In the suﬀocating heat and violent downpours of early August 1866, Sir William Hunter, his wife, infant son and a Portuguese nurse journeyed to Midnapur in Bengal, where Hunter had been appointed Inspector of Schools for the South-Western Division. They travelled by road in their victoria driven by Hunter himself. The carriage and horses were crammed on a ferry by which they crossed the torrential river Damodar.
The crossing took 14 hours, and Hunter drove on until the route was cut oﬀ by a chasm created by the ﬂoods. Horses unhitched, the carriage was dragged down the bank to the other side of the chasm. They reached a rest house which oﬀered little provision. They travelled again, until, hungry and exhausted, they ﬁnally arrived at their destination.
Hunter then left at once to survey the area as the government was anxious to learn about the…