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and thought that the prince had reason to complain of the rigour with which he had been treated by the Bombay Government. His warmest advocates cannot exempt him from some of the charges,-except by means of a general assumption that every species of evidence, oral or documentary, inconsistent with the rajah's purity, is the result of fraud and perjury;and if one of them be proved, it lays a ground for believing him guilty
It is impossible to think that so many men of virtue and talent, having to decide upon the rajah's case, under all the heavy responsibilities of the office, should have delivered a verdict of "guilty" without a solemn conviction of his guilt. Lord Auckland, who at first leaned to the contrary opinion, at length found it, as he says, his "painful duty" to state that he was "compelled to concur in the unanimous opinion of the Bombay Government," convicting the rajah of the three principal charges. Can it be believed that the cool-headed and amiable Sir Robert Grant would pronounce the same sentence without the fullest conviction; or that Sir James Carnac would have relinquished his preconceived opinion of the rajah's innocence, unless the proofs of his guilt were manifest? These personages, and the other Government functionaries concerned with them, were well aware of the character of native evidence, and capable of testing its value. The ridiculous nature of the projects, upon which so much stress is laid, will have but little influence among those who know that the plots of most native princes, even of Tippoo,—are marked with the same extravagant features of folly. Whether the rajah was the original projector, or merely the adopter and secret abettor of those proceedings, is immaterial; in either case, they show his animus, and render him unfit to retain the station which he owed to the liberality of the British Government.
It seems to be the opinion of some people that the rajah ought to have been subjected to some form of trial, and that by jury has been even hinted at. These suggestions only show how little consideration has been bestowed upon the subject by those who make them. All that could be expected or desired by a prince in the rajah's position, is to have an opportunity of demonstrating his innocence; he had that opportunity, nay, he might have confronted his accusers, but he declined both.
Again; the treatment of the rajah has been taxed with harshness; whereas the forbearance, the disinclination to come to a conclusion of his guilt, the desire to discover some avenue of escape from so painful and hazardous a measure as his deposition, appear to have been the cause of that seeming inconsistency and hesitation on the part of the governing authorities in India, from whence sharp-witted advocates of the rajah infer doubt of his guilt, but from which we only infer reluctance to condemn.
MEMOIRS OF A GRIFFIN.
BY CAPTAIN BELLEW.
My last chapter left us seated around the social board at Tiffin. A little incident occurred during this meal, which for a moment disturbed the harmony of the party, and, whilst strongly elucidating the character given by Mrs. Delaval of her father, shewed that her caution to me, to be on my guard with the atrabilious old hero, was not bestowed without reason. The general's temper truly was like a pistol with a hair-trigger (as I had afterwards further occasion to observe), going off at the slightest touch, and requiring infinite caution in the handling.
Like many old Indians of that day, and I may add, most old gentlemen, the general piqued himself on the quality of his wines. He had a history for every batch; generally ramifying into almost interminable anecdotes of the Dicks and Bobs, defunct bon vivans, of other days. This discursive garrulity is one of the well-known characteristics of age. I am descending the vale myself; I, therefore, claim the privilege of a ramble on this same topic of wine.
It is almost worth a passage round the Cape to be enabled to enjoy the supreme luxury of a well-iced bottle of claret, on a broiling day, within the tropics. In our land of fogs and drizzle, where alcohol is essential to rouse the sluggish energies of the system and counteract the suicidal tendencies of the climate, claret is a poor and thin potation; but in India, where fever is to be allayed rather than excited, commend me to a bottle of Loll. In Bengal, the unadulterated wines of the pleasant land of France, of the sunny south, shine forth in all their glory, and " Guienne" may be as fairly the cry of the Anglo-Indian as it was, according to honest Froissart, of our redoubtable sires of yore. Ye epicures and good-livers of England, who compass sea and land to find fresh stimulants for your palates, take a trip to Calcutta, to eat mango fish and drink iced-claret-'tis well worth your while. How pleasant to grasp the long and slender neck of the red-petticoated* lady, whilst the squeak of the cork is music to the ear! and then the aroma! why the gardens of "Gul in their bloom" cannot compare with it! How beautifully frosted, too, like the wintry pool, is the capacious glass, as the cold liquid ruby is poured into it-a mantling cup fit for the gods! and how exquisitely grateful to the parched palate, as you toss it off with an emphatic "hah !" and a significant smack !
If the quantity and quality of religion and morals be very much determined in all countries by the quantum of sun enjoyed-the Northerns being sombre and the Southerns gay-the sunshine of the mind being more than a mere figure the taste in wines seems quite as much an affair of latitude and longitude. Who, with any regard for harınonious associations and the "eternal fitness of things," could properly enjoy a light French wine, in its delicately-tapering and aqua-marine-tinted bottle, in the dingy back-parlour of the Black Horse, or Blue Posts, par exemple, flanking some junk of mutton or beef, in all its “Tartarian crudity," bidding defiance to mastication and digestion ! Could that light and refined potation assimilate with the frightful solid? The converse holds equally good. Port has no natural connection with omelette soufflet; brown stout with vol-au-vent, &c. All this proves that what is good in one country, is often very much the contrary in another. A valuable discovery of mine, which may be entitled to rank as a truism.
* Bottles in India are covered with a red kurwah petticoat wetted to keep the wine cool.
"What do you think of that claret, Mr. Gernon?” asked the old general, after I had duly interred a bonum magnum of it, with military honours. "I'll engage you find that good." Now I must confess that, up to that period (sundry glasses of ginger and gooseberry inclusive), the aggregate quantity of vinous fluid consumed by me, and constituting the basis of my experience, could not have exceeded three dozen at the most. But I was flattered by the general's appeal, and, as a military man," I felt that I ought not to appear ignorant and inexperienced on such a matter. Many young Oxonians and Cantabs, whom I had known at home, little my seniors, had talked flingingly in my presence of " their wine," and the quantity consumed by the "men" of their respective colleges; and why should not I, methought, assume the air of the savoir vivre,” and appear at home in these things, who had already figured in print and buckled cold steel on my thigh? I had heard much, too, of light wines, and 'dry wines, wines that were full and strong-bodied, &c., and, though I attached no very clear and definite ideas to these terms, I had still a hazy conception of their meaning, and was determined, at all events, to sport one or two of them on the present occasion. In reply to the general's question, I filled a glass, and after taking an observation of the sun through it (just then darting his evening rays through the venetians) with my right eye, accompanied by a scientific screw of the facial muscles, pronounced it a fine full-bodied wine, adding, unhappily, that "I should have almost taken it for port." The General laid down his knife and fork. "Port! Why, sir, sure ye never drank a drop of good claret in your life, if you say so.' "I beg pardon, Sir!" said I (I saw I was getting into a scrape), but I may perhaps be wrong in saying it resembles port. I meant to say—to imply—that is,—that it is very strong for claret.” "Pooh, nonsense," said the general pettishly, on whom my explanation was far from producing the desired effect. "Ye can know nothing about claret" (he was not very wide of the mark there). Strong! like port, indeed!!" "My dear father," said Mrs. Delaval (the women are ever our good geniuses on these occasions), who marked, I have no doubt, the clouds gathering on my brow, never mind; what does it signify? You know," said she, laying her hand on the general's shoulder, and looking at him with a sweet and beseeching expression, "You know, Mr. Gernon is yet quite young, and cannot have had much experience in wines." "Then let him take my advice, Cordalia, and not talk about what he does not understand. Strong! ha! ha! Port, indeed!" I was thunderstruck, and thought verily I should have launched the bottle at the head of the testy old veteran, so deep a wound had my pride received. I could hardly believe it possible that one of evidently so fine a character in the main, could give way to such unbecoming conduct on so trifling a matter. The fact is, the general had had his crosses and trials, and such often shatter the temper irretrievably, though the heart and principles may remain sound-much charity and discrimination are requisite to enable us to form a just judgment of others, to decide on the predominant hue of that mingled skein which constitutes individual character. Augustus, worthy fellow that he was, saw my distress and redoubled his civility, whilst Mrs. Delaval, by that tact and kindness which women best know how to exhibit on such occasions, endeavoured to soften my sense of the indignity; even Mrs. Capsicum took up the cudgels in my behalf, and told the general roundly that he made himself quite ridiculous about his wine. But all would not do; the affront was too recent and I was moody and glum, pondering within myself as to whether there were any well-established precedents of ensigns of seventeen calling out and shooting generals of eighty. General
Capsicum's irritability, however, soon subsided, and compunctious visitings arose; I could see this by his eye and the softened expression of his countenance, and that he was moreover anxious to make the amende honorable; at last he reached the bottle and filled himself a bumper and me another. “Come," said he, good-humouredly, "let us try another glass, and d- n the port. Here's your very good health, and success to your first day's hog hunting with Augustus." I returned the salutation rather stiffly, for, though of a placable nature, I had not digested the affront; however, the tide of my anger was turned, and by dinner-time, the general and I were as good friends as if nothing had happened.
We lingered for an hour or two at the tiffin table, Augustus Sahib entertaining me with some details of snipe-shooting, and arranging a programme of our future sporting operations, the general drowsily smoking his hookah and nodding in his chair, with an occasional start and muttered commentary on our conversation, indicative, I once or twice thought, of some fresh explosion. At length, on the approach of evening, the servants, as is usual in India, unbolted and threw open the long venetian doors, to admit the cool air, and out we sauntered on the lawn, to join the ladies (to whose number some addition had been made), and who had preceded us, and were admiring the moving scene on the river. The sun had just gone down, and all nature seemed to be with one accord putting forth a rejoicing shout, an excess of that luminary producing all the torpid effects which arise from a deficiency of his beams elsewhere. The kite whistled querulously from the house-top, the magnas and squirrels chattered joyfully in the trees, ring-doves cooed, and the bright yellow mango birds and the dark coel (loved of Indian maids) shot through the cool groves and glades of coco-nut and bananas (plantains), uttering their clear and shrill notes. Mr. Augustus joined the stately Mrs. Capsicum and the newly arrived spinster, whilst I paired off with the widow, towards whom I felt myself drawn by an irresistible power of attraction. I felt great delight certainly in the society and conversation of this lady; though then too young to analyze the source of my admiration, reflection has since shewed me what they were, having passed them through the prism of my mind, and separated those pencils of moral light which, united, produced the sum of her excellence. I cannot here resist drawing a little portrait of her.
To a full, yet graceful, person, Mrs. Delaval united a countenance which, if not regularly beautiful, still beamed with goodness and intelligence-sensible, lively, yet modest and discreet, she was all that man should desire and woman wish to be. Above the common littlenesses of this world, her heart was deeply fraught with feeling and sensibility-though, unlike her sex in general, she could direct and restrain them both by the powers of a clear and masculine understanding. Her Irish paternity had given her impulses; her Saxon blood had furnished their regulating power. She played, sang, drew, and, in a word, was mistress of all those lighter accomplishments which serve to attract lovers, but which alone rarely suffice to keep them; to these she added a mind of an original turn, improved by reading and reflection. Griffin as I then was, and unable rightly to appreciate that excellence, of which at a later period I became more fully sensible, I still dwell with delight on all she said—the language of sense and feeling can hardly be mistaken even by a child. For me, a thoughtless youth, thrown upon the wide world, without friends to counsel, or experience to guide me, she felt all that a generous mind might be supposed to feel towards one so situated. Much good advice did she impart, the nature of which the reader may readily imagine, and which it will therefore be unne
cessary to repeat. It made a deep impression, and stood the wear and tear of six months, at least.
Many years have now past since I took that stroll on the banks of the "dark rolling Bhagyriti," many a hand I then clasped has since become cold, many a voice I loved to listen to mute for ever; but the scene remains pictured in my mind in strong and ineffaceable colours. I think I now behold the group we formed, the white dresses of the ladies making them to look like spirits walking in a garden, and honest Augustus, with his solah topee, looking down on his shoes and saying agreeable things; the shadows of evening closing around us; the huge fox-bats sailing heavily over-head; the river spreading its broad surface before us, suffused with the crimson flush of departing day; the boats moving across it afar, their oars dabbling as it were in quicksilver; the mists rising slowly from neighbouring groves, stealing over the scene, and then the stilly tranquil hour, broken only by the plash of passing oars, the sound of a distant gong, or the far-off music of a marriage ceremony, or the hum and drumming of the bazaar-those drowsy sounds of an Indian eve. It was a bit of still-life to be ever remembered.
The guests for the burrah khana now began to arrive. Gigs, carriages, and palankeens, flambeaux, dancing lights, and the musical groans of the cahars, or bearers, as they hurried along the winding road, made the general's domain, a few moments before buried in repose, a scene of life and animation. We returned to the mansion. The reception-room was fast filling. Generals, colonels, judges, barristers of the supreme court, merchants, agents, writers, with their ladies, the élite of Calcutta fashionable society, was now for the first time submitted to my observation. White jackets and still whiter faces were the predominating features of the group (except where relieved by English blood and up-country brick-dust), whose manners on the whole struck me as being more frank and open than those of people in England, although that freedom occasionally bordered, I thought in many, on a rough familiar horse-play sort of manner, which then, at least, was too common in India, where the causes which predispose to a disregard of courtesy are unfortunately too rife. Some of the party discussed politics, horse-racing, the latest news from up the country, the promotions and appointments, and so forth, in groups; whilst others, four or five abreast, stumped up and down the broad verandah, talking and laughing energetically; their spirits evidently enlivened by the rapid locomotion in which they were indulging. General Capsicum was very pleasant with the burra beebee, a fine stately old dame, with a turban of bird of paradise plumes, and with whom, I afterwards learned, he had actually walked a minuet in the year of grace 1770. Mrs. Capsicum, surrounded by a group of military men and young writers, was endeavouring to reduce her large Hibernian mouth to the smallest possible dimensions-mincing the king's English, and "talking conversation mighty illigant" to the whole ring, in whose countenances a certain mock gravity indicated pretty evidently what they thought of her. Mrs. Delaval seemed greatly pleased with the conversation of a gentleman of about fifty, who I was told was a Mr. Growle, of the firm of Growle and Grumble, so that I felt curious to know what could be the subject of it. At last, the khansaman-jee, or chief butler, a very important and respectable personage, with an aldermanic expansion of the abdominal region, a huge black beard, and a napkin hanging from his kummerbund, or girdle, with hands respectfully closed, head on one side, and an air most profoundly deferential, announced to the general that the dinner was served. "Tiar hyn?" "Dinner ready, did ye say ?" said the general, who was a little deaf, and turning up his best ear to