Showing 6 results

Archival description
Booty, Percy Abbey (1873–1939), civil servant in India
Print preview View:

6 results with digital objects Show results with digital objects

Letter from F. W. Lawrence to Ellen Lawrence

Muzaffarpur.—Sends birthday greetings, and refers to the receipt of a parcel containing cards to himself and to his Christmas dinner with the Collector. Discusses his future movements.

—————

Transcript

Mozufferpore
Dec 27. 97

My dear Ellen.

I write this on your birthday, wishing you many happy returns. I wonder whether you are having a bright sunny day; here we have delightful weather. It is just like a very fine English September, but somewhat warmer in the middle of the day. We have some capital games of lawn tennis from 3 to 5.

Possibly you may not know, or be able to find this place on a map because it is spelt all kinds of ways; in that case look North West from Calcutta & you will come to Patna & a little North you will see this.

A fine budget arrived here Xmas eve forwarded on from Nellore containing among others Xmas & birthday cards from Mother yourself & Carry; I think but for the insertion of “birthday” it would have quite escaped my remembrance that I had such a thing coming off at all, & I should have reached the mature age of 26 without ever becoming aquainted† with the fact.

I have now definitely made up my mind to stop in India till I go to Australia; this I have arranged because Booty very much prefers my coming to him at the end of February & wants me to go round some Islands with him, & this will probably take 3 or 4 weeks.

Please address all letters after you receive this (and it is really much the best plan for any one travelling to India because in this way no time is wasted) | to c/o Thos Cook & Son | Bombay; | & I will keep them posted up in my whereabouts & they will forward letters on.

There are quite a number of people in this station & we have a lovely time.

On Xmas day we went & dined with the Collector (I am not sure whether you will have got used to this term yet; it means the chief Magistrate, a post to which Campbell & Adie will probably attain in about 10 years) & his wife & had a pleasant little party of 14; this evening we are going to a small dance there.

With thanks for all your good wishes

I remain

Ever your aff[ectiona]te Brother
Fredk W Lawrence

I shall probably leave here about Jany 3 or 4 & go to Calcutta, & spend 10 days there. For the eclipse I shall join a party somewhere near Benares; I am not sure yet of the place; Campbell is going there with Michy Smith the Madras Astronomer, & I shall possibly meet Dr Common, & I fancy Christie.

—————

† Sic.

Letter from F. W. Lawrence to Annie Lawrence

Bombay.—Is on the way to see Booty in Mangalore. Refers to his sightseeing at Gwalior and Agra and his activities at Bombay.

—————

Transcript

Bombay.
Feb 24 98

My dear Annie.

I am just passing through Bombay on my way down to see Booty in Mangalore, & I was very pleased on my arrival to find a letter from Harry awaiting me. I had been expecting you to mention your trip abroad, & as you had not done so, was beginning to suppose you were going later in the year.

I am sending this home to 75 {1} to get forwarded, as Harry only says you will arrive at Nice next Saturday, & I don’t know whether you are going to make a really long stay there.

You will have had most of my news of my sight seeing in my last 2 letters, since then I have visited Gwalior a native state, where there is a magnificent fort, I drove out to it, & then went up it on an elephant & was shown round.

I think I mentioned the Taj at Agra in my letter to Harry, I was able to get a little model of it which I have packed off home to Mama, but I am very much afraid whether it will arrive safe.

This afternoon I have been out to see the Bombay Astronomer whom I met at Sahdol; he showed me all over his meteorological & magnetic instruments.

I have also been to see Prof Muller to whom I had a letter of introduction from Prof Marshall of Cambridge. He has taken up an immense number of subjects[,] practically all mine & a lot beside; he was 21st wrangler, & also took the history tripos, has done a good deal of natural science, church history, law, Political economy, knows several languages, paints, photograps†, & collects shells, stamps[,] relics of prehistoric man; & finally has done fabulous things in connection with the plague having at one time been made—as it were—“dictator” over a large section of Bombay!!!!!

What is my little list compared with that?

Ever Yours in excellent health
Fredk W Lawrence

—————

{1} 75 Lancaster Gate, his mother’s home.

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Nellore, Madras, Calcutta, Muzaffarpur, Calcutta, Sahdol, Mozufferpore, Benares, Lucknow, Roorkee (with an excursion to Moradabad), Delhi, Agra, Gwalior, and Bombay.

(A continuation of 5/30a. Headed ‘Encyclical no. 2.’ This letter describes events from 14 Dec. onward, but it is clear that it was not begun till after the writer’s arrival at Muzaffarpur on the 23rd. It was completed by 23 Feb., when Lawrence enclosed the last section in a letter to his Aunt Edith (see 6/4). The contents may have been transmitted in as many as six instalments, comprising respectively pp. 35–8, 39–62, 63–70, 71–90, 91–4, 95–106.)

—————

Transcript

Encyclical no. 2.

Once more I take up the pen to write a little something of my doings; but I am rather at a loss to know where to begin. You all know that I could not bring myself to keep a diary, and I don’t believe that if I did, any of you would be in the least interested in what it contained. How would read a day spent up in Mozuffapore with my friend W. S. Adie? “Awakened at 7.15 by the native barber who shaves me in bed; 7.25 tea & toast; 7.35 get up assisted by Adie’s Chokra (lad) who does not know the proper way of putting on socks; 8 o’clock get on our bicycles, and go for a ride, perhaps with some other people in the station; 10 o’clock, or a little after, come back have a warm bath (ghusl with garum pani) {1} dress & have breakfast; lounge about, or go & see Adie try a case in his court, or go and pay calls, or so on; lunch at 2 or a little later; then lawn tennis or racquets; then back to tea at 5. 30, & then on to the club to play billiards till it is time to come back (& dress if we are going out) to dinner, & so to bed perhaps at 10.30.” Not much of a diary to write up when it is very similar from day to day. And perhaps you will say:—“If that is all you came out to India to do, you might just as well have done it at home.” I don’t know. I fancy somehow I got in this way to appreciate something of Anglo Indian life.

But, if I remember, I left myself, so to speak, at the end of my last encyclical, at Nellore, sitting disconsolate, with Campbell gone away, wondering how I am going to get up to Mozuffapore, getting up every now & again to gaze in silent contemplation of awe & doubt, at the vast accumulation of travelling goods & chattels which are contained in all my trunks, boxes, bags, rugs etc etc, & uncertain as to which of them it will be expedient to carry with me about India. Every now & again Campbell’s Hindustani servant comes along & after gesticulating for some time I discover what he wants, perhaps he opens his mouth & saying something (not mangez-moi) I gather he means, shall I be in to dinner? Or I have to tell him I want the things home from the wash.

So a day or two passes, I make my selection of clothing, & pack up. [16 Dec.] Then Ashworth comes back to the bungalow and with him his “chief” a Madras engineer; & I start off having with great difficulty encrated my bicycle for Madras, the engineer going by same train. I shall arrive in Madras early morning & propose to stop at the club & go on same evening by train probably 3 or 4 days journey to Mozuffapore. Mr Moore (the engineer) kindly looks after me & insists on my staying the day at his house instead of the club which I am very pleased to do. Meanwhile I have brought Campbell’s Hindustani servant along with me to send him back when I leave Madras.

On enquiry I find boat P & O S.S. Parramatta goes up from Madras to Calcutta leaving day after next. Much pleasanter journey; I decide to take it.

[17 Dec.] So I go back to the Moores’ & say that as I have altered my plans & have settled to stop 2 nights in Madras, I will of course go on to the club. But they (he & his wife) will not hear of it, and insist on my stopping with them till I go. So I spend the days in going to shops and making one or two arrangements, & in the afternoons I go to the club for tea, & meet Mr Moore who introduces me to some of his friends, among them Ellis to whom I had an introduction, & we play billiards & get home to dinner at 8. Friday evening we are by ourselves & have some music; [18 Dec.] Saturday a friend comes in to dinner & we all go on to a sort of variety entertainment which the Governor of Madras {2} is attending. What a business it is finding one’s carriage afterwards and in the rain too (for it has actually started raining & been going on for 24 hours or so); the plan is:—every one, who can, crowds into the doorway & then all the carriages drive past, and whenever anyone spots their carriage they hail it & get in. Somewhat primitive! but then you see they don’t as a rule get so many Europeans at the place. (Please excuse writing & style, as I am in a train with not too good illumination.) At last after waiting about ½ an hour we find our vehicle and get back about 1.30 A.M! For entertainments in this country don’t begin as a rule till 9.30 P.M.

Meanwhile I have had it explained to my servant that I want him to take all my luggage to the pier early in the morning; & I myself am to be called at 6 and follow on soon after. I found it always rather a difficulty telling my servant anything, I used to say to someone “Would you mind explaining to my boy such & such things”; it was really rather ludicrous; when I was out in a gari (cab) & thought the driver was not going where I wanted & could not explain, I used to stop in the street when I saw a white man (or more probably Eurasian) & ask him to make it clear; in this way I sometimes gathered quite a little crowd, & I have since heard other English people say they have done the same; for even if you know Hindustani I am not sure whether you will be able to make the Tamil-speaking people of Madras fully comprehend you.

[19 Dec.] Well, I got up Sunday morning bade goodbye with sincere gratitude for the most kind hospitality & arrived at the pier to find my boy there with all my baggage, & getting into a Mozaffee boat (I don’t think this is quite the right word; but they are marvellous craft, put together without any nails, the planks fastened to one another with string. They have about 15 men rowing & one man constantly bailing) I am rowed to the Parramatta. I settle up with my boy, & prepare myself for a quiet 3 days voyage. It is exactly a month since I left London & I find the Parramatta left London on the same day as I did {3}.

Not very much to describe of my life on board the ship. I found the people all very ready to be friendly, quite a small party only some 50 or 60, & I was not quite so much of an intruder as I had expected because a number of them had only come on at Colombo a day or so before.

I sit at meals next an American who is a thorough specimen of the globe trotting Yankee; & who succeeded in doing Madras during the few hours the boat stopped there, by just taking a trolly car from one end of the city to the other end and back again.

Though I got on board according to instructions, about 8 A.M. the boat has so much cargo to deal with that it does not get off till nearly 5 o’c in the afternoon.

[20–21 Dec.] Monday & Tuesday pass along easily enough with deck cricket in the afternoon, & Tuesday night we reach the mouth of the Hoogly (that branch of the Ganges Delta on which Calcutta lies) & remain till dawn, for the ascent of the river must be in daylight. [22 Dec.] Wednesday we slowly proceed up the river an operation which requires some care, as the bed of the river is constantly changing with the shifting sand {4}, & reach the landing stage about ½ past 3. The same night I go on by train to Mozufferpore [23 Dec.] reaching there about noon {5} & am glad to find Adie waiting for me on the platform.

Mozufferpore is a large station with perhaps 80 or a 100 Europeans but I don’t suppose they are ever there all at once, and at Xmas time, particularly, a number of them are away. When one speaks of the residents in an English town one would regard a person who had been there only a couple of years as quite a new comer; this is not at all the case with the stations in India; nearly all the Europeans are officials and they constantly are getting shifted on from one place to another; 2 years would represent an old inhabitant, a few months would cover a good number; and perhaps—I speak quite at random—only ½ the people would have been there over the year. Thus with the I.C.S people they get shifted about during their years in India all through a sort of division of their presidency, and get in time to know nearly everyone in it.

But of such general matters as these I shall be able to speak with more knowledge later on & I propose leaving a great number of them to write about in a final encyclical which I shall write on leaving India.

I may as well state here that I have booked passage (P & O) from Colombo in a boat which will probably leave April 29.

The last date to post letters to India for me will therefore be April 1 & up till then they should be sent | c/o Thos Cook & Son | Bombay.

It will probably be possible to post on to the Australian P & O by which I am going to be delivered to me ‘passenger from Colombo to Australia’, but I am not sure of the name of the boat. Afterwards letters should be sent | c/o Thos Cook & Son | 269 Collins St | Melbourne

As I said at the beginning I do not propose to say very much about my time spent at Mozufferpore because the actual incidents of it would read very much the same as those of easy life anywhere; except perhaps, you will say, the time of rising; well really in India one must get up early, because the hours just after sunrise, & the hour or two as the sun is setting are much the best of the day. But I consider we used to get up rather late at M—, I frequently get up at 6 or 6.30.

When I say ‘the hour or two as the sun is setting’ don’t imagine that we get anything to speak of in the way of twilight; probably at 4 o’clock it is still tremendously hot, & you have to wear your pith helmet against the heat of the sun, & by 6 o’c it is quite dark. When I was at Nellore there was only about an hour we could play lawn tennis; 50 minutes before sunset 10 minutes after.

[25 Dec.] On Xmas day we went to a dinner party at the Collector’s {6} (head Magistrate’s) house, & the whole party played a game of sort of dining room badminton afterwards; [27 Dec.] and on the following Monday we went there again to a jolly little dance. English Xmas fare was of course the order of the day at the dinner, & we pulled crackers & drank to absent friends. On the Monday I danced on into [28 Dec.] my birthday & went (cycled) home with the added weight of the 1st year of my second quarter century!

One day, an indigo planter {7} (there are a great many all round M—) came to stop a day with Adie and offered to take me back with him to spend a couple of nights at his “factory” (this term includes as well as the actual factory, his own house & grounds & I think all the land under indigo cultivation) & this I was pleased to do.

(This letter reminds me of the report of one [of] my speeches in the C. Union, given by the Review “Mr Lawrence with a halting delivery & lame sincerity spoke in contemptuous footnotes” The similarity refers to the footnotes, because I have put into the letter so many parentheses; the halting delivery too probably about hits the mark.)

There was not very much going on at the factory as the growing is in the spring and the manufacture in the summer, and at these times they are very busy; but there were large numbers of coolies at work in the fields & we rode round them inspecting; this the planter does every morning, because if there is no inspection work will be shirked, or the foreman will pretend to have employed more men than he actually has done.

I was interested in the sort of wages received; all the family seem to work, the man gets perhaps 10 pies a day, the woman 8 & the children 4 or 6; and 12 pies make one anna ie one penny! So that one is reminded of the workmen who worked for a penny a day. At the same time the man probably owns some little private land on which he can grow a few things for himself.

The planter is generally landlord as well as employer, and has the people under his thumb; & no doubt he drives a pretty good bargain for himself in many cases by methods which seem somewhat doubtful to English bred ears, but the people are probably surprised that being all powerful he does not make greater use of his opportunities; they would be worse treated under native rulers, & but for the feeling of subservience to a foreign race would prefer the present régime. (Of course you must remember in all these statements of native opinion I only speak from what I have been told, it would be quite impossible for me to get any idea of it direct from the people themselves).

I was also interested in the sort of life the planters lead, far far away from anyone but this extraordinary race of cringing people. A desolate sort of life, & my friend thoroughly disliked it; he seemed to regard India as a sort of trap into which people fell when they were young, & being once out here, found it too late to go back again & start life at home. I have found some other people who have held somewhat ths view and a great many who have held quite the opposite.

For my own part I don’t think I should care to live out here permanently; there is a spirit of unrest about the place which would be very trying.

It seemed funny out in such a lonely spot, to spend the afternoon in putting out & playing a game at croquet, with a set made by Ayers & Son of London.

My friend, the planter, was an old Cambridge man of the same year as myself, but as he belonged to Pembroke we did not find we had very many friends in common.

Adie was very kind to me & took me round to call upon all the people at M—; I think I have said that when a new person comes to a station, it is the custom for him to go round & call upon all the ladies of the station; the proper time to do this is between 12 and 2, as after that hour a great many ladies retire to sleep; the proper length of a call (this would suit Carry) is ten minutes; so every day—or a good many days—Adie & I were to be seen on bicycles performing a round.

One morning I went to see a village industry, blanket making; everything was done from the raw wool to the finished article—not very finished—& all the apparatus was of the most primitive kind: the weaving machine had only 1 beam & no comb, the man using a piece of bamboo cut like a large paper knife & thrusting alternately between the threads instead.

Another morning I went to see the jail, where the prisoners were engaged in various works, among others in making Persian Carpets.

[About 3 Jan.] {8} At the beginning of Jany I returned to Calcutta & one of the first things which I did was to engage a servant from Cooks. Specifically he is a “travelling boy” & speaks English very well; up to this point I had been studying up Hindustani, but now I am afraid I have left off learning it as I require it so little. The man I have got (for though he is called a “boy” he is old enough to be my father) is a Mussulman & seems extremely capable & so far as I can judge honest. He gets what is viewed out here as a fabulously large salary 2 or 3 times as much as most servants get; yet what seems very small from a European point of view. His wages are 35 rupees a month, and it appears all travelling boys of this kind get the same. For this he “finds” himself. He waits on me at table, looks after my clothes & is generally useful, but of course he is not prepared to do nearly as much as an English servant. He also dresses me, but this I think I could do as well without. His principal use is when I am travelling or stopping in hotels, as then nothing is safe from the hand of the despoiler. Later on I shall probably be able to give you a better description.

I spent about a fortnight in Calcutta, & while the first part of my time I found rather slow, leaving my letters of introduction etc, at the end I had so much to do it was difficult to get it all in: I suppose this must always be so more or less when one goes to a strange place, but I think it was partly my own fault, as I did not go & call upon all the people I might have done, at first.

Altogether I met a number of Old Caledonians & old Parramattans & they were a great help to me, & were very kind.

One day I went to tea with Babington Smith the Viceroy’s secretary who is a fellow of Trinity {9} & to whom I had a letter of introduction from the Master of Trinity {10}. [6 Jan.] Then I went to the large ball at the Government House where only Europeans came {11}, almost every one in Calcutta; [11 Jan.] & another evening to a party to which natives also were invited {12}; [13 Jan.] then another day there was the ceremony of the Investiture of different orders Commander of the Indian Empire (C I E) etc. {13} It is difficult for me to say very much in description; some of the costumes of the Indian princes were very magnificent & their jewels were superb. Those whom you have seen, & the pictures of them will probably enable you to get some idea.

Then one evening I went down to the Seaman’s Institute where there was a sort of social gathering and a little dance; it seemed quite like a workman’s club in England, & so funny to find it out here, so many English sailors; I enquired for any from Victoria docks way, but I could not find any.

[12 Jan.] Then one day I spent with a man of the Oxford Mission Rev F W Douglas† who took me round among the slums {14}; we saw the extraordinary images, they do poojah (worship) to; also we saw the place where they burnt their dead. Then too he took me to a Rajah’s palace, full of some really beautiful things & with magnificent floors; but everything lumped about just anyhow, mixed up with any amount of rubbish; on the outside a number of sort of scaffold poles were lying about, looking as though the house was just being done up; but I was assured that it was always so.

Douglas† himself looks after what is known as a “mess”, that is a place where a number of students who are working for their university exams, live together. His place was kept fairly in order & clean, but the places he took me too† where the students ran their messes on their own account might better be described by saying they “pigged” together. The cost for board & lodging is about 12 rupees a month (ie 4/– a week)! Then lectures etc cost them some small sum, & these are their total expenses; rather different from what we have to pay at the Varsity!

Then one day I was taken round the Opium dens by one of the Commissioners. He told me when I started that I might say anything I liked about them to friends, but I must not make use of what I saw to speak or write against government; it seems they have been bothered with a lot of people who have gone prying into the matter, knowing little or nothing, & have made a lot of trouble. These dens used to be licensed & then he could inspect them & see they were kept respectable; now these busybodies had stirred up sentiment & refused to license them any longer, so that unlicensed places grew up quite as numerous as before & much worse kept. Of course every now & then he comes down & catches them & has them fined; so they keep a man on the look out, who gives a note of warning & all the people in the den hurry out of the way. On this occasion my friend was only taking me round, & so he just said “he didn’t intend to catch them” & they seemed quite to trust him in a great number of cases, & remain just as they were. We saw first one class of dens where opium is mixed with a black powder & rolled up into little balls to smoke, and secondly the real opium smoking when the man gets a little opium melted in a flame, & puts it in his pipe, & then still holding his pipe over the flame, just has his 3 or 4 wiffs, & then begins again. My friend made me a present of one of these pipes which I shall show you one day.

Of course you must not confuse the selling of opium & the keeping of smoking dens; the 2 things are quite distinct, the former is allowed in licensed shops, the latter is now forbidden.

One day I went to call upon Mr Whitehead who is a brother of one of the fellows of Trinity {15}; he himself is head of the Bishops College, a school for instructing native Christians; I went to lunch there & was shown over the place; I also had some talk with him about the whole question of native Christianity, but it is a very difficult subject; at any rate it would seem that the work of soundly educating the children of native Christian parents cannot be anything but good. All the missionaries of the College & of the Oxford mission belong to the high church party, & there was staying with them an army man who was more or less of their way of thinking. I was interested in hearing his position, especially as I have known well several low church men in Cambridge. He also took me to his Church. As he had a good deal of time upon his hands I went about with him, sometimes cycling, sometimes going [in] the quaint little boats upon the river. One day we cycled and trained to Chandinagore which is one of the towns under French Jurisdiction. Another day we went across to the botanical gardens, where there are magnificent avenues of tropical trees, a splendid place for cycling. The French station was curious, it looked so funny to see “Rue de la Gare” stuck up and such like.

There was also a zoological gardens which I went to see, but our London Zoo rather spoils us for all other entertainments of a similar kind.

I went several times to the theatre while I was in Calcutta & saw among other things the Liliputian troop performing in Robinson Crusoe; one evening I made up a party of old Caledonians & we all went together and took a box.

Every afternoon as soon as the sun ceases to be hot, there is a special road where every body drives, known as the red road; then when it is dark the band plays in the Eden Gardens some people getting out of their carriages & walking about; but the great majority just have their carriages stop & sit in them, for people are very lazy about walking.

Another afternoon I went to play lawn tennis with some boat friends & spent a pleasant time.

Then I went to call upon Mr Mozoomdar who is one of the leading lights of the Bramo Somaj movement {16}; he insisted upon getting up a meeting of Bramo Somaj students for me, [16 Jan.] & I went there Sunday afternoon, & described to them, as I was requested, a little about Cambridge life. Our whole idea of a Varsity is very different from theirs; they merely look upon it as an institution for giving lectures & for examining. All the students work very hard, principally cramming; so far as I could judge there is very little real interest in the work. They were very much amused at the idea of some of our men going up to Cambridge mainly for the rowing or the cricket, and some of them asked questions. There were, besides students, several other Bramo Somaj people to whom Mr Mozoomdar introduced me, among them I met a man who had been up at Cambridge (a native I mean) & whom I knew slightly when I was there {17}. Then when the meeting was over they put a garland of flowers round my neck(!) which they say is an oriental custom, & gave me to taste of all kinds of native fruits & sweets. I was very glad to have the opportunity of tasting but I can’t say they were highly delectable; while I was going in for these things they didn’t eat but remained looking on & watching my face as I tried each new thing, a little embarrassing to say the least of it. I had come on my bicycle, & they almost wanted to me† wear my garland to ride home in, but I couldn’t quite swallow that, so I got them to do it up in a piece of paper & I hung it in my room at the hotel.

Altogether I enjoyed my stay in Calcutta very much; & was very glad to have the opportunity of studying native life. What with the Opium dens, the slums, the streets of the bazar† (one I drove through was so narrow that the vehicle almost touched both side houses at once) & my visit to the Bramo Somaj I felt I had really got just a little bit behind the scenes, & had ideas of some sides of Indian life of which many Anglo Indians even are ignorant.

One thing my friend Mr Douglas of the Oxford Mission said to me, which impressed me very much, while he was showing me the Students† messes. He said “These Hindoos have beautiful manners; now you would think from this apparent pleasure at seeing us, & the glad welcome they accord, they really liked our coming to see them. On the contrary they hate & dislike us. It is not altogether (or even mainly) fear which make[s] them treat us here as they do, it is simply their manners”. Of the country as a whole he said “We merely govern it by the sword & but for the impossibility of the people acting together we should not succeed; yet mark the marvellous order we are able to keep in the streets; & moreover remember a native would always prefer an Englishman to judge his quarrel”.

All these statements seem somewhat contradictory but I have found other people say almost exactly the same. I don’t know that they are really quite true, & of course you must not include people like the Bramo Somaj. One word more:—The Hindoo is exasperatingly dilatory & the Englishman curses him for it & treats him as a fool! (This is my own.)

{18} But I expect you will be most of all anxious to hear about the eclipse, so I write this at once in case I should not have another opportunity of writing. [17 Jan.] I left Calcutta on Monday evening 17th Jany & travelling continuously [18 Jan.] I arrived at Sahdol at eleven o’clock on Tuesday night. That is what I should call a nice easy pleasant journey, because I only had one change, & no time to wait at the changing station; whereas now on my way back to Mozuffapore, I am stranded here (Bankipore) with 7 —— hours to wait because the trains have just missed. One thinks a good deal in England of having to wait an hour or so at a station; here one just accepts the inevitable. The native sitting & waiting, is in his element & is perfectly happy. When I arrived at Sahdol I was met by a servant, who sent on my bedding with a coolie & a “peon” {19} showed me my way to a tent where my bedding was unfolded and I slept soundly till morn; when I awoke I saw no sign of my other luggage or my boy, till about 8 o’clock Campbell came & said I had really gone to the wrong tent. He himself had only just arrived as he had missed trains somewhere along the route & had been delayed a day; he had wired to the chief to have me met at the station. The tent I had slept in, belonged to a man who was coming up next day, so it was all right.

There were two parties in the Astronomical camp at Sahdol, 1stly the English party consisting of The Astronomer Royal (Christie), Turner & others, unfortunately Dr Common had decided at the last not to come {20}; & 2nd the Madras Party, with Michie Smith the Government Astronomer as chief, & several others among whom Campbell was one; it was this party which I joined, & as soon as I was introduced to Michie Smith he said he would like to make use of me during the eclipse as he was rather short of hands; I had not really quite wanted to be employed, as I had intended to get a good view of the phenomenon; still of course I could hardly refuse, especially as he added ‘you will be able to see the eclipse all right’; further, I was a little pleased at taking a real part (so to speak) in the observations.

During the days which elapsed before the eclipse we lived a rough & tumble sort of life, sleeping in our tents at night under a great pile of blankets, for it was very cold, & wearing thin clothes during the day because of the great heat. The range of shade temperature was from 80 to 30 and this hardly really gives an idea of the heat in the middle of the day, because it is the sun itself which makes it seem so warm. Hot at 5 PM at 5.30 the sun would set, at 6 one wanted a small coat & before 6.30 one needed an ulster, & we often dined in our ulsters in the evening.

We saw something of Christie & Turner & the others of their party; their instruments were especial eclipse instruments, & were similar to the ones I had seen in Norway the summer before last {21}. Our instruments, on the other hand were all general observatory instruments & had to be adapted for eclipse work.

M. Smith himself used a heliostat which was erected on a mound he had had made, some 15 ft high which went by the name of “Mount Sahdol” in the camp. I don’t propose to give a detailed description, but the heliostat is in the main a revolving mirror, & this one reflected the sun down a long 40 ft tube & so by means of lenses to an image on a photographic plate. M Smith & several of the party worked at this; & Campbell was put in charge of another instrument with your humble servant to assist him. This instrument consisted of an ordinary equatorial telescope, with an apparatus (at the end, where the eye would usually be placed) for photographic plates. An “equatorial” I may describe as an ordinary telescope which can be turned towards the sun or a star, & which by means of clock work is made to move so that it continually points towards the same object while the earth goes round its axis during the day. The photographic arrangement was made so as to enable a number of plates to be exposed in succession.

[Alongside the following words is a rough sketch of the telescope and case.] I am afraid my powers of drawing are quite unequal to making you understand even the principle of the thing. The first picture is intended to be a diagrammatic sketch of the telescope & case for the plates {22}. [Alongside the following words is a rough sketch of the case.] The second to show the case for the plates alone. In this the telescope is supposed to be pointing through the paper, with the eye piece end in contact with the plate marked A; then by turning the case round by means of the handles B, each of the plate† successively could be brought into the same position.

Campbell’s business it was to turn the case round, & call out to me the times of exposure, while I stood on a couple of packing cases, & did the exposures by taking off & on my straw hat (!) at the end C.

During the days before the eclipse I was given a good many calculations to do, & worked out from formulae the times of 1st 2nd 3rd & 4th contacts [Alongside the following words are diagrams of the four contacts between sun and moon] ie, the times of commencement of eclipse, commencement of totality, end of totality, & end of eclipse. These times seem to have been verified pretty closely by observation, but they could not be very accurate, as we were not quite certain of our longitude. The totality was about 103 seconds; and the whole eclipse began about 0h–13m–9s & ended 3h–1m–46s local time. The last day before the eclipse we had several practices of the work we had to do. The programme for our instrument was as follows: A few seconds before totality I take off the real cap of the instrument & replace it by my straw hat; then totality having begun, Campbell opens the shutter & calls out “½” whereupon I expose for a guessed ½ second, Campbell rotates the case & calls out “1” & I expose for about a second; then 2, 4, 8, 16, 8, 4, 1, in succession, the longer times I count with a bell which is ringing out seconds. And during the longer exposures I am to have time to look at the eclipse. We find that we have just nice time to get through these 10 exposures during the 103 seconds. After that, Campbell shuts the shutter, I put on the real cap, & afterwards ½ a minute after totality is over, give a very rapid exposure of the partial phase by means of a slit (Campbell raising the shutter meanwhile).

I have not mentioned that the place where we were encamped was in a clearing which had been made right in the middle of the jungle; one day a man brought home a tiger which he had shot less than 2 miles from the camp!

[22 Jan.] Saturday all is ready; & about the calculated time the eclipse begins in a cloudless sky.

During the partial phase I noticed several things the exact opposite of what I saw in Norway; in the first place whereas there the light seemed to remain about the same up to within a minute or two of totality & then to get rapidly darker, here the light seemed to get gradually less all the way through; secondly whereas there the horns of the solar crescent were particularly pointed I noted here that they appeared cut off—no doubt an optical effect.

Thus at Vadsö phases were [There follow sketches of three phases of the solar crescent] here they seemed to be more like this [There follow sketches of five phases, the first and last crossed through.]

It is getting darker, only a few seconds remain to totality.

“There’s Venus!” cries M. Smith.

“There’s the Corona.”

Our work begins.

————————————

It’s all over & it’s getting light again.

What have we seen? In the first place let me say that our work somewhat interfered with our appreciation of the phenomenon as a whole; but—though this has to be borne in mind—I am compelled to admit (& I know that I am open to the charge of want of artistic sense in saying it) I was disappointed! I think that was probably because I had been led to expect so much. This feeling of mine was shared by a good many of those observers who were seeing an eclipse for the first time.

To begin with, it never got really very dark, I don’t think it was as dark even as totality in Norway; in the second place there was no shadow to be seen; & thirdly there were hardly any colour effects.

Having said all this, I have probably said too much. We saw the corona, we saw at least one prominence, & we saw Venus & I think Mars & Mercury. The Corona itself is somewhat less tangible or real than one is led to imagine, & looks really much more like the extending rays of the sun which one sometimes sees in England. It is very often drawn like this [There follows a sketch of the sun with rays, or streamers, radiating from it] which gives you an idea that the lines of the streamers go in the directions of the lines drawn. In reality what is shown above is only intended as an outline of all the streamers that there are; I should attempt to draw it as below. [There follows another similar sketch, with a greater number of radial streamers.] all the streamers appearing radial.

The picture I have just drawn represents somewhat the corona of the present eclipse. Out in the direction A was to be seen Venus shining very brightly; & somewhat further on & a little above were Mercury & Mars. When the sun’s disc was covered, a very bright spot could be seen at B. To some this appeared of the same colour as the sun itself, & it flashed through their mind that it might be Vulcan, the conjectured inner planet, but for my own part at any rate this idea was immediately dismissed, 1stly because it was much too bright, 2nd because it was much too big. Other observers saw the spot a brilliant red. It was in fact an exceptionally fine prominence. It comes out well in the 2 photographs which I saw developed, before I left Sahdol; & there are a number of other mushroom shaped prominences to be seen in them as well.

The colour of the corona was, as one is always told, a sort of milky white, & objects on the earth were a dull slate colour.

The horizon, or parts of it, appeared to be bright all through the phenomenon, but some people saw cloudlike shadows on distant hills.

Altogether it was a very fine eclipse, & I was very pleased to have an opportunity of seeing it & taking part in the observations. It was only as a stupendously grand phenomenon, which should indelibly imprint itself upon the mind, & remain there as the most wonderful thing ever seen, that it seemed to me not to fulfil one’s expectation. This impression appears to be shared by the great majority (from what I hear now) of those who saw it.

The fact that we never saw the shadow moving is perhaps to be accounted for by the fact that we only commanded a very limited horizon; but I was given to understand than† one man who had gone up a hill, had not observed it either. Perhaps it is to be connected with the gradual withdrawal of light; but this term is only relative. Moreover people viewing it from other places seem to have observed a sudden withdrawal {23}. Lastly as to colour effects, I suppose it would always be difficult to account satisfactorily for their appearance or non-appearance. Some people apparently saw changes of colour of the inner corona; these I had no opportunity of observing; but in any case I don’t believe they can be seen well unless one deliberately shuts or covers one’s eyes for several minutes before totality begins.

{24} This sheet is by way of being a sort of postscript to my second encyclical. A few pages back I described to you how I had to wait 7 hours at Bankipore; at the present moment I am in a still worse predicament, because I am stranded here (Bankipore again) till my luggage turns up. I saw it booked & labelled at Mozuffapore, but even so it never seems to have been put into the train; & I dare not go any further without it lest I should be divorced from it altogether. Rather hopeless! but I keep the official busy telegraphing & it may ultimately turn up. You can perhaps imagine that the frame of mind I am in is not very conducive to letter writing, & especially is delay disagreeable to me as just at the present, I want all the time I can get, in order to put in everything that I ought to do up here, before going down to join Booty {25} by Feby 26. As you know he lives in S. Canara & in order to avoid the possibility of plague quarantine I shall probably have to go all round by Calcutta Madras & Calicut.

I have just spent a very jolly 2 or 3 days with Adie {26}, coming in for the tail of Mozuffapore week. Sports, tournaments, races, dances all formed part of the programme, & crowds of people as one thinks out here (perhaps 3 or 4 hundred) had come into the station from the surrounding country. [26 Jan.] The last evening, Wednesday, we had a delightful fancy dress ball; of course having stopped 10 days at M— at Xmas time I knew quite a number of people & enjoyed myself immensely. A Pierrot costume is very much more pleasant to dance in than dress clothes. [27 Jan.] I stayed over Thursday & went out to dinner that night, & left by train 1.30 A.M, intending to get on to Benares this morning; but alas man proposes and ——. Every now & again I take train down to the river & take steamer across to meet the trains coming from Mozuffapore, but so far I have met with no success.

[2 Feb.] Roorkee Feby 2. Well you see here I am & not without my luggage! The last occasion of my crossing the river, for which this description was broken off, ended in my finding my luggage come by the Mozuffapore train; I returned with it in triumph, went & looked up a man in Bankipore whom I had met at M—, had dinner with him & caught night train on to Benares. Now I expect you will want a detailed description of what I saw in Benares, and this is just what you won’t get. The really fine thing is the view of the city from the Ganges. I got on to a small boat & was paddled very slowly down. You see the banks are high & slope down into the water; all the temples and Rajahs’ palaces are built at a normal height on the side away from the river; then they have a great wall & steps down on the river side, so that from the water they stand up perhaps 100 feet or more. Then there are a great number of people bathing & washing clothes in the Ganges because it is the sacred river, though you may be sure it is dirty enough really. I am afraid I have made this really grand & impressive Oriental sight only appear ridiculous.

I think in the last page I was speaking of Benares {27}, the great feature of which is the view of the city from the river. Of course there are temples without number, & among them is the monkey temple, where monkeys roam about at their pleasure & issue forth to steal from the surrounding suburb. Then there is the learned holy man who alone of all the holy men one comes across is not prepared to receive a gratuity; he shakes hands with you & presents you with a copy of his commentary on the Vedas.

Lucknow must always be memorable for the successful defence of the Residency during 5 months of siege. I was shown all over the Residency compound & received instruction from the native who is in charge, & who frequently brought his sentences to a close with “and outside there were 50,000 & inside but 2000 men”. And then I went into the grave yard where are buried those who fell during the siege; into this none but Europeans are allowed to go. There I found the famous tomb with the inscription

Here lies
Henry Lawrence
Who tried to do his duty

Altogether the graves were very simple, & the whole effect very impressive.

At Lucknow I also saw the great palace of the king of Oudh; a huge quadrangle all coloured with saffron, not really very fine art, but a thing not to be forgotten.

And so I went on to Roorkee & arriving 4.50 A.M found my friend Tipple awaiting me at the railway station; awfully good of him I thought, especially as it was quite dark & I subsequently found he didn’t as a rule get up till 7.30. “But” said he “it isn’t everyday I get a visitor come & see me, in fact you are the first & I have been out here nearly a year.” Tipple is Professor at Roorkee Thomason College, & during the day while he was occupied, I went also to the labs and spent my time in trying without much success to arrange an apparatus for distilling some very dirty mercury. Then when work was over we played lawn tennis or rowed or rode; & in the evening we either dined alone & talked of old times or we went around to the R.E officers’ mess of which I was courteously made an honorary member during my stay at Roorkee. Altogether a quiet time but very pleasant.

One day Tipple was talking & said that one of the disadvantages of the place was that there was nowhere to get away to from Saturday to Monday. The next day I got a letter from Hutchinson—who came out with me on the Caledonia—saying he was assistant magistrate at Moradabad & his chief was H. S. Rix another old friend of mine. Now Moradabad is quite close to Roorkee, & I found Tipple knew both the men too; so we at once settled to make a Sat–Mon trip over there. [5–7 Feb.] You will perhaps modify your idea of what I call “quite close” when you hear that it took us 7 hours to get over there, & 4 hours in the middle of the night, to come back; the distance was in fact 100 miles, but to a globe trotter who has covered some 2000 miles in the previous 3 weeks c’est une bagatelle. It was rather a relief to be travelling without all my baggage, for my boy by careful subdivision of packages has brought the number up to 14 in all including two of his own. And we spent an extremely pleasant little week end, & it seemed quite like dear Old Cambridge again. {28}

And so I went back to Roorkee, & finished out my stay there & started for Delhi having spent a very pleasant week.

(Before I forget, did I tell you that one day at Calcutta when I was driving through a very narrow street of the bazaar, it got so bad that the driver had to take the horse out to get the small victoria round one of the narrow corners?)

I had a letter of introduction to one of the members of the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, from the Master of Trinity; so when I went to Delhi I stopped at the Mission House, which was once a Rajah’s palace & is a fine old place in a quaint compound.

I do not propose to say anything—at any rate now—on the subject of Mission work, but it was very jolly meeting so many old Cambridge men. I found one man who was up in Trinity in my year. And there was also a layman there who was able to go about a bit with me as he had not much to do.

But my sight seeing in Delhi was somewhat spoilt by the rain, & I am afraid my recollections of the town will always be mixed up with mud & slush. Of course in reality Delhi is not more favoured with rain than other places, & that which they had when I was there was the only rain since October. Arrangements in India are not intended for rain—at any rate in the winter—the interiors of bungalows become very dark, & of course there is little or nothing to be done outside. I suppose however that rain is always “the deluge!”—so to speak—to an idle globetrotter.

The interest of Delhi is of 3 kinds:—1st reminiscences of the mutiny 2nd buildings of the town 3rd the ruins to the south & the Kutb.

Of the reminiscences of the mutiny I do not propose to say anything because no short words of mine can bring them vividly before you. A mixture of sadness & pride must always fill the mind whenever they are exhibited, & these cannot be conveyed in words.

Of the buildings of the town, the fort or palace, & the great wall which runs all round Delhi are relics of the past, while the Jumna Musjid (or Friday Mosque) is used still by Mohammedans; [11 Feb.] I went there Friday morning & at 1 o’clock the mosque itself & the great open court yard which faces it was crowded with worshippers. {29} All men. At a signal they stood up. At a signal they knelt upright. At a signal they knelt with their foreheads touching the ground. A wonderful sight 2 or 4 thousand men all taking part in worship, all acting together. Rather a different thing from the way people get up to sing a hymn in our churches at home.

Some 10 miles south of the city is the great Kutb {30}, a monument some 240 ft high, built of red sandstone with a little marble in places & wonderfully carved. Truly a fine sight & worth coming 10 miles to see; it is in 5 storeys, & there is supposed to be some arithmetic relation between the height of the separate storeys. (I have just read through what I have written & have come to the conclusion that it is utterly fatuous & futile to attempt to describe—at least for me—& the only thing to do would be to copy out the guide book & this I don’t intend to do.)

Between the city & the Kutb are ruins of former cities & tombs, ruins & tombs, tombs & ruins. Some of the tombs are stately marble buildings, some are of the universal red sandstone, all have the dome of the mosque, being tombs of Mohammedan rulers. (an unintentional hexameter)

Of ancient appearance: one dreams of pyramidal antiquity, & it is rather a surprise to learn that they don’t date back as many hundreds as the pyramids† thousands of years.

But if Delhi was perhaps a little disappointing (that was no doubt due partly to the weather), Agra I felt to be most beautiful. And of all things the Taj. The tomb erected by Shah Jehan for his favourite wife. Wondrous structure of white marble of colossal dimensions, of perfect proportions, of the most delicate workmanship. Exquisite carving, labour of years of thousands of skilled men.

The Taj gardens surround it & there in the shade it is possible to sit & gaze & gaze upon the sublime structure.

Many other beautiful things I saw in Agra, & one day I cycled out to a wonderful old Palace at Fatehpur Sikri, sleeping the night there. The next day I wandered about among the ruins & inspected the tomb surrounded by marble screens of beautiful trellis work; & in the evening I returned home.

I was fortunate in coming across several old Varsity men, also globe trotting; 2 Cambridge men & an Oxford man; none of them I knew before, but of course I found we had many friends in common.

From Agra I went to Gwalior where I slept a night. Gwalior is in a Native State, but there is an English Resident there & the whole place seemed to me quite as English if not more so than the English territory. I stayed at the Guest House which is a kind of Hotel, but more like an English Country house than the ordinary Indian Hotel; & I was the only person there.

I drove out to the foot of the fort, & then I rode on an elephant up to the top & was shown all round. It is a grand place & looks quite impregnable, but I am told that at the present day it can be reached by artillery from the distant hills. I also drove to the Palace. The Maharajah is very fond of trains, & has a little private line which runs right into the palace.

Now here I am at Bombay {31} (did I mention before that some of the tram horses here wear hats!) & I sail for Mangalore to see Booty on Friday Feb 25

—————

Square brackets in the MS have been replaced in the transcript by round brackets.

{1} ‘Ghusl’ is, strictly speaking, a form of Islamic ritual washing; ‘garum pani’ is Hindi for hot water.

{2} Sir Arthur Havelock.

{3} Friday, 19 November. See The Times, 15 Nov. 1897, p. 6.

{4} In his autobiography Lawrence added: ‘“All passengers on deck” was called out at the danger point where a former ship, the William and Mary, had been sunk with passengers trapped below. But we encountered no trouble and arrived safely in port.’ (Fate Has Been Kind, p. 38.)

{5} Lawrence apparently crossed the Ganges by steamer at Bankipore (Patna) earlier in the day. See 6/11.

{6} Not identified.

{7} This man has not been identified, though Lawrence later recorded (see p. 53) that he was a Cambridge man of the same year as himself who had been at Pembroke College.

{8} Lawrence probably left Muzaffarpur on 3 or 4 January, which was the intention he expressed in a letter to his sister Ellen on 27 December (6/16), but it does not appear possible to be precise. His letter from Calcutta to his father on 5 January (6/11) gives the impression that he had only just arrived there, and he later recorded (p. 56) that he stayed at Calcutta for ‘about a fortnight’ (he left on the 17th). This evidence cannot be reconciled precisely with his statements elsewhere (6/11; p. 93) that he was at Muzaffarpur for only ten days (this would indicate that he left on the 1 or 2 January), but perhaps these were simply rough estimates.

{9} Henry Babington Smith. He had been elected a fellow of Trinity in 1890 and was in India from 1894 to 1899 as private secretary to the Earl of Elgin.

{10} H. M. Butler.

{11} See 6/11.

{12} See 6/11, 6/3. This party too was held at Government House.

{13} See 6/3 and the Times of India, 17 Jan. 1898, p. 5.

{14} See 6/3. Douglass (sic) had been at the Oxford Mission in Calcutta since 1892. See The Times, 25 July 1949, p. 7.

{15} Henry Whitehead, Principal of Bishop’s College and Superior of the Oxford Mission, Calcutta; afterwards Bishop of Madras. He was brother of the mathematician and philosopher A. N. Whitehead, a Fellow of Trinity.

{16} This visit was made before Lawrence wrote to his aunt on the 12th. See 6/3.

{17} This man has not been identified.

{18} A new gathering (pp. 71–90) begins here, the contents of which were evidently written during Lawrence’s seven-hour wait at Bankipore station during his journey from Sahdol to Mozuffapore, about 26 January. This section contains a number of later annotations in pencil, evidently made in the process of producing an edited report of the eclipse, but the purpose for which this was done is not known.

{19} An attendant or messenger.

{20} The report of the expedition led by Sir William Christie, with a plan of the site, was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, lxiv (17 Nov. 1898–16 Mar. 1899), 1–21, and as an appendix to Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, vol. lviii (1898). See also Christie’s papers in the Cambridge University Library (RGO 7/198).

{21} At Vadsö. See Fate Has Been Kind, pp. 36–7.

{22} ‘telescope … plates’ written above ‘whole without showing the supports or the clock’, struck through.

{23} ‘a sudden withdrawal’ written above ‘the opposite’, struck through.

{24} A new folded sheet (pp. 91–4) begins here. The first two paragraphs were written on 28 January, while Lawrence was at Bankipore waiting for his luggage.

{25} Percy Abbey Booty, a friend of Lawrence’s from Trinity. He had entered the ICS in 1894, and at the time of Lawrence’s tour was Head Assistant Magistrate and Collector at Mangalore.

{26} Lawrence probably arrived at Mazuffapur about 25 January. In a letter to his Uncle Edwin on 5 January Lawrence had written that he would probably return there from the 23rd to the 28th, ‘when the special Mozuffapore week is on’. But it would appear that his stay was not as long as he had intended, perhaps owing to his delay at Bankipore. He left for Benares very early on the morning of the 28th (p. 94).

{27} This suggests that the previous part of the letter was despatched before this one was begun.

{28} The ink changes here.

{29} The ink changes here.

{30} Lawrence drove out to the Kut’b on 11 February. See 6/17.

{31} Lawrence arrived at Bombay some time between 20 February, when he was still in the train from Agra (p. 140), and the 23rd, when he wrote from Bombay to his aunt enclosing the conclusion of this encyclical (6/4). For some of his activities there see 6/21.

† Sic.

Circular letter by F. W. Lawrence

Account of a journey via Bombay, Mangalore, Kundapur, Kota, Purdur (and other centres in South Canara), Mangalore, Nellore, Madras, Tuticorin, Colombo, Kandy, and Colombo.

(A continuation of 5/30b. Identified in the first sentence as ‘an encyclical … the third of the series’. The letter was begun some time between 3 and 10 April, and finished on the 30th.)

—————

Transcript

Once more I start to write an encyclical; this the third of the series, & the last which I shall write about India. At the present moment {1} I am at Katpadi Railway station where I was deposited soon after 3 A.M. Finding no suitable place to go to bed again, & not feeling very sleepy I had some tea & toast (a very early chota hazri) & started to take a little exercise up & down the platform watching the full moon getting lower & lower down, & finally the dawn of day & the rising of the sun just before 6 o’clock. Now I have an hour or two to spare before I shall have breakfast & then at 9.40 my train starts to carry me to Nellore. Probably it would amuse you if you could see me sitting here right out on the platform (on the shady side) in my deck chair writing on a little stool, with the ubiquitous native hanging about all round. Did I ever tell you how the native goes by train? He takes his rug & his cooking pot, & his few rupees tied up in the ends of his turban, & gets to the station; perhaps there is a train just gone, perhaps there will be one going soon, but in that case very likely he misses it by not getting (or not being able to get) his ticket in time; do you think he cares? Not a bit of it. He just sits him down, & perhaps rolls himself up in his rug and goes to sleep; later on when he feels inclined he buys a little food & cooks it & eats it, then he goes to sleep again; he probably won’t get a train for 12 hours very likely not for 24, but it doesn’t make any difference; he is just as happy at the Railway Station as anywhere else, perhaps happier because he has nothing to think about & nothing to do. So it comes about that whatever time of the day or night you arrive at a Railway Station you will probably see a number of bolster like objects strewn about some on the platform some in the sort of native waiting room. On closer inspection these objects turn out to be natives wrapt up head & all in their sheet or blanket. Shall I tell you how the European goes by train? Even he has probably to arrive ½ an hour beforehand to take the tickets & get his luggage booked, unless he allows his boy to do this. In the meanwhile his servants have come with all his luggage brought by coolies or on a bullock cart. One or two big things are very likely booked & sent in the van, the rest are poured pall mall into the carriage under the directions of the boy. The typical Mrs Brown or whoever it is that is jeered at it in England for having big box, little box, .… brown paper parcel, travels quite free handed compared with the ordinary European in India. The first class railway carriage here is generally something like the sleeping carriages of GNR {2} at home, & each compartment can sleep 4 at a pinch (upper & lower berths); but you generally consider yourselves a bit aggrieved if you have to sit more than 2 even during the day for any distance. (Here a native barber has come & shaved me just where I sit) Yesterday coming from Calicut we were 3; every available space under the seats was filled up (& they are very broad) all the space between the seats, in addition to packages on the seats & in the racks; I should think in all they must have got well into the thirties at any rate; every man having 1 or 2 bundles of rugs, one or two bags 2 or 3 despatch boxes, umbrellas, tiffin baskets, bundle of hats (this last may surprise you, my boy always insists on carrying all mine—I don’t include top hat—roll[e]d up in a pillow case) etc etc etc. I used to know at one time how many I had, but I have given that up long ago; I think my boy’s motto must be “Divide et Impera”. I calc’late he will be somewhat surprised when I insist on compressing them well within the single digit before I start for Australia.

While I am on the subject of trains there are two or three things more I want to mention: 1stly most of the lines here are broad gauges 5ft 6in (4-8½ at home) so that there is plenty of room; a few however including the line to Nellore are narrow gauge (metre). Another rather curious thing is that even the main lines (except in one or two places) are only single line & are run almost entirely on the staff system or a modification of it. Generally speaking there is only one fast train in the day along a line each way, & that is the mail. The others are immeasurably slow in comparison, so much so that unless you are only going a short distance you will generally get sooner to your destination by waiting for the mail of the following day. Moreover as distances are long, the mail must pass through many stations at night, thus frequently in travelling you are compelled to start or arrive in the middle of your night’s rest.

The fast mails go 20 to 30 miles an hour[,] stops included; & where there are no fast trains one perhaps covers 10 or 15; so to-day though it is only about 150 miles from here to Nellore I dont† arrive till 8.30 P.M. The stops for meals are definite & marked, the guard or station master wires on how many dinners etc will be required, & when you get out you find all the 1st class passengers assembling in the refreshment room. I think it is time to go & have my breakfast now, & as I am rather hungry perhaps you will excuse my running away to take it! {3}

I write now from Nellore—my 12 hour journey by narrow gauge proved as you may imagine somewhat tedious especially as in the middle of the day it got extremely hot; still I had all the carriage to myself so I did not do so badly.

Before giving you any more general descriptions I will now try & fill up with a few pictures the gap which there is between the date of my writing my last encyclical, & the present.

I think I told you that there were two ways of getting down from Bombay to Mangalore, one by the B.I {4} boat which goes straight, & the other by the little Shepherd steamers {5} which stop at some dozen ports along the coast; the former is in every way superior, but is very uncertain as to time. And so it came about that as Booty was particular as to time when I should reach him, I came to the conclusion at the last minute that I must go by Shepherd {6}. Certainly these boats are very so so but perhaps hardly quite so terrible as the Anglo Indian seems inclined to make them out; nevertheless inundated with natives, & full of cockroaches. Anglo Indians take their servants with them who cook their food for them, but as my boy is not a cook I had to make special arrangements with the Co[mpan]y (who do not as a rule provide anything) to supply me with meals.

[26 Feb.] Reached Marmagoa† Saturday afternoon & fell in with a man who drove me out to Vasco da Gama in a bullock dummy & subsequently gave me dinner before the boat started on again southwards. From there we stopped at all the little ports on the way; but we did not go along side & there was not time to get off.

[27 Feb.] Sunday afternoon I reached Kundapur which is in the South Canara district & [28 Feb.] early next morning we anchored outside the bar at Mangalore. Leaving my Boy with my luggage on board, as I had heard from Booty that he proposed going back to Kundapur in the boat that evening, I went ashore in the launch. I say “went ashore” but in reality I was landed first upon an island where I was disinfected from any chance of carrying plague by being sprinkled with 3 drops of very dilute corrosive sublimate!! After this I was allowed to sail accross† to the mainland, & there found a brougham drawn by two bullocks which conveyed me up to its master’s bungalow—the home of P A Booty.

I hadn’t seen Percy for 2½ years, but he did not seem very much changed, a little thinner perhaps.

“My dear fellow what induced you to put on a linen shirt & a collar; we never do that here except at a dinner party; let me lend you a tennis shirt.”

No sooner said than done; & never again was I so misguided in a district which is the wettest & stickiest I was ever introduced to.

But I have not told you what a pleasure it was to see again Mrs P. A. Booty & to be introduced to the first crowd baby. Query:—am I now Great Grandpapa? Answer:—No: because Percy was always known as “PA”. Unlike the Jerome K Jeromian infant “lots of hair”. “More hair than poor Grandpa haven’t you baby?”

So a pleasant few hours; & then Percy & I are carried away to the Shepherd steamer. Percy regards 3 days on the boat {7} as the 8th wonder of the world. It also tickles him to see me. For my own part, [I am] getting used to finding friends scattered about the vast peninsular.

The Anglo Indian takes beds chairs, table, & servants on board who provide meals. For the Indian cook can cook anywhere; one frying pan is all he wants & will serve you up a dinner of 6 courses. Moreover you can have it at any time. The correct hour is always 8; but if you call out at 6.30, 7, 7.30, 8, 8.30[,] 9.0, 9.30, 10.0 “Boy bring dinner”. Dinner comes.

And so we dine & I am initiated into the mysteries of picquet, sleep on deck, have chota hazri & [1 Mar.] reach Kundapur. Fine bungalow, coming right down to the water’s edge, magnificent view across the backwater—Booty’s head quarters. Sing the glory of the cocoanut palm; all the banks & all the islands of all the rivers of S. Canara are cocoanut palms, cocoanut palms, cocoanut palms. You look North & you see cocoanut palms, you look South & you see cocoanut palms you look East & you see cocoanut palms you look West & you see cocoanut palms; Mangalore is cocoanut palms. Great feathery fans of green resting on brown trunks. This is South Canara.

I have said Kundapur is Booty’s head quarters, but no other Europeans live there; so his wife stays at Mangalore when he goes out into camp. Mangalore is chief station of district, & head quarters of Collector & assistant Collector, but Booty is head assistant Collector & has head quarters of his own[;] he is also head assistant magistrate—the two things always go together—unlike Campbell & Adie who being a year junior are only assistant collectors & assistant magistrates. By the way, though, I should say that this is only an “acting” appointment of Booty’s; but you will find out when you have been in India some time that people are very rarely what they seem, they are only “acting”. Do not read a double entendre!

A ride in the morning, Booty tries cases, lawn tennis, dinner, picquet & bed; so a few days at Kundapur. [5 Mar.] Then out into camp {8}.

Now as “going into camp” is a thing which nearly all Government servants out here, have to do for a large part of their time, perhaps a few words in explanation may not be amiss.

In the first place you will observe that whether a man is in the ICS, is “forest officer”, or “policeman” or a multitude of other things his work will range over a considerable area, & though he will have a head quarters at a station, if his work is to be properly done he will frequently have to spend days & nights (for transit is slow) away from that station. No doubt some men might be inclined to shirk outside work & stay in a sociable station as long as possible. To prevent this there are a† certain regulations. In the first place ICS men are obliged to spend I believe at least 5 months out of a year in camp, & I think most other services have a similar rule. Moreover when out in camp a man draws T.A (Travelling Allowance), so many rupees a day according to his position, or if he “marches” more than 20 miles in the day so much per mile.

You will at once perceive that this is reasonable because he has to keep up his establishment at head quarters as well as that which he takes with him & the object is to encourage rather than discourage going out into camp. A man is “out in camp” whenever he is away from his head quarters, whether he is stopping at a friend’s bungalow, in a “traveller’s bungalow”, or actually under canvas.

Now get out of your head all such things as hotels, inns, restaurants, & general shops, & you will see that it is necessary to carry your whole house about with you;—tents, tables, chairs, beds, bedding, cooking utensils, bread, butter, biscuits, jam, soda water & all the required European stores to say nothing of your servants themselves & your personal luggage. Chickens, rice, & a few similar things you will be able to obtain wherever you go.

The sum total of all the things you have to carry about with you is known down in these parts as your “Saman”. The only method of carrying saman is by bullock cart & as the average rate of progression by one of these is 2 miles an hour, you will see at once that you will not be able to cover any great distance in a day, & further that one part of your saman must precede & another follow you.

If you can avoid it you do not travel in the middle of the day, so that marches are of 2 kinds[,] morning marches & evening marches.

Booty is to do “Jamabundy” {9} in the Udipi taluk (a taluk is something like a county). So after breakfast his boy & his cook start off with one bandy (cart) containing inter alia:—beds & bedding table & chairs, cooking utensils & most of European stores, to go to Kota about 7 miles off. Thither after tea drive Percy & I in dog cart, & after a bit we dine, play picquet & go to bed. In the meantime my boy & Booty’s Peons arrive with the rest of the Saman in another cart.

In most places in S. Canara there is a traveller’s bungalow, looked after by a caretaker, & possibly containing some furniture; at Kota it is out of repair, so Booty has previously had tents sent on. In addition to all this, Booty’s “Office” ie his Office Clerks, & his official books, table etc, etc all follow him about from place; his second sais {10} has brought his second horse; one of his Peons (these are official servants) has brought my bicycle.

After dinner Cook & boy start on again 8 miles to Bremarwaer {11} crossing a ferry on the way, & [6 Mar.] Booty & I proceed in the morning in dog cart, & stay there all day. Next march is to be 15 miles into Purdur {12} where is first centre for Jamabundy. We settle to drive first half, & ride, Percy on horse, self on bike, the second half.

[7 Mar.] We make an early start & at the end of 7 miles find Booty’s horse & my bicycle awaiting us; & so we ride on together till within 2 or 3 miles of Purdur, & then I determine to ride on ahead to get my bath before Booty turns up. So I go on & at the end of another mile I notice a man on in front with a horn, & I gradually become aware that he is making a point of keeping in front of me; every now & then he turns round, sees me & hastens on blowing the horn.

At last I pass him & come upon a conclave of villages holding up a triumphal arch for me to pass under; the Tasseldar {13} is at their head; all respectfully salaam, the tom toms beat the native musicians play their strange harmonies; & so with every sign of reverent appreciation accompanying me I pass onwards to the bungalow clad in blue cycling shorts & socks, a flannel shirt & a topi.

At the time, I supposed they had mistaken me for the Head Assistant Collector for of course they did it all over again when he turned up; but I am not so certain about it now, for knowing that I was with him they could hardly have done less.

In this land a white face always commands respect, & it has often seemed odd to me—who am not really connected in any way with the Raj—that as I passed along the road on my bicycle the native[s] should bow down before me on all sides. But these things are beginning to cease to surprise me.

A few words about clothing. All European clothing is, of course, utterly different from native costumes, & accordingly I don’t suppose one set of clothes appears to the native more odd or more proper than any other.

I suppose it is quite likely that certain fond people at home imagine that the magistrate of a district turns up to his court in a top hat & black coat or at least in a linen shirt & a respectable suit of clothes, whereas as a matter of fact he wears just what he commentably well pleases, which will probably mean a tennis shirt & a suit which a self respecting artisan might think twice before putting on.

Booty has come & we have had Chota. This brings me to say that on the subject of meals of which I wrote in my first encyclical I have yet another variation to give which prevails in S. Canara viz:—“Early tea” (tea & toast) on rising say at 6.30. Chota hazri (Buttered eggs, toast marmalade etc with coffee) after the morning’s exercise say at 9 o’c; Breakfast—a substantial meal—at 12 with wet {14} drinks—you will understand this ridiculous remark—tea at 5 & dinner at 8. “What a lot to eat in a day in a hot climate” You† probably say, & so it is; personally I always used to try to cut down the amount of breakfast.

“Jamabundy”!—spelt up here Jamabandy according to the prevalent method of spelling—“what on earth is that?” {15} Well I wasn’t in much better position myself, for when I had asked about it, people had talked in a vague sort of way about revenue—land settlement—potehls {16}—shanbhogues {17}. And so this afternoon we were to start doing Jamabundy; I think there is a sort of fascination about the word & I will talk about nothing for a little in order to give you time to conjure up all sorts of weird things in connection with it, to piece together all the odd assortment of ideas which you have got in connection with the duties of the collector of a district. Go to sleep & dream about it—Jam—a—bundy!

——————————

[8 Mar.] Wake up! It is time to go down to the temple square where Jamabundy is to be held! Arrived: a crowd of comparatively well dressed natives sitting inside, & of worse dressed waiting outside having badges on; we go inside & walk to the end where there are 3 chairs, 2 for us, & one for the Tasseldar (the head of the taluk), the others squatting as is their wont on the floor. Who are these? Are these the potehls & the shanbhogues respectively? No the potehls & shanbhogues are all inside. Those Outside† are the Ugranis {18}. What is an Ugrani?

To-day we only do preliminary work; vague talk about things I do not understand “Stitiberries” or something of that sort, & occasionally a shanbhogue or a potehl comes up to make explanations; the next afternoon we set to work to go through the papers; & I gradually find out what it is all about. The potehl is the headman of the village & it is his business to collect the land revenue. I believe all the land in the Madras Presidency belongs to the government & everyone pays rent for what they have. The potehl makes out a return, showing a few general statistics;—the number of people in the village, the revenue due, the number of people unvaccinated, of cattle killed by wild beasts etc etc. Then several of these reports go together, & the shanbhogue who is an accountant attends to the accounts. For each set of villages Booty has the shanbhogue, the potehls & the Ugranis who are their official servants up before him, sees whether they are fit for their work, & puts a few questions to them connected with the reports, & in fact general[ly] “inspects”.

Nothing very romantic! But if you like, you can say that these people are the fingers of the great Raj—meaning thereby the English Government—of which the Indian Civil Servants are the hands. It is by these people that the rural villagers who perhaps have never seen the white man, come ultimately in contact with his rule. And Jamabundy reduced to its elements is the inspection of revenue collecting, & it is in his capacity of revenue collector that the chief ICS man in a district is known as The Collector, while at the same time he is Head Magistrate, & President of Taluk boards.

One day the Tasseldar said that there was a special festival on at the temple with a temple play, & would we come down & see it; Booty said that the last time he had been to see one of these performances, he had not got back till daylight; the Tasseldar said that if it would please his honour to come, he would see that it began early. So after dinner about 9.30 we saw coming up the hill a torchlight procession, who—having waited till we had finished the particular partie of picquet in which we were engaged—conducted us down to the back of the temple, where there was a sort of broad pathway lined on both sides by rows of spectators, & at the end 3 or 4 chairs for ourselves, & for the more important of the natives who sat down on being so requested by the head assistant collector.

Our position may be perhaps call[e]d the Royal Box, the broad pathway was the stage, & for the footlights, a native on either hand held out a metal pan of oil in which floated a wick. Between us & the “stage” a vase of tapers glowed with odoriferous light, over our heads swung the punkah, strange figures of natives squatted all around among the artificially planted palms, & slowly as the strange play proceeded, ebbed away the hours of night.

The play was an old mythological story of battle, & nearly all the characters were warriors, but such women as there were were represented by boys. Of course there was little or none of what we understand by acting, & there was something more of the pantomime than of the drama. Tom tom[,] tom tom, tom tom, went on all the time & all the warriors danced. You know how excited a boy gets—a boy of 10 or 12 say—when he gets an unexpected holiday or something of the sort, how he jumps up turns round, dances about; so danced these warriors to the sound of the tom tom. Each new player before coming on to the stage stands behind a curtain, which allows you to see his legs & his head, stands with his back to the audience & proceeds to jump about like mad; the greater warrior he is the more he jumps about before he is allowed to come on; at last the tom tom waxes wild & furious & with a yell & a whoop he flings aside the curtain & rushes forward on to the stage jumping & twisting & comes suddenly to a dead stand.

The dialogue of the play was conducted in strict Classical Canarese, and there was a certain amount of definite plot carried into execution, but by far the greater amount of time was taken up by the dances. Thus four warriors would be determining to go out to fight & they would come in & dance round the stage to the accompaniment of tom tóm tom, tom tóm tom, .…, & they would go out again & come in & dance (or rather jump) round to tóm tom tom, tóm tom tom, tóm tom tom, .… & then again to tom tom tóm, tom tom tóm, & again to tóm tititititi tóm tititititi tóm .…, & so on perhaps twenty different processions round the stage ending up with something very fast & furious quite unrepresentable in words with a final tóm with which to come to an abrupt conclusion.

So the play played itself on, every now [&] again one of the human footlights (who took care always to keep his lamp in front of the performers) would come forward & get fresh oil or a fresh wick, every now & again someone would bring us fresh tapers, every now & again the tom tom would stop or change its rhythm. At last the first part of the play comes to and end, and engarlanded & accompanied by torches we reach again our bungalow in time to get 2 or 3 hours sleep before the first grey sign of an early dawn, undisturbed by the distant sound of the tom tom which plays on to the second part till daylight is broad & distinct.

What more have I to tell you of my life in South Canara, of our early marches starting by the light of the opalescent moon, of the welcomes that we received at the various centres, of the bananas with which we were presented, of the tender cocoanuts which we drank, of the temples & statues which we saw, behold you must endeavour to picture them to yourselves out of your imagination.

Neither shall I stop to tell you of [21 x 26 Mar.] our return to Mangalore {19}, of the surprising growth of Doris Marjorie, of golf, of the club, of the calls which I paid in Booty’s bullock carriage or [4 x 9 Apr.] of my departure by B.I steamer after a vast amount of uncertainty as to its arrival.

Steamer, Calicut, Katpadi, fade out of view, & it is 9.15 PM when a tired & famished traveller who has journeyed 150 miles in 12 hours & enjoyed all the warmth that the tropics can provide in April, is put out at the flag station Nellore.

With him is a small bag which a coolie starts to carry, & while the light of the moon prevents the possibility of any mutually unpleasant meeting with the creature that walks on its belly, he explains to the coolie “Mr Campbell’s bungalow”—“Captain Ashworth’s bungalow” & the coolie nods. Presently while the traveller proposes to go straight on, the coolie points to turn off to the left. Can the traveller have forgotten, or have C & A moved? the traveller takes the coolie’s word for it, & soon arrives at a strange bungalow where he only just fails to be embraced by a lady—young & beautiful—who takes him for her husband. Thence a straight march to the right place where Ashworth—but no Campbell—& also dinner. “I hope you haven’t waited dinner.” “Yes I have, but its† not very late; I am afraid you have walked, I sent a bandy to the station, wash & let us set to.” And the traveller did so. It might perhaps seem, that there would be some awkwardness in arriving at the house of a friend, when that friend was absent, having sent no word that you were coming—I had wired both Ashworth & Campbell [not] knowing the latter was out in camp with no telegraph station—& in stopping there several days without any news from him. But this is not so in India. Of course as it was, I knew several of the people in Nellore, & in particular Ashworth with whom I was living; but even without these advantages there would have been nothing particularly strange. On the contrary it seemed the most natural thing in the world.

I went down to the club & played lawn tennis & billiards, I rode out on my bicycle, I played round the links at golf, I dined out, in company with Ashworth, [10 Apr.] I went to church on Easter Sunday, the first time since I left Delhi (Oh Oh Oh, 1st in train Agra–Bombay, 2nd on steamer to Mangalore 3rd 4th 5th out in camp, 6th & 7th in Mangalore where church is being retiled!) & last but not least I joined in the gymkhana which was held on the polo ground. This gymkhana was great fun, & as most of the events included riding I was but a pony (all except very big horses are called ponies here) of an absentee, & took part in the tie tying race, surprise parcel race, hitting polo ball & other things. The first two of these, consisted in galoping† up to a lady who tied on an evening tie, or arrayed you in wondrous costume, mount again & round the flag home; hitting the polo ball I found could not be done with great rapidity; a leisurely walk was all I could manage & even so I sometimes missed it. I also went in for & won a bicycle tortoise race.

So I went along very comfortably, & in the meantime I had a letter from Campbell who had just got word from me, (one of the wires I sent him having been lost), saying he was coming in to the station in a day or two, & it was not worth while for me to join him in camp. So he came in, & it was very pleasant to see him again.

One day we both played polo; of course you can imagine how excessively brilliant my own play was. He, too, is only just beginning, but is practising now assiduously. Four years ago what should we have said if anyone had foretold.

[23 Apr.] And so another week has slipped away, & I have repacked my greater & lesser trunks for a new voyage. To-morrow} to Madras where I shall stop with Michie Smith; then to Ceylon where possibly I shall meet an old friend of my year {20} who I see has just been put in a high position in the Botanical Gardens at Perideniya, & then on to the Britannia {21} where I hope to find P. Alden {22}.

I think being in a station (on a holiday) is a little like being on board ship, one doesn’t have anything to bother about. One never carries any money with one, nor any papers of any kind. One just goes on vegetating. A short space now of having to think & then a return to a placed state of torpor.

A few general impressions I will give before I conclude.

In my first encyclical I think I described an Indian bungalow as a place with outer walls more or less, but with no inner walls to speak of. One is led to this idea because the vast lattice windows & lattice doors seem to occupy the greater part of the wall, & in winter in the south are always open; so that the walls might be described as a “number of openings joined together with masonry”. In the summer, however, one shuts up the house during the day, to keep out the heat, just as in England (in Winter) one shuts it up to keep out the cold, & then one finds that the outer walls can be made pretty tight. Inside, one sits under a punkah, & so long as the night is cool you will see one is able to obtain a very fairly comfortable temperature—probably well over 80°—indoors. But the rub comes when the nights get hot too. I was told that I should get a taste of the hot weather if I stayed in India through April; but I understand that this year it can hardly be said quite to have come yet (April 23) & though the day temperature is about 100° & the night about 74°, I do not find that I notice the heat as much as when I came before in December when the thermometer stood very much lower. This is partly because I have grown into an Indian method of existence & partly because I came here from S Canara where though the temperature did not go above 90° in the day, it scarcely went below 80° in the night, & where if the breeze or the punkah ceased for 2 minutes one’s hands presented the appearance of a morning field after a heavy dew.

I have written above that I have grown into an Indian method of existence; this refers a little bit to the clothes which I wear; it came to me as a surprise the other day that what my boy was calling my thick grey suit, was what I had had especially made in England to be cool, & my tailor called it a “tropical”. Also the calm determination to attempt nothing at all in the middle of the day: thus from 10–4 one would never think of going out of doors unless it was absolutely necessary, of course if a man had to go to office or anything of the kind, he would go, but he would do so extremely leisurely, & would wear sun spectacles. One hardly ever thinks of walking here at all, & in the middle of the day it would be ridiculous.

(I am writing now in the train, so please excuse all defects).

You will see moreover from all this, that life out here does not tend to make one prepared for warm weather at home; whether it be the heat of the sun, for at home one has no topi; whether it be exercise in the middle of the day, for here one never takes it; whether its be for hot nights, for out here one sleeps out in the open air or under a punkah; whether it be to curb ones† thirst, for out here 6 or 7 large sodas (& they are large compared with our biggest at home) is a by no means uncommon daily allowance, & I am told that in the hot weather it may amount to double that figure.

It is rather a curious thing that people seem so very rarely to have cold food to eat. And I remember being very much surprised at home when I was told by a man who sold hot water dishes & the like that he sent a great many out to India. The first may perhaps be accounted for by the rapidity with which many things go bad, & the latter by the fact that there is a tendency for things to cool very quickly owing to the constant draught which there is in the rooms; & nothing is more unpleasant in hot weather than tepid food.

Let me turn to quite another subject:—the Rupee. Don’t be alarmed I am not going to discuss bimetallism or the gold standard, but to speak of its general effective value out here. When you come out, you find you get somewhere about 15 rupees for a sovereign, each of them looks like a two bob bit, but you [are] inclined to reckon them as a little over a shilling. And then each rupee is divided into 16 annas—at present almost exactly pence—& each anna into 12 pies.

When you learn that you can buy a chicken for 2 annas or send a coolie across Calcutta & back for the same sum, & that the wages of a good cook are perhaps 12 rupees a month—& finds himself—you begin to think that living out here must be very cheap, & that the Rupee goes a very long way. But India is essentially the place where pies mount up into annas, & annas into rupees, & moreover of course all “European stores” are abnormally expensive. Things which you could get for 6d at home you will very likely be called on to pay one Rupee for out here. And so gradually one builds up for oneself a new system of relative values & the rupee figures among them on its own lines & one forgets that there is such a thing as an exchange rate which make[s] so many rupees worth a pound.

It is amusing to note that at home one pays 1d for soda bottles & 2d or so for their contents; out here the empty bottles are reckoned often at 5 annas each, while the contents are only worth 8 or 10 annas a dozen. Of course these are not strictly “European stores”, because the soda water is made out here (& it does not contain as I believe it does in England carbonate of soda itself)

“Native servants” might form the subject of a book in itself. The Anglo Indian is fond of remarking on their incompetence, & when you first come out you expect to see them bungle everything. As a matter of fact they don’t, & gradually you begin to build up out of your experience a belief that the Anglo Indian is very hard to please, & that his servant is a very well meaning & intelligent person; but the moment you have got to regard him in this light you begin to see how often he fails, & what a lot of valuable things he spoils by his stupidity & carelessness.

There is rather a good story told which illustrates the “boy”’s method of packing for travelling. A man had a new lamp with glass chimney & globe, & wishing to go into camp he had a special case made to hold the glass parts to prevent breaking, & explained to his boy that he must never carry them about (travelling) without carefully putting them in the case. The boy said he understood. But at the next halt came to him with a long face saying they were quite smashed. On enquiry it was found he had packed them very carefully in the case, but finding just before starting that he had an empty soda water bottle not packed, he wrapped that up in paper & put it inside also! Little acts of petty larceny are particularly attractive to them, while valuable things they will very rarely steal partly I suppose because of the probability of detection. Even on your behalf they will sometimes make strenuous endeavours to save a few annas, perhaps by fair means perhaps not. I remember a lady saying that when she got home from a visit, her bearer (who had been with her of course) showed her a boot polishing brush in great triumph, which he had bagged from the bearer of another visitor.

One other point about servants may surprise you. In the North when you go out to dinner you always take your boy with you.

Of course one never believes anything that a native says if he has any reason for perverting the truth. This is the great difficulty in hearing cases; the evidence is almost always conflicting & it is only a question of which of either is to be believed. A missionary himself told me the following; one day he—or one of his colleagues—went down to talk—I think, to some of their converts—upon the Christian Virtue of Truth; after he had talked & had answered questions for some time, he said to them;—“now supposing I was charged with an offence which you knew I had committed, what would you do?” “The sahib” they answered with one voice “is our father & our mother what could we do but swear he was innocent”

The hindu† mind could never feel this was doubtful for one moment; to him, to abandon a friend in the hour of need that would be base, to defend him would be the only possible course, even at the risk of incurring the penalties for perjury which a fastidious & fatuous Raj may endeavour to inflict.

And now as I have mentioned the missionary I suppose I may as well say a few words about him. In the first place don’t confuse him with the Padré who is the Church of England parson provided by the government for the spiritual requirements of the English speaking population; so far as I am aware he is never a missionary in any sense of the word.

The true missionary is the man who is sent out by private societies to convert the native to Christianity. I don’t know how he really feels, but I can’t help supposing that if he is quite honest he must be prepared to admit that he is somewhat of a failure. He comes out prepared to treat the native as a brother, he finds that unless he rules him with a firm hand he is regarded as a fool; that what he intends for kindness is regarded as fear; that unless he adopts forcible measures his punkah rope is not pulled properly, that he is cheated by his servants, & imposed upon all round. He expects to find opposition to Christianity, he finds indifference. He expects at any rate to make some converts among men of caste, he succeeds in attracting a few among the leather-workers & sweepers, men who have no caste to lose, men who are so low in the scale that the crossing-sweeper in England is high compared with them, men who having nothing to lose & everything to gain by adopting another religion. With these he spends hours of his day arguing out some abstruse doctrinal point. Converted to Christianity these men are freed from the old ethical regulations—feeble as they were—& are hardly constrained by the new.

In his educational work, he tries to inculcate moral principles as well as intellectual, he finds that his students profiting by the position they are able to obtain through their intellectual achievements, make use of it—as the native almost invariably does—for the purpose of tyranny & extortion.

Can it be wondered at that I say that when he is honest he must regard himself somewhat as a failure.

No doubt I have exaggerated, no doubt my ignorance is very great, but the fact remains that the results are very minute. He consoles himself with the thought that he is sowing the good seed, & it is not in his power to determine the fruit which is to be produced.

I am not saying that I disapprove of the missionary or his works; & you must remember that it is not he who is undermining the old religion & any little good it may do but the force of circumstance, the inroad of education, which is I suppose inevitable. The more educated have ceased to believe in Hinduism; are we going to give them anything else?

It has been said that the Anglo Indian is to blame for not intermingling more with the Native. Practically all the upper class Englishmen in India are Officials. Among them the taking of a bribe is almost absolutely unknown. The native always takes bribes; as a whole he is about the most corrupt person in that way you could wish to see in the world. He is not above accepting a bribe from the poorest & meanest, or from forcing a contribution of 25 per cent of the small government dole presented to the starving famine stricken peasant. It is hardly to be wondered at that the white man views him with contempt.

A few short descriptive notes on different points:—

The Presidency of Madras stands out from the rest of India; it has its own way of doing things. By the rest it is regarded as benighted, but it (I of course refer to the Anglo Indian world) is quite sati[s]fied with itself. As it is the home of a vast variety of languages, nearly all the “boys” speak English. It is very rarely cold in Madras.

It should never be forgotten that the Mohammedan & the Hindu exist side by side, the former being generally the conquering race; they are always antagonistic. Both are equally unscrupulous, the Mahommedan† perhaps more intelligently crafty, the Hindu more obese!

In speaking of the native going by train I think I forgot to be† mention how devoted he always is to travelling.

If a coolie brings a note or something to you from a friend & you are out when he arrives, he does not leave it & go away, but sits down & waits even if it be several hours; this he does not regard in any sense as a hardship.

The night punkah coolie is fond of going to sleep (you have 2 for the night), then you wake very damp & perhaps bitten by mosquitoes; to rouse him by voice would rouse the house & ruin your lungs, the only safe thing is a basin of water.

There is no such thing as privacy in India; you can’t shut your door & draw your chair up to the fire; you can never be certain at any hour of the day or night that a native has not pushed aside the curtain, entered with his noiseless feet, come up beside you waiting with some note or paper till it shall be your good pleasure to attend to him.

It was not without a good deal of sadness that I set my face to say goodbye to India, the land in which I had renewed so many old friendships, had made so many new ones, & had been treated with such universal kindness.

India is a marvellous monument to England’s greatness. The immense power which she has, the immense amount of work which she has done in so vast a country, in so short a time, with such a handful of her citizens. The extraordinary justice honour & fidelity of her officials [must leave] {23} an imprint upon history which the finger of time can never obliterate.

The official in India—& under this title must be included the Educationalist & the Railway people as well as the others—stands for trustworthiness as the native stands for corruption.

The Anglo Indian is thoroughly English,—one is surprised perhaps at first to find him not in any sense a Colonial—& as such he possesses the English faults as well as the English virtues but he is charmingly hospitable, & he undoubtedly does his best for the native & endeavours to carry out the task which has been set before him.

The native is the very reverse, docile, & beautifully courteous he fawns upon strength & oppresses weakness.

Such are the races which fate has layed† one across the other like the knife across the fork. Who can predict how it will end? {24}

A couple of quasi postscripts must end my third encyclical.

[24 Apr.] I left Nellore on Sunday morning April 24, driving a friend’s dog cart to the railway station in the dark at 4.30 A.M; & I bid goodbye to Campbell on the platform, & left him standing there looking just as he had done when I arrived nearly 5 months before.

After a warm days railway journey I reached Madras & drove straight to Michie Smith’s house. He has a large compound of 11 acres, & in this & the next he has made a golf course of no mean dimensions. He took me about his grounds & showed me his flowers & trees, & presently we went to the club where I met Moore—who had so kindly entertained me on the previous occasion—& several other friends.

[25 Apr.] Next morning early I played golf with M. Smith & 2 of his friends all of whom played pretty well but fortunately I did not make a fool of myself, & drove over ponds etc much to my own surprise.

In the day I did some shopping & in the afternoon called on Mrs Moore & went on to the club, & came back & met at dinner a mathematician—Stuart—whom M. Smith had kindly asked to meet me.

[26 Apr.] And so next day the time wore on for me to go; & M. Smith had been very good to me, had shown me all over his instruments, & had given me some photographs taken at the eclipse by our instrument, & I had had a very pleasant time.

And I took train, & a day brought me [27 Apr.] to Tuticorin, & a nights passage with rather rough weather [28 Apr.] to Colombo.

And now my second postscript must be about Ceylon.

One always had thought of Ceylon as a sort of appendage to India like the I of Wight to England, & even though I knew it was under the foreign office & not the India Office I still imagined it would be much the same.

Well I landed & went to an hotel where I found electric punkahs.

Then to Cook’s agency about my passage, & wired up to Parkin saying I should be passing through Peradeniya on my way up to Kandy at 6 P.M & could stop if he met me.

He did meet me, he & the Director of the Botanical Gardens—a Mr Willis of Caius Coll. Cambridge {25}. & they made me get out & come to the bungalow. There I found Mrs Willis late of Girton {26}, so we were all Cambridge. And I stopped there the couple of nights I had to spare, & [29 Apr.] the first morning I drove into Kandy with Parkin & we saw the famous temple & the casket in which is Buddha’s tooth, & we looked down upon the great artificial lake. In the afternoon we walked through the Botanical gardens & then played tennis before dinner.

[30 Apr.] This morning we all drove out & had marvellous views & saw a rock temple with a reclining Buddha.

Then we went over a tea factory. And so after a most delightful 2 days, I come down here {27}, & am writing this before going to bed; to-morrow early to the Britannia!

Ceylon is an enchanting place; everywhere are vast masses of verdure, & trees of every description. The Botanical gardens which are famous throughout the world mainly consist of trees; all kinds of palm, rubber trees, giant bamboos, & multitudes of others, extremely beautiful. The mountain views are grand, & it is not nothing to see tea growing everywhere, & coffee & cocoa scattered about. The only place in India a bit like it to look at that I saw was S. Canara.

Here the S.W. Monsoon is on, with an extra large quantity of rain. So it is comparatively cool. I said I had expected to find Ceylon a mere adjunct of India; but it is in reality much more English; it is not necessary to take one’s bed about with one or even to have a boy. English is understood everywhere (ie I do not know anything about out of the way places).

A most delightful place & with 3 fellow Cantabs a parodise†. Really I think if I had had ½ a dozen friends & had had to put them down in India & Ceylon, so as to be most serviceable to myself I don’t think I could have done better than putting them where they are.

Goodbye India, Goodbye Ceylon.

—————

{1} Some time between 3 April, when Lawrence was still in Mangalore, and the 10th, by which time he had arrived at Nellore. See p. 140.

{2} Great Northern Railway.

{3} The ink changes here.

{4} British-India Steam Navigation Company.

{5} The boats of the Bombay Steam Navigation Company, managed by J. A. Shepherd. See W. H. Coates, The Old ‘Country Trade’ of the East Indies (1911).

{6} Lawrence probably set sail on 25 February. See pp. 106, 115.

{7} i.e. Lawrence’s three days on the boat, 25–28 February.

{8} See 6/18.

{9} The process of settling the amount of land-revenue due from a village, etc., or a written statement of the same. See OED, s.v. jumma, and Hobson-Jobson, s.v. jummabundee.

{10} ‘A servant who attends to horses, a groom’ (OED).

{11} The reading of this word is uncertain. In Fate Has Been Kind, where this passage is quoted, the word is printed simply ‘B—’, so evidently Lawrence or the typesetter couldn’t read the word either. The usual spelling of the place in question is now Brahmavar.

{12} This place-name is now usually spelt Perdur.

{13} The chief (native) revenue official of a tahsil or taluk (administrative divisions). See OED, s.v. tahsildar, and Hobson-Jobson, s.v. tahseeldar.

{14} This probably means ‘alcoholic’. Cf. OED, wet, n.2.

{15} Followed by ‘I expect you have been thinking for some time’, struck through.

{16} A potehl is the head-man of a village. See OED and Hobson-Jobson, s.v. patel.

{17} A shanbhogue is a village clerk or account. See Hobson-Jobson, s.v. shambogue.

{18} The first sentence of this sentence was interlined. A ugrani is a village peon under a patel. See Männer’s Tulu-English Dictionary (1886). Lawrence later describes ugranis as ‘official servants’ of the shambogues and patels.

{19} Lawrence was still ‘in camp’ on 20 March, but had returned to Mangalore by the 27th. See p. 140.

{20} John Parkin.

{21} The RMS Britannia, a P. & O. steamer of 6525 tons.

{22} Percy (later Sir Percy) Alden (1865–1944), social worker and politician; warden of the Mansfield House University Settlement at Canning Town, 1891–1901.

{23} ‘which’ interlined after ‘officials’ and struck through. The words ‘must leave’ have also been struck through, but they appear to be required.

{24} The ink changes here.

{25} John Christopher Willis (1868–1958), Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Ceylon, 1896–1912.

{26} Minnie Willis (née Baldwin). She married J. C. Willis in 1897.

{27} i.e. to Colombo.

† Sic.

Letter from F. W. Lawrence to Lady Durning-Lawrence

In the train from Madras to Tuticorin.—Explains his views on titles of honour, and encloses part of an ‘encyclical’. Refers to his stay at Madras, where Michie Smith showed him the results of the eclipse work.

—————

Transcript

Train from Madras to Tuticorin
April 27. 98

My dear Tante.

I have been meaning to write to you for a long time to answer your letter of March 3, but somehow I have always had something to write to the Vunculus about, on business, & so have waited till now.

There is only one point in your letter to which I want to refer; you say you had feared I shared my sister’s prejudices on the subject of title. No: I have always believed very strongly that a title is one of the few recognitions of desert which a grateful nation can bestow. What I am somewhat opposed to is hereditary title, though I am always prepared to admit that it is not without its advantages. Personally however I am very glad that none ever fell to my lot.

The sheet of my encyclical which I enclose tells the tale of my stay at Nellore, altogether I had a very jolly time there, & some of my equestrian experiences were great fun. I think I had a glimpse of the feeling of those who have said that they wanted to spend their life in the saddle & die at last by breaking their neck at a fall, a sentiment which I never understood at all before,—& one which even now I have no intention of attempting to put into practice!

I had a very pleasant two days in Madras, & saw most of the people I had met before. Michie Smith was very kind to me, & showed me all his instruments & the results of the eclipse work, he also gave me some prints of the corona taken by our instrument, one of which I have sent home to Mother. It was exposed 4 seconds very nearly at the commencement of totality. You will see, looking round the edge of the sun, one very bright point, this is a prominence, & should be set to the left hand; the approach of the moon was from the bottom right hand corner, & you will notice that though it has covered the whole body of the sun proper, yet there is a white rim in left hand top, the portion of the solar atmosphere not yet covered. The corona shows extended some way.

I also have a group of the Madras party which I will send home later. A miscellaneous collection of photos has also gone home, mostly representing different places out here, but there are one or two of Cambridge which Booty gave me.

M. Smith has a very large compound, & by joining with his neighbours, he has made one of the best golf links I have seen out here. I played Monday morning with him & 2 of his friends all of whom were rather good; fortunately I played up & did not make a fool of myself. That is really the great thing at golf, that the better people you play with, the better you play: you see while you learn by watching their good strokes, their play does not in any way interfere with yours.

I am now journeying steadily South, & am in lower latitudes than I have been before, I expect to reach Tuticorin this afternoon & then I go on board a boat which should land me in Colombo to-morrow morning. As I shall have a day or two to spare in Ceylon, I shall run up country, to Kandy & shall try & get a glimpse of J. Parkin who has just come out; he is a Trinity man of my year, & tried for a fellowship last October.

I hope to send a word to some one before I sail; after that as I shall not send a wire from Australia, you will not hear from me for some weeks. But I daresay that will not be much of an affliction after this train-written scrawl. I enclose a slip for E.L

With love to all

Your affectionate Neffe
Fredk W Lawrence.