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Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 84 pages of information about Recollections of Calcutta for over Half a Century.
piquant and interesting episode occurred in connection with the wife of one of the brothers before the introduction of the revised rules to be observed in connection with the holding of Drawing Rooms at Government House.  Mrs. Payne on seeing the usual notification in the public prints of the announcement of the approaching ceremony sent in her cards intimating her wish to attend; but much to her surprise and dismay they were returned with a polite note from the Military Secretary to the Viceroy.  Thereupon she sat down and indited a reply to the effect that, as she had already had the honour of being presented at a Drawing Room held at Buckingham Palace by Her Majesty the Queen, she thought she might reasonably consider herself eligible to attend the like ceremony at Government House.  It is almost needless to say that the much coveted invitation was promptly forwarded.  The Paynes, I believe, got into financial difficulties, and the business was eventually wound up.  It was afterwards converted into what in those days was called “Investment Rooms,” where they sold all sorts of ladies’ requirements and was known as “Old Moores,” owing, I presume, to the fact of the proprietor having rather a venerable appearance, and to his having kept the same kind of establishment for many years in Hare Street in the premises now in the occupation of Dewar & Co., the great firm of whisky distillers.

PRINSEPS GHAUT, STRAND.

When I arrived in Calcutta in the sailing ship in which I had travelled out via the Cape, we anchored just opposite the ghaut which was then situated immediately on the river bank, approached by a steep flight of stone-steps.

[Illustration:  Photo. by Johnston & Hoffmann Prinsep’s Ghat from the land side]

[Illustration:  Mullick’s Bathing Ghat, Strand Road.]

When it was low water, and it seemed at that time to be nearly always so, you had to be carried ashore by the dingheewallahs on an antiquated kind of wooden chair or board, as the mud between the river and ghaut was more than ankle-deep.  It was of course an immense improvement in every sense when the land was reclaimed from the river, and the present roadway at that part of the Strand was made and extended in a straight line as far as Tackta Ghaut.  The railway to the docks did not then exist nor the two houses to the south of the ghaut, one of which is occupied by the Conservator of the Port.  Another striking improvement higher up at the junction of the Strand and Esplanade Road, West, has been also effected in recent years.  On the site of the Public Debt Office which has been added on to the Bank of Bengal there had stood, from time immemorial, a large three-storeyed house adjoining the residence of the Secretary and Treasurer of the bank, flanked on the Strand side by some low godowns in which Harton & Co. had their stores and office.  It was at various times occupied

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