8 SHIVAJI. [CH. I.
silver. Some temples, especially at the chief centres of pilgrimage, had accumulations of wealth, but their income was precarious, entirely dependent on voluntary gift, and incomparably smaller than the riches of the grand Madras temples.
In a society so circumstanced, every man, and often every woman, has to work and work with the hand. Elegance and refinement cannot grow here. If culture can be rightly defined as the employment of the intellect in pleasure, then there is no room for culture among men who have to sacrifice pleasure to the bare necessaries of life. Where Nature enforces a Spartan simplicity, there can be no luxury, no learned leisure (except among the priests), no aesthetic development, no polished manners even.
The Marathas, when they rose to political power, did not impress the subject population favourably. To the over-polished decadents of the Mughal capitals, the warriors from the South appeared as a race of upstarts, insolent in prosperity, and lacking in grace, refinement and even good manners. They had no taste for the fine arts, no elegance of address, no aptitude for the amenities of social life. Even their horsemanship was awkward and graceless, though eminently practical. The period of Maratha ascendency has not left India richer by a single grand building, or beautiful picture, or finely written manuscript. Even the palaces of the Peshwas are low, mean-looking, flimsy structures, with small rooms and narrow staircases— relieved