by his hearers. Mr. Stelling’s doctrine was of no particular

time:2023-12-02 04:24:23 source:Yun Wen Yun Wu Network author:art

Although the cinnamon appears to require no more than a common quartz sand for its production, it is always cultivated with the greatest success where the subsoil is light, dry and of a loamy quality.

by his hearers. Mr. Stelling’s doctrine was of no particular

The appearance of the surface soil is frequently very deceitful. It is not uncommon to see a forest of magnificent trees growing in soil of apparently pure sand, which will not even produce the underwood with which Ceylon forests are generally choked. In such an instance the appearance of the trees is unusually grand as their whole length and dimensions are exposed to view, and their uniting crowns throw a sombre shade over the barren ground beneath. It is not to be supposed that these mighty specimens of vegetation are supported by the poor sandy soil upon the surface; their tap-roots strike down into some richer stratum, from which their nourishment is derived.

by his hearers. Mr. Stelling’s doctrine was of no particular

These forests are not common in Ceylon; their rarity accordingly enhances their beauty. The largest English oak would be a mere pigmy among the giants of these wilds, whose stature is so wonderful that the eye never becomes tired of admiration. Often have I halted on my journey to ride around and admire the prodigious height and girth of these trees. Their beautiful proportions render them the more striking; there are no gnarled and knotty stems, such as we are accustomed to admire in the ancient oaks and beeches of England, but every trunk rises like a mast from the earth, perfectly free from branches for ninety or a hundred feet, straight as an arrow, each tree forming a dark pillar to support its share of the rich canopy above, which constitutes a roof perfectly impervious to the sun. It is difficult to guess the actual height of these forest trees; but I have frequently noticed that it is impossible to shoot a bird on the higher branches with No. 5 shot.

by his hearers. Mr. Stelling’s doctrine was of no particular

It is much to be regretted that the want of the means of transport renders the timber of these forests perfectly valueless. From age to age these magnificent trees remain in their undisturbed solitudes, gradually increasing in their apparently endless growth, and towering above the dark vistas of everlasting silence. No on can imagine the utter stillness which pervades these gloomy shades. There is a mysterious effect produced by the total absence of animal life. In the depths of these forests I have stood and listened for some sound until my cars tingled with overstrained attention; not a chirp of a bird, not the hum of an insect, but the mouth of Nature is sealed. Not a breath of air has rustled a leaf, not even a falling fruit has broken the spell of silence; the undying verdure, the freshness of each tree, even in its mysterious age, create an idea of eternal vegetation, and the silvery yet dim light adds to the charm of the fairylike solitude which gradually steals over the senses.

I have ridden for fifteen or twenty miles through one of these forests without hearing a sound, except that of my horse's hoof occasionally striking against a root. Neither beast nor bird is to be seen except upon the verge. The former has no food upon such barren ground; and the latter can find no berries, as the earth is sunless and free from vegetation. Not even monkeys are to be seen, although the trees must produce fruit and seed. Everything appears to have deserted the country, and to have yielded it as the sole territory of Nature on a stupendous scale. The creepers lie serpent-like along the ground to the thickness of a man's waist, and, rearing their twisted forms on high, they climb the loftiest trees, hanging in festoons from stern to stem like the cables of a line-of-battle-ship, and extending from tree to tree for many hundred yards; now felling to the earth and striking a fresh root; then, with increased energy, remounting the largest trunks, and forming a labyrinth of twisted ropes along the ceiling of the forest. From these creepers hang the sabre-beans. Everything seems on a supernatural scale - the bean-pod four feet or more in length, by three inches in breadth; the beans two inches in diameter.

Here may be seen the most valuable woods of Ceylon. The ebony grows in great perfection and large quantity. This tree is at once distinguished from the surrounding stems by its smaller diameter and its sooty trunk. The bark is crisp, jet black, and has the appearance of being charred. Beneath the bark the wood is perfectly white until the heart is reached, which is the fine black ebony of commerce. Here also, equally immovable, the calamander is growing, neglected and unknown. This is the most esteemed of all Ceylon woods, and it is so rare that it realizes a fancy price. It is something similar to the finest walnut, the color being a rich hazel brown, mottled and striped with irregular black marks. It is superior to walnut in the extreme closeness of the grain and the richness of its color.

There are upward of eighty different woods produced in Ceylon, which are made use of for various purposes; but of these many are very inferior. Those most appreciated are-

Calamander, Ebony, chiefly used for furniture and cabinet work. Satin-wood, Suria (the tulip tree). Tamarind. Jackwood. Halmileel. Cocoa-nut. Palmyra.


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