I was greatly struck, as we moved slowly along, by the kindliness and gentleness of the natives. In this dense mass of handsome dignified people one felt curiously sordid and stupid and out of place. This Durbar, with all its gorgeous pageantry and native magnificence, seemed no show for the Saxon. Its mere existence had been brought about for the glorification of our most powerful and splendid race; yet wherever one saw a European in Delhi his presence jarred upon you. You felt that he was a blot on an otherwise harmonious whole. We are strong physically as a nation, and it was marvellous to watch how an Englishman jostled his way through the crowd and forced himself in front of the natives; but it was not a pretty spectacle. In the midst of a sea of gorgeous colour, a rainbow crowd of slim, graceful figures, with all the dignity of the East in their bearing, this elbowing wedge-shaped form, looking almost like a torpedo in its attitude of violent determination, gave one a pang. As he pushed and cuffed the men about him one felt a sensation of shame. [34-35]

Related material


Menpes, Mortimer. The Durbar. Text by Dorothy Menpes. London: Adam & Charles Black, 1903. Internet Archive version of a copy in the University of California at Los Angeles Library. Web. 27 May 2017.

Last modified 2 June 2017