Edward Frederick Leveson-Gower.

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to go to Colville to complain that we had thrown
him over, and had been persuaded at the club
to engage some one else. As it was, we were
forced to take a man we knew nothing about,
and who turned out such a fool and rogue that
we parted with him a few days later. He
stole all my loose money. At first he denied the
theft, and then pleaded that he had not taken so
much as I supposed. My servant, H olden, who
had hitherto been invaluable, I was obliged to leave
behind to go round by sea and meet us at Bombay.
As all the servants are natives, he would have
been in the way at the houses in which we stopped.
The Calcutta tradesmen were very hospitable to
him. He received for one day eight invitations
to dinner.

Sir John and Lady Littler invited us to make
our first halt at Barrackpore, which he occupies
as Deputy-Governor in the absence of the
Governor-General. He distinguished himself in
the Sikh campaign, but is now in his dotage and
unfit for his post, which is rendered so important



by the continual absence of Lord Dalhousie. Lady
Littler is a good-natured woman, loquacious
and shrewd, and wears her hair in little curls
like a doll. She overwhelmed Grosvenor with
presents, packed up our palanquins, and ransacked
her larder and kitchen for us.

Barrackpore is a fine house, built by Lord
Wellesley with that disregard of expense which
endeared him to the residents in India, though
not to the Court of Directors. It has enormous
rooms and verandahs and is beautifully situated
in a park on the banks of the river. It has a
pretty garden and an interesting menagerie, with
a fine tiger and a jet black monkey.

On the following afternoon we steamed up the
river to Hooghly. A little later, at dusk, the
river was covered with small lights placed in little
boats, each made of a leaf — the first thing I had
ever read about relating to India.

Soon after we reached a beautiful flight of steps
at Hooghly, where we found our palanquins, or,
as they are called, " palkees."

From Hooghly we slowly journeyed to the
kingdom of Nepaul, stopping at some interesting
towns on our way. At Gya Mr. Sanders, the
Resident Judge, took us to see a temple of great
fame situated in the middle of the town. It marks
the spot on which the god Vishnu rested one of
his feet when he first visited the earth. He had
a good stride, as he placed the other foot in Ceylon.
This Hindu temple, the first I had seen, consisted
of several courts with one pretty building with
black marble pillars. It was filled with priests and

1850-51] PATNA 163

pilgrims. The former were dressed like tumblers,
with tunics and a ribbon round their hair, and
are said to be a dissolute set ; the latter appeared
to be very devotional, one of them prostrating
himself before a sacred bull, several of which were
wandering about with garlands of flowers twisted
round their horns. We were not allowed to enter
the sanctuary, which encloses the god's footmark,
though Grosvenor very nearly did so in ignorance,
but was hastily pushed back. Near it was one
of those holy tanks of which we have since seen
so many. It was most picturesque, surrounded by
high houses, the residences of the priests, with
a broad flight of steps leading down to the water,
over which hung a large tamarind tree.

At Patna we were lodged by the Resident,
Mr. Gough, a nephew of Lord Gough. He lives
like a prince in a luxurious house, keeps a large
stable full of beautiful Arabs, has two sons in
expensive regiments, and yet wonders, in true Irish
fashion, why he has never been able to put by
money in India.

We saw what is called the " Gola," a buildino-
like an enormous mole-hill, built by Warren
Hastings for the storage of grain as a provision
against famine. Outside a narrow and steep flight
of steps leads to the top. Up these steps Jung
Bahadur, the Nepaulese, rode on a pony when
on his way to England.

Close to the Gola lived some Thugs, who had
been convicted, but reprieved on condition of their
turning informers. This has been the only means
of putting an end to the system, and has been most


effectual. Their sentence still hangs over them,
and would immediately be put into execution on
the slightest symptom of any return to their former
way of life. Six of them were called out for our
inspection. They had diabolical countenances.
They are proud of their crimes, and like to describe
them. One of these six said he had been present
at four hundred and fifty murders. They consider
murder for the sake of plunder their legitimate
means of livelihood, and not, as I previously sup-
posed, a religious duty ; but they make offerings
to their gods in return for a successful enterprise.
They adopted every sort of stratagem, and were to
be found in various positions of life. Mr. Gough
told us that, some years ago, one of these informers
had repeated to him the names of the principal
Thugs in the district, and that he had written their
names on a slip of paper. Three years later a
murder was committed, and several persons were
charged with it by the head policeman. The
evidence was not strong, and when Mr. Gough
heard the accuser's name, it struck him as the same
as one on his list. Sure enough, he found it there,
and the policeman, on being suddenly denounced
by him as a Thug, confessed that he was one, that
he had committed the murder, and had accused the
others to screen himself Lord William Bentinck ^
once told one of these informers to show him the
way they strangled their victims. He obeyed to
the letter, by seizing hold of a poor man near
him and putting him instantaneously to death.

' Born 1774, died 1839. Son of the third Duke of Portland. First
Governor-General of India, 1833-35.


Egerton and Loch joined us at Patna and the
following evening we crossed the Ganges at dusk.
It looked most dreary, with its vast extent and its
banks of light brown mud.

At Muzaffarpur we met with more than usual
hospitality from Mr. St. Ouentin, an agreeable
man, who told me much about India. He said
that at this station there was an excellent school
kept by a German missionary, at which three
hundred Hindu boys were educated by him and
a good many girls by his wife. There were only
fifteen boys at the Government school, which the
Hindus mistrust, although religion is forbidden to
be taught there. They imagine the Company
must have some sinister object in establishing
these schools. It seems the Mussulmans in this
part of India are very disaffected because of the
land tax, which was some years ago imposed
upon them. This is the richest part of India.
The land bears three crops during the year ; nothing
impoverishes it, and it is never left fallow.

The road to Segoulay lies through a succession
of indigo estates, and we were told to stop at
any one of the large houses of the planters to ask
for whatever we might want. We stopped at
one, where we were kindly but not luxuriously
entertained. Mr. Macleod, whom we had seen in
Ceylon, was staying there. He is Jung Bahadur's
agent, and had accompanied him to England. He
did the honours and was entertaining, telling us
much about Nepaul.

We had with us Dr. Oldfield,^ the Medical

1 His brother, Mr. Edmund Oldfield, subsequently married my niece,
the Hon, Susan Pitt.


Resident at Khatmandu, whom Mr. Erskine had
sent to meet us. He was a most obHging man,
with a delightful enthusiasm for the beauty of the

We dak'd all night, and at daybreak found
ourselves in a large marshy plain, in the kingdom of
Nepaul. At the first village we found a brother of
Jung's with some troops and a number of elephants;
some way farther on we entered the " Terai "
or belt of forest which extends along the foot of
these mountains for some hundred miles, and is
here twenty miles broad. I did not think it as
fine or as luxuriant as the Ceylon forests, though
there were magnificent Saul-trees rising very high
like masts, with spurs jutting out at the base, and
the cotton-trees, with equally fine trunks and covered
with a large red flower. All this district is so
unhe^ilthy that for eight months in the year it is
fatal for any Englishman to cross it, which must,
till the jungle is cleared, in a great measure isolate

Having crossed the forest we reached the
mountains, and leaving our palkees, took to ponies ;
the road consisted of a broad, dry bed of a river
lying between wooded and rocky hills. It was
dark before we reached our first resting-place, a
village in a pretty little valley. Some Nepaulese
Sepoys were sent to escort us, and an officer in
a white dress with a red feather in his cap, which
inspired me with respect, though he turned out to
be only a sergeant. He was, nevertheless, a gentle-
man, with excellent manners. His chief pleasure
was firing off his gun, which he did to litde purpose.

1850-51] NEPAUL 167

The villagers here, as elsewhere, brought us presents
of kids, chickens, eggs, oranges, bananas, and milk.
Our next day's journey was along a beautiful
valley. The third day we made our first ascent
up a very steep road. At the top was a small
fort with a couple of guns. The guard, an
awkward-looking squad, turned out to do us
honour, and we were taken into a long room by
the Commander, who was dressed in a silk robe
lined with white fur, and had a large emerald set
in a gold heart stuck in his cap. We sat for a
short time devouring oranges.

The next day, having crossed a bleak but fine
tract of country, with patches of cultivation and
well-built villages in every possible nook, we
began the ascent of this second mountain, and
pitched our tents 4,000 ft. above the level of
the sea. During the day we met a regiment
on their way to meet Jung. They added
much to the scenery, particularly when resting
in groups, with their guns placed cross-ways
before them. They wore their undress, which
is remarkably picturesque — light blue trousers,
a loose blue jacket, and a white scarf tied over
one shoulder. The whole road is detestable, being
a pathway taken straight up the mountains. The
Nepaulese will not improve it, as they are anxious
to make the approach to their country as difficult
as possible — so much so that they have condemned
an easier route which avoids some of the unhealthy
district. I do not wonder at this after our policy
in India.

An ascent of 4,000 ft. more brought us to


the top of this second mountain, where one of
the finest sights in the world burst upon us,
which, Hke Niagara, cannot be described or com-
pared with anything else. At our feet lay the
valley of Khatmandu, and beyond rose the snowy
range, stretching out to the extent of three
hundred miles and appearing quite near, though
ninety miles off, comprising the three highest
mountains in the world. The atmosphere was so
clear that every crevice could be distinguished.

The descent was steep and slippery. At the
bottom we found some horses sent for our use
by the "Durbar" or Court of Nepaul, and here
we got a good view of the capital. The road,
along which we trotted briskly, was a raised cause-
way, between fields laid out in terraces for irriga-
tion and well cultivated ; the inhabitants were well
dressed, and everything wore the aspect of industry
and comparative civilisation.

The entrance into Khatmandu is by a long, well-
built bridge and through a grotesque arch. The
houses inside the town are high and of first-rate
brick-work, with projecting roofs supported by
pillars, with slanting eaves, and casements all of
the most intricately carved wood. There are
innumerable temples, most of which are like
Chinese pagodas, with a succession of roofs and
gilt cupolas. The buildings in the principal square
are painted in bright colours and ornamented with
griffins and grotesque images. Fountains abound ;
crowds of soldiers in scarlet uniforms are waiting
for parade, and the market is well supplied with
vegetables. On the other side of the town is

1850-51] THE RANEE OF LAHORE 169

a picturesque tank, with an old temple in the
middle and pagodas grouped round it.

Farther on we passed a large grove of orange-
trees heavily laden with fruit, and then reached
the house of Mr. Erskine, the Resident. Near
it are the abodes of the Assistant and the doctor,
and opposite the gate the barracks of the sixty
Sepoys he has at his disposal. Mr. Erskine's
house is an ugly building, comfortless and dilapi-
dated, but he gave us a cordial reception. In the
afternoon we took a stroll in the neighbourhood,
accompanied by two Nepaulese soldiers, who always
follow the Residents on the pretence of protection,
though in reality as spies.

Our first object the next day was Pushputty,
the most sacred place in the valley. On our road
there we passed a window where was sitting the
late Ranee of Lahore, on purpose, I believe, to
get a glimpse of us. She is the widow of Runjeet
Singh, and is the woman who raised the disturbances
previous to the last campaign. She was made
prisoner, but escaped from Benares, and is now
a pensioner of the Nepaulese Government. She
was beautiful and profligate. It is said her husband
was not the parent of her son,^ whom he adopted
and whose father was a handsome water-carrier.
This youth was placed on the throne of Lahore
by the English after the battle of Sobraon,
being then a prisoner in India. He is good-
looking and intelligent, has a romantic attachment
to our Queen, whose miniature, given to him by
Lord Hardinge, he always wears round his neck

' The late Dhuleep Singh, who afterwards resided in England.


He is anxious to go to England and to become
a Christian, and has lately created the most pro-
found sensation throughout the whole of Hindustan
by eating a piece of beefsteak.

Pushputty is situated on a narrow stream, and
is extremely picturesque. There are two bridges
close to each other, and numberless temples
line its banks, with large groves overhanging

We next proceeded to Patan, which was formerly
the Capital of the country, and was the last place
taken by the Ghoorkas, the conquerors and present
rulers of Nepaul. None live there now but the
Newars, the former inhabitants, who now have
become the artisans and labourers of the country.
It is therefore neglected, and is rapidly falling
into decay. The principal square is filled, as at
Khatmandu, with temples ; but at Khatmandu these
are freshly painted, so as to give to the town the
appearance of a scene on the stage, whilst at Patan
they are of dark brick or of black stone, with
infinitely richer carvings, and of more beautiful and
varied architecture. They are in different states
of preservation — some very perfect, others tumbling
down, with shrubs growing out of the walls, and
gilt cupolas ready to fall. What a spot for an
artist ! What a subject for Prout would be a
group of these temples in the foreground, with
a peep of the Himalayas between the picturesque
old houses ; but nothing but a daguerrotype could
render the richness and grotesqueness of the
carving. I was very unwilling to leave a spot so
full of charm, and which I never shall see again,

1850-51] DURBAR AT PATAN 171

unless, as an old man, I rail up to Khatmandu
and stop at the Patan Station.

Our third day was devoted to a state visit to
the Durbar. We were handed out of the carriage
by Jung's next brother, who, in his absence, is
Commander-in-Chief, and several of the great officers
of the State. They embraced us all round in
theatrical fashion, leaning their heads over our
shoulders, and then each took one of us by the
hand, and so conducted us up a low, narrow stair-
case, such as would lead to a hayloft in England,
into a long, narrow gallery, on each side of which
sat a row of grandees, beautifully dressed and
ornamented, and at the end of which was the
Rajah himself, seated cross-legged on an ottoman.
Over him large feathers were waved, and behind
were the ladies of his seraglio, whose features I
could not distinguish, though I heard them giggling.
We took our places on each side of the Rajah.
He wore a dress embroidered with gold tissue, and
was dazzling with jewels ; so were his courtiers, the
insecurity of property making every one anxious
to possess it in its most removable form.

The Rajah is about twenty years old, is said
to be a very poor creature, hardly ever leaves his
palace or his wives, and places everything in the
hands of his Ministers. Still, he is not without
power, as the Ghoorkas are a loyal race and would
obey him if he asserted himself After all I had
heard of his imbecility, I was agreeably surprised
by his appearance ; he was smiling and gracious,
with a pleasing manner — very like a little Italian
prince. I was next to a younger brother of Jung's,


who seemed remarkably intelligent. Captain
Nicholl, being asked what I was, wished to know
how he should describe me, and hesitated when
I begged him to say I was a lawyer. He after-
wards told me that it would never have done
to say so, as they have the greatest contempt
for their " vakeels " or advocates, but that he
said I was the Lord Sahib's (that is, Grosvenor's)
cousin, and would one day be a Judge. Con-
versation did not flag, what with the likeness of
F. Egerton in the print of Landseer's hawking
picture, which by a strange coincidence was
hanging just above him ; my eyeglass, which my
neighbour could not stick into his eye, and
Grosvenor's "Gibus" hat, which he managed to
knock out. There was not, as usual, any Nautch
dancing, in consequence of the Court mourning,
and I was glad when the presents were brought in
on a tray and handed to us by the Rajah.

Some elephants, with very splendid trappings
and uncomfortable howdahs, were sent the next
morning to take us to a review. The parade-
ground was in a pretty situation just outside the
town. In the middle were placed chairs for us
and the colonels of the different regiments which
lined the ground and made up about five thousand
men. They wore scarlet jackets, and, except their
naked feet, were dressed like European soldiers.
But the officers presented the most grotesque ap-
pearance. Old English uniforms of different dates,
cocked hats put on the wrong way and made top-
heavy with enormous feathers, trousers of every
colour and stuff with some of the buttons missing,


and slippers of the most slovenly description. The
Commander-in-Chief had on a common frockcoat
with enormous epaulettes a diamond bracelet out-
side the coat sleeve, and a red cotton neckcloth.
He gave his orders sitting down, and the word of
command was shouted out by an old adjutant,
who stood upon a chair and looked more like a
monkey than a man. There was a good deal
of firing and marching about, all of which they
performed respectably.

We then remounted our elephants and proceeded
to Jung's house, a large, conspicuous building.
All his relations were there to receive us. We
first walked hand in hand about the garden,
which has been lately planted out with orange-
trees. It was filled with different sorts of deer,
and there were otters in a pond who dived
after fish for our amusement. We were then led
into a gallery much larger and finer than that at
the Palace. In it was a strange collection of Euro-
pean curiosities, a pianoforte, some organs, rifles,
and saddles, a billiard-table, a book-case full of
English books, and some women's bonnets. Here
we sat for some time, and were peeped at by the
women, whom we heard laughing and whispering
behind a door. A luncheon was laid out for us in
an adjoining room. A profusion of sweetmeats and
some curries, all perfectly nauseous, in little plates
made of leaves sewn together, to be thrown away
after such pollution. Our hosts in the meantime
disappeared, and returned in their native dresses,
in which alone they seemed at ease. Various
amusements then took place. Little boys dressed


in green tunics jumped in time to a polka played
by a military band ; a tiger was led about the court-
yard, too much frightened to eat what was offered
to him ; and buffaloes tied to stakes had their heads
cut off at a single blow. The European doctor
made an unsuccessful attempt, but two of the
brothers succeeded many times, and ferocious was
their expression as they took aim.

The members of the Durbar we attended paid
Grosvenor the compliment of sending him a feast.
They brought about five hundred dishes filled with
every sort of food produced in the country — corn,
fruit, vegetables and sweetmeats. These were laid
out on the lawn before the house, and the contents
became the perquisites of Mr. Erskine's servants.

After taking leave of our hospitable host, we
departed from Nepaul on the 2nd of February.
It was a lovely morning, and our last impression
of the valley was most favourable. As far as
scenery is concerned we have seen nothing equal
to it in our journey, and with regard to the
people I doubt whether there is any population
that is happier or better off No beggar was to
be seen, and the working people, I am told, are
well off. Their laws are very severe, but there
is wonderfully little crime of a petty description.
The first time a thief is taken his left hand is
cut off; the second time, his right hand ; and
the last, his head : and so ingenious are the thieves
that they sometimes continue thieving after losing
both hands, and so incur the last penalty. A man
who makes love to a woman of a higher caste than
himself is punished in a most cruel but efficacious

i8so-5i] JUNG BAHADUR 175

way. I read an account of their code of law. The
machinery is very complicated, and there are many
guarantees against injustice, although I believe
bribery, except in a very obvious case, carries the
day. The most barbarous part of their code is the
resort to trial by ordeal, which is practised when
the validity of a deed or the veracity of a witness
is disputed.

On our second day's march we met the "Guru,"
the Chief Priest of Nepaul. He had joined Jung
at Benares. I was much struck with the dignity
and benevolence of his manners.

The next morning, as we were just finishing our
toilet, Jung rode up unexpectedly to our tents. He
was dressed in the most theatrical fashion, a green
velvet coat, black satin breeches, and white boots
with gold trimmings and spurs, all brand new. He
was very cordial, free and easy, entirely emptying
my cigar case, sticking its contents in his belt.
He talked a good deal to the doctor. He spoke,
as he has done on all occasions, with the greatest
enthusiasm of England, and said there was nothing
to be compared with it to be seen in his own
country. He wishes to improve Nepaul, but said
it was difficult, as " I am its only eye, while in
England you are all eyes." He must not propitiate
his fellow countrymen if he holds the same language
to them, as they are proud and jealous. He
ordered his brothers about in the most authoritative
manner. Great were his regrets that we had not
joined him sooner, as he had just come from good
sport, having killed three tigers and caught four
wild elephants. He said he had left at Hettura


a good many tame ones for our use, and two
regiments to beat for us, and ordered the captain
of our escort to organise a hunting expedition there.
He was a remarkable man, and did much good to
his country.^

I was given to read in Nepaul a curious account,
written in an oriental style, of the revolution which
placed him in his present position. It was confused,
and evidently written with the object of placing
him in a favourable view. The following is an
outline of the facts, though it may not be quite
accurate, as a fortnight had elapsed before I made
any note of it.

About six years ago- the father of the present
Rajah was on the throne, but being fond of quiet
and devoted to the pursuit of knowledge, he
handed over the government to his wife. Her
favourite became Prime Minister, and was one
day without any alleged reason, murdered in his
own house. The grief of his protectress knew
no bounds. She rushed frantically out of the
palace with a naked sword in her hand, and went
to her Minister's house in order to mourn over
his dead body, in company with his wives and
children, entreating the former not to become
Suttees,^ and promising that she would not touch
food till his death was avenged and his murderers
executed. She then put into chains a man of some
note, who was a General and Minister, and ordered

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Online LibraryEdward Frederick Leveson-GowerBygone years; → online text (page 11 of 21)