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and finally, the girl, all bleeding, relieved
from the cruel torture. They laid her on a
mat beneath some shady trees: the women
gave her a draught of cool water in a
cocoa-nut shell. But her thoughts were not
upon herself: she looked anxiously around,
and could not be satisfied until her husband
sat beside her, and their little swarthy
infant was placed within her arms. The only
care her deep and open wounds received was
to have them rubbed with a little turmeric
powder, and covered with the fresh tender
leaf of a banana.

Leaving this family group, I turned back
to watch the further proceedings around the
huge pole, where there was once more a great
bustle and pressing amongst the crowd. This
time the operator, or sufferer, whichever
would be the most fitting term, was a man
of middle age, and of the lowest ranks of the
labouring class. He appeared to be perfectly
indifferent to anything like suffering, as the
two operators seized the flesh of his back, and
another roughly thrust through it two hooks.
In another minute he was whirling through
the air as rapidly as the attendants could force
him; still he seemed anxious to travel faster,
and by signs and cries urged them to increased
speed. The mob was delighted with this
exhibition of perfect endurance and
enthusiasm, and testified their approbation in a
variety of modes. This man remained swinging
for fully twenty minutes, at the end of
which time he was released: somewhat less
excited, I fancied, than when he was first
hoisted in the air. I failed to learn his story,
but it had reference, beyond a doubt, to some
escape from danger, real or imaginary, and, of
course, imputed to the direct interposition of
the powerful Siva, or some equally efficacious
deputy. The medical treatment of this
devotee was on the ruder scale, and would have
shocked the feelings and science of some of
our army surgeons, to say nothing of civil
practitioners. The root of turmeric was
again employed, in fine powder, but placed
in the wounds most hastily, and by way of
forcing it thoroughly in, some one stood on
his back, and trod in the powder with his

I saw one other man hoisted up. He had
taken the vow in order to save the life of a
much-loved sister's child; and as he swung
round and round in stoical indifference, the
sister, a young creature with her little
infant, sat looking at him as if she would
willingly have borne the suffering in his stead.
Doubtless there was a love linking these poor
creatures together in their ignorance; which,
mighty as it was, would have done honour to
any highly gifted dwellers in the west. And,
it must be remembered, their sacrifice was for
the past; it was one of gratitude, and not of
hope or fear for the future. Their prayers
had been heard; and, although they knew not
of that undying Providence which had listened
to their voice and spared the young child's
life, they turned to such stone and wooden
deities as their forefathers had set up, and
devoutly kept their vow.

There were other victims yet to be self-
offered; but I had had enough, and the heat,
and the noise, and the many strange effluvia
were growing so rank and overpowering,
that I prepared to retreat. As I returned
through the dense crowd which made way for
me, I perceived an aged woman preparing
for a swing as stoically as any of the younger
devotees who had gone before her. A tall,
powerful-looking man was standing by her
side, watching the preparations with
considerable interest. He was her son; and, as
I learnt, the cause of her present appearance
in public. It had been some seven or eight
years previously that the vow had been made
to the stone deity; which, as they believed,
had acted as a miracle and saved his life. It
would have been fulfilled at once, but first
poverty, and then ill-health, had stood in the
way of its performance; and now, after this
long lapse, being able to pay the necessary fees
to the priests, she had left her distant home
to carry out the never-to-be-forgotten vow.
As I moved away in the distance, I heard the
shouts of the enraptured multitude raised in
honour of the old lady's fortitude; cry after
cry floated on the breeze and died away in
the din of drums, and pipes, and bells.

For miles the country round about was
covered with festivity and uproar.
Hundreds of fanatic companies were revelling in
religious festive rites. In one leaf and
bamboo shed, larger than the rest, I noticed,
as I looked in uuperceived, the young self-
offered wife of that day, as gay and
unconcerned by pain as any of the party; I
might have fancied she had but just been
married, instead of hanging in the air upon
cruel hooks.


The spoon which was, or was supposed to
be in my mouth when I was born, was,
decidedly, not a silver spoon. If ever wood
existedhard-wood, lignum vitæ—my spoon
was made of it. I had the daughter of a
peeress for my godmother; but she never gave
me anything, either in or out of my baptism,
save a Bath bun. I have been patted more
than once on the head by a live lord and
there is a tradition in my family that my
nurse, was once spoken to by a duke, a real
English duke, with a garter on his gracious
knee; whose grateful country, or friends, or
somebody, caused him to be marmorified in
that world-wide-known statue by the
celebrated Praxlights, the sculptor, and in that
state stuck for all the world to gaze at,
in the very centre of Madapolam Square;—
a species of blanket being deviously twisted
round his gracious body (leaving bare the
garter-knee), and his fore-finger dexterously
interleaving the pages of a volume supposed