On the afternoon of the 27th of October I went on board the steamship "Bentinck," of 500 horse-power; but we did not weigh anchor much before evening.

Among the passengers was an Indian prince of the name of Schadathan, who had been made prisoner by the English for breaking a peace he had concluded with them. He was treated with all the respect due to his rank, and he was allowed his two companions, his mundschi, or secretary, and six of his servants. They were all dressed in the Oriental fashion, only, instead of turbans, they wore high, round caps, composed of pasteboard covered with gold or silver stuff. They wore also luxuriant long black hair, and beards.

The companions of the prince took their meals with the servants. A carpet was spread out upon the deck, and two large dishes, one containing boiled fowls, and the other pillau, placed upon it; the company used their hands for knives and forks.

28th October. We still were in sight of the fine dark mountain ranges of Ceylon. Now and then, too, some huge detached groups of rocks would be visible towering above the waves.

29th October. Saw no land. A few whales betrayed their presence by the showers of spray they spouted up, and immense swarms of flying fish were startled by the noise of our engines.

On the morning of the 30th of October we came in sight of the Indian continent. We soon approached near enough to the shore to distinguish that it was particularly remarkable for its beauty, being flat and partly covered with yellow sand; in the back-ground were chains of low hills.

At 1 o'clock, P.M., we anchored at a considerable distance (six miles) from Madras. The anchoring place here is the most dangerous in the world, the ground-swell being so strong that at no time can large vessels approach near the town, and many weeks often pass without even a boat being able to do so. Ships, consequently, only stop a very short time, and there are rarely more than a dozen to be seen riding at anchor. Large boats, rowed by ten or twelve men, come alongside them to take the passengers, letters, and merchandise ashore.

The steamer stops here eight hours, which may be spent in viewing the town, though any one so doing runs a chance of being left behind, as the wind is constantly changing. I trusted to the good luck which had always attended me during my travels, and made one of the party that disembarked; but we had not got more than half way to land when I was punished for my curiosity. It began to rain most fearfully, and we were very soon wet to the skin. We took refuge in the first coffee-house we saw, situated at the water's edge; the rain had now assumed a tropical character, and we were unable to leave our asylum. As soon as the storm had passed by, a cry was raised for us to return as quickly as possible, as there was no knowing what might follow.

A speculative baker of Madras had come out in the first boat that reached the steamer with ice and biscuits for sale, which he disposed of very much to his profit.

The angry heavens at length took compassion on us and cleared up before sunset. We were then enabled to see the palace-like dwellings of the Europeans, built half in the Grecian and half in the Italian style of architecture, stretching along the shore and beautifully lighted by the sun. Besides these, there were others standing outside the town in the midst of magnificent gardens.

Before we left, a number of natives ventured to us in small boats with fruit, fish, and other trifles. Their boats were constructed of the trunks of four small trees, tightly bound together with thin ropes made of the fibres of the cocoa-tree; a long piece of wood served as an oar. The waves broke so completely over them that I imagined every instant that both boats and men were irretrievably lost.

The good people were almost in a state of nature, and seemed to bestow all their care on their heads, which were covered with pieces of cloth, turbans, cloth or straw caps, or very high and peaked straw hats. The more respectable - among whom may be reckoned the boatmen who brought the passengers and mails - were, however, in many cases, very tastily dressed. They had on neat jackets, and large long pieces of cloth wrapped round their bodies; both the cloths and jackets were white, with a border of blue stripes. On their heads they wore tightly fitting white caps, with a long flap hanging down as far as their shoulders. These caps, too, had a blue border. The complexion of the natives was a dark brown or coffee colour.

Late in the evening, a native woman came on board with her two children. She had paid second-class fare, and was shown a small dark berth not far from the first cabin places. Her younger child had, unfortunately, a bad cough, which prevented some rich English lady, who had likewise a child with her, from sleeping. Perhaps the exaggerated tenderness which this lady manifested for her little son caused her to believe that the cough might be catching; but, be that as it may, the first thing she did on the following morning, was to beg that the captain would transfer mother and children to the deck, which the noble-hearted humane captain immediately did, neither the lady nor himself caring in the least whether the poor mother had or had not, even a warm coverlid to protect her sick child from the night cold and the frequent heavy showers.

Would that this rich English lady's child had only been ill, and exposed with her to the foggy night air, that she might herself have experienced what it is to be thus harshly treated! A person of any heart must almost feel ashamed at belonging to a class of beings who allow themselves to be far surpassed in humanity and kindness by those who are termed savages; no savages would have thus thrust forth a poor woman with a sick child, but would, on the contrary, have taken care of both. It is only Europeans, who have been brought up with Christian principles, who assume the right of treating coloured people according as their whim or fancy may dictate.

On the 1st and 2nd of November we caught occasional glimpses of the mainland, as well as of several little islands; but all was flat and sandy, without the least pretensions to natural beauty. Ten or twelve ships, some of them East Indiamen of the largest size, were pursuing the same route as ourselves.

On the morning of the 3rd of November, the sea had already lost its own beautiful colour, and taken that of the dirty yellow Ganges. Towards evening we had approached pretty close to the mouths of this monster river, for some miles previous to our entering which, the water had a sweet flavour. I filled a glass from the holy stream, and drank it to the health of all those near and dear to me at home.

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we cast anchor before Kadscheri, at the entrance of the Ganges, it being too late to proceed to Calcutta, which is sixty nautical miles distant. The stream at this point was several miles broad, so that the dark line of only one of its banks was to be seen.

4th November. In the morning we entered the Hoogly, one of the seven mouths of the Ganges. A succession of apparently boundless plains lay stretched along on both sides of the river. Fields of rice were alternated with sugar plantations, while palm, bamboo, and other trees, sprung up between, and the vegetation extended, in wanton luxuriance, down to the very water's edge; the only objects wanting to complete the picture were villages and human beings, but it was not until we were within about five-and-twenty miles of Calcutta that we saw now and then a wretched village or a few half- naked men. The huts were formed of clay, bamboos, or palm branches, and covered with tiles, rice-straw, or palm leaves. The larger boats of the natives struck me as very remarkable, and differed entirely from those I saw at Madras. The front portion was almost flat, being elevated hardly half a foot above the water while the stern was about seven feet high.

The first grand-looking building, a cotton mill, is situated fifteen miles below Calcutta, and a cheerful dwelling-house is attached. From this point up to Calcutta, both banks of the Hoogly are lined with palaces built in the Greco-Italian style, and richly provided with pillars and terraces. We flew too quickly by, unfortunately, to obtain more than a mere passing glimpse of them.

Numbers of large vessels either passed us or were sailing in the same direction, and steamer after steamer flitted by, tugging vessels after them; the scene became more busy and more strange, every moment, and everything gave signs that we were approaching an Asiatic city of the first magnitude.

We anchored at Gardenrich, four miles below Calcutta. Nothing gave me more trouble during my travels than finding lodgings, as it was sometimes impossible by mere signs and gestures to make the natives understand where I wanted to go. In the present instance, one of the engineers interested himself so far in my behalf as to land with me, and to hire a palanquin, and direct the natives where to take me.

I was overpowered by feelings of the most disagreeable kind the first time I used a palanquin. I could not help feeling how degrading it was to human beings to employ them as beasts of burden.

The palanquins are five feet long and three feet high, with sliding doors and jalousies: in the inside they are provided with mattresses and cushions, so that a person can lie down in them as in a bed. Four porters are enough to carry one of them about the town, but eight are required for a longer excursion. They relieve each other at short intervals, and run so quickly that they go four miles in an hour or even in three-quarters of an hour. These palanquins being painted black, looked like so many stretchers carrying corpses to the churchyard or patients to the hospital.

On the road to the town, I was particularly struck with the magnificent gauths (piazzas), situated on the banks of the Hoogly, and from which broad flights of steps lead down to the river. Before these gauths are numerous pleasure and other boats.

The most magnificent palaces lay around in the midst of splendid gardens, into one of which the palanquin-bearers turned, and set me down under a handsome portico before the house of Herr Heilgers, to whom I had brought letters of recommendation. The young and amiable mistress of the house greeted me as a countrywoman (she was from the north and I from the south of Germany), and received me most cordially. I was lodged with Indian luxury, having a drawing-room, a bed-room, and a bath-room especially assigned to me.

I happened to arrive in Calcutta at the most unfavourable period possible. Three years of unfruitfulness through almost the whole of Europe had been followed by a commercial crisis, which threatened the town with entire destruction. Every mail from Europe brought intelligence of some failure, in which the richest firms here were involved. No merchant could say, "I am worth so much;" - the next post might inform him that he was a beggar. A feeling of dread and anxiety had seized every family. The sums already lost in England and this place were reckoned at thirty millions of pounds sterling, and yet the crisis was far from being at an end.

Misfortunes of this kind fall particularly hard upon persons who, like the Europeans here, have been accustomed to every kind of comfort and luxury. No one can have any idea of the mode of life in India. Each family has an entire palace, the rent of which amounts to two hundred rupees (20 pounds), or more, a month. The household is composed of from twenty-five to thirty servants; namely - two cooks, a scullion, two water-carriers, four servants to wait at table, four housemaids, a lamp-cleaner, and half-a-dozen seis or grooms. Besides this, there are at least six horses, to every one of which there is a separate groom; two coachmen, two gardeners, a nurse and servant for each child, a lady's maid, a girl to wait on the nurses, two tailors, two men to work the punkahs, and one porter. The wages vary from four to eleven rupees (8s. to 1 pounds 2s.) a month. None of the domestics are boarded, and but few of them sleep in the house: they are mostly married, and eat and sleep at home. The only portion of their dress which they have given to them is their turban and belt; they are obliged to find the rest themselves, and also to pay for their own washing. The linen belonging to the family is never, in spite of the number of servants, washed at home, but is all put out, at the cost of three rupees (6s.) for a hundred articles. The amount of linen used is something extraordinary; everything is white, and the whole is generally changed twice a day.

Provisions are not dear, though the contrary is true of horses, carriages, furniture, and wearing apparel. The last three are imported from Europe; the horses come either from Europe, New Holland, or Java.

In some European families I visited there were from sixty to seventy servants, and from fifteen to twenty horses.

In my opinion, the Europeans themselves are to blame for the large sums they have to pay for servants. They saw the native princes and rajahs surrounded by a multitude of idle people, and, as Europeans, they did not wish to appear in anyway inferior. Gradually the custom became a necessity, and it would be difficult to find a case where a more sensible course is pursued.

It is true that I was informed that matters could never be altered as long as the Hindoos were divided into castes. The Hindoo who cleans the room would on no account wait at table, while the nurse thinks herself far too good ever to soil her hands by cleaning the child's washing-basin. There may certainly be some truth in this, but still every family cannot keep twenty, thirty, or even more servants. In China and Singapore, I was struck with the number of servants, but they are not half, nay, not a third so numerous, as they are here.

The Hindoos, as is well known, are divided into four castes - the Brahmins, Khetries, Bices and Sooders. They all sprung from the body of the god Brahma: the first from his mouth, the second from his shoulders, the third from his belly and thighs, and the fourth from his feet. From the first class are chosen the highest officers of state, the priests, and the teachers of the people. Members of this class alone are allowed to peruse the holy books; they enjoy the greatest consideration; and if they happen to commit a crime, are far less severely punished than persons belonging to any of the other castes. The second class furnishes the inferior officials and soldiers; the third the merchants, workmen, and peasants; while the fourth and last provides servants for the other three. Hindoos of all castes, however, enter service when compelled by poverty to do so, but there is still a distinction in the kind of work, as the higher castes are allowed to perform only that of the cleanest kind.

It is impossible for a person of one caste to be received into another, or to intermarry with any one belonging to it. If a Hindoo leaves his native land or takes food from a Paria, he is turned out of his caste, and can only obtain re-admission on the payment of a very large sum.

Besides these castes, there is a fifth class - the Parias. The lot of these poor creatures is the most wretched that can be imagined. They are so despised by the other four castes, that no one will hold the slightest intercourse with them. If a Hindoo happens to touch a Paria as he is passing, he thinks himself defiled, and is obliged to bathe immediately.

The Parias are not allowed to enter any temple, and have particular places set apart for their dwellings. They are miserably poor, and live in the most wretched huts; their food consists of all kinds of offal and even diseased cattle; they go about nearly naked, or with only a few rags at most on them, and perform the hardest and commonest work.

The four castes are subdivided into an immense number of sects, seventy of which are allowed to eat meat, while others are compelled to abstain from it altogether. Strictly speaking, the Hindoo religion forbids the spilling of blood, and consequently the eating of meat; but the seventy sects just mentioned are an exception. There are, too, certain religious festivals, at which animals are sacrificed. A cow, however, is never killed. The food of the Hindoos consists principally of rice, fruit, fish, and vegetables. They are very moderate in their living, and have only two simple meals a day - one in the morning and the other in the evening. Their general drink is water or milk, varied sometimes with cocoa wine.

The Hindoos are of the middle height, slim, and delicately formed; their features are agreeable and mild; the face is oval, the nose sharply chiselled, the lip by no means thick, the eye fine and soft, and the hair smooth and black. Their complexion varies, according to the locality, from dark to light brown; among the upper classes, some of them, especially the women, are almost white.

There are a great number of Mahomedans in India; and as they are extremely skilful and active, most trades and professions are in their hands. They also willingly hire themselves as servants to Europeans.

Men here do that kind of work which we are accustomed to see performed by women. They embroider with white wool, coloured silk, and gold; make ladies' head-dresses, wash and iron, mend the linen, and even take situations as nurses for little children. There are a few Chinese, too, here, most of whom are in the shoemaking trade.

Calcutta, the capital of Bengal, is situated on the Hoogly, which at this point is so deep and broad, that the largest men-of-war and East Indiamen can lie at anchor before the town. The population consists of about 600,000 souls, of whom, not counting the English troops, hardly more than 2,000 are Europeans and Americans. The town is divided into several portions - namely, the Business-town, the Black-town, and the European quarter. The Business-town and Black-town are very ugly, containing narrow, crooked streets, filled with wretched houses and miserable huts, between which there are warehouses, counting-houses, and now and then some palace or other. Narrow paved canals run through all the streets, in order to supply the necessary amount of water for the numerous daily ablutions of the Hindoos. The Business-town and Black-town are always so densely crowded, that when a carriage drives through, the servants are obliged to get down and run on before, in order to warn the people, or push them out of the way.

The European quarter of the town, however, which is often termed the City of Palaces - a name which it richly merits - is, on the contrary, very beautiful. Every good-sized house, by the way, is called, as it is in Venice, a palace. Most of these palaces are situated in gardens surrounded by high walls; they seldom join one another, for which reason there are but few imposing squares or streets.

With the exception of the governor's palace, none of these buildings can be compared for architectural beauty and richness with the large palaces of Rome, Florence, and Venice. Most of them are only distinguished from ordinary dwelling-houses by a handsome portico upon brick pillars covered with cement, and terrace-like roof's. Inside, the rooms are large and lofty, and the stairs of greyish marble or even wood; but neither in doors or out are there any fine statues or sculptures.

The Palace of the governor is as I before said, a magnificent building - one that would be an ornament to the finest city in the world. It is built in the form of a horse-shoe, with a handsome cupola in the centre: the portico, as well as both the wings, is supported upon columns. The internal arrangements are as bad as can possibly be imagined; the supper-room being, for instance, a story higher than the ball-room. In both these rooms there is a row of columns on each side, and the floor of the latter is composed of Agra marble. The pillars and walls are covered with a white cement, which is equal to marble for its polish. The private rooms are not worth looking at; they merely afford the spectator an opportunity of admiring the skill of the architect, who has managed to turn the large space at his command to the smallest imaginable profit.

Among the other buildings worthy of notice are the Town-hall, the Hospital, the Museum, Ochterlony's Monument, the Mint, and the English Cathedral.

The Town-hall is large and handsome. The hall itself extends through one entire story. There are a few monuments in white marble to the memory of several distinguished men of modern times. It is here that all kinds of meetings are held, all speculations and undertakings discussed, and concerts, balls, and other entertainments given.

The Hospital consists of several small houses, each standing in the midst of a grass plot. The male patients are lodged in one house, the females and children in a second, while the lunatics are confined in the third. The wards were spacious, airy, and excessively clean. Only Christians are received as patients.

The hospital for natives is similar, but considerably smaller. The patients are received for nothing, and numbers who cannot be accommodated in the building itself are supplied with drugs and medicines.

The Museum, which was only founded in 1836, possesses, considering the short space of time that has elapsed since its establishment, a very rich collection, particularly of quadrupeds and skeletons, but there are very few specimens of insects, and most of those are injured. In one of the rooms is a beautifully-executed model of the celebrated Tatch in Agra; several sculptures and bas-reliefs were lying around. The figures seemed to me very clumsy; the architecture, however, is decidedly superior. The museum is open daily. I visited it several times, and, on every occasion, to my great astonishment, met a number of natives, who seemed to take the greatest interest in the objects before them.

Ochterlony's Monument is a simple stone column, 165 feet in height, standing, like a large note of admiration, on a solitary grassplot, in memory of General Ochterlony, who was equally celebrated as a statesman and a warrior. Whoever is not afraid of mounting 222 steps will be recompensed by an extensive view of the town, the river, and the surrounding country; the last, however, is very monotonous, consisting of an endless succession of plains bounded only by the horizon.

Not far from the column is a neat little mosque, whose countless towers and cupolas are ornamented with gilt metal balls, which glitter and glisten like so many stars in the heavens. It is surrounded by a pretty court-yard, at the entrance of which those who wish to enter the mosque are obliged to leave their shoes. I complied with this regulation, but did not feel recompensed for so doing, as I saw merely a small empty hall, the roof of which was supported by a few stone pillars. Glass lamps were suspended from the roof and walls, and the floor was paved with Agra marble, which is very common in Calcutta, being brought down the Ganges.

The Mint presents a most handsome appearance; it is built in the pure Grecian style, except that it is not surrounded by pillars on all its four sides. The machinery in it is said to be especially good, surpassing anything of the kind to be seen even in Europe. I am unable to express any opinion on the subject, and can only say that all I saw appeared excessively ingenious and perfect. The metal is softened by heat and then flattened into plates by means of cylinders. These plates are cut into strips and stamped. The rooms in which the operations take place are spacious, lofty, and airy. The motive-power is mostly steam.

Of all the Christian places of worship, the English Cathedral is the most magnificent. It is built in the Gothic style, with a fine large tower rising above half-a-dozen smaller ones. There are other churches with Gothic towers, but these edifices are all extremely simple in the interior, with the exception of the Armenian church, which has the wall near the altar crowded with pictures in gold frames.

The notorious "Black Hole," in which the Rajah Suraja Dowla cast 150 of the principal prisoners when he obtained possession of Calcutta in 1756, is at present changed into a warehouse. At the entrance stands an obelisk fifty feet high, and on it are inscribed the names of his victims.

The Botanical Garden lies five miles distant from the town. It was founded in the year 1743, but is more like a natural park than a garden, as it is by no means so remarkable for its collection of flowers and plants as for the number of trees and shrubs, which are distributed here and there with studied negligence in the midst of large grass-plots. A neat little monument, with a marble bust, is erected to the memory of the founder. The most remarkable objects are two banana-trees. These trees belong to the fig-tree species, and sometimes attain a height of forty feet. The fruit is very small, round, and of a dark-red; it yields oil when burnt. When the trunk has reached an elevation of about fifteen feet, a number of small branches shoot out horizontally in all directions, and from these quantity of threadlike roots descend perpendicularly to the ground, in which they soon firmly fix themselves. When they are sufficiently grown, they send out shoots like the parent trunk; and this process is repeated ad infinitum, so that it is easy to understand how a single tree may end by forming a whole forest, in which thousands may find a cool and shady retreat. This tree is held sacred by the Hindoos. They erect altars to the god Rama beneath its shade, and there, too, the Brahmin instructs his scholars.

The oldest of these two trees, together with its family, already describes a circumference of more than 600 feet, and the original trunk measures nearly fifty feet round.

Adjoining the Botanical Garden is the Bishop's College, in which the natives are trained as missionaries. After the Governor's Palace, it is the finest building in Calcutta, and consists of two main buildings and three wings. One of the main buildings is occupied by an extremely neat chapel. The library, which is a noble-looking room, contains a rich collection of the works of the best authors, and is thrown open to the pupils; but their industry does not appear to equal the magnificence of the arrangements, for, on taking a book from the bookcase, I immediately let it fall again and ran to the other end of the room; a swarm of bees had flown upon me from out the bookcase.

The dining and sleeping rooms, as well as all the other apartments, are so richly and conveniently furnished, that a person might easily suppose that the establishment had been founded for the sons of the richest English families, who were so accustomed to comfort from their tenderest infancy that they were desirous of transplanting it to all quarters of the globe; but no one would ever imagine the place had been built for "the labourers in the vineyard of the Lord."

I surveyed this splendid institution with a sadder heart than I might have done, because I knew it was intended for the natives, who had first to put off their own simple mode of life and accustom themselves to convenience and superfluity, only to wander forth into the woods and wildernesses, and exercise their office in the midst of savages and barbarians.

Among the sights of Calcutta may be reckoned the garden of the chief judge, Mr. Lawrence Peel, which is equally interesting to the botanist and the amateur, and which, in rare flowers, plants, and trees, is much richer than the Botanical Garden itself. The noble park, laid out with consummate skill, the luxuriant lawns, interspersed and bordered with flowers and plants, the crystal ponds, the shady alleys, with their bosquets and gigantic trees, all combine to form a perfect paradise, in the midst of which stands the palace of the fortunate owner.

Opposite this park, in the large village of Alifaughur, is situated a modest little house, which is the birthplace of much that is good. It contains a small surgery, and is inhabited by a native who has studied medicine. Here the natives may obtain both advice and medicine for nothing. This kind and benevolent arrangement is due to Lady Julia Cameron, wife of the law member of the Supreme Council of India, Charles Henry Cameron.

I had the pleasure of making this lady's acquaintance, and found her to be, in every respect, an ornament to her sex. Wherever there is any good to be done, she is sure to take the lead. In the years 1846-7, she set on foot subscriptions for the starving Irish, writing to the most distant provinces and calling upon every Englishman to contribute his mite. In this manner she collected the large sum of 80,000 rupees (8,000 pounds.)

Lady Peel has distinguished herself also in the field of science, and Burger's "Leonore" has been beautifully translated by her into English. She is also a kind mother and affectionate wife, and lives only for her family, caring little for the world. Many call her an original; would that we had a few more such originals!

I had brought no letters of recommendation to this amiable woman, but she happened to hear of my travels and paid me a visit. In fact, the hospitality I met with here was really astonishing. I was cordially welcomed in the very first circles, and every one did all in his power to be of use to me. I could not help thinking of Count Rehberg, the Austrian minister at Rio Janeiro, who thought he had conferred a great mark of distinction by inviting me once to his villa; and, to purchase this honour, I had either to walk an hour in the burning heat or to pay six milreis (13s.) for a carriage. In Calcutta, a carriage was always sent for me. I could relate a great many more anecdotes of the worthy count, who made me feel how much I was to blame for not descending from a rich and aristocratic family. I experienced different treatment from the member of the Supreme Council, Charles Henry Cameron, and from the chief judge, Mr. Peel. These gentlemen respected me for myself alone without troubling their heads about my ancestors.

During my stay in Calcutta, I was invited to a large party in honour of Mr. Peel's birthday; but I refused the invitation, as I had no suitable dress. My excuse, however, was not allowed, and I accompanied Lady Cameron, in a simple coloured muslin dress, to a party where all the other ladies were dressed in silk and satin and covered with lace and jewellery; yet no one was ashamed of me, but conversed freely with me, and showed me every possible attention.

A very interesting promenade for a stranger is that to the Strand, or "Maytown," as it is likewise called. It is skirted on one side by the banks of the Hoogly, and on the other by beautiful meadows, beyond which is the noble Chaudrini Road, consisting of rows of noble palaces, and reckoned the finest quarter of Calcutta. Besides this, there is a fine view of the governor's palace, the cathedral, Ochterlony's monument, the magnificent reservoirs, Fort William, a fine prutagon with extensive outworks, and many other remarkable objects.

Every evening, before sunset, all the fashionable world of Calcutta streams hitherward. The purse-proud European, the stuck-up Baboo or Nabob, the deposed Rajah, are to be beheld driving in splendid European carriages, followed by a multitude of servants, in Oriental costume, some standing behind their carriages, and some running before it. The Rajahs and Nabobs are generally dressed in silk robes embroidered with gold, over which are thrown the most costly Indian shawls. Ladies and gentlemen mounted upon English blood horses gallop along the meadows, while crowds of natives are to be seen laughing and joking on their way home, after the conclusion of their day's work. Nor is the scene on the Hoogly less animated; first-class East Indiamen are lying at anchor, unloading or being cleaned out, while numberless small craft pass continually to and fro.

I had been told that the population here suffered very much from elephantiasis, and that numbers of poor wretches with horribly swollen feet were to be seen at almost every turn. But this is not true. I did not meet with as many cases of the kind during five weeks here, as I did in one day in Rio Janeiro.

On one occasion I paid a visit to a rich Baboo. The property of the family, consisting of three brothers, was reckoned at 150,000 pounds. The master of the house received me at the door, and accompanied me to the reception-room. He was clad in a large dress of white muslin, over which was wound a magnificent Indian shawl, which extended from the hips to the feet, and made up for the transparency of the muslin. One end of the shawl was thrown over his shoulder in the most picturesque manner.

The parlour was furnished in the European fashion. A large hand organ stood in one corner, and in the other a spacious bookcase, with the works of the principal English poets and philosophers; but it struck me that these books were there more for show than use, for the two volumes of Byron's works were turned different ways, while Young's Night Thoughts were stuck between. There were a few engravings and pictures, which the worthy Baboo imagined to be an ornament to the walls, but which were not of so much value as the frames that contained them.

My host sent for his two sons, handsome boys, one seven and the other four years old, and introduced them to me. I inquired, although it was quite contrary to custom to do so, after his wife and daughters. Our poor sex ranks so low in the estimation of the Hindoos, that it is almost an insult to a person to mention any of his female relations. He overlooked this in me, as a European, and immediately sent for his daughters. The youngest, a most lovely baby six months old, was nearly white, with large splendid eyes, the brilliancy of which was greatly increased by the delicate eyelids, which were painted a deep blue round the edges. The elder daughter, nine years old, had a somewhat common coarse face. Her father, who spoke tolerable English, introduced her to me as a bride, and invited me to the marriage which was to take place in six weeks. I was so astonished at this, considering the child's extreme youth, that I remarked he no doubt meant her betrothal, but he assured me that she would then be married and delivered over to her husband.

On my asking whether the girl loved her intended bridegroom, I was told that she would see him for the first time at the celebration of the nuptials. The Baboo informed me further, that every person like himself looked out for a son-in-law as soon as possible, and that the younger a girl married the more honourable was it accounted; an unmarried daughter was a disgrace to her father, who was looked upon as possessed of no paternal love if he did not get her off his hands. As soon as he has found a son-in-law, he describes his bodily and mental qualities as well as his worldly circumstances to his wife, and with this description she is obliged to content herself, for she is never allowed to see her future son-in-law, either as the betrothed, or the husband of her child. The bridegroom is never considered to belong to the family of the bride, but the latter leaves her own relations for those of her husband. No woman, however, is allowed to see or speak with the male relations of her husband, nor dare she ever appear before the men- servants of her household without being veiled. If she wishes to pay a visit to her mother, she is carried to her shut up in a palanquin.

I also saw the Baboo's wife and one of his sisters-in-law. The former was twenty-five years old and very corpulent, the latter was fifteen and was slim and well made. The reason of this, as I was told, is that the females, although married so young, seldom become mothers before their fourteenth year, and until then preserve their original slimness. After their first confinement, they remain for six or eight weeks shut up in their room, without taking the least exercise, and living all the time on the most sumptuous and dainty food. This fattening process generally produces the desired effect. The reader must know that the Hindoos, like the Mahomedans, are partial to corpulent ladies. I never saw any specimens of this kind of beauty, however, among the lower classes.

The two ladies were not very decently attired. Their bodies and heads were enveloped in ample blue and white muslin drapery, embroidered with gold, and bordered with lace of the same material as broad as a man's hand, but the delicate texture {150} was so ethereal, that every outline of the body was visible beneath it. Besides this, whenever they moved their arms the muslin opened and displayed not only their arm, but a portion of their bosom and body. They appeared to pay a great deal of attention to their hair; their chief care seemed to consist in replacing the muslin on their heads, whenever it chanced to fall off. As long as a female is unmarried, she is never allowed to lay aside her head-dress.

These ladies were so overloaded with gold, pearls, and diamonds, that they really resembled beasts of burden. Large pearls, with other precious stones strung together, adorned their head and neck, as likewise did heavy gold chains and mounted gold coins. Their ears, which were pierced all over - I counted twelve holes in one ear - were so thickly laden with similar ornaments, that the latter could not be distinguished from one another; all that was to be seen was a confused mass of gold, pearls, and diamonds. On each arm were eight or ten costly bracelets; the principal one, which was four inches broad, being composed of massive gold, with six rows of small brilliants. I took it in my hand, and found that it weighed at least half a pound. They had gold chains twisted three times round their thighs, and their ankles and feet were also encircled with gold rings and chains; their feet were dyed with henna.

The two ladies then brought me their jewel-cases, and showed me a great many more valuable ornaments. The Hindoos must spend immense sums in jewels and gold and silver embroidered Dacca muslin, as in these articles it is the endeavour of every lady to outrival all her acquaintances. As they had anticipated my arrival, the two ladies were arrayed in their most costly apparel; being determined to exhibit themselves to me in true Indian splendour.

The Baboo also conducted me to the inner apartments looking into the courtyard. Some of these were furnished only with carpets and pillows, the Hindoos not being, in general, partial to chairs or beds; in others, were different pieces of European furniture, such as, tables, chairs, presses, and even bedsteads. A glass case containing dolls, coaches, horses, and other toys, was pointed out to me with peculiar satisfaction; both children and women are very fond of playing with these things, though the women are more passionately fond of cards.

No married woman is allowed to enter the rooms looking out upon the street, as she might be seen by a man from the opposite windows. The young bride, however, profited by her freedom, and tripping before us to the open window, glanced into the busy street.

The wives of the rich Hindoos, or of those belonging to the higher castes, are as much confined to their houses as the Chinese women. The only pleasure that the husband's strictness permits the wife to enjoy, is to pay a visit, now and then, in a carefully closed palanquin, to some friend or relation. It is only during the short time that a woman remains unmarried that she is allowed rather more freedom.

A Hindoo may have several wives; there are, however, but few examples of his availing himself of this privilege.

The husband's relations generally reside in the same house, but each family has its separate household. The elder boys take their meals with their father, but the wife, daughters, and younger boys are not allowed this privilege. Both sexes are extremely fond of tobacco, which they smoke in pipes called hookas.

At the conclusion of my visit, I was offered sweetmeats, fruits, raisins, etc. The sweetmeats were mostly composed of sugar, almonds, and suet, but were not very palatable, owing to the predominance of the suet.

Before leaving the house, I visited the ground-floor to examine the room, in which, once a year, the religious festival called Natch is celebrated. This festival, which is the most important one in the Hindoo religion, takes place in the beginning of October, and lasts a fortnight, during which time neither poor nor rich do any business whatever. The master closes his shops and warehouses, and the servant engages a substitute, generally from among the Mahomedans, and then both master and servant spend the fortnight, if not in fasting and prayer, most certainly in doing nothing else.

The Baboo informed me that on these occasions his room is richly ornamented, and a statue of the ten-armed goddess Durga placed in it. This statue is formed of clay or wood, painted with the most glaring colours, and loaded with gold and silver tinsel, flowers, ribbons, and often with even real jewellery. Hundreds of lights and lamps, placed between vases and garlands of flowers, glitter in the room, the court-yard, and outside the house. A number of different animals are offered up as sacrifices; they are not slain, however, in the presence of the goddess, but in some retired part of the house. Priests attend upon the goddess, and female dancers display their talent before her, accompanied by the loud music of the tam- tam. Both priests and danseuses are liberally paid. Some of the latter, like our Taglionis and Elslers, earn large sums. During the period of my stay here, there was a Persian danseuse, who never appeared for less than 500 rupees (50 pounds.) Crowds of the curious, among whom are numbers of Europeans, flock from one temple to another; the principal guests have sweetmeats and fruit served round to them.

On the last day of the festival the goddess is conveyed with great pomp, and accompanied by music, to the Hoogly, where she is put in a boat, rowed into the middle of the stream, and then thrown overboard in the midst of the shouts and acclamations of the multitude upon the banks. Formerly, the real jewels were thrown in along with the goddess, but carefully fished up again by the priests during the night; at present, the real jewels are replaced on the last day by false ones, or else the founder of the feast takes an opportunity of secretly obtaining possession of them during the goddess's progress to the river. He is obliged to do this very cautiously, however, so as not to be observed by the people. A Natch often costs several thousand rupees, and is one of the most costly items in the expenditure of the rich.

Marriages, too, are said to cost large sums of money. The Brahmins observe the stars, and by their aid calculate the most fortunate day and even hour for the ceremony to take place. It is, however, frequently postponed, at the very last moment, for a few hours longer, as the priest has taken fresh observations, and hit upon a still luckier instant. Of course, such a discovery has to be paid for by an extra fee.

There are several different feasts every year in honour of the four-armed goddess Kally, especially in the village of Kallighat, near Calcutta. There were two during my stay. Before each hut was placed a number of small clay idols, painted with various colours and representing the most horrible creatures. They were exposed there for sale. The goddess Kally, as large as life, had got her tongue thrust out as far as possible between her open jaws; she was placed either before or inside the huts, and was richly decorated with wreaths of flowers.

The temple of Kally is a miserable building, or rather a dark hole, from whose cupola-like roof rise several turrets: the statue here was remarkable for its immense head and horribly long tongue. Its face was painted deep-red, yellow, and sky-blue. I was unable to enter this god-like hole, as I was a woman, and as such was not reckoned worthy of admission into so sacred a place as Kally's temple. I looked in at the door with the Hindoo woman, and was quite satisfied.

The most horrible and distressing scenes occur in the Hindoo dead-houses, and at the places where the corpses are burnt. Those that I saw are situated on the banks of the Hoogly, near the town, and opposite to them is the wood market. The dead-house was small, and contained only one room, in which were four bare bedsteads. The dying person is brought here by his relations, and either placed upon one of the bedsteads, or, if these are all full, on the floor, or, at a push, even before the house in the burning sun. At the period of my arrival, there were five persons in the house and two outside. The latter were completely wrapped up in straw and woollen counterpanes, and I thought they were already dead. On my asking whether or no this was the case, my guide threw off the clothes, and I saw the poor wretches move. I think they must have been half- smothered under the mass of covering. Inside, on the floor, lay a poor old woman, the death-rattle in whose throat proclaimed that her end was fast approaching. The four bedsteads were likewise occupied. I did not observe that the mouths and noses of these poor creatures were stopped up with mud from the Ganges: this may, perhaps, be the case in some other districts. Near the dying persons were seated their relations, quietly and silently waiting to receive their last breath. On my inquiring whether nothing was ever given to them, I was told that if they did not die immediately, a small draught of water from the Ganges was handed to them from time to time, but always decreasing in quantity and at longer intervals, for when once brought to these places, they must die at any price.

As soon as they are dead, and almost before they are cold, they are taken to the place where they are burnt, and which is separated from the high road by a wall. In this place I saw one corpse and one person at the point of death, while on six funeral-piles were six corpses with the flames flaring on high all around them. A number of birds, larger than turkeys, and called here philosophers, {153} small vultures, and ravens were seated upon the neighbouring trees and house-tops, in anxious expectation of the half-burnt corpses. I was horrified. I hurried away, and it was long before I could efface the impression made upon my mind by this hideous spectacle.

In the case of rich people, the burning of the body sometimes costs more than a thousand rupees; the most costly wood, such as rose and sandal wood, being employed for that purpose. Besides this, a Brahmin, music, and female mourners, are necessary parts of the ceremony.

After the body has been burnt, the bones are collected, laid in a vase, and thrown into the Ganges, or some other holy river. The nearest relation is obliged to set fire to the pile.

There are naturally none of these ceremonies among poor people. They simply burn their dead on common wood or cow-dung; and if they cannot even buy these materials, they fasten a stone to the corpse and throw it into the river.

I will here relate a short anecdote that I had from a very trustworthy person. It may serve as an example of the atrocities that are often committed from false ideas of religion.

Mr. N - -was once, during his travels, not far from the Ganges, and was accompanied by several servants and a dog. Suddenly the latter disappeared, and all the calling in the world would not bring him back. He was at last discovered on the banks of the Ganges, standing near a human body, which he kept licking. Mr. N - -went up and found that the man had been left to die, but had still some spark of life left. He summoned his attendants, had the slime and filth washed off the poor wretch's face, and wrapped him well up. In a few days after he was completely recovered. On Mr. N - -'s now being about to leave him, the man begged and prayed him not to do so, as he had lost his caste, and would never more be recognised by any of his relations; in a word that he was completely wiped out of the list of the living. Mr. N - -took him into his service, and the man, at the present day, is still in the enjoyment of perfect health. The event narrated occurred years ago.

The Hindoos themselves acknowledge that their customs, with regard to dying persons, occasion many involuntary murders; but their religion ordains that when the physician declares there is no hope left, the person must die.

During my stay in Calcutta, I could learn no more of the manners and customs of the Hindoos than what I have described, but I became acquainted with some of the particulars of a Mahomedan marriage. On the day appointed for the ceremony, the nuptial bed, elegantly ornamented, is carried, with music and festivity, to the house of the bridegroom, and late in the evening, the bride herself is also conveyed there in a close palanquin, with music and torches, and a large crowd of friends, many of whom carry regular pyramids of tapers; that well known kind of firework, the Bengal-fire, with its beautiful light-blue flame, is also in requisition for the evening's proceedings.

On arriving at the bridegroom's house, the newly-married couple alone are admitted; the rest remain outside playing, singing, and hallooing until broad day.

I often heard Europeans remark that they considered the procession of the nuptial couch extremely improper. But as the old saying goes - "A man can see the mote in his neighbour's eye when he cannot perceive the beam in his own;" and it struck me that the manner in which marriages are managed among the Europeans who are settled here, is much more unbecoming. It is a rule with the English, that on the day appointed for the marriage, which takes place towards evening, the bridegroom shall not see his bride before he meets her at the altar. An infringement of this regulation would be shocking. In case the two who are about to marry should have anything to say to each other, they are obliged to do so in writing. Scarcely, however, has the clergyman pronounced the benediction, ere the new married couple are packed off together in a carriage, and sent to spend a week in some hotel in the vicinity of the town. For this purpose, either the hotel at Barrackpore or one of two or three houses at Gardenrich is selected. In case all the lodgings should be occupied, a circumstance of by no means rare occurrence, since almost all marriages are celebrated in the months of November and December, a boat containing one or two cabins is hired, and the young people are condemned to pass the next eight days completely shut up from all their friends, and even the parents themselves are not allowed access to their children.

I am of opinion that a girl's modesty must suffer much from these coarse customs. How the poor creature must blush on entering the place selected for her imprisonment; and how each look, each grin of the landlord, waiters, or boatmen, must wound her feelings!

The worthy Germans, who think everything excellent that does not emanate from themselves, copy this custom most conscientiously.