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Title:      Every Day Life on a Ceylon Cocoa Estate (1905)
Author:     Mary E Steuart (c1832-1920)
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Language:   English
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A Project Gutenberg of Australia eBook

Title:      Every Day Life on a Ceylon Cocoa Estate (1905)
Author:     Mary E Steuart (c1832-1920)


The solar eclipse mentioned dates the visit to Ceylon to be from the
autumn of 1897 to the spring of 1899, though from the use of later
statistics some of the account must have been written up a couple of
years afterwards.

The book mentioned in the preface is "Two Happy Years in Ceylon" [1892]
by Constance Frederica Gordon-Cumming [1837-1924].

The pound sterling symbol is represented as L, italicisations for
emphasis are rendered with underscores, and proper fractions are given
as decimals.  Minimal corrections to the punctuation, spelling and
typography have been made silently, but the erratic spelling of
'coolie' and 'cooly' has been left, as has the erratic spelling of
'cocoa' and 'cacao' for the plant, and the erratic occasional use of
capitalisation for words such as Appu, Lines & Planter.

Every Day Life on a Ceylon Cocoa Estate


Mary E Steuart

London: Henry J Drane
(Ye Olde St Bride's Presse)
Salisbury House, Salisbury Square
Fleet Street, EC


Miss Gordon Cumming and others have written so well and so
exhaustively on the subject of Ceylon that there is little left to
say, and I should not have presumed to put in my word were it not
that, writing as I do from a Planter's Bungalow, I think I have
tapped a new and different stratum of information.

Should you, my dear Sir, or Madam, who have lived in the island as
many years as I have months, perchance open this little book, my
earnest advice is, "Close it at once."  Your experienced eye will
find nothing but the tritest of truisms.

My point of view must needs be superficial.  I write mainly as a
woman to women - the mothers, sisters, and future wives in England of
the young Planters in Ceylon, to give them some few details of the
daily life on a Ceylon Cocoa Estate as I have known it, details which
the women who stay at home crave to know, and the men who go abroad
mostly disdain to give.

Mary E Steuart


Start for Ceylon - Isolation of Estate Life - System of Management -
Servants - Cocoa Culture.

Ceylon House Warming - Low Country Scenery - Native Dancers -
Thai-Pongal Festival.

Fever - System of Medical Attendance - Trespassing Buffaloes and Wild
Pigs - Eclipse of the Sun - Superstitious Fears of Natives - Coolie
Schools - Saami House.

Difficulties of Housekeeping - Good Cooks - Description of
Transplanter - Vegetable Culture - Insect Pests - A Day with Little

A Visit to the Mountains - Four Miles uphill in a Chair - Runaway
Coolie - Tamil Marriages - Flights of Butterflies - Coffee Blossom -
Fruit Culture - Tamil English - Wild Flowers.

Book Tambi - Drapery Tambi - Native Quarrels - Monkeys - Rubber
Culture - Fireflies - Wild Animals.

Saami Ceremony - Snakes - Shooting Party - Kandy Festivities - Wesak
Festival - Native Almsgiving - My Bullock Hackery - Stranded on Road
- Tree Cotton.

"Big Monsoon" - Estate Work for June - Native Cure for Chicken Pox -
Eye Flies - Ayah - Family Names - Lost Children - White Ants - A New
Clearing - An Elephant.

Matale District - Aliwooharie Buddhist Temple - Beauties of the North
Road - Curious Trees - Narrow Escape from Snake - French Speaking
Coolies - Pepper.

Drought - a V.A. - Deserted Lines - Coolie Fear of Devils -
Exorcising Them - Kandy Perahera

Move to another Estate - Fine Bungalow and Garden - Bullock Carts -
Welcome from Musicians and Dancers - Irrigation Works - Cinnamon
Culture - Vanilla Culture.

Tennis Party - Native Cure for Snakebite - Tamil Proverbs - Funeral
Ceremonies - System of Mending Covernment Roads.

Plague of House flies - Cattle Sheds - Coffee Pulping - Capture of
Cocoa Thieves - Sentence - Thunderstorm - Rickshaw Coolies - "Up
Country" Bungalow and Church.

Burst of N.E. Monsoon - Cool Weather - Roses - Teevali Festival -
Colombo - Quaint Letter.

Christmas - Gymkana - Cross the River in a Catamaran - Native
Jewellers - Ceylon Gems - Flying Foxes.

Tamil Wrestlers - Evil Charms - Priests Prophesy End of the World -
New Coolies from India - Precautions Against Plague - Breaking in
Hackery Bulls.

Burmese Pilgrims - Buddha's Tooth - Description of Temple and Shrine
- Tamil Wedding Festivities - Heavy Rainfall - Cobra in Verandah -
Snake Cbarmers.

Visit from Native Bride and Bridegroom - Ramadan - Shoeing Estate
Bullocks - Intense Heat - A Picnic - Prospects for Planters - Finis.


I was always fond of seeing new countries, so when I received a
pressing invitation from my son to spend the winter with him in
Ceylon, I quickly made up my mind to accept, and took my passage
in the Bibby Liner "Cheshire," only too glad to escape the damp
and cold of an English winter.  I sailed from the Mersey one murky 
November morning, but quickly emerged into sunshine, and after an
exceptionally fine voyage with the pleasantest of company, arrived
in Colombo early in December, where I was met by my son.

He had written of a delightful bungalow with tennis court, and rose
garden, within a short distance of Kandy, and surrounded by pleasant
neighbours.  Imagine my disappointment when I found that, with the
uncertainty appertaining to everything in Ceylon, he had been
transferred to an estate lately bought by the Company (his
employers); an estate so isolated that there were no neighbours
within visitable distance; where he had to send sixteen miles for
provisions, and, worst of all, where the bungalow only contained
sufficient accommodation for a bachelor.  There was nothing to be
done but to make the best of an awkward situation.  I obtained
permission to add a room to the house, and made up my mind to face a
certain amount of roughing with a cheerful countenance.  I have since
found out, that what I missed in civilization and comfort, I gained
in novelty and interest.

To beguile the long long hours when I was alone I began to write my
impressions.  I don't think they will be of any general interest,
for I am neither a botanist, entomologist, or geologist, and must
necessarily take a very superficial view of my surroundings; but I
think there are many mothers who will like to have some idea of the
sort of life their dear ones lead in Ceylon; and perhaps some young
English girls whose love-dreams include a possible home in this
delightful island, may be interested in reading a few details of our
daily routine.  It must, however, be well understood that I do not
write of the older estates, which are as comfortable as a well-
appointed English house, but of the everyday life of a young planter
in a rather out of the way place.

The first thing that strikes one is the intense loneliness - day
after day passes without a glimpse of a white face.  I would urge
anyone, sending a son to Ceylon, to study his disposition and count
the cost.  To an English boy fresh from the cricket and football
fields of a public school, or the companionship of the University,
the isolation must be terrible, and many are the sad stories one
hears, of moral, mental, and physical breakdown.  But, to a young man
who does not mind solitude, who interests himself intelligently in
his work, is fond of reading, and has the luck to be under a kind and
judicious Peria Dorei (or Superintendent) the life is a very pleasant

I must here explain the rather complicated system of management of
Ceylon Estates, where everything possible is done to safeguard the
interests of the absent proprietor, or shareholders as the case may
be.  First in importance comes the V.A. or visiting agent.  He may,
or may not be, a partner in the firm of Colombo shipping agents who
ship the produce, and through whose hands most of the business
passes.  He visits the Estates once in three months, audits the
accounts monthly, in some cases arranges about the shipment of crop,
and is a sort of final court of appeal.  Under him is the Peria Dorei
(or great master) usually called P.D.  The manager of the Estate, or
group of Estates, has one or more Sinne Doreis (or little masters)
under him according to the size of the property.  The P.D. gives
general orders, interferes when necessary, and has daily reports of
work and monthly accounts sent him; but does not interfere much in
the details which he leaves to his S.D.'s.  In our case, my son Rob
has charge of an Estate ten miles away from his P.D., who only
visits it about once in ten days; so necessarily Rob has more
responsibility, and a freer hand than most S.D.'s would have.  This
adds much to his interest in his work, and as he has a strong liking
and personal regard for his P.D., as well as complete faith in his
technical knowledge, the relations between them are on the
pleasantest footing possible.  The terms V.A., P.D., and S.D. will
have to be used so often that it is quite necessary to understand
them thoroughly.

After considering a good many pros and cons, and setting masons and
carpenters to work, the first week in January found me on the Estate
which we will call Raneetotem.  The bungalow is a long, low, tiled
edifice, more like a glorified barn than anything else I can think
of.  It is whitewashed within and without, and has a white ceiling
cloth, lining the high pitched roof.  In the space between, rats hold
high carnival every night.  Substantial stone partitions, reaching to
within a few feet of the roof, divide the bedrooms from the one
sitting-room.  A verandah surrounds three sides of the building, while
at the other end, store-room and bath-room are added.  The kitchen
and servant's room are in a separate hut.  This has its advantages
inasmuch as it keeps the house cool to have no fires, but makes it
extremely irksome and throat scraping to give loud shouts whenever
one wants anything.

I hope all the good housewives won't be utterly shocked when I say,
I have never yet been inside the kitchen.  I was strongly advised not
to do so, as being rather fastidious, a sight of the native methods
of cooking might seriously damage my appetite, and as the one panacea
everyone gives for avoiding fever is "Eat - eat - eat," this advice
was not to be deprecated.  I believe there is no proper fireplace in
the kitchen, only a fire on the hearth and a clay oven, and the water
for my bath is always heated in an empty kerosene tin (but of course
it has been thoroughly purified from its original aroma).  The
breakfasts and dinners that are produced out of this primitive
kitchen would do credit to the most orderly Western menage.

We have done all we can to make our very unpromising-looking rooms
homelike.  Photographs, and pictures, antlers, and various ornaments
adorn the walls; numberless cushions make the chairs and sofas
comfortable, and books, newspapers, and work lie about in all
directions.  Flowers give colour and cheerfulness, such flowers as
you in England have in greenhouses, here they grow wild, and are
generally brought me by the coolies who have observed my love for
them, and are quite pleased with a few cents in return.  As I write
I have before me, pink oleander, the golden mohur, scarlet hibiscus,
a kind of mauve greenhouse periwinkle; a yellow trumpet flower, and
champac from which frangipani is distilled, it is here called the
"temple flower" as it is usually one of the offerings at the Buddhist
temples.  In Kandy, on one of their high festivals, I saw a Sinhalese
lady, followed by her servants carrying champac blossoms on silver
trays, proceeding to offer them on the beautiful silver altars
prepared for the purpose.  In the verandah we have many pots filled
with ferns, caladiums, and other foliage plants.

Our little establishment consists of two servants, and a kitchen
"coolie."  The "appu," or headservant, who has been some years with
Rob, is a kind of Admirable Crichton, he cooks an excellent dinner,
looks after the poultry, superintends the garden, gives a general
supervision to his Master's clothes, and when meat runs short goes
out and shoots a hare or some pigeons.  He is only twenty-two but
besides the qualifications I have mentioned, he speaks Malay, Tamil,
Sinhalese, and English, and is most useful on emergency, as an

Next in importance to him comes a boy of seventeen, a Malay,
who lives for his smart caps and coats, and is as stupid as his
fellow-servant is clever.  He was chosen on my arrival because he
thinks he can understand English.  His business is to sweep and dust
the Bungalow, attend to my room, wait at table, and act generally as
a sort of house-parlourmaid.  The kitchen coolie does the usual work
of a between-maid in an English house, and also gets the necessary
firewood.  In addition, Rob has a horsekeeper who grooms and looks
after his horse, and occasionally condescends to lend a hand in the
Bungalow or to bring me a jungle fern, but this is quite an extra
piece of civility on his part.  The kitchen coolie and horsekeeper
are allowed us by the Estate; at least they allot two allowances to
this Estate, and we have chosen these two.  The other "boys" only
cost L2 a month in wages between them, and a certain amount of rice,
and keep themselves.

It is the cheap labour which makes it possible to live in Ceylon
on the small salaries given to the assistants, and younger
superintendents, which I do not hesitate to say are decidedly
inadequate.  It is scarcely worth while to leave home, country,
and friends to live out here in an exhausting climate with heavy
responsibilities, and often almost in complete isolation, on the
salary of a junior clerk in a London office; unless as in my son's
case, you are thoroughly interested in your work for its own sake,
and love the sunshine, and the heat.  It is the old story of supply
and demand; here, as in England, for every vacant post, there are
numberless applicants, and the equally well worn tale of the
depreciation of the rupee.  The salaries were arranged when one
hundred rupees represented ten pounds; now, they only count for seven
pounds; and though meat and poultry and eggs cost little more than
their old price, every imported article, whether of food or clothing,
has gone up in proportion as the rupee has gone down.

This is a thirsty land, and one fertile source of expense is the
necessity of drinkables of some sort.  All doctors seem to agree that
some stimulant is necessary for most people, in face of the hard
exercise taken and the exhausting heat.  Suppose, however, an unusual
case, that a man can do without any stimulant, he must even then
spend nearly as much on mineral waters, for in very few situations,
in the low country, can the water be drunk even boiled and filtered,
without the risk of enteric fever.  Perhaps in a few years salaries
may be readjusted.

Raneetotem is, in the main, a cacao Estate with just a little coffee,
also pepper, rubber, vanilla, cotton, and cocoanuts but no tea.
In the old days it was all planted with coffee, but came to grief in
the time of Ceylon's great disaster, when the coffee diseases ruined
numbers of great Estates, which had to be abandoned, or sold just for
what they would fetch.  Since then cocoa has been planted here on
several hundred acres, and bids fair to do well.  Cocoa is a very
handsome plant, or rather shrub, growing to a height of from 6 to 18
feet.  The flowers are insignificant and appear almost stalkless on
the stems and branches, but they produce large pods, five or six
inches in length of every shade of red, and also yellow, according to
the variety of cocoa.  Caracas, which is the original kind introduced
from Trinidad and still commands top price, has bright red pods,
whilst those of Forastero, a coarser, and some think, a hardier
variety, are in many shades of red, orange, yellow, and even white.
Cocoa was first brought to Ceylon as an ornamental shrub some fifty
years ago.  There is an old tree of that age in Kalutera, another on
Keenakelle Estate, Badulla, at 4000 feet above sea level, and several
in different parts of Colombo.  Its cultivation, however, as an
article of commerce, seems to be a comparatively recent event, for I
notice in an old Ceylon Directory of 1875 it is scarcely mentioned;
the edition of 1881 gives 7000 acres, and the edition of 1887 12,500
acres as planted with cocoa.  In 1902 the acreage in cocoa including
native gardens is estimated at 31,136.  In 1878 the export of cocoa is
quoted as only 10 cwts, 1897 we have 34,500 cwts, and 1898 39,982 cwts,
in 1901 it rose to 49,459 cwts.

To Mr. Tytler of Pallekelly Estate in Dumbera belongs, I believe,
the honour of having first grown and prepared it systematically for
exportation.  All parts of Ceylon are not favourable for its culture;
the high elevations are too cold, and in the low country bordering
the coast, it appears not to be so productive as in the rich valleys
of Dumbera, Matale, Kurunagala and Uva.  Even here it has many
natural enemies, in the shape of ants, a disease called Helopeltis,
and two kinds of fungus, one of which attacks the bark, and the other
the pod, and through the pod stem reaches the tree.  Of late years,
the bark and pod diseases have become so serious, that a scientific
expert was obtained from England, who has done much in studying the
evil, and in (it is hoped) finding a remedy.  The cocoa tree produces
two crops in the year, one the so-called spring crop, ripening from
May to July, the other the autumn crop from November to February.

The picking is a pretty sight, many women are employed, and their gay
clothes and glittering jewellery, and the heaped up red pods give a
rich note of colour to the shaded groves in which they work.  When
the daily portion of pods has been collected, they are opened with a
tap from a sharp curved knife, and the beans extracted with a turn of
the finger, they are then placed in open baskets, and carried to the
store for curing, and the empty pods are at once buried in holes
already dug, any which by accident or carelessness remain unburied,
at the end of a few weeks emit a most offensive odour.  On arrival at
the store the beans are weighed, and then piled up and covered, for
the purpose of fermentation.  Each proprietor has his own method of
curing, which partakes of the nature of a trade secret; so I do not
feel at liberty to divulge the plan carried out on this Estate; but
a very usual way is to ferment for two days, then wash and dry in the
sun until the cuticle of the bean becomes a reddish orange colour and
quite brittle, and the inside a rich brown.  In wet or cloudy weather
the drying process is carried on inside the store, in the heated
clarehue instead of outside, on the cemented barbecue in the sunshine.

As Ceylon cocoa has become more abundant, the price has gone down.
It was at one time sold for one hundred shillings a hundred-weight,
and even more, whilst now it only commands from fifty to eighty
shillings according to the quality; but even at the lower rate it
yields a handsome return.  How true it is that no one can foresee the
far reaching effect of their slightest action.  The kindly impulse of
our late Queen, to send a Christmas gift of chocolate to her soldiers
in the field, proved a perfect godsend to Ceylon cocoa planters.  The
price immediately rose to nearly its old level, owing to the sudden
and urgent demand, but fell again somewhat when that demand was over.
Still, as I said before, it yields a very good, and sufficient profit.

An enterprising family of Planters have now established a flourishing
Cocoa and Chocolate Manufactory.  Although it has only been
established a few years they have already a large business with
Australia and India, as well as Europe, and it is much to be hoped
that their enterprise and industry will be rewarded by financial


I had scarcely settled down to my new life, when an invitation
arrived for a dance.  Our kind friends the M.'s had seized upon the
double excuse of a birthday, and also the two days holiday at the
time of the Tamil Thai Pongal Festival to fix January 12th for a sort
of house-warming party, on the occasion of Mr. M. taking over the
charge of a group of cocoa Estates in Dumbera.  Our invitation having
duly come, the vital question of transit next presented itself.
My son's horse was lame, a great part of the road unfit for my bicycle
and ten long miles (and _very_ long the Ceylon miles are) had to be
traversed; so we had recourse to the good-nature of a neighbour, who
lent us a bullock hackery, a vehicle which demands a few words of
description.  Imagine an Irish jaunting car, with the seats turned to
face fore and aft, at each corner an iron rod which supports a
waterproof canopy.  The hackery has a pole, to this at the carriage
end a little round flat piece of wood is attached, on which the
driver sits, at the other end is a yoke which lies between the hump
and the head of the bulls, and to which they are fastened by a
somewhat complicated arrangement of rope, the reins also being thin
rope.  The dress of the driver baffles description, a red loin cloth,
and red turban are the principal items, but in this case a short
white jacket was added, out of respect for me.  The white "running
bulls" are handsome animals, with large, pathetic dark eyes, enormous
dewlaps, and magnificent horns, they only took two hours to go ten
miles, part of it over a very bad road.

Our means of conveyance being settled, the next important question
was at what time we should start; this, however, did not take long to
arrange, for I absolutely declined to go in the heat of the day, for
two hours travelling under a Ceylon sun reduces one to a state of
limpness, quite incompatible with the enjoyment of society.
Wednesday, the 12th, dawned.  Heavy rain during the night warned us
that the N.E. monsoon was not yet over, but at 7.30 a.m. we made a
start in spite of showery weather, but, first a box coolie had to be
despatched carrying on his head a light tin box containing all my
chiffons.  This is the custom of the country, and even young men
riding to pay a few hours visit, are preceded by their box coolie
carrying the inevitable "steel trunk" on his head.

Our drive was through most enchanting scenery - starting from the
wooded mountain gorges of further Dumbera we passed under avenues of
red-flowered Dadop (called in Central America "the mother of Cacao"
on account of its valuable shade).  Banians, jak trees, laden with
their colossal fruit, and tall elegant grevilloes; whilst beneath
grew Caracas cacao with its red, and Forastero with its crimson and
golden pods, and glistening coffee bushes.  Now and again we drove
over grassy pattenas dotted with clumps of aloes; then a native
Estate would bring us to a truly tropical scene, plantains, their
long leaves shivering in the breeze, and Areca and Cocoanut Palms
reminding one of the Kew hotbouses, only every tree magnified four
times in size.  The red wayside rocks were clothed everywhere with
the most lovely creepers, and luxuriant fern fronds.  Sometimes a
green paddy (rice) field, and little groups of native huts with their
inhabitants in picturesque bright costumes varied the scene.
Occasionally we passed a cluster of native shops, with their curious
wares, arranged in the verandah for passers-by to see, bunches of
bananas depending from the roof, on the counter a few eggs on a
plantain leaf, a little dried fish, various curious stuffs, ring
shaped cakes, made of honey and flour, bunches of bright beads and
other articles dear to the native heart, whilst inside the huts, one
might sometimes catch glimpses of shelves laden with gaudy cottons,
and the cloths worn by Tamil coolies.  I would mention incidentally
that a frock of very bright pink cotton seems to be thought the very
acme of fashion for little children's wear.  Our head Kangany has a
bright little boy of two years old, his usual rig is a silver
necklace, and another to match which he wears around his waist with
a very large silver locket hanging therefrom, presumably to answer
the purpose of the primeval fig leaves; but, he also possesses
a pink cotton frock in which his mother sometimes proudly clothes
him - but no sooner does he get out of her clutches than he takes
off his gorgeous garment, and appears again in his necklaces.

At last we reached our destination rather damp in apparel, from the
heavy showers, but not so in spirit; for, on me at least, the novelty
of my surroundings had a most exhilarating effect.  We had a
hospitable reception from our host, and his sister, and then I turned
to look at the enchanting view.  The bungalow stands on a knoll,
fronting what is to all appearance a lovely English Park; a herd
of cattle grazing under a clump of shady trees adding to the
resemblance; beyond this park-like pattena are many broad acres of
cocoa and coffee which here stretch across the valley - a magnificent
range of mountains rises to the north, the highest peak, called
Hunasgeyria, attaining an altitude of four thousand nine hundred

This is a view one could never tire of, whether seen in the rosy
dawn, or at golden sunset; or even in the gloom of monsoon time, when
fleecy clouds cap the highest peaks, or chase each other along the
black sides and into the deep ravines.

Inside the bungalow, in spite of the rain, all was brightness; roses
and lilies adorning the principal rooms.  By noon most of the guests
had arrived, and we sat down to a sumptuous breakfast, after the
fashion of continental breakfasts.  The intended programme of
afternoon amusement, golf, tent-pegging, tennis, and croquet had to
be given up owing to bad weather; and indoor games and cards
substituted.  Everyone, however, seemed as happy as possible, and, as
with the exception of our host's mother, and myself, all were young
and unmarried, the fun seemed never to flag.  At half past seven came
dinner, which would have done credit to a London chef.  The table
decorations were lovely - a tall centrepiece filled with Bermuda
lilies stood on a long strip of pink silk, on which were strewed red,
yellow and green fruits, whilst a number of slender vases, containing
delicate tea roses were placed at intervals down the edge of the
silk.  We were capitally waited on by six native servants all dressed
in spotless white with white turbans.  The ladies' pretty ball
dresses completed the scene, and I could not help wishing that some
of my English friends, who thought I had gone to "the wilds," could
have been present.

I will not describe the dance, for it was much as other dances,
excepting that there were no "wallflowers," and that the waltzes were
(as one might perhaps expect in this hot climate) danced a little
more slowly than at home; but I noticed no deficiency of energy
in the Washington Post, Pas-de-quatre, or the Lancers.  Light
refreshments, and unlimited claret cup, as well as other drinkables
were served all the evening.

The distances were too great for anyone to go home that night, and by
dint of great ingenuity on the part of our hostess, we were all
housed.  After a late breakfast next morning, most of us went our
various homeward ways, having much enjoyed the unaccustomed gaiety;
but a flooded rfver prevented the Kandy contingent from leaving.
So a large house party remained on, who on the principle of
"You can't have too much of a good thing," had a repetition of
the dance on the next evening.

Some days previously I had had an experience of a very different kind
of dancing.  One evening my son and I were sitting quietly in the
verandah when we were startled by the beating of tom-toms, and the
sound of strange instruments close at hand.  On enquiry we found that
being close upon Pongal time, the coolies of a neighbouring Estate,
but living close to our boundary, wished to dance for us.  So we
graciously accepted the honour, and the entertainment began.

I shall never forget the weird scene.  What a medley of races and
civilisations.  In the verandah we sat - an English lady, and
gentleman in conventional evening dress - behind us stood our Malay
servants; whilst outside on the gravelled terrace were grouped
figures who, in feature and attire, might have belonged to a period
contemporary with Abraham or Moses.  The background immediately
behind the dancers was a belt of trees, but to the right, tall
cocoanut palms shot up against a starlight sky, whilst between their
graceful stems, one could see distinctly in the bright moonlight,
range after range of mountains fading away in the distance.

There were no women amongst the twenty performers, but one man was
dressed to personate a woman; he wore a wig parted in the middle and
drawn down over the ears, an imitation of the old-fashioned "cottage
bonnet" in brass, turned back at the edge  (which must have been
frightfully heavy), a quantity of jewellery, a muslin dress and a
shawl-like covering over the shoulders.  They prefaced the dance by a
sort of prelude on the so-called musical instruments, then a man
stepped forward singing, in a slow sort of chanting way, then another
joined in what appeared a kind of dialogue duet, always getting
faster; at length the lady rushed quickly to the front, performing
the most extraordinary gyrations, turning first to one and then to
the other, she sang at them both in a shrill scolding voice.  These
three men were evidently the principal performers, the others acted
the part of chorus, chiming in occasionally whilst the tom-toms
marked time.  I have not the least idea what it was all about, but I
imagine that the two men were suitors for the lady's hand, and that
she wavered between the two, as many other ladies do.  The singing
was not melodious, but the good time kept, and the graceful
rhythmical movement of the feet, was very pleasant to watch.  Whilst
this grand ballet was being executed, at the side under the palms two
men with long lances were having a sham encounter; at last they got
so excited, that it became real earnest, and they had to be separated
by their friends.  Soon after, Rob called the headman of the party,
tendered him our thanks, and dismissed them with a present; but first
each performer came and prostrated himself at Rob's feet and then at
mine, with a curious motion of the hand as if picking something off
the ground.  I do not know what it meant, but I am sure it was
something gracious, for they all looked so pleased and happy;
it may have been to denote that they accepted our present.

On my way out in the "Cheshire," I saw a better example of Sinhalese
dancing from a troupe who had been performing at Marseilles and were
returning to their native country as deck passengers.  They gave us
an exhibition on the main deck.  The devil dancers wore an
extraordinary get-up, artificial hips made of red and white cotton
fringe which swung about as they danced.  They had also curious masks
and bead decorations; and in this and the war dance which followed
whirled about so wildly, and worked themselves up into such a frenzy
that I was quite glad when it ended.  Though curious and fantastic,
the performance lacked the picturesque mise-en-scene, the palms, the
weird moonlight shadows, and the solitude, of our dancers.

On our return home the last evening of Pongal, we passed through some
native villages evidently "en fete."  Arches decorated the fronts of
some of the huts, whilst to the verandah posts of others, banana
trees were tied, fringes of the young plantain leaves cut into
curious shapes depended between the posts.  Firework crackers were
being let off, whilst along the roads we passed several men who had
kept Pongal "not wisely, but too well."

Directly we reached home Rob was surrounded by men with complaints
and quarrels to be settled.  He knew they were all incidents of the
Festival, so quietly told them to come again on the morrow, and, of
course, heard no more about the matter.  We also told our servant to
let it be known we were too tired that night to receive a deputation
of the coolies, which, rumour said was going to wait upon us with
presents, but that next day we should be very pleased to see them.
Accordingly the next afternoon a little before sunset, we heard
approaching tom-toms, and shortly afterwards were called to receive
our visitors.  They were headed by the principal kangany or overseer,
a handsome, long haired Indian sheep with fine curling horns,
decorated with flowers, was tied to the verandah post, the colour,
red and black, and texture of its coat, resembling a goat much more
than a sheep.  Then there were two dishes handed to us, one containing
a pineapple and plantains, the other, eggs, two pounds of raisins,
two pounds of sugar, some cocoanut toffee, and a tin of mixed
biscuits, the last, to my amusement, bearing the ubiquitous brand
"Made in Germany."  Rob made a little speech of thanks.  I, not
understanding or speaking a word of Tamil, was at a loss what to do
to show my gratitude, but I nodded, and smiled, and proceeded then
and there to eat one of the plantains.

The Kangany and his wife then knelt on the ground at my feet, and
prostrated themselves touching the earth with their forehead.  This
was somewhat embarrassing, for though this estate is called by the
coolies Raneetotem, I am not at all accustomed to playing the part of
ranee on this or any other stage.  Rob gave them a return present and
as soon as they had gone a short distance, sent the sheep back with
a great many thanks, and a polite message that he would not deprive
them of it.  I believe this was expected and great beating of
tom-toms notified their approval; and so ended a truly Eastern scene.
Only a pencil and brush could do justice to the picturesque group in
their many coloured turbans, and the rich brown skins against the
sombre green background.  Above all the exquisite rosy tints of
sunset, whilst in the distance violet mountains reared their heads
against a daffodil sky.  Truly a tropical sunset is a perfect dream
of beauty, and the figures in the foreground gave just the touch of
life which completed the picture.


JANUARY 19th. - Yesterday a message came from the Lines to say that a
poor woman was very ill of fever.  Rob asked whether she would like
to have a doctor or to go to the hospital at Teldeniya five miles
off.  "To the Hospital," was the reply, so a cart was ordered, and in
the course of my morning walk I met the procession under weigh.
I saw nothing of the invalid but a limp mass of cloth lying on the
floor of the bullock cart which had on its top a light wooden
framework covered with layers of plaited cocoanut leaves, which makes
a capital protection from both sun and rain.  Near the cart walked a
man, presumably her husband, and he and the bullock driver kept up a
kind of melancholy chant as long as I was within hearing.  On getting
to Teldeniya the doctor pronounced the illness to be pneumonia, a
disease both very common and very fatal to coolies in Ceylon.  They
seem to have no stamina to stand against it, and a few hours often
sees them dead.  This woman utterly declined to stay in hospital, and
came home again in spite of the long drive, so we are anxious about
the result.  Last week the head kangany had an attack of pneumonia,
we found him (in spite of feeling desperately ill) rolled up in his
blanket in a corner of the cocoa store.  My son asked him what he
meant by running such a risk and not taking care of himself.

"But I must do my work, and see that everything is going all right,"
he replied.  However, Rob ordered another man to carry him off to to
his home, and before many hours had passed he was in high fever and
delirium.  If it had not been for Rob and the Appu attending to him
themselves, applying mustard poultices, and so forth, whilst waiting
for the doctor's arrival, he could not have recovered.

When a coolie is seriously ill the superintendent in charge of the
Estate sends a printed form to the district medical officer, giving
a few particulars, and his own diagnosis, also mentioning whether
the case is in his opinion urgent.  The doctor then, if he thinks
it necessary, comes out as soon as he can, but there is often
considerable delay, and this is quite unavoidable.  When the district
is an extensive one, the medical officer may be many miles away at
one end, whilst he is anxiously waited for in the opposite direction.
In a case such as that of our coolie woman where the patient goes
to head-quarters for advice, a printed paper is returned by the
doctor, stating the illness and medicines and treatment prescribed.
At stated times the superintendent has to fill in and send to the
Government Agent a printed form enumerating all the births and deaths
amongst the coolies on the Estate.  I should strongly advise any
young man coming out to Ceylon as a planter, to learn something of
the science of medicine, and the treatment of different diseases, as
well as to go through an ambulance course.  My son had in his boyhood
the great benefit of having the run of the surgery of one of the
cleverest of doctors, and kindest of friends.

Last week, at Pongol time, Rob's horsekeeper asked leave to go and
keep the feast with his friends about ten miles away.  He was allowed
to go, and faithfully promised to return last Friday, but alas!
he has proved faithless.  Ne'er a sight of him have we had, and
yesterday we heard he had run away to another district, for some
inscrutable reason of his own.  It is the more provoking because his
master had had him properly trained by a good groom.  However, his
week's wages are due to him, and these he cannot recover, as the
Ceylon law does not allow a coolie to vacate his place without leave
unless sixty days wages are due to him.  The masters generally take
very good care to keep their wages debt within this limit.

During the afternoon two shots in quick succession made me run out
to see what was the matter; then I found that the Appu had shot an
enormous rat-snake six and a half feet long.  They are handsome
creatures, beautifully marked, and are harmless to human beings, but
devour young chickens, and of course rats, hence the name.  We often
hear them on the roof at night in pursuit of the rats, who have a
happy hunting ground between the ceiling cloth and the tiles.  These
rat-snakes are extraordinarily quick in their movements, and may be
almost said to run, as they glide, head in air across the ground.

JANUARY 21st. - The poor woman with pneumonia is I am glad to say
much better.  One feels so helpless when any of the coolies are ill,
for the distinctions of caste make it so utterly impossible to help
them.  They would rather die than eat any food cooked in our kitchen,
and much prefer trying charms, and native medicaments rather than any
treatment we could prescribe.

The great excitement to-day has been the hatching of a brood of
turkeys, which we have all been anxiously watching.  Five were
hatched, but alas! a stray hen trampled one little chick to death.
Here, as elsewhere, they are difficult things to rear and
proportionately expensive to buy.  It is two o'clock, and the
bungalow has awakened to life once more.  An hour ago, I slept in my
room, the servants slept in the kitchen, the carpenter and mason
slept beside their work, and the dogs slept in their kennels,
reminding one of the ancient fairy tale; but here no enchanted prince
came to break the spell.  We all awoke of our own accord, when the
afternoon siesta was over.  If you try getting up at 5 a.m. on
a hot summer day you will find how very sleepy you do get by midday.
I tried in vain to prevail upon Rob to take a rest but he declared he
must be off to watch the shade lopping, for if he left the coolies
for a moment they would be sure to cut down the wrong branches.  The
shade lopping is an important business on cocoa Estates.  Cocoa will
not grow without shade, but too much is equally fatal, so it is quite
an art to decide upon the right kind, and the right amount of shade
to leave.  Much anxiety is felt just now about the cacao disease
which has done deadly damage in many parts of the island.  Some
planters aver that it attacks plants grown with too little sunlight,
whilst others again advocate as an antidote more frequent manuring
and forking at the roots.

This morning a trespassing buffalo was caught.  After remaining tied
up here for some hours until a neighbouring Arachi (or village
headman) was fetched to see that it was really caught here, and to
assess the damage, the beast was sent to the nearest Courthouse,
there to remain until claimed, or in case of no one claiming it, to
be sold after the lapse of a certain time.  These straying buffaloes
belong to neighbouring villages, and do infinite damage to the cocoa,
knocking down the pods, trampling them under foot, and breaking off
tbe branches.

Other enemies are the wild pigs, who eat the cocoa and dig up quite
large holes in the ground, whilst hunting about for rubber roots,
which attract them by their sweetness.  We have a great many wild
pigs on Raneetotem.  One morning whilst out walking I came close upon
a huge boar, and his two wives.  Rob promises himself and two friends
a good pig drive, as soon as he is not quite so busy.

On January 22nd the M.'s hackery arrived by half past six in
the morning to fetch me to spend Saturday and Sunday with them.
I arrived at P--- just in time to see the commencement of the eclipse
of the sun; it was only partial in Ceylon, but nevertheless was a
most interesting sight, and though the sky was cloudy the sun
appeared often enough to enable us with smoked glasses to watch all
the phases of the eclipse.  The coolies, and even the Tamil Bungalow
servants, acting on orders from their co-religionists in India,
observed a strict fast all day until 4 p.m.  The idea was that the
day after the eclipse was to be marked by some awful and mysterious
event.  So great was their anticipation, that I don't feel sure as to
whether they were pleased or disappointed, when it passed in the same
uneventful style as most other days in Ceylon.

On Sunday I went with Mr. M. to the little schoolhouse, where
preparations were being made for a short Church of England service to
be held in Tamil.  The catechist showed me the books be intended
using, which consisted of a selection from the Book of Common Prayer,
the Bible, and a volume called Tamil Lyrics which I conclude meant
hymns.  At my request he read me part of the Sermon on the Mount in
Tamil.  He did so in a most impressive and sonorous voice, it sounded
grand, but I am told that the translation of the Bible is in such
high Tamil that very few coolies (who usually speak a kind of low
class dialect) can understand it.  He afterwards introduced us to his
wife, a sweet looking young girl, and their child, a dear little baby
of eleven months, very much disfigured by wearing on its head a
knitted atrocity of pink and white wool such as one sees in village
shops in England.  On many Estates there are small school-rooms, and
where there are a sufficient number of Christian coolies, a Sunday
school, and now and then a short service is held in them on Sundays.
Perhap school-rooms is a misnomer, they generally consist of a room
standing on pillars - a kind of piazza - with a small room at one end
for the schoolmaster.  The fittings include "tats" to keep out the
sun, a large blackboard, benches for the pupils and a few books.
The question of education is interesting so I will quote from
"The Ceylon Summary of Information by the Messrs Ferguson."

"Through the Agency of a Government Department of Public Instruction,
and a grant in aid system, chiefly availed of by the various
missionary societies, 110,000 children, or one in twenty-seven of the
population, are receiving instruction in English and the vernaculars.
Private schools, not connected with missionaries or religious bodies
are few and ill supported.  A knowledge of vernacular reading and
writing, generally very imperfect, is communicated in some of the
Buddhist temples, 'Pansalas,' and private native schools.  A large
proportion of the population can sign their names, who can do little
more.  Education in missionary schools is, of course strictly
Christian.  In Government Schools the custom is, where no objection
is offered, to read the Bible during the first hour.  Attendance
during that hour is not compulsory, but pupils seldom or never absent
themselves."  They then proceed to describe the splendid educational
colleges in the large towns, but that has nothing to do with our

On Raneetotem there are no Christians, and only about half a dozen
children attend the school.  The pupils are nearly all the children
of the head Kangany, who believes in the "higher education," and is
therefore having his children taught English.

Our coolies have a Saami house (praying house) on the Estate, where
they keep a sacred cobra, which they occasionally propitiate with
offerings of chickens and also milk, a spot which I carefully avoid,
but one evening Rob took me to see it.  The devotions performed there
must be of a very primitive kind.  The temple is simply a roof of
thatch supported by wooden posts, built in the midst of the cocoa
bushes, quite out of the sight of any path or road.  At one end is a
huge ant hill of conical form in which lives the cobra, and in this
lies the sacredness of the spot.  At the foot of the ant-hill is a
small earthen chatty, and a square stone, about the size of an
ordinary brick, a few ashes, and a small piece of galvanized iron
roofing on which some offering has evidently been placed.  From post
to post near the top hung a garland of threaded pendant cocoa leaves;
at the opposite end to the ant hill, were two rows of stones, rather
irregularly placed, with a space of about a foot between the rows,
the space being filled with ashes of a blue colour.  The blue shade
caused probably by kerosene oil having been used for fuel.  Just
outside the Saami house a triangular stone, with some signs cut on
it, had been set on edge; at the foot of this there were also traces
of ashes.  Similar triangular stones I have noticed on other Estates,
and wherever you see them, there are always traces of burnt offerings
having been made.

The other day, I accidentally came upon a smaller, evidently less
important, Saami-place; the space between the two huge buttresses
thrown out by a banian tree had been carefully swept, and at one end
the usual square stone and small earthen chatty had been placed.
Poor people! it is very sad to see their religious aspirations so
mis-directed, one can only hope that the true God, whose children
they also are, may listen to their ignorant prayers and take pity
on them.

I returned home on Monday in time to see and hear a magnificent
thunder-storm.  The rolling of the thunder, re-echoed by these wooded
gorges was very fine.  Later in the evening one of those scenes took
place which are the perpetual worry of a planter's life.  A coolie
has to go twice a week into Kandy to fetch our provision; which he
has to carry home on his head in a ventilated tin box.  The orders
are all written by us in a book called a "beef book," this he takes
with him.  Obviously we must have food, but we are sixteen miles from
Kandy, the nearest market, and it is not an enviable task to walk
thirty-two miles, returning with a heavy load, and the coolies much
dislike it.  On this particular evening the "beef coolie" flatly
declined to go, and threw the beef book on the floor of the kitchen.
Of course, such a breach of discipline could not be allowed.  My son
was told, he sent for the delinquent, who could not be found in his
Lines.  Messenger after messenger having been despatched without any
result, at last Rob said, "Well, if he doesn't come to-night he will
be punished much more severely tomorrow."

Soon after, he appeared, having been in hiding in the branches of a
jak tree.  Needless to say, he was punished, and ended like a naughty
child in being very repentant, and saying he would never refuse to go
again.  These natives have to be treated exactly like children, and
managed with a perfectly just, but very strict rule, they take
advantage at once of any laxity of discipline, and only respect
a firm hand.  They appear never to resent punishment when their
conscience tells them they deserve it.

JANUARY 26th. - This morning alas, we found three out of the four
little turkeys dead in their nest - killed in the night by black
ants.  The mother hen was all stung about the head in defending them.
Rearing poultry out here is a disheartening business.  What with
insects, snakes, and sun-strokes, the poor things lead a precarious
existence.  The other day one of the ducks apparently quite well,
walked into the open, and suddenly dropped down dead, it is supposed
from heat apoplexy.

Yesterday the Peria Dorei, coloquially P.D., the manager of this
group of estates, came for his usual visit of inspection; and very
glad we always are to see him, bringing as he does, a whiff of the
outer world, and a little outside news; for toujours cocoa, like
"toujours perdrix", becomes at times a little wearisome.  We always
hope he will arrive when our beef coolie has just brought the
bi-weekly supply from Kandy, but yesterday, in spite of its being one
of our "banian" (Sinhalese for "Maigre") days, our appu managed to
produce a most creditable menu.  Mulligatawny soup, turbot with white
sauce, chicken pie, cold beef and mince pies with first rate coffee
to follow.  On Ceylon Estates there is a very complete system of
supervision.  Where several belong to the same company, the manager
is supposed to visit each frequently to see that the assistant
superintendent is doing his work properly; and once in three months
the visiting agent comes to look up the manager, and also each of the
assistant superintendents, so that any thing going wrong, or any
slack work, would be at once detected.  In the same way the accounts
pass through the manager's hands and have also to be examined and
passed by the agent.  All this carefulness ought to be very
reassuring to English investors, for their interests are most
strenuously guarded; but the risk of failure to crops owing to bad
seasons and disease no one can forsee or avoid.

Raneetotem is so surrounded by jungle, that it seems to be a happy
hunting ground for wild animals.  Besides wild pigs and buffaloes, we
have wild deer of three kinds, who are, however, very shy, and seldom
show themselves; also an occasional cheetah - one was seen lately in
a grass field close to the bungalow - jackals, hares, and porcupines.
The jackals now and then make night hideous with their horrid howls,
and are sometimes so daring that they come up almost to our verandah
in search of poultry; which, however, they never get here, for our
poultry are shut up at sunset in a comfortable wattle and daub-house
of their own.  It has a roof of plaited palm leaves called here
"cadjans."  A most picturesque Tamil boy in a red turban attends to
their wants.  The porcupines are dangerous foes to dogs who have to
go into the long grass to hunt hares.  The porcupine darts his quills
at the dogs, and Rob says he once saw a dog die out hunting after
having three porcupine quills through his throat.  They were darted
with so much force that the quills absolutely went through the dog's
throat and remained.


We spent last Saturday and Sunday at P---, Mr. M. and Rob played in
a cricket match at Kandy, and the rest of us stayed at home, and
indulged in croquet and tennis.  It is a delightful house to stay at,
for you cannot only count upon a kind and hearty welcome, but can
have your choice of amusement from golf to cards, including tennis,
croquet, tent pegging, leaping and ball and bucket, and you are sure
of finding someone ready to join you in one or all.  These little
outings send people back to work with fresh zest, and only the most
confirmed misanthrope could grudge "the hard worked planter" this
little break in his monotonous life.

To-day arose one of the often recurring worries consequent on caste.
On this Estate at present we have oniy three low caste coolies; all
the others are of such very high caste that they will not work as
kitchen coolies, or be horsekeepers, or go to Kandy with our
beef-box.  On this present occasion, one of these precious three was
away on leave, and the two others were ill with fever, so after early
tea, the Appu appeared in the sitting-room with a very long face to
say, "Please sir, there is no kitchen coolie to-day."  However, Rob
soon settled the matter by pressing into the service an orphan boy
whom he keeps to look after the dogs and poultry.  But the more
important problem of who is to fetch our supplies tomorrow still
remains unsolved.  It behoves housekeepers on remote Estates to lay
in a stock of tinned provisions in order to provide for emergencies.
It is wonderful what appetising dishes can be made from them by the
Ceylon cooks; indeed, in the absence of kitchen ranges, and modern
utensils, all their cooking is perfectly marvellous.  Here we have
not even a proper oven; only a fire on the hearth, and a clay oven
improvised to cook the Christmas turkey; and yet some of the entrees,
and the scones and hot cakes our "boy" sends up would do credit to a
pupil of the Kensington School of Cookery.  I am so struck dumb with
admiration that I feel quite shy of making any culinary suggestions.
The native cooks are also artistic in their work: stewed fruit, for
example, is sent up covered with a most delicate tracery of white
whip; iced cakes are perfect marvels of elegant decoration; cucumber
appears with scalloped edges, and mashed potato is often moulded into
the form of a fantailed pigeon, or takes the semblance of one huge
potato - even the angularities and depressions are copied, and so
complete is the deception, that the first time this dish was handed
to me I exclaimed (much to the amusement of the company), "Oh what an
enormous potato!  I think it is the largest I have ever seen."  The
cooks seem to have a real love of their art.  Our "boy" is at this
moment revelling in Miss Young's "Domestic Cookery."  He can read
just enough English to make out the recipes, which are very clearly
and simply expressed.  He generally manages to carry them out
correctly; but one day it was a little perplexing to have "Exeter
Stew" sent up with what ought to have been suet balls, made into a
pudding paste, whilst inside it reposed the meat made into balls,
thus reversing the usual process.  We benefit by his experiments,
though I much fear that a box of stores, which I have just had up
from Colombo, will in consequence come to an end much sooner than I

FEBRUARY 2nd. - Last night Rob and I were going for our usual evening
walk, when an enormous buffalo rushed through the cocoa close to us.
Then began an amusing chase, Rob put five coolies on his track, and
after about an hour, they brought the beast tied with ropes, in
triumph to the bungalow.  Then as usual the Arachi was sent for, and
this morning it has been marched off to the nearest Courthouse, there
to await identification, or failing that, to be sold, the Estate
exacting a fine of ten rupees.  These great lumbering animals do
incalculable harm to the young cocoa plants, so war is perpetually
being waged against their incursions.  They belong in the main to
neighbouring villagers, who use them for ploughing their paddy (rice)
fields: but as we have on one side a good deal of unoccupied jungle,
probably some of the buffaloes may really be wild and unowned.  This
particular animal had a magnificent pair of horns which I longed to
annex for the walls of our little sitting-room.

The episode of the buffalo had no sooner ended than a coolie came
to announce the birth of his little son, and to ask for the usual
present on such occasions of two rupees.  As I mentioned elsewhere in
the case of both births and deaths the Ceylon Government requires the
superintendent of an Estate to make a notification of the same at his
earliest convenience on a printed form, containing a number of
questions such as (in case of a birth):- Names of father and mother -
nationality - whether they are married - date of birth, sex and name
of infant, etc., etc.  It is quite right that it should be so,
considering that coolies are foreign emigrants, isolated from their
own friends, and very much at the mercy of their employers.  Their
existence should be safely guarded in every possible way by the State.

To-day I saw in the tool store a delightful implement of husbandry,
which I wish we had in our English gardens.  It is called a
transplanter and is used for transplanting young tea, coffee, and
cocoa plants.  It is difficult to describe, but I will try to do so.
Imagine, then, an iron cylinder about three inches in diameter, and
fifteen inches long; a light iron rod bent square at the top is
attached to each side of the cylinder thus forming a handle.  When a
plant has to be moved it is first heavily watered, then the cylinder
is put over it and driven into the ground its entire length.  With a
hoist of the hand the plant is uprooted and raised with a ball of
earth attached.  Then comes the second part of the process.  When the
young plant has been taken to its destination, it is forced out by
the lower end of its iron receptacle being placed over a wooden block
which exactly fits it.  As this fills the cylinder the plant and its
ball of earth are forced out without any of the roots being injured.
How useful a small transplanter would be in a kitchen garden, to move
lettuce, and cabbage and indeed all vegetables and flowers that want

To go to a domestic detail, I have been very busy this morning in
converting a pair of strong boots into walking shoes, by cutting
the uppers away to the fourth button, and then binding the shoe.
Boots are far too hot to wear, and the roads are so rough and stony
(at all events on Raneetotem) that the destruction to shoes is terrible.
I have worn out two pairs in a month.  When the nearest shoemaker
is sixteen miles away one has to set one's wits to work, and I feel
quite proud of my success as a disciple of St. Crispin.

My kitchen garden is proceeding apace, it is a plot of ground of
about 20 ft by 30 ft - fenced in by a rough pallisade of rubber
branches; across this, bamboo battens are tied with a kind of creeper
called "jungle rope," and then branches and twigs are inserted and
interlaced.  Cut boughs of rubber have a knack of sprouting, so we
hope these may do so, and make the place a little less ugly.  The
gate is of a very primitive kind, but answers its purpose well - two
uprights of bamboo with little cross-pieces tied to it in the form of
a ladder.  I intend sowing English leeks, cabbage, lettuce, radishes,
beans, carrots, turnips, tomatoes, &c., also some good melons and
cucumbers, and - I feel rather shy of mentioning it as I have been so
much laughed at - egg plant, which it seems is only another name for
the bringal, which grows almost wild in Ceylon, but which a London
seedsman gave me as a rarity likely to do well in a tropical climate.
N.B. - I would say to people coming to Ceylon - don't bring bringals,
for it is carrying coals to Newcastle, and you will be unmercifully

FEBRUARY 7th. - The kitchen garden is going on well, we have mustard
and cress, radishes and lettuces, already beginning to show
themselves.  The locale of Jack and the Beanstalk must surely have
been in Ceylon; for in no other country have I seen seeds grow so
quickly into plants.  Both beans and cucumbers made an appearance in
three days.  The garden wants a good deal of watering, and all the
water has to be brought from a neighbourng well in a cask on wheels
drawn by a small black bull.

As I pass this well in the late afternoon, and see its protecting
circle of masonry, its canopy of overhanging roof, and the Eastern
women hastening after work to take their turn in drawing up water to
cook their evening meal; it takes me back to the old Bible stories,
and makes living realities of Rachel and Rebecca, and the woman of
Samaria, such as they never were to me before.

Though plant life is exuberant in this climate, its enemies are many,
cocoanut palms, cocoa, and coffee have each a special insect (to say
nothing of fungus) that makes them its prey.  At muster the other
evening, one man came up to Rob holding a curious string of something
in his hand, reminding me much of the grass strings of wild
strawberries of my early days.  On nearer inspection these proved to
be a kind of red and black beetle about half an inch long, having a
sharp proboscis with which it bores into, and through the soft pith
of the young cocoanut palms, and eventually kills the tree, unless it
is discovered and eradicated in time.  At intervals skilled coolies
are told off to search for cocoanut "poochees;" when caught they
string the beetles and also the larvae on a thick bit of grass and
bring them to muster to shew how many have really been caught.  In
this case - seventy eight beetles had been cut out and impaled by one
man, and this was thought a good day's work.

We have had a great excitement.  One of the dogs was suddenly found
to be mad.  It had for some days shewn signs of extreme irritability,
and made night hideous by its howls and yells, at last it became
unmistakably mad, and Rob shot it, first having a very narrow escape
of being bitten, as the animal flew at his wrist, fortunately he was
wearing his wristband unbuttoned, and the dog seized the wristband
instead of the wrist, biting it through and through.  He was beaten
off, and in two minutes more had ceased to exist.  This dog had some
time ago, had an abcess in the ear which we thought was cured, but
now believe to have been the cause of the outbreak.  Rob has given
orders that the other dogs should always be tied up during the
hottest hours of the day, and should have an unlimited supply of
drinking water.

No account of Ceylon daily life would be true without a description
of a day, such as the one we are now passing.  A most uncomfortable
day it is.  Our small world is in decidedly low spirits.  The Appu,
because he has so little food to cook - the Master, because he has so
little food to eat, and I because I feel somehow or other I ought to
have provided against this contingency.  The fact is that yesterday
our whole meat supply was found to have gone bad.  Picture to
yourself that we are sixteen weary miles from a shop.  Thirty two
miles for the coolie to walk before he can bring our provisions back,
that for some hours the meat has to be carried in a tin box under a
tropical sun.  Also that it is useless sending again before tomorrow,
as the butchers only kill twice a week, then your will have some idea
of the situation.  I fear, now that the hot weather has begun, our
week will consist of a series of alternate feasts and fasts.  The
alternative is to keep more poultry, and a large stock of tinned
provisions, but alas! tinned provisions are extremely expensive,
and this is one of the reasons why so many young men find themselves
in debt.  To show you the ingenuity of our cook, I will give you
to-day's breakfast and dinner menu.  At twelve o'clock breakfast
we had eggs and bacon, and macaroni dressed with cheese and tomato
sauce.  Australian lambs' tongues, and a vegetable curry, which
together with hot scones, apricot jam and butter made a very
appetising meal.  The dinner menu consisted of soup (a la Packet),
boiled lulu fish with anchovy sauce, roast duck, and custard pudding.
The lulu was an unexpected addition, it was caught in our own dam
the same afternoon and was truly welcome.

Now all this uncertainty and discomfort, and the long journey to
Kandy would be quite unnecessary if only there were a little more
enterprise in the community.  Only five miles away is a small
township containing a post office, a Rest House, a blacksmith, a
doctor, and a hospital, but no beef-shop.  Will it be believed,
it's the postal depot of a large planting district where the planters
absolutely have to send twenty and twenty-five miles to Kandy for
their meat?

When I exclaimed at this state of things, I was met by the answer;
"Oh there was a butcher once, but he kept such bad meat that we
preferred to send to Kandy."  It never seemed to dawn upon them that
where one butcher had failed, another, with more capital, might
succeed.  I am much too unimportant an individual, and too much a
bird of passage to inaugurate reforms, but this is a reform ready to
the hand of a suitable person.  The universal motto in Ceylon
(barring the planting industry in which progress does find a place)
seems to be "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be."
In some ways, this conservatism adds to the quaintness and interest
of the country; but where it touches the details of domestic life
it does make a western mind "squirm."  Forgive this mood of
dissatisfaction, it is all the result of "Banian" day, and the
infectious low spirits of my companions.

FEBRUARY 8th. - For some years the sluice of the dam had been out of
order and so jammed that it would not open; in consequence the water
became covered with duckweed, which together with the stagnant mud
festering under a hot sun, had lately sent out such a horrid smell,
that it became absolutely necessary for the general health to let out
the water, and clean out the mud and weed, without a moment's delay.
So yesterday Rob gave orders that this should be done, but it proved
a more serious undertaking than was at first expected, as owing to
the depth of water it was necessary to have divers to go down and
examine the injury to the sluice and to try to open it.  In spite of
the noxious odour and the dirty water three men took it in turns to
dive, and after some hours, the obstruction was very gradually
removed by their efforts, and at last the sluice worked again, and
the water rushed out.  Great was the excitement and delight of these
child-like creatures, who love anything new and unusual.  With shouts
of joy, the boys, and even one girl, rushed into the mud, to be
followed as soon as work was over by the bulk of the men.  How they
all paddled about! dashing the mud and water over each other's heads;
catching the fish (which to everyone's surprise were found there) in
their baskets and even in their hands.  No London mudlarks could have
been more at home.  Not only were there fish, but also land turtle of
various sizes.  None of them however very large.  I seized upon a few
for the sake of their shells, but they were useless for food, not
being of an edible kind.  I believe, however, there are four
different kinds of marine turtle to be obtained on the coast of
Ceylon.  I tried to preserve the brightness of the shell of those
taken out of the dam, but I found they all became dull and ugly, and
so my visions of using them for ornamental purposes melted away into
thin air.


MARCH 10th. - A long time has passed since I last wrote in my
journal.  An attack of fever necessitated my going for change of air
to the higher country, and I had the great delight of an utterly new
experience, namely being carried four miles almost straight up hill
in a chair, the poles thereof resting on the shoulders of four
coolies.  It was an experience.  To begin with, I am by no means a
light weight, and one of the four coolies was such a short, slight,
weak looking little man, that I felt very much as if I ought to carry
him, and not he me; the difference in height between him and the
others gave the chair a lurching, as well as a swinging movement.
Sometimes, my little friend put the pole on his head instead of his
shoulder, and then we got on better; but at the most critical moments
he had a tendency to totter, which kept one on the "qui vive."  In
returning, I had four men of the same height, and it made a wonderful
difference in my comfort.  The chair was of light cane, with a head
well thatched with palm leaves.  It was much after the pattern of the
old sedan chair, excepting that it was open instead of being closed
in.  The road by which we went was simply a mountain path, leading
first through groves of palms, the gigantic white plumes of the
blossom of the talipot palm outtopping all others; then we went
through paddy fields, forded an unbridged river where I expected
momentarily to be deposited in the water, and then up the side of a
mountain gorge, where huge boulders encroached on the already narrow
pathway, on the lower side of which, without the slightest parapet,
was a precipice of several hundred feet.  One false step and, for me,
there would have been an end of all things.  But the false step never
comes, the native with his bare feet, and prehensile toes is as
surefooted as a goat or a monkey.

At last we arrived at our destination, a bungalow literally covered
with Cape jessamine, bougainvillea, thumbergia and other lovely
creepers, built on a small plateau overhanging the gorge.  Every inch
of plateau has been turned into garden, or ornamental shrubbery, and
in the cooler mountain air many English flowers and vegetables
flourished that would pine and die in the hot low country.  One hears
the distant roar of the mountain torrent which works the machinery of
the tea factory below, and what with the crisp air, the rush of
water, and the English flowers, one could almost imagine oneself in
some remote Highland shooting lodge.  Inside, the bungalow was very
homelike and cosy.  Carpets, piano, harmonium, lovely china, glass,
and silver, and above all, loads of books and magazines, left one
nothing to wish for.  It was a perpetual mystery to me how all these
things could have been brought to their present abiding place.

On enquiry, my host told me that the piano had taken twenty-two men
eleven hours to bring it the last four miles.  Stranger than all, it
arrived in good tune, which speaks well for ironstrung instruments.
I should like to describe my walks about this mountain eerie, the
giant stags' horn moss, and lilac rock cistus that I picked, my visit
to the factory and the various processes of tea growing and tea
making, but as Rudyard Kipling says, "That is another story."  The
cool bracing air soon drove the fever fiend away, and I returned home
as well as ever.

Some time ago a coolie ran away from Raneetotem and hid himself in a
neighbouring Estate, owned by a native.  He had behaved badly to his
Kangany here, who had quite properly punished him, and he persuaded
the owner of the place he fled to that he was afraid of ill-treatment
if he returned: so when a man went to fetch him they declined to give
him up, and in fact hid him away.  After about six weeks of parley,
Rob got a warrant for his arrest - a run-away coolie can always be
arrested if less than sixty days' pay is due.  The policeman brought
him here to be identified by Rob, and the Kangany.  I shall never
forget the scene I overheard in the verandah.  Such a jabbering in
Tamil and English, for the native policeman seemed to think it more
dignified to talk in broken English.  The poor prisoner was
handcuffed, and dreadfully ashamed of appearing thus on his own
Estate.  Rob at once ordered the handcuffs off, saying he himself
would be responsible for his safe keeping, then he addressed the man
very seriously.  He and the Kangany made him take a "Saami" oath that
he would not run away again, which he did, prostrated on the ground,
clasping his Master's feet.  After a great deal more jabbering and
vociferating from the policeman, and the Kangany, he was taken off to
the police station there to await the sitting of the court, two days
later.  He is now back here, friends with everyone, and working
splendidly.  A "Saami" oath is so binding amongst the Tamils that no
one seems to be afraid of his breaking it.  On his return from Court
he again prostrated himself at Rob's feet begging for forgiveness.

A curious example of Tamil marriage customs has just come to my
notice.  About three weeks ago, our kitchen coolie asked for leave
to go to the "burying" of his brother - one Muni Andi of Hanikawelle.
Rob remarked to me, "You will see he will marry his brother's wife."
Sure enough, last Saturday he reappeared having married the widow,
who accompanied him, also her two children.  This is thought strictly
proper and correct in Tamil circles.  Also a girl may, and often
does, marry her mother's brother; but it would be thought quite
improper for her to marry her father's brother.  In the reverse way
a young man may marry his father's sister, but he must not marry his
maternal aunt.  The Kaniganys are particular who their daughters
marry, and our head Kangany is just going to take his daughter,
a very pretty girl of about sixteen or seventeen, to India to be
married, because he says there is no one suitable about here.
Some of the young girls are particularly graceful and pretty,
but they go off very quickly, and women of thirty look quite
haggard and old.  Indeed both men and women look at their last
stage of decrepitude at the age of sixty.

The "Ceylon Standard," the recognised organ of educated native
opinion, has lately contained several letters and paragraphs relating
to a change in Sinhalese marriage customs, which they call the dowry
system.  These letters show such an extraordinary divergence from the
western mode of thought that I am tempted to quote (the italics are
my own).  The whole gist of complaint is that within the last fifty
years the custom has come in of the father being expected to portion
his daughter, instead of the bridegroom giving a dowry to the father.
To quote from the letter in the "Standard":-

"It has now became the fashion among certain classes of the
Sinhalese, to make the fitness of the partner one chooses for life,
entirely a question of money.  A dowry Rs1000 (L70 _at_present_rate_
_of_exchange_) is what a person who is fairly well off is expected
to give a daughter.  A dowry of Rs100 (L7) is what a domestic servant
or a day-labourer is expected to give.  Generally amongst the lowest
classes dowries range between Rs100, and Rs200, and amongst the next
higher classes it mounts up to a Rs1000 or Rs2000 or Rs3000 and so on.
Among the lower classes it is considered a point of etiquette to ask
for dowry.  Matters have reached such a point that now it is a great
calamity to a man to be blessed with a few daughters.  In the natural
course of things people will be obliged to consider their daughters
a curse to their families.  Besides all this, landed property must
eventually become the exclusive possession of the wealthy.  The middle
class is threatened with extinction.  The dowry system is not quite
fifty years old.  The dowry system which prevailed in the East from
almost time out of mind like many an Eastern institution which has
been discarded was the reverse of the present detestable system.
That system required the bridegroom to give a dowry to the parents
of the bride, instead of securing a dowry from them.  Traces of this
custom are to be found in the Bible, and in many sacred books of
the East.  But sad to say old times are changed, old manners gone.
This practice of dowry seeking which is the result of the lowest
forms of selfishness is certainly not a sign of the advance of
civilization, but rather it is just the reverse.  It is an evil
which threatens to _subvert_Sinhalese_society_, and to introduce
misery and discontent in place of happiness and contentment.
This is a subject which should be taken up by the press and
the pulpit.  The system I have already referred to, virtually
degrades women to a low level, in spite of the rapid advance
which has been made in recent years in the higher education
of females," and so on, and so on.

To our European minds it is much more degrading to a woman to be
bought by her future husband for so much gold, or so many acres of
land, or so many head of cattle, than that the father, to whom she
owes her existence, should in his lifetime provide for her comfort,
and give her for immediate use some of the worldly goods, which with
his other children, she has an equitable right to inherit after his
death.  But as Rudyard Kipling so truly says:-

  "Oh East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
   Till earth and sky stand presently at God's great judgment seat".

This afternoon, flights of white butterflies passed over the
bungalow.  For several hours we watched them, as they winged their
way from south east to north west, sometimes in twos, and threes,
sometimes in quite a cloud.  I am told that this occurs every year
when the N.E. monsoon is dying away, and for some weeks before the
S.W. monsoon breaks.  The poor butterflies fly across the island
right out to sea, and there perish.  Mr. Darwin in his "Voyage of the
Beagle" speaks of a similiar phenomenon in South America.  Miss
Gordon Cumming, also, in her happy years in Ceylon mentions similar
flights of butterflies in November and December during the setting in
of the north east monsoon, but in most of the instances she quotes,
the butterflies were a dark colour and yellow, while, so far,
all the swarms we have seen have been pure white.  There is a curious
superstition amongst the natives of Ceylon that in flying over Adam's
Peak they change their colour.

MARCH 12th. - Again the butterflies are passing but not in such great
numbers as yesterday.  We see hardly any until about one o'clock in
the day.  I went this morning to look at a part of the Estate where
the coffee is in full blossom, and a most lovely sight it is.  Coffee
branches grow laterally, and all along them are white waxy flowers
like jessamine, growing so thickly that each branch looks like a
white wand.  Imagine tier above tier of these branches against the
background of glossy green leaves, something like Portugal laurel.
Some of the trees are not only in blossom but at the same time are
loaded with the red and the green berries (here called "cherry") of
the ripe, and the unripe coffee.  The scent of the blossom is almost
overpowering, and reminded me of a mixture of orange blossom, and
paregoric and squills, if such a scent can be imagined.

Our kitchen garden has proved a success, and we feel proud to cut our
own lettuces, radishes, and mustard and cress and bye and bye look
forward to peas, beans, carrots, turnips, cucumbers and melons, which
all promise well.  I have also planted a croton hedge, and have put
down a number of rose cuttings, so I hope later on literally to make
"the wilderness blossom as the rose."

MARCH 14th. - The beauty of the coffee blossom has already passed,
and now we are almost praying to have no rain for a few days that
the blossom may set.  This morning I discovered a new and perfectly
unexpectedly beautiful walk.  I followed a very commonplace looking
path, which I pass almost daily, and it led me into a most lovely
gorge, something like an Isle of Wight chine.  The path clings to the
precipitous side, but below a stream meanders, sometimes through
groves of broad leaved plantains and huge leathery ferns, at others
precipitates itself over granite boulders.  The banks ars lined with
cocoa, coffee and cocoanut palms, whilst beyond where the gorge opens
out into the valley, one catches glimpses of the Rangalla mountains -
sapphire blue in the early morning light.  In this sunless spot, damp
and dark with dense folliage, I positively shivered with cold, and
was glad of a warm wrap, whilst on the higher ground the thermometer
was standing 70 degrees in the shade.  The entrance is only a stone
throw from our store, so I shall often go there, if only for the
sensation of feeling cool, but shall always first take the precaution
of swallowing a quinine five grain tabloid, for here chill inevitably
means fever.

MARCH 10th. - I have just been with Rob on his round of work.  He
first visited the "poochee" men.  Poochee is the generic Ceylon name
for pestilent insects, and truly their name is legion.  Cocoa has
one destructive poochee, coffee another, and cocoanut palms a third.
A number of coolies are told off to go the round of the Estate,
field by field, to eradicate them.  It is very pretty to see their
agile way of springing up the branches, and deftly tapping the tree
to see if it has been attacked: if it has, they cut out the offending
insect with a sharp scimitar shaped blade, placing it in a piece of
hollow bamboo which they carry with them suspended by a string.
The trees are all planted in lines, each man takes two lines,
and not only eradicates the poochees, but cuts off all the dead
branches, stacks and burns dead cocoa trees, and lops off the
unnecessary cocoa suckers.  In these days of disease, if there
should happen to be suckers at the bottom, one is usually left,
in order to give the tree a chance of growing up from the root.

Weeding coolies also go round the Estate, field by field, in the same
systematic order.  Their duty is to weed, stack dead timber, clean
and clear the drains, and sweep the paths and roads.  When there is
no crop to be picked, the women are much employed for weeding.  If
the coolies, and especially the watchmen, find any ripe fruit, they
are supposed to bring it to the bungalow, though most superintendents
are quite willing they should have the surplus.  It not only pleases
them, but keeps them in health, for it has been found that their rice
diet requires a vegetable corrective, and where coolies have been
forbidden fruit and deprived of kitchen gardens, there, fever has
been much more prevalent.  I know of one case where this happened,
afterwards a new Manager restored the gardens, and fever declined in
proportionate ratio.  The fruits we have here in greatest abundance
are limes, almonds, pine-apples, mangoes and pawpaws.  The last most
valuable as a digestive, on account of the quantity of vegetable
pepsine it contains.  Much has lately been written on this subject,
and it is not unlikely that before long, the pepsine extracted from
pawpaws, which are plentiful, may become one of the minor exports of

When I returned to the bungalow, one of the servants met me with
the extraordinary statement that "the pigeons wanted buttons."
The mystery was soon solved by his appearing with an armful of pyjamas.
This boy's English is of the drollest.  Another day be came and stood
behind me, as they always do, waiting for you first to address them,
if you take no notice they give a gentle cough to call your attention.
On my enquiring what he wanted, he said, "Please, lady, I want
a steam."  This was a puzzle.  At last after many ineffectual
attempts to understand, he brought me a letter, and showed me
the stamp as being what be wanted.

MARCH 22nd. - Yesterday I made a desperate attempt to get a view of
the river.  The Mahavillagange, the most important and the longest
river in Ceylon, is one of the boundaries of this Estate, and yet,
would you believe it? such is the thickness of the jungle, and the
under-growth of gigantic coarse grass, a belt of which divides the
cocoa from the river, that nowhere can I get down to the water's
edge, or even in sight of it, although I have been so near, that
I could absolutely hear the ripple of the stream.  In the early
morning, and at sunset, which are the only possible times for walking
exercise, malaria haunts the lower ground, especially in the
neighbourhood of water; but yesterday was peculiarly dry and clear,
so I thought I would venture.  Knowing I could not accomplish my
object on Raneetotem, I tried a very promising looking path on the
next estate.  Down and down it zigzagged till I was evidently almost
on a level with the river, which just there runs through a very
narrow wooded gorge; but not a glimpse could I get, even though
I climbed up a boulder.  Still the beautiful but tiresome belt of
jungle intervened.  However I did not regret my walk, for I came
suddenly upon a clearing, which presented to me a new, and curious
sight; three terraces on which thousands of cocoanuts were laid close
together; out of the middle of a hundred or so, young cocoanut palms
were growing.  When these nuts are exposed to the weather they become
grey, and lose the brown shade we are accustomed to see, and at the
first glance, and in the distance, I thought for a moment they were
skulls, and that I might have come upon some weird scene of devil
worship; but a moment's consideration showed me that it was the
cocoanut nursery, looking very cool and picturesque with its
surroundings of plantain trees and yams.  A caretaker is very
necessary, for I am told there is nothing more tempting to the
natives than to steal cocoanuts out of a freshly made nursery.
In this place fifty were stolen in one night.

Growing cocoanuts is a very paying business.  After the first seven
years they require scarcely any cultivation.  They are enriched by
grazing tethered cattle under their shade.  A tree in full bearing is
supposed to produce forty nuts.  These can be sold for six cents
each; or if you prefer a still easier plan, each tree can be leased
for a rupee.  I am of course speaking now of those that are grown
amongst other products.  On the large low country cocoanut estates,
which belong principally to burghers or to natives, everything is
done on a large scale, and money made from many products of the same
tree.  The natives in Dumbera grow them a good deal with bananas
planted between.  I call them bananas, having been accustomed to the
tree in Queensland, where the good sorts are so called, but here it
is a dire offence, and I am continually corrected and told to say

This reminds me of another mistake which all newcomers are apt to
make, namely to speak of a tea, or a coffee Plantation.  This is a
terrible solecism.  Here in Ceylon one must speak of Estates - a tea
Estate, a coffee Estate, and so on.  In India they are called
Gardens, and in the West Indies Plantations.  Each country has its
own little nomenclature, and it is amusing of what importance they
think it.

"If only I were a botanist" is my constant lament and especially
to-day for I have found a (to me) new flower.  It has something of
the form and quite the scent of a white azalea, only the flower has
four distinct petals, the upper ones marked with blotches, some
maroon and some yellow, quantities of long white stamens, leaves
rather like a large myrtle, a woody stem with thorns.  It grows on
a low bush, and is not common about here.  I have only found two
specimens, one on a hill, the other on ground near a river; the one
from the upper ground having much smaller and more glossy leaves than
the other.  To understand one's excitement and delight over finding
some new natural object, you must have experienced what it is to live
an isolated life.  I am often reminded of a remark made by the little
Swiss maid at a pension at Villars where I was once staying.  I said
something to her about the cows, and how pretty and cheerful their
bells sounded.  She answered, "Oui, Madame, les vaches sont la
distraction des montagnes!"  (The cows are the entertainment of the
mountains).  Dogs, and flowers, and sunsets, and cloud effects are
our entertainments at Raneetotem.


The weather is getting very hot in the daytime, but the nights are
generally pleasantly cool.  The thermometer all last week stood close
upon ninety degrees in the shade and draught of our verandah.  I find
the best way not to feel the heat is to keep oneself constantly
employed with writing, reading, or needlework.  The difficulty is to
get enough books.  Friends are kind in lending them to one another,
and a new work or magazine often goes the round of a whole district.
Our great standby is the "Book Tambi," who is a sort of circulating
library in himself.  He and his attendant go from house to house with
a bundle of books, some extremely uninteresting, but there are always
others to be found one has not read before, and often very good
novels issued in the "Home and Colonial Series."  A man who buys new
books and soon gets tired of them is a perfect boon to a district.
Such a one we had, but he lately brought out a bride from England,
and to our great disappointment, when the Tambi last paid us a visit
and we asked for some of G--- Dorei's books, he gave a broad grin and
said the new Dorel Sani (lady) would not let him sell any.  We can
only truly and devoutly hope that when she has read and re-read her
library, and the novelty of the surroundings has worn off, that she
may want some new books.  The terms for the transaction are an old
book and sixpence, which is certainly not an exorbitant sum.  I would
strongly advise any newcomers not to leave behind them the books they
brought for the voyage.  Never mind how trashy they may be, you will
find them appreciated even if only for the purpose of exchange.
I have even seen old lesson books in the bookman's bundle, and
constantly, I am sorry to say, religious books of an antiquated
school.  There are "Tambis" with all kinds of merchandise, but the
most useful is the man who brings calicos, prints, towels, and
sheets.  Khaki, flannel shiris, flannel suiting,  Cannanore cloth,
needles, pins, buttons, tape, ready-made coats (as worn by
Kanganies), Dhurris, and other useful odds and ends.  This arrival is
quite an event both in the Lines and at the bungalow.  First comes
the Tambi, usually a Moorman in a fez, short coat, and coloured cloth
put on like a petticoat, and always grasping a huge black cotton
umbrella, behind him, three or four youths with bundles on their
heads, each bundle being covered by a large piece of talipot palmleaf
to keep off sun and rain.  They stand in battle array in front of the
verandah, are told to let us see what they have got, and then begins
a regular battle over prices.  The Tambis invariably ask twice the
proper price at the beginning, and lower by very slow degrees.  The
best way to bargain with them is to offer exactly half what they ask,
and then gradually go up a little until you see by their expression
that they begin to look pleased.  This sort of conversation usually
occurs.  "Tambi, how much will you take for that cloth."
N.B. - calico always called cloth in Ceylon.

"Seventy-five cents a yard, lady."

"Oh, I could not think of giving you more than forty cents."

"No, lady.  Can't take it.  This cloth cost me fifty cents.  I am
very poor man, and can't lose money.  No lady, can't take it."

"I very poor too, Tambi, can't give more than forty cents."

She goes away.

The Appu comes and tells her he has just bought a quantity from
the very same piece for thirty cents.  She returns, and tells the
gentleman who is also bargaining for some khaki.  He flies out on
the Tambi.

"You are a very bad man.  How dare you cheat the lady.  You have just
sold the same to my Appu for thirty cents, and you ask the lady for
seventy-five cents.  Boy (turning to the Appu), tell him he is a
cheat, and a swindler, and he is never to come here again."

The man seems quite impervious to these little amenities, but smiles
sweetly, and says, "The lady can have it for thirty cents."  After
this, business proceeds on a more satisfactory footing, everybody
makes good the deficiencies in his & her wardrobe, and the Tambi
leaves, you may be sure, not having got the worst of the encounter.

MARCH 24th. - To-day our head Kangany, by name Cuitlingen, starts
for the Indian coast with his very pretty daughter, in search of a
husband.  He has heard of a possible one, and goes himself to see if
he is suitable, if not, she is to be brought back again, and married
here.  The poor girl is quite in good spirits, and looked very bright
and cheerful when she came to say good-bye, and she told Rob she
would get her husband to bring her back here to live.  As she knows
no English I was not able to speak to her, much to my regret.
A iittle brother accompanies her, who is to be left in India.
The father came to Raneetotem from India, when quite a little child,
in the old coffee days, and has lived here ever since, and is therefore
a very valuable help to the superintendent.  In spite of his very
good wages, and the head money of a large gang of coolies, his wife
goes out cocoa and coffee picking, but the daughter has never been
allowed to work in the field.  The wife is usually distinguished by a
profusion of handsome gold jewellery, earrings, nose ring, bracelets,
anklets, and necklaces.  We gave the bride a present of ten rupees,
which seemed to give great satisfaction.  I cannot help feeling
sincere pity for the poor ignorant child going to face a new world,
and to marry a man she has never seen, and who may prove a most
undesirable husband.

On returning last night, from my evening walk, I saw Rob standing
outside the bungalow, laying down the law, surrounded by a number
of angry men, all gesticulating at once, whilst the servants were
peeping round the kitchen, craning their necks to see what was going
on.  I am by this time too much accustomed to scenes to be
frightened, so went into the bungalow another way, and waited to hear
the story.  It was this - one of our coolies protested he had been
attacked by the "Arachi" of a neighbouring village, had been beaten
and had had his earrings stolen.  The "Arachi" on the contrary
declared the man was drunk, and had a row with a Sinhalese man about
a deer, and that the Sinhalese took the earrings.  Both men came up
here to Rob to complain.  As they not only contradicted each other,
but also themselves over and over again he told them they must come
next day with witnesses.  Probably we shall hear no more about the
affair for these rows subside in a wonderful way.  When natives have
blown off steam by a good deal of vociferation and gesticulation,
and complained to their Master, they seem content to let matters drop,
and in a few days we find them, and their quondam enemies the
greatest of friends.  We felt anxious to know the truth in this
particular instance; for if the maa was really waylaid in a spot
which our tapal (post) coolie passes every day, it would be a serious
matter.  Sometimes even the government post runners are attacked.
Not long ago there was a case of the kind between Kandy and
Teldeniya.  The postman was waylaid and beaten, and the mail stolen
from him.  Now two men go together with the night mail between those
places, and very curious objects they look, each carrying a long
spear with a bell attached - the bell to clear the way, the spear a
relic of the days (not so far distant) when they required a weapon
against wild animals especially elephants, who infested the wayside
jungle.  Their clothes are tucked up as high as decency will allow,
so that no artificial impediment may interfere with their speed.
And really it is wonderful with what regularity they perform their
daily task.

MARCH 26th. - The bookman has repeated his visit very quickly this
time, but he had nothing very new, or interesting.  Certain books
appear over and over again; such as "Vanity Fair," "Pickwick" and
some of Charles Reade's, also "Midshipman Easy," and books of Mayne
Reid's.  However, we managed to get a story by John Strange Winter,
and another by Florence Warden, and as we gave two new books of
a new edition, had only to pay a few cents for the exchange.

To-day another most useful itinerant has turned up.  A chair-mender.
He brings with him a bundle of cane, sits down in the verandah, and
in a trice all your chairs are mended.  It is quite wonderful with
what dexterity and deftness he plies the cane backwards and forwards,
doing his work with the utmost neatness and exactitude.  He reseated
two chairs for seventy-five cents, which, considering the distance
he has to come to this out-of-the-way Estate, no one can think

This morning finds me the fortunate possessor of a pair of very fine
Minorca fowls, won in a raffle which a lady got up to help a poor
widow in Kandy.  The cock and hen have just arrived, and there has
already been a skirmish between our own Minorca cock and the
newcomer.  With the result that the homebird had an easy victory.
We find Minorcas a very useful kind of poultry to keep, they are hardy,
good layers, and produce fine large eggs.  Raffles are frequent in
Ceylon, and I have known two different people who have been fortunate
enough to win a carriage and horse.  I suppose the love of chance is
engrained in the English character, for even I must plead guilty to
finding great pleasure in winning a raffle.

Amongst our pets has long been a small Wanderoo monkey.  The poor
little thing was so timid that she never seemed particularly happy.
Therefore, on hearing that a native had a monkey for sale,
I determined to buy her a companion.  Jacko duly appeared.  Such a
grotesquely human-looking little beast.  In one ear he wears a gold
earring; and earring and all only cost five rupees.  At first he was
very shy and made us all shriek with laughter at the way he put a
sack over his head like a shawl, wrapping it round him just like any
old woman.  He is now getting a little more accustomed to us.  I have
just shown him himseif in a hand looking glass, which seemed to
perplex him considerably.  Our original monkey eats toast and bread,
but Jacko will take nothing but boiled rice, which he demolishes in a
very vulgar way - filling his mouth and the pouch at the side of his
cheek over full and then giving the pouch a great slap with his hand,
just as you sometimes see little children blow out their cheeks and
then slap them to make a noise.  They both like oranges, and deftly
pick out the pips, which they eat first, evidently thinking them the
"bonne bouche," then with their hand they tear the inside pulp to
pieces eating it with great gusto.  Of course the orange has to be
cut in half, as the whole would be too large for their little hands
to manipulate.  Sometimes, I give them a plantain, and it is quite a
pretty sight to see the neat way in which they peel the fruit before
eating it.  The little monkey seems much happier now she has a
companion.  Occasionally they sit on the round side by side, with
their arms interlaced round each others neck, just like a pair of
affectionate school girls.

MARCH 28th. - Everyone that can be spared from other work is now
busy rubbering.  We have only "Ceara" rubber, which is not quite so
valuable as the "Para" species; but even this fetches a remunerative
price.  The rubbering season commences when the tree is leafless.
For some weeks large yellow rubber leaves, and the red tint of the
almond trees, have given an autumnal glow to the woods, but now the
rubbers stretch their great limbs leafless to the view, and the
tapping has commenced.  Rubber is a milky sap lying between the inner
bark and the wood.  The process consists of first taking off a yard
or so of outer bark, then making incisions in the inner bark from
which the milky sap slowly oozes.  Just below the foot of these
incisions a little piece of bark is lifted and a frond of cocoanut
palm is inserted into the slit, which acts as a trough down which the
rubber runs into a cocoanut shell below.  Every half hour, or so,
the men go round to empty the shells, if full, into a large earthen
chatty, and to cut each incision a little larger so that the flow may
continue, otherwise it quickly dries up.  Rubber will not run during
the great heat of the day, so the coolies commence work at day-break,
knock off at 11 a.m., begin again at 3 p.m. till 5 o'clock.
When, having first washed it, they bring their collection of
rubber to the store to be weighed.  Each coolie collects daily
from 3 to 5 lbs and it is work of which they are extremely fond.

The rubber sap is at once put into shallow earthen chatties.
When sufficiently coagulated, acetic acid being sometimes added
to hasten the process, the mass is turned out, all the moisture
pressed out by rolling, then dried in the sun.  When finished the
flat semi-transparent discs form the "rubber biscuits" of commerce.

The white mass, as it is turned out of the chatties, where it has
partly solidified looks like a quaking mould of most tempting
blanc-mange or lemon sponge.  Healthy trees, where the bark has
healed, can be tapped year after year, but each season many die under
the process.  Some years ago, it was thought that Ceara rubber trees
would form a good shade for cocoa, and accordingly many were planted
on the various cocoa Estates, but it was found to be rather injurious
than otherwise, for during the hottest time of the year, when cocoa
requires shade most, the rubber trees are bare, and in monsoon time
the foliage is so dense that it gives the undergrowth no chance of
getting the little sunshine that there is.  Pneumatic tyres have
given quite a fillip to rubber culture.  The rumour of the invention
of a rubber separator, which should minimise the cost of production,
makes the Ceylon planter watch for developments.  It is probable that
in the future, rubber may become a very valuable article of export.
Several kinds, including Para and Castilloa are being planted in the

APRIL 22nd. - The little monsoon is now upon us.  From time to time
we have clouds which veil the scorching sun, and often the evening
brings us refreshing thunder showers.  No one who has not lived in
the Tropics can imagine the delight with which we hail the rumble of
distant thunder, and the eagerness with which we watch the course of
the storm lest (as is sometimes the case) it should move round in
a distant circuit, leaving us rainless in the centre.  I have known
rain fall heavily within a mile on both sides of us, leaving
Raneetotem high and dry, with barely a few drops of the coveted
moisture.  At this time of year we exist all day in the sweltering
heat dripping from every pore.  Rob in the field is occupied with his
work, and has to drag his dripping weary limbs about thinking as
little as possible about the heat.  Whilst to me, sitting alone in
the bungalow, the day seems interminable.  I cannot write or do any
needlework, on account of the swarms of minute eyeflles which are
continually making a dash at my eyes, so I have to read as much as I
can, with a book in one hand, and a fan in the other, and when I can
read no longer, I meditate.  Needless to say my meditations do not
take a cheerful tone.  Even the flowers and the pot plants droop in
the sultry air, and the dogs lie stretched out on the earthen floor
of the verandah with scarcely a wag of the tail left in them.
At last - the clock strikes four - a slight breeze springs up,
clouds are banked high in two directions.  The skirmishers of the
S.W. monsoon meet the nearly exhausted forces of the N.E.  Peals of
thunder, like a discharge of artillery, reverberate from mountain to
mountain, flashes of the most vivid forked and chain lightning cleave
the black clouds, then comes the deluge of the much desired rain,
and, hey presto! all is changed.  The flowers lift their heads, the
dogs get up and shake themselves, the flies vanish as by magic, and
in spite of leaking roof we cast all our gloomy thoughts to the
winds, and say, "After all, Ceylon is not such a bad place to live in."

This miraculous change of front occurs, just at present, two or three
times a week; but we have yet a spell of great heat before us ere the
S.W. monsoon bursts in full force, bringing cool weather in its
train.  Rob is preparing for its beneficent reign, by having
thousands of holes cut for the young cocoa plants he has raised in
his nurseries, in order to supply vacancies on the Estate caused by
disease and neglect.  The nurseries are first fenced in with stakes
placed close together, then long raised beds are dug, in which the
cocoa beans are placed, about a thousand in each bed.  Great care is
taken to throw away the end beans of each pod, as these produce
inferior plants.  It is wonderful to see the rate of speed at which
the plants grow.  They remain in the nurseries three or four months,
and are then transplanted to the holes which meanwhile are being
prepared for them.  The transplanter which I have previously
described being used for the work of moving.

Strange to say the holes are not filled in with the soil originally
taken out; for what reason I cannot learn.  This work of supply is
one of the most important on the Estate, especially in these days of
cocoa disease, when in some districts, hundreds of trees in one field
have had to be cut out, and destroyed; and if they were not at once
replaced, the proprietor would soon find his profits disappear.  When
I use the term "field" you must not imagine a division of land fenced
in by walls or hedges, it is here used simply to designate different
divisions of the Estate with almost imaginary boundaries.  These
divisions are used for the convenience of classifying work.

Holing, though one of the most important, is also one of the most
unpopular of the works.  The surface of the ground becomes almost as
hard as a brickbat owing to the great heat.  A coolie has only a
primitive kind of shovel to lift out the soil, being unable to use
our English spade, on account of the sharp edge cutting his bare
feet; and thus deprived of the use of his own weight in digging, it
really is very hard work, and every possible excuse is made in order
to shirk the task.  Only this week, four coolies who had been put on
holing work ran away, pretending they were going to the neighbouring
villages to buy curry stuffs.  Enquiries are being made as to their
whereabouts.  When found they will be arrested, and having no arrears
of wages due to them, will be punished for leaving their employment
without a month's notice.

Holes are made very large, 2 x 2.5 feet, for it is said to make the
difference of two years in the growth of the plant if they are placed
in small holes.  When the seedlings are safe in the ground, they are
carefully shaded with leafy branches to protect them from the direct
rays of the fierce tropical sun, which we must expect when the
monsoon is over.  As the shade dies away and decays, the young plant
gets strong enough to stand the heat, and shoots up, leaving its
nursing shelter to fall to pieces, or to become a prey to the
numerous kinds of ants, which soon clear away decayed vegetation.

Our "second boy," whose attempts at English were such an amusement,
has left us.  He found Raneetotem too dull, and hankered after the
gaieties of Kandy, these with the added attraction of five rupees
a month extra pay, proved too much for him.  In his place we have,
a young Sinhalese "podian," fresh from a neighbouring Rest House.
He does not speak English, so most of my orders have to be given in
dumb show.  I am getting so expert at conveying my meaning by signs
that I think I must be unconsciously training for the post of matron
at a deaf and dumb asylum.  The few English words our "podian" does
know are obviously picked up from rather unceremonious young planters,
who have frequented the Rest House.  I have been endeavouring to-day
to teach him that an off-hand "all right" is not exactly the most
suitable way of signifying he has arrived at an understanding of my
orders.  However, he is very willing, and active, and will doubtless
in time become a good servant.  Sinhalese servants wear no head
covering, the younger ones and those of low caste have their hair cut
moderately short like a little boy in England.  The older men of
higher caste have circular tortoise shell combs, and their back hair
arranged in a knot high up at the back of the head.  Tamil servants
wear their long hair all tucked up under a large white turban, while
Malays wear a neat little round cap something like a smoking cap,
which they make themselves by cleverly twisting a figured
handkerchief over a paper foundation.

I don't think I have mentioned the beautiful fire-flies which make
the moonless nights a lovely, almost magical sight.  They dart high
up in the air, and in and out of the dark branches of the trees,
giving the effect sometimes of a shower of falling stars, and at
other times of a distant torch-light procession.  I was considerably
startled last night on waking to find apparently a little lamp
burning on my pillow, and another on the sheet at my side, whilst in
different parts of the room were twinkling stars.  Of course, as soon
as I was fully awake, I knew at once that they were fire-flies, which
had taken refuge from the fierce gale blowing outside.  One night we
found an extraordinary many legged insect climbing up the wall of my
son's room.  It was covered with hard scales, and was about three and
a half inches in length.  It carried in its tail two brilliant green
lights resembling those of a fire-fly but much larger and more
luminous.  Before we could catch it, it had crawled away, which was
perhaps as well for us, as the coolies afterwards told us the bite is
very painful.

During this month the estate appears to be much frequented by wild
animals.  Lately one of the watchmen shot a spotted deer, it was
quite young, and about the size of a kid with a lovely small head.
We had it roasted whole, the flesh was white, and much resembled a
tender turkey both in taste and appearance and had not the slightest
gamey flavour.  Last night he brought the quills and leg of a
porcupine.  Porcupine flesh is considered a delicacy, but I can't
say I much liked it; it tasted like pork with a soupcon of musk.
One morning a young drake was waddling about in front of our kitchen
picking up any tit bit he could find, when a jackal crept stealthily
up and gave one snap and carried him off before anyone could
interfere.  Rob intends having a hunt after elk and wild pig,
and so perhaps I may soon have more to say on this subject.

Truly our life is such an uneventful one that I am often tempted not
to write at all.  It is just these trivialities which make up the sum
of existence in this remote place, and no true idea of our daily
round could be given, were I to omit this very "small beer."  Life in
the quietest, and dullest English village would be a vortex of gaiety
compared to that of Raneetotem.  And yet to a lover of Nature in all
its forms - human and otherwise - how infinitely more amusing is this
than the perpetual round of tea parties, which usually distinguishes
village life.  Above all, one is never bored, at all events by
others, though I must honestly confess one does sometimes bore
oneself, and one gets occasionally tired of the groove of one's own
stupid thoughts when there is nothing to distract the attention.


I have just met a curious procession of coolies going to one of their
Saami places, evidently to perform some act of devotion.  This sacred
place is in a nook between the projecting roots of a huge banian
tree, and the spot is always kept carefully swept.  I happened to be
walking near and seeing the procession behind me, motioned them to
pass, no coolie will pass his "Dorei" or "Dorei Sani" without
permission to do so.  First came a man carrying an oil bottle, then
another bearing aloft a basket shaped like a round straw hassock, on
this was a coil of twisted wet white cloth like the coils of a
serpent, a third had a long tile filled with wood ashes still alight,
whilst a fourth carried a plantain leaf.  They were followed by a few
more coolies, these being empty handed.  I was sorely tempted to
climb up a little knoll to watch the proceedings, but on second
thoughts, I came to the conclusion that to do so would be an act of
impertinent intrusion on my part, which would probably vex them;
for, however mistaken they may be, these visits to the Saami places are
to them real acts of devotion, to which they attach much importance;
a Saami oath being as binding on them, as our most solemn oaths
are on us.

The head Kangany who went to India to marry his daughter has
returned, having accomplished his mission quite to his satisfaction.
To show that some really reliable natives are to be found, though I
grieve to say they are the exceptions, I may mention that he arrived
on the evening of the very day he had fixed six weeks ago.  We were
in hopes that he would bring with him some additional coolies, and
especially a few of low caste who would condescend to carry our "beef
box" and occasionally fill gaps about the bungalow.  But there is so
much work at present in his part of India (Travancore) in opening up
new coffee and tea estates, that he failed tO persuade anyone to come
to Ceylon.  The dearth on Raneetotem of pariah coolies causes us
continual perplexity, for none but they will act as kitchen coolie,
or as horse-keeper, or fetch our meat supplies.  This very day we
were in absolute danger of famine, for the man who usually takes
the "beef box" has hurt his leg, two other pariahs were engaged on
necessary Estate work, and the fourth has run away to shirk holing;
so there was no one left to undertake this very necessary duty
without breaking caste, a thing not to be thought of for a moment.
At last the difficulty was solved by taking a man from the work he
was already doing, and we hope to have our supplies in time for an
eight o'clock dinner.  This system of caste complicates not only
work, but also marriages, for the girls are absolutely compelled
to marry into exactly the same caste as their own family.  It also
causes trouble in sickness, for however weak the invalid, he or she
will eat nothing cooked by our servants or in our kitchen.  On a
friend's Estate a poor woman was absolutely dying of exhaustion
having been ordered by the doctor a more nourishing diet, my friend
begged to be allowed to send her jelly and chicken broth; she
emphatically refused, but on great pressure being brought to bear
she at last consented, on condition that the lady cooked all the food
herself, in brand new saucepans, that had never previously been used.
This was accordingly done, and the poor woman's life was saved.

One of the drawbacks of the low country is the great number of
snakes.  Yesterday as I walked along a well defined path, a "tic
polonga" glided across not two inches from my feet.  Happily I had
been looking down at the time, or else I should probably have
trodden upon it.  Last week a valuable dog belonging to a neighbour
was bitten in its kennel by a cobra, and died in five minutes.
The reptile bit two other dogs in the same kennel immediately
afterwards, but evidently the venom had been exhausted in the first
instance, for the two others survived.  The kennel adjoined a stable
where a much prized horse was in his stall so my friend was only too
thankful that the victim happened to be the animal of lesser value.

MAY 8th. - The shoot, so long planned, has at last come off.  On the
evening of the 6th, our neighbour arrived to dinner.  Soon afterwards
a number of his coolies with dogs innumerable appeared, some to act
as beaters, and others with guns, hoping to get a shot if the Doreis
missed.  Everyone retired early to rest.  Next morning at daybreak
amid much barking of dogs, and much jabbering of Tamil, the gentlemen
departed, accompanied by their motley crew, anxious to be at work
whilst the scent lay on the dew.  They did not come back to the
bungalow until midday, hungry and tired, but delighted with their bag
of red deer, mouse deer, and a huge lizard.  Recent tracks of a large
cheetah had been seen, but it could not be found anywhere.  We are
not quite without amusement; a Saturday and Sunday spent with the
M.'s  generally means plenty of tennis and golf for Rob and always
a most enjoyable time for me.  I cannot say enough for Ceylon
hospitality.  An almost utter stranger, you find yourself welcomed
in to the pretty pleasant homes, as if you were an old friend, and in
cases of illness the kindness and attention one receives are almost
incredible.  It quite raises one's opinion of human nature, and sends
one on one's way rejoicing to find there are such kind people in the

MAY 23rd. - The Kandy festivities are just over.  They always take
place twice a year, at new year, and on, or near to, the date of the
late Queen's birthday, and consist of a tennis tournament, and
gymkana under the auspices of the Sports Club; and include sometimes
a ball at Government House, if the Viceregal party happen to be in
residence.  In any case there is a public ball of some sort, and
often a concert.  People come into the hotels for two or three days
from the neighbourhood, and the ladies take this opportunity of
wearing their very smartest frocks.  The gymkana ground is a lovely
flat, wedge-shaped, well turfed and embossomed in wooded hills.
A grand-stand with dressing-rooms attached, and also, on this occasion,
a temporary stand, exquisitely decorated wfth a fringe of the
delicate young leaves of the plantain and the cocoanut palm.  The
events consisted of golf-driving, pigeon-shooting, bending races on
bicycles, and on horseback, leaping, also foot races of all kinds,
putting the weight, and high jumps.  All the beauty and fashion of
the neighbourhood, including the Government House party, turned out
to see the sport, and a very pretty scene it made; the ladies' bright
summer dresses as they crossed and re-crossed the green sward looking
like flowers in the afternoon sunshine.

But to me, a much more interesting sight were two Buddhist
processions that I met in Kandy streets.  The first was on the
occasion of the Sinhalese Wesak Festival.  Forty-five priests,
preceded by horns and tom-toms, and clad in every shade of yellow
silk, from cream colour to orange, paraded the streets.  The great
man of all had a large umbrella carried over his bead.  Most of them
had intellectual faces, but a furtive downcast expression spoilt the
looks of many.  Wesak is kept up with great pomp by the Sinhalese,
even the villagers decorate their houses, placing arches and flags,
and Chinese lanterns in front of the verandahs.  The richer members
of the Sinhalese community take the opportunity of feasting their
poorer brethren, and for at least a week afterwards, the newspapers
were full of Wesak benefactions, such as the following, culled from
the "Ceylon Standard":-

"Alms-giving was on a mighty scale.  The Dayakas of Wiejenanda Temple
in a most liberal manner fed and distributed rice and curry, sweets
and other delicacies to over 2,500 persons at the fish market to-day.
The neighbouring fruit market likewise entertained a good many with
sweets, young cocoanuts, tea, &c.  Refreshments of a like nature were
given at the plumbago stand."

This is only one of many such announcements.

The other procession was that of a Burmese priestess who had come to
visit the celebrated Kandy "Temple of the Tooth."  She was lodged on
the opposite side of Kandy lake, so we had a prolonged view of the
procession as it wended its way along the circuitous road at the
water's edge, and the beauty of the scene was very much enhanced by
the very vivid reflections on the smooth surface of the lake.  All
the dresses were pure white, the priestess herself walking under a
white canopy, whilst another important person had, what appeared to
our irreverent gaze, an old patchwork quilt as a canopy over him (or
perhaps her).  In front walked what I suppose I must call the band -
very primitive drums and fifes with banners.  The noise of this, and
the wild acclamations of the people in the streets, were almost
deafening, but the stateliness of gait of the processionists and the
pageant as a whole, were much to be admired.  To the native mind,
noise seems inseparabie from rejoicing.  Lately a coolie wedding took
place near us; the tom-toms began to beat at daybreak, and continued
until midnight.  One could not help thinking that the bride and
bridegroom must be both dazed and deafened before the end of the day.
Tom-toms are also beaten when a death occurs - but then in a much
slower and monotonous manner.

I have just invested in a light bullock hackery - called here a buggy
cart.  It is something like a governess car with the addition of a
canopy formed by a light iron framework covered with American cloth.
A little black Sinhalese bull goes in the shafts with a yolk passed
between his head and his hump.  The harness is a rather intricate
arrangement of rope.  The little bull runs capitally, and we did nine
and a half miles of very bad road in two hours, the first time I took
him out.  Hitherto I have had to borrow the hackery belonging to this
group of estates, or a neighbour's, whenever I emerged from this
solitude, and my vicissitudes have been many.  I think I could almost
write a book called "The troublesome travels of an unprotected female
in Ceylon."  Once my driver left me in a lonely part of the road,
signed to a slip of a boy to take the reins, disappeared down a side
road (doubtless to an illicit arrack still) and only reappeared a
couple of miles further on; my young driver, meanwhile, out of pure
devilry having goaded the bulls to a furious pace, the hackery
swinging along at the very edge of precipices and just missing by an
inch or two stumps of trees and projecting rocks, I holding on inside
perfectly helpless, from want of a knowledge of the language.

Another time the bulls had a sulky fit, tried first to take the
hackery into a toll-keeper's house, failing in this they proceeded to
land me in a native shop; and finally after doing their best to upset
me into a deep drain, one of the bulls got his neck out of the yoke,
and quietly turned round and looked at me.  When I tell you that a
great part of the road is bordered on each side by deep drains, to
carry off the heavy monsoon rainfall, you will understand it was
rather nervous work, and sympathise with me in my rejoicing over
having my own small conveyance and an innocent little bull to draw

I think my greatest dilemma occurred lately.  I was anxious one
afternoon to reach Kandy early to do some necessary shopping,
preparatory to starting at seven a.m. the following morning on a
visit up country, so Rob sent a coolie to Kandy in advance, to fetch
a carriage to meet me at the ferry, five and a half miles this side
of the town.  He gave the coolie strict injunctions not to leave the
carriage until I got into it, and to have it at the ferry at three
p.m.  I arrived there at the given time, found our coolie waiting for
me - he pointed out the carriage, one of two, on the opposite side of
the river, I and my luggage were duly taken across, and the
conveyance I came in and the coolie returned home.  To my horror,
on asking which was my carriage I found no one could speak English,
excepting a native gentleman who said they were both engaged by him
to go to his Estate.  I have since found this was a lie.  Imagine my
predicament, landed alone with my luggage five and a half miles from
Kandy.  I sat for about an hour by the river bank hoping something
might turn up.  At the end of that time I walked to a neighbouring
toll where the tollkeeper knew a little English; he got me a porter,
and we started off to walk to the town.  I shall never forget that
walk on a dusty road with a blazing afternoon sun pouring down on my
devoted head, the dreadful feeling of isolation and helplessness,
and the astonished looks of the men working in the paddy fields at the
sight of a Dorei Sani walking alone along the road.  At length after
about two miles, I saw a Sinhalese gentleman in his bungalow garden.
He wore European dress, so I went up, and asked him if he spoke
English, which he did perfectly.  I told him my difficulties and who
I was.  "Very awkward, very awkward, I will arrange it all for you,"
he kindly said, and he was as good as his word.  He ordered round a
light bullock cart into which my luggage was put, and I proceeded on
my way comfortably seated on my box, but did not reach Kandy until
after dark, having been five hours doing sixteen miles.  It is I
believe a common trick of the natives to bribe the drivers of hired
carriages, and annex them at the ferry, if it suits their own
convenience to do so.

The poor little girl who was taken some weeks ago to India, and
married there, became so dreadfully homesick when her father and
brother left that her mother has had to go to her.  Family feeling
appears to be very strong amongst the Tamils.  How few village
mothers in England would undertake a journey as far as to Southern
France to see a homesick daughter.

Our Sinhalese servant did not prove a success, he became more and
more stupid until Rob could stand him no longer.  We have in his
place a remarkably sharp podian (young lad) who goes by the name of
"Nipper."  His father is head servant to our friends the M.'s, and is
quite a travelled man, having visited London eleven times, when cook
on the Clan Line of steamers.  He has nine sons.  Nipper has been
well trained by him and by a lady in whose service he was.  His
father has sent him out into the world with a good outfit and three
cookery books: the inevitable Mrs. Beeton, a book on Savouries, and
another on Pastry.  He is only thirteen but is a capital little
servant, cleans the sitting-room and the bedrooms, valets his master,
writes menus, lays the table, arranges flowers, helps the Appu to
wait, and all for the equivalent of about L6 a year wages.  One of
his greatest accomplishments is that he speaks English, which is to
me an untold comfort, as it ensures my wishes and orders heing
carried out correctly.  Added to which, he is a most picturesque
little object dressed in white cloth, white jacket, small round cap,
earrings, linger rings, and bracelets.  I have another boy about the
same age who is our tapal (post) coolie, and at spare times works in
the garden and attends to the dogs and poultry, but unfortunately is
of such high caste, that he would not condescend to do anything in
the bungalow, or to fetch meat, and would rather die than eat
anything cooked in our kitchen.  He carries himself with quite an
air.  Many of the high caste coolies have this grand air, which makes
one really feel there is something in caste.

One old Kangany looks so military, with well clipped white moustache
and short side whiskers, and has such a commanding voice that we have
nicknamed him "The Major-General."  I am sorry to say he is a very
stupid old man and not at all as chivalrous as he looks, for when Rob
one day scolded him for some omission he promptly went and slapped
the smallest little girl in his gang.

Work amongst the rubber and cotton is getting on apace.  Two hundred
pounds of cotton were picked yesterday.  This kind of cotton is
not the same sort as that grown in the States, or in the South Sea
Islands, which is produced on a low bush with a flower resembling a
Hibiscus.  Celyon cotton or "Kapok" grows on a tree, having deeply
serrated leaves, a waxy cream coloured blossom, and a hard pod three
or four inches long, which opens when ripe showing its treasured
contents of the most beautiful fluffy, silky cotton encircling rows
of hard black seeds.  These seeds, unlike their cousins in the South
Sea Island cotton, are quite useless as food for poultry.  When the
pods are brown and ripe, coolies are sent round, some to climb up the
trees, and knock them clown with long sticks, whilst others of the
gang pick them up; a third lot, usually women, collect lint which has
been blown away by the wind from over-ripe pods bursting prematurely.
All that is collected is then detached from the husks, and put into
bags, carried to the store and there weighed.  Uncleaned cotton
fetches about six rupees per cwt in the market, but a great deal
more if cleaned, that is, the seeds extracted.  Doubtless there are
machines for doing this, but the natives have a primitive way of
effecting the same result.  They put the cocoons of cotton in a cask,
and shake it about with a homemade instrument, similar to the toy
windmills dear to the heart of little children who run holding the
cross pieces of stick to face the wind.  These sticks tear the cotton
apart and the seeds fall to the bottom of the cask, care being
taken not to raise them when the fluffy mass is removed to another
receptacle.  It makes delightfullly soft elastic stuffing for
mattresses and cushions; the only drawback being that unless they
are stuffed lightly, the contents have a tendency to become lumpy.
A Ceylon friend of mine who went home lately tells me he bought a
cushion in Aberdeen supposed to be stuffed with down, his suspicions
were aroused, he opened it and found Ceylon Kapok.


JUNE 7th. - The "Big Monsoon" has come.  This is the one topic of
conversation; our correspondents repeat it, and so do the local
newspapers.  You, too, would think it an important event if you had
been longing and wearying for it for weeks; we have been panting and
gasping under a cloudless sky with the shade thermometer registering
over 90 degrees day after day; with nights little cooler than the
days; miasma mists creeping and crawling up the course of the two
rivers; sick coolies found fever-struck lying about the Estate, and
numbers coming morning and evening up to the bungalow for medical

Barring one, this is the latest monsoon on record.  Clouds have, for
same days, been banking up in the south west, and on the night of
June 5th, the real burst was upon us.  A furious gale from the south
west sprung up suddenly, bringing with it a deluge of rain; it has
gone on blowing for the last two days.  A real good old gale, that
reminds one of the Equinoctials at home.  The wind has all the
freshness of its landless home in the southern ocean, and blows
straight across Ceylon, carrying all the miasma and stagnant air away
to the Bay of Bengal.  We have all revived under its influence; the
animals are quite frisky, and the cocoa and coffee have lost the
drooping aprarance which the great heat produced.  Superintendents
now work with redoubled energy, and very requisite this is, for
during monsoon time all the planting of the year has to be done, and
the contents of the cocoa nurseries, which have been reared with such
care during the hot season, have now to be placed in the holes
already prepared for their reception.  The importance of supply will
be understood, when it is taken into consideration that cocoanuts
usually take seven years, and cocoa four to six years to come into
bearing; so if trees die, and are not replaced, a time must come when
the owner will find himself without any crop.

June is a particularly busy month, for not only is there the work of
supply, but there is the spring crop of cocoa to be picked and cured,
as well as rubber to be collected and cotton to be picked.  All the
work comes with a rush.  At Raneetotem, we are now mustering at five
a.m. to get more time, as it frequently rains in the late afternoon,
and wet weather suits neither cotton nor rubber.  Ceylon is not the
place for any lazy young man who likes to lounge down to nine o'clock
breakfast, unless he means to turn over a very new leaf.

I have mentioned before the necessity of a Planter knowing something
of medicine, and during this unhealthy season, I have become more and
more convinced of the need.  During the last mouth my son has had to
treat cases of chicken-pox, measles, acute rheumatism, violent and
prolonged bleeding from the nose, dog bite, numerous bad cuts,
ophthalmia, as well as fever of a more or less bad type.  From four
o'clock in the afternoon until half past, and in the early morning,
patients may always be seen about our bungalow waiting to be
prescribed for.  Yesterday a baby was brought with bad ophthalmia in
one eye; the poor little thing had its head plastered over with a
kind of mash of green leaves, which on the advice of a Tamil woman
had been applied, fully expecting a speedy cure.  In all urgent cases
the doctor is sent for, but as he lives five miles off, and has an
enormous district to travel over, it is sometimes two days before he
can come.  There is an excellent hospital for coolies at Teldeniya to
which any cases are sent who are too ill to be nursed in their own
lines.  It not only adds greatly to the comfort of the labourers, but
it is a great saving to an Estate, when the superintendent can treat
the less serious cases, without calling for the services of the
medical officer, as fees and mileage come often at the end of the
year to a good round sum.  Here I should like to mention a very
simple cure for chicken-pox, which Tamils firmly believe in and which
we have found in every case to be quite effectual.  It is to drink
the milk of unripe cocoanuts called a coorimba.  Two or three
coorimbas usually cure a mild attack of chicken-pox.  They are
indeed, at any time, a most refreshing drink, and are much used by
Planters during an exhausting day's work in the field, or on shooting

At this season, owing to the swarms of small eye flies, sewing
becomes a work of difficulty, and one is apt to get behindhand with
the household mending; piles of underwear and socks, to say nothing
of larger garments, remind one that something must be done to lessen
the heap.  Not feeling equal myself to the effort of fighting the
flies, and at the same time sewing with half-closed eyes, I bethought
me of an ayah living on the next Estate.  Here she is now, sitting on
a mat on the floor of the back verandah, sewing away for dear life,
and looking quite a picture.  She is clothed in many folds of white
Indian muslin, with a three inch border of crimson and yellow, her
hair smoothly braided, and twisted into a knot at the back, through
which gold-headed ornamental pins are passed; a necklace of large
gold beads, a nose ring formed of a good sized garnet set in gold,
gold earrings, silver armlets, bracelets, and rings complete her
costume.  She is a Roman Catholic, and has been educated by the nuns
at the Roman Catholic school for Tamil girls at Kandy, where she is
now about to send her own little girl.  For the sum of five rupees a
month, the children are boarded, taught Sinhalese, Tamil and English,
the "three R's," and to sew neatly.  If they show any great ability
they are educated to be teachers, otherwise when old enongh they are
drafted off to respectable situations as lady's or children's ayahs.
Anatchi lived in good situations until she married, and speaks
English particularly well, with a refined gentle accent, very
refreshing for me to hear.  She is now a widow and lives with a
married sister, until such time as her baby boy is old enough for her
to leave him, to take another situation as ayah.

This is another instance of the strength of the ties of family
affection amongst the Tamils.  None of them would ever think of
refusing an asylum to an unfortunate near relation, and the sons even
take over the debts of a dead father and mother, and make them their
own, even when the departed ones have left absolutely no property to
which the son might succeed.

Amongst other information, Anatchi gave me a list of Tamil names,
which I append for anyone interested in nomenclature.

          WOMEN'S NAMES            MEN'S NAMES

          Anatchi                  Iyanco
          Minatchi                 Viavery
          Velitchi                 Villane
          Amara                    Mutucarpen
          Carmatchi                Marthan
          Sandana                  Shavaran
          Sagoma                   Armoghan
          Jesseli                  Ramasamy
          Ponamoni                 Verapen
          Vrigama                  Perinal
          Verama                   Sinasamy
          Parlama                  Carpen
          Carpie                   Raman
          Papachie                 Supiah
          Arnamaly                 Velaithan
          Vuleama                  Samhan
          Mootama                  Vitie
          Odaya                    Ringosamy
          Sinama                   Arlandy
          Marthaka                 Torasamy
          Veri                     Arnamally
          Cathari                  Kutalingen
          Poonama                  Arawally
          Soorama                  Mayapen
          Maria Kana (Mary)        Marimutte
          Uisabet                  Muniandi
          Maru                     Sinatamby
          Parpoo                   Colundayan
          Selumbi                  Cevittia
          Multama                  Ponayab
          Adaki                    Katheravale
          Rami                     Sinnia
          Soonderen                Nargan

Strange to say Elizabeth is quite a common name amongst the women.

To our great disappointment and sorrow, our pet mouse deer has died.
It had learnt to be quite tame and even to follow us about in the
rooms of the bungalow.  When it was first brought here by one of the
watchmen it was so young that we had to feed it with a baby's bottle,
but it had long passed that stage, and five minutes before it died
appeared in perfect health.  A convulsion seized the poor little
animal and it was gone in a few moments.  The loss of a pet is really
quite a grief in our isolated existence.  Puppies and all young
animals as well as poultry seem extremely liable to be attacked with
convulsions, and the first fit is generally fatal.

The monkeys thrive; we call them Punch and Judy.  Judy has taken
a fancy to me and creeps up my dress into my arms to be petted.
The other day she was allowed to go at large for a short time,
and when it was time to put her back in her cage for the night,
she climbed up a pawpaw tree, and performed a series of most
amusing gymnastics. When her would-be captors reached her branch
she swiftly swung herself on to another, hanging sometimes by her
tail and sometimes by her hands and feet to twigs far too slender
for anyone heavier than herself.  At last, after amusing us for at
least a quarter of an hour, she was caught and put into durance vile. 
Punch is of a more sedate disposition, he is very greedy and always
cries out piteously for food, whenever be sees the servants carrying
dishes to or from the kitchen.  We feed them on boiled rice and fruit,
but they much appreciate bread, sugar and lettuce leaves.

JUNE 15th. - We have had a tremendous southwest gale; at times
I thought the roof of the bungalow would have been blown away.
Large branches of trees were snapped off like so much match wood,
and occasionally we heard a mighty crack, and then a thud, telling
that some exhausted rubber tree had fallen a victim to the blast.
The gale was accompanied by heavy rain, which dripped through the
badly tiled roof in all directions; so you may imagine it was not a
comfortable experience, but uncomfortable as it was, we bore it with
cheerful equanimity, for we knew that the fresh cool breezes brought
renewed health in their train, and the drenching rain meant a good
planting season, and revived life to the drooping cocoa, and coffee.

These low country bungalows are built for the hot weather, and are
not suited for wind and rain, as you can well imagine when I tell you
that our small sitting-room has two double glass doors, two windows
opening outwardly, another door, to say nothing of a high unceiled
roof, only lined with thin white calico, no fireplace, and a large
open space at the top of the partition dividing it from the next
room.  This airiness of build is essential in the great heat, but
last night we longed for a cosy fire, and an English room, in spite
of the thermometer in the verandah standing at seventy degrees at ten
p.m.  It is wonderful how cold we feel in what in England would be
thought a high temperature, so accustomed have we been during the
last three months to a thermometer ranging somewere from eighty-eight
to ninty-flve degrees.  By force of contrast now, anything in the
seventies seems cold and pleasant, nor do we ever feel oppressed
until eighty-four is passed.  The other day Rob was wearing a warm
Norfolk jacket, originally worn for shooting in Wales, and he was
only just comfortably warm in it, with a temperature in the verandah
of seventy-two degrees. I am beginning to wonder whether the garments
are yet invented in which I can face an English "nor'easter."

We had a serious scare last night.  At afternoon muster, two little
girls aged respectively eleven and thirteen, and a boy of nine were
missing.  On enquiry it was found that neither of them had been seen
since 2.30 that afternoon when the elder girl told her father that
they three had been ordered to work in another field.  Rob at once
organized a search party, for as there is much waste ground and a
good deal of jungle on outlying parts of the Estate he feared the
children had strayed and lost their way, and when benighted would
probably get frightened and lie down in the jungle and perhaps, it
being monsoon time, get seriously ill from exposure.  Added to this,
cheetahs have been killed here as well as other wild animals, so it
was imperatively necessary that the children should be found before
darkness set in.  He took the precaution to send messengers to the
neighbouring villages and even to the nearest railway station, lest
they might have been decoyed away by someone anxious to get extra
child labour.  When these steps had been taken, Rob and the majority
of the men hastened to search the Estate.  They returned about seven
o'clock to snatch a hurried meal and to fetch every available lantern
and then continued the search, looking behind every rock and into
every patch of jungle, but with no result, excepting that the baskets
the children were using were found on an outlying grass field, far
away from where they were said to have been at work.

The search was continued more or less all night - the fathers and
mothers meanwhile had worked themselves into a frantic state of
hysterical grief - the women throwing themselves on the ground
shrieking, and the men exercising scarcely more self-control.
When morning broke the father of one of the girls remembered he
had relations at an Estate about four miles distant, and that his
daughter had once accompanied him there, so with very faint hope of
success he set out to see if she could have gone thither.  This was
what had happened, and the children were found bright and happy, and
much enjoying their new surroundings, they had planned a little tour
of the neighbourhood staying three days on each Estate.  Needless to
say they were brought back at once - and at the next afternoon muster
presented before the Dorei to be punished.  Rob fined each of the
girls.  The father of the boy made a special request that he would
beat him, but when cross-questioned his answers were so funny that
Rob could only laugh, as did all the coolies.  He said, Adam-like,
that the elder girl was the ringleader, that she promised him one
eighth of a bushel of rice, a new cloth, and to work in the same gang
as herself; that, when he refused to go, she and the other girl each
seized one of his hands and ran away with him until they had taken
him so far he was afraid to come back.  He was dismissed with a
severe reprimand.  All's well that ends well - and child nature
seems much the same, whether the faces be white or brown.

The work of "supplying" goes on apace.  More than four thousand cocoa
plants have been put out in less than ten days.  It is interesting to
see how this is managed.  The young plants have grown in their
nurseries to the height of about eighteen inches.  One coolie gets
them up with the transplanter (already described), another wraps them
up in semi-circular pieces of plantain stem, whtch a third man is
preparing by cutting the pieces of stem the exact length of the ball
of earth raised by the transplanter; a fourth ties them round at the
top and bottom, whilst a fifth carries them off in baskets to the
holes in various parts of the Estate already prepared to receive
them.  Where time and expense is an object, there is a cheaper way of
supplying, namely by planting seed in much smaller holes, but many
planters think that the cocoa does not come on so fast as that grown
in nurseries.

Verily, Ceylon is a land much troubled with insects.  Just now I am
waging war with the white ants; only yesterday they spoilt my black
serge skirt.  I had converted an unused doorway which stood in a
recess, and was one of five doors in my room, into a hanging
wardrobe, first nailing clean grass matting over the door.  I
flattered myself when it was completed with a pretty cretonne curtain
that it was both ornamental and useful, in fact quite a work of
genius.  For the last five months it has answered its purpose
admirably, butyesterday I took down my dress, which I had only worn
last Sunday, to find it covered from hem to waistband with a raised
zig-zag pattern in red clay.  This was all the work of white ants who
make their home in these little red tunnels of clay.  On further
inspection I found the grass matting riddled through and through, and
behind it quite an architectural structure, which the ants had formed
to help them to climb the walls and thus reach the roof.  It wasn't
the work of many minutes to tear down the matting, scrape away the
clay, and pour kerosine oil in all the crevices of the door, but alas
my poor dress required a longer process to restore it to anything
like a wearable condition, and it will never quite recover from the
onslaught.  We have to keep continually watching the verandah posts,
lest they may some day suddenly collapse, turned into powder by these
depredators.  I believe there is one wood, red toona, which
withstands them.

Not content with doing all the mischief they can in the bungalow,
they also attack the roads, and it is not an uncommon sight to see
a large hole, or holes, in the very middle of the roadway, where it
has been undermined by ants of one kind or another, so it behoves
a horseman to keep a bright look out.

This is one side of the question, but as in most things there is
another.  Ants are valuable scavengers and are of the greatest use
in destroying decayed vegetable and animal matter, dead leaves, and
branches of trees, rotten fruit, and even dead insects and birds
disappear by their agency as if by magic.  The work achieved by ants
is a constant sermon on the power of numbers when united for a given
purpose; and also a reminder of the old Scotch proverb, "Mony a
mickle, makes a muckle."  We have here numbers of the high ants nests
so ably described by Professor Drummond in his work on "Tropical
Africa."  In our part of Ceylon the larger nests that have been
deserted by their original builders are often inhabited by cobras,
which are held sacred by the coolies, and we see the mouth of the
holes sprinkled with ashes of fowls which have been sacrified in
their honour.  In connection with ants Rob yesterday observed a
curious occurrence:-  In passing a tree coated with red clay by
the white ants, he knocked it all down thereby depriving the little
creatures of their home.  In a few seconds a colony of large
red ants, which he had not previously noticed, were on the spot.
They carried off the white ants bodily into their own nest, and in
a few more seconds not one was to be seen.

JUNE 20th. - To-day I have been giving an object lesson to our new
Dhobie or washerman.  We have tried all the Dhobies around, but find
one and all quite ignorant of the rudiments of starching and ironing.
All are alike destructive to anything in the shape of lace or frills,
and all equally unpunctual and dilatory.  To-day our specimen of the
tribe brought my pocket handkerchiefs unironed, so I had a flat iron
heated, ironed them myself; and then sent some out for his
inspection.  I believe he had the grace to be ashamed and promised
better things next time.

I carried on my laundress operations in the verandah and was
surrounded by a group of openmouthed spectators, the horse-keeper,
poultry-boy, appu, kitchen cookie, and Nipper all watching the
process with deep interest.  Here, I should like to recommend any
ladies coming to the planting districts of Ceylon to have the greater
part of their garments made plainly, and to eschew the temptation of
dainty and fragile trimmings.  I would also strongly advise them to
bring with them a box-iron (I could not get one in Kandy) with which
to smooth their ribbons and laces.  Servants cannot be made to keep
the other kind of iron clean, and as it has to be heated in the ashes
of the cooking place, it is very apt to get greasy and otherwise

JUNE 21st. - The longest day.  How different from England.  Day
breaks in Ceylon about five a.m. and it gets dark at seven p.m.
One misses the long northern twilight which would he so delightful in
this hot country where active exercise is unpleasant until four p.m.
We have some compensation in the exquisitely beautiful starlight
and moonlight nights, than which nothing could be more enjoyable.
All the tropical flowers seem to give their choicest scent at night,
and the weary frame draws in fresh vigour from the absence of glare,
and the cool evening breeze.

Yesterday, as I was driving along the Government road I encountered
something quite unexpected, a great big elephant with a Sinhalese
man perched on his neck.  They are much used for moving large pieces
of timber or stone and can be hired for that purpose.  There is a
regulation that they are not to use the Government roads excepting at
certain hours of the day, when there is likely to be little traffic;
for they are alarming objects to other animals. If they should chance
to meet a conveyance it is the custom for them to be taken into the
jungle, at either side of the road.  This particular elephant was
guided into a patch of cocoa, until I had passed, but my little
hackery bull did not take the slightest notice of him.  At
Katugostata, near Kandy, it is quite one of the sights to drive
and see these working elephants bathed in the Mahavillagange River.

I was lately taken to see a new clearing meant for cocoa and coffee,
and was much interested in the work.  This is the routine - first the
tract of land intended to be planted is cleared of jungle.  The large
trees being cut to within two or three feet of the ground.  The whole
is then set on fire, and allowed to burn until nothing remains but a
few stumps, these disappear in the course of time by the help of ants
and natural decay.  When the fire has done its work, roads, and
drains are traced and made; then an army of coolies set to work to
make holes for the future plants.  These holes are dug in regular
lines; in this instance coffee was first planted, leaving space
enough between for cocoa which, however, is not put in until a year
later.  Were the two planted simultaneously, the more vigorous growth
of the cocoa would soon cause it to overpower and overshadow the
coffee, which requires quite a year's start to enable it to hold its
own.  Should it be intended to add cocoanuts they would be planted at
the same time as the coffee.

JUNE 28th. - At last I have seen our kitchen.  Both the servants were
seized with illness.  I thought it would be quite inhuman not to go
and see the little boy of thirteen, so I proceeded to visit them;
heralded, unasked, by the kitchen and tapal coolies as well as the
horse-keeper, all calling out in Tamil: "The Dorei Sani (lady) is
coming.  The Dorei Sani is coming."  So when I got to their room
which opens out of the kitchen, two figures stood at the door,
wrapped head and all in folds of white muslin, looking very much like
the old pictures of Lazarus, rising from the grave.  Poor things!
they seemed pleased and cheered at seeing me.  Both ave been ill for
some days, the one suffering from chicken-pox, and the other from
influenza and fever, and we have been at the mercy of the kitchen
coolie as regards cooking, and the horse-keeper as regards washing
up, whilst I have been house parlour maid.  These are little
contretemps which ladies going to the Colonies must expect, but it
isn't often one has the bad luck to have both bungalow servants laid
up at the same time.

The kitchen was not nearly so bad as I expected, and everything
seemed clean and tidy and orderly, hut the fire-place was a real
curiosity.  Picture to yourself a broad stone shelf, four feet high,
extending the whole width of the room.  On this the wood fire is
made.  Whilst iron bars laid on bricks support the saucepans and in
one corner is a clay oven.  When I saw it, there was only a small
fire in the middle of the shelf, but obviously this could be extended
to any width you might require, according to the number of saucepans
in use.  I have often seen a fire on the hearth in Wales and
Scotland, to say nothing of Queensland, but never before have I seen
a raised hearth, it is a capital idea and prevents the perpetual
stooping which is so tiring to the cooks.

At Raneetotem an open window is close to the hearth on both sides of
the room, giving the requisite light and air.  Other bungalows where
I have visited have nice large American stoves constructed to burn
wood, but as I have mentioned before, this Estate is rather beyond
the range of civilized ways, as far as the appliances provided for us
are concerned.  It is supposed only to be a berth for a young Sinne
Dorei, and ladies are not expected.  I am the first, and shall
probably be the last who has ever lived here.  Civilization and the
Government road stop at Ma---ne, three miles nearer Kandy.


JULY 6th. - I have just returned from a visit of a few days to a very
fine tea estate in the Matale district.  You will have some idea of
the magnitude of the operations carried on there, when I tell you
that lately fifty thousand pounds of made tea was turned out in three
weeks.  It has the finest factory I have yet seen; and here I was
introduced for the first time to a machine called a packer, which by
dint of a judicious shaking motion packs the tea into its box more
evenly and firmly than can be done by human agency; with the
additional advantage of greater cleanliness, for the old method was
for the coolies to pack the tea, pressing it down with their hands,
and even sometimes, in the larger boxes, with their feet.

The neighbourhood of Matale is very beautiful.  The town lies at the
foot of a precipitous mountain which appears to be the end spur of a
range of hills trending away to the south west.  On its heights are
several tea Estates, and I caught sight of bungalows perched like
eagles' nests on what appeared from below to be mere platforms
crowning pinnacles of rock.  Near the foot of this rugged mountain
mass is the famous rock temple of Aliwooharie, much more interesting
to my mind than the temple of Buddha's tooth at Kandy.  Aliwooharie
is only about a hundred yards from the north road to Jaffna, one of
the main arteries of traffic in Ceylon.  It is said that here the
Buddhist doctrines were first reduced to writing about a century
before Christ.  The temple is approached by a flight of steep stone
steps, which are nearly worn away by the feet of the many pilgrims
who, for over two thousand years, have worshipped in this curious
place - a huge mass of rock cleft by fissures of various dimensions.

The principal one, which lies nearly north and south, is many feet
in width, and has on its western side various caves which have been
artificially enlarged and even in some degree, built up with masonry,
into which doors are fitted.  Inside each of the caves are colossal
statues of Buddha, far larger than life.  The Buddhas recline each on
a stone platform, and have faces expressive of the utmost gentleness,
and a calm, suggestive of the blissful state of "Nirvana," to which
all good Buddhists desire to attain.  One cave, however, contained a
very alert-looking, sitting up Buddha, with no beauty of expression,
only a great deal of cunning and cleverness.  Other colossal painted
figures, carved in relief, stand round the caves.  The walls are
decorated, with rather grotesque frescoes depicting the punishments
of the wicked, or else with lovely arabesque patterns that would
delight the heart of the Kensington School of Art Needlework, so
graceful and original are the designs.  I was astonished at the
freshness of the colours, but the friend who accompanied me, an old
resident of the district, tells me that it has all been touched up
within a few years.  There is a small hut built for the priests
amongst the rocks.  I should think many offerings must find their
way here, as it is on the direct road to India, and, therefore, very
accessible to pilgrims.  The smaller rock fissures are inhabited by
thousands of bats.  In the day-time they hang from the projecting
portions like torn black banners, at night they come out in ghoulish
hosts, the priests, however, like to have them there.  I put my head
into several of these clefts, but quickly withdrew for the horrible
odour was unbearable.  There is another much larger rock temple at
Dambulla, but this I have not seen.

With the customary hospitality of Ceylon I was invited to accompany
my friends to breakfast at a planter's bungalow about nine miles
from Matale, still further on the Great North Road.  It was a most
interesting drive.  Every minute one kept passing typical scenes of
tropical life, both animate and inanimate.  Every variety of palm
lined the road.  Here hedges of aloe, throwing up their tall blossom
spike high in the air, there perennial sunflowers made a blaze of
yellow.  Now and then one came to avenues of cotton trees, the lower
trunks clothed and interlaced with the luxuriant foliage of the
pepper plant.  Whilst all along the road we met groups of coolies in
their costumes of orange, every shade of red, heliotrope, and white.
This was once the main route by which the coolies went and came from
Southern India.  The route was closed by Government lest plague might
thereby be imported, but it is much to be hoped, in the planting
interest, that it may soon be re-opened.

At Matale, which is the railway terminus, there was a quarantine
station at which the immigrants were detained if they had not been
sufficiently long on their journey to fulfil the regulation number of
days between leaving India and going to an Estate.  To cater for the
wants of these travellers, native shops line the road at frequent
intervals, where chatties, curry stuffs, rice, dried fish, fruit and
cakes are sold.  There are also many shady ambulams wherein they
could rest from the heat and glare of the mid-day sun, and cook their
simple food.  As I pass along I am struck for the thousandth time,
with the happy contented faces of the natives, so different from the
careworn, weather-beaten countenances of the same class at home, and
am more than ever convinced of the influence of climate on happiness.
In this favoured country, so little suffices for sustenance.
Necessary clothing is reduced to a minimum, and a few logs of wood,
which in the low country can be picked up in five minutes for
cooking purposes, is all that is needed for fuel.  On the Estates,
comfortable rooms and medical attendance are provided, free of
expense, and villagers make their own huts of wattle and daub,
thatched with straw from the neighbouring paddy fields.  So there is
none of the strain and privation, and anxiety to make both ends meet,
which takes the heart out of the English peasantry, and makes them
old before their time.

Whilst I was away, two deaths occurred at Raneetotem.  One, that of
my pet monkey who had become quite my friend and companion.  Poor
little thing, she accidently took some iodoform, and was poisoned.
The other death was that of an old man who had spent forty-five years
on this and the neighbouring estate.  Latterly he had been too old
and weak to do much work, so was given the office of beating the
muster tom-tom.  From long practice he had beacome quite expert, and
rattled off a tattoo with great effect.  He died from that illness so
fatal to coolies - pneumonia, because he would not stay in his lines,
but insisted upon being helped into the sunshine and even the wind.
I must say I rather sympathise with him in his desire to escape from
the dark, windowless room.  I have always thought how pleasant it
would be to die out in the open, with nothing between you and the
blue canopy of heaven.

JULY 16th. - All appearance of the monsoon has passed away, we are
again panting for rain, and what is still more important so are the
cocoa and coffee bushes, and we tremble for the fate of the eight
thousand young supplies that were so lately planted, in full
expectation of the customary rains.  So far this has been a year of
drought, which has materially diminished the amount of crop and
consequently the returns which ought to go into the pockets of the
owners.  There is ever a pleasing uncertainty attending tropical
agriculture, and for this reason eight or nine years purchase is
considered a sufficient price to pay for planting property, excepting
under very exceptional circumstances.  For example, the land being
situated close to a railway, or in a good residential neighbourhood
with an unusually healthy climate, and then the value is of course

"It is an ill wind that blows nobody any good."  The drought that
has been the bane of the spring cocoa crop, has been most beneficial
to the cotton crop, and has enabled it to be picked in first rate
condition.  There is something to me most attractive in the sight
of great bales of snow white cotton wool (for that is what it looks
like), and I have been amusing myself by making cushions of all that
I could glean about the Estate, for in spite of the vigilance of
the Kanganies a few pods here and there escape notice.  Just before
leaving home, I popped into my box a number of stray pieces of bazaar
odds and ends, such as bits of cretonne, art muslin, silks, art
serges, etc.  I have found them most useful in decorating this most
undecorative bungalow.  I should strongly advise anyone coming out
here to bring with them everything and anything of that sort that
they can lay hands on.  Also a few cheap picture frames.  Articles
that would seem tawdry and makeshift in an English drawing-room have
quite a different aspect when it comes to filling an apartment with
four bare white-washed walls, and coir matted floors.

The ants have made another assault on my bedroom.  This time they
began by making one of their nests in the floor, and gradually worked
their way through the coir matting, to a place that was covered with
a strip of grass matting.  However, a good dose of oil has for the
time put them to flight.  Yesterday, I saw a wonderful example of the
work of white ants.  For some time hollows and holes had appeared in
one of the roads.  On investigation Rob found that a huge colony of
white ants had completely undermined the road.  When the surface was
removed it left a cavity twelve feet by ten feet.  This had to be
filled with large stones to prevent their returning, as doubtless
they will try to do.

I am much struck by the seasons in Ceylon apparently repeating
themselves twice in the year.  The identical trees which flowered
last January are now blossoming again in July, the birds are pairing
for the second time, and everything gives one the impression of a
second Spring.

I have just seen the most beautiful tree I have ever had the good
luck to meet with.  It is called by Europeans "The Ceylon Laburnum,"
and by the natives "Connoopoo."  It bears a striking likeness to
laburnum in form of growth, in colour and in leaf, but the flowers
instead of being shaped like a pea, resemble a large buttercup with
very long stamens, and the sprays of blossom are very much longer.
I measured several, and they were from twenty four to twenty seven
inches in length.  The Botanical name of this extraordinary tree is
"Cassia fistula."  The seed pods it produces are as curious as the
flowers are beautiful.  When ripe they look as if the trees were hung
with ebony rulers, as they are black and round and from two to three
feet long, and about an inch in diameter.

In the Pavilion grounds at Kandy, I saw another vegetable
monstrosity.  What flowers the tree bears I do not know, but when
I saw it, it was in full leaf, and from many branches depended what
from a distance I should have declared were bunches of tallow
candles, the veritable old tallow dips of long ago, which may still
sometimes be seen hanging from the ceilings of very remote village
shops.  On nearer approach I found that even the wick at the end was
mimicked by these curious appendages.  The number of flowering forest
trees is a most noticeable feature in Ceylon scenery, and they give
a richness of colour to wooded landscapes that I have never noticed
elsewhere.  Our young bungalow servant takes a delight in dressing
the dinner table with flowers and leaves, and makes lovely
geometrical designs that would astonish and fill with envy an English
parlourmaid.  The correctness of his eye, and the lightness of his
touch are quite remarkable.

Yesterday, as I sat in the verandah, I was forcibly reminded of my
childhood, when as a good little girl with my hands behind me I was
wont to stand up and repeat the well known lines "On a chameleon."
There, straight in front of me, crawling up the stem of a loquat
tree, was a real live chameleon.  Instead of moving away, when it saw
it had attracted my notice it remained perfectly still for about ten
minutes, changing colour, from red to green, then brown, then blue,
then yellow, and finally once more red, in all cases (excepting when
its feet became blue) the hideous head of the creature appeared the
first part of it to change.

In the early morning I had a disagreeable experience.  As I was
plucking a small kind of edible passion-fruit from a tangle of
creepers lying on the ground, a tic polonga snake wriggled its green
body from almost under my hands; giving me a shiver of fright, and a
great feeling of thankfulness that I had escaped from the deadly
poison of its bite.  Twice before, I have just avoided treading on
snakes.  The knowledge that they are lurking about in the grass, and
amongst the creepers, and that every leafy thicket may possibly hide
one or more, rather detracts from the pleasure of my walks and makes
it imperative to avoid, as much as possible, short cuts, and
excursions into the jungle.

Down here in the low country, we are debarred, owing to the danger
of snakes, from having our bungalows covered with the wealth of
beautiful creepers, which make an up country home a perfect bower
of loveliness.  But we have, and especially on Raneetotem, one great
compensation for many other disadvantages, that is a superabundance
of fruit.  I use the word superabundance advisedly, for at present
we have a number of pawpaws, about sixteen pineapples, also mangoes,
custard apples, pomegranates, and limes all wanting eating.  I only
wish I had a fairy wand, and could transport divers young nieces and
nephews into their midst.  My favourite fruit is the pawpaw; it has
very much the appearance and taste of a superlatively good rock
melon, but with the addition of a peculiar flavour of its own.  It is
said to contain a large amount of vegetable pepsine.  Some scientific
men are trying experiments in order to find out if the pepsine can be
profitably extracted, and pawpaws grown for commercial purposes.

This is a land of surprises.  This morning I passed a coolie woman
washing clothes at the dam, to my astonishment she suddenly said,
"Bon jour, madame."  The mystery was soon explained, she is one of
a new gang of coolies just come to Raneetotem, and is a native of
the Isle of Bourbon.  Unfortunately the French of the Mauritius and
Bourbon coolies is a curious mixture of Tamil and French, so I fear
I shall not be able to understand much that she says to me.

Last night we were sitting down to dinner, when most unmistakable
sounds of a row came up from the Lines, not by any means an ordinary
row, but such sounds as you might expect to attend an Irish faction
fight.  Shrill penetrating women's voices seemed to lead the way,
then the deeper shouts of many men, and the barking of dogs - which
together made a very pandemonium of noise.  Rob and I expected them
every moment to appear at the bungalow, and sometimes the shouts
seemed ominously near.  However, he sent a messenger to tell them if
they did not stop that noise at once, he would fine every Kangany in
those Lines.  Immediately there was comparative peace, although one
could occasionally still hear low mutterings.  Eventually the rival
factions did come up.  The dispute turned out to have been begun by
a quarrel between two women.  One had borrowed from the other three
rupees which she would not repay.  So the lender took the law into
her own hands, seized the gold earrings from off the debtor's ear
nearly slitting an ear and losing one earring which, as they were a
valuable pair, costing Rs19 was much resented.  Whereupon the woman
and her husband went and beat the husband of the money-lender, who
happened to be store watchman.  All the other coolies took sides and
joined in the fray, and hence the hubbub.  Doubtless in a day or two
they will all be the greatest of friends; this is coolie nature.

JULY 20th. - "Peter Piper picked a peck of pepper" persistentIy
repeats itself in my brain to-day.  Our Peter Pipers are picking not
only pecks but bushels of pepper, and a very pretty crop it is.  It
grows in clusters about two inches long, depending from a vine with
oval, deeply veined leaves, which twine in luxuriant masses up the
stems of forest trees.  The pepper berries when first picked and
piled up in the store are a study in greens and reds, for as they
ripen they turn a lovely coral colour, becoming when dried the
ordinary black peppercorns we are accustomed to use in England.
The cultivation of the pepper vine is said to be increasing in Ceylon.
Chilis are another product which do well in the low country, and
would surely pay to grow when it is taken into consideration that
more than one million are imported annually into this island from
India.  We have numbers of the smaller chilis growing in various
parts of the Estate.  They are much appreciated by the coolies, who
use them in their curry, and also by our Appu who makes from them
chili vinegar.  In Ceylon the cooks do not use readymade curry
powder, but send to the market for a pound of "curry stuff," which
consists of a most miscellaneous collection of articles divided into
separate parcels, the names of some I did not know, and when I
enquired from the appu, he only replied vaguely.  "They are just
curry stuff, lady."  So I was none the wiser, but I recognised
garlic, chilis, maldive fish, ginger, aniseed, and grated cocoanut.
From these the cooks compound a mixture of their own, and it is
generally excellent, especially when we eat with it, as a condiment,
home made mango, or tamarind chutney.


AUGUST 1st. - Last night we had another tremendous gale, the wind
rustled through the cocoanut palms, and whistled through the
Casuarinas just as it does through the rigging of a ship, and once or
twice I was quite alarmed; the wind and noise of cracking branches
even quieted the rats behind the ceiling cloth.  Alas! it did not
bring the much hoped for rain.  All the reputed signs of coming rain
have been with us for some days - the cocoa has flushed - the
rain-bird has given forth its curious cry - the frogs have croaked -
and the sky has been black and threatening.  We have seen rain
showers travelling to right and left of us, but excepting for a few
tantalising drops, we have been left dry and parched and are
beginning to fear that, for us, this monsoon will be a failure and
most of the young plants will die, and must be replaced when the N.E.
monsoon visits us in December.  This would mean a good deal of extra
expense, which in these days of keen competition is a thing upon
which the Visiting Agent would not smile.

No one who has not lived on an Estate out here, could imagine what a
Potentate the V.A. is.  On him, and on his approval hangs your fate;
from his veto there is no appeal! and on his favour depends much of
the comfort of your life.  He is to the estates under his charge,
what the general is to his army, what the headmaster is in a public
school, or what a certain European sovereign is, or wishes to be to
the nation over which he rules.  This awestruck attitude of mind,
at first amused me much; and I am afraid were I a superintendent,
I should never attain to the necessary amount of submission.

I can imagine life on your own Estate where you are accountable to
no one, being perfectly ideal, supposing always, it were in a good
climate, and happened to pay, but for a man of middle age and upwards
to have to submit his mature judgment to another man of his own age,
requires an amount of patience and good temper not possessed by every
one, and detracts much from the pleasure of a planter's life.  Still
all this is, I suppose, unavoidable, for the V.A. is a most necessary
check on extravagant expenditure, and a great safeguard to the
interests of the shareholders, and absent owners.  A tactful man,
with a knowledge of the world, as well as a knowledge of business,
can make his visits a valuable help as well as a pleasant social
event.  Happily, our V.A. is very popular amongst the company's
employees, whose work he inspects, and they look forward with
pleasure to his coming, and try their best to carry out his
suggestions.  V.A.'s themselves must sometimes have a disagreeable
time of it, for, their mission cannot be always one of praise
and approval, and they are sometimes forced to dismiss a faulty
superintendent at a moment's notice.

Two incidents very typical of native character happened this week.
We were spending Sunday with some friends ten miles away, when
suddenly a Raneetotem kangany, attended by one of his coolies,
appeared.  He came to lay a complaint against our appu, who he said
had gone down to the Lines the previous night, had got drunk,
thrashed a coolie so badly that he must go to the hospital, and had
stabbed him (the kangany) with a knife.  Rob asked to see the stab,
but none could be found, and the coat which was supposed to be cut
was simply a little frayed, so he suspected it was all an invention,
and sent the man home, promising to enquire into the whole matter
when he returned there next morning.  He did so, took the evidence of
the head kangany - the appu - and some others separately, and they
all agreed that no coolie had been beaten - no knife had been seen or
used, and that our appu had only come down from the bungalow to help
some of the kanganies to restore order in a great row which was
taking place between the informer and another man.  He was taxed with
his untruthfulness and malice, severely reprimanded, and fined twenty
rupees, which to a man of his position is a large sum.

When I returned in the evening all was quiet again, and I must
confess though we had not believed in the accusation it was a great
relief to Rob and myself to find our servant was not to blame, for he
is a most excellent "boy," and has been many years with his master,
having nursed him faithfully through several severe illnesses.  This
little incident shows how extremely difficult it is to sift evidence,
to decide on the credibility of witnesses, and to mete out blame and
punishment in the right quarter, owing to the total disregard of
truth, and the deceitfulness and duplicity of the native character;
joined to these traits there is a curious strain of simplicity, for
happily they do not take the trouble, or have not the ability to make
their falsehoods hang well together, nor have they the forethought to
see that if you enquire further into the matter they will be found out.

Superstition is another national characteristic.  I have previously
mentioned the deserted coolie lines at Raneetotem - deserted, because
they are supposed to be infested by "presassies" or devils.  A short
time ago, a gang of new coolies arrived on the estate; before being
taken on, it was explained to their kangany that if they came here,
they wouid have to occupy these lines which would he done up and made
comfortable for their reception, the new coolies meanwhile sharing
the already much over-crowded quarters of our people.  To all this
the kangany agreed.  He said, "he wasn't afraid of any devils nor
were his coolies, and directly the place was ready they would occupy
it."  Accordingly the necessary repairs were carried out, the
surrounding ground on which were lots of fruit trees, was cleared
and made to look neat, and soon all was ready, including an excellent
well of water.  For several weeks the kangany made excuses for not
moving in, and at last he and his coolies flatly refused to go there,
and face the devils, making the excuse that the women of the party
were timid, and would not bear of staying there alone whilst the men
were at work.  It would be unwise to compel them to go, for they
would either run away in a body (which would be inconvenient) or else
some of the more nervous might die of fright.

A friend tells me he has known two perfectly healthy young girls die
in a couple of days after, as they said, the devil had come to them;
and Rob knew a man who said he saw the devil in the jungle, and in a
few hours was dead.  It is supposed to be a curious form of hysteria
which attacks the victims; these visitations usually take place about

So our deserted Lines still remain deserted; but it is settled that
the kangany is himself to pay the expense of their having been made

I am told that this is not at all an uncommon incident and that in
most districts there are these deserted houses.  Our friend told me
that the way he succeeded in getting his set reoccupied was by giving
his kangany twenty rupees in order to have a great feast on the spot,
a reputed exorcist in the shape of an old man, first turning out the
devils by the aid of incantations, sacrifices, and much beating of
tom-toms.  When a whole night had been made hideous in this manner
the devils were said to have departed, and the coolies took up
their abode there, and the lines have remained occupied ever since.
Probably in most cases the original prejudice arose from an unhealthy
feverish season causing an unusual number of deaths amongst the

AUGUST 8th. - l have just returned from a visit to Kandy where I
went in order to witness the Perahera, the great Sinhalese Buddhist
Festival which takes place annually at the time of the full moon
which falls nearest to the end of July.  This year it was rather
unusually late, the last day of the festival being on the 7th August.
It lasts ten days, and during that time the procession nightly
parades the streets: but the last night of all is the grandest.
Sinhalese from all the neighbouring countryside flock into Kandy,
and when I drove in one Friday afternoon the usually empty streets
looked like some brilliant flower bed, from the masses of red, orange,
violet, and white, composing the native dresses.  Everyone tried
to have a new cloth for the occasion, and the Sinhalese ladies drove
about the town, loaded with handsome jewellery, dressed in delicate
silks, with their little low-necked, short, white jackets a mass of
lace and embroidery.

The grass square bordering on Kandy lake was fringed with booths.
These were the very strangest mixture of East and West - stalls
crowded with native cakes, sweetmeats and fruits, next perhaps to a
phonograph.  Again, a stall with bottles of sherbet coloured by the
flowers of the hibiscus, and other Ceylon vegetable dyes, side by
side with a cinematograph.  Besides these there were numerous
lotteries, and most popular of all - a merry-go-round.  It looked
wonderfully queer to see the wooden steeds ridden by natives in their
very unEnglish dress.  A man clothed in a garment like a long narrow
petticoat does not look elegant astride of a horse.

Of course the great event of the day, or rather night, is the
procession.  About 6 p.m, which means dusk in this latitude, we went
to the Temple compound to see the preliminary ceremony - the dressing
of the elephants in all their finery.  No sooner had I entered the
enclosure than, much to my embarrassment, an elephant was brought up
to make a "salaam" to the "Nona" (Sinhalese for lady.)  This it did
by going down on its fore knees.  This was of course the signal for
me to give a small donation, and I have no doubt a good deal of money
is collected in this way.  Having walked round and inspected the
other elephants, the various shrines, and the sacred Bo tree, we went
home to have an early dinner before the great event of the evening.

About eight o'clock a gun was fired from the temple as a signal for
the procession to start.  First came men bearing flags, then the
great temple elephant carrying a silver gilt shrine supposed to
contain Buddha's tooth (but it doesn't,) the tooth is kept safely
under lock and key inside the temple.  This huge beast has a gorgeous
face-cloth embroidered with gold and silver thread, and encrusted
with jewels; his tusks are first twisted round with white muslin, and
are then placed in gold sheaths, each sheath having a magnificent
ruby, set at its base.  At each side of this elephant walks another
of nearly, but not quite equal size, these have scarlet face-cloths,
having a gold image of Buddha, and other gold devices fastened to the
cloth: they are each bestridden by a Kandyan chief in white, with his
lap full of flowers, which quite scent the air, and by three or four
other men bearing silver gilt umbrellas, and stiff banners, something
like an old-fashioned banner screen.  After these comes a native
band, tom-toms, conch shells, and pipes (not unlike bag-pipes in
sound); then a group of dancers, who dance before each of the Kandyan
chiefs, reminding one of the men who danced before David.  These
chiefs wear most extraordinary costumes, first a pair of white full
calico or muslin trousers coming down tight to the ankles, and
finished off with a little frill.  Over this a kind of white shirt,
and above all, yards and yards of white muslin twisted round and
round that part of the body which Englishmen try to reduce to slim
proportions; fashions vary, and here evidently a vast girth is
admired.  Over the white full shirt a bolero jacket of silk or satin,
embroidered in gold or silver, is worn.  The magnificent jewelled
belts which these chiefs inherit from their ancestors are of such
a huge size, that really this great quantity of muslin, sometimes
60 yards, is required to keep them on.  These peg top figures are
surmounted by a curiously shaped, aimost flat white hat, impossible
to describe.

The Chiefs are preceded by their distinctive banners, and followed
by their retainers to the number of some hundreds, a motley crew,
but nevertheless picturesque, seen by the light of torches and
braziers held high aloft - indeed the whole procession, which
extends for about half a mile, is well lighted, and the gold and
silver and jewels flash in the weird flaring glow.

Elephants, bands, dancers or jugglers, chiefs, retainers follow each
other over and over again in the same order as I have described.
There are four subsidiary temples, and they each send their
contingent.  The whole thing winds up with four richly curtained
Palanquin in which are borne vessds of gold and silver gilt,
containing holy water extracted the preceding year, for temple use,
from the sacred river the Mahavillagange (the Ganges of Ptolemy).

The procession was not without its comic elements.  One was the
police marshal, a ruddy portly Englishman, who looked red, supremely
uncomfortable, and out of place, amidst his eastern surroundings, but
whose business it is to keep order, and to accompany the procession
in its tortuous course through the streets.  The other comic incident
was two natives dressed up in European costume, solar topee, false
whiskers, and beard, they were mounted on very high stilts, and
occasionally took off their hats with exaggerated politeness,
evidently intended as a skit on our manners and customs.

Some of the dancers were extremely graceful, each group being
differently dressed: one set had on a curious kind of armour of many
coloured beads; another set were dressed as women, and threw their
bright brass chatties into the air as they went through the different
evolutions, never failing to catch them again.  Thousands of people
thronged the streets, the scene was one of barbaric splendour that I
can never forget.  I was fortunate enough to see it three times from
a different coign of vantage, so it is indelibly impressed on my
mind.  Later in the night, a friend took me round the green, where
behind the fringe of booths I saw a most extraordinary sight, whole
families of tired villagers had laid themselves down to sleep in
family groups, even including the inevitable baby, with large
umbrellas fixed over their heads to keep off the dew.

Next morning the festival culminated in the expedition to the
Mahavillagange, near Peradeniya, about three miles from Kandy, in
order to cut the waters of the river with swords.  The residue of
last years holy water is poured back into the bosom of the river, and
a fresh supply taken in from the portion of water disturbed by the
sword; then the multitude return to Kandy.  Once more the procession
wends its way through the streets, a gun is fired from the temple as
a signal that all is over, and in less than an hour the crowd has
melted away, the booths are being taken down and the town is in the
hands of a perfect army of scavengers.  Before evening, all was as
quiet as if the ten days festival had never taken place.

I was astonished at the orderliness of the crowd, during the two days
that I was present.  I only saw one drunken man and he was being
taken away out of sight by some of his companions.  Though I went
freely about the streets, I never met with the slightest incivility
or the least rudeness or pushing.  I am afraid I should not be able
to say the same for an English crowd of like proportions.

During the year many other pereheras are held in Kandy, and the other
different towns, but on a much smaller scale than this.

It must be remembered that Ceylon is the head-quarters of Buddhism.
A late census gives 760,000 as the number of members of this religion
residing on the island.  From the same source I quote an interesting
classification of those attached to the various Buddhist temples;
6300 priests; 300 temple servants; 140 tom-tom beaters; 1532 devil-
dancers; 200 astrologers; 200 actors, and nautch dancers; 120 snake
charmers; 168 musicians.  The very enumeration thereof gives me a
whirling sense of noise and motion very foreign to our western ideas
of religion.


AUGUST 25th. - Since I last wrote in my Journal, much that was
unexpected has happened.  In the first place we have been moved from
Raneetotem to an Estate some miles nearer Kandy.  Rob's lingering
malarial attack pointed out only too surely that he had remained
already too long in that exhausting climate, so his employers ordered
an exchange of billets.  In consequence we find ourselves in a
charming bungalow in a much better climate, with refreshingly cool
mornings and evenings, with near neighbours, bicycling roads, and
even a good tennis court.  It is rather humiliating to find the
effect a good house has on one's sensations.  When I sit writing here
in my pretty little drawing-room, surrounded by photographs of my
dear ones at home, and look across a broad white pillared verandah on
to a rose garden in which my old friends, Gloire de Dijon, Triomphe
de Rennes, Marshal Niel, Baroness Rothschild, Captain Christy,
Fellenberg, and many others flourish, I feel as if I had returned
once more to this century, instead of living as at Raneetotem in
an environment which constantly reminded one of the times of the
patriarchs.  However I am glad to have had the experience and to have
seen what the daily life of a remote low country Estate is like.

Our move was performed by the help of bullock carts and a curious
sight it was to see the process of loading.  Three carts stood in a
row, each the nucleus of a busy group of coolies; a few yards away
lay the six bullocks patiently chewing the cud until they were
wanted, and not in the least disturbed by the barking of dogs, the
screams of the monkey, the cackle of geese, and the crowing of cocks,
as they were each and all caught and deposited in their respective
carts.  A great difficulty was how to convey three broods of chickens
which were really too young to face the shaking and the hot sun; ten
of these eventually died, but all the rest of the beasts and birds
reached their new home safe and sound.

Another problem was the conveyance of the numerous pot plants, which
are the ornaments of the verandah, and the pride and joy of almost
every planter's heart.

At last everything was got under weigh, and amidst the salaams of the
kanganies, and the open eyed curiosity of a number of little black
children, Rob and I took our leave of Raneetotem, where I, at least,
have spent a most interesting and never to be forgotten eight months.

I am told by the older inhabitants that we are having unusually dry
weather for the time of year, little or no rain has been measured for
the past month, and in consequence the cocoa looks drooping, shows
yellow leaves, and many of the pods are turning black.  Everyone is
watching for signs of coming rain, for this long drought on the top
of cocoa disease makes planting at this moment an anxious occupation.

Rob's arrival at this place, where he had once before acted as
superintendent, was welcomed by a troup of native dancers.  A party
of five of the coolies, dressed in picturesque glittering costumes,
suddenly appeared in front of the bungalow.  A middle-aged man with
the inevitable tom-tom, and a younger man with a kind of flageolet,
and a pretty young woman composed the band, while two very graceful
children, a mass of jewellery and tinsel, danced delightfully and in
perfect time to the instruments.  At intervals the music and dancing
stopped, and then the men chanted Rob's praises in Tamil.  Then the
children once more began their pretty movements, and so it would have
gone on ad infinitum had we not conveyed to them as politely as we
could, the fact that we had now had enough, presenting at the same
time a little token of our friendship and good feeling in the shape
of some welcome rupees.  This was the prettiest dancing I had seen.
Usually the female dancers are personated by men, and in consequence
the movements are heavier and more laboured than they ought to be:
but these children were fairy-like and dainty, and the glitter of
their jewellery and especially of the little brass cymbals worn like
wings on their shoulders made an extremely bright, pretty picture.
There is scarcely a day passes without my longing to have the brush
of an artist to paint these scenes, sometimes so exquisitely
beautiful, at others so exquisitely comic.  It is impossible with
pen, ink, and paper, to depict what I see, or to convey to my readers
a true impression of the charm of this beautiful country.

The fine bungalow which we now inhabit is a relic of the old coffee
days when salaries were higher and prices lower, and the rupee had
a two shilling purchasing value.  A good deal of the furniture has
at one time or another been removed elsewhere, but enough solid,
handsome pieces remain to give a clue to the history of the past:
and with the addition of sundry odds and ends of our own in the shape
of dhurries, curtains, pictures, books, cushions and table-cloths to
make very comfortable and habitable quarters for my son and myself.
Here, I should like to again urge those coming to Ceylon for the
first time, to bring with them any pretty cretonnes, muslins, bits
of bright silk, art serge, curtains, pictures, and ornaments they
can lay their hands on, for they are simply invaluable in making the
rooms look homelike.  In the low country the dining-room is usually
separated from the drawing-room by a broad arch, and unless you have
long, full curtains, and a screen, the two rooms might as well be one.

Don't grudge a few extra boxes, but bring out everything that is in
the slightest degree decorative.  All such things are very expensive

The shipping companies are most liberal in the amount of luggage
allowed, and even if you have to pay a little extra freight, the
satisfaction you will derive from the contents of the boxes will be
cheap at the price.  The necessaries of life are inexpensive, but
luxuries, medicines, and articles of household gear, are ruinous in
price.  Many and many a time have I longed for an English sixpenny
halfpenny shop from which to replenish our stock of kitchen utensils
and common articles of glass and earthenware.

We have only been here a week but already feel much revived by the
change of climate.  Sickness is a terribly anxious thing, when you
are miles away from the nearest European, and sixteen miles from an
English doctor and a chemist's shop.  When one is oneself the victim,
especially in malarial diseases, one is too ill and too stupefied to
care much what may happen, but when it is someone near and clear who
is attacked, the perpetual effort to appear calm and cheerful, the
constant anxiety and fear of new developments without a doctor at
hand, and the strain of deciding, unaided, what is the right course
to take, is most trying to bear.  When recovery ensues, one's
feelings of gratitude and relief are proportionately great, and one
quickly forgets the time of stress and anxiety.  But I would venture
to say that for no amount of salary or kudos, is it worth while
venturing into a bad climate; for many of the planting districts in
Ceylon are as healthy as any place in England, indeed more so, for
those who have any tendency to delicacy of chest.

Judging from the remnants of expensive works to be seen in all
directions, this in the old coffee days, must have been a very
lucrative property.  Amongst other things there are the remains
of a vast system of irrigation.  Water was led from the river
Mahavillagange along a watercourse for a mile or so to a huge turbine
by means of which it was forced through miles of iron pipes, to the
different parts of the Estate; the pipes in some places being carried
over aqueducts, at others buried deep in the ground.

For some reason it was not found to answer, and now nothing remains
but the turbine, the ruins of the aqueducts, and here and there huge
iron pipes cropping out of the ground in most unexpected places,
looking like the open mouth and head of some unknown monster.

When the great engine employed at that time was first set going a
little child crept in, unnoticed until too late to save it, and was
ground into such small pieces that not an atom of it was seen again.
The tradition has grown in the lapse of time, and the coolies now
believe the place where it occurred to he haunted by "Presassies,"
and declare that this neglected and now useless machinery invariably
works all night.  They say they both see and hear its movements, but
when Rob begs that they will call us, that we too may see, they
always say it is no use, for the "Pressassies" won't work when a
"Dorei" is there.  It is inconceivable how they can persuade
themselves into this belief, but I am quite convinced that it is
with them a genuine delusion, and not a pretence to take us in.

Another relic of the days of unstinted expenditure is the broad
terrace high up on the side of a hill.  It extends for about half a
mile in length, and is in many places supported by walls of masonry
from ten to twenty feet in height.  There is a tradition that just
below it was the most productive bit of coffee in the whole of the
island; now the coffee has been replaced by cocoa.  This terrace is
my favourite walk; it stands high, and commands a most magnificent
view.  Stretched at our feet is a great part of the fertile valley of
Dumbera, and away beyond it to the north-east rises like a giant wall
the mountains of Hunasgeyria, Madulkelle, Rangalla and Madamanura,
whilst far away to the right as far as the eye can see are the
distant hills of Badulla.  I love to go there just before, or after,
sunrise, when the peaks are tipped with rosy or golden light, and the
gorges lie in purple gloom, and the courses of the two rivers the
Mahavillagange, and the Hulugange are marked by a trail of white mist
like a silver veil, lovely to look at, but alas, deadly to those
living within the malarious influence of its filmy folds.

To a lover of scenery, this place has endless delights, for from
another hill we look across the valley of the Mahavillagange to the
flourishing tea estates of Hewhetta, and Deltotte, and from yet
another to the vast plain stretching away from the high grounds of
the Central Province to the sea on the western Coast.  The sea itself
is not visible, but the light horizon denoting its presence is there,
and one can draw on one's imagination for the rest.  No one who has
not been in what the Bible calls a far country can realise the
fascination which the sea has for emigrants.  To us it symbolises
the link that binds us to home.  On its bosom glide the great ocean
steamers that bring us tidings of our dear ones, and it is the
friendly medium that will at last help us to reach the haven where
we would be - the shores of dear Old England.

SEPTEMBER 2nd. - On returning from our evening walk, Rob and I were
surprised to see a number of Sinhalese.  They turned out to be a
Colombo man with his employees, who has bought the cinnamon growing
here, and comes from time to time to collect it.  Cinnamon, of a
kind, is indigenous throughout the jungles of Ceylon, but has to be
cultivated before it is suitable for an article of commerce.  Sir S.
Baker in his "Eight years in Ceylon" thus describes the mode of

"The tree (when wild) grows to the dimensions of a forest tree, the
trunk being usually about three feet in circumference, but in its
cultivated state it is never allowed to exceed the dimensions of a
bush, being pruned down close to the ground every year.  This system
of close cutting induces the growth of a large number of shoots,
in the same manner that withies are produced in England.

"Every twelve months these shoots attain the length of six or seven
feet and the thickness of a finger.  In the interim, the only
cultivation required is repeated cleaning.  The whole plantation is
cut down at the proper period, and the sticks are then stripped of
their bark by the peelers.  These men are called "Chalias," and their
labour is confined to this particular branch.  Their practice in this
employment naturally renders them particularly expert, and in far
less time than is occupied in the description they run a sharp knife
longitudinally along a stick, and at once divest it of the bark.
On the following day the strips are scraped so as to entirely remove
the outer cuticle.  One strip is then laid within the other, which
upon becoming dry, contract and form a series of enclosed pipes.
It is subsequently packed in bales and carefully sewed up in double
sacks for exportation."

These Sinhalese cinnamon men are allowed to occupy a disused store
not far from the bungalow, and seem a cheerful happy set - indeed
rather too cheerful for our comfort, for when not at work, they amuse
themselves by either playing on a flageolet, or else reading aloud at
the top of their voices, with a curious up and down cadence,
reminding me more than anything of the sounds proceeding from a Welsh
dissenting chapel when the minister is endowed with an extra portion
of "Hwyl."  Natives appear incapable of reading to themselves.  It is
a common sight in the streets of Kandy to see, and more especially to
hear, a native reading aloud a news sheet, surrounded by a crowd of
open-mouthed gaping listeners.

Besides cinnamon, we grow a good deal of vanilla - the pods are dried
and oiled and tied up into little half pound bundles, looking very
much like packets of cigars.  The pods in their green state on the
vanilla vine are curious looking things, they grow in clusters, and
to-day I saw a cluster of five, which resembled five limp fingers.
Vanilla is, as most people know, an orchid of a creeping type,
throwing out little feelers like ivy, by which it attaches itself to
any tree with rough bark which may grow near enough for its supports.
It is a native of Mexico, and other warm moist regions of Central
America, but some years ago was introduced into Mauritius, Reunion,
and the Seychelles, in all of which places it has become an article
of commerce.  Lately Indian and Ceylon planters have turned their
attention to its cultivation, which is both pleasant and easy, but
curing the pod requires great attention and delicate manipulation.
In Reunion, ladies are said to grow vanilla in their gardens, and to
superintend its preparation for the market themselves as a way of
increasing their pocket-money.  Vanilla pods when well cured, and of
sufficient size, are extremely valuable, not only are they used in
confectionery and to flavour tobacco, but in Germany they are
employed as a dye.  I have been told of a well cultivated plantation
of an acre, in Reunion, which yielded in one year six thousand

As the method of preparation is somewhat interesting, I will here
set down a few notes that I have culled from translations from the
Dictionaire du Commerce de la Navigation, and a paper by M. David
de Florit of Reunion.  In the first place vanilla flowers have to be
artificially fertilized.  In its original home in the forests of
America, the flowers are fertilized by suitable insects, which do not
exist in its adopted homes.  This is a curious process - the manner
in which it is carried out.  I will copy from M. de Florit:- "In the
flower of the vanilla the male organ is separated from the female
organ by a light skin, which prevents the natural fecundation.  It
is necessary, therefore, after the flower is completely opened, to
remove this skin with a little instrument and by a light pressure of
the thumb and the forefinger, to cause communication between the two
organs.  Fecundation is made from eight to nine o'clock in the
morning, till three o'clock in the afternoon, and may even be carried
on till four or five; but the pods fecundated late never acquire the
length and size of those fecundated earlier in the day.  The
instrument used for this operation is generally three or four inches
long, and made thin and round at one end.  It must be neither sharp
nor triangular, in either of these cases it would wound the organs of
the flower, or cause the pollen to fall.  The spathes of the cocoanut
palm, or plane tree are the best instruments to use."  (When ripe for
gathering the pods have a slightly yellowish tinge.  Great care has
to be taken that they do not become over-ripe, as in that case they
are liable to split and their market value is decreased. -
Dictionaire du Commerce et Navigation.)  "The pods as received in
Europe, are made up in packets of fifty each, and should be fresh and
very aromatic.  When ripe, the pods are plucked and plunged for a
moment in a vessel of boiling water to blanch them.  They are then
hung up in any airy place; and at this stage there exudes from them a
viscous liquid which must be removed.  The removal is facilitated by
light pressure, repeated two or three times a day.  This dessication
is a difficult operation and must proceed slowly.  The pods are
frequently oiled to keep them supple, and to preserve them from
insects; they are also tied up with cotton thread to keep them from
opening.  These are delicate operations and the rareness of complete
success explains the high price of the vanilla of first quality.  As
soon as the pods are ready, no time is lost in wrapping them in oiled
paper, and packing them in tin boxes; for exposed to the air they
would speedily lose their aroma."  Vanilla is often covered with a
brilliant silvery efflorescence (much like hoar frost).  This kind is
preferred to all others.  Vanilla is despatched in tin boxes, each
box contains about sixty packets of fifty pods each.  And the price
greatly depends upon the uniform size and length of the pod, and its
arriving in a fresh and moist condition.

One of the difficulties of vanilla culture is to hit upon the exact
amount of shade under which it should grow.  Too much sun causes it
to droop and quickly to become sickly, whilst there would be little
or no crop under too much shade.  There is much land in the low
country of Ceylon which would be quite suitable for vanilla
cultivation, and the day will come when planters will see that it is
to their interest not to neglect such products as this, also spices -
plantain flour - chilis, arrowroot and other minor products, to eke
out the uncertain profits of tea, coffee and cocoa.


Having come to civilized regions we thought we would act accordingly,
and therefore, last week, invited our friends and neighbours to tea
and tennis.  We have an excellent gravelled court, close to the
bungalow, which was originally the barbecue of a now disused store.

Two things about it would strike a new comer; the ends are protected
by a stockade of bamboo stems; and the courts instead of being marked
out with whitening, or white paint have lines of thin rope tightly
drawn and securely fastened.  At first this struck me as being a very
dangerous plan, I expected every moment to see a player catch his
foot in the rope, and fall headlong; but I was assured "it was the
custom of Ceylon," and that no accident ever happened.

"It is the custom of Ceylon" is the stereotyped reply all over the
island to any suggestion of improvement or progress, and strange to
say it is expected to be quite conclusive.  Anything that was good
enough for the grandfathers is good enough for the grandchildren;
and suggestions for saving time or labour are quite resented.  It is
not only the dark races who are so conservative, but native born
Europeans, and old settlers all seem to have caught the non-
progressive disease, and their remarks often make me wish that I
could turn a few hundred enterprising Americans loose in the island.

But to return to our party, the guests arrived in most various
vehicles, a dogcart, an American buggy, and two bullock hackerys,
whilst a couple of horsemen brought up the rear.  It was a curious
sight to see the fine, humped white bulls lying lazily under the
shade of a clump of tall bamboos awaiting the pleasure of their

We had tea and cakes in the verandah and then adjourned to the tennis
court where four native boys awaited us to pick up the balls.  Here
some capital sets reminded me of summer afternoons in England, but
all too soon the waning light warned our friends, they must hurry
away to reach home before dark.  The very short twilight is one of
the great drawbacks to tropical countries; no sooner does it become
cool enough to play active games, than it gets too dark to go on
with them.  Walks, and rides, and all out-door amusements have to
be curtailed, unless you are prepared to run the risk of taking your
pleasure under a tropical Sun or else in the dark.

SEPTEMBER 5th. - This place is much infested by snakes.  Since we
came here two cobras have been killed in close proximity to the
fowlhouse, and two days ago it was thought prudent to burn the long
grass in a dry gully, running just below the cattle shed, with the
result that three cobras and one tic polonga fell victims to the
flames.  But yesterday we nearly had a tragedy.  A poor woman was
bitten by a snake whilst weeding; happily it turned out to be a very
small baby tic.  She was at once taken in hand by one of the
Kanganies, who is supposed to have a native specific for snake bite,
and beyond giving herself and us a great fright, she seems to-day
none the worse for the accident.  The natives have a superstition
that if you kill the snake that bites you, you will die, consequently
it is often difficult to ascertain what kind of snake it really was;
but in this case it was clearly proved that the delinquent was a very
young green tic polonga, a snake which is exactly the colour of the
cocoa, and coffee leaves, and therefore very difficult, for those
working amongst the bushes, to see and avoid.

There seems little doubt that some of the natives have real specifics
for snake bite.  This Kangany lately cured a man on a neighbouring
Estate who had been bitten by a cobra.  He says he got the stuff from
India.  Of course, the ingredients are a secret, like the Burling
drink in Kent which cures hydrophobia.  I often wish St. Patrick had
paid Ceylon a visit on his way to Ireland, for the danger of snakes
precludes many a tempting ramble in fern clad ravines, and in grass
fields, the summits of which promise magnificent views; in jungles
where I imagine I could find flowering creepers lovelier than
anything I have ever seen before, the snakes have it their own way,
and I am obliged to walk sedately along the uninteresting road, not
that we have much to complain of, for every Estate is intersected
with miles of roads and paths, so that one has always an infinite
variety of walks to choose from.

This is English letter day; a day to which we all look forward with
delight.  Even a postcard from home is welcomed with glee, and the
hours are always counted until the mail arrives.  I would have every
one in the old country realise how much pleasure they can give their
absent friends by a few lines of remembrance, or even a newspaper,
still more a birthday card, showing they are not forgotten, or an
occasional book.  Most of us here lead a dual life, our mind is
occupied by our daily occupations and work; but our heart is
following in imagination the lives of those we love in England.

In the planting districts of Ceylon, books are even more valuable
than they are in Europe; here, where one has so little human society,
one makes friends of the heroes and heroines of romance, their joys
and their griefs help to pass many an hour of heat and discomfort,
which would otherwise be wearisome in the extreme; while as for solid
books, one has leisure and freedom from distraction enough to read
and thoroughly digest works which one could only skim through in a
busy life passed amongst crowds.  I find the Kandy Town Library which
contains nearly a thousand volumes of well chosen books, a great
resource.  The subscription is so moderate that anyone could afford
to join, and the committee are most liberal in the number of books
(six sets at a time) that they allow country members.  The Library
contains an excellent supply of travels, biographies and books
relative to Ceylon, and a great number of novels.  The so called new
books are perhaps the least interesting to me, because they are just
what everyone had been reading during the last five years in England,
and one hasn't yet had time to forget them.  I should say that a
taste for reading was a most useful one for anyone coming out here,
adding considerably to their happiness.

In the course of my attempts to learn Tamil, I lately found in
"Inge va," the popular phrase book, a most interesting selection
from Percival's "Tamil Proverbs."  I give a few of the most striking:-

"Must the loaf be broken to prove it is bread."

"If given without measuring it is a gift; if measured it is a debt."

"Can a somersault be turned at the bottom of a chatty." ("Chatty" -
earthenware pot.)

"Although you take a leech and place it on a cushion, it will seek
the rubbish."

"Though you cry, will the flood that has burst its bounds return."

"A sluggish foot is the goddess of poverty, an active foot is the
goddess of fortune."

"There is neither salt nor acid in your talk."

"The fruit is numberless on the unclimbable tree."

"An eightieth part of laziness, a crore of loss."

"Say little and give full measure."

"No priest can change one's nature."

"The thief and the gardener are one."

"Time passes, but sayings remain."

"A master without anger, a master without wages."

"A moneyless man is a corpse."

"There are no mistakes in silence."

"The top of the skilful will spin even in sand."

"Even grass is a weapon to the powerful."

"The dam must be made before the flood comes."

"Will the barking dog catch game."

"A hero at home, a coward in the jungle."

"Even to a monkey, its young is as precious as gold."

"The young calf knows no fear."

"Is a reward given for eating sugar cane?"

"The flower out of reach, I dedicated to the god."

"Where there is anger there is love."

"Will burnt and moist clay cohere?"

"A thorn must be extracted by a thorn."

"If the somersault fail it is death."

A few of their proverbs are identical with our own, as for instance:-
"Where there is smoke there is fire."  "Can the blind lead the
blind."  "Many drops make a great flood," etc. etc.  Probably the
learned in such matters would tell us that our version is of Eastern

SEPTEMBER 7th. - Yesterday was Rob's birthday.  We had a little
dinner party to celebrate the occasion.  Our servants made a great
effort to turn out a creditable dinner, and took infinite pains to
decorate the table.  It really was lovely.  Natives have a perfect
genius for decoration.  In this case, the cloth was covered with a
geometrical pattern formed of petals of bougainvillea (which look red
at night) and a bright yellow flower, ferns with pendants of
poinsettia petals, whilst here and there at the junction of lines a
scarlet hibiscus gave a finish and redness to the design.  If no
flowers are to be obtained they cut the young fronds of the cocoanut
palm into many shaped geometrical sections and arrange them in
patterns on the table.  All their decorations are laid flat on the
cloth, they seem to have little idea of floral arrangements such as
we are accustomed to in England.  It was a pleasant change for us,
after the solitude of Raneetotem, to feel we had neighbours near
enough to come out to dinner; and a rubber of whist with which we
finished the evening was to us quite an interesting novelty.

SEPTEMBER 11th. - A very sad event happened yesterday - the death,
after two days illness, of the young wife (the ninth successive wife
I am told) of one of the Kanganies.  Rob had seen her several times,
and finding she was in a very high fever, had sent for the nearest
doctor, who was momentarily expected when the poor thing passed away.
She was only a fragile looking girl of twenty years of age, and had
already three little children, to whom she will be a great loss.  She
must have been a kind, tender-hearted woman, for only a fortnight ago
she nursed one of her husband's coolies through a dangerous illness.
No sooner had the poor creature died, than the death tom-tom began to
beat as a kind of knell.  The coolies and also our servants were all
in a state of great excitement (I must confess, I think, somewhat
pleasurable excitement).  A request was sent to me for flowers, which
of course I sent; and messengers went hurrying backwards and forwards
collecting materials for the feast which is held after the funeral.
Work was knocked off at the half day, and by three o'clock in the
afternoon the poor girl was reposing in her grave beside the
Mahavillagange river.  All the rest of the day, tom-toms were beaten
in a monotonous way, that quite got upon one's nerves.

It is extraordinary in what a variety of ways this gong-like
instrument can be played.  There is one tune (so to speak) for muster,
another for a wedding, and a third for a death: the significance
of the different sounds being well understood by the coolies.

There appears to be no special spot set apart for graves - but
everyone seems to be buried (provided, on this Estate, that it is not
close to a road), just where their own fancy may have led them to
direct, or their friends may choose.  Many graves are found beside
the Government road, some of them being quite imposing mausoleums,
either built of brick and coloured white, or of mud afterwards
covered with chunam.  These are usually the Kanganies of the Estate
bordering that portion of the road.  Sometimes in passing I have
noticed an ornamental lantern suspended close to the grave, to scare
away jackals, and other beasts, and almost always there is some
little attempt at a garden.  In our district there are a good many
Roman Catholics, so one often sees little white crosses of wood or
iron, marking the last resting-place of one of their creed.

I am told that the Tamil coolie is an emotional creature whose grief
is at the outset almost uncontrollable, but so evanescent that a few
days or weeks sees the deepest sorrow assuaged, and smiles quickly
follow tears.  In the words of the wise old Book - "Sorrow may endure
for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."  A temperament which
they share with Celtic nations; and one I think, much to be coveted,
for to such, sorrows and cares press lightly, and do not cut into the
very soul as they do in a deeper nature.  I am often struck by the
similarity in the Tamil character to that of the Celtic branch to
which I belong.  Both in faults and virtues they are singularly like
the Welsh; but the Sinhalese are of quite a different type.

SEPTEMBER 14th. - We have had another proof of the efficacy of
Mutivale's cure for snakebite.  Two days ago, a bull and two cows
were, whilst grazing, bitten by a brown tic polonga; they each fell
down sideways quite suddenly - and were very ill for some hours, but
the Kangany took them in hand and by next day they were convalescent,
and seem now, the second day, to be as well as ever again.

I may mention that last week another cow was seized with identical
symptoms in the same grass field, but no one seeing a snake, the
cause of her illness was not suspected, and she died two or three
hours after the attack.  I can only say that I have myself such
perfect faith in this cure that were I bitten by a snake on this
Estate, I don't think I should even feel frightened.  It is a great
pity for the sake of humanity that some scientific man does not
investigate the subject.  It is quite conceivable and reasonable to
suppose that living for generations in close proximity to venomous
serpents, as natives of India have done, the accumulated wisdom of
ages may have discovered an antidote in some substance, vegetable or
otherwise, unknown or untested by Europeans.  One thing I may mention
is that the natives do not believe in the use of a ligature* or
anything that impedes free circulation, and if one has already been
put, they at once remove it.  Also the remedy must be applied at
once, otherwise it cannot be expected to have the desired effect.

* In the case of a snake-charmer that I saw bitten and cured a
ligature was used for a few moments, perhaps this is done when the
curative agent is a snakestone.

OCTOBER 5th. - At this season of the year there is little doing on
the Estate, excepting the usual routine of weeding - attending to
stock - clearing out drains preparatory to the burst of the N.E.
monsoon - holeing for supplies, and this year, cutting off many dead
branches, and even dead trees, the result of the long drought from
which we have been suffering.  Happily it has now broken up, a series
of heavy thunderstorms have greatly refreshed everything.  Trees are
sprouting in all directions in a way which could hardly be believed
by those living in a temperate zone; roses which I had pruned, in
three days after pruning, threw out strong shoots; and a creeper
opposite my window grows three inches a day.  These thunderstorms
warn us that the burst of the N.E. monsoon is at hand.  So we are
making all due preparation, by having every place made watertight.
At this present moment two masons are perched on the roof of the
bungalow, trying to stop the many leaks caused by the shrinking and
cracking of the tiles; during the very hot weather the sun is often
so hot that the only wonder is that they don't all crack.

We are having a kind of autumn, inasmuch as some of the trees put on
autumn tints.  A few of them are bright yellow, and in the distance
hook like birches, whilst the almond trees are a brilliant red; but
alas! the beauty is evanescent, for in two days the leaves all fall
off, and in another two or three, the buds begin to unfold, and the
young leaves to put in an appearance.

The beneficial effect of the cool weather is felt by human beings as
well as vegetation.  Our vitality and energy are restored, and life
is again worth living.  The nights are deliciously cool, a blanket is
acceptable, and one wakes in the morning, after a night of refreshing
sleep, quite ready for a day of active work.

As in England, this month is utilised for mending the Government
roads, but the mode of procedure in the two countries is very
different.  Here, whereas in this district there is plenty of good
metalling of a kind of granite to be obtained from quarries by the
side of the road, government coolies break it up small, sitting
meanwhile under the shade of cadjans (plaited cocoanut palm branches)
to protect them from the direct rays of the sun.  Women carry the
metalling to the road in baskets on their heads, emptying them on the
required spot, under the supervision of a Kangany, then return for
more.  This procession of women in their bright clothes and baskets
empty or full, passing to and fro goes on for hours.  When the stones
are spread, other coolies appear to pour water on them.  Usually the
water is brought in an enormous cask on wheels, drawn by two bulls,
but in remoter places, another procession, with chatties instead of
baskets, does the work.  Lastly the road is reduced to a proper
surface by a huge roller, to which two pairs of bulls are attached,
each pair having its own yoke, and its own driver standing between
them - the foremost pair being attached to the roller by chains.
The result of all this is a splendid road.  The government roads
of Ceylon, in width, in smoothness of surface, and general well-kept
appearance, compare favourably with the best English high roads;
and where the hills are not too long, they are the very beau ideal
of what a cyclist would most desire.  Albeit the method by which this
result is achieved strikes a newcomer as very quaint and primitive.

The efficient state of the road department is due in great measure
to the untiring energy and skill of the late Major Skinner, who began
his roadmaking career in 1820, as a boy of fifteen, but already an
officer in the Ceylon Rif1es.  He was given two hundred Kandyan
labourers, and told to make a section of the road between Kandy and
Colombo.  Although he had no experience of such work he carried it
out successfully.  This was the first trunk road made in the island,
but when Major Skinner retired, forty-seven years later, in 1867,
Ceylon could boast of nearly three thousand miles of made roads, one
fifth of which were first class metalled roads, and another fifth
excellent gravelled highways.  Most of these were either surveyed by
Major Skinner or made in some way under his auspices; and it was he
who built the beautiful satin wood bridge over the Mahavillagange at
Peradeniya, in which neither a bolt nor a nail is used throughout its
structure.  He remained long enough in the island to see the railway
commenced between Colombo and Kandy which takes a passenger from the
one town to the other in about four hours.  A great change from the
state of things early in the century, when it was said to take a
traveller from Colombo weeks to reach Kandy, trudging through paddy
fields, and beds of deep and heavy sand, or scrambling over rocks and
precipitous ravines, with nothing but a narrow footpath to guide him
through almost impenetrable jungle.  I believe I am correct in saying
that, in proportion to its size, Ceylon is now the best roaded of all
the Colonies.


We are, at present, suffering from a perfect plague of common black
house flies.  They cover everything eatable, and, in common with a
much smaller variety, are perpetually flying into one's eyes.  This
nuisance is in part caused by the cleaning out of a large cattle-shed
just below the bungalow, and the flies will, I am told, disappear
when the monsoon really bursts.  I sincerely hope so.

The Ceylon cattle-sheds are built in such a curious fashion, that
I must describe one.  In the first place it must he borne in mind
that the stock on a Cocoa Estate, with the exception of the working
bullocks, is kept to provide manure for the enrichment of the crops,
therefore everything is arranged to facilitate the handling of that
product.  The shed here is a long building with an iron roof, built
so to speak, in three terraces, each about eight feet higher than the
other.  In the top terrace there is room for thirty cattle to stand
abreast in a long line, with a similar number ranged at their back,
with their heads in an opposite direction.  These cattle are stall
fed with grass and poonac and are bedded down with a coarse kind of
grass almost like straw.  When fresh bedding is required, the old is
thrown into the next terrace, which is occupied by a number of pigs;
these have layers and layers of bedding thrown down for their use,
till the surface becomes so much raised, and forms such a rich manure
that it is thought time to remove it, and to place it in a stack
outside the shed ready for use when required.  Then da capo.  The
third terrace is used as a cart shed, though a small portion at one
end is enclosed with a bamboo stockade and divided off into pig styes
where the young litters of pigs are reared before they are old enough
to be turned loose with the others.  Nine coolies under a Kangany are
told off to attend to the two cattle sheds, and to cut grass for
their inmates; and each grass cutter is obliged to cut eighty bundles
a day measuring two and a half feet each way.

Besides these stall fed cattle, there is quite a herd of young stock
and animals which belong to outsiders who pay so much a month for
agistment.  These graze on the grass fields and are herded to prevent
straying.  It is a very pretty sight in the early morning to see them
grazing on the hill side, and reminds one much of a mountain farm in
Wales or Scotland.

OCTOBER 7th. - Last night I was called out to see two large snakes
which had been killed by one of the watchmen.  One a cobra measuring
five feet six inches; the other, a brown tic polonga, a very
beautiful snake with diamond shaped marks of a darker brown.

OCTOBER 12th. - At present the store is a most interesting sight:
full to overflowing with coffee which had come here to be pulped from
a neighbouring Estate, their own pulper having suddenly broken down.
Coffee in sacks - mounds of coffee on the barbecue, coffee spread in
orderly layers in the drying room, parchment coffee, black coffee,
and prettiest of all, red and green cherry, just picked and brought
in.  I have before described a hand pulper, but the one used here is
worked by water power, and is on a much larger scale.  A series of
little buckets arranged like a dredge, pick up the cherry and throw
it into the pulper, a stream of water flows over it, driving the
coffee into the inner recesses of the machine (which I am too
ignorant to describe), from which it issues in two streams, one
carrying the bean into a receptacle from which, later on, it is
collected and dried, the other taking away the refuse husks which
are afterwards conveyed to the manure stack previously described.
Yesterday, there were several hundred pounds worth of coffee in the
store, and it is still coming in daily in large quantities.  Where
such valuable crop is stored, an extra watchman is put on, not only
to keep the usual store watchman company, but as an extra precaution
to safeguard him from yielding to the temptation of stealing
therefrom; a temptation which must be very strong, when you consider
the poverty of these people, and the facility with which they can
dispose of stolen goods to the keepers of village caddies (shops).

In the afternoon we had a most exciting episode.  The English mail
had just arrived, and I was sitting in the verandah enjoying my
budget, when, lifting up my eyes for a moment I saw an astonishing
procession.  First came our Appu in a great state of heat and
excitement, followed by the two watchmen with their guns, driving in
front of them a couple of wretched-looking, half naked Moormen, with
their hands tied fast together; a number of coolies bringing up the
rear.  Rob was quickly on the spot and ascertained that our servant
when walking home by a short cut through the village, had come upon
these men stealing cocoa.  He tried to seize the bags which contained
the pods, upon which a scrimmage ensued.  He contrived to knock two
or three teeth out of the jaw of one of the thieves; they in turn
tried to stab him.  In spite of their being two to one, happily the
Appu managed to hold his own, and to bold on to the men until one of
our coolies appeared on the scene.  Between them they secured the
Moormen and likewise the stolen cocoa and knife.

Rob sent for the Arachi (village headman) and they were marched off
to the nearest police station, but before the arrival of the Arachi
one of them offered Rob a bribe of thirty rupees (L2) to let them
off.  Needless to say, it was indignantly refused.  My son is rather
glad to have such a clear case of stealing to bring forward, and
hopes the thieves will have a sufficiently severe sentence to deter
others from the same practice, for cocoa stealing is a source of
great loss to the proprietors of this and the neighbouring Estates.
Though armed watchmen patrol all night, the extent of ground to be
covered is so great that thieves have always a good chance of evading
detection.  It is, I fear, not a very difficult matter for anyone
knowing the place to steal cocoa, and also to dispose of it
profitably.  A single full-sized cocoa pod fetches ten cents at the
village caddies.  As they can get enough fermented toddy to make them
drunk for five cents, coolies have thus a great temptation to steal.

A reformer is much needed in Ceylon to wage war against native
dishonesty and untruthfulness.  Of course, these are the besetting
sins of all Eastern nations, but here the lying and pilfering is done
with such childlike simplicity, that were it not so grave a matter,
it would be quite laughable.  A coolie will tell a lie in a most
assured manner, though if he exercised any thought, he would know
that in the course of two or three minutes the lie would be found
out, and when detected he only smiles.  If caught in the very act
of purloining, he still smiles and makes the most fatuous excuses,
either that he thought we "didn't want the article in question,"
or that "he was only taking it to use for a little time," or this,
very often "the Appu had given it him."  A young boy of fourteen that
Rob had taken into the bungalow to be trained for a servant helped
himself to a rupee which he found on his master's dressing-table.
The Appu caught him red-handed, and as he could not deny the theft he
said he had put it into his pocket to keep it safe for Master.  Shame
at being found out seems not to enter into their nature at all.

In connection with this prevalence of dishonesty, I must here give
the sequel of the little romance which took place when we were at
Raneetotem.  It may be remembered that I wrote of the young daughter
of the head Kangany who was taken to India to be married because no
one of suitable caste and standing could he found in this district.
Poor little girl, her marriage has had a sad beginning.  The highly
respectable husband who was found for her, is now in an Indian prison
for stealing a boat, and she has had to return to her parents at
Raneetotem till his sentence expires.

It is only fair to say that there are many and brilliant exceptions
to the rule.  I am sometimes astonished at the honesty of the beef
coolies, and also of untrained servants, who, coming into a bungalow,
perhaps for the first time in their lives, must see many articles
to arouse both their curiosity and cupidity, and yet refrain from
appropriating them.  Only last week, before spending the afternoon
at a friend's house, I carelessly left three diamond rings on my
dressing-table.  I remembered what I had done soon after I had
started, and did not much enjoy the party in consequence.  I said
nothing and when I came home I found the rings arranged in a little
open box on my table, so they bad evidently not escaped observation,
but were perfectly safe.

OCTOBER 26th. - The cocoa stealing case is over, the thieves having
each been sentenced to three months' imprisonment.  A sentence, we
trust, sufficiently severe to act as a deterrent amongst our native
neighbours for some time to come.

During the last week I have been visiting in one of those hospitable
houses which are scattered everywhere amongst the planting districts
of Ceylon.  Whatever accusations may be brought against Ceylon
planters and their families, lack of hospitality cannot be one.
The Biblical injunction to entertain strangers is carried out
to the fullest extent.  So kindly and sympathetic are the hosts
and hostesses that in a few days, acquaintanceship ripens into
friendship, and, as far as I am concerned, I can say with truth
that some of the pleasantest memories of my life will be of those
happy days spent in the homes of people whom I now count as friends,
but who, a few short years ago were unknown to me even by name.

My last visit has been paid in the mountains of East Matale, the
bungalow where I stayed is at an elevation of 2500 feet, but the
highest point of the Estate is more than 1000 feet higher.  The cool
nights and breezy mornings, and evenings, made a refreshing change
from the lower elevation and warmer climate of Dumbera.  Let me try
and describe the surroundings; a semicircle of mountains open only to
the west, where through gaps in a mountain chain glimpses are caught
of the great plain, where the wonderful ruins of the ancient city of
Anaradhapura still stand, a monument of departed grandeur.  To the
north and east the tops of the hills are clothed with belts of jungle
and the lower slopes are a mass of tea.  The southern end of the
semicircle reminds one of the grassy hill-sides of Dumfriesshire,
covered as they are with close green turf, but I was told that in
the good old days when King Coffee reigned, these slopes were covered
with the all pervading crop of the island.  Rocky mountain streams
run down the hill-side in all directions.  In the midst of all this
natural beauty, on a slightly projecting knoll stands the bungalow
with trim kept lawns, a tennis court, roses everywhere, even to
hedges of crimson roses.  Within is everything that cultured denizens
could wish, piano, violin, paintings, and best of all an excellent
collection of books.  I mention all this to give some idea of the
pleasant cultivated life that can be led by Ceylon planters, even
though they may be, as in this case, fourteen miles from a railway
and thirty-five from anything we in Europe would consider deserving
the name of town.  This is rather an exceptionally favoured spot,
for within a mile of it may be found a small church where occasional
services are held, a doctor, and dispensary, as well as a post

I had the privilege of witnessing a magnificent thunderstorm.  It was
grand to see the vivid tropical lightning in zig-zags, in chains,
in flashes sometimes blue, and at others rose coloured, or yellow,
flashing across the sky, and to hear peal after peal of thunder,
re-echoed from hill to hill.  Next day came the burst of the N.E.
monsoon when three inches of rain fell in as many hours, one felt
sympathy with anyone obliged to face such a pitiless torrent, and
very thankful to have a water-tight roof over one's head and a warm
English dress to wear.

When once the monsoon has burst, for some weeks the afternoon weather
is uncertain, so I took advantage of a fine morning to start on my
homeward way, 6.30 a.m. found me in my hostess's rickshaw and before
nine o'clock, four very active coolies landed me safely at Matale
station; a run of fourteen miles, without change of coolies, in two
and a half hours; a feat of strength and agility I don't think many
Englishmen would care to emulate.  It is a most exhilarating feeling
being rushed downhill in the brisk morning air, but when I was
whisked round corners at the same furious rate, my feelings were not
quite so joyous, and I must confess to calling out vociferously two
of the very few Tamil words that I have picked up, "Pia po, pia po,"
which means "go more slowly."  To my surprise on my arrival at home;
I found the monsoon had not yet burst in Dumbera.

This was only one of many pleasant visits I was privileged to pay to
friends residing in different parts of the island.  The first time
I went "up country" to the mountain zone was to stay near Hatton.
I was enchanted with the magnificent scenery - Switzerland without
the snow.  The railway zig-zags slowly up and up, now crossing a
roaring torrent, anon gliding along the side of a mountain pass.
Now and then, doubling upon itself, in order to achieve the necessary
ascent from 1600 feet at Kandy to 4160 feet at Hatton, and 5292 at
Nanuoya. The palms are left behind, and in their place acres and
acres of tea everywhere meet the eye, whilst on the mountain side
giant ferns, a large kind of stag's horn moss, and mauve cistus may
be seen.  Hatton boasts of an hotel from which excursions can be made
to Adam's Peak and is the centre of a large and rich planting district,
the very pick of Ceylon for residential purposes.  The climate,
excepting for the hot sun at noonday, is a cool one, and the mode
of life up here in Dikoya, Maskeliya, and Dimbula, is more English
than it is any other district where I have been.  Many men own their
own Estates and in consequence have more available leisure for social
functions; on a club day at Darrawella, the pretty dresses of the
ladies, and the smart carriages, added to the bracing breezes,
make one imagine oneself at some garden party at home.  My friend's
drawing room is very English, papered walls, carpeted floors, and
above all, a real fire-place, give it a most cosy air and I have
known a bright fire in that altitude, 4500 feet, to be decidedly

Palm Sunday found me attending the lovely little church - a village
church in miniature - standing alone at the head of a mountain gorge,
in the midst of a small but very well kept churchyard.  Sad, sad was
the inscription on many a white cross; young lives cut off in their
prime resting here so far away from all who loved them; but, barring
the width of the ocean between them and the graves of their
forefathers, no sweeter spot could be found to rest in.  Still one
thinks with pity of the last hours spent amongst strangers, and of
mothers at home wearying for one farewell look.

Hatton, and the village of Dikoya, both contain long streets of
native shops, and a few European warehouses, in which a little of
everything is sold.  Both these places are on the direct route for
pilgrims to Adam's Peak, and at certain seasons of the year, troops
of weary men and women may be met along the road returning from this,
to them, sacred spot.

On the other side of Hatton, where I have also spent happy days at
a friend's house, is Ambagamuwa, which rejoices in the reputation
of being one of the wettest districts in Ceylon, where the average
rainfall is 199 inches annually, falling on 233 days, and where 9.92
inches of rain have been known to fall in twenty-four hours.

Another visit I paid to a friend of my girlhood at her pretty house
in picturesque Pundaloya.  Every inch of ground round the bungalow
bore evidence of a lady's taste, and had been laid out to the best
advantage, and planted with ferns, flowers, and ornamental shrubs.
A rocky mountain stream wended its way in tiny cascades through the
garden, which added greatly to the beauty; roses and lilies as well
as scarlet geraniums grew along its banks; and from the verandah and
also from my room, could be seen a view extending almost to Kandy,
forty miles away.  It was most cheering in this land of strangers to
be once more called by my Christian name, and to have what the Scotch
call "a good crack" about old days and old friends.

I must not omit to mention a very pleasant week that I spent on a
fine tea Estate in Udu Pusselawa.  I passed through Newera Eliya to
reach the house of my kind and hospitable friends.  The Sanatorium
is, I can imagine, a bright, gay place to stay at in the season, if
you are in the "swim," but my acquaintance with it was on two grey
days, and I was not struck by any natural beauty in the situation.
The houses are also scattered and uninteresting.  Doubtless, had I
seen more of the place, I should have fallen a victim to its
enchantment, like the rest of the Ceylon world.

From Newera Eliya to B., I had to be taken in a rickshaw ten miles.
To make sure the coolies knew exactly where I was going, I got the
manager of the hotel from which I started, to cross-question them.
He was quite satisfied, and to make things doubly sure, told me the
turn off was at the tenth mile-stone.  This landmark duly appeared,
the coolies stopped, I got out, they loaded themselves with all my
impedimenta, and I proceeded to follow them up a winding road
evidently leading to a bungalow.  On and on we went for about a mile,
until at last we arrived in front of a very pretty gabled house,
surrounded by a lawn and flower garden.  I thought it curious that
nothing was to be seen or heard of the large family whose guest I was
to be; at last a smart looking boy appeared with his eyes round with
surprise at the sight of a lady evidently come to stay; then his
master came on the scene.  I am sure equally horrified, at the
unexpected apparition.  He quickly explained the matter, which was
that the stupid coolies had taken the road to the left, which had
landed me at a bachelor's bungalow, instead of to the right, which
would have taken me to B.  He was most kind and hospitable and
invited me to tea, hut I thought I had better quickly retrace my
steps to the Government Road, and thence make a fresh departure,
and afterwards when I met him at dinner at the house of my friends,
we had a hearty laugh over the occurrence.  A large and merry party
of young people made this a most enjoyable visit, music, games and
dancing filled up the time, and when I was not otherwise engaged I
was nevet tired of visiting the garden with its wealth of English as
well as Ceylon flowers.  Thanks to the kindness of friends I have
thus been enabled to visit many parts of the island which an ordinary
globe trotter would not see, and have also got an insight into phases
of planting life, so to speak, from the inside, and not the usual
outside view of a mere traveller.


OCTOBER 28th. - The great event has at last come.  This afternoon
we have had a perfect deluge of rain, making me feel glad I got home
before the burst, for our roads cut up very fast, which makes it
heavy work for my little hackery bull; also the contents of a box
carried on a man's head through pouring rain would not afterwards
present the smartest of appearances.  It is curious that at two
places not more than thirty-five miles apart, there should have been
a difference of five days in the date of the burst of the N.E.
monsoon.  Probably, it may be accounted for by there being a high
range of mountains between the two districts.

NOVEMBER 4th. - The weather is now delightfully cool.  Owing to the
morning mist, we have had to give up having our early tea in the
verandah, and instead take it by lamplight in the dining-room!  It is
only just light at muster time (5.30 a.m.)  The days are perceptibly
shorter, it being almost dark at six o'clock in the evening.  Life
would be very pleasant were it not that the insects seem to be having
a perfect saturnalia.  From the crickets, who chirp all night as
loudly as birds do in the English springtime, down to the tiniest
eyefly, all gradations put in an appearance.  There are myriads of
flies of sorts, and millions of ants, red, black and white.  Whole
flights of winged ants, who, poor, foolish creatures, cast their
wings, and then quickly die.  The roads are covered with these long
wings, looking like the petals of strange flowers; here and there one
passes a tree, a perfect hecatomb of wings at its foot, as if in
their blind rush the battalions had hurled themselves against the
trunk and come to terrible slaughter.

We find the best trap for flies is a saucer of soap-suds, such as
children delight in preparing for bubbles.  The "Poochees" (Tamil
word for all noxious insects) are attracted to it, thinking it some
delicate sweet, and are then caught and stifled in the network of
bubbles.  I have bought fly-papers, but found them useless.  I
suppose the sea air had affected them, and made the poison evaporate.
Amongst insect pests, I do not see the green fly which plays such
havoc with English roses.  Our roses are now in perfection.  We have
bushes a perfect sheet of delicate yellow, and many pale blush kinds,
which look cool and refreshing.  La France, Baroness Rothschild,
Captain Christie and Marshal Neil do remarkably well, and so does
Gloire de Dijon, but I notice that all the Gloires I have seen in
Ceylon have a pinker tinge than I am accustomed to.  I miss the
richness of the yellower tint.  We have a small bright pink Japanese
polyanthus rose, which is very effective; the bush is a perfect sheet
of pink clusters, each individual flower being about the size of a
sixpence.  We have in blossom gardenia - double and single -
stephanotis, and Cape jessamine, the scent almost too overpowering;
also several kinds of hibiscus, lilies, balsams, white and pink
cannas, and dahlias, which, with different coloured crotons and
Japanese palms, make up quite a gay garden.  I have sown some English
flower seeds to come later, Phlox Drummondi, mallow, and sweet-
williams.  Our neighbours have geraniums and petunias, but they
and I have failed to grow Shirley or Iceland poppies; and mignonette
does not flourish: it develops into long straggling plants with
attenuated flowers.

Our little society has had a great addition lately in the persons
of a planter and his wife who have just returned from a well-earned
holiday in England.  They are most hospitable people, and at once
hastened to resume their "at home day."  The M.'s also receive one
day in the week, so we have two pleasant meeting-places where the
neighbours assemble as early in the afternoon as work will allow,
for tea, tennis, croquet and golf.  These little breaks in the usual
monotony are much appreciated, and although of necessity the same
people meet over and over again, we are all good friends, we do not
see enough of each other to get wearied, and an occasional visitor
from Kandy gives the sauce of novelty.

NOVEMBER 9th. - The store becomes more and more interesting.  It is
at present full to overflowing with 2000 bushels of coffee from P---,
and quantities of cocoa.  Last week the coffee cherry came in so fast
that the coolies had to work night and day, in relays, to get it
pulped sufficiently quickly, to prevent its losing the beautiful
light colour from which the best grade takes its name of parchment
coffee.  It is really a wonderful sight to see four large rooms
heaped with piles of coffee only waiting to be put into sacks and
despatched.  Such a crop has not been known on this group of Estates
for twenty years.  It will go far to make up for any deficiency that
may be caused by the late outbreak of disease amongst the cocoa.

NOVEMBER 25th. - Since I last wrote Teevali has come and gone.
The Tamils have two great Festivals, Thai Pongal in January and
Teevali in November, the date of both varies slightly as it depends
upon astronomical data.  But this year Teevali was kept on November
12th and 13th, which with Sunday 14th gave a three days' holiday.
It would be difficult to say whether coolies or Superintendents
enjoy it most.  The coolies have a big "Saami" and a great feast,
and I am sorry to say consume a considerable amount of arrack.
The Superintendents usually take advantage of no work to get leave
to go away for a few days.  Rob went up to the Rangalla hills,
where a most successful tennis tournament had been organised.
I meanwhile accompanied a friend on a delightful trip to Colombo.

We stayed at the Galle Face Hotel situated quite away from the noise
and bustle of the town, on the very brink of the sea.  It is in every
way a most luxurious place to sojourn in.  I perfectly revelled at
night in lying with my windows wide open - the health-giving sea
breeze blowing in my face, and the splash of the waves lulling me to
sleep.  At this time of the year great care is always taken to select
rooms facing the sea, for a deadly wind, called locally the "land
wind," is very apt to blow off the shore across the low lying swampy
ground at the back of Colombo, bringing in its train fever and much
sickness.  People speak of a person having a "touch of the land
wind," as if it were a distinct and fully recognised disease.

Colombo is often called the "Clapham Junction of the World," so many
ocean routes here converge, and at the innumerable small tables in
the huge white dining saloon of the Galle Face Hotel, may be seen at
one time passengers from England, France, and Germany, India, China,
the Straits, Burmah, and Australia and New Zealand.  Whilst I was
staying there one of the Japanese passenger line steamers came in.
The next table to us was occupied by a Japanese lady and two
gentlemen, all in European dress, but their Japanese servant waited
on them in most gorgeous attire, a mixture of silk and gold
embroidery impossible to describe.

Colombo itself is full of interest with its shops of native jewellery
and all the products of the East, in the shape of rich stuffs, and
embroideries, china, carved woods, tortoiseshell, silver, lace, and
in fact every sort of novelty to tempt the Western eye, and to open
the Western purse.  It has also a museum, fine harbour works, and
there are many lovely drives in the suburbs.

I returned home to find that the excellent young servant, whom I have
previously mentioned, had been the victim of a bad attack of malarial
fever, and was quite incapacitated for work.  We had the doctor,
and set ourselves to follow his directions to nurse the boy back to
health and strength.  Thinking that the nourishing food we could give
him would accomplish that object more quickly, than if we sent him
back to take his share in his father's hut with eight brothers and
sisters; however, his father thought otherwise, and I copy his letter
on the subject, as being a very good example of the way in which
natives express themselves.  It begins:-

"Most respected Lady,

"I most humbly beg leave to inform your ladyship that I am very
grateful to your ladyship for the kindness shown towards my humble
self and my poor son, your ladyship's humble and dutiful servant.
It is with deep regret that myself and my poor family feel very much
the absence of my sick child, who I doubt not will soon come to
himself under your ladyship's tender care; but our tender feelings
and affection towards this sick child who is out of our sight are
really made trying and almost unbearable.  I therefore beg with due
deference and submission that your ladyship out of goodness be
graciously pleased to suffer my child to come to me, and I will send
him back if it pleases your ladyship after he has recovered, or I
would prefer if it so please your ladyship to pay him off for the
benefit of his health, which is the only thing we have to look for
to get on earning.

"Trusting that your ladyship will be pleased to grant my humble
request and in anticipation therewith send bearer my mother (N.B.
really his wife) to accompany or rather bring the boy with her,
which act of kindness shall with the sincerest gratitude be ever
remembered by

"Your ladyship's
  most humble and dutiful servant,
     C A---  -  Appoo"

Needless to say I paid the boy off, though I don't think he was
himself anxious to go, and I shall miss his refined ways and his
good English for a long time to come.

Whilst on this subject of native letters, I must copy one more.  It
was received by a friend of mine who had checked several overcharged
items in her beef book.  I give it verbatim excepting that I have
altered the names, that my friend may not be identified:-

"Respected Madam,

"We beg to inform your madamship that you might have seen our letter
of date regarding the alterations which were made in the beef book.

"Yet it seems to us that your madamship going as usual in altering
the prices of article thereby.

"We beg your madamship to draw your special attention to the fact
that we are supplying you with the best of articles as well as with
the cheapest price possible.

"The above mentioned fact your madamship can easily understand if
your madamship were to refer to price lists of Messrs. F. & Co. and
Messrs. M. & Co.

"Please note that we are charging the articles according to our
price-list and nothing more.

"Therefore under these circumstances that your madamship will be very
much pleased in not altering the prices in the beef book in future,
if such being the case we shall be a great loser thereby, please note
the above

"Yours faithfully,   A. B. C. Nagoor & Co."

This matter of the beef book keeps the Ceylon housekeeper always in
good fighting trim.  The beef man sends a list of his prices to
which for a time he adheres, but by degrees he begins his system of
extortion.  A cent here and two cents there are added on, and a few
lbs of meat more than you ordered are popped into the bill.  These,
if you are wise, you promptly repudiate, and write scathing remarks
in your beef book (this part of the business I leave to Rob), the
beef man then amends his ways and for a time all things go smoothly,
until he thinks you have forgotten, and your suspicions are lulled to
sleep, then once more prices go up, and the quality of the meat goes
down, and the same old game of extortion and remonstrance begins
again, until your patience is weaned out, and you leave him for
someone else, probably only to find that your last case is worse than
your first.  When I first came out I was rather surprised to find how
much the young men knew about the prices of household goods, but I
now understand how a long course of trying to outwit the beef man, it
keeps them quite au fait with the current price of all they require.


DECEMBER 28th. - Christmas has come, and gone.  Not the snowy,
blustering Christmas of northern latitudes, but a showery misty
imitation! which is the best substitute Ceylon in the N.E. monsoon
can provide.  Christmas Day this year, being on a Sunday, I decided
to have my little party on Christmas Eve.  We were all up betimes
decorating the bungalow; the arched doorways and windows were
outlined with fronds (some 3.5 feet long) of the giant polipody fern,
which grows abundantly in the gullies on the Estate; huge palm
branches were fixed on the bare colour washed walls of the
dining-room, whilst here and there bunches of red croton gave the
suggestion of scarlet holly; the drawing-room decorations consisted
entirely of sprays of bamboo, and bouquets of roses.  The verandah,
as usual, was full of pot plants, giant yams, caladiums, lilies,
maidenhair ferns of many varieties, and large pots of single pink
balsam; so that the general effect of the bungalow was a perfect
bower of foliage and flowers.  I must not forget to mention a curious
native adornment which our Appu hung up in the archway between the
two sitting-rooms.  It consisted of a round stem (part of a banana
tree) about 2.5 feet long, depending from this and fastened into it
at each end were nine half hoops made of the centre of young banana
leaves, with trefoils cut out and left at regular intervals - the
whole formed a graceful kind of lantern, in which during the evening
a lighted candle burned.

The decorations being complete, and mid-day breakfast over, the whole
household retired to their respective quarters for a much needed
siesta.  At three o'clock the first of our guests arrived, preceded
as usual by a box coolie carrying the inevitable tin box containing
his master's changes of raiment.

In these solitudes one really does sincerely welcome friends.
After all, the human race is naturally gregarious, and one has only
to retire to the wilds to find out the truth of that fact.  If you
have not seen a fellow creature of your own race for a fortnight,
when you do meet him, you are ready to receive him with effusion,
so we all met prepared to be pleased with each other's society.
Tennis followed tea.  When twilight came we passed a pleasant hour
in the verandah listening to a melodious voice and the sounds of
a banjo, both the property of the musical member of the district.

At last the hour drew near for that time honoured English ceremony -
the Christmas dinner.  Of course the menu included the sacred turkey,
plum pudding, mince pies, and crackers.  Equally, of course, we all
drank each other's health, and wished each other a happy Christmas.
By this time the weather was all that could be wished.  A lovely moon
shone on palm and mango trees as we paced the terrace, enjoying the
balmy tropical night.  Our thoughts naturally turned to other scenes
in dear old England, to other Christmases spent with those who loved
us.  A gentle silence fell on the merry group.  Then one of the
number, who had erstwhile been a chorister, broke out spontaneously
into the sweet old carols "Noel," and "King Wenceslas" followed also
quite spontaneously by the whole company singing with heart and soul
"Hark, the herald angels," and "Come all ye faithful."  It gave just
the Christmas touch I wanted, and I felt as if even in our little
corner of the earth we were permitted to join with Angels and
Archangels and the vast company of heaven and earth, in the great and
glorious Christmas Te Deum.

But this solemn mood did not last long.  Rob's servant produced some
unexpected  fireworks, which he had himself manufactured, and which
proved a decided success.  As I don't suppose any adventurous youth
will read this book, I think I may venture to say they were made of
saltpetre and sulphur mixed with powdered charcoal, rammed into the
empty skin of an orange and kept down by a plug of earth, a match
being inserted at the lower end of the orange.  I am often struck by
the clever way in which the Tamils utilise the ingredients they have
at hand, and produce excellent results from such very simple means.
We finished the evening with a mild gamble.  Commerce, which I
insisted upon as being especially Christmassy, and vingt-un followed
each other.  At midnight our guests left to continue their
celebration next day at the house of another neighbour.

One reads in society papers that the custom of sending Christmas
cards is dying out in England.  However that may be, here they still
hold their own.  At home, where most people count their friends and
acquaintances by the hundred, I can imagine that Christmas cards may
become a tax both on time and money.  The sending of them is a kindly
custom, and I wish those thoughtful donors who sent their pretty
missives to me could know how much they did to make my Christmas more
homelike, in what, was once to me a land of strangers, but in which
I hope I now count many friends.  One word I should wish to say to
those in England who have relations in the Colonies.  Be as generous
as you can in the matter of Christmas numbers, new books if possible,
magazines, if books are too expensive, and any little trifle that may
amuse or make the season more cheerful.  Be a little extravagant in
ephemeral literature and postage.  You do not know how the
whitewashed walls of many a bungalow are brightened by the pictures
which you perhaps would only throw away in a lumber room.  To gaze
perpetually at whitewash is not enlivening, and here there are no
cheap prints or photographs to be bought such as you see everywhere
at home.  Prints there are plenty, but not at a price suitable for an
A.D.'s salary.  I speak of what I have seen - the eagerness with
which the Christmas mail is awaited, the delight with which the home
letters are read, and then the disappointment when the newspapers are
glanced at and no Christmas numbers found amongst them.  Your boys
who are in exile here lead terribly monotonous lives of duty for at
least three hundred and fifty days out of the year.  Do your very
utmost to brighten even a few hours of this perpetual sameness.
Above all, I would plead that they may always be made to feel there
is a strong link of affection binding them to the old home life and
the home circle; strong ehough to prevent their ever drifting away,
whatever betides them here.

JANUARY 5th. - Even Ceylon planters are not quite without their
seasons of gaiety, and the last week of the old year produced quite
an outbreak of festivity at Kandy.

An afternoon reception at Government House.  Three dances, a concert,
a tennis tournament, and a gymkana, made quite a whirl in the little
world of the mountain capital, and its surrounding districts, and
gave food for conversation and meditation for many a week.

All the social events were voted a success, but as far as the gymkana
was concerned, viewed from my unprejudiced standpoint, it could be
summed up in very few words.  The prizes were first rate, and the
performances not quite to match.  Much too long an interval between
the events.  As a spectacle it was all that could be wished.  The
ground of the Kandy Sports' Club is a wedge of flat turf running up
between wooded hills.  On the lower slopes of these the native
spectators range themselves, their white, and orange, and red
garments looking in the distance like a huge parterre of bright
coloured flowers.  The meets are always held in the late afternoon,
and the brilliant tropical sunset, and the pretty dresses of the
ladies as they stroll along the greensward, the better to see and be
seen, makes a very vivid and striking picture, one that I am glad to
have witnessed, and shall often think of on dull December days at home.

During the season numerous cricket and football matches are played on
this ground, generally on Saturdays under the auspices of the Sports'
Club.  Superintendents of Estates cannot often find time to indulge
in a match, but when they do, they thoroughly enjoy it, and have a
merry time with both their friends and opponents.

New Year's Day falling also on a Sunday, I was glad to take the
opportunity of once more attending a Church Service.  The mid-day
heat of the sun makes it impossible for anyone living a few miles
from a church to go there, the service being held at eleven o'clock,
a most unsuitable hour for this climate.  One sadly misses public
religious worship, and all that it implies.  I often wonder what kind
of religion (if any) children of the second generation will develop
who are brought up in outlying planting districts, where churches are
few and far between, and where outward observances form so small a
factor in most people's lives, although, of course, there are many
honourable exceptions.

But to go back to St. Paul's Church, Kandy, I was delighted to see so
large a congregation at the early celebration at 7.15 a.m.  True, the
women predominated, but there was a good sprinkling of the masculine
element, and here and there I rejoiced to see a few young planters
who did not forget their mother's training in this far away land.
Two native clergymen assisted the vicar, and there were numerous
Sinhalese amongst the congregation, most of the native ladies wearing
a scarf of spotted white net over their glossy black hair, but this
was not universally the case.  I was surprised to see so many natives
attending an English Service as there are services in Sinhalese held
for their special benefit.  It shows that in the towns, at any rate,
education must have made considerable strides.

The Church was delightfully airy, lancet shaped doors nearly the
height of the nave take the place of windows, the double doors,
excepting in wet, stormy weather are open during services, and thus
every available breath of air finds its way into the Church.
Outside, the ground allotted to St. Paul's is shaded by particularly
fine spreading old trees, and under the shelter of their branches
repose the rickshaw coolies and the hackery bulls with their drivers,
all ready to convey their masters and mistresses home when Divine
Service is ended.  Both men and beasts are admirably quiet, never a
sound does one hear to disturb one's devotions.  Strange development
of time.  Almost adjoining this Christian Church are the grounds of
the great Buddhist temple, the sacred shrine of Buddha's tooth.
To many natives a spot so holy that pilgrims often arrive in Kandy
from the different Buddhist countries of the Far East.

On my return I had rather a novel experience.  I crossed the
Mahavillagange river in a primitive kind of catamaran.  I left the
town early on Monday morning in a rickshaw, which proved a most
delightful mode of conveyance, my journey being mostly downhill.
The morning air was unusually cool, my coolie ran down to the Ferry
(five and a half miles) in less than an hour.  These rickshaw coolies
are fine athletic looking men, but they are said to die early owing
to over strained hearts.  As I expected my hackery to meet me on the
other side, I paid my rickshaw coolie his fare, the small sum that
equals one and sixpence of English money and embarked in the very
primitive boat.  Imagine the trunk of a big jungle tree about two
and a half feet wide and perhaps twelve feet long scooped out in the
centre, across which battens are nailed to act as seats, not one atom
of freeboard is left above the seats and very little between them and
the water.  From one side of the trunk and at each end, pieces of bent
wood project, and are attached to a long spar resting in the water.
This is to give the necessary stability.

I looked rather aghast, and wondered how I was ever going to get in,
without capsizing the boat; however, this feat was at last
accomplished with the help of the venerable looking ferrymen, and
much to the amusement of a gaping crowd of natives who only waited
for me to be seated to take possession of the other vacant places.
I must say it was a very curious sensation to feel oneself out in the
middle of the broad swift river in so narrow a craft, that the
slightest unexpected jerk or movement would land one in the water,
and I think another time I should prefer to cross on the safe but
ugly raft to which I am accustomed.

When in Kandy I visited the shop of a well-known native jeweller by
name Casa Lebbe, who showed me a most tempting collection of unset
gems.  Amongst others, sapphires of many shades, rubies, pink
garnets, moonstones, tourmalines, amethysts, spinels, and
chrysoberyls.  White sapphires, when well cut, have very much the
sparkle of diamonds and something of the yellow tinge of Brazilian
diamonds.  I was shown lovely necklaces of native manufacture and
design, gems merely encircled in a rim of gold depending from a coil
of twisted gold-wire, others again of lightly set jewels forming a
riviere long enough to encircle the neck.  The cheapness of these
beautiful ornaments astonished me, Rs150 (or at present rate of
exchange L10) would procure a ruby or sapphire necklet whilst, for
from Rs40 to Rs100 (L3 to L7) you could get rings of sapphire, ruby,
or any of the stones I have named.  Native shopkeepers are always
open to "a deal," so I should strongIy advise visitors to Ceylon to
bring with them any gold jewellery that they have become tired of, or
that has got damaged or broken.  A good price can always be obtained
for the gold and credited in their favour in the purchase of new
jewellery.  The shops are full of Queensland opals, which the
Australian passengers tire of, and exchange for Ceylon gems.

The common custom here is to buy up sovereigns, and unset stones,
and then to have them made into jewellery by the natives, according
to your own design.  There is no mint law against defacing coins, so
the sovereigns are melted down, as the readiest way of obtaining gold;
and it is quite a common occurrence to see in the newspaper lists of
wedding presents in Burgher and Sinhalese circles, so many sovereigns
from Mr. So and So.

JANUARY 7th. - Just at this time of the year we are visited every day
at sunset by hundreds of flying foxes.  These extraordinary little
bird-beasts have a head and body exactly like a miniature fox,
barring the tail, where the tail should be, the huge bat wings end.
They are destructive to fruit and vegetables, and are therefore a
prey to the guns of the Estate watchmen who shoot and sell them for
food to the coolies.  Strange to say, the flesh of flying foxes is
much prized by people who would not on any consideration eat a

We are astonished to find to what a height in the sky they can rise,
in spite of the size and weight of their body.  We often watch their
flight up, up into the air, till they appear a mere speck in the sky.
Their home here is on an island in the middle of the Mahavillagange,
to which it is to be presumed they retire in the daytime for we never
see them until just before sunset.  At day dawn they have again
disappeared.  Last night I beard the horrible cry of the devil bird,
a most weird sound just like a human being in mortal agony, a sound
which has a piercing poignancy that would penetrate through any
number of more common-place noises.


JANUARY 14th. - The Festival of Thai Pongal has come round once more.
It was kept by the coolies this year on the 12th and 13th inst.  The
Lines, being some distance from the bungalow, we were not disturbed
by their festivities, although we heard distant tom-toms betokening
that the revels were in full swing somewhere.  The first day Rob
spent playing golf on a neighbour's links, whilst I amused myself
at home, taking care to confine my wanderings to the garden, lest
perchance, if I went further afield I might meet some too ardent
devotee of the Arrack Tavern, which to the annoyance of the planters
on this group of Estates, is situated only about a mile away.  The
great idea of many of the coolies on these occasions is to get drunk,
and every effort is made to prevent arrack being brought into the
Lines.  The second day we remained at home, and were visited in the
afternoon by a party of dancers, one was dressed to represent the
devil, his body was painted in green and white, and on his bead he
wore a cap representing horns, and wings.  The other dancer had
a bow and arrow, with which to shoot the demon, who continually
beckoned him away but evaded the arrow.  At last after a good deal of
bye-play, the bow and arrow were snatched away, and the owner of them
shot dead, lying limp at full length on the ground.  The devil then
took him up with his teeth by his loin cloth, and lifted him some
yards away, a veritable tour de force for the victim was a strong
built young fellow.  After this he suddenly revived, snatched the
weapon from the devil, and drove him away vanquished.  All the
movements were accompanied by the deafening noise of tom-toms,
so that we were quite glad when the time came when we could
politely dismiss the party with the usual "santhosem."

No sooner had they departed, than another set appeared.  This
consisted of two families, who said they had brought their children
to salaam to us, really an excuse for getting a little present for
the children, who were a boy and girl of about the age of four and
two years.

It was a truly comic sight to see the mothers, who were covered
with jewellery, take up the children, and push them down with their
faces touching the ground, this they did two or three times; rather
reminding me of the way in which I have seen a strong minded bathing
woman dip poor frightened babies in the sea.  The dress of the little
creatures added much to the comicality, for the boy was clad from
head to foot in a suit of orange and black broad striped flannelette,
made on the pattern of pyjamas; and the girl wore a very long cotton
frock, of the most approved pink colour.  Next day, we had a visit
with which I was much gratified.  Our visitors were the little garden
boy I had employed it Raneetotem, and the runaway coolie whom I
before mentioned as having been brought there in handcuffs, and for
whose good conduct Rob made himself responsible.  They brought with
them offerings of fruit and vegetables.  Five months is a long time
to live in the mind of a coolie, and I was very pleased that they had
taken the trouble to walk twelve miles to pay us a visit.  January
15th found the holiday ended and all once more busy at work, at least
all who had feasted wisely and not too well.

This morning Virapen Kangany's Lines have been in a state of
commotion.  In his room was found an evil charm hidden by some
enemy; and all the coolies are fully convinced that a great disaster
will befall him, though I don't think he himself is much alarmed.
Rob begged that he might have it to bring to me as a curiosity.
The charm consists of two dirty little bits of bark about one and
a half inches long by one inch broad, one bit has a Sinhalese, the
other a Tamil inscription.  In addition to these there are a few pigs
bristles tied up with a little bit of coir, and a splinter of white
wood about the size of a match, supposed to represent a needle.
These were all tied up in a very dirty bit of rag, which I discarded,
and they all now fit into a small match-box.

When anyone wishes to do his neighbour an injury, he places one of
these charms either in, or just outside, his Lines, even burying
them does not destroy the efficacy of the charm, which is supposed
to produce madness, or some other horrible misfortune.

I must here give an instance of how the superstitious nature of the
native is worked upon to his detriment by the priests.  For some time
we have noticed the great scarceness, and difficulty of obtaining,
poultry and eggs.  When I first went to Raneetotem a year ago, the
villagers constantly brought cages of live chickens for sale, the
price varying according to size from three to four rupees a dozen.
We could also obtain any amount of eggs for thirty-seven cents a
dozen.  Now we never see such a thing as a cage of chickens, a full
grown fowl is seventy-five cents instead of fifty cents, and eggs are
fifty cents a dozen, and difficult to get even at that price.  The
reason of all this is that last year the priests went about amongst
the people telling them that the end of the world was coming, and
with this awful event impending, it would be very wrong to set hens,
or to make preparations for the future.  In some instances the
"goyas" even neglected to sow their paddy fields, but happily the
bulk of the villagers, although still expecting a catastrophe, keep
at the same time a weather eye open to this world, as it is now
constituted.  As nothing remarkable happened in November the prophets
postponed the event.  When the date arrived our Appu brought a mat
and insisted upon sleeping outside his master's door, saying he was
going to take care of master, but really the mortal terror was for
his own safety.

"The Ceylon Standard" in its column of country news from local
correspondents often had allusions to the subject.  I copy a
paragraph which appeared under the head of Galle news:-

"Meretorious Acts. - Almsgiving and preaching of 'Bana and Petit'
are indulged in by the inhabitants of that place in anticipation that
the end of the world would soon come, as predicted, but for all this,
there is no visible reform in morality amongst the poorer classes."

It reminds one of what history records of the time in the twelfth
century, when the fair fields of England were left barren in dread
expectations of the same event.

JANUARY 20th. - A gang of twenty new coolies arrived yesterday with
their Kangany.  They are fresh from the Indian coast, and looked
bewildered at their new surroundings, as well as way-worn and weary,
having walked many miles to reach this Estate.  The two women
appeared so utterly exhausted that I longed to give them some
refreshments but alas they were of so high a caste that they would
have scorned to partake of anything from our bungalow, so nothing
could I do, except watch the curious procession file past, the
Kangany leading the way, whilst some fine strong men, carrying on
their heads all the worldly goods of the party, brought up the rear.
Some of the coolies carried little children on their shoulders,
or astride on their hips, whilst others had fowls of nondescript
character under their arms.  One old crone was scarcely human in
her ugliness, but poor creature, one's heart went out to her in
compassion, for she appeared almost too tired to put one foot before
the other.

When once settled down in Ceylon the Indian coolie finds himself much
better off than at home.  Here, he gets regular wages, good Lines to
live in, medical attendance, and (on a cocoa estate) plenty of
firewood, jak fruit, chilis, and other curry stuffs, all free of
charge, with a climate (at all events in the low country) not very
dissimilar to his own.

Ceylon is in fear of the plague being introduced into the island, and
therefore for three weeks after arrival, new coolies from Southern
India are under careful observation preparatory to isolation, should
the least symptom of the dreaded malady appear.  Added to which, the
important step has been taken by government of closing the great
north road, the main artery by which most of the immigrants arrive in
the planting districts.  For the present all immigration is by sea,
and a most rigid inspection takes place at the ports.  Plague
stations have been selected in various central and convenient
situations; the district medical officers have had portable hospitals
sent for their disposal; the village headman and Superintendents of
Estates have had printed government instructions given them how to
act in case of an outbreak; and we trust that every human precaution
having been taken, we may be preserved from the awful scourge taking
root in Ceylon, as it has done in India.

January is a charming month so far as climate is concerned.
We have cool mornings with the thermometer often below 70 deg, the
temperature for a few hours in the middle of the day rises to 80 deg,
and then gradually lowers until, at four o'clock in the afternoon,
it is cool enough to make a brisk walk or game of tennis quite
enjoyable.  This month is a busy month on a cocoa Estate.  Crop is
coming in fast, and has to be cured during summer weather out on the
barbecue, which gives it the best colour; when damp and cloudy, in
the clarehue on matting coarse enough to admit of the heated air
passing freely through.  Our store which a few weeks ago was stacked
with coffee, is now full to repletion with cocoa.

In addition to picking and curing cocoa, lopping is now again in
full swing.  For this work Sinhalese are usually employed; they are
excellent woodmen, understanding thoroughly the wood craft of their
native forests, and can climb like monkeys.  Cocoa will not crop
under dense shade which also favours the development of pod disease.
The growth of forest trees is so rapid, that lopping has to be
annually, and in some degree biannually undertaken.  This is also the
season for manuring the plants, and for preparing the holes in which
during the South West Monsoon supplies will be planted to take the
place of the cocoa bushes, that have fallen victims to drought or
disease.  So altogether it is a busy time, and it is well that the
cool North East Monsoon weather enables the work to be done without
the exhaustion which would follow the same amount of exertion in the
hot weather.

Yesterday afternoon we had a party of schoolboys from St. Edward's
school, Newera Eliya, to tea and tennis.  They are spending their
holidays with friends and relations in this neighbourhood, and a more
gentlemanly well-mannered set of boys it would be impossible to meet,
they would do credit to any English public school training, without
the expense and trouble of going to England.  This school is in a
lovely and most healthy situation, an excellent tone pervades among
the boys, and games are much encouraged, as I had the benefit
yesterday of seeing, for our guests quite distinguished themselves at
tennis, especially a small boy of nine who played quite well enough
to make a fourth in a good game, without points being allowed him.
The same youngster plays an excellent game of croquet and billiards,
but this last accomplishment was taught him by his father and not at
school.  In my opinion, unless a boy is delicate, and in that case
requires the bracing air of Europe supposing he is eventually to
become a planter, it is far better for him to be educated at St.
Edwards amongst those who will be his future friends and compeers,
than to go home to school in England, where he will lose the
continuity of his Ceylon life, learn tastes which cannot be
gratified, and make friends from whom he must eventually be parted.
The Europeans here are to be congratulated on having such a good
school as St. Edwards on the island, and should do their utmost to
avail themselves of its advantages for their sons, and thus give it
an amount of financial support, sufficient to enable the management
to provide masters trained at English universities, and so keep
abreast with the best educational methods of the day.

I have before mentioned the clever way in which coolies make use of
the simple means at their disposal.  I was much struck yesterday by
an instance in point.  Going down with Rob past the cart shed I saw
some crooked looking branches heaped on the ground, each piece four
or five feet long.  He told me they were part of a jungle creeper
which the men bark and then divide into longitudinal narrow strips,
these are beaten into shape, even wetted if necessary, and form the
tough so-called "jungle-rope," with which all the vanilla fencing is
tied and also by which all our verandah flower baskets are suspended.
It is strong enough to bear a heavy weight, is quite as tough, and
does not rot nearly as soon as coir rope.

Just as children, where toy shops are non-existent, make their
playthings of stones, and broken shards, and the hundred and one
things at their own door, so do we in the dearth of organised
amusements divert ourselves with anything which may be a little out
of the daily routine.  This afternoon Rob and I have been much
entertained by watching the vagaries of some young bulls being broken
in to go in a hackery.  When about two years old their education
begins, first a light rope is passed through the nose, over the top
of the head and tied securely at the side of the face, to this
eventually the rope reins are adjusted and by it the bull is guided
(I must say, not very effectually guided).  When the slit in the
nostril is quite healed the training begins.

A light hackery is secured, the bull with many pushes and shouts is
at last induced to enter the shafts, the yoke is fitted to the hump,
the best and most fearless driver mounts the box, and the coolies
place themselves on either side of the shafts, and two more at the
back, all to exercise enough pressure to keep the hackery straight.
Then begins a series of jumps and rushes on the part of the
unfortunate and bewildered animal, generally ending in a furious
gallop which it takes all the fleetness and the strength of the
coolies to keep pace with, and to keep the vehicle on the right
track.  Sometimes the proceedings are varied by the young bull taking
an obstinate fit, putting down his head, even trying to lie down,
and utterly declining to budge an inch, but a judicious prick with
a sharp stick, and moving the wheels soon brings him to his bearings.
It is really wonderful with a little patience and regular exercise,
how soon they become docile; but even the best and quietest of bulls
is liable to attacks of obstinacy, then the wearisomeness of sitting
behind them is only equalled by the wearisomeness of driving them.


JANUARY 28th. - For weeks past the principal topic of conversation
has been the expected arrival of a magnificent casket presented by
the Buddhists of Burmah to the great temple in Kandy, for the purpose
of enshrining Buddha's tooth.  The money for this valuable shrine
has been many years collecting, and the costly undertaking which
appealed to the religious enthusiasm of the Burmese was only lately
accomplished.  Two thousand Burmese pilgrims came over to take part
in the presentation, and to visit the various spots held sacred by
their co-religionists in Ceylon, including Adams Peak, and
Anaradhapura.  These pilgrims had amongst them the High Priest
of Burmah, a very rich old lady said to be possessed of L250,000,
five princesses, and many noblemen, and other ladies and gentlemen,
with their retinue.  While on pilgrimage they demanded no special
privileges, excepting that when in Ceylon the most distinguished
travelled first class.  Otherwise, from religious motives, they
discarded for the time being all social distinctions, mixing freely
with the other pilgrims, regardless of rank and willingly undergoing
the unavoidable amount of discomfort of a crowded ship, and other
drawbacks incidental to the movement of masses of people.

A Ceylonese Reception Committee was formed, who arranged that the
visitors should all be hospitably entertained both at Colombo and
Kandy.  The casket was brought over in several pieces and put
together in Ceylon, the Customs Duty alone amounted to Rs5500, which
was paid by a devout Ceylon gentleman.  A number of extra jewels,
rubies, brilliants, sapphires, catseyes, &c. were also given by
Sinhalese, these were incorporated in the shrine when it was finally
put together in Colombo.  The value of the casket is now said to
amount to sixty thousand pounds; a sum which speaks volumes for
the religious enthusiasm of the donors - the Burmese people.

The distance from the station to the Temple is not more than
half a mile, part of the road lying along the shore of Kandy lake.
The casket was carried in a glass case on poles, preceded by three
fine elephants dressed in Perahera fashion, and immediately followed
by the Burmese High Priests who had it in charge.  The crowd was
enormous and one fatal accident occurred, which was much to be
regretted.  For some days past this magnificent shrine has been
exhibited for a few hours daily in the Band Stand on the Public
Green.  Hearing that yesterday Buddha's tooth was also to be on view
at the Temple, a concession which is usually only accorded when
Royalty pays a visit to the Island, I hastened into Kandy to gratify
my curiosity, and to see all that was going on.

As soon as we reached the public road, we came upon groups of
villagers dressed in their best clothes, wending their way to Kandy.
The ferry was crowded with them, and the first glimpse of the town
itself reminded me of the great August Perahera excepting that
happily the merry-go-round, phonograph, cinematograph, etc., etc.,
were conspicuous by their absence, but the same booths with native
refreshments and the same maimed beggars lined the way.  The temple
walls had once more their frieze of yellow draped priests, and
brightly clad secular spectators, and a grand Pandal stood before the
principal entrance of the Dalada Maligawa.

The band-stand was extended by broad overhanging eaves of talipot
palm, and on each side of it temporary open structures were raised,
and elegantly decorated.  In these, during the early part of the day,
I saw a number of priests being hospitably fed, with large plates of
what appeared to me to be a mixture of native cakes, rice and
plantains; later on, the precious casket took their place.

It is in the shape of a Burmese Pagoda, and at the top is a ruby
worth Rs2000 (L140).  The body of the casket is of gold, in which
some very precious gems, and numbers of lesser value are encrusted.

This costly object is surmounted by a canopy of silver also inlaid
with precious stones which many people think more beautiful than the
casket itself.

Two smaller gold shrines, already in the possession of the Temple
were also exhibited, but I was disappointed in these, for although
they were about two and a half and three feet in height with six
rows of gems encircling each, they were so dirty and the gold so
tarnished, that the whole thing looked tawdry, and it was very
difficult to realise that the large square cut jewels were not shams.

After visiting the band-stand I proceeded with a friend to the Temple
itself, to view the Tooth.  The crowd outside was immense, but when
once the portals were passed, and the moat crossed, good order, and
a clear pathway, were kept by a detachment of Ceylon Police, who were
on duty in charge of an Inspector.  Being the only Europeans present,
the police kindly allowed my friend and me to leave the throngs and
go up the stair of egress instead of ingress, which was densely
packed, and so after passing through an ancient archway and up a
flight of stone steps worn away by the feet of many generations of
pilgrims, we quickly found ourselves in a kind of central hall, in
which a number of Burmese were lying prostrate on their faces
worshipping before the tooth.

The interior of the hall had been profusely decorated for the
occasion, the design which struck me most was an arch in white and
red cloth folded into shapes intended to resemble stucco mouldings,
very effective and quaint, seen in the artificial light which alone
penetrates this sanctum, and a typical Kandyan form of decoration.
At one end of the hall, on a raised platform, which was protected by
a strong wooden barrier, on a gold stand covered with a glass shade
we beheld the sacred tooth.  A long black tusk supported in a light
framework of precious metal.  Anything more ugly it would be
difficult to imagine, and it passes comprehension how such a thing
can be the object of adoration of millions of our fellow subjects.

We quickly saw enough, the Temple interior being familiar both to
myself and my friend, we therefore descended into the open air, by
the way we had come, very thankful to escape from the overpowering
scent of cocoanut oil, masses of sickly sweet floral offerings,
spices, and above all, dense throngs of over-heated humanity.

I fell deeply in love with the Burmese ladies, whom I met in the
streets of Kandy.  They had such gentle, intellectual faces, with a
great air of refinement, and good breeding.  Their pretty dresses -
silk skirts with full, short jackets - and well dressed glossy hair,
added much to their attractiveness; but I am sorry to say some of
them were smoking long cheroots.  The lower classes of the Burmese
pilgrims were certainly not beautiful: broad flat faces, and square
unwieldy figures appeared to be their distinguishing traits; though
I must confess they nearly all looked intelligent and good-tempered.
The ladies trotted in and out of the jewellers and curiosity shops
evidently making purchases to take home as mementos of their

I, too, went in search of curiosities, to carry away with me, notably
a kind of coarse pottery, which is to be obtained in the open shops
in the native portion of the town and reminds me somewhat of Breton
pottery.  The shopkeepers, much to my amusement, always recommended
their European wares.  "This, very good lady, best London make."
I secured several cups and saucers of grey ware, Japanese or Chinese
(I don't know which) for the equivalent of 2d a cup, and saucers and
basins of the same for 3d each.  Another day I got a small basin
from a native caddy in Dumbera for sixpence.  It had a border of
a particularly good blue, and was enriched by sprigs of roses, in
delicate tints of pink and yellow.  I could fill a crate with this
uncommon and decorative pottery, were it not for the expense of
freight and the risk of breakage.

JANUARY 30th. - We are having an uncomfortable experience common
to England as well as Ceylon.  We are at this moment minus a cook!
The faithful servant who has been so many years with my son left us
two days ago to be married.  We all thought a satisfactory substitute
had been provided, but he did not appear as he promised, so we are at
the mercy of the kitchen coolie, and a young horsekeeper (groom) who
has some taste for cooking, and has often watched the boy at work.
I ransacked Kandy for a cook, but without avail, not a single servant
was disengaged owing to the influx of Burmese visitors.  Even the
servants' registry, which by the way is a government institution, and
abides under the roof of the police barracks, had not a single name
on its books, so there is nothing for it but to put up with very
plain living until our servant returns from his honeymoon, in ten
days' time.

The wedding feast is to extend over three days and it is to cost him
100 rupees (L7), part of which has to be borrowed at high interest,
but it is thought de rigeur, and he prefers to start in life crippled
by debt rather than to do without the customary great Tamasha.  The
present to his bride is to be an English sovereign (15 rupees in
value) with which to make some small article of jewellery.  The
servants when married have a room or rooms allotted to them in the
nearest Lines to the Bungalow, where the wife lives, and the husband
retires to when the day's work is over.

An amusing incident has just occurred.  Tamil men rejoice in very
long hair, which often reaches to their waist: this they let down
after bathing and often when travelling, but Bungalow servants and
horsekeepers are supposed to have short hair, as looking smarter,
and being more cleanly.  Rob has long been trying to persuade
his young horsekeeper to be cropped, but hitherto without avail.
He is a sensitive kind of boy, and fears being a laughing stock.
However, to-day the barber appeared on one of his periodical visits.
Rob happened to be at home, and insisted upon the deed being done.
Poor Marimutu has lost all his beautiful hair, but looks all the
smarter in consequence.

Sometimes coolies have their long hair cut in order that they may
present it as a religious offering at the Saami-house.  Also it is
etiquette to have their heads shaved in token of mourning for the loss
of either father or mother.  My little garden coolie at Raneetotem
kept his head closely shaved for six months after his mother's death;
but as a rule they are very proud of their long tresses.

FEBRUARY 2nd. - An unusual amount of rain has fallen lately.  The
rainfall for January reached the total of eleven inches, more than a
third of the whole rainfall (on this Estate) for last year, which was
thirty inches.  Dumbera is a dry district, therefore we welcome rain
with great joy more especially in January, for it starts us on the
hot months of February, March and April, with water in the wells,
and moist cool ground.  Our amount of rain, although a good deal
for Dumbera, is not to be compared to what they have had in some
districts.  My friends in East Matale had forty inches last month.

You in England, where the average annual rainfall is only thirty and
thirty-five inches can hardly realise what this means to us.  No less
than rusty keys, musty flour, matches that won't light, dripping
ceilings, mildewed shoes and boots, every article of clothing (even
those in the almirahs) damp, and even wet, the woodwork breaking out
into heads of dew, flabby notepaper, and the stamps all sticking
together; an odour of mildew and must pervading everything.  Added to
this, in the low country we have no fireplaces, so we have patiently
and cheerfully to bide our time, until on the first sunny day, we can
turn all our goods and chattels into the garden, where a few hours in
the dry air and sunshine makes everything once more sweet and wholesome.

The flying foxes, of which we had lately such myriads, have now quite
disappeared.  I suppose they have retired to their island home in the

FEBRUARY 3rd. - A flutter and a shudder have passed through our
little household.  I had just finished my afternoon tea in the
verandah, and was sitting watching the garden coolie water the pot
plants, when suddenly he came to a dead stop in front of a stand of
ferns, about three yards from my chair, and took to his heels without
saying a word.  I thought be had become suddenly demented, but when
he returned a moment afterwards accompanied by the other servants
armed with sticks I quickly took in the situation - a cobra no less!
It lay between the pots of fern, darting up its head, and shooting
out its tongue at the approach of its enemy.  A gun was quickly
brought and the creature shot in the neck.  It was not killed, but
wriggled on to the ground where it was finally despatched by blows
from the sticks, but it appeared to be extraordinarily tenacious of

This cobra had been seen several times in the neighbourhood of the
Bungalow, but had always managed to get away, so there was great
rejoicing over its destruction.  It made me shudder to think how
easily one of us might have been bitten, whilst unsuspiciously
tending the ferns, and very thankful that we had all escaped so well.
Cobras are supposed to go about in pairs, when you kill one, another
soon appears in the same place, so it behoves us for a time to be
extra watchful.  Whilst on the subject of cobras - I must insert
a very amusing letter copied from the "Ceylon Observer."  It was
written by a Babu to the Editor of the "Upper Burma Gazette,"
as follows:-

(To the Editor "Upper Burma Gazette.")

"Sir, - I should like to bring to notice of public through widely
scattered columns of your valuable journal a peradventure that
overtook my personality whilst taking nocturnal perambulations on
the West Moat Road in order to caution fellow citizens against
simultaneous danger.  Whilst wending my way along abovesaid
thoroughfare in the evening of the 22nd ultimo, and pursuing a
course as crow flies towards my humble domicile, I was suddenly
and instantaneously confronted with monstrous hissing and much
confounded in immediate vicinity.  I first remained sotto voce,
and then applying close scrutiny of my double optics to the spot
whence proceeded abovesaid disturbance I was much horrified and
temporaneously paralysed to lo! and behold a mighty enormous reptile
of Cobra-de-Capello making frontal attack.  My pedal appendages being
only clothed in wooden sandals; I thereupon immediately took to
nether limbs and beat hasty retreat (as stated in war telegrams) or
in other words made rapid retrograde movement by locomotion of lower
shanks, though personally much courageous.  I should like to
indignantly question - what are newly selected City Fathers
cogitating that they should not take commensurate steps to relegate
such carnivorous animals to limbo oblivion and insure safety of
pedestrians and footpads?  Please answer me this inscrutable
question, famous Sir?  Praying for welfare and increase of filial
bond.  I am, most obedient Sir, your ever obedient servant,

"N.B. - If this epistle is consigned to wastepaper basket and no
notice taken of my humble complaint, I shall memoriate in other
papers."  - M. Mail, Jan 27.

A few days later we had a most interesting visit from two snake-
charmers - who undertook to catch any snakes that might lurk round
the bungalow.  Another cobra had been seen in some grass, but
below the flower garden, so we were glad to let them try, first
stipulating that unless snakes were found and caught, they would
receive no payment.  Every precaution was taken to ensure that they
did not themselves place the snakes where they were afterwards found,
and they were watched from the time they came within a mile of the
Bungalow, and were never lost sight of for a moment, until they had
finished their work.  They brought with them a bag containing two
cobras caught elsewhere; this bag was tightly fastened and watched by
some of our own servants.  The charmers' dress was so scanty that it
would have been impossible for them to conceal about their persons
the large snakes they afterwards caught.  The men were very unkempt
looking Tamils - said to belong, as do the other snake-charmers,
to a tribe of Indian gipsies, who inherit this extraordinary power.

The business arrangement being completed, the elder man stepped
forward, accompanied by his assistant, and followed by Rob and myself
and four Bungalow servants to the piece of waste land covered with
grass and cheddy, where the cobra had been seen.  Arrived at the
spot, the leader danced forward with a light springy step - best
described by the old-fashioned phrase "on the light fantastic toe" -
a step one might imagine elves and fairies tripping - so light were
his movements that scarce a blade of grass bent beneath his airy
tread; meanwhile, he played little trilling tunes on a peculiarly
sweet reed pipe - the music being supposed to attract the snake.
We were all perfectly silent, and Rob and I were just beginning to
vote the whole thing humbug when behold a movement and a rustle in
the long grass - with a sharp exclamation the snake-charmer made
a dart forward, and drew forth a large cobra, holding it by the neck.
I am quite certain it was all bona-fide, for our men never took their
eyes off the man and his assistant, and even accompanied the latter
when he took the cobra to place it in the bag with the others.

The same performance was repeated three times more, in different
places round the bungalow - with the result that another cobra and
two tic polongas (also a dangerous snake) were caught.  During the
capture of the last a most exciting incident happened.  The
assistant, who we were afterwards told was rather new to the work, in
catching the snake took hold of it in the wrong place, and it bit him
on the finger.  His terror and pain were great, and I was much
frightened myself, for I knew the bite of a tic polonga was supposed
to mean death in half an hour.  The older man at once made the wound
bleed freely, and then applied two snake-stones over the bite,
twisting a piece of string tightly round the finger below the place
bitten.  A snake-stone is a small piece of animal charcoal, polished
until it looks like a dark green pebble; whether it is rubbed with an
antidote or otherwise treated, I cannot say - but twice I have seen
its efficacy proved.  I only wish that doctors would not be too proud
to study the subject.

The man was evidently in great agony, and at this stage, I must
confess I took myself off, as there were plenty of people to attend
to him, and I thought every moment he would die.  Rob gave him some
whiskey, and awaited events.

In about twenty minutes, I heard the sweet little trills of the pipe
once more, and on going out, found the invalid quite recovered,
though looking rather shaky, and the two men hunting for more snakes;
no more, however, were found.  Before going away they said they
wished to give us a little performance, which meant letting the four
cobras and two tic polongas creep and crawl about the yard almost up
to our feet, then catching and throwing them from one hand to the
other and letting them crawl up to us again, and so da capo.  As the
bite of either would be deadly, it was a gruesome entertainment, even
with snake-stones at hand, so we soon said we had had enough.  Rob
gave them Rs10; they presented him with a snakestone, and departed
carrying the snakes with them.


FEBRUARY 14th. - Owing to ignorant noncompliance with some legal
regulations, the marriage of our Appu could not take place on the
date originally fixed; and it was only yesterday that the ceremony
was really performed, in the Roman Catholic Church at Kandy.  In the
early afternoon, as I sat working in the verandah, I was startled
by the approach of the bridal procession.  First came the bride and
brideroom, hand in hand, followed by a little girl of six, in the
inevitable pink frock made very long, with a veil of needle-run
net hanging from the back of her head; beside the girl walked a
particularly sharp boy of ten, in white jacket and cloth, and
embroidered velvet cap; and behind them came two women - one the aunt
in a heliotrope silk cloth and beautiful jewellery - the other the
mother who being a widow was quite enveloped - head included - in
white muslin.  The bride's dress was extremely picturesque, a cloth
of red brocaded silk, with border of orange and green, worn
Tamilwise, over a low short-sleeved bodice of red silk shot with
yellow.  Her hair was dressed in one long thick plait, fastened off
with three bell shaped gold ornaments, whilst on the crown of her
head she wore a round bossed gold ornament about three inches in
diameter, two similar but smaller discs being fastened on the plait
of hairs.  In addition, she had very handsome side combs, a row
of pink garnets with fringes of seed pearls; also massive gold
ear-rings, three nose-rings, the centre one a fine pink garnet -
two rosaries of gold beads - several rings, and particularly pretty
Indian filagree work bracelets.  Over all this grandeur she wore a
white tulle veil, just like an English bride, but was kind enough
to take it off that I might inspect the jewellery which was shown me
with great pride by the aunt, who happily came from Madras, and could
speak English.  The poor girl herself was quite overwhelmed with
shyness and never once lifted up her head or uttered a word.

The bridegroom, in spite of its being a broiling hot afternoon,
wore over his shoulder a thick woollen shawl of the most hideous
red and blue plaid conceivable.  I am sure no loom in Great Britain
could produce such a terrible combination of the two colours, its
birthplace must have been Germany.  Later when I saw him for a moment
without the ladies, I asked him if he did not find it very hot;
"Oh yes, lady, it is very hot, but I must wear it; it is part of
my wedding dress."  A very incongruous part, I thought to myself,
for the rest was a pretty white muslin cloth with narrow border of
crimson and gold, a white linen jacket, and sapphire blue velvet cap
embroidered with silver.

Unfortunately Rob was at work on the Estate, and so the whole burden
of entertainment fell upon me: and greatly at a loss I was to know
what to do.  I gave a santhosem (present), took them into the
drawing-room and showed them pictures of England, which seemed to
interest, gave them cakes, and finally made a bouquet for the bride.
I picked roses, but the aunt came running after me, to say that
chrysanthemums were what the Tamils prized most.  At last I made an
excuse that I must write letters, and dismissed them to the kitchen
regions to have a cup of tea, where by this time the kitchen coolie
had made two enormous wreaths of bougainvillea, which he insisted
upon their wearing round their necks.  At last Rob returned to the
bungalow, and soon afterwards the party pursued their onward way to
the girl's home, where a wedding feast was prepared for twenty
people.  Our servants gave us some dinner, and then hurried off to
join the festivities, leaving us to the care of a watchman, who
mounted guard  over the bungalow, whilst we slept.

Yesterday, besides being the wedding day, was a great Mahomedan
Festival of Ramadan.  No sooner had the bride departed than a young
Moor boy, whom we are training to be a servant, arrived with a small
brother and sister, all bearing gifts - a parcel of Jaffna cheroots
for Rob, and pomegranates, bananas, and eggs for me.  We had let him
go away to attend Ramadan at great inconvenience to ourselves, and I
suppose this was his parents' way of showing their gratitude.  He did
a most unusual thing for a native - refused to accept a santhosem
in return for his gifts, saying when he brought a present he didn't
want to be paid for it.  Generally the dark race is most rapacious,
and I shall always respect this boy for his proper pride and

During the last few months I have been so much at the mercy of
non-English speaking servants, that I have perforce learnt enough
Tamil to give orders, and to ask for what I want.  When I do not
know a word, I make signs, the meaning of which the natives are
extraordinarily quick to catch.  The other day I felt supremely
ridiculous when, after trying in vain to ask for a small nail with
which to fasten some fringe, I at last took Abdul to a wall and
showed him one, and he exclaimed to his fellow servant in Tamil,
"Oh, it's _tintacks_ she wants," using the proper English word.
There is no Tamil equivalent for many manufactured articles,
and the English word with a Tamily pronunciation is used.

Anyone coming to Ceylon should set to work at once to learn this
language for a knowledge of it will add much not only to the comfort,
but to the interest of his life.  Even the few words I have picked
up are a great help to me.  Sinhalese is not necessary for a lady
in the planting districts, as she very seldom comes in contact with
Sinhalese natives.  It is, of the two, much the prettier language,
and has a soft liquid sound of the Italian type, very pleasant to
listen to.  The two races keep quite distinct, and it is not very
often one finds a Tamil coolie who speaks Sinhalese.

FEBRUARY 25th. - To-day, amongst much shouting and vociferation on
the part of the cattle-shed coolies, the working bullocks have been
undergoing their monthly shoeing.  I say undergoing with reason,
for to them it must be a trying process.  They are first thrown,
then their four feet are tied together with a strong rope, a sack
filled with grass being placed under the feet to support and slightly
raise them, a coolie sits at the beast's head and another at his tail,
and then the blacksmith swiftly and skilfully proceeds with his work.
Bullock follows bullock, until all have passed through his hands, and
as he is paid fifty cents (one shilling) per head, where the Estate
is of any size, he makes a good day's pay.

The roads are hard and stony, it is therefore absolutely necessary
that the bulls should be shod, but it is much to be wished that some
other plan than that of throwing the poor animals could be invented,
for they are apt to get strained, and otherwise injured, in their
efforts to escape the ordeal of shoeing; but as yet no one has
discovered an alternative method.

MARCH 4th. - The weather has now become intensely hot in the middle
of the day, but the mornings and evenings are still cool.  Heavy
dews refresh the garden and the grassfields, and as yet they keep
their freshness.  The deciduous trees, of which there are many, are
changing their leaves, and the birds sing in the early morning and late
afternoon, so one is in a measure reminded of springtime in England.

MARCH 5th. - We have been to a picnic - a real English tea picnic -
but with variations.  I must really describe it.  Some kind
neighbours determined to give an Australian lady and myself the
opportunity of seeing a very old Hindu Temple, just outside the
village of Galmadua, situated four or five miles from Kandy.
They arranged to have tea in the Temple enclosure, so one very
hot afternoon, having rendezvoused at the nearest bungalow, we
all sallied forth to Galmadua; some in smart dog-carts, some on
horseback, and some in comfortable, shaded bullock hackerys, a box
containing the good things, and a large kettle tied under the
principal hackery, were suggestive of the object in hand.  All the
guests were attended by their horsekeepers, each wearing the
distinctive colours of his master.

Our drive was for the most part over rocky, narrow roads bordered
with cocoa and coffee bushes, and shaded by cocoanut and areca palms,
whilst through the slender stems we had glimpses on all sides of
fine mountain ranges, pearly grey, and violet in the already waning
afternoon sunshine.  After about a couple of miles we reached
a grassy enclosure or compound, well shaded by cocoanut palms.
The centre was occupied by the Hindu Temple we had come to see,
a square building of grey stone, five stories high; each storey
somewhat smaller than the one below, until the last tapered to a point.
The lowest must, I think, originally have been a cloister, as it
projects beyond the main building, and consisted of a series of arched
windows, though no roof remains.  The interior square structure is
windowless and tapers inwards, the brickwork being so arranged that
each layer of bricks projects a little beyond the previous one,
giving the effect of a huge pointed funnel.  There are the remains
of a rough kind of high altar; otherwise the building is quite empty,
and is not now used for religious purposes.

But in the same enclosure, and under the very shadow of the ancient
shrine, is a comparatively modern Buddhist temple, containing an
inner room where a colossal figure of Buddha painted yellow and red
sits crosslegged on a raised platform; whilst on the outside walls of
this square apartment are rows of colossal yellow figures carved in
relief; the number corresponding to the number of the supposed
incarnations of Buddha.  Whilst we were being shown all this, active
preparations had been going on for tea - a fire lighted - the kettle
boiled, and then the younger members of the party proceeded to spread
the tablecloth, and to arrange the cakes and the cushions, in the
shade of the old grey walls.  We were surrounded by a crowd of
admiring Sinhalese, from the toddling infant, to the solemn looking
caretaker.  It seemed to afford them much amusement to watch the
eccentric Britisher quitting his comfortable bungalow to sit sipping
his tea under difficulties, amongst the lizards and the ruins.
For my part, I think I never tasted more refreshing tea nor sweeter
cakes.  The novelty of our surroundings added a piquancy to the
flavour.  One of our party proceeded to sketch the temple whilst
the rest worked off their high spirits in running-about games.
Fancy playing touchwood with palms for your base.

The lengthening shadows warned us that it was time to wend our way
homewards, so having given the caretaker a liberal santhosem, we left
the spot once more to the natives and the bats, and so ended my first
and last Ceylon picnic, but the memory of the kind friends and the
lovely tropical scene, and the curious mixture of East and West, will
abide as long as I live.

One of the pleasantest results of my delightful sojourn in the island
is that I feel I have laid up a stock of charming mental pictures,
with which to beguile the dark winter days, when I sit lonely by my
own fireside, listening to the pattering rain and the raging wind of
our more northern clime.

The March days, in spite of intense noonday heat, passed all too
quickly for my pleasure, for it had been settled that on the 16th of
the month I must say good-bye to Ceylon, and wend my way homeward in
the good ship "Shropshire."  Very loth was I to leave this beautiful
country, and can imagine no more ideal home in which to settle, and
no more interesting occupation than that of a planter, for those who
find England too expensive and too overcrowded, and who have the
necessary taste for out-door life.  An income that would be decidedly
narrow and inadequate at home would in Ceylon, when added to a
planter's salary, provide all the comforts and many of the luxuries
of life.  A small patrimony (say five thousand pounds and upwards)
well invested, added to good, steady, hard work, would probably, in
time, enable a man to retire with a comfortable competency, but
I cannot help saying that, in my opinion, Ceylon is no place for
penniless men, unless, indeed, they have been brought up in unusually
frugal homes, and are endowed with remarkably robust constitutions.
Salaries have been cut down to the lowest sums at which it is
possible to live and keep in health.  If, by great self-denial,
the young planter succeeds in keeping out of debt, he will find
it to be the utmost he can do, and that no margin will remain
for the proverbial "rainy day."  Nothing for illness or periods of
non-employment, misfortunes which may befall him through no fault
of his own.  The thriftless and idle, and unsteady, go to the dogs
a little more quickly here than they would in the old country, and
the virtues of industry, self-reliance, and dependableness are as
necessary for success in Ceylon as elsewhere.  But I wish once more
to repeat that for those possessing the necessary qualifications,
monetary and otherwise, it is quite one of the most charming colonies
in which to make a home.

The 13th of March at last arrived.  Having said good-bye to my coolie
friends, and having received many tokens of their good will, in the
shape of crystals, curious insects, a snake skin, and a parrot, I,
escorted by my son, started for Colombo.  There we were joined by
other friends proceeding by the same ship.  Those last days passed
at the luxurions Galle Face Hotel, where we all made such desperate
efforts at make believe cheerfulness, soon came to an end.  The
partings were over, the last boat had left the ship, and we steamed
away in the moonlight, the lights of Colombo becoming ever dimmer and
dimmer, until the very last flash from the tall tower told us that we
had indeed left the shores of Ceylon and those we loved behind us.

Oh the sadness of these partings.  The sorrow, and the aching hearts
which many of us, alas, must bear, as the penalty for our proud
heritage, the world wide British Empire.


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