as she observed to her sister Deane, “Bessy must bear

time:2023-12-02 04:29:47 source:Yun Wen Yun Wu Network author:control

No one who has not actually suffered from the effect can appreciate the misery of bad water in a tropical country, or the blessings of a cool, pure draught. I have been in districts of Ceylon where for sixteen or twenty miles not a drop of water is to be obtained fit for an animal to drink; not a tree to throw a few yards of shade upon the parching ground; nothing but stunted, thorny jungles and sandy, barren plains as far as the eye can reach; the yellow leaves crisp upon the withered branches, the wild fruits hardened for want of sap, all moisture robbed from vegetation by the pitiless drought of several months.

as she observed to her sister Deane, “Bessy must bear

A day's work in such a country is hard indeed carrying a heavy rifle for some five-and-twenty miles, sometimes in deep sand, sometimes on good ground, but always exposed to the intensity of that blaze, added to the reflection from the sandy soil, and the total want of fresh air and water. All Nature seems stagnated; a distant pool is seen, and a general rush takes place toward the cheering sight. The water is thicker than pea soup, a green scum floats through the thickened mass, and the temperature is upward of 130 Fahrenheit. All kinds of insects are swarming in the putrid fluid, and a saltish bitter adds to its nauseating flavor. I have seen the exhausted coolies spread their dirty cloths on the surface, and form them into filters by sucking the water through them. Oh for a glass of Newera Ellia water, the purest and best that ever flows, as it sparkles out of the rocks on the mountain-tops! what pleasure so perfect as a long, deep and undisturbed draught of such cold, clear nectar when the throat is parched with unquenchable thirst!

as she observed to her sister Deane, “Bessy must bear

In some parts of Ceylon, especially in the neighborhood of the coast, where the land is flat and sandy, the water is always brackish, even during the rainy season, and in the dry months it is undrinkable.

as she observed to her sister Deane, “Bessy must bear

The natives then make use of a berry for cleansing it and precipitating the impurities. II know the shrub and the berry well, but it has no English denomination. The berries are about the size of a very large pea, and grow in clusters of from ten to fifteen together, and one berry is said to be sufficient to cleanse a gallon of water. The method of using them is curious, although simple. The vessel which is intended to contain the water, which is generally an earthen chatty, is well rubbed in the inside with a berry until the latter, which is of a horny consistency, like vegetable ivory, is completely worn away. The chatty is then filled with the muddy water, and allowed to stand for about an hour or more, until all the impurities have precipitated to the bottom and the water remains clear.

I have constantly used this berry, but I certainly cannot say that the water has ever been rendered perfectly clear; it has been vastly improved, and what was totally undrinkable before has been rendered fit for use; but it has at the best been only comparatively good; and although the berry has produced a decided effect, the native accounts of its properties are greatly exaggerated.

During the prolonged droughts, many rivers of considerable magnitude are completely exhausted, and nothing remains but a dry bed of said between lofty banks. At these seasons the elephants, being hard pressed for water, make use of their wonderful instinct by digging holes in the dry sand of the river's bed; this they perform with the horny toes of their fore feet, and frequently work to a depth of three feet before they discover the liquid treasure beneath. This process of well-digging almost oversteps the boundaries of instinct and strongly, savors of reason, the two powers being so nearly connected that it is difficult in some cases to define the distinction. There are so many interesting cases of the wonderful display of both these attributes in animals, that I shall notice some features of this subject in a separate chapter.

CHAPTER IX. Instinct and Reason - Tailor Birds and Grosbeaks - The White Ant - Black Ants at War - Wanderoo Monkeys - Habits of Elephants - Elephants in the Lake - Herd of Elephants Bathing - Elephant-shooting - The Rencontre - The Charge - Caught by the Tail - Horse Gored by a Buffalo - Sagacity of Dogs - " Bluebeard " - His Hunt - A True Hound.

There can be no doubt that man is not the only animal endowed with reasoning powers: he possesses that faculty to an immense extent, but although the amount of the same power possessed by animals may be infinitely small, nevertheless it is their share of reason, which they occasionally use apart from mere instinct.


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