Infomotions, Inc.Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon / Baker, Samuel White, Sir, 1821-1893

Author: Baker, Samuel White, Sir, 1821-1893
Title: Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon
Publisher: Project Gutenberg
Tag(s): newera ellia; ceylon; newera; ellia; elk; jungle; elephant; elephants; hounds
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Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon

by Samuel White Baker

January, 2000  [Etext #2036]

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Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon

by Samuel White Baker


CHAPTER I. Colombo - Dullness of the Town - Cinnamon Garden - A
Cingalese Appo - Ceylon Sport - Jungle Fever - Newera Ellia -
Energy of Sir E. Barnes - Influence of the Governor - Projected

CHAPTER II. Past Scenes - Attractions of Ceylon - Emigration -
Difficulties in Settling - Accidents and Casualties - An
Eccentric Groom - Insubordination - Commencement of Cultivation -
Sagacity of the Elephant - Disappointments - "Death" in the
Settlement - Shocking Pasturage - Success of Emigrants - "A Good
Knock-about kind of a Wife".

CHAPTER III. Task Completed - The Mountain-top - Change in the
Face of Nature - Original Importance of Newera Ellia - "The Path
of a Thousand Princes" - Vestiges of Former Population -
Mountains - The Highlands of Ouva - Ancient Methods of
Irrigation - Remains of Aqueducts - The Vale of Rubies - Ancient
Ophir - Discovery of Gold-Mineral Resources - Native

CHAPTER IV. Poverty of Soil - Ceylon Sugar - Fatality of Climate
- Supposed Fertility of Soil - Native Cultivation - Neglect of
Rice Cultivation - Abandoned Reservoirs - Former Prosperity -
Ruins of Cities - Pollanarua - The Great Dagoba - Architectural
Relics - The Rock Temple - Destruction of Population - Neglected
Capabilities - Suggestions for Increasing Population - Progress
of Pestilence - Deserted Villages - Difficulties in the
Cultivation of Rice - Division of Labor - Native Agriculture.

CHAPTER V. Real Cost of Land - Want of Communication -
Coffee-planting - Comparison between French and English Settlers
- Landslips - Forest-clearing - Manuring - The Coffee Bug - Rats
- Fatted Stock - Suggestions for Sheep-farming - Attack of a
Leopard - Leopards and Chetahs - Boy Devoured - Traps - Musk Cats
and the Mongoose - Vermin of Ceylon.

CHAPTER VI. "Game Eyes" for Wild Sports - Enjoyments of Wild Life
- Cruelty of Sports - Native Hunters - Moormen Traders - Their
wretched Guns - Rifles and Smooth-bores - Heavy Balls and Heavy
Metal - Beattie's Rifles - Balls and Patches - Experiments - The
Double-groove - Power of Heavy Metal - Curious Shot at a Bull
Elephant - African and Ceylon Elephants - Structure of Skull -
Lack of Trophies - Boar-spears and Hunting-knives - " Bertram" -
A Boar Hunt - Fatal Cut.

CHAPTER VII. Curious Phenomenon - Panorama of Ouva - South-west
Monsoon - Hunting Followers - Fort M'Donald - River - Jungle
Paths - Dangerous Locality - Great Waterfall - Start for Hunting
- The Find - A Gallant Stag - "Bran" and Lucifer" - "Phrenzy's"
Death - Buck at Bay - The Cave Hunting-box- "Madcap's" Dive - Elk
Soup - Former Inundation - "Bluebeard" leads off - " Hecate's"
Course -The Elk's Leap - Variety of Deer - The Axis - Ceylon
Bears - Variety of Vermin - Trials for Hounds - Hounds and their
Masters - A Sportsman "shut up"- A Corporal and Centipede.

CHAPTER VIII. Observations on Nature in the Tropics - The Dung
Beetle - The Mason-fly - Spiders - Luminous Insects - Efforts of
a Naturalist - Dogs Worried by Leeches - Tropical Diseases -
Malaria - Causes of Infection - Disappearance of the "Mina" -
Poisonous Water - Well-digging Elephants.

CHAPTER IX. Instinct and Reason - Tailor Birds and Grosbeaks -
The White Ant - Black Ants at War - Wanderoo Monkeys - Habits of
Elephants - Elephants in the Lake - Herd of Elephants Bathing -
Elephant-shooting - The Rencontre - The Charge - Caught by the
Tail - Horse Gored by a Buffalo - Sagacity of Dogs - "Bluebeard"
- His Hunt - A True Hound.

CHAPTER X. Wild Fruits - Ingredients for a "Soupe Maigre" -
Orchidaceous Plants - Wild Nutmegs - Native Oils - Cinnamon -
Primeval Forests - Valuable Woods - The Mahawelli River - Variety
of Palms - Cocoa-nut Toddy - Arrack - Cocoa-nut Oil -
Cocoa-nut-planting - The Talipot Palm - The Areca Palm - Betel
Chewing - Sago Nuts - Varicty of Bees - Waste of Beeswax - Edible
Fungi - Narcotic Puff-ball - Intoxicating Drugs - Poisoned Cakes
- The "Sack Tree" - No Gum Trees of Value in Ceylon.

CHAPTER XI. Indigenous Productions - Botanical Gardens -
Suggested Experiments - Lack of Encouragement to Gold-diggers -
Prospects of Gold-digging - We want "Nuggets" - Who is to Blame?
- Governor's Salary - Fallacies of a Five Years' Reign -
Neglected Education of the People - Responsibilities of Conquest
- Progress of Christianity.

CHAPTER XII. The Pearl Fishery - Desolation of the Coast - Harbor
of Trincomalee - Fatal Attack by a Shark - Ferocious Crocodiles -
Salt Monopoly - Salt Lakes - Method of Collection - Neglect of
Ceylon Hides - Fish and Fishing - Primitive Tackle - Oysters and
Penknives - A Night Bivouac for a Novice - No Dinner, but a Good
Fire - Wild Yams and Consequences -The Elephants' Duel - A
Hunting Hermitage - Bluebeard's last Hunt - The Leopard -
Bluebeard's Death - Leopard Shot.

CHAPTER XIII. Wild Denizens of Forest and Lake - Destroyers of
Reptiles - The Tree Duck - The Mysteries of Night in the Forest -
The Devil-Bird - The Iguanodon in Miniature - Outrigger Canoes -
The Last Glimpse of Ceylon - A Glance at Old Times.



Colombo - Dullness of the Town - Cinnamon Garden - A Cingalese
Appo - Ceylon Sport - Jungle Fever - Newera Ellia - Energy of Sir
E. Barnes - Influence of the Governor - Projected Improvements.

It was in the year 1845 that the spirit of wandering allured me
toward Ceylon: little did I imagine at that time that I should
eventually become a settler.

The descriptions of its sports, and the tales of hairbreadth
escapes from elephants, which I had read in various publications,
were sources of attraction against which I strove in vain; and I
at length determined upon the very wild idea of spending twelve
months in Ceylon jungles.

It is said that the delights of pleasures in anticipation exceed
the pleasures themselves: in this case doubtless some months of
great enjoyment passed in making plans of every description,
until I at length arrived in Colombo, Ceylon's seaport capital.

I never experienced greater disappointment in an expectation than
on my first view of Colombo.  I had spent some time at Mauritius
and Bourbon previous to my arrival, and I soon perceived that the
far-famed Ceylon was nearly a century behind either of those
small islands.

Instead of the bustling activity of the Port Louis harbor in
Mauritius, there were a few vessels rolling about in the
roadstead, and some forty or fifty fishing canoes hauled up on
the sandy beach.  There was a peculiar dullness throughout the
town - a sort of something which seemed to say, "Coffee does not
pay."  There was a want of spirit in everything.  The
ill-conditioned guns upon the fort looked as though not intended
to defend it; the sentinels looked parboiled; the very natives
sauntered rather than walked; the very bullocks crawled along in
the midday sun, listlessly dragging the native carts.  Everything
and everybody seemed enervated, except those frightfully active
people in all countries and climates, "the custom-house
officers:" these necessary plagues to society gave their usual
amount of annoyance.

What struck me the most forcibly in Colombo was the want of
shops.  In Port Louis the wide and well-paved streets were lined
with excellent "magasins" of every description; here, on the
contrary, it was difficult to find anything in the shape of a
shop until I was introduced to a soi-disant store, where
everything was to be purchased from a needle to a crowbar, and
from satin to sail-cloth; the useful predominating over the
ornamental in all cases.  It was all on a poor scale and after
several inquiries respecting the best hotel, I located myself at
that termed the Royal or Seager's Hotel.  This was airy, white
and clean throughout; but there was a barn-like appearance, as
there is throughout most private dwellings in Colombo, which
banished all idea of comfort.

A good tiffin concluded, which produced a happier state of mind,
I ordered a carriage for a drive to the Cinnamon Gardens.  The
general style of Ceylon carriages appeared in the shape of a
caricature of a hearse: this goes by the name of a palanquin
carriage.  Those usually hired are drawn by a single horse, whose
natural vicious propensities are restrained by a low system of

In this vehicle, whose gaunt steed was led at a melancholy trot
by an equally small-fed horsekeeper, I traversed the environs of
Colombo.  Through the winding fort gateway, across the flat Galle
Face (the race-course), freshened by the sea-breeze as the waves
break upon its western side; through the Colpettytopes of
cocoanut trees shading the road, and the houses of the better
class of European residents to the right and left; then turning
to the left - a few minutes of expectation - and behold the
Cinnamon Gardens!

What fairy-like pleasure-grounds have we fondly anticipated! what
perfumes of spices, and all that our childish imaginations had
pictured as the ornamental portions of a cinnamon garden!

A vast area of scrubby, low jungle, composed of cinnamon bushes,
is seen to the right and left, before and behind.  Above, is a
cloudless sky and a broiling sun; below, is snow-white sand of
quartz, curious only in the possibility of its supporting
vegetation.  Such is the soil in which the cinnamon delights;
such are the Cinnamon Gardens, in which I delight not.  They are
an imposition, and they only serve as an addition to the
disappointments of a visitor to Colombo.  In fact, the whole
place is a series of disappointments.  You see a native woman
clad in snow-white petticoats, a beautiful tortoiseshell comb
fastened in her raven hair;  you pass her - you look back -
wonderful! she has a beard! Deluded stranger, this is only
another disappointment; it is a Cingalese Appo - a man - no, not
a man - a something male in petticoats; a petty thief, a
treacherous, cowardly villain, who would perpetrate the greatest
rascality had he only the pluck to dare it.  In fact, in this
petticoated wretch you see a type of the nation of Cingalese.

On the morning following my arrival in Ceylon, I was delighted to
see several persons seated at the "table-d'hôte" when I entered
the room, as I was most anxious to gain some positive information
respecting the game of the island, the best localities, etc.,
etc.  I was soon engaged in conversation, and one of my first
questions naturally turned upon sport.

"Sport!" exclaimed two gentlemen simultaneously - "sport!" there
is no sport to be had in Ceylon!" -- "at least the race-week is
the only sport that I know of," said the taller gentleman.

"No sport!" said I, half energetically and half despairingly. 
"Absurd! every book on Ceylon mentions the amount of game as
immense; and as to elephants -"

Here I was interrupted by the same gentleman.  "All gross
exaggerations," said he -"gross exaggerations; in fact,
inventions to give interest to a book.  I have an estate in the
interior, and I have never seen a wild elephant.  There may be a
few in the jungles of Ceylon, but very few, and you never see

I began to discover the stamp of my companion from his
expression, "You never see them."  Of course I concluded that he
had never looked for them; and I began to recover front the first
shock which his exclamation, "There is no sport in Ceylon !" had
given me.

I subsequently discovered that my new and non-sporting
acquaintances were coffee-planters of a class then known as the
Galle Face planters, who passed their time in cantering about the
Colombo race-course and idling in the town, while their estates
lay a hundred miles distant, uncared for, and naturally ruining
their proprietors.

That same afternoon, to my delight and surprise, I met an old
Gloucestershire friend in an officer of the Fifteenth Regiment,
then stationed in Ceylon.  From him I soon learnt that the
character of Ceylon for game had never been exaggerated; and from
that moment my preparations for the jungle commenced.

I rented a good airy house in Colombo as headquarters, and the
verandas were soon strewed with jungle-baskets, boxes, tent,
gun-cases, and all the paraphernalia of a shooting-trip.

What unforeseen and apparently trivial incidents may upset all
our plans for the future and turn our whole course of life! At
the expiration of twelve months my shooting trips and adventures
were succeeded by so severe an attack of jungle fever that from a
naturally robust frame I dwindled to a mere nothing, and very
little of my former self remained.  The first symptom of
convalescence was accompanied by a peremptory order from my
medical attendant to start for the highlands, to the mountainous
region of Newera Ellia, the sanita rium of the island.

A poor, miserable wretch I was upon my arrival at this elevated
station, suffering not only from the fever itself, but from the
feeling of an exquisite debility that creates an utter
hopelessness of the renewal of strength.

I was only a fortnight at Newera Ellia.  The rest-house or inn
was the perfection of everything that was dirty and
uncomfortable.  The toughest possible specimen of a beef-steak,
black bread and potatoes were the choicest and only viands
obtainable for an invalid.  There was literally nothing else; it
was a land of starvation.  But the climate! what can I say to
describe the wonderful effects of such a pure and unpolluted air? 
Simply, that at the expiration of a fortnight, in spite of the
tough beef, and the black bread and potatoes, I was as well and
as strong as I ever bad been; and in proof of this I started
instanter for another shooting excursion in the interior.

It was impossible to have visited Newera Ellia, and to have
benefited in such a wonderful manner by the climate, without
contemplating with astonishment its poverty-stricken and
neglected state.

At that time it was the most miserable place conceivable.  There
was a total absence of all ideas of comfort or arrangement.  The
houses were for the most part built of such unsubstantial
materials as stick and mud plastered over with mortar - pretty
enough in exterior, but rotten in ten or twelve years.  The only
really good residence was a fine stone building erected by Sir
Edward Barnes when governor of Ceylon.  To him alone indeed are
we indebted for the existence of a sanitarium.  It was he who
opened the road, not only to Newera Ellia, but for thirty-six
miles farther on the same line to Badulla.  At his own expense he
built a substantial mansion at a cost, as it is said, of eight
thousand pounds, and with provident care for the health of the
European troops, he erected barracks and officers' quarters for
the invalids.

Under his government Newera Ellia was rapidly becoming a place of
importance, but unfortunately at the expiration of his term the
place became neglected.  His successor took no interest in the
plans of his predecessor; and from that period, each successive
governor being influenced by an increasing spirit of parsimony,
Newera Ellia has remained "in statu quo," not even having been
visited by the present governor.

In a small colony like Ceylon it is astonishing how the movements
and opinions of the governor influence the public mind.  In the
present instance, however, the movements of the governor (Sir G.
Anderson) cannot carry much weight, as he does not move at all,
with the exception of an occasional drive from Colombo to Kandy. 
His knowledge of the colony and of its wants or resources must
therefore, from his personal experience, be limited to the Kandy
road.  This apathy, when exhibited by her Majesty's
representative, is highly contagious among the public of all
classes and colors, and cannot have other than a bad moral

Upon my first visit to Newera Ellia, in 1847, Lord Torrington was
the governor of Ceylon, a man of active mind, with an ardent
desire to test its real capabilities and to work great
improvements in the colony.  Unfortunately, his term as governor
was shorter than was expected.  The elements of discord were at
that time at work among all classes in Ceylon, and Lord
Torrington was recalled.

>From the causes of neglect described, Newera Ellia was in the
deserted and wretched state in which I saw it; but so infatuated
was I in the belief that its importance must be appreciated when
the knowledge of its climate was more widely extended that I
looked forward to its becoming at some future time a rival to the
Neilgherries station in India.  My ideas were based upon the
natural features of the place, combined with its requirements.

It apparently produced nothing except potatoes.  The soil was
supposed to be as good as it appeared to be.  The quality of the
water and the supply were unquestionable; the climate could not
be surpassed for salubrity.  There was a carriage road from
Colombo, one hundred and fifteen miles, and from Kandy,
forty-seven miles; the last thirteen being the Rambodde Pass,
arriving at an elevation of six thousand six hundred feet, from
which point a descent of two miles terminated the road to Newera

The station then consisted of about twenty private residences,
the barracks and officers' quarters, the resthouse and the
bazaar; the latter containing about two hundred native

Bounded upon all sides but the east by high mountains, the plain
of Newera Ellia lay like a level valley of about two miles in
length by half a mile in width, bordered by undulating grassy
knolls at the foot of the mountains.  Upon these spots of
elevated ground most of the dwellings were situated, commanding a
view of the plain, with the river winding through its centre. The
mountains were clothed from the base to the summit with dense
forests, containing excellent timber for building purposes.  Good
building-stone was procurable everywhere; limestone at a distance
of five miles.

The whole of the adjacent country was a repetition Of the Newera
Ellia plain with slight variations, comprising a vast extent of
alternate swampy plains and dense forests.

Why should this place lie idle?  Why should this great tract of
country in such a lovely climate be untenanted and uncultivated? 
How often I have stood upon the hills and asked myself this
question when gazing over the wide extent of undulating forest
and plain! How often I have thought of the thousands of starving
wretches at home, who here might earn a comfortable livelihood!
and I have scanned the vast tract of country, and in my
imagination I have cleared the dark forests and substituted
waving crops of corn, and peopled a hundred ideal cottages with a
thriving peasantry.

Why should not the highlands Of Ceylon, with an Italian climate,
be rescued from their state of barrenness? Why should not the
plains be drained, the forests felled, and cultivation take the
place of the rank pasturage, and supplies be produced to make
Ceylon independent of other countries? Why should not schools be
established, a comfortable hotel be erected, a church be built?
In fact, why should Newera Ellia, with its wonderful climate, so
easily attainable, be neglected in a country like Ceylon,
proverbial for its unhealthiness?

These were my ideas when I first visited Newera Ellia, before I
had much experience in either people or things connected with the
island. My twelve months' tour in Ceylon being completed, I
returned to England delighted with what I had seen of Ceylon in
general, but, above all, with my short visit to Newera Ellia,
malgre its barrenness and want of comfort, caused rather by the
neglect of man than by the lack of resources in the locality.

CHAPTER II. Past Scenes - Attractions of Ceylon - Emigration -
Difficulties in Settling - Accidents and Casualties - An
Eccentric Groom - Insubordination - Commencement of Cultivation -
Sagacity of the Elephant - Disappointments - "Death" in the
Settlement - Shocking Pasturage - Success of Emigrants - "A Good
Knock- about kind of a Wife".

I had not been long in England before I discovered that my trip
to Ceylon had only served to upset all ideas of settling down
quietly at home.  Scenes of former sports and places were
continually intruding themselves upon my thoughts, and I longed
to be once more roaming at large with the rifle through the
noiseless wildernesses in Ceylon.  So delightful were the
recollections of past incidents that I could scarcely believe
that it lay within my power to renew them.  Ruminating over all
that bad happened within the past year, I conjured up localities
to my memory which seemed too attractive to have existed in
reality.  I wandered along London streets, comparing the noise
and bustle with the deep solitudes of Ceylon, and I felt like the
sickly plants in a London parterre.  I wanted the change to my
former life.  I constantly found myself gazing into gunmakers'
shops, and these I sometimes entered abstractedly to examine some
rifle exposed in the window.  Often have I passed an hour in
boring the unfortunate gunmakers to death by my suggestions for
various improvements in rifles and guns, which, as I was not a
purchaser, must have been extremely edifying.

Time passed, and the moment at length arrived when I decided once
more to see Ceylon.  I determined to become a settler at Newera
Ellia, where I could reside in a perfect climate, and
nevertheless enjoy the sports of the low country at my own will.

Thus, the recovery from a fever in Ceylon was the hidden cause of
my settlement at Newera Ellia.  The infatuation for sport, added
to a gypsy-like love of wandering and complete independence, thus
dragged me away from home and from a much-loved circle.

In my determination to reside at Newera Ellia, I hoped to be able
to carry out some of those visionary plans for its improvement
which I have before suggested; and I trusted to be enabled to
effect such a change in the rough face of Nature in that locality
as to render a residence at Newera Ellia something approaching to
a country life in England, with the advantage of the whole of
Ceylon for my manor, and no expense of gamekeepers.

To carry out these ideas it was necessary to set to work; and I
determined to make a regular settlement at Newera Ellia,
sanguinely looking forward to establishing a little English
village around my own residence.

Accordingly, I purchased an extensive tract of land from the
government, at twenty shillings per acre.  I engaged an excellent
bailiff, who, with his wife and daughter, with nine other
emigrants, including a blacksmith, were to sail for my intended
settlement in Ceylon.

I purchased farming implements of the most improved
descriptions, seeds of all kinds, saw-mills, etc., etc., and the
following stock: A half-bred bull (Durham and Hereford), a
well-bred Durham cow, three rams (a Southdown, Leicester and
Cotswold), and a thorough-bred entire horse by Charles XII.; also
a small pack of foxhounds and a favorite greyhound ("Bran").

My brother had determined to accompany me; and with emigrants,
stock, machinery, hounds, and our respective families, the good
ship "Earl of Hardwick," belonging to Messrs.  Green & Co.,
sailed from London in September, 1848.  I had previously left
England by the overland mail of August to make arrangements at
Newera Ellia for the reception of the whole party.

I had as much difficulty in making up my mind to the proper spot
for the settlement as Noah's dove experienced in its flight from
the ark.  However, I wandered over the neighboring plains and
jungles of Newera Ellia, and at length I stuck my walking-stick
into the ground where the gentle undulations of the country would
allow the use of the plough.  Here, then, was to be the

I had chosen the spot at the eastern extremity of the Newera
Ellia plain, on the verge of the sudden descent toward Badulla. 
This position was two miles and a half from Newera Ellia, and was
far more agreeable and better adapted for a settlement, the land
being comparatively level and not shut in by mountains.

It was in the dreary month of October, when the south-west
monsoon howls in all its fury across the mountains; the mist
boiled up from the valleys and swept along the surface of the
plains, obscuring the view of everything, except the pattering
rain which descended without ceasing day or night.  Every sound
was hushed, save that of the elements and the distant murmuring
roar of countless waterfalls; not a bird chirped, the dank white
lichens hung from the branches of the trees, and the wretchedness
of the place was beyond description.

I found it almost impossible to persuade the natives to work in
such weather; and it being absolutely necessary that cottages
should be built with the greatest expedition, I was obliged to
offer an exorbitant rate of wages. In about fortnight, however,
the wind and rain showed flags of truce in the shape of white
clouds set in a blue sky.  The gale ceased, and the skylarks
warbled high in air, giving life and encouragement to the whole
scene.  It was like a beautiful cool mid-summer in England.

I had about eighty men at work; and the constant click-clack of
axes, the felling of trees, the noise of saws and hammers and the
perpetual chattering o the coolies gave a new character to the
wild spot upon which I had fixed.

The work proceeded rapidly; neat white cottages soon appeared in
the forest; and I expected to have everything in readiness for
the emigrants on their arrival.  I rented a tolerably good house
in Newera Ellia, and so far everything had progressed well.

The "Earl of Hardwick" arrived after a prosperous voyage, with
passengers and stock all in sound health; the only casualty on
board had been to one of the hounds. In a few days all started
from Colombo for Newera Ellia.  The only trouble was, How to get
the cow up? She was a beautiful beast, a thorough-bred
"shorthorn," and she weighed about thirteen hundredweight. She
was so fat that a march of one hundred and fifteen miles in a
tropical climate was impossible.  Accordingly a van was arranged
for her, which the maker assured me would carry an elephant.  But
no sooner had the cow entered it than the whole thing came down
with a crash, and the cow made her exit through the bottom.  She
was therefore obliged to start on foot in company with the bull,
sheep, horse and hounds, orders being given that ten miles a day,
divided between morning and evening, should be the maximum march
during the journey.

The emigrants started per coach, while our party drove up in a
new clarence which I had brought from England.  I mention this,
as its untimely end will be shortly seen.

Four government elephant-carts started with machinery, farming
implements, etc., etc., while a troop of bullock-bandies carried
the lighter goods.  I had a tame elephant waiting at the foot of
the Newera Ellia Pass to assist in carrying up the baggage and

There had been a vast amount of trouble in making all the
necessary arrangements, but the start was completed, and at
length we were all fairly off. In an enterprise of this kind many
disappointments were necessarily to be expected, and I had
prepared myself with the patience of Job for anything that might
happen.  It was well that I had done so, for it was soon put to
the test.

Having reached Ramboddé, at the foot of the Newera Ellia Pass, in
safety, I found that the carriage was so heavy that the horses
were totally unable to ascend the pass.  I therefore left it at
the rest-house while we rode up the fifteen miles to Newera
Ellia, intending to send for the empty vehicle in a few days.

The whole party of emigrants and ourselves reached Newera Ellia
in safety.  On the following day I sent down the groom with a
pair of horses to bring up the carriage; at the same time I sent
down the elephant to bring some luggage from Ramboddé.

Now this groom, "Henry Perkes," was one of the emigrants, and he
was not exactly the steadiest of the party; I therefore cautioned
him to be very careful in driving up the pass, especially in
crossing the narrow bridges and turning the corners.  He started
on his mission.

The next day a dirty-looking letter was put in my hand by a
native, which, being addressed to me, ran something in this

"Honord Zur "I'm sorry to hinform you that the carrige and osses
has met with a haccidint and is tumbled down a preccippice and
its a mussy as I didn't go too. The preccippice isn't very deep
bein not above heighy feet or therabouts - the hosses is got up
but is very bad - the carrige lies on its back and we can't stir
it nohow.  Mr. _____ is very kind, and has lent above a hunderd
niggers, but they aint no more use than cats at liftin. Plese Zur
come and see whats to be done. "Your Humbel Servt, "H. PERKES."

This was pleasant, certainly - a new carriage and a pair of fine
Australian horses smashed before they reached Newera Ellia!

This was, however, the commencement of a chapter of accidents.  I
went down the pass, and there, sure enough, I had a fine
bird's-eye view of the carriage down a precipice on the road
side.  One horse was so injured that it was necessary to destroy
him; the other died a few days after.  Perkes had been
intoxicated; and, while driving at a full gallop round a corner,
over went the carriages and horses.

On my return to Newera Ellia, I found a letter informing me that
the short-horn cow had halted at Amberpussé, thirty-seven miles
from Colombo, dangerously ill.  The next morning another letter
informed me that she was dead.  This was a sad loss after the
trouble of bringing so fine an animal from England; and I
regretted her far more than both carriage and horses together, as
my ideas for breeding some thorough-bred stock were for the
present extinguished.

There is nothing like one misfortune for breeding another; and
what with the loss of carriage, horses and cow, the string of
accidents had fairly commenced.  The carriage still lay
inverted; and although a tolerable specimen of a smash, I
determined to pay a certain honor to its remains by not allowing
it to lie and rot upon the ground.  Accordingly, I sent the
blacksmith with a gang of men, and Perkes was ordered to
accompany the party.  I also sent the elephant to assist in
battling the body of the carriage up the precipice.

Perkes, having been much more accustomed to riding than walking
during his career as groom, was determined to ride the elephant
down the pass; and he accordingly mounted, insisting at the same
time that the mahout should put the animal into a trot.  In vain
the man remonstrated, and explained that such a pace would
injure the elephant on a journey; threats prevailed, and the
beast was soon swinging along at full trot, forced on by the
sharp driving-hook, with the delighted Perkes striding across its
neck, riding, an imaginary race.

On the following day the elephant-driver appeared at the front
door, but without the elephant.  I immediately foreboded some
disaster, which was soon explained.  Mr. Perkes had kept up the
pace for fifteen miles, to Ramboddé, when, finding that the
elephant was not required, he took a little refreshment in the
shape of brandy and water, and then, to use his own expression,
"tooled the old elephant along till he came to a standstill."

He literally forced the poor beast up the steep pass for seven
miles, till it fell down and shortly after died.

Mr. Perkes was becoming an expensive man: a most sagacious and
tractable elephant was now added to his list of victims; and he
had the satisfaction of knowing that he was one of the few men
in the world who had ridden an elephant to death.

That afternoon, Mr. Perkes was being wheeled about the bazaar in
a wheelbarrow, insensibly drunk, by a brother emigrant, who was
also considerably elevated.  Perkes had at some former time lost
an eye by the kick of a horse, and to conceal the disfigurement
he wore a black patch, which gave him very much the expression of
a bull terrier with a similar mark.  Notwithstanding this
disadvantage in appearance, he was perpetually making successful
love to the maidservants, and he was altogether the most
incorrigible scamp that I ever met with, although I must do him
the justice to say he was thoroughly honest and industrious.

I shortly experienced great trouble with the emigrants; they
could not agree with the bailiff, and openly defied his
authority.  I was obliged to send two of them to jail as an
example to the others.  This produced the desired effect, and we
shortly got regularly to work.

There were now about a hundred and fifty natives employed in the
tedious process of exterminating jungle and forest, not felling,
but regularly digging out every tree and root, then piling, and
burning the mass, and leveling the cleared land in a state to
receive the plough.  This was very expensive work, amounting to
about thirty pounds per acre.  The root of a large tree would
frequently occupy three men a couple of days in its extraction,
which, at the rate of wages, at one shilling per diem, was very
costly.  The land thus cleared was a light sandy loam, about
eighteen inches in depth with a gravel subsoil, and was
considered to be far superior to the patina (or natural
grass-land) soil, which was, in appearance, black loam on the
higher ground and of a peaty nature in the swamps.

The bailiff (Mr.  Fowler) was of opinion that the patina soil was
the best; therefore, while the large native force was engaged in
sweeping the forest from the surface, operations were commenced
according to agricultural rules upon the patinas.

A tract of land known as the "Moon Plains," comprising about two
hundred acres, was immediately commenced upon.  As some persons
considered the settlement at Newera Ellia the idea of a lunatic,
the "Moon Plain" was an appropriate spot for the experiment.  A
tolerably level field of twenty acres was fenced in, and the work
begun by firing the patina and burning off all the grass.  Then
came three teams, as follows:

Lord Ducie's patent cultivator, drawn by an elephant; a skim,
drawn by another elephant, and a long wood plough, drawn by eight

The field being divided into three sections, was thus quickly
pared of the turf, the patent cultivator working admirably, and
easily drawn by the elephant.

The weather being very dry and favorable for the work, the turf
was soon ready for burning; and being piled in long rows, much
trouble was saved in subsequently spreading the ashes.  This
being completed, we had six teams at work, two horse, two
bullock, and two elephant; and the ploughing was soon finished. 
The whole piece was then sown with oats.

It was an interesting sight to see the rough plain yielding to
the power of agricultural implements, especially as some of these
implements were drawn by animals not generally seen in plough
harness at home.

The "cultivator," which was sufficiently large to anchor any
twenty of the small native bullocks, looked a mere nothing
behind the splendid elephant who worked it, and it cut through
the wiry roots of the rank turf as a knife peels an apple.  It
was amusing, to see this same elephant doing the work of three
separate teams when the seed was in the ground.  She first drew a
pair of heavy harrows; attached to these and following behind
were a pair of light harrows, and behind these came a roller. 
Thus the land had its first and second harrowing at the same time
with the rolling.

This elephant was particularly sagacious; and her farming work
being completed, she was employed in making, a dam across a
stream. She was a very large animal, and it was beautiful to
witness her wonderful sagacity in carrying and arranging the
heavy timber required.  The rough trunks of trees from the lately
felled forest were lying within fifty yards of the spot, and the
trunks required for the dam were about fifteen feet long and
fourteen to eighteen inches in diameter.  These she carried in
her mouth, shifting her hold along the log before she raised it
until she had obtained the exact balance; then, steadying it with
her trunk, she carried every log to the spot, and laid them
across the stream in parallel rows.  These she herself arranged,
under the direction of her driver, with the reason apparently of
a human being.

The most extraordinary part of her performance was the arranging
of two immense logs of red keenar (one of the heaviest woods). 
These were about eighteen feet long and two feet in diameter, and
they were in tended to lie on either bank of the stream, parallel
to the brook and close to the edge.  These she placed greatest
with the care in their exact positions, unassisted by any one.* 
She rolled them gently over with her head, then with one foot,
and keeping her trunk on the opposite side of the log, she
checked its way whenever its own momentum would have carried it
into the stream.  Although I thought the work admirably done, she
did not seem quite satisfied, and she presently got into the
stream, and gave one end of the log an extra push with her head,
which completed her task, the two trees lying exactly parallel to
each other, close to the edge of either bank.

*Directed of course by her driver.

Tame elephants are constantly employed in building stone
bridges, when the stones required for the abutments are too heavy
to be managed by crowbars.

Many were the difficulties to contend against when the first
attempts were made in agriculture at Newera Ellia.  No sooner
were the oats a few inches above ground than they were subjected
to the nocturnal visits of elk and hogs in such numbers that they
were almost wholly destroyed.

A crop of potatoes of about three acres on the newly-cleared
forest land was totally devoured by grubs.  The bull and stock
were nearly starved on the miserable pasturage of the country,
and no sooner bad the clover sprung up in the new clearings than
the Southdown ram got hoven upon it and died.  The two remaining
rams, not having been accustomed to much high living since their
arrival at Newera Ellia, got pugnacious upon the clover, and in a
pitched battle the Leicester ram killed the Cotswold, and
remained solus.  An epidemic appeared among the cattle, and
twenty-six fine bullocks died within a few days; five Australian
horses died during the first year, and everything seemed to be
going into the next world as fast is possible.

Having made up my mind to all manner of disappointments, these
casualties did not make much impression on me, and the loss of a
few crops at the outset was to be expected; but at length a
deplorable and unexpected event occurred.

The bailiff's family consisted of a wife and daughter; the former
was the perfection of a respectable farmer's wife, whose gentle
manners and amiable disposition bad gained her many friends; the
daughter was a very pretty girl of nineteen.

For some time Mrs. Fowler had been suffering from an illness of
long standing, and I was suddenly called to join in the mournful
procession to her grave.  This was indeed a loss which I deeply

At length death left the little settlement, and a ray of sunshine
shone through the gloom which would have made many despond. 
Fortune smiled upon everything. Many acres of forest were
cleared, and the crops succeeded each other in rapid succession. 
I had, however, made the discovery that without manure nothing
would thrive.  This had been a great disappointment, as much
difficulty lay in procuring the necessary item.

Had the natural pasturage been good, it would soon have been an
easy matter to procure any amount of manure by a corresponding
number of cattle; but, as it happened, the natural pasturage was
so bad that no beast could thrive upon it. Thus everything, even
grass-land, had to be manured; and, fortunately, a cargo of guano
having arrived in the island, we were enabled to lay down some
good clover and seeds.

The original idea of cultivation, driving the forests from the
neighborhood of Newera Ellia, was therefore dispelled.  Every
acre of land must be manured, and upon a large scale at Newera
Ellia that is impossible.  With manure everything will thrive to
perfection with the exception of wheat.  There is neither lime
nor magnesia in the soil.  An abundance of silica throws a good
crop of straw, but the grain is wanting: Indian corn will not
form grain from the same cause.  On the other hand, peas, beans,
turnips, carrots, cabbages, etc., produce crops as heavy as those
of England.  Potatoes, being the staple article of production,
are principally cultivated, as the price of twenty pounds per ton
yields a large profit.  These, however, do not produce larger
crops than from four to six tons per acre when heavily manured;
but as the crop is fit to dig in three months from the day of
planting, money is quickly made.

There are many small farmers, or rather gardeners, at Newera
Ellia who have succeeded uncommonly well.  One of the emigrants
who left my service returned to England in three years with three
hundred pounds; and all the industrious people succeed.  I am now
without one man whom I brought out.  The bailiff farms a little
land of his own, and his pretty daughter is married ; the others
are scattered here and there, but I believe all are doing well,
especially the blacksmith, upon whose anvil Fortune has smiled
most kindly.

By the bye, that same blacksmith has the right stamp of a "better
half" for an emigrant's wife.  According to his own description
she is a "good knock-about kind of a wife." I recollect seeing
her, during a press of work, rendering assistance to her Vulcan
in a manner worthy of a Cyclop's spouse.  She was wielding an
eighteen-pound sledgehammer, sending the sparks flying at every
blow upon the hot iron, and making the anvil ring again, while
her husband turned the metal at every stroke, as if attending on
Nasmyth's patent steam hammer.

It has been a great satisfaction to me that all the people whom I
brought out are doing well; even Henry Perkes, of
elephant-jockeying notoriety, is, I believe, prospering as a
groom in Madras.

CHAPTER III. Task Completed - The Mountain-top - Change in the
Face of Nature - Original Importance of Newera Ellia - "The Path
of a Thousand Princes" - Vestiges of Former Population -
Mountains - The Highlands of Ouva - Ancient Methods of Irrigation
- Remains of Aqueducts - The Vale of Rubies - Ancient Ophir -
Discovery of Gold-Mineral Resources - Native Blacksmiths.

In a climate like that of Newera Ellia, even twelve months make a
great change in the appearance of a new settlement; plants and
shrubs spring up with wonderful rapidity, and a garden of one
year's growth, without attendance, would be a wilderness.

A few years necessarily made a vast change in everything.  All
kinds of experiments had been made, and those which succeeded
were persevered in.  I discovered that excellent beer might be
made at this elevation (six thousand two hundred feet), and I
accordingly established a small brewery.

The solitary Leicester ram had propagated a numerous family, and
a flock of fat ewes, with their lambs, throve to perfection. 
Many handsome young heifers looked very like the emigrant bull in
the face, and claimed their parentage.  The fields were green;
the axe no longer sounded in the forests: a good house stood in
the centre of cultivation; a road of two miles in length cut
through the estate, and the whole place looked like an adopted
"home." All the trials and disappointments of the beginning were
passed away, and the real was a picture which I had ideally
contemplated years before.  The task was finished.

In the interim, public improvements had not been neglected; an
extremely pretty church had been erected and a public
reading-room established; but, with the exception of one good
house which had been built, private enterprise had lain dormant. 
As usual, from January to May, Newera Ellia was overcrowded with
months of visitors, and nearly empty during the other months of
the year.

All Ceylon people dread the wet season at Newera Ellia, which
continues from June to December.

I myself prefer it to what is termed the dry season, at which
time the country is burnt up by drought.  There is never more
rain at Newera Ellia than vegetation requires, and not one-fourth
the quantity fills at this elevation, compared to that of the low
country.  It may be more continuous, but it is of a lighter
character, and more akin to "Scotch mist."  The clear days during
the wet season are far more lovely than the constant glare of the
summer months, and the rays of the sun are not so powerful.

There cannot be a more beautiful sight than the view of sunrise
from the summit of Pedrotallagalla, the highest mountain in
Ceylon, which, rising to the height of 8300 feet, looks down upon
Newera Ellia, some two thousand feet below upon one side, and
upon the interminable depths of countless ravines and valleys at
its base.

There is a feeling approaching the sublime when a solitary man
thus stands upon the highest point of earth, before the dawn of
day, and waits the first rising of the sun.  Nothing above him
but the dusky arch of heaven.  Nothing on his level but empty
space, - all beneath, deep beneath his feet.  From childhood he
has looked to heaven as the dwelling of the Almighty, and he now
stands upon that lofty summit in the silence of utter solitude;
his hand, as he raises it above his head, the highest mark upon
the sea-girt land; his form above all mortals upon this land, the
nearest to his God.  Words, till now unthought of, tingle in his
ears: "He went up into a mountain apart to pray."  He feels the
spirit which prompted the choice of such a lonely spot, and he
stands instinctively uncovered, as the first ray of light spreads
like a thread of fire across the sky.

And now the distant hill-tops, far below, struggle through the
snowy sheet of mist, like islands in a fairy sea; and far, how
far his eye can scan, where the faint line upon the horizon
marks the ocean! Mountain and valley, hill and plain, with
boundless forest, stretch beneath his feet, far as his sight can
gaze, and the scene, so solemnly beautiful, gradually wakens to
his senses; the birds begin to chirp; the dew-drops fall heavily
from the trees, as the light breeze stirs from an apparent sleep;
a golden tint spreads over the sea of mist below; the rays dart
lightning-like upon the eastern sky; the mighty orb rises in all
the fullness of his majesty, recalling the words of Omnipotence:
"Let there be light!"

The sun is risen! the misty sea below mounts like a snowy wreath
around the hill-tops, and then, like a passing thought, it
vanishes.  A glassy clearness of the atmosphere reveals the
magnificent view of Nature, fresh from her sleep; every dewy leaf
gilded by the morning sun, every rock glistening with moisture in
his bright rays, mountain and valley, wood and plain, alike
rejoicing in his beams.

And now, the sun being risen, we gaze from our lofty post upon
Newera Ellia, lying at our feet.  We trace the river winding its
silvery course through the plain, and for many miles the
alternate plains and forests joining in succession.

How changed are some features of the landscape within the few
past years, and how wonderful the alteration made by man on the
face of Nature! Comparatively but a few years ago, Newera Ellia
was undiscovered - a secluded plain among the mountaintops,
tenanted by the elk and boar.  The wind swept over it, and the
mists hung around the mountains, and the bright summer with its
spotless sky succeeded, but still it was unknown and unseen
except by the native bee-hunter in his rambles for wild honey. 
How changed!  The road encircles the plain, and carts are busy in
removing the produce of the land.  Here, where wild forests
stood, are gardens teeming with English flowers; rosy-faced
children and ruddy countrymen are about the cottage doors;
equestrians of both sexes are galloping round the plain, and the
cry of the hounds is ringing on the mountain-side.

How changed!  There is an old tree standing upon a hill, whose
gnarled trunk has been twisted by the winter's wind for many an
age, and so screwed is its old stem that the axe has spared it,
out of pity, when its companions were all swept away and the
forest felled.  And many a tale that old tree could tell of
winter's blasts and broken boughs, and storms which howled above
its head, when all was wilderness around.  The eagle has roosted
in its top, the monkeys have gamboled in its branches, and the
elephants have rubbed their tough flanks against its stem in
times gone by; but it now throws a shadow upon a Christian's
grave, and the churchyard lies beneath its shade.  The
church-bell sounds where the elephant trumpeted of yore.  The
sunbeam has penetrated where the forest threw its dreary shade,
and a ray of light has shone through the moral darkness of the

The completion of the church is the grand improvement in Newera

Although Newera Ellia was in the wild state described when first
discovered by Europeans, it is not to be supposed that its
existence was unknown to the Cingalese.  The name itself proves
its former importance to the kings of Kandy, as Newera Ellia
signifies "Royal Plains." Kandy is termed by the Cingalese
"Newera," as it was the capital of Ceylon and the residence of
the king.

However wild the country may be, and in many portions unvisited
by Europeans, still every high mountain and every little plain in
this wilderness of forest is not only known to the natives of the
adjacent low country, but has its separate designation.  There is
no feature of the country without its name, although the immense
tracts of mountain are totally uninhabited, and the nearest
villages are some ten or twelve miles distant, between two and
three thousand feet below.

There are native paths from village to village across the
mountains, which, although in appearance no more than deer-runs,
have existed for many centuries, and are used by the natives even
to this day. The great range of forest-covered Newera Ellia
mountains divides the two districts of Ouva and Kotmalie, and
these native paths have been formed to connect the two by an
arduous accent upon either side, and a comparatively level cut
across the shoulders of the mountains, through alternate plain
and forest, for some twenty-five miles. These paths would never
be known to Europeans were it not for the distant runs of the
hounds, in following which, after some hours of fatiguing
jungle-work, I have come upon a path.  The notches on the
treestems have proved its artificial character, and by following
its course I have learnt the country.

There is not a path, stream, hill, or plain, within many miles of
Newera Ellia, that I do not know intimately, although, when the
character of the country is scanned by a stranger from some
mountain-top, the very act of traversing it appears impossible. 
This knowledge has been gained by years of unceasing hunting, and
by perseveringly following up the hounds wherever they have gone. 
From sunrise till nightfall I have often ploughed along through
alternate jungles and plains, listening eagerly for the cry of
the hounds, and at length discovering portions of the country
which I had never known to exist.

There is a great pleasure in thus working out the features of a
wild country, especially in an island like Ceylon, which, in
every portion, exhibits traces of former prosperity and immense
population.  Even these uninhabited and chilly regions, up to an
elevation of seven thousand feet, are not blank pages in the book
of Nature, but the hand of man is so distinctly traced that the
keen observer can read with tolerable certainty the existence of
a nation long since passed away.

As I before mentioned, I pitched my settlement on the verge of
the highland, at the eastern extremity of the Newera Ellia plain,
where the high road commences a sudden descent toward Badulla,
thirty-three miles distant.  This spot, forming, a shallow gap,
was the ancient native entrance to Newera Ellia from that side,
and the Cingalese designation for the locality is interpreted
"the Path of a Thousand Princes." This name assists in the proof
that Newera Ellia was formerly of some great importance.  A far
more enticing name gives an interest to the first swampy portion
of the plain, some three hundred paces beyond, viz., "the Valley
of Rubies."

Now, having plainly discovered that Newera Ellia was of some
great importance to the natives, let us consider in what that
value consisted.  There are no buildings remaining, no ruins, as
in other parts of Ceylon, but a liquid mine of wealth poured from
these lofty regions.  The importance of Newera Ellia lay first in
its supply of water, and, secondly, in its gems.

In all tropical countries the first principle of cultivation is
the supply of water, without which the land would remain barren. 
In a rice-growing country like Ceylon, the periodical rains are
insufficient, and the whole system of native agriculture depends
upon irrigation.  Accordingly, the mountains being the reservoirs
from which the rivers spring, become of vital importance to the

The principal mountains in Ceylon are Pedrotallagalla, eight
thousand two hundred and eighty feet; Kirigallapotta, seven
thousand nine hundred; Totapella, eight thousand feet; and Adam's
Peak, seven thousand seven hundred; but although their altitude
is so considerable, they do not give the idea of grandeur which
such an altitude would convey.  They do not rise abruptly from a
level base, but they are merely the loftiest of a thousand peaks
towering from the highlands of Ceylon.

The greater portion of the highland district may therefore be
compared to one vast mountain; hill piled upon hill, and peak
rising over peak; ravines of immense depth, forming innumerable
conduits for the mountain torrents.  Then, at the elevation of
Newera Ellia the heavings of the land appear to have rested, and
gentle undulations, diversified by plains and forests, extend for
some thirty miles.  From these comparatively level tracts and
swampy plains the rivers of Ceylon derive their source and the
three loftiest peaks take their base; Pedrotallagalla rising from
the Newera Ellia Plain, "Totapella" and Kirigallapotta from the
Horton Plains.

The whole of the highland district is thus composed of a
succession of ledges of great extent at various elevations,
commencing with the highest, the Horton Plains, seven thousand
feet above the sea.

Seven hundred feet below the Horton Plain, the Totapella Plains
and undulating forests continue at this elevation as far as
Newera Ellia for about twenty miles, thus forming the second

Six miles to the west of Newera Ellia, at a lower elevation of
about nine hundred feet, the district of Dimboola commences, and
extends at this elevation over a vast tract of forest-covered
country, stretching still farther to the west, and containing a
small proportion of plain.

At about the same elevation, nine miles on the north of Newera
Ellia, we descend to the Elephant Plains; a beautiful tract of
fine grass country, but of small extent.  This tract and that of
Dimboola form the third ledge.

Nine miles to the east of Newera Ellia, at a lower elevation of
one thousand five hundred feet, stretches the Ouva country,
forming the fourth ledge.

The features of this country are totally distinct from any other
portion of Ceylon.  A magnificent view extends as far as the
horizon, of undulating open grassland, diversified by the rich
crops of paddy which are grown in each of the innumerable small
valleys formed by the undulations of the ground.  Not a tree is
to be seen except the low brushwood which is scantily
distributed upon its surface.  We emerge suddenly from the
forest-covered mountains of Newera Ellia, and, from a lofty point
on the high road to Badulla, we look down upon the splendid
panorama stretched like a waving sea beneath our feet.  The road
upon which we stand is scarped out of the mountain's side.  The
forest has ceased, dying off gradually into isolated patches and
long ribbon-like strips on the sides of the mountain, upon which
rich grass is growing, in vivid contrast to the rank and coarse
herbage of Newera Ellia, distant only five miles from the point
upon which we stand.

Descending until we reach Wilson's Plain, nine miles from Newera
Ellia, we arrive in the district of Ouva, much like the Sussex
Downs as any place to which it can be compared.

This district comprises about six hundred square miles, and forms
the fourth and last ledge of the high lands of Ceylon.  Passes
from the mountains which form the wall-like boundaries of this
table-land descend to the low country in various directions.

The whole of the Ouva district upon the one side, and of the
Kotmalee district on the other side, of tilt Newera Ellia range
of mountains, are, with the exception of the immediate
neighborhood of Kandy and Colombo, the most populous districts of

This is entirely owing, to the never-failing supply of water
obtained from the mountains; and upon this supply the wealth and
prosperity of the country depend.

The ancient history of Ceylon is involved in much obscurity, but
nevertheless we have sufficient data in the existing traces of
its former population to form our opinions of the position and
power which Ceylon occupied in the Eastern Hemisphere when
England was in a state of barbarism.  The wonderful remains of
ancient cities, tanks and water-courses throughout the island all
prove that the now desolate regions were tenanted by a multitude
- not of savages, but of a race long since passed away, full of
industry and intelligence.

Among the existing traces of former population few are more
interesting than those in the vicinity of Newera Ellia.

Judging from the present supply of water required for the
cultivation of a district containing a certain population, we can
arrive at a tolerably correct idea of the former population by
comparing the present supply of water with that formerly

Although the district of Ouva is at present well populated, and
every hollow is taken advantage of for the cultivation of paddy,
still the demand for water in proportion to the supply is
comparatively small.

The system of irrigation has necessarily involved immense labor. 
For many miles the water is conducted from the mountains through
dense forests, across ravines, round the steep sides of opposing
hills, now leaping into a lower valley into a reservoir, from
which it is again led through this arduous country until it at
length reaches the land which it is destined to render fertile.

There has been a degree of engineering skill displayed in forming
aqueducts through such formidable obstacles; the hills are lined
out in every direction with these proofs of industry, and their
winding course can be traced round the grassy sides of the steep
mountains, while the paddy-fields are seen miles away in the
valleys of Ouva stretched far beneath.

At least eight out of ten of these watercourses are dry, and the
masonry required in the sudden angles of ravines, has, in most
cases, fallen to decay.  Even those water-courses still in
existence are of the second class; small streams have been
conducted from their original course, and these serve for the
supply of the present population.

>From the remains of deserted water-courses of the first class,
it is evident that more than fifty times the volume of water was
then required that is in use at present, and in the same ratio
must have been the amount of population. In those days rivers
were diverted from their natural channels; opposing hills were
cut through, and the waters thus were led into another valley to
join a stream flowing in, its natural bed, whose course,
eventually obstructed by a dam, poured its accumulated waters
into canals which branched to various localities.  Not a river in
those times flowed in vain. The hill-sides were terraced out in
beautiful cultivation, which are now waving with wild vegetation
and rank lemon grass.  The remaining traces of stone walls point
out the ancient boundaries far above the secluded valley now in

The nation has vanished, and with it the industry and
perseverance of the era.

We now arrive at the cause of the former importance of Newera
Ellia, or the "Royal Plains."

It has been shown that the very existence of the population
depended upon the supply of water, and that supply was obtained
from the neighborhood of Newera Ellia.  Therefore, a king in
possession of Newera Ellia had the most complete command over his
subjects; he could either give or withhold the supply of water at
his pleasure, by allowing its free exit or by altering its

Thus, during rebellion, he could starve his people into
submission, or lay waste the land in time of foreign invasion.  I
have seen in an impregnable position the traces of an ancient
fort, evidently erected to defend the pass to the main
water-course from the low country.

This gives us a faint clue to the probable cause of the
disappearance of the nation.

In time of war or intestine commotion, the water may have been
cut off from the low country, and the exterminating effects of
famine may have laid the whole land desolate. It is, therefore,
no longer a matter of astonishment that the present plain of
Newera Ellia should have received its appellation of the "Royal
Plain." In those days there was no very secure tenure to the
throne, and by force alone could a king retain it.  The more
bloodthirsty and barbarous the tyrant, the more was he dreaded by
the awe-stricken and trembling population.  The power of such a
weapon of annihilation as the command of the waters may be easily
conceived as it invested a king with almost divine authority in
the eyes of his subjects.

Now there is little doubt that the existence of precious gems at
Newera Ellia may have been accidentally discovered in digging the
numerous water-courses in the vicinity; there is, however, no
doubt that at some former period the east end of the plain,
called the "Vale of Rubies," constituted the royal "diggings."
That the king of Kandy did not reside at Newera Ellia there is
little wonder, as a monarch delighting in a temperature of 85
Fahrenheit would have regarded the climate of a mean temperature
of 60 Fahrenheit as we should that of Nova Zembla.

We may take it for granted, therefore, that when the king came to
Newera Ellia his visit had some object, and we presume that he
came to look at the condition of his water-courses and to
superintend the digging for precious stones; in the same manner
that Ceylon governors of past years visited Arippo during the

The "diggings" of the kings of Kandy must have been conducted on
a most extensive scale.  Not only has the Vale of Rubies been
regularly turned up for many acres, but all the numerous plains
in the vicinity are full of pits, some of very large size and of
a depth varying from three to seventeen feet.  The Newera Ellia
Plain, the Moonstone Plain, the Kondapallé Plain, the Elk Plains,
the Totapella Plains, the Horton Plains, the Bopatalava Plains,
the Augara Plains (translated "the Diggings"), and many others
extending over a surface of thirty miles, are all more or less
studded by deep pits formed by the ancient searchers for gems,
which in those days were a royal monopoly.

It is not to be supposed that the search for gems would have been
thus persevered in unless it was found to be remunerative; but it
is a curious fact that no Englishmen are ever to be seen at work
at this employment.  The natives would still continue the search,
were they permitted, upon the "Vale of Rubies;"  but I warned
them off on purchasing the land; and I have several good
specimens of gems which I have discovered by digging two feet
beneath the surface.

The surface soil being of a light, peaty quality, the stones,
from their greater gravity, lie beneath, mixed with a rounded
quartz gravel, which in ages past must have been subjected to the
action of running water. This quartz gravel, with its mixture of
gems, rests upon a stiff white pipe-clay.

In this stratum of gravel an infinite number of small, and for
the most part worthless, specimens of gems are found, consisting
of sapphire, ruby, emerald, jacinth, tourmaline, chrysoberyl,
zircon, cat's-eye, "moonstone," and "star-stone." Occasionally a
stone of value rewards the patient digger; but, unless he
thoroughly understands it, he is apt to pass over the gems of
most value as pieces of ironstone.

The mineralogy of Ceylon has hitherto been little understood.  It
has often been suggested as the "Ophir" of the time of Solomon,
and doubtless, from its production of gems, it might deserve the

It has hitherto been the opinion of most writers on Ceylon that
the precious metals do not exist in the island; and Dr. Davy in
his work makes an unqualified assertion to that effect.  But from
the discoveries recently made, I am of opinion that it exists in
very large quantities in the mountainous districts of the island.

It is amusing to see the positive assertions of a clever man
upset by a few uneducated sailors.

A few men of the latter class, who had been at the gold diggings
both in California and Australia, happened to engage in a ship
bound for Colombo.  Upon arrival they obtained leave from the
captain for a stroll on shore, and they took the road toward
Kandy, and when about half-way it struck them, from the
appearance of the rocks in the uneven bed of a river, called the
Maha Oya, "that gold must exist in its sands." They had no
geological reason for this opinion; but the river happened to be
very like those in California in which they had been accustomed
to find gold.  They accordingly set to work with a tin pan to
wash the sand, and to the astonishment of every one in Ceylon,
and to the utter confusion of Dr. Davy's opinions, they actually
discovered gold!

The quantity was small, but the men were very sanguine of
success, and were making their preparations for working on a more
extensive scale, when they were all prostrated by jungle fever -
a guardian-spirit of the gold at Amberpussé, which will ever
effectually protect it from Europeans.

They all returned to Colombo, and, when convalescent, they
proceeded to Newera Ellia, naturally concluding that the gold
which existed in dust in the rivers below must be washed down
from the richer stores of the mountains.

Their first discovery of gold at Newera Ellia was on the 14th
June, 1854, on the second day of their search in that locality. 
The first gold was found in the "Vale of Rubies."

I had advised them to make their first search in that spot for
this reason: that, as the precious stones had there settled in
the largest numbers, from their superior gravity, it was natural
to conclude that, if gold should exist, it would, from its
gravity, be somewhere below the precious stones or in their

>From the facility with which it has been discovered, it is
impossible to form an opinion as to the quantity or the extent to
which it will eventually be developed.  It is equally impossible
to predict the future discoveries which may be made of other
minerals.  It is well known that quicksilver was found at Cotta,
six miles from Colombo, in the year 1797.  It was in small
quantities, and was neglected by the government, and no extended
search was prosecuted.  The present search for gold may bring to
light mineral resources of Ceylon which have hitherto lain

The minerals proved to exist up to the present time are gold,
quicksilver, plumbago and iron.  The two latter are of the finest
quality and in immense abundance.  The rocks of Ceylon are
primitive, consisting of granite, gneiss and quartz.  Of these
the two latter predominate.  Dolomite also exists in large
quantities up to an elevation of five thousand feet, but not
beyond this height.

Plumbago is disseminated throughout the whole of both soil and
rocks in Ceylon, and may be seen covering the surface in the
drains by the road side, after a recent shower.

It is principally found at Ratnapoora and at Belligam, in large,
detached kidney-shaped masses, from four to twenty feet below the
surface.  The cost of digging and the transport are the only
expenses attending it, as the supply is inexhaustible.  Its
component parts are nineteen of carbon and one of iron.

It exists in such quantities, in the gneiss rocks that upon their
decomposition it is seen in bright specks like silver throughout.

This gneiss rock, when in a peculiar stage of decomposition, has
the appearance and consistency of yellow brick, speckled with
plumbago.  It exists in this state in immense masses, and forms a
valuable buildingstone, as it can be cut with ease to any shape
required, and, though soft when dug, it hardens by exposure to
the air.  It has also the valuable property of withstanding the
greatest heat; and for furnace building it is superior to the
best Stourbridge fire-bricks.

The finest quality of iron is found upon the mountains in various
forms, from the small iron-stone gravel to large masses of many
tons in weight protruding from the earth's surface.

So fine is that considered at Newera Ellia and the vicinity that
the native blacksmiths have been accustomed from time immemorial
to make periodical visits for the purpose of smelting the ore. 
The average specimens of this produce about eighty per cent. of
pure metal, even by the coarse native process of smelting.  The
operations are as follows:

Having procured the desired amount of ore, it is rendered as
small as possible by pounding with a hammer.

A platform is then built of clay, about six feet in length by
three feet in height and width.

A small well is formed in the centre of the platform, about
eighteen inches in depth and diameter, egg-shaped.

A few inches from the bottom of this well is an air-passage,
connected with a pipe and bellows.

The well is then filled with alternate layers of charcoal and
pulverized iron ore; the fire is lighted, and the process of
smelting commences.

The bellows are formed of two inflated skins, like a double
"bagpipe." Each foot of the "bellows-blower" is strapped to one
skin, the pipes of the bellows being fixed in the air-hole of the
blast.  He then works the skins alternately by moving his feet up
and down, being assisted in this treadmill kind of labor by the
elasticity of two bamboos, of eight or ten feet in length, the
butts of which, being firmly fixed in the ground, enable him to
retain his balance by grasping one with either hand.  From the
yielding top of each bamboo, a string descends attached to either
big toe; thus the downward pressure of each foot upon the bellows
strains upon the bamboo top as a fish bears upon a fishing-rod,
and the spring of the bamboo assists him in lifting up his leg. 
Without this assistance, it would be impossible to continue the
exertion for the time required.

While the "bellows-blower" is thus getting up a blaze, another
man attends upon the well, which he continues to feed alternately
with fresh ore and a corresponding amount of charcoal, every now
and then throwing in a handful of fine sand as a flux.

The return for a whole day's puffing and blowing will be about
twenty pounds weight of badly-smelted iron.  This is subsequently
remelted, and is eventually worked up into hatchets, hoes,
betel-crackers, etc., etc. being of a superior quality to the
best Swedish iron.

If the native blacksmith were to value his time at only sixpence
per diem from the day on which he first started for the mountains
till the day that he returned from his iron-smelting expedition,
he would find that his iron would have cost him rather a high
price per hundredweight; and if he were to make the same
calculation of the value of time, he would discover that by the
time he had completed one axe he could have purchased ready made,
for one-third the money, an English tool of superior manufacture. 
This, however, is not their style of calculation.  Time has no
value, according to their crude ideas; therefore, if they want an
article, and can produce it without the actual outlay of cash, no
matter how much time is expended, they will prefer that method of
obtaining it.

Unfortunately, the expense of transit is so heavy from Newera
Ellia to Colombo, that this valuable metal, like the fine timber
of the forests, must remain useless.

CHAPTER IV. Poverty of Soil - Ceylon Sugar - Fatality of Climate
- Supposed Fertility of Soil - Native Cultivation - Neglect of
Rice Cultivation - Abandoned Reservoirs - Former Prosperity -
Ruins of Cities - Pollanarua - The Great Dagoba - Architectural
Relics - The Rock Temple - Destruction of Population - Neglected
Capabilities - Suggestions for Increasing Population - Progress
of Pestilence - Deserted Villages - Difficulties in the
Cultivation of Rice - Division of Labor - Native Agriculture.

>From the foregoing description, the reader will have inferred
that Newera Ellia is a delightful place of residence, with a mean
temperature of 60 Fahrenheit, abounding with beautiful views of
mountain and plain and of boundless panoramas in the vicinity. 
He will also have discovered that, in addition to the healthiness
of its climate, its natural resources are confined to its timber
and mineral productions, as the soil is decidedly poor.

The appearance of the latter has deceived every one, especially
the black soil of the patina, which my bailiff, on his first
arrival declared to be excellent.  Lord Torrington, who is well
known as an agriculturist, was equally deceived.  He was very
confident in the opinion that "it only required draining to
enable it to produce anything."  The real fact is, that it is
far inferior to the forest-land, and will not pay for the

Nevertheless, it is my decided opinion that the generality of the
forest-land at Newera Ellia and the vicinity is superior to that
in other parts of Ceylon.

There are necessarily rich lots every now end then in such a
large extent as the surface of the low country; but these lots
usually lie on the banks of rivers which have been subjected to
inundations, and they are not fair samples of Ceylon soil.  A
river's bank or a valley's bottom must be tolerably good even in
the poorest country.

The great proof of the general poverty of Ceylon is shown in the
failure of every agricultural experiment in which a rich soil is

Cinnamon thrives; but why?  It delights in a soil of quartz sand,
in which nothing else would grow.

Cocoa-nut trees flourish for the same reason ; sea air, a sandy
soil and a dry subsoil are all that the cocoa-nut requires.

On the other hand, those tropical productions which require a
strong soil invariably prove failures, and sugar, cotton, indigo,
hemp and tobacco cannot possibly be cultivated with success.

Even on the alluvial soil upon the banks of rivers sugar does not
pay the proprietor.  The only sugar estate in the island that can
keep its head above water is the Peredinia estate, within four
miles of Kandy.  This, again, lies upon the bank of the Mahawelli
river, and it has also the advantage of a home market for its
produce, as it supplies the interior of Ceylon at the rate of
twenty-three shillings per cwt. upon the spot.

Any person who thoroughly understands the practical cultivation
of the sugar-cane can tell the quality of sugar that will be
produced by an examination of the soil.  I am thoroughly
convinced that no soil in Ceylon will produce a sample of fine,
straw-colored, dry, bright, large-crystaled sugar.  The finest
sample ever produced of Ceylon sugar is a dull gray, and always
moist, requiring a very large proportion of lime in the
manufacture, without which it could neither be cleansed nor

The sugar cane, to produce fine sugar, requires a rich, stiff,
and very dry soil.  In Ceylon, there is no such thing as a stiff
soil existing.  The alluvial soil upon the banks of rivers is
adapted for the growth of cotton and tobacco, but not for the
sugar-cane.  In such light and moist alluvial soil the latter
will grow to a great size, and will yield a large quantity of
juice in which the saccharometer may stand well; but the degree
of strength indicated will proceed from an immense proportion of
mucilage, which will give much trouble in the cleansing during
boiling; and the sugar produced must be wanting in dryness and
fine color.

There are several rivers in Ceylon whose banks would produce good
cotton and tobacco, especially those in the districts of
Hambantotte and Batticaloa; such as the "Wallawé," the "Yallé
river," the "Koombookanaar," etc.; but even here the good soil is
very limited, lying on either bank for only a quarter of a mile
in width.  In addition to this, the unhealthiness of the climate
is so great that I am convinced no European constitution could
withstand it.  Even the natives are decimated at certain seasons
by the most virulent fevers and dysentery.

These diseases generally prevail to the greatest extent during
the dry season.  This district is particularly subject to severe
droughts; months pass away without a drop of rain or a cloud upon
the sky.  Every pool and tank is dried up; the rivers forsake
their banks, and a trifling stream trickles over the sandy bed. 
Thus all the rotten wood, dead leaves and putrid vegetation
brought down by the torrent during the wet season are left upon
the dried bed to infect the air with miasma.

This deadly climate would be an insurmountable obstacle to the
success of estates.  Even could managers be found to brave the
danger, one season of sickness and death among the coolies would
give the estate a name which would deprive it of all future
supplies of labor.

Indigo is indigenous to Ceylon, but it is of an inferior quality,
and an experiment made in its cultivation was a total failure.

In fact, nothing will permanently succeed in Ceylon soil without
abundance of manure, with the exception of cinnamon and
cocoa-nuts.  Even the native gardens will not produce a tolerable
sample of the common sweet potato without manure, a positive
proof of the general poverty of the soil.

Nevertheless, Ceylon has had a character for fertility. 
Bennett, in his work entitled "Ceylon and its Capabilities,"
describes the island in the most florid terms, as "the most
important and valuable of all the insular possessions of the
imperial crown." Again he speaks of "its fertile soil, and
indigenous vegetable productions," etc., etc.  Again: "Ceylon,
though comparatively but little known, is pre-eminent in natural
resources." All this serves to mislead the public opinion. 
Agricultural experiments in a tropical country in a little garden
highly manured may be very satisfactory and very amusing. 
Everything must necessarily come to perfection with great
rapidity; but these experiments are no proof of what Ceylon will
produce, and the popular idea of its fertility has been at length
proved a delusion.

It is a dangerous thing for any man to sit down to "make" a book. 
If he has had personal experience, let him write a description of
those subjects which he understands; but if he attempts to "make"
a book, he must necessarily collect information from hearsay,
when he will most probably gather some chaff with his grain.

Can any man, when describing the "fertility" of Ceylon, be aware
that newly-cleared forest-land will only produce one crop of the
miserable grain called korrakan? Can he understand why the
greater portion of Ceylon is covered by dense thorny jungles? It
is simply this - that the land is so desperately poor that it
will only produce one crop, and thus an immense acreage is
required for the support of a few inhabitants; thus, from ages
past up to the present time, the natives have been continually
felling fresh forest and deserting the last clearing, which has
accordingly grown into a dense, thorny jungle, forming what are
termed the Chénars" of Ceylon.

So fully aware are the natives of the impossibility of getting
more than one crop out of the land that they plant all that they
require at the same time.  Thus may be seen in a field of
korrakan (a small grain), Indian corn, millet and pumpkins, all
growing together, and harvested as they respectively become

The principal articles of native cultivation are rice, korrakan,
Indian corn, betel, areca-nuts, pumpkins, onions, garlic,
gingelly-oil seed, tobacco, millet, red peppers, curry seed and
sweet potatoes.

The staple articles of Ceylon production are coffee cinnamon and
cocoa-nut oil, which are for the most part cultivated and
manufactured by Europeans.

The chief article of native consumption, "rice," should be an
export from Ceylon; but there has been an unaccountable neglect
on the part of government regarding the production of this
important grain, for the supply of which Ceylon is mainly
dependent upon importation.  In the hitherto overrated general
resources of Ceylon, the cultivation of rice has scarcely been
deemed worthy of notice; the all-absorbing subject of coffee
cultivation has withdrawn the attention of the government from
that particular article, for the production of which the
resources of Ceylon are both naturally and artificially immense.

This neglect is the more extraordinary as the increase of coffee
cultivation involves a proportionate increase in the consumption
of rice, by the additional influx of coolie labor from the coast
of India; therefore the price and supply of rice in Ceylon become
questions of similar importance to the price of corn in England. 
This dependence upon a foreign soil for the supply involves the
necessary fluctuations in price caused by uncertain arrivals and
precarious harvests; and the importance of an unlimited supply at
an even rate may be imagined when it is known that every native
consumes a bushel of rice per month, when he can obtain it.

Nevertheless, the great capabilities of Ceylon for the
cultivation of this all-important "staff of life" are entirely
neglected by the government.  The tanks which afforded a supply
of water for millions in former ages now lie idle and out of
repair; the pelican sails in solitude upon their waters, and the
crocodile basks upon their shores; the thousands of acres which
formerly produced rice for a dense population are now matted over
by a thorny and impenetrable jungle.  The wild buffalo,
descendant from the ancient stock which tilled the ground of a
great nation, now roams through a barren forest, which in olden
times was a soil glistening with fertility.  The ruins of the
mighty cities tower high above the trees, sad monuments of
desolation, where all was once flourishing, and where thousands
dwelt within their walls.

All are passed away; and in the wreck of past ages we trace the
great resources of the country, which produced sufficient food to
support millions; while for the present comparatively small
population Ceylon is dependent upon imports.

These lakes, or tanks, were works of much art and of immense
labor for the purpose of reservoirs, from the supply of which the
requisite amount of land could be irrigated for rice
cultivation.  A valley of the required extent being selected, the
courses of neighboring or distant rivers were conducted into it,
and the exit of the waters was prevented by great causeways, or
dams, of solid masonry, which extended for some miles across the
lower side of the valley thus converted into a lake.  The exit of
the water was then regulated by means of sluices, from which it
was conducted by channels to the rice-lands.

These tanks are of various extent, and extremely numerous
throughout Ceylon.  The largest are those of Minneria, Kandellai,
Padavellkiellom, and the Giant Tank.  These are from fifteen to
twenty-five miles in circumference; but in former times, when the
sluices were in repair and the volume of water at its full
height, they must have been much larger.

In those days the existence of a reservoir of water was a certain
indication of a populous and flourishing neighborhood; and the
chief cities of the country were accordingly situated in those
places which were always certain of a supply.  So careful were
the inhabitants in husbanding those liquid resources upon which
their very existence depended that even the surplus waters of one
lake were not allowed to escape unheeded.  Channels were cut,
connecting a chain of tanks of slightly varying elevations, over
an extent of sixty or seventy miles of apparently flat country,
and the overflow of one tank was thus conducted in succession
from lake to lake, until they all attained the desired level.

In this manner was the greater portion of Ceylon kept in the
highest state of cultivation.  From the north to the south the
island was thickly peopled, and the only portions which then
remained in the hands of nature were those which are now seen in
the state of primeval forest.

Well may Ceylon in those times have deserved the name of the
"Paradise of the East." The beauties which nature has showered
upon the land were heightened by cultivation; the forest-capped
mountains rose from a waving sea of green; the valleys teemed
with wealth; no thorny jungles gave a barren terminable prospect,
but the golden tints of ripening crops spread to the horizon. 
Temples stood upon the hill-tops; cities were studded over the
land, their lofty dagobas and palaces reflected on the glassy
surface of the lakes, from which their millions of inhabitants
derived their food, their wealth and their very life.

The remains of these cities sufficiently attest the former amount
of population and the comparative civilization which existed at
that remote era among the progenitors of the present degraded
race of barbarians. The ruins of "Anaradupoora," which cover two
hundred and fifty-six square miles of ground, are all that remain
of the noble city which stood within its walls in a square of
sixteen miles.  Some idea of the amount of population may be
arrived at, when we consider the present density of inhabitants
in all Indian houses and towns. Millions must, therefore, have
streamed from the gates of a city to which our modern London was
comparatively a village.

There is a degree of sameness in the ruins of all the ancient
cities of Ceylon which renders a description tedious. Those of
"Anaradupoora" are the largest in extent, and the buildings
appear to have been more lofty, the great dagoba having exceeded
four hundred feet in height; but the ruins do not exhibit the
same "finish" in the style of architecture which is seen in the
remains of other towns.

Among these, "Toparé," anciently called "Pollanarua," stands
foremost. This city appears to have been laid out with a degree
of taste which would have done credit to our modern towns.

Before its principal gate stretched a beautiful lake of about
fifteen miles circumference (now only nine). The approach to this
gate was by a broad road, upon the top of a stone causeway, of
between two and three miles in length, which formed a massive dam
to the waters of the lake which washed its base.  To the right of
this dam stretched many miles of cultivation; to the left, on the
farther shores of the lake, lay park-like grass-lands, studded
with forest trees, some of whose mighty descendants still exist
in the noble "tamarind," rising above all others.  Let us return
in imagination to Pollanarua as it once stood.  Having arrived
upon the causeway in the approach to the city, the scene must
have been beautiful in the extreme: the silvery lake, like a
broad mirror, in the midst of a tropical park; the flowering
trees shadowing its waters; the groves of tamarinds sheltering
its many nooks and bays; the gorgeous blossoms of the pink lotus
resting on its glassy surface; and the carpet-like glades of
verdant pasturage, stretching far away upon the opposite shores,
covered with countless elephants, tamed to complete obedience. 
Then on the right, below the massive granite steps which form the
causeway, the water rushing from the sluice carries fertility
among a thousand fields, and countless laborers and cattle till
the ground: the sturdy buffaloes straining at the plough, the
women, laden with golden sheaves of corn and baskets of fruit,
crowding along the palm-shaded road winding toward the city, from
whose gate a countless throng are passing and returning.  Behold
the mighty city! rising like a snow-white cloud from the broad
margin of the waters.  The groves of cocoa-nuts and palms of
every kind, grouped in the inner gardens, throwing a cool shade
upon the polished walls; the lofty palaces towering among the
stately areca trees, and the gilded domes reflecting a blaze of
light from the rays of a midday sun. Such let us suppose the
exterior of Pollanarua.

The gates are entered, and a broad street, straight as an arrow,
lies before us, shaded on either side by rows of palms.  Here
stand, on either hand, the dwellings of the principal
inhabitants, bordering the wide space, which continues its
straight and shady course for about four miles in length.  In the
centre, standing in a spacious circle, rises the great Dagoba,
forming a grand coup d'oeil from the entrance gate.  Two hundred
and sixty feet from the base the Dagoba rears its lofty summit. 
Two circular terraces, each of some twenty feet in height, rising
one upon the other, with a width of fifty feet, and a diameter at
the base of about two hundred and fifty, from the step-like
platform upon which the Dagoba stands.  These are ascended by
broad flights of steps, each terrace forming a circular
promenade around the Dagoba; the whole having the appearance of
white marble, being covered with polished stucco ornamented with
figures in bas-relief. The Dagoba is a solid mass of brickwork in
the shape of a dome, which rises from the upper terrace. The
whole is covered with polished stucco, and surmounted by a gilded
spire standing upon a square pedestal of stucco, highly
ornamented with large figures, also in bas-relief; this pedestal
is a cube of about thirty feet, supporting the tall gilded spire,
which is surmounted by a golden umbrella.

Around the base of the Dagoba on the upper terrace are eight
small entrances with highly-ornamented exteriors.  These are the
doors to eight similar chambers of about twelve feet square, in
each of which is a small altar and carved golden idol.  This
Dagoba forms the main centre of the city, from which streets
branch off in all directions, radiating from the circular space
in which it stands.

The main street from the entrance-gate continues to the further
extremity of the city, being crossed at right angles in the
centre by a similar street, thus forming two great main streets
through the city, terminating in four great gates or entrances to
the town - north, south, east and west.  Continuing along the
main street from the great Dagoba for about a mile, we face
another Dagoba of similar appearance, but of smaller dimensions,
also standing in a spacious circle. Near this rises the king's
palace, a noble building of great height, edged at the corner by
narrow octagon towers.

At the further extremity of this main street, close to the
opposite entrance- gate, is the rock temple, with the massive
idols of Buddha flanking the entrance.

This, from the form and position of the existing ruins, we may
conceive to have been the appearance of Pollanarua in its days of
prosperity.  But what remains of its grandeur? It has vanished
like "a tale that is told;" it is passed away like a dream; the
palaces are dust; the grassy sod has grown in mounds over the
ruins of streets and fallen houses; nature has turfed them in one
common grave with their inhabitants.  The lofty palms have faded
away and given place to forest trees, whose roots spring from the
crumbled ruins; the bear and the leopard crouch in the porches of
the temples; the owl roosts in the casements of the palaces; the
jackal roams among the ruins in vain; there is not a bone left
for him to gnaw of the multitudes which have passed away.  There
is their handwriting upon the temple wall, upon the granite slab
which has mocked at Time; but there is no man to decipher it. 
There are the gigantic idols before whom millions have bowed;
there is the same vacant stare upon their features of rock which
gazed upon the multitudes of yore; but they no longer stare upon
the pomp of the glorious city, but upon ruin, and rank weeds, and
utter desolation.  How many suns have risen and how many nights
have darkened the earth since silence has reigned amidst the
city, no man can tell.  No mortal can say what fate befell those
hosts of heathens, nor when they vanished from the earth.  Day
and night succeed each other, and the shade of the setting sun
still falls from the great Dagoba; but it is the "valley of the
shadow of death" upon which that shadow falls like a pall over
the corpse of a nation.

The great Dagoba now remains a heap of mouldering brickwork,
still retaining its form, but shorn of all its beauty.  The
stucco covering has almost all disappeared, leaving a patch here
and there upon the most sheltered portions of the building. 
Scrubby brushwood and rank grass and lichens have for the most
part covered its surface, giving it the appearance rather of a
huge mound of earth than of an ancient building.  A portion of
the palace is also standing, and, although for the most part
blocked up with ruins, there is still sufficient to denote its
former importance.  The bricks, or rather the tiles, of which all
the buildings are composed, are of such an imperishable nature
that they still adhere to each other in large masses in spots
where portions of the buildings have fallen.

In one portion of the ruins there are a number of beautiful
fluted columns, with carved capitals, still remaining in a
perfect state.  Among these are the ruins of a large flight of
steps; near them, again, a stone-lined tank, which was evidently
intended as a bath; and everything denotes the former comfort and
arrangement of a first-class establishment.  There are
innumerable relics, all interesting and worthy of individual
attention, throughout the ruins over a surface of many miles, but
they are mostly overgrown with jungle or covered with rank grass. 
The apparent undulations of the ground in all directions are
simply the remains of fallen streets and buildings overgrown in
like manner with tangled vegetation.

The most interesting, as being the most perfect, specimen, is the
small rock temple, which, being hewn out of the solid stone, is
still in complete preservation.  This is a small chamber in the
face of an abrupt rock, which, doubtless, being partly a natural
cavern, has been enlarged to the present size by the chisel; and
the entrance, which may have been originally a small hole, has
been shaped into an arched doorway.  The interior is not more
than perhaps twenty-five feet by eighteen, and is simply fitted
up with an altar and the three figures of Buddha, in the
positions in which he is usually represented -the sitting, the
reclining and the standing postures.

The exterior of the temple is far more interesting.  The narrow
archway is flanked on either side by two inclined planes, hewn
from the face of the rock, about eighteen feet high by twelve in
width.  These are completely covered with an inscription in the
old Pali language, which has never been translated.  Upon the
left of one plain is a kind of sunken area hewn out of the rock,
in which sits a colossal figure of Buddha, about twenty feet in
height.  On the right of the other plane is a figure in the
standing posture about the same height; and still farther to the
right, likewise hewn from the solid rock, is an immense figure in
the recumbent posture, which is about fifty-six feet in length,
or, as I measured it, not quite nineteen paces.

These figures are of a far superior class of sculpture to the
idols usually seen in Ceylon, especially that in the reclining
posture, in which the impression of the head upon the pillow is
so well executed that the massive pillow of gneiss rock actually
appears yielding to the weight of the head.

This temple is supposed to be coeval with the city, which was
founded about three hundred years before Christ, and is supposed
to have been in ruins for upward of six hundred years.  The
comparatively recent date of its destruction renders its
obscurity the more mysterious, as there is no mention made of its
annihilation in any of the Cingalese records, although the city
is constantly mentioned during the time of its prosperity in the
native history of Ceylon.  It is my opinion that its destruction
was caused by famine.

In those days the kings of Ceylon were perpetually at war with
each other.  The Queen of the South, from the great city of
Mahagam in the Hambantotte district, made constant war with the
kings of Pollanarua. They again made war with the Arabs and
Malabars, who had invaded the northern districts of Ceylon; and
as in modern warfare the great art consists in cutting off the
enemy's supplies, so in those days the first and most decisive
blow to be inflicted was the cutting off the "water." Thus, by
simply turning the course of a river which supplied a principal
tank, not only would that tank lose its supply, but the whole of
the connected chain of lakes dependent upon the principal would
in like manner be deprived of water.

This being the case, the first summer or dry season would lay
waste the country.  I have myself seen the lake of Minneria,
which is twenty-two miles in circumference, evaporate to the
small dimensions of four miles circuit during a dry season.

A population of some millions wholly dependent upon the supply of
rice for their existence would be thrown into sudden starvation
by the withdrawal of the water.  Thus have the nations died out
like a fire for lack of fuel.  This cause will account for the
decay of the great cities of Ceylon.  The population gone, the
wind and the rain would howl through the deserted dwellings, the
white ants would devour the supporting beams, the elephants would
rub their colossal forms against the already tottering houses,
and decay would proceed with a rapidity unknown in a cooler
clime.  As the seed germinates in a few hours in a tropical
country, so with equal haste the body of both vegetable and
animal decays when life is extinct.  A perpetual and hurrying
change is visible in all things.  A few showers, and the surface
of the earth is teeming with verdure; a few days of drought, and
the seeds already formed are falling to the earth, springing in
their turn to life at the approach of moisture.  The same
rapidity of change is exhibited in their decay.  The heaps of
vegetable putridity upon the banks of rivers, when a swollen
torrent has torn the luxuriant plants from the loosened soil, are
but the effects of a few hours' change.  The tree that arrives at
maturity in a few years rots in as short a time when required for
durability: thus it is no mystery, that either a house or a city
should shortly fall to decay when the occupant is gone.

In like manner, and with still greater rapidity, is a change
effected in the face of nature.  As the flowers usurp the place
of weeds under the care of man, so, when his hand is wanting, a
few short weeks bury them beneath an overwhelming mass of thorns. 
In one year a jungle will conceal all signs of recent
cultivation.  Is it, therefore, a mystery that Ceylon is covered
with such vast tracts of thorny jungle, now that her inhabitants
are gone?

Throughout the world there is a perpetual war between man and
nature, but in no country has the original curse of the earth
been carried out to a fuller extent than in Ceylon: "thorns also
and thistles shall it bring forth to thee." This is indeed
exemplified when a few months neglect of once-cultivated land
renders it almost impassable, and where man has vanished from the
earth and thorny jungles have covered the once broad tracts of
prosperous cultivation.

A few years will thus produce an almost total ruin throughout a
deserted city.  The air of desolation created by a solitude of
six centuries can therefore be easily imagined.  There exists,
however, among the ruins of Pollanarua a curious instance of the
power of the smallest apparent magnitude to destroy the works of
man.  At some remote period a bird has dropped the seed of the
banian tree (ficus Indicus) upon the decaying summit of a dagoba. 
This, germinating has struck its root downward through the
brickwork, and, by the gradual and insinuating progress of its
growth, it has split the immense mass of building into two
sections; the twisted roots now appearing through the clefts,
while the victorious tree waves in exultation above the ruin: an
emblem of the silent growth of "civilization" which will overturn
the immense fabric of heathen superstition.

It is placed beyond a doubt that the rice-growing resources of
Ceylon have been suffered to lie dormant since the disappearance
of her ancient population; and to these neglected capabilities
the attention of government should be directed.

An experiment might be commenced on a small scale by the repair
of one tank - say Kandellai, which is only twenty-six miles from
Trincomalee on the highroad to Kandy.  This tank, when the dam
and sluices were repaired, would rise to about nine feet above
its present level, and would irrigate many thousand acres.

The grand desideratum in the improvement of Ceylon is the
increase of the population; all of whom should, in some measure,
be made to increase the revenue.

The government should therefore hazard this one experiment to
induce the emigration of the industrious class of Chinese to the
shores of Ceylon.  Show them a never-failing supply of water and
land of unlimited extent to be hid on easy terms, and the country
would soon resume its original prosperity.  A tax of five per
cent. upon the produce of the land, to commence in the ratio of 0
per cent. for the first year, three per cent. for the second and
third, and the full amount of five for the fourth, would be a
fair and easy rent to the settler, and would not only repay the
government for the cost of repairing the tank, but would in a few
cars become a considerable source of revenue, in addition to the
increased value of the land, now worthless, by a system of

Should the first experiment succeed, the plan might be continued
throughout Ceylon, and the soil of her own shores would produce a
supply for the island consumption.  The revenue would be derived
direct from the land which now produces nothing but thorny
jungle.  The import trade of Ceylon would be increased in
proportion to the influx of population, and the duties upon
enlarged imports would again tend to swell the revenue of the

The felling and clearing of the jungle, which cultivation would
render necessary, would tend, in a great measure, to dispel the
fevers and malaria always produced by a want of free circulation
of air.  In a jungle-covered country like Ceylon, diseases of the
most malignant character are harbored in these dense and
undisturbed tracts, which year after year reap a pestilential
harvest from the thinly-scattered population.  Cholera,
dysentery, fever and small-pox all appear in their turn and
annually sweep whole villages away.  I have frequently hailed
with pleasure the distant tope of waving cocoa-nut trees after a
long day's journey in a broiling sun, when I have cantered toward
these shady warders of cultivation in hopes of a night's halt at
a village.  But the palms have sighed in the wind over tenantless
abodes, and the mouldering dead have lain beneath their shade. 
Not a living soul remaining; all swept away by pestilence; huts
recently fallen to decay, fruits ripening, on the trees, and no
hand left to gather them; the shaddock and the lime falling to
the earth to be preyed upon by the worm, like their former
masters.  All dead; not one left to tell the miserable tale.

The decay of the population is still progressing, and the next
fifty years will see whole districts left uninhabited unless
something can be done to prevent it. There is little doubt that
if land and water could be obtained from government in a
comparatively healthy and populous neighborhood, many would
migrate to that point from the half-deserted districts, who might
assist in the cultivation of the country instead of rotting in a
closing jungle.

One season of pestilence, even in a large village, paves the road
for a similar visitation in the succeeding year, for this reason:

Say that a village comprising two hundred men is reduced by
sickness to a population of one hundred.  The remaining one
hundred cannot keep in cultivation the land formerly open;
therefore, the jungle closes over the surface and rapidly
encroaches upon the village.  Thus the circulation of air is
impeded and disease again halves the population.  In each
successive year the wretched inhabitants are thinned out, and
disease becomes the more certain as the jungle continues to
advance.  At length the miserable few are no longer sufficient to
cultivate the rice-lands; their numbers will not even suffice for
driving their buffaloes.  The jungle closes round the village;
cholera finishes the scene by sweeping off the remnant; and
groves of cocoa-nut trees, towering over the thorny jungle,
become monuments sacred to the memory of an exterminated

The number of villages which have thus died out is almost
incredible.  In a day's ride of twenty miles, I have passed the
remains of as many as three or four, how many more may have
vanished in the depths of the jungle!

Wherever the cocoa-nut trees are still existing, the ruin of the
village must have been comparatively recent, as the wild
elephants generally overturn them in a few years after the
disappearance of the inhabitants, browsing upon the succulent
tops, and destroying every trace of a former habitation.

There is no doubt that when sickness is annually reducing the
population of a district, the inhabitants, and accordingly the
produce of the land, must shortly come to an end.  In all times
of pestilence the first impulse among the natives is to fly from
the neighborhood, but at present there is no place of refuge.  It
is, therefore, a matter of certainty that the repair of one of
the principal tanks would draw together in thousands the
survivors of many half-perished villages, who would otherwise
fall victims to succeeding years of sickness.

The successful cultivation of rice at all times requires an
extensive population, and large grazing-grounds for the support
of the buffaloes necessary for the tillage of the land.

The labor of constructing dams and forming watercourses is
performed by a general gathering, similar to the American
principle of a "bee;" and, as "many hands make light work," the
cultivation proceeds with great rapidity.  Thus a large
population can bring into tillage a greater individual proportion
of ground than a smaller number of laborers, and the rice is
accordingly produced at a cheaper rate.

Few people understand the difficulties with which a small village
has to contend in the cultivation of rice. The continual repairs
of temporary dams, which are nightly trodden down and destroyed
by elephants; the filling up of the water-courses from the same
cause; the nocturnal attacks upon the crops by elephants and
hogs; the devastating attacks of birds as the grain becomes ripe;
a scarcity of water at the exact moment it is required; and other
numerous difficulties which are scarcely felt by a large

By the latter the advantage is enjoyed of the division of labor.
The dams are built of permanent material; every work is rapidly
completed; the night-fires blaze in the lofty watch-house,, while
the shouts of the watchers scare the wild beasts from the crops. 
Hundreds of children are daily screaming from their high perches
to scare away the birds.  Rattles worked by long lines extend in
every direction, unceasingly pulled by the people in the
watch-houses; wind-clackers (similar to our cherry-clackers) are
whirling in all places; and by the division of the toil among a
multitude the individual work proceeds without fatigue.

Every native is perfectly aware of this advantage in rice
cultivation; and were the supply of water ensured to them by the
repair of a principal tank, they would gather around its margin. 
The thorny jungles would soon disappear from the surface of the
ground, and a densely-populated and prosperous district would
again exist where all has been a wilderness for a thousand years.

The system of rice cultivation is exceedingly laborious. The
first consideration being a supply of water, the second is a
perfect level, or series of levels, to be irrigated.  Thus a
hill-side must be terraced out into a succession of platforms or
steps; and a plain, however apparently flat, must, by the
requisite embankments, be reduced to the most perfect surface.

This being completed, the water is laid on for a certain time,
until the soil has become excessively soft and muddy.  It is then
run off, and the land is ploughed by a simple implement, which,
being drawn by two buffaloes, stirs up the soil to a depth of
eighteen inches. This finished, the water is again laid on until
the mud becomes so soft that a man will sink knee-deep.  In this
state it is then trodden over by buffaloes, driven backward and
forward in large gangs, until the mud is so thoroughly mixed that
upon the withdrawal of the water it sinks to a perfect level.

Upon this surface the paddy, having been previously soaked in
water, is now sown; and, in the course of a fortnight, it attains
a height of about four inches.  The water is now again laid on,
and continued at intervals until within a fortnight of the grain
becoming ripe.  It is then run off; the ground hardens, the ripe
crop is harvested by the sickle, and the grain is trodden out by
buffaloes.  The rice is then separated from the paddy or husk by
being pounded in a wooden mortar.

This is a style of cultivation in which the Cingalese
particularly excel; nothing can be more beautifully regular than
their flights of green terraces from the bottoms of the valleys
to the very summits of the hills: and the labor required in their
formation must be immense, is they are frequently six feet one
above the other.  The Cingalese are peculiarly a rice-growing
nation; give them an abundant supply of water and land on easy
terms, and they will not remain idle.

CHAPTER V. Real Cost of Land - Want of Communication -
Coffee-planting - Comparison between French and English Settlers
- Landslips - Forest-clearing - Manuring - The Coffee Bug - Rats
- Fatted Stock - Suggestions for Sheep-farming - Attack of a
Leopard - Leopards and Chetahs - Boy Devoured - Traps - Musk Cats
and the Mongoose - Vermin of Ceylon.

What is the government price of land in Ceylon? and what is the
real cost of the land? These are two questions which should be
considered separately, and with grave attention by the intending
settler or capitalist.

The upset price of government land is twenty shillings per acre;
thus, the inexperienced purchaser is very apt to be led away by
the apparently low sum per acre into a purchase of great extent. 
The question of the real cost will then be solved at his expense. 
There are few colonies belonging to Great Britain where the
government price of land is so high, compared to the value of the
natural productions of the soil.

The staple commodity of Ceylon being coffee, I will assume that a
purchase is concluded with the government for one thousand acres
of land, at the upset price of twenty shillings per acre.  What
has the purchaser obtained for this sum? One thousand acres of
dense forest, to which there is no road.  The one thousand pounds
passes into the government chest, and the purchaser is no longer
thought of; he is left to shift for himself and to make the most
of his bad bargain.

He is, therefore, in this position: He has parted with one
thousand pounds for a similar number of acres of land, which will
not yield him one penny in any shape until he has cleared it from
forest.  This he immediately commences by giving out contracts,
and the forest is cleared, lopped and burnt.  The ground is then
planted with coffee and the planter has to wait three years for a
return.  By the time of full bearing the whole cost of felling,
burning, planting and cleaning will be about eight pounds per
acre; this, in addition to the prime cost of the land, and about
two thousand pounds expended in buildings, machinery etc., etc.,
will bring the price of the land, when in a yielding condition,
to eleven pounds an acre at the lowest calculation.  Thus before
his land yields him one fraction, he will have invested eleven
thousand pounds, if he clears the whole of his purchase.  Many
persons lose sight of this necessary outlay when first purchasing
their land, and subsequently discover to their cost that their
capital is insufficient to bring the estate into cultivation.

Then comes the question of a road.  The government will give him
no assistance; accordingly, the whole of his crop must be
conveyed on coolies' heads along an arduous path to the nearest
highway, perhaps fifteen miles distant.  Even this rough path of
fifteen miles the planter must form at his own expense.

Considering the risks that are always attendant upon agricultural
pursuits, and especially upon coffee-planting, the price of rough
land must be acknowledged as absurdly high under the present
conditions of sales.  There is a great medium to be observed,
however, in the sales of crown land; too low a price is even a
greater evil than too high a rate, as it is apt to encourage
speculators in land, who do much injury to a colony by locking up
large tracts in an uncultivated state, to take the chance of a
future rise in the price.

This evil might easily be avoided by retaining the present bona
fide price of the land per acre, qualified by an arrangement that
one-half of the purchase money should be expended in the
formation of roads from the land in question.  This would be of
immense assistance to the planters, especially in a populous
planting neighborhood, where the purchases of land were large and
numerous, in which case the aggregate sum would be sufficient to
form a carriage road to the main highway, which might be kept in
repair by a slight toll.  An arrangement of this kind is not only
fair to the planters, but would be ultimately equally beneficial
to the government.  Every fresh sale of land would ensure either
a new road or the improvement of an old one; and the country
would be opened up through the most remote districts.  This very
fact of good communication would expedite the sales of crown
lands, which are now valueless from their isolated position.

Coffee-planting in Ceylon has passed through the various stages
inseparable from every "mania."

In the early days of our possession, the Kandian district was
little known, and sanguine imaginations painted the hidden
prospect in their ideal colors, expecting that a trace once
opened to the interior would be the road to fortune.

How these golden expectations have been disappointed the broken
fortunes of many enterprising planters can explain.

The protective duty being withdrawn, a competition with foreign
coffee at once reduced the splendid prices of olden times to a
more moderate standard, and took forty per cent. out of the
pockets of the planters.  Coffee, which in those days brought
from one hundred shillings to one hundred and forty shillings per
hundred-weight, is now reduced to from sixty shillings to eighty

This sudden reduction created an equally sudden panic among the
planters, many of whom were men of straw, who had rushed to
Ceylon at the first cry of coffee "fortunes," and who had
embarked on an extensive scale with borrowed capital.  These were
the first to smash.  In those days the expenses of bringing land
into cultivation were more than double the present rate, and, the
cultivation of coffee not being so well understood, the produce
per acre was comparatively small.  This combination of untoward
circumstances was sufficient cause for the alarm which ensued,
and estates were thrust into the market and knocked down for
whatever could be realized.  Mercantile houses were dragged down
into the general ruin, and a dark cloud settled over the Cinnamon

As the after effects of a "hurricane" are a more healthy
atmosphere and an increased vigor in all vegetation, so are the
usual sequels to a panic in the commercial world.  Things are
brought down to their real value and level; men of straw are
swept away, and affairs are commenced anew upon a sound and
steady basis.  Capital is invested with caution, and improvements
are entered upon step by step, until success is assured.

The reduction in the price of coffee was accordingly met by a
corresponding system of expenditure and by an improved state of
cultivation; and at the present time the agricultural prospects
of the colony are in a more healthy state than they have ever
been since the commencement of coffee cultivation.

There is no longer any doubt that a coffee estate in a good
situation in Ceylon will pay a large interest for the capital
invested, and will ultimately enrich the proprietor, provided
that he has his own capital to work his estate, that he gives his
own personal superintendence and that he understands the
management.  These are the usual conditions of success in most
affairs; but a coffee-estate is not unfrequently abused for not
paying when it is worked with borrowed capital at a high rate of
interest under questionable superintendence.

It is a difficult thing to define the amount which constitutes a
"fortune:" that which is enough for one man is a pittance for
another; but one thing is certain, that, no matter how small his
first capital, the coffee-planter hopes to make his "fortune."

Now, even allowing a net profit of twenty per cent. per annum on
the capital invested, it must take at least ten years to add
double the amount to the first capital, allowing no increase to
the spare capital required for working the estate.  A rapid
fortune can never be made by working a coffee estate.  Years of
patient industry and toil, chequered by many disappointments, may
eventually reward the proprietor; but it will be at a time of
life when a long residence in the tropics will have given him a
distaste for the chilly atmosphere of old England; his early
friends will have been scattered abroad, and he will meet few
faces to welcome him on his native shores.  What cold is so
severe as a cold reception? - no thermometer can mark the degree. 
No fortune, however large, can compensate for the loss of home,
and friends, and early associations.

This feeling is peculiarly strong throughout the British nation. 
You cannot convince an English settler that he will be abroad for
an indefinite number of years; the idea would be equivalent to
transportation: he consoles himself with the hope that something
will turn up to alter the apparent certainty of his exile; and in
this hope, with his mind ever fixed upon his return, he does
nothing for posterity in the colony.  He rarely even plants a
fruit tree, hoping that his stay will not allow him to gather
from it.  This accounts for the poverty of the gardens and
enclosures around the houses of the English inhabitants, and the
general dearth of any fruits worth eating.

How different is the appearance of French colonies, and how
different are the feelings of the settler! The word "adieu" once
spoken, he sighs an eternal farewell to the shores of "La belle
France," and, with the natural light-heartedness of the nation,
he settles cheerfully in a colony as his adopted country.  He
lays out his grounds with taste, and plants groves of exquisite
fruit trees, whose produce will, he hopes, be tasted by his
children and grandchildren.  Accordingly, in a French colony
there is a tropical beauty in the cultivated trees and flowers
which is seldom seen in our possessions.  The fruits are brought
to perfection, as there is the same care taken in pruning and
grafting the finest kinds as in our gardens in England.

A Frenchman is necessarily a better settler; everything is
arranged for permanency, from the building of a house to the
cultivation of an estate.  He does not distress his land for
immediate profit, but from the very commencement he adopts a
system of the highest cultivation.

The latter is now acknowledged as the most remunerative course in
all countries; and its good effects are already seen in Ceylon,
where, for some years past, much attention has been devoted to
manuring on coffee estates.

No crop has served to develop the natural poverty of the soil so
much as coffee; and there is no doubt that, were it possible to
procure manure in sufficient quantity, the holes should be well
filled at the time of planting.  This would give an increased
vigor to the young plant that would bring the tree into bearing
at an earlier date, as it would the sooner arrive at perfection.

The present system of coffee-planting on a good estate is
particularly interesting.  It has now been proved that the best
elevation in Ceylon to combine fine quality with large crops is
from twenty-five hundred to four thousand feet.  At one time it
was considered that the finest quality was produced at the
highest range; but the estates at an elevation of five thousand
feet are so long at arriving at perfection, and the crop
produced is so small, that the lower elevation is preferred.

In the coffee districts of Ceylon there is little or no level
ground to be obtained, and the steep sides of the hills offer
many objections to cultivation.  The soil, naturally light and
poor, is washed by every shower, and the more soluble portions,
together with the salts of the manure applied to the trees, are
being continually robbed by the heavy rains.  Thus it is next to
impossible to keep an estate in a high state of cultivation,
without an enormous expense in the constant application of

Many estates are peculiarly subject to landslips, which are
likewise produced by the violence of the rains.  In these cases
the destruction is frequently to a large extent; great rocks are
detached from the summits of the hills, and sweep off whole lines
of trees in their descent.

Wherever landslips are frequent, they may be taken as an evidence
of a poor, clay subsoil.  The rain soaks through the surface; and
not being able to percolate through the clay with sufficient
rapidity, it lodges between the two strata, loosening the upper
surface, which slides from the greasy clay; launched, as it were,
by its own gravity into the valley below.

This is the worst kind of soil for the coffee tree, whose long
tap-root is ever seeking nourishment from beneath.  On this soil
it is very common to see a young plantation giving great promise;
but as the trees increase in growth the tap-root reaches the clay
subsoil and the plantation immediately falls off.  The subsoil is
of far more importance to the coffee-tree than the upper surface;
the latter may be improved by manure, but if the former is bad
there is no remedy.

The first thing to be considered being the soil, and the planter
being satisfied with its quality, there is another item of equal
importance to be taken into consideration when choosing a
locality for a coffee estate. This is an extent of grazing land
sufficient for the support of the cattle required for producing

In a country with so large a proportion of forest as Ceylon, this
is not always practicable; in which case land should be cleared
and grass planted, as it is now proved that without manure an
estate will never pay the proprietor.

The locality being fixed upon, the clearing of the forest is
commenced.  The felling is begun from the base of the hills, and
the trees being cut about half through, are started in sections
of about an acre at one fall.  This is easily effected by felling
some large tree from the top, which, falling upon its
half-divided neighbor, carries everything before it like a pack
of cards.

The number of acres required having been felled, the boughs and
small branches are all lopped, and, together with the cleared
underwood, they form a mass over the surface of the ground
impervious to man or beast.  This mass, exposed to a powerful
sun, soon becomes sufficiently dry for burning, and, the time of
a brisk breeze being selected,. the torch is applied.

The magnificent sight of so extensive a fire is succeeded by the
desolate appearance of blackened stumps and smouldering trunks of
trees: the whole of the branches and tinderwood having been swept
away by the mighty blaze, the land is comparatively clear.

Holes two feet square are now dug in parallel lines at a distance
of from six to eight feet apart throughout the estate, and
advantage being taken of the wet season, they are planted with
young coffee trees of about twelve inches high.  Nothing is now
required but to keep the land clean until the trees attain the
height of four feet and come into bearing.  This, at an elevation
of three thousand feet, they generally do in two years and a
half.  The stem is then topped, to prevent its higher growth and
to produce a large supply of lateral shoots.

The system of pruning is the same as with all fruit trees; the
old wood being kept down to induce fruit bearing shoots, whose
number must be proportioned to the strength of the tree.

The whole success of the estate now depends upon constant
cleaning, plentiful manuring and careful pruning, with a due
regard to a frugal expenditure and care in the up-keep of
buildings, etc., etc.  Much attention is also required in the
management of the cattle on the estate, for without a proper
system the amount of manure produced will be proportionately
small.  They should be bedded up every night hock deep with fresh
litter and the manure thus formed should be allowed to remain in
the shed until it is between two and three feet deep.  It should
then be treated on a "Geoffrey" pit (named after its inventor).

This is the simplest and most perfect method for working up the
weeds from an estate, and effectually destroying their seeds at
the same time that they are converted into manure.

A water-tight platform is formed of stucco - say forty feet
square - surrounded by a wall two feet high, so as to form a
tank.  Below this is a sunken cistern -say eight feet square -
into which the drainage would be conducted from the upper
platform.  In this cistern a force-pump is fitted, and the
cistern is half filled with a solution of saltpetre and

A layer of weeds and rubbish is now laid upon the platform for a
depth of three feet, surmounted by a layer of good dung from the
cattle sheds of one foot thick.  These layers are continued
alternately in the proportion of three to one of weeds, until the
mass is piled to a height of twenty feet, the last layer being
good dung.  Upon this mass the contents of the cistern are pumped
and evenly distributed by means of a spreader.

This mixture promotes the most rapid decomposition of vegetable
matter, and, combining with the juices of the weeds and the salts
of the dung, it drains evenly through the whole mass, forming a
most perfect compost. The surplus moisture, upon reaching the
bottom of the heap, drains from the slightly inclined platform
into the receiving cistern, and is again pumped over the mass.

This is the cheapest and best way of making manure upon an
estate, the cattle sheds and pits being arranged in the different
localities most suitable for reducing the labor of transport.

The coffee berry, when ripe, is about the size of a cherry, and
is shaped like a laurel berry.  The flesh has a sweet but vapid
taste, and encloses two seeds of coffee.  These are carefully
packed by nature in a double skin.

The cherry coffee is gathered by coolies at the rate of two
bushels each per diem, and is cleared from the flesh by passing
through a pulper, a machine consisting of cylindrical copper
graters, which tear the flesh from the berry and leave the coffee
in its second covering of parchment, The coffee is then exposed
to a partial fermentation by being piled for some hours in a
large heap.  This has the effect of loosening the fleshy
particles, which, by washing in a cistern of running water, are
detached from the berry. It is then rendered perfectly dry in the
sun or by means of artificially heated air; and, being packed in
bags, it is forwarded to Colombo.  Here, it is unpacked and sent
to the mill, which, by means of heavy rollers, detaches the
parchment and under silver skin, and leaves the grayish-blue
berry in a state for market.  The injured grains are sorted out
by women, and the coffee is packed for the last time and shipped
to England.

A good and well-managed estate should produce an average crop of
ten hundredweight per acre, leaving a net profit of fifteen
shillings per hundredweight under favorable circumstances. 
Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to make definite
calculations in all agricultural pursuits: the inclemency of
seasons and the attacks of vermin are constantly marring the
planter's expectations.  Among the latter plagues the "bug"
stands foremost.  This is a minute and gregarious insect, which
lives upon the juices of the coffee tree, and accordingly is most
destructive to an estate.  It attacks a variety of plants, but
more particularly the tribe of jessamine; thus the common
jessamine, the "Gardenia" (Cape jessamine) and the coffee
(Jasminum Arabicum) are more especially subject to its ravages.

The dwelling of this insect is frequently confounded with the
living creature itself.  This dwelling is in shape and
appearance like the back shell of a tortoise, or, still more,
like a "limpet," being attached to the stem of the tree in the
same manner that the latter adheres to a rock.  This is the nest
or house, which, although no larger than a split hempseed
contains some hundreds of the "bug." As some thousands of these
scaly nests exist upon one tree, myriads of insects must be
feeding upon its juices.

The effect produced upon the tree is a blackened and sooty
appearance, like a London shrub; the branches look withered, and
the berries do not plump out to their full size, but, for the
most part, fall unripened from the tree.  This attack is usually
of about two years' duration; after which time the tree loses its
blackened appearance, which peels off the surface of the leaves
like gold-beaters' skin, -and they appear in their natural color. 
Coffee plants of young growth are liable to complete destruction
if severely attacked by " bug."

Rats are also very destructive to an estate ; they are great
adepts at pruning, and completely strip the trees of their young
shoots, thus utterly destroying a crop.  These vermin are more
easily guarded against than the insect tribe, and should be
destroyed by poison. Hog's lard, ground cocoa-nut and phosphorus
form the most certain bait and poison combined.

These are some of the drawbacks to coffee-planting, to say
nothing of bad seasons and fluctuating prices, which, if properly
calculated, considerably lessen the average profits of an estate,
as it must be remembered that while a crop is reduced in
quantity, the expenses continue at the usual rate, and are
severely felt when consecutive years bring no produce to meet

Were it not for the poverty of the soil, the stock of cattle
required on a coffee estate for the purpose of manure might be
made extremely profitable, and the gain upon fatted stock would
pay for the expense of manuring the estate. This would be the
first and most reasonable idea to occur to an agriculturist -
"buy poor cattle at a low price, fatten them for the butcher, and
they give both profit and manure."

Unfortunately, the natural pasturage is not sufficiently good to
fatten beasts indiscriminately.  There are some few out of a herd
of a hundred who will grow fat upon anything, but the generality
will not improve to any great degree.  This accounts for the
scarcity of fine meat throughout Ceylon.  Were the soil only
tolerably good, so that oats, vetches, turnips and mangel wurtzel
could be could be grown on virgin land without manure, beasts
might be stall-fed, the manure doubled by that method, and a
profit made on the animals.  Pigs are now kept extensively on
coffee estates for the sake of their manure, and being fed on
Mauritius grass (a coarse description of gigantic " couch") and a
liberal allowance of cocoa-nut oil cake ("poonac"), are found to
succeed, although the manure is somewhat costly.

English or Australian sheep have hitherto been untried - for what
reason I cannot imagine, unless from the expense of their prime
cost, which is about two pounds per head.  These thrive to such
perfection at Newera Ellia, and also in Kandy, that they should
succeed in a high degree in the medium altitudes of the coffee
estates.  There are immense tracts of country peculiarly adapted
for sheep-farming throughout the highlands of Ceylon, especially
in the neighborhood of the coffee estates.  There are two
enemies, however, against which they would have to contend -
viz., "leopards" and "leeches." The former are so destructive
that the shepherd could never lose sight of his flock without
great risk; but the latter, although troublesome, are not to be
so much dreaded as people suppose.  They are very small, and the
quantity of blood drawn by their bite is so trifling that no
injury could possibly follow, unless from the flies, which would
be apt to attack the sheep on the smell of blood.  These are
drawbacks which might be easily avoided by common precaution,
and I feel thoroughly convinced that sheep-farming upon the
highland pasturage would be a valuable adjunct to a coffee
estate, both as productive of manure and profit. I have heard the
same opinion expressed by an experienced Australian

This might be experimented upon in the "down" country of Ouva
with great hopes of success, and by a commencement upon a small
scale the risk would be trifling.  Here there is an immense tract
of country with a peculiar short grass in every way adapted for
sheep-pasturage, and with the additional advantage of being
nearly free from leopards.  Should sheep succeed on an extensive
scale the advantage to the farmer and to the colony would be

The depredations of leopards among cattle are no inconsiderable
causes of loss.  At Newera Ellia hardly a week passes without
some casualty among the stock of different proprietors.  Here the
leopards are particularly daring, and cases have frequently
occurred where they have effected their entrance to a cattle-shed
by scratching a hole through the thatched roof.  They then commit
a wholesale slaughter among sheep and cattle.  Sometimes,
however, they catch a "Tartar." The native cattle are small, but
very active, and the cows are particularly savage when the calf
is with them.

About three years ago a leopard took it into his head to try the
beefsteaks of a very savage and sharp-horned cow, who with her
calf was the property of the blacksmith.  It was a dark, rainy
night, the blacksmith and his wife were in bed, and the cow and
her calf were nestled in the warm straw in the cattle-shed.  The
door was locked, and all was apparently secure, where the hungry
leopard prowled stealthily round the cowhouse, sniffing the prey
within.  The scent of the leopard at once aroused the keen senses
of the cow, made doubly acute by her anxiety for her little
charge, and she stood ready for the danger as the leopard, having
mounted on the roof, commenced scratching his way through the

Down he sprang!- but at the same instant, with a splendid charge,
the cow pinned him against the wall, and a battle ensued which
can easily be imagined.  A coolie slept in the corner of the
cattle-shed, whose wandering senses were completely scattered
when he found himself the unwilling umpire of the fight. He
rushed out and shut the door.  In a few minutes he succeeded in
awakening the blacksmith, who struck a light and proceeded to
load a pistol, the only weapon that he possessed.  During the
whole of this time the bellowing of the cow, the roars of the
leopard and the thumping, trampling and shuffling which
proceeded from the cattle-shed, explained the savage nature of
the fight.

The blacksmith, who was no sportsman, shortly found himself with
a lanthorn in one hand, a pistol in the other, and no idea of
what he meant to do.  He waited, therefore, at the cattle-shed
door, and holding the light so as to shine through the numerous
small apertures in the shed, he looked in.

The leopard no longer growled; but the cow was mad with fury. 
She alternately threw a large dark mass above her head, then
quickly pinned it to the ground on its descent, then bored it
against the wall as it crawled helplessly toward a corner of the
shed.  This was the "beef-eater" in reduced circumstances! The
gallant little cow had nearly killed him, and was giving him the
finishing strokes.  The blacksmith perceived the leopard's
helpless state, and, boldly opening the door, he discharged his
pistol, and the next moment was bolting as hard as he could run,
with the warlike cow after him.  She was regularly "up," and was
ready for anything or anybody.  However, she was at length
pacified, and the dying leopard was put out of his misery.

There are two distinct species of the leopard in Ceylon - viz.,
the "chetah," and the "leopard" or "panther." There have been
many opinions on the subject, but I have taken particular notice
of the two animals, and nothing can be more clear than the

The "chetah" is much smaller than the leopard, seldom exceeding
seven feet from the nose to the end of tile tail.  He is covered
with round black "spots" of the size of a shilling, and his
weight rarely exceeds ninety pounds.

The leopard varies from eight to nine feet in length, and has
been known to reach even ten feet. His body is covered with black
"rings," with a rich brown centre - his muzzle and legs are
speckled with black "spots," and his weight is from one hundred
and ten to one hundred and seventy pounds.  There is little or no
distinction between the leopard and the panther, they are
synonymous terms for a variety of species in different countries. 
In Ceylon all leopards are termed "chetahs" which proceeds from
the general ignorance of the presence of the two species.

The power of a leopard is wonderful in proportion to his weight. 
I have seen a full-grown bullock with its neck broken by the
leopard that attacked it.  It is the popular belief that the
effect is produced by a blow of the paw; this is not the case; it
is not simply the blow, but it is the combination of the weight,
the power and the momentum of the spring which renders the
effects of a leopard's attack so surprising.

Few leopards rush boldly to the attack like a dog; they stalk
their game and advance crouchingly, making use of every object
that will afford them cover until they are within a few bounds of
their prey.  Then the immense power of muscle is displayed in the
concentrated energy of the spring; he flies through the air and
settles on the throat, usually throwing his own body over the
animal, while his teeth and claws are fixed on the neck; this is
the manner in which the spine of an animal is broken - by a
sudden twist, and not by a blow.

The blow from the paw is nevertheless immensely powerful, and at
one stroke will rip open a bullock like a knife ; but the after
effects of the wound are still more to be dreaded than the force
of the blow.  There is a peculiar poison in the claw which is
highly dangerous.  This is caused by the putrid flesh which they
are constantly tearing, and which is apt to cause gangrene by

It is a prevalent idea that a leopard will not eat putrid meat,
but that he forsakes a rotten carcase and seeks fresh prey. 
There is no doubt that a natural love of slaughter induces him to
a constant search for prey, but it has nothing to do with the
daintiness of his appetite.  A leopard will eat any stinking
offal that offers, and I once had a melancholy proof of this.

I was returning from a morning's hunting; it was a bitter day;
the rain was pouring in torrents, the wind was blowing a gale and
sweeping the water in sheets along the earth.  The hounds were
following at my horse's heels, with their cars and sterns down,
looking very miserable, and altogether it was a day when man and
beast should have been at home.  Presently, upon turning a corner
of the road, I saw a Malabar boy of about sixteen years of age,
squatted shivering by the roadside.  His only covering being a
scanty cloth round his loins, I told him to get up and go on or
he would be starved with cold.  He said something in reply, which
I could not understand, and repeating my first warning, I rode
on.  It was only two miles to my house, but upon arrival I could
not help thinking that the boy must be ill, and having watched
the gate for some time to see if he passed by, I determined to
send for him.

Accordingly, I started off a couple of men with orders to carry
him up if he were sick.

They returned in little more than an hour, but the poor boy was
dead! - sitting crouched in the same position in which I had seen
him.  He must have died of cold and starvation; he was a mere

I sent men to the spot, and had him buried by the roadside, and a
few days after I rode down to see where they had laid him.

A quantity of fresh-turned earth lay scattered about, mingled
with fragments of rags.  Bones much gnawed lay here and there on
the road, and a putrid skull rolled from a shapeless hole among a
confused and horrible heap.  The leopards had scratched him up
and devoured him; their footprints were still fresh upon the damp

Both leopards and chetahs are frequently caught at Newera Ellia. 
The common trap is nothing more or less than an old-fashioned
mouse-trap, with a falling door on a large scale; this is baited
with a live kid or sheep; but the leopard is naturally so wary
that he frequently refuses to enter the ominous-looking building,
although he would not hesitate to break into an ordinary shed. 
The best kind of trap is a gun set with a line, and the bait
placed so that the line must be touched as the animal advances
toward it.  This is certain destruction to the leopard, but it is
extremely dangerous, in case any stranger should happen to be in
the neighborhood who might inadvertently touch the cord.

Leopards are particularly fond of stealing dogs, and have
frequently taken them from the very verandas of the houses at
Newera Ellia in the dusk of the evening.  Two or three cases have
occurred within the last two years where they have actually
sprung out upon dogs who have been accompanying their owners upon
the high road in broad daylight.  Their destruction should be
encouraged by a government reward of one pound per head, in which
case their number would be materially decreased in a few years.

The best traps for chetahs would be very powerful vermin-gins,
made expressly of great size and strength, so as to lie one foot
square when open.  Even a common jackal-trap would hold a
leopard, provided the chain was fastened to an elastic bough, so
that it would yield slightly to his spring; but if it were
secured to a post, or to anything that would enable him to get a
dead pull against it, something would most likely give way.  I
have constantly set these traps for them, but always without
success, as some other kind of vermin is nearly certain to spring
the trap before the chetah's arrival.  Among the variety of small
animals thus caught I have frequently taken the civet cat.  This
is a very pretty arid curious creature, about forty inches long
from nose to tip of tail.  The fur is ash-gray, mottled with
black spots, and the tail is divided by numerous black rings.  It
is of the genius Viverra, and is exceedingly fierce when
attacked.  It preys chiefly upon fowls, hares, rats, etc.  Its
great peculiarity is the musk-bag or gland situated nearly under
the tail; this is a projecting and valued gland, which secretes
the musk, and is used medicinally by the Cingalese, on which
account it is valued at about six shillings a pod.  The smell is
very powerful, and in my opinion very offensive, when the animal
is alive; but when a pod of musk is extracted and dried, it has
nothing more than the well-known scent of that used by perfumers. 
The latter is more frequently the production of the musk-deer,
although the scent is possessed by many animals, and also
insects, as the musk-ox, the musk-deer, the civet or musk-cat,
the musk-rat, the musk-beetle, etc.

Of these, the musk-rat is a terrible plague, as he perfumes
everything that he passes over, rendering fruit, cake, bread,
etc., perfectly uneatable, and even flavoring bottled wine by
running over the bottles.  This, however, requires a little
explanation, although it is the popular belief that he taints the
wine through the glass.

The fact is, he taints the cork, and the flavor of musk is
communicated to the wine during the process of uncorking the

There is a great variety of rats in Ceylon, from the tiny shrew
to the large "bandicoot".  This is a most destructive creature in
all gardens, particularly among potato crops, whole rows of which
he digs out and devours.  He is a perfect rat in appearance, but
he would rather astonish one of our English tom-cats if
encountered during his rambles in search of rats, as the
"bandicoot" is about the same size as the cat.

There is an immense variety of vermin throughout Ceylon,
including many of that useful species the ichneumon, who in
courage and strength stands first of his tribe.  The destruction
of snakes by this animal renders him particularly respected, and
no person ever thinks of destroying him.  No matter how venomous
the snake, the ichneumon, or mongoose, goes straight at him, and
never gives up the contest until the snake is vanquished.

It is the popular belief that the mongoose eats some herb which
has the property of counteracting the effects of a venomous bite;
but this has been proved to be a fallacy, as pitched battles have
been witnessed between a mongoose and the most poisonous snakes
in a closed room, where there was no possibility of his procuring
the antidote.  His power consists in his vigilance and activity;
he avoids the dart of the snake, and adroitly pins him by the
back of the neck. Here he maintains his hold, in spite of the
contortions and convulsive writhing of the snake, until he
succeeds in breaking the spine.  A mongoose is about three feet
long from the nose to the tip of the tail, and is of the same
genus as the civet cat.  Unfortunately, he does not confine his
destruction to vermin, but now and then pays a visit to a
hen-roost, and sometimes, poor fellow! he puts his foot in the

Ceylon can produce an enticing catalogue of attractions, from the
smallest to the largest of the enemies to the human race - ticks,
bugs, fleas, tarantulas, centipedes, scorpions, leeches, snakes,
lizards, crocodiles, etc., of which more hereafter.

CHAPTER VI. "Game Eyes" for Wild Sports - Enjoyments of Wild
Life - Cruelty of Sports - Native Hunters - Moormen Traders -
Their wretched Guns - Rifles and Smooth-bores - Heavy Balls and
Heavy Metal - Beattie's Rifles - Balls and Patches - Experiments
- The Double-groove - Power of Heavy Metal - Curious Shot at a
Bull Elephant - African and Ceylon Elephants - Structure of Skull
- Lack of Trophies - Boar-spears and Hunting-knives - " Bertram"
- A Boar Hunt - Fatal Cut.

In traveling through Ceylon, the remark is often made by the
tourist that "he sees so little game."  From the accounts
generally written of its birds and beasts, a stranger would
naturally expect to come upon them at every turn, instead of
which it is a well-known fact that one hundred miles of the
wildest country may be traversed without seeing a single head of
game, and the uninitiated might become skeptical as to its

This is accounted for by the immense proportion of forest and
jungle, compared to the open country.  The nature of wild animals
is to seek cover at sunrise, and to come forth at sunset;
therefore it is not surprising that so few are casually seen by
the passing traveler.  There is another reason, which would
frequently apply even in an open country.  Unless the traveler is
well accustomed to wild sports, he his not his "game eye" open in
fact; he either passes animals without observing them, or they
see him and retreat from view before he remarks them.

It is well known that the color of most animals is adapted by
Nature to the general tint of the country which they inhabit. 
Thus, having no contrast, the animal matches with surrounding
objects, and is difficult to be distinguished.

It may appear ridiculous to say that an elephant is very
difficult to be seen! - he would be plain enough certainly on the
snow, or on a bright green meadow in England, where the
contrasted colors would make him at once a striking object; but
in a dense jungle his skin matches so completely with the dead
sticks and dry leaves, and his legs compare so well with the
surrounding tree-stems, that he is generally unperceived by a
stranger, even when pointed out to him.  I have actually been
taking aim at an elephant within seven or eight paces, when he
has been perfectly unseen by a friend at my elbow, who was
peering through the bushes in quest of him.

Quickness of eye is an indispensable quality in sportsmen, the
possession of which constitutes one of their little vanities. 
Nothing is so conducive to the perfection of all the senses as
the constant practice in wild and dangerous sports.  The eye and
the ear become habituated to watchfulness, and their powers are
increased in the same proportion as the muscles of the body are
by exercise.  Not only is an animal immediately observed, but
anything out of the common among surrounding objects instantly
strikes the attention; the waving of one bough in particular when
all are moving in the breeze; the switching of a deer's ear above
the long grass; the slight rustling of an animal moving in the
jungle.  The senses are regularly tuned up, and the limbs are in
the same condition from continual exercise.

There is a peculiar delight, which passes all description, in
feeling thoroughly well-strung, mentally and physically, with a
good rifle in your hand and a trusty gun-bearer behind you with
another, thus stalking quietly through a fine country, on the
look-out for "anything," no matter what.  There is a delightful
feeling of calm excitement, if I might so express it, which
nothing but wild sports will give.  There is no time when a man
knows himself so thoroughly as when he depends upon himself, and
this forms his excitement.  With a thorough confidence in the
rifle and a bright lookout, he stalks noiselessly along the open
glades, picking out the softest places, avoiding the loose stones
or anything that would betray his steps; now piercing the deep
shadows of the jungles, now scanning the distant plains, nor
leaving a nook or hollow unsearched by his vigilant gaze.  The
fresh breakage of a branch, the barking of a tree-stem, the
lately nibbled grass, with the sap still oozing from the delicate
blade, the disturbed surface of a pool; everything is noted, even
to the alarmed chatter of a bird : nothing is passed unheeded by
an experienced hunter.

To quiet, steady-going people in England there is an idea of
cruelty inseparable from the pursuit of large game; people talk
of "unoffending elephants," "poor buffaloes," "pretty deer," and
a variety of nonsense about things which they cannot possibly
understand. Besides, the very person who abuses wild sports on
the plea of cruelty indulges personally in conventional
cruelties which are positive tortures.  His appetite is not
destroyed by the knowledge that his cook his skinned the eels
alive, or that the lobsters were plunged into boiling water to be
cooked.  He should remember that a small animal has the same
feeling as the largest and if he condemns any sport as cruel, he
must condemn all.

There is no doubt whatever that a certain amount of cruelty
pervades all sports.  But in "wild sports" the animals are for
the most part large, dangerous and mischievous, and they are
pursued and killed in the most speedy, and therefore in the most
merciful, manner.

The government reward for the destruction of elephants in Ceylon
was formerly ten shillings per tail; it is now reduced to seven
shillings in some districts, and is altogether abolished in
others, as the number killed was so great that the government
imagined they could not afford the annual outlay.

Although the number of these animals is still so immense in
Ceylon, they must nevertheless have been much reduced within the
last twenty years.  In those days the country was overrun with
them, and some idea of their numbers may be gathered from the
fact that three first-rate shots in three days bagged one hundred
and four elephants.  This was told to me by one of the parties
concerned, and it throws our modern shooting into the shade.  In
those days, however, the elephants were comparatively
undisturbed, and they were accordingly more easy to approach. 
One of the oldest native hunters has assured me that he has seen
the elephants, when attacked, recklessly expose themselves to the
shots and endeavour to raise their dead comrades.  This was at a
time when guns were first heard in the interior of Ceylon, and
the animals had never been shot at.  Since that time the decrease
in the game of Ceylon has been immense.  Every year increases the
number of guns in the possession of the natives, and accordingly
diminishes the number of animals.  From the change which has come
over many parts of the country within my experience of the last
eight years, I am of opinion that the next ten years will see the
deer-shooting in Ceylon completely spoiled, and the elephants
very much reduced.  There are now very few herds of elephants in
Ceylon that have not been shot at by either Europeans or natives,
and it is a common occurrence to kill elephants with numerous
marks of old bullet wounds.  Thus the animals are constantly on
the "qui vive," and at the report of a gun every herd within
hearing starts off for the densest jungles.

A native can now obtain a gun for thirty shillings; and with two
shillings' worth of ammunition, he starts on a hunting trip. 
Five elephants, at a reward of seven shillings per tail, more
than pay the prime cost of his gun, to say nothing of the deer
and other game that he has bagged in the interim.

Some, although very few, of the natives are good sportsmen in a
potting way.  They get close to their game, and usually bag it. 
This is a terrible system for destroying, and the more so as it
is increasing.  There is no rest for the animals; in the day-time
they are tracked up, and on moonlight nights the drinking-places
are watched, and an unremitting warfare is carried on.  This is
sweeping both deer and buffalo from the country, and must
eventually almost annihilate them.

The Moormen are the best hunters, and they combine sport with
trade in such a manner that "all is fish that comes to their
net."  Five or six good hunters start with twenty or thirty
bullocks and packs.  Some of these are loaded with common cloths,
etc., to exchange with the village people for dried venison; but
the intention in taking so many bullocks is to bring borne the
spoils of their hunting trip - in fact, to "carry the bag."  They
take about a dozen leaves of the talipot palm to form a tent, and
at night-time, the packs, being taken off the bullocks, are piled
like a pillar in the centre, and the talipot leaves are formed in
a circular roof above them.  The bullocks are then secured round
the tent to long poles, which are thrown upon the ground and
pinned down by crooked pegs.

These people have an intimate knowledge of the country, and are
thoroughly acquainted with the habits of the animals and the most
likely spots for game.  Buffaloes, pigs and deer are
indiscriminately shot, and the flesh being cut in strips from the
bones is smoked over a green-wood fire, then thoroughly dried in
the sun and packed up for sale.  The deer skins are also
carefully dried and rolled up, and the buffaloes' and deer horns
are slung to the packs.

Many castes of natives will not eat buffalo meat, others will not
eat pork, but all are particularly fond of venison.  This the
Moorman fully understands, and overcomes all scruples by a
general mixture of the different meats, all of which he sells as
venison.  Thus no animal is spared whose flesh can be passed off
for deer.  Fortunately, their guns are so common that they will
not shoot with accuracy beyond ten or fifteen paces, or there
would be no game left within a few years.  How these common guns
stand the heavy charges of powder is a puzzle.  A native thinks
nothing of putting four drachms down a gun that I should be sorry
to fire off at any rate.  It is this heavy charge which enables
such tools to kill elephants which would otherwise be
impossible.  These natives look upon a first-class English rifle
with a sort of veneration.  Such a weapon would be a perfect
fortune to one of these people, and I have often been astonished
that robberies of such things are not more frequent.

There is much difference of opinion among Ceylon sportsmen as to
the style of gun for elephant-shooting.  But there is one point
upon which all are agreed, that no matter what the size of the
bore may be, all the guns should be alike, and the battery for
one man should consist of four double-barrels.  The confusion in
hurried loading where guns are of different calibres is beyond

The size and the weight of guns must depend as much on the
strength and build of a man as a ship's armament does upon her
tonnage; but let no man speak against heavy metal for heavy game,
and let no man decry rifles and uphold smooth-bores (which is
very general), but rather let him say, "I cannot carry a heavy
gun," and "I cannot shoot with a rifle."

There is a vast difference between shooting at a target and
shooting at live game.  Many men who are capital shots at
target-practice cannot touch a deer, and cannot even use the
rifle as a rifle at live game, but actually knock the sights out
and use it as a smoothbore.  This is not the fault of the weapon;
it is the fault of the man.  It is a common saying in Ceylon, and
also in India, that you cannot shoot quick enough with the rifle,
because you cannot get the proper sight in an instant.

Whoever makes use of this argument must certainly be in the habit
of very random shooting with a smoothbore. How can he possibly
get a correct aim with "ball" out of a smoothbore, without
squinting along the barrel and taking the muzzle-sight
accurately? The fact is, that many persons fire so hastily at
game that they take no sight at all, as though they were
snipe-shooting with many hundred grains of shot in the charge. 
This will never do for ball-practice, and when the rifle is
placed in such hands, the breech-sights naturally bother the eye
which is not accustomed to recognize any sight; and while the
person is vainly endeavouring to get the sight correctly on a
moving object, the animal is increasing his distance.  By way of
cutting the Gordian knot, he therefore knocks his sight out, and
accordingly spoils the shooting of the rifle altogether.

Put a rifle in the hands of a man who knows how to handle it, and
let him shoot against the mutilated weapon deprived of its sight,
and laugh at the trial.  Why, a man might as well take the rudder
off a ship because he could not steer, and then abuse the vessel
for not keeping her course!

My idea of guns and rifles is this, that the former should be
used for what their makers intended them, viz., shot-shooting,
and that no ball should be fired from any but the rifle. Of
course it is just as easy and as certain to kill an elephant with
a smooth-bore as with a rifle, as he is seldom fired at until
within ten or twelve paces; but a man, when armed for wild sport,
should be provided with a weapon which is fit for any kind of
ball-shooting at any reasonable range, and his battery should be
perfect for the distance at which he is supposed to aim.

I have never seen any rifles which combine the requisites for
Ceylon shooting to such a degree as my four double-barreled No.
10, which I had made to order.  Then some persons exclaim against
their weight, which is fifteen pounds per gun.  But a word upon
that subject.

No person who understands anything about a rifle would select a
light gun with a large bore, any more than he would have a heavy
carriage for a small horse.  If the man objects to the weight of
the rifle, let him content himself with a smaller bore, but do
not rob the barrels of their good metal for the sake of a heavy
ball.  The more metal that the barrel possesses in proportion to
the diameter of the bore, the better will the rifle carry, nine
times out of ten.  Observe the Swiss rifles for accurate
target-practice - again, remark the American pea rifle; in both
the thickness of metal is immense in proportion to the size of
the ball, which, in great measure, accounts for the precision
with which they carry.

In a light barrel, there is a vibration or jar at the time of
explosion, which takes a certain effect upon the direction of the
ball.  This is necessarily increased by the use of a heavy charge
of powder; and it is frequently seen that a rifle which carries
accurately enough with a very small charge, shoots wide of the
mark when the charge is increased.  This arises from several
causes, generally from the jar of the barrel in the stock,
proceeding either from the want of metal in the rifle or from
improper workmanship in the fittings.

To avoid this, a rifle should be made with double bolts and a
silver plate should always be let into the stock under the
breech; without which the woodwork will imperceptibly wear, and
the barrel will become loose in the stock and jar when fired.

There is another reason for the necessity of heavy barrels,
especially for two-grooved rifles.  Unless the grooves he
tolerably deep, they will not hold the ball when a heavy charge
is behind it; it quits the grooves, strips its belt, and flies
out as though fired from a smoothbore.

A large-bore rifle is a useless incumbrance, unless it is so
constructed that it will bear a proportionate charge of powder,
and shoot as accurately with its proof charge as with a single
drachm.  The object in a large bore is to possess an extra
powerful weapon, therefore the charge of powder must be increased
in proportion to the weight of the ball, or the extra power is
not obtained.  Nevertheless, most of the heavy rifles that I have
met with will not carry an adequate charge of powder, and they
are accordingly no more powerful than guns of lighter bore which
carry their proportionate charge - the powder has more than its
fair amount of work.

Great care should be therefore taken in making rifles for heavy
game.  There cannot be a better calibre than No 10; it is large
enough for any animal in the world, and a double-barreled rifle
of this bore, without a ramrod, is not the least cumbersome, even
at the weight of fifteen pounds.  A ramrod is not required to be
in the gun for Ceylon shooting, as there is always a man behind
with a spare rifle, who carries a loading rod, and were a ramrod
fitted to a rifle of this size, it would render it very unhandy,
and would also weaken the stock.

The sights should be of platinum at the muzzle, and blue steel,
with a platinum strip with a broad and deep letter V cut in the
breech-sights.  In a gloomy forest it is frequently difficult to
catch the muzzle sight, unless it is of some bright metal, such
as silver or platinum; and a broad cut in the breech-sights, if
shaped as described, allows a rapid aim, and may be taken fine or
coarse at option.

The charge of powder must necessarily depend upon its strength. 
For elephant-shooting, I always rise six drachms of the best
powder for the No. 10 rifles, and four drachms as the minimum
charge for deer and general shooting; the larger charge is then
unnecessary; it both wastes ammunition and alarms the country by
the loudness of the report.

There are several minutiae to be attended to in the sports of
Ceylon.  The caps should always be carried in a shot-charger (one
of the common spring-lid chargers) and never be kept loose in the
pocket.  The heat is so intense that the perspiration soaks
through everything, and so injures the caps that the very best
will frequently miss fire.

The powder should be dried for a few minutes in the sun before it
is put into the flask, and it should be well shaken and stirred
to break any lumps that may be in it. One of these, by
obstructing the passage in the flask, may cause much trouble in
loading quickly, especially when a wounded elephant is regaining
his feet.  In such a case you must keep your eyes on the animal
when loading, and should the passage of the powder-flask be
stopped by a lump, you may fancy the gun is loaded when in fact
not a grain of powder has entered it.

The patches should be of silk, soaked in a mixture of one part of
beeswax and two of fresh hog's lard, free from salt.  If they are
spread with pure grease, it melts out of them in a hot country,
and they become dry.  Silk is better than linen as it is not so
liable to be cut down by the sharp grooves of the rifle. It is
also thinner than linen or calico, and the ball is therefore more
easily rammed down.

All balls should be made of pure lead, without any hardening
mixture.  It was formerly the fashion to use zinc balls, and lead
with a mixture of tin, etc., in elephant-shooting.  This was not
only unnecessary, but the balls, from a loss of weight by
admixture with lighter metals, lost force in a proportionate
degree.  Lead may be a soft metal, but it is much harder than any
animal's skull, and if a tallow candle can be shot through a deal
board, surely a leaden bullet is hard enough for an elephant's

I once tried a very conclusive experiment on the power of balls
of various metals propelled by an equal charge of powder.

I had a piece of wrought iron five-eights of an inch thick, and
six feet high by two in breadth.  I fired at this at one hundred
and seventy yards with my two-grooved four-ounce rifle, with a
reduced charge of six drachms of powder and a ball of pure lead. 
It bulged the iron like a piece of putty, and split the centre of
the bulged spot into a star, through the crevice of which I could
pass a pen-blade.

A ball composed of half zinc and half lead, fired from the same
distance, hardly produced a perceptible effect upon the iron
target.  It just slightly indented it.

I then tried a ball of one-third zinc and two-thirds lead, but
there was no perceptible difference in the effect.

I subsequently tried a tin bill, and again a zinc ball, but
neither of them produced any other effect than slightly to indent
the iron.

I tried all these experiments again at fifty yards' range, with
the same advantage in favor of the pure lead; and at this reduced
distance a double-barreled No. 16 smoothbore, with a large charge
of four drachms of powder and a lead ball, also bulged and split
the iron into a star.  This gun, with a hard tin ball and the
same charge of powder, did not produce any other effect than an
almost imperceptible indentation.

if a person wishes to harden a bill for any purpose, it should be
done by an admixture of quicksilver to the lead while the latter
is in a state of fusion, a few seconds before the ball is cast. 
The mixture must be then quickly stirred with an iron rod, and
formed into the moulds without loss of time, as at this high
temperature the quicksilver will evaporate.  Quicksilver is
heavier than lead, and makes a ball excessively hard; so much so
that it would very soon spoil a rifle.  Altogether, the hardening
of a ball has been shown to be perfectly unnecessary, and the
latter receipt would be found very expensive.

If a wonderful effect is required, the steel-tipped conical ball
should be used.  I once shot through fourteen elm planks, each
one inch thick, with a four-ounce steel-tipped cone, with the
small charge (for that rifle) of four drachms of powder.  The
proper charge for that gun is one-fourth the weight of the ball,
or one ounce of powder, with which it carries with great nicety
and terrific effect, owing to its great weight of metal
(twenty-one pounds); but it is a small piece of artillery which
tries the shoulder very severely in the recoil.

I have frequently watched a party of soldiers winding along a
pass, with their white trousers, red coats, white cross-belts and
brass plates, at about four hundred yards, and thought what a
raking that rifle would give a body, of troops in such colors for
a mark.  A ball of that weight with an ounce of powder, would
knock down six or eight men in a row.  A dozen of such weapons
well handled on board a ship would create an astonishing effect;
but for most purposes the weight of the ammunition is a serious

There is a great difference of opinion among sportsmen  regarding
the grooves of a rifle; some prefer the two-groove and belted
ball; others give preference to the eight or twelve-groove and
smoothbore.  There are good arguments on both sides.

There is no doubt that the two-groove is the hardest hitter and
the longest ranger; it also has the advantage of not fouling so
quickly as the many-grooved.  On the other hand, the
many-grooved is much easier to load; it hits quite hard enough;
and it ranges truly much farther than any person would think of
firing at an animal.  Therefore, for sporting purposes, the only
advantage which the two-groove possesses is the keeping clean,
while the many-groove claims the advantage of quick loading.

The latter is by far the more important recommendation,
especially as the many-groove can be loaded without the
assistance of the eye, as the ball, being smooth and round, can
only follow the right road down the barrel.  The two-grooved
rifle, when new, is particularly difficult to load, as the ball
must be tight to avoid windage, and it requires some nicety in
fitting and pressing the belt of the ball into the groove, in
such a manner that it shall start straight upon the pressure of
the loading-rod.  If it gives a slight heel to one side at the
commencement, it is certain to stick in its course, and it then
occupies much time and trouble in being rammed home.  Neither
will it shoot with accuracy, as, from the amount of ramming to
get the ball to its place, it has become so misshapen that it is
a mere lump of lead, and no longer a rifle-ball. My
double-barreled No. 10 rifles are two-grooved, and an infinity
of trouble they gave me for the first two years.  Many a time I
have been giving my whole weight to the loading rod, with a ball
stuck half-way down the barrel, while wounded elephants lay
struggling upon the ground, expected every moment to rise. >From
constant use and repeated cleaning they have now become so
perfect that they load with the greatest ease; but guns of their
age are not fair samples of their class, and for rifles in
general for sporting purposes I should give a decided preference
to the many-groove.  I have had a long two-ounce rifle of the
latter class, which I have shot with for many years, and it
certainly is not so hard a hitter as the two-grooved No. 10's;
but it hits uncommonly hard, too; and if I do not bag with it, it
is always my fault, and no blame can be attached to the rifle.

For heavy game-shooting, I do not think there can be a much
fairer standard for the charge of powder than one-fifth the
weight of the ball for all bores.  Some persons do not use so
much as this; but I am always an advocate for strong guns and
plenty of powder.

A heavy charge will reach the brain of an elephant, no matter in
what position he may stand, provided a proper angle is taken for
attaining it.  A trifling amount of powder is sufficient, if the
elephant offers a front shot, or the temple at right angles, or
the ear shot; but if a man pretend to a knowledge of
elephant-shooting, he should think of nothing but the brain, and
his knowledge of the anatomy of the elephant's head should be
such that he can direct a straight line to this mark from any
position.  He then requires a rifle of such power that the ball
will crash through every obstacle along the course directed.  To
effect this he must not be stingy of the powder.

I have frequently killed elephants by curious shots with the
rifles in this manner; but I once killed a bull elephant by one
shot in the upper jaw, which will at once exemplify the
advantage of a powerful rifle in taking the angle for the brain.

My friend Palliser and I were out shooting on the day previous,
and we had spent some hours in vainly endeavouring to track up a
single bull elephant.  I forget what we bagged, but I recollect
well that we were unlucky in finding our legitimate game. That
night at dinner we heard elephants roaring in the Yallé river,
upon the banks of which our tent was pitched in fine open forest. 
For about an hour the roaring was continued, apparently on both
sides the river, and we immediately surmised that our gentleman
friend on our side of the stream was answering the call of the
ladies of some herd on the opposite bank.  We went to sleep with
the intention of waking at dawn of day, and then strolling
quietly along with only two gun-bearers each, who were to carry
my four double No 10's, while we each carried a single barrel for

The earliest gray tint of morning saw us dressed and ready, the
rifles loaded, a preliminary cup of hot chocolate swallowed, and
we were off while the forest was still gloomy; the night seemed
to hang about it, although the sky was rapidly clearing above.

A noble piece of Nature's handiwork is that same Yallé forest. 
The river flows sluggishly through its centre in a breadth of
perhaps ninety yards, and the immense forest trees extend their
giant arms from the high banks above the stream, throwing dark
shadows upon its surface, enlivened by the silvery glitter of the
fish as they dart against the current.  Little glades of rank
grass occasionally break the monotony of the dark forest; sandy
gullies in deep beds formed by the torrents of the rainy season
cut through the crumbling soil and drain toward the river.  Thick
brushwood now and then forms an opposing barrier, but generally
the forest is beautifully open, consisting of towering trees, the
leviathans of their race, sheltering the scanty saplings which
have spring from their fallen seeds.  For a few hundred yards on
either side of the river the forest extends in a ribbon-like
strip of lofty vegetation in the surrounding sea of low scrubby
jungle.  The animals leave the low jungle at night, passing
through the forest on their way to the river to bathe and drink;
they return to the low and thick jungle at break of day and we
hoped to meet some of the satiated elephants on their way to
their dense habitations.

We almost made sure of finding our friend of yesterday's trek,
and we accordingly kept close to the edge of the river, keeping a
sharp eye for tracks upon the sandy bed below.

We had strolled for about a mile along the high bank of the river
without seeing a sign of an elephant, when I presently heard a
rustle in the branches before me, and upon looking up I saw a lot
of monkeys gamboling in the trees.  I was carrying my long
two-ounce rifle, and I was passing beneath the monkey-covered
boughs, when I suddenly observed a young tree of the thickness of
a man's thigh shaking violently just before me.

It happened that the jungle was a little thicker in his spot, and
at the same moment that I observed the tree shaking almost over
me, I passed the immense stem of one of those smooth-barked trees
which grow to such an enormous size on the banks of rivers.  At
the same moment that I passed it I was almost under the trunk of
a single bull elephant, who was barking the stem with his tusk as
high as he could reach, with his head thrown back.  I saw in an
instant that the only road to his brain lay through his upper
jaw, in the position in which he was standing; and knowing that
he would discover me in another moment, I took the eccentric line
for his brain, and fired upward through his jaw.  He fell stone
dead, with the silk patch of the rifle smoking in the wound.

Now in this position no light gun could have killed that
elephant; the ball had to pass through the roots of the upper
grinders, and keep its course through hard bones and tough
membranes for about two feet before it could reach the brain; but
the line was all right, and the heavy metal and charge of powder
kept the ball to its work.

This is the power which every elephant-gun should possess: it
should have an elephant's head under complete command in every

There is another advantage in heavy metal; a heavy ball will
frequently stun a vicious elephant when in full charge, when a
light ball would not check him; his quietus is then soon arranged
by another barrel.  Some persons, however, place too much
confidence in the weight of the metal, and forget that it is
necessary to hold a powerful rifle as straight as the smallest
gun.  It is then very common during a chase of a herd to see the
elephants falling tolerably well to the shots, but on a return
for their tails, it is found that the stunned brutes have
recovered and decamped.

Conical balls should never be used for elephants; they are more
apt to glance, and the concussion is not so great as that
produced by a round ball.  In fact there is nothing more perfect
for sporting purposes than a good rifle from a first-rate maker,
with a plain ball of from No. 12 to No. 10. There can be no
improvement upon such a weapon for the range generally required
by a good shot.

I am very confident that the African elephant would be killed by
the brain-shot by Ceylon sportsmen with as much case as the
Indian species.  The shape of the head has nothing whatever to do
with the shooting, provided the guns are powerful and the hunter
knows where the brain lies.

When I arrived in Ceylon one of my first visits was to the
museum at Colombo where I carefully examined the transverse
sections of an elephant's skull, until perfectly acquainted with
its details.  From the museum I cut straight to the
elephant-stables and thoroughly examined the head of the living
animal, comparing it in my own mind with the skull, until I was
thoroughly certain of the position of the brain and the
possibility of reaching it from any position.

An African sportsmen would be a long time in killing a Ceylon
elephant, if he fired at the long range described by most
writers; in fact, he would not kill one out of twenty that he
fired at in such a jungle-covered country as Ceylon, where, in
most cases, everything depends upon the success of the first

It is the fashion in Ceylon to get as close as possible to an
elephant before firing; this is usually at about ten yards'
distance, at which range nearly every shot must be fatal.  In
Africa, according to all accounts, elephants are fired at thirty,
forty, and even at sixty yards.  It is no wonder, therefore, that
African sportsmen take the shoulder shot, as the hitting of the
brain would be a most difficult feat at such a distance, seeing
that the even and dusky color of an elephant's head offers no
peculiar mark for a delicate aim.

The first thing that a good sportsmen considers with every animal
is the point at which to aim so to bag him as speedily as
possible. It is well known that all animals, from the smallest to
the largest, sink into instant death when shot through the brain;
and that a wound through the lungs or heart is equally fatal,
though not so instantaneous. These are accordingly the points for
aim, the brain, from its small size, being the most difficult to
hit.  Nevertheless, in a jungle country, elephants must be shot
through the brain, otherwise they would not be bagged, as they
would retreat with a mortal wound into such dense jungle that no
man could follow. Seeing how easily they are dropped by the
brainshot if approached sufficiently near to ensure the
correctness of the aim, no one would ever think of firing at the
shoulder who had been accustomed to aim at the head.

A Ceylon sportsman arriving in Africa would naturally examine the
skull of the African elephant, and when once certain of the
position of the brain he would require no further information. 
Leave him alone for hitting it if he knew where it was.

What a sight for a Ceylon elephant-hunter would be the first view
of a herd of African elephants - all tuskers!  In Ceylon, a
"tusker" is a kind of spectre, to be talked of by a few who have
had the good luck to see one.  And when he is seen by a good
sportsman, it is an evil hour for him - he is followed till he
gives up his tusks.

It is a singular thing that Ceylon is the only part of the world
where the male elephant has no tusks; they have miserable little
grubbers projecting two or three inches from the upper jaw and
inclining downward.  Thus a man may kill some hundred elephants
without having a pair of tusks in his possession.  The largest
that I have seen in Ceylon were about six feet long, and five
inches in diameter in the thickest part. These would be
considered rather below the average in Africa, although in Ceylon
they were thought magnificent.

Nothing produces either ivory or horn in fine specimens
throughout Ceylon.  Although some of the buffaloes have tolerably
fine heads, they will not bear a comparison with those of other
countries.  The horns of the native cattle are not above four
inches in length.  The elk and the spotted deer's antlers are
small compared with deer of their size on the continent of India. 
This is the more singular, as it is evident from the geological
formation that at some remote period Ceylon was not an island,
but formed a portion of the mainland, from which it is now only
separated by a shallow and rocky of some few miles.  In India the
bull elephants have tusks, and the cattle and buffaloes have very
large horns.  My opinion is that there are elements wanting in
the Ceylon pasturage (which is generally poor) for the formation
of both horn and ivory. Thus many years of hunting and shooting
are rewarded by few trophies of the chase.  So great is the
natural inactivity of the natives that no one understands the
preparation of the skins; thus all the elk and deer hides are
simply dried in the sun, and the hair soon rots and fills off. 
In India, the skin of the Samber deer (the Ceylon elk) is prized
above all others, and is manufactured into gaiters, belts,
pouches, coats. breeches, etc.; but in Ceylon, these things are
entirety neglected by the miserable and indolent population,
whose whole thoughts are concentrated upon their bread, or rather
their curry and rice.

At Newera Ellia, the immense number of elk that I have killed
would have formed a valuable collection of skins had they been
properly prepared, instead of which the hair has been singed from
them, and they have been boiled up for dogs' meat.

Boars' hides have shared the same fate.  These are far thicker
than those of the tame species, and should make excellent
saddles.  So tough are they upon the live animal that it requires
a very sharp-pointed knife to penetrate them, and too much care
cannot be bestowed upon the manufacture of a knife for this style
of hunting, as the boar is one of the fiercest and dangerous of

Living in the thickest jungles, he rambles out at night in search
of roots, fruits, large earthworms, or anything else that he can
find, being, like his domesticated brethren, omnivorous.  He is a
terrible enemy to the pack, and has cost me several good dogs
within the last few years.  Without first-rate seizers it would
be impossible to kill him with the knife without being ripped, as
he invariably turns to bay after a short run in the thickest
jungle he can find.  There is no doubt that a good stout
boar-spear, with a broad blade and strong handle, is the proper
weapon for the attack; but a spear is very unhandy and even
dangerous to carry in such a hilly country as the neighbourhood
of Newera Ellia.  The forests are full of steep ravines and such
tangled underwood that following the hounds is always an arduous
task, but with a spear in the hand it is still more difficult,
and the point is almost certain to get injured by striking
against the numerous rocks, in which case it is perfectly useless
when perhaps most required.  I never carry a spear for these
reasons, but am content with the knife, as in my opinion any
animal that can beat off good bounds and a long knife deserves to

My knife was made to my own pattern by Paget of Piccadilly.  The
blade is one foot in length, and two inches broad in the widest
part, and slightly concave in the middle.  The steel is of the
most exquisite quality, and the entire knife weighs three pounds. 
The peculiar shape added to the weight of the blade gives an
extraordinary force to a blow, and the blade being double-edged
for three inches from the point, inflicts a fearful wound:
altogether it is a very desperate weapon, and admirably adapted
for this kind of sport.

A feat is frequently performed by the Nepaulese by cutting off a
buffalo's head at one blow of a sabre or tulwal.  The blade of
this weapon is peculiar, being concave, and the extremity is far
heavier than the hilt; the animal's neck is tied down to a post,
so as to produce a tension on the muscles, without which the
blow, however great, would have a comparatively small effect.

The accounts of this feat always appeared very marvellous to my
mind, until I one day unintentionally performed something similar
on a small scale with the hunting-knife.

I was out hunting in the Elk Plains, and having drawn several
jungles blank, I ascended the mountains which wall in the western
side of the patinas (grass-plains), making sure of finding an elk
near the summit.  It was a lovely day, perfectly calm and
cloudless; in which weather the elk, especially the large bucks,
are in the habit of lying high up the mountains.

I had nine couple of hounds out, among which were some splendid
seizers, "Bertram," "Killbuck," "Hecate," "Bran," "Lucifer," and
"Lena," the first three being progeny of the departed hero, old
"Smut," who had been killed by a boar a short time before.  They
were then just twelve months old, and "Bertram" stood
twenty-eight and a half inches high at the shoulder.  To him his
sire's valor had descended untarnished, and for a dog of his
young age he was the most courageous that I have ever seen.  In
appearance he was a tall Manilla bloodhound, with the strength of
a young lion; very affectionate in disposition, and a general
favorite, having won golden opinions in every contest.  Whenever
a big buck was at bay, and punishing the leading hounds, he was
ever the first to get his hold; no matter how great the danger,
he never waited but recklessly dashed in.  "There goes Bertram!
Look at Bertram! Well done, Bertram!" were the constant
exclamations of a crowd of excited spectators when a powerful
buck was brought to bay.  He was a wonderful dog, but I
prophesied an early grave for him, as no dog in the world could
long escape death who rushed so recklessly upon his dangerous
game.* His sister "Hecate," was more careful, and she is alive at
this moment, and a capital seizer of great strength combined with
speed, having derived the latter from her dam, "Lena," an
Australian greyhound, than whom a better or truer bitch never
lived.  "Old Bran," and his beautiful son "Lucifer," were fine
specimens of grayhound and deerhound, and as good as gold.
*Speared through the body by the horns of a buck elk and killed
shortly after this was written.

There was not a single elk track the whole of the way up the
mountain, and upon arriving at the top, I gave up all hope of
finding for that day, and I enjoyed the beautiful view over the
vast valley of forest which lay below, spangled with green
plains, and bounded by the towering summit of Adam's Peak, at
about twenty-five miles' distance.  The coffee estates of
Dimboola lay far beneath upon the right, and the high mountains
of Kirigallapotta and Totapella bounded the view upon the left.

There is a good path along the narrow ridge on the summit of the
Elk Plain hills, which has been made by elephants.  This runs
along the very top of the knife-like ridge, commanding a view of
the whole country to the right and left.  The range is terminated
abruptly by a high peak, which descends in a sheer precipice at
the extremity.

I strolled along the elephant-path, intending to gain the extreme
end of the range for the sake of the view, when I suddenly came
upon the track of a "boar," in the middle of the path.  It was
perfectly fresh, as were also the ploughings in the ground close
by, and the water of a small pool was still curling with clouds
of mud, showing most plainly that he had been disturbed from his
wallowing by my noise in ascending the mountain-side.

There was no avoiding the find; and away went "Bluebeard,"
"Ploughboy," "Gaylass" and all the leading hounds, followed by
the whole pack, in full chorus, straight along the path at top
speed.  Presently they turned sharp to the left into the thick
jungle, dashing down the hillside as though off to the Elk Plains
below.  At this pace I knew the hunt would not last long, and
from my elevated stand I waited impatiently for the first sounds
of the bay.  Round they turned again, up the steep hillside, and
the music slackened a little, as the bounds had enough to do in
bursting through the tangled bamboo up the hill.

Presently, I heard the rush of the boar in the jungle, coming
straight up the hill toward the spot where I was standing; and,
fearing that he might top the ridge and make down the other side
toward Dimboola, I gave him a halloo to head him back.  Hark,
for-r-rard to him! yo-o-ick! to him!

Such a yell, right in his road, astonished him, and, as I
expected, he headed sharp back.  Up came the pack, going like
race-horses, and wheeling off where the game had turned, a few
seconds running along the side of the mountain, and then such a
burst of music! such a bay! The boar had turned sharp round, and
had met the hounds on a level platform on the top of a ridge.

"Lucifer" never leaves my side until we are close up to the bay;
and plunging and tearing through the bamboo grass and tangled
nillho for a few hundred yards, I at length approached the spot,
and I heard Lord Bacon grunting and roaring loud above the din of
the hounds.

Bertram has him for a guinea!  Hold him, good lad! and away
dashed "Lucifer" from my side at the halloo.

In another moment I was close up, and with my knife ready I broke
through the dense jungle and was immediately in the open space
cleared by the struggles of the boar and pack.  Unluckily, I had
appeared full in the boar's front, and though five or six of the
large seizers had got their holds, he made a sudden charge at me
that shook them all off, except "Bertram" and "Lena."

It was the work of an instant, as I jumped quickly on one side,
and instinctively made a downward cut at him in passing.  He fell
all of a heap, to the complete astonishment of myself and the
furious pack.

He was dead! killed by one blow with the hunting knife. I had
struck him across the back just behind the shoulders, and the
wound was so immense that he had the appearance of being nearly
half divided.  Not only was the spine severed, but the blade had
cut deep into his vitals and produced instant death.

One of the dogs was hanging on his hind quarters when he charged,
and as the boar was rushing forward, the muscles of the back were
accordingly stretched tight, and thus the effect of the cut was
increased to this extraordinary degree.  He was a middling-sized
boar, as near as I could guess, about two and a half

Fortunately, none of the pack were seriously hurt, although his
tusks were as sharp as a knife.  This was owing to the short
duration of the fight, and also to the presence of so many
seizers, who backed each other up without delay.

There is no saying to what size a wild boar grows. I have never
killed them with the hounds above four hundredweight; but I have
seen solitary boars in the low country, that must have weighed
nearly double.

I believe the flesh is very good; by the natives it is highly
prized; but I have so strong a prejudice against it from the
sights I have seen of their feasting upon putrid elephants that I
never touch it.

The numbers of wild hogs in the low country is surprising, and
these are most useful in cleaning up the carcases of dead animals
and destroying vermin.  I seldom or never fire at hog in those
districts, as their number is so great that there is no sport in
shooting them. They travel about in herds of one and two hundred,
and even more.  These are composed of sows and young boars, as
the latter leave the herd when arrived at maturity.

CHAPTER VII. Curious Phenomenon - Panorama of Ouva - South-west
Monsoon - Hunting Followers - Fort M'Donald - River - Jungle
Paths - Dangerous Locality - Great Waterfall - Start for Hunting
- The Find - A Gallant Stag - "Bran" and Lucifer" - "Phrenzy's"
Death - Buck at Bay - The Cave Hunting-box- "Madcap's" Dive - Elk
Soup - Former Inundation - " Bluebeard" leads off - " Hecate's"
Course -The Elk's Leap - Variety of Deer - The Axis - Ceylon
Bears - Variety of Vermin - Trials for Hounds - Hounds and their
Masters - A Sportsman "shut up"- A Corporal and Centipede.

>From June to November the south-west monsoon brings wind and
mist across the Newera Ellia mountains.

Clouds of white fog boil up from the Dimboola valley like the
steam from a huge cauldron, and invade the Newera Ellia plain
through the gaps in the mountains to the westward.

The wind howls over the high ridges, cutting the jungle with its
keen edge, so that it remains as stunted brushwood, and the
opaque screen of driving fog and drizzling rain is so dense that
one feels convinced there is no sun visible within at least a
hundred miles.

There is a curious phenomenon, however, in this locality.  When
the weather described prevails at Newera Ellia, there is actually
not one drop of rain within four miles of my house in the
direction of Badulla.  Dusty roads, a cloudless sky and dazzling
sunshine astonish the thoroughly-soaked traveler, who rides out
of the rain and mist into a genial climate, as though he passed
through a curtain.  The wet weather terminates at a mountain
called Hackgalla (or more properly Yakkadagalla, or iron rock). 
This bold rock, whose summit is about six thousand five hundred
feet above the sea, breasts the driving wind and seems to command
the storm.  The rushing clouds halt in their mad course upon its
crest and curl in sudden impotence around the craggy summits. 
The deep ravine formed by an opposite mountain is filled with the
vanquished mist, which sinks powerless in its dark gorge; and the
bright sun, shining from the east, spreads a perpetual rainbow
upon the gauze-like cloud of fog which settles in the deep

This is exceedingly beautiful.  The perfect circle of the rainbow
stands like a fairy spell in the giddy depth of the hollow, and
seems to forbid the advance of the monsoon.  All before is bright
and cloudless; the lovely panorama of the Ouva country spreads
before the eye for many miles beneath the feet.  All behind is
dark and stormy; the wind is howling, the forests are groaning,
the rain is pelting upon the hills.

The change appears impossible; but there it is, ever the same;
season after season, year after year, the rugged top of Hackgalla
struggles with the storms, and ever victorious the cliffs smile
in the sunshine on the eastern side; the rainbow reappears with
the monsoon, and its vivid circle remains like the guardian
spirit of the valley,.

It is impossible to do justice to the extraordinary appearance of
this scene by description.  The panoramic view in itself is
celebrated; but as the point in the road is reached where the
termination of the monsoon dissolves the cloud and rain into a
thin veil of mist, the panorama seen through the gauze-like
atmosphere has the exact appearance of a dissolving view; the
depth, the height and distance of every object, all great in
reality, are magnified by the dim and unnatural appearance; and
by a few steps onward the veil gradually fades away, and the
distant prospect lies before the eye with a glassy clearness made
doubly striking by the sudden contrast.

The road winds along about midway up the mountain, bounded on the
right by the towering cliffs and sloping forest of Hackgalla, and
on the left by the almost precipitous descent of nearly one
thousand feet, the sides of which are clothed by alternate forest
and waving grass.  At the bottom flows a torrent, whose roar,
ascending from the hidden depth, increases the gloomy mystery of
the scene.

On the north, east and south-east of Newera Ellia the sunshine is
perpetual during the reign of the misty atmosphere, which the
south-west monsoon drives upon the western side of the mountains. 
Thus, there is always an escape open from the wet season at
Newera Ellia by a short walk of three or four miles.

A long line of dark cloud is then seen, terminated by a bright
blue sky.  So abrupt is the line and the cessation of the rain
that it is difficult to imagine how the moisture is absorbed.

This sudden termination of the cloud-capped mountain gives rise
to a violent wind in the sunny valleys and bare hills beneath. 
The chilled air of Newera Ellia pours down into the sun-warmed
atmosphere below, and creates a gale that sweeps across the
grassy hilltops with great force, giving the sturdy rhododendrons
an inclination to the north-east which clearly marks the
steadiness of the monsoon.

It is not to be supposed, however, that Newera Ellia lies in
unbroken gloom for months together.  One month generally brings a
share of uninterrupted bad weather; this is from the middle of
June to the middle of July.  This is the commencement of the
south-west monsoon, which usually sets in with great violence.
The remaining portion of what is called the wet season, till the
end of November, is about as uncertain as the climate of England
- some days fine, others wet, and every now and then a week of
rain at one bout.

A thoroughly saturated soil, with a cold wind, and driving rain
and forests as full of water as sponges, are certain destroyers
of scent; hence, hunting at Newera Ellia is out of the question
during such weather.  The hounds would get sadly out of
condition, were it not for the fine weather in the vicinity which
then invites a trip.

I have frequently walked ten miles to my hunting grounds,
starting before daybreak, and then after a good day's sport up
and down the steep mountains, I have returned home in the
evening.  But this is twelve hours' work, and it is game thrown
away, as there is no possibility of getting the dead elk home. 
An animal that weighs between four hundred and four hundred and
fifty pounds without his insides, is not a very easy creature to
move; at any time, especially in such a steep mountainous country
as the neighborhood of Newera Ellia.  As previously described, at
the base of the mountains are cultivated rice-lands, generally
known as paddy-fields, where numerous villages have sprung up
from the facility with which a supply of water is obtained from
the wild mountains above them.  I have so frequently given the
people elk and hogs which I have killed on the heights above
their paddy-fields that they are always on the alert at the sound
of the bugle, and a few blasts from the mountain-top immediately
creates a race up from the villages, some two or three thousand
feet below.  Like vultures scenting carrion, they know that an
elk is killed, and they start off to the well-known sound like a
pack of trained hounds. Being thorough mountaineers, they are
extraordinary fellows for climbing the steep grassy sides.  With
a light stick about six feet long in one hand, they will start
from the base of the mountains and clamber up the hillsides in a
surprisingly short space of time, such as would soon take the
conceit out of a "would-be pedestrian." This is owing to the
natural advantages of naked feet and no inexpressibles.

Whenever an elk has given a long run in the direction of this
country, and after a persevering and arduous chase of many hours,
I have at length killed him on the grassy heights above the
villages, I always take a delight in watching the tiny specks
issuing from the green strips of paddy as the natives start off
at the sound of the horn.

At this altitude, it requires a sharp eye to discern a man, but
at length they are seen scrambling up the ravines and gullies and
breasting the sharp pitches, until at last the first man arrives
thoroughly used up and a string of fellows of lesser wind come
in, in sections, all thoroughly blown.

However, the first man in never gets the lion's share, as the
poor old men, with willing spirits and weak flesh, always bring
up the rear, and I insist upon a fair division between the old
and young, always giving an extra piece to a man who happens to
know a little English.  This is a sort of reward for
acquirements, equivalent to a university degree, and he is
considered a literary character by his fellows.

There is nothing that these people appreciate so much as elk and
hog's flesh.  Living generally upon boiled rice and curry
composed of pumpkins and sweet potatoes, they have no
opportunities of tasting meat unless upon these occasions.

During the very wet weather at Newera Ellia I sometimes take the
pack and bivouac for a fortnight in the fine-weather country. 
About a week previous I send down word to the village people of
my intention, but upon these occasions I never give them the elk.
I always insist upon their bringing rice, etc., for the dogs and
myself in exchange for venison, otherwise I should have some
hundreds of noisy, idle vagabonds flocking up to me like

Of course I give them splendid bargains, as I barter simply on
the principle that no man shall come for nothing.  Thus, if a man
assist in building the kennel, or carrying a load, or cutting
bed-grass, or searching for lost hounds, he gets a share of meat. 
The others bring rice, coffee, fowls, eggs, plantains,
vegetables, etc., which I take at ridiculous rates-a bushel of
rice for a full-grown elk, etc., the latter being worth a couple
of pounds and the rice about seven shillings.  Thus the hounds
keep themselves in rice and supply me with everything that I
require during the trip, at the same time gratifying the natives.

The direct route to this country was unknown to Europeans at
Newera Ellia until I discovered it one day, accidentally, in
following the hounds.

A large tract of jungle-covered hill stretches away from the Moon
Plains at Newera Ellia toward the east, forming a hog's back of
about three and a half miles in length.  Upon the north side this
shelves into a deep gorge, at the bottom of which flows, or
rather tumbles, Fort M'Donald river on its way to the low
country, through forest-covered hills and perpendicular cliffs,
until it reaches the precipitous patina mountains, when, in a
succession of large cataracts, it reaches the paddy-fields in the
first village of Peréwellé (guava paddy-field).  Thus the river
in the gorge below runs parallel to the long hog's back of
mountain.  This is bordered on the other side by another ravine
and smaller torrent, to which the Badulla road runs parallel
until it reaches the mountain of Hackgalla, at which place the
ravine deepens into the misty gorge already described.

At one time, if an elk crossed the Badulla road and gained the
Hog's Back jungle, both he and the hounds were lost, as no one
could follow through such impenetrable jungle without knowing
either the distance or direction.

"They are gone to Fort M'Donald river!" This was the despairing
exclamation at all times when the pack crossed the road, and we
seldom saw the hounds again until late that night or on the
following day.  Many never returned, and Fort M'Donald river
became a by-word as a locality to be always dreaded.

After a long run one day, the pack having gone off in this fatal
direction, I was determined, at any price, to hunt them up, and
accordingly I went some miles down the Badulla road to the
limestone quarries, which are five miles from the Newera Ellia
plain.  From this point I left the road and struck down into the
deep, grassy valley, crossing the river (the same which runs by
the road higher up) and continuing along the side of the valley
until I ascended the opposite range of hills.  Descending the
precipitous side, I at length reached the paddy-fields in the low
country, which were watered by Fort M'Donald river, and I looked
up to the lofty range formed by the Hog's Back hill, now about
three thousand feet above me.  Thus I had gained the opposite
side of the Hog's Back, and, after a stiff pull lip the mountain,
I returned home by a good path which I had formerly discovered
along the course of the river through the forest to Newera Ellia,
via Rest-and-be-Thankful Valley and the Barrack Plains, having
made a circuit of about twenty-five miles and become thoroughly
conversant with all the localities.  I immediately determined to
have a path cut from the Badulla Road across the Hog's Back
jungle to the patinas which looked down upon Fort M'Donald on the
other side and, up which I had ascended on my return. I judged
the distance would not exceed two miles across, and I chose the
point of junction with the Badulla road two miles and a half from
my house.  My reason for this was, that the elk invariably took
to the jungle at this place, which proved it to be the easiest

This road, on completion, answered every expectation, connecting
the two sides of the Hog's Back by an excellent path of about two
miles, and débouching on the opposite side on a high patina peak
which commanded the whole country.  Thus was the whole country
opened up by this single path, and should an elk play his old
trick and be off across the Hog's Back to Fort M'Donald river, I
could be there nearly as soon as he could, and also keep within
hearing of the bounds throughout the run.

I was determined to take the tent and regularly hunt up the whole
country on the other side of the Hog's Back, as the weather was
very bad at Newera Ellia, while in this spot it was beautifully
fine, although very windy.

I therefore sent on the tent, kennel-troughs and pots, and all
the paraphernalia indispensable for the jungle, and on the 31st
May, 1852, I started, having two companions - Capt. Pelly,
Thirty-seventh Regiment, who was then commandant of Newera Ellia,
and his brother on a visit.  It was not more than an hour and a
half's good walking from my house to the high patina peak upon
which I pitched the tent, but the country and climate are so
totally distinct from anything at Newera Ellia that it gives
every one the idea of being fifty miles away.

We hewed out a spacious arbor at the edge of the jungle, and in
this I had the tent pitched to protect it from the wind, which it
did effectually, as well as the kennel, which was near the same
spot.  The servants made a good kitchen, and the encampment was
soon complete.

There never could have been a more romantic or beautiful spot
for a bivouac. To the right lay the distant view of the low
country, stretching into an undefined distance, until the land
and sky appeared to melt together.  Below, at a depth of about
three thousand feet, the river boiled through the rocky gorge
until it reached the village of Peréwellé at the base of the line
of mountains, whose cultivated paddy-fields looked no larger than
the squares upon a chess-board.  On the opposite side of the
river rose a precipitous and impassable mountain, even to a
greater altitude than the facing ridge upon which I stood,
forming as grand a foreground as the eye could desire.  Above,
below, around, there was the bellowing sound of heavy cataracts
echoed upon all sides.

Certainly this country is very magnificent, but it is an awful
locality for hunting, as the elk has too great an advantage over
both hounds and hunters.  Mountainous patinas of the steepest
inclination, broken here and there by abrupt precipices, and with
occasional level platforms of waving grass, descend to the
river's bed.  These patina mountains are crowned by extensive
forests, and narrow belts of jungle descend from the summit to
the base, clothing the numerous ravines which furrow the
mountain's side.  Thus the entire surface of the mountains forms
a series of rugged grasslands, so steep as to be ascended with
the greatest difficulty, and the elk lie in the forests on the
summits and also in the narrow belts which cover the ravines.

The whole country forms a gorge, like a gigantic letter V. At the
bottom roars the dreaded torrent, Fort M'Donald river, in a
succession of foaming cataracts, all of which, however grand
individually, are completely eclipsed by its last great plunge of
three hundred feet perpendicular depth into a dark and narrow
chasm of wall-bound cliffs.

The bed of the river is the most frightful place that can be
conceived, being choked by enormous fragments of rock, amidst
which the irresistible torrent howls with a fury that it is
impossible to describe.

The river is confined on either side by rugged cliffs of gneiss
rock, from which these fragments have from time to time become
detached, and have accordingly fallen into the torrent, choking
the bed and throwing the obstructed waters into frightful
commotion.  Here they lie piled one upon the other, like so many
inverted cottages; here and there forming dripping caverns; now
forming walls of slippery rock, over which the water falls in
thundering volumes into pools black from their mysterious depth,
and from which there is no visible means of exit.  These dark and
dangerous pools are walled in by hoary-looking rocks, beneath
which the pent-up water dives and boils in subterranean caverns,
until it at length escapes through secret channels, and reappears
on the opposite side of its prison-walls; lashing itself into
foam in its mad frenzy, it forms rapids of giddy velocity through
the rocky bounds; now flying through a narrowed gorge, and
leaping, striving and wrestling with unnumbered obstructions, it
at length meets with the mighty fall, like death in a madman's
course.  One plunge! without a single shelf to break the fall,
and down, down it sheets; at first like glass, then like the
broken avalanche of snow, and lastly! - we cannot see more - the
mist boils from the ruin of shattered waters and conceals the
bottom of the fall.  The roar vibrates like thunder in the rocky
mountain, and forces the grandeur of the scene through every

No animal or man, once in those mysterious pools, could ever
escape without assistance.  Thus in years post, when elk were not
followed up in this locality, the poor beast, being hard pressed
by the hounds, might have come to bay in one of these fatal
basins, in which case, both he and every bound who entered the
trap found sure destruction.

The hard work and the danger to both man and bound in this
country may be easily imagined when it is explained that the
nature of the elk prompts him to seek for water as his place of
refuge when hunted; thus he makes off down the mountain for the
river, in which he stands at bay.  Now the mountain itself is
steep enough, but within a short distance of the bottom the river
is in many places guarded by precipices of several hundred feet
in depth.  A few difficult passes alone give access to the
torrent, but the descent requires great caution.

Altogether, this forms the wildest and most arduous country that
can be imagined for hunting, but it abounds with elk.

The morning was barely gray when I woke up the servants and
ordered coffee, and made the usual preparations for a start.  At
last, thank goodness! the boots are laced! This is the
troublesome part of dressing before broad daylight, and
nevertheless laced ankle-boots must be worn as a protection
against sprains and bruises in such a country.  Never mind the
trouble of lacing them; they, are on now, and there is a good
day's work in store for them.

It was the 30th May, 1853, a lovely hunting morning and a fine
dew on the patinas; rather too windy, but that could not be

Quiet now! - down, Bluebeard! - back, will you, Lucifer! Here's a
smash! there goes the jungle kennel! the pack squeezing out of it
in every direction as they hear the preparations for departure.

Now we are all right; ten couple out, and all good ones.  Come
along, yo-o-i, along here! and a note on the horn brings the pack
close together as we enter the forest on the very summit of the
ridge.  Thus the start was completed just as the first tinge of
gold spread along the eastern horizon, about ten minutes before

The jungles were tolerably good, but there were not as many elk
tracks as I had expected; probably the high wind on the ridge had
driven them lower down for shelter; accordingly I struck an
oblique direction downward, and I was not long before I
discovered a fresh track; fresh enough, certainly, as the thick
moss which covered the ground showed a distinct path where the
animal had been recently feeding.

Every hound had stolen away; even the greyhounds buried their
noses in the broad track of the buck, so fresh was the scent; and
I waited quietly for "the find." The greyhounds stood round me
with their cars cocked and glistening eyes, intently listening
for the expected sound.

There they are! all together, such a burst! They must have stolen
away mute and have found on the other side the ridge, for they
were now coming down at full speed from the very summit of the

>From the amount of music I knew they had a good start, but I had
no idea that the buck would stand to such a pack at the very
commencement of the hunt.  Nevertheless there was a sudden bay
within a few hundred yards of me, and the elk had already turned
to fight.  I knew that he was an immense fellow from his track,
and I at once saw that he would show fine sport.

Just as I was running through the jungle toward the spot, the bay
broke and the buck had evidently gone off straight away, as I
heard the pack in full cry rapidly increasing their distance and
going off down the mountain.

Sharp following was now the order of the day, and away we went. 
The mountain was so steep that it was necessary every now and
then to check the momentum of a rapid descent by clinging to the
tough saplings.  Sometimes one would give way and a considerable
spill would be the consequence.  However, I soon got out on the
patina about one-third of the way down the mountain, and here I
met one of the natives, who was well posted.  Not a sound of the
pack was now to be heard; but this man declared most positively
that the elk had suddenly changed his course, and, instead of
keeping down the hill, had struck off to his left along the side
of the mountain.  Accordingly, off I started as hard as I could
go with several natives, who all agreed as to the direction.

After running for about a mile along the patinas in the line
which I judged the pack had taken, I heard one hound at bay in a
narrow jungle high up on my left.  It was only the halt of an
instant, for the next moment I heard the same hound's voice
evidently running on the other side of the strip of jungle, and
taking off down the mountain straight for the dreaded river. 
Here was a day's work cut out as neatly as could be.

Running toward the spot, I found the buck's track leading in that
direction, and I gave two or three view halloos at the top of my
voice to bring the rest of the pack down upon it.  They were
close at hand, but the high wind had prevented me from hearing
them, and away they came from the jungle, rushing down upon the
scent like a flock of birds.  I stepped of the track to let them
pass as they swept by, and "For-r-r-a-r-d to him! For-r--r-ard!"
was the word the moment they had passed, as I gave them a halloo
down the hill.  It was a bad look-out for the elk now; every
hound knew that his master was close up, and they went like

The "Tamby" * was the only man up, and he and I immediately
followed in chase down the precipitous patinas; running when we
could, scrambling, and sliding on our hams when it was too steep
to stand, and keeping good hold of the long tufts of grass, lest
we should gain too great an impetus and slide to the bottom. *An
exceedingly active Moorman, who was my great ally in hunting.

After about half a mile passed in this manner, I heard the bay,
and I saw the buck far beneath, standing upon a level, grassy
platform, within three hundred yards of the river.  The whole
pack was around him except the greyhounds, who were with me; but
not a hound had a chance with him, and he repeatedly charged in
among them, and regularly drove them before him, sending any
single hound spinning whenever he came within his range.  But the
pack quickly reunited, and always returned with fresh vigor to
the attack.  There was a narrow, wooded ravine between me and
them, and, with caution and speed combined, I made toward the
spot down the precipitous mountain, followed by the greyhounds "
Bran" and Lucifer."

I soon arrived on a level with the bay, and, plunging into the
ravine, I swung myself down from tree to tree, and then climbed
up the opposite side.  I broke cover within a few yards of him. 
What a splendid fellow he looked!  He was about thirteen hands
high, and carried the most beautiful head of horns that I had
ever seen upon an elk.  His mane was bristled up, his nostril was
distended, and, turning from the pack, he surveyed me, as though
taking the measure of his new antagonist.  Not seeming satisfied,
he deliberately turned, and, descending from the level space, he
carefully, picked his way.  Down narrow elk-runs along the steep
precipices, and, at a slow walk, with the whole pack in single
file at his heels, he clambered down toward the river.  I
followed on his track over places which I would not pass in cold
blood; and I shortly halted above a cataract of some eighty feet
in depth, about a hundred paces from the great waterfall of three
hundred feet.

It was extremely grand; the roar of the falls so entirely hushed
all other sounds that the voices of the hounds were perfectly
inaudible, although within a few yards of me, as I looked down
upon them from a rock that overhung the river.

The elk stood upon the brink of the swollen torrent; he could not
retreat, as the wall of rock was behind him, with the small
step-like path by which he had descended; this was now occupied
by the yelling pack.

The hounds knew the danger of the place; but the buck, accustomed
to these haunts from his birth, suddenly leapt across the boiling
rapids, and springing from rock to rock along the verge of the
cataract, he gained the opposite side.  Here he had mistaken his
landing-place, as a shelving rock, upon which he had alighted,
was so steep that he could not retain his footing, and he
gradually slid down toward the river.

At this moment, to my horror, both "Bran" and Lucifer" dashed
across the torrent, and bounding from rock to rock, they sprung
at the already tottering elk, and in another moment both he and
they rolled over in a confused mass into the boiling torrent. 
One more instant and they reappeared, the buck gallantly stemming
the current, which his great length of limb and weight enabled
him to do; the dogs, overwhelmed in the foam of the rapids, were
swept down toward the fall, in spite of their frantic exertions
to gain the bank.

They were not fifteen feet from the edge of the fall, and I saw
them spun round and round in the whirlpools being hurried toward
certain destruction.  The poor dogs seemed aware of the danger,
and made the most extraordinary efforts to avoid their fate. 
They were my two favorites of the pack, and I screamed out words
of encouragement to them, although the voice of a cannon could
not have been heard among the roar of waters.  They had nearly
gained the bank oil the very ver-e of the fall, when a few tufts
of lemon grass concealed them from my view.  I thought they were
over, and I could not restrain a cry of despair at their horrible
fate.  I felt sick with the idea.  But the next moment I was
shouting hurrah! they are all right, thank goodness, they were
saved.  I saw them struggling up the steep bank, through the same
lemon grass, which had for a moment obscured their fate.  They
were thoroughly exhausted and half drowned.

In the mean time, the elk had manfully breasted the rapids,
carefully choosing the shallow places; and the whole pack, being
mad with excitement, had plunged into the waters regardless of
the danger.  I thought every hound would have been lost.  For an
instant they looked like a flock of ducks, but a few moments
afterward they were scattered in the boiling eddies, hurrying
with fatal speed toward the dreadful cataract.  Poor "Phrenzy!"
round she spun in the giddy vortex; nearer and nearer she
approached the verge - her struggles were unavailing - over she
went, and was of course never heard of afterward.

This was a terrible style of hunting; rather too much so to be
pleasant. I clambered down to the edge of the river just in time
to see the elk climbing, as nimbly as a cat up the precipitous
bank on the opposite side, threading his way at a slow walk under
the overhanging rocks, and scrambling up the steep mountain with
a long string of hounds at his heels in single file. "Valiant,"
"Tiptoe" and "Ploughboy" were close to him, and I counted the
other hounds in the line, fully expecting to miss half of them. 
To my surprise and delight, only one was absent; this was poor
"Phrenzy." The others had all managed to save themselves. I now
crossed the river by leaping from rock to rock with some
difficulty, and with hands and knees I climbed the opposite bank.
This was about sixty feet high, from the top of which the
mountain commenced its ascent, which, though very precipitous was
so covered with long lemon grass that it was easy enough to
climb.  I looked behind me, and there was the Tamby, all right,
within a few paces.

The elk was no longer in sight, and the roar of the water was so
great that it was impossible to hear the hounds.  However, I
determined to crawl along his track, which was plainly
discernible, the high grass being broken into a regular lane
which skirted the precipice of the great waterfall in the
direction of the villages.

We were now about a hundred feet above, and on one side of the
great fall, looking into the deep chasm into which the river
leapt, forming a cloud of mist below.  The lemon grass was so
high in tufts along the rocks that we could not see a foot before
us, and we knew not whether the next step would land us on firm
footing, or deposit us some hundred feet below.  Clutching fast
to the long grass, therefore, we crept carefully on for about a
quarter of a mile, now climbing the face of the rocks, now
descending by means of their irregular surfaces, but still
stirring the dark gorge down which the river fell.

At length, having left the fall some considerable distance
behind us, the ear was somewhat relieved from the bewildering
noise of water, and I distinctly heard the pack at bay not very
far in advance.  In another moment I saw the elk standing on a
platform of rock about a hundred yards ahead, on a lower shelf of
the mountain, and the whole pack at bay.  This platform was the
top of a cliff which overhung the deep gorge; the river flowing
in the bottom after its great fall, and both the elk and hounds
appeared to be in "a fix." The descent had been made to this
point by leaping down places which he could not possibly
reascend, and there was only one narrow outlet, which was covered
by the hounds.  Should he charge through the hounds to force this
passage, half a dozen of them must be knocked over the

However, I carefully descended, and soon reached the platform. 
This was not more than twenty feet square, and it looked down in
the gorge of about three hundred feet.  The first seventy of this
depth were perpendicular, as the top of the rock overhung, after
which the side of the cliff was marked by great fissures and
natural steps formed by the detachment from time to time of
masses of rock which had fallen into the river below.  Bushes and
rank grass filled the interstices of the rocks, and an old
deserted water-course lay exactly beneath the platform, being
cut and built out of the side of the cliff.

It was a magnificent sight in such grand scenery to see the buck
at bay when we arrived upon the platform. He was a dare-devil
fellow, and feared neither hounds nor man, every now and then
charging through the pack, and coming almost within reach of the
Tamby's spear.  It was a difficult thing to know how to kill him.
I was afraid to go in at him, lest in his struggles he should
drag the hounds over the precipice, and I would not cheer the
seizers on for the same reason. Indeed, they seemed well aware of
the danger, and every now and then retreated to me, as though to
entice the elk to make a move to some better ground.

However, the buck very soon decided the question.  I made up my
mind to halloo the hounds on, and to hamstring the elk, to
prevent him from nearing the precipice:  and, giving a shout, the
pack rushed at him.  Not a dog could touch him; he was too quick
with his horns and fore feet.  He made a dash into the pack, and
then regained his position close to the verge of the precipice. 
He then turned his back to the hounds, looked down over the edge,
and, to the astonishment of all, plunged into the abyss below!  A
dull crash sounded from beneath, and then nothing was heard but
the roaring of the waters as before.  The hounds looked over the
edge and yelled with a mixture of fear and despair.  Their game
was gone!

By making a circuit of about half a mile among these frightful
precipices and gorges, we at length arrived at the foot of the
cliff down which the buck had leapt.  Here we of course found him
lying dead, as he had broken most of his bones.  He was in very
fine condition; but it was impossible to move him from such a
spot.  I therefore cut off his head, as his antlers were the
finest that I have ever killed before or since.

To regain the tent, I had a pull for it, having to descend into
the village of Peréwellé, and then to reascend the opposite
mountain of three thousand feet; but even this I thought
preferable to returning in cold blood by the dangerous route I
had come.

Tugging up such a mountain was no fun after a hard morning's
work, and I resolved to move the encampment to a large cave, some
eight hundred feet lower down the mountain.  Accordingly, I
struck the tent, and after breakfast we took up our quarters in a
cavern worthy of Robin Hood.  This had been formed by a couple of
large rocks the size of a moderate house, which had been detached
from the overhanging cliff above, and had fallen together.  There
was a smaller cavern within, which made a capital kennel; rather
more substantial than the rickety building of yesterday

Some of the village people, hearing that the buck was killed and
lying in the old water-course, went in a gang to cut him up. 
What was their surprise on reaching the spot to find the carcase
removed! It had evidently been dragged along the water-course, as
the trail was distinct in the high grass, and upon following it
up, away went two fine leopards, bounding along the rocks to
their adjacent cave.  They had consumed a large portion of the
flesh, but the villagers did not leave them much for another
meal.  Skin, hoofs, and in fact every vestige of an elk, is
consumed by these people.

For my own part, I do not think much of elk venison, unless it be
very fit, which is rarely the case.  It is at all times more like
beef than any other meat, for which it is a very good substitute. 
The marrow-bones are the "bonne bouche," being peculiarly rich
and delicate. Few animals can have a larger proportion of marrow
than the elk, as the bones are more hollow than those of most
quadrupeds.  This cylindrical formation enables them to sustain
the severe shocks in descending rough mountains at full speed. 
It is perfectly wonderful to see an animal of near six hundred
pounds' weight bounding down a hillside, over rocks and ruts and
every conceivable difficulty of ground, at a pace which will
completely distance the best hound; and even at this desperate
speed, the elk will never make a false step; sure-footed as a
goat, he will still fly on through bogs, ravines, tangled jungles
and rocky rivers, ever certain of his footing.

The foregoing description of an elk-hunt will give the reader a
good idea of the power of this animal in stemming rapids and
climbing dangerous precipices; but even an elk is not proof
against the dangers of Fort M'Donald river, an example of which
we had on the following morning.

The hounds found a doe who broke cover close to me in a small
patina and made straight running for the river.  She had no
sooner reached it than I beard her cry out, and as she was
closely followed I thought she was seized.  However, the whole
pack shortly returned, evidently thrown out, and I began to abuse
them pretty roundly, thinking that they had lost their game in
the river.  So they had, but in an excusable manner; the poor doe
had been washed down a rapid, and had broken her thigh. We found
her dead under a hollow rock in the middle of the river.

Here we had a fine exemplification of the danger of the
mysterious pools.

While I was opening the elk, with the pack all round me licking
their lips in expectation, old "Madcap" was jostled by one of the
greyhounds, and slipped into a basin among the rocks, which
formed an edge of about two feet above the surface.

The opposite side of the pool was hemmed in by rocks about six
feet high, and the direction of the under-current was at once
shown by poor old "Madcap" being swept up against this high wall
of rock, where she remained paddling with all her might in an
upright position.

I saw the poor beast would be sucked under, and yet I could not
save her.  However, I did my best at the risk of falling in

I took off my handkerchief and made a slip-knot, and begging
Pelly to lie down on the top of the rock, I took his hand while I
clung to the face of the wall as I best could by a little ledge
of about two inches' width.

With great difficulty I succeeded in hooking the bitch's head in
the slip-knot, but in my awkward position I could not use
sufficient strength to draw her out.  I could only support her
head above the water, which I could distinctly feel was drawing
her from me.  Presently she gave a convulsive struggle, which
freed her head from the loop, and in an instant she disappeared.

I could not help going round the rock to see if her body should
be washed out when the torrent reappeared, when, to my
astonishment, up she popped all right, not being more than half
drowned by her subterranean excursion, and we soon helped her
safe ashore.  Fortunately for her, the passage had been
sufficiently large to pass her, although I have no doubt a man
would have been held fast and drowned.

There was so much water in the river that I determined to move
from this locality as too dangerous for hunting.  I therefore
ordered the village people to assemble on the following morning
to carry the loads and tent.  In the mean time I sent for the
dead elk.

There could riot be a better place for a hunting-box than that
cave.  We soon had a glorious fire roaring round the kennel-pot,
which, having been well scoured with sand and water, was to make
the soup.  Such soup! - shades of gourmands, if ye only smelt
that cookery! The pot held six gallons, and the whole elk, except
a few steaks, was cut up and alternately boiled down in sections. 
The flesh was then cut up small for the pack, the marrowbones
reserved for "master," and the soup was then boiled until it had
evaporated to the quantity required.  A few green chilies, onions
in slices fried, and a little lime-juice, salt, black pepper and
mushroom ketchup, and - in fact, there is no rise thinking of it,
as the soup is not to be had again.  The fire crackled and blazed
as the logs were heaped upon it as night grew near, and lit up
all the nooks and corners of the old cave.  Three beds in a row
contained three sleepy mortals.  The hounds snored and growled,
and then snored again.  The servants jabbered, chewed betel,
spit, then jabbered a little more, and at last everything and
everybody was fast asleep within the cave.

The next morning we had an early breakfast and started, the
village people marching off in good spirits with the loads. I was
now en route for Bertram's patinas, which lay exactly over the
mountain on the opposite side of the river.  This being
perpendicular, I was obliged to make a great circuit by keeping
the old Newera Ellia path along the river for two or three miles,
and then, turning off at right angles, I knew an old native trace
over the ridge.  Altogether, it was a round of about six miles,
although the patinas were not a mile from the cave in a straight

The path in fact terminates upon the high peak, exactly opposite
the cave, looking down upon my hunting-ground of the day before,
and on the other side  the ridge lie Bertram's patinas.

The extreme point of the ridge which I had now gained forms one
end of a horse -shoe or amphitheatre; the other extremity is
formed by a high mountain exactly opposite at about two miles'
distance.  The bend of the horse-shoe forms a circuit of about
six miles, the rim of which is a wall of precipices and steep
patina mountains, which are about six or seven hundred feet above
the basin or the bottom of the amphitheatre.  The tops of the
mountains are covered with good open forest, and ribbon-like
strips descend to the base.  Now the base forms an uneven shelf
of great extent, about two thousand feet above the villages. This
shelf or valley appears to have suffered at some remote period
from a terrible inundation.  Landslips of great size and
innumerable deep gorges and ravines furrow the bottom of the
basin, until at length a principal fissure carries away the
united streams to the paddy-fields below.

The cause of this inundation is plain enough.  The basin has been
the receptacle for the drainage of an extensive surface of
mountain. This drainage has been effected by innumerable small
torrents, which have united in one general channel through the
valley. The exit of this stream is through a narrow gorge, by
which it descends to the low country.  During the period of heavy
rains a landslip has evidently choked up this passage, and the
exit of the water being thus obstructed, the whole area of the
valley has become a lake.  The accumulated water has suddenly
burst through the obstruction and swept everything before it. 
The elk are very fond of lying under the precipices in the strips
of jungle already mentioned.  When found, they are accordingly
forced to take to the open country and come down to the basin
below, as they cannot possibly ascend the mountain except by one
or two remote deer-runs.  Thus the whole hunt from the find to
the death is generally in view.

>From every point of this beautiful locality there is a
boundless and unbroken panorama of the low country.

Unfortunately, although the weather was perfectly fine, it was
the windy season, and a gale swept across the mountains that
rendered ears of little use, as a hound's voice was annihilated
in such a hurricane This was sadly against sport, as the main
body of the pack would have no chance of joining the finding

However, the hounds were unkenneled at break of day, and, the
tent being pitched at the bottom of the basin, we commenced a
pull up the steep patinas, hoping to find somewhere on the edge
of the jungles.

"There's scent to a certainty! - look at old Bluebeard's nose
upon the ground and the excited wagging of his stern.  Ploughboy
notices it - now Gaylass they'll hit it off presently to a
certainty, though it's as cold as charity.  That elk was feeding
here early in the night; the scent is four hours old if a minute. 
There they go into the jungle, and we shall lose the elk, ten to
one, as not another hound in the pack will work it up.  It can't
be helped; if any three hounds will rouse him out, those are the

For a couple of hours we had sat behind a rock, sheltered from
the wind, watching the immense prospect before us.  The whole
pack were lying around us except the three missing hounds, of
whom we had seen nothing since they stole away upon the cold

That elk must have gone up to the top of the mountains after
feeding, and a pretty run he must be having, very likely off to
Matturatta plains; if so, good-bye to all sport for to-day, and
the best hounds will be dead tired for to-morrow.

I was just beginning to despair when I observed a fine large buck
at about half a mile distance, cantering easily toward us across
an extensive flat of table-land.  This surface was a fine sward,
on the same level with the point upon which we sat, but separated
from us by two small wooded ravines, with a strip of patina
between them. I at once surmised that this was the hunted elk,
although, as yet, no hounds were visible.

On arrival at the first ravine we immediately descended, and
shortly after he reappeared on the small patina between the two
ravines, within three hundred yards of us.  Here the strong gale
gave him our scent. It was a beautiful sight to see him halt in
an instant, snuff the warning breeze and, drawing up to his full
height, and wind the enemy before him.

Just at this moment I heard old "Bluebeard's" deep note swelling
in the distance, and I saw him leading across the table-land as
true as gold upon the track; "Ploughboy" and "Gaylass" were both
with him but they were running mute.

The buck heard the hounds as well as we did, and I was afraid
that the whole pack would also catch the sound, and by hurrying
toward it, would head the elk him from his course.  Up to the
present time and turn they had not observed him.

Still the buck stood in an attitude of acute suspense.  He winded
an enemy before him and he heard another behind, which was
rapidly closing up, and, as though doubting his own power of
scent, he gave preference to that of hearing, and gallantly
continued his course and entered the second ravine just beneath
our feet.

I immediately jumped up, and, exciting the hounds in a subdued
voice, I waved my cap at the spot, and directed a native to run
at full speed to the jungle to endeavor to meet the elk, as I
knew the hounds would then follow him.  This they did; and they
all entered the jungle with the man except the three greyhounds,
"Lucifer," "Bran" and "Hecate," who remained with me.

A short time passed in breathless suspense, during which the
voices of the three following hounds rapidly approached as they
steadily persevered in the long chase; when suddenly, as I had
expected, the main body of the pack met the elk in the strip of

Joyful must have been the burst of music to the ears of old
"Bluebeard" after his long run.  Out crashed the buck upon the
patinas near the spot where the pack had entered, and away he
went over the grassy hills at a pace which soon left the hounds
behind.  The greyhounds will stretch his legs for him.  Yo-i-ck
to him, Lucifer! For-r-r-ard to him, Hecate !

Off dashed the three greyhounds from my side at a railway pace,
but, as the buck was above them and had a start of about two
hundred yards, in such an uphill race both Bran and Lucifer
managed to lose sight of him in the undulations.

Now was the time for Hecate's enormous power of loin and thigh to
tell, and, never losing a moment's view of her game, she sped up
the steep mountain side and was soon after seen within fifty
yards of the brick all alone, but going like a rocket.

Now she has turned him ! that pace could not last up hill, and
round the elk doubled and came flying down the mountain side.

>From the point of the hill upon which we stood we had a splendid
view of the course; the bitch gained upon him at every bound, and
there was a pitiless dash in her style of going that boded little
mercy to her game.  What alarmed me, however, was the direction
that the buck was taking.  An abrupt precipice of about two
hundred and fifty feet was lying exactly in his path; this sunk
sheer down to a lower series of grass-lands.

At the tremendous pace at which they were going I feared lest
their own impetus should carry both elk and dog to destruction
before they could see the danger.

Down they flew with unabated speed; they neared the precipice,
and a few more seconds would bring them to the verge.

The stride of the buck was no match for the bound of the
greyhound: the bitch was at his flanks, and he pressed along at
flying speed.

He was close to the danger and it was still unseen: a moment more
and "Hecate" sprang at his ear.  Fortunately she lost her hold as
the ear split.  This check saved her.  I shouted, "He'll be
over!" and the next instant he was flying through the air to
headlong destruction.

Bounding from a projecting rock upon which he struck, he flew
outward, and with frightfully increasing momentum he spun round
and round in his descent, until the centrifugal motion drew out
his legs and neck as straight as a line.  A few seconds of this
multiplying velocity and - crash!

It was all over.  The bitch had pulled up on the very brink of
the precipice, but it was a narrow escape.

Sportsmen are contradictory creatures.  If that buck had come to
bay, I should have known no better sport than going in at him
with the knife to the assistance of the pack; but I now felt a
great amount of compassion for the poor brute who had met so
terrible a fate.  It did not seem fair; and yet I would not have
missed such a sight for anything.  Nothing can be conceived more
terribly grand than the rush of so large an animal through the
air; and it was a curious circumstance that within a few days no
less than two bucks had gone over precipices, although I had
never witnessed one such an accident more than once before.

Upon reaching the fatal spot, I, of course, found him lying stone
dead.  He had fallen at least two hundred and fifty feet to the
base of the precipice; and the ground being covered with detached
fragments of rock, he had broken most of his bones, beside
bursting his paunch and smashing in the face.  However, we cut
him up and cleaned him, and, with the native followers heavily
laden, we reached the tent.

The following morning I killed another fine buck after a good run
on the patinas, where he was coursed and pulled down by the
greyhounds; but the wind was so very high that it destroyed the
pleasure of hunting.  I therefore determined on another move - to
the Matturatta Plains, within three miles of my present hunting

After hunting four days at the Matturatta Plains, I moved on to
the Elephant Plains, and from thence returned home after twelve
days' absence, having killed twelve elk and two red deer.

The animal known as the "red deer" in Ceylon is a very different
creature to his splendid namesake in Scotland; he is particularly
unlike a deer in the disproportionate size of his carcase to his
length of leg.  He stands about twenty-six inches high at the
shoulder and weighs (live weight) from forty-five to fifty
pounds.  He has two sharp tusks in the upper jaw, projecting
about an inch and a half from the gum.  These are exactly like
the lower-jaw tusks of a boar, but they incline in the contrary
direction, viz., downward, and they are used as weapons of

The horns of the red deer seldom exceed eight inches in length,
and have no more than two points upon each antler, formed by a
fork-like termination.  This kind of deer has no brow antler. 
They are very fast, and excel especially in going up hill, in
which ground they frequently escape from the best grey-hounds.

There is no doubt that the red-deer venison is the best in
Ceylon, but the animal itself is not generally sought after for
sport.  He gives a most uninteresting run; never going straight
away like a deer, but doubling about over fifty acres of ground
like a hare, until he is at last run into and killed.  They exist
in extraordinary numbers throughout every portion of Ceylon, but
are never seen in herds.

Next to the red deer is the still more tiny species, the "mouse
deer." This animal seldom exceeds twelve inches in height, and
has the same characteristic as the red deer in the heavy
proportion of body to its small length of limb.  The skin is a
mottled ash-gray, covered with dark spots.  The upper jaw is
furnished with sharp tusks similar to the red deer, but the head
is free from horns.

The skull is perfectly unlike the head of a deer, and is closely
allied to the rat, which it would exactly resemble, were it not
for the difference in the teeth.  The mouse deer lives
principally upon berries and fruits; but I have seldom found much
herbage upon examination of the paunch.  Some people consider the
flesh very good, but my ideas perhaps give it a "ratty" flavor
that makes it unpalatable.

These little deer make for some well-known retreat the moment
that they are disturbed by dogs, and they are usually found after
a short run safely ensconced in a hollow tree.

It is a very singular thing that none of the deer tribe in Ceylon
have more than six points on their horns, viz., three upon each. 
These are, the brow-antler point, and the two points which form
the extremity of each horn.  I have seen them occasionally with
more, but these were deformities in the antlers.

A stranger is always disappointed in a Ceylon elk's antlers; and
very naturally, for they are quite out of proportion to the great
size of the animal.  A very large Scotch red deer in not more
than two-thirds the size of a moderately fine elk, and yet he
carries a head of horns that are infinitely larger.

In fact, so rare are fine antlers in Ceylon that I could not pick
out more than a dozen of really handsome elk horns out of the
great numbers that I have killed.

A handsome pair of antlers is a grand addition to the beauty of a
fine buck, and gives a majesty to his bearing which is greatly
missed when a fine animal breaks cover with only a puny pair of
horns.  There is as great a difference in his appearance as there
would be in a life-guardsman in full uniform or in his shirt.

The antlers of the axis, or spotted deer, are generally longer
than those of the elk; they are also more slender and graceful. 
Altogether, the spotted deer is about the handsomest of that
beautiful tribe.  A fine spotted stag is the perfection of
elegance, color, strength, courage and speed.  He has a proud
and thorough-bred way of carrying his head, which is set upon his
neck with a peculiar grace.  Nothing can surpass the beauty of
his full black eye.  His hide is as sleek as satin - a rich
brown, slightly tinged with red, and spotted as though mottled
with flakes of snow.  His weight is about two hundred and fifty
pounds (alive).

It is a difficult thing to judge of a deer's weight with any
great accuracy; but I do not think I am far out in my estimation
of the average, as I once tried the experiment by weighing a dead
elk.  I had always considered that a mountain elk, which is
smaller than those of the low country, weighed about four hundred
pounds when cleaned, or five hundred and fifty pounds live
weight.  I happened one day to kill an average-sized buck, though
with very small horns, close to the road; so, having cleaned him,
I sent a cart for his carcase on my return home.  This elk I
weighed whole, minus his inside, and he was four hundred and
eleven pounds.  Many hours had elapsed since his death, so that
the carcase must have lost much weight by drying; this, with the
loss of blood and offal, must have been at least one hundred and
fifty pounds, which would have made his live weight five hundred
and sixty-one pounds.

Of the five different species of deer in Ceylon, the spotted deer
is alone seen upon the plains.  No climate can be too hot for his
exotic constitution, and he is never found at a higher elevation
than three thousand feet.  In the low country, when the midday
sun has driven every other beast to the shelter of the densest
jungles, the sultan of the herd and his lovely mates are
sometimes contented with the shade of an isolated tree or the
simple border of the jungle, where they drowsily pass the day,
flipping their long ears in listless idleness until the hotter
hours have passed away.  At about four in the afternoon they
stroll upon the open plains ,bucks, does and fawns, in beautiful
herds; when undisturbed, as many as a hundred together.  This is
the only species of deer in Ceylon that is gregarious.

Neither the spotted deer, nor the bear or buffalo, is to be found
at Newera Ellia.  The axis and the buffalo being the usual
denizens of the hottest countries, are not to be expected to
exist in their natural state in so low a temperature; but it is
extraordinary that the bear, who in most countries inhibits the
mountains, should in Ceylon adhere exclusively to the low

The Ceylon bear is of that species which is to be seen in the
Zoological Gardens as the "sloth bear;" an ill-bred-looking
fellow with a long-haired black coat and a gray face.

A Ceylon bear's skin is not worth preserving; there is no fur
upon it, but it simply consists of rather a stingy allowance of
black hairs.  This is the natural effect of his perpetual
residence in a hot country, where his coat adapts itself to the
climate.  He is desperately savage, and is more feared by the
natives than any other animal, as he is in the constant habit of
attacking people without the slightest provocation.  His mode of
attack increases the danger, as there is a great want of fair
play in his method of fighting.  Lying in wait, either behind a
rock or in a thick bush, he makes a sudden spring upon the unwary
wanderer, and in a moment he attacks his face with teeth and
claws.  The latter are about two inches long, and the former are
much larger than a leopard's; hence it may easily be imagined how
even a few seconds of biting and clawing might alter the most
handsome expression of countenance.

Bears have frequently been known to tear off a man's face like a
mask, leaving nothing but the face of a skull.

Thus the quadrupeds of Newera Ellia and the adjacent highlands
are confined to the following classes: the elephant, the hog, the
leopard, the chetah, the elk, the red deer, the mouse deer, the
hare, the otter, the jackal, the civet cat, the mongoose and two
others (varieties of the species), the black squirrel, the gray
squirrel, the wanderoo monkey (the largest species in Ceylon),
the porcupine, and a great variety of the rat.

Imagine the difficulty of breaking in a young hound for
elk-hunting when the jungles are swarming with such a list of
vermin! The better the pup the more he will persevere in hunting
everything that he can possibly find; and with such a variety of
animals, some of which have the most enticing scent, it is a
source of endless trouble in teaching a young hound what to limit
and what to avoid.

It is curious to witness the sagacity of the old hounds in
joining or despising the opening note of a newcomer.

The jungles are fearfully thick, and it requires great exertion
on the part of the dog to force his way through at a pace that
will enable him to join the finding hound; thus he fears
considerable disappointment if upon his arrival he finds the
scent of a monkey or a cat instead of his legitimate game.  An
old hound soon marks the inexperienced voice of the babbler, and
after the cry of "wolf" has been again repeated, nothing will
induce him to join the false finder.

Again, it is exceedingly interesting to observe the quickness of
all hounds in acknowledging their leader. Only let them catch the
sound of old "Bluebeard's" voice, and see the dash with which
they rush through the jungle to join him.  They know the old
fellows note is true to an elk or hog, and, with implicit
confidence in his "find," they never hesitate to join.

There are numerous obstacles to the breaking and training of dogs
of all kinds in such a country.  A hound when once in the jungle
is his own master.  He obeys the sound of the halloo or the born,
or not, as he thinks proper.  It is impossible to correct him, as
he is out of sight.

Now, the very fact of having one or two first-rate finders in a
pack, will very likely be the cause of spoiling the other hounds. 
After repeated experience their instinct soon shows them that, no
matter how the whole pack may individually hunt, the "find" will
be achieved by one of the first-rate hounds, and gradually they
give up hunting and take to listening for the opening note of the
favorite.  Of course in an open country they would be kept to
their work by the whip, but at Newera Ellia this is impossible. 
This accounts for the extreme paucity of first-rate "finders."

Hunting in a wild country is a far more difficult task for hounds
than the ordinary chase at home. Wherever a country is cultivated
it must be enclosed.  Thus, should a flock of sheep have thrown
the hounds out by crossing the scent, a cast round the fences
must soon hit it off again if the fox has left the field.  But in
elk-hunting it is scarcely possible to assist the hounds; a dozen
different animals, or even a disturbed elk, may cross the scent
in parts of the jungle where the cry of the hounds is even out of
hearing.  Again, an elk has a constant habit of running or
swimming down a river, his instinct prompting him to drown his
own scent, and thus throw off his pursuers.  Here is a trial for
the hounds! - the elk has waded or swum down the stream, and the
baffled pack arrive upon the bank; their cheering music has
ceased; the elk has kept the water for perhaps a quarter of a
mile, or he may have landed several times during that distance
and again have taken to water.

Now the young hounds dash thoughtlessly across the river,
thinking of nothing but a straight course, and they are thrown
out on the barren bank on the other side.  Back they come again,
wind about the last track for a few minutes, and then they are
forced to give it up - they are thrown out altogether.

Mark the staunch old hounds! - one has crossed the river; there
is no scent, but he strikes down the bank with his nose close to
the ground, and away he goes along the edge of the river casting
for a scent.  Now mark old "Bluebeard," swimming steadily down
the stream; he knows the habits of his game as well as I do, and
two to one that he will find, although "Ploughboy" has just
started along the near bank so that both sides of the river are
being hunted.

Now this is what I call difficult hunting; bad enough if the
huntsman be up to assist his hounds, but nine times out of ten
this happens in the middle of a run, without a soul within a

The only way to train hounds in this style of country is to
accustom them to complete obedience from puppyhood.  This is
easily effected by taking them out for exercise upon a road
coupled to old hounds.  A good walk every morning, accompanied by
the horn and the whip, and they soon fall into such a habit of
obedience that they may be taken out without the couples.

The great desideratum, then, is to gain their affection and
confidence, otherwise they will obey upon the road and laugh at
you when in the jungle.  Now "affection" is a difficult feeling
to instill into a foxhound, and can only be partially attained by
the exercise of cupboard love; thus a few pieces of dry liver or
bread, kept in the pocket to be given to a young hound who has
sharply answered to his call, will do more good than a month of
scolding and rating.

" Confidence," or the want of it, in a hound depends entirely
upon the character of his master.  There is an old adage of "like
master, like man;" and this is strongly displayed in the hound. 
The very best seizer would be spoiled if his master were a leetle
slow in going in with the knife; and, on the other hand, dogs
naturally shy of danger turn into good seizers where their master
invariably leads them in.

Not only is their confidence required and gained at these times,
but they learn to place implicit reliance upon their master's
knowledge of hunting, in the same manner that they acknowledge
the superiority of a particular hound.  This induces them to obey
beyond any method of training, as they feel a certain dependence
upon the man, and they answer his halloo or the horn without a
moment's hesitation.

Nothing is so likely to destroy the character of a pack as a
certain amount of laziness or incapacity upon the master's part
in following them up.  This is natural enough, as the best
hounds, if repeatedly left unassisted for hours when at bay with
their game until they are regularly beaten off, will lose their
relish for the sport.  On the other hand, perseverance on the
huntsman part will ensure a corresponding amount in the hounds;
they will become so accustomed to the certain appearance of their
master at the bay at some time or other that they will stick to
their game till night.  I have frequently killed elk at two or
three o'clock in the afternoon that have been found at six in the
morning.  Sometimes I have killed them even later than this when,
after wandering fruitlessly the whole day in every direction but
the right one, my ears have at length been gladdened by the
distant sound of the bay.  The particular moment when hope and
certainty combined reward the day's toil is the very quintessence
of joy and delight.  Nothing in the shape of enjoyment can come
near it.  What a strange power has that helpless-looking mass -
the brain! One moment, and the limbs are fagged, the shins are
tender with breaking all day through the densest jungles, the
feet are worn with unrequited labor and - hark! The bay! no doubt
of it - the bay!  There is the magic spell which, acting on the
brain, flies through every nerve.  New legs, new feet, new
everything, in a moment! fresh as though just out of bed; here we
go tearing through the jungle like a buffalo, and as happy as
though we had just come in for a fortune - happier, a great

Nevertheless, elk-hunting is not a general taste, as people have
not opportunities of enjoying it constantly.  Accordingly, they
are out of condition, and soon be, come distressed and of
necessity "shut up" (a vulgar but expressive term).  This must be
fine fun for a total stranger rather inclined to corpulency, who
has dauntlessly persevered in keeping up with the huntsman,
although at some personal inconvenience.  There is a limit to all
endurance, and he is obliged to stop, quite blown, completely
done.  He loses all sounds of hounds and huntsman, and everything
connected with the hunt. Where is he?  How horrible the idea that
flashes across his mind! he has no idea where he is, except that
he is quite certain that he is in some jungle in Ceylon.

Distraction!  Ceylon is nearly all jungle, two hundred and eighty
miles long and he is in this - somewhere He tries to recollect by
what route he has come; impossible!  He has been up one mountain,
and then he turned to the right, and got into a ravine; he
recollects the ravine, for he fell on his head with the end of a
dead stick in his stomach just as he got to the bottom; he
forgets every other part of his route, simply having an idea that
he went down a great many ravines and up a number of hills, and
turned to the right and left several times.  He gives it up; he
finds himself "lost," and, if he is sensible, he will sit down
and wait till some one comes to look for him, when he will start
with joy at the glad sound of the horn.  But should he attempt to
find his way alone through those pathless jungles, he will only
increase his distance from the right course.

One great peculiarity in Newera Ellia is the comparative freedom
from poisonous vermin.  There are three varieties of snakes, only
one of which is hurtful, and all are very minute.  The venomous
species is the "carrawellé," whose bite is generally fatal; but
this snake is not often met with.  There are no ticks, nor bugs,
nor leeches, nor scorpions, nor white ants, nor wasps, nor
mosquitoes; in fact, there is nothing venomous except the snake
alluded to, and a small species of centipede. Fleas there are
certainly - indeed, a fair sprinkling of fleas; but they are not
troublesome, except in houses which are unoccupied during a
portion of the year.  This is a great peculiarity of a Ceylon
flea - he is a great colonist; and should a house be untenanted
for a few months, so sure will it swarm with these "settlers."
Even a grass hut built for a night's bivouac in the jungle,
without a flea in the neighborhood, will literally swarm with
them if deserted for a couple of months.  Fleas have a great
fancy for settling upon anything white; thus a person with white
trowsers will be blackened with them, while a man in darker
colors will be comparatively free.  I at first supposed that they
appeared in larger numbers on the white ground because they were
more easily distinguished; but I tried the experiment of putting
a sheet of writing-paper and a piece of brown talipot leaf in the
midst of fleas; the paper was covered with them, while only two
or three were on the talipot.

The bite of the small species of centipede alluded to is not very
severe, being about equivalent to a wasp's sting. I have been
bitten myself, and I have seen another person suffering from the
bite, which was ludicrous enough.

The sufferer was Corporal Phinn, of H.M. Fifteenth Regiment.  At
that time he was one of Lieutenant de Montenach's servants, and
accompanied his master on a hunting-trip to the Horton Plains.

Now Phinn was of course an Irishman; an excellent fellow, a dead
hand at tramping a bog and killing a snipe, but (without the
slightest intention of impugning his veracity) Phinn's ideality
was largely developed. He was never by himself for five minutes
in the jungle without having seen something wonderful before his
return; this he was sure to relate in a rich brogue with great

However, we had just finished dinner one night, and Phinn had
then taken his master's vacant place (there being only one room)
to commence his own meal, when up he jumped like a madman,
spluttering the food out of his mouth, and shouting and skipping
about the room with both hands clutched tightly to the hinder
part of his inexpressibles.  "Oh, by Jasus! help, sir, help! I've
a reptile or some divil up my breeches! Oh! bad luck to him, he's
biting me! Oh! oh! it's sure a sarpint that's stinging me! quick,
sir, or he'll be the death o' me!"

Phinn was frantic, and upon lowering his inexpressibles we found
the centipede about four inches long which had bitten him.  A
little brandy rubbed on the part soon relieved the pain.

CHAPTER VIII. Observations on Nature in the Tropics - The Dung
Beetle - The Mason-fly - Spiders - Luminous Insects - Efforts of
a Naturalist - Dogs Worried by Leeches - Tropical Diseases -
Malaria - Causes of Infection - Disappearance of the "Mina" -
Poisonous Water - Well-digging Elephants.

How little can the inhabitant of a cold or temperate climate
appreciate the vast amount of "life" in a tropical country.  The
combined action of light, heat and moisture calls into existence
myriads of creeping things, the offspring of the decay of
vegetation.  "Life" appears to emanate from "death" - the
destruction of one material seems to multify the existence of
another - the whole surface of the earth seems busied in one vast
system of giving birth.

An animal dies - a solitary beast - and before his unit life has
vanished for one week, bow many millions of living creatures owe
their birth to his death? What countless swarms of insects have
risen from that one carcase! - creatures which never could have
been brought into existence were it not for the presence of one
dead body which has received and hatched the deposited eggs of
millions that otherwise would have remained unvivified.

Not a tree falls, not a withered flower droops to the ground, not
a fruit drops from the exhausted bough, but it is instantly
attacked by the class of insect prepared by Nature for its
destruction.  The white ant scans a lofty tree whose iron-like
timber and giant stem would seem to mock at his puny efforts; but
it is rotten at the core and not a leaf adorns its branches, and
in less than a year it will have fallen to the earth a mere
shell; the whole of the wood will have been devoured.

Rottenness of all kinds is soon carried from the face of the land
by the wise arrangements of Nature for preserving the world from
plagues and diseases, which the decaying and unconsumed bodies of
animals and vegetables would otherwise engender.

How beautiful are all the laws of Nature! how perfect in their
details!  Allow that the great duty of the insect tribe is to
cleanse the earth and atmosphere from countless impurities
noxious to the human race, how great a plague would our
benefactors themselves become were it not for the various classes
of carnivorous insects who prey upon them, and are in their turn
the prey of others!  It is a grand principle of continual strife,
which keeps all and each down to their required level.

What a feast for an observant mind is thus afforded in a tropical
country!  The variety and the multitude of living things are so
great that a person of only ordinary observation cannot help
acquiring a tolerable knowledge of the habits of some of the most
interesting classes.  In the common routine of daily life they
are continually in his view, and even should he have no taste for
the study of Nature and her productions, still one prevailing
characteristic of the insect tribe must impress itself upon his
mind.  It is the natural instinct not simply of procreating their
species, but of laying by a provision for their expected
offspring.  What a lesson to mankind! what an example to the
nurtured mind of mail from one of the lowest classes of living

Here we see no rash matrimonial engagements; no penniless lovers
selfishly and indissolubly linked together to propagate large
families Of starving children.  Ail the arrangements of the
insect tribe, though prompted by sheer instinct are conducted
with a degree of rationality that in some cases raises the mere
instinct of the creeping thing above the assumed "reason" of man.

The bird builds her nest and carefully provides for the comfort
of her young long ere she lays her fragile egg.  Even look at
that vulgar-looking beetle, whose coarse form would banish the
idea of any rational feeling existing in its brain - the
Billingsgate fish-woman of its tribe in coarseness and rudeness
of exterior (Scarabaeus carnifex) - see with what quickness she
is running backward, raised almost upon her head, while with her
bind legs she trundles a large ball; herself no bigger than a
nutmeg, the ball is four times the size. There she goes along the
smooth road. The ball she has just manufactured from some
fresh-dropped horse-dung; it is as round as though turned by a
lathe, and, although the dung has not lain an hour upon the
ground, she and her confederates have portioned out the spoil,
and each has started off with her separate ball.  Not a particle
of horsedung remains upon the road.  Now she has rolled the ball
away from the hard road, and upon the soft, sandy border she has
stopped to rest.  No great amount of rest; she plunges her head
into the ground, and with that shovel-like projection of stout
horn she mines her way below: she has disappeared even in these
few seconds.

Presently the apparently deserted ball begins to move, as though
acted on by some subterranean force; gradually it sinks to the
earth, and it vanishes altogether.

Some persons might imagine that she feeds upon the ordure, and
that she has buried her store as a dog hides a bone; but this is
not the case; she has formed a receptacle for her eggs, which she
deposits in the ball of dung, the warmth of which assists in
bringing the larvae into life, which then feed upon the manure.

It is wonderful to observe with what rapidity all kinds of dung
are removed by these beetles.  This is effected by the active
process of rolling the loads instead of carrying, by which method
a large mass is transported at once.

The mason-fly is also a ball-maker, but she carries her load and
builds an elaborate nest. This insect belongs to the order
"Hymenoptera," and is of the Ichneumon tribe, being a variety of
upward of four hundred species of that interesting fly.

The whole tribe of Ichneumon are celebrated for their courage; a
small fly will not hesitate to attack the largest cockroach, who
evinces the greatest terror at sight of his well-known enemy; but
the greatest proof of valor in a fly is displayed in the war of
the ichneumon against the spider.

There is a great variety of this insect in Ceylon, from the large
black species, the size of the hornet down to the minute
tinsel-green fly, no bigger than a gnat; but every one of these
different species wages perpetual war against the arch enemy of

In very dry weather in some districts, when most pools and
water-holes are dried up, a pail of water thrown upon the ground
will as assuredly attract a host of mason-flies as carrion will
bring together "blow-flies." They will be then seen in excessive
activity upon the wet earth, forming balls of mud, by rolling the
earth between their fore feet until they have manufactured each a
pill.  With this they fly away to build their nest, and
immediately return for a further supply.

The arrangement of the nest is a matter of much consideration, as
the shape depends entirely upon the locality in which it is
built: it may be in the corner of a room, or in a hole in a wall,
or in the hollow of a bamboo; but wherever it is, the principle
is the same, although the shape of the nest may vary. Everything
is to be hermetically sealed.

The mason-fly commences by flattening the first pill of clay upon
the intended site (say the corner of a room); she then spreads it
in a thin layer over a surface of about two inches, and retires
for another ball of clay.  This she dabs upon the plastic
foundation, and continues the apparently rude operation until
some twenty or thirty pills of clay are adhering at equal
distances.  She then forms these into a number of neat
oval-shaped cells, about the size of a wren's egg, and in each
cell she deposits one egg.  She then flies off in search of
spiders, which are to be laid tip in stores within the cells as
food for the young larvae, when hatched.

Now the transition from the larva to the fly takes place in the
cell, and occupies about six weeks from the time the egg is first
laid; thus, as the egg itself is not vivified for some weeks
after it is deposited, the spiders have to be preserved in a
sound and fresh state during that interval until the larva is in
such an advanced stage as to require food.

In a tropical country every one knows that a very few hours
occasion the putrefaction of all dead animal substances;
nevertheless these spiders are to be kept fresh and good, like
our tins of preserved meats, to be eaten when required.

One, two, or even three spiders, according to their size, the
mason-fly deposits in each cell, and then closes it hermetically
with clay. The spiders she has pounced upon while sunning
themselves in the centre of their delicate nets, and they are
hurried off in a panic to be converted into preserved provisions.
Each cell being closed, the whole nest is cemented over with a
thick covering of clay. In due time the young family hatch, eat
their allowance of spiders, undergo their torpid change, and
emerge from their clay mansion complete mason-flies.

Every variety of Ichneumon, however (in Ceylon), chooses the
spider as the food for its young.  It is not at all uncommon to
find a gun well loaded with spiders, clay and grubs, some
mason-fly having chosen the barrel for his location. A bunch of
keys will invite a settlement of one of the smaller species, who
make its nest in the tube of a key, which it also fills with
minute spiders.

In attacking the spider, the mason-fly his a choice of his
antagonist, and he takes good care to have a preponderance of
weight on his own side.  His reason for choosing this in
preference to other insects for a preserved store may be that the
spider is naturally juicy, plump and compact, combining
advantages both for keeping and packing closely.

There are great varieties of spiders in Ceylon, one of which is
of such enormous size as to resemble the Aranea avicularia of
America. This species stands on an area of about three inches,
and never spins a web, but wanders about and lives in holes; his
length of limb, breadth of thorax and powerful jaws give him a
most formidable appearance. There is another species of a
large-sized spider who spins a web of about two and a half feet
in diameter. This is composed of a strong, yellow, silky fibre,
and so powerful is the texture that a moderate-sized walking-cane
thrown into the web will be retained by it. This spider is about
two inches long, the color black, with a large yellow spot upon
the back, and the body nearly free from hair.

Some years ago an experiment was made in France of substituting
the thread of the spider for the silk of the silkworm: several
pairs of stockings and various articles were manufactured with
tolerable success in this new material, but the fibre was
generally considered as too fragile.

A sample of such thread as is spun by the spider described could
not have failed to produce the desired result, as its strength is
so great that it can be wound upon a card without the slightest
care required in the operation.  The texture is far more silky
than the fibre commonly produced by spiders, which has more
generally the character of cotton than of silk.

Should this ever be experimented on, a question might arise of
much interest to entomologists, whether a difference in the food
of the spider would affect the quality of the thread, as is well
known to be the case with the common silkworm.

A Ceylon night after a heavy shower of rain is a brilliant sight,
when the whole atmosphere is teeming with moving lights bright as
the stars themselves, waving around the tree-tops in fiery
circles, now threading like distant lamps through the intricate
branches and lighting up the dark recesses of the foliage, then
rushing like a shower of sparks around the glittering boughs. 
Myriads of bright fire-flies in these wild dances meet their
destiny, being entangled in opposing spiders' webs, where they
hang like fairy lamps, their own light directing the path of the
destroyer and assisting in their destruction.

There are many varieties of luminous insects in Ceylon.  That
which affords the greatest volume of light is a large white grub
about two inches in length, This is a fat, sluggish animal, whose
light is far more brilliant than could be supposed to emanate
from such a form.

The light of a common fire-fly will enable a person to
distinguish the hour on a dial in a dark night, but the glow from
the grub described will render the smallest print so legible that
a page may be read with case.  I once tried the experiment of
killing the grub, but the light was not extinguished with life,
and by opening the tail, I squeezed out a quantity of glutinous
fluid, which was so highly phosphorescent that it brilliantly
illumined the page of a book which I had been reading by its
light for a trial.

All phosphorescent substances require friction to produce their
full volume of light; this is exemplified at sea during a calm
tropical night, when the ocean sleeps in utter darkness and
quietude and not a ripple disturbs the broad surface of the
water.  Then the prow of the advancing steamer cuts through the
dreary waste of darkness and awakens into fiery life the spray
which dashes from her sides.  A broad stream of light illumines
the sea in her wake, and she appears to plough up fire in her
rush through the darkened water.

The simple friction of the moving mass agitates the millions of
luminous animalcules contained in the water; in the same manner a
fish darting through the sea is distinctly seen by the fiery
course which is created by his own velocity.

All luminous insects are provided with a certain amount of
phosphorescent fluid, which can be set in action at pleasure by
the agitation of a number of nerves and muscles situated in the
region of the fluid and especially adapted to that purpose.  It
is a common belief that the light of the glow-worm is used as a
lamp of love to assist in nocturnal meetings, but there can be
little doubt that the insect makes use of its natural brilliancy
without any specific intention.  It is as natural for the
fire-fly to glitter by night as for the colored butterfly to be
gaudy by day.

The variety of beautiful and interesting insects is so great in
Ceylon that an entomologist would consider it a temporary
elysium; neither would he have much trouble in collecting a host
of different species who will exhibit themselves without the
necessity of a laborious search.  Thus, while he may be engaged
in pinning out some rare specimen, a thousand minute eye-flies
will be dancing so close to his eyeballs that seeing is out of
the question.  These little creatures, which are no larger than
pin's heads, are among the greatest plagues in some parts of the
jungle; and what increases the annoyance is the knowledge of the
fact that they dance almost into your eyes out of sheer vanity. 
They are simply admiring their own reflection in the mirror of
the eye; or, may be, some mistake their own reflected forms for
other flies performing the part of a "vis-à-vis" in their
unwearying quadrille.

A cigar is a specific against these small plagues, and we will
allow that the patient entomologist has just succeeded in putting
them to flight and has resumed the occupation of setting out his
specimen.  Ha! see him spring out of his chair as though
electrified.  Watch how, regardless of the laws of buttons, he
frantically tears his trowsers from his limbs; he has him! no he
hasn't! - yes he has! - no - no, positively he cannot get him
off.  It is a tick no bigger than a grain of sand, but his bite
is like a red-hot needle boring into the skin.  If all the royal
family had been present, he could not have refrained from tearing
off his trowsers.

The naturalist has been out the whole morning collecting, and a
pretty collection he has got - a perfect fortune upon his legs
alone.  There are about a hundred ticks who have not yet
commenced to feed upon him; there are also several fine specimens
of the large flat buffalo tick; three or four leeches are
enjoying themselves on the juices of the naturalist; these he had
not felt, although they had bitten him half an hour before; a
fine black ant has also escaped during the recent confusion,
fortunately without using his sting.

Oil is the only means of loosening the hold of a tick; this
suffocates him and he dies; but he leaves an amount of
inflammation in the wound which is perfectly surprising in so
minute an insect.  The bite of the smallest species is far more
severe than that of the large buffalo or the deer tick, both of
which are varieties.

Although the leeches in Ceylon are excessively annoying, and
numerous among the dead leaves of the jungle and the high grass,
they are easily guarded against by means of leech-gaiters: these
are wide stockings, made of drill or some other light and close
material, which are drawn over the foot and trowsers up to the
knee, under which they are securely tied.  There are three
varieties of the leech : the small jungle leech, the common leech
and the stone leech.  The latter will frequently creep up the
nostrils of a dog while he is drinking in a stream, and, unlike
the other species, it does not drop off when satiated, but
continues to live in the dog's nostril.  I have known a leech of
this kind to have lived more than two months in the nose of one
of my hounds; he was so high up that I could only see his tail
occasionally when lie relaxed to his full length, and injections
of salt and water had no effect on him.  Thus I could not relieve
the dog till one day when the leech descended, and I observed the
tail working in and out of the nostril; I then extracted him in
the usual way with the finger and thumb and the tail of the coat.

I should be trespassing too much upon the province of the
naturalist, and attempting more than I could accomplish, were I
to enter into the details of the entomology of Ceylon; I have
simply mentioned a few of those insects most common to the
every-day observer, and I leave the description of the endless
varieties of classes to those who make entomology a study.

It may no doubt appear very enticing to the lovers of such
things, to hear of the gorgeous colors and prodigious size of
butterflies, moths and beetles; the varieties of reptiles, the
flying foxes, the gigantic crocodiles; the countless species of
waterfowl, et hoc genus omne; but one very serious fact is apt to
escape the observation of the general reader, that wherever
insect and reptile life is most abundant, so sure is that
locality full of malaria and disease.

Ceylon does not descend to second-class diseases: there is no
such thing as influenza; whooping-cough, measles, scarlatina,
etc., are rarely, if ever, heard of; we ring the changes upon
four first-class ailments - four scourges, which alternately
ascend to the throne of pestilence and annually reduce the circle
of our friends - cholera, dysentery, small-pox and fever.  This
year (1854) there has been some dispute as to the routine of
succession; they have accordingly all raged at one time.

The cause of infection in disease has long been a subject of
controversy among medical men, but there can be little doubt
that, whatever is the origin of the disease, the same is the
element of infection.  The question is, therefore, reduced to the
prime cause of the disease itself.

A theory that animalcules are the cause of the various contagious
and infectious disorders has created much discussion; and
although this opinion is not generally entertained by the
faculty, the idea is so feasible, and so many rational arguments
can be brought forward in its support, that I cannot help
touching upon a topic so generally interesting.

In the first place, nearly all infectious diseases predominate in
localities which are hot, damp, swampy, abounding in stagnant
pools and excluded from a free circulation of air.  In a tropical
country, a residence in such a situation would be certain death
to a human being, but the same locality will be found to swarm
with insects and reptiles of all classes.

Thus, what is inimical to human life is propitious to the insect
tribe.  This is the first step in favor of the argument. 
Therefore, whatever shall tend to increase the insect life must
in an inverse ratio war with human existence.

When we examine a drop of impure water, and discover by the
microscope the thousands of living beings which not only are
invisible to the naked eye, but some of whom are barely
discoverable even by the strongest magnifying power, it certainly
leads to the inference, that if one drop of impure fluid contains
countless atoms endowed with vitality, the same amount of impure
air may be equally tenanted with its myriads of invisible

It is well known that different mixtures, which are at first pure
and apparently free from all insect life, will, in the course of
their fermentation and subsequent impurity, generate peculiar
species of animalcules.  Thus all water and vegetable or animal
matter, in a state of stagnation and decay, gives birth to insect
life; likewise all substances of every denomination which are
subjected to putrid fermentation.  Unclean sewers, filthy hovels,
unswept streets, unwashed clothes, are therefore breeders of
animalcules, many of which are perfectly visible without
microscopic aid.

Now, if some are discernible by the naked eye, and others are
detected in such varying sizes that some can only just be
distinguished by the most powerful lens, is it not rational to
conclude that the smallest discernible to human intelligence is
but the medium of a countless race? that millions of others still
exist, which are too minute for any observation?

Observe the particular quarters of a city which suffers most
severely during the prevalence of an epidemic, In all dirty,
narrow streets, where the inhabitants are naturally of a low and
uncleanly class, the cases will be tenfold.  Thus, filth is
admitted to have at least the power of attracting disease, and we
know that it not only attracts, but generates animalcules;
therefore filth, insects and disease are ever to he seen closely
linked together.

Now, the common preventives against infection are such as are
peculiarly inimical to every kind of insect; camphor, chloride of
lime, tobacco-smoke, and powerful scents and smokes of any kind. 
The first impulse on the appearance of an infectious disease is
to purify everything as much as possible, and by extra
cleanliness and fumigations to endeavor to arrest its progress. 
The great purifier of Nature is a violent wind, which usually
terminates an epidemic immediately; this would naturally carry
before it all insect life with which the atmosphere might be
impregnated, and the disease disappears at the same moment.  It
will he well remembered that the plague of locusts inflicted upon
Pharaoh was relieved in the same manner: "And the Lord turned a
mighty strong west wind, which took away the locusts and cast
them into the Red Sea; there remained not one locust in all the
coasts of Egypt."

Every person is aware that unwholesome air is quite poisonous to
the human system as impure water; and seeing that the noxious
qualities of the latter are caused by animalcules, and that the
method used for purifying infected air are those most generally
destructive to insect life, it is not irrational to conclude that
the poisonous qualities of bad water and bad air arise from the
same cause.

Man is being constantly preyed upon by insects; and were it not
for ordinary cleanliness, he would become a mass of vermin; even
this does not protect him from the rapacity of ticks, mosquitoes,
fleas and many others. Intestinal worms feed on him within, and,
unseen, use their slow efforts for his destruction.

The knowledge of so many classes which actually prey upon the
human system naturally leads to the belief that many others
endowed with the same propensities exist, of which we have at
present no conception.  Thus, different infectious disorders
might proceed from peculiar species of animalcules, which, at
given periods, are wafted into certain countries, carrying
pestilence and death in their invisible course.

A curious phenomenon has recently occurred at Mauritus, where
that terrible scourge, the cholera, has been raging with
desolating effect.

There is a bird in that island called the "martin," but it is
more property the "mina." This bird is about the size of the
starling, whose habits its possesses in a great degree.  It
exists in immense numbers, and is a grand destroyer of all
insects.  On this account it is seldom or never shot at,
especially as it is a great comforter to all cattle, whose hides
it entirely cleans from ticks and other vermin, remaining for
many hours perched upon the back of one animal, while its bill is
actively employed in searching out and destroying every insect.

During the prevalence of the cholera at Mauritius these birds
disappeared.  Such a circumstance had never before occurred, and
the real cause of their departure is still a mystery.

May it not have been, that some species of insect upon which they
fed had likewise migrated, and that certain noxious animalcules,
which had been kept down by this class, had thus multiplied
within the atmosphere until their numbers caused disease?  All
suppositions on such a subject must, however, remain in
obscurity, as no proof can be adduced of their correctness.  The
time may arrive when science may successfully grapple with all
human ailments, but hitherto that king of pestilence, the
"cholera," has reduced the highest medical skill to miserable

Upon reconsidering the dangers of fevers, dysentery, etc., in the
swampy and confined districts described, the naturalist may
become somewhat less ardent in following his favorite pursuit. 
Of one fact I can assure him that no matter how great the natural
strength of his constitution, the repeated exposure to the
intense heat of the sun, the unhealthy districts that he will
visit, the nights redolent of malaria, and the horrible water
that he must occasionally drink, will gradually undermine the
power of the strongest man.  Both sportsman and naturalist in
this must share alike.

No one who has not actually suffered from the effect can
appreciate the misery of bad water in a tropical country, or the
blessings of a cool, pure draught.  I have been in districts of
Ceylon where for sixteen or twenty miles not a drop of water is
to be obtained fit for an animal to drink; not a tree to throw a
few yards of shade upon the parching ground; nothing but stunted,
thorny jungles and sandy, barren plains as far as the eye can
reach; the yellow leaves crisp upon the withered branches, the
wild fruits hardened for want of sap, all moisture robbed from
vegetation by the pitiless drought of several months.

A day's work in such a country is hard indeed carrying a heavy
rifle for some five-and-twenty miles, sometimes in deep sand,
sometimes on good ground, but always exposed to the intensity of
that blaze, added to the reflection from the sandy soil, and the
total want of fresh air and water.  All Nature seems stagnated; a
distant pool is seen, and a general rush takes place toward the
cheering sight.  The water is thicker than pea soup, a green scum
floats through the thickened mass, and the temperature is upward
of 130 Fahrenheit.  All kinds of insects are swarming in the
putrid fluid, and a saltish bitter adds to its nauseating flavor. 
I have seen the exhausted coolies spread their dirty cloths on
the surface, and form them into filters by sucking the water
through them.  Oh for a glass of Newera Ellia water, the purest
and best that ever flows, as it sparkles out of the rocks on the
mountain-tops! what pleasure so perfect as a long, deep and
undisturbed draught of such cold, clear nectar when the throat is
parched with unquenchable thirst!

In some parts of Ceylon, especially in the neighborhood of the
coast, where the land is flat and sandy, the water is always
brackish, even during the rainy season, and in the dry months it
is undrinkable.

The natives then make use of a berry for cleansing it and
precipitating the impurities.  II know the shrub and the berry
well, but it has no English denomination.  The berries are about
the size of a very large pea, and grow in clusters of from ten to
fifteen together, and one berry is said to be sufficient to
cleanse a gallon of water.  The method of using them is curious,
although simple.  The vessel which is intended to contain the
water, which is generally an earthen chatty, is well rubbed in
the inside with a berry until the latter, which is of a horny
consistency, like vegetable ivory, is completely worn away.  The
chatty is then filled with the muddy water, and allowed to stand
for about an hour or more, until all the impurities have
precipitated to the bottom and the water remains clear.

I have constantly used this berry, but I certainly cannot say
that the water has ever been rendered perfectly clear; it has
been vastly improved, and what was totally undrinkable before has
been rendered fit for use; but it has at the best been only
comparatively good; and although the berry has produced a decided
effect, the native accounts of its properties are greatly

During the prolonged droughts, many rivers of considerable
magnitude are completely exhausted, and nothing remains but a dry
bed of said between lofty banks.  At these seasons the elephants,
being hard pressed for water, make use of their wonderful
instinct by digging holes in the dry sand of the river's bed;
this they perform with the horny toes of their fore feet, and
frequently work to a depth of three feet before they discover the
liquid treasure beneath.  This process of well-digging almost
oversteps the boundaries of instinct and strongly, savors of
reason, the two powers being so nearly connected that it is
difficult in some cases to define the distinction.  There are so
many interesting cases of the wonderful display of both these
attributes in animals, that I shall notice some features of this
subject in a separate chapter.

CHAPTER IX. Instinct and Reason - Tailor Birds and Grosbeaks -
The White Ant - Black Ants at War - Wanderoo Monkeys - Habits of
Elephants - Elephants in the Lake - Herd of Elephants Bathing -
Elephant-shooting - The Rencontre - The Charge - Caught by the
Tail - Horse Gored by a Buffalo - Sagacity of Dogs - " Bluebeard
" - His Hunt - A True Hound.

There can be no doubt that man is not the only animal endowed
with reasoning powers: he possesses that faculty to an immense
extent, but although the amount of the same power possessed by
animals may be infinitely small, nevertheless it is their share
of reason, which they occasionally use apart from mere instinct.

Although instinct and reason appear to be closely allied, they
are easily separated and defined.

Instinct is the faculty with which Nature has endowed all animals
for the preservation and continuation of their own species.  This
is accordingly exhibited in various features, as circumstances
may call forth the operation of the power; but so wonderful are
the attributes of Nature that the details of her arrangements
throughout the animal and insect creation give to every class an
amount of sense which in many instances surmounts the narrow
bounds of simple instinct.

The great characteristic of sheer instinct is its want of
progression; it never increases, never improves.  It is possessed
now in the nineteenth century by every race of living creatures
in no larger proportion than was bestowed upon them at the

In general, knowledge increases like a rolling snowball; a
certain amount forms a base for extra improvement, and upon
successive foundations of increasing altitude the eminence has
been attained of the present era.  This is the effect of
"reason;" but "instinct," although beautiful in its original
construction, remains, like the blossom of a tree, ever the same
- a limited effect produced by a given cause; an unchangeable law
of Nature that certain living beings shall perform certain
functions which require a certain amount of intelligence; this
amount is supplied by Nature for the performance of the duties
required; this is instinct.

Thus, according to the requirements necessitated by the habits of
certain living creatures to an equivalent amount is their share
of instinct. Reason differs from instinct as combining the
effects of thought and reflection; this being a proof of
consideration, while instinct is simply a direct emanation from
the brain, confined to an impulse.

In our observations of Nature, especially in tropical countries,
we see numberless exemplifications of these powers, in some of
which the efforts of common instinct halt upon the extreme
boundary and have almost a tinge of reason.

What can be more curious than the nest of the tailor-bird - a
selection of tough leaves neatly sewn one over the other to form
a waterproof exterior to the comfortable little dwelling within?
Where does the needle and thread come from?  The first is the
delicate bill of the bird itself, and the latter is the strong
fibre of the bark of a tree, with which the bird sews every leaf,
lapping one over the other in the same manner that slates are
laid upon a roof.

Nevertheless this is simple instinct; the tailor-bird in the days
of Adam constructed her nest in a similar manner, which will be
continued without improvement till the end of time.

The grosbeak almost rivals the tailor-bird in the beautiful
formation of its nest.  These birds build in company, twenty or
thirty nests being common upon one tree.  Their apparent
intention in the peculiar construction of their nests is to avoid
the attacks of snakes and lizards.  These nests are about two
feet long, composed of beautifully woven grass, shaped like an
elongated pear.  They are attached like fruit to the extreme end
of a stalk or branch, from which they wave to and fro in the
wind, as though hung out to dry.  The bird enters at a
funnel-like aperture in the bottom, and by this arrangement the
young are effectually protected from reptiles.

All nests, whether of birds or insects, are particularly
interesting, as they explain the domestic habits of the
occupants; but, however wonderful the arrangement and the beauty
of the work as exhibited among birds, bees, wasps, etc., still it
is the simple effect of instinct on the principle that they never

The white ant - that grand destroyer of all timber - always works
under cover; he builds as he progresses in his work of
destruction, and runs a long gallery of fine clay in the
direction of his operations; beneath this his devastation
proceeds until he has penetrated to the interior of the beam, the
centre of which he entirely demolishes, leaving a thin shell in
the form of the original log encrusted over the exterior with
numerous galleries.

There is less interest in the habits of these destructive
wretches than in all other of the ant tribe; they build
stupendous nests, it is true, but their interior economy is less
active and thrifty than that of many other species of ants, among
which there is a greater appearance of the display of reasoning
powers than in most animals of a superior class.

On a fine sunny morning it is not uncommon, to see ants busily
engaged in bringing out all the eggs from the nest and laying
them in the sun until they become thoroughly warmed, after which
they carry them all back again and lay them in their respective
places.  This looks very like a power of reasoning, as it is
decidedly beyond instinct.  If they were to carry out the eggs
every morning, wet or dry, it would be an effort of instinct to
the detriment of the eggs; but as the weather is uncertain, it
is an effort of reason on the part of the ants to bring out the
eggs to the sun, especially as it is not an every-day occurrence,
even in fine weather.

In Mauritius, the negroes have a custom of turning the reasoning
powers of the large black ant to advantage.

White ants are frequently seen passing in and out of a small hole
from underneath a building, in which case their ravages could
only be prevented by taking up the flooring and destroying the

The negroes avoid this by their knowledge of the habits of the
black ant, who is a sworn enemy to the white.

They accordingly pour a little treacle on the ground within a
yard of the hole occupied by the white ants.  The smell of the
treacle shortly attracts some of the black species, who, on their
arrival are not long in observing their old enemies passing in
and out of the hole.  Some of them leave the treacle; these are
evidently messengers, as in the course of the day a whole army of
black ants will be seen advancing, in a narrow line of many yards
in length, to storm the stronghold of the white ants.  They enter
the hole, and they destroy every white ant in the building. 
Resistance there can be none, as the plethoric, slow-going white
ant is as a mouse to a cat in the encounter with his active
enemy, added to which the black ant is furnished with a most
venomous sting, in addition to a powerful pair of mandibles.  I
have seen the black ants returning from their work of
destruction, each carrying a slaughtered white ant in his mouth,
which he devours at leisure.  This is again a decided effort of
reason, as the black ant arrives at the treacle without a thought
of the white ant in his mind, but, upon seeing his antagonist, he
despatches messengers for reinforcements, who eventually bring up
the army to the "rendezvous."

Numerous instances might be cited of the presence of reasoning
powers among the insect classes, but this faculty becomes of
increased interest when seen in the larger animals.

Education is both a proof and a promoter of reason in all
animals.  This removes them from their natural or instinctive
position, and brings forth the full development of the mental
powers.  This is exhibited in the performance of well-trained
dogs, especially among pointers and setters.  Again, in the feats
performed by educated animals in the circus, where the elephant
has lately endeavored to prove a want of common sense by standing
on his head. Nevertheless, however absurd the trick, which man
may teach the animal to perform, the very fact of their
performance substantiates an amount of reason in the animal.

Monkeys, elephants and dogs are naturally endowed with a larger
share of the reasoning power than other animals, which is
frequently increased to a wonderful extent by education.  The
former, even in their wild state, are so little inferior to some
natives, either in their habits or appearance, that I should feel
some reluctance in denying them an almost equal share of reason;
the want Of speech certainly places them below the Veddahs, but
the monkeys, on the other hand, might assert a superiority by a
show of tails.

Monkeys vary in intelligence according to their species, and may
be taught to do almost anything.  There are several varieties in
Ceylon, among which the great black wanderoo, with white
whiskers, is the nearest in appearance to the human race.  This
monkey stands upward of three feet high, and weighs about eighty
pounds. He has immense muscular power, and he has also a great
peculiarity in the formation of the skull, which is closely
allied to that of a human being, the lower jaw and the upper
being in a straight line with the forehead.  In monkeys the jaws
usually project.  This species exists in most parts of Ceylon,
but I have seen it of a larger size at Newera Ellia thin in any
of the low-country districts.

Elephants are proverbially sagacious, both in their wild state
and when domesticated.  I have previously described the building
of a dam by a tame elephant, which was an exhibition of reason
hardly to be expected in any animal.  They are likewise
wonderfully sagacious in a wild state in preserving themselves
from accidents, to which, from their bulk and immense weight,
they would be particularly liable, such as the crumbling of the
verge of a precipice, the insecurity of a bridge or the
suffocating depth of mud in a lake.

It is the popular opinion, and I have seen it expressed in many
works, that the elephant shuns rough and rocky ground, over which
he moves with difficulty, and that he delights in level plains,
etc., etc.  This may be the case in Africa, where his favorite
food, the mimosa, grows upon the plain, but in Ceylon it is
directly the contrary.  In this country the elephant delights in
the most rugged localities; he rambles about rocky hills and
mountains with a nimbleness that no one can understand without
personal experience.  So partial are elephants to rocky and
uneven ground that should the ruins of a mountain exist in rugged
fragments along a plain of low, thorny jungle, five chances to
one would be in favor of tracking the herd to this very spot,
where they would most likely be found, standing among the alleys
roamed by the fragments heaped around them.  It is surprising to
witness the dexterity of elephants in traversing ground over
which a man can pass with difficulty.  I have seen places on the
mountains in the neighborhood of Newera Ellia bearing the
unmistakable marks of elephants where I could not have conceived
it possible for such an animal to stand.  On the precipitous
sides of jungle-covered mountains, where the ground is so steep
that a man is forced to cling to the underwood for support, the
elephants still plough their irresistible course.  In descending
or ascending these places, the elephant a always describes a
zigzag, and thus lessens the abruptness of the inclination. 
Their immense weight acting on their broad feet, bordered by
sharp horny toes, cuts away the side of the hill at every stride
and forms a level step; thus they are enabled to skirt the sides
of precipitous hills and banks with comparative case.  The trunk
is the wonderful monitor of all danger to an elephant, from
whatever cause it may proceed.  This may arise from the approach
of man or from the character of the country; in either case the
trunk exerts its power; in one by the acute sense of smell, in
the other by the combination of the sense of scent and touch.  In
dense jungles, where the elephant cannot see a yard before him,
the sensitive trunk feels the hidden way, and when the roaring of
waterfalls admonishes him of the presence of ravines and
precipices, the never-failing trunk lowered upon the around keeps
him advised of every inch of his path.

Nothing is more difficult than to induce a tame elephant to cross
a bridge which his sagacity assures him is insecure; he will
sound it with his trunk and press upon it with one foot, but he
will not trust his weight if he can perceive the slightest

Their power of determining whether bogs or the mud at the bottom
of tanks are deep or shallow is beyond my comprehension. 
Although I have seen elephants in nearly every position, I have
never seen one inextricably fixed in a swamp.  This is the more
extraordinary as their habits induce them to frequent the most
extensive morasses, deep lakes, muddy tanks and estuaries, and
yet I have never seen even a young one get into a scrape by being
overwhelmed.  There appears to be a natural instinct which warns
them in their choice of ground, the same as that which influences
the buffalo, and in like manner guides him through his swampy

It is a grand sight to see a large herd of elephants feeding in a
fine lake in broad daylight.  This is seldom witnessed in these
days, as the number of guns have so disturbed the elephants in
Ceylon that they rarely come out to drink until late in the
evening or during the night; but some time ago I had a fine view
of a grand herd in a lake in the middle of the day.

I was out shooting with a great friend of mine, who is a
brother-in-arms against the game of Ceylon, and than whom a
better sportsman does not breathe, and we had arrived at a wild
and miserable place while en route home after a jungle trip. 
Neither of us was feeling well; we had been for some weeks in the
most unhealthy part of the country, and I was just recovering
from a touch of dysentery: altogether, we were looking forward
with pleasure to our return to comfortable quarters, and for the
time we were tired of jungle life.  However, we arrived at a
little village about sixty miles south of Batticaloa, called
"Gollagangwelléwevé" (pronunciation requires practice), and a
very long name it was for so small a place; but the natives
insisted that a great number of elephants were in the

They also declared that the elephants infested the neighboring
tank even during the forenoon, and that they nightly destroyed
their embankment, and would not be driven away, as there was not
a single gun possessed by the village with which to scare them. 
This looked all right; so we loaded the guns and started without
loss of time, as it was then one P. M., and the natives described
the tank as a mile distant.  Being perfectly conversant with the
vague idea of space described by a Cingalese mile, we mounted our
horses, and, accompanied by about five-and-twenty villagers,
twenty of whom I wished at Jericho, we started.  By the by, I
have quite forgotten to describe who "we" are - F.  H. Palliser,
Esq., and myself.

Whether or not it was because I did not feel in brisk health, I
do not know, but somehow or other I had a presentiment that the
natives had misled us, and that we should not find the elephants
in the tank, but that, as usual, we should be led tip to some
dense, thorny jungle, and told that the elephants were somewhere
in that direction.  Not being very sanguine, I had accordingly
taken no trouble about my gun-bearers, and I saw several of my
rifles in the bands of the villagers, and only one of my regular
gun-bearers had followed me; the rest, having already had a
morning's march, were glad of an excuse to remain behind.

Our rate lay for about a quarter of a mile through deserted
paddy-land and low jungle, after which we entered fine open
jungle and forest.  Unfortunately, the recent heavy rains bad
filled the tank, which had overflowed the broken dam and
partially flooded the forest. This was in all parts within two
hundred yards from the dam a couple of feet deep in water, with a
proportionate amount of sticky mud beneath, and through this we
splashed until the dam appeared about fifty yards on our right.
It was a simple earthen mound, which rose about ten feet from the
level of the forest, and was studded with immense trees,
apparently the growth of ages.  We knew that the tank lay on the
opposite side, but we continued our course parallel with the dam
until we bad ridden about a mile from the village, the natives,
for a wonder, having truly described the distance.

Here our guide, having motioned us to stop, ran quickly up the
dam to take a look out on the opposite side.  He almost
immediately beckoned us to come up.  This we did without loss of
time, and knowing that the game was in view, I ordered the horses
to retire for about a quarter of a mile.

On our arrival on the dam there was a fine sight.  The lake was
about five miles round, and was quite full of water, the surface
of which was covered with a scant, but tall, rushy grass.  In the
lake, browsing upon the grass, we counted twenty-three elephants,
and there were many little ones, no doubt, that we could not
distinguish in such rank vegetation.  Five large elephants were
not more than a hundred and twenty paces distant; the remaining
eighteen were in a long line about a quarter of a mile from the
shore, feeding in deep water.

We were well concealed by the various trees which grew upon the
dam, and we passed half an hour in watching the manoeuvres of the
great beasts as they bathed and sported in the cool water. 
However, this was not elephant-shooting, and the question was,
how to get at them?  The natives had no idea of the sport, as
they seemed to think it very odd that we did not fire at those
within a hundred paces' distance.  I now regretted my absent
gun-bearers, as I plainly saw that these village people would be
worse than useless.

We determined to take a stroll along the base of the dam to
reconnoitre the ground, as at present it seemed impossible to
make an attack; and even were the elephants within the forest,
there appeared to be no possibility of following them up through
such deep water and heavy ground with any chance of success.
however, they were not in the forest, being safe, belly and
shoulder deep, in the tank.

We strolled through mud and water thigh-deep for a few hundred
paces, when we suddenly came upon the spot where in ages past the
old dam had been carried away.  Here the natives had formed a mud
embankment strengthened by sticks and wattles.  Poor fellows! we
were not surprised at their wishing the elephants destroyed; the
repair of their fragile dam was now a daily occupation, for the
elephants, as though out of pure mischief, had chosen this spot
as their thoroughfare to and from the lake, and the dam was
trodden down in all directions.

We found that the margin of the forest was everywhere flooded to
a width of about two hundred yards, after which it was tolerably
dry; we therefore returned to our former post.

It struck me that the only way to secure a shot at the herd would
be to employ a ruse, which I had once practiced successfully some
years ago.  Accordingly we sent the greater part of the villagers
for about a half a mile along the edge of the lake, with orders
to shout and make a grand hullaballoo on arriving at their
station.  It seemed most probable that on being disturbed the
elephants would retreat to the forest by their usual
thoroughfare; we accordingly stood on the alert, ready for a rush
to any given point which the herd should attempt in their

Some time passed in expectation, when a sudden yell broke from
the far point, as though twenty demons had cramp in the stomach. 
Gallant fellows are the Cingalese at making a noise, and a grand
effect this had upon the elephants; up went tails and trunks, the
whole herd closed together and made a simultaneous rush for their
old thoroughfare.  Away we skipped through the water, straight in
shore through the forest, until we reached the dry ground, when,
turning sharp to our right, we soon halted exactly opposite the
point at which we knew the elephants would enter the forest. 
This was grand excitement; we had a great start of the herd, so
that we had plenty of time to arrange gun-bearers and take our
position for the rencontre.

In the mean time, the roar of water caused by the rapid passage
of so many large animals approached nearer and nearer.  Palliser
and I had taken splendid positions, so as to command either side
of the herd on their arrival, with our gun-bearers squatted
around us behind our respective trees, while the non-sporting
village followers, who now began to think the matter rather
serious and totally devoid of fun, scrambled up various large
trees with ape-like activity.

A few minutes of glorious suspense, and the grand crash and roar
of broken water approached close at hand, and we distinguished
the mighty phalanx, headed by the largest elephants, bearing down
exactly upon us, and not a hundred yards distant.  Here was luck!
There was a grim and very murderous smile of satisfaction on
either countenance as we quietly cocked the rifles and awaited
the onset: it was our intention to let half the herd pass us
before we opened upon them, as we should then be in the very
centre of the mass, and he able to get good and rapid shooting.

On came the herd in gallant style, throwing the spray from the
muddy water, and keeping a direct line for our concealed
position.  They were within twenty yards, and we were still
undiscovered, when those rascally villagers, who had already
taken to the trees, scrambled still higher in their fright at the
close approach of the elephants, and by this movement they gave
immediate alarm to the elders of the herd.

Round went the colossal heads; right about was the word, and away
dashed the whole herd back toward the tank.  In the same instant
we made a rush in among them, and I floored one of the big
leaders by a shot behind the ear, and immediately after, as bad
luck would have it, Palliser and I both took the same bird, and
down went another to the joint shots.  Palliser then got another
shot and bagged one more, when the herd pushed straight out to
the deep lake, with the exception of a few elephants, who turned
to the right; after which Palliser hurried through the mud and
water, while I put on all steam in chase of the main body of the
herd.  It is astonishing to what an amount a man can get up this
said steam in such a pitch of excitement.  However, it was of no
use in this case, as I was soon hip-deep in water, and there was
an end to all pursuit in that direction.

It immediately struck me that the elephants would again retreat
to some other part of the forest after having made a circuit in
the tank.  I accordingly waded back at my best speed to terra
firma, and then striking off to my right, I ran along parallel to
the water for about half a mile, fully expecting to meet the herd
once more on their entrance to the jungle.  It was now that I
deplored the absence of my regular gun-bearers; the village
people had no taste for this gigantic scale of amusement, and the
men who carried my guns would not keep up; Fortunately, Carrasi,
the best gun-bearer, was there, and he had taken another loaded
rifle, after handing me that which he had carried at the onset. 
I waited a few moments for the lagging men, and succeeded in
getting them well together just is I heard the rush of water, as
the elephants were again entering the jungle, not far in advance
of the spot upon which I stood.

This time they were sharp on the qui vive, and the bulls, being
well to the front, were keeping a bright look-out.  It was in
vain that I endeavored to conceal myself until the herd had got
well into the forest; the gun-bearers behind me did not take the
same precaution, and the leading elephants both saw and winded us
when at a hundred paces distant.  This time, however, they were
determined to push on for a piece of thicker jungle, which they
knew lay in this direction, and upon seeing me running toward
them, they did not turn back to the lake, but slightly altered
their course in an oblique direction, still continuing to push on
through the forest, while I was approaching at right angles with
the herd.

Hallooing and screaming at them with all my might to tease some
of the old bulls into a charge, I ran at top speed through the
fine open forest, and soon got among a whole crowd of half-grown
elephants, at which I would not fire; there were a lot of fine
beasts pushing along in the front, and toward these I ran as hard
as I could go.  Unfortunately, the herd seeing me so near and
gaining upon them, took to the ruse of a beaten fleet and
scattered in all directions; but I kept a few big fellows in
view, who were still pretty well together, and managed to
overtake the rearmost and knock him over.  Up went the tail and
trunk of one of the leading bulls at the report of the shot, and
trumpeting shrilly, he ran first to one side, then to the other,
with his ears cocked and sharply turning his head to either side. 
I knew this fellow had his monkey up, and that a little teasing
would bring him round for a charge.  I therefore redoubled my
shouts and yells and kept on in full chase, as the elephants were
straining every nerve to reached a piece of thick jungle within a
couple of hundred paces.

I could not go any faster, and I saw that the herd, which was
thirty or forty yards ahead of me, would gain the jungle before I
could overtake them, as they were going at a slapping pace and I
was tolerably blown with a long run at full speed, part of which
had been through deep mud and water.  But I still teased the
bull, who was now in such an excited state that I felt convinced
he would turn to charge.

The leading elephants rushed into the thick jungle, closely
followed by the others, and, to my astonishment, my excited
friend, who had lagged to the rear, followed their example.  But
it was only for a few seconds, for, on entering the thick bushes,
he wheeled sharp round and came rushing out in full charge.  This
was very plucky, but very foolish, as his retreat was secured
when in the thick jungle, and yet he courted further battle. 
This he soon had enough of, as I bagged him in his onset with my
remaining barrel by the forehead shot.

I now heard a tremendous roaring, of elephants behind me, as
though another section was coming in from the tank; this I hoped
to meet.  I therefore reloaded the empty rifles as quickly as
possible and ran toward the spot.  The roaring still continued
and was apparently almost stationary; and what was my
disappointment, on arrival, to find, in place of the expected
herd, a young elephant of about four feet high, who, had missed
the main body in the retreat and was now roaring for his departed
friends! These young things are excessively foolhardy and
willful, and he charged me the moment I arrived.  As I laid the
rifle upon the ground instead of firing at him, the rascally
gunbearers, with the exception of Carrasi, threw down the rifles
and ran up the trees like so many monkeys, just as I had jumped
on one side and caught the young elephant by the tail.  He was
far too strong for me to hold, and, although I dug my heels into
the ground and held on with all my might, he fairly ran away with
me through the forest.  Carrasi now came to my assistance and
likewise held on by his tail; but away we went like the tender to
a steam-engine; wherever the elephant went there we were dragged
in company.  Another man now came to the rescue; but his
assistance was not of the slightest rise, as the animal was so
powerful and of such weight that he could have run away with half
a dozen of us unless his legs were tied.  Unfortunately we had no
rope, or I could have secured him immediately, and seeing that we
had no power over him whatever, I was obliged to run back for one
of the guns to shoot him.  On my return it was laughable to see
the pace at which he was running away with the two men, who were
holding on to his tail like grim death, the elephant not having
ceased roaring during the run.  I accordingly settled him, and
returned to have a little conversation with the rascals were
still perched in the trees.  I was extremely annoyed, as these
people, if they had possessed a grain of sense, might have tied
their long comboys (cotton cloths about eight feet long)
together, and we might have thus secured the elephant without
difficulty by tying his hind legs.  It was a great loss, as he
was so tame that he might have been domesticated and driven to
Newera Ellia without the slightest trouble.  All this was
occasioned by the cowardice of these villainous Cingalese, and
upon my lecturing one fellow on his conduct he began to laugh. 
This was too much for any person's patience, and I began to look
for a stick, which the fellow perceiving he immediately started
off through the forest like a deer.  He could run faster than I
could, being naked and having the advantage of bare feet; but I
knew I could run him down in the course of time, especially as,
being in a fright, he would  soon get blown.  We had a most
animated hunt through water, mud, roots of trees, open forest and
all kinds of ground, but I ran into him at last in heavy ground,
and I dare say he recollects the day of the month.

In the mean time, Palliser had heard the roaring of the elephant,
followed by the screaming and yelling of the coolies, and
succeeded by a shot.  Shortly after he heard the prolonged yells
of the hunted villager while he was hastening toward my
direction.  This combination of sounds naturally led him to
expect that some accident had occurred, especially as some of the
yells indicated that somebody had come to grief.  This caused him
a very laborious run, and he arrived thoroughly blown, and with a
natural desire to kick the recreant villager who bad caused the

If the ground had been ever tolerably dry, we should have killed
a large number of elephants out of this herd; but, as it
happened, in such deep mud and water the elephants had it all
their own way, and our joint bag could not produce more than
seven tails; however, this was far more than I had expected when
I first saw the herd in such a secure position.

On our return to the village we found Palliser's horse terribly
gored by a buffalo, and we were obliged to leave him behind for
some weeks; fortunately, there was an extra pony, which served
him as a mount home, a distance of a hundred and fifty miles.

This has been a sad digression from our argument upon instinct
and reason, a most unreasonable departure from the subject; but
this is my great misfortune; so sure as I bring forward the name
of an elephant, the pen lays hold of some old story and runs
madly away in a day's shooting.  I now have to speak of the
reasoning powers of the canine race, and I confess my weakness. 
I feel perfectly certain that the pen will serve me the same
trick, and that it will be plunging through a day's hunting to
prove the existence of reason in a hound and the want of it in
the writer.  Thrash me, good critics; I deserve it; lay it on
with an unsparing thong.  I am humiliated, but still willful; I
know my fault, but still continue it.

Let us think; what was the subject?  Reason in dogs, to be sure. 
Well, every one who has a dog must admit that he has a strong
share of reason; only observe him as he sits by your side and
wistfully watches the endless transit of piece after piece, bit
after bit, as the fork is conveying delicate morsels to your
mouth. There is neither hope nor despair exhibited in his
countenance - he knows those pieces are not for him.  There is an
expression of impatience about the eye as he scans your features,
which seems to say, "Greedy fellow! what, not one bit for me?"
Only cut a slice from the exterior of the joint - a piece that he
knows you will not eat - and watch, the change and eagerness of
his expression; he knows as well as you do that this is intended
for him - he has reasoned upon it.

This is the simple and every-day performance of a common
house-dog.  Observe the pointers in a field of close-cut stubble
- two well-broken, reasonable old dogs.  The birds are wild, and
have been flushed several times during the day, and the old dog
has winded them now in this close-cut stubble, from which he
knows the covey will rise at a long range.  Watch his expression
of intense and yet careful excitement, as he draws upon his game,
step by step, crouching close to the ground, and occasionally
moving his head slowly round to see if his master is close up. 
Look at the bitch at the other end of the field, backing him like
a statue, while the old dog still creeps on.  Not a step farther
will he move: his lower jaw trembles with excitement; the guns
advance to a line with his shoulder; up they rise,
whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z! - bang! bang!  See how the excitement of the
dog is calmed as he falls to the down charge, and afterward with
what pleasure he follows up and stands to the dead birds.  If
this is not reason, there is no such thing in existence.

Again, look at the sheep-dog.  What can be more beautiful than to
watch the judgement displayed by these dogs in driving a large
flock of sheep?  Then turn to the Mont St. Bernard dog and the
Newfoundland, and countless instances could be produced as proofs
of their wonderful share of reasoning power.

The different classes of hounds, being kept in kennels, do not
exhibit this power to the same amount as many others, as they are
not sufficiently domesticated, and their intercourse with man is
confined to the one particular branch of hunting; but in this
pursuit they will afford many striking proofs that they in like
manner with their other brethren, are not devoid of the
reasoning power.

Poor old "Bluebeard!" - he had an almost human share of
understanding, but being simply a hound, this was confined to elk
hunting; he was like the foxhunter of the last century, whose
ideas did not extend beyond his sport; but in this he was

Bluebeard was a foxhound, bred at Newera Ellia, in 1847, by F. J.
Templer, Esq.  He subsequently belonged to F. H. Palliser, Esq.,
who kindly added him to my kennel.

He was a wonderful hound on a cold scent, and so thoroughly was
he versed in all the habits of an elk that he knew exactly where
to look for one.  I am convinced that he knew the date of a track
from its appearance, as I have constantly seen him strove his
nose into the deep impression, to try for a scent when the track
was some eight or ten hours old.

It was a curious thing to watch his cleverness at finding on a
patina. In most of the plains in the neighborhood of Newera Ellia
a small stream flows through the centre.  To this the elk, who
are out feeding in the night, are sure to repair at about four in
the morning for their last drink, and I usually try along the
banks a little after daylight for a find, where the scent is
fresh and the tracks are distinctly visible.

While every hound has been eagerly winding the scent upon the
circuitous route which the elk has made in grazing, Bluebeard
would never waste his time in attempting to follow the
innumerable windings, but, taking a fresh cast, he would
invariably strike off to the jungle and try along the edge, until
he reached the spot at which the elk had entered.  At these times
he committed the only fault which he possessed (for an
elk-hound); he would immediately open upon the scent, and, by
alarming the elk at too great a distance, would give him too long
a start.  Nevertheless, he made up for this by his wonderful
correctness and knowledge of his game, and if the run was
increased in length by his early note, we nevertheless ran into
our game at last.

Some years ago he met with an accident which partly deprived him
of the use of one of his bind legs; this made the poor old fellow
very slow, but it did not interfere with his finding and hunting,
although the rest of the pack would shoot ahead, and the elk was
frequently brought to bay and killed before old Bluebeard had
finished his hunt; but he was never thrown out, and was sure to
come up at last; and if the pack were at fault during the run, he
was the hound to show them the right road on his arrival.

I once saw an interesting proof of his reasoning powers during a
long and difficult hunt.

I was hunting for a few days at the Augora patinas, accompanied
by Palliser.  These are about five hundred feet lower than Newera
Ellia, and are situated in the district of Dimboola.  They are
composed of undulating knolls of fine grass, with a large and
deep river flowing through the centre.  These patinas are
surrounded by wooded hills of good open jungle.

We had found upon the patina at break of day, and the whole pack
had gone off in full cry; but the whereabout was very uncertain,
and having long lost all sound of the hounds we wandered here and
there to no purpose.  At length we separated, and took up our
stations upon different knolls to watch the patina and to listen.

The hill upon which I stood commanded an extensive view of the
patina, while the broad river flowed at the base, after its exit
from the jungle. I had been only a few minutes at my post when I
observed, at about six hundred yards distant, a strong ripple in
the river like the letter V, and it immediately struck me that an
elk had come down the river from the jungle and was swimming down
the stream.  This was soon proved to be the case, as I saw the
head of a doe elk in the acute angle of the ripple.

I had the greyhounds with me, "Lucifer," "Lena," "Hecate" and
"Bran," and I ran down the hill with these dogs, hoping to get
them a view of her as she landed on the patina.  I had several
bogs and hollows to cross, and I accordingly lost sight of the
elk; but upon arriving at the spot where I imagined the elk would
land, I saw her going off across the patina, a quarter of a mile
away.  The greyhounds saw her, and away they flew over the short
grass, while the pack began to appear from the jungle, having
come down to the halloo that I had given on first seeing the elk
swimming down the river.

The elk seemed determined to give a beautiful course for, instead
of pushing straight for the jungle, she made a great circuit on
the patina, as though in the endeavor to make once more for the
river.  The long-legged ones were going at a tremendous pace,
and, being fresh, they rapidly overhauled her; gradually the
distance between them diminished, and at length they had a fair
course down a gentle inclination which led toward the river. Here
the greyhounds soon made an end of the hunt; their game was
within a hundred yards, going at top speed: but it was all up
with the elk; the pace was too good, and they ran into her and
pulled her down just as the other hounds had come down upon my

We were cutting up the elk, when we presently heard old
Bluebeard's voice far away in the jungle, and, thinking that he
might perhaps be running another elk, we ran to a hill which
overlooked the river and kept a bright look-out.  We soon
discovered that he was true upon the same game, and we watched
his plan of hunting, being anxious to see whether he could hunt
up an elk that had kept to water for so long a time.

On his entrance to the patina by the river's bank he immediately
took to water and swam across the stream; here be carefully
hunted the edge for several hundred yards down the river, but,
finding nothing, he returned to the jungle at the point from
which the river flowed.  Here he again took to water, and,
swimming back to the bank from which he had at first started, he
landed and made a vain cast down the hollow.  Back he returned
after his fruitless search, and once more he took to water.  I
began to despair of the possibility of his finding; but the true
old bound was now swimming steadily down the stream, crossing and
recrossing from either bank, and still pursuing his course down
the river.  At length he neared the spot where I knew that the
elk had landed, and we eagerly watched to see if he would pass
the scent, as he was now several yards from the bank.  He was
nearly abreast of the spot, when he turned sharp in and landed in
the exact place; his deep and joyous note rung across the
patinas, and away went the gallant old hound in full cry upon the
scent, while I could not help shouting, "Hurrah for old
Bluebeard!" In a few minutes he was by the side of the dead elk -
a specimen of a true hound, who certainly had exhibited a large
share of "reason."

CHAPTER X. Wild Fruits - Ingredients for a "Soupe Maigre" -
Orchidaceous Plants - Wild Nutmegs - Native Oils - Cinnamon -
Primeval Forests - Valuable Woods - The Mahawelli River - Variety
of Palms - Cocoa-nut Toddy - Arrack - Cocoa-nut Oil -
Cocoa-nut-planting - The Talipot Palm - The Areca Palm - Betel
Chewing - Sago Nuts - Varicty of Bees - Waste of Beeswax - Edible
Fungi - Narcotic Puff-ball - Intoxicating Drugs - Poisoned Cakes
- The "Sack Tree" - No Gum Trees of Value in Ceylon.

Among the inexperienced there is a prevalent idea connected with
tropical forests and jungles that they teem with wild fruits,
which Nature is supposed to produce spontaneously.  Nothing can
be more erroneous than such an opinion; even edible berries are
scantily supplied by the wild shrubs and trees, and these, in
lieu of others of superior quality, are sometimes dignified by
the name of fruit.

The guava and the katumbillé are certainly very numerous
throughout the Ouva district; the latter being a dark red,
rough-skinned kind of plum, the size of a greengage, but free
from stone.  It grows upon a thorny bush about fifteen feet high;
but the fruit is too acid to please most palates; the extreme
thirst produced by a day's shooting in a burning sun makes it
refreshing when plucked from the tree; but it does not aspire to
the honor of a place at a table, where it can only appear in the
form of red currant jelly, for which it is an undeniable

Excellent blackberries and a very large and full-flavored black
raspberry grow at Newera Ellia; likewise the Cape gooseberry,
which is of the genus "solanum." The latter is a round yellow
berry, the size of a cherry; this is enclosed in a loose bladder,
which forms an outer covering.  The flavor is highly aromatic,
but, like most Ceylon wild fruits, it is too acid.

The sweetest and the best of the jungle productions is the
"morra." This is a berry about the size of a small nutmeg, which
grows in clusters upon a large tree of rich dark foliage.  The
exterior of the berry is brown and slightly rough; the skin, or
rather the case, is brittle and of the consistence of an
egg-shell; this, when broken and peeled off, exposes a
semi-transparent pulp, like a skinned grape in appearance and in
flavor.  It is extremely juicy but, unfortunately, a large black
stone occupies the centre and at least one-half of the bulk of
the entire fruit.

The jambo apple is a beautiful fruit in appearance being the
facsimile of a snow-white pear formed of wax, with a pink blush
upon one side.  Its exterior beauty is all that it can boast of,
as the fruit itself is vapid and tasteless.  In fact, all wild
fruits are, for the most part, great exaggerations.  I have seen
in a work on Ceylon the miserable little acid berry of the
rattan, which is no larger than a currant, described as a fruit;
hawthorn berries might, with equal justice, be classed among the
fruits of Great Britain.

I will not attempt to describe these paltry productions in
detail; there is necessarily a great variety throughout the
island, but their insignificance does not entitle them to a
description which would raise them far above their real merit.

It is nevertheless most useful to a sportsman in Ceylon to
possess a sufficient stock of botanical information for his
personal convenience.  A man may be lost in the jungles or hard
up for provisions in some out-of-the-way place, where, if he has
only a saucepan, he can generally procure something eatable in
the way of herbs.  It is not to be supposed, however, that he
would succeed in making a good dinner; the reader may at any time
procure something similar in England by restricting himself to
nettle-tops - an economical but not a fattening vegetable. 
Anything, however simple, is better than an empty stomach, and
when the latter is positively empty it is wonderful how the
appetite welcomes the most miserable fare.

At Newera Ellia the jungles would always produce a supply for a
soupe maigré.  There is an esculent nillho which grows in the
forest in the bottoms of the swampy ravines.  This is a most
succulent plant, which grows to the height or length of about
seven feet, as its great weight keeps it close to the ground.  It
is so brittle that it snaps like a cucumber when struck by a
stick, and it bears a delicate, dark-blue blossom.  When stewed,
it is as tender as the vegetable marrow, but its flavor
approaches more closely to that of the cucumber.  Wild ginger
also abounds in the forests.  This is a coarse variety of the
"amomum zintgiber."  The leaves, which spring from the ground,
attain a height of seven or eight feet; a large, crimson, fleshy
blossom also springs from the ground in the centre of the
surrounding leaf-stems.  The root is coarse, large, but wanting
in fine flavor, although the young tubers are exceedingly tender
and delicate.  This is the favorite food of elephants on the
Ceylon mountains; but it is a curious fact that they invariably
reject the leaves, which any one would suppose would be their
choicest morsel, as they are both succulent and plentiful.  The
elephants simply use them as a handle for tearing up the roots,
which they bite off and devour, throwing the leaves on one side.

The wild parsnip is also indigenous to the plains on the
mountains.  As usual with most wild plants of this class, it has
little or no root, but runs to leaf. The seeds are very highly
flavored, and are gathered by the natives for their curries.

There is, likewise, a beautiful orchidaceous plant, which is very
common throughout the patinas on the mountains, and which
produces the very finest quality of arrowroot.  So much is this
valued in the Nepaul country in India, that I have been assured
by a person well acquainted with that locality, that this
quality of arrowroot is usually sold for its weight in rupees. 
In vain have I explained this to the Cingalese; they will not
attempt its preparation because their fathers did not eat it; and
yet these same men will walk forty miles to cut a bundle of
sticks of the galla gaha tree for driving buffaloes! -their
fathers did this, and therefore they do it.  Thus this beautiful
plant is only appreciated by those whose instinct leads them to
its discovery.  The wild hogs plough up the patinas and revel in
this delicate food.  The plant itself is almost lost in the rank
herbage of the patinas, but its beautiful pink, hyacinth-shaped
blossom attracts immediate attention.  Few plants combine beauty
of appearance, scent and utility, but this is the perfection of
each quality -nothing can surpass the delicacy and richness of
its perfume.  It has two small bulbs about an inch below the
surface of the earth, and these, when broken, exhibit a highly
granulated texture, semi-transparent like half-boiled sago. From
these bulbs the arrowroot is produced by pounding them in water
and drying the precipitated farina in the sun.

There are several beautiful varieties of orchidaceous plants upon
the mountains; among others, several species of the dendrobium. 
Its rich yellow flowers hang in clusters from a withered tree,
the only sign of life upon a giant trunk decayed, like a wreath
upon a grave.  The scent of this flower is well known as most
delicious; one plant will perfume a large room.

There is one variety of this tribe in the neighborhood of Newera
Ellia, which is certainly unknown in English collections.  It
blossoms in April; the flowers are a bright lilac, and I could
lay my band upon it at any time, as I have never seen it but in
one spot, where it flourishes in profusion.  This is about
fourteen miles from Newera Ellia, and I have never yet collected
a specimen, as I have invariably been out hunting whenever I have
met with it.

The black pepper  is also indigenous throughout Ceylon.  At
Newera Ellia the leaves of this vine are highly pungent, although
at this elevation it does not produce fruit.  A very short
distance toward a lower elevation effects a marked change, as
within seven miles it fruits in great perfection.

At a similar altitude, the wild nutmeg is very common throughout
the forests.  This fruit is a perfect anomaly.  The tree is
entirely different to that of the cultivated species.  The latter
is small, seldom exceeding the size of an apple-tree, and bearing
a light green myrtle-shaped leaf, which is not larger than that
of a peach.  The wild species, on the contrary, is a large forest
tree, with leaves equal in size to those of the horse chestnut;
nevertheless, it produces a perfect nutmeg.  There is the outer
rind of fleshy texture, like an unripe peach; enclosed within is
the nutlike shell, enveloped in the crimson network of mace, and
within the shell is the nutmeg itself.  All this is perfect
enough, but, alas, the grand desideratum is wanting - it has no
flavor or aroma whatever.

It is a gross imposition on the part of Nature; a most stingy
trick upon the public, and a regular do.  The mace has no taste
whatever, and the nutmeg has simply a highly acrid and pungent
taste, without any spicy flavor, but merely abounding in a rank
and disagreeable oil.  The latter is so plentiful that I am
astonished it has not been experimented upon, especially by the
natives, who are great adepts in expressing oils from many

Those most common in Ceylon are the cocoa-nut and gingerly oils. 
The former is one of the grand staple commodities of the island;
the latter is the produce of a small grain, grown exclusively by
the natives.

But, in addition to these, there are various other oils
manufactured by the Cingalese.  These are the cinnamon oil,
castor oil, margosse oil, mee oil, kenar oil, meeheeria oil; and
both clove and lemon-grass oil are prepared by Europeans.

The first, which is the cinnamon oil, is more properly a kind of
vegetable wax, being of the consistence of stearine.  This is
prepared from the berries of the cinnamon shrubs which are boiled
in water until the catty substance or so-called oil, floats upon
the surface; this is then skimmed off and, when a sufficient
quantity is collected, it is boiled down until all watery
particles are evaporated, and the melted fat is turned out into a
shallow vessel to cool.  It has a pleasant, though , perhaps, a
rather faint aromatic smell, and is very delicious as an adjunct
in the culinary art.  In addition to this it possesses gentle
aperient properties, which render it particularly wholesome.

Castor oil is also obtained by the natives by boiling, and it is
accordingly excessively rank after long keeping.  The castor-oil
plant is a perfect weed throughout Ceylon, being one of the few
useful shrubs that will flourish in such poor soil without

Margosse oil is extracted from the fruit of a tree of that name. 
It has an extremely fetid and disagreeable smell, which will
effectually prevent the contact of flies or any other insect.  On
this account it is a valuable preventive to the attacks of flies
upon open wounds, in addition to which it possesses powerful
healing properties.

Mee oil is obtained from the fruit of the mee tree.  This fruit
is about the size of an apricot, and is extremely rich in its
produce; but the oil is of a coarse description, and is simply
used by the natives for their rude lamps.  Kenar oil and
meeheeria oil are equally coarse, and are quite unfit for any but
native purposes.

Lemon-grass oil, which is known in commerce as citronella oil, is
a delightful extract from the rank lemon grass, which covers most
of' the hillsides in the more open districts of Ceylon.  An
infusion of the grass is subsequently distilled; the oil is then
discovered on the surface.  This is remarkably pure, with a most
pungent aroma.  If rubbed upon the skin, it will prevent the
attacks of insects while its perfume remains; but the oil is so
volatile that the scent quickly evaporates and the spell is

Clove oil is extracted from the leaves of the cinnamon tree, and
not from cloves, as its name would imply.  The process is very
similar to that employed in the manufacture of citronella oil.

Cinnamon is indigenous throughout the jungles of Ceylon.  Even at
the high elevation of Newera Ellia, it is one of the most common
woods, and it grows to the dimensions of a forest tree, the trunk
being usually about three feet in circumference.  At Newera Ellia
it loses much of its fine flavor, although it is still highly

This tree flourishes in a white quartz sandy soil, and in its
cultivated state is never allowed to exceed the dimensions of a
bush, being pruned down close to the ground every year.  This
system of close cutting induces the growth of a large number of
shoots, in the same manner that withes are produced in England.

Every twelve months these shoots attain the length of six or
seven feet, and the thickness of a man's finger.  In the interim,
the only cultivation required is repeated cleaning.  The whole
plantation is cut down at the proper period, and the sticks are
then stripped of their bark by the peelers.  These men are called
"chalias," and their labor is confined to this particular branch. 
The season being over, they pass the remaining portion of the
year in idleness, their earnings during one crop being sufficient
to supply their trifling wants until the ensuing harvest.

Their practice in this employment naturally renders them
particularly expert, and in far less time than is occupied in the
description they run a sharp knife longitudinally along a stick,
and at once divest it of the bark.  On the following day the
strips of bark are scraped so as entirely to remove the outer
cuticle.  One strip is then laid within the other, which, upon
becoming dry, contract, and form a series of enclosed pipes. It
is subsequently packed in bales, and carefully sewed up in double
sacks for exportation.

The essential oil of cinnamon is usually made from the refuse of
the crop; but the quantity produced, in proportion to the weight
of cinnamon, is exceedingly small, being about five ounces of oil
to half a hundred-weight of the spice.

Although the cinnamon appears to require no more than a common
quartz sand for its production, it is always cultivated with the
greatest success where the subsoil is light, dry and of a loamy

The appearance of the surface soil is frequently very deceitful. 
It is not uncommon to see a forest of magnificent trees growing
in soil of apparently pure sand, which will not even produce the
underwood with which Ceylon forests are generally choked. In such
an instance the appearance of the trees is unusually grand as
their whole length and dimensions are exposed to view, and their
uniting crowns throw a sombre shade over the barren ground
beneath.  It is not to be supposed that these mighty specimens of
vegetation are supported by the poor sandy soil upon the surface;
their tap-roots strike down into some richer stratum, from which
their nourishment is derived.

These forests are not common in Ceylon; their rarity accordingly
enhances their beauty.  The largest English oak would be a mere
pigmy among the giants of these wilds, whose stature is so
wonderful that the eye never becomes tired of admiration.  Often
have I halted on my journey to ride around and admire the
prodigious height and girth of these trees.  Their beautiful
proportions render them the more striking; there are no gnarled
and knotty stems, such as we are accustomed to admire in the
ancient oaks and beeches of England, but every trunk rises like a
mast from the earth, perfectly free from branches for ninety or a
hundred feet, straight as an arrow, each tree forming a dark
pillar to support its share of the rich canopy above, which
constitutes a roof perfectly impervious to the sun.  It is
difficult to guess the actual height of these forest trees; but I
have frequently noticed that it is impossible to shoot a bird on
the higher branches with No. 5 shot.

It is much to be regretted that the want of the means of
transport renders the timber of these forests perfectly
valueless.  From age to age these magnificent trees remain in
their undisturbed solitudes, gradually increasing in their
apparently endless growth, and towering above the dark vistas of
everlasting silence.  No on can imagine the utter stillness which
pervades these gloomy shades.  There is a mysterious effect
produced by the total absence of animal life.  In the depths of
these forests I have stood and listened for some sound until my
cars tingled with overstrained attention; not a chirp of a bird,
not the hum of an insect, but the mouth of Nature is sealed.  Not
a breath of air has rustled a leaf, not even a falling fruit has
broken the spell of silence; the undying verdure, the freshness
of each tree, even in its mysterious age, create an idea of
eternal vegetation, and the silvery yet dim light adds to the
charm of the fairylike solitude which gradually steals over the

I have ridden for fifteen or twenty miles through one of these
forests without hearing a sound, except that of my horse's hoof
occasionally striking against a root.  Neither beast nor bird is
to be seen except upon the verge.  The former has no food upon
such barren ground; and the latter can find no berries, as the
earth is sunless and free from vegetation.  Not even monkeys are
to be seen, although the trees must produce fruit and seed. 
Everything appears to have deserted the country, and to have
yielded it as the sole territory of Nature on a stupendous scale. 
The creepers lie serpent-like along the ground to the thickness
of a man's waist, and, rearing their twisted forms on high, they
climb the loftiest trees, hanging in festoons from stern to stem
like the cables of a line-of-battle-ship, and extending from tree
to tree for many hundred yards; now felling to the earth and
striking a fresh root; then, with increased energy, remounting
the largest trunks, and forming a labyrinth of twisted ropes
along the ceiling of the forest.  From these creepers hang the
sabre-beans.  Everything seems on a supernatural scale - the
bean-pod four feet or more in length, by three inches in breadth;
the beans two inches in diameter.

Here may be seen the most valuable woods of Ceylon.  The ebony
grows in great perfection and large quantity.  This tree is at
once distinguished from the surrounding stems by its smaller
diameter and its sooty trunk.  The bark is crisp, jet black, and
has the appearance of being charred.  Beneath the bark the wood
is perfectly white until the heart is reached, which is the fine
black ebony of commerce.  Here also, equally immovable, the
calamander is growing, neglected and unknown.  This is the most
esteemed of all Ceylon woods, and it is so rare that it realizes
a fancy price.  It is something similar to the finest walnut, the
color being a rich hazel brown, mottled and striped with
irregular black marks.  It is superior to walnut in the extreme
closeness of the grain and the richness of its color.

There are upward of eighty different woods produced in Ceylon,
which are made use of for various purposes; but of these many are
very inferior.  Those most appreciated are-

Calamander, Ebony, chiefly used for furniture and cabinet work.
Satin-wood, Suria (the tulip tree). Tamarind. Jackwood.
Halmileel. Cocoa-nut. Palmyra.

The suria is an elegant tree, bearing a beautiful yellow blossom
something similar to a tulip, from which it derives its name. 
The wood is of an extremely close texture and of a reddish-brown
color.  It is exceedingly tough, and it is chiefly used for
making the spokes of wheels.

The tamarind is a fine, dark red wood, mottled with black marks;
but it is not in general use, as the tree is too valuable to be
felled for the sake of its timber. This is one of the handsomest
trees of the tropics, growing to a very large size, the branches
widely spreading, something like the cedars of Lebanon.

Jackwood is a coarse imitation of mahogany, and is used for a
variety of purposes, especially for making cheap furniture.  The
latter is not only economical, but exceedingly durable, and is
manufactured at so low a rate that a moderate-sized house might
be entirely furnished with it for a hundred and fifty pounds.

The fruit of the jack grows from the trunk and branches of the
tree, and when ripe it weighs about twenty pounds.  The rind is
rough, and when cut it exposes a yellow, pulpy mass.  This is
formed of an infinite number of separate divisions of fleshy
matter, which severally enclose an oval nut.  The latter are very
good when roasted, having a close resemblance to a chestnut.  The
pulp, which is the real fruit, is not usually eaten by Europeans
on account of its peculiar odor.  This perfume is rather
difficult to describe, but when a rainy day in London crams an
omnibus with well-soaked and steaming multitudes, the atmosphere
in the vehicle somewhat approaches to the smell of the
jack-fruit. The halmileel is one of the most durable and useful
woods in Ceylon, and is almost the only kind that is thoroughly
adapted for making staves for casks.  Of late years the great
increase of the oil-trade has brought this wood into general
request, consequent upon the increased demand for casks.  So
extensive and general is the present demand for this wood that
the natives are continually occupied in conveying it from certain
districts which a few years ago were utterly neglected. 
Unfortunately, the want of roads and the means of transport
confine their operations to the banks of rivers, down which the
logs are floated at the proper season.

I recollect some eight years ago crossing the Mahawelli river
upon a raft which my coolies had hastily constructed, and
reaching a miserable village near Monampitya, in the extreme
north of the Veddah country.  The river is here about four
hundred paces wide, and, in the rainy season a fine volume of
water rolls along in a rapid stream toward Trincomalee, at which
place it meets the sea.  I was struck it the time with the
magnificent timber in the forests on its banks, and no less
surprised that with the natural facilities of transport it should
be neglected.  Two years ago I crossed at this same spot, and I
remarked the wonderful change which a steady demand had effected
in this wild country.  Extensive piles of halmileel logs were
collected along the banks of the river, while the forests were
strewed with felled trees in preparation for floating down the
stream.  A regular demand usually ensures a regular supply, which
could not be better exemplified than in this case.

Among fancy woods the bread-fruit tree should not be omitted.
This is something similar to the jack, but, like the tamarind,
the value of the produce saves the tree from destruction.

This tree does not attain a very large size, but its growth is
exceedingly regular and the foliage peculiarly rich and
plentiful.  The fruit is something similar in appearance to a
small, unripe jack-fruit, with an equally rough exterior.  In the
opinion of most who have tasted it, its virtues have been grossly
exaggerated.  To my taste it is perfectly uneatable, unless fried
in thin slices with butter; it is even then a bad imitation of
fried potatoes.  The bark of this tree produces a strong fibre,
and a kind of very adhesive pitch is also produced by decoction.

The cocoa-nut and palmyra woods at once introduce us to the palms
of Ceylon, the most useful and the most elegant class in
vegetation.  For upward of a hundred and twenty miles along the
western and southern coasts of Ceylon, one continuous line of
cocoa-nut groves wave their green leaves to the sea-breeze,
without a single break, except where some broad clear river
cleaves the line of verdure as it meets the sea.

Ceylon is rich in palms, including the following varieties: The
Cocoa-nut. The Palmyra. The Kittool. The Areca The Date. The
Sago. The Talipot.

The wonderful productions of this tribe can only be appreciated
by those who thoroughly understand the habits and necessities of
the natives; and, upon examination, it will be seen that Nature
has opened wide her bountiful hand, and in the midst of a barren
soil she has still remembered and supplied the wants of the

As the stream issued from the rock in the wilderness, to the
cocoa-nut tree yields a pure draught from a dry and barren land;
a cup of water to the temperate and thirsty traveler; a cup of
cream from the pressed kernel; a cup of refreshing and sparkling
toddy to the early riser; a cup of arrack to the hardened
spirit-drinker, and a cup of oil, by the light of which I now
extol its merits-five separate and distinct liquids from the same

A green or unripe cocoa-nut contains about a pint of a sweetish
water.  In the hottest weather this is deliciously cool, in
comparison to the heat of the atmosphere.

The ripe nut, when scraped into a pulp by a little serrated,
semi-circular iron instrument, is squeezed in a cloth by the
hand, and about a quarter of a pint of delicious thick cream,
highly flavored by cocoa-nut, is then expressed.  This forms the
chief ingredient in a Cingalese curry, from which it entirely
derives its richness and fine flavor.

The toddy is the sap which would nourish and fructify the blossom
and young nuts, were it allowed to accomplish its duties.  The
toddy-drawer binds into one rod the numerous shoots, which are
garnished with embryo nuts, and he then cuts off the ends,
leaving an abrupt and brush-like termination.  Beneath this he
secures an earthen chatty, which will hold about a gallon.  This
remains undisturbed for twenty-four hours, from sunrise to
sunrise on the following morning; the toddy-drawer then reascends
the tree, and lowers he chatty by a line to an assistant below,
who empties the contents into a larger vessel, and the chatty is
replaced under the productive branch, which continues to yield
for about a month.

When first drawn the toddy has the appearance of thin milk and
water, with a combined flavor of milk and soda-water, with a
tinge of cocoa-nut.  It is then very pleasant and refreshing, but
in a few hours after sunrise a great charts takes place, and the
rapidity of the transition from the vinous to the acetous
fermentation is so great that by midday it resembles a poor and
rather acid cider.  It now possesses intoxicating properties, and
the natives accordingly indulge in it to some extent; but from
its flavor and decided acidity I should have thought the stomach
would be affected some time before the head.

>From this fermented toddy the arrack is procured by simple

This spirit, to my taste, is more palatable than most distilled
liquors, having a very decided and peculiar flavor.  It is a
little fiery when new, but as water soon quenches fire, it is not
spared by the native retailers, whose arrack would be of a most
innocent character were it not for their infamous addition of
stupefying drugs and hot peppers.

The toddy contains a large proportion of saccharine, without
which the vinous fermentation could not take place.  This is
procured by evaporation in boiling, on the same principle that
sugar is produced from cane-juice.  The syrup is then poured into
small saucers to cool, and it shortly assumes the consistence of
hardened sugar.  This is known in Ceylon as "jaggery," and is
manufactured exclusively by the natives.

Cocoa-nut oil is now one of the greatest exports of Ceylon, and
within the last few years the trade has increased to an
unprecedented extent.  In the two years of 1849 and 1850, the
exports of cocoa-nut oil did not exceed four hundred and
forty-three thousand six hundred gallons, while in the year 1853
they had increased to one million thirty-three thousand nine
hundred gallons; the trade being more than quadrupled in three

The manufacture of the oil is most simple.  The kernel is taken
from the nut, and being divided, it is exposed to the sun until
all the watery particles are evaporated.  The kernel thus dried
is known as "copperah." This is then pressed in a mill, and the
oil flows into a reservoir.

This oil, although clear and limpid in the tropics, hardens to
the consistence of lard at any temperature below 72 Fahrenheit. 
Thus it requires a second preparation on its arrival in England. 
There it is spread upon mats (formed of coir) to the thickness of
an inch, and then covered by a similar protection.  These fat
sandwiches are two feet square, and being piled one upon the
other to a height of about six feet in an hydraulic press, are
subjected to a pressure of some hundred tons.  This disengages
the pure oleaginous parts from the more insoluble portions, and
the fat residue, being increased in hardness by its extra
density, is mixed with stearine, and by a variety of
preparations is converted into candles.  The pure oil thus
expressed is that known in the shops as cocoa-nut oil.

The cultivation of the cocoa-nut tree is now carried to a great
extent, both by natives and Europeans; by the former it is grown
for a variety of purposes, but by the latter its profits are
confined to oil, coir and poonac.  The latter is the refuse Of
the nut after the oil has been expressed, and corresponds in its
uses to the linseed-oil cake of England, being chiefly employed
for fattening cattle, pigs and poultry.

The preparation of coir is a dirty and offensive occupation.  The
husk of the cocoa-nut is thrown into tanks of water, until the
woody or pithy matter is loosened by fermentation from the coir
fibre. The stench of putrid vegetable matter arising from these
heaps must be highly deleterious. Subsequently the husks are
beaten and the fibre is separated and dried.  Coir rope is useful
on account of its durability and power of resisting decay during
long immersion.  In the year 1853, twenty-three hundred and
eighty tons of coir were exported from Ceylon.

The great drawback to the commencement of a cocoa-nut plantation
is the total uncertainty of the probable alteration in the price
of oil during the interval of eleven years which must elapse
before the estate comes into bearing.  In this era of invention,
when improvements in every branch of science follow each other
with such rapid strides, it is always a dangerous speculation to
make any outlay that will remain so long invested without
producing a return.  Who can be so presumptuous as to predict the
changes of future years? Oil may have ceased to be the common
medium of light - our rooms may be illumined by electricity, or
from fifty other sources which now are never dreamed of.  In the
mean time, the annual outlay during eleven years is an additional
incubus upon the prime cost of the plantation, which, at the
expiration of this term, may be reduced to one-tenth of its
present value.

The cocoa-nut tree requires a sandy and well-drained soil; and
although it flourishes where no other tree will grow, it welcomes
a soil of a richer quality and produces fruit in proportion. 
Eighty nuts per annum are about the average income from a healthy
tree in full bearing, but this, of course, depends much upon the
locality. This palm delights in the sea-breeze, and never attains
the same perfection inland that it does in the vicinity of the
coast.  There are several varieties, and that which is considered
superior is the yellow species, called the "king cocoanut." I
have seen this on the Maldive Islands in great perfection.  There
it is the prevailing description.

At the Seychelles, there is a variety peculiar to those islands,
differing entirely in appearance from the common cocoa-nut.  It
is fully twice the size, and is shaped like a kidney that is laid
open.  This is called by the French the "coco de mer" from the
large numbers that are found floating in the sea in the
neighborhood of the islands.

The wood of the cocoa-nut tree is strong and durable; it is a
dark brown, traversed by longitudinal black lines.

There are three varieties of toddy-producing palms in Ceylon;
these are the cocoa-nut, the kittool and the palmyra.  The latter
produces the finest quality of jaggery.  This cannot be easily
distinguished from crumbled sugar-candy which it exactly
resembles in flavor, The wood of the palmyra is something similar
to the cocoa-nut, but it is of a superior quality, and is much
used for rafters, being durable and of immense strength.

The kittool is a very sombre and peculiar palm.  Its crest very
much resembles the drooping plume upon a hearse, and the foliage
is a dark green with a tinge of gray.  The wood of this palm is
almost black, being apparently a mass of longitudinal strips, or
coarse linen of whalebone running close together from the top to
the root of the tree.  This is the toughest and most pliable of
all the palm-woods, and is principally used by the natives in
making "pingos." These are flat bows about eight feet in length,
and are used by the Cingalese for carrying loads upon the
shoulder. The weight is slung at either end of the pingo, and the
elasticity of the wood accommodates itself to the spring of each
step, thereby reducing the dead weight of the load.  In this
manner a stout Cingalese will carry and travel with eighty pounds
if working on his own account, or with fifty if hired for a
journey.  A Cingalese will carry a much heavier weight than an
ordinary Malabar, as he is a totally different man in form and
strength.  In fact, the Cingalese are generally a compactly built
and well-limbed race, while the Malabar is a man averaging full a
stone lighter weight.

The most extraordinary in the list of palms is the talipot.  The
crest of this beautiful tree is adorned by a crown of nearly
circular, fan-shaped leaves of so touch and durable a texture
that they are sewn together by the natives for erecting portable
tents or huts.  The circumference of each leaf at the extreme
edge is from twenty to thirty feet, and even this latter size is
said to be frequently exceeded.

Every Cingalese throughout the Kandian district is provided with
a section of one of these leaves, which forms a kind of fan about
six feet in length.  This is carried in the hand, and is only
spread in case of rain, when it forms an impervious roofing of
about three feet in width at the broad extremity.  Four or five
of these sections will form a circular roof for a small hut,
which resembles a large umbrella or brobdignag mushroom.

There is a great peculiarity in the talipot palm.  Is blossoms
only once in a long period of years, and after this it dies.  No
flower can equal the elegance and extraordinary dimensions of
this blossom; its size is proportionate to its leaves, and it
usurps the place of the faded crest of green, forming a
magnificent crown or plume of snow-white ostrich feathers, which
stand upon the summit of the tall stem as though they were the
natural head of the palm.

There is an interesting phenomenon at the period of flowering. 
The great plume already described, prior to its appearing in
bloom, is packed in a large case or bud, about four feet long. In
this case the blossom comes to maturity, at which time the
tightened cuticle of the bard can no longer sustain the pressure
of the expanding flower.  It suddenly bursts with a loud report,
and the beautiful plume, freed from its imprisonment, ascends at
this signal and rapidly unfolds its feathers, towering above the
drooping leaves which are hastening to decay.

The areca is a palm of great elegance; it rises to a height of
about eighty feet, and a rich feathery crest adorns the summit. 
This is the most delicate stem of all the palm tribe; that of a
tree of eighty feet in length would not exceed five inches in
diameter.  Nevertheless, I have never seen an areca palm
overturned by a storm; they bow gracefully to the wind, and the
extreme elasticity of the wood secures them from destruction.

This tree produces the commonly-called "betel-nut," but more
properly the areca-nut.  They grow in clusters beneath the crest
of the palm, in a similar manner to the cocoa-nut; but the tree
is more prolific, as it produces about two hundred nuts per
annum.  The latter are very similar to large nutmegs both in
size and appearance, and, like the cocoa-nut, they are enclosed
in an outer husk of a fibrous texture.

The consumption of these nuts may be imagined when it is
explained that every native is perpetually chewing a mixture of
this nut and betel leaf. Every man carries a betel bag, which
contains the following list of treasures: a quantity of
areca-nuts, a parcel of betel leaves, a roll of tobacco, a few
pieces of ginger, an instrument similar to pruning scissors and a
brass or silver case (according to the wealth of the individual)
full of chunam paste - viz., a fine lime produced from burnt
coral, slacked. This case very much resembles an old-fashioned
warming-pan breed of watch and chateleine, as numerous little
spoons for scooping out the chunam are attached to it by chains.

The betel is a species of pepper, the leaf of which very much
resembles that of the black pepper, but is highly aromatic and
pungent.  It is cultivated to a very large extent by the natives,
and may be seen climbing round poles and trees in every garden.

It has been said by some authors that the betel has powerful
narcotic properties, but, on the contrary, its stimulating
qualities have a directly opposite effect. Those who have
attributed this supposed property to the betel leaf must have
indulged in a regular native "chew" as an experiment, and have
nevertheless been ignorant of the mixture.

We will make up a native "chew" after the most approved fashion,
and the reader shall judge for himself in which ingredient the
narcotic principle is displayed.

Take a betel leaf, and upon this spread a piece of chunam as
large as a pea; then with the pruning scissors cut three very
thin slices of areca-nut, and lay them in the leaf; next, add a
small piece of ginger; and, lastly, a good-sized piece of
tobacco.  Fold up this mixture in another betel leaf in a compact
little parcel, and it is fit for promoting several hours'
enjoyment in chewing, and spitting a disgusting blood-red dye in
every direction.  The latter is produced by the areca-nut.  It is
the tobacco which possesses the narcotic principle; if this is
omitted, the remaining ingredients are simple stimulants.

The teeth of all natives are highly discolored by the perpetual
indulgence in this disgusting habit; nor is this the only effect
produced; cancer in the cheek is a common complaint among them,
supposed to be produced by the caustic lime which is so
continually in the mouth.

The exports of areca-nuts from Ceylon will give some idea of the
supply of palms.  In 1853 no less than three thousand tons were
shipped from this colony, valued at about 45,000 l.  The greater
portion of these is consumed in India.

Two varieties of palms remain to be described - the date and the
sago. The former is a miserable species, which does not exceed
the height of three to five feet, and the fruit is perfectly

The latter is indigenous throughout the jungles in Ceylon, but it
is neither cultivated, nor is the sago prepared from it.

The height of this palm does not exceed fifteen or twenty feet,
and even this is above the general average.  It grows in the
greatest profusion in the Veddah country.  The stem is rough and
a continuation of rings divides it into irregular sections.  The
leaves are a rich dark green, and very light and feathery,
beneath which the nuts grow in clusters similar to those of the
areca palm.

The only use that the natives make of the produce of this tree
is in the preparation of flour from the nuts. Even this is not
very general, which is much to be wondered at, as the farina is
far superior in flavor to that produced from most grains.

The natives ascribe intoxicating properties to the cakes made
from this flour; but I have certainly eaten a fair allowance at
one time, and I cannot say that I had the least sensation of

The nut, which is something similar to the areca in size, is
nearly white when divested of its outer husk, and this is soaked
for about twenty-four hours in water. During this time a slight
fermentation takes place and the gas generated splits the nut
open at a closed joint like an acorn.  This fermentation may,
perhaps, take some exhilarating effect upon the natives' weak

The nuts being partially softened by this immersion are dried in
the sun, and subsequently pounded into flour in a wooden mortar. 
This flour is sifted, and the coarser parts being separated, are
again pounded until a beautiful snow-white farina is produced.
This is made into a dough by a proper admixture with water, and
being formed into small cakes, they are baked for about a quarter
of an hour in a chatty.  The fermentation which has already taken
place in the nut has impregnated the flower with a leaven; this,
without any further addition, expands the dough when in the oven,
and the cake produced is very similar to a crumpet, both in
appearance and flavor.

The village in which I first tasted this preparation of the
sago-nut was a tolerable sample of such places, on the borders of
the Veddah country.  The population consisted of one old man and
a corresponding old woman, and one fine stout young man and five
young women.  A host of little children, who were so similar in
height that they must have been one litter, and three or four
most miserable dogs and cats, were additional tenants of the
soi-disant village.

These people lived upon sago cakes, pumpkins, wild fruits and
berries, river fish and wild honey.  The latter is very plentiful
throughout Ceylon, and the natives are very expert in finding out
the nests, by watching the bees in their flight and following
them up.  A bee-hunter must be a most keen-sighted fellow,
although there is not so much difficulty in the pursuit as may at
first appear.  No one can mistake the flight of a bee en route
home, if he has once observed him.  He is no longer wandering
from flower to flower in an uncertain course, but he rushes
through the air in a straight line for the nest.  If the
bee-hunter sees one bee thus speeding homeward, he watches the
vacant spot in the air, until assured of the direction by the
successive appearance of these insects, one following the other
nearly every second in their hurried race to the comb.  Keeping
his eye upon the passing bees, he follows them until he reaches
the tree in which the nest is found.

There are five varieties of bees in Ceylon; these are all
honey-makers, except the carpenter bee.  This species is entirely
unlike a bee in all its habits.  It is a bright tinsel-green
color, and the size of a large walnut, but shaped like the humble
bees of England.  The month is armed with a very powerful pair of
mandibles, and the tail with a sting even larger and more
venomous than that of the hornet.  These carpenter bees are
exceedingly destructive, as they bore holes in beams and posts,
in which they lay their eggs, the larvae of which when hatched
greedily feed upon the timber.

The honey bees are of four very distinct varieties, each of which
forms its nest on a different principle.  The largest and most
extensive honey-maker is the "bambera". This is nearly as large
as a hornet, and it forms its nest upon the bough of a tree, from
which it lines like a Cheshire cheese, being about the same
thickness, but five or six inches greater in diameter.  The honey
of this bee is not so much esteemed as that from the smaller
varieties, as the flavor partakes too strongly of the particular
flower which the bee has frequented; thus in different seasons
the honey varies in flavor, and is sometimes so highly aperient
that it must be used with much caution.  This property is of
course derived from the flower which the bee prefers at that
particular season.  The wax of the comb is the purest and whitest
of any kind produced in Ceylon.  So partial are these bees to
particular flowers that they migrate from place to place at
different periods in quest of flowers which are then in bloom.

This is a very wonderful and inexplicable arrangement of Nature,
when it is considered that some flowers which particularly
attract these migrations only blossom once in "seven years." This
is the case at Newera Ellia, where the nillho blossom induces
such a general rush of this particular bee to the district that
the jungles are swarming with them in every direction, although
during the six preceding years hardly a bee of the kind is to be
met with.

There are many varieties of the nillho.  These vary from a tender
dwarf plant to the tall and heavy stern of the common nillho,
which is nearly as thick as a man's arm and about twenty feet

The next honey-maker is very similar in size and appearance to
our common hive bee in England.  This variety forms its nest in
hollow trees and in holes in rocks.  Another bee, similar in
appearance, but not more than half the size, suspends a most
delicate comb to the twigs of a tree.  This nest is no larger
than an orange, but the honey of the two latter varieties is of
the finest quality, and quite equal in flavor to the famed "miel
vert" of the Isle de Burbon, although it has not the delicate
green tint which is so much esteemed in the latter.

The last of the Ceylon bees is the most tiny, although an equally
industrious workman.  He is a little smaller than our common
house-fly, and he builds his diminutive nest in the hollow of a
tree, where the entrance to his mansion is a hole no larger than
would be made by a lady's stiletto.

It would be a natural supposition that so delicate an insect
would produce a honey of corresponding purity, but instead of the
expected treasure we find a thick, black and rather pungent but
highly aromatic molasses.  The natives, having naturally coarse
tastes and strong stomachs, admire this honey beyond any other. 
Many persons are surprised at the trifling exports of wax from
Ceylon.  In 1853 these amounted to no more than one ton.

Cingalese are curious people, and do not trouble themselves
about exports; they waste or consume all the beeswax.  While we
are contented with the honey and carefully reject the comb, the
native (in some districts) crams his mouth with a large section,
and giving it one or two bites, he bolts the luscious morsel and
begins another.  In this manner immense quantities of this
valuable article are annually wasted.  Some few of the natives in
the poorest villages save a small quantity, to exchange with the
travelling Moormen for cotton cloths, etc., and in this manner
the trifling amount exported is collected.

During the honey year at Newera Ellia I gave a native permission
to hunt bees in my forests, on condition that he should bring me
the wax.  Of course he stole the greater portion, but
nevertheless, in a few weeks he brought me seventy-two pounds'
weight of well-cleaned and perfectly white wax, which he had made
up into balls about the size of an eighteen-pound shot.  Thus, in
a few weeks, one man had collected about the thirtieth part of
the annual export from Ceylon; or, allowing that he stole at
least one-half, this would amount to the fifteenth.

It would be a vain attempt to restrain these people from their
fixed habit; they would as soon think of refraining from
betel-chewing as giving up a favorite food.  Neither will they be
easily persuaded to indulge in a food of a new description.  I
once showed them the common British mushroom, which they declared
was a poisonous kind.  To prove the contrary, I had them several
times at table, and found them precisely similar in appearance
and flavor to the well-known, "Agaricus campestris;" but,
notwithstanding this actual proof, the natives would not be
convinced, and, although accustomed to eat a variety of this
tribe, they positively declined this experiment.  There is an
edible species which they prefer, which, from its appearance, an
Englishman would shun: this is perfectly white, both above and
below, and the upper cuticle cannot be peeled off.  I have tasted
this, but it is very inferior in flavor to the common mushroom.

Experiments in these varieties of fungi are highly dangerous, as
many of the most poisonous so closely resemble the edible species
that they can with difficulty be distinguished.  There is one
kind of fungus that I have met with in the forests which, from
its offensive odor and disgusting appearance, should be something
superlatively bad.  It grows about four inches high; the top is
round, with a fleshy and inflamed appearance; the stalk is out of
all proportion in its thickness, being about two inches in
diameter and of a livid white color; this, when broken, is full
of a transparent gelatinous fluid, which smells like an egg in
the last stage of rottenness.

This fungus looks like an unhealthy excrescence on the face of
Nature, who, as though ashamed of the disgusting blemish, has
thrown a veil over the defect.  The most exquisite fabric that
can be imagined - a scarlet veil, like a silken net - falls over
this ugly fungus, and, spreading like a tent at its base, it is
there attached to the ground.

The meshes of this net are about as fine as those of a very
delicate silk purse, and the gaudiness of the color and the size
of the fungus make it a very prominent object, among the
surrounding vegetation.  In fact, it is a diminutive, though
perfect circular tent of net-work, the stem of the fungus forming
the pole in the centre.

I shall never forget my first introduction to this specimen.  It
was growing in an open forest, free from any underwood, land it
seemed like a fairy bivouac beneath the mighty trees which
overshadowed it.  Hardly believing my own eyes at so strange and
exquisite a structure, I jumped off my horse and hastened to
secure it.  But the net-work once raised was like the uncovering
of the veiled prophet of Khorassan, and the stem, crushing in my
fingers, revealed all the disgusting properties of the plant, and
proved the impossibility of removing it entire.  The elegance of
its exterior only served to conceal its character-like Madame
Mantilini, who, when undressed, "tumbled into ruins."

There are two varieties of narcotic fungi whose properties are so
mild that they are edible in small quantities.  One is a bright
crimson on the surface; this is the most powerful, and is seldom
used.  The other is a white solid puff-ball, with a rough outer
skin or rind.

I have eaten the latter on two occasions, having been assured by
the natives that they were harmless.  The flavor somewhat
resembles a truffle, but I could not account for the extreme
drowsiness that I felt soon after eating; this wore off in the
course of two or three hours.  On the following day I felt the
same effect, but to a still greater degree as, having convinced
myself that they were really eatable, I bad taken a larger
quantity.  Knowing that the narcotic principle is the common
property of a great variety of fungi, it immediately struck me
that the puff-balls were the cause. On questioning the natives,
it appeared that it was this principle that they admired, as it
produced a species of mild intoxication.

All people, of whatever class or clime, indulge in some narcotic
drug or drink.  Those of the Cingalese are arrack, tobacco, fungi
and the Indian hemp.  The use of the latter is, however, not so
general among the Cingalese as the Malabars.  This drug has a
different effect from opium, as it does not injure the
constitution, but simply exhilarates, and afterward causes a
temporary lethargy.

In appearance it very nearly resembles the common hemp, but it
differs in the seed.  The leaves and blossoms are dried, and are
either smoked like tobacco, or formed into a paste with various
substances and chewed.

When the plant approaches maturity, a gummy substance exudes from
the leaves; this is gathered by men clothed in dry raw hides,
who, by walking through the plantation, become covered with this
gum or glue.  This is scraped off and carefully preserved, being
the very essence of the plant, and exceedingly powerful in its

The sensation produced by the properties of this shrub is a wild,
dreamy kind of happiness; the ideas are stimulated to a high
degree, and all that are most pleasurable are exaggerated till
the senses at length sink into a vague and delightful elysium.

The reaction after this unnatural excitement is very
distressing, but the sufferer is set all right again by some
trifling stimulant, such as a glass of wine or spirits.

It is supposed, and confidently asserted by some, that the Indian
hemp is the foundation of the Egyptian "hashisch," the effects of
which are precisely similar.

However harmless the apparent effect of a narcotic drug, common
sense must at once perceive that a repeated intoxication, no
matter how it is produced, must be ultimately hurtful to the
system.  The brain, accustomed to constant stimulants, at length
loses its natural power, and requires these artificial assistants
to enable it to perform its ordinary functions, in the same
manner that the stomach, from similar treatment, would at length
cease to act.  This being continued, the brain becomes
semi-torpid, until wakened up by a powerful stimulant, and the
nervous system is at length worn out by a succession of exciting
causes and reactions.  Thus, a hard drinker appears dull and
heavy until under the influence of his secret destroyer when he
brightens up and, perhaps, shines in conversation; but every
reaction requires a stronger amount of stimulant to lessen its
effect, until mind and body at length become involved in the
common ruin.

The seed of the lotus is a narcotic of a mild description, and it
is carefully gathered when ripe and eaten by the natives.

The lotus is seen in two varieties in Ceylon - the pink and the
white.  The former is the most beautiful, and they are both very
common in all tanks and sluggish streams.  The leaves are larger
than those of the waterlily, to which they bear a great
resemblance, and the blossoms are full double the size. When the
latter fade, the petals fall, and the base of the flower and
seed-pod remains in the shape of a circular piece of honeycomb,
full of cells sufficiently large to contain a hazel-nut.  This is
about the size of the seed, but the shape is more like an acorn
without its cup.  The flavor is pleasant, being something like a
filbert, but richer and more oily.

Stramonium (Datura stramonium), which is a powerful narcotic, is
a perfect weed throughout the island, but it is not used by the
natives otherwise than medicinally, and the mass of the people
are ignorant of its qualities, which are only known to the
Cingalese doctors.  I recollect some years ago, in Mauritius,
where this plant is equally common, its proprieties were not only
fully understood, but made use of by some of the Chinese
emigrants.  These fellows made cakes of manioc and poisoned them
with stramonium.  Hot manioc cakes are the common every-day
accompaniment to a French planter's breakfast at Mauritius, and
through the medium of these the Chinese robbed several houses. 
Their plan was simple enough.

A man with cakes to sell appeared at the house at an early hour,
and these being purchased, he retired until about two hours after
breakfast was concluded.  By this time the whole family were
insensible, and the thieves robbed the house at their leisure. 
None of these cases terminated fatally; but, from the instant
that I heard of it, I made every cake-seller who appeared at the
door devour one of his own cakes before I became a purchaser. 
These men, however, were bona fide cake-merchants, and I did not
meet with an exception.

There are a great variety of valuable medicinal plants in the
jungles of Ceylon, many of which are unknown to any but the
native doctors.  Those most commonly known to us, and which may
be seen growing wild by the roadside, are the nux vomica,
ipecacuanha, gamboge, sarsaparilla, cassia fistula, cardamoms,

The ipecacuanha is a pretty, delicate plant, which bears a bright
orange-colored cluster of flowers.

The cassia fistula is a very beautiful tree, growing to the size
of an ash, which it somewhat resembles in foliage.  The blossom
is very beautiful, being a pendant of golden flowers similar to
the laburnum, but each blossom is about two and a half feet long,
and the individual flowers on the bunch are large in proportion.
When the tree is in full flower it is very superb, and equally as
singular when its beauty has faded and the seed-pods are formed. 
These grow to a length of from two to three feet, and when ripe
are perfectly black, round, and about three-quarters of an inch
in diameter.  The tree has the appearance of bearing, a prolific
crop of ebony rulers, each hanging from the bough by a short

There is another species of cassia fistula, the foliage of which
assimilates to the mimosa.  This bears a thicker, but much
shorter, pod, of about a foot in length.  The properties of both
are the same, being laxative.  Each seed within the pod is
surrounded by a sweet, black and honey-like substance, which
contains the property alluded to.

The gamboge tree is commonly known in Ceylon as the "ghorka."
This grows to the common size of an apple tree, and bears a
corrugated and intensely acid fruit.  This is dried by the
natives and used in curries.  The gamboge is the juice of the
tree obtained by incisions in the bark.  This tree grows in great
numbers in the neighborhood of Colombo, especially among the
cinnamon gardens.  Here, also, the cashew tree grows to great
perfection.  The bark of the latter is very rich in tannin, and
is used by the natives in the preparation of hides.  The fruit is
like an apple in appearance, and small, but is highly astringent. 
The well-known cashew-nut grows like an excrescence from the end
of the apple.

Many are the varieties and uses of vegetable productions in
Ceylon, but of these none are more singular and interesting than
the "sack tree," the Riti Gaha of the Cingalese.  From the bark
of this tree an infinite number of excellent sacks are procured,
with very little trouble or preparation.  The tree being felled,
the branches are cut into logs of the length required, and
sometimes these are soaked in water; but this is not always
necessary.  The balk is then well beaten with a wooden mallet,
until it is loosened from the wood; it is then stripped off the
log as a stocking is drawn off the leg.  It is subsequently
bleached, and one end being sewn lip, completes a perfect sack of
a thick fibrous texture, somewhat similar to felt.

These sacks are in general use among the natives, and are
preferred by them to any other, as their durability is such that
they sometimes descend from father to son.  By constant use they
stretch and increase their original size nearly one half.  The
texture necessarily becomes thinner, but the strength does not
appear to be materially decreased.

There are many fibrous barks in Ceylon, some which are so strong
that thin strips require a great amount of strength to break
them, but none of these have yet been reduced to a marketable
fibre.  Several barks are more or less aromatic; others would be
valuable to the tanners; several are highly esteemed by the
natives as most valuable astringents, but hitherto none have
received much notice from Europeans.  This may be caused by the
general want of success of all experiments with indigenous
produce.  Although the jungles of Ceylon produce a long list of
articles of much interest, still their value chiefly lies in
their curiosity; they are useful to the native, but
comparatively of little worth to the European. In fact, few
things will actually pay for the trouble and expense of
collecting and transporting.  Throughout the vast forests and
jungles of Ceylon, although the varieties of trees are endless,
there is not one valuable gum known to exist.  There is a great
variety of coarse, unmarketable productions, about equal to the
gum of the cherry tree, etc., but there is no such thing as a
high-priced gum in the island.

The export of dammer is a mere trifle - four tons in 1852, twelve
tons in 1853.  This is a coarse and comparatively valueless
commodity.  No other tree but the doom tree produces any gum
worth collecting; this species of rosin exudes in large
quantities from an incision in the bark, but the amount of
exports shows its insignificance.  It is a fair sample of Ceylon
productions; nothing that is uncultivated is of much pecuniary

CHAPTER XI. Indigenous Productions - Botanical Gardens -
Suggested Experiments - Lack of Encouragement to Gold-diggers -
Prospects of Gold-digging - We want "Nuggets" - Who is to Blame?
- Governor's Salary - Fallacies of a Five Years' Reign -
Neglected Education of the People - Responsibilities of Conquest
- Progress of Christianity.

The foregoing chapter may appear to decry in toto the indigenous
productions of Ceylon, as it is asserted that they are valueless
in their natural state.  Nevertheless, I do not imply that they
must necessarily remain useless.  Where Nature simply creates a
genus, cultivation extends the species, and from an insignificant
parent stock we propagate our finest varieties of both animals
and vegetables.  Witness the wild kale, parsnip, carrot,
crab-apple, sloe, etc., all utterly worthless, but nevertheless
the first parents of their now choice descendants.

It is therefore impossible to say what might not he done in the
improvement of indigenous productions were the attention of
science bestowed upon them.  But all this entails expense, and
upon whom is this to fall?  Out of a hundred experiments
ninety-nine might fail.  In Ceylon we have no wealthy
experimentalists, no agricultural exhibitions, no model farms,
but every man who settles in a colony has left the mother country
to better himself; therefore, no private enterprise is capable of
such speculation.  It clearly rests upon the government to
develop the resources of the country, to prove the value of the
soil, which is delivered to the purchaser at so much per acre,
good or bad.  But no; it is not in the nature of our government
to move from an established routine.  As the squirrel revolves
his cage, so governor after governor rolls his dull course along,
pockets his salary, and leaves the poor colony as he found it.

The government may direct the attention of the public, in reply,
to their own establishment - to the botanical gardens.  Have we
not botanical gardens?  We have, indeed, and much good they
should do, if conducted upon the principle of developing local
resources; but this would entail expense, and, like everything in
the hands of government, it dies in its birth for want of
consistent management.

With an able man as superintendent at a good salary, the
beautiful gardens at Peredenia are rendered next to useless for
want of a fund at his disposal.  Instead of being conducted as an
experimental farm, they are little more than ordinary
pleasure-grounds, filled with the beautiful foliage of the
tropics and kept in perfect order.  What benefit have they been
to the colony? Have the soils of various districts been tested?
have new fibres been manufactured from the countless indigenous
fibrous plants? have new oils been extracted? have medicinal
drugs been produced? have dyes been extracted? have improvements
been suggested in the cultivation of any of the staple articles
of Ceylon export? In fact, has ANYTHING ever been done by
government for the interest of the private settler?

This is not the fault of the manager of the gardens; he has the
will, but no funds.  My idea of the object of a botanical garden
is, that agricultural theories should be reduced to facts, upon
which private enterprise may speculate, and by such success the
government should ultimately benefit.

It is well known to the commonest school-boy that soil which may
be favorable to one plant is not adapted to another; therefore,
where there is a diversity of soils it stands to reason that
there should be a corresponding variety of crops to suit those
soils, so as to make the whole surface of the land yield its

In Ceylon, where the chief article of production is coffee, land
(upon an estate) which is not suitable to this cultivation is
usually considered waste.  Thus the government and the private
proprietor are alike losers in possessing an amount of
unprofitable soil.

Now, surely it is the common sense object in the establishment of
a botanical garden to discover for each description of soil a
remunerating crop, so that an estate should be cultivated to its
uttermost, and the word "waste" be unknown upon the property.

Under the present system of management this is impossible; the
sum allowed per annum is but just sufficient to keep the gardens
in proper condition, and the abilities of the botanist in charge
are sacrificed.  Many a valuable plant now lies screened in the
shades of remote jungles, which the enterprising botanist would
bring to light were he enabled by government to make periodical
journeys through the interior.  These journeys should form a part
of his duties; his botanical specimens should be his game, and
they should be pursued with the ardor of the chase itself, and
subsequently transferred to the gardens and their real merits
discovered by experiments.

But what can be expected from an apathetic system of government? 
Dyes, fibres, gums may abound in the forests, metals and even
gold may be concealed beneath our feet; but the governor does not
consider it a part of his duty to prosecute the search, or even
to render facilities to those of a more industrious temperament. 
What can better exemplify the case than the recent discovery of
gold at Newera Ellia?

Here was the plain fact that gold was found in small specks, not
in one spot, but everywhere throughout the swamps for miles in
the vicinity - that at a depth of two or three feet from the
surface this proof was adduced of its presence; but the governor
positively refused to assist the discoverers ("diggers," who were
poor sailors visiting Ceylon), although they merely asked for
subsistence until they should be able to reach a greater depth. 
This may appear too absurd to be correct, but it is nevertheless

At the time that I commenced these sketches of Ceylon the gold
was just discovered, and I touched but lightly upon it, in the
expectation that a few months of labor, aided by government
support, would have established its presence in remunerating
quantities.  The swampy nature of the soil rendered the digging
impossible without the aid of powerful pumps to reduce the water,
which filled the shaft so rapidly that no greater depth could be
obtained than eighteen feet, and even this at immense labor.

The diggers were absolutely penniless, and but for assistance
received from private parties they must have starved.  The rainy
season was at its height, and torrents fell night and day with
little intermission.  Still, these poor little fellows worked
early and late, wet and dry, ever sanguine of success, and they
at length petitioned the Government to give them the means of
subsistence for a few months - "subsistence" for two men, and the
assistance of a few coolies.  This was refused, and the reply
stated that the government intended to leave the search for gold
to "private enterprise." No reward was offered for its discovery
as in other colonies, but the governor would leave it to "private
enterprise." A promising enterprise truly, when every landholder
in Ceylon, on referring to his title-deeds, observes the
reservation of all precious metals to the crown. This is a fair
sample of the narrow-minded, selfish policy of a government
which, in endeavoring to save a little, loses all; a miserable
tampering with the public in attempting to make a cat's paw of
private enterprise.

How has this ended?  The diggers left the island in disgust.  If
the gold is there in quantity, there in quantity it remains to
the present time, unsought for.  The subject of gold is so
generally interesting, and in this case of such importance to the
colony, that, believing as I do that it does exist in large
quantities, I must claim the reader's patience in going into this
subject rather fully.

Let us take the matter as it stands.

The reader will remember that I mentioned at an early part of
these pages that gold was first discovered in Ceylon by the
diggers in the bed of a stream near Kandy - that they
subsequently came to Newera Ellia, and there discovered gold

It must be remembered that the main features of the country at
Newera Ellia and the vicinity are broad flats or swampy plains,
surrounded by hills and mountains: the former covered with rank
grass and intersected by small streams, the latter covered with
dense forest.  The soil abounds with rocks of gneiss and quartz,
some of the latter rose-color, some pure white.  The gold has
hitherto been found in the plains only.  These plains extend over
some thirty miles of country, divided into numerous patches by
intervening jungles.

The surface soil is of a peaty nature, perfectly black, soapy
when wet, and as light as soot when dry; worthless for
cultivation.  This top soil is about eighteen inches thick, and
appears to have been the remains of vegetable matter washed down
from the surrounding hills and forests.

This swampy black soil rests upon a thin stratum of brownish
clay, not more than a few inches thick, which, forming a second
layer, rests in its turn upon a snow white rounded quartz gravel
intermixed with white pipe-clay.

This contains gold, every shovelful of earth producing, when
washed, one or more specks of the precious metal.

The stratum of rounded quartz is about two feet thick, and is
succeeded by pipe-clay, intermixed with quartz gravel, to a depth
of eighteen feet.  Here another stratum of quartz gravel is met
with, perfectly water-worn and rounded to the size of a
twelve-pound shot.

In this stratum the gold was of increased size, and some pieces
were discovered as large as small grains of rice; but no greater
depth was attained at the time Of writing than to this stratum,
viz., eighteen feet from the surface.

No other holes were sunk to a greater depth than ten feet, on
account of the influx of water, but similar shafts were made in
various places, and all with equal success.

>From the commencement of the first stratum of quartz throughout
to the greatest depth attained gold was present.

Upon washing away the clay and gravel, a great number of gems of
small value remained (chiefly sapphire, ruby, jacinth and green
tourmaline).  These being picked out, there remained a jet-black
fine sand, resembling gunpowder.  This was of great specific
gravity, and when carefully washed, discovered the gold - some in
grains, some in mere specks, and some like fine, golden flour.

At this interesting stage the search has been given up: although
the cheering sight of gold can be obtained in nearly every pan of
earth at such trifling depths, and literally in every direction,
the prospect is abandoned.  The government leaves it to private
enterprise, but the enterprising public have no faith in the

Without being over-sanguine, or, on the other side, closing our
cars with asinine stubbornness, let us take an impartial view of
the facts determined, and draw rational conclusions.

It appears that from a depth of two and a half feet from the
surface to the greatest depth as yet attained (eighteen feet),
gold exists throughout.

It also appears that this is not only the case in one particular
spot, but all over this part of the country, and that this fact
is undeniable; and, nevertheless, the government did not believe
in the existence of gold in Ceylon until these diggers discovered
it; and when discovered, they gave the diggers neither reward nor
encouragement, but they actually met the discovery by a published
prohibition against the search; they then latterly withdrew the
prohibition and left it to private enterprise, but neglected the
unfortunate diggers.  In this manner is the colony mismanaged; in
this manner is all public spirit damped, all private enterprise
checked, and all men who have anything to venture disgusted.

The liberality of a government must be boundless where the actual
subsistence for a few months is refused to the discoverers of
gold in a country where, hitherto, its presence had been denied.

It would be speculative to anticipate the vast changes that in
extended discovery would effect in such a colony as Ceylon.  We
have before us the two pictures of California and Australia,
which have been changed as though by the magician's wand within
the last few years.  It becomes us now simply to consider the
probability of the gold being in such quantities in Ceylon as to
effect such changes.  We have it present these simple data - that
in a soft, swampy soil gold has been found close to the surface
in small specks, gradually increasing in size and quantity as a
greater depth has been attained.

>From the fact that gold will naturally lie deep, from its
specific gravity, it is astonishing that any vestige of such a
metal should be discovered in such soil so close to the surface. 
Still more astonishing that it should be so generally
disseminated throughout the locality. This would naturally be
accepted as a proof that the soil is rich in gold.  But the
question will then arise, Where is the gold? The quantities found
are a mere nothing - it is only dust: we want "nuggets."

The latter is positively the expression that I myself frequently
heard in Ceylon - "We want nuggets."

Who does not want nuggets? But people speak of "nuggets" as they
would of pebbles, forgetting that the very principle which keeps
the light dust at the surface has forced the heavier gold to a
greater depth, and that far from complaining of the lack of
nuggets when digging has hardly commenced, they should gaze with
wonder at the bare existence of the gold in its present form and

The diggings at Ballarat are from a hundred to an hundred and
sixty feet deep in hard ground, and yet people in Ceylon expect
to find heavy gold in mere mud, close to the surface.  The idea
is preposterous, and I conceive it only reasonable to infer from
the present appearances that gold does exist in large quantities
in Ceylon.  But as it is reasonable to suppose such to be the
case, so it is unreasonable to suppose that private individuals
will invest capital in so uncertain a speculation as mining
without facilities from the government, and in the very face of
the clause in their own title-deeds "that all precious metals
belong to the crown."

This is the anomalous position of the gold in Ceylon under the
governorship of Sir G. Anderson.

Nevertheless, it becomes a question whether we should blame the
man or the system, but the question arises in this case, as with
everything else in which government is concerned, "Where is the
fault?" "Echo answers 'Where?'" But the public are not satisfied
with echoes, and in this matter-of-fact age people look to those
who fill ostensible posts and draw bona fide salaries; and if
these men hold the appointments, no matter under what system,
they become the deserved objects of either praise or censure.

Thus it may appear too much to say that Sir G. Anderson is liable
for the mismanagement of the colony in toto -for the total
neglect of the public roads.  It may appear too much to say, When
you came to the colony you found the roads in good order: they
are now impassable; communication is actually cut off from places
of importance.  This is your fault, these are the fruits of your
imbecility; your answer to our petitions for repairs was, "There
is no money;" and yet at the close of the year you proclaimed and
boasted of a saving of twenty-seven thousand pounds in the
treasury! This seems a fearful contradiction; and the whole
public received it as such.  The governor may complain that the
public expect too much; the public may complain that the governor
does too little.

Upon these satisfactory terms, governors and their dependants bow
each other out, the colony being a kind of opera stall, a
reserved seat for the governor during the performance of five
acts (as we will term his five years of office); and the fifth
act, as usual in tragedies, exposes the whole plot of the
preceding four, and winds up with the customary disasters.

Now the question is, how long this age of misrule will last.

Every one complains, and still every one endures.  Each man has a
grievance, but no man has a remedy.  Still, the absurdity of our
colonial appointments is such that if steps were purposely taken
to ensure the destruction of the colonies, they could not have
been more certain.

We will commence with a new governor dealt out to a colony.  We
will simply call him a governor, not troubling ourselves with his
qualifications, as of course they have not been considered at the
Colonial Office.  He may be an upright, clear-headed,
indefatigable man, in the prime of life, or he may be old,
crotchety, pigheaded, and mentally and physically incapable.  He
may be either; it does not much matter, as he can only remain for
five years, at which time his term expires.

We will suppose that the crotchety old gentleman arrives first. 
The public will be in a delightful perplexity as to what the new
governor will do - whether he will carry out the views of his
predecessor, or whether he will upset everything that has been
done in the past five years; all is uncertainty.  The only thing
known positively is, that, good or bad, he will pocket seven
thousand a year!* *[since reduced to five thousand pounds].

His term of government will be chequered by many disappointments
to the public, and, if he has any feeling at all, by many
heartburnings to himself.  Physically incapable of much
exertion, he will be unable to travel over so wild a country as
Ceylon.  A good governor in a little island may be a very bad
governor in a large island, as a good cab-driver might make a bad
four-in hand man; thus our old governor would have no practical
knowledge of the country, but would depend upon prejudiced
accounts for his information.  Thus he would never arrive at any
correct information; he would receive all testimony with doubt,
considering that each had some personal motive in offering
advice, and one tongue would thus nullify the other until he
should at length come to the conclusion of David in his haste,
"that all men are liars," and turn a deaf ear to all.  This would
enable him to pass the rest of his term without any active
blunders, and he might vary the passive monotony of his existence
by a system of contradiction to all advice gratis.  A little
careful pruning of expenses during the last two years of his term
might give a semblance of increase o£ revenue over expenditure,
to gain a smile from the Colonial Office.  On his return the
colony would be left with neglected roads, consequent upon the
withdrawal of the necessary funds.

This incubus at length removed from the colony, may be succeeded
by a governor of the first class.

He arrives; finds everything radically wrong; the great arteries
of the country (the roads) in disorder; a large outlay required
to repair them.  Thus his first necessary act begins by an outlay
at a time when all outlay is considered equivalent to crime. 
This gains him a frown from the Colonial Office.  Conscious of
right, however, he steers his own course; he travels over the
whole country, views its features personally, judges of its
requirements and resources, gathers advice from capable persons,
forms his own opinion, and acts accordingly.

We will allow two years of indefatigable research to have passed
over our model governor; by that time, and not before, he may
have become thoroughly conversant with the colony in all its
bearings.  He has comprehended the vast natural capabilities, he
has formed his plans methodically for the improvement of the
country; not by any rash and speculative outlay, but, step by
step, he hopes to secure the advancement of his schemes.

This is a work of time; he has much to do.  The country is in an
uncivilized state; he sees the vestiges of past grandeur around
him, and his views embrace a wide field for the renewal of former
prosperity.  Tanks must be repaired, canals reopened, emigration
of Chinese and Malabars encouraged, forests and jungles cleared,
barren land brought into fertility.  The work of years is before
him, but the expiration of his term draws near.  Time is
precious, but nevertheless he must refer his schemes to the
Colonial Office.  What do they know of Ceylon?  To them his plans
seem visionary; at all events they will require an outlay.  A
correspondence ensues - that hateful correspondence! This ensures
delay.  Time flies; the expiration of his term draws near.  Even
his sanguine temperament has ceased to hope; his plans are not
even commenced, to work out which would require years; he never
could see them realized, and his successor might neglect them and
lay the onus of the failure upon him, the originator, or claim
the merit of their success.

So much for a five years' term of governorship, the absurdity of
which is superlative.  It is so entirely contrary to the system
of management in private affairs that it is difficult to imagine
the cause that could have given rise to such a regulation.  In
matters great or small, the capability of the manager is the
first consideration; and if this be proved, the value of the man
is enhanced accordingly; no employer would lose him.

But in colonial governments the system is directly opposite, for
no sooner does the governor become competent than he is withdrawn
and transferred to another sphere.  Thus every colony is like a
farm held on a short lease, which effectually debars it from
improvement, as the same feeling which actuates the individual in
neglecting the future, because he will not personally enjoy the
fruits of his labor, must in some degree fetter the enterprise of
a five years' governor. He is little better than the Lord Mayor,
who flutters proudly for a year, and then drops his borrowed
feathers in his moulting season.

Why should not governors serve an apprenticeship for five years
as colonial secretaries to the colonies they are destined for, if
five years is still to be the limited term of their office?  This
would ensure a knowledge of the colony at a secretary's salary,
and render them fit for both the office and salary of governor
when called upon; whereas, by the present system, they at once
receive a governor's salary before they understand their duties.

In casually regarding the present picture of Ceylon, it is hard
to say which point has been most neglected; but a short
residence in the island will afford a fair sample of government
inactivity in the want of education among the people.

Upon this subject more might be said than lies in my province to
dwell upon; nevertheless, after fifty years' possession of the
Kandian districts, this want is so glaring that I cannot withhold
a few remarks upon the subject, as I consider the ignorant state
of the native population a complete check to the advancement of
the colony.

In commencing this subject, I must assume that the conquerors of
territory are responsible for the moral welfare of the
inhabitants; therefore our responsibility increases with our
conquests.  A mighty onus thus rests upon Great Britain, which
few consider when they glory in the boast, "that the sun never
sets upon her dominions."

This thought leads us to a comparison of power between ourselves
and other countries, and we trace the small spot upon the world's
map which marks our little island, and in every sphere we gaze
with wonder at our vast possessions.  This is a picture of the
present.  What will the future be in these days of advancement?
It were vain to hazard a conjecture; but we can look back upon
the past, and build upon this foundation our future hopes.

When the pomps and luxuries of Eastern cities spread throughout
Ceylon, and millions of inhabitants fed on her fertility, when
the hands of her artists chiseled the figures of her gods from
the rude rock, when her vessels, laden with ivory and spices,
traded with the West, what were we? A forest-covered country,
peopled by a fierce race of savages clad in skins, bowing before
druidical idolatry, paddling along our shores in frames of
wickerwork and hide.

The ancient deities of Ceylon are in the same spots, unchanged;
the stones of the Druids stand unmoved; but what has become of
the nations? Those of the East have faded away and their strength
has perished.  Their ships are crumbled; the rude canoe glides
over their waves; the spices grow wild in their jungles; and,
unshorn and unclad, the inhabitants wander on the face of the

Is it "chance" that has worked this change? Where is the
forest-covered country and its savage race, its skin-clad
warriors and their frail coracles?

There, where the forest stood, from north to south and from east
to west, spreads a wide field of rich fertility.  There, on those
rivers where the basket-boats once sailed, rise the taut spars of
England's navy.  Where the rude hamlet rested on its banks in
rural solitude, the never-weary din of commerce rolls through the
city of the world.  The locomotive rushes like a thunder-clap
upon the rail; the steamer ploughs against the adverse wind, and,
rapid as the lightning, the telegraph cripples time.  The once
savage land is the nucleus of the arts and civilization.  The
nation that from time to time was oppressed, invaded, conquered,
but never subjected, still pressed against the weight of
adversity, and, as age after age rolled on, and mightier woes and
civil strife gathered upon her, still the germ of her destiny, as
it expanded, threw off her load, until she at length became a
nation envied and feared.

It was then that the powers of the world were armed against her,
and all Europe joined to tear the laurels from her crown, and
fleets and armies thronged from all points against the devoted
land, and her old enemy, the Gaul, hovered like his own eagle
over the expected prey.

The thunder of the cannon shook the world, and blood tinged the
waves around the land, and war and tumult shrieked like a tempest
over the fair face of Nature; the din of battle smothered all
sounds of peace, and years passed on and thicker grew the gloom. 
It was then the innate might of the old Briton roused itself to
action and strained those giant nerves which brought us victory. 
The struggle was past, and as the smoke of battle cleared from
the surface of the world, the flag of England waved in triumph on
the ocean, her fleets sat swan-like on the waves, her standard
floated on the strongholds of the universe, and far and wide
stretched the vast boundaries of her conquests.

Again I ask, is this the effect of "chance?" or is it the mighty
will of Omnipotence, which, choosing his instruments from the
humbler ranks, has snatched England from her lowly state, and has
exalted her to be the apostle of Christianity throughout the

Here lies her responsibility.  The conquered nations are in her
hands; they have been subject to her for half a century, but they
know neither her language nor her religion.

How many millions of human beings of all creeds and colors does
she control? Are they or their descendants to embrace our faith?
- that is, I are we the divine instrument for accomplishing the
vast change that we expect by the universal acknowledgement of
Christianity? or are we - I pause before the suggestion - are we
but another of those examples of human insignificance, that, as
from dust we rose, so to dust we shall return? shall we be but
another in the long list of nations whose ruins rest upon the
solitudes of Nature, like warnings to the proud cities which
triumph in their strength? Shall the traveler in future ages
place his foot upon the barren sod and exclaim, "Here stood their
great city!"

The inhabitants of Nineveh would have scoffed at such a
supposition.  And yet they fell, and yet the desert sand shrouded
their cities as the autumn leaves fall on the faded flowers of

To a fatalist it can matter but little whether a nation fulfills
its duty, or whether, by neglecting it, punishment should be
drawn down upon its head.  According to his theory, neither good
nor evil acts would alter a predestined course of events.  There
are apparently fatalist governments as well as individuals,
which, absorbed in the fancied prosperity of the present,
legislate for temporal advantages only.

Thus we see the most inconsistent and anomalous conditions
imposed in treaties with conquered powers; we see, for instance,
in Ceylon, a protection granted to the Buddhist religion, while
flocks of missionaries are sent out to convert the heathen.  We
even stretch the point so far as to place a British sentinel on
guard at the Buddhist temple in Kandy, as though in mockery of
our Protestant church a hundred paces distant.

At the same time that we acknowledge and protect the Buddhist
religion, we pray that Christianity shall spread through the
whole world; and we appoint bishops to our colonies at the same
time we neglect the education of the inhabitants.

When I say we neglect the education I do not mean to infer that
there are no government schools, but that the education of the
people, instead of being one of the most important objects of the
government, is considered of so little moment that it is
tantamount to neglected.

There are various opinions as to the amount of learning which
constitutes education, and at some of the government schools the
native children are crammed with useless nonsense, which, by
raising them above their natural position, totally unfits them
for their proper sphere.  This is what the government calls
education; and the same time and expense thus employed in
teaching a few would educate treble the number in plain English. 
It is too absurd to hear the arguments in favor of mathematics,
geography, etc., etc., for the native children, when a large
proportion of our own population in Great Britain can neither
read nor write.

The great desideratum in native education is a thorough knowledge
of the English tongue, which naturally is the first stone for any
superstructure of more extended learning.  This brings them
within the reach of the missionary, not only in conversation, but
it enables them to benefit by books, which are otherwise useless. 
It lessens the distance between the white man and the black, and
an acquaintance with the English language engenders a taste for
English habits.  The first dawn of civilization commences with a
knowledge of our language.  The native immediately adopts some
English customs and ideas, and drops a corresponding number of
his own.  In fact, he is a soil fit to work up on, instead of
being a barren rock as hitherto, firm in his own ignorance and

In the education of the rising native generation lies the hope of
ultimate conversion.  You may as well try to turn pitch into snow
as to eradicate the dark stain of heathenism from the present
race.  Nothing can be done with them; they must be abandoned like
the barren fig-tree, and the more attention bestowed upon the
young shoots.

But, unfortunately, this is a popular error, and, like all such,
one full of prejudice.  Abandon the present race! Methinks I hear
the cry from Exeter Hall.  But the good people at home have no
idea to what an extent they are at present, and always have been,
abandoned.  Where the children who can be educated with success
are neglected at the present day, it may be imagined that the
parents have been but little cared for; thus, in advocating their
abandonment, it is simply proposing an extra amount of attention
to be bestowed upon the next generation.

There are many large districts of Ceylon where no schools of any
kind are established.  In the Ouva country, which is one of the
most populous, I have had applications from the natives, begging
me to interest myself in obtaining some arrangement of the kind. 
Throngs of natives applied, describing the forlorn condition of
their district, all being not only anxious to send their children
to some place where they could learn free of expense, but
offering to pay a weekly stipend in return. "They are growing up
as ignorant as our young buffaloes," was a remark made by one of
the headmen of the villages, and this within twelve miles of
Newera Ellia.

Now, leaving out the question of policy in endeavoring to make
the language of our own country the common tongue of a conquered
colony, it must be admitted that, simply as a question of duty,
it is incumbent upon the government to do all in its power for
the moral advancement of the native population.  It is known that
the knowledge of our language is the first step necessary to this
advancement, and nevertheless it is left undone; the population
is therefore neglected.

I have already adverted to the useless system in the government
schools of forcing a superabundant amount of knowledge into the
children's brains, and thereby raising them above their position. 
A contrasting example of good common-sense education has recently
been given by the Rev. Mr. Thurston (who is indefatigable in his
profession) in the formulation of an industrial school at

This is precisely the kind of education which is required; and it
has already been attended with results most beneficial on its
limited scale.

This school is conducted on the principle that the time of every
boy shall not only be of service to himself, but shall likewise
tend to the support of the establishment.  The children are
accordingly instructed in such pursuits as shall be the means of
earning a livelihood in future years: some are taught a trade,
others are employed in the cultivation of gardens, and
subsequently in the preparation of a variety of produce.  Among
others, the preparation of tapioca from the root of the manioc
has recently been attended with great success.  In fact, they are
engaged during their leisure hours in a variety of experiments,
all of which tend to an industrial turn of mind, benefiting not
only the lad and the school, but also the government, by
preparing for the future men who will be serviceable and
industrious in their station.

Here is a lesson for the government which, if carried out on an
extensive scale, would work a greater change in the colony within
the next twenty years than all the preaching of the last fifty.

Throughout Ceylon, in every district, there should be established
one school upon this principle for every hundred boys, and a
small tract of land granted to each.  One should be attached to
the botanical gardens at Peredenia, and instruction should be
given to enable every school to perform its own experiments in
agriculture.  By this means, in the course of a few years we
should secure an educated and useful population, in lieu of the
present indolent and degraded race: an improved system of
cultivation, new products, a variety of trades, and, in fact, a
test of the capabilities of the country would be ensured, without
risk to the government, and to the ultimate prosperity of the
colony.  Heathenism could not exist in such a state of affairs;
it would die out.  Minds exalted by education upon such a system
would look with ridicule upon the vestiges of former idolatry,
and the rocky idols would remain without a worshiper, while a new
generation flocked to the Christian altar.

This is no visionary prospect.  It has been satisfactorily proved
that the road to conversion to Christianity is through knowledge,
and this once attained, heathenism shrinks into the background. 
This knowledge can only be gained by the young when such schools
are established as I have described.

Our missionaries should therefore devote their attention to this
object, and cease to war against the impossibility of adult
conversion. If one-third of the enormous sums hitherto expended
with little or no results upon missionary labor had been employed
in the establishments as proposed, our colonies would now possess
a Christian population.  But are our missionaries capable? Here
commences another question, which again involves others in their
turn, all of which, when answered, thoroughly explain the
stationary, if not retrograde, position of the Protestant Church
among the heathen.

What is the reader's conceived opinion of the duties and labors
of a missionary in a heathen land? Does he, or does he not
imagine, as he pays his subscription toward this object, that the
devoted missionary quits his native shores, like one of the
apostles of old, to fight the good fight? that he leaves all to
follow "Him?" and that he wanders forth in his zeal to propagate
the gospel, penetrating into remote parts, preaching to the
natives, attending on the sick, living a life of hardship and

It is a considerable drawback to this belief in missionary labor
when it is known that the missionaries are not educated for the
particular colonies to which they are sent; upon arrival, they
are totally ignorant of the language of the natives, accordingly,
they are perfectly useless for the purpose of "propagating the
gospel among the heathen." Their mission should be that of
instructing the young, and for this purpose they should first be
instructed themselves.

I do not wish to throw a shade upon the efforts of missionary
labor; I have no doubt that they use great exertions privately,
which the public on the spot do not observe; but taking this for
granted as the case, the total want of success in the result
becomes the more deplorable. I have also no doubt that the
missionaries penetrate into the most remote parts of Ceylon and
preach the gospel.  For many years I have traversed the
wildernesses of Ceylon at all hours and at all seasons.  I have
met many strange things during my journeys, but I never recollect
having met a missionary.  The bishop of Colombo is the only man I
know who travels out of the high road for this purpose; and he,
both in this and many other respects, offers an example which few
appear to follow.

Nevertheless, although Protestant missionaries are so rare in the
jungles of the interior, and, if ever there, no vestige ever
remains of such a visit, still, in spots where it might be least
expected, may be seen the humble mud hut, surmounted by a cross,
the certain trace of some persevering priest of the Roman faith. 
These men display an untiring zeal, and no point is too remote
for their good offices.  Probably they are not so comfortable in
their quarters in the towns as the Protestant missionaries, and
thus they have less hesitation in leaving home.

The few converts that have been made are chiefly Roman Catholics,
as among the confusion arising from our multitudinous sects and
schisms the native is naturally bewildered.  What with High
Church, Low Church, Baptists, Wesleyans, Presbyterians, etc.,
etc., etc., the ignorant native is perfectly aghast at the
variety of choice.

With the members of our Church in such a dislocated state,
progression cannot be expected by simple attempts at conversion;
even were the natives willing to embrace the true faith, they
would have great difficulty in finding it amidst the crowd of
adverse opinions.  Without probing more deeply into these social
wounds, I must take leave of the missionary labors in Ceylon,
trusting that ere long the eyes of the government will be fixed
upon the true light to guide the prosperity of the island by
framing an ordinance for the liberal education of the people.

CHAPTER XII. The Pearl Fishery - Desolation of the Coast -
Harbor of Trincomalee - Fatal Attack by a Shark - Ferocious
Crocodiles - Salt Monopoly - Salt Lakes - Method of Collection -
Neglect of Ceylon Hides - Fish and Fishing - Primitive Tackle -
Oysters and Penknives - A Night Bivouac for a Novice - No Dinner,
but a Good Fire - Wild Yams and Consequences -The Elephants' Duel
- A Hunting Hermitage - Bluebeard's last Hunt - The Leopard -
Bluebeard's Death - Leopard Shot.

While fresh from the subject of government mismanagement, let us
turn our eyes in the direction of one of those natural resources
of wealth for which Ceylon has ever been renowned - the "pearl
fishery." This was the goose which laid the golden egg, and Sir
W. Horton, when governor of Ceylon, was the man who killed the

Here was another fatal instance of the effects of a five years'
term of governorship.

It was the last year of his term, and he wished to prove to the
Colonial Office that "his talent" had not been laid up in a
napkin, but that he bad left the colony with an excess of income
over expenditure.  To obtain this income he fished up all the
oysters, ruined the fishery in consequence; and from that day to
the present time it has been unproductive.

This is a serious loss of income to the colony, and great doubts
are entertained as to the probability, of the oyster-banks ever
recovering their fertility.

Nothing can exceed the desolation of the coast in the
neighborhood of the pearl-banks.  For many miles the shore is a
barren waste of low sandy ground, covered for the most part with
scrubby, thorny jungle, diversified by glades of stunted herbage. 
Not a hill is to be seen as far as the eye can reach.  The tracks
of all kind of game abound on the sandy path, with occasionally
those of a naked foot, but seldom does a shoe imprint its
civilized mark upon these lonely shores.

The whole of this district is one of the best in Ceylon for
deer-shooting, which is a proof of its want of inhabitants.  This
has always been the case, even in the prosperous days of the
pearl fishery.  So utterly worthless is the soil, that it remains
in a state of nature, and its distance from Colombo (one hundred
and fifty miles) keeps it in entire seclusion.

It is a difficult to conceive that any source of wealth should
exist in such a locality.  When standing on the parched sand,
with the burning sun shining in pitiless might upon all around,
the meagre grass burnt to a mere straw, the tangled bushes
denuded of all verdure save a few shriveled leaves, the very
insects seeking shelter from the rays, there is not a tree to
throw a shadow, but a dancing haze of molten air hovers upon the
ground, and the sea like a mirror reflects a glare, which makes
the heat intolerable.  And yet beneath the wave on this wild and
desolate spot glitter those baubles that minister to man's
vanity; and, as though in mockery of such pursuits, I have seen
the bleached skulls of bygone pearl-seekers lying upon the sand,
where they have rotted in view of the coveted treasures.

There is an appearance of ruin connected with everything in the
neighborhood.  Even in the good old times this coast was simply
visited during the period for fishing.  Temporary huts were
erected for thousands of natives, who thronged to Ceylon from all
parts of the East for the fascinating speculations of the pearl
fishery. No sooner was the season over than every individual
disappeared; the wind swept away the huts of sticks and leaves;
and the only vestiges remaining of the recent population were the
government stores and house at Arripo, like the bones of the
carcase after the vultures had feasted and departed.  All
relapsed at once into its usual state of desolation.

The government house was at one time a building of some little
pretension, and from its style it bore the name of the "Doric." 
It is now, like everything else, in a state of lamentable decay. 
The honeycombed eighteen pounder, which was the signal gun of
former years, is choked with drifting sand, and the air of misery
about the place is indescribable.

Now that the diving helmet has rendered subaqueous discoveries,
so easy, I am surprised that a government survey has not been
made of the whole north-west coast of Ceylon.  It seems
reasonable to suppose that the pearl oyster should inhabit depths
which excluded the simple diver of former days, and that our
modern improvements might discover treasures in the neighborhood
of the old pearl-beds of which we are now in ignorance.  The best
divers, without doubt, could never much exceed a minute in
submersion.  I believe the accounts of their performances
generally to have been much exaggerated.  At all events, those of
the present day do not profess to remain under water much more
than a minute.

The accounts of Ceylon pearl fisheries are so common in every
child's book that I do not attempt to describe the system in
detail.  Like all lotteries, there are few prizes to the
proportion of blanks.

The whole of this coast is rich in the biche de mer more commonly
called the sea-slug.  This is a disgusting species of mollusca,
which grows to a large size, being commonly about a foot in
length and three or four inches in diameter.  The capture and
preparation of these creatures is confined exclusively to the
Chinese, who dry them in the sun until they shrink to the size of
a large sausage and harden to the consistency of horn; they are
then exported to China for making soups.  No doubt they are more
strengthening than agreeable; but I imagine that our common
garden slug would be an excellent substitute to any one desirous
of an experiment, as it exactly resembles its nautical
representative in color and appearance.  Trincomalee is the great
depot for this trade, which is carried on to a large extent,
together with that of sharks' fins, the latter being used by the
Chinese for the same purpose as the biche de mer.  Trincomalee
affords many facilities for this trade, as the slugs are found in
large quantities on the spot, and the finest harbor of the East
is alive with sharks.  Few things surpass the tropical beauty of
this harbor; lying completely land-locked, it seems like a glassy
lake surrounded by hills covered with the waving foliage of
groves of cocoa-nut trees and palms of great variety.  The white
bungalows with their red-tiled roofs, are dotted about along the
shore, and two or three men-of-war are usually resting at their
ease in this calm retreat.  So deep is the water that the harbor
forms a perfect dock, as the largest vessel can lie so close to
the shore that her yards overhang it, which enables stores and
cargo to be shipped with great facility.

The fort stands upon a projecting point of land, which rises to
about seventy feet above the level of the galle face (the
race-course) which faces it.  Thus it commands the land approach
across this flat plain on one side and the sea on the other. 
This same fort is one of the hottest corners of Ceylon, and forms
a desirable residence for those who delight in a temperature of
from 90 degrees to 140 degrees in the shade.  Bathing is the
great enjoyment, but the pleasure in such a country is destroyed
by the knowledge that sharks are looking out for you in the sea,
and crocodiles in the rivers and tanks; thus a man is nothing
more than an exciting live-bait when he once quits terra firma. 
Accidents necessarily must happen, but they are not so frequent
as persons would suppose from the great number of carnivorous
monsters that exist.  Still, I am convinced that a white man
would run greater risk than a black; he is a more enticing bait,
being bright and easily distinguished in the water.  Thus in
places where the natives are in the habit of bathing with
impunity it would be most dangerous for a white man to enter.

There was a lamentable instance of this some few years ago at
Trincomalee.  In a sheltered nook among the rocks below the fort,
where the natives were always in the habit of bathing, a party of
soldiers of the regiment then in garrison went down one sultry
afternoon for a swim.  It was a lovely spot for bathing; the
water was blue, clear and calm, as the reef that stretched far
out to sea served as a breakwater to the heavy surf, and
preserved the inner water as smooth as a lake.  Here were a fine
lot of English soldiers stripped to bathe; and although the ruddy
hue of British health had long since departed in the languid
climate of the East, nevertheless their spirits were as high as
those of Englishmen usually are, no matter where or under what
circumstances.  However, one after the other took a run, and then
a "header" off the rocks into the deep blue water beneath.  In
the long line of bathers was a fine lad of fifteen, the son of
one of the sergeants of the regiment; and with the emulation of
his age he ranked himself among the men, and on arriving at the
edge he plunged head-foremost into the water and disappeared.  A
crowd of men were on the margin watching the bathing; the boy
rose to the surface within a few feet of them, but as he shook
the water from his hair, a cloudy shadow seemed to rise from the
deep beneath him, and in another moment the distinct outline of a
large shark was visible as his white belly flashed below.  At the
same instant there was a scream of despair; the water was
crimsoned, and a bloody foam rose to the surface - the boy was
gone! Before the first shock of horror was well felt by those
around, a gallant fellow of the same regiment shot head first
into the bloody spot, and presently reappeared from his devoted
plunge, bearing in his arms one-half of the poor boy.  The body
was bitten off at the waist, and the lower portion was the prize
of the ground shark.

For several days the soldiers were busily employed in fishing for
this monster, while the distracted mother sat in the burning sun,
watching in heart-broken eagerness, in the hope of recovering
some trace of her lost son.  This, however, was not to be; the
shark was never seen again.

There is as much difference in the characters of sharks as among
other animals or men.  Some are timid and sluggish, moving as
though too lazy to seek their food; and there is little doubt
that such would never attack man.  Others, on the contrary, dash
through the water as a pike would seize its prey, and refuse or
fear nothing.  There is likewise a striking distinction in the
habits of crocodiles; those that inhabit rivers being far more
destructive and fearless than those that infest the tanks.  The
natives hold the former in great terror, while with the latter
they run risks which are sometimes fatal.  I recollect a large
river in the southeast of Ceylon, which so abounds with ferocious
crocodiles that the natives would not enter the water in depths
above the knees, and even this they objected to, unless necessity
compelled them to cross the river.  I was encamped on the banks
for some little time, and the natives took the trouble to warn me
especially not to enter; and, as proof of the danger, they showed
me a spot where three men had been devoured in the course of one
year, all three of whom are supposed to have ministered to the
appetite of the same crocodile.

Few reptiles are more disgusting in appearance than these brutes;
but, nevertheless, their utility counterbalances their bad
qualities, as they cleanse the water from all impurities.  So
numerous are they that their heads may be seen in fives and tens
together, floating at the top of the water like rough corks; and
at about five P.M. they bask on the shore close to the margin of
the shore ready to scuttle in on the shortest notice.  They are
then particularly on the alert, and it is a most difficult thing
to stalk them, so as to get near enouogh to make a certain shot. 
This is not bad amusement when no other sport can be had.  Around
the margin of a lake, in a large plain far in the distance, may
be seen a distinct line upon the short grass like the fallen
trunk of a tree.  As there are no trees at hand, this must
necessarily be a crocodile.  Seldom can the best hand at stalking
then get within eighty yards of him before he lifts his scaly
head, and, listening for a second, plunges off the bank.

I have been contradicted in stating that a ball will penetrate
their scales.  It is absurd, however, to hold the opinion that
the scales will turn a ball - that is to say, stop the ball (as
we know that a common twig will of course turn it from its
direction, if struck obliquely).

The scales of a crocodile are formed of bone exquisitely jointed
together like the sections of a skull; these are covered
externally with a horny skin, forming, no doubt, an excellent
defensive armor, about an inch in thickness; but the idea of
their being impenetrable to a ball, if struck fair, is a great
fallacy.  People may perhaps complain because a pea rifle with a
mere pinch of powder may be inefficient, but a common No. 16
fowling-piece, with two drachms of powder, will penetrate any
crocodile that was ever hatched.

Among the most harmless kinds are those which inhabit the salt
lakes in the south of Ceylon.  I have never beard of an accident
in these places, although hundreds of persons are employed
annually in collecting salt from the bottom.

These natural reservoirs are of great extent, some of them being
many miles in circumference.  Those most productive are about
four miles round, and yield a supply in August, during the height
of the dry season.

Salt in Ceylon is a government monopoly; and it has hitherto been
the narrow policy of the government to keep up an immense price
upon this necessary of life, when the resources of the country
could produce any amount required for the island consumption.

These are now all but neglected, and the government simply
gathers the salt as the wild pig feeds upon the fruit which falls
from the tree in its season.

The government price of salt is now about three shillings per
bushel.  This is very impure, being mixed with much dirt and
sand.  The revenue obtained by the salt monopoly is about forty
thousand pounds per annum, two-thirds of which is an unfair
burden upon the population, as the price, according to the
supply obtainable, should never exceed one shilling per bushel.

Let us consider the capabilities of the locality from which it is

The lakes are some five or six in number, situated within half a
mile of the sea, separated only by a high bank of drift sand,
covered for the most part with the low jungle which clothes the
surrounding country.  Flat plains of a sandy nature form the
margins of the lakes.  The little town of Hambantotte, with a
good harbor for small craft, is about twenty miles distant, to
which there is a good cart road.

The water of these lakes is a perfect brine.  In the dry season
the evaporation, of course, increases the strength until the
water can no longer retain the amount of salt in solution it
therefore precipitates and crystalizes at the bottom in various
degrees of thickness, according to the strength of the brine.

Thus, as the water recedes from the banks by evaporation and the
lake decreases in size, it leaves a beach, not of shingles, but
of pure salt in crystallized cubes, to the depth of several
inches, and sometimes to half a foot or more.  The bottom of the
lake is equally coated with this thick deposit.

These lakes are protected by watchers, who live upon the margin
throughout the year.  Were it not for this precaution, immense
quantities of salt would be stolen.  In the month of August the
weather is generally most favorable for the collection, at which
time the assistant agent for the district usually gives a few
days' superintendence.

The salt upon the shore being first collected, the natives wade
into the lake and gather the deposit from the bottom, which they
bring to the shore in baskets; it is then made up into vast
piles, which are subsequently thatched over with cajans (the
plaited leaf of the cocoanut).  In this state it remains until an
opportunity offers for carting it to the government salt stores.

This must strike the reader as being a rude method of collecting
what Nature so liberally produces.  The waste is necessarily
enormous, as the natives cannot gather the salt at a greater
depth than three feet; hence the greater proportion of the annual
produce of the lake remains ungathered.  The supply at present
afforded might be trebled with very little trouble or expense.

If a stick is inserted in the mud, so that one end stands above
water, the salt crystallizes upon it in a large lump of several
pounds' weight.  This is of a better quality than that which is
gathered from the bottom, being free from sand or other
impurities.  Innumerable samples of this may be seen upon the
stakes which the natives have stuck in the bottom to mark the
line of their day's work.  These, not being removed, amass a
collection of salt as described.

Were the government anxious to increase the produce of these
natural reservoirs, nothing could be more simple than to plant
the whole lake with rows of stakes.  The wood is on the spot, and
the rate of labor sixpence a day per man; thus it might be
accomplished for a comparatively small amount.

This would not only increase the produce to an immense degree,
but it would also improve the purity of the collection, and would
render facilities for gathering the crop by means of boats, and
thus obviate the necessity of entering the water; at present the
suffering caused by the latter process is a great drawback to the
supply of labor.  So powerful is the brine that the legs and feet
become excoriated after two or three days' employment, and the
natives have accordingly a great aversion to the occupation.

Nothing could be easier than gathering the crop by the method
proposed.  Boats would paddle along between the rows of stakes,
while each stick would be pulled up and the salt disengaged by a
single blow; the stick would then be replaced n its position
until the following season.

Nevertheless, although so many specimens exist of this
accumulation, the method which was adopted by the savage is still
followed by the soi-disant civilized man.

In former days, when millions occupied Ceylon, the demand for
salt must doubtless have been in proportion, and the lakes which
are now so neglected must have been taxed to their utmost
resources.  There can be little doubt that the barbarians of
those times had some more civilized method of increasing the
production than the enlightened race of the present day.

The productive salt lakes are confined entirely to the south of
Ceylon.  Lakes and estuaries of sea-water abound all round the
island, but these are only commonly salt, and do not yield.  The
north and the east coasts are therefore supplied by artificial
salt-pans.  These are simple enclosed levels on the beach, into
which the sea-water is admitted, and then allowed to evaporate by
the heat of the sun.  The salt of course remains at the bottom. 
More water is then admitted, and again evaporated; and this
process continues until the thickness of the salt at the bottom
allows of its being collected.

This simple plan might be adopted with great success with the
powerful brine of the salt lakes, which might be pumped from its
present lower level into dry reservoirs for evaporation.

The policy of the government, however, does not tend to the
increase of any production.  It is preferred to keep up the high
rate of salt by a limited supply, which meets with immediate
demand, rather than to increase the supply for the public benefit
at a reduced rate.  This is a mistaken mode of reasoning.  At the
present high price the consumption of salt is extremely small, is
its rise is restricted to absolute necessaries.  On the other
hand, were the supply increased at one half the present rate, the
consumption would augment in a far greater proportion, as salt
would then be used for a variety of purposes which at the present
cost is impossible, viz. For the purpose of cattle-feeding,
manures, etc., etc.  In addition to this, it would vastly affect
the price of salt fish (the staple article of native
consumption), and by the reduction in cost of this commodity
there would be a corresponding extension in the trade.

The hundreds of thousands of hides which are now thrown aside to
rot uncared for would then be preserved and exported, which at
the present rate of salt is impossible. The skins of buffaloes,
oxen, deer, swine, all valuable in other parts of the world, in
Ceylon are valueless. The wild buffalo is not even skinned when
shot; he is simply opened for his marrow-bones, his tail is cut
off for soup, his brains taken out for cotelettes, and his tongue
salted. The beast himself, hide and all, is left as food for the
jackal. The wandering native picks up his horns, which find their
way to the English market; but the "hide," the only really
valuable portion, is neglected.

Within a short distance of the salt lakes, buffaloes, boars, and
in fact all kind of animals abound, and I have no doubt that if
it were once proved to the natives that the hides could be made
remunerative, they would soon learn the method of preparation.

Some persons have an idea that a native will not take the trouble
to do anything that would turn a penny; in this I do not agree.
Certainly a native has not sufficient courage for a speculation
which involves the risk of loss; but provided he is safe in that
respect, he will take unbounded trouble for his own benefit, not
valuing his time or labor in pursuit of his object.

I have noticed a great change in the native habits along the
southern coast which exemplifies this, since the steamers have
touched regularly at Galle.

Some years ago, elephants, buffaloes, etc., when shot by
sportsmen, remained untouched except by wild beast; but now
within one hundred and fifty miles of Galle every buffalo horn is
collected and even the elephant's grinders are extracted from the
skulls, and brought into market.

An elephant's grinder averages seven pounds in weight, and is not
worth more than from a penny to three half-pence a pound;
nevertheless they are now brought to Galle in large quantities to
be made into knife-handles and sundry ornaments, to tempt the
passengers of the various steamers. If the native takes this
trouble for so small a recompense, there is every reason to
suppose that the hides now wasted would be brought into market
and form a valuable export, were salt at such a rate as would
admit of their preparation.

The whole of the southern coast, especially in the neighborhood
of the salt lakes, abounds with fish. These are at present nearly
undisturbed; but I have little doubt that a reduction in the
price of salt would soon call forth the energies of the Moormen,
who would establish fisheries in the immediate neighborhood. This
would be of great importance to the interior of the country, as a
road has been made within the last few years direct from this
locality to Badulla, distant about eighty miles, and situated in
the very heart of the most populous district of Ceylon. This
road, which forms a direct line of communication from the port of
Hambantotte to Newera Ellia, is now much used for the transport
of coffee from the Badulla estates, to which a cheap supply of
salt and fish would he a great desideratum.

The native is a clever fellow at fishing.  Every little boy of
ten years old along the coast is an adept in throwing the casting
net; and I have often watched with amusement the scientific
manner in which some of these little fellows handle a fine fish
on a single line; Isaak Walton would have been proud of such

There is nothing like necessity for sharpening a man's intellect,
and the natives of the coast being a class of ichthyophagi, it
may be imagined that they excel in all the methods of capturing
their favorite food.

The sea, the rivers, and in fact every pool, teem with fish of
excellent quality, from the smallest to the largest kind, not
forgetting the most delicious prawns and crabs.  Turtle likewise
abound, and are to be caught in great numbers in their season.

Notwithstanding the immense amount of fish in the various rivers,
there is no idea of fishing as a sport among the European
population of Ceylon.  This I cannot account for, unless from the
fear of fever, which might be caught with more certainty than
fish by standing up to the knees in water under a burning sun. 
Nevertheless, I have indulged in this every now and then, when
out on a jungle trip, although I have never started from home
with such an intention.  Seeing some fine big fellows swimming
about in a deep hole is a great temptation, especially when you
know they are grey mullet, and the chef de cuisine is short of
the wherewithal for dinner.

This is not infrequently the case during a jungle trip; and the
tent being pitched in the shade of a noble forest on the steep
banks of a broad river, thoughts of fishing naturally intrude

The rivers in the dry season are so exhausted that a simple bed
of broad dry sand remains, while a small stream winds along the
bottom, merely a few inches deep, now no more than a few feet in
width, now rippling over a few opposing rocks, while the natural
bed extends its dry sand for many yards on either side.  At every
bend in the river there is of course a deep hole close to the
bank; these holes remain full of water, as the little stream
continues to flow through them; and the water, in its entrance
and exit being too shallow for a large fish, all the finny
monsters of the river are compelled to imprison themselves in the
depths of these holes.  Here the crocodiles have fine feeding, as
they live in the same place.

With a good rod and tackle there would be capital sport in these
places, as some of the fish run ten and twelve pounds weight; but
I have never been well provided, and, while staring at the
coveted fish from the bank, I have had no means of catching them,
except by the most primitive methods.

Then I have cut a stick for a rod, and made a line with some
hairs from my horse's tail, with a pin for a hook, baited with a
shrimp, and the fishing has commenced.

Fish and fruit are the most enjoyable articles of food in a
tropical country, and in the former Ceylon is rich.  The seir
fish is little inferior to salmon, and were the flesh a similar
color, it might sometimes form a substitute.  Soles and whiting
remind us of Old England, but a host of bright red, blue, green,
yellow, and extraordinary-looking creatures in the same net
dispel all ideas of English fishing.

Oysters there are likewise in Ceylon; but here, alas I there is a
sad falling off in the comparison with our well-remembered
"native." Instead of the neat little shell of the English oyster,
the Ceylon species is a shapeless, twisted, knotty, rocky-looking
creature, such as a legitimate oyster would be in a fit of spasms
or convulsions.  In fact, there is no vestige of the true breed
about it, and the want of flavor equals its miserable exterior.

There are few positions more tantalizing to a hungry man than
that of being surrounded b oysters without a knife.  It is an
obstinate and perverse wretch that will not accommodate itself to
man's appetite, and it requires a forcible attack to vanquish it;
so that every oyster eaten is an individual murder, in which the
cold steel has been plunged into its vitals, and the animal finds
itself swallowed before it as quite made up its mind that it has
been opened.  But take away the knife, and see how vain is the
attempt to force the stronghold.  How utterly useless is the
oyster! You may turn it over and over, and look for a weak place,
but there is no admittance; you may knock it with a stone, but
the knock will be unanswered. How would you open such a creature
without a knife?

This was one of the many things that had never occurred to me
until one day when I found myself with some three or four
friends and a few boatmen on a little island, or rather a rock,
about a mile from the shore.  This rock was rich in the spasmodic
kind of oyster, large detached masses of which lay just beneath
the water in lumps of some hundredweight each, which had been
formed by the oysters clustering and adhering together.  It so
happened that our party were unanimous in the love of these
creatures, and we accordingly exerted ourselves to roll out of
the water a large mass; which having accomplished, we discovered
to our dismay that nothing but one penknife was possessed among
us.  This we knew was a useless weapon against such armor;
however, in our endeavors to perform impossibilities, we tickled
the oyster and broke the knife.  After gazing for seine time in
blank despair at our useless prize, a bright thought struck one
of the party, and drawing his ramrod he began to screw it Into
the weakest part of an oyster; this, however, was proof, and the
ramrod broke.

Stupid enough it may appear, but it was full a quarter of an hour
before any of us thought of a successful plan of attack.  I
noticed a lot of drift timber scattered upon the island, and then
the right idea was hit.  We gathered the wood, which was bleached
and dry, an we piled it a few feet to windward of the mass of
oysters.  Striking a light with a cap and some powder, we lit the
pile.  It blazed and the wind blew the heat strong upon the
oysters, which accordingly began to squeak and hiss, until one by
one they gave up the ghost, and, opening their shells, exposed
their delightfully roasted bodies, which were eaten forthwith.

How very absurd and uninteresting this is! but nevertheless it is
one of those trifling incidents which sharpen the imagination
when you depend upon your own resources.

It is astonishing how perfectly helpless some people are if taken
from the artificial existence of every-day life and thrown
entirely upon themselves.  One man would be in superlative misery
while another would enjoy the responsibility, and delight in the
fertility of his own invention in accommodating himself to
circumstances.  A person can scarcely credit the unfortunate
number of articles necessary for his daily and nightly comfort,
until he is deprived of them.  To realize this, lose yourself,
good reader, wander off a great distance from everywhere, and be
benighted in a wild country, with nothing but your rifle and
hunting-knife.  You will then find yourself dinnerless,
supperless, houseless, comfortless, sleepless, cold and
miserable, if you do not know how to manage for yourself.  You
will miss your dinner sadly if you are not accustomed to fast for
twenty-four hours.  You will also miss your bed decidedly, and
your toothbrush in the morning; but if, on the other hand, you
are of the right stamp, it is astonishing how lightly these
little troubles will sit on you, and how comfortable you will
make yourself under the circumstances.

The first thing you will consider is the house.  The
architectural style will of course depend upon the locality.  If
the ground is rocky and hilly, be sure to make a steep pitch in
the bank or the side of a rock form a wall, to leeward of which
you will lie when your mansion is completed by a few sticks
simply inclined from the rock and covered with grass.  If the
country is flat, you must cut four forked sticks, and erect a
villa after this fashion in skeleton-work, which you then cover
with grass.

You will then strew the floor with grass or, small boughs, in
lieu of a feather bed, and you will tie up a bundle of the same
material into a sheaf, which will form a capital pillow.  If
grass and sticks are at hand, this will be completed thus far in
an hour.

Then comes the operation of fire-making, which is by no means
easy; and as warmth comes next to food, and a blaze both scares
wild animals and looks cheerful, I advise some attention to be
paid to the fire.  There must be a good collection of old fallen
logs, if possible, together with some green wood to prevent too
rapid a consumption of fuel.  But the fire is not yet made.

First tear off a bit of your shirt and rub it with moistened
gunpowder.  Wind this in a thick roll round your ramrod just
below the point of the screw, with the rough torn edge uppermost. 
Into these numerous folds sprinkle a pinch of gunpowder; then put
a cap on the point of the screw, and a slight tap with your
hunting-knife explodes it and ignites the linen.

Now, fire in its birth requires nursing like a young baby, or it
will leave you in the lurch.  A single spark will perhaps burn
your haystacks, but when you want a fire it seldom will burn, out
of sheer obstinacy; therefore, take a wisp of dry grass, into
which push the burning linen and give it a rapid, circular motion
through the air, which will generally set it in a blaze.

Then pile gently upon it the smallest and driest sticks,
increasing their size as the fire grows till it is all right; and
you will sit down proudly before your own fire, thoroughly
confident that you are the first person that ever made one

There is some comfort in that; and having manufactured your own
house and bed, you will lie down snugly and think of dinner till
you fall asleep, and the crowing of the jungle-cocks will wake
you in the morning.

The happiest hours of my life have been passed in this rural
solitude.  I have started from home with nothing but a couple of
blankets and the hounds, and, with one blanket wrapped round me I
have slept beneath a capital tent formed of the other with two
forked sticks and a horizontal pole - the ends of the blanket
being secured by heavy stones, thus-

This is a more comfortable berth than it may appear at first
sight, especially if one end is stopped up with boughs. The
ridge-pole being only two feet and a half high, renders it
necessary to crawl in on all-fours; but this lowness of ceiling
has its advantages in not catching the wind, and likewise in its
warmth.  A blanket roof, well secured and tightly strained, will
keep off the heaviest rain for a much longer period than a common
tent; but in thoroughly wet weather any woven roof is more or
less uncomfortable.

I recollect a certain bivouac in the Angora patinas for a few
days' hunting, when I was suddenly seized with a botanical fit in
a culinary point of view, and I was determined to make the jungle
subscribe something toward the dinner.  To my delight, I
discovered some plants which, from the appearance of their
leaves, I knew were a species of wild yam; they grew in a ravine
on the swampy soil of a sluggish spring, and the ground being
loose, I soon grubbed them up and found a most satisfactory
quantity of yams about the size of large potatoes - not bad
things for dinner.  Accordingly, they were soon transferred to
the pot.  Elk steaks and an Irish stew, the latter to be made of
elk chops, onions and the prized yams; this was the bill of fare
expected.  But, misericordia! what a change cone over the yams
when boiled! they turned a beautiful slate color, and looked like
imitations of their former selves in lead.

Their appearance was uncommonly bad, certainly.  There were three
of us to feed upon them, viz., Palliser, my huntsman Benton and
myself.  No one wishing to be first, it was then, I confess, that
the thought just crossed my mind that Benton should make the
experiment, but, repenting at the same moment, I punished myself
by eating a very little one on the spot.  Benton, who was blessed
with a huge appetite, picked out a big one.  Greedy fellow, to
choose the largest! but, n'importe, it brought its punishment.

Palliser and I having eaten carefully, were just beginning to
feel uncomfortable, when up jumped Benton, holding his throat
with both hands, crying, "My throat's full of pins.  I'm choked."
We are poisoned, no doubt of it," said Palliser, in his turn.  "I
am choking likewise." "So am I." There we were all three, with
our throats in an extraordinary state of sudden contraction and
inflammation, with a burning and pricking sensation, in addition
to a feeling of swelling and stoppage of the windpipe. Having
nothing but brandy at hand, we dosed largely instanter, and in
the course of ten minutes we found relief; but Benton, having,
eaten his large yam, was the last to recover.

There must have been highly poisonous qualities in this root, as
the quantity eaten was nothing in proportion to the effects
produced.  It is well known that many roots are poisonous when
raw (especially the manioc), which become harmless when cooked,
as the noxious properties consist of a very volatile oil, which
is thrown off during the process of boiling.  These wild yams
must necessarily be still worse in their raw state; and it
struck me, after their effects became known, that I had never
seen them grubbed up by the wild hogs; this neglect being a sure
proof of their unfitness for food.

In these Augora patinas a curious duel was lately fought by a
pair of wild bull elephants, both of whom were the raree aves of
Ceylon, "tuskers."  These two bulls had consorted with a herd,
and had no doubt quarreled about the possession of the females. 
They accordingly fought it out to the death, as a large tusker
was found recently killed, with his body bored in many directions
by his adversary's tusks, the ground in the vicinity being
trodden down with elephant tracks proving the obstinacy of the

The last time that I was in this locality poor old Bluebeard was
alive, and had been performing feats in elk-hunting which no dog
could surpass.  A few weeks later and he ran his last elk, and
left a sad blank in the pack.

Good and bad luck generally come in turn; but when the latter
does pay a visit, it falls rather. heavily, especially among the
hounds.  In one year I lost nearly the whole pack.  Seven died in
one week from an attack upon the brain, appearing in a form
fortunately unknown in England.  In the same year I lost no less
than four of the best hounds by leopards, in addition to a
fearful amount of casualties from other causes.

Shortly after the appearance of the epidemic alluded to, I took
the hounds to the Totapella Plains for a fortnight, for chance of
air, while their kennel was purified and re-whitewashed.

In these Totapella Plains I had a fixed encampment, which, being
within nine miles of my house, I could visit at any time with the
hounds, without the slightest preparation.  There was an immense
number of elk in this part of the country; in fact this was a
great drawback to the hunting, as two or more were constantly on
foot at the same time, which divided the hounds and scattered
them in all directions.  This made hard work of the sport, as
this locality is nothing but a series of ups and downs.  The
plains, as they are termed, are composed of some hundred grassy
hills, of about a hundred feet elevation above the river; these
rise like half oranges in every direction, while a high chain of
precipitous mountains walls in one side of the view. 
Forest-covered hills abound in the centre and around the skirts
of the plains, while a deep river winds in a circuitous route
between the grassy hills.

My encampment was well chosen in this romantic spot.  It was a
place where you might live all your life without seeing a soul
except a wandering bee-hunter, or a native sportsman who had
ventured up from the low country to shoot an elk.

Surrounded on all sides but one with steep hills, my hunting
settlement lay snugly protected from the wind in a little valley. 
A small jungle about a hundred yards square grew at the base of
one of these grassy hills, in which, having cleared the underwood
for about forty yards, I left the rarer trees standing, and
erected my huts under their shelter at the exact base of the
knoll.  This steep rise broke off into an abrupt cliff about
sixty yards from my tent, against which the river had waged
constant war, and, turning in an endless vortex, had worn a deep
hole, before it shot off in a rapid torrent from the angle,
dashing angrily over the rocky masses which had fallen from the
overhanging cliff, and coming to a sudden rest in a broad deep
pool within twenty yards of the tent door.

This was a delicious spot.  Being snugly hidden in the jungle,
there was no sign of my encampment from the plain, except the
curling blue smoke which rose from the little hollow.  A plot of
grass of some two acres formed the bottom of the valley before my
habitation, at the extremity of which the river flowed, backed on
the opposite side by an abrupt hill covered with forest and

This being a chilly part of Ceylon, I had thatched the walls of
my tent, and made a good gridiron bedstead, to keep me from the
damp ground, by means of forked upright sticks, two horizontal
bars and numerous cross-pieces.  This was covered with six
inches' thickness of grass, strapped down with the bark of a
fibrous shrub.  My table and bench were formed in the same
manner, being of course fixtures, but most substantial.  The
kitchen, huts for attendants and kennel were close adjoining.  I
could have lived there all my life in fine weather.  I wish I was
there now with all my heart.  However, I had sufficient bad luck
on my last visit to have disgusted most people.  Poor Matchless,
who was as good as her name implied, died of inflammation of the
lungs; and I started one morning in very low spirits at her loss,
hoping to cheer myself up by a good hunt.

It was not long before old Bluebeard's opening note was heard
high upon the hill-tops; but, at the same time, a portion of the
pack had found another elk, which, taking an opposite direction,
of course divided them.  Being determined to stick to Bluebeard
to the last, I made straight through the jungle toward the point
at which I had heard a portion of the pack join him, intending to
get upon their track and follow up.  This I soon did; and after
running for some time through the jungle, which, being young
"nillho," was unmistakably crushed by the elk and hounds, I came
to a capital though newly-made path, as a single elephant, having
been disturbed by the cry of the hounds, had started off at full
speed; and the elk and hounds, naturally choosing the easiest
route through the jungle, had kept upon his track.  This I was
certain of, as the elk's print sunk deep in that of the elephant,
whose dung, lying upon the spot, was perfectly hot.

I fully expected that the hounds would bring the elephant to bay,
which is never pleasant when you are without a gun; however, they
did not, but, sticking to their true game, they went straight
away toward the chain of mountains at the end of the plain.  The
river, in making its exit, is checked by abrupt precipices, and
accordingly makes an angle and then descends a ravine toward the
low country.

I felt sure, from the nature of the ground and the direction of
the run, that the elk would come to bay in this ravine; and,
after half an hour's run, I was delighted, on arriving on the
hill above, to hear the bay, of the bounds in the river far

The jungle was thick and tangled, but it did not take long, to
force my way down the steep mountain side, and I neared the spot
and heard the splashing in the river, as the elk, followed by the
hounds, dashed across just before I came in view.  He had broken
his bay; and, presently, I again heard the chorus of voices as he
once more came to a stand a few hundred paces down the river.

The bamboo was so thick that I could hardly break my way through
it; and I was crashing along toward the spot, when suddenly the
bay ceased, and shortly after some of the hounds came hurrying up
to me regularly scared.  Lena, who seldom showed a symptom of
fear, dashed up to me in a state of great excitement, with the
deep scores of a leopard's claws on her hindquarters. Only two
couple of the hounds followed on the elk's track; the rest were

The elk had doubled back, and I saw old Bluebeard leading upon
the scent up the bank of the river, followed by three other

The surest, although the hardest work, was to get on the track
and follow up through the jungle.  This I accordingly did for
about a mile, at which distance I arrived at a small swampy plain
in the centre of the jungle.  Here, to my surprise, I saw old
Bluebeard sitting up and looking faint, covered with blood, with
no other dog within view.  The truth was soon known upon
examination.  No less than five holes were cut in his throat by a
leopard's claws, and by the violent manner in which. the poor dog
strained and choked, I felt sure that the windpipe was injured. 
There was no doubt that he had received the stroke at the same
time that Lena was wounded beneath the rocky mountain when the
elk was at bay; and nevertheless, the staunch old dog had
persevered in the chase till the difficulty of breathing brought
him to a standstill.  I bathed the wounds, but I knew it was his
last day, poor old fellow!

I sounded the bugle for a few minutes, and having collected some
of the scattered pack I returned to the tent, leading the wounded
dog, whose breathing rapidly became more difficult.  I lost no
time in fomenting and poulticing the part, but the swelling had
commenced to such an extent that there was little hope of

This was a dark day for the pack.  Benton returned in the
afternoon from a search for the missing hounds, and, as he
descended the deep hill-side on approaching the tent, I saw tent
he and a native were carrying something slung upon a pole.  At
first I thought it was an elk's head, which the missing hounds
might have run to bay, but on his arrival the worst was soon

It was poor Leopold, one of my best dogs.  He was all but dead,
with hopeless wounds in his throat and belly.  He had been struck
by a leopard within a few yards of Benton's side, and, with his
usual pluck, the dog turned upon the leopard in spite of his
wounds, when the cowardly brute, seeing the man, turned and fled.

That night Leopold died.  The next morning Bluebeard was so bad
that I returned home with him slung in a litter between two men. 
Poor fellow! he never lived to reach his comfortable kennel, but
died in the litter within a mile of home.  I had him buried by
the side of old Smut, and there are no truer dogs on the earth
than the two that there lie together.

A very few weeks after Bluebeard's death, however, I got a taste
of revenge out of one of the race.

Palliser and I were out shooting, and we found a single bull
elephant asleep in the dry bed of a stream; we were stealing
quietly up to him, when his guardian spirit whispered something
in his ear, and up he jumped.  However, we polished him off, and
having reloaded, we passed on.

The country consisted of low, thorny jungle and small sandy
plains of short turf, and we were just entering one of these open
spots within a quarter of a mile of the dead elephant, when we
observed a splendid leopard crouching at the far end of the
glade.  He was about ninety paces from us, lying broadside on,
with his head turned to the opposite direction, evidently looking
out for game. His crest was bristled up with excitement, and he
formed a perfect picture of beauty both in color and attitude.

Halting our gun-bearers, we stalked him within sixty yards; he
looked quickly round, and his large hazel eyes shone full upon
us, as the two rifles made one report, and his white belly lay
stretched upon the ground.

They were both clean shots: Palliser had aimed at his head, and
had cut off one ear and laid the skin open at the back of the
neck.  My ball had smashed both shoulders, but life was not
fairly extinct.  We therefore strangled him with my necktie, as I
did not wish to spoil his hide by any further wound.  This was a
pleasing sacrifice to the "manes" of old Bluebeard.

E. Palliser had at one time the luck to have a fair turn up with
a leopard with the dogs and hunting-knife.  At that time he kept
a pack at Dimboola, about nine miles from my house.  Old
Bluebeard belonged to him, and he had a fine dog named "Pirate,"
who was the heaviest and best of his seizers.

He was out hunting with two or three friends, when suddenly a
leopard sprang from the jungle at one of the smaller hounds as
they were passing quietly along a forest path.  Halloaing the
pack on upon the instant, every dog gave chase, and a short run
brought him to bay in the usual place of refuge, the boughs of a

However, it so happened that there was a good supply of large
sharp stones upon the soil, and with these the whole party kept
up a spirited bombardment, until at length one lucky shot hit him
on the head, and at the same moment he fell or jumped into the
middle of the pack.  Here Pirate came to the front in grand style
and collared him, while the whole pack backed him up without an

There was a glorious struggle of course, which was terminated by
the long arm of our friend Palliser, who slipped the
hunting-knife into him and became a winner.  This is the only
instance that I know of a leopard being run into and killed with
hounds and a knife.

CHAPTER XIII. Wild Denizens of Forest and Lake - Destroyers of
Reptiles - The Tree Duck - The Mysteries of Night in the Forest -
The Devil-Bird - The Iguanodon in Miniature - Outrigger Canoes -
The Last Glimpse of Ceylon - A Glance at Old Times.

One of the most interesting objects to a tourist in Ceylon is a
secluded lake or tank in those jungle districts which are seldom
disturbed by the white man. There is something peculiarly
striking in the wonderful number of living creatures which exist
upon the productions of the water.  Birds of infinite variety and
countless numbers - fish in myriads - reptiles and crocodiles
-animals that feed upon the luxuriant vegetation of the shores -
insects which sparkle in the sunshine in every gaudy hue; all
these congregate in the neighborhood of these remote solitudes,
and people the lakes with an incalculable host of living beings.

In such a scene there is scope for much delightful study of the
habits and natures of wild animals, where they can be seen
enjoying their freedom unrestrained by the fear of man.

Often have I passed a quiet hour on a calm evening when the sun
has sunk low on the horizon, and lie cool breeze has stolen
across the water, refreshing all animal life.  Here, concealed
beneath the shade of some large tree I have watched the masses of
living things quite unconscious of such scrutiny.  In one spot
the tiny squirrel nibbling the buds on a giant limb of the tree
above me, while on the opposite shore a majestic bull elephant
has commenced his evening bath, showering the water above his
head and trumpeting his loud call to the distant herd.  Far away
in the dense jungles the ringing sound is heard, as the answering
females return the salute and slowly approach the place of
rendezvous.  One by one their dark forms emerge from the thorny
coverts and loom large upon the green but distant shores, and
they increase their pace when they view the coveted water, and
belly-deep enjoy their evening draught.

The graceful axis in dense herds quit the screening jungle and
also seek the plain.  The short, shrill barks of answering bucks
sound clearly across the surface of the lake, and indistinct
specks begin to appear on the edge of the more distant forests. 
Now black patches are clotted about the plain; now larger
objects, some single and some in herds, make toward the water. 
The telescope distinguishes the vast herds of hogs busy in
upturning the soil in search of roots, and the ungainly
buffaloes, some in herds and others single bulls, all gathering
at the hour of sunset toward the water.  Peacocks spread their
gaudy plumage to the cool evening air as they strut over the
green plain; the giant crane stands statue-like among the
shallows; the pelican floats like a ball of snow upon the dark
water; and ducks and waterfowl of all kinds splash, and dive, and
scream in a confused noise, the volume of which explains their
countless numbers.

Foremost among the waterfowl for beauty is the water-pheasant. 
He is generally seen standing upon the broad leaf of a lotus,
pecking at the ripe seeds and continually uttering his plaintive
cry, like the very distant note of a hound.  This bird is most
beautifully formed, and his peculiarity of color is well adapted
to his shape.  He is something like a cock pheasant in build and
mode of carriage, but he does not exceed the size of a pigeon. 
His color is white, with a fine brown tinsel glittering head and
long tail; the wings of the cock bird are likewise ornamented
with similar brown tinsel feathers.  These birds are delicious
eating, but I seldom fire at them, as they are generally among
the lotus plants in such deep water that I dare not venture to
get them on account of crocodiles.  The lotus seeds, which they
devour greedily, are a very good substitute for filberts, and are
slightly narcotic.

The endless variety of the crane is very interesting upon these
lonely shores.  From the giant crane, who stands nearly six feet
high, down to the smallest species of paddy bird, there is a
numerous gradation.  Among these the gaunt adjutant stands
conspicuous as he stalks with measured steps through the high
rushes, now plunging his immense bill into the tangled sedges,
then triumphantly throwing back his head with a large snake
writhing helplessly in his horny beak; open fly the shear-like
hinges of his bill - one or two sharp jerks and down goes one
half of an incredibly large snake; another jerk and a convulsive
struggle of the snake; one more jerk - snap, snap goes the bill
and the snake has disappeared, while the adjutant again stalks
quietly on, as though nothing had happened.  Down goes his bill,
presently, with a sudden start, and again his head is thrown
back; but this time it is the work of a moment, as it is only an
iguana, which not being above eighteen inches long, is easy

A great number of the crane species are destroyers of snakes,
which in a country so infested with vermin as Ceylon renders them
especially valuable.  Peacocks likewise wage perpetual war with
all kinds of reptiles, and Nature has wisely arranged that where
these nuisances most abound there is a corresponding provision
for their destruction.

Snipes, of course, abound in their season around the margin of
the lakes; but the most delicious birds for the table are the
teal and ducks, of which there are four varieties.  The largest
duck is nearly the size of a wild goose, and has a red, fatty
protuberance about the beak very similar to a muscovy.  The teal
are the fattest and most delicious birds that I have ever tasted. 
Cooked in Soyer's magic stove, with a little butter, cayenne
pepper, a squeeze of lime juice, a pinch of salt, and a spoonful
of Lea and Perrins' Worcester sauce (which, by the by, is the
best in the world for a hot climate), and there is no bird like a
Ceylon teal.  They are very numerous, and I have seen them in
flocks of some thousands on the salt-water lakes on the eastern
coast, where they are seldom or ever disturbed.  Nevertheless,
they are tolerably wary, which, of course, increases the sport of
shooting them.  I have often thought what a paradise these lakes
would have made for the veteran Colonel Hawker with his punt gun.
He might have paddled about and blazed away to his heart's

There is one kind of duck that would undoubtedly have astonished
him, and which would have slightly bothered the punt gun for an
elevation: this is the tree duck, which flies about and perches
in the branches of the lofty trees like any nightingale.  This
has an absurd effect, as a duck looks entirely out of place in
such a situation.  I have seen a whole cluster of them sitting on
one branch, and when I first observed them I killed three at one
shot to make it a matter of certainty.

It is a handsome light brown bird, about the size of an English
widgeon, but there is no peculiar formation in the feet to enable
them to cling to a bough; they are bona fide ducks with the
common flat web foot.

A very beautiful species of bald-pated coot, called by the
natives keetoolle, is also an inhabitant of the lakes.  This bird
is of a bright blue color with a brilliant pink horny head.  He
is a slow flyer, being as bulky as a common fowl and short in his
proportion of wing.

It is impossible to convey a correct idea of the number and
variety of birds in these localities, and I will not trouble the
reader by a description which would be very laborious to all
parties; but to those who delight in ornithological studies there
is a wild field which would doubtless supply many new specimens.

I know nothing more interesting than the acquaintance with all
the wild denizens of mountain and plain, lake and river.  There
is always something fresh to learn, something new to admire, in
the boundless works of creation.  There is a charm in every sound
in Nature where the voice of man is seldom heard to disturb her
works.  Every note gladdens the ear in the stillness of solitude,
when night has overshadowed the earth, and all sleep but the wild
animals of the forest.  Then I have often risen from my bed, when
the tortures of mosquitoes have banished all ideas of rest, and
have silently wandered from the tent to listen in the solemn
quiet of night.

I have seen the tired coolies stretched round the smouldering
fires sound asleep after their day's march, wrapped in their
white clothes, like so many corpses laid upon the ground.  The
flickering logs on the great pile of embers crackling and sinking
as they consume; now falling suddenly and throwing up a shower of
sparks, then resting again in a dull red heat, casting a silvery
moonlike glare upon the foliage of the spreading trees above.  A
little farther on, and the horses standing sleepily at their
tethers, their heads drooping in a doze.  Beyond them, and all is
darkness and wilderness.  No human dwelling or being beyond the
little encampment I have quitted; the dark lake reflecting the
stars like a mirror, and the thin crescent moon giving a pale and
indistinct glare which just makes night visible.

It is a lovely hour then to wander forth and wait for wild
sounds.  All is still except the tiny hum of the mosquitoes. 
Then the low chuckling note of the night hawk sounds soft and
melancholy in the distance; and again all is still, save the
heavy and impatient stamp of a horse as the mosquitoes irritate
him by their bites.  Quiet again for a few seconds, when
presently the loud alarm of the plover rings over the plain -
"Did he do it?" - the bird's harsh cry speaks these words as
plainly as a human being.  This alarm is a certain warning that
some beast is stalking abroad which has disturbed it from its
roost, but presciently it is again hushed.

The loud hoarse bark of an elk now unexpectedly startles the ear;
presently it is replied to by another, and once more the plover
shrieks "Did he do it?" and a peacock waking on his roost gives
one loud scream and sleeps again.

The heavy and regular splashing of water now marks the measured
tread of a single elephant as he roars out into the cooled lake,
and you can hear the more gentle falling of water as he spouts a
shower over his body.  Hark at the deep guttural sigh of pleasure
that travels over the lake like a moan of the wind! -what giant
lungs to heave such a breath; but hark again! There was a fine
trumpet! as clear as any bugle note blown by a hundred breaths it
rung through the still air.  How beautiful! There, the note is
answered; not by so fine a tone, but by discordant screams and
roars from the opposite side, and the louder splashing tells that
the herd is closing up to the old bull.  Like distant thunder a
deep roar growls across the lake as the old monarch mutters to
himself in angry impatience.

Then the long, tremulous hoot of the owl disturbs the night,
mingled with the harsh cries of flights of waterfowl, which
doubtless the elephants have disturbed while bathing.

Once more all sounds sink to rest for a few minutes, until the
low, grating roar of a leopard nearer home warns the horses of
their danger and wakes up the sleeping horsekeeper, who piles
fresh wood upon the fires, and the bright blaze shoots up among
the trees and throws a dull, ruddy glow across the surface of the
water.  And morning comes at length, ushered in, before night has
yet departed, by the strong, shrill cry of the great fish-eagle,
as he sits on the topmost bough of some forest tree and at
measured periods repeats his quivering and unearthly yell like an
evil spirit calling. But hark at that dull, low note of
indescribable pain and suffering! long and heavy it swells and
dies away.  It is the devil-bird; and whoever sees that bird must
surely die soon after, according to Cingalese superstition.

A more cheering sound charms the ear as the gray tint of morning
makes the stars grow pale; clear, rich, notes, now prolonged and
full, now plaintive and low, set the example to other singing
birds, as the bulbul, first to awake, proclaims the morning. 
Wild, jungle-like songs the birds indulge in; not like our steady
thrushes of Old England, but charming in their quaintness.  The
jungle partridge now wakes up, and with his loud cry subdues all
other sounds, until the numerous peacocks, perched on the high
trees around the lake, commence their discordant yells, which
master everything.

The name for the devil-bird is "gualama," and so impressed are
the natives with the belief that a sight of it is equivalent to a
call to the nether world that they frequently die from sheer
fright and nervousness.  A case of this happened to a servant of
a friend of mine.  He chanced to see the creature sitting on a
bough, and he was from that moment so satisfied of his inevitable
fate that he refused all food, and fretted and died, as, of
course, any one else must do, if starved, whether he saw the
devil-bird or not.

Although I have heard the curious, mournful cry of this creature
nearly every night, I have never seen one; this is easily
accounted for, as, being a night-bird, it remains concealed in
the jungle during the day.  In so densely wooded a country as
Ceylon it is not to be wondered at that owls, and all other birds
of similar habit are so rarely met with.  Even woodcocks are
rarely noticed; so seldom, indeed, that I have never seen more
than two during my residence in the island.

>From the same cause many interesting animals pass unobserved,
although they are very numerous.  The porcupine, although as
common as the hedge-hog in England, is very seldom seen. 
Likewise the manis, or great scaled ant-eater, who retires to his
hole before break of day, is never met with by daylight. 
Indeed, I have had some trouble in persuading many persons in
Ceylon that such an animal exists in the country.

In the same manner the larger kinds of serpents conceal
themselves by day and wander forth at night, like all other
reptiles except the smaller species of lizard, of which we have
in Ceylon an immense variety, from the crocodile himself down to
the little house-lizard.

Of this tribe the "cabra goya" and the "iguana" grow to a large
size; the former I have killed as long as eight or nine feet, but
the latter seldom exceeds four.  I have often intended to eat
one, as the natives consider them a great delicacy, but I have
never been quite hungry enough to make the trial whenever one was
at hand.  The "cabra goya" is a horrid brute, and is not
considered eatable even by the Cingalese.

One curious species of lizard exists in Ceylon; it is little
brown species with a peculiarly rough skin and a serrated spine. 
A long horn projects from the snout, and it is a fac-simile in
miniature of the antediluvian monster, the "iguanodon," who was
about a hundred feet long and twelve feet thick - an awkward
creature to meet in a narrow road.  However, the crocodiles of
modern times are awkward enough for the present day, and
sometimes grow to the immense length of twenty two feet.

It has frequently surprised me that they do not upset the small
canoes in which the natives paddle about the lakes and rivers. 
These are formed in the simplest manner, of very rude materials,
by hollowing out a small log of wood and attaching an outrigger. 
Some of these are so small that the gunwale is close to the
water's edge when containing only one person.

Even the large sea-canoes are constructed on a similar principle;
but they are really very wonderful boats for both speed and

A simple log of about thirty feet in length is hollowed out. 
This is tapered off at either end, so as to form a kind of prow. 
The cylindrical shape of the log is preserved as much as possible
in the process of hollowing, so that no more than a section of
one fourth of the circle is pared away upon the upper side.

Upon the edges of this aperture the top sides of the canoe are
formed by simple planks, which are merely sewn upon the main body
of the log parallel to each other, and slightly inclining
outward, so as to admit the legs of persons sitting on the canoe.

A vessel of this kind would of course capsize immediately, as the
top weight of the upper works would overturn the flute-like body
upon which they rested.  This is prevented by an outrigger, which
is formed of elastic rods of tough wood, which, being firmly
bound together, project at right angles from the upper works.  At
the extremity of these two rods, there is a tapering log of light
wood, which very much resembles the bottom log of the canoe in
miniature.  This, floating on the water, balances the canoe in an
upright position; it cannot be upset until some force is exerted
upon the mast of the canoe which is either sufficient to lift the
outrigger out of the water, or on the other hand to sink it
altogether; either accident being prevented by the great leverage
required.  Thus, when a heavy breeze sends the little vessel
flying like a swallow over the waves, and the outrigger to
windward shows symptoms of lifting, a man rims out upon the
connecting rod, and, squatting upon the outrigger, adds his
weight to the leverage.  Two long bamboos, spreading like a
letter V from the bottom of the canoe, form the masts, and
support a single square sail, which is immensely large in
proportion to the size and weight of the vessel.

The motion of these canoes under a stiff breeze is most
delightful; there is a total absence of rolling, which is
prevented by the outrigger, and the steadiness of their course
under a press of sail is very remarkable.  I have been in these
boats in a considerable surf, which they fly through like a fish;
and if the beach is sandy and the inclination favorable, their
own impetus will carry them high and dry.

Sewing the portions of a boat together appears ill adapted to
purposes of strength; but all the Cingalese vessels are
constructed upon this principle: the two edges of the planks
being brought together, a strip of the areca palm stern is laid
over the joints, and holes being drilled upon each plank, the
sewing is drawn tightly over the lath of palm, which being
thickly smeared with a kind of pitch, keeps the seams perfectly
water-tight.  The native dhonies, which are vessels of a hundred
and fifty tons, are all fastened in this simple and apparently
fragile manner; nevertheless they are excellent sea-boats, and
ride in safety through many a gale of wind.  The first moving
object which met my view on arrival within sight of Ceylon was an
outrigger canoe, which shot past our vessels as if we had been at

The last object that my eyes rested on, as the cocoa-nut trees of
Ceylon faded from sight, was again the native canoe which took
the last farewell lines to those who were left behind.  Upon this
I gazed till it became a gray speck upon the horizon and the
green shores of the Eastern paradise faded from my eyes for ever.

How little did I imagine, when these pages were commenced in
Ceylon, that their conclusion would be written in England!

An unfortunate shooting trip to one of the most unhealthy parts
of the country killed my old horse "Jack," one coolie, and very
nearly extinguished me rendering it imperative that I should seek
a change of climate in England.  And what a dream-like change it
is! - past events appear unreal, and the last few years seem to
have escaped from the connecting chain of former life.  Scarcely
can I believe in the bygone days of glorious freedom, when I
wandered through that beautiful country, unfettered by the laws
or customs of conventional life.

The white cliffs of Old England rose hazily on the horizon, and
greeted many anxious eyes as the vessel rushed proudly on with
her decks thronged with a living freight, all happy as children
in the thoughts of home.  The sun shone brightly and gave a warm
welcome on our arrival; and as the steamer moored alongside the
quay, an hour sufficed to scatter the host of passengers who had
so closely dwelt together, as completely as the audience of a
theatre when the curtain falls.  That act of life is past -
"exeunt omnes," and a new scene commences.  We are in England.

A sudden change necessarily induces a comparison, and I imagine
there are few who have dwelt much among the Tropics who do not
acquire a distaste for the English climate, and look back with
lingering hopes to the verdant shores they have left so far
behind.  The recollection of absent years, which seem to have
been the summer of life, makes the chill of the present feel
doubly cold, and our thoughts still cling to the past, while we
strive against the belief that we never can recall those days

How, as my thoughts  wander back to former scenes every mountain
and valley reappears in the magic glass of memory! Every rock and
dell, every old twisted stem, every dark ravine and wooded cliff,
the distant outlines of the well-known hills, the jungle-paths
known to my eye alone, and the far, still spots where I have
often sat in solitude and pondered over the events of life, and
conjured up the faces of those so far away, doubtful if we should
ever meet again.  Thus even now I picture to myself the past; and
so vivid is the scene that I can almost hear the fancied roar of
the old waterfalls, and see the shadowy tints which the evening
sun throws upon the tree-tops.  My old home rises before me like
a dissolving view, and I can see the very spot where it was my
delight to live, where a warm welcome awaited every friend.  And
lastly, the faces of those friends seem clear before me, and
bring back the associations of old times.  Those who have shared
in common many of these scenes I trust to meet again, and look
back upon the events of former days as landscapes on the road of
life that we have viewed together.

For me Ceylon has always had a charm, and I shall ever retain a
vivid interest in the colony.

I trust that a new and more prosperous era has now commenced, and
that Ceylon, having shaken off the incubus of mismanagement, may,
under the rule of a vigorous and enterprising governor, arrive at
that prosperity to which she is entitled by her capabilities.

The governor recently appointed (Sir H. Ward,) has a task before
him which his well-known energy will doubtless enable him to

End of The Project Gutenberg Etext of Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon
by Samuel White Baker


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