(51) Bungalows, bricklayers, houses smeared with cow-dung, mindy applied to hands and feet, hinnah [[235-239]]
[] Most of the bungalows built by Europeans are run up with sun-dried bricks, usually of a large size, eight of them making a cubic foot; each being a foot long, six inches broad, and three inches thick. With these in a proper state for building, work proceeds rapidly, but much care must be taken that the mortar or slime used [] for cement, be of a proper consistence, and well filled in.
Bricks are generally made in wooden moulds laid on some level spot, previously swept so as to remove stones &c., and filled with mud. The surface is then levelled, either with the hand or with a strike; when the mould is raised by means of handles, and washed in a large pan of water, and then placed on a fresh spot, contiguous to the brick already formed. An expert labourer in this avocation will, if duly supplied with mud and water, make from 2000 to 2500 bricks daily of the above dimensions. It will usually require one labourer to mix the soil, one to supply water, and two hand-barrow men, to keep one brick-maker in constant work; the whole expense being about sixteen- or eighteen-pence; which in England would cost full as many shillings.
Some of the rauz, or bricklayers, in India are very
far as relates to mere practical operations; but they have not the
idea of planning from paper, or on paper; or of computing the
of materials, or the amount of labour. They work with a small trowel,
that used in England, and chip their bricks, whether sun-dried or
with a small hammer, having either one or both its faces of a wedge
and about three or four inches long from the insertion of the handle.
preserve the perpendiculars by means of a bell-shaped weighty commonly
of free-stone, or of lead or iron, to which a long cotton cord is
having on it a piece of wood exactly as long as the diameter of the
base. This being pierced in the centre, and applied endwise to any
preserving it at the same time as nearly horizontal as possible, points
out the exact spot which is perpendicular to the corresponding edge of
Some ornament both the interior and the exterior of their houses, by dipping the palms of their hands horizontally into solutions of ochre, chiefly red, and then imprinting the walls with their hands thus coloured. These prints are put on irregularly, by no means proving the taste of the operators; who, nevertheless, consider their huts to be beautified: the great design is, however, to typify the infinite power of the Creator, whose hands are supposed to be innumerable, and perpetually in action.
Even horses, especially if white or dun-coloured, are very frequently marked in the same manner by means of mindy (or hinna), which, being reduced to a pulp, is applied to the part in the desired form. This plaster, as it may be called, is allowed to remain till perfectly dry; when it commonly cracks and falls off, leaving a rich barre colour; though if not allowed, either by the animal's restlessness or from want of time, to impart its colouring matter duly, the stain will be much fainter; perhaps not unlike a light mahogany colour.
The natives rarely omit to tinge about ten inches or a foot of the extremity of the tail of every light-coloured horse with mindy. Sometimes also, at about two inches [] asunder, one or two rings are stained in the same manner.
Nor is this herb restricted solely to the ornamenting, or
disguising of horses, oxen, &c. The Hindoostanee ladies generally
the whole of the interior of their hands, including the fingers, as
as the soles of their feet, with mindy; the tips of all the
are sure to undergo the operation. This often compels the party
this gratifying penance, to sit motionless for hours, in order that the
dye may take a firm hold of the skin. When properly managed, the stain
will remain for at least a month, resisting every endeavour to wash it
Possibly an excellent dye for woollens might be obtained from the hinnah, which, being inspissated, or reduced to an extract, could be imported for dyers with peculiar advantage. The plant, which is not unlike myrtle, is indigenous throughout Hindoostan, where it is principally employed for garden hedges, like yew, box, &c.; but not proving a defence against cattle, and being of slow growth, the exterior hedges, instead of being formed of hinnah, are usually made of baubool, a species of mimosa, yielding some gum, and otherwise extremely serviceable, both from the excellence of its wood for all circular or angular work requiring great strength, durability, and toughness, and for its bark, which for tanning is at least equal to that of the oak.
The natives consider the application of mindy to be attended with good effects; they say it is cooling, but more probably the reverse, it being certainly an astringent, and contributing to check perspiration: hence the hands of such as apply it feel harsh and dry. That it may be a corrective of the scent sometimes attendant upon an habitual discharge from the feet, may be true; but it may be questioned whether the [] obstruction of such a discharge can be reconciled to prudence. It is, however, a complaint very rarely to be met with in India, doubtless owing to frequent washing, and to an abundant and general perspiration.