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OUR ENCAMPMENT.

I guessed the subject of the old woman's story, and upon inquiry I found that I was right in my conjecture. She was widowed and childless ; she owed both her misfortunes to the tigers of that jungle, and most probably to those which then lay dead before her; for they, it was believed, had recently carried off her husband and her two sons grown up to manhood, and now she wanted food : in the phrenzy of her grief she alternately described her loss to the crowd, and in a wild scream demanded her husband and her children from the tigers ; indeed it was a piteous spectacle !

The site of our encampment was well chosen ; it was a small sloping lawn, the verdure fresh, and skirted on three sides with trees; the fourth bounded by the deep bed of a torrent-river. At

At proper distances on this lawn, there were five large and commodious tents, pitched in a semicircle: that in which we all assembled, and passed the sultry part of the day, was carpeted, and by means of the tattees of aromatic grass, continually watered, kept at a temperature pretty near to that of an April day in England. Here we had a luxurious cold dinner, with a variety of excellent wines, and other liquors, well cooled; and while we dined, the French-horns and clarionets played marches, hunting-pieces descriptive of the death of the game, and other slow movements ; the tigers still lying in front, and the people still assembled, but retired to a greater distance; where they anxiously waited the signal for skinning and cutting up the slain ; for with them the fat of a tiger is a panacea, the tongue dried and pulverized a sovereign specific in nervous cases, and every part applicable to some use;

even the

END OF THE CHASE.

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whiskers they deem a deadly poison, and most anxiously, but secretly, seek them, as the means, in drink, of certain destruction to an enemy.

Dinner over, the tigers skinned, and the flesh and offal distributed, as soon as the sun declined, we returned to Chinsura ; and here ends the history of the chase; in which I have been thus minute, that you may be tempted to accompany us in some future expedition ; and if not, that you may be able to say that you have been authentically informed upon the subject by an eye-witness.

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ZINORE PUFGUNNA.

CHAPTER IV.

Zinore Purgunna — Town of Zinore- Manufactures

Presents from Zemindars — Brahmins of Guzerat — History of Shaik Edroos, a leper-Kama-deva, the God of love-Religious groves -Wretched state of the Chandalahs-Mud-palace at Zin reAmiable traits in the Hindoo character-Bhauts and Churruns -Fortune-telling Brahmins-Three extraordinary anecdotes of Prophecies fulfilled, after predictions by a celebrated Soothsayer.

ANOTHER purgunna under my management, called Zinore, contained a tolerable town and fifty villages. Zinore, the capital of the district, was fifteen miles south from Dhuboy, and forty to the eastward of Baroche. Neither the public or private buildings were of much importance; but it was delightfully situated on the steep banks of the Nerbudda; with a noble flight of a hundred stone steps from the houses to the water-side, which would have added to the grandeur of a much larger city. The Hindoo temples, Brahminical groves, and a few superior houses, indicate its having been once a place of consequence. When I took possession of it for the Company, it contained about ten thousand inhabitants; generally weavers of coarse cotton cloth, for the Persian and Arabian markets, with some finer baftas and muslins for home consumption. Very few of these cottons are dyed or painted at Dhuboy or Zinore; the art has

THE HINDOO WEAVER.

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attained a much greater perfection at Ahmedabad and Surat.

Cotton grows abundantly in most parts of the Zinore purgunna; the cultivation, gathering, cleaning, spinning, and weaving this valuable production, employs the inhabitants of all ages. Throughout the greater part of Guzerat we may apply Orme's remarks on the manufactures of Coromandel, that a people born under a sun too sultry to admit the exercise and fatigue necessary to form a robust nation, endeavour to obtain their scanty livelihood by the easiest labour : it is from hence, perhaps, that the manufactures of cloth are so multiplied in Hindostan. Spinning and weaving are the slightest tasks which a man can be set to ; and it is observable, that the manufactures prevail most, both in quantity and perfection, where the people are least capable of robust labour. It is difficult in such provinces to find a village in which almost every man, woman, and child, is not employed in the cotton manufacture. The loom is fixed under a tree, and the thread laid the whole length of the cloth. The Hindoo weaver is not a despicable caste; he is next to the scribe, and above all mechanics. These people produce works of extraordinary niceness ; and as much as an Indian is born deficient in mechanical strength, so much is his whole frame endowed with an exceeding degree of sensibility and pliantness. Orme, speaking of the silk manufactory in Bengal, says, “ the women wind off the raw silk from the pod of the worm : a single pod of raw silk is divided into twenty different degrees of fineness ; and so exquisite is the feeling of these women, that whilst the thread is

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MUSLINS OF BENGAL.

running through their fingers so swiftly that their eye can be of no assistance, they will break it off exactly as the assortments change, at once from the first to the twentieth, from the nineteenth to the second.”

At no period have the manufactures of Guzerat or the Deccan equalled in fineness and delicacy the muslins of Bengal and the eastern provinces : and yet, fine as they now are, they were formerly of a more exquisite texture. The fall of the Moguls, who spared no expense for these articles, is perhaps a principal reason for their decline. As an extraordinary instance of their curious texture, Tavernier mentions, that when the ambassadors of Shah Sefi, king of Persia, returned from India, he presented his royal master a cocoa-nut, richly set with jewels, containing a muslin turban, sixty covits, or thirty English yards in length, so extremely fine, that it could hardly be felt by the touch. Some of the Cachemirean shawls are of so delicate a fabric that they may be drawn through a wedding ring.

In the Zinore purgunna, a country little known in the annals of Hindostan, I saw human nature almost in primitive simplicity, but far removed from the savage condition of the Indians of America, or the natives of the South-sea islands. The state of civil society in which the Hindoos are united in these remote situations, seems to admit of no change or amelioration. Among the inferior castes, whose minds are uncultivated, and who have no communication with the rest of the world, I found it next to an impossibility to introduce a single improvement in agriculture, building, or any useful art or science. In

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