He interrupted me:

The natives here were an even finer race than those at Peshawur, and more uncultured, never bowing when we met them, but eyeing us as we passed as if they were meditating some foul blow.

Dewani Khas, the great hall of audience, on columns open on all sides to the sky and landscape, overlooks a pit about thirty paces away where tigers and elephants fought to divert the sultan and his court. At the threshold is a large block of black marblethe throne of Akbar the Great. At the time of the incursion of the Jats, who drove the emperor from his palace, as soon as the usurper took his seat, the stone, the legend tells, split and shed blood; the iridescent stain remains to this day. 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.

The natives, to keep their money safeit is always in coin, never in paper, which is not much trusted in these partseither bury it or have it wrought into trinkets, worn by the women and children. Quite little ones of five or six, and perfectly naked, have round their neck sometimes three or four strings of gold pieces, or pierced silver rods as thick as a fingerand then one evening the child does not come home, and in some dark corner the poor little body is found bleeding, the jewels gone. The natives, to keep their money safeit is always in coin, never in paper, which is not much trusted in these partseither bury it or have it wrought into trinkets, worn by the women and children. Quite little ones of five or six, and perfectly naked, have round their neck sometimes three or four strings of gold pieces, or pierced silver rods as thick as a fingerand then one evening the child does not come home, and in some dark corner the poor little body is found bleeding, the jewels gone.

[Pg 130]

Figures draped in pale muslins brushed past us, hastening to the door. Flower-sellers, in one of the arcades, were hurrying to finish their garlands; and suddenly, close before usa mass that looked as if it were part of the temple itselfan enormous elephant started into sight, passed on and vanished in the darkness.

In front of the palace, beds filled with common plants familiar in every European garden fill the place of honour; they are very rare, no doubt, in[Pg 54] these latitudes, and surprising amid the gorgeous hedges of wild bougainvillea that enclose the park.

In the third-class carriages, where the compartments are divided by wooden lattice, among the bundles, the copper jars, and the trunks painted in the gaudiest colours, sit women in showy saree and decked in all their jewels; children in little silk[Pg 59] coats braided with tinsel, and open over their little bare bodies; men with no garment whatever but a loin-cloth or dhouti. There is endless chatter, a perpetual bickering for places, the bewilderment of those who lose themselves, shouts from one end of the station to the other, and in the foreground of the hubbub the incessant cries of the water and sweetmeat sellers.

And for an hour as we drove along towards Amber, the old town deserted in favour of modern Jeypoor, the same succession of temples wheeled past. The crenated walls enclose three hills, one of them crowned by a fortress, to defend erewhile the white palace mirrored in the waters of an artificial lake.

Far away, at the end of the bazaar, in a street where no one passes, are the shoemakers' booths littered with leather parings; old cases or petroleum tins serve as seats. Among the workmen swarm children in rags, pelting each other with slippers.

[Pg 73]