Scholars assume colonial Calcutta was a dual city split into "black" and "white" towns. The critical aspect of colonial Calcutta, however, did not lie in such divisions, but in the blurring of boundaries between the two. The rhetorical categories of "white" and "black" towns were used to sustain the British desire to maintain difference in a city in which everyday life compromised such distinctions. The central argument of this essay rests on an analysis of a clearly distinguishable "pattern" of nineteenth-century colonial buildings that borrowed from indigenous as well as foreign sources. It is only by juxtaposing the spatial analysis with written and pictorial documentation that we can understand how these spaces operated in everyday practice. The attempt is to bridge the gap between rhetoric and practice, and to suggest that the spatial structure of Calcutta, from the building scale to the city scale, spoke of the hybrid conditions of colonial culture-a hybridity that did not simply reside in the native body and the native city, but one that the colonizers themselves inhabited.