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AN ALLIGATOR HUNT IN CEYLON. part of the canal. But every now and then, one of In our second volume, we gave some account of the

the terrified monsters floundered backwards, and, by Alligator : we now propose giving a detail of the retreating in the wrong direction, broke through the hunting that formidable creature, as described by first, second, and even third line of pikes. This was Captain Basil Hall. It was got up for the amusement

the perfection of sport to the delighted Malays. A of the Admiral, Sir S. Hood, and performed by a

double circle of soldiers was speedily formed round corps of Malays in the British service.

the wretched aquatic who had presumed to pass the Very early in the morning, the party were

barrier. By means of well-directed thrusts with summoned from their beds, to set forth on the numberless bayonets, and the pressure of some dozens expedition. In other countries, the hour of getting of feet, the poor brute was often fairly driven beneath up may be left to choice; in India, when any thing his native mud. When once there, his enemies halfactive is to be done, it is a matter of necessity; for choked and half-spitted him, till at last, they put an end after the sun has gained even a few degrees of altitude,

to his miserable days, in regions quite out of sight, and the heat and discomfort, as well as the danger of in a manner as inglorious as can well be conceived. exposure, become so great, that all pleasure is at an

The intermediate space was now pretty well end. The day, therefore, had scarcely begun to crowded with alligators, swimming about in the dawn, when we all cantered up to the scene of action. utmost terror, at times diving below, and anon The ground lay as flat as a marsh for many leagues, showing

showing their noses above the surface of the dirty and was spotted with small stagnant lakes, connected stream; or occasionally making a furious bolt, in by sluggish streams, scarcely moving over beds of sheer despair, right at the phalanx of Malays. On mud, between banks fringed with a rank crop of these occasions, half-a-dozen of the soldiers were draggled weeds. The chill atmosphere of the often upset, and their pikes either broken or twisted morning felt so thick and clammy, it was impossible out of their hands, to the infinite amusement of their not to think of agues, jungle-fevers, and all the companions, who speedily closed up the broken hopeful family of malaria. The hardy native soldiers ranks. There were none killed, but many wounded; who had occupied the ground during the night, were yet no man flinched in the least. drawn up to receive the Admiral, and a very queer

The perfection of the sport appeared to consist guard of honour they formed. The whole regiment in detaching a single alligator from the rest, had stripped off their uniform, and every other surrounding and attacking him separately, and stitch of clothing, save a pair of short trousers, and spearing him till he was almost dead. The Malays, a kind of sandal. In place of a firelock, each man

then, by main strength, forked him aloft, over their bore in his hand a slender pole, about six feet in heads, on the end of a dozen pikes, and, by a sudden length, to the extremity of which was attached the jerk, pitched the conquered monster far on the shore. bayonet of his musket. His only other weapon, was

As the alligators are amphibious, they kept to the the formidable Malay crease, a sort of dagger, or water no longer than they found they had an small two-edged sword.

advantage in that element; but on the two columns Soon after the commander-in-chief came to the of their enemy closing up, the monsters lost all ground, the regiment was divided into two main discipline, floundered up the weedy banks, scuttling parties, and a body of reserves. The principal away to the right and left, helter-skelter. “Sauve columns, facing, one to the right, the other to the qui peut !" seemed to be the fatal watch-word for left, proceeded to occupy different points in one of their total rout. That prudent cry would, no doubt, the sluggish canals, connecting the pools scattered have saved many of them, had not the Malays over the plain. These detachments being stationed judiciously placed beforehand their reserve on each about a mile from one another, enclosed an interval side of the river, to receive the distracted fugitives, where, from some peculiar circumstances known only who, bathed in mud, and half dead with terror, but to the Malays, who are passionately fond of the still in a prodigious fury, dashed off at right angles sport, the alligators were sure to be found in great from the canal, in hopes of gaining the shelter of a numbers. The troops formed themselves across the swampy pool, overgrown with reeds and bulrushes, canals, in three parallel lines, ten or twelve feet but which most of the poor beasts were never doomed apart; but the men in each line stood side by side, to reach. The concluding battle between these merely leaving room enough to wield their pikes. retreating and desperate alligators, and the Malays of The canal may have been about four or five feet deep, the reserve, was formidable enough. Indeed, had in the middle of the stream, if stream it can be not the one party been fresh, the other exhausted ; called, which scarcely moved at all. The colour of one confident, the other broken in spirit; it is quite the water, when undisturbed, was a shade between possible that the crocodiles might have worsted the ink and coffee; but no sooner had the triple line of Malays. It was difficult, indeed, to say which of the Malays set themselves in motion, than the consistence two looked at that moment the more savage; the and colour, became like those of peas-soup.

triumphant natives, or the flying troop of alligators On every thing being reported ready, the soldiers wallopping away from the water. Many on both planted their pikes before them in the mud, each sides were wounded, and all covered with slime and man crossing his neighbour's weapon, and at the weeds. There could not have been fewer than thirty word “march,” away they all started in full cry,

or forty alligators killed. The largest measured ten sending forth a shout, or war-whoop, sufficient to fect in length, and four feet girth, the head being curdle the blood of those on land, whatever effect it may exactly two feet long. Besides these great fellows, a have had on the inhabitants of the deep. As the two multitude of little ones, nine inches long, were caught divisions of the invading army gradually approached alive, many of which, being carried on board, became each other in pretty close column, screaming, and great favourites amongst the sailors, whose queer taste yelling, and striking their pikes deep in the slime in the choice of pets has freqently been noticed. before them, the startled animals naturally retired

[Captain Basil Hall.] towards the unoccupied centre. Generally speaking,

LONDON: the alligators, or crocodiles, had sense enough to

JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND). turn their long tails upon their assailants, and to PUBLISHED IN WEEKLY NUMBERS, PRICE ONE PENNY, ANVIN MONTHIX PANTI scuttle olf, as fast as they could, towards the middle

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mounds of solid masonry standing alone to astonish

the eye, as at Bindrabund; no gigantic town like the No. V. BENARES. PART 1.

Cootub-Minar, at Delhi, to fill the imagination with BENARES, or as it is usually styled, “the most holy awe and wonder ; but the whole of this enormous city," is certainly one of the most interesting cities city is composed of details, intermingled with each we possess in the East. It is situated on the left or other without plan or design, yet forming altogether northern bank of the river Ganges, and is distant an architectural display of the most striking and im136 miles from Patna, and 380 from Calcutta. It is posing character. Amid much that is strange and the capital of an extensive and populous district of fantastic, there are numerous specimens of a pure Hindostan, which bears the same name, and is and elegant taste; and the smaller antique pagodas, remarkable not only for its sacred character, but for which abound in every direction, are astonishingly the singularity of its structure, its vast wealth, and beautiful. The lavish ornaments of richly-sculptured its immense population.

stone, with which they are profusely adorned, give The ancient name of the city was Casi, the Splendid, evidence of the skill and talent of the artists of their but this it afterwards lost, and probably when it fell day; and throughout the whole city a better taste is into the hands of its Mohammedan conquerors. Its displayed in the embellishments of the houses than present title is said to be derived from the two rivers, is usually found in the private buildings of India. the Benar and the Assee, which flow into the Ganges, The florid ornaments of wood and stone, profusely the one above, and the other below the city. The spread over the fronts of the dwelling-houses, bring city itself is very extensive, stretching as it does for to the mind recollections of Venice, which Benares several miles along the bank of the Ganges; but resembles in some other particulars : one or two of extensive as it is, it contains a far larger population the lofty narrow streets being connected by covered than could be anticipated from the space it occupies. passages, not very unlike the far-famed Bridge of By a census taken in the year 1803, the number of Sighs. the inhabitants was represented as exceeding 582,000, No European has ever been tempted to take up his whilst the houses formed of brick and stone were abode in the close and crowded city. The military calculated at 12,000, and those of mud at 16,000; and civil station is about two miles distant, and is and since that period the number of both, and more called Secrole. There is nothing striking or beautiful especially the latter, has considerably increased, the in the environs of Benares. The cantonments are city having extended itself to the neighbouring vil- flat and destitute of views, but are redeemed from lages. It is, in fact, without exception, the most positive ugliness by the groves which surround them. populous city in Hindostan.

Immediately, however, beyond the military lines, the No written description, however elaborate, can tract towards the city becomes interesting ; several convey even a faint idea of the extraordinary pecu- very handsome Mussulman tombs show the increase liarities of this singular place. Though strictly of the followers of a foreign creed, even in the sacred Eastern in its character, it differs very widely from city of Brahma. A long straggling suburb, composed all the other cities of Hindostan; and it is only by of houses of singular construction, in every stage of pictorial representations that any adequate notion dilapidation, rendered exceedingly picturesque by can be formed of the mixture of the beautiful and intervening trees and flowering shrubs, leads to the grotesque, which, piled confusedly together, form gate of the city; and a short and rather wide avenue that stupendous wall of buildings which spreads brings the visitor to the chokey, a large irregular along the Ganges at Benares. No panoramic view square. From this point, vehicles of European conhas ever been exhibited of this extraordinary place. struction are useless, and the party must either The river is about thirty feet below the level of mount upon elephants, dispose themselves in tonjons, the houses, and is attained by means of numerous or proceed on foot; and very early in the morning, ghauts, or landing-places, which spread their broad before the vast population is stirring, the latter affords steps between fantastic buildings of the most by far the best method of visiting the temples ; but curious description. The confused masses of stone, the instant the tide of human beings has poured itself which crowd upon each other, sometimes present into the narrow avenues, it is expedient to be out of fronts so bare and lofty, as to convey the idea the thickly-gathering throng. of a prison or a fortress. Others are broken into Benares, at day-break, presents less of animated diminutive pagodas, backed by tall mansions seven life than most cities of the same magnitude and stories in height, and interspersed with gothic gate- extent. A few swecpers only appear in the streets, ways, towers, and arches, all profusely covered with and all the houses are shut up, and give no sign of ornaments, balconies, verandahs, battlements, mul- the multitudes which swarm within. The shops are lioned windows, balustrades, turrets, cupolas, and closely barricaded, the usual mode of fastening them round and pointed domes, the fancies of all ages. being by a strong chain attached by a large padlock to Since the conquest of the city by Aurungzebe, Mus- a staple beneath the threshold. At this early hour, sulman architecture has reared its light and elegant the streets are very clean, and the air of the city is formations amid the more healy and less tasteful much cooler and fresher than might be expected from structures of Hindoo creation. From a mosque,

its denseness and population. The members of the built upon the ruins of a heathen temple, spring brute creation are up and abroad with the first gleam numerous minarets, which now rank amongst the of the sun; the Brahminee bulls wander through the wonders of the city. Their lofty spires shoot up streets, monkeys spring from cornice to cornice, and into the golden sky from a dense cluster of build- flights of pigeons and paroquets dart from the paraings, crowning the barbaric pomp below with grace- pets in every direction. As soon as it is broad day, ful beauty.

the priests repair to the temples, and devotees are Notwithstanding its great antiquity, and the sums seen conveying the sacred water from the Ganges to lavished upon its pagodas, Benares does not boast a | the several shrines. At the doors of the pagodas, single specimen of those magnificent temples which, persons are stationed with haskets of flowers for sale. in other parts of India, convey so grand an idea of Long rosaries of scarlet, white, or yellow blossoms, the vast conceptions of their founders. Here are no seem to be in the greatest request, and are purchased pyramidal masses of fretted stone, no large conical as offerings to the gods : the navements of the teme

ples are strewed with these, the only pleasing cere of covering the more conspicuous parts of their monial connected with Hindoo worship. The too houses with paintings, in gaudy colours, of flowerabundant supply of water, the dirty throng of religious pots, men, women, bulls, elephants, gods and godbeggars, and the incessant cries of Ram Ram ! desses, in all their many-formed, many-headed, almost compel the visiter speedily to escape from the many-weaponed varieties. The sacred bulls devoted noise and crowd.

to Siva, of every age, tame and familiar as mastiffs, The Observatory and the Minarets are the prin- walk lazily up and down these narrow streets, or are cipal objects of attraction to parties resorting to the seen lying across them, and hardly to be kicked up, city; but in their way thither, those who take an (any blows, indeed, given them, must be of the interest in the homely occupations of the native gentlest kind, or woe be to him who braves the pretraders may be amused by the opening of the shops, judices of this fanatic population,) in order to make and the commencement of the stir, bustle, and way for the tonjon. Monkeys sacred to Hunimaun, traffic, which, by ten o'clock, will have reached its the divine ape, who, as they pretend, conquered height. The rich merchandise with which the city | Ceylon for Rama, are in some parts of the town abounds, according to the custom of Hindoostan, equally numerous, clinging to all the roofs and little is carefully concealed from the view of passengers ; projections of the temples, putting their impertinent but in the tailors' shops, some of the most costly heads and hands in every fruiterer's or confectioner's products of the neighbouring countries are exhibited. shop, and snatching the food from the children at Those skilful artists, who can repair a rent with in their meals. Fakir houses, as they are called, occur visible stitches, sit in groups, employed in mending at every turn, adorned with idols, and sending out an superb shawls, which, after having passed through unceasing tinkling and strumming of vinas, biyals, their practised hands, will sell to inexperienced pur and other discordant instruments, while religious chasers as new and fresh from the looms of Thibet. mendicants of every Hindoo sect, offering every conThe shops of the coppersmiths make the most ceivable deformity, which chalk, filth, disease, matted show; they are gaily set out with brass and copper locks, distorted limbs, and disgusting and hideous vessels of various kinds, some intended for domestic attitudes of penance can show, literally line the prinuse, and others for that of the temples. In every cipal streets on both sides." street a shroff, or banker, may be seen, seated behind The Observatory, though abandoned by its magi, a pile of cowries, with bags of silver and copper at still remains, a gigantic relic of the zeal in the pursuit his elbow. These men make considerable sums by of science manifested in former days. The discoveries changing money, deducting a certain per-centage of modern times, adopted, though slowly, by eastern from every rupee, and by lending out money at enor astronomers, have rendered it of little value for the mous interest. Here, too, are confectioners, sur purpose for which it was intended, and it has fallen rounded by the common sweetmeats, which are so into neglect and disuse. An extensive area, entered much in request, and not unfrequently employed in from the street, is divided into several small quathe manufacture of their sugar-cakes. The dyers, drangles, surrounded by cloisters, and forming cool punkah-makers, and several others, also carry on and shady retreats, intended for the residence of those their respective occupations in their open shops; the sages who studied the wonders of the firmament houses of the dyers are distinguished by long pieces from the platform of the tower above. Broad flights of gaily-coloured cloths, hung across projecting of stairs lead to the summit of this huge, square, poles. In these, the bright red of the Indian rose, massive building, a terraced height well suited to the and the superb yellow, the bridal colour of the watchers of the stars, and which, at the time of its Hindoos, are the most conspicuous; they likewise erection, was furnished with an apparatus very creproduce brilliant greens, and rich blues, which, when ditable to the state of science at that early period. formed into turbans and cummerbunds, very agreeably The view from the Observatory is limited to the diversify the white dresses of an Indian crowd. river, and the country on the opposite bank: but a

Bishop Heber, in his Journal, thus describes his far more extensive prospect is obtained from the visit to the city. After mentioning that their car Minarets. Adventurous persons who have climbed riage was stopped short almost in the entrance, he to the light cupolas, which crown those lofty spires, goes on to say, “the rest of the way was passed in see the city of Benares under an entirely new aspect tonjons, through alleys so crowded, so narrow, and in this bird's-eye view. They perceive that there are so winding, that even a tonjon sometimes passed wide spaces between the seven-storied buildings that with difficulty. The houses are mostly lofty, none, I form a labyrinth of lanes, and that gay gardens think, less than two stories, most of three, and flourish in the midst of dense masses of bricks and several of five or six, a sight which I now, for the mortar. The palaces of the city, in all their varied first time, saw in India. The streets, like those in styles of architecture, appear to great advantage Chester, are considerably lower than the ground from these heights. Gothic, towers opening upon floors of the houses, which have mostly arched rows luxuriant parterres, afford a more pleasing idea of in front, with little shops behind them. Above these the seclusion to which the ladies of the city are the houses are richly embellished with verandahs, doomed. galleries, projecting oriel windows, and very broad But the views of Benares from the river, also, are overhanging eaves, supported by carved brackets. exceedingly fine, offering an infinite and untiring The number of temples is very great, mostly small, variety of scenery, of which the effect is greatly and stuck like shrines in the angles of the streets, heightened by the number of trees, whose luxuriant and under the shadow of the lofty houses. Their foliage intermingles with the parapets and buttresses forms, however, are not ungraceful, and there are of the adjacent buildings. In passing down the many of them entirely covered with beautiful and stream in a boat, an almost endless succession of elaborate carvings of flowers, animals, and palm- interesting objects is presented to the eye. Through branches, equalling, in minuteness and richness, the the interstices which occur between tower and palace, best specimens that I have seen of Gothic or Grecian temple and serai, glimpses are caught of gardens architecture. The material of the buildings is a very and bazaars stretching inland; an open gate displays good stone from Chunar, but the Hindoos here seem the terraced court of some wealthy noble ; long fond of painting them a deep red colour, and. indeed, cloistered corridors lead to the secluded recesses of


the zenana, and small projecting turrets resting on and toys to such members of the family as are likely the lofty battlements of some high and frowning to accept them, as the children and younger branches. building, look like the watch-towers of a feudal castle. On the occasion of this festival, the whole of the

The ghauts are literally swarming with life at all Mussulman, as well as Hindoo population, are abroad hours of the day, and every creek and jetty are to witness the superb spectacle produced by the blaze crowded with craft of various descriptions, all truly of light; and as it is of a very peaceable character, picturesque in their form and effect. A dozen budge- it passes off without broil or bloodshed, and what is rows are moored in one place; the light bohlio dances still more extraordinary, without occasioning the on the rippling current at another; a splendid pinnace conflagration of half the houses.

D. I. E. rears its gaily-decorated masts at a third; whilst

[Chiefly from the Asiatic Journal.] large patalas, and other clumsy native vessels, laden In another paper will be given some account of Benares in its with cotton, or some other equally cumbrous cargo,

religious character. choke up the river near some well-frequented wharfs. Small fairy shallops are perpetually skimming over the surface of the glittering stream, and sails, some white and dazzling, others, of a deep saffron hue, A swan and a donkey lived in the service of the same and many made up of tattered fragments, which master, and were fed and petted by all the family; the bear testimony to many a heavy squall, appear in all patient animal bore his faculties so meekly, thai the

never seemed to forget that he was but a donkey; but directions.

the swan, intoxicated with the notice and admiration he One of the most remarkable objects at Benares is received, began to think that' the world, or at least the a pagoda standing in the river without any connexion river, was made for him, and he would let no one approach with the shore. The whole foundation is under water, ! his dominions. If a boy rode a horse down to the water and two of its towers have declined so much from to drink, he would fly after him, and drive him away by

trying to mount the horse behind him; he would lie in the perpendicular as to form an acute angle with the wait behind a bush, spring out, and chase the ladies round liquid plain beneath them. This pagoda is a pure the garden ; and break all the sticks and umbrellas thất specimen of ancient Hindoo architecture; it is of were fourished round his nead; his pride sometimes great antiquity, and, from its position, now entirely seemed quelled when the more adventurous part of the deserted, for its floors are occupied by the waters of family swept him into the water with a broom, but it was the Ganges, and there seems to remain no record only for a moment, le rose more glorious from defeat, and

was in a fair way of becoming lord of the village. respecting it. No one appears to know when it was

The donkey looked out from his meadow in astonishbuilt, to whom it was dedicated, or why its founda- ment at the feats of his companion, but when reproached tions were laid in the waters of this sacred river, by the swan for his meanness of spirit, he sagaciously unless it were on account of their sanctity. It is shook his head, saying “ You will repent when too late ; surprising, that it has so long resisted the force of these are good patient people, but they will not bear it for

ever.” And so it proved; for, tired with the complaints of the current, which during the monsoons is uncommonly violent. It is singular to see boats continually the death of king swan, and that his fine white skin should

the whole neighbourhood, the master at last gave orders for passing in and out between its porticos, which now

be given to the ladies. Honest Jasper quaked a little at stand amid the waters of the sacred Ganges, at once this unexampled severity : “My friend's pride," quoth he, a venerable monument of the instability of human “has cost him dear; I must take warning, and show that grandeur, and the vanity of human endeavour to per he saw a neighbour's cows looking wistfully over the gate

I am no greedy tyrant over my meadow. The next day petuate, in stone or marble, enduring records of its

at his grass, which looked much better than their own skill, its industry, or its wealth.

because it was out of their reach: “Now is the time," In no part of Hindoostan, moreover, can one of the quoth Jasper, “ to show I have no pride :" so he pushed most beautiful of the native Festivals be seen to the gate open with his nose, and held it to invite the cows greater advantage than at Benares. The Duwāllee into the meadow; but their feast was soon interrupted ; is celebrated there with the greatest splendour ; and they were driven back with most inhospitable haste, and its magnificence is heightened by the situation of the

their entertainer was well beaten for his ill-timed politecity upon the bank of the river, and the singular his long melancholy ears,“ my master is a good man, but

ness. “Alas ! alas !" said the unfortunate Jasper, drooping outline of the buildings. The attraction of this there is no pleasing him; who would have thought of his annual festival consists in the illuminations. At the killing the swan for pride, and beating me for humility." close of evening, small chiraugs (earthen lamps), fed How often are we unjust to others from ignorance of with oil which produces a brilliant white light, are

their motives. placed as closely as possible together on every ledge of every building. Palace, temple, and tower, seem actually formed of stars. The city appears like the Ir was not without reason that the Greeks bestowed on creation of the fire-king, and the view from the water this study the title of “the learning:" it well deserves the affords the most superb and romantic spectacle ima- highest encomiums. Languages may become obsolete; ginable; a scene of fairy splendour far too brilliant systems of philosophy may spring up, flourish, fade, and for description. Europeans embark in boats to enjoy natural history, may, by future discoveries, be proved to be

be forgotten ; even what we are apt to account facts in the gorgeous pageant from the river; all the vessels fictions; but the truths of mathematics are unchangeable are lighted up, and the buildings in the distance, and indisputable. Time cannot alter them, scepticism covered with innumerable lamps, shine out in radiant cannot obscure them. It would be difficult to point out, in beauty. European illuminations, with their coloured the whole compass of human knowledge, one portion which lamps, their transparencies, their crowns and stars, discipline of the powers, as mathematics.

so much tends to the enlargement of the mind, and the and initial letters, appear with poor effect when com

It produces, in him who studies it thoroughly, a habit of pared with the chaste grandeur of the Indian mode : patient investigation-of calm and deliberate judgment. for the outlines of a whole city are clearly marked it accustoms the mind to distinguish between that which out in streams of fire, and the coruscations of light is true and that which is false. It takes nothing for shoot up into the dark-blue sky above, and tremble granted that can possibly be gainsaid. It ascends from in long undulations on the rippling waves beneath. truths, simple and easy of apprehension-truths that no man It is not an unpleasing part of this festival, that the range of human thought and human intellect; while every

in his senses will venture to impugn—to the highest Hindoo servants of an Anglo-Indian establishment step in the passage is as firmly fixed as the eternal rocks. are accustomed to offer little presents of sweetmeats

J. R.


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