A Celebration of Women Writers

Letters from India
by The Hon. Emily Eden (1797-1869)
With additional letters by Frances Eden (1801-1849); Edited by Eleanor Eden.
London: Richard Bentley and Son, 1872.
Volume I and Volume II.


Author of
'Up the Country' 'Semi-Detached House'




Publishers in Ordinary to Her Majesty



'UP THE COUNTRY' became so popular a book, that the authoress was repeatedly urged to publish more of her Letters from India.

Unfortunately, her health was for many years before her death, in so precarious a state that she was quite unequal to the task of preparing these Letters for the press.

I had indeed begun to arrange them during her life-time and under her directions, but from various circumstances was unable to accomplish this.

My Aunt frequently, however, expressed her desire that I should continue the work at some future period.

It is therefore, with the feeling that I am simply carrying out her intentions, that I offer these volumes to the public, hoping that a sequel to her former work will not be unacceptable to those who read and liked 'Up the Country.'

I fear that many mistakes in spelling the Hindustani words and names may have arisen from my ignorance of that language.

I have endeavoured as much as possible to omit all remarks of a personal nature which might be painful to any of Miss Eden's former friends in Calcutta; and in order to render the narrative more complete, I have inserted several letters written by my aunt, Frances Eden, to one of her oldest friends, who has kindly lent them to me for this purpose.

Some of these Letters, relating to the voyage out, and the first arrival in Calcutta, have already appeared in the 'Temple Bar Magazine,' but they have since been revised and corrected.


BOURNEMOUTH: November, 1871.


TO 37
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– TO200
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TO 342



October, 1835.

I REALLY am hurried out of my senses to-day; so perhaps this will be a short line. We have just ordered all our linen, and are going to pass some miserable hours in search for coloured muslins, &c.; and we have got a Hindostanee master coming to-morrow, as they say a little teaching before we go is quite enough to give us the power of asking for the common necessaries of life. Otherwise we must have an interpreter constantly tagging after us.

We all went down to look at the 'Jupiter' yesterday morning, with our captain, and gave our final directions about our cabins – a shelf here and a hook there, and more means of thorough ventilation, and better beds for the maids, and so on. It is all, I dare say, as comfortable as a ship can be; but it has been painted, and has got its regular ship smell, and so, of course, before I had been there ten minutes I was dead sick, and Mary Eden was not much better. Very shocking, indeed! – well meant, but a failure!

I sometimes sit in blank despair, and wonder – quite posed as to what I am to do without you all – not to be able to sit down and scratch off a line to you, &c.; and then I feel as if I could cut somebody's throat quite through – a sort of savage relief; in short, like 'the Young Duke,' 'depend upon it, I am on the point of doing something desperate.' The whole business is much worse than I expected, and that is saying a great deal.

I have had a beautiful letter from our King, which I would send you, only there is no time to get it back again, and it must serve as a character to our next place. He sent me a very long message by George, who told me to write my thanks, which I did in the most abject and affectionate style; and then, on Saturday, there came this farewell – really a beautifully-written letter – saying that, amongst his many other amiable qualities, he had always given George credit for his exemplary attachment to his sisters, &c. Then there is another whole page of approval of our not consenting to be separated from him by fear of the climate or remoteness of destination, as 'so affectionate a brother deserves the devotion he meets with;' and then he desires us all to be good and happy, and so on, and assures us his best wishes will follow us there. I hope for their sakes, poor things! they will go overland.

I shall write again from Portsmouth.

Ever, dearest, your affectionate

E. E.

I enclose Fanny's hair. George's was cut this morning, but the result was only a little black dust; so I must cut off a bit close to his head when he is busy and not attending.


George Inn, Portsmouth, Thursday.

Your letter came to me this morning in bed, or rather to such share of me as is left, for you have no idea what the animals are in this inn; they have eaten us both up! We have no chance of sailing; the wind is right against us, and a great deal of it, so we shall probably cross over to Ryde this afternoon, and wait there, as a cleaner and quieter place. There is such a dreadful quantity of people here, all bursting into the room at all moments; and a tribe of Sir Johns and Sir Henrys, whom George knows, and who come with offers of dinners, which we have declined.

Your long letter is a great comfort to me. I shall keep it, and study it the first time I am able to fix my eyes on anything; but I do not feel at all as if I pursued my wretched way so evenly as you say I do – quite the contrary. The last ten days at the Admiralty I think I was in a fair way to go quietly and genteelly mad – what with regrets and annoyances, and one thing and another. I am better since we have been here, and that the actual work is undertaken; and, after all, I keep thinking that if I had come down to see George off, and not to go with him, how very much worse it would have been. In short, that would have been out of the question, and there certainly is nothing that he has not deserved from us. Robert is here, and a great comfort to us. We have just been down to look at the sea, and you never saw anything so shocking! – so rough and white. None of the officers of the 'Jupiter' can get off, even to dine on board; and we are obliged to stay here another night, from the impossibility of crossing to Ryde. I think there must have been several things I did not tell you from London for want of time.

I had such a pretty letter from Lord Melbourne on Tuesday, with a beautiful copy of 'Milton.' He says: 'My mother always told me I was very selfish, man and boy, and I believe she was right. I always find some excuse for not doing what I am anxious to avoid. I cannot bear to come and bid you good-bye, for few events of my life have been so painful to me as your going. May God bless and keep you!' He then says a great deal that is very kind, and that he sends me a 'Milton,' which he has often read in, and marked what he thought I should like; and he begs I will write constantly, and he will do the same. I do not think he is so heartless as he says; at least, he has been most constantly kind to us, and puts himself out of the way for it.

I think your journal plan a very good one, particularly that idea of a résumé at the top; and I certainly shall keep your effusions to myself, because it will give you so much greater comfort in writing them.

I do hope you will not go on overworking yourself, doing a little too much every day, but keep resting yourself. This is not my last letter by any means, as we have no chance of going till the day after to-morrow, at soonest, nor much then. Love to all. I never part with my little cross, and have had a second ring put to it, for fear of accidents.

Ever, dearest, your most affectionate

E. E.


Saturday, October 3, 12 o'clock.

This is my last word. I will not write to another person after I have bid you good-bye. The wind is fair, and we shall be off in an hour. It is a hurried job, and the sea looks more wicked and good-for-nothing than ever; but if we are really to go, I suppose there is no use in putting it off. Fanny was out sailing yesterday, and liked it. The servants are all in good spirits; and Chance, who went on board yesterday and howled all night, will be happier when he sees us. My health is very much improved; and so good-bye, God bless you all!

I hope you will not hear of us again till we arrive at Madeira.

Ever, dearest, your own

E. E.

This is George's hair – all I could cut, at its greatest length.


Funchal, Wednesday, October 14, 1835.

I must put the date as soon as I catch up anybody who can give me the day of the week and month; but I have a clear idea that we landed here on the Tuesday week (at three) after we left Portsmouth – exactly a ten days' passage to an hour; and that it is supposed to have been one of the most prosperous and quick passages ever made, without a single check or accident. But such a job as I made of it! – as sick as death the whole way, after the first two hours; and the last five days I never got out of bed, nor dressed myself. Oh, dear! what work it is! The last night I was so ill that I was obliged to send for George to come and carry me on deck, where, as it was quite dark and the poop quite deserted, I might be as ill as I liked. Such violent shiverings, from want of food and sleep, for though every ship must roll more or less in such rapid sailing, yet everybody on board agrees that there never was such a rolling, creaking article as the 'Jupiter.' You cannot conceive anything like the constant noise of it; and when that comes in addition to sleeplessness and eternal sickness, the suffering from it is past all belief.

However, it cannot be helped; but if I could scuttle that ship, or blow her out of the water, or swim home, or do anything in a mild way to get out of the scrape, I would.

George was rather giddy occasionally, but is, in fact, as happy as a king; so far the aim of our voyage is attained. Fanny is perfectly wonderful at sea. The last three days she was bored by being kept awake by the creaking of the bulkheads; but she is never the least giddy, nor sick at the worst of times – very active, and reads, works, and plays at chess; and it was a positive mercy to me that she was so well and so serviceable, as the past two days Wright and Jones were knocked up, but rallied wonderfully afterwards. 's spirits never fail, and he is an amazing favourite on board. The older midshipmen (who might be admirals, poor fellows! in times of war) coax him down to the cockpit, because they have kept their one bottle of brandy as a treat for him; and he never opens his lips that they don't all begin laughing long before the joke comes. They hold up a cigar from the farthest point of the ship to entice him down to them; and the officers are much the same. He declares his sea-sickness is quite as bad as mine, only it has taken the contrary and more alarming line of extreme hunger; so that it is quite meritorious of him to struggle against the complaint as he does by going to dine in the cockpit at twelve, then to come and taste my macaroni at one, then to luncheon with Captain Grey at two; and he thinks he ought to pick a bit with the officers at three, in order to be tolerably well for dinner at six.

The men servants have all been quite well. The ayah has been the happiness of my life, and is a great favourite with everybody. She is always merry, and she pokes about the ship, and gets biscuits and macaroni at odd undue hours; for there is nothing so provoking as the hours on board ship – the fire is always put out just as one fancies one might swallow a little tea.

The ayah took advantage of my weak and defenceless condition to establish herself for the night in my cabin, and when I looked up in the night, there she was wrapped up in a heap of Indian shawls, flat on the ground, with her black arms (covered with bracelets) crossed over her head – very picturesque, but rather shocking, and I wish she would sleep anywhere else; at least, I did at first – I am used to it now. Chance is extremely happy; except one or two very rough nights, when his little fat body was rolled off his cushion every five minutes, and he gave a deep indignant sigh, and a half-growl, and then gathered his tail and ears and his dispersed limbs all together again, and rolled back to his nest. The midshipmen imparted to that they should not like the captain to know it, but they contrived to get Chance down below in the morning, and turned out a little rabbit for his amusement, and had been in a great fright one day that he had caught it.

So much for the voyage. I feel certain that I shall never be brought on board again but by a guard of marines. We go on Friday night. This island is entirely lovely. Nothing is worth a day at sea, but as that cannot be avoided I am glad Madeira is our resting-place. We landed at three yesterday, after visits from the consul, salutes, &c., and got into palanquins at the landing-place, and were carried through a long narrow street with occasional intervals of gardens, where are palms and bananas and great orange-trees covered with fruit, and odd Murillo-looking women taking great care of each other's hair – in short, everything looked tropical, and like a book of travels, and untrue. By-the-by, that puts me in mind that we went out of our course one night at sea, to avoid Cape Finisterre. Can't you hear poor Mrs. Mather's voice teaching us Cape Finisterre? and I never believed it was a real thing, or that it would ever come Cape-ing and Finisterre-ing into my actual path of life; but there is no saying how things may turn out, only there is no use in learning it all beforehand.

Well! our palanquin-bearers trotted us into the hall of a large house belonging to a Mr. Stothard, which George had been told to make his home by the other half of the firm in London. It turned out that no ship had arrived from England for a month, so the letter of recommendation was still at sea, Mr. Stothard in the country, and Mrs. S. ill. However, a little clerk received us, and Mr. Stothard was fetched up from the country, and found us four and Captain Grey, and six servants and a dog, all settled in his house, mad for food, and intending to stay with him. He took it all as a matter of course, got some dinner as soon as he could collect his servants, gave us magnificent rooms, with delicious large clean beds that did not rock nor creak, and to-day he has been showing us the country, and we are all violently attached to him.

I never saw a more delightful man, so hospitable and pleasant. To-morrow we are to dine with the Portuguese governor, who sent in a guard of honour and an aide-de-camp every half-hour to know if we wanted anything; and Madame came to see Fanny and me in the one carriage that grows at Madeira, for the streets are so narrow and the hills so perpendicular that a carriage is of no use. We took such a ride to-day – three miles up these hills! which I think incline a little forwards; but that may be a traveller's story. It was dreadfully hot at first, but we rode up into the clouds, through such hedges of fuchsia and myrtle, with geraniums covering the ground, and that great pink cactus that we keep in hot-houses making the common fence by the roadside. Each pony has an odd wild-looking driver, who runs by him and lays hold of his tail coming down; but the descent was awful! It is as says, 'just the case, for "God is good, and Mahomet is His prophet," so let us each take the tail of each other's pony and slither into the sea. The "Jupiter" must send out her boats to pick up the great man.'

As for my state of mind, the less I say about that the better; but it is not cheering to pass ten days entirely on my own thoughts just after leaving all of you – a way of life that is perfectly hateful to me. I cannot read to keep myself straight. However, I suppose things will turn out better somehow; if not, 'the time is short' as compared with what follows. And so God bless you, my dearest friend, and tell the chicks that their picture hangs at the foot of my bed, and is a great comfort to me.

Of course you never do anything but write to me?

Your ever affectionate



Funchal, Thursday, October 15, 1835.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – We arrived here on Tuesday, the 13th, exactly ten days after we left Portsmouth, and six days from the Lizard's Point. The three last days we averaged 240 miles a day, and it is believed a most excellent passage. I have no doubt of it, but may I never know another!

Our captain is more than sailor enough to take us anywhere; he is quite wrapped up in his profession, works the ship himself, and even on shore is occupied the whole day taking observations, &c. He seems a thoroughly scientific sailor. has set his heart on going to Penang, on our way from the Cape and has coaxed the whole ship's company into wishing it too; and now Captain Grey is occupied in proving that it will not take us more than seventy miles out of our course. As bad as 700 in that dear coach-and-four we last met in. But is mad to eat some mangosteens; he has collected all the descriptions of the fruit he can meet with, and runs on for ever about it. 'It shows how little of self there is in me,' he says, 'for the angels are always allowed a little taste of mangosteen on Sundays, so I am sure of eating some at last, but many of you may never see it. I speak entirely for your sakes.'

We are staying here with a Mr. Stothard, a great wine merchant, in such a delicious house; such large high rooms, and so clean, and quite out of sight of the sea and the 'Jupiter;' and the man himself is really quite delightful. He makes us quite at home, and we have our palanquins at all hours, and ponies for going up the steep hills, and he finds us the best sketching places. I hope everybody will buy his wine.

George desires me to tell you, with his love, that he has bought a hogshead of Madeira for you, and is taking it with us to the East Indies, for the good of its health; so you will have it on the return of the 'Jupiter,' as good as wine can be, he hopes.

We dine with the Portuguese governor to-day, and to-morrow have company at home, go on board after dinner, and get under weigh at one in the morning; and in about eleven days I shall be thrown overboard, for I am nearly transparent now with thinness, and never shall stand more than another ten days.

Keep writing, for mercy's sake.

Your ever affectionate

E. E.


October 28, 1835. At sea (nowhere particular).

But I know we are within ten degrees of the line, and that the thermometer is at 80° the coolest part of the twenty-four hours, and that though they say we have been only twenty-four days on board, I am quite sure it must be nearly a year.

This is to be the beginning of a letter to you, and if the ship does not roll always, I will try to turn it into a journal, and you must keep it, as I cannot write another for myself, and should like to know in after-days how much I endured on board this monster. I shall never believe it when I read it.

I have not been half so sick since we left Madeira, and there are only three days on which I have not dined upstairs; but still it is a detestable life. I am always more or less giddy, and never can read or occupy myself for five minutes without growing worse; so that makes the days long, and the nights are long of themselves, for the noise and heat make it impossible to sleep much. The creaking of the bulkheads and staircases grew so intolerable, that Captain Grey was forced at last into taking some active measures; and it was really true that, except a next neighbour, no two people could hear each other speak in the same cabin. Now, the creaking is not more than is agreeable, so as to harmonise with the other noises of the ship. I wonder whether George would have come if he had known the full extent of the horrors of the voyage. I make a point of asking him constantly, 'Do you give it up?' and though he has not said yes, yet I think he must at last, and let us go home again. The whole thing is such a thorough take in! Sometimes the wind is favourable, and then everybody goes fussing about. 'Well, now we have got the trade; those trades are quite surprising – such luck!'

Then the next hour there comes a dead calm, which I like; for I am not sick in a calm, and by all accounts Calcutta is no pleasanter than the 'Jupiter,' so I like it better than tearing along till one is shaken to pieces; but everybody else gets into another fuss, and they go about, 'Well, we have lost the trade. I don't feel sure we ever had the real trade. I believe we are in the variables.' Just as if it signified the least; 'the wind bloweth where it listeth,' and it is a mockery calling any item of our monotonous life by the name of variable. And the shocking thing is, that though I take great relief in pouring out my complaints to you in unmeasured language, yet I believe we are making an uncommonly prosperous voyage, with ten times as many comforts as most people have at sea; so what must a sea life be in general?

We are all talking eternally of those stupid ceremonies about crossing the Line; there are 112 victims, and the horror with which they look to it is not to be told; particularly some of the young ones, and also some of the unpopular characters in the ship, who are likely to be very roughly used on that day.

The midshipmen are going to get up a play too, which is a good amusement, as it gives them something new to talk about. Wright and Jones are very busy making dresses for Mrs. Sneak and Mrs. Bruin. Neptune and Amphitrite have begged a great many of our things, and have riven the ribbons off half my caps and bonnets.

I hope you have read Sir James Mackintosh – just the book you will like. I have seldom been more interested. Such extracts! and do you observe what good quotations there are from Bacon? I think we don't study Bacon half enough.

Sunday, November 8, Lat. 7° South, Long. 30°.

I forget what happened to the weather – the weeks are so long I cannot remember a whole one; but I know there are five days that the ship pitched so much I could neither eat, nor speak, nor stir. It is so tiresome of me, and nobody else is the least ill, and I thought I had got over it too. However, we are now in the 'south-east trade' (such humbugs!); but, at all events, we have sailed very smoothly the last ten days, and moreover we crossed the Line at ten on Friday night. It is a great rope, you know – not one of the lines that are sent by post. Neptune hailed the ship, &c., and yesterday we all went out to see the procession, which was very well got up. Amphitrite, a very tall sailor, looked quite handsome in one of Wright's gowns and my cap. Neptune made a speech to George, and begged to introduce his wife to us with the two babies – 'the precious pledges of our affection;' and he gave a letter to Fanny and me, saying the weather had been so bad he could not catch us any fish, but he begged to present us with a couple of snow-birds – two white pigeons; and we all said our say, and made our little jokes, and then got out of the way as fast as we could before the shaving and ducking began. As far as sea-water is concerned, I do not see much objection to the business, if it amuses them to be tossed into a sail and half drowned, and to have engines playing on them from below, and buckets emptied on them from above; but the shaving is a horrid process, and the two or three obnoxious individuals were nearly choked with pitch, and very much cut with a razor, jagged like a sharp saw. It is a savage-looking process, and I wonder the captain did not stop it.

Monday, November 9; Lat. 9° South.

Till we get to Calcutta (a physical impossibility, for we shall be dead of old age long before the Cape), I must go on making my journal into single letters; and even then, you will probably think them extravagant amusements; but I don't think you will either, judging by myself. I would give 5l. at this moment for the smallest three-cornered note from you; and though in England you cannot guess the mad desperate yearning after friends, and home, and letters, that eats one's heart out in this floating prison, yet I know you will be so glad to see some long letters from me! I know it –

by this conscious sign,
The deep communion of my soul with thine.

It is one of the worst parts of this business, that when we could understand each other so well, there are no means of our getting at each other but by these vain longings and regrets.

Friday, November 13, Lat. 17° South.

We had the sun right over our heads at twelve o'clock to-day, and ought all to have been as shadowless as Peter Schlemihl for once in our lives, but it happened to be a cloudy day. I must own the heat is not that annoyance we were told to expect; it was troublesome a fortnight ago, for a few days, but it is really very nice weather now; and we have been going on since Monday a good steady pace, which promises to bring us to Rio on Monday or Tuesday, if we get over the danger of a calm off Cape Frio, which is a common event. We make lotteries for each place – Madeira, the Line, Rio, &c.; and seven of us put in a dollar apiece and draw a day of the week; in fact, there is nothing we do not do to try and seem amused, but we make sad failure of it. takes horrible fits of bore at times; George hardly ever, except when the wind falls and we cannot make seven knots an hour, and then he fidgets and groans. I have not seen Fanny in such good health and spirits for ages. The servants are all very contented. Rosina (the ayah) is a good merry old black thing. Chance is the only individual amongst us whose happiness has been actually improved by the voyage. He has a little window of his own, with a netting over it, in the after-cabin; and there he sits all day, making his oddest sobs of pleasure at the foam, or Mother Carey's chickens, or anything that he can see moving. It is supposed that he keeps a log for the benefit of the other dogs.


Saturday, November 14, Lat. 19° South.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – As they say we are to arrive at Rio on Tuesday or Wednesday, I was inclined not to write till then; but it is a horrid business to survey and sketch a new quarter of the globe completely in a few days, and leaves little time for writing. Besides, I have vague notions of the dignity of 'crowing from one's own dunghill,' so I write lying on a hard couch in a close cabin of a rolling ship, and at an hour when what they call 'exercises' are going on – five in the afternoon – when 250 men begin stamping about, just overhead, dragging ropes and chains and blocks after them; all the officers screaming, and all the petty officers whistling – so pleasant! It only lasts an hour! which I take for my writing time, just to try my powers of abstraction. I cannot tell you what a ship is, particularly when one has been several years on board, which is our case.

and I were agreeing that, without any exaggeration, we should say it was two or three years since we left Portsmouth; and what is more odd is, that it seems much longer since we left Madeira. That is so long ago that we cannot remember the names of the people we saw there, nor anything about it distinctly. As you are never likely to come and judge for yourself, allow me to rectify several errors into which we have all been led by our easy credulity. In the first place, there is nothing so little sublime as the sea; it is always tiresome, and very often dirty and soap-suddy. Then, it is not true that 'there are as good fish in the sea as ever came out of it;' there are hardly any fish, and those few are not to be caught. We entrapped a small shark, and that is all; the flying-fish are rather like grasshoppers, but without the pleasing accompaniment of grass, and dolphins we have never yet seen. Then, a tropical sun is not that fiery furnace we have always supposed it to be. On Friday, when we were actually under the sun, and ought to have stood plump in the midst of our own shadows, we were very glad of our warm gowns; so never think of pitying 'the naked negro panting at the line;' if he pants, it must be for some clothes. As to the tropical skies, they are, as old Rapid says, 'a shame to be seen' – miserable drab-coloured creatures, with a dirty yellow look towards sunset; and as for thunder and lightning, I should be ashamed if I could not make a much better storm out of a sheet of tin and a tallow candle. I mention these circumstances merely from a love of truth, and not as a matter of complaint. I can imagine that travellers who have not seen the sunsets we have let off from the Temple Walk at Eden Farm, or the terrace at East Combe, may be satisfied with what they see in the tropics; but that is no reason why we, who know better, should put up with such an inferior article.

Rio, Monday, November 16.

There – we have discovered America! just like Columbus and Americus, and all those others. We hunted about for it all yesterday, and found it to-day, and so I suppose the country will promote us all. We might have come in yesterday, I believe, only it was very hazy, and they could not see the land, and it would have been a pity to have wrecked us. It is well worth a little trouble to see this harbour: there are as many islands in it as there are days in the year – wooded, and rocky, and mountainous, and, in short, beautiful; but you will not care much about that, and would probably rather hear our personal history, which has not, however, been eventful. George and Fanny are particularly well, and, except that George is in a particular hurry to arrive, he is not much bored on board. is sometimes worse than I am about the ship, and does not care what he says when he sets about it.

The night we came aboard from Madeira, he was lying on the poop, saying, 'Well! they may talk of "Les Derniers Jours d'un Condamné," but les derniers jours d'un shippé are much worse.'

Captain Grey seems to be an excellent officer, and it is impossible to mistrust our safety under his care. We all like him very much, and are in luck to have so pleasant a man. He is learned in navigation, and is always taking observations with his sextant and chronometer. He is particularly fond of 'taking lunars,' which process is conducted by observations on the moon and a certain star called Aldebaran; and the captain does not like to have Aldebaran sneered at. begins, 'Well, Grey, after you had shot at that wretched moon with your bit of smoked glass, I heard you send for the master; and he was coming up the hatchway, forty miles an hour, with his sextant under one arm and his lunars under the other, and dragging Aldebaran in a string after him, when he slipped, and his head came smack through my Venetians. I hope Aldebaran was not hurt.'

As these sort of things give you a better notion than a regular description, I write them. I meant to make a single letter, but I cannot cram it all in; and, after all, it will not cost you more than a series of 3d. post-letters, which we might be writing; but it is no use thinking of those things. I should not like to die now, though I do not love my life as I have done – but I should die now in such a woeful frame of mind; and, besides, I cannot, as the Irish say, 'make my soul' on board ship – it is all such confusion.

Rio, Tuesday, November 17.

We arrived here at eight last night, after a tedious day of working into the harbour, with a doubt to the last whether we should not be becalmed; but the beauty of the place makes up for a great deal. It far exceeds all the amount of praise that has been lavished on it. You can read an account of it elsewhere, in any book of voyages.

Sir Graham Eden Hamond, who was my father's godson, and is the admiral of the station, came on board as soon as we had anchored. He is full of civilities to us. There is no possibility of sleeping on shore – first, because there are no hotels, and then the mosquitoes and all sorts of vermin would make it impossible; but the 'Jupiter' at anchor is very different from the 'Jupiter' at sea, and makes a very good hotel. Then 'His Excellency' (as we all sneeringly call George, when we are bored) has a beautiful barge of his own on board; belonging to the ship, of course, but it is independent of the captain's gig and the officers' barge, &c., so that we can go out in it and come in as we like.

The harbour is full of shipping, and the English, French, and Brazilian admirals all hoisted His Excellency's flag this morning; and they saluted and we replied, till I am nearly as deaf as the Admiral. George and Captain Grey glided gracefully about in the barge, paying visits to the authorities; and then George fetched us, and we walked about the town, which is flourishing, and though very dirty is much more amusing than Funchal; but there is not even a common café in it where they can cook a bad luncheon.

More than two-thirds of the population are slaves, and there is hardly a pure white left. It is odd how short a time surprise lasts. The streets swarm with slaves wearing the same quantity of clothing that Adam did when he left Paradise, and they are carrying weights and dragging carts, and making an odd hallooing noise, rather a cheerful one, and are totally unlike anything we are in the habit of seeing, and yet the sight of all these undressed creatures is not startling after the first moment. They have come out of the pictures in 'Stedman's Surinam,' and I have seen them all before. The children are too monstrous. Tell your that I have not seen 'a pretty boy' amongst them. The Admiral gave us a very early dinner on board the 'Dublin,' and then landed us and some of his officers; and we went off, in two hired carriages, to the Botanical Gardens, through some magnificent scenery.

November 19.

We have dined twice with the Admiral, who is as deaf as a post, but very civil – too kind. We are just come back from such a hot dinner on board the 'Dublin,' where we met the French admiral and all his officers, and twenty others; and there we arrived in our barge, with our hair blown all nohow; and having scrambled up an immense companion-ladder, we were clawed on board by a strange lieutenant, with all our own officers struggling after us – such figures! And to-morrow, by way of making us quite happy, the Admiral gives us a ball. It is the oddest thing that, wherever we go they fancy that a ball would be the greatest pleasure we could have; and (poor old things!) we really cannot hobble about unless they pay us for it. However, we must do so many tiresome things for the next five years, that there is no use in kicking against the pricks. I wish to snatch one day from the general wreck, and to observe that yesterday was very pleasant indeed – one of those days that go far to make up for the faults of a voyage. We avoided all the authorities, and landed at a little quiet bay, where George had ordered five horses to meet us; and Captain Grey took us a ride that he had known in former times, up one of the high mountains, and back by the aqueduct; and we were all satisfied that Nature can do no more in the way of beauty – clouds, mountains, trees, butterflies, atmosphere, water – such a combination! I shall never forget that ride. We sail at four on Saturday morning, and may, possibly, be at the Cape in three weeks. God bless you, my very dear sister! It is no use saying how much I should like to see you: that is a subject that will not bear talking of.

Chance desires his love to Dandy. I see your dressing-box in constant employ in George's room.

Your most affectionate


Thursday, 19th.

We have just had a most satisfactory day of riding, and sketching, and walking; and anything equal to the beauty of this place I never dreamed of. We are all charmed with it. Good-bye, dearest! Love to all. We sail at four to-morrow, and expect to be at the Cape in three weeks. God bless you!

Yours ever affectionately,



'Jupiter,' Sunday, December 7, 1835.

MY DEAREST MARY, – I wished very much for time to write to you from Rio, but could not make it; and, besides, we are all very shy of writing a quantity of letters home, because it is past the wit of man to make variety out of a sea voyage. There must be a great sameness in our letters, and when you are all assembled within reach of each other, you must all be bored with our repetitions.

It sounds comfortable to be 'within reach of each other.' It seems to me that I am in reach of nothing (God help me!) but the pole of my cot, or an albatros; which is not much better than a gull. We got out of Rio harbour with wonderful celerity. It is generally a tedious job, but we made eighty miles the first day, which was Saturday, the 22nd of November, and went on with great success till Thursday the 27th, when all went to wrongs. There was what they called 'a heavy swell,' which turned everything topsy-turvy, and that went on till Saturday afternoon, when there came on a regular gale of wind, which made the sea ten thousand times worse, carried away two of our sails, filled all the cabins with water, and, in short, was just what a gale of wind always is – the most awful and unpleasant thing in the world. And yet it was impossible to help laughing at times from the ridiculous things that happened.

As you told me to give an account of a day every now and then, that Saturday would be a good one to begin with. I had been very sick since Thursday, and had not got up, but was so tired of the noise of my own cabin that I put on my dressing-gown and rolled into George's cabin on Saturday afternoon, and, by a lucky combination of lurches, was pitched on to his sofa. He came to see me, and tucked himself up on the other side of the sofa by way of steadying us. Just then the ship took one of her deepest rolls; the spar that kept in his books gave way, and the books all poured out on the floor; two of his heavy boxes broke from their lashings and began dancing about among the books, and all George's shoes and boots. Chance was jerked off the sofa into the middle of the room, and began crying; George was thrown upon me, and we both laughed so that he could not get up again. We made a grab at the bell and Mars came in, sitting down, which was the only way of moving that day. 'Encore un déménagement!' he said, as he tried to pick up the books. 'Eh bien! c'est une manière de voyager, mais si c'est la bonne....?' The next roll brought sliding in – in the same position – saying, 'More fun! No dinner to-day; that last lurch sent the cook into the sheep pen, and the sheep are too frightened to help him out; and there's the hatchway ladder unshipped as H was going down' (he is an immensely fat young man) 'and he fell under it, and four marines on the top of him.'

It was quite true, and it was wonderful Mr. H was not killed.

These sort of things went on all day. Even in the cockpit (which was supposed to be quite secure) the midshipmen's chests broke loose, and, as there was a foot-and-a-half of water there, half their things were destroyed.

The waste of property in a gale is one of the worst parts of it. This lasted till one the next morning. Even Fanny could not go in to dinner, and she and I had some macaroni in George's cabin, with Mars sitting on the floor helping us. Of course the dinner was put on the floor like everything else. At twelve at night, when I was in my cot – which grazed the ceiling every time it swung – the carpenter and three sailors marched in to put in the dead lights in the stern windows. There are no curtains to the cots, and on shore it might have seemed odd to have all those men carpentering in that little cabin; but I could not help laughing when the head carpenter – after knocking and nailing for ten minutes – walked up to me and said he was afraid it was very annoying, but it was the captain's orders; and I went swinging backwards and forwards, and saying in my civilest tones, 'Oh, never mind, Mr. Nan Carrol – no annoyance at all; only make it all safe. It's a shocking night; don't you think so?'

'Rather rough,' he said; and then came another man to say the first lieutenant's cabin was full of water, and he wanted the carpenter.

In short, the sea is an ugly customer. But we had five days' beautiful smooth sailing after this; and I hope this gale may count for our share of bad weather.

I have quite got over my sea-sickness on common occasions, and have been finishing up my Rio sketches; and now that I can draw and read, I am not so unhappy as I was. We are all very well; Mars is rheumatic at times, but is better now.

For fear I should not have time to add it at the Cape, I charge you to tell me quantities about the children: If Willy says, 'How d'ye do, Lena?' I shall like to know it; and mention Miss Ridley – in short, everything. Say what work you are about. I care about it all, and get lumps in my throat when I think of any of you; even that last pat on my shoulder which Robert gave me at Portsmouth I think of with pleasure and pain. I am always thinking. I have just finished Robert's 'Schwarz,' and have liked it very much. Tell Willy I have not worn his sash yet, because the sea spoils ribbons; but it is safe in my drawer. Mind you write enough. George bears the sea with great philosophy. Fanny has taken it in great aversion. I always hated it, but do not say much now. is in spirits for a day or two, then wretched, and then bursts out into violent abuse, without minding who hears him: 'I wish I was second pot-boy at the Pig and Whistle,' he says to the captain and the officers who think there never was anything like the luxury of the 'Jupiter.' 'A man who had the offer of two good crossings to sweep in London, or of good stone-breaking in the Edgeware Road, must have been mad to come out as I did.'

TO .

Saturday, December 12, 1835, S. Lat. 35°, Long. 11° E.

We are so squalled, and rolled, and pitched, poor things! Not but what those squalls are very often advantageous.

It was a beautiful sunshiny, quiet morning till twelve, and yet the ship rolled so I could have cried, and was obliged to get George to go up on deck with me, I was so headached. Then the squall began, and the wind howls as if it were the bitterest English winter's night, when we all 'pity the poor souls at sea,' and yet the ship is flying on, and as steady as a church, and the poor souls at sea are able to fetch out their portfolios and begin their letters to their poor bodies of friends on shore. It is three weeks to-day since we left Rio, and we have had great varieties of weather and amusements, calms and fine sailing, and these three horrid days of what sailors call 'a gale of wind,' but what, in common English, and speaking correctly, we call a storm, and shocking work it is! I hope one is enough.

I have written an account of it to Mary, but I think you will like to know a clever trait of that little black angel commonly called Chance. All the dogs on board were frightened, Captain G.'s dog the worst of any, though he was bred and born at sea, and Chance was in a great twitter for a time, but after having been pitched off my bed, and then off George's bed, he saw it was time to act with decision, so he carefully climbed up to the washhand basin (which is, of course, a fixture), scratched one of my shawls, which was near at hand, into it for a cushion, and then rolled himself up into the basin, which exactly held him, and stayed there the rest of the day. George and I saw him do it, and quite wished we had as good a resource for our wretched selves, but the foot-tub would not hold us. The midshipmen acted the 'Mayor of Garrett' the other day for our diversion. They made a very pretty theatre, and acted wonderfully well – considering that none of them had ever acted before; and the officers gave us a grand supper in the gun-room afterwards. One of them wrote a prologue, of which I send you some lines, as you like anything about us:

If such examples fire the sailor's mind,
Shall a good ship – shall we remain behind,
Who, with fair breezes and with sails unfurled,
Convey the ruler of our Eastern world?
For some slight honours we can claim, at least,
Who plant new Edens in the gorgeous East.

The sailors were so exhilarated by the officers' play, that the following Friday they announced that, in the 'Theatre Royal Oriental,' His Majesty's servants would perform 'All the World's a Stage,' with a dance – there is no dancing prettier than their reels – 'performances by young Paganini,' the ship's fiddler, and songs, &c. The captain of the foretop, who acted Miss Kitty Sprightly, was really an excellent actress, and I have seen much worse actors in the little theatres than some of the others. Then there are three of them that sing all the old English glees beautifully, and, whenever it is their evening watch, they always sit and sing and tell long stories to each other; and it is one of the few really pleasant things I know on board ship. I wonder whether knows a Scotch song about Lady Gowrie, which one of these sailors sings. I asked him for 'Home, sweet Home,' one night, but I shall not try that again – it is playing with edged tools. I could not stand the way in which he sang 'There is no place like home.' It was so undeniable and so melancholy.

I have done a quantity of sketches at Rio. If I have a book full before the 'Jupiter' goes back, I shall very likely send it to to keep for me, as she likes sketches; but I cannot finish them up well, as I never can stoop to my work in this unsteady vehicle, so my lines are rather of the crookedest. I have got a new pet, given me by the doctor; he brought me a little paroquet from Rio, about the size of a sparrow – green, with blue wings. It has no cage, and is so tame it does not want one, and it makes no noise; but , who has seen some of them at Calcutta, says they can speak. The blacks call them 'Jemmy Green.' So he stuck my Jemmy Green instantly into the open breast of his waistcoat, where it made a little purring noise of delight and went to sleep, and now, whenever I put it in my handkerchief, it chuckles itself to sleep. I should have liked to send it home to you, but these very small birds always die of cold in the Channel. It is a great diversion to Wright and Jones. So, God bless you! Of course you are always writing to your most affectionate


TO .

December 12.

There are three little midshipmen going their first voyage; one of them, who was to join another ship, is dying of a decline (poor boy!), and has not been out of his hammock for a fortnight; nothing can equal the care that is taken of him.

One of the others is a very little fellow called Douglas, and he is as like your as it is possible to be, only a little shorter. I draw no inferences, but everybody calls him 'a pretty boy.' He is going to act Miss Hardcastle, in 'She Stoops to Conquer.' He is full of spirits, and insisted on being put into a watch long before the first lieutenant thought of it; but in the night watches some of the older ones always send him off to bed. The night of the storm, George looked out on deck, and there he saw little Douglas, in his rough Flushing jacket and trousers, and oil-skin hat, trying to stand steady on deck, without shoes or stockings, as all the officers are in that sort of weather, and his little feet looked so white and new amongst those weatherbeaten, x sailors. Your mother would be quite satisfied with the way in which those young ones are treated.

One of the lieutenants has them into his cabin to read every day, and the old ones are always teaching them something either at the wheel or at the sextants, and they are rather spoiled than bullied.

One of the passengers began to bully little Douglas at first, but when the boy found out he was supported by his own officers he turned upon the man one day and said, 'I tell you what, Mr. V, if you hit me once more, I give you notice I shall hit you again' (Mr. V is six feet high), 'and what is more, when we cross the line I shall pay you off!' They say he looked so funny with his fist doubled up at the man, – who never says a word to him now.


The 'Jupiter' at Sea, December 12, 1835.

I look at your unfortunate picture swinging opposite to me, and feel remorseful that I should have placed your innocent, dumb likeness in such a situation; and then, I don't know where you, the real living woman, are. Nobody can have been anywhere as long as we have been on board this ship. We are not at the Cape yet: we are to be there, they say, in two or three days; but I am not to be taken in by anything any sailor says – you and I, dear, know them better. I don't think that the marines are happy, and the troop of engineers we are transporting to Ceylon, with their military sagacity are not to be taken in any more than myself. I saw one of them just now twisting up a piece of oakum with a brokenhearted air.

I have reason to think that the chronometer is all wrong, and Captain G looked half affronted when I offered him my little Swiss watch, which is just the size of a shilling. We have not seen a single soul since we left Rio. We have been in a gale of wind which lasted forty-eight hours, and which, if it had lasted longer, would have exhausted me; for it came at the end of a four days' calm, when we had been almost rolled and created into a state of idiocy. I get so exasperated – if running a pin through the floor of my cabin would scuttle the ship, I would not give much for its chance. There was I, at the end of four sleepless nights, peering over the sides of my cot upon the green baize carpet, turned into a large pool of water from the rain beating in. Books – chairs – boxes – baskets – all broke from their fastenings and splashing frantically about; the bulkheads roaring in every possible variety of tone – (those bulkheads will be found levelled by my single strength, some day). The waves high above the windows, and my cot and I swinging at every roll within two inches of the ceiling. I thought it might be better up stairs, and contrived to struggle up, to find his Excellency under the breakfast table (his chair, in spite of its lashings, having slipped from under him), empty cup in one hand – his piece of toast crushed in the other. I would not for ever so much that Ruum Hy Jeet Raj Singh should have seen him in such a situation: he would never have given the proper number of ko-toos, and there would have been a war.

Quiet! Quiet! How I do long for a little Quiet! All my life I have hated noise. I banished that angel of a grey parrot, because he made a noise: he has his revenge now. We have seen three dead whales, seven live ones; a porpoise has been harpooned, and an albatros, which was so gorged with oil from one of the dead whales that it could not fly off the water: it measured from nine to ten feet from wing to wing. Think what the 'ancient mariner' must have suffered when his was hanging round his neck! We passed within a few yards of one dead whale; the sharks were gnawing it, and the albatroses pecking at it. Such an enormous mass, and neither fish nor bird took the trouble to get out of our way: they evidently thought that man. had no right to meddle with the sea or its inhabitants; and I think so too. He cannot manage the sea; it heaves and tosses him about just as it pleases.

I have two great sources of comfort: in and my great worsted man and horse: they are both so great, I hardly know which is the greater. When it is calm, I turn to my man and horse. Such a horsecloth as I have just executed! And in the worst of times always can make us all laugh: he lives in a state of farcical despair, and goes about insulting all the sailors with his horror of the ship; and I heard him, just now, gravely consulting the doctor, who is rather pompous and solemn, about his health: – 'But, sir, I do not exactly see what is the matter with you!' – 'Matter enough! I've got the "Jupiters" – I'm a creak, Doctor, nothing but a creak: listen to my neck when I turn it!' And there are times when one feels actually creaking oneself.

Dec. 14. – And now there's Africa in sight. I took my first view of it at five this morning. Then, it looked very much like the Cape of Good Hope in a map. Now we are very near, and there is the great Table Mountain, with others ranging beside it, rugged, handsome and dead. Upon one of the hills, where there is a pretty drive from Cape Town, a learned man, who has been at the Cape before, declares you may see the baboons playing about. Only think of seeing a real live baboon.

When I wrote to you before, from Rio, I forgot to communicate the melancholy fact, that our maids saw hundreds of humming-birds flying about, and we never saw one; however, a baboon will do as well: they are so alike. So now we are perfectly acquainted with Europe, America, and Africa: when we have done Asia, we may come home again.

Dec. 16. – I like this place – it is quite what I meant Africa to be – so unlike anything else: when we went twelve miles up the country, yesterday, I felt like Montval in the Travels of Rolando. I have not caught a camelopard yet, but I'm going; in fact we have all been in Africa, and know the sort of thing. There are the stunted trees dyed red by the fine red sand that flies everyhere; and the great flats, covered with most of our finest hot-house plants, turned into large shrubs; also immense arid, rugged hills rising up suddenly, and the negroes wearing a kind of sugar-loaf hat, driving sometimes eighteen or twenty oxen, in long, low waggons. Then, we went to Constantia to pick out our wine; and found such a flourishing, rich Dutch Boor, with a large whip in his hand, with which he evidently beats to death many of E M's vagrants. Poor things! The governor here is upon the frontier arguing with the Caffres.

We sail again in a few days, and I find there is an opportunity to send letters by the 'Liverpool' in three days, so I must finish this and write others. There must be an interval of four or five months before you hear more of us, after you get this; but remember, for two whole months we shall be on the sea, and then in Christian charity you will write.

Tell me how much my letters bore you. I know they must be very tiresome, but how tiresome are they? Write to me about every little thing: nothing can be too little. I have no time to read this over, and could not if I had. I think by the time this gets to England, you will be returning there. I cannot get used to not knowing where you all are, and what you are all doing. I feel quite benevolent to Calcutta and really fond of it when I think I may find a letter there, or, at least, expect one. Mind you keep a sheet of paper always about you, and write down anything that strikes you, and when it is full, make it over to Grindley. God bless you, dearest!

Ever your most affectionate



Cape of Good Hope, Monday, December 14, 1835.

We anchored here at two this afternoon. Came on shore the instant the barge could be manned – did our bit of firing; and the band playing, and our meeting with the military authorities on the pier, in less than a quarter of an hour; and then we were left comfortably by ourselves for the first time almost since we left England. We have taken a house, all for ourselves, which exactly holds us four, and the six servants, and we may squeeze in Captain Grey, if he wishes to leave the ship. We have taken a long walk, and two sketches; have moved a second sofa out of a bedroom into the drawing-room, put some books and writing-cases on the table, and it feels as like a Tunbridge or Broadstairs house as possible, except that there is a great deal of negro jabber going on under the windows – a few large cockroaches on the walls – and that the windows are all open in December. I am looking like a victim to the captain's severity just set on shore; for quite forgetting how hot it would be – as we were very cold on board ship – I walked from the shore to the inn without my shawl, and the sun has marked out in deep crimson the pattern of my habit-shirt, and made a large blister on one shoulder. It looks shocking, and comes from having been brought up in the belief that December was a cold month.

We have been just twenty-three days from Rio – much the usual length of passage. We had three days of heavy swell, ending in a gale of wind, which is a nautical term for expressing the extreme of human discomfort and bodily misery, to say nothing of fright; for, though I know there is no danger, I am always in a regular state of fear when the ship goes fast through the water. I should like to have what some play calls the 'trembling exies,' and make more noise than the waves, if possible. We are all in very good health, I should say. George grown fat – Fanny has quite lost her headaches. I am very well, and Dr. Drummond has nearly cured of that sort of hay fever he has had for two years, and which grew much worse during the early part of the voyage.

Will you tell Mr. M that Chance has been the finest invention for a long voyage that ever was heard of? Captain Grey and began by hating him, partly out of respect to the feelings of their own dogs, and partly because they owned they were jealous of his attachment to me, when compared with the cool conduct of their own hardhearted animals; and now they are both devoted to him and his whims. His temper is worse than ever, and he will never let anybody touch him but me, except when he wants to be lifted off the poop, or to be put into the hammock nettings, where he sits for hours looking at the albatroses, and licking his lips at them; and on these occasions his servility to all the midshipmen exceeds his general rudeness; but these little moral failings make him invaluable at sea. always calls him 'Sir Mungo Malagrowther,' and he certainly is like him in some of his ways. He discovers land always two days before we approach it, which, they say, is very common with dogs; and, moreover, it piques Captain Grey that Chance should know more about the latitudes and longitudes than all his chronometers. The Cape is much the least picturesque station we have made yet, but the rocks are rather grand in a rough way, and the town looks white, and Dutch-like, and clean, which is, I believe, a most deceptious appearance. I shall leave the rest of my paper for the chance of something to tell you which is not about the 'Jupiter,' and, besides, I always feel low the days we land.

It seems that we have gone so far, and been through so much, and only to come amongst strangers at last; and we cannot even hope to find a letter, or a word about anybody we care for, but are still to go farther and hear less. It is horrid, and makes me feel utterly desperate at times. It is clearly not quite so good as being dead, as that is a separation without oblivion; but, luckily, these fits of lowness cannot last, or at least they must be gulped down and kept out of sight. I hope you have sat for your picture again, and I wish would devote 7s. 6d. to me, and send me out his picture. I never did a wiser thing than carrying off those little sketches.

I shall always think of dear, sallow, little with affection, and have an idea of sending him home two prettyish Hindoo wives, who shall be bound to burn themselves in Fleet Street, whenever is gathered to his fathers. I should send him some very pretty wives, only that he drew such a shocking object, which he chose to call you. I feel it would distress me to look at it, but I cannot destroy it, so I keep it, with its back to the others. George and I were looking at Mr. 's picture last night with the greatest satisfaction. He looks very sensible still, though he is at the Cape.

The Cape, December 15.

We landed here on Monday the 13th. Have hired a house; were much bitten the first night, but made a change for the better last night; have had plenty of apricots, strawberries, green peas, young potatoes, &c. and like the Cape very much, though it is less pretty than Rio or Madeira.

Wright and Jones went out riding yesterday, attended by six 'beaux' and rode to Constantia, and at the public-house where they baited, they found a landlady who had come from Bromley, and knew dear Eden Farm, and all about all of us. It is very pleasant to have friends in Africa. We have only Asia to do now, and then may go home, having seen the world. George has bought some bulbs, which are going home in the 'Liverpool,' and one box is intended for and Mary to divide between them. There never was anything like the beauty of the ixias here, and the bulbs look like good ones.

Good-bye – God bless you all!

Your affectionate

E. E.

TO .

The Cape, December 16, 1835.

We landed on Monday afternoon, all well. We are lodged in a tolerable house, but are much devoured by every species of animal. It is very hot, indeed, till the afternoon. We have had some nice drives into the country; live on new potatoes, peas, strawberries, apricots, &c.; are a little oppressed with visitors, but have found some old friends in Lady C. Bell and Mrs. Wauchope, and, altogether, it is a great rest, and the last we shall have till we get to our long home – Calcutta. I wish you could see some of the flowers, &c. George is sending home a lot of bulbs for you. We are writing ten letters apiece to go by 'Liverpool,' and there will be a frightful interval between your receiving this and my next. Love to all.

Your most affectionate


TO .

December 16.

We have had some very nice drives; our house is very good in the daytime, but alive at night; it is the general complaint of Cape Town, and very unpleasant. However, they have sent us two brass bedsteads from the 'Jupiter,' so that I am much better off now. We drive to-day with the Bells. She has been very civil and is very pleasant, I think, with great remains of beauty. They sent for Ann Wauchope from Simon's Town, and she was with us all yesterday, It is pleasant to meet a friend at this distance. She has such a funny little boy – six years old. My heart warmed to this boy, because he is like all Robert's boys mixed up together; in looks, a mixture of Willy and Ashley. To-morrow we are going to dine in the country at Protea, with a Sir J. and Lady Bryant – pleasant people, who have passed their lives in India, and are now going home.

George is buying several horses here, as the Cape horses are much better, particularly for ladies' riding, than the Arab horses; and Captain Grey has been persuaded into finding room for four in the 'Jupiter,' We sail Monday morning, and look with some dread to this long stage of the voyage, and it will be a dreadfully long time before you can hear of us again; but you must go on writing all the more, as it is not our fault. Our letters are to go this afternoon by the 'Liverpool.' I have so many to finish, I cannot write any more. George is sending you some bulbs. The flowers here are perfectly beautiful. Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


January 24, 1836.

There is just a chance of our meeting a homeward-bound ship in these latitudes; and as, at all events, we shall probably be at Calcutta in a fortnight – some sanguine people say in ten days – it is time to be beginning the letter I shall want to send you from there. Our voyage has been most prosperous, and though it seems tedious, yet it has given us little to complain of. We have never had more than twenty-four hours of foul wind since we left England, and few ships have such luck in so long a voyage; sometimes we had a day's calm, when George is fit to hang himself, and sometimes a very fresh breeze, when the ship shivers away at the rate of eleven miles an hour, and that makes me sick and sorry; but we have generally, since we left the Cape, sailed along very smoothly and pleasantly. We are all in excellent health, and I am grown fat, and now that I can read, and draw, and work, and eat in a natural land-like fashion, the days go off very well, very much better than I thought possible at sea.

The nights are cruelly hot. I cannot think why they are so much worse than the days, for we leave all our doors and windows open, but nothing will make a draught.

Fanny and I have been on the lee-side of the ship almost the whole way (which means the side on which the wind does not blow, not the weather-side), and we have generally thought it great luck, as it allows us to have our windows open without any danger of shipping a sea; but it makes our cabins very close now, and I should think gives us a good foretaste of Calcutta. 's greyhound has added three small puppies to the population, and one of the horses has been ill, and a tame hawk fell overboard and was drowned, and these are the chief incidents among the live stock.

I bought an album at the Cape, to be called the 'Jupiter's Album,' and invited all the officers to contribute to it, and the idea took their fancies, and set all the ship's company off drawing. Most of them can draw more or less, and out of the twenty-four drawings they have sent in, there are ten, at least, really very good, some tolerable, and those that are the worst are amusing from the immense pains bestowed upon them by the midshipmen.

It answered as an amusement for ten days, and pleased Captain Grey excessively. Their theatricals have gone on, too; the sailors have acted twice with great success, and the officers twice, and the theatre is to close the first cool night we have, with 'High Life below Stairs, and 'L'Ours et le Pasha,' done into English by his Excellency, and consequently it is got up with great care. Mr. is the stage manager, and we flatter ourselves, though he is particularly precise and serious, that he has formed an attachment (perfectly correct and Platonic) for Wright, he and she are in such constant communication about the ladies' dresses for these plays.

I have made the dresses myself for the Sultana and her attendant in 'L'Ours et le Pasha,' and that little Douglas looks so pretty in his Turkish costume! And I made, too, a turban for another, who is to be the Sultan. He looked so horribly shy when he came to try it on, sitting before the glass in his midshipman's dress – a long false beard, and a mass of muslin and scarlet beads twisted round his head.

January 27.

We had an adventure yesterday; a sudden squall carried away our maintop-mast. It was just after breakfast – the finest possible day, and no wind, apparently; but it happens constantly so near the line, that a sudden puff of wind does a great deal of mischief up aloft, and is not felt on deck. You may guess what a 'stramash' they made, with all the ropes and yards attached to them. The mast was four feet in circumference where it gave way, and it was cut off almost as clean as if it had been cut with a knife. The wind turns out a very active, clever fellow of an element when you live much with him; does just what he likes, and in an authoritative way. At first there was a horrible cry of 'A man overboard,' which always puts everybody in a fever; but it was only a hat, and the owner was happily caught in one of the lower sails; and though he was carried down stunned and bruised, yet he was not at all seriously hurt. It was a great mercy, for all the officers who have ever seen a similar accident with a topmast say they never saw it without a great loss of life, besides serious wounds.

As nothing of the kind happened here, we are all glad to have seen once what sailors can do on an emergency, and Captain Grey's presence of mind (which is always very striking) was quite remarkable. Before we could go from the cabin to the deck, he had given the order, 'All hands clear wreck,' which brought every human being up from below, and every man was in his place working away at disentangling the ropes, furling sails, &c., not two minutes after the crash. Except on these occasions, you never see more than half the crew and one-third of the officers at a time; but everybody works in these cases, and it was a curious scene.

We were saying that if any ship had passed at that moment not within speaking distance, they would, with the little exaggeration that attends all disasters, have given you all such a shocking account of our dismasted look; for several smaller sails were carried away by the strain on them, and you would have heard of us as a wreck on the water. It was supposed that twelve hours would suffice to put us to rights, judging from other ships; but in five everything material was in its place again, and the sails all set.

It was a great triumph to the ship, and says that the midshipmen, who are not given to praise their captains in general, all talk of Captain Grey's seamanship and readiness with great praise. It was a curious sight altogether, and I made a nice sketch of it, for as the ropes were all out of their places, it was just the time to draw them – nobody can detect any mistakes.

Sunday, January 30.

All our hopes of a quick arrival are at an end, we cannot cross that tiresome line; we have been within 100 miles of it for four days without being able to advance a step, but are going tacking about with great trouble and bother, quite contented, after a fashion of content, if we do not lose more by the current than we gain by the wind. We now do not expect to arrive till the 14th, the day that George originally named when we left Portsmouth, so that we shall not have much to complain of; but it would have been better to have had something to boast of.

Saturday, February 6.

We crossed the line last Wednesday, but have not averaged thirty miles a day the last ten days. You have no idea how tantalising it is to waste ten such precious days, for the very hot weather begins at Calcutta the middle of March, so George was very anxious that we should have two or three cool weeks to break us in to the climate. If we could have a fair breeze we still might be there in ten days; but many people think we may be a month or more. We tack about first to the east and then to the west, trying to screw a little northing out of them – so like people who can't get to sleep, and try first one side to lie on and then the other. However, we are in our own northern hemisphere again, which I mention that I may twit Mr. with what he said one day at dessert, that I should not see the Great Bear again. Dear old beast! he came in sight again the night before last, looking handsome and friendly, worth all the Southern Crosses and Scorpions. I like to be in the same hemisphere with you; it is the best we can do for ourselves now, 'Hem, sweet hem, there is no hem like ours,' is the nearest I can come to 'Home, sweet home,' and at all events it is something to know my own stars again. What will you bet that we shall have a fair wind by Tuesday? I think we shall, merely because it must come at last. If not, I must eat Chance on Wednesday, for fear other people should want him the next week.

Wednesday, February 10.

You have lost that bet about the wind; you owe me a shilling, and you ought to make it two, in consideration of our wretched state. This is the fourth day of a dead calm, the sea actually as smooth as this paper, and not a breath of air – and the heat! Few people have ever seen such a dead calm at sea: the master, who has, was detained by one three weeks in the same place; we are now only 160 miles from the line. I shall stick this letter in a bottle soon, and you will know where to look for us when it comes to hand.

Day after day – day after day,
  We stuck, nor breath nor motion;
As idle as a painted ship
  Upon a painted ocean.

It is just what we are – and then the sea –

Still as a slave before his lord,
  The ocean hath no blast;
His great bright eye most silently
  Up to the moon is cast.

I believe every word of the 'Ancient Mariner,' even to the slimy things that crawl on the slimy sea, for the first sea snake was wriggling about yesterday. Swimming is the only amusement for the officers and men; they caught a shark yesterday afternoon, and five minutes after, sixty of them were in the water to get a good bath before another shark came. Hot as it is, I have finished a sketch of little Douglas, which is so like your boy that I was sorry to give it away; but he is charmed with it, and has shown it, they say, to every creature in the ship, and the first lieutenant is having a frame made for it. I gave it to him to send home to his mother, who is a widow; and he is dreadfully puzzled between his wish to send it to her and a desire to offer it to Mr. Julian, one of the mates, who has adopted him, and takes care of him, and teaches him his profession.

I always rather expect to hear that the 'Liverpool,' by which we sent our letters from the Cape, went down at sea. She was manned by Arabs, and in a wretched state, and if our letters go to the bottom you will not know half the allusions in our subsequent valuable epistles. I think the little tortoises I sent C may arrive alive. W had some that buried themselves the day they left the Cape, and they are alive. It is not a bad way of doing a voyage. I think I bear the tedium of ours with more outward philosophy and cheerfulness than any of them – at least, I take it more quietly; but if I had known what it would be, to be away from all of you – so far and hopelessly away – and without anybody at hand with whom I can talk over old times and old feelings, I do not think I should have come.

George is very kind, and he says it will be easy to make new interests. It will for him, who has more to learn and to do than the twenty-four hours can hold – and he has no time for regrets. But, at all events, it must be some time before I can care about Calcutta; and there, too, he will be so busy that I shall lose him again as a companion, and then I shall, if possible, long more for a talk with you. I do not think it unwholesome to be driven by loss of other ties to depend more on the only Hope that never fails; but sometimes it is difficult not to grope about in this dark world for something to hold by, instead of looking up, and altogether I want you and a few others.

If all too worldly pant my heart
  For human sympathy, –

O'er wayward feelings unexprest
  Too oft if I repine,
And ask for one whose kindred breast
  Will judge the wants of mine, –

If sometimes on my soul will press,
  With overwhelming force,
A sense of utter loneliness
  All blighting in its course, –

if all this is the case (and it is), I sometimes think that I might have remained in England; but there is no knowing now, how that would have been.

February 14. N. Lat. 6° 40'.

There! after three more days of a burning calm, a sudden breeze sprang up yesterday; in half-an-hour the ship was running eight knots an hour, and has continued so ever since. The night was quite cool, and we are all beginning to count on arriving this day week, though that is being very sanguine. Everybody was growing melancholy about that calm; the officers had come to an end of their fresh meat, and the midshipmen to an end of their clean clothes, and they were put on a shorter allowance of water; quite enough as yet, but it was to have been shortened again at night.

Wednesday, 23rd.

Still tacking about: a foul wind (little of it), current, everything against us; and though we are now within 200 miles of Sandheads, we may yet be a week reaching them. We shall have been ten weeks on Monday without seeing land, which is an unusual thing, even in a seaman's life. I was telling George last night that when children learn their Indian history they will come to – 'Sir C. Metcalfe began to reign in 1835, preceded by William of Bentinck, succeeded by George of Auckland, who was surnamed the Navigator, from the very remarkable fact that he never made land during the five years his government lasted.' That will probably be the case. I shall not write any more till we anchor; you will never be able to read it; besides, I am very busy about a set of little drawings on small cards that I am doing for you from my sketches. I think I shall finish twelve before we arrive.

Wednesday, March 2.

At last we are in sight of land off Saugur; and, what is more, the steamer is in sight bringing us heaps of letters; that dear steamer and the smoke look like the Thames and home, – and then, all the letters! The pilot came on board at two this morning, and says we were given up for lost at Calcutta (which I am afraid may by ricochet have given you a fidget in England); that the steamers have been looking for us for three weeks; that John Elliot was tired of waiting, and is gone home; and, above all, that there are quantities of letters for us, some that left England the 11th of November, five weeks after us. Only conceive the pleasure of it!

We expect to be at Calcutta to-morrow evening. The steamer has got the 'Zenobia' in tow, which 'Zenobia' is to take our letters. There is a boat full of Hindoos in sight, with vegetables. We are in great want of fresh provisions. Rosina is in such a state of delight – poor old thing! I had finished a panorama of Rio for you, that was the admiration of the ship, so much so, that two days ago it was stolen out of the cabin, which is provoking. George is quite unhappy about it; it folded up Like a map. Perhaps in time I may finish another for you.


February 10, 1836. 3° N. Lat, E. Long. 91°.

MY DEAREST , Here we are becalmed, the sea looking like a plate of silver that has been cleaned by a remarkably-good under-butler. He has not left a spot on it. The sky is nearly as clear, and the thermometer is at 88° under the awning, and the nights are as hot as the days. Rather bad! but that is what we came for partly. We had great luck on our voyage till within the last sixteen days, and during that time we have not made 300 miles; still as long as we had any wind, even though we could not do more by constant tacking than keep our own ground, it was not so hot as in this stagnant calm; and this heat will have prepared us so well for Calcutta that we might almost be allowed to go there now. We are within six days' run of it all the time, which is provoking. However we are all remarkably well, even to Mars, who has been very seriously ill since we left the Cape, but has rallied completely.

We do what we can to vary the days: try to catch fish, in which we never succeed, except that two days ago we caught a great shark; and five minutes after half the ship's company jumped overboard for a swim, and took Chance with them. He little thought when Mr. M. transplanted him from the shades of Windsor that he should swim twice a day in the Indian Ocean; that it would be a bet that the third lieutenant should jump off the chains with him under his arm, and that one of the midshipmen would bring him up the ship's side in his mouth, which was the case yesterday.

We have had some very good theatricals; the theatre closing with a song by Mr. Pelham, 'Here's a health to Lord Auckland, God bless him!' and ending with cheers from all the sailors.

Drawing is my chief occupation, and working Fanny's, and she plays at chess with ; and we all read and grumble and cannot find enough to drink, and so on; and then whenever I can get to sleep I dream without ceasing, chiefly of Eden Farm, but very often of Langley, and I have walked with you over the Cross Walk and down the Hedge Walk quite as often the last three months as ever we did in our dear, happy, young days; and sometimes I wake up crying and sometimes arguing, and I was determined to write to you to-day, because last night you were so obstinate about the key of the gate; and I burst out laughing, because you came back quite angry and hot, and said a paper key was of no use. George says he dreams quite as much and as childishly, and that he sees the Grenvilles coming in their great green coach, and Mrs. Wickham gets out of it and pursues him into the shrubbery. It is very odd, but the instant one's mind is left to its own control it rushes back to young days and childish interests; they have made so much more impression than all the graver realities since.

Well, I never expected that on February 15th I should be sitting writing to you 14,000 miles off, and writing with great difficulty, because I am so very hot, though I have taken off my gown and am sitting on a pile of cushions in the stern window of George's cabin, and with a large fan in one hand. George is in his shirt and trousers, without shoes, sitting on the other half of the sofa, learning his Hindoostanee grammar, and we neither of us can attend to what we are about, because Chance keeps yapping at us to look at a large shark that, with two beautiful pilot fish, is swimming under the window, much nearer to us than the organ-man now under your window is to you. When we sat giggling for days together on the lawn at Langley, we never expected to be parted so entirely and in such an outlandish or outseaish way.

February 13.

We had a little breeze two days ago that has advanced us sixty miles, but it has been a dead calm again the last twenty-four hours. There is a brig in sight, and if it should be homeward bound this will be packed up and forwarded.

Wednesday, February 18.

We never saw any more of that brig, but we got into the N.W. monsoon on the evening of the 14th, and have had three days' excellent sailing, 150 miles a day, and the sea as smooth as the Thames. We are now only 350 miles from the Sandheads, and had expected to be there on Saturday evening, but the wind has fallen very light again, and we shall hardly have the pilot on board before Monday. The time of the pilot's arrival decides all our bets and lotteries. We shall not come to an anchor for twenty-four hours after that, and in the meanwhile Sir C. Metcalfe will hear per telegraph that we are coming, and will have time to pack up his little goods and tidy up Government House for us. If he is wise, he will send down a few armed boats to take and sink us. If he is civil, he will send one steamboat to take us and part of our baggage up the river; if he is very civil, he will send two steamers who will tow the 'Jupiter' up with all that it contains, which I hope will be the case, as the officers are all anxious to take us right up to Calcutta, and to have the fun of the first arrival; and if he is very civil indeed, he will order in half a pound of tea and a pound of sugar, and a loaf, &c., for our refreshment, otherwise it will be very unpleasant to roam about that great barrack the first evening, with 200 strange servants laughing in Hindoostanee at us, and nothing to eat. That is my notion of our arrival. Or if we arrive the 24th we shall find the ball for the Queen's birthday going on at Government House, and shall have to begin skipping about in our old ship dresses.

I have nothing to say, as you may observe, but I must mention that everything that was given us when we came away has turned out useful, more especially your six bottles of arrowroot. I should not have survived the voyage without them. As long as my sea-sickness lasted arrowroot was the only thing I liked, and since that I have gone on with it regularly for luncheon, as I never have taken to meat at all. When anybody has been ill I have made a civility to them of a little arrowroot, but otherwise none of our party like it, so I have actually devoured the six bottlesful myself.

Monday, February 22.

Still a foul wind, and we are not much nearer than we were four days ago. We tack every four hours, but gain very little by it. However, it is delicious weather – the nights are almost cold. We have come to our last sheep, and have but one pig and six geese left – no coffee, no marmalade, and no porter; and, as I said above, my arrowroot is at its last spoonful. Shocking hardships! We are all put on a short allowance of water, which is much more than we can drink; but next week, when we come to salt meat, and a still shorter allowance of water, the hunger and thirst will just match. Nobody now presumes to say when we shall arrive, and they are all becoming impatient. In the midshipmen's birth the freehold of two dirty shirts for one clean one has been offered and refused, and the instant it grows dusk, they all appear in their hot blue clothes, white trowsers are become so scarce.

To recur to what I was saying of useful presents – I thought Mr. C.'s 'Pompeii' a beautiful book, but that it would appear only on state occasions, whereas it has been in constant use. The captain wanted me to paint a large flying figure for the steerage – we found a pattern in 'Pompeii;' a figure of Jupiter was wanted – there he is in 'Pompeii;' some of the officers who dine with us are too shy to speak in the evening – they all look at 'Pompeii,' 's 'Schiller' is my constant study. The sailors sing Scotch songs in the evening, and I found them in Burns.

Wednesday, March 2, 1836. Off Saugur.

At last, dearest , here we are, after seventy-two days out of sight of land. We got up this morning with a lovely jungle in sight. However, we are not particular about the quality, so as it be land; and now every moment is interesting. Last night the fun began. We fired a gun, and burnt blue lights; an hour after, the man at the masthead saw the light vessel; at two in the morning the pilot came on board. This morning we saw land, and now the steamers are in sight, not only coming to tow us up to Calcutta, but bringing the 'Zenobia,' which is to take our letters to England; and also, best of all, bringing us heaps of letters, which the pilot says are waiting for us, some of as late a date as November 11. Only conceive the delight of it – it brings such hot tears into my eyes! – we shall have news of you all five weeks after we left you, and that is about twenty-one weeks ago. We are all well, and all writing like mad people. The pilot says we had been given up for lost at Calcutta; the steamers have been looking for us for three weeks. John Elliot waited some time to see us, but gave it up, and has gone home.

God bless you and yours, ! and only keep writing. Tell me quantities of stories about all the children, who will otherwise grow up, and I shall know nothing about them.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Diamond Harbour, March 4, 1836.

We have just sent off thirty letters by the 'Zenobia,' which is passing us, and amongst them there is an immense parcel for you – sixteen pages at least; but there is an opportunity of sending a letter overland this afternoon, and, as we have made such a long passage, you will be glad to hear of our arrival by the earliest way.

We anchored off Saugur two days ago, having been seventy-two days out of sight of land, a circumstance that has happened to but few sailors in the ship. But our voyage was rather calm and uneventful, but we are all quite well, and for the rest I refer you to my large packet. As I sealed that two days ago, I have the delight of your first long letter since. I never shall forget the delight, the absolute ecstasy, of the arrival of what they in their lingo call the dawk boat, and when ten fat letters came out of the parcel for me. I locked my cabin door, flumped myself down on the bed, and absolutely wallowed in my letters like a pig. You cannot write at too great length, it is such a delight. I got into one of those good laughs we used to have together, till we cried together, at 's 'Simple Epitaph' over her hen; but it is no use commenting on letters that will have been written eight months by the time you get this, only go on writing in the same way, and I shall make mine a daily journal now we have got out of the monotony of a ship life. Yesterday we got up to Diamond Harbour from Saugur, but I must take up my life where my long letter left off.

Besides our English letters, George was met by a very civil letter from Sir C. Metcalfe, and I had a very nice friendly one from Mrs. Robertson (John Elliot's daughter), who says I was very kind to her in playing at 'cat's cradle' with her at Minto (virtue always meets its reward), and so I shall find one friend at Calcutta. There is something pleasant in finding anybody who is disposed to be kind in a land of strangers, and for the future I shall play at 'cat's cradle' with all the little girls I meet.

We had a great deal of telegraphic communication all day with Calcutta. Found we could not arrive till very late last night if we went on, and we must then have gone in a steamer, and the 'Jupiter' people had so set their hearts on taking us right up that we agreed not to desert the ship. Last night another steamer came down to help us, bringing the 'Soonamookie' (I have not an idea how it is spelt), George's own yacht, manned by Hindoos in such lovely dresses, and bringing also Captain Byrne and Captain Taylor, one of Sir Charles's aides-de-camp, and the military secretary. They gave us all the programme of to-day's landing, and George has made Captain Byrne (who was at the head of Lord W. Bentinck's establishment), one of his aides-de-camp; so that he will be our companion, our friend, our confidant, for the next five years.

George is very nervous this morning, and indeed we all wish it well over. The troops are all to be out, and we are to be met on the landing-place by the whole establishment, and it is so hot for a calm demeanour and so difficult to be smart. George and William will be in full dress, and I hope, after the first moment, Fanny and I shall be bundled off into one of the carriages. George is to walk through the line of the troops. Sir C. Metcalfe gives us a great dinner at Government House, and leaves it to us in the evening.

I have just been in George's room, assisting him to make speeches to Mr. Byron and some of the officers; and we have been giving presents to Captain Grey's servant, who is a jewel of a man, and to the quarter-masters, coxswains, &c. I shall always have a great regard for the 'Jupiters' in general, they have been so very kind to us. I think I shall leave a note of thanks behind me.

George had one long letter overland, of as late a date as the 1st of December, giving us heads of news – Lord Salisbury's death, Lord Milton's, &c.; and there was a line from Lord Stanley, by which it is obvious that nothing has happened to anybody we care about up to December, so we shall receive the next letters without any nervousness.

Oh dear! how I do live at home: but I must go and dress now. We are very near Calcutta. God bless you, my dear ! I have been so happy since we had those letters. If this comes about the same time as the 'Zenobia' you will be sick of my writing.

Your own most affectionate,

E. E.


Diamond Harbour, Friday, March 4.

My birthday, which nobody knows or cares about except myself, who would rather be a year younger each time than a year older; and I cannot help thinking that would be a worthy reward for each year passed in India. The steamer began to tow us up the river at nine. Finished our letters and sent them to the 'Zenobia,' which met us in the river, homeward bound. Between twelve and one, when we were going eleven knots an hour and growing fidgetty for fear we should arrive too soon, we came to a brig at anchor. The steamer stood a little to the left, to leave room; was caught in an eddy, and drove the 'Jupiter' and the other steamer aground. The 'Soonamookie' (George's yacht), which was towed astern, of course ran against the 'Jupiter' and broke some of its railings – in short, it was quite a collision; and after two hours' delay and work, we were obliged to take to the steamer and give up the 'Jupiter.' It was the greatest mortification to all parties: Captain Grey had set his heart on landing us at Calcutta; the officers and midshipmen had volunteered to man the barge and row us ashore. We had wished them to see the fun of the landing, so it was a great disappointment, besides the annoyance of arriving too late at Calcutta. Whatever may be the discomforts of a long sea-voyage, the extreme kindness with which we have been treated on board is the strong point in my recollection, and I shall always think of the 'Jupiter' with gratitude.

We had a tiresome voyage up the river against the tide, and feeling all the time that somebody would be waiting dinner at Government House. No arm-chairs or sofas, the heat very great, and the steamer very noisy. Arrived at Calcutta at ten; landed, and were met by Mr. Prinsep, Captain Higginson, &c., with the carriages, a guard of honour, &c.; they drove us to Government House. Went through the great hall, where we left George. Sir H. Fane and Captain Higginson showed us to our own drawing-room, which is very English-looking, only beyond the common size of rooms. We had some dinner, and the mosquitoes took their first meal of us – handsome to begin with – and then we went up to bed. George was sworn in, ten minutes after he arrived.

Sunday, March 6.

Went to church at ten. When George goes out with us we have five guards to ride by the carriage, and two when we go out alone. There are three velvet chairs in the middle of the aisle in the cathedral, with an open railing round them and a space railed off behind for the aides-de-camp. All the pews are made with open railings. Some of the ladies come without bonnets, and they all fan themselves with large feather fans unceasingly, otherwise it was much like an English church. Great part of the service very well chanted. Quiet afternoon. George drove out with us.

The officers of the 'Jupiter' dined with us again; a horrid account of the mosquitoes on board, though they can hardly be worse than on shore. Chance has taken to his own servant and will not come near me, which I call ungrateful. We have all our separate establishments of servants now. My particular attendant, who never loses sight of me, is an astonishingly agreeable kitmagar, whose name I have asked so often that I am ashamed to ask it again, and cannot possibly remember it; but he speaks English, which none of the others do. He and four others glide behind me whenever I move from one room to another; besides these, there are two bearers with a sedan at the bottom of the stairs, in case I am too idle to walk, but I have not trusted my precious person to their care yet.

There is a sentry at my dressing-room door, who presents arms when I go to fetch my pocket-handkerchief, or find my keys. There is a tailor, with a magnificent long beard, mending up some of my old habit-shirts before they go to the wash, putting strings to my petticoats, &c.; and there is an ayah to assist Wright, and a very old woman, called a metrannee, who is the lowest servant of all, a sort of under-housemaid. Of all these, only one can speak English. George never stirs without a tail of fifteen joints after him. William has reduced his to three, but leaves a large supply at home; and Fanny has at present three outriders, and expects more; but it is rather amusing when by any accident we all meet, all with our tails on. By an unheard-of piece of tyranny, George is the only individual who is allowed to have his mosquitoes driven away by two men, who stand behind him with long fans of feathers. We are not allowed this luxury in his presence; and of course have, besides our own mosquitoes, his refuse troop to feed. Nobody can guess what those animals are till they have lived amongst them. Many people have been laid up for many weeks by their bites on their first arrival.

Monday, March 7.

We had a great many visitors immediately after breakfast, both male and female. The aides-de-camp hand in the ladies and give them chairs, and if there are more in the room at once than we can conveniently attend to, they stay and talk to them; if not, they wait outside and hand the ladies out again. The visits are not long; but I hope they will not all compare notes as to what we have said. I know some of my topics served many times over. Visits are all over at 12.30 A.M., on account of the heat. We luncheon at 2 P.M. (the people will call it tiffin) and then all go off to our own rooms, take off our gowns, and set the punkahs going, take up a book, and I for one shall generally go to sleep, judging from the experience of the last three days. At 5.30 P.M. everybody goes out. We drove to-day to Garden Reach to visit Sir C. Metcalfe, and found George and Captain Byrne with him. Captain Grey and went with us. The house and garden are very much like any of the Fulham villas, only the rooms are much larger; but the lawn is quite as green, and rivers are rivers everywhere.

Tuesday, March 8.

George held his first levee – about 700 people; we had fewer visitors in consequence, and a quieter day. Drove to the Chowringee, which is the Regent's Park of Calcutta, to leave a card with the Fanes, who give us a ball to-night; dressed after dinner. All our things were unpacked to-day, and except one or two gauze ribbons, everything is as fresh as possible. After fancying we had bought too many gowns in England, we find we have not enough, it is such constant dressing. Coloured muslins for the morning we are particularly deficient in, and, after all the boasted supply of French goods, it appears that after the rainy season in particular, and occasionally at other times, there is not a yard of silk or ribbon to be had. At all times they say that rupees are charged for shillings (which is 2s. 3d. for twelve pence), and I should think it is true. I gave four rupees for a little handbell, which would not have cost 1s. 6d. in any London toyshop. I am shy of saying 'Qui hi' when I want a servant, so I have got this little dear bell. We went to the ball at 10 P.M. – an immense procession! Ten men with lights ran before George's carriage, besides the usual day accompaniment of servants, guards, &c. The ball was much like a London ball in look, only the uniforms make it look more dressed, and there is more space for dancing. They dance away as if they were not in a furnace, and instead of resting between the dances they walk round the room in pairs. There were few young ladies, but some young brides, and they all seem to dance on to a most respectable old age. Several mothers of grown-up daughters never missed a quadrille or waltz; they were all very well dressed, and seemed to take pains to be so. Came home at 12 P.M. Our new aide-de-camp, Captain –, mentioned that he was not going home with us, and I believe he slunk back, after putting us in our carriage, to have a good dance. It cannot be such a bad climate, or the old gentlemen who were figuring away at this ball would not be so active.

Wednesday, March 9.

We had rather more than sixty visitors between 10 and 12 A.M. to-day – most of them ladies; the day was intensely hot, and the fatigue of so many fresh people is very great. Drove to Garden Reach to visit Lady Ryan, the wife of the chief judge. She is a nice person and fond of her garden, and has contrived to rear some violets and sweetbriar; therefore has probably many other good qualities. We dined at Sir H. Bains', to meet what they call the 'heads of departments and their wives.' The mosquitoes were worse there than at Government House. When we came home, George, it appeared, had made the same resolution that I had, which is never to dine out again. There is so much to do at home that no constitution could bear engagements abroad too.


Calcutta, March 9, 1830.

I shall begin a letter to you, dear, though 1 do not know when it will go; but I may as well give you my first impressions.

I know you will be glad to hear that my Calcutta impressions are more cheerful than I expected. Through all the gorgeousness of it which you write about, I see a great deal of positive comfort scattered about, ready to be piled up into something solid. I write this after having been here only four days, so I may perhaps contradict myself in half I tell you now before I end. I am writing at the quiet hours of the day, from luncheon at two o'clock, till going out to drive at five. The delight of these quiet hours after having had almost the whole of Calcutta to see us this morning, nobody can tell. This is the time that we shall go to sleep, when we get up to ride at five in the morning. I have a week's respite from that, till the horses are rested from the voyage.

I wrote to you a week ago, before we landed. Just after I wrote, the pilot got us aground, and our arrival was delayed till late at night; so we missed all the formal reception; but at the first moment of seeing this house, I thought I had never fancied anything so magnificent. The moonlight is almost as bright as day.

Sir C. Metcalfe had meant us to dine with eighty people who were still there when we arrived. All the halls were lighted up; the steps of the portico leading to them were covered with all the turbaned attendants in their white muslin dresses, the native guards galloping before us, and this enormous building looking more like a real palace, a palace in the 'Arabian Nights,' than anything I have been able to dream on the subject. It is something like what I expected, and yet not the least, at present, as far as externals go: it seems to me that we are acting a long opera.

I am now in my boudoir; very much the size of the Picture Gallery at Grosvenor House; three large glass doors on one side look over the city, three more at the end at the great gate and entrance: they are all venetianed up at present. Three sets of folding doors open into the bedroom and two bath-rooms at the other end; and three more on the other side into the dressing-room and passage that lead to this suite of rooms, for everyone here has their suite. Emily and I are in opposite wings, far as the poles asunder, and at night when I set about making my way from her room to mine, I am in imminent peril of stepping upon the bales of living white muslin that are sleeping about the galleries.

Our whole Indian system strikes me now, as a wonderful arrangement for human creatures to have given in to. In a week, I suppose, I shall think it very natural, but the subserviency of the natives to the handful of white men, who have got into this country, shocks me, at this moment. Young officers driving fast through the streets under the burning sun, with their servants running after them, just for show.

In this climate, it is quite necessary to have every door open, but I am making a clever arrangement of screens to screen everybody out; though it seems to me that people push to an extreme the arrangement to prevent having the slightest trouble, even of thought. I can already feel what the languor is that this climate produces. We have arrived upon the verge of the hot season, and at this hour, with the windows and blinds closed, and the punkahs going, the slightest exertion, even of moving across the room, is a real fatigue. Keeping very quiet, there is, as yet, no suffering from heat, but in a month it will be much greater. Till half past nine or ten in the morning, the air is cool that comes in, but next week, when we begin to ride, we must be out at five in the morning, so as to be in before the sun has any power. We go out to drive, now, at half past five, and then, it is very cool and pleasant.

As to society, I can as yet tell you nothing of it. We have had hundreds of people to see us, and very fatiguing it is; but after first arriving we need only receive visits twice a week, and all visiting is over at two o'clock, which is a blessing. I am so confused by the numbers we have seen, I do not in the least know one from the others: they all looked very much better dressed than ourselves, and not much yellower than we shall be in a week. We have dined at Sir H. Fane's, the Commander-in-Chief, and need dine out no more. Next week we are to give a ball and a concert. All the representation part of our lives must be very fatiguing in such a climate; but for five days in the week, I think we shall make it much more of a home life than I had dared to hope when we left England.

Taking a drive is as yet a very surprising operation to us. There are numbers of carriages, with their turbaned postilions and coachmen. Now and then, a very handsome European one; and one looks inside to see perhaps four natives sitting: two yards of muslin would handsomely suffice for the clothing that is on them all. Every figure one passes looks strange and picturesque. There are moments when a feeling of desperation comes over me to think that I must dream this dream, so distinct from all my past life, for five years, with, I opine, very little of real interest in them; but I mean to make the best of it. At this time, it really does seem like the dreams one used to get up, in nights when one could not sleep; the houses, the people, the very trees, all unlike anything real that one has seen before.

We are to go to Barrackpore in two days, and I suspect we shall like to live there much better than at Calcutta. The green of the grass even here, surprises me; much greener than the grass near London in summer.

It was rather shocking as we came up the Hooghly to see all the dead bodies floating past, with the birds pecking at them. I had rather be burned than pecked at, I cannot but think.

Barrackpore, March 12.

I find I can send this to-morrow by the 'Robarts;' so I must finish it off first. Yes! this is certainly the place to live at. George must find out that he can Governor-General here, as well as at Calcutta. The house is the perfection of comfort, and, moreover, only holds us three: the aides-de-camp and the waiters live in little bungalows about the park, which is a thorough English one, with plenty of light and shade. The gardens are very pretty. We have our elephants to ride here. Emily has not begun yet; but with the greatest presence of mind and dignity – frightened out of my life, but feeling that the eyes of the body guard were upon me – I, yesterday evening, scrambled like a cat up the ladder, which is necessary, though the creature kneels down: took a ride with George round the Park, being, I guess, at least twenty feet above the level of the sea, a thing that seldom happens in Bengal.

There are little hills in the Park, but they rose in the days when Lord Hastings said, 'Make a hill,' and one was made. There is a billiard table, pianofortes, chessboards, everything as if we had always lived here. No servants are kept here, but all the establishment that is left at Calcutta is established here before we arrive. There is even the tailor squatting at the door with his spectacles on, just as I left him squatting there.

I hope we shall be here at least four days of every week. We have only Captain Grey and some of the midshipmen here, and what the mosquitoes have left of us is very comfortable. Sir C. Metcalfe, who has been here for thirty years, says they bite him, now, as much as they did the first day; and many people seem to be confined for months after they first arrive, from the inflammation of their bites. Emily and I are going to take a quiet airing on an elephant this afternoon.

There are myriads of fireflies and paroquets here – beautiful! Jackals noisy and bad.

Believe me, dear, yours most affectionately,



Thursday, March 10.

Got up with half a headache for want of sleep; the Brahminee kites and the crows and the pariah dogs all croaked and cawed and howled all night. George held a durbar, which means in common sensible parlance, that the native princes and noblesse came to see him. They bring him offerings – some of them he said offered him what looked like two half-sovereigns, which he touches, but is not allowed to pocket, and he gives some of them a dress of honour, and they go out and put it on and come back, and then he gives them pawn to eat and pours a little attar of roses over their hands, and then they go. There were so many who came that he said Captain , who acts as his interpreter, whispered to him not to tilt the bottle of attar of roses quite so much, for fear it should not last. I think the East India Company must be charmed with such economy. We never got a sight of the durbar, though often half-way down the passage, being always turned back by fresh arrivals. We had above 100 visitors this morning, sometimes as many as thirty at once in the room. Captain Macgregor was quite tired of announcing them, and almost as much puzzled as we were with some of their names. I actually cried with fatigue and headache after it was all over.

At 3 P.M. we embarked in the 'Soonamookie' for Barrackpore; there was some air on the river, and it was pleasant to be going into the country; but, by way of passing a quiet day, we took with us Captain Chads of the 'Andromache,' and a young Wilmot Horton, one of the midshipmen, Captain Blackwood of the 'Hyacinthe,' Captain Grey, and three of his midshipmen, which, with our own household, made up a party of sixteen. However, I went fast asleep the instant we got on board, so they did not hurt me; but I saw nothing of the river in consequence. Our own servants, including the bargemen and the kitchen-servants, were all either in the steamer that towed us, or in the state barges, and they were rather more than 400 people – such a simple way of going to pass two nights in the country. We arrived before 5 P.M. Barrackpore is a charming place, like a beautiful English villa on the banks of the Thames – so green and fresh; the house is about the size of Cashiobury, to all appearance, but it just holds George, Fanny, and me, the rest of the party all sleep in thatched cottages built in the park; the drawing and dining-rooms are immense, and each person requires two or three rooms besides a bath in this country, so as to be able to change rooms from the sun. We were carried round the gardens, which are delightful, and I see that this place might console me for half the week at Calcutta. The elephants were brought out, and most of the party got on them, but they looked so large I did not like it. Captain Chads is a very pleasant man, so simple and straightforward, which is a merit here. Captain Chads has a young Disbrowe with him, and we have sent to ask him to dine with us on Saturday and go with us to the Opera.

Friday, March 11.

George held a military levee, and all the field-officers came on to us afterwards; but they were not above thirty, and it was soon over. Wrote up my journal. Mr. Pelham arrived to luncheon on his way to Benares – a hurried journey he is making while the 'Jupiter' is refitting, and which all old Indians look upon as madness at this time of the year. He is very delicate, and it will be lucky if he has no illness on the road. Captain Grey is in despair at hearing that the regiment he is to take from Ceylon, and which he thought would consist of 250 men, is 400 strong. Altogether the officers and their families amount to forty-six people without counting their servants.

George and I had a long ride on an elephant, and it was much less rough than I expected. Captain Byrne told me the housekeepership of our house was vacant, and recommended its being given to Wright, who is to have charge of all the linen and furniture, and is paid rather more than 100l. a year. I offered it to her, and at first she refused it, and cried a great deal, and said she was not in want of money, and had come out solely on my account; and if this was to prevent her taking charge of me, she would rather have nothing to do with it. And I promised she should take as much charge of me as she liked, and that nobody else should dress me; and for all the rest she can give her own directions as to my gowns and frills, and will soon be glad enough to have the labour taken off her hands.

Saturday, March 12.

Got up at five in the morning – the jackals made such a noise all night. They very often walk through the passages of the bungalows, but never attack anybody. At six we were all on board the 'Soonamookie,' and it was really a cool, delicious morning. Breakfasted at Government House; went up to dress, as Captain Byrne had had notice of various introductions – and from that time till luncheon the room has been full, and now I am come back to put up this letter and go to sleep.

We give a great ball on Monday night, to which the whole English society is asked, and a concert on Wednesday, to which the native princes will come; and we mean to refuse all visits that week and the following week, and to have two days regularly advertised for receiving anybody who likes to come. To-night we make what the newspapers call 'the first public appearance of the Governor-General and his family at the Opera.' The heat, I take it, surpasses all description; but I hardly see how it is to be worse in one place than another.

Sunday, March 13.

I finished and sent off, per 'Robert,' my Journal up to March 12th, last night. We went to the old church, to hear a charity sermon from Archdeacon Dealtry for Mrs. Wilson's Native Orphan School – a very good sermon – and, as all the punkahs were put up, the church was not so hot as I have felt it in London. Our new coach has come into play and looks very handsome. (Some of the servants are sneezing so while I write. I hate that pretension of catching cold in this climate.) A quiet day – we gave up our evening airing in consideration of the day; but I think that is a good habit we must give up, as it is difficult to live here without that hour of air, and there is no other means of getting out. George tried to walk with us to the stables; but we were all tired before we reached the entrance-gate, at least two hundred hot yards off, and when we got there the sentry would not let us out. Whereupon all our tails began screaming at him for the indignity of not knowing the Burra Sahib, and of not letting him through his own gate; to which the sentry replied that he knew him very well, and that he expected the Burra Sahib would make him a corporal for being so strict upon guard. However we got out, and then found such a crowd of natives with petitions to present, that we were very glad to get in again, and would have given the sentry a lieutenant-colonelcy, if he had asked it, to let us in. We had no strangers at dinner. Visited George in his room, and he rehearsed the speech to Sir C. Metcalfe which he is to make to-morrow, and I acted Sir Charles, and stood steady to have the red ribbon put on me.

Monday, March 14.

After breakfast we all made ourselves as smart as we could, and and Mr. Colvin, as military and private secretaries, went, with all our carriages, to pilot Sir Charles and his suite. We did not ask anybody to the morning ceremony, but asked what they call the 'Government House List' to a ball in the evening, and advertised that any ladies or gentlemen who wished to be present in the morning would be admitted. The immense ball-room was completely filled by ten o'clock in the morning. We all met in my sitting-room and as soon as Sir Charles was in sight, stalked solemnly off in a grand procession of aides-de-camp, silver-sticks, peacocks' feathers, &c., with Captains Grey and Chads tacked on. George took his place on a sort of a throne, and we on each side of him with a circle of other ladies, and Sir Charles was walked up the room, looking ready to hang himself, and then George got up and began. He said, 'Sir Charles Metcalfe,' in rather a tremulous tone; but after the first six words he seemed quite at his ease, spoke loud enough to be heard all over the room, and really made a beautiful speech. Several ladies near us, friends of Sir Charles Metcalfe, were crying, and there were two or three attempts at applause, which were soon checked as highly incorrect. Sir Charles's answer was shorter, but remarkably good, though he was really so much affected by the whole thing that he could hardly speak. In short, we all began the day thinking it would be a ludicrous ceremony, and it turned out very interesting, and moreover had an excellent effect for George, as we heard from all quarters. It was rather good fun, the officers of the 'Jupiter,' who were dispersed in different parts of the room, coming with the remarks they had overheard. I heard one man saying, 'But why the dl is he not always speaking? It is so pleasant to listen to him.'

We had a rest from twelve o'clock till dinner-time and dressed after dinner for the ball. We had the floor chalked with Sir Charles Metcalfe's arms. There was a sitting-down supper for 650 people, and about 1,000 came to the ball. We went in after they were all assembled, and then the dancing began directly. I never saw such a ball-room as that at Government House, and the banqueting-rooms below are just as fine. The ladies were all well dressed, but there is very little beauty amongst them; still, what they want in looks they make up in activity. I suppose it was a gay ball; and, in point of decoration, George, who was quite proud of it, said it would have been talked of for a year in London. The supper was so very well arranged. It was all the merit of that excellent Captain Byrne. Sir C. Metcalfe advised our not retiring till everybody was gone, and the consequence was that I grew very tired, and began to feel ill before I went to bed.

Tuesday, March 15.

Awake all night with violent pains, and at six o'clock wrote to George to send for a doctor. I wanted to have Dr. Drummond, from the 'Jupiter,' who is an excellent doctor, and suited us all so well that George would have made him his private physician, which would have given him 1,400l. a year; but unfortunately, by some rule about the Company's service, we may not have him, so George sent for a Dr. , a little man, like Moore the poet, who had been dancing about at the ball, and we are to see if we like him. He gave me calomel and opium and came to see me every hour, an attention which is paid to the Governor-General's family, and is particularly inconvenient, as it seems but civil to invent a new symptom every time he comes. I think my illness was precisely like what I had at Langley, and have had five or six times in my life – very painful spasms, but easily accounted for. However, Wright has had the same sort of thing, and that young W. Horton, who was staying with us; and, in short, it was called 'the prevailing complaint,' and so on, and Dr. seemed to treat it very well; but it is horrid work being ill in this country. If the punkah ceased for a moment I felt in such a fever; but they hardly ever do stop.

George went in state to the play. Fanny had so many people in the morning, and was tired and did not go. It was very hot and dull they said.

Wednesday, March 16.

Still poorly, though better, but stayed in my own room; the heat is awful, and they say unusual for the time of year. George went to the opening of some medical college. It is the oddest thing, and shows what he was predestined for: but he never feels tired, and does not mind the heat, and the mosquitoes don't bite him, and he goes on working away, filling all the hours fuller than they can hold, and sleeps like a top at night. It is curious!

To-night there was the concert, at which the natives came, besides all the same society that was at the ball. Fanny said there was nothing very splendid about the rajahs. I heard the music in my bedroom, and it did not sound ill. Our own band is a very good one, and plays every evening when we have company. The singers are a Madame St. Nesoni, immensely fat, with a cracked voice – she is their Pasta; there is a Pozzeni, very like Lablache; and a Mrs. Goodall-Atkinson, whom I remember as Miss Goodall, singing away at Drury Lane, but she is a good singer here; and they all ask their twenty guineas a night, as if they really were prima donnas.

We have done now with great fêtes for some time, I think till the hot season is over, six months hence. The climate is much more detestable than I expected, and the evening, which ought to be better than the day, is rather worse. It is not cool, and it is thick with mosquitoes.

Thursday, March 17.

George went to see the Botanical Garden, which is on the other side of the river. It fell to 's turn among the aides-de-camp to attend him, which amused me, as he happens not to know a flower from a leaf; but he does these sort of things very well.

Fanny and I took an airing quite late. It shows how this climate subdues one to all its ridiculous habits, for I should have been ashamed to be carried upstairs in England, and never hesitated about it here. There are always two men with a sort of sedan at the bottom of my stairs in case they are wanted, and my attentive jemadar (how you all live without a jemadar I cannot guess, I think I always must have had one) had them ready at the carriage-door, in consideration of my weak state of health. For the first time since we came, there were only four at dinner – George and Fanny, and Captains Byrne and Macgregor. I went down for an hour in the evening.

Barrackpore, Friday, March 18.

The fleet of boats got under weigh at 2.30, when the tide served, and the whole party went, except , who stayed with me, and we drove down late in the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Robertson and their two children, Mr. and Mrs. Colvin (George's secretary) and their children, Captain Grey and three of his officers, and our own household, all went by water. The drive down was curious: we went through the native part of the town where the people are so thronged that it is difficult to drive through them. Such odd groups squatting at the doors of the huts, and sometimes such handsome wild countenances; then every now and then a Chinese, with his twinkling eyes and yellow face and satin dress, stalking along amongst those black naked creatures. I believe this whole country and our being here, and everything about it, is a dream. When we got out of the town the road was straight and shady, and a few scattered savages at the doors of their little clay huts, with their boys climbing up the cocoa-trees, were the only human creatures we met. Then we came to a camel by the roadside – the first I had seen, then to two jackals fighting; then, on the road, we saw a very pretty English britscha, which at first feared was as good as ours; it was drawn by beautiful horses in silver harness, and a footman running before it, and sitting cross-legged on the front seat was a rajah, dressed precisely as he was the first moment he came into the world – he had not even a turban on, but his long black hair was hanging on his shoulders. He was smoking his hookah, and seemed to be enjoying his airing very much. I rather envied him, he could not have felt half so feverish as I did with my clothes on.

The life of ladies in India is a wearisome one for them – so many hours in which the house must be shut up, nothing to do, and no strength to do it with; and then most of the mothers are either parted from their children, or feeling they are doing wrong by keeping them here. The children show the climate much more than the grown-up people, for at a year old, they have not a tinge of colour in their lips and cheeks, and it grows worse as they grow older.

Saturday, March 19.

Much better, and the air is really fresh. We have no trouble with our visitors here. They come to breakfast and go back immediately to their bungalows utterly exhausted, poor things! with the trouble of eating their bread and butter. The breakfasts in India are excellent – fish, curries, omelettes, preserves, fruits, &c. After luncheon we assemble in my room for a little while.

George and I took a drive to Futtyghur, through some pretty lanes. Fanny and went on one of the elephants, and the rest of the society had the other elephants and their own carriages. We had six officers at dinner from Barrackpore.

Sunday, March 20.

The chapel at Barrackpore is under repair, so the service is performed now in the large dining-room. There are seven regiments quartered here, so our congregation was very red and clanking.

George and I went out on an elephant, and rode through the cantonments, which are curious to see. The natives make fine-looking soldiers, and, as by their religion and habits they cannot get drunk, they never get into any scrapes. Indeed, the only punishment now is to turn them out of the army, and that seldom necessary.

There was a thunderstorm in the evening which cooled the air very much, and the part here is always nice.

Calcutta, Monday, March 21.

Got up at 5.30, and we were all packed up and on board the 'Soonamookie' at 6.30. Had coffee, and a nice cool voyage up. George always goes down in the cabin with Mr. Colvin on these occasions and gets through a great deal of writing, and we do not think ourselves bound to be pleasant at these odd hours, but take our books and read. We are two hours going up against tide, and an hour and a half with it. It is all very well managed; our whole household is with us so entirely that our rooms at Calcutta are locked up when we come away and yet, ten minutes after we arrive at Government House, everything is in its place. A hot breakfast (more like a dinner) for eighteen people is on the table, and the servants are as quiet and composed as ever – the immense number of them would only make a confusion in England, but here everyone takes charge of only one thing, and does it thoroughly and exactly to a minute. They have cleared up one doubt I have always tacitly felt; I had an idea, from the noise English servants make, that their feet creaked as well as their shoes – that it was part of a servant's privilege to have creaking feet, but it is not so. These men have no shoes and stockings, and their feet are quite silent. We had a dinner of forty-four people.

Tuesday, March 22.

Quantities of visitors till one o'clock. Mrs. Robertson went with us to see Mrs. Wilson's Native Orphan School. It was a pretty sight, and it is impossible to look at Mrs. Wilson, in her widow's dress, with her plain, intelligent countenance, without the greatest respect. She has collected 160 of these children; many of them lost their parents in the famine some years ago; many are deserted children. She showed us one little fat lump, about five years old, that was picked up at three-months old, just as two dogs had begun to eat it; the mother was starving, and had exposed it on the river side. She brings the children up as Christians, and marries them to native Christians when they are fifteen years old. One of the little girls presented me with a bunch of flowers she had worked herself, with my name at the back of it.

We dined alone to-day, which means that we were twelve at dinner; but, somehow, that is not the trouble that it would seem to be. It is only for strangers that you are bound to speak and dress.

Wednesday, March 23.

Forgot to mention yesterday that I got up at 5.30 for our first early ride. George, , Captain Magregor, and I were on our horses at six. One of the horses has not yet arrived, so Fanny and I can only ride alternate days, which is as well to begin with. My horse seems to be a very nice one. Fanny went out this morning. It is dreadful work getting up so early, but the air is really cool then, so we mean to keep it up.

A quiet day. At 4 P.M. George and I set off to the Botanical Garden; it is the other side of the river, and four miles off. Our own boat met us at Sir E. Ryan's, and Lady Ryan went with us. We went to see the Amherstia, a new plant, and quite magnificent. It has flowered for the second time – immense tassels of crimson flowers. I did not see much of the garden, as I was tired, and we are to go again. We had a delicious drive home. Charles Cameron is just as fond of cricket as he was in Eden Farm days, and he and Sir E. Ryan (the Chief Justice) have established a cricket club, and when we drove through their gardens the Calcutta Eleven were playing the officers of the 'Jupiter' and the 'Hyacinthe.' It looked pretty and English, and brought back visions of Prince's Plain.

We had another dinner of forty-six people to-day. Mr. Macaulay came to my share at dinner. Just as we were assembling for dinner there came on what they call a 'north-wester' – a most violent storm of thunder, lightning, and wind, which is at its height in a moment. There were hundreds of white-muslined servants rushing about the house, catching at the blinds and shutters, but everything was blown off the table in an instant. I never heard such a row. It cools the air for three or four days; half our guests were shivering, and borrowing shawls; I thought it charming.

Thursday, March 24.

The Hindoo College examination, immediately after breakfast, in the Marble Hall at Government House – prizes for the boys; and then they recited English poems, and acted scenes out of Shakespeare. There are forty-five of them, some of the very highest caste, and every respectable native in Calcutta comes to the show. The great shoe question makes a great heart-burning in society. Sir C. Metcalfe never allowed the natives to come with their shoes on. There is a large class here, who say the natives are now sufficiently well-informed to feel the degradation very sensibly, and who wish the natives to adopt European manners as much as possible. George has taken up that opinion, and the charm of being allowed to come before the Governor-General in shoes brought an immense concourse together – such quantities of new stiff European shoes, and many of the men seemed to find it difficult to walk in them. There were some splendid dresses among them, and some beautiful turbans, that would have made Madame Carson's fortune, but most of them were in white muslin dresses. It was much the prettiest sight I have seen in Calcutta, and the newspapers observed, 'it was delightful to see the intense interest the Miss Edens evinced in the recitations.' I am so glad we were intensely interested.

There are constantly little paragraphs about our manners, habits, and customs in the papers, and I cut some out that were very ridiculous to send the children, but I cannot find them.

At 2.30 P.M. we were obliged, by the state of the tide, to set off, but it was not very hot on the river. There had been a great deal of rain in the night – that made a great difference. Mr. Colvin and three of the 'Jupiter's' officers went with us. We all went out on the elephants as soon as we arrived: George and I, and Fanny – two on each. A delicious evening; the contrast with Calcutta more striking than ever.

Barrackpore, Friday, March 25.

George and I, and Captain Macgregor and Mr. Lay, went out riding. The horses saw the elephants for the first time, and were very frisky and disagreeable. Captain has the charge of the stables, and George requires twenty horses, but we have not been able to find more than thirteen yet, and he is in such a fuss when the horses are frisky and disagreeable.

Sir Edward and Lady Ryan, and their two daughters, came to stay till Monday. We had six officers from the cantonment at dinner.

Saturday, March 26.

Had a long talk with George about furnishing this house. It is in a wretched state, and Mr. 's armchair, which I intended for my own room, I have actually been obliged to lend to the drawing-room, where everybody makes a rush for it, it is so soft; indeed, the sofas are so wretchedly hard. Had afterwards an hour's talk with Captain Champneys on the same subject of furnishing, and. about our servants' liveries, and I think I shall have things smartened up in a little while. The furniture here is worse than that of any London hotel; but everything in India is so perishable that one year of neglect may reduce a house to the worst state.

Fanny rode to-day, and lent his horse to his friend Mr. Lay, and took a drive with me. The visitors, between boats, elephants, carriages, palanquins, all took care of themselves; and we mean to keep up that practice of letting our ladies amuse themselves in the afternoon – it saves so much trouble. We drove to the Military Burial Ground, where there are some very pretty picturesque monuments I wanted to sketch. It was a melancholy sight. There is poor Jeffrey Amherst's monument. We could not find one instance of a death later than twenty-five. Then the monuments are always erected by 'brother officers,' or a 'circle of friends,' and never by relations:
By stranger's hands his dying eyes were closed,
I could not help thinking. We are much too old to die in India evidently, so do not be alarmed about us.


Barrackpore, Sunday, March 27.

A very full church; not a good sermon. A beautiful cool day; and this place is really enjoyable in such weather, it smells so sweet, and looks so cheerful. George took Lady Ryan a drive, so Fanny and I rode with most of the gentlemen.

We took such a pretty ride through an Indian village, which was full of fun. Somehow it was one of their festivals, and there were crowds of them buying and selling, and thumping their drums, the only music they have. I see it will be easy to make the house pleasant to young ladies if we can find them. We have such a foundation of beaux to begin with, who naturally have to take care of the company. I am glad they like it. All the 'Jupiter's' people sail next week.

Monday, March 28.

All our party went up by water at 6 A.M. Fanny and I agreed to have a few hours more of it, and we are going to drive up in time for one of those tiresome large dinners. However, we shall be here again on Thursday, and our life is now laid out in that shape. Mondays and Wednesdays large dinners; on Tuesday evening Fanny and I shall receive anybody who likes to come, and it will be less fatiguing for all parties than morning visits, and will leave all our mornings clear, except Thursday morning, when we shall also be at home to everybody, and then from Thursday to Monday we shall always be here.

I wonder whether you will be able to read all this trash. I think you will; but unless I tell you more about myself than I should do at home you will know less. Now you see the routine of our life, I can make my next letter much shorter. This wants annotation and affection, as it is only facts, and not feelings; and you must not mind my inconsistency if some Monday morning I write you word I like India. I generally get used to any kind of life, but at present this is most detestable to me. I do assure you it makes me quite 'sick at my stomach' sometimes when the morning comes (and I wake very early from those tiresome guns), and I think I have another day to do. The rooms are so dark I cannot draw, and besides it is impossible to sit up on end long together, and then there are a thousand interruptions. We are always dressing, too, and though we thought we brought out so many gowns, I have not half enough.

I find it not at all unwholesome to think of home. I never think of anything else; and as for those little pictures I brought out, I should like to know what I should have been without them. I am having them framed now; but have kept them in my portfolio, that I might light upon them accidentally every time I write. Has Mr. ever thought of sending me his?

I mean to send you a small souvenir by the 'Jupiter,' but will write before, to say what it is; there is nothing so difficult to find. We are all on the search, all day long, and can find nothing but English and French goods. Some of the native ornaments are pretty, but nobody will wear them here, and I have written up to Dacca for some, but they will not be here in time, I am afraid. However, there are five long years before us. Do you feel as if we should ever meet again? Sometimes I think it will glide away somehow, and then it seems as if no human patience could last through it; and then, above all, we have had no letters since the first day, and may be a month more without a ship coming in. It is shocking, though at the same time I regularly cry for half a day after they come in. There was one stray one from Mary Eden ten days ago, but of the same date as yours that we found here.

We drove up in time for an immense dinner which we gave to the Commander-in-Chief. Miss Fane is again laid up with mosquito bites. Mrs. Fane and Mrs. Beresford were part of Sir Henry's party, and the most conversable of the ladies we have seen – a slight tinge of London topics about them, or at least of London readiness to talk. After dinner all the ladies sit in a complete circle round the room, and the gentlemen stand at the farther end of it. I do not suppose they would have anything to say if they met, but it would look better. Luckily it does not last long.

Tuesday, March 29.

Our day for morning visits. It is doubtful whether they are not more fatiguing than the dinners, but it is difficult to judge; they last longer. We gave a dinner to part of the 'Jupiter's' crew – the sailors who had acted, or who had sung in the evening to us, or who had assisted the servants, or who belonged to our barge. They came at five to a magnificent dinner – Giles presiding and Mars superintending. We all went down to see them, and the coxswain proposed 'Lord Auckland's health,' upon which another sailor said, 'and his two sisters', of course,' and then some of the others added, 'with three times three, at least,' and then George made them a little speech, and begged that they would not get more drunk than was quite necessary, at which they laughed very much and acted upon it. Mars said they went away, he thought, in excellent condition – not quite sober – which Captain Grey said they would think very stupid – and not quite drunk, which they agreed would be disrespectful. We had offered them money before, but they said they preferred dining at Government House to any other treat. After dinner they got together and wrote an excellent letter of thanks to George. I should have been puzzled to write so good a one before, or after dinner. The servants said they disputed very much as to whether it would be right to say, 'his kindness would never be eradicated from their hearts,' and that one man – their great singer – said that if they did not put in 'eradicated' he never would sing them another song.

George and I rode, and were joined by Captain Grey and Mr. D'Eyncourt.

Wednesday, March 30.

Quiet morning. Fanny rode and George and I took a drive. It was a shade cooler than usual. We had all the officers of the 'Jupiter' for their farewell dinner. Captain Grey left only three to take care of the ship. The sailors were heard to say they were glad the officers were to have a treat; they had left plenty for them – to be sure, they would only have scrapings – but then their dinner was just such a one as the king would have, so the remains would do very well for the officers.

Thursday, March 31.

I sent for Dr. Nicholson – the Doyen of the medical tribe here – to consult with him as to our private doctor; it is so impossible to find anyone here who would suit us exactly, and old Dr. Nicholson immediately suggested, as his own idea, Dr. Drummond of the 'Jupiter,' whom he heard we had liked very much. I told him all the difficulties that had been made about it, which he laughed at as quite needless, and went off to consult the proper authorities, and came back armed with precedents and proofs, so then I sent for George, and it seems likely it will do. It will be a great comfort, we all like him so much, and he is older than any other we could have found here. Dr. Nicholson knew him very well during the three years Dr. Drummond was stationed here before, and has the highest opinion of him, and he is very much liked in Calcutta by several people whom he attended the last time he was here.

The tide served to go up to Barrackpore, unluckily, in the middle of the day, and, like idiots, we went by water, instead of going up in the carriages in the evening. Even in the cabin, with every ray of sun and light shut out, and men to fan us, it was just like being packed up in a pinery. We shall never try that hour of the day again. Captain Grey and two of the midshipmen were the only people with us, as we left some of the aides-de-camp behind, and we expect a large party to-morrow. We found Mr. Pelham at Barrackpore. He set off a month before – two days after the 'Jupiter' arrived – to see Benares and Lucknow, 600 miles off. Travelling here goes on night and day, and is very fatiguing. Everybody who knew anything about India said it was madness, and that he would die of the heat and the fatigue, and see nothing curious, and so on. However, he took his own way, and is come back in better health than I have ever seen him, delighted with everything he has seen, and quite charmed at having disregarded everybody's advice. We all strolled out on the lawn at ten o'clock, greatly to the horror of the inhabitants of the land, and rather in a fright of the snakes ourselves. I kept a strict watch on Chance. Last week, when the Miss Ryans were here, their little dog was recovered from the mouth of a jackal, who had picked it up as a nice little morsel. Such a shocking idea! It would hurt Chance's pride as well as his little fat person. You have no idea what a horrible noise those jackals make at night.

Friday, April 1.

Captain , another aide-de-camp, arrived. They are all accoutred with the greatest precision, and like 'burnished sheets of living gold.' Sir H. Fane, and all his staff, came to dinner, and stay till Monday. Miss Fane has been again laid up for a fortnight by mosquito bites, and could not come.

Saturday, April 2.

All called at 5 A.M., and dressed as finely as we could for a review, which Sir Henry has graciously ordered for us, of seven native regiments. Our procession to the plain was a wonderful sight, between Sir Henry's followers and George's, and our carriages and the elephants. It would have made a beautiful drawing, only I can't draw in this country. A great many people drove up from Calcutta to see it. An infantry review is rather a dull sight, but this was striking, for the Sepoys seem to me to be much finer soldiers than our people, partly from being so tall and upright, and then that I am convinced that brown is the natural colour for man – black and white are unnatural deviations, and look shocking. I am quite ashamed of our white skins.

As for the Sepoys' soldiering I cannot speak, not knowing what they ought to do; but Sir H. Fane thinks them quite as good in all their exercises as English troops. We got home at half-past seven, when it was becoming very hot, and rested for an hour, then we had a large breakfast, and then Captain Grey and Mr. Pelham went back to Calcutta with some of the Calcuttians. Fanny and went out in the carriage, and I went in a tonjaun with George, who walked to the garden, and we sat down there till it was dusk. I tried to cheapen a beautiful common tame bird, which a man had in the park to sell, but he would not be the least reasonable about it. We had a dinner of forty people, officers and their wives, to meet Sir Henry, but it was all over in two hours.


Barrackpore, April 3.

I do not know whether this will turn into a letter; I merely wish to mention, that I have sent you two very ugly Chinese screens, which they reckon pretty here, because the patterns are new. The 'Jupiter' will take them, and at the same time will take home a regiment consisting of 480 men, 100 children, and women in proportion: all to inhabit our empty cabins. I suppose, as the thermometer will not be much above a hundred in the shade, that the prospect naturally gives Captain Grey the most unfeigned pleasure.

When we go up the country, I shall send you something really pretty, to show what our subjects can do. In Calcutta, there are only things that one gets in London, and at a fourth of the price, upon the same principle that nobody gets good fish near the sea. There is to be seen at our jeweller's a pearl, a single pearl set as a mermaid, with an enamelled head and a green tail, which I had some thoughts of buying and presenting to you. 40,000l. was all they asked for it; very cheap, the man said. A native prince pledged it for 8900,2001,8007,642 of rupees; that is about the sum he named. Now I wonder who would give 40,000l. for a single pearl. If ever there is a foolish thing to be done, somebody is always found to do it; but in this case, I wonder who?

I wrote to you three weeks ago all I had to say of my first impressions of the country, and I am glad that it is done; so probably are you. I shall not go back in our lives any more, beyond two or three days: it is quite enough to have to go forward. I should not wonder if you were asleep at five this morning; though your five in the morning is not ours. If ever we are active, that is our active time; so, this morning we got up out of our first sleep to review several regiments of Sepoys. The commander-in-chief is staying with us and prepared this little treat. All the black faces, relieved by scarlet, look remarkably well.

The up country people are really the finest I have seen anywhere, and they look like grander samples of soldiers than our white people; perhaps they don't fight so well.

They wanted me to go to the review on an elephant, but I knew better than that; for at the last review, one of them took fright, and trotted away, with its trunk striking out one way and its tail another. Now an elephant's trot must be like the heaving of an earthquake; however, our maids went upon one, and I could not help laughing at the unnatural positions in which, it seems to me, we are all somehow or other always placed. There are times, too, when I could cry about it. Everything is so utterly strange; so much more strange, even, than I had expected. Except our own selves, it does not seem to me that there is one link between this life and the life we have led. Not even letters, for no ships arrive.

Female intellect certainly does not flourish in India. There is a strong confederacy against allowing them to have any ideas; and it seems to me they have ceased struggling against it: however, at Calcutta we see so many, there is no time for discovering individual merit. I have my eye on one or two, perhaps; if we get them down here, they may turn out pleasant. The weather is growing hotter and hotter, and will for the next two months; then it will grow damper and damper. No milliner will sell silks or satins during these damp months, because they cannot expose them to the air. The waste and cost of every article of dress here is quite wonderful; but still the climate is not yet worse than I expected – rather better, in spite of heat and damp; for the house is not very hot, thanks to the punkahs. To be sure, the prisoners in Newgate have more liberty during the day, for they can, I believe, walk about the prison-yard and look out of their grated windows. From sunrise to sunset we are shut up, and the glare is too great to look out; our cells are more spacious, and we never stole, or murdered; that is the great difference; transported we were six months ago.

I've got such a paroquet! too pretty, and tame, and clever; even when most incensed, it does not bite; I'm very much distressed, because my jemadhar, whom the Europeans always address as Jemmy Darr wears a dagger, and no other person does. I think he will 'dag' me, which I gently suggested to Captain Byrne, who manages the household. He shook his head, and said there was no use in interfering about that; so he means to let me be 'dagged.'

Yours, dearest, most affectionately.



Monday, April 4.

On board the 'Soonamookie' at half past six, and it was deliciously cool all the way to Calcutta. There is no doubt that these early hours are the real good hours of the day, if it did not make one feel so hang-dogish in the afternoon; but a stifling sleep then – even if to be had – does no earthly good.

The whole morning, Government House was like a fair. We were buying shawls and muslins and fans, partly to send to England ourselves, and I was employed by Captain Grey and Mr. Pelham and others, to buy for them presents to take home. There is nothing tempting in Calcutta, except shawls of forty or fifty guineas each – out of everybody's reach – and a few Chinese things, which are only to be had occasionally.

Captain Grey and Mr. Pelham dined with us, and we all went to the play. The house was very full, and we were received with great applause; but whether that means that George has begun his government well, or that they were obliged to us for our punctuality (as we arrived to a minute and kept nobody waiting) is more than I know. The actresses are professional people; but all the actors are amateurs, and not very good. 'Timour the Tartar' was got up with great magnificence. Fanny and I came away at ten, but George sat it all out.

Wednesday, April 6.

Fanny and I went to do our duty to the Native Orphan School, and listened to all the classes saying their Catechism with great decorum. We gave our own subscription, and I made over 5l., left by Mr. Pelham for some charity, to this one as there can be none better managed.

We all dined at Sir E. Ryan's. George's dining out is a great affair; and all his people, with silver sticks and servants to stand behind our chairs, were sent down in boats some time before, that they might be ready to meet us. Fanny's servants and mine had even taken the precaution to bring the footstools we have at home, and carried them after us into the drawing-room, and then in to dinner, as quietly as possible. It was the pleasantest dinner I have seen in India; not a large dinner, and Sir E. Ryan is a very pleasant man.

Thursday, April 7.

The 'Jupiter' could not get out of sight yesterday, but is fairly gone to-day; I am very sorry for it. We had become really acquainted with the officers, which is more than we shall be with anybody here; and if they did not really like us (you know my system of not asserting that I have a friend), they all said they did; and for five months, or indeed six now, they have all been doing what they could to please us; and now it seems as if our best friends had forsaken us, as if the carriage had driven off and left us. It is a horrid place to be left in. I thought the physical discomforts of the ship very great, but then I did not know what this oven was. I would have given anything to have gone home in the 'Jupiter,' I could not bear to hear all those people saying that they should be at home in September – nice autumn weather, and the month with your birthday in it – and several of them asked if they should go and see you, Robert, &c. They have no right to go, when I cannot see you; and to think that we have not yet been here five weeks! I should think it ought to count for the whole five years.

The tide served late, and we went up to Barrackpore by water. We are repairing and furnishing, and cannot have much company. Dr. Drummond came to stay with us to-day.

Saturday, April 9.

Some of the officers of the 'Rose' came before breakfast, to stay till Monday. I arranged with Captain Champney's assistance, a sort of morning-room for the gentlemen, because I found that those who had nothing to do in their own bungalows strayed into my sitting-room, and it is surprising how small a show of fellow-creatures tires me in this climate. Went out on elephants. I rode with Captains Macgregor and Barrow, and borrowed 'Jupiter,' one of the young horses we brought from the Cape, which knocked him off the instant he got on. It was an unlucky day for riding: Captain Macgregor's horse slipped down; then we were out late, and 'Selim,' my particular horse, had never been ridden in the dark before; he is very young, and between fire-flies and the beating of the drums – for it was a great Hindoo festival – he got so frightened that nothing would induce him to move. The instant daylight ceases here it grows pitch dark, so that it was necessary to grope our way home, one of the guards leading 'Selim,' and we were very glad when we met the lanterns they had sent out to meet us. Of course they had settled that we had met with all sorts of accidents. We had eight Barrackporeans to dinner.

Sunday, April 10.

A quiet day. George and I passed an hour in the garden; there are some beautiful plants in it, and I am going to have a little garden of my own made close by the house. There are no flowers near it now.

Calcutta, Tuesday, April 12.

We have all our mornings very quiet now; rode in the evening. We had our first party this evening, and it did very well, I believe. It looked very tiresome to an impartial observer, but as they all seem to know each other, I suppose it has its merits. The society here is quite unlike anything I have ever seen before. The climate accounts for its dulness, as people are too languid to speak; but the way in which whole families plod round and round the great hall, when they are not dining, is very remarkable. The whole of this evening it looked like a regiment marching round, and helping their wives along. In general, people at home like to meet strangers when they go out; but here, all near connections take it as an affront if they are not asked to dinner the same day. It is all very pleasant, and very superior to anything I have been used to; but it is rather odd.

Wednesday, April 13.

George and I took a nice long drive, farther out of the town than we have been yet; but the heat has been awful the last three days, the thermometer at 95° in many of the houses at Calcutta. Government House, from its size and situation, has cooler corners in it: but it is an abominable climate. Another dinner of forty-four people.

Thursday, April 14.

We received visitors in the morning, and had rather a more talkative set than usual. The servants all went early by water. We waited for a cooler moment to go by land. was going to drive Dr. Drummond in his gig, and I changed places with Dr. Drummond, so as to allow George a front place in the open carriage, which is the best chance of a breath of air. A gig is a very good conveyance here, the air blows so well through it; but we had an adventurous journey. The horse had sent on to the half-way house had been picked up by one of the other aides-de-camp, so we went on with the tired one; and then there came one of the storms of thunder and lightning that break up this hot weather; charming inventions, but rather awkward to be out in. It was so dark in one moment that we could only move on by each flash of lightning; and all of a sudden we found a horse's head between our shoulders, which was the advanced guard of Captain Fagan, who was also driving himself down, and had run against us. From flash to flash we got on, and then 's eyes got tired of staring for the road through the lightning, and Captain Fagan had never come by land before, so we drew up, hoping to be overtaken by the carriage and to borrow some of the guard. Then we grew tired of waiting luckily for us, as the carriage had turned off by a by-road, and got in before us. I knew several landmarks, and conducted safely to the Lodge, much to his surprise, as he got quite confused at last, and insisted upon it that we had got into the northern provinces, a great way up the country. Lights met us there, and so we got home; but these are the sort of petty events that make one feel so thoroughly in 'a strange land.' The storms are so loud while they last, and there is no help at hand. We passed through one little mud village and asked for a 'mussautcher,' that is, a man with a torch; but they said there were none living there, and none of the other men would have carried a torch for any sum of money, if we had asked it.

Friday, April 15.

A nice cool day after the storm, and no sun yet; you cannot imagine the relief of it. It would be a burning day in England, but a great comfort here. George and I went to the garden at 4.30, the first time we have been out so early; and then we all rode. Mrs. Colvin came down this time.

Saturday, April 16.

George and I drove to the powder mills – rather a pretty airing, and we had our usual dinner party.

Monday, April 18.

Went down to Calcutta at six in the morning by water. We were there before eight, but were all done up by the heat. At six in the evening, when the sun went down, Fanny and I went out airing in hopes of a breeze, which generally comes up the river after sunset, but it lost its way to-day, and it was very much like driving through hothouses. Our postilions appeared in their new liveries, which are very magnificent – all scarlet and gold, and the Syces in theirs; there is one to each horse, and nothing can look more stately than it all does now. I never shall be used to seeing those men running by the side of the horses; but in the first place they would starve if they did not, and the horses – sensible animals! – grow so fractious in this country that it is very dangerous to go out without these running footmen. We tried riding without them, but found we were not safe from other people's horses. A large dinner again. I had been feeling poorly, and choked all day, and was particularly breathless all through dinner, and thought I must have gone away from it. However I finished it off, and then knocked up and went to bed.

Tuesday, April 19, and Wednesday 20.

Two bad days of fever and sickness, &c. Dr. Drummond is very attentive, and seems to be a very good doctor. The heat was excessive, but I had luckily had a punkah put up in my bed the day I was taken ill, and so I lay there without stirring for two days with the punkah going night and day. It hangs so close to one's face that it keeps off the mosquitoes as well as creates a breeze; but an attack of fever is no joke in this country.

On Wednesday evening I had a sofa put out on my balcony, and was moved there, and George very good-naturedly gave up his airing and sat with me for two hours.

Thursday, April 21.

Bad night, but got up in the middle of the day, and Dr. Drummond thinks I shall be all the better for a change to Barrackpore. Miss Fane (Sir Henry's daughter) is going there with us. George and I went quite late in the open carriage, and I went to bed as soon as I arrived.

Friday, April 22.

George has settled with Miss Fane to stay here next week with me and Dr. Drummond, when he and all the others go back to Calcutta, which is an excellent scheme of his, though dull for her. I took a short airing with her in the evening by way of making acquaintance, but was done up by the drive.

Saturday, April 23.

Pray do you find much inconvenience from the Mohurrum Festival? I little thought how much annoyance the death of Hossein, grandson of Mahomet, would occasion me. It is the Mohometan Festival of the year, and lasts ten days, and besides the eternal beatings of their infernal tom-toms, or ill-tuned drums, all the servants want to go away for five days, and here, where no man will take another man's business for a day, it is difficult to know what to do.

George's head man and mine are the only two amongst the whole three hundred who speak English. It does not matter when the aides-de-camp are at hand to interpret: but when they all go back to Calcutta, Dr. Drummond, Miss Fane, and I shall be puzzled. Mr. Colvin was paying me a visit this evening in my room, and all my servants took the opportunity of his being there to interpret, to come in and ask leave to go for five days. The Bengalees are the most servile race in India, and it is impossible to resist their crouching down with clasped hands and begging voices, so I told the jemadar to let them all go, only to make them take it by turns, and his answer was so oracular that I do not know how it will end. 'Yes, Ladyship,' (they call us so, from Lady W. Bentinck), 'I will make arrangements what will exclude myself. Five days is no objection, only if Ladyship is sick, Captain Byrne very angry if anybody leave her.' George's servant writes and reads, which is a very unusual accomplishment, and the other day George got a note from him: 'My Lord's Nazir have very bad stomach pain' (it was a stronger word than stomach). 'Native doctor give him much physic. I cannot wait on my Lord to-day. Nazir.' Mine came to me the other morning, saying, 'Ladyship, Beebee Wright wish to borrow me for half hour. She no make washerwoman understand,' so I gave Beebee Wright the loan of him.


Government House, Wednesday, April 1836.

MY DEAREST , There are two or three ships going off within three or four days of each other, so we are sending a few letters by each, and I have no doubt that the first will be last, and so on.

We have sent in the 'Jupiter' a box full of little trifling things such as we could pick up, and there is a very small Japan box for you, not the least attractive; but a China ship arrived this week with little knick-knacks, and as Calcutta produces nothing indigenous to the soil, and we are not allowed to go shopping, we were obliged to put up with what we could get. I suppose, in time, we shall see tempting articles, and then we shall have received a little money to buy them with; but they say, in fact, we shall not see anything pretty till we go up the country. Nobody in Calcutta will look at anything that is not either French or English; but for the sake of example, I am already going to devote myself exclusively to Chinese silks and native jewelry whenever I want anything new. The prices here are too absurd: they charge entirely by the precedence of the house they go to, and the scale is very much, ten shillings at Government House for what is nine to members of Council, eight to the rest of the society, and so on, till a native gets the same article for one. It is very provoking, and utterly incurable.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, Wednesday, April 27.

I am sometimes quite fidgetty as to the bore that a large package may be to you. I wish you would tell me really what you think. You know you may always read the cover first, as that tells you the last day that we are all well, and then read the rest by degrees. It is the only thing I write with any zest, as the difficulty of composing a single letter grows greater every day, as we have done our general descriptions, and there are no particulars that interest anybody at home.

I am quite well again to-day, and as there are only five, or at the most, six more weeks of this very hot weather, I expect to get through it without any more attacks. Then the rains will begin, and though they are hot, it is a different kind of heat.

I sent you, by the 'Jupiter,' two Chinese screens with raised figures, at least one of them I think had raised figures. I thought them pretty and new, which is not the case with most things at Calcutta.

Yours affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, Thursday, April 28.

I sent off my packet to you per 'Hindoostan,' and also a letter to Sister. Miss Fane stayed with me till 6 P.M., and then went back to Calcutta and met George, &c., on the road down. I drove to meet them in the open carriage, but after waiting in the road till it was dark, I came back, not being able to explain to either of the six men who were with me what I was waiting for, and thinking they might suppose I was gone mad and put me out of my pain. It certainly is tiresome not being able to speak the language of the country one lives in, but as for attempting to learn their gibberish I can't. I get such horrible fits at times (particularly when I am driving out) of thinking that we are gone back to an entirely savage state, and are at least 3000 years behind the rest of the world. I take all the naked black creatures squatting at the doors of their huts in such aversion, and what with the paroquets, and the jackals, and the vultures, which settle in crowds on the dead bodies that are thrown on the banks of the river, and what with the climate and the strange trees and shrubs, I feel all Robinson Crusoe-ish. I cannot abide India, and that is the truth, and it is almost come to not abiding in India. When I think, what I thought of a long sea-voyage, and yet look back upon it as pleasant compared to this life, and when I long to go in every little brig that goes down the river homeward-bound, I can only calculate how strong my aversion must be to 'the land we live in.' I suppose it is partly not feeling well, and partly the fidget for letters; but nobody can be happy in such a climate. Everybody says it is one of the hottest hot seasons they have ever known; but then again they say that the same remark is made of every hot season.

We live in complete darkness, and that does not make life more cheerful, though it makes it a little cooler.

Friday, April 29.

Archdeacon Dealtry arrived. He is reckoned an excellent preacher, and is a very good man.

We receive visits always on Friday at Barrackpore from ten till twelve.

George and I took a drive. We have got several new wild beasts at the menagerie, and some very pretty birds.

Saturday, April 30.

One of the hottest days we have had.

In the evening and Fanny went out in his gig, and I was carried in a chair to the garden, to which George, 'the reedeculous strong cretur!' walked, and we sat there by the side of a large pond, or small lake, watching the fish and making Chance swim, and expecting a breath of air, but it never came, so we went home again.

As we passed by 's bungalow we found him and all the rest of the household sitting in front of it smoking. Two chairs at least to each man, and some trying to be more comfortable by putting their feet on the table. Their hookahbadeers (I do not know how to spell any of their words) were squatting behind them, and their grooms leading their horses about, as it was too hot to ride. 'What a crowd!' I naturally observed. 'Just look at home!' said, and I found that George and I, for our quiet walk, had fifteen men gliding after us; our own two head servants (who never lose sight of us), two men with umbrellas, a black gardener, eight palanquin-bearers with their head man, and Chance's servant, skipping about after him.

I found out the other day that Chance, without telling me, had hired another valet, because his man did not like going backwards and forwards to Barrackpore: so I was obliged to represent to him that he never would make his fortune in five years if he went on in that kind of way, and that it would be very hard upon Mrs. Chance, who was probably slaving at home to bring up the 'Miss Chances' in a decent manner, and he was very reasonable and gave up Sookie, and has made it a rule that Jimhoa is to be always with him.

We had company at dinner.

Sunday, May 1.

One of the clergy accosted me when I went into the breakfast-room this morning with, 'Pray, Miss Eden, are you aware that your motties are at work this morning?' 'I am very much shocked,' said I; 'but who are my motties?' (I thought of you at the time.) 'Why, the gardeners,' he said. I thought it safe to deny the fact, but unluckily they all began picking away with their pickaxes under the window, so that I said I would mention it to Lord Auckland when he came, and that he would speak to his motties forthwith; but the instant I mentioned it as a shocking fact, Captain , who reigns despotically here, said that of course they were at work, that they were more than half of each week absent at their own religious festivals, and that they would starve if they were not allowed to work the days that they thought it lawful; and that shocked the reverend gentleman. So how it is to end I do not know, nor can I make out what is right, but I think the motties might be starved.

Monday, May 2.

Went down to Calcutta by water, and excused myself going to breakfast; laid down for two hours, and was not so tired as usual, but the heat is insufferable. In my sitting-room with the doors and windows closed, except one where there is a tattie (a rush mat which covers the whole window, and which is kept constantly wet, so that the hot wind may blow cool through it) with a large punkah constantly going – in short, with all the wretched palliatives that they call luxuries. The thermometer stood at 94° the whole day. I never can read, nor breathe, nor do anything but lie and think what a detestable place it is. In the lower floors of the house the thermometer was 4° lower; but the ground-floor is supposed to be unwholesome, and besides there are no rooms for us there.

Tuesday, May 3.

I have been thinking with envy of the dear little chimney-sweepers knickety-knocketing their shovels about the streets at home all this week, and I see you with your open carriage boiling over with children giving them halfpence, and begging them not to be run over. 'I, too, once gave halfpence to chimney-sweepers,' as the man said who had lived in Arcadia.

There was a charity meeting to-day at a new school, called 'La Martinière,' to which Fanny and I were duly summoned, and we went off at six in the evening, grudging the loss of our drive, but willing to give up everything in a good cause. We found in the suburbs a building as big as St. Paul's, with twelve small babies of orphans playing in a play-ground. Our own servants found us a way upstairs, and forced open a door that was called the 'Ladies' committee room,' and we sat down by ourselves. Presently Sir H. Fane and Miss Fane arrived, and then another lady, and we all sat looking at each other for half an hour, and then Sir H. Fane wisely advised us to go away and take our drive, which we did. As three ladies are enough to make a committee, we might have passed a mild resolution not to leave one stone of La Martinière standing on another; but we refrained, and it turned out afterwards that the secretary has quarrelled with the ladies, and so neither came nor sent any papers. It is very natural and right to quarrel, but very wrong to make people drive two miles away from the waterside, and mount up to the top of a large house for nothing. However, our being tired did not much matter to-day. George and and Captain Byrne dined at Mr. Macaulay's, from which process we had excused ourselves, and nobody dined at home but Captain Chads and two of the aides-de-camp. All our English servants went to a concert; they lead such a shocking dull life we are glad to find any amusement for them.

Wednesday, May 4.

Captain Richardson, the head of the Hindoo College, brought a little native boy to sit to me for his picture. He is a son of one of the highest caste natives, and splendidly dressed. His pearl and emerald necklaces might have tempted one to burke him, only he was such a pretty little thing, and it would have been a pity. He was very anxious to have it explained to me, that his jewels were all his own and not his father's, and he begged to have all his bracelets introduced into the picture. All the natives have beautiful hands and feet, and they show particularly well in these high-born little children. He would not eat anything in our house, and at the college servants of his own sect always come and feed him.

George and I took a hot drive in the evening, and we had a small easy dinner, which we mean to have every Wednesday. The Trevelyans and Mr. Macaulay, and a Captain and Mrs. Cockerell.

Thursday, May 5.

The heat was intolerable everywhere, but more especially in our rooms; the thermometer was at 95° very early, and I did not dare look in the afternoon. How Lord William did take us in! It is such a much worse climate than even its enemies said. This state of things is to last another month: I can hardly imagine how the people are to last so long. It was our visiting morning too. Lady was the only consolatory fact among our visitors; she has been twenty-two years in India, looks remarkably fresh and well, rides every day full canter, and declares she has been as happy as the day is long, all the time, and the days are immensely long I assure you. Sir has never had a day's health in the meantime.

We came up to Barrackpore late, by land.

Friday, May 6.

I really wonder if dancing makes people cooler, or whether the people here indulge in a natural taste for exercise, knowing they cannot be hotter. If I could ascertain its cooling properties, I should set off forthwith in some wild odd figures of a highly saltatory description; but the fact is, we are not yet old enough to dance here. George I suppose in another year or two may begin.

You have no idea the odd applications that are made to be asked to the dinners and parties at Government House, not from any compliment to us, but alleging that it is a sort of public property, and that they choose to come. And the thermometer is at 90° all night, and we could have lived in England. Curious world! I cannot help thinking the next will not be the very least like this.

Saturday, May 7.

Played at chess all morning with Mr. Shakespear, and beat him. Went out on the elephant with George, to see the new baboon and some monkeys of great merit.

Sunday, May 8.

Fanny and went out in his gig, and George and I rode up and down by the waterside, on the elephant, till near dinner-time. It was rather cooler than last night, and there is something dreamy and odd in these rides when the evening grows dark. There is a mosque and a ghaut at the end of our park, where they were burning a body to-night; and there were bats, as big as crows, flying over our heads. The river was covered with odd-looking boats, and a red copper-coloured sky bent over all; and then the man who walks by the elephant's side talks to him all the time in a low argumentative tone, telling him to take care he does not hurt his feet, and that there is a hole here and a rising ground there; and they mention it all so confidentially that I never made out till to-day that they were talking to him.

If I die in India, I should rather like my body burnt; it is much the best way of disposing of it, and insects are so troublesome here in life, that I should like to trick them out of a feast afterwards.

Monday, May 9.

We set off half-an-hour earlier than usual, and, from the strength of the tide, were three hours going down to Calcutta, and did not arrive there till nine. It was very fatiguing, and we shall hardly try it again.

No letters! and not a single ship to be seen in the river. This is very shocking! The 'Larkins' was the last arrival from England, and she has now been gone six weeks on her return home. They say it is the first time such a thing has happened; but they say also it is the first hot season they have had. Poor deluded creatures! Eight-and-twenty of them dined with us; but it is our last very large dinner for the season, and as the 'Rejected Addresses' says, 'in a cup of broth – mind, I do not vouch for the fact, but I have been told, that – the scum must be at the top, and the dregs at the bottom.' We have swallowed scum and dregs, but I missed the broth.

Tuesday, May 10.

Captain Richardson brought my small Rajah to have his picture finished. He was prettier than ever, and more Eastern in all his ways; nodding or shaking his head to his servant to express his wishes, but scarcely ever speaking, except once about his bracelets. He makes a very pretty picture.

George and I took a slow drive, which always makes a hot one; but it is impossible to make the syces run this weather for long together, and the horses are so irritable we cannot go without the men to take care of them.

We dined alone, and had one of our parties in the evening. They are much less tiring than a great dinner, and very popular. There were nearly 300 people this evening. They came at 9; almost all of them danced, without stopping, for two hours, and they were all gone at 11.15. It was cool for the sitters-by in the great hall.

Wednesday, May 11.

There was such a good set of American editions of English books advertised to-day, that I sent off forthwith and bought Mrs. Butler's Journal and Theresa Lister's novel, 'Anne Grey,' and one of Lady Morgan's novels and another book, all for ten rupees; and George grumbles at them every time he picks one off the table; but as we are cut off from English editions and from all other amusement, I am thankful for these. I tried at an English shop for some books, and they asked 2l. for Poole's 'Scenes and Recollections,' and 3l. for the commonest novels in three vols. They have no French novels. I wish, if Mr. Rice has an odd copy of the 'Marquis de Pontanges,' and any other recommendable French books, you would buy them and send them out to me.

We had only three gentlemen at dinner to-day, who were fresh arrivals from the interior, and more talkative than the Calcuttians.

Thursday, May 12.

Several visitors, but all gentlemen. No lady could come out. Even the oldest Indians own to being a little too hot. We came up to Barrackpore very late by land.


Government House, May 22, 1836.

We have had some letters up to January 27th, and ships now are coming in two and three in a day. It is always the case at this time of the year, but the long blank that precedes this delicious rush of letters is frightful. However, the rush makes up for it all, and the letters come dropping in, at all hours of the day, in such a particularly pleasing manner! I did not think I could have been so happy in this country as I have been all this week studying those letters; they are even more valuable than I expected them to be. Nobody laughs in this languid country – at least not publicly; but I put this Indian habit at defiance over my English letters, and take such comfortable giggles by myself over them that the respectable individuals who are sitting cross-legged at my door would evidently think, if they dared to think at all, that I was slightly cracked.

There is such a delightful storm going on this afternoon! I presume the world was grown so hot that it has blown up, for the thunder is rattling about in the wildest manner; but I am afraid it will not rain enough to cool us, and I am rather cured of my wish for rain. We had a pelting shower yesterday, and were charmed for an hour, and then the steam began to rise from the hot ground, and it was more difficult to breathe than before.

The only incident of last week that would have amused you was the reception of a vakeel, or ambassador, from one of the great native princes. It was a burning hot day, and George and his whole household had to put themselves into full-dress immediately after breakfast, which is no joke with the thermometer at 94°. We filled the ball-room with guards, the band, &c., and then there arrived – first, fifty of the vakeel's servants with baskets on their heads containing fruits, preserves, lovely barley-sugar, and sugar plums, &c.; then, a silver howdah for an elephant (something like an overgrown coffin lined with common velvet); then five silver trays containing shawls that made one's mouth water, and gold stuffs that would have made unparalleled trains at a drawing-room, and then a tray full of such bracelets! and such armlets! and such ornaments for the head! and one necklace of such immense pearls and emeralds! All these were spread on a carpet before George's sort of throne. We were all peering out of the window to see the vakeel's procession, which was very picturesque and theatrical; and as soon as he came to the door, Fanny and I hid ourselves behind some pillars; for the natives look upon those valuable articles, women, with utter scorn. George sat majestically down in his velvet chair; the aides-de-camp began to fan themselves with their cocked-hats; 150 of our servants, who have all been smartened up with new liveries, arranged themselves behind George; and the aides-de-camp went to hand in the vakeel and his secretary. It was great fun to see walking gravely up the ball-room, in his splendid uniform, hand in hand with this old black creature, who was in a scarlet turban, with a white muslin gown very short waisted, with tight long sleeves and a full short petticoat and no shoes and stockings; for you are to know that though the present magnanimous Governor-General has allowed the natives to come to his levees and our balls with their shoes on, yet this extreme condescension is so unusual that, on these great occasions, he cannot indulge the humane propensities of his magnificent mind; so whenever he spreads his carpet the natives are bound to take off their shoes, and on this sublime occasion he did spread at least four yards of Venetian carpeting. They sat down opposite George, with the foreign secretary between them, who interpreted, in a loud slow tone, all the little questions that were asked. Amongst others, he asked if they had seen Calcutta? and they said, 'Now we have seen your generous presence, we wish to see nothing else.' After ten minutes of that sort of discourse they were handed off. The fruits were given to our servants, and the shawls, necklaces, &c., were instantly carried away by the private secretary, for the good of the company. We did not even get a taste of barley-sugar, which, for want of emeralds, I could have put up with.

There was a rajah who came to visit Fanny and me one day, and he was not dressed like these people, but had two long diamond necklaces on, of the largest diamonds I have ever seen, with an immense ruby locket. He gave us some beautiful parrots, and monkeys and sloths for our menagerie, which nobody can take away from us.

Your most affectionate,

E. E.


Barrackpore, June 11, 1836.

MY DEAREST MARY, – We sent off yesterday to the 'Tamerlane,' which sails in a few days, a most important box addressed to the care of Captain Grindlay, containing all sorts of odds and ends addressed to various people; and, amongst others, there is a small parcel for you, which will puzzle you unless this explanation precedes it. Your Willie, in his letter to me, asked 'How is your black maid?' and I told Rosina one of my little nephews had written to ask after her. Besides a mysterious veneration for a letter, which all natives have, the idea of being asked after by a little English boy and my nephew, quite enchanted her. She is very much (as all the uneducated natives are) like a child of three years old in feelings and intellect, and she asked to see Willie's letter, and to be shown her name, and she, of course, turned it topsy-turvy, and kissed it and cried over it, and then went all over the house to tell all the servants that a little English boy, the Lord Sahib's nephew, had written about her; and the next day she carne to my room with a worked petticoat for the little boy's mamma, and another for him. I told her that he did not wear frocks, and then she said it was to be for the eldest little girl; and then I told her that, as I could not take any presents, I would buy them of her, and tell you what she had meant to do; but she would not hear of that, but stood salaaming and beseeching – 'No, lady, me no like that. Me send little boy's mamma frock and sister frock, and then English ladies say "Where you get those pretty frocks," and they say "Poor Rosina send them," so nice, Please, lady, send them.'

I have given her a gown since, so it all comes to the same end; but if you had an idea how much natives in general think of spending the smallest fraction of a rupee, and how their whole talk consists of saving pice and annas, or farthings and halfpence, you would be as much surprised at her offering as I am. I do not know what you can do with your petticoat it is so ugly; but it will make a toilet-cover. I have sent you a pair of silver earrings, made as the natives wear them, and a little pair of silver bracelets for Emily. They bend into any shape. About ten of these bracelets on each arm are literally the only clothes worn by the native children till they are seven or eight years old, with perhaps a silver chain round each ankle; and when they are married, which they are at five, or six years old, a large gold ring is put through the noses of the little girls.

I wish I could find anything to send Willie, but I shall in time. I could find heaps of beautiful birds; but, except a friend would offer to take charge of one on the voyage, they are sure to die. However, I shall watch for an opportunity of sending him a pet, probably a lory. I have had a goat given me that is too handsome – an immense creature with white silk hair half a yard and more long. It stalks upstairs and into my room, and is a nice good-humoured animal. If he had not been a present from a near neighbour I should have liked to send him home. He does not smell at all, and is accustomed to carry children on his back.

We had rather a lively afternoon yesterday. We came here this week quite alone, and settled to ask nobody all the week, and to wear our common coloured gowns, and not to talk all the morning, and to enjoy little luxuries of that sort, and to have a juggler with snakes; and, above all, to drag one of the large ponds in the park, which we did, and I had not an idea there were so many and such large fish in the Ganges as came to land in the net – such varieties, and thousands of small fish!

Fish is the only thing, except rice, that the natives will eat, and this is the only time I have ever seen our servants excited. There were about two hundred of them round the pond begging for fish, and the instant Captain Byrne gave them leave to help themselves the scramble began; and it was great fun to see some of them running off with great fish three feet long, and others, who could not pick up more than a gudgeon, scolding and gesticulating; and there was Chance yapping about in the water after every fish that escaped, and 's tame otter helping himself, and the elks standing wondering what we were doing to their pond. All last night were little fires round the house with the servants cooking their treasure.

We are longing for the rains, which must begin in a week they say, and the preparation for them is awful – such steamy heat!

We are all well.

My new garden will be lovely whenever the rains come.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Thursday, June 17.

Fanny and went to Barrackpore in his gig. George and I made a very original plan for ourselves. We drove to the Cossipore Bridge – you know where that is. You have passed it fifty times in your drives, only you never observe anything; and there we found Captains Champneys and Macgregor with our riding-horses, on which we mounted. Sent the carriage on to the half-way house, whereunto we explored our way by by-paths, much to our edification. We then got into the carriage, the gentlemen into their cabriolets, and we arrived at Barrackpore for a late dinner.

Friday, June 18.

Dr. Drummond killed a snake in his bungalow, Captain Macgregor ditto, and Mars killed a very large one in his bedroom in one hour. Very shocking!

George and I took a ride, which was cut short by rain. Dr. Wallich arrived with quantities of more plants for my garden. I was up at five planting it, and in bed again at half-past six.

Saturday, June 19.

We dragged another of the tanks, and just as the net came to land it broke, and hundreds of fish rushed back into the water. It was rather a good thing, for though the last distribution was conducted on the most liberal system, the servants were all jealous, and the susceptible feelings of the tailors were hurt by their being forgotten altogether.

Tuesday, June 22.

I went out visiting, for the first time, after breakfast; and, awfully hot as it was, I went to Mrs. Trevelyan to get her to arrange with some embroiderers from Dacca to embroider a gown in coloured silk for me. I have engaged two Dacca men by the month. They come into the house, settle their frame in my passage, just fornent the tailors, and sit on the ground and work all day. Their work is more beautiful than is desirable for a gown; but they cannot be persuaded to work coarser silks.

We have put off our party this evening, as we have the king's ball next Monday; and though these balls and parties are all quite delightful (and, for my own part, I can only regret that they do not occur every evening) yet you know that other people might have too much of even such very good society.

Wednesday, June 23.

Miss Fane came when Sir Henry came to Council, and brought one of their jemidars, whose picture she wanted for her album. He is a Hindoo, and not a Mussulman, which most of our servants are, and of high caste, which is marked by quantities of gold leaf on his foreHead; and he wears a dagger in his belt, and stands in a grand, swaggering position, and altogether he made rather a good drawing. We dined at Mrs. Shakespear's, and met the Fanes and a few others.

The Calcutta houses seem so small after Government House, and it was a dreadfully hot night.

Thursday, June 24.

We do not go up to Barrackpore this week, as the servants are busy preparing for the ball. has set up a small pony-carriage, and now the rain has made the unwatered roads passable, we find out very pretty drives through lanes and by-roads.

Calcutta is altogether (in the part of it inhabited by Europeans) very like the houses in St. John's Wood; and the drives, barring their being utterly flat, are very pretty, when the weather allows of going off the watered road. We took a beautiful drive in the pony-carriage to-day, and came back by the Kidderpore School, where the orphan girls of Europeans are brought up; and when a tradesman or a noncommissioned officer wants a wife he goes there and chooses one. Formerly he used to choose after a single interview; but, I believe, now it is more delicately managed.

Friday, June 25.

George and I drove to the salt-water lake, about four miles off, through some odd, wild-looking villages, and the lake itself looks like an unfinished bit of creation before the land and sea were put into their proper places.

Sunday, June 27.

We went to the old church: this is only the third Sunday we have passed in Calcutta. They give, by order of the bishop, the whole morning service here. It is much too long for the climate. At Barrackpore it is usually much shorter; but we had a good sermon from the archdeacon, and lived through it all. George and I took a ride in the evening.

Monday, June 28.

A quiet morning. and I went out 'exploring' in his pony-carriage, and lost ourselves, and came out on the high-road five miles from Government House, nearly at dinner time; but we made great discoveries in the way of mosques, and tanks full of lotus, and 'noble savages running wild through the woods,' and as we believe no European ever drove through these lanes before, we thought of putting up our pocket-handkerchiefs on some sticks, and of taking possession of the country; but I know that foolish East India Company would be always fidgetting about our little territories if we made them prosper, so it is as well to say nothing about them.

We dressed after dinner, and at 10 P.M. the company began to arrive, and at quarter past we marched in, in state, with a guard of honour at the end of the ball-room, who drew their swords and nearly cut us down, I believe. However, we escaped, and then the Commander-in-Chief arrived.

We had several very oddly dressed native princes. One enormous man – a nephew of the King of Oude, only twenty-seven, and very like the pictures of Daniel Lambert; and this immense expanse of person was dressed in a thick gold brocade. He would have made a handsome piece of furniture in a large house. The Vakeel came in state, and as he has never been in European society much before, he proposed bringing his three hundred guards up into the ball-room with him, and was with great difficulty persuaded out of it. We went to supper at twelve, and then had an English country dance, and they were all gone before two.


June 30.

I want another letter from you, dear, sadly. I wonder whether I shall ever get it. I just now discovered a monster of a fishy-looking insect inside the glass of that print of you, beginning to eat you up. Insects, here, have a real love for pictures; if I had not discovered that greedy, and I may say, malicious creature, in three more days you would have been eaten up.

Now here's a thing! I thought four of the aides-de-camp looked pale at breakfast this morning, and it appears that there is a report that the Chitpore Nawâb was not asked to the ball we gave last week in honour of our beloved Monarch's birthday. You must at once see what a thing that would be. I clare say it has never happened to you, to overlook a Chitpore Nawâb. I'm sure I never missed one when you gave a party. You do things so cleverly. I hope that Chitpore won't declare war upon us; in fact I hardly know what to hope, or what to fear; for I don't know where Chitpore is. Probably we have taken possession of it, and meant to pay for it with an invitation to the ball; which seems to me the terms on which we stand with most of the Nawâbs and Rajahs here. The Chitpore Nawâb shall have a ball given on purpose for him, and as he must be shocked at seeing women dance, George and his suite shall run over Pansot's hornpipe.

We have been out riding this evening, and besides being subjected to a thunderstorm and a shower, we met, in a narrow lane, thirty-three elephants. Half a minute of a shower, here, does the work of drenching so effectually: the effect is like taking a shower-bath on a large scale, horse and all. As to thirty-three elephants and their drivers in a narrow lane; if it should ever happen to you to meet with them about E, you'll find that it's pretty unpleasant. None are allowed to come within a certain distance of Calcutta, because nine horses out of ten rear and plunge at the sight of them: mine has a particular objection to them; so has George's. All the syces (of course you know that the syces are grooms, who run by your horse) set off screaming at once; an operation particularly calculated to soothe the nerves of oneself and horse. I begged, in a tone of the most dignified cowardice, to be allowed to get off; and then, it was rather grand to see the elephants crash through the hedges to hide behind the bamboos while George passed.

I rather like the great animals of this country; I could make a friend of an elephant, and I have my suspicions that if I were to fall in with a stray tiger or alligator, and had time given me to talk to them, they might listen to reason; but the reptile class is a dreadful one. The snakes almost take possession of the place during this month. The other night at that ball at Government House, they killed a centipede close by my foot: as Emily and I are almost the only women of any age who do not dance, I suppose it thought it could not do better. And there is a new horror burst upon me in the shape of spiders. They do say, that there are spiders as large as the palm of a hand, and that those spiders are poisonous, inasmuch, that wherever you are touched by them, large blisters rise.

Do you ever work now? The natives embroider beautifully.

I shall put this up to-day. No more ships yet; and though I know none can bring in later intelligence than we have had overland, there are many details to be filled up. God bless you, dear.

Yours most affectionately,



Barrackpore, July 2, 1836.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I will try to run off a letter early in the morning, for it is so hot, and I am so sleepy after luncheon that I always fall asleep when I am in a transport of sentiment over my letters home. The weather has been better though the last fortnight; occasional days of pouring rains when we can have the windows open, and there have been two or three evenings this last week which were really pleasant – something like the hottest summer evenings of that exquisite country, England – with a little air stirring, and no necessity for gasping with one's tongue hanging out, like Chance. That little black angel has the audacity to dote on India, and never enjoyed better spirits, or a more imperious temper. He was once nearly carried off by some vultures, and he and 's greyhound both narrowly escaped the snap of an alligator. He swims so far out into the Ganges that his own attached servant screams with fright. He has learnt from the natives to eat mangoes, and is very much suspected of smoking his hookah whenever he can get comfortably alone with my tailors. He is allowed, for a great treat, to run before our horses on a cool evening; and the other day, when George was riding with me, Chance insisted on going to the race-course with us. I asked Captain Macgregor to enquire why Chance's own valet was not with him, and he translated the answer that when the Lord Sahib himself took the dog, the sicar, or head of that class of servants, thought it right to go himself. So there was a grand-looking man in the flowing dress of the upper servants, with a white beard down to his waist, gambolling after Chance, who took to running after the birds, and gave a little growl every time his tutor interfered, and the sicar, who was not used to him, looked frightened out of his senses, and then began running again. I could hardly ride for laughing, but I mention the fact for Dandy's edification.

We find riding a foot's pace cooler than the carriage – at least, I do. Fanny is not very fond of it, but the air comes more round one on horseback than in the carriage. has a little pony-carriage with no head to it, and wicker sides, and extremely light, and that is much the coolest conveyance we have; besides that, it will go in roads which will not admit of our carriage.

Now that the rains have laid the dust we are making great discoveries in the surrounding country. George laughs at the beautiful lanes we have found, and says we talk as if we were at Matlock, whereas in all Bengal there is not an elevation the size of a mole-hill. But still a green lane with a happy mixture of bamboo and cocoa trees, and constantly a beautiful old mosque with a tank full of those lovely pink lotus which the Hindoos, with good taste, consider sacred, is not to be despised; and it is a great relief, after that tiresome course full of carriages and people, which is the only watered road in the place.

I am going, with great candour, to own that, though I should be glad to say anything spiteful against this horrid country, yet it is indisputable that my health is very much better than it was in London.

It is very difficult to procure at any price the real fine old Indian muslin, but I have got one gown of it something like a bettermost cobweb, and an old creature with a long beard is working it all over with small sprigs at ten rupees for the whole gown. The two Dacca men are embroidering a gown in coloured silks, and I never saw such lovely work. I gave them ten rupees a month, which serves for wages and board-wages, and they sit on the floor in my passage and work, one on each side of a large frame; and when we go to Barrackpore they roll up their frame, put themselves into the boat, and come up and set to work again; and they sleep in the passage, or the hall, or out of doors if it does not rain. I see how extravagance and carelessness must grow on people who live long in India just in that sort of way. All these works, and the trinkets we get made by the native jewellers, cost a great deal of money in the actual materials, but the workmen themselves cost very little; there is no difficulty in finding them, and they make no difficulties either about their work or their treatment. Then we never see any money, so we are not restrained by attachment to a particular 10l. note, or dislike of changing a sovereign. The Baboo buys all the things, doubles their price for his own profit, and Captain Byrne pays him; so the money somehow is all gone without our knowing how. However, we are indulging in these things and in buying books now while our English stock of clothes lasts. George is quite well and uncommonly happy – at least, he thinks it happiness to write from six in the morning till six in the evening; but I can see how despotic power, without the bother of Parliament and immense patronage, may be rather pleasant. Fanny is very happy too, I believe. Barrackpore is her great passion. In another climate Barrackpore would be worth one hundred Calcuttas, but as we are shut up equally in both houses, and can have no shopping in the town, and no rural pursuits in the country, it appears to me there is no great preference to be given to either, except as it suits the convenience of other people; and as I suppose all our aides-de-camp have their little private amusements at Calcutta, it probably puts them out to come here. It is a more fatiguing life than Calcutta, because there we are alone all the daytime, except on Thursdays from ten to twelve, and the blessing of being alone in this country one cannot be sufficiently thankful for; whereas here the house is always full.

I think I have told you as much about us as you can digest. Mind when you write, you go into details enough about yourself, your house, your work, &c. I am obliged to mention that to everybody, because we are sure to hear, somehow, all the gossip of the day, but little home details are the air I happen to breathe, and people fancy they are not to talk about themselves, which is all very well when I can see them and hear of them from others, but it does not answer out here. Pray write a great deal about yourself.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


July 6.

I long very much to hear from you after you have had one or two of these long letters; first to know whether they are entirely ruinous? Some people say that they cost nothing, some that they cost a fortune; but then nobody here knows anything – poor baked creatures! Secondly, how tiresome they are? And, thirdly, how many of them come to hand? I think I see you saying to Sister, 'I am rather tired of Calcutta and Barrackpore, and the heat and the natives, aren't you? I wish they could write about something else.' It is all so tiresome in doing, that in telling, I cannot imagine what it may be; but then it is all 'the fault of them wot transported us here;' and bad as the climate is, our healths are all very good. Mine is much better than usual. Moore is the only great sufferer; he has had one bad illness after another ever since we left England; but Dr. Drummond says, and, indeed, everybody sees, by his own fault. He will go out in the sun, even in the middle of the day, and he never is quiet for a moment; but he has had a very serious illness in consequence the last week, and is frightened now, and will be quieter.

We have been here nearly four months – the third part of a year, the twelfth part of four years. These calculations I make for you, as they are difficult to people not in the hourly habit of them.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, July 19.

I ought to have written to you some time ago, but as I promised I would, the promise you know was as good as the performance, it showed my excellent intention, 'the earnestness of my affection – my devotion,' as Falstaff says, and what more would you have? But the day before yesterday was a grand fête day – ten English letters arrived to my own particular address. Amongst others yours, with the little worked scent-bag in it. The bag is lovely, not a bit tarnished by its long voyage, though if it ever contained anything that was to smell sweet, it must have suffered from sea-sickness, as it is quite empty; but it is a pretty little article, and Wright had just been fitting up a very elaborate basket for my dressing-table, a division whereof your bag exactly fits, and it receives the elegant form of my watch at night, and is then covered over by a counterpane of Indian muslin and lace. I mean to take great care of it, but all the care in the world will not avail in this season, everything grows rusty in a night. My drawings are all blistered, my books all mildewed, my gowns all spotted – in short, everything is going to rack and ruin, and as the milliners and shopkeepers will not open any of their packages this weather, we may, with bad luck, be reduced to going about very odd figures indeed – rather in the native line. I mean to make this letter up out of odd things, strange events that cannot happen to you, manners and customs utterly opposed to your cockney habits.

The day before yesterday the rain came down very much as if the river had got up and out of its bed, and was walking about the park; it actually washed the fish out of the tanks so that they were hopping about in the grass, and the servants were paddling about catching them. Rosina caught a shocking cold in this exercise, and has been very ill for two days; and because she bought back her caste some weeks ago (which of course she had lost by going to England), it is very difficult to feed her properly; she cannot take any tea or anything that our English servants have, nor anything that other Mussulman servants, either of a lower or a higher caste, have cooked, so her son comes five miles with tea that he has cooked for her, and she cannot drink it while any that are not of her own caste are in the room.

Yesterday when George and I had got on our elephant, which is a very large one. Chance chose to go running before it, barking for joy, as he used to do when he went out walking at home, and the elephant was so frightened that it would not move on, and screamed, I suppose, from fear of being eaten up. It is so tall that, though it kneels down to take us up, we have, at the peril of our lives, to mount a ladder of eight steps to get on its back; and when it gets up, first on its fore feet, we are tilted back in an alarming manner. One of its paws would cover two such little splacknucks as Chance, and knead them into the ground, so that not a hair would be left visible; but still they cannot stand a dog's barking, and I was obliged to have the mouse taken away for fear of its annihilating the mountain.

Another curious creature is what they call an elephant-fly, which occasionally comes into the drawing-room, about the size of a bantam's egg, and so hard that stepping upon it don't hurt it, and so strong that if you put a plate over it, it scuttles across the room, plate and all. I cannot abide that animal, nor, indeed, many others.

There were a set of flying bugs (saving your presence) in my dressing-room three days ago, all over the table, and bouncing against me wherever I moved; and, though they do not bite, their smell is something shocking – in short, there is no end to the plague of animals. It charms me when I see one great adjutant kick another off the roof of Government House. They are nearly six feet high, and sometimes there are 150 of them on the roof, where they each have their own places, and if one takes the place of the other, the rightful owner simply kicks him down.

These little facts in natural history will do you great honour if you place them naturally in the course of conversation.

Most people go out driving without bonnets, and a great many without caps, but I have hitherto stuck to my bonnet, because I think the glare as bad as the heat.

What else can I tell you that is odd?

I wish you could see my passage sometimes. The other day when I set off to pay George a visit I could not help thinking how strange it would have seemed at home. It was a rainy day, so all the servants were at home. The two tailors were sitting in one window, making a new gown for me, and Rosina by them chopping up her betel-nut; at the opposite window were my two Dacca embroiderers working at a large frame, and the sentry, in an ecstasy of admiration, mounting guard over them. There was the bearer standing upright, in a sweet sleep, pulling away at my punkah. My own five servants were sitting in a circle, with an English spelling book, which they were learning by heart; and my jemadar, who, out of compliment to me, has taken to draw, was sketching a bird. Chance's servant was waiting at the end of the passage for his 'little excellency' to go out walking, and a Chinese was waiting with some rolls of satin that he had brought to show. All these were in livery, except the Chinese and another man, who had on a green and silver cap instead of a red and gold turban, and as I came out he flung himself down on the ground, and began knocking his head against the floor, whining and talking in the most melancholy way, which, as I don't understand a word of Hindustani, was of great use. However, I took for granted his house was burnt, which happens to all our servants constantly, and they expect us to pay for a new house; so I told the jemadar to tell him to stand up, as I never would give anything to anybody who went on begging in that crouching way, and to ask what had happened; and, after a great deal more whining and sobbing, the jemadar began interpreting: 'By your favour, the man say, he be your Lady Sahib's housemaid – what we call mater – and the Lord Sahib's mater have got a red turban, and this man say he got none,' So I said I would ask Major Byrne about it, but I had no objection to give him money privately for a turban if there was any difficulty. 'Oh! but Major Byrne have given him white turban, only no red cloth in it, and he so sorry.' I am sure if he had lost all his relations he could not have cried more, and the misfortune is that Major Byrne is quite obdurate about it, and says he is not to have this rag of his ambition; so, to keep things comfortable, I see I shall have surreptitiously to give him the cover of my dressing-box, which is composed of scarlet baize, and will make up into a very handsome turban.

We have been reading 'Gilbert Gurney,' and there are two or three bits in it about going on board ship – and about Indians and their ways – this is so like us. Nobody can understand why it makes us laugh so; but all his nonsense about Peons, palanquins, and punkahs, is in fact so perfectly true, I quite like him for it.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, Sunday, July 22.

We went to the Scotch Church, where there is supposed to be very good preaching; but it is clear to me that they want a pattern sermon sent out to Calcutta, just as new gowns and bonnets are sent; and I think you must trouble Dr. Thorpe to make them up a morning sermon and Mr. Blunt an evening one, for we cannot manage it for ourselves. Mr. , the Scotch clergyman, is an excellent man, and his prayer after the sermon was a very beautiful one, though I like to know beforehand what I am going to pray for, but he said, in the real fervent tone that belonged to it, 'Bless our native land, from which we are wanderers and exiles, and bless, with Thy choicest blessings, those dearly loved friends whom we have left there,' which was just what I was watching for. But I think the fault of the Scotch service is that ignorance in the congregation of what they are to expect, and also the very small quantity of the Bible that is read. The whole service is so entirely the word of man and not the Word of God. There was some beautiful singing in this church. George did not go out again to-day, and Fanny and I took a drive in the evening.

Monday, July 23.

We had a Madras juggler quietly smuggled into 's room this morning, and he and Fanny and I, with Wright and Jones at the side scenes, established ourselves there to see him. He was not like the noisy jugglers we had last week, and some of his tricks surpassed all belief. He did all the tricks the Indian jugglers in England used to do with balls and balancing, and swallowing the sword, &c., and then he spit fire in large flames, and put a little rice into the top of a basket on a small tray and shook it, and before our eyes a tiny handful of rice turned into a large quantity of cowrie shells. Then he made a little boy, who is one of my servants, sit down, and he put a small black pebble into his hand and apparently did nothing but wave a little baguette round his head, and forty rupees (coins as big as half-crowns) came tumbling out of the boy's little hands. He made him pick them up again, and hold them as tight as he could, and in an instant the rupees were all gone and a large live frog jumped out. The little boy was so frightened that I gave him a book the next day for having gone through such alarms. We were so charmed with our juggler that we told him to come to-morrow night when George could see him.


Government House, July 23.

I have given up my journal. It was so tiresome – was it not? I always saw you quite excédée and worn out with our journeyings backwards and forwards to Barrackpore, trying to carry it off well out of sentiment, but wishing I would say nothing more about it. The fact was, I tried to read one of my journals, and there never was so fatal an experiment; it was enough to put the most excitable subject to sleep. Perhaps I may begin again in the course of time, but I believe a shorter one kept for my own information would be quite enough.

But what makes me write to-day in this immense bustle, is the receipt of your letter of the 4th of April, per 'Mary Ann Webb,' or some name of that sort, and these bring us up to the date of the overland letters; so now whatever we receive will be all new, and, what is odd, I am sorry for it. Those overland short letters tell us you are all well, and then the details that come in the intermediate letters are not at all spoiled. Dates are of no consequence at that distance. We have tried the experiment now, and know it, and the feeling of security with which we open these letters is delightful. The next arrival will be trepidating, because though we know you were all quite well on the 4th, we cannot guess what may have happened on the 5th of April; and I do not know how one would bear any misfortune here. One of the things I watch myself about particularly is any leaning to shape out some particular calamity that may have happened at home, because, though I am never half an hour without a vague fancy or dream of some kind, yet if it take any decided form, however unlikely or absurd, I find it haunts me afterwards, and I think it will bring itself to pass. I see I cannot express what I mean, but in this dreamy, idle climate, with all one's affections 15,000 miles off, one becomes superstitious and timid.

We have been so lucky about letters this last month – constant small supplies of them – and this morning I was woke by yours and 's before seven. I like them to come at that hour, I can study them, and it makes it no trouble to get up and dress. Letters agree with me, and invigorate my constitution wonderfully.

You will have heard from us about our books long before this, and will have seen that we have no chance of any but what you send us, and our appetite for trash becomes daily more diseased and insatiable; so you are hereby constituted our book-agent, and you can settle with Rodwell the set he is to send, and if any other friends call upon him and suggest other books that are not in your list, he can throw them in too; but you had better be constantly targing him with a long set of names, and make him send more constantly, and in smaller quantities than he seems inclined to do. We have had 'Rienzi' and 'Gilbert Gurney,' – thanks to Mr. Trower, who belongs to a book-club, and has sacrificed his week's share of these books to me, because I did a sketch for him. I shall be obliged to do another if the box does not arrive soon. What a book 'Gilbert Gurney' is! He always makes his little hits at India with such success, and it puts the people here in such a rage. I wonder whether I shall ever have the proper feeling of resentment for any Indian ridicule. At present it puts me into hysterics of delight. We are going on just as usual.

Our last Tuesday was a very brilliant ball, and was supposed to assist two or three young ladies in their settlement in life, and our two last Thursday mornings have been so fully attended that last time there were not chairs or sofas enough for our guests to sit down. Nothing can be more fatiguing I should suppose to all parties concerned. Fanny and I, with our best intentions, cannot speak to more than four people at once. It is a tiresome job altogether – those mornings at home; but, after all, it only lasts two hours, and it keeps the rest of the week so cool and comfortable. That is a great comfort to me here, the number of hours I can pass alone without any fear of being called down. We breakfast at nine, and dawdle about the hall for a quarter of an hour, reading the papers, and doing a little civility to the household; then Fanny and I go to the drawing-room and work and write till twelve, when I go up to my own room, and read and write till two. Fanny stays downstairs, as she likes it better than her own room. I do my shopping, too, at this hour; the natives come with work, and silks, and anything they think they have a chance of selling, and sometimes one picks up a tempting article in the way of work. At two we all meet for luncheon, and George brings with him anybody who may happen to be doing business with him at the time. Fanny generally pays a visit, and I pay George a short one after luncheon, and then I go up to my own room, and have three hours and a half comfortably by myself. I draw to a great amount, and was making a lovely set of costumes, but my own pursuits have been cut in upon by other people. One person wants a picture of a sister she has lost touched up, and in fact renewed, as the damp has utterly destroyed it. Another has a picture of a brother in England, in a draped cloak, and with flowing hair, and the picture is only lent to her, and he is such a darling, only she has not seen him for some years, and if I could make a copy of it, &c. There are no professional artists in Calcutta, except one who paints a second-rate sort of sign-posts, and though I cannot make much of all these likenesses, yet it feels like a duty to help anybody to a likeness of a friend at home, and it is one of the very few good-natured things it is possible to do here, so I have been very busy the last ten days making copies of these pictures.

To finish our day; at six we go out. George and I ride every day now; Fanny about once in three times. At 7.30 we dress; dine at eight, and at ten go off to bed.

The weeks we do not go up to Barrackpore we dine alone at least four days out of the seven, which is a great set-off against the superior charms of Barrackpore; but there we always have the house full, and I have yet to discover the person whom I like to sit next to at dinner three days running. However, you see we have many more quiet hours than I expected in this odd unnatural life, and though I have horrid fits of yearning to see you, and sometimes find I have wasted a whole hour in ridiculous dreams of how it is to come to pass, and then rouse up in a fever of desperation because it is not true, yet a good many of my thoughts are very pleasant. I have lived so very much in the past. I have recollected so many bits of our lives that I had not thought of for years, and we have certainly had a great many hours of very considerable enjoyment. Most of my best recollections are Eden Farm days. Are not yours? Oh dear! how I do wish (I cannot put emphasis enough on that wish) that you were here, if only for a morning visit.

I am sure we shall not stay away six years nor anything like it. I do not know why, but Fanny and I have settled that we shall be only three years here, and one going and coming. I forget what put it in our heads, partly I think because I could not bear it a day longer, so that settles the point; but I am sure we shall not exceed five years at the worst.

We have bought our house at Simla preparatory to going up the country fifteen months hence, and we have let it for this year. George and I and Major Byrne did this quietly without telling anybody, as otherwise the price would have been doubled. I tell George, that we are living dreadfully in the future, for besides settling about the grates and fixtures in our house in the Himalaya Mountains, I have been buying some beautiful Chinese satin, and am going to engage two more Dacca embroiderers to work constantly in my passage at some furniture for our house at Knightsbridge. They can work chairs, ottomans, and screens such as are not to be seen in England, and we can send them home to be taken care of till we come ourselves.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Calcutta, Tuesday, July 24.

Miss Fane came alone to dine with us, and we had the young band to play at dinner – a set of little boys, all under fourteen, who are learning music, and are to replace the old band as it wears out. It is surprising how well they played, and I had them here to-night that they might have the treat of the juggler, which quite answered to all parties. He is better the second time than the first.

Wednesday, July 25.

It is odd that whenever George and I are alone we invariably find ourselves talking hard English politics – admiration of the prosperity of the country – of His Majesty's ministers, &c. Indian politics are clearly not half so amusing.

Thursday, July 27.

An immense levee again; but we had sent away all our tables and introduced more chairs, and it did better than last Thursday. I had a long consultation afterwards with the chief justice, who is a great hand at private theatricals, and George wanted to have some charades or a farce got up to vary our Tuesday's parties. The chief justice would take the part of manager, and is dying to act. There are heaps of actors who have volunteered, but an actress cannot be found. There is a company of French actors coming from the Mauritius, and I think we might have them occasionally at Government House; but then again very few of the society speak French. The chief justice and one or two others are so set upon arranging a farce that perhaps they may make it out, but I cannot see how.

And so we came up to Barrackpore, and Miss Fane came with us.

Barrackpore, Friday, July 28.

I never saw this place looking prettier. The river comes nearly up to the house at this time of the year, and makes that poor little snivelling Thames look like a miserable dirty drop of a thing.

George and I went out riding in the afternoon by ourselves and went and listened to the band, which plays in the park every Friday, and did a bit of politeness to the Barrackporeans who assembled to hear it. We have been rather remiss about them lately.

We were all playing at cards and billiards when an immense packet of letters came in, and the cards and counters, and balls and maces were all tossed anywhere and the packet torn open, and we all began screaming, 'That's 's hand,' and 'There's Robert's,' and 'This is from Maria to me,' and then came 'What's the date?' 'Is it the May overland packet?' and then we all looked, and there was 'November, 1835,' at the top of each letter, and Captain Champneys began reading his, which was an elaborate excuse from a man at the Calcutta Custom House, saying that by some odd mistake these letters had been lying there four months, and had only just been discovered. They were answers to our Madeira letters; the second set you all sent off for us, which we have always given up as lost at sea – which we were starving for – which would have been worth their weight in gold at the time – and which, as it is, I have read all through with considerable interest, though I said out of spite that I would not. But it is provoking, is it not?

Monday, August 1.

We came back early to Calcutta. No letters. Sir H. Fane has been very ill to-day. George and I rode, and went to his house to ask after him, and thought his doctor very fidgetty about him.

Tuesday, August 2.

Sir H. Fane is much better. People here get into danger and out of danger in such a rapid manner, that it keeps one constantly on the alert.


Government House, August 2.
(Finished August 9, 1836.)

MY DEAREST SISTER, – There are no ships going, from the ridiculous reason that none have come in, but I go on writing all the same. The overland despatch, which came in last week, has been a shocking blow to us – knocked us down flat. It had every merit that an overland mail should have; it came in less than two months from London to Calcutta – the first time such a thing has ever happened. It brought accounts that our arrival here was known the 3rd of June; it brought merchants' answers to letters that were written only four months ago, but not a single line from any human being to us. 'Ça casse bras et jambe,' as Potier used to say; and from the stray papers that have been lent to us, we have collected garbled accounts of most interesting events. Mrs. S. V's death I always expected, and it is one of the few cases in which one feels almost secure that it is a change to blessedness. Such a really good life, and there are so few, that it certainly is pleasure rather than pain to think that the race is actually run and won. You have no idea how awful it is to receive a pile of English papers for two months, without letters to break what is to come, or to state it at once; but we go from paper to paper, looking at the list of deaths, not knowing what a day may bring forth. It is horrid!

I have nothing particularly new to say, though of course you are interested in the least details of the interesting people with whom we live. The rains have turned out a total failure, there has not been a drop for the last ten days, and we are steaming up the slop we made at first. However, the evenings are cooler than in the hot season, and the skies wonderfully beautiful.

I think you would like to know about my garden. It is turning out very pretty, though the plants do not grow up in a night, as I thought they would, but they have done a great deal in six weeks. Do you know the Gloriosa superba? – a fine invention, and it grows almost wild here. We cannot achieve a cowslip, and nobody has ever seen a daisy, but the yucca (I do not know how it is spelt – a sort of aloe I mean), with its thousands of white bells, grows along the sides of every road, and lovely it looks. Then there are roses all the year round here; that is some compensation. My garden is really pretty, but as I mean to make a sketch of it for you, whenever it is cool enough to sketch, I won't describe it. I have had a sort of altar built in the middle of it, in imitation of one I saw at the head of a ghaut, the vase thereof to be filled with flowers. It was finished the hot day we were at Barrackpore. The natives do those things beautifully, and make them smooth and shining, like marble, with a composition they call chunam. My altar was built, and covered with all sorts of pretty ornaments; the three stark-naked savages who had put it up were admiring their work and putting a finishing touch here and there, when there came on one of those storms of rain which last ten minutes, and flood the whole place. The water filled the chinks of the new brickwork, and the altar fell quietly down like a card-house, and was all single bricks again. George was looking out of the window, and had the fun of seeing it. I have given general directions to be called when such a catastrophe is likely to occur, as no fun must be wasted here. The natives very quietly set to work and built it all up again. I see the danger of this life will be the habit of fancying one may have anything one wants (except fresh air and friends). If twenty-four gardeners will not make a new garden, forty-eight will. Before I thought of this altar I had asked a Captain Fitzgerald, who is called a civil engineer, for a plan of a chunam vase for fish and water-lilies, and he is such a very civil engineer that he has not only made a beautiful design, but is putting up two of the vases, one on each side of my altar: but I try to remember that when we go back to Knightsbridge, I must haggle prodigiously about the price of a dozen iron sticks for the garden.

For a Calcutta amusement I have set up pigeons in my balcony. Major Byrne gave me six beautiful pigeons, all manner of colours, and I have had part of my balcony netted over, and keep them there; and as they all fight it is a constant diversion to keep the peace and to feed them all. It seems odd to require these diversions, but the sun now sets so late that we can barely be out an hour. We cannot go till 6.15, and till that time we are from 9 A.M., when we breakfast, obliged to fill up the time for ourselves. Fanny and I sit together in the morning, but absolute solitude is quite necessary, great part of the day, for everybody; and one's eyes grow tired of reading and drawing, and then Fanny takes to her parrots and paroquets, and I am able to offer a pea to a pigeon.

This letter is now a week old (August 8), and we have had seven days of dreadful weather, hot and vapoury, and not a breath of air nor a drop of rain, and everybody says it is very odd and very shocking, but just what they told us to expect the end of September; but that, I take the liberty to remark, is no reason why we are to suffer from it the beginning of August. Poor little Chance feels it dreadfully, and I am afraid is not long for this world. He has had two fits this week, which is the sure sign, in this country, of a dog not being able to bear the climate. has taught him such quantities of odd tricks, and he is so unlike anything else here, that he will be a dreadful loss to the whole family. There is no such thing as a small dog to be seen here. I took him last night to sleep in my mosquito-house, that he might have the advantage of the punkah. Could you make such a sacrifice for Dandy? But neither he nor anything else can breathe at night, just now, without a punkah, so I am obliged to help him.

We are, happily, all well, though there has been a great deal of illness in Calcutta; the doctors say their list has trebled the last fortnight. Sir H. Fane has been one of the worst cases, but he is out of danger, and goes off to the Sandheads in one of our boats to-morrow. That is always the final cure, and I take it to be a thorough punishment for the folly of being ill. People generally go in the pilot vessels, which are swarming with cockroaches; and they cruise about, for ten days, in the roughest of seas, but come back pretty well. Though people have very violent illnesses here, and those that are well, look about as fresh as an English corpse, yet I do not think the mortality is greater than in any other country, and the old-fashioned days of imprudence about health are quite as much gone by as the times of great extravagance. People save their money, and don't go out in the sun.

Wright has been laid up with erysipelas in her foot. Rosina is an excellent old creature, yet she is sometimes ten minutes trying to put the eye into the hook instead of the hook into the eye; and in the morning, when I say I will wear my blue muslin, she brings out my pink satin with short sleeves, and says, 'Dees blue gown the Lady Sahib mean?' She gave a cunning wink yesterday when I asked how Wright was: 'She cry because me dress her lady; but never mind, she can't dress lady without her foot, poor ting. When foot get well, she dress lady again, and me hold pins.' I asked her how Chance was after his physic: 'Oh! so crass, so crass! when Jimhoe (that is Chance's servant) pour castor oil down, me tell Jimhoe, "You no go home while Chance ill;" and he say, "Oh, no, on no account!" he set by Chance all day.' The only amusing thing I have here is their broken English.

God bless you, my very dear sister. I wish I was not so oppressed with the tiresomeness of my own letters. I think I won't write any more, but just drive quietly to East Combe, sit down in the breakfast-room on that low chair, take the 'Favourite of Nature' out of that bookcase over the fireplace, open the window wide open for some real fresh air, and have a good gossip while you arrange your flowers. Oh dear, dear but it is no use talking; only I do live in England for hours together, though you don't perceive me.

Your most particularly affectionate,

E. E.


Government House, August 3, 1836.

We went to see the Alipore Jail, where prisoners, who would be hanged in England, are shut up for life. They are (as I suppose all people are, who have nothing left to hope for) a most desperate set, and about two years ago murdered a Mr. Richardson, the magistrate who had the charge of Alipore Jail. They are all fettered, of course, but they threw him down when he was visiting them, and murdered him with the little brass jars which all natives carry about with them to drink out of. His poor wife was sitting in the carriage at the door, and never knew what was going on till the body was found. Mr. Patten, his successor, wished George to see the jail, and so we all went together that we might be all brass-potted at once, if it was to be done – and there was an army of soldiers – Dr. Drummond to bring us to life – and the Chief Justice to try the murderers. At first we had not intended to walk round amongst them, but they looked very peaceable, and we were curious to see them. They were one thousand two hundred in number – all confined for capital crimes, and all sorts of castes and tribes – not at all ferocious-looking, and, in fact, here, where life is little valued, a great proportion of them are shut up for what would be merely manslaughter, or an assault with us. It was melancholy to see the very old men who had been in fetters for so many years, but worse to see some very young ones, with life before them, the whole of it to be passed in this prison-yard. There were six boys – the eldest thirteen, the youngest only nine – who had been sent from up the country only that morning, convicted of murder; in fact, a quarrel with another boy – they were already fettered, and sitting in a group together – and there they are for life! The prisoners presented quantities of petitions, which Mr. Patten says they do every time he goes round the jail. Some of them beg so hard that some term may be named – if it is only one hundred years – that they may think they have a chance of getting out.

You may have read in Miss Roberts about the Thugs, a species of Burkers, but more cool-blooded. They travel for weeks with their victims, and at last contrive to strangle them and bury them: and this has been going on for centuries, and only discovered lately, since which two thousand Thugs have been taken, and either hanged or transported. There were none in the jail to-day, but Mr. Patten says he always keeps them apart from the others, and he had one there a little while ago who was six feet high, and whose hair hung down to his feet, and spread over three feet of ground besides; it was twisted like ropes, and he said that he used to keep the knife and ropes with which he despatched his victims hid in his hair.

Thursday, August 4.

We had our usual levee, and George went to see the Asiatic College, where I called for him, and he drove to Mrs. Wilson's Orphan Asylum. The children have been working a table-cover I gave them, and have done it beautifully, and I paid for it and brought it home.

Friday, August 5.

We went to Mrs. Leache's benefit at the Town Hall; the acting was really very good. All amateur acting, except the female performers; but the heat! Even the most hardened Indians say they never felt anything like it. There was a great crowd; very small punkahs; and nothing but a hot steam coming in at the windows. 'This gives you a perfect idea of our September,' they say with an air of perspiring complacency. 'So much the greater shame for your August,' is all I can say in answer. Everybody has been, or is, ill except us. Our English constitution still keeps up.

Sunday, August 7.

Was so hot that nobody could go to morning church, and in the evening we went to the Fort Church, which was like a kettle of boiling water; but Mr. simmered out an excellent sermon while we were stewing.

Monday, August 8.

Council day, and consequently I beat poor Mr. Shakespear a game of chess.

Dwarkanauth Tagore, a very rich native, had asked us to go and see his villa. He is a follower of Ram Mohun Roy; speaks excellent English; has built a regular English villa, with billiard-room, &c., and fitted it up with statues and pictures, and Copley Fieldings, and Prouts, and French china, &c.; and he asked us to name a day on which to see it. George was delighted, and named Monday; upon which all Calcutta got greatly excited, because the Governor-General was going to dine with a native. The fact of a native dining with a Governor-General is much more remarkable, and Dwarkanauth is one of the very few that would even sit by while we were eating. However, we only went to see the place, and went in particular state, in order to please the poor, fussy people, with carriages-and-four and guards. and Fanny in his phaeton, and Major in his cab, and Captain in his, and even the Doctor in his, and George and I in the Government coach, and quantities of servants; in short, nothing could look less affable – or be more easy – when we got there. Dwarkanauth talks excellent English, and had got Mr. Parker, one of the cleverest people here, to do the honours; and there were elephants on the lawn, and boats on the tank, and ices in the summerhouse, and quantities of beautiful pictures and books, and rather a less burning evening than usual; so it answered very well, and we came home, with all the noise we could make, to dinner. But we hear he gives remarkably good dinners to everybody else.

George-says he is sure that the staring, round look which everybody's eyes have here, is not, as is always supposed, occasioned by the heat and by the shrinking of the eyelids, but by the knack they have of wondering at everything. The least deviation from every day's routine puts them out.

Tuesday, August 9.

More astonishment for them! There is a French company of actors just landed from the Mauritius, and, to diversify our Tuesdays, I have sent for them, and saw M. de la Jarriette to-day, and engaged him; and as we cannot make the Town-hall scenery fit our ball-room, we are going to have a theatre fitted up for ourselves.

Wednesday, August 10.

Saw Captain , who undertakes to have the theatre ready by Tuesday. The newspapers have taken up the theatricals as quite correct, and think it right that there should be amusement at Government House; but there is a party against them, though the odd thing is, that some of the very strict ones, who will not come to our Tuesdays when there is dancing, do not think the plays so bad. It does seem very odd that mothers of families should not see how absolutely right it is that the number of boys who are here (exposed to every possible temptation, and in a country where it is a fashion to seem dissipated and extravagant), should be, if possible, kept in good society, and under the eye of people on whom their promotion depends. And if dancing here from nine to half-past eleven, without cards, without supper, without even wine, amuses them, and keeps them in the society of respectable people, it surely must be better than shutting up the house, and saying it is wrong to be amused. It is very difficult, at least I think so; but the young cadets and writers do not, and I am sure they do not get too much of it. I enclose from the paper the amusements of the month. It is just the same thing in every day's paper. We had a large dinner in the evening. I wish that were reckoned immoral, but the very strictest make no objection to dinners.

Thursday, August 11.

We had rather a smaller set of visitors, and more amusing. Sir H. Fane is gone to the Sandheads, to recover from his fever. George wrote to ask if any honours of salutes, &c., could be paid to his embarkation. We think so much of these things, and are by no means easy in our minds upon the subject of a salute that our Fort did not return to our ship 'Wolf,' because 'Wolf' had gone and disguised herself in order to take some pirates, so that we did not know her to be our own particular frigate. The papers are full of it, but I do not see what can be done, for, being both English, it is difficult for the fort and the frigate to go to war, and yet that is the only sensible, easy way out of it. However, we can be in no such difficulty between the Commander-in-chief and the Governor-General. The aide-de-camp in waiting begged to intimate that he and the Commander-in-chief were going on board 'strictly incog.' – quite strict, you understand.

We closed our box for England to-day, and just as it was nailed down we received a large packet of letters by the 'Isabella Cooper,' chiefly of March, and some up to the 12th of April – a nice long one from you, one of Mr. 's to me and one to Fanny, and two or three others. We went in the evening to Barrackpore – George and I in the carriage; and besides having studied my letters all the afternoon, I read them with him then. It is very shocking, but there were two long letters from Lady Glengall, and we have known for three weeks of her death by the overland packet. I wish that overland packet did not come in its unfinished slammacking way, interfering with the regular course of things. We have also received our box of books, which are very satisfactory as far as they go, but not half enough. However, you will have received, long ago, letters by which you will perceive that we want books – more and oftener. It is of vital importance that we should feed our poor yellow Indian minds with constant amusement, so I wish, dear, you would take upon yourself to send off a box of the newest publications once in two months, and do not let people scratch anything out of your list. The more trash the better. We are essentially trashy by nature, write a good deal of trashiness superinduced by India; so only be liberal of any books – but those that concern India – and we shall not complain.

Friday, August 12.

We had a sort of a puppet-show, called a Cutpootley, in the evening, more like the Fantoccini, I believe, but I never saw them. It was very pretty; at least fifty little puppets on the stage at once, dancing nautches, riding elephants, &c.; and between the acts the showmen mimicked old women and English sailors, greatly to the amusement of our servants.

Saturday, August 13.

Mr. Blunt arrived from China, where he went about three months ago, and took some commissions from us to the C. Elliots, which they have not yet had time to execute; but Mrs. Elliot has sent us two very pretty filagree card-cases of silver, and a delicious piece of satin for George, much too good to be the dressing-gown she calls it. Mr. Blunt, too, has brought two Siamese partridges for our menagerie, the only entirely new birds I have seen. They are very small, something like the breast of a peacock on the back, with rich brown crests and scarlet legs, and all other colours speckled here and there, somehow, or another.

George is going to build a school, at his own private expense, for native children, and we went to look for a corner of the Park to put it in.

Monday, August 15.

We were in Calcutta by half-past seven.

The theatre is almost finished, and is as pretty a little article as I ever saw, with orchestra, dressing-room, &c. A very hard-working morning. The lamps would not do, and the French people are very troublesome; and our band chose to give themselves airs, and could not play vaudevilles; and I found the benevolent driven into a frenzy of a quiet description by them, so I took upon myself, for the first time, and scolded everybody all round, particularly the band-master, who has wanted it some time; and I found myself saying, quite seriously, 'I have not an idea what you mean, Mr. , by the etiquette of the first violin and second violin. The Governor-General must have whatever music he chooses to order, and it is your fault if the band can't play it. It is a great disgrace for you if, when Lord Auckland wishes for some vaudevilles, you cannot play them.' It was so like one of T. Hook's speeches, but it had immediate effect, and I fancy he is perfect master of 'Faut l'oublier' and 'Ça m'est égal' by this time.

I crept into the ball-room to overhear the actors rehearse, and it was rather refreshing to hear the little jolly songs of their farces. The jeune première is not to say pretty; but she carries off her ugliness very well, and seems to be a really good actress.

Tuesday, August 16.

A shocking catastrophe! The jeune première has got one of the fevers all new arrivals have, by rehearsing in the heat yesterday; and as M. de la Jarriette, the manager, says, with a strong 'Comment doubler nos emplois dans un pays comme celui-ci, et comment jouer sans jeune première?' it is put off till her fever leaves her, and Captain and Captain have passed the morning in preparing our guests to-night to dance, instead of listening to a play they cannot understand. I suppose everybody had made up their mind to come, for it was the largest party we have had yet, and the hottest night. I thought the crowd might render the house untenable, so I went out on the verandah, and there was not the slightest difference between the heat of a ball-room and the natural atmosphere.

Wednesday 17th, Thursday 18th, and Friday 19th.

I was done up with pains in my head and bones, and thought I was going to have the fever that everybody else has, but I believe it was only the extraordinary damp heat of the weather.

Saturday, August 20.

Still hot; but there was a great storm in the afternoon, and when George and I went out driving the evening was quite cool, with plenty of air, and I felt suddenly quite well again and very hungry. I always have detested heat, and now I see why.

Sunday, August 21.

It poured so violently, that after the carriage came round we could not go to church; but we had a nice cool drive in the evening, and ended at the Fort Church, and came home to a late dinner.


Government House, August 22, 1836.

MY DEAR, – This is going to be a mere pretence of a letter, for I am doing that most odious of all things, writing a great many letters to a great many unoffending individuals to go by one particular ship; and the aggregate of bore which will in consequence fall upon both writer and reader, is fearful to think of. By the same ship, I have sent you the most frightful little commonplace netting-case you ever saw; in fact, it hardly is a netting-case, but the day we were packing up a box for England, they sent it here with other things for us to look at, and I, thinking of your purse-netting propensities, slipped it in.

Bengal produces nothing pretty; that's clear! But I have now established a private correspondence with China, which I expect to produce great things. I have a private venture of my own, now, upon the ocean. If the articles should be contraband, it will give an added zest to the transaction. Those clever creatures, the Chinese, only send their worst manufactures out of the country, but now and then a Chinese captain abstracts some article that gives a great idea of the treasures which might be procured there. They make silks with embossed flowers in them, so stiff and grand they would sit up all alone on a chair. To appear in one of those silks would make all the Calcutta ladies fall down in separate fainting fits; because, being in Asia, they think it incumbent upon them to wear only what comes from Europe.

I never look at the thermometer, now, for fear the shock should be too much for me; but whenever I have reason to believe, from my own feelings, that it is not higher than 100°, I will come rustling down in a China silk, with the walk and bearing of a mandarin, and thereby give the Calcutta world the pleasure of a shock.

The tailors who sit stitching at our doors, make our bonnets; and we, who are not above China silks, find them a very easy article of dress to get; in fact, they will soon be the only articles we have to wear, for while this rainy season lasts, the milliners would rather die and be buried in their own tin boxes, than open one to give us out a gown. We heard a great deal before the season began, of the destruction it would bring to us, our birds, our dogs, and our clothes, but it surpasses all I could imagine. The dogs lay themselves flat down all day and think it too much trouble to walk across the room. We talk of buying some palankeens and hiring some Pariah dogs to carry Chance and the two greyhounds.

Two very meritorious little parrots, the size of sparrows, who always slept hanging by their claws with their heads downwards, have died this, week – of apoplexy, I suppose. And a paroquet with a plum-coloured head, who has every merit a paroquet can (and more than most human beings do) possess, is dangerously ill, and has its own doctor attending it twice a day.

Consider my feelings, the other day when I was sitting in my room, with half a dozen birds walking about the table, to see walk in with a large white Persian cat under each arm. 'There,' he said with a smile of extraordinary complacency, 'I have brought you some quite new pets; remarkably handsome animals.' Two spurious white tigers! in fact, had they been real tigers, the birds and I should have received them better; and the melancholy result is, that our maids, who, like all ladies-maids, have a natural love of cats, have each insisted upon having one. It is the knowledge of that fact which has preyed upon the paroquet's spirits and is bringing him to an untimely grave.

Oh, my dear! such a beautiful cow's tail they have just brought me. If you ever have an Alderney cow within reach, cut off its tail, and have it mounted in silver: you will be surprised at its beauty.

Your feathers are written for, up the country; the birds in these parts do not grow them, but I have seen samples of them, and they are very pretty. I wonder whether this will find you in England. I cannot write more, for the 'Perfect' sails to-morrow, and I must get one or two more letters done. God bless you, dear! When once you get to England, how you must write.

Yours most affectionately,


Government House, August 22.

I am dreadfully perplexed as to whom I ought to address in your family, because I am in a fright for fear and should be at all remiss in their letters, which are very valuable; and yet, as for spinning three answers to the same family out of my exhausted brain, it is totally impossible – the largest spiders, such as we grow here, could not do it.

We have bought some beautiful Chinese drawings on rice paper, some like your butterflies, and some figures that are lovely, and I sent for a Chinese painting-box, meaning to paint some on English paper. (The Chinese have taken to draw on our paper.) However, when the box came, I found that there are so few hours here of open windows that I have little time even for common drawing, so I just tried what it would do, made a beautiful butterfly, and now send the box to ; she might paint on silk with it. She must wet the colours, and then put a little spoonful of them in the mortar and pestle them about, which in a cool climate is charming exercise, and then put the colour on the paper as thick as possible. The brushes are very good for all drawing. I have had a large collection given me, and use nothing else. There are also in the large packing-box some talc figures, which came to George amongst some other goods he bought, and he thought they might amuse your children. I think there is a set of the Government House servants among them; but I am not quite sure, as we have had so many of these talc figures brought us that I do not know which is gone where.

Mr. and Mrs. Robertson are going off directly to the Cape on account of his health, but it will be just as good for her. Everybody is at their yellowest, because the rains have been a failure, and August has turned out as ill as September. It is just what Dr. told us about September, which is not nice, but true, that it feels like living in a hot poultice; and he says that the cold weather, which people make a fuss about, is like a cold one. Everybody almost has been ill except us.

Yours affectionately,



August 31, 1836.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – I am going to try an overland despatch to you, and there is just a danger that you will be overwhelmed with letters all at once – be like a babe in the wood, buried painfully with leaves, or sheets.

Fanny has written a long letter to Mary by the 'Perfect,' which sailed on Saturday (the 27th), and I also wrote to you. There was not much in it, except that I mentioned a small present I had sent Mary – a nest of Burmese boxes, and I should like her to give one of them to Willy. They are very common boxes, but the sort of thing she likes; and as Grindlay is particularly charged to pay all expenses of everything we send to you, I do not mind sending a small present. I could not afford a good one just now, as we are all utterly ruined by the wear and tear of the rainy season, which not only destroys everything we have in hand, but makes the very few things that are left in the market about four times the price they are in England; and yet, hot as it is, people expect us to go about dressed, so we must buy these bad, dear goods. The box of books, as we have told you in our 'Perfect' letter was very acceptable, but not half enough. 'Many and often' is the only rule about sending us books, for we cannot get them here at all. There is no occupation but reading for wretched imprisoned women in this country.

George is preparing a very pretty present for Mary from Moorshedabad, but it cannot be completed till the rains are over – so, mind! I have not mentioned it. I have not alluded to it – you can't guess what I mean – I only know a secret, and as I thought you might think yourselves neglected in that box sent by the 'Perfect' I had a great mind to say what I knew, but I did not.

I hope you go on writing muchly. We consider your letters models; they are very popular, and George says they are some of the best we receive.

We are all quite well, which is much to our credit, for there never was such weather – so damp and hot. Fairy, 's little greyhound, had a shocking fit yesterday from mere heat, and, after an hour's struggle for life, we called in Dr. Drummond, who bled her just like a lady, tied up her arm, and saved her.

God bless you dear, dearest Robert! and keep writing those good letters. How many children have you now? Best love to Mary, and if this arrives before the 'Perfect,' send it to . But they say it has no chance of arriving at all.

Your most affectionate

E. E.


September 2, 1836.

As usual, after a ship sails, or, rather, while it is clearing, I rest from a journal a week, and write up all my other letters; but to-day, being the 2nd of September, and your own particular birthday, I think it due to myself to begin writing to you again, because without your birthday I never should have had you; and if I had not had you, I never should have been parted from you; and if I were not parted from you, I should not have had that constant craving to write to you.

I left off on Tuesday, the 22nd of August, when we had our French play in the evening. We dined early, and drove after dinner, and then dressed for the play. I never saw a prettier theatre than we had, with scenes, and a place for the orchestra, and a dressing-room on each side, and beautifully lighted up, because one of the great lustres of the ball-room happened to hang right in the middle of the stage. We had L'Affaire d'Honneur and Vatel, which last was acted quite as well as I ever saw it in Paris or London. Nothing could go off better, and it is the first attempt we have made at amusing others which has amused us. I take it more than half the audience did not understand French, but those that did, laughed a little more in consequence, to show their superiority. It was really refreshing to hear those dear little cracked vaudeville airs – they are so merry and so un-languid. The actors had a supper after the play, and, as Mars told me, sang 'des couplets charmants à l'honneur de milord.' But the gaiety of the supper was checked by the actresses fainting away, owing to the heat and the fatigue of dressing.

On Wednesday, the 24th, we were not tired, or headached, because we had not been bored. Thursday, the 25th, we had an immense levee of those who did not come to the play, to show that they still visited us though we are so wicked, and of those who did, to say they were extremely amused, and should go on visiting us, because we are so pleasant. Captain sailed for China with Captain Stanley, and we do not expect him back for three months. He is very much reduced by his illness. We went up to Barrackpore in the evening.

Saturday, September 3.

Captain went to pass the day at the villa of Dwarkanauth Tagore, that native we went to see, who is the only man in the country who gives pleasant parties. He asked his guests to bring either drawing materials or music with them, and his best pictures were put out for them to copy; and there were musical instruments, with only one professional man to keep them all going. Some gentlemen sang, some played the flute, violin, &c. &c. Captain made an excellent copy of a Prout. There were ices and luxuries, and, when he came away, the ladies were arriving to join their husbands at dinner. In this country, where nobody can go out in the open air, there is some merit in finding a new way of passing a day in the house.

Thursday, September 8.

We had such a crowd this morning, amongst others two Germans, a man and his wife, who are just come down the Euphrates, she being the first woman who has ever taken that route. They say they were travelling, and were robbed of all their papers, money, and clothes, by two highly accomplished swindlers who joined them ('Pauline' still declares they were much too gentlemanlike to mean really to rob them, and she still expects to have her boxes, trinkets, &c. forwarded to her from the other side of Persia.) Colonel Chesney found them in this condition, and helped them with means to come on to Calcutta, where Mr. means to set up as a doctor on the homœopathic system. They have been through all sorts of adventures. She has travelled disguised as a man, and then as a Circassian woman, and was nearly shipwrecked; and in the meanwhile there are great suspicions that, though their hardships are true, their story is not, and that they are Russian spies coming to see how to take our India. We shall be sold for slaves in Kamtschatka at last. I do not believe our adventures are half over. We went up to Barrackpore in the evening.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, September 27, 1836.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I am suddenly seized with a wish to write to you. I can't think what about, but so it is, and I am proud of having any wish – of being able to wish a wish.

All they prophesied of September has been more than realised by the wretched hot event, and if you could feel what my room is at this instant – dark and punkah'd as it is – if (I say) you were suddenly transported to it, and I had exchanged into Eastcombe, instead of sitting down to write to me, you would begin screaming for Stratton and Coleman to come and pull you out of the copper into which you had accidentally fallen. The thermometer is only at 90°, and in the hot season it used to be at 95°; but then the air was dry, and there was every now and then a storm and a cool evening; but now it is so hot and heavy day and night. Horrid! I don't think India a nice place, and George has suddenly discovered that it is a desperate climate. They say this may last till the end of October, and the disgraceful thing is, that with all this we are all remarkably well. We look like so many yellow demons, and my individual appearance is even more finished than the others, for Friday night happened to be particularly hot, and the bearers who were pulling my punkah fell asleep – the first time it has happened, I must say. I was nearly stifled, and the upshot was that some of the blood-vessels about my eyes gave way, and I look exactly as if I had been fighting, or rather did look, for they are mended to-day.

We are so longing for more ships; our last sea letters were dated the 27th of April – five months ago. Last Sunday I got a letter by the Overland Packet from of the 1st of July, and another from the Duke of Devonshire of the same date, giving a great deal of amusing gossip; and as those were almost the only two private letters that came to Calcutta, they were perfectly invaluable.

I wonder, sister, you did not send yesterday to ask after me, only you are not attentive in that way. The butcher, or the grocer, or somebody must have mentioned in the morning the narrow escape we had coming down from Barrackpore. His lordship took a fancy to come down on Sunday night, which would always be more convenient, only I do not think it right; but our steamer is out of repair, so we have to be governed by the tide for the conveyance of all the servants, and the tide of the Hooghly is very imperious in its way. So the servants all embarked in the evening, and we all set off at nine with a moon rather brighter than an English sun, and clouds of fire-flies to match, and a slight pretence of fresh air or cool air. It is clearly the best hour for going out. We always send our horses to the Government House bungalow half way, and we were a large party changing horses – Fanny and in his phaeton (the other aides-de-camp in their gigs), and I observed it would be odd if we arrived safely, merely judging from the manner of horses in India; they are all raving mad, and there never is a day without an accident on the course. We went well for a mile, and then met a palanquin packed for a long journey, which, with all its accompaniments of bearers, boxes, &c., is enough to frighten any horse. One of our leaders turned short round, dragged the carriage off the road and settled himself with his head in the carriage looking at George and me – very pleasant, but we did not want him; and in the shake the postilion, who drove the wheelers, was knocked off, and fell between his two horses. The syces all ran to help him, taking immense care not really to go near the kicking horses; all the natives are frightened to death at the least trifle. Giles, to my surprise, poured forth heaps of directions in pure Hindustani; the guards, as usual, stood stockstill, without attempting to help; and George and I spoke English, which nobody understood. And while we all were busy in our vocation, the horse that the other postilion was riding watched his opportunity, saw that nobody would interfere, reared up and flung himself back on the man. We thought at first the man was killed, however he came to after a time; and, though he was very much hurt and laid up for a long while, there are no bones broke. It is a great inconvenience on this sort of occasion not knowing the language. However, Mr. and Captain came up to us, and we got hold of a hackery (or bullock-cart), and made up a good bed on it for the man, and left some of the syces to take care of him, and came home safely after half an hour's delay; but such a scene altogether I never witnessed. My nerves, which were very good in a carriage, are becoming utterly ruined from the starting and kicking state the horses always are in.

Wednesday, September 28.

A ship sails to-morrow, so this must be finished. We had such a delicious storm last night – such thunder! – it has cleared the air wonderfully. It thinned our Tuesday's ball too.

I think you will like to know that we are all losing our eyesight from living so much in the dark, and George writes his away.

Ever yours, most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, October 7, 1836.

Chance continues to be remarkably well, you will be happy to hear, or rather has become so, for he was very ailing at one time; but since I have allowed him to sleep under my punkah at night, and sent him out for a swim every morning and evening, his dear little constitution has righted. has taught him an immense variety of tricks, which he displays at dessert, and which not only make conversation in a country where that article does not abound, but which really do surprise some people not used to the highly educated modern dog. Mrs. was suddenly forced into an interminable fit of laughter by seeing Chance lie down on his back and feed himself with his hind paw, and she has not relapsed into gravity since. The servants now, seeing what a treasure he is, call him 'Chance Sahib,' and have got over their Mussulmanic prejudices enough to take him up in their hands, though they scream like rabbits if he barks. Fanny will tell you about her bird, which is very amusing.

My pigeons are all grown so tame that they scuffle into my lap to be fed when I sit down on the floor to feed them. They have only one fault; they lay nothing but addled eggs. I should not dislike some addled young pigeons; they would be giddy, pleasant young creatures – only they won't come.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, October 20, 1836.

MY DEAREST MARY, – Is not it time to write to you? I really often put off writing when I am in the mind for it, from the impossibility of finding anything new to say, and the conviction of the bore my letters must be.

A very beautiful Armenian woman died yesterday, who has for several years been a subject of curiosity to Calcutta. The Armenians do not mix much in society, but she came occasionally to our parties, covered with the most splendid diamonds, and every day she drove on a particular part of the course in a beautiful carriage, with an oldish, ordinary-looking Armenian driving his gig, close by her. They never seemed to speak, but he never quitted the side of the carriage. Some said he was her father-in-law, or her uncle, watching that nobody spoke to her; some, that he was her lover, trying to speak to her himself. However, for five years this has gone on every day, and last week we passed them several times. Her death is in the paper to-day – of fever, of course, and I see she was only twenty-four. I think the poor woman must have died of the bore of those drives.

We came up to Barrackpore last night, and are preparing this morning for a party to the Barrackporeans. There are not ladies enough belonging to the station to dance, but we have got a conjuror, who has been acting at Calcutta with great success, to come for the night. They say he is a very vulgar man; asks if any gentleman will lend him an 'at or an 'andkerchief; but is a good conjuror; and as he charges 20l. for the night, he ought to be.

We have, as usual, got the house full, a system which has entirely spoiled the charm of Barrackpore to me. It is such a comfort at Calcutta to have four days out of the seven, and very often five, without the danger of even a morning visit; whereas here, we have people all day long. Any idea of being in the country is all nonsense, when you can only go out one hour in the twenty-four, and that is in the dark now. Even George has given up gardening as a bad job. I must say, after we have abused the weather so much, that the change the last week has been quite delightful. The evenings are quite cool, partly from very thick fog; but still they are cool, and the days are no longer oppressive. We still go on with our punkahs, and, indeed, I am ashamed to say that I keep mine still going all night; but then I pull the sheet well over me, so you may imagine that the season is very inclement. The old Indians really get up a shiver, and say, 'Well, I think you have nothing better than this in England!' Poor dears! 'Yet nature might have made me such as these,' therefore 'I'll not disdain,' as Autolycus says. Indeed, India will make me so in another year, so perhaps it is better not to disdain.

Will you tell Miss Ridley that Mr. sent me her letter, and as I am always particularly glad to do anything she asks, I asked him to dinner forthwith and to a ball, and now we have brought him to Barrackpore, which is the only great distinction the Governor-General can show to a young writer. We have brought Mr. , Robert's protégé too, and they seem to be very happy. Mr. is very good-looking, I think, and has brought colour and health enough to last him full three weeks, though a fortnight is the general term.


Calcutta, Thursday, November 3, 1836.

Amongst our visitors to-day we had one of the Mysore princes, the eldest son of Tippoo, who was ushered in by Colonel . He was eating pawn all the time, which is a measure of etiquette – a proof that he is an equal of the parties he visits. There is no sort of attention I should not like to pay his fallen grandeur, but I wish he would not eat pawn – it is the most horrid-smelling thing in the world. He said he thought I had not known him, when he passed George and me the day before, out riding. I repelled the false assertion with becoming scorn, and then he said, 'I thought you would not know me, because now I do dress like my lord. My lord, he wear drab hat, so I have hat exackerly like my lord's.' This precise imitation of George's hat was a velvet drab-coloured concern, bound with gold lace, and a great ruby stuck in front of it. He asked if George was likely to go on wearing a white hat, and I intimated, confidentially, that I knew he had a large case of black ones with him, upon which Tippoo said he should return to his black hat whenever my lord did; and he ended by saying, he came to ask leave to join us when he met us out riding. Such a shocking prospect. He knows very little English, and his ideas probably are fewer than his words.

We came up to Barrackpore in the afternoon, and had the pleasure of reading your letter of June all the way up.

Friday, November 4.

We had our conjuror last night. He was really very amusing – cockneyish in his language; but some of his tricks were very surprising, and at all events it had the full effect of pleasing the cantonment. The Danish Governor of Serampore (with the Governess) crossed the Hooghly on purpose to see him, and the old Governor nearly fell out of his chair with surprise and delight when Mr. made him blow on the six of 'arts,' which immediately became the ace of spades; and as at Serampore they have not learned much English, and have nearly forgotten all their French, he expressed his gratification at the end of each trick by throwing himself back in his chair, with a roar of laughter, and saying 'C'est ça!' You will be glad to know that the Governor commanding the division stuck his foot on a box containing my pocket-handkerchief, and though the foot was a large one, the box a wooden one, and the handkerchief French cambric, yet the box was found full of peas, and my handkerchief was discovered under a hat at the other end of the room. The Brigadier professed he had not been so much amused since he came to India; and as for Major and Mrs. , they had enough to think of for a month – I should say for more, considering how little thought does here. The rest of the company really thought it the greatest treat they could have had: a popular government in short. But they have all called here this morning – out of the proper day – to express their happiness, and I am so tired I should like to cry. However, we are paid for it, I suppose.

My young ladies' quadrille is all arranged – even the dress is made and the partners all named, which, to spare their feelings, I did from my own observation, and made Captain write a regular aide-de-camp's invitation to join my quadrille; and I believe the right gentlemen are secured, with one melancholy exception – that of a gentleman who dances eternally with everybody, seeing that he has two feet; but he has only one hand – one real hand I mean – the other is made of iron, but seems to me to have as many joints as the real one. However, the young ladies all objected to the gentleman with the iron hand, and as he had made a great point of coming, we could only avoid him by pleading eight prior engagements.

Fanny is now going to get up a married ladies' quadrille. We are doubtful about it, so it is going on in an underhand way by means of Mrs. . I think it will come right at last. We cannot make out our dresses to our minds, but perhaps there will be a fresh supply of goods in the market before the day comes.

has just come in, in such a sailor-like fashion. He and the other aides-de-camp have built a boat, which was launched yesterday, and is called the 'Emily,' and they mean to pull in it themselves during the cold weather. They are all dressed like sailors, with 'Emily' worked in gold on their hatbands and badges. I am afraid the native servants will take to call me 'Emily,' as their ideas of Christian and surnames are rather confused.

God bless you, dear Mary! My best love to dear Robert and the children.

I have written this off as if you were close at hand, and now will send it to the post. You will have it to-morrow morning.

Your own affectionate sister,

E. E.

Barrackpore, Monday, November 7.

Sunday is always a long day with the people staying here, but it was enlivened after church by an arrival of English papers, up to August 1, and the hope of letters to-morrow. The 'Windsor' came in, three months to a day, from Portsmouth. Quite as good as an Overland despatch, and she always makes those quick passages. I mean to keep my eye on her for my return coach, but she will be very cockroachy by the time we go home, I am afraid.


Barrackpore, November 7, 1836.

MY DEAR , I wrote to you very lately, but that is no reason why I should not write to you again. I dare say you have written to me since number four, and I should not wonder if you had been weak enough to put, or cause your letter to be put, into a ship, thinking that the most likely mode of getting a letter to India; but no ships ever happen to come here. We send a great many to England, and her conduct in returning none is unhandsome and unfair. If you were to catch a camel, fill two hampers with letters, and put them on its back, I believe he would find his way here, overland. The mercantile people here have some unknown means of carrying on communication with England. I suspect – I don't positively know – but I strongly suspect that that is their method. They will feel pretty considerably surprised and baffled when they see our aristocratic, intellectual camel trotting among their mercenary trading herd.

Your heron's plume, dearest I I'm so sorry and ashamed that it is not yet on its way to England; but it is no fault of mine, and you shall have it still. Our slowness here in procuring anything not immediately under our hand is supernaturally great.

The argala is too clever a bird to remain on this large, green, swampy tablecloth we call Bengal, when it can fly off to the hills, and on the hills only it is to be found; also, I believe each bird produces only two feathers of the kind you mention. It is more than a year since I have seen one accustomed thing, except the living things that came with me. Every now and then, the strangeness of everything around strikes me as if I had not now been used to it for months. Last evening, persuaded me, instead of going that tiresome straight carriage road, to come up with him, in his boat. He has six native rowers with scarlet and white dresses and scarlet caps; it looks like a very pretty sort of cockle-shell thing, on this grand river. Of course, when we had sent the carriages away, the tide turned out to be against us, and we arrived two hours later than we meant. I could not help thinking, as it grew dusk, and then dark, how strange any of you would have felt if you could have changed places with me for an hour.

The shores of the river between this and Calcutta have such a sameness we could not tell how much way we had made, but every now and then there was an outline of a temple, and the sound of the tom-toms and the screaming to the idols. Then some dark figures coming out of the jungle with lights, which they dropped in the water; if they floated past us, it was a good omen for them. Then a darker mass on the water, and that was a human body with vultures settled on it. Then, a large, bright flame on the shore, and that was a human body burning. Then a splash from a startled alligator. Then a cluster of moving stars would seem to surround the boat; these were fire-flies. Then, quite high up in the air, above the cocoa-nut trees, some supernatural looking globes of fire, something like moons detached from the sky; these are lamps of cocoa-nut oil drawn up to the top of bamboos and kept burning in the jungles for some religious purpose. Then a little thatched hut stationary on the water; that is an up-country boat, which has probably been three months making its way to Calcutta, advancing in the day and anchoring in the night, and from these boats there is generally a great sound of heathen voices. The boatmen seem to me to be the only natives who have any animal spirits.

The evenings are beautiful now, when the fogs are not too heavy; really cool enough to make me glad of a thick shawl. But all the year round, the sun is too hot for anyone to go out in the middle of the day. I have such a prodigy of a bird; I wish you could hear it talk and whistle.

Yours most affectionately,



Thursday, November 10.

George and all the household, and all our guests, went off at 6 A.M. on Monday, and left Fanny and me and Mrs. and her children to take care of ourselves, with for our 'European.' If ever a lady is deserted for a few days by her husband, father, &c., I observe it is a right thing to say, 'But I hope you have a European in the house.' For myself, I think the natives are much the more manageable of the two. However, is our European, and orders about him in a grand way, and in a language which it pleases him to call Hindustani. It seems to me rather what is generally termed 'an unknown tongue.'

We went out riding both Monday and Tuesday, in a horrid fright. I tried to make Rosina teach me how to tell the guards and syces, 'I have broke all my bones, go and fetch a doctor,' &c.; but as I cannot master such a simple sentence, we were glad to discover that Webb, the man at the head of the stables, was staying on at Barrackpore, and offered to ride, at a reasonable distance, with us; and the horses were tolerably quiet, for a wonder.

There was such a pretty festival on Tuesday, one of the eternal Hindu festivals; I do not know what about, but the servants all bought horrid clay, misshapen, gaudy-looking figures; and I am sorry to say all mine thought it necessary to present me with some, because they thought I liked modelling, and my room is full of the most frightful-looking toys, which I dare not destroy, as they think them beautiful. In the evening our bearers, who are all Hindus, lit up one side of the house, and the native doctor illuminated one of the bungalows, and they danced, after their fashion, to a tiresome drum, and sang for about six hours, and had a great feast of rice and sweetmeats, for which we gave them money; and the Mussulman servants all sat round, and sang and told stories, though they cannot eat together, and it was one of the prettiest, gayest feasts I have seen. The illuminations were so pretty. We had the carriage late, and Mrs. drove with us through the cantonments. The Sepoys had illuminated there in all directions, and even scattered lamps on the ground all over the plain; it looked like a large Vauxhall. Dr. Drummond came back on Wednesday, and gave an excellent account of a scientific party George had held at Calcutta, There was plenty to see and to say, and some curious experiments tried, and everybody seemed pleased; and George wrote me an account of it, which showed he was amused.

Calcutta, Monday, November 14.

George is building a school in a corner of the park at Barrackpore, upon Captain Cunningham's plan, and the schoolmaster is to be taken from the Hindu College, and to teach the little Barrackporeans English. The school promises to be a very pretty building.

I found was going down to Calcutta after dinner on Sunday, in his boat, so I shipped off Rosina and old Anna, and most of my servants, who were too glad to get off a day sooner, and put myself into his boat at 8 P.M., and we were at Calcutta at 10 P.M. It was such a lovely evening on the water, and I escaped getting up at 5 A.M., which invariably makes me sick for the rest of the day. I often wonder what we shall do when we are in camp, and have to get up at 4 A.M.; we are all such bad hands at it, and we have heard shocking accounts of the bore and fatigue of the process.

My Singapore silk has arrived – a beautiful sort of gold and silver brocade, just made for a fancy dress; and it is lucky to have anything, for now this ball is near at hand the ladies are giving 1l a yard for common satin for slips. We have also got a pair of beautiful bracelets Mrs. C. Elliot ordered for us at Macao, and I had imported a pair of earrings, but George has bought them of me – I suppose for his fancy dress!

Friday, November 25.

Our grand fancy ball went off last night with the greatest éclat. Our little pages were the prettiest sight of the evening, particularly , who is a beautiful child, and being full of odd fancies, took a fancy that night to be a regular page and to carry my train and fan, like a page on the stage; and when I bade him good-night in the ball-room, he said, 'I am going downstairs with you, it is my duty to see you to the carriage.' Captain Cunningham was dressed as a Mameluke, Captain as a Sikh Prince, as the Corsair – so utterly disguised by black curls and eyebrows that I should not have known him at all, and the Doctor in his naval uniform. There was a sort of platform arranged for us, to which the steward took us and all our silver-sticks and chowries and peacock's-feather men, who are glad to shirk their duties on ordinary occasions, but turn out with great pleasure for what they consider a very improper nautch. And George has just given them new scarlet and gold dresses for the cold weather, so they finished off our group very handsomely. Some of the native princes who were there, had some very magnificent jewels, and there were some genuine Chinese dresses made of the sort of embroidered silk which I have always believed in, from knowing that the Chinese were the cleverest people in the world, but never saw. We came away at 12.30 P.M., quite astonished to find ourselves up so late. That is about the time we should be going to a ball in England. I am horridly tired to-day.

We had a long visit from a lady who is just come from Ava, where she has been two years without seeing any European woman, but one – and the Burmese treat the English just as contemptuously as the Chinese do. She was a nice good-humoured woman – all the nicer for bringing us a quantity of pretty Burmese curiosities. She said she was very fond of her one European friend at Ava, and thought her the cleverest woman she had ever seen, 'but she is not fond of jokes, and sometimes I wanted to laugh, and except a doctor, who came to Ava, and who talked nonsense, I really have not heard any nonsense for a very long time; but I hope at Calcutta everybody is not always grave.' I cannot hold out to her the most distant prospect of a joke, except the little we do in that way ourselves, and that grows less every day.

Wednesday, November 30.

We were to go to Dwarkanauth Tagore's fireworks at night, so I would not ride, as the smallest possible quantity of fatigue is the grand aim of an Indian day, and I took a solitary drive by the river-side, and detected one of our boats coming up the river, and in it a remarkably fat rosy-looking young man, who turned out to be Captain returning from his three months' cruise, perfectly well. Dr. Drummond, who knew him when he first came out to India, says he thinks him now in much better health than he was then. I could not have believed three months could have made such a difference in anyone. I drove down to the Ghaut and took him into the carriage, and he seemed really glad to be back again. He has brought us a great many pretty things – fans and card-cases and Chinese monsters, and some chessmen for , and even a present for , who nursed him when he was ill.

George, after all, did not go to Dwarkanauth's party, which was a pity, though I regret it less because if he goes to one party he must go to more; and getting up before six, as he does, it would be bad for him; and he is so well and looking so well now, that any change would be for the worse. We went in great state – three carriages and the aides-de-camp in their gorgeous uniforms, which they have only worn twice since we came; and we sent on fourteen of our own servants, because, as you will at once perceive, it would have been quite beneath us to allow the servants of a native to give us any tea; and we might have been bit by a mad mosquito if we had not taken our own chowry-men, as nobody else can have any when the Governor-General's are there. Moreover, the servants care about fireworks, if they care for anything. I have seldom seen a handsomer fête. It was very much like one of Lord Hertford's fêtes – beautiful fireworks; and then all the French actors and singers sat in one room, and dancing in another, and the instant one amusement was over another began. There were a great many of Dwarkanauth's own relations present in very magnificent dresses, otherwise not many natives. We got away at 12.30 P.M., but the party lasted till 4. I was most dreadfully tired on Tuesday. George and I took a quiet drive, and we put off our ball till this evening.

Barrackpore, Monday, December 5.

We had our dance on Wednesday, and our usual levee on Thursday morning, and then came up here. I came with in his boat, and I never felt a more beautiful evening than it was, and the sky and river were such a fine gold colour – the real, Indian, pure gold, not your trashy goldsmith's mixture, half brass; and then we have little vagaries of pea-green clouds – quite an original thought, rather vulgar, but still picturesque. As I have mentioned about thirty times in each letter to you what a shocking climate this has been, ever since we came, it is but common justice to observe that the weather now is very enjoyable. Of course there can still be but one hour's going out for those who do not get up at sunrise, but the air that blows into the house all day is pleasant, and the evenings are charming.

Ever yours affectionately,


TO .

Barrackpore, December 6, 1836.

For a wonder I am allowed a sheet of glazed paper, which tempts me to run off a letter, though there is no ship going for a week.

George and his household are all at Calcutta. He gave a dinner yesterday to General Allard, Runjeet Singh's General, and Jacquemont's friend, who came out again last week to join his master. He called on us the morning we left Calcutta, with all his staff and the officers of the French ship which brought him out, and we all tried to put our best French forward. Allard wears an immensely long beard, of which he makes two wings, that he is always stroking and making much of; and I was dead absent all the time he was there because his wings are beautiful white hair, and his moustachios, and the middle of his beard quite black. He looked like a piebald horse. Our party was not lively: nobody has three days' – I may say three hours' – conversation in them in this country. I have not quite three-quarters of an hour myself, though I have rather a good set of questions. Fanny and I are quite alone, except for the presence of Captain , who is come back from his voyage to the Straits a remarkably fresh-looking, active young man, and he was such a wretched-looking creature when he set off. But he says the first week at sea set him quite up; so that is the thing to do in case of necessity; but at present we are not at all in want of it.

I never saw George so well; and he is really in danger of growing too fat; indeed, so much so, that he has taken this last week to get up very early for a morning ride without prejudice to his ride in the afternoon. I was sitting in his room the other day, when St. Cloud came in search of me with his bill of fare, and he had not seen George for two months. The next day he began with his odd nigger voice and gesticulations, 'Mon Dieu! madame, son Excellence!' (he always calls him so) 'quelle bonne mine il a! qu'il est gras! – bien portant! quel plaisir ça me fait! Son Excellence a un air cle santé, de force;' and he kept describing circles round his odd skull of a face and bony figure by way of illustrating George's increase of size. 'Grâce à vos bons diners' was, of course, all I could say in answer. 'Ah, madame, j'en suis enchanté!' and he went off so like the way in which Mathews used to go off the stage as a negro. I am very fond of St. Cloud – George says because he is the only person who is the least confidential with me. He never associates with any of his fellow-servants. All kitchens in India are distinct buildings, at some distance from the house, and in the hot weather I wanted St. Cloud not to cross the compound, but to send me a written bill of fare. He said no; he thought a few minutes' conversation with madame did him good; he liked to tell her of the 'bêtes et fainéants' who composed his kitchen establishment.

We are going to give a ball here on Friday.

Yours affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, December 10, 1830.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I have at last found a good subject for a letter, something worth writing about. I have heard a great deal about you and Eastcombe, and you have no idea of the fun and pleasure of it; much the most amusing day I have had in India, and quite unexpected. We have had a Captain and Mrs. staying with us at Barrackpore. He is a very clever man, about forty-five, and nearly seven feet high; and four months ago he married a little tiny Miss , who is just eighteen, and does not come up quite to his elbow, but is a good-humoured merry little thing, with a pretty face. However, I have always rather fancied her, and now I know why – there is no rule so safe to go by as what is called a fancy. I asked her to go out with me on the elephant yesterday, and as topics are neither many nor original, I asked where she had lived at home, in town or in the country. 'At Blackheath, chiefly,' she said; whereupon I said, 'Do you know a place called Eastcombe in that neighbourhood?' 'Oh! yes; such a pretty place, and it belongs to a Lady Buckinghamshire, whom one of my uncles knows very well.' 'Did you ever see her?' I said carelessly, which was rather a shame; but I wanted to see what people at the top of elephants thought of you. 'Oh! yes; she used to come very often to my uncle's church, She is very handsome; such a beautiful figure! I used to say to my aunt it was a pleasure to see her come into church.' Whereupon I nearly kissed the dear little thing, only I was afraid of toppling her off the elephant; so I told her you were my sister, which interested her beyond measure, and she wanted to know if you were not fond of flowers. 'As my aunt and I used to see her drive out with the front seat empty, and come back with it full of flowers, and my aunt used to say, "How I envy Lady Buckinghamshire the quantity of new flowers she has."' Don't I see you whisking by St. Germain's chapel, and by those little white tea-caddies of cottages on the Dover Road, and up that lane over which there was a stationary skylark always singing, with your carriage full of Guernsey lilies, and the coachman's back looking broader than it did the day before. Then, of course, we talked over Greenwich Park, and our own dear house there (that anchor which was so foolishly cut), and the pensioners; and Mrs. had looked through the coloured glasses with which the old man on the top of the hill plagued one's heart out. That brought her into very near connection with us. But, to crown all, she said, 'I was once at Eastcombe. Dr. West took me to the lodge to be vaccinated from the gardener's children.' Can you conceive such a climax of interest? The luck of meeting at the farthest extremity of the globe with a girl who had been vaccinated by our West from Bell's and 'the guinea-pig's' children. It made her my second cousin on the spot. The little thing herself was in such delight at being able to talk over her English days; for, like all young Indians, she is quite a stranger to her parents, and her whole heart is with 'grandmamma and my aunt at Blackheath.' When they came over to dinner Captain said he had not seen her in such spirits since she came out; and then everybody began asking her questions, and insisted on her recollecting Boritt, which she could not comply with; and, at last, by way of pointing out where he lived, George said, 'But were you never at Trill's?' 'Oh, Lord Auckland, do you know Trill's? what a good shop it was, was it not?' and, as this was almost the first time she had dared to speak to George, it made us all laugh; but there was something cheering in the sound of Trill. Wright said the other day, with a deep sigh, 'To be sure what a different place this would be if we had but Trill's shop within reach.' I have nothing more to say about the s visit, and perhaps you cannot understand the intense interest with which one knocks one's head against a familiar post in a strange land. I do not mean to call you a post, poor dear sister; but you catch the idea of the simile; and if ever you happen to be 15,000 miles from Eastcombe, you will see the value of the individual who sees and knows the terrace walk and the lodge, &c. Even Dandy Mrs. knew by sight, which I have mentioned to Chance, who tucks himself under his bearer's blanket and does not care.

I had great amusement on Sunday in watching Chance's embarkation from Barrackpore. There was a boat going down to Calcutta, in which his man chose to set off; and at low water it is very difficult to go from the Ghaut to the boat, there is such an expanse of mud and water. Chance and his man were plodding over a very slippery plank, and had just reached the boat, when the man's foot slipped, and of course man and dog fell into the river, which, as they can both swim, did not signify; but it was great fun seeing them both picked out, and then to see all the black creatures on deck down on their knees wiping 'the Prince Royal,' as calls him, with their blankets and cloths, leaving Jimmund to dry his own black person. It proved to me how kind the native servants are to their masters' pets, for I saw all this through a frightfully good telescope which George has bought, and set up on a stand in my room, and it brings people a mile or two nearer than the next room. I am not sure whether we cannot hear what they say through it; but, at all events, I could see that the natives, who did not know that they were observed, instead of giving Chance a kick for tumbling into the water, were wrapping him up in their own garments – and they have nothing to spare in that article – and they finally handed him into the cabin, where I suppose he took possession of the sofa; but the telescope does not look through a deal board, which, considering its other powers, is disappointing.

Having constantly abused the weather, I must say that for the last month it has really been much pleasanter than I thought possible. The mornings till nine or ten quite cool, and those people who are strong and silly enough to get up and go out before breakfast say it is quite cold. The days are all alike in India, because the old sun will have its own wicked will, and the glare and heat make it necessary to keep the shutters shut; but with that the house is quite cool now; and then the hour in the evening from five to six, which is all the going out we can have, is really very enjoyable. It grows too foggy and dark after six to stay out; which is a pity. It certainly is a shocking life for very young people. I don't think it signifies so much for us who have had our share of air and exercise in our day; but there are a number of young ladies just come out by the last ships, looking so fresh and English, and longing to amuse themselves; and it must be such a bore at that age to be shut up for twenty-three hours out of the twenty-four; and the one hour that they are out is only an airing just where the roads are watered. They have no gardens, no villages, no poor people, no schools, no poultry to look after – none of the occupations of young people. Very few of them are at their ease with their parents; and, in short, it is a melancholy sight to see a new young arrival.

Our Captain has a sister just landed; a nice-looking, merry little girl, with a fresh colour, which will be all gone in six weeks; and very high spirits, which will soon follow the colour; and she had never seen her parents since she was two years old.

God bless you, dearest sister. I like Mrs. . Don't you?

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Monday, December 12.

I could not write all last week – we have been very busy – the latter part of it with a ball given to the cantonments, as we heard the military thought we did not study their amusement sufficiently. All the front of the house and the road to the bridge and the bridge itself were illuminated in a very pretty fashion by Hudson and our own gardener, and the inside of the house was done on my plan, with arches of flowers and lamps up the two stair cases, and in the ball-rooms rows of little native lamps over the doors and windows, and wherever there was a straight line, which, in those high rooms made up of doors and windows, is not a scarce article. What I call native lamps are very small wooden saucers with a little pure flame of cocoanut oil in them. In the evening the native girls bring hundreds of them down to the water-side, and let them float down the river. If they burn well and float long, it proves that the fiancé is faithful; and, however that may be, the little lamp burnt in his honour is very pretty. I cannot say how many thousands of these we put up. The aides-de-camp all turned into tents that were erected in the park, and left their bungalows to the visitors. General Allard and all his Frenchmen came. The Danish people crossed over from Serampore and Calcutta behaved handsomely in furnishing us with sixteen dancing ladies, besides plenty of gentlemen. There was a steamer to bring them up, and boats to land them, and a sitting down supper, which they think much of. They began at nine, and danced without ceasing till two, and it really was the gayest-looking ball I have seen. At all events, it gave satisfaction to the parties concerned. The early part of the week we were alone.

We were much occupied in nursing Fanny's bird, which was a very pretty creature that Major Byrne got for her from a New South Wales friend, and it talked and sang and whistled, and was very clever; but no foreign birds will live in the Bengal climate. We have lost such quantities in the menagerie; and notwithstanding all our nursing of poor Joey, he died on Thursday in a fit. It is a great pity, as he was such a clever bird, and quite a new discovery.

Monday, December 19.

The 'Repulse' goes to-night, and as we try all ways of writing, I will send this by her; and we have sent yesterday overland some single letters. We do so want to hear again from you. We have nothing later than the 1st August (except two or three newspapers; but they only made letters more desirable). Four months and a half unaccounted for; and, altogether, I want you to come in your letter, and as many children as it will hold besides. Calcutta now shows a large supply of children eight or nine years old; they are come from the Upper Provinces to be passed through Bengal at this wholesome season, and so sent home; but the sight of them gives me yearnings for my nephews and nieces. I always kiss my hand with the greatest warmth to the children on the plain. Some of the little girls put me in mind of our girls in their days, and then again of Greenwich times.

I wish you many happy Christmases, my dear; and that we may pass them together, and have some snow and icicles, and be on the top of a hill with people that we like all about us, and no India to go to, and no sun and no black people, and then we will talk it all over so comfortably.

I took your picture out of its frame yesterday, because I thought it looked a little mildewed; and I touched it up where the horrid insects had got at it; and then it looked so like you, I began to cry about it. passes at least two hours in each week fidgetting those pictures in and out of their frames, and I really like him for his odd fondness for them. 'I think Mr. Eden, ma'am, wants a little touch about the cheek; it grows pale, don't you think? but to be sure Mrs. C is the strongest likeness of any. It's quite curious. I don't know but what Mrs. D looks very well, and the insects seem to respect Mrs. D , ma'am; but, to my mind, Mrs. C is the best, though sometimes I do fancy all the ladies is here; these here pictures are so exactly them.'

Fanny is meditating an expedition to the Raj Mahl hills. has been concocting a shooting party with Mr. and Mrs. , and they wanted us to join the party. I should be very glad to see some hills, but I could not leave George for a month; and indeed he has not an idea of being left for a day; and, moreover, I never feel up to any fatigue; but I think it will be an excellent break for her, and with to take care of her, the difficulties of the journey will be nothing. In India, where everybody has their own servants, nothing is so easy as these little independent expeditions, and it will make a very amusing recollection in after-life. The tiger-shooting sounds rather awful, and I think Fanny is a little afraid of it; but there is no need for seeing more of it than she likes. They will start about the middle of February, and be away a month; and they will live in tents, and travel on elephants, and see wild rhinoceroses, and do all the things that ought to be done in India; and 's heart is quite set upon it; and in many ways I think it will be a very good break in their Calcutta life.

God bless you.

Your own

E. E.


Government House, December 21, 1836.

I write and write, because I am determined to believe that you are you, that London is London, that England is England, and that the whole Western world is not a clever and finished fancy of my own imagination. The latest written sign of its existence was dated July 28, and now it only wants a week to Christmas. Newspapers to the end of August have found their way here from Bombay, but not a single letter, public or private. I expect when you return to England that you will see after the sailing of the ships yourself, and not let them go on in this careless, irregular way. In the meantime I sha'n't write about it.

You will have turned over such a number of pages in life before my 'observes' upon what you were reading then will have reached you. It is very hard that we should have two such distinct books given us to get through, when we certainly enlivened the original publication by our clever remarks as long as we read out of the same.

My dear, here is such a plan – such a sublime plan, burst upon me! It will eventually conduct me either to the bottom of a tiger's throat or the top of a rhinoceros' horn; but the grand, wild, independent halo thrown around it in the meantime will make the path pleasant to such a dénouement. They do say (it is hardly possible to believe them) that there are hills in Bengal, not more than 140 miles from here; and the unsophisticated population of these hills is entirely composed of tigers, rhinoceroses, wild buffaloes, and, now and then, a herd of wild hogs. There, I'm going to live for three weeks in a tent. I shall travel the first fifty miles in a palankeen, and then I shall march: it takes a full week to travel a hundred miles in that manner. Twelve miles a day is the average rate of marching. A little more may be done; but as our beds, sofas, arm-chairs, tables and clothes all travel on the heads of human beings, we cannot progress very fast; besides, we encamp for the day at eight or nine in the morning, to set off again at five the next morning. A Mr. and Mrs. and Mr. and Mrs. have organised a regular tiger-hunting expedition to the hills; only their four selves and five-and-twenty elephants are going. intends to join them there, and I am upon the brink of settling to go with him; they are all 'heartening' me up to it, because they say it will be such a good thing to get up some extraneous strength for the hot season, and that strength is to be found on the top of a hill.

won't hear reason as to the horrible dangers he is going to take me into. The other two ladies regularly get upon their elephants, and go tiger-hunting every day – talk of the excitement of the tiger's spring, and the excellent day it was when they saw eight killed. I happen to be very much afraid of a cat – I may say, a kitten; but if I were to stay at home while the others went out, a stray tiger would just walk in and carry me off: as George encouragingly observed this morning, 'I see him moving at a round trot with you in his mouth, like a goose thrown over a fox's back.'

A man dined here lately who had really been in that enviable position, and was very lame in consequence; he actually got at his pistol, and shot the tiger through the heart, after it had carried him some way. I see in the sale papers to-day, 'a beautiful Chinese ivory cabinet' and 'a Kentuckian rifle gun' to be sold. There was a time when I should have sent to bid for the first; now I shall send an unlimited commission for the second.

We are not to start for six weeks; so I shall write to you once more. 'It will be a nice little march,' just now observed; 'no fuss or trouble at all. I have written up the country for elephants, and we need only have a guard of twenty men. You had better take your English maid, for fear you should be ill, and your ayah as a companion for her; and then, with your own sixteen bearers, you will want only ten or twelve more to carry your things; your khetmutgars to wait at dinner; your peons to pitch your tent; your jemadhars to look after them all, and your washerman and tailor. Those, with all my servants, will do very well.' I ventured to suggest that I was not likely to want any clothes made for three weeks. 'Oh, but tailors are always of use. I remember the time a tiger fastened on my elephant's trunk, and so nearly clawed me out of the howdah, and my tailor saved the elephant's life by sewing up the wound.' I see myself sitting on an elephant while the tailor is stitching at the trunk! Emily positively declares that nothing shall ever make her go to a tiger-hunt, but at the same time that she would think it very strange and cowardly of me to neglect such an opportunity.

Dr. Drummond is the only one who throws up his eyes, and wonders; first, at the rashness of going without a doctor, and next, of going near a tiger. He does not say much, but gets together all the most frightful documents he can find about tigers and jungle fevers, and lays them on the table with a solemn air.

I wrote to you about my small prodigy of a bird; like all prodigies, it is dead, and I am still in despair about it. No bird will live long here. This one is a real loss, it was such a curiosity; everybody was fond of it, and it certainly was more amusing than most of the people here.

The weather is very nice indeed now – what we call, and really think, cold; I suspect much what a commonplace summer's day is in England, judging from the vegetables. Peas, cauliflowers, French beans, salad, and all our summer vegetables are excellent now.

I throw a great deal of sentiment into my eating, always having watercresses for breakfast, because they are so English. George has just sent word that this will, perhaps, catch the 'Repulse' in the river, if I send it now.

Yours most affectionately,



Barrackpore, Saturday, December 24, 1836.

Having sent off my last letter on Tuesday, I begin again. 'The mutton of to-day will succeed to the beef of yesterday, as the beef,' &c. &c. That is not to be taken literally, for it does so happen that for the last few days I have not been eating beef and mutton, having had a series of headaches and pains in my bones, &c., whereby it has arisen that I have not gone in to dinner; and altogether I have done what here as well as elsewhere, they call 'the influenza.' That is meant as a compliment to the cold weather, which, after a few days, has trotted itself up again to a hothouse temperature, and everybody 'hopes we won't think this a fair specimen of their cold weather,' 'quite an unusual season,' &c. Nonsense! just as if we did not know better; we heard of India before we came out.

By not being well on Thursday I missed two interesting events – one a great durbar held by his lordship, in which he returned the presents made by that Vakeel I told you of some time ago; and the other was a deputation of eight gentlemen to ask Fanny and me to a great ball the whole society of Calcutta are to give us, and we were to fix the day. There seems to be some dispute as to the style of entertainment, because one ball is necessarily so exactly like another in a small society, and all out-of-door amusements, breakfasts, &c., are out of the question; and we objected to another fancy ball, because of the expense to which all the very young gentlemen put themselves on those occasions: so I believe it is to be a full-dress ball, with feathers and trains, which is quite a novelty in Calcutta. However troublesome these gaieties may be, they are pleasant, as proofs of our 'giving satisfaction;' for as long as it was considered a bore to come to Government House, eternal fagging at society was doubly fatiguing. It seemed so much hard trouble thrown away if it did not please others more than it pleased us; but we have somehow risen rapidly in public estimation, and there is no end to the attentions they pay us. Calcutta is become so gay. In short, 'the wretched tools by which George means to make his arbitrary government popular,' as calls us, are turning to account; and that being the case, I no longer object to the trouble of the business. It is the only active duty we can perform here.

Dr. Drummond will not let me take the slightest exercise this week, as I have had constant headaches, and am weakly altogether.

Sunday, 25th.

I am determined to write one line, dearest, on Christmas-day, to wish you and yours many, many happy returns of the day, and that some of them may find us together again; and in the meanwhile I was thinking at church to-day what an unspeakable comfort the communion of Christians is; how the feeling that we were all commemorating the birth of the same Saviour, with the same rites, and on the same day, brought us all together, even at the distance of half the globe. One part of the service was entirely thrown away on me. I beg to observe the Psalms, as usual, did not agree with my complaint. 'Hearken! oh daughter, and consider; incline thine ear; forget also thine own people, and thy father's house.' I never think David quite understood what he was writing about. The more I hearken and consider, the more I feel that my own people and my father's house are the very points I never can forget. I never thought so much of them before. Last Christmas we were at sea; this Christmas in Bengal; the next I suppose at Allahabad; and so on till we have a Christmas in Egypt, and the next to that at B Hall.

I want to go home, please.

Government House, Friday, December 30.

My health has come to again. I have stayed at home quietly, and escaped two nights at the theatre; and we have had no time for dinners; and I have taken a quantity of iron powders, which have quite cured my headache; and then, yesterday and the day before, two ships arrived and brought us quantities of letters up to August 20, and that always does me good. There were none from you, but then it was not quite your turn. I counted that you should not send off another packet till September 1, and there is a September ship reported this morning.

Fanny's expedition to Raj Mahl is come quite into shape, except that, after having talked for six months of the charms she should find in marching, and the pleasure of going to see tiger-shooting, now that she has the opportunity she has been in such a fright about it that she nearly gave it up. I rather encourage her fears of the actual tiger-shooting, because it seems to me a dangerous pastime, not from the animal, but from the clanger of being out too long; and there is no necessity for her going out with the sportsmen. There is very pretty sketching in the Raj Mahl hills, and they change their abode every other day; and they are to see the ruins of Goa and Malda, and several curious places; and I believe, in real truth, she likes it very much. It is a pity they cannot go a fortnight sooner; but then the older Indians of the party think it as much too cold earlier as we think it too hot. At present their idea is to start February 20.

We had an old Mrs. here this morning, a friend of , when he was in India before. She has been fifty years in India, barring one year, four years ago, which she spent in England; and she thought it a horrid country, and came out again. She is eighty-four, and is now going home, 'to give England another chance;' if she does not like it, then she says she shall come back and settle here for life. She is a fine-looking old body. I fetched George to see her, and when he went away, she said, 'Well, I have seen a great many Governors-General, but that is the handsomest I recollect – I declare he is very good-looking. Why, , you never told me he looked so young; I like his look.' and she walked off arm in arm full of their old jokes. He fetched her here in one of our carriages, and took her home again, and she was quite pleased with the attention. A very fine-looking, very old lady is rather a pleasant sight, particularly here, where there are hardly any very young, or very old people.

I mean to write to next – that I solemnly vow; but as the 'Duke of Bedford' sails to-morrow, and I had this letter on the stocks, I thought I might as well send it off, instead of a fresh one to her.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, January 14, 1837.

I have a suspicion of having been dawdling lately in the writing line; in fact, I feel confident that I have not written more than one letter the last fortnight.

We have been attending the races, which necessitates getting up before six every other morning; and they run races very slowly in India – dawdle three-quarters of an hour between each race – so we never get home till past nine, so nearly glared blind that writing was too white a pursuit for the rest of the day. But the races were rather amusing and very good of their kind. George's cup was run for on Wednesday, and we had all set our hearts on Captain winning it, partly because Mrs. was so anxious for it, and then they are the only racing people we know well, but it was won by a horrid spider of a man who lives up the country, and will carry the cup out of sight and reach. It was a melancholy finale to a race, for his horse dropped down dead before the jockey could dismount; so as a set-off to this disaster, we all tried to be glad he had won the cup; but I have quite returned to my original opinion of the man. Another of his racers broke its leg exercising, and he gave it over to some surgeon to try experiments on, and there was this poor high-bred thing that had lived in a hot stable, and been cockered up and taken care of like a child, standing on three legs under a tree with only a cloth over it, and looking in the greatest pain. It disgusted everybody so much, that the gentlemen began a subscription to buy it of him to shoot it, and he was at last reduced to have it killed by mere shame. So it is a pity he has won the cup. George and I have been all three mornings to the races; they occur only every other day. Fanny has only been once, as she has been very poorly altogether for three days; and though she is much better to-day, she has not the least chance of going to the ball that is given to us on Tuesday, which is a great bore. For various reasons it has been put off two or three times, greatly to the general inconvenience of Calcutta, which poor hothouse of a place cannot produce any plants that will stand two nights' amusement. So there is a play on Monday; the whole of Calcutta rests on Tuesday and comes out fresh and yellow again on Wednesday; and in this dissipated race-fortnight it has been found difficult to find a day for our ball. I do not know in what way it is to differ from the balls in general, except that we are told to come in feathers and that our names are said to be emblazoned all over the Town Hall, as well as on the buttons of the stewards' coats, but all the rest is a mystery.

Monday, January 16.

Fanny is much better, nearly well again; but at present Dr. Drummond will not hear of her going to the ball to-morrow. However, I dare say she will be able to go for ten minutes, which will be quite enough. had a sudden fit of fever too on Saturday, which came on in the night and was gone again in six hours, but was, while it lasted, Dr. Drummond said, as violent as it well could be. He walked home from dinner, and there was a fog at the time, which is very apt to produce those sudden chills. He is quite well again.

The 'Zenobia,' which took our first letters from hence home, is in the river to-day – come back with answers. What a time we must have been here! And I give you fair notice I shall cry and roar considerably if she does not bring quantities of letters. Yours of August must be on board. Mind you do not slacken about writing. Somehow we have been rather starved the last two months, and it is a shocking sensation. I believe we expect too much when a great many ships come in, because they cannot all bring letters; but yet they ought. This must go to-morrow per 'Windsor,' but I shall leave it open to the last minute for the chance of the 'Zenobia's' news.

Tuesday, January 17.

Two letters from Maria, who is a jewel of a friend, one from Mr. Greville, and one from by a Glasgow ship; all very well. 'But where is County Guy?' Which means where is your letter, and them 'ere journals? However, in fact, there are only what they call 'loose letters' – not in a moral sense; but we always hear per 'Semaphore' so many 'loose letters,' and so many 'box packets,' and the Post Office takes clearly twelve hours hammering away at unpacking those 'box packets.'

I am so glad you got my panorama, though it was not half finished, and I am particularly glad that thief was discovered. We were always sure it was that boy. Rosina said, when I told her, 'Me always think so; shocking naughty boy. Me know where his mother live; when me go home to England with Ladyship, me go and beat him for taking me Lady's things.' How surprised he will be five years hence at that assault. I wonder what he did with my Prayer-book; however I am devotedly attached to the other you sent me.

We dined out yesterday at Sir B. 's, our third and last Judge.

Captain is come back, but not at anchor yet; however he will be with us to-morrow, I expect, and when the 'Andromache' goes home I mean to send my drawings to your care. I expect they will amuse you. There is another box going to your care by the 'Robert Small,' which sails the end of this week. It is part of the furniture which I have had embroidered in the house here, but the climate is spoiling it already. Will you take care of it and have it aired occasionally? and in due time it will have to be made up. That will be a very satisfactory moment, because then we shall be on our road home.

Fanny and set off in rather less than three weeks for their Raj Mahl Hill expedition, and are full of preparations.


Wednesday, January 18, 1837.

Fanny was not well enough to go to the ball after all; it was really a pity she missed it; it was so well done. Our whole household went in grand costume, and I was tastefully attired in a Chinese white satin, elegantly embroidered in wreaths of flowers (not the least like flowers) by my Dacca workmen; head-dress, feathers and lappets. Everybody went in new dresses, which made the ball look brilliant. We were met on the steps by twelve stewards, wearing silver medallions, two of which I begged and have sent (by Captain Fulcher, of the 'Robert Small') to and . Mind he gives you up that little box. The staircases were beautifully ornamented with flags belonging to half the ships in the river, and the bands played 'God save the King,' which, indeed, we rather expect now whenever we blow our noses or sneeze; but 'King George' was not allowed to walk first this evening, because it was explained to him that he was only asked to meet us, all for our honour and glory. The Town Hall is an immense building, with two rows of pillars running from one end of the room to the other, and between each pillar there was a drapery of pink crape, to which hung a large wreath of evergreens, and in that wreath there was alternately an E and an F of forget-me-nots, or roses or any sentimental flower of that kind. They had cleared away the theatre at one end of the room and replaced it by a Richard the Thirdish sort of tent, the draperies held up by trophies of our arms, wheat-sheaves in all directions, and E's and F's to match. It was a splendid tent, all red and white satin, and I should like the reversion of it when we go up the country. There were two arm-chairs covered with white satin for us, and the poor degraded George had his chair put a step lower; and over our chairs were our arms and motto. Whereupon I observed to Mr. Shakespear, who wanted to know what 'Si sit prudentia' meant, that 'sit' was put over my chair because I was going to sit down in it; 'prudentia' over Fanny's because she stayed at home when she would have preferred coming to the ball; and 'si' was for George, who was sighing for a better place than he was seated in. We call that a joke at Calcutta, and it makes us laugh, though it would be rather stupid at home. I did not really sit down on my throne; I thought it would look pretending; but all the ladies, with unwonted civility, came to make their curtseys while George and I were standing there; and then the stewards carried us off to the other end of the room, where there was another large E and F, with two altars and heaps of flowers and little flames burning; pretty and allegorical, though I do not exactly know what it meant; but it looked very well. It was an immensely full ball. Supper was prepared in one room for 650, but 750 contrived to find places; and there was a dais for us with a scarlet drapery and our eternal names, and each of the stewards presided at a separate table. At the end Mr. Shakespear gave our healths, which were drunk with considerable noise, and then we all went back to the ball-room and stayed till two, which is a wonderful excess for this country and for us. The ball lasted till near four. It really was a magnificent fête, and the stewards showed the superior manners of more advanced age. At the bachelors' ball nobody took charge of anybody, but these steady married gentlemen were trotting about, seeing that everybody had partners, and supper, and seats; and six of them were always left to take care of me, and they were quite proud of themselves for understanding a ball so much better than the young gentlemen who gave the last. However little amusing a ball per se is to us who have outlived them, yet this was really very gratifying; I mean really and truly. It is certainly pleasanter to be liked than disliked by the people one must live with. There was every lady of the society there except three, who were ill and who sent notes of excuse and their husbands, or their sons to make their apologies; and so, as all our dinners and parties have met their reward, we shall go on in the same track; and that is the end of the great ball subject.

Friday, Barrackpore.

Fanny and I and Dr. Drummond came up here yesterday, as change of air is always the thing after a bilious attack; but she is quite well again.

The weather is very nice now early in the morning, so much so that I got up at half-past six and got into a tonjaun and was carried to the menagerie, which is now quite full, and thence to the garden.

Monday, January 23.

We gave a farewell dinner at Barrackpore to old General , who commands that station, and who is going home. We had all the chief military people to meet him.

We heard a great many details of that poor Dr. 's death. His name must have come often in my letters, as we were more acquainted with him than with most people here. George and he were in constant communication. and he went out shooting together, and latterly he has come to accompany me on the flute. He played and sang beautifully. We have always thought him very superior to most of the people here. Last Tuesday week, when we had the Helfers to sing here, he wrote me word he had such a bad headache he could not come. Dr. Drummond went to see him as a friend on Wednesday, and said he wished he kept more quiet and that his doctors were more frightened about him. The next day they did stop all visits to him, but then it had become a regular brain fever, and he died on Wednesday night. His wife is supposed to be on her way out, but, as she was in wretched health, it is to be hoped she may again have changed her mind. You cannot imagine in India how the ranks close in the very day after a death. The most intimate friends never stay at home above two days, and they see everybody again directly. It is a constant surprise to me, but I suppose there must be some good reason for it, as it is always the case. I should have thought grief might have taken just the other line, but I suppose they really could not bear it alone here; and then they never are free from the sight of human beings, from the practice of servants being always at hand. However, so it always is. Dr. had more warm friends than anybody, but there was not one who stayed away from the races after his death.

We came down to Calcutta in the evening. Such a lovely moon, but, horrible to relate, the weather is really growing hot again. They all say 'it is unusual' and 'a curious circumstance' and 'unprecedented,' and 'there must be rain somewhere;' but we know what all that means – two months of cold weather instead of four.

Yours most affectionately,



Government House, January 27, 1837.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I have not much to say that I have not said fifty times over, but still I must write, because you are, as I said above, my dearest sister.

There was a ship – the 'Gregson' – burnt three days ago. Just got out to sea beyond the Sandheads, and, though all the passengers were saved and are come back here again, every article on board was burnt. I wonder whether many of our letters went by her. I shall always say so. In fact, you would have been delighted with the very amusing narrative I sent you by the 'Gregson.' It finished off that immense packet I sent you by the 'Victoria 'in October, which ill-fated ship, I am sorry to see, has also been burnt at the Mauritius; but, as I have written by other ships, only not so pleasantly and freely, of course I only allude to these missing letters just to show that I am always writing to you. It would be indelicate to make the slightest reference to the little offerings sent by the same opportunities. In fact, the little trifles sent per 'Gregson' were hardly worth your acceptance, and, as the better selection shipped per 'Victoria' now can never reach you, I will not tantalise you by descriptions of the eastern gew-gaws. You guess the style of thing – mother of pearl and silver filigree – and if I did not say anything about the shawl embroidered with seed pearls and emeralds, it must have been mere forgetfulness on my part, as I think you would have liked it to put over your gown when you were gardening.

I am so glad you continue to like Dandy, I am fonder of Chance in my own little way than of all the rest of India, with Ceylon and the Straits thrown into the bargain. He has got such a sweet coat too, which he wears morning and evening, after the fashion of dogs in India. He had a common red one, very well for a common black dog, but not quite the thing for the Prince Royal. There is a native who sells us Chinese silks, and I suppose has made a good thing of us, for he made up as a surprise to me a coat for Chance, of a broché gold-coloured satin bound with silver, with a sort of breastplate of mock stones set in gold. It was put on Chance, and he was brought into my room in triumph by his man, followed by all my servants, just to see if I did not really think it the most beautiful dress in the world; and Rosina stands and admires it with genuine admiration, and asks every morning whether Chance had better wear his old coat or his Sunday dress.

Yours affectionately,



Government House, February 11, 1837.

I see in the papers that the 'Java' letter-bag closes to-night, and, though I have particularly nothing to say, and never heard of, or saw the 'Java' in the river, still if she will close her letter-bag to-night, I suppose she would like to have something to put into it.

This is our levee day, so I shall write till the people begin to pour in, and after that the sooner I am hanged and put out of my pain, or luncheoned and brought to life again, the better. Not that I expect an immense crowd to-day, as it is the season that people are leaving Calcutta instead of coming into it. It is the new arrivals who bother me entirely.

A shocking catastrophe occurred last week at Barrackpore in the canine department, but there are hopes it may not end fatally. A jackal got hold of little Fairy, 's pretty little greyhound, and worried her in a horrid manner. and all the other gentlemen settle themselves on the lawn at Barrackpore after we go to bed for an hour's smoking, and they generally get into violent political arguments; so on Friday evening they had set in to their smoking – eight of them, and a row of servants round them, and about twenty jackals again beyond them. Fairy had only jumped off 's knee one moment before they heard a little shriek, which they took to be a cat screaming; and then they heard another noise, and one of the Hurkarus saw a jackal carrying off Fairy by the throat; so then they all ran and frightened the beast away, and Fairy was picked up with her throat and paws shockingly torn, and apparently so dead that told one of the men to bury her. But after the man carried her off she showed signs of life, and her funeral was countermanded, and now she has been nursed and petted for a week, and is getting better. She screamed, and howled terribly for two days, and, as dogs that have been bitten by jackals generally go mad, it has been necessary to keep her in a large cage; but I think now she will recover. There are sometimes fifty jackals at a time round the house at Barrackpore, and I assure you, my dear , that I have not a moment's peace about the Prince Royal, only I think his natural dignity and his imperious manner may keep the jackals in awe; also his servant is rather grand, particularly in the cold weather, when he wears a nice Indian shawl draped over him in a very becoming way. Dr. Drummond's little dog has been carried off twice and recovered. We have all sorts of little adventures of that kind. One of the rhinoceroses has taken to stray about the park, and ran after an old neighbour of ours when he was going home one evening, and he is not only very angry (naturally) that the rhinoceros should have run after him, but also that George should have laughed when he made his complaint, and not only that, but everybody else laughs when they think of this great heavy beast scuttling after old Mr. . I quite agree with him in thinking it no laughing matter.

February 12.

There! we had a quantity of people, and in the afternoon it was so hot that I could not write; in fact, I went to sleep, and we dined early to go to the play. A Mrs. Chester, from the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, and also from Sidney and New South Wales, has deigned to tread the boards of the Chowringhee Theatre, and she wrote me so many moving letters that at last we were obliged to go. She is by way of being a singer, so the first act was a concert and the second a farce. I forget now how common people are treated in England; here they never begin anything till we come, which is extremely gratifying, only it gives us the trouble of going to the very beginning of any sight, however tedious. George and I, with Miss and some gentlemen, bravely sacrificed ourselves and sat through it all. Fanny and came only to the farce. It was almost amusing from being so bad. It is a great pity they cannot import a tolerable actress, for the gentlemen amateurs are excellent actors.

This morning has been a grand morning. I think of putting up a little monument to the 12th February. I have had thirteen letters this morning for my own private share – thirteen! Do you feel the force of short expressions, ma'am? Never was such times! It is worth all the agony of waiting and dancing about in a fuss, just like a bear learning to dance, which is the sort of feeling I have, when letters come I am perfectly miserable when they do, because, though it appears to me that I never think of anything but you all, yet I think still more, and with more bitter regret, just after the letters come in. However, it is no use saying so – only I never will care for anything else; but I suppose we are all placed where we ought to be, and that we must make the best of it, and it is impossible to be thankful enough that all these letters should come, and all bring such good accounts. Also, it is pleasant to be able to tell you how little we all suffer from the climate, detestable as it is. My health is better than it used to be at home. Fanny has not half the pains and aches she had latterly at the Admiralty. George is remarkably well, and it is so like his placid sort of luck; but his room is the only cool room in the house at all times of the year. Nobody knows why. My room and the drawing-room have precisely the same aspect, and are as hot as flames. It is just his cool way of taking things.

Wright is roaring and crying with the pleasure of two letters from her sisters, and is in a high state of excitement with a letter from Mary the housemaid. Mars has no letter, but is more quietly pleased with unpacking four baskets of preserves the Nawâb of Moorshedabad has sent us, particularly some hot chillis preserved in honey – I should think the most horrid mixture under heaven; but he brought them in triumph to my room, as something exquisite. Rosina is quite happy because there were silver cords and tassels round some of the parcels which Mars gave her, and she has put them on as bracelets; they make her brown hands look so pretty. I never saw such small hands and feet as the little Matwês have here.

Once more God bless you all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


February 14, 1837.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – This is to be really a short letter, not those double sheets I generally write; for those dear good ships, 'Larkins' and 'Robarts,' which arrived five days ago, together, brought us such a profusion of letters that I want in a transport of gratitude to write to everybody at once. I had two from you, and your account of your interview with Madame Sophie made us all laugh; even the poor, dear aides-de-camp thought it their duty to laugh too. But I think it was rather clever of you to write such a good account of my gowns – very much as if I were to try and compound for my tithes, or enforce the new Poor Law. On Saturday the box arrived, and very imposing it looked when we had it opened. Lovely articles! Not but what I think the fashions in real truth hideous, and remarkably unbecoming to me; but still the gowns themselves are beautiful.

George is going to answer Willy's letter. We have got a good leopard-skin for him, and hope to find a tiger-skin in the course of the week. Those we have seen had been damaged; so if we do not succeed, he must wait till Fanny and bring back one of their own shooting. There is a Captain going home next week who will take them, and I will send by the same opportunity some pocket-handkerchiefs, which presents to you. They are made somewhere up the country, and are very good articles.

Fanny and set off yesterday morning in great glee, for there was on Sunday evening a powerful thunder-storm – I never saw such inky blackness – and then a good pouring rain, the first that has fallen for five months; and that brings back the cool weather for another month, besides laying the dust for their journey, which is no small consideration. It cleared up in the morning, and they went off at seven in the carriage to Barrackpore, had an early dinner there, and at four started in their palanquins. They would overtake their tents at eight this morning, and that is the only fatigue they will have. After that they never go above ten miles a day. I sent three of my servants to Barrackpore with them, as their own are gone on, and my jemadar came back this morning and said they set off at four, and 'the Choota lady Sahib' (or 'la petite miladi,' as St. Cloud translates it) 'send her love, and say she have all she want, and she look remarkable comfortable in her palkee;' and he ended with clasping his hands, and 'Now, please, may I have leave to go home and see my children; me up at Barrackpore all one whole day,' which the servants look upon as the extreme of human misery. Nobody knows why; for now we go there regularly, they have each settled a few of their wives there, so as to have a home at both places; so nothing can be more moral or comfortable. George and I are going to take advantage of the roads being watered to get away from the course, and we send on the riding horses and drive to them, and then ride into the lanes by by-roads. I have got a new horse, the last that came from the Cape; my first horse turned out too frisky in the cool weather. Webb says that during the number of years he has managed the Government House stables he has never seen a horse that could not be worked enough in this country, but Selim would take two men to ride him into good behaviour; so, as I have found him more than enough for one woman, I have changed, and this new horse is very quiet. George has one of his scientific parties to-night. Will you come and sit with me in the meantime?

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Monday, February 20, 1837.

Now that Fanny is away, and I have to write to her, besides answering English letters, I am quite overworked. She went this day week, and is now at Berhampore. They are both delighted with their camp life and with all they see, and it seems to answer much better than they expected: but as she is writing a journal home, it will be hard upon her if I repeat her story.

We had a party as usual, for the three days of Barrackpore.

We had such a lovely drive down to Calcutta last night, the moon was so bright and the air so soft.

Friday, February 24.

I had an immense tribe of visitors yesterday morning. Brigadier came again this morning about that review at Dumdum, and as they all say it will be less fatigue to go up at break of day than even late in the afternoon, as it is very hot now till sunset, I am to go to his house early on Monday morning and stay the day there. It sounds rather dreadful, and I think an artillery review must be worse than a common review, inasmuch as cannon make more noise than guns. The Brigadier pledges himself that I shall have a good luncheon, three rooms to myself, liberty not to receive the ladies of the station, and he solemnly asserts there is no Mrs. to do the honours, &c., and that there shall be nobody but his aide-de-camp to take care of me; so I shall request whichever of our aides-de-camp goes with me to run his aide-de-camp through the body if he talks too much, and then it will do very well.

Dumdum, Monday, 27th.

There! like a clever creature I brought my writing things up with me, and I am very comfortable here in my own rooms, and quite at leisure. A great many of the Dumdum ladies have called, but Captain has very wisely informed them I should be tired if I saw them, which I am sure would have been the case. He and I came up very early with Wright and Rosina and Giles, and about four carriage-loads of other servants, who have settled themselves and the little ponies that draw their carriages under a group of cocoa trees close by, where they are cooking and laughing and looking very comfortable. The Brigadier has got a bad sick headache, poor man; which is awkward the day of a review. It is awfully hot; the thermometer at 84° in this room; all shut up; and, what is very distressing, is that I have to dress twice, and he has remembered everything but a looking-glass – strange neglect!

I was going to tell you that in a box we packed up yesterday, and sent by the 'Fergusson' to Robert, there is an Indian shawl – a present from Fanny and me to ; so will you give it to her with our love. It is nice soft wear.

There is a new large looking-glass just come, so I must dress.

Tuesday, 28th.

I am so tired, I have a great mind to cry; only if one cried every time one felt tired in India, no number of pocket-handkerchiefs would suffice; but my bones ache, and I think I never shall be cool again. George arrived at four yesterday, in great state, with the whole of the bodyguard, and the whole concern after him; and the guns fired and the trumpets sounded, and the people ran and the officers drew their swords; and when I called to Wright for my bonnet, she could not come because she was sobbing; and when I asked what was the matter, 'I was looking at my lord, ma'am, and thinking of the day I first saw him in Grosvenor Street, and my lord persuaded you to take me, and now, ma'am, he is quite as good as a king.' 'Yes, but think of the climate and the dust and the bore of it all, Wright, and see if you can't find my bonnet; and, moreover, if my lord had been a real king, he would not have stuck himself at the top of a prancing horse to go off at four in the broad sun to see a quantity of smoke and natives.' The thermometer was at least 150° on the plain, I am sure. He took all his staff (with all their horses kicking) after him, and I followed in the open carriage with the four young horses kicking too, and the postilions not understanding a word I said. However, we lived through the first ten minutes, and then the horses were all stunned and quiet, and we were the colour of lobsters. After a time I got on the elephant which we had sent up from Barrackpore, and at last George joined me, and we saw the review very well from thence. There was a mine blown up, which was a pretty sight, and shot nearly as redhot as the people looking on, and the thousands of spectators were past all calculation. 'Me tell Missee Wright,' Rosina said, 'that my governor, poor ting, his hand ache with bow, bow, bow, to everybody's salaam, and everybody say my governor very nice man.'

We got home in time to dress, then to the messroom, where we sat down with 200 people, George and I in the middle, supported by 'the Brigadier' and 'Mrs. Colonel :' don't you see the sort of thing, with an 'Auckland' and stars and illuminations all above us, and the heat! My jemadar, with his usual cleverness had provided himself with a great fan, or I must have disappeared into my own plate, and been carried off by mistake for melted jelly. Then there were fireworks the instant dinner was over, and a ball the moment the fireworks were extinguished; and as soon as that began we came away, and the drive home was worth any money – 'the pleasant, the cool, the silent.' But I am very tired to-day. However we have no company to dinner all this week, bless their hearts! and we are going to take a quiet late drive.

Fanny seems very well and prosperous, and says it is really cold, part of the day at Raj Mahl.

Barrackpore, Saturday, March 4.

We have been here a whole year this day, so I must write to you, and I think I will send off my letter. George says it seems like half a year, I think it seems like twenty. But there is much to be thankful for. We are all (as far as we know) well on both sides of the water; we have had no misfortune to bear, or to tell; and I feel to know you more and to love you better, and to be more intimate and devoted to you than ever. The thread has been drawn out to its utmost length, but it has not an idea of breaking, has it, dear? and it grows more like a rope every day. If they won't let us go home soon it will be a cable. I grudge the loss of your society, and your look, and your voice; but still at the end of this whole year of India, it seems to me that I have lived with all of you and with nobody else, so my English accounts add up well. As for India: looking at it dispassionately and without exaggerating its grievances for fun, I really think I hate it more now than at first. I try to make out for you stories and amusement from the pomp and circumstance of the life, and I can fancy you saying, 'Oh! they talk so much about that, they must like it;' but it is because there is nothing else to frame a cheerful letter on. I think the climate a constant and increasing evil, inasmuch as it becomes every day more difficult to occupy myself.

In the meanwhile I flatter myself the English Ministry is changing about this time, or perhaps a month later, and if you can but have us recalled, I do not insist on a second anniversary.

I am particularly bitter to-day. We are returning our Dumdum civilities, and there are some of the artillery officers here; and this morning one of them came in and wished me 'many happy returns of the day, and all to be spent in India.' 'Few, you mean,' I said; 'the many and the happy can't be here.' But away he went, got on board his yacht, which is lying at our Ghaut, and fired a salute of twenty-one guns, which shook all the windows, and then came back and said he had been celebrating the anniversary of my birthday. However I must finish. God bless you.

Your own most affectionate

E. E.


Government House, February 23, 1837.

Fanny and set off last Monday week, Feb. 13, and write in ecstasies about the camp life. Fanny says she is hungry all day long, and never slept so well in her life, and their tents are not hot; so I really hope it will answer, and I think it must be a very amusing change. The only danger is the weather, which is much changed for the worse the last three days; however, I have got her Sunday letter, which does not complain, and Sunday was a broiling day at Barrackpore. Everybody was ill at church, and there are no punkahs up, and we are still in our silk gowns from dread of the eight months of white muslin that are coming on. Perhaps when we get into hot weather trim, and the servants consent to shut all the glass windows, it may do better; but the heat has begun a month earlier than usual. It can hardly have thought we had not enough of it.

I thought I should want a friend when Fanny was out, to come for half-an-hour occasionally, and I had not a notion where to turn for one, but by great luck I find that my extra letter to Fanny just fills up the time in which we should be sitting together, and the rest of the time I am very glad to be busy in my own room. Besides George does not mind my going to sit in his room occasionally, and the days that the Council make him too late for luncheon he always comes up to my room for it.

I did rather an amusing thing last week. I went to see the Burra Bazaar, a narrow sort of street, Cranbourne Alley squeezed almost close and flat, and inhabited by jewellers, shawl merchants, turban binders, &c. I went with Mr. , his daughter, and Mr. in their little palanquin carriage, partly because it would have been thought incorrect if any of the Government House servants had been seen there (Lady William Bentinck went to see it in the same way), and also that the shopkeepers would have charged four times as much for their goods to any of our family. It was very amusing to see my servants when Captain said none of them were to go with me. They evidently felt that a mad patient was escaping from her keepers, and my jemadar ventured to represent that he ought to go with me, which is very unusual with a native servant. We went off alone, however, and had to walk down the narrowest alleys, and then to go up to the housetops of such wretched-looking houses, where the owners were sitting smoking, or asleep, and out of their dirty-looking thatched tenements they produced such shawls, gold brocades that were thicker than the doors of their transparent houses, and the men that sold them looked as if they were cut out of the 'Arabian Nights.' The jewellers' shops are disappointing, except that they produce out of some odd corner of their dresses handfuls of diamonds and pearls; but they have nothing set nicely. I never go to any of these wights without wishing for Landseer, or Wilkie. There is something about natives so ultra-picturesque, they would make the fortunes of an artist.

We are going to make up a small party to the Botanical Garden on Saturday. I have asked three young ladies and their beaux and two couples, and all our own gentlemen mean to go, and St. Cloud and his myrmidons will go down by water in the morning, and cook us a dinner somehow. The natives with four bricks and a little charcoal make excellent kitchens out of doors, and we shall have the band sent down too, and I dare say it will be very pleasant on the water at night, and the moon is the only good thing I know in India.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, Sunday, February 26, 1837.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – I am only going to run off a line by candlelight, an unusual exertion in this country, but to-morrow at peep of day I am going up to Dumdum to prepare for a review, and the 'Fergusson' sails on Tuesday morning, and in that said 'Fergusson' there are two boxes addressed to you which Captain Young of the aforesaid ship has taken under his care, in one of which are a turban and slippers for Lena, such as the children wear here when they are smart, and which I bought the other day at the Burra Bazaar, at a stall where they are made, and some little caps which are regular native baby's caps. My jemadar's children wear them, so I sent them to yours, as, if they act plays, they will amuse them. In the other box there are Willy's tiger and leopard-skins, which he wrote to George for; and, as Captain Young kindly offered to take the box gratis, I sent some of the Patna toys, which children live upon here, and which have the merit that they may suck them for ever and the paint does not come off. The elephant is an exact image of ours at Barrackpore, and the camel and man on it are very correct likenesses; but the originals are not common in Bengal, though we sometimes see them. There were two painted sticks to drag them by, but they would have made the box too large.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

There is a list in the box besides the direction on the parcel.

Think how horrible. It had been packed two days, and I undid it to write on the parcels, and found in it not only two cockroaches, which would have eaten up everything, but a centipede two inches long, which would have stung you horribly. Three of the servants gathered together before they dared kill it. They are very numerous here, but I suppose they would he stupefied in a cold climate.


Government House, Monday, March 6.

George and I walked to a new aviary, or rather pheasantry, that we have been making out of a mock ruin in the garden, and there, in the midst of our new gold pheasants, which we have imported from China at vast expense to ourselves and vast trouble to , was an immense snake, a sort of serpent, hopping and skipping about the trees in the aviary; quite harmless, the native gardener said, only it was fond of eating birds – our birds, our new birds. He caught it and crammed it into a kedgeree pot, where it was precisely a reel in a bottle. It is all very well, and India is a very nice country; but, from early and perhaps bad habits, I prefer a place where we can go and feed the poultry without finding a great flying serpent whisking and wriggling about.

George and I came down to Calcutta very late, leaving the rest of the party to come down by water in the morning. Our only incident was passing Wright and Giles, expostulating in English with a kicking Indian horse, who was trying, with every prospect of success, to overturn Wright's carriage.

Tuesday, 7th.

My days are very quiet and uninterrupted. From nine in the morning till airing time I see nobody except at luncheon, which does not last long. Yesterday we dined early to go to a benefit of a tiresome Madame , who has actually persuaded us into going, by letters and petitions, &c. It was a sort of concert – songs out of various operas, remarkably ill sung by people dressed in character. Madame is an exaggeration of the Duchesse de Caniggaro, only fatter, and she was dressed as Tancredi; it almost made the concert amusing. Luckily it was all over by ten. We have got two more benefits to do, and then I think all further theatricals may be avoided for the hot season. George at first did not mean to do , as I handsomely offered to do it alone; and, to fill the box, I asked Mr. and Mrs. and several other people to go with me.

Thursday, 9th.

Tuesday morning a huge box of lovely articles – shawls, kinkobs, turbans, &c. – was sent to me to look at. They belonged to a Mrs. , a native woman of very high caste and very beautiful, who was married both by the Mussulman and Protestant rites to an English Colonel , who took her to England last year, and he died on the passage home. She has never changed her native habits, cannot speak a word of English, and is quite helpless and ignorant. She came back in the ship that took her out under the care of her eldest boy, who has been brought up at home and cannot speak a word of Hindustani; so he and his mother cannot have much communication. All the magnificent trousseau which Colonel provided for her use in England has never been touched. They say it is quite melancholy to see her sitting on the floor, as natives do, with a coarse veil over her head, moaning over her loss. Her children are all brought up at home as English people, and she will never see them again. I bought on speculation for the Duchess of Sutherland the most beautiful silver-embroidered dress I ever saw. She told me when I left England to buy some fine Indian muslin for her, but I have never before seen any so fine as this. The whole article was unique, and I hope she will like it, as it was a large outlay; but price is no object to her.

We had our dance in the evening, rather a gay one apparently.

Wednesday morning I went in Fanny's place to the school committee, which seemed very peaceable, and in the evening we went to see 'Masaniello,' which the French Company have got up, and acted last week to an enthusiastic audience. I thought it an absolute miracle in our favour that we were at Barrackpore at the time; but the subscribers, by way of consoling us for that disappointment, proposed to have it over again, contrary to the rules of the subscription, and wrote to beg we would not miss such a perfect opera. The 'prima donna' really surpassed herself in it. So kind; but it is very hot. However, we went and were received with great applause; I don't know why, for I cannot recollect that we have done anything very good lately except stew ourselves to jellies at the theatre. The opera was really wonderfully well got up for such small means as they have, and I thought 'the ' did the dumb girl wonderfully, considering she does not understand a word of French, and therefore never knew what she was making signs to.


Government House, March 10, 1837.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – Do you think, hot and weary as I am, I could run off all at once a letter to you to go off per 'Bolton,' which sails early to-morrow? I do not much care if I cannot, because she is to stop at Madras and the Cape, very much as if the post to East Combe went round by Battersea and Langley as far as time is concerned; so any other ship would do better, only it is a long time since I have written to you and I feel uncomfortable about it. I had meant to write to you as I did to on the anniversary of our arrival here, only I knew you would not believe it was only a year; it is ten, is not it? You are a sort of person who keeps accounts and are exact and know how time really goes.

To add to the provocation of being a whole year in such a concern the old stagers all accost me with a benevolent smile and an air of patronising fellowship. 'Well, I give you joy; now you are out of your griffinage you know as much as we do.' 'I should be sorry to know as little, but I suppose I shall if I stay here four years more,' is my natural response. But I only think these things; I don't say them. I keep silence – yea, even from good words – but you will allow there is ample provocation for bad ones. I am thinking of being extravagantly original the next few weeks, just to show them that even habit cannot bring me to their dull level.

March 15.

I forwarded to you last week a great packet of Fanny's, which will show you how she is enjoying her travels. I hear from her or most days, and they seem to be enjoying themselves much, though disappointed with the number of their tigers. They have killed none the last week. Our doctor has been very ill for a few days with a regular Bengal fever, but he is quite out of all danger to-day, and the disorder is at an end. Indeed, I do not know that he ever was in danger; the two physicians who were attending him said not, but that it was one of those cases which required great care, and they were here every two or three hours, and put leeches on twice in one day.

I had such a bad night last night – the sort of bad nights that can only be grown in this country, so complete and from such odd causes. I have changed the order of my rooms, and in moving my mosquito-house from my former bedroom, now my sitting-room, it got warped and the doors would not shut close; so the mosquitoes, who never miss their opportunity, whisked in forthwith, and the more I drove them about with the chowry the more they buzzed, till, with them and the weather, I was in a fever; and just at the hottest a regular northeaster set in – a sort of hurricane. All my windows and shutters were wide open, and I heard all the curiosities in my room flying about as if they were mere rubbish, and when I tried to get out I found Rosina had bolted the door of my mosquito-house outside. Such a position! A storm destroying my little property outside and those insects raging within, and the more I called to Wright, and Rosina, and Anna, and all the 'Qui Hi's' in the passage the more they slept. However, they woke at last, and the shutters were shut and order restored, and I thought I might go to sleep; not that one ever can in this country if the night begins ill, so of course some of the bearers, who sleep in the verandah below, began to cough out of compliment to the storm, and some English chickens Wright has set up began to crow, and the heat was worse than ever when the hurricane went by; and at last I told them to pull the punkah in my bed, not knowing that having once begun it never can be left off again for the next eight months. Altogether I slept for one hour. And now you know what an Indian bad night is. The result was that after luncheon I thought I would go to sleep, and took off my frill and my sash and let all the hooks and eyes loose, and told the servants to keep the passage quiet and not to come in with any notes; and just as I had sunk into a peaceable slumber several of them rushed in, announcing the Lord Sahib himself and the Lord Padre; and then came George, looking very fussy and as if he knew he did not go twice a day to church, or that there was ever any dancing in Government House, and then the Bishop and his chaplains and the Archdeacon; and I was not half awake, and Chance began to bark, and a little motherless mouse-deer I am bringing up by hand was asleep on the sofa. In short we never were less prepared for a dignitary who thinks much of ceremonies. However, I did my best – shook myself straight, gave Chance a gentle kick, tried to give 'La Fleur des Pois,' by Balzac, a botanical air, sat carelessly down on the mouse-deer, and conversed with considerable freedom, slightly checked by artful attempts to fish out from under the Bishop's chair my sash with the buckle attached, which had assumed a serpentine attitude of much grace in full sight. 'Je suis une figure affreuse, j'en suis sûre,' I thought to myself with a pang of remembrance of your voice. But the Bishop was much too full of his own sufferings to mind it. He had been twenty days in a steamer coming down from Allahabad and was nearly baked, and he drove straight to Government House on landing. I never saw anybody so done up. He has been up the country ever since we arrived. We hear he is very amusing; he always says something very odd in his sermons, particularly if he sees his hearers inattentive. Several people have told me that they heard him say in the cathedral, 'You won't come to church. Some of you say it is too hot; to be sure it is hot,' and then he wiped his face; 'I myself feel like a boiled cabbage, but here I am, preaching away.' There was a sort of service here in this house when the W. Bentincks went away, and in praying against the perils of the deep he quite forgot he was praying and began describing his own sufferings. 'When I ran up from Singapore to Ceylon I never felt anything like it; the ship rolled here and there; I was so giddy I was obliged to hold on by the table.' I mean to go on Friday night to the cathedral to hear his first sermon – a funeral sermon on the late Bishop Corrie.

We have set up a second late drive after dinner since last week when there has been a moon. After eight there is not a human being to be seen on the plain, either native or European, and between nine and ten most of the latter are in bed and asleep. However, it has been discovered that we went out at that undue hour, and on Thursday morning half the ladies that came, began wondering at it and asked what made me think of it. I said it must have been inspiration; I could not trace any train of events which could have led to such an original idea, but it had been done before at home, and perhaps the moon and the idle horses, &c. &c. They still thought it odd and not the usual way of Calcutta, but, if it really were pleasant, they thought they would try too the next moon. I thought that mean of them, so I observed, 'Oh! the moon! yes, that does very well, but I rather like the mussatchees better.' There are always twelve mussatchees, or torch-bearers, who run before the Governor-General's carriage at night, so that quite settled the question. It showed that it was not purely an English idea, but a highly refined Indian bit of finery borrowed from Lord Wellesley's time at least; so they wondered still more, and now they are all going to do the same.

I wish my letters were not so tiresome, but I am hopeless about it till we begin to travel.

God bless you, my very dear sister! George's love; he is quite well, and so am I. I have certainly very good health in this country.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Saturday, March 18, 1837.

Some officer at Ghazeepore sent us yesterday two young bears, two fawns, and a very young mouse-deer; the united ages of the whole set could not make a month. The bears were the size of Chance and very like him. One fawn died, but the other and the mouse-deer I am trying to rear by means of a teapot and some milk. The little mouse-deer stands very comfortably in my hand; when full grown they are about the height of Chance, with such slender limbs and beautiful black eyes. It is a pity I cannot send you some.

Did I ever mention that I sent some more tortoises by the Duke of Devonshire's gardener, who went home in the 'Zenobia'? He will leave them in Grosvenor Place. There are two different kinds; the spotted are very pretty, and their skulls are sometimes set as bracelets.

I went on Friday evening to the cathedral to hear the Bishop preach a funeral sermon for the Bishop of Madras – that excellent Corrie who appears in 'Henry Martyn's Life,' and in all other good Indian memoirs. He and his wife have both died at Madras within the last few months.

Monday, 20th.

We went again to the cathedral, that George might hear the Bishop, but he did not preach. A Mr. S gave us such a bad sermon. It is very odd how many bad sermons there are in the world, and they are much worse in this climate; like meat, or milk, or anything else, they won't keep at all, and if they run to length when the thermometer is near 90°, as it was in church yesterday, you cannot imagine how one carps at the slightest tautology.

I had such a pretty present to-day of little marble figures from Gyah. It is a famous place for cutting stone and marble, and I am thinking of sending the models I have made lately up there and getting them cut in stone. I have just finished one of Fairy and her puppies as a surprise for .

Wednesday, 22nd.

I always try, if I can, to pick up anything out of this dull life that is sufficiently different from English life to amuse you – something that has what Jacquemont calls a 'couleur locale.' I had two people sent to me yesterday by two ladies who thought I should like to sketch them – one a Malay in a beautiful dress, the other a man who is employed to find out domestic thefts. Mrs. had lost a trinket and sent for this man, and he performed all sorts of odd incantations amongst her servants, and then gave them rice to eat, and the thief is never able to swallow the rice. The truth is that the servants are naturally timid, and the thief, from fright, cannot chew the rice, which requires a great deal of moisture, and then the other servants oblige him to confess, so that the conjurer hardly ever fails. The mere sight of him would frighten me into confession, and I was obliged to send for Captain , who sketches too, to be with me. The man's hair has never been cut since he was born, and hangs in long grey ropes all over him. He sat huddled up in a scanty drapery, rolling his immense eyes from side to side and muttering to himself. You will see my sketch of him soon, as we are expecting Captain Chads every day, and he is to take home my drawings.

Another domestic event in the morning was unlike England, though it happens constantly here. Captain had turned off one of the servants for being absent three weeks without leave, and these dismissed people, after moaning and sighing about the gates of Government House for a week, if they find Captain inexorable, generally contrive to come to me; and, if they can, they bring a train of the old servants to beg for them, and they cry like children and fling themselves on the floor and knock their heads against it; though I have now forewarned my jemadar that he must condition with all his petitioners that they are to stand up and speak out in a manly way, or I cannot see them. They have a way when they are in disgrace of spreading their turbans about them, that I think remarkably interesting, and it does just as well as if I understood every word of their apologies. This man yesterday, besides an interesting discomposed turban and a train of yellow servants with clasped hands, looking as if they were all going to be hanged, brought his old mother to cry for him. It is not very common to see a native female (not a servant), and this old creature was huddled up in her dirty veil, and hideous as all the native women I have met with, but her feet and hands were the most curious things. Very few English children of seven years old would have such small feet, and so narrow and beautifully shaped. There is no such thing as a large foot in this country, but such small ones as these I never beheld. I had a great mind to ask her for them, and she looked such an old dry thing that I think she might have unscrewed them and taken them off. They would have been invaluable to Chantry. 'If the Lady Sahib will just write down that Sahib is to exqueese this poor fellah, he say he will do just the same thing for ever again,' the jemadar interpreted. It ended, as it always does, in their having their own way. At first Captain said he could not exqueese him, and then the old mother touched his heart as she did mine, and so he told them (to excuse his weakness) that, to oblige me, he would let him off with the loss of a month's wages. One reason why they are attached to Government House is, that it is one of the few houses in Calcutta where they are not beaten. It is quite horrible and disgusting to see how people quietly let out that they are in the habit of beating these timid, weak creatures, and very few of the natives seem to know that they can have redress from a magistrate; but I hope they are beginning to find it out.

My dear, I wish you were here, though it would only be another good article thrown away; but still we could understand each other.

Barrackpore, Easter Sunday, 26th

We dined early on Wednesday, and came up in the evening, so as to have an additional day here, as it is Passion Week, and for the same reason I persuaded George to excuse us any company. We have had two such beautiful storms, that sounded as if they ought to cool the air; but it was 'all sound and fury,' &c. There were hailstones as big as pigeon's eggs, and the thermometer at 90° while they were falling. Either it is a much hotter season or we feel it more than we did the first year, which they say is generally the case; but both George and I are desperate about the heat. It is impossible to stir out till it is dark. Fanny is beginning to find it hot in the tents. and I wish they were safely home now; they will be back this day week.

We had a good sermon on Good Friday, and another to-day, but the heat at the altar was beyond anything; there was no punkah there, and there are no glass windows to this church, so the hot air came pouring in as if we were in an oven, and I saw two or three people obliged to go away from the altar quite faint, and come back again as it came round to their turn.

George's new school has been open this last fortnight, and some of the little native boys already read a fable in one syllable. It is astonishing how quick they are when they choose to learn. I have an idea of giving the monitors, when they have any, a muslin dress apiece. At present the school, though composed of boys of a very good caste, is very slightly clothed, if at all.

I have not written to by this ship, which hurts my feelings, but they said it would not go till the end of the week. Will you tell her so? There will be another ship in ten days. God bless you, my dear!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, March 27, 1837.

MY DEAREST MARY, – An officer who is going home in the 'Robarts' has just called to take leave, and he says a letter will overtake the ship which dropped down the river yesterday, and I am sure if he does, a letter may. I envied the old fellow. He is going home after thirty-two uninterrupted years of India, and is quite curious about Regent Street and the Zoological and all the old stories; and then he is not going home friendless, for, after having talked of rejoining his children there, he said, to my utter surprise, 'I shall like to take my children abroad, and make acquaintance with them travelling, but I must first pass some time with my mother. I have not seen her for thirty-two years,' 'What a fine fat boy she will think you,' I could hardly help saying.

My particular object in running off a line is to tell Robert that his protégé of a barber, whom he recommended to Mars, has been this very day engaged to be hairdresser and barber to the King of Oude, at a salary of four hundred rupees (40l.) per month, with presents to about the same amount and, if he becomes a favourite, the certainty of making his fortune. His predecessor, at the end of seven years, is now going home with thirteen or fourteen lacs of rupees. The chief objection to the place is, that the King takes particular delight in making all his courtiers drunk, remaining tolerably sober himself to enjoy the fun. Perry (is not that his name?) had been with Gattie, the great hairdresser here, for three months, at one hundred and fifty rupees per month, when Mars heard from some Frenchman that the King of Oude's agent was looking for a coiffeur, and he went off with his protégé and presented him. The agent approved of his appearance and only wished to be sure of his skill, particularly in the shaving department, upon which Mars suggested a trial, and he and Perry went this morning and shaved the agent, who was quite satisfied, and the letter is gone to Lucknow to-day for the King's ratification of the treaty. Perry's journey to Lucknow is to be paid, and if either party is dissatisfied he is to be sent back here, free of expense, but the probability is that he will stay there and make a great fortune. Such an odd piece of luck! George said ten days ago, that the King of Oude wanted a coiffeur, and I said for a joke what an opportunity for Robert's friend if we did but know where he was, not knowing that Mars was taking care of him all the time. I dare say the valet of the Governor-General is just the very man the King of Oude would approve of to choose his hairdresser.

Yours affectionately,


TO .

Government House, Tuesday, March 28, 1837.

We heard in the morning from Fanny that they were to leave Moorshedabad to-day by water, and have been making arrangements that the steamer which takes our servants to Barrackpore on Thursday should go on to meet them. I really think they will be baked to a native colour if they remain long on the river this weather.

George and I took a very hot ride, and he came home for his great dinner to the Bishop. Out of eighty-five asked eighty-three came, which is the largest number we have dined. St. Cloud's bill of fare was four sides of foolscap paper, and it turned out such a good dinner. George wanted me to send the bill of fare home to you, but I had unluckily torn it up. He is a great treasure of a cook, though eccentric (not to say mad) as a man. His only communication with the world is his interview with me on the subject of dinner, and he comes over, dressed in the very pink of the mode, and with a new pair of primrose kid gloves on. With a primrose mask over his black face he would look as well as any of us.

Thursday, March 30.

George and I went on the river yesterday evening, and it was very pleasant. I finished off my model of Fairy and her puppies and had it put in 's room. We had rather a large assemblage of visitors in the morning, and went up to Barrackpore in the evening. It was cruelly hot, as we had to set off an hour earlier than usual. We gave our usual Barrackpore military dinner to-day instead of Saturday, that it might be out of Fanny's way; so we went up earlier, and even George owned that it was much like sitting too near the kitchen fire the first half of the way.

Saturday, April 1.

Fanny and arrived yesterday at twelve o'clock – twenty-four hours sooner than we expected them – but the steamer had met them farther on than we expected. Fanny is looking uncommonly well, in prodigious spirits, and quite brushed up by her expedition, and has not suffered half so much as I should have expected from the heat of the last week. looks thin. Fanny has done a great many sketches, and they have picked up a great many new stories to talk about, and altogether it has been a happy device. brought me as lovely a money-box from Moorshedabad as I ever saw.

Wednesday, April 5.

We came down to Calcutta Sunday night.

Yesterday evening we had a very full ball – one of the best we have had – but there is no other house open in the hot season, so they are glad to meet here.

Wednesday, April 12.

I went out in the carriage with George on Monday evening, but even the evenings now are too hot to be the least refreshing, and it is better to sit on the balcony in a draught after the sun goes down than to attempt a drive, only it seems so stupid not to go out for two or three months. I think it so clever of the natives that when I went out on Monday, I found the chair in which we are carried upstairs in the hot season ready at my bedroom door to carry me downstairs to the carriage – a remarkably unpleasant operation, but I did not like to refuse it as it was their own thought.

It is the Mohurram festival, and we are going up to Barrackpore with hardly any servants, as they all ask for holidays this week. My jemadar brought his boy to show off in his festival dress – a black and white turban, with an aigrette of spiky black feathers tipped with silver, silver necklaces, a black and white kummerbund tied round his waist, and a row of silver bells over that, and his face whitened with flour, to look like a faqueer. The boy is naturally frightful, and this made him look like a negro Grimaldi, and I could hardly help laughing when the jemadar walked him jingling his bells up and down the room with an air of paternal triumph, and then proposed I should draw his picture. 'His mother made a vow before she born him that he should have this beautiful dress when he was twelve years old, and she very pleased he so fine boy.' Poor woman! it is lucky she is kept so strictly shut up, for if she saw many other boys she would not be so secure of the beauty of this.

Saturday, April 15.

As we came up to Barrackpore on Thursday we met the Nawâb of Chitpore with all his followers, dressed in green and carrying beautiful flags, and leading horses gorgeously trapped and all beating their breasts and lamenting for 'Honpiu.' I am very low about him myself, but cannot make out his story.

One of our young horses came down like a shot on the road, threw the postilion, who weighs nothing, a mile off, the wheelers went on over him (the horse, not the man), and the wheel went up against him. has not set up any horses since his return, so he was luckily with us and jumped out, and we all followed as fast as we could, and by dint of cutting traces and girths, &c., the horses were disentangled, and the fallen one was not hurt except by the kicks of the others. The heat of an accident in the present state of the atmosphere is the worst part of it. People and things should make a point of going smoothly at this season. I excused myself going in to dinner, and we have no company of course, this week.

The servants, English and native, all hate Barrackpore, and Mars walked in yesterday morning to say that he thought it right to tell me that he could not and would not bear the heat of his room any longer, and that Wright was just the same about hers. I told him I quite agreed with him, and that I also could not and would not bear it, but that I did not exactly see how we were to help ourselves. He said he did not see either and walked off again. However, I went downstairs with Captain and suggested putting thatched mat all along the side of their rooms, which met with their approbation, and they do not mind the darkness. It certainly was a shame to stop Lord Wellesley when he was running up another good Government House at Barrackpore and to stop the finish of this provisional house. As it is, there are no glass windows in the lower storey, and I only wonder the servants can bear the heat so well as they do; and then, as there are no doors whatever to the interior of our part of the house – nothing but open jalousies – the hot wind comes bustling upstairs and through all the jalousies and spoils our comfort. George and I sat in the garden in the evening, and Fanny and went out in the boat, but there was not a breath of air anywhere. Late at night, when the others went to bed, Fanny, , and I tried his sailing boat, and there was just enough air to move it, and the moon is so entirely lovely just now it is worth going on the water to look at it.

Monday, April 17.

Saturday night we drove out late to see the cantonments lit up for the Mohurram, but did not see much. Sunday we had a very good sermon from Mr. ; but I do not imagine that the bread which is being baked in the oven can attend entirely to what the baker observes, and I always feel that at church. I am always feeling overdone and burnt, and want to be turned the other side.

There is an active Mrs. , the new colonel's wife, who is getting up subscriptions to glaze the Barrackpore church, and then we shall do better.

George and I came down to Calcutta at night very comfortably in the carriage. All the others settled it would be quite delicious to come up by moonlight in the boats, so they set off before us at eight o'clock. The steamer, which is a new one, refused to paddle before they were out of sight of the house, the tide was against them, and the result was that they did not arrive at Calcutta till three in the morning. However, they said it was very pleasant, except , who likes twenty hours' sleep out of the twenty-four, and came to breakfast with a touching air of suffering heroism, as if he had watched several cold frosty nights. says all this proves that he is right in his hatred of Barrackpore, that nature opposes itself to his going. He tried the carriage, and the horse fell down; he tried the water, and the steamer failed; and now he has only two resources, either to go on an elephant and pay the fine which is levied on all private individuals riding an elephant through the streets, or else to look about Calcutta for a gigantic ayah, who will carry him backwards and forwards on her hip in the manner in which ayahs carry children.

Wednesday, April 19.

I have such an interesting picture to copy just now – a picture by Zoffany of Madame Talleyrand when she was in this country as Mrs. Grand. It is so pretty. Captain borrowed it of the owner to have a copy of it made for himself, and, as there are hardly any artists, and none good at Calcutta, and he would have had to give 100 rupees for a bad sketch from it, I am copying it for him.

Our boatmen sent word to-day that they had not thrown their Mohurram image into the river on Sunday, which is the proper Mohurram etiquette, in hopes we would go and see them; so we drove that way to-day, and we were quite glad we went; they managed the sight so courteously and well. They were not sure we meant to go, so they posted relays of boatmen on the road to Government House to watch the carriage, and then, when they found we were coming, they sent out torch-bearers to run before the carriage in broad daylight. All the Government House servants live in streets according to their classes, and we found about 200 boatmen, all in their cleanest liveries, drawn up before their row of thatched huts. and in the middle of the street a temple, or taj as they call it, made of silver and red foil, with talc ornaments and flags waving round it, and in front they had put four arm-chairs with footstools covered with flags, that we might sit at our ease in an European fashion and admire it. However, we did not do that for fear the Bishop should hear of it and think we were Mahommetans, but we admired it prodigiously as they walked round it with torches to show off the foil; and then they took us back to the carriage; and it cost us a 1l. apiece, as everything does that we do, or don't do.

Saturday, April 22.

There is a ship going to-morrow, so I will put this up, and I have nothing particular to say of the last few days, as we have been very quiet. We had some people to dinner yesterday, but it was a smaller and pleasanter dinner than usual. This morning our dear Major arrived. We were all so glad to see him again; he is looking much better for his journey. He is a dear old treasure, and now he has done one march he must begin preparing another. In about six months we shall be setting off, I hope, for a cooler climate, and it takes nearly six months to organise that sort of march. He has brought us some shawls, he says, and four curious pigeons for my pigeon-house. Captain left us on Tuesday, but we could send nothing by him, as he has to go to various places in the bay and will be at least seven months on his voyage. I think he will give a good account of us in England. I always fancy that these sort of people may come in your way, though I know it is next to impossible, but still I think they may. I wish when you are asked to recommend anybody to us you would contrive to see the individual before he comes away. I am hopeless of seeing you again, and it would be a great refreshment to see anybody who had seen you since I have.

I enclose two petitions that will amuse the children, at least the old people who were children when I left England. Good-bye again. I don't believe you get half my letters.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Spottiswoode & Co., Printers, New-street Square, London.


Author of
'Up the Country' 'Semi-Detached House'




Publisher in Ordinary to Her Majesty



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Government House, April 12, 1837.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – Think of your overland letters of February 1, with papers of February 3, arriving to-day, April 12 – only two months and a week. To be sure, that overland business is a lottery, but when it does come up a prize, it is worth all the hazard, but it takes quite a bewildering effect on one's mind. We have had in the last five days letters by sea of September and October up to October 24. That is, in fact, where we have left off all the real and complete details of home. Then yesterday there came by a sailing vessel the overland letters of September, October, and November 24.

You cannot think how we rummage about the letters, and pick out a stitch here and put in a patch there, and bring dates and hints together, and make out a story of a life for you all. I dare say not at all the true one, but still it sounds so to us, and it does very well. Now you can't do that for us; you can't put the scenery to us, nor the right faces to the people just now. I have not been well for five days; supposed to have caught cold by sitting in front of a tattee – the first day of the tattees, and the bheesties wetted it so well, that I caught my death by it. Now you don't see the scene, with the thatched windows and the black gentlemen without clothing splashing water all over them.

Ever yours affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, April 14, 1837.

MY DEAREST , – This is the hopeless experiment we all weakly make of sending letters overland, but I am not going to say much to you, because I am just sending you off a regular book of a letter by sea, the sort of thing you will never get through; but then 'it shows my devotion.' I am also sending you, at last, those herons' feathers. They came to me, as you will see, in two round ostentatious cases. I grumbled over them for a week, because I think they look rather like crows' feathers fainted away. However, when I was ejaculating over them, and showing them to Emily, sneering a great deal at clever , and a great deal at you for thinking those could be what you wanted, his jemadars made a dart at them, expressed many Eastern signs of admiration and astonishment, and said that except Runjeet Singh nobody ever had such. From which I judge that you and he must be very much alike in your ways. Lady William Bentinck had some, and wore them with a turban and a diamond; the jemadars evidently thought it was a grand moment for her, and said, 'I suppose it only Lady Bentinck who wear these in England.' In the meantime I do not know their price, but I should think not above 500,000 rupees; of course, no object to you. Perhaps they may be less; indeed, I have a notion that Major mentioned fifty rupees as their probable price. I will honestly let you know. I have put in some black feathers with a white stripe. You need have no scruple about letting me give you them; they are like those the natives wear in their turbans at the Mohurram festival, with silver tassels at the end of each feather to make them droop. Runjeet and Lady L, your two congenial souls, would put diamonds, and you owe it to them to do the same thing.

Talking of Runjeet, the man has been marrying his heir to his niece, and anything like the splendour of the proceedings I have never heard of. 300,000 people followed the procession, and he gave a rupee to each. He had all his troops manœuvred before Sir H. Fane and there were 5,000 chiefs, all in different armour – some in splendid chain armour; and, as they galloped by, they all threw rupees on a particular spot on a carpet. The bride's dowry was eleven elephants richly caparisoned – that is, with quantities of jewels, 101 camels, and so on, besides shawls and jewels without end.

Runjeet was told that we were very sorry this marriage did not take place next year, when we should be up the country, and he sent word that every fête should be repeated if we would promise to come. The fêtes lasted a fortnight, and have cost more lacs of rupees than I dare tell you. I fancy he is a great man. I wonder he does not turn us all out of the country. It turns out, too, that he is quite a chicken – only fifty-two years old.

Yours most affectionately,



April 28, 1837.

Before I forget, I may as well mention that I do not think it would answer to buy a set of trinkets here. They say when we are up at Delhi we shall be more tempted by jewellery, but here I am come out of my engouement for native jewellery. It is so difficult to get it well executed, and it wants the finish of English and French jewellery. Turquoises are cheap, and most unset stones are cheaper than in England, and I think for ladies who have plenty of trinkets, some Indian jewellery is a very good addition, but it would not answer for people with a small stock. The gold is so excessively pure, that it is an excellent investment, and you can sell your bracelet or comb, when tired of it, for almost its original cost; still you get much less show for the money than with a larger supply of trinkets in English jeweller's gold. And then the natives have not learnt that new knack of making a necklace turn by manifold clasps into a brooch and sevigné and bracelets, which is useful in a small way. has written to me for a comb, which is exactly the very thing the natives can do in perfection; but then I must catch a jeweller, and he is brought to Government House, and our sircar buys the turquoises, and weighs the gold, and sits by and targes the man at his work, and, as it is a simple, plain, straightforward comb, it will be very well done and worth its weight in gold; but a set of ornaments I should be afraid to undertake here. If very much tempted at Delhi, Mr. must never be surprised if I grab at a pair of bangles for the girls. I mean he must always keep his fortune in that sort of state, that a sudden call for 10l. may not prove a serious inconvenience. There may even be a run on the bank for 12l., and so he must be ready. I shall be grieved if a terrible smash – the great panic of 1838 – could be traced back to my Delhi extravagance.

Wednesday, April 29.

The 'Belle Alliance,' like a dear as she is, came in on Monday with quantities of letters – a nice long one from you.

We had a dinner for the Bishop on Monday, and he is as jolly as anyone I ever met, and likes a joke. I do not wonder people all exclaim at the coolness of Government House, and indeed profess to catch cold there. The heat of the few houses we have been in is almost stifling.

Friday, April 31.

I saw the French manager on Wednesday, and settled to have a French play at our little theatre, which always stands primed for acting in the ball-room on the third storey.

Wednesday, May 3.

George went down to Calcutta on Monday morning, and did the great dinner there by himself, as Fanny is always glad of an excuse to stay at Barrackpore, and we have put off our play till next week. We have had two beautiful thunderstorms, and the weather is not at all hot, comparatively speaking.

Saturday, May 6.

George came back early on Thursday, time enough for me to take my first airing with him. The park looks so green and fresh; it would be a nice place in England, where one could go out in daylight. The birds affect a little singing at this time of the year, a wretched confused ramage, without any keynote, and incoherent to the last degree, but still the attempt is commendable and spring-like; and there is a cuckoo who at this season tries to talk: he says Cuck – and can't say Coo. However, he is very good to speak any English.

The bachelors of Barrackpore gave a ball last night, and we lent them the Flagstaff Bungalow, thinking we should be at Calcutta, but, as we have been kept here, George thought it would be civil to go.

I never mentioned that the 'Catherine' at last came in on Thursday with quantities more letters. I do not think it signifies the least the letters coming out of their turns; we read them just as much, and it is surprising how unlike they are to each other, considering that you are all writing about the same events; but the little bits of private family history always tell best, and the more you write to the day the more real the letters seem. It is very odd what extraordinary interest those few scratches of a black liquid on a white pulp can give, because the same number of words said in conversation would go a very little way; and yet one folds up a letter with an air of pompous satisfaction, and says, 'Ah! it is very comfortable to know all they have been about' – a deception, only I do not mean to see through it.


There is a good story they have also got in the papers. The privates of the Cameronian Regiment acted a play last week (remarkably well, they say), and offered the proceeds to the European Orphan Asylum; the children there are soldier's orphans. The paper was circulated to the ladies of the committee, and Fanny and I, and a majority of the ladies, put our names to a resolution that we accepted their contribution with thanks, &c. While we were at Barrackpore two ladies re-circulated the paper (which is against all the rules of the establishment), and they and some others drew up some absurd resolutions – that no establishment could expect the blessing of Providence that received contributions earned in this unchristian manner; that if the orphans (a remarkably naughty set of spoiled girls) knew such subscriptions were received, it would hurt their feelings and their principles; and they ended up by refusing 640 rupees a great help to the school, and which these poor men have earned in the most respectable manner. We saw all this in the paper, but did not believe it until it was confirmed, and now George is vexed about it, and half the military people are threatening to withdraw their subscriptions.

We had a great dinner to-day, but I have not begun to dine down yet.


The Asylum question rages, and, as says, it is lucky we can all make so much excitement out of it. We got back the committee paper to-day, and George drew up an excellent protest, which Fanny and I have signed, and transmitted to the other ladies.

We had our French play in the evening – two little vaudevilles uncommonly well acted, and the theatre is one of the prettiest I have seen. It makes a very good change from the constant balls, and it is a pity the French people are going away. It was all over at eleven.


I have got a story for some of your smallest children, probably middle-aged men by this time, but a simple story for what they were when I left home. I told Major to give the two little boys who wait on Fanny and me gold lace to their turbans and sashes, which is the great aim in life of the under-servants, and as these little boys always stand behind us at dinner, they have a claim to be as smart as the others. But when the liveries were made my little boy, who is the youngest and a good little child in general, had chosen to stay away for a week, thereby losing his lessons as well as staying at home without leave; so I told the sircar not to let him have his smart dress, but to give it to Fanny's boy without delay, in order to make the moral more striking. When any of the servants are promoted, they always come to make their salaam to all of us, so Fanny's boy walked into my room, looking very fine, and as he went through the passage he taunted my little boy with it. Mine came in very unhappy and repentant, but I said it was quite impossible to reward him, as he never would learn anything if he loitered at home; so he walked out again, borrowed a sheet of paper, and said he would write a petition for himself, to show that he had learnt something. He brought it in, with one of the hirkarus, to present it; it was a good specimen of a short request. However, I said I would think about it, but could not let him have his turban directly; and in about two hours Rosina, and the jemadar, and two or three others, came to beg I would let him have it, for he had been crying so they did not know what to do with him. 'And he is so young child, and his little face is grown so small, it quite melancholy, and he say he so ashamed to wait at dinner with the choota lady's boy quite smart;' so of course I gave way, as it is always a pity to vex a child, and his face really was grown small. The people here always put me in mind of Number Nip's friends, who were made of turnips, and withered in twenty-four hours. They have no bone, and no muscles, and fade away, and fatten out again à volonté.

I heard a noise in my passage when I was dressing in the evening, and sent Rosina to ask what it was, and she said that the servants were all laughing, because the little boy was telling them that, when I was ill, he had promised to his god that he would give all my servants a feast (which consists in cake and sugar) when I got well, and that now he had got his new dress he meant to give it to-morrow, and he was inviting them all. I dined down to-day, my recovery being entirely complete, and I am probably much the better for the attack.


This morning there came out of the extreme far end of the hold of the 'Catherine,' a box from Rodwell, with a real good satisfactory profusion of books, and we did not expect them, which made it all the pleasanter; and when we all dispersed after luncheon, everybody had at least three volumes, under each arm. Even Captain , whose studies are few and far between, stepped off with 'Mrs. Armitage.' We have read 'Boz' before, but that was one I was most charmed to see. I look upon it as a book of reference, and it was a great inconvenience not having a copy in the house. The 'Pickwicks' are equally valuable.


We went to church armed, with money to give to a charity sermon that had been advertised for the late fires; and the Archdeacon began with a capital text about wind and fire, but it suddenly turned into a sermon for the Church Missionary Society, which has been quarrelling with other societies; so Fanny and I began halving our rupees, and George tore up his draft of 50l., and wrote another in pencil for 10l.; and the aides-de-camp, who had clearly not listened for the conclusion, whispered to know whether it was a charity they ought to give to; and, in the meanwhile, the service lasted two hours and a half, on one of the very hottest days we have had this year. George came home so hot that he declared he would not stir out again all day. However, he thought better of it, and went out with me in the carriage. has set up a new curricle.

Tuesday, May 16.

We had a great dinner yesterday; but they are much less dull and formal since that new arrangement of sitting in the Marble Hall, where nobody can sit in a circle, if they wish it ever so much.

I am quite well again, and began riding again yesterday. All the others are quite well too. In three months our advanced guard of horses, goods, &c., will be setting off. They go six weeks before us, or two months, as we shall go by steamer to Allahabad. We make all these arrangements before George, who says nothing, but has, in fact, made up his mind to go. Sir H. Fane writes such delicious accounts of the mountains, and he says that now, when we are all melting, they have roaring fires morning and evening, and are out all day. 'Can such things be, and overcome us like a winter cloud, without our special wonder?' Well, I begin to see things in Lord 's cheerful way. In five months we shall be travelling, and we shall be marching about for a year and a half, and then we shall not have quite two years more of Calcutta; and then there is only the voyage, and then you must be at Portsmouth if we go by sea, or Dover if overland. I think you had better go there now, for fear of accident. Just stop! I will come in a minute. God bless you all! You are still my very dearest friend.

Yours affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, May 3, 1837.

SCENE: Verandah at Barrackpore. Time, sunset, or rather later. Atmosphere, close. Garden, below the verandah. River and Serampore, beyond.

[Enter four bearers, and place sofa in verandah, and retire. Enter from a side-door an interesting and languid European female with opened and unopened letters in her hand, followed by various domestics carrying footstool, shawl, book, &c. Lady speaks fretfully,']

Jemadar, do put the sofa in the draft.

[Jemadar snaps his fingers, and the bearers move the sofa. Lady reads, apparently with intense interest, long sheets of paper, evidently a journal from a friend, and probably dated October, smiles occasionally, and then speaks (mentally),]

I declare that is a very pleasant journal, and I never thought the letters from the 'Catherine' could have come up so soon. These journals are very pleasant indeed; I think I could answer them on the spot, only it is too dark and too much trouble, and too hot, and too everything. [Music heard.] Well there's a bagpipe; that's odd. I will mention that to : national, romantic, and better than a tomtom. Qui hi?

Jemadar. Ladyship?

Lady. Fetch the telescope out of my room.

J. Huninelkawn, Dulhoo, Ameer, fetch glass.

[They all three go and come back, one with the glass, one with the stand, and one with a little table. Lady looks; as usual can't see through it, but, to save appearances, says, without observing that the top is still on the glass,]

Ah! I see. The music is in a boat at Serampore; what does it mean?

J. Rich native, Ladyship, been to fetch wife; hire music to do himself honour. Very fine wedding.

L. That will be something for my letter to ; give the ignorant European child an idea of Indian customs, also mention to her that to make the music of the bagpipe pleasant it is as well to station the piper in the Danish territories and to remain yourself in the British dominions, with water between the two. In England this might be done with even better effect than at Barrackpore; the distance of Copenhagen would perhaps render the effect still more pleasing! it would be more softened, harmonised, subdued; you would hardly know it was a bagpipe.

[A white goat rushes by, followed by a man and then a deer and then another man, all running as hard as they can.]

L. Qui hi?

J. Ladyship.

L. Tell that man not to hunt Sulema, and tell the other man not to hunt the choota lady's deer.

[The Jemadar talks the gibberish which the natives are pleased to call Hindustani and says,]

By your favour, Ladyship, the doorias say the goat afraid of the deer and the deer afraid of the goat, and they both run away and the doorias can't catch them.

L. Very well. Ask all those gardeners what they are doing to my garden.

J. They say the storm yesterday blow Ladyship's garden away, and they putting it all back again very neat.

There! That is word for word what passed this evening as I was reading your journal, and I thought I would write it straight down for fun, that you might know exactly that bit of my life. I had not gone out, as it was very close and I had not been well.

A 'tomtom' is a drum, a 'dooria' is a man who looks after dogs and animals. Fanny is always called the choota lady, and I am the burra lady, when they talk of us, and the 'ladyship' which they address to us is only a corruption of Lady Sahib, not an English ladyship.

We have had two such storms since we have been here. Three of our boats were sunk, but fished up again, the thatch over the verandah blown into the trees, the trees blown into the river, the garden into the house, and the chairs into the park; and the thunder sometimes roars for an hour without stopping, not grumbling thunder, but it is in a regular roaring passion. These storms make the air very cool for a day, and altogether this is not near such a bad hot season as the last, or we do not feel it so much.

There have been shocking fires at Calcutta, partly because the huts are so dry; they catch fire on the slightest provocation, and the wind is so high it is impossible to stop the flames. There were about 80,000 homeless people last week, allowing four for each burnt hut, which is very few. They huddle together for a few days and then build their huts again, but it looks very melancholy in the meantime.

Rosina has just got the gown Willy Eden sent her and is quite mad about it, carrying it to all the servants and kissing his note, which she asked me to let her have, that she might get somebody to Hindustani it for her.

Ever, dearest, yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, May 19, 1887.

I always skip two or three days after sending off a letter and drop a stitch or so, which rather varies and improves the pattern. The s dined with us on Wednesday; Mr. went to join Sir H. Fane on his visit to Runjeet Singh, and is just returned. As he is not a 'Company's servant,' he of course was allowed to take any present Runjeet gave him; and the agonies of the other ladies in Calcutta have been intense on hearing that he was bringing his wife a pair of massive bangles and two splendid shawls, besides other ornaments, from the King of Delhi.

I was quite disappointed yesterday when Mrs. sent me her presents to look at, that we might attest their magnificence was not appalling. Two old patched shawls and two bracelets, such as our ayahs wear. I am vexed that the envy of the others should be gratified, and that Mrs. , who is a very nice person and handsome, should not have what she liked.

Runjeet has sent us most pressing invitations by Mr. , with a promise to repeat all his festivities if we will go and see him; and I hope we may. We had tribes of visitors on Thursday morning. I cannot think how they can come out in the daytime during this month; and they all say it kills them, but still they come. The number makes very little difference to us, but we shut the gates now very precisely as the clock strikes one, as two hours of it are more than enough. We all came up by land in the afternoon to a very late dinner.

Sunday, 21st.

Mrs. has actively employed herself in raising subscriptions for adding glass windows to the church, and it is rather improved, but still it is a fearfully hot day, and I got the headache for the whole afternoon by going to church. It is a very mistaken piece of devotion at this time of year, or rather interferes with all other devotion.

We were an immense party on the road quite late at night, going down to Calcutta.


Barrackpore, May 22, 1837.

Didn't I get your No. 7 last week? Have I not got your No. 8 this week? And don't I mean to have your No. 9 next? There is some sense when letters come in that way; it looks almost as if the sea were beginning to listen to reason. We have had heaps of letters during the last fortnight – none of a later date than the middle of January – but there is a quantity of wind just now, and evidently blowing straight from England. You all write in the same odd, dreamy way about some white, cold substance which falls from the sky and cuts up your communication with each other – the tops of Twelfth cakes probably, and very tiresome and sticky it must be.

I always write to you when I am here, because, though all the windows and blinds are shut, and the house, in fact, full of people, there is a false air of liberty and solitude about it, which is exhilarating. The only civility we can show our female guests is to beg them to have tiffin sent to their bungalows, because it must be so unpleasant to cross in the sun; and generally they most heartily accept it; so from breakfast to dinner we see nothing of them. Then we do contrive to get out half an hour earlier here than at Calcutta; and there never was anything like the green of the park and the beauty of the river just now. The school is finished – really a beautiful building. And we have a most clever native schoolmaster. In two months he has taught his two first, classes to read English, and answer English questions, quite wonderfully; and, indeed, all the little black boys in the village show their vocation for study by running after the carriage by moonlight and calling out 'Good morning, sir!' The menagerie is flourishing too, though the young tiger showed a young fancy for a young child, and is shut up in consequence; and the little bear gave a little claw at a little officer, and is shut up too; and the large white monkey, which was shut up, got out, walked into the coachman's bungalow, and bit a little boy's ear; and the three sloths have been taking a lively turn, which is horrid and supernatural; and his 'Excellency' has got an odd twist upon the subject of the rhinoceroses, and connives at their fence not being mended, so that they may roam about the park, whereby a respectable elderly gentleman, given to dining out at the cantonments, has been twice nearly frightened into fits. The story, now twice repeated, of the two beasts roaring as they pursue his buggy is very moving to hear; and his 'Excellency' smiles complacently and says, 'Yes, they are fine beasts and not the least vicious.'

Chance lives and flourishes, and passes much time in the water, and has quite a travelled mind. Gazelle is lying on his shawl, with three small baskets before him, filled respectively with rice, leaves, and grass, and is growing rather tall.

Believe me, yours most affectionately,



Government House, May 24, 1837.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – It is an immense time, I suspect, since I have written to you, but Fanny was sending you off, first, her journal and then a letter; and we generally divide our correspondents on the liberal principle, that, as we have only nothing apiece to give away in matter of news, it would be better to give it in large handfuls than in small quantities.

We are doing our hot month of May with considerable suffering, but certainly with less than last year. We manage the shutting up of the house better and keep ourselves quieter, and we allege all these kind of reasons, but the real truth is, I suppose, that we are becoming acclimatised more or less – rather less than more, but still we are becoming blind to our wretched position.

I never eat any fruit but mangoes, though I see all the others working away at the peaches (which used to make us die of laughing last year) and declaring that it is wonderful how the Indian peaches are come on. It is only the English peaches that have gone back; these are about the size of the first small ones that the frost nips off, rather more shrivelled and with not so much taste. We have also discovered that the white, tasteless asparagus is 'really not amiss,' much more like English asparagus than it was last year.

We have been revelling in that heap of books that has at last wrung from the hard hands of Rodwell. They are an excellent collection, and we are pretending to say that we will keep some of the best unread, for our camp life; but, in fact, I am going rapidly through them all, and with such a well-grounded confidence in the deteriorated state of my memory that I am sure they will be all new books again in five months. I thought I would keep back Mrs. Hemans, but it is such a pretty-looking book that I am going to succumb to it to-day.

I heard a shocking story at dinner yesterday. The Archdeacon was sent for two days ago, to see a boy, the son of a friend, who was dying; and yesterday they sent to tell him that the boy had died at three in the morning, and asked him to perform the funeral, which is always here within twenty-four hours of the death. He went yesterday evening for that purpose. The boy was in his coffin, but, just as they were setting off, it was discovered that he was still alive. I have not heard how he is to-day, but I suspect those mistakes must sometimes occur in this country, from the hurry in which funerals are necessarily performed. I do not mean to allow myself to faint away on any account, for fear of accidents.

How is your garden? You have not mentioned any particular change in your East Combe grounds, and you rather neglect Dandy in your letters. Chance is particularly well, and has found a new pursuit in some yellow flying frogs in a tank at Barrackpore, quite as good flying fish as any I saw at sea, though they say they skim along the water only by the assistance of their very long legs. However, the 'Prince Royal' puts them up on the bank, and points as if they were partridges, and then goes in after them; and a flying-frog pursuit is evidently extremely fascinating, as his man had to go into the water to fetch him out of it, all entreaties having failed.

I always meant to tell you of an ixora at Barrackpore, which grows so like a twisted thorn, and the stem is eight feet in circumference. It is covered with those beautiful scarlet flowers. Don't you remember when you and I went over to Bromley Hill House we raved about the ixoras? We have such accounts of trees and shrubs in the Himalayas; I think you had better come and join us there. It is no trouble, and a lovely climate – fires and blankets quite pleasant, they say. We can build you a house if you let us know a month or two in advance, and then we can have such a good talk. What fun it would be!

Your picture is still very like you, dearest sister, and looks like a good old dear. I cannot tell what to do with my pictures when we march; Major must invent something. God bless you!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Sunday Evening, May 28.

We are very quiet always the latter half of our Calcutta weeks, as we get over the dinners on Mondays, the balls on Tuesdays, and the rest of the time is very comfortable, and quiet is particularly acceptable this weather. This last fortnight before the rains, which are supposed to begin about June 10, is very unpleasant, so utterly breathless. The thermometer in the shade and the dark, but in the open air, is 105°; and what it is to those who drive through the sun they say nobody can conceive. Government House is the admiration of our visitors; it is so well shut and cooled this year. The thermometer is 87° in my room, and I have discovered an accidental draft in the Marble Hall, where the wind comes down one of the corridors, cooled by the tatties, and where Fanny and I have sat all this week without a punkah; the draft is so strong Major said it was very unwholesome, and that Lady William never sat there, which I assured him must simply have been because she never had the luck to find out this curious draft; upon which he sent the doctor to say how prejudicial it must be; but the doctor found it so pleasant that he drew in an arm-chair and thought it much the best place in the house.

Major is a remarkably sly old fox. Fanny and I have often observed it, and we constantly find him out now. He manages us in a sly, pleasant way, buttering and smoothing, but he sees through everybody and provides accordingly.

A shocking piece of foxishness I detected to-day which will be the utter wreck of my happiness. George's head servant, who claims the title of 'the nazir' and who was a treasure in his way, went to his own house at Dacca to try to get rid of a Bengal fever, which had baffled Dr. Drummond. He had leave of absence for two months, and he has now been gone four, and, as he was always consumptive, it is obvious that the poor dear nazir is dead. I got Major to write to him, and no answer is come; so I told him to be making arrangements for a new one, as amongst the twenty other servants who wait in George's passage there is not one who speaks a word of English. I cannot think how he has put up so long with the extreme inconvenience. I followed to George's room after breakfast to settle this important point, and found him actually proposing to George to take my jemadar, that jewel of a man! who speaks English perfectly, and is my stay and support – matches my gowns and sashes, washes up my painting box, and takes care of everything I have, money included. I said yesterday before him that I was going to model something George wanted, and when I went to my room I found some clay prepared and a board and all my tools and even some print books; it is just the same about everything, and I am convinced that a good native servant is the best in existence. The bad are perhaps very bad. George has always envied me this man, and he said when I came in, 'Here is Miss Eden, but you might just as well propose to her to cut the nose off her face as to give me that man.' However, I always intended giving him to George if the vacancy occurred, as in going up the country he will save George an immense deal of trouble, and then it would be hard if his extreme merit stood in the way of his promotion. The nazir is the highest servant in the house, and paid accordingly. 'Yes, I think Miss Eden had better give him to your Lordship,' Major said; 'you will find him invaluable on the march; there is not such another man in the house, and if I take in a stranger he may be a man who will take bribes from the natives; and the jemadar knows your Lordship's habits. Your Lordship has no time to waste on a new servant, and Miss Eden has plenty of time and can easily form a new good servant.' 'Oh, dear no!' I said; 'there never was such a mistake. I always told Lord Auckland he might have my jemadar, because he likes him so much; but I really will not have any of your horrid strangers, who will steal all my goods, and take no care of Chance, and let the embroiderers dawdle over their work, and put too much wine into the seltzer-water. I really can't what you call "form" a new servant. I will have my chobdar' (that is the next in command) 'for the new jemadar.' – 'No, I think not; he is not of the proper class – not authority enough, and he cannot wait at table.' – 'Then I will have one of my own kitmutgars.' – 'No; they do not speak English. I have one or two men in my eye whom I have always wished to put on the Government House establishment; they speak good English and you can teach them to be good servants, and it is a great advantage to all succeeding Governors-General to find these kind of men in the house.' That was the unkindest cut of all. I do not the least care about the comfort of the future Governor-General's lady, and Major is always looking at the establishment in that general point of view. You, who only see Mr. Gooby or James when you ring for them and are happy in a climate which enables you to pick up your own pocket-handkerchief and cut your own pencil, and where you can speak without an interpreter – you cannot imagine how utterly our comfort depends on the tact of these people, who never lose sight of us, and who have a crowd of subordinates to keep in order, who do not understand a word we say. If Major drives me into taking a stranger I think I shall make it a condition that the new man shall write my journal to you. It is the only real action of my life that I contrive to perform for myself, and in another year I should hardly be up to it in the hot season. Besides, I am sure the change will be amusing to you. And in the meantime I trust the nazir will come to life again. Major has written now to the resident at Dacca to find out.

Monday, 29th.

We had some few letters of January and the first week in February and a newspaper of February 15. The ministers seem to be making a good start, which is satisfactory. All our next letters must be quite novelties, as we have now passed the date of any overland packet.

Friday, June 2.

There never was such a day; we had nothing like it last year. Even in the evening we were for the first time unable to bear the window open; the hot wind or steam was so oppressive, and none of us could go out. We played at chess a four-handed game by way of resting our eyes. It is the first time George has found it impossible to get on with his business.

Saturday, 3rd.

I will send this off to-day. The heat is worse than ever and the furniture cracking in all directions. People say it must end in an awful storm. The natives feel the weather even more than we do; two coolies who were bringing milk here yesterday dropped down dead in the sun. We are all, however, very well, and my health is quite come round again.

says she does not get my letters, which absolutely breaks my heart, because I live in a state of writing gratitude to her; but I suppose she will get them all at last. That great supply of books you sent us is such a comfort. They will last us two months more.

God bless you! Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Barrackpore, Sunday, June 4, 1837.

I sent off my journal yesterday, and, as it is too hot to do anything else, I may as well begin again.

We could not stir out again all yesterday. Two or three Barrackporeans dined with us and Mr. Trower and one or two others. We played at lottery tickets as usual in the evening. The weather is worse than ever. The thermometer was 105°, Captain said, in his bungalow after he opened the door for one minute to come out to luncheon. Fanny went to church, but neither George nor I did; and I do not mean to try it again till the rains.

Calcutta, Monday, 5th.

We came down late last night, and at all events this house is a little cooler than Barrackpore; the natives were all done up with it too. They have the cholera very much just now, but certainly, however tiresome the heat is, it is not an unwholesome time for Europeans. Talking of Europeans, you cannot imagine how irritating it is that all our servants will call them Europeans, and not Europeans. Our English servants all want to come up by land and to have hired horses, and I generally let the maids in this weather do so, as the steamer is obliged sometimes to come in the middle of the day. I told Captain to desire the steamer would bring up the 'Soonamookie' – our yacht this time – as the Europeans will not let the native servants go in the cabin of the steamer, and the old kansamah and some of the old men were half baked in the small boats; so when the 'Soonamookie' appeared, Wright, and Jones, and Mars, and Giles all announced their gracious intention of going by water, as if they could have 'my Lord's boat' to themselves; they thought it would be quite as cool as the land, so they started at four o'clock, and, what was more, declared when we arrived that it had been very pleasant.

Wednesday, 7th,

We have returned to our cool seat in the Marble Hall here, and are much better. We had a great dinner in the evening. The dinners are much less formal since we have abandoned the drawing-room, which was too small for fifty people. Now the gentlemen can sit down if they will, and though very few of them do, still the ladies cannot get into a circle, though they do their very best.

George's chessmen of the frogs and mice, which he ordered at least eight months ago, are arrived; and I never saw anything so clever. The pawns are particularly pretty. Mr. Shakespear came this morning, and I beat him two games at chess. We had a very full party last night, and I thought there were several promising flirtations going on.

Saturday, 10th.

On Thursday we received visitors in that unaccountable cool place in the Hall, which I mentioned to you, where there is no punkah. The audacity of seeing them in a new place was almost too much for their Indian nerves and etiquette, but they were charmed with the climate. If the wind were to remit for five minutes, we should all be choked; but, coming through two tattees, half a mile off, it is delightful. I am sorry to say the wind is failing to-day, and no good prospect of rain.

Sunday, 11th.

A Mr. , a friend of Charles Elliot's, dined with us yesterday. He and Mr. are both going back to Canton, where they are pent up in a place like Burlington Arcade, without the shops, and never see a woman from one year's end to the other. The consequence is that Mr. thinks Calcutta a perfect Paradise. He said seriously he could not imagine so gay or so happy a place. We played at 'lottery,' as we always do when we are by way of being alone, and they thought it delightful and agreed to make a great resource of it at Canton. It is a great triumph to 'Mrs. Phillips' that lottery tickets should have spread from her drawing-room, which was not bigger 'than the summer breakfast parlour at Rosing's,'1 to Canton by means of , and to Hyderabad by means of Colonel . He called the day before he went to join the Nizam to take leave, and in a quiet, confidential voice, said, 'And about the prizes at lottery, which half of the pack do I take them from?'

We would not go to morning church; it is so dreadfully hot. Several horses died last Sunday waiting for their owners, and I hardly think one would be left to-day.

Monday, 12th.

While we were sitting at luncheon there arrived two darling packets for me, and a box for George, with Mr. 's card. I think he must have swum up the river with them; the ship is still at Saugur. And we have got your little box of envelopes, and my salts, and sister's ribbons, and, above all, your delicious book of a letter, which I am going to answer forthwith, just as if you would receive my answer three days hence.

I think we are all very much altered in looks since you have seen us, particularly the last two months. They have been a great trial to everybody, and the way in which the natives have died of cholera the last fortnight is lamentable. We may freshen up again a little up the country, but we are certainly grown very yellow, or brown lately, and George is very grey. His hair is growing quite white. The climate has agreed with my hair, strange to say, and it has grown thick and dark. Now I think I have answered great part of your comments. I am more reconciled to India than I was, inasmuch as it is no use kicking against the pricks; and then the days are so monotonous that they go by quicker than they did when everything was new; and then, though the heat is in fact greater this year, we all submit to it better; and the pain of being indolent is no longer very irksome, I am ashamed to say. And, last of all, I really feel every day that I would not be away from George – and think of him alone in this country for any earthly consideration. If it were in the slightest degree possible to repay him any part of the obligation I owe him all through life, this is, I think, the only opportunity. He could not have existed here alone, and, for want of other colleagues, I can see constantly that it is a great comfort to him to have me to talk over his little bothers with. I sent off the instant I got Mr. 's card to ask him to dine here do-day, but he cannot come till to-morrow, which is lucky, as we shall then be alone, and to-day we have forty-five people.

Tuesday, 13th.

Sir Willoughby Cotton landed just as George and I were going out this evening, so we drove down to the ghaut to greet him, and sent another carriage to bring him to Government House, where Major and Captain were waiting at the door for him; and then pursued our airing. Mr. dined with us, and I got all I could out of him, but he would not say half enough. He and Sir Willoughby are of course well acquainted. Sir Willoughby is exactly like the Duke of York in voice, and look, and everything. He has amused us all very much with all the latest London gossip, and he knows all the people we know, and altogether he is an amusing incident.

Wednesday, 14th.

Lady came this morning to show us some work she has received, done by Spanish nuns at Manilla, on pine-apple cloth; I never saw such a curious sight, much too pretty for use. It is like old point almost worked into a web of exaggerated French cambric. She would not sell any of it, which was disappointing; but Dr. Drummond has a friend at Manilla, and he has written to order some for us.

Thursday, 15th.

A great many of the new arrivals by the 'Abercrombie' and the 'George the Fourth' called on us. One of the Mysore princes was here when Mr. called, and Mr. had luckily seen his brother at the Oriental Club in England, which delighted Ghola much.

Friday, June 16, 1837.

This may go to-morrow, I hear, so good-bye. Thank you over and over again for your present and your nice long letters and all your good things.

No rain yet. We were to have gone to Barrackpore yesterday, but when I went down to breakfast I found everybody's courage had failed, and Major said it would kill all the servants to move in the daytime, and the boatmen too; so we had to send for the horses and our cooks, and dinner, which had gone up in the night. It is very shocking. I do not believe in the rains of a tropical climate. It was a grand failure last year.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.

1 See 'Pride and Prejudice,' by Miss Austen.


June 11, 1837.

This immense paper1 is a great atrocity, but it can't be helped; I dare say it is, in fact, note paper, but it has been drawn out by the heat.

I cannot think what possesses me to write to you at this hour – precisely half-past twelve – when the miserable attempt at breakfast, made at nine, has ceased to give the slightest support, and when, from exhaustion and heat, and the conviction that luncheon will never come, I feel utterly desperate. Too weak to read, and very weak indeed to think of writing to you. Breakfast is a remarkably bad meal in this country. I wish you could see the bilious despondency with which, one after another, we all look at it; not but what there is a great choice of evils – tea and chocolate and eggs in all shapes; and meat, fish, and pine-apples, and mango fruits, and mango-fool, instead of gooseberry-fool. But it is all in vain; it is too much trouble to eat at that hour, and sundry weak voices saying, 'Peene ka pawnay' are all that is heard, which, being interpreted, means 'a glass of cold water,' and if that is not sufficiently iced, the dejection of the moment turns into slight irritation.

I wish you would come here, dear. It really is very rude your never calling, and I should like to show you my room; somehow or another I have scraped together a number of pretty things; none very valuable, but they are odd and such as you have not seen before – Chinese and Burmese, and any other ese, that comes in my way.

The black angel, commonly called 'ducky boy,' had a horrid narrow escape a fortnight ago. He went frolicking out at the gate of Government House before and Fanny, who were riding, and of course never supposed that the country was in that state of disorganisation that any common dogs would touch his little excellency. But two bull-dogs, whom a man was leading in a chain, flew at him and pinned him down; when heard the hubbub and rode on, and, by dint of sentries and syces, rescued the poor little prince, who was bit in two places, and had fainted from sheer fright. Jimmund, his servant, had flown at the owner of the dogs, and says he is the first native he ever saw who gave a regular English knockdown blow; but he knocked the man right down, and then began thumping him with the end of his dog's chain, till advised him to beat the dogs rather than their owner. Chance was brought to by a warm bath, and was not really much hurt. When I came home Jimmund brought him to me, bandaged up in all directions, and told his story by means of an interpreter, who ended by saying, 'And Jimmund say he very sorry Sahib call him off, because he would have deaded the man who have those dogs.' I told him nothing could be more amiable or correct, but in general I should prefer his driving away the dogs to deading the man. The 'Abercrombie Robertson' is in the river, we hear, in which ship we know there is a box from for us with some ornamented paper; but it always takes a week to unpack a ship, and the captains clearly make it a general rule to put our boxes at the very bottom of the hold.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

1 Written on full-sized letter paper.


Government House, June 13, 1837.

'MY DEAREST SISTER, – This a line, not to count, nor to have anything in it, as Fanny wrote to you three days ago, but it is a mere ebullition thrown out on the arrival of your case of ribbons. I suppose if you had ransacked London you could not have thought of anything so entirely acceptable. I give you tremendous credit for the idea, but still, you know, without detracting from your talents, there was a certain degree of luck in hitting on this 'great grand' ribbon grievance. I thought last week whether it would not be advisable to send away all my seven hurkarus, because they had hunted all through Calcutta without being able to find a white belt. And in a country where we live in white muslin what was I to do? My waist might have taken to growing large. If I had come home looking like the Duchess of Canvizaro you would not have known me. Independent of the pleasure of receiving this little unexpected parcel, which dropped in at luncheon time, the real lady's-maid delight with which Wright and Jones are dividing the spoil is worth seeing. The doors of my room are open to Wright's, so I have a full view of them dividing, and probably wrangling, and my two tailors, in an attitude of deep veneration, holding two yard measures before them. They have just come in with an amiable little tartness in their voices about a piece of primrose sarcenet ribbon, 'which would be an excellent trimming for a bonnet, but does not rightly belong to either lot.' I hope they did not mean to have it themselves, for, like Alexander, I drew my rusty pair of scissors, black with the rust of the last damp week, and hacked the Gordian primrose ribbon in two. Hastings must be much altered since our time, but I have not had time to study those two little prints yet. I am so glad your last letter told us something about Dandy. You should descend more into those minute particulars. Chance is remarkably well, thank you; he never has had a fit since that one last year, and is now lying on my sofa on his back, with his four legs up in the air, reposing after his bath. I always put him after luncheon into the great tub of water that stands in my bath-room, and he swims about in it, and then I pick him out and put him all wet and sloshy on a table under the punkah, and that keeps him cool for the afternoon. I would advise you to try that with Dandy when your thermometer is 110°, which it is now in the shade, not in the house. But do you hear the thunder? That promises the beginning of the rains, of great importance to everybody, but particularly to the poor natives. The quantity of rice for which they usually gave one rupee now costs three, and the fish in the tanks are all dead, and, as most of them earn about five rupees a month and live entirely on rice and fish, they are in great distress and dying very much of cholera.

God bless you, my particularly dear sister! I think there is some fun in sending such trash as this all across the seas – enough to make a ship sink to think of it.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Barrackpore, Friday, June 17.

I received your overland letter of April 2 on June 12, which makes us positive neighbours again – a mere trifle of time – and as there is an overland despatch going home on Monday, which will have the honour of conveying this, our communication will be unpleasantly quick. The pen with which, like Niobe, all ink, you last wrote will hardly be dry before you have to begin again. The only fault of these overland letters is that, by going about in that harum-scarum way, they rather spoil – not much but just a leetle – the merit of those plodding navigating epistles, which come in, in their proper course, and find themselves forestalled in most of their news. It tells, however, both ways. I can open all the letters that are to come, till they have worked up to April, without any horrible palpitation as to their containing any misfortune. We know generally that you were all alive and well on April, 2, and all the little details of March will be thankfully received. George had a few days of feverishnses, partly owing to a long council on a dreadfully hot day, but he is quite well again now. We all look, as all Europeans ought to look, utterly colourless, but rather interesting than otherwise. They say it is curious in the cool season to see people returning to their natural colour. Our very hot season is happily over; last Saturday we had a great deal of rain, and on Sunday a thunder-storm that would have made every separate hair on your excellent little head stand on end. George and I were standing in his verandah, and saw the lightning strike the ground close by my new garden, and there was a crash like that of several regiments firing at once; so we skurried in and shut the windows. There was a powder magazine at Dumdum (the idea of living near Dumdum!) struck that afternoon, and poor Dumdum made such a noise that it would have been glad to be deaf, deaf. Since that day we have had much cooler weather, and can open our shutters after luncheon and see the light of day. This morning I actually got up at half-past five, put on a dressing-gown and shawl, and went out to help Gibson plant my new garden, which will really be lovely. Dr. Wallich, of the Botanical Garden (a great man in botanical history), has given me seven hundred plants, which would be exotics of great value if we were not acting in that capacity ourselves, and he is come here himself this afternoon to see that they are all put in the right places. The mornings between five and and a quarter past six are really delightful, and it is a pity that getting up early is so fatiguing, which it certainly is. Gibson is going up the country in ten days to collect for the Duke of Devonshire, so he was very anxious to finish my garden first. George came out at six. It was great fun giving a poke at the bottom of a flower-pot and turning out a nice little plant – like Greenwich days, even though the poor little flower was received by twelve black gardeners very lightly dressed. I crept down the back stairs through Wright's room, in the hope of avoiding all my own people, who were asleep at my room door; but I had not been out five minutes before they all came pouring out setting their turbans and sashes. It sometimes strikes me that we Europeans are mad people, sent out here because we are dangerous at home, and that our black keepers are told never to lose sight of us, and the ingenious creatures never do. But there is something touching in their attentions; though they are so troublesome they humour their patients. One brought me an arm-chair and another a foot-stool, not being up to the mysteries of a dibble and trowel. Another well-judging creature brought a cup of tea. Chance's man came up dandling his black charge, and another fetched up, with great care, my beautiful pet goat, not having the sense to calculate that the goat and the garden would not agree; but they are always thinking of these sort of attentions, and, though it gives one a horrible idea of being constantly watched, it shows they watch to some purpose.

You cannot imagine the interest English politics have again become now we have the debates to read. I am so proud of our ministers. At this distance one sees the thing in an historical point of view, and I cannot help thinking they are a wonderful set of men to have brought the country back to that pitch of prosperity in which it is, and by such hard labour too. People are very liberal in their politics here. They do not know much about the individuals that compose our parties, and are very little curious about them; but they are all anxious for 'good accounts from England,' and all seem satisfied.

I am so glad you have been scolding Rodwell. The quantities of books that he ought to have sent us by this time! and he has not sent one. We borrowed 'Rienzi' and I find it tiresome; but the others like it.

I wish you would tell you have heard from me, if this makes a quick journey. I have written to her twice in the last fortnight from mere wantonness, and cannot inflict a third letter on her.

Ever, dearest, yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, Thursday, June 22, 1837.

I see the 'Kyte,' with my last journal to you carefully shipped, is still in the river, and I hope the deceiving captain, who advertised his departure some days ago, will bring up my journal to the present day. Of course he will; he must feel that I should have gone on writing if he had not declared he was sailing, and, as an honourable man, I trust to him the account of the last five days.

Fanny and I agreed to come up here yesterday, as there have been two, or three thunder-storms, and 'the rains have begun,' as they say here with vast importance. The change of temperature is perfectly delicious, and I love the rains; but I think they are shabby concerns compared to our April showers. They are really not at all better, but they say we have been unlucky in them; but they bring several advantages besides coolness. The grey cloudy sky is such a blessing. We came up in the 'Soonamookie' at three in the afternoon – the first time we have been out at that hour for many months – and we had all the advantage of the black clouds without the rain which they had at Calcutta. We rather speculated on coming up quite alone, as we had taken this extra day; but Major and the Doctor thought that would be wrong, and we found them waiting to go with us. Fanny had the headache, but I took Chance and her deer and a volume of Mrs. Hemans, and established myself in the garden, and told all the servants to go and sit down at a little distance, that I might fancy myself 'alone in the country' and 'sitting out reading,' as if it were the Temple Walk at Eden Farm, or the lawn at Bower Hall, and altogether it was rather a pleasant hour; somewhat melancholy and exciting, but the birds made a nice ramageing sort of noise, and it was a beautiful mackerel sort of sky (like Juba's sky), and the trees looked happy after the rain, and that dear Mrs. Hemans! I dote on that book. She just said the things I was thinking. I hardly know whether I was thinking the book or reading my thoughts; it all amalgamated so dreamily, and you and Eden Farm, and 'youth and home, and that sweet time' when we were all together and all happy, or unhappy, but still together. All this was floating about me, and I had a considerable mind to cry about it, but then two little paroquets began screaming in a tamarind-tree, and there was a strong perfume of exotic flowers – Indian white blossoms that were dropping on the grass – and then I saw eleven of those white eastern figures whom I had told to sit down, all squatting cross-legged most obediently, but with their black eyes fixed on me, and I scorned to waste any English tears on such an eastern scene. So I looked at Chance, who was jumping about in the tank, trying to catch a gold-coloured frog, and I thought that he and ourselves were much alike. We are living in a marsh catching gold frogs, and then I thought how pleasant it would be if you would just come and sit down and talk over Mrs. Hemans with me. I actually put marks for the particular sentence we should talk over, or that I should like to send to you.

Look on me thus, when hollow praise
  Hath made the weary pine
For one true tone of other days,
  One glance of love like thine!
    In vain! in vain!

Those lines take my fancy prodigiously. It is so stupid not to have written them first, and I want your 'true tones' dreadfully.

'If my sister were near me now, I should lay my head down upon her shoulder and cry like a tired child. The time of year makes one so long for the far-away.'

'I am reconciling myself to many things in my changed situation, which at first pressed upon my heart with all the weight of a Switzer's home-sickness. Amongst these is the want of hills. Oh! this waveless horizon.'

What fond, strange yearnings from the soul's deep cell
Gush for the faces we no more shall see!
How are we haunted in the wind's low tone
By voices that are gone!
Looks of familiar love that never more,
  Never on earth, our aching eyes shall greet,
Past words of welcome to our household door,
  And vanished smiles and sounds of parted feet,
Spring mid the murmurs of thy flowering trees.
Why, why revisit'st thou these?

Good lines! and it was great luck to meet with them at that moment, and I still think this morning it would be a want of confidence not to mention them to you. I made several sage original reflections besides all these quotations – one, that in this relaxing climate, where nobody has any nerves or spirits, it is lucky we can go out so little. 'The common sun, the air, the skies,' are too much for us, they are very affecting. Then, that as we must live in the house and in the dark, it was good economy of Providence to make Bengal so hideous. If it were beautiful nobody could see it, and, as it is a frightful plain, it is perhaps advantageous to see so little of it.

Friday, 23rd.

George and and Sir Willoughby Cotton, with some of the aides-de-camp, arrived yesterday, and the rain is gone off, and they are all hotter and more miserable than ever here. Not Sir Willoughby nor George. I think the men of that age certainly think and care less, much less, about their personal comforts than the cabriolet young men of the present day. I have thought so for some years.

Fanny and I and Major Byrne went out on the elephants. We are trying some new howdahs for the march, and I think I am satisfied with the alterations that have been made in mine, though I could invent something better; but the very best howdah on the very best elephant will, I think, reduce anybody to a shapeless and boneless lump in about six miles of travelling. I expect to walk my march. A palanquin looks like a coffin, the elephant shakes, and I am grown afraid of my horse. The carriages go with us, but there are few roads on which they can be used. I have had a long letter from Miss Fane, giving such a beautiful account of Simlah.

Saturday, 24th.

We dragged one of the tanks yesterday, because the fish are all dying for want of water, and the native servants begged hard for some fish; all their food is so dear. It is always a pretty sight. There were at least 200 of them crowding round, and Mars and Giles and Webb (the coachman) trying, by the help of chokeydars (the Government House policemen), to keep some order in the distribution. The fish are enormous; many of them weighed more than twenty pounds. Major Byrne and I went and surveyed the stores, and the beds, and the tables for our tents. It is an awful job to undertake, I should think, for those that have the trouble of it. Jones and Wright are just to go in our palanquins when we are on the elephants, and to change when we want to change. Major Byrne thinks it much the best plan. Giles and Mars will have ponies, and, as we only travel ten miles a day, it cannot hurt them. St. Cloud is so important to our happiness, that we shall all join to carry him on a queen's cushion if he insists on it, and he has a palanquin.

We have had two such storms to-day and yesterday, which have flooded the whole park; and though they have prevented our going out, yet they make the temperature very nice and cool.

Sunday, 25th.

A good sermon from Mr. , and in the afternoon a remarkably pleasant surprise. George got a despatch from the India House while I was sitting in his room with one newspaper of the 14th of March. The despatch, as usual, contained comments on the King of Oude, and the Ameers, and the Putiallah Eajah, and the salt duties. The most interesting sentence was an intimation that we should have a new dinner service in due time. But this professed to be the sole result of the steamer whose progress we have been watching with intense interest. Then came on another thundering storm, and our Sunday afternoon was assuming a gloomy appearance, when one of the excellent guards came galloping through the rain with a second packet, sent express – the repentance and after-thought of the steamer – and I received your long letter of March 4, with several others; so this gave quite another turn to the afternoon, and kept us in reading till dinner-time.

Never mind what people tell you about the books you send. The last set that came by the 'A. Robertson' are our chief occupation; now Lady M. Montagu and Mrs. Hemans have given one a very pleasant week, and I have not even wished to begin any of the novels. These good supplies of books you have sent us lately have made a material difference in my life. In the number of lonely hours here a want of books is such a misfortune. The very trashy novels of the day we do not care much about, but any by good authors, or those that you have read and liked yourself are very acceptable. I wish you would say more about the 'Pickwicks;' we are all so fond of them. Are we wrong?

Calcutta, Monday, 26th.

We had another frightful storm yesterday at Barrackpore, and I retract my contemptuous opinion of the tropical storms; and at dinner we had the same attack of white ants we had one day last year, only worse. They drove us out of the dining-room into the dark, but soon spread all over the house, and we had at last to set off in the rain for Calcutta. The dining-room is larger than Willis's Room at Almack's, and I am not exaggerating when I say that there was not a place in it where we could step without crushing twenty of these creatures, which are much larger than common flies. They shake off their wings after they have been five minutes in the house, and all the white marble tables were quite brown and covered some depth with these discarded wings. We have only seen this twice, but it has made me believe all the odd stories about ants that Mrs. Carmichael told in her book on the West Indies.

Tuesday, 27th.

We had our dinner at the Bishop's yesterday; he is such a good-natured old man; it is impossible not to like him. He had asked all his other guests at half-past seven, and we were to come at eight, and he had been sitting, they said, half-an-hour downstairs, for fear of not meeting George on the steps. He asked fifty-four people into a room that was meant to hold forty, but luckily it was a cool, rainy evening, and his dinner and establishment were much better than any I have seen.

We are all in a horrid way about the ice, which oozed out yesterday; and no signs of an American ship; and the water we drink would make very good tea as far as warmth goes, but the Bishop had persuaded the ice managers to give him the last little scrapings of ice, on the plea of our dining there.

The Bishop showed us his house after dinner. He has got the best library in India, and I borrowed some good books from him.

Barrackpore (?), Tuesday, July 4.

We had only a small dinner yesterday, for a wonder; but we are very forward in our lessons, and then, in this absence of ice, great dinners are so bad. Everything flops about in the dishes, and the wine and water is so hot, and a shocking thing is that a great ship was seen bottom upwards at the mouth of the river, supposed to be an American, and consequently the ice-ship.

We had again immense quantities of visitors this morning, and I came up after luncheon to this place in the 'Soonamookie.' We have made several nice cabins in the boat; and I took possession of mine; and one of the excellent domestics took a great hand-punkah – things that stand on the ground, and which they twirl round after a fashion of their own, and it gives more air than anything – and I enjoyed a remarkably pleasant slumber, which nothing disturbed but the fact that little tumbled down on his nose, or over it, or something, and very naturally cried for half-an-hour.

Yours affectionately,



Barrackpore, July 17, 1837.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – Yesterday was one of our grand festival days – a large arrival of English letters. I had ten for my own share.

Grindlay deserves to be made a peer for the cleverness with which he contrives that every ship shall bring something. In consequence I watch the semaphore at the fort, twiddling its great wooden arms about, with double interest, because though it may announce only a ship from Penang or Singapore, yet it may signalise an English ship, in which case we are sure of something interesting; and if I could find anything worth dear Grindlay's acceptance, I would send it to him.

You have no idea what a good day a handsome packet of English letters makes. Yesterday, in the morning paper, they mentioned that an English ship was in sight at Diamond. That made a cheerful breakfast. The dawk, as the ignorant creturs call the post, comes in about half-past one at Barrackpore; so about that time I established myself and book in his Excellency's room while he was writing, and kept an eye on the door; and when the nazir, George's head servant and a thorough picture of 'a gentle Hindu,' came in with a placid smile on his good-looking countenance, I guessed he had something better to give than a common official box. Then there was the fun of breaking open Grindlay's large packages, and sorting the contents, and distributing them about the house; and, as luncheon was announced, I would not open any of my letters, but kept them till I could return to my own room and enjoy them at my leisure. And when anybody comes to an interesting bit of news, there is a scuffling about the house, or screams of 'Qui hi?' and somebody comes and carries off the precious epistle, and takes it to the Lord Sahib, or the Lady Sahib, as occasion may be. But yesterday was a rainy day – not rain such as you see, but a constant sheet of water pouring down – so for exercise we carried about our respective letters to each other's rooms, and talked them over, and the mere reading took up two or three hours.

Your account of the snow being 'congealed water and cold to the touch' I read aloud, for the benefit of the public.

I think the native female schools will do good at last, but we attended the report last Wednesday that was made of them, and there was a great deal in the report that I cannot believe. The native girls are married always at seven or eight years old, and after that are shut up and seen no more; and this report mentioned little girls of six years old, who came to school in defiance of their fathers' orders, and who concealed their Testaments between their mats and beds, because their parents forbade them to have them, like little Christian martyrs and great examples. I asked the clergyman afterwards whether he thought a native child of that age, who has not the sense of an English child of three years old, was really disobeying her parents from religious motives, and whether it was right to teach them deceit under any circumstances, and he said no; he had been sorry to hear it. There was a sale afterwards for the benefit of the school, at which we spent with great difficulty one hundred and fifty rupees (about 15l.), and had to bring George his money home again, as we could find nothing to buy.

I do so long to see you all. Sometimes it feels like a bad illness, and I hate all the people here in consequence. That is a symptom of the complaint.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, July 18, 1837.

As usual, dearest, your No. Eleven followed No. Ten, just as it ought, three weeks after. I wish you would send your Board of Admiralty to instruct our Board of Admiralty, who send their ships without regard to the date of our letters.

To be sure I can get you a stone, or stones for 20l. which will be worth having if I take my time about it. In three months we make what Lord M would call 'our progress' up the country, and Delhi is the place for precious-stone merchants, who all come flocking to the camp. There are all sorts of curiosities to be found there, and, in fact, none here except at five times their worth; so I will wait to spend your substance till I get there.

My dear, the King of Oude is dead! I think I see you start, and at once embrace all the political importance of such an event. Then, rousing yourself from mightier thoughts, you will rush to order your Court mourning. We talk of it mysteriously, because we talk of all Indian affairs mysteriously. We almost think it indiscreet of any public character to do so public a thing as to die; and we have been in a state of the highest indignation because our old Begum, evidently a superior woman, seeing the throne empty and comfortable-looking, seated herself and a little adopted boy upon it, and there reigned for half an hour, when we, in our usual despotic manner, went and took her off, and, an enemy says, plundered the throne of its jewels. This is formally denied, but to-day being Tuesday, when people come to see us in the evening, I expect to see George and the members of the Council appear with diamonds and pearls stitched on their coats instead of buttons.

We have found out a remarkably harmless old man, whom we call the right heir, and have seated him on the throne. If he will do all we tell him, he will probably be allowed to reign as despotically as he pleases.

What a country we live in! And what a tragedy might have taken place in my room two nights ago! There is a little lory sleeps in my dressing-room on a stand. It is only inferior in merit to the lamented feathered angel for whom you and Lord are trying to concoct a name. It is not his habit to scream, and he woke me by screaming supernaturally. My gazelle bounded against the mosquito-house, and an opaque body jumped out of the window. Such a situation! Gazelle stamped about for the remainder of the night, and my lory had lost twenty feathers, for the ayah counted them and would not be comforted. Ever since, the house has been haunted day and night by a monkey. There is no peace, no safety. The sentinels are baffled, for it comes in at the windows. An aide-de-camp is woke by finding it dancing at the foot of his bed, another by hearing him chattering by the side of it. It has broken some of my china cups and has carried off bodily our little French servant's large green parrot; that makes me shudder for my lory. Unless the monkey can be caught or killed, George must abdicate and go home; life is not worth having on such terms.

Yours affectionately,



'Enterprise' Steamer, Friday, August 6, 1837.

I wrote to Mr. yesterday by the overland mail, and therefore you will probably know two months before you receive this that, finding I could not quite get rid of the remains of that fever I had three weeks ago, and being tired of bad nights and hot hands and living in my own room, I look to the real Indian cure of going down to the Sandheads, and though I am only thirty miles from Calcutta, yet I declare I think I feel better – 'a little peckish or so' and not so hot. This sort of fever has been in every house in Calcutta and Barrackpore. They say it was nearly as bad last rainy season, only that we did not think about it, as it was our first year and we had our English healths. Poor innocents! but it is worse this year from the rain having failed. The air is so hot and steamy and the tanks do not fill, so that the atmosphere is muddy and bad, and altogether it has been much like an influenza in London, only that people here have no strength to lose, and whatever they do lose they never regain. George breakfasted with me at half-past six this morning, and, as I had not seen him for some time at that early hour, I could not help looking with astonishment at his fresh colour and real healthy appearance. He grows tired and pale after writing through a whole hot day, but the animal itself is apparently better than ever. I wish we all had half his health to divide amongst us.

Saturday, 7th.

We came to anchor at Kedgeree at half-past five yesterday, and the water was very smooth and the air delicious on deck, but the cabins were so hot at night, after the large rooms and the punkah at home, that I could not sleep a bit. Dr. Drummond has given me up his cabin, and the captain has obligingly sawed away the partition between that and mine, which gives me a little draft. We went down to Saugur – actually into blue sea-water – in the morning, whereby I and all the native servants were remarkably sea-sick; so then we turned back again and anchored at Kedgeree. Kedgeree is a pretty place – about two inches of bank, then a little jungle and an old ruin of a house that a former postmaster lived in, a little thatched bungalow which the present less well-paid man inhabits, a flag-staff which acts as a semaphore, and then a few native huts. Mrs. Rousseau, the postmistress, sent me a basket of fruit and vegetables. I wish she would come herself, as she must want to see another European woman. I suspect her husband must be the original Rousseau. It is just the place he would have chosen to live in – utterly out of the reach of human kind. If he and his wife happen to dislike each other, it must be a delightful position to be in.

We breakfast at eight, lunch at twelve, and dine at four (a new set of hours); but I only appear at dinner. The captain is very hospitable and good-humoured.

Wednesday, 9th.

We went down beyond Saugur yesterday. It was really cold enough on deck to be glad of a shawl, and Dr. Drummond would not let me go to sleep there for fear of a chill. I wonder what we should have thought of it in England. The thermometer was at 84°, but that is very low at this time of year, and there is no sun and such nice dry salt air. It sometimes seems such an odd bit of life when we are anchored opposite Kedgeree. We three and Mr. Dorin play at cards in the evening on deck, and it ought to do good to be out as I have been every day seven hours in real blowing air. We met four ships coming in yesterday – one the 'Wolf,' commanded by 's cousin, and he went on board for five minutes; and in the evening another Madras ship anchored close by us, and I persuaded him and Dr. Drummond to go on board to see if they could find any curious birds or beasts or anything to buy; but they could not – nothing but a Newfoundland dog, a very rare animal in this country, and Mr. , the extra provisional member of Council.

Fanny has begun with this epidemic, but slightly, she says. George finds that turtle-soup and port-wine are great preservatives.

Friday, 11th.

We have settled to go home to-morrow, as I shall then have had nine days' of it, and my nights are so bad here I cannot sleep at all. We came up to Diamond Harbour this evening.

Calcutta, Sunday, 13th.

We have seen the last of our dear open carriage till we get to Benares. It is gone to be lined and painted, and is to embark, with many others of our goods and half the servants, in a fortnight; so George and I went in the great coach. As it is almost all glass, and all the glasses let down, it is, in fact, an open carriage, only it feels like the Lord Mayor's. Anything is better than the job-carriages here; they jingle and shake like taxed carts.

Monday, 14th.

I should say we are all very well again, but we have got off our party to-morrow night in consideration of an immense ball for the King's birthday, which we give on Monday with supper for 900 people (bless me!) – our last large Calcutta party, as half the servants will go towards Benares in about a fortnight. George, in his frisky way, went to the play to-night. There are no punkahs in the theatre, and not a breath of air. Fanny and I took a drive by the beautiful moonlight.

Have you read Mrs. 's book? I have a horrid suspicion it is the sort of book you may like, and I cannot bear it. I cannot bear any book (except 'Law's Serious Call') where people are called Atticus and Amanda and Fritilla, or words to that effect. Altogether it is so tiresome it is quite irritating. I borrowed several books from Mr. Macaulay for my expedition and read them all through, and feel better informed than usual this week. Mrs. Elliot has sent George such a beautiful cabinet. He told her to buy an eligible article whenever she liked it, but he never could have foreseen such a piece of luck as this. It is about the size of a small wardrobe, with shelves, and drawers, and desks, and the most beautiful style of lacker-work, and cost only 10l. I gave her a commission for a shawl, and she has sent two absolute masses of embroidery, and so beautiful that George will insist on having one of them.

Wednesday, 16th.

I must put this up to-day, as the 'Bengal' and 'Adelaide' both sail to-morrow, and then there will be a cessation of opportunity for a little while. This is a bad time of year for us; the ships from England make such long passages, and there are, moreover, not many due. In about a month we shall be beginning to fidget for the arrival of our Simlah boxes, for we shall not pick up any clothes here. It was announced yesterday by the milliner that there was not another yard of satin of any colour whatever in Calcutta, except a small remnant, possessed by a mad German, of white satin for shoes. Miss is to marry without a trousseau, which is to be made when the French ships arrive. I always like these little colonial distresses.

God bless you, my dearest ! This leaves us all quite well and our influenza done in answer to yours. This has been an idle month in the writing line; so, if you hear anybody complain, you must say touchingly, 'Ah, poor thing! she has not been well.'

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, August 18, 1837.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – I ought to be writing to you, but somehow you always seem to be George's property in the writing way, and he, really has such limited means in that line that it is robbing the poor, apparently, to interfere with him. We are going to send home soon a quantity of things – I may say a ship-load of goods. I cannot think what you are to do with them. Build eight houses for your children and furnish them handsomely, and then take the chance of our not coming home. But most of these things had better be made over in their packing cases to that shady retreat under the gallery at Lansdowne House, which Lord L proffered us. There are some Chinese folding screens, a Chinese table, a Chinese cabinet – all bulky articles – besides various smaller articles of furniture. We shall have so many Chinese things that I am beginning to make myself harmonise with the house. I have already achieved a yellow parchment complexion of great merit, and can make a handsome plait of long hair; therefore my great care is to pinch my eyes up in the corners and flatten my nose, and, if that can be achieved, there will be something very attractive in the general appearance of Chang Foo Cottage, Knightsbridge. I know I shall be fined or imprisoned before I leave this, for snipping off by irresistible impulse the long plait of hair our Chinese shoemaker wears. It touches the ground, and one snip would have it off. Perhaps I may do it the very last thing, and scuttle off to the ship instantly with it, as my last trophy.

We should not send home all our furniture so soon, but we shall be away from Calcutta a year and a half, and that is quite enough in this country to injure anything that is not daily looked after and aired and wiped and cleaned; but they say that, left in Government House merely to the care of a few natives, the insects and the damp would have destroyed every item before our return. is selling off all his goods, books, arms, horses, curiosities, &c., all to be sold on Thursday; indeed, the newspaper is full of the results of our move. 'To be sold, the property of Capt. , proceeding to the Upper Provinces with the "Governor-General;"' then 'the property of Mr. , ' 'the property of the Rev. C., &c. &c. I should hate that part of an Indian life. People are always changing their stations, and at every change they sell off everything, because there are no stages, waggons, or canals by which even a chair can be transported from one place to another, and it is not everybody who can afford a man's head on which to carry it.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, August 18, 1837.

, I've got your No. 15; as usual it dropped in in an odd unexpected manner. It could not have come in a ship, for there was not one in the river; nothing else came but a packet from the 'Company.' Perhaps, after all, you are the 'Company.' We have all been busy during the rainy-season fever – all but his 'Excellency,' who is atrociously and inhumanly well – for the whole of Calcutta has been sick. We don't die of our influenzas, because we have not strength enough; we are only left a shade weaker and a shade yellower, and if a healthy European lands it makes us all sneeze. B has escaped it, owing to his great serenity and being constantly engaged in plucking ahingas. I have another bunch of feathers for you, and some day I'll freight a ship with them.

Our first and best energies are devoted towards making a clinquant figure of his Excellency, in order that he may shine in the eyes of the native princes; and I take it he will make a pretty considerable figure seen through a long vista of embroidered punkahs, peacocks' feathers, silver sticks, spearmen, &c., and two interesting females caracoling on their elephants on each side of him.

I have at last made listen to reason, about my howdah, and it is a model of comfort. There have been unpleasant doings at Napal – very! They make me rather sick. The physician there was suspected of having poisoned a little prince, intending to poison the queen. He would not own to any such intention, upon which the king took his wife and children and tortured them, to make him confess – scorched them. Of course the man did confess at last; indeed, I should like to see George and not confess anything and everything if they took to scorching Emily and me. It is a very bad precedent that of torturing the women of a family by way of punishing the men. It might just happen they would not mind, certainly less than if they were tortured themselves. One of the native princes made his prime minister pound his family's heads in a mortar with a pestle. I should not object to that so much if he set about it judgematically.

It sometimes strikes me we really are in what is called a barbarous country. The other day the baboo died here – a very high caste servant, through whose hands great sums of money pass. He might have been saved, but would not degrade himself by taking English nourishment, and, being a Hindu, was at last carried off by his attached friends before he was dead and laid by the side of the river, where they poked mud into his mouth, and there was no choice for us but to let him be murdered in his own way.

Yours most affectionately,

F. H. E.


Barrackpore, September 3, 1837.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I do not know when I wrote to you last, but it can do no harm writing again, and George asserts that this overland packet is a sure conveyance. I own I have a high opinion of 'Overland' himself just at this moment. On August 31 I had a letter from Robert and one from Frederic Grey, dated July 1; so, you know, it was just lawful to talk of a letter written last month from England. Curious; but the contents of those letters! What with intense interest in the novel of 'The Young Queen,' and political triumph, and hopelessness of finding any black bombazine for the old King, and eagerness about the elections, and the dearth of love-ribbon in the China Bazaar, and satisfaction with the Queen's choice of ladies, and a wish to be there and to know all about it, I don't think I have felt so much excitement since we came out. And then, though one never, by accident even, judges rightly, it does seem as if this change were everything for our ministry. Then the beginning of that young creature's life is like the first vol. of the very best novel I ever read. The accounts of her proclamation almost made me cry. I am sorry for the old King too; he was a kind-hearted, good old man, and we mean to wear the deepest mourning for him, which in the month of September is a proof of devotion unsurpassed by anything I have ever met with in history; but, independent of respect for him, I think it a great shame amongst these millions of natives, who have a mysterious awe of kings, not to show proper regard for ours. Rosina told Wright to get her a black petticoat, as she had seen 'my great Bashaw' in his gold carriage when she was at the Admiralty. He was going to prorogue Parliament. She will be a good figure in a black petticoat with her scarlet and white veil. As I told you there is no bombazine in the market, and we could not wear it if there were this month; but I have trimmed a trashy, disrespectful silk with a whole width of black crape, which gives an idea of extreme grief, and, with no petticoats under, it is not so extremely hot.

Our journey up the country had a shocking shake for about a fortnight. The Burmese chose to have a 'belle semaine' and to depose one mad king and choose a madder, and he seemed so inclined to be troublesome that all the people in authority thought George could not be out of the way; but things are subsiding now, and I have luckily never been very strong since my fever, and 'change of air,' you know, is so desirable, and altogether our prospects are mending.

September 7.

The overland packet is not to go till the 10th. Prospects decidedly better. Three boat-loads actually gone. Chaplain and lady embarking to-day; our carriages and the band actually packing. My health much better; indeed, I shall soon allow George to think I am quite well, which hitherto would have been the height of imprudence, but he is taking to like the thought of the journey himself. The only drawback to it is the fear that George and Chance may suffer by it merely from the circumstance that Bengal agrees with them so well, and I hold that a constitution adapted to Bengal can hardly be adapted to any other climate under heaven. I wish this horrid September were over. I am glad I have not a young daughter at home coming out to me. It would be morally wrong in the first place that I should have such an article, but I should be particularly sorry on her account.

God bless you, my dearest sister!

This is put up this 9th September, at which date we are all alive, much to our credit.

I certainly should like to see you now and every day.

Your most affectionate

E. E.


Government House, September 17, 1837.

, – There are no ships going, so it is a perfect farce to begin a letter to you; and a great English ship which was reported at the mouth of the river a week ago, everybody says in a melancholy tone, has got into the eastern channel, as if in this part of the world it could get into any other channel. Nevertheless, the grand result is its total disappearance. I dare say it is dead of the cholera.

However, we are doing – I may almost say we have done – our grief for the King, and are stamping rupees with Victoria's head on them. That is a great national measure on the occasion, and I heard the mint man acutely remark, 'Now I wish we had never changed the stamp; I should not wonder if the natives were to mistrust a coin with nothing but a woman's head on it.' We should naturally be living under William IV. if the last overland despatch had not reached us in less than two months, and that makes us very precocious in our English knowledge.

We are on the brink of going up the country. We expect to set off about this day five weeks, and B is doing what may be called pulling our chairs from under us in the most ruthless manner. Horses, carriages, servants, howdahs, all our small comforts, are to be sent on to-morrow to Benares, where, I believe, our camp is to be formed; for, as we are to be towed there by a steamer, they will be some weeks longer going. I don't think you have been here for the last two or three days, and you might as well have come this morning. I have found it utterly impossible to settle to anything, even to write this letter.

The servants have all got their state livery given them to-day; an immense amount is expended on scarlet and gold to show our sense and grandeur to the natives up the country. I had just begun to write, when I heard a great movement on the staircase leading to my rooms, and then the old khansamah walked in with a considerable body of followers. He has lived here for fifty years, and is a fine old man, with a long white beard, and rules us all. He was in a transport of vanity with his dress, which is perfectly beautiful, both turban and tunic. He talks English, and did the honours of himself in this way: 'I come with my kitmutgars and chowkeydars to make salaam to Ladysheep. My dress very beautiful; I got gold lace here and there, and have a crown and stars on shoulders, which nobody else has. Chowkeydars one row gold lace more than kitmutgars, but all less than me.' I expressed my profound admiration, and then they all beat their foreheads and walked out. Ten minutes after there was another movement, and the the nazir, who is George's head man, walked in with his twenty hurkarus, who answer to our footmen. He reads and writes English, and admired himself in the most polished language. 'I doing my best to keep up with him,' and then he and all his followers salaamed. Then Emily's and my jemadars, with our hurkarus; Ariff was excessively grand indeed. Then came the sirdar with all his followers, the men who carry the palankeens and pull our punkahs; then the musalchees, who have the charge of lighting the house, and so on to five processions more, classes of people whose existence I had never heard of, all equally proud of their appearance. Last came the most degraded caste of all, the mihturs, or people who sweep out the rooms. None of the other servants would take anything from their hands, and, in compliment to that feeling, they all had different dresses of dark purple. This shocked me, so I made a point of admiring these dresses, more particularly as their head man, as if in mockery of himself, brought in Chance wearing a little gold coat. No high caste servant will touch a dog.

I am in a shocking way about Gazelle. He has become more attractive and more exclusively attached than ever; but he has grown enormously, too large for anyone to carry, even if he did not in the most shocking manner kick any servant who ventures to come near him, and, as he will follow no one but me, I cannot imagine how his march of some thousand miles is to be accomplished. B has forsaken me in my utmost need, shaking his head ominously and saying that Gazelle will certainly die during the first week. That lowers B in my eyes; I did think he would have offered him half his palankeen.

If you want a diamond three quarters of an inch in diameter tell me. W has just brought me a ring to look at, with a single diamond of that size; and, because it has an imperceptible flaw in it, the jewellers say it is only worth 1, 600l. I offered them your 20l. for it, but they would not take it. I have begged to have sentinels placed over me and it till it is fetched back again.

Dr. Drummond says that a few days ago his friend Dr. G found an adjutant which was so heavy it could not fly. In their horrid surgical way they killed it, and, on opening it, they found it had swallowed a baby. In the most dawdling way these birds manage to suck down live cats, rats, and crows without any apparent effort; but to swallow a body is rather strange. In some countries the bird would have been tried for murder; here nobody but a doctor would dare to kill one.

Yours most affectionately,



Government House, October 3.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – We are in the Slough of Despond – the absolute morass – I may say the quaking bog of despond. After having watched the career of the 'Seringapatam' with the most intense interest, congratulated ourselves on her early arrival at Madras, pitied ourselves on her long passage to Saugur; plagued the heart out of agents, who were going off for their Doorgak Pooja holiday; obtained an order from the Custom House (which is shut for the same reason) that our boxes might pass; and now the ship is come in, and not only is there no box for us, except a box of seltzer-water, but she has not brought us a single English letter! I still think that captain of the 'Seringapatam' has secreted our goods and read our letters, and that he will repent in a day or two; but he declares not. I could bear the disappointment about the clothes pretty well, because I am rather incredulous about the extreme cold with which they threaten us; I found out that trick last January; but I should have liked a letter.

October 9.

I wrote that four days ago, believing all the time that the 'Seringapatam' really had some letters on board for us, and that, after grumbling a great deal, we should be pleasantly disappointed with a large packet of letters and a superb assortment of dresses; but none have come.

Wednesday, October 10.

This has a chance of overtaking the 'Reliance.' At last we have heard of our things. An officer who went on board the 'Seringapatam' in search of his wife's goods saw in a list of parcels 'Two boxes for the Miss Edens.' So now the captain promises to make a search for them, and I should think there will be letters in them.

God bless you, my dearest sister! In ten days more we shall be on board on our way to a better climate. Good-bye.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, Tuesday, October 17, 1837.

MY DEAREST MARY, – I think I will run you off a line before we start on our great journey, though I am greatly distressed for time. I know I shall never be ready by Saturday. It is such a bore not being able to leave anything to take care of itself. It makes such a tinning and soldering and knocking, and the ivory things are to be wrapped in flannel, and the carved Chinese things dipped in corrosive sublimate, and the silver things wrapped in paper; and when all this is done and they are carefully tinned, they say we shall, on our return, find the ivory yellow, the wood a heap of dust, and the silver quite black. My books I have sent to General , to be daily dusted and dried, with a clever afterthought if anything happens to him (a real Indian thought), that Captain is his heir, and my books will not be sold off by auction till the aide-de-camp comes back; and he cannot leave us. It is melancholy to see a week after the death of a head of a family everything advertised for sale. They won't keep, and there are no shops to send them to.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Government House, October 16, 1837.

, I must thank you myself (how do I know Fanny is to be trusted with thanks?) for your extreme kindness in sending me those two pretty muslins. It was so like you. I am still more pleased with the gowns. They came in such a nohow, unexpected sort of way, that is particularly pleasant at this distance from home. I hope, by a strict adherence to that wretched fashion of tight sleeves, to be able to spare enough of each pattern for a new douillette for that little darling whom you always remember with so much affection – that little angel Chance.

His servant informs me that he wants two new coats; he has one of Chinese brocade, with a gold breastplate, which was presented to him last year; but that he can only wear when he goes to visit the King of Oude's or the King of Lucknow's dogs. For his days of common Pariah audiences I should think a coloured muslin must be correct.

I was shocked the other day by hearing that his servant, Jimmund, had given him warning on going up the country. At first I thought Chance had grown into the European custom of striking his servants, as his dear little temper is not entirely without its imperfections; still I thought him too much of a gentleman to give way to such an abominable practice. So I made no enquiries, but begged another servant might be engaged for the march. Then the whole story turned out to be a mistake. Jimmund came into my room with Chance under his arm, his hands clasped, and he vociferating a great many of those odd sounds the natives are so good as to call their language. My jemadar stood by, translating it literally, and I thought it very pretty. 'He say no such bad thought enter the head of Ladyship's servant; his enemies say it for him. He say Chance is the child of his house, and good luck has come to his house with him. He say it is his duty to take care of any dog of Ladyship's, but he love Chance with his heart. And he say Ladyship is his father and mother, and may do what she like with him, but he likes to keep the dog.'

Major B says that that is a very literal translation, and I thought immediately that you would like to hear such an oration in favour of Chance, and that you would not for an instant imagine that the extra rupees Jimmund receives for his care of him could influence him in the slightest degree.

In a few days we depart on our travels; I expect they will be very amusing. And now many thanks.

Your most affectionate,

E. E.


Government House, October 17, 1837.

MY DEAREST , – We have not got a bit of a letter, but all your gowns. Lovely articles! and how good of you to send them, dear! and yet what a shame to send such a number! and then again how very useful they will be going up the country (we set off in four days)! and to think of you sending not only a gauze gown, but a satin slip as well! – things not to be had here now. Such profusion on your part; that blue plaid silk! Ain't I going to make it up directly? and won't I astonish the King of Lucknow with it? Poor things! we only extracted them from the ship three days ago. Just gave them time to see what a damp furnace Calcutta is, and then put them into camel trunks, to show the species of exercise we take; and eventually they will enhance the appearance of the yellow and elegant female to whom you sent them.

We are decidedly very yellow, but, as it is the prevailing human-creature colour of the country, it would be unpopular to be anything else.

A healthy English person in a hard frost would decidedly look upon us all as half-witted. I heard George say yesterday, when he was asked the name of some individual, 'I know it very well and have got it at the bottom of my mind; I could tell you by a great effort of memory, but if you don't very much care I had rather not make it.' And that is just how we all feel now and then: if there is a glimmering of an amusing idea about one's brain, it is far too much trouble to bring it into speaking shape; and, in fact, it is quite clear to me that there is as great a level of intellect here as of country, and no person can be much cleverer than another; also that when anyone says, 'How stupid the society is here' they mean nothing personal to the individuals who compose it, but that such is the effect of the unfortunate situation in which they are all placed.

This being our last week here, we received last Thursday two hundred morning visitors in two hours. This Thursday we shall receive at least three hundred more, besides going to the play for the good of the house (the roof of which will not support the weight of punkahs; so I am sure it is not for the good of us) and attending the marriage of a daughter of 'a member in Council;' taking a sentimental leave of two old aides-de-camp and expecting an interesting meeting with two new ones; hearing the details of the packing of seventy-two camel-trunks; wearing and tearing the powers of thought by settling what is to be sent up the country, what to England, and what to be kept here; making B think it right and reasonable that Chance, and Gazelle, and my tame lemur should go in the boat with us, when we have not room for half the servants he meant should sleep on the deck.

That angel Gazelle has certainly contrived to grow up into that species of deer generally denominated 'hog;' he is therefore not eminently graceful, but his manners and disposition are quite beyond praise. The lemur is very tame and frightens me with its black human hands. bought it for me the other day, cheerfully observing, 'It's just the sort of animal you will like in your tent; you may let it loose there, and it will scramble like a cat and a monkey together.' Such a combination of horrors! And it expects to be petted and played with all day long; if it is neglected, it begins to moan. I natter myself that I have secured a valuable and trustworthy attendant for him and Gazelle. Ariff the other day brought him to make his salaam, and, after giving him a long exhortation in Hindustanee, translated it for my benefit in this manner: 'I tell him, Ladyship, that he come every morning for two hours and make acquaintance with Gazelle, then he go to Barrackpore and make acquaintance with monkey, and that he must always try to make himself pleasant to both beasts, and has no other duty.' Such a new view of 'the whole duty of man'!

You have been very ill-used, though you don't know it. I was going to make you a handsome present of a small carved ivory elephant, and our little French servant, who clears away all my pretty things over my head, before I'm ready and resigned to part with them, yesterday morning, before I was up, put it at the bottom of a large box, soldered it up, sewed wax cloths over it; then, when I came out, pointed with savage delight to my empty tables, and said he fancied 'ces petites bêtes horribles' (meaning cockroaches) were tricked, as if they would have eaten up ivory! I have a beautiful large elephant in that same box, but I have not the heart to make him undo it again.

My dearest, I must finish, this being Wednesday; we go on Saturday, and you don't know what a deal there is to be done.

Yours most affectionately,



Government House, 1837.
(Begun October 25, ended October 30.)

At the least possible distance that picture is very like you – exactly like, most of us think. Near, there is certainly something slightly absurd in the colouring of that man's drawings. It is Fleet-Streetish, but yet the likenesses are very remarkable; and, sitting as I am at this table, with your picture on that table close by the wall, it is really a most refreshing sight. It might be you, only it is not. The pleasure with which I have torn up that horrid crooked vulgar thing he did at first is great. I never dared look much at it, as I am not likely to have my impression of you corrected by yourself for some years; but this other is really satisfactory, and I only hope the white ants will not nibble all round it as they have round Mr. 's. The degree of destructiveness of this climate it is impossible to calculate, but there is something ingenious in the manner in which the climate and the insects contrive to divide the work. One cracks the bindings of the books, the other eats up the inside; the damp turns the satin gown itself yellow, and the cockroaches eat up the net that trims it; the heat splits the ivory of a miniature, and the white maggots eat the paint; and so they go on helping each other and never missing anything. We have arrived at very nice weather, though, comparatively speaking, I cannot guess how it would be in England – I suppose very hot, for we are still living under the punkahs – but there are chilly bits in the day, in which old Indians go shivering about in great coats and try to look blue. Poor things! they only look yellow, but it pleases them to think they are cold.

Last night we came down from Barrackpore by moonlight, greatly to Dr. Drummond's horror, as he insisted upon it that the dew would carry us all off, and he wanted me in particular to stay until the morning. But the fog is worse under the trees than anywhere, so I came down by water in 's boat; and, as it has been launched only three days, it is at present in the highest favour, and they get up at five in the morning to row; and last night, as there was a moon brighter than an English sun, we set off at nine and came down here just in the same time as the carriage, which was much to the credit of the gentlemen's rowing. Their boat and their sailors' dresses look so English and well among all the odd-shaped budgerows and natives on the river. My name is worked in gold and black in so many different directions that I feel concerned; it will become a by-word on the river.

I give up the system I maintained at first – that there was not more illness here than in other places. I suppose it tells more at the end of the hot weather, but just now it is melancholy to see the fidget of bad health that is going on. It is impossible to get a cabin on board the steamers and pilot schooners that take people to be rolled about at the Sandheads for the recovery of their healths. It is a melancholy country for wives at the best, and I strongly advise you never to let your girls marry an East Indian. There was a pretty Mrs. dining here yesterday, quite a child in look, who married just before the 'Repulse' sailed, and landed here about ten days ago. She goes on next week to Meemuch, a place at the farthest extremity of India, where there is not another European woman, and great part of the road to it is through jungle, which is only passable occasionally from its unwholesomeness. She detests what she has seen of India, and evidently begins to think 'papa and mamma' were right in withholding for a year their consent to her marriage. I think she wishes they had held out another month. There is another, Mrs. , only fifteen, who married when we were at the Cape, and came from there at the same time we did, and went straight on to her husband's station, where for five months she had never seen an European. He was out surveying all day, and they lived in a tent. She has utterly lost her health and spirits, and, though they have come down here for three weeks' furlough, she has never been able even to call here. He came to make her excuse, and said, with a deep sigh, 'Poor girl! she must go back to her solitude. She hoped she could have gone out a little in Calcutta to give her something to think of.' And then, if these poor women have the comfort of children, they must send them away just as they become amusing. It is an abominable place. I do not mean so much for us, who come for a short time and can have a fleet, or an army to take us anywhere for change of air if we have pains in our sides, but for people who earn their bread in India, and must starve if they give it up.

We are all quite well, George remarkably so. Everybody says he looks much better than when he landed. I do not see that, but he certainly is very well and happy.

We are all full of fancy-ball preparations, which is an excellent topic. I dare say our dresses will be lovely, but hitherto I have not been able to hear of any possible material to make mine of.

Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Simla, April 4, 1838.

The 'overland despatch,' which is very apt to do something untact, is going to set off just as we are in the very act of settling ourselves at Simla, and how letters are to be written and furniture pushed about till it falls into its own niche is more than I can say. But, now that I have sent off the last volume of my journal, and do not mean to begin another till we set off marching again, I mean to write to you at all odd opportunities, though my spirit is broken – right in two – by the conduct of that great monster the sea. I have not had a letter from you for more than two months, and how I should I do not know, for no London ships ever come. In a day or two we ought to have the 'overland despatch,' and be told about you till the beginning of February.

These mountains are going to be to me all that in such a country it is possible to expect mountains to be; and their intrinsic value is increased by the dead, brown, burning plains in which they are set and the recollection of our April fates in Calcutta – punkahs, mosquitoes, rooms like dark ovens in the house, and red dust and hot, stifling air out of it. Here we have hills above, below, and around us; fires burning in every room; bracing air blowing in at the windows; snowy mountains in the distance; the great rhododendrons just getting covered with flowers; and roads and paths without end for riding, which we pursue with a kind of horrid pleasing consciousness that, if the pony takes fright at anything on one side of him, he will go down a precipice on the other. We have only been here two days, yet I see the politics of the place turns upon riding horses or ponies. The 'horse' party is the strongest in every sense of the word, because, if the 'pony' party grows provoking, it can kick it over the sides of a rock. We call ponies here gouits. I do not know why, except that we never call anything by the name that belongs to it. Because the Commander-in-Chief recommended horses, of course Emily and I ambled up the hill on ponies. And he came out with all his staff to meet George, all of them sworded and cocked-hatted, riding on great horses. The horses all began to kick, because they were not used to swords. And precipices on each side of us! I said in a tone of considerable sharpness, 'I'll trouble you not to kick my little pony with your shocking great horses,' and, not knowing where to go for safety, was on the brink of making the pony clamber up Sir Henry and his horse. He looked like the great Man Mountain compared to us, and it would not have been steeper than climbing up any of the mountains here.

I am sure you will be sorry to hear that Chance has been ill. Some apprehensions were entertained that the hill air would not agree with him, but he is now convalescent. Rolla is supremely happy here; goes in and out of the house as he pleases; has discovered a large pumpkin; has frequently contributions of pears and apples pouring in to him as offerings from foreign potentates; wears red velvet and gold constantly, because he hates cold; sits upright in an arm-chair and warms his hands by the fire and then steps out to a sunny fir-tree, which he has adopted for his own property.

I think this house quite perfection; only one floor; two of the rooms are very large, overlooking hills and mountains that never end. Our own small rooms open into the large ones, and there is a verandah all round the house. 's house is close to our's, his garden joining our garden. We are upon the brink of going to law about the boundaries and an apricot-tree, which will have only enough eating on it for one. He came home from his tiger-hunting expedition, declaring that it had been excellent sport. The account he wrote of one day did not sound pleasant. They came upon six tigers in a ravine, which all charged – two of them on 's elephant and three on General C.'s. They had killed two and wounded another, when a nest of hornets flew out on them. extracted fifty stings from his face, and another of the party took to his bed. However, they shot on, and the bank gave way, and his elephant rolling down among the tigers, who were happily too badly wounded to do any harm. But I don't think I will go out again to see them shoot tigers; certainly not when water is scarce, for then they wander about in bodies.

The aides-de-camp are all settled on different hills, and come in breathless and disturbed to dinner, because they are only used to plains. My dearest, I must finish. I am making my sitting-room look lovely, only somebody is turning my sofa with its back to the view. I think the 'overland despatch' will bring me a letter from you this time.

Yours most affectionately,



Simla, April 18, 1838.

MY DEAREST, – You must change your dromedary-man, or perhaps give up the beast dromedary altogether, and try a camelopard. I have got twelve letters by the last 'overland despatch,' and none from you. So very odd! so unnatural! so unlike you that I can't understand it! You are either travelling in foreign parts, or having five or six more cowslips planted round that border. You are capable of either the one thing or the other. It's no merit of yours, and I am not the very least obliged to you, because you meant me to have none; but I have got a letter from you this very week, finished off June 19, 1837; and, what shows the merit of the letter, it reads just as well now as if you had written it yesterday. And it was three months coming from Calcutta on the head of a coolie.

The weather is perfectly beautiful just now, and the snowy mountains have walked quite near this year; some ignorant people say it is an optical delusion, caused by the clearness of the atmosphere, but I know better than to be taken in by them. I certainly love those hills – positively love them – and I do not positively love anything else in India; but, now we are here a second year, I feel like a daughter of the soil, a son of the clime, a nephew and a niece even.

I give up ten minutes every day to think how we ought be at Calcutta and how we are here, and then I walk to the window – the open window – and look at the hills crimson with rhododendrons and the mountains covered with snow. I also notice the ceilings without punkahs and people riding and walking in the sunshine, which makes me feel like the same species of human creature I was in England. If we finish off the Dost Mahomed war before our time to go home, I mean to declare war upon old Colonel Japp, the magistrate, who lives in a fortified house on a fine, rocky hill. It will take us the odd six months to reduce him, and then we would drive through Calcutta straight on board ship.

I have not told you anything about Tharawaddie lately; we are not at war with him, so it is not from personal pique I speak. But I cannot think it right of him to have flayed fourteen of his subjects alive the other day upon suspicion of some petty crime. There are other horrid stories about him. What it must be to have that sort of man as a despot over one!

April 18.

has just returned from his tiger-shooting, looking all the better for being run over and having killed thirty-six tigers. When I wrote before, I wonder if I told you about a 'man-eating' tiger they were after, and which had killed twenty-six people in six weeks? It had been reported to Government as a terror to that part of the country; but the jungle was so difficult to enter; nobody could follow him. and the gentleman with him tried for four days in vain, and gave it up; but the other day a deputation of villagers went after them, and said it had carried off a boy that morning. Besides their own two elephants they could only get one and a mahout to follow them. They soon found the half-eaten body of the boy, and in time they came upon a tigress and two cubs. They wounded her, and she wounded each of their elephants and disappeared; but they shot a cub, and she charged again and was killed. They found in her lair the remains of fourteen bodies and a hunting spear. The most horrid part of the story was that the screams of the poor boy, who was fourteen years old, had been heard by the villager for a whole hour after he was seized. The tigress had evidently given him to the cubs to play with. Such a death to die!

The deaths in this country from wild beasts are very numerous. George was saying just now that the reports from the Agra district of children carried off by wolves are upwards of 300 in one year.

Yours most affectionately,



Umritsir, the Punjâb
(On our way to Lahore Camp),
December 9, 1838.

MY DEAREST , – I mean to tell you nothing in this letter, because I have told you everything in that journal; in the meantime it will set your mind at ease about us to know that we are completely in the power of the Sikhs – have crossed the Sutlej into the Punjâb, and are now on our way to Lahore, Runjeet Singh preceding us by a march, and his son Shere Singh being with us, on the most friendly and intimate terms. He steps in at dinner and sits through it to see us eat. He is my next best friend to you, I have so many topics in common with him. Runjeet has given orders to all his people to sell nothing at the bazaars; he feeds us all – regiments, camp-followers, and everybody.

I have written to you all about him, his jewels, and his nautches, and I have a great deal more before me to write, so I shall say nothing more here. It is a horrid thing, which we none of us own publicly, but there is every reason to believe that his troops are quite as well disciplined as ours. When you get an unreformed ministry who will give you your yeomanry back again, let them wear steel helmets, black heron's feathers, and flaming red turbans, and mount them on Persian horses. You will be astonished at the effect.

The weather is lovely, the country quite hideous. I march on horseback every morning, and Shere Singh and his troops of followers hunt, shoot, and gallop about us, and an enormous escort follows us; when we arrive safely I feel piously grateful. The army was to march from Ferozepore to-day, but we expect that Dost Mahomed will give in without any fighting. God bless you, dearest!

Yours most affectionately,



Camp, Delhi, February 16, 1839.

I sent you off a large book seven weeks ago, with the full expectation that by this time it would be crossing the line. I have just heard by chance that the man (the monster!) who took charge of it is still at Calcutta. That shows a depraved taste when he might be on his way to England, besides utter want of principle as to carrying books. I have nearly finished another, and shall send it off in a fortnight, on a fresh plot, and these are merely a few extraneous words to keep you quiet in the meantime – or rather unquiet – constantly writing. I say everything in those journals there is to be said, and have strong suspicions that they must be intensely tiresome and the sketches supremely ridiculous. I am driven into sketching figures because the country is so ugly, and I dare say their arms go where their legs ought to be; and now I am taking to colour them – I, who never handled a colour before – and I think I see you in fits of laughing over the result. generally sends in the figure to draw, and he goes into strong hysterics at my efforts. They rather impose upon George. Nevertheless keep them for me till I come home; I dare say then I shall like to look at them.

You see we are at Delhi. I think when I was in England I had some dim notion of Delhi as a city at the farthest possible point of the world from that where we happened to be born, full of fine buildings and people with conical hats. I will not write about the buildings twice, but I think it as well to mention that the people do not wear conical hats. Our tents swarm all day with merchants, who cover the carpets with jewels; but they want money for them, and much money.

I am still very low at having left Gazelle at Meerut with Captain C, but then I think of him carried over the hills in a hyena's mouth and am comforted. It is longer than usual since I have heard from you, but the ships come in very shortly. God bless you, dearest!

Your most affectionate



Simla, August 4, 1839.

I am writing to you entirely for my own amusement, not the least for yours. I've not the least notion when this will go; I have a great idea that there is something wrong in what we are pleased to call the dâk department. Probably all the letter-carriers have turned out to be Thugs. A sudden fit of bore came over me just now, when I considered how long my mind had been running on nothing but Indian trash, and so I am going to speak to you as a refreshment. It is a rainy day – not a common English sort of rainy day, but a rainy day in the rainy season. Something sublime and water-spouty about it; such eccentric white clouds about; one very thick one just walking bodily through the verandah into my room. In the valley the sun is shining through the rain, and in the extreme distance it is so clear I can see the Sutlej.

I have nothing of yours to answer since I wrote three weeks ago; but next week we expect the June letters, and I hope by that time you will have ironed England out straight again, for it was in rather a crumpled condition when the May letters arrived. I expect to hear that the Whigs are still in and Parliament dissolved. I told you that a native chief had brought your pearls, and that if I had been born an oyster, and half the pearls had been my hereditary property, I should not dare buy them back from a native chief if he were to offer to put them in my shell. That is to show the admirable uprightness of our ways. Since I got your letter I have seen other eligible strings of pearls, but none so eligible. I don't mean to hurry myself, because there are no means of sending anything to Calcutta just now. And then in two months I think I shall get an answer from you about the Bombay pearls, and next month I ought to hear what you think of the turquoise set.

August 7.

And the June letters are actually come. There never was such a real writing treasure as you are, dearest. We have letters to June 15 – just seven weeks coming here – though it is the rainy season, and the plains are flooded, and all the other little Indian impediments in the way that we are so ingenious in raising. They got to Bombay in a month. It must make you quite uneasy to know what near neighbours we are – so unpleasant to be overlooked.

I don't think anybody seems politically happy in England. Indeed, I don't very well see how anybody can be, because, as neither Whigs nor Tories can govern, it would show want of feeling in either to laugh. If you think that Dost Mahomed would be of any use at home as Prime Minister, in about a week we expect to have him and to be puzzled what to do with him, and we'll send him to you. You don't tell me half enough about your two out girls. They are doing just the bit of life which interests me beyond everything, the only violently happy bit in fact.

August 17.

And now we've been fighting – taking a fort – just the thing you would have done with your yeomanry, only they never offered you a fort to take. The fort of Ghuznee is only five marches from Candahar, and is considered one of the strongest forts in India. It was defended by Dost Mahomed's son and was taken after three hours' hand to hand fighting. Dost Mahomed's son was taken prisoner. The gates were blown up with gunpowder, and they found twelve months' provision there, because the natives supposed it to be quite impregnable; and in the bazaar here at this moment they refuse to believe it is taken; they say it is our policy to say so. We had only eighteen men killed and 200 wounded. The attack was made in the night; but the besieged fought well, and seven or eight hundred were killed. Ghuznee is only seventy miles from Cabul, and there seems no doubt that Dost Mahomed has fled from there; so that war is warred and done, and we expect you to send us word that you are exceedingly satisfied with our manner of doing things.

August 20.

I am going to put this up. Those creatures at Bombay are sending off the steamer four days earlier than they notified; the consequence is that I am in a perfect frenzy of writing, because there are two months' letters to answer and there is a fancy fair coming on. Though I am not doing any work myself – for I have taken to the carpentering and joining line and am having children's toys made – it is just as troublesome drawing out plans as if I hammered and turned myself.

Yours most affectionately,



Simla, September 9, 1839.

I never knew anything half so infamous as this. I have not had a week's rest since I sent away ten letters to the mother country (I trust she looked upon them all as daughters), and now George says, exactly as if he were saying nothing particular, 'If you mean to write by the overland, you had better begin directly, for I shall be sending off a packet in a few days.' If! the monster! His natural affections evidently blunted, if not destroyed! writing probably upon public grounds, never thinking – or if thinking never minding – how much he interferes with our system of private correspondence.

We are expecting your July letters every day. I think you have been rather long without a government, for it is quite clear neither Whigs nor Tories are really governing. Why don't you do as we do when things are at a standstill – go and take a city? Leominster is famous for its carpets; so is Cabul. Go and take Leominster.

There is an awful number of morning visitors just now upon the break-up of the rains. We regulate all we do in India by the weather; the morning visiting result is amongst the most painful.

September 15.

We are in such a way; the July letters won't come, and have been due these ten days. And people have brought forward a horrible idea – that there is war in Egypt, and that all the letters are stopped and will have to go back to England, and then round by the Cape, in which case we shall hear something of you this time twelvemonth. I now know in its fullest extent what is meant by the 'horrors of war,' but I don't remember ever reading in history of anything so bad. From all you were made to swallow last year about the Punjâb, I expect you to have the most profound interest about its state, now Kurruck is reigning and Runjeet and his unhappy wives reduced to ashes. is to return from Lahore to-day, and the only interesting bit of Indian history I have yet got at is the account his letters give of the state of things there. Kurruck, who is next door to an idiot, sits at the durbar with those magnificent pearls of Runjeet's, which he has recovered from the Brahmins, hanging round his neck. Our friend Shere Singh, having a sort of idea that he might like the throne himself, for a time kept aloof; then, having extracted a guarantee of safety, came and threw himself at Kurruck's feet; 'upon which,' one of the Lahore papers says, 'the Maharajah lifted Shere Singh into his lap, and they both sobbed plentifully;' and, moreover, Kurruck has given Shere an immense sum of money, which will dry his tears effectually. The old fakeer who used to translate for Runjeet translates for Kurruck, and habitually calls him the ocean of sense and talent.' Kurruck's eldest son, Noor Mahal, has a great army at his command, and is young and clever. Great fears were entertained by the chiefs of his entrance into the city; the coronation was hurried over the day before his arrival. He was supposed also to hate the English, and his entrance was to be a crisis. However, his first step was to send to and Mr. , who is with him, that he meant to visit them in their tents, which astonished all his own adherents. He turned out particularly pleasant, and, says, 'contrives, in the most gentlemanlike way, to transfer to his father all the attention paid to himself;' for the chiefs are apt to forget the Kurruck at his own durbar and hustle him about more than is respectful. In the meantime it is supposed that he means to displace Dhian Singh, the prime minister, and let his father keep the throne while he governs in his name.

The old fakeer the other day observed confidently that even if Noor Mahal were to shut up the 'ocean of sense and talent,' he would be just as happy as if he were at large. I don't think you can get down more just now, or I would tell you about little Pertâb and Shere Singh; but I think it right to keep up your Punjâb history to a certain degree.

I am tired of calling upon you for sympathy about my pets, and if ever I have any more I sha'n't tell you about them; but Mattie sickened in real earnest last week, and, though the only two doctors the hills possess attended her, and though her strength was kept up for six days by having meat jelly put down her throat, she died as all dogs born in India will die – before they are two years old. I am in a state of desolation for want of her, for she had the most exclusive attachment to me. The dogs brought out here from England live if they are kept from the sun, but not ten in a hundred live two years that are born here.

In five weeks we go down to those dreadful plains. What a bore! God bless you, dearest!

Yours most affectionately,



Camp, Dholepore, January 4, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – Fanny will have told you our horrid change of plan, and that we are doomed to that dreadful hot Agra for the next year. They say that the heat we have experienced at Calcutta is nothing to it, and, as I thought that past all human endurance, I give it up. About Agra: The house is so very small and confined compared to Government House, that I can imagine, even were the climate the same, that one's 'sufferens' must be much greater; but they say that we are to sit at home behind a tattie for two months at least, without letting any daylight in, and that then we shall enjoy ourselves uncommonly. I believe the best plan is, as I heard an Agra lady say the other day, 'not to think of the hot winds till they come, nor to mention them, but to keep all your strength to try and live through them.' But the constant thought of my mind is that this delay will put off our return home, and I am sure that two more hot seasons will be at least one too many; besides, I cannot stay away from you all any longer. I really can't; I must go home.

I want to talk to you and never to see these brown, arid plains and browner, arider people any more, and, as for staying here a whole year that ought to be passed in England, I can't. In Bengal there are at least trees, and everything is green, and there is the river, which leads to the sea, which leads home. Here there is nothing but dust and ruins, and no way out of it if one is ever so ill; even natives cannot travel in the hot winds.

We have left Captain and Giles at Agra to hurry on buildings, make up beds, mosquito-houses, &c., and we have come out to visit Neighbour Dholepore and Neighbour Gwalior – only six marches – but then we stay four or five days pleasantly with each, so that we shall be away more than three weeks.

The Dholepore rajah come to fetch his Lordship in to-day. I do not know anything remarkable about him, except that he wears eight of the largest pearls that ever were seen. They must have been layed by a sort of turkey amongst the oysters. And he rides in a two-storied carriage, drawn by six elephants.

I have just heard from Lady yesterday that she had travelled safely through the Punjâb and the Khyber Pass with her diamonds, her maid, and cat, without any of those dangers with which she was threatened. Talking of her cat puts me in mind of Dandy burying himself alive like a fakeer (what a horrid moment for you!) – just the sort of thing that we who keep pets are exposed to – and nobody knows what we go through. It may be a consolation to you to reflect that much about that time Chance was fished up drowned by his faithful attendant out of a great tank, and I saw the poor little Prince Royal swung round by his hind legs for five minutes – a native cure for a drowned dog – and then Jimmund blew into his nostrils for a long time before he came to life. He has recovered his health since we have been in these hot plains, which shows bad taste.

The display at Gwalior has been very magnificent, and we paid rather an interesting visit to the little Ranee, who is only eight years old – but is treated with great state – and looked like the white cat dressed up in diamonds and cloth of gold.

Ever yours most affectionately,



Camp, Futtehpore, February 6, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – Here we are again at Futtehpore. There is a great red idol thirty feet long lying at the end of the camp, and another sitting up by its side with a new mud head and six new faces since I had the honour of sketching it. It was here where we met the little Prince Henry of Orange, and where he made his first essay at sketching two years ago.

George left us at Culpee a week ago, and will be at Calcutta in five days. George says they are all agreed that a palanquin is even better than a tent, and that a house is the greatest luxury in the world.

We are in a sad way for new books; the last box that came out has, by some mistake, slipped by all the postmasters, and is jogging on at the rate of ten miles a day to Simla, and will have to come back at the same pace. In the meanwhile I have read over the old ones till I should know them by heart if my memory were not gone. I do not think you ever sufficiently appreciated that large edition of St.-Simon in twenty-two volumes. I make it a regular study – a sort of French Boswell, with an occasional touch of Shakespeare in a few court scenes – and am reading it through for about the fourth time. I wish you, who are a French authority, would send me word whether it is not peculiar to him to call a digression, or a long story, or a tiresome sentence une bourre, the evident derivation of our bore. I always wonder why we talk of such a thing being a bore – not at the sentiment. A dumb man marching would be driven into saying 'What a bore,' but at the expression. I do think St.-Simon's account of the court after the death of the first Dauphin is worth any money. I wish I had not read it yesterday; but then, as you say, I can forget it again to-morrow.

Poor old Rosina has been so dreadfully ill. I thought for two days she would have died, but Dr. Drummond thinks the danger is going by to-day. I should be so sorry if anything happened to her, and so would all the house. George's servants have asked leave to wait on me while he is away, and I am so afraid of his nazir, whom we always call 'the genteelest of men' (see Hood), and who is a most distinguished-looking individual, that I have taken to wait on myself. The first morning I asked the nazir to send one of the tribe that follows him – the lowest of course I mean – to fetch a glass of water for Chance, and he brought it himself. I thought I should have fainted away when I saw Chance, who is too idle to sit up, lying lapping out of this glass held by the 'genteelest of men' and a well-born Mussulman; I snatched the glass, and scolded the dog, and salaamed the nazir, and ever since I have gone poking about the tent looking for the Kedgeree pot full of water the bearers bring, and if it is not there Chance must die of thirst.

We have had Lord Jocelyn four days in camp, and it amused him at first, but it had become une bourre, and now he is gone off to see Agra and Delhi and get a little tiger-shooting.

Allahabad, February 14.

So far so good. The steamer cannot come within twenty miles of this place, the river is so low that we are going down to it in budgerows, and are to go and sleep on board them to-night. Can you imagine our fatigue, though we came in from a long march yesterday morning, to have a fancy fair and supper in the evening, and a ball and supper to-night, and with that the whole camp breaking up, and constant petty arrangements to make or break?

The fancy fair was tiresome, but somehow the cheapest and best 'Europe shop' I have seen in the Upper Provinces, and we got home early. To-night we have written to beg they will have supper early, and we go on board from the ball, and then off early to-morrow, and I hope we shall be at Calcutta in fourteen or fifteen days. I heard from George; still delighted with travelling, in fact (how a railroad would laugh!), and with having got away from his tent – not the least tired. says Calcutta is hot, but looking lovely. I can fancy the bright green of Bengal will be very striking after these dusty brown plains, and, at all events, it is satisfactory that the march and George's absence have interposed to make Calcutta palatable after dear Simla. Our next great packing will be to go home. Fine! but it gives me a decided pain in my stomach to think of it, for fear it should be put off.

God bless you, dearest sister!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Calcutta, Tuesday, March 17, 1840.

I wonder none of you wrote about Miss Martineau's 'Deerbrook.' Such a very interesting book. It is a long time since I have had a novel that I could not leave off, and I have been reading this ever since breakfast – quite at the wrong time of day, only there is always the comfort at Calcutta, if one does anything ever so wrong, of saying it is too hot to do anything else. 'Deerbrook' has swallowed me up alive. It would have been so exciting in foolish days. She certainly writes like an angel. I am so glad I have a whole volume more to read, and that 'it will be too hot to do anything else' whenever I like to read it. It is not really overpoweringly hot yet, and the evenings are very pleasant, and may last so to the end of the month, they say.

We had one of our largest dinners yesterday – at least fifty people, which is enough, as most of them are strangers.

Wednesday, 18th.

I have finished 'Deerbrook,' which is a pity. It certainly is a very original book.

We cannot succeed in dressing ourselves at all. wrote to two or three of the principal sale-rooms to desire they might be kept open for us from five to six, and he and Fanny, Captain Hill and I went out shopping when it got cool. It was rather amusing to see a shop again, particularly as these contain all sorts of things, like American stores; but as for making ourselves smart, the thing is impossible.

Friday, 20th.

We went last night to the play, which we had bespoken. No punkahs and a long low room with few windows; it is impossible to say what the heat was, but the acting was really excellent; I never saw better. We stayed only for one farce – 'Naval Engagements' – and, notwithstanding the heat, laughed all the time. There is a nephew of Joseph Hume's, a lawyer, who acts very well, and Stocqueler, the editor of one of the papers, is quite as good as Farren. I wish it were possible to have a cool theatre; a good farce is the only real amusement in this country.

Wednesday, 25th.

We had one of our visiting evenings last night, and they go off wonderfully. The clergymen and their families all come, sure not to be shocked by dancing; and I filled the great Marble Hall with sofas and ottomans and all the print books and my sketch-books; and the people sat in groups, not all of a row, and George and Sir Jasper got their whist, and it was all over by half-past ten, and they all walked off saying 'these early little soirées are quite the thing for the climate, and it is quite a pleasure to see Government House so gay again.' Such gaiety! Oh my!

Thursday, 26th.

George gave a farewell dinner to the Cameronians yesterday. They are off for China to-morrow, and we had all the chief authorities to meet them – seventy people. Fanny and I excused ourselves, and picked up a few of the crumbs that fell from their table, and had a quiet evening. The soldiers all rather like this expedition.

I suppose the weather is very hot out, but hitherto we have kept this house wonderfully cool – our visitors say much too cold. I am afraid that will not be the complaint next month, but in the meanwhile it is all so clean and so solid and so gentlemanlike, and it is such a pleasure to be settled, and then I sleep so comfortably in the mornings (Wright has to wake me regularly), that I never felt so kind to Calcutta. That is the good of contrast. If it had not been for the fatigue of the march it might have been objectionable; I like a good long sleep, don't you?

Friday, 27th.

Last night was the Town Hall ball. We made ourselves, with much trouble and infinite expense, very smart at last. The ball was very pretty – everything covered with F's and E's and the staircases turned into bowers with real singing birds, who never ceased singing. They were a sort of nightingale who surpass any bird I ever heard. There were very few masks; nobody could keep them on; some handsome fancy dresses. Some of the ladies and gentlemen acted the 'Bear and the Bashaw' on a small temporary theatre, and acted very well. That helped on the evening wonderfully to non-dancers, and we stayed till one very contentedly.

Monday, 29th.

I have given up morning church during the hot season; even five minutes of the sun is enough to knock people up for a week, and then at Calcutta they always read the whole service with three hymns, instead of the short service with no singing, which everywhere else in India is the custom. It keeps half the ladies away from church, as very few can sit through it. We went to the Fort Church at night, and had an excellent sermon from the Archdeacon.

Tuesday, 31st.

We had such a large dinner at the Nicoll's yesterday, but rather lively for one of those State dinners, and Sir Jasper likes his whist; so George and I had that consolation in the evening. I think I shall end, like Aunt Moore, with a decided wish for my rubber in the evening with 'Brother' and 'Cousin Margaret,' only the more I play, the worse I play.

Barrackpore, Thursday, April 2.

I quite forgot to mention that in the ship 'Repulse,' which sailed last week, I sent off my four beautiful hill pheasants, addressed to Mr. . They arrived only two days before in perfect health; and Mr. Frazer, an old friend of ours, promised to look after them and to let his servant do so. Moreover I sent on board a quantity of grain for their food, and gave the butcher of the ship a guinea to take care of them, supposing Mr. Frazer and his servant would probably be sea-sick. Therefore everything has been done for them that native art and Frazer can divine, and they ought to reach home alive; but I suppose they won't, as none ever have. George wanted me very much to send them to the Zoological, but I know I promised them to your boy, and I am sure he will like them. All they want is to have their coop moved from one ground to another, as they live by scratching up the earth; and of course when snow is cheap they might like a taste, as they lived on the snowy range, and hardly ever came so low as Simla. They will bear to be driven, but not to be handled.

Thursday, 9th.

Yesterday was what may be called a day of misfortunes. I borrowed 's thermometer, and that slipped through my fingers and broke all to pieces before I could even see how hot was; then I opened a table with a glass top, where I kept my choicest curiosities, forgot the punkah, which blew down the lid and shivered that; then there came a crack like a pistol shot, which was my Bombay workbox succumbing to the climate and opening a wide fissure. In short, my household gods were uncommonly shivered about me; so now I think that storm must have cleared the atmosphere, and I shall be lucky again.

Tuesday, 14th.

I never saw such an improvement! Dear little creature, only to think it should have been delayed so long! Chance is now turned into a poodle. He has been groaning and puffing and was really weighed down by his curls, and nothing would stop their growth; his paws were not visible, and everybody said he would die. So Captain Anson carried him off this morning to the best hairdresser in Calcutta, Jimmund following in tears, because it was so unlucky to cut these long curls; and, after an elaborate toilet, Chance frisked in the image of a small black lion and as active as ever he was in his best days. The native servants are delighted now, because they take it as a compliment to the Company, whose great sprawling lion is carved and stamped everywhere. The only objection is that nobody can look at Chance without laughing, and that the bunch of curls that they have left at the end of his tail disturbs his balance, and he topples over and then tries to bite them off; but habit in these two particulars may do much, and in the meantime he is considerably cooler.

Wednesday, 15th.

We went by water to the Botanical Garden yesterday evening; sent some dinner and the band and asked several to go with us, and it answered very well. We had light enough to let Lord Jocelyn say he had seen the Garden. Then dined under a banian-tree, and then sat on the grass by the river-side under such a beautiful moon, and sang glees and duets and all sorts of old-fashioned songs till ten o'clock, and then we came home in the 'Soonamookie,' and it was a very good change from the usual evenings.

This time twelvemonth we ought to be nearly half-way home. It really will be too delightful. Love to all.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, April 2, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I did not write to you last post, which was wrong, for your letters come most regularly now; however, you need not be affronted. I did not forget you; don't take me up so short about it, for you will see what you will see. There was a Major Low going home in the 'Repulse,' who was to take charge of a small parcel, and I inserted in it a worked muslin pelisse for you, feeling certain the amiable Major would make no objection. The pelisse had the merit of being worked on such fine Dacca muslin that I thought it would have a sweet, airy effect on a hot summer's day at East Combe; and then what nailed me into buying it, was that the owner, who certainly had not as much muslin on him as would have made a sleeve to the pelisse, held it up with an air of great vanity and, after talking an immense deal of Hindustani, looked over his shoulder with an insinuating smile and said, 'Quite new pattern;' so then I offered him half what he asked, and he took me at my word. Mind when the 'Repulse' comes you keep an eye on her passengers.

We have got on tolerably well with Calcutta hitherto, and I suppose manage the shutting-up of the house better than in the days of our ignorance, for it has really been quite cool, and that is not the fault of the weather. This house is dreadful to-day; I suppose the native servants do not shut it up when we are away; and when Fanny and I arrived late last night it was like coming into an oven, and sleeping was quite out of the question. It is altogether in a ramshackly state, and it will be rather an advantage for the next Governor-General not to try any repairs; the floors have given way, so that the tables against the walls look like writing-desks, with perhaps a thought too much of a slope; and if it tumbles down, he can build himself a house with good doors and windows. This house has no doors – nothing but jalousies – and 'I jalouse,' as the Scotch novels say, that nothing but hot air comes through them.

Calcutta, 10th.

Yes, it remained a furnace to the end, and the European servants, who have no glass windows to their rooms, were all done up by it. I must say India in the hot season is not the place to play at having a country house full of people.

Lord Jocelyn arrived here two days ago. It is wonderful how he has borne sixteen days of dâk travelling; he says sometimes his palanquin was so hot he could not bear the touch of it, and thought he could get out into the sun to avoid it, and that once or twice, from heat and headache, he thought he had gone mad and was carried along not knowing why. One of his bearers dropped down dead the last day from mere heat. He arrived at twelve at night, and had Giles called up and got some tea, and was pretty well again the next morning; but he says the house is so cold after what he has been through that it makes him chilly. The 'Conway,' in which he is to go to China, came up to Calcutta the day he arrived, so I suppose he will be off in a fortnight. He goes merely as a volunteer. The Chinese are so clever; I fully expect they will circumvent us – blow up all our ships with curious-coloured fireworks, or do some odd thing in their usual neat way.

We are very anxious for the next post; the last was so uncommonly interesting with all those debates about the Queen and the ministry.

God bless you, dearest sister!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, April 20, 1840.

MY DEAREST ROBERT, – The weather has till yesterday been quite delightful these last three weeks. I really am not joking, but the storms, which are unpleasant at sea, save all our lives on shore, and I could not have believed that Bengal could have been so cool at any time of year. On Monday and Tuesday I had a good thick shawl to go out in. I am afraid it is hotting up again now, but in the meanwhile we have got over a great bit of the worst time of year without any suffering.

All our gentlemen, who have been quartered up the country the last few years, are astonished at the pleasant weather compared to the hot winds. I look upon it as another sign that we are certainly to go home next year, and that India means to leave a favourable impression.

George went yesterday on his way here to give the prizes at the Medical College, and he did. Five of the students received their diplomas to practise as surgeons, &c., and when he gave them he shook hands with them and said that, as they were now members of a learned profession, he considered them as gentlemen, and hoped their future conduct, &c. &c. These make ten young Hindus who have qualified themselves to act as surgeons. The five who went out last year are getting on wonderfully. The one who was sent to Agra began with five patients, and now has a hundred daily. Certainly education is progressing rapidly here, and must do great good in a worldly sense, and eventually in a higher way.

Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

April 21.

We want to give some fête for the Queen's marriage, but it is so near the Queen's birthday that we must amalgamate the two things and get up some illuminations and fireworks and Alberts and Victorias on the great plain the night of the ball. The natives like fireworks, and they have taken a great interest in the Queen's marriage.

We had a beautiful storm last night before we left Barrackpore – the first of the year – and it wound up four dreadful days. Lord Jocelyn had never seen any Indian lightning before, nor heard one of those cracks of thunder, which are not pleasant when one knows them; but he thought it beautiful.

We cannot get the engineer there (Barrackpore) to put the house to rights, and we had to send Wright and Giles both back to Calcutta with fever. There are no glass windows yet to their rooms, and it is enough to kill them. However, George has written a note to the engineer, which will evidently bring out all his building talent.

I am making my life wretched with two little striped squirrels. The squirrels here are nearly white, with four black stripes down their backs, and striped tails. I have got two young ones, meaning to tame them, but they are evidently deficient in intellect – perfect ninnies, so unlike my dear flying squirrel at Simla. They are quite tame one minute and then run half over the house with all the servants after them, and it is too hot for those tricks. I wish they were in their nest again.

George went to the Hindu College to give prizes to the best essay writer, &c., and, as the papers said the Miss Edens were to accompany him, he made me go too. Goodness me! how hot it was, notwithstanding the storm. There was every respectable native in Calcutta, besides Sir E. Ryan and all the great school people. It is always an interesting sight, and the boys would beat in history and mathematics any sixth-form boy at Eton, and indeed in history most men; they have such wonderful memories. They asked them to give an account of the first Syracusan war, of the Greek schools and their founders, when the Septennial Bill was passed, when the Limitation Peerage Bill was passed and why; what Pope thought of Dryden, what school of philosophy Trajan belonged to – in short, dodged them about in this way – and they gave the most detailed and correct answers. Ten years ago I suppose no Hindu could or would speak a word of English. Lord Jocelyn enters into all these things with great interest.

Friday, 24th.

I escaped the ball at Lady 's last night by the happy accident of a swelled face, a sort of thing that happens in this country in two minutes; we are so hot, and then we sit in a draught and get a swelled face or a lip as big as two. It goes off again just as suddenly, and I take it kindly that it came yesterday and went to-day. They say the ball was such a crowd.

We have such a pretty new open carriage to-day, which I asked George for, when first we arrived, and in the meantime the old one has been lined and varnished, and looks as good as the new one. However, it will be a great convenience having two; the coach is so heavy.

Sunday, 26th.

We all dined at Mr. 's yesterday; there had been a great thunder-storm, and it was quite cool and pleasant, and the dinner was not so bad as most native cookery is; the company always the same – members of Council and their wives, judges, &c.

The judges were in a horrid state, and so were we. There was a brute of a man, a superintendent of roads. His house was robbed, and he suspected some of the men who worked on the roads of the robbery; so he had a sort of bamboo gibbet erected, to which he tied up sixteen of these men by their hands, their feet not touching the ground, and then flogged them and lit straw under them and burnt them with irons, and kept them hanging fourteen hours, and some eighteen. One man was taken down dead, some insensible. It was proved that this all happened in Mr. 's compound, and that he had his dinner-table brought out and dined within six yards of these wretched creatures. He made no defence, except that he did not touch them with his own hands, but only gave directions to his overseer. Sir Henry Seton said that, in his charge to the jury, he only alluded to the possibility of calling it manslaughter because, from the horror of capital punishment in this country, he thought it better to ensure the man's being transported for life; but, to his utter surprise, the jury brought in a verdict of 'not guilty.' Sir E. Ryan, who has been here many years, says it is invariably the case that the low Europeans who make up a jury here always agree to acquit any man who is tried for the murder of a native.

Monday, 27th.

We certainly have bearable weather. The church was quite cool last night, and this evening we all went on board the 'Conway' and sailed about in the captain's boat in a nice cool breeze. It is very odd, for this is the hottest time of year by rights, and ought to be the driest, but there is a storm every day; bless its heart!

Tuesday, 28th.

I am happy to say Hughes was convicted of a misdemeanour yesterday, and will have two years' imprisonment. It is better than nothing. Mr. , the lawyer, launched out against the jury in a way that astonished them.

Thursday, 30th.

There never was anything like this dear rain. I have had my window open all day, and the air blowing through and the thermometer at 79°. I suppose it would feel like a hothouse to you. but we are all in raptures and rather chilly.

I said those little squirrels would be the bane of my life, and so they are; they will run about the room at the wrong time, and want to be fed when I am busy, and nobody can catch them, and yet they will not run away, though I have had all the windows set open on purpose.

Saturday, May 2.

We have been very quiet all this week, thinking every day that the 'Conway' would sail; but the gales of wind are frightful just now, and none of the ships that left Calcutta ten days ago have got out of the river yet, and many are aground. It is a pity these storms are so mischievous, for really they make the climate quite pleasant. In the daytime the house, well darkened, is not at all hot, and in the evening the drive is a real pleasure, instead of that close, airless airing it was a duty to take; and having two open carriages has made all the difference to all of us.

Wednesday, 6th.

There was another pelting storm last night after dinner; so very few people came, and those only whom we knew well, and they went away very early.

I am happy to say I succeeded to-day in getting a little one-armed boy into an excellent charity school there is here, where boys are boarded, lodged, and taken care of for six years. He is the son of Sergeant Rayment, of our camp, and was run over by a hackery and lost his arm; so I brought him down and boarded him out for the chance of this election. His father came down from Agra to see him, and died of cholera the night he arrived; he has no mother, so there could not be a greater object.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, May 5, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – and Lord Jocelyn, after sundry delays from gales and want of steamers, sailed in the 'Conway' this morning. There is still such a high south wind that I have no idea they will get beyond Kedgeree for two or three days.

You cannot think how well we are getting through the hot season; it is quite different from any we have seen before, though they say it was the same last year; but there is a storm every other day, and about four o'clock it is quite cool, and the evening drive, instead of a trouble, is an absolute pleasure. I suppose this cannot last, but we have arrived at the 5th of May without any suffering to speak of since the first fortnight we came, and the real rains begin in June. This is another reason for going home without fail next year – that the country may leave a favourable impression, or at least its most favourable impression.

I have taken a much wiser line this time – never walk, nor ride, nor move about at all, but just read and write and keep cool; and then all the sleep that was due to me for three years' marching I am paying up now. It is so pleasant to have a good night. I shall always respect marching for making me like Calcutta, and making me feel the advantage of a quiet room, with books and tables and chairs all clean and in the same place every day.

God bless you, dearest sister!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Barrackpore, Sunday, May 10, 1840.

George and I came up on Thursday. We have heard to-day that the 'Conway' has got to sea and the wind fair, so now they may be at Singapore in about a fortnight.

I dare say it may not be the fault of Barrackpore, but all our nice cool weather is gone, and it is hardly possible to breathe, and we had our morning visitors for two hours and a half on Friday. I cannot think how we ever lived through two days of morning visits – one here and one at Calcutta – formerly. I thought we must have died as one set of officers came in after another, all looking exactly like each other and streaming with the heat, being uniformed up to their chins. Fanny fairly gave it up; I sat through three more sets, and then, if luncheon had not come, I think I should have died, and should merely have been recognised as a large tired spot of grease on the sofa.

Little Frank H is a very nice child; talks English to begin with, which is unusual, and he is manly and amusing. He always made a point in camp of taking off his hat to nobody but the Governor-General. Fanny and I used to try to make him bow to us, but he always sat bold upright on his elephant and gave us a nod; and if Mrs. H told him to take off his hat, he said he had a rule about it, and therefore he could not. George gave him a silver cup yesterday, which delighted him, and he came over to luncheon and drank George's health of his own accord in such a funny, sedate way. I wanted to see if he had 'made a rule' about that, so I said, 'Frank, your health.' 'You have no wine in your glass,' he said demurely. I took some wine and said again, 'Frank, your health.' He waited quietly till George took up a glass, and then made one of his grandest bows and said, 'Lord Auckland's health,' without looking at me.

I drove yesterday to Mrs. Wilson's school, about six miles off, and went quite by myself, that I might have a good talk with her, which seemed to strike her as an odd, independent measure. Don't you drive about alone quite safely? My two little girls looked so nice and happy, and ran out from the school instantly, and never left their hold of my gown all the time I was there, and did so want to come away with me, which is a proof native children are not so indifferent as people say. They have begun their Christian education so far as kneeling down with all the rest of the school, when Mrs. Wilson said the prayer before the school dispersed, and putting their little fat hands up. I am afraid my jemadar's Mussulman's feelings must have been dreadfully outraged to see them, and also, as far as I could make out, the Hindustani prayer was all for the conversion of the 'wretched Mussulmans and Hindus;' at least the English one was. Mrs. Wilson is always my idea of as perfect a character as there can be in this world, and so regularly merry with it. She lives in this jungle without any society but these 150 little black orphans. She has married off thirty of them at the usual early age of this country to native Christians, who have built little huts round her and act as gardeners or labourers; and she is now building a church for her little colony, trusting entirely to Providence for funds for herself, her school, and church, &c., and she always finds that she has just enough at the end of the year for all the good she does. The children are all so fond of her, and she fetches out a little black tadpole and says, 'This is a dear little child; she came to me quite providentially – found near the river.' 'These little darlings survived the inundation at Saugur,' and so on. They are all dressed alike, in a long white muslin scarf with a red border, which is first wound round them, so as to make a sort of petticoat, and then the end is brought over the head like a veil. For a scanty drapery I always think a 'sarce' the most becoming dress possible. The girls work beautifully, and she laughed till the tears ran down her cheeks because Jehurun and Ameerun went and fetched a beautiful pair of slippers worked by one of the great girls and, without saying a word to anyone, held them up and asked me to give them in their name to the Lord Sahib. Then Jehurun came lugging in an immense footstool, and, when Mrs. Wilson asked her what for, she said the Lady Sahib always put her feet on a morah. I am so glad to have seen the little things so happy.

Calcutta, Monday, 11th.

I am ashamed to say I missed church yesterday, but the others who went came back nearly dead with the heat, and it is obvious it does not answer going out even in a carriage closely shut up in the daytime. I got a bad headache by setting off to Mr. Wilson's before the sun was down. I have lost all my esteem for the sun; he is such an old, tyrannical bore and very parading in his habits.

Wednesday, 13th.

All 's goods were sold to-day, and it has been a most wonderful sale. All Calcutta there, though in general gentlemen think it wrong to attend sales and mix with the sircars who buy; but it was a fashion to go and see these things. We sent Giles and Mars at different times, and heard of daggers that cost twelve shillings going for seven pounds, and little agates that cost six shillings fetching two pounds, and the arms, which were really curious, went at ridiculous prices. I wish some very rich person in England had bought the arms in a lump. I suppose such a beautiful collection never will be made again. He got them through Runjeet Singh and Colonel Skinner and great natives who would let their workmen work for him; and then he poked out some antiquities in the Punjâb. Most of them were in worked silver, and some inlaid with stones, and such beautiful chain-armour and battle-axes.

Thursday, 14th.

I find I bought more at 's sale than I thought I had. He had a silver bed-frame with little posts beautifully worked, and I told Captain I would give the weight in rupees for this, not thinking it possible the workmanship would go for nothing, as these silver beds are great favourites with natives; but it did, and so I have got the four silver posts to turn into legs of a table which is to hold all my pretty silver things. The table itself, I think, should be Japan, and I hope it may be picked up in the China Bazaar. A horrid idea crosses my mind sometimes – that on a ground-floor at Knightsbridge, with the footman sleeping over the laundry, all these silver treasures will be stolen, which will be very distressing. Here, if I only go to George's room, the sentry in the passage takes the key of my door, and one of the four khalapees, who are answerable for my room, sits in it till I come back again, and sleeps at the door at night.

Friday, 15th.

After some very hot days we had such a storm to-night. I had just got home after taking Mrs. an airing; but the carriage which took her on was almost filled with water. There is always a dreadful hot lull before these storms; the sky becomes literally as black as ink, and everybody scurries home as fast as the horses can go. Then there comes one blast of cold air – something perfectly delicious – and then the rain and thunder set to work in a manner that would astonish anybody in England. Some of the claps of thunder to-night were just as if they were firing cannon very sharply into the drawing-room.

Sunday, 17th.

I trust this China business will now be soon settled, and that everything will be in train for a peace before December, and just before we step into our ship in February we shall kiss and make friends with them. For my own individual part I shall merely kiss old Aumon, the Chinese shoemaker, who glides about Government House with his eyes half-a-mile apart, his long pigtail touching the ground, and fanning himself with a great Japan fan. And in the worst of times he has stuck to us. When opium was seized, Aumon still made shoes that fitted. The troops embarked; his white satin slippers remained at two rupees the pair. The 'Queen' steamer went with the last directions to Admiral #8212; yesterday; and who knows that Mrs. Aumon is not living near the coast? Still Aumon fanned himself and said, 'This good satin; this right foot, this left.'

Wednesday, 20th.

I am obliged to slur over a great many days, as the letters go by the Persian Gulf, and the postmaster advertises that they must be short and light. George had such a beautiful supply of curiosities yesterday from Cutch, which he ordered a year ago – embossed gold and silver bottles, and an inkstand and some trays, and then some models of cannon in agate and gold. I have never seen anything like them.

Friday, 22nd.

There is a German missionary come out here, and he has a poor little wife really shockingly deformed, and she limps about with a little crutch; but she sings like a perfect angel, and, as it is a pity to sacrifice the pleasure of hearing her to all the foolish rules about visitors, I got Mr. to bring them here on Tuesday. Foreigners are always admissable, and we asked them to dinner yesterday, and a few people to come in the evening and hear them. In my life I never heard such singing as the dear little woman's; her voice quite filled the great hall, and how anything so fresh and round comes out of that poor little crooked body I cannot guess. She was very good-natured about it, and sat leaning on her little crutch, singing without accompaniment the wildest and most touching German and Swiss songs. It was really pleasant, but I cannot divine how I can ever hear enough of her.

Monday, 25th.

We are to have our great Queen's ball this evening, and everything looks very well prepared; at least all the marble halls are full of supper tables, and I see the ball-rooms upstairs are painted all over Queen's arms, and Company's arms, and his Lordship's arms; and Giles is rushing all over them with about two hundred coolies, carrying sofas and ottomans, and I dare say when those black individuals withdraw the effect will be excellent. At present, from the glimpse I caught coming up from luncheon of all these undressed artificers, the effect was rather savage than imposing. I am going to introduce singing at supper, which will be a novelty; the healths always are such flat businesses. There will be 'God Save the Queen' by all the professional singers, and then we are to have Prince Albert separately. The Rajah of Burdwan has come down to Calcutta on purpose for this ball.

Wednesday, 27th.

There never was so successful a ball. Dancing, supper, healths, songs, everything went off well; there was scarcely an excuse except from two or three sick people, and Captain had made a good selection of Armenians, natives, and Portuguese, so that their odd dresses only added to the thing. Above 500 sat down to supper – all Europeans, of course – and St. Cloud covered himself with glory. I am sure Ude could not have turned out better plats than he did for all these tables. The Queen's health was received with great enthusiasm, and, though it was by far the hottest night we have had this year, they set to work after supper dancing harder than ever. In short, the whole thing gave great satisfaction, which is lucky; and, if we can but have a fine night next week for the fireworks for the wedding, the population, high and low, will have been pleased. I hear them knocking away all round the house, putting up platforms. I often think, like King Lear about the troop of horse, 'that it were a delicate stratagem now to shoe hammers with felt.' I know it is not Captain 's fault that his workmen cannot knock up benches without making a noise, but still I felt quite cross with him to-day when he came to my room to ask for these verandahs to be given up to him; and I think he could not have contemplated how very hard they would knock. Perhaps it will spite him if I take myself over to the north side of the house, so here I go.

Thursday, 28th.

Fanny went up to Barrackpore by the steamer, which went early this morning, and George and I are going by land to-night. It has been a day of morning visits, which is unusual. After luncheon, when I generally subside into a short slumber, and, indeed, when the whole of Calcutta does the same, Captain came to say a clergyman wished to come upstairs and see me. Out of respect for the Church I said yes, though I was very sleepy, and, moreover, my tame squirrel was fast asleep in the tight part of my sleeve, so that I was obliged to sit with my arm akimbo all the time, which must have struck the clergyman, who was not cognisant of the squirrel, as ungraceful to say the least of it. He gave a curious account of conversions lately. He baptised 1,400 converts at Kutmagur in February, many of them Brahmins of the highest caste, and there are now 2,000 applicants for baptism in the same district, whom he will baptise in a few months if they continue firm. He attributes a great deal of this to one particular missionary, but also to education. It was quite clear that, when once the Hindus allowed their boys to be so thoroughly well instructed as they are at the Hindu College, they must see through the horrible absurdities of their own religion, and then, though a single Hindu who loses his caste can hardly withstand the persecution of his countrymen – in short, can hardly live – yet if any number change their religion, they become a refuge to each other, and make the conversion of more much easier. It is a great triumph to the Liberal party, who have supported and worked at these schools, always declaring that education was the first step, and wherever there has been an attempt to begin with conversion the Hindus have invariably withdrawn their boys. The Mussulmans are so aware of this that they never send a child to an English school, and their conversion would be at all events much more difficult. There is nothing absurd or revolting in their religion; it is only incomplete.

I am going to leave Wright here with poor Rosina, who is still very ill and cannot bear to be left by all of us.

Barrackpore, Saturday, 30th.

We had only a few morning visitors yesterday.

The giraffe has been sick, and is well again; and George's elephant has suddenly dropped down dead, which is distressing, inasmuch as there is not such another smooth one in India. The weight of his fall brought his house down with him, which, I think, is rather a fine elephant end.

Monday, June 1.

We came back from Barrackpore last night, and it was such a hot night.

Poor Rosina had nearly died on Saturday night, and probably would have done so if Mrs. Colin had not gone to her. She is better now, but still very ill.

Calcutta, Thursday, 4th.

There! our fireworks are over; and, just as all the natives prophesied, George's luck made Tuesday and Wednesday the only two still days we have had this season. There was a great storm on Monday, only five miles off, that would have demolished everything. As it was, nothing could be prettier or more successful. It put one in mind of the old days of the war. We marked out the whole outline of the house with lamps, and, by means of bamboos, the great dome was entirely covered with them; the four great gateways covered with coloured lights in devices, and Victorias and Alberts in all directions. They said the dome was visible for many miles, and that three miles off the house looked like a palace of gold. The fireworks are always very inferior to what we see at home. Vauxhall would die of laughing at the best Indian fireworks; the climate produces so much more smoke than fire from gunpowder. However, there was one volcano of 10,000 rockets that was magnificent, and the natives, who covered the whole plain, were delighted with it all. Captain says a clerk in his office gave him the best account of it – one of the old, dried, yellow clerks peculiar to the country. He came in on pretence of mending pens, and said, 'Fine sight, sir, last night – remarkable. There were 2,000 of us clerks, black and white, on the roof of the Treasury; and, upon my word, Government House was much the finest sight I ever saw in India – such an extent of fire! But – you'll excuse me, sir – the fireworks! I saw finer fire-works in the early part of the Marquis Wellesley's reign; to be sure the Marquis was uncommon partial to fireworks, almost a native in that respect, and he had Sir Arthur Wellesley, and King George, and Billy Pitt, and many other respectable characters, in a blaze in the middle of the plain; but it was reserved for the Earl of Auckland to show us a fine illumination, and his Lordship has done it nobly.' Captain says he evidently thought it a finer business than Cabul. It took 210 men to light the roof alone, which was almost as good as Billy Pitt in a blaze.

God bless you, dearest! Love to all.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, May 28, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I am rather unhappy you should have been pulled down by that horrid influenza. I hope, however, we may soon hear that you are looking younger and better than ever. I must trouble you not to alter, because I am just having you made up on a very pretty pattern. That little picture Wilson did of you for me has always been so much admired, and it strikes me as the most exact likeness I ever saw; but India disagrees with it; it has had a liver complaint, and the background all turned yellow during the rains at Simla; then the white ants chose to eat holes in it, one month that I left it at Barrackpore and that it was not attended to. Altogether my dear little picture was not the lovely girl it had been. We had often observed in our drives to Ballygange (Ballygange is our Eltham or Lewisham) a little native straw hut, a wigwamy looking thing, with a few cocoa-trees, and over the door a board with 'Peer Bux, miniature painter,' written on it, and George and I used to wonder what Peer Bux's notions of miniatures could be in that little windowless hut. It was close by the bodyguard barracks, and since we came back one of the officers of the bodyguard went in and sat to Peer Bux, who made out a very good likeness of him – rather stiff, but beautifully finished – and now he has done another of Captain Hill, which, with a few suggestions of perspective, &c., is so good that I thought he might be allowed to make a copy of you on ivory; so yesterday he carried you off, and I don't know how you feel, but you are now residing in Peer Bux's wigwam, and he is making some slight alteration in your cap and sleeves and reducing you to three inches by two. Is it painful? If he should send you back with a deep brown complexion, black hair, and a quantity of bangles on your arms, you must excuse his native prejudices; but I shall be horribly disappointed if he does not make an excellent miniature from that picture, and I am very fond of it, sister, for your dear sake.

We have given our Queen's birthday ball with the greatest success. The whole society met, all in their best dresses and best humour, and St. Cloud turned out a magnificent supper, and we had the singers to follow up the toasts, and altogether it pleased everybody, which is a mercy, considering it is not easy, particularly in the hot weather. Our fireworks for the wedding come off on Wednesday next, but whether they will go off is quite another thing. There is a violent storm about every other night this year, delightful to the gasping inhabitants, but not precisely the thing for either fireworks or illuminations; and, as it never gives more than half-an-hour's notice, there is no resource. I hope it may succeed for the sake of poor Colonel Powney, who manages the concern, and who has never recovered a total failure of a great rejoicing in the time of Lord W. Bentinck, when, after four months' preparation and an expense of 5,000l., the damp turned all his fireworks into smoke. Lord W. Bentinck's family were smoked out of Government House, and the guests were wandering about on the plain all night, unable to find a road home. Ours is on a smaller scale, but will be very pretty if the weather is agreeable, and a great many natives have already arrived from a great distance for the show. It is the only rejoicing they like.

We have had no tidings of since he left.

Wednesday, 3rd.

This is the eventful day of the fireworks; there has been no storm the two last evenings, which may be good or bad, but it is hardly possible to count on three fine evenings running. However, the natives say that George's kismet, or luck, is sure to prevail, and that his star will give him good weather. They have the greatest admiration for luck, and I hope their faith may not be washed out to-night. The whole of Government House is to be illuminated, which is a novelty, and after twelve o'clock, should a storm come on, the whole thing is spoiled, as the preparations are too large to be removed.

These fêtes are very little personal trouble. We are uncommonly lucky in our present set of gentlemen.

God bless you, dearest sister!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

P. S. – This came in while I was writing to you, and would amuse you if you could see 'my son,' a very astucious looking native who supplies me with silk and ribbons. I have recommended him to other ladies, and all natives say to people they look up to 'you are my father and mother.' But, except a note recommending particular silks to ladies who want them, we never give recommendations, as they make frightful use of any letter from Government House.

'HONOURED LADY, – I most respectfully beg to inform your Ladyship's honour that I want a recommendation to the new Deputy Commissary General, Major Parsons, for my subsistence in the district of Cawnpore as commissariat officer, and I hope you will excuse me all the trouble I requested your Ladyship. You are my honour's mother; also rainy season commences; therefore I am preparing, and settling the old agents, if your honour soon give me a letter to Major Parsons, who lately arrived from Assam.

'I remain, honoured Lady, your most humble Servant,


TO .

Calcutta, Monday, June 15, 1840.

MY DEAREST , – I think, like Mrs. Crummles, I have made a 'stride and a stop,' and rather a long stop, in my journal; but we had a week of shockingly hot weather, and I find that the real Indian fashion of doing nothing but lie on the sofa and read is the only way of breaking that sort of heat. Luckily we have had a small proportion of it this year, and the rains are now fairly set in, which is a great blessing. We came back from Barrackpore last night.

Poor Rosina seems to be gradually getting worse. Dr. Goodeve has been to see her as well as Dr. Drummond, but they both agree that she can never get well, though she may linger on for a long time, but it will end at last in abscess on the liver. She was carried up to my room this morning, and, as usual, she struck me as a dear, sensible old body. She has added some English sense to her native qualifications, and she likes all English fashions, and this morning she told me she wanted Wright to write down her will for her. She has a great many pretty ornaments and shawls, and she said that, if Wright did not take charge of them, her relations, as soon as she was dead, would scramble for them, and that her husband would be in great distress and would not look after his rights. 'God will want me in a few days,' she said, 'and He won't want me sooner because I make all ready.' She is so naturally good that I should like to lead her a little farther if I could; but, in the first place, the difficulty of speaking the language makes it almost impossible, and then, if the Mussulmans here thought she was tampered with, it would make such an outcry, and they would revenge it on her family.

Wednesday, 17th.

George was saying to-day what an odd country this is. He has had despatches from Nepâl, where they have been marrying the elder son, who is still quite a boy, and there was great difficulty in finding him a wife of the right caste, because the great Rajpoots all say there is something defective in the caste of the Nepâl royal family, and the poorest Rajpoot will not give his daughter to a king of an inferior caste. However, at last two little brides were found, and there were immense rejoicings, and our Government sent presents, and thousands of pounds were spent at the wedding. Two days after the English resident was sent for in great haste, and found all the court in the greatest tribulation, crying and tearing their hair, because they said some unlucky marks had been discovered on the bodies of the two little brides (George says he wishes they had sent a map), and the people who had negotiated the marriage were sent to prison, and the ranee, the reigning queen, was going off to the Ganges to see if she could wash away the stain to her tribe, &c. They kept the agent seven hours listening to their griefs. However, the next day a cunning old courtier, a priest, declared that, on consulting the books, he had discovered that these marks were the luckiest ever known, and that it was quite a mistake if anybody had ever said otherwise; so then the ambassadors were taken out of prison and had fine presents given to them, and all Nepâl was ordered to rejoice all over again, and the little brides will be allowed to live, I suppose; but I suspect they are very ugly, don't you?

Friday, 19th.

Rosina has taken a wonderful rally, and, though neither Dr. Drummond nor Dr. Goodeve think she will ever get quite well, she seems to have escaped for the present that danger of abscess on the liver which they thought was established. Poor old body, I am so glad to see her out of pain again; she has been ill so long.

I had such an interesting arrival to-day of a piece of furniture, half table, half cabinet, which I ordered at Bareilly nearly a year ago, and just as one has forgotten all those old orders they are executed. However, this is a lovely article, and I am rather sorry to think that, having invented anything so new and original, it will be disseminated all over India. But it always is so. The natives never make a new pattern, and if we, or anybody who will take the trouble, teach them one, all the Europeans order one instantly. I forget whether I mentioned the progress of those armchairs Mr. gave us. I had one made as a present for Major when he went up the country, that was copied for an officer at Delhi. He got that again imitated at Loodhiana, which place became a great depôt for troops when the war began; every officer wanted a chair for his march, and there is actually a great manufactory of these chairs going on at that remote place, all copied from Mr. 's. To return to my cabinet, it has been great fun filling it with all the odds and ends of pretty things about the room, and the effect is really beautiful. My only doubt is whether, instead of simplifying the business for Knightsbridge, which was my original idea, it will not be easier to put the house into the cabinet, instead of trying to fit the cabinet into the house. There is very little difference between the two things in point of size.

Sunday, 21st.

The weather is really delightful now; it pours hard half the day, but then the windows are all open and everything is cool, and I can sit by the window and draw without a punkah and without catching more rheumatism than is complimentary to the climate, and the evening drives are pleasant. It is very odd how good my health has become the last six months – much better than I remember it for a very long time, for, instead of that spectre Miss Fane told you truly I was, I am rather a fat woman than otherwise, and everybody wonders at it every time they see me.

Tuesday, 23rd.

We had an immense party to-day, for I had wanted to give them up during the rains, and so they all came to show they could not do without them.

Barrackpore, Saturday, 27th.

Fanny and I came up by water on Thursday, which was a delicious cool, grey day, and we had a steamer and thought we should be so quiet; but, as usual, the tide was all wrong, and we were four hours about it.

We have a gentleman here, a great school man, who is come to examine George's school for prizes. It is astonishing what those boys have learnt in three years – common labourers' sons – but the native children have a passion for school; the first class are mad about Shakespeare, which to my mind does them great credit. It would take more than three years to teach a village boy to read and discuss the Hindu theatre, and these boys have a very good idea of geography and mathematics, and know history much better than many of the people who go to examine them. Some of them are getting places now in European shops, and one in an office, which has made the school more popular than ever.

Calcutta, Monday, 29th.

Came back to Calcutta last night, and was woke this morning by the May letters; they said we were not to have them till the middle of next month, so it was a pleasant surprise. I have both yours – one by Falmouth and another by Marseilles of May 5 – and a delicious April journal of 's, that made me laugh when I had rather have cried, for I think this post has nearly knocked up our hopes of going home in March; and yet I cannot bear to think so, and I cannot think it will be possible to stay; and why should we? It is all very well of and the Court of Directors to write their pressing letters, but some don't know and some have forgotten what a country it is to stay in. I have always detested it, but still we have been apprenticed for five years with our own consents, and there was no use in saying more about it, and I was going through this year quite merrily, thinking that every day was the last of its kind and could not be done over again, and all brought me nearer home and you; but now I do not know what to think, and feel as if I should like to go to bed for the rest of the time and not try to bear it longer. I do so want to see you. However, I will not write any more about it to-day; it perturbates me and makes my hair stand up the wrong way, and I suppose if it is really necessary that George should stay, it will be equally necessary to make the best of it; but I cannot see any best, or any good, or feel anything but utter horror of the whole business.

Friday, July 3.

My jemadar has been laying out his savings and all the presents he has had in a little bit of land, which is a great event in a Mussulman's life. It gives an income to the whole family, which, as they will not take interest, money never can; and George and I drove down some narrow lanes to see it, and certainly in the rains the lanes about Calcutta are very pretty, with the plantains, and cocoas, and wild creepers, and wigwamy huts; and if I were sure I never should see them again, I should like them very much; but as it is, I think of Ruth when sick for home: –
She stood all tears, amidst the alien corn.

The alien corn was bad, but still she had always been used to that; but the alien paddy, the alien maize, is more disheartening, to say nothing of the alien people, when I want so very much to be with you, with whom I could find nothing alien. I know we shall die of old age before we meet again. Both Fanny and I have lost all interest in our collections; that will be no pleasure if we cannot show them to you. I have not looked at any of mine this week. Love to all.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, June 30, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – We had your May letters yesterday, just when they were least expected, which is always pleasant. You say that Dandy is growing a middle-aged steady gentleman, which gives me a strong idea of the immense time we have been here; he seemed so incorrigibly young when we came away. I suspect Chance is rather a ridiculous ci-devant jeune homme; he has a decided grey beard, but still runs after birds, and tries to catch frogs, and affects to pay court to Fairy. Now, counting by Dandy, he ought to be long past all that. His own Jimmund has been ill for a month, and the jemadar of that class of men volunteered his services to Chance. He has been forty years in Government House, and considers himself too great a man to wear a red turban and sash, but walks about in draperies of white muslin with a long flowing white beard, and it was rather fine to see the old fat man and the old fat dog taking their evening walk on the plain – Chance so dreadfully bored – and he was so delighted when Jimmund came back yesterday. Rosina says, 'That jemadar tell Chance, "Ah, Chance, you old dog, I old man; we very like each other; what for you like young man best?"'

We have at last had letters from at Singapore, June 4, written in remarkably good spirits, and he was going on in the 'Conway.' The fleet had been obliged to sail for Macao on the 30th, for fear of typhoons, but I suspect there will be no great crash. The Chinese have already begun to say that they hope there will be 'a good deal of talkee before fightee,' which looks as if they did not mean to come to the fightee at all.

There have been two or three such dreadful shipwrecks; two at Bombay the same day, one the 'Lord W. Bentinck,' with troops from England; most of the passengers, all the ladies and children, and eighty recruits drowned within sight of the crowds on shore; boats and steamers trying to get to them all through one day, but the gale was too violent, and the ship went to pieces at night. Six hours after another ship was lost at the same place. The details are so shocking in the papers to-day.

Ever, dearest sister,

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, August 5, 1840.

DEAREST , – I've got No. 67, and there it appears that Malcolm has behaved as a Malcolm ought; the contrast between him and Gubbins is most singular and striking. I am so glad you like your pearls; were they worth as much as I gave for them – 165l., not 170l.? Or were Nadir Shah and I taken in, and three shillings and sixpence the intrinsic value of both? I am glad you put them on to that diamond chain; they wanted length; then I think they will be beautiful. I have got a story to tell you about pearls, which may enhance the value of yours beyond calculation. There is a lady in Calcutta who has a large pearl – not so large as yours. That pearl twice a year produces other pearls. She has a whole string of its descendants – the eldest larger and taller than the others; for all its children grow, as children should. It is a positive fact that, doubts having been thrown upon her statement, it is now in the custody of two scientific doctors, where it is to remain till its accouchement takes place; and it was brought by one of them with much carefulness and consideration to George, who was unkind and scornful about it, more particularly when some little bits of rice were pointed out to him in the box with it, which, it was asserted, had been nibbled by it and its young ones. In the meantime Dr. Drummond, our own particular doctor, believes the whole story. There is a little black spot in the pearl, and the assertion is that insects, which form the other pearls, come and creep out there. Look if yours have any black spots; if they have, keep feeding them with rice.

I have not heard from you of your shawls, but R says you have them, and actually thought them large. Now yours were small of the kind; I hope you thought them handsome too, but now I want your letter about them. I am always wanting your letters about something, and yet you are a model of writing virtue. And your letters are not wasted; when I have read them, and George has read them, and Emily has read them, they are sent on to China, that may read them, with strict orders, however, that upon no account must Linn be allowed a sight of them. I should not like our great national and tea-making enemies the female Linns to know that they should wear sixteen breadths in their gowns; it would be such a convenience to them with their little feet; they would spread out their petticoats and let the wind blow them along.

The monsoon, as usual, is blowing the wrong way, and it will be a fortnight longer before we can get letters from China; they will be interesting when they do come, for they will tell us whether we are going to have a ten years' war, or none at all.

At this moment we are booked for another year, which makes me sick at heart, but I do not look upon the case as desperate; it seems utterly impossible that the Whigs can stay in much longer.

August 6.

I am going to finish this off to-day and put it up, which will mortify the Bombay Post Office pretty considerably, I expect; they will find it rather difficult to say that my letter arrived too late.

Yesterday at dinner I sat next to Colonel ; you know Colonel of course. As far as I can make out, he has been for the last eighty-seven years and odd minutes at Siam, so you must have been constantly moving in the same circle; and, what is really interesting, he has seen a great deal of the father and mother of the 'Siamese Twins,' who are now showing themselves in America, and who send their father and mother 60l. a year, and they intend soon to go home and retire upon their earnings.

I see by the papers that Jharawaddie has had the ex-queen trampled to death by an elephant, which is looked upon as an honourable mode of dying, and shows much kindness and consideration on the part of Jharawaddie. My servants are in a state of compassionate consternation to-day because Ariffe's house has been broken into and his chief wife's jewels carried off. I sent to know if there was any chance of recovery, and the messenger, who does not speak the best English in the world, came back and said he hoped so, for he had gone to complain to 'the petticoat,' which, as they all if possible avoid saying the word 'wife,' I naturally thought stood for the chief wife; and it was only after many details of the sayings and doings of the 'petticoat' that I found he meant the 'petty court.'

This will find you set off to foreign parts, which irks me to think of. Your letters are a kind of second 'yous.' God bless you, dearest!

Yours most affectionately,



Thursday, August 20, 1840.

Sir John Grant brought his Parsee friend Rustomjee Cowargee to my room this morning, to ask me to christen a ship which Rustomjee has just built; it is the largest which has ever been built in Calcutta. I am sure I shall not break the bottle properly; I never saw the operation performed, and now the Parsees have adopted this fashion of christening they are very particular about it. It is not to be till September 10, so I fancy there will be a considerable degree of crashing heard about Government House in the interim. I think of having all the old soda-water bottles piled in my balcony, and of passing all my spare time in throwing them at the pillars of the verandah, and if I can kill a crow or an owl in passing so much the better. Think of the horrible crows [the crows at Calcutta are notoriously ill-conditioned and spiteful] taking up my poor little squirrel, who was disporting himself on the balcony, and dashing him down to the ground from the third storey! Some of the servants saw it and ran to pick up the bits, but the squirrel was not hurt, and ran into a drain under the house. He came out the next morning, and ran into the house and was caught. I told Giles to give a rupee to the man who brought him back, and he said there were rather more than a hundred of them watching for him, and it was quite impossible to say who had the merit of finding him. They are very good-natured about that sort of thing. I often think if I were they I should connive at the escape of my missus's pets.

Barrackpore, Friday, 21st.

We have had three such pouring days. Fanny came up by water yesterday in a storm of rain. George and I came up in the evening, when it was dry for two hours, but now it is pouring worse than ever.

I have been so stung by a hornet – never was stung before, and had no idea it was so bad. However, I killed the hornet; there was some pleasure in that.

Sunday, 23rd.

That sting was shocking for two days; I should like to kill another hornet.

Monday, 31st.

Yesterday was such a pouring day; the plain looked like a lake, but it cleared up towards evening, and Amon came to tell me it was time to dress for church; so I dressed myself very nicely, took your little prayer-book, and walked down to the hall, and then found George thought the carriages and guards looked drenched and unhappy, and had sent them all off. Humane, but heathenish! He was justified by the result. Some of the cornices of the house were literally washed away by the rain. You never have seen any rain in England; that is mere spitting to a tropical rain.


Barrackpore, Friday, September 4.

We came up yesterday – George and I by land, followed by Amon – and we got here in an hour and a half, and found that the steamer, with Fanny and the gentlemen and all the servants and baggage, which left Calcutta at three, had never appeared. The river runs down so violently just now with all the rain that everybody had said it would baffle the steamer. So we ordered half the dinner to be served, and, to our great horror, the old khansamah came in wringing his hands and said the cooking boat had never arrived. That would be a joke at home, even where there is only a village shop, but here it is a blow. All eatables are bought in the bazaar early, and cooked before the heat of the day begins, to preserve them, and after ten o'clock there is nothing to be bought. Our dinner was already cooked and coming up well packed; but there was not a morsel here. We found some sardines in a tin, and some wine, and a few hard biscuits, which we toasted, and there were some cruets, with which we varied the sauce to the sardines; and then Mars discovered a bottle of olives, and the khansamah at last borrowed a loaf, and it was a tolerable dinner for once, though rather salt. And just as we had finished the others arrived, the steamer having broken her paddle, and they had been obliged to land and borrow a carriage from Sir J. Grant. We comforted them with sardines and olives, and about an hour after we had all gone to bed the real dinner arrived. The old khansamah cried about it, and told Captain he had served seven Governors-General, and this was the first who had ever gone without his dinner. The moral is that for the future the dinner to come up by land. We asked most of our visitors to-day what they could have given us if we had sent to them, and, except one piece of cold beef, they said there was nothing. The natives, you know, will not touch what has been on an European table; so that the remains of dinner are always thrown away, except where, as in our kitchen, there are Portuguese who eat it.

Calcutta, Monday, 7th.

We came back last night.

We have some stables half-way, where there is a house given as a sort of retreat to some half-pay sergeant. Sergeant Taylor comes out to assist at the change of our horses; and he has a frightful little half-caste girl, who also goes pottering about telling the syces what to do. I took her a frock and a sash last night, and never saw anybody so pleased, or so ugly. The half-castes dress in such an odd way. I shall be curious to see the frock made up next time.

We had an immense dinner to-day, and such a dull one.

Tuesday, 8th.

At last there is some news from China, but shockingly meagre and disappointing. A sort of blockade was established at Canton without knocking down any of the forts or doing anything that the Chinese would care about. Most of the fleet then went on to Chusan, to be out of the latitude of typhoons. To add to the flatness of all this the 'Conway' went on with the convoy to that eternal Chusan without coming within sight of land, so that there is no letter from . However, we heard that he was quite well.

Friday, 11th.

The Canton papers say that the Chinese have been poisoning the tea for our sailors, but that somehow the poisoned tea was taken by their own junks and drunk by themselves. There happens to be no truth in the story, but it is like a Chinese story. I feel a little pain in my stomach when I look at my tea now, and I advise you to taste yours gently.

Saturday, 12th.

Captain is still ailing from the fever he had during the war, and is gone down to the Sandheads for a week, and has taken Chance with him, partly because Chance is his chief amusement in life, and then that he (Chance) has got an old physicky cough, which is, in fact, old age; but we say change of air will be good for it. Jimmund signified to me that he had no objection to Chance's going with Captain , provided he went too, but 'that he could not let him go alone.' I think Jimmund, who has never been out of the river, will come back with some new ideas on the subject of sea-sickness, and will let Chance take care of himself another time.

Sunday, 13th.

This must go. Good-bye. Love to all. We are all quite well; I should say remarkably well.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Calcutta, Wednesday, September 27.

We had a very gay dance last night. I do not know what possessed the people; all the grandfathers and grandmothers danced as hard as they could; the great hall was quite full of people, and yet at one time nearly everybody was dancing.

Monday, October 2.

There is the July overland with your two letters to me. A great deal of public news in the warlike way, and it looks horribly as if our dear Overland were to be interfered with. I think if the Pacha is anything of a gentleman, he will not interfere with our letters; I am sure you and I never did him any harm, and it is a bore that our personal comfort should be interfered with by that sort of uninteresting war. I don't care about Egypt, do you? and I always take the Pacha and the Sultan to be the same man, and if they are not, I do not know which belongs to what, and Egypt is altogether sandy, and sphinxy, and tiresome, and if Waghorne is not to be king of it I do not care what happens.

Saturday, 7th.

Mrs. brought her boys yesterday to see Freddy. He walked round R just as we should round an elephant. 'Oh! so large boy; can he say English?' Which was a natural curiosity, as little Miss was here the day before, and speaks nothing but Hindustani, and Freddy speaks chiefly Portuguese to his Chinese servant, who could not communicate with Missy's bearer; so the visit was a total failure.

There are two great ships arriving, the 'Owen Glendower' and the 'Seringapatam,' both of June; surely my box must be in one of them.

Sunday, 8th.

At last some Chinese news. Our fleet had taken the island of Chusan, and made Colonel Burrell governor thereof; also knocked down the forts at Amoy, which had fired on a flag of truce. The admiral arrived a day after Chusan was taken, and unluckily his ship, the 'Melville,' ran on a rock going in, and knocked a great hole in her bottom, which is unluckily at an obscure Chinese island, where dockyards are not plentiful. The news all comes by Canton newspapers, the 'Kitty,' which is bringing the despatches, not having yet appeared.

Wednesday, 11th.

We had a fine ball last night, but this morning a greater surprise. The 'Guilders,' a Queen's ship from Singapore, was semaphored us yesterday, and this morning we heard that was come in her. She came up the river with a steamer, and was here by eleven o'clock. is looking uncommonly well, and gives a very good account of Chusan – beautiful scenery, beautiful climate, &c., and the Chinese all returning to their houses; the bazaar open and plenty of provisions coming in. In fact, the lower orders of Chinese would be glad of English protection from the tyranny of their own mandarins.

Wednesday, 14th.

I think I did not mention a disaster that had befallen a party in Upper Scinde under a Major , who was going to relieve a Captain Brown, in garrison in a small fort called Kalum. They marched in the great heats, lost their way, found no water, and were attacked when they were mad with thirst by an immense party of Beloochees, and were almost all cut to pieces. It is a bad story altogether, and poor Captain Brown and his little garrison were given up for lost, as all communication was cut off, and in fact troops cannot live in this country with the thermometer at 130°. But George had a letter yesterday written by him, which some native has conveyed to Bombay, in which he says he knew all succour was cut off, but he did not at all despair. He could make out a scanty allowance of food for another month, 'and then, if nothing better offers, small parties have cut their way through large ones, and I think we may.' In the meanwhile he had piled up large sacks full of gravel, which were to be shown off to one of the Beloochee chiefs who was coming to treat with him as bags of grain. It was a very striking letter, and I always hope that a man with so much spirit will contrive to get off.

Thursday, 15th.

We are going up to Barrackpore this evening, and, as to-morrow is the lawful post day, I may as well send this off now.

We are all quite well. Love to all.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, Monday, October 19.

We had three very nice days at Barrackpore last week. The weather has grown so much cooler that, except for about two hours, it is not very hot in the house. We had two of the officers of the 'Childers' there, which is always a treat to them.

Tuesday, 20th.

That Captain Brown who was, I told you, left in a perilous state, shut up in a fort in Scinde, without much food and no chance of help, has contrived to escape with his party. I am so glad. It was such a horrid prospect to be starved out by these Beloochees and then cut to pieces, and he was so spirited about it. He does not even say how he managed it, but only writes a line to say he has reached our territories safely.

Tuesday, November 10.

This was the great launch day; luckily very cool, high water at two. everybody in time, all with the smartest dresses, a collation for three hundred, the band playing, the river covered with boats, guns loaded, flags flying; nothing could be more successful, except that the ship positively refused to be launched. I think she must have been chilly and was afraid of the water. She was on a nice slope – nothing to stop her – hundreds of people working away with screws and levers and ropes; but she would not stir, and the tide, which went upon the old foolish rule of waiting for no one, turned, and so we all came back as wise as we went.

Wednesday 11th,

Manockjee Rustomjee (don't you think our friends have very distinguished names?) came this morning to say they wanted to try that obstinate ship once more, because, if she is not launched to-day, she must wait for some tide a month hence, and that he believed christening could be done by proxy. So very good-naturedly offered to go again in the broad glare for me, and set off with Captains Mackintosh and Hill, and when they had got half way they heard a great shouting and firing and met various Parsees rushing distractedly to stop them; and it appears the dear ship all of a sudden slid into the water of her own accord; nobody near her to help. I like that ship; she will take her own way so quietly. The ball at night was at Rustomjee's garden house, three miles off. The female Rustomjees were brought into society for the first time. They are dressed like Rosina, but covered with diamonds and pearls, and the old lady looked very jolly; but they do not speak any English. There was an immense crowd, and a great illumination with George's arms, and a 'Welcome to E. E. and F. E,' and so on, and, as they let us come away at eleven, it all did very well.

Barrackpore, Saturday, November 14.

There has been a cargo of traps and balls sent out by some of the last ships, and we played at trap and ball yesterday evening, which put me so in mind of B Hall. never played before, and never could hit the ball, and it was new to most of the gentlemen, who borrowed the trap that they may practise a little this morning.

We have the dearest monkey in the menagerie here. He has no tail, and is in fact a very clever human being, only more active and graceful. He is not chained, and sits on a little railing, and there is a thing called an arctonox – something like a very small pig – that is also loose in front of the menagerie. The instant its back is turned the monkey steps along on its hind legs (it never goes on all fours), waving its arms, and pulls the pig's tail. If the pig turns round first, the monkey pretends to sit down in a demure attitude and to be leaning on one elbow, looking at the sky, and waits till the pig turns; then he gives a pull and skips back with a regular hearty laugh to his railing. He tried the trick with Chance yesterday, who was extremely indignant. wants the Court of Directors to make this monkey Provisional Governor-General, and I think it would be a good arrangement, as we could then go home at any moment with a safe conscience as to the government of India.

Calcutta, Monday, 16th.

This is our last post day.

We were so over-elated yesterday. The 'Cringer,' from Chusan, was semaphored, then spoke in the river; then a passenger came and told somebody, who told somebody else, who told , who drove straight up to Barrackpore, that the Emperor of China had agreed to everything, and that the admiral had gone to Canton to sign the treaty. It seemed so certain we were all in ecstasies; but when we received his despatches we were all sunk into despondency. In fact, if we had not been so cockahoop at first, we ought to be satisfied, I suppose. The Emperor has heard the proposed treaty, and appointed a high commissioner to meet Admiral Elliot at Canton, and nothing can be more civil than their communications, which is all new with Chinese. They also treat very kindly an artillery officer and a chaplain and some soldiers that they have grabbed one by one when the victims were out sketching, or bathing, or walking, and they are evidently very anxious for peace. China disagrees with our troops, who have been very sickly, though not dangerously so. Lord Jocelyn has been very ill, and was ordered off to Bombay, thence to go home on sick leave. Admiral Elliot speaks very highly of him, and says, if he had not been really alarmed about him, he could very ill spare him.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, November 6, 1840.

MY DEAREST SISTER, – I may as well begin my letter under the influence of sore and disappointed feelings. My box of clothes! My expected treasures – the greatest treasures, because I have had no stock to go on upon for the last year and a half! Well, said she had sent them off on May 6 – six months ago – so when Captain Hill announced yesterday that there was a box arrived for me as large as a pianoforte, the only wonder was that it had not arrived sooner and was not the size of a church organ. Wright and I unpacked it with great glee, but could not quite make out some of the things in it, until, at the bottom, we found a note from to say they were Fanny's. They left England two months after mine. I know my box will be drowned, and that I shall never be able to have the things. It is shocking to think how many fishes must be swimming about dressed like me. It is not what we used to understand in the good old time by 'dressed fish.'

There are some things I often long to know – one whether, if you could be suddenly transported here without any interval – just taken up between the finger and thumb of an immense giant and landed instantly into Government House – whether you would think what we call our cold weather most painful suffocation. I wonder often, when I put on a shawl for the evening drive now, what you would say or do.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Calcutta, Tuesday, November 17, 1840.

I am going on very tamely, pining for your letters, and, by way of making it better, people go on hinting at how impossible it is that any letters should come through Egypt this month. Four days more will settle the point. How foolish we shall look if all our letters are returned to us – horrid, cold, flabby, over-kept letters, like bad, tasteless meat.

There are forty-six guns firing. Kurruck Singh, Runjeet's successor, is dead; some people say poisoned by his son, but the resident does not think so; and poor Kurruck was almost an idiot when we were at Lahore, and did not look as if he could live long, and he has been in a dying state for three months. The last medicine they tried with him was powdered emeralds – evidently not wholesome – and I can imagine they would not be comfortable to the stomach. It is rather convenient to our Government to have only one party to treat with instead of two, but Noor Mahal is very anti-English; at least his favourites are; he himself is only a very dissipated young man, very good-looking, though he was only recovering from the small-pox when we saw him.

I fancy Kurruck's wives found him rather a bore, for only one of them has thought it necessary to burn herself.

A great chief from Moorshedabad arrived on Sunday, and George held a durbar for him yesterday, much to the satisfaction of several Calcutta ladies, who had never seen one. He is only eleven years old and a very pretty boy. George has given him an English tutor, and there is a great attempt making to educate him thoroughly; but his grandmother and mother are very jealous of him, and of each other, and contrive to keep him in the zenana most part of the day, where no education can reach him. It has been a great point to get him to Calcutta, but his mother has come too, carefully concealed in her palanquin, and the grandmother is furious. He is by right the King of Bengal, and consequently of all of us, and is the only native whose visit George returns here. He went to see him this afternoon, and, as all the gentlemen went, F and I went boldly out riding by ourselves; just the sort of thing which astonishes the Calcuttites; but we told Brown, the coachman, to ride carelessly and like a stranger within reach, and mentioned to the guards that we had rather they should not ride over us if we were kicked off. The course is so crowded, and the Indian horses so vicious, and the natives such bad coachmen, that there is never a day without some accident, but it did not fall on us to-day.

Wednesday, 18th.

Is not that curious and melodramatic? Noor Mahal went to his father's funeral pyre and said to Dhian Singh, the prime minister, that the fire and the sun had made him so hot he should like to go and stand in the shade of the great gateway of the palace. Just as he reached it the arch fell in, killed his young favourite, the nephew of Dhian Singh, on whose arm he was leaning, and injured him so much that he died two hours after; and now twenty-two guns are firing for his death. That is the third generation of Punjâb kings we have seen since we have been here. Runjeet, his son Kurruck, and his grandson Noor Mahal.

They kept Noor Mahal's death a secret for twelve hours, till they had sent for our friend Shere Singh, and he is now king, and dear little Pertâb heir-apparent. This is a good thing for us; he is very friendly to the English, and the durbar is so weak with all these blows that they have consented to all our troops marching through their territories. We used to go under that gateway every day when we were at Lahore, and it looked as if it had stood since the days of Alexander the Great, and might stand till the end of the world.

Fanny and I went to-day in state to visit the Begum of Mysore, the widow of the original Tippoo. We called on her when she was in Calcutta before, but I think she is grown younger and livelier. She is past eighty-six, but a very handsome old body, with magnificent eyes, and surrounded by her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, who did not veil themselves up nor look so shy as last time; she looked very happy. Her son, Prince Gholâb, interpreted for us, and we sent her some rings and bracelets and china in the morning. She asked what the guns had been firing for, and when I told her she said, 'Oh, then I suppose you English will now take the Punjâb,' which showed how well the old lady knew us. Her youngest great-grandchild was in the room – only three months old, and its mother just thirteen. The baby was dressed in a long frock of gold kincob, with a sort of cocked hat of the same, and a quantity of black false hair sewed on to the hat or cap.

Saturday, 21st.

The Loodiana newswriter in his native idiom gave such an interesting account of Noor Mahal's funeral. Two of his wives burnt themselves with him; one was fifteen, the other thirteen. He said they were covered with jewels, and, as they walked together round the pyre, they looked like two young peris; then he described their lying down together and the lighting of the pile. There was a dense cloud of smoke, and, when that dispersed, in a few ashes alone were seen the remains of the young prince and the two beautiful fairies. All the other women happily were excused.

Wednesday, 25th.

Fanny and I went yesterday to visit the Begum of Moorshedabad, that young Nawâb's mother. She is quite a young woman – must have been pretty. Mrs. went with us to interpret. She is a very pretty little thing, and interpreted much better than anyone who ever went with us before. We gave some diamond rings and got some in exchange. The Begum held a large court of female attendants, and seemed passionately fond of her little son, who went in with us, and we asked him to our party in the evening, to which he came, and was particularly anxious to have all the ladies presented to him and to shake hands with them.

Thursday, 26th.

Great news yesterday. After another slight defeat (in which our troops behaved very ill, but still won the day), Dost Mahomed rode off accompanied by one follower, went straight to Cabul, and found coming in from his evening ride. The Afghan follower went caracoling round him for some time, till he ascertained it was really ; then he made a sign to a second man, who immediately rode up, got off his horse, announced himself as the Dost, and offered his sword. of course begged him to take back his sword, to get on his horse, and to ride home with him; and he is to have a neat little income secured to him, and be sent to live at Mussooree, or some nice little cold hilly station like his own. Dost Mahomed had always announced himself as the leader of a religious war – and the slave of God and the Prophet – who could not, if he fought alone, make friends with the infidel, and this sudden unmartyrdom of himself stops a good deal of that sort of faith in him all over India.

We could not go to Barrackpore to-day, because it is the last day of the Mussulmans' fast, which has lasted a month, and they are all praying, and rejoicing, and eating, and could not bear to go from their families.

Barrackpore, Saturday, 28th.

We came up yesterday; the evenings are grown what we call so dreadfully cold, that I was obliged to borrow George's greatcoat to put on, besides my shawl, as he and I were late before we set off. When all is done I suppose it is hotter than a July evening at home; but the contrast you know from the hot weather!

Calcutta, Monday, December 1.

We have just seen some letters from Cabul. In that last engagement with Dost Mahomed one of our Bengal regiments of cavalry behaved so dreadfully ill, which is very unusual with sepoys. They refused to charge, and in consequence the officers charged alone. Three were killed and two dreadfully wounded; one of them is a Captain , whom we knew very well at Simla, and whose face has been dreadfully cut to pieces. The story is very distressing, and the whole regiment will probably be dismissed, and it is quite unaccountable. If the sepoys have any spite against their officers, they would be very apt to take this line, as they have no feelings about the honour, or pleasure of fighting; but this was not the case, they say. Nor had they any scruple about Dost Mahomed – at least they do not say so. They did not run away, but just did nothing. Natural, but wrong.

Wednesday, 3rd.

The Nawâb came to our dance last night, and it was luckily, from new arrivals and the cold, a great crowd; so he was very well amused, but much astonished at the dancing. The natives always suppose that nobody takes the trouble of dancing unless they are paid for it.

Little Freddy made his first appearance to-day in a complete aide-de-camp's dress George has given him, all embroidered in gold, with a little sash and a little sword-belt, &c., and gave him a little pair of boots and spurs. He is very little even for three years old, and looks so pretty strutting about. His spurs gave him a horrid tumble, and when I thought he was going to cry he looked up and said, 'Halloa! here's a soldier fallen down.' He is such a good little child.

Friday, 6th.

They all went to some races yesterday morning, got up to show the little Nawâb. They may get up races at six in the morning, but they cannot get me up to see them, so I excused myself.

Sunday, 7th.

We gave a great dinner yesterday to the Nawâb – sixty people – and George and I did a little extra duty by taking him in the afternoon to see the 'Cruizer,' the only Queen's ship that is in the river. She is very small, and they said her cabins were frightfully bad, of which I cannot speak from personal observation, as it always turns me dead sick to go down into any cabin, large or small. The Nawâb could not eat at our table, and the servants took great care that none of the dishes should touch him; and he and they pretended to make all sorts of excuses that he was not well, and that eating so late disagreed with him; but he seemed amused with the sight of our dishes, particularly the mince-pies with the burnt brandy. I rather think he took us all for inferior Madras jugglers and fire-eaters.

Tuesday, 8th.

I took Mrs. yesterday and her two boys, dressed as sailors, and Freddy in his aide-de-camp's dress, to see the Begum, who wanted to see some English children. They behaved so well; Freddy allowed himself to be carried off by the little Nawâb and driven in his carriage back to Calcutta. Captain was luckily there, and says Freddy was so good. The Nawâb is very rough in his play, though very good-natured, and did his best to talk English with Freddy, which consisted chiefly in saying, 'My child, sit still,' and 'my child' said once, or twice, 'When may I get out of this carriage? I want to go back to Aunt Emmy.' He is a very good little article. George had a scientific party at night, which they thought would turn out dull, and so, of course the lectures were very good and the experiments successful, and people were all delighted, particularly with a magnified frog, whose gigantic dance had a great effect.

Barrackpore, Saturday, 12th.

The Nawâb came yesterday and goes back to-night, and, as it is the first time he has ever slept out of his mother's room, it is a great step to have gained. He has got Major and his tutor and a great many of his native attendants with him in his bungalow, but he asked Captain if he would be so good as to sleep in his room; he thought he should feel happier. They got up a small review for him at the cantonment, and he has gone over to Serampore to see a printing press, and last night we took him to the menagerie. Those little native princes, particularly when they are so rich as this boy, are the grandest people in manner, so quiet and don't-careish, but so peremptory. Our black monkey amused him, and he turned round to one of his people and said, 'Find out its name and order some for me.' In the morning Captain had got from the Arab horse-dealers all the fine Arabians to look at; none cost less than 180l., and he began by ordering twenty-five. However, they reasoned him at last into only taking five. He came over to play at billiards this morning in such a pretty dress, not so loaded with jewels as usual, but his regular morning dress – very full gold-striped trousers and gold slippers, an under tunic of the finest possible muslin, and over it another of dark shawl lined with red velvet, a scarlet shawl sash, and a beautiful turban of innumerable rolls of fine white shawl with little narrow borders, and one row of large pearls and emeralds round his throat. It would be such a pretty dress for a fancy ball.

Tuesday, 15th.

We are to have our private theatricals this week. Captain Fitzgerald has built such a very pretty theatre in the ball-room on the upper storey, which is never used, and is, in fact, only a gallery between George's rooms and mine. They were rehearsing for three hours last night, and apparently with great success; but they would not let anybody come within hearing. However, I did take a little peep on my way upstairs, and it looked uncommonly pretty.

Wednesday, 16th.

This is to go to-day. I wonder where to or how, but it is to attempt its usual overland route.

Good bye.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Barrackpore, Monday, December 28, 1840.

I have neglected my journal dreadfully the last fortnight, partly because I got disheartened for want of letters, for if they did not come it was equally clear they could not go. However, that highly finished gentleman Mohamet Ali has apparently settled the first part of the business most ably, and during the last four days the letters have been pouring in in the most refreshing manner.

Since I wrote last we have had our private theatricals at Government House; most successful; I think the thing that has really pleased the Calcutta society. The theatre was very pretty and complete, the scenes good, the acting very good. I have never seen people laugh so heartily as they all did that evening, and they are all bent on having more; and I suppose we must have, in the course of time, a French play there, as an excuse for giving the French artists a little money.

On Saturday we went to see the first stone of a public library laid by the Freemasons, and it was rather amusing and very ridiculous to see them in their dresses. Freemasonry is a great rage at Calcutta just now.

The weather is perfectly beautiful.

Wednesday, 30th.

I had such a good note from to-day about my tame squirrel, which is always left to its own devices when we come to Barrackpore, as it will not live in a cage nor find its way about two houses. The man who was left in charge sent word he had not seen it for five days, so I supposed it had been picked up by a kite, but wrote word, 'Madam, I have the honour to inform you that the squirrel returned home at twelve o'clock to-day, ate a good dinner, and immediately went to bed. He seems quite as well as if he had chosen to pass his Christmas at home.'

Friday, January 16, 1841.

We had an enormous dinner yesterday, chiefly of the strangers come in the last ships; there was a Mrs. , who sings English ballads without accompaniment in the loveliest manner – such a deep voice and yet so sweet – and she helped off the evening beautifully.

We have just been unpacking such a curious Chinese lamp that has been sent to George from China, and which will either stand in the hall at Knightsbridge, or the hall will stand in it – we cannot decide till it is put together – but it is very pretty; and Major has sent me two very curious wooden figures, which I am going to turn into the supports of a dressing table.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Barrackpore, Friday, February 6, 1841.

The little Nawâb has anchored just off our garden on his way back to Moorshedabad. Such a fleet of boats. George took him out driving, and I went (with Rosina to interpret) to visit the Begum in her furnace; she was so curtained and canopied up, and every jalousie shut. I thought I should have died of the heat, and then they requested Captain and the boats with my servants to stand off and opened a crack of the jalousies; and then a fishing boat came in sight, and there was such a rush to shut us up again. Just as if the poor fishermen could see into that dark hole, and if they had they would have been very much disappointed. 'I am not the lovely girl I was,' and the Begum is such a little thing she is hardly visible to the naked eye. I am glad I was not born a 'purdah ne sheen,' a lady who lives and dies behind a curtain, or purdah; I know I should have plotted so immorally to trick my attendants.

The Begum enjoyed having a gossip with Rosina about England and English ways, and gave her money to the amount of 5l. when we came away, much to the old body's delight.

Calcutta, Tuesday, 10th.

We had such a narrow escape of running over a child to-day. There is always a crowd of petitioners at the gate when George goes out, and it has happened several times that, when a man cannot get the redress he wants, he throws himself down before the horses. The postilions are getting quite 'cute about it now, though, if they could manage to inflict only a few hard bruises, it would be a good thing to give those people a slight idea of what it is to be run over, and they would not try it again. As it is, it puts the horses and riders and everybody in a fume, and nearly overturns the carriage, though the police do their best to interfere. To-day a tall gaunt man, without a stitch of clothes on, after running and screaming after the carriage till he had distanced the police, threw his baby right under the horses' feet, and it is the greatest mercy it was not hurt. It puts me in such a taking, and I long to beat the father instead of pitying him.

The other day, when we had a great dinner, one of the sepoys on guard went mad, and would come into the dining-room to state his grievances to the Governor-General, and he had drawn his bayonet and was stabbing away at everybody who tried to stop him, even at Captain , who went out to him. They were obliged to get some more of the sentries with their muskets, who pretended to attack him, and, while he was defending himself from them, the servants behind him got hold of his legs and pulled him down; but it took ten of them to hold him, and his screams were horrible. Luckily he did not get into the room. It was a blessing he did not go mad at night, for everybody sleeps with their doors and windows open. A mad sentry would have had great fun rushing about the house.

Wednesday, 11th.

We had a French conjuror last night, and asked all the children that could be collected, but, as there are few above six years old, and still fewer who speak a word of English, we could not muster a great many. Luckily the grown people thought it quite delightful. He was rather amusing from mere impudence, otherwise his tricks were very poor.

Friday, 13th.

Our gaunt petitioner again nearly annihilated himself and baby yesterday, and the guards were obliged to ride him off the road, so to-day we took Captain , who answers all petitions, with us, and when the man rushed at the carriage again, Captain got hold of him and took him home. He says he has been cheated by some other natives up the country of all he had in the world, and so he has come down here with all his family to see the Governor-General, who, of course, could not interfere, and so then, he determined the carriage should go over him. I wonder whether they really mean it, but I suppose so. In the Upper Provinces they threaten to throw themselves down the well of their enemy, who always buys them off. Captain is to write to the magistrate of this man's district, and in the meanwhile I have begged he will give him any number of rupees he may want, so that he will not keep my heart in my mouth every time we go out airing.

Saturday, 14th.

This time twelve months how we shall be beating down the Bay of Bengal, and how sick I shall be! However, it won't signify this time.

God bless you! Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Wednesday, March 3, 1841.

I went this morning to an examination of the European female orphans; the school is very well managed now by the mistress, but it is rather distressing to see European children examined after natives. Even , who is against native education, says it is the most surprising difference possible. Little natives of seven years old will go through the longest sums and give definitions of English words, and are quite ready at little details of English history, and they are all panting with eagerness. These girls looked quite put out, and became quite silent after the governess had told them to speak up once or twice, and, though all of them knew how much five times fifteen was, the whole first class failed in guessing how much fifteen times five was. I own it is very difficult, but then I am a stupid European.

Thursday, 4th.

We have been here five years to-day, and are regularly cheated about another year. However, George is writing home by this post to say that he positively goes next February, and I mean to look over that letter before it goes, to be sure he makes no mistake.

Mars and Jones stuck to their day, and the wedding took place at five this afternoon. It was a very pretty wedding, though we only saw the female part of the procession.

Wednesday, 10th.

It is very odd weather – so cold that we were obliged to have the windows shut all the evening, and very few people came to our dance, because they are afraid of cold. When the thermometer is at 90° they dance in crowds.

Thursday, 11th.

I went with Captain this afternoon to see some curious china that is to be sold by auction to-morrow. It belongs to a gentleman we knew, and comes from Nankin; there are a few very beautiful things, but I suppose they will fetch an immense price.

George and I are going in the evening to Barrackpore. Jimmund has just brought Chance to show he is too ill to be moved. I wish he would die, poor little dog, or that I had the heart to have him prussic-acided; it looks such a miserable state to be in.

Saturday, 13th.

Captain had such a good letter from our baboo to-day, whom I told to bid at that sale. He mentions the immense prices most of the things fetched, and that he had only bought a pair of magnificent jars I wanted for George. 'But I made a great mistake when I had made my bid of 200 rupees. Mr. France told me it was for one jar, and not for the lot. I could think of no other means but to submit. But, sir, Miss Eden will think me a regular fool for so far exceeding her orders, and of course, I am bound to sell the jars again on my own account if she wishes it, but it will be a great expense to my finances.' He never mis-spells a word, and pronounces English with hardly any accent, but, with all his Eastern formality, brings in common expressions like 'a regular fool,' &c., in the civilest manner.

Monday, 15th.

The baboo managed very well about the jars; they are handsomer even than I expected, and everybody says they are very cheap. I never saw anything the least like them.

Tuesday, 16th.

This must go to-day.

We have had that number of 'Humphrey's Clock' in which the Marchioness nurses Swiveller through his illness, and explains to him that, if you 'make believe very much, orange-peel and water is very nice.' I am so fond of that couple. Kit should not have been so particular, I think. I am exceedingly sorry we have not buried Nell yet.

God bless you! Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

Calcutta, Monday, March 22, 1841.

Poor little Chance was as ill as possible yesterday. I am quite sorry I saw him; he was such an object, and it was absolutely necessary to have him shot this morning. His mouth was in such a state of disease. I wish he had died a natural death, as he was to die, and altogether I am quite nohow about it to-day. I suppose it is very foolish; in short, I see it is; but for eight years Chance has been an amusement, and he is connected with Greenwich and St. John's Wood and the Admiralty, and then he was a great occupation on board the 'Jupiter' and here; and he was the amusement of the camp with his elephant and his followers, and altogether we have been through so many vicissitudes of life together that I feel quite lonesome. Everybody made a pet of him here, and poor Jimmund, Giles says, has been sobbing all day. That very low class of natives attach themselves to a dog as if it were a child, and, having no other occupation but to attend to it, they teach it to be almost sensible. He has kept Chance alive this last month by mere care, for it was a hopeless case. I have had all sorts of successors offered me long ago, and there are so many lonely hours in this country that some pet is quite necessary, but I cannot think any of the dogs look more than half-witted. There is only one at all like Chance in beauty, and the owner asks 30l. for it, and thinks it a great sacrifice to let the Lady Sahib have it at all.

Thursday, 25th.

A Dr. , who has just come out, brought with him two very small spaniels, and, hearing of Chance's death, has sent me one. I am sure it is very kind of him, and the gentlemen all say the dog is beautiful, but it is not the sort of dog I admire. I have just made it over to poor Jimmund, who looks very disconsolate. I asked him if he thought it pretty, and his answer in Hindustani was, 'Whatever the Lady Sahib likes her servant will take care of, but Chance was the child of his heart,' and the great tears kept falling on this little dog's head. Wright says Jimmund brought his wife last night after it was quite dark, and they sat crying over Chance's grave for an hour, and, as they do not know I know it, it was really for their own comfort. Chance always slept at their house, and they fancy he was lucky to them, which natives think much of.

Saturday, April 3.

We had a great storm last night, which I hope will stop the cholera. It is not so bad here as at other places; the dâk through Burdwan has been stopped for want of bearers; the last gentleman who travelled through it, says he counted more than 200 bearers who had dropped down dead on the roadside, and near Dacca the bodies were counted by thousands that had been thrown into the river.

Sunday, 4th.

My poor tailor went away from his work quite well at five o'clock yesterday, and was dead before morning with cholera. He was a very respectable man and an excellent dressmaker, and Wright and Rosina are very unhappy about him. It certainly is a fearful disorder, and all these poor people live in such small huts, in such swampy situations, one only wonders how any of them escape.

I do not at all like my new dog. He never sits still a minute, and he cares for nobody but his old master, whom he sometimes meets out walking; then his name is Duke, which the natives cannot pronounce, and, as he is always running away, there are constantly twenty servants rushing about calling 'Juck, Juck, Juck!' All the gentlemen say he is so beautiful and will grow tame in time. I am sure poor Chance would pity me with this dreadful Juck. Sometimes it strikes me that, as it has only just landed, these may be English spirits, and that you are all Jucks in your habits compared to us. It is very alarming.

God bless you! Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Calcutta, Wednesday, April 28, 1841.

MY DEAREST , – It is fearfully hot now, and is out in it all tiger-hunting, but declares it is cool near the hills. They had only seen one tiger, which was a very ferocious one; pulled down three elephants, and carried off one of the poor mahouts. He passed with the man in his mouth within ten yards of , who fired, and luckily hit the tiger in the loins, who dropped the man and sprang on the back of 's elephant. He knocked him off into the river, when the others came up and killed him. The mahout's arm was very much torn, but he is likely to recover. The idea of seeing that sort of scene for pleasure! I don't think 10,000l. would pay me for it. Mr. came to see me yesterday; he has been up to Assam to look after our tea interests, and is come back delighted with his journey and the unexplored rivers, and wild tribes, and jungle, &c. He told me that the Governor-General's agent there had paid rewards for 3,600 tigers, which had been brought in last year; five rupees per head is paid for a tiger, and the heads and skins had most of them been burnt, as there are no means of disposing of them there. Such a pity; you might have liked a tiger-skin carpet. Mr. brought down heaps of skins for his own house. There is one native who has shot fifteen tigers every month with poisoned arrows. Such a nice country to live in! But the last crop of tea was delicious.

I have had such a curious present to-day – a Chinese god – the household deity of Admiral Quang, who was killed at Chuenpee. It is all japanned red and gold – a nice fat idol in a beautiful chair and one of the handsomest curiosities I have seen – something quite new. The captain of one of the steamers, who used to take us to Barrackpore, sent it to me, which I look upon as a very genteel attention on his part. Moreover I have had a present of a real live Argus pheasant, as big as a peacock. I hope Mr. has got those two stuffed ones I sent him, and then you will judge of the beauty of this. It is the first that has arrived alive here, at least in our time, and it is wonderfully beautiful.

Friday, May 8.

There has been a great triumph to George's Barrackpore school. Sir Edward and Mr. , &c., have been examining candidates for the Medical College. There were fifteen vacancies and candidates from the Hindu College, the Scotch Assembly Schools, and all the great institutions which are taught by the best English masters. Six of George's boys, fired with a noble ardour, came up, and three of them carried off three of the vacancies, and one boy stood second on the list. Considering they are children of the poorest villagers, that the school has been built only four years and the master is a native, and that they are examined in ancient and modern history, geography, mathematics, and algebra, and in English composition, it really does them all, particularly the master, great credit. Sir Edward says that English pronunciation was quite marvellous. He will be a horrid loss to this country, and so will Mr. ; they take such unbounded pains with the natives, but they both go home this year.

Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

Wednesday, May 19.

A Parsee friend has imported such a beautiful carved ivory boat for me. I never saw anything like it; it is like the finest lace, and the three little cabins are fitted up with ivory tables and sofas, and Chinese drinking out of ivory tea-cups. Sweetly pretty! but I wish I knew what I am to pay for it.

Saturday, 22nd.

Our deposed Dost Mahomed arrived this morning. George did not like to receive him in durbar, or with honours, as everything that is done will be exaggerated in Cabul, and may make mischief there. So it was settled he was to drive to Government House on his way to the house he is to live in, and to pay a common morning visit. So we got it up (Captain and I) in a sort of half-and-half way; arranged our morning drawing-room in the native style – a sofa at one end and a long lane of chairs and sofas leading up to it, with two rows of servants with silver sticks behind the chairs – and I got to order a few of the bodyguard to stand in the corner of the room. George sat on his sofa, with the secretaries and aides-de-camp on the rows of chairs all bolt upright and doing nothing, and I flatter myself that the Dost thinks that is the way in which he passes his day. He was told that he was to find George at his usual morning occupation. So if the Governor-General could take Cabul in that dawdling manner, there can be no bounds to what he would do, if he took to apply himself, and ever held a pen, or read a paper. Dost Mahomed came with two sons and some attendants under the charge of Captain .

The Dost is a fine-looking man with very good manners; I should think imperious in his own house, but very easy and frank. He talks Arabic, which makes a shocking mess of, and drove , who speaks it like English, to the verge of desperation. George offered him our coach to go home in as a sort of compliment, and Captain Nicolson said he would like it, but that, as he had never been in any carriage till this morning, when he landed at Cossipore, he was no judge of those matters. I made a little peephole for myself in the billiard-room and did a slight sketch, which gives the 'general effect,' but the room was so dark I could not make an actual likeness.

Monday, 24th.

It was so fearfully hot yesterday; we could not go to church either morning or evening. I never knew anything like the weather, and cannot imagine how we are to get through the ball to-night.

Wednesday, 26th.

Our ball went off beautifully; much the best Queen's ball I have seen. In general there are such odd-looking people at it; but, though it was a great crowd, it was much better society. Dost Mahomed came, and also an ex-king of Johanna, an odd-looking creature, with some savage-looking followers. All the Mysore princes came, and a great many other natives, covered with jewels. We never go in to these balls till everybody is assembled, and he was very much struck at George's entry, which is always a pretty sight; the rooms are so large, and lined with soldiers, and lowering the colours, and resenting arms, and the three bands playing one after the other, all struck his fancy, and the company looks so orderly, standing in a circle at first, like one of their own durbars. I do not think he saw the dancing, as George carried him off into the south hall, and several gentlemen went and assisted him in turns, and C contrived to get the interpretation into his own hands; so the conversation went on very well. He seems clever and very kingly in his ways. By way of relieving George, after a time, I asked him if he would play at chess; I beat him the first game, which was odd, as he would only play the native game – would only allow the pawns to take one step – no castleing, and the knight may not check the king – and, as this makes quite a different game, it was no wonder he beat me the second, which was a very long one; these rules only came out as the game went on, but he seems to be a very good player. He went away before supper.

We sat down above five hundred to supper, and it is wonderful how well St. Cloud turns out that sort of thing in such horrid weather; it was really beautiful, and most of the meat must, of course, have been killed only in the morning.

The ball went on till half-past two, and, as I had been up at half-past five in the morning to see F off, it was not surprising that I was in bed with the headache all yesterday. But we had our usual luck in a short storm, just half-an-hour before the ball began, which made it possible to breathe, and there is some fun in breathing Mrs. , even in a ball-room when it has not been feasible anywhere else, for three days.

I pitied the aides-de-camp. stayed for two hours very gallantly, though he is not at all right yet. Captain M came out all over leech-bites, having had a return of his Scinde fever. Captain H has been living on calomel for two days, and came, as he said, with his head beating time to the music. Captain A was quinine-ing away a slight ague; and just as I was telling Captain he was our best hope, he dropped off the perch – fainted dead away at dinner – and it appeared he had been quelling a tendency to cholera all day, by opium. However, they all danced, and all did the honours of supper, and are not the worse for it, and the pleasure of a ball going off well makes up to them for the trouble, apparently.

Sunday, 30th.

I think the weather is gone mad; we have not been able to go out airing even, the last three evenings, and, though under a punkah, I cannot get a wink of sleep. How George gets through the night without one I cannot think. I bear this bad season rather patiently, because I think it must settle George's mind about going home.

Thursday, June 3.

We have not been to Barrackpore for six weeks, and this was our day for it, but it is impossible to stir in such weather. , who borrowed one of the bungalows for two days, says it was just like being before a large kitchen fire, and he is not susceptible of heat. People say there has not been such a season as this known for years. I wish you could feel it just for one hour; the thermometer is still only 87° in my room, but it is a thick, dense heat, like that of a hothouse. Yesterday morning, when I was dressing, I was so nearly fainting I was obliged to lie down, and then when I got up, Wright went off in the same way; neither of us ill, but we could not bear the heat, and the natives are nearly as bad. The men who are pulling the punkahs have, I see, set up large fans, with which they fan themselves with the other hand.

Friday, 4th.

We had at last a lovely thunderstorm yesterday, which has cleared the air, and we must have the rains in a week at the latest, and I can push on now with great glee, thanks to that storm and the conviction that this is our last year in India.

Mr. has just been here with another little dog, a likeness of Chance, quite as small, and with the most attractive manner; and I think Zoe will suit me. There has been a great bidding among the aides-de-camp for Juck, who is reckoned quite beautiful, but I had always promised it to Captain M.

Mr. brought me such beautiful sketches of Darjeeling to look at this morning. It is a consolation for those who are booked for many years at Calcutta to know that there is this town growing up within four hundred miles, with its hills and valleys, and snowy range, and waterfalls. It seems to be exactly like Simla, and stands as high, but one is twelve hundred miles off and the other four hundred.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.

Barrackpore, Saturday, June 3, 1841.

We came up here on Thursday.

Yesterday morning the Dost and his sons, &c., came up early in the 'Soonamookie.' It was the first time he had ever been towed by a steamer, and he was very much pleased with it, but more struck with the fitting up of the pinnace than anything else. It has five or six very pretty cabins, and the furniture is all white and gold and very showy, which delighted him, and the oil-cloth on the floor was a new invention to him, and he thought it beautiful. It is very odd how often the commonest inventions strike them first. George took him out in the afternoon with his sons in another carriage, and the giraffe took his fancy prodigiously. He said if he were to tell in his own country the things he had seen, they would call him a liar. I got Mr. to ask him if he kept any journal, and he said directly, 'No; as they would not believe what I should say, what is the use of writing? That would only make it worse.' We had a ball for him in the evening, and this morning he has been sitting to me for his picture; but I made only a very hurried sketch, as it was a tiresome operation for him. He is living at one of the bungalows, and is to send us over an Afghan dinner to-day, with a dinner for all the servants. I hope none of his bigoted followers will throw a little poison in, don't you? I mean to eat slowly, in hopes to perceive the first twinge before it is too late.

One of the Calcutta papers put in a number of falsehoods about the manner in which Captain treated him; that he was treated as a close prisoner, and only ordered out by the 'Lord Sahib's hookum' (or command) when he went to see any sights with George, that spies were sent even into his zenana, &c. Captain lives in a house a mile from his, and never goes to him but when he is sent for. The Dost has no zenana here, greatly to his own grief; but he says his wives at Loodiana would hear of it and resent it when he goes back; and of course his going out with George is one of the distinctions he is most proud of, and that he always dwells upon, when he talks of the treatment he met with when he was a prisoner to the King of Bokhara. However, the paragraph was shown to him by some native, and put him in one of his greatest rages, and he cannot understand why the editor is not to have his head cut off. He found out that the authority was a sort of renegade Afghan, whom he had refused to entertain, and he sent for him and got a written retraction from him, which he insists on having published. The editor of the paper is in a sad puzzle about it, but ends by starting a grand proposition – that, at all events, they are right to have made the statement, even if false, because it has brought out the truth. Such a good principle to go upon!

Sunday, 4th.

George and I were sitting by the water-side yesterday evening, and the Dost saw us, and came with his nephew and an interpreter and established himself by us, just as any Englishman would do at a country house, and sat talking there very amusingly till the dinner-bell rang.

We ate our Afghan dinner, which was very good; a kid roasted whole and stuffed with pistachio nuts was the chief item, and quantities of sweetmeats.

Rosina has improved wonderfully the last two days, and Dr. does not despair of making a complete cure.

I went to church this morning, but was obliged to come out, being nearly blind with the heat. I never will try morning church again in this season.

God bless you, dearest!

You may answer this letter and the next, but after that there will be no time for answers. Oh, dear! how pleasant it will be, and how clever of us to have brought that immense banishment so near to an end – not much more than six months, and what is that to anybody who has been six years away? It will be too great happiness. I hardly ever can think steadily of it.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Calcutta, Thursday, June 10, 1841.

The express went yesterday, by which I sent off a letter to Robert and one to , but to be sure it is very difficult to write at all. I forget whether I have ever mentioned to you that it is very hot in India, because it is – very hot. I cannot possibly say less. Dost Mahomed was here again on Tuesday at a very small party, and, when George asked him how he bore the weather, he said he had, in the course of his life, been at Dadur, and that it was a common Mussulman proverb, 'Why, if God created Dadur, did he take the trouble to make hell too?' a rational proverb as applied to India generally. The Dost was in great spirits and extremely struck with all he had seen. He said he could not understand it, that he felt giddy; that when he was on board the 'India,' the great steamer, he thought he had understood what was explained to him, but that when his nephew asked him, when he went home, what he had seen, he said, 'You must go and see for yourself; how can I ever describe what these people do?' He was very anxious to know if there really were in Europe a larger house than Government House; and when George said something to him about our customs, which allowed of women coming into society, &c., he said, 'You are quite right; you make a Paradise; now this looks like one.' He would have made a great sensation in a London room with his sons and suite standing round him, in their immense turbans and with flame-coloured, or scarlet, or blue dresses embroidered in gold. Dreadfully hot, poor dears! but I suppose they would not think muslin quite correct. Perhaps they are not more picturesque than the other natives, but they are quite different and look new; they are very Jewish in countenance and colour.

It was so desperately hot yesterday that even in the evening we could hardly move; but there was a little storm, and it is now cooler.

Barrackpore, Saturday, 12th.

This is worse than ever: hardly anybody can move, or speak for the heat, and the servants lie sleeping about the house like so many corpses. Little sleeps half the day in my room, and wakes up rubbing her eyes and talking Hindustani, and then says, 'You have been so fast asleep, Miss Eden; I have been awake all the time, reading.'

Wednesday, 16th.

We had a great dinner on Monday, which was rather amusing, as a Dr. played all sorts of tricks with cards in the evening, some so entirely incredible that they would have done honour to a good conjuror at home, and had great success; and he said another time, when he had been forewarned, he could have done a great many more.

Poor Rosina is so dreadfully ill. I have done nothing but cry about her all the morning; she suffers so much, and it is perhaps a mercy it is not likely to last much longer; but still for nearly six years she has been such a good affectionate old body to me. I shall miss her very much. Wright was in a sad way about her this morning, and woke me up early to say she thought her dying. I sent her up to Barrackpore last week for change of air, and also to get her under the care of a Dr. there. Poor Rosina says, 'Dr. so nice man; he ask questions and feel my pulse and my side, and then bring another doctor, and they give me stuff, and then come in two hours and say that no good now take this; just like Dr. Drummond.' She was getting better, but then she took a fancy to come down to Calcutta, to make over her trinkets and shawls to Wright to divide after her death amongst her relations; she was much worse yesterday and as ill as possible to-day. I have now sent her up in a boat with her husband and the native doctor, but I fear nobody can do her any good.

Thursday, 17th,

Wright went up to Barrackpore this morning and came down this afternoon, and says Rosina is alive, but occasionally in great pain, followed by fainting fits. Wright is very low about her. Dr. writes me word that, if he can once give her a little strength, and if her pulse can ever be felt, he thinks he can do her good yet; but the natives are so fragile, and live on such wretched food, that when once they sink they go very fast. Wright says Dr. brought another doctor with him, and that they were with her half the day.

Barrackpore, Saturday, 19th.

I made a grand exertion, sent on horses over night, got up at half-past five this morning, and drove up to see Rosina. She is certainly better – not out of danger of course, but stronger – and Dr. says in another day will be able to bear the remedies that are necessary for her side. There is still danger of abscess forming on the liver, but she looks so much more like herself that I am glad to have seen her, and the poor old body is delighted to have me here for the day, and had herself carried over to my room, and I have had a great deal of talk with her. Dr. talks to her just as everybody else does, and says he has never seen so sensible a native, and hardly ever met a pleasanter old lady to talk to than she is.

Calcutta, Monday, 21st.

I got back very safely on Saturday, considering that an officer in the cantonment tried to carry off to the guard-house Ukbar, our head coachman, because Ukbar, who lets out keranchees – a sort of hackney coach – asked to be paid for one that this officer had hired. He did not know that the man was our coachman, but that is the sort of way in which most Europeans treat natives, and then say they are 'ungrateful rascals.'

George wonders every day how we are allowed to keep this country a week. I have often seen, when I have been sitting in the verandah at sunrise, a great bulldog run at natives, who, with their bare legs and feet, are particularly terrified at dogs. Dr. told me that he saw a bheestie worried by this dog one morning, and that he drove it off, and soon after, he met a young man riding and this dog following. He did not know him, but he stopped and told him that he had driven the dog away from a native. 'Oh, did you?' he said; 'why I keep this dog and another for the sake of hunting the niggers. I had a famous run this morning after a black fellow on the course, and brought him down.' Dr. told him he should go to the magistrate, which he did. George would willingly give 50 rupees to anybody who would catch this indigo planter at his morning hunt, and I have established through Captain a communication with a superintendent of police, which I hope will procure the desired result; but is it not enough to make anybody foam with rage? I wonder what natives roust think of the Christian religion, judging by its effects here? An indigo planter the other day murdered his wife, a girl of sixteen, in the most horrible manner – beat her to death – and, because she was half-caste, the other planters in the neighbourhood helped him to get away, and the magistrate took no notice of the murder till the papers got hold of it. Then the Government interfered, but the murderer had gone off to France. 'Indeed, indeed, I'm very, very sick.'


July 1, 1841.
On board the 'Cowasjee Family.'

I dare say you are on the ocean too. We have just been passing an uninhabited island; have you? Since I wrote to you last we did our voyage in the 'Queen' steamer with wonderfully little suffering. I think those great war tea-kettles, which go rolling on through storm and calm, wonderful inventions. The paddles are not irritating, and though the powder-magazine was under my cabin, and cannon-balls would break loose and run about the deck, that was preferable to the noise of ropes and the creaking of bulkheads. A gale of wind, to which, now it is over, I can never be sufficiently obliged, made us put in to the Prince of Wales Island – the most beautiful sample of an island you can fancy, and with a hill where the climate is perfect – and there and I remained instead of going on to Singapore. They gave up the Government House to us, and anything like the beauty of the view from it you never dreamed of. We were chiefly waited upon by convicts; some branded on the forehead for murder; but it was the sin of their youth, and we were evidently expected to think it venial. In sixteen days they sent this ship for us from Singapore. Our cabins are excellent; but oh, my dear, if you, with your set-up yacht notions, were to see our crew! – Malays, Chinese, Lascars, Hindus, Mussulmans – half of them trepanned on board. Some were grooms, some gentlemen's servants, and when heavy squalls come on, as they constantly do in these seas, they hide themselves wherever they can, naturally enough; two were found sewn up in a sail last night, more hid in a copper. Many of these ships are lost in consequence of the merchants' system of pressing men on board who have never seen a ship before.

Calcutta, July 7.

Here we are on dry land again, and find George and Emily well, and all of you well. Such a pleasure! I found you sailing pleasantly about the Bay of Naples. The overland post is gone, but I am just in time for George's express. Such a furnace as this Calcutta is after having been cooled! We have been rolled about a little more than has agreed with me the last week. After being becalmed for eight days in the straits, we ran home in ten hours at the rate of ten knots an hour; and, though it was the very easiest ship I ever sailed in, we had more than sufficient rolling in the Bay of Bengal.

I've got something pretty for you; I am going to make you a present of it; the first man that goes to England shall take it for you. It is one of the small inlaid tables they make at Penang. I declare I think it quite pretty.

I'm glad the sea-air has taken some of your hair off, for it has taken nearly all mine. I have exactly three hairs left, and two of them are grey.

Yours most affectionately,



Saturday, July 11, 1841.

In despair at the heat, which has prevented my trying to write to you for three days, I have told them to open all the doors and all the windows and the blinds an hour too soon, and have sot myself down in the draught, and, upon the whole, I prefer the blast of the furnace to the furnace itself; it is a change at least, and it has invigorated me to writing pitch. Moreover I can see the sky; and don't you opine that that black cloud is going to end in a torrent? I was sure that you would say so, but then you are only just arrived and know nothing; the rains won't come down this year. They pack up and are quite ready and then change their minds, and nobody can blame them. I dare say it is much pleasanter up in the clouds, only it would be more gentlemanlike not to hold out false hopes.

Let me see what has happened to-day. It is rather difficult to say that anything has. First Rosina came down from Barrackpore yesterday rather a skeleton, but the pain and swelling in her side apparently cured and she quite delighted. She is gone back to have her cure finished; and I have just given her some very pretty opal studs to present to her doctor, which particularly pleases her. Next a visit from the Baboo Setanaut Bhore, a good old fellow who has had the charge of all the Government presents made and received, who manages all durbars, &c., and George has given him a great place of near 2,000l. a year at Moorshedabad, and I never saw anybody so pleased, or so grateful. Moreover, it gives him rank, and entitles him to sit down when he pays a visit; so before he came I stuck a very large armchair near the table, that he might have the full pleasure of it. All natives who speak English at all, love hard words, and he said, 'My Lady must not think it sycophancy, or too much gratitude, but all we poor natives do say the same thing – that we never had so good Governor. My uncle not believe when I say that the Governor-General gave me this place of his own thought, not to please some great man, but because he pleased to think I do it well.' It is quite true, and the incredulous uncle is now convinced of it; though very few natives could possibly be brought to believe that any patronage could be given without jobbing, and hardly any without bribery. Our own baboo is very anxious to succeed Setanaut, but we are so near going away that it would be hard to deprive the next dynasty of the only man that knows the monied usages of the house; and, indeed, we only suppose he is anxious to go because he, with the other servants, are all growing fidgety about a change of masters, a thing they cannot abide. It is a great object to be on the list of public servants, and the man who paints flowers for me gave Wright an excellent petition yesterday. It was directed to 'Miss Wright, Esquire,' and said that he was quite happy now, but that before we went he should 'like to enlist under the mighty banners of Establishment List,' and begged her honour to mention it.

And then there is the 'Tenasserim' steamer coming up the river, in which there is a silver betel-nut box for me – a curiosity from Ava – sent by Mrs. M, who says it is to be had for 150rs. – the mere cost of the silver – and I may take it or return it. I know I shall want to take it, but then the 15l. is not so pleasant. I hope it will turn out ugly.

Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Wednesday, September 1, 1841.

I had such a bad headache all yesterday. I could not go down to our party, and it was partly accounted for at night by a most awful thunderstorm. We are used to a considerable deal of clatter in the way of thunder, but anything like this I never heard; such sharp cracks, and the night as light as day with the lightning; it was really unpleasant, though I do not care much about thunder in general. All Calcutta got up and rushed about their houses, and got under their beds, and into their closets, and all the usual precautions. I prefer lying in bed, not knowing how to die more comfortably; but Wright stalked about with a small night lamp in her hand, followed by the bath woman with another, she saying in English that we should all be killed, and I suppose Jeltom was saying the same in Hindustani; and Giles and Bright thought the great figure of Britannia at the top of the house had been struck, and they came to see whether it had fallen into my passage; and Zoe set up a howl; and all the stable-keepers say that their horses trembled dreadfully before the storm began, and many of them broke loose when it came. Altogether it was a bad storm, and the lightning struck an adjutant that was perched on one of our gateways and cut off its ugly head. The plain was quite under water this morning.

Wednesday, 15th.

I was so active this morning. The Dost and his family all set off to-day for the Upper Provinces, and I have done a sketch of him and his two sons – merely their heads – and wanted his nephew, who is a beautiful specimen of a Jewish Afghan, to fill up the sheet; so Mr. C abstracted him out of the steamer early this morning and brought him to my room before breakfast, and the son, Hyder Khan, came with him merely for the pleasure of the visit. Mr. C speaks Persian so readily that they are much pleasanter with him than with as an interpreter, and they were very amusing about the liberty which Englishwomen have. They told Mr. C it was the only foolish thing they had seen in Englishmen, that they could not have believed it, if it had been told to them. 'In fact,' Hyder Khan said, 'it makes up for all the rest. You are the slaves of your women, and we are the masters of ours.' I said that if I could get into their zenana we should hear another version. 'Oh no,' he said, 'you could hear nothing, because our wives could not speak unless we gave leave; and if they did we should beat them. It is the first rule we make, that a wife is never to speak till she is spoken to; so she can never begin a quarrel.' They were quite curious to make out from Mr. C how it was that Englishwomen began to get their own way at first. I said it must be their own cleverness. 'No,' the Jewish nephew said; 'they were very clever, and that as Allah made them so, it was all right; but still He had made Englishmen very clever too, and how they who could invent ships, and guns, and steamers, &c., could not invent a way by which they could be masters of their own wives he could not understand.' My drawing is a very pretty one, and they are pleased with their own likenesses.

Thursday, 16th.

The post goes to-day, and we are going to Barrackpore, so I must finish. Wright stays behind this time because she is preparing things for the voyage. So pleasant! I like to set things going; it looks like clinching the business. We are always talking Englishly now.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.

TO .

Wednesday, October 6.

I had such temptations to-day in the way of a Chinese lamp and a Chinese screen – not of any value, but unlike anything that has ever been brought out of China. They were sent to me by a doctor who has been with the troops, and has picked up quantities of curious things, which he has distributed about Calcutta. The lamp was beautifully painted, and he said he had bought the furniture of a complete Chinese room, which he was dispersing, as he was leaving Calcutta. I never saw such a pretty thing as the screen – in a carved ebony frame, with a brilliant picture of flowers, and a peacock made in some mysterious Chinese manner.

Wednesday, 13th.

We all went to the play on Monday except Fanny, who thought it would be tiresome; but, for a wonder, it turned out very amusing. The great actress, Mrs. D, acted the Lady of Lyons. What an interesting play it is! And she did it very well, though a little Miss C, who came out only as the confidante of Mrs. D on half-pay, cut her out completely. She is one of the best comic actresses I have seen, and had great success: the house was for the first time so full that there was not a spare chair. Mrs. D is very handsome, and Miss C very ugly, but they were both so applauded that Mrs. L, who was born in the country, and has for eighteen years been the only professional actress in India, fell into hysterics, rushed into Mrs. D's room, and said she must have paid people to applaud her, and that she should never act again on her stage. Mrs. D, with considerable majesty, desired her leave the room. Mrs. L said it was her room and her theatre. Mrs. D signified that if these were Indian manners she should return in the ship which brought her out, whereupon Mrs. L rushed on the stage to appeal to the public not to applaud her any more, but unluckily was forced off by a strong body of amateur actors before she could get before the curtain, which is a pity. I had a real play headache yesterday, which shows it must have been like a real English play, and now we are only in a dreadful fright lest all the clerks and a few cadets should marry Mrs. D and Miss C, before we have seen 'Victorine' and several farces we have set our hearts on.

Thursday, November 11.

We went last night to see 'Macbeth' – a bold attempt, but we promised to go, and we were rather rewarded for the exertion, for it was remarkably well acted. Mrs. D is a very good Lady Macbeth, and I must say Mr. also acts very well. The music, too, of 'Macbeth' is always pretty, and, on the whole, there was no great magnanimity in having gone there. The house was over-full, and it must be a wonderful change to people who remember India ten years ago to see quantities of baboos, who could not get seats, standing on their benches reading their Shakspeares, and then looking off at the stage, and then applauding on the backs of their books. At least one-third of the audience were natives, who were hardly admitted to the theatre when first we came, and certainly did not understand what they saw. The native generation who have been brought up at the Hindu College are perfectly mad about Shakspeare. What a triumph it is for him, dear creature! Plays that he wrote nearly 300 years ago acted to a race that were hardly known in his time, and who yet see the truth of his writing just as much as the courtiers of Queen Elizabeth did. I mean to mention it to him when I see him.

Saturday, 13th.

The news from Cabul is very unpleasant all this time, and also, what there is, is very uncertain; for the passes are closed, and the reports that make their way through are alarming.

Sunday, 14th.

We had a real good sermon from the Archdeacon this morning; one of those good sermons with some body in it which one seldom hears. I was tired and did not go in the evening, but went and sat with Mrs. while the others were at church.

Thursday, October 2.

There was very bad news from Afghanistan yesterday; General Sale obliged to retreat to Jellalabad, leaving two cannon behind him; some of the Shah's troops had gone over to the enemy, and General Sale was surrounded by thousands of Afghans and with very few provisions, and it is a country in which retreat is almost impossible, full of mountain passes, and no provisions but what an army can take with it. Our Captain M is the political agent there. His father, mother, and sister were all here last night, so proud of him and so pleased with all his exertions. Poor people! they have an anxious time before them, and so have many others.

Friday, 3rd.

The accounts are much worse again this morning. There has been a rebellion in the town of Cabul; poor Sir A. Burnes and his brother murdered, and a Lieutenant Sturt stabbed in five places in the presence of Shah Shooja, who interfered to save him, and succeeded, but seems to have little influence with his wild chiefs. All the news that comes is from a letter of Lady , who is in Cabul, to her husband, who was wounded at Jellalabad. She writes very heroically, and always was an active, strong-minded woman. Many people think it impossible that any one man will ever come alive from Cabul. The snow is just beginning to fall, and the passes in the best of times are very dangerous. I never can believe that 3,000 of our troops, Europeans, or sepoys, will allow themselves to be massacred, and, though of course there must be many painful casualties, I cannot see it quite in the despairing line; but the women who are there are a sore subject to think of; the Afghans are such a savage set. We know most of the ladies there; one has seven small children with her, and another two. You may imagine the state George is in, and indeed there is a general gloom in Calcutta; for everybody has friends and relations there, and then the suspense may be so long with the passes all closed.

Sunday, 5th.

No more news, and we have had three wearisome days. That this reverse could not have been foreseen is clear from the fact that the very last letter of Sir W. M.'s that has made its way was full of gratification at the state of the country – how prosperous it was becoming, and how much the Afghans were beginning to appreciate our calm, equitable laws after their own harsh rule – and he meant to start five days after for Bombay. This was dated only October 1, and on the 4th the whole country was in insurrection, Sir A. Burnes killed, &c. He, who generally was open to all reports, held exactly the same opinion as Sir W. M's.

Tuesday, 7th.

Luckily there were rather better accounts yesterday up to the 14th from Cabul, and the 18th from Jellalabad. At the last place General Sale had made a sortie, and beat off the enemy, and got provisions for a month, and thought himself safe. At Cabul they had recaptured two guns, and had some hopes, though faint, of negotiating with the rebels. A Captain Ferris had fought his way to the frontier from a small fort, and had brought his wife and children safe. There is not much in this, but, at all events no shocking catastrophe.

Friday, 10th.

There were accounts three days later from Jellalabad to-day, with a letter from imploring General Sale to march to their relief. This was dated the 14th, the same date as we had heard before, but it gave rather a heightened picture to their state, in order to make General Sale advance. He cannot possibly attempt it, but, with his wife and daughter at Cabul, it must have been a painful thing to feel it a duty to refuse to go to their relief. There are bad bits in life certainly, and this is not a good month.

My chief amusement has been packing. All my curiosities – ivory, china, &c. – are all packed. I thought at first I was going carefully to pack them myself, but, after one day's work, I found it out of the question, and have left it to the servants. People say that the natives are very apt to steal small things on these occasions, but I have never lost anything yet, and mean to trust them.

Sunday, 12th.

The daily reports are all more or less unfavourable, but no certain news comes.

Wednesday, 15th.

We go on very quietly with little scraps of news from Peshawur, which is on the frontier, and the last place with which we have any sure communication. Inasmuch as things are not worse they are better, as the snow, which was beginning to fall, would affect the unhoused assailants more than our troops in their lines. To-day General Sale forwarded a short French note from General , begging for help and ending with 'Nous sommes dans un péril extrême.' A note from Mr. , which was brought by the same cossid, was not written at all in such extreme alarm. General has unluckily obeyed General 's orders to march to his relief from Candahar, and that has added to George's alarms. General does it against his own conviction. His camels must all die at this time of year; the camel-drivers desert, and the troops have to fight their way in the snow without any comforts, and Candahar, which is now quite quiet, may catch the Cabul fever.

Friday, December 17.

This must go, and I will write a line by the express if there is any more news, or if the post comes in in time to be answered. There was a line from Captain M yesterday from Jellalabad, October 28, which even George owns to be the most cheering line he has had, and he looks better in consequence. General Sale's sortie had evidently had a good effect, and provisions had since come in tolerably well, and a neighbouring chief had taken a friendly course and beat off some of the insurgents, and they seemed to be gradually dispersing. Captain M had had nothing in writing from Cabul, but the native reports made out that things were looking better there for the Feringees (the English). If General is driven to make one good attempt, and could catch and hang one or two rebel chiefs, which he easily might, I really could feel quite hopeful again.

I wish we knew when we were going home, or that we had a symptom of a ship or anything. Nobody is ready but me; my boxes are all nailed down, and my room looks quite ready for my successor.

Love to all.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, November 14, 1841.

So you were at Malta on your way home; so very nice to think that anyone should ever really be on their way home. In February I think we shall know the sort of feeling it gives. In the meantime I please myself about once a week by taking some preparatory step – lists of linens, gowns, books and things in general. Just now I have seen the woman who is to take the place of Mrs. M. Jones, who I hate the notion of parting with. However, the woman I have got is in the constant habit of voyaging backwards and forwards, and may know how to make a ship comfortable; I am sure I don't. She (the woman) looks like an albatross in her cap and artificial flowers; she has no front teeth, and I am longing to know whether they dropped out naturally, or whether a very young husband she has knocked them down her throat.

I do so envy you having only the bit of sea to do which tumbles about between England and Malta; I see you stepping out of the yacht upon dry land and kicking it back into the sea. I imagine that by this time Lord must see the error of his marine ways, and will stick to dry land for the remainder of his life. I cannot say much for the formation of that man's mind who first thought of undergoing five months of sea to settle in this shrivelled cinder of a country. To be sure we know what 'jade' is; the Chinese have a profound veneration for it, and think that the touch of it cures many disorders. The other day a man, whom George had commissioned to send him anything curious that came in his way in China, sent him a jade vase and a jade cup 'puffectly lovely' – so large of the kind, so perfect and well carved – but, as they will not cure our disorders, we thought them more expensive than we liked. However, now he is grown attached to them and talks of 'my jade ornaments' proudly and ostentatiously; he began by saying familiarly 'my jades,' but the incorrectness of this expression made the whole staff blush so very much he has given it up.

I see exactly the fidget you have taken about that string of pearls; it does sound like an unnatural idea that he should go and buy them for his own wearing, but you are not the guilty woman that led him into this extravagance. They were pronounced by the European jewellers to be so good and cheap, that Emily persuaded him that it was as good an investment for money as any other, and in the meantime she wears the investment at intervals. When he has done talking of 'my jades' he talks of 'my pearls,' and will not vacate his property in them; he probably means, when he gets home, to cut out Runjeet and hang them around his horse's neck.

Yours affectionately,



Calcutta, Friday, December 31, 1841.

This is the end of our last Indian year, and, as I think the chief habit that I have established is that of writing to you, I may as well wind up the year with it and wish you a new happy one; and, in fact, it must be happy – part of it – because you will have me with you. Such a godsend! Well, I shall be very happy myself; but, between ourselves, I think you will be a little bored; I shan't say why, but you will see. Now that all my things are packed up, and they will all be finished to-morrow, and that I have taken to dream of England again, and woke up in a fright last night because I could not find my way out of the Strand, I begin to think seriously how it will all be, and I see horrid changes. I am grown indolent and helpless, and afraid of saying what I think, and afraid of trouble, and so on. But if we have, what everybody kindly promises us, a singularly slow voyage, starting in March, it will be near your country time of year when we arrive, and, after having seen everybody once, who is in London, I shall like so much going off there with you, and you can talk me into shape and put me up to things in general. It will be very nice; you can teach me a little at a time, and the talk must all be on your side, because I have told you all about India, and 'that's done;' but, with all the letters and journals, there is still much I wish to hear. In the meanwhile Lord Ellenborough is 'ploughing the ocean,' and must now be past the Cape, and we have not a morsel of ship to go home in, and do not know where we are to find one. We are taking the refusal of several of the best country ships that are advertised for the end of February, and they are all willing to wait our uncertain time, which is very obliging of them.

Saturday, January 1, 1842.

The last year out of England. Mind you all keep well a few months longer. Don't go and stand in a draught, or eat a quantity of salad, or take a wrong medicine. Mind you are very careful.

I went yesterday evening with Captain M to survey our house in the fort, as Fanny and I shall most likely take ourselves off there, when we hear Lord Ellenborough is in the river. It is a melancholy looking house, like all habitations in a fort, but cool and quiet, and, with a little clean furniture, will do very well; and I think the new-comers would rather have this house to themselves even at first. After the Fort House we went on to the Orphan Asylum. They had a holiday with a picnic dinner at the Botanical Gardens last Wednesday, and I sent for my private share, a Twelfth-cake with a little prize pinned to each slice. The schoolmistress says they had never drawn Twelfth-cake before, and were quite delighted. A little French workbox was the great object of ambition.

Sunday, 2nd.

We had one or two gentlemen at dinner yesterday.

We went to the Fort Church this morning; and in the evening George and I went on board the 'Bucephalus' to see 's cabin and 's. The probability is that we shall go home in one of these country ships, as no Queen's ship seems to be forthcoming; and they are, in fact, nearly as comfortable. 's cabin looked very comfortable for a cabin; but what a piece of business a ship is. I detest it; and, moreover, I was so giddy I could hardly get back to our boat again.

Thursday, 6th.

A very interesting letter from Lady Sale and a note from Sir have made their way. Nothing can seem more hopeless; only three days' provisions left, and then, as she says very calmly, she believes they are to eat the few ponies and the camels left alive. The enemy had proposed a capitulation – the married men and the women to be left as hostages, the Shah to be given up, and the soldiers to give up their arms and to be escorted to the frontier, which is, in other words, to come out to be massacred. Her letter is wonderfully composed, and indeed very spirited.

Monday, 10th.

I have been so unwell the last fortnight, that I thought I would try two or three days on the river; came on board the 'Soonamookie' at eight this morning, with Rosina and my jemadar and all my suwarree to take care of me; and we have been floating in a slow manner all day; and the kitmutgar cooked an excellent luncheon, and, except that Zoe is rather unhappy, nothing can do better. This is a beautiful boat to live in; five excellent cabins, and fitted up with every possible comfort. She cannot sail a bit, but floating about is all that is necessary, and we have plenty of boats to tow her.

Wednesday, 12th.

I got back to dinner on Monday rather refreshed by the operation, and Fanny and I are both going again to-morrow.

Saturday, 15th.

Fanny and I have taken two more days in the 'Soonamookie' with great success; it is growing hot on shore, but the air is very nice on the river, and, with books and writing, the day fills up very well; and, as the boat occasionally whabbles about a little, I look upon it as a good practice for the great horrid voyage.

Rosina gave a farewell party to six ayahs of her acquaintance and several of my servants, and she said that, as she had seen the Zoological and the horse play, as she calls Astley's, in England, she must see the Botanical Gardens here; and so we have got leave from Dr. to let them dine there; and we were moored nearly opposite to the place, and it seemed to be a very pleasant party. She has got such a pretty scarf to give to you, notwithstanding all my exhortations, and is looking forward to being with me while Wright goes to visit her sister.

Wednesday, 19th.

It is very odd that no letters whatever have come from Cabul for three weeks, but the reports are all favourable.

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, January 14, 1842.

I did not hear from you last month. I suppose, as usual, you were tossing about on that dreadful sea, and I did not write; for, as you will have heard, we were in a melancholy way about that insurrection at Cabul; and it has been protracted anxiety, for the peril of all there is still very great, and I fear before I send this there will be bad tidings to tell. In other parts of Afghanistan everything has been quieted. The direct intelligence from Cabul is so scanty we hardly understand the state of affairs there, or why, with five thousand troops, no effort has been made; we only know that the camp is surrounded and provisions fading fast. Lady Macnaghton, Lady Sale, and many other ladies we know are there, some with large families of children; and to retreat, even without an enemy to face, is at this time of the year almost impossible. The last letter received from Sir A. Burnes, immediately before his murder, spoke of the extreme tranquillity of the country; so this outbreak found them totally unprepared. As you may conceive George is very much harassed by anxiety for the fate of all there. It is very hard for him that, during, the very last weeks of his stay here, when there is no time for him to get things straight again, this misfortune should have happened from the too great security of those on the spot. And a fearful misfortune it is likely to prove. Knowing what a savage people the Afghans are, I never can get the horrors that may happen out of my head. Letters from Lady Sale have been received by her husband. She seems to be a wonderful woman; quite aware of their desperate state, but not one word of terror.

Judging from the last intelligence, we must hear something decisive before this goes; so I will write no more about it now.

My dearest, whatever you do, never settle in a country where there is anything in the shape of war. I cannot say how much I look forward to Lord Ellenborough's arrival; all this must be decided one way or the other before he can be here. I am sure the sooner George is on the sea the better, for he has had too much on his mind lately for any health to stand long in a country like this. I write you none but low letters now, because we have stayed in this far-off country a year longer than we meant – a year too long, in fact.

January 18.

I must send this to-day, though there is no direct communication from Cabul; there are more cheering reports, and I begin to hope they may hold out till the winter is over, when reinforcements can be sent them. If you could see my passage; thirteen large packing-cases, each large enough to hold our house at Knightsbridge, and London written on them. Ariffe is writing a Persian list of the contents, which will be conveniently useful to Mary, the old housemaid. I should like to see her face when she sees the things, which it has been the sole employment of four men to take charge of; and if the handle of a China cup is broken, they come in procession to show it.

The only things about which I am baffled are the feather fans for you; the Emperor knew how it would hurt my feelings to have none, and none have come since the war began that are worth taking. But perhaps some may come still; of those which were ordered I hear nothing. George just now had a letter from some rajah full of State grievances, and a postscript:– 'May I ask for a puppet show to be sent to my dominions?' and a formal note from the Government Secretary:– 'I have ventured to send his Highness a puppet show.'

In two or three days I hope to have a letter from you, and you will teach me how pleasant it is to be in England again after having been tossed about the rest of the world. Good-bye, dearest.

Yours most affectionately,



Calcutta, Sunday, January 29, 1842.

MY DEAREST , – I do not mean to make up much of a journal this time, though I have just discovered that this will not be my last letter; I suppose I shall write again somewhere between March 1st and 4th from Kedgeree, just as the first little symptoms of sea-sickness are beginning, and leave the letters with whatever faithful aide-de-camp may have followed our fortunes that far.

The accounts from Cabul are more distressing and incomprehensible every day. One of Lady 's simple good letters have come to hand. She talks with bitter disgust of the cowardice of the whole proceeding, and says the retreat was to begin the next day, and her son-in-law, Lieutenant , who was wounded the other day, adds a note to the same purpose and says, 'God may help us, for we are not allowed to help ourselves.'

There is a Colonel , who has been through all the Peninsular War, and he dined alone with us yesterday; he is a regular old soldier, and has been wounded till he is out of all shape. He talked over this business with George, and says that it is totally inexplicable; the troops are nearer 6,000 than 5,000, with artillery, ammunition, &c.; in difficulties certainly about provisions, but still they own to having eight days' provisions left. He says that force would have considered themselves equal to fighting their own way, if they had been obliged to retreat, against any civilised army; that every soldier can carry bread for seven days, and they had only seventy miles to march to Jellalabad; that the season was as much against the enemy as themselves. Altogether it is a horrid history.


There are letters from Jellalabad. The army did evacuate Cabul on the 4th, and were attacked by their nominal escort immediately on leaving cantonments. A Doctor is the only man who has arrived in Jellalabad – perhaps the only one that ever will – and he is so confused between fatigue and wounds that Captain says it is difficult to make out any story from him; but he says that, at the end of the third day's march, the cold and the dangers were so great that the ladies and children were sent back to Cabul under the care of Mahomet Ukbar! Think of poor Lady given over to her husband's murderer; General and Colonel went into the enemy's camp and gave themselves up; the troops then held together under Colonel for two marches more, and then he was killed, and they fell into complete disorder; and after that Doctor knew no more except that he saw several officers lying dead, amongst others poor Lieutenant Sturt. Such a dreadful massacre, and such a disgraceful transaction altogether, the Afghans actually allowing them to take only the ammunition in their pouches, and then the two senior officers giving themselves up. It is utterly inexplicable. Those unfortunate women, too, in the hands of such savages.


We have almost decided on going home in the 'Hungerford' (merchant ship). The 'Endymion,' besides all other objections to her, could not be here in time. She has only had one accident of running aground while Captain Grey was on shore, and her sickness was not indigenous; but, while she was in dock, the sailors lived on shore at Bombay and got what they there call the mud fever, and he was obliged to take her to sea to save the men. However, she is out of the question, and the 'Wellesley' also. The 'Hungerford' is a very old ship and a slow sailor, but a great favourite, and what they call a very easy ship – a foolish term and obviously untrue. She has also the particular recommendation of being the only ship that I have always declared I would never go home in, because of her age. Now, as the only other resolution I ever pronounced was declaring from the time I was seven years old that I never would go out to India, it seems that the going home from it in the 'Hungerford' will be an act of great consistency. Captain , who settles all those things, hears everywhere that she is the most comfortable ship in the river, and has been newly cased in teak; so she is about the safest. I dare say he is right. Mr. came out in her two years ago, and likes the captain so much that he has him to live at his house now when he is in port; and, in short, everybody says, we may be ten days longer than in any other ship, but the superior comfort will make up for it. They really say that she hardly rolls at all, even in a gale of wind. Those horrid gales of wind! they make me feel faint even to think of them. I saw Mrs. this afternoon, and I hope she will go with us.

Captain and I went on the river in the evening, meaning to look at the lumbering old tub, but she had gone up to the Custom House, and it was too dark to go on board by the time we had got there.


I went to the Fort Church yesterday, where we had a new preacher, who gave us such a beautiful sermon; it was quite refreshing. But has taken advantage of his coming to introduce the long service there, much to the detriment of the soldiers, who cannot possibly stand it in the hot weather; and it will drive away a large congregation, who had taken refuge there from the long service of the cathedral.


Captain had a letter lent to him with such horrible details of that retreat; it has made me feel quite ill. All the accounts are gathered from Dr. , who is apparently the only survivor of that army except the few prisoners, who, it is to be hoped, are murdered by this time. He says that the soldiers had lost all heart long before they left Cabul, and had said they were so ill supported they would not try to fight any more. Mahomet Ukbar accompanied them, and pointed out the places where they were to sleep, which were invariably exposed to the fire of the enemy; the snow was three feet deep, and they had nothing to eat. He claimed the ladies as prisoners, and their husbands went with them. Lady , they say, was wounded by a matchlock ball. Dr. was seen through a spying-glass by one of the officers defending himself from some Afghans, and they rushed out and saved him. He was on a pony which had had nothing to eat since they left Cabul; his sword had broken off in the last struggle, and he was very much wounded. An officer who was with him had a person mounted behind him, and they had kept up nearly to the end, and were then, after being desperately wounded, carried off separately.

We have been on board our ship. It looks very horrible, as all ships do, and the lower cabins are very dark and small compared to those in the 'Jupiter;' but we have a good sitting cabin, next to George's, on the poop, and those below are, I believe, much quieter to sleep in; and, after the first three weeks, the heat will not be very great. Still I opine that, if it had not been for that little accident of Noah and the Ark, which gave men false notions of trusting themselves on the water, it never was intended that they should try so mad an experiment.


Our work of packing is progressing, but not so fast as it ought, considering that the 'Walmer Castle,' which left England only ten days before Lord Ellenborough, is actually in and up at Calcutta. He must not come before his ten days are fairly over, for the 'Hungerford' cannot be ready before the 1st of March.

Captain and I have been to the upholsterer's this morning to hurry on the furniture and to choose a secrétaire for George's cabin, bookcases, &c. I had never been into any of these shops before, and had no idea of their magnificence. People send a great deal of furniture home as presents; it is so well carved, and then the climate prevents veneering; so everything is of solid mahogany. I believe Mr. is also of solid mahogany; he looks like it, and it seems impossible to hurry him. He made such solemn asseverations that spring cushions made extremely springy were so good for sea-sickness, that they rolled with the ship, that when he went springing home on one of his own sofas he was able to sleep like a top when everybody else was rolled out of bed, that I fondly believed him; and my couch is made of very elastic springs, and now I hear that they never will be quiet at sea, and that I shall be constantly bounded up to the ceiling and back again. It will be rather an interesting game of battledore and shuttlecock when a gale comes on, and I shall be flying about the cabin for hours together.

Saturday, February 12.

In one of the accounts from Cabul they say poor Mrs. 's little girl, of five years old, was missing when the ladies were taken away, and was supposed to have been murdered, or carried away. Poor little thing! it is to be hoped the former. When we last came through Kurnaul they were in our camp for some time, and this was such a pretty child. In some respects the news is not so bad as might be. Shah Shoojah is holding his own and gaining strength every day, and Mahomed Ukbar does not seem to have any great number of followers to bring against Jellalabad. General and Captain and everybody there write with great bravery and confidence, and say their soldiers are in good spirits.

Calcutta, 20th.

No farther news, except that a letter from one of the ladies has been received, and they and their children are hitherto kindly treated, which is a great relief; and there are hopes of buying back the little girl. It looks, too, as if there were great dissensions among the Afghans themselves, and Shah Shoojah still either has some power or they allow it to him out of policy. General and Colonel are mentioned as the only prisoners except the married men who were carried off with their wives. What a situation for the first and second in command of a large army, of which they only survive! People are becoming rabid to hear their story; they must have some excuse that has never transpired.

George is looking shockingly, but not ill. All this worry has, however, made a difference of ten years at least in his look, and I am afraid you will be much struck with his alteration when you see him.

Our ship is meaning to be ready this day week, so Lord Ellenborough may come now as soon as he can.

Ever yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Calcutta, Tuesday, March 1, 1842.

Such a bustle. Lord Ellenborough landed yesterday, after everybody had settled that he could not be here for ten days; and we have nothing ready.

The reception was very pretty. Fanny and I saw it out of the window; plenty of troops, &c., and George met him at the bottom of the great stairs, and they were really glad to meet. He was sworn in immediately. We did not meet him till dinner-time.

Friday, 4th.

We have been here six years to-day. It would have been so nice to have sailed this morning, that is as far as sailing ever can be nice. The wind blew horribly last night; and I began to think whether it would not be advisable to black my face, put on simply a muslin petticoat and veil, and settle down as a native. That horrid sea, and four months at least of it! If it were not for you, and a few others, I never could set about that voyage. It is the only thing I am a coward about, but I cannot conceal the melancholy fact that, whenever I think of it, I am frightened to death, and it prevents my eating anything now. That dear dry land, if ever we make it again! Mind it is quite dry.

This is my birthday, moreover, and, besides fright, I am nearly dead of old age. George gave me such a pretty pair of earrings to-day – quite his own thought. I suppose he has got a trick giving presents this month. I am quite tired of buying for him and of seeing native jewellers. I bought eight rings the last two days – emeralds, sapphires, and diamonds – that, strung altogether, were quite a sight to see. The servants like them better than 10l. in money, which they spend at once, as Mussulmans think it a sin to save.

Barrackpore, Saturday.

Fanny, Captain , and I came up yesterday, and George comes to-day; but we can only stay till Monday night, for the 'Hungerford' has to drop down to Kedgeree on Thursday, so we must go back to see the cabins fitted up.

Friday, March 11.

My dearest, it is just dinner-time, and we go off at half-past six to-morrow. We have had such a week, and I am really beat by all the leave-takings, &c. They have all been very kind, and any place where one has had no misfortune for six years one becomes attached to.

Do not wonder if we do not appear for five months. Such things and worse have been. Our cabins looked very nice when the ship started. We catch her up at Kedgeree. How hot it will be!

Yours most affectionately,

E. E.


Government House, March 1, 1842.

These are my last Indian words, and few they must be. Our ship and all our dear little things are what they call 'dropping down the river;' an operation during which ships are regularly wrecked two or three times; the pilots say because the river changes its course. We career after it in a steamer to-morrow, and a steamer, we hope, is to tow us across the line; but the steamers here are not in a very efficient state, and this one will probably 'knock up' before we get half way.

Lord Ellenborough arrived twelve days ago, and we are all living together and are excessively fond of each other. I declare I have been more amused for these same twelve days than I have been since I came to India. He startles people so very much by the extraordinary activity of his English notions; the climate will settle a great many of them, and in the meantime he really is so good-natured and hospitable we are quite touched by it.

I can write no more; I cannot tell you what there is to be done in these last days, but we shall meet soon, I trust. How nice that is! But the ship! It has 80,000 cockroaches on board; that I know as a fact. I have been low-spirited, too, at times during the last week; so many have shown real sorrow at parting who I did not know cared a bit for us, and then the public demonstrations to George have affected me in the highest degree. At a time when we have been refusing all parting fêtes on account of that Cabul calamity, there never was anything like the enthusiasm for him at the public meetings which have been held. At this moment the whole court is filled with the carriages of people coming up with the address. The lowest as well as the highest are here, pouring in subscriptions for his statue. It is a comfort to know that the ladies are well treated by the Afghans, and everything is going on well in other parts of Afghanistan; but the loss of life occasioned by local mismanagement is fearful. God bless you, dearest! I wish there were not four months of sea between us.

Yours most affectionately,





Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom

Two letters that appear in the text but did not appear in the original table of contents (p. 169 and 174) have been added to the online table of contents using grey font.

Editor: Mary Mark Ockerbloom