Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official eBook

William Henry Sleeman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,051 pages of information about Rambles and Recollections of an Indian Official.
Picts, the Scots, and the Saxons.  The Saxons thought theirs the finest in the world till they were conquered by the Danes and the Normans.  This is the history of the human race.  The quality of the blood of a whole people has depended often upon the fate of a battle, which in the ancient world doomed the vanquished to the hammer; and the hammer changed the blood of those sold by it from generation to generation.  How many Norman robbers got their blood ennobled, and how many Saxon nobles got theirs plebeianized by the Battle of Hastings; and how difficult it would be for any of us to say from which we descended—­the Britons or the Saxons, the Danes or the Normans; or in what particular action our ancestors were the victors or the vanquished, and became ennobled or plebeianized by the thousand accidents which influence the fate of battles.  A series of successful aggressions upon their neighbours will commonly give a nation a notion that they are superior in courage; and pride will make them attribute this superiority to blood—­that is, to an old date.  This was, perhaps, never more exemplified than in the case of the Gurkhas of Nepal, a small diminutive race of men not unlike the Huns, but certainly as brave as any men can possibly be.  A Gurkha thought himself equal to any four other men of the hills, though they were all much stronger; just as a Dane thought himself equal to four Saxons at one time in Britain.  The other men of the hills began to think that he really was so, and could not stand before him.[6]

We passed many wells from which the people were watering their fields, and found those which yielded a brackish water were considered to be much more valuable for irrigation than those which yielded sweet water.  It is the same in the valley of the Nerbudda, but brackish water does not suit some soils and some crops.  On the 8th we reached Fathpur Sikri, which lies about twenty-four miles from Agra, and stands upon the back of a narrow range of sandstone hills, rising abruptly from the alluvial plains to the highest, about one hundred feet, and extends three miles north-north-east and south-south-west.  This place owes its celebrity to a Muhammadan saint, the Shaikh Salim of Chisht, a town in Persia, who owed his to the following circumstance: 

The Emperor Akbar’s sons had all died in infancy, and he made a pilgrimage to the shrine of the celebrated Muin-ud-din of Chisht, at Ajmer.  He and his family went all the way on foot at the rate of three ‘kos’, or four miles, a day, a distance of about three hundred and fifty miles.  ‘Kanats’, or cloth walls, were raised on each side of the road, carpets spread over it, and high towers of burnt bricks erected at every stage, to mark the places where he rested.  On reaching the shrine he made a supplication to the saint, who at night appeared to him in his sleep, and recommended him to go and entreat the intercession of a very holy old man, who lived a secluded life upon the top of the little range of hills at Sikri. 

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