Page images
[ocr errors]

my only associates, were averse to any motion until we should be reinforced. After much entreaty they consented to accompany me to the Bellaspour camp, where the probability of meeting passengers going to the northward, they were obliged to confess, wa

greater than in the town. But to a rooted indolence, the common want of enterprize presides over all the ačtions of an Indian ; and here let me observe, that our pincipal superiority over them, will largely confist in attacking this weak side. The prompt decision of our councils, the vigour of ačtion, must in every contest with them command success. This constitutional inaćtivity and languor of the mind, have been farther promoted by the creed of predestination, and astrology. A minute attention is shewn by the natives of India to certain days, hours, and minutes. On the commencement of any service, or in the performance of even the ordinary duties of life, their condućt is regulated by the immediate period; and should the calculator discover a reluctancy, or desire of delay in his employer, or apprehend that his own reputation

might suffer in the event, he usually lays a bar on the undertaking.

[ocr errors]

tor of the incursions and depredations which we are occasionally

[ocr errors]

used to make on the lands of our neighbours. Our condućt to one" of them has been as unjust as it was unwise, nor do I know whether to attribute the favourable conclusion of the event # to good fortune, or to the folly of our enemies. ON the evening of the 23d, crossed in a ferry-boat, the Setloud, a narrow deep and rapid river, full of windings, and halted at a small village opposite to Bellaspour, though the distance from the ferry was nearly two miles from the town. A Tumboo-shall kafilah had encamped on the north side of the town on its way to Dehli and Lucknow, with the proprietors of which, or rather their agents, I formed an acquaintance; and through their influence with the collečtor of the customs I was permitted to pass without obstacle. This assistance was the more opportune, as the Bellaspour government is deemed jealous and oppressive. The collečtor extended his favour even to a length that I had not expe&ted, for he not only expedited my passage through the Bellaspour distrićts, but gave me a recommendatory letter to his brother, who was the manager of the Kangrah custom house. The people of the Tumboo kafilah were defirous of knowing my story, and you also, perhaps, would wish to be informed of the present one, certain parts of which, on hearing that the Turkish language was spoken by a person of the party, I compiled for the use of the day. God only knows, my friend, what a varied multiplicity of fictions I have formed in the course of this journey : and I have to supplicate his pardon for the fabrication, as well as to hope for your acquiescence in the necessity. The tenor of my story sets forth, that I was by birth a Turk, and had come when young to India, where I was taken into the house of a person of distinétion who had brought me up. That from my long residence in India I had forgotten my native language, and that my profession had been chiefly that of a soldier, which quitting on a disgust, I had colle&ted my little property and become a travelling merchant. The story, not very complex, possessed plausibility sufficient to procure common belief, and I myself had entered so warmly into its spirit, that I began to believe it. I must here inform you, that having been seen two or three times writing on the road, I was told by one of the passengers that it was an European custom, and a very useless one. The remark alarmed me, but I told him without much hesitation, that I had been always accustomed to write my current expences, that at the end of the year I might ascertain the amount, and not exceed my income. My remarks were usually noted in a rude Persian charaćter, but whilst I was writing an English letter from this place, a Kashmirian who was sitting near me, and who had formerly served on board one of our country ships, observed, that I wrote from the left to the right in the European manner: but on being told that the Turks used the same method, he seemed satisraćter, instead of fitting down, as the Asiatics invariably do in the performance of urinal evacuation, I used occasionally to stand upright; and being severely reprehended for this uncleanliness, I alledged that the habit was not uncommon amongst soldiers, who from the hurry of service, and their dissipated course of life, make many deviations from the rules of decorum. But the want of penetration, or the good humour in which we lived together, has prevented my companions from seeing through my disguise, which I now entertain sanguine hopes of preserving to the end of my journey. I am, dear Sir, Your's, &c. &c.

* The Mahrattas
+ The convention of Wargaum, which covered us with disgrace,

D d 2 knows,

fied. From an inattention to one of the forms of my new cha



[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »