But some Hindoo children, though carefully instructed, do not grow gentle and loving, like John and Phebe.
The tents of some English soldiers were pitched in a lonely part of India; and the night was dark, when an officer’s lady thought she heard the sound of a child crying. The lady sent her servants out to look, and at last they brought in a little girl of four years old. And where do you think they had found her? Buried up to her throat in a bog, her little head alone peeping out. And who do you think had put her there? Her cruel mother. Yes, she had left her there to die.
This child gave a great deal of trouble to the kind lady who had saved her, nor did she show her any love in return for her kindness; and after keeping her about two years, the lady sent her to a missionary’s school.
You see how cruelly mothers in India sometimes treat their children. Their religion teaches them to be cruel.
A mother is taught to believe that if her babe is sick, an evil spirit is angry. To please this evil spirit, she will put her babe in a basket, and hang it up in a tree for three days. She goes then to look at it, and if it be alive, she takes it home. But how seldom does she find it alive! Either the ants or the vultures have eaten it, or it is starved to death.
When there is a famine in the land, many mothers will sell their children for sixpence each: and if they cannot sell them, they will leave them to perish.
One missionary received fifty-one poor starving children into his house: they were always crying, “Sahib, roti, roti;” that is, “Master, bread, bread.” But the bread came to late too save their lives; for all died except one.
Yet these sick children were very wicked.
One of them stole a brass basin, and sold it for sweetmeats. Though very kindly treated, some of them wished to escape; and to prevent it, the missionary tied them together in strings of fifteen;
There is a tribe in India called Khunds; and they sprinkle their fields with children’s blood, and they say this is the way to make the corn grow. The English government once rescued eighty poor children from the Khunds, and sent them to a Christian school. What miserable little creatures they were when they arrived! but they were soon clothed and comforted; and taught to hold a needle, and to know their letters; and, better still, to pronounce the name of Jesus. Like these poor little captives, we were all condemned to die, till Jesus rescued us, and promised everlasting life to those who believe.
There are many rich English gentlemen living in India: some are judges, and some are merchants, and some are officers in the army. They dwell in large and grand houses, with many windows down to the ground, and a wide verandah to keep off the sun. Instead of glass, there is grass in the windows: the blinds are made of sweet-scented grass, and servants outside continually pour water on the grass to make the air cool. Instead of fires, they have fans. These fans are like large screens hanging from the ceiling, and waving to and fro to refresh the company. Instead of carpets there are mats on the floor; and round the beds gauze curtains are drawn to keep out the insects.