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THE Memoir contained in the following pages is based mainly on materials placed at the author's disposal by the Honourable Maharaja Jotendra Mohun Tagore, and, in respect of the life of Dwarika Nath Tagore, on the biography of that gentleman published some years ago by the late Babu Kishori Chand Mittra.
Owing to the veil which the conditions of Indian society throw over the intercourse of domestic life, and to the fact that such epistolary correspondence as is preserved in native families is confined, for the most part, to matters of business devoid of interest to the outside world, it can claim to be little more than a record of the public careers of the leading members of the family whose name it bears.
In the translation of Indian names the author has adopted the scientific system wherever he felt himself at liberty to do so, the exceptions being those cases in which
amily usage or common custom has established a different mode of spelling.
It has been frequently maintained that between the genius of Western and that of Oriental culture there exists an incompatibility so essential and profound that any attempt to combine them, if not altogether futile, must necessarily lead to results either disastrous or grotesque.
No more convincing refutation of the truth of this opinion could, perhaps, be found than has been furnished to the world by the illustrious family of Brahmans whose history forms the subject of the following pages.
If any such essential incompatibility as is alleged really existed, it is in the case of the more highly developed products of either
civilisation that we should naturally expect to find it most pronounced. On such a supposition, there is no family in Bengal, or indeed in the whole of India, in which we could reasonably look for less aptitude for the assimilation of European ideas than that of the Tagores, who trace their descent from one of the most celebrated apostles of Brahmanism, the illustrious Bhatta Narayana himself, and among whom profound Sanskrit scholarship has been hereditary for nearly a thousand years.
Not only, however, do we find the Tagores conspicuous among the earliest Indian students of the English language and literature, but we shall look in vain among their countrymen for more brilliant examples of success in the practical application of such studies than their ranks have produced.
Long before knowledge of English had become a recognised passport to preferment in the public service, or the Government had afforded any special facilities for its acquisition, Darpa Narayan Tagore was a proficient