Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/48

This page needs to be proofread.


38


NOTES AND QUERIES. [ii s. XL JAN. 9, 1915.


The Travels of Peter Mundy in Europe and Asia 1608-1667. Vol. II. Travels in Asia, 1628 1634. Edited by Lieut.-Col. Sir Richar Carnac Temple. (Hakluyt Society.)

No lover of India should miss this volume. Ther is, indeed, little in it which could not be gathere from other sources. In some small particular the writer, despite his habit of accuracy and hi quickness of eye, stands in need of correction The observations follow one another very mua at random, and nowhere strike very deep. Bu Peter Mundy's good qualities as the compiler of i record shine out here where the material upor which they were engaged was so new and s< fascinating in more brilliance than ever. An( it is something to listen to one who saw th< Taj Mahal a-building, when it had about it tha " raile of golde," studded with gems, and valuec at six lakh of rupees, which was removed some oeii years later for fear of robbery, and replaced by a network of marble. It is something to hea trom a contemporary the stories about royalty and other great personages current as gossip in those days, even though historically they can claim but doubtful credit. And, again, th< manifold illustration which the book affords of th< methods, temper, and standing amid the Indiar population of the men who first made the contacl between England and India is of the deepest interest.

The cream of the story is given in the excellent Introduction, which supplies also some informa- tion concerning Peter Mundy's family which was not available when the first volume was published. It summarizes ably Mundy's history of service with the East India Company, by whom he had been elected factor in 1627 his post being first at Surat and then at Agra and traces clearly the raisons d'etre and the several routes of the expeditions on which Mundy was sent. Excellent, too, are the notes which accompany the text, and which leave hardly a problem without solution, or a person mentioned without his proper bio- graphy.

The text comprises sixteen "relations" (IV. to XIX. ). It is illustrated by reproductions of twenty- nine drawings by Mundy, which, in character, correspond with the verbal account of things most instructively. They show the same keenness of vision ; the same straightforward, somewhat awkward, and yet capable method of recording what was seen, and the same variety of interest. In one or two places, either in text or drawing or both, Mundy gives information which other travellers do not supply, as in his description and illustration of the fakirs' cave-dwellings in the rock of Gwalior.

In the first part of the book the most valuable and remarkable account is that of the famine in Gujarat in 1631. The editor has collected in an Appendix other contemporary accounts of this calamity, and also printed in one sequence the notes which in Mundy's MS. are scattered over his diary of the journey from Surat to Agra. Mundy, in vividness and multiplicity of detail, holds his own well with his compeers. To the first period of his life in India belongs also a description of a sail which he witnessed at Surat, which, with its


accompanying drawing, is very well done. Among the historical events which he relates, partly from, hearsay, partly from immediate knowledge, are the death of Akbar and the career and death of Khusru ; the doings of Abdu'llah Khan ; and

Eublic appearances of Shah Jahan, and details of is works. Two very interesting personages who figure here, and who are the subject of detailed study on the part of the editor, are John Leachland,. whose attachment to an Indian woman caused himself and the Company considerable trouble, and whose daughter by the woman, marrying an Englishman, furnishes the first instance of a, regular union between an Englishman and a woman of native descent ; and then MIrza Zu'l- karnain, son of an Aleppo merchant attached to Akbar's Court, who, holding his father's office at the Court of Shah Jahan, though not without vicissitudes, was all his life a staunch Catholic.

Those of our correspondents who were in- terested some months ago in Khoja Hussein and his brother may like to have Mundy's description muddled and incorrect as to origin though it is of the Muharram festival as celebrated at Agra when he was there. He calls the festival " Shaw- sen " :

" There are certaine Customes or Ceremonies used heere, as also in other parts of India, vizt. Shawsen ....

" Shawsen by the Moores in memorie of one Shawsen a great Warriour, slayne by the Hindooes att the first conqueringe this Countrie, Soe that they doe not only solempni/.e his funerall by makeinge representative Tombes in every place, but, as it were, promise to revenge his death with their drawne swords, their haire a.bout their eares, leaping and danceinge in a frantick manner with postures of fightinge, alwaies cryeing ' Shaw- sen, Shawsen,' others answeringe the same words with the like gestures. It is dangerous then for Hindooes to stirr abroad. This they doe 9 or 10 dayes, and then hee is, as it were, carried to- juriail."

The Mystery in the Drood Family. By Montagu Saunders. (Cambridge University Press, 3s.. net.)

!?HE writer before us " considers it would be resumption on his part to express any definite >pinion as to the accuracy of his own conclu- ions," and he acknowledges his " very great ndebtedness to Sir Robertson Nicoll's exhaustive vork," noticed by us at 11 S. vi. 399, although, he conclusions at which he has arrived " are in lost instances totally at variance with those dopted by Sir William."

In pursuing his investigations Mr. Saunders- ays much stress on what Dickens wrote to- orster before a line of the tale was put on paper :: I have a very curious and new idea for my new tory ; not a communicable idea (or the interest f the book would be gone), but a very strong- ne, though difficult to work." Therefore, Mr.. aunders reasons, " that something ' new,' and omething ' difficult to work,' must be looked for." "his, he maintains, is quite inapplicable to the lelena-Datchery hypothesis, as that idea was- either "very curious" nor "new," since Wilkie- ollins had already made use of the idea in ' No fame.' Mr. Saunders suggests that Grewgious. laced the solution of the problem of the dis- ppearance of Drood in the hands of the firm of