12 Jan 1893, Silchar

Silchar mela. Sold 1025 gospel & Christian books in 10 days. Had 2 meetings every day. Out of above 1025 books sold, we sold 158 on the race course.

Misuse of Gospels. One shop man bought 3 or 4 gospels. found out after that he was using them as waste paper to wrap ganja in for customers.

23 Jan 1893

Bigotted [sic: Bigoted] Manipuris. At Manipuri village Pettigrew caught hold of a little girl by the chin to lift her face to his & ask her how she was. Heard her people say “He has touched her!” – as much as to say “We shall have to give her a good bath to wash off the defilement!.”

2 Feb 1893

Rampur Tea Estate – visit to Mr Jones the Christian manager. 80 Xn coolies. Orissa people. Church gong is old Kol Kodali struck with a stone.

23 Feb 1893

Russian Prince. Interpreter and one Cossak visit Silchar.

Mr Davis’ letter re Lushai Fort Aijal – 13 Feb 1893

My dear Sirs,

I am in receipt of your letter of 10th Jan enquiring whether it will be possible for you to begin work in the Lushai country. Taking everything into consideration I think it would be as well if you put off Entering the country until November of this year.

I am yours truly A.W. Davis.

23 Mch 1893

How much will you take for it? People in Bazaar often want to buy our things. Often ask me to sell my Concertina. The other day a man felt my Mackintosh to see if it was good quality & then asked me how much I would take for it. In the bazaar one day a sepoy wanted to buy my watch.

“Eye Flies” constantly flying in front of ones eyes & in ones ears making fearful buzzing – & yet they are so small as to look quite inoffensive. Life sometimes scarcely worth living. On hot day they are intolerable.

30 Mch 1893, Silchar

Conflicting Reports re Lushai. We get glowing accounts one day from a man who has been there, and an opposite account the next day from another who has also “been there”. Better go provided for famine & find plenty than to go expecting plenty and find famine as we did at Kassalong.

A Lushai Chief Migrating. The following is from a newspaper re Lalluawa. This is how Lalluawa the Lushai chief, who has recently been ally of ours moved his residence from one village to another lately – “The procession moves out in Indian file led by the Chief’s heir, a boy of 12 years of age, wearing a quaint grey tall hat (the symbol of his father’s rank) & a loin cloth. In hand he carried a bottle of liquor of the country & with the other led a yellow dog. Next came a maid of honour bearing a huge basket of household goods and chattels & smoking the Everlasting pipe of peace the while. She was followed by the Prime Minister leading the Chief’s pig, to whom succeeded the Chief’s wife clad in a divided skirt of Kuki blue cloth & wearing the royal amber necklace. The chief himself came next. He wore a red helmet, two flannel shirts and an evening dress coat & waistcoat, the latter being arranged outside the coat, & a garment of Lushai cloth. The trousers belonging to the dress suit were gracefully thrown over the left shoulder & a pair of grey socks, unlaced ammunition boots & a flagon of liquor completed the Chiefs travelling costume. Last of all came a gentleman in waiting who carried the royal bedding in a bundle.”

7 Apr 1893

Confessing Christ. While selling books & distributing tracts to shopkeepers in the bazaar after preaching a young fellow stood up in a shop & said, heedless of what others thought, that he believed in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, his Saviour & his friend. He said he had heard of Jesus in Salvation Army Hall in Calcutta & now did not believe in Krisna [sic. Krishna], Durga, Ram & the rest of the heathen gods, but only in Jesus Christ the Son of God. He said that he had been talking about the matter to the shopkeepers & wanted me to corroborate what he had said – which I gladly did.

Visit to Tawneys & Greggs “Trumpmara” & “Dwarbund” Tea Estates.

28 Apr 09

Lazy Christians Orissa Christian family – coolies from tea garden. Water coming through roof of their hut, which was 16 x 9 – in which space lived father, mother & six children – & now if is wet the cows share the house with them. No furniture. Sleep on wet mud floor without even blanket to protect them. Dark inside, 2 small windows 1 1/2 ft square. not to let in light but to let out the smoke, & to throw out cow’s dung.

Lushai sentence sent home. “Lekha ziakna tui leh lekha ziakna thinpreur sap chaw ei-na a dah rawh a” = Put the pen ink and desk on the table.

lit – Put the letter writing water and the letter writing box on the thing from which the Sahibs take eat their food rice.

4 Apr 1893

Liana our Lushai Pundit. spends the pauses in conversation in catching certain little insects which seem to be very fond of him.

4 May 1893

Timid Bengali women. The other evening we were out for a walk & were standing on a bridge when a woman came along. To avoid us she walked straight down the bank of the raised road & stood with her back to us as though she were going to walk into the water. We called to her & told her not be afraid of us, but to come over the bridge. However she was so timid of white men that that she waded through a swamp & across several fields rather than pass us, soaking her clothes almost to the waist. I hope the women in Lushai are not such simpletons.

In B’baria they would fling down water pots & run for dear life as soon as they caught sight of our faces.

11 Apl May 1893

The “Blues” & Language Learning. When one is learning a language every two weeks or so a wave of depression passes over one’s mind & it seems as though the difficulties are too great ever to be overcome, & one frets & fumes & worries & feels almost inclined to throw the whole thing overboard & take the next steamer home to England.

Such fits are a good sign & mark progress in study. If they do not occur it is evident that something is wrong. We call them the “Blues”.

Cottonseed Snowstorm One day when we were all at Silchar a storm was approaching & the air was bearing along with it myriads of cotton seeds which gave the atmosphere the appearance of a violent snowstorm.

16 May 1893

Toads. In every room one or two families of toads. At mealtimes they hop out of their secluded corners and pick up crumbs which fall from the table just as a cat does at home. (When get too many collect in waste paper basket & throw away at distance from the house, but majority always find their way back before long.) They feed on insects &c.

Spiders. With great nests of tiny spiders or eggs carried underneath them (If killed the little spiders swarm out all over everything).

Caste. Its inhumanity & cruelty.

Going for a walk one day at Silchar I saw something lying by the roadside. Going near I found that it was a poor coolie woman, nothing but skin & bones & too ill & weak to walk. By her side sat a tiny child. Just then a native passed & looking at the prostrate form with contempt shouted in a cruel rough voice, “Get up & go home.” I felt like catching hold of him by the scruff of his neck & banging his head on the ground as I have seen St D ( a most mild & gentle missionary of my acquaintance) do to a man for ill using a woman.

Just then a policeman came along & I called him & asked him what he thought had better be done with the poor creature. He hesitated a long time & then a man near said that he had better not touch her as he would be defiled as she was of lower caste, & he would have to go to the trouble of bathing after it. (fancy an English Policeman saying such a thing) After a time I got him to go to the Police Station and get a stretcher to carry her to a hospital on ….

If we had not seen to it she could have been left there all night & would have been dead before morning & carried off by jackals or eaten by crowd of hungry vultures who were waiting on a tree as if they knew that she was ready to die.

What a cruel thing this terrible caste system is. They would treat a cow better than a human being who happens to be of a lower caste.

31 May 1893

Barak River in Flood at Silchar. River rose 20-30 ft. Island of bamboo gyrating down the stream from the mountains. People putting off in boats, hitching to these floating islands, filling boats with bamboo and turning to shore again away down stream. Huts on shore some 20 ft under water. By boats floating 20 ft above roofs. Many houses in low lying parts of town only roofs showing. Others with water up to doors & inside.

7 Jun 1893

Two Officers Killed in Lushai exhumed at Changsil, brought to Silchar and buried there with Military Honours.

Rainfall in Silchar in one 24 hours 11.43 inches. In district heavier still.

14 Jun 1893

White ants (flying) coming out like fountains. Numberless toads congregate to devour them. Air above full of birds & bats flying to & fro with wide open mouths (Lushai children eat them raw as they come out from holes)

Awkward when a nest suddenly springs to life under floor of one house & they come out in myriads. Had such an experience at Dak Bungalow at B’baria. We put bath of water near door with lamp standing on brick in centre & they flew to light in such swarms that we could hardly take the handfuls of drowned ants out of the water quickly enough to allow other to fall into the bath.

White Ants (Flying &c) (Continued)

These winged ants soon throw away their wings with a jerk & those wh. escape their many enemies on earth & in the air go away in pairs (the males following the females exactly as a racing bicycle follows its pacer) to set up houses of their own. The workers building little earthen cover over these. Winged ones only continue for about 2 months of the year. The wingless ones work continuously. Can be heard walking about in their tunnels in a bamboo house wall infested by them.

Book Boxes to keep books in 22×9 inches with one shelf in – screw down lids. Stand on end one on top of another when in house forming a very fair book case. Leather on shelf edges greatly improves appearance. Each box full of books a nice [illegible].

“Eye Flies” are some days very bad and troublesome and surround one’s head in a miniature cloud, buzzing & delighting to dart into ones eyes & ears. Very little trial but when temperature is high very irritating & makes life writing very difficult

Preserving Books from insects and damp by painting covers with varnish in which a small quantity of white arsenic has been dissolved.

Snake & Toad Fight. Pettigrew sitting at table heard noise underneath. Looked & saw a toad and a good sized snake fighting. Called us. We dispatched the snake with some difficulty it was so nimble. (At Lungleh once rescued a toad which was held in a snakes mouth & was in process of being swallowed)

21 Jun 1893

Manipuri Murderers are constantly killing planters servants who are travelling with money to bank, p.o. etc. Punitive police stationed at Lakipur in midst of think Manipuri population of 20,000 in Cachar district – European officer in charge. Costs Rs 15,000 per annum. To be paid by a tax of Rs 3/- per Manipuri house in district. It was Manipuris who murdered Planter Cockburn.

Brutal Murder on a Steamer An old Brahmin on steamer coming up to Silchar had a beautiful daughter with him. They were put into 1st class as there were no European passengers on the boat. Ticket collector Babu became enamoured of the girl. Enticed the old father down to see the machinery, then to furnace & at a signal from him the native stokers (who were evidently in league with him) pushed the old gentleman into a furnace, shut the door & roasted him alive. They were caught & put in chains for the decision of court. (End of case not known to me).

Snake 6 ft long killed in our old cook house by our boy Abdul.

28 Jun 1893

Dew at night so heavy that it makes up for the absence of rain in hot weather.

Treacherous Manipuris so feared by Planters that always sleep with a revolver under their pillows.

Christian Planter Mr McKeith, came to see us. Had come into Treasury with money & several armed men & had a revolver himself.

How one’s views change!

(a) Pettigrew once a Churchman – became a Baptist – now wont go to Church – seems to think it wicked to worship there with fellow Europeans who are perhaps not consistent Christians. Had been baptised at Baptist Church since coming to India – seems to be a P.B. Eventually joined A.B.M.U.

(b) Craighead. Came to India fully convinced of the that it is “unscriptual” to be ordained & to be called “Rev.” Has now been ordained & is very proud of being Rev J. Craighead. Last year Mr St D in writing to N.Z. happened to mention that Craighead was a Baptist. This appeared in print &c – immediately wrote to St D & compelled him to write to New Zealand & say that he had made a mistake & that C- was not a Baptist. This also appears in print much to C-‘s delight. Now C- has not only joined the Baptists, but has become a full member of a close Baptist mission. Ah, I wonder whether you can guess why our friend now has an india rubber stamp “Rev Jas Craighead, American Baptist Mission, Dhubri, Assam” which he is very fond of stamping on the outside of his envelopes when he writes to anyone – A girl is at the bottom of it all, & I do believe that down at the root of most men’s hearts there is a tendency to be turned hither and thither according to the desire of their chosen lade. If began with Eve, & I suppose it will go on to the End of time. I forget what the poet says unfortunately.

Beauty only Skin Deep. Mangoe [sic: mango] fair to look upon but cut it in half & a maggot wiggles out on to one’s plate.

Fowls – we eat so many that we wonder we don’t begin to grow feathers and wings & commence crowing.

5 Jul 1893

Rainfall. London 2ft = 24 inches. Cherrapunji 30 ft = 360 inches and has been as high as 67 ft = 804 inches. Some years ago as much as Some years ago 366 inches fell in month of June alone. Scarcely to be wondered at that rain sometimes comes through thatch.

Damp. Can scarcely imagine how damp the air is, how very uncomfortable our clothes, bedding &c get when rain continues without break for several days & there is no sunshine to dry them.

When clouds disperse & sun blazes out for a few hours all things are hung out on fence in grand array & we have the pleasure of sleeping in dry bedclothes for one night at least. Astounding how we keep free from rheumatism. Clothes are seldom dry & often quite wet.

12 Jul 1893

Hindoo Gods. Sent some pictures of Hindoo gods home. Mother asked their names. “There are only 33,000,000 different gods & goddesses but I in their land but I find it difficult to recognize one from another, except a few of the chief ones.

Children of the Christian coolie parents whom I met sometimes climb up on my knees, try on my hat &c. Glad they are not oiled like so many youngsters are in lieu of clothes. I suppose being poor they cannot afford it, & I am thankful.

Fred’s riding on pony back is progressing nicely. He was able to sit down on a chair only two days after his last ride. He looked in agony during the Bengali service, poor boy (sitting on a wooden form while I was preaching.)

19 Jul 1893

Interview with Mr Davis of Lushai & comments as to our future hopes for the Lushais.

Caste cruelty & inhumanity. Found a woman in an empty shanty in Silchar Bazaar. She had been there 15 days. Gave her few pice. Saw her again on Tuesday in same state. Almost useless giving her money for all bazaar people, Hindoos & Mohammedans are of different caste & would not have bought her anything even if she had given them money. No one would promise to feed her although we promised to pay for all she had. So we went to Police. A constable came and called despised Naya sweepers (scavengers) who kindly & gently lifted the poor wasted form of the woman on to a barrow & wheeled her off to the hospital. Nayas kind hearted though dirty Hindoos &c just like Pharisees

Mohammedans & Jesus. If Jesus were on earth now they would kill him for nothing else but that “He made Himself equal with God.” They are up in arms immediately such a sentence as “Son of God” fall from our lips.

Bengali Student’s “Cheek”. Pratap Chowdry of Brahmanbaria used to teach us Bengali when we lived here. Had Other day we had a letter from him to say that he had gone to Dacca to study and as his expenses were great he intended to depend upon me for support. This same man wrote on outside of envelope “A sharp reply wanted.” LaBarte asked him once what work he did. He replied “Oh I’m a gentleman.” Se we after that always called him the “Gentleman Pundit.”

26 Jul 1893

Flood. Went to bazaar to preach as usual (on Sunday) found the who [sic. whole] place flooded & only the roofs of the shops visible above the water.

River Flats take a month from Silchar to Calcutta. They are very large taking from 3,000 to 10,000 chest of tea each. Two flats – steamer between. These steamers have to be large & powerful – 4 funnels – white captain lives on board, sometimes with his wife & family.

Indian Fruit no where comes up to a good old English apple. Pineapples 3 for a penny a half penny, & bananas 4 for a farthing. Not very expensive!

23 Aug 1893

Fred’s Typewriter. It only takes 10 or 12 hours to write a letter with the machine. Fred is working away at one now which he hopes to get finished by today week, in time for next mail.

1 Sep 1893

Flooded Country & River on way from Silchar to B’baria. At first river like an ocean. banks all over flooded & country submerged as far as Eye could reach. River very tortuous – marked by long poles of bamboo stuck in the submerged banks with their tops showing above the water. These mark the course of the river.

Here Hardly any sign of life. Presently we get down where there is more jungle. The wooded patches present the appearance of jungle covered islands. Most houses seemed to be empty.

Roads present appearance of rivers with trees overhanging. We got into Boat at Lalpur & went straight across country to B’baria mission house (contd) (see 6 Sept – below)

Flood at Brahmanbaria. Came straight across country in boat from Lalpur to mission house – sailed right over top of garden fence in boat. St D’s house on piles, water beneath & all around. Bath tub floated out of bathroom. Food or water on the dining room (separate building not on piles) floor. Little fish swimming around.

Natives build platform inside their houses above water & near roof. Camp no-where except in boat. (contd)

6 Sep 1893

Flood At Lalpur boatman rousing us about asking where the P.O. has got to as we had letters to post home. The old P.O. is right under water. Hope we shall find it even if it is only on a boat.

Insect Pests of Boat Boat swarming with cockroaches, ants &c sinking to get rid of them (House boat)

13 Sep 1893

Village Audience in E. Bengal Clean village. Picturesque groups. Stools 2 inches high. Concertina brings all within hearing. Pictures. Naked boys & girls forming inner circle. Grown up men & women squatting & standing on outside. Women (who are comparatively free from Zenana Restraint in country villages) standing or sitting little further off or hiding behind bamboo fences, taking furtive peeps at sahibs. Women & girls bedecked with many gold & silver ornaments.

⊗ Sometimes necklaces of rupees or beads, curious nose, ear and finger rings, anklets and bracelets. Women carry fortunes of their husbands upon their persons. This is a pretty but dangerous custom for over & over again little children have been enticed away & murdered for the sake of the ornaments they wear.

Some places not so clean as others. People seem to delight in filth & dirt. Women catching lice from one anothers heads as they listen.

⊕ When ladies are teaching women they are generally in the Zenanas treated to pân, betel & sweets which is rather a trying experience until one gets used to it. Men missionaries not subjected to this so much.

Little Children Murdered for the sake of the ornaments they wear. (See above ⊗)

Lady workers have to eat pân, betel & sweets in Zenanas (see above ⊕)

Heaven not in the Sky. A man one day objected to heaven being up in the sky as it must be all water there else how could rain come down from that direction.

12 Sep 1893

Storm. Boat drags anchor during fearful storm when anchored near by river. Driven with force towards the village. Great trouble to bring it to a standstill just as it was about to come in violent contact with some trees. Man jumped overboard with anchor & fixed it.

21 Sep 1893

Joy of Mission Work. I think if people at home only knew what joy there is in the service of the Master more of them would enlist under His banner to advance His Kingdom all over the world.

29 Sep 1893

Famine in E. Bengal. Heart rending scenes. Found widow of 22 with 4 children, eldest 12 years old & of such there are multitudes – no food. Respectable people who will not show their poverty. Rs 1500/- needed monthly (50/- daily) to meet demands in B’baria municipality along – i.e. one mile radius from the mission house. Only 14/- been supplied by subscription. St Dalmas buying rice with his own money.

5 Oct 1893

Steamer Station is generally an ordinary village on river bank, surrounded by the usual grovews of Plams, & plantains. Flag on top of a bamboo stuck in sand outside the ticket Babu’s hut. Crowds – Beggars – The arrival of the steamer is the event of the day. Sometimes 60 miles between steamer station – often much less.

No Missionary stationed between Brahmanbaria (Lalpur) and Silchar 53 hours run in steamer. With large population on either bank.

19 Oct 1893

Servants leave us. Had engaged Francis & Joseph (RCS) to go with us to Lushai. The [sic: they] disappoint us & we have to get Abdul & Eli in their place. (They also disappoint us later on. see there [See: 24 Nov 1893])

25 Oct 1893

Durga Pujah. At beginning of Pujah priest by certain incantations brings the idol to life. At the end by same means he deprives them of life – god returns to heave. The idols are the brought down to the river from all the surrounding villages (People are allowed to touch the idol after god has departed – but before only priests were permitted to touch) Proceed on planks between 2 boats lashed together. At given signal dropped into the water & disappear.

1 Nov 1893

Magic Lantern – Hideous pictures Dr Jones showed magic lantern in bazaar and got me to explain the pictures. There were some American views, Palestine views, wild animals & Life of Christ. The later cost 3/b and are almost as hideous as St D’s life of Christ.

Really I do not know what effect such pictures will have upon ignorant minds natives; but they certainly cannot tend to raise Christianity in the estimations of Educated Babus. The representations, some of them at any rate least, are ten times more ridiculous than the pictures one sees of Heathen deities. I hope that if I ever get a lantern I shall be able to get some pictures which will at least do some little justice to so sacred a subject. Dr. J. bought £7.10.0 worth of slides, most of them cheap ones, so of course has a large number; but I am sure if he only had 20, 30 good  ones it would be better.

Cholera Some dead in an hour. . Four hours at longest. Found Christian coolie family drinking out of a dirty pool near their house. People will drink river water although thoroughly contaminated by dead bodies of cholera patients thrown into it & they were warned not to drink it. Almost everyone attacked died

24 Nov 1893

Our great Disappointment just on eve of going to Lushai. This incident is worth relating in full

Ely the Thief. all about this young rascal of a servant & the Rs 50/- note &c which he stole .

15 Dec 1893

Naga Village near Lakipur on Manipur frontier. Houses built with roof coming down to ground. People as dirty as people can be. Families of pigs run in & out of the houses at pleasure, as also do number of fowls. All seem to share one common dwelling place. Smoke pours from the hole in the wall near roof which serves as chimney. Napa’s are fond of dogs, jackals, snakes &c & sometimes eat their relatives when they die (?) for their think it a pity to waste good meat & they also have a theory that if they eat their friends they acquire all his virtues.

Interview with Commissioner Ward

First saw Major Cole (then Capt of Lieut?)

Promoda the Thief, account of how this Christian lad turned thief, broke into shop & stole several things. Chastized by Mr. Jones &c.

For journey to Lushailand see 9/5/94



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