财视传媒 让每一次传播都有价值

GARHI

AT SEA

[Pg 38]

Children were selling whortleberries in plaited baskets; they came up very shyly, and as soon as they had sold their spoil hurried back to hide in their nook. Further on a little Afghan boy, standing alone and motionless by the roadside, held out three eggs for sale. A few officers, a few clergy only, had organized some distribution of relief; the administration,[Pg 197] wholly indifferent, was drawing double pay in consideration of the increase of work in famine time.

And so on, in an endless file, come the bodies of the faithful dead, some from long distances, so that their souls may rise at once to paradise from their ashes burnt on the Manumenka.

[Pg 196]

In the sleeping town of Darjeeling a bell and drum were sounding to announce the Tibetan Christmas. The Brahmin paradise remained invisible and mysterious behind a clear sky studded with stars.

[Pg 196]

In the native town the houses are lower and closer together, without gardens between. Down the narrow streets, between booths and shops, with here and there a white mosque where gay-coloured figures are worshipping, or polychrome temples where bonzes are drumming on deafening gongs, run tramways, teams of oxen, whose drivers shriek and shout, and hackney cabs, jingling and rattling. Among the vehicles there moves a compact crowd of every race and every colour: tall Afghans, in dingy white garments, leading Persian horses by the bridle for sale, and crying out the price; bustling Parsees; naked Somalis, their heads shaven and their[Pg 7] oiled black skins reeking of a sickening mixture of lotus and pepper; fakirs, with wild, unkempt hair, their faces and bodies bedaubed with saffron and the thread of the "second birth" across their bare breast; Burmese, with yellow skins and long eyes, dressed in silks of the brightest pink; Mongolians, in dark-hued satin tunics embroidered with showy colours and gold thread.

"Kali?" he asked.

[Pg 173]

The regiment is housed under sheds, the horses picketed to the ground by one fore and one hind foot. They are thoroughbred and magnificent beasts, almost all from the prince's stud, and affectionately cared for by the men, who were delighted to be complimented on their steeds.

Here, even more than at Lucknow, are the memories of 1857columns and tombs; and on the spot where the last victims who had trusted him were murdered by the orders of the Indian prince, stands the "Memorial," an arcade [Pg 190]surrounding the figure of an angel, which in its Christmas-card sentimentality suggests the apotheosis of a fairy drama, and has the arid lack of feeling that characterizes a monochrome figure in vulgar decoration, almost counteracting the pity we experience in the presence of the simpler tombsall bearing the same date, June, 1857.