overnment House, Calcutta, is the most extraordinary building. It is perfectly vast (Knebworth House felt like a cottage when we first came home) - four separate blocks stand at the four corners, each a house in itself, and the whole of the centre comprises a vast reception area - pillars and chandeliers and marble floors with thrones at either end. On the top floor parquet replaces the marble flooring and the whole space becomes a Cinderella ballroom.

An impossible house in which to make a home, but a fine setting for State Balls and Banquets. Mother and father occupied one of the four blocks and we slept in the opposite one. The other two consisted of guests` rooms and accommodation for ADCs and staff.

e communicated with each other by writing `chits` (or notes) which were conveyed from one part of the building to another by a `Cheprassi` (a kind of footman).

cheprassi, dressed in scarlet with white turban and bare feet, would be standing outside the door or at the end of every passage ready to take messages.


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