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AN UNPLEASANT BEDFELLOW.
snake. There is an instinctive feeling that the arch enemy is personified when these wretches glide by you, and the blood chills with horror. I took the dried skin of this fellow to England; it measures twelve feet in its dry state, minus the piece that was broken from his neck, making him the length, before mentioned, of fifteen feet.
I have often been astonished that comparatively so few accidents happen in Ceylon from snakebites; the immense number of these vermin, and the close nature of the country, making it a dangerous risk to the naked feet of the natives. I was once lying upon a sofa in a rest-house at Kandellai, when I saw a snake about four feet long glide in at the open door, and, as though accustomed to a particular spot for his lodging, he at once climbed upon another sofa and coiled himself under the pillow. My brother had only just risen from this sofa, and was sitting at the table watching the movements of his uninvited bedfellow. I soon poked him out with a stick, and cut off his head with a hunting-knife. This snake was of a very poisonous description, and was evidently accustomed to lodge behind the pillow, upon which the unwary sleeper might have received a fatal bite. Upon taking possession of an unfrequented rest
house, the cushions of the sofas and bedsteads should always be examined, as they are great attractions to snakes, scorpions, centipedes, and all manner of reptiles.
CAPABILITIES OF CEYLON.-DEER AT ILLEPECADÉWÉ. SAGACITY OF A PARIAH DOG.-TWO DEER AT ONE SHOT.-DEER STALKING. HAMBANTOTTE COUNTRY.
- KATTREGAM FESTIVAL.
SITRAWELLÉ..—RUINS OF ANCIENT MAHAGAM.-WIHARÉWELLÉ.
-A NIGHT ATTACK UPON ELEPHANTS.-SHOOTING BY MOONLIGHT.-YALLÉ RIVER-ANOTHER ROGUE.-A STROLL BEFORE BREAKFAST. —A CURIOUS SHOT.-A GOOD DAY'S SPORT.
THERE are few countries which present a more lovely appearance than Ceylon. There is a diversity in the scenery which refreshes the eye; and although the evergreen appearance might appear monotonous to some persons, still, were they residents, they would observe that the colour of the foliage is undergoing a constant change by the varying tints of the leaves in the different stages of their growth. These tints are far more lovely than the autumnal shades of England, and their brilliancy is enhanced by the idea that it is the bursting of the young leaf into life, the freshness of youth instead of the sere leaf of a past summer, which, after gilding for a few days the beauty of the woods, drops from the frozen branches and deserts them. Every shade of colour is seen in the
Ceylon forests, as the young leaves are constantly replacing those which have fallen without being missed. The deepest crimson, the brightest yellow, and green of every shade, combine to form a beautiful crest to the forest-covered surface of the island.
There is no doubt, however, that there is too much wood in Ceylon; it prevents the free circulation of air, and promotes dampness, malaria, and consequently fevers and dysentery, the latter disease being the scourge of the colony. The low country is accordingly decidedly unhealthy.
This vast mass of forest and jungle is a great impediment to the enjoyment of travelling. The heat in the narrow paths cut through dense jungles is extreme; and after a journey of seventy or eighty miles through this style of country the eye scans the wild plains and mountains with delight. Some districts, however, are perfectly devoid of trees, and form a succession of undulating downs of short grass. Other parts, again, although devoid of heavy timber, are covered with dense thorny jungles, especially the country adjoining the seacoast, which is generally of a uniform character round the whole island, being interspersed with sandy plains producing a short grass.
CAPABILITIES OF CEYLON.
Much has been said by some authors of the "capabilities" of Ceylon; but, however enticing the description of these capabilities may have been, the proof has been decidedly in opposition to the theory. Few countries exist with such an immense proportion of bad soil. There are no minerals except iron, no limestone except dolomite, no other rocks than quartz and gneiss. The natural pastures are poor; the timber of the forests is the only natural production of any value, with the exception of cinnamon. Sugar estates do not answer; and coffee requires an expensive system of cultivation by frequent manuring. In fact, the soil is wretched; so bad that the natives, by felling the forest and burning the timber upon the ground, can only produce one crop of some poor grain; the land is then exhausted, and upon its consequent desertion it gives birth to an impenetrable mass of low jungle, comprising every thorn that can be conceived. This deserted land, fallen again into the hand of nature, forms the jungle of Ceylon; and as native cultivation has thus continued for some thousand years, the immense tract of country now in this impenetrable state is easily accounted for. The forests vary in appearance; some are perfectly free from underwood, being composed of