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The European in myself rose in rebellion. I think of those fierce, bearded kings whom the accident of birth had flung up to perilous good fortune, and who had lorded it in this place for their brief lifetimes. I image them sitting in the Hall of Private Audience to hear petitions from troubled subjects, the while captive ladies of the harem peep out behind latticed windows and sigh. And now their places are but cemeteries of ancient splendours.

I think, too, of that time when, by the magnificent marble tank in the garden of the Taj Mahal, I sat and pondered on the extraordinary beauty which the hands of man can evoke. I had just come from the white palaces of Agra, which gleam like buildings out of a scene in the Arabian Nights. The four famous tapering minarets rose against a pearly sky. The hands of my watch went round but still I lingered. . . .


-- Notebooks Category 15: The Orient > Chapter 2: India > # 37






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