Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon by Samuel White Baker




















































 - Eight Years' Wanderings in Ceylon

by Samuel White Baker



CONTENTS.

CHAPTER I. Colombo - Dullness of the Town - Cinnamon Garden - A - Page 1
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Eight Years' Wanderings In Ceylon

By Samuel White Baker

CONTENTS.

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 Improvements.

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 Blacksmiths.

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.

EIGHT YEARS' WANDERINGS

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 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.

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