“I’ll thank you for my cup o’ tea, now, Mrs. G.,”

time:2023-12-02 04:35:08 source:Yun Wen Yun Wu Network author:year

The road winds along about midway up the mountain, bounded on the right by the towering cliffs and sloping forest of Hackgalla, and on the left by the almost precipitous descent of nearly one thousand feet, the sides of which are clothed by alternate forest and waving grass. At the bottom flows a torrent, whose roar, ascending from the hidden depth, increases the gloomy mystery of the scene.

“I’ll thank you for my cup o’ tea, now, Mrs. G.,”

On the north, east and south-east of Newera Ellia the sunshine is perpetual during the reign of the misty atmosphere, which the south-west monsoon drives upon the western side of the mountains. Thus, there is always an escape open from the wet season at Newera Ellia by a short walk of three or four miles.

“I’ll thank you for my cup o’ tea, now, Mrs. G.,”

A long line of dark cloud is then seen, terminated by a bright blue sky. So abrupt is the line and the cessation of the rain that it is difficult to imagine how the moisture is absorbed.

“I’ll thank you for my cup o’ tea, now, Mrs. G.,”

This sudden termination of the cloud-capped mountain gives rise to a violent wind in the sunny valleys and bare hills beneath. The chilled air of Newera Ellia pours down into the sun-warmed atmosphere below, and creates a gale that sweeps across the grassy hilltops with great force, giving the sturdy rhododendrons an inclination to the north-east which clearly marks the steadiness of the monsoon.

It is not to be supposed, however, that Newera Ellia lies in unbroken gloom for months together. One month generally brings a share of uninterrupted bad weather; this is from the middle of June to the middle of July. This is the commencement of the south-west monsoon, which usually sets in with great violence. The remaining portion of what is called the wet season, till the end of November, is about as uncertain as the climate of England - some days fine, others wet, and every now and then a week of rain at one bout.

A thoroughly saturated soil, with a cold wind, and driving rain and forests as full of water as sponges, are certain destroyers of scent; hence, hunting at Newera Ellia is out of the question during such weather. The hounds would get sadly out of condition, were it not for the fine weather in the vicinity which then invites a trip.

I have frequently walked ten miles to my hunting grounds, starting before daybreak, and then after a good day's sport up and down the steep mountains, I have returned home in the evening. But this is twelve hours' work, and it is game thrown away, as there is no possibility of getting the dead elk home. An animal that weighs between four hundred and four hundred and fifty pounds without his insides, is not a very easy creature to move; at any time, especially in such a steep mountainous country as the neighborhood of Newera Ellia. As previously described, at the base of the mountains are cultivated rice-lands, generally known as paddy-fields, where numerous villages have sprung up from the facility with which a supply of water is obtained from the wild mountains above them. I have so frequently given the people elk and hogs which I have killed on the heights above their paddy-fields that they are always on the alert at the sound of the bugle, and a few blasts from the mountain-top immediately creates a race up from the villages, some two or three thousand feet below. Like vultures scenting carrion, they know that an elk is killed, and they start off to the well-known sound like a pack of trained hounds. Being thorough mountaineers, they are extraordinary fellows for climbing the steep grassy sides. With a light stick about six feet long in one hand, they will start from the base of the mountains and clamber up the hillsides in a surprisingly short space of time, such as would soon take the conceit out of a "would-be pedestrian." This is owing to the natural advantages of naked feet and no inexpressibles.

Whenever an elk has given a long run in the direction of this country, and after a persevering and arduous chase of many hours, I have at length killed him on the grassy heights above the villages, I always take a delight in watching the tiny specks issuing from the green strips of paddy as the natives start off at the sound of the horn.


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