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network of gossamer. Following the various walks there are found nearly all the choice trees of the tropics. Within view of the gateway is a magnificent group of palms, planted more than forty years ago, containing within its area all the native species and many specimens of foreign lands. Here is the talipot, the aloe of palms, which flowers but once and then dies. Continuing the round of the gardens we come upon the palm of Central America, from the leaves of which the Panama hat is made. Here is the upas tree of Java with considerably more than three branches, and none of them cut down. Here is a magnificent clump of bamboo, spreading outward at the top like a bouquet. If any one cares to sit out a long summer day they may see these grow at the rate of a foot in twenty-four hours -half an inch
hour. On the left of the pathway are three mighty trunks, dead to themselves, but living outside with what looks, at a short distance, like masses of ivy, but is a flowering creeper, gemmed with a pale violet blossom. Here is the india-rubber tree and importations from Perack which yield gutta-percha. Here, their branches almost intermingling, are the Himalayan cypress, the pencil cedar of Bermuda, the Norfolk Island pine, and the champak of India, sacred in the eyes of the faithful. Here is the coco-de-mer, the Columbus of tree-fruit, which, found floating on the Indian Ocean or washed up on the shores of Ceylon, was for two centuries a mystery to man, till its home was found among the least known islands of the Seychelles group. The growth of the tree is as slow as its offspring is adventurous, putting forth a single leaf a year, and so taking something like an eternity to reach its normal height of a hundred feet. Here, growing on the trunk of a tree, is a fine specimen of the Monstera deliciosa, of Mexican birth, of which, by the way, there is a much finer specimen at Chatsworth.
Here is the candle-tree of Central America, with its fruit hanging down like tallow-dips ten to the pound. Here is a banyan-tree, whose branches cast a shadow two hundred feet in diameter. Here is the Ceylon ironwood tree, beautiful in life with its sweetscented flowers, its leaves, born blood-red, growing into green above and white below, and in its death useful for household purposes. Here is a tree local to Ceylon, whose leaves serve with cabinet-makers the purposes of sand-paper; and here—the glory of the gardens—is a long avenue of palms, whose stems run up, round and smooth, as if turned by a lathe, and are suddenly crowned at the top with a coronet of fan-like leaves.
Everywhere there are flowers and sweet scent, and here and there, up trees of dark green foliage, one comes upon boys beating with sticks at branches, from which fall fruit, the colour of peaches and something similar in size and shape. As they fall they split, disclosing the dark brown nutmeg bound in the scarlet meshes of the mace.
Many of these plants and trees are to be seen carefully nourished under glass at Kew; but they look infinitely better at home in the clear atmosphere and under the sunny skies of the tropics.
THE PRISONER OF CEYLON.
ARABI BEY's home of exile stands about three miles out of Colombo. It is reached by a long dusty road, sometimes skirting the Indian Ocean, on whose cool margin brown figures stand dabbling the water up to their knees, and plying a fishing-rod. They do not seem to catch much, and are comically disproportionate, fishing with rod and line in an ocean that washes two continents. But it is a very pleasant way of getting through the day, having a wholesome appearance of work, without the accompaniment of blinding dust and dry untempered heat which harry those labouring by the roadside.
It is a very squalid quarter, the houses being mere huts thatched with palms leaves. Many of them are not six feet high, and the
elders of the family crawl into them like animals returning to their holes. They have no windows, and have not reached the skilful contrivance of the Japanese, whose sliding shutters drawn back leave the domicile easy of access.
There is a plain wooden shutter that contrives a double debt to pay, being a window by day and a door by night. When the Cingalese retires to rest this board is put up, and the arrangements are complete. There are plentiful chinks which admit air and some rays of light; but neither is a matter that seems greatly to concern the householder. Passing by day one can see crouching within the doorway father or mother; even oftener the grandfather or grandmother. In spite of insanitary household arrangements, the Cingalese seem to live to a ripe age, and wrap their years about them like a picturesque garment. Long grey hair, deeply furrowed faces, gleaming dark eyes, figures still upright, and the loose garment of gay colours worn with easy grace, make old age strikingly attractive.
There is no difficulty in approaching the prisoner of Ceylon. He has neither jailor nor guard, and is free to do what he pleases within the limits of the island.
When we drove up he was sitting in the broad verandah which fronts the house--a heavy stone build