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living alligator, and a dead elephant; then we have an admirable portrait of a caparisoned elephant; and lastly, of one of the most interesting of that most interesting of the Ruminantia, the Kirkarrah Camel. The gigantic and most useful of the vegetable productions of the oriental clime, are depicted by the artist with all that elaborate care, and all that attention to effect, which at once announce the mind accomplished in science and the peculiar endowments by which it is characterized. The ingenuity which is shown in the display of the peculiarities belonging to the Talipat and Banyan trees, may be adduced as unerring proofs of the high qualifications of the artist. Speaking generally of the illustrations which decorate the Oriental Annual, we are satisfied that we do not exaggerate when we say, that they present a perfection of the graphic art such as never was exhibited in similar productions before, Judgment, the most exquisite, appears to have presided over the selection and management of the scenes; no pains appear to have been spared in perfecting the imitation in the minutest parts, and the triumph of the artist in giving a perspective of such an extent as he does, in a space so circumscribed, is amongst the peculiarities of this annual, which must altogether isolate it from those of its species, as constituting a genus in itself.
The letter-press is by no means unworthy of the elegant frame work which we have now feebly attempted to describe. The author of the descriptive account, the Rev. Hobart Caunter, writes from a personal acquaintance with the scenes which he undertakes to present to our imaginations, having spent a considerable portion of his life in the midst of them. His object appears to us to have been fully accomplished, and this he tells us was to blend entertainment with information, and to record such events as were best calculated to amuse, at the same time that they should be subservient to the interesting purpose of giving an insight into the habits, manners, and prejudices of the people whose country forms the theatre of the illustrations contained in this work.
The reverend editor commences with a powerful description of one of those calamitous explosions, by which nature no doubt has in view some competent benefits to compensate for the partial mischiefs of which they are the cause
we allude to the monsoons. After the prevalence of one of these visitations, the reverend author undertook a journey down the Coromandel coast; but before leaving Madras for the pụrpose, he relates the history of a melancholy occurrence which took place there, and which he thinks worthy of recording. A little boy, the son of one of the boatmen, was out one morning with his father on the sea, for the purpose of being exercised in the calling to which he was ultimately to be brought up. The child was washed from the boat, and before he could be rescued from the waves he was seized by a shark. The father instantly plunged into the water with a large knife fixed between his teeth. He disappeared for a short interval, then rose and plunged again. He was evidently engaged with the shark. The white foam soon presented a bloody tinge, and the spectators, who were now collected in abundance on the shore, soon saw a shark ascend to the surface, and then disappear. The boatman at length swam to land, and shortly afterwards the dead shark was cast on the beach. It presented all the marks of the terrific vengeance which had been inflicted on it, whilst the individual who made the wounds contrived to escape without a scar.
It is curious that in the stomach of the shark which was immediately opened, the body was found completely dismembered, the head being severed from it, but each of the parts was perfectly preserved, no process of mastication having been evidently experienced by it. The victory here appears to have resulted from a knowledge, on the part of the successful combatant, of the habits of the animal; for, being acquainted with the fact that the shark invariably turned on its back to seize its prey, he dived beneath it and thus was able to effect his object.
During the excursions on the coast of Coromandel, the traveller and his companions met with those itinerant jugglers which are so very common in India. Yet, common as they appear to be, their feats have never failed to 'excite the utmost astonishment in the minds particularly of Europeans. Warren Hastings, the famous governor of India, used to tell anecdotes of these jugglers, which he confessed to be altogether inexplicable to himself; and we have never found, in any instance, a European traveller express himself in any other manner than this, in speaking of the jugglers whose skill he witnessed. One of the two exploits related by the reverend author deserves to be related.
A stout ferocious-looking fellow stepped forward with a common wicker basket of the country, which he begged we would carefully examine. This we accordingly did; it was of the slightest texture, and admitted the light through a thousand apertures. Under this fragile covering he placed a child about eight years old, an interesting little girl, habited in the only garb which nature had provided for her, perfect of frame and elastic of limb-a model for a cherub, and scarcely darker than a child of southern France. When she was properly secured, the man, with a lowering aspect, asked her some question, which she instantly answered; and as the thing was done within a few feet from the spot on which we were seated, the voice appeared to come so distinctly from the basket, that I felt at once satisfied there was no deception. They held a conversation for some moments, when the juggler, almost with a scream of passion, threatened to kill her. There was a stern reality in the whold scene, which was perfectly dismaying; it was acted to the life, but terrible to see and hear. The child was heard to beg for mercy, when the man seized a sword, placed his foot upon the frail wicker covering, under which his supposed victim was so piteously supplicating his forbearance, and, to my absolute consternation and horror, plunged it through, withdrawing it several times, and repeating the plunge with all the blind ferocity of an excited demon. By this time his countenance exhibited an expression fearfully indicative of the most frantic of human passions. The shrieks of the child were so real and distracting, that they almost curdled, for a few moments, the whole mass of my blood: my first impulse was to rush upon
the monster and fell him to the earth; but he was armed, and I defenceless. I looked at my companions—they appeared to be pale and paralyzed with terror; and yet these feelings were somewhat neutralized by the consciousness that the man could not dare to commit a deliberate murder in the broad eye of day, and before so many witnesses; still the whole thing was appalling. The blood ran in streams from the basket; the child was heard to struggle under it; her groans fell horridly upon the ear; her struggles smote painfully upon the heart. The former were gradually subdued into a faint moan, and the latter into a slight rustling sound; we seemed to hear the last convulsive gasp which was to set her innocent soul free from the gored body, when, to our inexpressible astonishment and relief, after muttering a few cabalistic words, the juggler took up the basket; but no child was to be seen. The spot was indeed dyed with blood, but there were no mortal remains; and, after a few moments of undissembled wonder, we perceived the little object of our alarm coming towards us from the crowd. She advanced and saluted us, holding out her hand for our donations, which we bestowed with hearty good-will; she received them with a most gracious salaam, and the party left us, well satisfied with our more than expected gratuity. What rendered the deception the more extraordinary was, that the man stood aloof from the crowd during the whole performance—there was not a person within several feet of him.
Proceeding to Mahabalipuram, one of the most distinguished and sacred spots of the Carnatic, the party appears to have been delighted with the splendid monuments of Hindoo art, with which the place abounded. One of the most splendid of the engravings in this volume is the representation of a fine temple at Mahabalipuram, Quitting the coast, the reverend author proceeded towards Chingleput, and, crossing the Paliar river, reached Wandiwash, a place famous in the modern annals of India as the site of a battle in the year 1759, in which the combatants were English on the one side, and French on the other. Wandiwash belongs to the collectorate of Madras. In the neighbourhood of Ginghee, to which they next proceeded, they found that the tigers were very numerous; and they had the pleasure of witnessing a feat of tiger slaying by one of the natives, whose prowess they were induced to reward with a few pagodas. At Tanjore, where the party made some stay, they were present at a Hindoo festival, during which the Rajah proceeded from his palace, with all the pomp of an eastern potentate, to a spot about a mile and a half distant from the forts. The object of the procession was, the performance of a ceremony destined to ascertain
the intentions of the deity of the harvest during the coming season. His highness, for the purpose, took a silver arrow, which he shot against the stem of a plantain tree, it being the custom to take an omen of the divine will in favour of a bountiful crop from a copious exudation of juice following the wound. Herds of elephants were frequently met in their route by our travellers, and many interesting observations upon the habits of those animals occur in these pages. One anecdote in particular struck us as exhibiting, on the part of an elephant, a remarkable degree of docility, sagacity, and self denial. A keeper of one of these animals, wishing to go to the bazaar to make some purchases, resolved to make the journey by himself; and having a young child, and the mother being some time dead, he left the infant in the care of the elephant. It happened, that some English officers in the neighbourhood were made acquainted with what appeared to them to be the strange conduct of the father, and they agreed to make an experiment, with the view of ascertaining if the elephant would not betray her trust. It is necessary to remember that we speak of a female. She kept her head just over the child, as it lay before her, and her eye was never turned from it for an instant. The officers tempted her with fruit, which she declined; they put in a noose towards the child, as if to draw it away, but the look of defiance and indignation with which they were threatened, soon caused them to give up all hope of success. On the return of the keeper the elephant lifted up the child with her proboscis, and laid it in the father's arms, flourishing her proboscis with an agility which declared her consciousness of a triumph. The subsequent history of this animal is curious: it appears that, by the negligence of her keeper, she was enabled to escape into the plains, and join a wild herd. After the lapse of two years, the keeper who had lost her was out hunting, and having by accident found his old acquaintance amongst the objects of pursuit, he went up and addressed her in the old terms of friendship. She readily allowed him to take his former seat on her back, and to lead her home, and ultimately she proved a most valuable animal.
At a particular spot on the banks of the Ganges, the travellers had the good fortune, if such it can be called, of witnessing the sacrifice of a suttee. The widow is described as having been young and interesting, rather stout, but still finely shaped. They found no difficulty whatever in approaching the pile. The author seems to think that the poor woman was under the influence of opium at the time when she was about to undergo the sacrifice, but yet that there was about her countenance a sort of sublime tranquillity. But, as the effects of the drug wore away, the feelings of the woman began to resume their influence, and the cry of her babe produced a scene which we are unable to dwell on. Ultimately, however, she was dragged to the pile, and her cries were drowned by the overwhelming noise of tom-toms, pipes, and the shouts of a multitude of fanatics.
The reverend author discovered a considerable fund of entertainment and instruction in the ancient city of Menares, the sacred seat of Brahminical lore, the great shrine of Brahma, the focus of wisdom, and fountain of all good; at least such is the superstitious conviction of all genuine Brahmins. This place is represented as containing an immense population, and having an infinite number of temples. One of the most remarkable of the latter is, that which is dedicated to Siva, and in it are two statues of the divine bull, beautifully sculptured, and a small brazen image of the Apollo of the Hindoo Pantheon standing erect in his car, which is drawn by a horse with seven heads. The floors of this edifice are always moist with the waters of the Ganges, which are profusely employed in the daily offerings; and at its portals are seen crowds of fat, lazy Brahmins, who beg with such effect as to levy a considerable amount every year from the faithful. Mendicancy is one of the virtues of the Hindoo religion, and those who practise it know their own influence, and too generally abuse it: hence these beggars are the sturdiest and most insolent on earth. Respecting the devotees who prowl about the temples, Mr. Caunter declares them to be disgusting beyond endurance. Amongst the worst specimens of these characters, he gives an account of a particular individual distinguished by the title of an Ooddoobahoo of the Yogue tribe. The beings of this class live frequently in the depths of the jungles, like wild beasts, subsisting on roots or fruits, or on the casual benefactions of travellers; they go perfectly naked, having their bodies daubed with cow dung, and sprinkled with wood-ashes, neither cutting their nails, their hair, nor their beards. These monsters occasionally inflict upon themselves the most intolerable tortures, for the purpose of establishing a claim, as they suppose, upon the deity, to an everlasting reward in paradise. Some of them keep their limbs in particular positions, until the sinews and joints become immoveable; others chain themselves to trees with their faces towards the rising sun, in which position they sometimes remain for years, if death do not release them from their torments, and are fed meanwhile by devout passengers, who throng to the scene of their sufferings, and offer them the most servile homage, as beings of superhuman endowments, and untainted sanctity. Others nightly sleep upon beds composed of iron spikes sufficiently blunt not to penetrate their flesh; thus subjecting themselves to sufferings absolutely incredible. Others, again, bury themselves alive in a hole just capacious enough to contain their bodies, having a small aperture to admit the gifts of the charitable passenger who supplies them with food, and in this narrow grave they will continue for years.
The man to whom the writer alludes above had stamped upon his emaciated body the seal of the first-mentioned penalty. He had vowed to keep his right arm in a vertical position above his head for a certain length of time; but, when the term of probation had expired, the arm remained fixed, so that he could no longer use it;