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Gauze and muslin dresses moved gracefully about against the background of bamboos and roses. Light footsteps scarcely bent the grass; the ripple of talk, with its sprinkling of Indian words, was sweet and musical. Fireflies whirled above the plants making little tendrils of light; there was dreaminess in the airan anticipation of fairyland to which the music seemed the prelude.

The draught-oxen all had their horns painted[Pg 134] in gaudy colours, generally one horn blue and the other green.

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.

The four sons of the king presently come to a town. They ring at the door of a house inhabited by a woman who, as the little English translation tells us, carries on a foul trade, and Dilbar the dancing-girl appears. Above the mausoleum a fort with battlements towers over the pass, "an impregnable position," the guides tell us.

The Prince of Morvi came before sunrise to take us to the temples of Satrunji. On the way we outstripped carts packed full of women and children in light shimmering muslins. They were all making a pilgrimage to the sacred hill, singing shrill chants in time to the jolting of their springless vehicles,[Pg 70] and broken by oaths and imprecations at the stoppages occasioned by our expedition. "Fivesix," said the baboo, hesitating; then,[Pg 194] seeing that I was quite incredulous, "Sometimes more," he added.

On the edge of a pool, where, like a huge, full-blown lotus flower, stands a kiosk of sculptured marble, dedicated to the Rajah's mother, we came upon the shoe market, the last survival of a time not so very long ago, when shoemakers, as working on the skins of dead beasts, dared not come within the precincts of a town.