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MY YEAR 

IS 



AX IXDIAX FOET 



Ey MRS. GUTHRIE. 



ir?i^i_ 




:hi;.i:;::._ — .- __- .y::-::; 

IX TWO VOLUMES 
VOL. I. 

[ 

LONDON: V 

HUEST A>*B BLACKETT. ITBLISHE7> 

13 GREAT ilARLBOROUGH STREET. 
1877 




PREFACE. 



IN the following pages I have nothing to tell 
of Eastern magnificence. In the works of 
God, rather than in those of man, lies the in- 
terest to be found in the somewhat primitive 
part of the Western Deccan where, for the time 
being, my lot was cast. Tempered by the sea 
breeze, its climate is the most equable and de- 
lightful in all India. Its high table-lands are 
fertile and well timbered, its protecting ghats 
afford mountain scenery of the wildest and 
most beautiful description, and it is very rich 
in its fauna and flora. The charms of nature 
are scattered around with a beneficent hand, 
and its strange and ancient people were to me 
a fertile source of interest. 

Such were the attractions which combined 
with the fulness of my family life to make 
up the happiness that I experienced dining 
44 My Year in an Indian Fort." 

Belgairm Fort, July, 1876. 



CONTENTS 



OF 



THE FIRST VOLUME, 



CHAPTER I. 

Voyage to Bombay — The Hindoo — Unpromising Com- 
mencement of the Voyage — Three days in Torbay — 
Sunday on Board — Across the Bay of Biscay — The 
Sierra of Cintra — Gibraltar Passed — The Mediter- 
ranean — Algiers — Carthage — Tunis — Pantalaria — 
Port Said— Perilous Position of the Arabia — A Day 
on Shore — Land of the Pharaohs — The Suez Canal — 
Pilgrims — Ismalia 1 

CHAPTER II. 

Chateau Eugenie— Suez— The Wells of Moses— The Red 
Sea — Remarkable Coral Reefs— Island of Perim — 
Novel Postman — Aden — Arabian Dhowd — Signal of 
Distress — Sea-beggars — Socotra — Flying Fish — Arri- 
val at Bombay — The Esplanade Hotel — Pamphlets— 
First Aspect of Bombay — Equipages — Parsee Women 
—Polo— The Native Town .... 26 



Vlii CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER m. 

Hindoo Women — Arabian Beauties — Rites of Betrothal — 
Funeral Procession — English Chambermaids in India 
— Flower -market — Jain Establishments for Superan- 
nuated Animals — Drive to Malabar Point — A Brah- 
man Village — The Esplanade — Island and Temples of 
Elephanta — Description of one of the Temples — The 
Three-faced God — Sculptured Figures — Rock Temples 
— Curious Ants' Nest — Western Ghats . . 49 



CHAPTER IV. 

Journey to Belgaum — Railway Travelling — Dyeing 
in India — Wild Scenery — Incline of the Bhor 
Ghat — Overpowering Heat — Sanitarium for Soldiers — 
The Mahratta Mountains — Peculiar Features of the 
Indian Landscape — View of the Concan — Indian 
Legend — Karli — Death of Captain Stewart — Camp 
of Exercise — Founder of the Mahratta Kingdom — 
Itinerant Merchants — Evening in the Public Gardens 
— A Drive by Night — Poonah — Murder of Narazan 
Rao 72 



CHAPTER V. 

Travelling Arrangements in India — The Southern Cross — 
The Travellers' Bungalow — Fakirs — Noble Banyan- 
Tree — Fishing in India — The Singadari — Orthography 
of Indian Proper Names — Climate of Western India — 
Ascent of the Kamski Ghat — The Magellanic Clouds 
— Crossing the Koo-i-nor — Arrival at Sattara — Ruins 
of the Fort — Labyrinths and Dungeons — Palace of the 
Rajah 99 



CONTENTS. IX 

CHAPTER VI. 

Re-engagement of an Old Servant — The Old Palace — 
Relics of Sevaji — Tale of Indian Treachery — The 
Combat with Claws — Junction of the Krishna 
and the Zena — The Parsee Tower of Silence — 
Religious Ideas and Symbols of the Hindoos — Festival 
in Honour of Shiva — Hindoo Sects — Turbans — The 
Savi — Condition of Hindoo Women — Ornaments — 
Returning from the Fair — Sattara Monkeys — A Jaina 
Temple— The Burning Ghat ... 122 

CHAPTER VH. 

The Seven-Starred Fort — A Moment of Peril — Extensive 
Cemetery — Hindoo Superstition — Fine Idgar — Arrival 
at Kolhopur — The Rajah — Government School — Death 
of a Young Rajah at Florence — The Gates of Kolhopur 
— The Rajah's Palace — An Amusing Carriage-load — 
An Irate Colonel — Accident to our Carriage — Nipani — 
Cruelty of the Desay — Soutguttee — Arrival at our 
Indian Home 119 

CHAPTER VHL 

Belgaum — Records and Traditions of the Fort — Stormed 
by Mohammed Shah — Mahmoud Gavan — Ismael Khan 
Shah — Khoossan Toork— Sevaji — Changes of Name and 
Fortune — Besieged by a Force under General Monro 
— Garrison at the Time of the Mutiny — Execution of 
the Chief of Nargund— Description of the Fort — The 
English Church — The Station Library — Favourite 
Spots — Architecture of the Jaina Temples . 177 



X CONTENTS. 

CHAPTER IX. 

Sect of the Jains — Their Opinions — Jaina Saints — Archi- 
tecture of the Jain Temples — Sena Rajah — Legends — 
Decoration of the Hall — Ornaments in Sculpture — 
Shrines — Spacious Dome— Dedication Plate — The 
Sacred Cell— The Second Temple— English Indiffer- 
ence to the Antiquities of the Country — The Musjid 
Safa — Concealed Treasure — Curious Relic — Memorials 
of the Past 200 

CHAPTER X. 

Trees in the Fort — Consecration of Trees — The Banyan- 
Tree — A Patriarch of the Forest — Peepul-Trees — 
The India-Rubber Tree — Ficus Glomerata — Strange 
Peculiarity of Plants — Lofty Cotton-Tree — The Ja- 
mun— The Champai— The Cocoa-Nut Palm— The 
Soap-Nut Tree — Sandal- Wood Tree — Acacia Arabica, 
or Babool of India — The Golden Mhune— Eucalypti 

220 

CHAPTER XL 

Our Bungalow — Building in India — Anglo-Indian Words 
—Beautiful Floral Display— Tameness of Bird and 
Beast — Buffaloes — Our Establishment of Servants — 
Butler and Cook— The Puttah Wallee— The Malee, 
or Head- Gardener— Frequent Demands for Holidays 
—Want of Privacy— Pretended Christians— Expenses 
of the Table — Grafting of Mangoes — Provisions, Fruit, 
and Wine 235 

CHAPTER XII. 

Difficulties of Driving— Red Dust— Venerable Groves- 
Temples and Dharani Salas— The Dheer's Well— The 



CONTEXTS. XI 

Edgar — Churches and Chapels — Refuges for Lepers — 
The Jack-tree — Jungle Creepers — Drives about the 
Camp — Uses of the Acacia-tree— The Commissariat 
Lines — Intelligent Elephants — Cultivation of Cotton 
— Camping Parties — Fashionable Resort — Scene at 
the Band Stand — Dogs Military and Civilian — Jam- 
bottee 266 

CHAPTER XIII. 

Old Mosque— The Nag, or Cobra Tank— Sharpur— Popu- 
lation — Jewellers — Curiosities — Sacred Stones — An- 
cient Pedigrees — Thugs — Garden Parties — Travelling 
Merchants — Men from the Cannara Jungles — Plants 
and Tame Animals brought for sale — Conjurers and 
Snake-charmers — Indian Jugglers puzzled — A Charm 
against Violence — Mahomedan Burying-places — 
Amusements of the Soldiers — Native Troops — My 
First Christmas in India . . . . 290 



MY YEAE IN AN INDIAN FOET. 



CHAPTER I. 

Voyage to Bombay — The Hindoo — Unpromising Com- 
mencement of the Voyage — Three days in Torbay — 
Sunday on Board — Across the Bay of Biscay — The 
Sierra of Cintra — Gibraltar Passed — The Mediter- 
ranean — Algiers — Carthage — Tunis — Pantalaria — 
Port Said — Perilous Position of the Arabia — A Day 
on Shore — Land of the Pharaohs — The Suez Canal — 
Pilgrims — Ismiilia. 

A START for a far-distant country must, even 
under the most favourable circumstances, 
be accompanied by some emotions of sadness. 
There was certainly nothing exhilarating in our 
departure for India. Up at daybreak on a foggy 
January morning, a hurried breakfast, a crush 
into the family omnibus, a tedious delay in a 
narrow street where gas-pipes were being laid 
down, a tramp through long lanes lined by bales 
and boxes, a climb up a greasy ladder, and we 
stood upon the dirt-begrimed deck of the Hindoo f 
VOL. I. B 



2 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

a steamer of four hundred horse-power, bound 
for Bombay. 

Our first impulse was to count heads, and 
these, consisting, in addition to M. and myself, 
of three children, three nurses, two Irish setters, 
a terrier, and two goats, were happily found all 
right. Our next step was to descend and see 
what our cabins were like, and having satisfied 
our curiosity on this point, we felt ourselves at 
leisure to mount to the upper deck, and survey 
the scene presented by the various groups as- 
sembled below, our companions to be for the 
next five weeks. 

All had a subdued manner, and some looked 
just slightly cross, as I have no doubt we also 
did ; but the appearance of all improved under 
more favourable circumstances, and we trusted 
that our visages also lighted up. The scene 
upon the lower deck, and alongside on the 
crowded wharf, was dismal; poverty and squalor, 
dirt and disorder, reigned supreme. Everything 
seemed to have a leaden hue, and a stifling 
smoke-laden atmosphere enveloped all. My 
memory dwells but on one bright speck, the 
cheerful scarlet of a petticoat worn by a woman 
who was waving a tearful adieu to her friends. 

The ship was by no means ready for sailing. 
She had only been in dock thirteen days, and 



VOYAGE TO BOMBAY. 3 

the bedding was damp. In my cabin I found a 
broken cart and ninepins, belonging doubtless 
to its former juvenile occupant. To make mat- 
ters still more deplorable, the weather, after we 
had started, was almost as bad as it could be. 
We made scarcely any way. The captain 
passed two very anxious nights on deck, and 
the narrow vessel — only thirty-eight feet wide 
by four hundred long, built to pass through the 
Suez Canal — rolled terribly. The ornamental 
part of the upper deck was carried away by the 
violence of the sea, and the berths being all 
more or less wet, we were very miserable, added 
to which I had a private grievance of my own. 
Dogs not being allowed in the saloon, my poor 
Bustle was ruthlessly ordered off to Mr. Needles, 
the butcher, under whose care he was placed. 
How I used to struggle over the wave- washed 
deck to feed him, and impart a little comfort to 
my desolate favourite, no one but a lover of 
dogs can imagine. The poor creature I really 
believe would have died, had not the captain 
allowed him to come below, in order to enjoy 
the sport of hunting the rats which infested our 
cabins, impudently eating our biscuits, and nib- 
bling holes in our clothes. 

It was not long before Mr. Bustle became quite 
a favourite with the good-natured passengers, 

B 2 



4 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

who called him Monsieur Tourneur, and other 
pet names. We lay three days in Torbay, into 
which a number of other ships ran for shelter, 
among them a fine P. and 0. steamer, also 
bound for Bombay. Having sailed a day in 
advance of the Hindoo, she had been roughly 
handled by the waves, and was obliged to put 
back. With the exception of the captain, no 
one went on shore, and he paid two shillings 
for a boat to take him there and back. Owing 
to the stormy condition of the sea, he had to 
choose the right moment to jump in, and after- 
wards told us that he reckoned the distance be- 
tween the top of the wave and the trough of the 
sea to be at least twelve feet. The sight of the 
elements at war, the flashes of lightning and 
the peals of thunder, were most exciting. When 
the white squalls came on, a small part of the sea 
would be suddenly covered with foam, a torrent 
of rain would pour down upon the spot, and, as 
it spread, gradually obscure land, sea, and sky, 
leaving us in all but complete darkness. 

Torbay, I understand, is very dangerous when 
the wind blows from the west. Captain Cousins 
(our captain) told us that once when, with forty- 
seven other ships, he had to run in for safety, 
the wind suddenly veered round in the night, 
and all the vessels, with the exception of two, 



SUNDAY ON BOARD. 5 

were either stranded or more or less injured. 

In spite of the gales, Sunday brought with 
it a young clergyman from Torquay to conduct 
divine service, and all assembled in the long 
saloon to take part in the religious duty. After- 
wards one Sunday on board was precisely like 
another. The ladies assembled in fresh toilettes. 
The gentlemen did their little best to imitate 
them, with crisp white cuffs and collars, and 
dandy neck-ties ; but it was really a pretty 
sight to see the Hindoo sailors muster in their 
stainless cotton dresses, bound round the waist 
by crimson silk sashes. 

At ten o'clock precisely two very handsome 
copper-coloured Bengalese dived into a cup- 
board, brought forth a number of Bibles and 
prayer-books, and began to rig up the reading- 
desk. First they produced two very large 
chess-boards, then a couple of bed-pillows were 
fetched from below, after which the union-jack 
was carefully spread over the erection, which 
was further secured by a long thick rope coiled 
around it. The service commenced with the 
regulation hymn, including the verse, " I have 
seen the works of the Lord, and His wonders in 
the deep," and everyone knows the beautiful 
air to which those words are set, ending with 
the refrain, 



6 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

" Oh ! hear us when we cry to Thee, 
For those in peril on the sea." 

Always touching, this hymn was doubly so 
when one glanced up whilst singing it, and 
looked around upon the solitary expanse of 
ocean. No land, no ships in sight, no human 
aid to help us in distress. In such circumstances 
the whole service was felt to be doubly impres- 
sive. 

We rolled through the Bay of Biscay without 
seeing anything of the coast we knew so well, 
and kept clear of Cape St. Vincent, from whence 
the ship usually telegraphs to her owners. As 
we pitched and staggered on in the dark night, 
it was awful to think of the depth of the sea 
beneath. When at seventy miles distance from 
Cape St. Vincent soundings were taken by 
H.M.S. Challenger, a depth of two thousand 
live hundred fathoms was found — nearly three 
miles. 

The first land we sighted was the great 
headland at the mouth of the Tagus, the 
Sierra of Cintra, as the Portuguese call it. 
Here we felt a sensible change in the tempera- 
ture, and having suffered much from cold in the 
early portion of our voyage, the increased 
warmth was now the more delightful. On the 
tenth day after leaving England we skirted 



GIBRALTAR. 7 

the coast of Morocco, and were near enough 
to perceive the serried tails of the Great 
Atlas range. None of its higher peaks, 
which are eternally covered with snow, were 
visible. The great mountain range extends in 
an oblique direction, far inland, and as the 
morning sun lit up the bold swelling hills, they 
looked very imposing. Towards evening we 
had on our right the perpendicular white cliff 
of Trafalgar Bay ; and in the distance was 
the rock of Ceuta, in the centre of a bay 
which we appeared to be entering. " The 
Kock " was hidden from our view by a long 
range of nearer hill. 

As the ship had no time to call at Gibraltar, 
we passed it late at night, when unfortunately 
there was no moon. We saw the lighthouse at 
the point, but that was all. " Gib " is by no 
means given to illuminations, although its love 
of obscurity is not so great as it was supposed 
to be by a Russian gentleman with whom we 
had once voyaged from Malaga to Gibraltar. He 
was one of those happy individuals who place 
implicit faith in their guide-book, and the one 
he possessed informed him that the garrison 
being in constant fear of a surprise, all the 
houses were painted black, and that every light 
was extinguished at nine o'clock. Algeciras, 



8 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

that paradise of nurserymen, where half the 
hyacinths and tulip-bulbs which supply Europe 
are grown, having nothing to defend but her 
gardens, lay curved along the shore a brilliant 
line of light. 

It was pleasant to exchange the grey waters 
of the Atlantic for the Mediterranean. It would 
have been still more agreeable had its blue 
waves treated us less rudely. Many a familiar 
face at the breakfast-table disappeared, but 
M. and I succeeded, after a struggle, in mount- 
ing to the upper deck, being anxious to catch 
sight of our old friends, the mountains of 
Granada, the snowy peaks of the Sierra Ne- 
vada. How we longed for wings to fly over 
them, to find rest in the green Veda at their 
feet. 

We kept close to the monotonous rock-bound 
coast of Oran, and when the darkness of another 
night had fallen, we surged past the light- 
house, and caught sight of the twinkling lamps 
of Algiers, and thought of the days when we 
had searched its strand for shells, and pieces of 
marble and tesselated pavement on the shore of 
Cape Matifou. 

The next day we passed the high mountains 
of Kabylia, and caught sight of craggy Fort 
Napoleon, which looks down upon a hundred 



ISLAND OF PANT AL ARIA. 9 

villages, the inhabitants of which still make the 
rude herb-stained pottery of their Phoenician 
ancestors, and work in silver varied forms of 
the cross, sole relic of the Christianity which 
they professed under the Romans.* 

The shore became flat before the Tunisian 
frontier was reached. From the sea there is 
little to see that reminds us of the bygone 
glories of Carthage, though the ruins of the re- 
constructed city, in indestructible masses, still 
fringe the shore, her columns still strow the 
strand, and her noble aqueduct, arch after arch, 
an almost unbroken line, still stretches for fifty 
miles along the plain. Through a good glass 
we could just perceive the church which the 
French have built upon the spot where their 
sainted Louis expired. The hills above Tunis, 
famous in story, were dimly visible, and then 
we lost sight of land, until the Island of Pan- 
talaria, formerly belonging to the King of Sicily, 
and used as a penal settlement, came into view. 

An old brick fort stood upon the beach. The 
town is large, and the flat-roofed houses, paint- 

* Among some pottery which I once bought in Kabylia, 
was a small jug of peculiar shape. It was coloured with 
dingy red and yellow, and adorned with slanting lines of 
black, which crossed one another. It precisely resembled 
the jug found by Captain Warren, under the temple at 
Jerusalem, an engraving of which may be seen in his work. 



10 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ed white, rose in gradation, like steps, against 
the side of the mountain, an extinct volcano. 
In spite of its isolated position the place had a 
cheerful air, and the public garden, placed in 
the old crater, appeared to be a charming spot. 
What a splendid sea view it must have com- 
manded ! Pantalaria owes its present pros- 
perity to its vineyards. It exports large quan- 
tities of white and red marsala. The island 
now belongs to the King of Italy. Though 
there was now but an infant moon, the nights 
were made beautiful by the luminous appear- 
ance of the waves. Bright sparks illuminated 
the prow of the vessel, flickered up the ropes, and 
lit up its track with millions of tiny lanterns ; 
and balls of light came dancing along with the 
foam, borne past the sides of the ship by the 
seething waters.* 

Ships generally call at Malta, but we did not 
approach it, although the second-class passen- 
gers were short of water, and had to drink that 
which had been condensed, and even it was 
dealt out sparingly, as every gallon so prepared 
costs eightpence. With the captain it was a 

* It is the Medusa tribe who have the faculty of shedding 
light in the highest degree, and it is thought probable that 
fish which go beyond the depth to which the light of the 
sun penetrates the sea, are endowed with this faculty. 



PORT SAID. 1 1 

consideration both of time and money, the port 
dues at Malta being exceedingly heavy. x\ll 
were on the alert when Port Said was sighted. 
We caught sight first of the tall white light- 
house, which stands at the extremity of a long- 
spit of sand ; then of the breakwater, made of 
huge blocks of concrete, piled up, and black 
with shaggy sea-weed ; and then of the low 
shore, with the wooden railway-station, the 
post-office, long grey lines of sheds, and stretch- 
ing out at the back, the town, with straight 
streets crossing one another with odious regu- 
larity. One row of huts was pointed out as 
having been built by English soldiers, the place 
having served as a depot for some of our troops 
during the Crimea war. Such, with the burn- 
ing sky above and the dazzling sand around, 
was Port Said. Before the process of coaling 
commenced, we had to cover up all our effects. 
The fine black dust is wonderfully penetrating, 
and it was weeks before the three friends, 
Grouse, and Drake, and Bustle, were entirely 
rid of the shining particles. The passengers 
made up little parties for the shore, and M. 
was appealed to for hints as to where to go 
and what to see. M. was considered a great 
authority, quite equal to the task of writing a 
guide-book for Port Said. 



12 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Only seven weeks previously, the Arabia, a 
Ruber tino steamer, on which M. was a passen- 
ger, had come to grief in the Mediterranean, two 
days from land. She broke her screw one night, 
when the gales were frightful, and was in great 
danger. A brig was faintly seen bearing right 
down upon her. The Italian steward explained 
the situation to M., the only one who understood 
and spoke that language, and requested him to 
rouse his companions ; and when the passen- 
gers rushed on deck, a collision between the 
vessels appeared to be inevitable. The brig 
was on the top of the waves, with her bowsprit 
over the deck of the Arabia, which lay in the 
trough of the sea, when a mighty billow broke 
in and parted them. The unknown vessel her- 
self, probably disabled, drifted away, carrying 
with her part of the rigging of the Arabia. The 
steamer sent up rockets as signals for assistance, 
and at last got towed back into Port Said. 
For ten days did poor M., who was in a fever 
of anxiety to get home, pace the sands, and 
torment the agents, in order to know when the 
ship would be able to sail. At last, tired out, 
she and eight of her companions in misfortune 
agreed to take the first steamer which would 
forward them. It proved to be the Mesopo- 
tamia, a little vessel of eight hundred tons, 



PORT SAiD. 13 

bound from the Persian Gulf to Marseilles. In 
spite of heavy gales, she landed them safely in 
France. Curiously enough, Captain Cousins 
knew the Mesopotamia and her captain ; he de- 
clared that it was a fine boat ; he and its com- 
mander were friends, and had served together 
for some years on board the unfortunate Cos- 
patrick. 

Port Said has a considerable but ever-chang- 
ing reputation. It is an evil place, full of billiard- 
rooms, gaming-houses, and low drinking booths, 
where a man must look to his safety after dark. 
All the French officials who are able to do so 
live at Ismalia. It so happened that I and an- 
other lady were for the first hour alone together 
after landing, and found it so unpleasant that 
we were on the point of returning to our boat, 
when by good luck we fell in with some of our 
friends. In the middle of the town there is a 
melancholy pleasure-ground, with scorched grass, 
and shrivelled shrubs covered with dust. Being 
a French settlement, the most prominent object 
is, of course, the Hotel Restaurant and Cafe de 
Paris, a great, rambling, buff-washed building. 
From this centre radiate several streets, with 
wooden houses and colonnades, underneath 
which are the shops. The most prudent of us 
ran wild amongst their contents, eating very 



14 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

dear cakes, which we did not want, and buying 
expensive boxes of pink and white hearts' de- 
light, which we knew would be like so much 
bird-lime in our mouths. 

The Chinese and Japan wares were really 
good, and not dear. We treated ourselves to 
several small articles, along with a pair of 
japanned vases, which we designed for lamps, 
and made a mental note to the effect that we 
should be well furnished with such articles if we 
ever visited the place again. 

The streets were thronged with disreputable- 
looking people ; the Europeans were chiefly 
French, and surely there is ou earth no vaga- 
bond like a French vagabond. He is the sort 
of individual who would rob you with a debon- 
naire air, and take off his hat whilst stealing 
your purse. There was to be a masked ball in 
the town that evening, and the exteriors of 
many shops were decorated with masks and 
dominos, tall clannish hats, and highly-glazed 
calico costumes of every shape and colour. In 
the middle of one street stalked an all but un- 
draped madman, who was endeavouring to hold 
three umbrellas over his head — an object of 
derision to the low Europeans, but of venera- 
tion to the natives. As is usually the case in 
such places, we were unmercifully tormented 



PORT SA'iD. 15 

by beggars and little boys, and had the inevit- 
able quarrel with our boatmen before returning 
on board. 

When our company were again assembled, 
we compared notes as to what we had seen and 
done ; some, not having had enough of the sea, 
had taken a steam-launch, and had examined 
the breakwater and the light-house. Our 
friends, the M. A s, had visited the ceme- 
tery, in order to see the grave of a young 
friend, an officer, who had died of fever in this 
wretched hole. They were quite dejected with 
the dirt and neglect which they had found. 
" My dear," said the Colonel to his wife, " if I 
die at Port Said, bury me in the sea. That, at 
least, will be a clean grave." Dick's goat had 
died, I fear, of cold and exposure (Dick was the 
adored baby), and from Port Said M. took the 
opportunity of telegraphing to Suez for another. 
Coaling went on all night, but at eleven in the 
morning we steamed off, in spite of the absence of 
three passengers, whom the warning guns had 
failed to bring back from too protracted wander- 
ings on the shore. We got quite excited in 
thinking how they would contrive to catch the 
vessel, for we soon perceived that a boat was 
slowly toiling after us, making so little way 
that its occupants were obliged to change it for 



16 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

another, in which, with some difficulty, they 
succeeded in reaching the Hindoo, which did not 
stop one moment to take them up. It was 
somewhat awkward for the ladies, one of whom 
was stout ; but at last they reached the deck, 
with tempers slightly ruffled ; and they were 
certainly received in a very unsympathising 
manner. The captain explained that it was 
impossible for him to wait a moment after the 
ship was ready to start, especially as another 
vessel, one of the Ducal line, was anxious to get 
before him, and it was desirable to have the way 
as clear as possible. He had once been detained 
six days in the canal, in consequence of ships in 
advance having stuck. 

It was delightful to sit down in a shady 
corner and watch the landscape, as the plains 
over which the Israelites had wandered lay 
extended before me. The land of the Pharaohs 
was a dead flat, bounded only by the distant 
horizon. To the left lay a stony desert, but 
to the right spread the shallow waters of Lake 
Menzaleh, the abiding place of innumerable 
wild-fowl. Ducks, with feathers that shone like 
silver, floated about in thousands ; knots of peli- 
cans, fishing for their noonday meal ; red-billed 
cranes, standing on one leg, profoundly occupied 
in regarding their reflection in the water. The 



THE SUEZ CANAL. 17 

air was also tenanted. The brilliant scarlet 
plumage of the flamingos flashed in the sun- 
shine as they wheeled about in the cloudless 
sky ; and stiff-legged storks skimmed along in 
wedge-shaped battalions, led by some crafty 
traveller, who had flapped his wings over many 
a land. Who knows ? — he might have supped 
upon the banks of Father Nile, dozed the night 
away upon the great pyramid, and the morrow's 
noon might see him hovering over the highlands 
of Abyssinia. The mirage is often seen to great 
advantage from this part of the canal, but on 
the present occasion the weather was unfavour- 
able to any striking display of the phenomenon. 
Occasionally we imagined that there was a tree 
or an island, where their existence was impos- 
sible ; and there was ' sometimes a deceptive 
mingling of sand, hill, and cloud — but that was 
all. 

There were fourteen ships before us, and two 
or three were in our rear. The regulation 
speed is four and a half miles an hour. Under 
certain circumstances the mail boats are allowed 
to pass ahead. The etiquette of the canal is 
strictly enforced, and in narrow or winding 
places — for the line taken is far from straight — 
there are sidings into which ships can enter and 
allow others to go ahead ; and at the frequent 
, , VOL. I. C 



18 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

stations, which are also telegraph-offices, signals 
are run up for the instruction of the pilot. The 
signals for stopping were very simple ; two or 
three cocoa-nuts strung on a rope, or two 
gourds and a small flag. 

These stations, which are long and low, are 
built of wood, and their rustic porches were 
covered with creepers. It was pleasant to see 
such pretty home-like places, each with its 
patch of garden and grassy banks, little green 
oases in the sandy desert. 

Occasionally we saw a colourless village, built 
of mudand straw; and little naked children would 
run down to peep at us, and scamper off again. 
Now and then a tall, dark man, draped in an 
ample burnous of striped black and white flannel, 
with a formidable bludgeon in his hand, would 
pass along on the raised footpath, accompanied, 
possibly, by wife or daughter, huddled up on 
the back of a camel — simple scenes, which were 
pleasant to behold. The first large steamer 
which we met was packed with pilgrims bound 
from Jeddo to Alexandria. The crowd on her 
decks was great, and there were groups and 
figures so remarkable that they fixed them- 
selves in our memory. 

Majestic old men, with flowing beards of 
purest white, with immense turbans, and robes, 
occasionally of the sacred green, but stained 



THE SOMALIS. 19 

with travel, leant upon their tall staffs, and 
gravely regarded us. Their loins were girded 
by leathern belts, to which were appended 
gourds of fantastic form for holding water. 
There were others — the wildest-looking beings 
that it was possible to conceive — who leant over 
the side of the ship and grinned at us. They 
were Somalis, a people whose habit it is to 
keep their heads cool by plastering them over 
with chenam, a mixture of earth and lime, which 
bleaches the hair, and makes it exceedingly 
coarse. Their shaks, of tawny hue, entirely 
concealed their foreheads, and formed a pent- 
house over their fierce eyes.* Some women 
were huddled up in a corner. Untempting 
bundles of dirty cotton, pots and pans, and 
sacks of grain, were heaped up on the deck, where 
there scarcely appeared to be sufficient room to 
stand ; and loops of sausages, and other edibles, 
were festooned about. Conspicuous among the 
crowd were the tall Egyptian guards, stern, 

* Somali land is a triangular country, containing 330,000 
square miles. It is bordered on the north by the Gulf of 
Aden, on the south by the Indian Ocean, and on the south- 
west by the river Jub, which rises in southern Abyssinia. 
The present Somali race were originally Arabs, who landed 
on the African shore in the fifteenth century, driving back 
the original inhabitants of the country, who had, in early 
times, become Christians. The Sornalis are Moslems. 

c2 



20 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

dark men, with broad shoulder-belts and girdles 
bristling with weapons, placed there to keep the 
peace, and to prevent anyone from landing in 
the Khedive's dominions, and by chance import- 
ing cholera or plague. 

Contagious diseases are of frequent occur- 
rence on board pilgrim ships, and they have 
consequently to undergo a quarantine of forty 
days wherever they stop. It is most unpleasant 
to sail in a boat which has ever been used for 
the conveyance of pilgrims. (Having experi- 
enced the disagreeable consequences, I speak 
feelingly.) They abound with obnoxious in- 
sects, which swarm out of the woodwork in 
legions, and no amount of care can subdue 
them. 

The pilgrim ship was soon out of sight, and 
shortly after we passed a fine P. and O. steamer 
— a great contrast to the one with which we 
had just parted company. She ran up her flag 
and the Hindoo returned the compliment. With 
the exception of the men and officers engaged 
in working the ship, there was not a soul on 
her decks. A face appeared for a moment at a 
cabin window, a white hand was waved from a 
port-hole, and she went swiftly on her way. 
There was something strangely impressive, 
almost ghostly, in these silent meetings, where 



RUINS OF MIGDOL. 21 

people who had never met before, and would 
probably never meet again, exchanged un- 
asked-for photographs, possibly to be preserved 
in the mind's eye as long as life lasted. Be- 
fore reaching Kontora, some hillocks in the dis- 
tance were pointed out as the ruins of Migdol 
(not to be confounded with the Migdol upon the 
Ked Sea). At the station of Kontora, which 
lies at the head of the great lagoon lake, and is 
five geographical miles from the sea, the influ- 
ence of the Mediterranean tide ceases to be 
perceptible. Steamers are not allowed to pro- 
ceed after sunset. We dropped anchor as close 
as possible to the sandy shore. The short twi- 
light was soon gone, but the evening air was 
delightfully balmy. I sat in a quiet mood, 
watching the crescent moon, which I fancied to 
be unusually large and bright. Lower and 
lower she sank, until she rested like an ark 
upon a low black ridge of distant sand a mo- 
ment, and all that remained of her beauty were 
two brilliant stars, which lingered for an instant 
and disappeared. 

We started as soon as it was light, but had 
to stop in order to let a vessel pass, the canal 
in this part being very narrow. Some of the 
gentlemen took advantage of the delay, and 
went on shore with their guns. They shot 



22 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

some birds, but brought back no trophies, the 
game being lost in the scrub which covered the 
sandy plain. One of the number, however, had 
collected a few plants, amongst which we found 
a strange sort of cactus, and some stiff branches, 
which bore a small white flower, with some 
resemblance to heather. The learned declared 
that the plant was a degenerate sort of palm. 
Once more under way, and the scenery 
changed considerably. Instead of the bound- 
less plain, we now voyaged between banks of 
sand, which were upwards of forty feet high ; 
and the canal was so narrow that a good jumper 
could have leapt across it. Shut in as we 
were, the scenery possessed its own peculiar at- 
traction. The clear water was brilliantly green, 
and contrasted well with the rich light brown 
sand, spotless, save where the tracks of footsteps 
were discernible — the print of naked human 
feet, the hoof of the camel, the buffalo, the ass, 
and the jackal ; or the paws of the panther, the 
cheeta, and the wild cat. Occasionally the long 
tracks of a snake could be traced. To keep 
vigil on the banks of this stream would not 
have been agreeable, when all these creatures 
came down in the moonlight to drink. Occa- 
sionally the banks broke down, and disclosed 
some flat-roofed, sun-scorched village, built of 



ISMALIA. 23 

mud and straw and unbaked bricks ; or we saw 
a knot of hobbled camels, tended by some wild 
dark man, leaning upon his staff, protected 
from the sun by a scarf of coarse striped 
woollen. Such a group may perchance have 
occupied the self-same spot three thousand 
years ago. Shortly before sunset we came 
upon a number of men who were at work upon 
the banks, which have to be attended to con- 
stantly; Some of them, their duty being done, 
had laid themselves down to sleep, while others 
were grouped round fires, baking the peculiar 
flat cake which is the staple food of the country. 
The scene was exceedingly picturesque. 

Ismalia is generally reached on the evening 
of the second day, but it was not so upon this 
occasion, our progress being slow. We stuck 
no less than nine times. Immediately the ship 
ran her prow into the bank, she swung across 
the stream. We were never aground for more 
than half an hour, having, in consequence of 
our slow pace (less than three miles an hour) 
struck the side of the canal with feeble im- 
petus. On each occasion the uproar was deaf- 
ening — such an issuing of orders through 
speaking-trumpets, such shouts from the crew, 
and such guttural responses from the shore, 
where men appeared to spring out of the very 



24 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

sand, anxious to lend their aid, and gain the 
expected reward. Sometimes horses and don- 
keys were pressed into the service. The men 
were powerful, and their clothing scanty, but 
a dark skin takes away much of the appearance 
of nakedness, and the absence of costume passes 
unnoticed, save when the perfect proportions of 
some particular figure strike the eye, and you 
remark, " What a fine form !" as if in a gallery 
of bronzes. 

We entered Lake Taman early in the morn- 
ing, but were not allowed to land at Ismalia. 
We had a good view of the town from 
our anchorage. It is full of modern houses, 
inhabited by French employes and their families. 
The Viceroy has a Summer palace upon the 
banks of the lake — a huge square stone building, 
standing amidst sand-hills, without any appear- 
ance of vegetation near it. At Ismalia, the 
fresh-water canal, which was made in order to 
supply the workmen on the line with whole- 
some drinking water from the Nile, enters Lake 
Taman. If I do not mistake, the bed formed 
part of the ancient canal dug by Sesostris. We 
were amused by the bumboats which came 
alongside ; they were fitted out with such a 
queer collection of articles — coarse shoes, black 
bread, onions, and hearts' delight; but the most 



MATERNAL MONKEYS. 25 

attractive part of their cargo were the monkeys, 
which they occasionally sell to homeward-bound 
passengers. Some of the little ones were pretty 
and playful — not so their seniors. One mother 
was continually pinching her little ones, and 
pulling faces at them ; whilst another, with 
higher maternal instincts, spent her time in 
gravely searching for the parasites with which 
her offspring were infested. 



26 



CHAPTER II. 

Chateau Eugenie— Suez— The Wells of Moses— The Red 
Sea— Remarkable Coral Reefs— Island of Perim— 
Novel Postman — Aden — Arabian Dhowd— Signal of 
Distress— Sea-beggars— Socotra— Flying Fish— Arri- 
val at Bombay— The Esplanade Hotel— Pamphlets— 
First Aspect of Bombay — Equipages— Parsee Women 
—Polo— The Native Town. 

SHORTLY after leaving Ismalia, we crossed 
the bitter lakes— bitter no longer, now 
that they feel the influence of the tide from the 
Red Sea, which at Suez rises six or eight feet. 
The level of the Red Sea is, I believe, eighteen 
inches higher than that of the Mediterranean; 
When we again entered the canal, the naviga- 
tion became difficult, and many dredging-ma- 
chines were at work. The sharp elbows were 
frequent, and it was by no means easy for so 
long a vessel as ours to turn them, especially 
as the sand appeared sometimes to bar all fur- 
ther progress. The captain, and the pilot whom 
we had taken on board at Ismalia, along with 
four men, were at the wheel. 



CHATEAU EUGENIE. 27 

At a short distance from Suez stands the 
Chateau Eugenie, which was built for the ac- 
commodation of the Empress when she came to 
open the canal. It is a large square wooden 
house, with verandahs, and bears a considerable 
resemblance to the grand stand on some race- 
course. Seen from the water, Suez is a bright- 
looking town, but " distance lends enchantment 
to the view/' The tapering spire of the cathe- 
dral, the large hotel built by the Khedive, and 
a long row of substantial, green-shuttered 
houses, give it an air of false importance and 
respectability. Its dark houses are very unsafe* 
It has lost the little trade it once enjoyed, and 
travellers pass it by. Two or three ancient 
wells near the town, surrounded by trees, are 
called the wells of Moses, and at the back rise 
fine crags, serrated and lightning scathed, a 
spur of the Sinia range. Some authorities be- 
lieve the present camel ford close to the har- 
bour to be the track crossed by the Israelites, 
and we willingly entertained the idea, as it- 
gave additional interest to the scene. 

Before we started, our new goat was put on 
board, along with her little one. The expres- 
sion and features of animals vary as much in 
different countries as do those of the human 
race. Our new acquaintance was a large, gaunt 



28 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

creature, with a Roman nose, and fine long hair 
of a bluish grey colour. I regarded her with awe 
• — who knows ? her fore-mothers might have sup- 
plied the babes in the time of the Pharaohs with 
milk, or ministered to the wants of Joseph. Her 
ladyship was by no means shy. To the astonish- 
ment of the captain, the amusement of the com- 
pany, and the vast indignation of the pompous 
steward, she and her kid quietly walked into 
the saloon during the sacred hour of dinner, 
calmly surveyed the scene, and not finding it 
to her mind, marched through and departed, 
possibly on the search for her late master's hut. 
As we slowly steamed round the long spit 
of land which forms the harbour, we passed a 
garden, in the centre of which stood a hand- 
some stone pediment, supporting a bust in 
bronze — a memorial erected by the canal com- 
pany as a tribute to the memory of the unfor- 
tunate Lieutenant Waghorn. The dues paid 
to the company at first strike one to be enor- 
mous. Those of the Hindoo amounted, I be- 
lieve, to fifteen hundred pounds — little enough, 
however, when the time and money saved by 
this route are taken into consideration. The 
distance to India by the Cape is eleven thousand 
eight hundred miles — by the canal it is six 
thousand five hundred. 



INDIFFERENCE OF INDIAN PASSENGERS. 29 

We had now, to my regret, done with the 
canal. I believe that I was the only person on 
board who had enjoyed the transit, or taken 
an interest in the time-hononred plains through 
which we had passed. We glided into the Gulf 
a little before sunset. A glorious light burnished 
the far-stretching range of hill upon the Egyp- 
tian shore, but the dark blue mountains of Sinia 
were in shade. The lateness of the hour was 
much to be regretted, for in consequence of it 
we lost a long stretch of beautiful scenery. I 
was on deck with the dawning day, and the 
captain was kind enough to show me his charts, 
at the same time remarking how seldom pas- 
sengers cared to relinquish an hour or two of 
sleep in order to see this fine gulf. It is a curi- 
ous fact that people who would rise with the 
lark in order to gaze upon a sunrise in Switzer- 
land, or a castle on the Rhine, will scarcely 
mount to the deck to look at anything remarkable 
on their passage to the East. The very name 
of India appears to cast a spell of indifference 
over those who have touched her shores, or are 
likely to visit them. The secret may be that 
the hearts of both the outward and the home- 
ward-bound are full to overflowing with memo- 
ries of their native land. The point of view 
from whence a glimpse of the peak of Sinia is 



30 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

sometimes obtained, we had passed in the night, 
but were still skirting the range. It looked 
very fine as the mild sun of early morning lit 
up the great masses and points of rock. 

We had entered the Red Sea, and were now 
in the Straits of Jubal, which are lined with 
coral reefs ; nor is the mid channel free from 
dangerous islands and hidden spurs, and even 
in calm weather the watch is doubled. When 
stormy it is a most anxious time for the ship's 
officers, and even the captain remains on deck 
at night. We felt the periodical current which 
flows into the Red Sea from October to May. 
From May to October the flow of the current is 
reversed.* Once more we saw the Egyptian 
cliffs at sunset. They glowed like copper, richer 
colouring it was impossible to imagine. As the 
hours flew by we caught sight of mountains to 
the right, and far inland, some of which attained 
a height of seven thousand feet, and shortly 
afterwards the Elba mountains in Arabia, which 
are nine thousand feet high, loomed grandly in 
the far distance. Oh ! for the wings of a dove, 
to have explored them ! 

Losing sight of land, we encountered a gale, 
and rolled terribly. The Hindoo was too long 

* Somerville's Physical Geography, vol. i., p. 249. 



A GALE. 31 

to ride the waves, but "she cut her bright 
way through." The skylights were batteued 
down, all loose articles secured, the saloon 
carpet was taken up, and stout wooden slides, 
four feet high, were slipped into the doorways. 
Prostrate forms strewed the sofas, and dismal 
groans issued from below. Holding tight to 
the woodwork, I could see what was going on 
outside this little Pandemonium. Every four or 
five minutes there was a bang, succeeded by a 
momentary interval of silence and then a mighty 
roar. The staggering ship was stunned, and 
when she recovered herself, quivering and 
groaning like a wounded creature, the water 
came rushing along the deck, and foamed away 
through the rope bulwarks, which caught all 
the waifs left about by the heedless and the 
sick — mops, and pails, and camp-stools, books, 
bits of needlework, handkerchiefs, and stray 
wraps. 

All this time the sun shone brilliantly. The 
fine spray, hurled high into the air, was tinged 
with prismatic colours, flickering rainbows of 
exceeding beauty, and dead white sea-crests, 
curled and rushed impetuously down into gulfs 
of deepest indigo. The sight was magnificent, 
and I felt that I should soon learn to prefer rough 
weather to the monotony of a calm at sea. When 
the ocean is perfectly smooth I always experi- 



32 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ence a vague sense of disappointment, and the 
vast plain of water fails to excite my enthusiasm. 
After a few hours the wind fell, and we were 
able to resume our seats upon the upper deck, 
to mark the distant sail by day, and at night to 
watch the increasing moon. 

We reached a part of the Red Sea where two 
very remarkable coral reefs stand out of the 
water. They are so symmetrically formed that 
they appear as if they had been shaped by the 
hand of man. Their perpendicular sides rise 
high out of the water, and their tops are per- 
fectly level. Upon one of them there is a beacon, 
and an apparatus for signalling. Ships pass as 
far from these islands as possible, for they are 
dangerous neighbours. Not many years ago a 
fine French steamer was lost upon the smaller 
of the two, and all hands perished. In rough 
weather the sea dashes completely over them. 
At the mouth of the Straits of Babelmandeb 
(" The Gate of Tears !") lies the large volcanic 
Island of Perim. At a little distance from it a 
fine mass of red rock rises abruptly from the 
water. It reminded me of the Bass rock, and 
all the more as it was covered with silvery sea- 
fowl. The French tried hard to get possession 
of Perim, but the officer who commanded the ex- 
pedition which was to plant the French drapeau 



PERIM. 33 

on its shore talked a little too much. The Eng- 
lish, consequently, were too prompt for him, and 
when the representative of " La Belle France " 
arrived, he found the union-jack floating over 
the island. Since then a small garrison has been 
maintained upon it, as its position is important. 
We saw the lonely row of barracks stretching 
along behind the tall spectral lighthouse. 

I afterwards met with a friend whose husband 
had commanded this little force of fifty sepoys, 
who, along with herself and children, a con- 
densing engineer, a native apothecary, and a 
certain number of Somali followers, composed 
the sole population of the black rock, which has 
neither soil nor fresh water. The sole vegeta- 
tion consists of a few bastard cocoa-nut palms, 
which bend away from the prevalent gales, and 
a little scrubby plant, with a tiny yellow flower, 
which creeps among the sandhills. The family 
were put upon a small daily allowance of con- 
densed water, which unfortunately will not bear 
exposure to a hot atmosphere. All provisions 
were of course brought from Aden, a distance of 
ninety miles. Fish was good and plentiful, but 
there was no one to catch it until my friends 
imported a fisherman, who skilfully threw his 
nets from the rocks, and supplied their table, 
while shell-fish also were procured. The 

VOL. I. D 



34 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

position was rendered still less desirable by the 
tediousness of the postal arrangements. They 
only received their letters once a fortnight. 
For some reason with which I am unac- 
quainted, passing steamers were not allowed 
to convey them. They were brought by land, 
a six days' march for a man and his camels, 
along the Arabian shore. When this novel post- 
man arrived at his destination, his duty was to 
light a great bonfire, in order to attract the 
attention of the watchful Perimites, who, it may 
be imagined, lost no time in sending their boat to 
fetch the precious mail-bags. Letters were 
opened and answered in hot haste, the little 
boat set forth again upon its three mile voyage, 
and the weary camel-driver re-commenced his 
six days' march over the burning sands. Rare 
shells strow the shore of this island, and occa- 
sionally fine bunches of coral, white and red and 
black, are washed up. A story is told, which 
probably rests upon some slight foundation, of 
an officer in charge of the Perim detachment, 
who, at the expiration of his term, applied to 
have it renewed; the request was granted 
without difficulty; but a similar application, 
made at the expiration of the second term, 
so astonished the authorities, that they sent 
to inquire how the gentleman was amusing 



ADEN. 35 

himself, and found that he had gone to Eng- 
land. 

Long before Aden (a name which signifies 
Paradise) is reached, the distant Arabian 
shore is again seen, broken into precipitous 
gaps and headlands. For hours the great 
rock is visible, a blue stain upon the horizon, 
which gradually assumes form and colour. Im- 
mediately before reaching Aden, some very 
curious small volcanic hills and cliffs are passed. 
The latter are very high, and the strata, which 
is varied in colour, and strongly marked, almost 
perpendicular. These heights are so fantasti- 
cally shaped that it is difficult to believe that 
they are not an assemblage of ruined fortifica- 
tions. The base of the cliffs is honeycombed 
with mysterious- looking caves — and there were 
many charming little coves. What treasures 
might not be strown upon their yellow sands ! 
Coral and amber (it is the land of amber), shells 
and sea-weeds ! Alas ! they were not for us to 
gather ! 

We slackened steam off Aden, but did not 
stop, passing the mouth of the harbour very 
slowly. The long lines of the cavalry barracks 
were before us, but we saw nothing of most of 
our forces, which are hidden away in the crater 
of the loug extinct volcano. The European 

D 2 



36 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

town lies at the back of the rock. I am not 
acquainted with the exact scale either of Gibral- 
tar or of Aden, but the former is certainly far 
the finest of the two rocks. Aden must be a 
wretched place to live in for any length of time. 
The want of fresh water is felt, in spite of the 
numerous and powerful condensers, and the 
wells are all more or less brackish. A certain 
amount of each kind is doled out per head, 
according to regulation. If I do not mistake, 
a lady has five gallons of each per diem allowed 
to her. Cattle also have their allowance. The 
little Aden cow, unrivalled as a milker, will flour- 
ish upon the most brackish quality. The want 
of green stuff is also distressing, although 
Government has large gardens thirty miles off, 
upon the Arabian coast. The great pest of the 
place are the myriads of insects, which allow of 
no rest during the day, though at night they 
fortunately cease to torment. I had always 
fancied that there was delightful bathing at 
Aden, but it is seldom resorted to, the shore 
being inconveniently set with sharp rocks, in 
addition to which it is dangerous on account of 
the tides, which rise and fall with violence, and 
sometimes the wash brings in unwilling and un- 
welcome guests in the shape of sharks. 

As long as we were under the shelter of the 



THE RED SEA. 37 

rock_, the sea was calm, and great numbers of 
sea-jellies vibrated up and down in the clear 
green water, looking like lovely pink flowers, 
all of the same colour. Borne along by the 
same current streamed glossy green and brown 
and red sea-weeds. I spent half the after- 
noon in looking down into this delightful sub- 
marine garden. For some time, not one sea- 
flower was to be seen, and then suddenly 
whole fields of jellies came floating by ; but the 
charming visions disappeared all too soon. The 
crisp waves began to curl, and when we were 
fairly away from the influence of the land, it 
became very stormy. Before evening closed in 
we were passed by an old-fashioned Arabian 
vessel, called a dhowd, a strange-looking craft, 
with a very high poop, and three tiers of port- 
holes. She looked like some ancient galley that 
had sailed out of a picture. The dhowds were 
formerly almost all either slave or pirate ships. 
We were not so fortunate as to observe in this 
sea any of that ruddy appearance which, in so 
many languages, has procured for it the appel- 
lation of the Red Sea. A Belgian savant, Mon- 
sieur Mossen, after collecting together nearly all 
that had been written on the subject of red 
water from the days of Moses down to our own, 
gives a list of twenty-two species of animals, and 



38 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

almost as many plants, capable of communicat- 
ing this blood colour. Some seas are tinged 
with yellow instead of red. This sea sawdust, 
as the sailors call it, is of vegetable origin. 

As we passed into the Arabian Sea, I strained 
my eyes to catch a glimpse of the Island of 
Socotra, which has a somewhat curious history. 
In very remote times it had an independent 
king, and afterwards became the seat of con- 
siderable traffic. It was used as a kind of store- 
house by the merchants who traded between 
Egypt and the East, and its inhabitants were 
christianized at a very early period. The low- 
lands of Socotra are now overrun by a few 
wandering Arab tribes, but its hills are popu- 
lated by the families of Bunian traders, many 
of whom are rich. It exports large quantities 
of aloes. The island enjoys a busy port, and 
it is probable that an active future awaits it. 
It is now thought to be rich in coal fields, and 
there is even a whisper that it may ere long be 
occupied by British troops. Socotra is a hun- 
dred miles long by forty broad, and is five 
hundred and fifty miles from Aden. 

One morning the monotony of our voyage 
was broken by the appearance of a distant ship 
making signals of distress. Our captain stopped 
his vessel, and the strange barque put off a boat,, 



SEA-BEGGARS. 39 

which boarded us. It contained five men — an 
Arab and four negroes. The Arab, who was 
wrapped up in an ample bernous, was a tall, 
copper-coloured man, with fine features; the 
others were negroes of the true African type. 
They had fine limbs and shapely heads, thickly 
covered with dusky hair, curled as tight as that 
of an Australian sheep. Their skins were per- 
fectly black, and were smeared with oil. They 
said that they belonged to a ship with a crew 
of thirty men, bound from Zanzibar to Jeddo, 
and that having experienced bad weather, they 
had lost their reckoning. Their final request 
was to be informed as to their position ; and 
then they prayed for food and water, the latter 
of which they declared that they had not 
tasted for six days. Our captain was very 
kind, and gave them two bags of rice and a 
barrel of water, at the same time remarking that 
they might have brought with them empty 
sacks and a tub. They offered to pay in salt, 
which they declared to be all they had ; and 
this being declined, they rowed off, with small 
demonstrations of gratitude. Were they really 
in want, or were they sea-beggars V This no 
one could decide ; and there were various 
opinions upon the subject. 

The days we spent upon the Arabian Sea 



40 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

were pleasant, but far from eventful, the only 
variety being the sight of a few whales playing 
about — a species of animal, which, though small 
in this sea, is exceedingly pugnacious. Shoals 
of porpoises, with an occasional flight of paddy 
birds, were all we had to divert us; but the 
morning and evening skies were glorious. The 
beauty of one particular night is deeply im- 
pressed on my memory. The sun, a ball of 
ardent red, was sinking into the sea, whilst in 
the opposite direction the full moon, a huge 
disk of golden pink, rose above the horizon. 
The grand effect of the mingling lights upon 
sea and sky was indescribable. I was drinking in 
the beautiful scene with delight, when my at- 
tention was attracted by a small brown object, 
which emerged from the waves, and which I 
soon saw was a flying-fish. This was the first 
opportunity I had of seeing those beautiful 
little creatures. Afterwards they were to be 
seen in numbers. It would be pleasant to 
believe that the flying-fish leave their native 
element in sport, but, alas ! there is no doubt 
that their object is to escape from some danger 
which threatens them in the sea beneath. They 
are able to support themselves in the air only 
as long as their wings remain moist. If, how- 
ever, they just touch the water occasionally, 



ARRIVAL AT BOMBAY. 41 

they are capable of skimming along for two or 
three hundred yards. 

As evening stole on, the upper deck was now 
a delightful resort — every spar, every rope was 
sharply defined against a clear green sky. 
Surely moonlight upon the sea is one of the 
most beautiful effects in nature ; still we were 
almost inclined to wish the Lady Moon could 
have remained away, the large quiet stars being- 
eclipsed by her light, and the luminous ap- 
pearance generally seen upon the waves render- 
ed invisible. 

In spite of her long detention upon the Eng- 
lish coast, and the constant head winds which 
she encountered, the brave Hindoo accomplished 
her voyage in four weeks and six days. We 
entered the harbour of Bombay early in the 
morning. Even with India before me, I felt a 
pang of regret that the voyage was over. I ran 
on deck, and saw a great deal of shipping, two 
or three lighthouses, the rocky shore of a bay 
fringed with low buildings, a large low fort, 
with a woody hill rising behind it, and some 
cocoa-nut trees, the forms of which were seen 
in clear outlines against the sky. I had scarcely 
time to realize my ideas of the promised land, 
when, amidst the bustle upon deck, I saw a 
well-known form, I heard the kindest of voices, 



42 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

and there was G , all anxiety to greet his 

wife and children. 

Before we well knew what we were about, 
we found ourselves at breakfast in a large room, 
eating phomphlets, a small fish, for which Bom- 
bay is celebrated. I did not think much either 
of it, or of the curry which followed ; but a kind 
of very thin biscuit, served with the latter, and 
made of fish, which goes by the name of Bom- 
bay duck, was novel and good. 

The Esplanade is a monster hotel. On the 
first floor is a large verandah, charmingly ar- 
ranged with ferns and leafy plants. Part of 
this was set aside as a kind of bazaar, where 
merchants spread their wares. There were all 
sorts of ivory boxes, inlaid with silver, and lined 
with sandal-wood ; besides various articles in 
black wood, carved in the neighbourhood. (In 
India each district has its speciality.) There were 
muslins and silk embroidery from Delhi, and 
silver ornaments from Cutch ; besides English 
productions. In front of the hotel there was a 
large green, or rather, a piece of ground which 
ought to have been green, on which stood some 
exceedingly handsome public buildings, built of 
rough-hewn stone. Endless streams of people 
passed along in gay costumes and large tur- 
bans. The carriages struck me as strange, yet 



BOMBAY. 43 

still familiar, for among them I saw the bygone 
cabriolet of my youth, the risky little vehicle 
Avhich so suddenly vanished to make way for 
the national hansom. I verily believe that they 
were the identical conveyances transported 
from their native land years ago. Then there 
were shigrams, and buggies, and unpainted 
broughams ; besides the skeleton omnibus, 
which ran on a tramway, where people, shel- 
tered by an awning, appeared to be sitting upon 
nothing at all ; and, strangest of all, the horses 
which drew it had bonnets on — not the airy 
nothing of these days, but the useful coal- 
scuttle, which no one but a village goody now 
condescends to wear. During the hot weather 
the company lost so many animals from sun- 
stroke, that they hit upon this remarkable 
device. 

We had apartments on the second story, large 
airy rooms, with balconies, very pleasant after 
our tiny cabins. We sank into some easy rock- 
ing-chairs, and then, with delighted eyes, sur- 
veyed the curiosities which Gr had collected 

during his tour. He had been at Aden, and 
brought from thence black rosaries, inlaid with 
white dots of silver, rosaries which had touched 
the Caba stone at Mecca, and various other 
curiosities. 



44 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

I longed to go out immediately, but one great 
drawback in the East is that one is shorn of 
one's liberty, and I had to wait with all the 
patience I could command until the sun was 
low, when we got into an open carriage which 
G had secured, and set off for " the Stable." 

No stranger has ever been half an hour in 
Bombay without hearing of "the Stable" and 
" the Gulf." Fortunately for me the stable was 
situated at the very end of the bazaar, in the 
heart of the native town. Thither we were 
bound, in order to see a recent purchase of 

G 's, a pair of Arab horses, fresh from the 

Persian Gulf, and he had no unwilling com- 
panion in M., who dearly loves a horse. We 
passed through the modern town, which is 
full of fine buildings, public offices, and private 
houses. Handsome equipages rolled along, but 
the tall black men, with peculiar liveries and 
naked feet, who stood behind each well-appoint- 
ed carriage, had a strange appearance. The 
reclining ladies were such as may be seen any 
fine afternoon in Hyde Park or the Bois. Far 
more interesting were the numbers of Parsi 
women who were walking about in short satin 
skirts of the most brilliant hues — an exquisite 
pale cherry and an emerald green appeared to 
be the favourite colours — flowers were in their 



THE PARSIS. 45 

glossy black hah', and they wore quantities of 
gold lace and handsome ornaments. Though 
very showy, these costumes were tasteless in 
form. The Parsi men, who are very tall and 
stout, wear a straight-cut robe of purest white, 
without a sash, a dress well calculated to show 
off the rotundity of their persons. They have 
sly eyes, fat, oily faces, and a well-to-do air. 
The Parsis, in fact, are the Jews of the East, 
many of them being very rich.* 

We drove past a considerable space of ground 

* The Parsis claim to be descended from the Medes, who 
furnished the princely caste of the old Persian Empire. 
They are refugees, followers of Zoroaster, who refused to 
adopt the religion which the conquering Arabs endeavoured 
to enforce at the point of sword, when, in the middle of the 
seventh century, they invaded Persia under Caliph Omar. 
After many voyages and adventures, these Avanderers ar- 
rived on the coast of Guzerat, and were well received by 
the ruler of that part of India. Before granting them £>ro- 
tection, the chief asked them the nature of their faith, upon 
which the wily Persians declared that they worshipped the 
sun and fire elements, as well as the cow ; that they wore 
the sacred shirt, a cincture round the loins, a cap of two 
folds, and that they ornamented and perfumed their wives ; 
upon which they were allowed to settle in India. They 
were, however, required to dress their females in the Indian 
fashion, to wear no armour, to perform the marriage cere- 
mony of their children at night, and to wear the hideous 
Guzerat cap of two folds. All which they steadfastly do 
now, although it is nearly twelve centuries since the com- 
pact was made. 



46 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

which is set aside for garrison sports. Many 
gentlemen on nimble ponies were playing at 
polo, a game which requires great quickness of 
eye, and is dangerous as far as concerns the 
ponies, who are frequently lamed for life. Polo 
was originally an Indian game, which was play- 
ed by certain hill tribes. 

When we reached the native town how 
changed was the scene. Europe was left be- 
hind, and the East was realized — the narrow, 
winding streets, the open shops, small, but 
highly characteristic, where the owner, Hindoo, 
Mahomedan, or Jew, squatted amidst his wares. 
Those of the same trade congregated together, 
the workers in brass and copper, with bright 
vessels of curious shape, such as the lato, with 
its narrow neck and bulging sides, the lamp of 
many beaks, the little bells, with images at the 
top, used in the temples. Then there are the 
leather workers, from whom one may select em- 
broidered slippers, turned up at the point, 
saddle-bags, and trappings for horses, covered 
with gold, and silver, and cowrie shells. There 
were rows of wood-carvers, who work upon the 
black wood furniture peculiar to the Bombay 
Presidency, and fine specimens of their art were 
placed about to attract attention. The general 
merchant had his small store, heaped from floor 



INDIAN DRUGGISTS. 47 

to ceiling with bales of cloth, gaudy shawls, and 
cottons, with various patterns printed upon 
them, vases, and griffins, and pagodas, for furni- 
ture, and dark but deep-hued checks and stripes 
for garments. There were little niches where 
betel-leaves and pungent seeds were sold, and, 
most picturesque of all, were the shops of the 
Indian druggists, where one was sure to see a 
venerable old man with a flowing white beard; 
probably a learned man, and one who possibly 
dabbled in magic, his drugs ranged about in 
jars of china, which would have made the 
fortune of a European bric-a-brac shop. By 
a Christian these jars were not, alas! to be 
bought for love or money. 

No two houses were alike, some were tall 
and pink, others were squat and yellow, and both 
perhaps were neighboured by dwellings of a 
superior order, which stood back, not hidden, 
but sheltered by plantain-trees, and tall cocoa- 
nut palms, spreading their elegant fan-shaped 
leaves against a crimson background, for the 
fervid sun was setting. These houses had in 
general two tiers of wooden verandahs, with 
shutters. The ground-floor was partly open, 
and supported by pillars of wood, richly carved, 
and on the projecting beams and latticed frames 
there was many a quaint device. I was charmed 



48 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

with these irregular old dwellings. A dead 
wall, with the pyramidal summit of a Jaina 
temple appearing above it, would vary the scene, 
or a mosque, with broad dome and airy pinnacles, 
and sometimes we came upon a Hindoo temple, 
adorned with highly-coloured mythological sub- 
jects, with lights in its interior, which cast a 
glow upon some hideous copper idol, or figure 
of stone, daubed with red paint, and greasy 
with libations of melted butter. Every step 
was a surprise. 



49 



CHAPTER III. 

Hindoo Women — Arabian Beauties — Kites of Betrothal — 
Funeral Procession — English Chambermaids in India 
— Flower-market — Jain Establishments for Superan- 
nuated Animals — Drive to Malabar Point — A Brah- 
man Village — The Esplanade — Island and Temples of 
Elephanta — Description of one of the Temples — The 
Three-faced God — Sculptured Figures — Rock Temples 
— Curious Ants' Nest — Western Ghats. 

THE appearance of the Hindoo women was 
very striking, with their tall forms, digni- 
fied gait, and classical drapery of dingy blue or 
red, relieved by a bright bordering. Many of 
them balanced baskets or brass vessels upon 
their heads, their shapely arms straight down, 
unless they bore infants, and then the wee 
thing was placed astride on the mother's well- 
developed hip. Older children, bronze or black, 
played in the gutters, or swarmed about the 
houses — wild creatures, innocent of clothes, 
with flashing eyes and unkempt hair, adorned 
with a variety of ornaments. The girls wore 
necklaces, armlets, and anklets, and the boys 
VOL. I. E 



50 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

had silver waist-chains of beautiful workman- 
ship. These ornaments are of considerable 
value, the metal of which they are made being 
very pure. They are, however, dangerous pos- 
sessions. There is seldom a newspaper in 
which there is not a notice or advertisement 
respecting some child who has been inveigled 
away, and either robbed or murdered.* 

When we reached "the Stables/' the Arab 
beauties were trotted out to be admired. They 
were gentle creatures, with small heads, delicate 
ears, liquid eyes, and red nostrils, and appeared 
to appreciate the caresses bestowed upon them. 
As we returned, we were fortunate enough to 
see a curious phase of Indian life. The month 
and the conjunction of the planets being favour- 
able, there were numbers of Hindoo marriages, 

* The advertisements run as follows : — 

" Robbing a Boy of an Ornament. — Curson Hurjee, 
living at Nagdavee Street, stated that, Avhilst his son, aged 
seven years, was playing opposite to his house on Thursday, 
some Mahomedan enticed him away to Beebee-jan Street, 
and took from him a silver waist-chain, valued at six 
rupees." 

" Baboo Butta reports that on Wednesday he went to 
the Temple of Jeevun Lall, at Bhooleshwur, carrying his 
child in his arms. When passing through a crowd at the 
door of the temple, some person had cut off from the child's 
person a gold ornament, called Ram Namee, valued at 
twenty rupees. Inquiries are being made by the police." 



CEREMONY OF BETROTHAL. 51 

or, to speak more correctly, betrothals. By the 
rite of betrothal the connubial knot is tightly 
tied, and all the necessary ceremonies and feasts 
take place. Amongst the higher castes it is a 
rule that a boy may be married at any time 
after he has been invested with the sacred 
thread, which must take place before he is eight 
years of age, for before that time he is not con- 
sidered to belong to the Hindoo religion, or to 
be a member of his father's caste. The girl 
must not be married before she is ten years old, 
and her age must be less than that of her hus- 
band. The principal ceremonies are, the writ- 
ing by astrologers of the names of the parties, 
and the day and hour when the wedding is to 
take place ; the walking round a fire three times, 
seven steps at each time ; the tying together 
the garments of the contracting parties ; and the 
Homa, or burnt sacrifice, after which the con- 
tract is indissolvable. The girl is given away 
by the father in his own house, where the bride 
continues to reside for a few days, after which 
she lives with her husband's family, at their 
expense. It was most amusing to see the little 
brides and bridegrooms on horseback, heading 
gay processions of relations and friends, in 
which silk umbrellas fringed with gold bore a 
prominent part, the little people appearing 

E 2 



52 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

gaudier than butterflies in their spangled mus- 
lins and streaming ribbons. As for the horses, 
which I saw standing before some houses wait- 
ing for married couples, they were scarcely 
visible, being covered with velvet housings, 
gilded trappings, feathers, and wreaths of 
flowers. The short Indian twilight being over, 
the open chambers, the verandahs, the gardens, 
were brilliantly illuminated. We could see the 
guests, and hear the discordant music. Rockets 
shot up into the sky, and broke into balls of 
brilliant colours ; crackers exploded in every 
corner, and Bengal lights tinged all around with 
their vivid hues. The natives have a passion 
for fireworks, without which no merry-making 
is complete. 

In the midst of this festivity our carriage 
had to stop, in order to make way for a small 
procession of men, each of whom carried a 
blazing torch. The light danced over the face 
of a dead man, whom they were carrying along 
to the funeral pyre. As the bier passed, we 
caught the overpoweringly sweet odour of the 
Indian jessamine, which the Hindoos place in 
the hands of the dying, and wreath round the 
dead. I went to rest that night feverish with 
excitement ; shadows of all that I had seen 
during the past six weeks floated before me, 



AWAKING IN A STRANGE COUNTRY. 53 

and then I fell into a deep sleep, for an airy 
chamber and a roomy bed are very delightful 
after a close cabin and a small berth. 

There is surely no sensation more pleasant 
than that which attends the first awaking in 
a strange country. My slumbers were inter- 
rupted at an early hour by the vociferous sing- 
ing of a bird. I at once concluded that the 
charming notes were those of the far-famed 
bul-bul, and jumped up in haste, in order to see 
what the bird was like ; but, alas ! the opening 
of the lattice put an end to the song, and the 
only feathered creature I could see was a hand- 
some brown scavenger-hawk, which sailed off 
with a shrill cry. A man was slopping water 
in a primitive manner over a would-be green 
plot ; further away lay the sleepy blue sea, and 
low woods, which sloped gently to the curving 
bay. Presently there entered a very black girl, 
swathed in dingy white muslin, bearing an 
earthenware pitcher of peculiar form. She was 
adorned with numerous ornaments, including a 
large filigree nose-ring, and several rings of a 
smaller description, set along the rim of each 
ear, a pretty silver necklace, and on her arms 
slender hoops of sparkling red and semi-trans- 
parent green glass, which, worn by a lady, 
might have passed for ruby and jade-stone. It 



54 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

is wonderful how these people contrive to pass 
rings so small over their knuckles. It would be 
impossible were their bones like those of Euro- 
peans, but, being half gristle, they are in some 
degree compressible. 

The managers of the hotel had, at one time, a 
great wish to have English chambermaids, and, 
the story goes, that they induced a band of 
sixty young girls to come from England, but 
every one of them got married within a month 
of their landing, and the experiment was not 

repeated. G kindly took me to see the 

markets before the heat had tarnished the early 
beauty of the flowers and fruit. We got into 
one of the skeleton omnibuses, and found it a cool 
and clean conveyance. The little transit might 
have been the making of us, for on alighting we 
were presented with a couple of lottery tickets. 
We found the markets exquisitely clean and 
admirably arranged. The flower, fruit, and 
vegetable market is a circular building, lighted 
from above, which encloses a beautiful public 
garden. 

Never had I seen such a luxurious profusion 
of beautiful flowers and fruits as was set forth 
upon the white marble slabs, which sloped up 
on each side of the broad promenade, which was 
thronged, not crowded, by endless streams of 



FLOWER-MARKET OF BOMBAY. 55 

people, in strange costumes and gay apparel, 
ever passing into strange combinations, like the 
bits of coloured glass in a kaleidoscope. There 
were pyramids of flowers, not set forth in the 
European fashion, but picked with little stem 
and no leaves, and heaped up carelessly. There 
were lovely pale pink roses, and an endless 
variety of double jessamine flowers, pink and 
white, probably destined to be threaded toge- 
ther for the adornment of the temples. The 
tuberoses were almost too sweet. There were 
gorgeous hillocks of the double yellow mari- 
gold, to be woven into coronets for women, 
their intense colour being well calculated to set 
off the dark skins and shiny black hair which 
they were meant to adorn. Some of the smaller 
flowers and fragrant leaves, made into tiny 
sprigs, were intended to be thrown into the 
finger-glasses which figure at every Anglo- 
Indian's meal, the lemon-scented verbena being 
often employed for this purpose. Glowing 
fruits peeped forth from beds of cool green 
leaves. The more delicate sorts were placed in 
wicker baskets, artistically lined with pieces of 
the plantain leaf cut into shape. We bought one 
of these little boats, with its cargo of dull-hued 
lilac figs, luscious and small, with just one tear of 
liquid sugar upon each— the true goutte tfor. 



56 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Among the fruits with which I was familiar, 
were many species which I had never seen 
before ; but to enumerate them would be 
tedious. The vegetables were of infinite variety, 
including gourds of the most grotesque forms, 
which Nature must have imagined in a mirthful 
hour. Some of them were intended for eating, 
but others would be carefully cleaned out, and 
the hard rinds converted into vessels for water, 
and other liquids. The capsicums and chillis 
were curious and pretty, some being large, shiny, 
and intensely green, while others were small 
and red and pointed, and made one hot to look 
at them. There were many varieties of the 
egg-plant, some of them white and smooth like 
ivory, others resembling balls of gold ; and the 
long purple aubergines were very handsome. I 
could have spent hours with satisfaction in these 
markets, which were the finest I had ever seen ; 
but time pressed, and we passed into the interior 
garden, a charming, cool, and verdant spot, in 
which there were numerous varieties of the 
palm tribe, all sorts of velvety, long-leaved 
plants, and trembling ferns of exquisite beauty. 
It was strange to see caneless clumps of the 
caladium of tender green, spotted with white 
and red, along with other plants, only at home 
to be seen in a hot-house, where one lingers for a 



REFUGES FOR SUPERANNUATED ANIMALS. 57 

moment, in mortal dread of catching one's death 
of cold on again breathing the raw air outside. 
I should have liked to have explored the fish 
mai-ket, which no doubt contained many curious 
and strange varieties ; but the sun was up, and 
as we hesitated at the door of the market, we 
perceived that its atmosphere was not as 
odoriferous as that of the floral Paradise which 
we had quitted. 

I had a great wish to visit one of the Hindoo 
— or, rather, Jain — establishments for super- 
annuated animals. There was something very 
pleasing in the idea of such a refuge for these 
poor creatures. Alas ! I found, on inquiry, that 
the originally humane intention had degenerated 
into a mere superstition, and that such institu- 
tions are now farmed out, and their inmates 
much neglected. In the rural districts the 
natives are, I believe, as a rule, kind to their 
animals ; but in large towns the bullocks and 
horses are sadly maltreated. The society for the 
protection of animals, lately established in Bom- 
bay, has, however, done a good deal, locally, to 
amend their condition. The society has also 
taken under its protection the snakes, and some 
other small creatures, which are frightfully tor- 
mented by the conjurers. At breakfast I was 
much laughed at respecting my Indian night- 



58 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ingale, which turned out to be a canary, whose 
cage my neighbour, an elderly gentleman, put 
out every morning on his balcony. 

The prettiest drive about Bombay is to Mala- 
bar Point. We set off towards it as day de- 
clined, stopping en route to do some necessary 
shopping at an immense store called Treacher's, 
one of those tiresome labyrinths where one has 
to walk a quarter of a mile, and be put in the 
right path half a dozen times, in order to pur- 
chase a packet of pins or a skein of silk. There 
is a co-operative society in Bombay, but the 
managers and the shareholders do nothing but 
dispute ; and as the prices are high, and the 
articles of inferior quality, it is probable that its 
existence will be short. Of the two roads that 
lead to the Point, we took the higher in going 
and returned by the shore. Not so very many 
years ago, Malabar Hill was an unwholesome 
jungle of palms, with a thick undergrowth of 
prickly bushes. It is now partially cleared, and 
has become a fashionable quarter of low, far- 
spreading white houses, which are surrounded 
by beautiful grounds, and shaded by the tall 
trees of the original jungle. I was well ac- 
quainted with the date-palm, but not so with 
its cocoa-nut rival, which, with its splendid 
fan-like leaves, is in many respects the finest of 



MALABAR POINT. 5£h 

the two. The thin and slightly-curved stein 
of the latter is, however, a drawback upon its 
merits. Massed together, they had a very fine 
effect as they stood out dark against the red 
sky. 

It was curious to see the agility with which 
the natives climbed the cylindrical stems, using 
their flexible feet as a second pair of hands, and 
sliding down with amazing rapidity. There is 
a celebrated tank upon Malabar Hill, which 
interested me much, as it was the first I had 
seen of these ornamental sheets of water, 
so intimately connected with the religious and 
domestic life of the Hindoo people. It was 
enclosed by walls with highly ornamental 
balustrades, from which broad flights of steps 
descended. It was shaded by tall peepul-trees 
and far-spreading banyans with numerous roots, 
under which rose groups of pagodas, and a 
Brahman village, the little white houses of 
which were inhabited by the priests and their 
families. Every Brahman is a priest. It was 
a very pretty scene. The Government house at 
Malabar Point is a square building of imposing 

size. G thought that I might like to visit 

it, but to my mind a modern palace, with 
nothing particular in its interior, presented few 
attractions, and I was desirous of employing the 



GO MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

golden hours in driving round by the towers of 
silence, the fine temples, and in observing the 
general aspect of the country. 

The Point was a savage-looking spot, swept 
by the burning wind. All vegetation had 
ceased, but the wet season was advanced, and 
possibly after the rains a change for the better 
might come over the spot which now appeared 
to be so desolate. The fort is long, narrow, 
and low, but its hidden strength is great. It 
has been altered indeed since the days of Cap- 
tain Cook, who found it " a pretty well-seated 
but ill-fortified house." Four guns of brass 
were then the whole defence of the island. It 
has an ugly shore, piled up with splintered pieces 
of rock, which not even the eternal beating of 
the waves has rendered less angular. Even 
the black sea-weed refuses to cling to the hard 
ungenial basalt, and gets washed into crevices, 
where it petrifies. The celebrated Esplanade is 
a fine drive, commanding a glorious view over 
the rosy sea when the sun dips below the hori- 
zon. As we passed along it we saw plenty of 
handsome carriages, elegant toilettes, and well- 
mounted equestrians. 

Our last day in Bombay was spent in visiting 
the island and rock-cut temples of Elephanta ; 
and as G wished to show a little attention 



ISLAND OF ELEPHANTA. 61 

to some of our fellow-passengers who still lin- 
gered on at the hotel, a party was made up, 
and a steam-launch secured, which was well 
supplied with light refreshments and iced 
drinks. We set out with light hearts to enjoy 
ourselves. The island of Elephanta is about 
six miles from Bombay, and we sped gaily to- 
wards it over the crisp waves. Visitors had 
formerly to be carried on shore if the tide was 
low, but this is no longer necessary, as a long 
jetty has been thrown out, formed of great 
square blocks of concrete, which, in order to 
humour the waves, have been placed half a foot 
apart. Our transit over them was not pleasant, 
for they were covered with fine green sea-weed, 
which was very slippery. At high tide the islet 
is but three miles in circumference, but at low 
water the sea retreats so much that its area is 
doubled. It is formed of a mighty volcanic 
mountain, which has thrown up two lofty 
craterous peaks. The excavations are in the 
grip between them. The ascent would have 
been toilsome had not the winding road been 
cut into wide steps, now worn into hollows by 
the feet of the pilgrims and the devotees who 
at certain periods repair to the island in order 
to worship at its famous shrines. In the Spring 
of the year a great fair is held in the very 
temple itself. 



62 MY ^EAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Cut through forest and jungle, nothing could 
be more romantic and beautiful than the scenery. 
Tall palms of different species all but met over- 
head. There were numbers of the fig tribe, 
glossy and green, and tall grapes and strange 
plants grew at their feet, dead and brown, but 
perfect in form. The stems of great creepers 
coiled snake-like round many a tree which they 
would ultimately strangle ; others were knotted 
into the most intricate tangles, and their stream- 
ing tendrils swept down to the very ground. 
Some men of very wild appearance offered 
beetles for sale, but I did not purchase any, 
which I have always regretted, as they were 
very beautiful, looking like frosted gold. I was 
told that they would die in an hour, and, like 
Aladdin's glittering fruit, fade into a dull grey 
hue. The same men had also handfuls of the 
seed of the liquorice plant, scarlet berries with 
a black spot, which jewellers once used in their 
tiny scales, and which the natives are fond of 
stringing into necklaces. 

At last we reached the plateau which was our 
destination. It was a sylvan scene, a green 
spot, in the midst of which stood the rude hut 
of a forest keeper. Some pretty white goats 
were playing about with their kids, and a group 
of magnificent trees spread a shade which was 



MYSTERIOUS TEMPLE. 63 

very welcome after our hot walk. We had to 
pay a fee in order to be free of the caves ; the 
money is so collected in order to prevent impo- 
sition on the part of the guides. After certain 
sums are deducted, the remainder is distributed 
among the different charitable institutions in 
Bombay. A couple of men were told off in 
order to accompany us, and to see that we did 
no mischief, which duty they fulfilled by lying 
down in a corner, and going fast to sleep. 

We suddenly came upon a high craggy face 
of black rock, half concealed by bushes, and in 
the dim obscurity caught sight of the front of 
the mysterious temple, which the natives attri- 
bute to the shadowy sons of Pandu. A curious 
thrill shot through me as I bowed my head 
under a streaming fringe of hanging plants, and 
stood amidst the strange gods of this great 
branch of the Aryan race, so far separated from 
me by religion and country, and yet to whom I 
was bound by a common ancestry. It is a spot 
calculated to inspire awe. In its dark recesses 
many a human sacrifice has doubtless been 
offered up. The jagged roof is supported by 
pillars, the shafts of which, though symmetrically 
shaped, are rough-hewn, as if to contrast more 
effectually with the finely-polished surface of the 
black basalt above, which bulges out into beau- 



64 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

tiful flutings, compressed in more than one 
place by fillets of large beads or sharp-cut leaves. 
The capitals represent cushions with tassels, on 
which rest the great beams cut from the ceiling. 
With the usual irregularity of Eastern art, the 
columns are placed at unequal distances, a cir- 
cumstance which, strange to say, does not de- 
tract from the general harmony; indeed it is 
only upon examination that the fact is dis- 
covered. 

The temple has two wings or side chapels, 
independent excavations, which stand back, and 
have no direct communication with it. It would 
require an abler pen than mine, and a far 
greater knowledge of the subject than I possess, 
to attempt any regular description of this 
curiously-wrought rock cave. I can only speak 
with authority of the effect its salient points 
produced upon my mind, in which profound 
interest, wonder, and a certain kind of admira- 
tion, struggled with some feeling akin to fear. 
I do not think that I could have borne to have 
been left alone in this twilight place, with the 
stony eyes of the assembled gods fixed upon 
me. I should have fancied that the thousand 
eyes of Indra regarded me with displeasure ; 
that Vishnu's third organ of vision, which is to 
burst into fire and consume the world, had be- 



THE TRIMURTI. 65 

gun to kindle ; that the hooded cobra twined 
about his arm was uncoiling, or that streams 
were trickling from the deity's wave-crested 
head-dress, the cradle of the three rivers which 
united form the sacred flood-tormented Ganges. 

Fortunately I was not alone. I shook myself 
free from such nightmare fancies, and hastened 
to join my companions, who were assembled 
in full conclave before the Trimurti, a three- 
faced bust, which is infinitely solemn and digni- 
fied. The faces represent Brahma, the creator ; 
Vishnu, the preserver ; and Shiva, the destroyer. 
They are very grave, and seem to look at you 
sternly, as if offended that you do not bow 
down and adore them, as millions of our race 
have done before. 

Every available part of the temple is sculp- 
tured in high relief with mythological figures, 
colossal in comparison with human beings, but, 
for aught 1 know, they may be miniature re- 
presentations of the gods themselves. The 
scenes depicted are explained only by the 
wildest stories which can possibly be conceived. 
Both these and the distorted figures I at first 
felt to be distasteful, but this feeling partly 
wore away when I came to be better acquainted 
with their hidden meaning. The Sinya chapel, 
placed in the principal temple, is a large square 

VOL. I. F 



$6 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

erection, with four doorways, but the doors 
themselves are gone. There, on a raised plat- 
form of black basalt, worn by the feet of mil- 
lions of worshippers, stands the cone, the em- 
blem of this most ancient worship. Gigantic 
figures in high relief, two and two, guard every 
entrance, each attended by a hideous dwarf. 
These figures are exceedingly interesting, as 
they probably embody some ancient idea re- 
specting the early Aryan warriors, the dwarfs, 
of course, representing the conquered abori- 
gines. In one of the side chapels traces of 
paint remain — simple squares of red and white, 
set together in a board — and from underneath 
the chapel a spring of pure water still bubbles 
up, and forms a pool, which no doubt has for 
centuries been used as a bathing-place by de- 
votees and pilgrims. After all, these excava- 
tions are not very old, competent judges be- 
lieving them to have been executed between 
the eighth and tenth centuries of the Christian 
era. 

Mr. Fergusson has made some remarks re- 
specting vast caves in general, which are very 
much to the point.* Though so deeply inter- 

* "Considerable misconception exists on the subject of 
cutting temples in the rock. Almost everyone who sees 
these temples is struck with the apparently prodigious 



ELEPHANTA. (37 

ested in these caves, they cast a shade upon my 
spirits, and aroused feelings of gloom and sad- 
ness which I was unable to define, and I was 
glad to step forth into the cheerful light of day, 
to see the bright sea glitter, and hear the twit- 
ter of birds and the hum of insects. 

There are some smaller excavations scattered 
over the island,, supposed to have been cells 
inhabited by hermits. With the exception of 
a few Government officers and their followers, 
no one now resides at Elephanta. It has been 
deserted in consequence of the extreme insalu- 

amount of labour bestowed on their excavations. In real- 
ity, however, it is considerably less expensive to excavate a 
temple than to build one. Take, for instance, the Kylas 
(Ellora), the most wonderful of all this class. To excavate 
the area on which it stands would require the removal of 
about 100,000 cubic yards of rock ; but as the base of the 
temple is solid, and the superstructure massive, it occupies 
in round numbers one half of the excavated area, so that 
the question is simply this — whether it is easier to chip 
aAvay 50,000 yards of rock, and shoot it to spoil (to borrow 
a railway term) down a hillside, or to quarry 50,000 cubic 
yards of stone, remove it probably a mile, at least, to the 
place where the temple is to be built, and then to raise and 
set it up. The excavating process would probably ^ost 
about one-tenth of the other. The sculpture and ornament 
would be the same in both instances, more especially in 
India, where buildings are always set up in block, and the 
carvings executed in situ" — Fergusson's Hand-book of 
Architecture. 

f2 



68 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

brity of the rice-bearing swamps at the foot of 
the mountain. As we strolled along the jungle 
paths, a member of our party, a keen sportsman, 
made an arrangement with one of the guards 
to bring his gun next day. The sport promised 
consisted of hogs, hares, wild cats, snipe, and 
other animals. It was not the season for quail, 
but there are periods when they cover the shore. 
Shortly after we visited the island, I saw in 
The Times of India that a fine tiger had been 
taken there — an unusual circumstance. It is 
supposed that the beast had swum over from 
the main land. There are many of these wild 
animals in the deep ravines of the Bhor GMt. 
M. was fatigued, and reaching a pleasant 
spot, sat down under a tree, and fell asleep. 
I preferred to stray about in a scene which 
to me was new, strange, and delightful. 
In my wanderings I came upon a curious 
ants' nest, and I saw suspended many long 
bags, made of fibre, the work of the weaver 
bird. Under a leafless tree a quantity of large 
brown pods of tamarinds strowed the ground, 
and climbing a steep bit of rock, I sat down 
to enjoy their sharp refreshing flavour. The 
view from my lofty perch was charming. At 
my feet were numbers of waving trees ; the sea 
was an intense blue, and on the opposite shore 



THE PILGRIMS' STEPS. 69 

of Salsette the hills were covered with wood. 

The head of the bay was closed by lofty 
mountains, range above range, and peak above 
peak. They were the great Western Ghats, 
which we were to cross upon the morrow. The 
word ghat, in Indian parlance, means a moun- 
tain leading up to a plain above. It is also 
applied to the broad flights of stairs which 
ornament the tanks. The word is familiar to 
those who are acquainted with the secluded 
district of Cleveland, in the East Riding of 
Yorkshire. It there signifies a narrow passage 
between two houses. A small but interesting 
history of Cleveland has lately appeared, con- 
taining a glossary of the many Danish words 
embedded in the dialect of that country, and 
the word ghat is one of them. 

The refreshing sea breeze fanned our cheeks 
as we wended our way down the Pilgrims' 
Steps. Two or three sailors who were loitering 
about presented us with some fruit, the size of 
a small apple, which they had gathered from off 
a palm-tree, from whence they hung in heavy 
clusters. It contained a clear white jelly, 
which, although a little mawkish and sticky, 
was not altogether unpleasant. I have never 
been able to make out the precise species of 
palm from which it was gathered, but suspect 



70 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

that the fruit was immature. Before re-em- 
barking, we strolled along the sands, searching 
for shells, but all that we found were of a very 
ordinary sort. 

In returning, the tide was with us, and we 
stood well out into the middle of the bay, 
which is very beautiful. The amphitheatre of 
mountains, the Eastern characteristics of the 
island we had just quitted, the smiling shore, 
with here and there a domed and pinnacled 
mosque, rosy red in the rays of the setting sun, 
made a delightful scene. Many islets were 
dotted about — Butcher's Isle, and Old Woman's 
Isle, and a third, with long rows of empty 
barracks, built at vast expense, and then deserted 
in consequence of their fatally unhealthy posi- 
tion. During their occupation, numbers of 
soldiers died of that most painful malady, the 
Guinea worm, which generally proceeds from 
drinking unwholesome water. 

As we approached the harbour, the scene 
became most animated. Noble three-masted 
P. and 0. steamers lay at anchor. A little 
apart from these were others, belonging to 
different companies, amongst which our own 
Hindoo cut no mean figure. There were stately 
sailing vessels and small craft innumerable, 
which were not huddled together in confusion. 



SPLENDID SUNSET. 71 

but lay at a friendly distance from one another. 
Every spar, every rope stood out against a 
background of fiery crimson — such a sunset, 
such vivid colouring as I had never pictured to 
myself as possible even in an Indian sunset. 
As the soft twilight stole on, the hue intensified 
— the world below the horizon might have been 
in flames. It was a magnificent conclusion to 
one of the most delightful days I ever spent. 



72 



CHAPTER IV. 

Journey to Belgaum — Railway Travelling — Dyeing 
in India — Wild Scenery — Incline of the Bhor 
Ghat — Overpowering Heat — Sanitarium for Soldiers— 
The Mahratta Mountains— Peculiar Features of the 
Indian Landscape— View of the Concan— Indian 
Legend— Karli— Death of Captain Stewart— Camp 
of Exercise— Founder of the Mahratta Kingdom— 
Itinerant Merchants— Evening in the Public Gardens 

A Drive by Night— Poonah— Murder of Narazan 

Rao. 

THE time which G was able to spare for 
Bombay came to an end all too soon. 
We took leave of such of our Hindoo com- 
panions as still remained, and stepping into a 
flight of shigrams, set forth on our journey. 
Belgaum, which was our destination, is in the 
southern part of Mahratta. A few years ago 
the district in which it is situated formed part 
of the Madras Presidency, but was handed over 
to that of Bombay for some reason relating to 
the better distribution of troops. There were 
two routes open to us. The easiest would 



RAILWAY TRAVELLING. 73 

have been to have taken a coasting steamer to 
Vingorla, which would have placed us within 
sixty miles of our destination, but this not fall- 
ing in with G 's arrangements, we took the 

longer but far more interesting line which lay 
inland. 

I was delighted at the prospect of journeying 
for three hundred and thirty miles through a 
country so new and strange. We were aided 
as far as Poonah (a hundred and nineteen 
miles) by the Great Indian Peninsular Railway, 
the accommodation on which is first-rate. We 
had previously engaged a saloon carriage, to 
Avhich was attached a dressing-room, with 
water laid on — a great luxury. This again led 
into an airy compartment, set apart for ladies, 
of which we also took possession, being the only 
first-class passengers. The fares on this line 
are naturally high, for its formation was a 
stupendous undertaking — one of the greatest 
triumphs of railway engineering in the world. 

Leaving the town, we passed through the 
Portuguese suburb, in the midst of which stands 
a handsome Roman Catholic church, to which 
large schools are attached, and on through the 
district where the dyers dwell. It was covered 
with shallow cuttings, filled to the brim with 
deep rich colours — blue, and red, and saffron, 



74 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

and stretched out in all directions were 
the long cotton saris, in which the Indian 
women drape their elastic forms. There is 
very little variety to be found in the Indian 
dyes, the natives being unsuccessful in their 
attempts to produce solid mixed tints ; with 
one exception — a mixture of blue and green, 
which is very harmonious, and much used by 
sportsmen in the jungle. The process of print- 
ing is executed in a curiously primitive man- 
ner, the patterns principally consisting of dots 
and lines. Greater success is attained in 
dyeing silks, the hues of which are lasting as 
well as brilliant. At the desire of the English 
Government the forest commissioners have 
lately had a meeting upon the subject, experi- 
ments under the direction of good chemists 
have been made, and it is expected that great 
improvements in this kind of manufactures will 
be introduced. 

For some time we sped along a swampy rice- 
growing country, passing extensive salt-works, 
the dirty hillocks and shallow pans, as usual, an 
ugly sight ; but we caught charming glimpses of 
the sea at the head of the bay,with Elephanta,and 
the other islands, shadowy and uncertain in the 
beams of the hot sun. Reaching a large junction, 
we turned abruptly to the south, and steadily 



THE BHOR GHAT. 75 

progressed towards the Ghats, the masses of 
mountain which lay between us and the Deccan, 
the level plains which were to be our abiding 
place. These mountains are formed of various 
sorts of trap, very hard and highly crystallized. 
At the stations glittering specimens were ex- 
posed for sale. At Nassel we plunged into a 
narrow ravine, where the rough rocks nearly 
met overhead, and began to ascend. The most 
considerable railway incline in Europe is that on 
the Sommering pass, between Vienna and 
Trieste ; but its proportions are on a far smaller 
scale than those of the Bhor Ghat, which ascends 
eighteen hundred and thirty-one feet, and is 
nearly sixteen miles in length ; in parts the 
latter is wonderfully precipitate, the gradient 
being one in twelve; the average is one in forty- 
eight. 

The noonday heat was overpowering (in 
Bombay, March is the hottest month in the 

year), and caused G and M. to withdraw 

into the lattice-closed ladies' saloon ; but 
I was too much excited by the novelty of my 
position to follow their example. No good view 
was to be obtained without kneeling upon the 
seat and putting my head out of the window ; 
the eaves sheltered my head from the fierce 
rays of the sun, but the heated air struck upon 
my face like blasts from an oven. 



76 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

The scenery was glorious. The lofty moun- 
tains and the deep ravines — Panbul, an abrupt 
rock, with a flat top, two thousand five hundred 
feet high, and the immense shoulder of the Bhor 
Ghat still loftier — always threatened to bar our 
progress which ever way we turned. (Bhor is the 
Mahratta word for the juguba tree, which grows 
plentifully upon this mountain — hence the name.) 
Fort-crowned Moteran is a prominent object, 
presenting to the north a perpendicular face of 
small black rock, which rises two thousand feet 
above the narrow plain that separates it from 
the sea. 

On a plateau near the top, which slopes to 
the brink of a frightful precipice, there is a 
sanitarium for sick soldiers, and a collection of 
cottages, to which the Europeans who live in 
Bombay, thirsting for cool breezes, thankfully 
resort in the hot season. The coloured view of 
this place, with its formal gravel paths, and 
stiff gardens, in which nothing appears to grow, 
reminded me of a sea-side advertisement at an 
English railway-station. As we mounted, the 
view became superb, embracing the " peaks 
familiar with forgotten years," the piled-up 
mountains of the Western Ghats, the far, dim 
plains of the Concan, and the lovely harbour of 
Bombay, its indigo waters flecked by innumer- 



THE MAHRATTA MOUNTAINS. 77 

able white-sailed ships, reduced by distance to 
the size of sea-gulls. 

The Mahratta mountains are of most pecu- 
liar shape, resembling, with occasional excep- 
tions, gigantic cones, from which ages of 
monsoons have swept the tops, leaving exposed 
the skeleton summits, perpendicular walls of 
basaltic rock, lofty plateaus, natural strong- 
holds, which the war-like chiefs converted 
into impregnable fortresses. On many of these 
plateaus there are abundant springs of fine 
water, and when such is not the case, the hard 
nature of the rock is admirably adapted for 
reservoirs. Our ascent was, at first, very 
gradual. We crossed a lofty embankment, 
entered a narrow rock-hewn passage, and on 
through a dark tunnel, to emerge upon a 
lengthy viaduct. As we advanced, the iron road 
became more difficult for the panting engine to 
climb. I rejoiced over its laboured pace, for 
every minute developed the majesty of the 
prospect. We swept up the mighty Bhor Ghat, 
curving in and out of its bulging sides, catch- 
ing sight of airy tracks far above our level, 
stretches of the road which we were about to 
traverse. Terra firma seemed to vanish; we 
appeared to be sailing past the mountain side, 
with a deep, deep valley beneath. We were, 



78 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

in fact, gliding along a bench of rock wide 
enough, but no more, to receive the iron way. 
It was frightful, utter annihilation, if a wheel 
should break, a chain become uncoupled, or a 
train warped by the burning sun. The charac- 
ter of the scenery was quite new to me. Here 
Nature was on so vast a scale. Broad as were 
the valleys, the effect was lost in their profound 
depth, where a deep green line of jungle 
marked the home of the tiger and of the still 
fiercer panther. And then the colouring of the 
tangled vegetation, which, though dead, had 
■suffered no decay. Changed to a tint of burn- 
ing gold, it still clothed the mountain side, 
save where the polished surface of the huge 
masses of black rock were so smooth that 
nothing could cling to them. This Indian 
landscape was, beyond everything, solemn 
and grand. One vast promontory lives 
in my memory. It stood boldly forth, rooted 
for all time in the horse-shoe valley beneath, a 
fit position for the blazing beacons which guided 
the fierce Mahratta marauders on their mid- 
night march when steam power lay an embryo 
in the womb of time. 

The station at the top of the incline is called 
the reversing station. There was a short delay, 
which we employed in looking back upon the 



THE CONCAN. 79 

mountains we had traversed ; and in endeavour- 
ing to trace the iron road we had passed along, 
we obtained occasional glimpses of narrow cut- 
tings from the rock, mere threads they looked, 
banks formed upon arches, or upon lofty piers 
built into the mountain sides. No wonder that 
this gigantic undertaking cost a fabulous sum. 

Leaving the station, we doubled back again. 
The two lines proceeding from a common source, 
one mounting, the other descending, have a 
curious effect, and make a striking photograph. 
As we slowly journeyed we obtained a fine 
view over the Concan, a vast stretch of country, 
varying in width from twenty-five to fifty 
miles, which here spreads between the ghats 
and the sea, but runs far south, and along the 
coast of Malabar. In this space different 
languages are spoken, and Hindoo geographers 
divide it into seven parts. It would not be 
India, did not some old-world fable seek 
to account for the existence of these great 
plains. One of the Paorans (a collection of 
mythological stories regarded as sacred) re- 
counts how, Puresham having extirpated the 
Kshittrees and oppressive Rajahs from a certain 
country, conferred the conquered territory on 
the Brahmans, but they ungratefully refused 
their benefactors permission to reside amongst 



80 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

tkem_, so Puresham, in search of a home, bent 
bis bow, and let fly an arrow from the top of the 
great western mountains, at which the ocean 
was intimidated, and receding before the arrow 
to the point at which it fell, left dry the ex- 
tensive tract of country now known by the 
name of the Concan and the Malabar coast. 

The country at our feet appeared to be culti- 
vated, The fields now sterile were, for the 
purpose of irrigation, divided by banks of earth 
into squares. There were tanks of shimmering 
water fringed with trees, under which were 
groups of white temples, with conical roofs, and 
noble trees were dotted about, principally teak, 
the wood of which is even harder and more en- 
during than that of oak. Then, though all 
small objects became indistinct in the sultry 
atmosphere, we could still trace the blue line of 
hills which bordered the coast. 

Before us were many strange funnel-shaped 
hills, and basaltic rocks of remarkable form. 
They represented castles and obelisks, gigantic 
figures and grotesque faces. One rock is known 
by the name of the Duke's Nose ; but our pace 
had quickened, and before we were disenchanted 
they were gone. Shortly before reaching Lanow- 
lee M. pointed across the valley to some trees 
clinging round a jutting rock, with a dark 



CAVE OF KARLI. 81 

spot in the centre, the entrance to the far-famed 
Cave of Karli. A tantalizing vision. She had 
ridden up the slippery path which leads to it, 
a narrow ledge cut from the rock, with nothing 
to protect it from a steep precipice. Karli is 
considered to be the finest chaitya cave in 
India. It is supposed to date from the second 
century before the Christian era, and is in ex- 
cellent preservation ; the curious teak wood 
ribbed roof, and the screen, being, without 
doubt, as ancient as the excavation.* 

It was at Karli that Captain Stewart, who 

* The geographical distribution of the caves is somewhat 
singular, more than nine-tenths of those now known being- 
found within the Bombay Presidency .... I was at one 
time inclined to connect this remarkable distribution with 
the comparative proximity of this side of India to the rock- 
cutting Egyptians and Ethiopians, but the coincidence can 
be more simply accounted for by the existence of rocks, in 
both countries, perfectly adapted to such works. The whole 
cave district of India is composed of horizontal strata of 
amygdaloid and other cognate trap formations, generally 
speaking of very considerable thickness and great uni- 
formity of texture, and possessing besides the advantage of 
their edges being generally exposed in perfectly perpendicr - 
lar cliffs. So that no rock in any part of the world could 
either be more suited for the purpose, or more favourably 
situated than these formations are. In the rarest possible 
instances are there any flaws or faults to disturb the 
uniformity of the design. — Fergusson's Hand-book of 
Architecture. 

VOL. I. G 



82 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

had taken possession of the Bhor Ghat in the pre- 
vious November (1779), was killed by a cannon- 
ball. He was mentioned in the despatches as 
" a most gallant and judicious officer, and pos- 
sessed of the true military spirit !" To this day 
his name is familiar in the Mahratta country 
by the appellation of the Stewart Phakray, a 
circumstance which marks the strong impres- 
sion made by his conduct.* 

We took advantage of an hour's delay at 
Lanowlee, to give the children some refresh- 
ment. There is a messman at this station, but 
those who prefer it can bring their own pro- 
visions ; and unless things are borrowed, no fee 
is expected. India is not the land of fees. 
Lanowlee, with its green slopes, grey boulder 
stones, and tangled woods, is a charming spot. 
The scattered bungalows, encircled by wide 
verandahs, were almost hidden away under the 
high-pitched tiled roofs, which, sweeping down, 
sheltered them alike from sunshine and storm. 
They were covered with beautiful creepers, and 
their white pillars were festooned with sprays 
of every colour, crimson predominating. It is 
a place of popular resort during the hot 
weather. M. had spent part of the previous 

* Grant Duff's History of the Mahrattas. 



SCENE OF A CAMP OF EXERCISE. 83 

season there, and was delighted with the beauty 
of the surrounding country, and the abundance 
of wild flowers. 

We now entered upon a comparatively flat 
country, with fields and hedges of prickly pear. 
We had reached one of the Deccan plains (the 
Deccan consists of a series of table-lands), and 
many a green thing served to remind us of the 
elevation we had attained. We breathed again. 
The hills retired, and formed a fine background 
to the open country. 

Some time before reaching Poonah, we came 
upon a barren, sun-scorched plain, but a green 
oasis in M.'s memory, having been the scene 
of the large camp of exercise held during the 
previous year ; and, in spite of the order that 
neither women nor silver spoons should be ad- 
mitted into its precincts, her husband, being 
Provost-Marshal, she got smuggled in. She 

had a large tent, connected with G 's by a 

oanvas passage, and this was so delightfully 
encumbered by piles of fruit, presents of al- 
monds, pumalos, oranges, plantains, more fruits 
than I can name, and little boxes containing 
extra delicate productions, that she could 
scarcely stir. She ate as many of them as she 

possibly could ; and, G having no time to 

■eat, the residue was given to the troopers. 

G 2 



84 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

There was no end of the delights — the noblest 
elephants and stateliest camels were brought 
up for her to paint ; and most charming studies 
she made of the picturesque creatures and their 
wild attendants. Her ears were tickled by the 
moanings of the chiefs who wanted places 
allotted to them, at the forthcoming review, for 
numerous carriages which they did not possess ; 
and, above all, at the said review she had the 
felicity of being close to Indore's great prince, 
Holkar, with his cotton robe_, heavy face, and 
splendid jewels, mounted upon a horse, streaked 
with red, and got up with a lilac tail.* 

Kenkee, with its famous memories, a heath 
with a few scattered houses and long lines of 

* Holkar, though by no means the richest, or owner of 
the largest territories amongst the native princes, is one of 
the most independent. — " Throughout the length and 
breadth of his Highness the Maharajah's possessions no pri- 
vate individual has anything like permanent, hereditary, or 
alienable rights in land. Registered proprietorship is un- 
heard of in this part of India. Every cultivator is a tenant 
at will of his Highness. The population of Holkar's terri- 
tories is roughly estimated at 600,000 souls, and the area 
at 8,318 square miles. The revenue of the state from all 
sources is about thirty lakhs of rupees, and the expenditure 
twenty-two lakhs." (A lakh is £10,000.) " Holkar main- 
tains a military establishment of 2,050 irregular cavalry, 
and 500 artillerymen, with twenty-four field guns equipped." 
— Times of India Calendar, 1876. — The Holkar family are 
Sudras of the shepherd tribe, and rose to eminence at the 
end of the seventeenth century. 



DRAWBACK TO INDIAN TRAVEL. 85 

cavalry barracks, had for us a personal interest. 

G was born there, and, we will hope, 

christened in the prim little brick church which 
presents such a remarkable contrast to the fine 
group of Jain temples in its neighbourhood. 

After the heat and excitement of the day, it 
was very refreshing to sit in the wide verandah 
of the Napier Hotel, look over the pretty flower 
garden, and up at the quiet stars. The heat 
next morning was considerable. The thermo- 
meter in our sitting-room standing at ninety- 
eight degrees, it was impossible to venture out 
of doors. The great drawback to Indian travel 
are the many hours of enforced inactivity, when 
one is obliged to sit chafing within doors, until 
the sun is down, and only the short twilight 
remains in which to see the surrounding objects 
of interest. Had I been able to manage for 
myself, I should have been up with the lark 
(there are plenty of larks in India), and have 
explored half the wonders of the place before 
breakfast. As it was, I sat down in a half- 
closed room, with a fan in one hand, and Grant 
Duffs " History of the Mahrattas," in the other 
(I was too old a traveller to be unprovided with 
books), and improved the shining hours by 
making out what I could respecting these old 
marauding villains. 



86 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

I boldly skipped the pages, until 1 came to 
the mention of Sevaji, the great national hero, 
the founder of the Mahratta kingdom. Born in 
1627, he came of a long line of princes, and 
was brought up near Poonah. Poonah, how- 
ever, did not become a place of much import- 
ance until a later power, that of the Peishwa, 
arose. (Peishwa is a Persian name for a certain 
Government officer.) They were a Brahman 
race from the Deccan, hereditary Prime Mini- 
sters to the rajahs of Sattara. Gradually rising 
to power, they became supreme chiefs of the 
Mahratta nation, and in the year 1750 they 
made Poonah their capital. 

At the table-d'hote luncheon I fell in with 
several friends. It was a sociable meal ; dogs 
walked about at their ease, and small birds flew 
over us, perching upon the sides of the dishes 
when removed from the table, and helping 
themselves to the viands with the utmost cool- 
ness. The afternoon was enlivened by the 
arrival of itinerant merchants, who laid their 
goods open for inspection in the verandah. One 
of them, a handsome dark man, with a red 
turban, had some excellent toys — animals made 
of strong grey linen, the features being stitched 
in with coloured thread. We bought an ele- 
phant, with magnificent trappings of scarlet 



TRAVELLING MERCHANTS. 87 

cloth, and a spirited horse, with flowing* mane 
and tail ; the former, under the name of Miss 
Einmeline, is still dear to the hearts of the 
youthful part of the family. 

Another man had scarfs and slippers, and 
many sorts of embroidery, as well as fancy bas- 
kets made of Kusha grass. They looked as if 
they had been made by the weaver-bird, and 
spangled with the wings of its insect victims. 
These baskets are peculiar to the Poonah dis- 
trict. A third travelling merchant had trays 
full of jewelry, some bracelets and brooches 
worked in a manner which was quite new to 
me, in which delicate arabesques of gold were 
fused into green and blue enamel. These orna- 
ments were strikingly pretty, but very expen- 
sive. There were also some fine Mocha stones 
(so called from having been first polished at 
Mocha), in which floated exquisite little branches 
of red and green sea-weed. The precious stones, 
set in rings and small parures, were expensive, 
and not pretty. 

The sun was a great glowing ball, sinking 
beneath the horizon, when we drove down to 
enjoy the freshness of evening in the public 
gardens. The band had ceased to play, and the 
gay world were flocking away. Underneath 
the heavy-leaved trees was the vacant band- 



88 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

stand, surrounded by large plots of shrubs and 
flowers ; but most of the smaller plants were in 
pots, and although they were well arranged, 
to my unaccustomed eyes the effect was un- 
satisfactory, the absence of turf being a great 
drawback. Nothing could be more delightful 
than the situation of these gardens, placed upon 
a high cliff, along the brink of which ran a broad 
terrace, with stone balustrades and seats, which 
overhung the wide, swift river Miila, with its 
bridge of many arches, and the bund, or embank- 
ment, by which it is protected. Low hills, clothed 
with wood, sank into the water on the opposite 
side of the stream. It was a scene of peaceful 
beauty, which [our weary eyes thoroughly en- 
joyed. It suddenly became quite dark. There 
are no "violet Summers' eves'' in India, and 
we had some difficulty in threading our way to 
the carriage. There was a bright light upon a 
near hill-side, which we took to be a burning 
cottage, but it proceeded from a pile of wood, 
which at certain times is kindled, in order to 
light the descent to the mouth of a cave in 
which there lives a very holy ascetic. This 
was not the only blaze on the surrounding 
heights; flickering flames ran along the ground. 
It was the season for firing the thick scrub, in 
order to get rid of the dried vegetation before 



BULLOCK CARTS. 89 

the rains. There being no moon, we saw the 
full effect of the red forks of flame which shot up, 
casting a lurid glow around. It was a curious 

sight ; but until G remembered that it was 

the evening of a great Hindoo festival, we 
were puzzled to account for a stationary line 
of brilliant light which streaked the side 
of a conical hill at no great distance. It 
was the celebrated place of pilgrimage, the 
mount and temples of Parvati, which were thus 
illuminated. Later in the evening we sat upon 
the house-top, and watched the clustered lamps 
which marked out the steep flights of steps 
leading to the shrines ; and when we went to 
bed they were still shining in all their beauty. 

The following day was a busy one. There 
arrived five bullock carts, which were to convey 
our baggage (in Indian parlance, kit) to Bel- 
gaum. They were to travel at night, and catch 
us up on the third and fifth day of our passage. 
The bullocks were handsome creatures, with 
calm eyes, creamy white coats, hanging dew- 
laps, and great crescent-shaped horns tipped 
with ornamental brass work. I was sorry for 
the poor patient beasts, who had to bear so 
heavy a yoke, and be driven with a line passed 
through the nostril. The dogs (the great twin 
brothers), and Dick's goats, shared a vehicle 



90 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

which had a cover to it. Spread out ready to 
be packed was the batterie de cuisine, which 

G had bought in Bombay. It consisted of 

imposing-looking vessels of solid copper, with 
rough-hewn exteriors. I especially admired 
some which were very bulky, with sloping 
shoulders and broad rims. One pot was such a 
monster that I was puzzled as to its probable 
use. Three rounds of beef could have been boil- 
ed in it without jostling one another. " What 
on earth is that for %" I demanded, pointing to 
it. " That," said M., in her decisive way — 
" that is my oven." Calmly surveying the 
scene from the roof, where he was perched, was 
a large, glossy brown scavenger-hawk, who at 
intervals gave forth a shrill, quivering, mournful 
cry. This evening, to my great satisfaction, 
we set out on our drive before the sun was 
down. 

I was disappointed with the European part 
of Poonah, having expected to see a handsome 
town — a small Bombay — instead of which 
nothing was to be seen but small bungalows, 
widely separated, and surrounded by ragged 
shrubberies and dried-up gardens. After the 
rains, they would probably look very different. 
The native town, which keeps strictly to itself, 
was nearly two miles from our starting-point. 



POONAH. 91 

Fifty years ago it was the very Paradise of 
priests. A writer of that day speaks of having 
seen eighty thousand Brahmans assembled there 
at one time. 

We drove to the fort, which stands in the 
centre of the town. The entrance is exceedingly 
fine, consisting of a lofty, towering archway, 
surmounted by a small iron balcony, from 
whence the Peishwas used to review their 
troops, and on certain occasions exhibit them- 
selves in all their splendour to the people. The 
arch is set in a broad frame, which is frescoed 
over with lotus leaves and blossoms upon a 
cream-coloured ground, the colours well pre- 
served. On each side is a massive round tower, 
pierced with numerous embrasures for guns of 
small calibre. The iron doors which closed the 
archway were barbarously magnificent, and 
told of days long since numbered with the past.- 
In parts they bristled with deep rows of sharp 
spikes, more than a foot in length, so placed 
in order to prevent the elephants from battering 
them in. We were admitted into the interior by 
a door cut through the superior one ; it was so 
small that we had to double ourselves up in 
order to pass through it. The fort is now a 
mere shell, but the lofty walls are perfect, and 
enclose a considerable space of ground. The 



92 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

only chambers which remain are those above 
the gateway. These small-windowed rooms 
were in 1773 the scene of a tragic event— the 
murder of Narayan Rao. He was only eigh- 
teen, and had been but nine months Peishwa. 
The unfortunate youth had confined his uncle 
in an apartment in the palace. The uncle had 
been able to bribe two of his guards to seize 
the young Peishwa, and thus bring about his 
own release ; but his vindictive wife secretly 
changed the word from seize to kill. (If East- 
ern women are celebrated, it is always for 
evil, and never for good.) The assassins stabbed 
the young Peishwa, killing at the same time a 
faithful servant, who had thrown himself upon 
his body. A terrace runs along the old gate- 
way, to which a still more mournful interest 
attaches. It was the favourite walk of another 
young Peishwa, Mahadeo Rao, who, at the close 
of the last century, threw himself down from 
it, dying two days after from the injuries he 
received. It happened during one of the great 
national Mahratta festivals, which was being 
conducted with unusual splendour. The young 
Peishwa had received his great chiefs, and the 
ambassadors of foreign countries ; he had shown 
himself to his troops, who had passed before 
him thousands strong ; but the restraints im- 



THE FORT. 93 

posed upon him by his tyrannical minister, the 
celebrated Nana Farnavis, had so wounded his 
pride that he destroyed himself. Snch stories 
have little interest for those who have not 
visited the spot, but they are full of significance 
with regard to the manners of the period in 
which such horrors could take place with im- 
punity. There is not one of these Eastern 
strongholds that has not been drenched in 
blood. 

We crossed the great enclosure, solitary now 
save for the presence of a few soldiers at drill, 
and half-a-dozen white-robed individuals, who 
were amusing themselves in an inoffensive man- 
ner by accompanying us to the castle gardens, 
which are still kept up in a lazy Oriental 
fashion. There were the trees under which the 
Peishwas had sat and hatched dark plots, the 
tanks in which they had disported themselves, 
and the wells from Avhich they had drunk, now 
green with beautiful black-stemmed giant 
maidenhair, some sprigs of which we gathered 
to send home. As we were leaving the fort, 
our Hindoo followers, who had lingered behind, 
came up, and gracefully presented each of us 
with a little prim nosegay of roses and pinks, 

for which attention Gr thanked them in 

their own language, and they continued to 



94 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

salaam until we were out of sight. Close to 
the fort is a narrow street, in which, under the 
Peishwas, offenders were executed by being- 
trampled to death by elephants, an admirable 
mode of disposing of an enemy, as it combined 
vengeance with amusement. One of the Holkar 
family was put to death in this cruel manner 
whilst the last of the Peishwas sat at his win- 
dow and gloated over the agonies of his vic- 
tim ; but that very same year his brother, Rcio 
Holkar, was splendidly revenged by winning 
the battle of Poonah. 

The town is full of curious old houses, the ex- 
terior gal leries'of which have shutters and frames 
for lattices, finely carved ; and there we saw 
Saracenic arches, of horse-shoe form. These 
were supported by wooden pillars richly carved 
with figures and foliage. These old houses 
were once the residences of great ministers and 
■court favourites. We alighted, and stepped 
into the court of that which had belonged 
to Nana Farnavis. It was a mouldy place, 
with broken fountains and dry tanks ; the 
rooms were small and dismal, and the narrow 
passages quite dark. A large house was point- 
ed out to us as having been, at the end of the 
last century, the dwelling of a most extraordi- 
nary character — a Avoman, Spanish by birth, but 



JAMEL SERDAR. 95 

an English subject, being the wife of a Mr. 
James Hall, a respectable barrister in Madras, 
from whom she was separated. She sought her 
fortune in the military service of the native 
princes. Her active career was, however, cut 
short, in consequence of her having caused the 
death, by beating, of a thievish Brahman who 
was attached to her household. For this grave 
offence, which would have entailed capital 
punishment had she been a native, she was for 
many years confined in a hill fort near Poonah. 
The military name assumed by this heroine was 
Jamel Serdar (Elegant Lord, or Elegant Com- 
mander). Her dress at Poonah was of a very 
manlike stamp, although still not entirely mas- 
culine. In Mogul style, she wore a flowing 
robe and loose trousers ; an enormous sabre and 
a plumed helmet graced the well-formed person 
of this daring Amazon. "I have heard," 
says Mr. Moor, " that she was offered the com- 
mand of the battalion of women that the Nizam 
Ally Khan raised for the interior duties of the 
Mahl, or ladies' apartments, or what we call the 
Seraglio. The battalion consisted of five or 
six hundred women, regularly dressed and 
disciplined, commanded by officers of their own 
sex. Armed with light fusees, they mounted 
guard regularly over the ladies' apartments, and 



96 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

the vicinity of them, and are described as, on 
the whole, a very well set-up corps. It actually 
took the field when the Nizam waged the dis- 
graceful war of 1793 against the Poonah 
Government." 

The streets of Poonah are very striking to 
strangers; the exteriors of many of the houses are 
brilliantly painted with figures of gods and god- 
desses. Idols squatted under the peepul-trees. 
The very streets were named after mythological 
personages, and an endless stream of strange- 
looking people flowed up and down. The 
whole population of the place appeared to have 
turned out to breathe at ease once more after the 
sultry day. In the outskirts of the town stands 
a large Jaina temple, enclosed by walls, on 
which a whole pantheon of deities were dis- 
porting themselves. No Christian is allowed to 
enter its sacred precincts, but a door happened 
to be ajar, and as there was no one to interfere 
with us, we gazed unchecked into the sacred 
pile. It was profusely painted in rich dark 
colours, and bore no little resemblance to a 
Tartar building. Colonnades lined the oblong 
court, and there was a tank shaded by a ban- 
yan-tree. Poonah is the head-quarters of the 
once numerous Jain sect. I believe that years 
ago Lady Falkland visited the interior of this 



THE LIONS 5 DEN. 97 

temple, and gives a description of it in a book 
called " Chow-Chow ;" but I have not been able 
to meet with it. 

I was early on the terrace roof next morning, 
being anxious to obtain a good view of Sin- 
ghar, before the air became dense with heat. It 
is one of the most renowned fortresses in all 
Mahratta. It is situated upon a conical hill, 
which appears to be perfectly isolated, but is, 
in fact, joined, by a narrow neck, to the great 
Schyadri Ghats. It stands four thousand one 
hundred and sixty-two feet above the level of 
the sea. Its craggy triangular plateau, high 
walls, and strong towers, were so clearly de- 
fined against the pale green sky that I could 
scarcely believe that " The Lions' Den " was 
eleven miles away. It is, indeed, even in decay, 
a magnificent stronghold. In olden times, safe 
in its lonely strength and terrible precipices, no 
one thought of being surprised in it. Sur- 
prised, however, it was by one of Sevaji's 
heroic generals, on a starless night, the ninth 
night of the dark half of the moon, in the 
month of October. Three hundred Mahrattas 
escaladed its. steepest point, and silently entered 
the fort. A desperate conflict ensued. " Har ! 
Ear ! Maha Deo !" was the cry of the invaders. 
Not a man of the garrison submitted, and day- 

VOL. I. H 



98 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

light found five hundred gallant fellows dead or 
dying, several hundreds having chosen the 
almost desperate alternative of venturing over 
the rock, and many were dashed to pieces in 
the attempt. The leader of the assault, Sevaji's 
favourite general, was killed, and upon hearing 
of the misfortune, his master is said to have 
exclaimed, " Alas ! alas ! the den is taken, but 
the lion is slain ! We have gained a fort, but I 
have lost Tanaji Malusre !" Upon this occasion 
each private soldier was rewarded by the gift 
of a solid silver bangle. 



99 



CHAPTER V. 

Travelling Arrangements in India— The Southern Cross— 
The Travellers' Bungalow — Fakirs — Noble Banyan 
Tree— Fishing in India — The Singadari— Orthography 
of Indian Proper Names — Climate of Western India — 
Ascent of the Kamski Ghat— The Magellanic Clouds 
— Crossing the Koo-i-nor — Arrival at Sattara— Ruins 
of the Fort — Labyrinths and Dungeons — Palace of the 
Rajah. 

IT was nearly five o'clock when we started on 
our journey. I was all impatience to be 
off, to see two hundred and twenty miles of 
Indian country, with its strange people, native 
towns, rural villages, and temples. To me 
every bush by the roadside was a source of in- 
terest, because it grew in a quarter of the 
world which my mind had been accustomed to 
dwell upon as a far-away mystery. Our mode 
of progression was by no means romantic. We 
rolled along in a couple of very comfortable 
britskas, drawn by horses, or tattoos (the 
native pony), as the case might be. The three 
grown-up people, and Mr. Bustle, occupied one 

h2 



100 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

interior, the nurses and children rilled the other ; 
and on the box of each carriage a man-servant 
sat by the side of the driver, one being the cook, a 
very important person in Indian travel. In addi- 
tion, each carriage was provided with a scantily- 
clad individual, who, smothered in dust, perched 
as he could upon the piles of bags and boxes 
strapped on behind. But appearances are de- 
ceitful, for with the exception of G , who 

held the money-bags, he was out-and-out the 
most important personage of the party — he 
was the steersman. The coachman, whom I 
have mis-named the driver, held the reins, but 
the guard directed the horses whenever there 
was a difficulty. If we were likely to go over 
the side of the road, which on the level was 
frequently banked up, to get into a ditch, or to 
meet a cart, or if the Deccan ponies gibbed or 
ran away, an amusement to which they were 
equally addicted, this person was, or ought to 
be, at their heads in a moment. About every 
second port (a port being in general seven 
miles) the guard was changed. Some of these 
men were vigilant, others were sleepy, and 
once we had an unfortunate who was afflicted 
with leprosy, which was not pleasant, as he sat 
upon the luggage. 

We were soon out of English Poonah, and 



DEPARTURE FROM POONAH. 101 

passing under the sacred hill of Parvati. The 
white temples upon its summit were flushed 
with rose colour, the ruined palace was bathed 
in light, and the glass still remaining in the 
horse-shoe window, from whence the last of the 
Peishwas beheld the total rout of his large army 
by a comparatively small English force, flashed 
in the rays of the setting sun. Even stern, 
black Singhar had caught the glow, and was 
dyed in glorious purple light. Our road lay 
across a tolerably fertile plain, bounded by the 
great ghat we were about to cross. It was 
nearly dark when we began to ascend. Our 
doors would fly open, and had to be secured by 
ropes ; the wheels were very ricketty, and 
nothing would induce the candles to burn. Dick 
roared, so the hurricane-lamp was lit, and hung 
in the second carriage. There was no moon, 
but the night was clear and light. The road, 
which was excellent, was perpetually winding 
round sharp spurs of rock ; and although every 
really dangerous part was protected by a sub- 
stantial two feet wall, still, when one looked 
over it, and glanced down, far down, into the 
deep black gorges, the sight was enough to 
make one shudder. Many a camp-fire blazed 
upon the plain of Poonah, shining out at first 
large and brilliant, but waning as we mounted 



102 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

higher and higher, until at last they appeared 
as mere specks of red light, which finally van- 
ished. Near the top of the ghat we passed 
through a long tunnel, with rows of lamps along- 
each side. The ribbed brickwork with which 
it was lined was admirable, and, as far as we 
could judge, appeared to be the very perfection 
of masonry. We had climbed to another level 
of the Deccan, and had no descent to encounter. 
The horses were changed in the most leisurely 
fashion. The pauses were not unpleasant, as 
we generally walked about the while, and 
watched many a novel scene. Rows of patient 
horses stood in long open sheds. Dim lights 
flitted to and fro, glimmering upon big tur- 
baned and ebony men ; and when the harness- 
ing really began, a great bundle of some dried 
thorn was cast down and kindled. Instead of 
blazing up, it gave forth a glowing light, beauti- 
ful as a fire-work. The rest of our night's 
work lay under vaulted avenues of large-limbed 
trees, with heavy foliage, which showered down 
sweet blossoms upon our heads. We came to 
no harm, although they were mango flowers, 
which play a great part in Hindoo mythology. 
The mango flower is sacred to the God Kama, 
the Indian Cupid. He is supposed to be armed 
with a bow of sugar cane, the string of which 



THE TRAVELLERS' BUNGALOW. 103 

consists of bees, and be bears five arrows, each 
tipped with the blossom of a flower, which 
pierce the heart through the five senses. His 
favourite weapon is that pointed by the mango 
flower. The beautiful double white jessamine, 
used at religious ceremonies, wreathes itself 
round this favoured tree, and is called " The 
Bride of the Mango." Here and there a giant 
limb had paid the debt of Nature, and through 
the space left open by its fall the extreme gran- 
deur of the moonless sky became visible. The 
stars were wonderfully large and luminous, and 
shone with a calm, steady light. In the latitude 
in which we were now travelling, the twinkling 
effect observable in Europe is seldom seen. 

We were a silent party, each thinking his 
own thoughts ; and as I gazed upon that 
grandest of constellations, the Southern Cross, 
I for the first time realised that I was in the 
East. My somewhat solemn reverie terminated 
abruptly, when we turned down a narrow lane, 
and drew up before the travellers' bungalow, with 
the exciting reflection — what was to become 
of us if it was full 1 But, by a happy chance, 
three rooms were vacant ; and our arrangements 
being quickly made, the supper we had brought 
with us was soon spread and demolished, and 
thankfully we sought repose upon the broad 



104 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

sofas, which, though not furnished with bedding, 
were capable of being made very comfortable. 
I was awake with the birds, which were 

twittering away at a great rate. G had 

promised me a walk, in which we were to see a 
fine banyan-tree, populated by monkeys. In the 
verandah we paused for a moment to take a 
preliminary cup of tea, and look at the land- 
scape before us, which was very pretty, with 
green hedges and fields, and far-stretching 
mango woods, lit up with such light-tinted 
blossoms as those whose influence we had 
escaped the previous night. The branching 
trees concealed the broad river which flowed at 
their feet, but not the bright brown line of 
hill which extended further away. We wended 
our way through the single long street of the 
little town, which we considered just too large 

to be called a village. G pronounced it 

to be exceptionally clean. To my unaccustomed 
eye there was much in its aspect that was 
strange and picturesque. Groups of dark people 
were squatted in the open huts, for they were 
little more, with possibly a dark chamber in their 
rear. Strange little altars, ornamented with 
rough patterns in red and yellow, were scattered 
about. There was a lofty tree, a sacred peepul- 
tree, with a wide circular ring of masonry 



A DISAPPOINTMENT. 105 

around it, and a large, rough, red-smeared 
stone, with a wreath of flowers twined round 
it. Strange men — Fakirs — with plaited petti- 
coats, and great fans of palm leaves, were 
loitering about, and no doubt extracting money 
from the pockets of the poor. To me all was 
new and interesting. 

We took a country path, which brought us to 
the banyan, a noble tree, with a deeply-in- 
dented bole — in fact, a collection of boles grown 
together in all directions ; brown tendrils were 
hanging down, anxious to root themselves, and 
spring forth in independent beauty. The leaf 
of this tree is large, a fine deep green, and very 
glossy ; and the shade it casts is profound. The 
brightest sunbeam cannot penetrate through 
the dense foliage. But where were the mon- 
keys ? — we looked in vain, but not one was 
visible. It was no unusual disappointment — in 
other countries, at Gibraltar, in the glen of the 
ChifFa, and in Kabylia, I had been promised a 
similar spectacle, but with the same result. We 
pursued our way along the broken ground, 
which rose a few feet above the river Nera, a 
broad, swift, and by no means muddy stream, 

which caused G to sigh as the fish rose to 

the surface and spread circles in the water.* 

* 1 believe the following remarks as to fishing in India 



10(3 MY "SEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Half a mile brought us to a pretty range of 
rock, green with many an unknown plant and 
flowering shrub. A lively little stream came 
tumbling over the boulder stones. It might have 
been a Yorkshire beck ; but looking down upon 
it, instead of a spired church, there stood a 
Hindoo temple, with a pyramidal roof, which 
we climbed up to explore. It was a rude, 
square edifice, lighted from the doorless en- 
trance. A conical stone, " the Singa/' occupied a 
low platform in the centre. An intelligent- 

to be true : — " If one only knows where to look for it, there 
is certainly as good fishing to be got in India as in any 
other country in the world. We once knew a brave old 
gentleman in Northern India — who, by the way, used to 
fish from an elephant — that pronounced India to be the 
great fishing country — not altogether without reason, we 
think. A writer in the Field, of October 9, 1869, speaks 
of catching seven hundred and one pounds in five days with 
the rod, in the Punjab ; and in one day he landed three 
hundred and thirty- eight pounds. The river was the 
Punah, an affluent of the Jhilam, that rises in the Pir-Pan- 
jal. This river, which is about a hundred and twenty 
miles in length, is about the breadth of the Tweed at Cold- 
stream ; but the pools are deeper and the current more rapid. 
The Mahsir, or Indian salmon, is the fish that affords the 
best sport in this, as in every other river of India. It is a 
grand carp that attains a weight of seventy pounds and 
upwards, and affords more play to the angler, and as dainty 
a dish to the gourmet, as the Spey or Ness salmon. The 
Mahsir is often fished with a fly." — Times of India Hand- 
book of Hindustan, p. 108. 



THE SINGADARI. 107 

looking young man, who, with the simple curi- 
osity characteristic of Eastern manners, had 
followed us, said that it was not a real Singa 
— I suppose that meant a Singa not properly 
consecrated — adding, "that he, being a Ma- 
homedan, thought it very strange that men 
should worship a stone." I ventured to remark, 

through Gf , that some few did but regard it 

as a symbol, upon which he shook his head and 
fell back. 

The Singadari are a distinct and very large- 
sect of people, who are exceedingly stern and 
opinionated. They will not eat what has been 
cooked by a Brahman, and differ in their reli- 
gious tenets, denying the doctrine of Metem- 
psychosis, rejecting caste, and leaving in abey- 
ance some domestic observances which are 
rigidly practised by other Hindoos. Professor 
Wilson believes the Singa to be the most 
ancient object of worship adopted in India, 
subsequently to the ritual of the Vedas, which 
was chiefly, if not wholly, addressed to the 
elements, and particularly fine. The Singadari 
do not in general burn their dead. They pre- 
fer burying them, and that in a sitting posture. 
A man of this sect is at once recognised by the 
silver box he carries at his side, containing the 
emblem of his faith, if not by a little silver 



108 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

relic-box, hung to a necklace of beads or ber- 
ries. The very poor wear a stone wrapped up 
in a bit'of cloth, suspended from the neck by a 
string. . 

On a ledge of rock close to the temple were 
ranged three colossal horses' heads, fairly carved 
in wood, and painted in glowing colours, the 

meaning of which I eagerly demanded. G 

was puzzled, and referred to our self-constituted 
guide, who informed us that they were orna- 
ments, the prows of old barges which had glided 
for many a day up and down the placid river 
at our feet. The Nera is a charming stream, 
smooth and clear for many months of the year, 
but during the Monsoon it swells into a devas- 
tating muddy torrent. The short green herb- 
age was stained with dark spots, which told 
the sad tale that it was the burning Ghat, the 
plateau from whence the charred bones of many 
"a rude forefather of the hamlet" had been 
cast into the purifying waters below. A few 
tombs were dotted about, mere steps of stone, 
with a pillar in the centre, memorials of those 
whose bodies had suffered cremation there, tri- 
butes from the living, which must soon lose 
their significance, for upon such stones no name 
is ever recorded. 

Having nothing particular to do during the 



THE TRAVELLERS' BUNGALOW. 109 

heat of the day, I investigated the travellers 
bungalow. Small things interested me greatly, 
for they were now imbued with all the charm 
of novelty. It was a low bungalow, consisting 
of a ground-floor placed upon a raised platform, 
encircled by a wide verandah, completely shaded 
by the overhanging eaves and lattice work, in 
and out of which twined creeping plants. I 
was charmed to find a small self-sown sensitive 
plant, which I experimented upon to my 
heart's content. The interior of the bungalow 
consisted of three long rooms, scantily furnished, 
a table, a few chairs, a wide cane sofa, to serve 
as a bed, and, perhaps, some rough shelves, 
suspended from the white-washed wall, and a 
skeleton frame, intended to receive the metal 
basin, which the traveller is expected to supply, 
as well as a looking-glass, should he consider 
such an article necessary. To each chamber 
was attached a bath-room, lighted in a Saracenic 
fashion, open spaces being filled in by tubular 
tiles split in half, and placed in rows one above 
the other, forming a very effective pattern. If 
the road be much frequented, a messman is 
attached to the bungalow, whose duty it is to 
provide a simple meal if demanded, as also to lend 
linen and couverts, as our French friends would 
say. It sometimes happens, however, that no 



110 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

messman is at hand, and that nothing edible 
can be procured, in which case the wary tra- 
veller generally takes care to be provided 
beforehand with tinned provisions, biscuits, and 
liquor, as a stock to draw upon. Water is an 
extra charge. Chambers cannot be occupied as 
a matter of right for more than three days, after 
which time the accommodation can be claimed 
by other people. On leaving, each person pays 
a shilling for the accommodation he has received 
during twenty-four hours' halt. Thesebuugalows 
are generally placed at a little distance from a 
town, and are now in much greater request 
than formerly, the extravagant hospitality of 
olden days having much declined. They are 
surrounded by a couple of acres of ground, on 
which the offices are placed. In India, the 
kitchen is invariably some distance from the 
house, as the odour of cooking would be intol- 
erable in so hot a climate, and meals are in 
consequence served upon hot-water plates. 

Nothing to the stranger is more puzzling than 
the orthography of Indian proper names, which 
are too often rendered according to fancy on 
maps, in books, at the post-office, and by the 
friend whose aid you seek in a dilemma. At 
our first halting-place I experienced my first 
difficulty, in consequence of being unable to 



THE BOY AND THE BABY. Ill 

determine whether it was called Sherwan, or 
Sherwell, or Sirwull, or any other similar varia- 
tion that inquirers chose to put upon the sound 
with which their demands for information were 
answered. Some of the most accurate maps 
give the names of towns twice over, printed 
one above the other. This incongruity will, 
however, in time be remedied, for it has oc- 
casioned so much confusion in Government 
offices, that a book is about to be issued, and 
forwarded to all officials, giving the names of 
places according to a uniform rule — a measure 
which will be productive of great comfort to 
those who, like myself, find Hindustani words, 
of every kind and class, a perpetual stumbling- 
block. 

I was sitting in the verandah, when a boy 
came up, carrying a little copper-coloured child, 
with great eyes, and a wild expression of coun- 
tenance — altogether, such an uncanny-looking 
thing that I stretched out my hand to touch 
it, to see if it really was a baby. Away flew 
the boy on the instant to what he considered 
a safe distance, when he turned at bay, ready 
for another start if he found himself pursued. 
I mentioned the circumstance to M., who 
replied, " Of course he ran away, for in his 
opinion your touch would have polluted the 



112 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

child. Don't you know that the first rising in 
the Mutiny was occasioned by a clergyman who 
put his hand upon the head of a little Hindoo 
child?" — a fact of which I very humbly pro- 
fessed my ignorance. I was much rejoiced when 
long shadows began to fall, and I saw signs 
of packing, a task which was soon accomplished, 
for it is one at which Hindoo servants are very 
expert. 

Like the camel driver in the song, " we had 
many a mile to go," — forty, I believe, before we 
should be entitled to the supper and beds which 
awaited us at Sattara, and we consequently set 
off on our journey earlier than usual. The 
evening was beautiful, and we looked forward 
with confidence to the continuance of such de- 
lightful weather — a confidence which is one of 
the most pleasant features in the climate of 
India. One knows with certainty that for 
months together, for so many hours of the day, 
the wind will blow from east to west over the 
heated plain, followed by the blessed change 
which is produced by a cool breeze setting in 
from the Indian Ocean. In making so compre- 
hensive an observation, I am aware that I am 
falling into a somewhat loose manner of speak- 
ing, for there are as many different climates, 
customs, and races in the 1,287,483 square 



OBSTINATE TATTOOS. 113 

miles of its vast territory as in the whole of 
Europe. The term, as used by me, refers to 
Western India, the only part of the Peninsula 
with which I have at present a personal ac- 
quaintance. 

Before reaching that shelf of the Deccan in 
which Sattara is situated, we had to ascend the 
Kamski Ghat, which is exceedingly steep. We 
changed horses at the foot of the pass, and 
unfortunately got tattoos, which were ad- 
dicted to jibbing. Although at first the ascent 
was easy, unless backwards, the brutes again 
and again refused to go forward, and more 

than once came to a perfect standstill. G 

and the other men, along with volunteers col- 
lected on the road, had, after each pause, to 
start the vehicle by main force. If at last the 
ponies moved in the right direction, well and 

good, G vaulted into the carriage and on 

we went. If they did not, or there was a con- 
siderable drop on one side, M. had to scramble 
out over the closed door, with her carriage cloak 
in her hand, whilst I followed with Bustle 
under my arm. I saw with satisfaction that, 
however badly the horses behaved, they were 
never flogged. Their only punishment was that 
of being scolded in torrents of the harshest 
Mahratta. The brutes at last gave up all idea 

VOL. I. 1 



114 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

of the stable they had quitted, and then, begin- 
ning to turn their minds to the stable that was 
to come, went on, not, however, without con- 
tinuing to indulge in some ebullitions of temper. 
As the road grew steeper and steeper, their 
pranks became dangerous, and we agreed that 
it would be best to get out and walk to the top 
of the ghat. The black gulfs below were pro- 
foundly deep, and the mountain spurs were 
rugged and abrupt ; while our road was but a 
blasted path cut out of the crags. The night 
was very dark, and as the crescent moon had 
vanished long ago, we saw that beautiful ap- 
pearance, the Magellanic Clouds, to great ad- 
vantage ; and the Milky Way — " the Great 
Eiver/' as the Arabs call it — was singularly 
bright. Still there was not sufficient light to 
make the road we traversed visible, and one of 
our men — Moideen (the Light of Keligion) — 
alas ! a perfect scamp — was obliged to guide 
us with the hurricane lamp. As we marched 
along in single file, the effect of our gigantic 
shadows thrown upon the smooth surface of the 
rock was exceedingly droll — M. and I, with our 
pointed hats, resembling nothing so much as a 
couple of witches on their way to a Sabbath 
meeting ; G a burly giant ; Bustle a bull- 
dog on stilts ; and the Light of Religion a stick 



CROSSING THE KOO-I-NOR. 115 

with a turban stuck upon it. If any poor super- 
stitious Hindoo caught sight of the shadowy 
procession without hearing our voices, he must 
have been sadly frightened. When we reached 
the post-house at the top of the mountain, we 
were quite tired, and continued to be for some 
time very anxious. We looked into the black 
night, and neither saw nor heard anything of 
the second carriage, concealed as it was by the 
abrupt turns in the road, until it was close upon 
us. We were thankful that we had no descent 
to encounter. 

One more trial awaited us, as we had to cross 
the Koo-i-nor, close to its junction with the 
sacred Krishna. During the rains the Koo-i- 
nor is an impetuous roaring torrent, the terror 
of the mail-cart. In dry weather it retreats into 
its deep bed, leaving its broken cliffs and muddy 
strand exposed. Bridge after bridge has been 
built and washed away, consequently it has 
either to be forded or crossed in a ferry-boat. 
The easiest time for crossing it is when the 
passage is made at full flood, the water then 
rising level with the steep banks. The most 
difficult is when the river is neither high nor 
low, for then there is no secure landing for the 

carriages ferried across the stream. G 

grew anxious as we approached the steep, tor- 

i2 



116 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

tuous declivity, especially as it was very dark ; 
and when the light we carried for a moment 
pierced the clouds of dust we raised, it disclosed 
a cliff with a crumbling brink, a precipitous 
descent, with no protection whatever. I believe 
that we owed our safety to the rush the horses 
made into the river, which they gained with 
a splash and a thud. M. grasped her cloak, I 
hugged my dog, and with the hands which 
were at liberty we clung to the vehicle, fully 
prepared for a ducking. The carriages rocked 
and bumped, but there were numbers of men at 
hand ready to steady them. The plunging of 
the struggling tattoos, the dancing lights, the 
momentary glimpses of the rushing river, the 
noise and shouting of the men, made it a scene 
of some variety, and of indescribable confusion. 
Not the least part of the difficulty lay in the 
steep gully the panting horses had to climb 
when the opposite side was reached. Half 
dragged by them, half pushed along through 
the pulverized mud, we did at last reach the 
level road. After we had arranged the car- 
riage, we walked about to compose ourselves. 
The delay was tedious, but unavoidable, for an 
important package had slipped from its ropes, 
and was missing. At last, however, it was 
found, half buried in the dust of the opposite 



SATTARA. 117 

bank, and once more it was in our power to 
proceed. Having seated ourselves, the horn 
was blown, and the horses started, but, alas ! 
mistook their direction, and wheeling round, 
made a rush down the steep track by which we 
had mounted. Their heads were seized, they 
were steadied for a moment, and once more we 
were compelled to lay hold of our precious pos- 
sessions, and jump out. How the carriage was 
turned without being upset, I cannot say, but 
our unfortunate cook had his foot a good deal 
crushed. It was two o'clock in the morning 
before we reached our destination. I shall ever 
remember the river which flows from those 
mountains of light, the Koo-i-nor Hills. 

When I awoke in the morning, I could 
scarcely believe that I was in Sattara, Sattara 
— I loved to caress the musical name, which 
sounded like that of an old friend, for there had 
M/s year of Indian life been spent. In my far- 
away home hung a view of it, taken upon the 
spot. Many a time had I gazed at it with a 
yearning feeling, and now the reality was before 
my eyes. There, not a mile away, was the 
isolated mountain, with its craggy sides, ancient 
walls, and perpendicular precipices. It made 
me shudder to look at the narrow, tortuous 
ledge up which she had so often ridden her 



118 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

much-prized thorough-bred Deccan pony, laugh- 
ingly declaring that his legs were much safer 
than her own. The grim battlements, even in 
clear early light, could scarcely be distinguished 
from the rock itself ; still I could discern three 
out of the seven round towers from which the 
fort derives its poetical designation. 

Sattara is a corruption of Sath-Istara — that 
is, the Seven Stars, or Pleiades. No fortress in 
all Mahratta has been more connected with the 
historical events of many centuries, and its 
Rajahs were among the most powerful of the 
Deccan princes. An ancient copper-plate, with 
an inscription, shows that it was founded in the 
year 1192. In due time it fell under the do- 
minion of the Mahomedan kings, who reigned 
at Bejipur ; but in 1673, after a protracted 
siege, it was captured by the great Sevaji, and 
afterwards, with its town, became the capital 
of the Mahratta Government. Six years after- 
wards, it was besieged by the Monguls, two 
thousand of whom perished by the inopportune 
explosion of one of their own mines. How the 
rocky mountain must have trembled ! For 
hundreds of years was this spot dyed in blood, 
and over the perpendicular scarp, which I saw 
cutting the blue sky with so sharp an edge, 
thousands of victims had been hurled. Now 



THE FORT. 119 

the Seven Stars are ruined, the English having 
effected in an hour what neither time nor the 
enemy could accomplish. Its fate has been 
that of many a mountain eyrie. Its defences 
were blown into fragments by gunpowder — no 
unnecessary proceeding after the Mutiny, it 
being judged that, in case of another rising, the 
existence of these strongholds might be exceed- 
ingly dangerous. 

M. and her husband, along with a friend, 
once spent a week in the fortress, choosing for 
their abode in it a very long room, probably 
the old banqueting-hall, which had been spared. 
Down the middle of this apartment ran a long 
line of pillars, connected with one another by 
light arches, made of hard dark wood, and 
beautifully carved. They brought up to it 
camp furniture, and partitioning off a room at 
each end, enjoyed themselves exceedingly. M. 
spent great part of her time in sketching, draw- 
ing the gateway, with the two fish, the emblem 
of nobility, carved above it, and the ruined 
temples. (There were originally sixteen of 
them, eleven of which were dedicated to Shiva, 
whose worship was that of a stern religion, and 
five to the cruel Bavane.) Only one of the 
number remains perfect, with a gilded image 
of the bloodthirsty divinity in a squatting pos- 



]20 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ture. Nor did M. neglect the old tanks, and 
the fern-covered wells. Under the fort laby- 
rinths of narrow ways lead to the dungeons — 
dark holes hewn from the hard-hearted black 
rock. What sufferings must have been endured 
in the bowels of this hill, outwardly so sunny 
and so free ! There are also secret passages, 
by which access to the open country is obtain- 
ed. These were constructed to afford means of 
escape in times of peril. 

One of the legends attached to the place, al- 
though very horrible, is thought not unlikely to 
be true. It is said that when the fort was built 
a youth and a maiden were buried alive under 
the principal entrance. A circumstance which 
may not be improbable, when we remember that 
in many parts of India a belief in the efficacy of 
human sacrifice still lingers, and that this horri- 
ble practice is still perpetrated among the wild 
hill tribes, who have never yet been conquered 
by the Aryan race. The Mahrs, the supposed 
aborigines of the country, who still exist in the 
town of Sattara, at certain seasons of the year 
ascend to the fort in their gala dresses, and in 
a very cruel manner (too cruel to relate) sacri- 
fice a buffalo in front of the temple.* 

* Many of the Hindoo temples are small. It is con- 
sidered sufficient if they are large enough to contain the 
idol, the officiating priest, and the sacrificial instruments. 



AMBALI. 121 

The fort commands a beautiful view over a 
fertile plain, completely surrounded by hills of 
every varying form, swelling into mountains 
towards the west. Among the blue plateaus and 
peaks the lofty Ambali is a prominent object, a 
hill which, according to Hindoo mythology, was 
a pebble which slipped from a mountain that 
Hanuman (the monkey god) was carrying to 
help in making a bridge from India to Ceylon, 
in Rama's war with the monster-headed king of 
the island. 



122 



CHAPTER VI. 

Re-engagement of an Old Servant — The Old Palace — 
Eelics of Sevaji — Tale of Indian Treachery — The 
Combat with Claws — Junction of the Krishna 
and the Zena — The Parsee Tower of Silence — 
Religious Ideas and Symbols of the Hindoos — Festival 
in Honour of Shiva — Hindoo Sects — Turbans — The 
Savi — Condition of Hindoo Women — Ornaments — 
Returning from the Fair — Sattara Monkeys — A Jaina 
Temple — The Burning Ghat. 

IN consequence of its mountainous ring we 
found Sattara so hot that it was impossible 
to venture out until the evening breeze set in, 
when we took chairs and sat under the coolest 
verandah. Numbers of scavenger eaglets were 
swooping about, to the terror of the clucking 
hens, who, the moment these birds appeared, 
collected their broods and hid themselves. 

Meanwhile, M. was surrounded by old ser- 
vants, some of whom had come to make their 
salaams, others in the hope of re-entering her 
service. One of them, an old man, she declared 
that she had never seen so amply clad. In 



AN OLD SERVANT. 123 

order to present himself he had borrowed a 
cumlie, a narrow woollen blanket, sewed to- 
gether, and put over the head, in which he was 
wrapped up, in spite of the ninety-two degrees of 
heat. M. had employed him in the capacity 
of carrier. She had a partiality for strawberries, 
a luxury not to be procured nearer than Maha- 
baleshwar, which, by the hill paths, was thirty 
miles off. There and back, twice every week, 
did the " old man" trot (he was probably under 
forty), returning with baskets of rosy fruit, 
and considered himself well paid in receiving ten 
shillings a month, that is two and. sixpence for 
every journey of one hundred and twenty miles. 
After a little conversation, it was agreed that he 
should return to the service of his old mistress, 
not as strawberry-carrier, but to look after the 
dogs and poultry. But before he could leave 
►Sattara, his affairs had to be arranged, as he 
was in debt, owing no less than seven shillings. 
He accordingly received a small sum of money 
in advance, with which he trotted off to Belgaum 
at once with a beaming countenance. The 
transaction took place in the Mahratta language, 
which I thought sounded very harsh. 

Late in the afternoon Gr , who had been 

occupied with his inspection all the morning, 
returned with a carriage, and took me to see the 



124 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

old palace. We drove through a wide street, 
in which endless numbers of respectable-looking 
people were taking the air, for by this time the 
sea-breeze had set in. The men were habited 
either in white, or partially enveloped in the 
duthi, or waist-cloth — a long piece of yellow- 
white cotton (the produce of a shrub which 
attains the height of some six feet), which is 
w r ound round the body, passed between the 
legs, and tucked in, in some mysterious fashion. 
The palace has, externally, only its size to recom- 
mend it, but it stands advantageously on a large 
open space, which had no doubt many a time 
been filled with Sevaji's fierce mountaineers. A 
few of the Rajah's soldiers were loitering under 
the colonnades. Near the entrance door was a 
large iron cage, which contained a panther, 

which G pronounced to be a remarkably 

fine animal. As we approached its cage, the 
animal's fierce eyes lit up with an angry glow, 
and it darted out its claw, hoping to catch 

G , who stood unpleasantly near. This 

greatly enraged Bustle, and it was fortunate that 
I held him in a strong string, for our small cham- 
pion made a rush towards the beast, and was 
all anxiety to attack it. The natives who were 
loitering around were much amused, and abso- 
lutely laughed. 



THE OLD PALACE. 125 

We were received by a venerable-looking old 
gentleman, who spoke English perfectly. He 
at once conducted us into the vast audience- 
hall, which occupied the centre of the building. 
It was very lofty, supported on each side by 
finely-carved wooden pillars, forming colon- 
nades. The side walls were pierced by lofty 
arches, now partially closed by lattice-work; 
outside these now ran narrow tanks, with 
water-works so arranged that on festive occa- 
sions one tall feathery jet would shoot up in the 
centre of each. Numberless lustres of various 
sizes, wrapped up in red cotton bags, were sus- 
pended from the ceiling of the hall. The effect 
when they were brilliantly lit up must have been 
very fine. The end of the saloon was occupied 
by a large square erection — the shrine in which 
the family deity was placed. All great Hindoo 
families have their familiar god or goddess, to 
whom they offer sacrifice, and look for protection. 
The frame of the temple was made of wood, the 
interior being hidden by hangings of the richest 
brocaded satin. The old man drew aside the 
curtains, and facing us, raised in a sitting 
posture upon a throne, we beheld a large cross- 
legged figure in silver — Sevaji's own Bhavani, 
appropriate goddess for the ruthless chief of a 
cruel age. She was represented with eight 



12(3 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

arms. Her oblique eyes seemed to regard us 
with sinister expression. She wore a nose- 
ring, necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, and 
had a conical head-dress. Her altar was dressed 
with green velvet, magnificently embroidered in 
gold. 

In this sanctuary lay SevajTs sword, which 
he called Bhavani, after his tutelar goddess, a 
weapon which is now an object of worship. 
Strewn about the dais were the sacrificial vessels 
and instruments, consisting of dishes, lamps, 
cups, bowls, animals bearing upon their backs 
the lotus flower (probably for incense), and 
other articles, the use of which I could not 
divine. These various objects were in silver, 
beautifully chased, and probably very old, for 
in places the patterns were worn away. Paral- 
lel with the banqueting hall were long courts, 
surrounded by two-storied buildings, which had 
once been the ladies' apartments. The latticed 
window-sills of horse-shoe form, the balconies, 
the projecting beams, were of dark wood, finely 
carved with figures and foliage. These rooms 
looked down on the hall, which on grand occa- 
sions must have presented a charming coup oVceil. 
We lingered about for some time waiting to see 
the relics, and were invited to sit down upon a 
comfortable sofa, our conductor taking a chair. 



SEVAJl'S SWORD. 127 

There was a great commotion at this end of 
the hall. Men were running about with cur- 
tains, and carpets, and wooden frames. A play 
in the Mahratta tongue was about to take place. 
Suddenly three or four dignified-looking gentle- 
men made their appearance. Our guide arose, 
we bowed, and the Hindoos, salaaming with 
gravity and grace, passed on, and squatted 
down in a corner. They were relatives of the 
late Rani, and of the present occupant of the 
palace, whose position is still under the con- 
sideration of the English Government. The 
Rajah of Sattara, who died in 1848, having no 
son, immediately before his death adopted a boy, 
a usual mode of proceeding under such circum- 
stances. Lord Dalhousie, however, struck Sat- 
tara out of the list of native states, bestowing 
liberal pensions on the Rajah's widow and 
adopted son. 

At last the honoured relics made their ap- 
pearance. The sword is a fine Ferrara blade, 
four feet in length, with a spike upon the hilt 
to thrust with. The hilt will only admit a very 
small hand. It is a matter of surprise that so 
small a man as Sevaji is said to have been could 
have wielded such a weapon with the remark- 
able skill which has passed into a proverb. His 
precise stature is not known, but his weight is a 



128 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

matter of history, one of his popular acts having 
been that he was weighed against gold, and his 
weight was found to be equal to that of sixteen 
thousand pagodas (a gold coin so called from 
its being marked with a pagoda), which is equal 
to ten stone, the whole amount being distribut- 
ed among Brahmans. The next object of inte- 
rest was his quilted coat of peach-coloured satin, 
made to pass the knees, and which contained 
very fine chain armour ; this was matched by a 
cap made with flaps, in order to protect the 
head. The united weight of the cap and coat 
was something amazing. This suit is said to 
have been specially made in anticipation of an 
approaching interview with his deadly enemy, 
Afzool Khan, but it was probably the ordinary 
array in which he went forth to the combat. The 
Mahratta troops always wore quilted vests, an 
excellent protection against sabre cuts, which we 
read of both in Egyptian and Grecian warfare. 
Last of all we were shown the wagnuks, 
or tigers' claws, with which the western hero 
is said to have torn open the stomach of 
the envoy whom he went forth in amity to 
meet. The story to which these relics bear 
silent witness, is worth relating, in order to 
show by what treacherous means the Indian 
princes of the seventeenth century gained the 



TREACHERY OF SEVAJI. 129 

undying applause of their fierce countrymen. 
We therefore extract the following passage 
from Grant Duff's " History of the Mahrattas "— - 
" The Mahomedan Afzool Khan was the am- 
bassador of the Bijipur king, who ardently 
desired the destruction of the powerful Sevaji. 
He, however, diplomatically masked his hatred. 
His enemy pursued a like line of conduct, and 
it was arranged that an interview should take 
place between the envoy and the Mahratta 
prince. Sevaji prepared a place for the meeting 
at the foot of the renowed fortress of Pertab- 
gurh. He cut down the jungle and cleared a 
road for the Khan's approach ; but every other 
avenue to the spot was carefully closed. Fif- 
teen hundred of Afzool Khan's troops accom- 
panied him to within a few hundred yards of 
Pertabgurh, where, for fear of alarming Sevaji, 
they were desired to halt. Afzool Khan, draped 
in a thin muslin garment, armed only with his 
sword, and attended by a single armed fol- 
lower, advanced in his palanquin to an open 
bungalow prepared for the occasion. Sevaji 
had made preparations for his purpose, not as 
if conscious that he meditated a criminal and 
treacherous deed, but as if resolved on some 
meritorious and desperate action. Having 
performed his ablutions with much earnestness, 
VOL. I. K 



130 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

he laid his head at his mother's feet and be- 
sought her blessing. He then arose, put on a 
steel chain cap, and chain armour under his 
turban and cotton gown, concealed a crooked 
dagger, or beechwa (the beechwa, or scorpion, 
named from its resemblance to that reptile) in 
his right sleeve, and on the fingers of his right 
hand he fixed a wagnuk, a treacherous weapon, 
well-known to the Mahrattas. Thus accoutred, 
he slowly descended from the fort. The Khan 
had arrived at the place of meeting before him, 
and was expressing his impatience at the delay, 
when Sevaji was seen advancing, apparently 
unarmed, and, like the Khan, attended by only 
one armed follower. Sevaji, in view of Afzool 
Khan, frequently stopped, which was repre- 
sented to Afzool as the effect of alarm, a sup- 
position very likely to be admitted from his 
diminutive size. 

" Afzool Khan advanced two or three paces to 
meet Sevaji, and when they were introduced, the 
treacheous Mahratta, while they were perform- 
ing the customary embrace, struck the wagnuk 
into the bowels of Afzool^Khan, who, quickly 
disengaging himself, clapped his hand on his 
sword, exclaiming ' Treachery and murder ;' 
but Sevaji instantly followed up the assault with 
his dagger. The Khan had drawn his sword, 



THE WAGNUK. 131 

and made a cut at Sevaji, but the concealed 
armour was proof against the blow. . . A gene- 
ral scuffle ensued, the bearers had lifted the 
wounded Khan into his palanquin, when some 
followers of Sevaji's came up, cut off the head of 
the dying man, and carried it to Pertabgurh." 

The wagnuk, or tiger's claw, is a small in- 
strument of steel, made to fit on the four 
fingers. It has three crooked blades, which are 
easily concealed in a half-closed hand. 

Along with the other relics were produced 
two of these weapons, one of which was fur- 
nished with four claws, while the other had but 
three. Before leaving the palace, I was allowed 
to make a hasty sketch of these terrible instru- 
ments. The story, with which they are con- 
nected, has been gathered into the folk lore of 
the Mahratta people, is chanted at many a feast, 
and taught to little children as soon as they 
can lisp. The use of the wagnuk in warfare has 
long since passed away, but it still figures in the 
amusements of some of the princes of the day. 

Monsieur Roussellet, who visited the coast of 
Baroda in 1864 (during the reign of the lately 
deceased Gaekwar's brother, and who has 
since published a magnificently illuminated 
volume of Indian travel), became still more 
famous after he w r as invited to attend 

k2 



132 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

at an entertainment called the Naki-ka- 
kausti, the combat with claws. The com- 
batants, entirely nude, and adorned with 
crowns and garlands, tore one another with 
claws of horn ; but " formerly," we are as- 
sured by the French gentleman, iC the claws 
were made of steel, when the death of one of 
the combatants was unavoidable." The steel 
claws, however, have been suppressed, and 
those of horn, which have replaced them, are 
fitted into a kind of handle, which is fastened 
to the closed fist of the right hand by means of 
thongs. The combatants, intoxicated with 
bang, rushed upon one another in a state of 
fury outstripping all bounds, and with such 
force that their necks and bodies were soon 
covered with blood. 

The Gaekwar was accustomed to stare at 
this deadly struggle in a condition of such wild 
excitement that he could scarcely restrain him- 
self from imitatiug the movements of the com- 
batants. The unfortunate one whose destiny it 
was to bite the dust, was borne away, some- 
times in a dying state, while the conqueror, 
with the skin of his forehead hanging down 
in shreds, would prostrate himself before the 
Gaekwar, to receive from him a necklace of 
pearls, and a richly embroidered dress. 



TOWERS OF SILENCE. 133 

Instead of returning through the town, we 
struck off into a quiet country road, passing 
close to a low stone building, which reminded 
me of one of our Kentish martello towers. It 
was the Parsee " Tower of Silence " — one of 
those abodes of the dead which no one, with 
the exception of the guardian, is allowed to 
enter, unless it happen to be empty. The 
reply, however, of a Parsee, when questioned 
upon the subject, throws some light upon their 
mode of proceeding : 

" Our Prophet Zoroaster," he said, " who 
lived six thousand years ago, taught us to 
regard the elements as symbols of the Deity. 
Earth, fire, water," he said, " ought never, under 
any circumstances, to be defiled by contact with 
putrefying flesh. Naked," he added, " we came 
into the world, and naked we ought to leave it. 
But the decaying particles of our bodies should 
be dissipated as rapidly as possible, and in such 
a way that neither Mother Earth nor the beings 
she supports should be contaminated in the 
slightest degree. In fact, our prophet was the 
greatest of health officers, and following his 
sanitary laws we build our towers on the tops of 
the hills, above all human habitations. We 
spare no expense in constructing them of the 
hardest materials; and we expose our putres- 



134 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

cent bodies in open stone receptacles, resting on 
fourteen feet of solid granite, not necessarily to 
be consumed by vultures, but to be dissipated 
in the speediest possible manner, without the 
possibility of polluting the earth or contaminat- 
ing a single living being dwelling thereon. God 
indeed sends the vultures, and, as a matter of 
fact, these birds do their work much more ex- 
peditiously than millions of insects would do if 
our bodies were committed to the ground. In 
a sanitary point of view nothing can be more 
perfect than our plan. Even the rain water 
which washes our skeletons is conducted by 
channels into purifying charcoal. Here in these 
fine towers rest the bones of all the Parsees that 
have lived in Bombay for the last two hundred 
years. We form a united body in life, and we 
are united in death." 

It is a pity that the great law-giver did not 
promulgate a few more sanitary rules, for the 
Parsees are in some respects the dirtiest people 
in Bombay. Without exception they throw 
every sort of refuse into the street before 
their dwellings. It is an extraordinary fact 
mentioned, but not explained, by Mr. Moor, 
that " an expiring Parsee requires the pre- 
sence of a dog in furtherance of his departing 
soul." 



MAHULI. 135 

The bodies are placed upon iron gratings, 
which slope downwards, so that eventually the 
remains fall into a pipe, and from thence into a 
pit beneath. Some people asserted that an 
upper grating protects the body from the as- 
saults of birds, but such is clearly not the case. 
In the official report of the Bombay health offi- 
cers, it is stated that it is disgusting to see the 
vultures swooping upon their prey, and carry- 
ing away pieces of flesh and bones. The vul- 
ture which haunts these spots is of a peculiar 
species, and it is said that the early Parsees 
actually imported them on account of the 
rapidity with which they accomplished their 
horrid task. 

On the following day we had a treat, as we 
went to Mahuli, a celebrated spot of great beauty, 
where the rivers Krishna and the Yena unite. 
In India the junction of two rivers is always holy, 
and in this instance it is particularly so, for the 
Krishna is a very sacred stream — the most 
considerable of the five declared by the Brah- 
mans to be sacred, which flow from the site of 
the temple of Maha Deo, in the Mahaba- 
leshwar hills, the fruitful birthplace of many 
rivers. The Lady Krishna, as she is called — 
for the imaginative Hindoo, with his love of 
symbolising, considers all rivers to be male or 



136 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

female — is regarded as the Deity Krishna, in the 
female form, and as such is worshipped during 
a course of eight hundred miles, finally emptying 
herself by herself into the Bay of Bengal. The 
basin of the Krishna is computed to be 94,500 
square miles. 

Our road lay under a shady avenue of pee- 
pul-trees. Religion in this country is so intimately 
bound up with the domestic habits of this peo- 
ple, that they worship not only Nature, in trees, 
flowers, and streams, but also the most ordinary 
objects. If no idol is at hand, the Hindoo will 
make a god of his earthen pitcher, which the 
Englishman looks upon merely as a useful ves- 
sel, while his Eastern brother regards it as the 
source from which he draws the spring of life, 
the type of his creator. 

An endless throng of people flowed along in 
their gala dresses, so rich and various that I 
could scarcely believe that the scene which 
danced before my eyes was real. It was the 
6th of March, a day on which, in this year, 
occurred a great festival in honour of Shiva, 
for these annual commemorations vary a little 
in time, as they depend upon the state of the 
moon. The story runs that on a certain night 
a mighty hunter took shelter in a bel-tree (a 
species of fig). To amuse himself he plucked 



FESTIVAL IN HONOUR OF SHIVA. 137 

branches and threw them by chance down upon 
a Linga stone, which so gratified Shiva that he 
immediately carried the hunter up to Kailas, his 
celestial abode. 

The ceremonies had commenced on the pre- 
vious night. The devotees fast during twenty- 
four hours, and pray in the temples with a 
Brahman, who pours water on the Lingham,the 
emblem of Shiva, which he also decorates with 
flowers. He then reads over the thousand 
names of the god, and at each name the vota- 
ries cast bel leaves upon the Lingham. The 
men were chiefly in white, and different castes 
wore turbans of different dimensions and mate- 
rial, some of them indeed being enormous. It 
requires considerable skill to coil this kind of 
head-dress into the proper shape. The rich 
Hindoo had stripes of silver or gold woven 
into his fine muslin. Those amongst the 
crowd who were worshippers of Shiva — and 
they greatly preponderated — had their peculiar 
sectarial mark — the terrible eye and the per- 
pendicular lines painted in white upon their 
foreheads.* 

* The Hindoo religion is split into two sects (which are 
again subdivided), the worshippers of Shiva, and the wor- 
shippers of Vishnu, who differ greatly from one another. 
It is supposed that the former is the most ancient ; and 
many believe it to be mixed up with the superstitions of 
the conquered aboriginal tribes. 



138 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Many of the women were good-looking, or 
would have been so, had they not been dis- 
figured by that most grotesque of ornaments — 
the nose-ring. They had smooth, dark, but not 
black skins, shiny with cocoa-nut oil, fine eyes, 
broad, but not ugly features,, and a wealth of 
jetty hair, well greased, and ornamented with 
coronets of yellow flowers. They wore vests, 
sometimes of crimson, but so short as scarcely 
to cover the bust, and to leave the finely- 
rounded arm bare ; their only other garment 
being the national savi, a piece of cotton, a 
yard and a half in width, and eight or nine in 
length, Where this covering begins or ends I 
know not, it is so artfully wound round the 
waist, and passed between the legs, hips, and 
shoulders, sometimes also forming a scarf for the 
head. The intense though dusky hues of these 
savis, which are bordered with some colour 
affording the utmost contrast, are well calcu- 
lated to set the native women off to advantage. 
If she is tall and shapely, the dress is decidedly 
elegant ; but woe be to her if she is fat, which, 
however, is fortunately seldom the case. When 
this costume is seen for the first time, the ex- 
posure of the leg above the calf, and part of the 
side, has a curious effect ; but, as I have before 
remarked, the dark skin is in itself a covering. 



LOVE OF ORNAMENT. 139" 

The Mahoniedan women, of whom only the very- 
poor appear upon the street, also wear the 
savi, but in such a manner as to reach the 
ankle. I was surprised to see even these un- 
veiled women, as the faces of the same class in 
Turkey or Algeria would have been concealed. 
Up to a certain standing the Hindoo female has 
all the liberty of a European, but that point 
passed, she is more carefully secluded in the 
Zenana than the Turkish woman in the Harem. 
The people of Western India are noted for 
their love of gold and silver ornaments, pos- 
sessing nose-rings, and toe-rings, and ear-rings 
in abundance, sometimes half-a-dozen of the 
latter being stuck round the rim of each ear. 
Then they have necklaces, armlets, bracelets, 
and anklets, and sometimes handsome silver 
bands round the waist. Their workmanship is 
good, and the metal pure, but there is no variety 
in the designs, some of which, however, are 
curious. I never wearied of looking at the 
mothers, with their infants astride upon the 
hip, on which the little black things, all eyes, 
ride in the utmost security, in an attitude 
equally picturesque and graceful. The older 
children ran along innocent of clothes, which 
they do not wear until they are six or seven 
years of age, but they also were bedizened with 
silver. 



140 MY YEAR IX AN INDIAN FORT. 

On this occasion there was a fair at Miihuli, 
and all those who were returning from it were 
bringing home their purchases. The women 
and girls balanced upon their heads a brass 
vessel, called a loto, which has bulging sides, 
a narrow neck, and a very broad rim. It is 
not only used by the Indian women for holding 
water, but also as a market basket. They must 
be rather expensive at first, but they are handed 
clown in families, and in the long run cost less 
than earthenware vessels would, considering 
the fragility of pottery. It was strange to see 
the children hugging brightly-painted idols to 
their bosoms instead of dolls, while many car- 
ried little shrines and altars instead of baby 
houses. Nor were they without their miniature 
lotos, which would very likely serve for the 
smoking incense with which they would fumi- 
gate their toy-god. The ever-shifting scene 
was bewildering. Had I possessed as many 
eyes as Indra, I could have employed them all. 

The Ascetics, or Saints, with their wildly- 
rolling eyes, long tangled locks, and every bone 
in their wretched bodies visible, were horrible 
objects. It was formerly their pleasure to ap- 
pear entirely naked, but government obliges 
them now to put on some clothing, which is 
probably regarded as a penance. Even these 



STRANGE SCENES. 141 

creatures were less objectionable than those 
whose sleek, well-nourished bodies were streak- 
ed with lime, or grey with funeral ashes, which 
they stick on with the juice of the banyan-tree. 
I felt quite angry at seeing beautiful garlands 
of fresh flowers round the bull necks of these 
degraded beings, and sincerely did I pity the 
emaciated horses which some of them bestrode. 
As a class, these men are horribly vicious, and 
are in possession of large sums of money, which 
they often bury, thus explaining how it is that 
treasure is so often found concealed in this 
country. Some fine elephants, with trappings 
of scarlet and gold, came along with stately 
step, carrying Hindoos, who were the petty 
chiefs of the neighbourhood, and possibly their 
wives, in the latticed howdahs, which were 
carefully closed. The well-to-do Bunneah class 
rode their tattoos with an air of great import- 
ance, each man attended by a servant on each 
side, and an umbrella-bearer in the rear. If 
very rich, the beast on which he rode would 
surely be spotted or piebald, animals so marked 
being very dear to the native heart. 

On reaching our destination, we paused to 
take breath under a noble banyan-tree, but no 
repose of mind was to be obtained under its 
shade. It was a self-contained little world. 



142 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Suspended from its branches were hundreds of 
black objects, exactly resembling large shrivelled 
up kid gloves — flying foxes, huge bats, who 
had hooked themselves up to rest after a night 
of thieving and shrieking ; and there were 
swarms of white-faced monkeys, whose antics 
were most amusing. Throughout India the 
Sattara monkeys are renowned for their size 
and wisdom. They flew from branch to branch, 
seemingly regardless of the little ones, who 
clung round their necks. All at once they 
caught sight of us, and recognising us to be 
strangers, began to grin, and chatter, and hiss. 
When their anger was a little expended, they 
clasped their arms round their babies, and 
swinging themselves from bough to bough, 
sought for a place of greater safety at the top 
of the tree. These monkeys, being sacred ani- 
mals, and under the protection of the Brahmans, 
are never molested. I could have watched 
them for hours instead of minutes, their move- 
ments were so animated and amusing, 

Near the tree, raised on a high platform, 
stood a pile of buildings, which I in my ignor- 
ance took to be a cluster of temples ; but the 
apparently separate parts, each with its stepped 
roof, formed one harmonious whole. It was a 
Jaina temple, with the peculiar architecture of 



JAINA TEMPLES. 143 

which I afterwards became better acquainted. 
Long bands of white woollen were stretched 
from one part to another. We were allowed 
to stand and look into the open hall, which was 
supported by curiously- carved pillars. We saw 
that it contained a throne, on which squatted a 
Buddha-like figure, with folded legs. It was 
surrounded by lights, wreathed with flowers ; 
the air was heavy with incense, and the divinity 
looked down with a hideous leer upon the de- 
votees who were performing their puji (wor- 
ship), bowing their heads to the earth, and 
then, standing upright, raising the closed palms 
of their hands above their heads. 

The scene from the high bank above the river 
was beautiful as well as striking. The sharp 
spit of land which seemed to oppose the union 
of the Lady Krishna with the Yena was the 
holiest of ground. Upon it was erected a large 
open shrine, with a Lingham in the centre (more 
than one sect appeared to celebrate this festi- 
val). It was adorned with ropes of flowers, and 
heaps of blossoms brought by the votaries were 
piled around it. They also performed their 
puji, and threw small coins into the dishes held 
by the officiating priests. On each side of the 
broad clear stream formed by the united rivers 
were groups of temples. One sacred building 



144 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

which stood alone is said to have been founded 
in the sixteenth century by a banker at Sattara, 
a lucky man, who chanced to discover a large 
cavity filled with treasure. In three places fine 
broad flights of steps, like our mountain friends, 
called ghats, and for the same reason, descended 
to the water. In some parts of India these 
ghats are built with great architectural mag- 
nificence, and even here the monotony of the 
wide stairs was broken by handsome balustrades. 
A little above the level of the water was an 
irregular piece of ground, the burning ghat, or 
place of cremation, dotted over with pyramidal 
tombs, memorials of the rich whose bones had 
been collected upon the spot, and thrown into 
the sacred waters beneath ; and, awful thought, 
on this spot hundreds of women had suffered 
suttee. Half imbedded in the sand lay the 
sculptured form of some colossal animal, proba- 
bly a bull, but worn past all knowledge by 
hundreds of monsoons. 

The previous year the Rani of Sattara, scarcely 
a middle-aged woman, had succumbed to her 

love for cherry-brandy, and Gr was present 

at her funeral procession and cremation, which 
occurred here by torch-light. The dead woman 
was seated in an open palanquin, and the lurid 
glare played upon her face, and lit up the jewels 



A CAR OF JUGGERNATH. 145 

with which the corpse was magnificently adorn- 
ed. In front walked her adopted son, clad in 
yellow garments. The funeral pyre consisted 
of sandal and other sweet-smelling woods, 
with costly gums and precious essences, the 
whole saturated with fine oil. Her costly 
robes and precious ornaments were remov- 
ed, she was gently laid upon the pyramid, 
and her son, with averted head, fired the com- 
bustible mass, from which soon shot forth flames 
that concealed the corpse from the gaze of 
the bystanders. The pyre was watched for 
many hours, after which the Brahmans collected 
the bones into a silver dish, and, with prayers, 
they were committed to the holy keeping of the 
sacred Krishna. 

By the side of the road there stood, on wheels, 
a wooden erection of considerable dimensions. 
It rose in shelves, which were supported by 
slender, carved pillars. We were not invited to 
inspect the gaudy paintings with which it was 
covered, for it was a car of Juggernath, and the 
designs depicted on such vehicles are often 
exceedingly impure. Interesting as were the 
scenes around, we were not sorry to leave them 
behind. The sun was hot, the colours and 
movements of the ever-shifting crowd dazzled 
the eyes, and the incessant beating of the cy- 

VOL. I L 



146 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

lindrical drum, the clang of the cymbals, and the 
squeaks and groans of some instrument sound- 
ing like a bagpipe, made us feel as if some 
accompanyist were beating time upon our heads. 
The musicians who play upon these instruments 
are a race apart, supposed to be descended from 
some of the aboriginal tribes. They have played 
their part in history, and sometimes these bands 
have had lands and forests allotted to them, 
which has brought about local wars. They 
were ill-favoured black men, with features rather 
of the Negro than the Hindoo type. 

As we were returning home, G pointed 

out a large pile of rough brickwork, an unfin- 
ished temple, on which a fabulous sum of money 
had been spent by the late Rani. It was erect- 
ed to the memory of a favourite white elephant, 
drowned in fording the Krishna during the 
rains. White elephants are highly prized in 
India, not on account of anything beautiful in 
their appearance, but simply because they are 
rare. The absence of the colouring matter in 
the skin and eye produces this albino species. 
A spurious sort of white elephant is produced 
by the constant grooming of the skin with 
pumice stone.* 

* The Burmese believe that such animals are transmigra- 
ting Buddhas, and revere them accordingly. An amusing 



PEOPLE OP SATTARA. 147 

The people of Sattara are a primitive race, 
and have retained more of the manners and cus- 
toms of their ancestors than the inhabitants of 
any other part of the Indian peninsula. They 
have a rich folk-lore of old border songs and 
stories, which they chant and sing in minor 
keys at their festivals, as they did in the war- 
like times which have passed away. Although 
the task would not be without difficulty, it is a 
pity that no attempt is made to collect these 
relics of ancient poetry. It could, however, 
only be done by some one not only conversant 
with the old Mahratta language, but also popu- 
lar enough with the people to gain their con- 
account of one of these sacred animals is given by Mr. 
Frank Vincent, in his amusing book, " The Land of the 
White Elephant." "One of the proudest titles," he says, 
" of the King of Ava is, ' Lord of the White Elephant.' 
The Mandalay animal I found to be a male of medium size, 
with white eyes, and a forehead and ears spotted white, 
appearing as if they had been rubbed with pumice stone or 
sand-paper, but the remainder of the body was as black as 
coal. He was a vicious brute, chained by the fore-legs 
in the centre of a shed, and surrounded by the adjuncts of 
royalty, gold and white cloth umbrellas, an embroidered 
canopy, and some bundles of spears in the corner of the 
room. The attendants told me that a young one, cap- 
tured in the most eastern part of British Burmah, near 
Taunghoo, had recently died, after a short residence in the 
capital, and that the king had been out of sorts ever since. 
The animal was suckled by twelve women. 

l2 



148 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

fidence. The elements of secretiveness and 
suspicion, which appear to be inherent in the 
Hindoo character, have been cultivated for ages 
by these mountaineers, who have ever opposed 
force by cunning. Their lives have always 
depended upon their vigilance, and to this day 
no stranger, should he ask the most trivial 
question, would receive a simple, straightfor- 
ward, truthful answer. 



149 



CHAPTER VII. 

The Seven-Starred Fort — A Moment of Peril — Extensive 
Cemetery — Hindoo Superstition — Fine Idgar — Arrival 
at Kolhopur — The Rajah — Government School — Death 
of a Young Rajah at Florence — The Gates of Kolhopur 
— The Rajah's Palace — An Amusing Carriage-load — 
An Irate Colonel — Accident to our Carriage — Nipani — 
Cruelty of the Desay — Soutguttee — Arrival at our 
Indian Home. 

SHORTLY after leaving Sattara, we had a 
charming view of the Seven-Starred Fort, 
and of the fortifications which crown some of 
the adjacent hills. The country was wild and 
pretty, and, according to M., delightful for 
riding. Not a group of the many trees which 
dotted the green downs, not a swelling hill 
which gave variety to the landscape, with which 
she was unacquainted. Our drive would have 
been delightful, had it not been for the careless- 
ness of our driver, who many a time drove us 
dangerously near the edge of the road, from 
whence there was a deep descent. On one oc- 
casion we felt sure that an awkward upset was 



150 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

inevitable. The front wheel was fairly over the 
brink, and we had just time to jump out, when, 
being lightened of our weight, the struggling 
horses were able to pull the carriage across the 
road. The other carriage not coming up 
quickly, we were anxious as to its safety ; but 
our anxiety was soon relieved by its appear- 
ance. Then we had to ford an awkward river, 
the bridge over which had been swept away 
during the last monsoon. The night was as 
dark as pitch, but a hundred torches threw 
their fitful light upon the dangerous stream, 
where numbers of men were at work upon a 
new bridge, cheering their labours by singing 
in chorus. They were a wild set of people. 
We were thankful when we got safely across, 
and were again on our way. Camp fires blazed 
at intervals in sheltered spots near the road. 
Great waggons were drawn up in semi-circles, 
and peaceful bullocks jingled their bells as they 
munched their hay, whilst their drovers stretched 
themselves near the flames, baking rough cakes, 
or watching the grain simmering for their even- 
ing meal. These tranquil scenes, these quiet 
peeps into native life, were very pleasant. 

Before reaching Koohad, which we did not 
do until the small hours, we were disturbed by 
the prospect of crossing another river ; but 



EXTENSIVE CEMETERY. 151 

happily we had no trouble this time, as it was 
spanned by a magnificent bridge of many 
arches. The morning's light shone upon a 
plain covered with tombs. Fine domes arose at a 
little distance, and in their midst was a building, 
which looked like a fortification. This was 
delightful, for, having a clear two hours before 

me, I obtained leave from G , and set off 

along with Bustle upon an exploring expedi- 
tion. I found myself in a vast cemetery, in 
which there were acres and acres of crumbling 
monuments. In one spot I thought that I 
recognized the Hebrew character upon the 
sloping stones peculiar to Jewish places of 
interment. Further on a large raised platform, 
enclosed by a breast-high wall, arrested my 
attention. I climbed a handsome flight of steps, 
which led to the open entrance. The tombs 
within were large, but no inscription, no carv- 
ing, told their tale. As they rose in steps, 
however, I took them to be Hindoo memorials. 
These special burial-grounds were but spots 
compared with the vast extent of ground, con- 
taining thousands of Mahomedan graves, which 
spread around, a very city of the dead. These 
graves bore no resemblance to the turbaned 
monuments of the Turkish Moslem. Still less 
was their resemblance to the few rough stones, 



152 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

misplaced by the jackals, with the bit of splint- 
ered rock at the head, which marks the grave 
of the Arab. Here, over the rich man's dust, 
rose the patterned dome and the fretted 
minaret, one of which in particular struck me 
as being exceedingly beautiful. It consisted of 
four lofty pointed arches forming a square, and 
set upon an estrade, and it was crowned by 
a low dome, half hidden by tufts of the Indian 
fig and the trembling mimosa. There were 
three monuments in the interior — plain and 
rude structures. It is strange to see so much 
richness of architecture lavished upon these 
dwellings of the dead, when their immediate 
coverings are often appallingly barbarous, the 
white plaster above being often moulded into a 
ghostly resemblance of the form beneath. This 
cemetery was evidently the occasional resort of 
living Hindoos, for here and there, marked by 
stones, were circles, in the centre of which rude 
shrines, formed of slanting slabs, sheltered a 
shapeless red-daubed stone, before which the 
poor idolater had made his meal of grain or 
cocoa-nut, after offering the first portion to his 
god. The nearer I got to the building, which 
I was determined to reach,, the more was I 
puzzled by its appearance. 

As I threaded my way round groves, and 



INDIAN SUPERSTITION. 153 

avoided great bushes of prickly pear and 
strange thorny shrubs, two beautiful white 
doves kept flitting across my path. The na- 
tives of India, both Mussulman and Hindoo, 
believe that the souls of the recent dead thus 
dog the footsteps of the living, and take due 
cognizance of human affairs. That such a 
superstition exists in China we know from the 
pictured story upon the Wedgwood plate ; and 
the Russians affirm that for three weeks the 
soul of a deceased relation hovers about the 
house, in order to satisfy himself that he is 
sufficiently mourned by those from whom he 
is now separated by an impassable gulf. A very 
unpleasant ideaj A white vulture next came 
swooping from above, perhaps with the idea 
that Bustle would make a delicate rnorsel. The 
doggie, being intent upon his own affairs, did 
not seem to perceive the bird of prey. He 
started a fine hare, pursued it until I thought 
that he would be lost, and when puss suddenly 
disappeared into a hole, he stood transfixed, 
with a look of comical surprise. 

At last I reached the object of my curiosity, 
but was still unable to form any conjecture as 
to its probable use. The building consisted of 
a lofty brick wall, with a funnel-shaped tower 
at each end. I reckoned its length to be about 



154 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

two hundred feet, and it was two or three feet 
thick, while there was a narrow path along the 
top. Passing through a small aperture right in 
the centre of the wall, I faced round, and found 
myself before a highly ornamental screen. The 
only projection was in the centre, where an im- 
posing flight of stone steps led up to a plat- 
form, at the back of which, let into the wall, 
was a fine-pointed arch of stone, a kind of niche, 
which was walled up to a certain height, in 
order to form a shelf or seat. Eight high- 
pointed stone arches, four on each side of the 
steps which were formed in the wall, orna- 
mented the base of the building, and a row of 
miniature arches, connected together above 
them, ran the whole length of the screen. The 
edifice was beautifully finished by patterned 
edging. The brickwork was worthy of the best 
period of Rome, and the pale grey stone let 
into the time-subdued red wall had a charming 
effect. It was certainly a very fine piece of ar- 
chitecture. 

I afterwards learned that this building was 
called an Idgar, and that it was used for certain 
Mahomedan services, divided into smaller and 

greater Ids. G told me that insignificant 

erections of this sort were common in India, 
but that he had never met with so fine a speci- 



SHADY AVENUES. 155- 

men as this which I described to him. These 
Idgars must, I think, be peculiar to the East. 
I had never met with anything resembling them 
either in Turkey or in Northern Africa. The 
existence here of one of peculiar merit, and the 
vast size of the cemetery in which it stood, were 
explained when I came to know, alas ! too late r 
what an important part Karhad had played in 
the early Mahomedan dynasty, which ended in 
the middle of the twelfth century. My atten- 
tion, indeed, was attracted by two tall towers 
which rose above the houses of the town, 
scarcely a mile away, and I feel a blush of 
shame at having betrayed my ignorance by- 
asking if they belonged to some sort of manu- 
factory. My excuse must be that in spite of 
the antiquity of these towers, which had existed 
for at least eight hundred years, they did in- 
deed bear a striking resemblance to the chim- 
neys of a cotton mill. 

There is nothing striking in the scenery 
between Karhad and Kolhopur, but the country 
is well cultivated. We saw many villages half 
hidden in foliage — the huts, indeed, were 
scarcely visible, so comfortably were they 
covered by their steep-pitched roofs. There 
were fine trees by the road side, principally 
mango and Indian fig. The Government is- 



156 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

very strict respecting these avenues, which 
afford so delightful a shade to the traveller. 
No man, even on his own ground, may cut 
timber within a certain distance of the high- 
way. 

Our progress was very enjoyable until we 
came to a good-sized river, which had to be 
forded, and the passage of which was accom- 
plished amidst the usual tremors, noise, and 
confusion. In consequence of the delay we did 
not reach our destination until two in the morn- 
ing, and as we were to spend two days at 
Kolhopur, and expected visitors who were sure 
to come early, we had to rise betimes, in order 
to get one of our two rooms ready for their re- 
ception. The weather was very hot, and as 
soon as the last caller had departed, we were 
glad to rest until the evening breeze sprang 
up. We then set off to see the sights of the 
town. 

Kolhopur is a large native state, which is at 
present under the management of the English, 
as the Rajah is quite a boy. He is entitled to 
a salute of nineteen guns, the status of a native 
prince being indicated by the number of guns 
in his salute, ranging from nine to twenty-one. 
Kolhopur boasts of possessing in its government 
school one of the handsomest modern buildings 



GOVERNMENT SCHOOL. 157 

to be found in all India. It is built of fine grey- 
stone, in the Saracenic style, and fully deserves 
its high reputation for architectural beauty as 
well as learning. We were conducted over it 
by two grave-looldng elderly men, said to be 
famous scholars, and employed in the establish- 
ment as teachers of Sanskrit. A knot of pupils 
followed in our wake — intelligent-looking young 
men, who spoke English with facility, but did 
not always understand the questions put to 
them. They were handsome boys, probably 
Brahmans, judging from their pale brown com- 
plexions. Their costume was of spotless white, 
and they bore upon their foreheads the dreadful 
eye, in red or yellow, placed between two per- 
pendicular lines, which denoted the sect to 
which they belonged. 

The centre of the building is occupied by a 
spacious lecture-hall, with an open roof of teak 
wood ; a balustraded gallery, splendidly carved 
in arabesques, runs round the interior. From 
this gallery sculptured doors of equal beauty 
open upon various apartments. At the end 
of the hall there stood a marble bust of the late 
Kajah, who died in Florence at the early age 
of twenty-three. Many people may remember 
the interesting accounts which appeared in the 
English papers of the period respecting the 



158 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

curious ceremonies which accompanied the 
erection of the costly funeral pyre by the banks 
of the Arno, on which the rite of cremation was 
performed. This prince was a highly enlight- 
ened man, and a great loss to his people. The 
bust, which gave one the impression of being a 
likeness, was good in an artistic point of view. 
It was both modelled and worked by a native 
of Kolhopur. We questioned the pupils as to 
the abilities of the young Rajah, and asked if he 
was acquainted with Sanskrit. They looked 
grave, shook their heads, and when pressed, 
said, " No, only with a little English — nothing 
else." We afterwards heard that the young 
gentleman was a very naughty boy indeed, and 
exceedingly sly, giving his English tutor a 
world of trouble ; but as he is only about twelve 
years old, he has time to amend his ways. He 
is educated along with another young prince, 
the Rajah of Sawant-Wadi. 

We were ushered into a fine library and read- 
ing-room, and I was amused at seeing Dr. Os- 
wald's works placed next to " Vanity Fair," 
and speculated as to what the Hindoo boys 
would make of Becky Sharp. The education 
in these government schools, it is scarcely ne- 
cessary to remark, is purely secular. Still at- 
tended by our suite, we were taken up to an 



GATES OF KOLHOPUR. 159 

adjoining roof, which formed part of the palace, 
from which we looked down upon the quad- 
rangular court and surrounding pile of build- 
ings. The space enclosed was of considerable 
extent, and is used for reviews, and sports of 
various sorts. It was a queer old place, rudely 
painted in stripes of many colours, in which 
red predominated, and was undergoing the re- 
paration which it sorely needed. The mother 
and widow of the late Rajah live in a low bun- 
galow, erected upon the flat roof of the vast 
audience-hall. It was painted blue and white, 
and had an air of homely comfort ; the lattice- 
work around was covered with creepers, and 
the terraces set with shrubs and pretty flowers 
in pots. Close at hand, in a dark chamber with 
an open door, there reposed two immense kettle- 
drums, which are used on festive occasions. 

We were next invited to ascend a winding 
staircase leading to a small platform, which 
commanded an extensive view both over the 
town and the surrounding country. The nar- 
row streets teemed with white-clad men, duskily 
robed women, having glittering lotos on their 
heads, and naked children ; the wooden houses 
looked poor and dark. Kolhopur is a walled 
town, w 7 ith five gates, which are closed at night, 
and guarded by day. The one by which we 



160 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

had entered was surmounted by a lofty Sara- 
cenic arch. Away from these busy haunts were 
several large houses., surrounded by stately 
groves of mango, and tamarind, and palm-trees. 
They, like the palace, were profusely decorated 
in bright colours ; but by far the most interest- 
ing spot in the whole place lay at our feet. It 
was a Jaina temple, covered in by three sepa- 
rate graduated roofs, one of which was sur- 
mounted by a spire, indicating the cell of the 
idol. The building was enclosed by colonnades 
of pillars, and the whole was carefully hidden 
from the public gaze by a high wall. In the 
far distance spread the shimmering waters of 
the tank, or lake, on the banks of which were 
groups of white temples, shaded by sacred 
trees. We drove there afterwards, and did not 
find that we were rewarded for our pains. 

Kolhopur is situated upon bare, undulating 
downs — pretty, it may be, when the rains have 
renewed their carpet of green, but looking 
utterly desolate in their present dried-up con- 
dition. Returning home, we passed the newly- 
made Badminton ground and Government 
gardens. They were pretty and shady, ad- 
vantage having been taken of a group of noble 
old trees; and the soil evidently suited the 
double-pink and red geraniums which grew in 



IRATE COLONEL. 161 

t 

rich clumps. "We were not able to examine the 
other flowers, having to hurry to the bungalow 
in order to dress for a dinner-party. 

Our next day's start was later than usual. 

G had his Arabs up to try for the first 

time. M. accompanied him, but being no hero- 
ine, I declined to join the expedition. About 
half an hour before we left, a heavily-laden car- 
riage drew up. The top was piled high with 
bassinets and cribs, and bedding and baths ; 
and the inside was a very hive, out of which 
poured innumerable small children. I think 
that their number must have been made up of 
twins or triplets. A scene of utter confusion 
ensued — the outgoing baby roared, the incom- 
ing baby screamed, the nurses and ayahs got 
into a muddle with their bottles and baskets, 
and all talked at once at the top of their 
voices. Great was the excitement, and in the 
very midst of it another large vehicle came 
bowling up, with a solitary individual — a host 
in himself, a red-nosed, irate colonel. When 
told that he was too late to obtain shelter, his 
wrath was amusing. " It was the third time," 
he said, " that he had found this very bungalow 
full, and the authorities should hear of it." The 
bystanders laughed, the warrior shot withering 
glances from under his shaggy brows, bowled 

VOL. I. M 



162 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

away, and was lost to sight in a vast cloud of 
dust. The calm which ensued when we were 
once off was perfectly delightful. 

Kolhopur is a large military station, but the 
people condemned to live there are, during the 
hot season, sincerely to be pitied. Provisions, 
too, are scarce. Mutton is not to be got ; the 
beef is very indifferent ; and it is impossible to 
procure a tolerable supply of vegetables. As 
we passed along, all the bushes and small trees 
were shrouded in dust, and were either dead or 
appeared to be so. There were, however, some 
signs of future growth, as people were busy 
planting out slips of sugar-cane, but only in 
places which could be irrigated. The evening 
was very fine, and when night came on it was 
still so clear that we could see with great dis- 
tinctness far-distant objects. The crescent moon, 
too young to obscure the calm, steady light of 
the stars, soon sank behind a low line of hill, 
and we lay back, enjoying the scene in silence. 

While we were enjoying the cool sea breeze 
which had succeeded the cruel heat of the day, 
we fell over suddenly on one side, with an 
alarming bump. My dog was in my lap. As 
we did not know what was about to happen, 

G jumped out, and we scrambled after him. 

Our wheel was off, and it was four miles to any 



DETAINED ON OUR JOURNEY. 163 

station. The second carriage immediately 
came up, and its contents being disgorged, we 
all sat down in a string by the side of the road. 
Two passing peasants were hailed, and all the 
men set actively to work to repair the mischief, 
the box of the wheel having gone wrong. The 
light of the improvised torches cast their glare 
upon red turbans, dark faces, glittering eyes, 
and teeth of dazzling whiteness. How a Dutch 
artist of old would have delighted to 
paint such a scene. We strayed about until 
we were tired, and the children were sent to 
their slumbers. It was a pretty spot, close by 
a great banyan-tree, which cast a deep black 
shadow in the distance ; low hills were clearly 
cut against a greenish background, and on a 
plot of grass away from the road a huge boul- 
der-stone was set upright upon a pivot, perhaps 
so placed by hands which had been dust for 
centuries. We did not dare to sit near the 
tree, for fear of snakes, so we nestled down by 
the boulder, and watched the progress and 
decline of a fire in the distance, which we 
imagined to be that of a bungalow burning. 
At first the flames shot up vigorously, but at 
last they died down, leaving behind an ardent 
glow and a bright spot, the brilliancy of which 
gradually declined, till it disappeared alto- 

M 2 



164 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

gether. Then the post, who came galloping by, 
stopped for a moment to give advice, but 
offered no assistance, and tore away into dark- 
ness. We then turned our eyes to the sky, and 
gazed at Orion, and the ever-glorious Southern 
Cross, which stood erect before us. 

We were soon again en route. Nipani, the 
next place to which we came, is a town of some 
historical interest, as for centuries its powerful 
chiefs had waged constant and fierce war with 
their neighbours, their principal feud being with 
the Rajahs of Kolhopur and the chiefs of Bel- 
gaum, and in 1796 matters were going so badly 
with the reigning Desay, or Nipanikar, that 
Major-General Campbell was ordered by General 
Wellesley to march to his relief. In consequence 
of this timely assistance, the Nipanikar for a 
time co-operated with the English, but still 
continued at enmity with his Kolhopur neigh- 
bour, whom in 1808 he totally defeated, taking 
five thousand men, and all his cannon, colours, 
and elephants, the Rajah himself being sorely 
wounded. But the struggle continued, and 
after a time was found to be so troublesome to 
other states, that the Peishwa, then supreme in 
power, not only insisted upon peace, but arrang- 
ed a marriage between the Desay of Nipani and 
one of the Kolhopur princesses. The marriage 



THE DESAY OF NIPANI. 165 

was celebrated at Kolhopur, but a considerable 
gloom was cast over the festivities by the sud- 
den departure of the Nipani chief, who, suspect- 
ing treachery, decamped in the night, along 
with his bride. Time went on. The Nipanikar 
outwardly supported the English, but it was 
known that he meditated treachery. 

Strange stories of the Desay's cruelty, origi- 
nating, no doubt, in the fear he inspired, are 
still current in the neighbourhood. On one 
occasion he is said to have amused himself by 
making several young and beautiful women 
stand side by side on a narrow balcony without 
parapet, overhanging one of the deep reser- 
voirs of the palace. Passing along inside the 
line of trembling women, he would suddenly 
thrust one of them headlong into the water 
below, in which he would watch her drowning 
struggles, and gloat over her dying agonies. 

In 1831 the Nipanikar endeavoured to im- 
pose a suppositious child on Government as his 
heir, but the fraud was discovered. It came 
to light that one of his wives, Tay-Bay, had 
been taken to a house in Nipani, on the pretence 
that she was about to bear a child. A widow 
who expected soon to be delivered was convey- 
ed to the same abode. When the child, a boy, 
was born, he was placed in Tay-Bay's arms, and 



166 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

given out to be her offspring. The widow was 
murdered, and information was given by the 
owner of the house in which the affair took 
place, but he soon after died with suspicious 
suddenness. His story was confirmed by the 
discovery of the widow's body. Government, 
in consideration of the Nipani chief's age, and 
of the services he had rendered to the British 
army in 1800 and 1803, did not accede to the 
recommendation of the political agent immedi- 
ately to confiscate his saringam, or territories, 
but determined to punish the Desay by declar- 
ing that the estates were to lapse after his 
death, and that no son of his body or of his 
adoption would be recognized as heir to the 
saringam, though he would be allowed to in- 
herit the chiefs personal property. General 
Munro writes thus respecting him : 

" He is too wary, and has still too many pos- 
sessions, acquired almost entirely from his con- 
nection with the British Government, to run 
any risk of losing them. He is, besides, not 
ignorant that he is detested by the inhabitants 
of jaghirs (villages and the lands attached to 
them), for his opposition and wanton cruelty. 
During the late campaign I received invitations 
from most of the villages to take possession of 
them." 



TYRANNY OF THE DESAY. 167 

At last the Desay became so unmanageable 
that General Munro determined to march on 
Nipani, intending to lay siege to the fort, unless 
the Desay agreed without reservation to the 
terms he proposed. This compelled the Nipani- 
kar to submit, which he did immediately on the 
arrival of the army before Nipani. He had from 
the beginning of his career pursued a system of 
throwing into prison all the rich inhabitants, 
not only of his own districts, but of every dis- 
trict in which he obtained temporary authority, 
with a view of extorting money from them, and 
of seizing and keeping in confinement the 
women the most remarkable for their beauty. 
Many of these unfortunate people had been in 
prison ten or twelve years, and many had died 
every year from the cruel treatment to which 
they were exposed. When General Munro was 
near Nipani, he heard only of a few prisoners, 
whom he ordered to be released, but when he 
marched from the place he learned that about 
three hundred remained in confinement. He 
wrote to the Desay, commanding him to release 
them, and many were set at liberty, but by no 
means all. The General therefore directed that 
some of the villages on the south bank of the 
Krishna should not be restored until all the 
victims of the Desay's tyranny were released. 



168 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

The Nipani Desay had for some time past 
been failing in health. He was very infirm, and 
subject to fits, under which, for a time, he com- 
pletely lost his reason. On June 28th, 1839, he 
died., having previously adoped Morar Rao, the 
son of his half-brother, as heir to his private 
estates. No sooner was he dead than his six 
widows began to quarrel over the property. 
The eldest had the custody of the heir, and the 
five others kept up continued complaints 
against her. She died at the end of 1840, and 
the management of the property was entrusted 
to the rest of the widows. Two of the remain- 
ing ladies induced the boy's father to seize his 
son, adopted by the late Desay, and with the 
aid of the Arabs, whom to the number of five 
hundred the Nipanikar had kept in his ser- 
vice, to take possession of the fort and set the 
authorities at defiance. The aid of the military 
had to be called in, and the fort, being attacked 
on September 20th, 1841, surrendered on the 
following day, and was afterwards dismantled 
at the expense of the young heir, who had to 
pay also the whole cost of the expedition. This 
story of crime and intrigue, abstracted from the 
records of the Bombay Government, I have 
been induced to give, in spite of its length, as 
illustrative of the state of Mahratta family life 



RUINS OF THE DESAY'S PALACE. 169 

even in this century. Not a castle-crowned 
hill in all the Deccan but could tell of similar 
atrocities. 

The travellers' bungalow at Nipani stands in 
the shade of the ancient fort. There were 
masses of ruined battlements, scattered into 
wild confusion by gunpowder, not fifty yards 
from my chamber window. I was not long 
before I threaded my way amongst them, 
peeped down into the deep ditch, and climbed 
the fragment of a bastion still in situ. Its 
grass-grown summit was strong even in decay. 
From my lofty perch I commanded a complete 
view of the crumbling walls, to which Nipani 
once owed its troublesome strength. Acres 
and acres of ground, once covered by buildings, 
were now abandoned to a few straggling herds 
of cattle, who were trying to keep life in them 
by munching the sun-scorched herbage. 

I was pondering upon the past, and Bustle 
was intent upon a tit-mouse, when M. and 

G came forth and beckoned to me. There 

were but two buildings in the whole enceinte — 
the Travellers' Rest and a great square pile of 
brick in the distance, the wicked Desay's ruined 
palace. It had not at all the appearance of an 
Eastern building, but more resembled Hampton 
Court, seen from a distant reach of old Father 



170 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Thames, than anything else. Not being able 
to pursue a straight path towards it, we had to 
search for gaps in the green walls of prickly 
pears, formidable barriers, from which I bore 
away a six weeks' remembrance in the shape of 
a fine sharp thorn. These plants were covered 
with flame-coloured fruit about the size of eggs, 
the sweet, mawkish substance of which was so 
well armed by nature against the hand of the 
wayfarer that it needed no other protection. 
In Spain, and probably in India, this fruit is 
made into little cakes, stained in every variety 
of colour, and pressed into elegant shapes, 
beautiful to look at, but dust and ashes in the 
mouth. 

Passing under a lofty archway, we entered 
the palace, and as we rambled over the buildiug 
we saw sufficient indications to lead us to the 
conclusion that it had never been completely 
finished. The great beams of teak and other 
wooden fittings were finely carved, and some 
vacant places suggested the idea that some of 
them had been removed. There were vast, 
echoing corridors, and on each side, hollowed 
out of the thick walls, were cells, unprotected 
by the doors which had once secured them. 
These recesses were scarcely four feet in width, 
and no adult could have stood upright in them. 



RUINS OF THE PALACE. 171 

Miserable must have been the lot of the poor 
cramped victims of the Nipani's cruelty who 
were imprisoned in them. The Desay had 
evidently had a fondness for tanks, there being 
two in front of the palace, two in the centre 
court, and two in a cloistered court beyond. 
They were very ornamental, still full of water, 
and surrounded by broad copings of sculptured 
stone. One, which was overhung by a balcony, 
we supposed to be that into which the wretched 
old man was wont to hurl the victims of his 
capricious cruelty. 

We had to be careful in mounting the narrow 
corkscrew stone steps which led to the upper 
story ; nor were the wide passages altogether 
safe, though they appeared to have been strong- 
ly built, the dislocation of the stones and the 
wide cracks which we observed being probably 
the effect of earthquakes. The rooms to which 
these stairs led were long, low, narrow, and 
dark, but semi-obscurity is a luxury in the East. 
The unplastered walls had once been concealed 
by rich hangings ; and there were numberless 
hooks for suspending lamps and lanterns. 
What scenes may have taken place in these 
chambers when the old chief's wicked will ran 
riot. 

At the end of one corridor there was a large 



172 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

■window, which commanded an extensive view 
over the tow r n and the flat country beyond, and 
from it we overlooked a seventh tank, which 
was evidently the one used by the people, being 
very large — quite a lake, in fact. In the middle 
of it rose a small square island of red rock, 
which had been shaped by art. It was perfect- 
ly square, with a deep cutting on one side. It 
was probably the site of some ancient temple, 
and the spot from which the place derives its 
name, Nipani, in Mahratta means " the Town 
of the Water." 

Recrossing the sandy plain, we came upon 
that most melancholy sight, the solitary grave 
of an Englishman in a distant foreign land — a 
spot over which I always feel inclined to linger, 
as if my sympathy could avail the dead. This 
tomb was raised to the memory of a certain 
" George Sandford, Overseer P. W. Department. 
Aged 31." 

We had, alas ! but one more night to pass 
before the end of this journey, which to me had 
been delightful. How I did enjoy opening my 
eyes each morning upon a new scene, and 
roving about whilst the dew still glistened ! 
We were to sleep at Soutguttee, and in order 
to reach it, had to cross a short but steep ghat, 
the abrupt sides of which were shaggy with 



REMARKABLE BANYAN-TREE. 173 

jungle. The plain beyond was mapped out 
into fields, divided from one another by low 
banks, which at a later period would be irri- 
gated. The dark earth exposed had a gloomy 
appearance, but I was told that, after the rains, 
this district would be luxuriantly green, covered, 
as it would be, with rich crops of sugar-cane, 
tobacco, the castor-oil plant, maize, many other 
sorts of grain, and yellow blossoming cotton. 
It is the black earth which makes Barocla 
so exceedingly fertile ; but there is not much 
of this precious soil in the district of Bel- 
gaum. 

We had to rise before daybreak, but by the 
time my small personal arrangements were 
made, there was a glimmer of light. Having 
half an hour at my disposition, M. advised me 
to take a walk by a path through the woods, 
which led to a very remarkable banyan-tree, 
under which the Duke of Wellington is said to 
have camped. The roots, which had shot down 
and sprung up again in stems, had become 
united with the parent-tree, and formed a cor- 
rugated wall, which I measured with my pocket- 
handkerchief, and found to be thirteen yards in 
length. I ran, in order to get a peep at another 
banyan-tree, which is still more curious. The 
weeping roots had formed a hundred independ- 



174 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

exit stems, which clustered round their parent 
stem, and mingled their leaves with its foliage. 
A regiment might have bivouacked beneath the 
shade of this magnificent tree. It is neither 
safe nor pleasant to loiter under these trees, 
which afford famous cover for flying foxes, 
snakes, and monkeys, which find shelter beneath 
them in legions. The scene recalled to my 
memory those famous lines by Milton, from the 
ninth book of " Paradise Lost " — 

" The fig-tree, not that kind for fruit renown'd, 
But such as at this day to Indians known, 
In Malabar or Deccan spreads her arms, 
Branching so broad and long, that in the ground 
The bended twigs take root, and daughters grow 
About the mother-tree, a pillar'd shade 
High over-arch'd, and echoing walls between ; 
There oft the Indian herdsman, shunning heat, 
Shelters in cool, and tends his pasturing herds 
At loop-holes cut through thickest shade ; those leaves 
They gathered, broad as Amazonian targe ; 
And with what skill they had, together sew'd, 
To gird their waist." 

Soutguttee is a delightful place, situated on 
the slopes of a narrow valley, watered by the 
Gatpanba, the same river which, rushing over 
the high black precipices at Gokak, forms the 
famous falls. At Soutguttee it is a fine clear 
stream, winding along a rocky bed, and form- 
ing deep pools, in which the alligator loves to 



ARRIVAL AT BELGAUM. 175 

dwell. The river furnishes fine sport to the fish- 
erman, and the jungle on its banks abounds in 
big as well as little game. No wonder that this 
spot is in great request in hot weather. People 
from Belgaum bring thither their tents, and pitch 
them under the lofty trees. It has one draw- 
back, however — that there is a good deal of 
fever about the place, and the adjacent villages 
of the district, which belong to a native chief, 
are unhealthy. 

We had now to mount a steep but short ghat, 
our last, our way being through very thick 
jungle. M. bade me remark the number of leaf- 
less climbing plants, which she told me were 
superb after the rains. "We traced the old 
palanquin road which passed over the steepest 
part of the hill, paved, and so narrow that no 
wheeled carriage could have used it. At last 
we began to descend. At our feet lay a great 
plain, embraced by long low hills — fells, we 
should have called them in the north of Eng- 
land, overtopped towards the west by great 
ghats, and they again by the peaks of a moun- 
tain chain, bounded by the Portuguese territory, 
which slopes down to the coast of Malabar. 
We passed a village with an ancient domed 
mosque and tanks, and a craggy hill, with a 
ruined castle on its summit ; and then M. 



176 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

pointed to a long dark line of wall, broken here 
and there by a bulging battlemented tower, 
over which waved a mass of rich green foliage. 
The fort of Belgaum loomed larger and larger 
out of the hot atmosphere as we gradually ap- 
proached it. We crossed a deep fosse in which 
the water shimmered, passed under a low gate- 
way, flanked by bastions, curved between red 
battlemented walls, plunged into the darkness 
of the vaulted main guard, dimly visible by a 
light which was suspended over the head 
of a many-limbed divinity under a shrine, 
and emerging near an extensive ruin, with 
painted arches, passed a little green on which 
stood a domed and minaretted tomb, turned 
suddenly under shady trees, drew up under a 
pillared portico, and I was welcomed to our 
Indian home. 



177 



CHAPTER VIH. 

Belgaum — Records and Traditions of the Fort — Stormed 
by Mohammed Shah — Mahmoud Gavan — IsmaelKhan 
Shah — KhoossanToork — Sevaji — Changes of Name and 
Fortune— Besieged by a Force under General Monro 
— Garrison at the Time of the Mutiny — Execution of 
the Chief of Nargund — Description of the Fort — The 
English Church — The Station Library — Favourite 
Spots — Architecture of the Jaina Temples. 

IN Mahratta, although there are many forts 
which play a more important part in his- 
tory than that of Belgaum, still its crumbling 
walls, ancient sites, and picturesque ruins tell of 
an eventful story, which is not without interest. 
Placed upon no lofty plateau, and defending no 
mountain pass, but situated in an obscure part 
of Western India, it owed its former celebrity to 
the fact of its being a border fortress, situated 
amidst territories which were constantly at war 
with one another, and frequently changing 
masters. It derived not a little of its strength 
from the deep jungle by which it was until 
lately surrounded. The natives still consider 
VOL. I. N 



178 MY I EAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Belgaum to be in the jungle, and within twenty 
years bison have been shot close to the ramparts. 

Tradition declares that the fort was founded 
by a certain Jaina King called Jaza Rajah, who 
built a large mud fort, surrounded by a ditch, 
on the site of the existing fortifications, and the 
existence within the enceinte of three Jaina 
temples of great beauty and interest tends to 
favour the idea. There is, however, no positive 
record as to the foundation of the existing fort, 
but we learn, from an inscription on copper, the 
date of which is 1294, in which many names are 
recorded, and which was found in the fosse, that 
at one period a certain family, who were Jains, 
held, for seven generations, the hereditary 
chieftainship of Belgaum. 

After this period we have more information 
regarding the history of this place, for the dis- 
trict is remarkably rich in inscriptions in the 
Canerese character, beautifully cut in relief, 
upon large slabs of a compact black basalt, 
which takes a beautiful polish, and resists the 
influence of the weather. Many petty wars, 
and events of local interest, are recorded upon 
these stones, but nothing of general interest 
until the year 1472, when it is stated that 
Belgaum fort was besieged by Mohammed Shah, 



RECORDS OF BELGAUM. 179 

the Mohamedan King of the Deccan. It must at 
that time have been a place of strength, as it is 
mentioned in history as being protected by- 
strong towers and lofty walls, guarded by a 
deep wet ditch, and by a pass near to it, the 
only approach to which was fortified by re- 
doubts. When Mohammed Shah set himself 
down to subdue it, he commanded the fire 
workers, as they valued their own safety, to 
effect a particular breach in fourteen days, and 
ordered his soldiers to throw quantities of wood 
and earth into the ditch. The enemy in the night, 
however, always removed them, upon which he 
placed his guns in another position, but only 
finally succeeded, by mining, in forming three 
breaches. The troops of Birkana Ray, Rajah of 
the fortress, advanced gallantly to defend the 
place, and nearly two thousand of the king's 
troops fell in the attempt to storm. The be- 
sieged had nearly repaired the works with wood 
and stones when the Shah, advancing to the 
assault, drove the enemy before him, and gained 
the ramparts. When opposition had ceased, 
the King entered the citadel, and gave thanks 
to God for the success of his arms. One of his 
first acts was to expel the image of Dymavavera, 
the tutelar goddess of the fort, but the sorrow- 

N 2 



180 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ing Hindoos were allowed to place it in 
a little temple outside the walls, which still 
exists.* 

The history of Belgaum remained intimately 
connected with that of Bijipnr until the decline 
of the Mussulman power in Western India, when 
it relapsed into the hands of the Hindoo princes. 
The king bestowed Belgaum and its depend- 
encies upon Mahmoud Gavan, a very distin- 
guished general, of royal blood, being connected 
with the Shah of Persia. His career was one of 
curious vicissitudes. He first served in the 
Deccan, to which he came in the year 1461, and 
where he was successful in many campaigns, 
rendering his royal master great services, for 
which he was made Governor of Bijipur, was 
given a seat in the Council of Regency, and was 
appointed a guardian of the young prince, 
Nizam Shah. He also rose to the dignity of 
Vizier, and distinguished himself at the siege of 
Goa, but was finally murdered by Mohammed 
Shah in 1481. He was very famous for his 
learning, justice, and munificence, and left 

* Once in every twelve years a great festival is held in 
honour of Dymavavera, when buffaloes, sheep, and goats are 
sacrificed to her. The slaughter takes place on a platform 
outside the little pyramidal building erected to her. The 
jubilee took place shortly after M.'s arrival in Belgaum. 



ISMAEL KHAN SHAH. 181 

behind him a library of three thousand volumes, 
principally in the Persian language. 

In the same year the Mussulman king again 
visited Belgaum, probably for the purpose of 
resuming his full authority over it. He in- 
spected the city and examined the fortifications. 
Thirty years of petty warfare ensued, and then 
the golden age of the old fort commenced. 

Ismael Khan Shah began his reign at Bijipur 
in the year 1511, when he was a minor, and the 
attempt at usurpation made by his guardian 
was the means of bringing conspicuously for- 
ward Khoossan Toork, a Persian, who, as he 
took part in the deliverance of the young king, 
was honoured with the title of Azad Khan, and 
the Government of Belgaum was conferred upon 
him. He was far the greatest man who ever 
reigned over it ; and even to this day his name 
is a household word among the people, who 
love and revere his memory. It is to his wise 
measures that the town has ever owed, and still 
continues to owe, its comparative immunity 
from cholera. He altered and repaired the walls 
of the fortress, every inscription on which is in 
the Persian character. He also erected a grand 
palace, which, with its offices and stables, 
covered a large space of ground. There are 
existing records of the magnificence which he 



182 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

maintained. His household servants — Geor- 
gians, Circassians, Abyssinians, and Hindoos — 
amounted to two hundred and fifty. He had 
sixty large elephants, and one hundred and 
fifty of a smaller size. In his stables were four 
hundred and fifty Arabian horses, exclusive of 
those of mixed breed foaled in India. Two 
thousand seven hundred pounds of rice were 
every day prepared for his household, in addi- 
tion to fifty sheep, and one hundred fowls. It 
was he who first introduced the fashion of wear- 
ing the waistband of cloth of gold, and the 
dagger, a custom which has since been adopted 
by persons of rank in this country. He also 
attempted to ride elephants with bridles instead 
of managing them with the goad ; but as these 
animals are rather unsteady, in consequence of 
the sudden vicious starts to which they are 
frequently prone, this mode of guiding them 
was, according to the old chronicle, not found 
to answer. 

Years flew by, during which Azad Khan was 
constantly at war, and proved himself a most 
successful general, acquiring great riches, in the 
form of gold, jewels, and elephants. On one 
occasion, it is related that, after a battle, the 
King of Bijipur presented him with five large 
and six small elephants ; and at another time, 



AZAD KHAN. 183 

when he had taken a large quantity of baggage 
and twenty elephants, the king gave him all 
these animals but one, which he reserved for 
himself, and called Alia Baksh (the Gift of God). 
Towards the end of his life, when very ill, he 
succeeded in frustrating the design of a neigh- 
bouring chief, Nizam Shah, who had a great 
wish to possess himself of Belgaum, with which 
design he entrusted a large sum of money to a 
Brahman, who was directed to employ it in 
corrupting the soldiers of the garrison, in the 
hope that they would deliver the fort into his 
hands, in case of Azad's death. The Brahman 
had nearly succeeded in his commission, when 
the plot was discovered, and the chief agent in 
it, in spite of his high caste, was put to death, 
along with seventy of the soldiers whom he 
had bribed. Old age having rendered Azad too 
weak to contend with a deep-seated malady, he 
prepared to meet death, and in lines (of 
which the following is a translation), he en- 
treated the King of Bijipur to honour him with 
a farewell visit. "Come like the morning 
breeze to the bower of friendship, Come like 
the graceful cypress to the garden." 

Ibraham assented to the request, and on his 
arrival finding his old friend had breathed his 
last, he administered consolation to his family 



184 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

by attaching all the late Khan's estates and 
treasures. The fine old chief died in the year 
1549, having held Belgaum during thirty-three 
prosperous years. He left a name not only 
dear to his people, but celebrated in the history 
of the period; and we have heard that his 
standard, on which was embroidered an angry 
lion, was bestowed as a great honour upon 
Kishwar Khan. 

In the year 1557, the treacherous King of 
Bijipur lay on his death-bed. He had, on 
religious grounds, quarrelled with both of his 
sons, the eldest of whom, his heir, was under 
surveillance in Miraj, whilst the youngest was 
in confinement at Belgaum, under the charge 
of Kishwar Khan, the governor, where, upon the 
accession of his brother, he was still kept pri- 
soner. Though treated with kindness and 
generosity, he determined to rebel, and having 
persuaded the governor and the garrison to 
assist him, he took possession of the fort, and 
raised the standard of rebellion, upon which a 
renowned general, Elias Khan, was sent with 
five thousand men to besiege the place. Great 
confusion followed, and in order completely to 
quell the insurrection, a further force of twenty 
thousand horse and thirty thousand foot, was 
sent against Belgaum, under Ein-ul-Mulk, who, 



PRISONERS IN THE FORT. 185 

treacherously pretending to be the friend of 
the young prince, persuaded him to take the 
field, with those who were willing to espouse 
his cause, and march upon Bijipur. The un- 
fortunate Ismael fell into the trap laid for him, 
and was taken prisoner and executed. Nor did 
it fare better with the double traitor, Ein-al- 
Mulk, who was also put to death, his head 
being sent to Bijipur, where, for a certain time, 
it was exposed upon a pole in front of the 
palace, and afterwards blown from a great 
gun. 

The next important prisoners confined in the 
fort were the Portuguese ambassador and his 
suite. About this time, in consequence of a 
change of territory, Belgaum ceased to be a 
frontier fort, and no particular mention of it 
appears until 1673, when the renowned Sevaji, 
with his famous light cavalry, swept down and 
sacked both town and fort. At the fall of Biji- 
pur, in 1688, the fort reverted to the Mahrattas, 
and was in the possession of Aurangzib, second 
son of the powerful Prince A'Zam, at which 
period it acquired the name A'Zamnagar. After 
the lapse of some years the name was changed 
to Mustafabad, after a Kiledar who thoroughly 
repaired and strengthened the ramparts ; and 
this appellation it still retains. 



186 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

One year after the battle of Kirhee, the Eng- 
lish, under General Munro, marched against it. 
He encamped near Sharpur, on the morning of 
March 11th, 1818, with a comparatively insignifi- 
cant force of native soldiers, and three troops 
of His Majesty's twenty-second Light Dragoons, 
a force so weak that it tended to confirm the 
garrison, and the inhabitants of Belgaum and 
Sharpur (who had a high opinion of the strength 
of the fort), in the belief that it could not be 
taken. 

The English were unable to obtain accu- 
rate intelligence as to the state of the ditch, 
which was the great defence of the place, 
otherwise the attack would not have been 
made from the points selected. On the fif- 
teenth, the fort was invested, but nothing par- 
ticular occurred until the twentieth, when the 
force marched to the north of the fort, and 
encamped about two miles and a half from it. 
On the twenty-second, the first battery opened 
on the defences, and on the following day the 
pioneers broke ground, and began opening 
trenches. On the thirty-first, the magazine 
belonging to one of the batteries, in which 
there was a considerable amount of ammu- 
nition, blew up. The garrison took immediate 
advantage of this misfortune, and making a 



CAPTURED BY GENERAL MUNRO. 18? 

sally, succeeded in passing over the battery, 
but were immediately repulsed. During the 
following days such steady progress was made 
by the English that on or about April 9th, the 
Kiledar (acting governor) sent out a flag of 
truce to propose terms, but General Munro did 
not accept them. Next day all the batteries 
kept up a heavy fire on the fort, and the 
breach, though not exactly practicable, began to 
have a more favourable appearance, in conse- 
quence of which the Kiledar found himself under 
the necessity of accepting the condition offered 
by General Munro, which was that he should 
give up possession of the gateway, the garrison 
being allowed to march out with their arms and 
private property. This they did on the follow- 
ing day, to the number of one thousand six 
hundred, having lost seventy men. The loss 
of the besieging army amounted to twenty- 
three killed and wounded. By the capture of 
the fort, General Munro obtained possession of 
thirty-six guns of large calibre, sixty smaller 
guns, and numerous wall pieces, besides stores 
of every sort.* 

I never read the record from which this ac- 

* The two breaches effected by the English were near 
the main guard, and are plainly visible, "the masonry which 
fills the gaps being still ungnawed by time. 



188 MF YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

count is abstracted without mentally fighting 
the battle of the fort, and wishing for the suc- 
cess of its brave garrison. The fall of Belgaum 
completed the conquest of the Peishwa's terri- 
tory south of the Krishna. The breaking out 
of the Mutiny found Belgaum garrisoned by 
two native regiments, a battery of European 
artillery, and the depot of an English regiment, 
withdrawn to serve in Persia. The native 
troops were believed to be ripe for revolt ; all 
the European women and children were brought 
into the fort, and the small English garrison 
had good reason to take every measure to pro- 
vide for their safety. The walls, which had 
been somewhat neglected, were put in a state 
of defence, the breaches were repaired, and the 
artillery were quartered in the fort. It was 
thought necessary to make an example of cer- 
tain emissaries of the rebels, who were taken in 
the act of corrupting the native soldiers, and 
they were blown from guns. People have told 
me that they stopped their ears in order to 
deaden the horrible sound. Fortunately, no 
actual outbreak took place here. 

The year of the Mutiny is remembered with 
horror by the natives in Belgaum, on account 
of the execution of the Brahman chief of Nar- 
gund, who was put to death for the cruel mur- 



SITUATION OF THE FORT. 189 

der of Mr. Manson, the deputy collector. Mr. 
Manson had been sent to negotiate with him, 
but having no escort, his palanquin was attack- 
ed by order of the chief ; his bearers ran away, 
and the unfortunate young gentleman was cut 
and hacked to pieces. The chief of Nargund 
was ignominiously hanged upon an elevated 
spot, which still bears the name of the Brah- 
man's Hill. I have met with many people who 
still cherish the memory of Mr. Manson, who 
was much beloved. 

The fort of JBelgaum is situated in the midst 
of an extensive undulating plain. As it now 
stands, it forms an irregular oval, enclosed by 
a deep ditch, still full of water, which is cut out 
of a softish red stone, which hardens on being 
exposed to the air. The exterior of the fort is 
surrounded by a fine broad esplanade ; the re- 
vetement rises about thirty-two feet above the 
bottom of the ditch. The interior is level, and 
extends about a thousand yards in length, by 
eight hundred in breadth. The original en- 
trance was made between two magnificent 
battlemented bastions, which still exist, although 
the gate, which once opened upon a bridge, has 
been walled up. The present main gate, which 
is a solid pile of building, is considered to be a 
fine specimen of Indian architecture. There is 



190 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

an open guard-chamber, with a groined roof, 
which has once been ornamented by pendents, 
and the exterior is elaborately decorated with 
grotesque representations of animals and birds 
(rather curious ornaments for a Mahomedan 
building, but a Brahman architect is said to 
have been employed). The effect has been 
somewhat destroyed by time, and the frequent 
application of various coats of colour ; but the 
ostriches still run races, cats with open mouths 
still conduct water from the roof, and one ele- 
phant has been drinking for centuries out of 
the same bottle. The little niches scattered 
about, intended to receive lights, and slippers, 
and water-bottles, are very graceful. The 
shrine of the many-armed Durga, the goddess 
of castles and of war, is an excrescence placed 
in a corner by the Hindoos when they regained 
the fortress. " Let not/' say the most ancient 
laws of Manu, " foes hurt a king who has taken 
refuge in his Durgar." The exterior of this 
curious shrine is covered with richly-coloured 
mythological figures. Some of the unpopular 
gods, like the pictured celebrities of other na- 
tions, have had their faces scratched out, and 
their noses destroyed. 

Passing under a lofty unguarded archway, 
we reach the outworks, and then come to a fine 



DESCRIPTION OF THE FORT. 191 

gateway, with solid iron-plated doors, which 
have once been thickly studded with iron 
spikes, like those at Poonah, and with the same 
intention. Under the arch is an inscription in 
relief, sculptured in Persian characters, to the 
following effect : " Jakub Ali Khan, who is a 
joy to the heart, by whose benevolence the 
world is prosperous, built the wall of the fort 
from its base as strong as the barrier of Sicar- 
dis." From every point of view these gates 
and outworks present a most picturesque ap- 
pearance. The fine red colour of the battle- 
ments, the peeps obtained down into the deep 
ditch, where the still water lies in shade, and, 
like a black mirror, reflects the walls it protects, 
and the tall palms which fringe its outer bank, 
the mysterious light which gleams through the 
fretwork in the doors enclosing the cruel god- 
dess, all tend to give this spot a romantic charm 
which I have rarely found equalled. It is most 
beautiful by moonlight, but when fantastic sha- 
dows are thrown around, it looks a weird place, 
where one almost expects to see the tall forms 
of long-dead warriors. 

On the western side of the fort there is a 
more modern egress, a substantial archway, 
which is gained by a descending road, and a 



192 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

sharp turn leads to a narrow causeway which 
bridges the fosse. It is guarded only by low 
loops of thick chain, attached to ricketty old 
cannon, and I confess that in crossing it I have 
often sat behind the fresh young Arabs with a 
beating heart and closed eyes, thankful when 
the sound of their hoofs on the hard road told 
me that the dangerous spot was passed. The 
walls of the fort are crowned by lofty scalloped 
battlements, standing clear of one another, and 
pierced with long loop-holes, just so wide as to 
have admitted the muzzles of the old jangals 
(literally teazers), which now lie rusting in the 
arsenal. 

The Station library was a charming retreat. 
The books, which numbered nearly four thou- 
sand, were arranged in cases which lined the 
walls of the long low room, and reached up to 
a ceiling which was supported by great time- 
honoured beams of rough-hewn teak wood. In 
olden days this house had been the residence of 
the Kiledar. In its deep, shady verandah, set 
with plants, it was twilight at noonday, but it 
was a pleasant place, where one could just see 
to read. It commanded a charming peep, be- 
tween the boles of the peepul-trees, of the 
ruined gateway where the Naubat played, and 
through the deep, dark archway, to an ever- 



GOTHIC CHURCH. 193 

blooming garden, where, fanned by the gentle 
breeze, the rich-hued blossoms, ever combining, 
looked like the changing colours in a kaleido- 
scope. Outside the arsenal the great guns and 
pyramids of ball, as seen from our garden, were 
picturesque objects. There was little to invite 
attention in the interior of the building. Some 
two years ago it contained a curious collection 
of old native weapons, but they had been car- 
ried off to Woolwich, or some other place. 
Shreds of silk dangling disconsolately from bare 
poles were all that remained of colours which 
had fluttered over many a battle-field, and the 
piles of rusty jangals lay in obscure corners — all 
else was fresh, trim, and ready. Some of the long 
corridors were paved with sections of petrified 
palm work, the rings of which were so perfect 
that with a little pains one might have de- 
ciphered their age, and told which side of the 
tree had received the warm rays of the rising- 
sun. Though last, not least, I must make 
mention of our little snug Gothic church. Its 
cockney aspect presented a striking contrast to 
the crumbling antiquities around, but the in- 
terior was pretty and airy. There were a few 
memorial tablets upon the walls, but none of 
general interest, excepting that which recorded 
the sad death of Mr. Manson. The edifice 
VOL. I. 



194 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

stood upon a small rnaidan, which G hired 

for the benefit of his cattle, it being very de- 
sirable to graze it down; for the long grass 
served as cover for cobras, which more than once 
were seen fighting by the assembling congrega- 
tion. 

Completely shut out from the exterior world, 
there could not, to my mind, exist a more de- 
lightful and romantic spot than that enclosed 
by the old red walls. The grassy ramparts, 
which are banked up until the rounded battle- 
ments alone are visible, make a charming walk 
which commands a panoramic view of the sur- 
rounding country, of the undulating plain, with 
its woods, cultivated fields, green pastures, and 
little villages, sheltered by lofty mango-trees, 
the distant mountains, the jungly hills, the roll- 
ing downs, ever-changing, peaceful in the sun- 
shine, purple and threatening in the storm. Not 
even water was wanting to enhance the charms 
of the landscape. The tank, in reality a lake 
of some extent, lay glittering within a stone's 
throw of the main gate. Banked up on one 
side by a lofty wall with a stone coping, it was 
otherwise at liberty to lie at rest, calm and blue, 
or to swell out into a turbid inland sea, specked 
with unfamiliar islands. At morn and eve the 
tank was a busy scene. I had favourite nooks 



CHEVALIER BATTERY. 195 

from which I often watched the great herds of 
cattle which were brought up to water. The 
buffaloes delighted in their early bath, and waded 
about with just their noses out of the refreshing 
element. They are docile creatures, obedient 
to their owner's call, not half so difficult to 
manage as the fierce little untameable cows. 
Serene-looking bullocks drank, and gazed about 
them, and drank again. Some pet animal was 
readily distinguished by its brass collar, garland 
of flowers, or necklace of cowrie shells, put on 
to ensure good luck. Occasionally a great black 
elephant came slowly down, and dabbled its 
" lotus feet " in the water, whilst it was scrubbed 
by its driver. One of these sagacious crea- 
tures had a curious trick of bending its ears 
forward with its trunk, in order that the skin 
behind might come in for its share of the 
washing. Camels came striding down in long 
file, they alone looking discontented, for not 
even the cool morning's draught could please 
these peevish creatures. 

Another favourite resting-place was the top 
of the flag-staff, or Chevalier battery, a strong- 
hold built by Azad Khan, within the walls, but 
towering far above them. From its summit the 
flag with the angry lion had floated for many 
a year. It was a delightful spot at the hour of 

02 



196 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

sunset, when the western sky was flooded with 
amber or rosy red, and the mala was heard from 
the minaret of the musjid in the Durga camp, 
in which the old Khan's bones repose, calling 
the faithful to prayer. While the cattle slowly 
crossed the plain to their rest, and the short 
twilight deepened, ghostly bands of white- 
robed people would glide along, and disappear 
beneath the deep shade of the mango-trees. 
Occasionally a procession might be seen return- 
ing from some ceremony, the shrill notes of the 
musicians toned down by distance, and red- 
robed women, bearing fire in their brass 
vessels, on their way to some time-honoured 
temple. How beautiful must this plain have 
been when covered up to the very foot of the 
distant hills with a waving sea of green, a jungle 
of palms, and bananas, and bamboos ! Many a 
time have I lingered, until suddenly it was dark, 
and I had to descend and cross the pathless 
grass, in mental fear of the snakes. There is 
a tradition that three hundred and sixty Jaina 
temples were pulled down, in order to supply 
materials for building the present walls of the 
fort. 

This part of the Deccan was once the head- 
quarters of that curious sect whose habit it was 
to build their temples, which are not very large, 



ORNAMENTATION OF THE TEMPLES. 197 

near together. There is no doubt that almost 
all of the immense blocks of stone which have 
carving upon them, and which are built into the 
walls irregularly, and without design to adorn, 
are of Jaina origin. Their style of ornamenta- 
tion is very peculiar, and cannot, when one once 
becomes familiar with it, be mistaken. t There are 
long narrow stones, strips of friezes or cornices, 
with stiff-pointed lotus-flowers cut upon them 
(the stiff-cut lotus of Indian art does not 
mean to imitate Nature ; it is merely used as a 
symbol of the power of those kings who ruled 
over countries where the lotus grew) ; and others 
upon which musicians, playing upon such in- 
struments as are still in use, pipe to dancing 
women with distorted bodies and light drapery. 
They are covered with bracelets and bangles, 
and long rows of beads hang from their necks ; 
thesebands are generally grouped between pillars, 
such as now serve for gate-posts at almost 
every bungalow in the fort. Some of the carved 
divinities are seated in rows, with animals at 
their feet ; some are well-proportioned, and cut 
in high relief; others are rude, and rendered 
almost undecipherable by time. Long after I 
imagined myself to be acquainted with every 
piece of sculpture around, I came upon bits which 



198 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

were new to me — stones which had been hidden 
away by tall balsams, or bushes of the many- 
hued lantana (wild sage). One magnificent 
stream of the black-stemmed giant maidenhair 
fern died down and disclosed the figure of an 
elephant, with a chain round the body, which 
was in the act of treading a man to death, 
representing, it may be, some act of vengeance 
which had taken place near this very spot. 
From many a corner the hooded head of 
a cobra, once worshipped, peeped through the 
long grasses. Another curious study was fur- 
nished by the monumental stones, which are 
supposed to have been erected to the memory 
of warriors slain in battle. They are divided 
into three or more compartments. The lowest 
part of one, which is in the fort, represents a 
fight, in which a soldier is attacked by armed 
men and slain. In the next compartment 
nymphs are bearing him on high, whilst above 
he is seen worshipping the Linga. Upon a 
second stone the hero is represented curvetting 
along upon his steed, with his sword-bearer in 
advance. The middle one pictures the deceased 
man rising with extended arms, whilst the fore- 
finger of a gigantic hand points to the skies. 
In the third compartment there is a bust of the 
warrior, by the side of which a kneeling figure 



THE ANCIENT WALLS. 199 

worships the Linga. Numbers of these me- 
morials (all relating to war) lie scattered about 
the whole district, and it is a pity that they are 
not removed to some place of safety, and that 
no endeavour is made to collect any legends 
attached to them. In all probability the stories 
they picture have been gathered into the chants 
and songs of the people. 

It would be tedious to dwell upon the sculp- 
tured objects which ornament the ancient walls 
rising up in every compound, cropping out of 
the loose stone walls which surround them, and 
peeping from the very ditches — gods and pirates, 
dancing women and shrined ascetics, beautiful 
tracery and grotesque animals, jostling one 
another in strange confusion. Doubtless our 
feet have passed over many a hidden treasure. 
The fort of Belgaum is indeed a glorious place 
for those who love old stones. 



200 



CHAPTER IX. 

Sect of the Jains — Their Opinions — Jaina Saints — Archi- 
tecture of the Jain Temples — Sena Rajah — Legends — 
Decoration of the Hall — Ornaments in Sculpture — 
Shrines — Spacious Dome — Dedication Plate — The 
Sacred Cell — The Second Temple — English Indiffer- 
ence to the Antiquities of the Country — The Musjid 
Safa — Concealed Treasure — Curious Relic — Memorials 
of the Past. 

BEFORE attempting to describe the peculiar 
style of the Jaina temples, it may not be 
amiss to say a few words respecting the reli- 
gious opinions of the sect by whom they were 
built, which at one time bade fair to strangle 
Brahmanism, and to become dominant through- 
out India. The followers of Jainism, which seems 
to have risen upon the ruins of Buddhism, were 
probably seceders from that religion, which had 
become corrupt; and it is not unlikely that 
their desire was to return to some older faith 
upon which Buddhism itself was founded.* 

* It is curious to remark in Eastern religions how fre- 
quently the grotesque borders on the sublime. According 



THE JAINS. 201 

The Jains deny the divine origin of Sakya 
Sinha (Bnddha), whom, however, they deified 
after death, believing him to have been a most 
holy man, whose mission it was, not to found a 
new religion, but to reform the abuses which 
had crept into one already existing. 

The Jains are equally sceptical with regard 
to Brahmanism, for they deny the divine origin 
of the Vedas. They abhor the Homa, or burnt 
sacrifice, so dear to the other Hindoos, alleging 
that everything thus consumed contains animal 
life, for which they have the most exaggerated 
respect.* The Jain priest walks about with a 

to the Singhalese belief, their great teacher, Buddha, died 
of eating pork. " Buddha, with a large company of dis- 
ciples, came to Kusinagara, in Gorakpur, and encamped in 
the mango garden of one Chunda, a smitb. The worthy- 
smith meant to be hospitable, and served up pork. It was 
too much for the worn-out frame of the hoary sage. 
Diarrhsea ensued, he travelled a short distance, with fre- 
quent stoppages, but at last being unable to proceed, a 
temporary couch was provided for him in a shadowy grove. 
A message of comfort was sent to the poor smith, the princes 
of Malwa were summoned, and having made them a long 
speech, he ceased to exist." 

* The orthodox Hindoo has also a great horror of taking 
animal life. " He is taught that God inhabits even an 
insect ; but it is no great crime if he should permit his cow 
to die of hunger ; and he beats it without mercy. It is 
enough that he does not really deprive it of life, for the in- 
dwelling Brumhu feels no shock but that of death. For 



202 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

cloak over his mouth, lest he should swallow 
small insects, and carries a broom, in order to 
eject them from the spot on which he chooses to 
sit. Another tenet which distinguishes them 
from the rest of the Hindoos, is the worship 
which they pay to a certain number of Jinas, 
or deified teachers, who they imagine have, by 
constant deeds of mortification and self-in- 
flicted torment, attained a station superior to 
that of the gods. " The Jains enumerate by 
name the twenty-four of the past age, the 
twenty-four of the present, and the twenty-four 
of the age to come." A Jaina saint is called 
Lord of the World, Omniscient, God of Gods — 
all sorts of transcendent names are bestowed 
upon him. He has certain superhuman attri- 
butes — beauty of form, fragrance of body, 
the white colour of his blood, the curling of his 
whiskers, the non-increase of the beard and 
nails, his exemption from all natural impurity, 
from hunger and thirst, from infirmity and 
decay, and so on through a long list. 

The back of his head is surrounded by a 
halo of light, brighter than the disk of the sun, 
and for an immense space around him. Where- 
killing a few small insects an orthodox Hindoo must 
repeat an incantation while squeezing his nose with his 
fingers." 



LITERATURE OF THE JAINS. 203- 

ever be moved there is neither sickness nor 
enmity, death nor war. The Jain reformers in 
the early stage of their history were austere in 
their lives, and practised, as well as inculcated, 
self-denial. Their zeal was great, and their re- 
jection of the Brahmanical system of caste 
drew multitudes after them. The countless 
temples scattered throughout the land bear 
silent witness to the power they attained, and 
their peculiar ideas are wrought upon the stones 
of many an ancient building which knows 
them no more. Jainism itself became in time 
corrupt, and the more attractive creed of the 
wily Brahman ultimately prevailed. The sect 
now numbers but a few hundred thousand 
disciples, who are chiefly to be found in the west 
of India. 

The Jains have an extensive and independent 
literature of their own, but do not profess to 
have any inspired writings. They are among the 
very few Orientals who have adopted any sort 
of armorial bearings. With regard to their 
architecture, it must be borne in mind that 
neither they nor the other Hindoos have any 
form which is not derived from that of the 
Buddhists. The oldest remains in the fort are 
the three Jaina temples, which are very curious 
and beautiful. Many a time have I pictured to 



204 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

myself the sacred ceremonies which must have 
attended the foundation of these temples of an 
ancient creed. In a very ancient Hindoo trea- 
tise upon architecture, of which only fragments 
remain, very specific directions are given as to 
the manner of preparing the ground for the 
erection of a temple. " It is to be ploughed — the 
form, material, size, and construction of the 
plough are prescribed, even the oxen that are 
to drag it are selected with due reference to 
their age, shape of horns, &c. The maimed, 
the weak, the meagre, the toothless, or the lame, 
must be rejected, while those with a white spot 
on their legs and foreheads, with eyes resem- 
bling the petals of the lotus, are to be 
preferred. They are to be decorated with 
fillets and other ornaments, their horns and 
hoofs with gold and silver rings. The architect, 
clad in fresh vestments, and adorned with chap- 
lets of flowers, having ascertained the auspicious 
moment for the duty, draws the first furrow 
with due religious ceremonies. The ground is 
sown with sesamum seeds, pulse, and kidney 
beans, incantations are repeated, and oxen 
and ploughs are presented to the spiritual 
teacher. When the crops are matured they 
are grazed by cows for one or two nights, and 



ANCIENT INSCRIPTION. 205 

thus purified, the ground is ready for the future 
temple." 

The mode, it is remarked, for ascertaining the 
cardinal points is striking and correct, and in 
principle the same as that adopted by Euro- 
peans, when they wish to ascertain a meridian 
line.* 

On a copper-plate found near one of the tem- 
ples was engraved the name and titles of the 
Rajah who erected it, as well as some particu- 
lars relating to his family. Some of the most 
interesting sentences run as follows : 

"I adore Svarti and Siva Buddha, the pre- 
server and supporter of the Jaina religion, 
who has brought under his rule the Devatas, 
the Cow Kamdheuna, has conquered the three 
passions, the soul of his disciples, whose breast 
is vast comprehension .... Great among all 
kings, who, conquering all princes, established 
his throne firmly ; such was Sena Rajah. His 
son was Kartaviry, the great, the powerful, the 
possessor of all virtues, the renowned. His 
spouse was the beautiful Padmalla-Devi, orna- 
mented with virtues. Her son was called 
Lakshmi-Bhee-Pati, he was to his father and 
mother a " Here follow the names of many 

* " The Land of the Veda," by the Rev. Peter Percival. 



206 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

gods and warriors — "superior even to these, 
of higher merit. His wife, Chandala-Devi, had 
two sons of valour and liberality. Into the 
mind of this Rajah it entered to perform what 
would make him renowned among those of this 
world. In full enjoyment of his kingdom, when 
residing at Venegrama" (Belgaum), "in peace 
and happiness, he caused to be erected a temple, 
in which were installed I're Santnatha Deva, 
and the protectors of the eight priests ;" for 
the maintenance of whom, and the expenses of 
their annual festival, offerings are appointed to 
be made. 

Jaina temples are built according to a general 
plan, which is seldom varied. There is a square 
hall, or naos, generally open at the sides, an 
inner sala, or chamber, an oblong ante-chamber 
and a small square cell, in which the idol sits 
enthroned. When perfect, it is believed that 
every one of these erections was enclosed by an 
oblong court, with pillared colonnades, set with 
long rows of shrines, in which were standing 
Jains, or squatted Buddha-like figures. With 
the exception of the colonnades, one of the 
temples in the fort is quite perfect, and is con- 
sidered to be a fine specimen of its kind of 
architecture. A few observations respecting its 
decorations, as illustrating the religious notions 



STRUCTURE OF A JAINA TEMPLE. 207 

of the sect, if not very interesting to the general 
reader, may be tolerated for their bearing on 
the subject of which we treat. 

A flight of steps leads up to the hall, which is 
partially enclosed by a long but strong balus- 
trade, and roofed in by an expansive dome 
of great beauty. Circle after circle of concave 
lotus-flowers reach to its centre, from which 
hangs a magnificent pendant of four decreasing 
layers of lotus-flowers and leaves, a foot apart 
from one another, and terminated by one large 
blossom. The weight of such an ornament could 
only be supported in a dome so built that the 
pressure is horizontal instead of perpendicular. 
Externally, this dome is covered in by a high 
pyramidal stepped roof, the front of each step 
being sculptured with the sharp-cut lotus-pat- 
tern. The weight of this double roof must be 
prodigious, though it is apparently borne by an 
insignificant number of pillars of no great size ; 
but relief is obtained from a characteristic em- 
ployment of dwarf pillars, set upon the balus- 
trades by a system of bracketing. Some of the 
pillars are made of compact black basalt, highly 
magnetic, finely polished, and unusual in form ; 
others are of the description generally employed 
by the Jains, of which there are hundreds scat- 
tered about Belgaum and its immediate neigh- 



208 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

bom-hood, tall shafts of stone, with four equal 
sides, ornamentally carved. Posts are cut into 
sharp rings of unequal size, separated by a 
cable pattern, and occasionally these circles are 
divided by a wedge-shape piece of the original 
surface, pointed upwards. Sometimes a smooth 
block of stone is left, and so delicately engraved 
with rich arabesques that the patterns almost 
appear to have been taken from needlework, the 
embroidered strips of stone being finished off 
by looped fringes of hearts and heads. Some- 
times the loops are trebled, and have tassels 
in the centre. These designs are very elegant. 
The roof of the Sala is flat, except in the 
very centre, where it is raised by a curious 
process. In the middle of the chamber four 
pillars, some five feet apart, support architraves 
and narrow cornices, leaving a square space, 
which has been diminished by two layers of 
overtopping corner-stones, until it could have 
been covered by a single flag. Should this 
have been the case, the room must have been 
in total darkness when the door giving upon 
the hall was closed. From immediately under 
the aperture something has evidently been re- 
moved, as the earth is exposed. Perhaps some 
inferior god occupied the spot, and received the 
passing homage of the devotees, as they passed 



DOME AND HALL. 209 

round it on their way to the cell. It was not 
judged respectful to approach the idol in a 
straight line. 

The hall is decorated with superb and cha- 
racteristic sculpture. I have noticed the beauty 
of the dome, but not that of the octagonal cor- 
nice on which it rests. In each division, carved 
in high relief, are five shrines, with stepped 
roofs, in every one of which squats a cross- 
legged, Buddha-like figure,* while between each 
shrine, and under a canopy, stands an upright 
naked man. These figures evidently represent 
the seventy-two deified Jains of the past, the 
present, and the future. In each angle of the 
octagon is a bracket, on which is placed the 
figure of a divinity, probably " the protectors 
of the eight points " referred to in the dedica- 
tion plate. Round the spring of the dome 
eight great beasts, with chains round their 
stout bodies, jut forth ; their faces have been 
smashed away by the Mahomedan Iconoclasts. 
They are most likely but the ornamented ends 
of supports necessary to the structure. All the 
doorways, and many other parts of the temple, 
are minutely and beautifully carved with gro- 
tesque gods and mythical animals, which peep 

* The figure of Buddha himself is generally represented 
with fingers and toes of equal length. 

VOL. I. P 



210 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

over the flowers, and sport in the foliage of 
sacred plants. 

The sculpture in the Sala is evidently of an 
inferior order, and is chiefly remarkable for the 
frequent introduction of the hooded cobra, life- 
size, which forms the brackets, and twines round 
the tops of the pillars. In this room there are 
four large un ornamented niches, and two square 
recesses, which can be closed by sliding stones, 
in which very likely the sacred vessels were 
kept. 

The oblong vestibule is perfectly plain. 
Both it and the cell are in darkness. Not 
only is a light necessary for investigation, 
but for safety, as real cobras have been seen 
gliding about in the corners. In my frequent 
visits I was always armed with a candle and a 
stick. 

The once sacred cell is very curious. The 
image is gone, but there stands the throne on 
which its cold limbs once rested. (It was pro- 
bably a cross-legged, Buddha-like figure.) The 
platform, which is oblong, cut into angles, and 
ornamented by zigzag mouldings, is placed upon 
two elephants, the eyes of which, made of some 
semi-transparent stone, still glitter, although 
they have looked only upon darkness for centu- 
ries. At the back is the tasseled cushion which 



SACRED CELL. 211 

the Jains have always placed behind their 
idols. Although formed of black basalt, it has 
a look of wrinkled softness, as if the god had 
been sufficiently human to bend his back and 
seek occasional repose. On each side sprang 
up the stem of a tree, which diapered the wall 
with strange flowers, sharp-pointed leaves set 
into circles, from the midst of which depended 
long bunches of weeds. It was some time be- 
fore I discovered that this tracery was populated 
by bands of sculptured monkeys, not an inch in 
length ; and in one place appeared a mysterious 
arm and hand, beating a drum. It was very 
strange. The screen was stained by the smoke 
of incense ; and though smoke be fleeting, its 
traces are eminently suggestive. The cell has 
a steep-stepped roof, which, according to the 
universal plan, must have been surmounted by 
a spire. It contains a chamber, but as it can 
now only be reached by means of along ladder, 
I never explored it, nor did I ever meet with 
anyone who had made the ascent. I believe 
that some way to it exists in the thickness of 
the wall. I never visited this temple without 
making some new and interesting discovery. 

Of the second temple, an enclosed hall, with 
flights of steps which lead up to a narrow 
portico, alone remain. The exterior is much 

p2 



212 MY 1EAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ornamented with rows of dancing figures, 
musicians, and sharp-cut flowers. Mr. Burgess 
considers this remnant to be a remarkably fine 
specimen of Jain architecture ; and I congratu- 
late myself in having been instrumental in pro- 
longing its existence. The treacherous roots 
of two fig-trees of considerable growth, which 
had fixed themselves firmly upon the roof, had 
already overturned at least a ton of beautifully 
sculptured stones, when, in consequence of a 
piteous appeal to the proper authorities, they 
were removed. The neglected state of this 
building is one of a thousand instances of Eng- 
lish indifference respecting the antiquities of a 
country which we occupy — indeed, it owes its 
very existence to the unromantic fact that it 
is used as a Government store-house for beer- 
barrels. 

The third temple, judging from the size of 
the hall, which alone remains, and the splendid 
sculpture with which it is adorned, must have 
been the most important of the three. The 
vicissitudes of its latter days are curious. Some 
years ago the part that at present remains was 
built into a bungalow. What a cool and mag- 
nificent centre apartment must it have made 
with its lofty dome and wide portals ; but 
this phase of its existence was a short one. 



THE MUS JID S AF A . 213 

Belganm ceased to be a division, and the 
general and his staff no longer inhabited 
the fort. The anxious year of the Mutiny 
wrought other changes, and the house, with all 
its charms, its unrivalled hall, its extensive gar- 
den, the pride of the place, and its stately 
avenue of palms, was deserted, to be turned by 
Government into a patchery, or quarters for 
married soldiers. The old Jaina remains are 
shunned by the soldiers' wives, as they do not 
like their gloomy obscurity even by day. Its 
grim black carving would look weird indeed 
by the glimmer of a single lamp. The women 
even imagine the bedrooms above, which circle 
round the dome, to be haunted, and refuse to 
sleep in them. I am not quite sure that the 
place would be agreeable to many by moon- 
light, for I share Madame de StaeTs ideas with 
regard to ghosts : " Je n'y crois pas, mais je les 
crains." 

In the arsenal stands the Musjid Safa, the 
fine mosque, which was the old Khan's gift to 
the fort he loved so well. A Persian inscrip- 
tion, finely cut in relief, is placed above the 
great door. " In the time of Adil Azam, son of 
Adzil Khan, a man of high rank, who bore the 
palm of excellence from all the world, of good 
counsel, the aim of merit, the defender of the 



214 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

faith, who utterly uprooted the unbeliever from 
the country of theDeccan ; Azid Khan, the best 
of upright men, built this house of God, and good 
fortune, and with much labour. By the grace 
of God we call it ' the pure mosque/ (Musjid 
Safa) ; and the lustre of the religion bf the Pro- 
phet grew greater." It is a fine building, with 
stately minarets. Daylight is admitted to the 
interior by means of openings cut in the form 
of intricate geometrical patterns, pierced in thin 
slabs of stone. In front of the edifice is a tank, 
in the middle of which stands a ruined fountain. 
Affixed to the eastern wall of the mosque is a 
small square platform, which was used by the 
Khan for the gymnastic exercises, in which he 
excelled. It is said that he could jump upon 
it weighted with shoes made of lead and iron, 
which are still preserved in the building, along 
with his quilted sabre-proof vest. His sword 
was stolen from the temple by a soldier just 
before the Mutiny. 

Up to the time of the Mutiny,, the Musjid was 
open for worship, but the Mahomedans availed 
themselves of its shelter, in order to plot trea- 
son against the English, and for years since 
that time it has remained closed. The murder- 
ous designs of the plotters were discovered. 
There are, or ought to be, three keys to the 



A PERIODICAL CUSTOM. 215 

great padlock which secures the entrance. One 
of them was delivered over to the safe keeping 
of some English official, who lost it, another to 
the head Mola in the town of Belgaum, and the 
third was committed to the care of the head 
priest in Kolhapur. 

One day, however, we were informed by a 
friend that an application, on the part of the 
Mussulman population, had passed through his 
office, praying that they might be allowed to 
resume a periodical custom, which had been 
suspended, an occasion on which the head Mola, 
key in hand, mounted upon a camel, and head- 
ing a procession, had been wont to enter the 
mosque, and repeat a certain form of prayer. 
Permission was granted, and everyone near the 
arsenal was on the tip-toe of expectation — even 
the old Scotch superintendent of the stores was 
thrown into a state of excitement. " 'Deed, 
ma'am," he said, " all the years that I have been 
here I have never been inside the mosque, and 
I would like to see the Khan's golden chair." 
A golden chair, that was a new and delightful 
feature in the cave. We kept the orderlies upon 
the look-out, and with heated faces they ran to 
and fro, bearing the latest news. •' The briga- 
dier in person was coming ; the procession was 
to enter the fort at six o'clock precisely; a 



216 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

native company "with colours had arrived." We 
stood in the garden ready to start. Bullock- 
carts came hurrying up, laden with men in 
resplendent turbans of red and gold, and gold 
and green ; and crowds of white-robed pedes- 
trians, with bags full of flowers under their arms, 
began to assemble round the Musjid. The 
clock struck six, and the sound was followed by 
intense excitement. Then there was a long 
pause. Was it possible that the people were 
•silently melting away? Improbable as it ap- 
peared, it was too true. There could be no 
ceremony now — the second key was lost. We 
afterwards heard considerable indignation ex- 
pressed at the idea of allowing the false Maho- 
medans ever again to set foot in the mosque ; 
but that was by people who remembered with a 
shudder the anxiety of that period, when the 
troops were known to be wavering. 

The natives have a tradition, to which they 
give full credit, respecting a secret passage, 
which, they affirm, leads from under the Musjid 
to the Dhers' (a very low caste) well, a mile and 
a half away. Why it should be supposed to ter- 
minate at that particular spot, 1 know not ; but 
there is no doubt that some concealed way does 
exist between the fort and the open country. 

The people have also a firm belief in the ex- 



CURIOUS RELIC. 217 

istence of a concealed treasure, which they sup- 
pose to be buried near the building, but do not 
concern themselves much respecting it, as they 
imagine it to be guarded by gnomes, or malig- 
nant spirits, who would cruelly kill anyone who 
attempted to take possession of it. There is no 
doubt that a considerable quantity of jewels, 
gold, and silver, was either smuggled away or 
buried in the fort, when it was surrendered to 
the English. Sums of money have more than 
once been granted by Government for the insti- 
tution of a search, but as yet nothing has been 
found. The quantity of money concealed in the 
earth by the Indian people was one reason why 
gold was withdrawn from the currency. When 
a jewel robbery occurs, the police immediately 
repair to the dwellings of suspected parties, and 
water the floors of the houses and grounds about 
them, a sure way, in this climate, of ascertaining 
if the soil has been recently disturbed. 

I must mention a most curious relic which 
lies within the arsenal. It is a block with three 
legs, exactly resembling an ordinary butcher's 
block. It is cut in one piece out of hard iron- 
stone, and its weight must be prodigious. On 
one of the legs there is an appearance which 
seems to indicate that it terminated in a claw. 
In the centre of the block there is a round hole, 



218 MY TEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

large enough to allow the head of a goat to 
pass through it. Solid as is the substance, it is 
much corrugated by time, for it has every ap- 
pearance of being wonderfully old. Some 
people suppose it to have been a sacrificial 
table, used by the aboriginal tribes who inhabited 
the deep jungles, which, until an almost recent 
period, covered this part of the Deccan. 

One of the most interesting ruins of the Ma- 
homedan period existing in the fort is a ruined 
gateway of great size, under which passed the 
road that led from the main gate to the palace. 
The fine pointed archway, with battlemented 
top, is flanked by wings set with smaller arches. 
On its summit the naubat, a large kettle-drum, 
was struck at stated hours, and on it salutes 
were played. Not less time-hallowed and sug- 
gestive of the period, is a beautiful tomb, with 
dome and minarets, which, shaded by lofty 
trees, stands on a little maidan, or green, close 
to our domain. Elegant little memorial stones, 
wrought with verses from the Koran, in Persian 
characters, are scattered around it. Would 
that I could have painted some of the pictur- 
esque figures which I have seen grouped about 
this spot. One scene is particularly impressed 
upon my memory. The sky was intensely blue, 
all around was bathed in such glorious sunshine 



RUINED GATEWAY. 219 

as brings happiness with it. I looked up from 
my book. A large black elephant, munching 
its sugar-cane breakfast, stood in relief against 
the tender grey walls of the mosque tomb. Its 
driver, a wild-looking being, with streaming 
locks, was leaning upon his goad, whilst over- 
head a golden nikure, one mass of flame- 
coloured flowers, relieved with feathery foliage 
of leaden green, threw out its horizontal limbs, 
and formed a right royal canopy. Sometimes a 
pilgrim from over the sea, with staff in hand, 
long rows of beads which had been blessed at 
Mecca, and flowing beard of orange tinge, would 
steal into the shade, mutter a short prayer over 
the bones of the saint whose fame had reached 
his ears, and pass on his restless way. In mo- 
ments of idle reverie, I used to think what a 
Paradise I could make of the old fort, if it were 
my own property, and suddenly wake up to 
the conviction that the improver's hand would 
but destroy what, in its present state of partial 
decay and neglect, is ideally perfect. 



220 



CHAPTER X. 

Trees in the Fort — Consecration of Trees — The Banyan- 
Tree — A Patriarch of the Forest — Peepul-Trees — 
The India-Rubber Tree — Ficus Glomerata — Strange 
Peculiarity of Plants — Lofty Cotton-Tree — The Ja- 
inun — The Champai — The Cocoa-Nut Palm — The 
Soap-Nut Tree — Sandal- Wood Tree — Acacia Arabica, 
or Babool of India — The Golden Mhune — Eucalypti. 

WE had in the fort a great variety of fine 
timber-trees and beautiful shrubs. Some 
of them, which were rare in this part of the 
Deccan, had been brought to the little oasis, and 
assiduously cultivated in its golden age. In 
India the ramifications of certain vegetable 
families appear to be interminable. It is only 
possible to notice a few of the most prominent 
specimens. Having plenty of time at my dis- 
posal, I amused myself with preparing a collec- 
tion of leaves and flowers for a sister at home. 
Had I commenced with a fair knowledge of 
botany, I should have derived much more 
pleasure from the pursuit ; but even learning a 



BANYAN-TREE. 221 

few of their properties, and the native legends 
attaching to them, was entertaining. 

Trees are worshipped by the Hindoos, as the 
forms of particular gods. They receive divine 
honours, and are set apart with the same cere- 
monies as are common at the setting up of the 
gods. Any individual who consecrates a tree 
says, " Oh ! Vishnu," or " Shiva, grant that for 
planting this tree I may continue as many 
years in Heaven as this tree shall remain grow- 
ing in the earth. Grant that as I have set 
apart this tree to afford shade to my fellow- 
creatures, so after death I may not be scorched 
by excessive heat when I journey to Yama, the 
region of death." There are six trees which 
are particularly sacred, and are never cut down 
or burnt by devout Hindoos — namely, ficus 
Indica, mimusops elengi, terminalia citrina, 
philanthus emblica, melia azodaracta, ogle 
marmelos ; most of which bear odoriferous 
flowers. 

The most sacred of them all is the banyan 
(ficus Indica), of which we had a noble speci- 
men. Its furrowed bole was composed of many 
stems, welded together ages ago ; and its top 
formed a vault of verdure. This tree appeared 
to have long lost its tendency to throw down 
aerial roots, which had most likely been cut 



222 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

£,way, possibly by the conquering Mussulmans, 
for no Hindoo would thus have maimed the tree. 
The banyan attains great length of days, one 
being pointed out near the Nerbuddha, under 
the shade of which Alexander is said to have 
slept. It may be so, for according to some 
botanists these, and other patriarchs of the 
forests, are but aggregates of buds annually 
succeeding on the stem, which represents a 
living soil. Savants even go so far as to say 
that in the wilds of Africa there are trees 
which are five thousand years old. The wood 
is very astringent, and much used in Hindoo 
medicine ; and its soothing juice is said to be 
good for the toothache. It is also made into 
bird-lime. Nor must we forget that, according 
to Milton, this was the fig which grew in Para- 
dise, the leaves of which were also taken to 
clothe our first parents. We had also the 
child-bearing fig (also ficus lndicd) the aerial 
roots of which were less decided and not so 
numerous as those of the banyan. The women 
worship it, and eat the berries with which its 
tender branches are studded, as round as mar- 
bles, and as red as coral. 

Set down amongst the scattered foundations 
of some building which probably they had been 
instrumental in destroying, were a row of pee- 



INDIA-RUBBER TREE. 223 

pul-trees (jicus religiosa), the roots of which 
are very destructive, if once they attain a foot- 
ing in the chinks of masonry. It is an exceed- 
ingly sacred tree, and is to be found fenced round 
by a platform in every Hindoo village. Women 
especially venerate it, because they believe that 
Vishnu was born under its shade. Beneath it 
they perform the ceremonies succeeding child- 
birth ; and they use its sticky juice for smooth- 
ing their hair. It attains a great height, but 
the foliage is quivering, and not effective. 
Though the leaf is pretty in its bright green 
youth, it soon assumes a dull tint. It is heart- 
shaped, and the mid rib is prolonged into a 
softish spike, which extends a couple of inches. 
The wood yields caoutchouc. In Ceylon it is 
called the bo-tree. Sir Emmerson Tennant 
mentions one which, on documentary evidence, 
he believes to have been planted two hundred 
and twenty-eight years before Christ. The 
Buddhists adore this tree, as they believe that 
their great teacher, Sakiya, was reclining under 
it when he underwent his apotheosis. The 
most aspiring of all the tribe is the india-rub- 
ber tree (Jicus elastica), with its long glossy 
leaves and crimson capsules. It was strange, 
whilst looking up at its gigantic limbs, to recall 
the little plants of the same description, fur- 



224 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

nisbed with half a dozen leaves, often so care- 
fully tended in England; still the great rosy- 
shoots had a familiar appearance. One of the 
remarkable points of this tree is its manner of 
throwing out prodigiously long spurs, which 
stretch along the ground in ridges of more than 
a foot in height. 

The ficus glomerata was another very con- 
siderable tree, which bore a profusion of fruit, 
in appearance much resembling the small Eng- 
lish fig ; but though its flavour is unpleasant, it 
is eaten by the natives. In the bearing season 
it gives forth a strong, sickly perfume, which 
is most disagreeable. 

There were numbers of tamarind-trees, par- 
ticularly two giants in our own garden. The 
skeleton bears some resemblance to that of a 
large elm, but as if for the sake of contrast, its 
gnarled and far-stretching limbs are clothed 
with leaflets of the most delicate fern and 
tenderest green, fine as those of a sensitive plant, 
which they much resemble. The huge corru- 
gated bole teems with animal life, and its lofty 
crown is the delightful abode of numerous birds, 
whilst orchids and ferny plants cling to the 
rough bark, and plant themselves in its inter- 
stices. The blossom is insignificant, and the 
pod is many months before it reaches maturity. 
The wood is beautiful, but it is not often 



THE TAMARIND-TREE. 225 

used by cabinet-makers, for its exceeding hard- 
ness makes it difficult to work. It yields a gum 
called kuteera. The bole is often hollow, which 
I should not have observed, had I not occasion- 
ally seen trees pierced by neatly scooped little 
arches, which allowed the eye to penetrate into 
their interior. This was the work of the Hin- 
doos, who enthroned their divinities within 
them. I could not but picture to myself the 
strange appearance which the copper idol, sur- 
rounded by lights and garlanded with flowers, 
would present, squatting in this shrine of 
Nature's own handiwork. That curious pheno- 
menon, the sleep of plants, was first observed in 
India in the tamarind-tree, by Garcias de Horto, 
in 1567, but it was not understood until de- 
monstrated by Linnaeus. The natives have an 
idea that the tamarind renders the neighbour- 
hood of the spot where it grows unwholesome, 
but many plants which we planted about its 
roots grew luxuriantly.* 

* Plants are very innocent, and easily taken in. By 
throwing a bright light upon those of a sensitive nature 
during the night, and placing them in darkness during the 
day, the botanist, Decandolle, succeeded in changing 
their habit so far that they closed up their leaflets, and 
slept the sunny hours away, while they opened them to the 
artificial light thrown upon them, when others of their kind 
were slumbering. 

VOL. I. Q 



226 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

The tree which was our boast, in point of 
height, was a cotton-tree, said to be the tallest 
for miles around. When first I saw its ungrace- 
ful limbs they were bare ; the cylindrical bole had 
a smoothish bark, thickly studded with sharp 
thorns, broad at the base, and nearly an inch 
long. Nature had taken extra care to guard 
its produce. The great blood-red flowers came 
forth with a glow of colour, but the blossom, 
pulpy and coarse, will not bear examination. 
The long thick pod, which in due time burst 
and poured forth an amazing quantity of soft, 
silky, cream-coloured cotton, appeared to be 
composed of a flat circular membrane, with a 
tiny hole in the centre, from which a seed had 
fallen ; but it was not easy to capture this sub- 
stance, which was so light that it fled before 
the outstretched hand. The hedges and fields 
were covered so thickly with it that they 
looked as if the old woman had been plucking 
geese for a month. This cotton is unfortunately 
too short in the stopple to be worked up, and is 
therefore of very little value — a remark which 
is equally applicable to many other cotton-pro- 
ducing shrubs and plants which grow in the 
Deccan. The women make pillows of it, and 
bring them about for sale, offering a large one 
for a shilling. It is also quilted into the gar- 



BELGAUM WALNUT-TREE. 227 

merits which the natives wear during the rains. 
It has a handsome leaf, composed of five deeply 
indented fingers, which spring from a main rib. 

The jamun, a very ornamental tree, pro- 
ducing large timber, has bright glossy leaves, 
something like those of the beech. It bears 
bunches of purple fruit, something like grapes, 
but with a stone in the middle ; but in spite of 
their tempting appearance, they were aban- 
doned to the boys and birds. We had also the 
so-called Belgaum walnut (Aleurites Triloba), 
introduced into India from the Society Islands. 
The fine-coloured large leaves are three or five 
lobed, and the young foliage is covered with a 
mealy substance, which gives it a peculiar 
metallic appearance. It bears spikes of white 
flowers, and when the fruit is full-grown, it 
resembles a large unripe, white-dusted apri- 
cot. Two nuts are contained in the husk. 
I have often picked them up, but have never 
tasted them. The natives say that when 'fresh 
they are very unwholesome, and require to be 
kept for a year before they are eaten. The 
tree, however, is valuable, on account of these 
kernels, which yield above fifty per cent, of fine 
clear oil. 

There were some young but tall trees, which 
we took to be mangoes, until suddenly one of 

q2 



228 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

them put forth a quantity of petallated flowers 
of the purest yellow, when it proved to be the 
champac (michella champaca), a species which is 
highly estimated by the Hindoos. They cele- 
brate its charms in their poetry, and will beg, 
steal, and even buy the blossoms at a high 
price ; for they believe that their overpower- 
ingly sweet perfume is particularly acceptable 
to their gods. I was obliged to discard a hand- 
ful brought into my room, and the scent still 
clings to a blotting-book into which I put one 
of the flowers. The Buddhists also hold this 
tree to be sacred, and reserve its wood to make 
from it images of Sakiya (Buddha). 

We possessed a cluster of the cocoa-nut palm, 
the most elegant of all the tribe. We were 
proud of the half-dozen nuts they bore, for 
their production proved that we were within 
the influence of the sea breeze. Scattered 
about were many Palmyra-trees, but several of 
them were past their prime. The cylindrical 
stem, a little wide at the base, was set so firmly 
upon the ground, without visible roots, that it 
always reminded me of a Doric column — all the 
more so as it grew in joints of about a foot 
high, which might well have been taken for 
smooth-tooled stones. The strings of seeds 
which burst from the huge pods, sweeping 



SOAP-NUT TREE. 229 

down until they attained a length of more than 
ten feet, were their greatest beauty. At first 
the threads were very delicate and green, as 
they swayed about, making me think what 
mermaids' hair might be like. The seeds, set 
in groups of three on alternative sides of the 
thread, were at first very small, but they swell- 
ed until they were as large as marbles. The 
trees then became black and ugly, and were 
hacked down. So heavy had they then become, 
that it took three men to lift one of them into 
the refuse cart. 

We were fortunate enough to have a soap- 
nut tree (Sapindacea), which had a soft, bright 
green leaf, with a downy brown stem, and bore 
spiked heads of little pale flowers, which fructi- 
fied into nuts, sold by the ounce in the bazaars. 
The husk of these nuts is the valuable part. 
Soaked in tepid water, it forms a lather, which 
is employed with good effect in cleaning silks, 
washing flannels, and restoring the colour of 
w r oollen garments. 

The sandal, growing in every hedge and 
compound, is a thin, straggling tree, with dis- 
torted limbs, and is described as a species of 
myrtle. The leaves, which are small, pointed, 
and shiny, are symmetrically arranged on each 
side of a slender stem. The fragrant branches 



230 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

fetch a high price, as all classes desire the 
sweet-scented boughs for the celebration of 
their funeral rites. Notwithstanding this, how- 
ever, the tree bears an evil reputation with the 
fanciful natives. I met with the following de- 
scription of it in the translation of a remnant of 
an ancient Hindoo treatise upon timber : " The 
root is infested by serpents, the blossoms by 
bees, the branches by monkeys, the summit by 
bears — in short, there is not a part of the sandal- 
tree that is not occupied by the vilest impuri- 
ties." In spite, however, of this list of evils, 
the sandal-wood is so remunerative that the 
Forest Commissioners of this Presidency are 
about to make regular plantations of it on a 
plan which has been tried with success in 
Madras. 

Under the names of Acacia Arabica, or Babool 
of India, I was not prepared to meet with my 
old friend, bearing the tiny powdery yellow 
balls, which at Cannes sell for forty francs the 
pound ; yet there it was, set with sharp thorns, 
and growing wild in our compound. It was by 
no means so luxuriant as its better cultivated 
sister in the south of France, yet the flowers 
had even a sweeter perfume, and nothing could 
exceed the delicacy of the sensitive leaves. I 
could not succeed in pressing them with any 



GOLDEN MHUNE-TREE. 231 

good result, for, like those of a true Mirnsea, 
they shut up the moment they were touched. 
The blossom in this country is appreciated only 
by the natives, to whom every sickly perfume 
is agreeable, and who offer them up in the 
temples. The rough crooked branches over- 
flow with gum, which is eagerly collected in 
the jungles, and its pods of tree are greedily 
devoured by sheep and goats. 

In addition to those I have named, we had 
two trees and a shrub of unrivalled beauty, a 
glorious trio. The first in the year to flower 
was one of many champac, a kind of magnolia, 
about twenty feet high. When bare, the stiff- 
ness of its skeleton is remarkable, the boughs, 
which branch out at right angles, being incapa- 
ble of a curve or an inclination. The flowers, 
which are delightfully fragrant, come out iu 
clusters, thousands of the narrow-petalled, 
vellum-like blossoms, white at the tips, but 
gradually assuming a hue which I can only 
liken to that of a golden sunset. The long, 
pointed, lance-like leaves soon mingle with the 
flowers, and when the latter pass away the 
foliage is very fine. 

In the month of March the whole country is 
ablaze with the flame-coloured blossoms of the 
golden Mhune, a tree which is a native of 



232 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

South America, and has not been acclimatized 
in India above fifteen years. I have not yet 
become acquainted with its proper name. Its 
growth resembles that of the cedar, but its 
horizontal limbs, which have a slight dip, are 
covered with the most exquisite foliage, fine as 
that of the sensitive plants, and large as the 
plumes of an ostrich, waving about, in varied 
tints of green. The leaflets fold themselves 
together, and sleep away the dark hours ; the 
candelabrum, whose blossoms produce a most 
splendid effect, maintains its beauty all the year 
round. The Poinsettia, a very large, spreading 
shrub, which bears during the cold season, is a 
native of Mexico. The cluster of little yellow 
balls, which first appear, are soon surrounded 
by bags of pointed crimson-scarlet leaves, of 
unequal length. Nothing can be more superb 
than this flower, seen by the light of a tropical 
moon, when its lurid colour is bathed in the 
luminous atmosphere. This is the plant which 
adds so greatly to the splendour of the gardens 
of the Ttij at Agra, where it grows to perfec- 
tion. Further north than that it does not 
flourish. It is a sticky plant to touch ; its 
foliage of fine pointed pale green leaves is very 
handsome, and it is full of a white milk, which 
yields gum. It is not unusual to see whole 



THE EUCALYPTUS. 233 

avenues of this shrub. We had a number of 
Eucalypti in our garden, and all about the neigh- 
bourhood, planted with the idea of purifying 
the air. In Algeria they were cultivated with 
success. I have seen many of tolerably large 
growth, which had been planted where lakes 
had been drained, and where ground which had 
lain fallow for a thousand years had been put 
under cultivation, but they will not flourish in 
the high table-lands of the Deccan. The only 
specimen in the fort which appeared to be 
healthy was one in our garden, so placed as to be 
constantly irrigated, and consequently growing 
with amazing rapidity. 

The eucalyptus has been extensively planted 
by Government in the Cannara jungles,, but 
I was told by one of the Forest Commissioners 
that the experiment had failed. It is an ugly 
tree, with small oval blue-green leaves, which 
grow so close to the branches that they 
cannot be separated from them without being 
torn, in which case they emit a powerful aro- 
matic odour, the medicinal qualities of which 
are considered to be valuable in cases of fever. 
The eucalyptus is the true monarch of the 
forest kingdom. In the almost untrodden 
regions of Australia trees have been met with 
that surpass in size even the Wellingtonia 



234 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Gigantea. Ferdinand Midler, the botanist, 
says that trees of the species eucalyptus amyg- 
dalina, four hundred and eighty feet in length, 
were met with lying on the ground ; a fact per- 
fectly confirmed by the statement of Mr. George 
Robins, who saw in the mountains of Berwick 
one of those trees standing, which had, near the 
ground, a circumference of eighty-one feet, and 
the height of which he estimated at five hundred 
feet. This eucalyptus, therefore, could over- 
shadow the great pyramid of Egypt, and the 
spire of Strasbourg Cathedral, for the former is 
only four hundred and eighty feet in height, and 
the latter four hundred and sixty-six. 



235 



CHAPTER XL 

Our Bungalow — Building in India — Anglo-Indian Words 
— Beautiful Floral Display — Tameness of Bird and 
Beast — Buffaloes — Our Establishment of Servants — 
Butler and Cook— The Puttah WaUee— The Malee, 
or Head-Gardener — Frequent Demands for Holidays 
— Want of Privacy — Pretended Christians — Expenses 
of the Table — Grafting of Mangoes — Provisions, Fruit, 
and Wine. 

OUR bungalow, a charming residence, consist- 
ed entirely of a ground floor, the construc- 
tion of which always reminded me of a French 
church. The lofty drawing-room had a rounded 
end, the long dining-room crossed it, and 
through the vestibule were seen the stout pil- 
lars set upon square bases, which supported the 
southern verandah and the lofty porch. The 
sacristies were numerously represented by the 
bedrooms, which ran along the sides of tho 
house. The building was almost entirely en- 
closed by wide verandahs, delightful places of 
resort, always shady, but never gloomy ; and 
the whole was packed under a high-pitched 



23(3 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

roof of tiles, which swept down to within some 
ten feet of the ground. 

Large as the house was, we had to add to it, 
and I watched the erection of what were to be 
my own quarters, with much interest. The 
new rooms were built of great square blocks of 
calasite, and every morning there came some 
wonderful old women, with metal ornaments, 
and blue savis with red borders, who had 
pestles two yards in height, with which they 
pounded away at a quantity of lime and fine 
sand, wiiich was to form the flooring. This the 
builder called chunam, but the true chunam, 
which is much used in Eastern houses, is made 
of white shells, reduced to an almost impalpable 
powder, which is made into plaster, and pro- 
duces a most brilliant effect. 

The old ladies, who always arrived with 
the dawn, reminded me of Michael Angelo's 
three fates ; and as they worked they used at 
first to chant in parts, probably some old his- 
tory, which effectually scared away my slum- 
bers. I was obliged to learn the magic word 
which meant in English " Hold your tongue \" 
which, after it was hurled at them, silenced 
them for ever. I trust, however, that it might 
have had a milder signification in Mahratta. 

In my ignorance I was all astonishment at see- 



WOMEN AND THEIR BABIES. 237 

ing two dark brown boys, clad in little beyond 
the sacred thread, but decked out in silver 
bracelets, anklets, earrings, and relic-boxes, 
perched on my skeleton roof, and putting on 
the tiles. A canvas ceiling was spread, but 
not until there had been much delay in conse- 
quence of the unpunctuality of the dersei (tailor) 
who had to stitch it together. This man, in 
consequence of a death in his family, had a 

half-grown beard, and G used periodically 

to threaten to shave him if he did not get on 
with his work, a penalty the infliction of which 
would have entailed upon him dire disgrace. 

Then the builders cleared out, and were suc- 
ceeded by a band of women who brought large 
bundles of prepared palm strips which they 
wove into smooth, sweet-scented matting, 
forming a pattern by introducing strips of 
different colours. They brought with them 
black babies with unnaturally large eyes, 
who rolled about in a corner, and sucked 
guavas. I used to watch these women, who 
were very young (possibly not above thirteen 
or fourteen), wonder at the dexterity with 
which they used their flexible toes, and 
admire their pretty round arms, which were 
tattooed so completely that they looked as if 
covered with fine lace. The sight of them 



238 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

seemed to make intelligible the words of Goethe, 
when he said, " The painting and tattooing of 
the body is a return to animalism." 

When they vanished, I took possession of my 
pleasant chamber, with its dressing and bath- 
room. It had a large glass door, opening into 
the verandah, a French window, with a low 
seat, and two cottage windows, which gave 
upon the garden. I felt it strange to leap out 
upon the tropical vegetation. Some of the 
great arum leaves, bronzed, or soft as velvet, 
lobed and pointed, were a yard in length ; and 
there was a palmesettia, covered with crimson 
blossoms, through which the fine-pointed green 
leaves were seen. There was also the amaran- 
this, with its superb golden flower, which I had 
only previously seen in store-houses. The 
stephanalis was near, for its sweet perfume was 
wafted into the chamber. Then there were 
large pyramids of the double geranium, and 
ferns, from the Nilgherries, the Cannara jungles, 
and the pathless ghats; and through them I 
could see the waving plantain-trees, and a 
great banyan, with aerial roots, and tall 
Palmyra-trees, backed by light green clouds of 
the sensitive foliage of the tamarind-tree. My 
easy-chair was a place to dream in. The book 
in my lap lay neglected, I could not help fol- 



THE COMPOUND. 239 

lowing the flight of the bright birds and 
glorious butterflies as they glinted by, or 
watching the changing hue of the chameleons 
as they darted about. 

The house stood in about two acres of 
ground — the Compound, as it was called, a 
name so indicative of its various divisions that 
I was tempted to use it, for I was ignorant that 
it was a corruption of the Malay word Kom- 
pany, and imagined it to be one of those Anglo- 
Indian words to which I have a great aversion. 
(Why cannot people, for instance, say luncheon, 
instead of tiffin ?) To the north lay the 
stables, the kitchens, and other offices, the 
poultry houses, the sheds for the milk-giving 
animals, sheltered by trees,and hidden by a build- 
ing erected by G , and a rabbit-house, which 

looked exceedingly like a family mausoleum. 
In the midst of the enclosure rose the old 
arched tomb, where a certain cobra was known 
to keep watch over the bones of Afzool Khan's 
prime minister. 

On one side, near the front of the house, there 
grew a great round-headed ramplul, which 
yielded an immense quantity of fruit, esteemed 
as sacred by the Hindoos. It was large, heart- 
shaped, and netted, and was full of custard, in 
itself a perfect meal, but by no means one 



240 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

which was digestible. This tree was enclosed 
by trellis-work, which was covered by fine 
creepers ; and within the bower were set such 
flowers as loved the shade. On the other side 
was a Badminton ground, where benches and 
seats were arranged ; and there were flower- 
beds and a splendid collection of caladiuras. 
One very tall fir-tree rose near this spot, with 
peculiar foliage, as fine as horse-hair, and round 
its great trunk there clung a night-blowing 
cenus, a long-pointed plant, which climbed 
until it attained the height of sixty feet, and 
then threw out great straggling sprays. 

One day we discovered that these were 
covered with dull yellow buds, which pointed 
upwards ; and when, in the evening, we had 
lights brought under it, never could I have 
imagined so glorious a specimen of the floral 
world. The flowers, above a foot in length, 
had turned over in opening, and hung suspend- 
ed above us in exquisite beauty. We counted 
two hundred and ten of the great star-like 
cups, but no doubt there were many hidden 
by the stems and branches. A long ladder was 
brought, and some half-dozen flowers were cut 
off. Although so large, nothing could exceed 
the delicacy of their texture ; the wax-like 
leaves, white at the tip, were lemon-colour at 



BUFFALOES AND COWS. 241 

the bore_, and the deep fringe of exquisite fine 
petals was of a rich deep golden hue. We had 
been told that, if the flower was deprived, when 
plucked, of its long stem, it would last much 
longer. We did not, however, find that the 
operation made any difference in this respect. 
All faded in a few hours, and lost their sweet 
perfume. The blossom, though much finer, 
bore some resemblance to that of the water-lily. 
In this great rush of vigour, Nature had for this 
season exhausted itself, and we looked in vain 
for succeeding buds. 

The confiding tameness of bird and beast is 
one of the pleasures of Indian life. All the 
butter and the ghi used for cooking was made 
at home. The two great buffaloes, called, from 
the rivers that watered their native plains, 
Krishna and Malparba, came up morning and 
evening to be milked, at the side verandah, into 
shining brass vessels. Their little ones accom- 
panied them — tame things, with budding horns 
and lucid eyes, who were pleased to have their 
heads rubbed, and to follow one about for bits 
of sugar-cane. Buffaloes' milk is very rich, and 
produces the thickest of cream. Then the small 
Deccan cows came up with their calves. With 
the exception of the hump upon the neck, they 
bear a great resemblance to certain Swiss cows. 

VOL. i. r 



242 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

They are black and ash-colour, and very wicked. 
M. eventually got rid of our old friends the 
goats, which required constant attention, as 
they must browse whilst in milk. With one 
exception, the poultry were confined to their 
own quarters. The favoured bird was a turkey 
cock, who had a history, having been singled 
out for his merits to grace the festive board 
upon the anniversary of G and M.'s wed- 
ding-day. On the very eve of the joyous occa- 
sion, however, he sickened with a severe attack 
of small-pox, which was the means of preserving 
his life for many months. He was very fond of 
following me about, but not altogether out of 
friendship. My feathered friend ultimately dis- 
appeared, and I was too prudent to ask any 
questions regarding his absence. The great 
twin brothers had their kennels close to the 
house, and would occasionally steal into it, to 
the vast indignation of Bustle, who would never 
cease barking until, with their tails between 
their legs, and drooping ears, they, for the sake 
of peace, took their departure. 

The human creatures about us formed a mot- 
ley population — Protestant and Roman Catholic, 
Mahomedan and Hindoo. In consequence of 
the sub-division of labour in an Indian estab- 
lishment, wages are the greatest item of ex- 



NATIVE CONVERSATION. 243 

pense. On the first of every month quite a 
crowd flocked up to the office to receive their 

money, on which occasions G had never 

less than thirty-three pounds to disburse, and 
often above that sum. These people were highly 
and regularly paid; they were well cared for 
when sick ; their wages were never cut (a com- 
mon and convenient way of punishing domestic 
offences) ; but they were kept up to their work, 
and no sauntering about, or peeping round cor- 
ners, was allowed. Many of them had followed 
their master from Sattara, and there was seldom 
a change. The children had an English nurse 
— a dear old woman, whose one standing griev- 
ance was the difficulty of renewing the poke 
bonnet of her youth, which she insisted upon 
retaining. She had an ayah under her, who 
spoke our language, and was strictly enjoined 
to teach no word of Mahratta to her charges, 
and not to be eternally petting them, and pick- 
ing up their toys. 

The conversation of the most respectable 
natives is very impure, and though children at 
the time may not understand what is said, the 
meaning of a coarse speech often dawns upon 
them when they are older. The second rule 

was laid down because M. and Gr desired 

their children to be thorough English children, 

R2 



244 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

and disliked the half-Indianized, fretful little 
beings so often to be met with. It is not un- 
common to see two native women and a man 
anticipating every whim of some querulous 
little thing, who would have considered it a 
hardship if required to lift up her own doll 
from the floor. I have seen an ayah and three 
Sepoy orderlies engaged about a couple of little 
children, the soldiers even assisting in tubbing 
them. Our ayah, though possibly not more 
than five-and-thirty, was so stiff and shrivelled 
that she had an air of positive old age ; she was 
very small, and very black, and as she sat in 
her low chair, or on the ground, with her skinny 
arms round the fair child, she looked exactly 
like a monkey wrapped up in white muslin. 
She wore mysterious pockets and leather bags 
under her external garment, and was the slyest 
of old women. She used to steal out in the 
grey of the morning, and drawing a long bam- 
boo from its place of concealment in the hedge, 
she would knock down the ripest mangoes and 
guavas, conceal them about her person, and 
creep back again, quite unconscious of the 
amusement whieh I had derived from watching 
her stealthy movements. 

The butler, a young man, with a face like a 
bronze lion, was a Portuguese — at least, he came 



THE BUTLER. 245 

from the Portuguese settlement of Goa, which 
sends forth numbers of servants, who are 
necessary, for a Hindoo would not place beef 
upon the table. He had a young wife in the 
compound, and when any particular ceremony 
took place in the Goanese chapel, she used to 

steal G 's flowers, I was going to say to his 

smutterable indignation, but I recall the first 
part of the word. 

In India, a butler is a very important person- 
age (in G 's household only such duties 

devolved upon him as would have been his 
business in England), but he is not to be envied. 
He represents all the other domestics, and is 
scolded for their faults and omissions ; he orders 
the dinner, he gets in the stores, and sees that 
the babies and the horses are properly fed. It 
often happens that the master is tired, or lazy, 
and that the mistress speaks no word of Hin- 
dustani ; the weather is hot, and they are both 
thankful to have a deputy who keeps the hetero- 
geneous household together. Our second man was 
a Mahomedan, and a respectable one, although 
he did not object to our eating ham with turkey. 
Our housemaid, as we called him, was a mild 

Hindoo, a favourite with G and myself, but 

not so with M., who declared that he was capa- 
ble of pulling an iron bar in two. It is astonish- 



246 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

ing what this race can do with their subtle, 
gristly fingers. He had a woman under him 
whom we never saw. He was a man of good 
caste, and to touch anything in the bath-rooms 
might have cost him a trip to the Ganges. 

G 's waiter was Portuguese, his puttah- 

wallee a Mahomedan. Like all his race, he was 
sharp, active, and hard, but tolerably trustworthy. 
He had charge of the office, wore a long coat, 
with a band crossing over one shoulder, which 
was fastened on one side by a metal badge, on 
which was engraved his master's names, &c. 
It is the puttah-wallee's duty, if required, to 
accompany the children and nurses when they 
walk or drive, but that was not permitted in 
this model household. Had I submitted 
to it, he would have followed me in my 
walks, and carried my books to and from 
the library. If there] was a party, it was 
he who ushered in the guests, and on such 
occasions, to the great amusement of M. and 
myself, he arrayed himself in a straight garment 
which came down to his heels, and was made 
of brocaded pink satin. His smart red turban 
served him as a pocket, and in its folds he 
carried all notes confided to his care. Like all 
the other servants, he never entered the house 
save with naked feet (the nails, both of the 



G 'S HOUSEHOLD. 247 

hands and feet of the natives, are carefully- 
tended by professional persons, who know also 
something of surgery, and there are female bar- 
bers for the women), but out of doors he wore 
sandals worked with gold, which might have 
excited the envy of an ancient Roman. We had 
two derseis, or tailors, who sat in the verandah, 
made our dresses, brushed them, put them away, 
and ironed all our muslins. They were very 
nice quiet men — Hindoos — with the dreadful 
eye between perpendicular lines upon their fore- 
heads. 

Of course the cook was a very important 
person, and as beef and bacon were again a 
consideration, a Portuguese reigned over the 
department. As usual, this functionary had a 
mate under him, and as M. could harangue him 
both in the tongue of the country and in 
Spanish, which did duty for Portuguese, they 
got on very well. It is astonishing what these 
men can do with small means. M. insisted upon 
the use of a dresser and rolling-pin, but paste 
in general is made upon a board placed on the 
floor, and smoothed out with a bottle. On one 
occasion a ball-supper was in preparation, and 
M. thought that some pies in cones would look 
very well, but how to ornament them was the 
question. The babbajee pondered till a bright 



248 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

idea struck him, and he looked up with a 
radiant face ; he could mould the designs, and, 
if Madam would only lend him her paints and 
brushes, he could manage to perfection. 

The malee, or head gardener, was a strange- 
looking man, with a thing like a cap of liberty 
on his head, a splendid silver waist chain, 
several earrings, a necklace, and a relic box, 
that is to say, a box containing the emblem of 
his sect. The greater part of his ill-shaped 
head was shaved, but down the centre a straight 
narrow line of hair was allowed to grow, ending 
in a circular patch, by way of representing the 
dreadful eye, and his would-be whiskers were 
trimmed into patterns. Hindoos bestow the 
utmost care upon their hair, which is exceed- 
ingly luxuriant, and their barbers trim it and 
arrange it in all sorts of fanciful fashions. 

G had two orderlies, one of whom was 

from a native regiment, who sometimes had 
their shining tresses braided into innumerable 
plaits, and folded up at the back of their heads. 
I wish that I could have sketched our dobies 
(washermen), father and son, both such hand- 
some, stately-looking men. This occupation is 
peculiar to people of good caste. The beestie, 
with his great cream-coloured bullock (its hump 
wreathed with flowers on festival days), was 
a picturesque object. 



AN UNPREPOSSESSING INDIVIDUAL. 249 

There was one man in the establishment to 
whom I had the utmost aversion, for he was 
cruel to his cattle. He had in his charge a little 
buffalo, who had been given to me as a pet. 
The poor thing used to yearn for the green 
grass, which was almost under his nose, and 
which it might have had with very little trou- 
ble ; but it was only by resorting to bribery that 
I could obtain for it proper attention and a little 
indulgence. This man would sometimes point 
out to me wounds which had been inflicted upon 
him by his animals. I felt myself obliged 
to look commiserative, as I wished to con- 
ciliate him ; bat I used to think to myself 
that 1 was very glad that he was hurt. The 
appearance of this individual was most remark- 
able ; he had large nostrils, but scarcely any 
nose ; his hard, bright eyes were perfectly 
round, and he wriggled his lithe body about 
when he walked. I do think that this man 
must have been a snake in some former state 
of existence, and this reptile had a kind of 
sympathy for him. The bite even of a cobra, he 
declared, he found to produce no ill effects. It 
is certain that he caught several in our com- 
pound, and that Gr ■ saw one of them (not a 

cobra) produce blood by its bite. He was 
alarmed, but the uncanny creature laughed, 



250 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

and went on his way unharmed, and apparently 
unconcerned. We always called him "the 
missing link/' 

The domestics were occasionally very trouble- 
some in asking for holidays, and that under such 
plausible pretexts that it was difficult to say no. 
One man would desire a few days in which to 
marry his daughter and feast his friends; 
another would announce that his father, or some 
other near relative, was dead and that he must 

attend to the funeral ceremonies. When G 

was from home, the death-rate increased to an 
alarming extent, and at last became so seriously 
inconvenient that we had to assemble the 
household, and announce that none of their re- 
lations were either to marry or to die until 
their master returned. Our friend the brigadier 
told us that he had set up a register of such 
events, and that upon his butler's saying that 
he must go and bury his father, he pointed out 
to the man that the relative in question had 
departed this life seven months previously. 
The butler never attempted to argue the point, 
but grinned, and appeared to be pleased rather 
than otherwise that the event should have been 
recorded. 

In general, the trying part of an Indian 
establishment is its want of privacy, for there 



CURIOSITY OF HINDOO SERVANTS. 251 

are very few houses in which the servants are 
not all over the place. If there happen to be 
visitors, they cross through the rooms on the 
slightest pretence, merely to look at them. 
Perhaps the dersei will take the opportunity of 
bringing in some torn garment, having all of a 
sudden grown most conscientious as to the 
manner it which it is to be mended. The doors- 
and windows being of necessity open, there are 
eyes and heads everywhere, if allowed, but not 
a sound indicates the presence of their owners, 
who steal round the corners with naked, noise- 
less feet, their garments never rustling. Natives 
are very curious, and dearly love to gossip 
when their masters are out, gathering together 
in the roads, and discussing the affairs of the 
family over the garden hedge. Great mischief 
has arisen from this custom, and from the habit 
which some ladies, who would scorn to do so at 
home, have of talking to their ayahs, who, in 
such cases, collect all the personal gossip they 
can, and, of course, colour it highly; but ayahs 
are rapidly going out of fashion, and ladies, if 
possible, secure European attendants in thsir 
houses and about their persons. Still the 
native servants, more especially the Hindoos, 
have very good points. During a great afflic- 
tion with which God, for some inscrutable good 



252 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

purpose, was pleased to visit us, they showed 
their sorrow and sympathy in a most simple and 
unobtrusive manner. 

1 cannot help saying a few words respecting 
those servants that called themselves Christians. 
It may seem to be a startling assertion, but it 
was a fact : they were a most unprincipled set 
of people, for they were hypocrites, who pro- 
fessed any religion to serve a purpose. The 
missionaries declare that this class work infinite 
mischief, for they mislead many of the English 
with whom they come in contact, by inducing 
the unreflecting to believe " that the heathen, 
when converted, only make bad Christians, and 
are better left alone." Such is the speech in many 
a mouth. Respecting the best means of win- 
ning over the Hindoo race to true Christianity, 
people differ greatly. I do not presume to offer 
an opinion upon so momentous a subject — in- 
deed, I am not sure that I have one (how lightly 
people talk of their opinions !) ; but to my mind 
the following lines, written by one who was 
competent to judge, are very significant : — 

" It cannot be doubted that the endeavour 
to diffuse Christianity amongst the higher 
classes of the natives is one of very great im- 
portance, for the institution of caste gives the 
higher classes greater influence in India than in 



INFLUENCE OF HIGH- CLASS SCHOOLS. 25a 

any other country ; but it was found that they 
could not be reached by any of the agencies 
formerly at work, and up to the present time it 
is only by means of an English education of so 
high an order as to prove an attraction to them, 
that those classes have, in any degree, been 
brought within the range of Christian influences. 
The number of persons actually converted to 
Christianity from year to year, by means of 
these schools, has never been considerable, and 
seems smaller of late years than ever. On the 
other hand, the converts of this system, though 
few in number, belong to an influential class ; 
and it is an interesting circumstance that, 
through their influence and example, Christian- 
ity has spread, in some degree, amongst 
persons belonging to the same class who have 
never been at mission schools at all, or who 
have attended schools from which Christianity 
has been carefully excluded. The good effected 
by these schools cannot be safely estimated by 
the number of conversions that has actually 
taken place in connection with them, for it is 
universally acknowledged that they have done 
much good incidentally. Many Hindoos, who 
still adhere to their ancestral faith, value these 
schools highly on account of the high moral 
tone by which they are pervaded. It is chiefly 



254 jUY FEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

owing to the influence of these schools that we 
see amongst the Hindoos such a spirit of inquiry, 
and the germs, at least, of so many moral and 
social reforms." 

To a Hindoo the most attractive form of 
Christian religion is that of the Roman Catholic 
Church; but, strange to say, the missionaries sent 
to India occupy themselves very little with the 
conversion of the heathen ; they rather seek to 
make proselytes from other Christian communi- 
ties. Our ayah was one of their converts. I 
used to wonder what her ideas upon the subject 
could really be, for, from all I could gather, they 
appeared to be most cloudy, and certainly, if 
she had any religious convictions, she did not 
bring them to bear upon her moral conduct, 
and I have observed that Christianized ayahs, 
in general, fall back upon caste if they have any 
task allotted to them which they are unwilling 
to perform. But is it surprising that such 
should be the case 1 This woman had inherited 
the fatal legacy of a hundred generations of 
heathenism, had to rid herself of the evil ten- 
dencies handed down to her, to forget the gross 
converse of her youth before she could become 
a Christian at heart. The Lenana Mission is 
widely spread, and is supposed to produce good 



EXPENSES OF THE TABLE. 255 

fruit, but it has many stumbling-blocks to en- 
counter, one of which is the aversion which the 
native lady has to the idea of learning to read ; 
her narrow mind associating learning, in a 
female, with vice, for the only Indian women 
hitherto so instructed were the dancing girls 
belonging to the temples. Moreover, the 
generality of Hindoo men are against the 
movement. A highly enlightened native said 
to me, " Before our women and girls are edu- 
cated, we must have a new literature." 

The ordinary expenses of the table were 
moderate, as we had abundance of cream and 
vegetables of our own. Mutton was but three 
halfpence the pound. Nothing could look more 
delicate than the joints, but it was necessary to 
use the meat whilst unpleasantly fresh, and it 
had a strong, oily, woolly flavour to which I 
never became reconciled. M. entered into a 
speculation with regard to mutton, which ought 
to have enriched the family, but it was a failure. 
She bought a small flock of sheep, and took base 

advantage of a meadow which G had hired 

for the cows and buffaloes. Though they were 
full-grown, these sheep did not cost more than 
fourteen shillings the half-dozen. Beef was 
plentiful and tolerably good, and was the same 
price as mutton, but there is a prejudice against 



256 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

the flesh of this animal, which is said to induce 
certain maladies of a painful nature. It is 
generally buffalo beef, and these animals, being 
very impure feeders, are often fed upon stable 
refuse, and for the same reason the milk and 
ghi sold in the bazaars are often unwholesome. 
Occasionally, however, a fine one would arrive 
from Bijipur or Gokak, and then a notice, word- 
ed in the most peculiar manner, was sent round. 

G generally managed, amongst other parts, 

to secure the hump, which is excellent, if care- 
fully salted ; when near its end, it grates like 
hung beef, but when it first comes to table it looks 
like a great red cloven foot. Veal was good, 
but not common, and fresh pork we never saw. 
The poultry, a little tough in consequence of its 
freshness, was otherwise good, being fattened 
at home. It was reared in the Portuguese ter- 
ritory, and brought from thence in great round 
baskets, balanced upon the heads of wild dark 
men. The birds were verv tame, and whilst 
their masters and the butler were striking their 
bargains they were let out to take a walk and pick 
up what they could. If not bought, they were 
guided back to their cages by a twig with a 
bunch of leaves at the end. I came to look upon 
Goa as a land flowing with milk and honey ; all 
the best mangoes come from thence, as well as 



FISH AND GAME. • 257 



oranges and other fruits. From thence G- 






used to get up casks of excellent pure wine, 
which entered Goa from the mother country, free 
of duty, but a heavy tax had to be paid at the 
British frontier. Still the wine, which was rich 
and rather strong, cost him less than a shilling a 
bottle. The Branco was made from the white 
grape, and somewhat resembled good raisin 
wine ; the Tinto was a kind of port, a little 
rough, but well-flavoured. Coarse lace, made 
very effectively by hand, was also brought from 
the same quarter. Some people had it dyed to 
match the colour of their dresses. Occasion- 
ally game was brought round — snipe, wild 
duck, teal, a kind of bustard, partridges, &c, 
with painted plumage, but their flesh was re- 
markably hard and white. A fine hare could 
be bought for a shilling. At certain seasons the 
fresh-water fish made a pleasant addition to 
the table. The marsal, which somewhat re- 
sembles a pike, is much esteemed. There were 
eels in abundance ; and a certain fry, which, 
when sent up with slices of brown bread and 
butter, deluded people into the idea that they 
were eating whitebait. Prawns, which were 
plentiful, were generally served up on toast, 
without which no Anglo-Indian dinner is con- 
sidered complete. The green chilli makes an 
VOL. I. S 



258 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

excellent toast ; when young it is not so hot, 
and the flavour is most refreshing. Oysters 
would occasionally arrive all alive, but not good 
enough to be served up uncooked, having lost 
a good deal of their sea flavour from being 
kept artificially on their journey from the 
Malabar Coast. 

People differed much in their appreciation of 
tinned provisions. With some exceptions, such 
as salmon and bacons and hams, which they'got 
out whole from Aberdeen, they had a prejudice 
against them, considering them to be neither good 
nor wholesome. A good cook will send up an ex- 
cellent dinner with little recourse to their aid. 
The great expense at a dinner-party is the 
champagne, which flows in abundance, many 
touching no other kind of wine ; and at the 
messes it is now handed round at dessert. 
Our vegetable garden was so productive that 
we very seldom availed ourselves of those at- 
tached to the station, which, however, to many 
people are a great boon. We had all sorts of 
salads and ordinary vegetables grown from 
English seed, which must be renewed each 
season, as it deteriorates. The exotic sorts 
were sweet potatoes, a variety of marrowy 
guavas and pulpy productions, green sugar-cane, 
very young, which is cooked in various 



FRUIT. 259 

fashions, and the spike of the maze when 
tender. This is a favourite dish, but it is only- 
presented en famille, as it has to be gnawed. 
What is called the thirty days' rice, grown 
during the rains, is nice, and much given to in- 
valids. Fruit, to the European, is a great 
Indian luxury, and very wholesome, some half 
living upon it. Many varieties are of a very 
substantial nature, for in this latitude it was 
evidently intended to be the staple food of the 
inhabitants. Its cultivation, however, is some- 
what neglected in this part of the Deccan, as 
there is not now sufficient demand for the finest 
sorts. When communication with other parts 
of the country was slow the case was different. 
Many people remember our compound a 
luxuriant grove of orange and lime-trees ; but a 
solitary specimen alone remains now, and that 
is strangled and hidden away by a great 
creeper. Doubtless the fruit of the mango 
stands first. If uncultivated, the tree spreads 
into a forest, with far-stretching branches and 
noble foliage ; by cultivation it is dwarfed. It 
bears an endless quantity of fruit, and is most 
luxuriant near the sea. In its early stage the 
fruit resembles a large unripe plum, and is sus- 
pended from the parent in branches, each on its 
long green thread. It gradually assumes an 

s2 



260 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

oval, flattish, and not very symmetrical form, 
and becomes golden yellow, green with a flush, 
of red, or russet, according to its variety. Some 
of them taste so strongly of turpentine as scarcely 
to be eatable. One sort, which is rare, resembles 
an apricot, and is only served in perfection by 
the native princes, who moisten the roots with 
libations of fresh camel's milk. It cannot be 

bought, but G< , who has often eaten it, 

pronounces it to be delicious. Mangoes are 
grafted by the arching-iu process, and in this 
country two devices are practised in order to 
render it, or other large trees, graceful. One 
consists in punching out here and there on the 
stem pieces of bark ; the other in driving a large 
nail into the stem of the tree where the 
branches fork out. This, it is supposed, pre- 
vents the sap from descending, and concentrates 
it in the fruit-bearing branches. In some 
respects this fruit is inconvenient. It is said to 
tinge people yellow ; its juice stains the hands, 
and woe be to your dress if the slippery stone 
falls upon it. The tree was introduced into 
the West Indies by Sir Joseph Banks, but has 
never attained such perfection there as in India. 
It was a pretty sight to see the great baskets 
of fruit uncovered in the verandah — the large 
golden pines (principally from Goa) were much 



PLANTAINS. 261 

superior to those produced in the West Indies, 
and very nearly as good as our English hot- 
house productions. We had some in the gar- 
den, but there was scarcely any motive for 
growing them, as in the season we could get 
three for a shilling. Sometimes we bought 
plantains, but at others the great konds ripened 
so rapidly that we had to give them away. 
The long, narrow, green leaf, as it waves 
about, is very beautiful ; they are often 
cut into shapes, and serve to convey cer- 
tain articles in place of paper. There were 
numberless varieties of this fruit, but none of 
them, to our mind, so delicious as those we had 
eaten in North Africa. It was curious to watch 
the purple glow unfold. I have seen leaves a 
foot and a half long. Concealed under each 
leaf is a fringe of yellow threads, which force 
the covering off, and swell into the fruit. 
Sometimes there were great round pomelos, 
ornamented like the great globes hung sus- 
pended from the tree. The perfume of the 
blossom is delicious in the open air. They are 
not, in my opinion, good to eat, but I need not 
dwell upon their excellence when made into 
sherbet — that is a matter of history. The 
small-netted carland apple is both good and 
pretty. 



262 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

One day a fresh fruit was brought for me to 
try — a fruit about which there can be no 
middle opinion, for it is either liked or disliked 
exceedingly. When the great spongy rind is 
cut open, it presents to view a number of raw- 
looking bags, the colour of uncooked veal. 
This is eaten in various ways, and is so glutin- 
ous that if mixed with sugar and put into a 
mould it will turn out in a shape. The large 
nut which each bag contains is, when roasted, 
said to be very like the chestnut. 

We were fortunate enough to have a number 
of guava-trees, much esteemed not only for 
their fruit, but for their foliage, which is always 
green. Children are very fond of the raw fruit, 
but I must confess to liking it best when 
stewed. The soft furry rind alone is used 
when thus prepared, but when jelly and port 
are made, the seed which fills the interior like 
that of a fig is also employed. Stewed citron 
is very nice ; and the shrub with its glossy, 
myrtle-like leaves is highly ornamental. 

Some like the loquat, the fruit of which 
grows in clusters, and look like little yellow 
pears. What pulp it contains has a pleasant, 
sharp flavour, but the large and numerous 
stones are a drawback to its merits. The tree 
bears a beautiful blossom, and the foliage is 



CAPE GOOSEBERRY. 263 

fine. We had pomegranates, valuable for the 
beauty of the flower ; but the fruit is poor in, 
Western India, unless the tree, like ours, be 
•well irrigated. It seems scarcely our sister- 
tree, which bears the enormous ruddy brown 
heads, bursting with the richness of their ruby 

contents, which G brought from Sind. We 

had an ornamental culinary plant, called the 
roselle. The part made use of is the husk of 
the berry, which contains the seeds — it makes 
the most delicious tarts, and a jelly finer in 
colour than currant jelly, for which it makes an 
admirable substitute. 

Some deluded people, G included, were 

proud of their strawberries, but I never saw any 
in Belgaum that were worth eating. We had, 
however, a profusion of the so-called raspberry, 
a large downy bramble from the Nilgherries, 
which bore a fruit like a hoary blackberry, but 
red inside, and with very little flavour. The 
Cape gooseberry, or Peruvian cherry, the fruit 
of which makes an excellent preserve, is worth 
mentioning. Its bright yellow ball is concealed 
by angular leaves, and has a pleasant acid 
flavour. Of course I can only make mention of 
some of the good things with which our table 
was supplied, but I think that I have mentioned 
such a variety as to show that we did not starve 
in Western India. 



264 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

Gr spared neither expense, time, nor per- 
sonal labour upon his garden, and it was far 
the finest in Belgaura. During the dry season 
a number of hands were required morning and 
evening to water the plants in pots and tubs, 
which could not be irrigated. There were 
many beautiful creepers, trained upon trellises 
and frames of bamboo. I think that the bright 
pink sprays of the antigonon stood first. The 
leafy plants grew with the greatest luxuriance, 
and some of them were rare specimens. There 
were above five-and-twenty varieties of the 
caladium. The show of roses was almost as 
good as in a garden at home ; the plants were 
sent over in tin cases by the best English 
growers. The vegetable growth was prodigi- 
ously quick, and required constant pruning and 
renewal of soil. I have seen a rose in bloom 
which had only budded three weeks previously. 

Among the annuals the balsams attained the 
greatest perfection ; the blossoms of the pink 
and white variety were as large as those of the 
variegated camellia. The balsam grows wild 
all over the country, but the exotic seed only 
answers for one season ; planted a second time, 
you have the simple flower, which grows wild. 
It is the same with the chrysanthemum, which 
is also indigenous. The latter is ornamental 



THE MOON-PLANT. 265 

even if carelessly cultivated, coming out in a 
profusion of small yellow blossoms. It was 
odd to see it blossom by the side of what in 
England would be called Summer plants. 

A delicate, sensitive plant, which grew along 
the ground, was one of my favourites. The 
delicate leaves were of a fine green, but if 
swept over by the hand their beauty vanished, 
and a few dry sticks were alone visible. In 
this country Nature appears to delight in con- 
trasting her colours ; the tall bright yellow 
acacia, overtopped the gorgeous crimson poin- 
settia and clouds of pure blue convolvuli, grew 
by its side. It was a treat to open the windows 
in the fresh early morning, and look upon the 
hundreds of azure eyes which were drinking in 
the colour of the sky. Sometimes at night, 
when the very air seemed aglow, I used to step 
out to see the pure white moon-flower ; the 
blossom was at least eight inches across, and 
emitted a delightful perfume. It is a kind of 
convolvulus. The juice of the moon-plant is 
mentioned in ancient Hindoo poetry as fit for 
the sustenance of hermits. Gardening in India 
is a great and very wholesome pleasure. 



266 



CHAPTER XIL 

Difficulties of Driving — Red Dust — Venerable Groves — 
Temples and Dharam Solas— The Dheer's Well— The 
Edgar — Churches and Chapels — Refuges for Lepers — 
The Jack-tree — Jungle Creepers — Drives about the 
Camp — Uses of the Acacia-tree — The Commissariat 
Lines — Intelligent Elephants — Cultivation of Cotton 
— Camping Parties — Fashionable Resort — Scene at 
the Band Stand — Dogs Military and Civilian — Jam- 
bottee 

UNTIL I got accustomed to the constant 
turmoil which went on, I found driving 
very fatiguing. To begin with, there was either 
the insufficiently protected viaduct over the 
fosse to be crossed, or we had to face the dark 
way, the light in Durga's shrine, the sharp turns 
of the main guard, and the earthworks. Then 
the roads, although remarkably good, were 
constantly blocked by herds of cattle going to 
and fro to water, bullock-carts, tumbrils, and 
waggons laden with cotton. As for the natives, 
they appeared desirous of being run over, or at 
least to consider that it was not their duty to 



ARAB HORSES. 267 

avoid an accident. It was the duty of the 
Gora-wallers to clear the way — black, keen- 
sighted men, who even in the dark could dis- 
tinguish small objects. (In consequence of their 
perfect vision, Sepoys beat the English soldiers 
in firing at long range.) They were as active 
as monkeys, and were continually jumping up 
and down, shouting, running beside the horses, 
or waving white dusters, which I came to 
understand meant rocks ahead. 

Fortunately, Arab horses are very courageous- 
and steady ; not even the fierce lightning, the 
glow of the blacksmith's or the baker's ovens, 
the flaming piles which on festive occasions are 
set by the roadside, or the torchlight processions 
accompanied by the shrieks and groans of bar- 
baric music, daunting them. But in India 
horses get accustomed to the vicinity of flames, 
for every evening a heap of brushwood is 
kindled in their stables, in order to destroy 
inosquitos and other flies. 

Belgaum is situated upon ferruginous clay 
stone, and no one who arrives there in the hot 
weather, before the rains, can fail to be aston- 
ished at the red hue which pervades the land- 
scape. The top soil is completely pulverized, 
and everything — hedges and trees, roads, and 
houses — is covered with it ; and when lit up 



2 08 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

by the glowing rays of a setting sun, the effect 
produced is quite weird-like. This red dust is 
destructive to wearing apparel. 

Two roads led to the camp and downs, which 
were above two miles from the fort. One or 
the other was generally our destination. If we 
passed out by the smaller gate we crossed a 
charming piece of broken ground, dotted over 
with groups of palms, and solitary trees of pro- 
digious growth. There was, for instance, the 
mango, so like the Spanish chestnut, the banyan, 
and others of the fig tribe, but most beautiful 
of all were the great trembling clumps of bam- 
boo, vestiges of the thick jungle from which the 
place takes its name, Belgaum signifying Bam- 
boo Town. These canes are so hard that they 
can with difficulty be cut, and some of them 
contain so much silica that upon striking them 
with a steel sparks are produced. They serve 
a hundred purposes, amongst others those of 
physic-bottles and pens, and replace the whale- 
bone used in ladies' dresses. Beyond the town 
the plains are upon a larger scale. The single 
trees were replaced by venerable groves, with 
gnarled and far-stretching branches, which the 
the natives call topes. Sometimes their boles 
are hollow, or curiously twisted and distorted. 
In their solemn shade rose Hindoo temples and 



THE dheer's well. 269 

altars, Mahomedan mosques, and here and there 
a Dharam Sala (Dharam is a Sanskrit word of 
many meanings, in this instance signifying hall). 
These places of refuge are open to travellers of 
every rank and creed, who have nothing to do 
but to mount the wide steps, throw down their 
few possessions under the groined corridor, or 
seek the deeper gloom of the Sala. Some of 
them are handsome buildings, either erected by 
the neighbouring townspeople, or built by pri- 
vate individuals, who thus endeavour to work 
out their salvation in another state of existence 
into which they are to be introduced by a new 
birth. There is always a well near at hand, 
often a tank, and sometimes they are very 
picturesque objects. In Indian romances the 
Dharam Sala is the theatre of all sorts of strange 
events and queer encounters, and when I looked 
upon the different groups of people I used to 
wonder if they too had pathetic tales to tell, or 
stirring events to recount. In unfrequented 
places the Dharam Sala is a mere mud hut. 

Before the camp is reached we pass the 
Dheer's well, which, although now dry, is care- 
fully preserved as a relic of ancient times, when 
the present town of Belgaum was not. It is to 
this spot that the secret passage from the fort 
is said to lead — why, no one can tell. Behind it 



270 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

•were some comfortable bungalows, with hand- 
some gardens, shaded by some trees. To the 
right rose the Edgar, where on certain days the 
Mahomedans worship ; and then the large Pro- 
testant church. The latter is built of brick, 
and not badly designed, but, alas ! its founda- 
tions are imperfect. Yet it is quite a new build- 
ing, and cost a vast sum of money. A Scotch 
church, a small establishment of teaching sisters, 
and two Roman Catholic chapels, cluster to- 
gether in amity, the latter being a branch from 
the establishment at Bombay, and the officiating 
priests, who are English gentlemen, exceedingly 
painstaking. 

At a short distance from the town, in an ob- 
scure spot, good men have established a small 
refuge for lepers, in which the unfortunate 
creatures, who have generally very large appe- 
tites, are fed, cleansed, and taught a little. 
Such institutions are now springing up in many 
towns, but it is not long since many of these 
miserable beings were secretly burnt, and even 
buried alive by their fellow-men, and even now 
numbers of these pariahs drag their weary limbs 
to some sacred stream, the Ganges, if possible, 
and drown themselves, fully persuaded that by 
so doing they ensure themselves a healthy body 
in the next sphere of existence. At some dis- 



AN INDIAN ST. JOHN'S WOOD. 271 

tance there was another Roman Catholic edifice, 
under the sway of the Archbishop of Goa, the 
priests of which were very jealous of their 
English brethren. We were told by our Portu- 
guese servants that it would be considered an 
offence on their parts if they held any communi- 
cation with the English Roman Catholic clergy. 

The camp is backed by long lines of magnifi- 
cent barracks, a region of bungalows and mess- 
rooms — a kind of Indian St. John's Wood, a 
labyrinth of fine broad red roads, beautiful gar- 
dens, and green compounds, to scarcely one of 
which the entrance was not guarded by a fine 
pair of curiously carved Jain pillars — alas ! 
whitewashed — which had stood for centuries 
side by side in some sacred temple, until it had 
been despoiled by the iconoclast Mahomedans. 
These bungalows are the property of private 
individuals, but are subject to certain regula- 
tions, being under the authority of military 
rule, and no civilian can set up his household 
gods in one of them, if it is required for an officer. 
When a new regiment arrives great are the 
heart-burnings, and the frequent changes always 
reminded me of a game at u My ladies' toilette." 

Some of the steep roads about this region 
were shaded by beautiful timber-trees, which 
frequently met overhead. At certain seasons 



272 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

their beauty was enhanced by the parasites which 
cling to them, among which were many orchids. 
The vegetation is somewhat different from 
that in the fort. The wood of the useful teak, 
which here spreads its great leaves, is as dur- 
able as that of oak, which it resembles in grain, 
but the colour is much paler. It bears a re- 
markable blossom, the flowers growing in long 
spikes, and giving a grey hue to the tree. There 
was also the jack-tree, most valuable for its 
hard wood, which attains a great height, and 
roots itself firmly in the earth, with the evident 
intention of standing for centuries. The fruit 
grows upon stout foot-stalks, and projects from 
the trunk and thickest branches. Oddly 
enough, the position of the fruit varies with the 
age of the tree, being borne first on the 
branches, then on the trunk, and in old trees 
on the roots. When the latter is the case, the 
fruit bursts through the earth and discloses 
itself, and is considered to possess superior 
flavour. When half grown, the fruit sus- 
pended from the branches is of a ruddy brown, 
and at a little distance resemble foxes' brushes. 
When full-grown, the coarse rind becomes 
green. An average-sized jack fruit weighs 
forty pounds. There were many splendid 
jungle creepers, slightly coarse in substance, if 



DRIVES ABOUT THE CAMP. 273 

examined, but remarkable for their vigour and 
glorious colour, such as the trumpet-creeper, 
an orange red ; one with a beautiful lilac flower, 
the name of which I never learnt ; and the more 
delicate red purple bougainville, more leafy, 
however, and not so vivid in hue as in Algeria, 
where the climate appears to suit it better. 

The drives about the camp were charming ; 
we gave home names to the bits of blue country, 
which, framed at the end of long avenues, 
looked so far away. There was the hill of 
Jellergur, rising all solitary from the plain, like 
the lone Soracte — that was our Italian view. 
To the east was disclosed a blue ridge of hill, 
with rich, far-stretching woods at its feet — Mal- 
vern from the Ledbury Hills ; and, turning to 
the west, the rising forest and the purple peaks 
made us sigh for the old halls of our kinsfolk. - 

With all its beauty and fresh breezes, a resi- 
dence in the camp has some drawbacks, particu- 
larly in being exposed to the utmost fury of 
the monsoon, and because the houses, built when 
Belgaum did not belong to the Bombay Presi- 
dency, are all turned the wrong way, as far as 
the weather is concerned, in order to suit the 
Madras monsoon. Worst of all, there is a 
deficiency of water. Many compounds have no 
wells, and when water has to be fetched, adieu 

VOL. I. T 



274 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

to all idea of a really good garden, unless much 
money is spent upon it. 

The broad road which led from the main gate, 
after passing the tank, crossed the moor. Look- 
ing back, a fine view of the fort, with its massive 
outworks, gates, and ruined towers, was ob- 
tained, along with jungle-clad hills to the east, 
famous for panthers. There were hedges of 
aloe, not the fine large aloe, or striped or blue 
tinged, so handsome in many countries, but the 
sharp, prickly plant known by the name of 
Adam's Needle; and there were numberless 
varieties of the acacia, some of them with 
spikes of white flowers, others yellow, one a 
small-leafed tree, bearing bunches of gold, like 
buttercups. The most remarkable variety was 
a tree which bore clusters of a cream-coloured 
vellum-like substance, shaped like great claws. 
Another kind, which was very insignificant in 
appearance, was very fragrant. Many of these 
acacias go to sleep so early that at first I 
imagined that they were dying for want of water, 
so shrivelled did they look ; but on passing them 
next morning, they were as fresh and green as 
possible. All the acacia tribe yield gum, and the 
wood being very hard, it is used for carts, and 
for the primitive plough of the country. Shaped 
into the necessary form by the hand of Nature, 



THE COMMISSARIAT LINES. 275 

man has but to cut down a stout branch which 
has an angular crook, fasten it behind his 
bullock, and guide it across the field, so that it 
rips open the earth. The great pods, which 
render the acacia ugly when it has dropped its 
leaves, and tend to destroy the beautiful effect 
of the fresh foliage, are very useful to the 
country people, whose skeleton cattle greedily 
devour them when they can obtain no fresh 
food. 

The commissariat lines were soon reached. 
Sometimes when driving alone, I got out to 
look at the animals. A few horses, but many 
mules, are employed ; handsome creatures rang- 
ed together in open sheds. There were rows 
of patient bullocks of the Brahman type, 
some of them of a beautiful cream colour, with 
glossy skins and very large, handsomely-formed 
horns, which in these animals are considered a 
great point. They came from the north of 
India, and were worth, at least, sixty guineas a 
couple. Then there were camels, very pic- 
turesque to look at, but as peevish and perverse 
as these creatures are all the world over. I have, 
in the Sahara, seen camels whom their owners 
have, for the time being, been obliged to aban- 
don, in consequence of their determination not 
to move on. When this occurs, and it is fre- 

T2 



276 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

quently the case, some indications of the tribe 
to whom they belong is affixed to them, and if 
found alive by another tribe, even if enemies, 
they are bound to succour them and forward the 
animals to their masters. Such is the etiquette 
of the desert. 

Of course, the elephants were the most interest- 
ing. One old fellow with great tusks, clamped 
round with iron rings, was known all over the 
country. On one occasion, the Commander-in- 
chief came, bringing with him an addition of 
twelve large animals, which were all tethered in 
an open yard. Most sagaciously did they 
twinkle their cold, grey eyes, but woe to 
anyone who touched their cakes or sugar-cane. 
One of these very elephants had killed his 
driver because the man had cheated him of a 
couple of cakes, of which they get a certain 
number each day. These elephants, so exact- 
ing as to what is their due, will not take more 
than they consider themselves entitled to. The 
cakes that remained, when we saw them, they 
lifted into a basket or some other receptacle, 
storing them for the morning meal, as they 
were about to march. A good elephant costs 
£100, and its yearly keep is reckoned at £120.* 

* Why it should have been introduced I do not remember, 
but in one of Professor Max Midler's lectures, there is an 



CULTIVATION OF COTTON. 277 

Past the commissariat the road split into forks, 
one of which turned towards the camp, another 
crossed the breezy downs, and a third led to the 
point, a pleasant spot where people met to 
enjoy the invigorating wind which invariably 
set in as the sun declined. I was fond of these 
swelling wolds, dotted over with large trees, 
principally of the fig order. Nothing could look 
more picturesque than the great camping parties 
which gathered around them on their way with 
cotton from Dharwar to Vingorla, where it 
would be shipped. Many and many a bale we 
saw there on its way to Manchester. A great 
deal of cotton is grown in the district, but not 
in the immediate neighbourhood of Belgaum, the 
soil not being sufficiently rich. It flourishes best 

amusing anecdote respecting an elephant. A monk thus 
writes to one of his brethren at home, describing many won- 
derful things he has seen in Rome. " You may have heard 
how the Pope did possess a monstrous beast called an ele- 
phant. The Pope did entertain for this beast a very great 
affection, and now behold it is dead. When it fell sick, the 
Pope called his doctors about him in great sorrow, and said 
to them, ' If it be possible heal my elephant.' Then they 
gave the elephant a purge which cost five hundred crowns, 
but it did not avail, and so the beast departed, and the 
Pope grieves much for his elephant, for it was indeed a 
miraculous beast, with a long, long, prodigiously long nose ; 
and when it saw the Pope, it kneeled down before him and 
said, with a terrible voice, ' Bar, bar, bar !' " 



278 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

in the deep black earth around Dharwar, which 
is forty miles south of Belgaum, and close to the 
frontier of Madras. Until lately, the cotton in 
our part of the Deccan was raised from New 
Orleans seed acclimatized. At one time Egyp- 
tian seed was sown, but the quality produced 
was too fine to be remunerative. The cultiva- 
tion of exotic cotton is now found to be a mis- 
take, and its use was everywhere diminished. 
The first crop from the fresh seed comes up well, 
but after that the quality deteriorates. There 
are 300,000 acres under cultivation in the 
southern Mahratta country. The same soil will 
only produce good cotton once in three years. 

The long narrow waggons or tumbrils were 
drawn up so as to protect the bullocks from the 
wind. Many of them were handsome animals, 
in good condition, eating their hay with serene 
satisfaction. Some of them had collars of tink- 
ling brass, or, possibly, necklaces of cowrie 
shells, put round their necks, either to ensure 
good luck, or to scare away any malignant 
goblin who might approach them in the 
deep shade of the spreading trees. I dearly 
loved to pass these encampments at night, when 
the blazing fires cast their lurid light around; 
and large caldrons, set on stoves with red-hot 
embers under them, were throwing off clouds of 



EVENING DRIVE. 279 

white steam from the seething rice or other 
grain, whilst groups of wild-looking men sat 
clown in circles, beguiling the time by chant- 
ing some very popular legend in a melancholy 
minor key. Sometimes we caught the fragrant 
odour of spices from a cargo of ginger, pepper- 
pods, or cardamum seeds on its way, like the 
cotton, over the great ridge of the Western 
Ghats, and down into the Concan to the sea. 

The favourite evening drive was to the point 
(there is a scandal-point at every station), where 
all the beauty and fashion of Belgaum assem- 
bled, in order to discuss the news of the day, 
arrange their plans for anticipated gaieties, and 
drink in the cool evening breeze. The point 
commanded an extensive and diversified view. 
The wide expanse of down and moor was broken 
by valleys, strips of wood, and little pools, 
which, like mirrors, reflected the beauty of the 
sky, smiling patches of blue, rosy red or orange, 
purple or black, as might be. We always 
turned our faces to the west, in order to catch 
the lingering daylight. In the far distance rose 
the spectral ghats, which cut us off from the 
fertile Concan and the Arabian Sea. On the 
nearer hills we could mark the rough jungle by 
which they were crested. These hills abound 
with game, big and little, but they are not only 



280 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

famous for the sport they afford, they produce 
the garnet, or carbuncle, as the stone is called 
when over a certain size ; and in the beds of 
the mountain streams gold-dust is found, not, 
it is true, to any large amount; but a man 
searching for it is sure of gaining at least a 
shilling a day. My informant — and he was a 
good geologist — told me that from the nature 
of the strata, so similar to that of Golconda, and 
the crystals it contains, he doubted not that 
diamonds also existed in it. 

Cheeta Hill, as one of this chain is called, is a 
very paradise for the naturalist, abounding in 
beautiful birds, curious insects, lovely ferns, 
rare orchids, and curious pitcher-plants. Alas ! 
snakes are also plentiful, and at certain seasons 
the deep jungle is most unwholesome. There is 
a race-course near the point, but nothing had 
been stirring on it lately. In an Indian station 
the amusements vary according to the pluck 
and purses of the officers stationed in it. A 
year or two ago a good pack of hounds was 
kept up. The sport was excellent, the country 
open, and there was plenty of foxes, to say no- 
thing of the jackals, which afford good running. 

During the previous monsoon, a gentleman 
met with a strange adventure near the point. 
As he was passing along in his dog-cart, to his 



CLIMATE OF BELGAUM. 281 

surprise he saw something splashing about in a 
puddle by the side of the road, and on examina- 
tion found that it was a young alligator. He 
got it carried to his quarters, where it was 
quickly provided with the largest tub the camp 
could supply, where, however, the creature only 
lived for two or three days. Alligators have 
been known to travel overland for considerable 
distances, and this specimen was supposed to 
have come from the Falls of Gokdk, forty miles 
off, where they abound. But we afterwards 
heard that there were several in the tank, so 
perhaps after all he was only out upon a short 
exploring expedition. 

The climate of Belgaum is delightful. In the 
middle of the day, during the cold weather, it 
was quite exceptional if the thermometor rose 
above seventy degrees ; and it was equally so 
if it rose above ninety degrees during the hot 
season. The evenings and nights were almost 
invariably cool, occasionally cold. I am speak- 
ing of the temperature of a large room shaded 
from the sun, but never closed. Still the 
climate is undoubtedly trying, on account of 
the sudden change which takes place shortly 
before sunset, when the hot wind which travels 
over the great plains of India ceases to blow, 
and is succeeded by the cool breeze, sometimes 



282 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

very strong, which has passed for thousands of 
miles over the Indian Ocean. In five minutes 
there will sometimes be a difference of seven- 
teen degrees. During the three months' mon- 
soon there were occasional breaks of a few 
days, when the weather was perfect, the 
temperature being cool, the air clear, and ten- 
derly bright. We used to liken it to that of a 
North-country September in England ; but even 
in Western India there was no escaping the 
dreary influence of sullen November. This was 
our Winter. Then the trees looked dead, and 
an east wind set in, not exactly cold, but so 
searching that it found out every sensitive part 
of the body, and dried the skin like frost. This 
wind is very fatal to animals, especially to 
horses and dogs ; nor is it less dangerous to 
man. " A stroke of the wind," as it is called, 
produces paralysis, from which many people 
never recover. At this season all windows 
which look towards the east are closed. The 
days were certainly unpleasant. The angry 
sun was seldom seen save when, huge and 
fiery, it sank down in a horizon of dull, but 
fervid orange red. 

By way of compensation the heavens at night 
were, beyond expression, grand. Returning 
home in an evening, we had " sultry Sinus," 



THE HEAVENS AT NIGHT. 283 

the largest star in the sky, flashing with ever- 
varying colour. Orion, reclining on his side, 
calmly regarded us. Venus almost outshone the 
moon, and when the moon was full, it rose 
with a flush of silvery rose-colour, fainter, but 
as fine as the glow which heralds in the sun. 
As time went on, Orion rose upon his feet, and 
the Southern Cross came slanting above the 
horizon ; but when Orion was sprawling at the 
zenith, then that most striking and brilliant of 
constellations stood erect. In this part of the 
world the latest sunsets occur at the end of 
June and the beginning of July, when, for 
several days, the luminary sets at forty-one 
minutes past six. The earliest are at the end 
of November and the beginning of December, 
when the sun sinks below the horizon at twenty- 
two minutes past five (Bombay time). 

There is no evening like the evening which 
succeeds an English Summer's day. In the 
North of Europe they are deferred too long. 
It is unpleasant to go to bed like a naughty 
child, with the light in one's eyes, but the 
Indian night closes in too soon. There are no 
violet eves, there is no gloaming, the great orb 
disappears behind the distant hills whose out- 
lines sharpen and grow black, cut for a moment 
against a glowing background, some large 



284 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

star straggles to appear, the sky grows green, 
the fells purple, and the landscape grey. You 
are taken by surprise, for you are scarcely 
able to distinguish the features of the friend 
you are talking with. You hurriedly shake hands 
with him, there is a general flutter, horse-cloths 
are rolled up (all the year round the horses wear 
their fules whilst standing still), lamps are 
lighted, and away you go over the dark moors. 
The band-stand, where the regiments take it 
in turns to play, is another general gathering- 
place. For one half of the year the effect of the 
Grecian building in which the performance takes 
place is marred by the matting with which it 
is necessary to shelter it from sun and storm. 
It is set down on a pleasant moor, with long 
lines of barracks in the background. Twice 
every week the little w r orld repaired to this 
spot. Bullock-carts come full of children, little 
things in different stages of growth, the lowest 
being a tiny creature in robes of white, who 
get out with their tall, robust ayahs, gay 
in scarlet vests, white savis, and gold orna- 
ments, talkative and bold. They file off with 
the elder children under their wings, to have 
their gossip, whilst the muslin bundle follows, 
carried — oh ! so carefully — by a tall, clark man, 
who keeps the lace veil over its face, and re- 



CANINE SOCIETY. 285 

gards it tenderly. Meanwhile the little folks 
kiss and quarrel, and talk over their magic- 
lantern parties, whilst their parents dwell upon 
the past delights of ball or Badminton. 

And then the dogs, they composed a society 
of their own, and I have no doubt that then- 
reflections were as sensible, if less artificial, than 
those of their so-called betters. There were 
the military dogs, many of which were of the 
bull-dog order. The younger the master the 
more hideous the pet ; some of them being, 
indeed, of priceless ugliness — perfect gems in 
their way. There was the collector's dog, long- 
legged and lean, looking mildly at the world 
through half-closed eyes. He was a gentle- 
manly dog. The judge's animal was broad- 
chested, round-headed, and clever, a good fel- 
low, although he growled, and now and then 
responded to a pat by a snap. He never meant 
to hurt, it was his way. The Padre's dogs 
were intellectual and hungry. The canine 
civilians varied in appearance and character, 
some of them being stumpy and obese, with 
projecting teeth, and white trimmings to their 
faces, and were inclined to be uppish ; but Mabel 
— I ought to have mentioned that distinguished 
member of the Royal Geographical Society first 
of all — she was military. Though young in 



286 31 Y YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

years, Mabel's brow was wrinkled by travel and 
by thought. When her black lip curled with 
scorn at the ignorance displayed by her com- 
panions, it disclosed sharp fangs ; but would not 
the gentlest temper ever possessed by man or 
beast have been soured, had its owner been 
obliged to trot in puppyhood two thousand 
miles over the burning sands of Africa. As for 
Grouse and Drake, they also had seen the world, 
and sitting down in the attitude of sphinxes, 
they looked on and marvelled at the airs and 
graces of their juniors. Bustle snuffed about 
with a divided mind. He delighted in the 
society of ladies, but then there were chameleons 
to hunt. Once upon this very spot had he 
chased and eaten one of these creatures, and 
never had he forgotten the exquisite morsel. 
Let none of my four-legged friends be angry at 
this allusion to them. Had I not regarded 
them with favour, I should have left them un- 
noticed, for I had nothing to do with curs. 

Occasionally one or two native chiefs honoured 
the band with their presence. There was Jam- 
bottee (called, like a highland proprietor, by 
the name of his territory), who belonged to the 
Jeunesse Doree of Western India, and aped 
the European. He came upon the ground in an 
equipage which he had purchased from a de- 



THE INDIAN JEUNESSE DOREE. 287 

parted brigadier — a dirty carriage and ill- 
groomed horses ; but he did not drive them 
badly. He was quite a youth ; so much that his 
face, had it been white, might have been called 
chubby ; but, as it was, its dusky hue was relieved 
by the great, soft, intelligent eyes. His costume 
was most remarkable, consisting, to begin with, 
of his dandy half-high patent leather shoes, of 
grey-ribbed stockings, of so precise a fit that he 
must have sent a model of his calfless leg to 
Nottingham, gartered under the knee, and 
mounting up, until they disappeared under the 
folds of a small cotton sheet (a Duthie cloth), 
which was wound round his body ; his white 
waistcoat and jacket, resembling those of a 
garcon in a cafe ; and lastly his Eastern turban, 
sometimes made of soft pink woollen, of the 
hue which is always associated with raspberry 
ice, at others consisting of enormous lengths of 
soft muslin, red, chocolate, or blue striped with 
gold, artistically wound into innumerable folds, 
and put on with a slight inclination to the left 
ear. This young gentleman was tolerably 
educated, and could read and write with 
facility. He was not very rich, his estates being 
said to bring him in about £5000 a year. I 
was somewhat curious about this youth, and 
one day asked a friend who was a little ac- 



288 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

quainted with him why he did not reside at 
Jambottee, which is a tolerably large town. 
" Probably because he is afraid of being poison- 
ed," was the reply. " If you inquire, you will 
find that most of the chiefs in this part of the 
country are young ; a family of means like, 
above all things, to have charge of a youthful 
heir, by whom they manage to get pretty pick- 
ings. I was in a native state only a few months 
ago where there is no doubt that the boyish 
chief, who died suddenly, and was burnt before 
the British authorities were informed of the 
event, Avas poisoned." Poor Jambottee ! I 
looked with commiseration at his smooth round 
face. 

"What does he do all day? What is his 
home life V I demanded. 

My friend laughed. " Probably a couple of 
hours ago he was sitting all but naked upon 
the floor, ladling melted ghiinto his mouth with 
one hand, and throwing rice into it with the 
other." I looked horrified. "And when he 
goes home he will most likely shut himself up 
along with his prime minister, and drink arrack 
until the small hours. Such is the life of many 
a chief." Alas for Jambottee ! 

Sometimes the moon would rise before we 
were scattered by the " The British Grenadier," 



MOONLIGHT. 289 

and the succeeding strains of the National 
Anthem. First it was but a tiny crescent, 
scarcely visible in the after-glow, but as it 
waxed larger and larger the more delightful 
grew the homeward drive, which lay for the 
most part under tall trees. Such a soft light 
fell upon the swelling hills and dark groves 
that one could count every trembling leaf in the 
great bouquets of bamboo. The moonlight, 
indeed, we agreed, was, in this latitude, not 
so positively bright as in our own country ; 
the shadows thrown were not so black ; the 
lines which marked out landscape, mosque, and 
temple not so sharp ; but the whole atmosphere 
was alight with a gentle glow, which was 
exquisitely beautiful. 

On the eve of one full moon, book in hand, I 
left the drawing-room, and sauntered into the 
maidan, where the Pir's tomb stood, and, out of 
curiosity, I looked at the print, which I found I 
could read with ease. The old fort by moon- 
light was wonderfully picturesque ; and some- 
times in these glorious evenings we mounted the 
ramparts, or crept through the ancient Jaina 
temples, in which the shadowy gods appeared 
to regard us sternly. 



VOL. I. U 



290 



CHAPTER XIII. 

Old Mosque — The Nag, or Cobra Tank — Shsirpur — Popu- 
lation — Jewell ers — Curiosities — Sacred Stones — An- 
cient Pedigrees — Thugs — Garden Parties — Travelling 
Merchants — Men from the Cannara Jungles — Plants 
and Tame Animals brought for sale — Conjurers and 
Snake-charmers — Indian Jugglers puzzled — A Charm 
against Violence — Mahomedan Burying-places — 
Amusements of the Soldiers — Native Troops — My 
First Christmas in India. 

WE occasionally visited some interesting 
spot in the neighbourhood, and one day 
drove to a place with a very long name, which 
I have forgotten. The hard metal road, up 
and down hill, was a severe tug for the horses. 
Our object was to see an old mosque, and one 
of the underground reservoirs peculiar to India. 
In some parts of the country they are works of 
considerable magnificence, but this was a very 
humble specimen of the kind. Although it was 
said to be very ancient, and had once been 
the nucleus of a town of some local impor- 



OLD MOSQUE. 291 

tance, the only remains were a cluster of mud 
hovels. An elderly man, pointing to the -well, 

remarked to G that it was very old. A 

wide flight of steps, covered in, conducted us 
to a broad landing-place, with a stone screen, 
and a double set of steps led to the deep black 
pool, while overhead were the remains of an 
arched roof. It was an oblong building, with 
two stories of galleries running round it, orna- 
mented by deep niches formed in the wall, the 
largest of which faced the stairs. When these 
were set with idols, it must, in the shadowy 
twilight, have been an awe-inspiring place, and 
the effect still more curious if brilliantly lighted 
up, and tilled with worshippers. 

The mosque, which was time-worn, had, in 
our opinion, originally been a Jain temple. 
The Mahomedans were in the habit of taking 
possession of such buildings, and adapting them 
to their own points of the compass, to fit them 
for the celebration of their own worship. Many 
people may remember the crooked matting and 
oddly- placed pulpits in St. Sophia. 

On the other side of the present Belgaum, 
there was an open tank, called the Nag, or 
Cobra-tank, near which some irregular mounds 
marked the site of the older town. The country 
here was flooded during the rains, when it be- 

u 2 



292 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

came brilliantly green with the springing rice. 
A raised road led to Dhorwar, a military station 
about forty miles south, on the confines of the 
Madras Presidency, and near it began the great 
Cannara jungles, which stretch along for up- 
wards of three hundred miles. 

Sometimes we drove on this solitary road for 
the sake of the dogs, when the great twin 
brothers, and Bustle (busiest of all) were in 
their element, splashing in and out of the lakes 
and pools after rats and bandicoots. The town 
of Sharpur* lay in this direction, unseen, but 
very near the road, its low sloping roofs quite 
hidden by trees, which swept down to the very 
ground. Sharpur is a place of some interest, 
and belongs to a native chief, whom we some- 
times encountered, driving a ricketty old car- 
riage, with two gora-wallees behind, one of 
whom was tall, and wore a white turban, while 
the other was small, with a red covering to his 
head. On State occasions he was followed by 
a guard of seven or eight men, with blunder- 
busses, arrayed in dirty white cotton, who 
scrambled along on tattoos. The walls of the 
town, which at no distant period had been in 
complete repair, had at each end an arched 
gateway, flanked by stout round battlemented 

* Sharpur means King's-town. 



SHARPUR. 293 

towers, pierced with narrow slits for jangals. 
I used to fancy that the town establishment of 
the Balowtry and Alowtry would be found very 
perfect in Sharpur, the place had such an old- 
world look. There were some wide, suburban- 
looking streets, lined by houses, which were 
nearly completely closed, though one occasion- 
ally caught a glimpse into a large dim court- 
yard. Under the verandahs, which were very 
wide and long, the women were employed in 
weaving savis, and sorting and winding the bril- 
liant silks with which they were to be striped. 
A few children, with entire caps of fresh flowers, 
and ornaments strange to me, would roll about 
in the dust along with the dogs and a few 
scraggy fowls (natives have a prejudice against 
keeping poultry). 

Along the principal street there flowed an 
endless stream of men with very large turbans, 
and all in white. The primitive population of 
this Hindoo town were Lyngates, and there 
was none of the restless mixture of races which 
compose that of Belgaum. Even my unprac- 
tised eye could perceive that the tall handsome 
men, who walked calmly along with dignified 
gait, and complexions of tender brown, were of 
higher caste than those I had been in the habit 
of regarding. 



294 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

The people of Sharp ur, which is a rich place, 
deal in pearls and precious stones, and work in 
gold and silver, making not only personal 
ornaments of handsome design, but supplying 
half Western India with gods and goddesses, 
and driving a gainful trade as bankers and 
money-lenders. The improvident Hindoo, 
though he will not part with his land, will 
mortgage it to its utmost value, and the 
expenses incurred at marriage festivals and on 
the numerous holidays frequently plunge him 
into difficulties which not only last for his own 
life, but embarrass his son, who, by ancient 
Hindoo custom, is answerable for his father's 
debts. It was the habit of the sowars, 
as the goldsmiths are called, to bear their 
wealth upon their persons ; and those who wish 
to see pearl earrings and gold bangles, must go 
to Sharpur, where I envied many a young man 
his wristlets. 

One of the curiosities of the place is a mosque, 
a handsome building, which has never been 
roofed in, and was commenced just when the 
Mahomedan power received its death-blow. 
There lie the clean-cut white stones, just as 
they were left by the masons, the pillared aisles, 
weather-stained and falling into ruins. The 
sacred Hindoo buildings were assembled to- 



SACRED BUILDINGS. 295 

gether in one particular part of the town. On 
one side of the street was a lofty, open Linga 
shrine, and on the opposite side, at a little dis- 
tance from each other, were three long and 
lofty halls, into which the light of day was 
only admitted through the curiously-carved 
high and red-stained doorways, which opened 
from under verandahs. We gazed into these, 
but did not attempt to enter. In one of them 
we observed a Lingham, a symbol of the power 
of Shiva, at least twelve feet high, covered with 
brightly-burnished metal — probably a mixture 
which is common in a country where there is 
abundance of copper and brass. A large black 
stone figure had sole possession of the second 
hall ; and the third was lighted up and filled 
with worshipping devotees, who were adoring 
a many-limbed black and gilded idol. 

The palace of the chief was a large, three- 
storied wooden erection, exceedingly dirty and 
dilapidated, but about which there was some 
handsome carving. In driving, I often noticed 
the painted and whitewashed stones, set up in 
the fields, some of them boundary stones, others 
placed about in order to ensure good luck to 
the growing crops. During one particular 
month, in returning home through the gathering 
darkness, the bright light of a small lantern, 



296 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

swung from a pole, was always to be seen, 
evidently so placed as to shine upon some 
object concealed in the ditch. 

A trifling accident to one of the horses near 
this spot enabled me to gratify my curiosity as 
to what it might be. I found three black 
stones, placed one upon the other, well greased, 
and encircled with flowers, the sacred filets 
placed round them by some procession of 
peasants — sacrificial filets, prescribed by the 
gods of boundaries, one of whom is called by 
the long name of Yajnavalkya. The melted 
libations of ghi, which deluged these particular 
stones, had perhaps been rendered still more 
acceptable to the powers above by the addition 
of a little salt. Salt is often used in the 
temples, but it must be made by solar evapora- 
tion. The gods will not be propitiated by the 
article which Liverpool exports to their shores 
at so cheap a rate. I have been told that the 
ryot, or peasant, if questioned as to his feelings 
on sacred subjects, will declare that his idea of 
the proper way of carrying out his religion is to 
do right, and to worship the village god and 
the sanctified stones. The owners of land 
have the greatest objection to part with it, 
considering such a step a religious offence, and 
maintaining that it is not theirs to dispose of — 



SERVANTS WITH LONG PEDIGREES. 297 

that they are mere tenants of the god to whom 
it was made over centuries ago. It is often 
found that the very servants in your house 
have a pedigree in land which many a rich man 
in England would give half his wealth to pos- 
sess. A servant of G 's, in Sattara, once 

asked for leave of absence in order to settle 
some family claims upon a portion of land which 
he had inherited, and the judge who had 
examined and given his decision upon the affair, 
told him that the land in question had been 
granted to the family for military service done 
nearly three hundred years ago. We knew 
that the puttah-wallee was a gentleman pos- 
sessed of landed property, because he was 
always in hot water with regard to the money 
he had borrowed upon it ; and our malee used 
to run away to his own village periodically, in 

order to sow his land, leaving G lamenting ; 

but he was generally pursued and brought back 
by the patel of the place. 

We often passed the long, low, white jail, 
built on the spot occupied by the English 
during the siege, and in which I believe some 
older building is still embedded. Close by, 
on ground torn, cut, and disturbed, rises an 
obelisk, and some table-tombs, the marble 
slabs of which, that would have told their 



298 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

tale, bad been stolen for curry-stones. Tbe 
inscriptions cut upon tbe pliable stone bave been 
worn away by tbe action of time and tbe 
weatber, but one name survives, tbat of Lieut. 
Dormer, witb the date — 1820, or 21. 

Some years ago tbis jail was full of Thugs, 
wbo bad been tbe scourge of tbe country from 
Belgaum to Mysore. One old man among tbem 
confessed to upwards of three hundred murders, 
and it was from bis mouth that " The Confes- 
sions of a Thug " were taken down. Some of 
these wretched worshippers of the cruel Bavani 
used to work in the garden of the officer who 
was then at the head of the district police, and 
he was quite fond of relating their various deeds 
of villainy. 

One evening, as we were returning home, we 
met a procession of people bearing lanterns, and 
carrying a kind of pagoda, covered witb white 
calico, trimmed with bows and streamers, the 
occupant of which, a dead Lyngate, was taking 
bis last ride, seated cross-legged, tbe position 
in which be was about to be buried. 

Tbe society in Belgaum was tolerably exten- 
sive — a great advantage — as, after visits of cere- 
mony bad been exchanged, it left people at 
liberty to choose the companionship of kindred 
souls. The garrison was composed of a battery 



SOCIETY IN BELGAUM. 29 ( J 

of artillery, one European and two native regi- 
ments, besides a certain number of military men 
holding special appointments, and a good many 
civilians. The knot of people gathered together 
in the fort might be looked upon as residents, 
as they were independent of regimental changes. 
When I first arrived there were a good many 
garden-parties, pleasant gatherings, where 
people met together to play at Badminton, or 
lawn tennis, or to talk, and sip cool beverages, 
whilst listening to the band. Sometimes these 
entertainments would conclude with a little 
dancing. One gallant bachelor colonel, whose 
compound was furnished with magnificent trees, 
spent a small fortune in hanging their gnarled 
boughs with lanterns, the effect of which 
was very pretty. When the rains came on, 
this kind of society passed away, and the 
afternoons w T ere often enlivened by the arrival 
of travelling merchants from the interior of 
India — cunning fellows — who knew that, when 
a second deluge seemed to be impending, people 
were sure not only to be at home, but would be 
tempted to look at their goods, and buy from 
sheer ennui. Those who dealt in the more cost! v 
wares would arrive in covered carts, drawn by 
reeking bullocks, from which they brought forth 
great bundles, which they would open in the 



300 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

verandah, spreading about their contents until it 
looked like a fancy bazaar. They had goods 
collected in every part of India — shawls and 
coloured embroidery, silks and satins, useful 
washing silks, inlaid boxes, and balls painted 
over in the most delicate patterns, the parent 
one as big as a pummalo, and containing a pro- 
geny which gradually dwindled in size until the 
last one was little larger than a pea. These 
balls were irresistible attractions, although 
perfectly useless. Among the other hetero- 
geneous articles were jewels, silver filigree, 
fans, neck scarfs, Cora silk, tempting toys, and 
boxes of ivory letters neatly cut, and brightly- 
coloured objects, some of them curious and 
strange. Oh ! the temptation of such a dazzling 
collection upon a wet day ! How different was 
their liquid Hindustani and soft voices, when 
compared with the harsh Marathi I was accus- 
tomed to hear! Rough people would bring 
bison and buffalo horns, twisted into many 
shapes — though the natural form was the best 
— so highly polished that one's distorted image 
was reflected from their surface. Some of them 
were delicately engraved with fanciful designs. 
To be of use, however, they require to be 
mounted, and they are sometimes set in chased 
gold. 



PRE-HISTORIC RACES. 301 

More interesting were the savage-looking men 
who arrived with ferns and orchids from the 
Cannara jungles, which stretch their vast length 
along the Malabar coast. Canarese, Tamil, and 
Telugu are all spoken in Mahratta, though quite 
distinct languages, and not derived from Sans- 
krit. These Canarese people were small and 
thin, and as black as it was possible for men to 
be. They are believed to be the descendants of 
the unconquered aboriginal tribes driven into the 
jungles by the invading Aryan settlers. It is 
reckoned that the pre-historic races now scattered 
over mountains, or living in far-spreading forests 
and deep jungles, number twelve millions. In 
every part of India where the soil has not been 
reclaimed, are found relics of the aboriginal 
races, more or less barbarous. I never saw 
these wild beings without indulging in endless 
speculations as to their history.* 

* The code of Manu, supposed to be written 900 B.C., 
gives laws as to the property the conquered aborigines may 
be allowed to possess : — 

" Their abode must be out of towns. Their sole property 
is to consist of dogs and asses. Their clothes should be 
those left by the dead. Their ornaments rusty iron. They 
must roam from place to place. No respectable person 
must hold intercourse with them. They are to perform the 
office of executioner on all criminals condemned to death 
by the king. For this duty they may retain the bedding, 
the clothes, and the ornaments of those executed." — "Land 
of the Vedas." By the Rev. R. Percival. 



302 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

The water-ferns they brought attain the 
height of ten or twelve feet, and it was neces- 
sary to put them into pots, and sink them in 
the ground. They had also delicately-swathed 
little bunches of the gold, silver, copper, lace, 
palm and other ferns. One of them, the true 
oak-fern, is a very curious production ; its root, 
a great bit of mouldy-looking wood, throwing 
up large, dead-looking leaves, which shelter the 
green fronds. The orchids, lilac and white- 
blossomed, G bound, along with moss, upon 

the trees, and they flourished well. Other people 
brought trained animals — monkeys, dogs, and 
goats, the former generally got up to represent 
Rajahs and their wives, and to act little scenes. 
These little creatures were, to all appearance, 
well treated, and seemed fond of their masters. 
We were also visited by snake-charmers and 
conjurers, who came with long bamboos on their 
shoulders, from which dangled mysteriously- 
filled baskets. They were accompauied by 
musicians, who played on a fife, struck the tom- 
tom, and clashed the cymbals. Some of their 
feats were neatly done, but I never myself 
witnessed anything wonderful. 

A friend of G 's puzzled a band of these 

people, who came to his house, by playing them 
a, trick which surprised them not a little. It so 



AMUSEMENTS. 303 

happened that he had a glass eye, and at the 
end of the performance he cried out — " Bah ! 
you shall see what I can do. You know no- 
thing !" Whereupon he dexterously slipped 
out the artificial eye, and held it towards them, 
they looking on dumb, transfixed with astonish- 
ment. With another sweep of the hand he re- 
stored the eye to the socket, and regarded them 
with an air of conscious superiority. " Wha ! 
wha ! wha !" they cried, tumbling their posses- 
sions anyhow into the baskets, in their haste 
to be gone. " Wonderful !" and off they set. 

It did not rain incessantly, as, three or four 
times a week, we were able to snatch a drive. 
The gentlemen amused themselves in many 
ways, with whist, pigeon-shooting, and cricket, 
a tent being erected at the latter for the benefit 
of lady spectators. We frequently drove to 
the ground where the shooting was going on, 

in order to bring G back, and if he was not 

ready, we walked about the breezy down. At 
a short distance from the spot, sheltered by 
some very old trees, were a couple of ancient 
buildings, one of which, with a low dome, 
was probably the resting-place of some 
holy Pir. Like many a Mahomedan building, 
it was freely marked with impressions of the 
human hand, just dabbed with red or white 



304 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

paint, and laid on the wall — the hand, with its 
five fingers, being the symbol of despotic power. 
On the outside of dwelling-houses this figure is 
supposed to act as a charm against violence, 
the dwelling and its inmates being placed under 
the power of an invincible hand. Its compan- 
ion building was also a Mahomedan burial- 
place, but it had probably once been a Hindoo 
temple, for it had a pyramidal roof. Some say 
that the architecture of the Hindoos originated 
with the pyramid, in which form it is certain 
that the oldest pagodas are built. Near the door 
there cropped out of the sward a half-buried 
stone, on which the soles of two feet were 
marked ; and I afterwards found that it was the 
custom formerly to place a memorial so en- 
graved upon the spot where suttee had taken 
place. 

The soldiers' sports, in which some of the 
officers joined, were very amusing. One of 
these was riding at the ring, in which no great 
success was attained. The Yorkshire farrier, 
who was quite a character, and used to get pro- 
digiously cheered, rode at it as if he were going 
to carry off a ton's weight by sheer force. 
Some of the young men jumped with much 
agility, but I do not fancy that the highest 
jump registered, four feet eleven inches, was 



MERRY GATHERINGS. 305 

anything remarkable. No one succeeded in 
picking up the sword at full speed, but many 
were skilful in cutting into halves the oranges 
placed on bamboo posts as they rode by. The 
gunnery was the most interesting spectacle. On 
one occasion a gun was taken to pieces, put 
together, and fired in one minute and twenty 
seconds, which I believe was considered to be 
good work. Th e game of polo was frequently 
played upon their maidan by the young officers 
of the Royal Fusiliers. Some of their little Dec- 
can Tats were wonderfully quick and knowing. 
On moonlight nights the gallant Colonel 
of this regiment would allow his band to play, 
when the Christy Minstrels belonging to it 
would sing some of their amusing songs. At 
these merry gatherings, the Irishmen brought 
their floor and danced jigs, and the evening's 
entertainment would conclude with blind-man's 
buff, played with a will, and led off by the 
Colonel, the young officers being blinded by 
grotesque caps, which were drawn over the 
face. Picnics also took place by the same 
magic light ; but these entertainments were, 
somehow or other, not quite so successful. The 
elders could not double up their legs comfortably 
upon the ground, and next day there was sure to 
be trouble among the matrons, forks and spoons 
VOL. I. X 



306 MY TEAR EN* AX INDIAN FORT. 

and plates having gone astray, fine napkins 
having been exchanged for those of Dhorwar 
cotton, and the junior members of the assembly 
were certain to have caught cold. Sometimes 
Penny Readings, -which it -was necessary to 
patronise, took place in the barracks, and plays 
v.- ere performed, deep tragedies being followed 
by screaming farces. " Lady Audley's Secret " 
was performed, the heroine's part being taken 
by a handsome sergeant's wife, and the kick 
with which she sent her groom husband down 
the well was a sight worth seeing. 

Society in general went in for innumerable 
dinner-parties, and occasional balls. Now and 
then a concert was given in aid of some charity, 
in which the ladies of the fort distinguished 
the. s bv their vocal and instrumental 

efforts, pronounced by that great authority, the 
Times of India, "to be worthy of the Italian 
Opera. "• 

The four months' rains passed very quickly. 
The largest downfall registered for any single 
month was twenty-nine inches, and occurred in 
July. The whole amount which fell during the 
monsoon was sixtv-two inches, a little above the 

.. -age. The most tiresome duty of the season ii 
the perpetual care which it is necessary to exercise 
in order to prevent books, prints, photograph-. 



DEVICES FOR KILLING TIME. 307 

wearing apparel — everything, in fact — from be- 
coming spotted with blue mould, a calamity which 
is certain to befall them, if they are put away. 
Woe to the young lady who does not air her 
ribbons constantly ! All clothes ought, at this 
season, to be worn in turn. I managed to pre- 
serve my gloves by a very simple expedient. I 
impounded three French plum bottles (which, 
by-the-by, I had helped to empty) — glass bottles 
made to screw, and rendered, by the addition of 
an Indian-rubber ring, perfectly air-tight. One 
of these I filled with new gloves and put it 
away in a dry place : another was placed upon 
my toilette-table and received those which were 
in wear ; the third I reserved for the aged and 
infirm to use in travelling, for I hold that 
wearing gloves keeps the hand cool. 

After the rains, another device for killing time 
was perpetual Badminton, for which there was 
a covered place prepared in the camp. In the 
fort, for the occasion, possession was taken of a 
large shed, which, by-the-by, had gone through 
the Persian campaign. The courts were very 
good, and two tiers of empty boilers were s~» 
arranged as to form seats which were covered 
with cane matting. As long as people were 
quiet they were comfortable enough, but when 
any individual began to fidget, the boilers 

x 2 



308 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

vibrated, and a thrill ran through all assem- 
bled. At these friendly and pleasant meetings, 
each lady, in her turn, sent down refreshments, 
and sometimes large luncheon parties were 
given. 

Belgaum was obliged to get up and shake 
itself when the Commander-in-chief declared 
his intention of passing through it, during his 
tour. The troops on that occasion were re- 
viewed ; there were sham fights, and all sorts 
of manoeuvres, during which I, for the first 
time, saw a native regiment, one of the finest in 
the service — the 2nd Grenadiers, lately arrived 
from Aden. This regiment held their own 
against fearful odds. When at Rongaum, in 
the year 1818, they withstood the Mahrattas, who 
outnumbered them ten to one. " Tired, hungry, 
wounded, and parched with thirst, they fought 
with a gallantry which has never been surpass- 
ed," so say the despatches of the day. The 
Sphinx is embroidered on their colours, in 
memory of the fact that they were one of the 
two native regiments who served in Egypt, be- 
sides which they were also engaged in the battle 
of Kinhee, in Persia. Many of the soldiers, too, 
have medals for the part they took in the cam- 
paign of Abyssinia. They were a remarkably fine, 
tall body of men from the north of India. In 



THE SECOND GRENADIERS. 30& 

full dress they wore a neat little turban, appar- 
ently made of the Turkey sugar dear to one's in- 
fant heart, and ornamented "with a stiff crimson 
bow. This regiment, for many of its exploits, 
has well deserved its new title, " The Prince 
of Wales's Own Grenadiers." 

I do not know if it is the case in other Presi- 
dencies, but, in that of Bombay, a native 
regiment is permitted to recruit a hundred of its- 
men from other parts of India, for the once 
war-like Mahrattas have turned to agriculture* 
and have deteriorated as soldiers. To me, these 
strangers appeared to be magnificent specimens 
of humanity, and I must confess that I compared 
their majestic gait, shapely heads, fine features, 
and flashing eyes with those of the European 
soldiers, and to the disadvantage of the latter. 
I made a remark upon the subject to an officer 
in command of these natives. " You are mis- 
taken," he said, " as to their stature ; it is true 
that many of the men from the north and 
south-east are splendid fellows, but the tallest 
man in my regiment is but a little above six 
feet three inches — their wide pigamas, flowing 
drapery, and picturesque puggrees deceive you 
as to their stature." These men are allowed to 
wear their native costumes out of hours, and 
many of them were exceedingly picturesque. I 



310 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

delighted in seeing the different races, and after 
a time I fancied myself able to tell from whence 
a man came, and that principally from the 
mode in which his. hair was arranged. Those 
from the Punjaub wore it long, and turned up 
into a kind of chignon ; the Sikhs parted theirs 
behind, and banded it round the head. The 
Jews shaved the hair from off their temple, and 
wore short crisp curls behind the ear, with no 
gloss upon them. There are numbers of Jewish 
soldiers, and being generally men of education 
they are pretty sure to rise in a regiment. 

One day when the 7th Royal Fusiliers were 
reviewed, Grouse and Drake chanced to be with 
us, and, seeing the soldiers about to fire, they 
rushed in behind a company, a position from 
which no calling could induce them to return. 
There they stood with their tails straight, and 
as stiff as if cast in bronze. Poor doggies, they 
were quite confounded, and evidently disap- 
pointed when they found that, after the firing, 
their eager anticipations of sport were reward- 
ed by the sight of not even a single bird. 

The face of society changed almost as much 
as that of nature. Our three regiments marched 
off, playing pathetic airs of adieu ; and familiar 
faces were replaced by those of strangers. 
The resident society also broke up in the 



CHRISTMAS EVE. 311 

Autumn, but onlv for a time. The collector 
went on his way with a long train of baggage- 
waggons ; the judge, the " up-country judge," 
disappeared ; the engineer officers were off to 
their tanks, roads, and bridges. The forest 
department spread their wings and flew to the 
deep jungles, where they would see many a 
wild beast before they met with Europeans 
again. Education struck its tents, and the 
chaplains exchanged duty with brethren from 

afar, and, worst of all, G was off with 

hundreds of miles before him — long days upon 
the Indus and its banks, with Aden in prospect. 
For M. and myself, who were stationary, roses 
bloomed, and the garden blossomed, but Christ- 
mas, when it stole on, appeared, at least to me, 
very strange. We filled great baskets with 
flowers and ferns, and sent them to the good 
teaching sisters, for the adornment of their 
little chapel (our own churches being abundantly 
supplied), and endeavoured to make the season 
as pleasant to the little ones as it could be 
without their father. 

On Christmas Eve we had a display of such 
fireworks as were permissible in the immediate 
neighbourhood of a powder-magazine and an 
arsenal. There were Bengal lights, and crack- 
ers, and wheels ; but the prettiest of all were 



-312 MY YEAR IN AN INDIAN FORT. 

the bouquets of golden spray, with green and 
red flowers, which shot up from earthenware 
chatty pots. It was a balmy Summer's night, 
the soldiers' children came to look on, and we 
had chairs taken to the meadow where the 
display took place. During the evening, 
highly-coloured wooden toys, representing 
rajahs and ranis, in cloth of gold, wild ani- 
mals, and tropical fruits, kept arriving — some of 
them presents from the servants. They were 
not shown to the children, who were instructed 
to hang their stockings up, that Father Christ- 
mas might fill them during the night ; and as 
soon as they were asleep a pretty scroll, repre- 
senting a rosy-red robin, singing with all his 
might out of a snow-flecked holly bush, was hung 
over their breakfast-table. 

Christmas morning, with all its surprises and 
good wishes, began very early. We elders 
had to undergo the ordeal after breakfast of 
standing in the verandah whilst all the servants 
came up to make their salaams ; and M., with 
Dick in her arms, thanked them in an elo- 
quent speech. We also came in for our 
share of good things. The Parsis sent tall, 
circular cakes, in form very much resembling 
their own towers of silence ; some one else sent a 
rare present of rosy apples ; the brigadier a dish 



CHRISTMAS MORNING. 313 

of peaches grown in his garden ; and in the course 
of the morning came a great mendiant, consist- 
ing of dried figs, dates, almonds, and raisins, 
arranged in quarters upon a dish large enough 
to have contained a leg of mutton, taking me 
back to my Paris days. For the sake of " auld 
lang syne," I (with a little help from the 
children) ate steadily through that mendiant. 
We had a merry dinner, when the chicks were 
gone to roost (what a pleasant time it is when 
they are asleep), but could not enjoy it 

thoroughly in G 's absence. There was a 

dance on the last evening of the year, and sc 
ended my first Christmas in India. 



END OF THE FIRST VOLUME. 



LONDON: PRINTED BY DUNCAN MACDONALD, BLENHEIM HOUSE. 



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