Imagens das páginas




that outraged her delicacy. Rachael had become, by degrees,- such was the havoc of fanaticism in a bosom naturally gentle,-dead to sisterly affections. But Eustace and Christopher knew that a plan was in agitation for the forcible ousting of the Hyssops, and endeavoured, ineffectually indeed, to impart to them their apprehensions of the approaching feast of the Dusrah, which would bring large assemblages of the robust and numerous caste of the Kaysht to Rohanpoor and its vicinity. But their systematic contempt of the natives, as a feeble and timid race, blinded them to the danger. A body of sepoys, and half a dozen armed peons from the magistrate or collector of the district, would easily, they imagined, quell any tumult.

It was to find a short respite from the incessant cant of Tubby, that Lucy, one afternoon, leaving her sister to the uninterrupted solace of the preacher's society, was glad to betake herself to the bungalow, to enjoy the refreshing coolness of the gale that played along the rippling waves of the Ganges ; and—what was still more refreshing than the breeze-a few minutes' converse with Charles Sutherland, whose horse had of late instinctively found his way to the same place at the same hour. Such interviews it would be unfair to call assignations: nor were they purely accidental meetings. The young persons had long known and liked each other, till liking was improved into love. Suther. land was the registrar of the zillah court, and there will, therefore, be the less difficulty in guessing through whose good offices it was, that the Hyssop cause was heard out of its rotation, at a time when so many hundred less favoured suitors were cooling their heels, month after month, in the sickly expectation of a hearing. Lucy remained, for some time, in that listening anxiety, which is at once so tormenting and so delightful to lovers. At length, the well-known clatter of his horse's hoofs became more and more distinct, but at a much quicker pace than usual. Lucy,” said Sutherland hastily,—dismounting and leaving the steed to his own discretion, till the syce canie up puffing and blowing to take charge of him,—“Lucy, dear angel, mischief is brewing. But be not alarmed; not a hair of those black tresses shall be hurt. A large body of the Kayshts have been gathering to avenge the loss of Rutaub's cause, and Tubby's insolent treatment of them. It were well if that canting hypocrite were disposed of. The pulling down the temple has goaded them to madness. But my life shall be devoted to the preservation of yours," he con, tinued, as the poor girl, half dead with affright, leaned upon his bosom.

Í must ride off with all possible speed to the officer commanding the station for military aid, should it be required, and send off, in the mean time, a body of the collector's peons to put down the disturbance. Be comforted, Lucy”and sealing the exhortation with the warmest kiss which affection could im print upon her lips, he leaped on his horse and disappeared in a moment.

The rapid night-fall of India affords young ladies no time for those tender meditations, which harmonize so well with the soft twilight of a summer evening in England. Darkness, indeed, descended more rapidly than usual, enveloping the whole horizon in its dunnest mantle, while the unwonted chafing of the mighty river with its shores, boded all the fury of the expected monsoon, Anxious to return, Lucy had moved but a few paces from the spot, to which the fearful intelligence had rivetted her for some minutes, when a hateful form stood phantom-like before her. The sight curdled the life-blood in her veins, and had it been the fiend who personifies all evil, she would not have more gladly exorcised him. “Lucy,” said Tubby, before she had recovered from her surprise and terror, “ this is no time for coyness. I have long yearned after you with eyes of affection, even as Boaz lookcd upon Ruth. Why do you

[ocr errors]




shun me? I propose to you honourable wedlock. You are like anto a beauteous plant, and should not wither away in barrenness, but throw out goodly branches as the rose tree of Sharon.” A pressure of the hand, not unlike the gripe of a bear, accompanied this effusion of nonsense, and an effort to force her towards a bamboo settee, at once alarmed and incensed the poor girl, who, innocent and unsuspecting us she was, could not avoid putting a fearful interpretation upon his intentions. With a degree, however, of corporeal strength, which is never wanting to the aid of virtue in the hour of its need, she struggled from his grasp. The execrable Tartuffe, however, dragged her along, her strength beginning to desert her, but still enabling her to scream loudly for help. “ There is no help for a perverse child of wrath,” he went on, twining round her with a satyr-like embrace that nearly stifled her cries.

But help was nigh, and it came in the uncouth but thrice-welcome shape of Christopher, who felled the brutal assailant to the ground with a blow that rendered it doubtful whether Scripture or common sense would suffer any more distortions from his eloquence. Probably, not calculating his enormous strength, Christopher had dealt a blow that would have better suited an ox, for

ring Lucy's broken explanation, life seemed to have left him. “ Eh, what's all this - Lucy--Tubby! Here, lean on my arm,” he exclaimed, as he proceeded slowly home with her. " Saul,” said he, as he entered the house, " here's a pretty kettle of fish-so much for preaching. Your daughter is safe, thanks be to heaven--and the ruffian Tubby lies sprawling in the bungalow.” Lucy, in faltering accents, explained the matter as well as she could. Strange as it may seem, every apprehension about Lucy was absorbed in the fears of all for the fate of the missionary, and they rushed forward to his aid. “ For shame, brother,” said Christopher, in a voice that would have split a rock," do you tender your daughter's honour at no higher value, that you should give a moment's thought to that vile impostor ?” Saul made no reply. As for Rachael, it were want of charity to attribute her unsisterly conduct to any other cause than the morbid fanaticism, which had for awhile closed the avenues of her heart to every other sentiment. The party hastened to the bungalow, expecting to find Tubby in his last agony.

At that instant, sounds reached their ears, of which at first they did not comprehend the import. There was a splashing of oars in the river, and a multitude of voices constrained to a lower key than that in which the natives usually converse. But the mystery was soon explained; for, in a few seconds and just as they had got within a few paces of the bungalow, the whole of that combustible structure was in flames. Rachael uttered a scream of terror. “ He will be burned to death,” she cried ; " help, uncle Christopher ! help the dear man, if he is still living !” “Help,” returned he, with the utmost cool. ness; see, he can help himself !” for Tubby was roused from his stupor when he heard the crackling of the flames, and was now running towards the house with a rabble of natives at his heels. “ Make haste and fasten your doors,” said Christopher; “I will see what I can do with them.” So saying, he opposed his giant-form to Tubby's pursuers, whose numbers were every minute increasing.

The parley with the robust leaders of the affray was held in Bengalee, and it was animated on both sides. They urged the wrongs done to the whole caste, whose maxim, handed down from father to son, was not to pause longer under an injury than sufficed for its atonement. “ The Sahib logan (English gentlemen) gave bad law to good men, and good law to bad men.” All those who appeared as spokesmen on the occasion, expressed their regard for Chris



[ocr errors]

topher. But there was a deep-rooted determination in their speech and countenances which did not escape Christopher. “There will be hot work of it,” he said to himself. “Padré Eustace and I must do what we can to allay the storm which my brothers and this missionary have conjured up.”

The crowd grew every moment denser around the dwelling of the Hyssops. To those who saw it from the veranda, it was as a wavy sea of white turbans. Christopher in vain essayed to divert them from their purpose, and elbowing his way with a kind of forty-horse power, disappeared, to the great alarm of Lucy and the rest of the party, who felt a sense of protection in his muscular frame and powerful arm when he was present. To their great satisfaction, he soon returned, with Eustace hooked on his arm. The night was dark, but its darkness was fearfully relieved by massalgees, whose torches Aung a fiercer glare on the revengeful features of the chief performers in this singular drama. Nor was there any lack of music, of noise at least that would have roused the dead, from trumpets six feet long, dholes, gongs, and other astounding instruments of an Hindoo concert. Father Eustace implored them to desist. “My children,” said he, “ if these people have done you wrong, their law, which is just and equitable, will give you redress. Make your complaints to the gentlemen at Calcutta.”

“No, no," they cried;" the wild elephant has trodden down our paddy, and you ask us to call in the tiger.” The torches glared fiercely, and were suddenly extinguished. But an intenser blaze burst across the horizon. It proceeded from the indigo-factories and warehouses of the Hyssops, which were about a mile distant. Baffled and dejected, Eustace and Christopher returned to the affrighted family. - Brother Tubby was seated at the table halfstupified before a bottle of brandy. They will kill him," exclaimed Rachael. “ Save him, save him, dear uncle !” “We will do our best,” said the benevolent Eustace, and whispering to Christopher that his best chance of safety was to cross the river in one of the budgerows moored at the end of the com. pound, the latter took the preacher up in his hands, and throwing him over his shoulders, ran with him as a tiger carries an antelope, threw him into a boat, and having loosened its moorings, left him to the mercy of the tide, which was running nearly eight miles an hour, without so much as a pair of oars to keep his frail vessel in the middle of the stream. Christopher thought this the only chance of his escaping undiscovered, and returned to aid the padre in appeasing the tumult.

But the natives were intent on revenge-that wild justice, which is alone permitted to those to whom formal justice is denied. Christopher found the dwelling in flames. Not a moment was to be lost to save the inmates. Unmindful of the new and more imminent danger, Rachael inquired what had become of the good man ?—“ Gone to supper,” replied Christopher, "with balf a dozen alligators, who don't stand on much ceremony for an invitation." She sunk down with terror. Lucy, endued with a firmness more suited to the exigency, roused her sister from her stupefaction, whilst her uncle and the padre forced the Hyssops to the compound, to give them a chance of escaping by water. But, suspecting their design, a party had intercepted their flight, and were unceremoniously hauling them along, when Christopher rushed forward to their release. As the sea opens a trough to the bark that cleaves its billows, the crowd opened to his bulky frame; and as soon as he had extricated his brothers from the rabble, he urged them to immediate flight, whilst the kind padré conducted Rachael and Lucy towards his own humble dwelling. But at this instant a horseman at full speed advanced. It was Charles Suther




land, followed by half a dozen sowars urider a European officer.' Tlie tuniult: was appeased as if by magic. The ring-leaders fled through a country too: intricate for pursuit, and in less than ten minutes, during which the dwellinghouse and the indigo works were burnt to the ground, night resumed her silence. When every thing was quiet, Sutherland returned to the spot where he had left Lucy and Rachael under the protection of their uncle and Eustace, and taking them under his arm, “they shall find an asylum at my house," he he said. A buggy was at hand. There was no time for maidenly coyness on the part of Lucy, and the resolving and re-resolving usual on such occasions. The journey was neither long nor eventful; the horse did not stumble, nor the vehicle break down, and they were soon at the young registrar's residence. There, after they bad partaken of some refreshment, Lieutenant Colonel N- entered the hall with a prayer-book in his hand. Charles led Lucy, blushing, of course, like the morn. “ Who gives the lady away ?” cried the colonel. “I,” returned the zillah judge of the district. The colonel opened the book at the wrong place, and had proceeded a little way in the baptism-service, before he found out his mistake. Rather premature," he quietly observed, as he rectified the error, and proceeded to unite Charles Sutherland and Lucy Hyssop in holy wedlock.

The two Hyssops found their way to Calcutta, where they endeavoured to make out a case to entitle them to indemnity. But they deceived themselves, and were ordered to England. By a series of miraculous escapes from alligators and tigers, Brother Tubby drifted down to a military station, where he would willingly have resumed his preachments. But his zeal was under the restraint of common sense, that it was thought inexpedient to permit his remaining in the vicinity of a regiment of sepoys, who are strongly disposed to view with alarm and jealousy the efforts of the missionaries. His real character was at length discovered; and when it appeared that he had usurped functions for which he was not qualified, and had obtruded linself into a class to which he had never belonged, and upon whose unimpeachable moral reputation he was bringing disgrace, he was sent home to follow the fortunes of his patrons. The Sudder Adawlut reversed the decree of the Zillah Court; and Rutaub was again placed in possession of his lands. Chris. topher and the padré, humble in their wants, and desiring nothing beyond the simple comforts they shared with the natives, lived and died amongst them.

so little



The attention of the British and more particularly of the East-India public being now anxiously directed to the question of admitting East-India suġars to the British markets at a fairer rate of duty than is now levied, and the Court of Proprietors of East-India stock being about to petition Parliament on the subject, a brief view of the actual position which the sugars of the British colonies now occupy in the home markets, may be desired.

The duty on British plantation sugar was first levied in England in 1661 at Is. 6d. per cwt., in 1699 at 3s., in 1703 at 3s. Ad., in 1747 at 4s. 10d., in 1759 at 6s. 4d., in 1779 at 6s. 8d., in 1781 at lls. 8d., in 1782 at 12s. 3d., in 1787 at 12s. 4d., and in 1791 at 15s. The duty on East-India sugar, previous to 1787, was £35. 195. per cent on the value.

* We have made a few corrections in this paper, and have subjoined a few notes, in order that a fuir view of the subject may be given, which, of course, must be the object of the writer.-EDITOR.

In 1787, the duty on British plantation sugar was 12s. 4d. per cwt., and on East-India £37. 16s. 3d. per cent. ad valorem ; the consequence was that but 77,355 tons of sugar were retained for home consumption, while ten years before the consumption had been 81,000 tons.*

In 1791, the duty on British plantation sugar was raised to 159. per cwt., and 2s. 8d. per cwt. was added to the previous ad valorem duty on EastIndia sugar. The consumption accordingly decreased : in 1790 it was 76,811 tons; in 1791 it fell to 70,160 tons, in 1792 to 68,000 tons. The financiers of the day, however, would not take warning, and in 1797 the duty on British plantation was raised to 17s. 6d. per cwt., and 5s. 2d. per cwt. was levied on East-India sugar, in addition to the ad valorem duty of £37. 16s, 3d. per cent. : the result was a further reduction of consumption, which in 1797 amounted to only 63,000 tons.

The tax went on almost yearly augmenting, until in 1805 it was £1. 7s. per ewt. on West-India sugar, and £l. 9s. 8d. on East-India, in addition to £1. 7s. per cent. ad valorem. The consumption, it is true, increased in spite of the rapid augmentation of the tax, owing to extended production keeping down the price, and in consequence of the increased consumption of tea and coffee. The progressive and discriminating rates of duty levied on the two sugars in the English markets, up to 1833, will be best seen by the following table :

Rales of Duty on West and East-India Sugars in England.

[blocks in formation]

In addition, there was an ad valorem duty on East-India sugar, which from

1787 to 1797 was €37 16 3 per cent.
1798 to 1802 was .......... 42 16 3 ditto.

1803 to 1813 varied from 1 7 0 to £1. ditto. The result of this policy may be readily foreseen; not only did the importations of East-India sugar diminish, but the total consumption of the coun

* But in the year 1783, the quantity was 88, 784 tons.-Editor.

+ But the next year, the consumption rose to 83,854 tons, higher than that of 1730, before the alteration of duty -EDITOR.

But the next year, when the duty on West-India sugars was augmented to 198. 4d. per cwt., and that on East-India to £40. 165. 3d. per cent., the consumption increased to 73,800 tons, and the following year (1790) when additions were made to both duties, the consumption reached to 133,000 tons, more than double that of 1797.-Editor.

« AnteriorContinuar »