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From Edinburgh to India & Burmah
by William G. Burn Murdoch
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"Gaunt and dreary run the mountains, With black gorges up the land Up to where the lonely desert Spreads her burning, dreary sand."

There are occasions when circumstances make it really a pleasure to be an artist, to-day for example; the air is so full of colour, the sea deepest turquoise, with emerald showing when the crests burst white and mix with the blue, and there is a glint of reddish colour reflected from the Arabian sand, and the shadows in the clefts in the sand-hills to the north are as blue as the sea. I was trying to put this down when my friend from the West Country, who helps the engines, told me he had got me one of these exquisite classic earthenware vases from Port Said, which he decorates with cigar labels and blue and gold enamel. I had a chat with him in his rather nice cabin—made a study of the flagon, i.e. drew its cork. It was full of deep purple Italian wine, like Lacrima Christie or Episcopio Rosso; the wine was good enough, but its deep rose colour with the bright blue reflected on it through the port was splendid. He didn't like it himself, said "it drew his mouth," and he gave me both the bottle and the wine as a present because of our love for Dalriada, and I have to give him a "wee bit sketch" for his cabin.

I will smuggle the jar under our table—G. and I both like Italian wine—and we will use it as a water bottle afterwards, for we have only one decanter at our table amongst eleven thirsty people.

It was just such dark red wine as this, I suppose, that Ulysses and his friends in these seas took in skinfuls to wash down venison, an excellent menu I must say, but it would have been more seamanlike if they had slept off the effects on board, instead of lying out all night on the beach; then, when Morning the rosy-fingered turned up, they'd have been quicker getting under way, and would have got home sooner in the end. How much superior were the Fingalian heroes; they would sail and fight all day and pass round the uisquebaugh in the evening at the feast of shells, and never get fuddled and never feared anything under water or above land, and were beholden to neither Gods nor men.

But I did once know a descendant of theirs, in their own country who was overcome by red wine. "It was perfectly excusable," he said, for he had never tasted it before—or since! He was a fine, tall man called Callum Bhouie, from his yellow hair when he was a youth; he was old when I knew him—six feet two and thin as a rake and strong, with the face of Wellington and an eye like a hawk. He and his friend were going home to his croft from their occupations one morning early, round the little Carsaig Bay opposite Jura, where he had a still up a little burn there, and they fell in with a cask on the sand and there was red wine in it, port or Burgundy, I do not know. Callum said he knew all about it and it was but weak stuff, so they took bowls and saucers and drank the weak stuff more and more. I think it must have been port; and they lay where they were on the sand and slept till the morning after. When dawn, the rosy-fingered, found them she must have thought them quite Hellenic; and the minister followed later, and I would not think it right to repeat what he thought it right to say. The sands and the bay and the burn are there to-day, and, as they say in the old tales, if Callum were not dead he would be alive to prove the truth of the story. The still I've never seen, but Callum I knew, and his croft; alas the roof of it fell in a few years ago; and it was the last inhabited house of a Carsaig clachan. You see the land is "improved" now, for sheep, and it's all in one big farm instead of small crofts, and little greasy, black-faced sheep climb the loose stone walls and nibble the green grass short as a carpet where Callum and his wife lived so long.

May I go on to the end of Callum's story; though it is rather a far cry from this hot Red Sea to the cool Sound of Jura?

He and his wife were to be taken to the poor house in winter, and on the long drive across Kintyre they were told that they would be separated, and there was then and there such a crying and fighting on the road that they were both driven back to the croft—and I was not surprised, for where Callum Bhouie was fighting there would not be a stronger man of his age. So they lived on in the but-and-ben, with the lonely, tall ash standing over it, and the view of Jura, the sweetest I know, in front, and he died very old indeed, and his wife followed him in two or three days, so they were not separated even by death for long.

... Now to my log rolling. It has already been explained by travellers of repute that the Red Sea does not take its name from its colour; this statement, I believe, is now generally accepted as being something more than the mere "traveller's tale." It is not, however, so generally known that this Sea is peculiarly blue, so blue, in fact, that were you to dip a white dress into it it would come out blue, or at least it looks as if it would. It reminds me of a splendid blue silk with filmy white lace spread over it. Against this the figures on the shady side of the ship look very pretty; ladies and children and menkind all in such various bright, summery colours, lying in long chairs or grouped round green card tables. "The Ladies' Gulf," it should be called now. That used to be the name for the sea off the N. W. of Africa where you pick up the North East trades as you sail south. Times have changed and sea routes, so the name should be passed east to this Gulf of Suez, where ladies and parasols look at their best and the appearance of a man in oilskins would be positively alarming.

The Indian judge with the Italian name and myself, are, as far as I can see, the only passengers who are not engaged doing something. Perhaps the judge's Italian name and my Vino Tinto respectively account for our contemplative attitudes. He has pulled his chair well forward to be out of the crowd, and makes a perfect picture of happy repose; he wears a dark blue yachting suit, and his hands are deep in his pockets. His face is ruddy, and his eyes are blue and seem to sparkle with the pleasure of watching the tumbling blue seas, and the bursting white and green crests. Just now a rope grummet, thrown by an elderly youth at a tub, rolled under his legs, and the judge handed it back most politely, and resumed contemplation. In two minutes another quoit clattered under his chair, this he likewise returned very politely; at the third, however, he sighed and gave up his study of the blue and sauntered aft to the smoking-room—such is life on a P. & O.

The above picture is intended to represent ladies in afternoon dress, the colours of the intermediate tints of the rainbow—expressions celestial. It is the witching hour before changing from one costume to the other, after afternoon tea and just before dressing for dinner. To the right you may observe an Ayah spoiling some young Britons.[3] You see in the background a golden sunset on a wine red sea, and our lady artist, a pupil from Juliens; she is gazing out at the departing glory.... After sundown the decks are empty, for the people are below dressing and at dinner; towards nightfall they become alive again with ladies in evening dresses with delicate scarves and laces, promenading to and fro—a difficult thing to do in such a crowd. One moment they are dark shadowy forms against the southern night sky, then they are all aglow in the lights from the music-room windows and the ports of the deck cabins.

[3] Make it Anglo Saxons, if you like!



"The-most-beautiful-lady-in-the-ship," in dark muslin, and the stalwart-man stand near us to-night; they are in half-light, leaning against the rail, looking out into the darkness. I wished Whistler might have seen them; he alone could have caught the soft night colours—the black so velvety and colourful, blurred into the dark blue of the night sky, with never the suggestion of an outline, and just one touch of subdued warm colour on the bend of her neck. Sometimes her scarf floats lightly across his sleeve and rests, and floats away again. I suppose they talk of—the weather, and repeat themselves in the dear old set terms. That is why nature is more interesting than man, it never repeats itself or displays an effect for more than a minute. Five men out of any six on board, I believe, would make a fair copy of the conversation of these two, but only one man who has lived in our times could have made a fist at that effect of faint lamp-light and fainter moonlight on the black of the coat against the deep blue-black of the star spangled southern sky. Only the "Master" could have got the delicacy and movement of the faintly sea-green veil that sometimes lifts on the warm breeze and floats an instant across the sky and the broadcloth; he would have got the innermost delicacy of colour form purely and simply, without an inch, of conventional paint or catch-penny sentiment.



CHAPTER VII

I believe this is the 5th. These 'chits' help one to remember dates; they are little cards presented you when you order soda water or wine, or are solicited for subscriptions to sports or sweepstakes. They have the date marked on them, and you add your name, and number of berth, and away goes your steward to the bar or wine man, and you get what you ordered; it may be ages afterwards, when you have almost forgotten what it was you ordered, but punctually at the end of the week, you get them in a bundle and pay up. "I find," to quote Carlyle again, "I have a considerable feeling of astonishment at the unexpected size of the bundles. It's a most excellent system, and if there wasn't such a crowd it would work out all right here."

It is uncomfortably warm now and damp. Last night we on the main deck had to sleep with ports closed, so we had to live with very little air; I do not know what the temperature was, not having a thermometer with us, as we are almost amidship and near the engine, it must have been considerable.

... The Red Sea does not grow in my affections; as we go south there is too much of the sensation of being slowly stewed. At Babel Mandeb I believe the temperature of the sea rises to 100 deg. F.

The islands we pass on the shore to the east, distant about fifteen miles as I write, are interesting enough. I suppose the inhabitants are somewhat irresponsible, and were we to land there in the boats unarmed, might find us full occupation for the rest of our lives as slaves in the interior. There was a ship wrecked on this coast some years ago, and her boat's crew landed, and were either killed or are up country slaving. R. tells me the wife of one of them lives beside his people in Fife, which makes us feel almost in touch with the sandy shore. What an anomaly—a modern steamship packed with western civilisation reeling off twenty knots an hour—past a desert land of lawless nomadic Arab tribes.



As we get south nearer Aden the sand spits tail out south and slope off inland like wide glaciers, through which appear dark coloured rocky islets.

... We had rather bad luck yesterday and to-day; the iron wind catcher put out at our port to make a draught caught a sea, and threw it all over our cabin. G.'s maid had just opened my overland trunk to give the contents an airing, and now my collars are pulp and rose pink from the lining of the collar box, so I must call on the barber who runs a shop on board. We had the carpet taken up and our clothes hung up to dry, but they won't, for the air is so hot and damp—with the least exertion you steam! Imagine the joy of having to dress for dinner in such cramped space and heat—you drop a stud and a year of your life in finding it! I think most people realise that their feelings under these circumstances cannot be exactly described in decorous language, so they set their teeth in grim silence; and after all there is something laughable about all the trouble—we needn't go in for white shirts and black coats and trousers in the tropics unless we like. Everyone feels them horribly uncomfortable and unsuitable, but no one dares to be so utterly radical as come to dinner in anything else. If a flannel shirt and shorts were the fashion, if only for the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, how many valued lives would be prolonged. The penance in India is not so bad; there your Boy hunts your stud whilst you sit and cool.

A number of passengers sleep on deck now; I suppose three and four in a cabin is intolerable. They have their mattresses brought up on deck by their cabin steward, and he chalks their number on the deck at their feet; you can thus sleep in a strong wet draught under the officers' deck. There is a great deal of pleasure in sleeping in the open, but you should have nothing but stars overhead and a shelter to windward, if it is only a swelling in the ground or a sod or two. The ladies have a part of the deck reserved, and the floor of the music room round the well that opens into the dining-saloon below. Their part of the deck is defended at night by a zereba of deck chairs, piled three or four feet high; it suggests privacy!

We had our port open last night again—my fault—and just as G. came to my end of the cabin to tell me the waves were getting near the port, in one came! So we spent the small hot hours rearranging things, shut the port and slept the sleep of the weary, and awakened more dead than alive from too little air and too much water.

Yesterday the ship went on fire. It started on the woodwork of the companion way, where there was a place for stationery; there was a mighty mess of water and smell of smoke and a panel or two burned, and no great damage done, as far as I can hear. I am surprised we don't go on fire every day with so many smokers chucking cigarette ends overboard. The wind-catchers sticking out of the ports of course catch these, and they blow into the berths. Yesterday, however, to prevent this, two or three buckets with sand in them were put down on deck in which cigarette ends are to be buried and pipes knocked out, so there's a chance for us all yet!

This morning I made a water-colour for my engineer friend, as a return for the wine vase he gave me. I thought he'd like a sketch of a Highland burn in spate—thought it would be cooling. How it came about I cannot explain, but I did him a recollection of a burn within five to seven miles, by sea, of his birthplace in Jura! I'd put him down as coming from the Clyde.

The biggest event for me in this day's reckoning was the discovery that the distinguished judge I observed contemplating the blue waves for some minutes, was an artist before he took to Law! You might have knocked me down with a feather—five years in Lauren's studio in Paris, and three pictures on the line the year he was called to the bar and two of them sold! We had a great talk about art and all the rest of it. He and Jacomb Hood and others were fellow students, and he and Jacomb Hood and this writer, and various artists and newspaper men are to meet at his board in Calcutta and have a right good Bohemian evening as in days of yore.

Is it not curiously sanguine this belief, to which I've seen quite old men clinging—that you can repeat a good time. It is possible we will have a good evening, and talk lots of shop, for we all know far more about it now, than we did then; but it was what we did not know, that gave the charm to student days.

We talk art and technique pretty hard, but I can't quite get over the shock—an artist—become a judge—A Quartier Latin Art Student—a Judge of the High Court—with a fixed income, and on his way to Calcutta, perhaps to hang folk!

We had sports to-day and a sing-song in the evening. The sports were very amusing; the bolster fight on a spar doesn't sound interesting, but it was; it got quite exciting towards the end as the wiry cavalry colonel, hero of many a stricken field, knocked out all comers, young or old. Egg and spoon races and threading needles were a little stupid, but what tableaux the groups of fair women made, with the bright dresses and complexions, and the jolly brown young men, all in the soft light that was filtering through the awning and blazing up from under its edge from the sea.



Sunday—at Aden—loafed all morning—vowed I'd not paint—bustle and movement too great—painted hard in afternoon—horribly difficult—too many people—ladies skirt in palette—man's hoof in water tin—chucked it.



This is verbatim from my log and expresses a very little of one's feelings; everyone is so jolly and polite too, you just have to stop, or go on and show temper. Two or three of the passengers tried to paint effects, each formed a centre of a group of people, who looked over their shoulders, the onlookers one after another remarking with ingratiating smiles, "You don't mind my looking, do you?" Why on earth do people look over the shoulders of persons painting, when they would never dream of looking over the shoulder of any one writing? Notwithstanding the crowd and polite requests to be "allowed to look," and the untenable effort required to give soft answers, I did manage to make a sketch or two at Aden—one of stony hills and government houses in the background, and in the front green water and the vendors of fans and beads, and curious brown, naked, active fellows in sharp stemmed light coloured boats, which they could row! Some of them had turbans, pink or lemon yellow, or white skull caps, and there were also Egyptian officials and soldiers in white uniform and red turbash, in white launches that raced about through the green water, cutting a great dash of white with their bows; there was colour enough, and movement and sun galore.



I suppose these "ragged rocks and flinty spires" are the rocks that inspired the Pipe-Major with the cheery farewell to "The Barren Rocks of Aden"—here they are the rocks you see from Aden—everyone knows the tune.

7th October.—The lady artist and I compared sketches. We both worship Whistler, and various writers we agree about, but I fear we are only in sympathy so far. I gathered from her to-night that I ought to study native character in India, for our countrymen in India had no picturesqueness, no art about them, and to associate with them one had better be at home. I felt saddened and went on deck and saw the people she called "Anglo-Indians" (more than two-thirds Scots, Irish, Cornish, and Welsh, with a negligible fraction of possible Angles) all lying like dead men in rows, with no side or show about them as they lay; some in contorted positions, with here and there a powerful limb or well rounded northern head showing in the half dark. Rulers of the Indian Empire, by Odin! or Jove! damp and hot, and in the dark, in a strong draught, without a pick of gold lace, prostrate, sweating uncomfortably, sleeping; and travelling as their innumerable predecessors have ever travelled, from the North to rule the South.



They may be inartistic, but they look mighty touching, pathetic, and wonderful, not only the individual whose legs you step over but that almighty race combine—whatever you call it[4]—which he represents.... Ladies were stealing to their lairs in the zereba on deck, and in the music room; they look quite Eastern, all muffled up in tea gowns and gauzy draperies. The music room has only recently been reserved for them at night; a mere man who had camped there with wife and child did not know of the change; and Mrs Deputy-Commissioner told us they were all lying out there in the dark when the man entered in pyjamas and had stepped over a dozen prostrate forms when Mrs D.-C. said incisively, "We are all ladies here," and he murmured "Good Lord," and his retreat was rapid—what a scare he had!

[4] British or English.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .



Only one more day's dull reckoning and we will be ashore. I expect everyone is getting rather sick of the crowded life. A fancy dress ball pulled through last night. Most ingenious dresses were made up, and prizes were given to the best. All those in fancy dress formed up and walked past the judges in single file. There were pretty much the usual stock costumes, and nothing original amongst the ladies. The very black-eyed belle with red cheeks wore a mantilla of course, and gripped a fan and had a camellia in her hair, and was called Andalusian, but her walk and expression were "made in England"—a Spanish girl's expression and walk can't be got up in a day or two. The-most-beautiful-lady-in-the-ship was—upon my word, I don't know what her dress was called, something of the "Incroyable" period; whatever it was called, she carried it well and could walk, the rest merely toddled. She is Australian, still, I'd have given her First Prize. The lady who did get it, was really very pretty, and dressed as a white Watteau or Dresden shepherdess. Amongst the men "The British Tourist" was perfection—answered all requirements, and suggested the tourist of old and the tourist of to-day; he had check trousers, chop whiskers, a sun hat, umbrella, blue spectacles, and the dash of red Baedeker for colour. Then an Assistant-Commissioner, an Irishman, was splendidly got up. I'd noticed he had been out of sight a good deal lately—he had been sewing his own clothes, and they were really well made! "An Eastern Potentate" he called himself, or a Khedive, and ran to riot in a jumble of orders and jewellery and gold chains. Trousers and jacket were pale cinnamon with scarlet facings and a red turbash, and how well the clothes fitted! clever Mr B.; he knows so much about many subjects, and can sew! He and my Judge acquaintance were arguing last night. The Judge is a Cornishman. When you get a highly educated Cornishman and an Irishman together, however long they have been in England, and they begin to talk, it's worth while sitting out. B. explained in soft and winning words to the Judge that his life was a giddy round of society, long leave, and high pay, whilst he in the far North led a lonely life of continuous hard work and no pay to speak of; and the Judge, with equal if not greater fluency, described B.'s up-country life as perpetual leave on full pay, a long delightful picnic, and so on and so forth. My sympathy went with the Judge; I think his life is the least pleasant, but one had to allow for his greater rapidity of speech and practice in courts before juries, besides his art studies in Paris. Later R. joined; he is an advocate in Calcutta and hails from the Hebrides. Then came a Welsh Major, a gunner. That made a party of an Irishman, two Scots (one of them anglicised), a Welsh, and a Cornishman, and they discussed everything under the sun except the Celtic Renaissance: for they spend their days on the confines of the Empire, and the brain takes time to make the tail wag.



CHAPTER VIII



Bombay.—I've travelled these three weeks with people who have lived in India, and I have been brought up on Indian books and Indian home letters, and in one way and another have picked up an idea of what the people and the features of nature are like, but I have received only a very faint idea of its real light and colour. I thought Egypt had given me a fair idea of what India might be, but nothing in Egypt can touch what I've seen in these two half days.

Our first view of Bombay from where we lay at anchor a mile off shore was very disappointing. All there is to see is a low shore and a monotonous line of trees and houses; the air was warm and damp and hazy, and the smoke from two or three tall chimneys hung in thin wreaths over land and water. In our immediate neighbourhood steamers were coaling, and their dust did not add any beauty to the picture, and the actual landing is not very interesting; you get off the ship to the wharf in a big launch, a slow process but quietly and well-managed, and on shore have a little trouble about your luggage, even though it may be in the hands of an agent. I'd two or three cab voyages, "gharry," I should have said, before I got the best part of ours to the Taj Hotel. There a friend had booked us our rooms before we sailed, and on the morning of our arrival had very thoughtfully secured them with lock and key, so that no unscrupulous Occidental could play on Oriental weakness and bag them before our arrival.

The journeys in the gharry were not entirely successful, and I didn't get all our baggage till next day, but they presented me with one astounding series of beautiful pictures, so that my head fairly reeled with the continuous effort to grasp the way of things and their forms and colours, things in the street, themselves perhaps of no great interest but for the intense colourful light.—There is a water carrier; the sun shines blue on the back of his brown bare legs and back, and blazes like electric sparks on the pairs of brass water pots he carries slung across his shoulders. He is jogging along fast, his "shoulder knot a-creaking," and the water that splashes on to the hot dust intensifies the feeling of heat and light. Then you catch the flash of silver rings in the dust on a woman's toes as she strides along, and have the unfamiliar pleasure of seeing the human form, God's image in brown, and note the rounded limbs and bust, and the movement of hip and swinging arm through white draperies, which the sun makes a golden transparency. What thousands of figures, and all in different costumes or bare skin.



Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales arrived the day before we did, so the air vibrates with the salutes from guns, and is full of heat and curdling smoke, and colour. "The Prince" is distinctly in the air, and we feel glad in consequence that we have arrived in time to have seen the town at its brightest: from morning to night there is one scene after another of continually shifting figures and colours, perfectly fascinating to us new comers.

... Guns again from the war ships, aimed right at our windows! Everything jingles, the air is quivering with the sound and light. The ships in the bay are ablaze with flags, and the sides of the Apollo Bundar (the landing place of the Prince) are a mass of decorations and flags. Below our windows in the shadow of our hotel on the embankment, the crowd of natives in their best behaviour and best clothes move to and fro making holiday, watching the ships and any ceremony that may come off in their neighbourhood, for like our own natives they love a tamasha. They wear flimsy clothes of varied colours, lemon-yellow and pale rose, white and pale green, and the Southern light softens all these by making each reflect a little on to the other.

... There they go again! banging away—good thing there's no glass in our hotel windows! You can hardly see the shipping now, the smoke hangs low on the turquoise blue of the bay, and you can just see the yellow gleam of the flash and feel the concussion and the roar that follows.

Interjectory this journal must be, even my sketches are running into meaningless strokes with so many subjects following one on the top of the other. In the pauses that follow the passing of troops and gun-firing, the crowds in the streets below our hotel watch snake charmers, jugglers, and monkey trainers who play up to us at our balconies.

What a delight!—there they are, all the figures we knew as dusty coloured models as children, now all alive and moving and real. The snake charmer, a north countryman, I think, sits on his heels on the road and grins up at us and chatters softly and continuously, holding up his hands full of emerald green slow moving snakes; a crowd of holiday townspeople stand round him at a little distance and watch closely. He stows the green snakes away into a basket, and his hands are as lithe as his snakes but quicker, then pipes to nasty cobras, the colour of the dusty road; they raise their heads and blow out their hoods and sway to and fro as he plays. Then the mongoose man shows how his beast eats a snake's head—no trick about this! And always between the turns of the performances the performers look up and show their white teeth and talk softly to us, but we can't hear what they say the windows are so high up. Then bang go the guns again, and we shut our blinds and try to read of the show of the day, the opening of Princes Street, when the Prince drove through "millions of happy and prettily dressed subjects." As we read there comes a knock and a message with an invitation card to see the Prince open a museum, and we read on; another knock comes just as I'd begun to draw the Prince as we saw him last night in a swirl of dust, outriders, and cavalry, blurred in night and dust and heat—it is another card! To meet their Royal Highnesses, the Prince and Princess of Wales to-night at Government House! Surely this is the veritable land of the tales of the Arabian Nights! It comes as a shock to live all your life in your own country and never to see the shadow of Royalty, then suddenly to be asked twice in one day to view them as they pass—I am quite overcome—It will be a novel experience, and won't it be warm! It means top hat, frock coat and an extra high collar for the afternoon, and in the evening a hard, hot, stiff shirt and black hot clothes, and a crush and the thermometer at pucca hot-weather temperature, and damp at that, but who cares, if we actually see Royalty—twice in one day!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I am determined not to go out to-day, not on any account. I will sit in this tower room of this palace and write and draw, and will shut these jalousies that open west and south and north-east, and offer distracting views, and I will contemplate the distempered walls in the shade till I have recalled all I saw yesterday. If I go to the window, or outside, there will be too many new things to see. I maintain that for one day of new sights, a day is needed to arrange them in the tablets of memory.... But is it possible I saw all these things in one day! From a tiny wedding in the Kirk in the morning to the Royal Reception at Government House at night; from dawn till late night one splendid line of pictures of Oriental and Occidental pageantry, of which I have heard and read of so much and realised so little compared with reality.



We started the day with a wedding of a lady we knew on board, to a young Scottish officer, the day after her arrival. We directed our "boy" to tell our driver to go to the Free Church. But apparently neither of these benighted heathens could distinguish between the "Free" and the "Wee Free," or the "U. P." or the "Established" and took us to the English Church. We had such a hunt for the particular branch of the Church of Scotland. It was quite a small kirk, and our numbers were in proportion. We arrived a little hot and angry at being so misled, but the best man, a brother officer of the bridegroom, had not turned up, so we waited a little and chatted and joked a little, and felt in our hearts we would wish to see the bride and bridegroom's friends and relations about them. The best man came soon, and the bridegroom's colonel, and made an audience of four, not counting the minister; and the somewhat lonely pair stood before him, with the punkah above them, and the sun streamed through latticed windows and a modest bit of stained glass, and they were joined for better and no worse I am sure. Then the minister opened a little paste board box someone had sent from home, and out came a little rice, and we four got a little each and threw it very carefully, two or three grains at a time so as not to miss. The bride had a dainty sprig of white heather in a brooch of a lion's collar bone, and was dressed in white and had a very becoming rose from home, and the sea, on her cheeks. As we prayed I made a sketch of them for her sister at home. Then they and the witnesses signed their names, and where their hands and wrists touched the vestry table there was a tiny puddle, and yet this is what they call "cold weather" here!

We met the bride and bridegroom later at lunch, and we drank to each other's health in pegs of lemon squash after the latest fashion East of Suez.

"It was a wee, wee waddin' In a far, far toon,"

and it's far awayness from friends and relatives and their own country was rather pathetic, even though the pair looked so handsome and happy.

We drove back more leisurely and marvelled at the innumerable lovely groups in streets and by-ways, the flicker of light through banyan trees on white-robed figures, the little carts with big wooden wheels and small oxen and sharp big shadows, and we stopped to watch a splendid group of men washing clothes, a dozen or more naked brown statues against a white low wall, water splashing over them and round them, flecks of sun and shadows coming through the leaves—I suppose these were natives from the north as they had good legs. I must try and put that down this afternoon if I can, and bring in the hedge of convolvulus with lilac blooms behind and the hoody crows dancing round; then past lines of pretty horses and tents and officers and ladies at lunch. At our lunch at the Taj we bade good-bye to five friends, R. and D. for Bangalore, Mrs D. C. for the north, and our newly-married pair for Baroda. So G. and I and Mr and Mrs H. remain out of our table on board ship; the H.'s stay for a time at the Taj and tell us so much about Bombay, its people, and their ways, that a guide book would feel very dry reading.

By the afternoon we have received I think five invitations on yellow cards to various royal functions! Now indeed we are in the marvellous East, in the land to which Scot and Irish should travel to see their prince or king. So you, my dear friends, artists and professional men, who have chosen to live as I have done, in or near the capital of your native land, and whose most thrilling pageant in the whole year is the line of our worthy bailies and the provost in hired coaches going up the High Street to open a meeting of ministers, if you would experience the feeling that stirred the blood of your ancestors so hotly, the feeling of personal loyalty to prince or king, the sense that is becoming as dormant as the muscles behind our ears, all you have to do is to leave your native shores and your professional duties, and home ties, and travel to some outlying part of the Empire; say to Bombay—there and back will cost you about L200 by P. & O., but you will realise then that the old nerves may still vibrate. You, my friends, who can't afford this luxury, you must just stay at home and be as loyal as you can under the circumstances, and try not to think of our departed glories, and Home Rule, or Separation—and you can read, about these yellow tickets to royal shows and such far off things, in traveller's tales.

The first of these functions was the laying of the foundation of a museum of science and art; it sounds prosaic, but it was a pageant of pageantry and pucca tomasha too; the greater part, I daresay, just the ordinary gorgeousness of this country, fevered with stirring loyalty. The ceremony was in the centre of an open space of grass, surrounded by town buildings of half Oriental and half Western design, and blocks of private flats, each flat with a deep verandah and all bedecked with flags, and gay figures on the roofs and in the verandahs. In the centre of the grass were shears with a stone hanging from them on block and tackle. To our left was a raised dais with red and yellow striped tent roof supported on pillars topped with spears and flags and the three golden feathers of the Prince of Wales. In front of the circle of chairs opposite this and to our right sat the Indian princes; they had rather handsome brown faces and fat figures, and wore coats of delicate silks and satins, patent leather shoes and loose socks, big silver bangles and anklets; their turbans and swords sparkled with jewels, and the air in their neighbourhood was laden with the scents of Araby.

Behind us sat the Parsees and their women-folk, soberly clad in European dress; they are intelligent looking people with pleasant cheery manners, I would like to see more of them. Their fire-worship interests me, for it was till lately our own religion, and I even to-day know of an old lady in an out-of-the-way corner of our West Highlands who, till quite recently, went through various genuflexions every morning—old forms of fire-worship—as the sun rose; and in the Outer Isles we have still many remains of our fore-fathers' worship woven into the untruthful jingling rhymes of the monks.[5]

[5] See "Carmina Gadelica, the Treasure House, Hymns and Incantations of Highlands and Islands," collected by Alexander Carmichael, 1900, and there also the pre-Christian game and fishing laws of Alba.

Through the pillars of the Shamiana we could see lines of white helmets of troops, and beyond them the crowds of natives in bright dresses, banked against the houses and in groups in the trees, a kaleidoscope of colour. Past this came a whirl of Indian cavalry with glittering sabres, and the Prince and Princess came on to the dais—more brightly dressed than they were in Oxford Street three weeks ago, the Prince in a white naval uniform with a little gold and a white helmet, an uncommonly becoming dress though so simple; the Princess in the palest pink with a suggestion of darker pink showing through, and a deep rose between hat and hair. A tubby native in frock coat and brown face and little pink turban held a mushroom golden umbrella near the Prince and Princess, not over them, it really was not needed for there were clouds, and the light was just pleasant. The Prince then "laid" the stone—that is, some natives slackened the tackle, and it came down all square—and he and the Princess talked to the Personages in attendance and various City Dignitaries. First, I should have said, the Prince read a speech which seemed to me to cover the ground admirably. I forget what he said now, but you could hear every word. He had notes, but I think he spoke by heart. I made a careful picture of it all; red decorations, green grass, Prince and Princess, and the golden umbrella, but it is gone, lost—gone where pins go, I suppose.

You should have heard the people cheering, and seen the running to and fro of crowds to catch a glimpse of the great Raj as he drove away! In a minute the great place was all on the move, Rajahs getting into their carriages and dashing off with their guards riding before and behind, and smaller Rajahs with seedier carriages and only bare-footed footmen jumping up behind.

Everyone was happy and interested, and what a bustle and movement there was! The banging of the guns on the men-of-war began again as the motley, fascinatingly interesting crowd, cavalry outriders, Sikhs, Parsees, Gourkas, Hindoos, and Mussulmen, sped away down to the Apollo Bundar to see the Prince go off to the flagship. H. and I went with the tide, a jolly cheery medley of coloured races, waddling, trotting, running, the whole crowd cut in two by the Royal Scots marching through them, their pipers playing the "Glendaruil Highlanders." Sandies and Donalds and natives of India, but all subjects of the great Raj: and all got down together to the Bundar to see the Royal embarkation. Next we met G. and Mrs H. driving as fast as possible through the crowd to still another function, at the Town Hall, where the British Princess met the women of all India in their splendour, and woman's world met woman's world for the world's good. I'd fain have seen the tall, fair, Saxon surrounded by devoted Eastern subjects! All I did see was some of the preparations—red cloth being laid in acres up to a stately Parthenon—but from various accounts I have heard from ladies who were present, this must have been one of the most extraordinary and gorgeous functions the world has ever seen.

The Princess, in robes and creations that chilled words, walked ankle-deep in white flower petals and golden clippings, pearls rained, and on all sides were grouped the most beautiful Eastern ladies in most exquisite silks of every tint of the rainbow, with diamonds, pearls, and emeralds and trailing draperies, skirts, and soft veils, and silken trousers; sweet scents and sounds there were too, in this Oriental dream of heaven, and everything showed to the utmost advantage in the mellow trembling light that fell from two thousand five hundred candles, and one hundred and ninety-nine glittering and bejewelled candelabra. And in the middle, there was a golden throne of bejewelled peacocks, and punkahs and umbrellas of gold and rose—a dream of beauty—and not one man in the whole show!

The Apollo Bundar, as everyone who has been in India knows, is a projecting part of the esplanade below the Taj Hotel. Here Royalties are in the habit of landing and embarking. On the centre has been built something in the nature of a triumphal arch with eastern arches and minarets at its four corners with golden domes. It is all white, and between it and the pavilion at the landing stairs a great awning, or Shamiana is stretched, of broad red and white striped cloth. Everywhere are waving flags from golden spears, and little palms and shrubs in green tubs are arranged on either side of the Shamiana; and the effect is quite pretty; but considering the historic importance of the occasion and the natural suitability of the surroundings for a Royal landing, the conception and arrangement of spectacular effect was astoundingly poor—and it must be admitted it is a mistake to hide the principal actors at the most telling point of a momentous event with bunting and shrubs in pots, or both! The actual landing, the stepping on shore, should have been pictorial and visible to the thousands of spectators. Instead of this, the Royal personages, the moment they stepped ashore, were conducted into this tent, to listen to written speeches! What an occasion for a great spectacular effect lost for ever!

When we got down to the Bundar the Sikh cavalry had dismounted and stood at their horses' heads; their dark blue and dark rose uniforms and turbans made a foil to the brilliant dresses of the crowd.

After witnessing the departure of the Prince, we sat a breathing space on the lawn at the Yacht Club and watched the day fading, "Evening falling, shadows rising," and the ladies dresses growing faint in colour, as the background of the Bay and the white men-of-war became less distinct; the golden evening light crept up the lateen sails in front of us and left them all grey, and the moon rose beyond the Bay, and the club lamps were lit, and the guns began to play—vivid flashes of flame; and a roar round the fleet, straight in our faces, and again far over to Elephanta, yellow flashes in the violet twilight, and the Prince came ashore.

The cavalry and their lances at once follow his carriage; they are silhouetted against the last of gold in the west, flicker across the lamps of the Bundar, and rattle away into the shadows of the streets. There is the noise of many horses feet and harness, and the last of the guns from the fleet. Then the night is quiet again and hot as ever, and there's nothing left of the glare and noise of the day, only the glowing lamps on some of the buildings, and the subdued hum of the talk of the moving thousands, and the whispering sound of their bare feet in the dust. The Eastern crowd is distinctly impressed and very much compressed; they will now spend the rest of the evening gazing at the Bombay public buildings that are being lit all over with little oil lamps.

And this was but a small part of the day for us, the best was to come in the damp, hot night.



CHAPTER IX



Dined at our hostlerie; in every direction vistas of uniforms, ladies' dresses, maharajahs, rajahs, turbans, and jewels, the marble pillars and the arches of blue night over the bay for background.

Then we got away in a bustle of hundreds of other carriages and gharries, all bound for Government House. We started a little late; you may have observed that with ladies you are apt to be late for social functions, but rarely miss a train! H. and I drove ahead with soothing cigars, and the ladies came close behind.

On our left we passed the R.H. Artillery Camp, rows of tents frosted with moonlight against the southern sea, some had lamps glowing inside; and further on we passed their lines of picketted horses, with silent native syces squatted on the sand at their feet.

... The dust hangs heavily from the gharries in front of us as we drive north round the Back Bay, which we are told is very beautiful, and like the Bay of Naples in the daytime; what we see on this warm night is a smooth, dark sea, which gives an infrequent soft surge on the shore, a few boats lie up on the moonlit sand and figures lie asleep in their shadows, and others sit round little fires. Dark palm stems and banyan trees are between us and the sea, and to our right are fern-clad rocks and trees in night green shade, rising steeply to where we can distinguish white walls and lights of villas of the wealthy Bombay natives.

We pass the Parsis' Towers of Silence, where vultures entomb the dead, and inhale for a long part of the road the smoke of burning wood and Hindoos—an outrageous experience. The road rises gradually and gets narrower as we leave the shore, and the procession of carriages goes slower. On either side are low white walls and villas and heavy foliage. Coloured lamps are hung in every direction, and their mellow lights blend pleasantly with the moonlight and shadows, and shine through the flags that hang without movement, and light up ropes of flowers and ribands with gold inscriptions of welcome, that stretch from tree to tree across the road. You read on them in golden letters, "Tell papa how happy we are under British Rule," and on the walls, sitting or lying at length, and in the trees are bronze-coloured natives in white clothes, or in the buff, silently watching the procession of carriages, and they do look as contented as can be; and so would we be too, if we had to get into their evening undress instead of hard shirts and broad cloth on such a damp, hot night. It is November and ought to be cool, but this year everyone says it is just October as regards temperature and moisture, and October, they say, is the beastliest month in the twelve. The drive of four or five miles takes over an hour, and looking south we see the lights shining across the bay from where we started. We climb slowly up Malabar Hill in the dusky shade of the heavy foliage and come to a stop amongst crowds of other carriages opposite Government House.

I'd like to stop and paint this scene, it would suit the stage—the marquee on the right, pale moonlight on its ridge, and warm light and colour showing through its entrance as ladies go in to put off their cloaks; its guy ropes are fast to branches and air roots of a banyan tree; and to the left there is another graceful tree, with wandering branches, hung with many red and yellow paper lamps, the branches like copper in the light and in shadow black against the dark blue sky. In front is part of Government House, dim white with trellis work and creepers round a classic verandah, and lamplight coming through the open jalousies. Leading up to the verandah are wide steps in shadow; and on these, a light catching now and then on a jewel or scabbard, are groups of Indian Princes. Beside us on the lawn are people in all kinds of dresses, soldiers in uniform and the gold dull in the shadows, ladies in fairy-coloured ball dresses, and Parsi men in frock-coats and shiny black hats, their women in most delicate veils over European dresses. The figures move quietly and speak softly, and the air is full of the rattle of crickets or cicadas and a pleasant scent of night flowers, and cheroot smoke, with a whiff of old ocean.

We wait and chat outside with acquaintances, and some ladies practise curtseys whilst the natives are being received—the coloured man first, the white man and his womenfolk when they may! Then we all go up the steps and into the brilliant interior, which is Georgian in style, and light and prettily coloured. It is distinctly a sensation, to come from semi-darkness into full light and such an extraordinary variety of people and colour and costumes. The figures in the half light outside were interesting, in the full blaze of hundreds of candles from many chandeliers the effect is just as brilliant as anything one could imagine. The strong colours of the natives' turbans, silk coats, sashes, and jewels enrich the scene, and their copper colour helps to set off the splendid beauty of our women with their dazzling skins and delicately coloured dresses. Positively these princes were inches deep in emeralds, diamonds, and pearls.



Then comes the tableau of the evening, the Prince and Princess walking with aides-de-camp through their Eastern and Western subjects, with an introduction made here and there. The Prince walks in front and the Princess a few steps behind. She seems very pleased and interested, and still, I think, looks under her eye lest she should fail to recognise some one she would wish to notice, and the Prince's expression is so pleasant, quiet, and possessed in repose, and with a very ingratiating smile. He stops and speaks to right and left, to one of our officers, or a native prince. One, a tall grizzled old fellow with gorgeous turban and the eye and air of a hunter, bends very low over the offered hand, and talks a moment, possibly tells how he shot with the King when he was Prince, and how there are tigers and devoted subjects waiting in the north in his state all at the service of the son of the Great White Raj, and as the Prince goes past, the old man follows him with a very kindly expression. I must say that these people's jewels interest me more than their expressions; but this one man's face was exceptional, and he was lean! You see the thing above these people, that is the punkah; when it waggles about it makes a cold draught and you get hot with annoyance.



Immediately the Prince passed, the crowd pressed towards a side room for champagne and iced drinks, the native Princes gallantly leading the charge. At the start we were all pretty level, but we Britons made a bad finish, and the native waiters and champagne were somewhat exhausted when we came in, but for what we did receive we are truly thankful, for it was sorely needed.

How we got home again now seems like a dream. I have just a vague recollection of hours and hours in the warm dusk, and crowds of people in evening dress waiting till their carriages came up. Perhaps the arrangements could not have been better? Some of us dozed, some smoked Government House cheroots, which were good, and the time passed. All conversation gradually stopped, and you only heard the number of the gharry or carriage shouted out with a rich brogue and sometimes a little stifled joke and a "Chelo!" which seems to stand for "All right," "Go ahead," "Look sharp," or "Go on and be damned to you," according to intonation and person addressed. I do not quite understand how it took such hours to get everyone away, and I do not understand how we ever managed to get up that vast square staircase up the enormous central tower of the Taj Hotel, for G. was deadly tired, so of course the lift wasn't working—it looked so big and grey, and silent in the cold light of morning.

Then to sleep, and tired dreams of the whole day and evening; I dreamt I was in a Government House and the guests had gone and I met a dream Prince and a dream of an A.D.C. in exquisite uniform who said, "quai hai," and in an instant there were dream drinks, and cheroots such as one used to be able to get long ago, and we planned ways to remedy abuses, and the greatest was the abuse of the Royal Academical privileges; and at such length we went into this, that this morning I wrote out the whole indictment and it covered six of these pages, and so it is too long to insert here. And our remedy as it was in a dream was at once effective—sculpture and painting became as free and as strong an influence in our national life in Britain as literature is at this moment—then came a frightful explosion! and I awoke, and the sun was blazing out of a blue sky through the open windows—then it came again, a terrific bang! and the jalousies rattled and the whole of the Taj Hotel shook for the war ships were saluting The Prince of Wales, and he and his aides-de-camp and all the officials in his train had been up for hours, "doing their best to serve their country and their King," whilst we private people slumbered.

But whither have I strayed in this discourse? Am I not rather wandering from the point, as the cook remarked to the eel, telling dreams instead of making notes on a cold weather tour as I proposed; so I will stop here, and tell what, by travel and conference, I have observed about Royal functions.

The day has passed to the accompaniment of "God bless the Prince of Wales," and gun firing, and "God save the King," on brass bands, and more gun firing. Somehow or other "God save the King" in India, where you are surrounded by millions of black people, sounds a good deal more impressive than it does at home—perhaps there's more of the feeling of God save us all out here.

I find it impossible to remember nearly all I have seen and heard in one of these bustling days; I should think that even a resident, long familiar with all these everyday common sights that are so new and interesting to us, could barely remember the ceremonies of one day in connection with the Royal Visit.



I remember a dock was opened to-day, and we were favoured with tickets which gave us an admirable view. Again there were shears, at the bottom of a place like a Greek theatre, very large shears this time, and a stone suspended from them. The Prince and Princess came down a wide flight of steps to a platform with two thrones on it. Behind them at the top of the steps were splendid Ionic pillars and a pediment swagged with great wreaths of green. The Prince was followed by officers and ladies and leading Bombay citizens mixed with only a few Indian princes. Sir Walter Hughes of the Harbour Trust presented a magnificent piece of silver in the shape of a barque of the time of Charles II., with high stem and forecastle and billowy sails, guns, ports, standing rigging, and running gear complete, including waves and mermaids, and all made in the School of Art here to Mr Burns' instructions. We sat opposite, in half circles of white uniforms and gay parasols and dresses and dreams of hats. Behind us and all around and outside the enclosure were thousands of natives in thousands of colours. There were speeches, of course, and the Prince touched a button and the stone descended into the bowels of the earth and made the beginning of the new dock.

Then everyone got their carriages, gharries, bicycles, pony carts, dog carts or whatever they came in, as best they could, and we all went trotting, cantering, jambing, galloping, go-as-you-please down the central thoroughfare between high houses of semi-European design, with verandahs and balconies full of natives. The crowds on the pavement stood four or five deep all the way, and hung in bunches on the trees, some in gay dresses, others naked, brown and glistening against the dusty fig trees, stems, and branches. You saw all types and colours, one or two seedy Europeans amongst them, and Eurasians of all degrees of colour, one, a beautiful girl of about twelve I saw for a second as we passed; she had curling yellow hair and white skin, might have sat for one of Millais pictures, and she looked out from the black people with very wide blue eyes, at the passing life of her fathers. Most of us made for the Yacht Club for tea on the lawn; for the Prince, it had been said, was to visit it informally, so all the seats and tables on the lawn were booked days before!

It was rather pretty there; I should not wonder that Watteau never actually saw anything so beautiful. There were, such elegant ladies and costumes, and such an exquisite background, the low wall and the soft colour of the water beyond; the colour calm water takes when you look to the East and the sun is setting behind you, the colour of a fish's silver. And the lawn itself was fresh green; trees stood over the far end of the Club House, and under these the band played. When the lights began to glow along the sea wall and in the Club, and under the trees to light the music, the Prince and the Princess, with Lady Ampthill and Lord Lamington, came and walked up and down and spoke to people, and all the ladies stood up from their tea tables as they passed, and I tell you it was good; such soft glowing evening colours and gracious figures, such groups there were to paint—my apologies for the hasty attempt herewith. The Prince you may discover in grey frock-coat speaking to the Bandmaster of the 10th Hussars, the Princess and Lady Ampthill near.



I've worked at Saturday's pictures and Sunday's and written my journal, and seen Royal sights all day till now, and opus terrat and it is late and hot, and the mosquitos tune up—the beast that is least eating the beast that is biggest; the beast that is biggest to sleep if it may.



CHAPTER X

... Went this morning with Krishnaswami of Madras—Krishna is my "Boy," and is aged about forty—to Army and Navy Stores for clothes. The thinnest I could get at home feel very thick and hot here in this hot November. I'd also to get photograph films, and guitar strings, and blankets for the Boy against the cold weather—just now the mere thought of a blanket grills one's mind—also to book shops to get books about India, which I am pretty sure never to have time to read. In my innocence tried to get my return tickets on P. & O. changed to another line, and signally failed to do so. Then drew a little and loafed a good deal on the Bundar watching the lateen-rigged boats. These boats take passengers to Elephanta or go off to the ships in the Bay with cargoes of brightly coloured fruits. The scene always reminds me of that beautiful painting by Tiepolo of the landing of Queen Elizabeth in our National Gallery—I daresay one or two Edinburgh people may know it. The boats are about twenty feet long with narrow beam. Figures in rich colours sit under the little awnings spread over the stern; the sailors are naked and brown, and pole the boats to their moorings with long, glistening bamboos, which they drive into the bottom and make fast at stem and stern. It is pleasant to watch the play of muscle, and attitudes, and the flicker of the reflected blue sky on their brown perspiring backs as they swarm up the sloping yards and cotton sails to brail up. No need for anatomy here, or at home for that matter; if an artist can't remember the reflected blue on warm damp flesh, he does not better matters by telling us what he has learned of the machinery inside—that is, of course, where Michael Angelo did not quite pull it off.

As I sat on the parapet a beautiful emerald fish some four feet long came sailing beneath my feet in the yellowish water; a little boy shouted with glee, and a brown naked boatman tried to gaff it, then a brilliant butterfly, velvet black and blue, fluttered through the little fleet; and with the colours of the draperies, of peaceful but piratical looking men, the lateen sails, and sunlight and heat, it all felt "truly Oriental." To bring in a touch of the West, one of the "Renown's" white and green launches with brass funnels rushed up and emptied a perfect cargo of young Eastern princes in white muslins, and pink, orange, and green turbans with floating tails to them. They clambered up the stone slip with their bear leader and got into carriages with uniformed drivers, six or more into each carriage quite easily; the basket trick seems nothing to me now—they were such slips of lads—but what colour!

At lunch we talked with Miss M. She gave us the latest ship news about our late fellow passengers—the mutual interest has not quite evaporated yet—gave us news of the ladies who had come out to be married. She had asked one of these as they came off the ship into the tender what it was she carried so carefully, and the reply was, "My wedding cake," and of a poor man, she told us, who came on at Marseilles bringing out his fiancee's trousseau, and who found on his arrival here, he had utterly lost it! What would the latter end of that man be; would she forgive? Could she forget? It was said that another lady, finding the natives were in the habit of going about without clothes, booked a return passage by the next ship.

Here is a jotting at this same landing place of the Prince and Princess going off to the Guard Ship, but I am so sorry it is not reproduced in colour. They were to have gone to the Caves of Elephanta across the bay, but had not time. They apparently go on and on, without any "eight hour" pause, through the procession of engagements—it must be dreadfully fatiguing.

You see three Eurasians in foreground of the sketch, one of them with almost white hair and white skin, and freckles and blue eyes, he might be Irish or York shire. The two younger boys are, I think, his brothers—they have taken more after their mother. All three are nervous and excited watching for the Prince. They are neatly dressed in thin clothes, through which their slightly angular figures show, and have nervous movements of hand to mouth, and quick gentle voices, slightly staccato, what is called "chee chee," I believe.



Beyond the boys you see a Parsi woman looking round. They are conspicuous people in Bombay by their look of intense harmlessness. The men are very tidy and wear what they probably would describe as European clothes, trousers and long cutaway coats and white turndown collars. Some have grey pot hats, with a round moulding instead of a brim, but their ordinary hat is something like a mitre in black lacquer, and it does suggest heat! They all have very brainy-looking heads from the youth upwards, and wear glasses over eyes that have no quickness—as if they could count but couldn't see—and they constantly move their long, weakly hands in somewhat purposeless angular fashion; the women with similar movements frequently pat their front hair which is plastered down off their foreheads, and shade their eyes with their hands at a right angle to their wrists.

I suppose they and the Bengalis are the backbone of Indian mercantile business. Yet in "India," by Sir Thomas Holdich, I read that out of the population of 287,000,000 the Parsis do not number even one-tenth of a million. It seems to me that we have the Parsi woman's type at home in some of our old families, as we have remains of their Zoroastrian fire-worship. I've seen one or two really beautiful and highly cultured, but the average is just a little high-shouldered and floppy, and their noses answer too closely to Gainsborough's description of Mrs Siddons'. Mrs Siddons is just the Parsi type glorified.

We went to the ladies gymkana to-day more for the sake of the drive, I think, than for anything else—with the utmost deference to ladies, they can be seen at home—a few people played Badminton by lamplight; it was dusky, damp, and warm, and heavy matting hung round the courts. Outside an orange sunset shone through palm stems, and flying foxes as big as fox terriers passed moth-like within arms length. From the height we were on we looked down over the Back Bay, and far below in the twilight we could make out the lights from a few boats on the sand, and fishermen's lamps flickered across the mud flats, and from far out in the west a light kept flashing from an island that was the haunt of pirates the other day. Two more lights we saw were glowing to the south-east in Bombay itself—one, the light of the native fair, and a slight glow from the remains of the Bombay and Baroda Railway Offices, a great domed building that burned up last night after the illuminations. It was madness to cover public buildings with open oil lamps and leave them to be looked after by natives—this huge Taj hotel, dry as tinder outside, a complexity of dry wooden jalousies and balconies, was covered with these lights and floating flags—how it didn't go off like a squib was a miracle. I saw one flag gently float into a lamp, burn up and fall in flaming shreds and no one was the wiser or the worse. The faintest breath of air one way or the other and the other flags would have caught fire, and in a second it would have run everywhere.

... After the Ladies Club, pegs and billiards inside the Yacht Club, the Bombay ladies outside on the green lawn at tea, gossip, hats, local affairs, and Imperialism, and beyond them the ships of the fleet picked out with electric lights along the lines of their hulls and up masts and funnels like children's slate drawings.

It was interesting to come from the street and the crowds of Parsis and natives all so slenderly built and watch the British youth in shirt sleeves and thin tweeds playing billiards—they were not above the average physique of their class, mostly young fellows who had already been through campaigns—and you noted the muscles showing through their thin clothes and compared them with native figures, and it did not seem surprising that one of them could keep in order quite a number of such wisps as the billiard markers for example. But up north they say the natives are stronger and bigger than here.

Every now and then a boy passed round bags of chalk on hot water enamelled plates to dry the players' hands and cues, which gives one an idea of the damp heat of Bombay.

... Now my friend says he's off to dress, and we go into the dressing-room—that is a sight for a nouveau! Dozens of dark men in white linen clothes and turbans are waiting on these little chaps from home, as they drop in. They are tubbed and towelled, shirts studded and put on, and are fitted without hardly lifting a hand themselves till they put the finishing touch to hair and moustache at the glasses and dressing-tables that are fixed round the pillars—sounds like effeminacy, but it is not, for it is far more tiring for a man to be dressed here by two skilful servants than it is to dash into his clothes at home by himself. If you were to dress here without help you might as well have dropped into your bath all standing, you would be so wet and uncomfortable; but all the same I think it is stupid the way we people cling to a particular style of evening dress regardless of circumstances.

Then home to the Taj in the dusk through a crowd of natives jammed tight on the Bundar, all looking one way breathlessly at the fleet's fireworks and search-lights. You touch them on the shoulder and say, "With your leave," and they make way most politely, and you wonder if it is because you are British or because they have bare toes.

I went to the theatre in the evening, a native Theatre Royal. None of my relations or friends seemed interested, so I availed myself of the kind offer of guidance given me by a fellow artist, an amateur painter, but a professional cutter of clothes. I expected something rather picturesque, possibly rather squalid, but found it intensely interesting and characteristic and very clean, a cross-between a little French theatre, say in Monte Parnasse, and one of the lesser London theatres. The acting was French in style and expressive, and full of humour and frankness, and there was a quaint decorative style in all the tableaux and in the actors' movements that made me think rather of Persian figures in decorations than of India. There was a parterre and a wide gallery, in which we got back seats; the audience were all men and well-dressed, and laughed heartily at the points. These I was fortunate enough to have most patiently described to me by a Syrian who sat beside me, apple-faced and beaming, pleased with the play and himself as interpreter. Besides his valued assistance, I had from the doorkeeper a resume of the plot printed in English; my acquaintance was less fortunate, for, owing to the house being full, we had to separate to get seats, and I fear he lost a good deal of the interest. The Syrian gave me the strong points of the different actors, and told me that he himself was an importer of gold leaf and thread; he had, I think, one of the jolliest faces I have ever seen. The most simple and telling effect was when the Prime Minister found his young master sickened of love for a beautiful lady, and sent to the bazaar for musicians and dancers; they came and arranged themselves facing the audience in the front of the stage in a perfectly decorative arrangement, struck in a moment. Every turn of hand and poise of body and arrangement of colour suggested the smiling figures you see on Persian illuminations. I forgot the effect on the Prince—I wonder he didn't die before we left; he had been acting hours before we came, and we only saw a portion of the play—left at twelve, and must have been there three hours! As we drove home the bazaars were still busy. One street struck me as peculiarly quiet. There were Japs at balconies of low two-storied doll-houses, silhouetted against lamplight which shone through their red fans and pink kimonos, and other shabby houses with spindle-shanked darker natives, in white draperies, also some larger people dimly seen, on long chairs, who my friend said, were probably French—European at least. One or two groups of rather orderly sailors, and a soldier or two, were all the people on the street, and the only sound was "Come eer', come eer'" from the balconies in various accents. The Edinburgh cafe I noticed, loomed large and dark and very respectable looking in the middle of the street. I suppose you could get drinks there on week days; my companion, the cutter, did not take any drinks, so I think he must be thinking of marriage. He was very interested in Art—what a bond that is, wider than freemasonry, what good fellows artists are to each other the world over—till they become Associates. This tailor was turned out of London by the aliens; he spoke gently and pathetically of the way the unscrupulous and insinuating foreigner works out the home-bred honest man from London. "If all was known," he said, "aliens would be restricted;" and Blessed are the meek, I thought, for they shall inherit the earth—if they only live long enough.



CHAPTER XA

17th.—Everyone on the Apollo Bundar and in Bombay waited for the guns to announce the arrival of the new Viceroy, and for The Mail; to mothers and fathers just out, letters from little ones by the mail was perhaps the more important event. Maharajahs, aide-de-camps, generals, and hosts of officials were all trying to keep cool, to speed the parting Viceroy, and welcome his successor with all proper ceremony. To understand and describe how this was done is beyond my powers, therefore I must content myself with a note here and there. It struck me as improper that the cheers which welcomed the new Viceroy had practically to do duty for the departure of Lord Curzon. They say, "Le roi est mort, vive le Roi," but in this case, "Le Roi" wasn't dead, but on the contrary must have been painfully alive to the sounds of cannons booming and cheers ringing to welcome his successor. I'd have had three or four days decent calm for the Empire to note the departure of so great an actor in its history. Then, after silence and fasting; fresh paint and flags for the new arrival!

Monday afternoon.—Guns fire, and the new Viceroy on the P. & O. steamer arrives in the bay. As she steams through the fleet, the hot air resounds with thunder of guns, and smoke accumulates. Now she is passing the Renown and Terrible, and the smoke hangs so thick that the hills and ships are almost hidden, and you can only see the yellow flashes through the banks of grey smoke.

As Lord Minto landed at the Bundar, the sun was setting and the lamps were lit, and a soft breeze offshore floated out the flags against the glow of the sunset.

18th.—Made a jotting of the departure of Lord Curzon from the Apollo Bundar. It was a very brilliant affair; any number of white uniforms sparkling with gold, and ladies in exquisite dresses, and with cameras with which they shot the departing couple from the stone buttresses. Lady Curzon was in soft silk and muslin crepe-de-chine, I think, a colour between pale green and violet, possibly a little of both. It was a very pretty dress and with a parasol to match. They went down the steps and the red carpet to the cheers of people on the pier. This effective carpet with the white edge has figured a good deal lately in various ceremonies; the Prince and Princess went up and down it, and Viceroys and Vicereines, and many Generals and Maharajahs. It ought to be preserved by the municipality.

I thought I'd condescend just for once to try a photo on this occasion, as Lord Curzon went down the steps to the tender, and I believe I lost in consequence, by the fraction of a second, a mental picture that I'd have treasured for the rest of my days and have possibly reduced to paint. Just as the whole scene was coming to a point when the least movement on the part of the principal figures one way or the other would take away from the effect; when Lord Curzon turned on the landing in the middle of the steps to say farewell, I had to look down at my pesky little camera to pull the trigger! So my mind is left blank just where I know there should be a telling arrangement, just such a moment as that painted in "The Spears," the Breda picture, where the principal actors and the others are caught in the very nick of time—the camera will now rest on the shelf beside a rhyming dictionary and the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Lord Curzon said a few words to the people near him before going down the last steps into the launch, and it in the meantime gently and perseveringly smoked the ticket-holders on the buttress of the pier opposite us; and we ticket-holders and G. P. on our buttress smiled at their pained expressions—our time was to come. It stopped smoking, held its breath as it were, and came slowly under us, and Lady Curzon looked up from under the awning in the stern with a charming smile, and all our topees came off or white gloved hands went up in salute to beautiful white helmets—and our turn came!—the launch gave a snort, and we felt a pleasant, cool rain from condensed steam, and thought it refreshing as it fell on our faces. Then we grinned as we looked at our neighbours; and then realized that we too were black as sweeps, topees, white helmets, and uniforms all covered with a fine black oily rain. I've a new topee to charge against one or other of the Viceroys or Government—General Pretyman hardly looked his name—and during the rest of the function of the return from the Bundar of Lord Minto and his retainers, you could tell by his grey speckled side what position in the preceding function a spectator had occupied. A Parsi, in neat black frock-coat and Brunswick black hat, and dark face, remarked to me with a smile, "You see the advantage of a little colour,"—bit of a wag I thought!

Altogether it was a very A.1. sight the colour Veronesque; the troops, rajahs, beautiful ladies in exquisite latest dresses, and the variety of type, European and native, made a splendid subject for a historical picture.

Then the new Viceroy left the Shamiana on the Bundar after making a speech, which I was sorry I did not hear, for I was so engaged looking at things, and longing to have some method of putting down colours without looking at one's hand, as you can touch notes on a musical instrument. Can no inventor make something to do this—something to lie in the palm and bring all colours and divisions of colour ready made to the finger tips so that you might put them down in a revelry of colour as unconsciously and freely as the improvisator can use the notes on the piano to express his feeling.

There is more cheering and more gun firing and carriages dash up to the front of the Shamiana and its white Eastern arches that have done so much service this week, and Lord Minto drives off. It is most interesting seeing the Borderer who is to be Warden of the Indian Peninsula for the next five years. Lady Minto follows, with her daughters behind her. They stand in the full light, white pillars on either side and red light filtering through hangings behind. White uniformed brown-faced officers follow in attendance with glitter of gold and waving white and red feathers. Lady Minto wears a very big wide hat, blue and white ostrich feathers under the brim—her daughters are in bright summery colours; the three drive off in an open carriage with an honoured soldier.

Then soldier after soldier in gay uniforms with floating white and scarlet cock feathers drove off in carriages, dog carts, and motors, followed by city officials, Port trustees, doctors, lawyers, and smaller wigs till vanishing point might have been marked, I suppose, by the official artist did the Empire run to such an extravagance. Then more carriages glittering in gold came up, and old, and fat, young, and thin, genial, and haughty Indian princes, covered with gold and jewellery, got in or were helped in, and footmen in gorgeous clothes and bare feet jumped up in front and behind, and off they went, the big princes leading with horsemen and drawn swords behind them. Smaller carriages followed till you come down to victorias with perhaps just one syce. Then the Poona Horse, beautifully mounted, in dark blue, red, and gold, with drawn swords rode past at a very quick trot, now and then breaking into a canter with a fine jingle and dust that made almost the best part of the show.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I can't say I enjoy this damp warm weather here. It feels all right in the sun out of doors, but indoors after dark and in draughts from punkahs it is horrid. I'd now give a considerable sum for one whole day of twenty-four hours clear Arctic or Antarctic sunny air and snow; one would feel dry then, and lose the cold and fever that sticks to one here. The Turkish bath is the only place you can get really dry in; at one hundred and fifty in the hot room you feel more comfortable than outside at eighty-two. The Turkish bath in the hotel is very nicely fitted up, but the native masseur wasn't a pleasing experience, his weak chocolate-coloured hands gave me the sensation of the touch of a middling strong eel; his lean, lithe figure and the charms round his neck, and grey hair died brick-red I expect to see again in dreams—a crease in his teeth and venom in his evil eye.

It is curious that though you do not see any sign of this dampness in the air either by day or night, whenever the search lights from the war ships are turned on; you see what appear to be clouds of vapour drifting across the path of light.

At night we drove to Malabar Hill to the new Viceroy's reception, and it was all pretty much the same as going to the reception given by their Royal Highnesses. The air damp, hot, and dusty, and for a long way heavy with the smell of roasting bodies, and this time inscriptions across the lamplit road were changed to "God bless our new Viceroy;" but we had the same waiting outside Government House, met the same people and heard much the same talk about Lord Curzon's Byculla speech and about this one and the other. "So and so is looking well isn't he?" "Yes, yes—ha, ha—laying it on a bit, isn't he! Must be a stone heavier since his leave—takes his fences though they say like a man. Oh! excellent speech. They must be tired—poor people—hear they were very pleased with our decorations. Well, you know they weren't bad, were they?" Of course the "excellent speech" was Lord Curzon's farewell, and "They" stands for their Royal Highnesses.

I noticed some Parsi ladies rather better looking than I had already seen. One was really beautiful, allowing a decimal point off her nose. This beauty moved briskly and firmly and had eyes to see and be seen. Many of them have slightly hen-like expressions and wear glasses and carry their shoulders too high. As they are the only native women who appear in public they naturally draw your attention. The Hindoos and Mohammedans shut their women up at home and glower on yours; but the Parsi goes about with his wife and daughters with him in public, and therefore enlists your sympathy. These Parsis were driven from Persia in pre-Mohammedan times by religious persecution. I suppose their belief was akin to our old religion which the masterful Columba rang out of Iona. I don't think I have seen any men on apparently such friendly relations with their women and children. You see them everywhere in Bombay, often in family groups, their expressions beyond being clever, perhaps shrewd, are essentially those of gentlemen and gentlewomen.[6] The only other native women I have seen have their mouths so horribly red with betel nut and red saliva that you dare not look at them twice, so perhaps it is as well that their absence is so conspicuous.

[6] The strength of intellectual capacity added to the material wealth which is possessed by this community have given it abnormal prominence, the measure of which may be estimated by the fact that out of a total of 287,000,000 inhabitants of India, the Parsis do not number even one-tenth of a million. See Sir Thomas Holdich's "India."

I need hardly say that Mrs H. and G. were the most beautifully dressed ladies in the crowd, and made the most perfect curtseys, and H. and I the most elegant bows to the Viceroy and Vicereine. They stood on a dais, and as we passed in file we were introduced, and the Viceroy bobbed and Lady Minto looked and smiled a little, just as if she knew your name and about you and saw more than men as trees walking, and we bowed and went on, thinking it nice to see people in so great and responsible a position attending to the little details so well, not forgetting that many littles make a mickle, and that those two servants of the Empire have been standing doing this for half an hour, and will still have to go on for an hour at least in this very tiring Bombay heat and crowd, and after a P. & O. voyage and landing! Their total effort for all the ceremonies of the day before, and years to come, rather appalled me to think of. Bravo! Public Servants, who work for honour and the Empire; how will the Socialist fill your places when he is on top. As before, gorgeously apparelled scarlet turbaned waiters gave us champagne, and native princes hemmed the tables for it, and chocolates. Here is a little picture of what I remember—you may suppose some of the figures represent our party after getting over the bow and into the straight for the cup. We then wandered about, and admired the uniforms of the governor's body guard, tall native soldiers standing round about the passages with huge turbans and beards, blue tunics, white breeches, and tall black boots, all straight and stiff as their lances, and barring their roving black eyes, as motionless. From a verandah opposite the Viceroy, we watched the new comers making their bows; ladies, soldiers, sailors, civilians, single or married passed, and never were two bows or curtseys absolutely alike, nor were two walks, but the Viceroy's bow and Lady Minto's pleasant smile and half look of recognition were equally cordial to all.

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