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most thorough finish and delicate workmanship throughout.
Sheik Selim is said to have been an extremely holy Mussulman, who had taken up his abode in this then sequestered spot, and whose wisdom and virtues so attracted Akbar, that he built a palace hard by the good man's cottage. The Sheik then became one of Akbar's most trusty councillors, and when he died his grateful master raised to his memory this exquisite little building.
As we shall not reach Agra again till evening, we must try what 'tiffin ’ we can get at the dâk bungalow' here.
These dâk bungalows throughout India are under Government management. They are provided along all the frequented lines of road; but they often consist merely of a couple of bare rooms, which will afford a traveller shelter, but nothing else. At Futtehpoor Sikri, thanks to the Moguls, the bungalow is an unusually good one, for it is the building which was formerly the counting-house of one of the palaces. Whether Akbar had a weakness for good dinners, and had a supply of culinary talent always in these quarters, we know not; but judging from the first-rate collation served up by the Khansama,' one would think that the place was still pervaded by the benign influence of imperial cooks. Not that the dishes are of orthodox Mogul type or name; we doubt if Akbar ever eat anything half so good as a pancake, and yet such is part of our fare in this remote spot.
Before driving back to Agra, we must see a living exhibition which Futtehpoor can produce among the ruins of a past age.
One of the walls of the great quadrangle abuts on the edge of the raised ground on which the ruins stand. The outer face of the wall is consequently higher than the inner, and measures, as nearly as we can estimate, fully 80 ft. At the foot of the wall, near the eastern end, is a small
tank of stagnant water, of a depth of 20 ft. or thereabouts. There lives in the squalid village of Futtehpoor Sikri a man rash enough, or skilful enough, to dive into this tank from the top of the wall, for a small 'bucksheesh.'. He performs the feat for our benefit, and accomplishes it with apparent ease. Standing on the edge of the wall, immediately above the tank, he seems to be calculating his distance, and taking in breath for a few seconds. He then gives a slight spring forward, and as he shoots down through the air, keeps waving his arms and legs, apparently to preserve his balance. Just as he reaches the surface of the water, he closes his legs smartly, and brings his arms close down to his sides; then in he drops like a thunder-bolt, but coining up again almost instantaneously, strikes out for the side of the tank, and walks up to us for his reward. He is a short well-made man, apparently about twenty-five years of age, and though evidently quite used to the performance, he is quivering considerably from the shock of the dive.
A number of other natives, some of them young urchins of ten years, are meanwhile dropping into the tank from various heights, ranging from 10 ft. to 30 ft., in the hope of earning a smaller "bucksheesh.' Like the first diver, they all go in feet foremost.
We drive back to Agra in the cool of the evening. To judge from most Englishmen who travel, one would think that one of their national characteristics was that of being always in a hurry. No sooner are the leading features and most interesting spots of one place seen, than off we go to another, cramming in one intellectual meal after another, and deferring the digestion of them till we have got through a whole series. We are afraid that we can claim personally no exemption to this rule. Having spent three days in, and around, Agra, we are off again early on the fourth day to Delhi.
THE CITY OF SHAH JEHAN.
THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN.
THE CITY OF SHAH JEHAN
• The long file
BETWEEN Agra and Delhi there intervene about 150 miles of flat country, very similar to the rest of the great plain of the Ganges and its tributaries.
As we pass through the interval during the hot hours of the day, nature looks even less inviting than usual in this rather monotonous stretch of country. Even the birds and animals, which are not unfrequent here, are keeping quiet in the oppressive heat. Occasionally a few paddybirds, or an ibis, will fly up from a pool hard by the railway line; a pair of demoiselle cranes, with their elegant crests, may be seen standing out in the open plain, in spite of sun and heat; or a troop of antelopes may be startled from their lair by the train, and bound off to a safer distance; otherwise there is little of animal life visible. The cultivated patches of land intervene rather sparsely between the still uncleared woods, and every now and then there is a great patch of sandy desert on which neither trees nor crops will grow. Native mud huts are few and far between; wherever they exist, there are sure to be on the tilled land around them a number of wells, whose situation is marked, generally, by an inclined plane leading up to a small platform, with a fixed pulley above the well's mouth. Up and down the plane moves a bullock, with a rope running from his rude harness over the pulley and attached to a bucket at the other end. At each descent he drags up a bucketful of water, and at each ascent he lowers the bucket down again to the bottom of the well. Sometimes for the inclined plane a long pole is substituted, the rope and bucket attached to one end, a lump of clay or other weight to the other. The pole is balanced on the head of an upright post fixed above the well, so that when the bucket end is lowered, and the bucket filled, the weight at the other end is just sufficient to raise the supply of water to the surface. This is the same old style of well as that which may be seen all over Egypt.
We cross the Jumna by the magnificent railway bridge only recently completed, and enter Delhi in a heavy thunderstorm, said to be the first rain which has fallen in the district for seven months.
The day after our arrival is a Sunday, and we attend service in the English church, which is full of interesting, though sad, tablets to our countrymen and countrywomen who were murdered or fell in battle there during the mutiny. The church itself suffered heavily during the siege ; being close to the Cashmere Gate, many of our own balls, fired from ontside, struck it, and at the capture of the city it was almost in ruins. Its weathercock and gilt ball are preserved in the Museum, riddled with bullets, for it is said to have been fired at for practice by the mutineers, when they were in possession of the city.
One of the characteristics of Delhi, calculated to strike a visitor almost as soon as he enters the city, is the superior breadth of the streets to those of other cities he has seen in India. One of the broadest and straightest of these streets is the Chandnee Chowk, or Silver Street,
THE CHIANDNEE CHOWK.
running almost through the city from east to west.
An avenue of trees runs down each side of the street, and on the outside of these avenues are lines of low houses, most of which are shops of gold and silversmiths, and dealers in the wares of Cashmere.
But do not imagine that a native shopkeeper who deals in these gorgeous products of the East,' can make a show in his window such as may be seen among his competitors of the far West. If you want to buy in Delhi a two hundred guinea Cashmere shawl, or a two hundred guinea emerald, you must go up to the native trader's private rooms, along passages, and up dark and narrow flights of stairs. Then you must ‘salaam’him courteously, and sit down on a chair specially provided for you, while he squats down on a carpet and his attendants bring out of various cupboards, and lay before him, all his recherché' articles. Then you will have an embarras de richesses 'spread before your admiring eyes, and will vainly wish for the superfluous lacs of rupees of some neighbouring rajah, that you might invest largely on the spot. Look at that Cashmere shawl, hand-woven, with its hundreds of colours, and its myriads of threads, or at that exquisite burnous, or that cloth gorgeously embroidered with silk, or that other, looking as if Danae's shower had fallen upon it-stop ! let us hurry out, for our purses are not as full as that of Midas, nor is our self-restraint equal to our power of admiration. Let us go to where we can admire without wishing to buy.
Inside the great fort, with its lofty battlements and its imposing gateways---there we shall find more than one building which we can look on with pleasure.
The fort was built by Shah Jehan, two hundred and fifty years ago.
He called the city after his own name, Shahjehanabad, and this name was used to designate the place in official documents up to the last year of the last king of