Everybody who comes to India must have a personal servant, a native who performs the duty of valet, waiter and errand boy and does other things that he is told. It is said to be impossible to do without one and I am inclined to think that is true, for it is a fixed custom of the country, and when a stranger attempts to resist, or avoid or reform the customs of a country his trouble begins. Many of the Indian hotels expect guests to bring their own servants - to furnish their own chambermaids and waiters - hence are short-handed, and the traveler who hasn't provided himself with that indispensable piece of baggage has to look after himself. On the railways a native servant is even more important, for travelers are required to carry their own bedding, make their own beds and furnish their own towels. The company provides a bench for them to sleep on, similar to those we have in freight cabooses at home, a wash room and sometimes water. But if you want to wash your face and hands in the morning it is always better to send your servant to the station master before the trains starts to see that the tank is filled. Then a naked Hindu with a goat-skin of water comes along, fills the tank and stands around touching his forehead respectfully every time you look his way until you give him a penny. The eating houses along the railway lines also expect travelers to bring their own servants, who raid their shelves and tables for food and drink and take it out to the cars. That is another of the customs of the country.

For these reasons a special occupation has been created, peculiar to India - that of travelers' servants, or "bearers" as they are called. I have never been able to satisfy myself as to the derivation of the name. Some wise men say that formerly, before the days of railroads, people were carried about in sedan chairs, as they are still in China, and the men who carried them were called "bearers;" others contend that the name is due to the circumstance that these servants bear the white man's burden, which is not at all likely. They certainly do not bear his baggage. They hire coolies to do it. A self-respecting "bearer" will employ somebody at your expense to do everything he can avoid doing and will never demean himself by carrying a trunk, or a bag, or even a parcel. You give him money to pay incidental expenses, for you don't want him bothering you all the time, and he hires other natives to do the work. But his wages are small. A first-class bearer, who can talk English and cook, pack trunks, look after tickets, luggage and other business of travel, serve as guide at all places of interest and compel merchants to pay him a commission upon everything his employer purchases, can be obtained for forty-five rupees, which is $15 a month, and keep himself. He gets his board for nothing at the hotels for waiting on his master, and on the pretext that he induced him to come there. But you have to pay his railway fare, third class, and give him $3 to buy warm clothing. He never buys it, because he does not need it, but that's another custom of the country. Then again, at the end of the engagement he expects a present - a little backsheesh - two or three dollars, and a certificate that you are pleased with his services.

That is the cost of the highest priced man, who can be guide as well as servant, but you can get "bearers" with lesser accomplishments for almost any wages, down as low as $2 a month. But they are not only worthless; they actually imperil your soul because of their exasperating ways and general cussedness. You often hear that servants are cheap in India, that families pay their cooks $3 a month and their housemen $2, which is true; but they do not earn any more. One Swede girl will do as much work as a dozen Hindus, and do it much better than they, and, what is even more important to the housewife, can be relied upon. In India women never go out to service except as nurses, but in every household you will find not less than seven or eight men servants, and sometimes twenty, who receive from $1 to $5 a month each in wages, but the total amounts up, and they have to be fed, and they will steal, every one of them, and lie and loaf, and cause an infinite amount of trouble and confusion, simply because they are cheap. High-priced servants usually are an economy - good things always cost money, but give better satisfaction.

Another common mistake is that Indian hotel prices are low. They are just as high as anywhere else in the world for the accommodations. I have noticed that wherever you go the same amount of luxury and comfort costs about the same amount of money. You pay for all you get in an Indian hotel. The service is bad because travelers are expected to bring their own servants to answer their calls, to look after their rooms and make their beds, and in some places to wait on them in the dining-room. There are no women about the houses. Men do everything, and if they have been well trained as cleaners the hotel is neat. If they have been badly trained the contrary may be expected. The same may be said of the cooking. The landlord and his guest are entirely at the mercy of the cook, and the food is prepared according to his ability and education. You get very little beef because cows are sacred and steers are too valuable to kill. The mutton is excellent, and there is plenty of it. You cannot get better anywhere, and at places near the sea they serve an abundance of fish. Vegetables are plenty and are usually well cooked. The coffee is poor and almost everybody drinks tea. You seldom sit down to a hotel table in India without finding chickens cooked in a palatable way for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and eggs are equally good and plenty. The bread is usually bad, and everybody calls for toast. The deserts are usually quite good.

It takes a stranger some time to become accustomed to barefooted servants, but few of the natives in India of whatever class wear shoes. Rich people, business men, merchants, bankers and others who come in contact on equal terms with the foreign population usually wear them in the streets, but kick them off and go around barefooted as soon as they reach their own offices or their homes. Although a servant may be dressed in elaborate livery, he never wears shoes. The butlers, footmen, ushers and other servants at the government house in Calcutta, at the viceregal lodge at Simla, at the palace of the governor of Bombay, and the residences of the other high officials, are all barefooted.

Everybody with experience agrees that well-trained Hindu servants are quick, attentive and respectful and ingenious. F. Marion Crawford in "Mr. Isaacs" says: "It has always been a mystery to me how native servants manage always to turn up at the right moment. You say to your man, 'Go there and wait for me,' and you arrive and find him waiting; though how he transferred himself thither, with his queer-looking bundle, and his lota and cooking utensils and your best teapot wrapped up in a newspaper and ready for use, and with all the hundred and one things that a native servant contrives to carry about without breaking or losing one of them, is an unsolved puzzle. Yet there he is, clean and grinning as ever, and if he were not clean and grinning and provided with tea and cheroots, you would not keep him in your service a day, though you would be incapable of looking half so spotless and pleased under the same circumstances yourself."

Every upper servant in an Indian household has to have an under servant to assist him. A butler will not wash dishes or dust or sweep. He will go to market and wait on the table, but nothing more. A cook must have a coolie to wash the kitchen utensils, and wait on him. He will do nothing but prepare the food for the table. A coachman will do nothing but drive. He must have a coolie to take care of the horse, and if there are two horses the owner must hire another stable man, for no Hindu hostler can take care of more than one, at least he is not willing to do so. An American friend has told me of his experience trying to break down one of the customs of the East, and compelling one native to groom two horses. It is too long and tearful to relate here, for he was finally compelled to give in and hire a man for every horse and prove the truth of Kipling's poem:

  "It is not good for the Christian race 
  To worry the Aryan brown; 
    For the white man riles, 
    And the brown man smiles, 
  And it weareth the Christian down 
    And the end of the fight 
    Is a tombstone white 
  With the name of the late deceased, 
    And the epitaph clear: 
    A fool lies here, 
  Who tried to hustle the East."

That's the fate of everybody who goes up against established customs. And so we hired a "bearer."

There were plenty of candidates. They appeared in swarms before our trunks had come up from the steamer, and continued to come by ones and twos until we had made a selection. They camped outside our rooms and watched every movement we made. They sprang up in our way from behind columns and gate-posts whenever we left the hotel or returned to it. They accosted us in the street with insinuating smiles and politely opened the carriage door as we returned from our drives. They were of all sizes and ages, castes and religions, and, strange to say, most of them had become Christians and Protestants from their strong desire to please. Each had a bunch of "chits," as they call them - recommendations from previous employers, testifying to their intelligence, honesty and fidelity, and insisted upon our reading them. Finally, in self-defense, we engaged a stalwart Mohammedan wearing a snow-white robe, a monstrous turban and a big bushy beard. He is an imposing spectacle; he moves like an emperor; his poses are as dignified as those of the Sheik el Islam when he lifts his hands to bestow a blessing. And we engaged Ram Zon Abdullet Mutmammet on his shape.

It was a mistake. Beauty is skin deep. No one can judge merit by outside appearances, as many persons can ascertain by glancing in a mirror. Ram Zon, and that was what we called him for short, was a splendid illusion. It turned out that he could not scrape together enough English to keep an account of his expenditures and had to trust to his memory, which is very defective in money matters. He cannot read or write, he cannot carry a message or receive one; he is no use as a guide, for, although information and ideas may be bulging from his noble brow, he lacks the power to communicate them, and, worse than all, he is surly, lazy and a constitutional kicker. He was always hanging around when we didn't want him, and when we did want him he was never to be found.

Ram had not been engaged two hours before he appeared in our sitting room, enveloped in a dignity that permeated the entire hotel, stood erect like a soldier, brought his hand to his forehead and held it there for a long time - the salute of great respect - and gave me a sealed note, which I opened and found to read as follows:

"Most Honored Sir: - I most humbly beg to inform you this to your kind consideration and generousitee and trusting which will submit myself to your grant benevolence for avoid the troublesomeness to you and your families, that the servant Ram Zon you have been so honorable and benovelent to engage is a great rogue and conjurer. He will make your mind buzzling and will steal your properties, and can run away with you midway. In proof you please touch his right hand shoulder and see what and how big charm he has. Such a bad temperature man you have in your service. Besides he only grown up taller and looks like a dandee as it true but he is not fit to act in case not to disappeared. I beg of you kindly consult about those matters and select and choose much experienced man than him otherwise certainly you could be put in to great danger by his conjuring and into troubles.

"Hoping to excuse me for this troubles I taking, though he is my caste and countryman much like not to do so, but his temperature is not good therefore liable to your honourablesness, etc., etc."

When I told Ram about this indictment, he stoutly denied the charges, saying that it was customary for envious "bearers" to say bad things of one another when they lost good jobs. We did not feel of his right arm and he did not try to conjure us, but his temperature is certainly very bad, and he soon became a nuisance, which we abated by paying him a month's wages and sending him off. Then, upon the recommendation of the consul we got a treasure, although he does not show it in his looks.

The hotels of India have a very bad name. There are several good ones in the empire, however, and every experienced traveler and every clubman you meet can tell you the names of all of them. Hence it is not impossible to keep a good hotel in India with profit. The best are at Lucknow and Darjeeling. Those at Caucutta are the worst, although one would think that the vice-regal capital would have pride enough to entertain its many visitors decently.

Bombay at last has such a hotel as ought to be found in Calcutta and all the other large cities, an architectural monument, and an ornament to the country. It is due to the enterprise of the late Mr. J. N. Tata, a Parsee merchant and manufacturer, and it is to be hoped that its success will be sufficient to stimulate similar enterprises elsewhere. It would be much better for the people of India to coax tourists over here by offering them comforts, luxuries and pleasures than to allow the few who do come, to go away grumbling. The thousands who visit Cairo every winter are attracted there by the hotels, for no city has better ones, and no hotels give more for the money. Hence they pay big profits, and are a source of prosperity to the city, as well as a pleasure to the idle public.

The most interesting study in Bombay is the people, but there are several excursions into the country around well worth making, particularly those that take you to the cave temples of the Hindus, which have been excavated with infinite labor and pains out of the solid rock. With their primitive tools the people of ancient times chiseled great caverns in the sides of rocky cliffs and hills and fashioned them after the conventional designs of temples, with columns, pillars, vaulted ceilings, platforms for their idols and pulpits for their priests. The nearest of these wonderful examples of stone cutting is on an island in the harbor of Bombay, called Elephanta, because at one time a colossal stone elephant stood on the slope near the landing place, but it was destroyed by the Portuguese several centuries ago. The island rises about 600 feet above the water, its summit is crowned with a glorious growth of forest, its sides are covered with dense jungles, and the beach is skirted by mangrove swamps. You get there by a steam launch provided by the managers of your hotel, or by Cook &Sons, the tourist agents, whenever a sufficiently large party is willing to pay them for their trouble. Or if you prefer a sail you can hire one of the native boats with a peculiar rigging and usually get a good breeze in the morning, although it is apt to die down in the afternoon, and you have to take your chances of staying out all night. The only landing place at Elephanta Island is a wall of concrete which has been built out across the beach into four or five feet of water, and you have to step gingerly lest you slip on the slime. At the end of the wall a solid stairway cut in the hillside leads up to the temple. It was formerly used daily by thousands of worshipers, but in this degenerate age nobody but tourists ever climb it. Every boat load that lands is greeted by a group of bright-eyed children, who follow the sahibs (gentlemen) and mem-sahibs (ladies) up the stairs, begging for backsheesh and offering for sale curios beetles and other insects of brilliant hues that abound on the island. Coolies are waiting at the foot of the stairs with chairs fastened to poles, in which they will carry a person up the steep stairway to the temple for 10 cents. Reaching the top you find a solid fence with a gateway, which is opened by a retired army officer who has been appointed custodian of the place and collects small fees, which are devoted to keeping the temples clean and in repair.

The island is dedicated to Siva, the demon god of the Hindus, and it is therefore appropriate that its swamps and jungles should abound with poisonous reptiles and insects. The largest of the several temples is 130 feet square and from 32 to 58 feet high, an artificial cave chiseled out of the granite mountain side. The roof is sustained by sixteen pilasters and twenty-six massive fluted pillars. In a recess in the center is a gigantic figure of Siva in his character as The Destroyer. His face is turned to the east and wears a stern, commanding expression. His head-dress is elaborate and crowned by a tiara beautifully carved. In one hand he holds a citron and in the other the head of a cobra, which is twisted around his arm and is reaching towards his face. His neck is adorned with strings of pearls, from which hangs a pendant in the form of a heart. Another necklace supports a human skull, the peculiar symbol of Siva, with twisted snakes growing from the head instead of hair. This is the great image of the temple and represents the most cruel and revengeful of all the Hindu gods. Ten centuries ago he wore altogether a different character, but human sacrifices have always been made to propitiate him. Around the walls of the cave are other gods of smaller stature representing several of the most prominent and powerful of the Hindu pantheon, all of them chiseled from the solid granite. There are several chambers or chapels also for different forms of worship, and a well which receives its water from some mysterious source, and is said to be very deep.

The Portuguese did great damage here several centuries ago in a war with India, for they fired several cannon balls straight into the mouth of the cave, which carried away several of the columns and destroyed the ornamentation of others, but the Royal Asiatic Society has taken the trouble to make careful and accurate repairs.

Although the caves at Elephanta are wonderful, they are greatly inferior in size and beauty to a larger group at Ellora, a day's journey by train from Bombay, and after that a carriage or horseback ride of two hours. There are 100 cave temples, carved out of the solid rock between the second and the tenth centuries. They are scattered along the base of a range of beautifully wooded hills about 500 feet above the plain, and the amount of labor and patience expended in their construction is appalling, especially when one considers that the men who made them were without the appliances and tools of modern times, knew nothing of explosives and were dependent solely upon chisels of flint and other stones. The greatest and finest of them is as perfect in its details and as elaborate in its ornamentations as the cathedrals at Milan or Toledo, except that it has been cut out of a single piece of stone instead of being built up of many small pieces.

The architect made his plans with the most prodigal detail and executed them with the greatest perfection. He took a solid rock, an absolute monolith, and chiseled out of it a cathedral 365 feet long, 192 feet wide and 96 feet high, with four rows of mighty columns sustaining a vaulted roof that is covered with pictures in relief illustrating the power and the adventures and the achievements of his gods. It would accommodate 5,000 worshippers. Around the walls he left rough projections, which were afterward carved into symbolical figures and images, eight, ten and twelve feet high, of elephants lions, tigers, oxen, rams, swans and eagles, larger than life. Corner niches and recesses have been enriched with the most intricate ornamentation, and in them, still of the same rock, without the introduction of an atom of outside material, the sculptors chiseled the figures of forty or more of the principal Hindu deities. And on each of the four sides is a massive altar carved out of the side of the cliff with the most ornate and elaborate traceries and other embellishment.

Indeed, my pen is not capable of describing these most wonderful achievements of human genius and patience. But all of them have been described in great detail and with copious illustrations in books that refer to nothing else. I can only say that they are the most wonderful of all the human monuments in India.

  "From one vast mount of solid stone 
  A mighty temple has been cored 
  By nut-brown children of the sun, 
  When stars were newly bright, and blithe 
  Of song along the rim of dawn - 
  A mighty monolith."

The thirty principal temples are scattered along the rocky mountain side within a distance of two miles, and seventy-nine others are in the immediate neighborhood. The smallest of the principal group is 90 feet long, 40 feet wide, with a roof 40 feet high sustained by thirty-four columns. They are all alike in one particular. No mortar was used in their construction or any outside material. Every atom of the walls and ceilings, the columns, the altars and the images and ornaments stands exactly where the Creator placed it at the birth of the universe.

There are several groups of cave temples in the same neighborhood. Some of them were made by the Buddhists, for it seems to have been fashionable in those days to chisel places of worship out of the rocky hillsides instead of erecting them in the open air, according to the ordinary rules of architecture. There are not less than 300 in western India which are believed to have been made within a period of a thousand years. Archaeologists dispute over their ages, just as they disagree about everything else. Some claim that the first of the cave temples antedates the Christian era; others declare that the oldest was not begun for 300 years after Christ, but to the ordinary citizen these are questions of little significance. It is not so important for us to know when this great work was done, but it would be extremely gratifying if somebody could tell us who did it - what genius first conceived the idea of carving a magnificent house of worship out of the heart of a mountain, and what means he used to accomplish the amazing results.

We would like to know for example, who made the designs of the Vishwa Karma, or carpenter's cave, one of the most exquisite in India, a single excavation 85 by 45 feet in area and 35 feet high, which has an arched roof similar to the Gothic chapels of England and a balcony or gallery over a richly sculptured gateway very similar to the organ loft of a modern church. At the upper end, sitting cross-legged in a niche, is a figure four feet high, with a serene and contemplative expression upon its face. Because it has none of the usual signs and symbols and ornaments that appertain to the different gods, archaeologists have pronounced it a figure of the founder of the temple, who, according to a popular legend, carved it all with his own hands, but there is nothing to indicate for whom the statue was intended, and the various stories told of it are pure conjectures that only exasperate one who studies the details. Each stroke of the chisel upon the surface of the interior was as delicate and exact as if a jewel instead of a granite mountain was being carved.

There are temples to all of the great gods in the Hindu catalogue; there are several in honor of Buddha, and others for Jain, all more or less of the same design and the same style of execution. Those who care to know more about them can find full descriptions in Fergusson's "Indian Architecture."

South of Bombay, on the coast, is the little Portuguese colony of Goa, the oldest European settlement in India. You will be surprised to know that there are four or five of these colonies belonging to other European governments within the limits of British India, entirely independent of the viceroy and the authority of Edward VII. The French have two towns of limited area in Bengal, one of them only an hour's ride from Calcutta. They are entirely outside of the British jurisdiction and under the authority of the French Republic, which has always been respected. The Dutch have two colonies in India also, and Goa, the most important of all, is subject to Portugal. The territory is sixty-two miles long by forty miles wide, and has a population of 446,982. The inhabitants are nearly all Roman Catholics, and the archbishop of Goa is primate of the East, having jurisdiction over all Roman Catholics between Cairo and Hong-Kong.

More than half of the population are converted Hindus, descendants of the original occupants of the place, who were overcome by the Duke of Albuquerque in 1510, and after seventy or eighty years of fighting were converted by the celebrated and saintly Jesuit missionary, St. Francis Xavier. He lived and preached and died in Goa, and was buried in the Church of the Good Jesus, which was erected by him during the golden age of Portugal - for at one time that little kingdom exercised a military, political, ecclesiastical and commercial influence throughout the world quite as great, comparatively speaking, as that of Great Britain to-day. Goa was then the most important city in the East, for its wealth and commerce rivaled that of Genoa or Venice. It was as large as Paris or London, and the viceroy lived in a palace as fine as that occupied by the king. But very little evidence of its former magnificence remains. Its grandeur was soon exhausted when the Dutch and the East India Company came into competition with the Portuguese. The Latin race has never been tenacious either in politics or commerce. Like the Spaniards, the Portuguese have no staying power, and after a struggle lasting seventy years, all of the wide Portuguese possessions in the East fell into the hands of the Dutch and the British, and nothing is now left but Goa, with its ruins and reminiscences and the beautiful shrine of marble and jasper, which the Grand Duke of Tuscany erected in honor of the first great missionary to the East.