Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/16

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6
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ciation, for in itself it is artless babble enough. Nor is there in it the remotest flavor of cockneyism. The dwellers in Eurasia, poor souls, are born much too far from the sound of Bow Bells. It abounds in odd words and phrases, some of them distinctly related to the native tongues, some of them pure English with a local application. To see a friend off is to "carry her to the station," whether walking or driving. When the syce is ordered to unharness his animal he is expressly told to "open out the horse"; while "of course" is to Eurasian what "indeed" is to Virginian, the common accompaniment of every yea and nay.

It is a hard saying, but it suffers little contradiction, that morally the Eurasians inherit defects more conspicuously than virtues from both the races from which they spring. Drunkenness is not common among them, nor is brutality. As boys they do not rob birds' nests or torment animals or fight, and they never grow up into sportsmen. The more aggressive vices do not flourish among them. But their indolence and unthrift are proverbial, as are their cupidity and instability of character. It is characteristic that the truth is not in them, and they have a marvelous ingenuity in manipulating the lie. In this their knowledge of the sahib's sympathies enables them to outdo the Bengali, though their methods are much the same. "With beggars a favorite instrument of extortion is a death-certificate—a mother, a daughter, a baby lies dead at home; the funeral is a cruel, pressing, immediate necessity; a little money to meet the emergency is but a small demand upon common humanity. If you are unbelieving, the notice is shown to you in the morning paper—"Suddenly, of cholera, Mabel, infant daughter of Charles and Mary De Rosario"—with convincing tears. It is probable, however, that the death-certificate is well-nigh worn out in the service of misfortune, and that the tearful applicant for means to bury her never saw the infant daughter of Charles and Mary De Rosario. The social evil among the lower classes is very hideous. They seem to have a code of their own, which is capable of infinite infraction, and they touch a level of degradation which is far lower than any reached by the pure heathen about them. This is apparently an ineradicable thing, for it has its root in physical inheritance and its reason is racial.

Life under however modest conditions is impossible to Europeans in Calcutta under a certain income. This is perfectly understood by all employers of European labor, which is used for this reason only in posts of superintendence and responsibility. The European's food and lodging must be of a certain quality; he must have a certain number of servants and certain opportunities for recreation and change to make existence tolerable. The Eurasian will support life, however, upon means of almost vanishing pro-