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From Edinburgh to India & Burmah
by William G. Burn Murdoch
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Now we draw up near a village, and women and children watch our train. I wish they'd keep some one portion of their limbs and draperies still an instant to let me see and draw, but they won't. Two women lean against the wire fence near us, one a tall, small-headed and long-limbed matron in dullish green sari with gold or yellow round its edges in thin and broad lines, and a bodice of orange and crimson. Her neighbour leans and talks, incessantly moving; she is wrapped in vivid crimson, edged with a broad band of poppy blue. Behind them the village is hazy in half tone against the light; across the space between, there flits a fairy in lemon-yellow or orange drapery slightly blown out so that the sun makes it a transparent blaze of yellow—a dainty Tanagra Figurine come to life and colour again!

... ARSIKERE.—We have our carriage gently shunted at a siding here, and stop under a banyan tree, and have our meal in the moonlight—such moonlight and such a meal! I've heard so much of Indian cooking, of the everlasting chicken and curries, but out of our two tiny kitchens we get a dinner worthy of a moderately good French cafe, fish and beef, and game, and variety of vegetables.—Indian beef is not half bad in my humble opinion, and the Vino Tinto is straight from Lisbon, by Goa, the Portuguese port on this west coast, what better could a man desire?

A hitch in our arrangements occurred here. Our plans were to tie on to a north-going train at two in the morning, and cut off again at a tank some miles up the line where the duck-shooting is sublime. But my host got a wire from the head engineer of the whole line about matters connected with the royal visit to Mysore, and he must now go down south, to stamp on the bridges and see that the line is all firm and safe, so the wanderer from home again realises that there is a Prince in the land! And we feel loyally resigned, especially as there happens to be good snipe ground where we are, and we can't return before midday to-morrow, and so can have a long half-day's shooting before we hitch on to the south mail train.



As we sit at table on the side of the track, the village dogs steal into the moonlight and come gradually nearer us; masterless dogs of any colour betwixt the collie and fox-terrier. No one feeds them or owns them, so there's plenty of appetite and unclaimed affection going. One old lady takes her position beside us for the night, and its poor bony sides are filled for once, and its brown eyes in the morning look grateful and eager for more. R. says he thinks the most miserable are those with fox-terrier blood; and they do not outlive their second litters. It lay on the sand a little way off the greater part of the night, the shyer dogs still farther off, scarcely seen in the darkness. Perhaps these half-breds have inherited thoughts of former better days, which brings me back to that freckled, sandy-haired Eurasian boy at the Bundar, with his black eyelashes, and the blue-eyed, curly-haired girl in the native throng.



Now we are coming to the snipe, "little by little," our nurse used to say, "as the lawyers get to Heaven," and I put in notes about them here from a letter written to my friend W. B., but not yet posted.

"MY DEAR W. B.,—You ask me about sport, and if I've got near a tiger? So far as I am aware I have not been in the immediate proximity of a tiger, though I have been in what is, at times, a tiger country—about Dharwar, and where I'd very probably have got one if I'd taken many men and months and much money to secure it. But to-day I've had funnier shooting than I've ever had—fancy snipe, my dear man, amongst palm trees! tall cocoa-nut palms, betel nuts, and toddy palms, and banana trees—big snipe, and decently tame. Fancy them dodging like woodcock at home, from a blaze of sun into the deep shadows of subtropical palm groves!



"We trollied to our shooting ground, R. and I and four trolley men—such a nice way of getting along—with palms on either side of the track, some of them covered with creepers from their very tops to the ground in cascades—Niagaras, I mean, of green leaves and lilac blossoms; and through this jungle the sun streamed across the yellow quartz track and glittered on the lines. Two men at a time ran barefooted behind, one on each rail, and shoved the trolley and jumped on going down hill. We went at just a nice rate, which gave us time to note the birds and flowers along the side of the line.



"About two miles down the line we struck off to the east on foot, and crossed rice stubbles with clear rills of water running through them, the first clear water we have seen here so far—any we have seen has been red or yellow with mud. Then we came to woods of all sorts of palms, mostly low growing on white sand, and here and there pools and marshes over which the palms stood and were reflected and threw sharp shadows across the blue reflection from the sky. Fancy shooting common snipe in such a botanical garden! The last I shot were with S. in Ayrshire in cold, and wind and wet and a grey light on high moorland, about the 1st of last October.



"We spread out, R. and I and his merry men, and waded; his butler and cook apparently as keen about shikar as cooking, and promptly three snipe got up, jolly slow flyers, in front of me, and I let off and hit one of the palm tree trunks and the snipe disappeared in the gloom of their shade. I saw R. on my right out in the full blaze of the sun get one of the three, then wisp after wisp got up and we began to bag them and to fear our cartridges would run out. But imagine the difficulty of hitting even those slow waterfowl with an eagle or vulture or a group of them, huge fellows, looking at you from fifteen to twenty yards off from the top of a low palm, or a kingfisher of vivid cerulean quivering in front of your nose, so fixed in its poise and so dazzling in colour that you saw a pink spot for minutes after, and so got in to your waist. And there were many kinds of doves and pigeons, which almost fanned our faces as they swooped past, and hanging weaver birds' nests, that I tried not to look at, and a roller bird I'd defy anyone not to look at—the size of a jay, irridescent pale blue and green all over, with just a touch of brown to set off the blues. I'd fain have shot one but for the bother of skinning and curing. You can imagine how distracting at first was this free run in a natural aviary and botanical garden combined, and how difficult to concentrate on the 'commoner' garden snipe.



"Very soon each of the men had a bundle of snipe and we had to return; but we had not many cartridges left, which consoled us. We went back pretty wet all over, for it was piping hot and airless under the palms, but on the fields outside the air was delicious and dry. We crossed the line to a beautiful lake with level grassy banks and found it alive with thousands of duck. They were very wary though, and kept far out of range and wouldn't rise. We had not time for rafting or boating, so got on to the trolly again, and back to our home on the siding; and some snipe were plucked before I'd found my pencil. You should see how neat these servants are with their fingers. Here is a jotting of the operation—I think I've got the movement of their rather weak-looking hands. They are sitting on the track beside the kitchen part of the carriage.

"I wish very much both R. and I could spare a little more time for this pastime, "but one canna dae a' thing," as they say at St. Abbs, and R. has to attend to Royal preparations south—thus has the honour and glory of serving his country and his King—I am trying to see where my Ego scores, but don't—I miss a half-day's shooting. But the little we had, was astonishingly interesting though it wasn't very long. Now we have a day and a night home again—a hundred miles to a snipe shoot, my longest journey in proportion to the size of the shoot; but no distance at all compared with its novelty and interest.

... Drew most of the way home, cows, aloes, trees, women's figures, men's ditto, dogs, goats, palms, etc., etc. It passes the time and does no harm that I wot of.

All pleasures but the Artist's bring "I' th' tail repentance like a sting."

"Home to Bangalore and the rehearsal of our adventures to our better halves, and talk—well into the night, which means here about 11.30! Then to bed at once, for R. has to start early with his Chief in the morning, he is coming from the Central Office at Dharwar; to test bridges and things in Mysore, to see they are strong enough, for they say there are twenty English valets coming in the Royal train!"

It rained heavily all night, and this morning the sky was overcast, and already we, who have been in India only a few weeks, feel almost vexed that it is not sunny. In the morning we went to the Residency to call—a strange hour to call at, one of the things in India nobody can understand—as reasonable as top hats and frock coats in Calcutta. It is a very fine Embassy indeed—palace, perhaps, you might almost call it, with a nice air of official dignity that comes from the Lion and the Unicorn in the front of the house above the entrance, and the little khaki clad native soldiers, mounted orderlies, and Red Chuprassis in groups about the grounds.

Mrs Fraser, wife of the Resident, was at home, and wore a very pretty dress of soft grey and black muslin(?) with touches of dull rose bows—but how can you describe a dress of the present period, they are such subtle things; a Romney or a Reynolds dress would be easy enough—something white hitched up here or there would be near enough, but nowadays the colours of various materials tell through each other so delicately and the shapes suggest faintly so many periods that I question if it is in the power of words to describe a modern frock.

Our hostess, I gathered, is deeply engrossed in making the bundabast[15] for the entertainment of the Prince and his retainers—If twenty valets require so many napkins, for so many days, how many cups and saucers will be needed for a Royal Procession for a week, and so on?

[15] I think the context explains the meaning of Bundabast—an invaluable word. I take it, it is used correctly as above. You can make "bundabast" for a campaign, I believe, or for a picnic; i.e., order the carriages, food, and things, and the right people, and generally take all responsibilities therefor.

15th. Dec.—This ought to be a date to remember in our lives. My neice and I went to jail to-day, both for the first time, and I am not anxious to go again. It is immediately across the road from Locksley Hall. We passed through a double archway, guarded inside by native soldiers. Facing us as we entered, the walls were decorated with trophies of chains and fetters, which the man in the street might see as he passed.

The Governor very kindly went round with us, and we saw a distinctly stronger type of man than those outside; here and there a trifle too much cheek bone and queer eyes, mostly murderers, many with faces one would pick for choice as manly men. Famine times account for some of the murders, and overstocking I should say; it's done everywhere, in trout ponds, deer forests, and sheep runs. India, I expect, is over preserved; a bad season comes, and famine, and one starving fellow chips in with another, and knocks a third party on the head because he has a meal on him, and the first parties' children are crying for food—and by the prophets, we'd each try to do the same under similar circumstances, and the result would be the survival of the fittest. Government now catches the would-be "fittest" and sets him hanging to a piece of rope, or makes him wear beautiful bright chains and weave beautiful carpets, as they do here, in all the colours of Joseph's coat, in silk or cotton; with everything he wants except liberty and the sun on the road outside—and the children and wife. The carpets are exquisitely made in hand-looms. The men sit in a sort of rifle pit and weave on an upright hand-loom, and the patterns on great carpets or the finest of silk rugs grow out of their wicked brains only; there's no pattern in front of them to copy from; they do it by heart. You know a "Lifer" from a "Timer" by the colour of their skull caps; one is white, the other brown—I think the brown is the "Lifer." All is beautifully kept, and the men look at you when ordered to do so, also when they are not ordered and your back is turned. They give their names too when ordered, and crimes, and terms of imprisonment, so gently. Oh! how I'd love to kick the blessed wall all down and let the lot out! then I'd have to sit up all night, I suppose, with a gun, looking after our silver-plated spoons.

The principal individual who caused most trouble in the prison was a "Lifer," I think, a most remarkably long, thin man, actually eel-like. He had escaped three times. The last hole he escaped by he made with a nail, and it had just been bricked up and plastered over. He was not allowed to work, merely stood bolt upright, a head and shoulder higher than his two, armed jailers, who were chained to him. He was motionless as a statue, but I never saw such unrest as there was in his eyes; there was the look of the eye of a bird in the hand, one simple concentrated expression of watchfulness for a chance to escape. He is a bit of a wag, I am told. Once when he escaped he borrowed a carriage and livery and engaged himself to the services of a lady in Bangalore, and actually drove the lady to prison to call on the Governor. But when he gathered the Governor was coming to return the call, he thought it time to go; I don't know how he was captured again, and I wonder very much if he will escape once more. His four companions who stood beside him in the blaze of joyous sun were just going to be released in half an hour from all their joys and troubles. Two of them looked very murderous specimens, two looked good, I don't know why, but one felt curiously shy about looking at them. One or two of the murderers' faces wore a quiet half-smiling expression, barely human, and that seemed to me to spell "killing" quite distinctly and without any evil intent, like the expression on a Greek head I have only once seen, a youthful combatant—a cheery unintrospective look, a tough round neck, raised chin, oblique eyes, and the least smile on lips just parted. One young woman had that kind of face too; the rest were just as good in expression as outsiders. They were employed grinding millets in hand quirns, hard work, I'd think; the top stone they turn round, weighs two stone and they put it round fairly quickly. I'd so much have liked to have drawn this particular woman's face. I think it is the only handsomely shaped face I've seen in India so far, and yet that queer inhuman look ought to have prevented a child closing its eyes near her. She had killed a child for its bangle and dropped it into a well, and in prison nearly killed another for another bangle. She was fourteen and had a look of complete ignorance of good or evil. This good-looking girl they tell me is to go into a nunnery—by my Hostie! I'd like to hear the end of the story.

We came back from the jail and found a tableau arranged on our verandah. It was well done, whether by accident or design. The two principal actors sat in the middle of the verandah with neat bundles arranged round them, and behind them sat their two slaves or henchmen in garments of complimentary tints. The Memsahibs came and were salaamed, and sat in front of the traders. Then the bundles were opened and blossomed into colours and fabrics. Within ten minutes the verandah was covered with silks of every hue, gorgeous colours and the delicate colours of moonlight, so that the matting was completely covered with a veritable riot of colours and textures—a much more wonderful effect than any tricks with baskets or mangoes grown under sheets. I tried to put this down in colour, and here is a pen and ink jotting of the subject.



Sunday.—Walked round the outside of the prison grounds amongst little patches of highly-cultivated market gardens and clumps of palms, and these long pumps like the ancient catapult with bronze men sweating at them pulling down the long arm of the balanced yard to let the bucket down the well, then tipping the water out into gutters of mud to irrigate. They do it pretty much the same way up the Nile. The cottages have low mud walls, and are thatched with dried palm leaves and scraps of corrugated iron, and the naked children, with their coal-black mops of hair, play about in the dust with the hens, and seem to have a good time. They are chubby and jolly, and don't quarrel so much, or speak so harshly as school board children in our Bonnie Lowlands. Here and there are quaint little temples, stone built, under the palms between the patches of cultivated ground. There are prickly pears, and hedges of different thorny creepers with flowers of pink, cinnamon, deep orange, and violet. I pass a group of goats feeding on one of these hedges, black, white, and brown—a pleasant motley of moving colour. The piece of hedge near me has pink flowers, and behind it you see a little lapis-lazuli sky. The black goat's coat is almost blue with reflected sky. Near me a boy stands in the shadow of a tree herding a cow. The leaves throw deep shadows on the rusty red path and a tracery of leaf shadows, on the cow's back and sides—deeper in colour than the velvety black of the hide itself.



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

In the evening my hostess drives me to another part of the bazaar, and we scribble, and try hard to remember a street corner and prevent other scenes obliterating our impressions and come straight home to get it down.

The lamplight conflict with daylight is to me as interesting here as at home. The best minutes in the day, I think, for colour, are when the shadows from figures passing the lamps just become visible, when they still hold the blue of day in them, and so contrast pleasantly with the yellow lights of oil and electric lamps.

Outside many of the booths chandeliers of cut crystal are hung, and give, what I consider, a charming effect.

In the evening there was a dinner party at the Residency, to which Mrs Fraser very kindly invited us, and there was pleasant talk about Burmah and princely pageants, elephant kedar camps, and the right royal entertainments to be held at Mysore; and of how the twenty valets and the hundreds of guests are to be provided for; to quote the Tales of the Highlands, "there will be music in the place of hearing, meat in the place of eating, smooth drinks and rough drinks, and drinks for the laying down of slumber, mirth raised and lament laid down, and a right joyful hearty plying of the feast and Royal Company"—but how it is all to be done is past my comprehension! Noah, the Raven said, did them really well in the Ark; but a Royal Retinue must be much more difficult to provide for, must need a bigger "bunda-bust"—I believe I've used this word rightly again!



The Maharajah of Mysore came after dinner. He was dressed in a pale turquoise silk coat, with dark blue and white and gold turban with diamond aigrette, and white trousers, patent leather shoes, and a long necklace of very large diamonds. He is twenty-one and good-looking, with pleasant expression and a quiet possessed manner. I am almost glad I did not know that he is building such a wonderful palace, or I would have felt oppressed. This palace at Mysore is to be the finest in the world, so people here say, but of it anon. We spoke of music; he plays a great number of instruments (I think thirteen). I asked which music he liked best, Eastern or Western, and he replied, "When I hear Western music, I think surely nothing could be better. Then when I hear our own Eastern music, again I think nothing could be better." He understands the various kinds of our Highland music, and argued that if you understand the folk music of one race you can understand that of others. To me it seems a loss to music that these early forms of various races are not more often studied by modern musicians. Writers and painters set an example in this way; painters and sculptors especially, for they study the art of all times and peoples, ancient Greek, Egyptian, Japanese, etc., but what does the ordinary musician know of these ancient Greek, Egyptian, or Celtic tunes that are fast being forgotten, or of Japanese, Indian, or Burmese intricacies? Sir Arthur Sullivan did study Burmese music, but was not that quite exceptional? Writers too, generally have a smattering of some dead languages, and even advocate the study to-day, of Sanskrit, and Gaelic.



CHAPTER XVIII



Before the phantom of false morning died, Our boy outside the carriage cried, When all the breakfast is prepared without, Why nods the drowsy Sahib still inside?

and

Wake for the sun has scattered into flight The stars before it from the field of night; Drives night along with it, and strikes The Rajah's palace with a shaft of light—

as above, but possibly it is just a Government building, a post office, perhaps! Our two carriages are in a siding at this Mysore station, and the servants are outside with breakfast. The robes of the natives coming towards the station in the twilight under said shaft of light are greenish in contrast; they are wrapped up in their white mantles to keep off what they appear to think dangerous morning air. Only a few of them are astir, and the dew runs steadily from the roof of our carriage and makes a hole in the sandy track, and an early crow is round for anything that may be going. The cook comes past with a comforting glow from charcoal in a frying pan, so we know our chota hazri will be before us in no time, after which we intend to trolly back on the line to Seringapatam.

We came here yesterday afternoon from Bangalore, R. and D. with their carriage, and self and G. in one the Railway Co. let us have—for a consideration! A very good plan this—you pay for three fares and have your carriage overnight, so at places where there are no hotels you are more comfortable than if there were!

Coming here from Bangalore to Mysore, the line is interesting all the way, the scenes change constantly—I have very distinct recollections of at first "garden scenery," then jungle and bushy woods running into rocky gorges, barren sand wastes and rich rolling corn lands alternating in the few hours run, yet in my journal I have not a line of pen or scrape of pencil of these scenes; I daresay the reader has noticed this, that scenes taken unconsciously on the tablets of memory—unconscious impressions—are more lasting than those taken down consciously and deliberately.

Mysore town is a place of wide roads and trees, fields intended to be parks some day, and light and air. Many houses of European origin, somewhat suggestive of Italian or Spanish villas, are shuttered and closed in, so as to give a sense of their being deserted. You drive past these silent houses and their gardens and come to the native town, which is anything but silent or deserted, and then to the new palace; the modern sight of southern India. It is brimming with life; it looks like a Gothic cathedral in course of construction. Two towers, each at a guess, 150 feet high, with a wing between them, bristle with bamboo scaffolding so warped and twisted out of the perpendicular that the uprights are like old fishing rods. The extraordinary intricacy is quite fascinating, but at present it partially prevents one seeing the general proportions and effect of the building. As we see it, in the afternoon, the great mass of building is grey against the western light; thousands of men, women, boys, and children are scattered over its face on these fragile perches, and though not in sunlight, their many-coloured draperies reflect on the variously coloured stones at which they are carving. Around us, on the ground, are other thousands doing similar work, hewing, sawing, and carving marbles and granite—such intricate carving—in reddish and grey-green granite. As to the general architectural effect it would be unwise to venture an opinion at present; but the details are simply marvellous. I believe it is intended to be the finest palace in the world, and if a great many exquisite fancies put together, will form one great conception, then certainly this expression in architecture must be a magnificent work of art. The people to-day and the generations to come must owe this Prince great gratitude for the encouragement of so many skilled craftsmen, and for the preservation of Indian arts and crafts. There were four hundred fine-wood carvers, and four hundred fine-stone carvers, carving filigree ornaments, chains, and foliage of the most astonishing realism in these materials. Fancy, actual chains in granite, pendants from elephants' heads! Most of the skilled masons and joiners of India, I am told, have been collected here. The masons must be in thousands; they are wonderfully skilled in work at granite, their very lightness of hand seems to let them feel just the weight of iron needed to flake off the right amount from the granite blocks. A very much extended description of the Temple of Solomon might give to one who had time to read an idea of the richness of the materials employed, and the variety of the subjects of the decorations. There is marble—work and wood—work, silver doors, ivory doors, and rooms, halls, and passages of these materials, all carved with Indian minuteness and delicacy, with telling scenes from the stories of Hindoo deities; and in the middle of these Eastern marvels are alas! cast-iron pillars from Glasgow. They form a central group from base to top of the great tower; between them at each flat they are encircled with cast-iron perforated balconies. They are made to imitate Hindoo pillars with all their taperings and swellings, and are painted vermilion and curry-colour. Opening on to these cast-iron balconies are the silver and ivory rooms and floors of exquisite marble inlay.

We saw inside on many floors, modellers with their clay, modelling groups for the stone-carvers, in high or low relief, with utmost rapidity, freedom, finish, and appreciation of light and shade. The different methods of craftsmen in different countries is always interesting. Here the modeller works on the floor seated on his heels; he runs up acanthus leaves, geometric designs, or groups of figures and animals with a rapidity that would give our niggling Academy teachers at home considerable food for thought—and yet the work is fine, and the figures are full of expression. The area of a workman's studio you might cover with a napkin, or say, a small table-cloth. The carver takes the model and whacks it out in granite without any pointing or other help than his hand and eye and a pointed iron chisel and hammer, and he loses very little indeed of the character of the model, in fact, as little as some well paid Italian workers.

The wood-carving, as far as technical skill in cutting goes, was out and away beyond anything we could almost dream of at home, and all at 1s. 4d. a day, which is good pay here. One man cut with consummate skill geometrical ornaments on lintels to be supported by architraves covered with woodland scenes, with elephants foreshortened and ivory tusks looking out from amongst tree-trunks, and most naturalistic monkeys, peacocks, fruit, and foliage. All this we saw rapidly dug out in the hard brown teak with delightful vigour, spontaneity, and finish. One might fear that a geometrically carved lintel would not be quite in keeping with a florid jamb, but why carp, we should look at the best side of things. I think these same craftsmen working to the design of one artist, or artist and architect in one, might make a record. The ability to carry out the design is here, and at such a price! But where is the thought, the conception for a Parthenon—a nation must first worship beauty before it can produce it.

I think the native town and streets here as good as can be for painting pictures; a man would have to come young and get up early to do the subjects you see in an hour or two. Here there is more style, wider surfaces, and character in the native houses than in Bombay.

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

We went to Seringapatam yesterday on trollies, nine miles back on the line by which we came from Bangalore to Mysore city. We had two trollies, R. and G. in front with workmen examining the line as we went, an extremely pleasant mode of procedure, with a certain dignity about it that is absent in a railway carriage. We sit in front on comfortable seats, a red flag on a bamboo overhead, a fat stationmaster and two natives behind, and two on the rails to shove, the shadow of the whole show running along beside us outlined on the ballast and sunny cactus hedge.



The first miles were over somewhat sandy, gravelly ground, then through groves of palms, and mostly down hill. At this comfortable rate we had time to look at the field workers in the rice crops, the palms with their skirts of creepers, and flowering thornbrakes, and the "bits" of the yellow corn and hedges and flat fields, that one might have seen on any summer's day in England. The reapers were in groups and lines in the greenish corn, the men bronze and bare to the waistcloths, the women in many-coloured draperies, Ruths and reapers and Boazes by the dozen, with the women's bangles gleaming, and the men's sickles glittering in the cheerful sunlight.

Seringapatam is on an island three miles long, in the Cauvery River; outside it we were met by a victoria and drove about the island. It is a pleasant place to spend a day; the marks of our forefathers' gunnery on the walls gives quite a homely feeling. You see where they camped and the river they looked at—a gentle-running, sapphire stream with yellow-grey stones showing across it, not much more than a hundred yards across when we saw it—and the big double masonry wall beyond it which they battered and scaled. Barring the trees and bushes that have grown on the walls, the battering looks as if it had only been done yesterday. We spent the morning going over the walls, without a guide or guide-book, trying to pick up the hang of the situation from what we had heard and read of the siege. There is pleasant park-land inside the walls, with beautiful tall trees, but the view that fascinates is from the walls across the river towards the points where the British guns were fired from, and from which the assault was made. Later in the day the stationmaster, Bubbaraya Moodeliar, gave us a copy of a guide he has written, such an excellent, concise description of the place and its history. It was pleasant to find so many of our countrymen's names on the first pages, and at the risk of being tedious, my friends, they are here; the names as they occur in this "Short History of the Siege and Assault," by an Indian native—Wellesley, Kelly, Sir David Baird, Captain Prescott, Lt. C. Dunlop, Baillie, Bell, Lt.-Colonel Gardiner, Dalrymple, General Stuart, Wallace, Sherbrooke, Douse, Hart, Lalor—all well-known Scottish and Irish names, except two or perhaps three that may be English, but the Native puts them all, down as "English!" So does the editor of Murray's "Guide to India"—describes those who fought under Duff, Grant, and Ford as an "English Force." So foolish writers are filching our good name by ignoring the Terms of Union, and deliberately or unconsciously are working up another scrap on the banks of the Bannock—well, so be it, the times are a little dull; and we need a little national stiffening north of Tweed.

The Water-gate, where Tippoo Sultan got his coup de grace in the general flight of his people, is just the quiet and peaceful place in which to doze and dream for a summer day on the green sward under the park-like trees. The Gate is an arched passage through thick walls leading to a walled-in space with trees hanging over it; through a tumbled down bit of this wall you come on to the river. It was delightful there, no one about, excepting two or three women washing clothes on the stones in the clear running water, with the sunshine and flickering shadows from the trees falling over them. But it must have been bustling enough on the 4th of May, 1799, when Tippoo tried to pass, with Baird's troops behind! What would one not give to have seen that last tableau: the British soldier in the crowd of natives going for the wounded Sultan's jewelled sword belt, the jam and press, and the heat and danger! The Sultan objected and wounded the soldier, so the soldier put a bullet through the Sultan's head—and what became of our northern robber, and the belt? What heaps of jewels Tippoo had collected; he used to spend days in his treasure-house inventorying his stores of diamonds and pearls, and to-day you may see some of the strings of pearls if you dine out in Edinburgh. After the assault, during the night, a soldier found his way into the treasury, and by morning a handful of diamonds was the price offered and asked for a bottle of Arrack. These international looting scenes seem to me peculiarly fascinating; I think a little prize-money won that way must feel worth fortunes earned in business. How our soldier of to-day swears at being deprived of such perquisites, and how he wishes he had been "in the civil" at Mandalay or Pekin.

We drove through the native town and bazaar. It seemed half empty; a native villa there might be had for one line of an old song. The Plague had been knocking at many doors a little while ago, and now they swing loosely on the hinges and the roofs are fallen in, or have been pulled down rather, by the sahibs, to let the sun in and the evil plague spirit out.

We came to the high mosque, Allah Musjid one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever seen; its proportions are so big and simple. It was the favourite place of worship of Hyder Ali Khan and his son, Tippoo. You go up to it through porticoes, and up a rough white stair, with innumerable swallows in nests of feathers protruding from a level line of holes in, the hot, sun-lit wall just above your head on the right hand; and past little rest rooms for worshippers on the left, of plain whitewashed stone, and earth floors, all in shadow. Up the steps you come on a paved court with a balcony of white stone, and in front there is the moorish arcade of the mosque, and at either end a very high minaret, built possibly of stone white-washed, but much like weathered marble. The design is big and simple, finer in conception than anything we have seen so far. You have to lean your head very far back to follow up the minarets with your eyes to the top; each is octagonal and tapers slightly to two balconies. Pigeon-holes follow the slightly sloping sides in a spiral direction, and under each hole there is a little carved ledge, and on these and hovering near are many pigeons. There is colour—marble-white, weathered to yellow, dazzling in the sun and cool violet in shade, blue rock pigeons everywhere, and at the very top of each spire a golden ball burns against the unfathomable blue.

The hot air is slightly scented with incense and sandalwood, and there is a musical droning from a few worshippers who repeat verses from the Koran in the cool white interior mingled with the cooing of innumerable pigeons, and the faint "kiree, kiree" of a kite a mile above, in the blue zenith.

We may not enter the mosque with boots on, and will not enter with them off, so we admire from the outside the half Indian, half Saracenic plaster-work in the interior of the arcade—the stalactite domes, diapers, groins, modellings in situ, and wish the authority on plaster work, Mr William Millar, was here to enjoy the skill and beauty of the work.

Next show—the summer palace of Tippoo Sultan. If you have been at Granada you can picture this as rather a thin Hindoo edition of Generalife Villa. It is moresque in style, but small in structural forms, smaller still in geometrical ornament, and without breadth or much harmony of colour schemes. Some small rooms were passable in gold and silver and primary colours, but the principal halls and galleries were extremely crude. To be seen properly there should be people in proportion, little Hindoo beauties sitting primly at the balconies that open on to the inner court, and playing beside the long formal tanks that extend far amongst shrubs and trees of the surrounding gardens. There are mural paintings on the verandah walls, which are spoken of as attractions and things to be seen; they are slightly funny. They represent the defeat of our troops by Hyder Ali and the French, but they are of no great count, except as records of costume. But enough about this place: our interest lay in the battered walls and the cells behind them where our Highland and Lowland soldiers were imprisoned so long.

We passed the Water-gate on our way back, then under a grove of cocoa-nut palms, with many cocoa-nuts and monkeys in their tops; and we threw stones up, but never a cocoa-nut did the monkeys throw back at us! So we bought some at a price, a very small price indeed, and I for one enjoyed seeing them in their green fresh state; when we got home to our railway carriages, that had come on for us from Mysore to Seringapatam, we had their tops slashed off with an axe: then put a long tumbler, mouth down over the hole and upset the two, and so got the tumbler filled with the water from the inside and drank it. We'd have drunk anything we were so thirsty: so I will not offer an opinion as to its quality, more than that it was distinctly refreshing. The shells and husks were then split open, and we scraped the creamy white off the inside of the soft shell with a piece of the rough green husk and ate it and made believe it was delicious!



As the sun is setting we cross the Cauvery River again, leaving Seringapatam because it is said to be so malarial that it is unwise to spend the night there.... The river is golden, the rocks violet, and the sky above purple and vermilion; herons' scraik and duck are on the move, almost invisible against the dark palms and bushes and shadowy banks—I am not superstitious, but I think there were ghosts about, sturdy fellows in old-fashioned uniforms; I should like to have held converse with them.

MYSORE.—We got back to Mysore after dark.

Our two homes are gently shoved into a siding, and before you can say knife, our servants are spreading the table beside the carriage on the sand by lamplight; there are flowers on the table, silver, linen, and brass fingerbowls for four—the dinner prepared between Seringapatam and here en route! R. having made final arrangements with his people for a long hot day's work to-morrow, we fall to; needless to say we do not get into regulation evening kit, but the regulation warm bath before dinner was there all in order, even in such limited space!

We left all windows open on the road here, so to-night hope we have got rid of all the malarial infecting mosquitoes of Seringapatam—those here are bad enough.



... Work done, one sketch as above—catalogue misleader, "Dinner on the Line;" or would a "Meal on the Track" be less descriptive?—Mind stuffed with those "erroneous, hazy, distorted first impressions," which, according to, and with the approval of Mr Aberich Mackay, the "Anglo-Indian" hastens to throw away; and which I, not being in the least Anglo-anything, wish most sincerely I could keep!



CHAPTER XIX

TO ARTISTS



Channapatna.—This is the third station south of Bangalore. It is just the place for an artist to come to to paint, and a mere step from Bombay. There's a Dak bungalow where he could put up, a charming place in a compound, with a servant in attendance. He'd just have to pack his sticks, take a second or third-class ticket on say the Massagerie—for an artist to be honest must be frugal—pick up a Boy in Bombay at twenty to thirty rupees a month, and once out here there's little to spend money on but the bare cost of living.

Almost no one comes this way to stop, so he could probably have the bungalow almost as long as he liked, personally I'd have a tent so as to be absolutely independent. Then for subjects, there's a wealth within arm's reach; village bazaar pictures every ten yards, and round about cattle and ruins, temples, moresque and Hindoo, palms and jungle trees, graceful figures of women and men. Not particularly nice people, I should say, but certainly picturesque and polite, with some lovely children. The little ones are nude, prettily shaped and brown and dusty as the bloom on fruit, and with such black eyes and wavy hair, the blackest black, with a polish, and very long eyelashes over dark eyes. Their faces seem refined and well shaped till they laugh or shout, when the lizard throat and regular monkey teeth show a little.

From daybreak, after chota hazri, the brother-of-the-brush would paint till eleven, then have breakfast proper, a read and loaf—possibly a little closing of the eyes to sleep would be more profitable—and paint again in the afternoon and evening. And if he didn't use all his stock of paints, water-colour, and oils before he left I'd be surprised. A great attraction would be the absence of distractions such as you'd have in larger centres, and very important, is the pleasant air here.

Arsikerry, a little further north the line, is better in this last respect, but I was not through the bazaar there, merely saw the place was fairly good for snipe, as previously remarked in these notes.

We put in here—Channapatna—yesterday afternoon. The sun was glowing on the rain-trees that shelter the station, and we selected a spot shaded by their foliage on a siding midst "beechen green and shadows numberless." In a minute the servants were out on the sand track blowing up the fire for tea, which R. had well-earned, as he'd been trollying since daybreak looking at bridges, viaducts, station-buildings, and the line, generally and practically, down to the stationmasters' gardens. Tiring work both for eyes and mind, for whilst trollying you are quite unsheltered, so the heat in the cuttings, and the glare from the quartz and lines, has to be felt and seen to be believed, and of course the track is the thing that has to be constantly regarded, so blue spectacles are absolutely necessary, but only a partial protection to the eyesight. No wonder R. takes such care to plant trees round stations and to encourage the stationmasters to grow flowers! Apropos, there were once prizes given to stationmasters with the best gardens. Water being a consideration, the prize was allotted to the best garden in inverse ratio to its distance from a water supply. The stationmaster who got first prize was five miles from a supply, and his exhibit was one, almost dead flower, in a pot of dried earth; so that "system" was shelved.

We walked round the village after tea and came to the above conclusions, that may possibly be useful to some brother artist. About the passage out, just one word more; I met a colonel here who had tried third-class home on a Massagerie boat, and said it wasn't half bad! He was fortunate in finding an uncrowded cabin.

Outside the little town were charming country scenes, and the village streets, busy on either side with all sorts of trades, were positively fascinating. In Bombay you have all the trades of one kind together, the brass-workers in one street, and another trade occupies the whole of the next street, and the houses are tall. Here are all sorts of trades side by side, and two-storied and one-storied houses, with the palms leaning over them. We bought for a penny or two an armful of curious grey-black pottery with a silver sheen on its coarse surface. The designs were classic and familiar; the cruisie, for instance, I saw in use the other day in Kintyre, shining on a string of fresh herring, and you see it in museums amongst Greek and Assyrian remains. At one booth were people engaged making garlands of flowers, petals of roses, and marigolds sewn together, and heavy with added perfume; at the next were a hundred and one kinds of grain in tiny bowls, and at a third vegetables, beans, and fruit.

As we come back to our carriages we pass a rest house or temple, I don't know which, perhaps both; steps lead up to it, and it is made of square hewn-stone, all dull-white against an orange sky. It forms as it were a triptych. As we pass we look into its shadowy porch; in the middle panel are two oxen, one black the other white, lying down, and a man standing beyond them, just distinguishable by a little fire-light that comes from the left panel. In it, there is a man sitting with his arms over his knees fanning a little fire. In the right panel another native sits on his heels cooking a meal; a bamboo slopes across the cell behind him, and supports a poor ragged cloth, a purda, I suppose, and behind, are just discernible his wife and child. These wayfarers make me at once think of a new and original treatment for a holy family, but hold! These passages of light and colour, form fading into nothingness, are they not worth understanding alone, are they not more pure art without being nailed to some tale from the past?



Our table looked very pretty in the evening, with our lamp lighting up my companions' faces, and the branches of the trees above us, with warm brown against the night blue sky.

... Now we are off again to Bangalore, loath to leave our leafy siding and the gentle faces at Channapatna, but R. has to be about business in the south again, so we go back planning our next move, and we think we will decide on Madras! We have been a long way and a long time from the sea, and would like to get a glimpse of it again; the thought of it is refreshing, even though it is but a tepid eastern sea which we will have to cross if we decide on going to Burmah or the Straits.

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

BANGALORE, 20th December.—Back to "Locksley Hall" and big rooms, chairs, verandahs, everything feeling spacious and ample after our quarters in the train. The three days on the line feels like weeks, so much and so constantly have we been looking at interesting figures and scenes.

To-night, when cheroots were going, we talked of railway matters, big things and little things. A little thing was a dispute amongst natives on the line, settled satisfactorily the other day. Persons involved; gatekeepers, police, native carters and witnesses galore. The gatekeeper, long resident in a hut of railway sleepers roofed with red soil, surrounded by aloes, heated by the sun, and watered by nothing. Behold his portrait in day dress; at night he envelopes his noble form in ample, even voluminous draperies.



One night, he said, two carters lifted his level-crossing gates and took them away. Mysore State police investigate.—Report to R.; no witnesses could be got to bear out gatekeeper's statement, and suggest gatekeeper had been demanding toll, i.e. blackmail, to put into his own pocket!

R. asks G.-K.!—"Why didn't you stop them taking the gates?" G.-K. replies, "We did!"

R.—"Who was 'we'?"

G.-K.—"Me and my friends and my cousins and my aunts; certainly we stopped them—and we drubbed them too, and took them to the police station!"

British justice makes further inquiry—finds possibly sixty rupees were expended somewhere, to produce the "No witnesses." Action taken—gatekeeper removed to more important trust—honesty established.

From strength of girders, cement v. lime, foundations of piers and curves of lines, we come to ghosts at night! These too, the engineer has to consider in his day's work. Only yesterday a ghost was reported on the line! And R. told me he came down the line in a trolley in the grey of morning lately, he vouched for this, and found on the line a patroller's lamp and no one holding it, then a turban, then top cloth, then a waist cloth, and finally the owner at station, collapsed, palpitating. R. asked him what he had seen. "It was a ghost" came after him. "What was it like," said R.; "had it arms?" "No;" "Legs?" "No." "How did it get along?" He couldn't tell. It was a shape came after him. So these ghosts are positive facts here to be dealt with by superintendents and workman between them.

R.—Spoke as follows:—

"Now, my man, what I have to tell you about ghosts is this—you must remember, it is very important. These ghosts you see here that frighten you and your friends, as they have frightened you this morning, cannot so much as touch you, or even be seen by you at all if you walk between the railway lines! The iron on each side of you prevents their having the least influence over you; I will not say this about tigers or bears, but ghosts—on the word of the Sahib, they cannot touch you between the rails!" So they go away and believe in the Sahib's magic, just as they believe his magic turns out the cholera devil when he pulls their tiles down and disinfects their houses. Also they stick between the lines and consequently to their patrol work, and don't go smoking pipes by little cosy fires beside the aloes. I think R.'s prescription was fairly shrewd. Many men would merely have laughed at the men's fears, and would neither have shaken their beliefs nor given them something new to think of. That was the way the great Columba scored off the Druids and Picts. "I don't know about your astronomy or your fine music, or tales of ancestors and heroes, but I'm telling you, old Baal himself, with all his thunder and lightning, will not be so much as touching the least hair on your head if you were just to hold up this trifle of two sticks of wood. And if you do not believe me you will be burning for ever, and for evermore!"

Saturday, 23rd.—Wrote to a friend in Madras to engage rooms and walked to the European Stores; they are excellent, you can get pretty nearly everything—I even found sketch books to my taste. The roads are the things to be remembered, their breadth and splendid trees are delightful, but their length is terrible. Not again will I take a long walk in cantonments! "The 'ard 'igh road" in the west is bad enough, but when it's glaring sun on this red, hard soil, however bright and light the air, you soon get fatigued on foot.

Met D. and G. at shops, they were shopping on their own account and I on mine, for I've never found men's shopping and ladies' go well together, though for two ladies together shopping seems to be pure joy. We went to the bank to change a cheque into something suitable for travel. You have choice in India of silver rupees, value 1s. 4d., a few of which weigh about a ton, or notes. The notes are like those we get in Scotland, if you can believe me! I held out for gold, so there was a call for the Bank Manager, and a procession to the safe; of self, Manager and keys, a clerk, and three or four "velvet-footed" white-robed natives. I wish some home bankers I know could have seen the classic bungalow Bank, with its Pompeian pillars, and the waiting customers seated in the verandah, and trailing, flowery, heavy-leaved creepers with blooms of orange and white dangling from the capitals of the pillars. One of the customers waiting in the verandah was a bearded priest, with black bombazine frock and white topee; a Celt for certain by his hand and eye; and by his polite manners and intelligent expression a Jesuit, I would guess; and there were two ladies—spinsters and country bred I'd say, and poor, to judge by pale, lined faces and the look of wear about their pith hats and sun-faded dresses. Inside were white-robed figures just distinguishable at desks, their faces invisible in the deep shadow. And there was heat! and a continual "chink, chink" of counted rupees, and outside in the sun, two impatient ladies waiting in a victoria. At last we got the coin, and were faint with heat and hunger by the time we got home to lunch,—this to show the climate of Bangalore; but perhaps my readings of the temperature make it out to be hotter than it is.

... I do not write much about cooking, and the table, in these notes, do I? so just one word here, allow me.... Do not waste pity on dear friends and relatives out here on the score of food. Truly the climatic conditions are not such as so give great appetite but the food itself is excellent, beef, par example; I'd never seen better beef than the hump you get here, and the fish would be considered quite good in London, and there are various vegetables and fruits; even strawberries you can get occasionally from the hills, and then the curries are just as good as they are said to be. The best way to make them is—but space forbids!... I think the reason they are cracked up so much is because they are almost half vegetable so they suit the climate; being suitable, they have been so long practised that their making is an art that only an amateur might imitate at home.



... That squirrel—to change the subject—on a branch outside the verandah, is cheeping so that one can barely think, or even write! It is as like a rat as a squirrel, with two yellowish stripes down the length of each side; its tail is carried in the same way as our squirrel's at home, but it is not half so bushy, and thank Heaven our squirrel has not a brain-piercing note like this little beast. It runs about every bungalow's verandah and the compound trees, and its note is like a creaking wheel-barrow going along slowly, then it gets faster till it is like the blackbird's scream when frightened out of the gooseberries. It makes many people grow quite bald—this, another piece of information, I have gathered from my cousin Robert! He also tells me they take wool out of his drawing-room cushions to line their nest. For further information of this kind the reader may care to refer to the writings of Mark Twain; he writes a great deal about this squirrel—says it is the same as the "chip munk" in his "erroneous, hazy, first impressions of India."

We have just been asked to a Christmas Tree over the way at twelve o'clock mid-day, but we think it will be rather too hot for us to go then. My often quoted informant tells me that seeing there are no fir trees here they use instead a tamarisk branch, and its feathery, pine-like needles look almost as well as our fir trees at home, and go on fire in much the same way. We do not have a Christmas Tree or a dance for the Servants' Hall, but R. and D. have sent them a notice and they appear tidied up till their black hair shines again. R. has some difficulty in remembering the names of the second and third generations, but makes a good attempt. I am certain I couldn't remember, or care for, even the senior male servants' names. They each get a small sum of money, which is received with beaming smiles. One little mite comes guilelessly round for a second payment and is told she must not. It is in vain you try to sketch them as they stand naturally; they see the corner of your eye with their's even though you are pretending to read the "Pioneer," and once they know you look they pull themselves together, if they are sitting they rise, and if they are standing they run, or go on salaaming.

To-day I'd such a sell in this respect—went to the Maharajah's Palace, a miniature Abbotsford, to leave cards, and just as were passing a neighbouring compound, there appeared under the trees a glorious covey of red chupprassies seated in a circle on the ground, their scarlet and gold and white uniforms glaring in the sunbeams that shot through the foliage—such purple shadows—such a suggestion of colour, and gossip, or tales of the East! We pulled up a hundred and fifty yards off, I am sure, with a hedge between us, and only looked sideways at them to make notes, but in two seconds they were all up and at attention, and two came running forward for Sahib's orders and cards, so I drove away lamenting. The Red Chupprassies, by the way, or "corrupt lictors," are official messengers wearing red Imperial livery, who are attached to all civil officers in India. See Mr Aberich-Mackay on the subject in "Twenty-one Days in India."

... Packing to go to Madras, and very sorry to leave Bangalore and its wide compounds and parks and bazaars, and our very kind hosts. I have not mentioned the military element in Bangalore, nor the Gymkhana, nor the Club, for, to my sorrow, I've seen nothing of them! The museum I did see—went to it twice; I believe few people stationed here have seen it once! There is a collection of stuffed Indian birds which interested and finally appalled me by its numbers; and models of Indian fish, also very interesting.

My packing brought me more natural history interest—my packing and R.'s unpacking. R., in his office on one side of the house, opened some bundles of papers and so dispersed a colony of small black ants; they apparently thought my dressing-room would be restful, and trekked across the matting of three rooms and settled in my pile of correspondence—thought they'd be undisturbed poor things,—they had had to climb to the top of a desk to settle in these papers. When I moved these one or two thousand ants, and white cocoons, were scattered on the matting, where they quickly collected themselves again under some sketches and a folio on the floor. Then I took up another paper, and in vexation shook ants and cocoons into a bowl of painting water which was on the floor, and the poor little devils who were able to swim, after their first surprise, began pulling the cocoons together in the centre of the bowl and piled one on the top of the other in a heap till the lowest became submerged. So I said, "here is honest endeavour, and help those who help themselves"—and dropped them a raft in shape of an inch of paper, and on to it the survivors went, and hauled in one whitey-blue chrysalis after another. Then an ant went up to the side of the bowl by the handle of the painting brush and shouted or signalled for help to another fellow below on the matting, and it went and got hundreds of willing helpers. Now they are saving the remainder, and wiring to their friends, I've no doubt.

I leant over the bowl like a minor clumsy Providence and watched the V.C. sort of action for quite a long time,—and suppressed cheers,—but Burmah called, and the Boy waited, so I had to leave them to Pucca Providence for a little. In half an hour by the clock all were rescued—(five hundred ants and almost as many cocoons!) Even the ants that had got under water, which I thought were drowned, were pulled out, and revived. Then they formed a new colony under my water colour, "The Landing of Lord Minto at the Appolo Bundar."

I have had an entertaining half-hour with them, but they will be glad we are gone. Here comes Krishna, the deft handed, to pack sketches and all; I must supervise him, and see that he does not pack my cousin's soap, matches, and pieces of string along with his increasing collection of these articles in a corner of my kit bag.



CHAPTER XX

BANGALORE TO MADRAS

This is the broad gauge Madras line. The cars run as smoothly as oil on water—I can write perfectly well, or as well us usual to be exact,—and there is gas, electric light, fairly soft cushions to sleep on, and nice wide berths. The fares are moderate and the arrangements for food, etc., are good; how can I say more, than that they are as well done as on the line we have just left—the Southern Maharatta Railway.[16]

[16] The mileage in 1901 of Indian Railways was 25,373. This mileage is somewhat larger than that of France and of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and two and a half times that of Italy, and the development is phenomenal.—MURRAY.

Our views on the road were a breadth of night-blue sky and stars, and a sweep of obscure plain, and the glimmer of the carriage lights on the hedge of aloes alongside, and crowds at stations with dark faces against white lamp-lit walls, the natives running about heaped with sheets to keep them warm—the temperature at 70 deg..

I must make a note here en route to Madras that before we left Krishna brought his wife and her sister and their children to pay their respects to us before we left Bangalore; he has placed them there while he takes the world for his pillow and follows our fortunes. They were mighty superior looking Hindoos, elegantly draped in yellow striped with red, with light yellow flowers in their smooth black hair and their faces were quite comely, but you couldn't look at them as they spoke for the pink in their mouths from chewing betel. The raw pink is such an ugly contrast to their rather pretty brown complexions. If I'd had the designing of these people I'd have made their nails and the soles of their feet dark too, also the inside of their mouths, like well bred terriers. They gave G. and myself each a lime and a very tidy bouquet of roses and ferns. You think nothing of being garlanded in this country with wreaths of flowers. My host and hostess had collars of flowers to the eyes the other day for some reason or other. I suppose that because the white man won't take "presents" he must take flowers and limes. On our part we gave each of these good people a small token in silver, with which return compliment they seemed highly pleased, and Krishna addressed us: standing straight he puckered his little face, so dark against his white turban, and wept, saying, "Father and Mother and all that I have I leave to follow Massa" or "my sahib"—I can never make out which he says, and in reply I murmured something about "absence making the heart grow fonder"—and felt quite touched; but R. tells me that this weeping can be turned on by natives at any time, so when he transacts business with weepy people, he says very gently, "Will you please wait a little and weep later," and they stop at once and smile and begin again just at the polite moment. I am convinced this is the case, though it seems to us almost a physical impossibility, that a man grown-up can turn on tears without heroics in a book or a novel or play to start them; "the gentle Hindoo" seems even a more fitting term than I'd have thought it was!... The people grew more noisy as we got south, the racket they make along this line at night at stations qualifies the comfortable berths and well-hung carriages.

A good deal, if not all, of the charm of travel went, about midnight. I awoke in the dark and just distinguished a native stealing into our carriage, whereon I showed a leg, and half rose, with intent to kill, or throw out. He advanced stealthily and held out his hand in a way I knew, and whispered, "plague inspection," and I meekly gave him my wrist to feel; he touched my arm somewhere for an indivisible point of time and withdrew into the night! Then a dark lady in dark dress and straw hat, became faintly visibly for a second, and felt G.'s wrist. By that time we were both half awake to the fact that it was a plague inspection; in a minute or two a third person came in, but I was too sleepy to notice what he said—but I am quite certain I did not pray for any of them.

In the grey of the morning, in a most comfortable, restful sleep, we were awakened again, and were asked for plague passports—and hadn't any. I believe the third intruder may have called to give me one; at any rate, I had to hunt about on a platform crowded with natives and other poor Britishers in pyjamas, in the same plight as myself and looking mighty cross, and finally got two pieces of paper, each with all sorts of horrible instructions and threats thereon, and un-understandable orders to show ourselves somewhere for examination for the next ten days. Each pass was prepared in triplicate, "original to be retained for record, the duplicate to be delivered to the traveller and the triplicate sent without delay to the officer who has to examine him for ten days," etc., etc., and the traveller is warned any breach of terms will entail prosecution with imprisonment for a term up to six months, or fine up to Rs. 1000, "or both!" And the passport officer, amongst a hundred and one other things, has to ascertain whether there is any sickness or death in your house, or if you exhibit any symptoms of plague or deadly sickness—this for us, the poor cold-weather tourists, with never a house or home but our portmanteaux! Your father's name and your caste and your occupation are also demanded, and your district, tulluq, village, and street. An income-tax paper is plain sailing to this complicated nightmare of the early morning—you vow and swear you will never come to Madras again.

It is wonderful how breakfast clears the air, and the drive from the station through the town helped to cheer us up. Madras smells rather, and though there are open ditches and swampy places that make one think of fever; they say it's healthy. I suppose the sea, and the surf in the air, are disinfectants. The people in the street are not a patch on Bangalore people in looks or dress. I had to drive from our hotel soon after our arrival some three miles to the docks, and of the thousands of people I passed, there was not one woman with draperies arranged in the classic folds we saw in Bangalore; their worn bundles of dirty white drapery seemed just to be thrown on anyhow, and their type of face was much more elementary than that of the natives, even so little to the north as Mysore—Apologies for such rude sketches.



I'd just begun to vote Madras a sell when a line of thin-stemmed trees came in sight—tamarisks, I think—with feathery grey-green pine-like foliage and deep shadows, and figures under them on white sand, and through the trunks a great sweep of blue ocean, real southern blue—and I thought of turtles and the early traders, and John Company, and forgot about the ugly figures and the smells in the town. A little farther on, I came on the harbour with a few ocean-going crafts, and the Renown, waiting for the Prince, conspicuous in brilliant white and green on her water-line.

We had by this time decided to go to Burmah, so I'd come to the docks to Binney & Co. to see about berths. An article I read by an engineer—my thanks for it—called, "Fourteen days leave from India," in T. P.'s Weekly, and Mr Fielding Hall's "Soul of the People," helped to decide our going farther east. The article described vividly the change to the better in regard to the colouring and people in coming from India to Burmah. If India then seemed to me picturesque, it was surely worth the effort to cross the little bit of sea to Rangoon. It was difficult to leave the harbour and the Masulah boats; they are thoroughly ugly yet perfectly well-fitted for their work! They are almost like the shape of children's paper boats, high out of the water, over four feet freeboard and seven feet beam, and I'd say about twenty-five to thirty feet over all, with practically flat bottoms. Six or seven rowers perch on bamboo thwarts, level with top of the gunwale, and row with bamboos with flat round blades tied to their ends. They come stem on through the low surf on the harbour strand, then just as they are touching the shore, are swung broadside on, the natives spring out into the shoal water, and out comes the lading, piece by piece, on their shoulders sacks, bales, boxes, etc., and all the time the boat is bumping up the sloping sand sideways and unharmed apparently by the seas bursting on its outside. Ugly is no word for them, but fit they were, though Ruskin's "Beauty of Fitness" did not appear. They have but few timbers, but these are heavy, and they have only three planks on either side and two on the bottom, heavy teak planks sewn together! This coarse sewing with cocoa-nut fibre cord laces a straw rope against the inside of the seam, and this apparently swells when wet and gives elasticity and play, and keeps out a considerable amount of water. But I see there's a good deal of baling done, and the baggage, with the water in bilge and spray over all, must get wet outside at least—Fixed up about cabins for Rangoon, lunched at our hotel, the Connemara, then hired a gharry or victoria—I'm not sure which the conveyance we hired by the week should be called—and drove to the racecourse, an A.1. course, and met several friends there. I was particularly impressed by the general appearance of beauty and refinement of our country-women in Madras, and by the fashionableness of their attire. I thought there was a sensation—I will only whisper this—of a slightly rarified official atmosphere at this meeting, I saw no one caper. But it must be borne in mind that most of the people there were officials and wives of officials, serving a great empire, so perhaps it might be unbecoming for such to laugh and play; and I take it there is even a limit to the degree of a smile when you are on the official ladder, that it is then seemly, even expedient, to walk with a certain dignity of pace—so you show the sweep of the modern skirt to great advantage. As a foil were one or two blooming girls, "just out," and bound to have a "good time." Their exuberant buoyancy will be toned down, I am told, after two seasons here (I'd have thought one would have been enough), and up north people are more gay, the atmosphere here is considerd to be very damping.

The native life spread round three sides of the course, six deep. The horses were mostly small, uncommonly nice-looking beasts, with a good deal of Arab blood. Of course G. and I selected winners and had nothing on; but I have known of others who have met with similar misfortune at meetings nearer home.

Back to the Connemara, through a moving population of native men returning from the races. They mostly wore Delhi caps (like "smoking caps"), long hair in a knot and long light tweed coats, round their thin bare legs, floppy linen shaded from white to rose-red, at the lower edge a bad red and a dirty white; there was red dust in the air, and a hot sunset in front—rather sickening colour. The whole population seems to have had a holiday to see the Sahibs run some fifteen to twenty horses. They seem rather an unmanly looking crowd. The pink that predominates is what you see in an unfortunate hybrid white and red poppy, an analine colour, as unpleasant as that of red ink—Give me back—give me back Bangalore and its colour, our life on the line, a quiet siding beneath the bough, the table laid on the track, and the moon looking down through the branches.

28th December.—There is a thing I cannot understand how the farther we wander from home the more people we meet whom we know or know about, or who know us or our kith and kin. And how do we so often run up against people we met on the ship coming out? You'd have thought India big enough to swallow up a shipload of passengers for ever and aye, without their ever meeting again, but even since yesterday we have met quite a number of the passengers of the Egypt—three regular "pied poudre" wanderers, as the French called the Scots long ago, and a lady just out, full of interest in everything. She actually wants to see native bazaars and museums! to the horror of her hosts, who have been out here for long and whose thoughts are only of the tented field, and pay, and going home.

... A long trail to shipping people again—former visit resulted only in a protracted interview with a polite native clerk, so the toil had to be done twice! Then to the post office at the docks; borrowed a rusty pen there from another native clerk and did a home letter. What a fine building it is, and what a motley slack lot of people you see there! Near me a group of half-naked natives were concocting and scratching off a wire between them, others squatted on the floor and beat up their friends black hair for small game. One man made netting attached to the rail round the ticket office, seated of course, another knitted, and everyone chewed betel nut. The walls of this very handsome building were encrusted with dried red expectoration, and scored with splashes of lime from fingers—the lime is chewed with the betel nut. These nasty sort of natives might be improved or got rid of, and say, Burmese introduced. What is the good of having a country or a forest if you don't breed a good stock, be it either deer or people?

Changed to airier rooms on our second evening here; got everything shifted in pretty short time. We thus lost a pretty view and, the smell of the river, "the Silvery Cooum."

It was warm and damp last night, and many mosquitoes were inside our curtains—didn't feel up to painting much, but took out a sketch book and our hired victoria; the horse jibbed and tied itself and the traces and the victoria into a knot and kicked up a racket generally in the hotel porch, and we got it extracted in time, then it insisted on taking the victoria along the pavement till I was glad G. was not with me—a fool would have stayed in it—I found I needed a shave, and left as it pranced past a barber's shop. The barber, an Italian, spoke six languages; I should think he felt Madras deadly dull.

After the breakdown of my prancing steed—rickshawed from the barber's to the Marina. The Marina is only an empty sweep of sand, and beyond that a strip of blue sea and a pale blue sky and a few fleecy clouds, simple enough material for a picture; but by my faith! could I only have put down the colour of that mid-day glow from the sand, and the feeling of space, and the two blues, of the sea and sky, and the flick of colour from a scrap or two of drapery on sunny brown figures tailing on to the long ropes of a Seine net! Out beyond the surf mere dots in the blue swell, were more figures swimming about the ends of the net splashing to keep in the fish, and in the edge of the white surf the fishermen's children were sporting—in with a header through the glassy curve of a wave, and out again on their feet on the sand and away with a scamper. Some matrons sat near me, and the smallest naked kids played round me as I sketched, and two, really pretty girls, the first I've seen in India, with short skirts and their black hair still wringing wet, came up from the sea and looked on. Barring these fisher-people, the miles of beach were empty as could be. What light and heat there was, a crow passing cast a darker shadow on the sand than its own sunlit back, and a pale pink convolvulus that grew here and there on the inner sand cast a shadow of deepest purple. The brown naked men, sweating at every pore, pulled the drag rope of the net very slowly up the soft dry sand step by step, their damp, brown muscles sparkling with vivid blue lights. I think this was the best bit of India I had seen so far, and after a stuffy night in town to get into the blaze of light and watch these fellows fishing on the wide blue ocean from such a southern strand was worth a month on Loch Leven or an hour with a fifty pounder. I think the nets must be over a hundred fathoms; they were being pulled in for two hours after I came, and must have been hauled for hours before that, seven men to each rope! As the ends came near shore, the boys plunged in and joined their seniors, and all looked like a herd of seals gambolling. I saw a father drubbing his boy beyond the surf; the boy had evidently gone out too soon, and got exhausted coming back. It must have relieved the father's feelings, each thump sent the lad under water. As the bag of the net came towards the hard sand the silver fish showed; very few I thought for all the trouble and hands employed; not more than twenty lbs. weight I'd think, all silvery and sky blue and emerald green; bream and sand-launces and silver fish like whitebait and herring, all fresh and shining from the beautiful sea mint—the colour beyond words—green breakers, white surf, blue swell beyond, and brown figures with red and variously coloured turbans; young and old, all with such deep shadows on the sand, a scene Sarolea, the Spaniard, might make a show of painting. A few outsiders, men with clothes, two policemen and a satellite appeared as the bag came ashore. Scenting plunder they sailed down and nailed four of the biggest and best fish—horrid shame, I thought it, these miserable imps in uniform of our Government, to steal from my naked fisher friends. I hope someone in authority will read this and have them tied heel and neck.

... In the afternoon G. and I went again to the Marina; I don't think anything more unfashionable could have been dreamed of. It was again exquisite—all changed to evening colours, and the wide drive along the shore had a few promenaders, and a few carriages were drawn up at the side with ladies and children eating the air. They appeared to be unofficial people, white traders, I'd fancy, the rest Eurasians and a few Europeanised natives. There are pretty drives to the Marina, through park-like roads beautifully bordered with flowering trees, such a pleasing place that I wonder the official class does not drive there.

Through the outskirts home; the light fading and forms becoming blurred in the warm evening twilight, past lines of neat little houses, mostly open towards the street, belonging to Eurasians. In one a children's party—pretty children in white, girls with great tails of dark hair—they were pulling crackers and all wore coloured paper hats—next door in a room with chintz covered European furniture and photographs, a pretty girl—just a little dark, played a concertina to an immaculately dressed youth, who twirled the latest thing in straw hats.

Then to dinner at The Fort to dine with Major B. C.—a tiresome long drive in the dark with a slow horse; at the end of it we crossed a drawbridge over a moat—full of water we could see, from the faint reflection of a white angle of a bastion on the dark surface—rumbled through subterranean arches, white-washed and lamplit, and felt as we came into the square that we had left modern India outside in the darkness and had got back to the old India of the Company days. A pale crescent moon lit up part of a building here and there, old formal Georgian buildings and old-fashioned gun-embrasures and a church like St. Martin in the Fields. One half expected to meet someone in knee breeches and wig, perhaps a Governor, Elihu Yale, or M'Crae, the seaman, Clive, or Hastings coming round some dusky corner or across the moonlit square. There were a few soldiers here and there, taking their rest with grey shirt-sleeves rolled up. We had to mark time a little, as we had started half-an-hour too soon, so I went on to the parapet and looked from the flagstaff east into the night, and heard the Bay of Bengal surf pounding on the sands. I spoke for a little to two soldiers lounging there on the parapet edge; they told me they were Suffolks and felt it warm. What interesting talks one could have had with these men, as a stranger, and with no impending dinner and no white waistcoat. I am not surprised Kipling made some of his best tales about privates; they are of the interesting mean in life, between the rulers and the ruled. These private soldiers, or fishermen and sailors can tell you stories better than any other class of men, but you must not show the least sign of gold braid if you would draw them out. I remember one night, I went round the dockyard bars at a northern seaport with a retired naval officer to get first hand information about a trip we planned to Davis Straits for musk oxen—with the artist's modest manner and the suggestion of a drink thrown in, I'd have got any number of yarns from them till "Eleven o'clock, Gentlemen, and the Police outside!" But my friend in mufti was spotted at once; for he marched up to the middle of the bar, looked right and left and snapped out his order; but before he opened his mouth the whaling men were shouldering into little tongue-tied groups—the quarter deck air came in like a draught and took them all slightly aback, and we got never a bit of information.

There was a Canon at dinner, and two engineers and ladies. We talked of India and home, and these kind people's children over seas, and we talked art too. One engineer and his wife were both excellent artists; and we talked of the Burmese and the religion of Buddah, not very loud, of course, considering the company, and, of course, of the "Soul of the People," a book at least three of the party had read and I had just dipped into; and we arranged to go and see the church and the records and plate therein, dating from the Company days, and amongst other interesting things the record of Clive's marriage, with Wellesley's signature as witness appended. The house we dined in is supposed to be that in which Clive twice attempted his own life, and twice his pistol misfired. Then we tore ourselves away, with belated sympathy for our host and his next day's work.

I have mentioned preparations for the Prince in Bangalore; here, too our host had many arrangements to make, to forward the Imperial train north to Mysore after their return from Burmah.

As we leave the house the lamplight from the windows shines on purple blooms of creepers on the fort wall a few yards from the front door, and over it comes the low boom of the surf and the scent of the sea and flowers—Through the sleeping soldier town, the Syce running in front gives some pass-word to the sentry as we rattle over the cobbles under the archway and rumble over the drawbridge; and we are out into the dusty darkness again. And so home, to bed and mosquito curtains in the Connemara.

Sleep we would fain have till later than the time of rising for the crows, and sparrows, and hotel servants, but to sleep after sunrise is almost impossible; these abominable hoody crows and sparrows sit on the jalousies and verandah and caw and chirp most harshly. "If I were viceroy," I'd put forth a word to have the whole lot exterminated. It could be done in two seasons, then the harmless, and game birds, would have a chance. It was once done in our country in the reign of James the IV. The tree in which a crow built for three successive years was forfeited to the Crown, and went of course to our Fleet, Eh Mihi; We had a proper fleet in those days before the great Union, and proper Commanders—read Pitscottie's description of the ships, e.g. The Yellow Carvel, The Lion, and The Great Michael, the envy of Europe, for which the forests of Fife were depleted, which carried "thirty-five guns and three hundred smaller artillery, culverins, batter-falcons, myands, double-dogs, hagbuts, and three hundred sailors, a hundred and twenty gunners, and one thousand soldiers besides officers"—and of the sea fights with the Portuguese and English. Our coasts were defended then! James IV. could put 120,000 mounted troops in the field in nine days, and every able-bodied man learned the use of arms; this was before The Union with our so often successfully invaded neighbour—now, we have left to defend ourselves, one regiment of cavalry!

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

P.S.—As this goes to print the Scots Greys follow our kings to England; and we are left with one mounted soldier in our capital, in bronze, in Princes Street: and to add to our glorious portion in this Union, it has lately been tactfully decreed that in future English nobility will take precedence of Scottish nobility IN SCOTLAND! It will be curious to observe what the populace will say to this when they come to hear of it. I wonder if our nobility will take it lying down—and if I may be forgiven, this extra wide digression?



CHAPTER XXI

I have had a delightful fishing day; at an early hour found myself again at the shore, nominally to paint, but in truth because it was hot and stuffy in town, and the thought of the surf and clear air made the beach irresistible. A rickshaw man used his legs to take me to the sands edge; and they were empty as yesterday of all but the few fishermen and their families. The colour effect, however, was not so brilliant, but was pleasant enough—the sky soft grey and the water grey too, but colourful—the heat enough to cook one!



I watched the young idea learning surf rafting—a study fascinating enough for a whole day—a tiny imp with a great pointed log, and the white breakers for playthings. He sat on its stern, his knees and toes on the sand, and held its stem seawards till the inrush of shallow white-laced water was deep enough to float it and take his little anatomy a voyage of a few yards on the sloping outrush, then he jumped off and waited till the surf brought his black ship back. With what quickness he noted the exact moment to run in and catch its stem, and slew it round so that it would broach ashore on its side, and how neatly he avoided being caught between it and the sand. The fishermen's boats, or catamarans as they are called here, though they have no resemblance to the Colombo catamaran, are made of four of these pointed logs tied side by side. I suppose this little chap was playing at his future work. He had made a little collection on the dry sand of two or three shell-fish and beasts that burrow in the sand, and whenever he went to sea, three crows stalked up to these, when he would leave the log and scamper after them, then run back all over dry sand and tumble into the surf again, to come up laughing and wet and shining like copper—I should say it was nicer than being at school.



Two of his clothless seniors came in, as I sketched, from the deep swell outside the surf, through the breakers slanting-wise. It was a treat to see them paddling their four logs, almost side on to the breaking surf, where our boats could not safely venture; one knelt behind on the thick ends of the two prolonged middle logs, the other amidship—their heads only showed above a breaker, the next moment they were on its crest, the surf foaming over their knees—down again into another hollow, then up, and with a surge the lumber drove its nose on the sand, the stern threw up, and the two nipped into the water at either end; another surge swung the stern round, and shoved the raft broadside on far up the sand, and they were landing their nets—all done as easily as you could pull up a dog-cart and step out! Of course they are not inconvenienced with clothes, and the water and sands are both comfortably warm; the little difficulty must be to jump at the right time and place, so as to avoid being thrown off, and getting rolled under the logs. Bow seemed to hop off in front and to the outside a little, just before she touched, and Stroke a half a second later, but the manoeuvre was too quick for me to follow more than one of the men's actions exactly.

Whilst I watched this extremely rapid landing, my acquaintances of yesterday were pulling at the long ropes from either end of the Seine net, which was extended very far out at sea. When the ends were within fifty yards of the shore the knowing old seniors went tumbling through the surf, and kept swimming and splashing to frighten the fish from the mouth of the V shape into the bag in the middle; the women folk and children tailed on to the ropes along with the men, joking and laughing, for their men out in the water told them there were lots of fish! You did not need to know Tamil or Telugu to learn this, the delight was so evident—It was evidently to be the catch of the season! The excitement and movement grew splendid as the bag, still a few yards from shore, was throttled in some way under water. First a small outer bag was pulled ashore, then a bigger one holding the day's catch, a Scotch cartload of fish—a bumper bag. They were all so pleased and jolly, and were puffing and panting and wet with the last struggle to get the fine-meshed bag through the surf. When it was opened like a great brown purse, there lay the wealth of the Bay of Bengal! in silver and blue and rose and yellow. About half the fish were pure silver, the rest violet, emerald green, pure blue, and some red like mullet, with lemon yellow fins, and the colour of the brown men and the women's faded draperies round the glittering haul was delicious. The wrangling, not Billingsgate at all—milder even than Parliamentary—was loud enough, and continuous. I left them taking away the fish in baskets, and freshly minted money never looked so beautiful. How they divided I couldn't tell; it seemed as if each helped himself or herself as each thought fit.

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