中国科协党组、书记处

One boy, who being very tall looked even more emaciated than the rest, dragged an enormous leg swollen with elephantiasis, which had not diminished with the reduction of the rest of his body.

[Pg 12]

[Pg 224]

We sailed past the holy city in a heavy, massive junk, the prow formed of a snake with its head erect and jaws yawning, down the Ganges, all rippled with rose and blue. Palaces, and more palaces, with thick walls and towers, that look like bastions, stand in perspective as far as the eye can see. Windows and balconies are cut in the ponderous masonry at the level of the third floor, and high above these rajahs' dwellings rise the domes of the temples, pointing skywards among tall trees that spread their shade on the russet stonework. At the foot of the palaces, steps lead down to the river, divided by little stages covered with wicker umbrellas that shine in the sun like discs of gold; under these, Brahmins, after bathing, were telling their beads. Now and again they dipped their fingers in the sacred waters and moistened their eyes, forehead, and lips. "Pan, sahib!""Water, sir!"

The guards' band played Indian tunes, to a measure I could not yet catch, and Strauss' waltzes very oddly accented. Suddenly the princess appeared,[Pg 84] in soft rose-pink lightly touched with blue. She wore a pearl necklace with slides of ruby and emerald, shoes thickly worked with gold, and a broad pink sash somewhat darker in colour than her silver-striped tunic.

The bridegroom sits awaiting his guests, in his garden all decorated with arches and arbours, and[Pg 14] starred with white lanterns. An orchestra is playing, hidden in a shrubbery.

And to and fro on the ramparts, the sentry, in an uniform of the same hue as the sun-baked bricks, paced his beat, invisible but for a needle of light on his fixed bayonet; till when crossing a patch of light he was seen like an apparition, lost again in the shadow of the wall.

In the close-shut room the air, loaded with scent and smoke, was quite unbreathable; musicians playing behind a partition added to the irritating effect of all this perfume and noise.

Then her bedroom: no bed, only a vast mattress rolled up against the wall, and spread over the floor every nightit must cover the whole room.