MUSSALLA, s. P.—H. (with change of sense from Ar. masalih, pl. of maslaha) ‘materials, ingredients,’ lit. ‘things for the good of, or things or affairs conducive to good.’ Though sometimes used for the ingredients of any mixture, e.g. to form a cement, the most usual application is to spices, curry-stuffs and the like. There is a tradition of a very gallant Governor-General that he had found it very tolerable, on a sharp but brief campaign, to “rough it on chuprassies and mussaulchees” (qq.v.), meaning chupatties and mussalla.

1780.—“A dose of marsall, or purgative spices.”—Munro, Narrative, 85.

1809.—“At the next hut the woman was grinding missala or curry-stuff on a flat smooth stone with another shaped like a rolling pin.”—Maria Graham, 20.

MUSSAUL, s. Hind. from Ar. mash’al, ‘a torch.’ It is usually made of rags wrapt round a rod, and fed at intervals with oil from an earthen pot.

c. 1407.—“Suddenly, in the midst of the night they saw the Sultan’s camp approaching, accompanied by a great number of mashal.”—Abdurazzak, in N. & Exts. xiv. Pt. i. 153.

1673.—“The Duties1 march like Furies with their lighted mussals in their hands, they are Pots filled with Oyl in an Iron Hoop like our Beacons, and set on fire by stinking rags.”—Fryer, 33.

1705.—“…flambeaux qu’ils appellent Mansalles.”—Luillier, 89.

1809.—“These Mussal or link-boys.”—Ld. Valentia, i. 17.

1810.—“The Mosaul, or flambeau, consists of old rags, wrapped very closely round a small stick.”—Williamson, V. M. i. 219.

[1813.—“These nocturnal processions illumined by many hundred massauls or torches, illustrate the parable of the ten virgins.…”—Forbes, Or. Mem. 2nd ed. ii. 274.

[1857.—“Near him was another Hindoo…he is called a Mussal ; and the lamps and lights are his special department.”—Lady Falkland, Chow-Chow, 2nd ed. i. 35.]

MUSSAULCHEE, s. Hind. mash’alchi from mash’al (see MUSSAUL), with the Turkish termination chi, generally implying an agent. [In the Arabian Nights (Burton, i. 239) almasha’ili is the executioner.] The word properly means a link-boy, and was formerly familiar in that sense as the epithet of the person who ran alongside of a palankin on a night journey, bearing a mussaul. “In Central India it is the special duty of the barber (nai) to carry the torch ; hence nai commonly = ‘torch-bearer’" (M.-Gen. Keatinge). The word [or sometimes in the corrupt form mussaul] is however still more frequent as applied to a humble domestic, whose duty was formerly of a like kind, as may be seen in the quotation from Ld. Valentia, but who now looks after lamps and washes dishes, &c., in old English phrase ‘a scullion.’

1610.—“He always had in service 500 Massalgees.”—Finch, in Purchas, i. 432.

1662.—(In Asam) “they fix the head of the corpse rigidly with poles, and put a lamp with plenty of oil, and a mash’alchí [torch-bearer] alive into the vault, to look after the lamp.”—Shihábuddín Tálish, tr. by Blochmann, in J.A.S.B. xli. Pt. i. 82.

[1665.—“They (flambeaux) merely consist of a piece of iron hafted in a stick, and surrounded at the extremity with linen rags steeped in oil, which are renewed…by the Masalchis, or link boys, who carry the oil in long narrow-necked vessels of iron or brass.”—Bernier, ed. Constable, 361.]

1673.—“Trois Massalgis du Grand Seigneur vinrent faire honneur à, M. l’Ambassadeur avec leurs feux allumés.”—Journal d’ Ant. Galland, ii. 103.

1686.—“After strict examination he chose out 2 persons, the Chout (Chous ?), an Armenian, who had charge of watching my tent that night, and my Mossalagee, a person who carries the light before me in the night.”—Hedges, Diary, July 2 ; [Hak. Soc. i. 232].

[1775.—“…Mashargues. Torch-bearers.”—Letter of W. Mackrabie, in Francis, Letters, i. 227.]

1791.—“…un masolchi, ou porte- flambeau, pour la nuit.”—B. de St. Pierre, La Chaumière Indienne, 16.

1809.—“It is universally the custom to drive out between sunset and dinner. The Massalchees, when it grows dark, go out to meet their masters on their return, and run before them, at the full rate of eight miles an hour, and the numerous lights moving along the esplanade produce a singular and pleasing effect.”—Ld. Valentia, i. 240.

1813.—“The occupation of massaulchee, or torch-bearer, although generally allotted to the village barber, in the purgannas under my charge, may vary in other districts.”—Forbes, Or. Mem. ii. 417 ; [2nd ed. ii. 43].

1826.—“After a short conversation, they went away, and quickly returned at the head of 200 men, accompanied by Mussalchees or torch - bearers.” — Pandurang Hari, 557 ; [ed. 1873, ii. 69].

[1831.—“…a mossolei, or man to light up the place.”—Asiatic Journal, N.S. v. 197.]

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.