Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series eBook

George Robert Aberigh-Mackay
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 123 pages of information about Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series.

It is strange that one who is modest and inoffensive in his own country should immediately on leaving it exhibit some of the worst features of Arryism; but it seems inevitable.  I have met in this unhappy land, countrymen (who are gentlemen in England, Members of Parliament, and Deputy Lieutenants, and that kind of thing) whose conduct and demeanour while here I can never recall without tears and blushes for our common humanity.  My friends witnessing this emotion often suppose that I am thinking of the Famine Commission.

[I am an Anglo-Indian cherishing many a burning Anglo-Indian prejudice, and I should be sorry if from what I have written here it does not sufficiently appear that I cherish a burning prejudice against the British Tourist in India, who comes out to get up India and to do India; not against the tourist who comes out to shoot or to play the fool in a quiet unostentatious way.]

As far as I can learn, it is a generally received opinion at home that a man who has seen the Taj at Agra, the Qutb at Delhi, and the Duke at Madras, has graduated with honours in all questions connected with British interests in Asia; and is only unfitted for the office of Governor-General of India from knowing too much.—­ALI BABA, K.C.B.

No.  XX

MEM-SAHIB

      “Her life is lone.  He sits apart;
        He loves her yet:  she will not weep,
        Tho’ rapt in matters dark and deep
      He seems to slight her simple heart.

      “For him she plays, to him she sings
        Of early faith and plighted vows;
        She knows but matters of the house,
      And he, he knows a thousand things.”

[December 20, 1879.]

I first met her shepherding her little flock across the ocean.  She was a beautiful woman, in the full sweetness and bloom of life. [The mystery of early wifehood and motherhood gave a pensiveness to her soft eyes; but her voice and manner disclosed the cheerful confidence of perfect health and a pure heart.] Her talk was of the busy husband she had left, the station life, the attached servants, the favourite horse, the garden, and the bungalow.  Her husband would soon follow her, in a year, or two years, and they would return together; but they would return to a silent home—­the children would be left behind.  She was going home to her mother and sisters; but there had been changes in this home.  So her thoughts were woven of hopes and fears; and, as she sat on deck of an evening, with the great heart of the moon-lit sea palpitating around us, and the homeless night-wind sighing through the cordage, she would sing to us one of the plaintive ballads of the old country, till we forgot to listen to the sobbing and the trampling of the engines, and till all sights and sounds resolved themselves into a temple of sentiment round a charming priestess chanting low anthems.  She would leave us early to go to her babies.  She would leave us throbbing with mock heroics, undecided whether we should cry, or consecrate our lives to some high and noble enterprise, or drink one more glass of hot whiskey-and-water.  She was kind, but not sentimental; her sweet, yet practical “good-night” was quite of the work-a-day world; we felt that it tended to dispel illusions.

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Twenty-One Days in India; and, the Teapot Series from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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