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TWENTY-ONE DAYS IN INDIA

Or, The Tour Of Sir Ali Baba K.C.B.

and THE TEAPOT SERIES

by

GEORGE R. ABERIGH-MACKAY
Sometime Principal of the Rajkumar College Indore

Ninth Edition with New Illustrations and Elucidations

1914







[Illustration: THE TRAVELLING M.P.--"The British Lion rampant."]




PUBLISHERS' PREFACE


In this edition it has been considered advisable to reproduce,
verbatim, only the "Twenty-one Days" as originally published in
_Vanity Fair_, the additional series of six included in several
editions of the book issued after the Author's death being omitted.

The twenty-one papers in question have been supplemented by
contributions to _The Bombay Gazette_, which appeared in that daily
newspaper during the whole of the year 1880, the year before the
Author's death, under the _nom de plume_ of "Our Political Orphan;"
and the Publishers beg to tender their best thanks to the proprietors
of that newspaper for the permission thus generously accorded for
their present reproduction.

In carrying out the work of revision many passages previously omitted
have been restored to the text. To render such readily apparent to the
reader, they have in every case been enclosed in [] brackets.

A new series of illustrations has been specially prepared for this
edition by Mr. George Darby of Calcutta, and the Publishers venture to
think he has succeeded in a marked degree in embodying in his sketches
the spirit of the Author's subjects.

In conclusion it has been the aim of the Publishers to render this new
edition of a great work by a very gifted writer as perfect as possible
and worthy of acceptance as a standard Anglo-Indian classic.

LONDON

September, 1910.




CONTENTS


PREFACE

I. WITH THE VICEROY

II. THE A.-D.-C.-IN-WAITING, AN ARRANGEMENT IN SCARLET AND GOLD

III. WITH THE COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF

IV. WITH THE ARCHDEACON, A MAN OF BOTH WORLDS

V. WITH THE SECRETARY TO GOVERNMENT

VI. H.E. THE BENGALI BABOO

VII. WITH THE RAJA

VIII. WITH THE POLITICAL AGENT, A MAN IN BUCKRAM

IX. WITH THE COLLECTOR

X. BABY IN PARTIBUS

XI. THE RED CHUPRASSIE; OR, THE CORRUPT LICTOR

XII. THE PLANTER; A FARMER PRINCE

XIII. THE EURASIAN; A STUDY IN CHIARO-OSCURO

XIV. THE VILLAGER

XV. THE OLD COLONEL

XVI. THE CIVIL SURGEON

XVII. THE SHIKARRY

XVIII. THE GRASS-WIDOW IN NEPHELOCOCCYGIA

XIX. THE TRAVELLING M.P., THE BRITISH LION RAMPANT

XX. MEM-SAHIB

XXI. ALI BABA ALONE; THE LAST DAY

* * * * *

EXTRACTS FROM "SERIOUS REFLECTIONS AND OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS"

BY "OUR POLITICAL ORPHAN"

_Bombay Gazette Press_, 1881.




THE TEAPOT SERIES:

SOCIAL DISSECTION

SAHIB

THE GRYPHON'S ANABASIS

THE ORPHAN'S GOOD RESOLUTIONS

SOME OCCULT PHENOMENA

* * * * *

ELUCIDATIONS


LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS:

THE TRAVELLING M.P.

THE A.D.C. IN WAITING

THE ARCHDEACON

THE BENGALI BABOO

THE POLITICAL AGENT

THE RED CHUPRASSIE

THE PLANTER

THE EURASIAN

THE OLD COLONEL

THE GRASS-WIDOW




No. I



WITH THE VICEROY


[August 2, 1879.]

It is certainly a little intoxicating to spend a day with the Great
Ornamental. You do not see much of him perhaps; but he is a Presence
to be felt, something floating loosely about in wide epicene
pantaloons and flying skirts, diffusing as he passes the fragrance of
smile and pleasantry and cigarette. The air around him is laden with
honeyed murmurs; gracious whispers play about the twitching bewitching
corners of his delicious mouth. He calls everything by "soft names in
many a mused rhyme." Deficits, Public Works, and Cotton Duties are
transmuted by the alchemy of his gaiety into sunshine and songs. An
office-box on his writing-table an office-box is to him, and it is
something more: it holds cigarettes. No one knows what sweet thoughts
are his as Chloe flutters through the room, blushful and startled, or
as a fresh beaker full of the warm South glows between his amorous eye
and the sun.

"I have never known
Praise of love or wine
That panted forth a flood of twaddle so divine."

I never tire of looking at a Viceroy. He is a being so heterogeneous
from us! He is the centre of a world with which he has no affinity. He
is a veiled prophet. [He wears many veils indeed.] He who is the axis
of India, the centre round which the Empire rotates, is absolutely and
necessarily withdrawn from all knowledge of India. He lisps no
syllable of any Indian tongue; no race or caste, or mode of Indian
life is known to him; all our delightful provinces of the sun that lie
off the railway are to him an undiscovered country; Ghebers, Moslems,
Hindoos blend together in one indistinguishable dark mass before his
eye, [in which the cataract of English indifference has not been
couched; most delightful of all--he knows not the traditions of
Anglo-India, and he does not belong to the Bandicoot Club, St. James's
Square!]

A Nawab, whom the Foreign Office once farmed out to me, often used to
ask what the use of a Viceroy was. I do not believe that he meant to
be profane. The question would again and again recur to his mind, and
find itself on his lips. I always replied with the counter question,
"What is the use of India?" He never would see--the Oriental mind does
not see these things--that the chief end and object of India was the
Viceroy; that, in fact, India was the plant and the Viceroy the
flower.

I have often thought of writing a hymn on the Beauty of Viceroys; and
have repeatedly attuned my mind to the subject; but my inability to
express myself in figurative language, and my total ignorance of
everything pertaining to metre, rhythm, and rhyme, make me rather
hesitate to employ verse. Certainly, the subject is inviting, and I am
surprised that no singer has arisen. How can any one view the
Viceroyal halo of scarlet domestics, with all the bravery of coronets,
supporters, and shields in golden embroidery and lace, without
emotion! How can the tons of gold and silver plate that once belonged
to John Company, Bahadur, and that now repose on the groaning board of
the Great Ornamental, amid a glory of Himalayan flowers, or blossoms
from Eden's fields of asphodel, be reflected upon the eye's retina
without producing positive thrills and vibrations of joy (that cannot
be measured in terms of _ohm_ or _farad_) shooting up and down the
spinal cord and into the most hidden seats of pleasure! I certainly
can never see the luxurious bloom of the silver sticks arranged in
careless groups about the vast portals without a feeling approaching
to awe and worship, and a tendency to fling small coin about with a
fine mediŠval profusion. I certainly can never drain those profound
golden cauldrons seething with champagne without a tendency to break
into loud expressions of the inward music and conviviality that simmer
in my soul. Salutes of cannon, galloping escorts, processions of
landaus, beautiful teams of English horses, trains of private saloon
carriages (cooled with water trickling over sweet jungle grasses)
streaming through the sunny land, expectant crowds of beauty with
hungry eyes making a delirious welcome at every stage, the whole
country blooming into dance and banquet and fresh girls at every step
taken--these form the fair guerdon that stirs my breast at certain
moments and makes me often resolve, after dinner, "to scorn delights
and live laborious days," and sell my beautiful soul, illuminated with
art and poetry, to the devil of Industry, with reversion to Sir John
Strachey.

How mysterious and delicious are the cool penetralia of the Viceregal
Office! It is the censorium of the Empire; it is the seat of thought;
it is the abode of moral responsibility! What battles, what famines,
what excursions of pleasure, what banquets and pageants, what concepts
of change have sprung into life here! Every pigeon-hole contains a
potential revolution; every office-box cradles the embryo of a war or
dearth. What shocks and vibrations, what deadly thrills does this
little thunder-cloud office transmit to far-away provinces lying
beyond rising and setting suns! Ah! Vanity, these are pleasant
lodgings for five years, let who may turn the kaleidoscope after us.

A little errant knight of the press who has just arrived on the
Delectable Mountains, comes rushing in, looks over my shoulder, and
says, "A deuced expensive thing a Viceroy." This little errant knight
would take the thunder at a quarter of the price, and keep the Empire
paralytic with change and fear of change as if the great
Thirty-thousand-pounder himself were on Olympus.--ALI BABA.




No. II



THE A.D.C.-IN-WAITING


AN ARRANGEMENT IN SCARLET AND GOLD



[Illustration: THE A.D.C.-IN WAITING--"An arrangement in scarlet and
gold."]



[August 9, 1879.]

The tone of the A.D.C. is subdued. He stands in doorways and strokes
his moustache. He nods sadly to you as you pass. He is preoccupied
with--himself, [some suppose; others aver his office.] He has a
motherly whisper for Secretaries and Members of Council. His way with
ladies is sisterly--undemonstratively affectionate. He tows up rajas
to H.E., and stands in the offing. His attitude towards rajas is one
of melancholy reserve. He will perform the prescribed observances, if
he cannot approve of them. Indeed, generally, he disapproves of the
Indian people, though he condones their existence. For a brother in
aiguillettes there is a Masonic smile and a half-embarrassed
familiarity, as if found out in acting his part. But confidence is
soon restored with melancholy glances around, and profane persons who
may be standing about move uneasily away.

An A.D.C. should have no tastes. He is merged in "the house." He must
dance and ride admirably; he ought to shoot; he may sing and paint in
water-colours, or botanise a little, and the faintest aroma of the
most volatile literature will do him no harm; but he cannot be allowed
preferences.



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