+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

from the Hindu pugaree, loonghie, and saree.
Some of the sarees are nine yards long, by a
yard and a half wide. Of course there are other
garments made up with the aid of the scissors
and needle, such as the taj or small conical cap;
the col, or cap with a knob at the top; the
topee, or large and elegant state cap; the long
calico coat; the paejama, or trousers for both
sexes; the cholee, or closely-fitting bodice;
the peskwaz or skirt. It is also interesting
to note the extent to which the native dyers
and weavers and calico printers, have been
able to produce pattern, by means of stripes,
checks, spots, twills, chintz-glazing,
embroidery, and fringe work. As to muslins, it is
marvellous what the fingers of the Hindu are
able to accomplish. Dr. Forbes Watson, a
few years ago, caused the finest known
specimen of Dacca muslin to be examined by
the microscope; it was found that the thread
which the weaver employed, was only a
seven-hundred-and-fiftieth part of an inch
in thickness: that is, seven such threads,
laid side by side, would be less than a hundredth
of an inch in width. Each thread contained
about nine of the ultimate cotton filaments.

The filagree-working and the ivory carving
at the Museum, show us that those two arts
have arrived in India at a degree of perfection
scarcely equalled in any other country. We
can understand this better, when we remember
how small is the value of time in those parts.
Where men can live upon twopence a day, it is
not a matter of serious concern that an
ornamental piece of work should sometimes take
a workman months, or even years, to execute.

Among the thousand and one oddities that
meet the view, in this instalment only of
the collection possessed by the India Department,
are pictures relating to Oriental subjects,
prints and drawings of Indian scenery and
buildings, models of proas and catamarans
and other kinds of boats, stuffed animals and
dried fishes, small specimens illustrating the
natural history of India, cases of butterflies
and beetles, cases of eggs and birds, pipes
and hookahs from the very humble to the
very gorgeous, models of temples and sacred
buildings, idols that are in favour, some among
the Brahmins and some among the Buddhists.

But a few words must be spared for the
Tiger. Surely the world contains not such
another! When Tippoo Sultan was defeated
and killed at Seringapatam, in 1799, the
English troops found in the palace, a figure of
a tiger tearing to pieces a prostrate soldier,
intended to represent an Englishman. The tiger
was moderately well modelled; the soldier was
ludicrously bad: made to be laughed at, it
would seem. This tiger was a musical instrument.
A handle in the shoulder turned a
spindle and crank; and this crank was
connected with mechanism which filled nearly
the whole of the tiger and the man. One part
of the music consisted of the shrieks and groans
of the man; another, of two or three roaring
sounds, intended to imitate the growl of the
tiger; while, to produce certain musical effects,
of which the purpose is not now quite clear,
there were eighteen organ pipes, nine studs
or keys to play them, two stops to divide
them into qualities of sound, and bellows to
blow them. Such was Tippoo's tiger, which
he used to enjoy as a musical instrument:
listening alternately to the shrieks of the
biped, and the growls of the quadruped. It
has travelled from Seringapatam to Leadenhall-
street; thence to Fife House, and now to the
new India office. It is certainly none the better
for its migrations. The stripes of the tiger are
nearly gone, and the paint is chipped off. The
pipes, the keys, and the stops are there, it is
true; but the bellows have lost their wind,
and we suspect there will be no more shrieking
or growling. As to the Englishman, he
certainly is the very picture of misery, with his
stiff legs, black shoes, yellow painted buckles,
round black hat, scarlet coat, green breeches,
and yellow stockings, all begrimed with seventy
years of dust and tarnish.


I DEEPLY regret that it should be my duty
to sound the alarm; but I am constrained
to state my fears that there is something
the matter with our old, and, generally,
esteemed friend the Dwarf. I don't meet
him in society, that is to say, at the fairs
as I was wont to do; and although I do
not overlook the fact that I have ceased to
attend fairs, and that, indeed, there are very
few fairs of the old kind left to frequent, it
is difficult to avoid the unpleasant conviction
that dwarfs, as a race, are dying out.
Very recently, in his strange, eloquent
romance, L'homme qui rit, M. Victor Hugo
has told us that the pigmy, preferably
monstrous and deformed, whose pictured
semblance is to be found in so many works of
the old Italian and German masters, was, to
most intents and purposes, a manufactured
article. That mysterious association of
the "Comprachicos," of whom M. Hugo
has told us so many strange things,
pursued, among their varied branches of
industry, the art of fabricating hunchbacked,
abdominous, hydrocephalous, and spindle-
shanked dwarfs for the European market:
the purchasers being the princes, potentates,
and wealthy nobles of the continent. The
Comprachicos would seem to have borrowed
the mystery of dwarf-making from the
Chinese, who had an agreeable way of
putting a young child into a pot of
arbitrary form, from which the top and bottom
had been knocked out, and in the sides of
which were two holes, through which the
juvenile patient's arms protruded. The
merry consequence was that young master's