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But, the complainant will forget it," said
I, "before he gets back to the regiment."

"Forget it?" exclaimed the Lieutenant.
"Forget it? A nativeespecially a native
commissioned officerforget a grievance?
Catch that old man forgetting the slightest
unpleasantness that has occurred to him
during this march. He will, it is true, forget
his present grievance to-morrow, when
he has a fresh one; but, at the end of the
journey they will be forthcoming in a lump."

This prophecy was destined not to be
fulfilled; for, presently, a sepoy came to the
Lieutenant, and reported that the Soubahdar
was very ill. We hastened to the old man's
tent, and found him, strange to say, in the
last extremity. He was going very fast; but,
nevertheless, he continued to gurgle forth
a grievance. He demanded, with his last
breath, why the East India Company did not
give him his pay, as in Lord Lake's time, in
Sicca rupees?

"You shall, in future, receive it in Sicca
rupees," said the Lieutenant, bending over
the old man, whose hand he grasped tightly.

"And will my past losses be made good"?
he asked with awful energy.

"Yes," said the Lieutenant.

"It is well!" and the old man slipped
almost imperceptibly from one world to

That the old Soubahdar, who was upwards
of eighty, had died of natural causes, there
could be no question; but, clamorous as
was the entire company for the interment of
the body, the Lieutenant determined on
taking it to Agra, for the purpose of a
surgical examination. Meanwhile the old man's
effects were scrupulously collected and put
under seal.

We were now only twenty-six miles from
Agra, the capital of the North West
Provinces, and it was agreed to perform the
distance in one march. We, therefore,
started at sundown and travelled all night.
The moon was shining brightly; the road
was in excellent order; and, notwithstanding
that the old Soubahdar was lying lifeless on
the top of some of the treasure-boxes, the
sepoys were in high spirits; and, on several
occasions even jocular in respect to the
deceased's weaknessthat of perpetually

Shortly after the day had dawned, I
beheld on the distant horizon something like
a large white cloud. Had we been at sea,
I should have said it was a sail or an iceberg;
to which it bore a very striking resemblance.
I pointed it out to the Lieutenant, who

"Don't you know what that is?"

"No," I answered.

"Can't you guess?"

"No. What is it?"

"That is the famous Taj Mahal. That is
the building that defies the most graphic pen
in the world to do justice to its grandeur and
its transcendent beauty. Bulwer, in the Lady
of Lyons, has a passage which sometimes
reminds me of the Taj:

         ' A palace lifting to eternal summer
      Its marble halls from out a glossy bower
      Of coolest foliage, musical with birds.'

But, how far short must any description of
such a place fall! How far distant do you
suppose we are from that building?"

"About two miles."

"Upwards of nine milesas the crow
flies! Yes, that is the Taj, the tomb of a
womanthe wife of the Emperor Shah Jehan.
The pure white marble of which it is built,
was brought from Ajmere. For upwards of
twenty-five years, twenty-five thousand men
were employed, day by day, on that edifice.
I am afraid to say how many millions it cost.
The Mahrattas carried away the huge silver
gates and made them into rupees. What
became of the inner gate, which was formed
of a single piece of agate, no one can say.
The general opinion is, that it is buried
somewhere in Bhurtpore. The original idea was
to build a corresponding tomb on this side of
the river for the Emperor himself, and connect
the two by a bridge of white marble.
A very pretty ideawas it not? Lord
William Bentinck was for pulling the Taj
down and selling the marble, or using it for
building purposes."


"Not at all. He thought it was very impolitic
to allow these gorgeous edifices to
standthese monuments of folly, extravagance
and superstition, which served none
but the worst of purposes, leading the natives
to draw prejudicial comparisons between the
simple and economical structures of the British
and these stupendous and costly erections
of the Mogul Emperors. And most assuredly
our bungalows, churches, and other buildings
do present a most beggarly appearance alongside
these masses of polished marble and red
stone. It looks as though we had no confidence
in our hold of the country, and therefore
would not go to any expense worth
speaking of. Look at our court houses, in
the civil lines, as that part of Agra is called,
a parcel of paltry brick and mortar pigeon
holes, not to be compared with the tenements
that the menial servants of the Emperors
inhabited. Look at the Government House,
the Metcalfe Testimonial, and other paltry
European edifices."

"Surely," said I, "you would preserve
rather than deface or destroy these magnificent
works of artthese wonders of the

"Works of art and wonders of the world
they doubtless are; but, under existing
circumstances, they are eyesores, and I would
pull down every one of them, and convert the
material into useful buildingsbarracks
splendid barracks for our British and native
troops; hospitals, worthy of being called

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