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

Notes: 

1.  January, 1836.

2.  The old Anglo-Indian rose much earlier than his successor of the present day commonly does.

3.  For other popular explanations of the alleged decrease in fertility of the soil, see ante, Chapter 27, where three explanations are offered, namely, the eating of beef, the prevalence of adultery, and the impiety of surveys.

4.  The inapplicability of these observations of the author to the present time is a good measure of the material progress of India since his day.  The Ganges Canal, the bridges over the Indus, Ganges, and other great rivers, and numberless engineering works throughout the empire, are permanent witnesses to the scientific superiority of the ruling race.  Buildings which can claim any high degree of architectural excellence are, unfortunately, still rare, but the public edifices of Bombay will not suffer by comparison with those of most capital cities, and for some years past, considerable attention has been paid to architecture as an art.  A great architectural experiment is in progress at the new official capital of Delhi (1914).

5.  The road is now an excellent one.

6.  Parched gram, or chick-pea, is commonly used by Indian travellers as a convenient and readily portable form of food.  The ‘brass jug’ lent to the author could be purified by fire after his use of it.

7.  Growls of this kind must not be interpreted too literally.  Any village landholder, if encouraged, would grumble in the same strain.

8.  This is the permanent difficulty of Indian revenue administration, which no Government measures can seriously diminish.

9.  The mission to Kabul, under Captain Alexander Burnes, was not dispatched till September, 1837, and troops did not assemble before the conclusion of the treaty with the Sikhs in June, 1838.  The army crossed the Indus in January, 1839.  The conversation in the text is stated to have taken place ’some time after the journey herein described’, and must, apparently, be dated in November, 1839.  The author was in the North-Western Provinces in that year.

10.  Some of Mrs. Smith’s suitors entered into a combination to defraud a suitor in his court of a large sum of money, which he was to pay to Mrs. Smith as she walked in the garden.  A dancing girl from the town of Jubbulpore was made to represent Mrs. Smith, and a suit of Mrs. Smith’s clothes was borrowed for her from the washerman.  The butler took the suitor to the garden, and introduced him to the supposed Mrs. Smith, who received him very graciously, and condescended to accept his offer of five thousand rupees in gold mohurs.  The plot was afterwards discovered, and the old butler, washerman, and all, were sentenced to work in a rope on the roads. [W.  H. S.]

Penal labour on the roads has been discontinued long since.  Similar plots probably have often escaped detection.  The whole conversation is a valuable illustration of Indian habits and modes of thought.

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