When ye say to Tabaqui, 'My Brother!' when ye call the
Hyena to meat,
Ye may cry the Full Truce with Jacala -- the Belly that runs
on four feet.
'RESPECT the aged!'
It was a thick voice -- a muddy voice that would have made you shudder -- a voice like something soft breaking in two. There was a quaver in it, a croak and a whine.
'Respect the aged! O Companions of the River -- respect the aged!'
Nothing could be seen on the broad reach of the river except a little fleet of square-sailed, wooden-pinned barges, loaded with building-stone, that had just come under the railway bridge, and were driving down-stream. They put their clumsy helms over to avoid the sand-bar made by the scour * of the bridge-piers, and as they passed, three abreast, the horrible voice began again:
'O Brahmins* of the River -- respect the aged and infirm!'
A boatman turned where he sat on the gunwale, lifted up his hand, said something that was not a blessing, and the boats creaked on through the twilight. The broad Indian river, that looked more like a chain of little lakes than a stream, was as smooth as glass, reflecting the sandy- red sky in mid-channel, but splashed with patches of yellow and dusky purple near and under the low banks. Little creeks ran into the river in the wet season, but now their dry mouths hung clear above water-line. On the left shore, and almost under the railway bridge, stood a mud- and-brick and thatch-and-stick village, whose main street, full of cattle going back to their byres, ran straight to the river, and ended in a sort of rude brick pier-head, where people who wanted to wash could wade in step by step. That was the Ghaut of the village of Mugger-Ghaut.*