« PreviousContinue »
sum is delivered into the hands generally of a girl, who procures the materials, and dresses his meal in a most expeditious manner. For two domestics and myself, the horse and his keeper, the whole of my dayly expenditure amounted to a film, which as you will not credit, I will not venture to note; and on days when I was inclined to feast, the addition of two or three pence procured a sumptuous fare, with the accompanyment of a sauce, which an alderman over his callipash might figh for.
7, I. D. F. Lucknow, is january, 1783. MY DEAR SIR, , - .
M Y last letter to you written from Allahabad, contained some description of that place, with a farrago of" desultory remarks arising from the moment, and hastily thrown together; but should the perusal have given a little amusement or information, I will contentedly sacrifice any claims to genius or method.—The following gives the detail of my journey from Allahabad to Lucknow, and though containing no matter of any substance, may afford you half an hour's relaxation. On the 20th of December, after attending at the funeral ceremony performed in commemoration of Huffin and Hussein, or rather of the latter, I left Allahabad, and went no farther that day than Beghum” Serauce, a station of three cosses. F I will cursorily
* Beghum is the feminine gender of Begh, as Khanum is that of Khan, both titles of Tartar extraštion : the latter has been often adopted by the female branches of the imperial family of Timur.
+ Two British miles may be given to the average measurement of a coss.
embrace this occasion of informing you, that Huffin and Hussein, were the sons of Ali, the son-in-law and nephew of the Arabian prophet. During the war which the first Mahomet maintained against the Infidels, (so the professor of the new faith denominated those of a different creed), Hussin was poisoned, and Hussein was slain in battle. They consequently became martyrs ;—and the tomb of Hussein, which was erected in the vicinity of Bagdat, is held by the Sheahs" in the same degree of veneration, with that of their prophet, by the other Mahometan scétaries. * on the 21st, eat my breakfast and smoaked my pipe at Tuttypour, or the place of vićtory. On enquiry why a village so mean and small, had been distinguished by so great a name, I was told, that in former times, some signal vićtory had been obtained there; but my intelligencer knew nothing of the parties concerned.—In the evening, having this day travelled fix cosses, I halted at Alum Chund, the north-west limit of the Allahabad districts. The country had a barren and desolate aspećt ; the cause of which was as- cribed to, the rapacity of a former renter. On entering the serauce, I found the hosts with their spouses, busily occupied in the celebration of a marriage. Whether it was owing to the rare occurrence of this species of ceremony, (for they are a people as void of restraint or form as any under the sun) or whether previous difficulties had till now obstructed the union, I will not pretend * *
* The Mahometans of the se&t of Ali, are so called.
to determine; but the joy and merriment which circulated in their assembly, could not be surpassed. The men were collected in a body, drinking arrack, and beating a tom-tom ; * and the women, in a separate coterie, were chewing betle, and speaking very loud and quick. Though this jubilee had engrossed a great share of their attention, they gave me a good supper, and a comfortable lodging. - , ... ?
On the 22d, I arrived at the Kurrah Manickpour, -eight cosses and an half. In my way, I halted during the heat of the day at the serauce of Shahzadpour, which together with the town, is ‘said to have been built by the Shaistah Khan,” mentioned in my last letter. This nobleman, according to Bernier, was highly celebrated for his eloquence, and elegant style of writing, which it is thought contributed to promote the early success of Aurungzebe. The serauce of Shahzadpour, built chiefly of brick and mortar, has spacious and commodious apartments, but from want of repair, one angle of it has fallen into ruins. It is seriously to be lamented, that edifices founded on principles of such public spirit, or motives equally beneficial to the state, and whose uses are so universally felt, should be suffered to moulder into decay. It would seem, that when the larger serauces were first founded, certains portions of land, or other established funds, were set apart for keeping them in
* A small drum.
necessary order: but such has been the distraćted state of Hindostan for these later periods, and such the oppressions, or perhaps poverty of its rulers, that these grants have either been resumed, or . diverted into other channels. In stigmatizing any specific class of men, I believe I have committed an error; for on a more dispasionate view, a large share of censure falls on the people at large. In India, ostentation, self-love, vanity, or whate fitted to the passion whose effects I mean to describe, has usurped as powerful a sway over the minds of the people, as in any circle: of the globe; and it is exemplified in various shapes, but in none more than in the foundation of public works, On observing once, a Hindoo of some distinétion superintending the construction of a place of worship, I asked him why, in a country famed for its charitable benefactions, so many old edifices allotted to the purposes of religion and hospitality, were permitted to fall to the ground, which, had they been repaired, large sums of money would have been saved, and many a valuable monument of antiquity rescued from oblivion. He candidly told me, that were he to expend his whole estate on repairs, the work would still retain the name of its original founder; but by the erection of a new one, it would be transmitted to posterity in his own. By this register of fame, it should seem that the entire credit of construćting a pagoda, pond, or serauce, will be given to him who first raised the fabric, and no account taken of the occasional embellisher of such structures.—This digression hath prevented me from sooner informing