2021-04-18 10:40:25

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ENGLISH But her greatest love was for her father; it was almost adoration. Louis Vige was exactly opposite in disposition to his wife, to whom he was, however, devoted. Kindly, affectionate, light-hearted, and thoughtless, his love for her did not interfere with his admiration for other women; a pretty grisette was quite able to turn his head, and on New Years day he would amuse himself by walking about Paris, saluting the prettiest young girls he met, on pretence of wishing them a happy new year.A smart affair altogether is this carriage! two very high wheels, no springs, a tiny cotton awning[Pg 269] supported on four sticks lacquered red, and sheltering the seat which has three ropes by way of a back to it. Portmanteaus and nosebags are hung all round, and even a kettle swings from the near shaft, adding the clatter of its cymbal to the Indian symphony of creaking wheels, the cracking whips, the driver's cries of "Cello, cello," and Abibulla's repeated "Djaldi," all intended to hurry the horse's pace.

HARDWAR

And at this day the high road passes Secundra Bagh in ruins, and on the ground where Nana Sahib's soldiers fell, huge flowers are strewn of "flame of the forest" fading into hues of blood.The Cingalese women, of languid gait, wear a long dark robe clinging about their legs and reaching to the ground. The poorer women have only a scanty saree to complete the costume; the more wealthy display stockings and boots; a white bodice cut low, with open sleeves and no basque leaves a roll of skin visible between the skirt and the bodice. The men wear a long loin-cloth of English trouser-stuff, a white jacket buttoned over the bare skin, and a twist of back hair like a woman's, in which they stick a celluloid comb, coronet-fashionsuch a comb as is used in Europe[Pg 125] to keep the hair back from a child's forehead. And all the race are too slender, too pliant, their eyes too long and slightly darkened with kohl; the boys especially have an unpleasant, ambiguous look.Abibulla saw them off with great deference and a contrite air, and watched their retreat; then, as[Pg 260] I was about to send him to despatch the message, he was indignant. The police! What could they do to a sahib like me? It was all very well to frighten poor folksit was a sin to waste money in asking for a reply which I should never be called upon to showand so he went on, till I made up my mind to think no more of the matter. And whenever I met the chief at the bazaar or by the Jellum, he only asked after my health and my amusements.

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Then, from a bridge across the Ganges, for a moment we had a last glimpse of the sacred citythe gold-coloured umbrellas, the throng of bathers on the steps to the riverand then Abibulla gravely remarked, "If only India had three cities like Benares it would be impossible ever to leave it."

On the remains of the pyre was placed a corpse of spectral emaciation, which had been lying at the top of the bank since the day before for its turn, as a pauper, to be cremated at the cost of the municipality. The head alone was wrapped in a wretched rag, and creeping flies formed a cuirass on the dark skin, already torn in places by the kites. Petroleum was poured over the hapless body, and it flared up with the wood in a livid pink and green blaze, sending up a cloud of acrid red smoke.MADRAS

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There had, in fact, been a strong reaction against the restraint and dullness of the last few years of the reign of Louis XIV., when the magnificent, pleasure-loving King, whose victorious armies had devastated Europe, who had made princes of his illegitimate children, lavished the riches of the country upon his mistresses, and yet in his stately beauty and fascination been the idol of France; had changed into a melancholy old man, depressed and disillusioned, looking with uneasiness upon the past, with fear upon the future; while the brilliant beauties and splendid festivities of bygone days had given place to virtue, strict propriety, and Mme. de Maintenon.Mme. Le Brun now worked so hard that she made herself ill, often having three sittings a day, and she soon became so thin and out of health that her friends interfered, and by order of the doctor she henceforth, after working all the morning and dining in the middle of the day, took a siesta, which she found invaluable all her life. The evenings were always devoted to society.In the distance we heard a sound of pipes, and the merchant hastened out to call the nautch-girls, who began to dance in the street just below us, among the vehicles and foot-passengers. There were two of them; one in a black skirt spangled with silver trinkets, the other in orange and red with a head-dress and necklace of jasmine. They danced with a gliding step, and then drew themselves up with a sudden jerk that made all their frippery tinkle. Then the girl in black, laying her right hand on her breast, stood still, with only a measured swaying movement of her whole body, while the dancer in yellow circled round, spinning as she went. Next the black one performed a sort of goose-step with her feet on one spot, yelling a so-called tune, and clacking her anklets one against the other. Then, after a few high leaps that set her saree flying, the dance was ended; she drew a black veil over her head, and turned with her face to the wall. The other boldly asked for backsheesh, held up her hands, and after getting her money, begged for cakes and sugar.

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Apr-18 10:40:25