William H. Seward's Travels around the World

By William Henry Seward; Olive Risley Seward | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V.
BARRACKPORE AND SERAMPORE.

Barrackpore Park and its Beauties.--Magnificent Trees.--The Menagerie.--The Lion- Whelps.--Serampore.--Its Missionaries and Mission-Schools.--Return from Barrackpore.--Fort William.--The Woman's Union Missionary Society and its Schools.

Barrackpore Park, March 12th.--This viceregal country residence stands on a curve of the Hoogly, sixteen miles north of Calcutta. Besides the palace, there is also a large military station. On the opposite bank of the river is Serampore, originally a Danish possession, but now British, and incorporated with Barrackpore.

It is a relief to escape for a day from the sights and excitements of the capital. Vegetation is so luxuriant in India that wild beasts maintain their natural liberty in the midst of the densest human population. Just as the morning dawned the shrieks of these vicious beasts ceased, and the notes of the whippoorwill came in their place, as distinct and as piteous as when heard on the banks of the Potomac. But we are before our story. The hall in which we were received last night was far more magnificent than any we had ever before entered. Its circumference one thousand feet, its floor a green lawn, its roof the dense, dark fern-like foliage of the banyan-tree, its brown columns and arches, the trunks which have grown from the tendrils that dropped from the parent tree, and took root in the ground. Only Virgil could celebrate so magnificent a shade:

"Tityre tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi."

-398-

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