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on. The first sea that strikes the boat either shoots the passenger on to the dry sand, or puts him where he can easily be caught by the natives on the beach; but the Massullah boat herself gets a terrible banging before the crew can haul her out of reach of the seas.
4. Sighting the temple of Juggernauth and one palm tree, but seeing no land, we entered the Hoogly, steaming between the lighthouses, guardships, and buoys, but not catching a glimpse of the low land of the Sunderbunds till we had been many hours in the river.' After lying all night off a tiger-infested island, started on our run up to Calcutta before the sun was risen. Compared with Ceylon, the scene was English; there was nothing tropical about it except the mist upon the land; and low villas and distant factory chimneys reminded one of the Thames between Battersea and Fulham.
5. The Viceroy's 2 dwelling is the only palace in this so-called 'city of palaces a name which must have been given to it by some one who had never seen any other towns than Liverpool and London. The true city of palaces is Lucknow.
6. The heat was great at night, and the noisy native crows and whistling kites held durbars3 inside my window in the only cool hour of the
'The Sunderbunds is the name given to the low land which forms the delta of the Ganges.
2 The Viceroy, the Governor of India.
3 Durbar, an Indian word for a meeting of chiefs in council.
twenty-four—namely, that which begins at dawn— and thus hastened my departure from Calcutta by preventing me from taking my rest while in it.
7. Hearing that at Patna there was nothing to be seen or learnt, I travelled from Calcutta to Benares-500 miles-in the same train and railway carriage. Our first long stoppage was at Chandernagore, but, as the native porters howl the station names in their own fashion, I hardly recognised the name of the city in the melancholy moan with which they welcomed the train. The sight of a French uniform upon the platform reminded me that Chandernagore belongs to the French, and was once a dangerous rival to Calcutta.
8. As we passed on from station to station the scenes became more and more interesting. We associate with the word 'railway' guards in blue, policemen in dark green, and porters in brown corduroy; no English institution, however, assumes an Oriental dress more readily. The stationmasters and the sparrows alone are English. Sikh irregulars jostle begging fakeers in the stations; palankeens 2 and litters wait at the back doors; ticket-clerks smoke water pipes; an ibis drinks at the engine-tank, a sacred cow looks over the fence, and a tame elephant reaches up with his trunk at the telegraph wire, on which sits a hoopoe, while an Indian vulture crowns the post.
'Fakeer, a monk or hermit.
2 Palankeen, a covered conveyance borne on the shoulders of men, and fit for one person only.
9. Farther on we came to the only ridge of hills which for 1,600 miles break the level of the great plain of Hindostan. Here the people of the Central India tribes, small-headed and savagelooking, were mingled with the Hindoos at the stations.
10. The first view of the Ganges does not impress one with a sense of its grandeur or its beauty. The Thames below Gravesend half dried. up would not be unlike it; indeed, the river itself is extremely ugly, and its banks are hideous. Beyond Patna, the plains, too, are as dull as the riverflat, dusty, and treeless, they are no way tropical in their character; they lie, indeed, wholly outside the tropics. I afterwards found that a man may cross India from east to west and sce no tropical scenery, no tropical cultivation.
II. The aspect of the Ganges valley is that of Cambridgeshire, or of parts of Lincoln seen after harvest-time, and with flocks of strange and brilliant birds and an occasional jackal thrown in to enliven the scene. From a military point of view, the plains may be described as an immense parade-ground,' and this explains the success of our small forces against the rebels in 1857, our cavalry and artillery having in all cases swept their infantry from these levels with the utmost ease.
12. At Patna, the station was filled with crowds of navvies, who with their tools and baggage were
1 Parade-ground, a place where troops are drawn up for inspection or drill.
camped out upon the platform, smoking peacefully. I afterwards found that natives have little idea of time-tables and departure hours. When they want to go ten miles by railway, they walk straight down to the nearest station, and there smoke their pipes till the train arrives-at the end of twentyfour hours or ten minutes, as the case may be.
13. The most marked among the effects of railways upon the state of India are the weakening of caste ties and the destruction of the Indian forests. If a rich native discovers that he can, by losing caste in touching his inferiors, travel a certain distance in a comfortable second-class carriage for ten rupees,2 while a first-class ticket costs him twenty, he will often risk his caste to save his pound. As for the forests, their destruction has already in many places changed a somewhat moist climate to one of excessive drought; but the planting of young trees is now taking place, with a view to supplying the railway engines with fuel, and bringing back the rains.
Adapted from Sir C. DILKE's Greater Britain, by permission of Messrs. MACMILLAN and Co.
1 Caste, a name given to each of the four classes into which the Hindoos are divided. The people of higher caste keep themselves as separate as possible from those of an inferior caste.
2 A rupee is worth about two shillings.