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further enjoined the strict observance of certain practices that add gall to her already overflowing cup of misery. As has been observed before, she is restricted to one scanty meal a day, always of the coarsest description, devoid of fish* which is generally more esteemed by an ayistree lady than any other article of food in her bill of fare. She must religiously fast on every ekadossee, twice a month, and on all other popular religious celebrations. She must bare her body of all sorts of ornaments, even the iron and the gold bangles, which once constituted the summum bonum of her life. As an appropriate substitute for the gold and pearl necklaces, she is enjoined to wear a toolsee mala (a basilwood chaplet), and count a toolsee wood bead roll for the final rest of her soul. She is prohibited from wearing any bordered clothes, a thayti being her proper garment; she is not permitted to daub her forehead with sidoor, (vermillion), once the pride of her life when her lord was alive; she is forbidden to use any bazár-made article of food, and to complete the catalogue of restrictions she sometimes shaves her head purposely that she may have an ugly appearance and thereby more effectually repel the inroads of a wicked, seductive world.

If she have any children to nurture, the happy circumstance affords a great relief to her wearisomely monotonous life. Day and night she watches them with great care, and looks forward to their progressive development with intense anxiety, forgetting in the plenitude of her solicitude her own forlorn condition. Should there be any mishap in their case, it causes an irreparable break-down in her spirit, which is for ever “sicklied over with the pale cast of thought.”

* It should be mentioned here that, except the widows of Brahmins and Káyestus of Bengal, those of lower orders continue to use fish without any scruple. It is a remarkable fact that Hindoo women are more fond of fish than men. There are some men, especially among the Boystubs, followers of Krishna, who feel an abhorrence to eat fish at all by reason of its offensive smell, but there is not a single woman whose husband is alive that can live without it. When a girl becomes a widow, she can hardly take half the quantity of boiled rice she was accustomed to take before for want of this, to her, necessary article of food.

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It is a painful fact that riches when not properly used have a tendency to corrupt the minds of human beings, and lead them from the path of virtue to that of vice. A wealthy widow who has the command of a long purse more readily falls a prey to the temptations of the world than one who, moving in an humbler sphere of life, has her mind almost wholly engrossed with domestic cares, and the thoughts of a future state of beatitude. “Verily,” as Lord Lytton says, "in the domain of poverty there is God's word.”

Considering the endless round of hardship and self abnegations to which she is inevitably doomed by a terrible stroke of fortune, “which scathes and scorches her soul,” it is cheering to reflect that she so often shines brightest in adversity. Indeed she may be occasionally said “to die ten times a day," but her incredible powers of patient endurance, coupled with her high sense of female honor, are deserving of the highest admiration.

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XX.
SICKNESS, DEATH, AND SHRÅD, OR FUNERAL

CEREMONY.
S I have said in the beginning that a Hindoo lives

religiously and dies religiously, so his last days are

attended with a degree of melancholy interest which is characteristic of the religion which he professes, as well as of the race to which he belongs. When a Hindoo becomes seriously ill, the first thing he does is to consult the Almanac as to the stellar mansion of the period, and engage the officiating priest to perform a series of religious atonements, called sastyána, for the removal of the evil spirit, and the restoration of health. Mornings and evenings are dedicated to the service, and the mother or the wife of the patient, as the case may be, makes a vow to the gods, promising to present suitable offerings on his recovery, for which purpose a small sum of money is laid aside as a tangible proof of sincerity. If the patient should be a useful member of the family, enjoying a good income, greater solicitude is, as must naturally be expected, manifested for his sake than for that of an unproductive member; it being not uncommon that a whole family, consisting of eight or ten persons, male and female, depend for their sustenance on the earnings of a single individual,--the inevitable result of a joint Hindoo family. It is customary among the Hindoos, as it is among other civilized nations, that when a person is ill, his friends and relatives come to see and console him. The sick man generally remains in the inner apartment of the house, where the females—the ministering angels of life—watch him and administer to his comfort. When visitors enter the room, they go away for a time, but it must be mentioned that they

are not wanting in attention, kind-heartedness and careful nursing. Days and nights of watching pass over their heads without a murmur, prayers are continually offered to the guardian deity for a favorable turn in the fortune of the family, and available supernatural agency is secretly employed for the attainment of the end. The following conversation will give some idea of the melancholy scene :

Rámkánto (a neighbour), enters the room, and gently accosts Mohun (the son of the patient.)

Rámkánto, sitting, asks How is your father? I see he is very much pulled down; the times are very bad, I hear of sickness on all sides, when did he get ill? Have you seen the almanac? Have you arranged for sastyána (religious atonement)? Don't you despair. He will get well through the blessing of God; who attends him?

Brojobundhoo (doctor) replies Mohun.

Rámkánto. Yes, he is a good doctor, but you must have a good Khobiraj also (native physician) who understands the naree (pulse) well; these English doctors do not much care about the pulse.

Mohun-Well, sir, I have engaged Gopeebullub(native physician) to feel the pulse and watch the progress of the disease.

Rámkánto—That is good, Gopeebullub is a very clever physician, though not old, he understands pulsation and other symptoms thoroughly. When does the fever come on? See, how he remains to-day; should the pulse sink after fever, send for an English doctor to-morrow, either Dr. Charles or Dr. Coates, both are very good doctors.

Mohun-My uncle gave the same advice.

Rámkánto, (taking Mohun aside) Baba, what will I say? To tell you the truth, I have no very great hopes of his recovery, the case is serious, if through the blessing of God he gets well, it would be a second birth; your father has been a great friend of mine, you all know very well, he is a staunch Hindoo; in these days of depravity, when the customs of the Mlechas (Christians) threaten to obliterate all traces of distinction, and merge everything in one homogeneous element after the English fashion, very few men are to be found like your father, ready to sacrifice his life for the purity of his religion ; if his end do not accord with his faith, his future state (parakall) is jeopardised ; you, young men may laugh at us, old fools, thinking we have no sense; a few pages of English do not make a man learned ; English shastra does not make us wise unto salvation ; one's own religion is the best panacea for the good of his parakáll or future state. If you lose your father, you will never get a father again, he has nourished you with care and affection up to this day; as a dutiful son you are bound to serve him in this his last stage ; you must be prepared to take him to the river side when need be, and that is not far distant; if you neglect, you commit a very great sin, quite unpardonable. What do fathers and mothers wish children for? It is only for the good of the parakáll, and to take them to Gunga (Ganges) in proper time. Let your father pass three nights on the river side. I return this afternoon ; take care, watch him closely and let Gopeebullub see him constantly.

Giving these instructions, Rámkánto goes away. After three or four hours, the fever returns, the patient becomes delirious and talks nonsense, and the wife becoming very uneasy calls the son in a very depressed tone, and tells him to send for the English doctor. The son obeying the order sends for the English doctor at once.

After an hour or so, in comes Dr. Charles accompanied by Baboo Brojobundhoo. Entering the sick man's room, Dr. Charles examines the patient carefully, asks Brojobundhoo what medicines he has been giving him, (the women all the while peeping through the window, unable to understand what the doctors are talking about), and being satisfied on

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