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CHAPTER XII.

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SEVE PE

SENTENCE.

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exhibited by the dastard despot towards some weak
individual within his power.

No doubt, Yellow Jake deserved death. His crimes

were capital ones; but to torture him was the will of Such a series of violent incidents of course created his judges. excitement beyond our own boundaries. There was My father opposed it, and a few others. They were a group of plantations upon the river lying side by outvoted and overruled. The awful sentence was side, and all having a frontage upon the water; they passed; and they who had decreed it at once set about formed the settlement.' Through these ran the carrying it into execution. report, spreading like wildfire; and within the hour, It was not a fit scene to be enacted upon a gentleman's white men could be seen coming from every direction. premises ; and a spot was selected at some distance Some were on foot-poor hunters who dwelt on the from the house, further down the lake-edge. To this skirts of the large plantations; others—the planters place the criminal was conducted—the crowd of course themselves, or their overseers-on horseback. All following. carried weapons-rifles and pistols. A stranger might Some two hundred yards from the bank, a tree was have supposed it the rendezvous of a militia 'muster,' chosen as the place of execution. To this tree the but the serious looks of those who assembled gave it condemned was to be bound, and a log-fire kindled a different aspect: it more resembled the gathering of around him. the frontier upon the report of some Indian invasion. My father would not witness the execution; I alone

In one hour, more than fifty white men were upon of our family followed to the scene. The mulatto saw the ground-nearly all who belonged to the settle- me, and accosted me with words of rage. He even ment.

taunted me about the wound he had given, glorying in A jury was quickly formed, and Yellow Jake put the deed. He was no doubt under the belief that I upon his trial. There was no law in the proceedings, was one of his greatest foes. I had certainly been the though legal formality was followed in a certain rude innocent witness of his crime, and chiefly through my way. These jurors were themselves sovereign-they testimony he had been condemned; but I was not were the lords of the land, and, in cases like this, revengeful. I would have spared him the terrible could easily improvise a judge. They soon found one fate he was about to undergo-at least its tortures. in planter Ringgold, our adjoining neighbour. My We arrived upon the ground. Men were already father declined to take part in the proceedings. before us, collecting the logs, and piling them up

The trial was rapidly gone through with. The facts around the trunk of the tree; others were striking a were fresh and clear; I was before their eyes with my fire. Some joked and laughed; a few were heard arm in a sling, badly cut. The other circumstances giving utterance to expressions of hate for the whole which led to this result were all detailed. The chain coloured race. of guilt was complete. The mulatto had attempted Young Ringgold was especially active. This was a the lives of white people. Of course, death was the wild youth-on the eve of manhood, of somewhat decree.

fierce, harsh temper-a family characteristic. What mode of death? Some voted for hanging; but I knew that the young fellow affected my sister by most of these men, hanging was deemed too.mild. Virginia ; I had often noticed his partiality for her; and Burning met the approbation of the majority. The he could scarcely conceal his jealousy of others who judge himself cast his vote for the severer sentence. came near her. His father was the richest planter in

My father pled mercy—at least so far as to spare the settlement; and the son, proud of this superiority, the torture—but the stern jurors would not listen to believed himself welcome everywhere. I did not think him. They had all lost slaves of late-many runaways he was very welcome with Virgine, though I could had been reported—the proximity of the Indians gave not tell. It was too delicate a point upon which encouragement to defection. They charged my father to question her, for the little dame already esteemed with too much leniency-the settlement needed an herself a woman. example—they would make one of Yellow Jake, that Ringgold was neither handsome nor graceful. He would deter all who were disposed to imitate him. was sufficiently intelligent, but overbearing to those His sentence was, that he should be burnt alive! beneath him in station-not an uncommon fault among

Thus did they reason, and thus did they pronounce. the sons of rich men. He had already gained the

It is a grand error to suppose that the Indians of character of being resentful. In addition to all, he was North America have been peculiar in the habit of dissipated—too often found with low company in the torturing their captive foes. In most well-authenti- forest cock-pit. cated cases, where cruelty has been practised by them, For my part, I did not like him. I never cared to there has been a provocative deed of anterior date, be with him as a companion; he was older than myself, some grievous wrong--and the torture was but a retal- but it was not that I did not like his disposition. iation. Human nature has yielded to the temptings of Not so my father and mother. By both was he revenge in all ages-and ferocity can be charged with encouraged to frequent our house. Both probably as much justice against white skin as against red desired him for a future son-in-law. They saw no skin. Had the Indians written the story of border faults in him. The glitter of gold has å blinding warfare, the world might have modified its belief in influence upon the moral eye. their so-called cruelty.

This young man, then, was one of the most eager for It is doubtful if, in all their history, instances of the punishment of the mulatto, and active in the preferocity can be found that will parallel those often parations. His activity arose partly from a natural perpetrated by white men upon blacks-many of disposition to be cruel. Both he and his father were whom have suffered mutilation-torture-death-for noted as hard task-masters, and to be 'sold to Mass' the mere offence of a word ! certainly often for a blow, Ringgold' was a fate dreaded by every slave in the since such is a written law !

settlement. Where the Indians have practised cruelty, it has But young Ringgold had another motive for his almost always been in retaliation; but civilised tyrants conspicuous behaviour: he fancied he was playing have put men to the torture without even the palliating the knight-errant, by this show of friendship for our apology of vengeance. If there was revenge, it was family-for Virginia. He was mistaken. Such unnot of that natural kind to which the human heart necessary cruelty to the criminal met the approbation gives way, when it conceives deep wrong has been of none of us. It was not likely to purchase a smile done; but rather a mean spite, such as is often from my good sister.

The young half-blood, Powell, was also present. adheres to loose oyster-shells and stones. When On hearing the hue and cry, he liad returned, and examined with a magnifying-glass, there are seen in now stood in the crowd looking on, but taking no the spat numerous little eggs of a brilliant whiteness; part in the proceedings.

which gradually become compressed, and approach Just then the eye of Ringgold rested upon the more and more the shape of an oyster. Little hairs Indian boy, and I could perceive that it was instantly appear as the egg-cluster breaks up, and the thousands lit up by a strange expression. He was already in of the brother and sister ostrea swim off to seek their possession of all the details. He saw in the dark- fortunes. When the steady age comes—rather say skinned youth the gallant preserver of Virginia's life, the steady hour—the settling-down epoch, the hairs but it was not with gratitude that he viewed him. give place to layers of rough shell, and a native of Another feeling was working in his breast, as could experience takes care to set up house where he can plainly be perceived by the scornful curl that played eat with least risk of being eaten. Microscopists upon his lips.

reckon the eggs in one of these splashes of spat More plainly still by the rude speech that followed: by hundreds of thousands. Leuwenhoek counted

• Hilloa! redekin!' he cried out, addressing himself several hundred thousand eggs in the fecundating to the young Indian, 'you're sure you had no hand in folds of the mantle of an oyster-spawner; and it has this business? eh, redskin?'

been said, but on whose authority we do not know, * Redskin!' exclaimed the half-blood in a tone of that when an oyster attains the fourth month of indignation, at the same time fronting proudly to his its age, it can reproduce its species. This remarkinsulter— Redskin you call me? My skin is of better able fecundity is necessary to enable the species to colour than yours, you white-livered lout!'

survive the ravages which the spawn sustain from Ringgold was rather of a sallow complexion. The their numerous enemies. The spat is a tidbit for blow hit home. Not quicker is the flash of powder fish, crustacea, and worms. The feelers or tentacles than was its effect; but his astonishment at being of numberless cannibals are cast forth continually, thus accosted by an Indian, combined with his rage, to lay hold of the young and innocent natives. hindered him for some moments from making reply. When their shells are sufficiently grown to protect Others were before him, and cried out :

them from such enemies, star-fishes and crabs watch O Lordy! such talk from an Injun!'

continually to take them by surprise, and whip the soft Say that again !' cried Ringgold, as soon as he had and succulent bodies of the ostrea from their valves. recovered himself.

Many a five-fingered star-fish loses a member in the Again if you wish-white-livered lout!' cried the attempt when the oyster is wide awake, and closes half-blood, giving full emphasis to the phrase.

his valves upon it with a sudden and powerful snap. The words were scarcely out before Ringgold's pistol M. Corte informs us that a single shell contains from cracked; but the bullet missed its aim; and next mo- one to two millions of young oysters. In reference to ment the two clinched, seizing each other by the throats. the growth of this much-prized mollusk: 'Stakes fixed

Both came to the ground, but the half-blood had the thirty months before in the Lake of Fusaro, when advantage. He was uppermost, and no doubt would removed, were loaded with oysters ; and, in spite of quickly have despatched his white antagonist—for the numerous varieties of shape, they were found to the ready blade was gleaming in his grasp—but the be the produce of three distinct seasons. Those which knife was struck out of his hand; and a crowd of men, were of the first year's spawning were ready for sale; rushing to the spot, pulled the combatants apart. those of the second year were quite small; and the

Some were loud against the Indian lad, and called for third batch were only about the size of a lentil.' his life; but there were others with finer ideas of fair- Some of the London fish-salesmen do business in play, who had witnessed the provocation, and, despite nothing but oysters, while others confine themselves the power of the Ringgolds, would not suffer him to be entirely to the trade in lobsters. To meet the enormous sacrificed. I had resolved to protect him as far as I demand for natives, and to fill the wonderful quantity was able.

of Christmas barrels which are travelling all over our What would have been the result, it is difficult to southern railways during the month of December, guess ; but, at that crisis a sudden diversion was cultivation and protection on a large scale is resorted produced by the cry—that Yellow Jake had escaped ! to; and the more seaward parts of the Thames, on both

the Kentish and Essex coasts, may be said to have A CHRISTMAS BARREL OF OYSTERS.

been long ago converted into a series of oyster-farms

or beds, of various sizes. In all these beds, we are Did you ever hear that the London commissariat informed by Sir Francis Head, there is a certain space alone demands every year five hundred million oysters; devoted to natives. At Burnham, Essex, the spat, or and that Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, Bristol, fecundated sperm, is stored in large pits, and sold as and other places take all they can get, and never get native brood, which is afterwards “ laid” in that portion half enough? Are you further aware that there are of the different beds appropriated to privileged oysters. numerous companies who cultivate, or grow, or nurse Here the young natives remain for three years, when oysters for the market; who procure them in the they are generally brought to market. So far, their seed, who place them in watery pits, and tend them education is left, in a certain degree, to nature ; but with anxious care, for three long years, till they are once in the possession of the fislı-shopkeepers, art steps ready to enter ‘oyster street,' and make their debut in to perfect their condition. They are now stored at the court of Billingsgate? And are you further in large shallow vats, being carefully laid with their aware that poets have sung about oysters, that legis- proper sides uppermost, and supplied daily with oat. lators have legislated about oysters, that naturalists meal-a process which is calculated rather to fatten have investigated their manners and habits; and that, than to flavour ; and there are many who think that, after all, nothing is known about them? If you know like show-cattle, they are none the better for overall this, you will perhaps listen with some interest to feeding.' Such is a brief outline of the organisation our talk about oysters.

constantly at work to supply our markets with this Nobody can tell how oysters reproduce themselves. one delicacy; and the tavern roysterer little thinks All we know is, that, according to an anonymous of the care and anxiety endured, or the multiplicity of authority, in spring-time and summer they sicken and operations which are performed before his dozen of spawn their gelatinous green-hued splashes, which the natives reach the brilliantly lighted restaurant where fishermen have baptised spat. The spawn looks like he is enjoying at ease his pale ale or punch. drops of tallow or greenish-coloured soup, and it ! In these matters, we have been copying the ancient

Romans, who knew all the secrets of gastronomy, and finer kinds of food than the inhabitants of the large who had fishponds and oyster-stews upon which vast sea-beds can obtain; but, in our opinion, the real saltsums of money were annually expended. The luxurious water natives are the best, although some people, who Romans preferred those oysters which were brought pretend to judgment in such matters, give the preferfrom the greatest distances, and gave the palm to ence to the cultivated kinds. But to return to the those from Britain. They had them transplanted from dredging. Of course, on the common ground, there the seas and rivers communicating with the Atlantic. are no particular laws to be observed as to the filling Spawn or spat from our own shores was also carried the boats. The plan is, to get what you can as fast in damp sand, it is supposed-to the Roman oyster- as you can, and carry them as quickly as possible to stews by the slaves of the more wealthy, and there the nearest railway-station for immediate conveyance nursed and codled till it became individualised into to the great metropolis. The steam-horse is preferred fine, plump, well-flavoured specimens of the province to the old fishing-smack, because it saves the oyster mollusca. Even now, we have relics left of these metage chargeable on all supplies landed from the achievements in Roman pisciculture; among which are river at Billingsgate. The regulations on the artithe artificial oyster-banks on the Lake of Fusaro, near ficial beds of oysters belonging to private individuals Naples, already referred to. These were organised or companies are stringently carried out, and the by Sergius Orata, a wealthy Roman, who inhabited a various properties are marked off by long poles firmly splendid villa near the place. He erected artificial fixed in the different parts of the bed. When tlie rocks, and had also stakes driven into the water, to dredges are hauled into the luggers, the contents are which the oyster-fry adhered in countless quantities; thrown into a heap, which is afterwards picked or in fact, some holding-on place must be erected in assorted into 'roughs,' .commous,' and 'natives,' and the beds, otherwise the progeny would be washed those that are under the natural size are again depoaway by the tide. In the green oysters of Marennes, sited in the particular part of the bed to which they we have another instance of shell-fish cultivation. properly belong. Amateurs in sea-ware and in natural We are indebted to a communication from M. Corte, history may obtain much enjoyment by taking a of the College of France, for the following notes on the spell at oyster-dredging. By doing so, they are oyster-beds of the river Gironde: "The reservoirs in certain to become more familiar with the riches of which the fishermen of Marennes deposit the oysters, the sea and the common objects of the shore. “What in order to make them turn green, are called claires. hauls for naturalists, what collections for aquaria,' These differ from ponds and ordinary parks, inasmuch says a recent newspaper sketch, are brought up as they are not submerged by every tide, but only at every cast! Long stems of sponges, odoriferous during the spring-tides, when the waves flow further bunches of weeds, old shells frosted with barnacles, inland than at other seasons. At the end of two or "and peppered with their broad, flower-headed tubuthree months, the soil, which has been deposited by lariæ, horny fronds of sertularidæ and other bryozoa, the inundations in the claires, becomes so firm as to the jelly-like spawn of the doris, the twisted cords prevent the oysters from sinking into it. In the month of the eolis, and occasionally some of the nudiof September, when the spawning-season is over, the branchiates themselves ; “ dog - whelks," " whelk fishing commences. The whole population of Marennes tingles,” “ borers ” and “burrs," “ five fingers” and are engaged in collecting the oysters, which they de- “twelve fingers,” and dead and living things enough posit in the ponds, where they increase in size before to give a zoologist years of work, if he would only they are sold. They can be sent to any distance, make up his mind to know all about them.' but from time to time must be immersed in water. Five millions of oysters are annually furnished from the beds of Marennes. Their price varies from

BABO OIS M. one to six francs per hundred—the average cost per In Great Britain, the term respectability has been hundred being equal to 29. 6d. of British money.' explained as something attaching to anybody who drives These famed oysters are transported to all countries. a gig. In British India, babooism may truly be said From Bordeaux they are forwarded to Marseille, and to signify any condition not involving manual labour. from thence to all parts of the south of Italy, and Baboo is, in fact, equivalent to our 'gentleman,' in also to Algiers. They have even been found on the popular sense of the word. Whilst, however, the this side of the Channel. Long, long ago, when coolie or ryot applies the term 'baboo' to the Hindoo the monks of old' flourished in our monasteries, clerk upon eight rupees a month, the Mussulman there were countless bushels of these fine foreign trader would use it only for the overseers and heads of oysters devoured. Some years ago, when poking departments with whom he has dealinge; the European, about the ruins of an old abbey, far enough from the again, would apply the term to none below the sea, we came upon layers of shells, which vouched the capitalists or wealthy brokers who conduct the chief fact. They testified to oysters of no common breed, business of the principal commercial firms in the for we recognised in them the outward features of presidency towns of India. The signification of the the varieties used in the cuisine of Paris. They must word widens just in proportion as it descends in have had dainty appetites, and have been well versed use, until its recipients may be said to be legion.' in the art of good living, these old monks, who sent If, then, we treat this term “babooism' in the wide so far for their oysters.

sense to which it may be applied, we have before us by Since the introduction of aquariums, the art of far the larger portion of the money-making native dredging has become too well known to require us to community of India

, at any rate, so far as merchandise say much about it. It is by means of the dredge we is concerned ; the zemindars

, or landholders, and the fish up our oysters. There are usually three machines shroffs, or money-dealers, are distinct classes of moneyof the kind attached to each boat; and at some famed makers, and must in no way be confounded with the bank, free to all comers—such as the mid-channel baboos. bed, which is forty miles long-there may be seen Within the limits of Calcutta, Bombay, Patna, during the oyster-season-if we can be said to have Dacca, Cawnpore, Agra, and dozens of other cities a season, now that oysters can be had even in the of India, there are, or were before the rebellion, r-less months—a fleet of perhaps 200 boats, all busily hundreds, nay, thousands of this class of men in all engaged in the pursuit of this one article of commerce. their varieties of occupation and degrees of money'These open sea-beds are not thought to produce oysters making. It may be said with indisputable truth, so fine as those cultivated in the farms at the mouth not only that the class thrive and fatten upon of the Thames. The river may possibly bring down European commerce, but that they owe their origin and existence to European merchants. The baboos more complicated and honourable function of marine. are perfectly well aware of this fact, and accordingly dealer. Whether it was that the bottles he carried are well disposed to our rule; besides which, being over the ship's side, in place of being empty, contained Hindoos, they hate Mohammedanism, and have no some costly liquor; whether the cast-off clothes he sympathy whatever with the rebellious sepoys. They purchased were, in reality, but too often the last new are quite satisfied that, in the event of Mussulman lot for which the captain or chief-mate had been supremacy in India, the rich Hindoos would be the measured; whether the cheroots he vended were first victims offered up on the altar of Mohammedan closely allied to the cabbage-garden, but sold as rapacity. It is quite true that many of the revolted real manillas ;' or whether any other astounding and regiments contain a number of Hindoos; but they ingenious metamorphosis ever occurred in connection are nearly all Brahmins, or high-caste men, who dislike with the many articles he dealt in, it is impossible to the European contempt for and disregard of caste. know. Certain it is that Bhangyloll's trade throve We have abolished suttee, we have legalised the with all the ample luxuriance of tropical vegetation ; re-marriage of widows, we have put down infanticide, and whatever ugly rumours envious men may scatter above all, we are enlightening the people, and so abroad in these days of his worldly greatness, it consapping the foundations of caste; therefore does the cerns not our purpose to tell. Let us be content to Brahmin hate us with his whole heart, as thoroughly trace his prosperous career from the patched canoe as the Mussulman despises us as “dogs of Christians.' to the state-barge-from the squalid mud-hut on the During the whole of the present rebellion, we may confines of the Burra Bazaar, to the princely mansion safely say, that wherever the populace of towns have at Entally. joined the sepoys, it has been only the Mussulmans and Our friend became a favourite with all the crews in Brahmins who have shewn real sympatlıy with them. the river: he had a joke or a queer tale told in queerer Our fugitive countrymen have always been well English, for every one. He was the essence of good cared for and protected in low-caste villages; whilst temper, and, sorely as he was isometimes tried, he village Mussulmans and Bralımins have welcomed the never lost command of himself. The captains took a unfortunates with the tulwar and the matchlock, the liking to him, he was so obliging in so many waysrope or the river.

got them out of so many little difficulties, helped them The monster, Nana Sahib, has been called a baboo round so many ugly corners, and was so unwearied in some of our Indian journals. It is altogether an in serving them in any way, that they swore by error: he is or was a zemindar-a landholder and Bhangyloll, and voted him Al for ninety-nine years pensioner of our government. The baboo is not a man at Lloyd's. of war: he hates fighting ; and if he does sometimes After such a careful and kindly preparation of the retain about him a small regiment of armed men, it soil, after such a generous broadcast scattering of the is only for ostentation, or at most as watchmen at seed, it cannot be matter for wonder that our friend night. The strife he is fitted for is not in the field, reaped an abundant harvest. From the day when he but in the office, the factory, the warehouse: there has drove down to the ghât, or landing-place, in a carriage he won many a subtle victory; there has he gathered drawn by a brace of ponies, and pushed off to the ships all his golden laurels ; there, and there only, he finds in a dinghee propelled by four boatmen, and mounted himself an overmatch for the European.

the ships' sides by the state-ladder, with white giltThe wide ranks of babooism are open to all the edged turban on his head, and flowing folds of muslin world; it is a fair field, an open competition. Not about him, when the captains shook him by the hand, the meanest hanger-on of a humble shipping-broker, and called him 'baboo,' then his subtle Hindoo heart not the poorest, well-kicked coolie of a sixth-rate swelled within him, and he felt that his fortune was as banian, but may aspire, in all confidence, to the wealth good as made. He became a ship-broker and supplier and dignity of the highest of the class. Men have of stores in a large way A huge anchor and chaindone this in years gone by, are doing it to-day, and cable threatened the unwary shins of passers-by at the will accomplish it to-morrow.

door of his ample warehouse. If he dealt in bottles, Baboo Futteyseer Bhangyloll, now one of our most and bartered .real manillas' for left-off wardrobes, influential men of business, a large speculator in up- it was by deputy. His daily visits on shipboard were country produce, and a helper of many a British firm continued, but on more important matters than empty from their dificulties, commenced life as a bottle casks and canaries. In no other sense was he changed; dealer, and purchaser of odds and ends from ships' he was still the same supple-minded, easy-tempered stewards. If he did not begin his transactions afloat man-as pleasant with steward, cabin-boy, and cook, very early in life, he must have made most rapid as when he pulled himself alongside in his frail canoe progress in his varied and shifting career, for he is in days still well remembered. Did a sailor want a still by no means an old man, and it is many years loan of ten rupees, or the skipper one of ten thousand, since he first began to be looked upon as a man of no one could have been more obliging in the matter solid substance. Whatever his age may have been than our baboo. How he obtained such a command when he commenced his daily and hourly cruises to of ready cash, for all occasions, is to this day a matter the shipping in the Hoogly, it is quite certain that of deepest mystery. Whether he raised a succession the sole crew of his miserable little canoe consisted of of mortgages on the huge anchor and cable at his door; himself and a diminutive boy, whose duty it was to whether he drew bills at long dates on Vishnu and steer the craft by means of a broken oar. He himself Brahma, and discounted them at the nearest temple; was at once oarsman, broker, and cashier; and by the or whether he possessed a substantial sleeping-partner, aid of a very little indifferent English, he managed who was able to stand so many pulls upon his purse, to get up'a trade' with nearly every ship's steward who can say ? Money, however, as the saying has to be found afloat on the Calcutta waters.

it, makes money, and with Bhangyloll it fructified Bhangyloll was not long content with purchasing amazingly; so much so, that in due time he took a only; he soon tried his hand at a little barter, and in country-house, drove a pair of horses, gave up proviexchange for bottles, clothes, tin cases, &c., &c., gave sioning together with the big anchor and the cable, in cheroots, straw-hats, toys, monkeys, birds, fruit-it is favour of a nephew, had an imposing-looking office hard to say what he did not carry in the capacious, and godowns, or warehouses, with a cotton screw, and gaudily painted dinghee, which now bore his colours and went headlong into the produce-trade of the country. his fortune across the bosom of the muddy Hoogly. How many British and American ships he loads A brace of oarsmen now officiated, leaving our enter. annually, I know not, but they must be counted by prising caterer to the undisturbed discharge of the dozens. How many writers, sircars, cashiers, brokers,

a

agents, assistants, he may maintain, I doubt whether he world of ours, has left the Hindoo what he ever was.
knows himself. Not a soul of all that motley throng As subtle, as yielding to circumstances, as true to
touched one single pice of salary from the baboo : some his ultimate object, he knows no change in nature.
were there as volunteers, learners of the mysterious What he is physically in the body, he remains
art of Indian trade; while others, well versed in the essentially in intellect-inferior in force and vigour
sinuosities of Calcutta commerce and banking, made to the European, but superior, how much superior,
large monthly sums by fees, or commissions, or profits to him in ductility, in pliability, in adaptability!
upon their master's transactions. The income of all What he was when Clive conquered at Plassy, and
was derived, in an indirect manner, from the baboo's laid the foundation-stone of British supremacy in the
customers and friends, not from himself, or rarely so: east, before the light of western intelligence dawned
a practice which has existed for a century, and is with its first faint streaks upon Indian myriads, such
a recognised form of payment for services. It is in is he to-day, when the British standard and British
vain any reformer attempts to break through the influence reach to the most remote corner of the great
system; the amlah, as the establishment is called, Indian continent.
is able to break down any opposition to its will and Scarcely less remarkable than the instance already
pleasure. Woe betide the unfortunate merchant who related, is the career of this Bengalee Mussulman
would dare make such an experiment! He would banker. From beginnings almost as obscure and
find his imported goods unsaleable; they would be quite as humble, Ram Chunder Sing has, within the
landed damaged: he would be able to buy no produce memory of many of the present residents in Calcutta,
without great sacrifices, and then only of the lowest managed to amass such a princely fortune as might
quality : his chartered ships would be detained long well raise the envy of a Baring or a Lafitte. He
after their appointed time, and to his great loss, with commenced public life when quite young, as
the addition of a vast quantity of the goods shipped hanger-on at the salt eolahs, performing any mis-
getting damaged in a most unaccountable way. Such cellaneous work that might be required; and by
is a taste of the power of the baboo's amlah. Keep his activity, willingness, and intelligence, he rapidly
on good terms with them; don't look too scrutinisingly ingratiated himself into the good-will of those wlio
into their accounts; let them pocket the accustomed might best serve his interests. Promoted to a post
rupees without question, and you 'll find your busi- of five rupees a month, he worked at it as though
ness, multifarious as it may be, transacted rapidly, in the receipt of fifty. Perhaps, indeed, the actual
pleasantly, and, above all, profitably.

incomings of his office may not have amounted to
It is now some years since Baboo Bhangyloll be much less than that sum; for it is remarkable how
came one of the leading men of the native community of many substantial civilities are shewn to any one
Calcutta, and since he bought the pleasure-grounds at concerned in the measuring and delivery of salt from
Entally, and built upon them the magnificent dwell- the government eolahs or stores. But Ram Chunder
ing within whose brilliant walls he entertains the elite was slightly ambitious : his occupation was not
of European society. It would be difficult to desire sufficiently stirring and expansive for his enlarged
anything to gratify and please that may not be found views, and he left no description of stone unturned
in the baboo's palace. It would not be easy to match in order to obtain promotion to the sale-oslice of the
his carriage and pair in Bengal. Very few even in salt department. It was by no means an easy task:
that sumptuous land excel his public manifestations; an extensive amount of 'palm-oil' had to be applied
perhaps still fewer of any standing fare, in private, in the right quarter before the attempt succeeded;
more humbly than himself. Amidst all his prosperity, when it did, Ram Chunder's friends considered his
he has lost none of his good temper and humour: he fortune as good as made, and congratulated him
is as unctuous as of yore amongst the Jacks afloat, accordingly. To a western mind, it will probably
and none leave his presence without feeling the genial appear somewhat inexplicable that the appointment
warmth of his disposition. Exacting to the last to a subordinate office in any government department
fraction in all his business transactions, he is never in Bengal should be of such vast benefit as is made
selfish; and many are the deeds of generous kindness to appear in this paper; but those who have enjoyed
springing secretly from him, unknown to the world at the advantages of actual experience in Indian official
large. One especial case came under my own know-life, especially of life in the salt department, know full
ledge: it was that of a young and deserving English well how full of significance are the congratulations
merchant, who had become involved in ruinous diffi- of a newly appointed official's friends.
culties from the defalcations of others, and who was Know, then, (0 reader in the west, that within the
contemplating bankruptcy; when the baboo quietly, limits of the Company's rule, no sale, or barter, or
unasked, and unknown to the merchant, paid to his business of any kind takes place but leaves a hand-
credit at his banker's a lac of rupees, with a desire that some profit to all the native underlings who help the
the bank might afford accommodation to double that work along. In no department of the state is this
amount in addition. This timely, generous assistance more manifest than in the salt branch of the revenue.
extricated the young man from embarrassment, and Vast quantities are offered by the government at
enabled him to regain his lost position ; but to the monthly intervals for sale by public competition-so
present day, I believe he remains in perfect ignorance runs the official notice, and such, doubtless, was the
of his benefactor's name.

original intention of the executive. But Bengal Possessed of far more wealth, though scarcely of officials have devised a far more convenient process more influence, we find the Mussulman banker, Ram than an ordinary public auction, which would be noisy, Chunder Sing of Cossitollah, Calcutta, and Chitpore and hot, and disagreeable, though the government Road. The huge fortunes that have been amassed by opium is so disposed of; but then salt is not opium. many of the natives of Bengal might well astound Accordingly, this necessary of life is allowed to be most of my European readers. The fact, however, tendered for in certain quantities at a certain figure, goes far to shew that the celebrated 'Pagoda Tree,' the application to go on stamped papers on the day from whose rich branches so many of our countrymen, of sale. Now, as there are large profits made on the in days gone by, gathered their crores untold, still re-sale of this salt, the anxiety to obtain an allotment fourishes in the land, though, doubtless, not quite so of it-say for a hundred thousand maunds—is not easily approached as half a century since. To the trifling, and the underlings of the department turn native of the soil, however, it is my firm belief, the the excitement to the best account. As it is pretty generous tree is still familiar as of yore. Time, which well known that the highest offers are not generally works so many wondrous changes in this shifting accepted, and as there are strange rumours afloat in

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