H́nh ảnh trang

in the original only in my correspondent's copy,

the second line runs thus:

Une arts font, (les Marins,) qui mentir ne puet.


To the Editor of the Bee.

I HAVE sent you the following remarkable letter (which I received from a friend in the east,) for publication, in your periodical work. The subject is the self-devotion of the bramin females of distinction, on the death of their hufbands. I am confident that to many of your readers there will be found nothing peculiar or new in this account of the manner in which this horrid practice is generally performed; yet I am not lefs certain, that it will be both new and singular to a part of your readers; and as it is a late instance of that practice, I beg you will give it a place in your Bee. W. W-TE.

The self-devotion of the FEMALE BRAMINS at the death of their HUSBANDS.


WITH the most unequivocal reasons to remember you among my friends, I have often thought, during my absence from the presidency, that it behoved me to write you; but I have ever been at a lofs for a subject of sufficient importance, to license a trespass on your numerous avocations. At length, however, one has occurred, which, if it cannot boast of much weight, may not be unacceptable on the score of sir. gularity. I will proceed to describe it without far. ther exordium. It is an instance of the self-devoti

on practised amongst the bramin females of distinction on the death of their husbands..

"I was hastily summoned by a bramin friend yesterday, about five in the evening, to be a spectator of this dreadful ceremony. Soon after my conductor and me had quitted the house, we were informed that the sultee, (for this is the name given to the lady who thus devotes herself,) had passed by, and we soon traced her route by the mark of the gulot* she had thrown around her, and the beatle leaf which, as is usual on these occasions, fhe had scattered.

She had reached the moolacht before I arrived; and having performed her last ablutions, was sitting on the margin of the stream. Over her was held an astabghur; an attendant fanned her with waving a handkerchief; and the was surrounded with her relations and friends, the populace being kept aloof by a guard from the Circan. In this situation, I learnt from good authority, the distributed amongst the bramins, two hundred rupees, exclusive of the toys The was decorated with, of which the reserved only the little ornaments on her nose, called bulawk, and the slight bangles round her wrists; her position prevented my seeing more of her than her hands, the palms of which being joined, they were uplifted in an attitude of invocation. Quitting, therefore, this place, I removed to an eminence, which gave me an opportunity to view the structure of the funeral pile, and commanded the path-way by which I understood fhe would approach it.

* Red powder thrown as the pafsed. VOL. Xiii.


The river where the washed.


"The spot chosen for its erection, was about forty yards from the river, directly in front of her as she When I came up, the frame alone, was raised. It consisted of four uprights, each about ten feet high, and its length about nine, and the breadth of it under six. From near the tops of the uprights was suspended by ropes, a roof of slender rafters, laid lengthwise, parallel with each other; on this was placed as many billets as it seemed capable to bear, while, beneath; a pile was raised of more substantial timbers, to the height of about four feet; this, again, was covered with the straw called curwee, and bushes of dried toolsee. The sides and one end being thus closed up with the same materials, the other extremity was left open and formed an entrance. The dismal tenement being thus completed, soon after, the lady rose, and came forward, walking amid friends without support. She approached the door, and there having paid certain devotions, retired a few paces, and sat incircled as before. The dead body was now brought from the river side, (where it had hitherto lain,) and deposited within the hollow of the pile; several sweetmeats were put in after it, and a large paper bag, containing either flour, or the dust of sandal. The widow, rising, walked three times round the pile, when seating herself on a small square stone placed opposite the entrance, fhe accepted, and returned the endearments of her friends, with great serenity. This done, fhe again stood up, and having stroaked her right hand in an affectionate manner over the heads of her dear

est relations and friends, with a great inclination of

her person towards them, fhe let her arm fall round their necks in a faint embrace, and turned from them. Now, with her hands indeed raised to heaven, but her poor eyes cast in a glare of total abstraction, deep in that care of anguish which awaited her, fhe stood a while a piteous statue. Good God! have mercy upon her! At length, without altering a feature, or the least agitation of her frame, the ascended the door-way unafsisted, and lying down on the right side of her husband's corpse, yielded her tender body, in the full meridian of its youth and beauty, a victim to a barbarous and cruel consecrated error of deluded faith. As soon as the lady entered, she was shut from our view by several bundles of straw, with which the aperture was closed; and all the actors in this tragie scene, seemed to vie with each other who should be most forward in hurrying it to a conclusion. In the same instant the air was darkened by a cloud of gullot! The cords being cut which sustained the roof, let it fall to crush the limbs of the yet living sacrifice! The dreadful flame was communicated to the pile in a variety of parts, and the loud clamour of the trumpet afsailed the ear from every quarter. When the conflagration became general, and not till then, it was fed for a time with large quantities of ghee, thrown by the nearest of kin ; but no combustible whatever, that either I saw or could learn, was used in preparing the wood of which the pile was composed. It is said to be a custom, that, as the lady ascends the pile, fhe is furnished with lighted tapers; and somebramins with whom I conversed, afsert, that it was

Jan. 16. the case in this instance; but I traced the whole progrefs with so close and eager an attention, that I think I may safely contradict them.

"Before I left the place a choaky was posted over it, where it was to remain till the fire went out, that no accident might befal the bones of the lady, certain of which are there either preserved as most sacred relics, or made an offering to the holy stream of the Ganges.

"As your curiosity may be excited to know who the subject of this fhocking, though here I find by no means uncommon immolation, I will endeavour to satisfy you. Her husband's name was Ragaboy Tantea, a young man about thirty. He was nephew to Junaboy Daddah, a person of distinction, and the amatt of this city. Her name was Toolseboy. A beautiful little girl, not more than four years old, the fruit of their union, survives them. Toolseboy was about twenty years of age, her stature above the middle standard, her form elegant, and her fea tures interesting and exprefsive; her eyes, in particular, large, bold, and commanding. At the solemn moment in which I saw her, these beauties were eminently displayed and conspicuous, notwithstanding her skin was discoloured with tuneric, her hair dishevelled, and wildly ornamented with flowers, and her looks (as they struck me throughout the whole ceremony) like those of one whose senses wandered; or, to come nearer the exprefsion *, whose soul was already fleeting, and in a state of half separation from her body.


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