II E> HAHY
U N IVE.RSITY
LUTCHMEE AND DILLOO.
LUTCHMEE AND DILLOO
& Stubs of »st lata $ife
IN THREE VOLUMES
WILLIAM MULLAH- ^SON
34 PATERNOSTER ROW LONDON
4 DONEGAL PLACE BELFAST
Sazell, Watson, & Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury.
FN' niy account of the results of the
Commission of Inquiry in British
Guiana, entitled " The Coolie : his Eights
and Wrongs," I tried to inform the English
public of the gravity of the issues that
arose in that inquiry. Flattering as was the
reception of that book by the critics, the
public little cared to read it. However im-
partial or exact I had striven to be, it was
no wonder that a statement which the desire
to be just very likely made too long and de-
M tailed should fail to attract popular attention,
^ or to arouse popular sympathies. Not to
speak of the natural dryness of the subject,
the character of the wrongs complained of
was rather practical than sensational —
arose rather out of a permanent process of
treatment than from extraordinary outrages,
or more often from incompatible relations
than from direct collisions between the
planters and their Coolies. Meantime I
have waited, hoping that those in power
whose consciences have been made alive to
the necessity of action, would act promptly
But now I feel the subject to be alto-
gether too important to let it sleep. Ano-
ther Eoyal Commission has inquired and
reported at prodigious length about the
system of Indian indenture in the greatest
of the Coolie colonies, and has exposed a
state of things in the Mauritius which
may well startle the Colonial Minister, and
excite the alarm and watchfulness of the
British people. What right have we hotly
to discuss slave circulars, and the inviola-
bility of our ships of war as refuges for
foreign slaves, or to proclaim our sym-
pathies with Bosnian rayahs or Bulgarian
Christians, until our own Mauritius and
British Guiana are swept clean and gar-
These vast blue-books issued by Parlia-
ment often entomb and hide away from
public eyes the injuries of Government.
I am going to try in this tale to disinter
the real wrongs and difficulties, and to
present them in an appreciable form to
those who are ultimately responsible for
British honour and British fame — I mean
the British people.
I have long since expressed the opinion
that a Coolie system, under proper super-
vision and restraint, could be made a system
of incalculable benefit to Asiatics. But the
sole condition on which we can allow it to
exist within our dominions is that our Go-
vernment shall exercise over it, in its incep-
tion and continuance, ceaseless watchfulness
and most rigid control. One need hardly
insist that we can only insure justice now-
a-days by ourselves watching the Govern-
ment. The worst of the whole matter is
that officials seem always to be convinced
of the satisfactory nature of an argument
when it can be shown that any pecuniary
loss or benefit to Englishmen depends upon
it. It is only occasionally that we get at
the head of an office like the Colonial Office
a Carnarvon, who unites a conscience and
a heart with a clear head and a firm will.
I say this the more freely and cordiallv
since the Minister concerned works with a
party with which I have no association.
There is the greater need for vigilance in
the present case, because a body of mer-
chants enriched by the labour of the people
whose life I have here faithfully depicted,
are organized, astute and powerful in the
defence of their interests. I do not assail
them for that. They are exercising an un-
doubted right, many of them conscien-
tiously. I simply call the fact to mind, to
show how necessary it is that philanthropy
should be equally organized, watchful and
astute on the other side.
It therefore occurred to me that I might
try to throw the problems of Coolie labour
in our Colonies into a concrete and pic-
turesque form. The life of a Coolie man
or woman, with its simple incidents, its
petty cares and vexations, its occasional
events of terror or sorrow, and all the
various feelings, sentiments, and impulses
that sway an existence passed amidst the
relations of a bond-service, these and their
peculiar influences on the higher and more
cultivated race, do not at first sight present
an attractive ground for fiction. Besides,
the subjects and interests seem to be too
remote. But happily the ties of universal
brotherhood are ever drawing men more
closely together. The sorrows of Dilloo
or Lutchmee are the sorrows of humanity,
differing only in their conditions and their
relations from the tragedies of our own homes.
I have endeavoured in these pages to
reproduce with exact fidelity the picture of
a Coolie's life. Thus I thought I could
more clearly show what are the difficulties
and perils of the system of indentureship of
Indian and Chinese immigrants in English
colonies. Even should I fail from the
artist's point of view, which it is to be
hoped is not a necessity, I may yet enable
many persons to understand the subject
better, and that must lead to a more earnest
consideration of the questions it involves. ,
One word of explanation is necessary as
to the details of the story. Though it con-
tains no fact which could not be verified
in some Coolie- worked colony under the
British flag, I wish it to be understood that
I do not credit British Guiana with all the
evils here represented. I have not in any
instance, unless I say so, drawn a character
from life, nor have I described under ano-
ther name any particular scene or estate.
My object has been rather to embody many
aspects of character and varieties of inci-
dent, the more picturesquely to bring out
the lights and shadows of the system. I
was obliged to select some colony as the
scene of the tale, and naturally selected
the one with which I was familiar. But
upon this scene will be presented phases of
the question which are only to be found in
To give greater variety and reality to the
tale, to display the system fairly in its
proper setting, and above all to make the
story a wider and therefore, I hope, a more
interesting study of human life, I have not
confined its incidents to one race, but have
brought into view the whole of that strange
mixture which constitutes West Indian
society, from the Queen's representative to
the African Creole.
The field is a new one for fiction, but human
nature still bears out the wisdom of the poet
who declared that it does not change with
clime. The loves, the hopes, the envies,
jealousies and fears, the superstitions, the
mutual wrongs, the goodness and wickedness
of the human heart, bloom everywhere with
similar blossoms, developing into the same
fruits of life or death, of sorrow or of joy.
CONTENTS TO VOL. I.
I. A RUDE SURPRISE .
II. THE WATCHMAN
III. THE RECRUITER
IV. A LONG FAREWELL.
. , 33
V. A NARROW ESCAPE
VI. " WHERE IS HE?"
VII. A DANGEROUS ADMIRER
VIII. THE RECOGNITION .
IX. BELLE SUSANNE
X. SIMON PETY
XI. THE OVERSEERS
XII. AT HOME ! ...
XIII. A VISITOR ....
XIV. MEETING — BUT NO GREETING
XV. AGREED ....
XVI. LOST !
XVIII. AN ENGLISH JUSTICE
XIX. A PLEASANT NURSE
. . 256
2 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
less gleams of the fire-flies ; through the
silence sounded far and clear the late croak-
ings of some unsettled crows, or the sharp
shriek of a kite ; and now a jackal in the
neighbouring jungle, or the pariah dogs in
the village, shrieked or barked a welcome
to the incoming night.
Half-reclining on the grass-grown slope of
a tank, whence, with her face towards the
setting sun, she had been gazing at the mist-
veiled rim of the vast sleepy orb as it sank
into the lap of night, was a young Indian
girl, whose loose white robe and jacket of
coloured cotton scarcely hid one line of the
delicate mould of her form, displayed, as it
was, by the abandon of her posture, in all its
grace, litheness and perfection. The long
hair from which she had been but lately
wringing the water, wherewith her pretty
A Rude Stir prise. 3
play in the tank had saturated it, hung
black and dishevelled from the symmetrical
head, leaving her light-brown oval face,
with its regular eyes, arched eyebrows,
delicately- chiselled nostrils and well-turned
mouth and chin, in fine relief as they w 7 ere
irradiated by the parting glow of the
sun. She seemed half-dreaming — a pleasant
dream ; for now and then a sly movement
in her eyes, which, in cunning changes,
flashed with dark fire or became gentle as
a summer lake, betokened some lively or
genial thought. So she lay, reclining on her
elbows; joy-lit and dreamy, unconscious of
the rapidity with which the shades were
deepening round her, unaware of two flash-
ing eyes that were fixed upon her from the
shadow of a small palm-grove, not twenty
4 Lutcli77iee and Dilloo
Presently she began, in a low, sweet
monotone, to sing a simple ditty, rather a
rude and free paraphrase of a passage in the
Gitagovinda : —
" Gentle, sandal-seented air,
Blowing love -sighs from the south ;
To my open bosom bear
Aery kisses from his mouth.
Yet oh give me more than this is !
Bring him to me face to face,
Let me feel his burning kisses,
And sweetly die in his embrace ! "
As in soft, listless cadence the song rose
and fell, the fiery eyes in the tope grew
more bright, and presently a black shadow
glided stealthily towards the singer, until it
stood behind her, looking down on her un-
wary figure. It was the form of a tall,
powerfully-built man, of extreme darkness
A Rude Surprise. 5
of skin, with a shaggy head of hair and a
moustache and beard that added their bristly
terrors to a face naturally ugly and deeply
pitted with small-pox. Large plain rings
of gold decorated his big ears. He wore
simply a " dhotee," or loin-cloth, with a
short coat thrown over his shoulders and
buttoned at the neck.
As the girl ended her song, the man,
stooping quickly, pinioned the arms on
which she supported herself, and then, lean-
ing over her, pressed his rude lips against
her smooth forehead. Loud and long was
the shriek that startled the night ; but he
was not disconcerted.
"Lutchmee," he said, in a deep guttural
voice, whilst his features were twisted into
the caricature of a smile, " why are you
here so late ? Has Dilloo deserted you for
6 Lutckmee and Dilloo.
Putea? I thought he never left you alone.
How long have I watched for such an oppor-
tunity as this ! The sun is down, the fire-
flies are flashing in the air, and the bark of
the jackal is angry in the jungle. Do you
not hear ? Ah 1 Were you waiting and
singing for me ? Did you linger here to tell
rne you would at last change your mind,
and be more friendly to me ? "
Perhaps this foolish hope had really
passed through the satyr's thoughts, for his
eye grew softer as he spoke, and he relaxed
his grip upon the delicate arms. The
answer to his address was a sudden and
violent jerk of the girl's head into his face
and the slipping of the two soft arms from
his fingers, as his prey sprang to her feet,
and, with another loud shriek, darted away.
The blood came from the ruffian's nostrils,
A Rude Surprise. 7
and he was for a moment confused ; then
rapidly wiping away the red drops on the
sleeve of his jacket, he pursued, with an
oath, the flying elf. She would have es-
caped him in the dusk, for the village was
not far away, had not the surprise un-
nerved her, but, mistaking her steps, she
suddenly tripped over a clump of grass, and
came with violence to the ground. There
she lay senseless. The man, who could
just distinguish her as he came up, kicked
her over with his foot in the madness of his
fury, until her pretty little face was turned
upward to the sky. Then, with a muttered
curse, lifting his heel, he was about to dash
it into the delicate features, when a very
respectable blow on the side of the head
sent him bleeding to the earth. This blow
was delivered with the aid of a long smooth
8 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
stick, by a young fellow of moderate height,
but, for a Hindoo, of unusually fine develop-
ment. He immediately stooped down, and
endeavoured, in the gloom, to examine the
young girl's face. Then he wrung his
hands and broke out in reproaches on the
groaning foe. Then he rose, and taking
his stick, played it with remarkable vehe-
mence and skill all over that person's body.
Again he knelt beside Lutchmee, and plac-
ing his hand on her heart and his ear over
her mouth, waited for tokens of life. In a
short time she began to respire, then to
recover, and, at length, she sat up.
" Lutchmee, Lutchmee 1 " said the young
man; "wake up! I am here. It is Dilloo! "
" Oh, Dilloo ! " sobbed the girl, putting
her arms round his neck, "is it you? I
have had such a frightful dream. I thought
A Rude Surprise, 9
that wicked creature Hunoornaun laid hold
of me at the tank : then I got clear of him,
and ran away, but while I was running, I
tripped and fell down. Oh, I was sure
he had me at last ! "
u It was not a dream, Lutchmee : 'twas
well I heard you scream, my darling, I can
tell you. Look there ! do you see that dark
heap ? That is Hunoornaun. I came upon
him just in time to save you, and I have
drubbed him well with my stick. Do you
not hear him groaning ? That's fine music,
my good fellow ! " cried he to the peon.
" I'm glad, my Lutchmee, *I came up when
I did, or your pretty face would have lost
its beauty for ever."
"But oh, Dilloo," she said, clinging to
him, "what will he do to you? He will
kill you. Let us go away."
io Lutchmee and Dilloo.
" No fear," said the sturdy Dilloo : " he
is a big fellow, 'tis true, but an arrant
coward. Get up, you bully," added he,
giving his prostrate antagonist a kick :
" get up, and be off with you to Eumcoary
or Noonda ; they are the sort for you. And
listen to me : if ever you come frightening
the wife of Dilloo again, I'll finish you with
a knife, and not let you off with a beating.
You know I always do what I say. Come,
my Lutchmee, let us go."
The manly fellow wreathed his arm
round the supple waist of his wife, and,
half-supporting, half-fondling her, led their
way to the village. The baffled ruffian
followed as best he could, dragging his
stiffening limbs, and vowing a frightful ven-
geance on the young pair.
The Watchman 1 1
Of the Bengal village in Behar, where the
hero and heroine of our story were born
and had lived, the only other character yet
presented to the reader, Hunoomaun, was
the " chokedar," or watchman; a character,
at the time we are writing of, found all over
Bengal. The chokedars were not Govern-
ment police. To them, under the old
village system,, were assigned, on behalf of
the community, the general oversight of
the precincts. They were paid by a local
rate, or sometimes by the principal zemin-
1 2 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
dar. These officials were of a low order,
both of caste and of merit, and their most
active occupation consisted in winking at
the operations of the rural dacoits (or
robbers), and in lending themselves to the
corrupt designs of one villager or village -
family upon another. Hunoomaun was a
chokedar of more than usual ability; as
avaricious, sensual and dishonest as any
Indian in the province. Prowling about
the village at night, on the pretences of
his duty, he had innumerable opportunities
of gratifying his envy or his passion ; and
his remarkable cunning, and the invariable
retribution that fell upon any persons who in
any way crossed him, had created a very real
dread of him through the whole community.
Dilloo was a tenant, under one of the
zemindars, of a very small plot of ground,
The Watchman. 13
on which there stood a hut of mud and
wattle, which Lutchmee kept in beautiful
order ; while her husband tilled the ground
with an assiduity that secured a very fair
return. K contained about four thou-
sand inhabitants within its bounds. It was
near one of the largest villages in the dis-
trict, which, as a convenient centre of a very
populous portion of Behar, had been selected
as the he ad- quarters of a deputy magistrate ;
in this instance, a European. The vicinity
of this magistrate, with his sub-officials, the
darogah, jemmadars and burcandazes, ren-
dered Hunoomaun's office extremely unne-
cessary, and, indeed, exercised over him a
somewhat wholesome restraint, while it
made him more cunning and cautious
in his proceedings. He had many times
looked with an evil eye at the bright,
14 Lutchmee and Dilloo,
lissome young wife of the ryot ; and, with
the confidence of a villanous experience, had
again and again attempted to get her into his
power. But her husband, Dilloo, was a for-
midable obstacle ; he happened to be very
fond of her : and he was a fine, strong, ready
young fellow, with a taste for athletics and
adventure. In his village he was regarded
with a certain respect. His performance
on the crowns of venturesome rivals in the
favourite exercise with the long lattey, or
single stick, which had proved so fatal to
the chokedar's designs, were famous over
the whole plain, among villages where not
a few skilful players with the same weapon
were to be found. In wrestling no one
could excel him. His thrift and industry
had given him a respectable position.
Altogether, therefore, Dilloo was a man, as
The Watchman, 15
Himoomaun felt, not to be openly fought ;
and he had accordingly been very cautious in
pursuing his infatuated fancy for Lutchm.ee.
Lutchmee and Dilloo had, by the conven-
tional arrangement between their parents,
been betrothed before they knew what love
was, or, indeed, before they had ever seen
one another. But in this instance, when
at twelve years of age the pretty girl was
married to the boy of seventeen, the mutual
liking that had before sprung up between
them grew into a genuine and pure affection.
It could hardly be otherwise. Both of
them of unusually handsome make, of open
dispositions and simple hearts, they seemed
to have been fitted by nature for each other's
company. Lutchmee almost idolised her
strong, active husband : he dwelt with con-
stant pride on his wife's beauty, her obedi-
1 6 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
ence, her humility, her love and attention.
There are many Englishmen with the
improved modern wife who will be inclined
to envy the idyllic charm of this old-
fashioned simplicity of things. But as for
Dilloo, he, a man of low caste, had, without
his own choice, been fortunate enough to
attain that which, by the ordinances of
Menu, the sacred acolyte was instructed
" Let him choose for his wife a girl whose
form has no defect ; who has an agreeable
name ; who walks gracefully, like the pheni-
copteros, or like a young elephant; whose
hair and teeth are moderate respectively in
quantity and in size ; whose body has an
When, on a gala day, Lutchmee's hair
was oiled and braided, shining with a silver
The Watchman. 17
pin athwart her well-formed head, and her
body, duly anointed, was clothed in a short-
armed, slight cholee or jacket, of bright silk,
a petticoat of calico, and over all, coquet-
tishly wreathed, a white muslin chudder,
the scarf of Hindoo women ; and her ears
were laden with silver rings, and her arms
and ankles tinkled with bracelets and
bangles of the same metal ; as she walked
with the gentle lissome motion of refined
indolence, the phenicopteros or the young
elephant could hardly have excelled her in
grace, and, but for her caste, she might have
satisfied the most bigoted disciple of the
great lawgiver. Dilloo was proud of his
wife, and Lutchmee was proud of her
husband — conditions such as may, even in
India, bear fruits of happiness. This happi-
ness had been alloyed by the death of
vol. 1. 2
1 8 Ltdchmee and Dilloo.
Ltitchmee's only child a few weeks after
its birth, and by the occasional unpleasant-
ness to which the young wife's attractive
beauty exposed her, from Europeans and
from men of her own race.
Hunoomaun had been the most per-
sistent, as he was by all odds the most
disagreeable of all her admirers. Her
detestation of him was extreme. He had
annoyed her now and again with stupid
compliments, and had surprised her into
interviews which, for the sake of peace, and
to save the fellow's life, she had hidden
from her husband. But the chokedar had
never so far committed himself as in the
scene we have related, and probably would
not then have gone so far but for a dose
of arrack with which he had fortified his
courage. Hitherto Hunoomaun had care-
The Watchman. ig
fully shirked a collision with the husband of
the girl whose beauty had so wrought upon
him. The first occasion was a discouraging
one. But he knew well how to revenge
Dilloo soon began to know something of
the watchman's resentment. His fowls dis-
appeared, his rice was trampled and de-
stroyed. One night there was a dacoity*
in his house, evidently managed with great
skill, by which he lost part of his savings.
Strong as were his suspicions, he could not
bring home these crimes to the chokedar,
and he dared not act upon them without
20 » Ltitchmee a7id Dilloo.
Not long after the events we have narrated,
there one clay arrived in the village of K
a stranger, a Bengalee, arrayed, save as to
his turban and paejamas, in an imitation of
a European uniform. Across his shoulder
and body on a belt he wore the chuprass, the
badge of official employment. He had the
air of a man shrewd and travelled. There
was a touch of town- culture about him, and
when he began to talk, as he very soon did
with the ease of one to whom that was a
vocation, he spoke with extreme hyper-
The Recruiter, 2 r
bolism even for an Asiatic. It was not long-
before lie was sitting in an open space in the
middle of the village, surrounded by a group
of curious natives. Could it be possible that
this was their old friend the pilgrim-hunter
from Jaganath, adopted for some fresh pur-
pose of State by a paternal Government,
and turning up here in a new guise ?
Hitherto, from their somewhat sequestered
situation, such a visitor as the present had
never been known to these villagers.
He had taken his seat with great dignity,
and now calmly surveyed the gathering audi-
ence, which sought to penetrate him with
its keen glances. Presently he took off his
turban and slowly extracted therefrom an
envelope, out of which he produced a piece
of paper, well saturated with oil and other
exuded matters, and browned by constant
22 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
handling with dirty fingers. This he
opened and proceeded to read with great
solemnity, as he did so rolling round his
eyes to mark its effect upon his hearers.
It purported to he a declaration hy a great
personage, entitled "the Protector of Emi-
grants " at Calcutta, in the name of Her
Majesty the Queen and by authority of the
Government of India informing all mankind
that Dost Mahommed,. the hearer — who
bowed to his own name with deep respect —
was, by the aforesaid Majesty and august
Government, duly licensed to seek for and
recruit in the district of B , persons who
were willing to emigrate as labourers to
other parts of Her Majesty's dominions ;
that is to say, to British Guiana, or Trini-
dad, or Jamaica, etc., etc. This license,
moreover, as he showed them with man} 7
The Recruiter. 23
flourishes of the paper, had that day been
countersigned by the resident, Keginald
Howard Walter Wood, Sahib, not unknown
by disagreeable personal experience to some
of those now listening to him. When he
had concluded the reading, the traveller
demonstratively folded up the document,
placed it in its envelope, restored it to
the fold of his turban, and sat silent, with
the air of a man who deserved well of
his kind. Hindoos are courteous. They
admire one who has a good estimate of
himself : they hesitate to break the illusion.
So there was a pause.
Among those who had gathered to see
and hear the traveller, and had listened to
his recital with interest, was Dilloo. He
manifested, with those around him, wonder
as to the meaning of this mysterious docu-
24 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
merit, and anxiety to hear it explained.
But due time must be allowed to the
stranger, who meantime sat silent, in order
to give to curiosity a stronger incentive. At
length an ancient Brahmin of the village,
who sat by, oj)ened his mouth : —
"0 Baboo," said he, "we have heard
with interest your recital of that long and
grave document, by which we learn that
you are a messenger of the great Queen and
the most august Government at Calcutta !
I gather -from it that you are directed to go
about the country in quest of men and
women who may be inclined to take the
risk of leaving the land of their birth and
the society of their own people to be carried
over mountains, rivers and seas, and to
labour for Englishmen in far-off parts of the
world, as they do in the Indigo districts.
The Recruiter. 25
Can this be so ? Wherefore should you, a
Bengalee, be found helping to persuade your
people to desert their own land, and engage
in adventures they know not how perilous,
and the end of which they cannot fore-
see ? "
" Ah, you are right, sir ! But, listen,
friends ! " said the wily Dost Mahommed,
taking off his turban again, and reproducing
the dirty envelope, which he held between
his thumb and finger high in air. " This
is the command of the great Queen to
me, Dost Mahommed, one of the meanest
of her servants, to travel about and inform
my countrymen of inestimable benefits,
boundless riches, and unalloyed happiness
which await them, if they like to seek
them, in other parts of her wide dominions.
It is my duty to tell you, by authority of
26 L utch mee and Dilloo .
the Queen and Government of India, that
it is open to any one who hears me to
become as rich as a zemindar. Is every-
thing so golden here that you should not
do like the English themselves — take your
journeys in search of riches and happiness ?
Look around you ! You see how poor
millions of our Indian people are ! Every-
where the fields are small, the wages are
low ; everywhere the land is crowded with
people — too many mouths and too little
money ; too many taxes, too much govern-
ment. Most of you have hard work, bad
food, and very little of it. Look at your
clothes ! I see some of you only with a
coarse dhotee : you are obliged, many of
you, to be content with the meanest gar-
ments. You see me ! I am dressed like
an Englishman : I wear good quality pae-
The Recruiter. 2 J
jamas and a European coat. You may,
if you like, every one of you, do the
same ! "
A delighted buzz came from the throng
as this dazzling prospect was held out to
them. It must be true, they thought, for
there was the chuprass on the breast of
the speaker to vouch for it ! Dost Mahom-
med pursued his advantage, and conde-
scended to particulars.
u All this you may have, and much more,
in lands where the sun is warm like the sun
of Bengal, and the water is plentiful and
pure like the streams and tanks of India,
and the earth is richer and more productive
than ours ; where the mango and banana,
and bread-fruit and rice, and sugarcane and
cotton grow. Great English sahibs own
these lands, and want labourers like you to
28 L utch mee and Dilloo.
cultivate them. They are rich and they
are generous. There a man may get every
day of his life as much or as little as he
likes. The work is easy, like your own
garden work ; and for such labour a man or
a woman can make easily from ten annas to
two rupees "—he deliberately counted this
extraordinary sum on his fingers as he
uttered the magical promise — "for every
day's work, See : here is the proof! "
The crowd eagerly leaned forward to look
at the paper which he now produced from
the breast of his uniform. It was in Eng-
lish, but he gave a very free translation of
it. Eepresentations were thereby made
that there was a great scarcity of labourers
in the West Indies; that thither emigrants
would be carried for nothing ; would receive
a bounty of one hundred rupees ; would be
The Recruiter. 29
indentured to kind masters ; would get
house-room for nothing ; when sick would
be admitted to an hospital, and there be
provided with a doctor, medicines, and food
free of charge. All this was vouched by
the authority of the Governor and Legis-
lature of British Guiana, and certified by a
sahib at Calcutta, who dated from Garden
Eeach on the Hooghly.
. It may easily be inferred what curiosity
and surprise were awakened in the minds
of the ignorant but subtle Indians by this
story, afterwards embellished by many ad-
ditional illustrations from the recounter's
vivid fancy. The novelty of the proposal,
the romantic halo which invested the un-
known possibilities of such an enterprise as
he suggested to them, the tempting bribes
of a heavy bounty, easy work, plenty of
30 Lutchmee and Diiloo.
food, and good wages, excited the imagina-
tion of the natives to a high pitch. The
great sahib at Calcutta loomed up before
their excited vision as a kind divinity,
proffering to unworthy wretches entrance
into a Paradise of labour. Yet there were
not wanting in the crowd timid sceptics
whose faith was apt' to be regulated and
restricted by sight, and who hinted at con-
tingencies quite unworthy of the high
authorities by whom these solemn state-
ments were vouched.
" Bah ! " said a shrewd vendor from the
bazaar, with native sophistry : "if the great
sahibs were desirous to give us all these
good things, would it not be cheaper to send
them to us than to take us to them ? "
The fickle crowd admiringly adopted the
transparent fallacy, and looked to the re-
The Recruiter. 3 1
cruiter for an answer. It came, however,
straight and sharp, from Dilloo.
" Nonsense ! " said he : " Samanee knows
he is talking like a fool. The baboo tells
us we are offered work in a distant country
at good wages. Does Samanee wish the
Government to carry the country here, and
drop it down in Behar ? "
Dost Mahommed led the laugh which re-
warded this refutation of Samanee 's quibble.
The tide turned again in favour of the re-
cruiter. He, however, understood his busi-
ness too well to press the matter any further
at that time. He knew that he must do
his work in detail, — in this following the
example of his prototype the pilgrim-hunter.
So he arose and announced that he pro-
posed to spend the night in a neighbouring
village, but that he would return next day
Lutchma and i
to talk with any who desired to ask him
Dilloo had listened to the man's words
with peculiar interest. The natural energy
oi his oharaoter, his taste for adventure,
and his imagination were all appealed to
by the recruiter's language. Here seemed
to he an opening for a new and prosperous
lite. His relations with llunoomaun, now
his sworn enemy, were likely to render his
life in the village unpleasant, even if it
were not dangerous. A man in the ohoke-
- position in India has so many ways o(
working out his vengeance, and forgiveness
i^ not a Hindoo virtue.
No wonder Dilloo's brain was on fire as
he extricated himself from the orowdj ami
slowly paced in the direction of his home,
A Long Farewell. 33
A LONG FAKE WELL,
When, the next day, Dost Mahommed
came back to the village, Dilloo was among
the first to seek him out. Again the re-
cruiter expatiated on the promises of the
Government, the bounty-money of fifty
dollars, the high wages, the free medical
care, the light work. He said nothing —
indeed probably had not himself been told —
of fever-swamps, of liabilities, under rigid
laws, to fines and imprisonments for breaches
of the proposed contract, of labour in crop
vol. 1. 3
34 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
time for as long as twenty, twenty-five, or
thirty hours at a stretch, and sometimes
without extra pay — a not universal, but
frequent incident of a Coolie's life in the
West Indies. Dilloo's mind was gradually
won over, and the only remaining doubt
was concerning his wife. " Could she
Oh, yes ; the recruiter was only too
anxious to procure women. They were in
great demand. She should have the same
bounty and the same wages as he.
But on consideration, Dilloo began to
doubt whether he ought to entertain this
kind offer. He loved his wife too well
rashly to permit her to share what he felt
by instinct to be an uncertain experiment ;
and he was perplexed between his own
desire to venture it, and the perils to which
A Long Farewecl. 35
she would be exposed were his protection
withdrawn from her. This difficulty was,
however, a few days afterwards removed.
Mrs. Wood, the wife of the deputy-magis-
trate, happened to require a maid, and being
rather particular, had caused considerable
inquiry to be made for the sort of person
she wanted. Dilloo took his wife to the
magistrate's bungalow 7 at T . The lady
was at once struck with Lutchmee's cleanli-
ness and good looks, and offered to engage
her. Dilloo, like most impetuous men, too
readily satisfied with temporary solutions,
considered that this sufficiently ensured his
wife's safety, and urged her to accept the
offer. She, while her heart trembled with
painful forebodings, was too lovingly obe-
dient to her husband's will to question his
36 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
When the day of parting came, Dilloo
held Lutchmee in his arms a long while.
They could scarcely speak. The pangs of
an adieu amongst ourselves are keen
enough, but they are mitigated by the
knowledge that intercourse is easy and in-
formation certain, however far in space
hearts may be sundered. What, then, to
our young lovers must have been the
moment of separation which rested no
hopes on certainties or possibilities of com-
munication, which knew only that years
must elapse before they could meet again,
and that perhaps from parting to meeting
no single message could pass between
" Lutchmee!" said the young man, "I
go away, thinking of you only. I will love
you faithfully all the time I am away. I
A Long Farewell. 37
am promised that in a few years * I shall be
able to return with all the money I have
made, and then you and I will be well off.
We shall be still young, and can spend our
lives in prosperity and happiness."
" Ah, Dilloo ! " said the girl, with a sob,
" how much this is to pay for a hope : is it
Then, feeling that this was half a com-
plaint, and ashamed to raise a doubt which
might, at so sore a moment, begloom her
husband's heart, she checked herself, and
tried to smile.
" I shall be as happy as I can," said she ;
* The promise authorized by the Government is ten
years ; but it is not the recruiter's cue to be too specific in
his representations. That this is not an exaggeration is
proved by the fact that an order issued to the Indian magis-
trates to be careful to explain the exact incidents of the con-
tract seriously diminished the immigration to the West Indies,
and led to a protest from the planters of British Guiana.
38 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
" and the time will run quickly when I
think of you. And you will not be afraid
that I shall not continue to love you, will
A tender pressure to his heart was the
pledge of Dilloo's trust.
"Do your best," said he, " to win the
good- will of the Mem-sahib ; and if Hunoo-
maun tries any more tricks with you, go at
once to her and ask her to protect you.
These English are sometimes cruel and
harsh themselves, but they won't allow
Hindoos to commit injustice. Be very wary
of that rascal. Never go out alone, if you
can help it : always go to the tank in the
morning in company with the other women.
It is well he does not live in the same
village with you."
Thus in simple talk these simple hear.- -
A Long Farewell. 39
prepared for a parting to them so appalling ;
and at length, with manly tenderness on
the one side and tearful struggles for forti-
tude on the other, they bade each other
40 Lutchmee and Ditioo.
A NARROW ESCAPE.
Nearly two years have passed since Dil-
loo's departure. From the recruiter, when
he returned next year to the district, Mr.
Wood, whose wife had taken a fancy for
Lutchmee, learned that her husband had
sailed in good health, within three weeks
of their parting. The graceless Dost Ma-
hommed elaborated a fabulous message
from the emigrant, descriptive of his well-
being, his happiness, and his bright assur-
ances of success, concluding with a hope
that it might be possible for Lutchmee to
A Narrow Escape, 4 1
join him in a year or two, should she not
hear from him to the contrary. This
message was joyfully received by Lutchmee,
to be pondered and dreamed of with un-
For more than a year Hunoomaun, see-
ing the young woman to be under the
protection of the magistrate's wife, and,
indeed, as he had, owing to the distance
between the two villages, but slight oppor-
tunities of meeting with her, left her un-
disturbed. She rigorously attended to
Dilloo's injunctions, and never went be-
yond the grounds, to tank or temple or
bazaar, unless accompanied by some of her
fellow-servants. At the time when we
resume her history, one of those rumours
that are periodically current in India, of
a projected rising of the Mussulman popu-
42 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
lation, had excited alarm among English
residents. Mr. Wood was a brave man,
and really gave no credit to the rumour,
but he thought it right to appear to be
on the alert, and appointed several of the
most trustworthy Hindoo peons and bur-
candazes to act in turns as armed guards
of his house at night. There were always
plenty of these hanging about it by day.
Among those selected from the neighbour-
hood was Hunoomaun, who had cleverly
managed to give the magistrate the idea
that he was a very trusty and effective
fellow. At regular intervals he took his
station during the night on the verandah
in front of the deputy's house, armed with
a cutlass and prepared to give warning to
the more reliable force, consisting of Mr.
Wood, his clerk, and an English servant,
A Narrow Escape. 43
inside. In separate buildings were the
justice-rooms, and there the Darogah and
some peons were stationed. The verandah
covered in three sides of the bungalow :
on the right side were the reception-rooms ;
on the other, those for sleeping and dress-
ing. A lattice, pierced by a door, shut off
the verandah leading to the latter from
the one in front. Lutchmee preferred
sleeping outside her mistress's room, in
the side verandah, and Mrs. Wood being-
attached to the girl, and often needing
her attendance in the night, made no
objection to it. The chokedar now had
occasional opportunities of seeing and ad-
dressing Lutchmee. He pretended to
have a fancy for another of the women,
and treated Lutchmee with distant cour-
tesy. He professed himself pained by her
44 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
aversion, again and again begging her not
to be afraid of him, to forget the past, and
to believe that he no longer entertained
any evil designs against her. In this way
Lutchmee's apprehensions were gradually
soothed, and she allowed herself a little
more freedom in her intercourse with the
man. When he was on guard, he would
peer through the lattice at the young girl
as she disposed herself to sleep on the
verandah ; but he dared not venture with-
in, for he knew the magistrate's ear was
quick, and his revolver always ready. One
night, however, when it was his watch,
after he had had recourse to his old
prompter arrack, his quick perception in-
formed him that Lutchmee was restless
and awake, — he drew her by a gentle
whisper to the lattice.
A A T arrow Escape. 45
"What is the matter?" he said: "you
do not sleep."
"I have some foreboding," replied the
girl timidly. "Did you hear anything
like a woman's cry a long way off? And
just now I thought I heard a rumbling
as of carriages or of a troop of horse."
Hunoomaun started, and listened atten-
tively a full five minutes.
"No," he said, "it was some distant
thunder, or the murmuring of the heavy
air over the house and through the trees;
and the scream, no doubt, was that of a
paroquet or a monkey in the wood."
"I cannot rest," said Lutchmee, "I am
so frightened. It seems as if some dread-
ful thing were going to happen. How hot
the night is ! "
" Come and sit down awhile and talk
46 Lulchmee and Dilloo.
with me," said the peon : "it will make
you sleep. You are quite safe," he added,
judging instinctively that she hesitated,
though he could not see her face. " Sahib
and Mem- Sahib are close by, and can hear
Lutchmee for the moment felt half
ashamed of her suspicions, and slipping
back the wooden bolt of the door, stepped
out on the front verandah beside the dark
shadow of the chokedar.
" See," he said, "we will go away from
the Sahib, and sit on the seat at the end
of the verandah until you get sleepy."
As they took their way along the veran-
dah, their shoeless feet passing silently
over the smooth hard clay, Hunoomaun
rapidly estimated the opportunities of the
situation. Could he not carry her off?
A Narrow Escape. 47
She was slight, and he was a powerful
fellow. The thing he had so long desired
seemed at length to be nigh, and yet so
difficult of attainment. Unobserved by
Lutchmee he had, in closing the lattice
door, slipped the bolt back again with his
finger. The front door opening on the
verandah was, at that time, bolted. This
verandah measured sixty feet from end to
end, including the width of the two side
verandahs : no one slept on the right or
west side of the bungalow, which was also
the farther side from the magisterial offices.
In the middle of the verandah on that
side there was an opening in the lattice,
from which steps led to the compound
towards a shrubbery. The rascal's plan
was soon formed. He extended their walk
round the corner from the front verandah
48 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
as far as this outlet. Quietly placing his
cutlass on a window-sill as he passed it,
he unbound the puggery from his head,
and, snatching Lutchmee 's hand in his
right, suddenly thrust the cloth over her
face with his left, while he said in her
" Do not call out, or I will kill you."
He thus stifled her first cry, and after
a minute removed the cloth from her face.
But poor Lutchmee was unable to call
out. The suddenness of the attack and
the deprival of air, had produced the effect
which had probably been calculated on,
for she fell flaccid and insensible into
Hunoomaun's arms. Pressing her to his
bosom, he was in the act of carrying his
inanimate burden off to the shrubbery,
from which he could have escaped to-
A Narrow Escape. 49
wards his own house, when Mrs. Wood's
voice was heard shrilly calling out the
girl's name. A disturbance immediately
followed, assisted by the bass voice of the
magistrate. The ruffian was completely
disconcerted. He was well aware of Mr.
Wood's promptitude of action. If he
carried the girl back he would probably
be met by the magistrate, and his villany
was certain to be exposed; if he left her
where she was she would, on recovering,
call up the household. While he hesitated,
he heard Mr. Wood unfastening the door,
and saw the flash of a candle ; at the same
moment his burden began to revive. There
was no time to retrieve and use his cut-
lass, with which no doubt he would have
revenged upon her his disappointment ;
so, venting an oath at his ill-luck, he
vol. 1. 4
50 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
flung her down with all his force, and
darted away into the night. When the
magistrate, whose quick eye had detected
the guard's weapon, reached the place
where Lutchmee lay groaning/ Ite found
her bleeding severely from a wound in the
head, and with her shoulder dislocated.
The peon was nowhere to be seen. After
shouting for him in vain, and firing two
chance shots in the direction of the shrub-
bery, the resident called his servants and
proceeded to treat Lutchmee for her in-
juries. As soon as she was able to relate
her story, Mr. Wood, satisfied of the
chokedar's guilt, issued a warrant for his
apprehension; but that wily Hindoo had
already adjudicated on his own case and
condemned himself to a period of exile.
As Lutchmee recovered from the illness
A Narrow Escape. 5 1
consequent upon this adventure, her mind
turned more and more to the absent Dilloo.
She felt that there was for her no real
safety away from him. Two years of pa-
tient resignedness might well have made
her weary of the separation, and she re-
called with increasingly glad recollections
the terms of the fictitious message delivered
by the recruiter. At length she decided to
make a bold venture and follow her hus-
band. The kind dissuasions of the magis-
trate and his wife fell on unwilling ears.
When at length he saw that grief and
suspense threatened to affect her health,
Mr. Wood consented that she should join
a party of emigrants that happened to be
passing the village. He wrote to the
depot at the Hooghly stating the circum-
stances of her case, and asking for her.
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS
52 Lutchrnee and D Moo.
as a woman of respectability, the special
attention of the doctor who might have
the conduct of the voyage. In the end,
Lutchrnee, with four hundred and thirty-
three others of different ages, sexes, origins,
and castes, embarked on board the good
ship " Sunda," bound from Calcutta for
the port of Georgetown, Demerara.
We have now done with India ; the
scene changes to other and far different
circumstances and conditions of life.
"Where is He?" ^
" WHERE IS HE ? "
The good ship u Sunda," after a voyage of
ninety- three days, was standing in before
the warm, light, north-east breeze, towards
the Georgetown lightship. Little could be
seen beyond the expanse of yellow-tinged
water, — coloured by the mud of the far in-
terior brought down by the vast rivers
which discharge themselves into that sea;
the lightship gently rolling in the swell ; in
the distance a dark line of shore, from which
here and there rose slender shafts that
looked like reeds — the lighthouse at George-
54 L u tch mee and Dilloo .
town, and the chimneys of the coast estates.
From galley to forecastle the deck was
crowded with Coolies; some eagerly scan-
ning the horizon ; others entertaining their
comrades with childish exhibitions of joy
and curiosity, or with their lively babble ;
others crouched on their hams, their heads
bowed down to their knees in an attitude
Lutchmee, whose pretty face and coquet-
tish ways had during the voyage won upon
the rough English and foreign sailors, was
standing well forward on the forecastle near
the look-out, who, with grotesque English
and uncouth gestures, tried to make her
understand their progress. It was three
o'clock in the afternoon. The sun, nearing
a level, shot its hot beams sidewise on the
Asiatics, nearly all of whom showed signs
" Where is He ?" 55
of weariness. Lutchmee alone seemed ani-
mated with joy. She was looking forward
to the meeting with Dilloo, and her little
heart beat, and her eyes were shining with
a hopeful light. The sailor noticed her
" Aha, Lutchmee ! " said he, with a voice
like a rusty coffee-mill, — they had found out
that the pretty Hindoo was journeying to
meet her husband, — "you glad, eh? You
go see Dilloo ? Bah ! Dilloo marry 'nother
woman. Ha ! ha ! what you do then,
Lutchmee? Come back to me, eh?" —
putting his hand on what he supposed to
be his heart.
Lutchmee understood the good-natured
banter, for she had already made herself a
little familiar with English. She tossed
her head, and laughing in a silvery tone,
56 L utchmee and Dilloo .
put her hands together and bowed towards
the shore. The pantomime was pretty, and
modest and sincere withal.
" No fear Dilloo : all true Dilloo."
" Hem ! " said the sailor to himself,
winking his eyes very hard, for the glare
was strong: "I only hope so, for the poor
wench's sake. If he's true, he's the first
honest copper-skin I ever come across.
Where's that clumsy tug a-drivin' to ? "
The steamer • thus spoken of soon ap-
proached and hailed the ship. As it was
getting late, the captain resolved to engage
her to tow his vessel into the river; and
before long the " Sunda" was more rapidly
cleaving the muddy water. Gradually the
long line of shore began to grow clear ;
then could be discerned the fringing palm
trees and the scraggy bush along the bank :
"Where is He?" 57
then the wooden houses, here and there ;
and at length, just in front, the mouth of
the river. On the left ran a strong sea-wall,
at that hour the promenade of the fashion-
able world of Georgetown : fatigued officials
with their cigars, pale ladies languidly saun-
tering, children in their perambulators, and
the dark buxom nursemaids, gay with their
bright-coloured turbans and white dresses.
Up and down walked many a wealthy planter,
— one, a grand old figure, erect and haughty,
with stick on shoulder, a Scotchman who
had spent forty-five years in the colony, the
Nestor of the planting community. At the
corner of this promenade towered up the
lighthouse. On the right entrance of the
river the low flat banks were maintained by
a short piece of sea-wall ; and out from the
small village protected by it there stretched
58 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
in lengthy skeleton the Pouderoyen Stel-
ling, or wharf, which was the landing-place
of the ferry for the west bank of the Deme-
rara river. Between the banks flowed the
stream, silent, smooth, and muddy ; sweep-
ing by many ships and schooners, steamers,
barges, and boats, anchored or moving on
its ample bosom.
By this time the Coolies swarmed to the
sides of the ship, and eagerly peered over
the taffrail as the great vessel swung round
the corner and disclosed to their eyes the
flat site of Georgetown — with its huge sheds
of merchandize, its white houses and green
blinds, and the familiar cocoa and cabbage
palms, lifting their high, graceful heads into
the clear air ; while in front, on the yellow
banks and by the stellings that jutted out
into the river, there went on the work
"Where is He?" 59
and bustle of a thriving port. Before the
strangers could take in all these features,
the rattle of the running anchor chain
told them that their voyage was at an
end, and that now for them a new life
had begun. It was the rough knell that
marked off their native existence from an
experience to these poor, simple creatures,
more than novel, unexpected, inconceiv-
able ; an experience for not a few of them
to be embittered with intensifying and hope-
less aggravation until death should become
their truest friend.
Scarcely had the anchor sunk into the
muddy bottom, when a boat pulled by four
powerful blacks in sailors' uniform came
alongside : and presently there stepped on
board the health-officer of the port, the im-
migration Agent-General, and an interpreter:
60 Lvtchmee and Dilloo.
The latter salaamed right and left, and the
people delightedly returned the welcome of
a countryman. The ship's doctor showed
his books. The health-bill was declared
satisfactoiy. The Agent- General, a grey old
gentleman of considerable activity, passed
round the vessel to take a survey of the
new arrivals, here and there putting a kindly
question through the interpreter.
" This lot," said he to the captain, " is not
a very promising one. I don't believe thirty
per cent, of them ever did any field work."
The captain shook his head.
" A whole lot of them were sent aboard
not fit to travel. You'd have thought they'd
have shaken the life out of themselves the
first time they were sick. We had forty or
fifty cases of disease among 'em. Look
there, now, there's an idiot ; and here are
" Where is HeT' 61
two lepers, — there are more below. How
your agent in India comes to pass such
creatures as able-bodied, beats me to under-
stand. It don't require a doctor to tell me
such a fellow as that ain't worth his salt,"
said he, pointing to a little dark, unhealthy-
looking man, who, in the favourite sitting
posture, was vacantly regarding them.
" Ask him how old he is."
It turned out he was nearly sixty.
" It's a shame ! " said the Agent-General,
angrily. " If I had my way, I would send
half this lot back again. I see by the list
■five idiots are reported by Dr. Chandle.
But there is such a demand for labour, that
the planters can't afford to send them back,
and so they must make what they can out
of them. This bad selection is the begin-
ning of every sort of wrong and evil."
62 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
"I'll tell you what," said the shrewd
captain, "my opinion is, those Indian
recruiters are a set of scoundrels. They
don't honestly go up the country and get
people really fit to work : they just pick
them out of the slums of Calcutta and the
large towns ; and your agents aren't over
particular either about their examination.
You should see them passing them at the
Hooghly depot. The examination is a
farce : Dr. Chandle will tell you so. But
what can I do ? I must bring 'em, you
Probably every one concerned w^ould have
asked the same question, and shrugged his
shoulders, and, in the same way, shifted the
responsibility on some one else. The cun-
ning Indian recruiters would have shrugged
their shoulders, and asked, " What can we
" Where is He ? " 63
do ? We must make a living." The
colonial agents would have shrugged their
shoulders, and asked, " What can we do?
The colony must have people, good or bad."
The highly-paid officials of the Indian
Government, whose business it was to
superintend the emigration, and who were
supposed to be responsible for the cha-
racter of the recruiters, and the condition
of the people permitted to emigrate, would
have shrugged their shoulders and asked,
" What can we do? The people want to
go, they understand they will be better off
in the West Indies, and, at all events, they
can be spared." The Indian Government,
the British Government, and the Colonial
Government would each have shrugged
their shoulders, and said, "What can we
do ? The evil consequences are much to
64 Lutchmee and Diiloo.
be regretted ; but, really, no pains are
spared to avert them ! "
Thus responsibility floats in nubibus,
while the realities of wrong and sorrow
come cruelly home to the victims of a com-
plicated system of shifted obligations.
How many evils of this sorb remain in
the world unredressed only Heaven knows ;
but they are often infinitely more pestilent,
more difficult to remedy, than the direct
and concrete efforts of deliberate tyranny.
Mr. Goodeve, the Agent-General, had
noticed Lutchmee, who, clothed in her
finest, with her hair daintily dressed, stood
curiously watching the small group of gen-
tlemen, as they passed among her country-
" That is a fine young woman," said he,
stopping to look at her.
"Where is He?" 65
" Yes," said the surgeon; " and she has
behaved very well on the passage. She is
superior to any woman I ever saw coming
over. • She says that she is married to some
. man who emigrated two years ago."
"Ask her who it is," said Mr. Goodeve
to the interpreter. The answer was rapidly
" Dilloo ! " said he. " Why, if we have
one, we have fifty Dilloos on the estates.
What ship did he come in ? "
Lutchmee did not know. She could tell
the year he left her, and the village he came
from ; but, as the latter information was not
kept on record by the Immigration Depart-
ment, identification by those particulars was
impossible. Nor was it of any avail to at-
tempt to describe her husband's appearance.
An agent, with thirty or forty thousand
vol. 1. 5
66 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
people under his care, could not recall every
face that passed under his notice.
" Can I not see him ? " inquired the
simple woman of the interpreter. " Where
is he ? I want to find him."
The interpreter shook his head.
" There are many Dilloos," he said.
" They are scattered ahout over a great
country. How shall we know the Dilloo
whom you seek? "
Lutchmee clasped her hands, and the
large drops stealing from her eyes jewelled
her dark cheeks, as she went on her knees
before Mr. Goodeve, and poured out in her
own language a passionate appeal to him
to take her to her husband. The long-tried
patience of years, the ever-pleasing dreams
of day and night throughout the voyage,
had tended towards this hour as one of
" Where is He ? " 67
unmixed joy ; and the sudden eclipse of her
hopes extinguished her fortitude. She had
never forecast the disappointment of this
moment. Mr. Goodeve was affected, and
the sailor who had been watching the inter-
view turned away with a dry cough. The
Agent-General took her by the hand and
spoke kindly to her, promising to do his
best to find her husband, " before she was
allotted." Lutchmee had little or no idea
what this meant. To her the contract she
had made in India was a matter of form —
a means of reaching her lover. She had
not taken the trouble to think of the nature
of her engagement, so absorbed had been
her mind in the one aim of affection.
68 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
A DANGEKOUS ADMIKEK.
The next day the emigrants were disem-
barked in boats and conveyed to one of the
stellings, whence they marched to the
Immigration depot, a wooden barrack situ-
ated at the end of a flat marsh behind the
sea-wall. At the other end of this marsh
were the garrison barracks, inhabited by
some companies of one of the West India
regiments. The whole of the buildings on
the ground were below high-water mark,
and lay between open trenches. Arrived at
the depot, the people squatted quietly about
the house and beneath the verandah. Then
A Dangerous Admirer. 69
the Agent-General, Assisted by sub-agents,
classified them, as required by the local
law, according to relationship, and, as far
as possible, by placing together friends or
fellow- villagers. Subject to this, allotments
were then arbitrarily made of batches of
them to various estates, in proportion to
the number for which the proprietors had
applied. Looking forward to this contin-
gency, it was usual for the planters to apply
for more than they needed. In due time
the agents of the estates, or overseers,
attended at the depot to receive their quota,
and the Indians were marched off in bodies,
some to the steamers for the Arabian coast,
or the Islands, or Berbice, others to the
east and west coasts of Demerara. Along
with the five idiots who were retained by
the Immigration Agent- General to be sent
70 Lutchmee and Dilfao.
back to India, Lutchmee was kept at the
depot. She saw her fellow-travellers dis-
perse with a heavy heart, and sadly, through
the long hot days, she sat on the verandah,
gazing listlessly at the few acres of grassy
swamp, watching the morning and evening
evolutions of the troops ; or in the after-
noons, as the sun declined, and the pale
people of Georgetown gathered to catch the
incoming breeze, she lay upon the grassy
bank, looking at the yellow waves or ob-
serving the gloomy gaiety of the strollers
on the wall.
Thus a fortnight passed, and the sub-
agents, though they had made active inquiry,
had been unable to identify the missing
Dilloo. Six Dilloos had arrived in the ship
which, as they judged from the information
Lutchmee supplied, had brought her hus-
A Dangerous Admirer. 7
band. One would have thought that no-
thing could be easier than to write to the
employers of these six Coolies and request
them to ascertain whether their servant of
that name had been married to a girl called
Lutchmee. And, in fact, Mr. Goodeve
directed the sub-agents to write to the
masters of the six Dilloos ; but they were
not bound to reply, and only one found it
convenient to do so. His Dilloo had only
one eye, and hearing a wife had arrived to
claim a husband, pretended to have once
married a Lutchmee, but she declined to
believe in him. Mr. Goodeve was per-
plexed. He had now retained the woman,
without allotting her, an unusual time.
Experience had made him suspicious of the
excuses of wily Hindoos, and he considered
that possibly, nay, in spite of himself he
72 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
was beginning to think probably , her story
was untrue. Fortunately he had the Gov-
ernor's approval of what he had done ; for,
indeed, Her Majesty's representative in
British Guiana follows with all the minute-
ness of a tradesman the movements of the
Immigration office ; and the Agent- General,
instead of being a departmental minister,
with a seat in the Court of Policy, is practi-
cally degraded to the level of a petty clerk,
waiting on the nod or the wink of the
One afternoon Lufcchmee, as was her
wont, strayed to the embankment. She
had arrayed herself with her habitual neat-
ness and elegance. The western end of the
promenade was frequented by a few of her
countrymen, who had interested themselves
in the subject of her anxiety. They were
A Dangerous Admirer. 73
" unbound," that is, freed from their inden-
ture, and one or two of them were wealthy.
A lithe little Madrassee pedler and usurer
took special notice of her, and, having deal-
ings with most of the estates in the colony,
had caused her story to be pretty generally
circulated. He held out the hope of being
able to find Dilloo. This afternoon, as she
was sitting waiting for him, a tall, sharp-eyed
man, of middle age, with the dark face and
hair and strongly-marked features of a North
Anglian, who was taking his afternoon con-
stitutional at a pace rather more energetic
than was common among the promenaders,
suddenly caught sight of her, and, stopping,
conned with the greatest coolness and
deliberation her features and figure.
" Hum," said he, aloud, with unconcealed
satisfaction, * that's a tidy young girl. The
74 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
handsomest Indian I ever saw. Where did
she come from ? — Whose wife you, eh ? "
" Dilloo, massa," said the soft voice.
"Dilloo? Who is D1II00? Where Dil-
loo live, eh?"
"No sabby, massa," replied the girl,
adopting the Creole patois of her new ac-
quaintances on the wall.
" No sabby ? What estate ? "
She shook her head : this was Greek to
her. Just then her Madrassee friend, who
knew her questioner too well, came up.
u Salaam, massa ! "
" Salaam ! Look here, Akaloo, just ask
this girl what estate she's on, will you, or
who she is living with ? "
" She no on any estate, massa. Stay
Goody office. No bound * yet. Just come."
* " Bound," the pigeon-English term for " indentured."
A Dangerous Admirer. 75
He gave a jerk of his thumb over to-
wards the river, where the " Sunda " was
" Not bound yet ? . How's that? All the
last lot have been on the estate weeks since.
What an old rascal that Goodeve is to keep
such a fine girl hanging about the depot ! I
shall apply for her at once."
He said this out loud, indifferent to his
Indian audience. Akaloo, however, who
had been keenly watching him, struck
" No, no, massa. She go look for 'usbaun;
left her in India : come here. No found
'usbaun estate yet."
" Oh, nonsense : she might look for him
till doomsday. Tell her he's dead, or mar-
ried to someone else. There are four Dilloos
at Belle Susanne, one is very likely hers,
76 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
and tell her she can have any one of them
she likes — eh ? " said he, laughing, and
patting her cheek.
Lutchmee, half gathering the meaning of
his words, indignantly turned her face from
his touch, and the ready tears rolled down
her cheeks. The gentleman looked at her
with some astonishment. Your regular
planter has no faith in a Coolie's feelings.
To him every act of an In'dian, however na-
tural, is acting. But Drummond shrewdly
suspected the acting to be this time
"What," he said, "you love Dilloo?
Much want Dilloo ? " She nodded assent.
Akaloo explained that she was inconsol-
able from her disappointment, and that
Massa Goodeve was doing all he could to
find her husband. Mr. Drummond, after a
A Dangerous Admirer. 77
cheering word, took his way along the wall
to where he knew Mr. Goodeve would at
that time be found taking the air, if, indeed,
breathing a half-furnace blast may be so
" I say, Goodeve,' ' said he, abruptly,
" what are you keeping that pretty girl at
the depot for ? This won't do : I must
report you to the Governor."
" Very well," .said the Agent-General,
^smiling. " Do it in writing, please, and I
shall forward a memorandum in reply.
But the fact is, that girl is giving me a
great deal of anxiety. I have been looking
for a man she says is her husband. But,
from her story, I shrewdly suspect she is
not sure he is here at all. He may have
gone to Trinidad or St. Lucia. He left
India, she says, two years ago."
78 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
11 Pshaw ! " interrupted the other : " it's
a cock-and-hull story. You ought not to
keep her here any longer. She must be
allotted. Send her to me at Belle Susanne :
I'll find a husband for her. I must see old
Tom about it."
I regret to say that the " Old Tom " here
referred to was no other than His Excellency
Governor Thomas Walkingham, who had
certainly not won the sobriquet by his cat-
like vigilance, or because his spirits were
sweet and above proof. He was one of
those steady-going mediocrities whom a
grateful Colonial Office is apt to value in
such inflammable quarters as the West
Indies, where the least spark of originality
or independence may, in certain conditions,
set fire to a whole community. An estim-
able, good-natured, easy-going man was
A Dangerous Admirer. 79
Thomas Walkingham, who, never too active
a friend of the Coolies, and never too stern
a reprover of the planters, retained an
imperial reputation for humanity, and was
lucky enough to hold one of the richest
governments at Her Majesty's disposal.
As Drummond turned away, the Agent-
General looked after him doubtfully. This
was one of the most powerful planters in
the colony; a member of the Court of
Policy, and noted for his determined will,
strong passions, and practical ability. Mr.
Goodeve held a good opinion of him as a
master, though he was rather doubtful of
him as a man. In the present instance his
mind was divided between his suspicions of
Drummond and his own growing distrust of
Lutchmee. If she were telling the truth
he could do nothing less willingly than to
80 Lutchmee and Dilioo.
put her in Mr. Drummond's power for five
years. Were her story untrue, even his
mind was not able to overcome the natural
race indifference to what became of her.
He knew too well the ordinary and inevit-
able fate of the small proportion of Coolie
women then in the colony; without clear
evidence that this one was unlike the rest, —
her good looks, indeed, being rather against
her, — how could he be expected to get up
any special interest in her fate ? Subtle,
indeed, but powerful are the influences upon
the calmest and most honest mind, in those
peculiar relations of a superior to an inferior
race, of which terms of bondage or terms
akin to bondage form a part. If they are
difficult for an analyst to define, they are
certainly too real and strong for the persons
concerned to resist.
The Recognition. 8 1
Mr. Deummond was as good as his word.
The next day he applied to the Governor
in writing, informing him that " he 'liad
ascertained a Coolie woman, ex l Sunda,'
still remained at the depot unallotted ; and
begging to state that as she appeared to be
a respectable person, and he was desirous
of securing as many women of that kind as
possible on Belle Susanne, he asked that
she might be allotted to that estate."
The Governor had hardly ever been on
an estate in his life. He was personally
incurious. Faith, to an official who must
vol. i. 6
82 Lutchwiee and Dilloo.
write home long despatches about his pro-
consulate, is superior to sight. He could
affirm that the general condition of the
immigrants was satisfactory, and the
Coolie system a great success, if he
only came in contact with the subject
in letters, minutes, or despatches, or only
saw the people in holiday attire in the
course of his afternoon drives. Had he
been challenged to say whether he thought
Drummond a fit and proper person to whom
to deliver up a handsome young Indian
woman, he would have said that " he had
no reason from any official memoranda to
doubt that she would receive at Belle
Susanne the same satisfactory attention
and care which the reports he had received
of the estate led him to believe were
characteristic of Mr. Drummond' s manage-
The Recognition. S3
merit." The man who can at once satisfy
his own conscience and his official superiors
with negatives of that sort saves himself
and them innumerable inconveniences, and
is deemed a most valuable person.
The Governor had already been informed
by the Agent-General of the reason why
Lutchmee had not been allotted, and had
approved of her retention. But there are
limits to governmental kindness. Mr.
Drummond was too powerful to be dis-
regarded. The matter would get talked
about, and talk in a small colony must
be avoided. Accordingly a " despatch " was
written by the Government Secretary to
the Immigration Agent-General, two hun-
dred yards off, stating " that he had the
honour to enclose a copy of a letter received
from the Hon. C. C. Drummond, aud that
84 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
His Excellency the Governor recommended
that the woman ' Su?ida, 330,' should he
allotted to the estate of Belle Susanne."
Mr. Goodeve's humanity never slept.
Whatever douhts had sprung up in his
mind, he still desired to act the parfc he
deemed the law had assigned to him, of
Coolie protector, — a part which the planters
thought he acted too extravagantly.* He
sent for Lutchmee and told her, through
the interpreter, that as her husband had
not been found, the Governor had ordered
him to allot her to an estate where she
must discharge the obligations of her con-
tract made in India, but that if her husband
should be found she would be placed wher-
ever he was.
* There is an official who has sat for the portrait of the
Agent-General in the tent. I need not mention his name,
but it is well known and greatty respected in the West Indies.
The Recognition. 85
Lutclirnee had gained from her country-
men on the sea-wall some inkling of estate
life. They had described to her the work
in the field and the " megass-yard," the
houses, the hospitals, and the general
conditions. For this she was quite un-
prepared. The whole impulse of her
engagement and voyage had been to
regain her husband. To lose him, and
find herself bound to perform labours she
had never thought of, almost crushed her.
She implored Mr. Goodeve to find her
husband, or send her back to India. The
terrible unfriended desolation of her heart
excited her to a loud outburst of grief.
The Agent- General was moved by her agi-
tation, bat was obliged to return a decided
answer. She must go to Belle Susanne.
The poor woman sat down, and covering
86 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
her head in her chudder, rocked herself
backward and forwards, moaning piteously.
The interpreter vainly tried to comfort
her. Mr. Goodeve went to her, and put
his hand on the bare arm that clasped it,
to remove the dr artery from her head. The
skin was dry and burning.
" Ha ! " said he, " she has fever, and
very badly, too. Sammy, she must go to
The way from the immigration depot
to that admirable public institution, the
Georgetown hospital, lay along a road that
traversed Eveleery, the garrison fields, and
turning at the end of the east coast " dam,"
or high road, which was cut short by those
fields, passed over a wooden bridge that led
across a creek to one of the principal streets
of the town. Beyond the garrison, right
The Recognition. Sj
and left of the east coast dam, was a wilder-
ness of unoccupied land, and on either side
of the dam a broad canal, which required
every few weeks to be cleared of its weeds.
The property belonged to Government, and
afforded occupation to a number of short-
time convicts, who were led out to their
work in gangs of about a dozen.
Lutchmee was borne along in a low hand-
cart covered with an awning of cotton, her
whole frame burning with fever, and her
eyes restlessly wandering over every object
they could reach. As the cart reached the
bridge, it passed a file of prisoners going-
out to work, who looked with interest at
the sick woman. Before any one could
interfere, one of the prisoners, suddenly
exclaiming, " Lutchmee ! " darted from the
line and clasped her in his arms. Her
88 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
quick eye had taken in the familiar though
altered features, and she had half risen, but
the joy was too great, and she lay senseless
in the embrace of Dilloo. He was instantly
seized and pulled away by the foreman of
the gang, who took the strange act of the
convict for a sudden frenzy. Dilloo's teeth
ground together, and a fierce fire was
flaming in his eyes. Fortunately the in-
terpreter had accompanied the party, and
after exchanging a few words with the
prisoner was soon able to explain his
singular conduct. Meanwhile Lutchmee
began to recover, and, opening her eyes,
stretched out her arms towards her hus-
band, repeating his name. The warder let
go his hold, and in a moment, Dilloo, his
face wet with tears and his whole body
trembling with excitement, sat upon the
The Recognition. 89
edge of the cart, and lifting the sick woman
on his knee, laid, her burning head on his
shoulder, and unmindful of the gathering
crowd of Blacks, Indians, Portuguese, and
Whites, soothed her with eager words of
affection. Among the spectators, was
Lutchmee's friend the sailor, who happened
to be lounging on shore. He drew the
back of his hand across his eyes, — he was
"Blow me," said he, "if this ain't too
much for me ! I never see two copper-skins
go on so like human bein's afore in all my
At this moment a light covered waggon
drawn by a spirited horse, and carrying a
gentleman with his Negro servant, came
swiftly along the road from the east coast.
The spectators blocked the bridge.
9 o Lu tch mee and Dilloo.
" Get out ob de way ! " shouted the black
fellow, glad like all his race to domineer
when well supported. " What you stop up
dat bridge for ? "
The horse came on, the crowd gave way,
shouting to him to stop, and disclosing the
pathetic group in its midst ; but the Negro
never drew rein, and would have seriously
if not fatally damaged the interesting scene,
had not our sailor jumped forward and seized
the horse's head.
" Stop ! you black fellow," he cried.
" Would you bear down at ten knots on
human bein's like a shoal of mackerel ? "
The Negro gave one cut with his whip
over the sailor's brawny neck. Before he
could repeat it, he was seized by the collar,
dragged from the waggon, and pitched neck
and crop from the bridge into the muddy
The Recognition. 91
water beneath. The previous movement
had turned the horse round and broken a
shaft. Half a dozen hands held the animal's
"There! you wretched black-skin," said
the sailor, looking down upon the mud-
covered object that was scrambling out of
the shallow creek, " that will teach you to
keep your fins off an English tar if ever
you're tempted to try it again ! "
The gentleman had jumped out of the
waggon, and in his turn now collared the
sailor, amid dangerous murmurs from the
" What do you mean by stopping my
horse and assaulting my servant in that way,
sir ? " said Drummond, for it was no other.
It was white man against white man
this time, and Drummond was powerful
92 Lutch?nee and Dilloo.
and accustomed to command. The sailor,
though not alarmed, was subdued.
" Well, you see, sir," he replied, touching
his cap, " your servant warn't over polite to
me for a black-skin to an Englishman, as
you'll admit ; and moreover he was about
to drive over this young couple, that haven't
spoke or signalled one another this two or
three year ; and the poor wench too under
the weather, and being hauled into dry-dock
Drurmnond's quick eye rested on the
couple, and he recognised both of them im-
mediately. Dilloo was too well known to him.
He was one of the ablest of his labourers,
and, in his opinion, one of the worst of his
servants. He did his work rapidly and
well, but his* independence, energy, and
capacity gave him great influence among
The Recognition. . 93
the estate's people. Instead of using this
in the ordinary Indian manner, to curry
favour with his master and advance himself,
he rather employed it in organising and aid-
ing the Coolies, against any wrong on the part
of their superiors. Upon an estate worked
by indentured labourers, that such a man
would be likely to become an intolerable
nuisance to the manager would not be
doubted by the most partial philanthropist,
though he and the planter would not draw
identical conclusions from the circumstance.
Dilloo was now suffering three months' im-
prisonment for an alleged assault on the
very groom of whose condign punishment
he was as yet unconscious. That was the
first time the cautious Hindoo had given
Drummond any legal hold upon him, and
indeed his conviction was undeserved.
94 Lute km ee and Dilloo,
Drumniond was naturally a kind-hearted
man. The hardness that had grown in him
towards the dark races by whom his wealth
was made for him had sprung out of the
nature of his relations to them; and some-
what against the grain. In Iris mind it
was based on justice to himself, for he
had succeeded in convincing his conscience
that their interests and his were rarely
compatible, and that when there was
collision they ought to give way. This is
the inevitable tendency of these relations.
The glance at Dilloo and Lutchmee
touched a soft place in his feelings. He
loosed his grasp on the sailor, and at the
apparition of Pete, his servant, in the
natural dress of a crocodile, chuckled so
maliciously, that the crowd gave vent to
an inordinate chorus of delight.
The Recognition. 95
" Well, you're an object, Mr. Pete.
You will have to walk home, and get
dry as you go. Keep your whip in future
for horses and black men — though," he
added, significantly, " you have not found
that answer, either."
The discomfited groom made off amidst
the jeers of his countrymen, whose huge
lips and shining teeth exhibited the
keenest relish of his misfortune.
Drummond meanwhile turned to the
young couple. The foreman of the con-
vict gang was getting impatient, and
ordered Dilloo to return to his place.
The Coolie did not hear him. Drummond
put his hand on his shoulder.
"Is this your wife, Dilloo ? "
The Indian looked up boldly into the
planter's face, and said, —
96 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
" She's a fine young woman, then. She
is coming to my estate — bound to Belle
Susanne. I wish for her sake you were
out of gaol. What's the matter with
Drummond's experienced hand sought
her pulse, and felt the burning skin.
" She's very bad. You had better let
her go to the hospital at once. When
she gets out, I'll take care of her. How
long have you been in gaol ? "
" Two mons."
" Well, it won't be long before you get
back to her. She shall live in the hospital
till you come home ; and I hope, now,
after this, you'll keep quiet and get into
no more scrapes."
The Recognition. 97
It was with difficulty that Lutchmee
could be parted from her husband or he
from her; but she was at length removed
in a paroxysm of the fever, while Dilloo,
resuming his place among the convicts,
went on to complete the imprisonment,
of which the monotony had been so sadly
yet so excitedly broken. When Drummond
turned round to his carriage, he found that
the sailor, using his knife and some tarred
strain from his pockets, had very neatly
spliced the broken shaft. As he thanked
him the man took off his cap.
" Lookee 'ere, sir," said he, drawing a
gold coin from some mysterious hiding-
place beneath his belt, " I'm afeard that
there young Injin woman's a-going to be
very cranky this long while, and mebbe
they ain't over partikler how they over-
vol. 1. 7
g$ Lutchmee and Dilloo.
haul and caulk 'em in that there 'orspital.
Will you kindly take keer 'o this, and mebbe
'twill get her some extra stores and better
handling, and I couldn't do no more for
my own sister ? "
" You're a good fellow," said Drummond,
kindly taking his hand. " I'll see she is
well taken care of. She is my servant
now, you know, and I am bound to look
after her. Good-day."
Belle Susanne g y
The estate of Belle Susanne lay a con-
siderable distance up the east coast of
Demerara, the central county or district
of British Guiana. Vast as is the country
known by that name, extending deeply
into the South American- continent, only a
selvage of it has been rescued from wilder-
ness by the hand of civilization. The
interior consists of impassable swamps,
open savannahs, tropical forests where the
gigantic trunks of the Mora or Simiri,
amongst which rise here and there the
i oo L utchmee and Dilloo.
slender shafts of the graceful Eta or Turn
palms, are festooned with vast, embower-
ing creepers, while every nook and shoulder
of their massive branches is gemmed with
rare orchids. Beneath their shadow, great
spreading ferns and huge-leaved shrubs
exhibit the perfection of tropical vegetation
in a soil and climate most favourable to
exuberance. In these almost impenetra-
ble scenes, the reign of nature is disturbed
only by the wild animals and a few
thousands of wandering Indians — Caribs,
Arawaks, Acawoios, and Macusi. These
people, of light copper skin, short well-
made bodies and agreeable countenances,
range the endless hunting-grounds, where
nothing more dangerous than the deadly
Labarri snake, and perhaps nothing more
disagreeable than the vampire-bat is to be
Belle Stcsanne. 101
found : a harmless people, in a perfect
state of nature, both bodily and mental.
It is the flat alluvial land along the
banks of the great rivers Demerara, Esse-
quibo, Berbice, and Corentyn, and a strip
bordering the sea-coasts of the colony, that
have alone been won from nature by
European energy. To bring even these
parts into culture, the Dutch, who first occu-
pied the country, were obliged to undertake
such vast works as were familiar to them
in their native land, but they had to carry
them out under a burning sun and in a hor-
rible climate. While they erected dykes
to shut out the sea and the rivers on one
side, or the vast overflowing waters of the
inland -swamps on the other, they were
obliged to create a system of canals and
drains to relieve the occupied parts from
1 02 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
the too-domineering water, and to facili-
tate the conveyance of the produce down
the long lines of their estates. The
shore or river fringe varies in breadth from
two to six miles, and is divided by parallel
lines into the various estates, some being
not more than a hundred yards wide. The
road to these estates is the top of the
dam protecting them from the sea, to
which joins at right angles the " middle -
dam" or centre road of each estate, which
runs back as far as the inner boundary,
and is drained on either side by navigation
and drainage trenches. Looking from the
top of the dam across the vast flats, the
eye lights only on an occasional tree and
on groups of estates' buildings.
Belle Susanne was a long way from
Georgetown, but it would scarcely have
Belle Susanne. 103
mattered up which of the branching dams
we turned to find its counterpart. We
should discover the same general features
and economy on all the estates. Some
buildings are distinguished from others by
greater neatness, better machinery, and the
evidences of more business-like conduct.
And Belle Susanne was conspicuous amongst
Demerara estates, both for handsome build-
ings and good management. As you ap-
proached the white-painted bridge which
connected the front dam with the estate
road, the canes along on the right looked
tall and green and juicy; and, if you noticed
the cane-hills, you saw that they had been
weeded and hoed with industrious care.
Through such fields on either hand were at
length reached the manager's house, in its
neat garden; the hospital, a handsome
1 04 L utchmee and Dilloo.
wooden barrack, erected for a hundred
patients ; the overseer's quarters : all these
buildings elevated on piles, with broad, lat-
ticed verandahs, and long-sweeping shingled
roofs. Past these the road led straight to
the megass-yard, shut in on three sides by
its corrugated iron sheds, some hundreds of
feet in length, where the dried refuse of the
sugar-cane was laid up for the fires that
were to boil the next year's crop. To the
left was an irregular pile of wooden build-
ings, over which towered a tall brick chim-
ney, the erection whereof in that fierce
sun-glow must have been a Tartarean busi-
ness. To-day it is vomiting forth abundant
smoke, the noise of machinery rumbles with-
in the vast wooden shells, the yard is alive
with active men, women, and children; the
smithy, with its white head-blacksmith and
Belle Susanne. 105
his Chinese aids, is wheezy with the blowing
bellows and resounding with rapid hammers ;
for it is crop time, and no idle hand ean be
allowed to exist out of the hospital. The
soil of the megass-yard is almost as black
as ink, spongy to the feet, and offensive to
the smell. The lees of the rum-still in the
corner, which we had forgotten to mention,
are discharged incessantly upon the surface,
and fermenting the damp mass of earth,
produce a fcetor that fouls the air to leeward
sometimes for miles. Yet it is beyond and
to leeward of this place that lie the eighty
or a hundred cottages, huts and barracks,
that constitute the "Negro-yard" — an old
name, which still lingers, recalling old
memories, though Negroes now rarely inhabit
any of these estate houses. No grass sur-
rounds the rows of wooden sheds. They
t o 5 L ufckmee and Dc I loo.
are irregularly placed : here a line of thirty
or forty, recently built after a Government
pattern on a slight elevation of hard earth ;
there some two-storied barracks, erected on
piles, relics of the Negro-time, when scores
were penned together in their numerous
rooms ; there again a few Hindu-built huts
of wattled palm, on a hard mud floor — the
Coolie's palaces. By these places are open
ditches, some dry and some .half full of
foetid water. Their use is misunderstood, or
certainly not much appreciated, for every-
where one can see the evidences that the
surface of soil nearest the houses is con-
sidered the natural and proper receptacle of
refuse. Constant must be the vigilance,
and heroic the sanitary zeal of the manager
who would attempt to enforce on his ignor-
ant people the simplest health laws.
Bklle Susanne. 107
At Belle Susanne, the manager's house
was exceptionally clean and comfortable.
Mr. Drummond was not married, but a
nice-looking Creole woman of about thirty
years of age served him as housekeeper,
quite as faithfully as she would have done
had she been his wife. The sitting and
dining-room which occupied the first floor
were coolly and simply furnished with a
few easy-chairs, dining* and card-tables,
manager's desk, and a settee. A table
crowded with chemicals proved that he un-
derstood the scientific parts of his business.
At one end of the gallery swung a fine grass
hammock. A large side-board graced the
dining-room, where the table was long and
flanked with a dozen chairs, for the overseers
were provided with their meals in the man-
ager's house. Missa Nina, the housekeeper,
108 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
looked well after all these things, took charge
of the stores, dispensed from thern to the
hospital-cook the daily supplies and, above
all, superintended the preparations of the
substantial meals wherewith Europeans
fortify themselves against tropical deterior-
ation. Mr. Drummond prided himself on
his liberality to those in his employ.
Upstairs, the manager's bedroom was a
lofty and roomy place, under the unceiled
rafters. One side of it was occupied with
pegs, whereon hung every description of
male garment, giving it the aspect of an
old clothes' shop. Bows of boots ranged
beneath increased the resemblance to a
Dudley Street warehouse. In the middle
of the room stood a great iron-bedstead
covered with its mosquito-netting. A plain
deal table, a capacious wash-stand, a shav-
Belle Susanne, 109
ing-glass, a chest of drawers, some trunks,
and two chairs completed the furniture.
The floor was left uncovered, and afforded
no lurking-place for centipedes or scorpions,
though it was the constant foraging ground
of innumerahle ants.
Under the netting, one morning, at five
o'clock, lay Drummond, having just been
waked by the attentive Missa, who had lit
a candle, and bore in her hand a cup of
coffee with a small slice of buttered toast.
" Nina," said the manager, taking the cup
as she raised the netting, " there is a girl
at the hospital called Lutchmee, landed
from the last ship. She is the wife of that
man Dilloo, who was sent to gaol for licking
Pete. Egad ! you should have seen Pete in
the mud that time ! " he interposed, with
a chuckle. Pete being a Methodist local-
1 10 Lutchmee and Diiloo,
preacher, was a sort of favourite with Nina.
" She's a young handsome girl, and needs
to be looked after."
He was intent on his coffee, and did not
see the sudden lustre that lit up the dark
eyes of the woman, who had been standing
looking with admiration at the broad mus-
cular neck and chest which the unbuttoned
shirt, with its corners thrown back, exposed
"You had better send for her over here
and ration her from the house for a few
days. — Halloo ! what's the matter with you?
Do you mean to say you are jealous ? "
"0 no, massa: I ought to be used to
your ways by this time."
" There you go again ! What do you
mean by that ? See you do what I tell you.
I want to do the girl a kindness, and you'd
Belle Susanne. 1 1 1
like to prevent it ? Go away : I'm going to
" What does the woman mean ? " said
Drummond to himself, turning uneasily in
his bed. " She's like all those niggers,
jealous and conceited. ' Ought to be used
to my ways by this time ! ' What does she
mean ? "
The fact was, the covert hit in this simple
sentence had gone further home than Missa
Nina could have expected, or than Mr.
Drummond would admit to himself. This
creature, whom he had taken as a young
girl from her mother's house, had ministered
with the fidelity of an animal to his weak-
nesses, his appetites, his passions. She had
nursed him through a dangerous illness ;
and her devoted attention to his comfort,
and patient obedience to his slightest com-
1 1 2 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
mand, had made her a necessity to what he
called his home. But he had long ceased
to derive pleasure from her companionship,
or to give her his confidence. After all,
what was she ?
As for her ? Her poor mind had few ideas,
— her simple nature had early heen absorbed
in the one passion for this great and glorious
being, whose strength, manliness and spirit
seemed in her eyes so god-like. The few
vague notions of religion she had gathered
at the village Sunday-school years ago, and
in some occasional paroxysms of religious
excitement at the meeting-house in Gui-
neatown, seemed to have awakened in her
mind no suspicion that she stood in any
other than a proper relation to Drummond :
the relation proper for such a person of such
a race as she was to such a being of such a
Belle Susanne. 1 1 3
race as his. Indeed, her shallow piety ran
towards him, and circled round him, and he
was the chief subject of her rare and simple
prayers. She was conscious he regarded
her rather as he regarded his dog and his
horse, as a part of his establishment, and
she felt that she ought not to expect to
monopolise the entire affection of a man
like that ; yet, there was something in her
which flamed up with fierce, volcanic energy,
when she saw him confer on others the
favours she had once arrogated to herself.
There are few more puzzling psychological
studies than these stunted mental and moral
natures, embodied in whole races of man-
kind, and seeming to stand half-way be-
tween the Adamite ideal and the pure,
unspiritual brutism of lower animals !
As Missa Nina went downstairs from
vol. 1. 8
ii4 Lutchmee a?id Dilloo.
Drummond's room, the tears were running
down her cheeks in a tropical shower.
"Azubah ! — Desolate — a woman forsaken
and grieved in spirit ! "
But she would sooner have lost her life
than have disregarded Drummond's slightest
fancy. Accordingly, by breakfast-time — that
is to say about eleven o'clock, when man-
ager and overseers met after several hours'
round of the estates — Lutchmee was sitting
on the grass under the manager's house,
and receiving some kindly attentions from
the poor Creole. The latter had no sooner
seen the Indian woman than she was at-
tracted by her beauty. Lutchmee looked
doubtingly at the brown, well-formed face of
the other, but after a while surrendered to the
gentle marks of favour which were shown
to her, and though she was unable to ex-
Belle Susanne. 1 1 5
change many ideas with her hostess, began
to feel at home. She tried to express her
thanks to Missa, who at once, angrily, re-
pudiated any generosity on her part.
" No me like you ; Massa Drammond,"
she said, pointing to the house above.
" Your massa, who live here. Massa tell
me do this, tell me send for Lutchmee."
"Too kind," said Lutchmee.
"Yes — too kind — much — much kind to
Coolie woman. Good man to Coolie woman,
Nina brought this out rather convul-
sively, and her tone was slightly satirical.
Lutchmee started and gazed in the other's
face, but the woman avoided her glance.
"You stay here all day — stay here all
time," ' said Nina at length. " Massa
Drummond take good care of Lutchmee."
1 1 6 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
" No, no ! " replied the Indian woman,
her heart divining some perilous mystery
in this arrangement. " Me go live where
all Coolie women live : too, too kind,
Nina's woman's instinct told her that
this girl was shrinking from something to
which she had herself readily yielded. If
it were a pleasure for a moment to feel
that here she had no rival, it was, on the
other hand, a somewhat displeasing reflec-
tion upon her, that Lutchmee should he
superior to so overwhelming an attraction.
So Missa said sharply, —
" You Massa Drummond's Coolie woman ;
do what Massa Drummond say. Else
Massa Drummond heat you, kill you ! "
" No ! " cried Lutchmee, now thoroughly
alarmed. " Massa Drummon' too good
Belle Susanne. 117
hurt Coolie woman. You too good, too.
You good woman — me good woman. You
help me. Me go back now to other Coolie
women. Please, please."
Lutchmee softly touched the other's
cheek, and then gently leaning over, after
a moment's hesitation, kissed her on the
forehead. Nina's eyes suddenly filled — it
was the first pathetic chord that had been
touched in her heart for many a year.
Often had she wept the tears of passion
and grief, but that was the malign tem-
pest : this was the soft and blessed April
rain. She held Lutchmee 's hand in her
own, and silently let the showers come.
The Indian, with her delicate, child-like
courtesy, took the end of her muslin scarf,
and gently wiped away the trickling drops.
She began dimly to comprehend something
1 1 8 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
of Nina's relation to Drummond, and of
the reason why she wept. divine inno-
cence and purity, so often obscured, yet
never wholly left without a ray, in the
densest and most eclipsed of human souls !
"We two friends," said Lutchmee.
"Lutchmee wife of Dilloo. Missa wife of
Massa Drammon'. Me, no, no go to
As she said this with an energetic eleva-
tion of voice, Drummond, who, having
dismissed the overseers, had lounged down
the hack stairs with a cigar in his mouth
to take a look at her, and had overheard
her last words, struck in with his deep
rich voice : —
" Nina, what have you been doing ?
Setting this girl against me, eh ? Now
look here, I have a good mind to horse-
Belle Susanne. 119
whip you. You're the most ungrateful
vixen I ever knew. You have everything
a nigger like you could wish, and you're
as well off as any woman of your sort in
British Guiana, and yet you must strike
in with your infernal jealousy between me
and my servants, and try to set them
against me. Go up stairs."
"It's not true," said Missa, facing him
with flashing eyes. "I was doing my best
for you, when this woman declared she
would have nothing to do with you, and
was so gentle and kind, I couldn't stand
her — indeed, indeed I couldn't, Drum-
mond," said the poor woman, sobbing.'
"Massa, massa," cried Lutchmee, with
her hands together, — she had half gathered
the meaning of the conversation, — " me
talk Missa, say me Dilloo woman, no want
1 20 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
leave my man. Massa keep Missa : send
Lutchmee dis time to 'ospital."
She went on her knees and wrung her
hands and beat her bosom in true Indian
fashion. Drummond was touched. In the
pursuit of his whims, the remains of gene-
rosity and justice in his nature had always
hitherto restrained him from any forcible
assertion of his wishes. Nor did he medi-
tate revenge. He was good-tempered, easy-
going, morally indolent. As soon as he saw
that Lutchmee showed a determination to
be true to her husband, one which he knew
an Indian woman rarely affects unless it is
real and earnest, he good-naturedly ac-
" yes : no hurt Lutchmee," said he,
smiling at what he thought to be the
absurdity of the scene, and patting her
Belle Susanne. 121
on the shoulder. "Lutchmee have good
food here, but go back to Coolie women
each time. Lutchmee, trust me, eh ? "
It would have been hard, even for the
suspicious Lutchmee, looking into the fine
open face and clear eyes of the manager,
to believe that any dangerous cunning
lurked behind them, or that his word was
a fraud. She breathed a new breath, and
smiled most charmingly as she took his
hand from her shoulder and naively kissing
it, bowed low to her master.
Lutchmee ana Dilloo.
" Simon Pety," as lie was usually called
among his friends and relatives, was a Creole
African of perfect type. High and receding
was his forehead, crisp and close the wool
that clung like a black cap about his conical
head ; huge were his ears; well capable of
supporting the massive rings that strained
their enormous lobes. Beneath the promi-
nent brows which stretched like a rugged
bow across his front, the small dark orbits
of his eyes, set in their pinky whites, rolled
restlessly, cunningly, quizzically ; and the
Simon Pety. 123
crows '-feet on either side trembled with
incessant motion. Froni between these
quaint orbs came down a nose the exact
resemblance of a top split in half, turned
upside down and glued upon the face, with
the similarity enhanced by the appearance
of two deep and rugged holes, pegged, as it
were, into its larger end. Then the de-
scending eye of the observer lighted on a
pair of lips brown-red, and full, — lips of a
satyr, yet soft and mobile in their motion,
and, when open to their full extent in the
agony of a great cachinnation, disclosing an
Acherontic gulf, with cliffs of rocky ivory
shining far within. If we add to these the
half-grizzly forest of beard that grew un-
tended on Simon Pety's chin, can our
reader believe us that the being we have
been describing was a man of gallantry
124 Lutchmee and Diiioo.
and one of the lights of Mount Horeb
Chapel, at Guineatown, the adjacent
Negro village ? Yet it was so. More than
one damsel of dusky hue — not to mention
a certain widow, who, having a house of
her own, and a capital plantain-plot, was
deep in Simon Pety's regard — had evidence
too damning of his indifference to moral
Such a character as that of Simon Pety
is an interesting, if also a painful, study
in psychology. All sense, instinct, and
emotion, combining the shrewdness of some
of the finer brutes, with an intellectual
power of the narrowest capacity, — nay,
seeming rather to be endowed with an in-
telligence than an intellect, — this strange
being, half man, half animal, now and then
showed himself capable of spiritual appre-
Simon Pety. 125
hensions far beyond his mere intellectual
understanding, and could at intervals be
swayed by moral emotions to which con-
science and not reason gave within him any
force or vitality. To do or abstain from
doing a thing because it was right and
approved itself to his mind, as abstractedly
the good and right thing to do, was, so far
as you can judge, for Simon Pety an impos-
sible thing ; but if you touched his religious
emotions, it was a fair chance that in some
of his moods you would be able to incite or
deter him in a certain course of action. In
nine cases out of ten, the animal within
him was stronger than the spiritual, — pas-
sion surprised and confounded devotion and
conscience ; and the rally was simply a
violent spiritual emotion in the direction of
penitence. What missionary who had for
1 2 6 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
the first time heard Simon Pety praying at
Mount Horeb, with florid imagery, vivid
eloquence, and pathetic voice, amid the
sobs and exclamations and beatings of
the breast of the seething congregation,
could have believed that, on a summary of
Simon. Pety's life, any impartial fellow-man
must have declared him a hypocrite and a
scamp? But, since* a being of such mys-
teriously anomalous construction is to be
found, on the whole one must hold with the
missionary who, through many failures and
discouragements, has been able to redeem
from inhumanity worse subjects than this,
and who bravely sticks to Simon Pety as a
brand yet to be snatched, not utterly to be
abandoned as hopeless until he has taken
his last breath of earthly air.
On the evening of his misadventure at
Simon Pety. 12J
Georgetown, Simon Pety, who had walked
home, a good five hours' business, in his
clay-covered suit, and had, indeed, in the
process managed to divest his mind of the
humiliation of the morning so far as to con-
vince himself that he had been a martyr for
some truth unmentioned and unknown, was
sitting in the house of " Missa Sankey," the
widow aforesaid, eating voraciously out of a
big basin of fou-fou soup, — the thick mucil-
aginous mixture of boiled plantains and
gravy, which is the delight of Creole
Africans. The spoon was large and
wooden, the soup was sticky, and as Pety's
capacious under-jaw dropped down to admit
the generous instalments of food, his beard
received fresh contributions from moment
In an old rocking-chair, watching him
128 L utchmee arid Dilloo.
with keen enjoyment, sat Missa Sankey.
She was a comely black, of shining face,
neat figure, and, just now, of cleanly dress,
— for she had on a tight-fitting calico, on
the bosom whereof just then Pety's progeny
and hers, aged two years, was being rocked
to sleep. On her head the invariable ban-
danna, of flaunting colours, diversified the
monotony of her own hue. She was, as we
have said, a comely woman, and a pleasant
withal; and when she spoke her mouth
seemed always to smile, as the regular rows
of white teeth glistened inside the ruddy
" Poah Simon Pety ! " she said, at length,
after watching for some time in silence
his greedy efforts; " dat dere white fellah
ought to be shot : go and serve de good
Simon Pety, 129
Simon Pety was getting near the bottom
of the bowl, and was correspondingly satis-
fied. He paused, after a huge gulp. Like
many good enthusiasts, Simon Pety was
accustomed to air his shallow Scriptural
knowledge without particular regard to its
" Susan Sankey, de Lord hab said, If
you am smote on de right cheek, turn
round de left. I'se been maltreated dis day
by de enemy of mankind. Dat dere sailor,
Susan, he'm a miss'onary ob Satan sent to
buffet me. Ha!" said Pete, swallowing
another spoonful, " if dine enemy hunger,
feed him — it shall be an exc'llent ile dat
shall not break his head. I'm sartain dat
dere sailor fellah go to de debbil." Another
spoonful. "But de Lord keep us from
presentiments ! "
vol. 1. 9
130 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
"But, Pety, why Massa Drummon' let
you go be treated dat way? Why he no
lick de saila man ? "
" Susan Sankey, you kent adop no con-
clusions 'bout de rules ob action whereby
dese yere European whites will registrate
dere conduc'. Deys like de 'guana.* You'm
got 'em yere, dare you haven't. Massa
Drummon' any oder day 'd a knock dat ere
sailor man into chips — dis day take a huma
cle oder way. It's all de debbil, Susan.
Massa Drummon' he not one ob de Lord's
people ; and de way ob de wicked am turned
Here he heaved a deep sigh, but w T hether
it were at his master's depravity or at the
empty state of the calabash from which he
* The Iguana, a huge and very active lizard, which is
very good eating.
Simon Pety. 1 3 1
had been eating it was difficult to guess.
He then rose, and, approaching Susan
Sankey, stooped down to give her a kiss. ,
It was ill requited.
" Dere, you nassy man, go 'way ! Wash
your face. Cober my face all over wid de
fou-fou soup ! "
" Mos' extremely beg pardon, Susan," re-
plied Simon Pety, meekly, for he could not
afford to fall out with her. " Dese yere im-
perials am berry awkwid and imposing.
Dey ain't conducted to de consumption of
fou-fou soup. I'll cut 'im off if you wish,"
added he, gallantly.
" Go 'way, you foolish niggah ! Go cut
off de most butiful features ob yer face.
Der ain't sich a whiska in Guineatown.
Heah ! I'll wash him for you."
And rolling the naked youngling on the
132 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
ground, Missa Sankey proceeded to wipe
Pete's beard with a wet towel, and then to
brush it with the remains of a hair brush ;
and when this was concluded, she pushed
him into the rocking-chair, and, sitting
down on his knees, gave him a kiss.
' " Ya ! ya ! " said a shrill voice, which
was immediately followed by a small chorus
of two or three others : " dere's de preacher
and Missa Sankey kissin' in de rocking-
chair ! "
The sounds came from the cracks of the
half-open door, where three or four village
juveniles, without a scrap to cover them,
had been amusing themselves by watching
with their dark eyes the whole of the scene
we have been describing. Pete jumped up
incontinently, rolling his burthen on the
baby, and rushed out after the impudent
Simon Pety. 133
cynics, who tumbled off the high stairs into
the mud without hesitation, and were out
of sight in a twinkling. He was brought
back by the united screams of Susan Sankey
and her baby, the former having suffered as
much in her dignity as the latter had in its
" Get away, you awkwid niggah," she
shouted, shaking the child at him in her
passion. " You'm a'mos' kill de baby an'
me too. You call yourself a gen'leman,
throw me 'bout in dat impropa way. Dere
ain't no Christianity in dat dere sort ob
"Susan, I hab done wrong; my wrath
and anger was 'cited by dose juvenile
youngsters protruding on our sacred privacy.
I ought to hab born wid meekness de scorn-
ing ob de proud and de laughing ob de simple."
134 L utchmee and Dilloo.
" You bigga fool than eber ! What you
come back "for ? why you no go catch the
little debbils ? You 'spose I ain't got no
character to lose ! "
And here Susan swept off into her
kitchen with the squalling baby, slamming
the door in Pete's face. He knew it was
useless to invade that sanctuary, so, taking
up his old hat, Pete ruefully departed
homewards, his awkwardness having cost
him the glass of rum which invariably
solaced his parting moments with the
widow. He knew she would not hold her
anger long, but he felt grieved that he
had lost an opportunity for one more
" Oh ! " said Pete, to himself, apropos
of nothing, — " dat I had wings like a
dove, den would I fly away and be at rest."
The Ovet seers 135
At Belle Susanne there were seven over-
seers, young men of ages varying from
thirty to twenty, and no two of the
same country. One was a Creole white ;
another, the eldest, a coloured man; an-
other was the son of an Englishwoman
hy a Madeiran father; the three younger
had been sent from England by the
proprietors, and represented the three
kingdoms ; the last was a Barbadian
Negro. Taken generally, they were men
of energy, and one or two of them of
1 3 6 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
considerable ability. Their duties were
onerous and responsible; their life was
nearly the most penal that could be
devised for any man who is not a slave
or a prisoner in a penitentiary. Separated,
except in one or two cases, from any
society but that of their colleagues —
thrown simply, for amusement, upon the
wretched resources of an estate, and gene-
rally so hard- worked that the zest for
amusement was gone; constantly suffer-
ing from attacks of fever, in the intervals
of which they pursued their occupation, and,
debarred from the engaging and civilising
influences of female society, one can scarcely
imagine, outside a penal establishment,
a more dismal post than that, of an over-
seer on the sugar estates of British
Guiana ; unless, perhaps, when it is miti-
The Overseers. 137
gated in the case of those who are fortu-
nate enough to be within easy reach of
Georgetown, and are privileged to enter
At an early hour of the morning these
young men turned out of their quarters,
to see that their gangs went off to work.
Crampton, the senior, looked after the build-
ings, the rest took charge of the various
gangs in the fields, such as the gangs for
weeding, shovelling, or hoeing. Each had his
book, wherein he noted the names and the
time and quality of the work of each person
in his gang, and made his remarks thereon.
Were any of them absent it was his duty
in the afternoon to compare his list with
the hospital entries, and ascertain whether
sickness was the excuse. In cases of
absconding and laziness he was to inform
138 Lulchmee and Dilloo.
the manager, who forthwith summoned
the delinquent before the magistrate, and,
at the hearing, the overseer was expected
to attend to prove the case. So much
was this a matter of course that Mr.
Drummond rarely took the trouble to ask
his overseers whether they were able on
their own evidence to convict the culprit.
They on their part never hesitated to
supply it if it were wanting. The de-
fendant rarely understood what was going
on, and the mysteries of cross-examination
were Sibylline to him. The most con-
scientious magistrate could hardly be
expected to weigh the evidence of Coolie
companions who eked out their small
modicum of fact with obviously ridiculous
fictions or exaggerations, but he too often
received with placid confidence any rela-
The Overseers. 139
tion the overseers chose to inflict upon
him. One overseer at Belle Susanne, a
young Scotchman, named Craig, had given
Mr. Drummond some trouble in this
respect. He was stupid enough to decline
to swear to matters not within his own
ken, and in consequence of this had put
the- manager in one or two cases to the
expense of fresh summonses, or had
obliged him to drop a case. Drummond
pointed out to him that, on the whole,
general justice was done, and that to fail
in a charge against a labourer was in-
jurious to the discipline of the estate,
but Craig was too Scotch to see the
humour of this demonstration.
The first business of the morning for
the overseers was to go the round of the
Negro-yard and rouse the people, and if
140 Lutchmee and D Moo.
they proved, or were known to be, refrac-
tory, to enter their dwellings and turn
them out. In cases of sudden resistance
they sometimes handled the Coolies very
roughly. It may he imagined that this
often made whole gangs turbulent for
the day. In British Guiana I believe the
custom has been abandoned.
The most powerful of the overseers was
the youngest, whose name we have already
mentioned. His ability and spirit had
gained for him the manager's good-will.
An inch over six feet in height, with
broad shoulders, strong frame, bold regular
features, of blonde complexion, Craig would
have been remarked by any one seeing the
overseers together, to be as superior to the
rest in tone and manner as he was in
appearance. He came from Ayrshire,
The Overseers. 141
where his father was a well-to-do farmer,
who had given his son as good an educa-
tion as was attainable before he reached
the age of seventeen. His mother would
have made a minister of the really clever
stripling, but to the youth himself the
" call" was far from clear; and hearing of
openings in the West Indies, he had pre-
vailed on his father to procure him from
the friend who owned the estate the
offer of an overseer apprenticeship at
Belle Susanne. Little had young Craig
conceived of the true nature of the work
to which he had engaged himself for
five years, and he often chewed bitter
thoughts over his experiences. But a
natural buoyancy of disposition, gradual
acclimatisation, and the prospect of advance-
ment had somewhat reconciled him to his
142 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
lot. Drummond naturally took much to
this powerful and diligent youth with his
ingenuous face and marked character.
In one point Craig was peculiar among
his companions. They were nearly all the
children of adventure and misfortune.
For them in their young days there had
been little experience of domestic happi-
ness ; whereas he recalled with the deepest
affection a mother of handsome and kindly
face, of gentle life, somewhat of an " en-
thusiast," as the world would take her,
strictly true to the principles of Free
Kirk and shorter Catechism, a Puritan,
but withal a mild one. At her knee he
had listened to the simple and devout
eloquence with which she spoke of the
principles and the example of the noblest
life of which we have record; and from
The Overseers, 143
her he had imbibed a gentleness and
conscientiousness not seldom found com-
bined in some of the manliest and most
rugged Scotch natures. The same creed
which in many minds developes the narrow
rigidity of the Covenanter, is in other
natures found to be consistent with the
tenderest spirit and the broadest sympa-
thies. Some of the mother's devoutness,
of her superstitious respect for the very
words of Scripture, had been transfused
into the son's being. He never professed
to emulate her piety; but he had a
reverence for the Sabbath, and adhered
regularly to his solitary though lamentably
brief " diet of morning and evening wor-
ship." In these habits his physical supe-
riority secured him against the open ridicule
ol his mates. They regarded these things
1 4 4 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
with much, the same astonishment as was
manifested by a professed infidel at one of
our Universities, who, declaiming against
prayer at the table of one of the most
licentious of the undergraduates, was
rebuked by the latter, and assured that
he, for his part, could never begin or end
the day without " saying his prayers ! " The
result, however, of Craig's education had
been to give him a horror of the grosser
vices ; to ground him in principles of
honour and virtue ; and to leave generally
upon his mind an indefinable but real
influence of Calvinistic religion.
To a youth of such a mould, the charac-
teristics of West Indian life were some-
times revolting. In a community where
everything is done for one race and class,
and where, with slavery disowned, the
The Overseers. 145
relation of the larger portion of the com-
munity is that of contemptuous patronage
on the one hand, and of sullen self-defence
on the other; where the morality of the
superior race is, except in a very select
portion of the community, unfettered even
hy the ordinary restraints of civilised so-
cieties ; and where, among the inferior races
animal instinct is too much the overmaster-
ing power, — the first sensation of a pure-
minded man, in Craig's situation, is one of
repulsion from the tone and manners of his
associates. They were of that low type of
Briton and half-breed, common in tropical
latitudes : their morality was only re-
strained by the capacity of their desires,
or by considerations of opportunity and
safety. Craig, with a large-hearted wish to
be on good terms with every one, could
vol. 1. 10
146 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
scarcely govern his repugnance to the
language, ideas and acts of his fellow-
A fortnight after the meeting between
Lutchmee and Dilloo, as the young men
were returning to their quarters from the
evening meal at the manager's house,
Martinho, he of Portuguese blood, a lithe,
dark, small-faced fellow, who at that time
was hospital overseer, said, —
"I discovered something this morning at
the hospital, — the prettiest Indian girl that
ever I saw. I believe Drummond spotted
her somewhere, and insisted on getting her
here. But what do you think ? She says
she is the wife of that rascal Dilloo."
" Nonsense ! It's a make-up, of course,"
said one of the others.
" There is no doubt he knew her. They
The Overseers, 147
recognised each other in Georgetown the
day that our psalm- singing Pete had so
good a ducking. But these Indian mar-
riages mean nothing, as we very well know."
" Yes, hut Dilloo is a determined man,"
said the Barbadian Chester : " the most
dangerous man on the estate. He would
kill you or get up a row on the least provo-
cation. I always give him a very wide
berth. He's a good workman, too."
" I don't think I have seen much of him,"
said Craig, whose curiosity and spirit were
excited by any hint of danger.
" He has been away since you came,"
said Chester : "we were obliged to get him
three months at Georgetown gaol for that
shindy with Pete, though I believe the old
scamp was 'trying some of his tyrannical
tricks on the Indian, who is a perfect
148 L utchmee and Dilloo.
demon when he gets in a rage. He shall
go to Massaruni next time he breaks out."
Massaruni is a penal settlement on an
island some distance up the river Essequibo.
In this strong and isolated place convicts
for serious crimes expiate their malfea-
sances in the ordinary routine of English
gaols the world over. For an obstreperous
Coolie your manager could desire no fitter
mode of sequestration than this well-
guarded home of the condemned. Within
sight of it, at the junction of the Massaruni
and Essequibo rivers, is another asylum
of outcasts, — the lazaretto of British
Guiana ; where (in spite of the Eeport of
the Eoyal Commission against such iso-
lation) those whose physical corruption has
made them intolerable to society, sur-
rounded with what alleviation their hopeless
The Overseers, 1^9
state admits of, sullenly drain in each
other's companionship the wretched dregs
of life. How well were it if from our social
life we could thus exclude its physical and
moral corruption, sequester and localise
them in lonely spofcs, and hold society safe
from their contagion! But alas, they are
sinks that never dry up : the foul scum of
humanity rushes up again from helow, so
soon as we think the horrid outflow has
been staunched, and again and again must
justice and charity set to work with un-
flagging efforts to skim it away ! . . . .
The overseers pursued their conversation.
" This woman," said Martinho, " is of a
better class than we usually get here ; and
a real devil for temper, I should say — as
bad as her husband. I gave her a pinch of
the arm and a pat on the cheek, and she
150 Lutchmee and Dill 00.
was as savage as Miss Marston would be if
I were to take the same liberty with her,
He looked at Craig, but something in his
eye warned the Portuguese not to pursue this
line. The fellow would not have dared even
to address Miss Marston, still less to pinch
her arm or pat her cheek ; so he went on
" She jumped up and faced me like a
tigress, and said, ' Massa no put hand on
Coolie woman : Dilloo wife ! ' "
" Ah, she'll soon get over that ! " said
Loseby, the Englishman, a heavy, sensual-
looking youth, of unwholesome colour, who
was wont to regard the world in general
with cynical stolidity. " Virtue is not an
Indian woman's best reward in these
regions,— eh ? "
The Overseers. 151
He chuckled quietly over his own joke,
which one or two of the rest received with
" I would recommend any one to let her
alone while Dilloo has charge of her," said
" Why, one would think you were afraid
of this fellow Dilloo," put in Craig, himself
fearless of anything hut dishonour.
Chester repudiated the impeachment ;
but, in truth, he had good reason to be
timid of the Hindoo. We have explained
that the estates of British Guiana extend in
the rear for a great distance : hence the
inner portion is always spoken of as
"back." The backdam of Belle Susanne
was three miles and a half in a straight line
from the buildings : the labourers in its
furthest fields were far from sight or sound
152 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
of other men. Out there one day with a
powerful gang, Chester, who was riding on
a mule, had found Dilloo surrounded by a
small crowd of his "matties," or mates,
whom he was excitedly haranguing. Work
had so far suffered. The Barbadian, in a
rage, raised his whip to cut the Indian
over his naked shoulder ; but before it had
descended, the latter had avoided the
stroke, and, leaping up on the mule behind
the overseer, clasped his strong arms
vigorously round the latter's neck. But
for Dilloo's companions, Chester might
have been before many minutes ready
for unceremonious burial in the adjoining
jungle. They pulled the two on the
ground, and drew off their angry com-
rade ; but, holding out a threat of instant
vengeance in case he should be so unwise
The Overseers. 153
as to tell, they exacted from Chester
a solemn promise of silence. He was too
great a coward to face the horrible prospect
of assassination, or the chances of an
application to the Obe man to poison him ;
and had held his tongue about the affair, —
not only because he knew that it would
lower him in the estimation of the manager
and overseers, but for the sake of his life :
he was glad, therefore, to change the
subject. The languid interest of his col-
leagues in Lutchmee had been satisfied for
In a short time, as night had closed in and
their work called them up before the sun,
they had all tumbled beneath their mosquito
nets, and were enlivening the night and the
watchful peon under their verandah with a
chorus of snores.
154 L iitchmee and Dilloo.
AT HOME !
A few days after the scene between Drum-
mond and Missa, let us pass through the
Negro-yard to a wattled hut beyond its
extreme end — a house well-built of its kind,
its roof of Eta palm leaves, rising to an
apex, its floor of smooth well-hardened mud,
its interior divided by a light bamboo and
leaf partition into two rooms or stalls, the
whole illuminated and ventilated only
through the small doorway. Outside is a
limited terrace on which deft hands have
moulded a clay fireplace. This tabernacle,
At Home. 155
a daring Hindoo had taken advantage of the
leisure hours of a single Sunday to uprear,
without leave asked or given; thither he
had removed his household gods, and out
of it, the manager, who knew it to he as
good and healthy as any dwelling he could
provide, did not care to eject the tenant.
That daring Hindoo was Dilloo ; and here
to-day, in a neat white vest and skirt,
Lutchmee was sitting in the cool interior,
rubbing, in a sort of mortar scooped out of
the hard floor, the rice for their evening
meal. She was humming to herself in low
tones, but neither with the animation nor
the joyous lightness of the song she was
singing when we first surprised her in her
native home far away. Only the day
before yesterday had Dilloo, released from
his imprisonment, brought her to his house.
156 Lutchmee arid Dilloo.
He was loving and tender as ever. When,
taking her hand on the verandah of the
hospital, and bearing her little bundle of
clothes, he led her to the hnt of which he
had never expected to see her a tenant,
there was a touch of sadness about the joy
with which, secure from human eye, they
indulged the transports of affection. Lutch-
mee saw and felt that there was a change
in her husband. Not only did he look
older, but he was graver and more stern in
manner. Moreover, she remarked in him
a novel habit of reserve. You will say this
was quick apprehension, but it was the
intuitive intelligence of love. Just then,
however, they were very happy.
" Lutchmee," said he, " I rejoice to see
you here, my lily, and to clasp you once
more in my arms. But this is not the kind
At Home. 157
of place I had hoped to find when I listened
to that cursed recruiter, and came away
herein search of riches I shall never win.
My poor Lutchniee," he said, stroking her
hair with his supple hand, " you know not
what you have come to in looking for your
lost Dilloo. How unhappy you will be ! "
" Dilloo, why do you talk so ? I am
always happy with you. With us, so
loving and true, hard times cannot make
hard hearts. I cannot be sad so long as I
can see you and follow you about and work
" Ah ! my darling, that is not all you will
have to do. You know you are ' bound '
now to this estate. Massa Drummond has
you in his hands for five years. He and six
or seven other sahibs can almost do what
they like with you — unless I tvatch them
158 L utchmee and Dilloo.
closely ! " said he, in a grim undertone,, as
he clenched his hands and teeth. "You
must work every day in the megass-yard,
carrying your burden swiftly, under a
Negro-driver, and for very poor wages.
And you are pretty, you are graceful and
sweet as ever, my own Lutchmee," — with
softening eyes he drew her to his bosom, —
" and scoundrels of every race will have
opportunities of tempting you and threaten-
ing you, and even me."
" No fear of that ! " replied Lutchmee,
forcing a smile. "I am true to you, Dilloo,
and you are true to me, are you not? I
was true to you all the time we were apart.
Do you know, that vile Hunoomaun again
attacked me, and I was only saved at the
last moment by Wood Sahib. He was
driven away from the country, and some-
At Home. 159
times I tremble to think lie might have
gone to bind himself and come here."
" What do you say? " exclaimed Dilloo,
with some excitement; " Hunoomaun went
away from K ? Then I think he really
is here ! When I was being taken to
Georgetown prison, I met a body of new-
bound men coming along the road from the
ship to one of these plantations ; and I
thought I saw him among them, but could
not believe it ; yet I thought I knew the
villain ! He must have come in the ship
before yours. He may even be on this
estate or the next one."
Lutchmee's heart grew cold with appre-
hension as she heard this, and she clung
tightly to Dilloo' s shoulder, not as of old,
freshly oiled, soft, and springy as the
shoulder of a young deer, but dry, toil-
160 Lutckmee and Dilloo.
stained, and hard. In an instant there
flashed through her mind all the possi-
bilities of this unwelcome conjunction.
" Never mind," said Dilloo ; " see ! I
have the means of defending you." Placing
his hand down a crevice formed by the
meeting of the wattle and the low mud
wall, he drew forth a cutlass, about two
feet long, made in one piece, and used for
cutting the canes in crop-time. " Do you
see that? " he cried, in a loud determined
voice : " I always keep it well sharpened.
It shall protect my honour and yours, my
Lutchmee, and, if not, we shall die
As he stood up there in the dark hut,
fierce and glowing, Lutchmee shrank before
the fire in her husband's eyes. It was not
so much ilke the frank lionhood of his
At Home. 161
former days, as it seemed to her to resemble
the sullen savagery of a tiger.
u Dilloo," she said, covering her eyes
with her little hands, " yon frighten me!"
He dropped the weapon into its hiding-
place, and coming back to her side, wound
his arms around her, but said nothing.
Thus it was that Lutchmee and Dilloo
met in the golden fields and paradisiac
working-grounds of Dost Mahommed, the
Government recruiter !
vol. i. 11
i 62 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
It was on the second day after Dilloo's
return that, as we have said, Lutchmee
was sitting in the house preparing the
evening meal. Outside, in the fireplace, the
brushwood crackled and smoked beneath
the pot.. As she energetically worked the
wooden pestle, the doorway was darkened
by the figure of a woman.
" Salaam ! " said the woman.
" Salaam ! " replied Lutchmee very
The woman unceremoniously sat down
A Visitor. 163
and watched Lutchmee, who, with Eastern
gravity, went on with her work. Her
visitor had a not displeasing face, though
she was evidently much older than Lutch-
mee, and her teeth, when she smiled,
showed gaps in their blackened rows. She
wore a very limited jacket, exposing her
plump shoulders ; a not over-clean calico
skirt ; and she was without a scarf. But
round her neck were two heavy necklaces
— one, a solid collar of silver, the other
formed of florins linked together. In her
ears, which -were pierced with many holes,
were rows of rings. Her nose was decorated
with a gold ring set with a doubtful stone ;
and her arms and ankles were loaded with
" Where did you come from?" said the
1 64 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
"From Behar," replied Lutchmee.
" Oho ! then you are from the country —
a real villager?" exclaimed the woman,
scrutinising Lutchmee's face and dress.
"We get very few of your sort here, I
can tell you," she added, when she had
concluded her survey. "How pretty you
are ! "
"Why, who are you?" inquired Lutch-
" Well, I was a dancing-girl when I
was younger," replied the other, laughing.
"You know what that means, even at
K , don't you ? But, you see, I was
born in Benares, and lived there all my
life. Then I went to other places and
lived as best I could. It is very hard
living in great bazaars, so I was glad of
the chance of coming here as a respectable
A Visitor, 165
woman " (she laughed shrilly), " when I fell
in with a recruiter who offered me bounty-
money and so many good things."
" And do you like this place?" asked
"I should think so; I have good reason.
The voyage was pleasant. I was sent to
this estate — one of the best in the country.
I soon found I could have my pick of a
husband, and plenty of money besides.
See ! " she added, with feminine vanity,
" I have had all these given to me : they
are worth three hundred dollars. I have
five cows, and I pay a man to keep them."
" Who gave you all these : your hus-
The woman laughed again at Lutchmee's
simplicity. She had exceeded the woman
of Samaria in the number of her husbands,
1 66 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
though she was unlike her in a sense of
shame. A husband, among Coolie women
in British Guiana, is a varying factor. You
cannot understand much that takes place
there without knowing this.
Lutchmee's ideas of modesty and sense
of delicacy were, no doubt, far inferior to
those of an English girl ; yet she, by some
God-given instinct, shrank from her visitor's
bold confessions. She knew not what to
say, so she said, —
" What is your name ? "
" Eamdoolah. Tell me, is Dilloo really
your husband? "
" Yes;— why?"
"I did not believe he was married at all,
though he used to say so. He is a close,
clever man ; and so handsome ! Any woman
on the estate would have married him. I
A Visitor. 167
know I wanted to ; but he never would look
Lutchniee sprang to her feet, her eyes aglow,
her lissome body trembling with passion.
" Stop ! you vile woman!" she cried.
" Hold your abominable tongue ! You
speak of my husband, who is a man too
good and noble for such carrion as you
even to look at. Begone, or I shall tear
out your eyes ! "
Kamdoolah, also, had risen. She was
not a woman, after her experiences, to be
afraid of the nails or the tongue of a young
girl, and was certainly not moved with
bodily fear ; but the moral air and posture
of Lutchmee were too commanding to be
matched with any weapons at the disposal
of the bazaar- woman. So she tried to laugh
1 6 8 L utchmee and Dilloo .
"Ha! my fine girl," said she; "you are
too good for this place, I see. I wouldn't
he you for a good deal. Your pride will
soon he taken down, or my name is not
Eamdoolah ! "
By this time the younger woman, in
uncontrollable fury, had rushed to the
place where the weapon was hidden, and
drew forth the cutlass, at sight of which
Eamdoolah beat a retreat. Outside the hut
she met Dilloo.
"Go in, my handsome lad," she cried,
smiling maliciously; " go in, and look after
your princess ! She's a fine girl to put on
such airs. Won't they be taken out of her
before long, that's all ! "
When Dilloo, without replying, hastily
entered the hut, he found his wife there,
standing flashing and furious as a Pythoness,
A Visitor. 169
with the cutlass in her hand. In a moment
the weapon dropped on the floor with a
clang ; and she hung, sobbing, on his neck.
" Dilloo ! Dilloo ! That wretched
woman has been speaking to me about
you, as if you were a common fellow that
would speak to the like of her. To think
you should have been even named by her
lips ! I could bear it no longer. Have I
done wrong? "
" Lutchmee," replied Dilloo, gravely,
sitting on the floor, and making his wife
sit beside him, " hear me. There is not
one woman on this estate who came of a
respectable stock. They were poor crea-
tures from great cities, like Lucknow,
Benares, or Calcutta. We should think
of them pitifully. I should say they are
better here than they were there. They
1 7° Lutchmee and Dilloo.
get married, some of them many times
over; and a few happily forget their old
condition and become better women. I
would never have anything to do with
them. They cause nearly all the trouble
among Coolies in this place. Two men on
this estate have been hung for murdering
women who were not faithful to them. But
you must not quarrel with anyone. We are
now obliged to live among them for five
years, and your peace and our safety depend
on our being on good terms with these
people. They are Indians, after all, you
know ; and we have far more dangerous
enemies in the English. Once give this
woman a chance, and she might ruin us
both. She is the most treacherous woman
on the estate."
"0 Dilloo ! I cannot bear this any longer.
A Visitor. 171
Let us run away from this dreadful
" There is no running away from this
place, my Lutchmee. The interior lands
are wild and swampy, full of snakes, and
no runaway could live there. The roads
are all kept by Negro police, black people,
who hate us. They stop any Coolie travel-
ling without a written pass from the manager.
No : our plan is to be patient, watchful,
careful of our money ; and, perhaps, in a
year or two we may be able to buy our
freedom and go back to India."
" I will do anything you tell me, Dilloo,"
said his wife, with her head on his breast ;
" but, please, put away that cutlass where I
cannot find it."
172 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
MEETING — BUT NO GREETING.
Dilloo had been working for nine hours,
and was hungry. His little wife soon
quelled her apprehensions and set to work
with recovered spirits to prepare his meal.
He meanwhile went out to the trench, not
many yards off, to wash, away the thick
clayey soil which coated his legs and hands
and arms. Dilloo was one of two or three
Coolies on the estate who were able to
make wages approximating to the promised
two rupees a day. It was by hard work,
however, though work of which both im-
Meeting — but no Greeting. 173
migrants and Creoles are very fond. For
trench- digging the highest wages was paid.
Eighty or ninety cents for twelve and a
quarter feet of trench twelve feet wide and
five feet deep was the usual remuneration.
Standing nearly naked, the labourer digs
out the soft wet clay with a long-handled
scoop by the sheer strength of arms and
shoulders, and then throws it out of the
trench some three or four yards. Negroes,
being generally more powerful, are preferred
for this work, but few of them could surpass
at it our lithe and brawny Bengalee. There
was this difference between them, however,
to the planter. Scarcely any Negro would
work more than two days a week, at most
three, while Dilloo's indenture, spite of the
law, was held by manager and magistrate
to bind him to at least five days' labour,
1 74 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
and he often was obliged to work six. In
fact, by the system in vogue, the more a
Coolie did the more he was compelled to
do. The Negro thus had the advantage,
for, after making an effort for a day or two,
he could lounge for the rest of the week.
It spoke well, however, for the effect on
Dilloo's constitution, of his steady work, that
he was rarely in the hospital. One good
result of his industry was a handsome hoard
of silver pieces, two cows, and a wonderful
conglomerate dress, which he had purchased
of a Georgetown dealer, and which looked
like the cast-off garments of some stage-
strutting monarch. At the Tadja festival
it was his wont to come out conspicuous in
this gorgeous attire. Quite a trade is done
among Coolies in ancient uniforms and
coats of many colours, which you may see
Meeting — but no Greeting. 175
them carrying on their heads until they
approach their own homes ; and then,
vanishing behind a hedge, they will reap-
pear in a state of decoration that ravishes
As Dilloo, now of course wearing nothing
but his "babba " or loin-cloth, was washing
his feet in the canal, a knot of the new-
service immigrants who had been employed
at the "back " came along the dam. They
looked weary. They had been working in
the sun from early morning, and had walked
three miles out and three miles home. One
man among them was remarkable for his
height and size. The villager from Behar
stood above the poor weavers and sweepers
of Delhi or Calcutta. ' It was Hunoomaun.
Dilloo recognised him in a moment, but
preserved his composure. Hunoomaun was
176 L u tchmee and Dilloo.
more surprised. Though he had heen three
months on the estate, and knew that one,
Dilloo, among others, was in gaol at
Georgetown, it had not occurred to him
that it was his old antipathy at K — . He
therefore lifted up his hands, and cried, —
" Yes," replied the other, drily. " Hunoo-
maun, you see Dilloo ! You have followed
me to this place. We live together on this
"Is it peace or war?" inquired the
other, looking doubtfully at the fine limbs
of Dilloo, which glistened in the afternoon
" I hold no grudge," replied Dilloo,
cautiously. "Years have come and gone
since you by your evil-doing made me your
enemy. Since then you have been more
Meeting — but no Greeting, 177
base and brutal than ever, and rny wife,
who is with me here, has told me of your
wickedness and flight. I had a mind to
kill you," — Dilloo looked straight at the
chokedar, and his eye glared a moment so
fiercely that Hunoomaun went back a pace,
— "but I am willing to forget the past if
you will do so. You must confine your
attentions, though, to the other women on
the estate. Any one who troubles Lutchmee
I will cut into pieces ! "
Hunoomaun read a determination in
Dilloo's eyes that could not be misinter-
preted. He was too cowardly to challenge
it just then.
" I will be friendly," said he.
"No," said Dilloo, "we can never be
friends : let us agree not to be enemies. It
will be better for you ! Do not cross my
vol. 1. 12
1 7 8 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
path, and I will not cross yours. That is
my house ; do not go near it at your peril.
We are obliged to live on this estate to-
gether, and all Coolies should agree to help
each other, and not quarrel among them-
selves. All the Coolies here look upon me
as their leader," he added, more loudly,
with an Asiatic touch of self-assertion.
Some of the others who had listened to
this conversation with curiosity testified
their assent to this.
" All Coolies trust Dilloo."
The chokedar's overbearing nature, though
he was a coward, resented Dilloo' s tone, but
he held his tongue, while he mentally re-
solved that the eminence of his foe should
not be unassailed if he could help it.
Hunoomaun was a man of great acuteness
and tact. He had managed, during the
Meeting — but no Greeting. 179
voyage to Deinerara, to win the good
opinion of the officers of the ship, and was
formally reported as a good immigrant.
Among his countrymen on board he had
gained some respect. About forty Coolies
from his ship, the "Benares," were allotted
to Belle Susanne. He had not spent many
days on the estate before he began to ac-
quire a very fair idea of its economy, and of
the means by which he might better his
condition. He found that, as a rule, there
were placed under the overseers, in imme-
diate charge of the gangs, persons called
"drivers," — a name of no small significance,
which had come down from the old Negro
times, but was used now to indicate a
person acting in the capacity of a foreman.
Almost universally these drivers ' were
Negroes. They were with the gangs all day.
1 80 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
They watched the men at work. It was their
duty to see that the task was properly done.
They took notes mentally, for none of them
could write, of the amount of lahour done by
each person in their gang, and the accuracy
of their memory in these particulars was
astonishing. Their reports about the in-
dividuals in their charge were listened to
with attention by the overseers, conse-
quently they wielded a great deal of in-
fluence in the estate community. They
could play all sorts of tricks with a man's
work; could get him sent the long three
miles " back " to reach it ; or, on the other
hand, could favour him by keeping him
nearer the buildings, or assigning him
lighter tasks : could help to cheat him out
of his wages ; in fact, they could either
make a man feel the full weight of his
Meeting — but no Greeting. 181
obligation or reduce it to an agreeable load.
Hunoomaun's quick mind at once fastened
on this office as the key of the position.
It could be made by an unscrupulous man
even more powerful than that of an over-
seer. He inquired if it was ever held by a
Coolie, and found that the Dilloo, who was
then in gaol, had held it a short time, but
had been degraded because he had taken
the part of his former "matties," or com-
panions. This was a misuse of power of
which the former chokedar was not likely
to be guilty. He ascertained, also, that
there were other Coolie "sirdars" on the
estate, and resolved to give all his efforts
to the attainment of this position.
His plan was to retain the influence he
had won on board ship over his fellow-
travellers. For the first week of their
1 8 2 Lutchmee and Dilloo .
arrival they were allowed to lounge about
the Negro-yard and do as they pleased,
getting rations from the hospital. Each
man then received from the stores a cutlass,
which he was instructed by the old hands
how to sharpen and to smooth at the
handle. They were then set to carrying
megass, and afterwards to weeding and
clearing brush. This is the rank and rapid
growth of reeds, bushes, creepers, and weeds
which in the tropics a very short time
suffices to, produce on a fallow field, and it
presents the hardest and most tiresome of
all the labours to be performed on an estate.
Hunoomaun soon learned how to do this
work, and made it his business to help his
companions to become adepts at it, in this
way securing their good will at the same
time that he gained the approval of drivers
Meeting — but no Greeting. 183
and overseers. Hence the " Benares' lot "
pleased Drummond vastly. They were
every way the best addition he had made
to the personnel of the estate ; and all this
was due to one clever man among them,
who produced this result in pursuing his
own ends. At the time when Dilloo and
Hunoomaun met, the latter had already
won a place in the esteem of his employers
and the regard of the people. The more
galling, therefore, was Dilloo's patronizing
air to the wily chokedar. However, he and
Dilloo managed to exchange " salaams "
without any further indication of feeling
for that interview.
1 84 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
On the Sunday succeeding the day when
Dilloo and Lutchmee had encountered
Hunoomaun and Bamdoolah, the two latter,
invested in their cleanest and brightest gar-
ments, were sauntering together, in the sul-
try evening, along the smooth, sandy shore,
which the ebbing tide had left in front of
the fringe of brush to the edge of which it
used to flow. The Coolie gentleman, nomi-
nally occupying the position of Kamdoolah's
husband, was at that moment engaged at a
little opium shop in the Chinese quarters,
kept, with an affectation of secrecy, by
Ching-a-lung, the ugliest Chinaman outside
his own country, — a hopeless dead-weight
to managers and overseers, by whom, from
mistaken motives of kindness, his illegal
traffic was winked at. Achattu, the hus-
band in question, was one of the earlier
importations from India, and a Madrassee.
At one time he had by thrift and cleverness,
as an able-bodied Coolie may do in the
West Indies, made a considerable sum of
money. He became the owner of three or
four cows : he paid a Negro man to look
after them, — a change of race relations not
unknown in B.ritish Guiana. But Achattu
had one want — a wife.. The number of
women on the estates was at first so limited
that it would have been impossible for him
to get a wife for love or money. As the
1 86 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
proportion of female immigrants increased
through the exertions of the Colonial Govern-
ment and its officials, more opportunities
were afforded the wealthier Coolies to select
partners, too seldom for life. A curious
circumstance was wont to diminish their
chances : the long sea voyage worked mira-
culous results upon the affections. On the
discharge from a ship of a cargo of im-
migrants, sometimes as many as thirty or
forty couples were found to have made
engagements on the voyage to tie their
fates together ; and in order that the rule
of allotment of relatives to the same estate
might he applied to their case, the immi-
gration-depot at Georgetown became the
theatre of a comic scene. The Agent-
General caused the aspirants for matrimony
to be arranged in two JRoger-de-Coverley
lines, the women on one side and the men
on the other, each, it is to he hoped, facing
the desired partner. Between the lines
passed the Agent- General, accompanied hy
an interpreter, haranguing the parties on
the duties, temptations and perils of
matrimony. Since many dialects were
represented, and the interpreting resources
of the Georgetown depot are limited, the
pertinency of this performance must often
have been a puzzle to those concerned. At
the end of his exhortations, the official, by
a single and simple ceremony, made the
forty couples happy or miserable, as chance
might develope. When so many of the
single women were withdrawn from com-
petition before they reached the estates, it
may be imagined that the residuary chances
left to the older and richer Coolies were
1 8 8 L utchmee and Dilloo.
neither extensive nor brilliant. Hence
Achattu had lived to himself. He lent
money to his needy brethren at astonishing
rates of interest ; he kept silver dollars in a
large chest in his room carefully locked, and
secretly disposed of some of his specie in
unfrequented parts of the estate ; he did
not care to let the officials know how rich
he was, by depositing it all in the Savings'
Bank. But a subtle Chinaman, suspecting
Achattu's wealth to be greater than was
known, made it his business to study the
latter's habits for some months, and followed
him till he had discovered the closest of his
hiding-places. One day Achattu found him-
self poorer by several hundred dollars than
he had been the day before. All the hair
he forthwith pulled out of his head and
beard, — all his exertions in dancing a regret-
ful fandango about the outraged spot would
not assuage his grief. He took to arrack,
and made himself drunk : he sought out the
bench of the opium shop, and made himself
terribly sick, and, finally, he came across
Eamdoolah, who knew all about him, and
willingly undertook to soothe his sorrows.
He gave her a necklet and a cow : he paid
her existent husband another cow and thirty
dollars to purchase a voluntary divorce, a
mensa et thoro, and took Eamdoolah to his
heart and home. Through these combined
influences Achattu's wealth dwindled away.
Eamdoolah soon carried about on her person,
in the shape of armlets, necklets, and bangles,
most of his secret hoards. The big chest
yielded up its deposits, and became an in-
solvent bank. His debtors were pressed to
return their loans; and, as these came in,
i go Liitchmee and Dilloo.
Ching-a-lung, or the gambling-room of Chin-
a-foo — another institution on the estate —
swallowed them up. It can hardly be
wondered at, therefore, that Eamdoolah
was looking out for another engagement,
and was now coquetting with the gallant
Hunoomaun ; for her practical shrewdness
told her that at Belle Susanne he was a
coming man. Let us conceal ourselves in
the brush and overhear a little of their con-
versation. Eamdoolah is speaking : —
Eamdoolah. There is a beautiful country-
girl who has come here lately, named
Lutchmee, who is the most respectable
Hindoo woman I ever saw in this place.
Hunoomaun. I know her well. She
came from my own village : she is a great
fool, audi owe her a grudge. If it had not
been for her, I should not have been here.
Agreed, 1 9 1
Eamdoolah. You did not care for her,
did you ? Was she ever a friend of yours ?
Hunoomaun. No, no. A friend of mine,
a peon, took a violent fancy to her, and
tried to make too free with her. She
declared, most falsely, that I was the
person. That cursed fellow, Dilloo, be-
lieved her, and collecting a number of his
friends, gave me a beating. He is my
enemy till one or other of us dies. As
for the girl, he left her behind him ; and
she, out of sheer spite at my taking no
notice of her, denounced me to the magis-
trate with whom she lived, and I was
obliged to fly from the place.
To a woman of Eamdoolah' s character,
it seemed so natural for another Indian
woman to behave in the manner described
by the peon, that she gave a ready belief
1 9 2 L utchmee and Dilloo.
to his story, and hastened to take advan-
tage of the information.
Kamdoolah. The little slut! I went in
to see her one day, and indeed she is
very pretty, but I found her as proud as
a bird of paradise, and as haughty as the
highest Brahminee. She treated me as
if I were the filth of the streets, and when
I talked of Dilloo — who, as you say, is an
ill-conditioned brute of a fellow — as he
deserved, she seized a cutlass, and, . had
I not escaped, would have wounded me.
Hunoomaun. Oho ! She did so, did
she ? The creature ! Then you and she
are enemies, of course. You see, our
interests are the same. We must agree
to live together, and then we can help
each other to work out our revenge. How
are you to get rid of Achattu?
Eamdoolah. Oh, you must manage that !
You have only to fill his stomach for a
few weeks, lend him a little money, en-
courage him to drink and gamble, and he
will be in your hands. He will then
readily sell me to you.
Hunoomaun. (In reality caring little for
Eamdoolah, but having arrived at the
belief that she was the cleverest woman
on the estate, and would be a powerful
ally in working out his various plots.)
Well, my sweet one ! delight of my heart !
and lustre of my eyes ! I will do all that
is necessary to win possession of one so
handsome, so clever, so desirable. With
your help I can secure the highest position
of any Coolie on the estate, and all my
wealth shall be thrown at your feet.
Eamdoolah. It is a bargain, my friend.
vol. i. 13
1 94 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
Give me ten dollars as the earnest of it,
and then I shall be yours !
The shrewd Hindoo showed no hesita-
tion, though he inwardly felt some chagrin,
as he disengaged, from a fold in his babba,
ten silver dollars, part of his bounty money,
and counted them into the outstretched
hand of his business-like fiancee.
Lost i 195
In accordance with his engagement with
Bamdoolah, the peon had now to wind
Achattu in his toils, and bring him to a
state of mind in which he would consent
to part with his wife. Poor Achattu had
been indentured three times on as many
different estates, and had also spent an
interval of several years as a free man.
His talents and wealth had procured him
a good name and position among his
countrymen. He was well known on both
the coasts, as they are termed, of the
196 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
Demerara county, in Berbice, and even
on the less accessible Arabian or Aroebisce
coast, beyond the river Essequibo. The
place he had once held as a banker and
money-lender had been more than filled
by Lutchmee's first friend in the colony,
Akaloo, who was a free man and travelled
from estate to estate in the pursuit of his
business. It is from new Coolies that
these money-lenders chiefly derive their
profits. In the process of acclimatisation,
the poor people, from their awkwardness
at the unaccustomed labour, or from sheer
physical incapacity, often fall behind in
their receipts, in spite of the bounty-
money with which they begin, and find
that they cannot live on their earnings.
Though they were afc the time when these
events occurred, by the law and by its
administration kept strictly to their part
of the contract, made in India, and forced
to work at least five days a week, the
corresponding promise of ten annas to two
rupees a day, offered by authority of the
Governor and Court of Policy of British
Guiana, was not recognized as a contract
in the colony, and could not be enforced.
A more singular instance of Christian and
official easiness of conscience could scarcely
be cited than this fact. The legislature
of British Guiana, with the connivance
and sanction of Her Majesty's representa-
tive, passed resolutions affirming a state-
ment of current rates of wages, at a time
when it was well known that scarcely an
immigrant in the colony was earning any-
thing of the kind. Nay, the recurring
injustice of enforcing one side of a con-
1.98 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
tract and overlooking the other was alike
disregarded by Governor, legislators, and
administrators of the law, so that, as a
fact, Coolies who, disheartened by the
fraud, failed or refused to work for the
indifferent wages available to them, were
again and again brought before the magis-
trates to be fined and imprisoned.
It was in such cases as these that men
like Achattu and Akaloo proved to be, to
their own profit, real benefactors to their
fellow-immigrants. They lent them money
to pay off their fines, or to procure the
food they could not earn. By this means
new Coolies, becoming gradually acclima-
tised, were at length able to do more
work, and thus to earn enough to pay off
their debts. Many remained hopelessly in
debt during the first fLYe years of their
indenture, and upon re-indenturing them-
selves for another five years were obliged
to sacrifice to their creditors the greater
part of the bounty-money they then re-
ceived. Though these Indian money-
lenders were avaricious enough, they per-
formed many acts of forbearance and
kindness to their needy brethren, and
were by no means commonly regarded
with the aversion that attaches to such
tradesmen elsewhere. If a Coolie with
twenty-five dollars desired to purchase a
cow worth fifty or sixty, he could get the
necessary sum, at a certain rate of in-
terest, from Akaloo. Various shops were
kept on some of the estates, and to their
adventurers Akaloo frequently furnished
the capital. On occasions of some par-
ticularly unjust decision by a magistrate,
200 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
involving a fine, both Akaloo and Achattu
had been known to pay it off gratuitously.
But, as we have seen, poor Achattu had
long given up the pursuit of business.
Dollars and "bitts," or fourpennies, as soon
as they were earned, now went directly to
the opium-shop, or were more rapidly lost
in another Chinese den, the gambling-house
of Chin-a-foo. This estate " hell" of Mr.
Chin-a-foo was a queer place. It was on
the westward border of the village, an old
tumble-down tenement, ostensibly forbidden
to the <3oolies by the manager, who to an
inspector would have shown surprise at the
discovery that anyone professed to inhabit
it, or would have alleged that immigrants
preferred that sort of tenement, and that it
was impossible to keep them out of it. A
simple expedient open to the manager in
Lost! 20 1
such cases appeared never to have occurred
to him, namely, to pull down the house.
However, here, in a room which the in-
jurious Chin-a-foo had enlarged hy a low
half-underground out-building of wattle and
mud, with door and windows carefully closed ;
lit by a wretched petroleum lamp, that threw
out a dismal glimmer in the reeking atmo-
sphere, there squatted on the floor fifteen or
twenty Coolies, most of them Chinese.
The Hindoos, at the time of which we are
writing, rarely indulged in either of the
Chinese dissipations of opium-smoking and
gambling, though since then there is no
doubt that these vices have largely bitten
the Indian immigrants. On a low bench of
boards, two Chinese and an Indian — a
woman — lay in the helpless torpor that had
succeeded their inhalation, of the horri-
202 Lutchmee and Dilloo,
ble narcotic. Bound the lamp the rest
squatted or stood, pitting their bitts on the
throw of some bamboo dice ; eager, yet
silent, the strange, unimpressive faces of
the Chinamen contrasting with the starting
eyes and clenched teeth of the two or three
Hindoos. In the midst, most excited of
all, was the Madrassee, who, when first he
entered that place, had been received with
surprise and respect, but who was now
regarded with contempt, even by Chin-a-
foo himself. That gentleman was an old
gambler from Hong-Kong, with a face it
would be a work of art to describe. The
lines in its bleared and yellow surface were
marked out by long- established deposits of
dirt. It seemed to have been crumpled
and kneaded and flattened by one of the
grotesque idol-makers of his own country
into the nearest possible resemblance to a
broken-nosed monkey that could be reached
by any human artist. The leery slits he
used as eyes were only opened sufficiently
to let in the knowledge which their owner
wanted, and to give no clue to the observer
of the emotions or thoughts of the spirit —
if there were a spirit — within. In the com-
bination of his features his gums and teeth
appeared to have been a matter of difficulty
to the designer, and to have been fortui-
tously placed in the least appropriate relation
to his other features. The blue shaven head,
with its short grey pigtail, was in har-
mony, if I may so say, with the grotesque-
ness of his countenance. Thick was his
neck ; short, sturdy, and powerful his body,
which was clothed in a dirty blue blouse
and paejamas of cotton. In a belt round
204 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
his waist, but concealed under the wide
paejamas, was a knife about two inches
broad and fifteen long, tapering to its end,
and kept in a state of suspicious brightness.
There were few men on the estate who
would have tackled Chin-a-foo. He was
considered altogether a dangerous problem to
solve, and no attempt to solve it was made
by any one. Drummond had observed him.
He could, when he chose, be a good worker;
and when his earnings at the gambling-
house failed, as they sometimes did, he took
his share, with great address, in the labour
of the sugar-house. But more frequently
he wandered away to the back of the estate,
or a short distance into the savannah behind
it, and sometimes brought home birds or
snakes, or the iguanas he had caught.
Drummond knew that the immigrants at
Belle Susanne would find some means of
gambling on the estate, or would go to the
next estate for it, so he directed the over-
seers not to see too much of Mr. Chin-a-
foo's business, at the same time warning
the sullen rascal that any breach of the
peace occurring in his hut would be followed
by instant punishment.
To-night, having thrown off his upper
garment, thus disclosing from the waist
upwards his muscular trunk, the Chinaman
glided softly through the place, bearing a
coarse jar and a half-cocoa-nut, offering to
his patrons and guests some of the illicit
arrack which he kept concealed in a corner
of his hut.
" Arrack, Achattu ! " said he, with a
motion of the face intended for a grin, and
shaking his diabolical head at the rest of
2c6 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
the company, as he stopped at the Mad-
rassee, whose heavy eyes betokened that he
had already had enough, though they were
still fixed on the fatal pieces of bamboo
with their rude marks ; and he was staking
his last coins on, the chances. Achattu
shook his head.
" No." He showed his empty hands.
" Trust me?"
Chin-a-foo was decided in his negative.
"You owe me seven dollars. I cannot
trust you any more."
Achattu hung down his head. It was a
shame, indeed, to have fallen so low that
Chin-a-foo would not trust him.
" How much do you want ? " said a deep
voice from the door-wa^y.
Every one started. The voice was a
strange voice in that company : it was,
indeed, that of Hunoomaun. He came for-
ward towards the light.
" I am going to try my luck with my
friend Achattu," said he, sitting down beside
him. " You do not seem to have done well
to-night, Achattu ? "
Achattu recognised the peon as a new
Coolie, and Chin-a-foo, who, when first
startled by the interruption, had looked
round nervously with a quick glance, im-
mediately began to play the host to the
new-comer with many professions of respect.
The fellow had made himself an adept in
the language of the Indian Coolies.
" Will my friend drink to the good of my
house, since he has placed his worthy feet
inside my door ? " said he.
Hunoomaun took the cocoa-nut, and,
nearly filling its bowl, drank off the sting-
208 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
ing liquor at a pull. It seemed to have no
effect on him, and the boldness of the act
was noted with more admiration by the
guests than by their wily host, who had
conscientiously watered the spirit in rather
"Now," said the chokedar, "I and my
friend Achattu are going to play together
against the whole company, if. they like.
Achattu," he whispered, "I will lend you
The Madrassee's face brightened up, and
he called for more liquor. The half stupor
of his drunkenness seemed to pass from
him. He again exhibited the keen, eager
frenzy of a gambler's hope.
The two won. Hunoomaun was cool and
apt, and evidently acted upon calculation.
The other had the usual gambler's super-
stitions, and would fain have pressed them
on his wily partner, but the latter would not
listen. After an hour's play there were
four dollars to he divided between them.
Achattu was in an ecstasy. He drank
again and again ; he placed his arms around
Hunoomaun's neck, and covered him with
maudlin caresses. The peon rose as if to
go, when Achattu challenged him to a few
" No : I cannot stay. You play for too
small stakes. I must go to sleep."
" Wait," said the other, feverishly, hold-
ing out the dollars which Hunoomaun had
lent him and the two others he had won.
" I will toss you for any stake you like ;
one dollar, two dollars, if you please."
The peon instantly sat down and took
up the box. The Chinese and Indians, to
vol. 1. 14
2io Lirfchmee and Dilloo.
whom such high play was a rare sight,'
leaned forward over the pair in great
" Let it be two dollars, then," said Hun-
oomaun. " Now, what do you say ? "
" Three ! " cried Achattu.
" Six ! " said the peon.
He threw five. It was nearer his guess
than the other's.
" You have lost."
The Madrassee seized the box with a
trembling hand. It was made from a thick
bamboo. He gave it a nourish.
" Seven ! " said Hunoomaun.
" Three ! " cried Achattu, again.
It was his favourite number. He had
thrown it exactly. The excitement grew
hotter. The lamp was dying out. The
circle pressed forward so eagerly that there
was scarcely room on the floor between the
players. Their half-naked bodies glistened
with the dew of heat. The dim radiance
played weirdly on the strange countenances
about it. From the doorway, against
which he was leaning, lowered the sweating
face of Chin-a-foo, to w^hom these last
moments were always periods of anxiety.
The next throw was won by Hunoomaun ;
the next, and the next. In ten minutes the
Madrassee's hand was empty. He seized
his hair and cursed his fates, and took
another pull at the cocoa-nut.
" Lend me one ten dollars more ! " he
The chokedar coolly counted them into
his hand, and said, "I will throw you five
times for the ten dollars."
He won three out of five throws. Achattu
2 1 2 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
threw down the dollars. As he made an
effort to rise from the squatting posture he
had maintained for three hours, he stumbled,
and fell down insensible. The Chinaman,
after coolly examining him, without a word
picked him up and, with the assistance of
two others, proceeded to carry him to his
As the men lifted their senseless burden, a
woman, who, through a crevice in the
wooden wall, had been closely watching the
scene, glided swiftly away and ran before
them to Achattu's house, which she reached
and entered unperceived. It was Eamdoo-
lah. The bearers deposited the Madrassee
silently on the bank, outside his hut. The
woman inside, breathless, listened to the
whisperings of the men.
" Shall we call up Eamdoolah ? "
"No," replied the Chinaman, coolly:
" he will soon come to himself and go in."
Eamdoolah was of the same opinion, and,
after listening a few minutes, without hear-
ing any movement on Achattu's part, she
14 Lutchmee ana DiUoo.
The overseer who, the morning after
Achattu's unlucky " corroboree," went the
rounds to wake up the Coolies, found the
Madrassee lying on the bank as he had been
left by his companions. He was stiff and
cold. The fact was that the wily China-
man had the night before discovered the
fatal issue to his customer of the last throw,
but he kept the information to himself.
Eamdoolah, on being awakened, pro-
ceeded to fill the village with herululations.
These, however, were regarded with great
stolidity by the crowd of males and females
Chance-medley. 2 1 5
who soon gathered to look at the body.
Hunooinaun, always an early riser, was one
of the first to arrive on the scene, and
he slipped away to warn Chin-a-foo. That
gentleman, looking more dirty and ghastly
than usual, then appeared, pulling violently
at his pig- tail, holding up his hands, giving
vent to nasal and guttural exclamations of
great variety and force, and meantime, as
they came up, whispering to any of the
spectators who had been present at his
house the evening before that they were to
know nothing about Achattu's last moments.
For the poor Madrassee there was a general
expression of sympathy. He had once been
a head man among them, and jjpf creatures
are so degraded as to be insensible to the
reverses of fate in the case of a life that is
familiar to them. They recalled the wit of
2 1 6 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
the lively Madrassee ; his once genial, easy
manner, his strength and aptitude, and his
occasional acts of generosity. The feeling
gradually grew stronger and stronger against
the influences which had brought the poor
fellow to his fate, and sarcastic exclamations
were uttered by the crowd to the disadvan-
tage of both Chin-a-foo and Eamdoolah.
" She may well cry ! See all those silver
ornaments he gave her ! " said a woman.
" Ah! she'll get over that," said a man, —
no other than Nobbeebuckus, who had once
made a futile attempt to seduce her from
the dead, " as soon as some one else is kind
" I expect he died in good time for her,"
said another ; " she is making too much
noise to be in earnest."
By this time three or four overseers were
Chance-7nedley. 2 1 7
on the spot. Kamdoolah, who, her head
wrapped in a chudder, was sitting on the
ground beside the body, still exhibiting con-
siderable animation and vigour in her grief,
was sternly ordered to adjourn her lamenta-
tions to a fitter season ; an injunction she
obeyed with admirable self-command.
" Do you know how he came to be lying
dead outside your house ? " said Crampton
to the woman.
" No, massa ; no see my man last night.
Me go sleep — no see him."
The overseer did himself the credit not
to believe a word of this. •
" Well," said he, " any other Coolie see
him ? Chin-a-foo, you sabby Ingliss, sabby
Indian talk; ask any Coolie see Achattu
any time ? "
The Chinaman, peering through the slits
z 1 8 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
in his face, and preserving an impassive
aspect, pitched his voice in the key and
tone of a question, but really instructed his
rnatties not to know anything about the
dead man's business last evening. Every
Coolie present instantly shook his head.
Chin-a-foo also opened his palms, and half-
shrugging his shoulders, expressed a regret
that he had not seen Achattu the night
before, since he bad apparently been so ill.
The Chinaman professed to be something
-of a doctor. Hereupon Drummond, who
had been sent for, arrived. He first of
all carefully examined the man, and ascer-
tained that there were no marks of violence
upon him. He took note of the fact that
he had been drinking. And lastly, opening
the clenched hand, he quietly slipped there-
from the die which the poor fellow had
Chance- medley 219
thrown in his last bout with fortune.
Drurumond's suspicion was that the man
had been poisoned.
" Ha ! Mr. Chin-a-foo, this Coolie go your
house last night, eh ? Who put 'ee here ? "
" No, massa," replied Chin-a-foo, with
exeniplary calmness. " Achattu no money,
no trust 'im : no come to Chin-a-foo house
diss too long time."
"Look here, sir! Do you see that? I
just found it in the man's hand."
The face and hands of Chin-a-foo dis-
played the most grotesque astonishment.
" Yours is the only gambling place on the
estate, you know," continued Drummond,
talking ordinary English in his excitement,
" and the last thing the man was doing was
evidently gambling. Lay hold of that fel-
low, Craig ! "
220 JLutchmee and Dilloo.
Craig's powerful grasp was on the China-
man's shoulder in a moment. The next
instant there was a flash of steel in the
morning sun, and a knife was driven into the
side of the young Scotchman, — driven by a
steady and accustomed hand. Before the
villain could repeat his blow, Drummond's
fist had felled him to the ground and his arm
had caught the fainting youth. Two over-
seers disarmed and secured the Chinaman.
All this passed too quickly to be told, but
its effect on the Coolies was extraordinary.
At sight of the blood on the one hand, and
of their " mattie " in the hands of the over-
seers on the other, the Chinese, especially,
became hysterical in their excitement, and
loud cries arose on every side. The pigtails
brandished their knives, the Hindoos ran
for their latties.
There was a Babel of outcries. "Well
done, Chin-a-foo ! Take him from them,"
and the like.
Some pressed forward on Drummond,
who supported Craig on his left arm, as he
shouted to the overseers to stick to the
Chinaman at all hazards. At the same
moment his right fist levelled a too-auda-
cious Coolie who came within reach of it.
The mob closed about him and the over-
seers, and began to use their sticks. The
noise brought out the whole village. The
women, with loud shrieks, encouraged the
men to the attack. Simon Pety, bravely-
running to the rescue, excited the mob to
such frenzy that he was fain to cut and run
for his life, pursued by some infuriated
Chinese females. All the pigtails turned
out of their quarters, flourishing their
222 L utchmee and DHL
knives ; and the rest of the overseers arriv-
ing on the scene did good service with both
sticks and fists. But Indians and Chinese
in a fury are not easily quieted. The Coolies
not only held their own, but were getting
the better of the Whites. Two overseers
were seriously wounded. The Negroes on
their way to work watched the fray at a safe
distance. Drummond, hampered by his
burden, could scarcely keep up under the
storm of blows that now rained upon him.
At this juncture, Dilloo, with several others,
arrived from the extremity of the village.
Seeing Drummond nearly overpowered by
the numbers who pressed upon him, and
observing, in a moment, that the row was
over the Chinaman in custody, the Hindoo,
without asking a question, dashed into the
mtUe, and with his redoubtable lattey began
Chance- medley. 223
to play about among the Chinese in a way
that soon cleared a circle round the manager.
His companions seconded him, at the same
time calling upon their matties to stop
righting. Hunoomaun, who, to tell the
truth, had been standing aloof from the
fight, meditating which side he should take,
was now seized with a sudden zeal for law
and order, and took his place by Dilloo.
Nothing could stand before those two men.
The immigrants, finding themselves opposed
by their own friends, began to fall off, and
in a few minutes, carrying off their wounded,
retired to the Chinese quarters, where they
prepared for a desperate resistance to the
now inevitable visit of the police.
Craig was removed to the manager's house
and laid on Drummondk's own bed. The
loss of blood had rendered him insensible ;
224 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
but Drummond, having stripped him and
examined the wound, came to the conclu-
sion that it was not mortal, though he saw
that the youth had had a narrow escape.
The gambler's nerve and quickness had
been trained to a nicety, and his blow was
aimed with devilish skill. The doctor, who
arrived an hour later, confirmed Drummond's
opinion. Any wound is dangerous in that
hideous climate, but with rest and quiet and
incessant care, he hoped to be able to save
the life of the strong and healthy youth.
A force of police soon arrived from the
police-station at Guineatown, marching
with their rifles to the front of the manager's
house, where the inspector in command
drew them up in military line. Order is
maintained in colonies where Coolies labour
and black men are citizens as it is in Ire-
land, by constables armed with rifles and
muskets. There was some hesitation about
the course to be pursued. The noise from
the Negro-yard indicated a continuance of
the excitement. It was clear that the
advance of the police would give rise to a
serious riot. Drummond was anxious to
avoid a collision, and proposed to go down
and address the men. This was imme-
diately objected to by everyone but Dilloo.
He offered to accompany the manager, and
assured him of his safety.
" You, Dilloo ! " said Drummond, look-
ing into the Indian's open countenance,
and at a dull bluish mark in his brown fore-
head, where a lattey had left the record of
its visit. " You fight for manager this day,
kill manager to-morrow ! "
" Massa," replied the other, proudly,
vol. 1. 15
226 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
" me no want massa die, cos Dilloo go
prison. Too much Coolie fight massa :
Dilloo help him."
"Ha! Then a Coolie may have some
sense of honour and fair play ! "
Here, Hunoomaun, who had been closely
watching the conversation, struck in.
" Hunoomaun too — new Coolie — fight too
for manahee. Me and massa go to Coolie
Dilloo looked sardonically grave, but said
nothing. He felt sure the peon would not
risk his skin among the Coolies just then.
"Then shall we all go?" said Drum-
"No," said Dilloo. "Massa Drummon'
and Dilloo one; Massa Drummon' and
Hunoomaun clearly shrank from facing
Chance- medley . 227
those with whom he had been fighting,
unless he were covered by the rifles of the
"Very well," said Drummond. "Look
here, Dilloo, I'll trust you. My life will be
in your hands, you sabby." The Indian nod-
ded. " But you fought bravely just now,
and saved my life, so I will trust you again." -
The police were ordered to withdraw into
the road. When Drummond and Dilloo
appeared boldly advancing towards the
Chinese quarters, where three or four hun-
dred immigrants, of whom thirty were
Chinese, were assembled, some excited by
arrack they had plundered from the cellar
of their -hero, Chin-a-foo, the enterprise
seemed to be one of no little danger ; but
Dilloo, holding up his hands, explained in a
word or two that they had come unarmed
2 28 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
and unaccompanied with any police, to talk
ivith the people ; and he asked them to sit
down and listen. After a few minutes'
hesitation the influence Dilloo had gained
among his countrymen told. They squatted
on their hams, or lounged against the build-
ings, and the Coolie and manager walked
" Now," said Drummond, characteristi-
cally swearing at them, " what has taken
you all to get up a mutiny in this way ?
and over that scoundrel Chin-a-foo, of all
others ! Am I not kind to you ? "
" Iss, massa," was the reply of those who
spoke ; the rest nodding their assent.
" I never heat you ? "
" No, massa : ovaseah beat Coolie."
Drummond winced at this naive rejoinder.
" Well, what possessed you to beat me.?
Chance- medley. 229
Overseer beat you, tell me,— every time tell
me. You know Chin-a-foo rascal. Eh ?
look here ! " He took off his hat and
showed them blood on his forehead, and
held out his arm, which was also bleeding.
" Coolie do that."
There was a dead silence. The manager
could not have produced a better effect by
the most elaborate argument than he did
by this illustration. The gentle-hearted
people, now that a break had been effected
in the torrent of their excitement, were
completely transformed : they hung down
their heads ashamed, all but the Chinese,
who remained sullen and angry : Drum-
mond might count that he would never
make it up with them. Dilloo took advan-
tage of the moment : he spoke in a lan-
guage common to both the parties.
230 L utchmee and Dilloo,
" Massa no punis Coolie, s'pose Coolie
all still, go work, all shaky hand, no more
fight, no more bad heart. Massa and
As Drummond nodded assent, the Coolies
rose, and, crowding round him, put him
through a course of hand-shaking worthy of
an American President at his installation ;
and then quietly disappeared along the
dams to their work.
In a short time, Mr. Chin-a-foo having
been handed over to the police, and the
overseers having received directions from
Drummond as to their conduct towards the
rioters, the manager and Missa devoted
themselves to the wounded overseer. The
scalp and flesh wounds of the others were
treated by the doctor, and formed the sub-
ject of lively conversation at breakfast. It
was a curious proof of the confidence that a
manager may acquire among his people,
that, after they had received Drummond's
pledge of forgiveness, those Coolies who
had been wounded in the affray came freely
to the hospital to be treated, and made no
attempt to conceal their complicity in the
$2 L utchmee and Dilloo.
AN ENGLISH JUSTICE.
The house of the magistrate of the Macusi
district was situated on the other side of
Guineatown, about two miles from Belle
Susanne. Keeping along the monotonous
road, after one had passed the flat swamps,
the dirty drains, the jagged and rutted
dams, amidst which there seemed to stalk
about in straggling discomposure the tim-
ber-legged huts and hovels of the villagers
of Guineatown, you came upon a barn-like
building, shingle-roofed, of unpainted wood
raised upon very lofty piles, and with a
An English Justice, 233
steep flight of steps leading from the garden
to the verandah.
The garden that surrounded this ugly
tenement was really one of great beauty.
Divided by dipt hedges of thorny orange,
its squares of black rich soil were gay with
varieties of shrubs and flowers, some of
which were not to be matched even in
Guianian gardens ; in the forks of the
branches of shrubs and trees, such as the
Frangipanni, the Cannon-ball tree, the Guava
or the Tamarind, grew precious specimens of
the orchids, with which, in infinite variety,
the trees of the interior forests abound. In
a broad trench at the end of the garden
floated sleepily the great cups of the Vic-
toria Kegia and its mammoth prickly rafts
of leaves. The long line of cocoa-palms
beyond, the lime and orange trees with
234 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
their shining leaves and fruit, the arhour
where no one would have dared to sit, for
marabuntas, and ants, and centipedes, and
those tiny scourges, the betes rouges, had
long since established their kingdom there,
and resented the intrusion of foreigners ; the
straggling, overpowering Stephanotis, with
its wealthy festoons of ivory bugles, sharing
with a great Passion-flower the decora-
tion of the entire verandah, made altogether
an embowering Paradise for the homely
though comfortable barrack which was the
head-quarters of justice in that neighbour-
Here, shaded from the level rays of the
early morning sun by the jalousies of the
wide verandah, with its rocking-chairs, the'
invariable hammock, one or two small tables,
on which appeared tokens of feminine occu-
An English Justice. 235
pancy, sat, at a large secretary-table, a man
of about fifty years of age. Stout, but
evidently quick and energetic, from the way
in which he turned and spoke when inter-
rupted by some one who suddenly emerged
from the dining-room! he was a man on
whom time had written the marks of care
and disappointment. The dark, wiry hair
on head and chin and cheeks was beginning
to change its colour, and there were wrinkles
on his low, broad forehead — the hieroglyphs
of old troubles and passions. As he sat in
his shirt-sleeves, his portly form was well
displayed in the white-duck waistcoat and
trousers it so neatly filled. You would have
said, at the first glance, that his face evinced
firmness and resolution ; but, had you
watched him shrewdly, you would have
detected that the resolution was that of a
236 L utchmee and Dilloo.
ready, impulsive man ; that about the well-
formed though too full lips there played the
movements of doubt ; that the eye was un-
certain and fitful in its gaze, varying, in-
deed, with rather extraordinary changes of
expression ; and, as he sat at his work, the
real nature of the man would have dis-
covered itself to you in his movements.
Sometimes he laid down his pen in the
middle of a sentence, when his eye had
lighted on something in his previous manu-
script, or one of the books that were open
about him ; or perhaps to throw himself back
and yawn, and dream a moment about some
matter plainly disconnected from his occu-
pation. Once he half rose to pursue a
mosquito, more intemperate, keen, and per-
tinacious than its fellows; and then, sud-
denly changing his mind, took up his pen
An English Justice. 237
and rattled off with renewed application.
Or, again, he leaned back in his chair and*
watched the impudent marabuntas, as, with
loud trumpet accompaniment, they built
their clay nests under the joists of the
verandah. In fact, Mr. Marston, except for
the lack of that element of energy which
not only makes a man resolute to begin but
to persist in every work he undertakes,
might, with his abilities, have raised him-
self to an almost distinguished position at
the English bar. But his study, as well as
his practice, had been fortuitous and capri-
cious, whence he had found it convenient
to offer to his country talents that seemed
incapable of supporting himself. The Colo-
nial Office, that last refuge for mediocre and
distressed rank or genius, with a charity
that, to begin with, hopeth all things,
238 L utchmee and Dilloo.
though it is ofttimes not so enduring as
many of its clients would desire, had given
him the appointment of a stipendiary magis-
trate in Demerara, where he had now spent,
with few intervals of absence, nearly twenty
years of his life. Five years before, he had
lost his wife, who left him six children, — a
terrible charge upon a man in his position,
with an Englishman's notions of his duty to
them in the matter of education, and an
Englishman's ideas of what was due to
himself in the way of living.
How much trouble and sorrow their
proud, but unpractical and extravagant
views bring upon fellow-countrymen of ours
in all parts of the world it would be hard
to estimate, if not, indeed, to exaggerate.
The struggles to make both ends meet, the
thriftless and unheroic heroism of many a
An English Justice. 239
poor gentleman and lady, brought up in
luxury, and schooled, after they have left
school, in repression and want, and an
economy they never know how to apply,
would form a story, the satire of which
would need no added bitterness from the
pen of sarcasm, so strong is the gall of
actual facts. It would be a tragedy none
the less real because it was not intensified
by its murders, suicides, and fatal passions.
This is not the time or the place to consider
how far this might be remedied, how far it
is possible to change in whole classes of
society unpractical ideas and the results of
foolish upbringing for a training in the
school of utility and restraint. Those who
neglect to instil the principles of common
sense and economy in earlier years pass on
their wards to an academy of adversity,
240 L utchmee and Dilloo .
wherein the scholars too often ignominiously
The person who, as we have said, inter-
rupted the magistrate in his vigorous phy-
sical and mental exercitations, was a young
girl of slight figure, which happened, on this
morning, to be well shown off in a plain
white dress, involving from neck to feet the
symmetry of her form. She was not tall,
but was moulded in the exquisite perfection
of outline and proportion whereof tropical
countries sometimes give such fine speci-
mens in the earlier stages of life. Her
delicate features seemed to shine with a
glorious light. The dark hair, smoothed
over the ivory forehead, and braided in a
coronet on her head, — the pencilled eye-
brows, — the large, deep, lustrous eyes,
fringed so coyly by the long lashes, — the
An English Justice. 241
slightly aquiline nose, with its chiselled
nostrils, — the tender, small, sweet, cherry-
lips, the little dimpled chin, that curved, in
magic beauty of outline, — and the neck,
whereon this perfect mask was lifted up —
an alabaster tower so small and yet so grand
in its proportions — altogether gave Isabel
Marston a loveliness lily -like and attractive
beyond the play of words to picture.
" Bell," said her father, glad of the inter-
ruption, — he suffered from endless ennui, —
" why are you so restless ? You have been
going in and out all the morning, and you
know how important it is I should have this
minute finished. The Governor requires me
to send it in by to-morrow."
" That is very cool of you, you naughty
justice, when you know that if I sit here
you talk to me every five mimites, and work
vol. 1. 16
242 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
far better when I am away. There ! " said
she, pulling back the big, grizzly head, and
printing a kiss on the man's forehead, "that
is a fine for my absence ; and now I want to
tell yon about something."
" Gonzales sent for his bill again, I sup-
pose. Is there no one who will rescue me
from the fellow, and do to death
— That valiant but ignoble Portuguese ? ,
Why, these Madeirans are worse than Jews !
Ay, and confound it, worrying a magistrate
for money ! I'll commit him for contempt
— I'll imprison him — I'll give judgment
against him the very next case he has
before me — I'll send him to Massaruni —
"Hush! you know perfectly well you
An English Justice. 243
won't do anything of the kind, papa, and
he knows it too, or he would never bother
you ; but someone might overhear you, and
take some of your jokes in real earnest, you
" Ha! ha ! " laughed the magistrate, re-
velling in the impossible idea. " It would
be fun to see Gonzales' face if I were to
pay him off every ' bitt,' and leave him
without a grievance ! The fellow imagines
he gets some benefit in his petty-debt cases
in my court, because I am obliged to be
civil to him ; but he doesn't , you know. I
am always on my guard to give the poor
devil he sues the best of justice — treble X.
Ah ! by the way, did Cumming Brothers
send that bottled ale yesterday? We'll
have some for breakfast. . . . Yes, the best
of .justice. I tell you what, I very nearly
? 44 Lutchmee ana Diaoo.
convicted him that time the bottle of rum
was found in his bed."
At this moment, after a preliminary knock,
not at all of a ceremonious character, on
the post of the open doorway which led
from the verandah to the steps, a short,
sturdy man, dressed in dark clothes and
wearing a Panama hat, stepped into the
gallery. His straight hair, dark eyes, and
brown face, with the ruddy tint in the
cheeks, discovered the Madeiran, the identi-
cal " devil " of the conversation.
" Good-morning, Gonzales ! " cried the
volatile magistrate, while Isabel drew back
with a scarlet face. " What are you doing
in this neighbourhood, and so early in the
morning ? Do you want a summons against
anybody, or are you stripping some poor
nigger's plantains ? "•
An English Justice. 245
" No," replied the other, speaking in
tolerably good English, and very delibe-
rately ; "that is not the cause of my visit
to-day. I have been at my shop in Guinea-
town, after visiting my cattle farm at
" Ah, you lucky Portuguese ! You are
buying up the whole country."
" And the magistrates too — eh ! eh ! " re-
plied the other unadvisedly, as he rubbed
his hands together and chuckled to himself.
The Englishman's blood flushed to his
face. It is dangerous for a foreigner, espe-
cially if he be a creditor, to rally a Briton
on his debts ! Marston, however, restrained
himself, and said, with dignity, —
"Well, Mr. Gonzales, we poor officials
are put in your hands by the Government,
which refuses to give us the necessaries of
246 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
life. They forget that we may be tempted
to sell justice to make it up ! But you
must remember, too, this is an English
colony, and your claims are protected by
English laws. Don't be too grasping, my
"Eh?" said the other, shrugging his
shoulders good-humouredly — he could afford
to be genial; "the protection of English
law is a very fine thing, eh — eh ? This
planters' government swindles me at every
turn ! I am obliged to hide my money to
save it from them, — in America, you know,"
he added, feeling he had admitted too
" Oh, don't be afraid of me, Gonzales :
I'm not the Inspector-General of Police!
It is no business of mine to inquire into
An English Justice. 247
" Well, let it pass. Protection — eh ?
They charge me, for instance, five thousand
dollars for my spirit licence in Georgetown ;
twelve hundred dollars at Berbice. I have
to put twice as much water in the rum since
they passed the new ordinance. I can't
keep a drop of spirits or wine in my own
house. Always those sub-inspectors, be-
cause they get half the fine, and divide it,
mind you, with the magistrate, — keep still,
sir : not you — you have not the chance ! —
are coming into my place, turning my wife
out of bed, shaking up the mattresses and
pillows, looking into "
" I know all about it. But; Mr. Gonzales,
not to refer to your own unspotted honesty
and notorious integrity, some of your coun-
trymen are great scoundrels. I admire the
candour with which you own to me, as a
248 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
magistrate, to watering your rum. You
cheat the excise and the public too, and no
one can catch you. The Government must
raise a revenue."
"Yes: out of Portugee and Coolie.
Planters' goods, machines, guano, hogs-
heads, all come in for nothing ; hut Coolie
rice, ghee, salt-fish, American pork, rum,
everything we eat and drink, heavy duty.
Ah, you precious English : your protection
is expensive, my friend ! "
" But what did you want with me ? "
said the other, rather offended at the
familiarity of the Madeiran. " You did
not come here to talk about this." '.
" No, I forgot," said the other, glancing
at the young lady; "I drove hack from
Guineatown. There has been a row at
Belle Susanne. One overseer nearly killed
An English Justice. 249
and several wounded : all the police
" Indeed! " cried the magistrate, getting
The young lady turned pale and red by
" Who was hurt so badly, Mr. Gonzales,
did you hear ? " she said.
"Yes. The best man on the estate: a
fine young man, very fine young man,
name of Craig, stabbed by a Chinee. . . .
Eh, eh ! look here ! What is the matter
with the young lady, eh ? "
The father and visitor ran together to
Isabel, who lay back in the cane tfhair,
with an ashen face, quite motionless.
There was the hubbub usual on such
occasions. Servants came, water was
brought, and presently, after a decent
250 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
suspense, Isabel opened her eyes : she
was carried away in her father's strong
arms and laid on a bed. He satisfied
himself that it was only a swoon, caused,
as he imagined, by a sense of danger ;
and, assuring her they were quite safe,
he returned to his visitor.
" This young man, Craig, is a friend of
your young lady, eh ? " said the acute
" We know him. He is a respectable
youth, and comes here sometimes : a
Scotch farmer's son."
" I am sorry I spoke his name so quick :
the young lady perhaps likes him. No ?
Pardon. Ah, you English are very funny
about those things ! Well, let me tell
you he is the best young overseer in the
colony. Never do for this colony. Mister
An English Justice. 251
Drummond soon gets tired of him. He
has spoke to you about the treatment of
The magistrate turned round sharply.
" Gonzales, you are too inquisitive : you
have no right to ask me about private
conversations. What are you, driving at?"
" Eh, eh ! Well, no matter. Look here,
Mister Marston," — the Portuguese put his
finger on Marston's arm, and commanded
his attention, for he now spoke in a low,
serious tone, — " there is danger : I came
to warn you of it. This is not the last
row there will be. I travel all over the
colony : I know every estate. All Coolie
shopkeepers buy my goods ; and I tell you
things look very bad : bad hearts, bad
" Yes : these Coolies are never satisfied."
252 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
" If you spoke to your young friend,
Craig, he will tell you why. Overseers
interfere with wives, drivers beat Coolies,
swindle in hospital, cheat at pay-table ;
all which Mister Drummond pretends not
to know. But I know he does."
"Hush!" said the magistrate, getting
up and looking out to see that no one
was eavesdropping. "I cannot hear any-
thing against Drummond. He is a friend
of mine. Besides, he is a plaintiff or
defendant in every court I hold."
"Yes, yes, I understand. Well, I only
say he gets the money they cheat the
Coolies out of."
The Portuguese put his fat forefinger
on his lip and nodded, as if to hint more
than he said. " The same on many other
estates. Manager cheats Coolie, cheats
An English Justice. 253
owners too. Makes money both ways,
" And you grudge him the opportunity,
eh? Trust a Portuguese if he could get
such a chance."
The other gave a shrug of his shoulders.
He did not pretend to peculiar virtue.
He was not ready to proclaim himself in-
sensible to temptation. The man was as
queer a mixture of cunning and good-
heartedness as could be found among the
wonderful variety of incongruous natures
in this medley of a world.
" Coolies they are all unsatisfied, Mister
Marston, from end to end of the colony.
Berbice, bad hospitals, stopped wages ;
Mahaica, stopped wages, bad hospitals ;
same in Demerary, same on East Coast,
same on West Coast, same at Essequibo,
254 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
same at Wakenhaam and Arabian Coast.
All this is very dangerous. If these people
rise nothing will be safe. All our property
and lives go."
" Oh ! then the Portuguese are getting
frightened, are they ? Well, if there is a
rising, we shall have twenty thousand of
you on our side, and all the blacks."
The other shook his head.
" No, sir. Portugee will not fight against
the Coolies for you English. We have
some spite for you. You are a magistrate
and my friend. Let me tell you not to
trust that. No Portugee, no black men
will help you. But I must go. 'Spose
you will ride over to Belle Susanne.
" Ah ! yes, I forgot, I suppose I must.
Well, good morning. By the way, I am
An English Justice. 255
going to pay you off that loan. The in-
terest is too heavy."
"Eh?" The Portuguese shrugged his
shoulders slightly, stretched out his hands
in deprecation, made a grimace, silently
raised his hat, and went away.
256 L utchmee and Dilloo.
A PLEASANT NUESE.
Ckaig's wound for a day or two progressed
favourably. Drummond watched at his
bedside day and night. The doctor came
twice a day. Every appliance that could
mitigate the tendency to inflammation was
used. Early each morning Pete drove into
Georgetown for ice. Missa devoted herself
to the sick-room, and quite fell in love with
the strong, brave youth who lay so helpless
and was yel so patient. On the fourth day
the doctor saw with alarm symptoms of
inflammation. The feverish heat, quick
A Pleasant Nurse. 257
pulse, and wandering eye of the sufferer told
a story of danger. Drummond's anxiety
increased. He would have remained hy the
young man's bedside all the time, but it
was impossible to neglect the estate, and,
strong as he was, he could not afford to lose
his sleep. It was necessary to find someone
to help Missa. After a short consultation,
they jointly decided on asking Lutchmee to
undertake the duty. When Dilloo had been
sent for, and had heard the manager's re-
quest, he readily yielded to the proposal,
and Lutchmee herself, no longer afraid of
her empktyer, agreed at once to act as an
assistant-nurse. She accordingly took her
place at the bedside of the overseer and
hardly ever left it. Though entreated to
take certain periods for sleep, she refused,
and sat upon the floor hour after hour,
vol. 1. 17
258 L utchmee and Dilloo .
watching all the changes of the wearisome
fever that now set in. She seemed always
fresh and always on the ' alert, possessing
that faculty invaluable in a nurse, of being
able to take her snatches of rest unobserved.
Thus it was that in his delirium Craig
seemed to become conscious of a gentle
presence continually moving about him with
noiseless ease; and with the softest and
deftest of hands placing the ice on his
burning brow, or fanning his fevered face ;
or, anon, holding down the blankets over
his chill-stricken limbs. He could not see
its features or distinguish its voice, but he
called it " mother." And often, during his
wild wanderings, Lutchmee stood with
clasped hands and palpitating heart to hear
him address to her as " mother " a torrent
of affectionate phrases ; or when the infinite
A Pleasant Nurse, 259
longings of his excited heart to be once
more at home expressed themselves in
peevish reproaches to the absent one for
ever letting him out of her sight, though
Lutchmee could not understand him, many
a flood of pure, strange sympathy poured
from her eyes.
But, in more lucid moments, Craig's
mind, now somewhat awakened to the dan-
ger he was in, turned back to the serious
lessons of his early boyhood. Several ex-
clamations which Drummond overheard
induced him to send across the next estate
to the clergyman in charge of the parish
church. British Guiana was, after its
English occupation, divided into parishes,
in each of which the majority of parishioners
were permitted to choose a parochial form
of religion. Hence, in some parishes An-
2 6 o L utchmee and Dilloo.
glicanism, in others Presbyterianism, had
the superiority. It was scarcely of much
consequence, since all religious bodies are
equally endowed by the colony.
. Mr. Telfer, the incumbent, was an Eng-
lishman, a Cambridge graduate, of indifferent
origin, whose plodding zeal had won him
a respectable degree at the University, but
was unequal to advancing him in the carnal
world. Hundreds of such men, reasonably
polished by education and the moderate
contact they have had during their College
career, with a better society, and who,
adopting the Church as a profession, do by
and by succeed in working themselves into
something of. a cleric o- spiritual frame of
mind, are scattered here and there in the
rural districts of England, and dispersed
among our colonies. If they are rather
A Pleasant Nurse. 261
insipid, they discharge the formal duties of
their office with neatness and dispatch. An
ingenious use of a few familiar rhetorical
formula, of conjunctions and interjections,
and of Bible texts, enables them to con-
struct a sermon. They are always re-
spectable units at a provincial or colonial
dinner-table, where they generally contrive
to obtrude as little as possible of the clerical
element. Beginning their earthly walk in
a cottage, or a garret, or a four-room flat ;
or the back-room of a tradesman's shop,
they start on their heavenly career from
college halls and cloisters, under the bene-
diction of a Bishop's hands. The work is
respectable, though the pay be small. They
are content to achieve all possible distinction
at one leap, by the simple process of ordi-
nation, and they quietly roll along a
262 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
narrow-gauge tramway which appears to
have heen expressly constructed for them to
the top of Pisgah. It is fortunate for the
Church of England that she leans not on
such slender ministers as these, — that she
is able to appeal to higher and nobler classes
of men as the apology for her existence.
Mr. Telfer was a fair specimen of the
sort of clergyman we have been describing.
His father had been a successful shoemaker
at Cambridge. It was because the old
man's affectionate pride would not allow the
fact of his relationship to be idle or silent
that the son found it convenient to change
the scene. He accepted a living in British
Guiana, whither it was scarcely probable
that the senior Telfer would, in face of
yellow fever and mosquitos, extend his too
demonstratively paternal regard.
A Pleasant Nurse. 263
The Eeverend Adolphus Telfer's charity
"was suited to his mind, — it was narrow.
He rigidly restrained it within the bounds
of his own communion. Presbyterians,
Wesleyans, Jews, Turks, infidels, heathen,
and Coolies shared none of it. No more
^admirable parochial person could have been
devised for British Guiana. He could be
on good terms with the planters without
entertaining any ingenuous sympathies with
either blacks or Asiatics. The young of the
former he utilised in white stoles for the
services of the church. He baptized their
numerous illegitimate children with exem-
plary catholicity, and when they were dead
he read the burial service over them with
the same freedom from affectation as he
would have shown over the body of a
deceased planter. Within the narrow pre-
264 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
cincts thus described, however, Mr. Telfer
was a tolerable, good-hearted fellow. His
clerical clothes seemed too stiff or too thick
to let any natural feeling exude through
them. Nevertheless when he came to visit
Craig, and found him lying in a precarious
state, and heard him appealing so frequently*
to his absent mother, or unconsciously
repeating scraps of prayer and verses taught
him in childhood, the clergyman's mind
opened a little to the pathos of the situation.
He often came back to the sick youth, and
would read to him in his calmer moments
passages of Scripture or try to solace him
by reciting a few prayers and collects of the
Church. Craig, too feeble to resist any
impression, seemed to be grateful for these
clerical attentions, and bore them with an
evidently not displeased patience.
A Pleasant Nurse, 265
One person, however, watched these ex-
ercitations with singular jealousy. We
have said that Lutchmee always remained
by the bed-side of the sick man. In her
simple mind, as day by day she rendered
her services with instinctive quickness and
propriety, there had been developed a vague
yet powerful interest in her patient. She
had never so particularly watched an English
face ; and this strong youth, with his ruffled
auburn locks and pallid features, excited in
her mind a sort of fascination which it
would be hard to define. It was a pleasure
— an honest, simple pleasure — to be near
him, to look at him, to cool his brow and
fan his face, to touch him, and sometimes
to rest that fever-stricken head on her
shoulder as she administered a potion. She
was too natural to attempt to^denne these
266 L utchmee and Dilloo.
feelings to herself : she only began to ex-
perience a keen and exquisite delight in
every act she could perform for the object
of her care. Certainly it was nothing like
her strong, deep love for Dilloo, — rather
was it a strange, half god- worship, than
like any mere mortal affection. Had Lutch-
mee been able to analyze her own feelings,
she would have detected danger in the acute
jealousy excited in her mind, by the inter-
vention between her and the sick youth of
anyone but Missa, for whom she now had a
true regard. The clergyman was her special
aversion. On his first visit he had looked
round carelessly, and said to Drummond,
who had brought him in, —
" Who is this person ? A Coolie woman !
You had better send her away."
" She is one of my Coolies, and acts as
A Pleasant Nurse. 267
nurse," replied Drummond. "If you are
going to say anything that may shock her
or do her harm, I will get her to wait out-
side. But she may be wanted. And be-
sides," added he, maliciously, " who knows
what good she may get from you ? "
The other was too self-involved to see the
irony of Drummond's remarks.
" I fear it is no use," said he, naively.
" All I have seen of these people convinces
me that attempts to convert them are mere
loss of time."
Drummond was silent, but he could not
help reflecting that when he had any busi-
ness in hand he was wont to exercise more
hope and energy in it than was displayed
by this minister of the indefatigable Christ.
Lutchmee, for her part, could not com-
prehend the remarks that had passed, but
268 L utchmee and Dilloo.
she divined that the " missionary " had
tried to exclude her from the room, and her
feelings towards him took shape accordingly.
When he used to come and read, or, open-
ing a hook, knelt down and prayed, she
scornfully turned away. The moment he
was gone, she tried every method her simple
ingenuity could invent to divert Craig's
thoughts from the minister or his conversa-
tion. One day, far on in the illness, she
found him in tears after the clergyman's
departure. She wiped them away and
very prettily scolded the absent visitor for
making her. massa cry. /
"Oh ! " said Craig, half to her and half
to himself, " don't say anything against the
poor man. He does his best, and I feel the
better for it."
This was the first time that Craig had
A Pleasant Nurse. 269
thoroughly noticed Lutchmee, He had
often, since the recovery of his senses, re-
garded her dreamily and carelessly, as a
qniet, useful attendant. The crisis of the
fever was now over, and the doctor was
beginning to hold out hopes of pulling his
patient through in safety.
Craig, this afternoon, somewhat inte-
restedly watched the lissome figure and
silent motions of the nurse.
" You're Lutchmee ? " said he.
" Iss, massa."
" Have I been sick long ? "
She held up three ringers " Tree weeks,
"Oh! I remember; there was a row,
wasn't there ? Why, I must have been
wounded. I can scarcely move. Here,
come and help me to sit up."
270 Lutchmee and Dilloo.
11 no, massa : no sittee up dis too long
time." And in a moment, Lutchmee' s two
little arms were holding down the young
giant, and her brown smiling face hung
over his as she shook her head.
" You're about right," said he, looking
at her with a sort of half-affectionate feeling
that any kindly nurse may excite in her
helpless patient. " When you can hold me
down, you little minx, I must be weak in-
She smoothed his hair with her hand,
smiling the while, to see him better. This
she did with the same fondling simplicity
with which a dog would have rubbed his
head against his master's hand.
" Massa Telfer make um well," she said,
thinking she might have done the clergy-
man an injustice.
A Pleasant Nurse. 271
Craig was lost in thought and did not
notice her. He had been ill so many weeks,
and, as he now began for the first time to
apprehend, very dangerously. The words
Telfer had read to him had recalled vividly
to his mind his home life, from the influ-
ence of which he felt as if a great gulf
just then separated him. A sense of ex-
treme loneliness came over him. Here he
was with nothing nearer or more affection-
ate than this simple and ignorant Coolie
woman. The repugnance of race, which,
spite of their proverbial adaptability to any
circumstances, I fancy to be as extreme in
Scotchmen as in other people, forbad the
budding of any affectionate esteem in his
heart, but he felt arising within him a strong
sense of gratitude for her attentions ; and,
deeper and more insidious than that, a sort
Liitchjnee and Dilloo.
of pleased admiration of her pretty features,
lissome figure, and graceful ways. Was she
not a pretty animal ? Then, in a flash, his
mother's face came before him, a homely
yet a noble countenance, and, almost to his
own surprise, happy as was the vision, it
threw a curious, unpleasant light back upon
his previous thoughts. Yet he could not
recall to his mind one idea that his con-
science could, reprehend as improper. The
difference between the two beings, that
absent mother and the present slave, was
too great to suggest any comparison of his
feelings about them. His analysis was nei-
ther deep enough nor acute enough to in-
form him that probably the revulsion caused
by the remembrance at this moment of his
purest ideal and real in life must be rather
from some hidden and unconscious tendency
A Pleasant Nurse, 273
of his previous thoughts than from any in-
herent evil in the thoughts themselves.
So subtle are the beginnings within a
man's soul of the conflict between the
spirits of Good and Evil.
END of vol. 1.
VOL. I. l8