As long as the journey lasted, the detectives sat motionless in their places, their heads twisted halfway round on their shoulders, staring like observant owls at the only
means of exit from my compartment. I descended at Bina as twilight fell, and they hung on my heels until I had been accosted by a young Englishman in khaki uniform.
“The station-master at Damoh,” began the Briton, “reports that you assaulted a native officer. Will you come with me, please?”
He led the way to the waiting-room, and, producing a notebook, jotted down my story.
“He needed a good drubbing whether he got it or not,” he admitted, when I had concluded. “Unfortunately I cannot release you until the inspector comes.”
“When will that be?”
“To-morrow, probably, on this same train.”
“But I can’t afford to be delayed twenty-four hours,” I protested. “I’m short on cash and I’ve got to meet a mate.”
“I am sorry,” returned the Englishman, “but as deputy inspector I have no power in the matter. I do not want to lock you up
if you will promise not to leave the station precincts. You may sleep in the first-class waiting-room.”
Whether he relied entirely on my promise, I did not learn. At 347any rate, he ordered the agent to arrange a cane couch for me, and not long after his departure a coolie arrived from the barracks with such a dinner as I did not often enjoy during my days of liberty. The next day the fare was even more generous, and was supplemented by several delicacies which the Eurasian guard sent from the messroom of the railway bungalow. The latter had not neglected to make public my story, and every hour brought Englishmen, Eurasians, or babus to express their conviction that I was being grossly mistreated. Among them was a leathery little Irishman, a traveling photographer with headquarters in Agra, and a discussion of our common interests ended with his writing me a “chit” to his employer, whom he represented as in need of an assistant.
The deputy inspector hovered about the station, and during one of his visits I asked for a book with which to while away the time. He must have pondered long over the shelves in his bungalow in quest of a volume that would appeal to a sailor of slight education, of American nationality, who was ostensibly suffering severe depression of spirits. His choice demonstrated the unfailing perspicacity of the Briton. He came back bearing a thumb-worn copy of “Bill Nye’s History of the United States.”
With nightfall came the inspector to listen to a repetition of my story.
“Your account,” he announced, “agrees entirely with that of the Eurasian guard. I shall release you at once.”
An hour afterward I left Bina and, halting at Jhansi and the free state of Gwalior, arrived in Agra three days later. Until then I had fancied that Marten had passed me during the night of my captivity. But as I alighted, I was surprised to see, in a letter-rack such as is maintained at most Indian stations for the convenience of travelers, a post card across which my name was misspelled in bold, blue letters. On the back was scrawled this simple message:—
Godawara, India—April 25th.
Missed the train to Bina becaze I knoked the block off a nigger polisman. They draged me down hear and the comish finned me 15 dibs and then payed the fine and put me rite as far as Agra. I wil pick you up ther on the 27th.
The twenty-seventh was past. The ex-pearl-fisher had evidently gone on, and I saw him no more.
348Reduced now to a handful of coppers, I lost no time in seeking out the photographer to whom my “chit” was addressed. He 佛山桑拿全套 was a Parsee of slender build, dressed in European garb, the trousers of which, fitting his long legs all too snugly, gave him a strangely spiderlike appearance. A small velvet skull-cap, embroidered in red and pink with representations of flowers and leaves, sat imperturbable on the top of his head, holding its place with every movement of his lithe body as if nailed there. Suggestion was there none, in his mien, of strange religious beliefs. His English was fluent, his manner affable, yet tempered with a ceremonial coldness, as of one convinced of the necessity of being ever on his dignity.
We came quickly to terms. The shop, well stocked with photographic supplies, was in charge of a Eurasian clerk, and my new duties confined me within the narrow limits of the dark-room. He who would taste purgatory has but to find 佛山桑拿按摩论坛0769 employment in a photographer’s workshop in India. As the door closed behind me, I muttered a determination to hold my new-found position for a fortnight. Before the first set of plates had been transferred to the fixing-bath, the resolution weakened; when an hour had passed, a voice within me whispered that three days’ wages would be amply sufficient for all present needs. There were new elements of the photographer’s craft to be learned in the Parsee’s laboratory, too, such as the use of ice in every process, and during the learning I conducted, all unintentionally, a series of researches in the action of NaCl on the various chemicals in my charge. In short, the stoke-hole of an ocean-liner would have been hibernal by comparison. My employer’s tap on the door, with the suggestion that it was time to set up the shutters, did not 佛山桑拿会所全套流程 need to be repeated.
Once in the street, the Parsee hailed a Hindu hansom, a sort of stranded ferryboat set up on two circular table-tops and attached to what had once been a pair of bullocks, and we were driven off. That we reached the residence of my employer before morning and in good health was reason for self-congratulation, for it was nearly a mile distant. The axle-grooves in the misapplied table-tops were as near the center as if they had been bored by a musket in the hands of a blind man at one hundred paces. The driver was with great difficulty inspired to action, and was totally incapable of transmitting such inspiration to his animals. Along the boulevard the craft moved at the cumbersome gait of a land crab; in the rougher streets it pitched and rolled like a derelict in the trough of the waves.
The Taj Mahal, 佛山桑拿哪里好玩 Agra, India
349The Parsee, accustomed to this fancied solution of the transit problem of Agra, fell into that half doze of dreamy contentment typical of the home-coming suburbanite the world over, and roused himself only when the rattle of the cobble stones of his own courtyard disturbed his ruminations. We alighted equi-distant from two squat bungalows, of which the fire-worshiper gave me leave to enter the former, ere he retired to the bosom of his family in the other. My new home housed a band of servants and a lodger. The deep veranda was curtained by a network of creeping vines that the drought had touched with autumn colors. As I mounted the steps, a long-drawn groan sounded from the semi-darkness, and I was greeted by the sight of the lodger tossing deliriously on one of two dilapidated willow armchairs with which the 佛山夜生活美女qq piazza was furnished. A fever raged within him—the first symptoms, he was convinced, of the plague that would carry him off before dawn. Plainly he did not care to go. The charpoys within were all occupied. I pre?mpted the unoccupied chair and listened through the night to the Eurasian’s frenzied endeavor to frighten off the grim visitor.
To the grief of the Parsee, I fled from his sweat-box the next afternoon, and, having visited Agra and her incomparable Taj Mahal, took night train to Delhi. The traveler who journeys slowly northward through this land of strange scenes and superstitions loses sight, oftentimes, of the fact that no other political entity includes within its borders so many heterogeneous elements. India is not the dwelling place of one people. The Punjabi of the north differs as much from the Maduran as the Scotchman from the Neapolitan. The hillman and the man of the plains prove on close acquaintance to have little more in common than their brown skins and their misery. Shake your fist at a Madrasi and he will take to his heels. Deny a Gurka the privilege of fighting and you have robbed him of all that makes life worth living.
The casual tourist, noting only slight changes from day to day, may not realize this diversity of population. But let him push on to Shahjehanabad, the city of King John, which they who dwell elsewhere call Delhi. Here is a different world, an Arab world almost, to remind him that Islam once held vast sway in the land of Hind. Easily might he fancy himself again in Damascus. As in “Shaam,” here are labyrinthian streets, each given up to a single trade. In shaded nooks and corners the black-bearded scribe plies his art; from many a minaret sounds the chant of the muezzin; the fez vies with 350the turban for supremacy. Lean-faced Bedouins and files of cushion-shod camels bring with them a suggestion of the wild sweep of the desert; and, if another touch is needed, over all hovers those crowning symbols of Mohammedan civilization,—filth and pariah dogs.
But with the squalor came new privileges to sahib wanderers. Of Mohammedan eating-shops there were plenty, and never a protest rose against me when I paused to choose from the steaming kettles framed in the doorway. The messes, if the blear-eyed Islamite who stirred the fires under them was to be believed, contained no other flesh than mutton. There were bones in more than one dish that looked suspiciously small for those of the sheep; and the rabbit is not indigenous to India. But quién sabe? The light-skinned vagrant is too thankful, certainly, for an opportunity to satisfy his carnivorous tastes to appoint himself a committee of investigation or to inquire into the status of the pure food law.
It was this scent of a more western world perhaps, which soon brought upon me the realization that our unplanned excursion “up country” had carried me a thousand miles afield. I awoke one morning resolved to turn eastward once more. Unfortunately the turning lacked impetus, for in my pocket were four lonely coppers. A half-day’s search in the native city failed to bring to light any demand for white-skinned labor, and I concluded to make public my offer of services through the district commissioner.
The afternoon siesta was ended and the élite of Delhi were awakening to new life when I crossed the bridge spanning the railway yards and entered the cantonment and the European section. Over miles of rolling country, thinly streaked by the shade of those few withered trees that had outlived the drought, were scattered the barracks, government offices, and the bungalows of white residents. At the district court a lonely babu clerk welcomed me with the information that the government force was enjoying a Mohammedan holiday, that the next day was sacred to some Hindu saint or sacred ape, and the third, the Christian day of rest. The road to the commissioner’s residence passed those of a score of English officials, each situated in a private park, on the lodge gate of which an ensign set forth the name of the owner and the titles which a grateful monarch permitted him to attach thereto. An hour beyond the court, I was confronted by the astonishing pedigree of the ruler of the district and turned aside with bated breath into his estate. The honorable commissioner sahib was not at home, asserted the native butler who was whitewashing canvas shoes on the back veranda; he had gone to the honorable Englishmen’s club.
A market-day in Delhi, India. Many castes of Hindus and Mohammedans are represented
The Hindu street-sprinkler does not lay much dust
351A score of smart traps and dog carts, in charge of gorgeously liveried sa?s were drawn up about the long, two-story club-house. On the neighboring courts four pairs of linen-clad Englishmen, surrounded by a select audience of admiring memsahibs and a hundred wondering servants, were playing tennis with that deliberate, dispassionate energy which the Briton of the “clawsses” puts into everything from a casual greeting to a suicide. The honorable commissioner sahib K. C. B., M. A., V. C, Bart, etc., was stretched out in a reclining chair in the smoking-room of the club, his attention divided between a cigarette and cooling beverage and the activities of several other distinguished preservers of the alphabet, who were driving a red and two white balls about a green table with characteristic vim and vigor. The native who pointed out the mighty man from the shelter of a veranda fern refused in an awe-struck whisper to deliver my message until I had threatened to enter this sanctum of social superiority unannounced. The Englishman bellowed a protest at being disturbed, but rose and advanced to the door, glass in hand.
“I say, you know,” he cried, in a voice having its domicile in the pit of his stomach, “this isn’t my office, my man. I cawn’t be attending to official duties day and night. Come to the high-court to-morrow and I will look into your case.”
“If any of the gentlemen inside, sir, or you, could put me onto a job where I could earn the price of a tick—”
“A job! In Delhi? Do you fawncy there are full-rigged ships on the Jumna? Come to my office at ten-thirty or eleven in the morning.”
“But to-morrow is a holiday.”
“Hah! By Jove, so it is! Well, come to my bungalow instead.”
“How about some work about the club? Anything at all.”
“See here, my man,” protested the commissioner, turning away, “this is no employment bureau. I’m going over for a game of tennis and I’ll bid you good day.”
“Then you’ll need someone to chase tennis balls for you,” I called after him, “I’m fairly fast on my feet.”
“Chase tennis balls!” cried the governor, coming back. “Do you mean you would run around before a crowd of native servants—you—a white man—and—”
“Sure. Won’t you?”