William and Robert Chambers,
Text on page A-7
Water. Of gardeners, maids, table-servants, nurses, and c., there of course must often be several. It is generally necessary to have part of these Mussulmans, and part Hindus ; for one will not bring some dishes to the table, and the other will not touch a candlestick, and c. If a child makes a litter on the floor, the ayah will not clean it, but calls the metrane.
A walk into the native town produces novel sights on every side. The houses, for the most part, are mere hovels, with mud floors and mud walls, scarcely high enough to stand up in, and covered with thatch. The streets are narrow, crooked, and dirty ; and on every Neglected wall cow dung, mixed with chaff, and kneaded into thin cakes, is stuck up to dry for fuel. The shops are often but six or eight feet square, and seldom twice this size, wholly open in front, without any counter hut the mat on the floor, part of which is occupied by the vender, sitting cross-legged, and the rest serves to exhibit his goods. Mechanics have a similar arrangement.
Barbers sit in the open street on a mat, and the patient, squatting on his hams, has not only his beard, hut part of his head, shaved, leaving the hair to grow only on his crown. In the tanks and ponds are dobies slapping their clothes with all their might upon a bench or a stone. Little braminy bulls, with their humped shoulders, walk among the crowd, thrusting their noses into the baskets of rice, gram, or peas, with little resistance, except they stay to repeat the mouthful.* Bullocks, loaded with panniers, pass slowly by. Palankeens come bustling along, the bearers shouting at the people to clear the way. Pedlars and hucksters utter their ceaseless cries. Religious mendicants, with long hair matted with cow dung, and with faces and arms smeared with Ganges mud, walk about almost naked, with an air of the utmost impudence and pride, demanding rather than begging gifts. Often they carry a thick triangular plate of brass, and, striking it at intervals with a heavy stick, send the shrill announcement of their approach far and near. Now and then comes Pushing along the buggy of some English merchant, ^'hose syce, running before, drives the pedestrians out of the way ; or some villanous-looking caranche drags hy, shut up close with red cloth, containing native ladies, Who contrive thus to " take the air."
No Englishmen are seen on foot, except the very poorest, as it is deemed ungenteel ; nor native women, except of the lowest castes. Costumes and complexions, of every variety, move about without attracting attention a-Hindus, Mussulmans, Armenians, Greeks, Persians, aParsees, Arabs, Jews, Burmans, Chinese, and c. and c. ; kheesties, with leather water-sacks, slung dripping on
their backs, carry their precious burden to the rich bail's yard, or hawk it along the street, announcing their aPproach by drumming on their brass measure. Snake-farmers jugglers, and blind musicians, gather their little crowds. Processions are almost always abroad in
* These are individuals turned loose when young, as offerings to an idol, which are thenceforth regarded as sacred. Though no Ane looks after them, their privileged mode of life keeps them In good order ; and mixing so much among crowds, from which they no in treatment, makes them perfectly gentle.
honour of some idol, or in fulfilment of some promise ; making all possible clamour with voices, drums, cymbals, and trumpets. Women carry their children astride on their backs. Wretched vehicles, drawn by more wretched ponies, jingle along, bearing those who have long walks and moderate means. Women crowd about the wells, carrying water on their backs in brass jars. Children run about stark naked, or with a thin plate of silver or brass, not larger than a tea-cup, hung in front by a cord round the loins. Mudholes, neglected tanks, decaying carcasses, and stagnant ditches, unite with fumes of garlic, rancid oil, and human filth, to load the air with villanous smells. The tout ensemble of sights, sounds, and smells, is.so utterly unlike any thing in any other part of the world, that weeks elapse before the sensation of strangeness wears away.
My residence with Mr Pearce on the circular road, which is a principal thoroughfare, afforded continual opportunity of observing native character and habits. A spectacle of frequent recurrence was the wedding procession of young children affianced by their relations. Music and many torches dignify the procession. The girl is often carried in a palankeen, and the bridegroom on horseback, held by a friend. Sometimes the little things are borne in a highly ornamented litter, as in the engraving. It is always affecting to think that if
Part of a Wedding Procession.
the poor little boy die, his betrothed is condemned to perpetual widowhood. Many of these, as might be expected, become abandoned characters.
One is constantly struck with the excessive cruelty displayed towards oxen and horses by the natives ; so strongly contrasting with the tenderness of Burman drivers. The cattle are small, lean, and scarred all over with the brands and fanciful figures of their owners. Poor in flesh, and weak, they are urged with a large stick, and by twisting the tail, in the most violent manner. The heavy blows were continually sounding in my ears, and with the creaking of the wheels, which are never greased, keep up an odious din. The horses
of their miserable caranches fare no better_the driver
scarcely ever suffering his whip to repose.
I saw many funerals, but none in which any solemnity or pomp prevailed. The body, without a coffin, was carried on its own paltry bedstead by four men covered merely with a sheet ; a few followers kept up a wailing recitative, and beat upon small native drums. The body was thus conveyed to the place of burning, or thrown into the Ganges.
Close to my residence was one of those numerous tanks resorted to in this city, not only for drinking water, but ablutions of all sorts. Every hour in the day some one was there bathing. Those who came for water would generally walk in, and letting their jar float awhile, bathe, and perhaps wash their cloth ; then filling their vessel, bear it away with dripping clothes. Some dobeys, or washermen, resorted thither, whose severe process fully accounted for the fringes constantly made on the edges of my clothes. Without soap or fire, they depend on mere labour ; standing knee deep in the water, and gathering the end of a garment in their hand, they whirl it over their head, and bring it i down with great force upon a stone or inclined plank,Close to my residence was one of those numerous tanks resorted to in this city, not only for drinking water, but ablutions of all sorts. Every hour in the day some one was there bathing. Those who came for water would generally walk in, and letting their jar float awhile, bathe, and perhaps wash their cloth ; then filling their vessel, bear it away with dripping clothes. Some dobeys, or washermen, resorted thither, whose severe process fully accounted for the fringes constantly made on the edges of my clothes. Without soap or fire, they depend on mere labour ; standing knee deep in the water, and gathering the end of a garment in their hand, they whirl it over their head, and bring it i down with great force upon a stone or inclined plank,