EPILOGUE: THE FINDING OF THE DIAMOND
3. CHAPTER III
Looking back down the hill, the view presented the grandest
spectacle of Nature and Man, in combination, that I have ever seen.
The lower slopes of the eminence melted imperceptibly into
a grassy plain, the place of the meeting of three rivers.
On one side, the graceful winding of the waters stretched away,
now visible, now hidden by trees, as far as the eye could see.
On the other, the waveless ocean slept in the calm of the night.
People this lovely scene with tens of thousands of human creatures,
all dressed in white, stretching down the sides of the hill,
overflowing into the plain, and fringing the nearer banks
of the winding rivers. Light this halt of the pilgrims
by the wild red flames of cressets and torches, streaming up
at intervals from every part of the innumerable throng.
Imagine the moonlight of the East, pouring in unclouded
glory over all--and you will form some idea of the view
that met me when I looked forth from the summit of
A strain of plaintive music, played on stringed instruments,
and flutes, recalled my attention to the hidden shrine.
I turned, and saw on the rocky platform the figures of three men.
In the central figure of the three I recognised the man to whom I
had spoken in England, when the Indians appeared on the terrace at
Lady Verinder's house. The other two who had been his companions on
that occasion were no doubt his companions also on this.
One of the spectators, near whom I was standing, saw me start.
In a whisper, he explained to me the apparition of the three
figures on the platform of rock.
They were Brahmins (he said) who had forfeited their caste
in the service of the god. The god had commanded that their
purification should be the purification by pilgrimage. On that night,
the three men were to part. In three separate directions,
they were to set forth as pilgrims to the shrines of India.
Never more were they to look on each other's faces.
Never more were they to rest on their wanderings, from the day
which witnessed their separation, to the day which witnessed