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of his government. Opposite to him, under the roof of the other saloon, seats were provided for the English gentlemen, covered with fine carpeting, but without any canopy. The diversions of this day consisted entirely of boxing and wrestling. In order to prevent injury to the champions, the ground had been prepared, and made soft with moistened sand. At the latter exercise they seemed to be very expert: a short, stout man was particularly distinguished for his superior skill and strength; we were told, that in foriner contests he had killed two of bis antagonists. The first that encountered him on the present occasion, though much superior in size, was, after a short struggle, pitched on his head, and, as the bystanders said, severely hurt. Many others displayed great activity and address; but in the art of boxing they seemed very deficient, notwithstanding they used fists, knees, and elbows. The battles were of short duration; blood drawn on either side terminated the contest; and even without it, the maywoon would not suffer them to contend long. At the end of an engagement both combatants approached the maywoon's throne, and prostrated themselves before him, with their foreheads to the ground, whilst an attendant spread on the shoulders of each two pieces of cotton cloth, as the reward of their exertions, which they carried away in a crouching position, until they mingled with the crowd. The places of those who retired were immediately filled by fresh pugilists. This amusement lasted for three hours, until we became quite weary of it; tea and sweetmeats in great profusion were afterwards served to us, in the name of the maywoon. We departed without ceremony, and got home about four o'clock, extremely oppressed by the intense heat of the weather.
* In the morning an early message came from the maywoon, intimating that he hoped to see us that day at the government house. Baba-Sheen also made a tender of his services to introduce us to the praw, or lord; who being ready at the bour appointed, we set out on horseback to pay our visit of ceremony, preceded by soldiers of the guard, and our personal attendants. Six Birmans also walked in front, bearing the articles intended as a present, which consisted of silks, satins,
velvets, gold, flowered and plain muslins, some broad cloth, and a handsome silver-mounted fowling piece. In this order we marched through the town, the objects of universal curiosity, till we reached the gate of an enclosure surrounding the maywoon's dwelling. It was made of boards nailed to posts 12 or 13 feet high, and comprehended a spacious square, in the centre of which stood the governor's residence. There were likewise some smaller houses irregularly disposed, appropriated, as we understood, to the several members of the maywoon's family. We pulled off our shoes at the bottom of the stairs, and were ushered into the saloon, from whence, turning to the right, we ascended three steps into a hall, where a number of persons, ranged on each side, were sitting with their legs inverted, waiting the entrance of the maywoon. Instructed by Baba-Sheen, we took our seats on small carpets spread in the middle of the room, in front of a narrow gallery, elevated about two feet from the floor, and railed in; with the presents placed before us on trays. In a few minutes the maywoon entered by a door at one end of the gallery; we made no obeisance, as none was desired, but his attendants crouched to the ground. He sat down, and silence was kept for some time, which I first interrupted, by telling him, through Baba-Sheen, that the governor-general of India, having received his friendly letter, and being well assured of the amicable disposition of the Birman government towards the English nation, had charged me with the delivery of letters and presents to his majesty at Ava, and had likewise requested his acceptance of a few articles which I had brought with me. I then rose, and presented the governor-general's letter; be laid it on the tray before him, talked of indifferent matters, and was extremely polite in bis expressions and manner, but carefully avoided all discourse that had the least relation to business, or the objects of the embassy. After half an hour's conversation, chiefly on uninteresting topics, he invited us to a grand display of fireworks, which was to take place on the following day, and soon after withdrew unceremoniously: tea and sweetmeats were then served up. Having tasted of what was set. before us, we were conducted by Baba-Sheen to the
outer balcony, to view the different companies pass by that intended to exhibit fireworks on the following day.
• It is the custom, on this occasion, for the several mious, or districts, whose situation is not too remote, to select and send a number of men and women from the community to represent them at the general festival : these companies vie with each other in the magnificence of their fireworks, and on the eve of celebration pass the government-house in review before the maywoon and his family, each company distinct. A small waggon, drawn by four buffaloes, profusely decorated with peacocks' feathers, and the tails of Tibet cows, led the procession, on which were laid the fireworks of that particular company; next advanced the men belonging to it, dancing and shouting; the females, in a separate troop, came last, singing in full chorus, and clapping their hands in accurately measured time. They, for the most part, appeared to be girls from 16 to 20 vears of age, comely, and well made, but their features were without the delicacy of the damsels of Hindostan, or the bloom of the soft Circassian beauties. In every company of young women, there were a few aged matrons, probably as a check on the vivacity of youth; the seniors, however, seemed to join in the festivity with juvenile sprightliness. Refreshments were again served up to us, and we returned home about two o'clock.
* At eight in the morning great crowds had assembled on the plain without the stockade of the present town, but within the walls of ancient Pegu; three temporary sheds were erected on the middle of the green, apart from each other, one for the reception of the maywoon and his family, another for the Martaban governor, and a third for our accommodation. Common spectators, to the number of many thousands, were scattered in groups over the plain ; each division or company exhibited in turn its own fireworks: the display of rockets was strikingly grand, but nothing else merited attention. The cylinders of the rockets were trunks of trees hollowed, many of them seven or eight feet long, and from two to three feet in eircumference; these were bound by strong ligatures to thick bamboos, 18 or 20 feet in length; they rose to a
great height, and in descending emitted various appearances of fire that were very beautiful. The time appointed for the amusement considerably diminished the effect, but it was chosen from a humane apprehension of injury to the people by the fall of extinguished rockets, which must have rendered the diversion, during the night, extremely dangerous.-Notwithstanding this precaution, a man was unfortunate enough to be in the way of one that killed him on the spot: Each company, after contributing its share towards the general entertainment, marched past the maywoon, to the sound of musical instruments; after which they proceeded to our shed with songs and dances, “the pipe and the tabor,” manifesting every lively demonstration of joy.
• It was a spectacle not less pleasing than novel to an European, to witness such a concourse of people of all classes, brought together for the purpose of hilarity and sport, without their committing one act of intemperance, or being disgraced by a single instance of intoxication. What scenes of riot and debauchery would not a similar festival in the vicinity of any capital town of Great Britain inevitably produce ! The reflection is humiliating to an Englishman, however proud he may feel of the national character.
• During the four following days we enjoyed a respite from public shows and ceremonials, and had leisure for observation not withstanding our hall, in a morning, was generally crowded, as every person of distinction in Pegu paid me the compliment of a visit, except the maywoon, who, within the precincts of his own government, where he represents the king, never returns a visit. Numbers both of men and women, prompted by harmless curiosity, surrounded the paling of the inclosure from morning till night; those of a better class usually came in, some previously asking permission, but many entered without it. Perfectly free from restraint among themselves, the Birmans scruple not to go into your house without ceremony, although you are an utter stranger. To do them justice, however, they are not at all displeased at your taking the same freedom with them. This intrusion is confined wholly to your public room ; they do not attempt to open a
door, and where a curtain dropped denotes privacy, they never offer to violate the barrier. On entering the room they immediately descend into the posture of respect.
Of all our customs none seemed to surprize them more than the preparations for dining: the variety of the utensils, and our manner of sitting at table, excited their wonder; they never took any greater liberty than merely to come into the room, and sit down on the floor; they meddled with nothing, and asked for nothing, and when desired to go away always obeyed with cheerfulness. Had untold gold been placed before them, I am confident not a piece would have been purloined. Among the men of rank that visited us, an officer called seree dogee favoured us with his company more frequently than the rest ; he held, by commission from the king, the place of chief provincial secretary, and junior judge of the criminal court; this gentleman often partook of our dinner, and seemed to relish our fare, but could not be prevailed on to taste wine or strong liquors; he was much pleased with the English mode of making tea, of which he drank copiously; indeed it is a beverage highly palatable to all ranks of Birmans.
• The solar year of the Birmans was now drawing to a close, and the three last days are usually spent by them in merriment and feasting; we were invited by the maywoon to be present on the evening of the 10th of April, at the exhibition of a dramatic representation.
• At a little before eight o'clock, the hour when the play was to commence, we proceeded to the house of the maywoon, accompanied by Baba-Sheen, who, on all occasions, acted as master of the ceremonies. The theatre was the open court, splendidly illuminated by lamps and torches; the maywoon and his lady sat in a projecting balcony of his house; we occupied seats below him, raised about two feet from the ground and covered with carpets; a crowd of spectators were seated in a circle round the stage. The performance began immediately on our arrival, and far excelled any Indian drama I had ever seen. The dialogue was spirited without rant, and the action animated, without being extravagant: the dresses