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THE STORY OF ANNE MA TURIN.



63



"Oh, let me go, Francis?" she said,
"don't speak another word; too much has
been said. / go with you to Calcutta ? /
be your wife ? Francis, Francis, let me go I "
"Why should you go? You shall not
move a step till you have given me an
answer. What is it to be ? "

"Let me go, let me go!" cried Anne,
pale as marble. •

He stood between her and the door. He
diought she was modesdy overcome by so
wonderful a hope.

"Not without my answer!" he said.
"Yes, Anne, I have always been fond of
you. Many a day before poor Maria's

time, did I think "

"Then, why did you not say it?" she
cried, with sudden passion. " Why — ^why —
when nothing had happened, when there
was nothing to remember, nothing to fear !
Oh, how dare you tell me this now ? "

"I did not tell you — because — I think
70U might guess — ^because, I could not in
my position marry a penniless girl without
amnections. But now, when things are so
difierent, when we have both been unfortu-
nate."

Anne broke from him with a cry — a bit-
ttt ay wrung out of the depth of her heart
The excitement and storm of passionate feel-
ing which overwhelmed her, made her un-
able to speak; but, when she had opened
the door, she turned back again and stood
there for a moment, looking at him wildly.
" Had you said it th^" she cried, " had
you said it then! Oh, how much might
have been spared ! But now there is noth-
ing so impossible, so horrible. You and I
to marry — you and I ! — ^not if we were the
last two in tfie world ! "

" But, Anne, why, in the name of Heav-
en?"

"Oh, hear him, hear him!" she cried,
"you and I, you and I! Would she not
come out of her grave to stop it ? Oh, go,
go; and never speak to me more." :

" But you used to be fond of me, Anne,"
he said, in amaze.

Another low cry of pain came out of her
heart This time surely it was broken quite,
and she would die. 9ie rushed up to her
own room, leaving him all amazed and
Qucomprehending, not knowing what to
make of it Why should she be moved so
deeply ? he asked himself; was this horror
affected, or did it really mean anything?
He waited for some time, thinking she
mi^t come back, and then, when further
waiting seemed vain, Francis took up his



hat again, and, with much annoyance and
some regret, went away.

This strange interview, of which no one
knew, roused Anne out of the half stupor
into which her life had fallen. When she
was quite sure that Francis was gone, she
put on her hat and went out She did not
know where to go ; but, had it been possi-
ble, she felt she would never have returned
again. She walked far and £Eist until she
was weary, and then reluctandy she turned
back, with a failing and sinking heart
Home? oh, no, to Lett3r's, which was all
the home she had in the world.

But when she got back, she had not the
heart to go in. Letty lived in one of the
Squares in the Kensington district, and
Anne, after her long wandering went into
the garden in die middle of the square, and
seated herself on a bench in her weariness.
She could not stay there forever, and she
had nowhere else to go to; but yet she
could not make up her mind to return to
the house. She sat there she did not know
how long, till the evening was falling, and
she was chilled through and through. Just
as she began to be aware of the glinmier of
lights in the houses round, some one came
along the winding walk and started at sight
of her. It was the clergyman she had
refused after Francis's marriage, but whom,
perhaps, if all had Rone well, she might not
always have refused. He was a friend ; he
came and sat down beside her on the bench
and talked to her in soft and tender tones.
And Anne was so forlorn that she burst into
tears when she answered and betrayed her-
self. She had not met him for what seemed
to be a very long time, and he knew almost
nothing of her story, nor why it was that
she had left her aunt's house. In the com-
motion of her disturbed heart, she told him
everything that had happened from the time
that Francis had come to fetch her to nuise
his wife. That dismal epoch rose before her
eyes as she spoke ; she told him everything
— fully, as she had never been able to tell it
before — and then in broken words, by half
revelations, unawares, she let him see how
desolate she was.

" I have been thinking," she said, " if I
could get a governess's situation. I don't
know very much; but I could teach littie
children. Would any one take me, Mr.
Herbert, or would people be afraid to let
me be with their children, like Letty ? Oh,
you don't know," cried Anne, with tears,
" how hard it is ; I, that would rather die
than hurt them, — and Letty is afraid of me.



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64



LA US MARI^.



Letty ! Don't mind my crying, it does me
good. How kind you are ! "

" You are trembling with cold," said Mr.
Herbert, whose heart was wrung for the
woman who had rejected him. " You will
be ilL Miss Maturin, will you go home now,
and let me come to you to-morrow ? In the
meantime, I will diink what can be done."

"Will you?" said Anne, weeping still,
but softly, for her heart was relieved by her
outburst. " How good you are 1 Oh, if I
could but stay here until to-morrow ; but I
know it would be wrong, it would make them
all imhappy. I must go back to Letty's; it
is not home. I wish I could stay here."

"And I wish I could take you home,"
he said, with sudden fervor.

Far from poor Anne's' thoughts was any
vanity ; any possibility of putting a different
meaning on his words. He would like,
peiiiaps try, in his kindness to open her old
home to her, she thought; how good he
was 1 — ^but that could never be.

And she went back, and met Letty's
reproaches with humble and gende apolo-
gies. She had not meant to make any one
uneasy. She was very sorry to have pained
her cousin. That evening, when they were
sitting together, she broached her idea of
trying " a governess's place."

" I could not teach much," she said ; " but
perhaps strangers would not be afraid of me."
Upon which Letty, touched by her conscience,
fell a crying Hke a woman deeply wronged.

"Take a governess's place?" she cried.
" One of our family in a governess's place!
Could you have so little consideration for
us, Anne, making pepple suppose that we
are unkind to you — ^that you are not happy
at home?"

" I shaU never be happy anywhere," said



poor Anne. "But you are afraid of me,"
she added with a moan, and with bitto*
tears swelling in her eyes.

" Oh, Aline, how unkind you are ! " said
Letty, crying. She had nothing to say for
herself, and therefore she wept as if she were
the injured person. Many people take this
way of persuading themselves that they
are right, and the object of their unkiad-
ness in the wrong.

Mr. Herbert came next day. He came
not to speak of a governess's place, but to
tell Anne that he had accepted a living in
the country, and to ask her to go with him
there. He did not weary her worn-out
mind by asking for her love. He took no
high ground; his heart was overflowing
with pity. "It will be a home, and your
own," he said, looking at her with anxious
tenderness. "And I will never marry any
one but you, whether you will have me or
not," he added, with a smile. What answer
coidd she make but one ?

Thus after a while Anne Maturin's story
ended in the peacefulest way. Francis
Hartley went to India, piqued and disap-
pointed, but the rest of the family were very
much satisfied with the good marriage Anne
made, and her aunt restored her to her fevor
as soon as it was all setded. ^e had not
a very long life, but she lived for some tran-
quil years in her country Rectory, and made
her husband happy. Anne, too, was fer
happier than she ever expected to be, — but
yet never, in her own consciousness, got
quite free firom that tragic net which caught
her heedless feet imawares. In one mo-
ment, without thought or warning, without
meaning or premeditation, she fell into it,
and never struggled fiilly out again, nor
quite emancipated herself all her life.



LAUS MARIiE.

Across the brook of Time, man leaping goes

On stepping-stones of epochs, that uprise
Fixed, memorable, 'midst broad shallow flows

Of neutrals, kill-times, sleeps, indiflerences.
So 'twixt each mom and night rise salient heaps:

Some cross with but a zigzag, jaded pace
From meal to meal: some with convulsive leaps

Shake the green treacherous tussocks of disgrace;
\nd some advance, by system rnd deep art,

O'er vantages of wealth, place, leammg, tact.
But thou within thyself, dear manifold Heart,

Dost bind all epochs in one dainty Fact.
Oh, Sweet, my pretty Sum of history, .
I leapt the breadth of Time in loving thee!



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INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES.



65



INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES.



BLBPHANl -FIGHT AT BAROOA.



Indu is the land of ancient traditions,
and the birthplace of languages and religions.
According to the system of the Hindus, the
present age of the world is divided into
four grand periods, comprehending to the
year 1875 a space of three million eight
hundred and ninety-two thousand nine hun-
dred and sixty-nine years. That " boastful
Vol. XI.— 5.



and turgid vanity " which Mr. Mills, the his-
torian, tells us characterizes all Oriental na-
tions, might as well have claimed double this
number of years as the measure of Hindu
antiquity, for one period could have been
comprehended by the mind as easily as the
other. On the other hand, philologists and
students of mythology, or of the history of



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66



INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES.
k :



religions, could have found a few himdred
thousand years quite as ample as three or
four millions to beget that obscurity, uncer-
tainty, and contradiction which have afforded
ample scope for the exploitation of all sorts
of theories and for the construction of sys-
tems innumerable. Histories of India, which
are rarely, if ever, read, burden the shelves
of all libraries. But, if its chronology is to
the last degree confusing, and, indeed, in-
comprehensible, the country itself surpasses
all others in that which interests the traveler
and fascinates the reader. The terms mag-
nificence, ^ndeur, and splendor do not
reach the limit of hyperbole without the pre-
fix " Oriental," and India is the country, of all
countries, which has given this adjective to the
vocabulary. Its luxuriant forests and inter-
minable jungles abound in the noblest game
that ever falls before the sportsman's rifle.
Accounts of travels through the country are
therefore sure to be diversified with thrilling
adventure. Its temples surpass those to be
found in any other country, not only in num-
ber, but in colossal grandeur and exquisite
delicacy of architecture ; the antiquity of its
ruins and their wonderful extent give the arch-
aeologist the widest scope for research ; and its
native princes, although shorn of much of
their former glory, still live in a magnificent
luxury, which revives the glories of the "Ara-
bian Nights," and makes even those imagi-
native toles seem at least to be foimded in
fact. There is a marvelous fascination in
accounts of this strange land, and when the
narrative is rehearsed by an impressionable
and enthusiastic Frenchman, whose imagi-
nation is keenly alive to the scenes through
which he passed, and who has unusual skill
in depicting with pen and pencil the won-
ders he witnesses, we have a book of travels
not only interesting and valuable for the in-
formation it conveys, but which, in its exter-
nal attractions, reaches the dignity of a
work of art. Such a volume is that superb
quarto, "India and its Native Princes:
Travels in Central India in the Presidencies
of Bombay and Bengal," by M. Louis Rous-
sdet, just issued in this country by Messrs.
Scribner, Armstrong & Co. M, Rousselet's
journeys in India covered a period of between
four and five years, — from 1864 to 1868.
During this time he visited the extreme south-
ern part of the peninsula, reaching Seringa-
patam and Outakamand, Hyderabad and
Aurungabad. To the northward he visited
Agra, Delhi, Meerut, and the mountainous re-
gion of Peshawur, meanwhile traveling exten-
sively in the interior. Crossing the country,



he stopped at Lucknow, Benares and Patna,
thus reaching Calcutta, whence he visited
all the points of interest in the adjacent
country. Then going down the coast to
Madras and Pondicherry, he made a short
stay in Ceylon, and so returned home. This
brief itinerary is sufficient to indicate the
thoroughness with which M. Rousselet pros-
ecuted his explorations. No. other work of
travels in this extremely interesting country-
gives so comprehensive a view of it, and none
other sketches with such fidelity and sus-
tained interest its wonderful ruins, its mag-
nificent temples, and the characteristics of
its people and their rulers.

Without following M. Rousselet step by-
step— for this would involve a reproduction
of the volume itself— we shall present, with
slight abridgment and disconnectedly, a few
of his picturesque descriptions and instruct-
ive paragraphs.

Reaching Bombay in the midst of the
.rainy season — in July, 1864 — our traveler
was detained there until it should be practi-
cable to penetrate the interior. But the two
or three months spent in this active com-
mercial city and its vicinity were industri-
ously improved. A glance at the map will
show that the island of Bombay forms part
of an important group of islands, which,
placed in front of the estuary of a river, ap-
pear to form a kind of delta. It is the port
of arrival for all who come firom Persia, from
Arabia, from Affghanistan, and the coast of
Airica; and fix>m it the pilgrims from Hindus-
tan, bound to Mecca, Karbala, or Nujiffi take
their departure. Besides the indigenous races,
which still present great variety, one meets
the Persian with his high cap of Astrakhan ;
the Arab in his Biblical costume ; the Tomale
negro with fine, intelligent features ; the Chi-
nese, the Burm^e, and the Malay. The
corpulent Buniahs of Kutch or Goojerat,
with their pyramids of muslin on their heads,
raise their voices in rivalry with the natives
of Cabul or Scinde; the Hindu fakir, naked
and hideously painted, elbows the Portu-
guese priest in his sable robe, and the beg-
gar, clad in tatters and repulsive in the ex-
treme, clamors for alms.

Bombay supplies the products of Europe
to two-thirds of India, The trade of which
it has legitimately the command, apparendy
ought to be sufficient to satisfy tfxe ambi-
tion of its merchants, but M. Rousselet re-
minds us of a time when they boldly
grasped after more, and, failing, plimged the
community into the disorders of a terrible
crisis. The series of events which had this



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INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES. 67



culmination took place in
the year 1864-65, and is
thus graphically sketch-
ed : "America, rent asun-
der by the horrors of civil
war, had deprived Europe
of one of the elements
most necessary to its in-
dustrial existence, viz.,
cotton; and India, which
had comprehended how
important it was that she
should attempt to step in-
to the place then, for the
time being, vacant, had
(thanks to her intelligent
efiorts) become able to
supply in a great degree
the void that had been
produced in the means
of feeding the manufact-
ures of the world. Bom-
bay had then become the
emporium of all the cot-
ton of India. Availing
herself of the immense
advantages of her posi-
tion, she had contrived
to attract to herself the
whole of this branch of
commerce, and had be-
come almost the sole ar-
bitress of it Incredible
fortunes were rapidly ac-
cumulated, and then, im-
pelled by the longing after
speculation which had be-
gun to possess their souls,
the Indians disinterred the
treasures that had been
buried for centuries, and
money overflowed upon
the ground. Considering
the reconstruction of the
United States an impossi-
bility, the Bombayans fore-
saw for their city a most
magnificent future. In-
stead of seeing in that season merely an ex- I and reclaim fi-om the sea the Back Bay. A
ceptional piece of good fortune, they thought ' company was started ; and when, some days
that notlung could possibly reverse their | after the issue of the shares, they attained a
prosperity. Projects sprang into life on all ' premium of /'3,ooo, the speculation knew
sides ; cotton, while remaining as the basis no bounds. Many new banks were founded ;
of their commerce, became merely the pretext but all this was on paper only. It was merely
for unUmited speculation. InteUigent but in- ' a game at which everybody was pla)dng.
considerate men established gigantic compa- Merchants, officers, public functionaries,



A HINDU BECG/Ut



nies to develop resources which had already
attained the height of their development A
project was organized to enlarge the island,



were only too glad to exchange their silver
for wretched scraps of paper ; some hum-
bled themselves so far as to solicit the lead-



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68



INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES.



ers of the movement, and the leading men
were regarded as miUionaires and demigods.
In spite of the efforts of some honorable
men, who foresaw the ruin in which this folly
would certainly end, and who endeavored
to stop the people on the brink of the abyss,
the contagion spread throughout the whole
island. Even the ladies, seated in their
chariots by the sea-side, conversed together
eagerly on the fluctuations of Exchange;
servants risked their wages, and workmen
their pay, in this insatiable speculation.
But when the news of General Lee's defeat
reached Bombay, when the banks were
closed, when well-established commercial
houses collapsed, and all these shares be-
came waste paper, then there was universal
ruin — from the greatest to the least, all were
struck down. The crash was so severe that
even the Bank of Bombay was obliged to
suspend payment, and the most prudent
were in dieir turn dragged into the abyss
created by the speculators. Bombay has



SBItfSirr CMAKMKS.



raised herself slowly and painfully from this
fearful crisis, and now aspires anew, but
with more prudence, to become once more
the commercial metropolis of India."

Everywhere in India one meets with the
jugglers and serpent-charmers, whose feats
are famous the world over. Matheran, a
locality in the table-land of the Ghauts,
1,500 or 2,000 feet above the sea-level,
where the English have established sanatoria
both for the soldiers and the residents, is nat-
urally one of the leading rendezvous for these
jugglers. They* assemble during the season
on this table-land and perform their tricks
from one bungalow to another. Some of
them are -very skillful Almost entirely
naked, and in the middle of your room,
they will make a serpent disappear, a tree
grow and bring forth fruit, or water flow
from an apparendy empty vase. Others
will swallow a saber, or play tricks with
sharp knives. Each has his special accom-
plishment. One of their most curious tricks
is that of the basket and child. A
child of seven or eight years old, stand-
ing upright in the basket, writhes in
convulsions under the influence of
music, and disappears slowly into the
interior, which is barely large enough
to contain it Scarcely is it inside when
the musicians throw themselves upon
it, close the lid, and pierce the basket
in every direction with their long knives.
They strike with all their might until,
the bamboo giving way, the basket is
almost completely flattened, and seems
no longer capable of containing any-
thing. They then re-form the circle
and resume their chant, to which a
voice now responds from the forest.
The sound gradually approaches, and
at last seems to come from the basket,
which becomes more and more dis-
tended ; the lid is removed, and the
child springs out This trick is very
^^ adroitly performed, and, though capable
^ of being explained to Europeans, ex-
cites lively astonishment in the Indian
•4-^ spectators.

The top trick is likewise very curious.
The juggler gives a vigorous impulse
to the top, which he places on the top
of a small stick balanced dn his nose ;
then, according to the request of the
spectator, the top suddenly stops, or
again goes on spinning. This last part
of the operation M. Rousselet thought
by far the most extraordinary. That the
top should stop is intelligible ; but that



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INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES



69



INDIAN JUGGLERS.



it should afterward continue to revolve,
without any new impetus, and perform these
alternate maneuvers for several seconds, is
the inexplicable point. Our traveler attent-
ively examined both the stick and the top,
but could discover no trace of mechanical
contrivance.

These jugglers have a number of secret
artifices of this description, which gain them,
among the Indians, a reputation for sor-
cery that proves gready to their advantage.
The acrobats go through all the feats familiar
to Europeans at home, such as swinging on
the trapeze, climbing and balancing poles,
etc; but that which consists in receiving on
the shoulder a ball of stone of great weight
dropped from a very considerable height.



without the juggler appearing at all hurt, was
most astonishing.

Religious mendicants of all sorts, each of
whom has his special avocation, are little
less notable than these jugglers. One ex-
cites the pity of the public by showing him-
self in the streets entirely naked, or covered
only with a coating of ashes ; another shows
proudly his arm, which sticks up bare and
emaciated, the nails having grown through
the hand ; while a number of them stand in
the bazaars and sell amulets and charms, and
ply many other lucrative trades. But every
season there is at least one fakir, who con-
trives, by some novel trick, to make him-
self the lion of these religious circles. The
year M. Rousselet visited Jeypoor, it was a



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70



INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PRINCES,



Goussain, and this was the method by which
he succeeded in making himself famous.
One morning some peasants who were com-
ing into the town saw, near M. Rousselet*s
bungalow, at the cross-roads from the Resi-
dency, a holy man occupied in tying several
thick ropes to the branch of a tree over-
hanging the road; and great was their as-
tonishment when they saw the Goussain
place his feet in two slip knots, and then,
naving stretched himself on the ground,
haul himself up gendy by means of a third



ttS.

rope, until he was suspended by the feet,
like a calf in a slaughter-house. In the
course of an hour a vast crowd smrounded
the fakir, who, still in the same position,
tranquilly mumbled his prayers, while tell-
ing his beads. After hanging in this man-
ner for several hours, he let himself down
and returned to the town, escorted by a
crowd of enthusiasts. On the morrow he
returned to the same spot, to go again
through the same performance. M. Rous-
selet went there with several Europeans, and



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INDIA AND ITS NATIVE PONCES.



71



they all saw that, although the Goussain had
then been suspended by the feet for some
hours, his face was calm, that he spoke with-
out difficulty, and certainly appeared to feel
no inconvenience; when they asked him
how he had managed to accustom himself
to that position, he answered that God had
given him this power as an evidence of his
sanctity. Of course it would have been
difficult to obtain any other explanation.
For more than a month this holy man re-
mained thus suspended like a ham during
the greater part of each morning, and gained
by it a good round sum. The rajah, how-
ever, never came to see him.

Still another type of these religious en-
thusiasts and beggars M. Rousselet en-
countered at Bhopaul. These fakirs go
about entirely naked, except a strip of
cloth around their loins, and announce
their presence by a series of lamentable
cries while they dance a mournful kind of
dance. In the midst of their contortions
they brandish about long, sharp poniards
of peculiar shape and ornamented with little
charms of steel. From time to time one of
these enthusiasts thrusts the poniard into his
body, for the most part striking his chest,
his arms, or his thighs. He keeps up these
stabs until, to calm his apparent madness,
the by-standers have thrown him a goodly



Online LibraryFrancis HallThe Century, Volume 11 → online text (page 12 of 163)