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goddess. I really resemble him so far that, though I cannot doubt his existence, I never read the Chronicles without half persuading myself they are a Cervantic satire upon their times ; and the Canon of Chimay as imaginary a being as Cid Hamet Benengeli himself.
On the arrival of the tumblers—more lucky than Sir Isaac with his fireplace, we had only to order away a side of our canvass house, and call to the salaming and cringing reprobates “to leave their damnable faces and begin!” Though weary enough of sword-swallowing and snake-dancing, I never saw the cutting of the betel-leaf without interest. A man is laid at length, with a doubled leaf upon his bare stomach, when another takes a sharp sword, runs towards him, and cutting down furiously, checks his hand so critically as to divide the leaf, print a line on the man's stomach, and yet not break the skin. They somerbet surprisingly among drawn swords, pointing upwards ;-but the adage respecting edged tools was verified by them, for one who threw up a ring in which were fixed three daggers, meant to descend two on one side and one on the other of his extended arm, managed so badly, that one of the weapons pierced it through and through. These worthies always ensured me that half-sickness at stomach which apprehension or disgust brings on me. Even the best of these exhibitionsthose their princes and ministers give-are painful or disgusting. Their dramatic dialogues are too beastly even to allude to; and the lions of the grandest soirée I ever saw were a Yogue,* whose matted hair formed a net, in which he was carried by a pole run through it, and two boys tied by their extended arms to a post supporting themselves in that position with their feet off the ground; their faces being ochred so as to give to the marble-like fixedness of their features an expression of suppressed suffering, so striking that at this moment I can only guess it was unreal. It was with a shout that we welcomed the strutting jingle of the Banglas,t and I was doubly pleased that our visitors were Gentoos. Many of them want but complexion to be perfect beauties. Their figures are exquisite, and their regular features, soft skins, and full swimming eyes—but, above all, a diffidence in their carriage, a something of the beautiful and beneficial affectations of the sex, gave them, in my eyes, an interest which the bolder beauties of the Mussulmaunee never raised. When old, these latter looked, with their frightful mouths and haggard features, the very refuse of licentiousness; and, in fact, I never saw one of them past girlhood in whose countenance I did not fancy something of malignity. They seemed to me to know their life of pleasure was one of guilt ; while in the placid expression of the
* A Hindoo devotee. The practice of a class of these, who are contemplative, resembles that of the monks of Mount Athos, as I have seen it described. They sink themselves into deep raptures, and sit for bours motionless, beholding, as they believe, God himself, like a very bright and ineffable light, and feeling an inexpressible joy, attended with a contempt and forsaking of the world. The great difference between them appears to be, that the Yogues gaze on the tip of the nose, and the bermits look at the navel, during the operation.
+ Feet-ornament of Eastern women. We find in Isaiah, “Because the daughters of Sion are laughty, and walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes, mincing as they go, and making a tinkling with their feet, &c. the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments about their feet;" and as the Prophet proceeds, he enumerates “the round tires like the moon, the nose-jewels," and various other ornaments of the daughters of Sion, which are common to those of India.
Gentoo girls I felt pleased to trace the freedom from self-reproach which their belief would naturally bestow. The blackening of the lid and lash gives to their eye an expression of power rather than beauty, it enlarges the eye, and gives the white a stronger body from its contrast, so as, in some faces, to look unnatural and almost unearthly. They often brought to my mind the large projecting eyes of the Hindoo idols, and I always associated them with the idea I should form of those of a being of supernatural though not angelic nature-a Spirit of the woods or mines, for instance. When still, they look passionless ; but a single glance will tell that, if they do not feel, at least they can speak of feeling eloquently well. It is ridiculous to call their movements dancing, and, in saying so, I disclaim all offence to such as walk through quadrilles. They merely stalk about keeping time to the music, which they accompany with a movement of the hands and eyes, advancing or receding leisurely, until the clattering and blowing becomes louder (as the musicians work themselves up, till they look half drunk, half crazy), when the steps become more hurried, the bodily contortions more violent, their eyes roll in a fine frenzy, and they kick up the front of their petticoats in a style that, where ladies are present, inevitably betrays the unhappy beings who have not been seasoned at the Opera-house. They accompanied their pacings with songs, during which our conversation, for we listened à l'Italienne, would only be checked by some outrageous scream-at which the syren would raise her hand to keep her betel in her mouth, and play off the necessary evolutions as a coyish concealment of the (too often ebon) beauties of her teeth. After dinner we had a “ grande chasse,” i. e. we formed a quorum on the principle that corporate bodies have no souls, to justify by reciprocal support the laziness which neither our zeal nor our rivalry would have allowed us to indulge in alone. When we were within reach of them on these occasions, we rode out with hunting cheetas. These are beautifully formed, with barrels drawn up like greyhounds, quite different from the heavy bow-legged domesticated race. They are brought on a car, as near the antelope as possible, when the winkers are taken oft ; it is most interesting to see their vacant and roving gaze catch and rivet itself upon their victim. An intense singleness of purpose seems to speak in every muscle as the leopard strains upon the rope till it is slipped and he springs down. He moves off sometimes at a swinging trot, and at others steals on crouchingly, (lying flat and motionless if the deer but turn towards him,) until he is near enough to burst upon his prey. His last spring is grand. At one moment he is in the air, and the next flat on his stomach in the cloud of dust he has whirled up—his teeth fast in the throat of the antelope, whose horns are driven in the earth, and whose feet, all upwards, are quivering in their last sensation. They seldom run far, but when they fail, stop and purr like a cat, and the winkers are put on them by means of a long rod. They show training by singling out bucks, for which they get a haunch-whereas they only receive the liver of a doe. It is by forcing this perquisite into their mouths that they are disengaged from the deer. We had usually on our return to the tents to appease some feud, originatiny generally in the philanthropy of our ladies, and their husbands' unwillingness to let this virtue be its own reward ; and though we could succeed so far as to have them rolled up in their respective clothes, our influence went no farther, and at intervals through the night would be heard screams of defiance and volleys of abuse that shamed the wretched combinations of European blackguardism.-The day after these saturnalia was one of bard fag; late, indeed, and "bloody with spurring fiery red,” would he return whom fate had destined to come back empty-handed. It was on an occasion of this sort that I came rattling in when, as I brought up beneath the tree, I was struck chill by a most unusual appearance of dejection on every face, and my boy, as he held my rein, whispered, “ Sheikbussein is drowned, Sir!” “Good God !” I exclaimed, “how ?" The matter was simple enough; the poor fellow had gone in, as our people do, for a duck-had become entangled in the weeds and pulled under by them; but the circumstances of his death afford some illustration of the apathetic indifference one finds in India. While he was battling with the weeds, with his long black hair flying wildly about, as he shrieked, and almost leaped from the water in his convulsive struggles, an elephant passed over the bank, and its Mohaut was entreated-reviled--and threatened, to induce him to let the beast go in to save his fellow-Mussulmaun. But he would not he had no orders--he watched the frightful spectacle till its object sank exhausted, and then pursued his way. In two hours he had to retrace his steps to do that service for the dead body he had refused to the dying man. This risk of our people is the very greatest of several great objections I have to duck-shooting. There is so much dirt and drudgery about it, and it offers neither the comparative excitement, nor the beauty nor variety of scene of other sports. Tanks are mostly near a cultivated Hat, which is below their level, and a long bank is the chord to which the outline of the water forms the arc. When the bunds are planted with bamboos, they look well. This plant, with its fasceslike stem, and thousand feathery curves, is always beautiful, but in a storm its waving is graceful beyond description. No sport is more dangerous, as it is followed, than duck-shooting in India-I say as it is followed; for I am convinced a man who shoots from behind a bund, sending a boy with a pistol to the other side, will kill more than he who wades up to his middle, or stands for hours with his feet in water and his head where a thermometer would rise to 120°. But the birds pack in such bodies, and offer such inducement to disregard inconvenience for a very profitable shot, and this excellent provision disappears amid such praises and thanks to the provider, that I never knew a duck-shot who did not return with some excellent reason for having " that once" violated his resolution to keep dry. Amongst the swarms of ducks in India, where I have heard their crossing flight compared, and really not hyperbolically, to thunder, there was one, a red, heavy-looking bird, we called the Braininy, whose acuteness of hearing was distracting. Conceive a man creeping up as if he was about the most infernal sin the world ever saw, hidden by the bank-a sultry day keeping the ducks motionless on the water-heaven and earth conspiring in his favour-catching his breath at a noise-listening again, smiling as he feels it was but fancy, and still creeping on, when a harsh sound like “conk,” in harrowing reality, grates upon his ear, and turns the perspiration on his brow quite chill. His lips clench, and his eyes turn up in reproachful appeal to heaven, as he grasps his gun, and rushes hopelessly towards the bund, from behind which “conk,” and “conk," and“ conk,"come rapidly and hurriedly intermingled, as one by one the ducks rise and bear away from the unfortunate gentleman; who raves, and for the fiftieth time in his life, upbraids the tantalizing and too partial fates, that give such interest to sport, and such ears to Braininies.-There are white and black curlew, bitterns, and clouds of snipes, in the neighbourhood of these tanks. I never shot the latter but when they came in my way. I have known a person fire at one flying low, and his boy pick up five others that had sat within the spread of the shot ; and it is no exaggeration to say, a man will often fire at them as fast as he can load; but he must be wet to do this, and will be always out in the very middle of the day. No shooting is so repaying in number, nor is any more recklessly followed. An adage of ours gives two years' life to a determined snipe-shot; and this sport is the more dangerous, as the uncommon fag of it often renders brandy-and-water an indispensable auxiliary. Whenever this is the case in India, a man should give up sporting—it will make him an invalid, if not something worse. Resolution by no means insures results in this matter, “Un peu de vin pris moderement est un remède pour l'ame et pour le corps, c'est ainsi que pense le sage Memnon, et il s'enivre." That water is best, I take to be as true in India as at Bath ; but in jungles, and on the line of march, it is safest to qualify it with a little brandy. If to drink when much heated is dangerous anywhere, it is needless to say it is especially so within the tropics. I have seen a man in robust health die in six hours after drinking a glass of water. While shooting, I always found the champing a piece of dry grass, which I was in the habit of pulling and chewing mechanically, preserved me completely from thirst. But I seldom shot in the heat of the day; and when I did, I walked quietly after hares, and partridges, or florikens. The latter is a beautiful bird, and ought to be knocked over as it rises, being not only large and heavy, but the greatest of India delicacies, and moreover extremely difficult to put up a second time. There is a variety of it, which I have only seen in the hot months, with a deep brown and more of pink in its plumage ; it has a long and glossy black feather on each side of its face, which we called its mustachio. * The birds peculiar to India which we shot were these : a spotted variety of the snipe, another of the partridge which called like the corncrake, and the small birds that swarm on the plain under the general name of rock pigeons. These we christened jack grouse, iaking jack to be a "word of exceeding good command," as in the case of snipes, to signify diminutive, and conceiving that the manner in which these birds pack and squat on stony ground, together with their being feathered to the toe, justifies our assumption of that of grouse. The very prettiest of the varieties of this bird are found in retired spots; they rise with a cry not unlike a clash of the castanets, repeated at intervals, while the others make a much quicker and more modulated noise. I could kill a good deal of the small-shot game when I could make up my mind to it; but I had no dogs, and I had too good reason to distrust my temper to wish to use beaters. They are a most provoking auxiliary. It is best to keep a little before
• Are these the birds which we find enumerated as “ Flanderkins" at the knightly tables where our Eastern beauty the peacock held so dignified a place ?
them, and to have two on each side within (at most) twenty yards. The more silently they move, the better, for noise sends off the game before we near it. They should strike each bush once and then thrust in their sticks downwards, as bares, and particularly partridges, lie very close. I mention this because experience, in teaching me it is the best plan, has also taught me that too many of us are unhappily inclined to hold the men of India responsible for the conduct of its birds and beasts, as well as for the heat of the weather, and our own bad shooting; and this system, in improving the chance of sport, may perhaps tend to preserve the sportsman from the humiliating sensations I have seen crimson the cheek of well-tempered men, as they looked upon the wretched beings who had suffered from their forgetfulness. “Action is momentary-a pulse, a blow, this way or that," and assuredly the annoyances of sport, and the want of tact of these poor creatures, acting on the irritability induced by the climate, are " sair to bide." I should like to know the exact degree in which the climate of India renders men less culpable in their comicalities than that of Europe ; for it must :--when we know that minds having a tendency to insanity, imperceptible before they leave or after they return to Europe, become affected in India, and that the degree of dissipation which is undergone with impunity at home, induces madness there, it is idle to say such a climate is uninfluential. There are cases in which the solemn and considerate opinions of most honourable and conscientious men are such as to leave us in doubt whether an inaccurate perception of right and wrong in them, or an acknowledgment of the prevalence of weakness in the community, has given them the bias that has excited such frequent animadversion;-but I'm getting didactic, which is by no means my business. I only mean to imply that there are unfair odds in this world against more people than the indignant and resisting housebreaker, who taunted the too numerous police with “Oh, ye villains ! Three to one-ah! three to one—it's scandalous !"
THE BROKEN LUTE.
A broken lute I chanced upon,
And all its chords of sweetness gone.
Thy fading glories I'll restore,
Awake thy drooping soul once more.
I thus bespake, and thus perform'd,
To the gay thoughts my bosom warm'd.
Alas! they chime not with my theme;
The voice of sadness only came!