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An Evening In Calcutta

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AboLt 6 o'clock every evening the beau monde ot Calcutta bigm to take the mr on tile Couise, a vtiy pleaxmt drive which runs ;tlug the bank ut' the livcr. It is usually orowded with cuniages, Imt ït must be contessed thut none of them would be likely to excite the envy of an owner of a lasliiouable turn-out at home, uuless indeed it miglit be now and tben ior the sake of the occapants. Lui:g bufure the Course begin to thin it is almost dark, and ihen, it the poor lounger is " uuattached," and is shariug ins buggy with a triend is unfortunate as himself, thn general cfl'ct of the sceae before hiui is the interest ing objeot tor his gtize. ïhe caiiing.-s ootftiuue to wbiri pust, bilt one pi-es hardly more of them than their lamps. The river glides, cold and ihining, a long-, silveiy light under the oppósite bank, while trees and masts and rigging relieve themselves against the golden bars of the distan 1) sky. But the band ccases to play, and and every one goes home 10 dress. If the traveler ehooses, he may flnd many an amusing drive in tiie native parts of the town Tail Sikhs, whose hair and beards have nevei known scissors or razor, and who strjde along with a swagger and higb-caste dignity ; effemiuate Cingalese ; Hindoo cierks, smirking, conceited and dandifled too, mg to their own notions; ahnost naked palkee-bearers, who nevertheless, if there is the slightest shower, put up an uia brella to proteét their shaven crowns; up country girls with rings in their noses and rings on their toes ; little Bengalee beauties; Parsees, Chinese, Greek, Jews and Americans, in every variety of costume, are to be seen bargaining on the quays, chaffering in the bazaars, loadiug and unloading the sbips, trotting along under their water-skins, driving their bullock carts, Bmoking their hookahs or squatting in the shade. We have had the good fortune, thanks to our interest in native manners and customs, to mitke the acquaintance of a Hmdoo inerchant, a millionaire and a bon vivant, on whom his religión sits soinewhat lightly. We might if we had not been otliei wise engaged, have dined with hiiu this evening. He would have been delighted to receive us, and would have treated us with abundant hospitality and kindruss. The dinner would have been of a composite charaeter, part ly European, partly native. A sort of rissole of chicken would oertainly have been one of the dishes, and with equal certainty would have met with your approval ; the curry, too, would have satis fied you, even if you had just come from Madras or. Singapore. There would have been knives and forks for us ; our convives would not have made much use of the latter, and som e of the dishes on which they would have exercisad their fingefs would hardly have tempted us. The champagne and clan-t ure excellent, and our host, Hindoo as he is, is not sparing in his libations; and at the same time he md his countrymen would have been vociferous in preesing us to eat and drink, filling our glasees the moment they were empty, and heapiug our plates with the choicLvst morsels. Alter all, however, perhaps we have had 110 great loss in misging the dirftier We shall t-nj y the pleasant drive, and by being a little late shall escape the not very delightfu. sound of' various stringt-d instrumenta be;ng tuned. Arrived, we 'eave our horse and bugfry to the care of sorue most cut-tbroat-looking individúala, who crowd round with much noise and gesticulation, wondering who and what we are, while the noise brings out a soit of majordomo, who reuogniZfg us as friends of the m aster, and soon oleare n way for us across the CJurtyaid, takts us up a flight of sleps, and ushers us into a long and toler.bly well-lighted room Our host comes forward with outstretched hands, and with great co diality welcomes and presents us to his friends. We can't understand all he says, for his English at the best is not al way s intelligible, and he is now partioularly talkative and jolly ; it is evident he has diued. Thtre is a great noise; eveiy one is talking and laurhing; and the talking is loud, for it has to overeóme the sounds made by sundry musicians Beated at the other end of the room, who are striking their tomtoms and singing a most dolet'ul chant. The bamboo bustles about, and inakes vacant for us two sofits, the places of honor. Little uiarble tables are be fore them, on which are placed wine, brandy and soda water. The other guests resume their seats along the two sides of the room on our right and left. There are eight or ten raen and two or three ladiea; the ladies very handsomely dressed. Lower down are several young girls in light drapery, Uughing, talking, and smoking tbeir hookabs. The fair sex look ruther seared and shyly at the i'oreigners, but sorao of the men are evidently trying to reassure them. Order being at length restored, our cheroots lighted and our iced brandy-pawnee made ready, the performance re cotnniences. TUe corps dn ballet are not hired ! for the occasion, but forin part of tho establishment of our friend the bamboo j One of the girls seated near the muaicians advanees slowly, in time with the j music, to withm a few feet of one of our j sofus, and s!ie is followed by another, ! who places herself opposite tlio other sofa. Othere in the sume way prepare to dance before other guests.They all stand for a moment in a languid and graceful attitude, the music strikes up a fresh air, and eaoh nautch-girl assumes the first position of her dance. She stands with outstretched arm and hand, quiveriug them, and allowing her body very slightly to partake of the same inoveinent. Her fcet inark the time of the music, not by being raised, but by merely pressing the floor with the toes. The aetion and movemeut thus seerns to run like a wave through the body, greatest where it begins in tlie hand and gradually diininishing as it dies away in the foot. With a change of timo in the accompaniment the girl drops her arm, advances a step or two riearer the persou before whom 8hu is dancing, aud leans bauk, supporting her whole weight on onn foot, with the other put forward and pressing againgt the fl)r the border of her drapery. Iu her hands she holds a little scarf, which serves to give a motive to the ac[ tion ot the arm8 and head. The tuovement in this figure, whích edraits of great variety, no two performers being alike at all in it, is somewhat stronger than in the first. The undulation, too, instead of dying away gradually from the oommencement. runs with.equal force, like the line ofanS, through the body. Without any pause in the music the duncer BOmetimes glides imperceptibly inti), sometimps begins with startling suddenness, the next movrinent. The general position retnains what it was before, but to describe how its principie of liie and motion seoms conceutrated below the dancer's waist, and from thence flows in nndulating streams, to flash trom or to dull, according to her organization, the eyes, and to crisp the childlike feet with which she grasps the carptt, is tor me impossible. A Gavarn might draw what would recall thia wnn derful pantomimo to the brain of one who has seon it, but nothing but his own imugination coulrt suggest it to him who has not. One of these girls is a perfect actress, numherloss shades of expression pass over her delicate features but the prevailing one is a beseeching supplieating look. We administer to her, as the oustom is, some rupees in token of our admiration, and with an rch smilf! the no longer supplicating dumsel passes on. - Lippincott't Magazine


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