Imágenes de páginas

a cake of ice before, and, I believe, sincerely regretted that he could not carry it back to Calcutta as a curiosity.

“The reflection of the setting sun on the snowy mountains was extremely beautiful. One of the peaks of Nundidevi was, for a considerable time together, a perfect rose-colour. ' We had also a magnificent echo near our encampment, which answered with remarkable distinctness, and great power and mellowness, all the different light infantry signals on the bugle of Sir Robert Colquhoun's rangers, which he had brought with him."

A letter to Lord Grenville, in the Correspondence, furnishes also an eloquent description of these mountains, and the sentiments they excited. Many incidents and traits are detailed, which tempt us strongly, but we resist-chiefly in order to make room for one transaction-a truly humane, pacific, and mitred dignitary of the Church engaged in a tiger-hunt, which is well related by himself, as follows:

" At Kulleanpoor, the young Raja Gourman Singh, mentioned, in the course of conversation, that there was a tiger in an adjoining tope, which had done a good deal of mischief, that he should have gone after it himself had he not been ill, and had he not thought that it would be a fine diversion for Mr. Boulderson, the collector of the district, and me. I told him I was no sportsman, but Mr. Boulderson's eyes sparkled at the name of tiger, and he expressed great anxiety to beat up bis quarters in the afternoon. Under such circumstances, I did not like to deprive him of his sport, as he would not leave me by myself, and went, though with no intention of being more than a spectator. Mr. Boulderson, however, advised me to load my pistols for the sake of defence, and lent me a very fine double-barrelled gun for the same purpose. We set out a little after three on our elephants, with a servant behind each howdah carrying a large chatta, which, however, was almost needless. The Raja, in spite of his fever, made his appearance too, saying that he could not bear to be left behind. A number of people, on foot and horseback, attended from our own camp and the neighbour. ing villages, and the same sort of interest and delight was evidently excited which might be produced in England by a great coursing party. The Raja was on a little female elephant, hardly bigger than the Durham ox, and almost as shaggy as a poodle. She was a native of the neighbouring wood, where they are generally, though not always, of a smaller size than those of Bengal and Chittagong. He sat in a low howdah, with two or three guns ranged beside him, ready for action. Mr. Boulderson had also a formidable apparatus of muskets and fowl. ing-pieces, projecting over his mohout's head. We rode about two miles across a plain covered with long jungly grass, which very much put me in mind of the country near the Cuban. Quails and wild fowl rose in great numbers, and beautiful antelopes were seen scudding away in all directions.

"At last we came to a deeper and more marshy ground, which lay a little be. fore the tope pointed out to us; and while Mr. Boulderson was doubting whether we should pass through it, or skirt it, some country people came running to say that the tiger had been tracked there that morning. We therefore went in, keeping line as if we had been beating for a hare, through grass so high that it reached up to the howdah of my elephant though a tall one, and almost hid the Raja entirely. We had not gone far before a very large animal of the deer kind sprang up just before me, larger than a stag, of a dusky brown colour, with spreading, but not palmated horns. Mr. Boulderson said it was a 'molir,' a species of elk ; that this was a young one, but that they sometimes grew to an immense size, so that he had stood upright between the tips of their horns. He could have shot it, but did not like to fire at present, and said it was, after all, a pity to meddle with such harmless animals. The mohr accordingly ran off unmolested, rising with splendid bounds up to the very top of the high jungle, so that his whole body and limbs were seen from time to time above it. A little further, another rose, which Mr. Boulderson said was the female ; of her I had but an imperfect view. The sight of these curious animals had already, however, well repaid my coming out ; and from the animation and eagerness of every body round me, the anxiety with which my companions looked for every waving of the jungle.grass, and the continued calling and shouting of the horse and foot behind us, it was impossible not to catch the contagion of interest and en. terprise.

" At last the elephants all drew up their trunks into the air, began to roar, and stamp violently with their fore feet, the Raja's little elephant turned short round, and in spite of all her mohout could say or do, took up her post, to the Raja's great annoyance, close in the rear of Mr. Boulderson. The other three (for one of my baggage elephants had come out too, the mohout, though unarmed, not caring to miss the show) went on slowly but boldly, with their trunks raised, their ears expanded, and their sagacious little eyes bent intently forward. *We are close upon him,' said Mr. Boulderson, 'fire where you see the long grass shake, if he rises before you.'—Just at that moment my elephant stamped again violently. “There, there,' cried the mohout, “I saw his head!' A short roar, or rather loud growl, followed, and I saw immediately before my elephant's head the motion of some large animal stealing away through the grass. I fired as directed, and, a moment after, seeing the motion still more plainly, fired the second barrel. Another short growl followed, the motion was immediately quickened, and was soon lost in the more distant jungle. Mr. Boulderson said, 'I should not wonder if you hit him that last time ; at any rate we shall drive him out of the cover, and then I will take care of him.' In fact, at that moment, the. crowd of horse and foot spectators at the jungle side, began to run off in all directions. We went on the place, but found it was a false alarm, and, in fact, we had seen all we were to see of him, and went twice more through the jungle in vain. A large extent of high grass stretched out in one direction, and this we had now not sufficient day-light to explore. In fact, that the animal so near me was a tiger at all, I have no evidence but its growl, Mr. Boulderson's belief, the assertion of the mohout, and what is perhaps more valuable than all the rest, the alarm expressed by the elephants. I could not help feeling some apprehension that my firing had robbed Mr. Boulderson of his shot, but he assured me that I was quite in rule ; that in such sport no courtesies could be observed, and that the animal in fact rose before me, but that he should himself have fired without scruple if he had seen the rustle of the grass in time. Thus ended my first, and probably my last essay, in the field-sports' of India, in which I am much misiaken, notwithstanding what Mr. Boulderson said, if I harmed any living creature.

“ I asked Mr. Boulderson, in our return, whether tiger hunting was generally of this kind, which I could not help comparing to that chase of bubbles which enables us in England to pursue an otter. In a jungle, he answered, it must always be pretty inuch the same, inasmuch as, except under very peculiar circumstances, or when a tiger felt himself severely wounded, and was roused to revenge by despair, his aim was to remain concealed, and to make off as quietly as possible. It was after he had broken cover, or when he found himself in a situation so as to be fairly at bay, that the serious part of the sport began, in which case he attacked inis enemies boldly, and always died fighting. He added, that the lion, though not so large or swift an animal as the tiger, was generally stronger and more courageous. Those which have been killed in India, instead of running away when pursued through a jungle, seldom seem to think its cover necessary at all. When they see their enemies approaching, they spring out to meet them, open-mouthed, in the plain, like the boldest of all animals, a mastiff dog. They are thus generally shot with very little trouble, but if they are missed or only slightly wounded, they are truly formidable enemies. Though not swift, they leap with vast strength and violence, and their large heads, immense paws, and the great weight of their body forwards, often enable them to spring on the head of the largest elephants, and fairly pull them down to the ground, riders and all. When a tiger springs on an elephant, the latter is generally able to shake bim off under his feet, and then wo be to him! The elephant either kneels on him and crushes him at once, or gives him a kick which breaks half his ribs, and sends him flying perhaps twenty paces. The elephants, how. ever, are often dreadfully torn, and a large old tiger sometimes clings too fast to be thus dealt with. In this case, it often happens that the elephant himself falls, from pain or from the hope of rolling on his enemy, and the people on his back are in very considerable danger both from friends and foes, for Mr. Boulderson said the scratch of a tiger was sometimes venomous, as that of a cat is said to be. But this did not often happen, and in general persons wounded by his teeth or claws, if not killed outright, recovered easily enough.'

A mendicant 109 years of age, was brought to the Bishop's tent. The country people and his Gentoo servants remarked, “ He must have been a good man, to be allowed to live so long.” In the finest and healthiest climates of India, the age of man seldom exceeds seventy. In the mountains, some beautiful lemons and some young potatoes, both the produce of a garden, were placed before the Bishop. The potatoes introduced by the English, were much liked by the mountaineers, and becoming very common. Our prelate was the first Protestant minister who preached, and administered the sacrament, in the celebrated Himalaya region. At Meerut, he had the gratification of hearing two of his own hymns sung better than he had ever heard them in a church before ; and he adds to his note of this circumstance, another as remarkable ; that one of the earliest, the largest, and the handsomest churches in India, should be found in so remote a situation, and in sight of the Himalaya mountains. Near Bortpoor, he met several men riding on oxen, which seemed “ very tolerable nags, little inferior to the common tattoos of the country.” At Moradabad he had an opportunity of examining the way in which ice is made all over upper India. A number of broad and very shallow earthen pans are placed on a layer of dry straw, and filled with water. In the night, even the small degree of frost which is felt at that town, is sufficient to cover the pans with a thin coat of ice, which is carefully collected and packed up. In the neighbourhood of the snowy mountains, the vegetation nearly approaches to that of Europe. Raspberries, cranberries, and blackberries, are found in considerable numbers. The sides and lower ravines of the hills are covered with noble silver-fir. Eagles are numerous, and very large and formidable. They do much injury to the shepherds and goatherds, and “sometimes carry away the poor naked children of the peasants.” The Bishop mentions one, shot by a compagnon de voyage, which measured thirteen feet between the tips of its extended wings ; had talons eight inches long; and could certainly have borne up a well-grown boy. This condor of the mountains, he did not doubt to be the giant rok of the Arabians, which the story of Sinbad has rendered so notorious. The tiger is found quite up to the glaciers, of size and ferocity undiminished. In Kemaon, an English resident tamed a hyena, which for several years followed him about like a dog. English dogs, impaired by VOL. IV.NO. 7.


the climate of the plains, improve in bulk, strength, and sagacity, among the mountaineers ; and in a winter or two they acquire the same fine, short shawl-wool, mixed up with their own hair, which distinguishes the indigenous animals of the country. The wild dogs are considerably larger and stronger than the fox, which they much resemble : they hunt methodically in packs, make dreadful havoc among the game, and attack and sometimes tear in pieces both the lion and tiger. Flying squirrels are not uncommon in the colder and higher parts of the woods.

The chapter of the first volume in which the Bishop tells of his sojourn at Delhi, and his intercourse with the Emperor Acbar Shah, is one of the most interesting of the whole Narrative. He was deeply moved with the awful instance of the instability of human greatness in the condition of the poor old descendant of the mighty house of Timour, with the idea of whom, under the name of the Great Mogul, he associated in his childhood all imaginable power, splendour, and opulence. Vanity of vanities, he exclaims, was surely never written in more legible characters, than on the dilapidated arcades of Delhi. Thus, Burke, in his speech on Mr. Fox's India Bill, (1783,) was struck with the same dread lesson of the inconstancy of human fortune, and the stupendous revolutions that have happened in our age of wonders. “Could it be believed,” he asked, " when I entered into existence, that on this day we should be employed in discussing the conduct of those British subjects who had disposed of the power and person of the Great Mogul !”

The ruins after ruins, granite, and marble, which extended as far as the eye could reach, from the gate of Agra to Humaioon's tomb, a noble structure of granite inlaid with marble, reminded him of Caffa in the Crimca, but of Caffa on the scale of London, “ with the wretched fragments of a magnificence, such as London itself could not boast." This was the seat of old Delhi, which was founded by the Patan kings on the ruins of a still larger Hindoo city. Every one conversant with the literature of the last generation, must be acquainted with Dr. Robertson's Historical Disquisition concerning Ancient India, and may recollect those sections of the Appendix, in which he descants upon the immense and magnificent edifices and excavations of the Hindoos—the wonders of Ellore, Salsette, and Elephanta—those stupendous labours in costly and skilful architeclure-gigantic monuments of power and taste, from which the inference is necessary, by reason of the essential character of perfection in this art, that the people who accomplished them were far advanced in scientific civilization and various refinement. Since the time of Robertson, the pens and pencils of English and French travellers have conveyed more distinct and adequate ideas, not only of the principal fabrics, but of the manifold and delicate sculpture, and exquisite minuteness of ornament and finish, by which they and the conceptions and resources of the architects are exalted in the estimation of all reflecting observers. The testimony of Bishop Heber on this head, a witness of the warmest fancy and most cultivated eye, who had surveyed the noblest architectural works of which Europe can boast, deserves to be quoted in some detail, and we shall therefore cull irregularly a few of his statements, touching as they do the curious question of the antiquity and height of Indian civilization. The Cuttab Minar at Delhi, he pronounces the finest tower he had ever seen, and the remaining great arches of the principal mosque, as fine in their way as any of the details of York Minster. The Patans “ built like giants, and finished their work like jewellers.” The imperial palace, raised by the emperor Shah Jehan, “ far surpasses the Kremlin.” With the quadrangle of the large mosque at Futtehpoor, he could say that there was no quadrangle, either in Oxford or Cambridge, fit to be compared, whether as to size,' majestic proportions, or beauty of architecture. Speaking of Umeer, the palace and castle at Jyepoor, he observes :-" For varied and picturesque effect, for richness of carving, for wild beauty of situation, for the number and singularity of the apartments, and the strangeness of finding such a building in such a place and country, I am able to compare nothing with Umeer.” The castle of Joudpoor, “the palace of a petty Raja in the neighbourhood of a salt-desert,” is in many respects fully equal to Windsor. In the Correspondence, he refers to the architectural works on the verge of the western desert, as surpassing all which he had seen of Windsor, or the Kremlin, or heard of the Alhambra. He celebrates the Hindoo ancient buildings for solidity and solemnity, and a richness of ornament so well managed as not to interfere with solemnity, and quite different from the airy and gaudy style of the Chinese. Again ; he writes from Guzerat, to Mr. Wilmot—"In the yet remaining specimen of oriental pomp at Lucknow, in the decayed, but most striking and romantic magnificence of Delhi, and in the Tahe-Mahal of Agra, (doubtless one of the most beautiful buildings in the world,) there is almost enough, even of themselves, to make it worth a man's while to cross the Atlantic and Indian Oceans.”

If we had space for the purpose, we should be glad, indeed, to make as free with the singularly curious and instructive details of the concluding chapters of the Narrative, as we have done with the first. Jyepoor is a scene of extraordinary character and anecdote, and romantic pictures, to which the Bishop has done full justice. We must leap, however, at once to the country of Banswarra, stopping there only to note that the abominable custom of murdering the greater part of their female infants, still prevails. We shall cite a part of the Bishop's text on this subject :

« AnteriorContinuar »