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A Woman's Journey Round the World by Ida Pfeiffer

Part 4 out of 10

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Our second excursion was to the Half-way Pagoda, so called by the
English from its lying half way between Canton and Whampoa. We went
up the Pearl stream to it. It stands upon a small eminence near a
village, in the midst of immense fields of rice, and is composed of
nine stories, 170 feet high. Its circumference is not very
considerable, but nearly the same all the way up, which gives it the
look of a tower. I was informed that this pagoda was formerly one
of the most celebrated in China, but it has long ceased to be used.
The interior was completely empty; there were neither statues nor
any other ornaments; nor were there any floors to prevent the eye
from seeing to the very top. On the outside, small balconies
without railings surround each story, to which access is gained by
steep and narrow flights of stairs. These projecting balconies
produce a very fine effect, being built of coloured bricks, very
artistically laid, and faced with variegated tiles. The bricks are
placed in rows, with their points jutting obliquely outwards, so
that the points project about four inches over one another. At a
distance, the work seems as if it were half pierced through, and
from the beautiful colours and fineness of the tiles, a person might
easily mistake the entire mass for porcelain.

While we were viewing the pagoda, the whole population of the
village had assembled round about us, and as they behaved with
tolerable quietness, we determined on paying a visit to the village
itself. The houses, or rather huts, were small and built of brick,
and with the exception of their flat roofs, presented nothing
peculiar. The rooms did not possess a ceiling of their own, but
were simply covered by the roof; the floor was formed of earth
closely pressed together, and the internal walls consisted partly of
bamboo-mats. What little furniture there was, was exceedingly
dirty. About the middle of the village was a small temple, with a
few lamps burning dimly before the principal divinity.

What struck me most was the quantity of poultry, both in and out of
the huts, and we had to take the greatest care to avoid treading on
some of the young brood. The chickens are hatched, as they are in
Egypt, by artificial heat.

On our return from the village to the pagoda, we saw two schampans
run in shore, and a number of swarthy, half-naked, and mostly armed
men jump out, and hasten through the fields of rice directly to
where we were. We set them down as pirates, and awaited the upshot
with a considerable degree of uneasiness. We knew that, if we were
right in our supposition, we were lost without hope; for, at the
distance we were from Canton, and entirely surrounded by Chinese,
who would have been but too ready to lend them assistance, it would
have been doubly easy for pirates to dispatch us. All idea of
escape or rescue was out of the question.

While these thoughts were flashing across our minds, the men kept
approaching us, and at length their leader introduced himself as the
captain of a Siamese man-of-war. He informed us, in broken English,
that he had not long arrived with the Governor of Bangkok, who was
proceeding for the rest of the way to Pekin by land. Our fears were
gradually dispelled, and we even accepted the friendly invitation of
the captain to run alongside his ship and view it, on our return.
He came in the boat with us, and took us on board, where he showed
us everything himself: the sight, however, was not a particularly
attractive one. The crew looked very rough and wild; they were all
dressed in a most slovenly and dirty manner, so that it was utterly
impossible to distinguish the officers from the common men. The
vessel mounted twelve guns and sixty-eight hands.

The captain set before us Portuguese wine and English beer, and the
evening was far advanced before we reached home.

The longest trip that can be made from Canton is one twenty miles up
the Pearl stream, and Mr. Agassiz was kind enough to procure me this
pleasure. He hired a good boat, which he furnished abundantly with
eatables and drinkables, and invited a missionary, who had made the
trip several times, Herr von Carlowitz, and myself. The company of
a missionary is as yet by far the safest escort in China. These
gentlemen speak the language; they become gradually acquainted with
the people, and travel about, with hardly any obstacle to speak of,
all round the vicinity of Canton.

About a week before we had decided on going, a few young gentlemen
had endeavoured to make the same excursion, but had been fired upon
from one of the fortresses that lie on the banks of the river, and
compelled to turn back half-way. When we approached the fortress in
question, the crew of our boat refused to proceed any further, until
we had almost employed violence to make them do so. We also were
fired into, but fortunately not until we were more than half past
the fortress. Having escaped the danger, we pursued our course
without further interruption, landed at several hamlets, visited the
so-called Herren Pagoda, and took a good view of everything that was
to be seen. The scenery all round was charming, and displayed to
our view large plains with rice, sugar, and tea-plantations,
picturesque clumps of trees, lovely hills, and more elevated
mountain ranges rising in the distance. On the declivities of the
hills, we beheld a number of graves, which were marked by single,
upright stones.

The Herren Pagoda has three stories, with a pointed roof, and is
distinguished for its external sculpture. It has no balconies
outside, but, instead of this, a triple wreath of leaves round each
story. In the first and second story, to which access is gained by
more than usually narrow stairs, are some small altars with carved
idols. We were not allowed to go into the third story, under the
excuse that there was nothing to be seen there.

The villages we visited, resembled more or less, that we had seen
near the Half-way Pagoda.

During this journey I was an eye-witness of the manner in which the
missionaries dispose of their religious tracts. The missionary who
had been kind enough to accompany us, took this opportunity of
distributing among the natives some seeds that should bring forth
good fruit. He had 500 tracts on board our boat, and every time
that another boat approached us, a circumstance that was of frequent
occurrence, he stretched himself as far as possible over the side
with half a dozen tracts in his hand, and made signs to the people
to approach and take them. If people did not obey his summons, we
rowed up to them, and the missionary gratified them with his tracts
in dozens, and went his way rejoicing, in anticipation of the good
which he did not doubt they would effect.

Whenever we arrived at a village, however, matters reached even a
higher pitch. The servant was obliged to carry whole packs of
tracts, which in a moment were distributed among the crowd of
curious who had quickly gathered round us.

Every one took what was offered to him, as it cost nothing, and if
he could not read it--the tracts were in Chinese--he had at least
got so much paper. The missionary returned home delighted; he had
disposed of his 500 copies. What glorious news for the Missionary
Society, and what a brilliant article for his religious paper, he no
doubt transmitted to Europe!

Six young Englishmen made this same excursion up the Pearl stream
six months later, stopping at one of the villages and mixing with
the people. Unhappily, however, they all fell victims to the
fanaticism of the Chinese: they were most barbarously murdered.

There was now no trip of any distance left but one round the walls
of the town of Canton, {108} properly so called. This, too, I was
shortly enabled to undertake through the kindness of our good friend
the missionary, who offered to come as guide to Herr von Carlowitz
and myself, under the condition, however, that I should put on male
attire. No woman had ever yet ventured to make this trip, and he
thought that I ought not to venture in my own dress; I complied with
his wish, therefore, and one fine morning early we set out.

For some distance our road lay through narrow streets or alleys
paved with large flags. In a small niche somewhere in the front of
every house, we saw little altars from one to three feet high,
before which, as it was yet early, the night lamps were still
burning. An immense quantity of oil is unnecessarily consumed in
keeping up this religious custom. The shops now began to be opened.
They resemble neat entrance halls, having no front wall. The goods
were exposed for sale either in large open boxes or on tables,
behind which the shopkeepers sit and work. In one corner of the
shop, a narrow staircase leads up into the dwelling-house above.

Here, as in Turkish towns, the same regulation is observed of each
trade or calling having its especial street, so that in one nothing
but crockery and glass, in another silks, and so on, is to be seen.
In the physician's street are situated all the apothecaries' shops
as well, as the two professions are united in one and the same
person. The provisions, which are very tastily arranged, have also
their separate streets. Between the houses are frequently small
temples, not differing the least, however, in style from the
surrounding buildings: the gods, too, merely occupy the ground
floor, the upper stories being inhabited by simple mortals.

The bustle in the streets was astonishing, especially in those set
apart for the sale of provisions. Women and girls of the lower
classes went about making their purchases, just as in Europe. They
were all unveiled, and some of them waddled like geese, in
consequence of their crippled feet, which, as I before observed,
extends to all ranks. The crowd was considerably increased by the
number of porters, with large baskets of provisions on their
shoulders, running along, and praising in a loud voice their stock
in trade, or warning the people to make way for them. At other
times, the whole breadth of the street would be taken up, and the
busy stream of human beings completely stopped by the litter of some
rich or noble personage proceeding to his place of business. But
worse than all were the numerous porters we met at every step we
took, carrying large baskets of unsavoury matter.

It is a well known fact, that there is perhaps no nation on the face
of the earth equal to the Chinese in diligence and industry, or that
profits by, and cultivates, as they do, every available inch of
ground. As, however, they have not much cattle, and consequently
but little manure, they endeavour to supply the want of it by other
means, and hence their great care of anything that can serve as a

All their small streets are built against the city walls, so that we
had been going round them for some time before we were aware of the
fact. Mean-looking gates or wickets, which all foreigners are
strictly prohibited from passing, and which are shut in the evening,
lead into the interior of the town.

I was told that it has often happened for sailors, or other
strangers, during their walks, to penetrate through one of these
entrances into the interior of the town, and not discover their
mistake until the stones began flying about their ears.

After threading our way for at least two miles through a succession
of narrow streets, we at length emerged into the open space, where
we obtained a full view of the city walls, and from the summit of a
small hill which was situated near them, a tolerably extensive one
over the town itself. The city walls are about sixty feet high,
and, for the most part, so overgrown with grass, creeping plants,
and underwood, that they resemble a magnificent mass of living
vegetation. The town resembles a chaos of small houses, with now
and then a solitary tree, but we saw neither fine streets nor
squares, nor any remarkable buildings, temples, or pagodas. A
single pagoda, five stories high, reminded us of the peculiar
character of Chinese architecture.

Our road now lay over fertile eminences, varied with fields and
meadows in a high state of cultivation. Many of the hills are used
as cemeteries, and are dotted over with small mounds of earth,
walled in with stone flags, or rough hewn stones two feet high,
frequently covered with inscriptions. Family tombs were also to be
seen, dug in the hill, and enclosed with stone walls of the shape of
a horse-shoe. All the entrances were built up with stone.

The Chinese do not, however, bury all their dead: they have a
remarkable way of preserving them in small stone chambers,
consisting of two stone walls and a roof, while the two other sides
are left open. In these places, there are never more than from two
to four coffins, which are placed upon wooden benches two feet high:
the coffins themselves consist of massive trunks of trees hollowed

The villages through which we passed presented an animated
appearance, but appeared poor and dirty. We were often obliged to
hold our noses in passing through the lanes and squares, and very
frequently would fain have closed our eyes as well, to avoid the
disgusting sight of people covered with eruptions of the skin,
tumours, and boils.

In all the villages I saw poultry and swine in great numbers, but
not more than three horses and a buffalo-cow; both the horses and
the cow were of an extremely small breed.

When we had nearly reached the end of our excursion, we met a
funeral. A horrible kind of music gave us warning that something
extraordinary was approaching, and we had hardly time to look up and
step on one side, before the procession came flying past us at full
speed. First came the worthy musicians, followed by a few Chinese,
next two empty litters carried by porters, and then the hollow trunk
of a tree, representing the coffin, hanging to a long pole, and
carried in a similar manner: last of all, were some priests and a
crowd of people.

The chief priest wore a kind of white {110} fool's cap, with three
points; the other persons, who consisted of men alone, had a kind of
white cloth bound round their head or arm.

I was lucky enough to be enabled to visit some of the summer palaces
and gardens of the nobility.

The finest of all was certainly that belonging to the Mandarin
Howqua. The house itself was tolerably spacious, one story high,
with very wide, splendid terraces. The windows looked into the
inner courts, and the roof was like those in European buildings,
only much flatter. The sloping roofs, with their multitude of
points and pinnacles, with their little bells and variegated tiles,
are only to be found in the temples and country-houses, but never in
the usual residences. At the entrance there were two painted gods:
these, according to the belief of the Chinese, keep off evil

The front part of the house consisted of several reception rooms,
without front walls, and immediately adjoining them, on the ground
floor, elegant parterres; and on the first floor magnificent
terraces, which were also decorated with flowers, and afforded a
most splendid view over the animated scene on the river, the
enchanting scenery around, and the mass of houses in the villages
situated about the walls of Canton.

Neat little cabinets surrounded these rooms, from which they were
only separated by walls that in many cases were adorned with the
most artistic paintings, and through which the eye could easily
penetrate. The most remarkable of these walls were those composed
of bamboos, which were as delicate as a veil, and plentifully
ornamented with painted flowers, or beautifully written proverbs.

A numberless quantity of chairs and a great many sofas were ranged
along the walls, from which I inferred that the Chinese are as much
accustomed to large assemblages as ourselves. I observed some arm-
chairs most skilfully cut out of a single piece of wood; others with
seats of beautiful marble-slabs; and others again of fine coloured
tiles or porcelain. Among various objects of European furniture, we
saw some handsome mirrors, clocks, vases, and tables of Florentine
mosaic, or variegated marble. There was also a most extraordinary
collection of lamps and lanterns hanging from the ceilings, and
consisting of glass, transparent horn, and coloured gauze or paper,
ornamented with glass beads, fringe, and tassels. Nor was there any
scarcity of lamps on the walls, so that when the apartments are
entirely lighted up, they must present a fairy-like appearance.

As we had been fortunate enough to reach this house without being
stoned, we were emboldened to visit the Mandarin Howqua's large
pleasure-garden, situated on a branch of the Pearl stream, about
three-quarters of a mile from the house. We had, however, hardly
entered the branch of the river, before the crew wanted to turn
back, having observed a mandarin's junk, with all its flags hoisted,
a signal that the owner himself was on board. They were unwilling
to venture on conveying us Europeans past the vessel, for fear they
should be punished, or stoned to death, along with ourselves, by the
people. We obliged them to proceed, passed close by the junk, and
then landed, and continued our excursion on foot. A large crowd of
people soon collected in our rear, and began pushing the children up
against us, in order to excite our rage; but arming ourselves with
patience, we moved quietly on, and reached, without any accident,
the garden gates, which we instantly closed behind us.

The garden was in a perfect state of cultivation, but without the
least pretension to taste in its arrangement. On every side were
summer-houses, kiosks, and bridges, and all the paths and open spots
were lined with large and small flower-pots, in which were flowers
and dwarfed fruit-trees of every description.

The Chinese are certainly adepts in the art of diminishing the size
of, or rather crippling their trees, many of which very often
scarcely attain a height of three feet. These dwarf trees are very
prevalent in their gardens, and preferred to the most magnificent
and shady trees of a natural size. These lilliputian alleys can
hardly be considered in good taste, but it is most remarkable with
what a large quantity of beautiful fruit the tiny branches are

Besides these toys we also observed figures of all descriptions,
representing ships, birds, fish, pagodas, etc., cut out of foliage.
In the heads of the animals were stuck eggs, with a black star
painted on them to represent the eyes.

There was also no scarcity of rocks, both single and in groups,
ornamented with flower-pots, as well as little figures of men and
animals, which can be removed at pleasure, so as to form new
combinations, a kind of amusement of which the Chinese ladies are
said to be very fond. Another source of entertainment, no less
popular, as well among the ladies as the gentlemen, consists in
kite-flying, and they will sit for hours looking at their paper
monsters in the air. There is a large open spot set apart for this
purpose in the garden of every Chinese nobleman. We noticed an
abundance of running water and ponds, but we did not observe any

As everything had passed off so well, Herr von Carlowitz proposed
that we should go and see the garden of the Mandarin Puntiqua, which
I was very anxious to do, as the mandarin had ordered a steam-boat
to be built there by a Chinese, who had resided thirteen years in
North America, where he had studied.

The vessel was so far advanced that it was to be launched in a few
weeks. The artist showed us his work with great satisfaction, and
was evidently very much pleased at the praise we bestowed upon him
for it. He attached great importance to his knowledge of the
English language, for when Herr von Carlowitz addressed him in
Chinese, he answered in English, and requested us to continue the
conversation in that idiom. The machinery struck us as not being
constructed with the usual degree of neatness for which the Chinese
are famous, and also appeared far too large for the small vessel for
which it was intended. Neither I nor my companion would have had
the courage to have gone in her on her experimental trip.

The mandarin who had the vessel built, had gone to Pekin to obtain a
"button" as his reward for being the first person to launch a
steamer in the Chinese empire. The builder himself will, in all
probability, be obliged to rest contented with the consciousness of
his talent.

From the ship-yard we proceeded to the garden, which was very large
but greatly neglected. There were neither alleys nor fruit trees,
rocks nor figures; but, to make up for these, an insufferable
quantity of summer-houses, bridges, galleries, little temples, and

The dwelling-house consisted of a large hall and a number of small
chambers. The walls were ornamented, both inside and out, with
carved wood-work, and the roof abundantly decorated with points and

In the large halls plays and other entertainments are sometimes
enacted for the amusement of the ladies, who are universally
confined to their houses and gardens, which can only be visited by
strangers in their absence. {112}

A number of peacocks, silver-pheasants, mandarin-ducks, and deer are
preserved in their gardens. In one corner was a small, gloomy
bamboo plantation, in which were some family graves; and not far off
a small earthen mound had been raised, with a wooden tablet, on
which was a long poetical inscription in honour of the favourite
snake of the mandarin, which was buried there.

After duly inspecting everything, we set off on our road home, and
reached there in safety.

I was not so fortunate a few days later on visiting a tea-factory.
The proprietor conducted me himself over the workshops, which
consisted of large halls, in which six hundred people, including a
great many old women and children, were at work. My entrance
occasioned a perfect revolt. Old and young rose from work, the
elder portion lifting up the younger members of the community in
their arms and pointing at me with their fingers. The whole mass
then pressed close upon me and raised so horrible a cry that I began
to be alarmed. The proprietor and his overseer had a difficult task
to keep off the crowd, and begged me to content myself with a hasty
glance at the different objects, and then to quit the building as
soon as possible.

In consequence of this I could only manage to observe that the
leaves of the plant are thrown for a few seconds into boiling water,
and then placed in flat iron pans, fixed slantingly in stone-work,
where they are slightly roasted by a gentle heat, during which
process they are continually stirred by hand. As soon as they begin
to curl a little, they are thrown upon large planks, and each single
leaf is rolled together. This is effected with such rapidity, that
it requires a person's undivided attention to perceive that no more
than one leaf is rolled up at a time. After this, all the leaves
are placed once more in the pan. Black tea takes some time to
roast, and the green is frequently coloured with Prussian blue, an
exceedingly small quantity of which is added during the second
roasting. Last of all the tea is once more shaken out upon the
large boards, in order that it may be carefully inspected, and the
leaves that are not entirely closed are rolled over again.

Before I left, the proprietor conducted me into his house, and
treated me to a cup of tea prepared after the fashion in which it is
usually drunk by rich and noble Chinese. A small quantity was
placed in a China cup, boiling water poured upon it, and the cup
then closed with a tightly-fitting cover. In a few seconds the tea
is then drank and the leaves left at the bottom. The Chinese take
neither sugar, rum, nor milk with their tea; they say that anything
added to it, and even the stirring of it, causes it to lose its
aroma; in my cup, however, a little sugar was put.

The tea-plant, which I saw in the plantations round about Canton,
was at most six feet high; it is not allowed to grow any higher, and
is consequently cut at intervals. Its leaves are used from the
third to the eighth year; and the plant is then cut down, in order
that it may send forth new shoots, or else it is rooted out. There
are three gatherings in the year; the first in March, the second in
April, and the third, which lasts for three months, in May. The
leaves of the first gathering are so delicate and fine that they
might easily be taken for the blossom, which has no doubt given rise
to the error that the so-called "bloom or imperial tea" is supposed
not to consist of the leaves but of the blossom itself. {114} This
gathering is so hurtful to the plant that it often perishes.

I was informed that the tea which comes from the neighbourhood of
Canton is the worst, and that from the provinces somewhat more to
the north the best. The tea manufacturers of Canton are said to
possess the art of giving tea that has been frequently used, or
spoiled by rain, the appearance of good tea. They dry and roast the
leaves, colour them yellow with powdered kurkumni, or light green
with Prussian blue, and then roll them tightly up. The price of the
tea sent to Europe varies from fifteen to sixty dollars (3 to 12
pounds) a pikul, of 134 lb. English weight. The kind at sixty
dollars does not find a very ready market; the greater part of it is
exported to England. The "bloom" is not met with in trade.

I must mention a sight which I accidentally saw, one evening, upon
the Pearl stream. It was, as I afterwards heard, a thanksgiving
festival in honour of the gods, by the owners of two junks that had
made a somewhat long sea voyage without being pillaged by pirates,
or overtaken by the dangerous typhoon.

Two of the largest flower boats, splendidly illuminated, were
floating gently down the stream. Three rows of lamps were hung
round the upper part of the vessels, forming perfect galleries of
fire; all the cabins were full of chandeliers and lamps, and on the
forecastle large fires were burning out of which rockets darted at
intervals with a loud report, although they only attained the
elevation of a few feet. On the foremost vessel there was a large
mast erected, and hung with myriads of coloured paper lamps up to
its very top, forming a beautiful pyramid. Two boats, abundantly
furnished with torches and provided with boisterous music, preceded
these two fiery masses. Slowly did they float through the darkness
of the night, appearing like the work of fairy hands. Sometimes
they stopped, when high flames, fed with holy perfumed paper,
flickered upwards to the sky.

Perfumed paper, which must be bought from the priests, is burnt at
every opportunity, and very frequently beforehand, after every
prayer. From the trade in this paper the greater portion of the
priests' income is derived.

On several occasions, accompanied by Herr von Carlowitz, I took
short walks in the streets near the factory. I found the greater
pleasure in examining the beautiful articles of Chinese manufacture,
which I could here do at my leisure, as the shops were not so open
as those I saw during my excursion round the walls of Canton, but
had doors and windows like our own, so that I could walk in and be
protected from the pressure of the crowd. The streets, also, in
this quarter were somewhat broader, well paved, and protected with
mats or planks to keep off the burning heat of the sun.

In the neighbourhood of the factory, namely in Fousch-an, where most
of the manufactories are situated, a great many places may be
reached by water, as the streets, like those in Venice, are
intersected by canals. This quarter of Canton, however, is not the
handsomest, because all the warehouses are erected on the sides of
the canals, where the different workmen have also taken up their
residence in miserable huts that, built half upon the ground and
half upon worm-eaten piles, stretch far out over the water.

I had now been altogether, from July 13th to August 20th, five weeks
in Canton. The season was the hottest in the whole year, and the
heat was really insupportable. In the house, the glass rose as high
as 94.5 degrees, and out of doors, in the shade, as high as 99
degrees. To render this state of things bearable, the inhabitants
use, besides the punkas in the rooms, wicker-work made of bamboo.
This wicker-work is placed before the windows and doors, or over
those portions of the roofs under which the workshops are situated.
Even whole walls are formed of it, standing about eight or ten feet
from the real ones, and provided with entrances, window-openings,
and roofs. The houses are most effectually disguised by it.

On my return to Hong-Kong, I again set out on board a junk, but not
so fearlessly as the first time; the unhappy end of Monsieur Vauchee
was still fresh in my memory. I took the precaution of packing up
the few clothes and linen I had in the presence of the servants,
that they might be convinced that any trouble the pirates might give
themselves on my account would be thrown away.

On the evening of the 20th of August I bade Canton, and all my
friends there, farewell; and at 9 o'clock I was once again floating
down the Si-Kiang, or Pearl stream, famous for the deeds of horror
perpetrated on it.



The passage from Canton to Hong-Kong was accomplished without any
circumstance worthy of notice, save the time it took, in consequence
of the prevalence of contrary winds the whole way. We were, it is
true, woke up the first night by the report of guns; but I expect
they were not fired at us, as we were not molested. My travelling
companions, the Chinese, also behaved themselves on this occasion
with the greatest politeness and decorum; and, had I been enabled to
look into the future, I would willingly have given up the English
steamer and pursued my journey as far as Singapore on board a junk.
But as this was impossible, I availed myself of the English steamer,
"Pekin," of 450 horse-power, Captain Fronson commander, which leaves
for Calcutta every month.

As the fares are most exorbitant, {116} I was advised to take a
third-class ticket, and hire a cabin from one of the engineers or
petty officers; I was greatly pleased with the notion, and hastened
to carry it out. My astonishment, however, may be imagined when, on
paying my fare, I was told that the third-class passengers were not
respectable, that they were obliged to sleep upon deck, and that the
moon was exceedingly dangerous, etc. It was in vain that I replied
I was the best judge of my own actions; I was obliged, unless I
chose to remain behind, to pay for one of the second places. This
certainly gave me a very curious idea of English liberty.

On the 25th of August, at 1 o'clock, P.M., I went on board. On
reaching the vessel I found no servant in the second places, and was
obliged to ask a sailor to take my luggage into the cabin. This
latter was certainly anything but comfortable. The furniture was of
the most common description, the table was covered with stains and
dirt, and the whole place was one scene of confusion. I inquired
for the sleeping cabin, and found there was but one for both sexes.
I was told to apply to one of the officials, who would no doubt
allow me to sleep somewhere else. I did so, and obtained a neat
little cabin in consequence, and the steward was kind enough to
propose that I should take my meals with his wife. I did not,
however, choose to accept the offer; I paid dearly enough, Heaven
knows, and did not choose to accept everything as a favour.
Besides, this was the first English steamer I had ever been on
board, and I was curious to learn how second-class passengers were

The company at our table consisted not only of the passengers, of
whom there were three besides myself, but of the cooks and waiters
of the first-class places, as well as of the butcher; or, in a word,
of every one of the attendants who chose to take "pot-luck" with us.
As for any etiquette in the article of costume, that was entirely
out of the question. Sometimes one of the company would appear
without either coat or jacket; the butcher was generally oblivious
of his shoes and stockings; and it was really necessary to be
endowed with a ravenous appetite to be enabled to eat anything with
such a set.

The bill of fare was certainly adapted to the crew and their
costume, but decidedly not to the passengers, who had to pay
thirteen dollars (2 pounds 12s.) a day each for provisions.

The table-cloth was full of stains, and, in lieu of a napkin, each
guest was at liberty to use his handkerchief. The knives and forks
had white and black horn handles, with notched blades, and broken
prongs. On the first day we had no spoons at all; on the second we
had one between us, and this one was placed on the table in solitary
grandeur during the entire voyage. There were only two glasses, and
those of the most ordinary description, which circulated from mouth
to mouth; as I was a female, instead of my turn of the glasses, I
had, as a peculiar mark of distinction, an old tea-cup with the
handle knocked off.

The head cook, who did the honours, pleaded in excuse for all this
discomfort, that they happened this voyage to be short of servants.
This struck me as really a little too naive, for when I paid my
money I paid for what I ought to have then, and not for what I might
have another time.

As I said before, the provisions were execrable; the remnants of the
first cabin were sent to us poor wretches. Two or three different
things would very often be side by side in the most friendly and
brotherly manner upon one dish, even although their character was
widely different; that was looked upon as a matter of no import,
which was also the case as to whether the things came to table hot
or cold.

On one occasion, during tea, the head cook was in unusually good
humour, and remarked, "I spare no possible pains to provide for you.
I hope you want for nothing." Two of the passengers, Englishmen,
replied, "No, that's true!" The third, who was a Portuguese, did
not understand the importance of the assertion. As a native of
Germany, not possessing the patriotic feeling of an English subject
in the matter, I should have replied very differently had I not been
a women, and if, by so replying, I could have effected a change for
the better.

The only light we had was from a piece of tallow candle, that often
went out by eight o'clock. We were then under the necessity of
sitting in the dark or going to bed.

In the morning the cabin served as a barber's shop, and in the
afternoon as a dormitory, where the cooks and servants, who were
half dead with sleep, used to come and slumber on the benches.

In order to render us still more comfortable, one of the officers
pitched upon our cabin as quarters for two young puppies, who did
nothing but keep up one continued howl; he would not have dared to
put them in the sailors' cabin, because the latter would have kicked
them out without farther ceremony.

My description will, in all probability, be considered exaggerated,
especially as there is an old opinion that the English are, above
all other people, justly celebrated for their comfort and
cleanliness. I can, however, assure my readers that I have spoken
nothing but the truth; and I will even add that, although I have
made many voyages on board steam-ships, and always paid second fare,
never did I pay so high a price for such wretched and detestable
treatment. In all my life I was never so cheated. The only
circumstance on board the ship to which I can refer with pleasure
was the conduct of the officers, who were, without exception,
obliging and polite.

I was very much struck with the remarkable degree of patience
exhibited by my fellow-passengers. I should like to know what an
Englishman, who has always got the words "comfort" and "comfortable"
at the top of his tongue, would say, if he were treated in this
manner on board a steamer belonging to any other nation?

For the first few days of our voyage we saw no land, and it was not
until the 28th of August that we caught sight of the rocky coast of
Cochin China. During the whole of the 29th we steered close along
the coast, but could see no signs of either human beings or
habitations, the only objects visible being richly wooded mountain-
ranges; in the evening, however, we beheld several fires, which
might have been mistaken for the signals from lighthouses, and
proved that the country was not quite uninhabited.

During the following day we only saw a large solitary rock called
"The Shoe." It struck me as being exactly like the head of a
shepherd's dog.

On the 2nd of September we neared Malacca. Skirting the coast are
tolerably high, well-wooded mountain-ranges, infested, according to
all accounts, by numerous tigers, that render all travelling very

On the 3rd of September we ran into the port of Singapore; but it
was so late in the evening, that we could not disembark.

On the following morning I paid a visit to the firm of Behu and
Meyer, to whom I had letters of introduction. Madame Behu was the
first German lady I had met since my departure from Hamburgh. I
cannot say how delighted I was at forming her acquaintance. I was
once more able to give free vent to my feelings in my own native
tongue. Madame Behu would not hear of my lodging in an hotel; I was
immediately installed as a member of her own amiable family. My
original plan was to have remained but a short period in Singapore,
and then proceed in a sailing vessel to Calcutta, as I had a perfect
horror of English steamers, and as I had been told that
opportunities continually presented themselves. I waited, however,
week after week in vain, until, in spite of my unwillingness, I was
obliged to embark in a comfortable English steamer at last. {118}

The Europeans lead pretty much the same kind of life at Singapore
that they do at Canton, with this difference, however, that the
merchants reside with their families in the country, and come to
town every morning for business. Each family is obliged to keep a
large staff of servants, and the lady of the house meddles very
little in domestic matters, as these are generally altogether
entrusted to the major-domo.

The servants are Chinese, with the exception of the seis (coachmen
or grooms), who are Bengalese. Every spring, whole shiploads of
Chinese boys, from ten to fifteen years old, come over here. They
are generally so poor that they cannot pay their passage. When this
is the case, the captain brings them over on his own account, and is
paid beforehand, by the person engaging them, their wages for the
first year. These young people live very economically, and when
they have a little money, return generally to their native country,
though many hire themselves as journeymen, and stop altogether.

The Island of Singapore has a population of 55,000 souls, 40,000 of
whom are Chinese, 10,000 Malays, or natives, and 150 Europeans. The
number of women is said to be very small, in consequence of the
immigrants from China and India consisting only of men and boys.

The town of Singapore and its environs contain upwards of 20,000
inhabitants. The streets struck me as being broad and airy, but the
houses are not handsome. They are only one story high; and, from
the fact of the roof's being placed directly above the windows,
appear as if they were crushed. On account of the continual heat,
there is no glass in any of the windows, but its place is supplied
by sun-blinds.

Every article of merchandise has here, as at Canton, if not its own
peculiar street, at least its own side of the street. The building
in which meat and vegetables are sold, is a fine handsome edifice
resembling a temple.

As a natural result of the number of persons of different nations
congregated upon this island, there are various temples, none of
which are worthy of notice, however, with the exception of that
belonging to the Chinese. It is formed like an ordinary house, but
the roof is ornamented in the usual Chinese fashion to rather too
great an extent. It is loaded with points and pinnacles, with
circles and curves without end, all of which are formed of coloured
tiles or porcelain, and decorated with an infinity of arabesques,
flowers, dragons, and other monsters. Over the principal entrance
are small stone bas-reliefs, and both the exterior and interior of
the building can boast of a profusion of carved wood-work richly

Some fruit and biscuits of various descriptions, with a very small
quantity of boiled rice, were placed upon the altar of the Goddess
of Mercy. These are renewed every evening, and whatever the goddess
may leave is the perquisite of the bonzes. On the same altar lay
pretty little wooden counters cut in an oval shape, which the
Chinese toss up in the air; it is held to be a sign of ill-luck if
they fall upon the reverse side, but if they fall upon the other,
this is believed to betoken good fortune. The worthy people are in
the habit of tossing them up until they fall as desired.

Another manner of learning the decrees of fate consists in placing a
number of thin wooden sticks in a basin, and then shaking them until
one falls out. Each of these sticks is inscribed with a certain
number, corresponding with a sentence in a book of proverbs. This
temple was more frequented by the people than those in Canton. The
counters and sticks seemed to exercise great influence over the
congregation, for it was only round them that they gathered.

There is nothing further to be seen in the town, but the environs,
or rather the whole island, offers the most enchanting sight. The
view cannot certainly be called magnificent or grand, since one
great feature necessary to give it this character, namely,
mountains, is entirely wanting. The highest hill, on which the
governor's house and the telegraph are situated, is scarcely more
than 200 feet high, but the luxuriant verdancy, the neat houses of
the Europeans in the midst of beautiful gardens, the plantations of
the most precious spices, the elegant areca and feathered palms,
with their slim stems shooting up to a height of a hundred feet, and
spreading out into the thick feather-like tuft of fresh green, by
which they are distinguished from every other kind of palms, and,
lastly, the jungle in the back-ground, compose a most beautiful
landscape, and which appears doubly lovely to a person like myself,
just escaped from that prison ycleped Canton, or from the dreary
scenery about the town of Victoria.

The whole island is intersected with excellent roads, of which those
skirting the sea-shore are the most frequented, and where handsome
carriages, and horses from New Holland, and even from England,
{120a} are to be seen. Besides the European carriages, there are
also certain vehicles of home manufacture called palanquins, which
are altogether closed and surrounded on all sides with jalousies.
Generally, there is but one horse, at the side of which both the
coachman and footman run on foot. I could not help expressing my
indignation at the barbarity of this custom, when I was informed
that the residents had wanted to abolish it, but that the servants
had protested against it, and begged to be allowed to run beside the
carriage rather than sit or stand upon it. They cling to the horse
or vehicle, and are thus dragged along with it.

Hardly a day passed that we did not drive out. Twice a week a very
fine military band used to play on the esplanade close to the sea,
and the whole world of fashionables would either walk or drive to
the place to hear the music. The carriages were ranged several rows
deep, and surrounded by young beaux on foot and horseback; any one
might have been excused for imagining himself in an European city.
As for myself, it gave me more pleasure to visit a plantation, or
some other place of the kind, than to stop and look on what I had so
often witnessed in Europe. {120b}

I frequently used to visit the plantations of nutmegs and cloves,
and refresh myself with their balsamic fragrance. The nutmeg-tree
is about the size of a fine apricot-bush, and is covered from top to
bottom with thick foliage; the branches grow very low down the stem,
and the leaves shine as if they were varnished. The fruit is
exactly similar to an apricot covered with yellowish-brown spots.
When ripe it bursts, exposing to view a round kernel about the size
of a nut, enclosed in a kind of net-work of a fine deep red: this
network is known as mace. It is carefully separated from the nutmeg
itself, and dried in the shade. While undergoing this process, it
is frequently sprinkled with sea-water, to prevent its original tint
turning black instead of yellow. In addition to this net-work, the
nutmeg is covered with a thin, soft rind. The nutmeg itself is also
dried, then smoke-dried a little, and afterwards, to prevent its
turning mouldy, dipped several times in sea-water, containing a weak
solution of lime.

The clove-tree is somewhat smaller, and cannot boast of such
luxuriant foliage, or such fine large leaves as the nutmeg-tree.
The cloves are the buds of the tree gathered before they have had
time to blossom. They are first smoked, and then laid for a short
time in the sun.

Another kind of spice is the areca-nut, which hangs under the crown
of the palm of the same name, in groups containing from ten to
twenty nuts each. It is somewhat larger than a nutmeg, and its
outer shell is of so bright a colour, that it resembles the gilt
nuts which are hung upon the Christmas-trees in Germany. The kernel
is almost the same colour as the nutmeg, but it has no net-work: it
is dried in the shade.

The Chinese and natives of the place chew this nut with betel-leaf
and calcined mussel-shells. They strew the leaf with a small
quantity of the mussel-powder, to which they add a very small piece
of the nut, and make the whole into a little packet, which they put
into their mouth. When they chew tobacco at the same time, the
saliva becomes as red as blood, and their mouths, when open, look
like little furnaces, especially if, as is frequently the case with
the Chinese, the person has his teeth dyed and filed. The first
time I saw a case of the kind I was very frightened: I thought the
poor fellow had sustained some serious injury, and that his mouth
was full of blood.

I also visited a sago manufactory. The unprepared sago is imported
from the neighbouring island of Borromeo, and consists of the pith
of a short, thick kind of palm. The tree is cut down when it is
seven years old, split up from top to bottom, and the pith, of which
there is always a large quantity, extracted; it is then freed from
the fibres, pressed in large frames, and dried at the fire or in the
sun. At this period it has still a yellowish tinge. The following
is the manner in which it is grained: The meal or pith is steeped
in water for several days, until it is completely blanched; it is
then once more dried by the fire or in the sun, and passed under a
large wooden roller, and through a hair sieve. When it has become
white and fine, it is placed in a kind of linen winnowing-fan, which
is kept damp in a peculiar manner. The workman takes a mouthful of
water, and spurts it out like fine rain over the fan, in which the
meal is alternately shaken and moistened in the manner just
mentioned, until it assumes the shape of small globules, which are
constantly stirred round in large, flat pans until they are dried,
when they are passed through a second sieve, not quite so fine as
the first, and the larger globules separated from the rest.

The building in which the process takes place is a large shed
without walls, its roof being supported upon the trunks of trees.

I was indebted to the kindness of the Messrs. Behu and Meyer for a
very interesting excursion into the jungle. The gentlemen, four in
number, all well provided with fowling-pieces, having determined to
start a tiger, besides which they were obliged to be prepared for
bears, wild boars, and large serpents. We drove as far as the river
Gallon, where we found two boats in readiness for us, but, before
entering them, paid a visit to a sugar-refining establishment
situated upon the banks of the river.

The sugar-cane was piled up in stacks before the building, but there
had only been sufficient for a day's consumption, as all that
remained would have turned sour from the excessive heat. The cane
is first passed under metal cylinders, which press out all the
juice; this runs into large cauldrons, in which it is boiled and
then allowed to cool. It is afterwards placed in earthen jars,
where it becomes completely dry.

The buildings resembled those I have described when speaking of the
preparation of sago.

After we had witnessed the process of sugar-baking, we entered the
boats, and proceeded up the stream. We were soon in the midst of
the virgin forests, and experienced, at every stroke of the oars,
greater difficulty in forcing our passage, on account of the
numerous trunks of trees both in and over the stream. We were
frequently obliged to land and lift the boats over these trees, or
else lie flat down, and thus pass under them as so many bridges.
All kinds of brushwood, full of thorns and brambles, hung down over
our heads, and even some gigantic leaves proved a serious obstacle
to us. These leaves belonged to a sort of palm called the
Mungkuang. Near the stem they are five inches broad, but their
length is about twelve feet, and as the stream is scarcely more than
nine feet wide, they reached right across it.

The natural beauty of the scene was so great, however, that these
occasional obstructions, so far from diminishing, actually
heightened the charm of the whole. The forest was full of the most
luxuriant underwood, creepers, palms, and fern plants; the latter,
in many instances sixteen feet high, proved a no less effectual
screen against the burning rays of the sun than did the palms and
other trees.

My previous satisfaction was greatly augmented on seeing several
apes skipping about on the highest branches of the trees, while
others were heard chattering in our immediate vicinity. This was
the first time I had seen these animals in a state of perfect
freedom, and I secretly felt very much delighted that the gentlemen
with me did not succeed in shooting any of the mischievous little
creatures: they brought down, however, a few splendid lories (a
sort of small parrot of the most beautiful plumage) and some
squirrels. But our attention was soon attracted by a much more
serious object. We remarked in the branches of one of the trees a
dark body, which, on nearer inspection, we found to be that of a
large serpent, lying coiled up, and waiting, probably, to dart upon
its prey. We ventured pretty near, but it remained quite motionless
without turning its eyes from us, and little thinking how near its
death was. One of the gentlemen fired, and hit it in the side. As
quick as lightning, and with the greatest fury, it darted from the
tree, but remained fast, with its tail entangled in a bough. It
kept making springs at us, with its forked tongue exposed to view,
but all in vain, as we kept at a respectable distance. A few more
shots put an end to its existence, and we then pulled up under the
bough on which it was hanging. One of the boatmen, a Malay, made a
small noose of strong, tough grass, which he threw round the head of
the serpent, and thus dragged it into the boat. He also told us
that we should be sure to find a second not far off, as serpents of
this kind always go in pairs, and, true enough, the gentlemen in the
other boat had already shot the second, which was also coiled up on
the branch of a large tree.

These serpents were of a dark green colour, with beautiful yellow
streaks, and about twelve feet in length. I was told that they
belonged to the boa species.

After having proceeded eight English miles in four hours, we left
the boats, and following a narrow footpath, soon reached a number of
plots of ground, cleared from trees, and planted with pepper and

The pepper-tree is a tall bush-like plant, that, when trained and
supported with props, will attain a height varying from fifteen to
eighteen feet. The pepper grows in small, grape-like bunches, which
are first red, then green, and lastly, nearly black. The plant
begins to bear in the second year.

White pepper is not a natural production, but is obtained by dipping
the black pepper several times in sea-water: this causes it to lose
its colour, and become a dirty white. The price of a pikul of white
pepper is six dollars (24s.), whereas that of a pikul of black is
only three dollars (12s.).

The greatest height attained by the gambir plant is eight feet. The
leaves alone are used in trade: they are first stripped off the
stalk, and then boiled down in large coppers. The thick juice is
placed in wide wooden vessels, and dried in the sun; it is then cut
into slips three inches long and packed up. Gambir is an article
that is very useful in dyeing, and hence is frequently exported to
Europe. Pepper plantations are always to be found near a plantation
of the gambir plant, as the former are always manured with the
boiled leaves of the latter.

Although all the work on the plantations, as well as every other
description of labour at Singapore, is performed by free labourers,
I was told that it cost less than if it were done by slaves. The
wages here are very trifling indeed; a common labourer receives
three dollars a month, without either board or lodging; and yet with
this, he is enabled not only to subsist himself, but to maintain a
family. Their huts, which are composed of foliage, they build
themselves; their food consists of small fish, roots, and a few
vegetables. Nor is their apparel more expensive; for, beyond the
immediate vicinity of the town, and where all the plantations are
situated, the children go about entirely naked, while the men wear
nothing more than a small apron about a hand's-breadth wide, and
fastened between the legs: the women are the only persons dressed
with anything like propriety.

The plantations that we now saw, and which we reached about 10
o'clock, were cultivated by Chinese. In addition to their huts of
leaves, they had erected a small temple, where they invited us to
alight. We immediately spread out upon the altar some refreshments,
which Madame Behu, like a good housewife, had given us; but, instead
of imitating the Chinese, and sacrificing them to the gods, we were
wicked enough to devour them ravenously ourselves.

When we had satisfied our hunger, we skinned the serpent and then
made a present of it to the Chinese; but they gave us to understand
that they would not touch it, at which I was greatly surprised,
since they will generally eat anything. I was afterwards convinced
that this was all pretence, for on returning some hours later from
our hunting excursion and going into one of their huts, we found
them all seated round a large dish in which were pieces of roast
meat of the peculiar round shape of the serpent. They wanted to
hide the dish in a great hurry, but I entered very quickly and gave
them some money to be allowed to taste it. I found the flesh
particularly tender and delicate, even more tender than that of a

But I have quite forgotten to describe our hunting excursion. We
asked the labourers if they could not put us on the track of a
tiger; they described to us a part of the wood where one was
reported to have taken up his abode a few days previously, and we
immediately set off. We had great difficulty in forcing our way
through the forest, having, at every instant, to clamber over
prostrate trees, creep through brambles or cross over swamps, but we
had, at all events, the satisfaction of progressing, which we
certainly should not have had in the forests of Brazil, where such
an undertaking would have been impracticable. It is true that there
were creepers and orchids, but not in such numbers as in Brazil, and
the trees, too, stand far wider apart. We saw some splendid
specimens, towering to a height of above a hundred feet. The
objects which interested us most were the ebony and kolim trees.
The timber of the first is of two kinds, a layer of brownish-yellow
surrounding the inner stem, which composes that portion especially
known as ebony.

The kolim-tree diffuses an excessively strong odour, similar to that
of onions, indicating its site at some distance off. The fruit
tastes extremely like onions, and is very often used by the common
people, but its odour and taste are too strong for Europeans. I
merely just touched a piece of fresh rind, and my hands smelt of it
the next morning.

We beat about the forest for some hours without meeting the game of
which we were in search. We once thought that we had found the
lair, but we soon found that we were mistaken. One of the
gentlemen, too, affirmed that he heard the growl of a bear; it must,
however, have been a very gentle growl, as no one else heard it,
although we were all close together.

We returned home without any further addition to our stock of game,
but highly delighted with our agreeable trip.

Although Singapore is a small island, and all means have been used
and rewards offered for the extirpation of the tigers, they have
failed. Government gives a premium of a hundred dollars, and the
Society of Singapore Merchants a similar sum for every tiger killed.
Besides this, the valuable skin belongs to the fortunate hunter, and
even the flesh is worth something, as it is eagerly bought by the
Chinese for eating. The tigers, however, swim over from the
neighbouring peninsula of Malacca, which is only separated from
Singapore by a very narrow channel, and hence it will be impossible
to eradicate them entirely.

The varieties of fruit found at Singapore are very numerous and
beautiful. Among the best may be reckoned the mangostan, which is
said to grow only here and in Java. It is as big as a middling-
sized apple. The rind is a deep brown on the outside and scarlet
inside, and the fruit itself is white, and divided naturally into
four or five sections: it almost melts in the mouth, and has an
exquisite flavour. The pine-apples are much more juicy, sweeter,
and considerably larger than those at Canton; I saw some which must
have weighed about four pounds. Whole fields are planted with them,
and when they arrive at full maturity, three or four hundred may be
bought for a dollar. They are often eaten with salt. There is also
another kind of fruit, "sauersop," which also often weighs several
pounds, and is green outside and white or pale yellow inside. It
very much resembles strawberries in taste, and, like them, is eaten
with wine and sugar. The gumaloh is divided into several distinct
slices, and resembles a pale yellow orange, but is not so sweet and
juicy; many people, however, prefer it; it is at least five times as
large as an orange. In my opinion, however, the palm of excellence
is borne away by the "custard apple," which is covered with small
green scales. {125} The inside, which is full of black pips, is
very white, as soft as butter, and of the most exquisite flavour.
It is eaten with the help of small spoons.

A few days before my departure from Singapore, I had an opportunity
of witnessing the burial of a Chinese in easy circumstances. The
procession passed our house, and in spite of a temperature of 113
degrees Fah., I went with it to the grave, which was three or four
miles distant, and was too much interested in the ceremony to leave
until it was concluded, although it lasted nearly two hours.

At the head of the procession was a priest, and at his side a
Chinese with a lantern two feet high, covered with white cambric.
Then came two musicians, one of whom beat a small drum at intervals,
and the other played the cymbals. These persons were followed by
the coffin, with a servant holding a large open parasol over that
part of it on which the head of the deceased lay. Alongside walked
the eldest son or the nearest male relative, carrying a small white
flag, and with his hair hanging in disorder over his shoulders. The
relations were all dressed in the deepest mourning--that is to say,
entirely in white; the men had even got white caps on, and the women
were so enveloped in white cloths that it was impossible to see so
much as their faces. The friends and attendants, who followed the
coffin in small groups without order or regularity, had all got a
white strip of cambric bound round their head, their waist, or their
arm. As soon as it was remarked that I had joined the procession, a
man who had a quantity of these strips, came up and offered me one,
which I took and bound round my arm.

The coffin, which consisted of the trunk of a large tree, was
covered with a dark-coloured cloth; a few garlands of flowers were
suspended from it, and some rice, tied up in a cloth, was placed
upon it. Four-and-twenty men bore this heavy burden on immense
poles: their behaviour was excessively lively, and every time they
changed, they began quarrelling or laughing among themselves. Nor
did the other personages in the ceremony display either grief or
respect; they ate, drank, smoked, and talked, while some carried
cold tea in small pails for the benefit of such as might be thirsty.
The son alone held himself aloof; he walked, according to custom,
plunged in deep sorrow by the side of the coffin.

On reaching the road that led to the last resting place, the son
threw himself upon the ground, and, covering up his face, sobbed
very audibly. After a little, he got up again and tottered behind
the coffin, so that two men were obliged to support him; he appeared
very ill and deeply moved. It is true, I was afterwards informed
that this grief is mostly merely assumed, since custom requires that
the chief mourner shall be, or pretend to be, weak and ill with

On arriving at the grave, which was seven feet deep, and dug on the
declivity of a hill, they laid the pall, flowers, and rice on one
side, and then, after throwing in a vast quantity of gold and silver
paper, lowered the coffin, which I then for the first time perceived
was of the finest workmanship, lacquered and hermetically closed.
At least half an hour was taken up by this part of the proceedings.
The relations at first threw themselves on the ground, and, covering
their faces, howled horribly, but finding the burial lasted rather
long, sat down in a circle all round, and taking their little
baskets of betel, burnt mussel-shells, and areca-nuts, began chewing
away with the greatest composure.

After the coffin was lowered into the grave, one of the attendants
advanced to the upper part of it, and opened the small packet of
rice, on which he placed a sort of compass. A cord was then handed
to him. He placed it over the middle of the compass, and altered
its position until it lay exactly in the same direction as the
needle. A second cord, with a plummet attached, was then held to
the first and let down into the grave, and the coffin moved
backwards and forwards according to this line, until the middle was
in the same direction as the needle: this arrangement consumed at
least another quarter of an hour.

After this, the coffin was covered over with numberless sheets of
white paper, and the person who had conducted the previous operation
made a short speech, during which the children of the deceased threw
themselves upon the ground. When it was finished, the speaker threw
a few handfuls of rice over the coffin and to the children, who held
up the corner of their outer garments so as to catch as many of the
grains as possible; but as they only succeeded in obtaining a few,
the speaker gave about a handful more, which they tied up carefully
in the corner of their dress, and took away with them.

The grave was at last filled in, when the relations set up a most
dismal howl, but, as far as I could remark, every eye was dry.

After this, boiled fowls, ducks, pork, fruit, all kinds of pastry,
and a dozen cups full of tea, together with the tea-pot, were placed
in two rows upon the grave, and six painted wax tapers lighted and
stuck in the ground near the refreshments. During all this time,
immense heaps of gold and silver paper were set fire to and

The eldest son now approached the grave again, and threw himself
down several times, touching the ground on each occasion with his
forehead. Six perfumed paper tapers were handed to him a-light;
when he had swung them round in the air a few times he gave them
back, when they also, in their turn, were fixed in the earth. The
other relations performed the same ceremony.

During all this time, the priest had been sitting at a considerable
distance from the grave under the shade of a large parasol, and
without taking the slightest share in the proceedings. He now,
however, came forward, made a short speech, during which he rang a
small bell several times, and his duty was at an end. The
refreshments were cleared away, the tea poured over the grave, and
the whole company returned home in excellent spirits accompanied by
the music, which had also played at intervals over the grave. The
provisions, as I was informed, were distributed among the poor.

On the following day I witnessed the celebrated Chinese Feast of
Lanterns. From all the houses, at the corners of the roofs, from
high posts, etc., were hung innumerable lanterns, made of paper or
gauze, and most artistically ornamented with gods, warriors, and
animals. In the courts and gardens of the different houses, or,
where there were no courts or gardens, in the streets, all kinds of
refreshments and fruit were laid out with lights and flowers, in the
form of half pyramids on large tables. The people wandered about
the streets, gardens, and courts, until nearly midnight, when the
edible portions of the pyramids were eaten by the proprietors of
them. I was very much pleased with this feast, but with no part of
it more than the quiet and orderly behaviour of the people: they
looked at all the eatables with a scrutinizing glance, but without
touching the smallest fragment.

Singapore is situated 58' (nautical miles) north of the line, in 104
degrees East longitude, and the climate, when compared to that of
other southern countries, is very agreeable. During the period of
my stay, extending from September 3rd to October 8th, the heat
seldom exceeded 83 degrees 75' indoors, and 117 degrees in the sun.
There is never any great variation in the temperature, which is the
natural consequence of the place being near the equator. The sun
always rises and sets at 6 A.M. and 6 P.M. respectively, and is
immediately followed by full daylight or perfect night; the twilight
hardly lasting ten minutes.

In conclusion, I must remark that Singapore will shortly become the
central point of all the Indian steamers. Those from Hong-Kong,
Ceylon, Madras, Calcutta, and Europe arrive regularly once a month;
there is likewise a Dutch war-steamer from Batavia, and in a little
time there will also be steamers running to and fro between this
place, and Manilla and Sidney.



I once more embarked in an English steamer, the "Braganza," of 350
horse power, that left Singapore for Ceylon on the 7th of October.
The distance between the two places is 1,900 miles.

The treatment I experienced on board this vessel was, it is true, a
little different from that on board the other, although it was
nearly as bad. There were four of us in the second cabin; {128} we
dined alone, and had a mulatto servant to attend upon us.
Unfortunately, he was afflicted with elephantiasis, and his
appearance did not at all tend to whet the edge of our appetites.

During the 7th and 8th of October, we held our course through the
Strait of Malacca, which separates Sumatra from the peninsula, and
during all this time we never lost sight of land. Malacca is, near
the coast, merely hilly; but further in the interior the hills swell
into a fine mountain range. To our left lay a number of mountainous
islands, which completely intercepted our view of Sumatra.

But if the scenery around us was not remarkable, the spectacle on
board the vessel itself was highly interesting. The crew was
composed of seventy-nine persons, comprising Chinese, Malays,
Cingalese, Bengalese, Hindostanese, and Europeans. As a general
rule, those of each country generally took their meals separately
with their own countrymen. They all had immense plates of rice, and
little bowls full of curry; a few pieces of dried fish supplied the
place of bread. They poured the curry over the rice, and mixing the
whole together with their hands, made it into small balls which they
put into their mouths with a small piece of fish; about half their
food used generally to fall back again into their plates.

The costume of these people was very simple. Many of them had
nothing more than a pair of short trousers on, with a dirty old
turban, and even the place of this was sometimes supplied by a
coloured rag, or a cast-off sailor's cap. The Malays wore long
cloths wound round their bodies, with one end hanging over their
shoulder. The Chinese preserved intact their usual costume and mode
of life; and the coloured servants of the ship's officers were the
only ones who were occasionally well and even elegantly dressed.
Their costume consisted of white trousers, wide upper garments, also
white, with white sashes, silk jackets, and small embroidered white
caps, or handsome turbans.

The manner in which all these poor coloured people were treated was
certainly not in accordance with Christian principles. No one ever
addressed them but in the roughest manner, and they were kicked and
cuffed about on every occasion; even the dirtiest little European
cabin-boy on board was allowed to act in the most cruel manner, and
play off the most ignoble practical jokes upon them. Unhappy
creatures! how is it possible that they should feel any love for

On the 9th of October we landed on the small island of Pinang. The
town of the same name lies in the midst of a small plain, which
forms the half of an isthmus. Not far from the town rises a
picturesque mountain range.

I received five hours' leave, which I devoted to riding about in all
directions through the town in a palanquin, and even going a little
distance into the country. All that I could see resembled what I
had already seen at Singapore. The town itself is not handsome, but
the contrary is the case with the country houses, which are all
situated in beautiful gardens. The island is intersected by a great
number of excellent roads.

From one of the neighbouring mountains there is said to be a very
fine prospect of Pinang, a part of Malacca, and the sea, and, on the
road to the mountain, a waterfall. Unfortunately, the few hours at
my disposal did not allow me to see everything.

The greatest portion of the population of this island consists of
Chinese, who perform all the manual labour, and engross all the
retail trade.

On the 11th of October we saw the small island of Pulo-Rondo, which
appertains to Sumatra. We now took the shortest line across the Bay
of Bengal, and beheld land no more until we came in sight of Ceylon.

On the afternoon of the 17th of October, we neared Ceylon. I
strained my anxious eyes to catch a glimpse of it as soon as
possible, for it is always described as being a second Eden; some go
so far as to affirm that our common father, Adam, settled there on
his expulsion from Paradise, and, as a proof of this, adduce the
fact of many places in the island, such as Adam's Peak, Adam's
Bridge, etc., still bearing his name. I breathed the very air more
eagerly, hoping, like other travellers, to inhale the fragrant
odours wafted to me from the plantations of costly spices.

It was one of the most magnificent sights I ever beheld, to observe
the island rising gradually from the sea, and to mark the numerous
mountain ranges, which intersect Ceylon in every direction, becoming
every instant more defined, their summits still magically lighted by
the setting sun, while the thick cocoa-groves, the hills, and plains
lay enveloped in dusky night. The fragrant odours, however, were
wanting, and the vessel smelt, as usual, of nothing more than tar,
coals, steam, and oil.

About 9 in the evening, we arrived before the harbour at Pointe de
Galle, but, as the entrance is very dangerous, we quietly hove-to
for the night. On the following morning two pilots came on board
and took us safely through the narrow passage of deep water leading
into the port.

Hardly were we landed before we were surrounded by a crowd of people
with precious stones, pearls, tortoiseshell, and ivory articles for
sale. It is possible that a connoisseur may sometimes make a very
advantageous purchase; but I would advise those who have not much
experience in these things, not to be dazzled by the size and
splendour of the said precious stones and pearls, as the natives,
according to all accounts, have learnt from Europeans the art of
profiting as much as they can by a favourable opportunity.

Pointe de Galle is charmingly situated: in the fore-ground are some
fine groups of rock, and in the back-ground, immediately adjoining
the little town, which is protected by fortifications, rise
magnificent forests of palms. The houses present a neat appearance;
they are low, and shaded by trees, which, in the better streets, are
planted so as to form alleys.

Pointe de Galle is the place of rendezvous for the steamers from
China, Bombay, Calcutta, and Suez. Passengers from Calcutta,
Bombay, and Suez, do not stop more than twelve, or, at most, twenty-
four hours; but those proceeding from China to Calcutta have to wait
ten or fourteen days for the steamer that carries them to their
destination. This delay was to me very agreeable, as I profited by
it to make an excursion to Candy.

There are two conveyances from Pointe de Galle to Colombo--the mail
which leaves every day, and a coach which starts three times a week.
The distance is seventy-three English miles, and the journey is
performed in ten hours. A place in the mail costs 1 pounds 10s.,
and in the coach 13s. As I was pressed for time, I was obliged to
go by the first. The roads are excellent; not a hill, not a stone
is there to impede the rapid rate at which the horses, that are
changed every eight miles, scamper along.

The greater portion of the road traversed thick forests of cocoa-
trees, at a little distance from the sea-shore, and the whole way
was more frequented and more thickly studded with houses than
anything I ever saw even in Europe. Village followed village in
quick succession, and so many separate houses were built between
them, that there was not a minute that we did not pass one. I
remarked also some small towns, but the only one worthy of notice
was Calturi, where I was particularly struck by several handsome
houses inhabited by Europeans.

Along the road-side, under little roofs of palm-leaves, were placed
large earthen vessels filled with water, and near them cocoa-nut
shells to drink out of. Another measure for the accommodation of
travellers, which is no less worthy of praise, consists in the
establishment of little stone buildings, roofed in, but open at the
sides, and furnished with benches. In these buildings many
wayfarers often pass the night.

The number of people and vehicles that we met made the journey
appear to me very short. There were specimens of all the various
races which compose the population of Ceylon. The Cingalese,
properly so called, are the most numerous, but, besides these, there
are Indians, Mahomedans, Malays, natives of Malabar, Jews, Moors,
and even Hottentots. I saw numerous instances of handsome and
agreeable physiognomies among those of the first three races; the
Cingalese youths and boys, in particular, are remarkably handsome.
They possess mild, well-formed features, and are so slim and finely
built, that they might easily be mistaken for girls; an error into
which it is the more easy to fall from their manner of dressing
their hair. They wear no covering on their head, and comb back all
their hair, which is then fastened behind by means of a comb, with a
flat, broad plate, four inches high. This kind of head-dress looks
anything but becoming in the men. The Mahomedans and Jews have more
marked features; the latter resemble the Arabs, and, like them, have
noble physiognomies. The Mahomedans and Jews, too, are easily
recognised by their shaven heads, long beards, and small white caps
or turbans. Many of the Indians, likewise, wear turbans; but the
most have only a simple piece of cloth tied round their head, which
is also the case with the natives of Malacca and Malabar. The
Hottentots allow their coal-black hair to fall in rude disorder over
their foreheads and half-way down their necks. With the exception
of the Mahomedans and Jews, none of these different people bestow
much care upon their dress. Save a small piece of cloth of about a
hand's-breadth, and fastened between their legs, they go about
naked. Those who are at all dressed, wear short trousers and an
upper garment.

I saw very few women, and these only near their huts, which they
appear to leave less than any females with whom I am acquainted.
Their dress, also, was exceedingly simple, consisting merely of an
apron bound round their loins, a short jacket that exposed rather
than covered the upper part of their body, and a sort of rag hanging
over their head. Many were enveloped in large pieces of cloth worn
loosely about them. The borders and lobes of their ears were
pierced and ornamented with ear-rings, while on their feet and arms,
and round their necks, they wore chains and bracelets of silver, or
some other metal, and round one of their toes an extremely massive

Any one would suppose that, in a country where the females are
allowed to show themselves so little, they would be closely wrapped
up; but this is not the case. Many had forgotten their jackets and
head coverings, especially the old women, who seemed particularly
oblivious in this respect, and presented a most repulsive appearance
when thus exposed. Among the younger ones I remarked many a
handsome and expressive face; only they, too, ought not to be seen
without their jackets, as their breasts hang down almost to their

The complexion of the population varies from a dark to a light or
reddish brown or copper colour. The Hottentots are black, but
without that glossy appearance which distinguishes the negro.

It is extraordinary what a dread all these half-naked people have of
the wet. It happened to commence raining a little, when they sprang
like so many rope-dancers over every little puddle, and hastened to
their huts and houses for shelter. Those who were travelling and
obliged to continue their journey, held, instead of umbrellas, the
leaves of the great fan-palm (Corypha umbraculifera) over their
heads. These leaves are about four feet broad, and can be easily
held, like fans. One of them is large enough for two persons.

But if the natives dread the rain, they have no fear of the heat.
It is said that they run no risk from the rays of the sun, being
protected by the thickness of their skulls and the fat beneath.

I was much struck by the peculiarity of some of the waggons, which
consisted of wooden two-wheeled cars, roofed with palm leaves
stretching out about four feet, before and behind, beyond the body
of the car. These projections serve to protect the driver from the
rain and the rays of the sun, whichever way they may chance to fall.
The oxen, of which there was always only a pair, were yoked at such
a distance from the waggon, that the driver could walk very
conveniently in the intervening space.

I profited by the half-hour allowed for breakfast to proceed to the
sea-shore, whence I observed a number of men busily employed on the
dangerous rock in the middle of the most violent breakers. Some of
them loosened, by the aid of long poles, oysters, mussels, etc.,
from the rocks, while others dived down to the bottom to fetch them
up. I concluded that there must be pearls contained inside, for I
could not suppose that human beings would encounter such risks for
the sake of the fish alone; and yet this was the case, for I found,
later, that though the same means are employed in fishing for
pearls, it is on the eastern coast and only during the months of
February and March.

The boats employed by these individuals were of two kinds. The
larger ones, which contained about forty persons, were very broad,
and composed of boards joined together and fastened with the fibres
of the cocoa-tree; the smaller ones were exactly like those I saw in
Tahiti, save that they appeared still more dangerous. The bottom
was formed of the trunk of an extremely narrow tree, slightly
hollowed out, and the sides of the planks are kept in their places
by side and cross supports. These craft rose hardly a foot and a
half out of the water, and their greatest breadth did not average
quite a foot. There was a small piece of plank laid across as a
seat, but the rower was obliged to cross his knees from want of room
to sit with them apart.

The road, as I before mentioned, lay for the most part through
forests of cocoa-trees, where the soil was very sandy and completely
free from creepers and underwood; but near trees that did not bear
fruit, the soil was rich, and both that and the trees covered with
creepers in wild luxuriance. There were very few orchids.

We crossed four rivers, the Tindurch, Bentock, Cattura, and Pandura,
two by means of boats, two by handsome wooden bridges.

The cinnamon plantations commenced about ten miles from Colombo; and
on this side of the town are all the country-houses of the
Europeans. They are very simple, shaded with cocoa-trees and
surrounded with stone walls. At 3 o'clock in the afternoon, we
drove over two draw-bridges and through two fortified gateways into
the town, which is far more pleasantly situated than Pointe de
Galle, on account of its nearer proximity to the beautiful mountain

I only stopped a night here, and on the following morning again
resumed my journey in the mail to the town of Candy, which is
distant seventy-two miles.

We left on the 20th of October, at 5 o'clock in the morning.
Colombo is a very extensive town. We drove through a succession of
long, broad streets of handsome houses, all of which latter were
surrounded by verandahs and colonnades. I was very much startled at
the number of persons lying stretched out at full length under these
verandahs, and covered with white clothes. I at first mistook them
for corpses, but I soon perceived that their number was too great to
warrant that supposition, and I then discovered that they were only
asleep. Many, too, began to move and throw off their winding-
sheets. I was informed that the natives prefer sleeping in this
manner before the houses to sleeping inside of them.

The Calanyganga, an important river, is traversed by a long floating
bridge; the road then branches off more and more from the sea-coast,
and the character of the scenery changes. The traveller now meets
with large plains covered with fine plantations of rice, the green
and juicy appearance of which reminded me of our own young wheat
when it first shoots up in spring. The forests were composed of
mere leaved wood, the palms becoming at every step more rare; one or
two might sometimes be seen, here and there, towering aloft like
giants, and shading everything around. I can imagine nothing more
lovely than the sight of the delicate creepers attached to the tall
stems of these palms and twining up to their very crests.

After we had gone about sixteen miles, the country began to assume a
more hilly aspect, and we were soon surrounded by mountains on every
side. At the foot of each ascent we found extra horses in waiting
for us; these were yoked to the ordinary team, and whirled us
rapidly over all obstacles. Although there is a rise of about 2,000
feet on the road to Candy, we performed the distance, seventy-two
miles, in eleven hours.

The nearer we approached our destination, the more varied and
changing became the scenery. At one time we might be closely hemmed
in by the mountains, and then the next moment they would stretch
away, one above the other, while their summits seemed to contend
which should outrival the rest in altitude and beauty of outline.
They were covered, to the height of several thousand feet, with
luxuriant vegetation, which, for the most part, then generally
ceased, and gave way to the bare rock. I was not less interested,
however, with the curious teams we sometimes met, than I was with
the scenery. It is well known that Ceylon abounds in elephants,
many of which are captured and employed for various purposes. Those
that I now saw were yoked in twos or threes to large waggons, full
of stones for mending the roads.

Four miles before reaching Candy, we came to the river
Mahavilaganga, which is spanned by a masterly bridge of one arch.
The materials of the bridge are most costly, consisting of satin-
wood. In connection with this structure, I learned the following

After the conquest of the island by the English, the natives did not
give up the hope of once more attaining their independence, because
one of their oracles had declared that it was as impossible for the
enemy to obtain a lasting dominion over them, as it was for the
opposite banks of the Mahavilaganga to be united by a road. When
the bridge was begun, they smiled, and said that it could never be
successfully completed. At present, I was told, they think of
independence no more.

Near the bridge is a botanical garden which I visited the following
day, and was astonished at its excellent arrangement, and the
richness of its collection of flowers, plants, and trees.

Opposite the garden is one of the largest sugar-plantations, and, in
the neighbourhood, a number of coffee-plantations.

In my opinion, the situation of Candy is most beautiful, but many
affirm that it is too near the mountains, and lies in a pit. At any
rate, this pit is a very lovely one, abounding in the most luxuriant
vegetation. The town itself is small and ugly, consisting of
nothing but a mass of small shops, with natives passing to and fro.
The few houses that belong to Europeans, the places of business, and
the barracks, are all outside the town, upon small hills. Large
sheets of artificial water, surrounded by splendid stone
balustrades, and shaded by alleys of the mighty tulip-tree, occupy a
portion of the valley. On the side of one of these basins, stands
the famous Buddhist temple of Dagoha, which is built in the Moorish-
Hindostanee style, and richly ornamented.

On my leaving the coach, one of the passengers was kind enough to
recommend me a good hotel, and to call a native and direct him where
to conduct me. When I reached the hotel, the people there said that
they were very sorry, but that all their rooms were occupied. I
asked them to direct my guide to another establishment, which they
did. The rascal led me away from the town, and, pointing to a hill
which was near us, gave me to understand that the hotel was situated
behind it. I believed him, as all the houses are built far apart;
but on ascending the hill, I found nothing but a lonely spot and a
wood. I wished to turn back, but the fellow paid no attention to my
desire, and continued walking towards the wood. I then snatched my
portmanteau from him, and refused to proceed any further. He
endeavoured to wrest it from me, when, luckily, I saw in the
distance two English soldiers, who hastened up in answer to my
cries, and, on seeing this, the fellow ran off. I related my
adventure to the soldiers, who congratulated me on the recovery of
my luggage, and conducted me to the barracks, where one of the
officers was kind enough to give orders that I should be conducted
to another hotel.

My first visit was to the temple of Dagoha, which contains a
valuable relic of the god Buddha, namely, one of his teeth, and,
together with the out-buildings, is surrounded by a wall. The
circumference of the principal temple is not very considerable, and
the sanctuary, which contains the tooth, is a small chamber hardly
twenty feet broad. Within this place all is darkness, as there are
no windows, and inside the door, there is a curtain, to prevent the
entry of any light. The walls and ceiling are covered with silk
tapestry, which, however, has nothing but its antiquity to recommend
it. It is true that it was interwoven with gold thread, but it
appeared never to have been especially costly, and I cannot believe
that it ever produced that dazzling effect which some travellers
have described. Half of the chamber was engrossed by a large table,
or kind of altar, inlaid with plates of silver, and ornamented round
the edges with precious stones. On it stands a bell-shaped case,
measuring at the bottom at least three feet in diameter, and the
same in height. It is made of silver thickly gilt, and decorated
with a number of costly jewels; there is a peacock in the middle
entirely formed of precious stones; but all these treasures fail to
produce any very great effect, from the clumsy and inartistic
fashion in which they are set.

Under the large case there are six smaller ones, said to be of pure
gold; under the last is the tooth of the all-powerful divinity. The
outer case is secured by means of three locks, two of the keys
belonging to which used to be kept by the English governor, while
the third remained in the custody of the chief priest of the temple.
A short time previous to my visit, however, the government had
restored the two keys to the natives with great solemnities, and
they are now confided to one of the native Radschas, or princes.

The relic itself is only shown to a prince or some other great
personage; all other people must be content to believe the priest,
who, for a small gratuity, has the politeness to describe the size
and beauty of the tooth. The dazzling whiteness of its hue is said
to eclipse that of ivory, while its form is described as being more
beautiful than anything of the kind ever beheld, and its size to
equal that of the tooth of an immense bullock.

An immense number of pilgrims come here every year to pay their
adoration to this divine tooth.

"Where ignorance is bliss, 't is folly to be wise." How many people
are there among us Christians who believe things which require quite
as great an amount of faith? For instance, I remember witnessing,
when I was a girl, a festival at Calvaria, in Gallicia, which is
still celebrated every year. A great multitude of pilgrims go there
to obtain splinters of the true cross. The priests manufacture
little crosses of wax, on which, as they assure the faithful, they
stick splinters of the real one. These little crosses, wrapped up
in paper and packed in baskets, are placed ready for distribution,
that is, for sale. Every peasant generally takes three: one to put
in his room, one in his stable, and another in his barn. The most
wonderful portion of the business is that these crosses must be
renewed every year, as in that period they lose their divine power.

But let me return to Candy. In a second temple, adjoining that in
which the relic is preserved, are two gigantic hollow statues of the
god Buddha in a sitting posture, and both are said to be formed of
the finest gold. Before these colossi stand whole rows of smaller
Buddhas, of crystal, glass, silver, copper, and other materials. In
the entrance hall, likewise, are several stone statues of different
gods, with other ornaments, most of them roughly and stiffly
executed. In the middle stands a small plain monument of stone,
resembling a bell turned upside down; it is said to cover the grave
of a Brahmin.

On the outer walls of the principal temple are wretched daubs in
fresco, representing the state of eternal punishment. Some of the
figures are being roasted, twitched with red-hot pincers, partly
baked, or forced to swallow fire. Others again, are jammed between
rocks, or having pieces of flesh cut out of their bodies, etc., but
fire appears to play the principal part in these punishments.

The doors of the principal temple are made of metal, and the door
posts of ivory. On the first are the most beautiful arabesques in
basso-relief, and on the second, in inlaid work, representing
flowers and other objects. Before the principal entrance, four of
the largest elephant's teeth ever found are stuck up by way of

Ranged round the court-yard are the tents of the priests, who always
go about with bare, shaven heads, and whose costume consists of a
light yellow upper garment, which nearly covers the whole body. It
is said that there were once 500 officiating priests in this temple;
at present the divinity is obliged to content himself with a few

The chief part of the religious ceremonies of the Buddhists consists
in presents of flowers and money. Every morning and evening a most
horrible instrument, fit to break the drum of one's ear, and called
a tam-tam, together with some shrill trumpets and fifes, is played
before the door of the temple. To this soon succeeds a crowd of
people from all sides, bringing baskets full of the most beautiful
flowers, with which the priests adorn the altars, and that in a
manner so elegant and tasty, that it cannot be surpassed.

Besides this temple, there are several others in Candy, but only one
worth noticing. This is situated at the foot of a rocky hill, out
of which has been hewn a statue of Buddha, thirty-six feet high, and
over this is built the temple, which is small and elegant. The god
is painted with the most glaring colours. The walls of the temple
are covered with handsome red cement, and portioned out into small
panels, in all of which the god Buddha appears al fresco. There are
also a few portraits of Vischnu, another god. The colours on the
southern wall of the temple are remarkable for their fine state of

Here, likewise, there is a funeral monument, like that of the Temple
of Dagoha, not however, in the building itself, but under the lofty
firmament of heaven, and shaded by noble trees.

Attached to the temples are frequently schools, in which the priests
fulfil the duties of teachers. Near this particular temple, we saw
about a dozen boys--girls are not allowed to attend school--busy
writing. The copies for them were written very beautifully, by
means of a stylus, on small palm-leaves, and the boys used the same

It is well worth any person's while to walk to the great valley
through which the Mahavilaganga flows. It is intersected with a
countless number of wave-like hills, many of which form regular
terraces, and are planted with rice or coffee. Nature is here young
and vigorous, and amply rewards the planter's toil. The darker
portions of the picture are composed of palms or other trees, and
the back-ground consists partly of towering mountains, in a holiday
suit of green velvet, partly of stupendous and romantic rocks in all
their gloomy nakedness.

I saw many of the principal mountains in Ceylon--giants, 8,000 feet
high; but, unfortunately, not the most celebrated one, Adam's Peak,
which has an altitude of 6,500 feet, and which, towards the summit
is so steep, that it was necessary, in order to enable any one to
climb up, to cut small steps in the rock, and let in an iron chain.

But the bold adventurer is amply repaid for his trouble. On the
flat summit of the rock is the imprint of a _small_ foot, five feet
long. The Mahomedans suppose it to be that of our vigorous
progenitor, Adam, and the Buddhists that of their large-toothed
divinity, Buddha. Thousands of both sects flock to the place every
year, to perform their devotions.

There still exists at Candy the palace of the former king, or
emperor of Ceylon. It is a handsome stone building, but with no
peculiar feature of its own; I should have supposed that it had been
built by Europeans. It consists of a ground floor, somewhat raised,
with large windows, and handsome porticoes resting upon columns.
The only remarkable thing about it is a large hall in the interior,
with its walls decorated with some rough and stiffly executed
representations of animals in relief. Since the English deposed the
native sovereign, the palace has been inhabited by the English
resident, or governor.

Had I only arrived a fortnight sooner, I should have witnessed the
mode of hunting, or rather snaring, elephants. The scene of
operations is a spot on the banks of some stream or other, where
these animals go to drink. A large place is enclosed with posts,
leading up to which, and also skirted by stout posts, are a series
of narrow passages. A tame elephant, properly trained, is then made
fast in the middle of the large space, to entice by his cries the
thirsty animals, who enter unsuspiciously the labyrinth from which
they cannot escape, as the hunters and drivers follow, alarm them by
their shouts, and drive them into the middle of the enclosure. The
finest are taken alive, by being deprived of food for a short time.
This renders them so obedient, that they quietly allow a noose to be
thrown over them, and then follow the tame elephant without the
least resistance. The others are then either killed or set at
liberty, according as they possess fine tusks or not.

The preparations for capturing these animals sometimes last several
weeks, as, besides enclosing the spot selected, a great many persons
are employed to hunt up the elephants far and wide, and drive them
gradually to the watering place.

Persons sometimes go elephant-hunting, armed merely with firearms;
but this is attended with danger. The elephant, as is well known,
is easily vulnerable in one spot only,--the middle of the skull. If
the hunter happens to hit the mark, the monster lies stretched
before him at the first shot; but if he misses, then woe to him, for
he is speedily trampled to death by the enraged beast. In all other
cases the elephant is very peaceable, and is not easily induced to
attack human beings.

The Europeans employ elephants to draw and carry burdens--an
elephant will carry forty hundred-weight; but the natives keep them
more for show and riding.

I left Candy after a stay of three days, and returned to Colombo,
where I was obliged to stop another day, as it was Sunday, and there
was no mail.

I profited by this period to visit the town, which is protected by a
strong fort. It is very extensive; the streets are handsome, broad,
and clean; the houses only one story high, and surrounded by
verandahs and colonnades. The population is reckoned at about
80,000 souls, of whom about 100 are Europeans, exclusive of the
troops, and 200 descendants of Portuguese colonists, who founded a
settlement here some centuries ago. The complexion of the latter is
quite as dark as that of the natives themselves.

In the morning I attended mass. The church was full of Irish
soldiers and Portuguese. The dress of the Portuguese was extremely
rich; they wore ample robes with large folds, and short silk
jackets; in their ears hung ear-rings of pearls and diamonds, and
round their necks, arms, and even ankles, were gold and silver

In the afternoon I took a walk to one of the numerous cinnamon
plantations round Colombo. The cinnamon tree or bush is planted in
rows; it attains at most a height of nine feet, and bears a white,
scentless blossom. From the fruit, which is smaller than an acorn,
oil is obtained by crushing and boiling it; the oil then disengages
itself and floats on the top of the water. It is mixed with cocoa-
oil and used for burning.

There are two cinnamon harvests in the course of the year. The
first and principal one takes place from April to July, and the
second from November to January. The rind is peeled from the
branches by means of knives, and then dried in the sun; this gives
it a yellowish or brownish tint. The best cinnamon is a light
yellow, and not thicker than pasteboard.

The essential oil of cinnamon, used in medicine, is extracted from
the plant itself, which is placed in a vessel full of water, and
left to steep for eight to ten days. The whole mass is then
transferred to a retort and distilled over a slow fire. In a short
time, on the surface of the water thus distilled a quantity of oil
collects, and this is then skimmed off with the greatest care.

In the animal kingdom, besides the elephants, I was much struck by
the number and tameness of the ravens of Ceylon. In every small
town and village may be seen multitudes of these birds, that come up
to the very doors and windows and pick up everything. They play the
part of scavengers here, just as dogs do in Turkey. The horned
cattle are rather small, with humps between the shoulder-blades;
these humps consist of flesh and are considered a great dainty.

In Colombo and Pointe de Galle there are likewise a great many large
white buffaloes, belonging to the English government, and imported
from Bengal. They are employed in drawing heavy loads.

Under the head of fruit, I may mention the pine-apple as being
particularly large and good.

I found the temperature supportable, especially in the high country
round about Candy, where, after some heavy rain, it might almost be
called cold. In the evening and morning the thermometer stood as
low as 61 degrees 25' Fah.; and in the middle of the day and in the
sun, it did not rise above 79 degrees 25'. In Colombo and Pointe de
Galle, the weather was fine, and the heat reached 95 degrees Fah.

On the 26th of October I again reached Pointe de Galle, and on the
following day I embarked in another English steamer for India.



On the afternoon of the 27th of October I went on board the
steamship "Bentinck," of 500 horse-power; but we did not weigh
anchor much before evening.

Among the passengers was an Indian prince of the name of Schadathan,
who had been made prisoner by the English for breaking a peace he
had concluded with them. He was treated with all the respect due to
his rank, and he was allowed his two companions, his mundschi, or
secretary, and six of his servants. They were all dressed in the
Oriental fashion, only, instead of turbans, they wore high, round
caps, composed of pasteboard covered with gold or silver stuff.
They wore also luxuriant long black hair, and beards.

The companions of the prince took their meals with the servants. A
carpet was spread out upon the deck, and two large dishes, one
containing boiled fowls, and the other pillau, placed upon it; the
company used their hands for knives and forks.

28th October. We still were in sight of the fine dark mountain
ranges of Ceylon. Now and then, too, some huge detached groups of
rocks would be visible towering above the waves.

29th October. Saw no land. A few whales betrayed their presence by
the showers of spray they spouted up, and immense swarms of flying
fish were startled by the noise of our engines.

On the morning of the 30th of October we came in sight of the Indian
continent. We soon approached near enough to the shore to
distinguish that it was particularly remarkable for its beauty,
being flat and partly covered with yellow sand; in the back-ground
were chains of low hills.

At 1 o'clock, P.M., we anchored at a considerable distance (six
miles) from Madras. The anchoring place here is the most dangerous
in the world, the ground-swell being so strong that at no time can
large vessels approach near the town, and many weeks often pass
without even a boat being able to do so. Ships, consequently, only
stop a very short time, and there are rarely more than a dozen to be
seen riding at anchor. Large boats, rowed by ten or twelve men,
come alongside them to take the passengers, letters, and merchandise

The steamer stops here eight hours, which may be spent in viewing
the town, though any one so doing runs a chance of being left
behind, as the wind is constantly changing. I trusted to the good
luck which had always attended me during my travels, and made one of
the party that disembarked; but we had not got more than half way to
land when I was punished for my curiosity. It began to rain most
fearfully, and we were very soon wet to the skin. We took refuge in
the first coffee-house we saw, situated at the water's edge; the
rain had now assumed a tropical character, and we were unable to
leave our asylum. As soon as the storm had passed by, a cry was
raised for us to return as quickly as possible, as there was no
knowing what might follow.

A speculative baker of Madras had come out in the first boat that
reached the steamer with ice and biscuits for sale, which he
disposed of very much to his profit.

The angry heavens at length took compassion on us and cleared up
before sunset. We were then enabled to see the palace-like
dwellings of the Europeans, built half in the Grecian and half in
the Italian style of architecture, stretching along the shore and
beautifully lighted by the sun. Besides these, there were others
standing outside the town in the midst of magnificent gardens.

Before we left, a number of natives ventured to us in small boats
with fruit, fish, and other trifles. Their boats were constructed
of the trunks of four small trees, tightly bound together with thin
ropes made of the fibres of the cocoa-tree; a long piece of wood
served as an oar. The waves broke so completely over them that I
imagined every instant that both boats and men were irretrievably

The good people were almost in a state of nature, and seemed to
bestow all their care on their heads, which were covered with pieces
of cloth, turbans, cloth or straw caps, or very high and peaked
straw hats. The more respectable--among whom may be reckoned the
boatmen who brought the passengers and mails--were, however, in many
cases, very tastily dressed. They had on neat jackets, and large
long pieces of cloth wrapped round their bodies; both the cloths and
jackets were white, with a border of blue stripes. On their heads
they wore tightly fitting white caps, with a long flap hanging down
as far as their shoulders. These caps, too, had a blue border. The
complexion of the natives was a dark brown or coffee colour.

Late in the evening, a native woman came on board with her two
children. She had paid second-class fare, and was shown a small
dark berth not far from the first cabin places. Her younger child
had, unfortunately, a bad cough, which prevented some rich English
lady, who had likewise a child with her, from sleeping. Perhaps the
exaggerated tenderness which this lady manifested for her little son
caused her to believe that the cough might be catching; but, be that
as it may, the first thing she did on the following morning, was to
beg that the captain would transfer mother and children to the deck,
which the noble-hearted humane captain immediately did, neither the
lady nor himself caring in the least whether the poor mother had or
had not, even a warm coverlid to protect her sick child from the
night cold and the frequent heavy showers.

Would that this rich English lady's child had only been ill, and
exposed with her to the foggy night air, that she might herself have
experienced what it is to be thus harshly treated! A person of any
heart must almost feel ashamed at belonging to a class of beings who
allow themselves to be far surpassed in humanity and kindness by
those who are termed savages; no savages would have thus thrust
forth a poor woman with a sick child, but would, on the contrary,
have taken care of both. It is only Europeans, who have been
brought up with Christian principles, who assume the right of
treating coloured people according as their whim or fancy may

On the 1st and 2nd of November we caught occasional glimpses of the
mainland, as well as of several little islands; but all was flat and
sandy, without the least pretensions to natural beauty. Ten or
twelve ships, some of them East Indiamen of the largest size, were
pursuing the same route as ourselves.

On the morning of the 3rd of November, the sea had already lost its
own beautiful colour, and taken that of the dirty yellow Ganges.
Towards evening we had approached pretty close to the mouths of this
monster river, for some miles previous to our entering which, the
water had a sweet flavour. I filled a glass from the holy stream,
and drank it to the health of all those near and dear to me at home.

At 5 o'clock in the afternoon, we cast anchor before Kadscheri, at
the entrance of the Ganges, it being too late to proceed to
Calcutta, which is sixty nautical miles distant. The stream at this
point was several miles broad, so that the dark line of only one of
its banks was to be seen.

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