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appointed for her, and she became at once the mistress of a household.
The name of the infant was usually chosen from the Koran, which was opened by the father or the moollah, as chance or fate decided, and the first word, or the first proper name, decided the matter. moollah was often bribed to give a particular name, and then he made it appear that fate had decided it. Ill luck that, both for parent and child. Such a boy but too often sits heavily on the head of his father. Of course, there are good and bad moollahs, as there are good and bad men of all classes; but they ought to be the best of all men.
If the divination by opening the Koran fortuitously makes it appear that the son will be an injury to the father, the father is then forbidden to look upon it for one, two, or three months, as the case may be, to obviate the evil omen. The first bath of the mother is regulated as to the hour, and sometimes as to the day, by the divination from the Koran.
The apartment in which the birth has
taken place is held to be unclean for forty days. On the fortieth day it is thoroughly cleaned out, a chapter of the Koran read, and the woman is then permitted to join, for the first time since her confinement, in religious exercises.
The second son of the queen my mistress, usually called the general, who accompanied her to England and died there, was very dutiful to the queen, and both of them were fond of each other. One of his wives was the daughter of the vizier or prime minister, and to this wife he was not at all attached. In fact she seemed to be an object of aversion to him. The queen's only daughter was also married to the vizier's eldest son, and he retaliated the general's neglect of his sister upon his own wife, who was the general's sister. All this was the source of great trouble in the palace, and of much anxiety to the queen my mistress. Constant mediations were necessary on both sides, and it was not without the most earnest appeals on the queen's part that either of these husbands could be got to visit or live with these despised wives.
On one occasion, some five or six years before annexation, the general, in travelling, accidentally saw the two daughters of a poor Rajpoot (a Hindu). They were twelve and fourteen years of age respectively, and the general fell in love with them both. The queen saw them, and although they were Hindus, yet for the love she bore her son she consented to his marrying one of them. He took them both and married them. In course of time the eldest gave birth to a very beautiful boy, now with the ex-king at Calcutta, one of the handsomest children ever born in the palace. From the time that these two sisters had become the wives of the general, they had been dressed and educated as Mohammedans-the dress consisting of wide pyjamas, or drawers, each leg three four yards wide, an inner close-fitting vest, and a muslin sheet or veil, thrown over the head, and voluminous enough to envelope the entire figure if necessary. In adopting this dress, and in listening to and repeating the prayers from the Koran, the two sisters were regarded as having thrown away their
pagan faith, Hinduism, and embraced the faith of the true believers.
In the midst of the joy at the birth of this son in the general's palace, the young mother began to long for a visit from her own mother, a poor Rajpoot woman. The general sent rich presents to the poor woman, and, having had her clothed in fine raiment, permitted her to come and visit her daughter. But the daughter was not content with this. The spirit of obstinacy was in her, and she insisted on her mother stopping with her altogether. This the general, as a good Mussulman, could not and would not permit. The young mother had set her heart upon this and upon nothing else. No rich presents nor jewels and ornaments, no, nor her own lovely son, could console her. She longed and pined and fretted herself to death. She died on the ninth day, and the general was inconsolable.
The queen loved her son the general, and was grieved at his distress. She sent through Lucknow and the provinces to try and get another beauty, Mussulman or Hindoo, equal
to her he had lost. Many were brought, and the queen did her best to set off their attractions, and divert her son's mind from its sorrow, but all in vain. He would not be comforted.
Wearied at length with his obstinate grief, she spoke thus to him, one day that I was preparing the hookah for her, and he had come on a visit: 'What am I to do for you, unreasonable man? Will nothing console you?' And he answered, 'If you could call her back from the tomb, that would console me; but you cannot.' Then why did you let her pine and die?' asked the queen. ‘When she was alive, was she not all your own? Why not have allowed her mother to live with her?' 'Did I not let her mother visit her?' he asked, 'Could I do more? Am I not a Mussulman?'
Thus they spoke, after that, many times. However, he consoled himself, a year or so after, with another wife, and was happy.
I saw the son of that Rajpoot girl in Lucknow, a prisoner in the hands of the English after the mutiny. The English officer was