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derabad*in the Deccan, Beejapoor, and Ahmednuggur. In A. D. 1605, the Emperor Akbar died ; and during the confusions which resulted in distant parts of the empire, turbulent jaghiredars had opportunities, which they seldom neglected, of increasing their power and aggrandising their territories.
One of these was Shaji Bhonslay, the father of the great Sivaji. He was the Jaghiredar of Soopeh, a town a few miles NE. of Poorundur. Soopeh was then a place of chief importance in this neighbourhood; for Poona was but a village.
Poorundur was the fort to which the Soopeh districts looked up, as to a mother; and within these walls were conducted those manifolding negotiations, and intricate intrigues, without a full measure of which, no Asiatic comes to blows. Shaji promptly seized this juncture, in order to raise the national standard, and rally round him the Mahratta people. It was near Nuggur that he broke into open hostilities with the Moguls, and then, in fact, first commenced that struggle for independent power which was so well continued and completed by his more illustrious son. But transference of allegiance and change of colours on the slightest provocation, and for what might seem altogether trifling considerations, has never been considered a violation of political duty in Maharashtra; so it must not surprise us to find the master of this fort, with no ascertainable motive, soon again in alliance with those whose cause he had so recently deserted.
In A. D. 1627, the year that the Emperor Jehangeer died, and the great Sivaji was born, Shaji joined a Mogul army sent to reduce to obedience Khan Jehan Lodi, the rebel viceroy; and Poorundur, doubtless, saw many a brilliantly dressed Mogul within her gates that year ; and a few years afterwards we find that, with or without the opposition of the Jaghiredar of Soopeh, Poorundur had been "resumed" from the Bhonslay family, and was retained as a royal appanage for some time. But Shaji Bhonslay was not the man to see such "resumptions" carried peacefully into effect, though he might have consented to them at the time, or allow such retentions to be permanent with
out an effort. He called in a powerful but dangerous ally to assist him in recovering this much-prized fortress; and now, perhaps for the first time, Brahmin cunning and measureless craft came to the assistance of Mahratta vigour.
Not only Poorundur, but most of the forts between the Neera and Chandore, soon called the Bhonslay master ; and when the young and talented Aurungzebe appears in the Deccan, as viceroy to his father, the Emperor of Delhi, Shaji Bhonslay was his unmanageable agitator, and these hill-forts his most anxious difficulty. And so they were to the last: they haunted to the death the great Alumgeer ; and sixty years afterwards, long after Shaji, and Shaji's son too, were dead and gone, the " conqueror of the world" was at Nuggur, an old, worn-out, and weary man, with this unsubdued black precipice starting up everywhere before his eyes, clouding his dreams, amid all his magnificence, and ruffling with angry impotence his dying pillow.
In A.d. 1637, Poorundur was givenup to the Beejapoor Government, and again fell under the command of Mahomedan killedars. Sivaji was then just ten years old. Can we suppose the fiery youth was unable at that age to smart under the indignity? How many times had he climbed to the summits of these mountains, and looked proudly down over their encircling fortifications, and the wide plains beyond, where waving grain was ripening to supply food for the garrison ; and there how had he brooded over all the exploits of the heroes recorded in the great epics of his nation; which had doubtless been retailed to him with faithful accuracy—for he could never read himself—by old Nilkunt Rao, the Brahmin killedar of Poorundur. We cannot doubt but that this fortress, with all its stern wild beauties, was dear to the lad, and that it was with a swelling and indignant heart he heard, from his mother, that it must be given up to the hated Mussulman.
It is not till eleven years afterwards that the names of Sivaji and Poorundur are again associated.
In A.d. 1648, Nilkunt Rao, the old Brahmin killedar, who had been permitted to retain his appointment under the Beejapoor Government, was dead. He had left three sons, each of whom claimed, on various grounds, the succession to his father's property and place. Keenly scenting, from afar, an opportunity like this, Sivaji pitched his camp, by a mere accident, as he wished it to appear, at Narrayenpoor, a village at the foot of the fort, on the north. This gentle hint that an invitation to the fort would be acceptable, was instantly taken by the unsuspecting brethren, two of whom even appealed to him to arbitrate with their elder brother.
Turning a proverb inside out, one may perhaps say, that when honest men fall out, thieves come by what was their's; and at any rate, a more complete example in real life of the fable of the cats who called a monkey to distribute their cheese, has perhaps seldom been enacted. Sivaji, waiting till the elder had retired to rest, recommended his seizure to the other two brothers ; and, on the pretext of enabling them to do this with safety, he introduced into the fort some of those Mawullees who were waiting below in expectation of a summons. The elder brother was soon imprisoned: but the two younger then learned who was master of the situation ; for they, with their fort, were in the power of the coolest and bravest man the Deccan ever bred. With charming frankness, Sivaji forthwith explained to his victims, the political necessities under which they suffered; and by visions of future Mahratta independence skilfully displayed, and gifts of something more tangible as present pledges of it, so won them over to acquiescence in their destiny, that they entered, and adorned the service of the man who had, by such careful lying and admirably managed treachery, deprived them of their property.
Poorundur was thenceforward one of Sivaji's fortresses; and remained so for a considerable period. But the garrison !—had they nothing to say to the change which had passed over their fortunes? It does not appear that, if they had, they ever said it. The Mahratta is embarrassed by no difficulties about rights. Deep within his very nature lies the acknowledged principle,
as that on which all rights ultimately depend, that " he should take who has the power, and he should keep who can." Nor, under the circumstances, is this unreasonable in him. For where there is no absolute standard of right enforced by the hrghest sanctions, doubtless the sanction of "success" is, if not a satisfactory, at least a sufficient one.
( To be continued.)
A CAMP SCENE.
We were encamped in a large mangogrove, and already the long shadows of evening were spreading a gloom through the low crooked branches. Iu this chiara-oscuro might be seen the lazy bullocks, chewing the cud beside the rude carts of the country, and perhaps "ruminating upon the morrow's" exertions, while the drivers sat beside them, listlessly cooking their frugal meal of coarse " chuppaties." Occasionally arose the painful groan of the camel, or the impatient trumpeting of the elephant as he tossed aside his peepul branch, and seemed to demand his wonted cake. On the topmost branches of trees, a thousand little birds were congregated, and twittering their vespers. One might have fancied, from the incessant chirping, and occasional commotions amongst them, that they had been recounting the adventures of the day, and making plans for the morrow!
A camp was new to us; we could see its attractions independent of the medium of pale ale, and dolce far niente. It is like a ship, and perhaps even more solitary, from the contrast of the scenes through which it passes. From the dense jungle, we move on to the gay cantonment, which we again leave with as little regret. We are strangers; we are as detached atoms of the busy world, and hurry through its scenes like birds of passage, that have some house afar off. During a long march, there is ample leisure for reflection ; and the mind, freed for a season from the conventionalities of society, has an opportunity of re-organising its powers, and rejecting many of those little infirmities which it contracts insensibly in artificial life. Undisturbed by the intrusion of strangers during the sultry hours of the day, while other? are buried iu repose, and the troublesome servants, enervated by the heat, or, overcome by the fatigues of the morning, have ceased to be garrulous, we may profitably hold commune with those noble spirits of the past, whose works have been bequeathed to us, as oracles, whose true signification may be interpreted not unfrequently by the peculiar circumstances of the reader. We confess to a strange kind of sensitiveness, amounting almost to disease; and there are certain times when society is utterly insupportable, the very proximity of an acquaintance is misery to us. We cannot bear the intrusion even of a fly—we would then be all alone, "our thoughts our only company." At such times, with our hookah or our cheroot to console us, we dream away the present, and become absorbed with regrets for the past, and hopes—ideal hopes—for the future!
To one who has wandered much about this country, moments like these must have been often counted as the happiest of his life. The noise and hubbub of the mess-tent has ceased, the earth seems sleeping, and the only sound we hear is the steady beating of our own hearts. Anon the scene is changed, and nothing is heard but the lowiug of the cattle, the groans of the camel, the trumpetings of the elephant, and the hammering of the tent-pegs. Another hour, and the camp has been broken up, and the party are dragging their slow length along the road towards the new encamping-ground. A few hours more, and silence again reigns, and the fatigues of the day are drowned in sleep or retirement.
"But true expression, like the unchanging sun. Clears and improves whate'er it shines upon.''
Criticism, from its earliest ages, has stood up with an impression savouring of a general perfection of knowledge, a redundancy of wit, and an inexhaustible store of censure. In its peculiar nature, it seems to enter on the review of a work with more than the spirit of the author;
and though it appears to say that it assumes only the place of Mentor to the public, in reality it exacts more—wants much, seems displeased with such and such, till at length it becomes, as at the present day, a regular cant. When we read Dr. Johnson's critical preface to Shakespeare's work, we must confess that his talents were of a brilliant order, and allow that his remarks were not clouded by "incrustations," nor "debased by impurities," nor yet "mingled with a mass of meaner minerals." With so much, follow him patiently through the maze he has woven around Great Shakespeare, and we find him busily dissecting in one place, healing in another, patching and substituting in some, and finally excusing ; praising the complete work, yet condemning by piecemeal. Critics look to a result in full from the force of its component parts : they eschew an eye or a lip, but sit down to comment on the general expression of the countenance. Before commencing, they mean to tell, according to their tent, its defect from perfection: but what is the result of the critical investigation? Either an utter condemnation, or the recommendation of a part, without help to remedy the evil. This is the profession of the Conceit of Criticism. Notwithstanding, we have happily some generous critics, whose tribunal is a fair one, and whose strictures, though severe, are given forth with gentleness, to improve, while judgment is given and merit awarded only for intrinsic value. For everything there is a critic, and criticism will never cense, as it exists from a certain amount of vitality supplied by humanity.
In India, we have quite enough of this art—our papers, periodicals, learned bodies, are full of it ; but be it said of the first, that they go to work in a liberal spirit, and do not spoliate their jurisdiction by over-straining with the conceit of criticism. The influence of this art constitutes its general nature, and is salutary if used as a point that is clearly understood by the critic. He should keep to the tent, i. e. to clear and improve, as Pope says; but not to condemn the object of review if it falls somewhat beneath his ideal of perfection. The offico of the generous critic is therefore no secret, and his object should be to fertilise whatever kind of soil he is employed upon, that, through him, hereafter it may be enhanced. But the pity is, that such objects are unheeded, while the rising motive to crush is fondly cherished. Thus the young sapling, instead of becoming a fruitful and luxuriant true, turns into a nullity, and is barren. Thus do our great critics outstep their jurisdiction, pour out their well-turned periods, accompanied with the sting of their attic wit, on some devoted head, who, distorted and confused, dismayed and afraid, withdraws from view.
It is amusing to look at a profound critic in his sanctum, while it is ridiculously sublime to hear of the sayings and doings of a would-be one—how he would combine, how define, and how conclude ! The former is methodical, because he follows his art; the latter constitutes principles, and is therefore crude, dangerous, and often hesitating. But to both we say, you are cants! We conclude our essay with a quotation from Sterne:—
"' And how did Garrick speak the soliloquy last night?' 'Oh! against all rule, my lord; most ungrammatically! Betwixt the substantive and adjective (which should agree together in number, case, and gender), he made a breach, thus—stopping as if the point wanted settling! And after the nominative case (which your lordship knows should govern the verb), he suspended his voice, in the epilogue, a dozen times— three seconds and three-fifths, by a stop-watch, my lord, each time!' 'Admirable grammarian! But, in suspending his voice, was the sense suspended likewise? Did no expression of attitude or countenance fill up the chasm? Was the eye silent? Did you narrowly look?' 'I looked only at the stopwatch, my lord !' ' Excellent observer!'
"' And what of this new book the whole world makes such a rout about?' 'Oh! 'tis out of all plumb, my lord, —quite an irregular thing! Not one of the angles at the four corners was a right angle. I had my rule and compasses, my lord, in my pocket.' 'Excellent critic!'
"' And for the epic poem your lordship bade me look at—upon taking the length, breadth, height, and depth of it,
and trying them at home upon an exact scale of Bossu's—'tis out, my lord, in every one of its dimensions.' 'Admirable connoisseur .''
"'And did you step in to take a look at the grand picture, in your way back?' 1 'Tis a melancholy daub, my lord !—not one principle of the pyramid, in any one group !—And what a price !—for there is nothing of the colouring of Titian, the expression of Rubens, the grace of Raphael, the purity of Dominichino, the Corregiescity of Corregio, the learning of Poussain, the airs of Guido, the taste of the Carracis, or the grand contour of Angelo!'
"' Grant me patience !—Of all the cants which are canted in this canting world, though the cant of hypocrisy may be the worst, the cant of criticism is the most tormenting! I would go fifty miles on foot to kiss the hjind of that man, whose generous heart will give up the reins of his imagination into his author's hands—be pleased, he knows not why, and cares not wherefore !'"
YE ORIGIN OF YE HOODED SNAKE OF INDIA.
A WOEFUL BAM.AO.
It is of a doleful history,
That I have heard of late— Of a maiden fair, in India,
Who met with a dismal fate.
When she left her friends in England,
With strange and frenzied zeal, They clad her person round about
With hoops all made of steel!
Her petticoats were spread above
This wonderful machine,
And is yclept Crinoline!
Now although while on board the steamer,
By this cage of steel protected, Was it grief, or reason deeper,
That made her so dejected?
For when she arrived in India,
She appeared so pale and thin, That the bachelors pronounced her
An uncommon ugly spin!
But she went far up the country,
And soon improved her state; And 'twas there the tragedy befell
That I must now relate.
There was a wretched lover,
Whom she had left behind, With whom her charms had played the deuce.
And driven out of his mind.
So much, that after she was gone,
His spirits to zero sank ( And for several days together
He did nought else but—drank I
For all his joy was fiir away—
"So he strove to keep his spirits up
These last two lines I've heard before,
Or read, I have a notion; And I couldn't think of better
To describe his deep emotion.
Now love and wine so bothered him,
And turned his little head,
And couldn't leave his bed I
One night as he lay, and tried to sleep,
In dreams of love to revel, With fear he espied, close by his bedside,
A form like to a devil!
And the vision spoke unto him,
"I've come to help you in your plans
Should you wish to be in India
Before you next awake,
And become a while a snake 1"
Alas! that I have to tell it—
The tipsy muff consented; But soon found out he'd been done again,
And most bitterly repented.
For although he awoke in India—
As the demon never would restore him
And alas! 'twas too apparent
That his nature was changed quite—
That to love had now succeeded
Meantime, the maid was pining"
In a very horrid place, Where there wasn't a soul to flirt with,
Or to note her pretty face.
She takes no further joy in dress,
There are no single young men to charm,
There beasts and tigers all the night
Kick up a horrid row,
And the jackals go bow-wow!
One morn she felt extremely low.
By going out to take a stroll,
But as she wandered through the woods,
When she recognised her lover
He saw, and wriggled up to her—
Then caught her by the heels, And bolted her down, boots and all,
Begardless of her squeals!
But from her frantic struggles,
An awful retribution
O'ertook this greedy snake:
For the Crinoline, or hoops of steel,
Described in a former verse, Stuck round his neck, both hard and fast,
For better and for worse.
He couldn't get it off again !—
And now the nasty fell-a,
Like an open uinb(e)rella!
For the petticoats, spread round his head,
But heightened the delusion;
Ban oti in wild confusion!
For years he wandered through the East,
And led a most lonely life; Till at last the fates allowed him
To take to himself a wife.
But when he was blessed with young 'uns,
All about their little gills,
Which much resembled frills!
Thus, from the evil that befell
See, we trace Ye Origin
CULTIVATION Of COFFEE.
OP THE PREPARATION OF COFFEE FOR THE MARKET.
About twenty months after the first planting (as I have hinted in the end of the first chapter), the husbandman musf; enter into the business of his permanent settlements; but that the nature and design of such as belong to the manufacture of coffee may be better understood, a clear idea must first be given of the mode of preparing that article for market.
The fruit of the coffee, when perfectly ripe, appears like a small oval cherry. Under a red and shining skin, a whitish clammy luscious pulp presents itself, which generally encloses two seeds. These seeds have one side flat, the other hemispherical. The first is marked with a longitudinal fissure, and the flat sides are applied to each other. If the seeds are opened, they are found covered with a white, ligneous, brittle membrane, denominated parchment, on the inside - of which is another silver-coloured membrane, exceedingly thin, and seeming to originate