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    Software name: appdown
    Software type: Microsoft Framwork

    size: 363MB

    Lanuage:Englist

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      [Pg 231]We drove across a succession of parks to visit[Pg 175] Sumer Mundir, a too elaborately carved temple, the panels representing scenes from the Ramayana set in ornamental borders. On the roof, which bristled with sculptured stone, thousands of blue pigeons were perched asleep, their iridescent plumage scarcely stirring in the sunshine. Beyond a tank at the end of the park was a palace in the Arab style with incredibly delicate ornaments of wrought marble, open halls painted in subdued colouring, and lighted by the golden reflections from the water. The pool had steps all round it, in which crowds seat themselves on the occasions of pilgrimage, and far away the enchanting vision of Benares, the holy city, in every shade of amber and honey.


      At sunset, when the glow fired the stones to a semblance of transparent, burning light, at the top of one of the flights of steps rising from the river to the town, and in front of a gate with large brass nails, glittering like sparks, the figure appeared of a holy beggar in yellow rags, with a copper jar blazing with reflected light; he was set in a halo of gold, and looked like the vision of some pagan god. He stood motionless for a[Pg 172] long time, and then, as the last sunbeam went out, he vanished beyond the fire-studded gate, while all the scene faded into rosy lilac, rapidly dying into blue night.The road lay among flowers, all-pervading; in the fields, on the rocks, on the road itself, pink flowers or lavender or white; bright moss, shrubs and trees in full bloom, and hovering over them birds of changing hue and golden butterflies.


      We visited a temple where the natives treasure the couch of the Guru Ram-Roy, a very holy and much venerated fakir.

      Another mausoleum is of lace-like carving in marble, the roof painted with Persian ornament; and the whole thing is uninjured, as fresh as if it had been wrought yesterday, under the broad shade of theobromas and cedars that have grown up among the ruins.Our last evening at the Residency, where I had spent days made enchanting by music.


      A wide avenue paved with marble, rising in broad steps, crosses the hilltop between temples on either side, intersecting narrower alleys, likewise bordered with pagodas crowded together in the inextricable mazes of a labyrinth, whence our guides were frequently required to lead us outtemples crowned with a cupola or a cone, a bristling throng of little extinguishers all covered with carving. The same subjects and patterns are repeated to infinity, even in the darkest nooks: figures of gods, of gigantic beasts rearing or galloping, of monstrous horses and elephants, of tiny birds sheltering the slumbers of the gods under their outspread wings.The highest peak of the chain that overlooks Bunnoo looks like the ruins of a fortress. A legend, which must have had its origin at some time when a man-eating tiger lurked in the neighbourhood, relates that it is the lair of a ferocious ogre always on the look-out for prey. Nothing on earth would induce any of the natives to go up the mountain; nay, for a long distance even the plain is not too safe.

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      The one she liked best was Marly-le-Roi, a royal palace entirely destroyed in the Revolution. It was then an abode of enchantment, and she always spoke with rapture of the chateau with its six pavilions, its trellised walks covered with jasmin and honeysuckle, its fountains, cascades, canal, and pools upon which floated tame swans, its lawns shaded by enormous trees, its terraces and statues, everything recalling Louis XIV. Here for the first time she saw Marie Antoinette, then Dauphine, walking in the gardens with several of her ladies, all dressed in white.

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      I have endeavoured to be accurate in all the dates and incidents, and have derived my information from many sources, including the Mmoires de Louis XVIII., recueillis par le Duc de D, Mmoires de la Comtesse dAdhmar, de Mme. Campan, MM. de Besenval, de Sgur, &c., also the works of the Duchesse dAbrants, Comtesse de Bassanville, Mme. de Crquy, Mme. de Genlis, Mme. Le Brun, MM. Arsne Houssaye, de Lamartine, Turquan, Dauban, Bouquet, and various others, besides two stories never yet published, one of which was given me by a member of the family to which it happened; the other was told me in the presence of the old man who was the hero of it.

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      Another templecarved and pierced, and loaded and overloaded with ornament. In the crypt was a bas-relief representing the ceremony of marriage: the procession, the couple in front of the altar, the relations sitting round, all alike in the same crouching attitude, like toys set out by a little child. Then the model of a very famous temple elsewhere in India: columns, gateways, statues of the gods, all reproduced with microscopic exactitude down to the minutest details; and surrounding this tiny model a bas-relief of the most bewildering perspectivea plan of Satrunji with its fifty-two principal temples, its trees and sacred tanks; and as a pendant to this representation, a circular carving giving a bird's-eye view of the crowd, the same little doll-like figures[Pg 79] repeated again and again, coming to worship with arms and legs spread out, grovelling, as if they were swimming.


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