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.

The only thing that he could not inherit were his tombs, his temples, his bridges, his canals, his caravanserais.  I was acquainted with the history of most of the great men whose tombs and temples I visited along the road; but I asked in vain for a sight of the palaces they occupied in their day of pride and power.  They all had, no doubt, good houses agreeably situated, like that of the Begam Samru, in the midst of well-watered gardens and shrubberies, delightful in their season; but they cared less about them—­they knew that the Emperor was heir to every member of the great body to which they belonged, the aristocracy of office; and might transfer all their wealth to his treasury, and all their palaces to their successors, the moment the breath should be out of their bodies.[3] If their sons got office, it would neither be in the same grades nor in the same places as those of their fathers.

How different it is in Europe, where our aristocracy is formed upon a different basis; no one knows where to find the tombs in which the remains of great men who have passed away repose; or the churches and colleges they have founded; or the serais, the bridges, the canals they formed gratuitously for the public good; but everybody knows where to find their ‘proud palaces’; life is not to them ’a bridge over which they are to pass, and not build their dwellings upon’.  The eldest sons enjoy all the patrimonial estates, and employ them as best they may to get their younger brothers into situations in the church, the army, the navy, and other public establishments, in which they may be honourably and liberally provided for out of the public purse.

About half-way between the great tower and the new city, on the left-hand side of the road, stands the tomb of Mansur Ali Khan, the great-grandfather of the present King of Oudh.  Of all the tombs to be seen in this immense extent of splendid ruins, this is perhaps the only one raised over a subject, the family of whose inmates are now in a condition even to keep it in repair.  It is a very beautiful mausoleum, built after the model of the Taj at Agra; with this difference, that the external wall around the quadrangle of the Taj is here, as it were, thrown back, and closed in upon the tomb.  The beautiful gateway at the entrance of the gardens of the Taj forms each of the four sides of the tomb of Mansur Ali Khan, with all its chaste beauty of design, proportion, and ornament.[4] The quadrangle in which this mausoleum stands is about three hundred and fifty yards square, surrounded by a stone wall, with handsome gateways, and filled in the same manner as that of the Taj at Agra, with cisterns and fruit-trees.  Three kinds of stones are used—­white marble, red sandstone, and the fine white and flesh-coloured sandstone of Rupbas.  The dome is of white marble, and exactly of the same form as that of the Taj; but it stands on a neck or base of sandstone with twelve sides, and the marble is of a quality very inferior to that

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