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NARRATIVE

OF

A JOURNEY,

&c.

CHAPTER I.

Saugor : Tygers--Country boats-Arab ships-Village: Maldivian

vessels-Garden ReachApproach to CalcuttaArrival: 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

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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

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fine features,-certainly a handsome race; the fruits were shaddocks, plaintains, and coco-nuts, none good of their kind as we were told; the shaddock resembles a melon externally, but it is in fact a vast orange, with a rind of two inches thick, the pulp much less juicy than a common orange, and with rather a bitter flavour, certainly a fruit which would be little valued in England, but which in this burning weather I thought rather pleasant and refreshing. The plaintain grows in bunches, with its stalks arranged side by side ; the fruit is shaped like a kidney potatoe, covered with a loose dusky skin which peels off easily with the fingers. The pulp is not unlike an over-ripe pear.

While we were marketing with these poor people, several large boats from the Maldive Islands passed, which were pointed out to me by the pilot as objects of curiosity, not often coming to Calcutta; they have one mast, a very large square mainsail, and one top-sail, are built, the more solid parts of coco-wood, the lighter of bamboo, and sail very fast and near the wind; each carries from 30 to 50 men, who are all sharers in the vessel and her cargo,

which consists of cowries, dried fish,coconut oil, and the coir or twine made from the fibres of the same useful tree; and each has a small cabin to himself.

Several boats of a larger dimension soon after came alongside ; one was decked, with two masts, a bowsprit, and rigged like a schooner without topsails. The master and crew of this last were

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