EPILOGUE: THE FINDING OF THE DIAMOND
3. CHAPTER III
I had not been long on the road, before I noticed that other people--
by twos and threes--appeared to be travelling in the same direction
To such of these as spoke to me, I gave myself out as a Hindoo-Boodhist,
from a distant province, bound on a pilgrimage. It is needless to say
that my dress was of the sort to carry out this description. Add, that I
know the language as well as I know my own, and that I am lean enough
and brown enough to make it no easy matter to detect my European origin--
and you will understand that I passed muster with the people readily:
not as one of themselves, but as a stranger from a distant part of their
On the second day, the number of Hindoos travelling in my direction
had increased to fifties and hundreds. On the third day, the throng
had swollen to thousands; all slowly converging to one point--
the city of Somnauth.
A trifling service which I was able to render to one of my
fellow-pilgrims, during the third day's journey, proved the means
of introducing me to certain Hindoos of the higher caste.
From these men I learnt that the multitude was on its way
to a great religious ceremony, which was to take place on a hill
at a little distance from Somnauth. The ceremony was in honour
of the god of the Moon; and it was to be held at night.
The crowd detained us as we drew near to the place of celebration.
By the time we reached the hill the moon was high in the heaven.
My Hindoo friends possessed some special privileges which enabled them
to gain access to the shrine. They kindly allowed me to accompany them.
When we arrived at the place, we found the shrine hidden from our view
by a curtain hung between two magnificent trees. Beneath the trees a flat
projection of rock jutted out, and formed a species of natural platform.
Below this, I stood, in company with my Hindoo friends.