A Journey to Katmandu eBook

Laurence Oliphant
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 156 pages of information about A Journey to Katmandu.

CHAPTER X.

The titles of his Excellency General Jung Bahadoor Coomaranagee in England—­Extraordinary notions of the British public on Indian affairs—­Jung Bahadoor’s conciliatory policy—­Our unsuccessful attempt to penetrate beyond the permitted boundaries—­Dangerous position of the Prime Minister—­His philanthropic designs—­Great opposition on the part of Durbar—­Native punishments—­A Nepaulese chief-justice—­Jung’s popularity with the peasantry and army.

The rumours in England during Jung Bahadoor’s short residence there—­of who he was, of what position he held, of his having taken his greatest enemies with him to keep them from conspiring against him while absent—­of his being at least a Prince, if not the Rajah himself in disguise—­were as far from correct, and as improbable, as were the numerous stories related of him in the newspapers, many of which had no foundation whatever, and in no way redounded to his credit.

The subject, however, of so much speculation was generally too much pleased with his notoriety to care for the means which in some measure obtained it for him; and I have heard him repeat with great glee some imaginary anecdote of himself, or laughingly enumerate the various appellations by which he had been known.  Amongst the few words of English which he could pronounce were those by which he was most frequently addressed—­such as, the Prince, the Ambassador, your Highness, your Excellency, the Minister, Jung Bahadoor, Jung, or more often “the Jung.”  Whilst the appearance of the Coomaranagee Polkas showed an unusual amount of correct information on the part of the publisher.

Such ignorance might have been expected from the utter indifference manifested in England towards Indian affairs.  The ideas of John Bull upon the subject are often ludicrous in the extreme, as he finds it impossible to divest himself of the preconceived notions which he surely must have been born with when he pertinaciously imagines that all dark-coloured people have woolly heads and thick lips, and speak the broken English of the negro; nor has he the slightest conception of the relative position of great towns in India, or which States are independent; or who the Nizam is, or if his contingent is not some part of his dress; or whether the Taj is not the husband of the Begum mentioned in Pendennis.  He has a vague notion that nabobs come from India, and has heard perhaps of cabobs, but what the difference is, or whether they are not articles of Indian export usually packed in casks, he has not the most remote conception.  For all the light, therefore, that John Bull could throw upon the subject of who or what Jung Bahadoor was, besides being the Nepaulese ambassador, or where the country was that he came to represent, it might remain a mystery to the present day.

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A Journey to Katmandu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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