He was now in a land far more favorable to the vigor of the human frame than the Delta of the Ganges; in a land fruitful of soldiers, who have been found worthy to follow English battalions to the charge and into the breach. The Rajah was popular among his subjects.
The proximity to the sea and great Delta of the Ganges sufficiently accounts for this; as does the approach to the hills for the still greater dampness and brighter verdure of Purnea. I was glad to feel myself within the influence of the long-looked-for Himalaya; and I narrowly watched every change in the character of the vegetation.
The Ganges, though it does not vie with the great rivers of America, is 1,557 miles in length. To the natives it is a sacred river, and the land through which it flows is holy ground. To bathe in its waters washes away sin; to die and be buried on its shores procures a free admission to the eternal paradise of heaven.
Here, as M. Charton truly observes, the traveller is leaving the country known as India beyond the Ganges, and returning towards China.
In our days, the greatest occasional gatherings of the human race are in India, especially at the great fair of the Hurdwar on the Ganges in northern Hindustan: a confluence of some millions is sometimes seen at that spot, brought together under the mixed influences of devotion and commercial business, but very soon dispersed as rapidly as they had been convoked.
The privateers of France had driven the republic into an armament, and ships were fitting out in considerable numbers; some being purchased, like the Ganges, and others built expressly for the new marine. Captain Digges went on board the Ganges, and, pulling an oar in his boat, I had a chance of seeing that vessel also.
Two of Johns' best successes have been settings of Egyptian subjects: "Were I a Prince Egyptian" and Arlo Bates' fine lyric, "No Lotus Flower on Ganges Borne." The latter is a superb song of unusual fire, with a strong effect at the end, the voice ceasing at a deceptive cadence, while the accompaniment sweeps on to its destiny in the original key.
To the geological effects of the thickening of the earth's crust in the Bay of Bengal, are to be added those of thinning it on the highlands where the Ganges rises. The same action may, as a learned friend suggests to me, even have a cosmical influence.
Thanks to this declaration, which exculpated the Chevalier de Bouillon in the eyes of the king, he was allowed, after travelling for two years in Italy and in Germany, to return undisturbed to France. Thus ends, not the family of Ganges, but the commotion which the family made in the world.
The reason why it got that name was this: The inferior wife of a king, whose country lay along the river Ganges, brought forth from her womb a ball of flesh. The superior wife, jealous of the other, said, "You have brought forth a thing of evil omen," and immediately it was put into a box of wood and thrown into the river. He took them and had them brought up.