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The cat was now out of the bag. The coach was full inside. The morning was so wet, a passenger who had intended to travel outside took possession of my seat. He was either a friend of the driver, or had bribed him. I had some difficulty in getting him ejected. This is no uncommon occurrence. The fact of previous contract is nothing in Ireland. Possession is the main point. Rows are often the consequence. The printed receipt you get for your fare advises you of this in plain terms "There having been many disputes about sates, the proprietor will not be answerable for the engaged places, unless the passengers be at the office at laste ten minutes before the coach laves the office!" These words I transcribe from an Irish receipt now before me.
I insisted upon my right, however, and the culprit having surrendered, off we galloped through the "Liberties," as the suburbs here are called, at a race-horse pace; the rain still pouring down, and the wind blowing a gale. No November summer for me! thought I. However, I congratulated myself that I was not at sea; and drawing my travelling-cap over my eyes, I endeavoured to recover the balance of sleep which was due to me.
About ten o'clock we stopped at a place called Moorfields, to breakfast. We drove into the avenue of a pretty country-house, which had no appearance of a hotel about it. I rather think it is a private residence belonging to the coach-proprietor. We entered a handsome well-furnished parlour, where we beheld a large table, well filled with all the usual implements for the matin meal. There was an excellent stove in the room, but no fire; though, on such a morning, a fire would have been particularly agreeable. There was an abundance of fresh bread-excellent bread-but no stale bread, no toast. Some twenty eggs were already on the table; but the coach, in consequence of the heaviness of the roads, being ten minutes after its time, and the eggs having been boiled at the time the coach ought to have been there, they were of course all cold. I asked for a cup of coffee; it was immediately poured out for me, but it was scarcely even tepid. The tea was also excellent, but cold as the morning itself. A beef-steak was brought in, which looked well, and was really good; but it was brought in on a cold dish, without gravy, and served on cold plates. I gave back my coffee to the waiter, who appeared in the morning jacket of a private gentleman's servant, and requested that he would get it warmed for me. He brought it back to me boiling, and before I could cool it the coachman shouted that our time (twenty-five minutes) was expired. We could not have been in the room fifteen minutes; but he was on the box, reins and whip in hand, and so away we were obliged to go, without anything like a breakfast, for which we had to pay 2s. or 18d.-I forget which.
Now, here were all the elements of the most complete comfort utterly spoiled, merely by want of system. It would have cost little to have afforded the passengers a good fire; nothing to have had the eggs, tea, and coffee, served hot; nothing to have had the beef-steak brought in on a warm covered dish, with plenty of gravy around it; nothing to have prepared toast, or at least bread a day old, for it is not everybody who can digest hot rolls, and for any body they are unwholesome, Neither could any human being have suffered the slightest damage, if we had been allowed to remain our full time at the breakfast table. It is this want of method, which makes everything in the way of domestic arrangement in Ireland look to foreigners to such great disadvantage.
The door of the parlour where we were at breakfast none of us could prevail on the waiter to keep shut. It was near the front door, which was also perpetually open. The cold wind, that was blowing strongly the whole morning, rushed constantly into our apartment; and yet no entreaty could prevail to secure us even the comfort of shutting out the blast. It is very strange, but perfectly true, that the Irish in general, of every degree, seem to consider that a door is intended not to be shut, but always to be open -and this, too, in all weathers! I had once an Irish female servant, who looked quite astonished, one summer morning, when I desired her to close the door after her, on coming in or going out of the dining-room. "Dear me, sir!" she exclaimed, "I never knew a doore to be shut this time of the year!"
By the way, let me not forget the breakfast I had once at Mrs. M'Cormack's, on a former occasion, when I travelled the same road. We were a large party of inside and outside passengers, and well prepared were we for a good meal. Better beef-steaks I hever ate: they were hot, well cooked, served with abundance of gravy, and fresh dishes of them were coming in every five minutes.
There was no coffee, however, and the tea was detestable. was, in fact, Mrs. Mac.'s weak point: her tea she knew to be abominable, and so she made up for it in the beef-steak. I asked Kitty, the pretty waiting-maid, to give me a cup of hot milk. She promised to procure it for me immediately, and went out, as I thought, for the purpose. She, however, came in again, and again came in and again went out, but no milk appeared: so I proceeded to head-quarters myself.
"Mrs. M'Cormack," said I, "would you do me the favour to give me a cup of hot milk?" She made no answer, but went on broiling her face and her beef-steaks over the blazing embers of a turf-fire; for she was her own cook-and a capital one into the bargain. I repeated my question, adding, that my physician had ordered me to take milk every morning, instead of tea; which was the fact. Mrs. Mac. never altered her position; her face became redder every moment; I saw the storm rising. "I shall be very glad," I subjoined, "to pay extra for the cup of milk, if you will give it me."
"Now, sir," she said, in a tone more gentle than I had at all expected, "you had better take yourself away. Don't put me in a passion;" (Kitty held a dish in her hand, and trembled all the time;) "I haven't time to scowld (scold) you. You know very well it isn't the milk you want, but you come here to insult my tay! Such was the fury thrown into the last word, that I am certain, if I had remained a moment longer, the gridiron, beefsteaks, and all, would have been upon my head. I sounded a retreat instanter, and did as well as I could with a little milk and hot water.
Everybody has heard of the beggar-nuisances in Ireland. However you travel-in post-chaise, private carriage, on horseback, in stage-coach, cab, or jingle, you are sure of being mobbed by them wherever you stop, in almost every town. You always see the same faces, the same number of them, and hear the same tale of woe. "Nothing to eat, your honour, this cold morning-my poor children starving, your honour, and I haven't a haepeney (halfpenny) to get them a bit of bread. God Almighty bless your honour, and send you safe home. Ah, then, may your honour be nearer to heaven!" addressing a passenger on the top of the coach; "throw us a sixpence to divide amongst us, your honour, and may you have a very long life!" These are but a few of the entreaties with which you are saluted in the same tone of voice, which soon becomes so painful from its monotony, that to get rid of it you comply at last, and send them away to share the sixpence. But before you can get off, you have plenty of complaints of unfair dealing in the distribution; the woman with a child at the breast always demanding a double share as her right.
I am always amused by one woman-a well-built, red-faced, harum-scarum sort of being-who appears at Athy with a great club in her hand, which she brandishes about her without much caring whom she strikes. You may see at once that she has just been visiting the whiskey-shop. "Get away, ye low paupers," she cries out, as she enters the scene of action; "lave the jintlemen alone. Plase your honour, throw me a shillin-nothin less would do me any good. The shillin, your honour," she repeats, capering about, and whirling her shilela with an independent air. "But you would spend it in whiskey, if I gave it to you." "Upon my honour, and that I will, just to drink your honour's health, Get away, ye low paupers! What do ye know about the lion and the unicorn there," pointing to the royal arms on the mail-coach door, "fighting for the crown? Now, then, your honour, where's the shillin you promised me for keepin these beggars away? I know it to be wrong, and yet I cannot help giving this sturdy-looking woman-not indeed her full demand, but a sixpence by way of compromise.
There is one other mendicant upon this road, who is generally sure to rob me of the same amount. He goes by the name of Jack, and so long as I have known him (some four or five years), he has always made his appearance in the same old red coat-if, indeed, the same that can be called, which, though it looked respectable enough when he originally bought it second-hand, for three shillings and sixpence, as he states, is now composed of shreds and patches of every colour and quality, bits of cloth, fragments of old shirts and petticoats, darns of worsted, and cords to keep the fugitive pieces together. He mounts the coach, usually between Athy and Maryborough-a privilege which he has long enjoyed, and climbs around to both the windows, tells over the same old stories to the passengers, of his having served in the army, and of having been engaged in many actions. I entertain some doubts as to this part of his tale; the more especially as he speaks of having fought at Waterloo, and of having been compel
led, by the wants of a large family, to dispose of his medal. carries with him, slung in a belt, a broken old bugle, upon which he sounds most deplorable caricatures of "Patrick's Day," the 'Meeting of the Waters," and "Rory O'More." The limits of his daily journey in the coach do not extend beyond a certain turnpike-gate. As soon as the gate is in view, his stories and his music are heard no more; he presses hard for his reward; his wife and his childer are all his theme, and his good-humoured face and merry eloquence become so persuasive, that he seldom descends from his station without pocketing, or at least collecting,-for, I fear, a pocket he no longer has,-half-a-crown_or three shillings. Everybody gives something, more or less, to Jack. On arriving at the gate, down he jumps, in performance of the condition upon which his invasion is permitted by the coachman, and away he scampers to the childer.
I should be sorry to hear that Jack was shut up in a workhouse. I doubt if the poor fellow could live long under any kind of confinement or restraint. He is no fool, nor indeed much of a knave: whatever there is of the latter about him is rather pleasant than otherwise. Speaking of the workhouse, I question much whether it will be very generally resorted to in Ireland. The new PoorLaw has met, and probably will meet, with no resistance from the lower classes in Ireland; but I question whether they will avail themselves of it, unless in seasons of famine, to any great extent. The Irish poor, down even to the most destitute, have a strong latent pride about them, which foreigners seldom discern or understand. It is not talked of; nobody would suspect its existence in the heart of a beggar who approaches you with a tone and address of the most extreme humiliation. But under that outward manner there are feelings that will render the Poor Law, I think, in many instances a dead letter-at least, for several years yet to come.
The heavy and continued rains by which the late autumn was characterised in Ireland so completely saturated the bogs, that the prospects of the poor for the winter, so far as firing was concerned, were miserable indeed. The bogs are usually in that country humid enough, but this year they looked, for the most part, thoroughly rotten. The corn-harvest was but indifferent in many places, but sanguine hopes were indulged that the potato-crop would turn out an ample one.
This root is, I regret to observe, becoming every year more deteriorated in Ireland. I well remember, that when a boy, many a time I went into the peasant's cabin, at their dinner-hour, and sat down with great glee to share with them their immense pile of potatoes, all laughing at you through their burst jackets, and when peeled by the hand, almost crumbling in it like a mass of flour, but nevertheless sufficiently tenacious to preserve their spherical form, until the operation of eating made deep gaps in it. If I could get a little salt butter, well; if not, salt itself gave a sufficient relish to the meal; and notwithstanding all the talk of the politicoeconomists, a good meal one might make from such materials. But I have seldom seen in latter years a good potato, except in some few houses of the higher classes. At the hotels they are usually bad, pasty, bluish, often black at the core, and utterly
But for some dense mists which arose from the earth-the natural result of the recent inundations,-I should have caught good views of a celebrated mountain near Thurles, called the "Devil's Bit." It is so denominated from a narrow semicircular valley, which interrupts the ridge-line of the summit of the mountain. The legends say that his infernal highness, when upon his travels through this part of Ireland, took a fancy to some herbs on this eminence, on which he intended to make a luncheon; but that, having been somewhat voracious, he took in with the herbs a whole mouthful of the rock, which he could not swallow. Resuming his flight, some of the authorities allege that he deposited his burden near Cashel. It is upon this rock the well-known Pagan and Christian temples were erected, which are now the most interesting and the least weather or time-injured ruins in Ireland. The storms and the rains of ages have but blanched their roofs and walls, and proved their power to resist all the ordinary instruments of destruction. Other authorities teach that the ejected morsel is no other than the rock of Dunamace. It is gravely affirmed that several skilful men have accurately measured the vacancy in the mountain, and the isolated mass of stone in question; and the conclusion at which they arrived was this, that if the latter could be removed to the mountain, it would exactly fill up the hollow, and perfect the ridge. As I have never had an opportunity of following the labours of these old engineers, I must leave the matter as I find it, undetermined.
[To be continued.]
WOMAN IN INDIA,
WITH A DESCRIPTION OF A SUTTEE.
WERE We to draw an inference from the number of new books on India, we should conclude that our vast Indian possessions are beginning to assume something like a proportionate interest in the public mind. In No. 51 of THE LONDON SAturday Journal, we made some extracts from Mrs. Postans' "Western India," and we have now before us two larger volumes, under the title of "Continental India*." The author observes, "Hindostan is better known to-day than the Hebrides were in the time of Johnson, or than the Shetland Isles were at the beginning of the present century; while the aggressions and acquisitions of our English nabobs in oriental countries, the subversion of Asiatic despotism, and the substitution of British rule among the nations of the East, of every inquirer after knowledge.” are the records of our cabinet libraries, and form the vade-mecums
A chapter in Mr. Massie's work is entitled "Woman in India," from which we extract some passages, giving the author's opinions of the condition and character of the females of Hindostan, with a description of a "Suttee," at which he was present :-
"The influence of the wife and the mother upon society is so palpable and resistless in the most advanced stages of improvement, that the philanthropist will demand with anxious solicitude, after the recital of some scenes in these volumes, What is the character of woman in India? Let her history be developed to us; give us no exaggerated delineation, no distorted or extravagant caricature, no picture which may be regarded as an exception arising from peculiar circumstances.
"Treated as beings of an inferior order; kept back from the enjoyed by their sisters in western countries; excluded from the commonest means of information and mental improvement, diffusive influence of expanding principle, and taught to look upon the present as the only moment of gratification; they are occupied in domestic toils without any cheering and heart-exciting affections, while they are denied all participation at the social board. Thrown too upon the resources of animal nature merely for any portion of enjoyment, they are accustomed to regard themselves as only the instruments of slavery or passion. In addition to which, the very objects of their worship-to the external symbols of which, as the profanum vulgus, their intercourse is solely limited-are presented in the scenes of idolatrous festivity, as immersed in criminal indulgence. Would it be wondered that their character should be blindly selfish, and the motives of their conduct exclusively, and to the extreme, epicurean? The arrangement and the economy of the domestic circle cherish still more the luxuriant growth of these rank weeds in the feminine breast in India.
"The remains of the patriarchal state are perceptible in their internal management and government of social life, and to this the present condition of India may be ascribed. The patriarch's authority is even more jealously enforced now, and carried into the ramifications of the family, than in ancient society. It is here systematised and secured by the sanctions of religion, as well as by the custom of ages. Every house presents the remote, as also the most subordinate division of genealogical relationship. There seems, too, the closest intercourse between the affiliated branches, so that the father of the last or preceding generation exerts an authoritative influence, even more arbitrary than the power of an adviser. His sons, and their wives, their children also-and it may be, their destined brides too-live within the same inclosure, and often under the same roof; so that sometimes it assumes more the appearance of a clan than a single family. And hence, except among those whose habits have been changed, and whose origin or connexions have been interrupted, by the invasion or policy of foreigners, there is an internal policy paramount
* "Continental India. Travelling Sketches and Historical Recollections,
illustrating the Antiquity, Religion, and Manners of the Hindoos, the Extent of British Conquests, and the Progress of Missionary Operations. By J. W. Massie, M.R.I.A. In Two Volumes. London, Ward & Co. 1840."
to all civic control; and blind custom and ascendant authorityclining years, fell, too, before the blast, and was ready to be shaken are more consulted and obeyed than the rights and wishes of each into the dust; but the disconsolate mother and bereaved widow member of the circle. When the eldest parent in the line is declared immediately her resolution to meet the withering destroyer removed, the rule and consequence are entailed upon his son, upon her husband's funeral pile. Her mother was her sovereign, who then becomes the superior; and the widow of the deceased, and though with affection, as the bursting forth of nature, she if she survive, merges among the subordinate branches; and if sought to dissuade the daughter from her fatal resolution, the she will brave the days of widowhood, her lot is hard indeed. influence of an erroneous, delusive, and pernicious religion, preNatural affection rarely succeeds to make any abatement of the vented the intervention of her authority as a queen over the misdreadful penalty; hers is a cup of bitter sorrow, of unmixed woe, guided woman. It is said she humbled herself to the dust before and her solitariness is unmitigated by any generous or hallowed her daughter, and entreated that she would not leave her desolate associations. Every ten days must she submit her head, aged and and alone upon the earth, but in vain; her reply was calm and bowed though it be, to be shaved; in her ablutions, and they resolved:-'You are old, mother, and a few years will terminate must be daily, during uncongenial weather or sickness, the water your pious life; my husband and my only child are gone, and must be poured upon her head, and not over her shoulder: every when you follow, life, I feel, will be insupportable; and the oppornight her task is to watch the burning lamp, and supply it with tunity of closing it with honour will then have passed.' The oil till the morning, and sad would the morrow be, did she suffer unhappy mother, whose ignorant devotion forbade her to infringe it to be extinguished. This child of sorrow and bereavement is what usage and priestcraft had sanctioned and rendered holy, now She walked in the allowed to feed only on one meal each day; and never must she resolved to witness the last agonising scene. procession, and stood near the pile, where she was supported by recline upon a bed,—the lowly and hard ground is the pallet on two Brahmins, who held her arms. Although obviously suffering which her wearied frame reposes. The recreations and pleasures great anguish of mind, she remained tolerably firm, till the first of general society are denied her, and the cloth which distinguishes blaze of the flame made her lose all self-command; and while her widowed suffering, in which she must always appear, is deemed shrieks increased the noise made by the exulting shouts of an the constant, though silent accuser of her cold affections, her selfish immense multitude that stood around, she was observed gnawing in agony those hands she could not liberate from her upholders. and profane love of life. After some convulsive efforts, she so far recovered as to join in the ceremony of bathing in the Nerbudda, when the bodies were consumed."
"Woman, as a mother, while the husband lives, is seldom allowed in India to bear any rule in the family: children are without natural affection; so that the place assigned to females in Hindoo society is, to appearance, abject in the extreme. The institutes of Menu, whose inspiration is as unquestioned as his legislative supremacy is universal among them, do indeed direct that the female who is to be chosen for a wife should not be reproachable for reddish hair, or too much or too little of the proper shade, for a deformed limb or inflamed eyes, for being immoderately talkative, or for being troubled with habitual sickness; while her name must be neither that of a constellation, a tree, nor a river, of a barbarous nation, nor of a mountain, of a winged creature, a snake, nor a stone, nor of any image which occasions terror. Besides an agreeable name, she must possess a form which has no defect; she must walk gracefully-like a young elephant; her teeth must be moderate in number and in size, and her body of exquisite softness. But there are no rules for the virtues of the heart, the degree of knowledge, the habits of the mind, or the graces of benevolence; and little wonder! Could they gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? In childhood's years a female must be dependent on her father; in youth, on her husband; and, should she survive his decease, her dependence must be on her sons. The nature of this dependence may be imagined, when it is added, that at no period of life, in no condition of society, should a woman do anything according to her own mere pleasure.
"While political expediency has sanctioned the horrid rite, the persuasion of friends, the flatteries of parents, the delusions in which the female is trained, the miseries which they must anticipate, and the momentary paroxysm of bereavement, have not unfrequently driven the widow to the mad alternative, and warranted the poet's assertion :
"The widow'd Indian, when her lord expires,
Mounts the dread pile, and braves the funeral fires.'
This is a species of heroism which has been displayed by many of the timid Hindoos in upper and in humbler life; as well the princess as the wife of the husbandman, might and did suffer this immolation. Nor are the friends or kindred permitted to appear otherwise than as participators of the sacrifice and the virtues of the offering; the eldest son kindles the wood, and the mother and the daughters attend the fatal scene.
"Muchta Bhye, the daughter of a princess, had become a wife and a mother. Her son, an only child, in the fresh bloom of youth, was cut down like the flower of the morning; the parent stem drooped for twelve dark months, when he who was considered her companion in youth, and destined to be the prop of her de
A young woman, Hollee Letchema, sacrificed herself, along with the body of her husband. Mr. Massie was present at the scene, and thus describes it :—
to this life, were removed from her sight; narcotics, opium, bang,
I hastened to the scene; it was a singular display and mixture of
the manner in which the dead are usually carried to the place of cremation; emaciated and pale, there was no placidity in his features. Death is rarely an agreeable sight, but it renders the Hindoo exceedingly uninviting. The corpse was laid upon a bier made from unpeeled branches of trees, and without any ornament. It had been carried thither on the shoulders of men, and placed in a circle formed by the officiating priests, the victim, the near relatives and kindred, and such as were approaching to obtain the last benediction of Hollee: these last drew near in the attitude sacred garment, and her skin was deeply tinged with saffron. Her of supplication. She was attired in a salmon-coloured clothyears had been few-from five-and-twenty to thirty had she lived a daughter and a wife; but the few hours of her widowhood had preyed more upon her aspect and her frame than all her previous sorrows or cares. She was bent forward, as if labouring under an oppressive burden; or rather as if inward anxiety, sorrow, and anguish, had bowed her down; yet she seemed to smile-it forth from a sky overspread with portentous clouds, and lighting was the smile of sorrow :-the cold moon's cheerless ray shed upon the dismal tomb, is but a faint emblem of the workings of her mind on her pallid countenance it was the expression of a heart which had conquered nature and burst the bonds of life itself—it was an apathetic expression I thought, of complacency
"The husband was covered with clothes, folded about him in
in herself, while it professed to regard those who approached her. A red line was drawn straight from the root of her hair to the ridge of her nose: it seemed to me the mark of suicide. She had bunches of flowers made up and ready to bestow; cloths, cocoanuts, pounded spices and seeds, and money lay beside her, which she distributed to the females who came soliciting her favours. She was attended by two principal brahmins; one of them held an ollah or cadjan book in his hand, from which he read sentences apparently for direction, or that he might suggest consolation to her in this trial; occasionally he would join his coadjutor for counsel, or to share in the rewards of the sacrifice. The fees of the brahmins at this ceremony usually amount to forty or fifty pounds. Sometimes I observed these priests quarrelling with each other, and exhibiting passions depicted in their countenances truly demoniac; the controversy regarded the money which should fall to the share of each: they were old men, their hair grey, and their features hardened and callous. I never contemplated man so far removed from the aspect of humanity. An extremely correct similitude of their appearance is given in the representation of a suttee in Ackerman's Hindostan." "Whilst the poor woman and the priests were thus engaged, she was indifferent to any attempted interference by some Euro. peans who sought to rescue her from destruction. The crowds of natives were all busied ; few contemplative, many showed the greatest levity, while others employed themselves in preparing the pile. It was constructed of dried wood, in the shape of an oblong square; the faggots were heaped upon each other, so as to be most easily combustible, to the height of four feet from the base. A stout branch of a tree was fixed in the earth at each corner; suspended by these, another pile, as a canopy, was formed at about three feet elevation, and plentifully supplied with large billets of wood. The whole material of the pile was carried on the heads of many men, who actively. ran backward and forward during the preparation; some straw, also, and cakes of cowdung were provided. The chief magistrate of the district, called the Fouzdar, was present with his peons, or constabulary force, armed. There were two European gentlemen, holding situations of trust, officially present. We could not secure the attention of the poor woman, but I made my appeal to the magistrate, to his authority, his influence, and his responsibility to God. He said he was there as the representative of the king, admitted his responsibility, but replied it was according to their religion. I urged him to offer her permission to retire if she would. He directed a brahmin (he himself was one) to ask if she were still inclined for it; she answered, she was. Hollee was conducted round the pile after the corpse had been placed upon it; a priest accompanied her the first time; she walked twice by herself, kneeled by the right side a few seconds, and mounted the pile to the left of the deceased. Deliberately she composed herself; her infant child was placed in her arms for an instant and embraced; she saluted her mother, and called her sister, to whom she delivered her jewels: then, having ungirded her loins and loosed her garments, she drew her cloth over her head, and laid herself down behind her husband with such calmness as if it had been for a few hours' repose. They covered her with straw, and poured oil and melted butter over all parts of the pile, the extremities of which were now lighted. The straw, fanned by the wind, was at first suffered only to roll the thick volume of its smoke over her; and, before any fire could have reached her, the heavy suspended billets were, by the swords of the peons, cut down, and fell upon her with their whole weight. O! it was a cruel apathy that could stand and witness such a monstrous perversion of human power and religious tole ration!-the more I muse on it, my accusations become the more poignant. I stood by the pile while the gloomy tragedy was performed, and never can I banish the screams which pierced the ears of the spectators, while the blue and lurid flame rose from the bodies already consuming in the fire! It was a moment of terror, of deep crime, and dark delusion! Why the attendants were allowed to cut down the mass of faggots which hung over her, and fel with unbroken violence upon her devoted head, I cannot tell; and how the victim was not totally stupified by the load which crushed her, appeared next to a miracle: it had stunned her for a time, as it also checked the progress of the flame, whose violence raged around the exterior of the pile for five or six minutes before it reached the bodies. A brahmin stood at the head, seemingly ready to direct the acclamations of the people. The poor woman had hitherto remained silent, but when the flames had reached her, the misery of her restraint appeared in its utmost severity; when the scorching fury of the fire had begun to prey upon her, she could not move a limb or turn from her
cruel woe for a moment; she shrieked and screamed for help with piteous and heart-rending exclamations. The brahmin attempted to assure the people that she was now in communion with her god, and called them to rejoice, while her tones were those of the bitterest agony, while her forlorn mother, heart-broken and overwhelmed with grief, stood rolling herself, tearing her hair, and beating her breast, and leaping with frantic bursts of passionan affecting spectacle of distracted woe and extreme wretchedness; she seemed unwilling to survive the hour of separation, and longed to throw her convulsive frame upon the funeral ashes, the altar of her daughter's sacrifice and destruction: the multitude joined in the exhibition of joy by clapping their hands, and repeating the song of triumph. The scene was closed by the fierceness of the flame, which drove the bystanders to a distance, and forced even the priests to retire, while the victim was still uttering the moan of helpless suffering. I waited at a distance, lingering to witness the last obsequies of the infatuated Hollee; they were offered in the blue flame and funeral smoke of her consuming remains, and in the receding murmurs of the dispersing multitude. It was an appalling exhibition of self-devotedness. The wretchedness of the desolate parent, the forlorn condition of the twice-bereaved children, and the apathy of thousands who could so unmovedly contemplate the transaction, may be imagined; but ah! who can describe the guilt of the perpetrators, the displeasure of a holy and merciful God; and the infatuation of nominally christian authorities who could prescribe for it rules, grant their permission to its performers, and superintend the accomplishment of such a criminal, violent, and bloody sacrifice? It was surely an hour of the power of darkness. I take shame and guilt to myself, and feel assured that if every observer of such delusion had protested against it on the spot, it would sooner have terminated, and the six hundred lives in British India annually immolated, might have been saved to the community, their friends, and their children, and preserved from the crime of suicide, and the horrors of a premature and excruciating death.
"Another well-authenticated and brutal instance of this sacrifice occurred about the same time in a more northern province of India: The unfortunate brahminee, of her own accord, had ascended the funeral pile of her husband's bones, but finding the torture of the fire more than she could bear, by a violent struggle, she threw herself from the flames, and tottering to a short distance, fell down. Some gentlemen, who were spectators, immediately plunged her into the river, which was close by, and thereby saved her from being much burned. She retained her senses completely, and complained of the badness of the pile, which, she said, consumed her so slowly that she could not bear it, but expressed her willingness again to try it, if they would improve it: they would not do so, and the poor creature shrank with dread from the flames, which were now burning most intensely, and refused to go on. When the inhuman relations saw this, they took her by the head and heels, and threw her into the fire, and held her there till they were driven away by the heat; they also took up large blocks of wood with which they struck her, in order to deprive her of her senses; but she again made her escape, and without any help, ran directly into the river. The people of her house followed her here, and tried to drown her by pressing her under the water, but a European gentleman rescued her from them, and she immediately ran into his arms and cried to him to save her. I arrived at the ground as they were bringing her the second time from the river, and I cannot describe to you the horror I felt on seeing the mangled condition she was in: almost every inch of skin on her body had been burned off: her legs and thighs, her arms and back were completely raw, her breasts were dreadfully torn, and the skin hanging from them in threads; the skin and nails of her fingers had peeled wholly off, and were hanging to the back of her hands. In fact I never saw and never read of so entire a picture of misery as this poor woman displayed. She seemed to dread being again taken to the fire, and called out to "the Ocha Sahib" to save her. Her friends seemed no longer inclined to force, and one of her relations, at our instigation, sat down beside her, and gave her some clothes, and told her they would not. We had her sent to the hospital, where every medical assistance was immediately given her, but without hope of recovery. She lingered in the most excruciating pain for about twenty hours, and then died.'
"This sacrifice, so abhorrent to Christian feeling, though prohibited first by Lord W. Bentinck, in the Bengal provinces, and then in the other British territories, is still offered in other parts of India. Six months ago, four wives and seven slave concr bines of Runjeet Singh, perished in the flames of his funeral pile, at Lahore."
THE AGE OF THE WORLD.
OUR readers are probably familiar with the old current story about the Welchman and his pedigree;-how he had a huge volume giving the names and doings of his progenitors not only up to Adam, but far beyond him: for about the middle of the book, after a long list of pre-Adamite Welchmen, there appeared a quiet little note, briefly intimating-"about this time the world was created." The Welchman may be put into the same class with the Highland innkeeper of the name of Grant, who teased a traveller about the antiquity of his name and lineage. The traveller, when his host's back was turned, opened the family Bible, and turning to the antediluvian history, made a very slight alteration with his pen; and then amazed the Highlandman by showing him that "there were Grants (giants) in the earth in those days."
But, seriously, when was the world created? How many of our years do we reckon back to the time when Adam was placed upon the earth? All intelligent readers are now quite satisfied that science has established the fact of the earth's existence-that is, of the materials of the earth-ages, and doubtless myriads of ages, before Adam was created; and all intelligent, serious readers of the Bible can see nothing in the account of the Creation in the book of Genesis contradictory to this fact. The outward crust of the earth was arranged and made habitable for MAN; and it is at this period that our chronology (time-reckoning) must commence. If we could ascertain how many annual revolutions of the earth have taken place since the FIRST MAN first breathed in our atmosphere and gazed on the sun, we would have a fixed point to reckon from more simple and satisfactory than any other fixed point in our chronology; and we would be enabled to attain to something like satisfactory settlements of important matters in the early history of our race.
But we do not know the age of the world with anything like certainty. The ancient Egyptians, the Chinese, and the Hindoos, have all set up claims for an antiquity of many thousand years beyond our reckoning; while the ancients in general believed that the world was eternal, and therefore had no commencement. We, who receive the Bible as a divine revelation, have, or rather ought to have, a measure for reckoning the age of the world, in the recorded respective ages of the antediluvians; and then, having fixed the period of the Flood, we can descend "the stream of time," and know with certainty how many years have elapsed since HUMANITY was established on the earth. But it so happens that there is great confusion in these statements. The present Hebrew text and the ancient Septuagint versions differ greatly in the materials which they offer for this computation. The former may be taken (as in the dates adopted in our public version of the Bible) to give to the creation the date of 4004 B. C.; while the latter, according to the corrected date of Hales, varies that important epoch to 5411 B. C.-a difference of 1407 years! If the historian may justly claim this large increase to the years of the world, they are a great boon to him; for he needs them, and is cramped with out them. The common, or shorter computation, allows far too little time for much that must have occurred in early history immediately after the Flood. We may smile at the claims put forward by the ancient Egyptian priests; still, there must have been some antiquity on which to ground their pretensions; and as we know that Egypt was very early a civilized country, the shorter computation, adopted in our Bibles, allows too little time between the Flood and the days of Abraham for producing the state of things which existed when" the father of the faithful" visited the land, which was afterwards to become to his descendants the "land of bondage."
In the last and preceding century, when the arguments in favour of the longer computation were less convincing than they have since been rendered, chiefly by Dr. Hales,-even then there were many historical and chronological writers who held the alternatives to be so nicely balanced, that they knew not well how to decide, and, in their state of doubt, believed it safest to adhere to
the received computation. In this they were doubtless right. But
Either in the Hebrew or the Greek there has been a studied and regular alteration of the genealogies, for the purpose of either, in the first instance, bringing down, or, in the latter, of raising high, the date of the Creation. This is manifest, and needs no proof. This has been effected by either throwing back or bringing forward the age of the father in every generation at which the son is born. Thus, according to the Hebrew, Adam was 130 years of age when Seth was born; according to the Septuagint, his age was then 230 years.
Since, therefore, it is certain that either the Hebrew or the Greek copies have been corrupted, the question of the shorter or longer chronology resolves itself into another, Whether it is in the Hebrew or the Greek copies that the corruption has taken place?
the ancient translation of the Septuagint was made from the uncorThe opinion of those who adopt the longer chronology is, that rupted Hebrew text, the corruption in which was made some centuries after the date of that translation. This opinion is by no means new; for the whole weight of antiquity and of the earliest "fathers" of the Christian church are in favour of the longer computation of the Septuagint. Theophilus, bishop of Antioch, and Eusebius, bishop of Cæsarea, who are entitled to the most which the others only noticed casually or incidentally, knowingly attention, as having expressly applied themselves to the study, and advisedly prefer the Septuagint account to the Hebrew, not only on the ground which we have stated, but as being the most reasonable, and most in unison with the requirements of all history, sacred and profane.
The further support which the longer computation has lately received, has been deduced from Josephus by Dr. Hales. With in Josephus whereby the mistakes or corruptions of his editors great acuteness, this accomplished scholar found out certain data and copyists might be rectified-or, rather, such as sufficed to evince that the computation which he followed agreed as nearly as possible with that of the Septuagint. This discovery was of the highest importance; it evinced that there was no difference in his time between the computations of the Hebrew and the Septuagint. Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian, was a priest, been any difference between the two versions in a matter which and well acquainted with the Hebrew Scriptures; and if there had the Jews considered so serious as the genealogies, it is morally certain that the Hebrew version must have been the one which his nation in general, and the priests in particular, regarded as the true account. Josephus would have followed the Hebrew, doubtless, if there had been such a difference; and would, very proto be remembered that he had access to the purest and most sacred bably, have intimated that such a difference did exist. It is also copies of the law which could be found., Besides, he more than once distinctly declares that his regular authority, in all points, was the Hebrew Scriptures, for which he constantly expresses the highest veneration. There are other good and substantial reasons for believing that there was no difference of computation in the time of Josephus-or, say, the time of CHRIST; and if Josephus, evinces that this was the computation in which they this be so, then, of course, the use of the longer computation by
We cannot follow the subject out in all the detail which would, perhaps, be necessary to the perfect conviction of those who have not previously considered the matter. We will, therefore, collect the heads of the arguments employed by Hales; referring such of subject, to the original work for the specific proofs and illustrations. our readers as remain unsatisfied, or desirous to pursue the conclude :— From the joint testimonies of Philo and Josephus we may safely
1. That there was originally no difference between the Hebrew genealogies and those of the Greek version.
2. That the computation of Josephus was conformable to both in his time; and, consequently,
3. That either the Hebrew copies, or the Greek copies, both of the Septuagint and Josephus, have been adulterated since his time. than in the Greek is most highly probable, for several reasons :→→→ That the adulteration took place in the Hebrew copies rather