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greater number of our youthful adventurers to the East, either find a premature grave there, or are obliged soon to return home with broken constitutions. Doubtless exceptions to this rule occur now and then, but these only make the truth more apparent. The Indian rage is by no means so prevalent amongst us as it was twenty years ago; nor is it likely to be increased by our author's description of the career which too often awaits the civil, military, or commercial adventurer in that quarter.
• “Life in India” is, however, fairly to be estimated, as found in the different avocations that it presents,-the Civil and Military Services of the Honourable Company, and the mere adventurer. So far as rank and consequence are concerned, the first of these holds out the great prizes of the Honourable Company, and is the great object of ambition. These prizes are necessarily limited to a few lucky sons of fortune; and they are, therefore, the higher esteemed. With a Writership in his pocket, the child of the first man in England, even at this day, fancies his fortune made ; looks to a short and merry “ Life in India”;-a long and wealthy one in England. Out he comes, always what I should call a genteellooking boy ;-somewhat slightly built in general, for encountering any of the rude blasts of the world, and having a goodly smattering of his mother's drawing-room hanging about him. His manners,-I speak of the general race of young Writers,—always please me; there is something very English about him,-by which I do not mean very rough, but a happy mixture of that independence of mind, and amenity of manners, which constitute the true English character. When these embryo rulers are collected together, before merging from the Buildings, there is, no doubt, to be seen also not a few of an Englishman's peculiar faults and weaknesses: but these are such rare aves over the Services in general, that there is nothing I enjoy more than an evening in the Buildings. “ Life in India" is then, with my old recollections and feelings, something like to what I remember was— Life in England. There are good manners, and honourable and high feeling ;-articles, however, which, I must warn their young possessors, require the utmost care to preserve in this climate, and which are always best just on importation. It may appear finical, when I add, that there is an English way of putting on his clothes about a young Writer, before he is launched to rusticate in the Mofussil, which I like ; as in the company of a dozen of these dandies, I am reminded of the respect, in this particular, which I once,-once alas! paid myself to the article of dress, when I was glad at the idea of pleasing a mother, a sister, or a still dearer creature,--a sweetheart. In short, the only scene in the drama of “ Life in India,” that is like Old England, is to be found in the Buildings. Once out of them,-once banished to a country station, where Englishmen are scattered some hundred miles distant from each other, or where, if they congregate, it is on the artificial graduated scale of Judge, Magistrate, Collector, Register, Assistant ditto, Doctor,--and all that is English is found to be on the wane. By the time the writer comes back to the Presidency, a Judge, or something as great ur greater, he has been converted into the most anomalous of all human beings. There is still something English about bim, it is true ;– he is generally proud enough ; but it is an Asiatic, not a European, bearing of consequence. He seems to expect that all that are in his way should hurry out of it, that the path
may be left for him alone. He has been so long accustomed to measure his own humanity by the standard of a conquered and degraded race: around him, that he fancies he has risen proportionably above every other class of mankind, with whom he may afterwards chance to come in contact, as above his Omlahs and his Chobedars; and his own countrymen are but Hindoos in his estimation, however much they may transcend him in every thing like intelligence, honour, and common sense. I remember, when I was a youngster, once encountering one of these Burra Sahibs in company: the conversation turned on the nature of landed tenure in India, and having at that time been reading Paton, Colebrooke, Rous, and a host of other writers on the subject, I fancied myself qualified to say a word on it. Accordingly, I ventured, with all the diffidence an Assistant, in the presence of a Member of the Board of Revenue, may be expected to feel, to say something in opposition to the great man's views of the matter, about the Sovereign having allodial possession of the soil. "Al. lodial !” exclaimed the Burra Sahib, with a look of ineffable contempt and triumph, " allodial! there is no such word in the Regulations!”.
• If those at home, who are so ambitious of sending out a son in the serrice of the Honourable Company, would look at the few who live to return to their native country, and remark the change that has come over them, I cannot help thinking that they would feel less anxious about procuring a Writership or a Cadetship, for Master Edward, and Master Tom. I was long ago a sojourner in old England, and had an opportunity of comparing some old folks, who had started from school together,—the one to rough it through Life at Home,-the other to plod his weary way through“ Life in India.”—Comparison there was none between the manliness, contented-dis ness, and good humour of the home-bred Englishman, and the hauteur, restlessness, and discontented demeanour of the old Koee-Hy. Unhappy and displeased at every turn he took, the Old Indian found every corner sharp enough to ruffle his temper and destroy his happiness ;—while the honest English 'Squire swore a big oath at the hindrance, brushed past it, and thought no more of it. I make all manner of allowance for the bile and bad liver, which reward the toils of a “ Life in India :” but these natural evils would be surmounted, were it only possible to avoid the moral contamination, arising from cohabiting with a race, between whom and an Englishman there is no sympathy:-and I am borne out in my theory, if it please the Reader to call it so, by the fact, that this moral contamination is found to exist most unequivocally, and to the greatest extent, among those who have been most withdrawn from European society, and who have spent the greater part of their “ Life in India” amidst the native population.
• Let me, however, take a view of Military “ Life in India ;”-a fair-haired young lad has escaped from school, and its confinement, at the early age of sixteen; and, after the annoyances of a four months' voyage, has reported himself at the Town Major's Office in Fort William. He puts on his scarlet uniform, and looks round, on passing every sentry, for homage and salutation to his new military character. The first few weeks are but a series of disappointed hopes, and comfortless, pleasureless attempts at Indian enjoyment. He makes himself sick, in essaying to smoke a bad hookah,—and then barely survives a pucka fever, in having tried his new
double-barrelled gun, which he bought on credit, at an exorbitant sum, and with which he toiled for hours under a burning sun, in the vain hope of hitting a few snipets or sandlarks. He has a relation, perhaps, in the Buildings, and madly attempts to rival him in extravagance: and though the Soldier's means do not go beyond a second-hand buggy for his driving, and an undersized stud galloway for the saddle, yet his humble endea. vours have plunged him into debts, which hang upon his Indian career for years, and make him miserable for ever!
• He joins his corps,-he has become a man now,-wanders about in the morning without his cravat or jacket,-smokes cheroots by whole bundles,—drinks brandy-paunee, curses bis own folly for more faults than one, and lingers through the early and best years of his manhood in tasteless dislike of the little regimental duty that falls to his share, and in gloomy despondency amidst the blighted prospects of his youth. From his brothers and young relations in Europe, he seldom hears, and their letters would be but wormwood to him. They have toils there, it is true; one is at College, another at a desk in a Merchant's office, a few are fagging for professions, or existing on subaltern's fare in country quarters: but are they not at home ?- aye, and in that one word, -HOME, lies all the earthly happiness, which an exiled Soldier sighs for, and hourly pines in vain.
But he has outlived his brethren in the subaltern ranks around him; has followed hosts upon hosts to the scattered tombs of our up-country Cantonments : he is a Field officer now, and with the attainment of higher rank before him. What boots the rank or increasing pay? He is a martyr to a broken constitution, and his yellow and wasted cheek, the sunken and gleamless eye, give token not only of withered health, but accumulating care! He is alone in the world ; his native country has long ceased to hold out charms for him ; he is unknown there, and the circle of his friends have either ceased to exist, or care for the expatriated soldier in the East! Is this a gloomy picture? The Bengalee could point out many who might sit for it, and who, ere they give their bones to moulder beneath the sun of Hindoostan, would feelingly bear testimony to the truth of its description,—yet il:is is “ Life in India!"
. But the Adventurer-he surely is exempt from the evil. His sojourn in India is brief, luxurious, and profitable. He transacts the business of the day with the punkah waving its cool breath unceasingly above his desk. He drives home from office luxuriously in his open chariot, and quaffs his iced claret, with his gay friends ever assembled around his evening table. These are his daily enjoyments: but in the glad hour of holiday release from the office, he sails away in some tall pinnace to the far retreats of Chinsurah and Hooghly. But alas! his pleasure becomes tasteless and unblest; his eye has rested upon Serampore by the way, and he knows not how soon it may be his scene of refuge, and the dull close of his ruined adventures. He tries to remember how many of his brethren have retired to enjoy their thousands in their own country,-he can soon reckon over the scanty few; and then he dwells upon the outstretched list of the disappointed, the deceased, or the bankrupt, still within the East; the number appals him !— and this is “ Life in India !”—pp. 215–223.
The Bengalee's description of his return from India appears to have all the merit of fidelity. It is, however, at best, but a dull concern, the journal of months of weariness on board an Indianian, although our author has endeavoured, in his half humourous way, to infuse into it a portion of his own vivacity. A little incident, the death of a fine boy, who was on his way to England with his widowed mother, is told in natural and affecting language.
• Alfred was just three years old, but appeared at least a year older, and there was a bold, frank, and winning manner with the child, that, ere he had been ten days on board, he was a general favourite; not only with the passengers, but every soul in the ship, from the Captain, down to the little gunner's boy, who would slily secrete ship-biscuit, or other rough delicacies for his little pet, wherewith to entice him from the Quarter deck, and lure him forward for a few minutes among the admiring and coaxing sailors. The little urchin was in a fair way of being spoiled ; his independence of manner, and fearlessness of movement must have cost his doating young Mother many an anxious thought. And although she endeavoured to keep him in her sight as much as possible, yet it seemed cruel 10 confine the poor boy to her scanty Cabin, and she was thus obliged to trust him to others more frequently than she could have wished, and to allow him to rove upon the decks more freely than was consistent with her fears.
• How often have we watched the poor little fellow, almost springing from the ports of the Quarter-deck, in his anxiety to follow the movements of the flying-fish, when they rose boundingly from the sea, as the ship alarmed them in it's colirse, or the hungry boneta scared them from their own element to seek a momentary protection in the air. How often have we seen him mimicking the hearty pull and rough song of the sailors employed in working the ship, till the busy crew would unbend their harsh features into smiles, and prognosticate, with their wonted complacency for their own profession, that the boy would prove a true tar, and thorough sailor in his day.
• But when the heat on board became more oppressive on our approaching the Equator, the poor child shewed evident symptoms of its disagreeing with him. In a day or two he appeared languid and weary, with less inclination to play about with his little companions. It was apprehended that this was greatly owing to the misplaced kindness of the many friends on every side, who proffered him marks of their good will, and were ever loading him with sweetmeats, cakes, or other such little dangerous tempta. tions to a child's sense of moderation. But although they may have assisted the attack of fever which now plainly evinced itself, yet the heat and confinement of the ship itself must be considered as the main and leading causes. By the time we were becalmed under the Line, than which nothing could have been worse or more aggravating for sickness of any description, the dear little fellow was a prisoner to his cot, and pronounced by the Surgeon of the vessel, to be in a very dangerous way. On shipboard, a sick fellow passenger is necessarily an object of commiseration with most; but, in this instance, it is beyond description, the interest that was excited in the minds of every soul in the William Scott. The Doctor, a good enough sea-fearing son of Æsculapius, but who would rather have had fifty rough seamen to attend to, than so delicate and unusually tender a patient, was hourly beseiged with enquiries after the little favourite ; while it was apparent, from his anxious manner and the hesitation of his replies,
that his own alarm could have afforded no relief to the trembling anxiety of the poor Widow herself, when she breathlessly hung on his looks, at each frequent visit of his to the cabin of the sick child. It was strange to witness the unusual stillness and silence that pervaded the cabins and passenger portion of the vessel. Not an unnecessary sound or voice was heard ; and in the dead hour of the mid-watch at night, even the tread of the officer on duty was suppressed, and scarcely reached the ear, while the only sounds stirring were the occasional movements in the Widow's cabin, of those who sleeplessly watched by the couch of the sufferer; or, perhaps, what was more dreadful still to the feelings of those around, the frequent faint cries of the child itself, as it every moment piteously implored for water,“ Paunee, Mama, Paunee !" in the nursery language of the East, so interesting and touching, as its accents either of entreaty or pain ever sound from the lips of children.
• If the secret prayers of every human being on board, if the fervency of the agonised petitions to the throne of mercy, from the lips and breaking heart of the young Widow, could have arrested the all-wise and inscrutable decree of Providence, there might yet have been hope; but the fiat was gone forth, and all worldly essaying to avert it was but vain and idle,-the boy died!
Silence, unbroken, breathless silence, was still reigning throughout the ship. There were few of the sailors, who were not attired in their Sunday and best suit of clothes; the decks were cleared, the Ship's colours mounted half-way to the mizen peak, the bell at the forecastle mournfully tolling, in imitation of the knell of a Church, everything betokening the approaching ceremony of a Funeral at Sea. Near the starboard gangway, supported upon a raised hatch, were the remains of the departed little indocent, enclosed in a decent, nay, almost handsome coffin, which the zeal and kind exertion of the Carpenter and his gang had, during the night, contrived to make for their deceased favourite. At the present moment, the coffin was partly exposed to view, for the ship's ensign, which was lying upon it, and is always designed on these occasions to act as a pall, was a little raised, that the many wistful and anxious gazers from among the crew, might witness the respect which, even at so short a notice, had been endeavoured to be rendered to the remains of one so generally beloved by them, and one who had rung from their hearts so unusual a share of their rough affections.
• At length the bell ceased tolling. The Captain, and all the Officers of the Indiaman, appeared in their full uniforms and side arms, and approached the gangway; the Captain carrying with him a prayer-book of our Church. The head of every one was immediately uncovered, and while the first words of the commencement of the funeral service were issuing from the lips of the Captain, the eyes of all were suddenly turned, in distressing astonishment, to the after-hatchway, for, ascending from thence, with the assistance of some weeping ladies, who had vainly endeavoured to dissuade her, appeared the Widow herself! There was no seeming effort on her part to assume the firmness which almost unnaturally steadied her step, and made her wish to decline the aid they were feelingly desirous of affording her. Her feet seemed unconsciously, and yet without a symptom of weakness or failing, to move forward on the Deck, towards the spot