In our own country, under the pressure of life, many hail the release from toil and the refreshment of spirit promised by the annual summer trip. So in India missionaries avail themselves of the cold season to sally out for the prosecution of their work. Their main object is to make known the gospel to the many whom they are sure to meet wherever their tent may be pitched, who have never heard the name of Jesus, except perhaps amidst the bustle and noise of a mela, and who but for itineracies would remain in total ignorance of the Saviour of mankind. The missionary who does not keep this before his mind as his chief aim is unworthy of the name. While this object is pursued, another is sought which missionaries deem very legitimate. Health is indispensable for the efficient discharge of their duties, and travelling is found very beneficial to the health of their families as well as to their own. Touring in the cold weather, by the new strength it gives to the body and the refreshment it gives to the spirit, has been found to prepare them for a new campaign at home as nothing else could have done.
Some missionaries have kept themselves within a limited sphere not far from their homes, visiting the same places again and again, obtaining a personal acquaintance with many of the people, and endeavouring to deepen any impressions which may have been made. Others have travelled for weeks, sometimes for months, over hundreds of miles, visiting the towns and villages on their route, and speaking about the things of God to all whom they have met.
During my long residence in India it was my privilege to undertake tours of both descriptions. I never stopped at home during the cold weather -- we are not in India in the habit of saying |summer and winter,| but |hot weather and cold weather| -- except when justice to my colleagues, or the necessities of the mission, compelled me to stay. There were seasons when my colleague was, either from inexperience or ill-health, unable to do the home work; or, as happened more than once, I had no colleague at all, and in these circumstances it was obvious duty to remain at my post. Even then I commonly managed to get out a little into the surrounding country. On some of our tours we were put to no small inconvenience, and we were not strangers to hardship; but we look back to them with much pleasure, and think how much we would like to set out on them again if circumstances permitted.
[Sidenote: VOYAGING ON THE GANGES.]
At an early stage of our residence at Benares voyaging on the Ganges was a favourite mode of enjoying the cold season. There were budgerows, vessels with two tolerably sized rooms, available for hire at a moderate charge. It was indispensable to have with the budgerow a small boat for the accommodation of servants and for the cooking of food. On a few occasions I took a trip on a vessel of this description with my family, moving up and down the river, and halting towards evening near a town or village, which I could visit for the purpose of speaking to the people about the Saviour. The country is so populous that there was no difficulty in mooring our little craft in the evening near some place where hearers could be collected. It was seldom on any tour in the North-West we were allowed to forget that we were in the region of the sacred river, which receives from the people divine honours, and which in their belief confers inestimable benefit on all who bathe in its waters. When on the bank of the river, its alleged virtues formed a frequent subject of remark and discussion. There, as elsewhere, we had to tell them that Ganges water, however good for refreshing and cleansing the body, cannot wash away one spot from the soul. We had to tell them frequently, that as the washerman who puts clothes into a box and carefully washes it with the expectation of their coming out clean and white will be acting a very foolish part, so they were acting an equally futile part if they supposed that the water of the Ganges, so useful for the body, had any effect on the spirit. In answer to the remark that Ganges water could not do what other water could not, as it had nothing peculiar in its composition, I have been gravely told that two things exactly the same to the senses may be essentially different; and the proof given was that the river Kurumnasa, which means the destroyer of merit, takes away all merit from those who bathe in it, while bathing in the Ganges secures an untold degree of merit, extending not only to one's own past and future, but to an untold number of ancestors and descendants!
When on the Ganges or its banks one continually sees proof of the implicit trust placed in it. We remember being awakened very early one morning long before dawn by a person bathing close to our boat, in a quivering voice which showed he was chilled by the water, long and earnestly imploring the favour of Gunga Ma -- Mother Ganges.
There is no part of India, mountain or plain, where serpents may not be encountered. One evening, when returning to our boat from a village on the banks of the river, I was walking warily on a narrow path half-covered with grass from both sides, when I saw before me what I first supposed to be a rope. I halted, and immediately a serpent glided away. That evening, before reaching the boat, I saw at least a dozen of serpents at their evening gambols over the ruins of a house. I walked quietly on, deeming it the best part of valour to leave them undisturbed. If they observed me they showed no inclination to approach me.
For many years voyaging on the Ganges has gone out of fashion. Native boats laden with produce and wood continue to ply, but the budgerows and pinnaces, which Europeans could hire, have almost entirely disappeared. There are various reasons for this change. The current of the river is very rapid in some places, which makes the work of dragging against it very slow and tiresome; there is sometimes the danger of collision with other boats. The high banks of the river here and there prevent the country from being seen, and at other places there is a dreary stretch of sand. Though the weather of the cold season is very steady, a storm might come on, and if it did neither boat nor boatmen could be trusted; for the boat, never of the best material, was often sadly out of repair, and the boatmen were ready, when danger appeared, to throw themselves into the water and make for the shore, leaving the passengers to shift for themselves. There was, indeed, the pleasantness of sailing on a broad river; the air was very fresh; there was no leaving of the temporary abode from day to day; the trouble of a shifting camp was escaped, though occasionally there was inconvenience from the indispensable cook-boat not keeping sufficiently near. Opposed to these advantages were the disadvantages I have mentioned, which were always felt to be serious drawbacks; and when the roads had been improved, and journeying facilities increased, travelling by land obtained so decided a preference, that the river has been well-nigh abandoned by Europeans.
[Sidenote: SHORT AND LONG TOURS.]
Some seasons our touring was confined to a narrow range, not extending beyond thirty or forty miles. We every now and then spent a few days within a few miles of the city. Our first journey of any considerable length was, at the end of 1840, to the mela at Allahabad, some seventy miles north-west of Benares, which I have already mentioned. At the end of 1842 I made a tour along with my wife and child to Agra, more than four hundred miles from Benares, which occupied us about three months. On this tour we passed through Allahabad, Cawnpore, Futtygurh, Mynpoorie, and other well-known places. Early in 1847, accompanied by a brother missionary, we went to Almora, nearly six hundred miles distant, travelling with our tents to the foot of the hills, and spending six or seven weeks on our way. We left Almora for Benares in October, and reached it early in December, having taken Meerut, Delhi, and Allygurh, as well as Cawnpore and Allahabad, in our return route. Our long journeys many years afterwards were performed with few exceptions under new conditions, and with much greater expedition.
If my readers are in thought to accompany us on those journeys, it may be well to state the circumstances in which we travelled, the weather we had and could generally expect, our travelling arrangements, the state of the roads, and the aspects of the country through which we passed.
As to the weather, it was generally delightful. We had from day to day an unclouded sky, with the sun rather strong as the day advanced, but with a refreshing breeze, which made it thoroughly cool in the shade, even cold sometimes, so that one was inclined to go out into the sunshine to get warmth. In the daytime warm clothing was pleasant, and at night, especially in tents, our blankets and wraps came into full requisition. There was a steadiness in the weather exceeding anything known in our climate. We have known weeks without any shading of the sky. There were, however, occasional breaks. Now and then clouds gathered from day to day, and at length came down in heavy rain, which was most welcome to the farmers, especially when it came as it often did, about Christmas. Thunder storms might be sometimes looked for, accompanied by sudden and severe gusts of wind. These days of atmospheric disturbance were sufficient to make us, as travellers, appreciate more highly the weather with which we were ordinarily favoured.
[Sidenote: APPEARANCE OF THE COUNTRY.]
The greater part of the country through which we travelled is very level. Beyond Chunar, indeed, which is sixteen miles from Benares, and Mirzapore, which is thirty miles distant, there is a great extent of low hill-country. These districts we visited several times. The most of our journeys were in the wide open plains of the North-West. The country, though level, is by no means uninteresting. You receive as you travel a very favourable impression of the productiveness of the land and the industry of the people. In the cold weather you see, as far as the eye can reach, a sweep of growing corn, wheat and other grains, which give the hope of an early and abundant harvest. Towns and villages meet your view on every side. If you get to a slightly elevated spot you are struck with the number of wells you see in the fields, dug for the purpose of irrigation. In the great region lying between the Ganges and the Jumna, called the Doab -- the country of the two rivers, the Mesopotamia of Northern India, over a great part of which we travelled for the first time at the end of 1842 and the beginning of 1843, and which we have often traversed since -- there is no extensive forest near the Trunk Road. In all directions, however, you see clumps of lofty and shady trees, and occasionally groves of considerable extent. Trees have been largely planted along the road, and within every few miles there are groves, where travellers get their tents pitched, and where they are thoroughly protected from the glare and heat of the sun. Even in the coldest part of the cold weather tents pitched in the open become quickly too heated for comfort. In the groves the deep shade cast by the widely-spread branches and the thick foliage sometimes darkens the tent too much for reading and writing; but outside, on a chair before a small table, if that be required, one can spend hours very pleasantly reading or writing, as it may be, and listening if inclined to the cawing of the crows, the cooing of the doves, and the notes of other birds, while the gentle breeze rustles through the trees, and the children, if any, play with their toys under them.
Natives, when they travel, as I have already mentioned, manage things in a fashion which we are not able to imitate, but which I have often been inclined to envy. Let them have flour, water, a little wood for fuel, if not in its stead dried cow-dung, and they partake with relish of the meal their own hands have cooked, conscious of no want and complaining of no hardship. The relish is increased if they can get some of the ordinary vegetables of the country. With the meal over, after chatting a while over the Hookah, the |hubble-bubble| as English people call it, the pipe which sends tobacco smoke through water, they wrap themselves in the blanket which they carry with them, and sleep soundly under a tree, when, as is often the case, no Sura, a native resting-place, is at hand. If rain comes on they creep into a place where the rain cannot reach them, if such a place be available. A few Europeans have at different times tried to follow the habit of native travellers, and in very exceptional cases it has been successful. The ordinary result has been the speedy ruin of health.
Our habits compel us to travel in a different way. When a missionary is alone, though he cannot travel as a native does, he can put up, and does put up, with inconveniences to which a family cannot be exposed. The family, however, requires a change as well as himself; and when wife and children are with him, as they often are, the house is shut up at home, home servants are taken, and travelling requires only a slight addition to the domestic staff. An additional horse is needed for the conveyance (in India a conveyance is not a luxury but a necessity); two tents are required, one to be sent on over-night, while the other is kept behind for occupation; along with the tents, slight portable beds, bedding, small folding-table, cane chairs, and cooking-vessels. These goods of the moving household are laden and forwarded on carts called Hackeries, drawn by oxen. Highly paid officials manage as they travel to have with them many of the luxuries and even some of the elegancies of life, but missionaries are satisfied if they get necessaries. As we travel we manage, though not always, to get milk, fowls, and eggs, and occasionally a kid. Whatever beside we need must be taken with us.
[Sidenote: PLEASANT TOURING.]
When the weather is fine, the roads good, the horses and bullocks strong and manageable, and the attendants efficient, touring in the North-West in the cold weather is very pleasant. If travelling be prosecuted from day to day, the custom is to rise very early in the morning at the earliest dawn, or before dawn, when the morning-star appears, and to rouse the camp. This was my part when travelling with my household. The watchman wakened me, and I wakened all around. We got quickly ready, and set out on our journey of twelve or fourteen miles. The mornings were not only cool, but often sharply cold. On arriving at the end of our stage, it might be as early as eight or half-past eight o'clock, we should find, and often did find, the tent pitched, which had been sent on over-night, the table spread commonly under a shady tree, the water boiling, food prepared; and then with a keen appetite we sat down to breakfast. When the afternoon was a little advanced, the cart arrived with the tent and other things left behind, and was soon pitched for our night occupancy. Towards evening the day-tent was taken down, and was sent on over-night with everything requisite for the next day. When all the circumstances were favourable, everything went on with an ease and regularity which made us feel at home while away from home, and gave us at the same time the constant variety of new scenes.
The circumstances were not, however, always favourable. They were sometimes the reverse. The new horse was unmanageable, the bullocks were weak and could not draw the carts, the servants were remiss or incapable, the roads were in some places shockingly bad, we were left for hours without tent and food, and, as I have said, the weather now and then was wet and stormy. We had sometimes an amount of trouble which made us half regret we had left home. Ladies are generally very patient in such circumstances, but children are sorely tried. The difficulties we encountered in some of our early journeys were such that we now wonder how we got out of them, and succeeded in getting on at all. The touring in favourable circumstances, which I have described, is not however a mere ideal. Happily it was often with us a reality. On setting out things required to be adjusted. Time was required for getting things into their places, and for each person learning to do the work assigned him. When once we got into travelling trim, and our people were what they ought to be, things went on with the regularity of clockwork.
I have mentioned our long tours in 1842 and 1847. On these journeys we had a good deal of pleasant smooth travelling, and we also encountered some of the difficulties of which I have spoken. The Trunk Road from Allahabad to the North-West was in excellent condition in 1842-43; but from Benares to Allahabad it had been allowed to get out of repair, and the roads diverging from the Trunk Road on one side to Futtygurh and on the other side to Agra we found very bad. The story of our difficulties is well remembered by us, but it must be given very concisely. At one place a wheel of our conveyance broke in the middle of a stage, and after some delay we succeeded in getting an Ekka, a small native conveyance drawn by a pony, on the narrow platform of which the members of our party who could not walk were squatted as they best could; while the rest of us walked. We sent on word of our trouble to our missionary friends at Futtygurh, who kindly arranged to get us on to their hospitable abode, and to get our conveyance repaired. Three days after leaving Futtygurh our best horse died, from sheer fatigue in drawing our conveyance through the sand. This threw us on having it drawn by bullocks at the rate of a mile and a half, or at the utmost two miles, an hour, over a very bad road, which jolted us frightfully.
[Sidenote: WALLED VILLAGES.]
As we travelled we saw many things which drew our attention and excited our interest. Most of the villages along our route were surrounded by high mud walls, and had only one entrance by a great strong gate, which was shut at night, reminding us of the insecurity from which this part of India had emerged when it came under British rule within the memory of men then living. Villages thus fortified, if sufficient watch was kept, were quite secure against the sudden raids of Mahratta horsemen, or the attacks of robbers, to whose unwelcome visits they were always exposed. The former state of insecurity was also suggested by the number we met armed to the teeth, by shield on the breast, sword at the side, and matchlock on the shoulder. The insecurity had to a great extent come to an end, but the habit of going armed continued.
Along the road at convenient distances there were Suras for the convenience of travellers, which people in England, when speaking of Eastern lands, call Caravanserais. These are generally open spaces, surrounded by mud walls, with sheds at their sides for people who are willing to pay a very trifling sum for the luxury of sleeping under cover, and, if they like, for having their horses near them. Carts and oxen are always in the open. Sellers of grain and wood are always there with everything native travellers require. If a bedstead -- a low four-footed article with rope for its bottom and mattress -- be preferred to the bare ground, it can commonly be procured for three-halfpence for the night. When in the evening we were near these places we went to them, and saw the poor weary travellers setting to the preparation of their simple meal -- with most the only cooked meal of the day -- with apparently as great contentedness as we have when after a fatiguing day we reach an hotel, and, having given our orders, know that speedily we shall sit down to an ample repast. Many of these Suras have been built at the expense of well-to-do natives impelled by different motives, for love of name -- nam ke liye, as the natives say, a motive for which their countrymen continually give them credit -- for the acquisition of religious merit, and from benevolent feeling. These places are called Dhurmsalas, places erected by righteous, good men.
[Sidenote: |WELLS OF SALVATION.|]
On this our first long journey in the country, we were impressed by the amount of traffic we saw on the road; and this impression was deepened on future occasions. We seldom travelled a few miles without seeing carts drawn by bullocks and laden with goods. We saw rows of camels, walking in single file, each attached to the one before and the one behind by a string. These belonged chiefly, though not exclusively, to Afghans, and were laden to a large extent with the products of their country. Every now and then we came across elephants, sometimes with a stack of tender branches on their back, which form a large part of their food, and at other times with persons seated sometimes on a howdah, sometimes on a pad. There were many foot-passengers, not a few with heavy loads on their heads. When these came in sight of a well, how quickly did they step up to it, throw off their burden, drop into it their brass vessel attached to a string, draw it up, and take a long, deep draught of the precious water! As I have observed them I have thought of the words, |With joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation.| To these poor toiling people the wells did appear wells of salvation. On some days we met bands of persons -- chiefly men, with a woman here and there among them -- with bamboo rods across their shoulders with a basket at each end, their travelling gear in and on one basket, and a vessel with Ganges water in the other. Thousands of these pilgrims travel every year over Northern India, going from one shrine to another, and pouring on certain images the water of the sacred river.
In our journeyings we had a singular immunity from thieves, a greater immunity than we had in our house at Benares, which was several times visited by these unwelcome intruders, though we always kept a watchman. All over the North-West, I suppose all over India, thieves abound. Whole tribes have for generations followed theft as a profession, and have betaken themselves to honest work only when compelled by finding their occupation perilous. They have had as their associates the idle and dissolute of other castes. Tents, as I have observed, are commonly pitched in shady groves, and in consequence admit of being approached unobserved, and a sharp knife in a skilful hand can easily secure an entrance on any side. Travellers have piquant stories to tell of the cleverness and impudence with which their property has been taken away. A missionary friend of ours awoke one morning to find that during the night everything in his tent had disappeared on which thieves could lay their hand. We had a large experience of tent life, but we have happily no story to tell about any similar loss. I do not remember our having had even a night alarm, though I well remember the difficulty we often had in preventing our guardians from sending forth unearthly cries, which made sleep impossible. My habit was, wherever we halted, to make my way to the headman of the adjoining village or town, and to place our encampment under his care. We were generally told there were thieves in the neighbourhood; we were sometimes told they were numerous and daring. We always stated our readiness to pay for watchmen, and we told the headman that if he did not send trustworthy men we should hold him responsible. We thus paid a sort of black-mail, but we thought the small sum paid well expended as insurance for the safety of our property. Some travellers take watchmen with them. This we never did, as we thought ourselves safer in the hands of men on the spot. Many a time as we lay down in our tent did we think how strange it was that, far away from our European brethren, in a strange land among a strange people, we could compose ourselves to sleep with as little fear, and with as strong a feeling of security, as if within locks and bars in our own country. We thought, with thankfulness, that we were under the aegis of our own government, even when we were in places where Englishmen were seldom seen, but where, notwithstanding, our prestige was fully recognized.
At all the places through which we passed on our first long tour, Allahabad, Cawnpore, Futtygurh, Mynpoorie, and Agra, we were treated with the utmost kindness by the American and English missionaries, and by other Christian brethren, some of whom have been life-long friends ever since.
[Sidenote: THE BUILDINGS OF AGRA.]
We were interested in all the places we saw on this tour; but Agra -- Akbarabad, as natives always call it, the capital of Akbar, the most remarkable emperor who ever ruled over India -- had for us, as for all who have visited it, peculiar attractions. When at some distance from the city we saw glistening in the sun the lofty dome and the still loftier four minarets or towers of the Taj Muhal, that wondrous mausoleum of the purest marble, built by the Emperor Shah Jehan for a favourite queen. On our arrival we lost no time in going to it. On subsequent visits to Agra we renewed our acquaintance with it, and on every new occasion its exquisite beauty and lofty grandeur enhanced our admiration. We also saw the Motee Musjid, the Pearl Mosque as it is called, built of marble, and called the Pearl Mosque, as I suppose, on account of its beauty and symmetry; the grand tomb of Akbar at Secundra, six miles from Agra; and other objects of interest. I am not to attempt a description of these world-famed buildings of Agra. They have been often described, and by none perhaps better than by Bishop Heber in his journal, which is now little read, but which gives a more graphic and accurate account of the parts of India he visited in 1825 than any I have seen elsewhere. Of the Taj and other grand structures of the Muhammadan emperors, he says they look as if |built by a giant and furnished by a jeweller.|
While deeply interested in much we saw in this tour of 1842-43, on it, as well as on all subsequent tours, our great evangelistic object was kept steadily in view. On this occasion I was accompanied by a catechist. In the early afternoon, when we might hope to meet people released from the work of the day, we repaired to the neighbouring village. Often we found a large tree at the entrance to the village, with a stone seat close to its trunk, and on it we sat down. If there was no such seat a small native bedstead was often brought -- such a thing as a chair was unknown -- and we were asked to sit, while the people politely stood, till at our request they sat, which they can well do on their haunches. We entered into conversation with those who gathered around us. We asked if there was any pundit, any learned man in the village; and if there was we were happy to see him come, as we knew the people would look on us with less suspicion if he was present. In many places they were so unaccustomed to the sight of Europeans that they looked on us with a mingled feeling of curiosity and fear. We tried to put them at ease by speaking about something in which we knew they were deeply interested, such as their fields and crops, and as soon as we well could we made our way to the subject of religion. We read those passages from our Scriptures which we thought most fitted to arrest their attention. We aimed at setting forth the great facts and truths of revelation with all the simplicity, conciseness, and earnestness we could command. We repeated what was not understood, or was misunderstood, and endeavoured to make it plain by familiar illustrations.
We met with varied reception. In some places the people were so stolid, that even the catechist, one of their own people, seemed to make no impression. On many occasions we were heard most patiently, and were treated most courteously. Now and then, especially in the larger places, and where markets were being held -- these are held weekly in central places, sometimes twice a week, and are well attended -- there was much noise and great interruption. At times we encountered strong, bitter, and captious opposition. On the whole we met with far less opposition, and with a much more patient and respectful hearing, than at our stated work in a city like Benares. Often we were thanked for our visit, and were told our teaching well deserved consideration. Not infrequently the remark was made, |What you say is very good, but we never heard it before; we understand it very imperfectly, you will be leaving to-morrow, and we shall forget it all.| We parted with such persons with a heavy heart. We always halted on the Lord's Day, and often on other days, when we met with encouragement and circumstances permitted.
[Sidenote: AN ANCIENT CAPITAL.]
Kunauj, now a poor, decayed town, composed chiefly of low mud-built houses, with not one fine building in it so far as I remember, was, as I have already mentioned, for ages the most famous city in Northern India, the capital of sovereigns ruling over extensive regions. The Brahmans of Kunauj continue to hold the highest rank in the Brahmanical hierarchy, but I believe only a few reside in Kunauj and its neighbourhood. As we learned it was only a few miles off the Trunk Road, we determined to halt a day for the purpose of visiting it. We accordingly went to it one morning, and remained in it some time, looking at the mounds which cover the ruins of its palaces, and which is all that remains to tell of its former greatness. A number gathered around us, with whom we conversed. They seemed so much interested in what we said about the Saviour, that we promised to visit them on our return. We accordingly arranged to remain a Sabbath at the part of the Trunk Road nearest to Kunauj. Reaching it on a Saturday we sent on a small tent, and early next day, accompanied by the catechist, I made my way to the town. There we remained the entire day, and I have seldom had such a day of pleasant toil. The people came in crowds, and talk on the highest subjects was kept up from hour to hour. The catechist, after a time, left me to visit some persons he knew in the neighbourhood, and I was left alone to unfold the doctrines of Christianity, and to answer the questions put to me. I more than once said, |I must have rest.| All went out, and I lay down on a piece of carpet on the floor of the tent. Some one soon peeped in; |Have you not had rest now, sir?| and so I had to get up and resume my work, not over well-pleased the catechist had left it all to me. Since that time Kunauj has had visits from missionaries, and they have had many hearers, but I have not heard of any fruit gathered from these visits in the form of converts.
[Sidenote: AN EARNEST INQUIRER.]
I was greatly impressed with one visit I received on this tour. We had got over our morning journey. I was, I suppose, more tired than usual, for in the forenoon I lay down on our travelling bedstead to rest. I heard a voice at the tent door, |Sahib, sahib!| -- |Sir, sir!| -- and I said, |Come in.| In came a native well dressed, and looking as if tired with a long walk. I told him to sit down on the carpet, which he did, and he then proceeded to tell me the object of his visit. He said in substance: |Last night you were in a village twelve miles from this place, and you there spoke much of an incarnation, an 'autar,' which had for its object the deliverance of man from the power and punishment of sin. One who heard you last night told me something of what you had said. I have long been a worshipper of the gods of my fathers, but I have got no rest, no satisfaction. I have heard much of incarnations, but I know of no sinless one. Not one of them has done me any good. Have you certain information of one that can deliver me and satisfy me?| I need not say what I said in reply to this great inquiry. We talked long and earnestly. I found he could read, and I gave him a Gospel and some tracts. He professed to be much interested. I begged him to give me his address that I might communicate with him. He did not pointedly refuse, but no address was given to me, apparently from the fear, so common among the people, of the reproach and suffering which will come upon them if they be suspected of an intention to abandon their ancestral religion. I parted with the man praying, that he might be led to the Saviour. Often, often have I thought of him; often have I hoped that what was said that forenoon had sunk into his heart; but I have never seen him, never heard of him, since that time.
I have mentioned that early in 1847 we went to Almora, in the Hill Province of Kumaon, and towards the end of the year returned to Benares. Before our departure we had the pleasure of seeing the completion of a work which had made a great demand on our time and attention, and had caused us no small anxiety -- the erection of a new place of worship in the Grecian style, in the place of the small mud building in which we had hitherto met. This was our first essay in building, and our inexperience led us into many mistakes, which we tried to avoid in future work of the kind. The building cost above L1,200, fully twice the sum we had calculated. Through the liberality of friends its entire cost was met within six months of its opening, and it has proved of great service to the Mission. The opening services were conducted in Hindustanee and English. The late Rev. J. A. Shurman preached with great power in Hindustanee to a crowded congregation composed of Christians, Hindus, and Muhammadans, and I preached in English to a large European congregation. We were greatly encouraged by the liberal collections made at these services.
[Sidenote: SLOW TRAVELLING.]
I must defer to a later period of this work what I have to say about Kumaon, to which we paid several visits, and where we spent the last years of our Indian life. Our journeying to and from Kumaon in 1847 was partly over the ground traversed on our trip to Agra in 1842-43, and partly over new ground, as one may see by looking at the map of Northern India. The conditions of the journey were to a large extent those I have already described; but we suffered from bad roads, from our camp equipage falling behind, and I may add from inefficient service, much more than we had formerly done. On reaching Almora we mentioned to a friend the route we had taken, and he said, |Surely you have not come in a wheeled conveyance, for I am told that road is impassable.| I told him the road was passable, for we had passed it, but if we had previously known what it was we should not have attempted it. Amidst the tracks we saw, we often had difficulty in deciding which was the road. Between unbridged streams with high banks, ditches, and deep ruts which caught our wheels and would not let them go, our progress was much impeded; but we toiled on. At one place we were happily helped by a company of Sepoys, whose medical officer was a dear Christian friend. In other places we were extricated by the help of villagers.
As we journeyed in these circumstances we were not in a mood to be amused, but I was amused one day by the contrast between a romantic lady and an unromantic |sais| (anglice, groom). The Hills had come grandly into view, but unhappily we were fast in a ditch. The lady looking to the |sais| said, |Sais, do you not see the hills?| To which he most dolefully replied, not lifting his eyes as he spoke, |Madam, what can I see? We are stuck in the mud.|
One day we took full ten hours to go twelve miles. When we came to the end of our stage we found we had to encamp for the night in the low scrub of the forest, with stagnant water all around us. There was a hut at the place with two native policemen to help travellers, and we were told by them that there had been for some days in the neighbourhood what is called |a rogue elephant| -- an elephant which, for some reason known only in elephant councils has been driven out of the herd, and is so enraged by his expulsion that he is ready to run amuck at every person and animal he sees. This was not pleasant intelligence. We found native carts at the place, ready to proceed in the morning to a market to be held at the foot of the hills; and after a very uncomfortable night, much disturbed by the cries of the beasts of the wilderness, we set out, the people shouting to scare the elephant, which, though ready for mischief, is frightened by noise. We saw no trace of him. When the day was well advanced we reached a rest-house close to the hills, with a brawling stream behind it, with which our children as well as ourselves were delighted, one of them clapping his hands and saying, |Water clear and bright!| We had our first and rather perilous hill journey the next day, but my account of it and subsequent journeys in the mountains must be reserved for another time.
We went to Kumaon by the most direct route through Futtygurh and Bareilly. We returned by a longer route via Meerut and Delhi. Our difficulties on our way back were somewhat different, but they were quite as great as on our upward journey. Some of the streams we had to cross were not fordable, and we had great difficulty in getting ourselves ferried over. A few nights were spent in exceeding discomfort, our carts not having come up with our tents, and we were shelterless and supperless -- rather, if I may coin such a word, dinnerless. One night cover was got for my wife and children, but a missionary brother and myself remained out all night, with no possibility of obtaining rest, as a pack of jackals were gorging themselves on the carcase of a bullock, and making the most hideous noises. As the night was cold, and we had no bedding, it was perhaps well the jackals were there, as otherwise we might have been tempted to lie down on the bare ground, which we could not have done with safety to our health. When once we got to the Trunk Road, which we had from Delhi to Benares, our travelling difficulties were at an end, and we got on most comfortably.
At Delhi our tents were pitched in an open space near the house of Mr. Thompson, for many years the Baptist missionary in that city, whose widow and daughters were afterwards so barbarously murdered by the mutineers in 1857. With him and his family, and with some other Christian friends there, we had much pleasant intercourse during the few days we remained. We of course saw the sights of the grand old imperial city -- the Juma Musjid said to be the largest mosque in Asia, a most commanding building on a small rocky elevation, to which you ascend by a lofty flight of steps, and which has a most magnificent court paved with granite inlaid with marble; the palace, so far as it was open to visitors; the Chandnee Chauk, the great open street and market-place with a fine stream of water flowing through it; and, at the distance of a few miles from the city, the remarkable tower, the Kootub Minar, 240 feet high, erected by the Muhammadan conquerors who first made Delhi their capital. For miles around there are ruins of mosques, mausoleums, palaces, and splendid mansions. For a description of Delhi, as for the description of Agra, I must refer my readers to Bishop Heber's Journal.
During this journey to and from Kumaon we carried on, so far as circumstances permitted, the missionary work I have already mentioned. Our experience while prosecuting this tour so closely resembled that of which I have already given an account, that it is unnecessary to enter into details.
[Sidenote: CHRISTIAN HOSPITALITY.]
As on our visit to Agra in 1842-43, so on these journeys of 1847 we met with the greatest kindness from our missionary brethren, some of whom we had afterwards the privilege of entertaining at Benares. It mattered not whether they were Episcopalian, Presbyterian, or Baptist, English, Continental, or American (at that time there were no Methodist missions in Northern India), we received a cordial welcome, and though formerly unknown to each other we at once felt at home. We sometimes felt in much need of help, and it was most readily afforded. To some other Christian friends we met our grateful acknowledgments are due.