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be considered as secure. The launch,
continued through November, has not, at this
present writing, been fully effected; but will,
there is every hope, in spite of treacherous
chains and dragging anchors, be speedily
completed.

WANDERINGS IN INDIA *
* See number 404, p.12.

THE next encampment-ground at which
we halted was close to a d√Ęk bungalow;
and, during the day, there were several
arrivals and departures: the travellers
merely halting for an hour or so, while some
refreshment was got ready. The Lieutenant,
who appeared to know everybody in
Hindoostan (I never met a person who did not
know him) contrived to use his own phrase,
to "screw a small chat out of each of them."
On one occasion he returned to the tent
richer than he left it. He carried in one hand
a small basket containing preserved oysters,
crystallised apricots, and captains'-biscuits,
and in the other a stone bottle of Maraschino.
Under his arm was a quantity of gauze,
which he wanted for a veil, he said. These
contributions he had levied from a lady who
was going to Muttra, where her husband was
an official of some magnitude. She had just
returned from England, the Lieutenant informed
me, and was looking as blooming as
possible. To my question, "Do you know
her?" he responded, "O, yes! she is one of
my sixty."

"Sixty what?"

"First-cousins."

"All in India!"

"Every one of them. My good sir, I have
at this moment, in the Bengal Presidency
alone, upwards of two hundred and twenty
relations and connexions, male and female,
and every one of them--that is to say, the
men and the boys--in the service of the
government."

"Is it possible?"

"Yes. What is more, four-fifths of the
number are in the civil service. I should
have been in the civil service, too, only I
was sent away from Haileybury for rebellion
and card-playing. It is not an easy
matter for me to go to any station in these
provinces without finding a cousin in it."

"Do you know the assistant-magistrate of
Agra?"

"Yes."

"Is he a cousin of yours?"

"He isn't. But his wife's father and my
father were own brothers; so it amounts to
pretty much the same thing."

"And do you know the judge of Jampore?"
This was a gentleman to whom I
had letters of introduction.

"Yes. His mother was my aunt."

"It must be dangerous," I suggested,
"to express an opinion of anyone in India
in the presence of a man who has so very
many relations."

"O, dear, no! " said the Lieutenant. " A
man with such a frightful lot of connexions
has no right to beand is not generally
very sensitive. Bless me! if I had nothing
to do but to stand up for my relations, I
should run the risk of being perpetually
knocked down. Life is much too short for
that sort of thing. Therefore, when I hear
any one abuse or reflect upon any relation or
connexion of mine, I am invariably silent;
or, if appealed to, express my indifference by
a shrug of the shoulders."

Here we were interrupted by the old
Soubahdar, who came to the door of the tent.
He had dined, washed, smoked, slept, and had
now got up to grumble. His huge teak box
which measured four feet by two, and two
feet deep, and without which he never
travelledhad received a slight injury, and of
this he had come to complain. He said, that
in the time of Lord Clive or Lord Lake, if
such a thing had happened, the men in charge
of the hackeries (carts) would have been
hanged on the spot; and Phool Singh Brahmin,
whose exertions, he alleged, prevented
the utter destruction of the box, would have
been promoted to the rank of havildar.

"Clive and Lake!" whispered the
Lieutenant to me. "He talks like a leading
article in a London newspaper." Then, turning
to the old man, he inquired, "Would
Lord Clive or Lord Lake have sanctioned
your carrying about that beastly trunk on
march at all?"

"Yes, Sahib."

"It is not true. Lord Clive and Lord
Lake gained their victories by the help of
self-denying men, who cheerfully endured
any personal inconvenience; not by a parcel
of old grumblers like yourself, who have no
right to refer to the career of those illustrious men."

"Sahib, I was with Lord Lake's army."

"Then, that's the very reason that you
ought not to be here."

"But our present Colonel, Sahib, was
with Lord Lake."

"And I wish he was with Lord Lake
now!"

"I shall report this, Sahib."

"Very well. Do!"

Whereupon the old officer left the tent, and
the Lieutenant assured me that the Colonel,
who was as imbecile as the Soubahdar, would
cause the matter to be investigated, and that
he, the Lieutenant, would, to a certainty,
receive a severe reprimand.

"For what?" I asked.

"For not having made arrangements for
the safe conveyance of the baggage, and
for having treated with a want of courtesy
a native commissioned officer of the regiment.
I need scarcely tell you, that this reprimand
will not in any way disturb my night's
rest."