FRIDAY NIGHT, February 14.

We have seen it, but I am without the slightest desire to burst into rapturous adjectives. Do not expect me to attempt a description of it, or to try to express my feelings. There are some subjects too sacred for analysis, or even for words, and I now know that there is a human structure so exquisitely fine, or unearthly, as to lift it into this holy domain. Let me say little about it; only tell you that, lingering until the sun went down, we turned in the noble gateway which forms a frame through which you see the Taj in the distance, with only the blue sky in the background, around and above it, and there took our last fond sad farewell, as the shades of night were wrapping the lovely jewel in their embrace, as if it were a charge too sweetly precious not to be safely enveloped in night's black mantle, till it could again shine forth at the dawn in all its beauty to adorn the earth. Full in its face we gazed. How kindly it seemed to look upon us! And as one parts for the last time from one whose eye glistens at his glance, we turned never to look upon the Taj again, hiding our eyes as the carriage rolled away, lest by any mischance a partial view should intrude to mar the perfect image our mind has grasped to tarry with us forever. We had been so deliciously sad, and at the same time so thrillingly but yet so solemnly happy for hours, and now came pain alone, the inevitable finale to all our joys on earth - the parting forever. But till the day I die, amid mountain streams or moonlight strolls in the forest, wherever and whenever the mood comes, when all that is most sacred, most elevated, and most pure recur to shed their radiance upon the tranquil mind, there will be found among my treasures the memory of that lovely charm - the Taj.

We had engaged to meet some friends at the club as we drove homeward, but was it any wonder that neither of us remembered this until the stoppage of the carriage at our hotel awoke us from our reveries! What was to be done? Vandy's reply expressed our condition exactly: "Go out to enjoy myself when I feel that I want to go and put on mourning! I couldn't do it." And we didn't. Our friends will please accept this intimation.

In reading these pages at home so long after the visit one can bring one's self to be a little prosaic in regard to this marvel, and tell his readers just what the Taj is. As before stated, it is the structure erected by the Emperor Jehanghir in memory of that paragon Noor Mahal. That a tomb should be erected at all for a woman in India is of itself significant, to begin with, and the Roman Emperor who put his horse's head upon the coin and who is supposed to have consulted him in political affairs did not take a much wider departure from custom than did this true lover when he put upon the coin a woman's image with his own.

The Taj is built of a light creamy marble, so that it does not chill one as pure cold white marble does. It is warm and sympathetic as a woman. One great critic has finely called the Taj a feminine structure. There is nothing masculine about it, says he; its charms are all feminine. This creamy marble is inlaid with fine black marble lines, the entire Koran in Arabic letters, it is said, being thus interwoven.

The following description is condensed from Fergusson: The enclosure, which includes an inner and an outer court, the whole about a fifth of a mile wide, extends along the banks of the Jumna River one-third of a mile. The principal gateway, opening into the inner court, is a hundred and forty feet high by a hundred and ten feet wide. The mausoleum stands in the centre of a raised marble platform, eighteen feet high, and exactly three hundred and thirteen feet square. At each angle of this terrace rises a minaret, a hundred and thirty-three feet high, and of exquisite proportions, "more beautiful, perhaps," says Ferguson, "than any other in India." The mausoleum itself is a square of one hundred and eighty-six feet, with the corners cut off to the extent of about thirty-four feet. In the centre is the principal dome, fifty-eight feet in diameter, and eighty feet high, and at each angle is a smaller dome surmounting a two-story apartment, about twenty-seven feet in diameter.

The light to the central apartment is admitted through double screens of white marble trellis-work of the most exquisite designs. In any climate but that of India this would produce darkness within, but here, in a building constructed wholly of white marble, it serves to temper the glare of the blinding light. No words can express the chastened beauty of that dim religious light, the unearthly effect of the subdued sunshine, sparkling now and then upon the brilliant stones of which the graceful mosaics, vines and flowers are composed. Twenty thousand workmen are said to have been employed upon this marvel for twenty-two years. I would think the time and labor and money bestowed upon it well spent had it been twenty times - aye, a hundred times - as great. There is no price too dear to pay for perfection.

The mosaics of the interior are exquisitely graceful. Flowers and fruits are represented by precious stones, formerly genuine stones, but these having been stolen by the Jats and others, have been replaced by glass, colored to represent the originals. In the centre of the dome lie Noor Mahal and Jehanghir side by side, this being, I believe, the only instance where any emperor of India has condescended to be buried by the side of a woman. The sweetest echo in the known world answers a call at the side of this tomb. Of course the architect could not have had this attraction in view when he planned the structure, and the natives who throng this unique gem of architecture do well to ascribe this apparent voice from heaven to the continual presence and approval of the good gods who like to linger over the tomb of true lovers.

The guide steps forward without a word of warning and raises the cry, "Great is God, and Mohammed is his prophet! Allah! Allah!" At first three distinct musical notes are heard in the echo; I mean different notes upon the musical scale, as distinct from each other as "do, sol, do." These reverberate round the dome and ascend until they reach the smaller dome, where they reunite and escape from the temple as one tone. Some readers may recall the echo in the baptistery at Pisa, as we did when we heard this new delight in the Taj, but that echo compares with this, well, say as the Taj compares to Milan Cathedral - and now I repent me for comparing the Taj to any other material structure. It is not proper to do so. We shall say as the piano compares with the organ.

If I am ever sentenced to hard labor for life for some unlawful outburst of my wild republicanism, I will make one request as I throw myself upon the mercy of the court: Let me be transported to India, and allowed to perform my daily task in beautifying and preserving the Taj. This would be a labor of love, and I should not be unhappy with my idol to worship, doing my part to hand it down untarnished to future generations.

The Taj is really a very large temple, yet such is its grace, its exquisite proportions, its unapproachable charm - it never occurs to the beholder that it is of such great size. It is neither big nor little, nor heavy nor light - it is simply perfect. You can't tell why it is perfect, and you don't want to. You stand and look at the gem through the great gateway which serves as a frame for the picture, for the Taj is directly in front of the arch, probably five hundred yards distant. A narrow walk, lined on both sides with the choicest Indian plants, leads to it, but it is many minutes before you can be induced to advance. Never before have you gazed upon stone and lime which you deemed worthy of being called beautiful. All you have seen becomes mean, coarse, material; this alone is entirely worthy. There is grace and beauty brought down to us from above, the realization of the ideal; it really seems an inspiration. Vandy and I separated instinctively without a word. You want to be with the Taj alone, for it leads you captive and invites to secret communion. I wandered around many hours, gazing at every turn, deliciously, not joyously happy; there was no disposition to croon over a melody, nor any bracing quality in my thoughts - not a trace of the heroic - but I was filled with happiness which seemed to fall upon me gently as the snow-flakes fall, as the zephyr comes when laden with sweet odors. I sat down at length in the garden in full view of the Taj, but had not rested long before an Englishman approached, and something in our faces telling that we were both in the blissful state and the worshipful mood, he came and sat down quietly, without speaking a word, but with a slight and slow nod of recognition, and broke out without one word of introduction - partly as if talking to himself - as follows:

"I stayed away from this in England as long as I could. It is seven years since I was here before. I have been here for two weeks wandering about the grounds; I must tear myself away to-morrow and my great grief is, that I know that I cannot take and carry with me a perfect image - of that - and so I may have to return again." I said that my feeling was the reverse, for I felt that its image could never leave me. He envied me that, he said. I have often regretted that I did not get the name and address of this worthy devotee, but under the spell of the spirit neither he nor I cared much for other companionship; but should this ever meet his eye surely he will address me and perhaps we may shake hands in silence over the memory of our idol.

It began to grow dark at length, and I thought of finding Vandy to tell him - for no apology seemed necessary - that I could not possibly resist the spell which had carried me away even from him all the afternoon. I was at once relieved, for I found him in the archway. He was first to speak. "A. C.," he said, "I'm very sorry. I know I ought to have looked for you long ago, but really I could not leave this spot. Look! there is no place like this." So it was all right. When one is called upward by the spirit, even the dearest of humanity must be left behind. But Vandy was in the right place certainly for one to take his farewell. If ever an inanimate object spoke to man, the Taj did to me when I said farewell; the tear was not alone in the eye of the beholder as he took his last fond look, for that spiritual face of the Taj seemed to beam kindly in return. It said - yes, smile, reader, if you will - I know it said, "This is not farewell, for we understand each other." There never is a farewell between souls completely sympathetic. They live forever in the bonds of a sacred friendship which separation cannot break.

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