【原创】做老百姓的贴心人

"Farewell," said he, "and may the Almighty protect you, for you look kind."

A golden mass, an enormous shrine chased all over and starred with tapers, now came forward, borne by a score of naked men. Against the gold background, in a perfect glory of diamonds and pearls, sat Vishnu, decked out with flowers and jewels, his head bare with a huge brilliant in his forehead.

A man in the fort always struck out the hours on a gong, very slowly, in the heat of the day. Twelve at noon was interminableone, two, three were so feeble as to be scarcely audible. And then when it was cooler and the tom-toms could be heard in the distance, the strokes had a queer dislocated rhythm, and sometimes even a stroke too many, smothered in a hurried roll. "You know it is pashmina?"

Before daybreak, in the doubtful light of waning night, dim masses are visiblegrey and purple mountainsmountains shaped like temples, of which two indeed seem to be crowned with low squat towers as if unfinished.

The fourteen hundred and fifty-two gods of the Ja?n paradise are represented on a sculptured pyramid under a pagoda: little tadpoles of white stone crowded together, two black dots showing for eyes in the middle of the round featureless faces; on one side a more important god, sitting alone, has a rather less elementary countenance. Above Darjeelinga modern and fashionable health-resort, a town of villas, for the most part with corrugated iron roofshangs a dense mist, cutting off the horizon at a distance of a few miles; and through the dull substance of this fleece, at an impossible height, there was a reflectiona mirage, an illusion, a brighter gleam, a bluer shadow, which might be the top of a mountain; but so high up, so far away, and above all so transient, that it failed to fix itself on the memory, blotted out at once by the pallid wall that shut[Pg 147] in the scene. But at sunset one thickness of the haze melted away, unveiling, leagues on leagues away, a chain of giant mountains, not yet the snowy peaks, but bright-hued cliffs on which gold and purple mingled in symphonies before dying into violet, turning to blue in the moonlight; and the mists fell once morea shroud at our feet, an abyss of shadows, in which the tea-planters' lamps twinkled through the darkness. When the dead are to be honoured in this land each true believer lays a pebble as homage on the tomb, and the dead man's repute is estimated by the size of the pile of stones that covers him.