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TWENTY-SEVEN YEARS OF A COSMOPOLITE'S LIFE;
PAGES OF ADVENTURE AND TRAVEL.
A DISASTER AND ITS RESULTS.
carclul ant or bee, in layiug up a substantial bar.
vest against the day of need. Squirrels lad lined Barely six months bad elapsed from our taking felonies, committed in doors and out of doors,
their winter nests with the proceeds of manifold possession of the house at Deranapatam before the north-cast monsoon set in. I had witnessed bedding of cotton, for the better accommodation
even to the extent of riflirg couch cushions, and the effects of their periodical rains and tempests of the young sqirrels expectant. As for the genein other parts of India ; but never yet on the rality of birds, sparrows excepted, they had all coast of Malabar ; where, comparatively speaking, betaken themselves for the season to the milder their force was as giant strength to pigmy play. and less boisterous temperature of Mysore, and For weeks before the first outburst, preparations other countries beyond the Ghauts. Only the had been going on on an extensive scale, both be swallows and the wild pigeons, of all the migralow and aloft. Below, husbandmen laboured hard early and late, to warehouse their grain and straw tory birds, remained, and these found ample shelbefore the damp should irretrievably ruin them; the deep caverns and recesses that literally dis
ter and food amongst the roofs of the houses, or natives of all denominations and descriptions, as.
sected the cliffs in all directions. sisted by other members of their families, were busily engaged fresh thatching their miserable buts; low growl of incessant distant thunder, and the
Heavy, gloomy days and oppressive nights-the fuel; mats were spread on terrace tops and plat- occasional fiery streaks of forked lightning in the forms, covered with pepper, chillies, the various in-heavy black bank, which was increasing in bulk gredients that constitute a curry, pickles, tama day by day. The sea looked calm, but sluggish rinds, and many other odds and ends that required and black; its surface like the face of some deep a good sunning and plenty of air before they plotting villain, who strove, but strove vainly, to were transferred to the earthenware vessels whence cast a superficial cloak of serenity over a türbid they would be removed only as the necessity of the and restless storm of passion and evil, raging behousehold required. Teams of oxen, with dismally neath. Mournful was it in the oppressive still. groaning yokes, whirled round ponderous stone sit and listen to the low murmuring of the waves,
ness of early morning, or late in the evening, to wheels, between which round cocoa-nuts were crushed into anything but odoriferous oil, and
as they washed against the sea-sand and shingle of whole parties of women and children were busy
the beach, far below our dwelling place. Then, in sorting the busks from the newly collected
as the sun sank, wan and pale, as though sick paddy, and then washing and cleansing the rice with emotion, behind the heavy pile that girt the from all stoves and dirt. Huge jars of oil and ocean’s horizon, the melancholy bleating of a few arrack, * festoons of onions, red chillies and garlic
, wretched goats, the distant whistle of their shepstrings of what to all appearance seemed to be the herd, the lark's evening hymn, gradually subsiding heels of old boots, but which in reality were buffalo into and lost in the louder hoot of the screechmeat dried in the sun ; these and the other Indian owl: all these had a sombre, an overwhelming dainties, together with a variety of infantine and effect upon my young and solitary mind, and some. shapeless rags were exposed out of doors, for how or other, led to a vague and superstitious presunning and airing. Fodder and grain were
sentiment of pending evil. Doubtless, something hoarded up for cattle, and water-tight sheds erected heavy in the atmosphere tended to relax our for their convenience. Old men, half-blind and nerves, but, more or less, every individual comdecrepid, who occupied certain spots during given plained of the same lassitude, and all wished that hours of the day, deserted these as the air be- the dreaded, and yet longed-for, monsoon would came charged with vapid humours, and betook explode its first fury, and revive parched nature themselves to the miserable consolation of smoky and our fevered frames by moistening the earth, wood fires, in huts that children could barely stand and cooling the atmosphere around. upright in. Crows, those plagues of India, grow
At last, one more than ordinarily sultry even: more thievish and noisy than ever, fearful for the ing, when the moon scarce dared peep forth from fate of their nests and young ones, which were
the misty veil of fog that enveloped the licavens, perched upon the tallest cocoanut trees, get so
- of a sudden there burst upon us the roar as of imbecile with all their rascality, as to prefer steal- many waters rusliing from their bounds, and overing silver tea spoons and butter to imitating the whelming the earth with the fury of their torrents.
Scarcely had the servants and all the palanquin * A spirit extracted from the cocoa-nat tree. bearers been summoned to the succour, before the
avant-courier of the tempest swept over the pro- the wind had entirely abated, and the sea had montory where our house was situated. What calmed down again ; but as for damp and gloomy shall I liken it to ? The wind blew so hard that weather, nothing can bear comparison to Telliit seemed absolutely to prevent the heavy and in- cherry, during the prevalence of these monsoons. cessant torrents of rain from touching the earth ; Many of the rooms were almost too dark to see but, lifting them up, bore them, as it were, on to read in, all too damp to remain idly seated in its wings till the waters rushed by, a perpetual and with impunity. Like troubled spirits we wanresistless stream. Then, as for the lightning, in dered from wing to wing, still haunted by the all my subsequent experience and travel, I never dreary aspect around us, and by the incessant diswitnessed anything more grand and impressive. mal pattering of the rain upon the tiled roofs. The whole earth seemed flooded with light, whilst As for the state of affairs out of doors, nothing the very arches of the skies must have tottered more wretched can be conceived. Every shrub beneath the frequent and sublimely awful thun- was under water, and, as a natural result of this dering of Heaven's loud artillery. That night, inundation, the house was besieged with vermin vone of us repaired to rest; many parts of the and reptiles, driven from their haunts.
Snakes, house leaked like a sieve ; others admitted of the centipedes, rats, mongooses, even jackals penewind to such an extent that all our joint skill and trated into our lower floors, and met with a most strength could barely suffice to prevent entire win. inhospitable reception. Many birds also, some of dows and doors from being wrenched from their the most timid, flew into our bedrooms, and conbinges, and hurled up into the air, none could descended to feed off the floor, from crumbs and tell where. In the midst of all this turmoil other substances thrown them for their sustenance. and uproar of the elements, when the miserable The old coachman and the horses were completely heat of a damp wood fire barely sufficed to keep cut off from all communication with the house, the damp out of our only habitable room, and we and every one must bave perished of starvation, were dependent for light upon the flickering and had not ample stores of many of the necessaries uncertain light of a wretched old horn lantern; in of life been gathered in by the forethought of our the midst of this, the old lady grew turbulent be butler, who had lived at Tellicherry before, and yond passive endurance, persisting-poor old soul! who happened to know what the monsoous in -that that inevitable rebellion was close at hand, these parts were like. All communication with and that our only chance of safety lay in immedi. Tellicherry proper had been entirely cut off — not ate flight through the hideous tempest then raging even the postman dared to venture across with the around. Nor did she confine herself to sugges- ferry. At the expiration of this fortnight, howtions, but availing herself of an opportunity ever, the rains ceased, and the waters rapidly afforded by the sudden bursting of one of the abated. One day's sunshine did wonders towards windows to the windward, she managed to escape drying up humidity, and a week would doubiless the vigilance of my sisters, and instantly got out have set us all to rights again. But such was not into the compound, bareheaded and exposed, till to be the case, and the result was, that after turning a sudden angle of the house brought her the lapse of so many years, my recollections of into full contact with the storm, which literally the last days spent in that princely mansion at lifted her up, and blew her back again as easily as Deramapatam are blended with a solemn indescria child might blow a feather. Her screain of bable sorrow, which seems to tinge the whole place pain and alarm was the first notification we had of with the sombre hue of mourning. her absence, and when C. had lifted her in and Naturally of a restless and active disposition, placed her on a temporary couch, she sank into a nothing could have annoyed poor C. more grievslumber under the influence of a mild narcotic-ously than the constraint imposed upon him by the nothing the worse for her tussle with the winds, formidable inclemency of the weather. Nothing if I may except the fright and nervous excitement daunted, however, and despite the entreaties of of the moment.
my sisters, he would persist in snipe-shooting Next morning what a scene of desolation pre- day after day, coming back chilled and wet through sented itself! How had the mighty fallen! The to the skin, besides having very little in the shape stately teak trees of a century's growth lay grow of game to recompense him for such labour and velling in mud and water, whilst cocoa-nut trees exposure. by scores had been torn up by the roots and pros- One morning, not feeling very well, he sent for trated. Nor was this all the damage entailed by a barber that lived close by, who bled him. Methe fury of the last night's gale. Many a gallant dical men there were none within hail, save the bark, caught unawares in the dangerous proximity Civil Surgeon, who lived ten miles away from us, of a sea shore, had been thrown headlong amongst and who at that period was a sad invalid himself, the furious waves, now surgiug in upon the beach, and indeed had been confined to his bed for several and but few, very few, of their crews had survived weeks past. After having been bled, C., who felt to tell the tale of their sufferings and woes the himself much better, made a hearty breakfast, preceding night.
and then shouldering his gun, sallied forth in purWith little or no abatement the rain continued suit of the usual game. That day, snipe were to pour down in torrents for the ensuing fortnight; I more abundant than they had been previously.
REDUCTION OF ESTABLISHMENT.
Elated with success, he prolonged the sport until my dictum. I blushed to think that she had perfectly saturated from head to foot. He then detected me in an error, and was yet simpleton came back, weary and footsore, took a glass of enough not to confess myself in the wrong. sherry, and dressed for dinner. Dinner was served A fortnight elapsed, and in that interval the at seven, and we had all partaken of soup, and greater part of poor C.'s establishment had been were helped to roast fowl. Poor C. raised the broken up and brought to the hammer.
My sisfirst mouthful to his lips, and then suddenly, with- ter, however, owned much of the household fur. out groan or cffort, fell back dead in his chair. niture, inclusive of the carriage and carriage Alas! woe is me! not all the love we nurtured horses, and doubtless, thinking the expense and for him, not all our prayers or care could awaken trouble of another journey a thing not lightly to again one glad beam of affection from those eyes, be undertaken, she rented a sinall but very comone sound from that dearly loved, cherished voice. fortable little house in the centre of the town; In an instant he had been taken from amongst which boasted of a pretty fair walled-in garden, us; and as, with tearful cyes and aching heart, I was opposite the fort, the master-attendant's,' and walched his poor ashes lowered into their last the church and close alongside of the sub-col
eceptacle, the hooting of an accursed owl from lector's house, and the quarters occupied by the some nook in the ruined Protestant Church seemed officers commanding the detachment of native indistinctly to say—“With bim lie buried your future fantry. We retained all our oli servants, and in hopes of happiness and success through life.” the course of a few months settled down into a
very comfortable, easy kind of life. My poor pony and gun were both gone, and although I missed them considerably at first, I formed acquaintance
with several Portuguese youths of my own age, CHAPTER IX.
with whom I ron ped and played during the cooler
hours of the day, whilst the remainder was devoted Tue sudden and melancholy end of poor C., who to my studies, to which I now settled down with was taken from us apparently in robust health, more earnestness than I ever evinced before. and when only just entering upon the prime of One good arising from my mixing with Portulife, created a profound sympathy amongst the guese youth was the facility with which I acquired few Europeans resident at Tellicherry, and we were their language, which though only a patois of the perfectly besieged with offers of hospitality, until pure mother tongue, rendered me much service in such time as we could look around and determine after years, during my long sojourn in India. I upon some spot for future residence. As I have was also naturally anddoatingly fond of music, so it already stated, my sister Ellen was the widow of was not long before I could sing many a lively a colonel, and she consequently enjoyed a pension Portuguese air to the intense delight of my guar. adequate to the wants of the whole of us-more dian with the few friends she occasionally assembled especially in so cheap and retired a part of India. round her of an evening. After some little hesitation, therefore, we became Whilst living at Deramapatam the distance had the guests of Mr. and Mrs. V—n, who resided in almost entirely secluded us from mingling with Tellicherry proper.
Mr. V-n was the second tho other European families; now we were right judge on circuit, and next in rank to the fiery old in the centre of them all, and very shortly became gentleman before alluded to.
His wife was a intimately acquainted. Though few in number, most amiable and agreeable lady, and, what was a they were mostly oddities in their way. There great thing for me, she kept an English nursemaid, was old Mr. N., the excellent-hearted third judge, very young and pretty, and who, boy as I was, must who was as eccentric as, and in many things have captured what little heart Ithen had to boast of. resembled, the character painted of George III. In a childish way, and vastly to the amusement of His visits were a visitation to me, for he invariably the ladies, who were eaves-droppers, I made fierce put me through a course of Latin Grammar, of love to her. Whenever she was engaged in iron which I was egregiously ignorant, and asked so ing out the children's linen, I would sit by the many and such rapid questions, without ever hour hard by, and read from marvellous fairy tales, pausing for a reply, that I might well have or equally marvellous books on natural history, exclaimed with the clodhopperwhich had been picked up from some itinerant book vendor, and were almost antediluvian as to date.
May I be cust,
If I knows which to answer fust. On one of these occasions, in my great anxiety to show my learning to Mary, I quite astonished A more benevolent soul never stepped in shoeher weak mind by coolly assuring her that there leather. He was perpetually seeking out and was a large bird in Bengal, and which was known relieving objects of affliction, and yet, poor man, to naturalists as the quarter-master.
he had the misfortune, the unspeakable sorrow, of “ Indeed,” said Mary “I never heard of that being a widower with one only daughter, and that before, sir, but I have heard of a bird called the girl a confirmed and furious lunatic. Doatingly adjutant."
fond of her, he was lavish in expense for her every It was no use her trying to argue me out of comfort, and kept her confined, but without
restraint, simply watched by a couple of native | face suffused with blushes, I would rush away to ayahs. Amongst other vagaries this girl was bed, and cry inyself fairly off to sleep. Yes, I beg addicted to, she had an extraordinary partiality the reader's pardon, I certainly was in those days for beef gravy, to wash her head in ; and although a distinguished member of the spoon family. And a small fortune was laid out in perfumed soap and yet, young as I was, I fear I was also exceedingly Eau de Cologne, her fine cambric handkerchiefs fickle. I know for certain that one fine day a generally were redolent of grease, or some unsa- funny old gentleman, with a stately old wife, who voury odour of cookery. One of the objects of had been intimate friends of my father's long Mr. Ni's charity was a Mrs. G., the wife of a before I was born, called upon us, and brought an retired Major in the army, herself a persect exceedingly pretty niece with them. I must bare termagant and the terror of all peaceful inliabitants. been then about ten; the young lady was fifteen. Old Snuffy, as the major was familiarly termed, What of that! I saw no disparity in our ages. had had the misfortune to marry early for love, I acted as her chaperon that day and the next; and was saddled with a provokingly · healthy the third we went a shopping to the only shop in family, just when some flagrant breach of the peace the place--a dirty looking place, kept by a hideous on the part of his amiable lady compelled him to leper, a Parsee. I had some pocket-money of my sell out, and live as best he could on the proceeds own, which I laid out in ginger bread to treat my of his commission at the cheapest seaport town in Dulcinea with. I got her behind a large sugar India. Their eldest daughter was a charming and cask, and popped the question point blank. I was pretty girl, and there was a great deal of skillul going to enter into explanations as to the necessity generalship displayed on the part of the old lady of waiting a year or so before I could earn a in fixing upon Tellicherry for their temporary sufficient income to support us in afluence (whence retreat. It was a civil statiou, and amongst the the income was to be derived I never troubled my civilians there must needs be some bachelors or head about)-I say, I was about to do this when a widowers. It was, moreover, an out-of-the-way hideous apparition of an exceedingly red-faced and secluded place, and it only required a little little man, with a paunchy person and very fiery tact and a small outlay—a casual tea-party, or a bair, suddenly appeared before my horrified gaze, pic-nic to go oystering, to bring these young men aud burst into an immoderate fit of laughter. To intodangerous proximity with the loveable Florence, my indignation, Camilla (so was she called) did and then nature might work out the problem. the same, and added insult to injury by telling the Somelow or other, however, notwithstanding a stranger that I was the funniest boy for my age very plain but exceedingly agreeable cousin, who that she had ever encountered. This threw a wet mis evidently kept to set off the charms of the blanket upon my hopes and expectations, and there daughter, success never crowned the old lady's is no saying what rudeness I might bave been schemes. She made a desperate set at old N. guilty of, had not the little stranger, who I not biinself, till that persecuted gentleman, after paying perceived wore short trousers with silk stockings her butcher's and baker's bills scores of times and pumps, stepped forward, and introduced himover, found it expedient to obtain leave of absence, self to me as Mr. B., the Zillah judge of Belloro, and shipped himself and his demented daughter off an old and iutimate friend of the family, and one by the first vessel bound for England which touched who, in the course of events, was to be still closer at the port. Then the old lady would rave and linked with it. That crening he accompanied us storm by the hour at the prize she bad lost, and home, and was made very welcome by my sisters in the excess of her wrath vent her spleen upon and grandmother. They naturally knew more of Government, by writing fierce letters to thc then him than I did, as the last time I saw him was at unhappy Governor, and threatening to tear up my christening, when he stood proxy for one of the every paving stone in Leadenhall-street unless the sponsors. directors recalled him, for not giving the major Long after I had retired to bed that night, I some sinccure with a fabulous income.
had the mortification of hearing Camilla (faithless Meanwhile, pretty F. pined in silent solitude. I and bardhearted, as I thought her) and my sisters was her only sincere and devoted cavalier. Of au laughiug fit to kill themselves at my expense, and evening, when we sat out of doors under the I inwardly resolved never to let the soster sex pleasant canopy of heaven, inhaling such stray move my too pliant heart again. It would bare breezes as lost their way from the ocean, and came been well, perhaps, in after life, if I had continued moaning over housetops, I would take a footstool, to keep to this resolve. and, seated by her pretty feet, gaze up into her Whether the red-haired man had played his face with all the precocious love I could muster up cards better than I or not the reader may judge concentrated in my, doubtless, spooney-looking from the fact of his having repeated bis call every face, until some hungry mosquito would alight on day during the week he remained at Tillicherry, in her nose, and then, in my hurry and trepredation which interval I was literally inundated with gifts to warn off the marauder, I would cry-“0, of all descriptions. These so operated upon my Mosquito ! there's a Florence on your nose!" or imagination, that from considering B. to be an some such ridiculous blunder, which brought down exceedingly plain man, which he certainly was, I laughter and merciless jeers upon me; and, with a l began to look upon him as, if not good looking, at
TRAVELLING BY DAWK.
least a very agreeble nice kind of a friend. Some that ought to be adopted with regard to myselfbody else besides myself simultaneously underwent for which latter reason I cordially hated her, and like metamorphose. B. had been hardly gonc a looked forward with intense anxiety for the day of month from Tellicherry when, one fine morning, our departure ; for, of a truth, this old lady was a my sister Ellen received a densly crossed and perfect nightmare to me, and though when I shook recrossed letter, the contents of which, to my hands and kissed her in taking leave with a callous intense surprise, set her capering about the room indifference, though I never again set eyes upon with such downright earnest joy, that the large her on earth, never heard from, and seldom ever tortoisesbell comb in the back of her head flew up of her, I have more reason, as the sequel of this to the ceiling, and falling down again was smashed work shall presently show, to be grateful for her to atoms. She did not care a farthing, however, kind recollection of me than I have to any other for such slight disasters, but when her joy would member of my once numerous family. permit, and when my other sister's and my grand- As there was no gentleman to accompany us in mother's unfeigned astonishment had subsided a our travels this time, and as our party would be little, then she let us know the contents of that, to diminished to my sister, my grandmother, and her, so precious letter.
myself, it was arranged that we should go to BanIt contained a proposal of marriage from Mr. B. galore by dawk—that is to say, travel post by
palanquin, as by this method we might hope to accomplish the distance in little more than a week. The collectors of the various districts through
which we were about to travel, accordingly reCHAPTER X.
ceived instructions to post the requisite number of
sets of bearers at equal distances of twenty miles The receipt of the letter alluded to in the last apart, and when we heard that these necessary chapter was the signal for us to be once more preliminaries had been arranged, then, well supon the move.
Before breaking up our estab- plied with ham sandwiches, and other creature lishment, however, it was deemed expedient to comforts indispensable by the road (for we would await the visit of one of my aunts, the wife of a never stop long enough to admit of our cooking colonel in the Bombay army, and the only surviv- anything), we jumped into our palanquins, and ing child of my grandmother, who was coming were carried off at full speed, bidding adieu over with the intention of persuading my sister to Tellicherry and Cananore, for many a long year Harriet to return with her to her own house, and, to come. Two amongst us for ever. in short--as she was herself childless—become This travelling by dawk, especially when the their adopted daughter.
novelty of the thing once wore off, was anything In due time my aunt arrived on board of a bat agreeable, though very expeditious. Being Dhoney, and I was sent on board to chaperon her cooped up in a palanquin day and night, with ashore. I had never before been on board of a barely a minute to stretch one's limbs, produced Dhoney, and when I at length succeeded in vile cramps which were almost insupportable. As climbing up on deck, I was really quite surprised for the old lady, we were compelled to lock the how anybody could trust a cat's life to such an palanquin doors, as, travelling at the rate we were, abominable, cranky old thing, swarming, as it was, she might have managed to slip out of her palanwith cockroaches, and redolent of salt fish and quin unperceived, and have lost herself in the dense rancid ghee. My aunt, however, had had no jungle through which our way lay for the first two alternative, as she came from an up.country station, or three days. Another horrible nuisance was the where European vessels seldom ever touched. being obliged to be prepared with money made up
Having succeeded in getting my aunt and her in small paper parcels, to pay off the different sets servants ashore, I found time to meditate upon of bearers when they carried us the stipulated their personal appearance, and I grieve to say that distance, and handed us over to a fresh set. At a passion for caricaturing soon evinced itself in all hours of the night we were liable to be awamy manifold efforts to paint an exact fac-simile of kened for this ; and then the balf-sleepy cutwall, what appeared' to me one of the queerest looking or native magistrate, oftentimes more knave than ladies I had ever set eyes on.
Aunt Rebecca had fool, would persist in maintaining that the money a strange partiality, and adhered with the pertinacity was short of an anna or two, though every sepaof a leech, to fashions that had been in vogue rate parcel, with the name of the stage marked when she was a young damsel of some fifteen or upon it, had been counted and sealed up by the sixteen years old. Her dresses had waists that collector of Tellicherry himself. reached no lower than just under the armpits, and There was something quite unearthly and apthough of costly materials, looked so absurdly palling in the noise our bearers made when passing grotesque, that they cost me many a sound box on through the densest parts of the jungle during the the ear by giving rise to some insoleut comment. night. In lieu of each palanquin being supplied Every other article of dress was in keeping with with two massalgees, or link-bearers, every man the gown; so were her manners and ideas ; so, that was not actually carrying the palanquins ide, her notion as to the discipline and regime armed himself with a huge torch, and amidst the