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eralds, rubies, and other jewels. There were
inlaid sword and dagger hilts, and scabbards
incrusted with precious stones, aigrettes that
were showers of diamonds, and richly embroi-
dered coats and mantles.

At the stables we saw the gold and silver gun-
carriages and cannon, which contain each two
hundred and eighty pounds of gold, and which


are drawn on state occasions by white bullocks,
each of which had its own covering embroidered
with gold and silver, and even silver cases for
their horns.

India has ever hoarded wealth in this form.
In a land where securities are unknown, where
wealth must be easily portable, where there are
no savings-banks and trust companies, the old
methods still survive and prevail, and not one
but many of these princes, and other rich men in
India still count their wealth as most secure
when it is in precious stones, jewelry, and bul-
lion. Even the poor carry in their ears and noses,
on their fingers, toes, arms, and legs, and around
their necks and waists, practically all they pos-
sess of any marketable value. What else can
they do, in a country where there are no doors
to the houses, and no locks and keys, and where
a brass toe-stud, a gun-metal nose-ring, or a thin
silver anklet represent months of saving, and
taken all together comprise the total wealth of
the family. The princes merely do in a big way
what the peasants do in a small way.

Another day was devoted to the college, high-
school, and primary schools, with their dormi-
tories, library of thousands of volumes, play-
grounds, and class-rooms; and to what interested
me very much, a so-called national school. This


school liad some sixty boys who were being
brought up quite apart from the state system and
without state aid. The boys Hve at the school,
and their teachers are patriotic volunteers who
devote themselves to this work for little or no
recompense. The idea is to bring up the boys in
their own religion, in their own traditions, and to
make and keep them Indian. They are taught
swimming, wrestling, club-swinging, and other
ancient forms of exercise, some of which I saw
in practice. A curious ascetic idealism forms
part of their working creed. They have their
own temple, study their own literature, and are
taught their own history. The head of this
establishment w^as a gentle-spoken, highly edu-
cated enthusiast, who would have these Indian
youths prepared to work as missionaries to keep
India, India; and the Indians, Indians, instead
of brown Britishers wdth bowler-hats, bad man-
ners, a tincture of Western knowledge, and hy-
brid patriotism. It was pathetic, but no man
who loves his own can help lending a little love
to the fellow who loves his. It struck me as a
forlorn hope, but I sent a small subscription
when I left. There was no greed, no gain, no
personal ambition in it. Here was a John the
Baptist out in this wilderness, with little more
to work with than he had, and a dream of con-


verting three hundred millions to piety and pa-
triotism; who could avoid lending a hand!

Some miles away geographically, but latitudes
away spiritually, was His Highness's wrestling
school. There I found a group of athletes that
opened my eyes to the possibilities of muscular
development in this climate. The Indians as
a whole, except in the north-west, are physically
a feeble folk, whose working days are over at
fifty, and whose women are haggard and un-
lovely at thirty. These wrestlers went through
their exercises for me, and to my surprise I found
the medicine-ball, the sparring-bag, the Indian-
clubs, and the catch-as-catch-can bouts of wrest-
ling of my youth. They also showed me wrest-
ling in the Japanese fashion, with the leg and
arm-breaking holds that we associate with the
Japanese but which, I was assured, were as old
as Buddhism, and must therefore have filtered
into Japan by way of China, Burma, and Korea.
When these wrestlers lined up that I might photo-
graph them, I thought how an American foot-
ball coach's mouth would water at the sight of
such material. If I was surprised, they were
surprised too that I could swing clubs, play with
the medicine-ball, and enjoy a bout of wrestling.
How colossally ignorant we all are of one an-
other !


No other town in India, I believe, has a learned
Indian musician, with an English degree in music,
who conducts a school of native music and de-
votes himself entirely to a revival of the old in-
struments and the old music. Baroda is thus fort-
unate. As a result the musical instruments, and
the music and singing at the entertainment given
for us, were classic. I admit that the music it-
self gave me little pleasure, though one feature
made me see what I had never seen before. An
old, gray-bearded man, accompanied by three
or four instruments, including a small drum, re-
cited a long tale with sobs and shrieks and vio-
lent gestures. There and then I am sure I saw
the bard of Greece. Thus were handed down
the tales of the Iliad and the Odyssey, and this
particular old man was capable of going on for
hours without a break and without hesitation.
But when you have reviewed cavalry at 5.30
A. M. even a Greek bard telling of Achilles is
wearisome after three-quarters of an hour, and
the listener has been out of bed seventeen hours.
Even at more ambitious performances I have
regretted, that the author or translator of Psalm
XCV has made it appear, that " singing," and
"making a joyful noise," are equally pleasing.

Following the music the dancing-girls, one of
them both in face and figure beautiful, gave two


or three short dances and one long one, the last
being the story of two children kite-flying, a very
popular sport all through the East; one loses her
kite, is in despair; it is recaptured, and so on.
It is a graceful form of pantomime, and might
be given before a Sunday-school. Strange to
say, in these Eastern lands, where nakedness,
or partial nakedness, are universal, the theatri-
cal and terpsichorean performers are clothed
from neck to heel. I have seen much dancing
in India, Korea, and Japan, but it is always the
same as to propriety. Such lascivious and sug-
gestive performances as are given, are for the
benefit of the puritan-bred libertine, whose diet
demands more brutal revelations for its satis-
faction. I suppose it is largely a question of
rice and red meat, and it would be interesting
in this connection to have trustworthy statistics
as to vegetarian morals.

We were honored one afternoon before we
left by an audience with Her Highness, the Ma-
harani, the wife of the Gaekwar. She was the
most beautiful woman I saw in India, and talked
to us of her children and their education in Eng-
land and in America, and broke the rule of re-
ceiving men in her palace when she learned that
I had been at Harvard. She was much inter-
ested in the local schools and hospitals, and the


reforms of her liusband, and seemed to be, In
spite of her soft eyes and gentle speech, a master-
ful person with a mind of her own, and far, far
away, from the type of secluded, uneducated
w^omen which is the rule in India. The surprise
of her visit to America had been our women.
She thought them bold and noisy and lacking
in gentleness. Even her evident leaning toward
our many other radical departures in politics
and in society did not pardon, in her estimation,
what seemed to her the vulgar shrillness and
ostentatious independence of our wives and
daughters. As we were leaving she showed me
a mounted tiger she had shot. When I expressed
my admiration, perhaps with a little surprise, she
said: "Oh, you think we Hindu women cannot
be sportsmen!" I knew better than that. He
who knows anything of Indian history knows that
India has had her Joan of Arc, not once, but
many times, and that the Indian women have
sacrificed themselves, not in twos and threes, but
in hecatombs, for their country.

His Highness's Aide, who was unwearying
in his intelligent attentions, and who even pre-
pared us a dinner with his ow^n hands, such as a
Brahman might eat, and sent it over to our bun-
galow, was a type of Indian very puzzling to deal
with, I should think. He was a man of strong


religious feeling and high ideals, far more thor-
oughly educated than the avei-age Englishman or
American of his years, and revealing what I had
not seen before, but what I saw often before I
left India, a sort of yearning for sympathy for
his own case and that of his people. He too
noted the lack of sympathy with, and the lack of
recognition of, the best class of natives; the re-
fusal of office either civil or military above a cer-
tain grade; the smaller salary paid to the Indian
than to the Englishman holding the same office,
all of which created a sore and sour feeling. He
was only just returned from America, and the
contrasts leave the shadows of sadness upon him
thicker than they are upon other men.

He was, as are all the Indians of his type, mod-
erate in manner, soft of speech, gentle even in in-
dignation. They are pathetic figures, cut off from
opportunity, with no exercise for their real powers,
and feeling that they are only allowed to play
at life, that the real control is in alien hands, and
they chafe at the situation. He was much
amused at the ignorance of India he met with
in America. He mentioned the parochial or-
thodoxy which looked upon him as a heathen
and as a worshipper of idols. The difference be-
tween an educated Brahman and a Hindu peas-
ant, he said, was as great in religious matters as
the difference between the Unitarianism of Chan-


ning and the Catholicism of a Spanish peasant,
and yet both chiim to be Christians!

It is Sunday. Two green lizards dart back and
forth on the wall before me. On a tree outside
the w^indow a monkey is watching me with inter-
est and with occasional gestures and waggings of
the head, that might easily be interpreted as indi-
cating contempt for my sedentary occupation,
and an invitation to join him in his brisker and
healthier arboreal athletics. What a difference
between us : I am wondering if my ancestors had
tails, while he is enjoying his. My thoughts are
far away from Baroda, and the lizards and the

I see John P. Shorter, who is, let us say, a
stove and hardware merchant in Kansas City.
He has breakfasted on fried beefsteak, fried po-
tatoes, hot bread and coffee, and also fish-balls,
for his wife has a strain of the Brahman blood of
New England in her veins. He has on his un-
comfortable Sunday clothes. His wife is over-
dressed, and wears a hat which has cost a dis-
proportionate amount of the monthly income.
The children look stiffened and starched. Their
clothes and their food, and what will be thrown
away of the latter by the Irish servant-girl, repre-
sent the revenue of a whole Indian village for a
month. They are grumbling at the high cost of
living, and John P. mitigates the cost of his wife's


hat by denouncing the Trusts. They go to church,
where John P. has a pew in the centre aisle. A
small silver-plated name-plate, with "John P.
Shorter" on it, marks his possession of a pew in
the sanctuary. He knows everybody, everybody
knows him. There are few or no strangers, and
all belong to much the same social stratum as at
a club. There are no poor or friendless or un-
kempt persons present. They would be as out
of place here, as the rabble off the street would
be in the front ranks of a military parade.

This Occidental arrangement for the worship
of God, is financially and socially much the same
arrangement as obtains at a theatre of the better
class. It reminds one of the stranger who joined
in the anthem at a service at Magdalen College,
Oxford. The verger promptly spoke to him and
told him he was not to sing. "This is the house
of God," he replied, "and I am only joining in
the worship." "House of God!" repeated the
agitated verger. "House of God, sir!' Why, this
is Magdalen Chapel!" Should John the Bap-
tist appear at the portals of the Second Church
of Christ in Kansas City, the sexton would be

The Second Church is the result of a quarrel
over who should be superintendent of the Sunday-
school in the First Church, and the seceders now


have a church of the same faith, but to them-
selves. The separation has left both the congre-
gations and the revenues of these two bodies, who
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness, rather
lean, but the religious rivalry adds piquancy to
the social life of the town, and nobody is offended
apparently, much less shocked, by this open rent
in the garment of charity.

This is Foreign Missions Sunday. John P.
has given each of the children ten cents, and his
wife fifty cents, and has provided himself, in a
convenient pocket, with the amount which he
considers his position in the church and in the
community demands.

Four strikingly and modishly dressed persons,
two men and two women, in a gallery behind the
pulpit, where their latest discoveries in collars,
ties, hats, feathers, and blouses are ostentatiously
and perhaps provocatively displayed, and who
are paid handsome salaries to outdo a similar
quartette in the First Church, and at the same
time to voice John P.'s praise of God for him,
arise, adjust themselves for the inspection of the
audience, and strike up:

"From Greenland's icy mountains
From India's coral strand

They call us to deliver

Their land from error's chain."


They go on to proclaim further, do these ladies
in corsets, in open-work blouses, and wearing
high heels, false curls and ear-rings, and gold in
their teeth, that:

"The heathen in his blindness
Bows down to wood and stone,"

and later ask with due emphasis the question:

"Shall we whose souls are lighted
By wisdom from on high, —
Shall we to men benighted
The lamp of life deny?"

John P. rises, sets his glasses on his nose, and
follows the words in his hymn-book. Mrs. John
P. inspects the fashions in the choir and about
her, and by a natural concatenation of thoughts
drifts away to that alley-way in the AYaldorf Ho-
tel where she saw, on her one visit there, sartorial
visions that have never been forgotten. After
this full-throated invitation to Greenland, and to
India, and to Ceylon, voiced mainly by the quar-
tette of hirelings, to come into the fold and be like
Mr. and Mrs. John P., the missionary pleader is
presented to "my people" by "our beloved pas-
tor," whose salary, by the way, is two months in

I may appear, way out here in Baroda, to that
monkey in the tree to be looking at him, but I am


not. I see that preacher as though I were seated
in the Second Church in Kansas City. I hear
his exaggerated accounts of the work done, and
its ever-increasing success. I hear the anecdotes
picked for the occasion, of misery and want, and
a longing for better things a la John P. Shorter;
of the rich rulers ''bowing down to wood and
stone," men of many wives and many pleasures,
while the peasants are bowed down and bent,
and burnt brown with the toil and heat.

I have described something of the actual situa-
tion here where I am a guest. Only yesterday
afternoon I saw a Muhammadan standing at sun-
set on a block of stone on which he had placed
his carpet, in a busy street filled with Hindus
coming and going, saying his prayers and making
repeated obeisance toward Mecca. His religion
is not only different, but antagonistic to the creed
and the customs of the Hindus, but in Baroda the
Gaekwar, a Hindu himself, imposes absolute re-
ligious tolerance. I ask myself what would hap-
pen if mass were said daily in the open street in
Kansas City.

The missionary in his frock-coat and white tie
gets hotter and hotter in this furnace-heated at-
mosphere — the furnace man is a negro. John
P., despite his too heavy breakfast of fried beef,
smiles benignly as he hears that the cow is sacred


in India, and almost winks at the superintendent
of the stock yards whose pew is across the aisle.
Mrs. John P., somewhat anaemic, for the climate
is trying in Kansas City, is glad she married
John P., as she listens to the account of the posi-
tion of women in India. As for me, I shiver to
think what the consensus of the competent,
granting even that they are a jury of Christians,
would say if they were called upon to decide
between John P. and the Maharaja Gaekwar of
Baroda. If there is any such heaven as John P.
sings about, and hears preached about, when he
gets there he will be surprised to find how bright
is the halo, how tuneful the harp, and how el-
evated the position of some of these heathen
princes, for whose conversion he, John P. Shorter,
of the Second Church of Christ, in Kansas City,
has condescendingly contributed one dollar!

I know of no place in the world so far away
from New York as Udaipur. Udaipur is the cap-
ital of the native State of Mewar, ruled over by
His Highness, the Maharana Dhiraj Sir Fateh
Singh, G. C. S. I., and has some twelve thousand
square miles of territory, a population of a little
more than one million, and revenues of about six
hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Its ruler is
the premier prince, and the proudest, in all India.
His authentic ancestry reaches back two thou-


sand years, and stretches on beyond that in
Indian mythology, to the progenitor of the solar
race, the deified hero Rama. This prince bears
to the world of Hinduism a relation unique either
in the East or the West. He is part Pope, part
High Priest, part King. He may even interfere
with Brahmanical excommunication ; and at his
death, men who would die rather than submit
to an insult to their beards, shave their faces

There is no suspicion of representative govern-
ment, no dreams even of the rights of man, no
complications of electricity, or steam, or compul-
sory education, no politics, no fantastic hygiene,
no patent foods, no fear of microbes, no fashions
or etiquette of a date later than 728 A. D., when
the history of the present State under the present
family began by the taking of the fortress of Chi-
tor by Bappa; no newspapers, no news, except
the lazy gossip of the bazaars; no hurry except
when new^s is brought from one of the stations in
the hills, where men are kept day and night the
year round for this purpose, that a black panther
or a tiger has been seen, then the Maharana and a
retinue hasten away; no daily excitement about
an earthquake in Japan, a revolution in Portugal,
a change of government in England, a panic in
New York, a strike in Paris, or a rhetorical out-


burst in Berlin; no jealousy of other countries, no
envy of progress elsewhere. Why should there
be, since their ruler is little less than a god to hun-
dreds of millions of Hindus, and to criticise his
home, his habits, and his decrees is unthinkable.
Therefore I repeat Udaipur is farther from the
Bowery than any other place in the world.

It was a happy accident of travel that our next
visit after that to Baroda w^as to this prince, w^ho
will have nothing to do with modern inventions
whether of mind or matter.

We left the guest house at Baroda to take a
train leaving at 5.18 a. m. The train was late and
we drove back to wait. We returned to the sta-
tion an hour and a half later; the train was still
late, and we finally got away three hours and a
half after getting out of bed, and twenty-nine
hours of continuous railway travel brought us to
Udaipur. This is one example, there were
many, though I shall not cite them, which bids
me again warn travellers who lack enthusiasm, a
stout heart, and a strong constitution, and the
best of introductions, that a visit to India may
prove as disappointing to them as it was delight-
ful to us.

Udaipur is worth all the fatigue of getting
there. We were driven to a large stone bunga-
low^, of which we were the sole occupants. A


splendid old fellow, gray-bearded, with medals
on his breast and a hunting-knife in his belt,
greeted us at the entrance, and put himself and
the household at our service. The food, the
wines, the tobacco, and the service are of the best,
and hearing me complain of lack of exercise, the
steward provides me with a pony for a ride before
breakfast each moi'ning. At each meal he stands
in the dining-room, with an eye to everything, and
from morning till night he watches over our com-
fort as though we were his children.

In the afternoon we are driven to the lake,
where we take a boat and are rowed to its south-
ern end. We walk up a path to find ourselves on
a high terrace looking down upon a dusty plain
where hundreds of wild pigs are grunting, squeal-
ing, quarrelling as they are fed. Here we make
our bow to our host. He had just come in from
a panther hunt. Every afternoon when he is at
home he is present at the feeding of these wild
boars. He w^as standing with a circle of his cour-
tiers behind him, and a mediaeval-looking figure
he was, a sword in his left hand, a long hunting-
knife in his belt, and those about him all in hunt-
ing tunics and boots. He was a slender, wiry-
looking man of about sixty, well preserved and
athletic, with nothing of the pallid hue of the
puzzled thinker in his look, and a deep scar


over his right eye due to a fall from his horse
while pig-sticking.

We bowed and shook hands, and through the
interpreter I thanked him for his hospitality to us.
I was somewhat taken aback when the interpre-
ter repeated: "His Highness says you have no
hospitality to thank him for since you have only
just arrived." This seemed an attempt to put
me on my mettle, so I turned and pointed to the
lake with its marble palaces, and to the gleaming
white towers of the huge palace overhanging the
lake, and said: "Tell His Highness that one
glimpse of this is a thousand years of hospitality."
We had some further talk about horses and hunt-
ing and then turned to go. As we were leaving,
one of the suite came after us, and we returned,
when the interpreter was bidden to tell me that
His Highness hoped I would enjoy my stay, that
I was to stay as long as I liked, and that he, the
interpreter, was commanded to see to it that w^e
had everything we wanted.

He is a conservative of the conservatives, this
prince. He speaks no English, lives his owti life,
never leaves India, will have nothing to do with
the new-fangled notions of the day, is an enthusi-
astic hunter of big game, has killed fifty tigers, be-
sides panthers and other game, and has never
been photographed while doing it, and is simple


and dignified in his demeanor. There was an
atmosphere of far-off, by-gone times on the ter-
race that afternoon. It was as though I had
dreamed myself back into the Middle Ages. He
and his customs and habits and opinions are
passing away, leaving him a lonely figure in a
fussy world, but he remains unmoved, unchanged,
disdainful. Now as I look back and remember
India, he stands out easily as the first gentleman
there, and upon the whole the most impressive
figure I saw in all the East.

When he heard that at the great Durbar, the
Viceroy was to ride in front, and on the elephant
beside him was to ride a woman, his w^ife, he
declined to ride behind a woman, and sent his
elephant, gorgeously caparisoned, but with an
empty howdah. In these days when every man
is either nursing or courting a constituency of
some sort; when books are written, and news-
papers are printed, and speeches are made, and
sermons are preached ever w ith an eye to circu-
lation or popularity; when weighing down the
words and thoughts of every man's brain, except
the tiniest minority, is the dull dead weight of
its possible effect upon a selfish and superficial
mediocrity; when both men and women trim
their sails shiveringly at the bare thought of being
blacklisted socially or politically or morally, it is


refreshing, it is even awesome, to meet a man
whose only constituency is his own soul! I am
not sure that we may not take steps backward
toward Udaipur ere long, before we take many
more along the path we are following. We may

Online LibraryPrice CollierThe West in the East from an American point of view → online text (page 15 of 29)