Slike stranica

He was told to come into the courtyard one day at noon, and I saw him there. He did not see me. I was with other girls, and one of them, whom I had offended a few days before, caught hold of my arm, and said to another girl, That is to be Elihu Jan's husband. Behold, she carries her head high and is proud, and God has sent her a husband as black as an Abyssinian.' I had no choice in the matter; all was arranged for me. Gholam Hussain got a shop for selling tobacco and such-like, near the palace gates, and I was married to him. I did not like him at first, and spent as much time as I could away from him, in attendance on the queen. But he was kind to me, and I liked him better at last; and although he is black, he is not a bad man. But I was fated to misery.

After the queen's husband, Umjid Aly Shah, had died, and his son Wajid Aly Shah had reigned many years, then the English came and took the kingdom, and the queen, my mistress, mother of the king, said, 'I will go to England. The Queen of England is also

a mother. I will ask her to give me back my kingdom.' Alas! what wailing, what sorrow, what beating of breasts, then took place amongst us! How shall you cross the great black seas?' said we, 'you, who fear even the river?' But it was fate, and she said she would go, and she went. I went with her to Calcutta, and my husband was with us. The king offered to support us in Calcutta, for the queen, his mother, charged him to be kind to all her attendants. But I would not live in his palace; I would prefer begging my bread abroad in the world. I returned to Lucknow with my husband. We lived on my jewels and ornaments for some time. My husband's shop was cleared away. All the bazaar was cleared away. The English like grass better than bazaars. God has given them the kingdom. God's will be done. But when the gold and silver ornaments, and my few jewels, were all eaten up, then I became a servant. The English ladies are kind and good, and they believe in God, and I love my mistress, that is, ever since the queen

died in Europe.

And my husband? oh! he is as black as ever, a good kind man, and he sits at home and eats opium, and smokes the hookah. My wages are enough for both of us.




DURING the life of her husband, Umjid Aly Shah, the queen was very happy. She had been his only wife for many years, and the first serious quarrel between them was when he took a second wife. At first the queen knew nothing of it, but, when she came to hear of it, she refused to see the king for three days, and abstained from eating, and was silent, until the vizier and officers of state represented to her that serious injury would result to the kingdom if she persevered in so doing. Still, she was always the chief queen. She was the mother of the heirapparent, the present ex-King of Oudh, Wajid Aly Shah, and after Umjid Aly Shah's death, the honours paid to her as queendowager, and as mother of the king, were

similar to those she received during her husband's lifetime.

The queen and Umjid Aly Shah were fond of each other, and she led a virtuous, religious life always, whatever might be going on in the palace or city, or however her husband or son might act. But men are always great evil-doers, and when women have power, and are able to live as they choose, all is moral and regular. It is the power and influence of men that cause the evil. One wife, four wives, fifty wives will not suffice a king, whilst a queen is content with one husband, if he will but be faithful. But when was man ever faithful?

I was only a child when Umjid Aly Shah was king, and I did not see so much of the queen then, as I did afterwards during the reign of her son, Wajid Aly. Can I remember in those far-off days what she said or what she did? I was a child, and it is long long ago; but this I know, that she was always kind and good.

She was fond of the Chutter Munzil and the Chowlukhy Palaces in Lucknow, and of Dwarka Dhass' garden-house in the country.

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