Page:Malabari, Behramji M. - Gujarat and the Gujaratis (1882).djvu/51

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35
SURAT.

"shop," are fearfully down in the mouth. They are now to be observed paring their nails,scratching their heads, and so on, and receive the ugliest customer with elaborate attention. In a word, they enjoy a season of plenty down here; and if my eyes have not deceived me, I have seen a well-defined smile lurking in the countenance of one of the municipal commissioners. When you see that, you may be sure the creature is in the best of moods ;for in his normal frame of mind, you can trace not a sign of emotion in the commissioner's face, which is all cheek and chin. Indeed, the plenty is not so plentiful as in the days of the Nawáb, when my dear great-uncle used to maintain a family of fourteen, inpeace and comfort, on rupees seven a month. And even from this pittance, my good aunt, his wife, was able to buy him a boxful of snuff, a pocket-handkerchief, and a pair of goat-skin shoes every nine months. In those days ghee sold at fifteen pounds a rupee. Those are called "the fifteen-pound days." To-day, even though they look upon it as a very good year, ghee is less than four pounds the rupee. And ghee is everything to the Surti—his present happiness and his future bliss.