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male Airts here, owing to the surplus of No, the characteristic Anglo-Indian flirt women. In India women are in a minority, is of a far milder sort. The motives that and therefore at a premium socially. It is underlie her conduct are vanity and reaca law of nature that whichever sex is in a tion from a monotonous and lonely exminority in any society obtains an amount istence, resulting in a craving for some of attention, flattery, and homage from the excitement. Without wishing altogether other sex which results, among the lighter- to justify her motives or their conseheaded, in a condition of things commonly quences, I still assert that they are more known as being “spoilt.” As an exempli- excusable in India than elsewhere. Let fication of this law we have only to look at us follow her career from the time she London society, where the men are in a comes out as a raw girl fresh from a minority. Who that has travelled about boarding-school. the world, and seen men under the oppo. No sooner does she set foot on a P. and site condition, but will agree with me that O. steamer than she finds herself valued the average English gentleman, of no spe. socially. Her rosy cheeks, redolent of cial moral or intellectual power to lift him English air, have a special charm to the above the crowd, is a more chivalrous- homesick Anglo-Indians, whose fineminded man after ten years in India than drawn features and tanned complexions if he had remained in London at a false may be recognized as they come on board social premium. As London society is an at the docks, or Brindisi. The girl is abnormal test of a man's vanity, so is voted “ so fresh and English - nothing Anglo-Indian society of a woman's. At Indian about her," and is flirted with as least, in India things are balanced, so that much as time and space will allow. When it is rare to see women “running after" she lands in India, whether to remain in a men; the race is all the other way. large centre such as Bombay or Calcutta,
Before I pass on to describe the more or to go up to the ordinary station of the usual form of Anglo-Indian flirt I wish to village-like proportions already mentioned, dwell on one point, that the real business. she finds the same thing, that, qud woman, like siren is rarer and in every way at in this society where males preponderate a disadvantage in India. She is there she has an amount of social success and no doubt. Her cigarette and patchouli. attention that no girl in England withoui scented drawing-room, with many screens exceptional advantages of beauty, wit, or and cunning corners, is “a room which wealih, ever receives when she first comes precludes morality;" her roving eye and out. It often happens that girls do not sinuous figure are alike the horror of the come out to India either with or to their Burra Memsahib and the magnet to the own parents, or in any sense to a home, subaltern; her facile good-nature makes with its traditions, restraints, occupations, her still beloved by some of her own sex, and responsibilities, but they come to and her free talk is often the recreation some more distant relation, or to a friend of the statesman. But all the conditions who has invited them for the sake of their of life in India are a restraint upon her. companionship, and to give them the "ad. Cunning corners are hot to sit in, screens vantages ” of a girl's life in India. Even and curtains promote mosquitoes, servants if she do come to her parents, they are glide to and fro with noiseless tread, the often half strangers to her. However doors and windows are all open. Society much heartache and homesickness they is small and has many watch-dogs, headed may have had for their child during the by the Burra Memsahib. Climate forces long years of separation between furlough the siren, as well as her victims, into the and furlough, yet nothing can bridge over fresh air at the same hour, and generally those years, and make the understanding along the same thoroughfare daily, as and intimacy between parent and child the every one else ; in fact, the siren fiods same as in an English home. The latter herself continually before the public. In takes her first plunge into life far away lodia all is public, and there is nothing from the associations, the friends, the dishidden that shall not be revealed. Alto-cipline, and traditions of her childhood, gether, I think my readers will agree that and gets her first impressions of the world the determined, unscrupulous flirt is much amidst the trivial round of amusements happier, and therefore likely to be found and social gatherings with which Anglo. in greater numbers, behind the screen of Indians keep up good-fellowship, and a more complex society ihan in an Indian strive to while away their leisure hours in station, which, in the matter of publicity, the “land of regrets." But to the girl, so and censorious gossipiness, surpasses far, it is a land of picnics, dances, and even the English country village.
"gymkanas,” where she finds herself pet
ted and courted. She has her love affairs, ( salt her savorless life by the excitements and after a year or two, varied by intervals of sentimental friendships; to let her vanat hill-stations, she selects a husband from ity be fed by the attentions and flattery of the number of her suitors. Just as the the surplus of subalteros and other upatstress of climate is beginning to fade her tached men, of whom in India there is complexion and lower her energies she always a supply. Like flirts all over the enters on the holy state. Then babies world, she deceives herself into thinking come, and whilst they are there it is rare sh only giving sympathy when she is for an Anglo-Indian mother, be she ever really accepting admiration and love, and so uncultured and lonely, to be tempted once having begun to sip the cup of these back into the arena of Airtation. Mothers moral stimulants, she finds it hard to do of Indian children are as a rule models of without them. devotion to these little pale ghosts of En- She is without two great restraints glish babyhood, whose graves occupy which act on most women who drift into such large corners of our Indian cemeter- the same line of conduct in England, viz. : ies. To save them from such an end, the first, the risk of paining and estranging mother has often to spend one-third of her elders and contemporaries in her own the year in the hills away from her hus family, whose criticism, once aroused, is band, and sometimes she has to fly sud-apt to be plainly expressed ; second, the denly with them as fast as train and ship wide-eyed, silent criticism of her own girls can carry her, over “ the black, dividing and boys, who also by their mere existsea," back to her old home in England.ence take up her time, and draw her back There, after a year or so, she leaves them, to healthier interests. and goes back to the old life, to empti- I have no wish to justify this typical oess, monotony, and, for the greater part Airt; I only wish to show that whilst her of the day, solitude, her husband being in temptations are abnormal and Indian, her office all day. But towards sundown the nature and her follies are merely human. old social gatherings go on - how weary, The unwritten laws of Indian society allow stale, flat, and unprofitable they seem to her to ride, drive, and walk with men. her now! An English woman in India Women, both married and single, are alonce said bitterly to me, “If a woman be- most obliged to go to balls and dance ; comes perfectly contented in India it is a they are dubbed airified and unobligiig if sign she has deteriorated.” This is much they do not do so, women being in de. too general and sweeping an assertion, but mand socially ; thus there is endless proas applied to life in an ordinary Indian pinquity, always more or less in public, yet station there is some truth in it. The admitting of the sentimental tête-d-tête. woman who can drown homesickness, There is an Arcadian simplicity, a naïve keep her health, and who has sufficient love of display about the Indian flirt, resources within herself to be happy any. something disarming and comic about the where, is happy in India, but such women way she gallops, drives, and dances her are exceptions all over the world. To the admirers up and down before the eyes of average woman, who is more or less de. her small world – eyes that have so little pendent upon her circumstances, the con. to occupy them. It is this continual ob. solations and distractions of station life servation, and the inevitable discussion are, to say the least, inadequate. The following upon it that have given rise to weekly gymkana, the more frequent polo, the impression that there is so much flir. the daily gathering between 6 and 7.30 P.M. tation in India. There is a good deal of at the general meeting place, “the Club," it, for the reasons already given, but no a building consisting of a billiard-room sign of it in its mildest or its acuter form and a library, with lawn-tennis grounds escapes observation. outside, where the craving for companion. The existence of this belief that En. ship drives the few English people to col. glish women in India are all flirts, fostered lect, talk “shop,” and gossip, to read the by Mr. Kipling's masterly sketches of papers with flagging interest, and borrow Mrs. Hauksbee and others of the more books from the indifferent library, - these vulgar of this class, blending as he does gatherings, varied by an occasional dance with such absolute truth their vulgarity or picnic, cao do little to fill the gaps in with their own peculiar pathos, — this Indian life, and they leave the average must be my excuse for dwelling so long woman fairly homesick for life ip En. on this small percentage of the Englishgland.
woman in India. The typical Anglo-Indian Airt is simply Of the types already described the last she who succumbs to the temptation to two are characteristic of the many small military statioos, and the hill-stations, but | forest, in the south of the Bombay presithe district life in tents, or in places where dency, where the shooting is done from there are no soldiers, is the most charac- trees. She was then elated at having shot teristically Anglo-Indian. In such places her first head of big game, a hyena, but I has of late years come into existence the have since heard that she has shot tigers, sporting lady. These are generally wives big sambur, panther, bear, and black-buck, of district officers, either in the revenue, everything, in fact, except elephant and forest, police, or public works depart. bison. Such spirited reaction from the ments, who have to live in places where, inertia to which the climate and life make perhaps, they, and one subordinate officer, many women victims, must disarm criti. and a half-caste apothecary form the only cism. “ European” population. These spend But these types that I have described their winters pleasantly enough travelling still include but a percentage of the rank about in tents. They rise about 6 or and file of Anglo-Indian ladies, who,"when 6.30 A.M., and ride on to the next camping I begin to think of them, present to me an ground, where they find duplicate tents array of white faces on which endurance already pitched. On the way the husband is plainly written. There is an impression shoots, the ordinary game being black- of faded, old-fashioned refinement about buck, wild duck, snipe, or quail. By ten them; their conversation drifts into disat latest they are in camp, breakfast, and cussing the comparative merits of the the husband sets to work in his office-tent, various places where they have been statransacting the business of local adminis- tioned, how much or how little ill-health tration. He therefore has the double in their husbands, their children, or they terest of his work and his sport, whilst the themselves have had there. Often they wife's chief occupation is the bundobust sound a note of cheerful gratitude for the of the camp. If she has children they place they are in, because it has the adare a considerable anxiety. They travel vantages of some “ European "society, an in a bullock "dumny" daily the same English doctor, or the power of escaping distance as their parents ride. Towards by road or rail to the hills, or Bombay, sundown, if he has time, the husband Calcutta, or Madras, in case of obstinate shoots again. It can easily be understood fever or other illness. They talk of when that if the wife can take an active share they were last in England, and speak with in bis sport the monotony of her life will sudden animation of the delights of that be much relieved. I remember once ar- time, or of how “next hot-weather," or riving late one evening during “the rains" "the hot-weather after next," they hope to at an out-of-the-way place in the Deccan, go home again. to go on the next morning. We had ex. Their uncomplainingness is marvellous, pected to eat the inevitable tough chicken their pluck undefeated, their hospitality in the traveller's bungalow, and to share and kindness to each other, to any passing our night's rest with bats, toads, fleas, etc. globe-trotter, or other stranger, unfailing. But the ever alert hospitality of India, in These qualities of large-hearted kindness the shape of the local superintendeot of and hospitality are characteristic of all police, found us out at once, and trans- Anglo-Indians; the Burra Memsahib ex. planted us to his cool and comfortable cels in them, the siren, the cheery woman, bungalow, where his wife most kindly re. and the flirt are not behindhand in them. ceived us in her pretty drawing.room, of And when I speak of hospitality I do not which the least usual adoroment was a mean the giving of entertainments. I row of fine black-buck heads hung round mean hospitality that makes people turn the wall. N. remarked on them with the out of their more comfortable rooms to envy of a fellow-sportsman, and we were give them up to a stranger, that takes in a astonished to find that they had all been sick acquaintance, nurses him pight and shot by our hostess, a pretty, delicate-look- day, feeds him on the best beef-tea, milk, ing little woman. She then showed us a and champagne that can be managed, photograph of herself in her "shikar "suit writes home to his friends accounts of his - a loose Norfolk jacket, short petticoat, progress, or details of his death; the kind. and gaiters (as a protection against snakes), ness that makes people go at once to a a huge pith sun-hat, and a wadded pad house where there is illness, and offer to down her back as a protection from the take a share of the nursing. At ordinary sun. She spoke with feeling of the mo. times, Anglo-Indian society presents ex. notory of her life until she took to shoot. amples of petty gossip, self-asserting huf. ing with her husband. One other lady, finess, and undignified flirtation ; but the the wife of a collector, I met in the Kanara very women who will one day meet each
other with an indignant snort and a sweep our lungs, and living, as at any rate Lonof their somewhat faded skirts, on account doners do, in the forcing house of literaof some dispute over a question of pre ture, art, science, and politics, to criticise cedence, or something equally petty, will our exiled sisters in India; in which be found next day combining to nurse a country the subtler refinements of civil. cholera patient, or tendiog each other in ization, which develop women in England some grief or irouble.
and mould their tastes, are absent. Let It is a pity that Mr. Kipling has not used the critics be wafted suddenly in June his photographic powers of description, from the exhilarating freshness of English and allowed his genius to put life into more country, or the mental mill-race of London, * Plain Tales" of quiet women's heroism to an Indian station, its stifling heat, darkin the plains than of foolish women's fol- ened rooms, and swaying punkahs, and lies in the hills. He would find in the let them see if in the lightest literature is former a larger field and less commonplace to be found anything but a powerful material, and would, withal, give a truer soporific. picture of the most distinctively Anglo- A less obvious cause than that already Indian life. It may be said generally that mentioned has been suggested to me as the majority of women in India share with underlying this lack of intellectual keenthe men all the roughing and danger, ex- ness among English women in India as a cept actual war (and in the Mutiny they rule – -a rule to which happily there are shared that too), without sharing the credit many exceptions. In India we find ouror the rewards, except in so far as their selves in a country and among a people husbands? honors benefit them. Women where, as everywhere in Asia, tradition, are the camp followers of the great army religion, and inveterate custom combine of English occupation, and they often find to throw women entirely into the backthemselves under conditions which, to use ground; and it is particularly difficult for a telling phrase of Mr. Kipling's own, are English women living among scattered " like the field of battle with all the glory groups of foreign sojourners in the land missing."
to find the material, or the opportunity, I regret that, owing partly to the fact for advancing outside the strict limitations that my own better luck gave me little of household duty and petty social occuopportunity of personally observing my pations. The English woman as well as fellow-women under the most trying con other women in India has to fight against ditions of Indian life, and partly that the the strong Asiatic prejudice which diskind of all-in-the-day's work, matter-of- likes her taking part in public affairs of course heroism and endurance that are any kind. In this direction she has few most characteristic of the Anglo-Indian chances and little encouragement. woman do not easily condeose into anec- But, in spite of these disadvantages and dote, I am unable to give many illustrative impediments, philanthropic English women instances. But one pathetically charac. are arising in these latter days, who interteristic story comes to my inind of a est themselves in schools and hospitals, young, newly married woman, who went both English and native, and who learn with her husband on duty to some distant the native dialect in order to make friends and God-forsaken spot, miles from any with native ladies, the wives of chiefs and English cantonment. Within a year the other native gentlemen. The English husband died of cholera, dysentery, or one lady doctors sent out by the Society for of the rapid Indian sicknesses. She found Providing Female Medical Aid to Indian herself without benefit of clergy, doctor, Women (better known as the Lady Duf. or undertaker, alone, but for a handful of ferin Fund) are a new development of pative servants. These helped her to dig Anglo-Indian society. Their numbers are the grave, but the coffin she hammered still comparatively small, but their ex. together with her own hands, out of the istence certainly tends to stimulate the wood of old packing.cases which had con- philanthropic and intellectual life of En. tained the “Europe stores" for their daily glish women in India. These lady doctors, use.
gaining as they do considerable acquaintGlobe-trotters from time to time com- ance with, and insight into, the lives of ment on the dulness of Indian society, native women of all classes, and yet tak. and there is no doubt that it is conversa ing their place in the English-social life, tionally dull, borné, and uncultured, but so form a link and arouse an interest between is conversation apt to be in provincial English and native women which leads to society anywhere.
the widening and enriching of the lives of It is easy here, with English ozone in both.
Another common criticism by the globe- | countrywomen, who have sketched lightly trotter is that “ English women in India and agreeably their rambles and recollecknow and care so little about India itself, tions, and have shown considerable apits history, antiquities, architecture, and preciation of the salient features of the natural beauties." I cannot pretend that society around them, and of the amusing to this accusation many must not plead and striking characteristics of civil or guilty (are there not many who might do military administration. likewise in England ?), but I assert that Miss Roberts wrote, some fifty years there are many who have studied as much ago, a book which is still an excellent picas opportunity offers the objects of beauty ture of Indian society at that time ; Mrs. and interest within their reach. Many Speirs produced a work of some value on are in India years before they have the ancient India ; Mrs. Mackenzie has left chance of leaving the most banal of En. on record a curious and interesting acglish cantonments. I was lucky in having count of her experiences in the Hydera. more opportunities for travel than mosi, bad country; and, to come down to much and my first experience, aster a year and a later days, Mrs. Guthrie's books, “ My half in India, was at Bijapore, whose glo- Year in an Indian Fort” and “Life in rious tombs and mosques were intoxicat- Western India,” may be read for style and ing in their contrast to the modern monot- substance with much pleasure and profit ony of the place I had left. We were at the present time. But the real interest entertained there with true hospitality by of India centres in religion and politics, the collector and his wife. This lady two subjects which few women have in drove us about in her tonga,* and showed any society shown themselves readily dishierself complete mistress of the history posed to handle. of the place, and also knew every detail of It is not sufficiently realized in England ornament, every point of view of the how with Anglo-Indians every day of splendid buildings. She showed us her leave and every spare (debased) rupee own tracings of the carvings, and her pho goes to take them home, patch them up tographs of the buildings, and offered us for more Indian work, and keep up their copies of any we particularly admired. connection with their children and others She had been at Bijapore some years, had at home. Not ten per cent. of the Enthree or four pale children, and her hus- glish women in India ever get the chance band's health was evidently on the strain. of seeing the Taj, or any of the great wellShe told me that during her first year or known sights of India. They have neither two there she had devoted herself to the the opportunity, the money, nor the freestudy, the fruits of which she had so dom of mind to go touring about India, kindly placed at our disposal; but I could sipping the interest and eluding the hardsee that, except when a passing sightseer ships as their critics, the globe-trotters, came by, she had lost her enthusiasm for do; they therefore tend, as the years go the beauties around her. At last our con- by, to become more local-minded, as they versation drifted to the old subjects - travel about in the province to which their exile, health, climate, home -- and she husbands belong. I remember two offisaid, looking at her children, “My one cials of some fifty-five years of age, whose thought row is to keep these children term of thirty six years' service was just alive till April year” (we were then in over when I arrived in India. They were September)," when" - her face brighten- starting, in triumph and boyish glee, on ing — "we can go home for two years !" the "grand tour" — Jeypore, Delhi, Agra, Was it wonderful that the strain of exile Benares, etc., they having never before and anxiety had supplanted the æsthetic been outside the Bombay presidency! It energy with which she had entered on her is rare for men or women at the end of life at Bijapore ?
their Indian service to have enough The extent to which English women health and energy (not to speak of pocket have contributed to Anglo-Indian litera money, viewing the children's education ture is probably not known; for up to in England) to start on such a tour. quite recent years the literature itself bas I am aware that in this article I have attracted slight notice in this country: fallen into the trap out of which every But some of the best books on the social writer on India finds it difficult to keep life of the English, on the every-day man himself. I have generalized about a counners and customs of the natives, on the try which is almost a continent, and in scenery, architecture, and even the history which the conditions of life are most variof India, were formerly written by our ous. But I have done so, to some extent,
purposely. The large majority of Indian • A two-wheeled cart, drawn by a pair of ponies. stations are small ones, and the life in