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Tent Life in Tigerland
Chapter VIII - Old Times


The old well—The Fakeer—A pious old hermit —Jo'jtes—Pagan cruelties —Peter the braggart—Soured by bad luck—Scotch Hindostanee—Peter pot valiant—His "teeger" story—An ignominious collapse—The real truth of the matter—The "Blue Devils"—Practical joking—The rough pioneer days—Police tortures — "Old Hulman Sahib"—A novel punishment—The old regime changed—Modern progress.

After the death of the man-eater, described in my last chapter, and the unlucky accident to the Hetnee, we adjourned to the tents for bath and dinner. Our camp had been pitched in a very ancient and decidedly picturesque grove of tall mango trees. These were of an immense height, gnarled, knotted, and twisted. Scattered round the, grove lay ruined heaps of carved masonry, evidences of former grandeur, and the site had evidently been that of one of the rude baronial fortresses in the times when the power of the Great Mogul had scarcely penetrated to these remote, border tracts, near the great barrier line of the gloomy Tend. In one corner of the square enclosure, which was of considerable extent, yet stood a fine old -well, constructed of solid masonry. Two uprights of hard sal wood supported a cross-beam, in the centre of which was a sort of a revolving drum windlass, with a stout rope rove round it, and from its grazed and worn appearance it was evident the villagers still used the well, as their forefathers for many generations had doubtless done before them. Beautiful ferns and mosses clung to its dank walls, draping it with a living tapestry of green, and overhead a fine old fig-tree, with numberless tendrils and rootlets hanging pendant and swaying with every breath of wind, spread a welcome shade over the cool deep well, and formed a most pleasant covert from the fierce heat outside.

At another comer of the enclosure was a ruinous village temple, with a great stately tamarind tree rising behind it, and in a hollow in the mound forming the angle of the earthwork, embankment, or entrenchment, an anchorite had taken up his abode. He was a Fakeer, as they are called—men dedicated to some particular saint or god. Not unlike the mediaeval mendicant monk, vowed to poverty, given to fasting, mortification of the flesh, penances and contemplation, but very frequently the biggest rascals and greatest hypocrites one could come across. Many of them are very fanatical. The Mussulman fakeers are especially so. But the Hindoo jogee is ordinarily a broken-down old party, who has tired of the world, and, eschewing its pomps and vanities, betakes him to some solitary retired spot, and there in calm contemplation, prayer, penance, and pious meditation, strives, poor Pagan, after his lights, to have communings with the great unknown, to draw nearer and nearer to the Deity, to have spiritual communion with the invisible. "Who shall blame them? Poor withered old hulks many of them. I have often pitied them. For the screaming, abusive zealot or bigot who would greet you with a scowl of hatred, and ban you with curses if your shadow came between him and the sun, I never felt anything but a fierce reciprocation of his heathenish contempt and hate. Put with many of the sylvan old hermits, placable, patient, resigned, mild-eyed patriarchs, I have often held long conversations, and have found really good, pious desires and patient endurance underlying the unprepossessing exterior. The jogee generally has his withered body daubed over with ashes and white and red clay. His long hempen-looking hair is matted and twisted into a great unsightly-looking coil round his head.

Only a small tattered rag surrounds his waist. That is all his clothing. He carries a tong-like iron instrument with which to extract a live coal from the fires of the villagers, a sign that he claims hospitality. He may often, too, have a worn-out old tiger skin and a rude drum or stringed instrument as travelling impedimenta.

Many of the biggest rascals and thieves of the country adopt the costume and wandering habits of the jogee for the purpose of plying their nefarious occupations. And indeed it is not only among our Pagan Hindoo brethren that we see rascality assuming the cloak of sanctity, and the devourer of the widows' and orphans' portions taking covert under the garb of religion. Not a few, however, of those Hindoo friars and hermits are really good, inoffensive, pious old fellows; and our old hermit here, close to our camp, was of the better of his class.

His story, as he related it to us before our tent, was an apt commentary on the care and trouble of life, and a practical illustration of the common ills that haunt the lives of the village dweller in these wild secluded tracts of country.

His name was Petumber. He did not say of what caste he was, but noticing the triple cord around Ins wasted shoulders, I set him down for a Brahmin or a Rajpoot. His father had been a rich man, owning a large extent of land in Chupra, near the big Gunduck, and had owned boats on the river, and was a man of substance. After his father's death, Petumber's evil luck seemed to have commenced. Bad season followed bad season. One after another the boats were lost on the river. He became involved in a lawsuit with Ins elder brother, and at the end of ten years he found himself a ruined man. Then he migrated down to rurneah, which was his wife's country, and here for a time he had struggled against ever accumulating misfortune. One of his sons (his eldest, a fine promising young man) had been devoured by a tiger. Two had been drowned in the floods. His wife and several of his young children had been smitten down with cholera. His story was a true one. Surely here was a sad life. Surely here was a modern Job. Was the old man querulous, discontented, bitter? "What a lesson he taught us. Never a murmur escaped his lips when we asked him, Had he much afsos (grief)? "Was not his life a burden to him? Did he not consider he had had evil fortune? His reply was but this—

"Hum kya kuree. Khoda ka haat me hai. What matter? What can I do? I am in God's hands."

Poor old hermit! Here was simple faith. His only creed, "whatever God wills is best."

And so he had become an ascetic. He had adopted the jogees' garb. The charity of the villagers supplied his simple wants. He was quite contented, and ready to go when he was called; as he expressed it—

"Jub wvkht awe
Tub hum jawe.'

"When my time conies, I am ready to depart."

Very few speculations troubled the poor old fellow. 'Twas the simple primal belief in destiny. Kismut—What is, is; and what shall be, shall be. Withal, he was a cheerful, resigned, contented, old anchorite, and he seemingly commanded the most unfeigned respect of the villagers.

Some of these old Jogees are found attached to nearly every shrine in India. I have come across them in the most secluded and out-of-the-way nooks. They may be found in the heart of the gloomiest, densest jungle; their only living neighbours being hyenas, tigers, and other wild animals. I have heard innumerable stories of their familiarity with and contempt of danger from wild beasts, and the most improbable and apocryphal relations of their encounters, single-handed, with tigers and demons; and I knew of one case, near Jynugger, where one old fakeer was known to share his den in the woods, near an old temple, with a full-grown young tiger.

Of course he had tamed and trained the beast from its youth up, but the popular superstition and love of the marvellous invested the Jynugger Jogee with all sorts of supernatural attributes; and when the final catastrophe did come, it was believed all over the country side that the sainted man had gone to Asman (heaven) much in the same way as the prophet of old—in a chariot of fire, to wit; the real finish being that the tiger he had nurtured and tended, with a not uncommon ingratitude, had turned against the hand that fed it, and devoured its benefactor.

Such tragedies are not uncommon in these wild frontier districts. They are a long, long weary way yet from the fulness of the light. The dark clouds of superstition, ignorance, and horrid cruelty still obscure the light and battle with the dawn. Were I to detail some of the scenes of awful cruelty and heathenish horror that have come under my own observation, I would not be believed. I have seen poor mutilated women often in the Nepaul villages terribly scarred and disfigured, simply from a jealous outburst of devilish rage on the part of a brutal husband. I have known of many case of infanticide—fair infants cruelly done to death at the bidding of a fiendish heathen custom. Further on I may detail some of the inhuman cruelties practised by the police and the torturings by petty officials. In these dark regions, the most direful tragedies are enacted even now under the name of religion. At the present day, even while I write, witches are being stoned and beaten in hundreds of villages; offerings are being made to demons; and abominations are being perpetrated, before the very conception of which the soul shudders and the heart turns sick, mostly, it is true, in native states and remote parts of the country where English officials are rarely seen.

And yet we have men who go into ecstacies over the purity and intellectual culture of the Hindoo faith, and also sneer at the religion of Jesus and the efforts of Christian men to dissipate the darkness.

There's nothing so easy in the world as to sneer. A sneer is the devil's favourite weapon. Men who sneer at all missionary effort are generally men who are utterly incapable of comprehending the missionary spirit. God knows, much missionary effort is misdirected, much zeal is frittered away, and much cause is given to the enemy to rejoice; but every one who has seen the patient, self-denying lives of the true Christian missionaries, as I have oft-times seen them, cannot but feel that in the vital religion of these men—the religion of love—the gospel message of peace and pardon from God to man—lies the only lever that will raise the sunken, degraded humanity of the heathen, and place it again on a level with the image of the Divine nature in which it was created.

But I may be accused of preaching; so let me hasten back to my sporting journal.

In the evening, our ranks were strengthened by the arrival of a neighbour of mine, whom I had only met a few times, but whose eccentricities were known to all of us.

Peter Macgilivray, as I will call him, was a real original. In the way of boasting, he was a very Bottom the weaver, and outrivalled Munchausen in the variety and marvellous nature of his achievements. He was of Highland origin, and when the barley-bree had thawed his icy Highland pride, he was wont to discourse to us about his ancestral glories and the ancient state of his "fowk," as he called his warlike and noble progenitors. A shrewd suspicion was indeed extant that Peter's birthplace was in a classic alley off the Gallowgate of Glasgow, where his father sold salt fish, tarry ropes, and whiskey; but Peter bragged enough for any twenty Highland chieftains, and had a thirst for whiskey in quite a proportionate ratio,—that is to say, if it were supplied at any one else's expense out his own.

Poor Peter! he was a queer mixture of kindliness and meanness, of braggadocio and good-heartedness. In very truth, bad luck had soured his temper; and even if he had the will to be generous, he had not the wherewithal. He had a miserable factory on the right bank of the river, some four miles from my outwork of Fusseah, and the whole of his ilaka—that is, the country under his jurisdiction or in his occupation—-was subject to destructive floods. Year after year, poor Peter sowed in hope, and year after year his hopes were regularly swept away by the greedy and implacable river. The rents from his rice villages and a few vats of indigo from the higher lands, just sufficed to keep him from being entirely swamped himself; but he was continually in difficulties—had the greatest trouble every year in getting his agents to grant him an outlay, and carry him on; and the consequence was that Peter was kept very close, to his factory, seldom mixed with any of his fellow-planters, and in fact lived very much like a native.

My first introduction to Peter had been one night shortly after my arrival in the district, when I got belated in the jungles and claimed hospitality at Hanoomannugger for the night. Peter had made me as comfortable as his circumstances permitted, and on several occasions subsequently, having a mutual interest in the lands and rents of one or two villages lying between his ilaka and mine, we had been brought into contact.

At Joe's suggestion I had written to Peter, asking him over to dinner. He was well known to us all by repute, and we speedily made him at his ease.

At first, like all men who lead retired solitary lives and come little into contact with their fellow-men, Peter was inordinately shy; but after he had swallowed a few "pegs," with which George plied him, his bashfulness began to disappear, and Peter bade fair to shine as a conversationalist. He spoke with a strong Highland accent, and his Hindostanee was flavoured with the very same pronounced Doric twang. Strange this pertinacious adherence to the broad vowel sound, which proclaims the countrymen of Burns, no matter where you may meet them or under what circumstances! The broad Scotch twang sticks to the kindly Scot, as the flavour of the peat reek clings to his whiskey, disguise it as you may with cloves, lemons, or any other vehicle whatever.

Peter, for instance, never spoke of tigers as tigers, but always as "teegurs." George had but the night previous been telling us a great "teegur" adventure in which Peter had figured not altogether as a hero, and both George and Mac were now leading diplomatically up to the subject, and were, vulgarly speaking, "stringing Peter on for a yarn."

Peter, under the influence of the whiskey, was thawing rapidly. The thicker his speech became, the more fearfully he rolled his r's, and his great broad face was now looming through the thick clouds of his tobacco smoke like a full moon in a fog.

"Aye, Georrge!" he was saying. "That was a michty kittle customer, thon teeger 'at we shot thegither."

"Hilloh, Peter! what was thatI" we all shouted. "What's that about shooting a tiger?"

"Shoot a teeger? " hiccupped Peter, now quite pot valiant. "Man, I wad think no more of shooting a teeger than I wad think of shooting black game. Teegers, hoof!" Here Peter snorted in his contempt of such small game, and nearly rolled off his chair.

"Teegers!" snapping his fingers. "I wad na gie that for ony teeger that ever was whalped. Why, man, I lief shooted them on foot and on horseback; aye, and hef foucht with them hand to hand too, mirover, as my goot freen Chorge here can tell you."

Here Joe took occasion to replenish Peter's tumbler, and hint to him that a narration of a tiger story would not he unwelcome to the "fellows," meaning Butty, Hudson, and myself.

"Weell you see, Mowrie" (he twisted round my name till I thought he would have broken his jaw), "there was wan nicht 'at George and old Mac there cam' up to my hoose, and there had been great cracking aboot a teeger that was pelieved to pe among the bamboos close to the bungalow, and I pelieve myself they were poth afraid to stay ootbye in the tents, and would rather pe with me in the hoose. But you will hear."

It would be impossible to do justice to the mingled cunning and drollery of Peter during this narrative. He seemed dimly conscious that the whiskey had shown somewhat of its potency, and at times a suspicion that we might be laughing at him would flash across his mind. He would pull up in the middle of a sentence in the most ludicrous manner, purse his lips, knit his brows, and look with superhuman gravity and fierceness at his tumbler—then the current of his recollections would resume its flow; he would chuckle, hiccup, smile blandly, albeit somewhat vacantly, and as he warmed to his story he acted out the incidents, and got quite excited and not a little muddy in the speech, while he rattled his r's and intensified his vowel sounds most energetically. It was indeed a comical sight I cannot pretend to do aught than very tamely transcribe the gist of the narration. The reader will see how Peter's imagination got fired up as he began to picture to himself the scene he was describing.

"It wass geyan late at nicht when they cam to the door, an' I was in my pyjamas, and not expecting nopody at all; put of course I wass glad to see them—fery glad inteet! So I cried oot to my pearer, ' Poy, priug pen the whiskey!' and he procht it pen. It wass the fery finest whiskey ever you tasted. Deed was't."

Now this was a fiction of the wildest sort on Peter's part. Poor devil, we knew he had not had a Lottie of grog, except perhaps native toddy, inside the four walls of his bungalow for years, and the idea of Peter shouting forth in a lordly manner for unlimited whiskey, as if the contents of his cellar were unbounded, was whimsical enough.

However, he pursued his narration.

"I can stand whiskey. I hef been used to whiskey efer since I was that big" (holding two very unsteady hands slightly apart from each other). "I mind at my father's hoose that the fery dogs coidd drink whiskey if they wanted it. My father was——"

"But the tiger, Peter?"

"Oo, aye, the teeger. As I was sayin', there was a terrible teeger there that nicht, and when we wass all trinking at the whiskey—och, it was fine whiskey. My father was the fery finest chudge of whiskey in all the Hielants."

"But about the tiger, Peter?" again suggested Pat.

"Cot pless me, man, I'm comin' to the teeger" (hiccup), said Peter. "As I was sayin', the teeger came roaring up to the door, and Chorge and Mac were poth in a terrible fright. "What with the fright and (hiccup) the whiskey together, they were not worth a farden."

"Did the brute actually charge at the door?" asked Butty.

"Charrrge! Charrrrge!" scornfully retorted Peter. "I tell you, man, it was enough to knock the house down. You could have heard the roaring and the noise and the growling for ten miles, aye, for twentee miles. There was Chorge on the top of the almirah, and Mac trying to get up on the punk all."

"But what did you do?"

"What tid I do? What would any Hielant clientleman do? I took down my gun, and I opened the door, wide open, and there wass—what do you think? not wan teeger (hiccup), hut two teegers, and they poth sprang clean upon me, hut I put a pall through the prain of one, and kilt him tead on the spot."

"And what did you do with the other, Peter?" we asked.

"Wis the ozer," hiccupped Peter, now very drunk, "I knocked his prains out too."

"What, with another barrel? "

"Anoyer bar'rl—no, wis my fist."

"Hooch, man," continued Peter, waxing quite eloquent and excited, "I haf shot more, teegers than you efer saw in your life. I can shoot teegers efery night I like from my verandah." And then he began to get very indistinct indeed. We could catch something about his father shooting teegers, and the teegers and whiskey and his father got terribly mixed, and just then in marched Peter's old bearer with a look of great disgust on his face. The old man walked up to his havering master, gave him a tremendous shaking, and upbraided him in no measured terms for making a beast of himself, and so the poor old tiger-slayer was ignominiously hauled off to bed.

Then we asked George was there any truth in Peter's yarn at all at all.

"The lying old reprobate," said George. "He's as funky of a tiger as he is of a cobra. Why, I don't believe he ever shot at a tiger in his life. For one thing, I don't think his old gun could go off, even if he were to try it. I know I would not like to be within a mile of him if it did go off."

"But did he really shoot a tiger?" I asked.

"No," responded George. "But the best part of the joke is, that to this day, Peter firmly believes that he did kill two tigers in the way he has related.

"Mac and I had been out shooting, and near Hanoomannugger we were lucky enough to stumble across two tigers—we were in fact after florican at the time. But we managed to bag both tigers, after a long beat, and by the time we got them on the pad, it was getting late—we were far from camp, and we resolved to beat up Peter for the night. We had plenty of grog and stores on the tiffin elephant, and as soon as Peter knew we were well supplied, he was most demonstrative in his entreaties to stay.

"Well, the result was pretty much what you have seen. Peter got glorious—and Mac and I determined to have a lark with him. We had said nothing to him about the tigers, the pad elephant having come up behind us, and when we had got Peter very far gone, we sent out word to the mahouts to bring the tigers up to the verandah. This they did, and then at the preconcerted signal they came rushing in with wild cries, and swore there were tigers in the compound. We pretended to be very frightened. Mac got a gun shoved into Peter's hands. We bore him to the door between us. He let off the gun. I felled him with a rousing blow from a hard tukeah (pillow). He was too drunk to rise, and there we left him to come to his senses between the two tigers; and Peter firmly believes yet that he shot those two beasts, and is never tired of telling the yarn now when he has got a little touch of the cratur in him."

We all laughed heartily at George's explanation.

The reader must remember that in those days we were all rather wild, reckless fellows. Practical joking was inevitable when a few of us met, and not seeing each other sometimes for months, we were apt to kick up such a bobbery when we did meet, as earned us the name, among the garrison subs, and Calcutta quill drivers, of the "Blue Devils."

Even then, the old hands had stories of their younger days to tell which put all our wild achievements completely in the shade. There must have been awful orgies in the riotous old days, judging from the tales old planters used to tell; but nous avons change tout cela. The young planters get married now, and the ladies—God bless 'em—exert their usual refining humanising influence, and the lel wallah, or indigo planter, is now comme il fait in all the polite convcnances, and his carnage and conversation are sans peur et sans reproche.

Some of the stories of the wild days that old Mac could tell, were thrilling enough in all conscience.

Old David C. once blew up a young civilian who was visiting his place—-literally blew him up—and, more by good luck than good guidance, escaped killing him. He had a train of gunpowder laid actually right under the bed of the unfortunate deputy collector, and gave him such a hoist as I daresay he never again attained with all his subsequent promotion and elevation.

Another of the wild old bloods, Barney H., overpowered an artless young "griffin"—"new chum," as he would be called in Australia—with grog, and then put him to bed between the corpses of two poor dead coolies from one of the villages. He put a climax to the horror of the youngster in the morning, however, when he. told him, between the paroxysms of his throbbing headache, that it was only a joke, and if he paid a couple of rupees each to the two widows, no more would be heard of the matter.

You should have seen the face of that youngster.

"What!" he gasped out, aghast with horror, "you—you —surely did not kill the men?"

"Oh, that's nothing," laughed Barney. "It was only done in a lark."

The youngster got into a palkee that afternoon, and set out for the station as hard as he could go, and never once thought of emulating Lot's wife.

Now all fresh young communities have such reminiscences and such stories of their early days. The rough and ready pioneers have their uses. By-and-by the wild bloods die out, and a more sedate generation succeed them, with different ways and ideas, and alas, alas, man, a time and oft with meaner vices and fewer noble and generous qualities. Ebeu! it's the same old story—"The good old days will never come back." In fact, the qualities that command success in the pioneer are little needed by his successor, who lives under the reign of law and order; and the mistake lies in not recognising how each generation finds its special work cut out for it, and how qualities and fashions are irresistibly bound to change with circumstances.

I have heard as a fact that the manager of Seeraha, in the old times, in a fit of passion killed a table servant with his crutch. He was laid up at the time with the gout (the manager, I mean). The orgie was never interrupted for a moment. There the stark and stiff victim to blind rage lay on the floor, while the revel rout and the brimming champagne grew all the louder and flowed with all the more profusion, to show that the planters of the old-fashioned school "didn't care."

It was a favourite resort of the native police then, to torture witnesses into giving what evidence was necessary to support the oftentimes nefarious designs and false charges preferred before the Hakims or magistrates. One usual course to adopt was to hang up the unfortunate witness by the thumbs, with his toes just touching the ground, and extract a signature to a document from him in that way. Or they would bury him in an ant-heap, or press his toes between split bamboos, or burn red chillies under his nostrils until his nose and eyes would bleed again. Indeed in some remote parts of the country, and in some of the native states, such practices are not yet obsolete if report speaks truly.

My first manager, old Hulman Sahib, as the natives used to call him, had a happy ingenuity, wherein I must confess lay much of tiger-like ferocity, in dealing with recalcitrant Assamces. On one occasion he had been defied by two wealthy landholders in one of the factory villages, and for a long time they set his authority at defiance. At length, in an evil moment for them, some of the factory myrmidons got hold of them, and they were brought before the great Hiduuuh Sahib himself. The old planter well knew how dangerous it would be for his authority to rouse a feeling of sympathy with these men on the part of the villagers. Already the news had spread, and hundreds of cultivators from the villages were collected in the compound, only waiting to see what the Sahib would do. There was much disaffection just then in the villages. The exactions of the middlemen had become very grievous. The authority and prestige of the factory were in danger. The two captured men were, from the factory point of view, ringleaders of revolt and fomenters of sedition. From the villagers' point of view they were patriot leaders, village Hampdens, champions of popular rights and liberties. It must be so arranged that they shall be punished, and yet that no sympathy shall cling to them on account of their punishment.

Old H. was equal to the occasion. The two men were led out to the verandah. There were fully from 400 to 500 villagers assembled. Of course, there were plenty of factory servants and peons also present. The old planter, after addressing the multitude on the enormity and heinousness of the offence laid to the charge of the two ryots, no less than contumacy, breach of agreement, repudiation of lawful authority, and all the rest of it, said he was not going to beat them. He wished to show them how gentle and paternal he would be; but he must mark his sense of just indignation in some way that all would understand, and so he would make the culprits punish each other. The assembled crowd looked on in wonderment to see what the Sahib would do. Their curiosity was excited, and so they held back to watch the development. This was just what the wily old planter had foreseen.

He next got the two poor fellows to stand back to back, and tied their top-knots very firmly together with fine gut.

The top-knot is an appendage held in much honour by the orthodox Hindoo, and to have it bound in this way was a great humiliation in itself. The two men, with strained scalps, were now back to back, erect and otherwise free. "With truly devilish ingenuity, old H. now came, and up the nostrils of each he inserted a good pinch of the very strongest old Scotch snuff. What ensued was really laughable, but confoundedly cruel. The two poor wretches began to sneeze with might and main. At every convulsion they nearly tore each other's scalps off. They roared and writhed, and bobbed and sneezed. It was horribly painful to them, but it was too much for the assembled villagers. The Assamee has a keen sense of the ridiculous and a tiger-like touch of ferocity too. They keenly appreciate intellectual acuteness, and they could not but see how cleverly yet cruelly the old planter was paying out old scores. They shrieked with laughter. The charm of successful rebellion was gone. The would-be village Hampdens were covered with confusion and shame. They had become the laughing-stock of the district, and therewith became the most humble and obedient upholders of the old man's authority.

Such doings are no longer possible now. Indeed, the cloth is in danger of being cut almost too much the other way. Every village coolie now knows his rights, and is not slow to assert them. Two roads intersect the country in all directions (I speak now of Behar generally); village schools exist in almost every hamlet; the law's delays are still costly and irksome, but there is little chance now for organized cruelty or oppression; and the planter, as a rule, especially in Tirhoot, is looked up to as a protector and benefactor, and a community of interests binds the village farmer and the planter in a pleasant friendly intercourse. This is so on the. majority of indigo estates in Tirhoot and Chumparun.

In Purneah we were yet one or two steps farther back in the path of progress. We were yet in the patriarchal age, and, at the time I speak of, if a planter was popular with the natives, as I may fairly say we generally were, he could wield enormous power. Such men as Joe, George, and others I could name, born and reared up in the district, knowing every Assamee's family for miles round, were perfect little kings in their own dehaat, and were in their own persons judge, jury, fountain of justice, protector, and everything else pertaining to rule and authority.

But, as I say, only these stories now remain, just like glacial boulders on some heathery hillside, to tell of an older epoch of disruption and violence. When I first became an indigo planter, there were only two ladies in the whole district. Now, the first article of furniture a young planter thinks of is a wife, if such a homely term can be applied to the highest ornament and the dearest blessing in a truly happy home. Men, too, are better educated; cultivation is more scientific; the wage and status of the cultivator are higher; communications are more widely extended and better; and altogether the old reign of rowdy violence and boisterous robust hospitality and rough-and-ready exercise of authority has passed away. Feudal custom has given way to the reign of law. Things are done constitutionally now, and with an approach to decency and order which would have been scouted as impossible and impracticable thirty or forty years ago.

I have been led further away by this digression than I .intended, but in my next chapter I will describe how we slew the "grand grey boar "


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