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

and nodding on his post, fanned by a little
boy, is not a bad illustration of the energy
pervading most of the public departments of

Leaving the Post-Office, we pass along the
Strand, busy scene of import and export
trade: the Custom-house is on our right, the
river and the shipping are on our left.
Timbuctoo asserts its savage sway along our road.
Merchandise of every description; manufactures
from Lancashire and Yorkshire; beer,
wine, porcelain, pianofortes, clocks, glass-
ware, jewellery; all are brought to this London
of the East, in endless profusion. From
ship to boat, from boat to shore, the precious
goods are sent; tumbled over broken anchors,
stone ballast, and old chain cables, the cases,
boxes, and barrels are piled in bewildering
confusion, and remain on the muddy beach
until the coolies, who are enjoying their
noon-day slumber upon a consignment of
Lyons' silks and Geneva watches, feel inclined
to bundle them into the bullock-carts in

In like manner, chests of Indigo, bales of
jute, bags of sugar, bundles of hides, lie
scattered on the open beach, anywhere and
anyhow, amidst barrels of American tar, and
Scotch ale, and Spanish wine. A single shed
has been recently erected for the reception of
goods, large enough for the unloading of one
vessel; the remainder of the shipping may
fling their cargoes broad-cast on the filthy
banks of the Hooghly; and, when the
dark nor-wester and the October squalls
come down upon the devoted merchandise, it
must cheer the hearts of the faithful of
Timbuctoo to see the dire havoc that ensues,
despite the ravings of Eurasian clerks,
Ooriah coolies, and Mussulmen bullock-

Farther on, we have the steam-ferry to
Howrah across the river, where the railway-
trains start fornot Agra and Allahabad, and
other places hundreds of miles distantbut
for Raneegange, just ninety odd miles off.
The whole line was to have been opened this
year; whereas we have scarcely a sixth
part of it in operation. But then, the railway
department is presided over by a high
military functionary, who studied railways
for several years at a high salary in

It was not many weeks since that the
passengers by railway had to cross in a crazy
little native steamer, reached by a single
plank from the muddy beach to the wet
deck. Even now, with a good platform and
a larger boat, the crowding, confusion, and
haste are disgusting and disgraceful, though
quite in keeping with the other arrangements
of this guaranteed line.

Beyond this, again, is the Wapping of
Calcutta, where the native trading craft from
the upper and eastern provinces congregate
in vast masses, laden with all the varied
produce of the country. A busier scene than
here presents itself is not to be met with in
India. Cotton and jute stores, rice sheds,
linseed warehouses, crowd the dense
neighbourhood; whilst, near at hand, an army of
vultures and crows await at the burning
Ghât, the comfortable pickings of the next
dead Hindoo.

The whole of the exports of Bengal, with
few exceptions, pass through native agency;
and we may say nearly the same of the
imports. The reader in the far West may
perhaps form some idea of the busy scenes
daily enacting in the bazaars of Calcutta,
when he learns that the official (but by no
means the real) value of the exports of last
year, was little short of fourteen millions
sterling, while the imported goods were
valued at over eight millions. To convey all
this to and from Europe required fifteen
hundred ships of an aggregate burden of nearly
a million of tons. To carry the same to and
from the interior, has needed twice that capacity
of tonnage. Thus flows the great stream
of commerce in the East, enriching as it
passes the many thousands who swarm in
and around the City of Palaces.


ONE summer-noon, a sad-eyed manto whom
Life's road from youth, had lain through grief and
And every milestone was a loved one's tomb

Wander'd a-field, if haply he might find,
Sung in the brook, or breathed upon the wind,
Some message from the souls for whom he pined.

But, when he found no music in the rill,
Sun, dwindled to a thread, and each leaf still:
"See," moan'd he, "to the sick all goeth ill!"

And, hiding his wet face in the deep grass,
He pray'd life's chalice from his lips might pass,
And his last grain of sand fall through the glass.

Then, as he rose, through, ferns that strove to hide,
Hedged in by weeds, a wildflower he espied
Bent earthward by a dew-drop; so he cried:

"Frail bloom, that weepest in thy hidden nook
Alone, like Sorrow by the world forsook,
All the day long no sun can on thee look!"

But, while he spake, a little wand of light
Pass'd through the leaves, making all faëry-bright,
And what had seem'd a tear to his dull sight

Was now a tiny rainbow in a cup
Of thinnest silver, whence the beam did sup,
And by degrees the flower was lifted up;

And seem'd to follow with a wistful eye
A little drift of mist into the sky,
Rising to join the clouds that floated by;

Perchance, ere close of day, to fall in rain
And help some seaward stream, or thirsty plain;
Perchance to trickle down some window-pane