Page images

changes in the literary taste of England, may unfit an author, resident in India, from producing a purely imaginative work, of sufficient interest to amuse the reading portion of the English public; but that Indian customs have become by any medium common or well known, I unhesitatingly deny.

Of the great and varied beauties of the natural scenery of India, some vague ideas may have been formed; but of its social condition, of its agricultural capabilities, of its vegetable productions, of its geological formations, of its necessities as an empire, or of its value as a colony, little indeed is generally understood; and as it is by recorded facts alone, that opinions can be formed, and good arise, it is, I think, to be regretted, that so few among us chronicle our experiences of Indian life. Every individual who visits India, whether his sojourn is for a brief, or a lengthened period;

whether he possess the pen of an accomplished writer, or a more humble talent, that of careful observation, may yet afford some valuable information, if he but faithfully describe all that may have interested or attracted his attention; and this, without any reference to the degree of literary ability which he may possess, inasmuch as facts resemble gems, which although improved by a graceful setting, are yet recognised as jewels of intrinsic worth, even when surrounded by the most rough and unpolished metal.

India is making very rapid advances in general improvement; and although the mass of the people yet unhappily remain sunk in the deepest barbarism, a change is taking place among the gentry, which will produce results of the highest interest.

In the present work, I have endeavoured to sketch the commencement of this change, and to represent some portions of

Western India, as I have seen them; leaving it to the pens of others, more capable for the task, to follow up the work, and by tracing the causes and effects of such a change, to afford a valuable addition to our present knowledge of India, and of the means by which her condition may be efficiently improved.

[ocr errors]

The gratifying consideration which has attended my recently published work, on "Cutch," will, I trust, be extended to the following pages; which I now venture to present to the reader, in the simple form in which they were originally written; claiming for them, the sole merit of possessing some novel information, which I imagined might prove interesting, and which in some cases, moreover, could only have been afforded, through the medium of a lady's pen.

London, November 1st, 1839.

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »