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Full text of "Lutchmee and Dilloo : a story of West Indian Life"

mi 










II E> HAHY 

OF THE 
U N IVE.RSITY 
Of ILLINOIS 

823 

J4.ll 



LUTCHMEE AND DILLOO. 



LUTCHMEE AND DILLOO 



& Stubs of »st lata $ife 



EDWARD JENKINS 



IN THREE VOLUMES 
VOL. L 



\ i 




^/ 



\?L^Jrb.:4l^ 




WILLIAM MULLAH- ^SON 

34 PATERNOSTER ROW LONDON 

4 DONEGAL PLACE BELFAST 

1877 



Sazell, Watson, & Viney, Printers, London and Aylesbury. 



tf\A3 
► ■I 



PEEFACE. 

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 



vi Preface. 

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 
and effectively. 

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 



Preface. vii 

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- 
nished ? 

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- 



viii Preface. 

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 



Preface, ix 

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 



x Preface, 

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 



Preface. xi 

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 



xii Preface. 

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 
other colonies. 

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. 



Preface. xiii 

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. 



C«AP. 


PAGE 


I. A RUDE SURPRISE . 


1 


II. THE WATCHMAN 


. 11 


III. THE RECRUITER 


. 20 


IV. A LONG FAREWELL. 


. , 33 


V. A NARROW ESCAPE 


. 40 


VI. " WHERE IS HE?" 


. 53 


VII. A DANGEROUS ADMIRER 


. 68 


VIII. THE RECOGNITION . 


. 81 


IX. BELLE SUSANNE 


. 99 


X. SIMON PETY 


. 122 


XI. THE OVERSEERS 


. 135 


XII. AT HOME ! ... 


. 154 


XIII. A VISITOR .... 


. 162 


XIV. MEETING — BUT NO GREETING 


. 172 


XV. AGREED .... 


. 184 


XVI. LOST ! 


. 195 


XVII. CHANCE-MEDLEY 


. 214 


XVIII. AN ENGLISH JUSTICE 


. 232 


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 
yards away. 



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 



CHAPTEE II. 

THE WATCHMAN. 

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 
to seek. 

" 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 
exquisite softness." 

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 
himself. 

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 
confirmation. 

* Robbery. 



20 » Ltitchmee a7id Dilloo. 



CHAPTEE III. 

THE RECRUITER. 

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 

any questions. 

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 



CHAPTEB IV. 



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 
go?" 

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 
desires. 



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 
them? 

" 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 
not?" 

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 
you?" 

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 
farewell. 



40 Lutchmee and Ditioo. 



CHAPTEE V, 

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- 
ceasing pleasure. 

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 
us." 

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 
ear, — 

" 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. 



LIBRARY 

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?" ^ 



CHAPTEE VI. 

" 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 
of despondency. 

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 
gladness. 

" 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 
know." 

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- 
people. 

" 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 
obtained. 

" 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. 



CHAPTEE VII. 

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 
Viceroy. 

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 
still lying. 

" 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 
in — 

" 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 
genuine. 

"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 
favourably described. 

" 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 



CHAPTEE VIII. 

THE KECOGNITION. 

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 hospital." 

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 



'a 



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 
idiotically soft-hearted. 

"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 
born days." 

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 
head. 

"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 
crowd. 

" 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 
for repairs." 

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. 

"Iss, massa." 

" 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 
her?" 

" Fever." 

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 



CHAPTER IX 



BELLE SUSANNE. 



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 
to view. 

"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 
dress." 

" 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, 
Massa Drummond." 

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, 
Massa Drummon'." 

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 
Massa Drammon'." 

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- 
quiesced. 

" 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. 



122 



Lutchmee ana Dilloo. 



CHAPTEE X. 

SIMON PETY. 

" 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 
laws. 

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 
to 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 
lips. 

" 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 
man so." 



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 
relativeness. 

" 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 
upside down." 

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 
feelings.. 

" 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 
rudeness." 

"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 
drink. 

" 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 



CHAPTER XI. 

THE OYEKSEEKS. 

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 
its society. 

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- 
overseers. 

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, 
—eh, Craig?" 

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 
about Lutchmee. 

" 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 
appreciative laughter. 

" I would recommend any one to let her 
alone while Dilloo has charge of her," said 
Chester. 

" 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 
the present. 

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. 



CHAPTEK XII. 

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 
for you." 

" 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 
together." 

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. 



CHAPTEE XIII. 

A VISITOE. 

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 
quietly. 

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 
silver bangles. 

" Where did you come from?" said the 
woman. 



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- 
mee, innocently. 

" 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 
Lutchmee. 

"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- 
band?" 

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 
at me." 

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 
it off. 



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 
place." 

" 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. 



CHAPTEE XIV. 

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 
their friends. 

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, — 

"Dilloo?" 

" Yes," replied the other, drily. " Hunoo- 
maun, you see Dilloo ! You have followed 
me to this place. We live together on this 
estate." 

"Is it peace or war?" inquired the 
other, looking doubtfully at the fine limbs 
of Dilloo, which glistened in the afternoon 
sun. 

" 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. 



CHAPTEK XV. 

AGEEED. 

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, 



Agreed. 185 

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 



Agreed. 187 

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- 



Agreed, 189 

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? 



Agreed. 193 



\b 



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 



CHAPTEK XVI. 

LOST ! 

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 



Lost! 197 

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 



Lost! 199 

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 



Lost! 203 

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 



Lost! 205 

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, 



Lost! 207 

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 
excessive proportion. 

"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 
five dollars." 

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- 



Lost! 209 

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 
farewell throws. 

" 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 
excitement. 

" 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 



Lost! 211 

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 
cried. 

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 
house. 

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 ? " 



Lost! 213 

"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 
fell asleep. 



14 Lutchmee ana DiUoo. 



CHAPTER XVII. 

CHANCE-MEDLEY. 

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 
to her." 

" 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. 



Chance-medley. 221 

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 



00. 



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- 



Chance-medley, 225 

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 
people." 

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- 
mond. 

"No," said Dilloo. "Massa Drummon' 
and Dilloo one; Massa Drummon' and 
Hunoomaun one." 

Hunoomaun clearly shrank from facing 



Chance- medley . 227 

those with whom he had been fighting, 
unless he were covered by the rifles of the 
police. 

"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 
among them. 

" 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 
Coolie friend." 

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 



Chance-medley, 231 

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 
disturbance. 



$2 L utchmee and Dilloo. 



CHAPTEE XVIII. 

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- 
hood. 

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 
perish. 

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 — 

I'll " 

"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 
know." 

" 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 
Mahaica." 

" 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 
Mend." 

"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 
much. 

" 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 
your resources." 



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 
out." 

" Indeed! " cried the magistrate, getting 
up excitedly. 

The young lady turned pale and red by 
turns. 

" 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 
Gonzales. 

" 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 
Coolies, eh?" 

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 
looks everywhere." 

" 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, 
eh?" 

" 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. 
Eh?" 

" 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. 



CHAPTEK XIX. 

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, 
massa." 

"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- 
deed." 

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 



272 



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 



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