
feet of drugget, a chair or two, a table, and a bed- 
stead. The typical part of the matter is this. If 
the diminutive rooms, with their fire-places, cur- 
tained beds, and boarded floors, faintly remind you 
of Europe, the bare walls, puttyless windows and 
doors that admit draughts of air small yet cutting 
as lancets, forcibly impress you with the conviction 
that you have ventured into one of those uncomfort- 
able localities — a cold place in a hot country. 


So it is with life on the Nielgherries — a perfect 
anomaly. You dress like an Englishman, and lead 
a quiet gentlemanly life — doing nothing. Not 
being a determined health -hunter, you lie in bed 
because it passes the hours rationally and agree- 
ably, and you really can enjoy a midday doze on 
the mountain-tops. You sit up half the night 
because those around you are not shaking the head 
of melancholy, in consequence of the dispiriting 
announcement that " the Regiment will parade, &c., 
at four o'clock next morning" (a.m. remember !). At 
the same. time your monthly bills for pale ale and 
hot curries, heavy tiffins, and numerous cheroots, 
tell you, as plainly as such mute inanimate things 
can, that you have not quite cast the slough of 
Anglo-Indian life. 

We will suppose that your first month in the 
Nielgherry Hills with all its succession of small 
events has glided rapidly enough away. You 
reported your arrival in person to the commanding 
officer, who politely desired your signature to a 
certain document,'" threatening you as well as others 

* The most stringent measures have been found necessary 
to prevent gentlemen from committing suicide by means of 
elephant shooting in the pestilential jungles below the hills. 


with all the penalties of the law if you ventured 
to quit Ootacamund without leave. The Auditor- 
General's bill, which you received from the Pay- 
master, Bombay, authorizing you to draw your 
salary from him of the southern division of the 
Madras army, was not forwarded before the first of 
the month, or it was forwarded but not in duplicate 
— something of the kind must happen — so you were 
most probably thrown for a while upon your wits, 
rather a hard case, we will suppose. Then you 
tried to " raise the wind " from some Parsee, but the 
way in which he received you conclusively proved 
that he has, perhaps for the best of reasons, long 
since ceased to " do bijness " in that line. You 
began to feel uncomfortable, and consequently to 
abuse the " authorities." 

During your first fortnight all was excitement, 
joy, delight. You luxuriated in the cool air. Your 
appetite improved. The mutton had a flavour 
which you did not recollect in India. Strange, yet 
true, the beef was tender, and even the " unclean " 
was not too much for your robust digestion. You 

Besides, there is some little duty to be done by the Madrassees 
on the Neilgherries : a convalescent list is daily forwarded to 
the Commanding officer, reporting those who are equal to such 
labours as committees and courts of inquest. 


praised the vegetables, and fell into ecstasy at the 
sight of peaches, apples, strawberries, and raspberries, 
after years of plantains, guavas, and sweet limes. 
From the exhilarating influence of a rare and elastic 
atmosphere you, who could scarcely walk a mile in 
the low country, induced by the variety of scenery 
and road, wandered for hours over hill and dale 
without being fatigued. With what strange sensa- 
tions of pleasure you threw yourself upon the soft 
turf bank, and plucked the first daisy which you 
ever saw out of England ! And how you enjoyed the 
untropical occupation of sitting over a fire in June ! 
— that very day last year you were in a state of 
semi-existence, only " kept going " by the power 
of punkahs '"" and quasi-nudity. 

The end of the month found you in a. state of 
mind bordering upon the critical. You began to 
opine that the scenery has its deficiencies — Can 
its diminutive ravines compare with glaciers and 
seas of ice — the greenness of its mountain-tops 
compensate for the want of snow-clad summits, and 
" virgin heights which the foot of man never trod V 
You decided that the Neilgherries are, after all, 
a tame copy of the Alps and the Pyrenees. You 
came to the conclusion that grandeur on a small 

* Large fans, suspended from the ceiling. 



scale is very unsatisfactory, and turned away from 
the prospect with the contempt engendered by 
satiety. As for the climate, you discovered that 
it is either too hot in the sun or too cold in the 
shade, too damp or too dry, too sultry or too raw. 
After a few days spent before the fire you waxed 
weary of the occupation, remarked that the Neil- 
gherry wood is always green, and the Neilgherry 
grate a very abominable contrivance. At last the 
mutton and pork, peaches and strawberries, palled 
upon your pampered palate, you devoured vegeta- 
bles so voraciously that pernicious consequences 
ensued, and you smoked to such an extent that 
— perhaps tobacco alone did not do it — your head 
became seriously affected. 

And now, sated with the joys of the eye and 
mouth, you turn round upon Ootacamund and 
inquire blatantly what amusement it has to offer 

Is there a hunt ? No, of course not ! 

A race-course 1 Ditto, ditto ! 

Is there a cricket-club 1 Yes. If you wish to 
become a member you will be admitted readily 
enough ; you will pay four shillings per mensem 
for the honour, but you will not play at cricket. 

A library 1 There are two : one in the Club, 


the other kept by a Mr. Warren : the former deals 
in the modern, the latter in the antiquated style 
of light — ^extremely light — literature. Both reading- 
rooms take in the newspapers and magazines, but 
the periodical publications are a very exclusive 
kind of study, that is to say, never at home to 
you. . By some peculiar fatality the book you want 
is always missing. And the absence of a cata- 
logue instead of exciting your industry, seems rather 
to depress it than otherwise. 

Public gardens, with the usual " scandal point," 
where you meet the ladies and exchange the latest 
news 1 We reply yes, in a modifying tone. The 
sum of about 200/., besides monthly subscriptions, 
was expended upon the side of a hill to the east 
of Ooty, formerly overrun with low jungle, now 
bearing evidences of the fostering hand of the 
gardener in the shape of many cabbages and a few 

Is there a theatre, a concert-room, a tennis, a 
racket, or a fives-court ? 'No, and again no ! 

Then pray what is there "? 

We will presently inform you. But you must 
first rein in your impatience whilst we enlarge 
a little upon the constitution and components of 
Neilgherry society. 


Two presidencies — the Madras and Bombay — 
meet here without mingling. Officers belonging 
to the former establishment visit the hills for two 
objects, pleasure and health ; those of the latter 
service are always votaries of Hygeia. If you ask 
the Madrassee how he accounts for the dearth of 
amusements, he replies that no one cares how he 
gets through his few weeks of leave. The Bom- 
bayite, on the contrary, complains loudly and bit- 
terly enough of the dull two years he is doomed 
to pass at Ooty, but modesty, a consciousness of 
inability to remedy the evil, or most likely that 
love of a grievance, and lust of grumbling which 
nature has implanted in the soldier's breast, pre- 
vents his doing anything more. Some public- 
spirited individuals endeavoured, for the benefit 
of poor Ooty, to raise general subscriptions from 
the Madras Service, every member of which has 
visited, is visiting, or expects to visit, the region 
of health. The result of their laudable endeavours 
— a complete failure — instanced the truth of the 
ancient adage, that " everybody's business is no- 
body's business." Besides the sanitarians and the 
pleasure-seekers, there are a few retired and invalid 
officers, who have selected the hills as a perma- 
nent residence, some coffee - planters, speculators 


in silk and mulberry-trees, a stray mercantile or 
two from Madras, and several professionals, settled 
at Ootacamund, 

With all the material above alluded to, our 
circle of society, as you may suppose, is suffi- 
ciently extensive and varied. Among the ladies, 
we have elderlies who enjoy tea and delight in 
scandal : grass widows — excuse the term, being 
very much wanted, it is comme il faut in this 
region — and spinsters of every kind, from the little 
girl in bib and tucker, to the full blown Anglo- 
Indian young lady, who discourses of her papa 
the Colonel, and disdains to look at anything below 
the rank of a field-officer. The gentlemen supply 
us with many an originale. There are ci-devant 
young men that pride themselves upon giving 
ostentatious feeds which youthful gastronomes 
make a point of eating, misanthropes and hermits 
who inhabit out-of-the-way abodes, civilians on the 
shelf, authors, linguists, oriental students, amateur 
divines who periodically convert their drawing- 
rooms into chapels of ease rather than go to church, 
sportsmen, worshippers of Bacchus in numbers, 
juniors whose glory it is to escort fair dames 
during evening rides, and seniors who would 
rather face his Satanic Majesty himself than stand 


in the dread presence of a "woman." We have 
clergymen, priests, missionaries, tavern-keepers, 
school-masters, and scholars, with precieux and 
pricieuses ridicules of all descriptions. 

But, unhappily, the said circle is divided into 
several segments, which do not willingly or neatly 
unite. In the first place, there is a line of de- 
marcation occasionally broken through, but pretty 
clearly drawn between the two Presidencies. The 
JVIulls * again split into three main bodies, 1, the 
very serious ; 2, the petit- serieux ; and, 3, the un- 
sanctified. So do the Ducks, but these being upon 
strange ground are not so exclusive as they other- 
wise would be. Subdivision does not end here. 
For instance, the genus serious will contain two 
distinct species, the orthodox and the heterodox 
serious. The unsanctified also form numerous little 
knots, whose bond of union is some such acci- 
dental matters as an acquaintance previous to meet- 
ing on the hills, or a striking conformity of tastes 
and pursuits. 

* As the Madrassees are faniiliarl}'- called. The cunning in 
language derive the term from mulligatawny soup, the quan- 
tity of which imbibed in South India strikes the stranger with 
a painful sense of novelty. 


A brief account of the I^eilgherry day will an- 
swer your inquiry about the existence of amuse- 
ment. We premise that there are two formulas, 
one for the sanitarian, the other for the pleasure- 

And first, of II Penseroso, or the invalid. He 
rises with the sun, clothes himself according to Dr. 
Baikie,* and either mounts his pony, or more 
probably starts stick in hand for a four mile walk. 
He returns in time to avoid the sun's effects upon 
an empty stomach, bathes, breakfasts, and hurries 
once more into the open air. Possibly, between 
the hours of twelve and four, his dinner-time, he 
may allow himself to rest awhile in the library, 
to play a game at billiards, or to call upon a friend, 
but upon principle he avoids tainted atmospheres 
as much as possible. At 5 p.m. he recommences 
walking or riding, persevering laudably in the 
exercise selected, till the falling dew drives him 
home. A cup of tea, and a book or newspaper, 
finish the day. This even tenor of his existence 
is occasionally varied by some such excitement as 
a pic-nic, or a shooting-party, but late dinners, 
balls, and parties, know him not. 

Secondly of L' Allegro, as the man who obtains 

* See Chapter XIX. 

o 5 


two months' leave of " absence on urgent private 
affairs" to the Neilgherries, and the Peuseroso be- 
come a robust convalescent, may classically and 
accurately be termed. L'Allegro, dresses at mid-day, 
he has spent the forenoon either in bed or en des- 
habille, in dozing, tea-drinking, and smoking, or, if 
of a literary turn of mind, in perusing the pages of 
" The Devoted," or, " Demented One/' He dilates 
breakfast to spite old Time, and asks himself the 
frequent question What shall I do to-day 1 The 
ladies are generally at home between twelve and 
two, but L'Allegro, considering the occupation- 
rather a " slow " one, votes it a " bore." But there 
is the club, and a couple of hours may be spent 
profitably enough over the newspapers, or pleasantly 
enough with the assistance of billiards and whist. 
At three o'clock our Joyful returns home, or accom- 
panies a party of friends to a hot and substantial 
meal, termed tiflSn, followed by many gigantic 
Trichinopoly cigars, and glasses of pale ale in pro- 

A walk or a ride round the lake, is now 
deemed necessary to recruit exhausted Appetite, 
who is expected to be ready at seven for another 
hot and substantial meal, called dinner. And now, 
the labours of the day being happily over, L'Allegro 


concludes it with prodigious facility by means of 
cards or billiards, with whiskey and weeds. 

This routine of life is broken only by such in- 
terruptions, as a shooting-party, an excursion, a 
pic-nic, a grand dinner, soiree, or a ball. Short 
notices of these amusements may not be unaccept- 
able to the reader. 

There are many places in the neighbourhood of 
Ooty — such as Dodabetta, Fair Lawn, and others — 
where, during the fine season, the votaries of Terpsi- 
chore display very fantastic toes indeed, particularly 
if they wear Neilgherry-made boots, between the 
hours of ten a.m. and five p.m. Much innocent mirth 
prevails on these social occasions, the only remark- 
able characteristic of their nature being, that the 
gentlemen generally ride out slowly and deliber- 
ately, but ride in, racing, or steeple-chasing, or 
enacting Johnny Gilpin. 

A more serious affair is a grand dinner. This 
truly British form which hospitality assumes, may 
be divided into two kinds, the pure and the mixed. 
The former is the general favourite, as, consisting 
of bachelors only, it admits of an abandon in the 
style of conversation, and a general want of cere- 
moniousness truly grateful to the Anglo-Indian 
mind. A dinner where ladies are admitted is, by 


L' Allegro, considered an unmitigated pest ; and those 
who dislike formality and restraint, scant pota- 
tions, and the impossibility of smoking, will readily 
enter into his feelings. 

The Ootacamund soiree happens about once every 
two months to the man of pleasure, who exerts all 
the powers of his mind to ward off the blow of an 
invitation. When he can no longer escape the mis- 
fortune, he resigns himself to his fate, dresses and 
repairs to the scene of unfestivity, with much of 
the same feeling he remembers experiencing when 
" nailed " for a Bath musical reunion, or a Chel- 
tenham tea-party. He will have to endure many 
similar horrors. He must present Congo to the 
ladies, walk about with cakes and muffins, listen 
to unmelodious melody, and talk small — he whose 
body is sinking under the want of stimulants and 
narcotics, whose spirit is fainting under the pei?ie 
forte et dure of endeavouring to curb an unruly 
tongue, which in spite of all efforts will occasionally 
give vent to half or three-quarters of some word 
utterly unfit for ears feminine or polite. If, as the 
Allegri sometimes are, the wretch be nervous upon 
the subject of being "talked about in connexion 
with some woman," another misery will be added 
to the list above detailed. He has certainly passed 


the evening by the side of the young lady whom 
he first addressed — his reasons being that he had 
not courage to break away from her — and he may 
rest assured that all Ooty on the morrow will have 
wooed and won her for him. Finally, he observes 
that several of his married friends look coldly upon 
him, beginning the morning after the soiree. Pro- 
bably he endeavoured to compensate for his want 
of vivacity, by a little of what he considered bril- 
liancy, in the form of satire, — quizzing, as it is 
generally called. The person for whose benefit 
he ventured to 

Tamper with such dangerous art, 

looked amused by his facetiousness, encouraged him 
to proceed by 

The smile from partial beauty won, 

and lost no time in repeating the substance of his 
remarks, decked, for the sake of excitement, in a 
richly imaginative garb, to the sensitive quizzee. 

There are about half-a-dozen balls a year on the 
Neilgherries, the cause of their infrequency being 
the expense, and the unpopularity of the amuse- 
ment amongst all manner and description of men, 
save and except the "squire of dames" only. This 
un-English style of festivity is also of two kinds. 

the subscription and the bachelors' : the former 
thinly attended, because 1/. is the price of a ticket, 
the latter much more numerously, because invita- 
tions are issued gratis. The amusement com- 
mences with the notes which the ladies indite in 
reply to their future entertainers, who scrutinize 
all such productions with a severity of censure and 
a rigidity of rule which might gratify a Johnson, 
or a Lindley Murray. And woe, woe, to her who 
slips in her syntax, or trips in her syllabication ! 
Then the members of the club carve out for them- 
selves a grievance, all swear that it is a " confounded 
shame to turn the place into a hop-shop," and one 
surlier individual than the rest declares that "it 
shan't be done again." At the same time you ob- 
serve they endure the indignity patiently enough, 
as it is a magnificent opportunity for disposing 
of their condemnable though not condemned goose- 

And here we pause for a moment in indignation 
at such a proceeding. May that man never be our 
friend who heedlessly sets a bottle of bad cham- 
pagne before a fellow-creature at a ball ! Heated 
and excited by the dancing atmosphere around, the 
victim's palate becomes undiscerning, he drinks 
a tumbler when at other times a wine-glass full 


would have been too much, and in the morning — 
aroynt thee, Description ! Well do we remember 
the bitter feelings with which we heard on one of 
these occasions, two gentlemen felicitating each other 
upon the quantity of sour gooseberry disposed of 
unobserved. Unobserved ! we were enduring tor- 
tures from the too observable effects of it. 

At eleven or twelve the ladies muster. The 
band — a trio of fiddlers, and a pianist, who performs 
on an instrument which suggests reminiscences of 
Tubal Cain — strikes up. The dancing begins — one 
eternal round of quadrilles, lancers, polkas, and 
waltzes. There is no difficulty in finding partners : 
the " wall-flower," an ornament to the ball-room 
unknown in India generally, here blooms and flou- 
rishes luxuriantly as in our beloved fatherland. But 
if you are not a bald-headed colonel, a staff-officer 
in a gingerbread uniform, or a flash sub. in one of 
Her Majesty's corps, you will prefer contemplating 
the festal scene from the modest young man's great 
stand-by — the doorway. About one o'clock there 
is a break for supper — a hot substantial meal of 
course : — the dancing that follows is strikingly of 
a more spirited nature than that which preceded 
it. The general exhilaration infects, perhaps, even 
you. You screw up your courage to the point of 


asking some smiling spinster if she " may have the 
pleasure of dancing with you '? " and by .her good 
aid in action as well as advice, you find out, with 
no small exultation, that you have not quite for- 
gotten your quadrille. 

At three p.m. the ladies retire, apparently to the 
regret, really to the delight of the bachelors, who, 
with gait and gestures expressive of the profoundest 
satisfaction, repair to the supper-room for another 
hot and substantial meal. The conversation is 
lively : the toilettes, manners, conversation and 
dancing of the fair sex are blamed or extolled selon ; 
the absence of the Bombay ladies and the scarcity 
of the Bombay gentlemen are commented upon with 
a nawete which, if you happen to consider yourself 
one of them, is apt to be rather unpleasant. Be- 
fore, however, you can make up your mind what to 
do, the cigars are lighted, spirits mixed, and the 
singing commences. This performance is usually of 
the style called at messes the " sentimental," where- 
in a long chorus is a sine qud non, the usual 
accompaniments a little horse-play in difierent parts 
of the room, and the conclusion a hammering of 
tables or rattling of glasses and a drumming with 
the heels, which, when well combined, produce 
truly an imposing effect. At length Aurora comes 


slowly in, elbowing her way, and sidling through 
the dense waves of rolling smoke, which would 
oppose her entrance, but failing therein, content 
themselves with communicating to her well known 
saffron- coloured morning wrapper a rather dull and 
dingy hue. Phoebus looks red and lowering at the 
prospect of the dozen gentlemen, who, in very 
pallid complexions, black garments, and patent lea- 
ther boots, wind, with frequent halts, along a com- 
mon road, leading, as each conceives, directly to his 
own abode. And the Muses thus preside over the 
conclusion, as they ushered in the beginning of the 
eventful fete. 

" On the — of the gay and gallant 

bachelors of Ootacamund entertained all the beauty 
and fashion of the station .in the magnificent ball- 
room of the club. The scene was a perfect galaxy 
of light and loveliness, etc." 

You have now, we will suppose, almost exhausted 
the short list of public amusements, balls and par- 
ties ; you have boated on the lake ; you have ridden 
and walked round the lake till every nodule of gravel 
is deadly familiar to your eye ; you have contem- 
plated the lake from every possible point, and can 
no longer look at it, or hear it named, without a 


sensation of nausea. You have probably wandered 
" over the hills and far away " in search of game ; 
your sport was not worth speaking of, but its con- 
sequences, the headache, or the attack of liver which 
resulted from over-exertion, was — . Perhaps you 
have been induced to ride an untrained Arab at a 
steeple-chase, and, curious to say, you have not 
broken an arm or even your collar-bone. What are 
you to do now '? You wish to goodness that you 
could obtain leave to visit the different stations in 
the low country, but, unhappily, you forgot to have 
your sick certificate worded, " For the Neilgherries 
and the Western Coast." You find yourself cooped 
up in the mountains as securely as within the lofty 
walls of your playground in by-gone days, and if 
you venture to play truant, you will certainly be 
dismissed the establishment, which is undesirable : — 
you are not yet over anxious to return to " duty," 
although you are by no means happy away from it. 
Suddenly a little occurrence in your household 
affords you a temporary diversion. You dismissed 
your Bombay servants, first and foremost the Portu- 
guese, a fortnight after your arrival at Ootacamund, 
because the fellows grumbled at the climate and the 
expense : — they could not afford to get drunk half as 
often as in the plains : — demanded exorbitant wages, 


and required almost as many comforts and luxuries 
as you yourself do. So you paid their j^assage 
back to their homes, and secured the usual number 
of Madras domestics, men of the best character, 
according to their own account, and provided with 
the highest, though more than dubious testimonials. 
You found that the change was for the better. Your 
new blacks worked like horses, and did not refuse 
to make themselves generally useful. Presently, 
they, seeing your "softness," began to presume 
upon it. You found it necessary to dismiss one 
of them, summarily, for exaggerated insolence. 
The man left your presence, and stepped over 
to the edifice where sits in state the " Officer Com- 
manding the Neilgherries." About half an hour 
afterwards you received a note, couched in terms 
quite the reverse of courteous, ordering you to pay 
your dismissed servant his wages, and peremptorily 
forbidding you to take the law into your own hands 
by kicking him. But should you object to obey, as 
you probably will do, you are allowed the alterna- 
tive of appearing at the office the next day. 

At the hour specified you prepare to keep your 
appointment, regretting that you are not a civilian : — 
you might then have tossed the note into the fire : — 
but somewhat consoled by a discovery, made in the 


course of the evening, that the complainant has 
stolen several articles of clothing from you. You 
walk into the room, ceremoniously bow and are 
bowed to, pull a chair towards you unceremoni- 
ously, because you are not asked to sit down, wait 
impatiently enough, — you have promised to ride 

out with Miss A , who will assuredly confer the 

honour of her company upon your enemy Mr. B 

if you keep her waiting five minutes, — a mortal hour 
and a half. When the last case has been dismissed, 
the Commanding officer, after some little time spent 
in arranging his papers, nibbing his pens and conver- 
sationizing with a native clerk about matters more 
than indiflerent to you, turns towards you a counte- 
nance in which the severity of justice is somewhat 
tempered by the hard stereotyped smile of polite 
inquiry. Stimulated by the look, you forget that 
you are the defendant, till reminded of your posi- 
tion in a way which makes you feel all its awkward- 
ness. The Commanding officer is a great " stickler 
for abstract rights," and is known to be high-princi- 
pled upon the subjects of black skins and British 
law. So you, who expected, as a matter of course, 
that the " word of an officer and gentleman " would 
be taken against that of a " native rascal," find 
yourself notably in the wrong box. Indignant, you 


send for your butler. And now Pariah meets 
Pariah with a terrible tussle of tongue. Complainant 
swears that he was not paid ; witness oathes by the 
score that he was. The former strengthens his 
position by cursing himself to Patal ''' if he has not 
been swindled by the " Buttrel " and his Sahib out 
of two months' wages. The head servant, not to be 
outdone, devotes the persons of his Brahman, his 
wife, and his eldest son, to a very terrible doom 
indeed, if he did not with his own hands advance 
complainant three months' pay, — and so on. At 
length the Commanding officer, who has carefully 
and laboriously been taking down the evidence, 
bids the affidavits cease, and reluctantly dismisses 
the complaint. 

And now for your turn, as you fondly imagine. 
You also have a charge to make. You do so em- 
phatically. You summon your witnesses, who are 
standing outside. You prove your assertion tri- 
umphantly, conclusively. You inform the Com- 
manding officer, with determination, that you are 
resolved to do your best to get the thief punished. 

The Commanding officer hears you out most pa- 
tiently, urges you to follow up the case, and remarks, 
that the prosecution of the affair will be productive 
* The region of eternal punishment. 


of great advantage to the European residents on 
the Hills. You are puzzled transiently : the words 
involve an enigma, and the sarcastic smile of the 
criminal smacks of a mystery. But your mental 
darkness is soon cleared up ; the Commanding 
officer hints that you will find no difficulty in 
procuring a fortnight's leave to Coimbatore, the 
nearest Civil station, for the purpose of carrying 
out your public-spirited resolution. As this would 
involve a land journey of one hundred miles — in 
India equal to one thousand in Europe — with all 
the annoyances of law-proceedings, and all the 
discomforts of a strange station, your determination 
suddenly melts away, and gentle Pity takes the 
place of stern Prosecution ; you forget your in- 
jury, you forgive your enemy. 

You must not, however, lay any blame upon the 
Commanding officer ; his hands are tied as well as 
yours. He is a justice of the peace, but his au- 
thority is reduced to nothing in consequence of his 
being subject to the civil power at Coimbatore. A 
more uncomfortable position for a military man to 
be placed in you cannot conceive. 

This little bit of excitement concludes your list 
of public amusements. And now, again, you ask 
What shall you do ? You put the question, wishing 


to heaven that Echo — Arabian or Hibernian — would 
but respond with her usual wonted categoricality ; 
but she, poor maid ! has quite lost her voice, in conse- 
quence of the hard-talking she has had of late years. 
So you must even reply to and for yourself — no 
easy matter, we can assure you. 

Goethe, it is said, on the death of his son, took 
up a new study. You have no precise ideas about 
Goethe or his proceedings, but your mind spon- 
taneously grows the principle that actuated tlie 
great German. You are almost persuaded to be- 
come a student. You borrow some friend's Akhlak 
i Hindi,* rummage your trunks till you discover the 
remnant of a Shakespeare's Grammar, and purchase, 
at the first auction, a second-hand copy of Forbes's 
Dictionary. You then inquire for a Moonshee — a 
language-master — and find that there is not a 
decent one in the place. The local government, 
in the plenitude of its sagacity, has been pleased 
to issue an order forbidding examination committees 
being held at the Sanitarium ; so good teachers will 
not remain at a station where their services are but 
little required. Your ardour, however, is only 
damped, not extinguished. You find some clerk in 

* " The ethics of India f the Cornelius Nepos of .Hindos- 


one of the offices who can read Hindostani ; you set 
to — you rub up your acquaintance with certain old 
friends, called Parts of Speech — you master the Verb, 
and stand in astonishment to see that you have read 
through a whole chapter of the interesting ethical 
composition above alluded to. That pause has 
ruined you. Like the stiff joints of a wearied 
pedestrian, who allows himself rest at an inoppor- 
tune time, your mind refuses to rise again to its 
task. You find out that Ootacamund is no place 
for study ; that the houses are dark, the rooms cold, 
and the air so exciting that it is all but impos- 
sible to sit down quietly for an hour. Finally, 
remembering that you are here for health, you send 
back the Akhlak, restore Shakespeare to his own 
trunk, and, after coquetting about the conversational 
part of the language with your Moonshee for a 
week or two — dismiss him. 





Speaking seriously, the dearth of diversion or 
even occupation at Ootacamund, considerably di- 
minishes its value as a sanitary station. It is 
generally remarked, that a man vsrho in other places 
drinks a little too freely, here seldom fails to bring- 
on an attack of delirium tremens. After the first 
excitement passes away, it is apt to be succeeded 
by a sense of dreariness and ennui more debilitating 
to the system than even the perpetual perspirations 
of the plains. 

The chief occupations for a visitor outside of 
Ooty are curiosity-hunting, field-sports, and excur- 


Of late years, the Neilgherries have been so ex- 
posed to the pickaxes of indefatigable archaeologists, 
that their huge store of curiosities has been almost 



exhausted. Little now remains but the fixtures. 
In many parts almost every hill is crowned by 
single and double cairns, enclosing open areas, 
which, when opened, were found to contain numer- 
ous pottery ■^^' figures of men and animals. There are 
some remarkable remains which remind us of the 
Cromlechs f and Kistvaens | of Druidism ; all, how- 
ever, have been rifled of the funeral urns and the 
other relics which they contained. Yases holding 
burnt bones and charcoal, brass vessels, spear heads, 
clay images of female warriors on horseback, stone 
pestles, pots and covers ornamented with human 
figures and curious animals, have been taken from 
the barrows that abound in different parts of 
the Neilgherries. The ruins of forts and pagodas, 
traces of buildings and manual labour, may be dis- 
covered in the darkest recesses of ancient forests. 

* No inscriptions have as yet been discovered. The only 
coin we have heard of was a Roman aureus, whereas in the 
cairns that stud the plains, medals, of the Lower Empire espe- 
cially, are commonly met with. 

t Consecrated stones. 

:[ The kistvaens, or closed cromlechs of the Neilgherries, are 
tumuli about five feet high. The internal chamber is com- 
posed of four walls, each consisting of an entire stone seven feet 
long and five broad, floored and roofed with similar slabs. In 
the monolithe, constituting the eastern wall, is a circular aper- 
ture large enough to admit the body of a child. 


Long and deep fosses, the use of which cannot be 
explained, and diminutive labyrinths still remain 
the monuments of ancient civilization. At St. 
Catherine's Falls, near Kotagherrj, the natives show 
marks in the rock which they attribute to a certain 
hill Rajah who urged his horse over the precipice 
to escape the pursuit of his foes. The land is 
rich in such traditions. There is a name for every 
hill ;* to every remarkable one is attached some 
cherished legend. Here we are shown the favourite 
seats of the Rishi, or saintly race, who, in hoary eld, 
honoured the green tops of the Blue Mountains with 
their holy presence. There, we are told, abode the 
foul Rakhshasa (demon) tribe, that loved to work 
man's mortal woe ; and there, dwarfish beings, 
somewhat like our fairies, long since passed away, 
lived in the dancing and singing style of existence 
usually attributed by barbarians to those pretty 
creatures of their imaginations. 

The Toda family — the grand depository of Neil- 
gherry tradition — has supplied our curiosity-hunters 

* The colonists have followed the example of the aborigines. 
Little, however, can be said in favour of our nomenclature. 
There is a Snowdon, without snow ; a Saddle-back Hill, whose 
dorsum resembles anything as much as a saddle; an Avalanche 
Hill, without avalanches, and so on. 

p 2 


with many a marvel. But, let the young beginner 
beware how he trusts to their information. The 
fellows can enjoy a hoax. Moreover, with the in- 
stinctive cunning of the wild man, they are in- 
veterate liars, concealing truth because they perceive 
that their betters attach some importance to ex- 
tracting it, and yet cannot understand the reason 
why they should take the trouble to do so. For 
instance — we heard of a gentleman who, when 
walking near one of the villages, saw some roughly- 
rounded stones lying upon the ground, and asked a 
Toda what their use might be. The savage replied 
extempore, that the biggest piece was, according to 
his creed, the grandfather of the gods ; another was 
the grandmother, and so on to a great length. He 
received a rupee for the intelligence given ; and 
w^ell he won it. The stones were those used by 
the young men of the hamlet for "putting" in 
their leisure hours — a slender foundation, indeed, 
to support so grand a superstructure of tradi- 
tional lore ! 

Antiquarians are everywhere a simple race : in 
India, " con tutto rispetto parlando," we are almost 
tempted to describe them as simpletons. Who does 
not recollect the Athenaeum sauce-jar which some 
wag buried in the ruins of a fort, said to have been 


founded by Alexander the Great at Sehwan in Scinde, 
and the strange theories which the Etruscan images 
upon that article elicited from grave and learned 
heads 1 

Game is still plentiful in the Neilgherries. The 
little woods about Ootacamund abound in woodcock, 
leopard,* and ibex. Near Coonoor, elk and w^ild hog 
are to be met with, and to the east of Kotagherry 
there is excellent bison-shooting. Elephants occa- 
sionally ascend the Koondah hills to escape the fiery 
heat of the luxuriant jungles below the mountains. 
Tigers are rare in these parts, and no one takes the 
trouble to attack them : the cold climate ruins them 
for sport by diminishing their ferocity and the 
chance of one's being clawed. The wolf is not an 
aboriginal of the hills : he sometimes, however, 
favours us with a visit, in packs, gaunt with hunger 
and sufficiently fierce, for the purpose of dining 
on the dogs. The small black bear, or rather 
ant-eater of the plains, affords tolerable sport ; but 

* Dr. Baikie (in 1834) mentions that one of these animals 
had held possession of a thick wood close to the cantonment 
for some years. The same spot is still tenanted, it is said, by 
a cheeta, but whether it be the original occupant, his ghost, 
or one of his descendants, men know not. 


this Alpine region does not produce the large 
and powerful brown animal of the Pyrenees and 
Central Asia. 

The peculiarity of Neilgherry hunting is, that 
nothing can be done by means of beaters only 
— the plan adopted in India generally. Cocks 
cannot be flushed without spaniels, and foxhounds 
are necessary for tracking large game. The canine 
species thrives prodigiously on the hills, and seems 
to derive even more benefit from the climate than 
the human dogs. The crack sportsman from the 
plains must here abandon his favourite pig-sticking, 
or exchange it for what he always considered the 
illicit practice of hog-shooting. En revanche, he 
has the elk, the bison, and the ibex. 

The Neilgherry Sambur, or elk,* is the giant of 
the cervine race — often fourteen hands high, with 
antlers upwards of three feet long, spanning thirty- 
two or thirty-three inches between the extremities. 
In spite of this beast's size and unwieldiness — some 
of them weigh seven hundred pounds — they are suffi- 
ciently speedy to distance any but a good horse. They 

* Not Buffon's elk. It is the Cervus Aristotelis, or black 
rusa of Cuvier ; the " Shambara" of classical India ; the Gavazn 
of Persia ; and the Gav i Gavazn of AfFghanistan and Central 


divide their time between the mountain-woods and 
the lower jungles, resorting to the former for the 
sake of the water, and descending to the latter to get 
at the " salt-licks," in which they abound. Elk are 
usually met with in pairs, or in greater numbers, 
and when once sighted are easily shot. The neck 
and the hollow behind the shoulder are the parts 
aimed at, for these animals are extraordinarily 
tenacious of life, and will carry off a most unreason- 
able number of balls, unless hit in a vital region. 
The flesh is coarse, but makes excellent mulliga- 
tawny, the shin-bones afford good marrow, the hoofs 
are convertible into jelly, the tongue is eatable, and 
the skin useful for saddle-covers, gaiters, and hunt- 
ing boots. The head, stuffed with straw and pro- 
vided with eyes, skilfully made out of the bottom 
of a black bottle, is a favourite ornament for the 
verandah or the mantelpiece. Samburs are easily 
tamed : several of them may be seen about Oota- 
camund, grazing with halters round their necks, 
almost as tame as cows. There are several ways 
of hunting elk. On the hills skirting the Pykarry 
river, where there is little swamp or bog, attempts 
have been made to run and spear them. Some 
sportsmen stalk them ; but the usual mode is to 
post the guns, and then to make the beast break 


cover. Dogs are preferred to beaters for this pur- 
pose, as their giving tongue warns one when the 
game is coming, and the animal will almost always 
liy from his fourfooted, whereas it often succeeds in 
charging and breaking through the line of biped 
I'oes. Samburs, when wounded and closely pursued, 
will sometimes stand and defend themselves despe- 
rately with tooth and antler ; the " game thing " 
then is to " walk into them " with a hunting -knife. 
Bison-hunting upon the hills is a most exciting 
sport, requiring thews and sinews, a cool head and a 
steady hand. A charge of one of these animals is 
quite the reverse of a joke : Venator had better 
make sure of his nerve before he goes forth to stand 
before such a rush. The bison is a noble animal. 
We have seen heads * which a strong man was 
scarcely able to lift, and horns that measured twenty 
inches in circumference. They are usually shot 
with ounce or two ounce iron or brass balls, and 
plugs made by the hill-people, who cut a bar of 
metal and file it down to the size required with the 

* Upon this part Nature has provided the animal with a 
bony mass, impenetrable to anything lighter than a grapeshot, 
occupying the whole space between the horns, and useful, we 
should suppose, in forcing a way through dense and thorny 


rudest tools and remarkable neatness. The Hindoos, 
however, do not patronise bison-hunting, as they 
consider the beast a wild species of their sacred 

The word " ibex," like the "jungle sheep"* of 
the ^eilgherries, is a misnomer : the denominated 
being the Capra Caucasica, not the Capra ibex of 
Cuvier. It is to these hills what the chamois is to 
the Alps, and the izzard to the Pyrenees. If you 
are sportsman enough to like difficulty and danger, 
incurred for nothing's sake, you will think well of 
ibex-huntiug. In the first place you have to find 
your game, and to find it also in some place where 
it can be approached when alive, and secured when 
dead. The senses of these wild goats are extra- 
ordinarily acute, and often, after many hours of toil, 
the disappointed pursuer is informed by the peculiar 
whistling noise which they make when alarmed, 
that, warned of his proximity — probably by the 
wind — they have moved off to safer quarters. 
Secondly, you must hit them— hard, too ; otherwise 

* This "jungle sheep" is the Cervus porcinus, the hog-deer 
or barking-deer of Upper India, which abounds in every shikar- 
gah of delectable Scinde. In Sanscrit it is called the Preushat 
(" sprinkling," in allusion to its spotted hide) ; in Hindostani, 
Parha ; and in Persian, the Kotah-pacheh, or " short hoof." 

P 5 


you will never bring about a dead stop. And, 
lastly, as they are addicted to scrambling down and 
rolling over tremendous precipices — especially after 
they have felt lead — you must either lose the beast 
or risk your neck to bag the body. Not for the 
pot. The flesh is never eaten, but the stuffed head 
is preserved as a trophy of venatic prowess. 

The hill people, when not employed in spearing 
and netting game on their own account, will gene- 
rally act as lookers-out and beaters. We are apt, 
however, to be too generous with our money : the 
effect of the liberality proving it to be ill-advised. 
Often it will happen to you — especially during your 
first month's sporting — that some black scoundrel 
rushes up in a frantic hurry to report game trove, 
in the hope that you will, upon the spur of the 
moment, present him with a rupee. And suppose 
you do so, what is the result ? It is sad weather ; 
the clouds rain cats and dogs — to use an old phrase 
— the wind is raw as a south-easter off the Cape ; 
the ground one mass of slippery mud. Do you 
look out of the window, roll your head, dismiss the 
" nigger," return to your fire, the " Demented," and 
your cigar. N'o ! emphatically no ! ! You rush 
into your room, pull on shoes and gaiters, don 
your hunting-garb with astonishing rapidity, catch 


up your guns, roar for the favourite servant that 
carries them, and start in the middle of the howling 
storm. Your eagerness to '' get a slap at a bison " 
incites jou to cruelty : you think nothing of dash- 
ing into the first village, and compelling a troop of 
half-naked wretches to accompany you. Now mark 
the consequence of giving away that rupee in a 
hurry. The head beater leads you up and down 
the steepest, the most rugged, stony, and slippery 
hills he can hit upon, with the benevolent view of 
preventing your making a fool of yourself to any 
greater extent. But when your stout English legs 
have completely " taken the shine " out of those 
baboon-like shanks which support his body, then he 
conducts you to some Shola,* places you and your 
servant upon the top of an elevated rock command- 
ing a thorough enjoyment of the weather, and an 
extensive view of the ravine through which the 
beast is to break cover, and retires with his com- 
rades to the snug cavern, which he held all along 
in mental view. There he sits before a cosy bit of 
fire, occasionally indulging you with a view-halloo, 
proving how actively the gang is engaged in dis- 

* A shola is a thick mass of low wood, which may be 
measured by yards or miles, clothing the sides, the bottoms, 
and the ravines of the hills and mountains. 


covering the game. Half an hour has passed ; you 
are wet through, "jusqu'aux os,'' and the chill 
blasts feel as if they were cutting their way into 
your vitals : still your ardour endures. Another 
twenty minutes — your fingers refuse to uphold the 
cocked rifle. 

" We really must go if they can't find this beast 
in another quarter of an hour, Baloo ! " 

"Han, Sahib! — yes, sir," — quavers forth your 
unhappy domestic, in a frozen treble — " if the 
Sahib were to — to go, just now — would it not be 
good 1 It is very cold — and^ — perhaps — they have 
been telling the Saliib lies." 

Baloo is right. The head beater appears, fol- 
lowed by his attendant train. He swears that it 
is a case of " stole away." 

You feel that there is something wrong about 
that bison, by the way in which the man's eye 
avoided you. But probably a sense of justice 
prevents your having recourse to the baculine dis- 
cipline which, on any other occasion, we should 
have advised you to administer with no niggardly 

Sounders of hog are commonly found at certain 
seasons about Coonoor especially. They are often 
shot, and more often missed, as their gaunt forms 


boring through the high grass afford a very uncer- 
tain mark. If Diana favour you, you may have 
the luck to come upon that beautiful variety of 
the leopard tribe, the black cheeta, and wreak upo^i 
him the revenge which his brethren's ravages 
amongst your "bobbery -pack""' has roused in your 
bosom. If you are proud of your poultry yard you 
will never allow a jungle cat to pass without rolling 
her over : the large fierce beasts are so uncom- 
monly fond of ducks and fowls. The jackals j on 
the hills are even more daring and impudent than 
they are in the plains. Hares are so numerous 
and voracious that they will destroy any garden, 
flower or kitchen, unless it is defended by a dwarf- 
fencing of split bamboos. Your careful Malee| 
takes, moreover, the precaution of surrounding your 
cabbages with a deep ditch in order to keep out 
the huge porcupines that abound here. ]^n pas- 
sant we advise every one who has not tasted a 

* I.e. ten or twenty dogs and curs, young and old, of high 
and low degree, terriers, pointers, spaniels, setters, pariahs, and 
mongrels, headed by a staunch old hound or two. 

t There is a large kind of solitary jackal whose cry is never 
answered by the other animals of the same species : the sound 
somewhat resembles the hyaena's laugh, and has been mistaken 
for it by many. 

t Gardener. 


roti of one of those animals to do so sine mord, 
not, however, forgetting to roll up the flesh in a 
layer of mutton fat, and thus to remedy its only 
defect — dryness. Martins, polecats, mongooses, 
and the little grey gilahri '''' of Hindostan, flourish 
on the hills ; there is also a large dark brown 
squirrel, with a huge bushy tail, but the flying 
species, so common on the western coast, is not an 
inhabitant of the Neilgherries. The woods are 
tenanted by several kinds of monkeys, black and 
red, large and small : the otter is occasionally 
met with in the fords of the Pykary river. 

There are two varieties of the wild dog, one 
a large nondescript, with a canine head, the body 
of a wolf, and a brush instead of a tail : the other 
is a smaller beast of similar appearance. They 
generally hunt in large packs, and the skill with 
which they follow up the game is admirable. "When 
pressed by hunger they are very ferocious. It is 
at no time a pleasant sight to see fifty or a hundred 
of their ill-omened faces glaring at you and your 
horse as you ride by them : especially after you 
have heard certain well-authenticated anecdotes of 
their cannibal propensities. When such rencontre 
does occur, the best way is to put a bold face upon 

* A species of squirrel. 


the matter, ride up to them, and use your heavy 
horsewhip as well as you can : if you endeavour 
to get away they will generally feel inclined to 
follow you, and as for escaping from them on horse- 
back, it is morally impossible. 

Another animal — though not a wild one — of 
which we bid you beware, is the Neilgherry buf- 
falo, especially the fine fawn-coloured beasts, be- 
longing to the Todas. Occasionally, as you are 
passing along the base of some remote hill, you will 
be unpleasantly surprised by a sudden and im- 
petuous charge of a whole herd. Unless you have 
a gun with you, you must ride for it. And hoiu 
you must ride will probably surprise you. We 
well recollect a kind of adventure which once 
occurred to ourselves, when quietly excursionizing 
in the vicinity of Ooty. Excited by the appear- 
ance of our nag's red saddle-cloth, some twenty 
huge beasts resolved to dispute with us the right 
of passage through one of the long smooth lawns, 
which run down the centre of the woodlands. At 
first they looked up curiously, then fiercely. Pre- 
sently they advanced, snorting rabidly, in a rude 
line, a huge black bull the leader of the movement. 
The walk soon broke into a trot, the trot became 
a gallop, the intention of the gallop, was clearly 


a charge, and the consequences of a charge might 
have been serious. We found little difficulty in 
escaping the general rush of our assailants, by 
means of a sharp touch with the spur : one by 
one they tailed off, stood looking at our decreas- 
ing form in angry disgust, and returned to their 
normal occupation. But Taurus, the ringleader, 
seemed determined upon mischief. He pursued us 
with the dogged determination of a lyme hound : 
he had speed as well as bottom. Whenever we 
attempted to breathe the pony, the rapidity with 
which our friend gained ground upon us, was a 
warning not to try that trick too long. Close upon 
our quarters followed the big beast with his curved 
horns duly prepared : his eyes flashing fire, and his 
grunting snorts indicative of extreme rage. We 
could scarcely help laughing at the agility with 
which the monstrous body, on its four little legs, 
bowled away over the level turf, or at the same 
time wishing that our holsters contained the means 
of chastising his impudence. 

How long the recreation might have lasted, or 
how it might have ended had not a long mud wall 
got between Taurus and ourselves, we cannot say. 
He followed us for at least a mile, and seemed by 
no means tired of the occupation. We were be- 


ginning to anticipate the pleasure of entering Oota- 
camund at the top of our nag's speed, with a huge 
buiFalo at his heels, and though we might have 
enjoyed seeing a friend in such novel predica- 
ment, the thing lost all its charms, when we our- 
selves expected to afford such spectacle to our 

We should strongly advise all public spirited 
individuals immediately after suffering from such 
a nuisance to find out the herdsman, and persuade 
him by a judicious application of the cravache, to 
teach his cattle better manners. He will be much 
more careful the next time he sees a stranger 
ride by. 

Among the feathered tribes, the woodcock, pro- 
bably on account of its comparative rarity, is the 
favourite sport. Three or four brace are considered 
an excellent bag, even with the assistance of good 
dogs, and a thorough knowledge of their covers. 
Cock shooting lasts from November to j\Iarch. 
Partridges are rare, not being natives of the hills. 
Snipe, and solitary snipe, abound in the swamps. 
Quails of both species, red and grey, — the former 
especially — are found in the warmer localities, 
and when properly tamed and trained, they are 
as game birds as those of the low country. Our 


list concludes with peacocks, jungle * and spur 

After perusing our brief sketch of Neilgherry 
sport, you will easily understand that to some 
ardent minds it offers irresistible attractions. Of- 
ficers have been known to quit the service, or to 
invalid solely with the view of devoting them- 
selves wholly to the pleasures of the chase. They 
separate themselves from their kind, inhabit the 
jungles for weeks together, and never enter a sta- 
tion except for the purpose of laying in a fresh 
store of powder and shot, calomel and quinine. 
Attended by a servant or two, they wander about, 
rifle in hand, shooting their meals — some curried 
bird^ — sleeping away the rabid hours of noontide 
heat under some thick brake, and starting with 
renewed vigour as soon as the slanting rays of 
the sun diffuse a little activity throughout the 
animal creation. Sometimes breakfast is rudely 
interrupted by an angry old tusker, who, in spite 
of his race's proverbial purblindness, detects the 

* We have heard much about the difficulty of taming these 
birds. Some go so far as to assert that they pine away and 
die when deprived of their Hberty. The Affghans seem to find 
nothing hard in the operation, as they use the birds for fight- 
ing. They show excellent pluck, and never fail to fight till 
death, although steel and silver are things unknown. 


presence of an enemy, and rushes on trumpeting 
to do a deed of violence. A " striped skin " will 
occasionally invite himself to partake of the dinner, 
and when not treated with all possible ceremony 
walks off with a raw joint in the shape of some 
unhappy black. There is little to be gained by 
such a life. Government gives, it is true, a reward 
of y/.""" for every slaughtered elephant, and tiger- 
skins, as well as ivory, find a ready sale : but no 
one can become a Croesus by the favour of Diana. 
N^ot much, however, do our adventurous sportsmen 
think of lucre : they go on shooting through ex- 
istence, only pausing at times when the bites of 
the tree-leeches,f scorpions, centipedes, and mus- 
quitoes, or a low fever, which they have vainly 
endeavoured to master by means of quinine ad- 
ministered in doses sufficient to turn an average 
head, imperiously compel them to lay up, till as- 
sailed by a Foe against whom the dose and the rifle 

* Seven pounds for a full grown, 51. for a young animal. 
When the reward is claimed the tusks must be given up. 
Tuskers, however, are not often met with in these days. 

t Every swamp on and about the hills is full of small 
leeches, — the lake also abounds in them, — which assail your 
legs, and swarming up the trees, drop down your shirt collar 
to your extreme annoyance. They are quite useless for medi- 
cal purposes, as the bite is highly inflammatory. 


are equally unefficacious. J\lany are almost blinded 
by the terrible glare and damp heat of the jungles : 
the fetid swamps breed brain fevers as well as 
snipe, bisons have horns, and cheetahs claws : so 
that such career, though bright enough in its own 
way, is generally speaking at least as brief as 
it is brilliant. 

Before the monsoon sets in, we will " get through," 
as our Irish cousin expressed himself at the Va- 
tican, " the sight-seeing" in the neighbourhood of 

Maleemund, or, as others write it, Meyni, a fa- 
vourite spot for pic-nics, is a Toda village lying 
about three miles north of the grand station : 
it affords you a pleasant ride through pretty wood- 
lands, and a very inferior view. Beyond it is Bil- 
licul, a little Berger settlement surrounded by cul- 
tivation : here a resident on the hills has built a 
bungalow, and the locality is often visited for the 
pleasure of contemplating the reeking flats of 
Mysore. Striking across country into the See- 
goor Pass, you may, if you have any curiosity, in- 
spect the Kulhutty Falls, certain cataracts upon a 
very diminutive scale indeed. You must see the 
Pykarry river, a deep and irregular stream flowing 


down a winding bed full of rocks, rapids, and 
sand-banks : it supplies your curries with a shrunken 
specimen of the finny tribe — alas ! how different 
from certain fishes which you may connect in 
memory with certain mountain streams in the old 
country. The surrounding hills are celebrated for 
containing abundance of game. An indefatigable 
excursionist would ride seven miles further on the 
Goodalore road for the sake of the coups-cTceil, 
and to be able to say that he has seen N"eddi- 
wuttun. All the pleasure he derives from this 
extra stage along a vile path, is a sense of intense 
satisfaction that he is not compelled to pass a 
night in the damp, dreary, moss-clad bungalow, 
where unhappy travellers must at times perforce 
abide. Three miles from Ooty, in the direction 
of the Koondah hills, you pass Fair Lawn, the 
bit of turf which Terpsichore loves. Finally, after 
a long and dreary stretch over a tiresome series 
of little eminences, after fording the Porthy river, 
and crossing its sister stream, the Avalanche, by 
an unsafe bridge, you arrive at the Wooden House,* 
whence sportsmen issue to disturb the innocent 
enjoyments of elk and ibex, bison and elephant. 

* The Maroo Bungla, or log-house, as the natives call the 
Avalanche bungalow. 




There are five difierent races now settled upon 
the Blue Mountains : — 

1 . Bergers, the mass of the population ; supposed 

to be about ten thousand. 

„ , . The wild men dwelling on 

„ ^ J [the woody sides of the hills ; 

3. Uooroomoars, [ -' 

) about two thousand. 

] The old inhabitants and own- 

' rers of the land ; about three 

5. Todas, 1,1 T 


! The Bergers, Yaddacars,'"" or, as the Todas call 

them, the Marves, are an uninteresting race of 

Shudra Hindoos, that immigrated from the plains 

in the days of Hyder or Tippoo. They attempt to 

* The first name is a corruption of the second, which is 
derived from Vadacu, " the north," these people having mi- 
grated from that direction. 


invest their expatriation with the dignity of anti- 
quity by asserting that upwards of four centuries 
ago they fled to the hills from the persecutions of 
Moslem tyrants, i This caste affects the Lingait or 
Shaivya "" form of Hinduism, contains a variety of 
sub-families, speaks a debased dialect of modern 
Canarese, and still retains, in the fine climate of 
the Neilgherries, the dark skin, the degraded ex- 
pression of countenance, and the puny figure, that 
characterise the low caste native of Southern India. 
They consider the wild men of the hills as magi, 
cians, and have subjected themselves to the Todas, 
in a social as well as a religious point of view, by 
paying a tax for permission to occupy their lands. 
They have been initiated in some of the myste- 
rious practices of the mountaineers, and have suc- 
ceeded in infecting the minds of their instructors 
with all the rigid exclusiveness and silly secrecy 
of their own faith. It redounds, however, to 
their credit that they have not imitated the de- 
bauched and immoral habits which their lords have 
learned by intercourse with strangers. There is 
nothing remarkable in their dress, their manners, 
or their habitations ; they employ themselves in 

* The worship of the terrible and destructive incarnation of 
the Deity. 


■ cultivating the soil and acting as porters, beater s 
labourers, and gardeners. 

' The Erulars '" and Cooroombars f are utter sa- 
vages, very much resembling the Rankaris of Maha- 
ratta Land and the Bheels of Candeish. Their lan- 
guage, a kind of Malajalim, proves that thej were 
originally inhabitants of the plains, but nothing 
more is known about them. They dwell in caves, 
clefts in the rocks, and miserable huts, built upon 
the slopes of the mountains, and they support 
themselves by cultivation and selling wax and 
honey. In appearance they are diminutive, dark 
men, distinguishable from the highest order of Quad- 
rumana by the absence of pile upon their bodies, 
and a knack of walking on their hind legs. | Their 
dress is limited to about a palm's breadth of coarse 
cotton cloth, and their only weapon a little knife, 
which hangs from a bit of string to the side. 
They are rarely seen. When riding about the wild 
parts of the hills you occasionally meet one of these 

* Signifying the " unenlightened or barbarous," from the 
Tamul word Erul, darkness. 

+ " Cooroombar," or " Curumbar," literally means " wilful, 
or self-willed." Sometimes the word mulu, a " thorn," is pre- 
fixed to Ihe genuine name by way of epithet, alluding to the 
nature of the race. 


savages, who starts and stands for a moment, staring 
at you through his bush of matted hair, in wonder, 
or rather awe, and then plunges headlong into the 
nearest thicket. Man is the only enemy the poor 
wretches have reason to fear. By the Todas, as 
well as the Bergers, they are looked upon as vicious 
magicians, who have power of life and death over 
men and beasts, of causing disease, and conjuring 
tigers from the woods to assist them ; they are 
propitiated by being cruelly beaten and murdered, 
whenever a suitable opportunity presents itself. 
The way in which this people will glide through 
the wildest woods, haunted by all manner of fero- 
cious foes, proves how fine and acute the human 
senses are capable of becoming when sharpened 
by necessity and habit. 

In investigating the origin of the Kothurs, Coha- 
tars,'"" or Cuvs, the usual obstacles, — a comparatively 
unknown language, and the want of a written cha- 
racter, — oppose the eflforts of inquirers. The pal- 
pable afl&nity, however, between the Toda and Kothur 

* So Captain Harkness writes the word, remarking, that 
" as this tribe kill and eat a great deal of beef, it was no doubt 
intended by their Hindu neighbours that they should be called 
' Gohatars,' from go, a cow, and hata, slaying." " Cuv," in 
the Toda dialect, means a " mechanic." 



dialects, proves that both the races were originally 
connected, and the great change* that has taken 
place in the languages, shows that this connection 
was bj no means recently dissolved. Why or how 
the separation took place, even tradition f does not 
inform us ; but the degraded customs, as well as the 
appearance, dress, and ornaments of the Kothurs 
point most probably to a loss of caste, in conse- 
quence of some unlawful and polluting action. 

The Kothurs show great outward respect to the 
Todas, and the latter return the compliment more 
substantially by allowing their dependants a part 
of the tax which they receive from the BergersJ 
They are an industrious and hard-working race ; 
at once cultivators and musicians, carpenters and 
potters, bricklayers, and artizans in metal as well 
as in wood. Their villages composed of little huts, 
built with rough wattling, are almost as uncleanly 
as their persons. Every considerable settlement 
contains two places of worship, for the men do not 

* Many of the words have been corrupted, and the pronun- 
ciation has become nasal, not guttural, like that of the Todas. 
The Kothurs can, however, express themselves imperfectly in 

t All that we can gather from their songs and tales is, that 
anciently they were the zemindars, or landed proprietors of the 


pray with the women ; in some hamlets they have 
set up curiously carved stones, which they consider 
sacred, and attribute to them the power of curing 
diseases, if the member affected be only rubbed 
against the talisman. They will devour any car- 
rion, even when in a semi-putrid state : the men 
are fond of opium, and intoxicating drinks ; they 
do not, however, imitate the Todas in their illicit 
way of gaining money wherewith to purchase their 
favourite luxuries. 

' As the Toda* race is, in every way, the most 
remarkable of the Neilgherry inhabitants, so it has 
been its fate to be the most remarked. Abundant 
observation has been showered down upon it ; 
from observation sprang theories, theories grew into 
systems. The earliest observer remarking the Ro- 
man noses, fine eyes, and stalwart frames of the 
savages, drew their origin from Italy, — not a bad 
beginning ! Another gentleman argued from their 
high Arab features, that they are probably im- 
migrants from the Shat el Arab,f but it is apparent 
that he used the subject only to inform the world of 

* Todavvars, Tudas, or Toders. Captain Harkness derives 
the word from the Tamul, Torawar, a herdsman, and this is 
probably the true name of the race. 

t The north-west parts of the Persian Gulf. 

Q 2 


the length and breadth of his wanderings. ! Captain 
liarkness discovered that they were aborigines. 
y Captain Congreve determined to prove that the 
Todas are the remnants of the Celto-Scjthian race, 
which selon lui, inhabited the plains, and were 
driven up to the hills before the invading Hindoo; 
lie even spelt the word " Thautawars," to sound 
more Scjthic. He has treated the subject with 
remarkable acuteness, and displayed much curious 
antiquarian lore ; by systematically magnifying 
every mote of resemblance,* and, by pertinaciously 

■•■ E. g. The peaks of the Todas are venerated by the 
Todas, as they were by the Celto-Scythians. The single 
stone in the sacred lactarium of the former, was the most 
conspicuous instrument of superstition in the Druidical or 
Scythic religion. Captain Congreve asserts that the Toda 
faith is Scythicism, because they sacrifice female children, 
bulls, calves, and buffaloes, as the Scythians did horses ; 
that they adore the sun (what old barbarians did not ?), 
revere fire, respect certain trees and bunches of leaves, worship 
the Deity in groves of the profoundest gloom, and have 
some knowledge of a future state. He proves that the hills 
are covered with vestiges of Scythicism, as cairns, barrows, 
and monolithic altars, and believes them to have belonged to 
the early Todas, inasmuch as " the religion of the Todas is 
Scythicism, and these are monuments of Scythicism." He 
concludes the exposition of his theory with the following re- 
capitulation of his reasons for considering the Todas of Scy- 
thian descent: — 1. Identity of religion (not proved). 2. 
Physiological position of the Todas in the great family race 


neglecting or despising each beam of dissimilitude,* 
together with a little of the freedom in assertion 
allowed to system-spinners, he has succeeded in 
erecting a noble edifice, which lacks nothing but 
a foundation. The metaphysical German traced 
in the irreverent traditions f of the barbarians con- 

(we are not told how it resembles that of the Scythians). 3. 
The pastoral mode of life among the Todas. 4. The food of 
the Todas, which consisted originally of milk and butter (we 
"doubt the fact"), 5. Their architecture, religious, military, 
and domestic, the yards of the Toda houses, their temples, their 
sacred enclosures, their kraals for cattle, are circular, as were 
those of the Celts, and, indeed, of most ancient people whose 
divinity was Sun, Light, Fire, Apollo, Mithra, &c. 6. Their 
marriage customs and funeral rites are nearly identical (an 
assertion). 7. Their ornaments and dress closely approximate 
(ditto). 8. Their customs are generally similar (ditto). 9. 
The authority of Sir W. Jones that the ancient Scythians did 
people a mountainous district of India {quasi irrelevant). 10. 
History mentions that India has been invaded by Scythian 
hordes from the remotest times (ditto). 11. Their utter sepa- 
ration in every respect from the races around them. 

* Such as want of weapons, difference of colour, dissimilarity 
of language. With respect to the latter point Captain Con- 
greve remarks, that " a comparison with the Gothic, Celtic, 
and other ancient dialects of Europe is a great desideratum ; 
but should no affinity be found to prevail, I should not con- 
sider the absence detrimental to my views, for this reason, 
that the people of Celto-Scythic origin having various languages, 
have been widely dispersed." After this, Qicid facias illi ? 

+ In many parts of the Neilgherries there is a large species 


cerning the Deity, a metaphorical allusion to the 
creature's rebellion against his Creator; the en- 
thusiastic Freemason warped their savage mystifi- 
cations into a semblance of his pet mysteries. And 
the grammar-composing Anglo-Indian discovered 
unknown niceties in their language, by desiring 
any two Todas to do a particular thing, then by 
asking them how they expressed such action, and, 
lastly, by recording the random answer as a dual 
form of the verb. 

When every one theorises so will we. The Todas 
are merely a remnant of the old Tamulian tribes 
originally inhabiting the plains, and subsequently 
driven up to the mountains by some event,* re- 

of solitary bee which the Todas declared incurred the dis- 
pleasure of the Great Spirit by stinging him, and was therefore 
condemned to eternal separation from its kind. But as huge 
combs and excellent honey abound on these hills, their savage 
inhabitants of course superstitionize upon the subject of the 
bee. The Creator, they say, desirous of knowing how honey 
is made, caught the animal, and she proving obstinate and 
refractory, confined her by means of a string tied round the 
middle ; hence her peculiar shape ! Is not this clearly a 
psychological allusion to the powerful volition for which the 
fair sex is proverbially famous ? 

* Not, however, by the victory of Brahmanism over Bud- 
dhism, as some have supposed. The leading tenet of Buddha's 
faith was the sin of shedding blood, whereas the Todas practise 


specting which history is silent. Our opinion is 
built upon the rock of language. '' 

It has been proved* that the Toda tongue is 
an old and obsolete dialect of the Tamul, containing 
many vocables directly derived from Sanscrit,! but 
corrupted into 

Words so debased and hard, no stone 
Is hard enough to touch them on. 

Thus, for a single instance, the mellifluous Arkas 
a-pakshi — the winged animal of the firmament, — 
becomes HaM'sh-paM'sh, a bird. In grammar it 
is essentially Indian, as the cases of the noun and 
pronoun, and the tenses of the verb demonstrate ; 

infanticide and eat meat. Moreover, there is a bond of union 
between them and those Anti-Buddhists the Lingaits, Avho ad- 
here to the religion of Shiva pure and undefiled. 

This Buddhistic theory rests upon the slender foundation 
that the Todas call Wednesday, Buddhi-aum (Buddh's day). 
But the celebrated Eastern reformer's name has extended as 
far as the good old island in the West. It became Fo-e and 
Xa-ca (Shakya) in China ; But in Cochin-China, Pout in Siam ; 
Pott or Poti, in Thibet ; perhaps the Wadd of Pagan Arabia ; 
Toth in Egypt ; Woden in Scandinavia ; and thus reaching our 
remote shores, left its traces in " Wednesday." So say the 

* By the Rev. Mr. Schmidt's vocabulary of the Toda tongue. 

t Captain Harkness is egregiously mistaken when he as- 
serts that the dialect of his aborigines " has not the least 
affinity in roots, construction, or sound, with the Sanscrit." 


the days of the week, and the numerals, are all of 
native, not foreign growth. The pronunciation is 
essentially un-Indian,* true ; but with grammar and 
vocabulary on our side, we can afford to set aside, 
even if we could not explain away, the objection. 
A great change of articulation would naturally 
result from a long residence upon elevated tracts 
of land ; the habit of conversing in the open air, 
and of calling aloud to those standing at a distance, 
would induce the speaker to make his sounds as 
rough and rugged as possible. This we believe 
to be the cause of the Bedouin-like gutturalism, 
which distinguishes the Toda dialect. We may 
observe that the Kothurs, who work in tents, have 
exchanged their original guttural for a nasal arti- 
culation ; and the Bergers, who originally spoke 

* In some points. Thus we find the Ain, Ghain, Fa and 
Kha, of the Arabs, together with the Zha of the Persians. But 
the step from the Indian ^ to the Arabic c, from "^ (g'h) to 
9, and from "fli (p'h) to < — >, is easily made ; and the kha 
and zha belong to some Indian dialects as well as to Arabic 
and Persian. 

It is supposed that the Toda language is stiU divided, like 
the Tamul, into two distinct dialects, one the popular, the 
other the sacred ; the former admitting foreign words, derived 
from the Canarese, the latter a pure form generally used by 
the priesthood. 

Most Todas can speak a few words of corrupted Canarese. 


pure Canarese, have materially altered their pro- 
nunciation during the last century. 

The main objection to our theory is the utter 
dissimilarity of the Toda, in all respects, physical 
as well as moral, to the races that now inhabit the 
plains. This argument would be a strong one, 
could the objector prove that such difference existed 
in the remote times, when our supposed separation 
took place. It is, we may remind him, the direct 
tendency of Hinduism to degenerate, not to improve, 
in consequence of early nuptials, the number of 
outcastes, perpetual intermarriage, and other cus- 
toms peculiar to it. The superiority of the Toda, 
in form and features, to the inhabitants of the low- 
lands may also partially be owing to the improve- 
ment in bodily strength, stature, and general ap- 
pearance that would be effected by a lengthened 
sojourn in the pure climate of the Blue Moun- 

The Todas, as we have said before, assert a right 
to the soil of the Neilgherries, and exact a kind of 
tax * from the Bergers. Their lordly position was 

* A share of the land-produce varying from one-third to 
one-sixth of the whole, settled by the eye, and generally paid 
in kind. The Toda has made himself necessary to the Berger; 
he must sow the first handful of grain, and reap the first fruits 

Q 5 


most probably the originator of their polyandry and 
infanticide :* disdaining agriculture, it is their ob- 
ject to limit the number of the tribe. According 
to their own accounts, they were, before the date of 
the Berger immigration, living in a very wild state, 
wearing the leaves of trees, and devouring the flesh 
of the elk, when they could get it, and the wild 
fruits of the hills ; this they exchanged for a milk 
diet ; they are now acquiring a taste for rice, sweet- 
meats, and buffalo meat. 

The appearance of this extraordinary race is pecu- 
liarly striking to the eye accustomed to the smooth 
delicate limbs of India. The colour is a light choco- 
late, like that of a Beeloch mountaineer. The features 
are often extraordinarily regular and handsome ; the 
figure is muscular, straight, manly, and well-knit, 
without any of that fineness of hand and wrist, foot 
and ankle, which now distinguishes the Hindoo family, 
and the stature is remarkably tall. They wear the 

of the harvest, otherwise the land would be allowed to lie 
fallow, and the crop to rot upon the ground. 

* The polyandry practised of yore seems at present on the 
decline. Infanticide, though said to have been abolished, pro- 
bably holds its ground in the remote parts of the hills. Near 
the stations the lives of female children are spared with the 
view of making money by their immoraUty. Old women are 
still by no means common. 


beard long, and allow their bushy, curly locks to 
lie clustering over the forehead — a custom which 
communicates to the countenance a wild and fierce 
expression, which by no means belongs to it. The 
women may be described as very fine large animals ; 
we never saw a pretty one amongst them. Both 
sexes anoint the hair and skiu with butter, probably 
as a protection against the external air ; a blanket 
wound loosely round their body being their only 
garment. Ablution is religiously avoided. 

There is nothing that is not peculiar in the 
manners and customs* of the Todas. Ladies are 
not allowed to become mothers in the huts : they 
are taken to the nearest wood, and a few bushes 
are heaped up around them, as a protection against 
rain and wind. Female children are either drowned 
in milk, or placed at the entrance of the cattle- 
pen to be trampled to death by the bufialoes. The 
few preserved to perpetuate the breed, are married 
to all the brothers of a family ; besides their three 
or four husbands, they are allowed the privilege of 
a cicisbeo. The religion of the Toda is still sub 
judice, the general opinion being that they are 
imperfect Monotheists, who respect, but do not 

* For a more detailed account of them, we refer the reader 
to the amusing pages of Captain Harkness, 


adore, the sun and fire that warm them, the rocks 
and hills over which they roam, and the trees and 
spots Avhich they connect with their various super- 
stitions. When a Toda dies, a number of buffaloes 
are collected, and barbarously beaten to death with 
huge pointed clubs, by the young men of the tribe. 
The custom, it is said, arose from the importunate 
demands of a Toda ghost ; most probably, from 
the usual savage idea that the animal which is 
useful in this world will be equally so in the next. 

The Toda spends life in grazing his cattle, 
snoring in his cottage, and churning butter. The 
villages belonging to this people consist of, gene- 
rally speaking, three huts, made with rough plank- 
ing and thatch ; a fourth, surrounded by a low wall, 
stands a little apart from, and forms a right angle 
with the others. This is the celebrated Lactarium, 
or dairy, a most uninteresting structure, but en- 
nobled and dignified by the variety of assertions 
that have been made about it, and the mystery 
with which the savages have been taught to invest 
it. Some suppose it to be a species of temple, where 
the Deity is worshipped in the shape of a black 
stone, and a black stone, we all know, tells a very 
long tale, when interpreted by even a second-rate 
antiquary. Others declare that it is a masonic 


lodge,* the strong ground for such opinion being, 
that females are never allowed to enter it, and that 
sundry mystic symbols, such as circles, squares, and 
others of the same kind, are roughly cut into the 
side wall where the monolith stands. We entered 
several of these huts when in a half-ruinous state, 
but were not fortunate or imaginative enough to 
find either stone or symbols. The former might 
have been removed, the latter could not ; so we 
must believe that many of our wonder-loving com- 
patriots have been deceived by the artistic attempts 
made by some tasteful savage, to decorate his dairy 
in an unusual style of splendour. Near each vil- 
lage is a kraal, or cattle-pen, a low line of rough 
stones, as often oval as circular, and as often poly- 
gonal as oval. The different settlements are in- 
habited, deserted, and reinhabited, according as the 
neighbouring lands afford scant or plentiful pas- 

* A brother mason informs us, that " the Todas use a sign 
of recognition similar to ours, and they have discovered that 
Europeans have an institution corresponding with their own." 
Hence, he remarks, " a Toda initiated will bow to a gentleman, 
never to a lady." 

But in our humble opinion, next to the Antiquary in simpli- 
city of mind, capacity of belief, and capability of assertion, 
ranks the Freemason. 


Ye who would realise the vision of the wise, 
respecting savage haj^piness and nomadic innocence 
— a sweet hallucination, which hitherto you have 
considered the wildest dream that ever issued from 
the Ivory Gate — go, find it in the remote corners 
of Toda land, the fertile, the salubrious. See 
Hjlobius, that burly barbarian — robust in frame, 
blessed with the best of health, and gifted with 
a mind that knows but one idea — how to be happy 
— sunning himself, whilst his buffaloes graze upon 
the hill side, or wandering listlessly through the 
mazy forest, or enjoying his rude meal of milk and 
rice, or affording himself the lazy luxury of squat- 
ting away the rainy hours round his primitive 
hearth. What care has he for to-day : what thought 
of to-morrow ? He has food in abundance : his 
and his brothers' common spouse and dubious 
children, make up, strange yet true, a united family ; 
he is conscious of his own superiority, he claims 
and enjoys the respect of all around him. The 
use of arms he knows not : his convenient super- 
stition tends only to increase his comforts here 
below, and finally, when Hylobius departs this 
transitory life, whatever others may think of his 
prospects, he steps fearlessly into the spirit-world, 
persuaded that he and his buffaloes are about to 


find a better climate, brighter scenes, and broader 
grass lands — in a word, to enjoy the fullest felicity. 
Contrast with this same Toda in his rude log hut 
amidst the giant trees, the European pater -familias, 
in his luxurious, artificial, unhappy civilized home! 

But has not your picture of savage felicity its 
reverse '? 

Yes, especially when uncivilized comes into con- 
tact with semi-civilized or civilized life. Our poor 
barbarians led the life of hunted beasts, when 
Tippoo Sultan, incensed with them for being magi- 
cians and anxious to secure their brass bracelets, 
which he supposed were gold, sent his myrmidons 
into their peaceful hills. They are now in even a 
worse state.'" The " noble unsophisticated Todas," 
as they were once called, have been morally ruined 
by collision with Europeans and their dissolute 
attendants. They have lost their honesty : truth 
is become almost unknown to them ; chastity, so- 
briety, and temperance, fell flat before the strong 
temptations of rupees, foreign luxuries, and ardent 
spirits. Covetousness is now the mountaineer's 
ruling passion : the Toda is an inveterate, indefa- 
tigable beggar, whose cry, Eenam Kuroo, " give me a 

* What follows alludes particularly to the Todas living in 
the vicinity of Ooty, Coonoor, and Kotagherry. 


present!" no matter what,— money, brandy, cigars, 
or snuff-*-will follow you for miles over hill and 
dale : as a pickpocket, he displays considerable in- 
genuity ; and no Moses or Levi was ever a more con- 
firmed, determined, grasping, usurer. His wife and 
daughters have become vile as the very refuse of 
the bazaar. And what can he show in return 
for the loss of his innocence and happiness ? True, 
he is no longer pursued by Tippoo, or the neigh- 
bouring Polygars : but he is persecuted by growing 
wants, and a covetousness which knows no bounds. 
He will not derive any benefit from education, nor 
will he give ear to a stranger's creed. From the 
slow but sure effects of strange diseases, the race 
is rapidly deteriorating *" — few of the giant figures 
that abound in the remote hills, are to be found 
near our cantonments — and it is more than pro- 
bable that, like other wild tribes, which the pro- 
gress of civilization has swept away from the face 
of the earth, the Toda will, ere long, cease to have 
" a local habitation and a name " among the people 
of the East. 

* The habit of intoxication is now so fatally common 
amongst the rising generation, that their fathers will not, it is 
said, initiate them into their mysteries, for fear that the secret 
should be divulged over the cup. 




What a detestable place this Ootacaraund is 
during the rains ! 

From morning to night, and from night to morn- 
ing, gigantic piles of heavy wet clouds, which look 
as if the aerial sprites were amusing themselves 
by heaping misty black Pelions upon thundering 
purple Ossas, rise up slowly from the direction of 
the much-vexed Koondahs ; each, as it impinges 
against the west flank of the giant Dodatetta, 
drenching us with one of those outpourings that 
resemble nothing but a vast aggregation of the 
biggest and highest Douche baths. In the interim, 
a gentle drizzle, now deepening into a shower, now 
driven into sleet, descends with vexatious perse- 
verance. When there is no drizzle there is a 
Scotch mist : when the mist clears away, it is 
succeeded by a London fog. The sun, " shorn of 


his rays," spitefully diffuses throughout the atmo- 
sphere a muggy warmth, the very reverse of genial. 
Conceive the effects of such weather upon the land 
in general, and the mind of man in particular! 
The surface of the mountains, for the most part, 
is a rich and reddish mould, easily and yet per- 
manently affected by the least possible quantity of 
water. Thus the country becomes impassable, the 
cantonment dirty, every place wretched, every one 

All the visitors have returned to the plains, 
all the invalids that can afford themselves the 
luxury, have escaped to Coonoor or Kotagherry. 
You feel that if you remain at Ootacamund — the 
affectionate " Ooty " somehow or other now sticks 
in your throat — you must be contented to sit 
between the horns of a fierce dilemma. If you 
stay at home you lose all the pleasure of life : 
if you do not, still you lose all the pleasure of 
life. In the former case your eyes* will suffer, 
your digestion become impaired, your imagination 

* The faculty unanimously assert that the air of the hills 
is not prejudicial to those suffering from ophthalmic disease. 
We observed, however, that a large proportion of invalids com- 
plained of sore eyes and weakness of sight, produced, probably, 
by the glare of the fine season and the piercing winds of the 


fall into a hypochondriacal state, and thus you ex- 
pose yourself to that earthly pandemonium, the 
Anglo-Indian sick bed. But should you, on the 
contrary, quit the house, what is the result 1 The 
roads and paths not being covered with gravel, 
are as slippery as a mat de cocagne at a French 
fair; at every one hundred yards your nag kneels 
down, or diverts himself by reclining upon his 
side, with your leg between him and the mud. 
If you walk you are equally miserable. When 
you cannot find a companion you sigh for one ; 
when you can, you probably discover that he is 
haunted by a legion of blue devils even more 
furious than those that have assailed you. 

It is impossible ! Let us make up a party — a 
bachelor party — and hire a bungalow for a month 
or two at Kotagherry. We do not belong to the 
tribe of " delicate invalids," nor are our " complaints 
liable to be aggravated by internal congestions ;" 
therefore we will go there as visitors, not vale- 

Kotagherry, or more correctly, Kothurgherry,* 
stands about six thousand six hundred feet above 
the level of the sea, on the top of the Sreemoorga 
* The " hill of the Kothurs." 


Pass, upon a range of hills which may be called 
the commencement of the Neilgherries. The station 
contains twelve houses, most of them occupied by 
the proprietors : at this season of the year lodgings 
cannot always be found. 

The air of Kotagherry is moister than that of 
Ootacamund, and the nights and mornings are not 
so cool. We see it to great advantage during the 
prevalence of the south-west monsoon. The atmo- 
sphere feels soft and balmy, teeming with a pleasant 
warmth, which reminds you of a Neapolitan spring, 
or an autumn at amene Sorrento. The roads are 
clean, the country is comparatively dry, and the 
people look comfortable. For the first few days 
you enjoy yourself much : now watching the heavy 
rain-clouds that veil the summit of Dodabetta, and 
thinking with pleasure of what is going on behind 
the mountain : now sitting in the cool verandah, 
with spy-glass directed towards Coimbatore, and 
thanking your good star that you are not one of 
the little body of unhappy perspirers, its inha- 

But is not man born with a love of change — an 
Englishman to be discontented — an Anglo-Indian to 
grumble ■? After a week spent at Kotagherry, you 
find out that it has literally nothing but climate 


to recommend it. The bazaar is small and bad, 
provisions of all kinds, except beef and mutton, 
must come from Ootacamund. Pdch, you complain 
that you cannot spend your money ; poor, you 
declaim against the ruinous rate of house-rent and 
living. You observe that, excepting about half a 
mile of level road, there is no table-land whatever 
in the place, and that the hill-paths are cruelly 
precipitous. The houses are built at considerable 
distances from one another — a circumstance which 
you testily remark, is anything but conducive to 
general sociability. You have neglected to call 

upon old Mrs. A , who supplies the station 

with milk and butter from her own dairy, conse- 
quently that milk and butter are cut off, and there- 
fore the Kotagherryites conclude and pronounce 
that you are a very bad young man. Finally, you 
are sans books, sans -club, saiis balls, sans every- 
thing, — except the will and the way, of getting 
away from Kotagherry, which you do without 

The determined economist, nothing daunted by 
the miseries of solitude and fleas, finds Dimhutty * 

* The termination " liutty," so common in the names of the 
hill villages, is used to denote a Berger settlement, as " mund " 
means a Toda hamlet. 


afford him ample opportunities for exercising his 
craft. The little cluster of huts, from which the 
place derives its name, lies in a deep hollow about 
a mile north of Kotagherrj ; it is sheltered from 
the cold southerly winds by a steep hill, and con- 
sequently the climate is at least three degrees 
warmer than that of its neighbour. Originally it 
was a small station, consisting of five or six 
thatched cottages belonging to a missionary society : 
they were afterwards bought by Mr. Lushington, 
then Governor of Madras. That gentleman also 
built a large substantial house, with an upper 
floor, and spared no expense to make it comfort- 
able, as the rafters which once belonged to Tippoo 
Sultan's palace testify. When he left the hills, he 
generously placed all these tenements at the dis- 
posal of government, for the use of " persons who 
really stand in need of lodging on their first 
arrival." The climate of Dimhutty has been pro- 
nounced highly beneficial to hepatic patients, and 
those who suffer from mercurial rheumatism. Dr. 
Baikie, a great authority, recommends it for the 
purpose of a " Subordinate Sanitarium for European 
soldiers." The unhappy cottages, however, after 
having been made the subject of many a lengthy 
Rule and Regulation, have at last been suffered to 


sink into artistic masses of broken wall and torn 
thatch, and the large bungalow now belongs to some 
Parsee firm established at Ootacamund. 

Three miles beyond and below Dimhutty stretches 
a long wide ravine, called the Orange Valley, from 
the wild trees which formerly flourished there. The 
climate is a mixture between the cold of the hills 
and the heat of the plains : and the staple produce 
of the place appears to be white ants. 

St. Katherine's Falls, the market village of Jack- 
anary, Kodanad or the Seven Mile Tope,* and 
beyond it the sacred Neilgherry Hill are the only 
spots near Kotagherry, with whose nomenclature 
Fame is at all acquainted. But as one and all of 
them are equally uninteresting, we are disposed 
to be merciful and to waive description. 

The present appears as good as any other time 
and place for a few remarks upon the climate of 
the Neilgherries, and a list of the travellers whose 
footsteps and pens preceded ours. 

The mean annual temperature of Ootacamund 
is 58° 68', about 30' lower than that of the low 
country on the Coimbatore and Mysore sides. 

* Or tuft : it is so called from a clump of trees which crowns 
the ridge of a high hill. 


The average fall of water is fortj-five inches in 
^he year ; there are nineteen clays of heavy rain ; 
of showers with fair intervals, eighty-seven ; cloudy, 
twenty-one ; and two hundred and thirty-eight 
perfectly fair and bright.''^ Frost generally appears 
about the beginning of November, and ends with 
February ; in the higher ranges of the hills ice 
an inch and a-half thick is commonly seen. 

The first and most obvious effect of the Neil- 
gherry climate on invalids is to repel the blood 
from the surface, and to throw it on the internal 
organs, by constricting the vessels of the skin and 
decidedly checking perspiration and transpiration. 
The liver, viscera, head and lungs are afi'ected by 
this unequal distribution of the circulation, the 
effect being increased in the case of the respiratory 
organs by the rarefaction of the mountain air. The 
digestive powers seldom keep pace with the in- 
crease of appetite which generally manifests itself, 
and unless the laws of diet are obeyed to the 
very letter, dyspepsia, colic, and other more ob- 
stinate complaints, will be the retributive pun- 
ishment for the infraction. Strangers frequently 

* The Neilgherries are exposed to the violence of both mon- 
soons, the south-west and the north-east. The fall of rain 
during the latter is, however, comparatively trifling. 


suffer from sleeplessness, cold feet, and violent 

When no actual organic disease exists, and 
when the constitutional powers are not permanently 
debilitated, Nature soon restores the balance by 
means of slight reaction. Invalids are strongly 
advised on first arrival to be particularly cautious 
about their hours, their diet, their clothing, and 
their exercise. They should avoid exposure to the 
night air, and never, indeed, be out after sunset : 
the reduction of temperature which follows the dis- 
appearance of the sun must be felt to be under- 
stood, and no one residing here for the sake of 
health would expose himself to the risk of catch- 
ing an obstinate cold by quitting a crowded room 
to return home through the nocturnal chills. Me- 
dical men advise the very delicate to wait till the 
sun has driven away the cold and moisture of the 
dawn before they venture out, and to return from 
their morning walks or drives in time to avoid 
the effects of the direct rays, which are most pow- 
erful about 9 A.M. But in regulating hours regard 
must of course be had to previous modes of life, 
and the obstinate early riser of the plains should 
gradually, not suddenly, alter his Indian for Eng- 
lish habits. The diet of valetudinarians on the 



first ascent ought in a great degree to be regu- 
lated bj circumstances depending on the nature 
of each individual's complaint. In general, they 
are told to prefer light animal and farinaceous 
food, eschewing pastry, vegetables, and cheese, 
and to diminish the quantity of such stimulants 
as wine, spirits, and beer, till the constitution has 
become acclimatized. In all cases, of whatever 
description they may be, warm clothing is a 
sine qua non : every valetudinarian should, as he 
values his life, be provided with a stock of good 
flannels, worsted socks, stout shoes, and thick, solid 
boots. Exercise is another essential part of regi- 
men at the Sanitarium. Riding is considered more 
wholesome than walking, especially on first arrival, 
as less liable to accelerate the circulation, to pro- 
duce a feeling of constriction in the chest, and to 
expose the body to chills. The quantum of exer- 
cise should be increased by slow degrees, and when 
convalescence has fairly set in, the invalid is ad- 
vised to pass as much of his time in the open 
air, during daylight, as his strength will permit 
him to do. 

To conclude the subject of climate. It cannot 
be too strongly impressed upon the minds of our 
fellow-countrymen in Southern and Western India, 


that in cases of actual organic disease, or when the 
debility of the constitution is very great, serious 
and permanent mischief is to be dreaded from the 
climate of these mountains. Many an officer has 
lost his life by preferring the half measure of a 
medical certificate to the Neilgherries to a home 
furlough on sick leave. The true use of the Sani- 
tarium is to recruit a constitution that has been 
weakened to some extent by a long residence in the 
plains, or to afford a change of air and scene when 
the mind, as frequently happens in morbific India, 
requires some stimulus to restore its normal vigour. 

The Rev. Mr. Hough was, as we said before, the 
first pen that called the serious attention of the 
Anglo-Indian community to the value of the Neil- 
gherry Hills. His letters to the Hurkaru newspaper 
were published in a collected form in 1829. Five 
years afterwards Captain Mignan, of the Bombay 
army, sent forth a little volume, entitled "Notes 
extracted from a Private Journal written during a 
Tour through a part of Malabar and among the 
Neilgherries."' The style appears to be slightly 
tinged with bile, as if the perusal of Mr. Hough's 
flowery descriptions of the mountain scenery had 
formed splendid anticipations which were by no 


means realised. The brochure is now quite out of 
date : the bazaar, rates, roads, postage, rent, and 
number of houses • — all are changed, only remain 
the wretched state of the police therein chroni- 
cled, and the "fatal facility" of finding bad ser- 
vants. In the same year (1834) Dr. Baikie's well 
known book,* entitled " Observations on the Neil- 
gherries, including an Account of their Topography, 
Climate, Soil, and Productions," issued from the 
Calcutta press. The original edition consisted, we 
believe, of only five hundred copies, and we cannot 
but wonder that the book has not yet enjoyed the 
honour of a reprint. Lieut. H. Jervis, of H. M. 
62nd regiment, published by subscription, also in 
1834, and dedicated to Mr. Lushington, the go- 
vernor, a " Narrative of a Journey to the Falls of 
Cavery, with an Historical and Descriptive Account 

* It commences with a resume of the peculiarities of the 
hills, and accounts of the three great stations ; proceeds to a 
description of the geography and geology, soil and productions, 
botany, zoology, and the inhabitants of the Neilgherries, and 
discusses at some length the effects of the climate upon the 
European constitution, sound as well as impaired. The Ap- 
pendix presents a mass of information valuable enough when 
the work was published, but now, with the exception of the 
meteorological and other tables, too old to be useful. Thirteen 
or fourteen years work mighty changes, moral and physical, in 
an Anglo-India settlement. 


of the Neilgherry Hills." ^'" The book contains a 
curious letter from Mr. Bannister, who states that, 
after a careful analysis of the Neilgherry water, he 
was surprised to find no trace whatever of saline, 
earthy, or metallic substance in it. 

In 1844-5, Captain H. Congreve, an officer in 
the Madras Artillery, wrote in the " Madras Spec- 
tator," the Letters upon the subject of the Hills and 
their inhabitants, to which we alluded in our last 
chapter. His pages are, in our humble opinion, 
disfigured by a richness of theory which palls upon 
the practical palate, but the amount of observation 
and curious lore which they contain makes us regret 
that the talented author has left his labours to lie 
perdus in the columns of a newspaper. Also, in 
1844, a valuable Report on the Medical Topography 
and Statistics of the Neilgherry Hills, with notices 
di the geology, botany, climate and population, 
tables of diseases amongst officers, ladies, children, 
native convicts, etc., and maps of the country com- 
piled from the records of the Medical Board Office, 
were published, by order of Government, at Madras. 

* The book contains one hundred and forty-four pages, en- 
livened with a dozen lithographed sketches, and not enlivened 
by descriptions of Poonamalee, Vellore, Laulpett, Bangalore;, 
and Closepett. 



In 1847, when we left the Hills, a Mr. Lowry, 
who had charge of the Ootacamund English Free 
School, was preparing to print a " Guide to, and 
Handbook of, the Neilgherries, containing brief and 
succinct accounts of the same, with statements 
of the accommodations there to be found, rents of 
houses, expense of living, and other particulars 
useful to visitors and residents." We were favoured 
with a sight of the MS., and found that it did what 
it professed to do — no small feat for a Handbook, 
by the bye. 

There is a great variety of papers and reports 
upon particular topics connected with the Neil- 
gherries, published in the different literary journals 
and transactions of learned societies. The principal 
works which elucidate minor details, are those of 
the Rev. Mr. Schmidt, upon the Botany of the 
Hills, and the language of its inhabitants; the 
"Description'" of a singular aboriginal race, in- 
habiting the summit of the Neilgherries, or the Blue 
Mountains of Coimbatore," by Captain Henry Hark- 

* A little volume of one hundred and seventy-five pages, 
containing graphic sketches of the scenery, excellent accounts 
of the different tribes of hill people, a weather-table from July 
to December, 1829, the height of the principal mountains, and 
a short and meagre vocabulary of the Toda language. 


ness, of the Madras Army ; and Notices upon the 
Ornithology of this interesting region, by T. C. 
Jerdon, Esq., of the Madras medical establishment. 

And now for our valediction. 
We found little difficulty in persuading the officer 
to whose care and skill the charge of our precious 
health was committed, to report that we were fit 
for duty long before the expiration of the term 
of leave granted at Bombay ; so we prepared at 
once for a return-trip per steamer — it would re- 
quire (ES triplex indeed about the cardiac region to 
dare the dangers and endure the discomforts of a 
coasting voyage, in a sailing vessel, northwards, in 
the month of September — " over the water to 
Charley," as the hero of Scinde was familiarly 
designated by those serving under him. 

We started our luggage yesterday on bullock 
and coolie back. The morning is muggy, damp, and 
showery : as we put our foot in stirrup, a huge 
wet cloud obscures the light of day, and hastens to 
oblige us with a farewell deluging. Irritated by 
the pertinacious viciousness of Pluvian Jove, we 
ride slowly along the slippery road which bounds 
the east confines of the lake, and strike oif to the 
right hand, just in time to meet, face to face, the 


drift of rain which sails on the wings of the wind 
along the skirt of that — Dodabetta. Gradually we 
lose sight of the bazaar, the church, the Winder- 
mere, the mass of bungalows. Turning round upon 
the saddle, we cast one last scowl upon Ootacamund, 
not, however, without a grim smile of joy at the 
prospect of escaping from it. 

Adieu . . . . ! Farewell .... land 

of .... ! May every ! 

May ! And when , 

so may .... as thou hast 

ourselves ! 

To the industry of an imaginative reader we 
leave the doubtlessly agreeable task of filling up 
the hiatus in whatever manner the perusal of our 
modest pages may suggest to his acuteness and dis- 
cernment. As some clue to the mazy wanderings 
of our own ideas, we may mention that we were, 
during the solemn moment of valediction, exposed 
to such weather as has rarely been the fate of man 
with the exception of Deucalion and other diluvian 
celebrities, to experience in this stormy world, 


LoNDO.N : Priutcd by Samuel Bentlbv and Co., Bangor House,. Slioe J>ar.' 



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