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A Holiday in the Happy Valley with Pen and Pencil

And makes an excellent breakfast as prearranged by Sabz Ali


Next

morning Sabz Ali came to me in a towering rage to report that the sweeper--that unclean outcast--had dared to say most opprobrious things to him, being inspired thereto by the devil and apple brandy. Nothing less than the immediate execution of the culprit by hanging, drawing, and quartering would satisfy the outraged feelings of our henchman.

I promised a yet severer punishment. I said I would "cut" the wretched minion's pay that month to the amount of a rupee. Vengeance was satisfied, and the victim reduced to tears.

It is good to hear Jane--who for many years has been accustomed to having her own way in all household matters--ordering breakfast.

"Well, Sabz Ali--what shall we have for breakfast to-morrow?"

"Jessa mem-sahib arder!"--with a friendly grin.

"Then I shall have kidneys."'

"No kidney, mem-sahib! Kidney plenty money--two annas six pice ek. Oh, plenty dear!"

"I'm tired of eggs. Is there any cold chicken you could grill?"

"Chota murghi one egg lay, mem-sahib, anda poach. Sahib, chicken grill laike!"

"Oh, all right! But I thought of a mutton-chop for the major sahib."

"Muttony stup" (mutton's tough). "Sahib no laike!"

style="text-align: justify;">"Very well, that will do--a poached egg for me and grilled chicken for the sahib."

"No, mem-sahib--no 'nuf. Sahib plenty 'ungry--chicken grill, peechy ramble-tamble egg!"

"Have it your own way. I daresay the major sahib _would_ like scrambled eggs, and we'll have coffee--not tea."

"No, mem-sahib. No coffee--coffee finish!"

"Send the shikari down to the bazaar, then, for a tin of coffee from Nusserwanjee."

"Shikari saaf kuro lakri ke major sahib" (cleaning the golf-clubs). "Tea breakfast, coffee kal" (to-morrow).

And, utterly routed on every point, Jane gives in gracefully, and makes an excellent breakfast as prearranged by Sabz Ali!

The news is spread that there will be an exhibition of pictures held in Srinagar in September. Every second person is a--more or less--heaven-born artist out here, so there promises to be no lack of exhibits. I dreamed a dream last night, and in my dream I was walking along the bund and came upon an elderly gentleman laying Naples yellow on a canvas with a trowel. The river was smooth and golden, and reflected the sensuous golden tones of the sky. Trees arose from golden puddles, half screening a ziarat which, upon the glowing canvas, appeared remarkably like a village church. "How beautiful!" I cried, "how gloriously oleographic!" and the painter, removing a brush from his mouth, smiled, well pleased, and said, "I am a Leader among Victorian artists and the public adores me!" and I left him vigorously painting pot-boilers. Then in a damp dell among the willows of the Dal I found a foreigner in spectacles, and the light upon his pictures was the light that never was on sea or land; but through a silvery mist the willows showed ghostly grey, and a shadowy group of classic nymphs were ringed in the dance, and I cried "O Corot! lend me your spectacles. I fain, like you, would see crude nature dimmed to a silvery perpetual twilight." And Corot replied: "Mon ami moi je ne vois jamais le soleil, je me plonge toujours, dans les ombres bleuatres et les rayons pales de l'aube."


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