On the way back from the frontier are plenty of delightful places at which the journey may be broken. You can have another glimpse of the most beautiful building in the world at Agra, and can take a day's excursion to Muttra, one of the seven sacred cities of India, the birthplace of Krishna, second in rank and popularity of the Hindu gods. The trains are conveniently arranged; they take you over from Agra in the morning and bring you back at night, which is well, because there is no hotel at Muttra, only what they call a dak bungalow, or lodging-house, provided by the municipal authorities for the shelter of travelers who have no friends to put them up. These dak bungalows are quite common in India, for comparatively few of the towns have hotels that a European or American would care to patronize. In Japan the native hotels are miracles of neatness and sweetness. In India, and the rest of Asia, they are, as far as possible, the reverse. I suppose it would be possible for a white man to survive a day or two in a native hotel, but the experience would not be classified as pleasure. Several of the native princes have provided dak bungalows for public convenience and comfort, and one or two are so hospitable as to furnish strangers food as well as lodging free of cost. The maharajas of Baroda, Jeypore, Bhartpur, Gwalior and several other provinces obey the scriptural injunction and have many times entertained angels unawares.

It is an ancient custom for the head of the state or the municipal authorities or the commercial organizations or the priests to provide free lodgings for pilgrims and strangers; indeed, there are comparatively few hotels at which natives are required to pay bills. When a Hindu arrives in a strange town he goes directly to the temple of his religion and the priest directs him to a place where he can stop. It is the development of ancient patriarchal hospitality, and the dak bungalow, which is provided for European travelers in all hotelless towns and cities, is simply a refinement of the custom. There are usually charges, but they are comparatively small. You are expected to furnish your own bedding, towels, etc., and there are no wire spring mattresses. Sometimes iron cots are provided and often bunks are built in the wall. If there are none all you have to do is to wrap the drapery of your couch around you and select a soft place on the floor. A floor does not fit my bones as well as formerly, but it is an improvement upon standing or sitting up. Usually the dak bungalows are clean. Occasionally they are not. This depends upon the character and industry of the person employed to attend them. The charges are intended to cover the expense of care and maintenance, and are therefore very moderate, and everybody is treated alike.

After a long, dusty drive in the suburbs of Delhi one day I crept into the grateful shade of a dak bungalow, found a comfortable chair and called for some soda to wash down the dust and biscuits to hold my appetite down until dinner time. I was sipping the cool drink, nibbling the biscuits and enjoying the breeze that was blowing through the room, when the attendant handed me a board about as big as a shingle with a hole drilled through the upper end so that it could be hung on a wall. Upon the board was pasted a notice printed in four languages, English, German, French and Hindustani, giving the regulations of the place, and the white-robed khitmatgar pointed his long brown finger to a paragraph that applied to my case. I paid him 10 cents for an hour's rest under the roof. It was a satisfaction to do so. The place was clean and neat and in every way inviting.

At many of the railway stations beds are provided by the firm of caterers who have a contract for running the refreshment-rooms. Most of the stations are neat and comfortable, and you can always find a place to spread your bedding and lie down. There is a big room for women and a big room for men. Sometimes cots are provided, but usually only hard benches around the walls. There are always washrooms and bathrooms adjoining, which, of course, are a great satisfaction in that hot and perspiring land. The restaurants at the railway stations are usually good, and are managed by a famous caterer in Calcutta, but the men who run the trains don't always give you time enough to eat.

On the passenger trains, ice, soda water, ginger ale, beer and other soft drinks are carried by an agent of the eating-house contractor, who furnishes them for 8 cents a bottle, and it pays him to do so, for an enormous quantity is consumed during the hot weather. The dust is almost intolerable and you cannot drink the local water without boiling and filtering it. The germs of all kinds of diseases are floating around in it at the rate of 7,000,000 to a spoonful. A young lady who went over on the ship with us didn't believe in any such nonsense and wasn't afraid of germs. She drank the local water in the tanks on the railway cars and wherever else she found it, and the last we heard of her she was in a hospital at Benares with a serious case of dysentery.

Mark Twain says that there is no danger from germs in the sacred water of the Ganges, because it is so filthy that no decent microbe will live in it; and that just about describes the situation. It is a miracle that the deaths are so few. Millions of people fill their stomachs from that filthy stream day after day because the water washes away their sins, and I do not suppose there is a dirtier river in all the universe, nor one that contains more contagion and filth. It receives the sewage of several of the largest cities of India. Dead bodies of human beings as well as animals can be seen floating daily. From one end of it to the other are burning ghats where the bodies of the dead are soaked in it before they are placed upon the funeral pyres, and when the bones and flesh are consumed the ashes are cast upon the sacred stream. But the natives observe no sanitary laws, and the filth in which they live and move and have their being is simply appalling.

But I started out to tell you about Muttra, which is a very ancient place. It is mentioned by Pliny, the Latin historian, Ptolemy, the Egyptian geographer, and other writers previous to the Christian era, and is associated with the earliest Aryan migrations. Here Krishna, the divine herdsman, was born. He spent his childhood tending cattle in the village of Gokul, where are the ruins of several ancient temples erected in his honor, but, although he seems to have retained his hold upon the people, they have allowed them to crumble, and the profuse adornments of the walls and columns have been shamefully defaced. At one time it is said there were twenty great monasteries at that place, with several hundred monks, yet nothing is left of them but piles of stone and rubbish. All have been destroyed in successive wars, for Muttra has been the scene of horrible atrocities by the Mohammedans who have overrun the country during several invasions. Therefore most of the temples are modern, and they are too many to count. There is a succession of them on the banks of the river the whole length of the city, interspersed with hospices for the entertainment of pilgrims, and palaces of rich Hindus, who go there occasionally to wash away their sins, just as the high livers of London go to Homburg and Carlsbad to restore their digestions. One of the palaces connected with the temple, built of fine white stone in modern style, belongs to Lakshman Das, a Hindu who the guide told us is the richest man in India. The many merchants of Muttra all seem prosperous. The city is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims every year, all of whom bring in more or less money, and the houses and shops are of a more permanent and imposing order of architecture than those of Delhi, Agra and other places. It has the appearance of being a rich community.

The shade trees along the streets swarm with monkeys and parrots, which are sacred, and when you go there you mustn't jump if a grinning monkey drops down upon your shoulders in a most casual manner and chatters in your ear. The animals are very tame. They are fed by the pilgrims, who gain great merit with the gods thereby, and the river is filled with sacred turtles, which are also objects of great interest and devotion.

Only two towns in India are more sacred than Muttra. One is Benares and the other is Jagernath, or Juggernaut, which is about 150 miles south of Calcutta on the shore of the Bay of Bengal. There is the great idol which we have all heard about from the missionaries, and, I regret to say, some have been guilty of a good deal of misrepresentation and exaggeration. When I was a boy I read in Sunday-school books the most heart-tearing tales about the poor heathen, who cast themselves down before the car of Juggernaut and were crushed to lifeless pulp under its monstrous wheels. This story has been told thousands of times to millions of horrified listeners, but an inquiry into the facts does not confirm it. It is true that on certain holy days the great image of Juggernaut, or Jagernath, whichever way you choose to spell it, and it weighs many tons, is placed upon a car and the car is drawn through the crowded streets by thousands of pilgrims, who cast flowers, rice, wheat, palm leaves, bamboo wisps, sweetmeats and other offerings in its way. Occasionally in the throng that presses around the image some one is thrown down and has the life trampled out of him; on several occasions people have been caught by the wheels or the frame of the car and crushed, and at rare intervals some hysterical worshiper has fallen in a fit of epilepsy or exhaustion and been run over, but the official records, which began in 1818, show only nine such occurrences during the last eighty-six years.

I have great respect for missionaries, but I wish some of them would be more charitable in disposition, a little more accurate in statement, and not print so much trash. In Muttra you have a good illustration of their usefulness. The American Methodists commenced work there in 1887. No educational or evangelical work had ever been attempted previous to that time, but the men and women who came were wise, tactful and industrious, and the result may be seen in a dozen or more schools, with several thousand pupils, a flourishing, self-supporting church, a medical mission, a deaconesses' home and training school, a printing establishment and bookshop which is self-supporting and a large number of earnest, intelligent converts. Wherever you go in heathen lands you will find that wisdom, judgment, tact and ability, when applied in any direction, always show good results, but all missionaries, I regret to say, are not endowed with those qualities or with what Rev. Dr. Hepburn of Japan calls "sanctified common sense," and the consequences are sometimes deplorable.

"By their works ye shall know them."

At Aligarh, a town of 50,000 inhabitants on the railway between Agra and Delhi, is a very rare and indeed a unique institution - a Moslem university and printing press - the only ones in India, and the only ones in the world established and conducted on modern lines. The university is modeled upon the English plan. It has an English president and dean and several English professors, all of them graduates of the University of Cambridge. The preparatory school has an English head master and assistant, and in the faculty is a professor of physical culture, who has brought manly sports among the students to a standard unequaled elsewhere in India. The Aligarh University has the best football team and the best cricket team in the empire.

This remarkable institution was founded in 1875 by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, a Mohammedan lawyer and judge on the civil bench, for the education of his co-religionists in order that they may take places in the world beside the graduates of English and European universities and exercise a similar influence. He recognized that the Moslem population of India must degenerate unless it was educated; that it could not keep pace with the rest of the world. He was shocked at the ignorance and the bigotry of his fellow Mohammedans and at their stubborn conservatism. He was a sincere believer in his own religion, and insisted that the faith of Islam, properly understood, was as much in the interest of truth and progress in every branch of human knowledge and activity as the Christian religion, and he devoted his entire fortune and collected contributions from rich Mohammedans for the establishment of a school that should be entirely up-to-date and yet teach the Koran and the ancient traditions of Islam. There are now about 500 students, who come from the most important families in India. They live together in dormitories built about the college, dine in the same refectory and enjoy a healthy, active college life. Foreign and Christian professors fill the chairs of science, mathematics and languages, while able mullahs give instruction in the Koran and direct the students in the daily exercise of the Mohammedan rites.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan met with bitter opposition and animosity from the conservative element of his faith, and while some of his opponents admitted the purity and nobility of his motive, he was often accused of apostasy, but his noble life was spared until March, 1898, and he was permitted to see his institution enjoying great popularity and usefulness. There is at present a movement among the Mohammedans of India for the higher education of the members of that sect. It is the fruit of his labors and the men who are leading it are graduates of the Aligarh College.

Lucknow and Cawnpore are usually neglected by American travelers, but are sacred objects of pilgrimage to all Englishmen because of their terrible memories of the awful struggles of the mutiny of the sepoys, or native soldiers, in 1857, and their heroic defense and heroic relief by a handful of British troops under Sir Henry Havelock, General James Outram and Sir Colin Campbell. Although more has been written about Lucknow, yet the tragedy of Cawnpore is to me the more thrilling in several particulars, and that city was the scene of the greater agony.

Upon the shores of the Ganges River is a pretty park of sixty acres, in the center of which rises a mound. That mound covers the site of a well in which the bodies of 250 of the victims of the massacre were cast. It is inclosed by a Gothic wall, and in the center stands a beautiful figure of an angel in white marble by an Italian artist. Her arms are crossed upon her breast and in each hand she holds a palm branch. The archway is inscribed:

  "These are They which Came 
  Out of Great Tribulation."

Chiseled in the wall that marks the circle of the well are these words:

"Sacred to the Perpetual Memory of a great Company of Christian people, chiefly Women and Children, who near this Spot were cruelly Murdered by the Followers of the Rebel Nana Dhundu Panth of Bithur, and cast, the Dying with the Dead, into the Well below on the XVth day of July, MDCCCLVII."

The story of Cawnpore has no parallel in history. It might have been repeated at Peking two or three years ago, for the conditions existed there. In the summer of 1857 sixty-one English artillerymen and about 3,000 sepoys were attached to the garrison at that place, where about 800 foreigners resided. Upon the 6th of June the native troops rose in mutiny, sacked the paymaster's office and burned several of the public buildings. The frightened foreigners fled into one of the larger buildings of the government, where they hastily threw up fortifications and resisted a siege for three weeks. Their position having become untenable, they arranged terms of capitulation with Nana Sahib, the leader of the mutiny, who had been refused the throne and the allowance paid by the British government to the late maharaja, although the latter had adopted him in legal form and had proclaimed him his heir. This was one of the principal reasons for the mutiny, and without considering the question of justice or injustice, Nana Sahib satiated his desire for vengeance under the most atrocious circumstances. Having accepted the surrender of the little garrison upon his personal assurances of their security and safe conduct to Allahabad, he placed the survivors, about 700 in number, in boats upon the Ganges River and bade them good-by. As soon as the last man was on board and the word was given to start down the stream, the blast of a bugle was heard. At that signal the crews of the boats leaped into the water, leaving the passengers without oars, and immediately the straw roofs of the boats burst into flames and showers of bullets were fired from lines of infantry drawn up on the banks. Most of those who jumped into the water to escape the flames were shot down by the bullets. And many who escaped both and endeavored to reach the shore were sabered by cavalrymen who awaited them. One boat load escaped.

The survivors of this incident, about 200 in number, were led back into the city, past their old homes, now in smoldering ruins, and were locked up in two rooms twenty feet long and ten feet wide. They had no beds, no furniture, no blankets, not even straw to lie upon. They were given one meal a day of coarse bread and water, and after suffering untold agonies for fifteen days were called out in squads and hacked to pieces by the ruffians of Nana's guard. Their bodies were cast into the well, which was afterward filled with earth and has since been the center of a memorial park.

The siege of Lucknow was somewhat different. When the mutiny broke out Sir Henry Lawrence, the governor, concentrated his small force of British soldiers, with eleven women and seven children, in his residency, which stood in the center of a park of sixty acres. It was a pretentious stone building, with a superb portico and massive walls, and protected by deep verandas of stone. Anticipating trouble, he had collected provisions and ammunition and was quite well prepared for a siege, although the little force around him was attacked by more than 30,000 merciless, bloodthirsty fanatics. The situation was very much as it was at Peking, only worse, and the terrific fire that was kept up by the sepoys may be judged by the battered stump of an old tree which still stands before the ruins of the residency. Although about three feet in diameter, it was actually cut down by bullets.

On the second day of the siege, while Sir Henry Lawrence was instructing Captain Wilson, one of his aids, as to the distribution of rations, a shell entered his apartment, exploded at his side and gave him a mortal wound. With perfect coolness and calm fortitude he appointed Major Banks his successor, instructed him in details as to the conduct of the defense, exhorted the soldiers of the garrison to their duty, pledged them never to treat with the rebels, and under no circumstances to surrender. He gave orders that he should be buried "without any fuss, like a British soldier," and that the only epitaph upon his tombstone should be:

"Here lies Henry Lawrence, Who Tried to do his Duty; May God have Mercy upon his soul."

He died upon the Fourth of July. Upon the 16th Major Banks, his successor in command, was killed and the authority devolved upon Captain Inglis, whose widow, the last survivor of the siege, died in London Feb. 4, 1904. The deaths averaged from fifteen to twenty daily, and most of the people were killed by an African sharpshooter who occupied a commanding post upon the roof of a neighboring house and fired through the windows of the residency without ever missing his victim. The soldiers called him "Bob the Nailer." The latter part of August he was finally killed, but not until after he had shot dozens of men, women and children among the besieged. In order to protect themselves from his shots and those from other directions the windows of the residency were barricaded, which shut out all the air and ventilation, and the heat became almost intolerable. A plague of flies set in which was so terrible that the nervous women and children frequently became frantic and hysterical.

On the 5th of September a faithful native brought the first news that a relieving force under Sir Henry Havelock and General James Outram was nearing Lucknow. On the 25th Havelock fought his way through the streets of the city, which were packed with armed rebels, and on the 26th succeeded in reaching the residency. But, although the relief was welcome, and the sufferings of the besieged were for the moment forgotten, it was considered impracticable to attempt an evacuation because the whole party would have been massacred if they had left the walls. A young Irish clerk in the civil service, named James Kavanagh, undertook to carry a message to Sir Colin Campbell and succeeded in passing through the lines of the enemy. On the 16th of November Campbell fought his way through the streets with 3,500 men, and the relief of Lucknow was finally effected.

A few days later Sir Henry Havelock, the hero of the first relief, died from an attack of dysentery from which he had long been suffering, and his body was buried under a wide-spreading tree in the park. The tomb of Havelock is a sacred spot to all soldiers. A lofty obelisk marks the resting place of one of the noblest of men and one of the bravest and ablest of soldiers.

The residency is naturally a great object of interest, but the cemetery, gay with flowers and feathery bamboos, is equally so, because there lies the dust of 2,000 men and women who perished within the residency, in the attempts at relief and in other battles and massacres in that neighborhood during the mutiny.

Nana Sahib, who was guilty of these awful atrocities, was never punished. In the confusion and the excitement of the fighting he managed to make his escape, and mysteriously disappeared. It is now known that he took refuge in the province of Nepal, where he was given an asylum by the maharaja, and remained secretly under his protection, living in luxury for several years until his death. It is generally believed that the British authorities knew, or at least suspected, his whereabouts, but considered it wiser to ignore the fact rather than excite a controversy and perhaps a war with a powerful native province.

There is little of general interest in Cawnpore. Lucknow, however, is one of the most prosperous and busy towns in India. The people are wealthy and enterprising. It has probably more rich natives than any other city of India except Bombay, and their houses are costly and extravagant, but in very bad architectural taste. Millions of dollars have been spent in tawdry decorations and ugly walls, but they are partially redeemed by beautiful parks and gardens. Lucknow has the reputation of being the home of the Mohammedan aristocracy in India, and a large number of its wealthiest and most influential citizens belong to that faith. Their cathedral mosque is one of the finest in the country. The imambra connected with it is a unique structure and contains the largest room in the world without columns, being 162 feet long by 54 feet wide, and 53 feet high. It was built in 1784, the year of the great famine, in order to give labor and wages to a hungry people, and is one solid mass of concrete of simple form and still simpler construction.

The architect first made a mold or centering of timber, bricks and earth, which was covered with several layers of rubble and coarse concrete several feet in thickness. After it had been allowed a year or two to set and dry, the mold or centering was removed, and this immense structure, whose exterior dimensions are 263 by 145 feet, stood as solid as a rock, a single piece of cement literally cast in a mold, and, although it has been standing 125 years, it shows no signs of decay or deterioration. The word imambra signifies "the patriarch's palace." The big room is used for the celebration of the Moslem feast of Mohurram, which commemorates the martyrdom of the sons of Ali, the immediate descendants of Mahomet.

The royal palaces of Lucknow, formerly occupied by the native kings, are considered the worst architecture of India, although they represent the expenditure of millions of dollars. But the hotels are the best in all the empire, except the new one of which I have spoken in Bombay. For this reason and because it is a beautiful city, travelers find it to their comfort and advantage to stop there for several days longer than they would stay elsewhere, and enjoy driving about the country visiting the different parks and gardens.

One of the most novel excursions in India may be made to the headquarters of the commissariat department of the army, about three miles out of town, where a herd of elephants is used for heavy lifting and transportation purposes. The intelligence, patience and skill of the great beasts are extraordinary. They are fed on "chow patties," a mixture of hay, grains and other forage, and are allowed a certain number for each meal. Each elephant always counts his as soon as they are delivered to him, and if spectators are present the guardkeepers frequently give them a short allowance, whereupon they make a terrible fuss until they get what they are entitled to.

There are some quaint customs among the farmers in that part of the country. The evil eye is as common and as much dreaded as in Italy, and people who are suspected of that misfortune are frequently murdered by unknown hands to rid the community of a common peril and nuisance.

Good and bad omens occur hourly; superstitions are as prevalent as in Spain. If a boy be born, for example, a net is hung over the doorway and a fire is lighted upon the threshold to prevent evil spirits from entering the house.

The commencement of the farming season is celebrated with ceremonies. The first furrow in the village is plowed by a committee of farmers from the neighborhood. The plow is first worshiped and decorated. The bullock or camel which draws it is covered with garlands of flowers, bright-colored pieces of cloth and rosettes of ribbon are braided into its tail and hung upon its horns. Behind the plow follows "the sower," who is also decorated with flowers and ornaments, has a red mark upon his forehead and his eyelids colored with lampblack. He drops seed into the furrow. Behind him comes a second man, who carefully picks up every grain that has fallen outside of the furrow. When the furrow is finished the farmers assemble at some house in the neighborhood and have a dinner of simple food. There are similar ceremonies connected with the harvest. Some of them are said to be inherited from their ancient Aryan ancestors; others are borrowed from the Arabs, Persians and Chinese.