美智库:G20须力防疫情冲垮全球经济

[Pg 119]

Over the rice-fields, in the darkness, danced a maze of fire-flies, quite tiny, but extraordinarily bright; they whirled in endless streaks of flame, intangible, so fine that they seemed part of the air itself, crossing in a ceaseless tangle, faster and faster, and then dying out in diamond sparks, very softly twinkling little stars turning to silver in the moonlight. A garden of roses and lilies was the dwelling-place of a very ancient fakir, who had taken a vow[Pg 163] to live naked, and only put on a loin-cloth when ladies were expected. He was venerated by all, yes, even by Abibulla, who knelt before him, touched the holy man's feet and then his own forehead. The old fellow was surrounded by pilgrims wearing wreaths of flowers round their neck; he came to meet me, took me by the hand, and led me under the shade of a kiosk, where he showed me a large book he had written, containing an account of the joys and ecstasies of his life of asceticism and prayer. This old man had a magnificent brow, and the deep gaze of his kind, smiling eyes was fine in a face puckered with a thousand wrinkles. Infinite calm and peace characterized this happy soula naked man in the midst of flowers.

ALLAHABAD

The view spread to the horizon of mauve-pink sky, very faintly streaked with green. We could see the white mass of Secunderabad, a town of English barracks, at the foot of chaotic red-brown rocks, looking like the heaped-up ruins of some city of the Titans; and among trees shrouded in blue smoke, Hyderabad, conspicuous for its two mosquesthe tomb of the Empress and the Jumna Musjid, the mausoleum of the Nizams.

And the figures go down after long discussions, till at last the question as to whether I know the worth of pashmina begins all over againendless.

In the streets the people, all wrapped in long shawls of a neutral brown, were only distinguishable amid the all-pervading greyness by their white head-dress. Men and women alike wear the same costumea full robe of dirty woollen stuff with[Pg 258] long hanging sleeves, and under this they are perfectly naked. The rich put on several such garments one over another; the poor shiver under a cotton wrapper. And all, even the children, look as if they had the most extraordinary deformed angular stomachs, quite low downcharcoal warmers that they carry next their skin under their robe.

Shortly before sunset the dastour arrivesthe high priestin white, with a white muslin turban[Pg 15] instead of the wax-cloth cap worn by other Parsees.

DOMEL