The name of Meer Hadjee Shah has so often occurred in my Letters, that I feel persuaded a brief sketch of his life may be acceptable here, more particularly as that venerated man presented to my immediate observation a correct picture of the true Mussulmaun. I can only regret my inability to do justice to the bright character of my revered father-in-law, whose conduct as a devout and obedient servant to his Maker, ruled his actions in every situation of life, and to whom my debt of gratitude is boundless, not alone for the affectionate solicitude invariably manifested for my temporal comforts, but for an example of holy living, which influences more than precept. This much valued friend of mine was the mouth of wisdom to all with whom he conversed, for even when intending to amuse by anecdotes, of which his fund was inexhaustible, there was always a moral and religious precept attached to the relation, by which to benefit his auditor, whilst he riveted attention by his gentle manners and well-selected form of words.
Before we met, I had often heard him described by his dutiful son, but with all that affection had prompted him to say of his father, I was not prepared to expect the dignified person I found him,—a perfect model of the patriarchs of old to my imagination, nor could I ever look at him through our years of intimacy, without associating him in my mind with Abraham, the father of his people.
His form was finely moulded, his height above six feet, his person erect, even in age, his fine cast of countenance beamed with benevolence and piety, and his dark eye either filled with tears of sympathy or brightening with joy, expressed both superior intelligence and intensity of feeling. His venerable flowing beard gave a commanding majesty to the figure before me, whilst his manners were graceful as the most polished even of European society. Raising his full eyes in pious thankfulness to God (whose mercy had thus filled his cup of earthly happiness to the brim), he embraced us both with a warmth of pressure to his throbbing heart, that pronounced more than his words, the sincerity of our welcome. Never have I forgotten the moment of our meeting. The first impression lasted through our long acquaintance, for he proved indeed a real solace during my pilgrimage in a strange land.
The subject of my present Letter, Meer Mahumud Hadjee Shah, was a native of Loodeeanah, the capital city of the Punjaab territory, so called from the five rivers which water that tract of country, and derived from punje (five), aab (water). He descended through a long line of pure Syaad blood, from Mahumud, many of his ancestors having been remarkable for their holy lives, and his grandsire in particular, a singularly devout Durweish, of whom are related in the family many interesting incidents and extraordinary escapes from peril which distinguished him as a highly-favoured mortal. On one occasion, when attacked by a ravenous tiger, his single blow with a sabre severed the head from the carcase: the sabre is still retained in the family with veneration, as the instrument by which the power and goodness of God was manifested to their sire.