As we passed the sacred tanks, where a smell of decay filled the air that still rang with the cries of the bats, our horses suddenly shied and refused to go forward, terror-stricken by some invisible danger suggested to them by that reiterated shriek or the corpse-like smell. A very long minute passed as we sat in the carriage, a minute of dread that left us quite excited by this mysterious peril of which we had somehow felt the awe. Nor was it till we had left the great trees by the tanks behind us that the impression wore off under the comforting light of the stars.

And there are ruins all the way to Delhi, whither we returned by the old fortress of Purana Kila, with its pink walls overlooked by a few aerial minarets and more traces of graceful carving, the precursors of the Divan i Khas and Moti Musjid the Pearl Mosque.

The whole mausoleum, the terrace on which it stands, the four minarets as tall as light-towers, are all in dead white marble, the whiteness of milk and opal, glistening with nacreous tints in the brilliant sunshine under a sky pale with heat and dust. And, quite unexpectedly, as we turned a corner beyond the coppersmiths' alley, we came on a row of tea-shops, displaying huge and burly china jars. Chinamen, in black or blue, sat at the shop doors in wide, stiff armchairs, their fine, plaited pigtail hanging over the back, while they awaited a customer with a good-humoured expression of dull indifference. In an ancient mosque, somewhat dilapidated, was an infant-school. Little heaps of stuff, pink and yellow and white, and above them emaciated little faces with large dark eyes that had greenish-blue lights in them, all moving and rocking continually, and spelling aloud out of open books set up on wooden folding desks. The master in his pulpit listened stolidly with half-shut eyes, and detected the mistakes in all this twitter of little voices.

DOMEL

First went six armed regulars, then a party on horseback, for the most part Persians, one of whom was carrying in his arms an enormous sheaf of roses, which hid him completely and drooped over the saddle. "And how many die every day?"

We met a native on horseback; a pink turban and a beard also pink, with a round patch of intensely black skin about his mouthwhite hair dyed with henna to make it rose-colour; and a lock of hair that showed below his turban was a sort of light, dirty green in hue, like a wisp of hay. The rider, well mounted on his horse, was deeply contemptuous of us, sitting in an ekkathe vehicle of the vulgar; and he passed close to us[Pg 268] muttering an insult in his pink beard trimmed and combed into a fan.