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

"Were your victims men or women?" I
said to her.

"All women," she answered me. "Some
old and some young."

I was tempted to ask her to show me how
it was done; and, after considerable coaxing
she complied with my wishes. To my
surprise, she was the only actor in the scene,
except the victim, with whom she went
through the process of strangling with a
piece of cord. The victim, another Thuggess,
was supposed to be sleeping, when the
operation was performed, and I could not help
admiringhorrible as the sight wasthe
accuracy with which she performed the
throes and agony of Death. To borrow an
idea from Junius, "None but those who had
frequently witnessed such awful moments
could describe them so well."

At the house of my Monghyr friend, I met
a French gentleman, an indigo-planter of
Tirhoot, in Behar. He invited me to pay
him a visit, and to accompany him in his boat.
He was about to sail on the following day.
I say "sail," for at that time (the month
of August), the country was inundated
and it would have been impossible to travel
by land. I accepted the invitation, and we
sailed from Monghyr to Hajeepore without
going near the Ganges for several days.

Monsieur Bardon, the French planter, was
one of the most accomplished and agreeable
men I had ever met, and, in truth, one of the
greatest characters. The hospitality of the
Tirhoot planters is proverbial in India, and
I believe I might have lived in that Garden
of the East, as it is called, from that day
to this, as a welcome guest of the various
planters, if I had chosen still to be their
guest. As it was, I was eight months in
the district, and then had very great
difficulty in getting away. A now celebrated
officer, at that time commanding the Irregular
Cavalry at Segowlie, induced me to
follow him; and, after leaving his abode,
I went to the Bettiah Rajah, who initiated
me into the mysteries of tiger-shooting. It
was in the dominions of this small chief that
my hands and face were so browned that I
became far less fair than many natives of the
country. Before leaving Tirhoot, however,
I paid a visit to Rooder Singh, the Rajah of
Durbungah, the richest native, perhaps, in
all India. He has two hundred thousand
pounds a-year net revenue; and, in a tank in
his palace there is lying, in gold and silver,
upwards of a million and a half sterling.
Chutter Singh, the father of the Rajah of
Durbungah, was a firm friend of the British
Government during the Nepal war. He
raised a regiment of horse and provisioned
it. When asked by the authorities for his
bill, he replied that the Government owed
him nothing.

After leaving the Bettiah Rajah, I
proceeded to Lucknow, where I improved
myself greatly in Hindostanee. In this city,
and in Delhi, the purest is spoken. At
Lucknow I made the acquaintance of Ally
Nucky Khan (the prime minister of the
King of Oude, who is now imprisoned in
Fort William), of Wuzy Ally Khan (a
celebrity of Oude, who is since dead), and of
Rugburdiall, the eldest son of the late Shah
Beharee Lall, one of the richest bankers in
India. Shah Beharee Lall is said to have
died worth seven millions in cash; but I
have reason to believe that three millions
sterling was the utmost that he died
possessed of. Rugburdiall held the office of
treasurer to the King of Oude. Ally Nucky
Khan gave me the idea of a man of small
mental capacity, but of immense cunning
and inordinate vanity. The late Mr. Beechy,
the King of Oude's portrait-painter, must
have taken at least a score of likenesses of
Ally Nucky, who, to say the truth, is a
remarkably good-looking personage. Wuzy
Ally Khan was a tall and handsome man of
about five-and-forty. His manners were
refined, his address charming, and his bearing
altogether that of a well-bred gentleman.
Of his talents there could be no question;
and he was, moreover, a learned and
well-informed man. There could be no doubt
that Wuzy Ally Khan, in point of fact, ruled
the kingdom. The conversational powers of
this man were immense, and he was both
witty and humorous. A more agreeable
companion it would be difficult to meet with
in any country. When I first made his
acquaintance, he was in great favour with
the then resident at the court of Oude; but,
on the appointment of Colonel Sleeman, he
fell into disrepute with the British officials
and continued so up to the time of his death,
which occurred about two years ago. I was
five months in Oude; and, during that period
spoke nothing but Hindostanee, or Persian.
I made a point of avoiding my own countrymen,
and of associating only with the natives
of India.

Previous to leaving Lucknow, a letter was
despatched to Nena Sahib, informing him
that a gentleman of distinction, a most
intimate friend of the governor-general, and
related by birth or marriage to every member
of the council in Calcutta, as well as a
constant guest of the Queen of England, was
travelling through Hindostan in disguise,
and would most probably, by his presence,
illumine the abode of the Maharajah Bahadoor,
and it was hoped that every respect
would be paid to the dignity of the Sahib's
exalted position, &c., &c. When the draft of
this epistle was read aloud by the moonshee
who had written it from dictation, I expostulated,
on the ground that the contents were
not in accordance with the truth. My
scruples, however, were eventually overcome,
and I took leave of my Lucknow friends,
after being provided with all that I should
require on my journey (of about forty-five