The first queer thing that strikes you at your hotel is that two natives take you in custody without even saying "by your leave," and never while you are in Calcutta will you be able to get out of sight of one or the other of these officers. One attends in person to your room, brings you your tea and toast at six, prepares your bath, takes your shoes to the proper "caste" man below (he wouldn't black them for the world, bless you!), and plays the valet while you dress. At night you find him stretched out across your door, like a dog on the watch, and there he lies all night, subject to master's call. I hurt my man's feelings one night by gently stepping over his prostrate form and getting into my room and going to bed without his aid. I turned the key when I got inside, and not many moments after I heard him move. Missing the key, he suspected something was wrong, and tried the door several times; but as he met with no response he finally gave it over, and lay down to sleep. The other attendant is our waiter at table and out-door servant. You find these people curled up and lying at every step through the halls, and are in constant danger of stumbling over them. Every guest generally has two, although the hotel professes to keep an efficient staff of its own. We hear amusing stories told of servants in India, their duties being so strictly defined by caste that one must be kept for every trifling duty. Our friend the Major tells us, for instance, that upon a recent occasion his wife wished to send a note to him at the Fort, a very short distance from his residence. The proper messenger happening to have been sent elsewhere, she asked the coachman to please take it to master, but he explained how impossible it would be for him to comply, much as he wished to do so. Persuasion was useless; but madame thought of a remedy - order the carriage. The grooms prepare and harness the horses, the coachman mounts the box and appears at the door. "Now drive to master's, and, attendant, deliver this note." All right. This brought it within the sphere of his caste. He is bound to obey all orders connected with the carriage. Incidents of this nature are too numerous to recount. It is in India that political economists can best study the division of labor in its most advanced stage of development. My friend Mrs. K. kindly gave me her list of servants and their various duties, They numbered twenty-two, although Mr. K.'s establishment is a moderate one.
We find the Zoological Gardens very interesting. Here we saw for the first time monkeys running about unfettered among the trees, and a lion chained to a dog-kennel doing watch duty like a mastiff. We also saw an entire house devoted to the display of pheasants. These birds make a fine collection, for there are numerous varieties, and some exceedingly beautiful. There are here two full-grown orang-outangs and one child, the former even more human than the pets we had recently been in charge of. The huge crocodile in a large pond failed to make his appearance yesterday, and while we were there five natives with long poles and two in a small boat were detailed to stir him up and see what was the matter. It was amusing to see these naked attendants as they waded in a few feet and poked about, ready to jump back at every movement of the water, and sometimes frightened at each other's strokes; but all will agree with me that this business of stirring up crocodiles at twenty cents per day yields no fair compensation for the risks involved. There are good tigers here also, but having seen the tiger of the world at Madras, all others are but shadows. It is the same now with peacocks, which in these latitudes are far superior to those with us, but the peacock is at Saigon, in Cochin China, and we never see one without saying, one to the other, "How poor!" We are in a few days to see the Taj, and I suppose it will be the same as to buildings hereafter. Even Walter Scott's monument at Edinburgh - my favorite piece of stone and lime - must be surpassed by this marvel of perfection.