Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century
by Montague Massey
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Before the introduction of artificial ice, Calcutta was entirely dependent for its supply on the importation of Wenham Lake ice in wooden sailing ships by the Tudor Ice Company from America. The Ice House was situated at the west end of the Small Cause Court, the entrance facing Church Lane and approached by a steep flight of stone-steps. There were no depots distributed about the town as there are now, and every one had to send a coolie to the Ice House for his daily supply with a blanket in which it was always wrapped up.

I think the price in ordinary times was two annas per seer, but it occasionally happened that the vessels bringing the ice, owing to contrary winds or some other cause, were delayed, and then the stock ran low and we were put on short commons; if as in some cases the delay became very protracted, the quantity allowed to each individual was gradually reduced to one seer per diem, and if any one wanted more he had to produce a doctor's certificate because it was of course imperatively necessary that sufficient should be kept in reserve for the use of the various hospitals. When the long-delayed vessel's arrival was telegraphed from Saugor, great was the rejoicing of the inhabitants. The vessels used to be moored at the ghaut at the bottom of Hare Street, as there were no jetties in those days.

The ice was landed in great blocks on the heads of coolies and slided down from the top of the steps to the vaults below. They used at the same time to bring American apples which were greatly appreciated as there were none grown in India at that time.


To the present generation it would no doubt appear strange and particularly inconvenient had they to rely solely for their lighting power on coconut oil. It had many drawbacks, two of which, and not the least, being the great temptation it afforded Gungadeen, the Hindu farash bearer, to annex for his own individual daily requirements a certain percentage of his master's supply, and to the delay in lighting the lamps in the cold weather owing to the congealment of the oil which had to undergo a process of thawing before it could be used. Gas had been introduced some years previously, but it was confined to the lighting of the streets and public buildings. Of the days that I am writing about, and for long years afterwards, coconut oil was the one and only source from which we derived our artificial lighting, and it was not until the early seventies that a change came over the spirit of the dream by the introduction of kerosine oil.

This of course made a most wonderful and striking change in the economy of life in more ways than one, and amongst others it brought about at once and for ever the abdication of the tyrannical sway and cessation of the depredations of the aforesaid Gungadeen who had no use for kerosine as a substitute for his beloved coconut oil wherewith to anoint his body and for the other various uses to which he could apply it.


Although this did not come into general vogue until the late nineties, it had been introduced in a very practical way as far back as the year 1881 in the Howrah Jute Mills Co., but after a few years it was discontinued, to be generally re-adopted in 1895 by all the jute mills. The introduction of the light into private dwellings, places of amusement, and other buildings, of course worked a marvellous change in our social life and all its conditions, but it appealed most of all to those who like myself had for so many years sat in a species of outer darkness and made it almost seem as if the past had been but a dream.


The old, swinging punkah, with which most of us are so familiar, held on its silent way in spite of occasional attempts from time to time to oust it from its well and firmly established position. The different inventions that made their appearance always lacked the one essential point of giving expression to the kick or jerk of the hand-pulled punkah, and consequently they proved unsuccessful. I doubt much whether it would ever have been possible to create an artificial substitute for this most essential and necessary adjunct. But the advent of the electric fan also in the latter end of the nineties of course did away with the necessity for any further essays in this direction. And so at last after innumerable years of abuse but useful and indispensable work, the old punkah went the way of all things mundane.


Was designed and built by Sir Bradford Leslie in 1874, and proved from the very fast an inestimable boon to the inhabitants, both of Calcutta and Howrah. It is very difficult for any one who has never had the experience of doing without it, as I have, to conceive what it was like before the bridge was built. If you wanted to cross the river except at stated intervals when the ferry-boat was plying, you had of course to go either in a dinghy or green-boat, and accidents were of frequent occurrence, particularly amongst the native element, in the rainy season, when, as we all know, the freshets are exceptionally strong. Goods and all sorts of merchandise had to be transported to and fro by cargo-boats and lighters which entailed much delay, besides extra expenses, loss, and damage to the goods by changing hands so often in transit. When the bridge was first opened a small toll was levied for each person crossing over. After a time Railway terminal charges were levied and appropriations from the revenue of the port commissioners allocated to support the upkeep of the bridge, and tolls were abolished.


Was also designed and built by Sir Bradford Leslie in 1887, and although it does not bulk so largely in the public eye as the Howrah Bridge, it is none the less a work of immense value. In addition to many other advantages it ensures by linking together the two railways, the East Indian and Eastern Bengal, an uninterrupted and continuous flow of an enormous amount of goods traffic from all parts of India direct to the docks and alongside vessels waiting for cargo. Its great importance and utility would have been further and greatly enhanced had Government carried into effect the proposed and long-talked-of scheme of a central station, the site of which, as far as I recollect, was to have been to the north-east of Bentinck Street taking in a portion of Bow Bazaar Street adjoining, and, extending in a northerly direction, parallel to Lower Chitpore

Road. Of course all passenger traffic would have centred there, and every one, leaving for home or up-country, would have driven to the new station, and so have avoided the long unpleasant drive over the bridge to Howrah on the one side and to Sealdah on the other. But like many another proposed scheme that I have heard of in my time in Calcutta it unfortunately all ended in smoke.


Looking back to the time when Warren Hastings ruled over the destinies of Bengal, there were then established in Calcutta two courts, the Supreme Court of Judicature situated on the site of the present High Court, and the Sudder Audalat or Appellate Court which was located in the building at the corner of Bhowanipur Road opposite the Medical Officers' Quarters which has since been converted into a Hospital for European Soldiers. These courts were still in existence when I arrived in Calcutta. The Supreme Court was ruled over by the Chief Justice, assisted by two Puisne Judges appointed by the Government at Home, who tried all criminal cases as well as civil suits on the original side. The court house was a two-storeyed, white stuccoed building, having much the same kind of appearance as a good-sized private dwelling with a long verandah running the whole length of the south side facing the maidan, supported by rather a conspicuous looking row of white pillars.

The Sudder Audalat was a Court of Appeal for cases sent up from the mofussil, and all the Judges were members of the Indian Civil Service recruited from time to time from the various collectorates in Bengal. When the High Court came into existence in the early sixties the former mentioned court ceased to exist, and automatically became merged into the latter.


This court was originally housed for many years in the large, white building in the Museum compound to the north-east, close to the Sudder Street entrance, and now in the occupation of the Director of the Zoological Survey of India. It was enclosed by a high brick-wall having an entrance on Chowringhee Road through a large gateway, supported by two upstanding pillars. There used to be only three Judges, First or Chief, Second, and Third, and I recollect some time after my arrival in Calcutta one of the first incumbents of the office of the Chief Judge was the late Mr. J.T. Woodroffe, Advocate-General of Bengal, and father of Sir J.G. Woodroffe, Judge of the High Court. He would, however, only accept the appointment temporarily, as he considered his future prospects at the Bar too good to jeopardise by being absent beyond a certain time. I was very intimate with him at that period; in fact, we lived in the same boarding house for quite a long time in Middleton Row, now run by Mrs. Ashworth, and it is rather a singular coincidence that when this lady was a little girl her mother, Mrs. Shallow, presided over this very house. The present court was built on the site of the old post office and the residence of the Calcutta Postmaster, a Mr. Dove—a large, fat man, but one of the best. As Calcutta grew and litigation increased the number of Judges was also gradually increased until there are now, I believe, six and a Registrar to do the work that three, formerly, were able to cope with.


The Chief Presidency Magistrate has lately changed his court from Lall Bazaar to Bankshall Street, formerly occupied from time immemorial by the Board of Revenue. Originally there were only two Magistrates sitting on the Bench, the Chief, a European barrister designated the Southern, and a native known as the Northern, Magistrate. The courts were formerly held in the large, white building in the centre of the Police compound, since pulled down, on the top floor of which the Commissioner of Police for a long time resided. It was found at last, as in the case of the Small Cause Court, that the increased work had outrun the existing accommodation; so Government built the police court on the site of the old Sailors' Home which has lately been vacated and found the Commissioner of Police a handsome residence standing on the site of the premises of the United Service Club.

My friend, Willie Bonnaud, the present popular Clerk of the Crown, held for some time the responsible position of Chief Presidency Magistrate, and by his considerate and courteous manners, combined with the able manner in which he discharged the duties of his office, won the approval and respect of Government as well as of the public, both European and native. He only vacated the appointment on account of the age-limit and because there was no pension attached to the office.


As I have already said, was originally situated on the site of the Small Cause Court, close to the old Ice House on the west side. This is one of the very few buildings in Calcutta about which I have the least recollection, I suppose owing to it having been one of the first to be demolished. It was no longer in existence at the time of the great cyclone of 1864. As far as my memory serves me, it was a low-roofed, one-storeyed building, having a decidedly godownish appearance, fenced in on the south side, which was the entrance, by a row of low, green-painted palings with an opening in the centre. It was however notwithstanding a place of great interest for the time being, more particularly to boys like myself having recently landed in a strange country, for on the arrival of the mail steamer at Garden Reach, which occurred at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we used to go down after dinner to get our home letters, which in those days, I think, were more highly prized than they are now. I quite forget what occupied the site of the present post office building.


I think most people will be surprised to hear that the magnificent pile of buildings stretching from Old Court House Corner along Dalhousie Square to nearly half the length of Wellesley Place, housing a most important Department of Government, had in the old days a habitation within a portion of the premises now occupied by George Henderson & Co. It was originally only an ordinary sized house, having one entrance in Clive Street, and the top floor was occupied by one or two of the assistants as a residence. The only place for handing in telegrams for transmission was on the first floor landing, through a small opening cut in the door leading into the Jute Department of the Barnagore Jute Co., and the operators were clearly visible in the room beyond working at their instruments.

The site of the present Telegraph Office was occupied in that portion in Old Court House Street by a low-roofed, one-storeyed building owned by a firm of the name of Burkinyoung & Co., piano and musical instrument dealers, that in Dalhousie Square by the office and produce godowns of W. Howarth & Co.; further on to the corner of Wellesley Place by a gateway and passage, ending in a flight of stone-steps leading up to a house, which, at a later period, was occupied by the Superintendent of Government Medical Stores; this, together with the godowns adjoining, was demolished some time ago to make room for the new wing of the Telegraph premises. I think there was also at a later period an entrance from Wellesley Place to the house in question.


Formerly covered the site of the Treasury and Imperial Secretariat Buildings, and was considered a first-class residence for old Calcuttaites as well as for casual visitors. It possessed many attractions and conveniences, being centrally and pleasantly situated within easy distance of the maidan and Eden Gardens and business quarters. The entrance was from the east, facing Government House. There was a large, old-fashioned wooden gate and a lofty porch of considerable dimensions arched over by a passage running across the first floor from north to south, and affording complete protection from sun and rain and leading into a spacious, open quadrangular courtyard, where carriages and other conveyances used to stand. The portico was flanked on either side by two or three steps, those on the right giving direct and immediate access to the dining-room which ran parallel to it in its entire length, the billiard and other public rooms branching off from them. On the left was the principal entrance to the residential quarters. The passage above referred to, I think, is a clear indication that at some time or other the hotel was divided into two sections and the porch was an open gateway. I once lived there myself for a time and many well-known Calcutta people made it their permanent home. In those days any number of people lived in town, over their offices, or in residential flats, and it was then as now noted for its extreme healthiness and salubrity.


Was originally styled Wilson's Hotel, and as such it is known even at the present day to gharriwallahs, coolies, and certain others of the lower orders. It was started long before my arrival in Calcutta as a bakery by Mr. Wilson, a well-known resident of Calcutta, and converted into a hotel at a later period. In the early sixties it was floated into a limited liability company by a few prominent businessmen, amongst whom was my old Burra Sahib. It was an entirely different place in appearance, both inside and out, from what it is now; it had only two storeys and no verandah or balconies; a large portion of the ground floor was occupied by shops, selling all sorts of goods, and owned by the hotel. The whole of the central portion from one end to the other was a sort of emporium lined on both sides with a continuous row of stalls on which were displayed the most miscellaneous assortment of articles it was possible to conceive. In addition to all this they kept for many years a farm at Entally which they eventually closed down, and the produce which they then sold is now vended by Liptons in exactly the same place at the north end of the building.

It took the directors a very long time to discover that a combination of shop and hotel keeping was not a paying proposition although they had had plenty of convincing evidence year after year of the fact. I forget now at what period it suddenly dawned upon their minds the necessity of making a thoroughly drastic change and altering their whole policy; nor do I know to whom was due the credit of this volte face, but whoever it was he most certainly earned the lasting gratitude of the shareholders as well as every one else connected with the concern, as by his action he converted a chronic non-paying affair into a thriving and ever-increasingly prosperous one. When they abolished the shops they devoted their energies to developing the place into a first-class hotel which it certainly never had been before, and proceeded to increase materially the residential accommodation. They erected a third storey, and built an extra corridor on the first floor and two on the second, installed an enlarged and improved system of sanitary arrangements, and added a bathroom to very many of the bedrooms. The walls were embellished with dados of bright coloured tiles and the floors paved with black and white marble. The old antiquated doors were removed to give place to others of the latest design with polished brass handles and fittings. Several alterations and improvements were also inaugurated in the public apartments.

There used to be a billiard table in the room oft the Mr. g-room in the north-west corner, and the two others adjoining were utilised as lounges. The space now occupied by the new dining-room overlooking Waterloo Street was, as far as I can remember, taken up by private suites. The palm court was built on the roof of the first floor and was a very great improvement to this part of the hotel as it removed from sight what had always been a blot and an eyesore. After the abolition of the shops, tiffin-rooms were established on the Waterloo Street side, which have since been converted into a spacious billiard saloon.

The large hall to which I have alluded has been removed, and a new central entrance inclusive of the lounge has been driven right through the middle, greatly enhancing the appearance and conveniences of the hotel. The old south-west staircase has also been done away with, and the empty space on the ground floor let out as a shop. The erection of the arcade with a spacious verandah on the top forms one of the most striking and effective of the new improvements that have been initiated. But the introduction of the much-desired, necessary structural alterations on the ground floor gave the deathblow to a very old and enjoyable social function which used to take place annually at Christmas-time. It was the custom to hold a sort of carnival on Christmas Eve in the large central hall, which, for that one special occasion, was dubbed the "Hall of All Nations," and it was for the time being divested of all its former paraphernalia of miscellaneous goods which were replaced by a varied collection of confectionery and cakes of different designs and sizes made on the premises, bon bons, crackers, sweets of all sorts, and a variety of fancy articles suitable for presents. The hall was beautifully decorated and festooned with flags of all nations and brilliantly illuminated. Shortly after dark the whole of the elite of Calcutta society trooped in from their evening drive to exchange pleasant Christmas greetings with each other and to make mutual little gifts. It was a most agreeable and enjoyable affair and quite looked forward to by all sections of the community. People who might not have met for months before were sure to meet there, and we all felt sorry when it came to an end. But the departure of people for dinner did not by any means bring the tamasha to a close, as later in the evening the elite of Dhurrumtollah and Bow Bazaar made their appearance, the ladies decked out in all their new gorgeous Christmas finery, and no doubt they enjoyed themselves fully as much as their more favoured and fortunate sisters of the haut ton. The hotel was supposed to close at midnight, but many of those already inside roamed about for a considerable time longer.

The verandah above referred to, overhanging the footpath of the Great Eastern Hotel, was erected by Walter Macfarlane & Co. in 1883, and there is a curious story regarding it, related by my friend, Shirley Tremearne.

Before it could be erected the sanction of the Municipality was necessary, and under the Act they were entitled to charge a fee of Rs. 100 per month for such sanction.

The Municipality, however, refused to sanction it unless the Hotel Co. agreed to pay a monthly fee of Rs. 300. The Hotel Co. were in a fix, they had placed the order for the verandah as the Municipal Engineer, Mr. Jas. Kimber, had approved the plans, and willy-nilly they had to consent.

However, one of the directors had been studying Bryce on ultra vires, and he went round to the Bar library to take advice from his friends there. Sir Charles Paul and Mr. Hill said offhand: But you agreed to pay, how can you get out of it? To this Mr. Tremearne (the director in question) replied: Yes, but it was an extortion, the Municipality is the creature of a statute, they have only statutory powers, and are not entitled to charge what is not sanctioned. As he was leaving, Mr. W. Jackson said: Look here, Tremearne, don't pay that Rs. 300 a month.

A case was then sent to the Advocate-General, and he held that the Municipality were exceeding their powers in levying such a charge.

Sir Henry Harrison, the Chairman of the Municipality, was very angry when the opinion was sent him, and a case was sent to the Standing Counsel, Mr. A. Phillips, asking him, amongst other things, if the hotel could not be compelled to pull down the verandah, the latter agreed with the Advocate-General and held, moreover, that the Municipality could only order the verandah to be removed if it was necessary in the public interests, and then they would have to pay compensation. Thereupon the Municipality climbed down, took the Rs. 100 per month fee, and the matter dropped. But Sir Henry Harrison never forgave the hotel for what he called the dirty trick they had played him, and when the Municipal Act was amended, power was taken to charge such fees or rent as the Municipality think fit! (Section 340).


I have a distinct recollection of Bishop Cotton's School prior to its removal to Simla having been located in the vicinity of the site of the School of Art. It was a pavilion kind of structure, one-storeyed, crescent-shaped, and supported by pillars with a verandah encircling the whole of the outer portion facing Chowringhee. It must have been removed shortly after my arrival in Calcutta, as I can remember nothing further about it. There were, in addition, the old Small Cause Court already mentioned, and other buildings, but the only one that clearly visualises itself in my mind was a small bungalow, self-contained in its own compound, shut in by tall wooden gates in which some foreign ladies (Italians, I think) resided. The old museum, before the present building was erected, was contained in the premises of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and in addition there was what was then known as the Museum of the Geological Survey of India located in 1, Hastings Street, now in the occupation of Grindlay & Co., and was under the charge of Dr. Oldham, a man of great attainments, and much honoured and respected by Government and all classes of the community.

It will thus be perceived what vast strides have been made in the development of these particular branches of science and industry by the Government of India since the days about which I am writing.


There used to stand on the site of this very handsome-looking block of buildings a long, one-storeyed tenement which went by the name of "The Belatee Bungalow," the proprietors being two brothers of the name of Payne. They sold provisions of all sorts and did a very lucrative trade. There was only one other shop of the kind in Calcutta, the Great Eastern Hotel. It was a business with a great reputation and patronised by all the Burra Memsahibs of Calcutta. A rather piquant and interesting episode occurred in connection with the wife of one of the brothers before the introduction of the revised rules to be observed in connection with the holding of Drawing Rooms at Government House. Mrs. Payne on seeing the usual notification in the public prints of the announcement of the approaching ceremony sent in her cards intimating her wish to attend; but much to her surprise and dismay they were returned with a polite note from the Military Secretary to the Viceroy. Thereupon she sat down and indited a reply to the effect that, as she had already had the honour of being presented at a Drawing Room held at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty the Queen, she thought she might reasonably consider herself eligible to attend the like ceremony at Government House. It is almost needless to say that the much coveted invitation was promptly forwarded. The Paynes, I believe, got into financial difficulties, and the business was eventually wound up. It was afterwards converted into what in those days was called "Investment Rooms," where they sold all sorts of ladies' requirements and was known as "Old Moores," owing, I presume, to the fact of the proprietor having rather a venerable appearance, and to his having kept the same kind of establishment for many years in Hare Street in the premises now in the occupation of Dewar & Co., the great firm of whisky distillers.


When I arrived in Calcutta in the sailing ship in which I had travelled out via the Cape, we anchored just opposite the ghaut which was then situated immediately on the river bank, approached by a steep flight of stone-steps.

When it was low water, and it seemed at that time to be nearly always so, you had to be carried ashore by the dingheewallahs on an antiquated kind of wooden chair or board, as the mud between the river and ghaut was more than ankle-deep. It was of course an immense improvement in every sense when the land was reclaimed from the river, and the present roadway at that part of the Strand was made and extended in a straight line as far as Tackta Ghaut. The railway to the docks did not then exist nor the two houses to the south of the ghaut, one of which is occupied by the Conservator of the Port. Another striking improvement higher up at the junction of the Strand and Esplanade Road, West, has been also effected in recent years. On the site of the Public Debt Office which has been added on to the Bank of Bengal there had stood, from time immemorial, a large three-storeyed house adjoining the residence of the Secretary and Treasurer of the bank, flanked on the Strand side by some low godowns in which Harton & Co. had their stores and office. It was at various times occupied as offices and residential flats, and was quite a pleasant sort of place to live in, particularly the top floor as it overlooked the river on the west and the Strand and Maidan on the south. The Bank of Bengal requiring space for the new building of the Public Debt Office acquired the property under the Act, which I seem to remember resulted in a big law-suit in the High Court, as the owners claimed a good deal in excess of what the bank was willing to pay.


The site of this was once occupied by a concern called the Calcutta Auction Company, started, I believe, in competition with the well-known and old-established firm of Mackenzie Lyall & Co. It was a huge barn of a place stretching away from Dalhousie Square to Mission Row, filled from one end to the other with a medley of all sorts of goods and chattels which had been sent in for sale from time to time by various people. The office accommodation was also of the most primitive order, and consisted merely of a slightly raised wooden platform on which were perched a couple of desks and a few chairs. They had never held at any period a position of standing or importance in the commercial world, and some time after my arrival there were unpleasant rumours floating abroad about them, and I recollect shortly before their final collapse the manager's chair was occupied by the founder of one of the most influential and leading firms of the present day. When it disappeared the ground was acquired by the Agra Bank which erected the present very handsome buildings, shortly after, as far as I remember, it amalgamated with the Masterman Banking Concern in London, and it was subsequently known as Agra and Mastermans Bank.

The office formerly was where Gladstone Wyllie & Co. are now. The amalgamation, I think, did not prove so successful as was anticipated, and eventually Mastermans dropped out of the concern and the bank assumed its old title, and though it was in a sound enough position even up to the date of its liquidation, the management considered it prudent to draw in its horns a little and sold to Government for the office of the currency department the larger part facing Dalhousie Square. It then retired to the back part of the premises looking on to Mission Row, which became the entrance to the bank. As time went on the bank seemed in some way or another to dwindle in standing and importance, and it did not tend to increase either its reputation or popularity when it issued a notice to the effect that in future no exchange brokers need trouble to call as it had appointed its own individual broker (Mr. Chapman) to do all the work. The bank continued to carry on in this manner for a number of years until one day it was announced that it was going into liquidation, for what reason no one ever seemed to know. I believe the liquidation proved eminently satisfactory and the shareholder reaped a handsome return on their holdings, but it seemed a thousand pities that, after the bank had so successfully ridden out the awful financial storm of 1886, when banks and institutions of all sorts and conditions, and of much higher standing and position, went clashing down by the dozen like so many nine-pins, the management without any apparent reason should close down for ever one of the oldest banking institutions of the city.


The site on which these premises stand, as well as those to the east as far as Vansittart Row and the new block at the corner now in course of building, was for very many years in the occupation of Mackenzie Lyall & Co. as an auction mart. It was an old-fashioned place of two storeys having rather a dilapidated appearance, and the top floor consisted of a series of rambling, ramshackle rooms, one leading into the other, extending away back to the old office of the Alliance Bank of Simla in Council House Street. These were at one time the residential quarters of one of the partners of the firm, and adjoining on the north stood the Exchange Gazette Printing Press. That portion on the western side was once, I believe, the assembly rooms of Calcutta, where dances and other social functions used to take place.

Later in the sixties, I recollect, it was for a time utlised amongst other things as investment rooms where some of the ladies of Calcutta congregated about noon and met their gentlemen friends engaged in business in the city. It was also the room in which the Government held the public sales of opium of which Mackenzie Lyall & Co. had at one time the sole monopoly. There is a story told, and a perfectly true one, to the effect that one chest of opium was once bid up to the enormous sum of Rs. 1,30,955. The circumstances that brought this about originated in the China steamer being overdue and hourly expected; consequently the buyers were in total ignorance of the state of the market on the other side, so in order to prolong the sale as far as possible they went on bidding against each other until they ran the price up to the figure above mentioned, which, however, never materialized. Mackenzie Lyall & Co. continued to occupy the place until the year 1888 when they removed to their present building in Lyons Range, from which they contemplate a further change in the early part of next year to premises now in course of erection at Mission Row.


Was formerly styled the Bengal Military Club, the members of which were limited to the I.C.S. and military services. As time, however, moved on and things changed they found that this particular form of exclusiveness was rather an expensive luxury, and very wisely threw open wide the heavenly portals and admitted within their celestial and sacred precincts members of other government services, save and except those of the Bengal pilots. Why the club ever made this invidious distinction, of course I cannot say, but at a later period, recognising possibly the injustice of their action, they rescinded their prohibition, and now the pilots sit in the seats of the mighty amongst the members of the other services. The club house, as many people will recollect, originally stood on the site of Chowringhee Mansions. It was quite an ordinary looking dwelling enclosed by a brick-wall skirting Chowringhee Road, and the building extended for some little distance down Kyd Street. In addition to the club house itself, there were several other houses in Park Street attached to it, and I think where the Masonic Lodge has now its habitation was once their property. Before the war the members in the cold weather used to give an "At Home" once a week which was looked upon as one of the society functions of Calcutta. It took the form of a garden party on the lawn from about 5 o'clock to 7 o'clock, and a band was always in attendance to brighten and enliven the proceedings.


When I first came to Calcutta was situated in Bow Bazar Street on the site of the Police Office at the corner of Chitpore Road which has been recently vacated. The place became in the course of time a crying scandal, as it was infested all about with native grogshops in which they sold to the sailors most villainous, poisonous decoctions under various designations; also by a very low class of boarding houses run by a thieving set of low-caste American crimps who used to fleece and swindle poor Jack out of all his hard-earned money. They would give him board and lodging of a sort, with bad liquor, and when he had secured a ship they would often ply him with drink the day before he sailed after having first secured his advance note and have him conveyed on board in a more or less helpless condition. The next day when he came to his senses he would find himself in the forecastle of some strange ship in unfamiliar surroundings half-way down the river without a rupee in his pocket and very often with little more than the clothes he stood up in. The Government at last stepped in and ordered the home to be transferred to its present position, but for some reason or other it took four years to accomplish. Jack is now very comfortably off and well taken care of, and away from the temptations that formerly assailed him; besides this he is entirely free from any attempts to swindle him, as the authorities are always prepared to cash his advance notes for a small fee. This change has proved to be the greatest boon that could have been conferred on the sailors coming to Calcutta.

Since writing the above, I have been furnished by my friend Willie Bryant, Branch Pilot of the Bengal Pilot Service, with the following particulars of incidents that occurred in the days that I am writing of, for the correctness of which he can thoroughly vouch. I feel sure they will be read with the greatest interest.

Many men were shanghied on board ships in the 80's and 90's, more especially American ships; in fact there was in Calcutta a recognised American boarding master, or otherwise known as a crimp.

In '87 they shanghied a padre on board an American vessel, and when he awoke in the morning found the vessel on her way down the river. On his expostulating with the captain, the reply was: "Well, I guess you are down as J.B. Smith and Sonny, you are bound to Salem or h——"

On 6th December, 1887, the Alpheus Marshall, an American vessel, had a salemaker shanghied on board; he, poor fellow, had been only on shore once from a ship called the Terpsichore and was buying soap, matches, etc., when some man offered to stand him a drink, which he accepted. The next thing he remembered he was outward bound for Boston, Mss.

On the Bolan, on the 17th February, 1888, a soldier was shanghied, or at least he said so, and when interviewed on the way down the river, came to the salute as he had been taught. He went on to Liverpool where he was arrested.

The renowned boarding master, after the Government stopped these houses and methods, went to America as bos'un of a brigantine called the Curlew, and a very fine sailor he was too.

On 24th July, 1890, a case occurred of a woman being shanghied. Of course when she proved her sex she was landed at Diamond Harbour.

There was also a case of a dead man being taken on board as drunk and shanghied; this was discovered after the ship had started for sea.


The first attempt to introduce horse traction tramways in the city was made as far back as 1873, when the Corporation constructed a line commencing at Sealdah. It ran along Baitakhana, Bow Bazaar, and Dalhousie Square through the Custom House premises into and along Strand Road to the terminus at Armenian Ghaut. But after the lapse of about nine months it was discontinued as it was found to be working at a dead loss, the reason for which it is unnecessary to state here. The plant was subsequently sold. Some years later Mr. Soutar and Mr. Parish—the former a brother of the then Acting Chairman of the Municipality—obtained the necessary concession to construct a comprehensive system of tramways throughout the city, on which they formed a syndicate with the object of giving practical effect to the proposed scheme. Eventually in 1879 they disposed of all their rights and existing plant to the Calcutta Tramways Co. for the sum of L4,000 per mile, and the latter commenced operations in the latter part of 1880. But the company could not make headway, and the poor shareholders got very little return for their investment until the introduction of the electric system in 1902. Then matters brightened up considerably and an era of great prosperity set in, which has been fully maintained ever since. I think the company's last dividend was 9-1/2 per cent.

The first manager of the company was Mr. Maples, but, as far as I recollect, he did not stay very long and retired to England. He was succeeded by my friend, Martyn Wells, who was a persona grata with all sections of the Calcutta community. He was a man of most genial, bright and happy temperament, an earnest and enthusiastic mason, the possessor of a magnificent voice, which was at all times at the service of the public for any charitable object, and was invaluable at the smoking concerts at the New Club and other social functions; he was truly, in the words of Shakespeare, "a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy." He died very suddenly after only a few days' illness at the early age of 48 I well recollect the grief and concern expressed on the occasion which was both deep and widespread, and it was not confined to his co-workers and the employees in the tramway service, but was shared alike by the innumerable circle of friends, whom he had gathered round about him, and the public generally.


Street and General Structural Improvements.

I think what must strike the observer of the present day more forcibly than anything else, after contemplating the wondrous transformation of Clive Street and its surroundings, is the great advance that has been made in the direction of the many and varied structural improvements and additions that we see on every side, several of which have been developed in the time of the present generation. It might not be amiss, with the view of ascertaining by a personal visit their nature and extent, to invite my Calcutta readers to accompany me on a short tour, say, from Scott Thomson's corner along Esplanade Row, East, then branching off into Chowringhee, as far as Circular Road, looking in en passant at the various streets on our way.


The extensive pile of buildings that confronts us at the outset was, as we know, erected by Mr. Ezra on the space formerly occupied by Scott Thomson's shop and the two adjoining houses, the one nearest being the residence of the manager of the firm, and the other for a considerable time by Morrison & Cottle, the saddlers.

The Mansions contain twenty-four flats. This, as can be perceived, has entirely changed the whole aspect of this particular section of the city, which has been further enhanced by the erection of Thacker, Spink & Co's new premises on the site of 1, Chowringhee, or old Mountains Family Hotel, which had been running for many years prior to it being acquired by the late Mr. Matthewson on a long lease of 30 or 40 years at an exceptionally low rental. All the buildings in this row, with the exception of that at the corner of Bentinck Street, have been built in my day, and many people will doubtless recollect that Peliti once occupied the house now in possession of the Trocadero. Turning into Chowringhee we are faced by the Bristol Hotel, formerly known as the Hotel D'Europe, the proprietress of which latter was the late Mrs. Scott of the Park Hotel, Darjeeling, formerly known as Madame Fienberg, and who was highly respected and greatly esteemed by the older generation of Calcuttaites, of whom she had quite a large clientele. She afterwards removed to the Hotel de Paris, and finally to 1, Chowringhee, and there established the Palace Hotel. She represented one of the old land-marks of Calcutta which, I am sorry to say, are now so rapidly disappearing. Opposite to the hotel there used to be a very dirty and unsightly tank, quite different from all the other tanks in Chowringhee, which was eventually filled up, and the greater part of the ground thus reclaimed has been occupied by the Calcutta Tramways Co. for their Esplanade junction, and a small portion to the extreme west forms part of Lady Curzon's Garden. Before we proceed further on our travels I may as well state that Chowringhee, Esplanade Row, East, and Park Street were devoid of European shops, with the exception of the Belatee Bungalow, and, I think, T.E. Thomson & Co. The next street to arrest our attention is


Formerly known as Jaun Bazaar Street, a place of ill repute and the resort of some of the worst characters and budmashes in Calcutta. It was a dirty, filthy, narrow sort of lane having no side-paths and the houses being built most irregularly and without any attempt at symmetry or alignment. In fact it had altogether a most disreputable and evil appearance. The street as all can see has undergone quite a transformation, more particularly in that section near the Chowringhee end, and has now become an ornament and acquisition to the city.


Here, as it says in the "Directory," is Chowringhee Place, formerly known as Chowringhee, but so utterly changed as to make it difficult to recognise it as the old street of the past.

There is only one landmark left to distinguish it by, and that is the house on the left, No. 10, forming part of the Continental Hotel. At one time this was occupied by Colonel Searle who, I remember, had two pretty daughters whom I used frequently to meet out at dances—one of them married Colonel Temple, Superintendent of the Andaman Islands, son of the well-known Sir Richard Temple.

I recollect there were two other houses, one a small, two-storeyed affair standing where the Grand Cafe now is. It was for many years in the occupation of a firm called Cartner & Newson, and they carried on a very profitable trade in the manufacture of jams, pickles, and several kinds of Indian condiments. The other house was much bigger, being three storeys high, and stood on the spot where the Empire Theatre is built. In the very early years it was a favourite boarding house known as 13, Chowringhee, and was always full of young people; latterly it was, I think, occupied by Colonel Wilkinson, Inspector-General of Police, who married a daughter of Dr. Woodford, Police Surgeon, all of whom were well known in Calcutta society. I must not forget to say that these two houses formed a cul-de-sac and that on the other side as far as I remember was bustee land. I have also an indistinct recollection that the right-hand side going east from Chowringhee Road as far as the gateway of Gartner & Newson's old establishment was the northern boundary-wall of the compounds of the three boarding houses in Chowringhee kept by Mrs. Monk prior to the formation of the Grand Hotel and in which they became subsequently incorporated.


The nucleus of this very imposing structure consisted of five houses facing Chowringhee, inclusive of the three just referred to and two to the south, Nos. 16 and 17, which are clearly shown in the photograph. The former is the present main entrance to the hotel in which are located on the ground floor a billiard saloon, bar and lounge for the convenience of people attending the Theatre Royal, and No. 17 stands further to the south at the extreme south-west end of the hotel next to Mitchell & Co.'s shop. These two houses were once occupied by an institution called the Calcutta Club, and were connected with each other by a plank bridge. The members of the club were merchants, brokers, public service men and sundry. It was quite a nice sort of place, in some respects similar to the Bombay Club, and was managed by Colonel Abbott, father of the late F.H. Abbott, Superintendent of the Horticultural Gardens, Alipur.

It carried on for some considerable time after my arrival, but eventually there was a split in the cabinet and it was wound up. The houses were afterwards, I think, let out in residential flats and boarding houses, and at one time No. 16 was converted into the Royal Hotel by Mr. Jack Andrews, former proprietor of old Spence's Hotel; they were finally acquired by Mrs. Monk. Mr. Stephen purchased from Mrs. Monk the whole of the houses herein mentioned and all the property attached thereto, and proceeded gradually to develop them into the very handsome-looking structure which now adorns the city under the style of the Grand Hotel. On the spot where the dining-room stands used to be an open air skating rink run as a private club. It was rather small, but we had some very enjoyable evenings. Of course all the members except myself have long since disappeared. I remember only a few—Mr. Ted Smyth of Turner Morrison & Co., Mr. Craik of George Henderson & Co.'s piece-goods department, Mr. Loraine King, who met his wife there for the first time, and Mr. J.J. Ross, well known in Calcutta society in those days.


Is greatly changed from what it used to be. At one time in the very early days it was occupied principally by boarding houses of a second class type, and amongst them was one situated at the top at the left-hand corner, which has been since pulled down and the present building erected on its site, in which young assistants in offices on not too large a salary used to get comfortable quarters with home like surroundings at a very moderate figure. It was as far as I remember run by a widow lady whose husband had left her rather badly off, and she took much interest in, and carefully mothered her young charges, amongst others a son of her own who was in the Bank of Bengal. On the opposite side an old house has been renovated and faced with iron railings which has much improved its general appearance. Turning into Chowringhee again we approach Castellazzo's, Mr. Leslie's new premises, the Picture Palace, and Perry & Co.'s shop. These are all built, with the exception of Castellazzo's, in the compound of Mr. Gubbay's old house in Lindsay Street, as well as all the other shops extending round the corner including Wallace & Co. I understand that Mr. Leslie has acquired the whole of this property, and will, in the course of time, demolish the present buildings and erect in continuation of his present new block a very handsome pile having a tower at the corner of Lindsay Street.


Has also undergone some wonderful and striking changes, not the least being the clearing of the large open space facing the New Market on which the old wooden structure designated the Opera House had stood for so many years, and the erection of the new Opera House and all the shops adjoining up to within a short distance of Fenwick Buildings.

The streets on either side running parallel to the market have also been much improved, particularly that on the eastern part where in former days there used to stand a low form of tea and coffee shops with one or two mean streets branching off to the east and leading to a disreputable part of the town. The whole street has been straightened out and brightened up, and many of the irregularities and disfigurements that were so marked a feature of it in the old days have been removed.


On this particular spot many of my readers will doubtless recollect that Mr. W.T. Woods, one of Calcutta's earliest and most successful dentists, had his surgery and residence for a great number of years, and laid the foundation of the fortune with which he returned to England early in the present century. It was a place that unfortunately I knew only too well, but I will say this that he was at all times the gentlest and most sympathetic dentist that I ever came across, and for nervous people, ladies, and children he was par excellence the one man to consult. The house adjoining, at the corner of Sudder Street, has always had the reputation of being haunted, and no one would go near the place for years, and it was gradually falling into decay, when one day to the surprise of everybody some natives appeared on the scene and occupied it, and later on Parrott & Co. leased the premises for their whisky agency. Let us hope that the material spirit has had the effect of exorciting the supernatural one.


Is and always has been an extremely dull and most uninteresting street, entirely lacking in all the essential elements that go towards making a place look bright and cheerful. I really forget what it was like before the Museum was erected, but this did not apparently have the effect of adding to its attractions. The Wesleyan Chapel, School, and Parsonage have been built in my day on the site of what, as far as I remember, were ordinary dwelling houses. There does not appear to be even now much traffic of any sort passing through the street during the day.


Since the erection of Chowringhee Mansions and the new United Service Club this street has been much improved by bringing the various buildings more or less into alignment with one another, and by the introduction of paved side-walks on either side, more particularly near the Chowringhee quarter.

At the Free School Street end new buildings have taken the place of old and antiquated ones. I well recollect there was for some time a house on the left-hand side which was occupied by the assistants of the old Oriental Bank, all of whom I knew very well, and it went by the name of the Oriental Bank Chummery. They subsequently removed to one of the Panch Kotee houses in Rawdon Street, where they used to give dances and other entertainments. The house next to their old one in Kyd Street suddenly collapsed one day and was reduced to a heap of rubbish, but fortunately no one was hurt. At the time of the Exhibition in 1883-84 there was an entrance to the grounds of the Museum alongside the archway over the end of the tank, which has recently been bricked up, close to which dining rooms were opened, and the elite of Calcutta society often dined there during the months that the Exhibition was open.


I have already observed that there were no shops in this part of the town, and there was nothing to distinguish it from any other residential street such as Middleton Street and Harington Street. As far as I recollect Hall & Anderson were the first to establish the new departure in this respect. The site on which they have built their premises was an old, tumble-down godown, in the occupation of some French people of the name of Dollet, who sold French wines, brandy, and condiments. The row of shops immediately on the left, facing Russell Street, styled Park House, are built on a portion of the compound and the site of the stables and coach house of the old 56, Park Street, at one time occupied by the late J. Thomas, senior partner of the old firm of R. Thomas & Co. Proceeding further down the street on the same side we come to the row of shops extending as far as the corner of Free School Street. These, from the Light Horse Club, are built on ground that in the old days was part of a large compound attached to the girls' department of the old Doveton College, and the Park Street Thanna, which I observe has been lately pulled down, was the girls' school. Of course we all know that Park Mansions are built on the site of the Doveton College for boys. The large, imposing looking house on the opposite side, No. 24, was formerly occupied by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal before Belvedere became the official residence.

Further eastward we arrive at Allen Garden, situated between the end of Camac Street and Wood Street, which for many years was known as the three-cornered taut, the banks of which were both high and precipitous, and a constant source of danger to children playing in the surrounding garden. The Corporation very wisely decided to fill it up, and so converted it into the present garden, in which are to be seen every evening crowds of happy and merry children playing about and thoroughly enjoying themselves. I might here mention that a rather singular episode occurred in connection with the filling in of the tank in question, for the particulars of which I am indebted to my friend W.H. Phelps. It appeared that the Corporation had mixed along with the earth and rubbish which they used for this purpose a certain amount of ashes from the incinerator which was then in use, which had the immediate effect of creating such an offensive and nauseating effluvia that it was found impossible to live anywhere near the place, and the houses in the neighbourhood were quickly evacuated. One of the houses facing the new garden to the south happened at the time to be in the occupation of a lady who took in boarders, all of whom very quickly left. She claimed compensation from the Corporation of the sum of Rs. 30,000 for the loss and damage she had sustained, and they paid it to her. She had to close the house altogether for several months. I might state that Park House above referred to was erected by Mr. Phelps, and was set back seven feet to a new alignment in anticipation of the eventual widening of Park Street at the Chowringhee end which, I believe, the Improvement Trust have in contemplation. The block of buildings contained in Park House was the first important line of European shops erected in this great arterial section of the city.

Turning again into Chowringhee we arrive at G.K. Kellner & Co.'s establishment, the site of which was formerly occupied by one of the handsomest houses in Chowringhee of three storeys. It was, however, so badly knocked about by the earthquake of 1897 that it was considered unsafe, and would have had to be pulled down and rebuilt, but, rather than do this, Mr. Meyer, the owner, made an arrangement with Kellner & Co., whose premises at that time were in Bankshall Street, to build to their own plan a thoroughly up-to-date place which would embrace on an extensive scale all the necessary requirements for their very large and expanding business, including residential quarters for their senior partner. That this has been successfully accomplished I have recently had ocular demonstration, and I have no hesitation in saving it is a marvel of perfection down to its very smallest detail. It is well worth any one's while to pay a visit to their premises, and I feel sure that my friend Jeffreys will accord to them the same quiet courtesy as he did to me.


Most people will recollect the erection of this exceedingly handsome block of buildings, but few perhaps are aware that some time previously the Bengal Club had entertained serious thoughts of acquiring the original property for their new club house, and had even gone the length of having plans and estimates prepared, but for some reason the negotiations fell through and the idea was abandoned. As far as I recollect, the price was very moderate, some Rs. 2,50,000 or Rs. 3,00,000. I think the main objection to the scheme was based on sentimental grounds, many of the members disliking the idea of forsaking the old place in which the club had been housed for so many years. There is no doubt that it would have been an ideal spot, bounded as it is east, west, and south by three of the principal thoroughfares of Calcutta.


Has undergone some changes and alterations. The first to make its appearance was the erection of the house situated in the compound of No. 3, on the left-hand side as you enter the gateway from the street; it rather spoils the general look of the place, but I fancy the proprietor is amply compensated for this by the increase of his monthly revenue. No. 10 on the opposite side, once one of Mrs. Walter's boarding houses, has recently been altered and much improved, and is, I believe, let out in suites. Further down on the south side two new houses have been built in the compound of old No. 4; I cannot say that this is any improvement, and it has involved the sacrifice of one of the most attractive compounds in the street. This I fear, as time progresses, will be the fate of many of the compounds that now adorn this part of the city.


I well recollect in the far-off days what was then called 2, Harington Street, next to Kumar Arun Chundra Singha's house. It consisted of an old-fashioned, long, straggling two-storeyed building, situated in the centre of a large, ill-kempt compound. It was run as a boarding house, together with several other establishments of a similar kind, by a lady of the name of Mrs. Box, who was well known at that time, and who held the same sort of position in Calcutta as did Mrs. Monk at a later period. She had the reputation of being very wealthy, and her old khansamah I know had also done himself very well, as when he retired he set up as a ticca gharri proprietor just at the junction of Camac Street and Theatre Road, and was one of the first to introduce into Calcutta the "Fitton" gharri.

Many of the present generation must recollect seeing the patriarchal looking gentleman with a long flowing white beard, perched on a charpoy every day just outside his stables. He did remarkably well at his new occupation, as he was able to build the two houses 39 and 40, Theatre Road. Returning to Harington Street, I may mention that the houses Nos. 2, 2/1, and 2/2, besides 8, Little Russell Street, were all built in the compound of the old house referred to as No. 2. Going further down to the end of the street on the left-hand side we arrive at what used to be No. 8, a very old and popular boarding house, for many years in the occupation of Mrs. Monk, upon which has been erected by Mr. Galstaun what is called the Harington Mansions, and on the opposite side the very handsome house owned and occupied by Sir Rajendra Nath Mookerjee, both of which were designed by my old lamented friend Ted Thornton; there are thirty flats in the Mansions, and I fancy they are always fully occupied.


No. 1 was, at one time, occupied by Sir Richard Markby, Judge of the High Court, during part of his stay in Calcutta, at another by a chummery consisting of Jim Henderson, Keith Douglas and Charles Brock, and afterwards it was let out as a boarding house to various people.

The present Royal Calcutta Turf Club premises were in the occupation for a considerable period of Sir Richard Garth, Chief Justice of Bengal, father of the present Sir William Garth, and he and Lady Garth were great favourites and very popular in Calcutta society. They used to entertain a good deal and give a ball once every season. Very pleasant affairs they always were. I recollect on one occasion I had engaged one of the Misses Searle previously alluded to for a valse, and when I went to claim it I found her seated on the verandah in conversation with Sir Richard, who, when I announced my errand, at once chipped in and said that I must have made some mistake as it was undoubtedly his dance, and nothing I could say would convince him to the contrary. The fact was he was having a good time and did not wish to be disturbed, so recognising the position I complacently retired. I may incidentally mention that Sir Richard was a well-known, ardent devotee of the fair sex. When he retired he wrote a pamphlet called "A Few Plain Truths about India." It caused a great sensation at the time, but is now quite unobtainable. A secondhand copy would be interesting not only for its material but for the price it would fetch.

As we proceed down the road, we come to No. 5 on the south side, which, from time immemorial, has had an undefinable, sinister, and uncanny reputation. What it is no one can exactly say, but it is sufficiently significant to keep people from occupying it. At one time it seemed as if the owners were going to allow it gradually to tumble to pieces, but this year they have apparently awakened up and have built an entirely new facade and enlarged it on a considerable scale, which must have entailed a very heavy outlay, but so far unfortunately to no purpose. If all I hear is correct it has already been let twice, but the would-be tenants cannot get a single servant to venture near the place, so how it will all end remains to be seen.

From this point onwards to Camac Street, embracing Pretoria Street and all the houses round about comprised within the vast block extending from Theatre Road to Circular Road, the ground was formerly bustee land with the usual insanitary tank in the centre. It can therefore easily be perceived how greatly this section of the city has been transformed and improved. On the opposite side of the road the houses from No. 44 to Smith, Stanistreet & Co., and extending round the corner into Camac Street including No. 4/1, are also built on reclaimed bustee land. Nos. 45, 46, and 47 on the same side, higher up, are built on what was, at one time, part of the compound of 5, Harington Street, owned and occupied by Mr. George McNan, the boundary wall of which formerly extended to Theatre Road. Further down on the south side we come to No. 15, in the occupation of the Rajah of Hutwa, at one time in the dim past the Young Ladies' Institute of Calcutta, and at a much later period one of Mrs. Monk's numerous boarding houses, presided over for some time by old Daddy Cartwright as a sort of chummery.

Further on we come to Rawdon Street; the houses to the north facing the burial ground as far as Park Street, including those in Short and Robinson Street at the east end adjoining, are also built on waste and reclaimed bustee land as well as those of red brick Nos. 29, 30, 31, and 32 in Theatre Road on the left-hand side after passing Rawdon Street. On returning to Little Russell Street we find many and various additions. In the old days there were only three houses numbered 1, 2, 3. No. 1 was demolished in the far-off time, and the present Nos. 5 and 6 were built on its site. No. 4 was then No. 2, No. 8 is built as already stated on the grounds of old 2, Harington Street, and No. 1 and No. 2 in the compound of the old No. 3, which latter house has been greatly enlarged and improved, and was once known as the Officers' Hospital.

At the south-east corner of Theatre Road and Loudon Street there used to be a tank, which was filled up many years ago and converted into quite a pretty garden which has been named Macpherson Square.


I well recollect the time when it was considered rather infra dig to reside in this particular part of the town, but then, of course, it was an entirely different place from what it has since become. Lee Road, for instance, was not then in existence, and for a very long time after it was opened contained but one house. No. 1, at present in the occupation of Mr. Goodman. On the south side of Circular Road immense alterations and improvements have been inaugurated, old bustee lands have been reclaimed, on which handsome residences have been erected, new roads and thoroughfares have been opened out and built upon, and Lansdowne Road, formerly known as Peepal Puttee Rasta, has also been widened, improved; and extended almost beyond recognition. In addition an entirely new street at the extreme end of the road has been created in Lower Rawdon Street.

This, I think, brings our perambulations to an end, and I can only express the hope that I have not wearied out the patience of those of my readers who have taken the trouble to accompany me on my travels.

In concluding these reminiscences and bidding farewell to my readers, I would crave their indulgence for the imperfections of which I am only too sensible there are many: but at the same time I hope they will not forget that they are written entirely from memory, without any memoranda or data to refer to.


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