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ever, promised to conceal them as long as they could. They made them put on native dresses, and had them conducted to a room in a remote part of the house, giving them strict injunctions not to venture out of the room, nor show themselves at the windows.

In this apartment they remained for three days in great trepidation; at night a confidential servant brought them food, during the rest of the time they were left to themselves. From the sounds that reached them from the outside, the city appeared to be in great confusion. They heard shouts, cries, the report of guns, and the tramp and murmur as of moving multitudes.

On the morning of the fourth day, the Seths paid them a visit, and told them that they could conceal them no longer, for a report had got abroad that there were Christians hid in the house, and the mob had expressed their intention of breaking in to see. The Seths said that they would keep them till the evening, and then have them conveyed across the river to a village from whence they could find their way to Agra. The two clerks had but little expectation that they should succeed in doing so, and regarded the intimation that they must leave the house very much as sentence of death.

As the day advanced the confusion outside seemed to increase. Several times they heard the mob come surging up to the house; they expected every instant that they would attack it. All of a sudden the noises ceased. They were wondering the cause, when the curtain at the doorway was lifted, and the Seths entered and announced to them the joyful intelligence of my approaching return.



MUTTRA, though little known beyond the confines of India, is a place of much celebrity within them. It is to the Hindoo what Mecca is to the Mohammedans, what Jerusalem was to the Christians of the Middle Ages. It is the birthplace of their religion, the spot with which most of their sacred legends are connected. The original city stood about two miles to the west of the present one. It was abandoned some time in our seventeenth century in consequence of the river Jumna changing its course. The inhabitants had to follow the river, for they depended on the pilgrims for their support, and what brought the pilgrims was the bathing in the sacred stream. On its banks the present city arose.

The present city is chiefly modern, most of the best buildings have been erected since the commencement of our rule. Seen from the river it is very picturesque: a succession of fine houses that rise like castles, bathing places, and little temples to whose fairy-like lightness no words can do justice. From the land side its appearance is less pleasing; at a distance it resembles very much a gigantic ants' nest, for the outer houses are dingy in colour and closely huddled together, nor on a nearer approach is the prospect more agreeable. Before the city lies a bare tract of uneven ground, over it wander

dogs and pigs feeding on the filth and garbage with which it is thickly strewn. The dogs have no particular owner, the swine are the property of the low castes, who, regarded as too impure to dwell within the city, cluster in villages just without it.

To the north and west extend gardens. To them each morning the Brahmins repair, and, stupefied with bhang, pass the day lying beneath the shade of the trees, oblivious of all the world beyond. When they wake up they amuse themselves with wrestling and other athletics. The Brahmins of Muttra are but little respected. By the educated and better classes they are regarded as a set of idle, dissolute beggars. In each garden is a temple, in many are also tombs and pavilions, very small but exceedingly pretty. The perfection of Hindoo art, however, is to be seen in the principal street of the city. There is nothing like it in India, nor that I know of in the world. On either side the houses rise vast and solid; before them appears to hang a veil of lace, so delicate, so exquisite is the carving of the stone tracery that fills the balconies and windows.

As becomes so holy a place Muttra is full of temples, but a traveller might pass through and not be aware of it. The exteriors of the temples do not differ from the dwelling-houses. Indeed, the same roof occasionally covers both house and temple, as well as a shop in the lower storey. The finest temple is that of the Seths'. It stands immediately opposite their house on the other side of the narrow street. A richly carved gateway leads to a spacious courtyard; round three sides are arcades, along the fourth stretches a terrace, mounted on it is the shrine. Dimly lighted, hung with curtains, it has much the appearance of a stage; the services that go on suggest a performance. Bells ring, cymbals clash, horns blow,

and incense is burnt. In the intervals the Brahmins recite verses from the sacred poems. Their utterance is too rapid for an English ear to follow, but the sonorous rhymes and the rise and fall of the voices is not unmelodious.

In the further recesses, the object of this adoration is dimly visible-a hideous idol, bedaubed with red paint, and blackened by the smoke of the lamps that for more than half a century have burnt before it. Over the head of the idol there is suspended a golden canopy; beneath it, so it was then said, were greater treasures. In a vault below reposed the hoards of the founder of the temple, the adopted grandfather of my hosts. The terrace in front of the shrine was spread with carpets, and shaded by canopies of red cloth. Beneath them cross-legged sit the better class of spectators; those of a lower rank, standing, usually fill the court below.

In striking contrast to this the chief temple, rises at the end of the street the great mosque-its lofty minarets and spreading domes forming a grander object, and suggesting a purer faith, a higher ideal. An inscription on the gateway records the date of its erection and the praises of its founder, that 'Light of Islam (Noor-ulMussulmanee), guardian of the faith of Mohammed, the Emperor Alumgire.' This inscription is in letters of blue enamel on a white ground. The richness of the colours I have nowhere seen equalled; I was never tired of admiring them.

About the erection of this mosque there is a pretty tradition. The site was formerly occupied by shops of butchers; their presence vexed the Hindoos, they complained to the Governor. The Governor, a tolerant man, as many of the Indian Mohammedans then were, removed the shops. The butchers went to Agra and peti

tioned the Emperor Alumgire. Anticipating their complaint, the Governor had commenced the erection of a mosque on the site of the demolished shops. To remove a mosque was more than that bigoted Emperor could bring himself to direct; he accepted the situation and became the patron of the edifice, granting the butchers land elsewhere.

The memory of this Governor is still dear to the Hindoos. In my time, though two centuries had passed, they would in seasons of trouble still invoke his aid, rubbing their foreheads on the walls of the mosque he had erected, and saying-Ahi! Abdool-Nubbee Khan tarâ binna Muttoorah sunnee.' ('Oh! Abdool-Nubbee

Khan, we are sad without you.')

Any description of Muttra would be incomplete without some notice of the Seths, to whose selection of it, as a residence, the city owes much of its present prosperity, most of its finest buildings. At various times they confided to me a good deal of their family history. Something of what they told me I will briefly repeat.

Their ancestors came from the Deccan, somewhere near Bombay. Their bank was an old one, but rich natives are often childless. In default of heirs the managers were adopted. The business thus passed from family to family till, towards the close of the last century, it came into the possession of the then manager, Seth Gokul Paruk. Gokul Paruk had the good fortune not only to succeed to his master's wealth, but also to obtain the treasurership of the state of Gwalior. The Mahratta armies then swept the country far and near; half the wealth of India found its way into Gwalior their capital. The treasurer had many opportunities of enriching himself, and not the least was the payment of the troops.

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