William H. Seward's Travels around the World

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

CHAPTER VI.
FROM CALCUTTA TO BENARES.

Courtesy of the East India Railway Company.--Unattractive Scenery.--The Scenery improves.--Aspect of the Country and the People.--A stop at Patna.--A Tiger Hunter.--The Cultivation of the Poppy.--The Maharajah of Benares.--A Night on the Ganges.--A Brilliant Display.--Glory Hallelujah.--A Compliment to Mr. Seward.

Benares, March 15th.--We left Government House, Calcutta, on the 13th, in the evening, and, with the aid of friends, made our way through a mixed and garrulous crowd which gathered at the wharf. We crossed the Hoogly in a capacious steam ferryboat, and took possession of a car which had been furnished us, by the East India Railway Company, for our exclusive use while in the country. We attach it to, or detach it from, the train at our pleasure. It consists of two apartments, with a bath-room. Our Calcutta friends furnished us with a full supply of Boston ice.

The night was dark. When we awoke in the morning, we looked out upon an unattractive plain, broken by ledges of rocks. The road was bordered with shallow tanks, filled with muddy water collected during the last rainy season, and frequent brick-kilns built to supply the material for the railway structures. An occasional herd of small lean cattle, sheep, and goats, with a tattered or naked attendant, was seen upon the scanty soil nearly covered with stunted trees and shrubs. A few mean farm-houses and wretched villages were visible. We thought India a sorry contrast to Japan

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