Across India eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 268 pages of information about Across India.

The fair young lady had never been in a palanquin, though she had seen them, and she was pleased with the idea of the ride.  It was dropped down upon its four legs, or feet, and Louis assisted her to the interior.  It was provided with cushions, and Sir Modava instructed her to recline so that she could see out of the open doors.  The young millionaire walked by the side of the vehicle, while the others all followed, with their servants at a respectful distance.

“How do you like the motion, Miss Blanche?” asked Louis, after they had gone a short distance.

“It is not as uneasy as the gait of a camel, though I can feel every step of the bearers.  But I should prefer a shigram, if it only had a better name,” replied she.

“You can call it a brougham, or simply a carriage, if you prefer.  We are not here to learn the Indian languages, and we can take our choice; and we can talk ‘good old United States,’ in speaking of things,” suggested Louis.  “There! what will you call that vehicle, Miss Blanche?”

“That is called a gharri” interposed Sir Modava, who was within hearing.

The vehicle was such as none of the Americans had ever seen.  It was a sort of two-wheeled cart, with a top like an old-fashioned chaise, in which a man was seated, while a rough-looking fellow rode in front.

“I should say it was an ox-cart, so far as the team is concerned,” said Scott.

“Those are not oxen; they are called bullocks in this country.  As you see, they have humps like a camel, though much smaller, in front of which is the yoke,” the Hindu knight explained.

“But they don’t drive oxen in the United States with a pair of rope reins, as this fellow does,” said Scott.

“I have seen them do so in North Carolina,” added Morris, who had travelled in the South with his parents.

“I give it up, and it’s all right.  But what is that man in the cart?  Is he a Grand Mogul?”

“Hardly,” replied Sir Modava, laughing.  “The driver is the lowest caste of laborers, who works for fivepence a day, and supports his family on it.  The man inside is the cook of a Parsee merchant I happen to know, and probably he is going to market to buy supplies for the family.  But here we are at the tailor’s.  You can continue your ramble, and your servants can tell you the way, and what the buildings are.”

The two gentlemen entered the tailor’s shop; for there are no stores here any more than in London.

CHAPTER XVII

A HOSPITAL FOR THE BRUTE CREATION

The live boys did not care much for the buildings, though most of those of a public character were architecturally very fine.  Around a large open space they found the Town Hall, the Mint, and all the great mercantile establishments.  At the time of the young people’s visit, it was almost entirely abandoned by those who had held possession of it during the day.  Business hours are from ten in the forenoon till four in the afternoon.

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Across India from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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