Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 98 pages of information about Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century.
to the vast area of country over which the storm raged.  Happily the death rate in Calcutta itself was, comparatively speaking, not so very great, and was confined more or less to the crews of small native craft plying on the river, such as lighters, cargo-boats, dinghees, budgetows, and green-boats.  This closes a brief chapter of some of the incidents that occurred and which have flitted across my memory in this never-to-be-forgotten storm which nearly overwhelmed Calcutta in October 1864, and shook it literally to its very foundations; but no pen can adequately visualise the picture of awful desolation and ruin that it wrought and left behind in its terribly devastating course.

[The pictures illustrating this chapter are from a collection in the possession of Messrs. Thacker, Spink & Co.]


This happened about a month later than that of 1864, on the 1st November, 1867, and long past the usual period for storms of this violent nature.  On this occasion I was occupying the top flat of what was then 12, Hastings Street, Colvin Ghat, next door to the offices of Grindlay & Co., and on the site of the building recently erected by Cox & Co. as a storing warehouse.  It was a very old shaky kind of house of three storeys having an insecure-looking, narrow strip of railed-in wooden verandah skirting the whole length of the southern portion of the second and third flats, which many people now in Calcutta will doubtless recollect.

[Illustration:  Some effects of the Cyclone at Garden Reach]

[Illustration:  Photo. by Bourne & Shepherd Old view of Government House, showing Scott Thomson’s corner.]

It was by no means the sort of place one would choose to brave the terrors of a cyclone, and it also had the great disadvantage, by reason of its very exposed position, of being open to attack from all points of the compass.

The storm commenced earlier than that of 1864, late in the afternoon, and just about dusk appearances were so threatening that I went downstairs, with the intention of going outside to ascertain, if possible, whether it was likely to develop into a pucca cyclone or not.  When I got there I found the wind was sweeping past the entrance in such fearfully violent gusts as to make it quite impossible for me to venture outside into the street, and I also detected that ominously sinister, weird and moaning sound that unmistakably warned me of the impending fact that a cyclone of considerable intensity was rapidly approaching.  I immediately returned to my rooms and made everything as secure as I could for withstanding the fury of the storm.  I had invited that evening a party of friends to dinner and to play whist afterwards, and they duly turned up to time.  As the night wore on, the force of the wind gradually increased in intensity, and great gusts struck the building at all angles with such terrific force as to make

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Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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