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meal, which was served up with frequent professions of welcome.—Mansir is composed of a few houses, standing on the margin of a beautiful sheet of water, which is abundantly supplied with fish; but being held a sacred or royal property, they live unmolested. The lands of Mansir were appropriated, by a former chief of Jumbo, to the maintenance of certain Byragees”, who in this delicious spot seem to enjoy every pleasure which men in India can taste. But here I am checked and called upon to crave your pardon, for these solitary sectaries have precluded women from their society; and to say that any portion of life, however replete with other gratifications, can yield a genuine pleasure without women, is to suppose that our day could be cheerful without the light of the sun. At this village, the wife of a Mahometan oilman conducted my culinary business, but in a manner far different from that of my late musical friend : she took most unwarrantable emoluments out of an ill-dressed supper; and her cat, which seemed to have a congenial temper, made" an attack on my baggage at night, and carried off the little stock of provisions which I had prepared for the next day's breakfast. LEst my arrival at Jumbo should excite en
* A religious tribe of Hindoos who profess celibacy.
quiry, which from the disposition of the chief
might not be favourable, I denominated myself
an officer in the Jumbo service, travelling from the army, which was then in the field, to the city. The road this day leading in a southwest" direction, was the most dreary one I had ever seen, and became more so from the want of a companion. On approaching so large a town as Jumbo, I expected to have seen a moderately populous country; but the aspect was altogether the reverse. Many miles of the road lay through a defile of sand, the sides of which consist of lofty rocks, and nearly perpendicular. The predicament in which I then stood, gave a gloomy cast to my thoughts, which naturally adverted to that long-established position, of “man being a sociable animal;” the truth of which, few are more convinced of than myself.
I did not dwell on the various uses inherent in the principles of society, nor on the grander benefits so extensively diffused by general compact;
but was contented with viewing the lesser con
veniences which it imparts, with reflecting on
the casual, but grateful enjoyments which men
receive from the most fluctuating intercourse.
What harmony, what good humour, are often
* The southern inclination of this day, was caused, I apprehend, from the formation of some branch of the mountains.
seen circulating in a sweetmeat-shop, the coffee-house of India! where all subjects, except that of the ladies, are treated with freedom; not so eloquently perhaps, nor with such refinement of language, as among the politicians of an European capital, yet with equal fervour and strength of voice. The favourite topic is war: there you may hear of exploits performed by a single arm, at the recital of which even Secunder * would have grown pale, and Ruftum f himself trembled. The pleasure of communication, by which they become the heroes of their own tale, is a keen spur to the various class of adventurers, and perhaps fewer men would encounter services of hazard, were not a pleasure expected from their recital. On the side of the road, to my great joy, I at length discovered a family sitting on a narrow green spot, where, availing themselves of the singular situation, they were grazing their cattle. I sat myself down without ceremony, and was presented with what I have often recollected with pleasure, (for the heat of the day had made me very thirsty,) a cup of buttermilk. The father told me that the oppressions of his landlord had forced him to quit his house, and he was then in quest of some securer residence. On your side of India, acts are doubtless committed, that tend to sully the honour and impress an odium on the character of our nation; but they are, believe me, faint specks when compared with the deeds of injustice and rapacity practised in other Asiatic countries. One of the family suffered much pain from a lacerated finger; and as all persons of my colour are in India denominated surgeons, wizards, and artillery-men, I was called upon to administer help, which I did gratis, to their great satisfaction. Towards the evening, I arrived at the lower town of Jumbo, where seeing a retired house at which I intended to have sought admission, I discovered a person who, about a month before, travelled for some days in the same party with me; but being employed on some service of dispatch, he had left it. This man being now the servant of a Kashmirian at Jumbo, for whom I had brought a letter of introduction, and whose name I used to mention in the course of the journey, destroyed my scheme of privacy. He ran off as soon as he had distinctly seen me, and speedily returned with his master, who would not rest satisfied until he had lodged me in his house, though
* The Asiatic name of Alexander the Great.
+ A hero celebrated in the ancient legends of Persia.
we were obliged to proceed thither in the midst of a heavy rain: it would be a tedious and flat story, to detail the multiplied modes of the respect of this Kashmirian for my person, which he had never before seen; or to enumerate his painful, yet incessant attentions. Whatever partiality I might entertain for my own merits, I was necessarily impelled to see that his assiduity proceeded from a beliefof the opulence, and the wish of transacting the commercial business of his guest. After he had gone through the long routine of my extraordinary qualities and accomplishments, of whose excellency he had been advised by his correspondent at Lucknow, he congratulated may singular good fortune in having met him so early on my arrival; for, except himself, I should not have found an honest man in Jumbo. Such, my friend, is the effervescence of Oriental speech, which if exposed to the colder air of the north, would subside into that strain of language spoken every day in Change-Alley and Cheapside. It was best not to undeceive my Kashmirian, as the character of a merchant is more respected here than any other, and under which the least suspicion is entertained of a stranger. On presenting my bill to the banker at Jumbo, I found, from its having been twice drenched in water, that the folds adhered together as firmly as if