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Their office is to wave fans made of peacocks'
feathers, backwards and forwards gently over
the king. They took their station noiselessly
behind the king's chair. He made no remark.
No one seemed to regard them at all. It was
the ordinary routine of the dinner-table. They
plied their graceful task silently and
monotonously the whole evening, fanning, and
attending to the king's hookah by turns,
relieving each other in regular succession,
until his majesty was assisted from the table
into his harem. The cookery was excellent;
soup, fish, joints, curry and rice, pastry, and
dessert. The wines were claret, Madeira,
and champagne, all of excellent quality, and
rendered more delicious by being iced
previously. The dessert was composed of the
richest and most luscious fruits that tropical
luxuriance can produce. With the dessert,
the evening's amusements began. Some
tumblers exhibited their calisthenic feats
men who appeared to have no bones in their
bodies, but could tie themselves up in knots,
walk any way but that in which Nature
intended, outdo the monkey in monkey-like
tricks, and go away well pleased if people
laughed at them. Then the court-jesters had
a keen encounter of wits, accompanied with
arrant buffoonery, not unlike the performances
of harlequin and pantaloon and clown in
English pantomimes. And then, some
conjurors exhibited their feats of devilry and
snake-charming. The nautch-girls exhibited
their fine figures in graceful attitudes,
advancing and retiring, now with one hand
held over the head, now with the other.
Their faces were not so captivating as those
of the female attendants behind his majesty;
but their forms were perfectly moulded, and
they managed their limbs with a graceful
dexterity not to be surpassed. Attendant
musicians played upon a species of lute and
tamborine behind them, advancing and
retreating with them, and accompanying the
instruments with their voices. The instrumental
was the leading part of the musical
performancethe voice accompanied it,
rather than it the voice. The Cashmere
nautch-girl, Nuna, of whom the king had
lately been so doatingly fond, was present,
after a week's absence, occasioned by some
native holidays. At her re-appearance, she
looked, and sang, and danced, as well as
ever.

"Boppery bopp!" exclaimed his majesty,
yawning as he gazed at her, "but she
wearies me. Is there no other amusement
this evening! Let us have a quail-fight or a
cock-fight, khan barber."

The barber rose to order the quails and the
cocks. The king looked at Nuna with
languid satiety.

"I wonder how she would look in a European
dress," he observed, half to himself,
half to the tutor, who sat next him. No
one replied. The barber re-appeared, and the
king made the same observation to him.

"Nothing is easier, sire, than to see how
she would look," was the barber's reply.

A gown and other articles of European
female attire were sent for from the barber's
house, he being a married man; and when
they were brought Nuna was told to retire
and put them on. The quails came, and the
fight proceeded on the table until the turn of
the rival cocks should arrive. Nuna re-appeared
in her new costume. A more wretched
transformation it is hardly possible to
conceive. The clothes hung loosely about her.
She felt that she was ridiculous. All grace
was gone: all beauty was hidden. She took
her place again with a disheartened look. The
king and the barber laughed heartily at her
plight, whilst hot scalding tears coursed down
Nuna's cheeks. The attendant females had
no pity for her; but chuckled at her disgrace,
turning up their pretty lips.

The revel proceeded; songs were sung.
His majesty became gradually more and
more affected with the wine he had taken,
until his consciousness was almost gone.
He was then assisted by the female attendants
and two sturdy eunuchs, and so led off
to the harem. It was astonishing how like
a drunken king looked, to an ordinary drunken
mortal. The guests rose from table, and
wandered about the palace. It was all open
to them except the sleeping apartments;
before which, as usual, the native female
sepoys, with muskets at their shoulders, paced
noiselessly. All was silent and deserted; a
native servant here and there, with his
clothes wrapped round himhead, feet, and
all, bandaged uplay on a mat asleep, not
to be awoke by any amount of noise.

And so ends our abstract of the edifying
manner in which one day was employed by
King Nassir-u-deen Hyder, at the Court of
Lucknow. Many other days might be sketched,
that were similarly and yet diversely occupied.
Nassir was succeeded on the throne
by one of his uncles, a cripple, whom he had
repeatedly ill-treated and insulted grossly.
The son of that uncle is the king who is now
dethroned, and who quitted Lucknow on the
thirteenth of March last (without eliciting one
expression of regret from his subjects) to
commence his journey to England. His
mother and brother are already in London
to sue for compensation for the loss of the
Augean stable, which the British Hercules
has cleansed.

If Lucknow has lost in splendour, it has
certainly gained in purity. For much more
that is startling and wonderful than we have
related respecting it, the curious reader must
consult the strange but truthful pages of
"The Private Life of an Eastern King."

The Right of Translated Articles from HOUSEHOLD WORDS is reserved by the Authors.

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