HotFreeBooks.com
From Edinburgh to India & Burmah
by William G. Burn Murdoch
Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8
Home - Random Browse

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

BENARES.—One evening we took train from Calcutta to Benares. Flat fields of white poppies were on either side, and English park-like scenes, without the mansions, and we thanked our stars we had not to live in what the Norse call "Eng" or meadow land.

The things of interest in Benares are in order—first the Ghats, then a river called the Ganges, and the monkey temple; of course there are a great many natives, but from a cursory impression of the faces in the crowds, I think they rank after the monkeys.

We arrived on a feast day with the golden beauty of Burmah and its people fresh in our minds, and found these natives were painting the town red. They slopped a liquid the colour of red ink over their neighbours' more or less white clothes, and threw handfuls of vermilion powder over each other—an abominable shade of vermilion—so roads and people and sides of houses were all stained with these ugly colours; in fact, at the Ghats or terraces at the river side, where many thousands were congregated, the air was thick with the vermilion dust. From the water's edge up the steps to the palaces and temples and houses at the top, the terraces swarmed with thousands of people, and the talk and mirthless laughter rose and fell like the continuous clamour from a guillemot rookery.

The scenes we met in the streets were only to be described in language of the Elizabethan period. If to-day at home we pass obscurantism for morality, the Indian does the reverse; he tears the last shreds from our ideas of what Phallic worship might once have been.

I think the Ghats are the most nauseating place in the world; there, is Idolatry, in capital letters—the most terrible vision that a mind diseased could picture in horrible nightmare! for you see thousands of inferior specimens of men and women dabbling in the water's edge, doing all and every particular of the toilet in the same place almost touching each other, and right amongst them are dead people in pink or white winding sheets being burned, and the ashes and half-burned limbs being shoved into the water—and I forgot—there's a main sewer comes into the middle of this.

We got on to a boat with a cabin on it, and sat on its roof on decrepit cane chairs, and the rowers below with makeshift oars gradually pulled us up and down the face of the Ghats—what oars, and what a ramshackle tub of a boat—too old and tumble-down for a fisherman's hen run at home.

Holy Gunga! What a crowd of men and women line the edge of these steps knee deep in the water, and babble and jabber and pray, day after day, and pretend to wash themselves, without soap! Only one man of the thousands I saw was proportionably shaped; and one woman was white, an Albino, I wish I could forget her bluey whiteness! and I saw boys doing Sandow exercises, evidently trying to bring up their biceps—poor little devils—how can they? They haven't time—they will be married and reproducing other little fragilities like themselves, before they are out of their teens!

The monkey temple is full of monkeys, and they have less apish expressions than the priests. The Prince of Wales saw it the patron told me, and added, "Princess give handsome presents—also Maharajahs—from 100 rupees to 50." So I gave one, very willingly, to get out, and thought it cheap at the price. Besides the nastiness of the monkeys, there was much blood of sacrifices drying on the ground and altars, and this was covered with flies; there are some abominable rites in this temple, but they are now not supposed to sacrifice children.

Perhaps it was because I was tired with sight-seeing, perhaps because the Ghats are really so terrible that I felt their picturesqueness was lost on me, so I told my guide to direct my rowers' little energy towards the far side of the river where there are no houses, and there is quiet and clean river sand.



On the sands we found a fakir had established his camp—quite a low church fellow, I suppose, to the Brahmin mind. He sat over against this sacred Benares, and told those freethinkers, who came across at times, that his was the only one and true religion, and that the Phallic saturnalia on the opposite shore was damned, and the Ganges water was of no use whatever in the way of religion.

His camp covered an acre of sand and was fenced with cane, and he had camels and cows and many followers, and though they had only one yellow waist-cloth between them all, which he wore, he must have been well enough off to provide the loaves and fishes for so many. He sat all the time with his legs crossed, and read Sanskrit in a low, very well modulated voice, whilst people from far and near came and bowed, and sometimes, if they were worthy, touched his feet, and he would give them a little look from his quiet intense eyes, and the least inclination of his head, a movement and look a king might have envied, it was at the same time so reserved and yet graciously beneficent. His hair and beard were long and slightly curling and tawny at the ends, and his face was dusted with grey ash which emphasised his rather potent eyes. His features in profile were pure Greek, and on his low forehead there was a touch of gold. His particular followers or disciples had the silly expression of a mesmerist's subjects; they sat in the dust stark naked and unashamed, and looked happy and exceedingly foolish.

The way this fakir made money I was told, is simplicity itself; he merely gives a pass with his hand above his head, and lo there is a sovereign in his palm, or he makes a pass at his toe and there is another!

My Mohammedan guide, who told me about this fakir, was rather a fine specimen and had read much; and though he did not belong to the same church as the fakir, he held him in great respect, and he told me very seriously—that he could raise the dead—he knew a man who knew another man who had actually seen it done!

The fakir sat on a little dais in front of a hut with an awning over him. He passed word to a satellite in a cloak that he would be pleased were I to land, and I told my guide to tell him I would be pleased to alight from my ramshackle tub and make his portrait, and he gently inclined his head, so I descended from my barge roof, and stood opposite him on the sand and drew, and after half-an-hour or so he saw that I was tired standing and sent for a seat, but I of course could not change my point of view, and no doubt his followers wondered why I bothered standing in the sun when I might have easily sat in the shade and done nothing. Next day I went on the river and stopped in passing his place and showed him the coloured portrait, of which he gently expressed his approval and signified that he would be pleased to accept a copy. So I made one, and it is now glazed and framed and worshipped by his disciples. He gave me his blessing in exchange—he did not make any passes for sovereigns—but he gave me a seed or two to eat for a particular purpose, and there is no result so far—and though he did not convert me I left him with a certain respect for his great dignity of manner, and for his evident desire and ability to obtain power over men's minds. Perhaps with all his study and knowledge he still wonders why a man should stand some hours in the heat playing with pencil and paper and water colours. I am told he believes in only one god, unfortunately I forget which; but there are 333,000,000 gods in India, so perhaps it's a matter of no great consequence to them, or the Deity, or us.

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

One is conscious at Benares just now of a pervading effort to proselytise. There is this fakir on one side of the river with his troop, covering their nakedness with a little dust and ashes, and priests of all kinds and the populace painting themselves red on the other side; then there is Mrs Besant running some new sort of Hindooism or "damned charlatanism," as Lafcadio Hearn would have put it. And there are various Scottish and English Church Missions making special efforts to secure converts, but they pay far more than my fakir does per head—soul I mean. The fakir has secured two hundred recognised converts and disciples in his own camp; he, however, has the advantage over other missionaries in his method, which I have described, of obtaining supplies. Each disciple costs him only one rupee per day, so my guide tells me, and he says he is absolutely reliable; so they must do themselves well. If I stayed a few days longer I'd start some new philosophy myself, or revive an old one. And now I think of it, I believe mine once floated would knock all the others endways—to begin with I'd have my Benares or Mecca in some art bohemia, and I'd raise a blue banner inscribed with the word BEAUTY in gold, and that would be the watchword.... No one to enroll who could not make, say a decent rendering of the Milo in sculpture or drawing—or write or play....



Our places of study would be the churches that are empty during the week—we surely could not be refused the use of them for the five or six days they are not used! the last half of the sixth day would give us time to remove all our beautiful things, so they would be the same as usual on Sundays—nothing like detail in going in for a scheme of this kind. And he or she who could produce something beautiful in either sculpture, colour, music, or being, or even making a hat, would be high in the priesthood, and might receive offerings of food and raiment in return for instruction given (like the Burmese Phoungies from the general public), so the general public would obtain merit, and men like Sargent (if they could drop their academical degrees), La Touche, Anglada Camarassa, Sarolea, Sidannier would be very high in the priesthood; and we'd have Velasquez and Whistler, Montecelli and the like for saints and—I see I have left no place for scientists and musicians. But we'd have heaps of room for them, of course.

This isn't all nonsense you know!—in fact it is possibly all sense. I'd like to see the philosophy carried out experimentally say for three years in a bad district, such as between Edinburgh Castle and Holyrood. I believe the people would look handsomer and happier than they are at present after the second year. Given Beauty for our standard and first goal, Goodness, Mercy, Courage, Manliness, and Womanliness, and good looks, would surely follow, and the Creator might be trusted for the rest.

I am positively anxious, in the present condition of things, about what will happen when some of us come to the gates of Heaven.—I very much doubt if a knowledge of the ten Commandments will pass us in—and even if we do get in, and secure a mansion, and it is really as beautiful as described, how uncomfortable many of us will feel who have not been made familiar with the subject of beauty below! I fear there may be awkward questions put about what we have learned besides the ten Commandments; we may be asked what we have observed of God's works. For example, "What is the colour of wood smoke across a blue sky," or "the colour of white marble against a yellow sunset." Perhaps you may be passed in with even a solfeggio, but just think!—suppose you are asked to "describe the most expressive movement in the action of a man throwing a stone," or "how many heads there are in the Milo!"...

Such philosophising is quite the thing here at Benares—everyone does.

But to go back to the people and the Ghats I must—for my own protection—for some one who reads these notes may have also waded through the exquisite writing of Pierre Loti on the subject, and may conclude I am untruthful. He says, he saw on the steps bathing, people "a la fois sveltes et athletiques," and lovely women, dead and alive, with clinging draperies that resemble the "Victoire aptere,"—well, I vow!—I've studied the human form for about twenty-five years and I repeat that what I say is true, that of the hundreds of men I saw distinctly of the thousands bathing, I only saw one man passably well made. I saw very finely built Sikhs from northern India in Burmah, and others at Madras, but all the people on the banks of the Ganges had very poor muscular development. And these lovely women whom Pierre Loti sees in such numbers—they have no calves—whoever saw beauty without the rudiments of a calf! But perhaps Pierre Loti does; if he can write about India, sans les Anglais—(he means British[39]) he may fancy Hamlet without the Prince, or Venus with an Indian shank. But we forgive him; for that picture, off Iceland, "the stuffy brown lamplit cabin in the fishing lugger, the tobacco smoke and the Madonna in the corner, and outside on deck the silvery daylight and the pure air of the Arctic midnight."

[39] "L'Inde sans les Anglais."

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

I think military life in Benares must be slow, the soldier seems to have so much routine work in India when there is no frontier campaign going on. It must be irksome for anyone fond of fighting. My cousin here (a Captain) is Cantonment Magistrate, which means he has to turn his sword into a foot rule and do Government's factory work—lets you a plot of land for your house and sees your neighbour hangs out his washing in proper order—then will hang a man for murder or fine another for selling you goat instead of mutton, and so on and so forth. Multifarious little things on to many of which might hang a history—for instance taking a stray bull across the river with the respect due to such a sacred encumbrance and without hurting the religious feelings of the Emperor's Hindoo subjects.

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

Another soldier host we had in India in Delhi—a Fettesian by the way; in his palace we studied the Red Chuprassie and received an inkling of how States are governed, and how the hot-bed of Mohammedan and Hindoo revolution is kept in order. Five to five were his office hours, you advocates of eight hour bills! In the rest of the twenty-four hours he was on the alert for sudden duty calls, yet he painted with me after five, with more keenness than professional artists I know at home.

So within a few months out here I have met more men of arms, art, and manners than I meet in as many years at home. It is a very sad part this of our extended Empire—the good men taken from home to the frontiers, and I don't know that we can afford it. Personally I'd rather have our little country as it was in the time of James IV.—well defended—with our good men at home, a chivalrous Court, and the best fleet of the time, than to be as at present without a name or Court—a milch cow to the Empire.

I had the pleasure of seeing this host engaged in a congenial duty—that of raising the statue to Nicholson. We were taken to the spot where he fell, and saw where Roberts stood, and heard tales of many other great "Englishmen"—be—dad!

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

We lived almost on the Ridge and its russet-coloured boulders, and looked slightly down to Delhi (I'd always pictured the besiegers looking up at the walls). How astonishingly fresh it all is; the living deadly interest. Gracious—the stones on the wall haven't yet rolled into the ditch from the bombarding—you can almost smell the powder smoke in the air—and it is still hot!

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

It was very hot going to Agra. I've a recollection of the journey which seems funny now; "When pleasure is, what past pain was." We had been saving a thirst all morning, and at a junction went absolutely parched with heat and fatigue for ice and soda, and perhaps a little mountain-dew, for we were very faint. And there was no soda water!—and there was no ice!—but there was whisky—and warm lemonade! I'd to sprint along the metals to our carriage in the white heat, and there got two bottles of hot soda. So we finally had a little tepid toddy, and sat and grimly studied our countrymen's expressions as they came into the restaurant hot and tired, from different trains, and asked for the drink of our country. You'd have thought they would have sworn, but they did not, which gives you an idea of the climate; they mostly looked too tired; at mid-day on an Indian railway one has barely sufficient energy left to say tut-tut!



Getting near Agra from the plains was very pleasant!—the ground rises a little and becomes sandier and less cultivated, so the air is clean and refreshing.

We saw the Taj at first in distance over this almost white sandy soil and grey ferash bushes—saw it slightly blurred by the quivering heat off the ground, and against a pale, hot, blue sky, and through thin hot brown smoke from our engine, and its general outline in the distance was that of a cruet stand—and as we came within a mile it seemed to be made of brick, white-washed!

Then we whirled into the station and came out amongst solid Mogul architecture of dull, red, sandstone—splendidly massive and simple—what a surprise! Then we visited the Taj Mahal, and ever hence, I hope the vision of white marble and greenery will be ours!



CHAPTER XXXIX

AGRA.—I find India generally speaking is a little vexatious, and think that perhaps the youth who stays at home may after all score over the youth who is sent to roam. There is a little feeling all the time which you felt as a child on seeing all sorts of delights arranged for dinner guests, and you had toast and eggs in the nursery. Here we have just time to see what sport there is; jolly social functions, pig-sticking, picnics, shooting of all kinds, riding, splendid things to paint, and subjects to study, pleasant people to meet—and have to cut up our time between trains and guides and sights.

I think if I were to come to India again, I'd spend the cold weather in one place, get to know the white people and the surrounding districts, and merely listen to tales of fair Cashmere.

This preamble leads to notes of a somewhat qualified day at Black Buck: two day's dip into sport against time. I got one buck the first day, and could have taken more, they were literally in hundreds: this is how the story unrolls itself.

Got away at 6.30 A.M., before dawn, in a two-horse open carriage, a shikari on the box, a syce behind, and interpreter on the front seat, and beside me a regular Indian luncheon basket big enough for an army, and a great double 450 cordite express that would have done for the Burmese Gaur.

The roads and mud huts were all the one warm clay-colour, and the light was becoming violet, with a faint pink in the sky. In the country the roads and fields were almost milk-colour, and trees with yellow flowers were on either side. We met white donkeys with their burdens, and white oxen drawing heavy wooden-wheeled carts all dust coloured, and the only black in the soft colouring was that of the early crows.

... On the plains to either side there are patches of green crop, and away to our right the minarets of the burial place of Akbar. Doves, pigeons, starlings, kites, green parrots sit or flutter overhead as we pass, all as tame as hens. Gradually the trees throw long shadows, and old Sol comes up behind us, and grins at our overcoats.

From the eighth milestone I see a doe, and the shikari spots it at the same instant; and two adjutant cranes, silvery grey with dark heads like ostriches—about six feet high, and a pair of horn-bills pass overhead—lots to interest one every mile of the drive. At ten miles out I spotted three does, and we got out to see if there wasn't a buck somewhere, and a few minutes after I found him (first, being some inches taller than the shikari). There was only a chance of getting within range by a barefaced walk-round and then a crawl behind a knoll of old clay wall—this we did, and I let off at about fifty yards and went over the buck's shoulder and couldn't get in a second. Truth to tell I wasn't quite sure whether I wasn't dreaming, the whole proceeding was so unexpected and unfamiliar—ten miles out from a town, at eight in the morning and to have a shot at a deer with no one to say you nay, I could hardly believe it. And besides, to add to the unfamiliarity of this kind of deer shooting, there were native cultivators all round, within every half mile or so, in groups of two or three.

I was very sad. The shikari said nothing, but counted it out at seventy yards. Looking over the top of the dyke I'd thought it a hundred and probably took too full a foresight; anyway it was an abominably easy shot to miss. I wished very much I'd taken a few practice shots with the cumbersome weapon.

... We wander many a mile and it begins to get warm. We rest in the shade of a group of mangrove trees on the hard, dry earth, and beside us waves a patch of green corn. I am very sad indeed—I have missed two beautiful black buck, or worse, the last I fired at, a lying down shot (on thorns), after a run and a stalk to about 140 yards, was a trifle too end-on, and I hit the poor beggar in the jaw I believe, and we followed it for miles. Then my heart rejoiced, for a native said it had fallen behind some bushes, but another said he'd seen it going on, very slowly, and on we went after it; meantime we saw many other buck and does, but we did our best and failed to pick up the one fired at.

So at ten we rest and I sit like Gautama Buddha under a tree and think life is all a misery, and my followers bring food and drink and I refuse almost all, but smoke a little and swear a lot. Overhead a pigeon tries to coo to the end of its sentence and loses the word at the end every time, and a green parrot fights with a crow and finally drives it into another tree, and flies eat my lunch, or breakfast rather, and ants eat me, and I gnaw my pipe with vexation.

I go over all excuses—new rifle—far too heavy—accustomed to single barrel—unaccustomed to blaze of light,—Really, at the first shot, the rising sun on backsight and foresight made them sparkle like diamonds, and the buck in shadow was a ghost—and being out of condition with travel—and so on and so on—and say fool at the end.—We get up after half-an-hour, but my belief in my luck is shaken; we walk into the heat again and dazzling light and white hard sandy soil and come to bushes and patches of corn here and there, and natives lifting water for them from wells.

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

I've had a grand day's exercise, and feel much more human and fit again. I've sent a soul into the invisible so my man tells me—shot a buck at full split—shot it aft a bit. As its gore dyed the hard hot earth and its exquisite side, I asked my tall Mohammedan guide, when it was dead, where its soul had gone. "To God," he said shortly—"And where will mine go?" "To Hell," he replied quite politely but firmly, but he added to qualify the statement, something about some Mohammedans believing in reincarnation. I suppose I am damned in his opinion because I am not a follower of the prophet, not because I have taken life, but damned or not it wasn't a bad shot; it was the fourth time too, I spotted deer before my shikari, and pulled him back in time, and so in a way I felt comforted for bad shooting.

Five does and no buck were visible, but we trusted the buck was hidden by some of the soft feathery green ferash bushes they were feeding in. We made a circuit and came close to a group of natives and oxen drawing water, and for some reason or another, possibly the guide I'd left behind alarmed the deer, they came galloping past and a buck with a very good head in the middle; a doe beyond, passing to the front made me hit him a little far back in lumbar region, instead of behind the shoulder. It restored my faith in hand and eye a little, and yet the killing qualified the day's enjoyment. I suppose we will never quite understand whether we should or should not kill. I suppose killing this buck will save a little of the natives' corn, and they will have some meat and I shall have a head to show.

To see these exquisitely graceful deer galloping across the plains is a sight never to be forgotten: it is the nearest thing to flying. The bucks with their twisted black horns and blackish brown coats and white underneath, the does cream-coloured and white, almost invisible against the soil in the glare of light. All spring into the air with their feet tucked up at the same spot, with a spurt of dust as if a bullet had struck the soil beneath their feet. You see poor sheep trying to do the same thing.

Some natives carry the dead buck. We have about five miles to tramp, partly over waste ground, partly, along almost unshaded road. After three miles the deer carriers sit down and "light up" under a tree, so we follow their example, and send a message on for the carriage.

The men are joined by various native wayfarers who stop and pass the time of day: they light a little smouldering fire of leaves and twigs to keep the sociable pipe going. It is a little earthen cup without a stem; they hold this in the points of their fingers and suck the smoke between their thumbs so the pipe touches no one's lips, and they have a drink from a well, poured from a bowl into the palms of their hands. My Hindoo shikari I find will take a nip with pleasure from my flask in his little brass bowl, but he would loose caste if he took soda water in the same way, so he tramps to the well and at great trouble draws a cup. The tall snub-nosed Mohammedan looks on with scorn at the inconsistency and touches neither water nor spirit.

We have a longish wait, but there's lots to look at, still new to me. The girls and boys at the well, and weeding the barley, a vulture and its ugly mate on household affairs bent, in a tree, and green parrots and squirrels all busy. It seems to me the squirrels are rooting out the white ants from their earthy works up the tree trunks above me. Possibly they are just doing it to put dust in my eyes.

Then we drive homewards, the buck on the splashboard, and pass a splendid group of peacocks and peahens under two small trees, nearly a dozen of them within seventy yards, and I handle my big rifle, then my Browning Colt, and nearly fire, for I'd fain add a peacock to my pistol-bag, but they look so tremendously domestic that I haven't the heart, and besides, they are sacred I am told, and possibly it would be unlucky to shoot them. My men say "shoot," but not encouragingly, and its my unlucky day; I'd possibly miss, and hit a native beyond. How you manage to fire a bullet in this country without killing a black buck or a native is a wonder. Coming near Agra, I passed a group of young officers in khaki riding out; they and their mounts looked as hard as nails; they were going pig-sticking, they were to be envied.

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

9th March.—The choice lay between an early rise to see the Taj by moonlight, and an early rise to drive fifteen miles to a place where black buck do abound. My primeval instinct prevails against the perhaps better suggestion of my better half. At 5 A.M. the carriage has not yet come so I have twenty minutes to make a lamplit study and reflections generally—Have rifle ready, some soda water, tobacco, and a new stock of hope and faith in my aim.

... Here come my men at last, with stealthy steps so as not to disturb the sleeping travellers in our caravansary. The shikari has covered his everyday dress of old Harris tweeds with a white sheet, and might be anyone, and my long Mohammedan guide and interpreter is also in white this day. We get all on board very quietly, and rumble away along the dark dusty road.

We go along at a good rate, with two good horses, and two further on waiting to change; our landau runs smoothly, though it must date to before the Mutiny. Its springs are good, and the road we follow, which Akbar made, is smooth of surface. There is pale moonlight, and the air is fragrant. The hours before dawn dreamily pass, and we nod, and look up now and then to see clay walls and trees dusky against the night sky, and our thoughts go back to the grand old buildings we leave behind us to the north in Agra. The red stone Fort, and Palace, and Taj, and the marble courts seem to become again alive, and full of people and colour and movement, a gallant array, and the fountains bubble, and Akbar plays living chess with his lovely wives, in colour and jewels, on his marble courts.

... And we dream on; and we are on the dusty road in the moonlight, riding along, dusky figures at our side, knee to knee; the dust hangs on their mail, and dulls the moon's sparkle on the basinets. We are jogging south on Akbar's road with Akbar's men on a foray, or is it a great invasion? Then there comes a shout, from in front, and an order and we awake—and it is only some bullock-carts in the way, all dusty: and on we go again. And Akbar's soldiers go back to the pale land of memory, and the light comes up, and I see my Mohammedan guide's strong face, and the driver, and the little Hindoo shikari in his wrappings on the box, and the light gets brighter, and, what was vague and mysterious, dust and moonlight becomes prosaic flat barley-fields, with white-clad figures picking weeds, and people at the roadside cottages going about with lights, looking after domestic matters, and men sit huddled round tiny fires and pass the morning pipe around—they, apparently feel it chilly.

The very hot morning we spent wandering after elusive herds of black buck, one of which I missed. A grand black fellow, with horns I could see through the glass, beat all record, missed at 200 yards, both barrels, couldn't get nearer, and anyone may have this double 450 cordite express and all its patents for price of old iron. I could have smitten a bunnie both times at home at the distance—I'm sure this thing throws inches high.

However, the weariness and the fret of the hot morning ends in a delicious grove of trees that might be limes, plane and ash, and in the middle of this bosky knoll there is a pool and a little temple, picturesque to a degree at fifty yards, hideous close. The light filters through the branches and falls on the dried mud and leaves.

As my man lays down my bag and useless weapon at the foot of the central tree, there's a crash in the leaves above, and down and away goes a glorious peacock. I try to calculate at which end of it I would fire had I a gun. It's tail is so gorgeous you couldn't fire at it, and its neck is also too beautifully blue to touch with shot; a minute after another sails down, and goes off like a running pheasant. Doves come and flutter and coo above us, and a pariah dog prowls round timidly. It looks as if it had never wagged its tail in all its sad life, and it swallows a chunk of my chicken at a gulp, and its tail never moves, poor beast. The hot winds sough through the branches, and my men murmer away to each other under a neighbouring tree, possibly about the Sahib, who is such a poor shot, and, as our language is limited, I can't brag about swagger shots in other days. One needs a friend to shoot with, alone you lose half the charm. If you get hipped with a miss you can then growl out loud to a sympathetic ear, and blow smoke over the day together. There's only the pariah dog to talk to here, so I eat lunch and smoke "my lone,"—"here, old Bicky, you can wolf the rest of the lunch,"—you haven't much appetite the time the bag is empty.

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

An hour or two over burning sand, and I spot a doe and a fawn amongst the grey-green thorn bushes, and away they go, skipping and jumping as if anyone thought of interfering with their gentle lives!... Two or three more hours tramp without a shot, and we come to the by-road again, distinguished from the rest of the dry land by wheel-ruts, and the pad of bare feet. We have six miles to walk to our carriage—my kingdom for a pony! but we must trudge along—the guide, shikari, and syce trailing away behind. They are rather tired, and the writer rather despondent.

A lift of the eye to the left, and a thousand yards off, I see faint forms of does, then I spot a buck!—question, can we spare the time? four miles to walk, fifteen to drive, and the night train to catch at seven. We risk the time, and Fortune smiles, for we have not gone 500 yards off the path, when another lot grows out of the ground to my left, and again a beautiful buck with splendid horns in their midst—a quick standing shot got him through the heart, and no pain or death struggle.

Then more trudging—it is hot, and the sand deep, and the thirst the worst I've had—so dry we were, that we could hardly speak—but no matter, we have succeeded, and there is a bottle of soda water four miles ahead; it will be warm though. The dust rises along the horizon and moves along in gentle whirlwinds, and the few trees there are, are close cropped of both branches and foliage, to feed the natives' goats and sheep. It is a famished, parched land, with far too many people. Driving to Agra, we came across another herd of deer, and got the best buck almost within a hundred yards of the trunk road.

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

7.30 we are in the train again—Pullman car restaurant train—electric light and cool air, and a sweep of blue moonlit plain and sky passing the windows, a change from the heat and the baked white plain of the day. It is the smoothest going carriage we have been in, in India, and there are waiters in white to bring iced drinks, and an excellent dinner ... And we think of lunch again, in the grove by the Temple, and the peacocks bustling their grandeur out of the verdure.

If I could invent stories, I'd come and live at Agra, and write about the Moguls, as Irving wrote the tales of the Alhambra, poor little Alhambra, it has its own charm, and it is rather a shame to drag it in beside the buildings of Northern India; how little it seems, its architecture, and ornament, and its stories, compared with these Mogul palaces, forts, and gardens, and the love and war associated with them. I see I have page after page in my journal of attempts to describe the Taj Mahal and its gardens, and now I find them very difficult to understand; so I think it would not be wise to try to put them down here, at the end of rather a rag-tag journal—to try to describe perhaps the most perfectly beautiful thing in the world. No—it is too beautiful, to be treated of in the last pages of a journal.

... If I were asked what three scenes in the world pleased me most, they would all be white.—A ring, miles wide, of square-topped icebergs in the Antarctic, rose pink in the midnight sun, refracted and reflected in a calm, lavender sea—the white marble court and white domes of the Pearl Mosque of Agra, and the blue overhead in stillness of hot mid-day, and the Taj Mahal in late afternoon, with its marble growing grey, and the flowers in the gardens closing to sleep.



Glossary

ACADEMICAL PRIVILEGES, 80 Academy teachers, 177 Aden, 58 Aden, Barren Rocks of, 59 Adyar River, 213 AEolian bells, 243 African coast, 24 Agra, 392 Akbar, 397 Alhambra, 400 Ampthill, Lady, 84 Apollo Bundar, 65 Ananda Temple, 272 Antarctic, 97 Ants, 195 Arctic, 97 Argo, 19 Ariakan Mountains, 268 Arsikere, 160, 187 Art, 46 Atlas Mountains, 24 Auld Reekie, 2

BADMINTON, 133 Balearic Isles, 29 Bangalore, 150, 166 Bank manager, 192 Barbara, 26 Bassein, 251 Belgaum, 118 Benares, 382 Bhamo, 320 Black Buck, 392 Bombay, 63 Bonita, 19 Bugle call, 10

CAFE BASSO, 33 Callum Bhouie, 49 Cargo steamers, 295 Carlos Place, 8 Carmichael, Alex, 71 Carmina Gadelica, 71 Catamaran, 211 Cauvery River, 179 Cavalry, 209 Caves of Elephanta, 86 Channapatna, 186 China, 361 China Street, 322 Chins, 318 Chittagong, 310 Club, 133 Club boat-house, 216 Coburg, 4, 8 Cocoa-nuts, 182 Cockburnspath, 4 Colaba, 100 Columba, 192 Coquelin, 34 Corregio, 23 Crete, 45 Criterion, 7 Crawford market, 103 Crow, 105 Curzon, Lord, 93 Cyrano, 33

DAGON PAGODA, 244 Dak bungalow, 186, 350 Dancing, 133 D'Artagnan, 33 Daudet, 33 Defiles, 318 Delhi, 389 Dharwar, 116, 123, 145 Dogs, 161 Druids, 192 "Duck," 136 Duck-shooting, 134 Dumbie, 173

EDINBURGH, 2 Egypt, 42, 46 E. H. A., 105, 108 Elephants, 319 England, 61 Eurasians, 82, 87, 222 Euroclydon, 21, 45

FANES OF PAGAN, 271 Fergusson, 271 Fire-worship, 70 First impressions, 185 Fishing, 220, 301, 306, 373 Fishing rod, 296 Flotilla Company, 256 Francolin, 373, 375 Fraser, 166 Frenchwoman, 31 Furgusson, Jock, 44

GAELIC, 173 Gairsoppa, 152 Ghat, 113 Granada, 24 Ghosts, 191 Government House, 221 "Green Hills of Tyrol," 107 Gautier, 28 Gulf of Lyons, 21, 29

HALL, FIELDING, 257 Hart, Ernest, 271 Henner, 25 Henzada, 258 History of India, 40 Holdich, 102, 382 Hunter, Sir, W. W., 40

JAMES IV., 209 Jungle fowl, 345 Jura, 49

KALONE, 310 Kandala, 115 Kalychet, 348, 351 Katha, 313, 372 Kedar Camp, 306 Kelly, Talbot, 46 Kintyre, 50 Kirkee, 117 Kulong Cha, 354, 365 Kyankyet, 304 Kyonkmyoung, 298, 376

LACQUER, 272 Lamington, Lord, 84 Levanter, 45 Lipari Islands, 45 "Little England," 103 Log-rafts, 223 London, 4

MACKAY, ABERICH, 129 Madras, 197 Mahseer, 348, 349, 365 Malabar Hill, 77, 97 Marco Polo, 271 Marina, 204 Marseilles, 30 Mediterranean, 24 Mimbu, 266 Minto, Lord, 93 Mistral, 21 Moda, 315 Modellers, 177 Moguls, 400 Momouk, 348, 367 Monkeys, 121 Monticelli, 301 Moors, 25 Mount Street, 8 Mutiny, 103 Muzii colours, 8 Myitkyna, 369 Mysore, 172, 175

NAMPOUNG, 358 Ngapi, 262 Nile, 43, 46 North Sea, 2

ORCHIDS, 336 Orient-Pacific guide-book, 32 Orpheus, 19 Otter, 307 Outer Isles, 70

PADAUNG, 241 Pagan, 271 Painted snipe, 312 Parsees, 70, 97 Parsi, 88 Partridge, 374 Pavilion, 7 Piccadilly Circus, 7 Plague inspection, 199 Poona, 117 Popa Mountain, 268, 271 Port Said, 43 Precedence, 209 Prome, 258 Punitive expedition, 318 Punkah, 42, 79

QUEEN MARY, 33

RECEPTION, 97, 223 Reception at Government House, 67 Red Chupprassies, 195 Red Sea, 48 Regent Street, 5 Rejane, 33 Renown, 228 Roseate Tern, 309 Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 222 Russell viper, 129

SABENDIGO, 300 Sailing ship, 12 St Abb's Head, 15 St Thome, 217 St Vincent, 20 Sanskrit, 173 Scents at sea, 17 Scottish nobility, 209 Sea-swallows, 309 Seine net, 204 Serang, 34 Seringapatam, 178 Shan States, 239 Shewgee, 316 Siddons, Mrs, 88 Sinkan, 319 Sirens, 19 Skuas, 16 Snake charmer, 65 Snake-rings, 295 Snipe, 162, 299, 301, 312, 335 Southern Maharatta Railway, 119, 197 Spanish women, 24 Spaniards, 25 Spanish coast, 27 Spanish dancing, 29 Squirrel, 193 Straits of Gibraltar, 24 Stromboli, 45 Suez, 48 Surf rafting, 210. Surf rafts, 218 Swords, 320

TAGAUNG, 305 Tagus, 21 Taiping River, 356 Taj Hotel, 63 Taj Mahal, 400 Tangiers, 24 Tartarin, 33 Tayoung, 373 Teak, 257 Teak logs, 266 Terms of Union, 180 Theatre, 90 "The Bay," 13 The Canal. 46 The Heroes, 19 "The Mail," 107 Thayet Myo, 264 "The Prince," 64 The Princess, 72 The Rock, 24 The Taj, 391 "The Union," 209 Tilbury, 9 Tip Htila, 241 Tippoo Sultan, 180 Trollies, 178

ULYSSES, 49

VAN BEERS, 30, 264 Viceroy, 93 Vino Riojo, 28

WATER-GATE, 182 Wen Tip, 241 Whaler, 17 Whistler, 53, 100 "Wild Sports of Burmah," 305 Wood-carving, 177

YACHT CLUB, 73, 82, 104 Yale, Elihu, 209 Yenangyat, 265, 272 Yenangyaung, 267 Yule, 271



PRINTED AT THE MERCAT PRESS, EDINBURGH

A PROCESSION OF THE KINGS OF SCOTLAND

FROM Duncan and Macbeth

TO George II. and Prince Charles Stewart

WITH THE PRINCIPAL HISTORICAL CHARACTERS IN THEIR PROPER

ARMS AND COSTUMES FROM SEALS, COINS, AND CONTEMPORARY PORTRAITS

BY W. G. BURN MURDOCH, F.S.A. SCOT., F.R.S.G.S.



The above Illustration is a reproduction on a reduced scale of a part of the Procession, the actual size of which is 140 inches long by 8 inches deep (exclusive of roller). The design is primed in black and white on tough Japanese paper, with Names and Dates of the Kings and People printed in gold underneath. With the roll there is a book (43 pages) which describes the figures, and forms a brief History of Scotland, and of the changes of Arms and Costumes. The Scroll rolls up on a gold crowned roller, and may be had either in soft brown leather binding, or in Royal Stewart tartan binding.

This design is being utilised in American Schools, so it may be found to be useful in Scottish Schools and Homes, when our children begin to be taught the history of their own country.

The sole agents are—

Messrs. DOUGLAS & FOULIS, Castle Street, EDINBURGH.

Price 21s.



Transcriber's Notes:

Some words are apparently spelled to reflect the Scottish dialect.

Page vi: [Bands p aying God save the King—Edward the—? 63-74] Typo: p aying changed to playing.

Page 14: [there that set his neighbours and my neice and] Typo: neice changed to niece.

Page 66: [card! To meet their Royal Hignesses, the Prince and] Typo: Hignesses changed to Highnesses.

Page 115: [old trail—the Midlands to Indiar, and Indiar to the Midlands, with bwidge between.] Possible typo: 'bwidge'. I believe it was intentional. Unchanged.

Page 121: [have, between a thoroughbred's and a man's. They were yellowish beards and black faces and black ends to their] Typo: Changed were to wore.

Page 145: [and rather monkeyish in apperance; still, some were not] Typo: Changed apperance to appearance.

Page 158: [lean out and see our little narrow guage train crawling] Typo: Changed guage to gauge.

Page 171: [pageants, elephant kedar camps, and the right royal enterments] Typo: Changed enterments to entertainments.

Page 173: [that these early forms of various races are not mor often] Typo: Changed mor to more.

Page 199: [house, or if you exhibit any symptons of plauge or deadly] Typo: plauge changed to plague. Typo: symptons changed to symptoms.

Page 201: [about twenty-five to thirty feet over all, with pratically flat] Typo: Changed pratically to practically.

Page 202: [here is considerd to be very damping.] Possible typo: 'considerd'. Unchanged as the author uses this form reasonably often.

Page 213: [bar across its mouth, and to to the right views of the] Double word: 'to to' changed to single 'to'.

Page 214: [edge of the receeding wave, then turned lavender laced] Possible typo: 'receeding'. Unchanged.

Page 216: [floor, overhead a domed roof with chrystal chandeliers, and smaller crystal lights round the sides.] Typo: Chrystal left unchanged as it is used elsewhere.

Page 219: [three deep to see the Sahib get sand of his feet, extremely] Typo: Changed of to off.

Page 223: [some out-of-the-way Highland or Norwegian loch, with on boat on it, and the trout rising in the middle.] Typo: Changed on to one.

Page 256: [jungle comes the sound of Burmese music. A Pwe is] Changed Pwe to Pwe for consistency.

Page 268: [them; a reductio ad absuurdum, from the point of view of] Typo: Changed absuurdum to absurdum.

Page 273: [it on as they came out, modesly and neatly. The women] Typo: Changed modesly to modestly.

Page 277: [As we were talking, the Rock pilot came alonside in a] Typo: Changed alonside to alongside.

Page 279: [wordly desires[1]. So it was in the earliest Scottish Church;] Typo: Changed wordly to worldly.

Page 307: [with elephant and finish up with mouse-deer and button-quail.] Typo: Changed qauil to quail.

Page 314: [along the top of the river bank. The arrangemant might] Typo: Changed arrangemant to arrangement.

Page 327: [another bullock-cart, with an older Burman whose face was a delight—so wrinked, and wreathed with smiles. I] Typo: Changed wrinked to wrinkled.

Page 328: [on it was a great space of eongealed blood just where] Typo: Changed eongealed to congealed.

Page 341: [vividly as a few notes of an air, the rythm of some folk-song—a] Typo: Changed rythm to rhythm.

Page 348: [to ninty feet at a guess, and fastened snake rings on with] Possible typo: Ninty may have been an old spelling for ninety. Unchanged.

Page 358: [But where the dead leaf fell, their did it rest."] Incorrect use of their. Changed to there.

Various: Some a.m. are small capped, others are not. Changed all to A.M. to be consistent.

Hyphenation—words occur both ways in the original. Unchanged. afterglow/after-glow barefooted/bare-footed bathrooms/bath-rooms dreamlike/dream-like eyelashes/eye-lashes forefathers/fore-fathers humdrum/hum-drum lamplight/lamp-light lamplit/lamp-lit midday/mid-day password/pass-word pothole/pot-hole riverside/river-side sandbank/sand-bank searchlight/search-light splashboard/splash-board sunlit/sun-lit waterfowl/water-fowl womenfolk/women-folk

Words spelled 2 ways. crusies/cruisies crystal/chrystal pandal/pandol paroquet/parroquet Phoungie/Phunghi/Phoungyi

THE END

Previous Part     1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8
Home - Random Browse