George Eden (1784-1849), Earl of Auckland and a member of a prominent and politically active aristocratic Whig family, was appointed Governor-General of India in 1835. As he was unmarried, his sisters Emily (1797-1869) and Frances accompanied him, and from late 1837 the Edens spent over two years touring northern India. Emily’s account of their travels, published as Up the Country: Letters written to her sister from the upper provinces of India by the Hon. Emily Eden (1866), became one of the most widely read accounts of imperial travel. The Edens’ retinue included Indian cooks, waiters, valets, maids, and luggage-bearers; when they stopped for meals, Indian servants set up large tents completely furnished with tables, chairs, and rugs, and served multi-course meals. Describing one event, a dinner-dance in the hills, Eden observed:

Twenty years ago no European had ever been here, and there we were, with the band playing . . . and eating salmon from Scotland, and sardines from the Mediterranean . . . and all this in the face of those high hills, some of which have remained untrodden since the creation, and we, 105 Europeans, being surrounded by at least 3,000 mountaineers, who . . . bowed to the ground if a European came near them. I sometimes wonder they do not cut all our heads off, and say nothing more about it.1