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THE HINDOO FESTIVAL:
bowed neck of Gänida, with attendant Brahmins, and A SKETCH.
the umbrella and chowrie of sovereignty. All these
were carried on a vast platform raised far above the One of the greatest Hindoo festivals in the Carnatic heads of the crowd! A throng of officiating Brahmins, is held annually at Conjeveram. It is called the with their peculiar complexion and shaven crowns, Garudastavam, and celebrates the descent of the God closed the procession; and their chant, now loud and Vishnu upon earth. For ten suceessive days a small, nasal, now deep and musically so, reminded me strongly holy, and ancient image of the god is either borne in of the convents and cloisters of the far West. triumphal procession among his delighted followers, or But why does such a thoäght intrude ? Look round exposed to their adoring gaze in the courts of his on the dark multitude-mark their dress and orna. temple. For ten days the streets are thronged with ments ; look at those “round tires like the moon Brahmins and Fakirs, pilgrims from afar, and peasants the heads of the women-observe those fakirs, the one from the neighbourhood. Nothing is heard but the with the iron rods forced through his skin all festered frenzied shout of the exulting fanatic, or the song of and bloody, the other suspended from the branches of the merry idler, whom the season of holiday sets loose that tree, his head downwards and a fire under it, and from his wonted toil.
a third near him, his head buried under a heap of I chanced to be stationed within a few miles of Con- earth, and his naked and disgusting body protruded on jeveram at the period of this festival, in June, 1822, your path. Come here to the idol-maker's stall : what and I went over to enjoy the scene. It was at the will you carry back, poor travel-worn pilgrim, to your second hour after midnight that I mounted my horse, distant cottage ? Here are all your gods—all their and rode forth alone. There had been rain in the night; symbols—all the little vessels for sacrifice. Nay, I the moon was still up; and all around, and on my smile not on you in scorn, but in pity. path, whether tree or shrab, grass, or gravel-sand, or
"“Great God! I'd rather be pool of water, was glistening and silvery.
A Pagań, suckled in a creed outworn, My heart beat happily as I looked about me, and So might I, standing on some pleasant lee, though alone, I felt not lonely ; no, not even when the Have glimpses which might make me less forlorn;" moon set, and left me in darkness. The old world was than walk this world in name a Christian, but in heart present to my imagination ; I was on my way to gaze a sceptic. on a scene familiar to those nations whose history and We dined, a large party of us, with Mr. C. the acting fate are recorded in the sacred page of the Old Testa- collector and magistrate, on the evening of this day, at ment,—a scene only to be now viewed among the idola- his temporary bungalow in the town, and were sumtors of India.
moned 'from table soon after nine to meet the night As I approached the town, I entered upon
procession. The order of it was like that of the public road, and found numbers of native peasants in morning, but now Vishnú rode upon a gilt and glittergroups of families, with children in their arms, or on ing figure of Hanuman, the monkey-god. The platform their hips; or leading those who could run alone ; was lighted up, hundreds of the attendants were bear: some aged, and bending to their tall staves ; all press- ing torches,' and about fifty men carried large tresuls, ing on with a 'noiseless footfall, and that silent heart- whose trident heads were all flame. They were firing throbbing eagerness with which, in all countries, we off rockets on all sides, and just after we came out the hasten to a high place of public and solemn assembly. procession halted. A large space was cleared ; there
My guide led me to the choultry whither the proces- was a good shew of fire-works; and two immense cosion was to come, instead of to the gate of the pagoda, lossal figures of pasteboard, well dressed, and admirably whence it first issues ; so that I lost the moment when, managed, danced to the loudly-laughing crowds; and with the break of day, the doors of the temple are here, in the midst of this multitude, were a dozen of us thrown open, and the breathless multitude see and bow pale Europeans, a rajah and two of his sons, and a before their god, light the incense on their small cen- wealthy native merchant, seated on English arm-chairs. sors, and break and pour out the milk of their cocoa- I shall never forget the scene : I had feared that the nuts ; and send up those maddening cries with which moon would spoil the effect of the lights and fire-works, they hail the revered image; glorified, as they believe hut no ; there was much sulphureous blue in the fireit to be, by a present deity.
works, and the flaring blaze of the torches gave to the Directed by the sound of the tumult, and the hurried leaves of the tall cocoa trees, which line the streets, a movement of the crowds, I soon discovered the proces- metallic brilliancy; on many of them were clusters of sion, It was led by one of their wandering saints, a Indian boys'; every house-top, every broken wall, was hale old man, with a flowing white beard, robes of deep covered with groups, thronging as bees swarm, and a salmon colour, and a turban of the same, but high and dense moving mass filled the streets. I was much demithric in form. He brandished in his right hand a lighted with the picture ; yet I did at times look up to staff with an iron head, in shape like the sceptre of the blue cloudless vault of heaven, and to the golden Vishnu ; and he sang aloud, and danced with a wild stars, and, as I gazed upon the moon shining in calm rotatury motion.
majesty, the tumult of my spirits was reproved and Some twenty men followed, mounted on Brahminy repressed. bullocks, and beating tomtoms. Next four elephants We accompanied the procession to the Muntipum, with banners, and the nagara, or large royal drum. and saw the nautch girls dance before the god. They Long files of dancing girls, with joys and flowers in were none of them remarkable for beauty, but the dress, their shining hair, came after, linked hand in hand, and the measured step, and movement of the arms, and moving in measured eps to the music of the cannot be viewed with indifference by any one for whom temple. Thea' the image of the god, born on the historical or poetical associations have charms.
The next morning I saw the image of Vishnu borne with their small and insufficient portions of cold rice. on a huge coiled serpent of gilt metal, with a spreading They are not acknowledged, even by the Soodras; but hood, and seven heads of silver, over-arching and they wear the mark of Vishnu, class themselves among canopying the god, and it trembled as it moved.
his humble followers, have come up to the feast to worI afterwards rode home, but returned to witness the ship and make the offering of their little all; and will Rutt Jatra, The night before a curious ceremony takes now go home, and practise the most painful economy place; the Vishnavites carry their god on a huge gilt for a year to come. Now enter the courts of this elephant to insult the temple and the followers of Siva. temple ;-here is all feasting and smiles. These groups This has been customary for centuries, and was once a of sleek fat men are officiating Brahmins, who are parconstant cause of tumult and bloodshed.Now there is taking of an entertainment provided for them by that a particular pillar to which they may go: a servant of black Hindoo merchant, of the Byshe caste, with the Company is always present; and it ends, if not in diamonds in his ears, and cunning in his eyes, who has good humour, at least harmlessly. I saw this folly : come up from Madras for the occasion. their expression of contempt is not different from that Such is an Indian festival, pictorially sketched : it adopted by common consent into all pantomimes, whe- were a long, long comedy, if I attempted to carry my ther Dutch, Italian, or English. The god an the reader behind the scenes, among Shenitadars, Moonelephant turn their backs towards the front of Siva's shees, Peons, and the whole herd of petty oppressors ; temple, and are thrice propelled to the permitted point a comedy I say, but I mean it not unfeelingly; the with the shout and the gesture of insult ; some of the word tragedy I reserve for higher and more serious Vishnuvites appeared quite mad,-they leaped on each considerations; for can there be a deeper or more awful others shoulders, shook their large torches, and sang one, or one more afflicting to the heart of the believing defiance,
Christian, than to look upon these millions, feeding on It was at day-break on the following morning that I ashes, their deceived hearts turning them aside, holding saw the Rutt in motion, and certainly it is a sight for fast a lie in their right hands, and seeing not the cup of the traveller. The platform of this car or temple is astonishment and desolation prepared for them. five-and-thirty feet from the ground, and the tapestried canopy and its supporters and decorations five-andthirty feet higher. It is capable of containing twenty
THE DILEMMA. or thirty Brahmins; the whole is solid, strong, curi
BY J. B. CARPENTER, ESQ. AUTHOR OF “RANDOM ously carved, and heavy : the wheels are ten feet in
RHYMES ; OR LAYS OF LONDON. diameter, solid, and of enormous thickness. Four
“ Satire's my Weapon! ” cables, one hundred yards in length, are attached to it; and with shoulders under, or hands on these cables,
I had a fortune when he came
With coronetted brow, there are certainly not less than two thousand labourers
When first I learned to breathe his name engaged in drawing it along. On it moves, high above
(Not as I breathe it now,) the uplifted faces of the crowded worshippers ; these
I listen'd to his bland voice when press to come near, threw up (with money) an offering
He courted me in French; of cocoa-nuts; the attendant Brahmins break and pre
I thought he was an angel then,
But now-he's in the bench. sent them to the god, and cast them down again, thus consecrated, to the wretched, yet glad devotee, who
'Tis true papa did always say
If I would wed the man, shares them with the family he brought up to the feast,
He would vot e'en a shilling pay and with which he has to retrace the long and weary
When e'er our cares began; way to his native village.
But little did I think that I This Rutt is dragged through the principal streets,
Per furce-must thus retrench, and on its return, when it arrives within a hundred
Or thus have cause to “ sit and sigh"
Or be- get in the bench. yards of the spot where it is to be drawn up, there is a shout and a yell, the movement is more rapid, and
It was not that I cared to part
With fortune or with fame, fearfully it towers and totters along till its ponderous
And as we were about to start wheels are again bedded in their resting place.
To Rome-it overcame During the whole of this scene, numbers of young
My feelingsI could not do less Brahmins, armed with thongs of the deer, are leaping
Than faint-altho' the drench about in the crowd, striking now those who drag the
Completely spoiled my last silk dress
When D went to the bench. car, now those who press upon the path ; and you may observe wealthy and well-dressed men come and just
That horrid creature Mrs. Brown
Was present at the time; put their hand over to touch the rope, and claim the
And spread the news all over town, merit of having dragged the car. The women hold
As if it were a crime ; up their little children above their heads, and every
Oh! would she had been far away sigbt and sound speak tumultuous joy. But let us
Or else, drown'd in a trench,
There's many other lords can't pay, pause;—the crowds, are dispersing - Who are those
Who are not in the bench. twenty or thirty poor men, covered with sweat and
Our house--'twas not a large estate, dust, looking toil-worn and hungry, and now salaaming
Two carriages I own with fear to that stern Brahmin? They are village
Incurred expences-Lady Prate coolies, who were pressed and driven in to drag the car
More equipage has shewn, of Vishnu, the lowest of whose followers would spurn
I was determin'd to ontshine them from his path.
That forward upstart wench,
Alas! the conquest is not mine And here--come into this tope, and down to the edge
Lord D- is in the bench. of this tank ;-look at this group of poor families,
These creditors ! ob would that we
Ne'er dealt with such a set
Security for debt,
Is all that they can wrench
in the bench. My milliner-her bill I hear
Is fifteen hundred quite,
It serves her very right,
Nobility 'twill quench,
Lord D is in the bench.
His father is no more, (Thank heaven be is three score and ten)
We've pleasure yet in store, The vulgar herd !—the horrid set,
No more our cash shall clench, And then perhaps they will regret They put him in the bench.
“ And now the clock strikes twelve, and dinner leads everybody home. The children are returned from school; the tumult and the din begin again ; aud the young ones contrive to render the dinner as miserable as the breakfast. This dinner, however, is eaten in a handsome room, ornamented with mirrors, carpets, and so forth, but none of the thousand and one little pretti. nesses which constitute elegance and comfort. Everything is handsome and correct; and everything is heavy and gloomy. Its tenants know the wants of animal life, but little more : the dinner is good and abundant, but the conversation-nought.
“ The meal ended the dessert distributed among the children, peace is once more restored by their dismissal to school.
“ The lady then places herself at her window with her work, which she continues without interruption till she goes to vespers ; after which she gives the children their supper and puts them to bed ; then undresses herself, puts her hair into papillotes, says her prayers, and, while waiting the return of her spouse, amuses herself by chatting a little with the servants in the kitchen. A well-behaved husband is never later than nine : as soon as he appears, a substantial supper is served, and at ten the the whole house is in a state of profound repose.
“This life, with very few exceptions, is that of all the ladies of
“If their minds do not greatly improve by it, their plumpness and fresh complexions prove at least that it agrees well with their constitutions. What can they wish for more? Of what use would mind be to them? A Fleming marries in order to have a housekeeper who will not cheat him-his dinner punctually servedhis children kept clean and his stockings mended. He asks for nothing more, and is perfectly contented with this. They are happy. What more can be desired ?--nothing ; -excepting, perhaps, the not being obliged to witness a happiness so insupportable.”
Mrs. Trollope's Belgium.
JOURNAL OF A BELGIAN LADY,
(NOT OF THE CAPITAL.)
“She rises generally about seven o'clock, provided the children, who all sleep in her room, have permitted her to repose till so late an hour. Her toilet does not take long; a black petticoat being the only addition she makes to the cap and brown cotton wrapping-gown in which she sleeps. In this equipage, with one child in her arms, and half a dozen following her, she goes down to breakfast; which repast is often taken in the kitchen and lasts but a few moments, amidst cries and quarrelings for slices of bread and butter, and mugs of coffee.
“This trouble over, the lady commences the toilet of her little family; an operation which she always performs carefully and neatly, and the children are despatched to school.
“A general review of the mansion follows; and woe to the servants if any candle ends of the preceding night have been burned too low-if a single grain of dust be visible on the furniture, or a cup broken : for crimes of this cast ever become the subjects of most vehement reproach.
“At length the bell rings for mass; a morning dress, not peculiar for its elegance, succeeds to the first costume: a black cloak and hood is thrown over it; and, with a basket on her arm, she repairs to the church, and from thence to make bargains and execute her commissions.
“This period, the happiest of the day, is prolonged till dinner. In the course of her peregrination she meets her acquaintance, and the most innocent little gossipings take place. It is now that she learns how much Mrs. Such-ano-ne gave beyond what she ought for a turbot; and, consequently, how very bad a manager she must be : while on the other hand, Mrs. Some-body is so stingy that she stands half an hour higgling about green peas ;-Mrs. A. has given her maid warning ; Mrs. B. has a sick baby; and the Curé has made a visit at least half an hour long to Miss C. NO. XLIV.
When Man is waxing frail,
And his hand is thin and weak, And his lips are parched and pale,
And wap and white his cheek; Oh, then doth Woman prove Her constancy and love ! She sitteth by bis chair,
And holds his feeble hand;
His wants to understand;
She leads him, when the noon
Is bright o'er dale and hill, And all things, save the tune
of the honey bees, are still, Into the garden bowers, To sit 'midst herbs and flowers. And when he goes not there,
To feast on breath and bloom She brings the posy rare
Into his darkened room ; And 'neath his weary head, The pillow smooth doth spread.
BY MRS. OPIE.
Until the hoor when death
This was a pleasant expectation, and Birtha eagerly His lamp of life doth dim,
prepared to fulfil it.
By the time that Birtha was beginning to believe
that William was on his voyage home, her neighbours She meets his eye alway.
would often help her to count the days which would
probably elapse before the ship could arrive; but, And when his trial's o'er, And tbe tarf is on his breast,
when they were not in her presence, some of the exDeep in her bosom's core
perienced amongst the men used to express a hope the Lie sorrows upexprest;
result of fear, that William would return time enough Her tears, her sighs are weak,
to avoid certain winds which made one part of the naHer settled grief to speak.
vigation on that coast particalarly dangerous. Birtha And though there may arise
herself had, no doubt, her fears, as well as her hopes ; Balm for her spirit's pain
but there are some fears which the lip of affection dares And thongh her quiet eyes May sometimes smile again,
not utter, and this was one of them, She dreaded to Still, still she must regret,
have her inquiries respecting that dangerous passage She never can forget!
answered by “ Yes, we know that it is a difficult naviFrom “ A Birth-day Gift” gation;” she also dreaded to be told, by some kind
but ill-judging friends, to “trust in Providence;" as,
by such advice, the reality of the danger would be still THE LAST VOYAGE.
more powerfully confirmed to her. This recommendation
would to her have been needless, as well as alarming; (From “ The Amulet.”)
for she had, doubtless, always relied on Him who is
alone able to save, and she knew that the same “ AlWe eannot fail to observe, as we advance in life, how mighty arm was underneath" her lover still, which had vividly our earliest recollections recur to us, and this hitherto preserved him in the time of need. conciousness is accompanied by a melancholy pleasure, Well-time went on, and we will imagine the little when we are deprived of those who are most tenderly garden before the door of the house which Birtha had associated with such remembrances, because they bring hired, new-gravelled, fresh flowers sown and planted the beloved dead before the “mind's eye,” and beguile there; the curtains ready to be put up; the shelves the loneliness of the present hour by visions of the bright with polished utensils ; table linen, white as the past. In such visions 1 now often wish to indulge ; driven snow, enclosed in the newly-purchased chest of and, in one of them, a journey to Y-- was recently drawers; and the neat well-chosen wedding clothes brought before me, in which my ever-indulgent father ready for the approaching occasion ; we will also picture permitted me to accompany him, when I was yet a to ourselves the trembling joy of Birtha, when her child. As we drove through a neighbouring village, eager and sympathising neighbours rushed into her he directed my attention to a remarkable rising, or co- cottage, disturbing her early breakfast, with the glad nical mount, on the top of the church tower. He then tidings, that William's ship had been seen approaching kindly explained the cause of this singular and dis- the dangerous passage with a fair wind, and that there tinguishing appearance, and told me the traditional was no doubt of his going through it safe, and in dayanecdote connected with it; which now, in my own light! How sweet it is to be the messenger and bearer words, I am going to communicate to my readers. of good news, but it is still sweeter to know that one
It is generally supposed, that great grief makes the has friends who have pleasure in communicating pleaheart so selfishly absorbed in its own sufferings, as to sure to us. render it regardless of the sufferings of others; but the Birtha's joy, however, was still mingled with anxiety, conduct of her, who is the heroine of the following tale, and she probably passed that day in alternate restlesswill prove to this general rule an honourable exception. ness and prayer. Towards night the wind rose high,
I know nothing of her birth and parentage, nor am blowing from a quarter unfavourable to the safety of I acquainted even with her name; but I shall call her the ship, and it continued to blow in this direction when Birtha. The story goes, that she lived at a village in night and darkness closed on all around. Darkness at Norfolk, and was betrothed to the mate of a trading that moment seemed to close upon the prospects of Birvessel, with the expectation of marrying him when he tha; for she knew that there was no beacon, no landhad gained money sufficient, by repeated voyages, to mark to warn the vessel of its danger, and inform the make their union consistent with prudence.
pilot what coast they were approaching, and what perils In the mean while, there is reason to believe that they were to avoid ; and it is probable that the almost Birtha was not idle, but contrived to earn money her. despairing girl was, with her anxious friends, that liveself, in order to expedite the hour of her marriage ; and, long night a restless wanderer on the nearest shore. at length, her lover (whom I shall call William) thought With the return of morniug came the awful confirthat there was no reason for him to continue his sea. mation of their worst fears. There was no remaining faring life, but that, at the end of one voyage more, vestige of William's vessel, save the top of the mast, he should be able to marry the woman of his choice, which showed where it had sunk beneath the waves, and engage in some less dangerous employment, in his and proved that the hearts which in the morning had native village. Accordingly, the next time that he throbbed high with tender hopes and joyful expectabade farewell to Birtha, the sorrow of their parting tions, were then cold “beneath the mighty waters! hour was soothed by William's declaring, that, as the How different now was the scene in Birtha's cottage, next voyage would be his last, he should expect, on his from that which it exhibited on the preceding morning. return, to find every thing ready for their marriage. That changed dwelling was not, indeed, deserted, for
shipwreck and affliction. Nor was her belief a delu. sive one. The conical grave in question gives so remarkable an appearance to the tower of C-r church, when it is seen at sea, even at a distance, that if once observed it can never be forgotten, even by those to whom the anecdote connected with it is unknowntherefore, as soon as it appears in sight, pilots know that they are approaching a dangerous coast, and take measures to avoid its perils. But, if the navigation on that coast is no longer as perilous as it was when the heroine of this story was buried, and the tower of C--r church is no longer a necessary land-mark, still her grave remains a pleasing memorial of one, whose active benevolence rose superior to the selfishness both of sorrow and of sickness, and enabled her, even on the bed of death, to contrive and will for the benefit of posterity.
sympathising neighbours came to it as before; but, though many may be admitted with readiness when it is a time for congratulation, only the few can be wel. come in a season of sorrow ;
and Birtha's sorrow, though quiet was deep ;-while neither her nearest relative, nor dearest friend, could do anything to assist her, except by removing from her sight the new furniture, or the new dresses, which had been prepared for those happy hours'that now could never be her's.
At length, however, Birtha, who had always appeared calm and resigned, seemed cheerful also : still she remained pale, as in the first moments of her trial, save when a feverish flush occasionally increased the brightness of her eyes ; but she became thinner and thinner, and her impeded breath made her affectionate friends suspect that she was going into a rapid decline. Medi. cal aid was immediately called in, and her own conviction that her end was near, was soon confirmed to her at her own request.
It is afflicting to see an invalid rejoice in knowing that the hour of death is certainly approaching, because it proves the depth and poignancy of the previous sufferings; but then the sight is comforting and edifying also. It is comforting because it proves that the dying person is supported by the only “help that faileth not;” and it is edifying, because it invites those who behold it to endeavour to believe that they also may live and die like the departing Christian. But it was not alone the wish “ to die and be with Christ," nor the sweet expectation of being united in another world to him whom she had lost, that was the cause of Birtha's increasing cheerfulness, as the hour of her dissolution drew nigh. No! Her generous heart was rejoicing in a project which she had conceived, and which would, if realized, be the source of benefit to numbers yet unborn. She knew, from authority which she could not doubt, that had there been a proper landmark on the shore, her lover and his ship would not, in all human probability, have perished.
“Then,” said Birtha, “ henceforth there shall be a land-mark on this coast, and I will furnish it. Here, at least, no fond and faithful girl shall again have to lament over her blighted prospects, and pine and suffer as I have done."-She sent immediately for the clergyman of the parish, made her will, and had a clause inserted to the following effect.
“I desire that I may be buried on the top of the tower of C--r church, and that my grave may be made very high and pointed, in order to render it a perpetual land-mark to all ships approaching that dangerous navigation where he whom I loved was wrecked. I am assured, that had there been a land-mark on the tower of the church, his ship might have escaped: and I humbly trust, that my grave will always be kept up, according to my will, to prevent affectionate hearts, in future, from being afflicted as mine has been; and I leave a portion of my little property in the hands of trustees, for ever, to pay for the preservation of the above-mentioned grave, in all its usefulness!"
Before she died, the judicious and benevolent sufferer had the satisfaction of being assured that her intentions would be carried into effect. Her last muments were therefore cheered by the belief, that she would be graciously permitted to be, even after death, a benefit to others, and that her grave might be the means of preserving some of her fellow creatures from
The sculptor'd marble form
Had more of life than we possess’d, Save that there was a storm
Of passions, warring in each breast!
"He grasp'd my hand, 'twas chill,
And his was pale, and deadly cold ; I felt its pressure thrill
Like thoughts whose pow'er can ne'er be tola:
. Thoughts passionate, intense,
Yet full of woe, despair, and doom, Which cheat the poet's sense,
And carve for him an early tomb.
"We lov'd as few have lov'd;
All feelings in our breast that grew, All hopes and fears that mov'd
Each other's soul-each other knew.
. And yet we madly deem'd
It was but friendship's tranqnil ray, Which in onr bosoms beam'd,
And Aung its radiance o'er our way.
• But we were told to part ;
The hour which brought the dark decree Tore from each trusting heart
The veil of calm security.
• To part! that fatal word
Hath echoes mournful as the knell, When first its peal is beard,
For one we worshipp'd long-and well.
• To part! the word is drear,
As sounds the gasping cry of life, Upon the startled ear,
From ont the waters 'whelming strife,
"We parted—and we bore
Abroad a brow of spiles and glee, Tþough our bearts' inmost core
Was cadkering with misery.