their masters were to occupy (for there were to be other
guests in the house), Mr. Raymond and Scott went out, and
found the elephants already prepared for immediate use.
They were standing and lying in a half-circle before the
"Those cages on their backs," said Scott, pointing to the
howdahs, " may be all the go here, but they haven't half the
style to them that they had in Barnum's last show. His
were all fixed up like the State-house dome in Boston."
" You may enjoy riding in them just as much," said
"They make them lie down, and we get up by those
ladders, I suppose," said Scott gravely.
"That is the very way," replied Mr. Raymond with mock
" But I was thinking," continued Scott, "what if we should
go off for a ride, and forget the ladders, and drop something,
and have to get down, and pick it up?"
" Have to shin up a palm-tree, and get the elephant to
back up to it," replied Richard gravely.
" Can't speak his language," returned Scott.
" Well, when you go to ride," replied Richard, " there
THE KING'S COURTESY.
will be a man sitting on that elephant's head, with a little
iron crowbar in his hand, ā a maJioot, they call him; and you
will find that that little crowbar can translate all you wish to
say to the elephant."
The breakfast was even an exaggeration of Esofali's ;
but Scott was beginning to have an appetite for the highly
spiced food, that is always engendered by life in the Orient.
OUR BOYS IN INDIA.
After breakfast one of the wealthy nobles of the court
called upon Mr. Raymond, inviting him ā "by the permis-
sion of the king," he said ā to a feast that he had an-
nounced in his honor for that evening.
" He is a jolly fellow. He beats Esofali all to pieces,
name and all. Can you pronounce it ? "
" Gulamhusin Khan Kajulala Kabeerkhanbhoy," repeated
Richard very rapidly, and then added, smiling, " When he is
in state, at his dinner, or at the king's court to-morrow,
there are about a hundred and fifty or two hundred titles that
we shall have to add every time that we address him."
Scott groaned. " You can bet I sha'n't bore him to death,
with conversation at least," he added, after a moment of re-
" No, you will not do that ; but I shouldn't wonder if
you chatted with him like a magpie, for he is one of the
most go-ahead men in India. You will like him."
Scott shook his head,
" Not only that," continued Richard, " but I am thoroughly
in luck here. I had not thouor-ht of him, but I am oroine to
get him to ta-ke you through his harem. He'll do it, I'm
" Great Caesar's ghost!" cried Scott (that was an oath
that he always reserved for the most terrific hours of life).
" Don't send me a rod alone with him. Suppose I should
want to speak to him."
" He speaks as good English as the Prince of Wales."
"Say his name to me once more, will you, please?" asked
A little later they paid their respects to the king. Scott
followed Mr. Raymond with fear and trembling, which was
A HAREM. 293
much abated, however, when he found the great man seated
in an English easy-chair on a beautiful veranda, quietly smok-
ing a hookah, dressed in white linen, cut after the fashion
of a loose English business suit, and wearing a little cap of
the same material. By his subjects he is called the " Gaiakwar."
The conversation was wholly in English. He even spoke
to his servants in English, and spoke to them himself, without
any intervention of a secretary, though the one who had met
them sat on a rug beside him.
Before they went away the king ordered a lunch for them,
and called after the servant who went to prepare it, " No
wine and no hookahs (or cigars)." Then turning to Mr. Ray-
mond, with a laugh, he added, " That's an abominable trick
of yours. But England would stand a hundred per cent
higher in India if half the Englishmen followed your example."
"He's just a perfect brick!" exclaimed Scott, as they were
on their way to the nobleman's dinner. " He knows a deal
more about America than I know about India. But what an
every-day sort of fellow he is ! "
" It's not the most of a brag that's the most of a man.
He is one of the few native rulers who have succeeded in
nominally holding rank and people, in spite of English acces-
sion," replied Richard.
The native feast was, as Mr. Raymond warned Scott in
advance, the most tedious kind of a bore. At one end of
the magnificent hall sat the host, Mr. Raymond, Scott, and
a few of the most illustrious guests, while at the other, in a
half-circle, sat a hundred native friends of the host.
These friends were all seated on the floor ; and Scott
found much more pleasure in watching them than in any
thing else. The food was brought to them in curious flat
OUR BOYS IN INDIA.
dishes, and they all ate with their fingers. Above them, at
the end of the dining-hall, was a balcony with graceful marble
arches ; but the space between the arches was filled with a
fine gauze, in heavy folds, so that only dim shadows could
be seen behind it.
" Is that what you call the harem, up there ?" Scott asked
Mr. Raymond when he found an opportunity.
" Not exactly," he replied. " But those are the inmates,
so to speak."
" Do you suppose all of his wives are up there, or is that
only one squad ? " Scott asked a few moments later.
Mr. Raymond laughed. " You must not take it for granted
that every man in India has a hundred wives. Gulamhusin
Khan " ā
" Never mind the rest of it," Scott interrupted, laugh-
" Very well, then : the aforesaid gentleman has only one
wife. He has often told me that, and he is very proud of
her. He says he has no children, for he has only one girl."
" And girls don't count," interrupted Scott again, who re-
called so much from his mother's society talk.
"They count in the father's heart, as you will find upon
conversing with him. After the dinner there is always a dance.
Half a dozen nautch girls, such as you saw at the temple in
Bombay, will com_e in with their musicians ; and, for two hours
and more, they will sit down and sing, and stand up and
dance, and sit down and sing again. It is intolerably stupid.
Most of the guests go to sleep under it ; and, when it is half
through, I am going to ask my friend to take you through
the zenana. It will be a frightful innovation ; but he rather
Hkes to do shockino- thinors, and I think he will do it."
A HAREM. 295
" But what sort of a zenana can a man get up, with only
one wife ? " Scott asked rather disappointedly.
''Why, he has a wife, a daughter, a mother, and a widowed
sister ; and there will be several friends, probably, to see the
feast ; and there will be several important servants, like com-
panions in America, and a small army of less important servants,
that are always called slaves when we hear them spoken of
The " Society " pictures of harems at once rose before
Scott's eyes ; and he almost shuddered, as he thought of the
horrible prison of worthless, senseless butterflies into which it
might be his lot to penetrate.
When the time came, and the proposition was made, their
host even astonished Mr. Raymond with the readiness with
which he assented, and, motioning to Scott, said rather
" My very good friend tells me that in America you have
a horrible idea of the private corners of our little homes. He
calls you a boy. In this country you would have been mar-
ried years ago. My daughter is not half so old as you, but
she has been married two years. She is still living at home
with her mother, to learn to be a good wife. But as you
are still a boy in America, and as boys are not forbidden the
zenana, and as I would do any thing in the world for my
very good friend Mr. Raymond, I am going to frighten my
little women out of their wits."
"Don't scare them on my account, Mr. ā Mr. ā Mr." ā
" You are not the first one who has stopped when he got
so far," said their host, laughing. " But never mind scaring
them. They will get over it. They call me crazy and an
infidel now, because I make them eat with knife and fork,
OUR BOYS IN INDIA.
and sit in chairs, and sleep on beds, and a host of such
things. It will only make them sure of it. Come on." And,
turning, he led the way, only stopping for a moment to
beckon Mr. Raymond, and add, " Don't whisper this at court,
and don't let the boy turn out a man as soon as he has
solved the terrible secrets, and boast about it ; for you know
I am a Mussulman
at a Hindu court."
He did not quite
like that way of do-
ing things ; but the
host took his hand,
and, laughing, led
him out, saying cor-
" You must not
mind my way,
You know this is
an old, gray-beard-
ed nation, that has
been tying up knots of fashion for centuries and centuries.
We cannot undo them in a day, no matter how much we
dislike them. We will outgrow them by and by, and we will
all be Englishmen, or something better," he added with a
twinkle in his eye.
They had reached the lower end of the hall, by a corridor
leading outside. He stopped at the stairs leading up to the
" Ayah ! " he called ; and, as a woman appeared, he ex-
THE HOST'S MOTHER.
A HAREM. 297
plained to Scott, " This is my daughter's nurse. She will take
you round, and introduce you."
" But I cannot speak Hindustani, or any other Indian
language, sir," said Scott, much alarmed, and forgetting old
Joe's caution not to "go sirrin' round."
" They all speak English," the host replied ; " and the
worst of it is, that my wife and daughter read it too. It is
very expensive procuring books for them, and answering their
questions when they kidnap my newspapers." Then he turned
to the ayah, and asked, "Are there any visitors?"
"They all went. Sahib, when the dance began," she re-
"That is good," he said, half to himself, and half to Scott.
" Women are great talkers. They are worse than English
papers for spreading the news ; for the paper has to tell it the
same to every one who reads it, but our women have a way
of making a good thing a little better every fresh time the)'
go over it. And they will go over it every time they find
any one who has not heard it. If there were one single
stranger here, I should hear, by daylight to-morrow, that I
had brought all the Englishmen in India to Baroda for the
express purpose of marching them through the zenana."
" I am afraid I had better not go," said Scott.
"Tut, tut! Go as a favor to me," exclaimed the host.
" My own people will never lisp a word. It would be like
putting on a wrong sari, or wearing colors that clashed, ā a
little out of fashion. It is quite safe, quite safe." Then
turning to the ayah, who was waiting at a respectful dis-
tance, he said, "This is a very great prince, from a country
twice as far away as England, and ten thousand times larger.
He has heard that mine is a model house, and will see it.
298 OUR BOYS IN INDIA,
Say to all, that it is my command that they remain as they are.
They shall not put on veils, and shall speak with the prince
when he speaks to them. ā Go on now. Sahib," he said to
Scott in a loud voice.
"Shall I not wait till she has given your word?" Scott
asked timidly, and in the low tone.
" Oh, no ! there is no need," replied the host in the same
low tone. " They have all heard it already. Our women have
a way of listening from somewhere or other, whenever there
is any thing interesting going on, and then spreading the
news like a fire in the jungle."
He turned abruptly, and went back into the hall ; and Scott
approached the ayah, who was evidently even more frightened
than he, and who bowed very low, touching her forehead
with her closed hands. Then she turned, and, without a
word, led the way.
First, they passed through the balcony above the dining-
hall. The carving and tapestry was much finer there than
below. Scott thought it a pity that it should be hidden by
the thick folds of gauze, but was surprised to find how easily
those behind could see and hear all that went on in the hall.
He hesitated for an instant, for his eyes fell upon three ladies
who were sitting on the floor at one end. There were cups
of tea before them, and a silver pot of curious construction,
in which tea was evidently kept hot for further draughts.
There was a hookah, too, in which the tobacco was still
smoking; but the long, curving stem was lying idly over the
bowl. He wondered who could have been smoking it, and
curiosity drove his fears away. He bowed as politely as pos-
sible, and said, ā
" I hope I am not disturbing you."
They only smiled.
" If you were smoking, I hope you will not stop for me,"
They looked at each other ; and one of them took up the
stem, and, putting the mouthpiece to her mouth, began to
puff away with a genteel delight, that reminded Scott of the
way some of his school-girl friends smiled, and ate chocolate
caramels, when he tried to ā ,
talk to them. ' ! / '*
He began to feel brav- '
er himself, and to enjoy 1 | ^ I \ \
They passed through
several very pretty cham-
bers, that Scott vainly en-
deavored to recollect ex-
actly afterward, where
there were hanging-lamps
and delicate odors and fine
carvings in marble walls
and bright-colored tapes-
tries. One of these was
a sort of conservatory,
where there were several swinging-gardens, and flowers in
curious pots. Among the flowers Scott caught sight of a
little girl, or a grown woman, ā he could hardly tell which, ā
who was demurely smoking a hookah. She started, and gave
a little cry, and drew her sari over her face as they passed.
She had evidently not heard the command. Scott feared she
might go into hysterics, or something of the sort; from the
cry she gave. He had heard of such cases, and involuntarily
IN THE HAREM.
OUR BOYS IN INDIA.
looked round after they had passed the door. It was an
incredibly short time ; but there was the little creature's head
thrust beyond the curtain, looking at him with wondering
eyes. It dodged back again in an instant.
Still the ayah led on. Scott was on the point of asking
her if her object was to begin at the farther end, and work
backward, when she stopped at a curtained door, coughed
slightly, said a few words softly in her own language, to which
a faint reply sounded ; and, drawing the curtain, she bowed,
and announced the mother of the host.
Scott found himself before a woman young enough to be
the man's wife, he thought, but with a very stately grace,
and not a very homely face.
" She'd not be an over-agreeable mother-in-law," he said
to himself, as he looked at the erect head and firm mouth ;
but there was so much real common sense there, and such a
ladylike bearing, that it was a shock even to the boy, when
the sight of the immense collection of jewels drew him back
to the fact that she was. one of the useless inmates of a real
" She's got some vim, if she is a slave and a butterfly,"
he said to himself. He had almost forgotten to bow ; but he
did it at once, remarking, " I have had a very plea ā interest-
ing evening," remembering his party etiquette. He was on
the point of saying '* pleasant," but it stuck on his tongue ;
for he had been taught that there was both a letter and spirit
to what is called truth.
" My son is insane," said the lady decidedly, without
moving a muscle in recognition of his bow. She was evi-
dently not at all afraid ; and, in even ratio, Scott began to
feel somewhat timid.
A HAREM. 301
He hastened to remark, " But he seems to be a very fine
" You may be great, but Allah and his prophet are greater,"
she added sternly.
" But I am very young yet," Scott urged timidly, without
thinking precisely who it was that- he was peering at.
" My son will be older than his God before he has half
the brains of his father," she returned.
Seeing that he was making but little progress here, Scott
ventured to say, " I wish you good-evening, ma'am," and
"The good mother is old," said the ayah, when they had
entered another room that was empty. "The Barra-Sahib must
not remember what she has said, for she has learned only a
few sentences in English. She cannot understand a word."
" She is not old ! " exclaimed Scott.
" She is forty-one," replied the ayah.
" Bah ! that's only a young girl," said Scott, " I thought
her son was thirty, at least."
" He is twenty-seven."
"Csesar's ghost ! his mother only fourteen years older than
he is ! " Scott muttered.
" He had a brother a year older, but he is dead," the ayah
replied apologetically. "His widow was smoking in the
" Why, I thought the widows had a horrible time of it,"
said Scott, recalling the merry little face among the flowers.
" I am a widow too," replied the ayah. " It is very sad."
" So it is," returned Scott consolingly. " But did you say
the mother did not understand what I said ? "
" Not a word, Sahib. She was old when her son said
02 OUR BOYS IN INDIA.
that we all should speak English, and had a teacher come.
She could not learn : she only committed a few sentences, to
say to her daughter-in-law, when she was particularly pleased
or displeased with her son."
" But she spoke very correctly."
"We had a good teacher, and she has said those sentences
a great many times."
"Then she is often displeased with her son," suggested
" It is a mother's position to reprove," the ayah answered
"Did you learn English here?" asked Scott.
" I went to the mission-school in Bombay when I was a
girl, and I was an ayah in England for five years after my
"How old were you when your husband died?"
"I was about thirteen: I do not know exactly. I was
very poor, and a good missionary lady took me home with
"Did she make a Christian of you?" Scott asked, intent
upon sifting the whole matter.
The ayah turned abruptly, and said solemnly, ā
" God is God, and Mohammed is the prophet of God."
That is the great Mussulman creed. Then she added, "Jesus
also was his prophet. Sahib. He came to teach you the way
of life. Follow your prophet : let me follow mine. One
heaven, one God, waits to receive all the faithful."
Scott felt that he had been rebuked by that poor ayah ;
and he followed her silently into the next room, where she
again tapped and coughed by a curtained door, and said
something in Hindustani. Again there was a soft reply, and
A HAREM. 303
Upon an ordinary ottoman sat the wife and daughter of
the host. Scott said to Mr. Raymond afterward, that he
could " hardly tell one from the other, they looked so near
the same age, especially the mother."
They did not wear so many jewels as he expected, though
each had heavy gold bands, beautifully twisted, about their
ankles. They were dressed in the most elegant clothes Scott
had ever seen. It was delicate silk, wonderfully worked with
gold and silver thread embroidery. They were not what
Scott thought pretty, but they were far from bad looking.
" I hope I am not intruding," Scott said, feeling his
ground, in the first place, to find out whether the wife could
really understand English, and then to see if such a recep-
tion waited for him as he had received from the mother.
What was his surprise, when, with a clear, bell-like voice
and a pleasant smile, the lady replied, ā
" No, indeed, sir ! I should like to receive all of my hus-
band's foreign friends just as the English ladies do, and he
would like to have me. I think that we shall bring it about
by and by." She motioned the ayah to bring a chair ; and
Scott seated himself, glad of something to do for a moment
to collect his thoughts.
Seeing that he was a little embarrassed, the lady con-
tinued, " You are not an Englishman, I think ? "
" No, ma'am, I am an American," replied Scott.
" Oh, how pretty every thing must be there ! " she ex-
claimed, giving her daughter a little squeeze, and laughing
merrily. " I have several lady friends who are Americans.
They have told me so much about it ! and I have read some
very beautiful stories too. I cannot understand them very
well ; but I think that song by Henry Longfellow, about
OUR BOYS JN INDIA.
Hiawatha and Minnehaha, is one of the sweetest things I
ever read, except our own beautiful songs."
Just then a Httle girl, all bespangled with ornaments, came
timidly in, and presented a tray with tea and rose-water to
the wife, who held it toward Scott, asking him to take the
refreshment. The little girl sat down by her mistress to wait
till he had finished.
"Thank you, Mrs. ā
Mrs. " ā Scott hesitated.
He began to tremble be-
fore that terrible name,
and wish he had not
The lady laughed hear-
" Zyna is my name,"
she said at last.
" Mrs. Zyna, that is
lovely ! " exclaimed Scott.
" No, Zyna all alone,"
she cried with another
peal of laughter, in which
all in the room joined
more moderately. "We
are not like English ladies. We would rather our husbands
would have all the titles. They are not nice."
" I suppose you have nothing to do but read and sing,"
said Scott, thinking of the "Society" for the Enlightenment
of the Zenanas.
" Oh, yes, indeed ! " replied Zyna. " My daughter and I
make all our own clothes, and " ā
THE PRETTY WAITER.
A HAREM. 305
"What! not embroider them?" exclaimed Scott, looking
again at that exquisite needlework.
" Oh, yes, indeed ! " she replied. " We weave the silk
sometimes, and always embroider it. Isn't it pretty ? " she
asked, tossing out a fold of the sari that was covered with
delicate flowers in silver and eold.
" It is the finest thing I ever saw," said Scott enthusias-
tically. "Why, I thought you never did any work at all."
Zyna laughed again. "That's what the American ladies
say ; but last year, Reyhamut (my daughter) and I sold four
thousand rupees' worth of embroidery in the bazaar. We had
woven and embroidered it all ourselves."
"Sold it!" cried Scott aghast. "What for?"
" Oh ! joined to do all that we could for the poor that were
suffering in 'the famine. But that was not much. Our great
India Sultana, the Banoo Begum, gave a million rupees to
the poor of Delhi, that she had earned all herself. Oh, we
are very proud of our women ! Some of them have been
great poets ; and women have ruled India, too, more than
once. But that is not our place, and we do not like that.
There is something comes up every day to do. To-day
Kashee ā where is Kashee ? " she asked, looking round.
" Ayah, go and bid Kashee bring in the little boy." Then,
turning again to Scott, she continued, " To-day Kashee found
a poor little boy in the street, who was almost dead with
hunger. She brought him home till we can find out who he
belongs to. We have worked a little girdle and a little cap
for him, and it makes him feel like a rajah."
Then Kashee entered timidly, with her eyes turned away
from Scott. But the little boy picked up in the street had
no such diffidence, and looked him right in the eye, and
OUR BOYS IN INDIA.
laughed, though he had absolutely nothing on but the little
girdle and the little cap.
Scott now began to notice the heavy and very handsome
EASHEE AND THE BOY.
rugs upon the floor, and the embroidered screens and carved
"Every thing is very beautiful here," he said to himself;
and, without half thinking, he added aloud, " But why don't
you have pictures on the walls too ? "
" It is too much like idols," Zyna replied with a shudder.
" The Hindus have pictures, and pray to them."
A HAREM. 307
" But we have pictures, and we don't pray to them," said
" Why, I have always heard that you kneel down to pic-
tures of Jesus and his mother, and pray to them," said Zyna.
"Oh! that's the Catholics," said Scott scornfully,
" Well, every thing- is so mixed up over there, that all I
read only confuses me. I shall never be able to understand
it all, I think. It is all so simple here in India."
Scott looked up in astonishment. He had thought, that,
of all that was mixed up and unintelligible, it was the state
of society in India.
The little girl who had brought his tea took it away again,
and returned with a silver plate, and some green leaves care-
fully folded up on it like little horns of plenty. She offered