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The palace is about nine hundred feet above the base of the hill, and from this height the scenery around is magnificent, every thing one could desire of the Oriental picturesque, while the Kistna rolls rapidly along in the distant plains below. About sixty feet below this spot there is a gateway, near which stands a watch-tower, from which every thing around can be distinctly observed. Ascending from this entrance, we came to the under part of the building, which is composed of three arched passages of upwards of one hundred and thirty feet in length-all parallel to each other ;-here, most probably, the grain and treasure were deposited. On gaining the next story, which is roofless, the decay of ancient grandeur immediately arrests the eye. Rooms, whose walls yet covered with various Gothic-like and Moorish devices that had enclosed, in their successive ages, the pious Hindu and austere Mahommedan,—that had resounded to the clamour of the battle, or been the receptacles for traitors and councillors--are now seen exposed to the mercy of damp and ruin. On those walls are to be seen emblems of the taste of the once chivalrous Moor; one of them is a window in the Gothic style, done in a sort of stucco work on the wall, containing almost exact representations of the crown and other devices used by the Templar of Old.
The ruins are very extensive, all breathing forth a noble antiquity, from the old grey stump of the tree which is seen forcing its way between the dark massive stones of the wall, to the simple green foliage working itself gracefully over the ruins of those recesses, where perhaps events have taken place unknown to this or any other generation. As Borrow, in his “ Bible in Spain,” says beautifully, when moralizing on the Druid's Stone—“ The Roman has left behind him his deathless writings, his history and his songs; the Goth his liturgy, his traditions, and the germs of noble institutions ; the Moor his chivalry, his discoveries in medicine, and the foundations of modern commerce; and where is the memorial of the Druidic races? Yonder : that pile of eternal stone!" So, we might say, in the ruins of the old fortress and palace of Condapillay, is to be seen a great memorial of Hindu greatnesswonderful emblems of former science. Many of the ancient Hindu temples, it is well known, are yet in great preservation, as well as other monuments of their architecture; and others, it is said, are almost wholly constructed of the fragments of ancient works destroyed by the Mahommedans, and rebuilt by the pious Hindus,“ when they had obtained a respite from persecution, but had lost their taste and knowledge of the arts.” Relics of ancient grandeur make us call to memory the words of Manfred :
“ I stood within the Coliseum's wall
Shone through the rents of ruin."
in which every thing noble and great is capable of being embodied. He will then probably ponder over the memorials of his country's greatness, and those of her ancient supposed magnificence,-view the huge masses and buildings of a comparatively rude but in many respects extremely skilful antiquity, and say—“ And could not those grand temples, raised to the glory of our Gods, have given us civilization without the assistance of England ?" “ No!" the conscience will answer—" In every thing we did there was a repugnance to the plan which nature had formed us to act upon : we were skilful—but wanted the light of Christianity which we now possess, that degree of mental cultivation which we have now attained, to form the master mind.
Our readers must excuse these few digressions from the exact subject of our paper; but it is our endeavour to throw as much novelty and utility as possible even into what is termed, or what is intended to be, an article of a light nature.
The “Original Familiar correspondence" is a volume which we cannot say we have read with very much pleasure. An exceedingly well printed book, and one which may be relished by those who can look back on thirty years in India, is about the most we can say for it. Cor. respondence between“ Residents in India,” made us fancy to ourselves a book abounding in something about the manners, customs, and natural productions of the country, the whole enlivened by a little gossip and occasional remarks on the Government of India, with a few words on those barbarians, the Nepalese and Pindarries, whose inroads upon the British territory, at the time, produced nearly as great alarm as the late “ Sikh Invasion.” But instead of any thing approaching to this, we have upwards of seventy “ Letters," full of kindness and small criticism-some of the latter displaying great discrimination and ability
- yet tinged throughout with the colouring of a melancholy mind striving to be lively.
Mr. George Augustus Addison, we are enformed in the Introduction, was born at Calcutta in 1792. At an early age he was sent to England, where he began and completed his educational course ; and embarked for India in bis sixteenth year. He followed the pursuit of an indigo planter for a few years; but his indigo prospects having entirely failed, the young man proceeded to Calcutta, in 1813, to seek “employment in some more congenial occupation.” He was fortunate enough to procure a lucrative situation in the island of Java, where he rose to be private secretary to the famous Sir Stamford Raffles. Death arrested his further progress, having caught the Java fever, which cut him off in his twenty-second year.
Before his departure for Java, we find expressed in his letters a reluctance to leave the “ neighbourhood of Cossimbazar,” and the gaieties of Múrshedabad. The following passage, written a few weeks before his embarkation, is characteristic of the mind of the writer:
“ Fortune ought to give me a few smiles, for it will have cost me much to seek them. But, smile as she will, she cannot give me an equivalent for the many, many pleasant hours I might otherwise have passed in your company. Those I have already done will always be brighi azure spots to look
back upon, however cloudy may be my future days. The remembrance of them will long, long be cherished—as long—but it is useless to speak of the regret I shall feel in leaving a society which has afforded me such pleasureof one so uniformly kind.”—P. 338, L, 71.
Even in the bustle of preparation for departure, as amid his unfortunate indigo crops, his letters abound with remarks on literature and books.
The following may give some idea of Calcutta and the price of literature, in 1813:
“ Calcutta is so idle a place, that of course reading is almost out of the question; but I have seen the outside of a new poem, Rokeby," in the shops. It appears to be not very long; price only forty-two rupees !!"P. 349, L. 73.
We wonder what Mr. Cadell would now say to this, when he gives us the whole of Sir Walter Scott's “ Poetical Works,” for about ten shillings, and the most splendid Novels which ever adorned any age or nation," with Portrait, Fac-simile, and Vignette Titles after Harvey,” for small pieces of silver. Our Calcutta book-sellers would even open their eyes with astonishment. Happy innovation ! Cheap literature accessible by all, from the beggar to the king. The “ Letters from Madras,” in 1839, accuse the Madrassis with leading a life of inanily, “ with nothing in this world to do.” This, even at the present time, among a great many of them, is said to be decidedly true. And we dare say the above remarks of Mr. Addison, that Calcutta is an “idle place,” and “ reading is almost out of the question,” will produce a kindred sympathy in the minds of many Bengallis, who have made the bold but lamentable determination, in their leizure hours, to have “ nothing in this world to do.”
We shall close the volume before us with two specimens of the author's criticism, turning afterwards to a general consideration of the subject of this paper.
After an enthusiastic admiration of Kirk White, whose public and private life he can only compare with such men as Sir Thomas More, Sir Isaac Newton, and Cowper, the author exceeds all reasonable bounds of admiration when he remarks :
“ Newton rises far superior to them all, and is incontestably the greatest and noblest character that ever existed-to him Kirke White must yield.”P. xi. L. 3.
But this is to be excused in one whose temperament was somewhat similar to that of his favourite poet, whose fame has been so nobly sung by Lord Byron. They both died “ while life was in its spring.”
After Kirk White, we come to the following passage :
“I send you ‘Les Lettres de Madame de Sevigné,' and hope the perusal will give you pleasure. Some of them are written with a wonderful deal of ease, playfulness, and wit, and all abound in felicities of expression ; but, on the whole, in point of style only I like them less than Rousseau's, and much less than Lady Mary's in point both of style and matter. Mais chacun à son gout. By the by, the matter of these letters, as it generally turns on petiy intrigues at the court of Louis le Grand, is not very interesting to
nous outres ; and I sometimes think, that in reading through works where style is the only recommendation, le jen nev eut pas la chandelle."-P. 13, L. 3.
These few selections we hope will suffice to give our readers an idea of their amiable and industrious author.
Letters and letter-writing occupy a considerable portion of the exis. tence of many in India : we say existence; for, without the means of receiving or writing a letter, life to many would be intolerable. Cruel suspense vanishes at the sight of the welcome letter. The wife rushes forward, with an eagerness resembling that of Lady Macbeth before she reads that Macbeth has been hailed “ Thane of Cawdor;" and if she meets with a pleasing commencement similar to “ they met me in the day of success,” her heart is filled with a delight which can only be exceeded by the presence of her husband. The father, anxious about the safety of his son, tears open the letters, and reads it with a visage similar to that of Northumberland, when Morton brings him the news concerning Harry Percy :
“ Yet, for all this, say not, that Percy's dead.” The lover, all eagerness concerning the answer to a letter which has cost him many an anxious hour to put together, hails with joy the arrival of the “ Overland ;” and what can equal his pleasure when he reads of his acceptance, or his disappointment when the haughty beauty tells him _“I always liked you as a friend, -but I never loved you ?"
The brother, rapt in the pursuit of his civil or military duties,-if a soldier, well accustomed to scenes of death—is all anxiety concerning the sick brother who has left India in a dangerous state of health. The dismal letter arrives—the black seal is opened !—“ He died without a groan or struggle !" The brother has lost the companion of his childhood for ever. The burst of true sorrow which that letter has produced, is sweeter to him than all the pleasures and follies of life. The remembrance of the dead comes upon him with an impressive force, when he reads with what apparent ease his brother died.
Pope has beautifully given, in his well-known translation of an epistle from Heloise to Abelard, the power of letters with regard to Love :
“ Heaven first taught letters for some wretch's aid,
Some banish'd lover, or some captive maid,
And waft a sigh from Indus to the Pole." From the General to the Sepoy, a letter is looked upon with a sort of natural regard. The facilities of postal communication are now so great, that the very Hindu is beginning to breathe something of the spirit of freedom into his correspondence. He notices our anxiety for
the arrival of each “Overland Mail;" and the expression of our countenances on the receipt of good or bad news. What a native cannot bear about letter writing, is the payment of the postage ; and certainly if we take into consideration the expense attending the receipt or dispatch of any number of letters, compared with the pay he receives from the master, or otherwise, we cannot wonder at this dislike to pay the postage of a letter. The pay is sufficient for every thing but postage. The former may be increased, but all wish the latter to be diminished. This step would be an unquestionable boon to Europeans, as well as natives; and, if we are not very much mistaken, the Post office revenue would greatly find the benefit of it.
Writing letters !" has become an exclamation of considerable utility among many Europeans in India. “ I am sorry you cannot see Mrs. So and So to-day,--she is writing overland letters !" This is all very well, when the lady is actually doing so. But sometimes it turns out that the “ letter-writing” is of rather a strange description. We once had the above answer given to us on visiting a rather lazy gentleman : we knew him well enough to resist such a trivial one, especially so for a man; so, entering his room briskly, we were not very much surprised at finding the zealous letter-writer-fast asleep. We advise all ladies to take warning from this fact, and never to allow a visitor to lose the pleasure of seeing them, in case their absence may be attributed to this new mode of “ writing letters.”
Nothing can be more touching than the simplicity and patriotic and affectionate feelings often displayed in the letters of military men, during the time of war. Our readers have no doubt read the epistles of great officers who shone in the Affghan and Sutlej Campaigns; and been delighted with the sentiments they contained, -that affection, bravery, and resolution, which makes a man “glory in the name of Briton." In these particulars we also greatly admire John Sobaeski, the once eminent king of Poland, of whom Charles the twelfth said when he heard of his decease, “such men should never die.” During the cele. brated campaign of Vienna (1683) while engaged in saving Christendom from the Turks, he wrote to his wife thus :
“ I do not expose myself to personal dangers more than is necessary for a king, who has the eyes of all Europe upon his actions. For I hold to life. I hold to it, for the sake of Christianity, and of my country, for you my love, for my children, for my family, and for my friends. But honour, which I have always had in view, and laboured for during the whole of my career; honour, also, ought to be dear to me! to conclude, I think I can concilitate all these interests, and I trust to do so with the aid of the Almighty."*
It is strange to observe, how often amid the cares and distinction which we imagine must necessarily annoy the mind of a statesman, when he has acquiesced in any measure wbich has given general dissatisfaction, with what apparent coolness he can sit down to write a familiar
• Lord Dover's “Lives of the most eminent Sovereigns of Modern Europe."P. 177.