Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 897 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.

About half-way we were overtaken by one of the heaviest showers of rain I ever saw; it threatened us from neither side, but began to descend from an apparently small bed of clouds directly over our heads, which seemed to spread out on every side as the rain fell, and fill the whole vault of heaven with one dark and dense mass.  The wind changed frequently; and in less than half an hour the whole surface of the country over which we were travelling was under water.  This dense mass of clouds passed off in about two hours to the east; but twice, when the sun opened and beamed divinely upon us in a cloudless sky to the west, the wind changed suddenly round, and rushed back angrily from the east, to fill up the space which had been quickly rarefied by the genial heat of its rays, till we were again enveloped in darkness, and began to despair of reaching any human habitation before night.  Some hail fell among the rain, but not large enough to hurt any one.  The thunder was loud and often startling to the strongest nerves, and the lightning vivid, and almost incessant.  We managed to keep the road because it was merely a beaten pathway below the common level of the country, and we could trace it by the greater depth of the water, and the absence of all shrubs and grass.  All roads in India soon become watercourses—­they are nowhere metalled; and, being left for four or five months every year without rain, their soil is reduced to powder by friction, and carried off by the winds over the surrounding country.[2] I was on horseback, but my wife and child were secure in a good palankeen that sheltered them from the rain.  The bearers were obliged to move with great caution and slowly, and I sent on every person I could spare that they might keep moving, for the cold blast blowing over their thin and wet clothes seemed intolerable to those who were idle.  My child’s playmate, Gulab, a lad of about ten years of age, resolutely kept by the side of the palankeen, trotting through the water with his teeth chattering as if he had been in an ague.  The rain at last ceased, and the sky in the west cleared up beautifully about half an hour before sunset.  Little Gulab threw off his stuffed and quilted vest, and got a good dry English blanket to wrap round him from the palankeen.  We soon after reached a small village, in which I treated all who had remained with us to as much coarse sugar (gur) as they could eat; and, as people of all castes can eat of sweetmeats from the hands of confectioners without prejudice to their caste, and this sugar is considered to be the best of all good things for guarding against colds in man or beast, they all ate very heartily, and went on in high spirits.  As the sun sank below us on the left, a bright moon shone out upon us from the right, and about an hour after dark we reached our tents on the north bank of the Kuari river, where we found an excellent dinner for ourselves, and good fires, and good shelter for our servants.  Little rain had fallen near the tents, and the river Kuari, over which we had to cross, had not, fortunately, much swelled; nor did much fall on the ground we had left; and, as the tents there had been struck and laden before it came on, they came up the next morning early, and went on to our next ground.

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Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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