Edward Frederick Leveson-Gower.

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latter sat with us at dinner, one of them wandering
over the table, which scandalised the nephew, who is
a dandy.

The road from Papilara to Nuera-ellia is through



the most beautiful scenery. The mountains here
rise to a great height, are covered with forest,
and many waterfalls fall from their summits.

Nuera-ellia is 6,000 ft. above the sea, and
we were delighted with its bracing air and the
wood fire we lighted.

The next morning Egerton and I mounted
to the top of Pedrotallagalla, a mountain hard
by, which is 8,000 ft. high and the highest
point in the island. The ascent was not steep,
but slippery, and through thick jungle. It was
pleasant, however, to have to make one's way
through a mass of purple flower with a delicious
perfume. The view from the top was not good, as
the country round was hid in clouds, but Adam's
Peak, which was long reckoned the highest
mountain in Ceylon, rose clear above them. In
the afternoon we rode some miles to see another
view over a wild district of down and jungle. We
were accompanied by three brothers of the name
of Baker.^ Two of them are settled here and
have a farm, where they try every sort of experi-
ment with unvarying ill-success. They are now
establishing a brewery, which ought to succeed
if all their beer be equal to what they gave us at

' The life of the eldest brother, who became Sir Samuel Baker, is
too well known to need any description. His greatest achievement as
an explorer was the discovery of the Albert Nyanza. I knew his
second wife, who was a Hungarian. It often puzzled me how so
refined a woman could have gone through all the hardships and perils
she encountered during their expeditions. She always reappeared in
London as if she had never left her drawing-room. I never quite
forgave her husband for exposing her to such risks, although he did so
at her urgent request.

1850-51] RETURN TO KANDY 147

In the evening we received a note from Mr.
Palliser, a brother of our Lismore friends, the two
Miss Pallisers, inviting us to join in a search after
some elephants that had been heard of in the
neighbourhood. A subsequent note informed us
that the elephants were on the move, which would
entail a good walk, so that Grosvenor and I,
who were neither of us quite well, left Egerton
to undertake it alone. I asked the landlord if we
should be able to see the elephants. His answer
was, "You may possibly keep up with Mr.
Palliser, but few can. He is the most active man,
as well as the best shot, in the country." I was
sorry not to make his acquaintance, but glad not
to follow him through the jungle.

Grosvenor and I returned to Kandy the way we
came, with increasing admiration for the scenery.
The only incident was finding a snake in the road,
which my companion immediately attacked, first
with the driver's whip and then with a bill-hook.
The snake was about four feet long. As he got
angry his head swelled out, or rather flattened out,
to twice its original size, which proved it to be a
cobra-de-capello, one of the only two venomous
snakes in Ceylon.

Egerton joined us some hours after we reached
Kandy. He had had a fatiguing walk of fourteen
hours to no purpose.

The next day he and I took leave of Grosvenor,
who settled to remain in the cooler parts of the
island, whilst we went on an expedition after ele-
phants. We were accompanied by Valentine Baker,^

' A cheery young fellow and a pleasant companion, besides being


the youngest of the brothers, an officer in the
Ceylon Rifles. We set out in a " bandy," which is
a sort of one-horse fly. Our destination for the
night was Matale, distant about sixteen miles, and
renowned as the chief scene of the rebellion in
Lord Torrington's time. We had a broad river
to ferry over, a mountain pass to descend, and a
stream to ford, the bridge being under repair. It
was rather deep, and the horse stopped in the
middle of it ; the bottom of the carriage got filled
with water, and some of our powder and shot got
wet. With the help of some natives we reached
the opposite bank, and with the loss of one of
the doors of the carriage we arrived at our night's
quarters, the residence of Mr. Temple, the
assistant-agent for the district. With mistaken
hospitality he ordered a regular dinner to be
cooked for us. We did not sit down to it till
near ten, and during the previous hour, what with
hunger, fatigue and mosquitoes, I suffered dread-
fully from fidget, and before the end of dinner
was fast asleep.

The next day we arrived, after a tedious journey,
at the rest-house of Dambool, and early on the
following morning we walked up to the temple,
which is formed by a deep recess in a rock walled
in, and is not a cave. It is a very famous
temple, and in it the Pretender in the late
rebellion was alleged to have been crowned.
The whole of the interior is covered with rough

a very keen sportsman. I was grieved when, later in life, his promising
career in England was cut short by an inexcusable act of folly. He
afterwards did well in Turkey, but I cannot be enthusiastic about
anyilaurels gained in the service of such a potentate as the Sultan.

i8so-5i] MINERY 149

paintings, representing events in the history of
Ceylon, or else likenesses of Buddha. There
are numberless images of him placed round the
temple. Two are cut out of the solid rock,
representing him asleep, one being forty feet long.
All these images are hid by a dirty curtain hung
before them. It is a hideous place of worship,
but the view from it is fine.

The following day, with some sun, occasional
clouds, a shady road and a cool breeze, was most
enjoyable. The jungle I think beautiful — continual
forest, with fine trees, and now and then low cop-
pices and grassy glades ; hills with rocky summits
are to be seen on every side, jutting out in all
directions, and all kinds of birds, insects, and flowers
enliven the scenery.

The next rest-house, Habbourene, was a very
pretty one, in a small space cleared in the forest,
with three gigantic trees close to it. The land-
lord, a Portuguese, presented a melancholy spectacle
of the effects of fever, and told us that there was
much of it, as well as of measles, at Minery. Here
we left the Trincomalee road, and after winding
along a rugged path, emerged into the plains of

The first view of the lake was unfavourable,
as it was at that end surrounded by swampy
ground, which looked as though it breathed malaria.
A number of Moormen, of Mussulman race, settled
in Ceylon from time immemorial and now its
most industrious and enterprising inhabitants, lived
in the neighbourhood. They build small temporary
huts, and bring their cattle a great distance to



graze on the rich pasture. They informed us
that a herd of elephants came down to the lake
every evening, which made us pitch our tents
hard by on a very pretty bank, from which we
disturbed a good many monkeys.

At four o'clock in the afternoon we set out with
our guns, two apiece. We spied a herd of wild
buffaloes at the end of a slip of land projecting
into the lake, and we stalked them through
some long grass. They perceived us when we
got within two hundred yards of them, and imme-
diately rushed into the lake, bellowing loudly and
making a good deal of noise in splashing through
the water. About thirty yards farther they stopped,
turned and looked at us. We waded after them
through some shallow water, which made them go
further into the lake, so that it was useless to follow
them. I was rather glad, as when wounded they
rush at those who attack them and are very danger-
ous. The ground where we were would have
made it impossible to get out of their way, and
our guns, I have been assured, were not heavy
enouo-h to kill them.


We then took a long walk through lovely glades
in search of elephants, but we saw no fresh trace
of any.

The next morning we left, having ascertained
that the Moormen had kept off the elephants.
We had a pretty ride, skirting the lake, and
pitched our tents at the other end of it. Here
we were in the midst of beautiful park-like scenery,
enhanced by perfect solitude. Beyond were seen
hills covered with forest, and on the horizon to

1850-51] SPORT IN CEYLON 151

the south mountains of pale blue and varied outline.
The weather was divine — an occasional cloud and
a constant breeze.

Before sunrise the next day we were on our
ponies, and after a ride of a few miles struck
upon a fresh track of elephants, which we followed
up on foot for several miles. It is curious how
accurately the natives can tell from their footmarks
the number and size of the elephants, as well
as the time that has elapsed since they made them.
This herd unluckily got into some thick jungle
just before we reached them, and it was useless to
proceed. We, however, pushed on and got close
to them. Egerton had a glimpse of one. We
heard them all about us, crashing through the trees
only a few yards off, and twice we were pretty
certain they were coming up to us. But something
alarmed them, and off they went right away, which
was a great disappointment. To be so near and
not have a shot ! Still it was something to see
how cleverly they are tracked, and to hear the
curious noise they make pushing their way through
the trees. They say it is easy to shoot them, but
it requires coolness. There are three places — the
forehead, the temple, and behind the ear — and if
you hit them in the ear they drop down like nine-
pins. Those in herds are never savage, unless you
kill a young one before its mother. The single
ones, which are termed rogue elephants and are
supposed to have been turned out of a herd, readily
rush on any one. The sportsmen deny that there
is much danger, though they like to relate the
narrow escapes they have met with. One of


the Bakers assured me there was no danger, but
added : "My brother had a narrow escape the
other day. An elephant rushed at him ; he jumped
out of its way, but it just caught him with its
leg and sent him spinning into some grass, which
was luckily very long. The elephant stopped,
stamped on the ground, and remained looking
about and, as it were, sniffing the air, and then
went away. If it had seen him he would certainly
have been killed." Another man said that it
was absurd to think it dangerous. Elephants,
to be sure, had often rushed at him, but he had
always shot them. " And if you had missed
them?" I inquired. "Oh, then I could not have

The following morning, lured on by tales of
elephants, we removed to a fresh camping-ground,
some miles from the lake.

On our way we saw a herd of buffaloes in a
large plain studded with small trees. As we ran
after them they made a circuit round us. Egerton
wounded one, which I knocked over. Baker shot
another, which when he approached made a rush
at him, but he stopped him by a second shot,
which was lucky, for the man with his second
gun, in his fright, fired both barrels into the air.
After luncheon we had another fruitless walk after
elephants, and the next day we took leave of our
tents. As we were dressing an elk ran through
the middle of our encampment.

Tent life in fine weather is very enjoyable.
Thirty coolies carried the luggage, pitched the
tent, and built a little hut by fixing poles into


the ground and covering them with large talipot
leaves. Considering the short notice everything
was well organised. The greatest omissions were
sheets, towels, coffee, and blankets ; but then, I
had my flannel dressing-gown, and we had good
tea, with buffalo milk, which is like cream, ex-
cellent curries, soda-water and Moselle, and a
daily dose of quinine to ward off fever. The
coolies lighted fires all round us, in order to keep
off any stray elephant. Near these fires they
sleep on talipot leaves, and under litde tents made
with a couple of sticks and their turbans.

On our way from Kandy we decided to go on
to Trincomalee, and there hire a native boat to
take us to Galle. Baker, who had been quartered
at Trincomalee, assured us that this was constantly
done, and during the monsoon, which had set in,
did not take more than two days. Egerton, as a
sailor, declared that nothing was easier, and there-
fore, though not without misgivings, I consented
to the plan.

Our first station was Kandelai, near a lake of
that name, and a famous place for snipe. We
carried our guns, and mine caught in a tree and
landed me on the ground. In short, misfortunes
succeeded each other quickly. About half-way
we met Mr. Whiting, the Chief Magistrate of
Trincomalee and the father of the newly arrived
beauty. He was on his way to Galle in order to
fetch her, and went there by land as he had failed
in getting a boat. But my companions were bent
on their plan, and Egerton, as we rode away
from the station, declared he was as confident as


before of reaching Galle by sea in time for the
steamer. I was on the point of riding back to
Kandy alone, but there were difficulties, such
as want of small change of money and ignorance
of the language, which, coupled to irresolution,
deterred me.

On arriving at Kandelai we hurried to the snipe
ground. It was completely dried up, and only one
snipe to be seen.

I was called up in the dead of night by our
native servant, who came to tell us that our best
horse, the one that did not stumble much, was
taken ill, and we found the next morning that
the remedies Baker had prescribed had done
him no good, and that we should have to
take it by turns to walk for the remainder of
the road. It began to rain as we started. On
approaching Trincomalee my hopes were a little
revived by seeing several boats in the harbour,
and we heard from a native friend of Baker's
that the wind and current were in our favour.
After an hour's repose at the rest-house we were
invited to the Fort, where the officers received
us most kindly, and we were billeted among them.
But here we soon learnt the true state of the
case — that our plan of going to Galle by sea was
out of the question. One native offered to take
us in eight days for fifty pounds, another for
twenty pounds in four provided we could achieve
an impossibility, which was to get beyond a pro-
montory south of this place, properly called Foul
Point. We then determined to ride back the way
we came, but were dismayed by being told that

1850-51] TRINCOMALEE 155

there were no horses to be hired or bought. So
all our Indian expedition would be baulked, and
we had in prospect a sort of imprisonment in the
hottest and dullest hole in Ceylon, not to mention
a delay in getting English letters. We however
found one horse and two ponies to be hired, and
an officer lent us another. Baker provided us with
his, and we had one of our own remaining. These
we sent along the road, and stayed ourselves two
nights at Trincomalee.

It is a place well worth seeing. The Fort projects
into the sea, from which a rock rises perpendicularly
two hundred feet.

From the flagstaff at this point there is a
beautiful view, the country as at Galle being covered
with cocoa-nut trees. Near the flagstaff is a rock
on which is fixed a cross, erected to mark the
spot whence a Dutch girl jumped down into a
ship below which was carrying off her lover.

In the afternoon we drove to Fort Osnaburgh,
which is at the extremity of a tongue of land
three miles long which separates the harbour from
the sea. At the roo. of this tongue are the few
scattered houses which form the town. The
harbour is extensive and is embellished by some
wooded and hilly islands. North of this harbour
is a very large bay. It is a striking but melan-
choly place, the colouring of the jungle being of
a dark, monotonous green.

The following morning we got up at half-past
three, but only secured our ponies at five, when
moonlight was struggling with the rising sun.
Our ponies were execrable. Mine, smaller and


slower than a donkey, could only be induced to
go three miles an hour by the fatiguinj^ use of
whip and spur, and refused to be led. The first
stage was twenty-five miles, to Kandelai. We
here swallowed some breakfast and proceeded on
our way, Egerton on a slow pony, I on a tall,
lanky horse which I had been assured would break
my neck. He would only follow the pony, and for
the first few miles did nothing but kick, jump
and shy, going the most uneasy paces, which, along
a bad, rocky road and under a burning sun, was
not agreeable. A smart shower then came on, and
we arrived wet through at Galior, a rest-house of
which the walls had been lately washed away by
a flood. Here we found our servant with the
coolies and our own two ponies, but we walked the
remaining ten miles by torchlight. How well I
slept that night on one of the ricketty bedsteads !
The next day we rode thirty-two miles on
our own ponies, and the remaining sixteen on
some sent by Mr. Temple of Matale. His wife,
a cheery little woman, had arrived, and they were
kindness itself. At Kandy we put up at the same
bungalow, and dined with the Bullers without any
company. After dinner, however, they received
a visit from the wife of a Kandian chief. She
was the prettiest coloured woman I had yet seen,
with small features and graceful figure, which was
set off by her dress. She had a white muslin
shawl folded round her and then over one shoulder,
covering her breast, the other shoulder and arm
being left bare. She had a quantity of bracelets
and necklaces, and her hair was becomingly

1850-51] THE CINGALESE 157

arranged. She knew no English and was difficult
to entertain. Mr. Buller produced our Ilhistrated
London News, with which she was pleased, and
Mrs. Buller some religious tracts, which appeared
less acceptable. The rest of our journey by mail
from Kandy to Colombo and thence to Galle was
without incident. All whom we met expressed their
doubts of our getting in time for the steamer,
reminding us how fast she was.

We drove into Galle on Christmas Day, and
soon learnt that all was right. Grosvenor seemed
much the better for his stay in the mountains.

The evening of the 27th we shouted for joy
when we heard the gun which announced the
arrival of the steamer, and the next afternoon we
took leave of that vapour bath with anything but
regret. At the same time, I must say I enjoyed
my month's stay in Ceylon exceedingly.

In the lower districts by the sea the climate is
muggy, but in the mountains and the jungle of the
interior it is delicious. We had travelled over four
hundred miles, and had not seen one inch of ugly

The inhabitants of the seaboard are an effeminate
race ; they wear their hair long and twisted up,
and fasten it with large combs, so that at first I
took them all for women. Nothing could be funnier
than the dress of the chiefs going to the Levee
at Colombo. They wore their hair done in this
manner, cotton petticoats with a gaudy pattern,
and the uniform of the old Dutch officers. The
inhabitants of the interior are more hardy, but
are rapidly decreasing, owing, I believe, to the


murder of female infants, and the practice of several
men sharing one wife between them. Brothers
have rarely more than one wife, and the children
talk of their eldest or their youngest father.

There is a variety of races in Ceylon. The
Moormen, whom I have already mentioned ; the
Veddahs, or wild men of the woods, who are
perfectly uncivilised, have no habitations, and fly
from the sight of men ; and the outcasts, who are
so because they eat beef, which, although it has
physically improved them, has so polluted them
that any intercourse with them is considered con-
tamination. There are also the coolies, the labourers
from India, who are beginning to settle in the
island ; and the Malays, a manly race of whom
the army is chiefly composed.

Henry Loch,^ a son of the M.P. for Sutherland
and a cavalry officer in the Company's service, was
among the passengers in the Hindostan^ and I shared
his excellent cabin.

We had fine weather to Madras, which we
reached on the evening of the 31st. We three
went there in the purser's boat, and were the only
passengers that did so. There is a great deal of
surf on this coast, which makes it often difficult

' Henry Loch, who eventually was created Lord Loch, was a great
friend of mine and a charming person. He had a noteworthy career.
His first advancement was, I fancy, partly due to the great interest
excited by the terrible incident of his captivity in China, when he
was confined in a cage and exposed to the most terrible suffering.
In all the important posts which he successively occupied, he did
himself great credit. His difficulties in South Africa we know were
very great. He told me he always mistrusted Rhodes, but he
managed to keep on friendly terms with him. He was fortunate in
his private life, as he enjoyed the blessings of a very happy home.

1850-51] CALCUTTA 159

to land. This time there was little surf, and as
the boats are well adapted to it, and rise with the
waves, we were rolled sideways on to the beach,
and carried in an armchair to dry land. At the
landing-place we found an Eton friend of Grosvenor's,
and Mr. Dalrymple, another brother-in-law of Lady
Eastnor's,^ to whom Mr. Cameron had written about
us. You must know that wherever you go in
India you meet with some member of this family.
Every other man has married, and every other
woman has been, a Miss Pattle. Our friends
took us to the club, a large building most com-
fortably fitted up, where we slept the New Year in

We had a smooth and rapid passage to Calcutta,
which we reached at midday on January 4th.
The steamer stops at Garden Reach, about three
miles from the town. We found here a carriage
waiting for us, and offered a place in it to a dis-
tressed lady who had left a drunken husband at
Colombo, and was in search of an uncle in Calcutta.
Grosvenor looked ill at ease when carrying her
baby ashore, and the uncle appeared dismayed
when he heard of the unexpected arrival of his
niece. I pitied her ; she was handsome, and had
an expression full of gentleness and melancholy.

The first person I saw after our arrival was
Sir James Colville, one of the Judges. He is Lord
Auckland's nephew, whom I often met at old
Lady Holland's. He was very cordial, and I dined
with him frequently. His sister was pleasing, and
his house is thought the most agreeable in Calcutta.

• Virginia, widow of tlie third Earl Somers.


We found here Sir William and Lady Gomm,
with all the aides-de-camp. He is in every respect
the reverse of his predecessor, Sir Charles Napier.
Four years ago he landed in Calcutta, fully per-
suaded he was Commander-in-Chief, with his
appointment in his pocket. He found Sir Charles
Napier already installed in his place, but he bore
this severe mortification with the greatest good
humour and dignity.

Our sight-seeing in Calcutta is soon described.
One day we went with the Colvilles to the Botanical
Gardens. Dr. Falkner, the man at the head of
them, showed them to us. I immediately asked
to see John Scott. ^ He at once recognised me.
He is pleased with his situation, and the climate
a^frees with him.

The Gardens are well kept ; there is in them
a beautiful banyan-tree, which for its age is the
finest in India, though its branches are trained with
too much regularity. The Amherstia flourishes,
and Scott assured me he had given Paxton a receipt
which would make it flower at Chatsworth. The
broad walks along the river are beautiful. The
Gardens are a favourite resort of the Europeans,
and they do much damage, as they pay no attention
to the remonstrances of the native gardeners.

We also went to the Mint, which is supposed
to be superior to that in London, though the
machinery seemed to me much the same. The
natives are very handy at this sort of work.

Henry Loch settled to go with us to Nepaul,
and as there was some difficulty in securing a

' He had been a gardener at Chatsworth.

1850-51] BARRACKPORE 161

sufficient number of " dak " bearers for so many, it
was arranged that Grosvenor and I should start
first, accompanied by a native servant to interpret
for us, and that Egerton and Loch should follow
a day after.

At the last moment a Madrassee whom we
had engaged, and who was highly recommended,
sent word that he had to move his family into
a new house, and that he himself had a fever,
which meant that he had repented of his en-
gagement. After we left he had the impudence

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Online LibraryEdward Frederick Leveson-GowerBygone years; → online text (page 10 of 21)