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A PULL AT THE PAGODA TREE.

WHEN, in my boyhood, I paid a visit with
my father to a large stone house in Leadenhall
Street, London, I was strongly impressed
with the idea that it was the private
residence of the Great Mogul; and that the
stout gentleman with the cocked hat in the
great hall was a general of the Indian army
mounting guard over him.

Having threaded our way through long
stone passages and up dreary-looking stairs,
we were ushered into a large room where
some elderly gentlemen were sitting over a
blazing fire, laughing immoderately. I was
too much occupied with the pictures on the
walls to attend to their conversation; but I
remember hearing that the reason of their
merriment was, having been unable to
decide whether some native sovereign should
be deposed or supported, and, the votes having
been equal, they had drawn lots. The
wit of the party set them in a roar by
observing that a blank having turned up for
His Imperial Highness, the little lottery
would cost him, perhaps his head, certainly
his throne. This, however, happened long
ago. These state lotteries no longer exist.

As we left the room one of the gentlemen
told my father that, as soon as I was old
enough, the presentation should be made "all
right," adding that, when I reached India, I
must be sure to take "a good pull at the
Pagoda Tree." There were some curiously-
shaped trees, in long cartoon-like pictures,
over the stairs, and I wondered if they
were the Pagoda Trees I was to try at.
My father could not tell me; and, making
my best bow to the Indian general at the
door, we descended the stone steps into the
street.

Two years after that visit I was conducted
to Haileybury College, frightened out of my
propriety at the vast deal I should have to
learn before I could talk like a nabob, and
know how to take a pull at the Pagoda Tree.
This alarm was, however, dispelled by my
fellow-students, who assured me that the year
or two passed there could be spent in the most
agreeable manner possible. The study of
Sanscrit, and Persian, and Paley's Theology
might be replaced, with a little tact, by
amusements of all sorts. Of course I fell
into the approved fashion; boated, and shot,
and rode with the fastest, and learnt with
the slowest of my school-fellows.

Those few years were amongst the most
pleasant of my life, and I was truly sorry
when it was announced that the
examination was near, and "cramming " must be
commenced. At length the day arrived,
and, with it, a mob of stately-looking people
from Londondirectors and proprietors,
deputy-chairmen, and uncles and parents.
It was astonishing how smoothly things went
on, that day; how blandly the thin-faced
professor suggested Sanscrit replies to us, and
how pleasantly he piloted us through the
intricacies of the Persian alphabet. The
result was, that I, amongst a score of others,
passed. A glowing eulogium rewarded my
learning, which quite took me by surprise;
and induced me to determine that if the
Pagoda Tree were as easily pulled at as the
tree of Oriental knowledge, what a strong pull
and a long pull I would have at it!

I was actually a writer in the Honourable
Oriental Company's Service; and started,
one fine autumn morning, to join the ship;
which, in due time, bore me to the scenes of
my future greatnessfor, in those good old
days, there was no steam, or other such
absurdity to shorten the pleasure of the voyage.

Arrived "out" at the great city of Hooghly,
I looked anxiously for a sight of the far-
famed Pagoda Tree; but saw nothing but
palms, and bananas, and a few flowering
plants in the gardens. I inquired for its
locality, but was constantly referred to some
one else, who invariably hinted that I would
stumble upon it in due time, and that
when I did I was to be sure and take a good
pull at it.

My sojourn in the College at home had
been pleasant; but my stay in the learned
temple at Hooghly was really delightful. My
salary commenced at oncenot much, to be
sure; only four hundred a year; but once
installed as a civilian, I soon found friends
able and willing to oblige me in any money
matters. Credit to a civilian was unlimited.
Should liver and cholera treat him kindly.
he is a sure inheritor of the high honours
of the Service, and that is the best and only
security creditors care for. Money, it was
pressed on me from all quarters by native

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