0Saturday. 11th November [1905]—Bombay
BaylorBrowning Guide

         Lady Layard’s Journal         
Go to a Date         
Search the Journal         
Previous Entry | Following Entry
11 November 1905 — Bombay
Saturday. 11th November [1905]. I rested all the morning while Nela & Corise went off to the Stores to buy resais & bedding for our night train journeys. When they returned Nela & I went to the National Bank of India for me to draw money for our journey. We were told to come back for it at 2 o’cl so we went off to lunch & directly after I hurried back to fetch 300 rupees. I was much amused at the quantity of help the clerk seemed to require—3 or 4 natives flitted round him—one bringing the money—another putting it into an envelope—another blotting my signature with blotting paper. It would have fidgetted a London bank clerk to death. At 4.30 a Mr Edwardes Mr Dunlop’s cousin called for me with Mr D. & drove me to the Town Hall to see the Pindah party given by the native ladies of Bombay to the Pss of Wales. It was a most lovely sight. The steps of the Town Hall were covered with groups of children with baskets of leaves of flowers—all chattering & laughing & beaming with happiness—their little black faces toning in with the bright colours of their garments. Inside the hall the brilliant colours of the ladies’ dresses was a mass of bright colouring—graceful forms & bright eyes. No ballet one could see at the best theatre in Europe could give a finer effect– One great lady had a kind of carved seat erected on a dais on wh she & her companion sat. I think she was the Begum Jahangiri. At her feet sat children grouped, girls with their dark hair plaited in many plaits ending in gold coins—boys with gold embroidered caps & velvet tunics introduced ditto. The hall was decorated with lattices of flowers & hung with many lanterns which made an excellent effect as soon as it grew dark. The path the Princess was to tread was laid down with cloth of gold. The throne prepared for her was a reproduction of the celebrated throne at Delhi—only in embroidered cloth & was raised on a platform– The ladies of the Committee had the front row of chairs—& they kindly put the European ladies in the 2nd & there I got a seat next to Mrs Baillie a friend of the Dunlops, who appeared to be very friendly with the pindah ladies & introduced me to many of them. These ladies were mostly very beautifully dressed in many harmoniously combined colours—one in dark blue & light blue—another in different shades of pink & red—in fact the general colouring was lovely & they wore beautiful pearls strung with cabochon stones, also diamond parures for hair & neck. When the Princess arrived they clapped their hands & the committee led her to her throne. She was accompanied by her ladies in waiting & Lady Ampthill who is doing hostess at Govt house in the absence of Lady Lamington who is ill. As soon as she was seated all the ladies of the Com: were presented to her by name, mounted the steps of the platform salaamed & passed back to their seats. On each side of the throne stood a lady with a punkah (the palm leaf covered with cloth of gold) & fanned her. One lady who was draped in soft white material looked like a greek priestess & was most graceful. After the presentation addresses were read by the head lady of each religion to wh the Princess answered suitably. By that time the evening had come & the lamps gave their soft light. Then a bevy of young girls advanced each bearing on their head a small brass drinking pot. They danced in slow rhythm with graceful poses—putting down their brass pots on the ground & replacing them on their heads—these were followed by other girls seated on cushions on the ground. More of them brought curious shaped inlaid lutes wh they twangled whilst the others sang a refrain at the end of a long & shrill song wh the elder girl poured forth. The last entertainment was a procession of very small boys headed by a lighted lamp of quaint form. This having been fixed on a low stand formed the centre of the dance. The small boys in velvet tunics bordered with gold & round caps to match had wreaths of flowers round their necks. They formed an inside ring & round them danced girls of abt 10 years old. Every now & then the boys became the outer circle & waved their garlands. When each dance was over the performers advanced & salaamed to H.R.H. When the little boys did their obeisance they drew down universal applause—their mothers & sisters being delighted. The Princess smiled & nodded to them. After this the party broke up. H.R.H. shook the hands of some of the principal ladies & took her departure. Mr Dunlop who found us at the door put us into his carriage & took me back to the hotel. Mr P. Landor acting as a correspondent of one of the English newspapers joined us at dinner most anxious to hear my description of the entertainment as it is one of the only things men are excluded from– We had received invitations to the Govt Hse party & Nela & Corise went to it under the escort of Mr Landon. I was tired & glad to go early to bed.

Previous Entry | Following Entry