Page:Views in India, chiefly among the Himalaya Mountains.djvu/37

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dust, become the favourite places of rendezvous for the European residents of the station. Amongst the splendid creepers, denizens of a tropic clime, arising in verdant pomp, there is a more humble stranger, the ivy, which grows with the utmost luxuriance, and by its association with home scenes, the ancient village church, and old baronial hall, awakens a thousand tender recollections in the breast of the traveller: here, too, is to be found the violet, betraying itself by its delicious odour, and bringing with it thrilling remembrances of our loved and distant native land. Amid a large collection of hill trees and shrubs, which shew the possibility of inuring the hardy denizens of the north to the heat of the Indian plains, there are splendid specimens of the flora of Hindostan. The plants are generally cultivated in the first instance at Mussooree, a station in the hills, and the experiments made at Saharunpore have been confirmed at Bareilly, where a fir-tree may be seen thirty feet in height, together with the walnut, cherry, barberry, hawthorn, and apricot, which grow without much care being taken in their cultivation. Bareilly, however, seems to possess a soil peculiarly favourable to foreign products: it is celebrated for the excellence and abundance of its strawberries, a fruit which, though growing freely in some parts of India, cannot always be cultivated with success.

Saharunpore may be called the threshold of the hill districts; and, in addition to its garden, the scientific traveller finds other objects of interest, some gentlemen-residents having opened a rich and inexhaustible mine of fossil remains in the Sewalik hills. This range abounds with relics of a former world, and is also said to be favourable to the growth of the tea plant, which the inhabitants of Sukroudah affirm, upon traditional authority, to have been brought there in former times by a fakeer, but subsequently lost in consequence of neglect. The religious establishment mentioned as being one of the lions of Saharunpore, consists of a body of Gosseins, one of the numerous tribes of Hindoo devotees. This class distinguish themselves by dyeing their hair yellow, and substituting oil and ashes for more decent covering; they present one of those anomalies so frequently found among the people of India, many of them practising the most frightful austerities, for the sake, it would appear, of worldly wealth; for these deformed, miserable-looking wretches are said to be rich, and to indulge occasionally in all the luxuries of life. The Gosseins of Saharunpore are great patrons of monkeys—animals which are held sacred all over India, but are in some places peculiar objects of veneration. It is said that in one of the battles of a favourite god against a powerful enemy, the giant, Humaoon, led an army of monkeys to the assistance of the nearly-worsted deity, and thus turned the tide of fortune in his favour—a service for which they have been ever afterwards tolerated, and, in many instances, worshipped, by the idolatrous portion of the natives of India. Where monkeys reside under the protection of a fraternity like this of Saharunpore, they are subjected to a very necessary degree of control, and learn to conduct themselves with as much propriety as their natural propensities will admit. There are certain limits assigned, which they are not allowed to pass with impunity, whatever may be the temptation to commit a trespass. Every day at noon, one of the Gosseins on whom this duty devolves, rings a bell, which causes the whole of the monkeys attached to the establishment to assemble in front of the temple, where they await their diurnal meal with all the gesticulation and grimace which such a crowd would naturally exhibit. The moment that the priest, bearing an earthen pot filled with grain, is descried, the whole party is on the qui vive,