Puslapio vaizdai

• While I am upon this subject, I cannot but consider that he to whom God hath assigned the pomp and splendour of imperial power, with a sacred and awful character in the eyes of his creatures, must, as he hopes for stability to his throne and length of days, in no way suffer oppression to approach the people intrusted to his care. For my own part, I can with truth assert, that I have never so far lent myself to the indulgence of the world's pleasures as to forget that, however sweet to the appetite, they are more bitter in the issue than the most deadly poisons. Alas! for the jewels of this world which have been poured in such profusion upon my head; they bear no longer any value in my sight, neither do I feel any longer the slightest inclination to possess them. Have I ever contemplated with delight the graces of youth and beauty? The gratification is extinguished, it no longer exists in my nature. The enjoyments of hunting and of social mirth have too frequently been the source of pain and regret. The finger of old age has been held out to indicate that retirement must be my greatest solace, my surest resource, and from thence must be derived my highest advantages. In short, there neither is nor can be in this world any permanent state of repose or happiness; all is fleeting, vain, and perishable. In the twinkling of an eye shall we see the enchantress, which enslaves the world and its votaries, seize the throat of another and another victim ; and so exposed is man to be trodden down by the calamities of life, that one might be almost persuaded to affirm that he never had existence. That world, the end of which is destined to be thus miserable, can scarcely be worth the risk of so much useless violence.

If indeed, in contemplation of future contingencies, I have been sometimes led to deal with thieves and robbers with indiscriminate severity, whether during my minority or since my accession to the throne, never have I been actuated by motives of private interest or general ambition. The treachery and inconstancy of the world are to me as clear as the light of day. Of all that could be thought necessary to the enjoyment of life, I have been singularly fortunate in the possession. In gold, and jewels, and sumptuous wardrohes, and in the choicest beauties the sun ever shone upon, what man has ever surpassed me? And had I then conducted myself without the strictest regard to the honour and happiness of God's creatures consigned to my care, I should have been the basest of oppressors.'

pp. 95, 96.

If Jehangire did not on all occasions do what was right, we may see from this remarkable passage that he did not err at least from an ignorance of his duties. No monarch has ever declaimed more plausibly upon religious and moral topics than he, and yet we have seen that he could put to death without hesitation any man who stood in the way of his ambition, or indeed any other passion. His character presents the strangest compound we have ever met of a really enlightened mind, mixed with vices and frail

ties that place him before us sometimes as a most cool and atrocious criminal, sometimes as little better than an idiot. The author makes a characteristic transition from the


subject on which he had been just engaged, to an account of the feats of some Bengal jugglers, which cannot, he thinks, but be considered among the most surprising circumstances of the age. The description of the operations of these men is, however, in itself by no means unworthy of attention, inasmuch as it shows the degree of perfection to which they carried their various contrivances for deceiving the imperial court. Jehangire was so struck with astonishment at the wonders which they wrought, that he ascribes them without hesitation to supernatural power. The jugglers were first desired to produce upon the spot, from the seed, ten mulberry trees. They immediately sowed in separate places, seed in the ground, and in a few minutes after, a mulberry plant was seen springing from each of the seeds, each plant, as it rose in the air, shooting forth leaves and branches, and yielding excellent fruit! In the same manner, and by a similar magical process, apple-trees, mangoes, fig-trees, almond and walnut-trees were created, all producing fruit, which Jehangire assures us, was exquisite to the taste. This, however, he observes, was not all:

• Before the trees were removed there appeared among the foliage birds of such surprising beauty, in colour and shape, and melody of song, as the world never saw before. At the close of the operation, the foliage, as in autumn, was seen to put on its variegated tints, and the trees gradually disappeared into the earth from which they had been made to spring.'

Major Price states, that he has himself witnessed similar operations on the western side of India, but that a sheet was ployed to cover the process. 'I have, however," he adds, ‘no conception of the means by which they were accomplished, unless the jugglers had the trees about them, in every stage, from the seedling to the fruit.'

The reader will be amused with the emperor's narrative of some more of these specious miracles :

One night, and in the very middle of the night, when half this globe was wrapped in darkness, one of these seven men stripped himself almost naked, and having spun himself swiftly round several times, he took a sheet with which he covered himself, and from beneath the sheet drew cut a resplendent mirror, by the radiance of which a light so powerful was produced, as to have illuminated the hemisphere to an incredible distance round; to such a distance, indeed, that we have the attestation of travellers to the fact, who declared, that on a particular night, the same night on which the exhibition took place, and at the distance of ten days' journey, they saw the at



mosphere so powerfully illuminated, as to exceed the brightness of the brightest day they had ever seen.

• They placed in my presence a large seething-pot or cauldron, and filling it partly with water, they threw into it eight of the smaller mauns of Irâk of rice ; when without the application of the smallest spark of fire, the cauldron forth with began to boil; in a little time they took off the lid, and drew from it nearly a hundred platters full, each with a stewed fowl at top !'-pp. 97, 98.

But these feats of skill fall into insignificance when compared with the following extraordinary process :

• They produced a man whom they divided limb from limb, actually severing his head from the body. They scattered these mutilated members along the ground, and in this state they lay for some time. They then extended a sheet or curtain over the spot, and one of the men putting himself under the sheet, in a few minutes came from below, followed by the individual supposed to have been cut into joints, in perfect health and condition, and one might have safely sworn that he had never received wound or injury whatever!"

p. 99.

This trick we can easily understand to have been performed by means not unlike those which are resorted to upon our stage, whenever it becomes necessary to hang, draw, and quarter pantaloon in the pantomime. If it be true, as Jehangire relates, that his jugglers also in a moment covered a pond with a mantle of ice, sufficiently strong to bear an elephant—the machinery sent from England to India, some time ago, for freezing water, must have been no novelty in that country. We should much like to know Sir David Brewster's conjectures with respect to the followingwhich must have been optical deceptions—and in which we trace a certain similarity to some of the stories so amusingly cleared up in the · Letters on Natural Magic.'

• They caused two tents to be set up, the one at the distance of a bow.shot from the other, the doors or entrances being placed exactly opposite; they raised the tent walls all around, and desired that it might be particularly observed, that they were entirely empty. Then fixing the tent walls to the ground, two of the seven men entered, one into each tent, none of the other men entering either of the tents. Thus prepared, they said they would undertake to bring out of the tents any animal we chose to mention, whether bird or beast, and set them in conflict with each other. Khaun-e-Jahaun, with a smile of incredulity, required them to show us a battle between two ostriches. In a few minutes two ostriches of the largest size issued, one from either tent, and attacked each other with such fury, that the blood was seen streaming from their heads; they were at the same time so equally matched, that neither could get the better of the other, and they were therefore separated by the men, and conveyed


within the tents. In short, they continued to produce from either tent whatever animal we chose to name, and before our eyes set them to fight in the manner I have attempted to describe ; and although I have exerted my utmost invention to discover the secret of the contrivance, it has been entirely without success. • They were furnished with a bow and about fifty steel-pointed

One of the seven men took the bow in hand, and shooting an arrow into the air, the shaft stood fixed at a considerable height; he shot a second arrow, which few straight to the first, to which it became attached, and so with every one of the remaining arrows to the last of all, which striking the sheaf suspended in the air, the whole immediately broke asunder, and came at once to the earth.

• They produced a chain of fifty cubits in length, and in my presence threw one end of it towards the sky, where it remained as if fastened to something in the air. A dog was then brought forward, and being placed at the lower end of the chain, immediately ran up, and reaching the other end, immediately disappeared in the air. In the same manner, a hog, a panther, a lion, and a tiger, were alternately sent up the chain, and all equally disappeared at the upper end of the chain. At last they took down the chain, and put it into a bag, no one even discovering in what way the different animals were made to vanish into the air, in the mysterious manner above described. This I may venture to affirm was beyond measure strange and surprising.' - pp. 100-103.

As we are dealing with the marvellous, we may as well notice a strange story, somewhat in the style of Sindbad the Sailor,' which was related to Jehangire, by a native of Arabia. The emperor observing that a stranger who had been presented at his court had only one arm, the other having been lost close to the shoulder, asked him whether he had been born without the limb, or had been deprived of it in battle. The Arabian appeared embarrassed by the question, and answered, that the circumstances attending the calamity which had befallen him, were of so extraordinary a nature, that he feared to mention them, lest he should be thereby exposed to ridicule. Upon being further importuned by the emperor, however, he stated, that when he was about the age of fifteen, he happened to accompany his father on a voyage to India. At the expiration of sixty days, after having wandered over the ocean in different directions, they encountered a terrific storm, which continued three days, and left their vessel almost a ruin on the waters. Just as it was near foundering, they came in sight of a lofty mountain, which they eventually discovered to be an island in the possession of the Portuguese. Upon nearing the shore they were boarded by two Portuguese officers, who directed the ship's company, passengers and all, to be forth with landed, stating that their object was to discover among them a person suited to a particular but unexplained purpose, whom they VOL. LI. NO, CI.



must detain—the others should be dismissed in safety. The passengers and crew having been successively stripped naked, and minutely examined by physicians, were all sent about their business with the exception of the Arabian and his brother, both of whom were placed in close confinement, and detained after the departure of the ship, notwithstanding the earnest entreaties of their father. The Arabian then proceeds :

The same medical person, on whose report we were detained, now came with ten other Franks to the chamber where my brother was confined, and again stripping him naked, they laid him on his back on a table, where he was exposed to the same manual examination as before. They then left him and came to me; and, stretching me out on a board in the same manner, again examined my body in every part as before. Again they returned to my brother; for from the situation of our prisons, the doors being exactly opposite, I could distinctly observe all that passed. They sent for a large bowl and a knife, and, placing my brother with his head over the bowl, and his cries and supplications all in vain, they struck him over the mouth, and with the knife actually severed his head from the body, both the head and his blood being received in the bowl. When the bleeding had ceased, they took away the bowl of blood, which they immediately poured into a pot of boiling oil brought for the purpose, stirring the whole together with a ladle, until both blood and oil became completely amalgamated. Will it be believed, that after this they took the head, and again fixing it exactly to the body, they continued to rub the adjoining parts with the mixture of blood and oil until the whole had been applied ! They left my brother in this state, closed the door, and went their way.

* At the expiration of three days from this, they sent for me from my place of confinement, and telling me that they had obtained, at my brother's expense, all that was necessary to their purpose, they pointed out to me the entrance to a place under ground, which they said was the repository of gold and jewels to an incalculable amount. Thither they informed me I was to descend, and that I might bring away for myself as much of the contents as I had strength to carry. At first I refused all belief to their assertions, conceiving that doubtless they were about to send me where I was to be exposed to some tremendous trial ; but as their importunities were too well enforced, I had no alternative but submission.

• I entered the opening which led to the passage, and having descended a flight of stairs, about fifty steps, I discovered four separate chambers. In the first chamber, to my utter surprise, I beheld my brother, apparently restored to perfect health. He wore the dress and habiliments of the Ferenguies (Portuguese)-had on his head a cap of the same people, profusely ornamented with pearl and precious stones, a sword set with diamonds by his side, and a staff similarly enriched under his arm. My surprise was not diminished when, the moment he observed me, I saw him turn away from me as if under feelings of the utmost disgust and disdain. I became so alarmed at a reception

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