veined with purple crinklings. Healthy young gentleman.
Fine fresh complexion. Sick young man.
His face a ghastly white. No end of people whose skins are dull and characterless modifications of the tint which we miscall white.
Some of these faces are pimply; some exhibit other signs of diseased blood; some show scars of a tint out of a harmony with the surrounding shades of color.
The white man’s complexion makes no concealments.
It seemed to have been designed as a catch-all for everything that can damage it.
Ladies have to paint it, and powder it, and cosmetic it, and diet it with arsenic, and enamel it, and be always enticing it, and persuading it, and pestering it, and fussing at it, to make it beautiful; and they do not succeed.
But these efforts show what they think of the natural complexion, as distributed.
As distributed it needs these helps.
The complexion which they try to counterfeit is one which nature restricts to the few–to the very few.
To ninety-nine persons she gives a bad complexion, to the hundredth a good one.
The hundredth can keep it–how long? Ten years, perhaps. The advantage is with the Zulu, I think.
He starts with a beautiful complexion, and it will last him through.
And as for the Indian brown –firm, smooth, blemishless, pleasant and restful to the eye, afraid of no color, harmonizing with all colors and adding a grace to them all–I think there is no sort of chance for the average white complexion against that rich and perfect tint. To return to the bungalow.
The most gorgeous costume present were worn by some children.
They seemed to blaze, so bright were the colors, and so brilliant the jewels strum over the rich materials.
These children were professional nautch-dancers, and looked like girls, but they were boys, They got up by ones and twos and fours, and danced and sang to an accompaniment of weird music.
Their posturings and gesturings were elaborate and graceful, but their voices were stringently raspy and unpleasant, and there was a good deal of monotony about the tune. By and by there was a burst of shouts and cheers outside and the prince with his train entered in fine dramatic style.
He was a stately man, he was ideally costumed, and fairly festooned with ropes of gems; some of the ropes were of pearls, some were of uncut great emeralds–emeralds renowned in Bombay for their quality and value.
Their size was marvelous, and enticing to the eye, those rocks.
A boy–a princeling –was with the prince, and he also was a radiant exhibition. The ceremonies were not tedious.
The prince strode to his throne with the port and majesty–and the sternness–of a Julius Caesar coming to receive and receipt for a back-country kingdom and have it over and get out, and no fooling.
There was a throne for the young prince, too, and the two sat there, side by side, with their officers grouped at either hand and most accurately and creditably reproducing the pictures which one sees in the books–pictures which people in the prince’s line of business have been furnishing ever since Solomon received the Queen of Sheba and showed her his things.
The chief of the Jain delegation read his paper of congratulations, then pushed it into a beautifully engraved silver cylinder, which was delivered with ceremony into the prince’s hands and at once delivered by him without ceremony into the hands of an officer.
I will copy the address here.
It is interesting, as showing what an Indian prince’s subject may have opportunity to thank him for in these days of modern English rule, as contrasted with what his ancestor would have given them opportunity to thank him for a century and a half ago–the days of freedom unhampered by English interference.
A century and a half ago an address of thanks could have been put into small space.
It would have thanked the prince– 1.
For not slaughtering too many of his people upon mere caprice; 2.
For not stripping them bare by sudden and arbitrary tax levies, and bringing famine upon them; 3.
For not upon empty pretext destroying the rich and seizing their property; 4.
For not killing, blinding, imprisoning, or banishing the relatives of the royal house to protect the throne from possible — “We passed through to Kurnaul, where we found a former Thug named Junooa, an old comrade of ours, who had turned religious mendicant and become a disciple and holy.
He came to us in the serai and weeping with joy returned to his old trade.” Neither wealth nor honors nor dignities could satisfy a reformed Thug for long.
He would throw them all away, someday, and go back to the lurid pleasures of hunting men, and being hunted himself by the British. Ramzam was taken into a great native grandee’s service and given authority over five villages. “My authority extended over these people to summons them to my presence, to make them stand or sit.
I dressed well, rode my pony, and had two sepoys, a scribe and a village guard to attend me.
During three years I used to pay each village a monthly visit, and no one suspected that I was a Thug! The chief man used to wait on me to transact business, and as I passed along, old and young made their salaam to me.” And yet during that very three years he got leave of absence “to attend a wedding,” and instead went off on a Thugging lark with six other Thugs and hunted the highway for fifteen days!–with satisfactory results. Afterwards he held a great office under a Rajah.
There he had ten miles of country under his command and a military guard of fifteen men, with authority to call out 2,000 more upon occasion.
But the British got on his track, and they crowded him so that he had to give himself up.
See what a figure he was when he was gotten up for style and had all his things on: “I was fully armed–a sword, shield, pistols, a matchlock musket and a flint gun, for I was fond of being thus arrayed, and when so armed feared not though forty men stood before me.” He gave himself up and proudly proclaimed himself a Thug.
Then by request he agreed to betray his friend and pal, Buhram, a Thug with the most tremendous record in India. “I went to the house where Buhram slept (often has he led our gangs!) I woke him, he knew me well, and came outside to me.
It was a cold night, so under pretence of warming myself, but in reality to have light for his seizure by the guards, I lighted some straw and made a blaze.
We were warming our hands.
The guards drew around us.
I said to them, ‘This is Buhram,’ and he was seized just as a cat seizes a mouse.
Then Buhram said, ‘I am a Thug! my father was a Thug, my grandfather was a Thug, and I have thugged with many!'” So spoke the mighty hunter, the mightiest of the mighty, the Gordon Cumming of his day.
Not much regret noticeable in it.–[“Having planted a bullet in the shoulder-bone of an elephant, and caused the agonized creature to lean for support against a tree, I proceeded to brew some coffee.
Having refreshed myself, taking observations of the elephant’s spasms and writhings between the sips, I resolved to make experiments on vulnerable points, and, approaching very near, I fired several bullets at different parts of his enormous skull.
He only acknowledged the shots by a salaam-like movement of his trunk, with the point of which he gently touched the wounds with a striking and peculiar action.
Surprised and shocked to find that I was only prolonging the suffering of the noble beast, which bore its trials with such dignified composure, I resolved to finish the proceeding with all possible despatch, and accordingly opened fire upon him from the left side.
Aiming at the shoulder, I fired six shots with the two-grooved rifle, which must have eventually proved mortal, after which I fired six shots at the same part with the Dutch six-founder.
Large tears now trickled down from his eyes, which he slowly shut and opened, his colossal frame shivered convulsively, and falling on his side he expired.”–Gordon Cumming.] So many many times this Official Report leaves one’s curiosity unsatisfied.
For instance, here is a little paragraph out of the record of a certain band of 193 Thugs, which has that defect: “Fell in with Lall Sing Subahdar and his family, consisting of nine persons.
Traveled with them two days, and the third put them all to death except the two children, little boys of one and a half years old.” There it stops.
What did they do with those poor little fellows? What was their subsequent history? Did they purpose training them up as Thugs? How could they take care of such little creatures on a march which stretched over several months? No one seems to have cared to ask any questions about the babies.
But I do wish I knew. One would be apt to imagine that the Thugs were utterly callous, utterly destitute of human feelings, heartless toward their own families as well as toward other people’s; but this was not so.
Like all other Indians, they had a passionate love for their kin.
A shrewd British officer who knew the Indian character, took that characteristic into account in laying his plans for the capture of Eugene Sue’s famous Feringhea.
He found out Feringhea’s hiding-place, and sent a guard by night to seize him, but the squad was awkward and he got away.
However, they got the rest of the family–the mother, wife, child, and brother–and brought them to the officer, at Jubbulpore; the officer did not fret, but bided his time: “I knew Feringhea would not go far while links so dear to him were in my hands.” He was right.
Feringhea knew all the danger he was running by staying in the neighborhood, still he could not tear himself away.
The officer found that he divided his time between five villages where be had relatives and friends who could get news for him from his family in Jubbulpore jail; and that he never slept two consecutive nights in the same village.
The officer traced out his several haunts, then pounced upon all the five villages on the one night and at the same hour, and got his man. Another example of family affection.
A little while previously to the capture of Feringhea’s family, the British officer had captured Feringhea’s foster-brother, leader of a gang of ten, and had tried the eleven and condemned them to be hanged.
Feringhea’s captured family arrived at the jail the day before the execution was to take place.
The foster-brother, Jhurhoo, entreated to be allowed to see the aged mother and the others.
The prayer was granted, and this is what took place–it is the British officer who speaks: “In the morning, just before going to the scaffold, the interview took place before me.
He fell at the old woman’s feet and begged that she would relieve him from the obligations of the milk with which she had nourished him from infancy, as he was about to die before he could fulfill any of them.
She placed her hands on his head, and he knelt, and she said she forgave him all, and bid him die like a man.” — From the lofty ramparts one has a fine view of the sacred rivers.
They join at that point–the pale blue Jumna, apparently clean and clear, and the muddy Ganges, dull yellow and not clean.
On a long curved spit between the rivers, towns of tents were visible, with a multitude of fluttering pennons, and a mighty swarm of pilgrims.
It was a troublesome place to get down to, and not a quiet place when you arrived; but it was interesting.
There was a world of activity and turmoil and noise, partly religious, partly commercial; for the Mohammedans were there to curse and sell, and the Hindoos to buy and pray.
It is a fair as well as a religious festival.
Crowds were bathing, praying, and drinking the purifying waters, and many sick pilgrims had come long journeys in palanquins to be healed of their maladies by a bath; or if that might not be, then to die on the blessed banks and so make sure of heaven.
There were fakeers in plenty, with their bodies dusted over with ashes and their long hair caked together with cow-dung; for the cow is holy and so is the rest of it; so holy that the good Hindoo peasant frescoes the walls of his hut with this refuse, and also constructs ornamental figures out of it for the gracing of his dirt floor.
There were seated families, fearfully and wonderfully painted, who by attitude and grouping represented the families of certain great gods.
There was a holy man who sat naked by the day and by the week on a cluster of iron spikes, and did not seem to mind it; and another holy man, who stood all day holding his withered arms motionless aloft, and was said to have been doing it for years.
All of these performers have a cloth on the ground beside them for the reception of contributions, and even the poorest of the people give a trifle and hope that the sacrifice will be blessed to him.
At last came a procession of naked holy people marching by and chanting, and I wrenched myself away. CHAPTER L. The man who is ostentatious of his modesty is twin to the statue that wears a fig-leaf. –Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar. The journey to Benares was all in daylight, and occupied but a few hours.
It was admirably dusty.
The dust settled upon you in a thick ashy layer and turned you into a fakeer, with nothing lacking to the role but the cow manure and the sense of holiness.
There was a change of cars about mid-afternoon at Moghul-serai–if that was the name–and a wait of two hours there for the Benares train.
We could have found a carriage and driven to the sacred city, but we should have lost the wait.
In other countries a long wait at a station is a dull thing and tedious, but one has no right to have that feeling in India.
You have the monster crowd of bejeweled natives, the stir, the bustle, the confusion, the shifting splendors of the costumes–dear me, the delight of it, the charm of it are beyond speech.
The two-hour wait was over too soon.
Among other satisfying things to look at was a minor native prince from the backwoods somewhere, with his guard of honor, a ragged but wonderfully gaudy gang of fifty dark barbarians armed with rusty flint-lock muskets.
The general show came so near to exhausting variety that one would have said that no addition to it could be conspicuous, but when this Falstaff and his motleys marched through it one saw that that seeming impossibility had happened. We got away by and by, and soon reached the outer edge of Benares; then there was another wait; but, as usual, with something to look at.
This was a cluster of little canvas-boxes–palanquins.
A canvas-box is not much of a sight–when empty; but when there is a lady in it, it is an object of interest.
These boxes were grouped apart, in the full blaze of the terrible sun during the three-quarters of an hour that we tarried there.
They contained zenana ladies.
They had to sit up; there was not room enough to stretch out.
They probably did not mind it.
They are used to the close captivity of the dwellings all their lives; when they go a journey they are carried to the train in these boxes; in the train they have to be secluded from inspection.
Many people pity them, and I always did it myself and never charged anything; but it is doubtful if this compassion is valued.
While we were in India some good-hearted Europeans in one of the cities proposed to restrict a large park to the use of zenana ladies, so that they could go there and in assured privacy go about unveiled and enjoy the sunshine and air as they had never enjoyed them before.
The good intentions back of the proposition were recognized, and sincere thanks returned for it, but the proposition itself met with a prompt declination at the hands of those who were authorized to speak for the zenana ladies.
Apparently, the idea was shocking to the ladies–indeed, it was quite manifestly shocking.
Was that proposition the equivalent of inviting European ladies to assemble scantily and scandalously clothed in the seclusion of a private park? It seemed to be about that. Without doubt modesty is nothing less than a holy feeling; and without doubt the person whose rule of modesty has been transgressed feels the same sort of wound that he would feel if something made holy to him by his religion had suffered a desecration.
I say “rule of modesty” because there are about a million rules in the world, and this makes a million standards to be looked out for.
Major Sleeman mentions the case of some high-caste veiled ladies who were profoundly scandalized when some English young ladies passed by with faces bare to the world; so scandalized that they spoke out with strong indignation and wondered that people could be so shameless as to expose their persons like that.
And yet “the legs of the objectors were naked to mid-thigh.” Both parties were clean-minded and irreproachably modest, while abiding by their separate rules, but they couldn’t have traded rules for a change without suffering considerable discomfort.
All human rules are more or less idiotic, I suppose.
It is best so, no doubt.
The way it is now, the asylums can hold the sane people, but if we tried to shut up the insane we should run out of building materials. You have a long drive through the outskirts of Benares before you get to the hotel.
And all the aspects are melancholy.
It is a vision of dusty sterility, decaying temples, crumbling tombs, broken mud walls, shabby huts.
The whole region seems to ache with age and penury.
It must take ten thousand years of want to produce such an aspect.
We were still outside of the great native city when we reached the hotel.
It was a quiet and homelike house, inviting, and manifestly comfortable.
But we liked its annex better, and went thither.
It was a mile away, perhaps, and stood in the midst of a large compound, and was built bungalow fashion, everything on the ground floor, and a veranda all around.
They have doors in India, but I don’t know why.
They don’t fasten, and they stand open, as a rule, with a curtain hanging in the doorspace to keep out the glare of the sun.
Still, there is plenty of privacy, for no white person will come in without notice, of course.
The native men servants will, but they don’t seem to count.
They glide in, barefoot and noiseless, and are in the midst before one knows it.
At first this is a shock, and sometimes it is an embarrassment; but one has to get used to it, and does. There was one tree in the compound, and a monkey lived in it.
At first I was strongly interested in the tree, for I was told that it was the renowned peepul–the tree in whose shadow you cannot tell a lie.
This one failed to stand the test, and I went away from it disappointed.
There was a softly creaking well close by, and a couple of oxen drew water from it by the hour, superintended by two natives dressed in the usual “turban and pocket-handkerchief.” The tree and the well were the only scenery, and so the compound was a soothing and lonesome and satisfying place; and very restful after so many activities.
There was nobody in our bungalow but ourselves; the other guests were in the next one, where the table d’hote was furnished.
A body could not be more pleasantly situated.
Each room had the customary bath attached–a room ten or twelve feet square, with a roomy stone-paved pit in it and abundance of water.
One could not easily improve upon this arrangement, except by furnishing it with cold water and excluding the hot, in deference to the fervency of the climate; but that is forbidden.
It would damage the bather’s health.
The stranger is warned against taking cold baths in India, but even the most intelligent strangers are fools, and they do not obey, and so they presently get laid up.
I was the most intelligent fool that passed through, that year.
But I am still more intelligent now.
Now that it is too late. I wonder if the ‘dorian’, if that is the name of it, is another superstition, like the peepul tree.
There was a great abundance and variety of tropical fruits, but the dorian was never in evidence.
It was never the season for the dorian.
It was always going to arrive from Burma sometime or other, but it never did.
By all accounts it was a most strange fruit, and incomparably delicious to the taste, but not to the smell.
Its rind was said to exude a stench of so atrocious a nature that when a dorian was in the room even the presence of a polecat was a refreshment.
We found many who had eaten the dorian, and they all spoke of it with a sort of rapture.
They said that if you could hold your nose until the fruit was in your mouth a sacred joy would suffuse you from head to foot that would make you oblivious to the smell of the rind, but that if your grip slipped and you caught the smell of the rind before the fruit was in your mouth, you would faint.
There is a fortune in that rind.
Some day somebody will import it into Europe and sell it for cheese. Benares was not a disappointment.
It justified its reputation as a curiosity.
It is on high ground, and overhangs a grand curve of the Ganges.
It is a vast mass of building, compactly crusting a hill, and is cloven in all directions by an intricate confusion of cracks which stand for streets.
Tall, slim minarets and beflagged temple-spires rise out of it and give it picturesqueness, viewed from the river.
The city is as busy as an ant-hill, and the hurly-burly of human life swarming along the web of narrow streets reminds one of the ants.
The sacred cow swarms along, too, and goes whither she pleases, and takes toll of the grain-shops, and is very much in the way, and is a good deal of a nuisance, since she must not be molested. Benares is older than history, older than tradition, older even than legend, and looks twice as old as all of them put together.
From a Hindoo statement quoted in Rev.
Parker’s compact and lucid Guide to Benares, I find that the site of the town was the beginning-place of the Creation.
It was merely an upright “lingam,” at first, no larger than a stove-pipe, and stood in the midst of a shoreless ocean.
This was the work of the God Vishnu.
Later he spread the lingam out till its surface was ten miles across.
Still it was not large enough for the business; therefore he presently built the globe around it.
Benares is thus the center of the earth.
This is considered an advantage. It has had a tumultuous history, both materially and spiritually.
It started Brahminically, many ages ago; then by and by Buddha came in recent times 2,500 years ago, and after that it was Buddhist during many centuries–twelve, perhaps–but the Brahmins got the upper hand again, then, and have held it ever since.
It is unspeakably sacred in Hindoo eyes, and is as unsanitary as it is sacred, and smells like the rind of the dorian.
It is the headquarters of the Brahmin faith, and one-eighth of the population are priests of that church.
But it is not an overstock, for they have all India as a prey.
All India flocks thither on pilgrimage, and pours its savings into the pockets of the priests in a generous stream, which never fails.
A priest with a good stand on the shore of the Ganges is much better off than the sweeper of the best crossing in London.
A good stand is worth a world of money.
The holy proprietor of it sits under his grand spectacular umbrella and blesses people all his life, and collects his commission, and grows fat and rich; and the stand passes from father to son, down and down and down through the ages, and remains a permanent and lucrative estate in the family.
Parker suggests, it can become a subject of dispute, at one time or another, and then the matter will be settled, not by prayer and fasting and consultations with Vishnu, but by the intervention of a much more puissant power–an English court.
In Bombay I was told by an American missionary that in India there are 640 Protestant missionaries at work.
At first it seemed an immense force, but of course that was a thoughtless idea.
One missionary to 500,000 natives–no, that is not a force; it is the reverse of it; 640 marching against an intrenched camp of 300,000,000–the odds are too great.
A force of 640 in Benares alone would have its hands over-full with 8,000 Brahmin priests for adversary.
Missionaries need to be well equipped with hope and confidence, and this equipment they seem to have always had in all parts of the world.
Parker has it.
It enables him to get a favorable outlook out of statistics which might add up differently with other mathematicians.
For instance: — Here in London the other night I was talking with some Scotch and English friends, and I mentioned the ice-storm, using it as a figure–a figure which failed, for none of them had heard of the ice-storm.
One gentleman, who was very familiar with American literature, said he had never seen it mentioned in any book.
That is strange.
And I, myself, was not able to say that I had seen it mentioned in a book; and yet the autumn foliage, with all other American scenery, has received full and competent attention. The oversight is strange, for in America the ice-storm is an event.
And it is not an event which one is careless about.
When it comes, the news flies from room to room in the house, there are bangings on the doors, and shoutings, “The ice-storm! the ice-storm!” and even the laziest sleepers throw off the covers and join the rush for the windows.
The ice-storm occurs in midwinter, and usually its enchantments are wrought in the silence and the darkness of the night.
A fine drizzling rain falls hour after hour upon the naked twigs and branches of the trees, and as it falls it freezes.
In time the trunk and every branch and twig are incased in hard pure ice; so that the tree looks like a skeleton tree made all of glass–glass that is crystal-clear.
All along the underside of every branch and twig is a comb of little icicles–the frozen drip.
Sometimes these pendants do not quite amount to icicles, but are round beads–frozen tears. The weather clears, toward dawn, and leaves a brisk pure atmosphere and a sky without a shred of cloud in it–and everything is still, there is not a breath of wind.
The dawn breaks and spreads, the news of the storm goes about the house, and the little and the big, in wraps and blankets, flock to the window and press together there, and gaze intently out upon the great white ghost in the grounds, and nobody says a word, nobody stirs.
All are waiting; they know what is coming, and they are waiting waiting for the miracle.
The minutes drift on and on and on, with not a sound but the ticking of the clock; at last the sun fires a sudden sheaf of rays into the ghostly tree and turns it into a white splendor of glittering diamonds.
Everybody catches his breath, and feels a swelling in his throat and a moisture in his eyes-but waits again; for he knows what is coming; there is more yet.
The sun climbs higher, and still higher, flooding the tree from its loftiest spread of branches to its lowest, turning it to a glory of white fire; then in a moment, without warning, comes the great miracle, the supreme miracle, the miracle without its fellow in the earth; a gust of wind sets every branch and twig to swaying, and in an instant turns the whole white tree into a spouting and spraying explosion of flashing gems of every conceivable color; and there it stands and sways this way and that, flash! flash! flash! a dancing and glancing world of rubies, emeralds, diamonds, sapphires, the most radiant spectacle, the most blinding spectacle, the divinest, the most exquisite, the most intoxicating vision of fire and color and intolerable and unimaginable splendor that ever any eye has rested upon in this world, or will ever rest upon outside of the gates of heaven. By, all my senses, all my faculties, I know that the icestorm is Nature’s supremest achievement in the domain of the superb and the beautiful; and by my reason, at least, I know that the Taj is man’s ice-storm. In the ice-storm every one of the myriad ice-beads pendant from twig and branch is an individual gem, and changes color with every motion caused by the wind; each tree carries a million, and a forest-front exhibits the splendors of the single tree multiplied by a thousand. It occurs to me now that I have never seen the ice-storm put upon canvas, and have not heard that any painter has tried to do it.
I wonder why that is.
Is it that paint cannot counterfeit the intense blaze of a sun-flooded jewel? There should be, and must be, a reason, and a good one, why the most enchanting sight that Nature has created has been neglected by the brush. Often, the surest way to convey misinformation is to tell the strict truth.
The describers of the Taj have used the word gem in its strictest sense–its scientific sense.
In that sense it is a mild word, and promises but little to the eye-nothing bright, nothing brilliant, nothing sparkling, nothing splendid in the way of color.
It accurately describes the sober and unobtrusive gem-work of the Taj; that is, to the very highly-educated one person in a thousand; but it most falsely describes it to the 999.
But the 999 are the people who ought to be especially taken care of, and to them it does not mean quiet-colored designs wrought in carnelians, or agates, or such things; they know the word in its wide and ordinary sense only, and so to them it means diamonds and rubies and opals and their kindred, and the moment their eyes fall upon it in print they see a vision of glorious colors clothed in fire. These describers are writing for the “general,” and so, in order to make sure of being understood, they ought to use words in their ordinary sense, or else explain.
The word fountain means one thing in Syria, where there is but a handful of people; it means quite another thing in North America, where there are 75,000,000.
If I were describing some Syrian scenery, and should exclaim, “Within the narrow space of a quarter of a mile square I saw, in the glory of the flooding moonlight, two hundred noble fountains–imagine the spectacle!” the North American would have a vision of clustering columns of water soaring aloft, bending over in graceful arches, bursting in beaded spray and raining white fire in the moonlight-and he would be deceived.
But the Syrian would not be deceived; he would merely see two hundred fresh-water springs–two hundred drowsing puddles, as level and unpretentious and unexcited as so many door-mats, and even with the help of the moonlight he would not lose his grip in the presence of the exhibition.
My word “fountain” would be correct; it would speak the strict truth; and it would convey the strict truth to the handful of Syrians, and the strictest misinformation to the North American millions.
With their gems–and gems–and more gems–and gems again–and still other gems–the describers of the Taj are within their legal but not their moral rights; they are dealing in the strictest scientific truth; and in doing it they succeed to admiration in telling “what ain’t so.” CHAPTER LX. SATAN (impatiently) to NEW-COMER.
The trouble with you Chicago people is, that you think you are the best people down here; whereas you are merely the most numerous. –Pudd’nhead Wilson’s New Calendar. We wandered contentedly around here and there in India; to Lahore, among other places, where the Lieutenant-Governor lent me an elephant.
This hospitality stands out in my experiences in a stately isolation.
It was a fine elephant, affable, gentlemanly, educated, and I was not afraid of it.
I even rode it with confidence through the crowded lanes of the native city, where it scared all the horses out of their senses, and where children were always just escaping its feet.
It took the middle of the road in a fine independent way, and left it to the world to get out of the way or take the consequences.
I am used to being afraid of collisions when I ride or drive, but when one is on top of an elephant that feeling is absent.
I could have ridden in comfort through a regiment of runaway teams.
I could easily learn to prefer an elephant to any other vehicle, partly because of that immunity from collisions, and partly because of the fine view one has from up there, and partly because of the dignity one feels in that high place, and partly because one can look in at the windows and see what is going on privately among the family.
The Lahore horses were used to elephants, but they were rapturously afraid of them just the same.
It seemed curious.
Perhaps the better they know the elephant the more they respect him in that peculiar way.
In our own case–we are not afraid of dynamite till we get acquainted with it. We drifted as far as Rawal Pindi, away up on the Afghan frontier–I think it was the Afghan frontier, but it may have been Hertzegovina–it was around there somewhere–and down again to Delhi, to see the ancient architectural wonders there and in Old Delhi and not describe them, and also to see the scene of the illustrious assault, in the Mutiny days, when the British carried Delhi by storm, one of the marvels of history for impudent daring and immortal valor. We had a refreshing rest, there in Delhi, in a great old mansion which possessed historical interest.
It was built by a rich Englishman who had become orientalized–so much so that he had a zenana.
But he was a broadminded man, and remained so.
To please his harem he built a mosque; to please himself he built an English church.
That kind of a man will arrive, somewhere.
In the Mutiny days the mansion was the British general’s headquarters.
It stands in a great garden–oriental fashion –and about it are many noble trees.
The trees harbor monkeys; and they are monkeys of a watchful and enterprising sort, and not much troubled with fear.
They invade the house whenever they get a chance, and carry off everything they don’t want.
One morning the master of the house was in his bath, and the window was open.
Near it stood a pot of yellow paint and a brush.
Some monkeys appeared in the window; to scare them away, the gentleman threw his sponge at them.
They did not scare at all; they jumped into the room and threw yellow paint all over him from the brush, and drove him out; then they painted the walls and the floor and the tank and the windows and the furniture yellow, and were in the dressing-room painting that when help arrived and routed them.
Read more about Blaze : They seemed to blaze so bright were the colors and….: