Letters from India Volume I/To a Friend 15
Government House, Sunday, July 22.
We went to the Scotch Church, where there is supposed to be very good preaching; but it is clear to me that they want a pattern sermon sent out to Calcutta, just as new gowns and bonnets are sent; and I think you must trouble Dr. Thorpe to make them up a morning sermon and Mr. Blunt an evening one, for we cannot manage it for ourselves. Mr. ——, the Scotch clergyman, is an excellent man, and his prayer after the sermon was a very beautiful one, though I like to know beforehand what I am going to pray for, but he said, in the real fervent tone that belonged to it, ‘Bless our native land, from which we are wanderers and exiles, and bless, with Thy choicest blessings, those dearly loved friends whom we have left there,’ which was Just what I was watching for. But I think the fault of the Scotch service is that ignorance in the congregation of what they are to expect, and also the very small quantity of the Bible that is read. The whole service is so entirely the word of man and not the Word of God. There was some beautiful singing in this church. George did not go out again to-day, and Fanny and I took a drive in the evening.
Monday, July 23.
We had a Madras juggler quietly smuggled into ——’s room this morning, and he and Fanny and I, with Wright and Jones at the side scenes, established ourselves there to see him. He was not like the noisy jugglers we had last week, and some of his tricks surpassed all belief. He did all the tricks the Indian jugglers in England used to do with balls and balancing, and swallowing the sword, &c., and then he spit fire in large flames, and put a little rice into the top of a basket on a small tray and shook it, and before our eyes a tiny handful of rice turned into a large quantity of cowrie shells. Then he made a little boy, who is one of my servants, sit down, and he put a small black pebble into his hand and apparently did nothing but wave a little baguette round his head, and forty rupees (coins as big as half crowns) came tumbling out of the boy’s little hands. He made him pick them up again, and hold them as tight as he could, and in an instant the rupees were all gone and a large live frog jumped out. The little boy was so frightened that I gave him a book the next day for having gone through such alarms. We were so charmed with our juggler that we told him to come to-morrow night when George could see him.