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NEI L G H E R R I E S.
(Translated from the French by O. Russell.)
Ottacamund, April. these good things, it is the tropical sun. I I can just picture you, my old friend, spelling had not travelled five hundred leagues from over the singular name at the head of my letter, Calcutta to be grilled alive in spite of the sea. and in geographical despair fancying that an breeze; so my stay at the Madras club was of unpropitious destiny has carried me off prisoner short duration. I'he fifth day after my arrival, to some city in Cochin China. Calm your fears, having liquidated my expenses, which were very I am in a civilized region, in a very good hotel, moderate, I stepped into the conveyance which rather high up it is true, but the air I am awaited me in the court, when I perceived my breathing is all the purer. Let une come to the friend F--- arriving in haste. point. Tired of the fearful heat of Bengal, “I dare bet anything that you have no letters condemned to at least four months inaction until of introduction," said he, in a reproachful tone. the arrival of some papers necessary for my Certainly not,” I replied, “I count upon business from Europe, I have exchanged the sun Providence and British hospitality.” of Calcutta for the healthy climate of the “I expected as much, so I have brought you mountains in the interior of the Madras Presi- this, which is worth a hundred. It is for dency. Communication is so quick and easy, Captain Henry Brown, a magistrate in the thanks to the inagnificent steamers of the heights, a delightful man married to a still Peninsular Company, that a few days after more charming wife, who has but one defect, quitting the city of palaces I received on the an absolute antipathy for everything French.” bar at Madras the finest of douche baths, and “Thanks for the present," I said, with some landed, dropping like a river-god at Fort St. irony; George.
“ You are the very man to remove these oldFor one who has just left the commercial world prejudices,” pursued Factivity of Calcutta, Madras possesses "I will do my best,” said I, giving my hand calmness and tranquillity which is imposing and to F~~, who shook it warmly, saying, “God surprising. The distances in Madras surpass bless you !" and my vehicle drove off. all belief ; you may wander forever through Let me give you a few details of the equipgrass-grown squares and wide long streets cut age in which I travelled. It was a kind of through the midst of gardens. It can boast of chariot with two wheels, painted red and two things, the sea-breeze towards evening covered with grey canvas, in the interior a white refreshing the air, which has been like the breath mattress covered the planks; half-a-dozen of a furnace during the noontide heat, and its cushions and pillows lined the sides, an inclub. By the kindness of a friend I was dispensable precaution for him who would reach admitted to this magnificent establishment as his destination with the free use of his limbs, an honorary member during my short stay. so frightful is the jolting on the road. So much One of the least incontestable superiorities of for the comforts of the outer man. As to those the Anglo-Saxon race over other European of the inner man a prudent traveller like myself nations is the perfect understanding, which it would not neglect them. There is a respectpossesses and practises of this club life, or able supply of sodawater, sherry, bread, and having things in common among men, This cold ineat, for we must live at least four days establishment at Madras is a striking illustra- without reckoning on the resources of the bun. tion, situated about three miles from the pier gallows on the road. In front, in a kind of in the centre of the fashionable quarter; you covered gig, ride a turband coachman and my meet with all the luxury and variety which can servant driving two consumptive horses, render life in India supportable ; well-ventilated which I was to exchange the next day a dozen bedrooms and bathrooms, billiard and reading miles from Vellore for bullocks, and thus rooms, a tennis court, ices and sorbets at all continue my journey in this age of rapid locohours, an excellent cook and a celebrated motion with the complete turn-out of a Merocellar. At seven o'clock in the evening the vingian king. dining-room of the club presents a singular Aster two days I arrived at Bungalore, the mixture of European and Asiatic luxury. A third I left to my right the ruined fort of Serin. dozen tables, over which enormous punkahs gapatain, where the tombs of Hyder Ali and are swinging, are laid out with great elegance, Tippoo Saib are built, and on the fourth I a crowd of servants dressed in long white robes reached the foot of the Neilgherries, at four with wide turbans raised at one side hand you o'clock, and in spite of my six cushions, bruised, the roast beef of old nd, the spiced curry worn-out, half dead, in a state I can of India, or the world-famous champagne. describe, deposited myself at the station of
1 have but one complaint to set against all Seagour, where a cruel disappointment awaited
I had agreed with the contractor at anchorite's repast and was intending to ask Madras that at the entrance of the pass coolies me to supper. He entered, a man of about should be ready to carry my baggage and a pony thirty, of a noble military figure, his benevolent to help me over the fourteen miles which and sweet voice softening the strong expression separate Seagour from the little town of Ottaca- of his features; he was truly a fine type of those mund, but the pony had not arrived and the enlightened and intrepid officers, who on the carriage could go no farther. My position was field of battle or in the magistrate's office serve embarrassing. It was impossible to ask for the cause of old England. He excused in shelter in the miserable cabins at the foot of the courteous terms his intrusion without previous mountain or even to pass the night in my introduction, but the circumstances were presscarriage; the air you breathe in the vast jungle ing, supper on the table, and he begged me to extending round the Neilgherries is fatal. All partake of it. We went into the next room, my friends had warned me not to sleep, in this where a true sportsman's supper, roast quails, dangerous place under any pretext if I wished ham, and two bottles of wine, awaited us. I to escape the jungle fever, from which few presented my letter of introduction, and we sat
I had no wish to prove the truth of until late discussing the noble profession of this precaution, and determined to reach a arms, the captain describing the campaign of bungalow half way up the mountain on foot, the Sutlej," the anxieties of the night of seduced too by the title of Hotel Bungalow, Ferozeshur, and the attack on the fort of which a native had given to it, and with an impru- Sobraon. dence unworthy of an experienced traveller, I The day after, my tardy pony arrived, and would not load my servant with the few whilst my friend went to shoot in the jungle I provisions which remained.
mounted to Ottacamund, got off at Dawson's I set out very sadly, leaving my baggage Hotel, and was soon installed in a charming under the care of the driver. To say that I little room. Around nothing reminds me of admired the beautiful scenery of the mountains, India and its fearful heat; on the bed, delightful their rich verdure, and limpid cascades, would to look at, are two counterpanes, and a little be to dishonour truth. During the two mortal stove proclaims a healthy and strengthening hours of the road, insensible to the charms of climate, where the cold would restore European nature, I gave myself up to a series of apos- constitutions undermined by the debilitating trophes, the object of which was the excessive influence of the plains; damask curtains, heat of the sun, my thin boots which were no mahogany table, two easy chairs, and on the protection to my feet against the rough stones, walls the picture of “ Eclipse." My windows and finally the infamous contractor who had open upon a delicious little garden planted with betrayed two sacred trusts, the fidelity due to a geraniums, roses, and dahlias, old friends the contract and the legs of a traveller. The day sight of which is sweet to an exile. Two was closing in when I reached the hotel, worn- monster heliotropes, ten feet high and forty out and dying of hunger and thirst; the feet in circumference, exhale a sweet odour. resources I found were not calculated to cheer Well, you will think it is time to stop my
A bamboo sofa, a table, two chairs, hard description. Patience and I will come to the bread, eggs by no means fresh, tea that had romantic adventure of my journey ; but first I never been grown in China, and a cock that must go back some years to the days when you was still crowing, were all that the bungalow and I were young, Do you remember the could afford.
only serious quarrel we ever had ? It was a At my ease on the sofa, the reeds of which fête day at the lake of Enghien when a party were infinitely preferable to the carriage in of four were enjoying themselves at a restaurant. which I had passed the three preceding nights, Wishing to please Madame Dubuisson I left I had leisure to contemplate the landscape, you to seek her some crackers in the fair, you which was magnificent. The foaming waters of waited for me in vain, and until eleven o'clock a fine cascade bounded from rock to rock a few sought for me all over the park without finding steps from the house, and through a gorge I either my person or the carriage which brought could perceive a sea of verdure fantastically us, and were at length obliged to return to lighted up by the golden rays of the setting sun. Paris in a miserable spring cart. If you This glorious view and a couple of excellent remember the grand scene of the next day you cheroots, restored the equilibrium of my temper. will perbaps now listen after six years have My eyelids were just closing in gentle slumber passed to the explanation of my mysterious when I heard noisy voices and the tramping of disappearance. horses coming through the gorge. They On leaving you I was passing through the approached, and the house was soon in a state avenues of green chesnut trees, when at a turn of unaccustomed activity; glasses and forks I suddenly met a young lady breathless, crimson rattled in a neighbouring room, and my olfactory with agitation, who stopped, crying : nerves caught an exquisite perfume of roasting. “For God's sake, sir, have pity on me.” Suddenly my servant entered with a card in his I immediately guessed the cause of her terror hand, asking if I would receive the Sahib who as a group of men, who had evidently been sent it. I looked at it, “ Captain Henry Brown, drinking too freely, appeared under the trees. Madras Infantry. I knew in a moment that My presence put a stop to these low fellows ; the worthy man had learnt the nature of my after watching us for a short time they were
lost in the crowd. During this period the his white cravat is carefully tied in a geometrical pretty stranger, for she was young and charming, knot, his dress black, silk stockings and patent trusting to my offers of assistance gave me her leather shoes. Next in order is Major John story. Two hours before she had been separated Bull, of the Queen's army; he is forty-seven, from her husband in the crowd, whom in spite perfectly bald, rosy cheeks, and moustaches in of all her efforts she could not find, and seeing the form of a half moon. His bearing is noble herself to be an object of attraction to the men and his figure aldermanic, he is methodical and who had just departed, she had not hesitated to regular as a chronometer in his paces, wears throw herself on the compassion of a fellow- his red coat and gold epaulettes. His opposite countryman. A countryman! Never again neighbour is Captain Liver, 81st regiment, of turn to derision my Anglomania; however, I colossal stature, who plays the part of a hypomodestly acknowledged that I had no pre- chondriac with an excellent constitution and tensions to the title, but begged to be allowed perfect health; he is in a state of perpetual to accompany her until she found her husband. revolt against the atmosphere, mutters in
As we were walking a sort of intimacy sprung distinct invectives about the cold and heat, the up between us; she told me she was the daughter wind and the calm, the sun and rain. He gives of an officer in the English army, who had retired himself, his dogs, and horses fearful doses of from the service and lived in Scotland as a calomel. He entered the room the other day gentleman-farmer. Three months ago she had rubbing his hands like a frozen man. “How married a lieutenant in the Indian army, and cold! what a wind! horrible climate !" then was on her way with him to Madras. Before turning to a servant directed bim to fetch a full bidding adieu to Europe for many long years bottle off his toilet table. His order was the young couple wished to see something of obeyed, Captain Liver stood in astonishment the pleasures of Paris, where they had been before the pbial. “Only look," said he, "two staying for a week. I soon knew the whole hours since I ipfused ten grains of calomel in family; two younger sisters, her brother Tom, a pint of brandy in order to give it to my bay and Berenice, a favourite mare on which she horse, and this is all that remains," turning the hunted. My position at length became bottle over in which were a few drops. “Who embarrassing, for the increasing darkness and can explain this mystery?". solitude of the park warned me that there was “I can,” replied Cornet Butterfly. “ As I no farther chance of meeting with the lost was crossing the corridor I saw a native servant husband. I could not abandon the young lady giving this bottle a most fraternal embrace." on the shores of the Lake of Enghien, and after At the same moment the gentleman to whom some consideration I decided to offer her the the servant belonged entered, begging that the carriage which had brought us, but when we doctor might be sent for immediately as his had reached it and I was taking leave she servant was in a pitiable state. expressed such mortal terror at being left alone “Ah! I am not astonished at that,” remarked during the long drive, and the dificulty 1 Captain Liver," he has been drinking my should have in meeting with a conveyance, that horse's medicine. Butterfly saw him in the I yielded to her arguments, and resolved to act, and it is to be hoped he will profit by the complete the duties of protection as far as the lesson." Rue St. Honoré, which we reached in safety, The last of our guests is the Honourable leaving you miserable people to get home as Richard Butterfly, cornet in the Dragoons; he you could and quarrel with me next morning. is not much more than twenty, handsome and
There go the three strokes on the gong elegant. His father exiled him to India, being announcing the roast beef, which makes it's disconcerted by the budding forth of too great appearance daily in the dining-room; so in inclination to liberality which he betrayed at three words I will finish the first act of my Oxford; possessed of wonderful good temper adventure by saying that, the day after, my and an obliging disposition, which leads him servant brought me an earring which had been to talk to me what he imagines is the French found in the carriage, a curious trinket in the language. Mad about Paris, where he spent form of a butterfly with wings spotted with seven days on his way to Marseilles, and rubies, of which I remained the possessor. professes a passionate admiration for the novels
I will now introduce you to my companions of Paul de Kock and the Trois Frères Provenat the hotel,-good, agreeable, kind people, of caux. To close the list I may add a distinwhom I preserve, and hope they will preserve guished foreigner (by which I designate myof me a pleasant remembrance. First of all self). comes Sir Magnifico Bigwig, about fifty years The life we lead here is simple, healthy, and of age, in the Bombay Civil Service; the comfortable. In the morning a walk among the accredited diplomatic agent of the East India mountains; during the day calls or sitting at the Company to the Nawab
the Nawab of Hatterabad.club, varied by a ride or drive round the lake; Saffron-coloured complexion, long and white in the evening a game at whist, closing at ten teeth, pepper and salt air brushed high on the o'clock, leaves you fresh and ready to rise early left temple, elegant manners, and a high opinion in the morning. Thirty years ago the magnifiof his story-telling powers. He affects to cent plateau of these mountains was only known preserve intact the traditions of the toilet in the to enterprising hunters who sought here the days of George the Fourth and Beau Brummel, game that abounded. Now civilization has taken root where the tiger and elephant formerly For about twenty minutes I continued my had their haunts, charming cottages, flowery solitary path when an interesting scene was sudgardens, and good roads, have been laid out as denly presented to my eyes. Some distance beif by enchantment. The Neilgherries have before me a lady on horseback had arrested her come a sort of Asiatic-Switzerland, a beneficent steed on the banks of a stream. Scarcely twenty climate where Indo-Europeans regain the health paces separated her from a herd of half wild they have lost in the devouring heat of the buffaloes, at the head of which was an animal plain. I must not lead you to imagine that whose short horns, lashing tail, glaring eye, and there is here the liveliness and amusement of menacing aspect, fully accounted for the Interlachen or Spa, but just to keep up the stoppage. I knew by experience that these notion of pleasure the visitors give an anni. animals never resist a bold front and a few versary ball on the Queen's birthday. A strokes of the whip, so that my devotedness travelling artiste advertises a concert, or an was more apparent than real when putting my iminense dinner (burrah khanah is the conse- pony to its speed I charged the herd and put it crated word in India) is offered as a farewell to immediately to flight. A shepherd coming some visitor of high rank either in the army or hastily from the inountain completed my victory civil service.
with his long bamboo cane, whilst I returned From digression to digression I have sadly to reassure the timid traveller ; but the danger broken the thread of my story. Not to abuse she thought I had run was too much for her, your patience farther, I will take it up by leading and I arrived only in time to catch her in my you to a pic-nic given by Captain Brown on the arms and lay her fainting on the grass. Peak of Dodopett. My companion in the Without vinegar or eau-de-cologne I bad Bungalow had laid aside etiquette and paid me recourse to the water of the stream, and kneel. the first visit at my hotel; I on iny side had ing beside the young lady I bathed her temples called twice at his cottage, but both' visits had with my wet handkerchief, when an anxious been fruitless as Mrs. Brown was not at home. face looked over my shoulder, and Captain What I heard on every side of her charming Brown cried with a voice full of emotion : manners excited my curiosity, and one of the “Whatever is the matter?" greatest pleasures I promised myself in the At this moment the blood reappeared in the approaching party was the acquaintance of this cheeks of our interesting companion, her eyes young and lovely woman, who was so agreeable opened, rested on my neighbour with a langour to everybody excepting, as my friend at Madras full of tenderness, and her lips murmured, had told me, my own countrymen.
"Henry dear!" About half-past six in the morning Major I cannot explain the shock I received at the Bull and myself left the hotel mounted on two sound of those words with their Scotch accent. good ponies, and followed by a third carrying Was I the sport of a dream or of some acoustic the canteen, which my companion, a farsighted illusion ? I had certainly beard those words, man, had carefully provided. At the end of an that voice before; not only so, the testimony of hour's ride we came to a little rapid, the banks my eyes was added to that of my ears, the of which were fringed with tufts of grass and regular oval of this pretty face, the clustering weeds dipping into the crystal water, when my brown hair, blue eyes, the graceful frame, was companion declared that he had never met with not new to me; they were the traits of a friend a more picturesque spot for an early breakfast. known long before. I assented, we dismounted, the canteen was Captain Brown soon finished the care I had opened, and after having conscientiously begun. The young amazon jumping up tied discussed a dish
of sandwiches and her bonnet strings, and my friend drew me out bottle of beer, we set off again; but had not of my reverie by taking my hand and addresspassed over more than two miles when opposite ing bis wife: a little ravine covered with heliotrope and wild “My love,” said he, “I come too late to geraniuns, the major again affirmed that in all introduce to you my friend, he has already done his life he had not seen a prettier spot for a it for himself like a true French chevalier." slight collation. Again we dismounted for a Mrs. Brown replied in a few grateful words, quarter-of-an-hour's halt, which my friend did laughingly excusing her weakness, and in a few not exclusively employ in admiring the riches moments we began out ascent to the place of of the vegetable kingdom. The sun was mount-meeting; but I did not profit by the romantic ing rapidly to the zenith, the heat of its rays chance which had brought us together. Walk. becoming almost insupportable, when the ing behind I gave myself up to irresistible toajor again in ecstasy before a very ordinary remembrances. A quarter-of-an-hour brought landscape remarked for the third time that if us to the rendezvous, where all the respectable any spot in the world could invite travellers to inhabitants of the station were already waiting refresh themselves it was assuredly this. But with the impatience natural to travellers whose to this offer, having had beer and sandwiches appetites are sharpened by the brisk mountain ad nauseam, I opposed a formal refusal, and air and the fatigues of a long journey. my horse knowing well the path I left him The romantic episode of which I was the seated on the grass, and more occupied with a hero rapidly circulated through the assembly, bottle of stout than the splendours of the land- but iny importance, uncertain like all human scape.
grandeur, suddenly disappeared before the
arrival of a turbaned servant who announced the cottage and met Captain Brown a short with a low bow that dinner was served. At distance from it. this impatiently-expected signal my most “Some business matters call to the attentive auditors set off without ceremony to a office," said he, “bui you will find my wife in large tent, where the whole party were soon the garden. Do you remember that you dine seated round a table on which was a sumptuous with us this evening ?” repast. I could not talk, the images of the I found Mrs. Brown in the garden. A beautiful past rushed through my brain, which, like the little boy of four years old with curly hair and canvas of a magic-lantern, pictured a chaos of the head of Murillo's angels was carrying on confused remembrances, among which I his infantine games. With the greatest kinddistinguished your honest face, the pleasant ness the young mother came to meet ine, holdparty at the Lac d'Enghien, the pretty stranger, ing out her hand. and the little earring which I wore carefully “You have no doubt profited by this beautiful hung to my watch-chain.
morning to take a walk into the mountains?” Everything has an end in the world even she said. romances in twenty volumes and Anglo-Indian “A very long one,” I replied; “I returned dinners. After sitting an hour-and-a-half at to the peak of Dodopett where I had the good table, the ladies having given the signal for fortune to find a little trinket, which I unfor. retiring, I followed, and set off alone to the tunately lost yesterday.”. highest peak of the mountain, where a magnifi- “Doubtless some precious ornament ?" asked cent prospect presented itself to my eyes. To Mrs. Brown. my right stretched away the plain of the Mysore « Precious from the remembrances which are bounded by the mountains of Cheverroyes, to attached to it," I replied, and detached the little my left the coquettish landscape of the station gold butterfly set with rubies from my watchat Ottacamund, with its charming cottages, its chain, holding it before her. white church, and its lake of varied outline. A She looked at the ornament at first with some few steps below me was a cluster of cottages carelessness, then a deep colour mantled in her belonging to the primitive inhabitants of these face; she stole a glance at me, cast down her mountains, a race of unknown origin with eyes as if some dreaded person were before her, Jewish features and slightly copper-coloured and remained motionless, her eyes riveted on skin ; who uniformly build wooden houses the ground in a stupour difficult to describe. with cylindrical roofs, and doors of a most original This surprise mingled with terror had nothing aspect two feet in height. Some women with in it very flattering to me, and I did not know dishevelled locks wrapped up in cloths stood how to proceed, when Mrs. Brown, mastering near, and surveyed Captain Brown's guests her feelings, cried : with much curiosity. I was thinking of the “But where has Tom gone to?” strange contrast between our ladies dressed in I shall never forget the spectacle which the latest Parisian fashions and these beings awaited; about a dozen paces distant the recalling biblical times, when I was joined in beautiful little boy stood before a bush of my solitude by Captain Brown and his heliotrope, his eyes sparkling, his hands held wife.
out in a state of fascination as he gazed on a “Is not this beautiful ?” said he," and yet I cobra di capello, its yellow neck and flattened may acknowledge to you that instead of having head being almost beneath his feet. My heart this inagnificent landscape before me I should beat fast at the sight; with a bound his mother greatly prefer the Tuileries or the Champs had reached her child and pressed him to her Elysées."
bosom with delirious joy. The whole was over “ Is Mrs. Brown of the same opinion?” I in a second. Tom had escaped from his asked, almost mechanically.
dangerous enemy as if by a miracle, the frightened “Ah! do not speak of Paris to my wife," snake glided under the flowers. Mrs. Brown interrupted Brown, quickly. “I forgot to seemed as if she could scarcely believe her tell you that amidst her numerous good senses, and by an instinctive movement fell on qualities she has one sad defect, the most un- her knees and pressing the fair head of her conquerable and extreme antipathy to your child to her heart addressed a fervent prayer beautifnl Paris. And do you know why?" full of maternal gratitude.
“No, indeed,” I replied, with an air of When I returned in the evening to dine I perfect incredulity.
found the young lady in the drawing-room with “Because on our way to India during the her little boy on her knees playing with her few days we spent in Paris we went to a fête at curls. After the first few words she took a place which you call, I believe, the Lac the gold butterfly from a vase on the table d'Enghien, where she lost herself; yes, my and gave it to me, saying in a tolerably firm dear fellow, was lost in the midst of the crowd," voice : pursued Brown.
"In the excitement of this morning's terrible Mrs. Brown blushed to the temples, and left scene I forgot to restore to you this little ornaus without saying a word.
ment,” and without adding a word she again I was much amused at this revelation, and turned to caress her child. determined the next morning to carry the joke "I can assure you," I replied, “that in the to an end. About eleven o'clock I set out for peril of my little friend I completely forgot this