Page images



specifically, than the ocean, floated on its surface, and which appeared to flow into the sea at right. angles to the Ganges. I sometimes thought of Robinson Crusoe's eddy,--sometimes of the wondrous passage described in Lord Erskine's Armata, but was not the less struck with the providential assistance which it afforded us. At five o'clock in the morning of October 1, we were said to be in lat. 20° 38'; and as the wind was getting light, anchored soon after.

The fresh water of the Maha-Nuddee still remained flowing on the surface, and nearly in a N. E. direction, but too weak and too shallow to contend with the mighty Ganges, which ran like a mill-stream, at a fathom or two underneath, and against which nothing but a very powerful gale could contend. Our hope is, therefore, in the floodtide, and in the smallness of the distance which we have yet to pass before we get into pilot water. At twelve, encouraged by a little increase of breeze, we weighed anchor again, the passengers (most of them) lending their aid, and thus successfully and speedily accomplished it. All sails that were applicable were set, and the vessel, to our great joy, answered her helm, and evidently made some little way. By degrees her motion accelerated, and by three o'clock we were going along merrily. Captain Manning burned blue lights, and hoisted a lamp at his mizen gaff, as a signal to any pilot who might be in our neighbourhood. The signal was answered by several vessels, obviously at no great



distance, but the doubt remained whether


of these were pilots, or whether they were merely like ourselves, in search of one. Captain Manning, however, sent his cutter with one of the officers and ten men to that light which was most brilliant, and the bearing of which appeared to tally with the situation of a brig which he had observed.

At length, about eleven o'clock, a vessel was really seen approaching, and, on being hailed, answered,“ the Cecilia pilot schooner.” The cutter soon afterwards came to our side with one of the branch pilots on board. Sir H. Blosset, I heard with much pain, died five weeks after he arrived in India, of an asthmatic complaint, to which he had been long subject. The pilot spoke much of the degree to which he was regretted, and of the influ. ence which, even in that small time, he had acquired over the natives, who were delighted with the pains which he took to acquire their language.

About seven in the evening of October the 3d, we were safely anchored in Saugor roads,






Saugor : Tygers-Country boats-Arab ships_Village : Maldivian

vesselsGarden ReachApproach to Calcutta-Arrival : Old Government House: Native household.

Ar day-break of October the 4th, we had a good view of the Island of Saugor, a perfectly flat and swampy shore, with scattered tall trees, dark-like firs, and jungle about the height of young coppice wood, of a very fresh and vivid green. With a large glass I could distinguish something like deer grazing or lying down amid the swampy grass, and also some ruinous cottages and barn-like buildings.

These are the remains of a village began by a joint company, who undertook to cut down the thickets and reclaim the marshes of Saugor, a few years ago. They found, however, that as the

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

woods were cut down on this side, the sea encroached, the sandy beach not having sufficient tenacity of itself to resist its invasions; and the land was again abandoned to its wild deer and its tygers; for these last it has always been infamous, and the natives, I understand, regard it with such dread, that it is almost impossible to induce them to approach the wilder parts of its shore, even in boats, as instances are said to be by no means infrequent of tygers swimming off from the coast to a considerable distance. This danger is probably, like all others, over-rated, but it is a fortunate circumstance that some such terror hangs over Saugor, to deter idle seamen and young officers from venturing on shooting excursions so much as they otherwise would do, on a shore so dreadfully unwholesome as all these marshy islets are, under a sun, which even now intensely fierce, is standing over our heads “ in a hot and copper sky.” The stream of coffee-coloured water which surrounds us, sufficiently indicates by its tint the inundations which have supplied it.

One of the first specimens of the manners of the country which has fallen under our notice, has been a human corpse, slowly floating past, according to the well-known custom of the Hindoos. About twelve o'clock some boats came on board with fish and fruit, manned by Hindoos from the coast, of which the subjoined sketch is a tolerably accurate representation.

They were all small slender men, extremely black, but well made, with good countenances and

« PreviousContinue »