“They do not eat it here, and probably it would be indigestible if they could do so,” continued Sir Modava. “A durbar is a very important event in India, but is not eatable. It is an occasion at which the native princes acknowledge the sovereignty of the Queen of England. In 1866 the most noted one took place at Agra, a full description of which would require a long time. For the first time after the establishment of the Empire of India, the governor-general, representing the empress, received the homage of twenty-six sovereign princes. It was an act of submission. The ceremonies occupied many days; and kings, maharajahs, rajahs, and other princes bowed to the throne of the sovereign. It was a tremendous occasion; and it was a festival honored by banquets, processions, and royal gatherings. I will get a book for you, Captain Ringgold, when we reach Calcutta, from which you may read a full account of the affair. It grew out of an ancient Indian custom, and many of them on a small scale have occurred.”
The tourists spent another day at Agra, and, though they had not exhausted the sights of the place, the commander decided that they could remain no longer, and they left on the following day for Cawnpore.
THE TERRIBLE STORY OF CAWNPORE AND LUCKNOW
Agra is on one of the great railroads from Bombay to Calcutta, though not the most direct one; and it crosses the Jumna at this point, where a vast bridge was in process of construction over its waters, which must now be completed. It was but a five hours’ journey to Cawnpore, and the party arrived there in season for luncheon.
“Cawnpore is on the right bank of the Ganges, six hundred and twenty-eight miles from Calcutta,” said Lord Tremlyn, when the party were seated in the Conference-Hall carriage, and the train was moving away from Agra. “But, so far as viewing the wonderful buildings of India, you will have a rest at this place; though you need not suppose it is a city of no importance, for it has 188,712 inhabitants, and has a large trade. Here you will obtain your first view of the Ganges, varying in width from a third of a mile to a mile.
“The great river is one of the special objects of interest to the tourist in coming from Bombay, for here he usually gets his first view of it. There are important buildings here, including mosques and temples, but none to compare with those you have already seen. The Indian Mutiny of 1857 attracts many visitors to the place.”
“I don’t think I care to see any more great buildings,” interposed Mrs. Belgrave.
“There are none here to see; and we shall remain here only long enough to see the sites connected with the mutiny.”
“I should like to hear the story of the mutiny over again,” added the lady.
“I was able to give only a very brief and imperfect account of the rebellion, with so great a subject as India in general on my hands, on board of your ship, and very likely there will be occasion to repeat some portions of it as we point out the various spots connected with it,” replied Lord Tremlyn.