Imatges de pÓgina

the kitchen, for to thus throw that sacred chamber into the shade, as it were, would be decidedly irregular. Where there is an upper storey to any portion of the house, it must, of course, be higher than the kitchen; and in that case the thing is allowed. In this connection a case may be mentioned that only happened quite recently. A well-to-donative gentleman of my acquaintance built a nice terraced entrance-hall to his house, but the result is a room that is very

low in relation to its size. The reason for this is that whilst the owner wanted to make it higher, he was not allowed to do so by his caste fellows, as it would then be higher than his kitchen, and he had to submit to rule. One would imagine that my friend might have raised the roof of his kitchen to a corresponding height, but perhaps that never occurred to him, or there may have been other reasons to prevent it.

The rooms opening out on to the inner verandah are the bedrooms, and other private rooms, as well as the store-room, and any other necessary rooms and offices. All the arrangement of rooms is regularly fixed in the shāstram, and great blessings are promised where these rules are complied with ; whilst misfortunes are implied if the rules are wantonly infringed. One portion of the verandah is apportioned off as a kind of office, or study, in which writing work and the like is done, and this portion is sometimes divided from the rest by a low partition. The inner verandah is also sometimes occupied by a few pet calves, or, it may be, in poorer houses, and where outside space is not available, a cow or two are stalled there for the night. It is an amusing sight, in passing through the streets of an evening, to see the droves of cattle coming home from the pasture. As they go along, every here and there, one or two of the cows or buffaloes will turn aside and go up the steps of a house, passing through the doorway which has been left open on purpose. The animal will proceed straight to its accustomed place in the compound, a shed, perhaps, or to be tied by the leg to a stake driven into the ground out in the open, or sometimes, may be, to its well-known corner in the inner verandah. Truly here

in this country we see exemplified many an eastern usage set forth in the imagery of the Bible ; for instance : “ The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib: but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider.” (Isaiah, i. 3.)

If we look at the furniture of a house we are at once struck with its extreme simplicity. Taste and wealth are not manifested in grand furniture and costly hangings, or any other of the things that go to make up a luxurious home in Europe, or, if what one reads is correct, in some other eastern lands. Good timber, well-made wooden ceilings, and elaborate carvings are here the things most looked to. The roof is, most frequently, open to the tiles or thatch, and hence much discomfort must arise from the falling of dust, or insects and the like; but where it can be procured, simple matting or a wooden ceiling is put up. A wealthy man will have ceiled rooms, and the beams, and posts, and all other wood work most elaborately, and in some cases very beautifully, carved. These are the signs of wealth. The usual mud walls are here replaced by walls of brick and plaster-perhaps the marble-like polished plaster peculiar to the country. The flooring is brick and polished plaster, and the rooms, and verandah, and courts are spacious and lofty, instead of the usual dark dingy and miserably small apartments, whilst the roof is of good well wrought timber, with tiles instead of bamboo, or jungle wood and thatch ; but the general features of the whole are the same, in all cases, as regards the architecture and arrangements. The furniture of a Hindu house is very little indeed, as regards quantity, and very primitive in its nature. the houses of a few of the modern and more advanced, there are occasionally to be found a few chairs, and a table or two; and a chair is usually produced for a European visitor; but as a rule, even amongst the better classes, there is a complete absence of most of the domestic conveniences which even the poorest Europeans consider indispensable. In the kitchen-diningroom there are no tables or chairs, no knives, forks, or spoons, no plates, or dishes, nor are there any of the numerous articles that compose the batterie de cuisine of a well-to-do European home. A few metal or earthenware pots and pads, and a simple clay fire place suffice for the culinary operations, and the large leaf of the lotus or plantain, or a few smaller leaves cleverly stitched together, form the dinner plate, nature herself supplying most of the other requisites. One needs to live amongst such people to learn how very few, after all, are the real necessities of life, if we only rid ourselves of notions formed by habit and custom. In the office place, before mentioned, there may be a low kind of table which serves as a seat by day and a couch by night, there may also be a rug or two spread on the floor with a few cushions to lean against, whilst the walls may be adorned with a few simple pictures representing scenes in the life of Krishna. These pictures are gorgeous and grotesque native productions, being paintings on glass that can be bought in almost every fairly large bazaar. Occasionally a print or two may be seen, perhaps a cutting from some English illustrated paper, but they appear very much out of keeping with the surroundings; far more suitable and at home are the glaring labels from the Manchester cotton goods that one sometimes sees adorning the walls or doors and shutters.

The bed-room furniture too, would not strike an English lady as having that air of snugness and comfort which is the charm of the European bed-chamber. There may be a native cot, and a box, or cupboard for the safe custody of the more expensive cloths and jewels. Along one side of the wall there may be a shelf, and in the wall a few niches for the little native lamps. The lamp is usually a very primitive affair, being composed of a cotton wick lying in a saucer of oil; and is generally placed in some niche in the wall or on a simple wooden stand. The only attempt at adornment is usually a few native pictures on the walls representing, perhaps, scenes from the Rāmāyana

other of the Indian Epics. All the paraphernalia of the toilet table and wash-stand are simply absent; a brass mug-shaped vessel serving for all the purposes of the latter, and a few square inches of looking glass sufficing for the finer touches of the



The men,

toilet. The water from the brass vessel is poured from the left hand into the right, or it may be, is poured by an attendant, and this applied to the face serves for ordinary ablutions. The complete bath, in the absence of a river, or tank, or other means of immersion, is taken by pouring water over the person from the same brass vessel. This is the usual modo of performing the toilet for both men and women, and it is generally done in the back-yard or some such suitable place, as may be convenient, or may please the whim or fancy. In passing along the streets in the early morning, one often sees the ordinary citizen, brass pot in hand, performing his morning ablutions, seated on the edge of bis front verandah and with his head hanging over the street gutter.

In nothing, perhaps, are the primitive habits of the Hindu more conspicuous than in his ordinary sleeping arrangements. There is no “ going to bed," in the sense understood by the European. Of course the climate is the chief reason for tbis. especially, seem to lie down anywhere, in the inner verandah or along the narrow verandah seat that usually runs along the front wall next to the street. In the villages particularly, they seem to lie about just wherever fancy dictates; no place seems too hard, or, to our ideas, too uncomfortable. The long sheetlike cloth is unwound from the body, or some sheet or blanket which is kept for the purpose is used ; and with this the person is covered, head and all. Then stretched out like something in its winding sheet, that sweet slumber is wooed which never seems to be denied, no matter what may be the surroundings. There is no doubt that this custom of lying down to sleep anywhere and everywhere must be the reverse of healthy, and probably it is the cause of much of the rheumatism and kindred affections of the muscles and joints which are more or less prevalent. In the case, perhaps, of the better off classes or the aged and generally by the master of the house, a cot is used for sleeping upon, but it seems to be shifted about from place to place to suit convenience.

In the hot weather it will be put where there is some cool air, whilst in the cold or wet season it will stand in the bed-room, which is perhaps shared by the master of the bouse and some of his bigger sops. The wife, perhaps, occupies her own room together with the younger children. This seems to be the usual arrangement in Hindu households, especially when the married couple are verging on towards middle life.

When a son of the family marries, he does not take his bride and set up house for himself, but a room in the paternal dwelling is set apart for his use, or perhaps an annex is built to accommodate the young couple, and they join the family as a part of it. It is easy to see how little difficulty there is in providing for visitors; there is no anxiety as to which suite of apartments must be set aside for this or that particular party ; there is always plenty of room for the men to lie down for their siesta during the heat of the day, or for their sleep at night, and the females simply lie down with those of the household.

The Hindu does not usually attempt much by way of a flower garden, nor is there generally much attention paid to the surroundings of a house to give it that pretty appearance which tend so much, in our eyes, to make a place look homelike and happy. If there is a plot of ground around the house, it may be that a few pumpkin plants straggle here and there, and a few egg plants, or a clump of plantain trees are grown, but everything has an unkempt appearance as though order and prettiness were unknown quantities in the Hindu mind. If the house is a large one, there may be an orchard attached to it, with some of the principal Indian fruit trees growing in it, as the mango, jack, cocoanut, betel, custard-apple, or wood-apple; but here again the same slovenliness is painfully conspicuous, though so much might be made of such surroundings. Flowers are grown to a certain extent, such as the marigold, and oleander, and jasmine to be used in worship, or to be worn in the hair by the females for personal adornment, and there is always a plant of the tulasi or sacred basil (Ocymum Sanctum) occupying the place of honour in the masonry urn

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