2021-04-18 09:38:50

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ENGLISH Past a magnificent railway station, and through a manufacturing district of tall furnaces, we came to the quiet country and the Ganges, bordered with gardens, where creepers in flower hang over the muddy stream stained with iridescent grease and soot.In the afternooncalm and almost coolI went to call on the Resident, who talked to me of India in the days of Dupleix, of its departed glory, and the poor old fort of Chandernagore, once impregnable and now demolished under the provisions of treaties; and as we walked on through the town, between gardens that look like the great parks of the French kings, all the past seemed to live again on this forgotten spot of earth, and every moment, in the silence of the purple dusk, I could have fancied that I saw in the avenues, under the tall ph?nix palms, the shades of powdered marquises in skirts with full farthingales, and of gallant knights of St. Louis; then from a far distance came the sound of a pianosome simple melody quavering in the air that was so full of memories.

Lisette was in despair when she saw it, but fortunately some friends of her mothers came one Sunday to dine there with them, and were so shocked that they used often to fetch her away and take her out with them on long excursions to all the parks, chateaux, and delightful places in the neighbourhood.

Her first great dinner-party was at the house of the sculptor Le Moine, where she met chiefly artists and literary people. It was the custom to sing at dessert, a terrible ordeal for young girls, whose alarm often spoilt their song, but who were obliged to sing all the same."And is there no doctor?"The hills are left behind us; the plateau of Cashmere spreads as far as the eye can see, traversed by the glistening Jellum, that slowly rolling stream, spreading here and there into lakes.

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He was not, however, to live to see the realisation of his fears. Not much more than a year after Lisettes return from her convent, a terrible calamity befell her in the loss of the father whose love and protection had made the sunshine of her life, and by whose death her lot was entirely changed and her happiness ruined.

Beyond this point among the mountains the road seemed to vanish, to lead nowhere, lost in pale red among the red cliffs, as if it stopped at the foot of the rocky wall.At the back of the room the master of the house squatted on the floor, dressed in green richly embroidered with gold, and on his head was a vase-shaped cap or tiara of astrakhan. Near him, in an armchair, sat a perfectly naked fakir, his breast covered with jade necklaces. His face was of superhuman beauty, emaciated, with a look of suffering, his eyes glowing with rapt ecstasy. He seemed to be entranced, seeing nothing but a vision, and intoxicated by its splendour.

M. Auber, jeweller to the Crown, said: You had better fasten a stone to your neck and throw yourself into the river than marry Le Brun.Further on, in the temple stables, open to the sky and surrounded by a colonnade of carved and painted pillars, some women, in silken sarees of dark hues, were waiting on the bulls and the tiny zebu cows, feeding them with the flower offerings strewn on the mosaic pavement of the courtyard.

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Steaming over the transparent and intensely blue sea, we presently perceived an opaquer streak of sandy matter, getting denser, and becoming at last liquid, extremely liquid, yellow mudthe waters of the Ganges, long before land was in sight. Between the low banks, with their inconspicuous vegetation, a desolate shore, we could have fancied we were still at sea when we had already reached the mouth of the sacred stream. Some Hindoos on board drew up the water in pails to wash their hands and face, fixing their eyes in adoration on the thick sandy fluid. Enormous steamships crossed our bows, and in the distance, like a flock of Ibis, skimmed a whole flotilla of boats with broad red sails, through which the low sun was shining. The banks closed in, the landscape grew more definitetall palm trees, plots of garden ground, factory chimneys, a high tower. On the water was an inextricable confusion of canoes and row-boats flitting among the steamships and sailing barks moored all along the town that stretched away out of sight.

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Apr-18 09:38:50