Camp Life in India, 1850

Camp Life in India, 1850 - Back to Indian History...

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Back to Indian History Sourcebook | Halsall History Web Sites Page | Indian History Sourcebook: Sir Monier Monier-Williams: Camp Life in India, 1850 MY only room was, of course, a tent. It had four doors and no windows, and a fifth door leading into a kind of lean-to, or small annex, fitted up with a large bath. Happily no one need trouble himself with a portable bath in India, because this indispensable convenience is found everywhere. The tent had a lining of blue and yellow chintz, and for a carpet a stout blue and white cotton cloth laid on flax straw. All the doors had two coverings, or rather flaps, one of the same material as the tent, the other a kind of wire screen, called a chick, to let in air, and keep out as far as possible inquisitive intruders---not men and women, but huge bees, wasps, grasshoppers, squirrels, snakes, and all manner of winged and creeping things innumerable. For furniture there were two or three chairs, a dressing-table, and a good iron bedstead with hard mattresses, woolen pillows, and mosquito curtains, well tucked in all round. Let the reader, then, imagine me comfortably ensconced, after my month's voyages and travels, within my four canvas walls, and looking forward with pleasant anticipations to an undisturbed sleep in a veritable bed---my first since leaving England. I go through every needful purificatory rite in my strange lavatory, and emerge refreshed from my tent door to peep at the scene outside and take my bearings. I find that we are in a large field or common, on one side of the Mehmoodabad station. The camp consists of about a dozen tents, all under large spreading trees, with which the whole park-like country round is beautifully wooded. Most of the trees are new to me---the mango, the banyan, the pipal, the tamarind, the nim, and the Japanese acacia with its lovely yellow flowers. No tent is ever pitched under a tamarind. It is supposed, I believe, to exhale too much carbonic acid during the nighttime. The mango and nim are the tent-pitcher's favorite trees. Under one mango there is a large pavilion-like erection for the collector and his wife. Then there is another double tent, which serves as a dining-room and drawing-room, of ample dimensions, fitted up with carpets, tables, bookcases, easy-chairs, sewing-machine, and harmonium: two or three others for visitors like myself; another for the baby and its ayahs ; another for the Portuguese butler; and of course a capacious tent, with annexes, which together serve for the collector's kutchery , magisterial court, and other offices. On one side under the dense foliage of a banyan is a circular canvas erection without any roof. This is the kitchen, where excellent dinners are cooked by means of two bricks and a hole in the ground. A little removed from the tents is the stable, an open space quite unprotected, except by foliage, where four Arab horses and two ponies are tethered by their heels, each attended by its man. Near them stand carriages, carts, and a curious vehicle called a
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This note was uploaded on 12/17/2010 for the course ASIA 150 taught by Professor Hewison during the Fall '08 term at UNC.

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Camp Life in India, 1850 - Back to Indian History...

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