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ed wooden platform, was an English. man, attired in white trousers and waistcoat, and a checked shooting coatee, behind a table, en suite with the platform, writing, taking down the deposition of a witness, which was in terpreted from Cingalese into English by a native interpreter.
“ I say, Tom, we can't speak to him now; we shall stop the proceedings."
“ Bother their black proceedings. Here, give me the letter-I will speak to him quietly."
And up walked Tom Atkins to the bench, par complaisance.
“ Mr. T. L. Gibson, I believe here is a letter addressed to you.”
“ Thank you; I will come to you at the rest-house. This case will soon be over, and I shall be with you before breakfast is finished.”
“ I like the look of that chap; don't you, Gus?"
“ Yes. Let us toddle back quick, for I'm sure breakfast ought to be ready by this time.”
“Come along," said Arthur Otwyn; “ Dighton and I were vowing we would begin without you. Now, boy, off with the covers. This fish looks and smells very appetising-shall I give you some ?"
" Why, these are queer-looking oysters in the curry; they are quite purple, yet they seem to be fresh enough."
“ Don't you remember, Dighton, the oysters at Aden; they were just the same unchristian looking concerns as these ?"
“ Never mind their looks, they eat very well. Some coffee, boy, and more bread."
• No got more blead-all finish.”
“ No can; no make plenty blead Bentotte; no plenty English gentle mans; Burgher, Cingaleseman, no wantin' blead."
“ Then what do you eat ?"
“ Hush, Tom, he means rice and curry. Don't you see these fellows never pronounce rit is always l. I wish you could get us some bread though, my boy; go and see."
" No can gettin'. Mr. Gibson buyin' two bleads; bakeman no got mole."
“ Well, then, I wish Mr. Gibson would give us one bread."
“ You shall have it directly,” said
Mr. Gibson, who had just entered the room. “ Here, tell my appoo to bring the bread."
“I am quite ashamed of myself; but I had not the least idea that you were within hearing."
“ No apologies, I beg. I only regret that Mr. Whalmer did not send the letter by post, for then I would have had a good breakfast ready for you. No tea—that will never do. Appoo, bring tea, beer, pickles-bring all that you can get. Tell the cook to grill some ham, and look sharp ; though the coach will wait, as Christoffoletz is the civillest fellow in the world."
“ Allow me, Mr. Gibson, to introduce my cousin, Augustus Whalmer, who was afraid to present his own letter whilst you were seated, cum dignitate, on the bench. I am Tom Atkins, a bashful youth ; that is Mr. James Dighton ; that, Lieutenant Otwyn, Ceylon Rifles. Now, we know each other's names. But here is something like a breakfast coming, thanks to your bounty, Mr. Gibson."
And whilst the five gentlemen are discussing their creature-comforts, we will speak as we feel of Gibby_for none of his friends ever gave him the title and dignity of his paternal cognomen, preferring the diminutive Gibbywho is one of the most liberal, hospi. table, kind-hearted creatures on earth; and often have we partaken of his good fare in his room at the Rest House of Bentotte; and when his duty has called him into the interior of his district, he has left orders with his servant to prepare a good meal for us ; but as his honest, kind, hearty welcome was wanting, it lost its chief charm. There he lived, surrounded by his dogs--and beautiful spaniels some were-isolated from his countrymen, dependent for society on those who travelled from Colombo to Galle, and when he got leave to go to either of the above towns for a day or two. And, Gibby, you were happy-happy in your own kind. liness of heart. You will never guess who writes this; for you are hospi. table to so many, that our acknowledgment will not betray our incognito. Would you were in old Ireland, and we held your fist--wouldn't the shake be hearty, old boy? But while we are seated, snug and cozy, in a well-carpeted room, near a bright, brisk fire, writing, you are broiling under a tropical sun, possibly seated in your court-house, with its tiled floor, and crowded with odoriferous natives, chewing betel, and spitting about. Prosper you, Gibby, wherever you are, and may you live long.
“ And have you only these two rooms, Gibson, in this horrid hole? Why, my father's stable-boys would turn up their noses at them. The government do not seem to treat their servants too liberally, at all events, and from this specimen, I am not particularly enamoured of the civil service of Ceylon."
« But I am to have a house built, however, and a court-house, too ; the governor promised me both, more than four years ago : so do not augurate from what you see here, as some of the district-judges and magistrates haye good residences provided for them."
“But,” said Tom Atkins, “is the foundation of the house dug yet, or first brick or stone laid ?"
“I am sorry to say the site is not yet fixed upon, consequently the first block of Cabook cannot be yet laid: we do not use stone or brick out here."
« Nor expedition either, it would seem.”
" Gentlemen, are you ready--the coach is waiting for you."
• Good bye, Gibson_let me see you in Colombo as soon as you come there."
* Good bye, Whalmer; I hope that you will get a post that will suit you."
“I shall be sure to find you out when I run up to Colombo. Good bye, Mr. Atkins."
“ Mr. Gibson, have I injured you ?" « Not in the least."
" Then wby call me Mr. Atkins : everybody calls me Tom Atkins; but you ought to owe me a grudge, for the manner in which I walked into your ham. Give me your daddle; now, good bye. Mind you are booked to pass some time with me, as soon as I have built a house on my coffee es. tate; and as I am not a government servant, I stand a chance of getting a decent domicile, in something less than a quarter of four years."
Parting salutations again echoed round, and they separated : the ma. gistrate returned to his pleasant occu. pation of listening to complaints of the natives, embellished with lies, each party trying to outdo the other in their multiplicity--the travellers to resume their route to Colombo; and immedia
ately they entered the coach, were ferried over the river.
“What a good fellow our new acquaintance seems, Whalmer-don't he?"
“ Yes, he does; but I pity him lis. ing there without a countryman near him. I hope they won't offer me such a post, for I should not like it at all."
“ Nil desperandum, is my motto, Gus, so don't look so down in the mouth. If the worst comes to the worst, you can come and join me, turning coffee-planter, though I am afraid we shall not find much society in the jungle, of the human sort; but then, to compensate for that, we shall have good sport in shooting wild elephants and pigs, and trying to exter. minate tic polongas and cobracapellas."
“I shall take your advice, Tom, and banish disagreeable thoughts from my mind, and feast my eyes on this splendid scenery, so truly Oriental in its character. But what is that extraor. dinary-looking creature?-is it of the lizard species?_it looks five feet long from snout to tail.”
“That, sir, is an alligator at least we call them so ; but I believe iguano is the right name for them; and we have them bigger than that. I have seen them quite six feet long. They are very strong, and can break a man's leg with a blow from their tail."
" Are they amphibious?"
“Do these reptiles live on land or water ?'
“ Both, sir."
“ Anything they can get, sir; they will come after your fowls, and catch them very quick, unless you look sharp; and they go into the rivers and catch fish ; then they will eat plantains and young cocoa-nuts. Though I have heard there are two sorts of these alligators, or iguanos, but I never could see any difference between them, for they all look the same to me."
“ Well, they are hideous-looking brutes or reptiles. There's another of them deliberately crossing the road; he don't mind the coach-not be-but turns his ugly mug to look at us, and pursues his route with the most perfect nonchalance. How ungainly the motion of his clumsy legs, as he moves them slowly one after the other; you would suppose that he had a hundredweight of lead attached to each of them.”
« Well, Gus, even you could not find anything to admire in that hideous specimen of the animal creation."
"The creature is not handsome, certainly ; but I am quite convinced that his form is exactly adapted to his mode of procuring sustenance. Look at him now, how nimbly he is climbing up that tree; his short thick legs, that a minute ago moved so slowly and heavily, are lightsome and agile enough now. He is after that squirrel; what a beautiful little grey creature it is, with its bushy tail, not half the size of our squirrel. Pretty creature, I am glad that you have got away from your pursuer.”
“ Do we change horses here? Ah! the heat-it is intense ; the rays of the sun are absolutely scorching. Now we are off again. I wish our journey was over-I am weary of it. Look-what is that bird ?-it looks like a peacock.”
“ It is a wild peacock, sir-there are plenty of them in the interior; but they seldom come so close to the high road."
" How beautifully his magnificent plumage glitters in the sun, as he wings his flight upwards; now he poises on his wing, and floats on air; now he alights on that noble ebony-tree; how proudly erect he holds his crested head, the feathers of his drooping tail intermingling with the luxuriant foliage of the splendid tree.”
“Well, Whalmer," said Arthur Otwyn," he is a beautiful bird, I must
he is a beautiful bird, I must allow; I only wish that I had the chance of a shot at him. I wonder if I could bring him down; he is up a good height; he looks well on the wing."
“Ah! the heat and glare of this sun -it is most oppressive. What ! another river. What is the name of this place ?"
« Caltura, sir."
“ What a noble river!—the width of it is great -- the waters pellucid, with luxuriant aquatic flowers floating on its bosom. Look at those white water-lilies, intermixed with the pink lotus, and those small blue spiralshaped flowers, almost the colour and shape of our own *forget-me-not, twining around both. Tarn your eyes to the banks, wooded down to the water's edge with stately palms, noble bread-fruit, jack, and tamarind-trees. Look at the contrast between the bright scarlet flower of the pomegrante.
tree, and the small delicate white blos. som of the cinnamon-laurel. How luxuriant is that tuberose shrub, the air is loaded with the fragrant aroma of its flowers. How splendidly the sunbeams play upon the ripples of the stream, and are reflected in prismatic colours. This is a most glorious spectacle, and raises our thoughts
“From nature up to nature's God." "Well, Gus, do stop; we know you think it very fine, and all that sort of thing. The water, which you call pelo lucid, can't be very pure. Look at those fellows ejecting their filthy saliva into it, red with the beastly betel they have been chewing. Just look among the luxuriant aquatic flowers at the nozzle of that black brute of an alligator popped up among them. And as for the sun's rays, I wish they were less scorching; I am almost grilled."
" That must be a fine estate up there,” said James Dighton, pointing up the river, “and a very productive one. Who does it belong to ?"
“Old Layard, sir."
“ That's not a very respectful way to speak of a gentleman."
“I don't mean any disrespect, sir ; but there are such a lot of Layards out here, that we always calls Charles Peter Layard, Old Layard.'”.
“Now, Gus, as we are over the ferry which you raved about, just look at that fellow there; he is regularly piebald-a patch of cadaverously-white flesh, and then a patch of brown flesh; it is some cutaneous disease. What is it, Mr. Proprietor ?"
“ A sort of leprosy, sir; the natives are very subject to skin-complaints."
“ But, Tom, turn your eyes from that unsightly object to the classic attitude of that blind boy, who, with his hands clasped and raised above his head, in an attitude of supplication, is asking for alms; look at his dishevelled raven locks down his back. I must give him something, if only for the gratification he has afforded me, in recalling to memory the antique statues of ancient Greece."
“ Keep your money, Gus, and don't be a fool. As for classic beauty, I see nothing but a half-naked youth clamoring for money; and as for his raven locks, 'twould be better if they were cut off, as I have no doubt there is a thriving colony of live insects in them."
“Look, Atkins,” said Dighton, “at that woman with a man's head in her
lap; he lying most contentedly, while she rids his head of some of the inhabitants. The women are a filthy, dirty, ugly race, chewing betel, spitting about, and squatting like apes."
“Gus, can't you find anything to say in defence of the fair sex, or rather the bronze portions of the femi. nine gender-you usually are so very gallant ?”
“No, indeerl, I cannot; it is my very love and respect for dear woman
* These ornaments, or pins, are made either of gold and precious stones, chased silver, or carved tortoise-shell; and the mode adopted by the women in arranging
“ Have you run down yet, Gus ? do stop_there's a good fellow. What a lawyer you would have made ; you would have out-talked Thesiger, or jawed a horse's hind-leg off. Look at that snake coming out of the wood, and creeping lazily along the side of the road. Ugh! the ugly varmint."
“ Don't be afraid, sir, it's only a rat. snake; they are quite harmless. We call them rat-snakes, because they catch rats; and are quite glad when they come into our houses."
in Oh! the heat! Although we have the sea on one side of us, and the woods on the other, and there is a breeze, still the sun's rays are overpowering. Each time we change horses, I hope to get cooler, and I verily believe I get hotter. How many stages more is it to Colombo ?"
“ Only one, sir ; we have changed horses twice since we left, and next time we change horses at Morottoe, which is nine miles from Colombo, and we shall be in the fort before half-past four o'clock."
“ Right glad shall I be."
“ And I, too, for I am done brown. I am sure my complexion is spoiled beyond the powers of Gowland's lotion to renovate."
« The horses look better, that are now led out for our last stage.”
“Now, my boy, go it like bricks; that's right--tool them along. Don't spare the whip on my account ; we are going at a good pace."
“ Is all that cinnamon on both sides of the road ?"
“ Yes, sir ; and they will very soon
be peeling it-should you like to see it done, gentlemen ?”
“Yes, very much, and we mean to see it; but I am disappointed in the appearance of the tree or shrub. I thought it would have been handsomer; it looks very like a good-sized laurel, only with smaller and more shining leaves."
“ With this, Tom, as with many other things in life
" • "Tis distance lends enchantment to the view;' still I think the shrub handsome. Now, the character of the houses change as we get nearer to Colombo, the huts of the natives giving place to well-built houses, and neatly laid out gardens ; but being all on the ground floor, strikes the eye as being strange and foreign to what it has been habi. tuated. What is the term for these low houses ?”
- Bungalows, sir ; and we call compounds what you call gardens."
“Surely this must be the pagoda or banyan-tree. Look at it, absolutely forming a series of trees ; from one parent trunk, branch after branch has struck into the earth, as they drooped from the trunk. I have read that these trees will cover an immense space of ground, as each of these branches produce shoots, which will again strike down and take root in the earth; the leaves are large, and colour beautiful, and
« Pray, stop, Gus, and tell me where we shall go to: mind I vote for Ackland Bovd—I don't like the look of the names of any of the others."
« Well, then, we will go to Ackland Boyd's ; the address is merely Colombo-do you know them ?".
“Oh, yes, sir, they live in Colpetty, where we now are ; the house is at the other end, facing the race-course, and the coach can set you down, sir, if you choose."
“ But will you wait for a couple of minutes, while I see if they will give us house-room."
« Certainly, sir."
these pins in the coiffure, produces an elegant effect. Our surprise is great, that Britannia's lovely daughters have not adopted these classical and becoming orniments for their tresses ; but, entre nous, these fair mortals will not patronise any fashion that does not emanate from that emporium of good taste, and paradise of women, designated by the vulgar as Paris.